The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, December 12, 2003, Image 1

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    Aggielife: Singled Out • Page BA
Opinion: Uncivil liberties • Page 5B
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Volume 110 • Issue 72 • 16 pages
A Texas A&M Tradition Since 1893
Friday, December 12, 20(
A&M student takes up residence in MSC
By Sonia Moghe
Coming from a comfortable middle-class fami
ly, Walt Sims never thought he would be homeless
fora semester in college.
Sims, a senior history major who will graduate
next week, spent his last night in the Texas A&M
Memorial Student Center on Thursday after a
semester of self-imposed residence within its walls.
He slept on the couches, preferring the ones on the
first floor, used the punctuality of 5:30 a.m. vacu
uming routines as an alarm clock and paid nothing
but $40 in rent for the entire semester, which was
included in his student fees.
“There are so many fees that students pay for
that they don’t even make use of,” Sims said. “I
wanted to make the most of them.”
The experience provided a glimpse into a
world previously unbeknownst to him — a world
of homelessness in which he would be taken out
of his comfort zone.
Sims’ days consisted of being woken up by jan
itors around 5:30 a.m. and walking across campus
to the Student Recreation Center to shower and
change his clothes. He would then attend his
classes, eat meals, have dinner in the TV room in
the underground MSC and eventually retire to one
of his favorite sleeping spots.
Sims had been planning the details of his
adventure into the realm of homelessness since
the spring. He knew he would need a locker, a
meal plan and he would need to research the rules,
of which he could find no stipulations regarding
sleeping at the MSC.
“I tried to be careful not to let people notice me
— especially staff,” Sims said. “I did my best to
not cause disturbances because I really didn’t
want to break any rules.“
Sims said because there is at least one student
who falls asleep in the MSC every night, he man
aged to remain inconspicuous. He even went so
far as to make sure he fell asleep with a book
every night and used his jacket as a pillow.
MSC staff, who declined to comment on the
situation, said there is no rule against sleeping in
the MSC.
Sims said his parents were worried about him
getting sick and failing out. They offered to pay
for alternate housing but Sims refused, hoping to
gain an outlook on himself and on life through his
experience. He said he often thought of giving up.
“Coming home was hard,” Sims said. “I actually
found that I’ve gotten so used to sleeping on those
couches that I can’t sleep well on an actual bed.”
As his semester comes to a close and he gradu
ates, Sims will find himself moving out of the MSC.
“The MSC was kind of my home,” Sims said.
“In fact, I’d been at A&M for five years and dur
ing this one semester alone, I’ve learned more
about campus than all previous years combined.”
Sims said he hopes others who wish to partake
in this adventure are careful not to ruin the oppor
tunity for others by causing disturbances.
Getting ready
Freshman nutritional science major Rachel Cox studies a freshman biomedical sciences major, Thursday after-
for a chemistry final along with friend Michele Shute, noon at Research Park.
Webb nominated as
Battalion top editor
By Sarah Szuminski
When Elizabeth Webb applied to be a
copy editor at The Battalion in the fall of
2001, she had no plans to move up to any
higher positions. However, after more than
two years working at the newspaper, Webb
has been nominated to take on the chal
lenge of serving as editor in chief next
“The more I worked here, the more I
came to love The Battalion,” she said.
Webb, a senior English major, was
nominated as next semester’s editor in
chief by Texas A&M’s Student Media
Board on Dec. 5. Final approval by
Provost David Prior is pending.
During her time at The Battalion, Webb
has been a copy editor, copy chief, features
writer and managing editor. As she steps
up to take on the top position next semes
ter, Webb will be responsible for the entire
staff and content of the paper.
“I am a little bit nervous, just because
I’ve had many different people (as editors)
before me and I don’t know where I’m
going to fit in,” she said. “But I’m excited.”
The Battalion’s current editor in chief,
senior journalism major Sommer
Hamilton, said a key quality in Webb’s
leadership is the determination to do even
better than what came before.
“Liz (Webb) will work hard to contin
ue the positive changes we’ve been mak
ing together this semester and then
some,” Hamilton said. “She’s got her
own ideas on how to improve newsroom
production, how to boost the staff’s
progress in the learning environment and
how to remain connected with the stu
dent body we serve.”
Some of Webb’s goals for the spring
Senior English major Elizabeth Webb is Texas
A&M Student Media Board's nominee for
spring 2004 Battalion editor in chief.
include creating a space online for addi
tional Web-exclusive material, posting
weekend news coverage online and moti
vating the staff to feel more ownership in
the newspaper.
“I want the whole staff to care about
See Webb on page 5A
Unidentified students broke into G. Rollie White Coliseum Saturday morning.
The students removed 11 of 12 Big 12 banners valued at $300 each.
Students steal banners
from G. Rollie White
Graduation slated for Dec. 19, 20
By Eric Ambrose
Dec. 19 will be one of the most impor
tant days in Nathan Kotschi’s life. Along
with more than 3,600 other seniors,
Kotschi will graduate with a bachelor’s
After three and a half years at A&M,
Kotschi is ready to move on and receive
his degree in economics, but said he is
also sad to leave.
“Texas A&M is a very special place,”
Kotschi said. “I don’t know of any other
school that has such great traditions and
such a friendly campus. I’m very proud to
be an Aggie.”
Four graduation ceremonies will be
held next week at Reed Arena. On Friday,
Dec. 19 at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and
Saturday, Dec. 20 at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Don Carter, registrar for A&M, said there
were more than 3,600 students who applied
to graduate. Carter said he believes 700 to
800 students will attend each ceremony.
Carter said usually 90 percent of
undergraduates and 65 percent of gradu
ate students receiving degrees attend the
ceremony. He said he expects the hand
ing out of diplomas to take an hour at
each ceremony. Carter said he discour
aged students from leaving early after
their names are called. The University
frowns upon students leaving early, but
will not take any actions to prevent them
from doing so, Carter said.
“I think it’s just good manners for them
to stay and watch their fellow classmates
graduate,” Carter said.
A&M President Robert M. Gates will
begin the ceremony by welcoming the
graduates before the national anthem. The
Association of Former Students will then
welcome and congratulate the students.
See Graduation on page 10A
Graduation Ceremonies
Next week's graduation ceremonies at Reed
Arena will feature the following keynote speakers
Friday, Dec. 19 at 9 a.m.
Dr. Don W. Brown, commissioner of Higher
Friday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m.
Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al
Missned,chairperson of Qatar Foundation
Saturday, Dec. 20 at 9 a.m.
Dr. Norman Borlaug, distinguished professor of
International Agriculture at A&M
Saturday, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m.
John Carter, U.S. congressman for the state of
North Dakota abduction concerns University officials
By Sarah Walch
In the early hours of Saturday,
Dec. 6, four males and one
female broke into G. Rollie
White Coliseum, the Texas
A&M’s volleyball team’s home,
and took down 11 of the 12 ban
ners representing each Big 12
school that were hanging in the
rafters, leaving only the banner
from the University of Texas.
The banners were valued at more
than $300 each, with the entire
value of the stolen banners total
ing more than $3,300.
The group entered the build
ing at about 3:45 a.m. and exited
at about 4:10 a.m.
The banners were hung dur
ing the previous week for an
NCAA volleyball tournament
that took place Dec. 5 and (Dec.)
6. A&M hosted the first and sec
ond rounds of the tournament.
The tournament included teams
from Wisconsin, Arizona and
Nicholls State.
The Athletic Department has
contacted the University Police
Department, and if the individu
als responsible do not cooperate,
See Burglary on page 10A
By Rhiannon Meyers
On Nov. 22, Dm Sjodin, a 22-
year-old University of North
Dakota student, was abducted in
the parking lot of Columbia Mall
in North Dakota. Search parties
were immediately formed, but so
far they have been unsuccessful
in locating Sjodin.
Sjodin’s disappearance has
sparked a nationwide concern
for safety in public areas. Texas
A&M University Police
Department Lt. Bert
Kretzschmar of the Crime
Prevention Unit said even
though abductions by
strangers are rare, it could hap
pen at A&M.
“This could happen any
where you go,” Kretzschmar
said. “A&M is basically a
microcosm of society itself, and
we have the same problems as a
small city does.”
Kretzschmar said because
A&M is an open campus, any
one can come to campus.
“Stranger abductions are a
rare occurrence,” Kretzschmar
said, “but if it were to happen,
we take it very seriously
because time is of the essence.”
Kretzschmar said UPD is
always on-call in case some
thing similar ever happened at
A&M. He said missing student
cases are taken seriously and
are investigated immediately
after being reported.
Kretzschmar said female
students in isolated areas who
are not paying attention are
most susceptible to attacks.
Stephanie Gelner, a junior
kinesiology major, said she did
not question safety on campus
until she attended a Healthy
Living lecture on safety.
“I never thought twice about
safety here at A&M,” Gelner said.
“But at the lecture I learned that a
college campus is an easy place
for attackers to go unnoticed. All
they really have to do is dress like
See Abduction on page 10A