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Farmer Fridays

S.K. Piper, Dan and David Ochs. 
Farmer Fridays is a new Dining Services initiative to help students learn where their food is coming from and to be able to meet the people who grow that food.
This Friday Feb. 7 was the first Farmer Friday in Curtis dining hall veggie room from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.. The featured farmers were Dan and David Ochs from Ochs Fruit farm, established in 1842 and located about 25 miles away in Lancaster, Ohio.
Students had the chance to eat lunch and ask questions to Denison Dining Sustainability Manager S.K. Piper and the Ochs farmers.
Unfortunately, a pipe burst in the Curtis veggie room so the event was disrupted so they had to relocate to a table farther away from general student traffic. Piper said that, “one or two students came over to say thank you for the apples,” but hopes for much more student participation as the series continues.
This is the first season Ochs Fruit farm has partnered with Denison. They provide around ten different kinds of apples to Denison at a time and grow over a hundred different types of apples.
“We’re very pleased with the way things have gone and the level of professionalism. When they talk about sustainability and high quality they actually mean it,” said Dan Ochs, a fourth generation apple farmer, talking about the relationship between them and Bon Appetit.
Bon Appetit has been using their apples since the season began in September but will likely run out next week, because Ochs Fruit farm stock of apples has finally run out. Apple season ended in November, which is when Ochs last harvested apples, and Denison has been buying those they had in storage since then.
Piper said that it was amazing that “we’re still getting delicious local apples in February because Dan Ochs has figured out the perfect temperature and humidity level to store the different varieties of apples for maximum flavor retention.” They know the exact temperature to keep the apples cold but without freezing.
Next week the farm will run out of it’s stockpile of apples so Denison will switch to using Produce One for their apples.
David Ochs explained that apples have a lot of nutritional benefits such as, helping to “reduce blood sugar, lower cholesterol, provide anti-asthma benefits, and they average only 80 calories.” He said that the skin on apples contains 70% of their nutritional value.
While the farm is not organic, Piper and both Ochs explained that the word organic is not synonymous with the word local or sustainable. It is difficult and impractical, according to Ochs, for small farmers to become certified organic. One of the things that sets Ochs Fruit apart from larger competitors is that they do not wax or brush their apples.
David encouraged students to “eat as much local food as you can.”
“You guys eat a lot of apples so keep at it,” joked Dan Ochs.
Piper hopes that Farmer Fridays will soon have a bigger following once more students learn about it. She’s going to change the time to 12 to 1 p.m. in order to accommodate students who have class at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Next week the Farmer Friday will be Valentines Day themed. Piper will be the “stand in” farmer talking about the fairly traded Cordillera chocolate that the dining services uses. She spent a month in Columbia researching the fair trade chocolate, talking with farmers and seeing the factories and looks forward to sharing her knowledge with students.

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Beck Lecture

Things kicked off with a night of poetry. But these weren’t your stereotypical poets. Maggie Glover ‘05 and Paige Hill Starzinger both have full-time jobs, not related to poetry, but each just recently published their first book of poems.
Despite visiting campus together for the Beck Lecture series, the two women have radically different work.
English professor David Baker introduced the two poets, describing Glover’s poetry was “direct and voice-driven.” He joked that, “It is best to read Maggie Glover with a seatbelt on.” He said that Starzinger’s poetry was “visual art, likely to splinter and the product of a researcher.” He again joked that listeners should still keep their seatbelt on for Starzinger’s reading.
They spoke in the Barney Davis board room on Thurs. Feb. 6 at both 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. The event was originally scheduled for Wednesday but was moved back a day due to classes being cancelled. The afternoon talk focused on their careers as English majors while the evening meeting was a poetry reading.
Glover is currently the Director of Brand Marketing at Ipsy, a beauty website, and lives in San Francisco. After getting her MFA in poetry at West Virginia University, she was part of the fashion startup website called ModCloth. She read eight of her poems from her book How I Went Red including one about her admiration for Marc Jacobs and another one called “Refrain” that she wrote while staying in a hotel on what she called a “writer vacation.”
Starzinger read six of her poems from her book Vestigial. Some of her poems were about living in New York City. Starzinger added that her “poems are built like nests” and that “they often have braided narratives.”
In their afternoon talk, Glover presented on the marketable skills that English majors inherently possess and how those skills can translate into the job market. When an audience member asked how she finds time to write with her job, she joked that, “I don’t have dogs or children so I have time to write poetry.”
Starzinger displayed some of her work from her time at Vogue. She said that she “loves to hire poets, writers, Buddhists, and history majors because they bring their passion to their work.” She explained how writing captions for fashion magazines can be a challenging and fun job for English majors.
Isabel Randolph, a sophomore from Columbus, Ohio thought it was really cool to listen to Glover and Starzinger.
“I really enjoyed the opportunity to hear them because I’m an English major who wants to go into business, so it was super relevant,” said Randolph “I thought they were fun and personable and I liked getting their tips about things like combining work with writing.”
Glover and Starzinger were not only inspirational in their careers but also in their poetry.
“And I like both of their poetry styles so that was pretty cool as well,” Randolph added.
Caroline McCauley, a senior from Hartville, Ohio, attended the afternoon talk about the poet’s careers.
“Paige Starzinger’s and Maggie Glover’s presentations on their careers not only gave insight to the fashion and beauty industry, but also touched upon how to find success in any career,” she said.  
She found Starzinger’s remark “The smaller your frame of the reference, the smaller your range” to be helpful, and McCauley added it was “applicable to all aspects of my daily life and wise words to live by.”

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David Hallman Remembered

The DenisonianFebruary 11, 2014News

The Denison community mourns the loss of senior history major and economics minor David Marshall Hallman III, 21, from Erie, Pa., who passed away on Saturday Feb. 8 after a search of campus and the surrounding areas.
“My hope is that in a small community like Denison, that we can give his life and legacy more meaning. We all can, in a way, be more aware and kinder to each other,” said Professor Mitchell Snay, one of Hallman’s professors this semester. “We can embrace our friends and our professors and our students.”  
Hallman’s father called the Granville police department on 12:56 p.m. Saturday afternoon to report his son missing. He was last seen leaving Brew’s cafe around 1:30 a.m wearing a black North Face Jacket, a navy blue dress shirt and blue jeans according to Brew’s surveillance video. Hallman had missed a noon appointment with his girlfriend and was unreachable by phone, according to the Granville police department’s news release.
At 2:50 p.m., a DU Alert was e-mailed out to the student body asking them to contact security or Granville police if they knew anything about his whereabouts.
Hallman’s friends provided information of his last known location. An emergency request was sent to Hallman’s cell phone provider, Verizon, and his cell phone was tracked to help law enforcement locate him. Officers searched the area around the signal location in the afternoon and evening.
Dr. Tim Miller, economics professor, had Hallman in his econometrics class, and Hallman was one of his advisees.
“He was always very positive, upbeat, fun to talk with, respectful and was always prepared,” said Miller. He said that Hallman’s passing was “upsetting” and said that young people “ought to wait until they’re 90 ‘til they die.”
“Whenever a young person dies, it’s upsetting, and in this case, it seems unnecessary and pointless. He had so much future and potential ahead,” said Miller.
Search parties were organized with help from Ohio State Highway Patrol, Granville Police Department, Licking County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit, and the Granville Township Fire Department. The Ohio State Highway Patrol used an air unit to do an over-flight of the area.
On Saturday evening at 7:20 p.m., another email was sent out from Laurel Kennedy, Bill Fox, Adam Weinberg and Garret Moore., which stated that “At this time, we do not have reason to believe he has fallen in harm’s way but are very actively pursuing every possible lead.” It also said that counselors and clergy came to campus and were available for students.
By 8:15 p.m. Hallman was deemed a missing person and a DU Alert was sent out via e-mail, text, and phone call.
One of David’s roommates, Eric Fischer, a senior from Longmont Colo., and swim teammates went around to the Sunset apartments Saturday evening looking for Hallman.
Saturday afternoon, roughly over a hundred students gathered in Slayter and split into six groups to search the residential halls for Hallman.  
He was found by two female professors who were searching for Hallman at 10:34 p.m. Saturday night. The Granville Township Fire Department emergency squad was dispatched to the scene at 5 Parnassus Village Dr., near the Granville Golf Course.
At 11:22 p.m., a DU Alert was sent out that confirmed Hallman’s passing. Members of the campus community who wanted to gather could come to Swasey Chapel at 11:30 p.m. Approximately 700 students, faculty and staff gathered at Swasey Chapel to mourn the loss of Hallman.
At this time, the cause of death is unknown and is under investigation by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Granville Police Department and the Licking County Coroner’s Office, according to the Granville police department’s news release.
In the spring of 2013, Hallman took “Traditional East Asian Civilization” and “The Confucian Classics” classes with professor Dr. Barry Keenan in the history department.
“He was a quiet, always clean cut and pleasant student,” said Keenan.
He remembered how Hallman would always warmly greet him whenever he saw him in an elevator or around campus.
“There were no defects in his personality. He was so thoughtful,” said Keenan.  
It was stated in the news release that “alcohol is suspected of being a factor in the case.” In addition, the Newark-Advocate reported that  Granville police Sgt. Keith Blackledge said, “[Hallman] most likely died from exposure.”
A gathering of students and community members was held in Swasey at 11:30 p.m. Counselors were available to meet with students in the Shepardson Room on the 4th floor of Slayter Hall, beginning at 11:30 p.m.
Dr. Suzanne Condray, communication professor, had Hallman in her “Freedom of Speech” class and said he was a “nice guy.”
“He talked a lot about his values and beliefs. He had very strong values and beliefs, perhaps from his upbringing at Catholic school,” she said. Hallman attended Cathedral Preparatory School in Erie, Pa..   
Dr. Jessica Bean had Hallman in her very first Economics 101 class at Denison in his first year, and this past fall semester he was in an elective she taught, the Evolution of the Western Economy.
“That was probably the most fun and inspiring group of students I’ve had in any class yet,” she said, “David was hard working and good humored, fun to have in the classroom, always polite and respectful, and just such a good and nice kid in every way.”
She said that she “will always have an image of him laughing with the rest of the class on our last day last semester.”
“This is a very, very hard loss for all of us, and I will be very, very sad not to get to see him graduate with his class,” she said.  

Front page story

Continued onto page 3

This was one of the most challenging articles I’ve ever had to write. I really wanted to do it respectfully. It was emotionally exhausting to interview his professors so soon after they heard the news. I didn’t interview any of his friends or roommates but perhaps I should have.  It was difficult to combine the news part of his death with the personality profile his professors painted. In the end, I’ve received several sincere compliments about this article and that means a lot. 
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Former student filed lawsuit against DU

By: Debbie Gillum

Denison University and a former student recently reached a confidential settlement to end a lawsuit relating to a sexual assault case from last semester.
The lawsuit alleged that the rights of Zackary Hunt, 18, from Loveland, OH, had been violated during disciplinary proceedings regarding allegations of sexual assault that were brought against him in a student conduct hearing, according to the complaint that was filed with Licking County Common Pleas Court.
Eric Rosenberg, Hunt’s lawyer, is a Granville attorney who has represented three cases against Denison. He said in a phone interview that the case was settled and dismissed in a confidential settlement early in the week of Jan. 20.
Laurel Kennedy, Vice-President for Student Development, confirmed that this particular case will not be moving forward.
A female Denison student had alleged that Hunt sexually assaulted her while walking her home from a party where alcohol was served to underage students on Aug. 30, according to the complaint. The sexual assault was reported on Sept. 2.
Hunt was expelled in November after a student disciplinary hearing.
The lawsuit was filed on Dec. 11 in Licking County Common Pleas Court. The lawsuit alleged ten counts including libel, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence by Denison employees, that Hunt was not allowed to present evidence or testimony on his behalf, and that the university violated Hunt’s right to an attorney.
The lawsuit stated, “Denison violated Plaintiff’s due process rights under Ohio law when it prohibited Plaintiff from having an attorney represent him at disciplinary hearings.”
Kennedy said, “While students may seek legal advice, the University’s conduct process does not include a role for external representatives. We expect students to speak on their own behalf.”
Hunt passed a voluntary lie detector test on Oct. 21 which indicated that Hunt did not perform the acts that the female alleged, according to the lawsuit and Rosenberg.  Rosenberg said that passing a polygraph test, “is not an easy thing to do” and Brad Kelly, the clinical forensic polygraph examiner who administered the test, signed that there was no deception indicated in Hunt’s answers.
Rosenberg argued that it was a violation of the code of conduct when Hunt was not allowed to use the polygraph test as evidence.
Regarding the issue of Hunt’s right to present evidence on his behalf, Kennedy explained that the University will enlist a team of investigators to investigate and make a report of their findings.
“If there is a hearing subsequent to the investigative report, and in particular if students believe critical information was missing from the investigation or report, students can ask the Student Conduct Board to consider information they wish to bring forward,” said Kennedy.
The complaint filed with the Licking County Common Pleas Court, stated that during the investigation Hunt’s resident advisor was misquoted, falsely alleging a witness attended the party. It also stated that the investigators reached a conclusion before the university conduct board could make their own conclusion.
Rosenberg said his client was interrogated by Garret Moore, Denison’s security director, without being informed of his right to have an attorney present. That violated Hunt’s rights under Ohio law to be first informed of his right to counsel. Rosenberg also said Moore violated Denison’s Code of Student Conduct by recording the conversation without Hunt’s knowledge, according to complaint.
The Denison Code of Student Conduct states on page four, “It is also a violation of University expectations to engage in the unauthorized use of electronic or other devices to take pictures or make audio or video recordings of any person while on University premises without his or her prior knowledge, or without his or her effective consent.”
Hunt also sought damages from his female accuser for libel, defamation and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. He wanted compensatory damages and punitive damages. Rosenberg said she knew the claims she was making were false and defamed Hunt’s character. Hunt also sought to be reinstated by the university. He is not a student this semester.
All of Rosenberg’s previous cases with Denison have involved representing male students and the cases were all settled out of court.  A case in 2010 was settled and dismissed and a 2011 case was dismissed, according to Licking County court records and The Newark Advocate.
            Rosenberg urged students to be more critical regarding how discipline is handled at Denison and he cautioned how males should act around females who have been drinking.
“I’d like to convey to students the risk of being involved with women who have been drinking,” Rosenberg said, “because later she may say she was sexually assaulted.”

(From the News section of The Denisonian on January 28, 2014) 

My Note: I’m really proud of this article because it was something that not a lot of people on campus were aware of and was challenging for me. I learned a lot about what information journalists can get access to. For example, I just called Licking County Common Pleas Court and they e-mailed me a copy of the complaint. Who knew? That was very helpful in writing the article. While writing it, I stayed in contact with my journalism advisor so I could ask him questions and so he could edit it. He gave me some good suggestions along the way. I hope to do more challenging newsworthy pieces like this one. 
These two photos credit to Meg Callahan

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New Pre-Vet Club at Denison

Published in the Denisonian Dec. 10 

Attending a liberal arts school is great, but it means that Denison students looking to become veterinarians, found themselves with only a limited support network on The Hill.  So Dory Enright, a sophomore from Lincoln, R.I. started the Pre-Veterinary club alongside senior Alison Smith from Garrett Park, Md. Enright said they started the club as a resource for pre-veterinary students.For the most part I started the club because in my experience Denison has only a limited support network for student who are pursuing a pre-professional track, especially those that are pre-vet,” she said. “There is no specific pre-vet adviser, no official pre-veterinary program to guide students towards the classes that are prerequisites for vet school, and most of the graduate school programs and speakers that are brought to campus tend to focus solely on the human side of medicine.”

Dory Enright, co-founder of the Pre-Vet Club,
 volunteering at a Humane Society

The club was approved by DCGA at the end of October. They have 14 members signed up so far. “Considering the fact that veterinary medicine is such small field compared to human medicine and that it is so specialized, we have pretty good numbers and are hoping to become more of a presence to help future veterinary students on Denison’s campus.” said Smith, “I wish I had a group like this when I started considering veterinary medicine!”Enright thought it would be helpful for pre-vet students to “pool [their] collective experiences, thoughts, and questions regarding the pre-vet process so that we could work through it together instead of trying to handle it completely on our own.” The group also hopes to be a social space for students to meet others who share their dream of helping animals. “I realized last year that I had no idea who else on campus was considering veterinary medicine as a career. Like any pre-professional track, pre-vet can be quite stressful and I truly think that having a support network of people with similar goals facing similar challenges can be a great way of dealing with and overcoming these difficulties.” Enright said. Currently the Pre-Vet Club is working on sorting out the logistics of what kind of an organization they want to be and how they want to operate. They’ve had one meeting on Nov. 13 but will not be fully functional until the beginning of next semester. The first meeting was informational and logistical.    “We have ratified our constitution with the support of our members and I am working on a budget to be turned in soon. We also have had a presentation about volunteer opportunities near campus for pre-vet students to consider for animal care hours, which is important for admission into veterinary school.” said Smith.      Next semester they hope to do volunteer work at local animal-related non-profits, trips to the Columbus Zoo, the Ohio State School of Veterinary Medicine, and the Midwest Veterinary Conference in February. They also plan on bringing in members of the veterinary community to discuss career options and the vet school application process. At their first meeting, there were at least twelve students with different kinds of animal experience and interests. Professor Monroy, one of the club’s faculty advisors, said she was “impressed by the number of people who showed up.” Monroy has had several years of experience mentoring students who have gone on to vet school, and she said, “the Pre-Vet club is a useful venue for obtaining information about how to get into vet school.”      She explained how in order to have a better chance of getting into vet school, students need to accumulate animal contact hours and animal medical hours. The Pre-Vet Club can help students find out how and where they can get these hours. In addition, the Pre-Vet club will expose students to all the professions one can do with a veterinary degree. “We often think only about the dog and cat vet, when there are many different types of veterinary professions,” Monroy said. Professor Hinton is the Pre-Vet Club’s other faculty advisor. She sees her role as being a “resource for the club to help them with logistical issues  such as finding spaces, organizing events, finding funding and more.”For more information about the club, e-mail enrigh_d1@denison.edu or find them on OrgSync as “Denison University Pre-Veterinary Club.”


Two rapes, no criminal investigations

Published on the front page of The Denisonian on Sept. 17, 2013
By Debbie Gillum

Two alleged sexual assaults occurred on campus during the first weekend of the academic year. Both victims knew the suspects, declined criminal investigations, and preventive measures have been taken by Denison.
The first alleged sexual assault occurred at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday Aug. 31. The incident occurred outside the residence hall of the person filing the report. The victim said she was intoxicated.
Garrett Moore, Director of Campus Security and Safety, brought the report to the Granville Police on Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 1:11 a.m. A Granville police officer spoke with the victim, “who advised that she did not wish for the police to be involved in this matter,” according to the Call Record Summary.
Another sexual assault which occurred at 2 a.m. Sunday Sept. 1, took place in a residence hall room, the report said. The suspect was interviewed by Denison security.
Moore said there was no campus-wide community alert e-mail because the suspects were known to the victims.
“We have taken measures to protect the victims by creating distance between them and the suspects,” said Moore. These measures include a ‘no contact’ warning and moving the suspect to a dorm across campus, according to the Newark Advocate.
Neither victim wanted a criminal investigation but the incident was reported to authorities.
“We’re required to report all felonies to the police and prosecutors,” said Moore.
Vice President of Student Development Laurel Kennedy said that moving students to the opposite side of campus was standard procedure.
Our practice is to put distance between two students identified in a report while an investigation is undertaken and the case is adjudicated. The single most common practice is a simple no-contact directive, which is usually respected by both parties,” said Kennedy.   
The steps that are taken are determined by the wishes of the students involved and in some cases, the student does not seek out these kinds of measures. Each case is unique.
In some instances, we may require students to eat in different dining halls or on different schedules, we may adjust class schedules or coordinate schedules to prevent unwanted interaction, etc,” said Kennedy.
In Denison’s Policy Against Sexual Assault and Other Sexual Misconduct, sexual assault is defined as “an extreme form of sexual misconduct, and represents a continuum of conduct from non-physical pressure to physical force that compels an individual to engage unwillingly in sexual activity.”
The University’s Medical Amnesty Policy shall be applied to survivors who come forward with a report of sexual assault.
According to www.campusrape.com, 20-25 percent of women will be raped during their college career. 65 percent of rapes go unreported, 90 percent of women know the person who raped them and 75 percent of the time drinking is involved.
Denison encourages victims to seek support through resources such as Whisler Health Center or SHARE Advocates. They are also encouraged to submit a formal complaint either with or without immediate intent to pursue action through the University conduct process.
Whether the alleged victims decline criminal investigation or not, Denison still has “both a commitment and an obligation to investigate the matter,” according to Kennedy.
Sometimes the alleged victim wants us to do that, and sometimes not.  Sometimes it makes a student really angry that we are conducting an investigation.  We have to, of course, to ensure the safety of the campus,” said Kennedy, “But if we investigate and feel that there is a safety concern on the campus, we will adjudicate the case, on the basis of the information that causes us a safety concern.”  
Since Denison is such a small campus, sexual misconduct creates all kinds of negative consequences. “These cases profoundly change the lives of the students who are directly involved. It also affects their friends and their families. The impact is worst for the students directly involved, but it radiates out to others as well,” said Kennedy.
For these reasons, some students find it difficult to report sexual misconduct.
Another consequence of sexual misconduct on a campus of Denison’s size is that other students often saw the “pair wandering off together, and worried about what was going to happen. When they don’t step in, they’re affected afterwards as well,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy said that Denison students are “really good at getting help for each other, but intervening to prevent sexual misconduct is something that still creates discomfort for some students.”
She said that in some social circles there is a set idea that sexual conquest should not be interfered with, but Kennedy encouraged all students to not be afraid to intervene and help their friends.

“The reality is that when people do intervene, their friends aren’t actually mad the next day,” said Kennedy,  “And, the wave of relief when you just don’t have to worry about your friend anymore is sort of a rush. It makes the rest of the night way more fun.”  


Rooftop garden closure is a disappointment for Denison community

For The Denisonian’s Forum section
Sept. 17, 2013

Rooftop Garden shut down by administration

  This time last year, The Denisonian ran a Feature article about a new rooftop garden on campus. Fast forward to today and the rooftop garden is now shut down.

   The student organization, PEAS (People Endorsing Agricultural Sustainability) was growing sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, Thai basil, lemon basil and cantaloupe on the roof of Curtis dining hall.
  The project was funded through a grant called the John R. Hunting Environmental Venture Fund which provides money for sustainability-related projects on campus.
  Sodexo and Denison Dining Services were completely behind the project and were excited to see where it would go in the future.

PEAS members water and harvest the rooftop garden, last year. 
  Over the summer, a meeting was called with the leaders of PEAS to discuss the future of the rooftop garden. It was decided that the rooftop garden was unsafe because of the lack of safety railing around the roof and because there is a high voltage electrical box on the roof. To install the necessary safety precautions would cost thousands of dollars and were deemed too expensive. Within one meeting, months and months of PEAS members’ hard work, dedication, and persistence were crushed. Bon Apetite was present at this meeting and were willing to help the rooftop garden continue. But the administration said no.
  PEAS is now working on removing the garden boxes and relocating the plants.

  When I heard about this, I was really bothered. It seemed unfair for University officials to decide a year later that the rooftop garden was unsafe. Why was the project allowed to happen if the University was concerned about lack of safety rails?
I thought this was a fantastic project, and was impressed that after years and years of talking about building one, it was finally happening. I even went up on the roof and saw the garden myself. It’s pretty neat to see vegetables growing on a roof.
 I understand that Denison does not want a lawsuit from a student injured by being on the roof. That’s fine. No one wants a lawsuit. What I don’t understand is why this issue of safety wasn’t brought up before the garden began.
  This was by no means a secret garden. The PEAS leaders jumped through many of Denison’s bureaucratic hoops to make this dream a reality. The university fully knew about the project all of last year.
  The mission of Denison University is “to inspire and educate students to become autonomous thinkers, discerning moral agents, and active citizens of a democratic society.” The courageous PEAS students who built this rooftop garden were being everything Denison wants us to be. They were critical thinkers by recognizing that the dining halls could benefit from locally grown herbs and vegetables. They were moral agents by sharing a campus responsibility to bring about environmental change. They were active citizens committed to making our campus more sustainable. So why were they reprimanded for completing a project that not only benefitted the community but also embodied the Denison mission statement?  

  I’m very sad to say goodbye to the rooftop garden because it was such a wonderful idea for our community and was not used to it’s fullest potential during it’s short lifespan.

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Final for International Reporting class


Commuter trains are coated in graffiti and DSB is constantly working to combat this

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Copenhagen is the place to go for train graffiti. A wide range of graffiti can be seen on the trains. Everything from “Fuck Cops” to “The World is Yours” is spray painted colorfully over doors and windows on trains around Copenhagen.
While not all graffiti is ugly, it still costs the city money.
In 2009, DSB spent 25 million kroners cleaning graffiti. 
In 2005 there were 4,000 cases of graffiti on the outside of the S-tog trains, while the figure for regional and intercity train graffiti was just 250 cars. According to the DSB website, the majority of graffiti is done on commuter trains.
While spray painting a simple smiley face on a train just takes a few minutes, it can be a long and expensive process to eventually remove the graffiti. The state owned train transportation company, DSB, spent just over 25 million kroners in 2009 to clean up graffiti and other vandalism. Over 2,117 trains needed to be cleaned.  
It usually costs between 80.000 to 120.000 kroners to remove a section of graffiti from regional or inter-city trains. This number includes what it costs to do without the train in operation for that set time period.Some of this money comes from those prosecuted for vandalism. For example, in the summer of 2005, a man was charged with  vandalism and had to pay DSB 51,963 kroners in damages.  
In February of 2004, DSB had 8 employees working full time removing graffiti from commuter trains. In total, DSB employs a staff of over. 9,300 people. In 2010, the graffiti team removed over 77,000 square meters of graffiti from walls, stairs, tunnels and trains owned by DSB.
DSB worker, Erik Dalfoss views the graffiti as very bad and not pretty.
Graffiti such as this is a common sight on S-Togs
“I don’t like it. It’s everywhere. All the trains.” he said. He admitted DSB was trying to clean it up but that it was difficult.
Another DSB worker named Dennis had mixed feelings about the graffiti.
“If the graffiti is something beautiful, like art, then I can appreciate it,” he said, “Some I like, others I don’t.” Dennis thinks the amount of graffiti has gone down in recent years.
While it may be art, Dennis agreed that DSB should do more to clean it up, even though that costs a lot of money.
According to the DSB website, DSB passengers feel unsafe using the train or stay in stations that are filled with graffiti.
“It doesn’t bother me.” said Elina Mintatite, a middle aged woman, who takes the Stog from Copenhagen Central Station frequently. She is one of the 195 million passengers DSB carries every year.
“I don’t like to see the windows covered by graffiti though. Besides that, it doesn’t make me upset,” she said. “It’s not good. But it’s not really that bad.” Minatite thought the trains should invest more time and money into important things like assuring all trains have enough trash bags. She recalled how last week her and her daughter had nowhere to put their apples after they were done eating.
Graffiti in Denmark started out in the early 1980s and was legal. Not long after, criminal groups formed and began vandalizing private property. The city soon made graffiti illegal.  
DSB is working to combat graffiti by installing security cameras, building fences around train depots and making graffiti a serious crime. It is a difficult problem to fix, with no easy solution.
“We can not begin to introduce surveillance everywhere. It would be too expensive. We make instead of getting cleaned trains as soon as possible.” said Director of DSB, Peter Jespersen in August 2012.
The penalty for graffiti is now quite steep. One can be punished with up to four years in prison for making graffiti. Moreover, one can be sentenced to pay heavy damages if convicted of graffiti paint on DSB trains and buildings. Young people under 15 years are at risk of being removed from her parents and be placed in a closed institution, similar to a prison. Graffiti stays on your record for ten years, making it difficult to find respectable jobs.
Often it is the same group of people vandalizing the trains.  They use a “tag” that they write over and over again. A commonly seen tag is: MOA (Monsters Of Art).Little known to the vandals, DSB has built a database of these graffiti “tags” and the individuals suspected of spraying them. This database makes it easier to apprehend vandals. Copenhagen and Odense’s police forces subscribe to the database.  
While at least every third train rolling into Copenhagen Central Station has major parts of its panels covered with colors, DSB continues to work on new ways to remove those colors.