Professors discuss American torture

Emily M. Kochanek – News Editor

Professors Stephanie Athey and Denny Frey hosted a discussion in Rosen Auditorium on September 17 about the problems of torture in America. Titled “Torture and the Constitution,” the pair delved into what constitutes as torture and what the U.S. has and is doing despite public perception.

Inspired by the Constitution Project, an organization dedicated to “foster[ing] consensus-based solutions to the most difficult constitutional challenges of our time,” Frey and Athey wanted to share their personal knowledge.

“Human rights have always been on my radar,” said Athey. “But in 2001, when the US press first started ‘debating’ whether ‘we’ should be torturing people suspected of terrorism… I sort of lost my mind.” Comparing the rhetoric of present torture to the lynchings of African-Americans in the 19th century, which Athey studied, she found the need to speak on the subject.

“We seemed to be entranced by a very distorted, imaginary version of torture but completely uninterested in learning facts,” said Athey.

The discussion stemmed from a few years ago when Democrats and Republicans saw a need for a full investigation of the Bush-era torture techniques. What the investigation found was no evidence that torture produced any “significant evidence,” said Athey. It was also found that torture could not be justified in the name of national security.

“For centuries [torture] was used for the exercise of power and control,” said Frey. Frey, who has a doctorate in early modern European history, specifically German, gave a brief explanation of how the Nazis gave the world modern torturing practices. After the fall of the Nazi regime, many countries “collected” Nazis to learn their techniques, most prominently the U.S. and the USSR, said Frey.

Now the U.S. has been forced to reconcile Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. However, Athey said torture culture is in America. “We want to see policing and results,” said Athey. She said the public has a “fantasy” about what torture actually is and misunderstands that it is pervasive in American culture.

“The hero bends the rules to protect the world,” said Athey, describing the American ideal of torture.

America is a large exporter of torture devices, including tasers, forced feeding tubes, and solitary cells for prisons. The U.S. exports to 39 nations “who are known to torture,” said Athey. However, Athey added that it’s illegal in the U.S. to use these devices for torture.

To rectify the problem, Athey said there needs to be a “collaboration between the state and [its] population.” If the U.S. sees torture as a fantasy of the hero against the villain, nothing will change. Most people tortured by the U.S. are “innocent and not involved,” said Athey. According to the discussion, 635 prisoners were released from Guantanamo Bay, who, Athey said, had “no reason to be there.”

“It corrupts the entire justice system,” said Athey. “Torture the one, control the many. But no one stops at just one.”

Some students at the event expressed that torture did in fact instill fear into American enemies. If the enemy was “scared,” it would get those people to stop terrorizing. One freshman, Troy Gonsalves, said he was surprised at the discussion. He was glad that Athey and Frey were “changing people’s perspective that these people are not really evil.”

Challenging the sexual assault culture

Emily M. Kochanek – News Editor

A year ago I wrote a feature article on hookup culture and the effects on women. It was a daunting and sorrowful task, as woman after woman recounted a time where she or another were sexually assaulted at parties or other social situations.

Recently, Boston Globe reporter Matt Rocheleau highlighted how recurrent sexual assaults and abuse are on Boston campuses. The Globe reports, “Across 22 of the largest campuses in and around Boston, reports of “forcible sex offenses” rose by nearly 40 percent between 2008 and 2012,” and a total of 113 sexual assaults were reported in 2012 from Boston campuses.

The statistics show a sharp increase in reports, but many speculate the increase comes from more awareness of the sexual assault problems.

Even with better programs trying to educate students, the Globe reports 88 percent of students victimized remain silent. And in today’s rape and slut shaming culture, the numbers remain higher. Continue reading “Challenging the sexual assault culture”

News Wire

Emily M. Kochanek – News Editor

ACA Website fixes-
President Obama promised back in October the glitches overwhelming the Affordable Care Act website would be fixed by November 30th. In a statement released by the White House early Sunday, December 1, officials announced the site would be able to host 50,000 site users at a time and up to 800,000 visits per day. The Department of Health and Human Services said, “We believe we have met the goal of having a system that will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.” Only 200,000 people have signed up for health care under the ACA, far from the 7 million the administration is targeting. Continue reading “News Wire”

News Wire

Emily M. Kochanek – News Editor

The ACA “fumbles”… Again- On November 16, Satuday Night Live aired a sketch mocking the President’s recent failures by touting “PAXIL” an antidepressant that helps with those second term blues. As always, SNL’s satire focuses on the obvious: Obama’s biggest blunder. Sure, there was Bengahzi, the IRS scandal, and who could forget Snowden? But what Obama has done this time is lie to the American people and there is no way to talk yourself out of that one. Continue reading “News Wire”

News Wire

Emily Kochanek – News Editor

On September 30, the United States government went into an official shutdown. But what happened? Does this affect college students? What do all of these odd terms coming out of the shutdown mean? And what does defaulting mean in government?

First, the cause: as lawmakers bicker on the Hill, their time to create a budget for the country ran out. According to the Constitution, Congress cannot spend or grant money for government organizations without passing a budget.

And what do they need to do to fix this problem? “Clean CR” has been thrown around lawmakers as the conventional way to pass a budget bill. “CR” refers to a continuing resolution, or a budget resolution that funds many areas of government. Republicans, especially Texas representative Rand Paul, have been arguing to vote on appropriation bills that would fund specific parts of government at a time. Continue reading “News Wire”

Lasell adds new majors

Emily M. Kochanek – News Editor

As Massachusetts nears a decision to grant three casino licenses for vying entertainment companies, Lasell has intuitively added the first casino management major in the state to the hospitality department. Lasell hopes the connected learning approach will better the program and set it apart from other two-year programs, according to Vice President Jim Ostrow via an interview on WBUR. Continue reading “Lasell adds new majors”

Class of 2017 moves in with hopes, ambition, and luggage

Photos courtesy of Kait Quinn

Emily M. Kochanek – News Editor

The Class of 2017 moved onto campus on September 6, eager to settle into college life. According to Dean of Admissions James Tweed, the enrollment for the first-years stands at 430 students, slightly less than the record-setting 558 students last year.

Dip in enrollment is normal, said Tweed, “It’s not an exact science.” Lasell has kept the numbers of enrolled students consistent to ensure class size and ability to use connected learning within small classrooms. “We’re looking at no fluctuations,” Tweed said. He also added that the institution is healthy and growing at a steady pace. Continue reading “Class of 2017 moves in with hopes, ambition, and luggage”

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