Online Edition
Philadelphia, PA 19141
Wednesday April 16, 2014
la salle
est. 1931
Peace with Russia remains unstable (March 20, 2014 issue)

By Gavin Lichtenstein and Steve Graham
Collegian Reporters

Tensions between the United States and Russia flared as voters exited the polls the afternoon of March 16 when the autonomous region of Crimea voted in favor of joining Russia. Tensions between the Ukraine and boarder neighbor Russia started in late November 2013, as former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych accepted a deal with Russian president Vladimir Putin for $15 billion of Ukrainian government bonds and cuts at the pump for Russian natural gas. The deal sparked riots and protests in the streets of eastern Ukraine. On Feb. 28, just days after the Winter Olympics in Sochi came to a close, Russia sent over 16,000 troops into Crimea as a way to protect the Russian natives in the area, Putin stated.

On Sunday, March 16, Crimea held an election of citizens living in the region asking if they would like to stay as an independent territory in Ukraine or join Russia. The votes were tallied just after 5 p.m. on March 16 with 96 percent of the votes in favor of joining Russia. The White House responded to the vote early on March 17, stating the United States will support Ukraine and we (the United States) will never acknowledge this vote.

That’s the tricky part, as the United States is torn once again on how to respond to support our allies in Ukraine while holding Russia accountable for their actions. Many Republicans are less interested in sanctioning Russia, and more interested in physically getting involved. President Obama, along with the United Kingdom, placed significant sanctions on Russia and President Putin’s administration.

The sanctions included a hold on all assets in the United States and a ban on travel for 11 people, most involved in the Crimea vote. The United States is not the only country placing sanctions on Russia; nations from the European Union, such as Belgium, have also placed sanctions on 21 people held responsible for a clear breach in the Ukrainian Constitution.

President Obama said earlier this week that if Russia does not begin to make more positive changes regarding Crimea, the United States’ sanctions on Russia will only become steeper as time moves on.

That’s what it would appear to be as of right now in Crimea as legislation was passed shortly after the final vote was cast in favor of making the Russian ruble the official type of currency in Crimea. In addition to new currency, starting March 30, Crimea will change its clocks to Moscow standard time.

Student concerned with La Salle security during crisis (March 20, 2014 issue)

By Caitlin O’Malley
Collegian Staff

When I received a La Salle explorerAlert on Tuesday, March 11, I figured it would be about an upcoming snow storm or something similar. When I read the text and realized it was about a shooting that happened near campus, I was concerned but not worried. This is North Philadelphia—these things have happened before. In my nearly three years living on and around campus, I’ve learned to be cautious but not overly so. Even so, I was coming back from my internship in Old City when the alert went out, and reached Olney Transportation Center around 5:15 p.m. Although it had been more than an hour since the event transpired, I was still wary. It was when I called security for an escort that my issues arose.

Security refused to come get me. The man on the phone told me that there had been a shooting and Olney Ave. was blocked off. I told him I understood, but the shooting is what made me need an escort to begin with. Both of the shuttles were at least 15 minutes away if they had been running normally, and they weren’t moving because of the blockade. I was told that I had to wait for a shuttle, but given no other information about when they would be resuming schedule. I was then hung up on and left to wait as it got darker at Broad and Olney, or walk. I had work and rehearsal, and wasn’t keen on staying at the SEPTA stop indefinitely. I decided to walk.

Now, nothing terrible happened on my walk back. It was a fairly nice day, and I only hit issues when I got close to the 19th St. gate, where I was told by a police officer that I couldn’t walk that way. I ended up being escorted by her to the gate so I could get dinner and go to work. I made conversation with a girl who was in a similar situation, walking to get back for a night class. There were no other alerts, and the police finished investigating.

I understand they were in a bad situation, but La Salle Security did not do their job. They are supposed to make students feel safe and secure in times of distress. Escorts are supposed to be on call 24/7 so that members of the La Salle community have options instead of putting themselves in dangerous situations. Yes, Olney Ave. was blocked off, but going down Olney Ave. is not the only way to get to the transportation center. By refusing to pick students up, security made those students choose one of two unsafe options—loitering alone at Broad and Olney or walking back to campus in an area where gunshots were recently fired and the assailant hadn’t been caught. Personally, I was anxious, frustrated and mad. I believe the University usually does a good job of handling crime issues in the area overall. This time, unfortunately, on my relatively short walk back to campus, I felt the most unsafe I have ever been at La Salle.

Presidential candidates offer different strengths (February 27, 2014 issue)

By Steven Johnston
Collegian Editor

As of Feb. 26, the University’s Presidential Search came to an end as the last candidate visited campus. Over the last three weeks the University has played host to three individuals, one of whom will be charged with running the university full-time after Brother President Michael McGinniss’ last commencement as president this May. At this point, the University’s Board of Trustees will have a closed-door meeting to choose one of the three to become the next president.
I have attended the presentations or lunches for student leaders with each of the presidential candidates here on campus over the last week and a half. The day-long events were well put together, on time and consistent for each candidate and I found that once invested in the search, I could easily obtain access to the candidates on campus.

The first candidate spoke at length about innovative ideas for La Salle, such as online graduate courses and programs, increased fundraising, focusing on the University endowment as a main priority and tackling “deferred maintenance issues on campus.” The candidate realized the importance of technology for upcoming generations and hoped La Salle would focus on such advancements in University facilities.

That being said, there were some concerning aspects of the presentation. Candidate One stated that there needed to be an official town-and-gown policy here at La Salle, something that we do in fact need, but he stated that the University’s involvement in improving the neighborhood was to “buy blocks one at a time and tear them down.” This individual also asked whether or not there was an engineering program here and did not seem intimately familiar with the University as a whole.
If he were a University president, I couldn’t see this candidate speaking at ease at campus events such as Open House, Blue and Gold Days or Commencement due to the number of pauses, “ah’s” and “um’s” and other issues with the presentation, such as when the candidate took out a cell phone in the middle of the question and answer portion. I believe that this individual did not have a clear and concise vision for the University. I appreciated all of the work and time that was a part of the search, the candidate’s pleasant and sociable demeanor and the interest that was displayed in the position, but Candidate One did not seem like a good fit for this position.

The second candidate started their presentation with a description of this individual’s connection to La Salle University through sports. This candidate was familiar with La Salle from a young age due to the University’s strength in athletics in the area. The candidate showed incredible enthusiasm and gusto throughout the presentation, had a jovial speaking style and demeanor and was both sincere and believable. When asked questions, clear, succinct and meaningful answers were provided to every student at the lunch.

The candidate also stated the importance of increased fundraising, local collaboration and global partnerships with other Lasallian institutions throughout the world. This individual showed a practical side by saying, “The future is going to be rocky, nothing good comes easy” and that they would act “nimbly” as there is not time for long debates which only increase the costs of education. This candidate also mentioned faculty diversity, student-faculty collaboration, visibility of the University President in the local community, the value of on-campus learning in conjunction with online components and a detailed and thorough decision-making process that would be adaptable as the candidate’s most important interests. Candidate Two seems to be the individual that the University needs most at present, as an individual capable of making difficult decisions, but with a creative twist that wouldn’t result in cut programs and disenfranchised community members.

The third and last candidate was stronger than the first, but was incredibly evasive when asked questions by students. This candidate didn’t connect well with the audience in the room as a number of individuals left before they were finished and not many students wished to ask questions as opposed to the previous candidate’s lunch presentation. Students learned more about the candidate’s family and shore house than the candidate’s actual interests, vision and ideas to improve the University. When responding to questions Candidate Three spoke ad nauseam, evading the question at points and reverting back to a few main talking points. When asked what this candidate’s vision for the University was, the candidate spoke exclusively about making La Salle a comfortable and memorable place for students as opposed to any actual plan of action. Positive points were limited to a student engagement program that students at the previous institution had to complete in tandem with their normal core—a program that could only be implemented it seems once the new core was established and decreased in size. Candidate Three seemed interested in taking a hands-on approach to community relations in the off campus community and stated that “50, and sometimes up to 70, percent” of the candidate’s time was spent on fundraising and increasing the financial solvency of the institution. At the candidate’s past institution the candidate had decided to eliminate a large number of Division I sports such as women’s golf, tennis and field hockey, as well as men’s indoor and outdoor track, cross country and tennis. This candidate did not seem like the best choice for taking the University in the direction we need at this current juncture.

Arizona considers another controversial bill (February 27, 2014 issue)

By Paul Prendergast
Collegian Staff

In the past few weeks several states have attempted to reverse the progress of LGBT equality. More than half a dozen states have been pushing for bills that would allow discrimination against gays and lesbians in the name of religious freedom. These bills are intended to provide legal protection for businesses that wish to refuse service to people on their religious views on sexual orientation. Although these movements have developed in several states, Arizona was the only state whose legislature passed the measures. Arizona’s Senate bill 1062 awaited the signature of Republican Governor Jan Brewer.

Arizona Democrats have denounced Arizona’s LGBT discrimination bill. Arizona Senate Democratic Leader Anna Tovar said in a statement, “With the express consent of Republicans in this Legislature, many Arizonans will find themselves members of a separate and unequal class under this law because of their sexual orientation. This bill may also open the door to discriminate based on race, familial status, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability.” This bill is certainly a step in the wrong direction, toward the dark days of this nation’s history in the Jim Crow South. The passage of this bill has sparked outrage across the nation.

George Takei, an openly gay actor of Star Trek fame, threatened to boycott Arizona and encouraged others to do so as well. Takei and his husband Brad, born in Phoenix, have vacationed in Arizona annually, but will do so no longer. Takei wrote in an open letter, “So let me make mine just as clear. If your Governor Jan Brewer signs this repugnant bill into law, make no mistake. We will not come. We will not spend. And we will urge everyone we know–from large corporations to small families on vacation–to boycott. Because you don’t deserve our dollars. Not one red cent.” If Arizona does not understand the equality reasons for avoiding this law, perhaps George Takei and others can use their boycott to make Arizona regret this move for the economic damage it will create.

Businesses have already recognized the negative effects such a law would have on the economy of Arizona. This bill creates an image of Arizona as backward and unaccepting of diversity. Businesses would lose the desire to locate in Arizona, and tourism would most assuredly suffer. Two giants of the tourism industry, American Airlines and Marriott Hotels had both written letters to Governor Brewer requesting she veto the discrimination bill. Other corporations, including Delta Airlines, PetSmart, Intel, and Apple, have voiced their opposition to this law. A Tucson pizza shop, Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria, has received attention for putting up a sign saying it reserves the right to refuse service to Arizona legislators.
In recent weeks there have been endless questions about whether homosexuality would be accepted in professional sports. These questions circulated as Jason Collins returned to the NBA for the first time since he came out last year and Michael Sam attended the NFL combine as he attempts to be the first openly homosexual NFL player.

Perhaps a source of encouragement for Sam, the NFL has voiced opposition to the bill and claims to be following the issue closely. Rumors have circulated that the NFL may consider relocating the 2015 Super Bowl, currently scheduled to take place in Arizona, if the bill is signed into law. In 1993 the Super Bowl was moved from Arizona to Pasadena after the state refused to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a state holiday.
The Associated Press has reported that Governor Brewer has vetoed the bill, which was be a wise decision. Moving beyond the prejudiced, discriminatory nature of the bill, with so many in opposition, a potential boycott of Arizona would be financially foolish to endure in the name of religious freedom.

Bitcoin exchange misplaces millions in virtual currency (February 27, 2014 issue)

By John Schatz
Collegian Editor

Last semester, I wrote an article about the dangers of using bitcoins. Unfortunately, for those who do not religiously follow my writing in the Collegian, I was right. It has recently come to light that MtGox, the largest exchange for bitcoins and an acronym for Magic the Gathering Online Exchange, has lost 744 thousand bitcoins. With the exchange rate of a bitcoin being $500 at the time of the announcement, the value of what was lost is upwards of $350 million. There have been previous thefts like this in the past, but this particular one represents around six percent of the amount of bitcoins in circulation.

The loss of the bitcoins occurred over several years without being noticed by anybody at MtGox. The exchange’s negligence was exposed when a document called the Crisis Strategy Draft began circulating online. The draft included plans for the exchange to distance itself from CEO Mark Karpeles and rebrand as Gox and warned that it “can go bankrupt at any moment.”

Karpeles has resigned from the board of the Bitcoin Foundation on Feb. 23. A day later, MtGox’s website went offline. In the statement that can be found on the site now are the words, “In light of recent news reports and the potential repercussions on MtGox’s operations and the market, a decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being in order to protect the site and our users.” The Mt. Gox team signed the statement, “Best regards,” as if the regards with which it is made will make up for the fact that the equivalent of $350 million is missing from bitcoin wallets around the world.

Bitcoins simulate actual currencies in at least one way, but bitcoin users won’t be happy to see the repercussions of the Bitcoin exchange rate falling. On Feb. 25, the bitcoin was valued at $545 at the beginning of the day and fell to $490. Not only are those who used Mt. Gox as an exchange losing money, but anybody who owns a bitcoin is as well.

Several other exchange websites, such as Coinbase and Kraken, are trying to save face in the wake of this disaster. Some exchanges issued a statement together which said, “As with any new industry, there are certain bad actors that need to be weeded out, and that is what we are seeing today.” That claim carries very little, if any, weight. The bitcoin heists have been slowly increasing in severity and have culminated in the market being unable to account for six percent of the currency in circulation.

The currency is slowly gaining the reputation of illegitimacy that it so rightly deserves. There will undoubtedly be ardent supporters for the currency that claim it was MtGox’s fault for the loss and not the result of anything inherent in the notion of digital currency itself, but that simply isn’t relevant. In the Crisis Strategy Draft that was leaked, MtGox says, “At the risk of appearing hyperbolic, this could be the end of bitcoin, at least for most of the public.” We can only hope that will be the case.

Philadelphia Phillies need to fight to retain relevance (February 27, 2014 issue)

By Brendan Sample
Collegian Staff

Ah, spring training. After a long and (still) cold winter, it’s always great to see teams get back into some kind of action in Florida and Arizona. It’s a time of excitement, new beginnings and hope. After all, no matter how much your team struggled last year, everyone is tied for first with a 0-0 record right now.

It’s that kind of mindset that I’m sure a lot of Phillies fans have as the team makes its preparations for the 2014 season. In fact, it may be the biggest incentive to have hope for this season. After a combined 154-170 record over the past two years, the Phils aren’t exactly in a good position to return to their winning ways anytime soon.

As always, health will be a big question surrounding the team. Players like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz have missed so much time due to injuries in recent years that even if they stay healthy through spring training, it’s likely that fans will still anticipate them getting hurt at some point during the season.

The Phillies need many things to turn around and go right in 2014. Of these, Ryan Howard is perhaps their biggest x-factor. Among players still on the team’s roster, Howard has been hit with injuries the hardest over the past two years. He only played in 151 games during that time, and it’s greatly limited his power, as he hasn’t eclipsed 15 home runs a season since 2011.

All reports suggest that Howard’s completely healthy right now, and the Phillies certainly need him to stay that way and get closer to his old ways of 30-40 homers every year. The lack of consistent playing time will likely have a negative effect on his power, but it could also help him as well. If pitchers treat him less like the dangerous power hitter he was and more like a guy who’s missed over a full season’s worth of games in two years, Howard could use that to his advantage in reclaiming his power stroke.

One area that shouldn’t hurt this team is their starting rotation. The Phils already had a great starting duo with lefties Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, but the rotation got even stronger when A.J. Burnett was recently signed to a one-year deal. Burnett reestablished himself over the past two years with the Pittsburgh Pirates as one of the best hurlers in the National League. Though he spent much of the offseason contemplating retirement, he’s now set to be a part of what should be one of the best 1-2-3 punches in the league.

It’s clear that a lot of things need to go right in order for the Phillies to be successful this season. Their stars need to stay healthy. The bullpen, especially Jonathan Papelbon, needs to be more consistent. Cody Asche must prove he can be an everyday player. Marlon Byrd has to show that his resurgent 2013 season wasn’t a fluke, and so on. If these things go right, I believe the team can defy fans’ (albeit low) expectations, and possibly get back into playoff contention.

However, the thing about a 162-game season is that not everything ends up going your way. Teams can get lucky, but they can’t hope that everything goes right for them, because it often doesn’t. Because the Phils need that to happen, though I don’t foresee them having a whole lot of success in 2014.

That’s not to say there’s nothing to look forward to this season. There are still many promising players on the roster, and it will be interesting to see how Ryne Sandberg handles the team in his first full season as manager. Watching the games on TV will also be more enjoyable, as Jamie Moyer, Matt Stairs and occasionally Mike Schmidt will be doing the color commentary. The three of them will definitely bring more excitement to the booth than Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews did in previous years.

Though I obviously don’t have high expectations for the Phillies this year, it absolutely won’t deter my passion for the game and for this team. Another bad season will certainly make them less popular and cause the fans to criticize them even more. And though most criticisms of the team will probably be justified, we still shouldn’t lose all faith in the Phillies. After all, a lot can go wrong over the course of a baseball season, but a lot can go right as well, and that’s the beauty of baseball.

Seminar geared toward encouraging women misses mark (February 27, 2014 issue)

By Caitlin O’Malley
Collegian Staff

When I saw that La Salle was having a Leading Ladies seminar, I was less than enthused. I haven’t ever really liked those sorts of events. Growing up as a daughter of a software engineer and an analyst, math and science have been my bread and butter since I can remember. Because that is a field that is encouraging women to get more involved, I’ve gone to a dozen such female-only dinners and meetings about “furthering yourself”. They were seldom female-specific, except for the fact that women were the only ones allowed in.

Since high school, I’ve steered clear from these sorts of events. I think meetings trying to explain to women how to get ahead, especially at the high school and college level, are patronizing. Speeches about clothing that isn’t acceptable in the work place assume that, as young adult females, we wouldn’t understand that a miniskirt and four inch heels aren’t appropriate unless someone else told us. Seminars dedicated to telling us that we can be whatever we put our minds to are insulting. There are no such seminars for men.

Why, as females, should someone have to tell us we can do what we work hard for? Why should we assume we wouldn’t be able to? Sarah Silverman said in a stand-up special, “Stop telling girls they can be anything they want when they grow up. I think it’s a mistake; not because they can’t, but because it would’ve never occurred to them they couldn’t.”

I was unable to attend this particular event, but after talking to some of the people who went, I’m glad I didn’t. Talks about body image and stress weren’t what I’d expect or want from an event about leadership, and I’m wondering what a discussion about runway models has to do with furthering your education and your career. What’s even more frustrating is these topics aren’t female exclusive; men go through body image issues and stress management as well.

While I may be paraphrasing, a statement about how girls need to “take off their tiaras” is disrespectful at the very least. To generalize an entire gender as people that expect to be treated like royalty undermines those who work hard. It paints a picture of catty, entitled girls, and to assume that we would act that way simply because we are women is offensive.

This was supposed to be a discussion about leadership, and those sorts of remarks are ones we as women are supposedly trying to stay away from. I personally think it’s even more offensive because it came from a “woman in leadership role model.”

I’m not trying to pick on the Leading Ladies event, nor saying that the intentions were bad. However, we as females fight for equality, and then go against that very notion by excluding men. I believe we need to fight to work together, so that segments stop being about women getting ahead, but rather about people striving to reach their full potential.

Musicians beaten after protest performance in Sochi (February 20, 2014 issue)

By Joe McGee
Collegian Editor

Moscow-based protest punk group Pussy Riot was attacked in a public plaza Wednesday by a group of whip-wielding Cossacks dressed in civilian clothes. Clad in their notorious ski masks and brightly colored clothes, the band was immediately pepper-sprayed, knocked to the ground and whipped seconds after attempting to film a music video for their new protest song “Putin Will Teach You How to Love Your Motherland” only 20 miles from Olympic Park in Sochi.

Pussy Riot is an all-female group who specialize in unauthorized guerrilla street performances in unusual public places whose themes include feminism, LGBT rights and opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Their performance Wednesday was just another in a string of mistreatments from Russian Cossacks using violence to silence any who would openly oppose the government.

Five female members of the band, one male who had come to participate and a photographer were all publicly beaten and their instruments broken. Maria Alyokhina, one of the band members, tweeted a picture of the young man who had come to support them with a bloodied face as a result of the attack.

Another member of the group, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who was knocked down to the group and hit with a whip, tweeted that someone else had been taken to the hospital because of the pepper-spray. A recording of the attack has been circulating online.

Just a day before, the group was detained for nearly four hours by police without charges, just one in an alleged list of times they have been held by authorities since the start of the Games.

Authorities have been determined to sniff out and silence any hint of protest during the games, which end Sunday. The estimated 800 Cossacks enlisted to supplement “security” as a volunteer citizen patrol at the games has become nothing more than a group of hit men. The women of Pussy Riot stated that they have been repeatedly detained since their arrival in Sochi Sunday evening.

It is not just this notoriously radical group that has been gaining the attention and wrath of Russian security forces. Sochi environmentalist Evgeny Vitishko was recently ordered to serve a three-year prison sentence for “damaging a fence” while attempting to investigate damage to a protected forest behind it.

When reporters asked the International Olympic Committee about the string of detentions given to the women of Pussy Riot, spokesman Mark Adams’ response was typical of the Russian press. “You will have to speak to the local authority about that. It happened in Sochi, but I understand that wasn’t in the context on any protest against the games.”

The Olympic Committee wants to distance itself as much as possible from situations like this. In the video of the attack, a banner of the Sochi Olympics can be clearly seen and demonstrates how inseparable the two have become. The reputation of the Games has been constantly called into question over the last two weeks, as it should be.

With the eyes of the world on Russia, their backwards-thinking government is more interested in giving protestors black eyes. If there is a silver lining to be found in the chaos of government bullying, it is that the high publicity groups like Pussy Riot are exposing these atrocities to the world via video and social media.

76ers can win due to losing season (February 20, 2014 issue)

By Mike Sauter
Collegian Staff

The Philadelphia 76ers are having one of their worst seasons in franchise history, but there have been no calls for the heads of Sixers head coach Brett Brown or general manager Sam Hinkie. Instead, the majority of what has been written and said about these two men in Philadelphia has been positive. If you haven’t been paying much attention to the Sixers for the last 10 years, this might confuse you.

Rather than having set draft positions based on record, the NBA draft is decided by a lottery involving the 13 teams who did not make the playoffs. The lower a team finished in the standings, the higher the odds that team will be in the top three picks of the draft.

The NBA lottery draft system and salary cap rules unintentionally created an environment in which it is in the best interests of certain teams to be bad and have higher odds in the lottery. This tanking strategy is hated by some fans, but many fans and, more importantly, Hinkie embraced this strategy and successfully put one of the worst teams in the NBA on the court this season.

There is still room for the Sixers to improve their chances of finishing with the worst record while also collecting assets for the team to use in the future.

The NBA trade deadline will be reached at 3 p.m. on Thursday, meaning general managers around the NBA are likely to be looking for ways to improve their team at the last minute. The Sixers have three likely trade candidates: Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes.

Turner and Hawes both have expiring contracts while Young is under contract for one more year and is the best all-around player amongst the three. All three could likely bring back attractive assets through trade with either a young player under contract or a draft pick.

The Sixers already have four draft picks in the 2014 NBA draft, two in both the first and second rounds. With this in mind, a 2015 draft pick might be a better fit for the Sixers, who would then have the opportunity to stockpile picks in consecutive drafts.

If I had my choice of who (if anyone) Hinkie trades by Thursday’s deadline, it would undoubtedly be Turner. Turner has proven to be inefficient and displays a lack of situational awareness when given a large number of minutes in the NBA.

I’m not sure if Turner takes as many contested three point shots with 18 seconds left on the shot clock as it feels like he does, but it has happened enough that there is a collective groan in my townhouse anytime he touches the ball behind the arc. The main problem with keeping Turner on the team is not just that his shortcomings contribute to losses; they could also harm the development of talented young players like Michael Carter-Williams, Tony Wroten and Nerlens Noel.

Turner consistently has issues with referees which I am concerned shows poor sportsmanship, and more because it makes 50/50 calls consistently go against the player. No referee is going to give a player who is constantly whining the benefit of the doubt on a play. Not only is Turner a mediocre player, he’s not someone any Sixers fan should want as one of the few veteran leaders on a very young team.

Hawes and Young, on the other hand, are both good players who should have significant value around the league. If any trade is made there is likely to be something of value coming in return to the Sixers. Regardless of what happens at the deadline, the Sixers have set themselves up to have a very exciting draft day in June.

Presence of Vector Marketing causes concern (February 20, 2014 issue)

By Michael Bozzacco
Collegian Editor

On a normal day in the La Salle Union building you can walk by Subway during free period and see a variety of tables staffed by groups ranging from the Student Government Association to the Red Cross. This particular hallway is one of the most trafficked areas on campus and has been used as recruitment grounds for student and non-student organizations for years. Yet despite the predictability of groups soliciting there, I was still utterly shocked when I saw a table set up and staffed by Vector Marketing.

For those of us lucky enough to not know who they are, Vector Marketing is a company that hires college students to sell Cutco knives. They travel around the area to all the major schools and sign up college students to be their sales representatives in the field. You sign up to be one of their representatives, they sell you a demonstration set of knives and then you set about calling every adult you know to arrange an appointment. Then those of your parents’ friends kind enough to sit down and watch you cut a penny will, in theory, recommend you to their friends. Their business model depends on the people their salesmen know. For every five people you know, they each know another five and so on and so forth. Each sales rep gets a base pay for every appointment they set up and a commission for every knife they sell. So why was I so shocked to see them in our student Union building?

I was so surprised because Vector Marketing has a huge reputation for exploiting college students. Look them up online and you’ll find pages and videos of angry students condemning Vector for their shady business practices. Having already known several people who fell for this, I already knew what I would find. Essentially, a marketing firm set up to be a modified pyramid scam that depends on desperate college students to guilt their family and friends into buying subpar cutlery.

A pyramid scam is a business model in which a company sells their product to a group of people, who then sign other people up to buy the product, and so on. Vector’s model is not exactly a pyramid scam but it’s really not much better. They pressure college students to make sales knowing that their clients are people they know and therefore will be sympathetic and more likely to buy. When you’ve exhausted your contact list you’re either out of a job or bullied into making more calls. A friend of mine had exhausted his list and was coerced into making more calls instead of going home; thankfully his brother was available to play the part of a customer. They hire anyone, even if that person is terrible at sales because they know they can at least squeeze one sale out of you.

So the question I must raise, for the consideration of you the reader, is why is La Salle letting a company known for extorting college students onto our campus? Yes, there have been some success stories from Vector employees. Some people have even claimed to have made $2,000 working for them. Those people are natural salesmen. Yes, there is a difference, not everyone is cut out for sales. Arthur Miller taught us that. These sparse success stories do not out way the deluge of horror stories pointing to their shady business practices. They didn’t just show up. There has to be some form of permission contract they sign with La Salle to enlist our students. I don’t know how La Salle justifies filling the slots of service organizations and student run activities with companies with such shady business practices, and frankly I’m not sure I want to.

Log in here!
The contents of this Web site are the sole responsibility of Collegian and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of La Salle University. The Web administrator(s) of this site may be contacted at,,,