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The Chronicle of Higher Education: "What Is This ‘Even’?"

12/18/2017

What Is This ‘Even’? (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

When I last addressed the word even, in 2013, it had already migrated from its accustomed function as an adverb in such sentences as “I can’t even move this suitcase, much less pick it up” or “Even vegetarians sometimes have a hankering for bacon.” The Oxford English Dictionary elegantly gives this traditional meaning as:

Intimating that the sentence expresses an extreme case of a more general proposition implied (=French même). Prefixed … to the particular word, phrase, or clause, on which the extreme character of the statement or supposition depends.

By the time of my post, the word had for some time established itself — in expressions like “What does that even mean?” “I don’t even know you,” and “Is that even a thing?” — as, in Mark Liberman’s formulation, a “purely emphatic” intensifier. I noted that it had migrated “to an unexpected part of the sentence, so that is ostentatiously not ‘prefixed … to the particular word, phrase, or clause’ it has to do with.”

Four and half years on, there are some new things to say. Well, one is an old thing — in the original post, I somehow neglected the expression, “I can’t even,” which had gotten its first Urban Dictionary definition in 2010 (sic throughout):

Yes thoes three words are a sentence a full sentence, well only on tumblr. is often used when something is either too funny, scary, cute, to have a good reaction too.

girl: “it was so awkward”
girl2: “OMFG AHAHAHA I CAN’T EVEN”

Its popularity peaked in late 2013, some months after my post (which is my unconvincing excuse for whiffing on it). In October of that year, according to the Know Your Meme website,

the Tumblr blog TheBunionPaper published a satirical news article titled “Rich Girl in Dining Hall Can’t Even,” accumulating upwards of 1,900 notes in seven months. On November 20th, the feminist culture blog The Toast published an article about Internet linguistics, which described the meaning of the expression “I have lost all ability to can.” On January 26th, 2014, country music singer Kacey Musgraves repeated the phrase “I can’t even” during her acceptance speech for Best Country Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards.

Not surprisingly, Liberman and his Language Log colleagues have been all over “I can’t even.”

Know Your Meme credibly traces the expression to the earlier-emerging, “I don’t even,” which it cites first in a 2007 message board. However, three years before that, Regina used it in the movie Mean Girls: “She’s so pathetic. Let me tell you something about Janis Ian. We were best friends in middle school. I know, right? It’s so embarrassing. I don’t even … Whatever.”

Tina Fey’s Mean Girls is linguistically astonishingly fruitful; my sense is that it reflected and created, in equal measure, loads of new ways of talking. The screenplay is a veritable symphony merely in its uses of the modern-day even, including “What does that even mean?” and these exchanges:

  • Crying Girl: “I wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school … I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy …” [about to cry]  Damian: [shouting from back] “She doesn’t even go here!” Ms. Norbury: “Do you even go to this school?” Crying Girl: “No … I just have a lot of feelings …”
  • Regina: “Cady, do you even know who sings this?” Cady: “Um … the Spice Girls?”
  • Gretchen: [to Cady] “Two years ago she told me hoops earrings were her thing and I wasn’t allowed to wear them anymore. And then for Hanukkah my parents got this pair of really expensive white gold hoops and I had to pretend like I didn’t even like them and … it was so sad.”
  • Cady: “What do we even talk about?” Janis: [shrugs shoulders] “Hair products!”

The latest even development takes it a step beyond I can’t even. In that construction, a following verb is implied and elided: “I can’t even [begin to express how funny/scary/cute/whatever the thing I'm reacting to is].” But now that’s thrown aside and even is a pure signifier of emphasis, improbability, and disbelief. I first encountered from Jon Danziger (@jondanziger)  who tweeted on November 17, apropos of a confounding news item, “What is this even?” I asked him about it and he reported it is a favorite of his students at Pace University.

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CGTN: "Number of international students coming to U.S. drops for first time in a decade"

12/18/2017

Number of international students coming to U.S. drops for first time in a decade (CGTN)

President Krislov was interviewed by Karina Huber of CGTN America on the value of international students to American colleges and universities and to employers. 

From CGTN America:

"Pace University in New York City has students from 117 countries. It hasn’t seen its applications drop, but its president, Marvin Krislov, is concerned about the data. He said international students are a huge asset.

“I think international students really contribute to the education of our students and faculty,” he said. “Because so much of our education is focused globally, and to have those perspectives really contributes to the discussions in the classroom.”

... The three percent drop in new international students cannot be attributed to U.S. President Donald Trump – the data predates his election – but the worry in U.S. higher education is that his views on immigration hurt applications.

“We all are watching,” Krislov said, “and we all want to make sure that the message – the communication is we’re very clear – we are still welcoming for international students.”

Read the full article and watch the video here.

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News12: "Pace University Students Honored for Protecting Elephants in New York"

12/14/2017

Pace University Students Honored for Protecting Elephants in New York (News12)

A group of college students has been honored for their hard work to protect elephants in New York.

Students at Pace University's environmental policy clinic in Pleasantville were presented with a signed bill called the “Elephant Protection Act."

The legislation bans elephants from performing in entertainment venues across the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the act into law after the senate and assembly approved it. 

The students spent the last few years drafting the legislation. "It was an amazing process. It taught both me, Pavon, the other clinic students so much about how government works, how to get things done and how interactive you can be with your local politicians to make a big difference in New York," says Pace student Nicole Virgona.

Officials say the Elephant Protection Act is the first ban of its kind in the nation.

Watch News12

 

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WAMC Northeast Public Radio: "Pace Professor Discusses NY's Elephant Protection Act"

12/13/2017

Pace Professor Discusses NY's Elephant Protection Act (WAMC Northeast Public Radio)

College students from Pace University who drove legislation to ban elephants from performing in entertainment venues in New York will be presented with the signed bill on campus Wednesday. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne spoke with Michelle Land, who co-teaches the class that worked on the bill in its early stages.

Land says the Elephant Protection Act, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in October, is the first ban of its kind in the nation.

“Other places have banned some of the training implements, like the bullhook has been banned. And we know that if you can’t bring in a bullhook, you can’t train the elephant. It’s an essential training tool,” says Land. “Or, there have been attempts at travelling bans. But this is the first one that has said under no circumstances can you bring an elephant into the state for entertainment purposes.”

And the ban was student driven. Land, a wildlife biologist, co-teaches the undergraduate Environmental Policy Clinic at Pace University in Westchester County, where the idea took hold.

“I feel like this is a bit of a watershed moment of students and professors working side by side on an issue that was student driven and, frankly, successfully implementing policy in such a short period of time because we’d really only been working on the elephant bill for a couple of years.”

Republican Senator Terrence Murphy and Assembly Democrat Amy Paulin sponsored the bill. Land says students ran with the idea of banning animals in entertainment, an idea that was honed.

“We ended up looking at just the elephant alone because of the fact that elephants are just in such crisis globally in their populations, but also because of the fact that it’s the iconic circus animal,” Land says. “And we figured if we could make a statement with the elephant, than it’s probably a signal of what’s to come. The other animals are also going to be undesirable to people to see them in an entertainment act.”

Though the most storied name attached with the circus performed its final show in May, Land says the ban is still very much needed.

“Despite the fact that Ringling has closed its tents for good, we still have nine or so circuses that come through New York state with elephants and, as recent as last year,” says Land. “And these are smaller circuses; they probably have less resources, if you will, to take care of their animals. And they’re all the same elephants. They all kind of get passed around. They’re, usually you’ve got a few elephant owners, and then they get contracted out to the circuses.”

The ban comes with exemptions.

“There’s only two exemptions in the bill. And one of them is that if you’re a sanctuary, and there’s a definition for sanctuary in the environmental conservation law,” Land says. “And so sanctuaries are exempt and zoos that are accredited, AZA zoos are exempted. That’s it.”

Land describes the opposition that arose during the process.

“There was a little bit of opposition as the bill was making its way through the legislature. There were two groups, the Elephant Managers Association. Not terribly surprising that they were not pleased,” says Land. “And the other group was, it was a National Animal Interest Alliance, which is essentially a group that protects the rights of animal owners.”

The ban, which takes effect in 2019, includes a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per act that violates the law.

“We’re more aware of the fact that the animals are… they’re intelligent, they’re social creatures, they are sentient beings and, therefore, they’re not at our disposal to entertain us,” says Land. “And I think that’s sort of a general cultural change that is among us at the moment in our society. And so we know that people are paying more attention to this, and we fully expect that other states will look to New York as the leader and want to follow suit.”

Murphy and Paulin are scheduled to present Pace students with the signed Elephant Protection Act at Pace University Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. Land and Professor John Cronin, who teach the Environmental Policy Clinic, also are slated to be on hand in Pleasantville.

Listen to the interview.

 

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Journal News: "Fired high school coaches have little chance of fighting their termination"

12/13/2017

Fired high school coaches have little chance of fighting their termination (Journal News)

Unlike teaching jobs, coaching positions are not tenured. Whether the coaches worked for the school district or not in their regular jobs, the coaching positions are considered "at-will" and can be let go without cause.

Some are fired after athletic directors cave into parental pressure, others because a school administrator directed the action, according to one longtime athletic director. In other states, protections exist to blunt that random termination.

For instance, Connecticut requires that schools provide annual evaluations to coaches. Coaches who have served in the same position for three years or for consecutive years must be notified their contracts are not being renewed within 90 days of the conclusion of their team’s season. Coaches also may appeal decisions to the board of education.

Meanwhile, Minnesota requires reasons for a non-rehire be provided to coaches in writing. The state grants coaches hearings before the district’s board of education, and has also enacted legislation saying, "The existence of parent complaints must not be the sole reason for a board to not renew a coaching contract."

But New York has no such protections. In New York, as at-will employees, coaches may be fired at any time with or without cause.

Exceptions are few, most notably when discrimination is involved.

“The vast majority of employees (overall) are at-will employees and can get fired for no good reason or misconception. They can’t sue,” said Emily Gold, a Pace University School of Law professor.

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Westchester County Business Journal: "Pace team wins fed challenge"

12/08/2017

Pace team wins fed challenge (Westchester County Business Journal)

A team of students from Pace University has won the 14th annual national College Federal Reserve Challenge. The Federal Reserve runs the competition that tests whether students understand the U.S. economy, monetary policymaking and the role of the Federal Reserve System.

This is the third time in four years that Pace has won the competition.

The finals were held in Washington, D.C. following five district competitions held around the country. The Pace team faced competition from Harvard University, Princeton University, University of Virginia-Old Dominion and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Teams competing in the finals gave presentations and answered questions posed by a panel of senior Federal Reserve officials.

Pace University President Marvin Krislov said, “This team’s dedication and success as well as that of their professors is a great example of the experiential learning and meaningful mentorship that is the hallmark of the Pace Path.”

The students attend Pace’s Dyson College of Arts and Sciences and are Klejdja Qosjdja, Marina Testani, Salil Ahuja, Carly Aznavorian, Scarlett Bekus, Aleksandra Bruno, and Argenys Morban. Professors Greg Colman and Mark Weinstock served as the team’s advisers. 

Read the article.

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The Jewish Voice: "International Students: A Boon to New York and the Nation"

12/07/2017

International Students: A Boon to New York and the Nation (The Jewish Voice)

President Krislov published an op-ed on the benefits of international students to institutions and the country in "The Jewish Voice." 

"International Students: A Boon to New York and the Nation"

While the United States continues to talk about building walls and deporting Dreamers, Canada is opening its doors to young people from around the world, actively recruiting greater numbers of international students as part of its strategy to stimulate economic growth. Recent reports indicate some 353,000 international students currently attend Canadian colleges and universities and the country’s goal is to welcome another 100,000 by 2022.

The United States would be wise to emulate such an approach. Our system of higher education is recognized as the best in the world and has been a magnet for many talented, hardworking people. But while most elite colleges and universities are holding steady with international student recruitment, other institutions have reported drops of as much as 50 percent. Students cite compelling concerns, including the ever-changing travel ban and cuts to the H-1B visa program that make it more difficult to secure employment after graduation.

Our neighbors to the north are capitalizing on something America’s colleges and universities have long understood: international students are a major boon to the economy. The latest analysis from the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors found that the 1,043,839 international students studying in the U.S. during the 2015-2016 academic year contributed $32.8 billion to the economy and either created or supported more than 400,000 jobs. And this prosperity was shared across the country.

In New York, where I am the president of Pace University, international students contributed nearly $4 billion to the state economy and supported more than 46,000 jobs. In Texas, those numbers are nearly $2 billion and 24,000 jobs; Indiana, $956 million and more than 12,000 jobs; and in California, our largest state, they contributed more than $5 billion and supported nearly 60,000 jobs. The loss of that kind of revenue would have a serious impact on local, state, and federal coffers. The U.S. is not alone in facing such economic fallout. The Higher Education Policy Institute projects that a Brexit-related cap on foreign student visas may cost the U.K. as much as two billion pounds per year.

Further, while international students contribute significant revenue to our economy, they receive far less in financial aid than American peers and approximately 75 percent receive most of their funding from sources outside of the United States. Many international students pay full tuition here and if they attend state institutions, they often pay double what in-state students pay.

Valuable for far more than financial assets, international students also transform the educational experience. For all students and faculty, whether in the classroom or in everyday interactions, they share diverse skills, perspectives, and customs, which helps all students prepare for careers in this global world. They also infuse our campuses with the spirit of innovation and willingness to take measured risks. After all, it takes courage to travel thousands of miles from family and all that is familiar to seek higher learning in another country. The benefits of their presence continue to unfold after graduation, when relationships formed between international and American students can lead to longer-term associations in the worlds of business, medicine, government, and more.

In more ways than one, the loss of so many bright, hardworking young people is something the United States simply cannot afford. Indeed, this country has and should continue to thrive as the world’s leader in higher education.

By Marvin Krislov

Marvin Krislov is the President of Pace University in New York.

Read the article on "The Jewish Voice" here.

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The Journal News: "Nonprofits heap praise on legislature's budget adds"

12/07/2017

Nonprofits heap praise on legislature's budget adds (The Journal News)

...Monday, during adds day, legislators also moved to add back parks curators and positions in the department of public works and the county executive's office. Many of the social program adds were small in the context of the larger budget — $1.7 million for health services for children with special needs, $400,000 for senior programs, $132,000 for youth bureau staffing, $145,000 for the Invest in Kids program, among others.

David Sachs, a professor at Pace University, works on the Telehealth Intervention Program for Seniors, which screens seniors for health issues and forwards any issues to caregivers and physicians. He said the program was on the verge of expanding into other states. The legislature added $220,000 in funding for the program.

"It could be a national model and I think that's good for Westchester," Sachs said. “I think you should be proud of what you’ve done so far. I think you should continue to do it.”

The legislature has until the end of the year to approve a new budget. Tuesday, Astorino said he would not support a budget with any tax hikes.

Should he veto the budget, and the legislature does not have the 12 votes to overturn his veto, County Executive Elect George Latimer would enter office with the 2017 budget rolled over into 2018.

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The Hudson Independent: "Local Experts Outline Challenges Associated with Indian Point Shutdown"

12/07/2017

Local Experts Outline Challenges Associated with Indian Point Shutdown (The Hudson Independent)

The title of the November 8th panel discussion at the Pace University School of Law was clearly worded to get the public’s attention—as well as to draw an audience: “How will all the lights stay on when Indian Point closes?”

As it turned out, that question was relatively easy to answer. More difficult were questions about the economic and environmental hurdles that must be overcome between now and April 2021, when the second of the two nuclear reactors is scheduled to shut down for good. Under the agreement announced last January and signed by New York State, the environmental group Riverkeeper and Entergy, the energy giant that owns the facility in Buchanan, NY, the first reactor will go dormant a year earlier, in 2020.

Leading off the panel was Michael DuLong, Riverkeeper’s principal negotiator for the agreement. He recapped the rationale for closing the two reactors, which were built in the mid-1970s and have produced some 2,000 megawatts of power annually since. Over the years, however, the plant site has accumulated 1,500 tons of spent fuel rods. Leaked radioactive tritium and strontium have formed plumes out into the Hudson. Each year, an estimated one billion fish have been killed either by being sucked into the plant’s huge water filters or by the water heat generated by the plant.

Mechanical failures have plagued the reactors over the years as well. Inspections have uncovered corroded baffle bolts that keep the reactor vessels pressurized. A transformer exploded in 2015. Critics say the plant’s security plan is inadequate, leaving it vulnerable to attack by air or from the river, and, as DuLong repeated, “there is no credible plan to evacuate the 20 million people who live within a 50-mile radius.” Moreover, said DuLong, Entergy “did not want to do what was needed to make it safe.”

As for replacing the 2,000 megawatts of power lost due to the closing, DuLong and other panelists were in agreement that New York State has the wherewithal to bring in more than enough electricity through a combination of transmission upgrades, greater use of renewable energy sources and increased efficiency.

Fully half of the replacement mega-wattage is expected to come via the Champlain Hudson Extension, a transmission link that will bring power generated by dams in Quebec down the Hudson Valley to the New York metropolitan area. The anticipated start date for the construction of that linkage, which is now fully permitted, is 2019. Pending negotiations with suppliers and utilities, it could begin providing power to this area in 2022. New York State claims that, all told, it has 4,600 megawatts poised to come on line, though DuLong cautioned that a significant piece of that comes from anticipated natural gas production.

To help put Indian Point’s capacity in perspective, panelist Karl D. Rabago, Executive Director of Pace’s Energy and Climate Center, noted that the two reactors represent a small percentage of the state’s overall capacity, albeit the equivalent of 25% of the demand by New York City and Westchester County. “But if it shut down now,” he observed, “we would not have to unscrew one out of four light bulbs.”

The key, said Rabago, with agreement from other panelists, is not just in adding capacity but also in increasing efficiency. Currently, New York State is improving its energy efficiency by only half a percent a year, where the goal is two percent. By contrast, Massachusetts has been improving by three percent annually.

One way efficiency is being achieved is through Combined Heat and Power systems which bring together the production of building heat with that of building electricity, where they have traditionally been generated separately. According to Rabago, New York State has the potential to realize nearly 7,000 megawatts  of savings by combining heat and power, mostly in large buildings like hospitals, factories and office buildings.

The legislature in Albany is currently fashioning a bill that would mandate 0.4% annual energy savings by utilities across the state. Separately, New York City has legislation pending that would require old buildings to retrofit their heating and power systems as well as meet higher efficiency standards for all new buildings.

Most of the savings, Rabago emphasized, will come from individuals and communities adopting energy-saving practices. Savings will be achieved, he says, “one window, one furnace, one house at a time.”

Read this article.

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Patch: "Sustainable Development Conference Targets Local Governments"

12/07/2017

Sustainable Development Conference Targets Local Governments (Patch)

The Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University is pleased to announce the 16th annual Alfred B. DelBello Land Use and Sustainable Development Conference. The theme of this year's event will focus on the ways in which local governments are overcoming challenges and finding solutions that target new ways to plan, regulate, and design communities. The conference will be held on Thursday, December 7that Pace Law starting at 9 a.m..

"The Land Use Law Center leads the nation in educating local land use leaders– providing research, training and strategic planning to communities around the region," said David Yassky, Dean of Pace Law. "The Alfred B. DelBello Land Use and Sustainable Development Conference allows this important work to reach an even broader audience of policy makers and officials as tackle issues of smart growth, zoning and urban planning."

"This year's conference will bring together more than 200 attorneys, business professionals, and local leaders to learn about national, regional, and local innovations and best practices," said Professor John Nolon, Distinguished Professor of Law and Of Counsel for the Land Use Law Center. "We are proud that the Land Use Law Center annually convenes thought leaders, policy makers and attorneys to confront the challenges we face as we work to create more sustainable communities."

The Land Use Law Center has worked with its Conference Board of Advisors—comprising local and national leaders in the field—to develop a conference program that will showcase innovative best practices in land use and sustainable development. The morning keynote speaker is Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America. Named by Partners for Livable Communities as "One of the 100 Most Influential Leaders in Sustainable Community Planning and Development," Mr. Anderson helped to found the smart growth movement as one of the authors of the foundational 10 smart growth principles. Also joining the conference this year as the luncheon keynote presenter will be Barry Svigals, FAIA, Partner Emeritus, Svigals + Partners, a Connecticut-based architect whose approach brings to life architecture that is uniquely connected to the purpose, place and people for whom it is created and who recognizes that the built environment is the end result of a collaborative process of creative engagement..

Read the full article.

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