Daily Herald the Brown
vol. cxliv, no. 1 | Wednesday, January 21, 2009 | Serving the community daily since 1891
OBAMA SWORN IN AS 44TH PRESIDENT
Students brave crowds to see history unfold
U. reflects on the end of one era and the start of another
by Sophia Li Features Editor
WASHINGTON — A man’s voice thundered through the crowd in Greenbelt Metro Station in Maryland where hundreds waited — not all of them patiently — to buy their Metro passes on Sunday evening. “I was there in ’63 for the March on Washington,” he said, “when Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his ‘I have a dream’ speech.” He paused. “And I’m here again to see the dream come true.” People smiled and laughed, applauded and cheered. Two days later, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. Obama’s ascent into the highest reaches of national politics was the continuation of a much longer, and larger, story. And though classes were to begin the next morning, many Brown students were in the nation’s capital, eager for a glimpse of history. “Definitely everyone in my parents’ generation — they just feel a sense of, like, shock,” Doug Eacho ’11 said. Obama’s inauguration, he said, held a greater significance for people who had grown up thinking there would never be a black president. “No one ever sensed that this would happen in their lifetimes,” he said. Eacho became a part of the President’s long journey to the White House when he began to volunteer for the Obama campaign over a year ago. But much has changed since October 2007. The need for a change in administration has become more urgent, Eacho said, with the current state of the economy. He added, though, “I think now
By Matthew Varley Higher Ed Editor
people’s expectations are more tempered.” Providence Mayor David Cicilline ’83, who was also in Washington for the inauguration, said the foreclosure crisis, Rhode Island’s high unemployment rate and the state’s large budget deficit were “serious challenges that have developed over the last eight years and won’t be resolved overnight.” But some are waiting for change to come sooner. Gov. Donald Carcieri ’65 said expectations for the changing administration influenced the design of Rhode
“Welcome to spring semester and American histor y,” Ted Widmer, director of the John Carter Brown library, told a full Salomon 101 Tuesday morning. “Histor y is moving very much in the right direction today.” As President Barack Obama prepared to take the oath of office in Washington, D.C., students and staff attended inauguration broadcasts in Salomon, Sayles Hall and the John Hay Librar y yesterday morning. In the afternoon, the celebrator y tone on campus shifted toward reflection as two faculty panels addressed domestic and foreign policy challenges facing the Obama administration. In the Salomon Center, the crowd left no doubt of their enthusiasm about the new president. A deafening silence fell over the crowd when then-President George Bush emerged from the Capitol, but some applauded CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer’s comment that Bush’s entrance marked the last time “Hail to the Chief” would be played for the 43rd president. In contrast, students cheered for the day’s first shot of Obama. The crowd erupted again at noon when Blitzer announced the official transfer of power, which occurred during an ensemble music performance for Obama. The new President received no fewer than three standing ovations from students in Salomon: when he was first introduced to the crowd,
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Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times (above). Courtesy of Emily Yaffe (Right).
Barack and Michelle Obama escort the former president and first lady to their helicopter.
Students respond to Gaza, at home and abroad by Nicole Friedman Senior Staff Writer
Twenty-five students on the Brown/ RISD Hillel’s Taglit-Birthright trip to Israel returned to Providence Tuesday after 10 days of travel. Missing from their number were 15 other students who had signed up for the trip, but backed out after war broke out between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
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The three-week conflict in Gaza, despite occurring in the middle of winter break and half a world away, nevertheless reached members of the Brown community in a variety of ways — whether they were traveling abroad or debating the conflict from home. A cease-fire to the conflict was announced over the weekend, by Israel on Saturday and Hamas on Sunday. Lindsay Babbitt ’11 canceled her
plans to go on the Birthright trip after waiting “as long as possible” to see if the situation would change, she said.“I was really excited about it,” she said. “I was hoping things would calm down a little bit, but they didn’t and they just kept escalating.” She traveled to New Orleans to build houses for a week in lieu of her Israel plans. continued on page 9
Economy’s toll on U. uncertain by Jenna Stark News Editor
Brown’s endowment has been “impacted” in recent months by the poor economic climate, Provost David Kertzer ’69 P’95 P’98 told The Herald in an e-mail, although the University has not announced any specifics about the welfare of its endowment since early this fall. President Ruth Simmons announced
in September that the endowment had earned a comparatively strong 6.3 percent return in the fiscal year ending in June 2008 — but since then, schools around the country have reported significant losses and budget cutbacks. “While we entered this period stronger than at any point in the University’s history, the downturn has had continued on page 9
Tiny particles, big progress Nanoparticles offer growing solutions.
W. basketball win some, lose some over break W. basketball went 2-4 over winter recess.
Real life conflict, played out on Facebook? Ben Bernstein ’09 dissects Facebook ‘status donations.’
195 Angell Street, Providence, Rhode Island
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THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
“It was chaotic. You just had no idea what was happening at all.” — Elizabeth Elliott ’11, who attended Tuesday’s inauguration.
Campus celebrates historic moment, debates cloudy future continued from page 1 again at the request of Sen. Dianne Feinstein and once more after his address to the nation. Widmer, who is also a presidential historian, told the crowd that Obama channeled President Abraham Lincoln in running a campaign “built on words” and in his command of language — “the oldest technology known to man.” Elsewhere on campus, students reflected on the presidency at a Hay exhibit honoring Lincoln, whose bible was used in yesterday’s ceremonies. Highlights from the collection included a page of arithmetic from the young Lincoln’s composition book, a rare original copy of Lincoln’s 1865 inaugural address and a Civil War-era “Meditation on the Divine Will” composed in Lincoln’s hand and saved by John Hay. Back in Salomon, the celebration gave way to discussion at two faculty panels in Salomon 001 Tuesday afternoon. Moderator Christopher Lydon, a visiting fellow in international studies, noted the irony of “rejoicing” even as “banks are collapsing” as he introduced a panel on “Foreign Policy Challenges and Oppor tunities.” L ydon said the optimism in a country laden with problems made Tuesday “one crazy moment” in history. Sporting an Obama t-shirt under his jacket, Professor of International Studies James Blight made no effort to conceal his loyalty to the new president. Blight said he was glad his fashion statement now carried a “patriotic” message instead of a “political” one. But Blight also called the tone of Obama’s speech “somber” and
compared the challenges facing his administration to those confronted by President John F. Kennedy. Like Kennedy, Obama will need “a spine made out of steel” to lead the nation, Blight said. Other panelists looked to more recent histor y as they expressed their hopes and concerns for the new President. Former U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee ’75, a distinguished visiting fellow in international studies, said he recalled how he trusted Bush’s promises to be “a uniter, not a divider” and build a sustainable Middle East peace plan. He said he hopes Obama will fulfill his promises to repair U.S. relations with the Muslim world. Professor of Inter national Studies James Der Derian said he was surprised to be mentioned in Obama’s address, which referred to “nonbelievers” — like Der Derian — as citizens of the nation. Barbara Stallings, who is also a professor of international studies, said she hoped conversations in the next four years could be expanded to other groups typically excluded from political conversations — especially people in developing countries. Stallings said Obama had “moral” and “practical” reasons to “get development onto the agenda.” Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Corey Walker said he hoped the day’s events would usher in “a new generation in foreign policy interest and influence.” But he said he was surprised by the “acceptable level of U.S. nationalism” in the inauguration events and expressed concerns that the rhetoric of the inauguration ceremony amounted to “a U.S. claim to power.” Specifi-
Kim Perley / Herald
Community members gathered in the Salomon Center Tuesday to watch Obama take the oath of office.
cally, he said he was perturbed by Obama’s declaration that the U.S. was “not going to apologize for our way of life.” Walker identified a need for a “new model” for American foreign policy that included voices outside the traditional foreign policy structure. Marginalized populations were also a theme of the afternoon’s second faculty panel, which convened at 3 p.m. to discuss domestic issues. Professor of Education Cynthia Garcia Coll said the “broken” education system in America would be a major challenge for the new president. Coll added that the nation’s achievement gap is closely
linked to class divisions and that improving schools would be a way for the administration to address poverty. Millions of Americans with inadequate health care were the subject of Professor of Family Medicine Stephen Smith’s discussion of Obama’s health care plan. Smith called Obama’s plan “a step forward” but added that “it will not bring universal health care to the U.S.” Assistant Professor of Political Science Jennifer Lawless, who moderated the panel, tied many of the concerns back to the nation’s weak economy, saying Obama “must spend huge money” to implement
new domestic programs. Still, Lawless, who referred to herself as “a ‘Glass is completely empty’ person,” saw reasons to be optimistic about the new president. Lawless said Americans “might see real change” in gay rights over the next four years, including a rescinding of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding homosexuality. This would carr y “important symbolism,” she said, just as the Obama presidency “sends the signal both to African Americans and to women that the political system is inclusive.” That’s a message that “transcends any one policy,” Lawless said.
Students, politicians flock to D.C. for history continued from page 1 Island’s fiscal year 2009 supplemental budget, released on Saturday, which attempted to avoid a $151-million budget deficit. He said he would be monitoring the outcome of the new president’s federal stimulus plan carefully. Carcieri named the economy as the most important issue facing the nation today. “Every governor — whether you’re Republican or Democrat — you’re dealing with the same issues,”
he said. “We’ve got to stabilize the slide, stabilize the economy, stabilize this job loss.” But, as Cicilline said, “We are inaugurating a president who will lead us during this incredibly difficult time.” Tuesday’s crowds seemed to agree. An estimated two million people, according to CBS News, rushed to the ceremony — Elizabeth Elliott ’11 among them. Even with standingroom tickets, she waited in line for more than two-and-a-half hours to
see a half-hour of the swearing-in ceremony. “It was chaotic,” she said. “You just had no idea what was happening at all.” But even in the chaos and crush of the crowd, a patiently optimistic spirit prevailed. “People were nice, for the most part,” Elliott said. The unity among strangers resonated with many in attendance. The inauguration, Carcieri said, was “reaffirming about us as a nation.”
Amid celebration, students take a stand
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WASHINGTON — While partygoers in ball gowns and tuxedoes hurried by, about ten people stood on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and First Street, right outside of Union Station, in the cold night air. “Si, se puede!” they chanted — the slogan coined by Cesar Chavez and adopted by the Obama campaign in its English form: “Yes, we can!” VyVy Trinh ’11 and Crystal Vance ’11 had traveled with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights from Chicago to Washington for the inauguration — and to protest for the reform of current immigration policy.
“It’s been so inspiring,” Trinh said. “All these people are here not just for Obama-mania.... All these people are really passionate and excited like everyone else, but determined to help be part of change.” Over 60 participants traveled to Washington from Illinois, and thousands more from other organizations plan to gather today at 11 a.m., according to Trinh and Mehrdad Azemun, the Illinois Coalition’s organizing director. Azemun said they planned a procession to the D.C. headquarters of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “We are going to cleanse the agency of eight years of bad policy,”
he said. The group demanded that immigration policy reform be a priority during Obama’s administration, Vance said. Trinh said one of the issues she feels most passionately about is providing a path to citizenship for undocumented youth. She and Vance are both members of a Brown student group that advocates making higher education more accessible to undocumented immigrants. They would like to see the University publish instructions on how to apply to Brown without a Social Security Number, Trinh said. — Sophia Li
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
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“I have so many different moves — it depends on the cars.” — Tony Lepore, “Dancing Cop”
Nano-lab hopes particles unlock health secrets By Matthew Scult Contributing Writer
In the near future, doctors may be able to use tiny particles to speed up bone growth, re-attach torn ligaments and even sense and transmit information about bacterial infections. Associate Professor of Engineering Thomas Webster has been working on applications like these and more for “nanoparticles” — materials that measure on the scale of just a few nanometers, or mere billionths of a meter. For perspective, “the diameter of an average human hair is 80,000 nanometers,” Webster said. Some of the most promising nano-research has been done in the field of orthopedics, but nanoparticles may soon be used to heal vasculature, cartilage, neurons and skin, as well as bone, Webster said. “We hope to hit all the organs in the body,” he said. By changing the shape of materials at the nanoscale, researchers have been able to increase the rate of growth of various body systems after surgery. The interactions between microscopic features of different particles can affect the rate of recovery of the system by allowing cells like those in bone to get a better grip on whatever surface they are growing on. For example, if a patient receives a titanium hip implant, instead of letting the bone try to grow over the smooth titanium, only to slip off, doctors can coat the titanium in nanoparticles so the bone will stick
Student radio to cut back on airtime, look to Web By Mitra Anoushiravani Senior Staff Writer
Eunice Hong / Herald
Miniscule particles may be useful for implants or other kinds of surgery.
to them like velcro. Professor of Orthopedics Roy Aaron is collaborating with Webster in his nanoparticle research. The nanoparticles create a “better interface” between the body and the implant, leading to a more effective “bio-hybrid,” Aaron said. According to Webster, the nanoparticles are made from the same materials that occur naturally in the
body, so they are able to “trick the body into thinking you are inserting itself.” In addition, the particles do not cause scar tissue to form — what usually happens when someone has a hip replacement or other surgery. This lack of scar tissue likely contributes to the rapid re-growth. Aaron said “a lot of research” has continued on page 4
Brown Student Radio has agreed to a new lease for broadcasting time with the Wheeler School, a local high school, for its WELH 88.1 radio signal. The new contract, which will be effective through June 2009, reduces the group’s daily airtime on the school’s signal from ten hours to six by cutting the 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. time slots from its schedule. In a letter to the Undergraduate Finance Board, BSR’s general manager, David Paesani ’10, wrote that the Wheeler School chose to take the evening time slot due to an increased interest in radio production among its students. “BSR did not have much leverage in the situation, since WELH is owned by the Wheeler School,” Paesani wrote. However, the station willingly gave up the 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. slot because those hours “were not worth it for BSR” according to Paesani’s letter. With this cut in airtime also comes a significant reduction in the price of the agreement. The new contract, which totals only $6,800, leaves funding available to bolster BSR’s Web site, said Lily Tran ’10, the UFB chair. BSR is funded primarily by an allocation from UFB, which gave the station $14,000 for the fall semester. In exchange for cutting contract
Providence’s ‘Dancing Cop’ directs traffic, breaks it down By Lauren Pischel Staff Writer
In mid-December, when students headed off to hit the books, they may have found a surprise outside of the Sciences Library. The police officer at the corner of Thayer and Waterman streets was not just directing traffic — he was dancing. For two days during the holidays, Tony Lepore — Providence’s “Dancing
Cop” — brings his tradition of directing traffic with style and break dance moves to Brown’s campus. The students “seem to be trying to be polite and not notice what looks like bizarre behavior,” Janet Crager, a scholarly resources librarian at the SciLi wrote in an e-mail to the Herald. “They probably don’t know Tony’s a Providence tradition.” Lepore said he developed his dancing cop routine in 1984 while directing
traffic at the corner of Dorrance and Westminster streets. Lepore retired as a full-time police officer in 1989, but was asked to direct Providence traffic during the holidays in 1991 by thenMayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci. “I got so much notoriety they asked me to come back,” Lepore said. During the month of December, Lepore tries to work every district of Providence for two days at a time
because he wants as many people to see him as possible. He doesn’t have a set routine; instead he responds to the traffic around him. “I have so many different moves — it depends on the cars,” Lepore said. “If they have their blinkers on, I might move my hips.” One of his main stages is at the heart of Brown’s campus, on the continued on page 4
Physics prof honored at White House as rising science star By Matthew Klebanoff Staff Writer
Exactly a month before President Barack Obama raised his right hand and shipped his boxes to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Assistant Professor of Physics Anastasia Volovich got a close look at Obama’s new home. Volovich was honored at a White House ceremony last month along with the other winners of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. Volovich works in theoretical physics, string theory and related areas in particle physics and general relativity. She said she uses insights from string theory — which looks to provide a unified explanation of all the physical laws in the
universe — to better understand various problems in theoretical particle physics. “I felt very honored to win and ver y excited to go to the White House,” Volovich said. Volovich said she is now developing mathematical tools that will help scientists interpret data from the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator that was activated last year. “Her standing in the field and her promise for the future really stands out,” said Professor of Physics and Department Chair Chung-I Tan. The PECASE, awarded to Volovich by the National Science Foundation, acknowledges scientists and engineers who demonstrate exceptional promise at the beginning of
their professional careers. The NSF nominated Volovich and 19 other scientists for the honor. In total, government agencies gave awards to 67 researchers. “We take great pride in the PECASE winners,” NSF Deputy Director Kathie Olsen said in a statement. “It is important to support the transformational research of these beginning scientists and to foster their work in educational outreach and mentoring.” In winning the award, Volovich continues a string of success enjoyed by young Brown researchers at the White House. In 2007, Assistant Professor of Computer Science Chad Jenkins and Associate Professor of Engineering Pradeep Guduru were honored in Washington for winning PECASE awards.
Courtesy of Brown.edu
Assistant Professor of Physics Anastasia Volovich
costs, Tran expects that BSR will ask UFB for funding to increase its Web presence. Tran said she was very optimistic about the future of BSR as a “hybrid radio station” that streams online as well as through a terrestrial signal. Though its hours are reduced, the station will not suffer because of decreased airtime, according to Paesani. “BSR has had more shows this semester than it’s ever had,” he said, adding that no shows will have to be cut because of the change. Also,the Wheeler School was granted permission to increase the power of WELH by the Federal Communications Commission and is in the process of building a new tower, which is scheduled to be completed by September. The increased power and new tower will enable the signal to reach more of Brown’s campus and much of Providence, and will allow for highdefinition broadcasting. “Wheeler hasn’t decided what they’re going to do yet,” Paesani said. “But this frees up much more time which is good for them and it’s good for us.” In the letter, Paesani wrote that the new agreement “may provide an opportunity for BSR to take over larger portions of airtime on any of 88.1’s channels, even to the point of operating full-time on one of these continued on page 4
news in brief
Banner to offer meal plan balances Students will soon be able to use Banner to track their meal plans. According to the monthly e-mail newsletter of the Undergraduate Council of Students, students will be able to check their balance of meal credits and Flex points sometime this semester. UCS Vice President Mike MacCombie ’11 said UCS has been discussing the idea of helping students independently check their dining balances since early last semester. Students will now be able to keep an eye on their balances the same way they view their courses on Banner, instead of having to ask cashiers to check. Though MacCombie said the service is not set up yet, he said that UCS is currently working with Brown Dining Services to put the plan into action. — Julia Kim
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
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U. to lose its director of institutional diversity By Brigitta Greene Senior Staff Writer
Associate Provost and Director of Institutional Diversity Brenda Allen will leave her position at the end of this semester to become the provost at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. “It is certainly a great loss. She will be sorely missed,” said Provost David Kertzer ’69 P’95 P’98. Although her six years at Brown were “very satisfying,” Allen said, the move to the position of provost “seems like a logical progression.” Allen held teaching positions at Yale and Smith College before taking administrative posts at Smith and Brown. She has a nine years of experience in administration and ten years in teaching under her belt. Looking out onto the Main Green, her office on the fourth floor of University Hall is decorated by posters of diversity forums, meetings of the University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice and other evidence of her influence at the University. She was the first person to hold the position of director of institutional diversity, and her work has helped to define a new area of focus for the administration. She has worked to implement the Diversity Action Plan, which seeks to increase diversity among Brown’s faculty. “It’s one thing to value diversity,” she said, “but it’s another thing to actually identify goals and get them done.” Diversity figures among faculty, both in terms of gender and race, have increased over her six years, she said. Her remaining time will be spent “dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s
Eunice Hong / Herald
Associate Provost Brenda Allen.
of projects,” she said, gazing out at a piles of binders, boxes and papers on her desk. There has been no discussion yet of who will take over after her leave, Allen said. Winston-Salem State, a historically black university, will present a very different set of goals and challenges, she said. Allen represents “a very important part” of a new leadership team at Winston-Salem State, where she will also serve as vice chancellor of academic affairs, said the school’s chancellor, Donald Reaves. He said he was looking for “an academic, not an administrator,” and that Allen was the ideal candidate for such a post. Allen chose to teach a psychology class at Brown, a move that some administrators might view as an overload, she said. Allen said was constantly stimulated by interactions with the Brown student body. “If I ever felt discouraged, I just went to the classroom,” Allen said. Due to the current financial situation and efforts to “streamline the administration,” the University will be evaluating Allen’s position before hiring someone to replace her, Kertzer said.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
“If I ever felt discouraged, I just went to the classroom.” — Brenda Allen, former associate provost
Local dancing traffic cop a media sensation continued from page 3 corner of Waterman and Thayer streets. “I first heard about him from a friend and didn’t (believe) her,” Elizabeth Elliott ’11 wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. “The next day when I was walking up Thayer, I heard someone obnoxiously blowing a whistle, and as I walked closer I saw that dancing cop breaking it down in the middle of the intersection.” Since 1984, Lepore has become something of a Providence icon. He moved from working street corners to starring in two television shows: “Safe Kids and Friends” and “On the Road with Tony, the Dancing Cop,” which air on local public access television. He appeared on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” and ESPN’s “Plays of the Week,” and also plays a lead character on the mini-pilot “Bread, Butter, and Bullets,” which can be seen on YouTube. “Everybody knows who he is,” said Nick Albanese, the creator of “Bread, Butter, and Bullets.” “You say, ‘Dancing cop,’ and they say, ‘Oh yeah, I know that guy.’”
Lepore grew up in Silver Lake, a small Italian district in the West Side of Providence. After serving in Vietnam, Lepore joined the police force in 1972. “I needed to put food on the table, so I became a cop,” he said. In 1984, while bored on a 45-minute shift directing traffic, Lepore started to dance. “I did not do any progressive stuff when I first started, just hand movements and a spin,” he said. Initially, Lepore worried about how his superiors would react and was always on the lookout for their cars. But on May 1, 1984, the Providence Journal ran a front-page article on Lepore. The “Dancing Cop” became a hit with the people of Providence. “Everyone has a gift, and I could dance,” he said. “It was easy for me.” In addition to directing traffic around Providence at holiday time, Lepore travels around the country. He performed at the Texas Motor Speedway in 1997 and danced in Times Square one New Year’s Eve. Lepore also works as a motiva-
tional speaker for children and often appears in classrooms and in front of children’s audiences. His show contains two parts: “Follow Your Dream” and traffic safety. His show “Safe Kids and Friends” has won public access channel awards including Best Children’s Show, Best Educational Show and Best Series. Lepore has also tried his hand at comedy. During a friend’s stand-up comedy performance, he interrupted, dressed in full uniform, and declared that he was conducting a raid. He then proceeded to the front of the stage and began to dance, much to the relief of the audience. On “Bread, Butter, and Bullets,” Lepore plays an eccentric father, Alfredo. A spoof of “The Sopranos,” the comedy centers on a fake mob killing inside a bakery. The eight episodes of show are currently available on YouTube and have collectively been viewed over 15,000 times. Albanese said he is currently brainstorming another series, one about Lepore’s “interesting life.” “I like doing something different,” Lepore said, “but my notoriety is from directing traffic.”
Nanoscale particles may be key to implants continued from page 3 been done on the uses of nanoparticles in orthopedics. He sees many potential uses for nanoparticles in medicine, but he also has “a lot of concerns.” Some of those concerns stem from the fact that nanoparticles are so small — too small, perhaps. They are able to travel through cell membranes, and some studies have suggested that they may disrupt cell function and even cause cancer. Aaron said that the use of tiny particles warrants further research
even if the particles are made out of a material that has been safe in larger quantities. For example, he said, while a titanium hip does not bother the body, titanium powder created from the wear and tear of titanium implants triggers an inflammatory response. Similarly, nanoparticles may affect the body in unexpected ways. Webster says that so far in his research the particles have had no harmful effects on animal models, but both Webster and Aaron agree that human testing will not begin
for another five to 10 years, after many further pre-clinical studies have been conducted. In the field of orthopedics, nanoparticles will initially be used to increase the rate of bone growth. But the future may hold even more astounding developments. Webster’s lab is currently working on using nanoparticles to release antibiotics when sensors determine that there is an infection. Nanoparticles could measure glucose levels and send that information to a device that could regulate the amount of glucose in the blood. Even though the research is still in early stages, many have not been discouraged from seeking out Webster’s help. Webster said he has received calls from hundreds of people interested in participating in clinical studies. To him, this fact emphasizes the great importance of this kind of research. “People are in that much pain that they are willing to try exploratory techniques,” he said.
Student radio signs new lease continued from page 3 channels.” For the past few years UFB has been pushing BSR to strengthen its Web site and invest more energy in using the Internet more effectively since WELH’s radio signal does not reach most of Brown. Tran said the new contract and the funds that will be allocated to BSR’s Web site are in line with UFB’s hopes and expectations for BSR. “This entire thing was actually perfect,” she said. “Internet radio is the future and BSR wants to be a part of that,” Paesani said.
Higher Ed The Brown Daily Herald
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 | Page 5
At Texas college, students Colleges struggle to maintain financial aid make the calls on faculty pay By Lauren Fedor Senior Staff Writer
By SUzannah weiss Contributing Writer
A new “Student Evaluation of Teachers” program at Texas A&M University that will award bonuses to highly rated professors has been ill-received by faculty members at the school. Only a small fraction of the faculty has agreed to be considered for the $10,000 bonuses, which will be awarded to professors rated among the top three percent in student evaluations. A&M senior Kolin Loveless, co-chair of the student evaluation committee, said the goal of the initiative is to make faculty “see teaching as a priority” at the public research university. David Guenthner of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which supported the measure as part of a higher education reform agenda, said the program is designed to emphasize “classroom instruction, particularly at the undergraduate level.” The SET program is a brainchild of Texas A&M chancellor Michael McKinney, who referred to it as a test of “customer satisfaction” in an inter view with the Br yan-College Station Eagle. His remarks have drawn opposition from faculty members. “My primar y objection is that it gives significant awards based on incomplete information,” said Martha Loudder, associate dean of the Mays Business School at Texas A&M. Loudder said bonuses should be awarded based on a variety of feedback sources, including — but not limited to — student evaluations. The problem with awarding money solely on the basis of student opinions, she said, is that teachers whose courses are mandator y or more difficult may be unfairly penalized. Loudder also said students may be biased based on their own performance in class. “I am really a pretty nice person and like all my students,” Loudder said. “But occasionally I will see a comment like, ‘She is truly Satan,’ and I’m pretty sure that is not someone who made an A!” Loudder said “former students who have had some time to reflect on the value of a tough professor” are better qualified to weigh in on faculty bonuses. And she is among the majority of Texas A&M faculty in her opposition to the program. Only 20 percent of around 1,600 teaching faculty members have agreed to distribute the SET sur veys to their classes. But Loveless said the low participation could be a result of professors misunderstanding the new system or thinking, “I’m not gonna participate because I’m not gonna win.” Although Brown has not proposed a similar initiative, Web
sites like ratemyprofessors.com and the Critical Review continue to be popular with students deciding which courses to take. Brian Lee ’09, a writer for the Critical Review, said evaluations “help students to make informed decisions about the courses that they choose, and to provide instructors with valuable feedback.” But Lee added that he does not see students’ views as the most significant component of faculty evaluations. Using students’ assessments to decide how teachers will be compensated, he said, is “not one of (the Critical Review’s) primary objectives, nor (are the assessments) the only basis on which to judge a professor.” Loveless disagreed. “At the end of the day, students at any university … know when they’ve been challenged and when they’ve been pushed, and they know when they’ve been taught well.” He said the student evaluation committee is working to assuage faculty concerns. The committee recently responded to research showing lower ratings for science professors by weighing scores from separate colleges within the university differently. Loveless said the student evaluation committee acknowledges that the plan “is not perfect” and will continue to tackle problems as they arise. Citing a high median professor rating at Texas A&M, Loveless said that, if anything, students need to be tougher graders. Loveless said a student thinking “Oh, I want to be nice to this professor” is not a good approach to teacher evaluations.
Wall Street firms and automotive giants aren’t the only institutions feeling the effects of the global financial crisis. As the country’s financial woes seep into college endowments, students across the country may feel the pinch in the coming years through reduced financial aid packages. Laura Talbot, director of financial aid at Pennsylvania’s Swarthmore College, said Swarthmore was able to offer loan-free awards to all students with “demonstrated need” for the 2008-2009 academic year. But while Talbot added that the need-blind college has announced to students that “there
will be no change” in the college’s financial aid promises, she said the college can only make that guarantee for the next school year. Last December, Bloomberg News reported that Swarthmore lost almost 30 percent of its endowment’s value over five months. To cope with the losses, Talbot said, the financial aid office has put together a budget that diverts more of the school’s resources to financial aid. Talbot said all of the college’s financial aid dollars come from the school’s endowment — not from tuition and fees. There may be a rise in demand for financial aid, but it will be unclear if and by how much the necessity for aid will increase until this year’s April deadline for finan-
cial aid requests, Talbot added. At Colby College in Maine, where the endowment has fallen by more than 25 percent, the percentage of aid applications remains fairly steady, according to Lucia Whittelsey, director of financial aid at Colby. Whittelsey wrote in an e-mail to The Herald that, over the last three years, aid applicants have made up 60 to 63 percent of the admission applicant group. This year, that figure currently stands at 63 percent. Colby has a “need-aware” admissions policy, Whittelsey wrote, but the school will be able to meet the calculated need of all admitted students. For the first time continued on page 6
Schools re-evaluate after Madoff losses By Ellen Cushing Senior Staff Writer
Several colleges and universities are sustaining large financial losses in the aftermath of Bernard Madoff’s $50 billion hedge fund scam. Madoff defrauded investors by using money collected from new investors to pay off existing ones — an illegal strategy known as a Ponzi scheme after the man who developed it. The entire scheme collapsed when Madoff was unable to find new investors to continue paying his clients, the New York Times reported Dec. 12. Yeshiva, Tufts and New York Universities and Bard College had all invested with Madoff before his scheme was revealed late last year. NYU was hit hardest, losing $24 million dollars. Tufts lost $20
million, Yeshiva $14.5 million and Bard $3 million, according to the schools’ respective media relations offices. At the center of the colleges’ involvement with the scheme is hedge fund manager Ezra Merkin, who invested with Madoff through his funds Ariel Ltd. and Ascot Parnerships. All four schools invested with Madoff through Merkin, according to press releases issued by each school. NYU has sued Merkin and is the only school thus far to officially press charges. In a written statement, spokesman John Beckman said, “NYU is suing Mr. Merkin because he did not meet his obligation to the university to exercise reasonable judgment in investing NYU’s money.” Though Yeshiva has not taken
legal action, the school has severed ties with both men. According to a December 16 letter from President Richard Joel to the Yeshiva community, both Madoff and Merkin resigned from their volunteer positions at the university. Madoff and Merkin had both served on the Board of Trustees at Yeshiva, according to Joel. Before the incident, Merkin was the chairman of the investment committee on the board and Madoff was the treasurer. With such close ties to Madoff and Merkin, Yeshiva is taking steps to safeguard its finances and prevent future conflicts of interest. “We have decided to examine our existing conflicts policies and procedures, and governance struccontinued on page 6
H igher E d
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
“Occasionally I will see a comment like, ‘She is truly Satan.’” — Martha Loudder, associate dean at Texas A&M University
Schools hit hard by financier’s Ponzi scheme continued from page 5 tures,” Joel wrote in the letter. He also said the school has hired two consulting firms, Sullivan & Cromwell and Cambridge Associates, who specialize in corporate and institutional governance. The firms were brought in “to ensure that our policies, procedures and structure reflect not only best practices, but the gold standard,” Joel wrote. A spokesperson from Yeshiva said the school had no further comment on the incident.
Ultimately, however, these losses are unlikely to have a devastating effect on any of the schools. In his letter, Joel underscored Yeshiva’s continued financial strength. “Although this decreased endowment must factor into our long term fiscal plans, it will have minimal impact on day-to-day operations,” he wrote. He also noted that in today’s depressed economic climate, most colleges and universities are doing worse as it is. Tufts, the school that lost the greatest portion of its endowment
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
in the scandal, lost only 2 percent. “This particular write-off will not by itself have a significant impact on our operations,” Tufts spokesperson Kim Thurler told The Herald. Like Yeshiva, Tufts is using this opportunity to re-evaluate who handles their money and how it is invested. “We’re looking to see whether there’s anything we need to do to modify our current processes,” Thurler said. “We followed our usual practices but we’re always looking to see whether there’s a lesson to be learned or an improvement to be made.”
Financial aid commitments weigh heavily on colleges continued from page 5 this year, Colby is offering aid packages with no loans. Unlike Swarthmore, Colby does draw some of its aid funding from tuition. William Adams, president of Colby, addressed parents and students in October, telling them the school remains “committed most fundamentally to current students, faculty, staff,” but added that the school — like many of its peers — will look to make adjustments in the budget of the institution. Amherst College President Anthony Marx made similar remarks in a letter to his school’s community. “We will make some adjustments to our spending, while ensuring that we can maintain
our core commitments,” Mar x wrote in the letter. Amherst will continue its need-blind admission policy, he wrote. The statements come as college tuition climbs to an all-time high. In 2008, the College Board reported that the average cost of attending a private, four-year college for the 2008-2009 school year was $34,132. Ten years ago, the cost of the same education in 2008 dollars was $27,580, according to the College Board. The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education reported last year that the cost of college tuition continues to outpace median family income and the cost of medical care, food and housing. The cost of college tuition and fees has grown more than 400 percent since the early 1980s, according to the center.
SportsWednesday The Brown Daily Herald
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 | Page 7
W. hoops looking to take care of the ball By nicole stock Spor ts Staff Writer
The women’s basketball team (3-12) went 2-4 over the winter recess, dropping their first four games, but finishing strong with back-toback wins. The Bears started the break in Miami for the University of Miami Holiday Tournament. Bruno’s first game of the tournament was against host Miami Hurricanes on Dec. 29. The Hurricanes proved to be a formidable opponent, as their offensive production overpowered the Bears. Miami shot 37 percent from the field in the first half and improved to 45 percent in the second half, while the Bears shot just 28 percent in the first half and 24 percent in the second half. The poor shooting, combined with 31 turnovers, hurt the Bears as they dropped the game 81-41. Since the loss to Miami, Brown has been making more of a conscious effort to limit turnovers. “We’ve really cut down on them and value possessions more,” said Captain and former Herald Sports Editor Amy Ehrhart ’09. Christina Johnson ’10 led the Bears with 10 points in the loss, while Sadiea Williams ’11 chipped in nine points. The Bears took on Duquesne in the consolation game the next day. The Dukes broke loose with an 8-0 run that put the Bears in a 14-6 hole, and started a six-and-ahalf minute drought for the Bears offense. The Dukes got hot the last eight minutes of the half to extend their lead to 47-19 at the half. The second half proved to be more of the same, as the Dukes continued their hot shooting. Again, ball control was a problem for the Bears, who committed 24 turnovers en route to an 84-54 loss. The Bears would head back home to take on Army on Jan. 4. Again, Bruno fell behind early in the game. The Black Knights’ Alex McGuire ’09 started the game with a hot hand, putting in 16 first-half points to put the Bears behind 3514 at the half. In the second half
M. basketball drops Ivy opener but will get rematch By katie wood Assistant Spor ts Editor
Justin Coleman / Herald File Photo
Point Guard Courtney Lee ’10 brought the Bears to victory against Bryant with two last minute free-throws.
the Bears tried to bounce back, led by Ehrhart and Aileen Daniels ’12, who combined for 15 of Brown’s 30 points in the second half,which ended with Army on top by a score of 64-44. The game marked the seventh consecutive loss for Bruno, and dropped the Bears’ record to 1-11. “We knew our preseason schedule heading into Ivies was going to be one of the hardest, playing teams like Miami, Auburn and Army, but we learned a lot from those games and now we’re peaking at the perfect time so we’ll hopefully be seeing them again come March,” Ehrhart said. In their second game of the new year, the Bears traveled to Washington to play American on Jan. 6. Led by 10 first-half points by Betsy Jacobson ’11, the Bears were within four, trailing 31-27, heading into the
second half. But costly turnovers down the stretch put the game out of reach for Bruno, who turned the ball over 14 times in the game, which ended in a 60-43 loss for the Bears. An exciting finish at the Pizzitola Sports Center on Jan. 10 gave the Bears their first win of 2009, as Courtney Lee ’10 drained two free throws with less than five seconds left to secure the victory 64-62 against Br yant University. The Bears knew it would take a complete game to beat Bryant and it took until the closing second to finish it off. “We played 30 of 40 minutes against American and knew that without that second half letdown we would have won, so against Bryant we came out just as hard and played continued on page 8
The men’s basketball team (6-9, 0-1 Ivy) began winter break with an 89-73 win over Quinnipiac on Dec. 29 on its hottest shooting performance of the season, which included astounding 82 percent (14-of-17) shooting from behind the three-point line, a school single-game record. However, that impressive shooting exhibition did not carry into the remaining games leading into Ivy League play, as the Bears fell Friday night, 70-62, in their first conference match-up, against Yale. The Bears started off the game well as they took an early 15-4 advantage but soon cooled off as the Bulldogs pulled to within two at the half, 29-27. The game stayed neckand-neck with five lead changes in the opening ten minutes of play in the second half, until Yale took the lead for good with less than four minutes remaining, pulling out a 70-62 road win. Matt Mullery ’10 led the Bears in scoring with a game-high 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Sullivan and Williams contributed 14 points each while Friske added six points, eight rebounds and five assists. The Bears will look to even their conference record when they travel to Yale on Friday and take on the Bulldogs for the second weekend in a row. “We knew going in to the first Yale game it was going to be a hard-fought game,” Mullery said. “We’re looking forward to playing
them again and have confidence going into the game.” After finals and a 12-day rest from competition, the Bears headed into a game against Wagner on Dec. 21. Despite 18 points and five rebounds from Muller y, Bruno had a hard time putting the ball in the net. Brown shot a meager 28 percent from the floor in the first half as the Seahawks took an early 32-16 advantage with three minutes to play in the half. Adrian Williams ’11, who finished with 10 points, was the only other Bear to join Mullery in double digits as the team fell, 78-66. “We really struggled to get any real consistent practice time during exams,” Head Coach Jesse Agel said. “We weren’t ready to mentally cope in that situation.” The Bears headed their separate ways over the holidays and reconvened ready to play Quinnipiac on Dec. 29. Led by Williams’ career-high 29 points, the Bears put together one of their best offensive performances of the season. They took a 47-29 lead into the half, led by 16 points from Williams and 15 points from Mullery. The Bears finished of f the game strong with a win and a wellrounded scoring effort. Williams led all scorers with 29 points on 9-of-11 shooting, Mullery tacked on 22 points with seven assists and no turnovers, and tri-captain Peter Sullivan ’11 followed closely behind with 21 points. Sullivan and Williams combined to shoot 86 percent from behind the arc, continued on page 8
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
S ports W ednesday
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
“We played the hardest we had in a long time.” — Matt Mullery ’10
M. hoops looks to bounce back in Ivy League play continued from page 7
going 12-of-14. “We had a lot of guys hitting from the outside,” Mullery said. “When we shoot the ball well and defend, we’re a tough team to beat.” The Bears hit the road for their last two non-conference road games of the season. They were cooled off by American on Jan. 2, following up their 82-percent performance from behind the arc with a more modest 6-for20 mark from three-point range. The game started off tight as the Bears fought hard until the half’s closing minutes. But American pulled away in the second half to hand the Bears a 68-53 loss, despite Muller y’s team-high 16 points, 13 of which came in the second half. The ACC’s Virginia awaited Brown on Jan. 6 as the Bears put together a solid effort against a team from one of the toughest conferences in the country. “Virginia’s the best team we’ve played all year,” Muller y said. “Guys in that conference are physically on a different level. We played the hardest we had in a long time and hope to sustain that effort for the rest of the season.”
They found themselves down 39-29 at the half as the Cavaliers converted nine Brown turnovers into 15 points. The Bears’ 23-percent second-half shooting pushed them even further behind, as they fell, 74-50. Sullivan led the team with 14 points and six boards, followed by Williams’ 13 points. Brown hosted Bryant on Jan. 10, ready to take down its in-state rival. The Bears outscored the Bulldogs 19-2 for a stretch late in the first half to build a 16-point lead and Bruno went into the half up 38-25. Bryant came out of halftime with more firepower on the offensive side, and pulled the game to within three with 10 minutes remaining. Brown went on its own 12-3 scoring run to take the lead for good with two minutes to play, finishing off the Bulldogs 69-56. Friske scored a season-high 15 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Mullery led the team with 16 points to go along with seven boards, while Skrelja led the Bears in rebounds yet again with 11. Skrelja “doesn’t need to score to affect the game,” Agel said. “He has a lot of responsibilities outside of scoring for us, whether it’s rebounding or guarding the best player.”
W. basketball plagued by turnovers continued from page 7 a complete game,” Ehrhart said. The Bears looked to build on their win over Bryant as they headed to New Haven, Conn. to take on Yale in their first Ivy League contest of the season. Again the game came down to the final seconds and clutch free throws. This time it was Ehrhart who closed out the win for Brown, hitting two free throws with 2.8 seconds left in regulation. Throughout the season, the team has stressed the importance of free-throw shooting, which played a vital role in Brown’s consecutive wins. “We set a team goal of 80 percent, and when we meet that we’ll win a lot of our games,” Ehrhart said. Although Yale shot 52 percent in the second half and the Bears’ field goal percentage dropped to just 29 percent, Brown was able to hold on to their lead and win their second consecutive game, again by a score of 64-62. Brown was led by Grace and Lee, who each contributed 12 points. The Bears will look to continue their hot streak as they tip off in a rematch against Yale this Friday at 7 p.m. at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
WEdnesday, january 21, 2009
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
Israel, Gaza divide community opinion continued from page 1 Gili Kliger ’12, who did go on the Birthright trip, wrote in an email to The Herald that she felt the situation in Gaza did not negatively influence the trip. “If anything, I think it was more interesting to go at this time because the issues that surround the situation felt more relevant,” she wrote.“There were people digging graves that very day for soldiers just recently killed.” Alexander Ortiz ’09 spent winter break in Egypt, where he was only “about four or five hours away from Gaza,” but he said he did not observe much of an effect on the country he was staying in. “It was a very interesting and hard experience to be so close to what was going on and yet to sort of witness that normalcy with which most people went about their lives,” he said. Eliana Greenberg ’13 chose to travel abroad to Israel before even beginning her time at Brown. She is taking a gap year working as a volunteer on ambulances in two different cities in Israel near the Gaza Strip. After the conflict began, she started working full time in Yavneh, one of the cities being hit with rockets from Gaza, she wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. “Luckily no rockets in the area I was working in hit any structures or caused any injuries, but we had several occasions in which the warning siren went off,” she wrote. “When we heard the siren, everyone in the station went to the bomb shelter to wait out the rocket — we had about two minutes from the time we heard the siren until we heard the boom of the rocket falling.” Despite her proximity to the Gaza Strip, Greenberg wrote that she never felt unsafe, though the noise from the rockets “made the situation seem much more real.” Initial Responses Though the situation in Gaza may have seemed a world away for those who didn’t spend their vacation in the Middle East, many students and professors took roles as activists and commentators on
the events. A Providence organization called What Queer?! organized a mock funeral procession Jan. 9 as a show of solidarity with Gazans. Several members of Brown Students for a Democratic Society participated in the event, Chantal Tape ’09 said. The procession stopped at five sites in downtown Providence, where activists spoke against state violence and other forms of state-sponsored oppression, she said. SDS feels strongly about the situation in Gaza and hopes to plan events or actions this semester related to the situation, Tape said. “We’re looking forward to hopefully reaching out to other groups on campus and hopefully doing some sort of action related to Gaza solidarity and keeping awareness up,” she said. Students who spent the break outside Providence stayed involved as well. Jesse Soodalter ’94 MD’09, who is currently working on an independent study project in London, participated in three demonstrations in London against Israel’s actions in Gaza. The largest of these demonstrations “comprised easily 100,000 people,” Soodalter wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. Professor of Economics Glenn Loury debated the conflict in Gaza with Professor Ann Althouse of the University of Wisconsin Law School in a “diavlog,” or a dialogue conducted on video chat, for the Web site Bloggingheads.tv on Jan. 7. Loury, a Bloggingheads regular, referred to past violence in the Middle East as “ethnic cleansing,” then went on to say, “I try to think through these things the best way I can. I am not anti-Semitic. I am not against the state of Israel’s project. I am just overwhelmed by the historical force of what’s going on and the sort of moral questions involved.” Loury told The Herald that he received many e-mails in response to the term “ethnic cleansing,” which he said he used in reference to the title of a book by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe. Sam Lehman-Wilzig, visiting professor of Judaic studies, gave three talks to communities in North
Carolina, South Carolina and Florida after the conflict began. Born in America and having lived in Israel for 31 years, Lehman-Wilzing said he identifies as more of an Israeli than an American when approaching the current situation. His goal when speaking in America about Gaza is to provide “more honest, balanced analysis,” he said. “I’m an academic at heart, which means truth is more important than anything else,” he said. “And I think if you present the truth in a balanced fashion, people will be convinced much more than if you just hit them with one side and ignore the other side.” Lehman-Wilzig said he was told before coming to Brown that it tends to be a liberal, anti-Israel campus but that he “found absolutely none of that in the first semester.” Since the conflict broke out over vacation, he said, it will be “interesting to me to see whether there’s a lot more anti-Israel sentiment coming out.” Upcoming Events The student group Common Ground has organized a teach-in for Jan. 29 called “Gaza — Implications and Reconceptualizations,” featuring a panel of faculty and alumni presenting various perspectives on the situation in Gaza and the international response, according to Ortiz. “This will be the first event that we have coming back, but I hope it will be the first of many in response to the bombardment and attacks and the terrific amount of human suffering that’s currently present in Gaza,” Ortiz said. Harry Reis ’11, president of Brown Students for Israel, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald Jan. 16 that the conflict in Gaza “will certainly be one of the issues we will be discussing” in relation to upcoming BSI events. M’kol haKivunim, a student group started this year aiming to advocate peace and justice in Israel and Palestine, has been in discussion with the Brown/RISD Hillel’s Israel committee about holding a combined open forum with BSI on the conflict sometime soon, Sophia Manuel ’11 said.
U. endowment state unknown continued from page 1 an impact on our sources of revenue, including the endowment,” Kertzer wrote in the e-mail. Though he did not quantify how Brown’s endowment had weathered the turbulent economy during the six months since the current fiscal year began, Kertzer wrote that the University is prepared to survive the harsh environment. “The endowment’s losses have been moderated by its highly diversified portfolio, and the Investment Office has been working closely with the (Corporation’s) Investment Committee and the Budget and Finance Committee to ensure that the endowment is well positioned to weather a protracted economic downturn,” he wrote. The University plans to release more definite figures on the state of the endowment in the next few weeks as the University Resources Committee develops a budget proposal for the next fiscal year, Kertzer added. Harvard’s endowment, the nation’s largest, lost 22 percent of its value be-
tween July and October, the Harvard Crimson reported in December. The $8 billion loss is itself larger than the total endowments of all other American universities, with the exception of Yale, Princeton, Stanford Universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to the Crimson. Harvard is anticipating further hits to its endowment, planning for as much as a 30 percent decrease in value by this June. Yale’s endowment fell 13.4 percent between the end of June and October, and the university may also suffer a $100 million budget deficit for the 2009-2010 academic year, according to the New York Times. Princeton’s endowment lost at least 11 percent of its value during the same 2008 period, according to the Daily Princetonian.The university is planning for a total 25percent decrease in the endowment by this June. Brown did not have any invested money connected with financier Bernard Madoff, said Marisa Quinn, vice president of public affairs and University relations.
Editorial & Letters The Brown Daily Herald
Page 10 | Wednesday, January 21, 2009
e d i to r i a l
Saving J-Term Januar y@Brown, an academic pilot program that ran over winter break in 2007 and 2008, was canceled this year due to low enrollment. It’s no wonder — the total price of attending this year’s ten-day program would have been $900, substantially more than previous years due to the discontinuation of University subsidies for the program. In the past, there has been some discussion at the Dean of the College’s office of awarding academic credit for J-Term in order to attract more participants. The suggestion has merit, but it wouldn’t make sense to grant credit unless the program were lengthened and made to include substantive academic assignments. Those changes might make the offerings less attractive to students. Additionally, some former J-Term participants have praised the program’s emphasis on the joy of learning and expressed concern that offering credit would detract from that emphasis. But the University should not abandon J-Term altogether: Many Brown students would welcome the chance to return to campus early from our five-week, epic winter break. In the right format, J-Term could be an affordable, valuable opportunity for social and career networking, and a chance to engage in fun classes and workshops. Brown should adopt a model similar to the one used by Reed College, which sets aside about ten days at the end of its winter break for students to move back to campus and take part in classes and workshops taught by faculty, staff, alumni and students. If Brown instructors offer their services for free — which many students and recent alums would likely be willing to do — the University could limit program expenses to housing, dining and classroom space. For upperclassmen, classes and workshops with a focus on careerbuilding could provide help with searching for jobs and internships. Similar offerings might help students apply for grad school and fellowships. An affordable J-Term could also increase students’ opportunities to participate in community service projects over winter break. Though there was no J-Term this year, the Swearer Center ran its eighth annual Winter Breaks project, where 30 students came back a week early, paying only $75 each for food and housing, to work with local service organizations in projects that included English instruction for immigrants and homeless outreach programs. This is a wonderful, under-publicized program that should be expanded and integrated into a larger J-Term program, with more service opportunities for students. J-Term can become a great resource for students, but only if it is run efficiently and with student interests in mind.
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Separate board will write Herald editorials To our readers: With a new year underway, we would like to briefly explain The Herald’s new editorial policy. Today’s editorial marks the first effort of a newly created editorial page board at The Herald. The establishment of an independent board in charge of editorials is a departure from previous years when The Herald’s senior news editors wrote the editorials. This year’s editorial policy reinforces a longstanding division between news and opinions. The paper’s staff and contributors are prohibited from writing news and opinions pieces in the same semester. The Herald separates news from opinions in order to ensure the objectivity of the reporters and editors who are jointly responsible for our coverage. Editorials and columns adopt a particular stance but are held to the same standards as news content — every submission
is fact-checked and reviewed by a section editor and a Herald copy editor. The editorial page board comprises former Herald reporters and columnists. Members were selected, in part, for their broad range of viewpoints and experiences. We strive to provide readers with informed commentary on topics that are timely, relevant and thought-provoking. We also hope to inspire dialog about issues of community interest. As the University’s paper of record, we benefit from and depend on an involved readership. We welcome readers’ story ideas, letters and feedback. Nick Bakshi Zack Beauchamp Sara Molinaro James Shapiro Meha Verghese
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Opinions The Brown Daily Herald
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 | Page 11
Protesters show commitment without cause BEN BERNSTEIN Opinions Columnist Almost as soon as Israel started its invasion of Gaza, an unexpected front opened up across the Western world — the Facebook front. Facebook members quickly “donated their status” to Israel or Palestine. Israel supporters counted Hamas rockets and fans of Gaza monitored civilian deaths. Europeans took to the streets, sort of the reality version of Facebook, and marched in the tens of thousands to show solidarity with Gaza or Israel. Why are people, specifically Americans and Europeans, so vehemently protesting or supporting Israeli actions? They would have you believe that the answer is sympathy. Whether protesters are sympathizing with horrible living conditions in Gaza, Israelis under fire from Hamas rockets or victims of state violence used by Israel, the protestors claim to respond to a perceived injustice. With this as their rationale and the civilian and rocket counters clicking away in the blue and white Facebook background, the protests are quite confusing. It is very difficult to explain why a conflict that has been relatively peaceful has prompted 30,000 sympathetic people to march in Paris and possibly even more people to join our Facebook status war. How can a conflict with 5,100 injured and
another approximately 1,100 dead be considered peaceful? Context. While the Sudanese genocide does get some attention, it is nothing compared to the response to Israel and Palestine’s latest war. Over 200,000 people have died there since 2003, and many others have been brutally displaced. Other conflicts provide even greater perspective. Since 1991, more than a million people are estimated to have died in Somalia. Millions more have fled their homes, while
of an election? You want real state violence? Look at North Korea which has been described as a giant concentration camp where living conditions are “worse than indentured servitude.” Again, no large protests, no donated statuses, nothing. And the reason that there were no protests over these significantly more destructive conflicts, but there HAVE been with regard to the current situation in Gaza, is simply fashion. It is more in vogue; it is sexier to
It is very difficult to explain why a conflict that has been relatively peaceful has prompted 30,000 sympathetic people to march in Paris and possibly even more people to join our Facebook status war. those that stay are in danger of rape and stoning. The death toll in mostly Muslim Somalia, and the muted international response, belies the claim that these protests are purely religious in nature. Of course, if state violence is the problem in Israel and Palestine, then why haven’t people taken to the streets to protest what is occurring in Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe’s government has terrorized its population and refused to accept the results
‘show solidarity with Gaza’ than it is to focus on conflicts which exhibit much more completely and much more intensely, the problems people have with Israeli, or for that matter Palestinian, actions over the last several decades. Israel is no closer to affecting Americans or Europeans than any of these other conflicts. Almost none of us Americans would even know there was a conflict in Gaza if not for the TV, the Internet and the newspaper.
Excluding those of us with relatives in the region, a small minority, it doesn’t touch us. During the buildup to the Iraq war, a favorite counterargument to invasion was that America was not invading North Korea when there was hard evidence that they had a WMD program. Surely, the Left insisted, this war was not about security but something else — be it oil or revenge. The same logic applies here. The protests are about ‘something else.’ Those who respond that these conflicts are not in competition with one another are copping out. Of course, comparative horrors in other locations cannot be used to justify the actions in Israel and Gaza. However, they do call into question the motives of those protesting for humanitarian reasons. If humans, regardless of their religion, race, ethnicity and gender, are really the central concern, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be relegated to the backburner. The question is not whether the protests come out of purely humanitarian motivation — they don’t. The real question, and one I have serious trouble answering, is: What about zionism or anti-zionism is so cool? It is high time that those sympathizing with the civilians of Israel and Palestine reexamine their feelings and figure out why they are actually taking the sides they have chosen. It isn’t simply sympathy. Former Herald Opinions Editor Ben Bernstein ’09 is a history concentrator from St. Louis.
Jewish life at Brown not for everyone Boris Ryvkin Opinions Columnist
Brown’s Jewish community has two centers of gravity: Hillel and Chabad. While the former provides both political and spiritual services, the latter is directed almost entirely toward faith. This leaves a muddy middle among the Jewish student body that the University has yet to adequately accommodate: secular Jews whose political views do not match those of the majority in Hillel. From my first days at Brown, I searched for that middle ground. It was my hope to find a genuine sense of unity and kinship within the Jewish student body. Sadly, my overall experience can best be described as a precarious balancing act. I took what I could from what was available and tried a few things on my own, but was nevertheless unfulfilled. I became acquainted with the local Chabad house after some political soul-searching two years ago. I was in good company, and enjoyed stimulating discussions with the Rabbi about the challenges facing Israel, American Jewry and Jewish life abroad. But Chabad’s central mission is to bring Jews back to the faith and ignite a love for Torah and Talmud. Past a certain point, a nearly insurmountable gulf developed between what I hoped to gain from the organization and what it
sought to offer me. Despite limited flirtation, there was to be no change in my non-observance of Jewish tradition. As conversations shifted from Israel’s demographic problems to strictly spiritual issues, I was compelled to take what I could and move on. Brown Hillel turned out to be a less than stellar alternative. At first I thought the organization’s strong non-religious elements and broad inclusiveness would suit my needs well. I was hoping to find an organization singularly focused on Jewish politics, history and national pride. It was a place I planned to spend a lot of time in. But as the years
providing important benefits. I met with the former Hillel Rabbi some time ago to explain these and other concerns, only to be later notified that several of my views had “scared her.” That any Rabbi would react this way is disturbing, but one representing an organization as ostensibly ideologically open as Hillel? It left a bitter taste. I became increasingly convinced that political views heavily right-of-center and particular styles of campus activism for Israel and Jewish causes would not break through the organization’s bureaucracy. Many clashes over style and substance
I am certainly not the first, and likely not the last, student to feel out of place in the dichotomy of Brown’s Jewish life. went by, the expectations began to dim. One of Brown’s most beautiful buildings felt little more than an empty shell. Art exhibits having nothing to do with Jews and Jewish life were hosted frequently. Student groups, also unrelated to Jewish issues, were regularly reserving rooms for meetings. A Jewish center should instill pride in the students and stress their uniqueness as Jews. In my view, Hillel’s inter-faith initiatives undermine this goal, despite their
occurred at meetings of Brown Students for Israel, which coordinates its activities with Hillel and prominent Israel advocacy groups outside campus. Sparks flew over how to respond to anti-Israel editorials and speakers, and whether to jointly sponsor events with anti-Israel groups on campus. At a larger level, there was profound disagreement about the way Israel’s cause and conflict with its enemies should be presented. The leadership urged passivity and cooperation with
campus adversaries. I and a few others favored a more aggressive approach. Limited support killed many efforts to organize activism outside official channels. An e-mail campaign and a commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising were two initiatives attempted to push a more nationalistic, politically right approach. Neither proved effective, and both probably caused more aggravation than inspiration. It is my final semester at Brown and high time to move on. The hold of center-left views on Jewish issues is strong enough to withstand most serious attempts at reform. Perhaps some things cannot be changed and are best just left alone. I am certainly not the first, and likely not the last, student to feel out of place in the dichotomy of Brown’s Jewish life. For the nonobservant who lean heavily right politically, the options for genuine community are dangerously limited. Chabad’s interest in pushing Jews to embrace orthodoxy and discover their faith results in difficult barriers for the strictly secular. Hillel’s overwhelmingly center-left orientation on all things Jewish, and its incorporation of too many non-Jewish elements in its program, push away those of different political stripes seeking an emphasis on Jewish pride and uniqueness. I hope the balancing act can end one day and all Jewish students at Brown can find exactly what they need. Boris Ryvkin ’09, a political science and economics concentrator from New York City, has never balanced anything.
Today The Brown Daily Herald
Can colleges keep up financial aid?
Hoops teams enter conference play
to m o r r o w
27 / 15
37 / 24
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
b r o w n w at c h e s p r e s i d e n t o b a m a ta k e t h e o at h o f o f f i c e
Eunice Hong / Herald
Ricky Cariot / Washington Post
c a l e n da r
f r o m t h e e d i to r s
Wednesday, January 21
THURSDAY, January 22
8:00 am — Online course registration reopens.
5:00 Pm — “Job Search in a Tough Economy,” Career Development Center Library
menu Sharpe Refectory
Verney-Woolley Dining Hall
Lunch — Beef Tacos, Vegetarian Tacos, Spanish Rice, Refried Beans, Vegan Italian White Beans, Spinach with Toasted Sesame Seeds
Lunch — Beef Tacos, Vegan Burritos, Vegan Refried Beans, Corn and Sweet Pepper Saute
Dinner — Pork Medallions with Portobello Sauce, Lasagna, Spinach Stuffed Squash, Quinoto, Green Beans, Beets in Orange Sauce, Chocolate Sundae Cake
Dinner — Rotisserie Style Chicken, Spinach Quiche, Spanish Rice, Broccoli with Cheese Sauce, Red Flannel Hash (sliced), Chocolate Sundae Cake
RELEASE DATE– Wednesday, January 21, 2009
c r o sDaily s w oCrossword rd Los Angeles Times Puzzle
What’s new in The Herald Change. You can run from the most overused word of 2008, but you can’t hide. Readers of the print edition will notice a new look and feel to The Herald that should make each day’s paper easier to read and enjoy. A new approach to sections The day’s top campus news stories will start on the first four pages of the paper. The Higher Ed, Metro and Arts & Culture sections will follow on their respective days, with sports coverage typically starting on page seven. If all that sounds confusing, there’s an index on the front page. The reorganized sections allow for visually appealing stories that are less likely to jump to a second page.
A new Today page The back page features the day’s weather, events and menus — everything you need to plan your day without turning any pages. You’ll also see previews of what’s inside today’s paper and what’s coming up in the next few days. Comics and the crossword puzzle will always be on the back page. No more folding pages in the middle of class. A new editorial page board The editors who manage news content will no longer write editorials. A dedicated editorial page board will provide commentary on the day’s news. Their introduction and inaugural editorial can be found on page ten. As always, thanks for reading.
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS 1 Mess on a base 5 Accelerate 10 Memo request 14 Spy name 15 Olds that replaced the Achieva 16 Modeling need 17 Poker player’s words 18 Centerfold, e.g. 19 Actress Hayworth 20 It usually thickens 21 Blue 22 Nurse 23 Pick out 25 To whom Rick said “The Germans wore gray. You wore blue” 28 The Mustangs of coll. football 29 __ firma 30 Hands-up time? 31 One of multiple jobs, metaphorically 32 Listening device 33 Like advice, ideally 34 They last five minutes in the NBA 35 “High Voltage” rock band 37 Rock band need 38 Green rolls 40 USN officer 41 Some kind of a nut 43 __ ft.: lumber meas. 44 Tram filler 45 “Spamalot” creator Idle 46 Pretended to be 49 Fact add-on 50 __ IRA 51 Sarkozy’s predecessor 53 Faints, with “over” 55 H-L connection 57 TV’s kid explorer 58 __ time: right away 59 Lamp emanation ... in your dreams 61 Chief god in the Edda 62 Second dog to play Eddie on “Frasier”
63 Start of an expiration notice 64 See to 65 Usher’s find 66 Storied baby in a basket 67 On pins and needles DOWN 1 *Casino stack 2 His last words were “The rest is silence” 3 Cal Ripken Jr., e.g. 4 Lived (in) during a cold period 5 50 Cent, for one 6 Essayist’s pen name 7 Places to find answers to starred clues 8 Arg. neighbor 9 *Open noisily 10 Business opening? 11 Slovenly 12 Horn & Hardart eateries 13 *Chump change 22 *Insert, as into a tight schedule 24 *Wacky
26 Aerobatic maneuver 27 Jack of “Barney Miller” 35 Barbeau who was the original Rizzo in “Grease” 36 Executive cabinet? 37 Landed 39 Poison neutralizer
40 *Online tracking devices 42 Object of Pizarro’s quest 43 Toadies 47 Really blown away? 48 Dauntless 52 *John of “Splash” 54 Stolen goods 56 Agree 59 *Stamp adhesive 60 Anka’s “__ Beso”
comics Alien Weather Forecast | Stephen Lichenstein and Adam Wagner
ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE:
Dunkel | Joe Larios
Classic How To Get Down | Nate Saunders
By Don Gagliardo (c)2009 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
Published on Jan 21, 2009