Monthly Archives: November 2011

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Wahoo Tailgate

Batten students stop by Professor Mike Moore’s tailgate before the final regular season football game on November 26.

Send your photos to by 5 pm every Sunday to be featured in the Student Life Blog Photo of the Week!


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IM Teams Make Playoff Push, Fall in Final Rounds

The fall intramural sports season came to a close last week as the Batten School’s basketball and soccer squads were knocked off late in the playoffs. The Batten Ballers, led by team captain Nathan Schelble (Acc. ’12), were 4-2 on the season and boasted impressive playoff wins down the stretch. They put up a strong showing but fell by four points in a gritty Elite Eight match-up Tuesday night. Batten FC and team captain Daniel Sater (Acc. ’12) finished 4-2-1 overall, pulling out a number of key victories off of penalty kicks. Their run ended Wednesday in the quarterfinal round. Both teams look forward to improving on the successes of the season.

“The IM basketball season was a success; our fiery and hard-working team exceeded expectations, beat talented teams, and improved every game.  We lost in the quarterfinals, but we were good enough to beat any team in the league.”


– Nathan Schelble, IM Basketball Captain

“Batten FC had a great season for outdoor soccer. We made it to the quarterfinals of the playoffs, eliminating three teams in very dramatic fashion. The biggest surprise was how well all three Batten classes came together to play as a team.”


– Daniel Sater, IM Soccer Captain

Post by Rob Panos

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Batten School to Add Undergraduate Degree

The Batten School plans to add a new undergraduate major in Leadership and Public Policy starting next fall. See the story at the Cavalier Daily online.

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Second-Year Students Hit “Hole in One” with Golf Outing

Charlottesville, VA – Sunlight sifted through the summery autumn air Monday at Farmington Country Club, a short ten-minute drive from Central Grounds.  Wispy clouds crawled lazily along the Albemarle skyline and perfectly groomed fairways beckoned as three lucky Batten students enjoyed a highly anticipated afternoon of golf with Research Methods Professor Mike Moore.

David Cates, Drew Pyrak, and Matt Kragie (Acc. '12) join Professor Mike Moore for a round of golf at Farmington Country Club.

The extravagant golf excursion was just one of many sensational items up for auction at the second annual Batten Ball this past October.  Second year students Dave Cates, Matt Kragie and Drew Pyrak (Acc. ’12) placed the winning bid on what will undoubtedly become one of the most embellished Batten legends of our time.

The outing began with political small talk and witty econometrics banter over lunch at the Men’s Grill.  Professor Moore livened up the conversation with stories of family gatherings and tales of golf tournament victories in one tropical paradise or another.  His pearls of wisdom took the form of encouragement for life after college, assuring the students that there is more to the real world than backbreaking work that slows you down over the years.  “We don’t throw fastballs anymore,” Moore said, referring to his siblings and college buddies, “but we can still throw curveballs for strikes.”
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Matt Kragie exhibits perfect form as he chips onto the 9th green.

After tweaking their swings at the club driving range, the foursome hit the course outfitted with matching Charlottesville Partners hats.  All the daily stresses of the vigorous Batten curriculum were out of sight and out of mind Monday afternoon, as the golfers meandered leisurely through 18 holes and four hours of friendly competition.  Although Cates, Kragie and Pyrak put up a resilient fight – sinking a few pars and making some shots worthy of the ESPN highlight reel – Moore took the Batten students to school in more ways than one, shooting a cumulative 80 strokes and missing the fairway only twice the entire afternoon.  Fortunately, the students’ robust understanding of regression analysis set their minds at ease and allowed them to chalk the large margin of defeat up to confounding variables (e.g. age, years of experience, height etc.).

Professor Mike Moore blasts a shot into the proverbial sunset.

The sun set therapeutically over the Blue Ridge Mountains as the lively camaraderie migrated from the golf course back to Moore’s infamous crib.  Some refreshing beverages and nourishing snacks (generously furnished by the lovely Marian Moore) accompanied an already nostalgic recap of the day’s events.  Following an exclusive tour of the majestic residence, the students learned the origin of the nickname “Moose” and were treated to an epic tale of Moore’s near-death experience.  Sadly the evening came to a close, but the adventure was certainly one for the ages – a refreshing escape from reality – the eye of the storm that is Batten Student Life.

Post by Drew Pyrak (Acc. ’12)

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Professor Scheppach and students of the State and Federal Budgeting class visit the Congressional Budget Office on November 11.

Photo submitted by Jasmine Jefferson (Acc. ’12)

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Legislative Leadership: Local and Foreign Policy Perspectives

Last week, the Batten School invited two distinguished guests to speak on their leadership experiences on Capitol Hill and beyond. Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) addressed students on Friday afternoon over lunch and Dr. Jeffrey Bergner, a career legislative advisor, joined Professor Gerald Warburg for an open discussion on Thursday.

Congressman Gerry Connolly

On Friday, the Batten School hosted Rep. Gerry Connolly in the Great Hall, where he spoke about the importance of having a background in local government, offered his thoughts on current events, and took questions about foreign policy.

Connolly was a staffer on Capitol Hill for many years.  After work, however, he enjoyed going home in the evenings to attend community meetings and learn about Fairfax County issues.  In 1995, he became a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for the Providence District.  He won election for chair of the Board in 2003, then became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for the 11th District in 2008.

While offering praise for his colleagues in Congress, Connolly said that people who have worked for cities or counties sometimes have difficulty implementing federal legislation that does not take into account the local perspective.  He also spoke of how local politicians cannot hide from voters on issues that directly affect their neighborhoods, their schools, and their safety.

He remembered waking up to a phone call years ago from an elderly woman at 6:30 on a Sunday morning.  “Are you Gerry Connolly, the district supervisor,” she asked.  He said yes and she told him, “I have a dead deer on my lawn.  What are you going to do about it?”  Connolly asked if the woman had tried calling animal control.  She replied, “Oh, no, I wouldn’t want to bother them at 6:30 in the morning!”

Connolly fielded several questions from Batten students.  Maddie Bergner asked how he felt about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline across the United States and Canada that many environmentalists oppose.  Connolly said that he wanted the Obama administration to first answer his query of whether the oil would be exported or used only in the U.S.  In response to a question about the Occupy Wall Street protests, Connolly sympathized with the concerns of the protestors, saying that it was unfair to bail out the bankers who caused the 2008 recession and not help the middle class.

The Batten students in attendance were impressed with Connolly’s message.  Caitlin Carr appreciated how “he used his background in policy analysis and experience in all levels of policy work to become a leader on the Hill.”

Dr. Jeffrey Bergner

Last Thursday, Dr. Jeffrey Bergner visited the Batten School as part of the ongoing series on “Leadership in US International Policymaking,” sponsored by Professor Gerald Warburg and the PPOL6715 class. Bergner, a long-time friend of Warburg, spoke on “Election Year US Foreign Policy Challenges: A Republican Perspective.” Bergner served as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, Staff Director for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Chief of Staff to Senator Lugar. He is currently the President and Managing Financial Partner of Bergner Bockorny, Inc., a professor at Christopher Newport University, and the uncle of Maddie Bergner (Acc. ’13).

Bergner highlighted that foreign policy will play a smaller role in the 2012 Presidential election than in previous years given the present state of the economy. According to Bergner, Iran and Israel are the most likely topics of foreign policy discussion in the election year. He added that President Obama has largely inoculated himself from accusations of a weak stance on defense policy given the success of the Osama bin Laden raid and drone strikes in the Middle East.

Bergner also discussed the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement as an example of selling an issue to disinterested parties. He said that the agreement was largely an “arcane and esoteric” subject with little interest to the electorate. The task was thus to convince Congressional experts of the merits of the program, namely the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Professor Warburg called the agreement a “very important case study” and complimented Bergner’s orchestration of the campaign amidst a Democratic takeover of the House and Senate. A dinner reception with Batten faculty and students followed the event.

Post by Michael Karlik and Rob Panos (Acc. ’12)

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Batten Student Perspectives on Dishonorable Behavior

Michael Karlik is one of the Batten School’s representatives to the Honor Committee.  His office hours are every Wednesday from 4:30-5:30 pm in Garrett Hall L033.

Michael Karlik speaking with Batten studentsMost of us have heard of the Honor System’s “founding myth.”  In 1840, law professor John Davis tried to quell a disturbance on the Lawn, only to be shot dead by a masked hoodlum.  In response, the University enacted an Honor Code by which students pledged never to lie, cheat, and steal.  Although Davis’s murder did not, in fact, lead to the Honor System’s creation, there is a large irony to the misconception: the Honor System would be unable to punish a similarly unscrupulous assault by a student today.

In fact, there are many behaviors that students consider to be dishonorable but the Honor System does not recognize.  Students who cheat on a test must leave UVA—but what about a person who physically abuses a roommate?  Or a student who sexually assaults a female friend?  Or a group of people that harasses someone because he is gay?  The fact that the Honor System can expel a student who simply formats her citations incorrectly while doing nothing to identify people who bully or intimidate others leads me to believe that the Honor System’s priorities are wildly misplaced.

Last week, 56 Batten students responded to a survey that asked whether they would classify certain behaviors as dishonorable.  The four common offenses that the Honor System punishes—lying, cheating, stealing, and intentional plagiarism—are all dishonorable in the views of nearly every student.

Honor Figure.1

However, there are many other behaviors that over 90 percent of Batten students consider dishonorable, including sexual and physical assault, harassment or intimidation, and vandalism.

Honor Figure. 2

There are also many behaviors that might be wrong, but are not dishonorable.  Although such activities as speeding, trespassing, and consumption of illegal drugs are against the law, a majority of students does not view these as being dishonorable.  Interestingly, 68 percent of students do not believe that unintentional plagiarism—an offense which could currently earn someone an expulsion under the Honor System—is dishonorable.

Honor Figure. 3

The Honor System tries to promote a “community of trust,” in which students, teachers, and others in the Charlottesville community can depend on students to act honorably.   But making the foolish mistake of copying exam answers off of a classmate seems relatively minor compared to other behaviors that clearly lack integrity.   What signal does our Honor System send if we dismiss academic offenders from the UVA community but not vandals or assailants?

That is why I am leading a group within the Honor Committee to investigate this question.  Over the coming months, I hope to incorporate the perspectives of Batten students into our study.   There are very good reasons for limiting the Honor Code to academic offenses and it may be difficult to completely discern which acts are dishonorable or not.  But ultimately, the Committee will have to decide whether it makes sense to run an Honor System that treats someone who absent-mindedly omits a citation from a research paper as a worse offender than a sexual predator.

Post by Michael Karlik (Acc. ’12)

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