Photo by Michelle Lewis

Annual Red v. White scrimmage held

By Annie Moore

The University of Louisville held its annual Red and White Scrimmage April 11 to showcase the team’s preparation in the spring. The offense, headlined by quarterback Will Gardner, and the defense led by veterans like junior linebacker James Burgess were on display, as were new head coach Bobby Petrino’s new system.

Coach Petrino was happy with what he saw from the team, and admitted there is much room for improvement before the season.

“We have a long way to go, but our coaches have done a great job at teaching our new schemes, and the players have worked really hard at learning them,” Petrino said.  “We’ve had some great competition in practice. The practices have been really physical and guys are really competing. I feel really good about our front seven on defense. Our linebackers are physical and fast and are going to be able to play the way we want them to play. We are a little bit concerned with our depth in the secondary and the inexperience at safety. That’s an area where we have to continue to work hard and get better.”

The Red Team, led by Gardner, routed the White Team, 56-13. Gardner was 32- of 37 for 542 yards and four touchdowns.

“We had good pass protection and guys getting wide open, and when guys are wide open, you can’t miss them. We had a lot of guys open when we called plays for them, so that was a good thing,” Gardner said.

Gardner too admitted that there was much work to be done in the time between now and kickoff in September.

“I’ve got to grind in the playbook, become more confident, hit the weight room hard and just get bigger and stronger.” Gardner said.

 Michael Dyer rushed for 99 yards on 10 carries for the Red, and added 51 yards and a 27-yard touchdown on four carries for the White.

The biggest search now will be for a player to step out as the leader for a team heading into its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“You always worry about leadership, but this team has a terrific work ethic,” Petrino said.  “They grind in the weight room and really get after it at practice. They understand that everything is different, but have been very willing to adapt. We have good leadership and guys who know what it takes to win games, and that has made the transition a lot easier.”

But with regards to the head coach’s overall feeling heading out of the game, he’s confident in his QB and ready to improve in other spots around the ball.

“You couldn’t leave a spring game happier with the way [Gardner] played,” Petrino said. “I was happy with our spring. I think we’re headed in the right direction, but we do have a long, long way to go.”


Photo by Austin Lassell

Jeff Gardner profile

By Lilly Trunnell

Senior Outfielder Jeff Gardner doesn’t remember one particular instance where baseball became part of his life. Baseball was easy for him to pick up, came naturally, and Gardner developed a passion for it young.

Of course, it’s easy to throw yourself into a sport with the support from family. Gardner called baseball a “family sport.” Growing up in Louisville he has the benefit of looking into the stands and seeing them all sitting there, cheering him on no matter what.

But Gardner hasn’t needed much cheering through hard times this season. As one of two senior captains he has led the top 10 ranked Cardinals to a 26-8 overall record. Gardner tops the Cardinals in hitting with a collective batting average of .367. His 40 runs batted in are nine more than the second most and he also has three home runs, including the walk off homer in the very first game of the season. Perhaps Gardner has an edge batting from the left, or maybe it’s the sheer passion he has for the game.

“I want to bring glory to Christ in all that I do,” Gardner said.

His faith is deep-rooted and seems to be working for him. Gardner goes beyond baseball. He has been known to say that he lives his life summed up by a quote from Jackie Robinson: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” He strives to be the kind of person that his teammates can come to with anything, and provide positive support and motivation for the team.

Like most athletes, Gardner can pick out a coach from his past that impacted his ability. Interestingly enough the coach was not baseball. Mike Doig was Gardner’s high school basketball coach. Gardner credits him with making him the athlete he is today. Even though he says he “wasn’t very good” at basketball and knew baseball was where he was really going, Coach Doig infused in Gardner the desire to strive for excellence always.

Professionally, Ted Williams is an icon for Gardner, “Because he was the last guy to hit .400,” he says with a hint of admiration in his voice. Ever since he was a kid, Williams was the favorite player of young Gardner. The baseball great’s legacy and the motivation of his coach have led Gardner to the 2011 All-Big East Team, 2012 second Team All-Big East, a 2013 Team Captainship, being named Big East Player of the Week twice last season, 2013 First Team All-Big East, 2013 Louisville Regional All-Tournament Team, and a 2014 Team Captainship. Despite all these accolades, Gardner still sees a team achievement as his biggest success. He picks out the highlight of his career so far as the 2013 trip to Omaha for the College World Series.

“I would trade away all the other awards if I could just keep that,” Gardner said.

After losing seven classmates to the draft last season, Gardner had to take on a new role of responsibility this year.

“The seniors have seen it all,” he says. “Losing those guys impacted the chemistry at first, but we bond well now.” His sights are set forward. In his last season as a Cardinal, Gardner has one thing in mind. “Going back (to Omaha) would mean the world to me.” Beyond that, he hopes to continue his career by going professional after his graduation from U of L with a Justice Administration degree.

Jeff Gardner is having a season to watch and is leading the team both statistically and in leadership. He is certainly a player to watch in the remaining games this season and potential postseason play.

“I try to go out every day and praise Jesus in all that I do, and make a few friends along the way.”


Book review: ‘Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere’ by Poe Ballantine disappoints, exploits

By Sammie Hill–

Enticed by the title and the fact that Cheryl Strayed wrote the introduction, I decided to purchase Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere on iTunes and read it on my phone, since both Barnes and Nobles in Louisville didn’t have it in stock.

Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere, advertised as a memoir entwined with a true crime story, chronicles the author’s life in small-town Nebraska, where a startling and mysterious death prompts Ballantine to launch an investigation of his own into the case.

Though he has settled down with a wife and child in the small town of Chadron, Ballantine recounts his earlier days spent as a restless drifter, a failed writer, a bright but unmotivated student and a suicidal vagabond. The now settled down Ballantine, intrigued by the death of his community member and in need of a topic for his new book, strives to solve the case himself while reflecting on the experiences of his own life.

I finished the book in one day. I didn’t want to stop reading it for two reasons: because I wanted so badly to like it, and because I wanted to see the case solved. However, I finished the book with a sense of disappointment.

Although at times I felt enchanted by Ballantine’s language, I also found myself put off by his egocentricity and tendency to cycle through the same repetitive information. I kept hoping his book would amount to something, that I would feel satisfied after flipping through 656 pages on my phone, that the book would move me and blow my mind and break my heart. But it didn’t.

Ballantine decided to write this book before he even began investigating the case. He then invested time and effort into his amateur investigation, and he wanted to sell a book as a result.

However, there just wasn’t enough about the case to generate an entire book, and it seems as though Ballantine fused the genres of memoir and true crime because neither one would be substantial enough to stand on its own. Together, however, they just didn’t make a lot of sense, and left me wondering what his purpose was in writing the book at all.

Ballantine’s stories of his past, while diverse and intriguing, didn’t seem to tell me much about him. He tell us he was restless; he tells us he was suicidal; he tells us he’s lived in a thousand different places, moving around every few months because of self-loathing and an unwillingness to settle down. But for some reason, I still never got the sense that he was writing with true vulnerability, with raw honesty. He claims throughout the book that people found him difficult to trust, and I can see why.

Though he claims to be self-loathing, his stories always seem to paint him in a positive light. For example, one day he takes his son to the park, and his wife—depicted as cold, confused and incomplete throughout the book—insists on leaving after 20 minutes, but Ballantine refuses, and he and his son stay while she leaves “without a word.” His son can’t sleep one night because of a cough, so Ballantine decides to give the five year old a mixture of Bailey’s Irish Cream and ibuprofen; when his wife objects, he portrays her as rash and over-dramatic for being concerned about this home remedy, while he smugly points out that his son woke up feeling uncharacteristically refreshed and well-rested the next day.

Meanwhile, for only about the last half of the book, Ballantine interjects information about the case he is investigating. The case, morbidly fascinating due to the circumstances of the man’s death, kept me reading after I had tired of Ballantine’s thinly veiled endeavor to convince the audience of his strong character.

However, Ballantine’s inclusion of the case in his book is exploitative. He investigated the death of a virtual stranger, revealed intimate details of the man’s life and gruesome details of his death, and published a book about it against the wishes of the family of the deceased.

Ballantine challenges the family’s conclusions about the man’s death, suggesting that it was a murder rather than a suicide. He cycles through the same evidence and same theories that serve only to re-open the family’s wounds and to sell the book. To give favor to his own theory, Ballantine belittles the deceased man’s struggle with depression—in fact, he trivializes the concept of mental disorders in general.

Ballantine’s book, and the documentary based on it, continues to bring up this tragedy, prohibiting the family from attaining a sense of closure. Ballantine criticizes the family for not wanting to find out the truth, while the family—who actually knew and loved the deceased man, unlike Ballantine—insists that they know all there is to know, and just wants to put the tragedy behind them.

They want their loved one to be remembered for his life instead of for a sensationalized story of his death, told by someone who never even knew him.

After I had gotten into the book a little bit, I considered including it in my “Best books to read in college” column. Ballantine has talent as a writer, some of his experiences would enthrall college students, and his autistic son Tom is cool as hell.

However, after I reached the inadequate ending and read online about Ballantine’s decision to pursue the case and publish the book against the family’s wishes, telling the story in a way that interferes with their sense of closure, I abandoned that idea.

Yes, Ballantine has a right to tell the story of the man’s death, but if you ask me—and the family—it is not his story to tell.

The book as a whole almost seems purposeless except to convince Ballantine of his own insight and importance. Thus, while he did impress me as a writer, I would not recommend this book to others out of respect for the family of the deceased, and because of the overwhelming sense of disappointment with which it ultimately left me.

 Photo courtesy of

For those interested, this comment thread includes a discussion among members of the deceased man’s family and Ballantine himself:

Best books to read in college: ‘The Casual Vacancy’ by J.K. Rowling

By Sammie Hill–

On the surface, The Casual Vacancy tells a fairly simple story. Following the death of a beloved city councilman, the small English town of Pagford must recover from their loss and elect a new city council member. However, what J.K Rowling truly creates in her first adult novel is an examination of what it means to be human.

Addressing issues such as class, self-harm, rape, politics, abuse and more, The Casual Vacancy introduces its audience to a multitude of characters, from high school students to a drug-addicted single mother. Throughout the novel, Rowling exposes these characters’ thoughts, emotions, secrets, aspirations, doubts and more as they strive to heal from their town’s loss, fill the city council seat, and navigate their way through every day life.

Solidifying her status as a masterful storyteller, Rowling engages and intrigues her audience from start to finish. While the novel may not feature magic in its plot, magic nevertheless resonates from Rowling’s words, her empathetic exploration of human nature, as well as the characters and community she creates.

The Casual Vacancy reveals that every individual becomes who he or she is for a reason. The decisions people make and the behaviors they exhibit stem from their experiences, their desires, their fears and their insecurities. Rowling reminds us that everyone—from promiscuous teenage girls to successful, coveted doctors—has an important story to tell.

The depth of the novel’s characters reflects the complexity of all human beings; for example, we learn that Krystal, a high school student we initially judge as obnoxious and confrontational, basically assumes the role of parent when she goes home, protecting and caring for her little brother in an otherwise neglectful environment. Parminder, the beautiful doctor and object of envy from other women in the town, fails to recognize her own daughter’s cries for help and need for parental acceptance. Thus, Rowling demonstrates that people consist of so much more than we initially realize.

As college students, we often pass judgment on our peers, simplifying people into narrow labels such as “slut,” “nerd,” “prep,” “queer,” etc. However, The Casual Vacancy refutes the idea that people are that simple.

Instead, the novel reveals that people are complex, the culmination of everything that has happened to them throughout their lives, shaped by experiences and sorrows and accomplishments and mistakes. The Casual Vacancy shows us that no matter what path people choose to take in life, every human being matters.

Thus, this novel not only bewitches audiences with its captivating plot, complex characters and exploration of sensitive issues, but also instills in its readers a sense of compassion that promotes kindness rather than callousness, empathy rather than hostility, and understanding rather than judgment.


Image courtesy of

Getting to the heart of Heartbleed

By Olivia Krauth–

A new bug called Heartbleed was discovered this past week, and it may have been in computer software for two years. However, professionals are unsure if it has affected anyone yet.

“Heartbleed is a recently discovered vulnerability in a common software toolkit used by many web servers to encrypt sessions between the website and the end user,” explained Andrew Wright, a computer information systems assistant professor at U of L.

Wright said that Heartbleed “creates a serious vulnerability” in sites that do not have the most current version of OpenSSL project software. Attackers can have access to user data on the affected sites.

“This data could include user ids, passwords, and even the server’s own keys that could be used to impersonate the web site or potentially decrypt sessions with end users that are supposed to be secure,” said Wright. “While the bug has existed for two years, it is not thought that hackers knew of its existence until earlier this week. Attacks are very likely against unpatched servers in the coming days and weeks.”

U of L’s IT department sent students an alert email about the issue on April 10. The email warned about the power of Heartbleed, and suggested students change all passwords to online accounts. The email also said that IT had “identified and patched the affected enterprise systems” prior to the sending of the email. Wright noted this, saying, “Most of the major web sites on the internet are moving quickly to install updates, as well.”

As the bug may be found in sites that use the open source toolkit in OpenSSL project software, anyone can be a target. Several popular sites, including Facebook and YouTube, use the software. Some sites, including Amazon, do not use the software, therefore not affecting users. Wright suggests that students check out lists online to see which sites have protected themselves and their users against the bug.
Wright does not believe that college students will be more affected by the bug than the general community.

“This vulnerability affected so many popular sites, it is likely that most of us will have to take action to protect ourselves after these sites have been patched,” said Wright.

“Heartbleed is a vulnerability in web server software, so end users won’t have to install any updates on their own computers to address it,” said Wright when asked about prevention of Heartbleed. “However, once a vulnerable site that you’ve logged into in the last two years is fully patched, you should change your password on that system. If you’d used that same password on other systems, you should consider them at risk and change those, as well.”

Wright believes that fake emails will be sent out in attempt to “prey” on users. “This may be confusing to users because they will also be receiving legitimate requests from affected sites asking them to reset their passwords after the sites have patched their web servers,” said Wright. He recommends going straight to the site to change your password as opposed to following links in emails.


‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ stars to appear at Headliners in ‘Battle of the Seasons’

By Simon Isham—

Did PINK at U of L whet your appetite for drag queens? Have you been hanging out at Play Dance Bar on Wednesdays? Then you’re going to want to keep reading, because the girls of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” are coming to Louisville. I talked with Mimi Imfurst, who will be DJing the show; Michelle Visage, a “Drag Race” judge who will be host; and Pandora Boxx, a queen who will be performing.

Have you ever been to Louisville? What did you think?

MI: I have. I had a great time. I was there for Pride two years ago. Everybody was treating me like gold. I’m really looking forward to coming back. I remember that the food is great. I remember they took me to a really awesome kind of Southern hospitality barbecue place that was amazing. I’m going to try to find that. The last time I was there, I literally did a drag show in the middle of the street. I was doing a performance, and I ran outside. I literally had the DJ play “Car Wash.” I grabbed a balled-up rag and some Windex and ran out in the street and started washing cars. People were like, “What the hell is she doing?”

MV: I have been to Louisville, Kentucky. It was the very first stop on the Milli Vanilli Tour in 1990. I was very young, and so overwhelmed with the fact that I was doing a national tour and opening for the biggest act in the world at that time. I didn’t see much of Louisville; I was just like, “Someone pinch me!” I haven’t gotten to see any of your beautiful city!

PB: I have, actually. I was there a few years back. I loved it. I had a great time. One of the things I noticed is that people love to drink there! I do like to drink, but there were an obscene amount of shots.

You’re coming in just a few days before Derby. Do you plan to stick around?

MI: That’s what I heard. Of course, the Derby is all about the hats, but we drag queens are all about the wigs. That would be the real competition — who has the better dresses: the Derby ladies or the drag queens?

MV: Yay! So I should bring a hat, huh? And I got hats!

PB: As soon as you started talking about it, I remembered, because I was there around the time of the Kentucky Derby (last time I was in Louisville). I didn’t get to see it because it was such a quick visit. I wish I had been there longer. But it’s all about the hats, isn’t it?

What are the best and worst parts about touring with a group of drag queens?

MI: The best part is that you get to see so many great places. The worst part is that you don’t get to see so many great places. But you get to share it with a whole bunch of Drag Race girls who understand a really unique experience.

MV: What I like best about it is that we get to see the fans’ connections to these queens, up close and personal. And the other thing is, when you come to see them live, not only are you going to be floored at more impressed than you were before, even if you go, “Oh, I knew she  could do all that.” I guarantee there’s going to be a moment with another queen that maybe you didn’t like or didn’t know anything about. Your mind is going to be completely blown and opened … I just make sure everybody’s happy, especially the queens, so they don’t become irritable and awful. It doesn’t happen often, though. But a lot of them think, “Now I’m on TV, so now I’m a superstar.” We’re here to give (them) a wakeup call, because it ain’t like that! It’s pretty fun to watch … Some of these kids will complain about accommodations or mode of transportation. Like, have any of you ever toured? And they’re like, “No,” and I’m like, “Then you need to shut up, because what we’ve got here is an amazing situation. You have no idea what it’s like to share a room with five people. To ride around in a Ford Fiesta, like a clown car. You honestly have no idea what it’s like.” I’m there to be the mother, the reality check … We’re not just clowns — well, we are, but we’re talented clowns!

PB: It’s amazing, because I’ve been to all these cities that I’ve never been to before, and really big venues that we would probably never get to play by ourselves. So it’s really great. And the crowd responses have been incredible. It feels like being at a rock concert. I feel really blessed to be a part of it. The best part of it is getting to see all these amazing cities. The worst part is no sleep, and travel.

What am I going to see at the Louisville show?

MI: What’s great about the Drag Race girls in real life is that you get to see what we really do. You know, the show is fun, and there are crazy challenges, but you never get to see what we really do. You’re going to see drag queens doing knife juggling and eating fire and walking on stilts. You’re going to see drag queens singing their original songs and doing group numbers. You’re going to see all kinds of crazy things … the art form itself exists on breaking rules.

MV: Ivy Winters! She’s a full-on circus performer. That’s what she did before she got into drag. She eats fire, she juggles knives, she walks on stilts, she’s really quite breathtaking. She does something different at every tour stop. She doesn’t like to get bored with her stuff, and she changes it about. She’s also a really great singer and she doesn’t really do that because people get so enamoured by the circus performing.

PB: I’m still putting together some of my performance, so I don’t know exactly. I have a few more weeks before — I’m changing things up a little. You’ve got to keep things fresh because otherwise you get bored doing it. And I’ve been working on some new music, so I might incorporate that on this tour. You can expect to see something entirely new — but maybe the same penis jokes, but everything else will be new.

MI: Michelle Visage is so funny as a host. I think if we get her drunk enough, she’ll do a few songs.

MV: Mimi’s being funny because Michelle don’t drink. I’ve never drunk a day in my life. And yes, I sing on the tour. I only do one number because I feel like I’m there to host the event. I do perform.

PB: We all have this expression whenever she says something. We just go, “Oh Mimi.”

Other performers I didn’t talk to who will also be in the show are Jinkx Monsoon, Sharon Needles, Ivy Winters, Carmen Carrera, and Phi Phi O’Hara. This all goes down at Headliners Music Hall at 10 p.m. on April 27, with a VIP meet and greet before the show at 8 p.m. General admission is $30 and the show is 18+.

Handout photo of the first four to undergo task-specific training with epidural stimulation at the Human Locomotion Research Center laboratory, Frazier Rehab Institute in Louisville

U of L researcher helps paralyzed move again

By Jacob Pleas–

A U of L neuroscientist has given motion to the motionless.

Susan Harkema, rehabilitation research director of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, found that paralyzed patients were able to move their toes when electrical stimulation was applied directly to their spinal cord.

This is the first time electrical stimulation has allowed for voluntary activity.

The patients are now able to do things ranging from wiggling their toes to doing crunches. Although they are not sure why the process works, experts believe that this technology is a major step toward allowing the paralyzed to walk again.

“Improving the technology is a high priority because it will be needed in order to make any gains in mobility a reality in daily life,” said Harkema.

In the procedure, a stimulator is implanted into the patient and is controlled by an external remote controller.  The stimulator is connected to the spinal cord via wires, which conduct the electric pulses.

The device has had other benefits.  One patient has had great success in improving his bladder, bowels and sexual performance.  Patients are able to move their legs and torsos after years of paralysis, allowing them to regain lost muscle.

Since the discovery, over 1,700 people have asked about utilizing this technology. U of L has received funding to implant the device in eight more patients.

“We need more studies to understand both its safety and efficacy in a wider population,” said Harkema.

Only men have been researched so far. Harkema hopes to begin research on women soon. “Only 25 percent of the spinal cord population are women so they are more difficult to recruit,” said Harkema.

The biomedical and electrical engineering departments at U of L are working with Harkema’s team.

“I am proud to be a part of a school that is that is making such exciting discoveries,” said bioengineering major Ryan Bailer.  “I believe that these discoveries add prestige to both J.B. Speed School of Engineering and the University of Louisville Medical School.”

Photo courtesy Reuters


Ramsey announces fundraising success

By Jacob Abrahamson–

On the steps of Grawemeyer Hall, U of L President James Ramsey announced that the University has surpassed the $1 billion goal of the “Charting Our Course” fundraising campaign.

“This is a big day for the University of Louisville, an important day in the life of the University of Louisville,” said Ramsey. The campaign initially aimed to meet the $1 billion goal by 2015, and surpassed the goal by nearly $5 million.

“Our capital campaign has been one of our strategies to move forward in a tough fiscal environment,” continued Ramsey.

The donations will be used to create 17 new endowed chairs and 190 scholarships.

A goal of $600 thousand was set forth in the early stages of the campaign, but the amount went up as the process continued.

According to Bob Hughes, chairman of the board of trustees, the bar “just kept raising and raising and raising.”

“The trustees said that they would rather strike out in the major leagues than hit a homer in the minors,” said Ramsey.  “But today we didn’t strike out. We hit a grand slam home run.”

“They have just scoured the country searching for funds,” said Hughes.  “We hit a billion and we’re not done yet.” The campaign ends with the fiscal year on June 30 after its beginning in 2007.

The large event was made up of students, faculty, staff and community members. U of L’s marching band also made an appearance.

Other speakers included student Lashawna Ford and faculty members Dave Simpson and Andrea Bearman, who discussed the benefits of the scholarship programs and research funding supported by this campaign, respectively.

“I think it is a great campaign,” said Monali Haldankar, SGA President-Elect.  “It is going to help basically every aspect of student life and faculty life.”

“Today is the beginning of a better future for this university family,” said­­ Hughes.

Photo by Jacob Abrahamson / The Louisville Cardinal

Asian studies hosts 4th annual Lang Seminar

By Simon Isham―

Four academics — three professors and one researcher from the United States Congressional Research Service — formed the panel for the 4th annual Lang Seminar, an initiative by U of L’s Asian studies department to promote discussion on topics related to modern Asia.

“We’re proud to have all these esteemed speakers from other universities and the Congressional Research Service with us to present their research,” said Dr. John McLeod, professor of history, who hosted the event. “We are also happy to have four faculty members from the University of Louisville with us to comment on the presentations.”

McLeod also thanked Helen Lang, founder of Crane House, an institute in Old Louisville dedicated to the study of Asia. It is after Lang and her late husband, Calvin, that the Lang lecture is named. The Langs also gave generously to the university to support their Asian studies department. The Center of Asian Democracy also provided resources to make the seminar possible.

Dr. Alice Ba of the University of Delaware specializes in Southeast Asia. Her presentation was titled “Asia’s Shifting Constitutional Landscape: ASEAN, China & the United States.” ASEAN refers to a conglomerate of independent southeast Asian nations that band together in order to increase their political impact against China, Japan and South Korea.

“The Southeast Asian is usually the last one on the panel,” said Ba, who presented first, alluding to the relative dominance of economically booming  countries in academic discussion.

Ba presented a comprehensive historical analysis of ASEAN from its beginnings to its modern place in the political landscape, in addition to its strengths and weaknesses.

Michael Martin, of the US Congressional Research Service, was the next to present. His presentation was titled “Regional Implications of the Globalization of the Chinese Currency, the Renminbi.”

“(It) is globalizing faster and farther than expected,” he said.

Martin’s presentation was the product of a very detailed analysis of the spending and banking habits of Asians — not just Chinese — who use the Renminbi as a currency, both inside and outside of China. He discovered that many millions of Renminbi are sitting in offshore accounts, indicating that people have confidence that the currency has resiliency and growth potential.

Rina Williams of the University of Cincinnati discussed the upcoming Indian elections by summarizing the platforms and recent history of the parties currently campaigning for power.

Williams noted that the Indian elections are the largest in the world, with over 814 million voters. Unlike in most countries, most of these voters are rural and uneducated.

Update: Williams successfully predicted the outcome of the elections, with Modi winning the vote on the BJP ticket, despite not having released a party platform until the day of the elections.

Dr. Samit Ganguly of Indiana University talked about “Indian Views on the Responsiblity to Protect,” or humanitarian intervention. He observed that it “has not always been unwavering,” but “at other times, it has been quite robust.”

The seminar was held today from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Ekstrom Library. Complimentary breakfast and lunch were provided to attendees.

SGA confirms new chief justice

By Jacob Abrahamson–

SGA Senate confirmed Ben Shepard as the next Chief Justice of SGA Supreme Court after only one person dissented his election. His term began immediately after the vote went through.

SGA President Carrie Mattingly announced the nomination at the March 18 SGA Senate meeting, saying she felt most comfortable nominating someone with experience on the court.

“He is the most experienced out of the justices, and he is very knowledgeable on SGA precedent,” said Mattingly. “I am very confident in Ben’s ability to lead the Court ethically and effectively as Chief Justice.”

“So I’m now officially the Chief Justice of the SGA Supreme Court, which is exciting,” said Shepard. “It’s certainly an honor to have made it to that position.”

SGA Supreme Court is responsible for drafting election rules, hearing disputes related to elections and settling disputes related to SGA and Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs).  According to the SGA Constitution, the “Chief Justice shall preside over all Supreme Court functions, and is responsible for assigning the writing of any opinion.”

Shepard is a second-year law student at the Brandeis School of Law, with undergraduate degrees in political science and history. He has spent five years as an associate justice on the Court.  He has also been selected as the Editor-in-Chief of the U of L Law Review.

In his new head role, Shepard hopes “to first of all fill the mandate of the Constitution of what I’m required to do.”

“We are the branch that is supposed to be above politics and above reproach,” said Shepard.   “When we are called to come in and adjudicate a case … we can do that in a dispassionate way and in a way that doesn’t create a perception of bias.”

Shepard’s appointment comes at the heels of the resignation of former Chief Justice Brandon McReynolds earlier this semester. At the time, there was a discussion of impeachment, leading McReynolds to leave his position.

“He is nothing but, in my experience, an individual of integrity,” said Shepard on McReynolds. However, he wants to clearly define his role to prevent similar situations.

His philosophy as an SGA Supreme Court Justice seemed to be derived from the U.S. Constitution, calling the system “somewhat of a mirror of the way that things are conducted in real life.” Shepard believes that the Supreme Court best shows that parallel.

“One day I’d love to be a federal judge which is why the student government system is of such interest to me,” said Shepard.

Shepard’s involvement in SGA began with him as Co-Chair of the A&S Freshman Council.  He then worked his way up from Task Force Freshman to the Executive Assistant to the Executive Vice President.  At the end of his first year, he was appointed to a vacant spot on the Court, holding an associate justice position since.

During his term, Shepard has worked on changing the election codes for SGA, which he saw as difficult to interpret.

“The form that the election rules take today really is my responsibility,” said Shepard. “I divided the elements and codified them into the chapters and sections that they’re in now. Beyond being involved with the drafting of the election rules, I have tried from time to time to persuade the Chief Justice and my colleagues to see about getting the election rules sent back as something that the Senate is responsible for doing.”

Shepard claimed that the court’s task of interpreting election rules becomes difficult when they wrote the rules.  He believes that the court should only be in charge of interpreting and executing the rules.

Shepard’s initial nomination was unanimously approved by the Executive Board on March 25. However, some expressed concern that his workload as U of L Law Review Editor-in-Chief, law student and Chief Justice may be too much.

“In terms of time management, it’s really never been a problem for me,” said Shepard. “Prioritizing work over play was a lesson that my father taught me very early on.”


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