Daily Herald the Brown
vol. cxliv, no. 88 | Tuesday, October 20, 2009 | Serving the community daily since 1891
Fundraising pipeline suffered in last year By Sydney Ember Senior Staff Writer
Justin Coleman / Herald file photo
Former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi spoke about the struggle for federalism during a roundtable discussion Monday.
Prodi: Economic disparities complicate Italian federalism By Dana Teppert Staf f Writer
Former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi spoke about the challenges facing his countr y as it attempts to achieve a more efficient federal structure during a roundtable discussion Monday night in a nearly full Smith-Buonanno 106. After expressing his happiness at returning to Brown after his appointment last year as a professor-at-large based at the Watson Institute for International Studies, Prodi immediately began to talk
about the “deep political problem” of federalism and Italian unity. The debate over how to increase regional autonomy is occurring not only in Italy, he said, but in other European countries as well. The question of federalism in Italy is deeply connected to the problem of economic disparity between the states of the nor th and the south, he said. The former leader said he believes federalism is possible but that strict rules must be implemented to encourage greater ecocontinued on page 2
Though administrators have hailed the University’s most recent fundraising numbers as a bright spot during an otherwise gloomy period, the approximately $180 million raised last year was partially attributable to expedited pledges from high-profile donors, according to Ronald Vanden Dorpel MA’71, senior vice president for University advancement. The University called in many outstanding pledges — structured commitments that sometimes span several years — and ultimately reduced the number of pledges in the pipeline for this year, he said, though the accelerated gifts provided a boost to the fundraising total for the fiscal year 2009, which ended June 30. Even with the slightly buoyed numbers, fundraising decreased by about 23 percent from the previ-
ous 12 months, when the University raised approximately $230 million, Vanden Dorpel said. Before last year’s financial crisis, which crippled the national economy and sheared $740 million from the University’s endowment, Brown’s average annual fundraising haul during the Campaign for Academic Enrichment was about $235 million, Vanden Dorpel said, adding that the diminished returns had reduced that average to $227 million. “We had a very good year last year, and we weathered the recession,” Vanden Dorpel said. “But we did hit a very strong headwind in raising pledges for next year.” It is too early to speculate about this year’s expected fundraising total, he said, but some donors are expected to give less this year because they paid out their pledges in advance. In May, the University surpassed
When Jude Corbett gets ready to read, his voice changes. Like a defensive lineman, it crouches and sneers at his opponent, daring him to make the first move. “95.5 WBRU,” his voice says. “The soundtrack to that stuff” — a pause punctuates the track — “you do in the shower.” The edge of Corbett’s voice slides off into the silence of the radio station’s production room. Corbett, a professional voice-over artist, is known locally as the “voice of WBRU,” a commercial alternative radio station operated by Brown students. Encompassing fields as diverse as station promotions and nature documentaries, voice-over represents a talkative yet rarely talked-about facet
News.....1-3 Metro.....4-5 Editorial....6 Opinion.....7 Today...........8
of mass media. Behind the scenes with production teams, voice-over artists help to explain and enhance messages both on the radio and on the screen. Finding a voice Corbett found his interest in voiceover early. As a kid, he liked to mimic the voices he heard on television.
FEATURE “I didn’t know you could actually do this for a living,” he said. Later, he joined his college radio program, which ran KCLC, as a part of his mass communications major. After graduating, he worked as a disc jockey and in production at radio stations before landing his first freelance voice-over job in Philadelphia. “People started liking what I was doing there, and I branched out into
continued on page 2
R.I. spends less on higher ed, report says By Claire Peracchio Contributing Writer
Rhode Island ranks among the nation’s top spenders in Medicaid and fire protection, while hovering near the bottom for expenditures on higher education, highways and transportation, and parks and recreation, according to a report released last week by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council. Using the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, the council, an independent public policy organization, generated the 2009 state expendi-
ture report, which shows the Ocean State’s long-term spending patterns and compares its expenditures with those of other states. Medicaid spending was the biggest red flag in this year’s report, the council’s Executive Director John Simmons said, noting the danger of ballooning health care costs given the state’s economic woes and diminishing tax base. This report’s findings are in line with those of a recent report from the council that found Rhode Island’s tax burden, fueled by high property taxes, to be 15th highest in the nation.
The man behind the ‘voice of WBRU’ By Joe Milner Contributing Writer
the Campaign’s goal of $1.4 billion 19 months before its official end point in December 2010, but Vanden Dorpel said he expects the financial climate to again diminish returns this year. “Our cash may be somewhat down from last year,” he said. “Fundraising is always a lagging indicator.” But he is confident the goals outlined by the University for next year will be met despite the economy, he added. “Our pledges were off last year,” said Beppie Huidekoper, executive vice president for finance and administration. “We’ve got to make sure we keep having pledges.” Despite the deflated projections, Chancellor Thomas Tisch ’76 said he was impressed with last year’s numbers, adding that he expects
Pittsburgh and Providence,” he said. WBRU was one of Corbett’s first clients. In radio, voice-over artists play multiple roles. Some, like Corbett, have standing relationships with stations and are hired to record promotions and sweepers — segues between songs that provide the station’s call letters and frequency — on a regular basis. Other voice-over artists find work recording commercials for businesses that are played on multiple stations. According to Ann DeWig, a Phoenix-based artist who voices for WPRO in Providence, the trade’s practitioners tend to focus on niches, ranging from quick sound bites to feature-length documentary narration. “There is crossover,” she said. “It’s just more common to find someone as continued on page 3
“There has been a continued climb in the rate of Medicaid spending at the same time as a decline in government revenue,” Simmons said. “This means that there will be less of a capacity for state and local government to respond to challenges in the future.” Rhode Island’s public welfare vendor payments, which include Medicaid, have more than doubled over the past 10 years and have increased at a rate four times faster than the national average, eclipsing continued on page 4
in a w or d
Zung Nguyen Vu / Herald
Rose Simpson, a RISD graduate student, gave a spoken word performance for the Native American Heritage Series’ convocation.
anti-plastic crusade Members of “Beyond the Bottle” say they have reduced water sales
counting trees A local project seeks to increase local canopy coverage
bombing the moon? Michael Fitzpatrick ’12 says some misunderstand recent lunar research
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“Rhode Island water is very good.” — Jason Harris ’10 of Beyond the Bottle, a student group
Budget suffers consequence of early pledge receipts continued from page 1 the University to continue to weather the economic storm. “I am assured that the initiatives and plans for the University are deeply engaging to the people who are at Brown,” Tisch said. “That’s the most exciting thing of all.” Though across-the-board fundraising may be taking a hit, the University has raised its goals for two fundraising initiatives. A campaign to raise money for financial aid — initially launched to generate $300 million — was increased to $400 million last October, and this year’s goal for the Brown Annual Fund was increased to $36 million from last year’s goal of $35 million. Of the initial $300 million target for financial aid, $292 million has already been procured, said Richard Barker ’57 P’03 P’05, who is spearheading the financial aid campaign. He is confident the University will meet the enlarged goal, he said, even though the original goal is still technically unrealized. “We have some work to do, but we also have some time,” Barker said. In addition to a better economic climate — which Barker said would foster an influx of donations to his campaign — the University is also planning a number of campaign dinners and events for potential donors, he said. For example, Barker said, President Ruth Simmons will speak at an “all-constituents gathering” in San Francisco this week to tout the campaign. Simmons will also make appearances in Seattle, Houston, Dallas,
Boston and India in the next year, he said. Using these events as the driving force behind the increased campaign target, Barker said he hopes to tap into the passion donors felt last October, when the new goal was announced. And given the economic situation, Barker said it is increasingly necessary to support the students most affected by hard times. “It’s imperative,” he said. “It’s absolutely crucial to the mission of the University.” As for the Annual Fund — the University’s general fundraising campaign for small donors, which supports its operating budget — this year’s goal was increased to $36 million from nearly 33,000 donors, said Joan Sorensen ’72 P’06 P’06, a member of the Corporation’s board of trustees and one of the Annual Fund’s chairs. Last year, the Fund raised $35 million from 31,276 donors, though the goal had been to procure donations from 34,000 donors, she said. The total represented a 0.3 percent decrease in dollars from the previous year, she said, and a 6.6 percent decrease in donors. Despite the downward trend, Sorensen said leaders behind the annual campaign are actively striving to meet the new goal through more targeted solicitations. She said the University is specifically looking to reunion groups for increased participation. “We’re going to try the same things” to secure funds, Sorensen said. “But we’re going to be a little more aggressive this year.”
Kim Perley / Herald
Members of Beyond the Bottle have been working since last spring to reduce bottled water usage at Brown.
Drink it up — but not from bottles By Jessie LaFargue Contributing Writer
Beyond the Bottle, a student group founded last spring, has helped reduce the use of bottled water on campus and has high hopes for its conser vation projects, according to the group’s organizers. Brown Dining Ser vices told the group that it obser ved a 35 to 40 percent drop in water bottle sales at the end of the spring semester, said group member Jason Harris ’10. The group aims to reduce and ultimately eliminate the consumption of bottled water on campus, said group leader Ari Rubenstein ’11, because its members believe that bottled water “gets an F” on at least four criteria: “health, economics, environmental and social.” To illustrate, Harris said, bottled water is tested less rigorously than tap water, costs more and wastes a lot of plastic. Helping the environment can often be expensive, Harris said, but avoiding bottled water
is free. “It seems so wasteful to buy bottled water,” he said. “Rhode Island water is ver y good.” The group’s first big push came in the form of a “pilot phase” at Josiah’s in April. In collaboration with Jo’s managers, the group made information available in Little Jo’s and sold more than 300 reusable metal water bottles for five flex points each. That project “went really well,” Rubenstein said. “We were all pretty pleased.” The University has responded positively to Beyond the Bottle’s efforts thus far, Rubenstein added. “Dining services last semester was really great,” he said. The group is preparing to present information about bottled water on campus to the Brown University Community Council next month. It also plans to hold taste tests, host a movie screening and recruit students to pledge not to buy bottled water. The group is also examining the availability of tap water in ma-
jor buildings on campus. Over the course of the next year, group members hope to encourage the University to give students more — and more visible — places to fill water bottles with tap water across campus, Rubenstein said. The group is optimistic it can make big strides, Harris said. To aid the group’s efforts, students can buy a reusable water bottle and seek to educate their friends who regularly purchase bottled water, Harris said. “We need people to individually have that collective consciousness,” he said. The elimination of bottled water is an attainable goal, both Rubenstein and Harris said. A few universities have completely stopped selling bottled water on campus, they said, such as Washington University in St. Louis. The group hopes Brown will soon follow suit. Brown has “a real opportunity to be one of the first Ivy League universities to take the step,” Rubenstein said.
Former Italian PM talks federalism, unity continued from page 1
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nomic equality between the north and the south. Though the Lega Nord, or “Nor thern League,” party, which largely represents regional interests, is vital for the Italian government, the countr y would collapse without the support of the south, Prodi said. “Instead of telling stories or dreams about federalism, I want to be realistic,” he said. “It is impossible to have sound federalism without (a) flow of funds from rich regions to poor regions.” The discussion also featured Professor of Italian Studies Massimo Riva and Provost David Kertzer ’69 P’95 P’98, who is also
a professor of anthropology and Italian studies. Riva began the event by briefly situating the question of federalism within the context of Italy’s history, particularly the formation of Italy as a nation in the 19th centur y. He cited the economic, cultural and social disparities between the northern and southern parts of Italy as an important aspect of the current debate about federalism. Kertzer noted the central position that Prodi has occupied in Italian politics in the last few decades. Prodi ser ved twice as prime minister of Italy and also ser ved as president of the European Commission. He is the
current head of a joint United Nations panel established to investigate peacekeeping in Africa. Ker tzer commented on the considerable differences between Prodi and Italy’s current prime minister, the embattled Silvio Berlusconi. He joked that his rival Berlusconi would probably not be asked to teach at Brown. Prodi said he hopes one day Italians and Europeans will grow up with federalism and, like Americans, be born as federalists, but added that such a reality is a long way off. The event, sponsored by the Depar tment of Italian Studies, was part of the Graduate Colloquium series for 2009-2010.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
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“We always get fired from every single job we’ve ever done.” — Ann DeWig, a voice-over artist, on the instability of freelancing
Finding your ‘voice:’ act, improvise, be confident continued from page 1 an expert in a certain field.” Both Corbett and DeWig have explored beyond radio’s bounds. Both have voiced TV commercials — Corbett usually does ads for Budweiser during the NCAA basketball tournament, and DeWig is working on ads for Johnson and Johnson. Corbett also voices most of HBO’s “First Look” segments, while DeWig worked on NBC’s promotions for the Super Bowl last winter. Though she said she feels proud of her high-profile work, DeWig established the instability of freelancing. “We always get fired from every single job we’ve ever done,” she said. DeWig said she is interested in narrating documentaries. Because narrations run considerably longer than television or radio spots, the artist has the opportunity to experiment and make the piece his or her own. “You can seat yourself into a story,” she said. Corbett has narrated television programs, but he said he still likes radio because he has the most experience in it. He has developed several delivery styles for radio, and he enjoys applying them to stations’ scripts. In the production room When Corbett works with WBRU, voice-over follows a set process that begins when the station sends him copy for a promotion or a sweeper. Corbett records a read at his studio in Chicago, saves it as an MP3 file and uploads it for the station. The sweepers and promos voiced by Corbett contribute toward building an audio identity that listeners identify with the station — the voice of WBRU. His voice introduces shows, songs and bands throughout the day. “When listeners hear Jude doing a promo, they think, ‘Oh, that’s BRU,’” said Diana Wollach ’10, production director at WBRU. While Corbett forms the main focus of each voice-over track, Wollach said the production team manipulates the track in a variety of ways. Sound
effects and music “beds” — tracks that play under the voice — enhance Corbett’s recording. In some cases, the casual listener will not even notice the changes. “We actually take out all the breaths in between sentences,” Wollach said. “A promotion typically takes me two hours to do,” she added. While the immediate purpose of production is to create an engaging sweeper or promo, Wollach said the work more intimately acquaints her and her team members with music. This heightened sensitivity to audio tracks not only serves to maintain WBRU’s own standards but also helps production team members in the postcollegiate world in any industry that requires sound editing. “You really get a feel for music and sound and beats,” Wollach said. WBRU’s commercial production group creates commercials in-house for some businesses that advertise with WBRU, giving students an opportunity to try voice-over themselves. “We have some people who are really, really into voicing and crank out these amazing voices,” Wollach said. Learning to speak For his part, Corbett said he encourages students to try voice-over, even if they do not know how their voices will sound on air. “The more unique your voice, the more successful you’ll probably be,” he said. DeWig said all successful voiceover artists share one trait in common: confidence. Both artists agreed that training in acting helps create and deliver a voice. “If you can do some acting, take some improvisation classes, that teaches you to be more flexible,” Corbett said. And reflecting on the various subjects he voices, Corbett added one final piece of advice to aspiring artists searching for confidence. “Know what you’re talking about. Even if you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
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Advocates of “real food” advertised their cause at a Brown University Community Council meeting last year.
U. funds ‘Real Food’ dining options By Goda Thangada Contributing Writer
The Brown chapter of the Real Food Challenge, a national campaign to bring more local and organic food to university dining halls, obtained $25,000 from President Ruth Simmons’ discretionary fund for a twoyear pilot project and created four paid student positions within Dining Services. The students will research sustainable dining options and help determine how the $25,000 will be spent. Real Food will soon begin working with BDS to hire students for the positions, said Andrea Gaines ’10, a
Real Food group member. The group presented its goals to the Brown University Community Council in November 2008. The group asked the University to create eight paid student jobs in BDS and to allocate $2 million to sustainable food over five years. “Our goals are twofold,” said David Schwartz ’09, a member of both the Brown chapter and the national committee of Real Food. “We want to capitalize on success from last year and work with BDS to make dramatic changes to support farmers and workers and use dining dollars to promote a healthy, sustainable environment.”
“This embodies the merging of Community Harvest and the Real Food Challenge,” said Schwartz, referring to BDS’s own local food initiative, founded in 2002, which makes local food available at student dining halls and facilitates the Farmers’ Market on Wriston Quad. “This is not only a source of economic development for Rhode Island, it’s a great learning opportunity for students,” Schwartz said. “There is a lot to do, whether it’s research, designing new menus or ensuring fair labor standards are implemented. We invite everyone continued on page 4
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“The proportion of sustainable food is still relatively low.” — Andrea Gaines ’10, of Real Food Challenge, on dining options at Brown Tuesday, October 20, 2009 | Page 4
Rhody health, education spending more than half of state budget continued from page 1 the spending of neighboring states such as Connecticut and Massachusetts. Earlier this year the state was approved for the Medicaid Global Waiver, an agreement that caps federal funding in exchange for greater state authority in shaping health care policy. But the waiver still assumes that Medicaid spending will continue to grow as a portion of the state budget. The restructuring of the state health care system needed to curb costs won’t be realized for at least another two years, Simmons said. Besides Medicaid, other high state outlays included fire protection and elementary and secondary school education. Rhode Island ranks first in the nation in fire department expenditures, a finding that the council’s policy analyst, Ashley Denault, attributed to “some level of redundancy” caused by many small municipalities maintaining autonomous stations as well as the fact that Rhode Island is a highly urban state. With fire protection spending coming in at almost double the national average, local leaders such as North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi are looking for ways to cut down costs. Lombardi has proposed greater “regionalization,” which would entail an increased collaboration with neighboring fire departments in Johnston and Pawtucket and a reduction in personnel, said Lombardi’s chief of staff, Richard Fossa.
Elementary and secondary education is the largest portion of the state’s expenditure, putting Rhode Island in the same range as its regional peers and above the national average, according to the report. When combined with Medicaid spending, the two categories make up almost half of state expenditures. Though Rhode Island has traditionally spent at high rates on elementary and secondary education, it is the only state without a formula to allocate funds to schools. A bill approved in June by the state Senate would establish a funding formula that takes into account student enrollment, the respective abilities of communities to fund their schools and the need to funnel additional resources to the neediest students, said Simmons, one of the bill’s authors. House action on the legislation is pending. But spending on higher education lags in comparison, making up roughly a quarter of all education spending, and is significantly below the national average. Still, it is higher than that of Connecticut and Massachusetts. The governor’s office is taking the report’s numbers in stride. All states are struggling to find cost savings and ways to achieve these savings are constantly being monitored, said Amy Kempe, spokesperson for Gov. Donald Carcieri ’65. “The information contained in (the council’s) report is nothing new,” Kempe said. “The issues touched on by the report continue to be addressed by the governor.”
No need for binders as library digitizes documents By Samer Muallem Contriuting Writer
The Center for Digital Initiatives is preparing to launch the Brown Digital Repositor y, an online database to allow faculty members to easily and safely store thousands of documents — and share them with their students and colleagues. The ser vice, which aims to make faculty research and teaching materials more accessible in the present as well as preser ve them for posterity, could be operational as soon as next semester, according to Patrick Yott, head of the librar y’s digital ser vices department and the Center for Digital Initiatives. Though many universities offer similar databases, librar y officials have delayed implementing one at Brown in order to take advantage of a program that only recently became available. Many digital repositories, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s, use a program called DSpace, which Yott said is less flexible. The new
program, Fedora, improves on older repositor y software. “We were waiting for some of the technologies to mature,” Yott said. “We just waited to do it the way we wanted to do it.” Fedora will allow programmers at the University to augment the basic software, letting them tailor the repositor y to better suit Brown’s specific purposes, Yott said. The repositor y will allow users to upload faculty papers, research data, electronic dissertations, teaching materials and other files. One feature of the Fedora platform allows files to be updated into newer formats should old ones become obsolete, preser ving the documents for generations to come. “Ideally, we’d love to start the ser vice by spring 2010,” Yott said. The first phase of programming is nearly complete, and several departments will get access to a trial version of the repository within the next month, he added.
Kim Perley/ Herald
Hope High School students are thankful the JROTC program survives despite other structural changes.
JROTC survives, thrives at Hope By Alicia Dang Staf f Writer
Hope High School’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps — the only elective course that has survived from the school’s now-defunct Leadership academy — remains as popular as ever among students. In 2005, the Rhode Island Department of Education took control of the underperforming high school and divided it into three separate “learning communities” — Leadership, Arts and Information Technology. As of this year, the Leadership community’s students and faculty have been merged into the other two. The school, which now offers eight JROTC classes with a total of 157 students, is the only high school in Providence and one of 1,650 high schools nationwide to offer the program, said Lieutenant Colonel Raoul Archambault, senior instructor of JROTC at Hope. The level of enrollment has “always been about the same,” Archambault said, adding that it
fluctuates between 130 and 180. JROTC is “open to all students, regardless of physical abilities or sexual orientation,” Archambault said. The course offers a sequence of military training programs that aims to develop six core abilities — the capacity for life-long learning, communication skills, responsibility for individual actions and choices, good citizenship, self-respect and critical thinking, according to the program’s brochure. The students also have the opportunity to participate in public demonstrations, interscholastic competitions, summer camps and community service activities. Outside of class, students, who take JROTC as one of their eight courses, can participate in the color guard and other drill teams. Each team has student commanders, while Archambault supervises the organization, participation and performance, he said. While students are thankful that the program survives, at least one misses the old structure. With
the elimination of the Leadership School, “the classes are much more packed,” said Kayle Zarzuela, a Hope sophomore who moved to the Information Technology community from the Leadership School. Though the JROTC program was open to students from the other schools earlier, the majority of participants were from Leadership, Zarzuela said. Now that there is a mix of students from two communities in JROTC classes, “there are now a lot of altercations, yelling and screaming,” she said. But Archambault said the change of school “doesn’t really affect” JROTC. “Before it was open to three communities, now it’s open to two,” he added. “It doesn’t make any difference.” Some students agreed that they were not greatly affected by the new structure. “It doesn’t matter to me, as long as this program stays here,” said Neki Fernandez, a sophomore and JROTC rifle commander.
Real Food group thinks sustainable continued from page 3 to get involved.” Real Food members supported dining workers during negotiations last week. “We want to see food dealt with in a comprehensive way, with all the pieces of justice,” Gaines said. According to the national Real Food campaign — which assesses food for four qualities, “local, fair, ecologically sound and humane” — a variety of factors determine the sustainability of food. Four student groups — the Sustainable Food Initiative, emPOWER, the Student Labor Alliance and Students for a Democratic Society — collaborate on the initiative at Brown. Gaines said she hopes the group can extend beyond Brown and im-
prove local food accessibility. “Parts of Providence are a food desert,” she said. BDS recently received an Afor overall sustainability and an A for “food and recycling” from the College Sustainability Report Card 2010. According to the report, BDS
Campus News spends $150,000 on locally grown food and $58,000 on organic food out of a total annual food budget of $6.2 million. BDS “is thinking about these things, but the proportion of sustainable food is still relatively low,” Gaines said. Other Real Food Challenge participants include Yale, Cornell, Johnson and Wales University and the
Rhode Island School of Design. Real Food members said they are looking to other schools as models for sustainable dining. Yale, for example, maintains a dining hall that exclusively serves regional food, and the University of California system has set a goal of reaching 20 percent sustainable food by 2020. Schwartz said he hopes 20 percent of Brown’s food budget will be dedicated to sustainable food. Schwartz said there was much more in the proposal created by the Real Food Challenge last year and that his team will continue to work on the university’s commitment to sustainable food. “We will be evaluating all the way, updating Ruth Simmons and the community on our progress,” he said.
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Turning over a new leaf with Trees 2020 By Mitra Anoushiravani Senior Staf f Writer
Providence is getting greener. Trees 2020, a local nonprofit st arted about a year and a half ago, has been working toward a goal to increase the city’s average tree canopy to 30 percent — an increase of about 40,000 trees — by 2020 by encouraging individuals and companies to plant trees on private property, said Ray Perreault, one of the group’s directors. The program sells trees at a subsidized price and gives free consultations to potential tree-planters to determine the appropriate species for the specific plot of land. “I envision a way for Trees 2020 to be a community-building exercise,” Perreault said. “I want the program to also educate people so that they can do plantings in a group.” The capital city on the whole has 23 percent urban tree canopy coverage, according to statistics formulated using assessments by the University of Vermont at Burlington, along with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Ser vice. Tree canopy coverage depends on the
distance that a tree’s branches extend outward, as well as the height of the tree, since taller trees cast longer shadows and provide more shade. The assessment of Providence shows that the Washington Park neighborhood, in the southeastern corner of the city, only has 5.9 percent tree canopy — the lowest of all the neighborhoods — whereas College Hill and Wayland Square both have tree canopy coverage of 30 percent or more. The Blackstone neighborhood, which encompasses Swan Point Cemetery, the Blackstone jogging path and Blackstone park, has a tree canopy coverage of 40.1 percent — the highest of any Providence neighborhood. So far, Trees 2020 has been involved in planting 1,744 trees in Providence, Perreault said. The program offers about 30 varieties of trees to meet many different spatial needs and preferences. An emphasis is placed on planting large trees that will produce the largest tree canopy, but the program is also concerned with making sure residents continue to care for their trees in the future, Perreault said. The 2006 Providence Tree Tally, a report documenting the health of all street trees, prepared by City
Forester Douglas Still, estimated that the trees provide $2,932,731 in benefits annually — which comes to $118.23 for each of the city’s 24,999 street trees. Natural gas and electricity cost savings make up $1,228,660 of the total and an increase in property values adds roughly the same amount. If trees on private property were included in the tally, the total value would be even greater, Perreault said. Trees 2020 focuses on planting trees on private property because the size of street trees is limited by underground electrical, gas and water infrastructure, he said. Like most cities in the United States, Providence was once much more densely forested than it is today, according to Perreault. Many of the elms that lined the streets of the city were killed off by Dutch elm disease. The city replaced these trees with Norwegian maples that are now coming to the end of their lives. Perreault said he would like a new generation of indigenous elm trees planted around the city to help return Providence to its former glory. But he said he is war y of creating a monoculture of elms that could be susceptible to a possible disease in the future and is trying
Max Monn / Herald
40,000 new trees would increase Providence’s tree canopy 30 percent — the goal set by Trees 2020, a local nonprofit.
to diversify the species that are planted through the program. Trees 2020 is funded by the Helen Walker Raleigh Tree Care
Trust of The Rhode Island Foundation, as well as through grants and individual contributions, Perreault said.
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Editorial & Letters The Brown Daily Herald
Page 6 | Tuesday, October 20, 2009
l e t t e r to t h e e d i to r
Columbus Day protestor showed hypocrisy To the Editor: As a member of the Undergraduate Council of Students last year, I was present as Jerry Wolf Duff Sellers ’09 came before that body to advocate changing the University’s recognition of Columbus Day, on the basis that it memorializes racial injustice and perpetuates harmful historical inaccuracies. For Duff Sellers, however, putting an end to unfair or inaccurate characterizations apparently stops with Columbus Day. I was outraged to read that Duff Sellers was perfectly content to protest the holiday last Monday beside the statue of a caricatured Italian chef, with a sign reading “Columbus spilled BABIES (sic) BLOOD like I spill tomato sauce” (“Rally against ‘Fall Weekend’ takes on U.’s name change,” Oct. 13).
As an Italian-American and a member of the Brown community, I was offended by this display of insensitivity and arrogance. But what angered me even more was the unmitigated hypocrisy it demonstrates. You can argue what you please regarding Columbus Day and its recognition at Brown; there are valid and respectable opinions on both sides of this issue. What I do not respect, however, is Duff Sellers’s willingness to vehemently argue that the holiday must end because of the harm it does to certain racial or ethnic groups, only to turn around and promote caricatures and stereotypes of another such group.
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Jerry Cedrone ’11 Oct. 15
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Transparency and the endowment Brown made the grade for the second consecutive year, scoring an A-minus on the College Sustainability Report, an assessment of environmental practices at hundreds of colleges. Brown’s grade was set back slightly by the B’s it received in two categories: Administration and Endowment Transparency. Regarding the endowment grade, we would settle for an S. The endowment’s asset allocation — the percent of assets invested in private equity, fixed income securities and other categories — is already available to the public on the Investment Office’s Web site. Brown’s specific holdings (the list of stocks and other assets owned by the University) are restricted to members of the Corporation and senior administrators. This system has its pros and cons. On the plus side, it prevents students, who often know little or nothing about investing, from weighing in on how Brown should maximize returns on its $2 billion fund. On the other hand, it keeps students from criticizing the University’s investments in bad companies. We’re inclined to say that more transparency is undesirable. By any measure, Brown is cognizant of the ethical implications of its investments. Donors with ethical qualms can contribute to the “Social Choice Fund,” which is invested exclusively in environmentally responsible companies (although the $25,000 minimum contribution should be lowered) and the Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies advises Investment Office employees on the University’s vote as a shareholder in other corporations and funds. We believe the endowment is transparent enough, but other policies surrounding the Investment Office should be made clearer. We would like to see more information about compensation for the endowment’s
managers made publicly available, as Investment Office personnel rank among Brown’s highest paid employees. In an interview with the Board, Beppie Huidekoper, executive vice president for finance and administration, said the Corporation determines compensation for Investment Office employees based on a variety of factors, including salaries for investment professionals at other universities and nonprofits and the endowment’s performance relative to other funds. The Brown community deserves to know how those criteria are applied. Investment officials’ incentives are determined, in large part, by how they are compensated. According to Huidekoper, the Investment Office’s top earners receive a substantial portion of their pay in deferred compensation that is tied to the endowment’s performance over a period of three to five years. Deferred compensation gives the University an opportunity to penalize bad investors (employees who lose their jobs do not receive it), and gives employees with a good track record an incentive to stay at Brown. We believe the University should defer compensation for its investment professionals over a longer timeframe and increase the proportion of compensation that is deferred. Of course, Brown has to remain competitive with other institutions in order to attract top talent, and the University should pay Investment Office employees more in order to offset the larger risk. By deferring compensation, and thereby paying employees in proportion to the endowment’s performance, Brown would ensure that its employees always make long-run growth their top priority. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
correction An article in Monday’s paper (“Marketing firm brings big bucks for Brown athletics,” Oct. 19) incorrectly stated that Nelligan Sports Marketing recently signed a contract with Harvard University. In fact, Harvard is not under contract with the company. C O R R E C T I O N S P olicy The Brown Daily Herald is committed to providing the Brown University community with the most accurate information possible. Corrections may be submitted up to seven calendar days after publication. C ommentary P O L I C Y The editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial page board of The Brown Daily Herald. The editorial viewpoint does not necessarily reflect the views of The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. Columns, letters and comics reflect the opinions of their authors only. L etters to the E ditor P olicy Send letters to email@example.com. Include a telephone number with all letters. The Herald reserves the right to edit all letters for length and clarity and cannot assure the publication of any letter. Please limit letters to 250 words. Under special circumstances writers may request anonymity, but no letter will be printed if the author’s identity is unknown to the editors. Announcements of events will not be printed. advertising P olicy The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. reserves the right to accept or decline any advertisement at its discretion.
Opinions The Brown Daily Herald
Tuesday, October 20, 2009 | Page 7
Nobel Obama and his ignoble opposition Anthony Badami Opinions Columnist Last week, five Nor wegians convened in Oslo to decide which of their distinguished nominees deserved to win the Nobel Peace Prize. As you no doubt have heard from the blitzkrieg of national news, President Obama is this year’s recipient. Just hours after his selection, critics from the left and the right assembled as well — though not to heap praise. Rather, they convened to hurl rebukes aplenty at the eccentric Nobel Committee. The Scandinavians fired back that the prize was meant to enhance Obama’s efforts in international diplomacy, an agenda that includes the sizable task of reducing nuclear proliferation globally as well as ending our intervention in Mesopotamia. I myself take slight issue with Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland’s reasoning that they “are not awarding the prize for what may happen in the future, but for what he has done in the previous year.” Pundits are partially correct in chiding this justification, especially considering Obama was nominated for the prize just two weeks into his tenure. So far, Obama has done little more than buoy centrist policies abroad. Let’s check the foreign policy scorecard: His speech in Cairo made a splash, but he must adopt further hard policy in countries with anti-Western feelings before real ideo-
logical change can occur. He was right to urge Israeli leaders to freeze settlements, but further support for the disastrously debilitated population of Palestine is essential. And little can be said about Obama’s support of the Iranian democratic revolution, mostly because he has said nothing. Compound these dilemmas with an ailing global economy and you will start to understand the titanic job our 44th president has in front of him. Such a hefty burden, then, is why I must support the Committee’s decision. Obama needs the symbolic power bestowed by this prize now more than ever.
to sully. Admonishment of this selection should be directed at the committee itself, not at Obama. Conservative pundits like Limbaugh who will use this award to denounce Obama as a socialist radical or Taliban sympathizer should be met with the harshest castigation. But while it is easy to give in to this overwhelming stricture (if not for agreement, at least for comfort), bear in mind that Obama will be confronting this censorious chorus as well. Some have stated correctly that Obama does not meet the standard outlined by Alfred Nobel. The official standard states that the
Malevolent forces abound from North Korea to Iran to Libya to sub-Saharan Africa. Be it hard or soft, literal or symbolic, Obama needs all the ammunition he can obtain. He seems to understand this responsibility. In his acceptance speech, he viewed the accolade as “an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.” Though it was surprising, let us not dismiss this honor so immediately. In 2008, the American public gave Obama our mandate to rule. Earlier this month, the international community emblematically extended its mandate as well. The Nobel will serve as a calibrator, a metric by which Obama will be judged. From this point on, he will enter foreign nations as a statesmen and a peacemaker. It is his title
Peace Prize be awarded to the individual that “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity among nations.” The “shall have” part of that statement is difficult to avoid. Dominic Mhiripiri ’12 wrote in Friday’s column (“Of Obama, Tsvangirai and a Nobel war,” Oct. 16) that Obama didn’t deserve the comparison to past laureates like Mother Teresa — an individual who seldom preached ‘peace,’ and declared to the world during her Nobel speech that ‘abortion’ was the ‘greatest enemy of peace.’ I hope it isn’t too brash of me to imagine that Obama could do better than this.
Yes, Obama’s current record is generally unremarkable. But, in an attempt to qualify such cold cynicism, I must say that Obama has done something no other political figure in recent history has been able to do — he refused the maxim, especially salient in the last eight years, that one should not “negotiate with terrorists.” On the campaign trail, Obama was asked repeatedly whether diplomatic engagement with the likes of Iran, Syria and Venezuela was advisable. He responded that refusal to talk to these nations in order to punish was simply “ridiculous.” Obama is right to reproach this archaic and destructive vision of diplomacy promulgated by war criminals like Henry Kissinger. This mentality has been responsible for creating international quagmires in the Middle East and Latin America that still persist today. We stand at a critical juncture in international politics. Malevolent forces abound from North Korea to Iran to Libya to sub-Saharan Africa. Be it hard or soft, literal or symbolic, Obama needs all the ammunition he can obtain. I applaud the Norwegian committee for their intrepid, albeit unexpected, selection. Obama’s presidency is moving this country decidedly and unabashedly towards a longawaited diplomatic reorientation. Thus, I suggest we stop all of this petulant condemnation and move with it.
Anthony Badami ’11 is a political theory concentrator from Kansas City, MO. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How I learned to stop worrying and love the moon bomb MICHAEL FITZPATRICK Opinions Columnist On Oct. 9 at 7:31 a.m. EDT, the world witnessed a momentous occasion: NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) fired two large projectiles into one of the moon’s polar craters to study the composition of the lunar surface. The lunar impact was hailed as a huge success in the scientific community. The most significant discovery by far has been the existence of water molecules that were kicked up with the debris from the crash. This finding has been deemed crucial to the continued exploration of the solar system as astronauts could mine the abundance of lunar water as a source of rocket fuel. News of the impact has not been entirely well-received across the globe. Several nations have shown a great concern for the United States’ apparent “bombing” of the moon, citing a fear of violent retaliation from any potential lunar inhabitants. A United Nations committee is prepared to engage the moon men in peaceful negotiations, but the whereabouts of a Lunar Embassy on Earth are largely unknown. The moon bombing has also incited moral outrage among various polytheistic and earthbased religions, many of whom believe that the moon goddess or other celestial spirits will be greatly angered by NASA’s activities. “We (moon-worshippers) have been making ritual sacrifices to Selene and praying for her
forgiveness,” said one such follower, who wished to remain anonymous. America’s heartland shares a different perspective on the negative consequences of the lunar impact. “The moon bombing is the latest in a long line of violent offenses that man has made against God’s beautiful creation,” said an angry pastor from Landover, Iowa. “These so-called ‘scientists’ are overstepping the boundaries that the good Lord has set for them. First they created an atomic bomb. Then they invented greenhouse gases. Then came the cloning, the stem cell research, the genetically engineered tomatoes … and now
moon. “Finding water on the moon is just so amazing,” said one enthusiastic freshman. “The environment is becoming so polluted nowadays, it’s comforting to know that there’s still potable water in the solar system. Just don’t let the bottled water companies get to it first.” Others saw the lunar impact as a revival of the old doctrine of Manifest Destiny, thinking that the United States has a divine mandate to colonize the moon. “Just as Christianity was important in the founding of the United States, so shall it be important in the founding of the first Lunar Colony,” said a particularly
Around the world, several nations have shown a great concern for the United States’ apparent ‘bombing’ of the moon, citing a fear of violent retaliation from any potential lunar inhabitants. this? Sweet merciful Jesus, they’re playing God with their moon bombs, and we’ve got to stop them!” At Brown, the general student body was sharply divided over the issue, which eclipsed other dinner-table discussions about the economy, midterm exams and the controversial decision of the Nobel Prize committee to award the 2009 Nobel Peace prize to President Barack Obama. Supporters of the LCROSS impacts largely cited the scientific merits of the project, including the chance discovery of water on the
fanatical senior. “The Moon Men know not Christianity, and thus lack the bedrock to construct a great United States of the Moon. The LCROSS project has been their saving grace.” On the other side of the fence, many students fear that the moon bombing is going to be the start of a long, unjustified war against the lunar inhabitants. “We’re all for peace and love, dude!” shouted a raucous hippie. “Don’t let the Man start another war, dude! Bomb exams, not moon-people!” A more serious junior remarked, “I’m defi-
nitely against this moon-bombing business. I think it represents the hegemony of Western culture and its oppressive geocentric views. We should embrace the ethnic diversity of the moon and come to a mutual understanding with them through intellectual discourse. By bombing them, we are perpetuating a wave of neo-imperialism that dictated much of our international relations during the Bush administration.” Rumors have already begun to spread throughout campus that human-rights groups are planning to launch various campaigns for the fair treatment of the indigenous peoples of the moon. One such campaign, the Lunar Liberation Project, is planning several exhibitions throughout the course of the year urging students to demand the welfare of the lunar inhabitants by refusing to eat them. Various pro-lunar peace student groups are gathering support, but it is currently unclear if any existing organizations are planning to protest the LCROSS project. Students for a Democratic Society could not be reached for comment. Fortunately, the burden of diplomacy falls on the shoulders of our most beloved leader, Obama. When asked if the Nobel laureate would facilitate peace talks with the moon men, he responded, “Look, I received a Nobel Prize for world peace — not cosmic peace. I fear that peace accords may be years in the making, but I promise that my 2012 platform will be strongly pro-moon.”
Michael Fitzpatrick ’12 hates geocentric oppression, neo-imperialism, and scientific illiteracy. He can be contacted at email@example.com
Today The Brown Daily Herald
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Bombing the moon? Why not.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
t h e n e w s i n i m ag e s
2 c a l e n da r
Today, october 20
Wednesday, october 21
7 pm — Bollywood Film Series Presents “Monsoon Wedding,” Carmichael Auditorium
7 PM — Multiracial Identity Week Interracial Dating Forum, Salomon 101
8 pm — Brown University Jazz Combos Concert, Grant Recital Hall
8 pm — Brown University Wind Symphony Concert, Grant Recital Hall
comics Birdfish | Matthew Weiss
menu Sharpe Refectory
Verney-Woolley Dining Hall
Lunch — Tortilla Casserole, Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash, Couscous
Lunch — Hot Ham on a Bulkie Roll, Vegetarian Pot Pie, Spinach with Lemon
Dinner — Curry Chicken with Coconut, Vegan Chana Masala, Basmati Rice Pilaf
Cabernet Voltaire | Abe Pressman
Dinner — Roast Beef au Jus, Vegan Vegetable Couscous, Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
crossword Dot Comic | Eshan Mitra and Brendan Hainline
Hippomaniac| Mat Becker
STW | Jingtao Huang