Boston College

Boston College professor Jerry Kane speaks about social networking technology at a research colloquium hosted by the School of Information on Tuesday afternoon. Kane presents his study on the influence of social networking technlogy on human behavior.  

Photo Credit: Mengwen Cao | Daily Texan Staff

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, when most Americans were checking Twitter for updates on the manhunt, Boston College professor Jerry Kane was checking Twitter to analyze the network itself.

At a research colloquium hosted by the School of Information on Tuesday, Kane spoke about what social media technology has done to modern human relationships.

“Social media provides us this power to visualize, quantify and analyze the network structure of our connections better than traditional networks,” Kane said. “So — if we were to conduct a survey in this room right now — you’re pretty good at saying who your friends are, but maybe not so good at identifying who your friend’s friends are.”

Kane said his research is focused on the varying ways modern social networks have evolved past the intrapersonal.

“We find that the flow of information can be independent from proximity or relation to others on social media,” Kane said. “If I retweet something about the Super Bowl, I see all sorts of information from people I’ve never met before, yet we’re having that shared experience.”

Kane said teaching classes at Boston College allowed him to see mass exchanges of information in connection to real-time events.

“I actually taught the night before the Boston Marathon bombings,” Kane said. “What I found was that as we used social media to share and talk about the bombing, Facebook and Twitter got used in very different ways. Twitter was much more about information flow; Facebook was more emotional support. I think it really comes back to the symmetry.”

Evelyn Veasey, information studies graduate student, said the colloquium led her to reflect on her own social media use.

“It’s much more instant now,” Veasey said. “You don’t stop and think as much about the connections you’re maintaining.”

Hillary Funk, information studies graduate student, said she saw the relevance of Kane’s research in her work life.

“I actually manage the social media accounts at my job, so I’m always interested in hearing how this relates to organizational use.” Funk said. “It’s good to be aware of how the people that are following you are using it.”

Kane said the future of communication will depend upon the limits of internet privacy.

“It changes the whole flow of how information flows through the network,” Kane said. “It’s less about your knowledge of the network and more about what your network is going to reveal to you.”

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

1. Clemson QB Tajh Boyd (Sr.)

Last Week (W, 49-14 vs. Syracuse): 20-for-27, 455 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT 

Season: 93-for-141 (66.0%), 1,449 yards, 14 TD, 2 INT (154 rush yards, 4 TD)

Boyd remains in the driver’s seat one week before the colossal matchup between Clemson and Florida State. That game will go a long way toward clearing up both the national title and Heisman races. Boyd’s season-opening victory over Georgia is still one of the top wins of the season, but some competition has showed up of late. With conference play heating up, there will be lots of opportunities for other candidates to stake their claim. One win over Boston College is all that remains between Boyd and a national stage to cement his stake on the Heisman trophy.

 

2. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota (So.)

Last Week (W, 57-16 vs. Colorado): 16-for-27, 355 yards, 5 TD (43 rush yards, 2 TD)

Season: 76-for-134 (56.7%), 1,358 yards, 14 TD (338 rush yards, 7 TD)

The first challenge for the Ducks is finally here. Washington pushed Stanford last week and should provide the first stern test for the Ducks this season. The Huskies lead the conference in total defense and are in the top three in scoring defense in the Pac-12. This will be the first road game for Oregon since a Week 2 matchup against Virginia. Mariota’s numbers up to this point have come against inferior competition, but if he is able to light up Washington on the road, then he will prove that he has been deserving of the attention he has gotten up to this point.

 

3. Florida State QB Jameis Winston (Fr.)

Last Week (W, 63-0 vs. Maryland): 23-for-32, 393 yards, 5 TD (24 rush yards)

Season: 90-for-123 (73.2%), 1,441 yards, 17 TD, 2 INT (135 rush yards, 2 TD)

The Seminoles have one of the most impressive wins of the season through their dismantling of Maryland last week. Winston has the week off to prepare for Clemson next week in what will be one of the most important games of the season. The Tigers will be only the second ranked team Florida State has faced this season and will represent the toughest test of the year for the Seminoles. If Winston is able to lead Florida State over Clemson next week, then he will put himself in place to become the second freshman to win the Heisman.

 

4. Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater (Sr.)

Last Week (W, 30-7 vs. Temple): 25-for-35, 348 yards, 2 TD

Season: 104-for-145 (71.7%), 1,562 yards, 16 TD, INT 

Bridgewater and Louisville continue to pummel inferior competition, which is not good for either’s chances for postseason accolades. Only Louisville and Houston are undefeated in the American Athletic conference, so the chances of Bridgewater facing another ranked team in the regular season is slim. Bridgewater may well be the best player in the country and he could be the No. 1 pick in next year’s NFL Draft, but unless he plays another credible team, his Heisman chances will be almost nonexistent.

 

5. Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel (So.)

Last Week: BYE

Season: 100-for-140 (71.4%), 1,489 yards, 14 TD, 4 INT (314 rush yards, 3 TD)

Manziel continues to put up good numbers in what has become a somewhat forgotten campaign following the loss to Alabama. The Aggies are still ranked in the Top 10, but there seems to be less attention on Manziel than there was heading into the season. If he wants to take home the award, then he will have to make a statement. He failed to make the plays necessary to beat the Crimson Tide, but if he is able to best LSU, then he will have the Aggies in position to take the SEC West should Alabama stumble.

Monday’s federal government shutdown came with a long list of service disruptions, including closures of all the national parks, monuments and any other facilities or services deemed “non-essential.” While it’s certainly not critical to the functioning of the republic, one unexpected casualty has been college athletics.

Travel budgets have been frozen for athletics at the service academies and Navy has already had to cancel Tuesday’s soccer game against Howard University. Two of this weekend’s scheduled college football games are now in jeopardy: Air Force at Navy and Army at Boston College. 

Navy is in a favorable position here, as it funds its athletic programs through ticket sales, concessions and licensing. Army and Air Force use government funds for athletics, and so are in less control of their own spending. Boston College has offered to pay for Army’s travel to this Saturday’s game, and Navy has done the same for Air Force. 

Of course, neither of these brotherly acts are at all altruistic: The admirals at the Naval Academy and the Jesuit brothers at Boston College all know quite well the value of a home football date in comparison to the cost of a chartered plane. 

The U.S. Department of Defense is expected to announce Thursday whether Army’s players are allowed to get on a bus to Boston, and a Pentagon spokesman speculated Wednesday as to whether concession proceeds from the Naval Academy football program could be used to fund travel for the remainder of their season. 

It is difficult to determine what is more bothersome — that the soccer season at Navy was in jeopardy because of Congress’ obstinacy or that the nation’s military leaders have been scrambling for three days to arrange funding for a football game. Once again, the needs and well-being of student-athletes seem to be a peripheral consideration at best.

The administrations at the academies aren’t at fault here. Like the rangers at Yellowstone National Park or docents at the Smithsonian Institution, they are victims of out-of-touch decision-making and a business climate where public relations tend to wash out truth and common sense. 

This weekend’s games will probably be saved. But for the athletes at the service academies have been left in a week of limbo, not knowing if the practices they’re slogging through all afternoon will be for an inter-squad scrimmage or one of the biggest games on their schedule.

Hump Day

Photo Credit: John Massingill | Daily Texan Staff

Statistically and realistically speaking, there are students having sex on every single college campus in America. These students deserve access to resources that can help to empower healthy decision-making when it comes to sex.

Boston College — where administration recently threatened disciplinary action against a student-run sexual health group — is no different than UT, or any other college campus for that matter.

On March 15, Boston College officials sent a letter demanding an end to Safe Sites, stations started by Boston College Students for Sexual Health (BCSSH) that provide free contraception and safe-sex information for fellow students. The letter said that the distribution of condoms is in conflict with the university’s “responsibility to protect the values and traditions of Boston College as a Jesuit, Catholic institution.”

“Private universities have the right to set their own policies and to discipline students who violate their policies. The distribution of condoms is incongruent with the university’s values and traditions,” Jack Dunn, spokesman for Boston College, told CNN.

However, despite these allegations, students as well as Sarah Wunsch, staff attorney of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts, are pushing back. 

“None of our actions have changed at all in the past four years,” BCSSH chairwoman Lizzie Jekanowski told NBC News. “It came out of nowhere.”  

According to The Boston Globe, Jekanowski said the Safe Sites program fills a need for BC students that the university does not provide. Students can pick up free male and female condoms, lubricant and pamphlets about sexual health at one of the Safe Sites locations, including dorms and one off-campus location.

“We have the privilege of attending a Jesuit Catholic university so dedicated to the development of the self — both the body and the soul — that we find it both appropriate and necessary to advocate for these sexual health issues that are an integral aspect of that process,” Jekanowski said in a statement released on March 24.

In an email statement, Dunn argued that “as a Jesuit, Catholic university, there are certain Catholic commitments that Boston College is called to uphold.” 

“We recognize that, as a reflection of society at large, many students do not agree with the church’s position on these issues,” Dunn said. “However, we ask those who do not agree to be respectful of our position and circumspect in their private affairs.”

Even as a religious institute, is it reasonable for Boston College officials to demand an end to the sexual health program that students at the university have voiced a need for? 

After all, The Boston Globe reports that BCSSH receives a $400 grant each semester from Advocates for Youth, passes out 1,000 to 1,500 condoms per semester from the Great American Condom Campaign and even received a $500 grant and several hundred female condoms from FC2, a female condom company. 

Students at Boston and in every other college in America who do decide to engage in sexual activities, deserve access to medically accurate sex education and resources that can empower healthy decision making when it comes to sex and sexuality. 

If you happen to be one of those students at UT, make sure to take advantage of the abundance of sexual health resources, such as free condoms, that are available to students on our very own campus at the Health Promotion Resource Center (SSB 1.106).