Category Archives: Features

The Good Men Plan

Chris Williams-Morales

This year, the Hampden-Sydney College decided to enact a program a little different from the normal freshman orientation known as the Good Men Plan. When asked about the purpose of the program, Dean Ramsey said, “Through the Good Men Plan, we can begin to provide programming designed to help freshmen and sophomores through early challenges”. However, to say that this is a new approach to orientation would be untrue.

The Good Men Plan is more like an addition that helps underclassmen deal with the troubles of their first year of college. This program is an effort by the college to produce good men in the physical, mental, and emotional senses; it’s an attempt to help the underclass succeed.

This program was already in the works three years ago when trends showed orientation in the past years was harder for freshmen. Freshmen would take a series of sessions or seminars where information would be given, but it was too much information too fast. The Good Men Plan breaks that down though, scheduling occasional sessions at a time when all freshmen can attend. Student engagement is enhanced through speeches and sessions with educational value, a sense of community is created, and everyone’s values are involved. Another aspect that the program hoped to foster was achieved through bringing the freshman class together.

For those that do attend, they have the chance to win prizes like tickets to a Redskins game, or to the Colbert Report. The plan itself came from the mind of Dr. Howard, who had help from the people of the Office of Student Affair such as Dean Ramsey and Dr. Dale Jones from the Wilson Center. The Good Men Plan is to here to help this year’s freshmen and those that come after.

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Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Visits Campus

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Andrew Stoddard ‘14, Copy Editor

It’s not every day that a politician running for a major government office visits the Hill, but that is exactly what happened on October 15 when Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian Party candidate for governor of Virginia, stopped by to speak at Crawley Forum.

At the talk, sponsored by the organization, Students for Liberty (SFL), Sarvis spoke for about 20 minutes about his platform and campaign for the Virginia governorship before opening the floor to questions.   The audience of about 40-50 students, faculty and staff was very engaged by Sarvis’s rhetoric, as they raised several questions.  The visit to H-SC is part of Sarvis’s speaking tour to colleges across the Commonwealth, including prior visits to CNU and JMU as well as future visits to VCU, U of R and UVA.

“The purpose is to reach as many votes as possible and help spread my message,” Sarvis said.

Mr. Sarvis possesses a diverse and fascinating educational and vocational background.  After graduating from Harvard in 1998 with a Bachelors degree in mathematics, Sarvis took his studies abroad to attend Cambridge University, where he earned his master in mathematics.  Sarvis also has a Juris Doctor from New York University and a Masters degree in economics from George Mason University.  In between his educational pursuits, Sarvis has worked as an attorney and a software developer.

When asked how his extensive resume helped his political career, Sarvis said, “I think a lot of times that my entire life has been in preparation for this race.  [My education and job history] has equipped me with the ability to understand and offer good solutions and articulate them for different audiences.”

Sarvis commenced his political career in 2011 by contending for the State Senate in Virginia’s 35th district as a member of the Republican Party. Though his campaign was unsuccessful, Sarvis put up a valiant effort against Democratic incumbent Dick Saslaw in the heavily Democratic 35th.  However, after that race, Sarvis switched party affiliations from the Republican Party to the Libertarian Party, citing a difference in ideologies between himself and the Republicans.

“The Republicans haven’t done much of use on economic issues and have taken a hard right turn on social issues.  They use rhetoric of liberty, but don’t really believe it,” Sarvis said.

Sarvis’s platform covers a variety of issues, but his main points are universal school choice, pro-gun rights, pro-gay marriage and he is against the war on drugs.  When asked to summarize his platform, Sarvis said, “it is really about greater economic freedom and personal liberty.”

Being a third-party candidate, Sarvis has a bit of an uphill battle to contend for the governorship against major party candidates Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe.  Besides winning the governorship, Sarvis has a few secondary goals in mind for his campaign.

“We would like to achieve major party status for the Libertarian Party, which would require 10% of the popular vote.  Furthermore, I want to show the value of a campaign based on hard work and inspire young people to be part of the solution.

The Virginia Gubernatorial election will take place on November 5.  For more information on Robert Sarvis and his campaign, visit his website at http://www.robertsarvis.com.

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The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with David Lee Murphy Come Home to H-SC

Sydney Henriques ’15, Staff Writer

As Homecoming fast approaches this weekend, we welcome The Nitty Gritty Dirt band and David Lee Murphy on Hampden-Sydney’s Campus.  From a general consensus from interviewing students around campus, there are mixed responses about the bands: many excited, many vaguely knowing the bands. So, I’ll give a brief overview.

 The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founded in 1966 in Long Beach, California, gained success with their first Top 40 song: “Buy for Me the Rain.”  In 1989, they received the CMA award for Album of the Year, Grammy award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, and a Grammy award for Best Bluegrass Recording. Also, in 2005, they received a Grammy award for Best Country Instrumental.

 David Lee Murphy, who may be best known for his Number One hit in 1994, “Dust on the Bottle,” will also accompany the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. One of his other big hits was “Just Once,” included on the soundtrack to the movie 8 Seconds. Murphy has also co-written singles for other artists such as: Kenny Chesney (“Living in Fast Forward), Jason Aldean (“Big Green Tractor”), and Thompson Square (Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not”).

 These artists are not the most well known in our day and age, but they were popular when many of our alumni attended Hampden-Sydney College. There have been questions on campus as to the process for how bands and activities are chosen, considering that the CAC is given close to sixty-thousand dollars a year for our events. However, after speaking to CAC Chairman, Stephen Nusbaum, the choices for this year’s bands add up.

 Chairman Nusbaum explained that the CAC wanted to choose a band that the returning alumni could enjoy, as well as the students. It turns out that the Nitty Gritty Dirt band happened to be able to perform this weekend, and having to make the decision in the summer, the CAC did not have many options to book a band for homecoming.

 However, they also booked David Lee Murphy since he is a newer performer for the younger crowd.  Nusbaum also brought up a pertinent fact: “With the expanding diversity on campus, it is very difficult to choose a band that will make everyone happy.”

 The CAC has expanded its members to having an additional representative per class this year, making a total of thirteen CAC members. As I brought up the subject of involving the student body more in our band selections, Nusbaum explained that the CAC is open to discussing bands and that the best way to reach them is through the CAC Facebook page, which is most effective for receiving reviews.

 Another great idea that Chairman Nusbaum informed me of is being implemented this year: the CAC will save a given amount from their allotment each year, and for every fourth year, they will selected a “huge” band to play at Hampden-Sydney. This plan will bring more popularity and attention to our campus, but as of now, only every four years.

 This article is being written to present the mixed feelings about the bands that have been chosen this year and in the past. What is to be made clear is that if students have a strong opinion about a band they would like to see, they should write this on the Facebook page or speak directly with the CAC members.

 We elect these members to make the decisions for us, but it is possible to give our inputs as well, and this is encouraged. Using the new Tiger Exchange may also be a great avenue to express our opinions on bands in the future.

Nusbaum said the CAC is looking forward to putting on more future events to keep our campus from being a “suite-case campus,” and that we can look forward to hearing The Funky Monks, a great Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band, next weekend at the circle. It should be a great concert, and we can look forward to it, as well as this weekend’s Homecoming bands and a great game. Go Tigers.

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The Parking System Should Be Obeyed and Enforced

Parker Dunaway ’15, Editor in Chief

This editorial may garner some animosity from everyone on campus, but I think it is a prudent observation and request. There seems to be a problem on campus with our parking system, in terms of how it is utilized and how it is enforced. It has been my observation that students, staff, and faculty members alike have a tendency to ignore some of the parking policies on campus when convenient. Their (our) ignoring the regulations has led to the complaints. ‘Why do students park in between Maples and Winston? Don’t they know they aren’t supposed to?’ ‘Why can the administration park by the Commons in the space marked “T.H.C. only”? Don’t they know they aren’t supposed to?’ The grievances continue, seemingly forever. The grumbles and moans of our campus regarding who can and can’t park in certain areas are the result of two specific things: drivers’ purposeful ignoring of policies when it suits them and the failure of the police department to regularly and appropriately cite these improperly parked vehicles.

When everyone gets to school that first week in August, there is a plethora of those little orange envelops all over campus, on every illegally parked car. The problem is, from that point on, the ticketing only happens sporadically. Weeks will go by without seeing a citation, yet the amount of illegally parked cars remains the same. Then one day, the orange slips are back; as if they were the leaves of a tree in autumn, the tickets show up almost seasonally. Perhaps, if the police department more regularly ticketed cars that deserved it, the people that tend to park incorrectly would mend their ways.

It must be said, however, that the blame does not rest solely on the shoulders of our campus security. That student, who may have woken up late and decides to park in the post office spaces in front of Graham in order to quickly gain access to Morton Hall, or the staff members, who park near the loading dock to the Commons so that they have easy access, are just as responsible. I know that our campus is enormous, but the walk from wherever you are is far easier to deal with than the complaints from the entire campus and the ticket you should get.

It seems simple: those in charge of policing should police, and those charged with obeying policy should obey. I just think everyone should do what they are supposed to do—students, faculty, staff, and the police department.

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There’s a New Sherriff in Town

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Traylor Nichols ’17,  Guest Writer

Ever since the beginning of the semester, there has been a general uproar over among the students over the appointment of the new Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police, Jeffrey Brown. The rumors spread like wildfire that he was from the dry campus Christopher Newport University and was planning to bring the same ideals to Sydney. Even more rumors spread of how he came here and why he was here. Theories of President Howard demoting Chief Gee because of opposing interests, or because of unfortunate incidents in the past years came to play.

However, when I talked to President Howard, I found out that he didn’t have a hand in the matter. Dr. Jones, the Vice President for Strategy, Administration, and Board Affairs, was the head of the board that decided Chief Brown be put in his position. President Howard refused comment on personnel matters or decisions, such as the causes for Chief Gee to be demoted, merely saying that he believed Chief Brown to be competent or else he would not be in the position. When asked about rumors that he tried to get Assistant Chief Gee to quit his job, President Howard once again sternly refused comment, saying “Rumors are just that, rumors aren’t really based on anything… I think I carry myself in a professional and thoughtful way at all times and treat people with respect, and I think rumors are just kind of sad sometimes.” When asked why the position was changed from merely “Chief of Police” to “Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police,” he stated that ever since the shooting at Virginia Tech, there has been a larger emphasis on the side of Public Safety in all institutions. “And I would say that Chief Brown, as shown by his work at his previous institution, has demonstrated the skills and ability to lead in that realm, as well as just campus security or campus policing.”

I talked to Dr. Jones, who agreed with President Howard on Chief Brown’s ability to lead. Dr. Jones was the head of the Senior Committee, also composed of Chuck Ironmonger, Wes Lawson, Mike Smith, Jennifer Vitale, and Dr. Heidi Hulsizer, which was tasked to be in charge of filling the position of Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police. There were 151 applicants from all over the country, all of which were reviewed, and Chief Brown was selected as the best candidate. He is the graduate of the FBI academy, a member of the Virginia Criminal Justice Services Board, and has served for the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. He has also created innovative programs, such as police aid programs where students work with police. Jones says that recently the need for police with more skills in public safety has risen. “We have an environment where people expect more,” he says, “so we doubt that we will have any more Virginia Tech’s.” He mentions the incident with the ATM’s this past summer and this fall as an example of how the police can react to occurrences. Jones says that the campus police are trying to modernize their structures, procedures, and efforts so that they can respond to incidents faster and alert students, such as through the new system for email and text alerts after emergencies.

This ENS, or emergency notification system, was one of the things that was put in right in place after the Virginia Tech shooting, says Tommy Shomo, the Director of Marketing and Communications. For three years, the system was never even turned on, other than for testing. However, in recent years, Hampden-Sydney has dealt with shots fired on Atkinson Avenue, the first residence hall fire in a hundred years, along with a number of other issues that nobody would have thought the school would have to deal with. “So,” Shomo says, “one of the issues that I think was under discussion here was the level of preparedness of the department to deal with the unforeseen.” Regarding Chief Brown, “He was hired, in my opinion, and based on the statements we put out, to deal with those issues of preparedness and response to emergencies or to critical situations.” Shomo commented “remember that Chief Brown is not in a policy making job, and neither was Jeff Gee… He is responsible for administering whatever policy is set.”

I decided to talk to Chief Brown, who would be carrying out these policies himself. When we got down to business, he tells me that the first twenty years of his career were in municipal law enforcement. His first job was as an officer in the City of Riverdale Park, right outside of Washington D.C. When he moved out of the area and moved to Blacksburg in 1982, he quickly progressed through the ranks and left Blacksburg in 1990 as a Lieutenant. He served as the Chief of Police in the City of Covington and then as the Chief of Police for Prince George County before serving at CNU for 13 years.

I asked Chief Brown directly about several concerns that many of us share. When asked if he was planning of changing anything, he reminded me that he was not a policy maker, and was just going to be carrying out Hampden Sydney’s previously set policies. When I asked him if he was planning on enforcing any policies more than in the past, he said “I’ve found our officers to be extremely competent and capable, and at this point I have told them to continue policing as they have. At this point there has been no stricter enforcement or less enforcement.” When I suggested the idea that he would come in and start changing things, he seemed to laugh at the idea, and talked to me about his ninety day evaluation program that he is doing where he is meeting with all of the staff, student leaders and other law enforcement and public safety officials in the area to see what is going good or bad before making decisions. And when I brought up the possible repression or banning of alcohol Chief Brown, again, laughed at the idea. He said “I’ve heard a lot of those rumors and speculations, that there’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s from CNU, and that was a dry campus.” He went on to explain  “What they had was no alcohol in residence halls, but there was alcohol at tailgating events, and there was alcohol at performing art events…so I don’t know where this ‘CNU is a dry campus’ comes from, because it’s not.” Chief Brown also says that he has no intentions of making Sydney a dry campus because it is not the policy of the college. “Alcohol is part of a developmental process that students go through, it’s experiential, it’s not something that a police chief comes in and says ‘I’m doing away with it,’” Brown says. When asked about the rumors of police officers going into fraternity houses and handing out tickets for underage drinking, Brown says that this is not happening, and encourages anybody who knows about that happening to let him know.

Having known Chief Brown for the past 14 years through conferences, Assistant Chief Gee says that Chief Brown is a great guy, and that he has all the respect in the world for him. “If this thing had to happen, I can’t think of any one I’d rather have in this position than Jeff Brown” he says. Commenting on the changes under Chief Brown, Gee says that there will be no changes in campus lifestyle or living. However, campus police will be better equipped and funded than ever before under his supervision. And as far as Chief Brown’s policing style, Gee doesn’t think there will be much of a difference. He sees more structure in the police force in the future, but sees his and Brown’s philosophies as very similar. As far as Assistant Chief Gee’s role, he said that it hasn’t really changed much, despite the change in title. “I just have somebody to answer to” he says to me, adding on jokingly that it could be a good thing. Jeff Gee has served for eighteen years, as of this November, on the police force at Hampden-Sydney, of which fourteen of those have been as police chief. An exemplary officer, Gee says that he has never received less than an “excellent” on a performance evaluation. Both President Howard and Dr. Jones thank him for staying. Quoting President Howard, “I have a deep and abiding respect for Jeff Gee, and I thank him for his continued service before this date and going forward. I thank him for that, and hold him in high esteem.”

To the students of Hampden-Sydney, Gee had these words: “Whatever has happened has happened, and we can’t go back. I’m still committed to making HSC and keeping HSC safe and the fine place that it is. I’m still here, and with the backing of Jeff Brown and with us working together, there is no way that we can’t accomplish some great things. I appreciate everyone’s support through the years and I hope it will continue. Chief Brown is the man now and he needs everyone’s support as well, and he most certainly has mine.”

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Classical With Attitude

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Jonathan Campbell ’16, Guest Writer

On Thursday, October 17, the pianist, Barron Ryan, performed his concert “Classical with Attitude”, a mix of ragtime, jazz, and classical music.  This approach not only allows Ryan to mix genres in a new and creative way, but also allows him to blend the different kinds of music that he loves. Ryan’s style, while influenced by composers and musicians such as George Gershwin, Nikolai Kapustin, and Oscar Peterson, also introduces listeners to types of music that they may have never heard before and in a way that is also new to those who are familiar or even fans of the music.

From the very first song, Nikolai Kapustin’s “Prelude” from his “Eight Concert Etudes, Op. 40, I was impressed by how many notes could be played on the piano at one time.  Although Ryan admitted to me after the performance that he struggled a little bit through the first few pieces, from my point of view his performance seemed nearly effortless.  The audience’s reaction to Ryan’s performance was immediately apparent; not only did the applause drown out Ryan’s “thank yous” in between pieces, but he was even called back for an encore after a standing ovation.  Parker Dunaway even said that, “In the time I’ve spent as Dr. Salvage’s assistant, I’ve never seen one performer sell that many CD’s.”  What truly struck me about Ryan was not only his unique take on music and his own style, but also his friendliness.  He was not only quick to answer questions, but also to explain each piece, including the origin, a few words about the composer, and how the piece fit into the genre as a whole before he sat down to play.

Ryan started playing piano when he was four years old, inspired by his father, a professional musician, and his mother, who also plays the piano.  Ryan believes that the piano is “one of the few instruments on which you can play every part of the music you have” (a quality of the piano that was very apparent in Ryan’s performance, especially apparent to me in “Prelude” by Nikolai Kapustin from his “Eight Concert Etudes, Op. 40 in which the bass notes jump in and out of the piece while the right hand almost nearly solos at times with the treble notes).  “I try to speak to what I think people know… and I try to be approachable.”  Ryan also said that, “I want to make it so that it’s fun and that it’s relatable.”  Later in my interview with him, I asked Ryan what his advice was to aspiring musicians or artists of any kind, he offered a very interesting take on the question: “Develop a story that’s genuine.”  Ryan believes that this doesn’t just mean that an individual should develop his or her own story, but also be able to place his or her art within the discipline as a whole. “Always be in a position to learn,” Ryan said. “You are never at a point where you know everything and where you can’t benefit from somebody else.”

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Students Discuss the Philosophy of Sex Changes

Alex Abbot ’17, Guest Writer

On Wednesday, September 25, eight Hampden-Sydney students and Professor Patrick Wilson traveled to Randolph College in Lynchburg to discuss philosophy for the 85th meeting of the Undergraduates of Virginia Philosophy Association.

The meeting marked the 23rd year of the relationship between Hampden-Sydney and Randolph College—formerly Randolph-Macon Women’s College. Over the history between the two schools, many discussions have been held on both campuses. Topics have ranged from ethical treatment of animals to moral issues within philosophy, which includes the theme of this year’s discussion: the moral and ethical implications of sex changes for minors.

The forum was a semi-formal affair, with a nice dinner followed by discussion of “The Permissibility and Regulation of Sex Changes” and “the privilege to form personal identity.” The conclusion that the state should not restrict sex changes rested on two main arguments: that humans are self-autonomous and therefore are permissible to make decisions concerning their body, and that a person’s decision to change sex creates no guaranteed harm to self or others.

A student from Randolph College led the conversation, but students from both schools chimed in with different perspectives and clarifying statements. The discussion was lively and hit on a number of key points, both within the argument and pertaining to the rest of the world. The topic was unique for a group of gentlemen from one of the most conservative schools in the area, and the conversation ended up being intriguing and thought-provoking, with active participation from nearly everyone.

The discussions that UVPA sponsor have been going on since 1990. They have been altered in small ways since the beginning, but they are group efforts with minimal time commitments, and they inspire serious thought about many issues in philosophical thinking.

UVPA trips have become a fundamental part of Dr. Wilson’s method of teaching students philosophy and getting them involved. Discussions occur twice each semester; one instance is on H-SC’s campus and the other is at Randolph College. Discussions are largely student-based and the topics student-decided, so they tend to mirror what students are interested in and care about. Also, since Randolph College is a co-ed institution, there is an opportunity to meet a girl or two!

The students from Hampden-Sydney were: Dylan Schlaak, Dylan DelliSanti, Kyle Hart, Ryan Rivas, James Crandall, Adam Witham, Alex Abbott and Tom Kurtzweil. Dr. Wilson describes the affair as an “eccentric approach to moral theory” as well as a good opportunity to meet peers in another setting. It is one of many collaborative efforts with nearby schools. Dr. Wilson encourages students who are interested to contact him.

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