Column – Year in review: by the numbers

Column – Year in review: by the numbers

It seemed 2005 ended with media figures across the board unanimously decrying the year was the worst in recent memory. Fall semester pressed on nonetheless, and as we embarked on 2006 – the lingering hang-over of 2005 – it was unclear if things were getting any better.

So what better time than now to look back over the last academic year and get a general idea where we stand? Since we are Northeastern and look to cater to our newest class, we’re going to start out an even zero on the scoreboard for September, disregarding everything previous for the class of 2010 who may have missed it.

The year kicked off with the major announcement from President Richard Freeland bringing his 10-year tenure as Northeastern’s president to a close. Personally, I give this +1, not because I think Freeland did anything particularly poorly, but because – as Sheryl Crow once sang – “A change will do you good.” However, this led to the formation of the presidential search committee including student rep Peter Kunzel. It was all well and good until Kunzel gave a figurative middle-finger to the student body and decided to ignore input from student groups [-2].

(For those keeping score – or those English majors who have a hard time adding – that leaves us at -1 so far. Keeping up? Good.)

Lane Health Center, er, Husky Health, oh wait, I mean University Health and Counseling Services, reopened its renovated facilities. Rumors began to run rampant about new Executive Director Roberta Berrien and her iron fists of rage. The staff began to shrink while more and more former employees said Berrien was to blame. Seeing as it was already next to impossible to get a timely appointment, the disarray-caused delays weren’t all that noticeable. Though the story was fun to follow, I do feel for the staff stuck working with a boss they say they fear and loathe [-3].

Another juicy story circulating around campus last fall involved the women’s studies department event “Breaking Bread.” Originally opened to “women of color only,” the forum was forced to open its doors to anyone. But after an inflammatory comment by Director of Women’s Studies Robin Chandler, the story just continued to mushroom. While I agree with the original intent of creating a safe space for women of color on campus and I feel Chandler’s comments were grossly over-analyzed, the situation only highlighted Northeastern’s inability to properly handle its “diverse” population [-2].

The university fumbled again while temporarily shutting down campus humor mag the Northeastern Times New Roman’s Web site. There was a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo involving Internet rules for student groups, but depriving campus of our TNR fix was inexcusable [-1].

However, it wasn’t all bad news. In September, Roxbury charter high school City on a Hill students were banned from the Curry Student Center, marking a dramatic decrease in rambunctious youngsters clogging up the elevators, taking up space in the Wendy’s line and screaming in the West Addition [+2].

October had some scary news for the frat boys over at Phi Gamma Pi. The fraternity whose Web site boasts “many diverse individuals who share the same values and beliefs” (juh?) was busted for a 24-keg party at its Brookline mansion. PGP members, who also faced problems in the past for hazing a pledge so severely he needed medical attention and for firing BB guns at the nearby Ronald McDonald House (which houses seriously ill children and their families), finally got their come-uppance in January when the university revoked their charter. Serves them right [+3].

Northeastern got ready for its close-up in November, as middler communications major Andy Nikic won his own reality show on MTV’s aptly-titled “The Reality Show” [+2].

Students looking to protect the sanctity of their intestines were treated to good news in January with the announcement of Barnyard Chicken leaving the student center. For those clamoring, “Yo quiero Taco Bell!,” the mexi-licious franchise is taking its place in the fall [+1].

This year provided students a bevy of entertainers gracing campus. Among them RENT star Anthony Rapp [+1], Hanson [+1] and Ron Jeremy [+1 … +2 for the streakers]. Hilarious comedy troupe NU ‘ Improv’d finally got some recognition at Carolines on Broadway in New York City and at the second annual Beanpot of Comedy [+1]. Hell, even Springfest didn’t suck for once [+2].

Northeastern’s Student Government Association had a banner year – I think Ashley Adams’ photo graced the front page of the Northeastern News almost every week. Perhaps the most history-making initiative launched by SGA was its manual for direct elections. After years of speculation, it may actually be proven just how little students care. Still, the idea is momentous [+2].

Too bad SGA members had to end the year on sour note. After having their cushy stipends stripped away, the organization shifted its budget to line its e-board members’ own pockets over financing student programming (see page 1). Well done, guys – just like real politicians [-2].

Let me save you the trouble of busting out your trusty Texas Instrument scientific calculator (you know you have one). Despite a rocky start in 2005: The Year of Suck, the new year came in strong, landing us at +9 for the school year. This does lend itself to another interesting theory: there is no problem so great that a little Ron Jeremy can’t fix it.

– Bobby Hankinson can be reached at [email protected]

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