Monday, February 9, 2009

Full of Garbage

As I was returning to my dorm last night, I chanced upon one of our fine janitors emptying a recycling bin. This would be a total un-noteworthy event, were it not for the fact that he was emptying our recycling bin -- the collective "green" efforts of an entire floor of people -- into the regular garbage. 

Even more troubling was that the more I spread this, the more it was reciprocated with identical stories. Apperently this wasn't a one-time (possibly language-barrier induced) offense. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Swimming Fool

Dear Athletics, Student Life Committee, and University Life,

I've lost count of how many times this semester I've checked the athletics schedule, changed into my swimming attire, and gone down to the pool, only to be told that the pool has been closed. On other occasions, I've been asked to leave the pool early without prior notification and in direct contradiction to the times indicated on the schedule.

Today was no exception. My naive journey to the pool ended abruptly at a hand-written sign indicating that the pool had been closed 4 (!) hours early due to a lifeguard shortage.

We are now past the halfway point of the first semester. Has anything been done to correct this shortage? Has a ystud been sent out informing our student body (of which a sizable number are lifeguards) of the vacancy? Have signs been put up? I just so happen to be a lifeguard myself, and while I don't think my schedule this semester would permit me taking on any additional responsibilities, it's never really been made clear how to apply for the job. And if we really don't have enough students, shouldn't we be bringing in lifeguards from the outside?

Our pool is a truly great resource and it pains me to see it go to waste.

Sincerly, Julian Horowitz

Friday, September 5, 2008

Welcome Back and Farewell

No, I'm not switching out of YU; but I am moving. I've accepted the position of Opinions Editor at our cousin The Commentator. I know what you're thinking. No, I haven't become institutionalized. No, I haven't become "one of them." And yes, I will continue doing my best to stick it to the man, where appropriate. The only difference is that now you'll be able to read me in the bathroom.

Most of all, The YU Vent will live on inside each and every one of you (cue The Lion King music): let no dozing dean go unpoked, let no poor policy go unmentioned, let no bumbling bureaucracy go uncriticized, and, most importantly, let no super suggestion go unvented. Don't let the catchy tune of Hakuna Matata to lure you into complacency. Oh yeah, and write articles for the opinions section.

Viva la Vent!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Is There a Correct Shiur for a Shiur Room?

Here's a letter just sent by YC Junior Netanel (Tani) Cohn to the appropriate administrators concerning a situation he finds both unfair and uncomfortable. Way to go Tani!

To whom it may concern:

The current situation regarding Rav Sobolofsky's shiur room is untenable. In a room intended to comfortably accommodate thirty to forty people, upwards of one hundred are engaged in a battle for air and leg room, not to mention outlets. Beyond presenting an enormous fire hazard and an extremely uncomfortable educational environment, the limited classroom space has led to some students being denied the privilege of listening to shiur. I urge you for the sake of Torah (not to mention that of avoiding potential lawsuits and fire safety violations) to upgrade Rav Sobolofskys shiur to a larger room.

Options are abound; Furst room 501 is usually available, but in the event that it is not there exist several large classrooms as well as lecture halls in Belfer Hall which are readily open during the shiur time slots. In addition, several smaller shiurim currently occupy very large classrooms. Rav Saks's shiur which last year fluctuated between 15-20 students uses a Muss classroom capable of comfortably seating well over 65 people. Perhaps this classroom could be used to solve another seperate yet equally important issue. Rav Shulman's shiur, which takes place in the Morg Beit Midrash, effectively ejects all those who wish to learn there during that time-especially on Sundays and Thursdays when his shiur takes place at an earlier hour. This same phenomenon of having a shuir at the expense of other peoples learning occurs in the Furst Hall Beit Midrash during Rav Twerskys shiur.

In Short: There exist two problems with the current shiur locations:
1) The classrooms are not of an adequate size in order to accommodate the larger shiurim- causing an uncomfortable learning experience as well as denying many students the privilege of listening to shiur.
2) Several shiurim take place within the various battei midrash causing all those who learn in these battei midrash who do not participate in the shiur to be mevatel Torah.

There exist several solutions to these problems:
1) Utilizing the large classrooms and lecture halls in Belfer Hall will grant the larger shiurim their proper amount of space, thus eliminating both the current uncomfortable learning environment as well as avoid any situation where a talmid is denied the right to listen to shiur due to lack of space.
2) By either moving the current shiurim which take place within the walls of the battei midrash to other classrooms on campus (in Belfer or Furst etc) or by switching the current assigment of classrooms to allow for the larger shiurim to hold shiur within the larger classrooms and the smaller shiurim within the smaller ones, the problem of battei midrash being used for shiur and its subsequent bittul Torah will be rendered a non-issue.

Thanking you in advance for your concern, and with the hope of only להגדיל תורה ולהאדירה, Tani Cohn

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tuition Times Two

“The Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) is currently among several Jewish organizations trying to ease the high costs of Jewish education, which is a financial burden felt by the vast majority of Jewish families” (Z. Eleff, “CJF and OU Prepare to Combat 'Tuition Crisis,'” The Commentator, 3/2/06).

“Tuition Rises Yet Again” (Commentator headline, 4/10/03)

“Undergraduate Schools See 10% Tuition Hike” (Commentator headline, 5/15/06)

1998-1999 Undergraduate Tuitions and Fees
Tuition: $14,920 per year
University Registration Fee: $150 per year
Student Fees: $110-160 per year
Dormitory Rental: $3,450 per year
Dining Club Membership: $1,300 per year

2008-2009 Undergraduate Tuition and Fees
Tuition $31,594 per year
University Registration Fee $350 per year
Activity Fee $150 per year
Residence Hall Fee $7,130 per year
Meal Plan $2,750 per year

Economics (and common sense) dictates that people should pay a higher price for a better product. In the last 10 years YU has more than doubled in price. Has YU doubled in product?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gittin it on!

R' Dovi Fischer, shiur assistant of the largest shiur in MYP, has pointed out that our student body is once again suffering due to irresposibility on the part of our admninistrators: we still don't know which masechet (tractate) we'll be learning next year. Admittedly, I haven't personally been privy to the politics and machinations behind this indecision, but enough is enough. The time has come to put it to a vote of the Rashei Yeshiva and follow a simple plurality.

Why is this such a big deal? Depending on what the final choice is, students may have purchased seforim for the wrong masechet at the SOY Seforim Sale, which I am told was marketing Bava Batra as next year's selection. But the consequences of this are much farther-reaching than having a few extra Rashbas and Ritvas: many students (myself included) would have liked to choose which shiur they would register for based on which masechet the yeshiva will be learning. Not only does this have ramifications for which sections of Bible one registers for (or gets locked out of), it's also a question of overall workload and credit limits.

We want masechta, masechta now!

Monday, April 7, 2008

I'm Taking Revel Courses (and So Can You!)

Just in time for registration:

Sure, Revel offers interesting classes with excellent professors. Heck, apart from the cool content, these three-credit courses meet only once a week, for an hour and forty minutes. and are chock full of intelligent and well-dressed grad students. So, tired of gazing through that door-window thing, wondering how a lowly undergrad like you could revel in the glory that is Revel?

Look no further than yu.edu/Revel/student_options.asp, which offers two roads into Revel.

1. Bachelor's/Master's (BA/MA) students -- Undergraduate students may register for the joint BA/MA program (see pages 14-15).

This option is fairly well advertised and is limited to final year seniors. But get a load of plan number two:
2. Undergraduate students taking graduate courses for undergraduate credit -- With the permission of the college dean and the dean of Revel Graduate School, undergraduate students may take graduate courses for undergraduate credit only.
I am currently doing just that . . . and loving it! If you are an interested, committed, somewhat intelligent student (i.e. most undergrads even interested in Revel courses), then email those sentiments to your respective Deans.

Act now and get a free "Yekhi Dr. Berger" hand towel!