College news roundup

The most baffling and intriguing stories from the past month, courtesy of student newspapers across the nation.

By Erin Renzas

Published December 3, 2007 5:18PM (EST)

As universities gear up for finals and wrap up another fall semester, Broadsheet takes this opportunity to check in on our collegiate counterparts. Here's a quick roundup of some of the most baffling and/or intriguing university stories from the past month, courtesy of student newspapers across the nation:

Early this month, controversy struck Ohio's Miami University when its chapter of the Delta Chi fraternity unveiled new rush shirts. "No one over 150 after 1:50," read the shirts. According to the Miami Student some students and organizations interpreted the slogan to mean, "No girl over 150 pounds after 1:50 a.m." Anthony DePina, president of Miami's Delta Chi chapter, said the meaning of the shirt was "to be left up to the person reading the shirt." The university's Interfraternity Council asked the fraternity to stop wearing the shirts and write an apology to campus sororities and the campus Women's Center.

Claire Dickerson, vice president of public relations for the Panhellenic Association at Miami, told the Student, "We feel that wearing this shirt undermines the message of self-acceptance we hope to cultivate in all our chapter members and forces women to unfairly question their body image ... The Panhellenic community is working hard to instill confidence in women and celebrate the beauty of being a woman, independent from the number she sees on the scale. We are disturbed that a Greek chapter would work against our goal of self-acceptance and inner beauty."

Speaking of self-acceptance and inner beauty, Syracuse University's the Daily Orange posed this question last Tuesday: "Bigger Is Better?" So maybe headlines aren't the Orange's strong point, but according to the article, more and more young college women are choosing breast augmentation. Now, the numbers cited in the article don't actually support this claim -- yes, breast augmentation is on the rise and some 329,000 women under the age of 20 opted for breast enhancement surgery last year, the article points out. But where are the statistics for women in college, which, correct me if I'm wrong, includes women older than 20? But I digress!

What is particularly interesting is the slightly disturbing picture we get of some of the young women who are having the procedure done. Take Kelsie Leon, for example, a 5-foot-1, 19-year-old sophomore who recently increased her negative A's to 34C's. Leon says she convinced her parents that the implants were "going to make [her] feel more secure about [herself]." Later in the article, she says, "People don't look good for themselves anymore, they do it for other people ... But it's also great when men are drooling like ravenous starving animals because then you know you are hot."

Tracie VanLiew, a senior at the university, adds that "she only cares about her boyfriend's opinion." Looks like she won't be in the market for new breasts because here's what her boyfriend, Liam Farrell, had to say: "My girlfriend's breasts are really nice and fake boobs are gross." Well said, Liam, well said.

In other news, Georgetown University's the Hoya reported that the college's Student Health Center stopped purchasing the human papillomavirus vaccine, Gardasil, in early November. The vaccine, which is suitable for women between ages 9 and 26, guards against four strains of HPV, some of which can cause cervical cancer in young women. It was developed by Georgetown researchers and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last year. But according to the article, few universities stock the vaccine and, instead, simply administer the three-shot series after it is purchased by a student.

According to the Student Health Center's director, James Marsh, Georgetown's health plan and other independent insurance plans insufficiently reimbursed the center for the vaccine and stocking the shots became financially unfeasible. According to the Hoya this may result in necessary extra trips to the doctor to complete the vaccination series and may deter some of the university's women from having the vaccination.

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Both the Stanford Daily and Penn State's Daily Collegian covered a new study by Stanford sociology professor Paula England, which found that "hookups" have replaced casual dating in the college scene and that 45 percent of men reached orgasm as a result of said hookups and 16 percent of women did.

Also from the Daily Collegian, an American University student convicted of raping a Penn State student after a 2005 Ohio State University game was sentenced to three to six years in prison.

The University of Pennsylvania has implemented a new engineering program to help more women get involved in labs, experiments and science-based careers, reported the school's independent student newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian.

The University of Connecticut's Daily Campus examined a new university housing program that allows students the option of gender-neutral housing. The program aims to meet the needs of transgender students or those who select to live with relatives for cultural or religious purposes.

With the holiday break on the way, university news may be petering out for the next month or so, but we'll follow up come spring semester. After all, we wouldn't want to miss the 2008 edition of the University of Illinois' Girls of Engineering Calendar.

Erin Renzas

Erin Renzas is an editorial fellow at Salon.

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