Archives for October 2017

Campus spooks? Some find Norwich a haunting experience

Alumni Hall leads the list of spooky stories on the Norwich campus. It’s got a lot of history inside, and maybe a ghost or two. Photo by Adam Ganz

At Norwich University, Halloween doesn’t just occur in October, but rather all year long. On a campus with 200 years of history, you’re bound to experience something haunting, whether it be rumors passed down from older students or a spooky personal experience.

Perhaps the most notorious locale for haunting stories is Alumni Hall, the oldest building on campus, built in 1905. In March of 2012, The Norwich Record featured a story titled “Spirits Among Us,” which outlined the terrible story of two cadets, brothers, who hung themselves in the same room a year apart.

“The hangings were viewed as tragic but unrelated coincidences until one fateful day, when a cadet walked into the same basement room and saw his buddy standing on a chair getting ready to hang himself,” wrote The Norwich Record. When asked “why?” “the cadet then explained that the woebegone victims had each appeared in the mirror, coaxing him to join them.”

The room was then sealed off by bricks, according to rumor, and is used as the building’s facilities room. However, when the wall is knocked on, there is a hollow sound where a door once was and there are countless stories of unsettling noises and events stemming from Alumni Hall to this day. [Read more…]

Corps of Cadets faces internal issues

Training rooks takes every level of leadership relying on each other to make the best decisions. Cadre and commandants work together to take care of recruits and to train them. But sometimes even the trainers have to pause to mend internal issues.

That’s been the case with meetings during the fall semester of 2017-2018 in order to fix concerns with communication and trust issues between the cadre and commandants.

The training of first-year cadets, known as recruits or rooks, takes place in two battalions. These battalions consist of three companies, which each consist of three platoons, the place where recruits are trained by cadre.

Each battalion has an AC (assistant commandant), a SEA (senior enlisted advisor), and a TAC NCO (tactical NCO). The commandants help facilitate training through the cadre, enforce disciplinary measures, as well as mentor and aid cadre in their leadership of recruits. [Read more…]

Semper Fi Society holds annual Walter N. Levy challenge

On the first of October, Norwich University’s campus was full of action as students and locals alike participated in the Walter N. Levy Challenge, a motivating and inspiring experience for those who do it or help out.
“For me, who has always volunteered, and never actually ran the course, I still get a lot out of it,” said Chandler Heath, a 21-year-old business management major from Atlanta, Ga. “I think it’s especially great for the Naval Battalion to help out, and instead of doing something for ourselves, actually volunteer and contribute towards something greater than ourselves.”
The Levy Challenge is a 10k endurance race “that will challenge you mentally and physically” according to the page on Active.com. The event includes obstacles such as: The Marine Corps obstacle course, steep grade of Hill 488, Quang Nam mud crawl, Rock Pile ammo resupply mission, pull-up challenge, Hue City ruck run, and the Da Nang serpentine.
This October marked the race’s eighth consecutive year memorializing Walter N. Levy, who graduated Norwich in 1963, and then commissioned and served in the Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant Infantry Officer until he was killed in action on Sept. 18, 1965 in South Vietnam.
The Marine Corps branch of ROTC on Norwich’s campus has been organizing the event since its origination. “I think the organization was fine this year, Semper Fi always does a really good job of covering their bases, and making sure all the fine details of event organization are sorted out,” said Heath.
Also helping out with the event for its eight years has been Norwich’s Naval Battalion. Semper Fi handles the logistics including registration of racers, planning and finalizing a route, food for the racers after they finish, and the keeping of the contestant’s time. On the other side of things, Naval Battalion is there to man all the different stations, and “add to the body of volunteers as to ensure a smooth operation.” said Heath. [Read more…]

Players rave about basketball court upgrade

During the past summer, Andrews Hall saw its first renovation to the basketball court in over 25 years.

“Coming back to campus after summer break and seeing the new basketball court was surreal,” said Tommy Fitzgerald, 21, a senior guard on the basketball team from Williston, Vt. “While we were home and away from campus, we could only look at pictures of the new court but after seeing it in person, it truly is amazing.”

With the previous basketball court being broken down due to the wear and tear of a multiple seasons of play, the school had to refinish the floor every summer to keep up with the maintenance for the players. The stateof-the-art new court now features the same hard maple flooring found in National Basketball Association (NBA) arenas around the country – a surface somewhat rare in smaller schools within the NCAA.

“I think the company did a really excellent job resurfacing the new court,” said head basketball coach Paul Booth, who hails from Northfield. “There is a lot more grip to the court along with it being a more solid surface than it was prior to this (renovation).”

Maple hardwood flooring is by far the most expensive option to outfit a basketball arena. On average, hardwood costs about 20 percent more than PVC and about 40 percent more than poured urethane. The renovation of the basketball court this past summer was funded with money from the capital projects budget, as a small part of the $100 million dollar plan the university has to improve a multitude of on-campus buildings. [Read more…]

Pegasus players get a new theater director

Jeffry Casey, the new director of the Pegasus Players

Jeff Casey looked around at his new office in the basement of Webb. There were lights and props from Dole Auditorium strewn about.

The native Texan had just started this year as assistant professor of theater in the department of English and communications.

There were no windows in his office, surrounded by cold concrete walls, but it certainly looked as if he had made a home for himself.

Fresh from getting his Ph.D. and finishing work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison he had finally got settled at Norwich.

“You don’t need to justify doing theater,” Casey said. “No one cares, everyone just wants to do it, it’s fun.” [Read more…]

NU wi-fi upgraded yet some problems persist

Norwich University has invested a lot of time and more than $5 million dollars into upgrading the campus’ Wi-Fi network, but students still face some issues regarding the network’s strength and coverage capabilities.

Since this summer, Norwich has been working on a major network upgrade, with the purpose of improving the quality of Wi-Fi connection on campus, according to the members of the Information Technology Department (IT).

“Thanks to this project, more than 650 access points have been upgraded across campus,” said Frank Moore, the chief information officer at Norwich. An access point (AP) is a hardware device that allows wireless devices to connect to the network. By increasing the number of APs, and by improving the distribution, more users can get on a single access point without degrading the service and slowing it down.

According to the IT department staff, in order to keep current with the ever-growing demand for network service, the university favored supporting the network via an operational lease, which allows for renewal of innovation and technological transformation, at the end and beginning of each lease term.

“The university is going through a major network refresh,” explained the Director of User Services & University Outreach at Norwich, Joseph Morvan. “Part of that refresh was recalibrating our wireless environment.” Thanks to this project, previous complaints about the slowness of the WiFi, and the interruption of the connection, will be soon solved, he said.

The main priorities are the residence halls and the barracks, due to the high density and constant use of the connection by students. [Read more…]

VAP policy at Norwich undergoes changes

Norwich University has changed the Violation of Alcohol policy for the 2017-2018 school year due to previous ineffectual policies that failed to reduce the number of violations. According to Frank Vanecek, senior vice president for student affairs and technology, the policy was modified during the spring semester of 2017.

Vanecek said that those involved in changing the policy were the SGA (Student Government Association), the commandant’s office, university adjudicators, and finally the president. The policy had to go through various chains of command before being finalized to ensure that it was understood and fair.

“We wanted to rethink it to see if we could come up with a solution that might actually reduce the drinking. Based on the history and numbers of incidents, it didn’t seem to us that the punishments we were giving out were making much of an impact,” said Vanecek.

According to Norwich University Crime Statistics, there were 70 liquor law violations in 2014, 65 in 2015, and 73 in 2016. Most of those violations took place in the residence halls. There is no specification whether they took place in barracks or civilian dorms.

Norwich’s history with alcohol is more than violations on campus. In 2011, a vehicle carrying eight students crashed, killing one. The driver was intoxicated. In 1984, the Norwich Fire Brigade dispatched four cadets on a call. The driver was still inebriated from the party he attended the night before. He crashed the vehicle, killing all 4 occupants.

“I’ve spoken to a few (alumni) since last spring, and I threw it out there to hear what they think. They think it was a reasonable policy,” Vanecek said. “I didn’t get any negative comments from the alums,” During the 70’s, the legal age to drink in Vermont was 18, so it was common for cadets to drink to commemorate recognition, the night where freshmen recruits (rooks) officially become cadets. Most rooks are not of legal age, and typically are not allowed in legal drinking areas on campus. [Read more…]

Corps housing crunch causes some concerns

For the 2017 fall semester at Norwich University, almost 40 upperclass Corps of Cadets were assigned to live in lounges and classrooms instead of traditional barracks or dorms, according to student housing and admissions.

Typically, Corps students live in barracks that are located on the upper parade ground, which is commonly referred to as “the UP.” These barracks are separated from the civilian dorms.

Major Justin LeFebvre, the NUCC commandant adjutant, makes the decisions for where the Corps students will live. He has been working at Norwich University for 15 years, however, this is his first year being in charge of the housing office. He has had his “eyes opened” and is aware of the many “challenges” that housing entails.

According to LeFebvre, there were multiple reasons as to why certain cadets were assigned to live in a classroom or lounge. If a student didn’t “complete housing forms, tell housing they were coming back, or were readmitted at the last moment,” there was no reserved space for them.

“If I don’t know they are coming back I can’t give them a bed on the UP,” LeFebvre said. [Read more…]

Meet Col. Michael Titus, the 55th Commandant of the Corps of Cadets

Col. Michael Titus.

Col. Michael Titus sat back in his chair, still getting used to his new office in Jackman Hall. He checked over his uniform and moved the items on his desk around to get comfortable. He looked out the window, which was partially obscured by the regalia of the United States, Vermont, and Norwich flags.

The Pennsylvania native looked through the notes on his desk as he readied himself. It was a dreary day at Norwich with a couple gray clouds but it was a perfect day for the 55th Commandant of Cadets.

“I grew up in a small town, it really shaped who I am today,” said Titus, a colonel in the Vermont State Militia, and the new Commandant of Cadets. “Not so different from Northfield or any small town in Central Vermont.” [Read more…]

Norwich’s new rook cell phone policy: A bad call?

Two rooks use their cell phones in their barracks on the UP.

Despite backlash from upperclassmen, the rook cell phone policy has been changed for the class of 2021, starting with the beginning of classes this fall.

The changes were announced in a letter released on Aug. 16, 2017. “It was matter of when, not if,” said Cadet Colonel Timothy Weinhold, 21, a senior criminal justice major from Concord, N.H. and the top Cadet in the Corps.

The policy letter identified rules on “cell phone usage and restrictions,” explaining that rooks are now authorized to have their phones in their possession, but are prohibited to use their cell phones, unless they have a commandant’s permission or the phone is required for their academics.

In past years, rooks were not allowed to have their cellphones except for a ten minute phone call on Sunday. They were awarded the privilege of having their phones per the regimental commanders orders.

According to Weinhold, the new Commandant of Cadets Colonel Michael S. Titus did not come up with the change in cell phone policy. “Col. Titus walked in and the policy letter was on his desk,” said Weinhold, explaining that this new policy was one of the “final pushes” from Colonel Russell Holden, former Commandant of Cadets. He said the idea of changing rook’s cell phone use “has been in discussion since last year.”

The “liability and safety of rooks” was the biggest concern that pushed the policy to begin the start of the academic year, because rooks “no longer have direct communication and 24/7 supervision from their cadre” like they had during Rook Week, Weinhold said. The RAVE system uses calls and text to notify students if, or where, an emergency happens and “it is the only way for the rooks would know if something bad is happening on campus.”

Connor Guzda, 20, a junior communications major from New Fairfield, Conn. and a member of the cadre, concurred with Weinhold’s statement. “From what I know, it (the policy) was put in place mainly for the RAVE emergency system.”

  [Read more…]