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where there's smoke: A building under construction next to the Logan Police Station caught fire from a welder's spark. Damage was estimated at $50,000. / Photo by Gideon Oakes

Today's word on journalism

August 27, 2008

On protests at political conventions:

"The citizens of Denver and St. Paul, and Americans everywhere, should hope officials in those cities already have considered both the constitutional and monetary costs of silencing voices that have a right to be heard. . . . Well-expressed or wacky. Irritating or illuminating. Respectful or raucous. There's nothing in the 45 words of the First Amendment that sets out any such qualifications or limits on protests. Time and again in our history, from women's suffrage to civil rights to tax protests, to name just some, voices first raised in the streets -- to the disgust or disappointment of some -- have led to significant, positive changes in law and American life."

--Gene Policinski, executive director, First Amendment Center, 2008

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Profs take a pie to the face for a good cause

By Stephanie Hebert

May 9, 2008 | The professors were in their corner huddled together for strength. The students were quietly in their corner knowing they had the upper hand on their professors and advisors, for once.

It was pie a professor day, April 17, an annual fundraiser put on by Psi Chi, the national psychology honor society.

OK, so there were no corners, and everyone there, was there for fun. The professors were clumped together in front of the education building on 700 North. The students stood together around the blue tarp taped to the ground. The tarp represented ground zero, where the professors would stand while they were assaulted by whipped cream, and it made it easier to clean up after the event was over. Oh yeah, and there were no real pies, only simulated pies-whipped cream on Styrofoam plates.

"I did hear stories about when they actually used pies, and it was apparently a god-awful mess," said Dr. Susan Crowley, one of the few psychology professors to volunteer to be pied.

"Yeah," said Dr. Renee Galliher, another psychology professor who has participated in the event since it started and was there when they used real pies. "But it was much more delicious."

The willing victims of the simulated pies were offered disposable shower caps to keep the whipped cream out of their hair. They also had the option of wearing a shiny, slimming, black garbage bag with a hole cut in the top for their head to keep the whipped cream off their clothes. Most professors chose to wear the ensemble, but one, Dr. Scott Bates, was a brave soldier taking the pies without any plastic protection. For the most part he came out unscathed, he did however, bring a change of clothes with him, just in case.

When asked why he allowed pies to be smeared in his face, Bates said, "It is an interesting fund raiser, most fund raiser aren't interesting. It is all done in fun, and it is a good stress relief. I always thought it would be a bigger deal. I think we are missing some key faculty."

Galliher said, "It's a fun time, then you go home and clean up."

Corina Jimenez-Gomez, a graduate student from Venezuela who volunteered to be pied, said, "For a few seconds I thought it would be fun. When Jake came to my office and he started talking about it, and he's really enthusiastic and talking really fast and I was like ‘Ok yeah. Oh Ok.' and he walked out of my office and I was sitting there and it just hit me ‘Oh no!'."

If you wanted a chance to smear a pie in a professor's face you had to win the bidding war for that professor. The bids started at five dollars. However if you didn't win the bid for the professor you wanted all you had to do was wait because most professors were up for pieing more than once.

Once the bidding war was won the lucky professor would suit up (or not in some cases) and go stand on the dreaded blue tarp. To keep the mess level down it was decided that instead of throwing the pies the students would walk right up to the professors and cream them right in the face with the pie. You can only image the satisfaction some of them had in doing this.

"It felt great. I wanted to get as much as I could up the nostrils," said Jonathon Kidd when asked about his pieing experience of Bates. "He has been my professor twice and I SIed for him, it is a love/hate relationship, some days it's really good, some days it's really bad."

As the pieings continued, strategies started to emerge as to maximize the damage done with the pie. There was the twisting action that was used at the beginning of the afternoon in which the students would plant the pie in the professors face and twist the plate left and right. By the end of the afternoon and the plate fold became popular. The pier would take their plate in two hands and fold the plate around the pie-ee's head to make sure that whip cream covered the entire face.

The professors in the peanut gallery started to rate the pie face after the plate was removed. This was based on how much whipped cream was stuck the piee's face and how much was left on the plate after the pieing took place.

"Think about your thesis," said Galliher to Katie Peterson as Peterson walked up to her with a pie in hand and a smile on her face.

"I wasn't thinking about my thesis, it was revenge," Peterson said of her experience.

Jenna Glover pied Crowley and Galliher and when asked why she did it Glover said, "I am a graduate student so those were my advisors. Payback."

However Crowley and Galliher had the last laugh when they bid and won a joint pieing on Glover.

The dean of the college of Education and Human Services Carol Strong agreed to get pied. As she donned the provided plastic protection the excitement in the crowd grew like a weed in spring. As the bidding war commenced the desperation to be the one pie Dean Strong became intense. Finally the bidding war was won by Alexis Lopez.

As the pie was smeared in the dean's face a roar erupted, much like Mount Vesuvius, from the entire crowd- faculty included.

When asked how she felt about pieing Dean Strong, Lopez said it was "Awesome. It was worth the twenty bucks to be the first one to pie Dean Strong."

Toward the end of the afternoon the professors started to plot against their unsuspecting graduate students that happened to wander by. Peterson who pied one of her advisors volunteered to be pied by her advisor. It seemed what went around came around and the professors who had been on the receiving end of the pies learned from their students and showed no mercy.

There was whipped cream in everybody's hair, an effective styling agent for those college students who are short on money and may have whipped cream in your refrigerators. Some even complained that whipped cream had coated their contacts and they were looking through a sucrose film after they had been pied. However it was a successful day for Psi Chi. The weather was perfect, the sun was shining, and it was so warm the whipped cream started to melt. The only complaint that was heard came from Bates who said in response to a bidding war, "I went for $30 last year."

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