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Daily Herald the Brown

vol. cxliv, no. 63 | Monday, September 14, 2009 | Serving the community daily since 1891

Apartments damaged in small fire

A fire last Thursday night at the building at 669-685 North Main St. destroyed a furniture store and left residents living in apartments upstairs, including two Brown graduate students, looking for other places to stay. Also among the 21 people displaced by the fire were Johnson and Wales students, according to the Providence Journal. The Brown students stayed in a hotel for one night and have found another apartment over the weekend, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn said Sunday. Their apartment had not been damaged by the “small fire,” she said. The windows of the furniture store at 685 North Main St. were boarded up Sunday, but those were the only visible signs of the fire. The cause of the fire has not been determined, Providence Fire Chief George Farrell told the Journal. — George Miller

By Sydney Ember Senior Staff Writer

Starting this semester, a new space on the second floor of J. Walter Wilson, known as Advising Central, is available weekday afternoons for students seeking advice from faculty and deans without prior appointments. The project, an extension of the Faculty Advising Fellows Program, brings together different advising resources in one space where students and faculty can have informal conversations, according to Dean of

Human Rights. The study showed that only half of the nation’s prison systems offer opiate replacement therapy through methadone and buprenorphine treatments, even though these drug treatments are recognized to be more effective than drug-free methods. The researchers also ad-

The Graduate School recently formalized ways to relieve the TA crunch that has plagued many departments at Brown, creating a new position for part-time TAs and encouraging related departments to work together. In a decision that has sparked debate between professors and the Grad School, departments that lack enough teaching assistants can now officially be assigned grad students from related departments. The process is an attempt to alleviate the dwindling size of many graduate programs, which has left some departments without enough TAs in many classes, said Dean of the Graduate School Sheila Bonde. The Grad School has been forced to compensate by using TAs from relevant departments, Bonde said, noting that it has tried to make “sensible matches.” The Grad School has also created a new position of “Master’s TAs,” who are, according to Bonde, “essentially half-time TAs,” but who do not receive the stipends and tuition remission that other grad students receive. Since the program is so new, though, there is only one such Master’s TA — in the Africana Studies department, since it has “no allied graduate program,” she said. Though the Grad School has always held a partial role in assigning TAs, the recently modified assigning process necessitates more communication between professors and the Grad School to guarantee an

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Alex Dipaoli / Herald

The most talented new students on campus took a nosedive into a pie during first-year “unit wars” Sunday.

New space brings advisers directly to students By Qian Yin Contributing Writer

In crunch, departments share TAs

c reme de l a c reme

Researchers find prisons lack addiction resources

the College Katherine Bergeron. Advising Central is aimed at students who have important — but not “burning” — questions to work out, Bergeron said. Students can discuss academic plans, campus life and other subjects with Faculty Advising Fellows, Randall Advisors, deans, Graduate Advising Fellows or Meiklejohn Peer Advisors. Peter Vail ’13 recently ran into trouble registering for a history class and visited Advising Central’s open

By Anish Gonchigar Staf f Writer

Though more than 200,000 heroin addicts are incarcerated every year in the United States, many prisons still lack pharmaceutical treatment for opiate addiction, according to a new study by researchers from Miriam Hospital, Brown and their cooperative Center for Prisoner Health and

M ore than moon l ighting

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Athletic department fills slots despite hiring freeze vacancies this summer. “Things went very well for us,” Goldberger said. Under the freeze, all hires must Michael Goldberger can breathe easier now. be approved by a Vacancy Review The Director of Athletics had Committee of top administrators. expected his department But given that assistant to lose about 30 coaches SPORTS coaches are given one-year and staff members over contracts, and the athletic the summer and was hardly sure if department had already made the he would get the approval to replace necessar y cuts to its budget for exiting coaches given the Univer- the next year, the department did sity’s hiring freeze. not need to have the filling of each To his relief, the athletic departcontinued on page 5 ment was able to refill all coaching

inside

By Dan Alexander Senior Staff Writer

News.....1-3 Arts..........4 Spor ts.....5 Editorial...6 Opinion...7 Today........8

www.browndailyherald.com

Courtesy of Nash Baker Kirsten Hassenfeld’s “Dans la Lune” sits at the heart of the David Winton Bell Gallery. See

article, page

4.

Arts, 4

Sports, 5

Opinions, 7

dans la lune Ben Hyman reviews Kirsten Hassenfeld at the David Winton Bell Gallery

double or nothing Field hockey evens its record at 2-2 after wins against Bryant, Monmouth

new subject Jonathan Topaz ’12 says SDS should focus on the war in Afghanistan

195 Angell Street, Providence, Rhode Island

herald@browndailyherald.com


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THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

C ampus N EWS

“It’s all a very friendly process with the departments.” — Shelia Bonde, dean of the graduate school, on the revised TA system

Departments to share graduate TAs continued from page 1 appropriate fit, especially for departments that lack their own graduate programs, Bonde said. “It’s a lot of talking,” she said. “It’s all a very friendly process with the departments.” The Department of Economics, traditionally one of the largest at Brown in undergraduate enrollment, has often fulfilled its need for TAs by hiring undergraduates, said Professor of Economics Andrew Foster, chair of the department. But he added that the department would like

to “limit the number of students in a class with undergraduate TAs.” Because of the graduate program’s length and the University’s full funding commitment — the University guarantees graduate students compensatory payment for five years — the downward trend in the number of graduate students has exacerbated the need for more graduate TAs, according to Foster. The Grad School has also instituted a new orientation program with the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning to train TAs who may not be as familiar with the courses

sudoku

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The Brown Daily Herald (USPS 067.740) is an independent newspaper serving the Brown University community daily since 1891. It is published Monday through Friday during the academic year, excluding vacations, once during Commencement, once during Orientation and once in July by The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. Single copy free for members of the community. POSTMASTER please send corrections to P.O. Box 2538, Providence, RI 02906. Periodicals postage paid at Providence, R.I. Offices are located at 195 Angell St., Providence, R.I. E-mail herald@browndailyherald.com. World Wide Web: http://www.browndailyherald.com. Subscription prices: $319 one year daily, $139 one semester daily. Copyright 2009 by The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 14, 2009

they have to help teach as they would if they were members of the respective departments, Bonde said. Despite increased communication between the Grad School and the departments, along with the new orientation program, some professors have expressed trepidation about the Grad School’s new role. “My concern was about Dean of the Graduate School Sheila Bonde’s statement that the (Grad School) was assuming more control for the assignment of TAs, and that in some cases graduate students might be asked to teach in a related department where the need for TAs was greater than in their home departments,” Associate Professor of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies Luiz Valente, chair of program, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. Professor of History Omer Bartov said having more TAs as a result of the new interdepartmental assigning process would alleviate some strain on TAs forced to teach large sections, but he noted that the external appointments might be “problematic, because we know our students better than the Graduate School” does. But ultimately he acknowledged that the new process — along with consultation between the Grad School and the department — would help not only his department, but also the TAs themselves. “Often sections were very large, way too large,” Bartov said. Until the Grad School fully implements its new assigning process, he said the department’s TAs are “drowning.” “They can’t do anything else but teach,” he said.

Study recommends opiate drug therapies continued from page 1 dressed heroin addicts released from prison, more than half of whom relapse within a month of their discharge and face disproportionately high risks of infectious disease. But just 23 states offer treatment referrals to prisoners upon release, despite the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Protection guidelines that methadone and buprenorphine should always be available for patients in health systems, according to a press release on the study. “The reason that we pursued this research is because substance abuse is a major cause of incarceration in the United States,” said Amy Nunn, assistant professor of medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School and lead author of the study. “We really wanted to quantify how many prisons are offering treatment for opiate addiction.” According to Josiah Rich, senior author and co-director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, treatment of opiate addiction is an important step in curbing incarceration levels. “I’ve been going out to the prison for the last 15 years doing a clinic,” Rich said. “Pretty quickly I discovered that the main problem was not that they were criminals but they had the disease of addiction. People who are addicted to heroin get locked

up because their disease forces them to do things if they don’t get treated.” The research group surveyed medical directors at every state’s department of corrections, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the District of Columbia prison about opiate-replacement therapy prescribing policies and referral programs for discharged prisoners, according to the press release. Researchers found that most prisons preferred “abstinence only” programs for heroin addiction over drug treatment, in part for philosophical reasons, Nunn said. In addition, prison medical directors cited security concerns about providing methadone and buprenorphine in prisons. According to Sam Dickman ’10, co-author of the study, prison guards and wardens are “generally security-oriented” and any additional service is seen as “another challenge that they have to overcome.” Nunn said she thinks there is much to be gained from providing inmates with opiate addiction treatment. “Prisons are also a really important place to conduct public health inter vention because you’re able to reach a great deal of people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to these medical services,” she said. “Providing people with substance abuse treatment in prisons is a major public health opportunity.”


Monday, September 14, 2009

THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

C ampus N EWS news in brief

Intramural sign-up goes paperless Intramural registration and scoring, previously done on pen and paper, have moved to the Web site imleagues.com. The change will ease administrative burden because intramural sports are so popular, said Intramural Coordinator Diane Yee. The online system provides a central forum for team schedules, standings, game results, discussion, pictures and more, Yee said. “Some teams already have Facebook pages, but the new system will essentially merge all these groups.” The Web site also allows players to create their own player cards, said Linda Chernak MS’08 GS, captain of the Department of Geology’s soccer and softball teams. It “could be fun to learn about other players.” The site’s organizational efficiency also drove the change, Yee said. Participant count in intramural sports used to be a “guestimate,” she said. “In the past, I had to do everything by hand, and players on more than one team were duplicated. The online software will not only transfer the rosters to the score sheets, but will give us the exact number of participants.” The introduction of an online system will not change the registration fee, Yee said, but team members will no longer pay in-person, instead using credit or debit cards online. Many schools have moved their intramural registration online, Yee said, but other systems use software that requires one-time or annual fees. “We chose IMleagues.com because it works for the Brown budget — it’s free.” Though the new system will eventually bring improved organization to the University’s intramural sports, “it will probably take people a certain amount of time to get used to,” Chernak said. Last year, 633 intramural teams participated across 24 events, according to Yee. “There is a range of participants. Whether they be freshman units, (Student Activities Office) clubs, fraternities and sororities, groups of friends or groups of previous athletes, intramural is used as a way to bond outside of class,” she said. — Heeyoung Min

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“It’s conducive for students looking for help.” — Peter Vail ’13, on the new advising center

Center offers one-stop advising continued from page 1

house last week. A history professor on duty gave him the advice he needed. “It’s conducive for students looking for help,” he said. Bergeron said the center is also available for students to talk to Faculty Advising Fellows, a group of advisers with interests that span the curriculum, if undergraduates are unable to get enough information from their first-year, sophomore or concentration advisors. In the past, the fellows hosted activities in their on-campus homes. But attendance was often low, Bergeron said. “Students felt a little hampered about having to go into somebody’s house, where they might have felt a little bit trapped,” she said. One of the fellows thought of creating “a drop-in place” easily accessible to students, Bergeron said. As one of the central campus locations, J. Walter Wilson was an obvious choice. “Students are flowing through that building for all kinds of reasons already,” Bergeron said. Rooms are available for private conversations. Victoria Hsu ’10, who was also at an open house for Advising Central last week, said the project is a good idea, especially given that “advising at Brown has always been sort of shoddy.” The space, consisting of a hallway

and a few rooms, will have certain days dedicated to specific subject areas, Bergeron said, on which faculty members in the given subjects will be available to speak with students.

The Advising Central operates from 1 to 6 p.m. Monday though Thursday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays. Deans’ Open Hours at the center are from 1 to 4 p.m. on weekdays.


Arts & Culture The Brown Daily Herald

Hassenfeld humanizes the hysterical By Ben Hyman Arts & Culture Editor

At the heart of the David Winton Bell Gallery exhibit “Kirsten Hassenfeld: Recent Sculpture” is a massive installation called “Dans la Lune.” Artist Hassenfeld has said she associates the work with the French title’s idiomatic meaning — it connotes “head in the clouds” or “daydreaming” — but the literal translation, “in the moon,” seems equally appropriate. These sculptures, made almost entirely of white paper, plainly evoke the cold beauty of the lunar surface. Calling the installation “massive” is probably misleading. The centerpieces of “Dans la Lune” are lowhanging chandeliers shaped liked onion domes from Russian cathedrals, each with a teardrop of light in the middle, and though they are huge, they don’t look heavy. Rather, they exude lightness. Foamcore frames provide structure and accentuate the overall airiness. To flesh out these skeletons, Hassenfeld constructs a vast repertoire of paper forms: simple linked-paper chains, like the pallid remnants of a birthday party; crystals and geodes; cameo drawings that invoke jasperware designs on

18th-century Wedgwood ceramics; and tiny figures, even. A lanternshaped container, dangling from one of the chandeliers, holds a minute paper woman in a gown holding a stylized cow on a leash. The leash is made up of ringlets, each only a few millimeters in diameter, as precise and exquisite as the tableau itself is enigmatic. “Dans la Lune” is tied together by repeated forms — elegant S-curves and the human face in profile, for example — and a general interest in the intersection of the monumental and the decorative, the durable and the delicate. These concerns carry over to the series of works that opens the exhibit, Hassenfeld’s newer “Blueware.” These sculptures are smaller than the ones in “Dans la Lune” but equally exuberant. The basic unit in each piece is a rolled-up cocoon of paper, colored blue with ink and lacquered for a sticky sheen. These are then strung together and layered into objects that conjure up — with their blue-and-white color scheme and the association of “ware” with objects for use — the ineffable loveliness of Delft porcelain. Hassenfeld gives these sculptures titles such as “Garden,” “Espalier”

and “Bouquet,” continuing the game she plays in “Dans la Lune.” In the latter work, she melds positive and negative space, using the chandelier as her jumping-off point. In “Blueware,” the mixing of forms from nature — albeit a cultivated, deliberate kind of nature — and domestic tropes accomplishes a similar confusion of interior and exterior. If these objects were flawlessly executed, all of this florid New Rococo would be precious and cloying. Hassenfeld corrects for this by making her sculptures look handmade but, luckily, doesn’t go so far in the opposite direction that her work looks homemade. The joints in the “Blueware” pieces sometimes don’t quite fit, making for wonky, offkilter connections, and the decorative drawings in “Dans la Lune” are obviously clumsy. Yet somehow, paradoxically, all of this studied childishness produces a feeling of maturity. Hassenfeld’s sculptures, with their wild excesses and self-conscious imperfections, project a sense of self-awareness of, and comfort with, their own idiosyncrasy. In other words, these elaborate works of hysterical furniture are also, in their own way, surprisingly human.

Monday, September 14, 2009 | Page 4

Four years later, Katrina revisited with art and fundraising

By Alexys Esparza Staff Writer

This month, the “Katrina, Katrina Project” commemorates the four years since Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast. The month-long series of events, exhibitions and musical performances will culminate with a fundraiser complete with musical performance and a champagne reception. Kathleen Nelson, student affairs coordinator in the department of music, is the driving force behind the project. After volunteering several times in the post-Katrina rebuilding efforts in New Orleans, Nelson said she realized, “The city gave so much to me, there’s got to be more that I could do.” The project’s goal is twofold: It aims to acknowledge Brown students’ response and highlight the rebuilding that still remains. Nelson was notably appreciative of Brown students’ volunteer work and their willingness to provide “everything from financial support to sweat.” “We want people to keep remembering” Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, Nelson said. Many facets of the project occur within the Brown Department of Music. The Orwig Music Library currently displays various pieces of sheet music as well as photographs of the extensive damage to New Orleans’ libraries. Another display at Orwig includes photos and descriptions of New Orleans Musicians’ Village, a branch of Habitat for Humanity’s Operation Home Delivery rebuilding program. The aim of the project is to rebuild 300 houses in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans for residents — particularly musicians — who lost their homes. The music department will also host several performances. The Department of Literary Arts will stage a reading in Grant Recital Hall of Gregory Moss’ play “The Argument (a lowercase resurrection).” Moss, a recent graduate of Brown’s Graduate Playwriting Program, was eager to assist in the commemorative efforts. He wrote the piece in a workshop in which he was given 48 hours to write a play directly in response to Hurricane Katrina. He describes the play as “abstracted

and a little fairy tale-ish” as well as “very much about personal loss.” The play revolves around twin sisters, one of whom dies in the hurricane. The remaining sister struggles with rebuilding and trying to “find a compensation for her sister’s death,” Moss said. He hopes the reading is “something that will stick with (the audience) and they can process a little bit.” He also aims to depict those directly affected by Hurricane Katrina as “part of our national community.” Related exhibits will be on display throughout the month across campus. Both the Rockefeller Library and Brown Bookstore will showcase literature related to Katrina. The public can also view sheet music and poetry at the John Hay Library. The Hillel Gallery and Rockefeller Library are housing a series of photographs called “6 Months After,” which were taken by Ian Sims ’10.5 while he volunteered in New Orleans in March 2006. His work depicts the immense damage inflicted upon libraries, elementary schools and houses. Additional remembrance events will be hosted by the Brown Film Society. Later this month, the society will hold a screening of “Easy Rider,” a classic New Orleans film. There will also be a screening of Spike Lee’s “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.” New Orleans native Louis Maistros, an author and musician, will read from his novel, “The Sound of Building Coffins,” at the Brown Bookstore. He will also host an informal discussion about song writing, Hurricane Katrina, jazz music and New Orleans culture in Grant Recital Hall. Nelson stresses that “ever y person that walks through there is helping build somebody’s home” and even “the smallest donation helps.” Nelson and student volunteers will hand out Mardi Gras beads on Main Green throughout this week. The beads are free, but donations are encouraged. Nelson hopes the beads will serve as a visual reminder of the ongoing efforts to rebuild. Thanks to a grant from Brown Creative Arts Council, along with other funding, all money donated will go directly to Habitat for Humanity in the Gulf.

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SportsMonday The Brown Daily Herald

Monday, September 14, 2009 | Page 5

Field hockey notches two comeback wins Sports teams able to

fill all coaching slots

By Andrew Braca Sports Editor

The field hockey team came from behind twice this weekend to beat Monmouth and Bryant on Warner Roof, running Monmouth 2 its record to 4 Brown 2-2. The twogame win2 Bryant ning streak 3 Brown is the team’s first since October 2006, washing away the stain of a two-loss opening weekend. Though the results were the same, the Bears took different routes to victory. On Saturday, Bruno answered quickly after each Monmouth goal and pulled away for a 4-2 victory. “Our goal today was to ... play with passion from the beginning of the game to the end of the game, and to take care of our basic fundamental skills,” Head Coach Tara Harrington ’94 said after the game. “I think we did all of that consistently for 70 minutes. We had great attack, we played good defense (and) we had great transfer opportunities through our midfield.” But the following day, intrastate rival Bryant scored two quick goals and then clung to the lead until the Bears scored twice in the final 10 minutes to pull out the 3-2 win. “We came out a little flat, a little tentative, getting those goals scored on us,” Harrington said. “We weren’t doing the simple things that we needed to do to be in control from the beginning and we put ourselves in a tough position ... but what I am proud of is the fight to come back, never surrendering and scoring some great goals when we needed it.” On Saturday, Monmouth struck first 12:26 into the game, when Enza Mazza picked up a loose ball and beat goalie Caroline Washburn ’12 to her left. But the Bears responded 1:51 later when Tacy Zysk ’11 slipped a pass to the left post, where Kit Masini ’12 tipped it home ­— a crucial comeback for a team that had lost its first two games. “It was a real testament to the kids,” Harrington said. “We were 0-2, we went down, and we didn’t fold. We rallied back and we finished it. I’m very proud of them.” Brown had plenty of chances late in the first half to take the lead, but couldn’t find the back of the cage. “It was a really fun game to play because we had so many attacking opportunities,” Masini said. “We’ll just work in the future to make something out of (more) of them.” The Hawks retook the lead 2:54 after intermission when Mazza fed Meredith Violi, but the Bears again notched the equalizer less than five minutes later when Masini found Zysk on the left side, who beat Monmouth goalie Melissa Katz to the opposite corner. “The goals the team scored today were quality goals ... that would score on pretty much anybody,” Harrington said. “They were legitimate attacking opportunities.” Brown took the lead on a penalty corner at 15:36. After Leslie Springmeyer ’12 pushed the ball in and tri-

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Laura Iacovetti / Herald

The field hockey team had two come from behind wins over the weekend, beating Monmouth and Bryant at home.

captain Michaela Seigo ’10 stopped it, Katie Hyland ’11 smoked it into the cage. The last goal, coming with 9:13 remaining, was a beauty. Springmeyer’s crisp centering pass found a wellcovered Masini, who fell down, swept behind her back and backhanded the ball up and into the cage. “It was a great ball from Leslie, and I don’t even know exactly,” Masini said. “I just kind of stopped it, I was on my knees, and tried a reverse (shot). It just kind of happened.” The Bears outshot the Hawks 2616 but trailed 8-7 in penalty corners. Hyland and Masini led Brown with six shots apiece, while Washburn made five saves. On Sunday, things went south for the Bears in a hurry. Bryant scored just 45 seconds into the game on a loose ball, then added a second goal 10:54 later when Tia Pydynkowski stripped a Brown defender and found Elise Boissoneau, who banged it home. The Bears settled down and got a goal back at 23:45 when Springmeyer again fed Masini for the pair’s third assist and third goal, respectively, of the weekend. “There was never any sort of panic at all, but once you knock one in it gives you a little more confidence,” Harrington said. “I really do feel like these kids felt and knew and believed that they would crawl back in the game, and we did.” The Bears went into halftime down 2-1 despite leading the Bulldogs in shots, 11-7, stonewalled by Kundayi Mawema’s six first-half saves. Harrington said she focused on fundamentals during the break, stressing to her charges, “just doing the simple things to build the ball out of the backfield into our midfield, and then once (we) got into our attacking end vowing to really full-press them and keep the ball in our attacking end.” But for 25 minutes, the score remained 2-1 as the tension mounted. Then, after a Bryant defender committed a miscue on a Brown penalty

corner, Hyland strafed a penalty shot that beat Mawema to her right, tying the game with 9:47 left. Eleven seconds later, Boissoneau was yellow carded — unlike in soccer, an immediate suspension — leaving the Bulldogs a player down. With 6:29 remaining, Springmeyer fired a shot that bounced up and over Mawema’s leg pad to finally give Brown the lead. “I just beat my defender and got a shot off, and luckily the goalie wasn’t set,” Springmeyer said. Kelley Harrison ’13 notched the assist for her first career point. Bryant had several chances down the stretch, but Washburn recorded two of her eight saves in the final six minutes to fend off a team that is in just its second year in Division I. A week after notching her first career goal, Masini tallied three goals and an assist over the weekend. She and the team have both come a long way since last season. “For me personally, it helped doing offseason (training) last year,” she said. “We really worked hard on basic skills. ... We’ve had a really good preseason (and) everyone’s excited about the year. The team is really clicking well; everyone’s having a lot of fun together and working really hard.” The Bears will be tested on Saturday when they begin Ivy League play by travelling to New York to take on Columbia (1-2). “We’re looking forward to Columbia,” Springmeyer said. “We only lost to them 1-0 last year, so we’re looking to take it to them this year.”

assistant coaching position separately approved by the Committee, Goldberger said. “If you had already made your fiscal year 2010 budget, and you had a position that was critical and you were hiring for a year, you got approval,” said Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services. “These are the kinds of positions where you’re either going to run a program — you’re going to run a team or you’re not,” Klawunn said. “You can’t do it without the assistant coach.” Brown needed to replace only one head coach over the summer. Men’s hockey coach Roger Grillo resigned to take a position with USA Hockey. Less than two months later, Brown hired Brendan Whittet ’94 to replace Grillo. The recession has also not affected coaches’ salaries. Whittet was offered a contract similar to those given to other head coaches at Brown, and assistants’ salaries weren’t cut, according

to Goldberger. But the athletics department still had to pay a price. It was not able to refill two positions last spring, one in marketing and promotion and another in game management. The department has also had to cut back on travel expenses. “It’s not ideal,” Goldberger said. “But understanding all of the sacrifices that everyone is making, we’ll get by.” The athletics department may not be able to make all of its rehires next summer. “The University as a whole will be making cuts, and we’ll be asked to do our share,” Goldberger said. Even with the economy turning around, the University needs to make more severe cuts in order to make up for last year’s damage, Klawunn said. “Yes, it’s good that things seem to be going in a more positive direction,” she said. “But we still lost a lot of money that we don’t have, and it’s going to take a long time to make that up.”


Editorial & Letters The Brown Daily Herald

Page 6 | Monday, September 14, 2009

l e t t e r to t h e e d i to r s

Letter-screening violates New Curriculum trust To the Editor: Your editorial about the summer reading/writing debacle (“Deans screened letters without telling students,” Sept. 7) was right on point. The letter-screening was inexcusable, and I hope to see Dean Katherine Bergeron apologize soon if she hasn’t already. I’d like more from her than a simple promise to respect students’ privacy, though; I’d like a promise to defend and advance Brown’s unique curriculum. Bergeron is a capable administrator and a fantastic teacher, but I’m just not sure she gets what makes our curriculum so great. Shared literary experiences belong at places like Columbia — places where students and faculty live in a fantasy world in which common understanding can only spring from a painfully uniform educational experience. We are so much better than that, and student-body-wide assigned books and writing assignments have no place here.

The New Curriculum is what makes Brown stand out among a sea of other colleges and universities. It represents a special trust between the student body and the faculty — a trust that is unique to Brown. It poses special challenges to faculty and students alike, but it also confers distinct advantages on both. People come here because of the curriculum, not in spite of it or with indifference to it. It deserves to be protected and advanced, not regarded as a historical artifact to be whittled away. I think it would be great if some dedicated students came together to create a student group dedicated to protecting and preserving the curriculum, just as students came together to create the curriculum forty years ago. I would gladly provide some seed money to such a group as it seeks UCS categorization and UFB funding. Matt Gelfand ’08 Sept. 12

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chris jesu lee

e d i to r i a l

Playing politics with prostitution Many Brown students recite the fact that a loophole in Rhode Island law allows indoor prostitution as a piece of amusing trivia about our quirky little state. However, it’s no laughing matter for state legislators. The House and the Senate have both passed bills that sponsors claim close the loophole, but partisans of each bill have taken to the Providence Journal to highlight the perceived inadequacies of the other side’s legislation. The arguments made by both sides are striking in the paucity of empirical data used to support their position, and, in our view, with good reason. Studies of prostitution have consistently found that legal and regulated prostitution is the most humane and effective policy available. Rhode Island ought to heed their advice. Advocating legal prostitution is not an attempt to minimize the suffering of many women involved in the sex trade. The testimony of women like Norma Hotaling, who credits her arrest for prostitution with saving her from a brutal 18 year-long career in the business, cannot and should not be discounted. However, it is equally important to remember the stories of women (and men) whose contraction of fatal sexually transmitted infections or rape at the hands of an “arresting” officer could have been prevented with adequate regulation. In reports about prostitution, such stories are sadly prevalent. There is good reason to believe that a strong regulatory framework can improve or even solve many of these problems. Academic studies of Nevada’s famous legal brothels have found that condom use, relatively rare among street prostitutes, is universal among legal sex workers. These and other legally mandated health precautions have apparently prevented any HIV infection in Nevada brothels since 1988, though estimates of infection rates among illegal prostitutes range up to 60 percent in certain areas. This claim is borne out

by other research: A study in Australia found that illegal prostitutes were 80 times more likely than their legal counterparts to have a sexually transmitted infection and that the discrepancy stemmed directly from state-enforced rules like mandatory condom use and STI testing. Nevada’s approach also has been shown to reduce violence. “Protection sex” — sex forced out of prostitutes by police or pimps — is virtually unheard of among legal Nevada sex workers. A survey by Barbara Brents and Kathryn Hausbeck, professors at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, found that Nevada prostitutes overwhelmingly feel safer in legal brothels than on the street. Brents and Hausbeck conclude more broadly that “there is strong indication… that legal brothels generally offer a safer working environment than their illegal counterparts,” significantly “work(ing) to eliminate systematic violence.” We have little hope that the Rhode Island legislature will take our advice: No politician can advance a career by becoming the pro-prostitution candidate. Of the two available bills, the Senate’s version is clearly preferable. Its focus on arresting solicitors is welcome, as is its omission of the House’s odious jail sentence of up to six months for convicted prostitutes. However, we wish that a state facing a budget crisis the Journal describes as “a sea of red ink” would reject ineffective, dangerous and expensive new prohibitions in favor of a policy that better serves the people the legislators claim to be protecting. But in a state whose prostitution policy was determined for decades by an obscure loophole, that might be too much to ask. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page boar d. Send comments to editorials@browndailyherald.com.

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Opinions The Brown Daily Herald

Monday, September 14, 2009 | Page 7

SDS’ golden opportunity

JONATHAN TOPAZ Opinions Columnist A quick piece of advice to the new Class of 2013: Be wary of the Corporation Crazies. Hardly a week goes by without an opinions columnist up in arms about the evil Corporation, largely comprised of Brown alumni, that administers our school. You see, the Corporation is an exclusive governing body that does not allow students into their closed meetings. It is made up of individuals who, while devoting hours upon hours of their time to our institution for zero monetary compensation, seek to destroy the school based on their petty self-interest. Over the past many years, they have repeatedly proven their disregard for student concerns and boasted their arch conservatism by increasing international student financial aid by over 25 percent, voting in the first African-American president in the Ivy League and, in 2007, adopting students’ suggestions for an aggressive sustainable energy policy that received an A- grade from the College Sustainability Report Card. And, unconfirmed reports suggest that the Corporation is prepared to hold so-called “death panels” in preparation for this fall’s possible swine flu outbreak. Brown’s Students for a Democratic Society often lead the charge against the Corporation through intellectually stimulating methods such as attempting to break into Corporation meetings and flouting numerous

school disciplinary codes for the opportunity to yell at Corporation members up close. One SDS member who had such an opportunity was quoted as asking (quite loudly), “At what point do you realize that maybe Brown isn’t a progressive place?” Presumably, we will realize it only when the Corporation rids Brown of among the most liberal education philosophies in the United States — an open curriculum that was, of course, designed by students. So maybe this is the year that SDS, and the other Corporation haters in the Brown

sounding trite, it might be possible that the Vietnam War is less comparable with Iraq than Afghanistan. In both cases, a Democratic president with a robust domestic agenda has greatly escalated American presence in a country’s internal conflict. In both cases, it is apparent that our enemy is ill-defined, and that the American people are poorly informed as to our strategy and goal. At this turning point in the war, Americans still have the perception that Afghanistan is “the right war,” the appropriate response to fighting global terrorism in a post-

What SDS should turn its focus to is the escalating conflict in Afghanistan, which is quickly spiraling out of control. community, can broaden their horizons a bit. The original SDS, a fixture of the New Left movement developed in the mid-1960s, was extraordinarily influential in dictating a national conversation on civil rights, nuclear proliferation and the Vietnam War. Since the Corporation has time and time again expressed its liberal sensibilities in making informed decisions, and since it reflects poorly on Brown that our focus is so firmly placed on our own, privileged community, it might be time for SDS to direct its righteous rage towards something more worthwhile. What SDS should turn its focus to is the escalating conflict in Afghanistan, which is quickly spiraling out of control. At the risk of

Sept. 11 world, and that our renewed presence there is key in combating al-Qaida and terror worldwide. Unfortunately, that is not our goal. The increase in troops last spring does not signify a continuation of the battle against alQaida and global terrorism but a concerted effort to combat the sectarian violence caused by insurgents. As we have seen this summer, the heart of al-Qaida does not exist in Afghanistan but mostly on the AfghanPakistani border and in Pakistan. Additionally, largely due to United States negligence, al-Qaida has expanded and regrouped elsewhere in places such as Yemen. The costly battles in Helmand province — which fea-

tured days of very bloody fighting — showcased the U.S. army fighting the Taliban and other isolated local terrorist groups. Our direction has shifted from combating terrorism to nation building and counter-insurgency, missions that are hardly worth taxpayer dollars and soldiers’ lives. We also continue to stick out our necks for Afghan President Karzai, whose government has proven to be corrupt and ineffective. If there is anything that the Afghan elections this summer — which were presumably wrought with fraud — have proven, it is that democracy still remains a foreign concept even to those in charge in Afghanistan. The Obama solution is nation-building there instead of nation-protecting here, making sure that our perverted version of democracy is carried out in foreign countries that do not understand the word. Surely Students for a Democratic Society can understand that extricating ourself from a hopeless conflict is a more important goal than whining about Brown’s governing body. SDS has an opportunity to represent its national chapter well and lead Brown’s charge against the Afghanistan occupation. It is time to stop lodging complaints and fabricating conflict with the Corporation, which is largely comprised of the same, liberal Brown alums that we will soon be. It is far too costly to focus on our petty internal problems while President Obama leads our military down the familiar path of failed empire.

Jonathan Topaz ’12 is from New York City. He can be reached at Jonathan.Topaz@gmail.com

Missing mavericks: the vanishing independent concentration BY JONAH FABRICANT Opinions Columnist “Oh — you go to Brown? So you, like, designed your own major, right?” I heard this refrain so often during my year studying away from Brown that I sometimes wondered if I had failed to take full advantage of being here by opting for a standard concentration rather than the apparently widely-envied independent option. My friends were certainly disappointed that I do not concentrate (or “major”) in something avant-garde and wildly creative. I did come closer to applying to the independent concentration program than many. I attended two information sessions during my sophomore year, and began to write an independent concentration proposal. While my application was derailed by my plans to study abroad, my brief encounter with the process yielded a surprising insight into the program. About six people attended each informational meeting in Rhode Island Hall, maybe half of whom were more interested in the widely advertised free pizza than the information sheets. While at first I thought this meager turnout could be due to self-selection — why, the mysterious students pursuing independent concentrations were so independent, they didn’t need some information session to tell them what was required — I soon learned otherwise. It seems to be one of the least discussed realities of the Brown curriculum: Though the independent spirit of the Brown student is touted in tours and prominently featured on the undergraduate admissions Web site,

the independent concentrator is a rarity on campus. From 2005 through 2008, an average of only four students per year graduated with independent concentrations, according to the Office of Institutional Research. A quick perusal of the Guide to the Independent Concentration Program quickly reveals the source of the program’s low participation rate. Steering an independent concentration proposal through the sea of red tape leading to approval is a daunting process indeed. To succeed, an applicant needs to meet several

comparable requirements exist at Cornell, Princeton and Harvard, to name a few. At Harvard, which has an undergraduate population comparable in size to our own, almost four times the number of students participate in the structurally similar “special concentration” program. We know that Crimson students are not, on average, more independent than Brunonians. So what explains the relative success of their individualized concentration program? Part of the disparity may be due to the difference

If every student had to write a real proposal explaining his or her reasoning before declaring a concentration, the independent concentration process would seem a lot less foreign and daunting in comparison. stringent criteria, to demonstrate strong faculty support and to meet the demands of the committee that reviews each proposal. There are solid reasons for these administrative barriers; a rigorous application process is necessary to make sure that each independent concentration provides an educational experience up to Brown’s standards, and that independent concentrators are not duplicating standard concentrations or attempting to shirk requirements. Still, if declaring an independent concentration has to be difficult, the college should seriously consider measures intended to give more assistance to interested students. Brown could take a lesson from some of its peers. The idea of an independent concentration is not unique. Similar programs with

between our schools’ curricula. If Brown’s standard offerings are more interdisciplinary, they may draw away students who would otherwise gravitate towards independent options elsewhere. Not to mention that the lack of core requirements gives Brown students a lot of freedom to explore their academic interests without jumping through administrative hoops. However, another source of Brown’s dearth of independent concentrators is our lackluster advising system. Since interdisciplinary topics often lack concrete departments, it is inherently more difficult to carve out an independent path than take a pre-scripted one. In addition, there is no real impetus for professors to help students develop independent concentrations. Potential concentrators

need more targeted support. For instance, each department could designate a faculty member to work with students who are developing independent concentrations related to his or her field, and to direct them to potential advisors when necessary. The administration should also put some thought into leveling the playing field between standard and independent concentrations. As it is, standard tracks nominally require an amount of thought similar to that required by the independent concentration committee. The difference is, nobody reviews standard concentration forms and the “capstone” requirements associated with some departmental programs are basically jokes. If every student had to write a real proposal explaining his or her reasoning before declaring a concentration, the independent concentration process would seem a lot less foreign and daunting in comparison. There is nothing wrong with most people’s choice of standard concentrations, but the independent concentration program presents a valuable opportunity that is being underutilized, and that’s a shame. Like many academic problems at Brown, the situation is a result of a combination of administrative and advising structures that are less than ideal. Brown has a national reputation as the place to go for independent, creative courses of study. We should work to find ways to live up to that reputation.

Jonah Fabricant ’10 wishes his independent concentration in underwater basket weaving had panned out.


Today The Brown Daily Herald

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Project revisits Katrina, four years later

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to day

to m o r r o w

80 / 56

77 / 51

Field hockey surges back from 0-2 start

Monday, September 14, 2009

t h e n e w s i n i m ag e s

comics Birdfish | Matthew Weiss

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Alien Weather Forecast | Stephen Lichenstein and Adam Wagner

c a l e n da r Today, september 14

tomorrow, september 15

4 P.M. “Collateral Knowledge: Legal Reasoning in the Global Financial Markets,“ Watson Institute

7 P.M. — “Meaning What We Play,” McCormack Family Theater 7 p.m. — “How to Have Fun and Not Die: A lecture in harm reduction,” Smith-Buonanno 201

5 p.m. —Idealist Graduate Fair , Alumnae Hall

Cabernet Voltaire | Abe Pressman

menu Sharpe Refectory

Verney-Woolley Dining Hall

Lunch — Pulled Pork Sandwich, Lentil Croquettes, Cauliflower, Green Beans & Peppers

Lunch — Tomato Basil Pie, Cavatini, Sauteed Zucchini and Onions, Raspberry Swirl Cookies

Dinner — Beef Hot Pie, Tomato Rice Pilaf, Vegan Garden Chili, Peas With Pearl Onions

Dinner — Chicken Pot Pie, Vegan Ratatouille, Arabian Spinach, Mashed Butternut Squash

crossword

N/A | Luke Jeffrey

STW | Jingtao Huang

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Monday, September 14, 2009  

The September 14, 2009 issue of the Brown Daily Herald