Palin to speak on Elon University campus Thursday

Republican vice presidential candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spoke at a rally in Waukesha, Wis., at the Center Court Sports Complex on. Oct. 9. Palin is expected to speak at Elon University on Oct. 16. Photo courtesy of Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT.
Republican vice presidential candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spoke at a rally in Waukesha, Wis., at the Center Court Sports Complex on Oct. 9. Palin is expected to speak at Elon University on Oct. 16. Photo courtesy of Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT.

by Andie Diemer
Oct. 13, 2008

Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is scheduled to speak Thursday at Elon University, Robert Simpson, chairman of Alamance County Republican Party, told the Burlington Times-News.

While details are still being worked out, preparations around campus point to a 3 p.m. event at Latham Park baseball stadium on campus.

Student Body President Chase Rumley said that while it hasn’t been confirmed, it would reflect very positively on Elon to have Palin here, especially considering Former President Bill Clinton visited in the spring.

“It will be interesting to see if her speech is more student or community focused and who her message speaks to more,” he said. “I think everyone will be respectful.”

Nick Ochsner, president of College Republicans, said he was not able to confirm the event until a press release was published by the campaign.

Palin will also speak on Thursday at 8 a.m. at Bangor International Airport in Bangor, Maine and again at 10 a.m. at United Sports Training Center in Chester County, Pa.

Both events are open to the public and free.

She will also be making an appearance at an event in Greensboro later that evening.

Ever Elon campaign launches Saturday

by Andie Diemer
Oct. 8, 2008

This Saturday marks the official launch of the Ever Elon Campaign, a comprehensive program that has been almost two years in the making and will focus on the school’s endowment and funding as well as providing funds for the completion of three buildings on campus.

At Tuesday’s College Coffee, a preview of the campaign was revealed to educate the community on how it can become involved and help shape the future of the university.

The program, which has been backed by Elon’s Board of Trustees, will work to continue building and creating new opportunities at Elon. These include getting more students to study abroad, awarding more research grants for student-faculty collaboration and constructing a larger Convocation Center that will be able to house everyone on campus.

rumleyChuck Davis, director of the Ever Elon Campaign, said the campaign’s endowment goal will be released Friday. Elon’s current endowment is about $82 million.

“Our campaign priorities for endowment are very much related to supporting students,” Davis said.

Whether this is through merit- or need-based aid scholarships or study abroad grants, Davis said this campaign will impact everyone, even if the direct funds are not going toward student activities.

“Supporting our faculty has a direct correlation on student experience in the classroom,” Davis said. “We’re trying to endow new professorships to ensure the experience for our students in the classroom is always cutting edge and top notch.”

While growing the endowment is the focus of the campaign, Ever Elon will also work to finish building Lindner Hall as well as create a multi-faith center adjacent to the church and a new athletics facility.

Gifts began being counted on June 1, 2006. From that time on a diverse committee, which encompassed students, faculty, staff and board members, worked to create the nuts and bolts of the campaign. Everything from how to “count” a gift to minimum donation amounts was tackled.

Current results of Elon’s endowment include buildings, such as Moseley, Koury Business Center, the Academic Village and Belk Library, and other amenities like scholarship programs. Donors can opt to specific what they would like their money put towards, such as athletics or abroad experiences.

“Thanks to the generous support of countless others before us, all of this has been a reality and has significantly impacted our Elon experience,” SGA Executive President Chase Rumley said.

Rumley said the visions to improve campus can materialize, but only through donations from the Elon community, including students, their families, faculty, staff and friends.

“This campaign is about every single person,” he said. “It’s about everybody chipping in and making a difference. Every gift from every student, regardless of size or designation, counts for the campaign.”

Click here for more information on Ever Elon.

Palin exceeds expectations, still succumbs to Biden, Elon convenience sample says

While Gov. Sarah Palin was able to connect with the American people, Sen. Joe Biden had more factual evidence and was able to come out on top during Thursday’s vice presidential debate, an Elon convenience sample said.

According to an unscientific poll conducted by an Elon University Reporting for the Public Good class Oct. 3 from 11 – 12 p.m., Democratic vice presidential candidate Biden prevailed over Republican vice presidential candidate Palin during the Oct. 2 debate held at the Washington University in St. Louis Athletic Complex.

The event, which was the first time the two met, marked the only debate the two candidates will have against each other before the Nov. 4 elections.

While 230 Elon faculty, staff and students were surveyed, 37 percent said Biden won while only 23 percent said Palin won. Twelve percent said it was a tie and 28 percent did not watch the debate or did not care to comment.

Elon University junior Mary Robinson said Palin clearly lost, even though she did better than expected.

“People had very low expectations for her and she surpassed them, but just because she used certain catch phrases doesn’t appeal to me,” Robinson said. “I don’t think Palin really showed that she was well informed on the questions she was asked. She made a rebuttal with information that turned out to be false in regards to the surge in Afghanistan and actually got the general’s name wrong.”

Elon University Senior Tim Graham said Palin hardly answered anything while hawking the necessity to talk “straight up” to the American people.

Ashley Flanagan, an Elon University junior, said each candidate won in his or her own way.

“I think that Palin had really low expectations and she did a good job, seeing that she had such low expectations,” Flanagan said. “But I think most people would probably say that Biden won based on his experiences and stuff, but I think Palin held it together.”

Elon University senior Katie Kuekes agreed, saying it was a close call.

“I think Joe Biden had some really good points and was able to back up his opinions with facts,” Kuekes said. “Palin’s factual evidence was not as strong, but her style was really appealing to some people.”

Junior Ashley Prilutski agreed, saying Palin didn’t come off as educated as Biden.

“I think she looked like an idiot because she didn’t answer most of the questions she was asked and just went off on her own and said what she wanted to say, not answering the question,” Prilutski said. “She also was not very eloquent and came off looking stupid — from my educated opinion — with all her ‘folksy’ sayings, aka comparing the economy to a soccer game. I understand why she did it, but I think the U.S. economy is a bit different than a soccer game.”

Gwen Ifill, a correspondent and moderator for nationally televised public broadcasting news programs, moderated the debate.

Elon University Senior Katie Kuekes said the debate was a close call, but in the end Biden had more factual evidence to support his opinion. Watch below to hear more.

Elon University Junior Ashley Flanagan said Palin performed much better than she thought she would, but that Biden brings more experience to the table and it was evident during the debate. Watch below to hear more.

Man lying on tracks, killed by train east of campus

Graff's body was found at Park Road Extension and Hunter Avernue early Tuesday morning.
Graff’s body was found early Tuesday morning at Park Road Extension and Hunter Avenue.

by Andie Diemer
Sept. 30, 2008

A 21-year-old man lying on railroad tracks was struck and killed by a freight train early this morning. The university confirmed he was not an Elon student.

Ronald Alan Graff was lying on the railroad tracks and hit by a Norfolk Southern train traveling west at 2:16 a.m., according to the Times-News.

His body was found at Park Road Extension and Hunter Avenue.

The Times-News reported that the conductor saw someone lying on the tracks but could not halt the train in time.

Police did not release where he lived.

Officials are looking for any extenuating circumstances surrounding Graff’s death.

To report any information regarding this incident, call Burlington police at 229-3530.

Election campaigns full of surprises for news veteran Jonathan Alter

Jonathan Alter spoke with the staff of the student newspaper, The Pendulum, inbetween his question-and-answer session and speech at Elon University on Sept. 29.
Jonathan Alter spoke with the staff of the student newspaper, The Pendulum, inbetween his question-and-answer session and speech at Elon University on Sept. 29.

by Andie Diemer
Sept. 29, 2008

Jonathan Alter, a senior editor at Newsweek since 1991, spoke to the Elon community on Monday night about the election campaigns, the current status of the country and the issues the next president will face.

Students, faculty, staff and community members crowded into McCrary Theatre to hear Alter speak. While Alter was pleased with the turnout, he wasn’t surprised. He said he has seen large crowds and a similar interest and intensity at every venue he’s visited this year.

“People are taking this choice seriously,” he said.

Prior to his speech in McCrary, Alter sat down for an exclusive interview with The Pendulum. He shared his insights on the youth vote, last Friday’s debate, Sarah Palin and more. To read the full interview, go to

Diemer: This is the seventh election you’ve covered for Newsweek. Has anything surprised you?
Alter: Everything is always surprising me. That’s what keeps it fun, is that every year there are big changes in American politics. I think particularly in this election year, we’ve seen a number of major changes. To give you a quick example, four years ago, hard as it is to believe, YouTube hadn’t even been invented yet. It didn’t start until 2005.

In the past, campaign finance was dominated by fat cats, big contributors. This year you have the Obama campaign — about half of their contributors are giving under $200 and large numbers under $100. They have about 2.5 million contributors, which just dwarfs anything we’ve seen in the past, so that’s very surprising.

D: Why are young people more interested in this election?
A: I think there are three reasons why they are turning out in greater numbers this year. First is how close the 2000 election was, when they were very young, and they remember that. The second is the aftermath of Katrina and 9/11 and the recognition that the stakes are very, very high for who the president should be. The third is the emergence of Barack Obama, who has a very unusual and particular appeal to younger voters.

D: Why are kids so drawn to Obama?
A: There is sort of a combination of a freshness and a coolness to Obama, a hipness that just intrigued young people from the minute they laid eyes on him.

You’ve mentioned a lot of differences between this campaign and past ones. Do you see any similarities?
A: I think the most significant one is it’s still very possible to get the campaign off of the major issues that will face the new president, distracted onto lipstick-on-a-pig-type issues that are really just campaign flaps or gaps or charges and countercharges of the day that don’t really have anything to do with the actual issues that the next president will face.

D: What messages have been put forward by each camp that have had a lasting, negative effect on the other side?
A: I think that the basic Obama message that John McCain is maybe a hero, but he’s out of touch for the 21st century, is a resonant message and a problem for John McCain. I think John McCain’s message that Barack Obama is not passionate enough about real people’s problems and maybe a little too inexperienced to handle certain international issues — that will continue to be a problem [for Obama]. I think a deeper problem for Obama is when McCain and Palin push these class buttons: ‘He’s not like you; he’s the other; he’s exotic; he doesn’t really come from the same place that you are.’ Some of that may be a little bit racial, but some of it is not racial. It’s just a depiction of him as having a different kind of experience.

D: On the topic of the debate, do you think there was a clear winner?
A: I think they both did quite well. I don’t think there was a clear winner. There was a clear loser, and the loser was Sarah Palin. The reason that she was the clear loser is that both McCain and Obama set a very high standard for knowledge and fluency about the issues. If she just goes into her debate this week with a lot of canned sound bites, a lot of attacks on Obama, and doesn’t show a command of the issues, she will be compared unfavorably both with Joe Biden and, more importantly, with Obama and McCain in terms of her readiness to be president.

D: Since Palin was picked, there has been a lot of information, negative information, that has surfaced. Do you think the McCain camp is rethinking its choice?
A: I don’t think they are — they put so many chips on Sarah Palin and they came up such a big winner at the Republican convention, that I think that they really believe their faith in her and her abilities, and that she has real talents, politically, and they will be validated by her performance.

Do they wish she had done better in the interview with Katie Couric? I’m sure they do, but I don’t think that they’re reassessing their decision to pick her and I think there’s zero chance of her being taken off the ticket.

D: What are the most important issues in this campaign? What does the next administration need to focus on?
A: In many ways, there’s only one issue, I believe, for the next president. The reason there’s only one issue is that almost every other really important issue flows out of that one issue. That one issue is restoring America’s global leadership, restoring America’s prestige in the world.

On the range of really big international problems, whether it’s dealing with a nuclear Iran, winding down the war in Iraq, dealing with North Korea, dealing with climate change, with terrorism, with AIDS — these are all international problems. If we don’t restore America’s leadership, we will not be able to address those problems. So, to me the preeminent question is which of these two men can move most effectively to reestablish our leadership.

D: Who do you think is going to come out on top?
A: I honestly think it could still go either way, and I’ve been saying for the last several weeks that it was 50/50. I would now put it at about a 55/45 edge for Barack Obama, but that still gives McCain a very, very good chance to win this election. While I would maybe bet $5 on Obama, I wouldn’t bet $10.

Whitney Bossie contributed to this article.

Watch to hear Alter’s tips to make it big in the news industry:

Excessive illegal file sharing has students, legislation out of tune

by Andie Diemer
Sept. 24, 2008

A panicky wave washed over campus last week when word leaked that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) had been investigating file sharing at Elon. While the rumors ranged from company officials physically showing up on campus to being able to backtrack downloaded songs from years ago, Chris Fulkerson, assistant vice president for technology, knew one thing was true: Illegal downloading has to stop.

While Fulkerson is normally notified of these types of infractions on a regular basis, the first two weeks of September marked a period of excess use that merited a severe wake-up call. Fifteen reports of downloading specific songs, which were chosen by the RIAA to trace, were reported by the RIAA to Elon during a three-day period.

“I let out that we had 15 notices and so people are getting nervous,” Fulkerson said.

He said the RIAA has never stepped onto campus, nor do they need to. Instead, they simply use the internet to jump on music-sharing sites, such as Limewire, and pick targeted songs to track.

Fulkerson said the first round of high hits may not be aimed as much at students as it was at the administration as a warning to curb the problem before more serious steps are taken.

The school used to keep logs of complaints for three days, but when the Higher Education Reauthorization Act was passed in August the school became required to keep logs for about two weeks.

“We must comply,” he said. “They don’t take that well [when we tell them no]. That is part of why the new act went into effect — a lot of schools have been doing that.”

The RIAA searched these specific songs on Elon's campus. Fulkerson said they don't always search for current, popular songs.
The RIAA searched for these specific songs on Elon’s campus. Fulkerson said they don’t always seek the most current or popular songs.

Fulkerson said it means several hours of work for him. After the RIAA reports specific IP addresses from computers that are illegally file sharing, Fulkerson’s networking people have to go through all the logs and match them up.

“We trace it back to the dorm, to the port, to the wireless connection,” he said. “We try to find out who it is or the general area of where it came from.”

If the RIAA sends a notice they usually ask for names to be turned over, Fulkerson said.
“Our policy has been if we get asked we’ll turn them over,” he said. “We’ve been asked and we’ve said we couldn’t identify the person.”

While no students have been turned over to the RIAA yet, Fulkerson said tracking the exact IP address to a specific student could definitely happen. In that case, they would also be handed off to Judicial Affairs.

“We aren’t required by law to turn the names over, but we do cooperate with the RIAA,” he said.

Fulkerson said he is going to send an e-mail to a specific building in Danieley Center to notify them of activity that has been located in their area.

“I’m not going to go any further,” he said. “[I’m going to say] it was traced to your building. Stop it.”

The new requirement of logging in with an Elon username and password on all campus computers or wireless plays a partial role in downloading illegal items, since now all guests and users have to register before accessing the Internet.

“By keeping guests off our network, we know it is,” Fulkerson said. “Even the guests who come on our network have to log in.”

If caught, it’s $150,000 per infraction, no matter how many songs they find on your computer.

“What they do is they go for the maximum and then settle. That’s the way they have been doing it,” Fulkerson said. “And they’re quite up front with everybody saying were going to make an example out of these students, they’re the ones that got caught.”

Fulkerson said students are taking a chance by breaking the law.

“The recording industry is becoming more aggressive at prosecuting and they’re getting better at finding people and they’re getting the government on their side by being very sympathetic about their industry. It’s the law.”