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Monday, February 26, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

STEPHEN MARTH


The Spectrum
NEWS

Chips lose in national finals

After becoming Mid-Atlantic Region Champions and gaining a berth to the Varsity Vocals International Championship of A Cappella for the first time in 15 years, the Buffalo Chips couldn't seal the deal in New York City.


ARTS

A stopped clock

Fans of the hit television show 24 were shocked last Monday as former FBI agent Renee Walker was killed off in the shows final season. A Russian operative shot Walker, played by Annie Wersching, after a passionate love-making scene with Jack Bauer. She later died in the hospital. Walker, who was introduced into the world of 24 in Day Seven, was a by-the-book character when first established to the audience. As her relationship with Bauer began to blossom, she, too, evolved into an entirely different character. Walker was a different type of character on the show for a variety of reasons, specifically because she was nearly a mirror image of Bauer. Because of this, many people would refer to her as "Jacqueline Bauer." "Obviously, that's quite an honor to share that title," Wersching said. "I got that a lot last year when [Walker] first came on the scene. It wasn't something we thought about or said when we were filming [Day Seven], so it was interesting to hear that it was the fan reaction. Again, he's a tragic hero, and, obviously, that's sort of ended up happening to her." While a lead character's death from the show isn't new to anyone, in the past, some stars have actually complained to Executive Producer Howard Gordon after reading the script and seeing their character's dying off. While Wersching initially wanted to plead for a chance for survival, the reasoning behind her character's death held her back. "At the top of the season they don't usually know all that much of what they want to do, so the fact that the one big thing they knew they wanted to do was to bring her back damaged, to have Jack have to sort of save her in more ways than one and have them finally get together and then have her be taken away from him, which leads to his path for the end of the series. I knew that that was pretty set in stone, a big thing that they wanted to do overall for the season," Wersching said. "I didn't beg too much. Obviously, they knew that I was very sad about it and upset, but those are the moments that make 24 so great." In Walker's final episode, both actors and actresses, along with producers from the show, wanted to make her final moments as strong as possible. For Wersching, Walker's death felt right, but it still brought about many questions in her mind. "Simply because I love the character so much, you always think of other ways that things could have happened. I kind of wish that the Jack/Renee love story-making would have maybe had its own episode to resonate and then maybe she got shot because that was a pretty huge deal," Wersching said. "There's a little part of me that was like bummed that those both happened in the same episode because that's really kind of getting overshadowed by the fact that she died. That was a huge moment for the show." According to Wersching, one major question was how long Walker and Bauer would spend in bed making love. Because the show is in a real-time format, decisions such as this have to be considered carefully, unlike many shows on the air today, because of the assumptions people could make simply due to a timing error. "Because he's Jack Bauer, there can't be like an eight-minute adventure, but we went through many different ways that it was going to be. We weren't even sure if were able to actually get them to the place where they were actually making love because of the real-time," Wersching said. " But they figured out finally sort of a way to do it, and it was interesting trying to see to, like, because they knew she was going to get shot right afterwards, so Jack couldn't be naked when he was carrying her to the hospital, so there had to be a way for him to sort of get a little bit of clothes on, but yet make it look like they were still going to go back and have more fun. The specifics were very interesting to figure out, but we were very aware that it needed to have the right amount of time." While the timing was a serious issue for those involved, the lovemaking scene itself was somewhat tough for Wersching and Kiefer Sutherland, who plays Bauer, because of the relationship they built throughout the past two seasons. But Walker's death made the scene somewhat easier to act. "Since I knew it was coming, I knew that I was pretty prepared for all of this," Wersching said. "However, we shot the lovemaking and the death, sort of both of those things, together over the two days, so it actually helped take away – Kiefer and I were so nervous about the love scene – that it sort of helped tame down the ‘oh, that Renee was getting shot' part. The whole thing was bittersweet. It was bittersweet to be able to shoot scenes with Kiefer where they finally get close and then straight into covered in blood. It was all pretty bittersweet." Throughout the entire series, episodes end with a clock ticking from the end of the 59th minute to the beginning of the next hour. In a majority of the episodes, beeping occurs in unison with the time changing. In few episodes, however, there is silence, which producers do in honor of lives lost by a main character, or if some other powerful moment occurs. Walker's character is the only character in the history of 24 to receive two silent clocks – other than Jack Bauer. The first clock occurred once in Day Seven after she was buried alive, and in Day Eight when she died from her gunshot wounds in the hospital. Wersching believes that this is a big deal for anyone who has acted on the set of 24. "It was a great honor, obviously," Wersching said. "Besides Jack, she was actually the only one to ever get two silent clocks, because there was a silent clock, with a little bit of breathing for Renee after she was buried alive in Episode 5 of Season 7, and I didn't even think about that. A complete honor, because I'm a fan of the show and I know the significance of the silent clock – a complete honor." Wersching was sucked into 24 for a variety of reasons prior to getting the opportunity to be a part of the show's universe. Specifically, how the show is presented to viewers is one reason why Wersching feels that it has succeeded for so long. "Well, definitely in the beginning, it was such a groundbreaking show, and there was nothing else like it on television. It's really like a little feature film every week with the ticking clock and the real-time aspect," Wersching said. "There's such an intensity to the show that at the end of the episode, it just leaves you wanting more which is how I think every television show should be." While most fans are upset following March 26's announcement that the series was officially ending, Wersching felt that all is not lost. "There were always sort of rumors going around through the crew," Wersching said. "We knew it wasn't necessarily looking great, but everybody had high hopes. I think the fact that the movie is sort of lurking out there in the future was something that at least was something sort of to look forward to, knowing that you will at least see Jack again." E-mail: arts@ubsepctrum.com


News

University acquires key plot of land in medical corridor

With politics in Albany creating a cloud over the future of UB2020, President John B. Simpson pushed forward Monday afternoon with the expansion of the Downtown Campus. In an announcement with Rev. Michael Chapman, pastor of St. John Baptist Church and president of the Oak-Michigan Housing Development Corporation, Simpson announced the purchase of the McCarley Gardens housing complex for $15 million, which will be used for future construction for the Downtown Campus. In addition, Chapman announced a $500 million East Side development plan, which will "be a catalyst" for economic development and improve the quality of life for residents in one of Buffalo's poorest neighborhoods. "This will give the university the ability to do the things it needs to do without any costs to taxpayers to build UB2020, to build the downtown academic health center and to move forward in partnership with our community," Simpson said. "We have a shared vision for revitalization and we agree on how to get it done." According to Chapman, the urban development project could be the most comprehensive plan currently underway in the country. "We could have just made this a real estate deal," Chapman said. "But the leadership of St. John's said that the entire community should benefit from this endeavor. We want the entire community to be blessed by this." The plan includes $60 million worth of new townhouses for displaced residents from McCarley Gardens. The new homes will be located on High Street. Also, new housing for senior citizens, residential areas for veterans, a youth center costing $20 million, a mental health facility and a business training center will be built as part of the revitalization plan. "I think this kind of investment in this community will bode well for anybody who lives in the Ellicott District right away, said Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples, D-NY. The purchase of the land comes from the UB Foundation, which manages gifts, grants and fundraising done by the university. But funding for the construction of the new campus will be dependent on reforms proposed in the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act and no more cutting of the university's budget. "We have a shared vision for revitalization and we agree on how to get it done," Simpson said. "Now, we need the state to let us do this. We need the tools to get the job done." Simpson says that if PHEEIA reform is passed, nearly 7,000 jobs at UB and 20,000 construction jobs will be created immediately due to the project, while $2 billion will be pumped into the Western New York economy. He hopes that a tuition plan that lets UB decide how much it charges students will be better due to the quality of the university's research programs comparable to other state schools. If everything works according to plan, Simpson said that a lively medical campus in the heart of the city could bring nearly 13,000 students, faculty and staff to the area. "There are a lot of important things to deal with before this becomes reality and it's several years down the road," Simpson said. "But it's a perfect location and has the potential for being a genuine campus that would have a significant effect on downtown." According to university officials, the Oak-Michigan Housing Development Corporation believes that the new High Street townhouses will begin construction by 2013, with final conditions for the sale of the property will be met by 2017. E-mail: news@ubspectrum.com


OPINION

Getting paddled

Sometimes, I wonder if the year is really 2010, or if it is actually 1910. Let's play a fun game. Try to guess how many states allow corporal punishment as a form of discipline in schools. One? Two? Try 20. I'm sorry, but that figure boggles my mind. It also boggles the mind of Erica DeRamus. DeRamus, a senior at Oxford High School in Oxford, Ala., picked out the prom dress of her dreams for her senior prom – a seafoam green dress – and headed to the event with excitement building. But the excitement was short-lived after she was kicked out of the prom and, later the following week, was punished for her outfit. Officials said that DeRamus's outfit was too low-cut and too short, which broke the rules of the school's dress code. The dress code stipulates that necklines must be above a student's breastbone and skirt hems cannot be higher than six inches above the knee. While she disagrees that she broke the rules, after seeing images of the dress, I can understand their issues. But I cannot understand their options for punishment. According to WBRC-TV, 18 students that broke the rules were given two options of punishment – a three-day suspension that would affect their chances of getting into college, or a period of paddling. That's right. They beat them with a piece of wood. Surprisingly, DeRamus was the only student to take the three-day suspension, while her other 17 classmates decided to taste some splinters. "I'm a little too old to get paddled … This is high school, we're seniors," DeRamus told WBRC. "If we're going to act up, give us another option besides being paddled, because this isn't the 1940s. We don't take corporal punishment now." And she's right. What gives school officials the power to physically assault children when many parents are told not to? Why should anyone even have that right? We're human. Physical violence and physical punishment don't do a thing except harm people emotionally and mentally, in addition to leaving some ugly welts and marks. According to the American Psychological Association, corporal punishment in any institution where children are cared for or educated should not be allowed for a variety of reasons. The association says that it is violent and unnecessary, may lower self-esteem and instills hostility and rage without reducing the behavior that caused the punishment. Furthermore, corporal punishment is likely to train children to use physical violence. And people wonder why there are those of us who see no problem hurting someone. Those people are probably from Alabama. We've put a man on the moon. We have technology that can replicate the Big Bang. I can speak to someone across the world instantly with the click of the button, but there are school districts in America that see no issue in physically attacking children for minor reasons? Land of the free and home of the beaten. E-mail: stephen.marth@ubspectrum.com


News

SA Endorsements announced

After today's live event, the editorial board has come to a decision on who it endorses for Student Association elections.For the positions of president and vice president, the editorial board overwhelmingly endorsed Nischal Vasant and Shervin Stoney of the Student Alliance party.In the endorsement for treasurer, Antonio Roman (Student Alliance) was endorsed over Ryan Linden (One Party).For the delegate endorsement, the voting was much closer.


NEWS

Editorial board announces endorsements

Curious about what those running for office at the Student Association are all about? Join us in our live feed of the endorsement process from 132 Student Union!We will be asking the tough questions, which most will be submitted by you!


OPINION

A destructive foundation

I'll be the first to say that the United States likes to get too involved in matters overseas. Usually, it is over something that our country should have never poked its head into.


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