Jenna Duncan's Portfolio

Writing and Reporting by Jenna Duncan

Archive for the ‘The Huntington News’ Category

UHCS cautions against H1N1

leave a comment »

Published on September 9, 2009 in The Huntington News

The vaccine for the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, will be available to the Northeastern community by early November Executive Director of University Health Counseling Services (UHCS) Madeleine Estabrook said.
Until then, she said the University is taking all necessary precautions to prevent the contraction and spread of H1N1 and the seasonal flu.

‘We are registered with the state so when the vaccine becomes available it will be on campus, and students up to 24 are in the high risk group,’ she said. ‘It’s expected to be in production and sent mid to late October, so we are hoping to have it late October to early November.

The school is working with Boston Public Health Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make sure regulations and requirements are being met for preparation and cleaning.

A large part of the preparation has been outreach to students, Estabrook said. Over summer, students were sent two emails about H1N1 and freshmen received free hand sanitizer and thermometers.

‘The best prevention is good education,’ she said. ‘We continue to do as much education as possible, and will have flu shots available.’

Some students said they believe the efforts will work, and some said they will take the precautions.

‘If they’re giving people resources to stay healthy, I think people will do it,’ freshman industrial engineering major Michaela Poulin said.

Distinguishing whether a student has H1N1 or influenza will be nearly impossible though unless they are hospitalized, Estabrook said.

‘We really don’t know because H1N1 will not be tested unless someone is hospitalized,’ she said. ‘Any flu can be very serious if you have high-risk underlying medical conditions or if you’re pregnant. For most of us it’s going to feel just like the mild illness of any flu.’

Because of this, some students are skeptical of the seriousness of the viruses. Freshman Nick Macrina, a digital arts major, said he won’t use the hand sanitizer he was given, and doesn’t think H1N1 is serious.

‘I don’t think it’s a big deal, it’s like the regular flu,’ he said. ‘It’s just another strain and we’re going crazy over it.’

In addition to students, faculty and staff are also being prepared for the flu season.

‘The staff is getting the same education,’ Estabrook said. ‘There will be seasonal flu clinics on campus for faculty and staff as well.’

The staff has been educated on another level as well, as for what to do if a large scale outbreak occurs.

‘The faculty will be aware that H1H1 and seasonal influenza might interrupt classroom instruction for an unusually large number of students, and will be prepared to provide course material, including make-up examinations and assignments, so that students will not be penalized for short-term absence from class due to influenza,’ Philomena Mantella, Senior Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Life, said in an e-mail sent to students on Aug. 27.

Estabrook said that by students following guidelines such as covering their mouth’s and noses with tissues, washing their hands and staying home if they have a fever, this will hopefully be controlled, though she said nothing is for certain.

‘We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we know that the public health offices are suggesting that there will be both seasonal and H1N1 influenza,’ she said.’

Written by jdunccc

September 9, 2009 at 12:00 am

Posted in The Huntington News

Tagged with

Student loans changed

leave a comment »

Published on June 30, 2009 in The Huntington News

Effective today, college graduates who have to pay back student loans have a new option for repayment.

The United States Department of Education developed a plan in which students repay federal loans based on how much they make after graduation.

According to a June 29 New York Times article, the income repayment plan limits what the borrowers have to pay to 15 percent of the difference between their gross income and 150 percent of poverty guidelines, which is $10,830 a year for an individual in 2009.

Additionally, the balance of the loan is forgiven after 10 years of payments and employment for students who take public service jobs. This would include nonprofit organizations, government employees and teachers.

The balance will also be forgiven if the borrowers make all payments on time for 25 years.

If a borrower is unemployed, the program allows leniency, letting borrowers without work to defer payments for up to 3 years.

Senior psychology major Alex Edwards said he did not expect to make a lot of money upon graduation, but he was skeptical as to the practicality of the plan. He said he didn’t understand who would cover the difference when people stopped paying their loans.

“I’m working two jobs now, and I barely make ends meet, so I’m thinking I’m definitely not going to be paying a lot of it right away,” he said. “It seems like a nice idea, but like most nice ideas, I still wonder if it’s going to work.”

According to a June 16 article, this was meant to encourage recent graduates to accept jobs in low-paying fields.

Director of Career Services Maria Stein said while money is a necessity, it should not change the way students decide which jobs they take.

“I don’t think loan repayment is going to change a student’s job acceptance habit,” she said. “The main factor is typically not the money. It’s whether it meets your personal and professional goals.”

Written by jdunccc

June 30, 2009 at 12:00 am

Mumps alert gone citywide, no cases confirmed

leave a comment »

Published on April 16, 2009 in The Huntington News

Thursday, a Campus Health Alert was issued to notify students about a suspected outbreak of the mumps after four students had recently shown signs of the disease.’

The four have had preliminary tests and thus far the results have been negative. However, they have undergone more extensive testing and results will be available next week, according to the notice.

“All four students have been vaccinated against mumps and, thus far, all lab tests are negative,” the first of four releases stated.

Two of the students recently traveled to Ireland, where there is currently a mumps outbreak, according to the Boston Public Health Commission’s release.’

The alert has now gone citywide, though as of press time no other suspected cases had been reported.

“University and Health Counseling Services is working closely with the state and city public health officials to make sure members of the community are informed and safe,” the second release stated.

On the emergency website, the university has released a mumps fact sheet to let students and faculty know the exact symptoms as well as the risks and how to get vaccinated.’

Additionally, last night an e-mail was sent out to approximately 500 students who are likely to have been in contact with the four affected students, the emergency website said.’ The message was sent to those in classes with the four students because the virus can be transmitted by the infected person sneezing, coughing or talking.’

For additional updates, check


Written by jdunccc

April 16, 2009 at 12:00 am

Posted in The Huntington News

Tagged with

Onyx hosts week to publicize its magazine

leave a comment »

Published on April 12, 2009 in The Huntington News

Last week, The Onyx Informer hosted a series of events to help promote the publication around campus. Oversized sweaters, legwarmers and neon lights flooded afterHOURS Saturday night to conclude Onyx Week 2009.

This was the first year The Onyx Informer, which seeks to be a voice for the African Diaspora at Northeastern, hosted a week of events to promote their magazine, editor-in-chief Margaret Kamara said.

“The reason we did Onyx Week was to help people hear the name on campus again,” Kamara said. “A lot of the student population isn’t aware of the publication or what it’s about.”

This was the second year for the ’80s and ’90s dance party. Attendees dressed up in previous decades’ clothing and danced to oldies. Based off its earlier success, members of The Onyx decided to host an entire week of events and finish with the dance party, she said.

The festivities began Monday, April 6 with an alumni mixer at 6 p.m. in West Village C. A similar event was hosted Kamara’s freshman year, and she said she was glad to reinstate it.

“The events weren’t really for the alumni, but in the beginning [of the week] we wanted to connect them and start an alumni group,” she said. “So now in the future they can give back to The Onyx or mentor, or help with any type of networking.”

This focus is to make sure that The Onyx is a recognized student publication on campus, Kamara said.

“We hoped to let students know that there are different publications on campus and to expose themselves to it,” she said. “They should make an effort to let them know what we’re about.”

Through the events and new freshmen added to staff this year, Kamara, a senior, said she feels that the publication is in good hands and will continue to grow next year.

“[The new staff] is really excited,” she said. “The new people have energy and enthusiasm and they’re dedicated to promoting the magazine. They’re going to take it to another level.”

The magazine already attracts students because of promotion by the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, as well as through networking with friends, said freshman Onyx member Danielle Howe.

“I heard of The Onyx before I got on campus and I got here and got more involved,” she said. “It exposes a lot of good and bad about the university.”

The Onyx continued to promote the magazine through its events, handing out copies of the magazine and talking with students Wednesday at a barbecue in the Centennial Commons.

“We had food and at the same time passed out our issues,” Kamara said. “We let them know that we are here and cater to minority students, but also cover issues that effect the whole student body.”

Thursday was another event where a group of students went out to dinner at Fajitas and Ritas, a Mexican restaurant in the Theater District. On Friday, there was Soul Speech Live in Frost Lounge, where there was an open mic for poets, rappers and artists, and the week was ended with the dance party at afterHOURS.

“Soul Speech and the party were [my favorites] and it was so successful,” Howe said. “Everyone was just having a good time.”

The party was at full capacity, and was a successful way to cap off the week, Kamara said.

“The party of course was the most successful,” she said. “A lot of people showed up and the fact that it hit capacity speaks for itself. It was a great event.”

Written by jdunccc

April 12, 2009 at 12:00 am

Posted in The Huntington News

Tagged with ,

Harvard team taking on RIAA comes to NU

leave a comment »

Published on April 8, 2009 in The Huntington News

On iTunes, seven songs cost $6.93.

Seven songs for Joel Tenenbaum, however, may cost him $1 million.

Tenenbaum, a graduate student at Boston University, and a team of Harvard law students led by Professor Charles Nesson are currently fighting the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

“Everyone’s talking about Joel,” said Debbie Rosenbaum, a Harvard graduate student who is handling the public relations for the case. “There’s a definite buzz in cyberspace, so it’s exciting.”

Yesterday, about 20 people gathered in Shillman Hall to listen to Tenenbaum, Nesson and Rosenbaum talk about the case and what they believe the key issues are.

“We’re not here to protect the CD industry,” Tenenbaum said. “We are here to protect the music and its future.”

The case began in 2003 when a letter was sent to Tenenbaum’s parents’ house, where he was living at the time. He was 16 years old, and the letter requested $5,250 for the seven songs he allegedly downloaded illegally. He explained his financial status as a student, and sent a check for $500, which was later returned.

He said he didn’t hear anything else until 2007, when five separate music labels filed a civil complaint, seeking up to $150,000 per song. From here, he and his mother, a lawyer, dealt with the numerous legal allegations until Nesson offered to help.

“We had been fighting for a while, then Charlie stepped in to assist me,” Tenenbaum said.

In October 2008, Tenenbaum’ attended a deposition hosted by a council of music industry representatives from Denver. After this, his parents, sister and even ex-girlfriends had to endure the same council.

“This to me is so mind-boggling,” Nesson said. “We’re talking about a kid that downloaded some songs, and for doing that his family has been infringed upon ‘hellip; It’s some kind of insanity.”

With the enormity of the case and the measures that have been taken by the RIAA legal team, the case has gained a lot of support, even globally.

“This case has become bigger than Joel or any of us,” Rosenbaum said.

Because the case has attracted so much attention and is fighting the higher-ups of the recording industry, Tenenbaum and his team are using unconventional methods like blogging about their legal strategy and asking for public input. This has generated negative feedback from many lawyers, Rosenbaum said, but isn’t illegal.

“We’re lapping into collaborative knowledge,” she said. “I realize we are pushing a lot of boundaries.”

The case has also left people divided, however, resulting in varied responses on their website,, and the Facebook group, Joel Fights Back Against RIAA.

“We’ve gotten two basic responses,” Tenenbaum said. “To fight the man ‘hellip; and then of course that I’m killing the music industry.”

Tenenbaum and his team, however, believe peer-to-peer sharing is actually beneficial to the music industry and needs to be adopted.

“We understand people make money in between the artist and customer,” Rosenbaum said. “The Internet has fundamentally changed how it works. Artists can now directly communicate with consumers.”

Here, they cited the ‘Radiohead Model,’ where the band Radiohead released a download-only version of their album In Rainbows for a user-defined price. Also, by low-priced or free downloads, artists can get more exposure.

“I’d like [people to] recognize that noncommercial sharing is a good thing and actually helps artists,” Nesson said.

The issues at hand in the case and what the defense hopes to achieve show how the lines are currently blurred, said junior music industry major Marc Pellegrino.

“It’s very interesting and informative,” he said. “But it just proves that nothing is clear, and it’s not black and white.”

The first hearing date has been postponed to April 30 since they are currently fighting to allow the trial be viewed online. Though it’s a constant fight, the team said they feel like they are correct in their beliefs and have the general public’s support.

“The legal battle is uphill, but I think the court of public opinion is on our side,” Rosenbaum said.

Written by jdunccc

April 8, 2009 at 12:00 am

Stellar leaves Northeastern

leave a comment »

Published on April 8, 2009 in The Huntington News

After reluctantly resigning from his position as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) shortly before the start of last semester, professor Jim Stellar is now leaving the university.

“I was not planning to step down, and anyone that knew me and what I was going to do knew that,” he told The News yesterday.

Stellar will join the staff of Queens College in New York as provost and vice president for academic affairs beginning’ in the fall semester, according to a’ Queens College press release issued yesterday following his formal resignation from Northeastern.

“After I stopped being dean, I discovered that I really liked academic administration, and that’s why I began the search,” Stellar said. “I’m a very lucky man, and I got what I thought was the more exciting job for me.”

Stellar’s resignation as dean was partially because of conflicts with newly-appointed Provost Stephen Director, said journalism professor Nick Daniloff, a friend and longtime colleague of Stellar.

“There were differences between Provost Stephen Director and Stellar,” Daniloff said. “Apparently, the provost felt he couldn’t work effectively with Dean Stellar, so essentially he asked him to resign’ his position.”

This clash occurred because the two had different ways of operating, Daniloff said.

“What I can say about Stellar is he was very enthusiastic and very open,” Daniloff said. “All I can really say is that the two of them had different management styles. Stellar’s was one of enthusiasm and it seems to me Provost Director is a more restrained individual.”

Some students said they did not know what was happening at the time, and still feel in the dark about the issue ‘-’ even those who worked with him in the on-campus neuroscience lab.

“None of us are clear as to why he was asked to step down, aside from politics,” said junior behavioral neuroscience major Natalia Diaz. “I would’ve appreciated a straight answer from the president as well as the provost as to what the circumstances were, because it was unfair. Stellar did such an amazing job as dean and a researcher. He deserved a lot more.”

Very few people knew the details of what was happening, said George Gottschalk, a student who considers Stellar a good friend.

“Jim kept me informed throughout the entire ordeal, but insisted I keep the information to myself,” he said. “He still remains admirably dignified despite the atrocity of his dismissal.”

Because of his acclaimed style and his long history at the university, Daniloff said Queens College will benefit from Stellar’s experience.

“He was very lucky to get the position of provost at Queens College, and I must say it’s our loss and their gain,” Daniloff said. “I’m sad to see that he’s leaving, but it looks like he’s making an important new step in his career.”

Students also believe the new position is good for Stellar, Diaz said.

“I was actually happy for him,” she said. “I hope Queens College is able to appreciate him the way he should’ve been at Northeastern.”

Stellar also said he was hopeful for success in his career at Queens College, and said he appreciates parallels between the school and Northeastern.

“I’m really excited because in Queens, I see a lot of the same elements that I do at Northeastern,” Stellar said. “It’s big, it’s urban, and Queens has a prominent role in the borough and the area.”

His departure may be more dismal for others, and some said they consider it one of the worst mistakes Northeastern officials have recently made.

“I would call it the worst thing that’s happened to Northeastern since I’ve been here,” Gottschalk said. “He is a brilliant man that completely understood what sets Northeastern apart from every other school out there and he was truly dedicated to involving the students in his decision making process.”

Despite his enthusiasm for the new position, Stellar said he is disheartened about leaving Northeastern.

“All of this is sad, but on the other hand, I had to leave to pursue what I want to do,” he said. “The way I explain it is, I’m graduating with you and that’s the way I’m looking at it. It feels like that, and I’ve left places before and still cared about them. Any senior can relate to this feeling.”

Through the reactions of Stellar’s students and colleagues, he said he took the responses to heart and they affirmed that he accomplished a lot here.

“I’ve tried to focus on the team, and I’m taking it as a confirmation that we built a team here,” he said. “And I’m going to try and do that again as provost at Queens College.”

Written by jdunccc

April 8, 2009 at 12:00 am

Professor makes case for Israel with film screening

leave a comment »

Published on April 1, 2009 in The Huntington News

Despite the New England Patriots’ Tedy Bruschi speaking Monday night, about 150 people instead gathered to see Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz screen his new film, ‘The Case for Israel,’ and have a debate with attendees about the state of Israeli and Palestinian relations.

This is the only college screening that Dershowitz has attended, and was sponsored by Students for Israel at Northeastern, College Democrats, College Republicans, Political Science Students’ Association and Northeastern Hillel.

The event began by playing the film, which was broken into six sections:’ J’accuse (outrage against a powerful person), Historical Facts, Democracy and Difficult Choices, Justice, Threats and Fortitude. These six sections outline why Dershowitz believes Israel should be its own state, and why he feels it is reasonable.

J’accuse opens the film with outrage directed toward Jimmy Carter, who is avidly pro-Palestine, and whom Dershowitz blames for ruining Israel and Palestine’s chances of peace. Historical Facts briefed viewers on the history of Palestinian and Israeli relations, and Democracy and Difficult Choices showed how the Israeli government works. The last three focused on how Israel is singled out, threatened by terrorists and more accepting than Palestine.

“This isn’t a film for extremists,” he said later during the question and answer session. “For me, it’s making the case for people that have an open mind about this.”

After the viewing, Dershowitz came on the stage and challenged students to ask their hardest questions.

“Who wants to ask the first hard, critical question?” he asked the audience.

The questions ranged from the film’s target audience to asking what he would do if he were a Palestinian. He first became heated when a student suggested Palestinians fought because they were oppressed or poor.

“So people that don’t have jobs can blow up babies?” he said. “Terrorism is targeting civilians for killing.”

From here, he argued that while Israelis try to protect people by having bomb shelters everywhere, Palestinians are more willing to sacrifice their own and do not put up such defense mechanisms for the public.

“You can’t measure the number of deaths because it won’t be proportional,” he said. “Israel does everything in its power to preserve human life.”

In response to the next question, he also argued that Israel will do anything in its power to end the conflict, including giving up Jerusalem.

From here the topics drifted toward the workings of Israel as a democracy, and how it is viewed by the world. One of the main arguments during this, as well as the film, is that Israel is the only democratic nation in the Middle East, comparing it to the government in Palestine that can murder homosexuals.

He then discussed how in Europe there are many human rights campaigns focused on being pro-Palestine, but they don’t care about any other human rights issues like genocide in Darfur. This, he said, proves that it is only because people are against a Jewish state existing.

“When the French care only about the Palestinians, its pure anti-Semitism,” Dershowitz said.

The session was concluded by a student asking when the hatred would go away, and Dershowitz shared a story about attending an orchestra performance about a year ago where the orchestra was composed half of Israelis and half of Palestinians.

“For many Israelis and Palestinians, it was a sign of what could be,” he said. “Will it happen overnight? No.”

Despite Dershowitz’s tough and confident attitude, junior electrical engineering major Bruce Kaufman said he wasn’t fully convinced by Dershowitz.

“I think he glossed it over,” he said. “But he did say that Israel isn’t perfect, and there’s some obvious controversy.”

Written by jdunccc

April 1, 2009 at 12:00 am

Posted in The Huntington News

Tagged with ,