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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Caitlin Tremblay


10 things to know about graduation

O.K. seniors, here's the deal. Graduation is coming whether you like it or not. Regardless of whether you're "ready" to grab your really expensive piece of paper and skip on into life where either a job, more school or unemployment awaits, there are some things you should know before you show up at Alumni Arena on that fateful Sunday morning.


Of grammar and graduation

The biggest thing that stresses me out about graduation isn't the job hunt or paying back those high interest student loans. It's the fact that all of UB's post-graduation merchandise is grammatically incorrect. I thank my time at The Spectrum for that.


Looking back at the Oklahoma City bombing

Most current UB students were still wearing Pull-ups Training Pants when Timothy McVeigh detonated an explosive-filled truck and left a gaping crater in the side of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. His actions resulted in the deaths of 168 innocent people and injured over 500, many of them children from the daycare located inside the building. Monday was the 15th anniversary of what is arguably the most infamous act of domestic terrorism on American soil. "We commemorate the Oklahoma City Bombing because it was such a horrendous event and perhaps the first act of domestic terrorism," said Phillips Stevens, Jr., an associate professor of anthropology at UB. "A misguided young man was driven by pure anger and evil and committed mass murder." On April 19, 1995, McVeigh changed the course of American history forever when he drove a 7,000-pound truck bomb in front of the Federal Building and set it off. In 2001, he paid for it — he was executed by lethal injection. Here in Buffalo, there is a special connection to the tragedy. McVeigh was born in Lockport and grew up in Pendleton. He was an intense Buffalo Bills fan who truly respected the people of the Buffalo area. Two Buffalo News reporters became the only people to interview McVeigh in person, one-on-one and in depth about why he chose to murder hundreds of people. McVeigh hand-picked Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck, both of whom still work at the Buffalo News, based on a recommendation from his father. "Dan [Herbeck] and I became experts on the McVeigh family, starting in 1995 after the bombing," Michel said. "We researched their roots, how they flourished along the Erie Canal after they came over from Ireland and England." After months of research, Michel began visiting McVeigh's father, Bill McVeigh, at home. "I lived near Bill and I would stop by and visit. I treated him fairly and like a human," Michel said. "I befriended him and I don't think he ever forgot that." McVeigh was constantly harassed by the news media for interviews. The public, who had cast him aside as a monster, still held on to lurid curiosity about McVeigh as a person. McVeigh ignored media attempts at contact. He wouldn't talk unless it was on his own terms. By 1999, McVeigh was ready to tell his story and asked his father if he knew any trustworthy journalists. His father suggested Michel, his visitor of many years. McVeigh soon wrote a letter to Michel. "It was stunning [to receive a letter from McVeigh]," Michel said. "He wanted to come off as a human and talk to local people, people he grew up with. We treated him like a human but never lost sight of the monstrous thing he did." Over 45 hours, Michel and Herbeck learned more about Timothy McVeigh than perhaps even his father ever had. "It was a very surreal experience to hear him graphically describe making a 7,000 pound bomb. At times, Dan and I would leave numb," Michel said. McVeigh explained to the reporters his motives, his tactics, his mindset — nothing was off limits. "Tim claims that he didn't know there was a daycare in the building and if he had known, he would have chose a different target," Michel said. "He didn't want to be known as a baby killer because he didn't want it to take away from his message. He honestly thought he was an American patriot." Michel and Herbeck learned everything about McVeigh, his personality and his psychology. "He was angry at the U.S. government," Michel said. "He attached himself to the thought that he was an avenger." The Waco Siege became one of the most publicized reasons for McVeigh's attack on the federal government. In 1993, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms tried to use a search warrant at a Branch Davidian ranch called Mount Carmel Center, owned by Branch Davidians, a Protestant sect, and located outside of Waco, Texas. The residents of Mount Carmel were accused of sexual misconduct and stockpiling weapons on their ranch. Tensions escalated into a 51-day siege which ended in gunfire and an inferno that killed over 80 people. "Psychologically, I think Tim McVeigh suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from the first Gulf War and he compartmentalized his life," Michel said. "There were two sides to Tim McVeigh. In one part, he was an eager Bills fan and gun enthusiast. In another part, he had a raw hatred for the U.S. government and its handling of Waco. He was vulnerable." Michel said that McVeigh was a disturbed young man who truly attached himself to the idea that he was an America patriot, but did a violent and terrible thing. Fifteen years later, when many of the world's emerging professionals and media experts don't even remember the attack, the Oklahoma City Bombing still has an impact on society. "Its major impact lies in its timing," Stevens said. "It was domestic terrorism and it came … before the impact of foreign terrorism." Stevens also said that its impact is changing as time progresses. "People will attach a different meaning to it based on events of the time. " Stevens said. "Everyone takes different meaning from the event, but the fact is that everyone is affected by it because it happened on our own soil." Michel and Herbeck still haven't come to grips with this impact on modern history, but they're working on it. "Sometimes Dan and I can't believe we have a part in this tragic moment of history, but it was important to learn more about Tim, despite his murderous acts," Michel said. "I truly believe it's to the detriment of our society if we don't pay attention to the causes. What drives a smart young man to spiral down and become a mass murderer and terrorist?" Michel and Herbeck published a book called American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing in 2001 and recently, all 45 hours of their tapes have been donated to the Russel J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communications at St. Bonaventure University. Michel is glad that these tapes are available for research, as McVeigh can serve as an interesting case study to hopefully prevent future acts of violence. E-mail:


Check yo nutz

April is the month to grab life by the balls. Well, at least that's what Canisius College and Roswell Park Cancer Institute are saying.Canisius and Roswell have teamed up to create the first comprehensive testicular cancer awareness campaign on a Western New York college campus.


Blitzer reflects on time in Buffalo

With his fluffy white hair, piercing blue eyes and a beard so famous that it has its own Twitter account, it's not surprising that the UB Alumni Association honored CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer on Friday. Blitzer received UB's Distinguished Alumni Award for his exceptional career accomplishments and service to the UB community. Blitzer was honored with a dinner and award ceremony in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall on North Campus on Friday. Blitzer was born in Augsburg, Germany in 1948 and raised in Buffalo. Blitzer spent his childhood in Kenmore and attended Kenmore West Senior High School. He visited his alma mater on Friday, speaking with current students about careers in journalism and media while posting his pride on his Twitter account: "Thrilled to be at Kenmore West Senior High School. I love this place. Remember: West is best; East is least." Blitzer received a bachelor's degree in history from UB in 1970 and said the degree and courses helped him pursue a career as a journalist. "When all is said and done, what is journalism? It's a first draft of history," Blitzer said. "So we write that draft and then others come along and polish it and revise it and make it better based on more information. The history education I received in Buffalo was fabulous." Blitzer continued to speak fondly about his time at UB – he attended the university in the midst of the Vietnam War, one of the most turbulent times in American history. This turmoil extended to UB's campus. "It was a really politically charged period, the anti-war movement. The Vietnam War was going on. I spent four years here, 1966-70, right in the middle of all the activity in Buffalo," Blitzer said. Blitzer also remembers the tension on campus felt by the male students, who were worried that once their student deferrals expired after graduation, they would be sent to Vietnam in the draft and perhaps never make it home to start their careers. During Blitzer's senior year, a draft lottery system was put into effect. "They only needed about a third of those eligible. Your birthday was put into a lottery. If you had a high number, you were drafted; if you had a low number, you weren't drafted. My number was very low, so I wasn't drafted and I didn't have to worry," Blitzer said. Blitzer finished out his degree without the threat of the Vietnam War looming ominously over his head, which allowed him to focus on his career and life after UB. He said that the university played an integral role in getting him where he is today. Blitzer attributes much of his success to UB's activist students and faculty. Despite not quite understanding the full impact that the anti-war movement had on the '60s and '70s, he said that the movement led to a certain inquisitiveness that eventually took him down his current, politically charged career path. "It was a great experience, all in all. I can't complain," Blitzer said. "As I look back today on my career, those four years helped inspire me even though I didn't appreciate or understand what was going on at the time. I think that it built up a curiosity factor in me and got me into this field." Blitzer is currently the host of "The Situation Room" on CNN and is CNN's lead political anchor. He began his career in political media after receiving his master's degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University in 1972. He was inspired to apply to the program by one of his Buffalo history professors, Clifton Yearley, who saw his potential. After graduating, Blitzer landed a job with Reuters news agency in the Tel Aviv bureau and soon after became the Washington correspondent for the Jerusalem Report, an English-language Israeli newspaper. Blitzer spent much of his early career asking the tough questions about the state of Israel and its relations with other nations, including the U.S. and Egypt. He was the first person in news media to ask Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat about the tensions between Israel and Egypt. Some sources credit Blitzer with making the peace talks between the two countries possible. According to Blitzer, his UB education taught him to ask those tough questions. "[The classes at UB weren't] just open your book and read it. The lectures were thrilling and knowledgeable," Blitzer said. "I loved history and I still do. I think it's one of the reasons I went into journalism." Blitzer moved to CNN in 1990, while many current UB students were still in diapers. From there he rose in the ranks from a military affairs reporter to a White House correspondent, and eventually hosted a series of news programs. He won an Emmy for his coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1999. Even with his massive amount of success, Blitzer has still found time to give back to UB. In 2003, he endowed the UB David Blitzer Lecture Series in Jewish Studies in honor of his late father. This year, the lecture series features a number of influential Jewish activists and scholars, including Kenneth Seeskin, a professor of Jewish Civilization at Northwestern University. Blitzer often visits Buffalo and is thankful to the city for all of the opportunities it gave him and his family when they first came to this country. "Buffalo was a fabulous community for my family and for me. Some of my best friends today are young people I met in Buffalo," Blitzer said. "I just think Buffalo is a warm community that took my family in and welcomed them and gave us a lot of opportunities. I think I miss that the most [when I'm away]." With all of the paths he's followed on the road to becoming one of CNN's most influential anchors, Blitzer has only two pieces of advice for those hoping to follow in his footsteps: ask questions and practice. "Ask lots of questions and you'll have a front row seat to history," Blitzer said. "Also, practice. If you want to be a reporter, go out and report, just like if you want to be a tennis player, you go out and play tennis. Practice." E-mail:


"Student struck by car, campus safety concerns raised"

Dan Shaw was leaving ultimate Frisbee practice on Kunz Stadium across from Cooke Hall and Hochstetter Hall around 8 p.m. Tuesday night when he was hit by a car. Shaw, a sophomore psychology major, was sent airborne when a car driven by Robert Schwaner, a senior aerospace engineering major, swerved in the rainy weather striking him while driving down Augspurger Road from Flint Road. Shaw sustained only minor injuries and a concussion. He is also being checked for a possible knee injury. Augspurger Road was shut down from Hadley Road to Flint Road for about 45 minutes while University Police and emergency personnel ensured the situation was under control. Timothy Burns, a computer science graduate student was with Shaw when the accident occurred and said that the whole situation was very strange. "We were walking back to our cars from practice and crossed the street when we saw a break in the traffic," Burns said. "We saw the car approach faster and faster. I was already across the street and two other guys ran back. Unfortunately [Shaw] got caught in the middle. He flew." Schwaner declined comment on the situation. Burns immediately called the University Police Department who he said arrived quickly with a Twin City ambulance and the Getzville fire company. All precautions were taken including putting a neck collar on Shaw, carefully strapping him to a backboard and transporting him to Erie County Medical Center, according to UPD Lt. Dave Urbanek. "We do not have any information that would indicate we will file any charges. All the pieces fit and as far as we could tell [Schwaner] was not speeding and was not drinking," Urbanek said. "There were six witnesses and four more associates…everyone kind of told the same story. It seems to have been just an unfortunate accident." According to Burns, Shaw was released from the hospital last night trying to get some rest. "Thankfully [Shaw] was not seriously injured," Burns said. Burns believes that this unfortunate incident should serve as a lesson to the university. He feels that the safety of Augspurger Road should be one of UB's top priorities because of its high volume of pedestrian traffic. "Many club and intramural sports practice on that field and park in the lots across the street. The stadium has lights but they are largely blocked by the pine trees that surround the field," Burns said. Burns feels that UB should take some measures to ensure that pedestrians are able to cross the roads safely, such as a watch for pedestrians sign, a crosswalk or even some more on street lighting. Burns is sure that Tuesday night's heavy rain probably contributed to the accident and understands that sometimes accidents like this cannot be prevented. "I'm not talking about anything drastic but this area of campus needs to be made safer for pedestrians," Burns said. "I would be on board with anything UB would propose." Additional Reporting by Jennifer Good, City Editor E-mail:


Cordelius sentenced in Jackson murder

DeMario Cordelius, 21, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder of Javon Jackson last May. Cordelius pleaded guilty to the killing on March 2. Jackson died May 10, after an altercation on Main Street near Lisbon Avenue hours after his graduation from UB. Senior Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico today imposed the 25-year prison term that defense attorney John R. Nuchereno proposed. D'Amico said the sentence "is what it is" and didn't comment further on what he called "this tragic event." Christian T. Klenke's sentencing for supplying Cordelius with the handgun he used to kill Jackson has been pushed back to April 13, due to a controversy over the 15 years that homicide detectives want him to receive. Klenke, 19, pleaded guilty in November to a felony weapons charge for providing the gun. E-mail:


Students voice concerns about Spring Fest

Student Association President Ernesto Alvarado and his entertainment team have been hard at work for months planning this year's Spring Fest. However, despite their best efforts, many UB students remain unimpressed with the line-up and have taken to Facebook groups to voice their qualms. Anthony Consiglio, a junior computer science major, started the Facebook group in an effort to get students' voices heard. "We want good bands," Consiglio said. "We want our money going to something we can enjoy." Alvarado points out that students are always asked for their input on who should come to Spring and Fall Fests and that planning an event of this caliber is not as simple as many may think. "We poll students and listen to their input," Alvarado said. "But more often than not, we get ridiculous requests like Michael Jackson or Tupac. Clearly, that's not going to happen." SA contacted a plethora of artists suggested by students for this year's concert, including The Deadweather, Radiohead, Green Day, Lady Gaga, The Gorillaz, OAR, The Goo Goo Dolls, Incubus, Weezer and Girl Talk. Alvarado also stresses that it takes four to five months to plan an event as big as Spring Fest and that it's often hard to find talent that can fit into the requirements that SA has to work with. Alumni Arena gives SA three dates that they can hold an event. This year they were given March 20, the day of Wale; April 3, which they decided against as many students go home for Easter; and April 17, the date set for Spring Fest. "Spring Fest is on a tough day this year. It's the same date as Coachella, which made getting talent a little tricky," Alvarado said. Coachella is a three-day music festival in Indio, California, which boasts headliners like Jay-Z, Muse and Them Crooked Vultures this year. "Coachella caused some scheduling conflicts this year, " said Dima George, SA entertainment director. "We contacted a whole list of acts suggested by students, but most were unavailable or out of our budget range." Consiglio thinks that budget shouldn't be an issue. "SA has millions of dollars. Can't they just pool all the entertainment money together to get one big act that students are excited about, instead of three or four terrible ones?" Consiglio said. According to the SA budget, which can be found online, talent for this year's Spring Fest has already totaled $160,500. $75,000 went to headliner Three Days Grace. "SA spent a lot of money on acts that not many students want to see," Consiglio said. "But that's not even the biggest issue. Why are they so secretive about the decision-making process?" Consliglio said he's tried to contact SA numerous times about the budget and Spring Fest information, but wasn't met with much welcome or help. "They were really rude to me," Consiglio said. "I went in asking for the budget because I was told via e-mail that I could have it, but when I showed up, they wouldn't give it to me." Alvarado does not know why Consiglio was treated as such and wants students to know that they can come to the SA office to voice any concerns they may have regarding anything on campus. "Things haven't been smooth for Spring Fest this year, but students are always welcome to come in," Alvarado said. There have been some problems with the line-up. Flogging Molly was supposed to perform but had to pull out for unspecified reasons. "It's been tough to get acts this year, especially with the budget cuts and they way things are fiscally," George said. Alvarado points out that UB is fortunate to be able to put on a fest at all, as money is tight everywhere these days. "Canisius had to cancel their spring festival due to money constraints," Alvarado said. "We're lucky we were able to bring a festival to students this year, especially one that we've worked so hard on." Spring seems to be the time for music festivals, with Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and others preparing to hit the stage, so scheduling remains a big issue for rock acts this time of year. To remedy this, SA is planning for Fall Fest to be a rock act next year and to bring hip-hop in the spring. E-mail:

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