Chardon High School shooter pleads guilty

 

T.J. Lane admitted Tuesday that he used a Ruger .22-caliber handgun to spray the Chardon High School cafeteria with bullets a year ago, killing three students and wounding three others in a shooting rampage. Lane, 18, pleaded guilty in Geauga County Common Pleas Court to charges of aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder and felonious assault. He will be sentenced March 19 after a background investigation is completed. Lane faces life in prison but not the death penalty because he was a juvenile when the shootings occurred. It will be up to the judge to determine if Lane will be eligible for parole. Lane could be released as early as 2036, but he could also be sentenced to a term without parole.

Source: Cleveland.com

NATO admits mistake in claiming decrease in Taliban attacks

 

A report posted on the website of a NATO-led force had originally claimed there had been a seven percent drop in Taliban attacks in 2012, however, after being questioned, the figure was removed from the site. U.S. and Western officials have often pointed to decreasing violence in Afghanistan as a sign that their mission is being met with success. Earlier this month, the outgoing commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen John Allen, insisted the coalition is on the road to winning the war. Correspondents say the Taliban are a long way from being defeated, still mounting regular attacks with devastating effects. The group is still in de facto control of many parts of the country. No new figure has been posted.

Source: CNN

 

Vatican reveals new title for Benedict XVI

 

With Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy now over, the former pope will still keep the honorific “His Holiness” and will also be known as “Pope Emeritus.” This title clears up questions about how Benedict — the first Pope to resign in almost 600 years — should be addressed following his resignation. Benedict plans to move into a life of seclusion and prayer following his final address on Wednesday. The dean cardinal will summon the cardinals on March 1 to a general congregation which could come as soon as March 4, although the date is not fixed. The cardinals will then decide exactly when to hold the conclave, during which they will vote for the new Pope.

More spending cuts loom, Congress divided

Democrats and Republicans are still locked in stalemate regarding “the Sequester”

 

President Obama has urged Republicans and Democrats to come to a compromise regarding the spending cuts known as “the Sequester” that are due to take place today. Earlier this week, he advised state governors to put pressure on members of Congress to make an agreement so that the cuts do not take effect.

The cuts in question are connected to those that partially made up last year’s fiscal cliff. The deal that was reached on Jan. 1 included an agreement to postpone many automatic cuts for two months in order to have more time to negotiate. Today, those cuts, which were put in place in 2011 in an effort to provide incentive for partisan members of Congress to find a solution to the country’s rising debt, are scheduled to occur.

President Obama has called for both parties to concede slightly so that a deal can be reached. The BBC’s Mark Mardell explained the partisan issue, stating that, “Democrats would hate the savaging of social programs; Republicans would loathe the reductions of military spending, so they would be forced to find more sensible ways to reduce public spending. Cunning? Only it has not worked.”

If no deal is reached, the largest cuts would fall to the defense budget, but the change would have significant effects on schoolteachers, air travel, vaccines for children and meat prices according to the BBC.

“These impacts will not all be felt on day one,” said the president, “but the uncertainty is already having an effect.” Similar uncertainty over the fiscal cliff made its own dent in the slowly repairing economy around New Year’s. This week, companies across the U.S. have prepared for the repercussions if no deal is made. They have arranged layoff notices, decided on minor-scale spending reductions and accepted the decline in job growth that is likely to result from “the Sequester.”

Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans have been busy blaming each other for their stubbornness, while simultaneously agreeing that the automatic cuts are a bad decision.

President Obama has taken his influence public in order to convince citizens to press their congressmen for a compromise. Historically, presidential campaigns to excite the public into action have shown to be successful; however, their potential success usually comes with disapproval from other members of the federal government.

“If the president was truly serious about solving the debt and deficit,” argued Representative Kevin McCarthy of Calif., the No. 3 House Republican, “he would be in Washington, D.C., working on solutions. The fact is he has chosen political stunts over coming to terms with Washington’s spending problem.”

Republican Representative Scott Rigell of Virginia took a more supportive view of the president’s policies regarding “the Sequester.” While holding that he should present a more detailed plan which combines tax rises and spending cuts, Rigell admitted that both parties were at fault for delays in the plan.

“I believe that a position that says we will reject a proposal if it has even a dollar increase in revenue, I don’t think that’s a wise position and I don’t hold that value,” he said of Republicans who are adamant about not raising taxes. “Revenue has to come up a bit, first by growing the economy, but also by tax reform, which also includes eliminating lobbyist-inspired, lobbyist-written loopholes. I am in favor of that.”

 

Wooster to host event about student loan debt

“For Profit,” a one-man play, will be presented on March 5, along with a post-performance panel discussing the debt crisis

Thanks to rising tuition costs and a tough job market, recent college graduates have an average $27,000 in student loan debt, according to CNN. It is on an issue that affects many students, but is one that is often ignored until after graduation. “For Profit,” a one-man play presented by Aaron Calafato, aims to remedy that. Calafato plays nearly a dozen characters in the production, focusing on an admissions counselor at a for-profit college and the exploitation of American students. The aim of the show and panel is to generate a conversation about the ever-growing student debt crisis.

The show is inspired by Calafato’s own experiences working in the admissions office of a for-profit school, as well as his own debt. He and his wife had a combined $120,000 in student loan debt.

The event is sponsored by the Wooster Libertarians & SGA with support from the Wooster Democratic Socialists, Wooster Tea Club, Reach Trade and Vegan Co-op. The show is free and open to students and members of the community.

The show has been performed in both New York City and in the Cleveland area. It has also been featured in The Huffington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education and NPR.

Muhammad Daud ’14, one of the students who helped organize the event, had previously met Calafato through Vote Mob, an organization dedicated to getting students to vote. “He was interested in hosting a performance at the College, having previously performed at last year’s Wooster Jam, so I approached groups to see if they were interested in sponsoring the show,” said Daud.

“We wanted to do an event addressing debt because people don’t talk about it,” said Gareth McNamara ’14, another student who helped organize the event. “It was perfect to have something like this presented because it fits perfectly with something we wanted to do.”

Following the event, the panel will answer questions submitted via the event’s Facebook page. The organizers felt this aspect of the event was so important that they pushed everything back to ensure it could happen.

“It’s important because it’s the Wooster specific part. The show is being performed around the state after this, and has been performed elsewhere, but the panel is tailored to here,” McNamara said.

The panel was inspired by the organizers’ desire to share real world experiences about student debt.

“There will be a certain amount of FAQ and data, but that’s out there in droves. What’s more important to us is sharing what it is actually like instead of keeping it at arm’s length and just sharing figures,” McNamara said.

Current members of the panel include Joel Solow, the Northeast Ohio Organizer with the Ohio Student Association, who will serve as the moderator, English and History Professor Robert MacLean, College of Wooster graduate Eric Bueck and Paul Cebul, the founder of Reach Trade Coffee Company. In addition, the organizers hope to get other speakers for the panel.

The performance and panel will be live streamed via YouTube for those unable to attend. This stream is the first time the event is being live streamed, and Calafato hopes that this will allow the discussion to reach a larger audience. The event is March 5 in Gault Recital Hall from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

 

Administration explains President Cornwell’s compensation

The Voice met with President Cornwell and other officials to gain a clearer understanding of the pay and benefits

Emily Timmerman

Lee McKinstry

Editors in Chief

Over the past two weeks, members of the Voice Editorial Board have met with Wooster administrators to discuss the salaries and benefit packages given to members of the College’s administration, faculty and staff. President Grant Cornwell, Vice President of Finance and Business/Treasurer Laurie Stickelmaier, Assoc. Vice President for College Relations and Marketing John Hopkins and Director of the Center for Diversity and Global Engagement Nancy Grace reviewed tax 990 forms, statistics and other reported compensation figures in an effort to make the financial operations of the College more transparent.

President Cornwell’s total compensation was reported at $633,430 for the 2010-2011 year. This figure, as it is presented in the tax 990 form, is comprised of five parts: “base compensation;” “bonuses and incentive compensation;” “other reportable compensation;” “retirement and other deferred compensation;” and “nontaxable benefits.”

While they are labeled as bonuses on the 990, Cornwell does not receive any bonuses.

Cornwell’s salary before taxes is reported as his “base compensation” in 2010-2011 totaled $320,000. His “bonus and incentive compensation,” listed at $148,843, makes up his 403 B (or TIAA-CREF), which is a retirement equities fund. Each Wooster employee is offered a similar opportunity to invest in such a fund as well. However, the figure, which feeds into his overall pension, is not a part of the president’s total compensation every year. Different presidents receive this payout in different financial years determined in their contracts. It is thus difficult to justifiably compare different Ohio president’s total compensation package because this component of their contract varies dramatically from year to year.

“Other reported compensation” includes Cornwell’s $4,122 country club expenses (an allowance provided to him for entertainment purposes), $6,505 in housekeeping expenses, $432 for cable and $120 for phone — totaling $11,137. “Retirement and other deferred compensation,” totaling $68,700, make up additional contributions to his pension. Finally, “nontaxable benefits,” totaling $84,750, include healthcare and Cornwell’s “gross-up payment” — the tuition remission that he receives to pay for his two children’s college educations. In the 2010-2011 year both of Cornwell’s children were enrolled in college. All of these figures together make up his reported total compensation and thus give a figure that can go up and down depending on changes to any one of these components.

These benefits, according to Stickelmaier, are key in bringing strong administrative staff to the College. “Again, let’s remember that this is what the Board felt it needed to do to attract a person like Grant Cornwell to come here and be president,” Sticklemaier explained.

A compensation committee within the Board of Trustees calculates the president’s salary each year after reviewing comparable packages at similar institutions in the Great Lakes College Association and of other private colleges across the country.

Stickelmaier also wished to draw attention to the College’s recent campaign to increase faculty salaries so that they would be more competitive among Ohio’s private colleges. For four years, six faculty representatives, five cabinet members and the chair of the staff committee helped advise administrative work about increasing faculty salaries.

“We’ve made some progress over the last few years in getting faculty salaries up to the median in the Great Lakes Colleges Association,” said Sticklemaier. “Then this past year, the other colleges in the associations have really worked hard to be competitive, so we haven’t lost in the ground, but we’ve really worked hard to remain flat.”

Though it hasn’t been widely publicized beyond the College, these changes were discussed at length in multiple faculty meetings.

As far as the College’s endowment is concerned, Stickelmaier says that only a portion is invested in outside markets. In a year these investments can affect the endowment as the returns on those investments are based on the performance of the markets. The college is a non-profit organization, and does not post a profit; any surplus is invested institutionally. In many years, the College operates at a deficit.

“The way I explain it to the trustees is that the College takes in a certain amount of money every year, and we spend every dime of that every year providing the education that we provide,” said Sticklemaier. “We don’t have any money to blow, but then again we’re not having any financial difficulty either. We have a break-even budget every single year.”

Last year, Wooster actually reported a surplus of approximately $7,000, something that doesn’t usually happen.

“I’m prejudiced, but I think this place is just amazing at what it does, so if we can do this and still break even, that’s great,” said Sticklemaier.

Cornwell, Sticklemaier and Hopkins stressed that any student interested in learning more about the financial workings of the College can make an appointment with them at any time. Records such as tax 990 forms are available to the public by law.

Environmental Tip of the Week: 3/1/13

 

On any given day, our campus uses 830 disposable cups for beverages. Whether that cup contained coffee, soda, water or a celebratory iced mocha latte for finishing that last paper before break, we continue to use disposable products when we have a convenient and cost-saving alternative right at our fingertips. Reusable mugs save you $0.25 on each and every drink purchase, they are free to use and you don’t have to clean them out! Reusable mugs are available to check out or trade for a clean mug at Mom’s, MacLeod’s and Old Main. You can get the same discount with your own personal mug, but you have to clean those out yourself. Every day, our campus could save 200 flex dollars by using any kind of reusable mugs instead of disposables.

I have never looked at the numbers, but I’d be willing to bet there’s a dramatic increase in coffee purchases this time of year. Make a conscious effort to bring a mug with you, along with your reusable water bottle, and stay hydrated and caffeinated in the final push to spring break. Plus, you’ll save a few flex dollars for future trips to Mom’s in April.

 

— SB Loder, Sustainability Coordinator

Lemonberry Opens in Wooster

 

Prefer downtown to uptown? No problem. There are now frozen yogurt shops on both sides of the tracks. Lemonberry, a family-run company, had its grand opening this past Saturday. The new store is located on 127 W. Liberty Street, close to Muddy Waters and Broken Rocks. The store is set up in a self-serve style and has a wide variety of flavors and over 75 toppings. Each ounce of yogurt costs 45 cents. The new shop serves more than eight flavors at a time and changes the flavors weekly. They carry unusual flavors such as Sea Salt Caramel Pretzel, Pomegranate Raspberry Sorbet and Pistachio. While each week the store changes its yogurt flavors, it keeps the traditional flavors in stock at all times.  Every Monday night is “College Night,” when students who bring their student ID’s get 25 percent off their frozen treat. The store is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weeknights and stays open until 10:30 p.m. on the weekends.