Tag Archives: madeline vanden branden

What’s Happening in April?

National Poetry Month

By: Madeline Vanden Branden

    Get your notebook, cup of black coffee and start writing – April is National Poetry Month! Poetry isn’t dead; it is alive and well on USF’s campus, and reverberates rythmically within the student body. Professer Dean Rader of USF’s English department, and a published poet himself, explains how poetry is relevant to USF students, and why he loves National Poetry Month:

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Schiavo Ghost

The Ghosts of Compost: USF’s Green Initiative Leads to Angry Spirits

If you’ve noticed an increase in priests on campus, you’re not alone; students have reported a 10% increase in priest sightings on campus, particularly around Lo Schiavo and in the Lone Mountain dormitory.

The reason for the sudden increase in men-of-the-cloth is directly correlated to the increase in paranormal activity, likely caused by the recent excavation of graves during Lo Schiavo’s construction.

All bones found were respectfully composted as part of USF’s new Go Green! initiative.

USF’s Chair of Spectral Visitors, Dr.  Peter Venkman, says this may have upset some restless spirits. “Spirits really don’t care about going green,” he said. “Global warming really wouldn’t affect them, if you think about it.”

Many students have seen these spirits and are upset by their presence on campus. “I pay fifty grand to go here. Part of my agreement in going here was that this was a spirit-free campus,” senior international studies major Traval Farr said.

“I like the ghosts! But they’re kind of unoriginal. Like really, shaking desks and rattling chains? We’re at a school that prides itself on innovation,” junior English major Noe Jobs said.

Holy water and prayer is the most effective way to vanquish these invisible visitors, according to Venkman. “There is no other way,” he said. “The priests we’ve hired on campus are the best in the business, rest assured.”

However Venkman reminds students to “leave the ghostbusting to the professionals. If you see a spirit, remain calm and run towards the nearest Bon Appetit Cafeteria. The ghosts refuse to enter any Bon Appetit spaces…we have yet to figure out why this is,” Venkman said.

DISCLAIMER: This piece was printed as part of The Foghorn’s April Fool’s Day issue on April 1st, 2014. This article is intended to be satirical.

USF Professor Seen Wearing Spring’s Hottest Trends, Students Horrified

USF students were up-in-arms last Tuesday when a beloved, and very old, statistics professor came to class wearing one of spring’s hottest new trends: abdomen covers. Abdomen covers, for those not in the fashion-know, are simply a piece of cloth wrapped about the stomach, covering the belly button and nothing else.

American ApparelAbdomen covers first became trendy when worn by Mila Kunis on a Maui beach vacation—the photos caused major controversy, and many publications were not allowed to print photos of Kunis due to censorship laws. The abdomen cover leaves the top half completely exposed, while the navel is covered in a truly modest fashion.

American Apparel is the brand behind this trendy design. Many USF students of both sexes have been seen wearing their covers on campus; no doubt these stylish Dons purchased it for a reasonable $49.99 at the Haight-Street American Apparel store.  When interviewed about the new trend, store employee Izza Ho, 19, explained (while fittingly wearing the cover herself), “We had a lot of material leftover from the crop-top trend…why not switch it up? Cover the tummy and leave the rest yummy!”

While the trend is widespread among USF students, this was the first instance of a professor wearing the cover.  A student in the professor’s elementary statistics, Anita Tudor, relived the experience, “I used to joke with my friends and say ‘math class is like so traumatic,’ but now I really have been traumatized! I’ve seen things that can’t be unseen.”

Fellow classmate Jay Walker echoed Tudor’s thoughts, “The trauma was really real. I went to CAPS and everything.”

DISCLAIMER: This piece was printed as part of The Foghorn’s April Fool’s Day issue on April 1st, 2014. This article is intended to be satirical.

Take Me Back to Mars

The much anticipated, entirely fan-funded, Veronica Mars movie is sure to please the “Marshmallows” out there.

The TV series ‘Veronica Mars” ran from 2004-2007, a three-season run, before it was cancelled. The series starred Kristen Bell (“Parks and Recreation,”  the anonymous voice in “Gossip Girl”) as a sassy teenage private eye, a la Nancy Drew…but much cooler. Mars and her group of outlier friends worked to solve crimes in the fictional town of Neptune, CA—a town with a serious class divide; a town where celebrities and their kids clash with the working-class. This divide is the catalyst for many crimes Mars has to solve.

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Listen to your Newspaper: Foghorn Live! On KUSF

Want to get inside the Foghorn office? Want to preview stories and events? Want to hear special guests interviewed live?

Then tune in every Thursday from 4:30-5:00 p.m. for Foghorn Live! Every week, members of the Foghorn staff, writers, and special guests inform you about what’s happening on campus and around the City. We’ll let you know what happened in the newsroom, and how the USF community is responding to our breaking news.

“At the moment we’re experimenting and learning, but the goal is to produce a news forum and invite guests to speak to student reporters on the air,” said Tanya Dzekon, the Foghorn’s managing editor. “We want to dissect the news, arts, sports, and culture of our local community.”

Tune in to KUSF, watch USFtv and lastly, pick up a paper and tune in to Foghorn Live.

(Graphic by Jasmine Bautista)

Smile for the Camera: Facial Profiling Coming to Residence Halls

Like something out of a James Bond film, dorm residents of USF may soon be greeted with a facial recognition camera — if the test run goes well, that is. Currently, only one residence hall, Fromm, has this technology, but it has been in a “pilot” phase since Fall 2013.

“It’s a big security enhancement.We’re using technology to improve something that’s already being done,” said Jason Rossi, the Director of One Card and Campus Security Systems. Rossi explained that the software does exactly what front-desk workers (referred to as Community Assistants, or CAs) do — recognizes people’s faces and determines whether or not they belong in the building.

The facial recognition technology is meant to increase security in the residence halls by identifying any non-residents trying to enter the building, and flagging them for the CAs.

USF Law Professor Susan Freiwald, who specializes in cyber law and information privacy, said,  “I’m glad the university seems interested in making sure that the cameras are effective in their purpose, rather than putting them up just because they can.”

Freiwald did raise concerns over campus security being able to learn her habits and the hours she keeps.

“It’s a good idea to have a record of non-authorized access to solve crimes, but it seems unnecessary to store information of people for whom there is no suspicion of wrongdoing for a whole year,” she added.

Addressing privacy concerns, Rossi noted that, “no one is actively watching the footage.” For those concerned about the facial database that campus security will have access to, Rossi assured that the photos would only be stored for the duration the student lives in the residence hall.     He explained that having our faces captured, whether by static photo or live-video, is a culturally accepted phenomenon.

“Is your face on Facebook? Mine is, my children’s are,” Rossi said, “There’s something as a culture…where, if I were at a Giants’ game and my face got put up on the big screen, I’d jump for joy.”

Is this technology effective? While the technology is working in Fromm, it has yet to be launched for CAs. Rossi said the residence hall staff should be trained on the facial recognition software in March. A Fromm Hall CA, Giana Orsi, said that she, “doesn’t know much about it,” but, “ it seems like a nice backup.”

Currently, non-residents are allowed in residence halls as long as they are properly checked in as a “guest” by a resident of the building and a community assistant. However some USF students don’t  follow this protocol and attempt to sneak in, bypassing the front desk and creating security issues. Many USF students travel in large groups, making it difficult for the community assistant to tell who is entering the building.

This new technology is intended to make the CA’s job easier. Students moving into a residence hall will have their photos taken during move-in; these photos will be stored in a database for one year. Throughout the rest of the school year a camera outside of the building will capture student faces, and using the data from the stored photos, will determine who the student is and if they live in the building. The CA at the desk will be notified if a non-resident is trying to enter the building.

The camera log is only visible right now to Public Safety and One Card to determine its accuracy. In terms of identifying faces, it has shown 70% accuracy so far in Fromm Hall, according to Rossi. He explained the camera needs a good shot of a student’s face in order to work, meaning students wearing baseball caps or looking down at their phones are not always accurately identified.

Rossi explains the technology not only makes the CA’s job of providing security easier, but it will compliment students’ natural tendencies to travel in large groups. “[Campus security] is always trying to break the way that you naturally function, but this technology will compliment how you already move around on campus,” Rossi said.

Facial recognition technology is quickly making its way into our everyday lives. The New York Times reported that certain retailers, who already use facial recognition to catch shoplifters, are looking into installing the technology to track big spenders to offer them discounts and deals. Facial recognition is becoming so ubiquitous that a pair of Japanese professors has already invented high-tech glasses that would shield you from facial recognition cameras. Their aim? To stop the “invasion of privacy caused by photographs taken in secret,” the professors told Slate magazine.

Sally Morgan, Assistant Resident Director of Fromm Hall, recognized potential student privacy concerns. “I’m sure some students will have privacy concerns but they should understand that it’s for their own safety,” she said. “There has to be a balance between keeping our residents safe and making sure they don’t feel like their privacy has been violated.”

Rossi also referenced this quote, spoken by Harvard Professor Juliette Kayyem, when further addressing privacy concerns: “The general public has an unrealistic expectation of pure security; however, they have little interest in the preparedness process. Interest in security peaks during a time of crisis and the public has little to no tolerance for breaches of security.”

Graphic by Jasmine Bautista