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Daily Herald the Brown

vol. cxliv, no. 118 | Friday, December 4, 2009 | Serving the community daily since 1891

Early applicant pool grows for Class of 2014 By Anne Simons Senior Staf f Writer

Early applications to Brown are up 21 percent from last year, according to Jim Miller ’73, dean of admission. They numbered over 2,850 at the Nov. 1 deadline, he said, up from 2,343 last year. Miller said the results were “unexpected,” especially during tough economic times. “It does seem that people do perceive Brown as having great value,” he said, adding that people seem “very willing to invest in a Brown education.” A difficult economic climate can sometimes lead applicants away from binding programs, like early decision admissions, that may restrict their financial aid options. Applications to the Program in Liberal Medical Education were up 35 percent over last year, Miller said. Because applications had decreased last year, this year’s increase means that about as many applicants applied this year as two years ago, he said. The number of minority applicants also rose “pretty signifi-

Nick Sinnott-Armstrong / Herald

Early applications to next year’s freshman class jumped 21 percent from last year, including a 35 percent rise in PLME applicants.

cantly,” Miller said. The University received 75 percent more applications from Hispanics than last year and 60 percent more

from blacks. The University has put a lot of effort into recruiting a diverse applicant pool, Miller said.

International applications also increased, Miller said. The stateby-state distribution of American applicants was relatively steady, he added. Also noteworthy was a 27 percent increase in the proportion of applicants who said they are interested in pursuing Bachelor of Science degrees, Miller said. Though it is impossible to know for sure, Miller said, the large increase could foreshadow changes in the regular decision numbers as well. What is “most interesting” about the overall increase is what it “portends for regular decision,” Miller said. The early applicant pool looks “very powerful,” he added. The University aims to enroll just under 1,500 students next year, as usual, Miller said. The percentage of early decision students in the final class size typically ranges from the high twenties to low thirties, he said, and he does not expect that to change this year. Decisions will be available online to applicants the night of Dec. 14.

inside

The iconic monolithic city often sits in our imagination as a society’s great achievement. But with megalopolises come suburban sprawl. Cities instead should be allowed to develop, mature and ultimately duplicate before they overextend into monolithic urban cores and space-filling suburbs, renowned architect Leon Krier told a crowd in Salomon 101 Thursday evening. Krier, author of “The Architecture of Community” and “Get Your House Right: Architectural Elements to Use and Avoid,” spoke for an hour and a half on the problems of modern urban planning, namely the use of architecture and urbanism in ways that create huge cities with suburban sprawl problems. Krier called this urban expansion a “bloody disaster,” specifically mentioning Manhattan and the proliferation of skyscrapers on the urban skyline. “Cities often look like storage areas for buildings,” he said. Instead, Krier said, planners should limit the growth of cities so that they form concentrated, controlled urban centers. New cities would then spring up nearby

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

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and be allowed to develop their own cores. These concentrated towns and cities would be linked by expanses of empty space, such as woods and forests, and unchecked suburban sprawl would diminish. “We need to reinforce and rebuild the small,” Krier said. Krier also talked about the intersections of urban plotting and architecture. He explained the concepts of classicism — architecture and planning that is often systematic, monumental and ornate — and the vernacular, which is characterized by a smaller scale and a greater focus on functionality than aesthetics. Classicism and the vernacular are two ways to classify both urbanism and architecture, Krier said. In some cases, such as the Roman Forum, the two styles can coexist. But Krier said the worst mix, to be avoided at all costs, was the combination of classical urbanism, with its neatly ordered plots, and vernacular architecture, with simple and plain buildings — the typical style for the average suburb. Krier took questions after his

By Talia Kagan Staff Writer

Two years after University affiliates first started receiving free bus and trolley rides from the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority as part of the agency’s contract with Brown, just under a quarter of faculty, staff and students take advantage of it

By Qian Yin Contributing Writer

each month. Under the statewide UPass program started in September 2007 the University pays an undisclosed flat rate for every ride by a University community member. But despite the free ride, most University employees drive to work

More than 700 books from the collection of the late Michael Bhatia ’99, an international relations scholar and Afghanistan expert, are now available to researchers at Brown libraries. A visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies from 2006 to 2007, Bhatia was an Oxford University doctoral candidate when he was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in May 2008. He had been working there as a civilian member of a U.S. Army Human Terrain Team, according to the University. Brown received Bhatia’s library collection from his family at the end of June, said Medical School Librarian Tovah Reis. With the first stage of processing completed, Bhatia’s books are now available to researchers in the Rockefeller and the John Hay libraries, she said. The remaining part of the collection, including papers and conference proceedings, will be available to the public in the future, she said. The complete collection includes primary resources such as posters from the first election in Afghanistan, according to James Der Derian, professor of international studies, who said he has looked through the collection. “He had one of probably the best conventional libraries of international relations that I’ve come across,” Der Derian said. Der Derian directed a documentary titled “Human Terrain,” focusing on the Human Terrain system

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Architect envisions a One in four at U. take tale of smaller cities RIPTA each month By Caitlin Trujillo Staf f Writer

Late scholar’s work donated to U. libraries

Herald to welcome 120th editorial board By Yuan Na’in-Tien Seniors

Kim Perley / Herald

Left to right: Sophia Li ’11, Seth Motel ’11, Ellen Cushing ’10, Joanna Wohlmuth ’11 and George Miller ’11 (horizontal) at 195 Angell Thursday.

continued on page 4

The Herald will introduce the 120th editorial board and a new slate of leaders in the organization at the annual staff banquet tonight at Cav Restaurant downtown. With the calendar year of Herald production coming to an end today, the new leadership is effective Jan. 1. Leading next year’s group will be George Miller ’11, who will serve as editor-in-chief and president of The Herald. The Fairfax, Va. native, who has served as metro editor over the past year, boasts a breadth of experience as a reporter and as an editor both on and off campus, and hopes to be the steady hand on the tiller in 2010. We know he will do a good job — we continued on page 2

News, 3

Arts, 5

Passing health care Prof. James Morone outlined what Obama must do to pass health reform

Reflection in opera “Doris to Darlene” is the latest productions from Sock and Buskin’s

195 Angell Street, Providence, Rhode Island

Editor’s Note Today’s issue is the final print edition of the semester. Publication will resume in January. Thanks for reading. herald@browndailyherald.com


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THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

Friday, December 4, 2009

C ampus N EWS

Matches around the corner By Dan Alexander Senior Staff Writer

The Herald is done for the semester, but Brown sports aren’t. Below is a list of each team’s can’t-miss games over break. Men’s basketball The men’s basketball team (45, 0-0 Ivy) will face cross-town rival Providence College (7-2) at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Monday at 7 p.m. The Bears will be looking to avenge a 86-62 loss last season. Men’s hockey Coming off their first two wins of the season, the Bears (2-7-1, 1-4-1 ECAC Hockey) will host two ECAC opponents this weekend. Princeton (3-5-1, 2-4-1), who beat Brown in a 1-0 overtime season opener, will play in Meehan Auditorium at 7 p.m. tonight. And No. 6 Quinnipiac (12-1-0, 7-0-0), who stands atop the ECAC standings, takes the ice in Providence on Saturday at 7 p.m. Women’s basketball The Bears (4-5, 0-0 Ivy) will open up league play with back-to-back games versus Yale (3-5, 0-0) on Jan. 15 and Jan. 25. The first contest will be in Providence.

Women’s hockey The Bears will face ECAC leader Cornell (7-4-1, 6-1-1 ECAC Hockey) on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Ithaca. The Big Red come into this weekend off of a 2-1 loss to Niagara, but the Bears haven’t won since Oct. 25. Wrestling The wrestling team has been in Las Vegas since Tuesday, and they will hit the mats in the Las Vegas Cliff Keen invitational this weekend. The meet will include 50 teams from all over the country, including four of the teams that finished in the top 10 nationally last season. Gymnastics The gymnastics team opens its season in a four-team meet at Southern Connecticut on Jan. 16. Fencing The fencing team will compete in three meets over break, none of which will be in Providence. Squash Both the men’s and women’s squash team will travel to Princeton, N.J., to take on the Tigers on Saturday. Swimming and diving The men’s and women’s swim teams will go to the Bucknell Invitational this weekend.

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Daily Herald the Brown

Editorial Phone: 401.351.3372 | Business Phone: 401.351.3260 Stephen DeLucia, President Michael Bechek, Vice President

Jonathan Spector, Treasurer Alexander Hughes, Secretary

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 each 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.

New leadership for Herald in 2010 continued from page 1 feel it in our bones. Chaz Kelsh ’11, a former news editor, will return from a semester abroad in Stockholm to serve as managing editor. Kelsh, from Philadelphia, is an expert on the inner workings of the University and its mysterious governing body, the Corporation. A sharp editor, he also brings his trademark wit and reporterly confidence. He will also serve as secretary of The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. Sophia Li ’11, The Herald’s features editor, will join the editorial board as a deputy managing editor. Li, who hails from Cheshire, Conn., Sacramento, Calif. and many indeterminate locations in between, has successfully brightened these pages with off-thebeaten-path stories, personalities and organic farming operations for the last year and boasts an unmatched knowledge of Brown history. Also joining the editorial board as a deputy managing editor will be Emmy Liss ’11, a former features editor who will return from a semester abroad in Barcelona. A Mill Neck, N.Y., native and the Herald’s No. 1 cheerleader, Liss is a stickler for winning headlines, clever ledes and features that shine. She will probably try to recruit you in the spring. Ellen Cushing ’10 will join the board having seen multiple sides of The Herald. The Berkeley, Calif. homegirl has admirably performed double-duty as both a senior staff writer for the news side and the University editor for post- magazine. Expect her to continue her relentless pursuit of the toughest stories about Brown’s darkest secrets. And no more postnaked pictures. News Editor Seth Motel ’11 also steps up to the editorial board as a senior editor. The Lincolnwood, Ill. native, a former copy desk chief, has also been the Herald’s poll czar for more than a year. He likes numbers, crosstabs and hard news. He doesn’t like mistakes. Joanna Wohlmuth ’11, the metro

editor from Manhattan Beach, Calif., rounds out the 120th editorial board as a senior editor. Leaving no stone unturned in her quest to uncover the dirt on Providence and Rhode Island, Wohlmuth knows how to get to the bottom of a story and produce Aplus copy. You’ll also see her lead the women’s water polo team in “forced ejections” (it’s a good thing). The editorial board will be backed up by a strong slate of section editors. Helping the edit board keep track of the day-to-day on-campus happenings as news editors will be California girls Sydney Ember ’12 and Nicole Friedman ’12. Ember, a senior staff writer from Los Angeles, leads the league in interviews conducted, pages proofed and gumption-to-body-size ratio. Friedman, from Piedmont, Calif., also a senior staff writer, knows more about faculty governance than the faculty does. They both insisted on editing this paragraph. Leading next year’s city and state coverage as metro editors will be the alliterative pair of Brigitta Greene ’12 and Ben Schreckinger ’12. Greene, from Westfield, N.J., has taken the lead in aggressively covering the University’s finances and capital expansion as a senior staff writer. Her dry humor takes some getting used to. Schreckinger, from Belmont, Mass., has been both a senior staff writer and a post- columnist, covering UCS, local politics and fictional encounters with Emma Watson ’13 alike. He plans to “bro lightly” this weekend. Hannah Moser ’12, a friendly wildland firefighter and erstwhile senior staff writer from Canyonville, Ore., takes over as features editor along with Cheshire, Mass. native Brian Mastroianni ’11. Moser has co-led the Herald poll and interviewed angry PLMEs, among other things. Mastroianni, who likes RISD and painting, has filed countless bylines from College Hill and beyond and brings his knowledge and keen sense for good stories. Taking over at the sports desk will

be Columbus, Ohio’s Dan Alexander ’12, a senior staff writer who has travelled the Eastern seaboard covering the football team this fall. A tough interviewer who remembers how long a team’s losing streak is, he’s a coach’s worst nightmare. Providence’s own Andrew Braca ’10, the outgoing editor, will stay on as an assistant with Oak Park, Ill.’s Han Cui ’10. Leading the arts and culture section are two more senior staff writers. Anne Speyer ’12, a Manhattanite with an encyclopedia knowledge of Jay-Z lyrics, has covered dozens of metro and campus life stories in her day. Suzannah Weiss ’12, from Syosset, N.Y., has been The Herald’s eyes and ears at UCS meetings this semester, and has bravely covered the swine flu outbreak without contracting the disease. Putting the paper together every day will be three design editor holdovers — Saint-Mammes, France native and house-music aficionado Julien Ouellet ’12, Manchester, N.H., starving artist and ginger enthusiast Marlee Bruning ’12 and White Plains, N.Y.’s Anna Migliaccio ’12, tolerator of antics in-chief. Leading the copy desk will be Kelly Mallahan ’11, a Herald staff writer from Seattle, Wash., currently studying abroad in Morocco. She will be joined by a new assistant copy chief, Highland Park, Ill.’s Jordan Mainzer ’12. Alyssa Ratledge ’11, from Mesa, Ariz., will stay on as opinions editor in 2010. She will be joined next year by columnist Michael Fitzpatrick ’12, of San Antonio, Tex. The Herald also welcomes 11 new contributors who reached the rank of staff writer: Ana Alvarez ’13, Alex Bell ’13, Kristina Fazzalaro ’12, Max Godnick ’13, Anish Gonchigar ’12, Sarah Mancone ’13, Claire Peracchio ’13, Kevin Pratt ’10, Emily Rosen ’12, Jenna Steckel ’13 and Caitlin Trujillo ’12. Upstairs at 195 Angell, Marshall Katheder ’12 of Orlando, Fla., will take over as editor-in-chief of postmagazine, the Herald’s alternative weekly. Katheder, who was on the reality TV show “Endurance” as an adolescent, has served as post-’s film editor. He has great fashion sense, and his favorite movie is “Garden State.” The editorial page board will also see new leadership next semester, as Matt Aks ’11, of Scarsdale, N.Y., takes over as the new editor of the editorial page. The Herald is also fortunate to have two excellent new general managers handling the business side of the organization next year. Claire Kiely ’11, of San Jose, Calif., will serve as a general manager and vice president of the Brown Daily Herald, Inc. Katie Koh ’11, of Coto de Caza, Calif., will serve as the other general manager as well as The Herald’s treasurer. Currently The Herald’s sales and finance directors, respectively, Kiely and Koh will bring their enthusiasm and 184-point colorcoded strategy to bear on the Herald’s balance sheet. Kiely and Koh will be joined on the business staff by directors Matt Burrows ’12, Christiana Stephenson ’11, Margaret Watson ’11 and Kelly Wess ’11.


Friday, December 4, 2009

THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

C ampus N EWS

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“If he loses, he’s kind of toast.” — Professor James Morone, on President Obama’s health care plan

Morone: health care debate a ‘great change moment’ By Bradley Silverman Contributing Writer

President Obama and proponents of health care reform should adhere to a unified philosophical vision and avoid allowing the debate to focus on costs, James Morone, professor of political science and chair of the department, told a packed MacMillan 115 Thursday night. In a lecture titled “The Dirty Rotten Secrets of Health Care Reform,” Morone outlined what he called the “10 commandments of passing health care reform” — factors he believes will largely determine the final outcome of the debate. Obama’s success in reforming the system, he said, will largely depend on how well he and congressional Democrats stick to these recommendations. Among them are suggestions that proponents try to move as quickly as possible — should no bill be produced by February, he said, efforts will probably be ineffective — and to focus on symbols likely to appeal to the public, without getting lost amid “wonky” policy details. Morone has written several books on politics and health care, including his July 2009 book “The Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office” with David Blumenthal, currently an adviser to the president. Morone began the lecture by outlining the history of health care reform, describing the efforts of presidents going back to Theodore Roosevelt to implement national health reform. Since then, Morone said, every administration has tackled reform with varying degrees of success. Morone called the House of Representatives’ passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act on Nov. 7 “historic,” noting that it was the first time in American history that a chamber of Congress has passed health reform on such a massive scale. “There are some times in American society when we appear to be at a great change moment,” he said, adding that such a success on Obama’s part might signify a political seismic shift as significant as that of Reagan’s election. “Forget your papers, your exams, all that stuff. This is the moment,” he said. Conversely, he said, a defeat could cripple the president for the remainder of his time in office, much as

it did President Clinton, who saw his own efforts to pass health care reform end in defeat for both his plan — which died in the Senate — and his party, as Republicans recaptured both chambers of Congress in 1994. “If he loses, he’s kind of toast,” Morone said. Later, Morone identified several key health care matters that Congress is attempting to address, such as rising costs. Between 1950 and today, health care inflation has been between two and three times higher than general inflation. During the George W. Bush years alone, Morone said, 2.1 percent of the GDP was spent on health care. “We can’t sustain this forever,” Morone said. “Sooner or later, we’ll do something, and that’s going to hurt.” He noted that despite Republicans’ emphasis on ending health care corruption and Obama’s focus on increasing efficiency, neither change alone — or both together — would be enough to bring down costs. Another problem that Congress must address is the high number of uninsured and underinsured Americans, he said, noting that roughly 47 million are without health care, while an additional 21 million have insufficient coverage. Morone shared an anecdote of an economist friend whose family’s insurance policy covered everything except her son’s left leg, which the insurance company concluded has a preexisting condition. Because so many lack the coverage they need, he said, life expectancy at birth in the United States is 41st in the world, well behind that of many other wealthy nations. “If our Olympic team were 41st, Congress would go nuts,” Morone said. “There would be hearings.” Morone broke down Democrats’ reform efforts into several key components, including a revamping of the insurance system — which would include preventing companies from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions and imposing lifetime insurance caps — and a public option to compete with private insurers. Most important to his point of view, Morone said, were proposals to give subsidies in the form of tax breaks to low-income families to help them purchase health insurance. This measure, he said, would do the most to increase coverage.

Courtesy of James Der Darian

Left to right, David Udris, Michael Udris and James Der Derian filming “Human Terrain” at 29 Palms, California. Bhatia worked closely with Der Derian, who directed an award-winning documentary based on Bhatia’s experience in Afghanistan. The late scholar Bhatia’s works are now available at Brown libraries.

Bhatia’s ’99 rare collection now at library continued from page 1 and Bhatia’s experience. The documentary won the Audience Award at Florence’s Festival dei Popoli in November. The collection, which includes topics such as the history of peacekeeping and the role of non-governmental organizations in conflict resolution, complements the University’s existing resources. Bhatia also possessed what Der Derian called an “exotic taste in literature.” On his research trips to regions including West Africa, East Timor and Afghanistan, Bhatia collected local literature from marketplaces and bookstores, Der Derian said. He even brought back Jihadi texts, such as a translated copy of a book by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a prominent warlord in Afghanistan. Such texts are not easily accessible to Western scholars, Der Derian said. As a collector, Bhatia did not discriminate between academic sources and popular cultural sources, Der Derian said. “Michael was a voracious reader and collector,” he said. “He wanted to digest everything out there.” Der Derian said Bhatia collected primary resources because he did not like to rely solely on Western accounts of the peoples and cultures of Asia and Africa. “He was really

trying to get through the barrier that we often get in Western academic circles” depending heavily on second-hand reports, Der Derian said. Der Derian said a library reveals many aspects of a person’s life by presenting what the person reads, writes and thinks about. Bhatia’s collection is special among the collections donated to Brown, creating “a multifaceted image of a scholar in his prime as opposed to one at the

end of a long career.” It is a “snapshot” of a young scholar’s mind, he added. Bhatia researched topics such as the role of Western organizations in conflict zones and the circulation and usage of small arms in conflict zones. One overriding theme of his work was finding “a means to reconcile difference short of violence,” Der Derian said.


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THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

Friday, December 4, 2009

C ampus N EWS Architect: Providence lacks ‘really good square’ continued from page 1 lecture and emphasized that one of the benefits of smaller cities and less sprawl is the decrease in resource exploitation. If small-scale planning is reintroduced and encouraged, Krier said, we can also bridge the gap between the synthetic materials currently used in planning and the more ideal yet costly natural ones.

When one person asked Krier what role he thought public space played in urban planning, especially in the city of Providence, Krier said a big missing component was the “really good square” in the urban grid. “I actually prefer cars (to buildings) in the public space because they go away,” Krier joked. “There’s a scare of the void.” Kayleigh Butera / Herald

A RIPTA official said he was pleased that so many students and faculty members were using the bus service.

RIPTA use high among students, faculty continued from page 1

Freddy Lu / Herald

Architect Leon Krier addressed a crowd in Salomon 101 Thursday.

Things We’re Thankful For Beyonce clown, Jesse Jackson, Keyboard Cat, Basement Cat, candies, the store formerly known as Store 24, Vendor & Beveragina, Cinta Laura, Ulysses, marmoset, Young Jeezy, Anjali & Audrey, print media, DFW, Diet Coke, coffee & study breaks, Rally, the orange hat, meta-journalism, the World Series, Minion, Johnston refrigerators, Friendly’s, Officer Pereira, Alice, citizenship, popcorn, Polypoly, fitness dancing, writers, Design, Neal Poole, spice drops, pocket shots, smartphones, farm animals, dialects, Danny Ramirez, Baby Ruth, Pictograms, substantial changes & improvements, sunrises, series commas, Gene Parmesan & Lucille Two, whiskey, Soviets, flirting, doot doot doot: colon, in America, Fish Co, cackling, tape balls, the ball, surprise visits, d’abate, Wikipedia, punishment, Geraldo & Harold, everyone who put up with our antics, spectacles, bloggers, happy hours, boozeflashes, YouTube DJing, chair committee, journalism’s survival, bacon, Chekov, photo essays, awesome blossoms, radiator heat, Elite XL, readers, intrepid reporters, bunnies, Stanley and 120.

--SD, MJB, CF, NJ, FJK, MS, SRL, RZA, IAG. Play us off, keyboard cat.

or use alternative modes of transit in part because of a lack of RIPTA routes near their homes , a general unfamiliarity with the system and the greater convenience of driving, said Elizabeth Gentry, assistant vice president for Financial and Administrative Services. Only about 19 percent of faculty and staff and 26 percent of students rode RIPTA each month from July to October, according to the most recent data from Gentry’s office. Though fewer faculty and staff ride RIPTA, those who do “actually ride more often” than students, Gentry said. The data show that over the same period, the average staff rider used RIPTA almost three times as often as the average student rider and almost twice as often as the average faculty rider. These differences might occur because staff and faculty ride for their daily commute, while students are more likely to use the service for recreation, Gentry said. Several staff members interviewed by The Herald said the main reason they drive to work is that, despite parking problems, it is still more convenient. Because of the time limits on parking spaces on the street — there is a long waitlist for University parking spots — some staff participate in what they call the “Brown Shuffle,” running out to move their cars every few hours in order to

avoid tickets, Gentry said. Debra Souza, a student account representative in the Bursar’s Office who finds it more convenient to drive to work, said she has been doing the “Brown Shuffle” for 30 years. She arrives on campus at about 8:30 a.m., moves her car during the morning break and moves it again at lunch, she said. “I call it the parking relay” because many of the staff rush to move their cars at 10 a.m., said Tina Botelho, Gentry’s executive assistant, who works in the Brown Office Building. For Botelho, a Masschusetts resident who now has a University parking spot after several years on the waitlist, taking public transportation to work would require driving to Rhode Island, parking in a lot and taking two buses to Brown, she said. Even within Rhode Island, using RIPTA is not feasible for some, Gentry said, noting that some areas of the state are not conveniently linked by RIPTA. “I think (RIPTA) is really popular especially for people who are traveling in the center of Providence,” said Joseph Gagne, co-chair of the Staff Advisory Committee. But it might be less so for those who live farther away, he said. Many faculty and staff are so used to their driving routine that they simply haven’t considered public transit, Gentry said. There has been talk of creating

a Buddy Day — employees who drive would be shown the RIPTA ropes by their more public transitsavvy counterparts — but the plan has “been on the back burner,” she said. But the agency is taking steps to make public transit more convenient for University riders, said Mark Therrien, assistant general manager of transit system development, planning and grants at RIPTA. In September 2008, the agency debuted an express bus line to and from Barrington specifically geared to University employees commuting to campus. “In the future, RIPTA intends to have more buses that go directly downtown and then to the Brown area,” Therrien said, adding that “people like a one-seat ride.” The agency also plans to turn the corner of Thayer and Waterman Streets into “a miniature bus hub” in the future, Therrien said. Brown’s contract with RIPTA was re-negotiated in August, and though the undisclosed per-ride rate the University pays rose as a result, the program continues to be “an important component in the whole transportation management plan,” Gentry said. For now, Brown’s ridership numbers are actually pretty impressive, Therrien said. “Believe me, in transit, if you’re getting 10 percent, that’s fabulous,” he said.


Arts & Culture The Brown Daily Herald

Spoken word artist spits the ‘isms’ By Suzannah Weiss Senior Staf f Writer

Internationally recognized spoken word artist and activist Alix Olson addressed a crowd of students from Brown and neighboring colleges about “-isms,” identity politics and women’s and queer empowerment in List 120 Thursday night. Olson’s performance included several of her more well-known works, as well as recent writing she was sharing for the first time. Folk singer and jazz musician Pamela Means added another layer to several poems with guitar and vocal accompaniment. “You don’t seem good. You seem subdued. Why are you all subdued?” she asked an audience of about 70 students, who overwhelmingly responded that finals were dragging them down. “I understand,” she reassured them. Along with the poems she performed, Olson offered the audience humorous anecdotes and stories of troubling encounters and life lessons from her time on tour. She began with a stor y about the 2002 FalaDuru Festival in Porto, Por tugal, where she and other poets from around the world — few of them female or queer, she said — gathered to represent their countries’ contributions. Olson said she added shock value to the festival with a poem incorporating language that forced the American Sign Language interpreter to make obscene gestures while she was delivering it. But the real shock, she said, came after ward at a bar when several poets approached her to inform her that what she had presented wasn’t poetr y, and that she instead “should consider performing a play or entering politics.”

More of Olson’s male colleagues joined the discussion, arriving at the consensus that their countries “don’t have sexism,” and therefore her political statements had gone over their heads. The inspiration for the first poem Olson delivered, “Subtle Sister,” came from a comment by one of the aforementioned poets, who said her poetr y was “too angry” and needed to be more subtle. “Subtle Sister” is a measured but determined rebuttal to this traditional view of poetr y, made on the grounds that the injustices Olson addresses in her poems are anything but subtle. “I’m pretty clear about my belief system and my values and the kind of politics that I support,” she told The Herald Wednesday. Still, Olson said her primar y goal is not to persuade others to agree with her, but rather “to represent the idea that there’s an alternative way to think.” Aida Manduley ’11, head chair of the Brown Queer Alliance and organizer of the event, said she discovered Olson at a poetr y festival in Washington, D.C., and has been in touch with her since April. Her visit to campus originally was planned for National Coming Out Week in October but had to be postponed because Olson was sick on the day she was scheduled to appear. Manduley said she hopes those who attended gained a sense of “empowerment in terms of coming out and asserting one’s identity, and being comfortable with that.” During “Unsteady Things,” a poem about relationships, several students got on stage and danced to Means’ music. “You’re so hot, Brown!” Olson

told them. The show also included pieces of a more somber nature, such as “Independence Meal,” a critique of American pride and of the exclusion of marginalized groups implicit within the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. Olson also performed “That the Protagonist is Always Male,” a litany of obser vations exposing sexism in language. “I’ve always been interested in the politics of language and linguistics,” Olson told The Herald. “Spoken word to me is a medium that directly and indirectly combats that sort of hegemonic structure.” “I never knew being an activist could be so fun,” she added. Olson first infiltrated the spoken word scene while performing at the Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe in New York City in 1998 after graduating from Wesleyan University. She was touring full time until last year, when she began pursuing a doctorate in political theor y at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Audience members said they were familiar with Olson’s work prior to her performance. “I’ve listened to a lot of her stuff. I just really enjoy it,” said Sandra Mastrangelo ’12. “I’ve been looking for ward to this all semester,” said Ashley Hartt GS, adding, “I wish that there were more men in the audience and just more students in general.” “I liked that she commented on a lot of international women’s issues,” said Anila Rehman GS. “She seems to be addressing women’s issues globally.” “She had really great rapport with the audience,” said Haley Kossek ’13.

Fifth symphony the charm for Mahler By Nicole Boucher Staf f Writer

“The symphony must be like the world. It must embrace ever ything,” composer Gustav Mahler once said. Mahler’s Fifth Symphony will be highlighted at this weekend’s Brown University Orchestra concert and is one of five fifth symphonies being played over the course of this orchestra season. “As I was putting the season together, I thought it was time to let the pendulum swing back to more traditional music this year,” said Paul Phillips, the conductor of Brown’s orchestra. “It does seem like a way to unify the season.” Ever y year, Phillips uses input from his orchestra students to choose a theme around which the concerts revolve. The decision to focus on fifth symphonies this year emphasizes the significance of the fifth symphony in a composer’s body of work.

“Before Beethoven came along, composers wrote plenty of symphonies,” Phillips said. Yet with Beethoven’s fifth, the model changed. Now, the fifth symphony “tells a story increasing in size and scope,” he said. This weekend, Mahler’s and Mozart’s fifth symphonies will be performed along with a complementar y piece, Max Bruch’s “Romance for Viola and Orchestra,” which will feature Andrew Nixon GS. Mozart’s piece, written when the composer was nine years old, will ser ve as a short, welcoming piece to the concert. Mahler’s symphonies “as pieces of music are pure genius,” said Associate Professor of Music David Josephson, who studies the European musical tradition. “As social documents, they are magnificent expressions of modernism at the turn of the centur y in central Europe.” He added that composers such as Mahler who wrote in the early

1900s had “uncanny insight into their time and understood that underneath material prosperity and calm, the ear th was rumbling.” This insight is clearly exhibited in Mahler’s Fifth, he said. Mahler’s Fifth is “draining,” Josephson said. “When you hear an orchestra play the piece, you hear an orchestra struggle and then triumph,” he said. “You’re made to jump through hoops of ever y emotion put together.” In contrast, Mozar t’s Fifth Symphony is much simpler. It’s “a charming little piece, but not the mature Mozart,” Josephson said. Phillips explained the choice of Mozart’s Fifth as a warm-up piece that maintained the focus on fifth symphonies. After all, he said, playing “four fifth symphonies over the course of the season didn’t seem right.” The orchestra performs this Friday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. in Sayles Hall.

Wednesday, december 4, 2008 | Page 5

Self-discovery, with a little help from Wagner By Monica Carvalho Contributing Writer

Running this weekend in Leeds Theater, Sock and Buskin’s “Doris to Darlene: A Cautionary Valentine,” by Jordan Harrison MFA ’03, tells the story of how three characters from three different time periods relate to music and, through this relationship, find love. The play begins with the three main characters — King Ludwig II, Doris and the Young Man — listening to music and dancing together. In a dynamic scene without dialogue, Ludwig plays music by Richard Wagner on a record player, only to be interrupted by Doris trying out new pop songs on the Young Man’s iPod, until the three come together in a choreographed dance to Mika’s “We Are Golden.” This opening scene dramatizes the process of giving in to music and overcoming inhibitions, a motif that runs through the rest of the play. Doris Unsworth is a 16-year old girl who lives with her grandmother and dreams of being a singer. She skips school one day to audition for big-shot music producer Vic Watts — and as it turns out, he likes her sound. Discontented with Doris’s name, however, Vic dubs her “Darlene Dupont” because, after all, “the public wants alliteration.” In addition to a new moniker, Vic gives Darlene a couple of cheesy number-one hits, a few golden records and a diamond ring that loses its luster all too soon. In her bubblegum-pink dress and shoes, Lauren Neal ’11 smiles and blushes to demonstrate Doris’s cutesy innocence as a 16-year-old. As Watts, Sean Patrick McGowan ’12 struts about the stage in aviators and leather boots, convincing as a music producer driven by the relentless pursuit of profit. In another of the play’s plot lines, King Ludwig II, also referred to as the “Mad King” of Bavaria, has an ear for Wagner’s operas and an eye for Wagner himself. The members of the court doubt their king’s sanity and ability to rule as Ludwig falls more in love with the opera composer. The two have a playful yet unstable relationship that “borders on immoderacy.” Unable to realize his fantasies, Ludwig at-

tempts to find solace in the arms of another, and Wagner loses his musical inspiration. As Wagner and Ludwig, Gordon Sayre ’12 and Elizabeth Rothman ’11 make for complementary opposites. Sayre speaks with the loud, booming voice that communicates the self-possession of a famous composer, while the femininity Rothman brings to this pants role highlights Ludwig’s boyishness and naivete. Threaded through all of this is the story of the Young Man (a brilliantly endearing Ben Freeman ’13), a confused and socially awkward high school student who listens to Darlene’s 1960’s hits, contemporary pop songs and Wagner’s famous “Liebestod,” having studied the aria in school. Initially alarmed by the new music appreciation teacher, a stern older man with glasses and argyle socks, the Young Man finds that Mr. Campani (Mark Brown II ’09.5, appropriately arrogant and stuffy) is just like him — flamboyant, a music lover, queer. Although he has a difficult time accepting himself in the harsh and judgmental world of high school (“I don’t like myself here”), the Young Man takes comfort in the stories of Doris and Ludwig and uses their experiences to come to terms with himself and his sexuality. In a clever production of Harrison’s play, director Chris Tyler ’10 and his cast of six successfully convey the thoughts and feelings of their characters. With a script that stays very much within the minds of the characters — each person referring to himself in the third person, for example — the actors externalize the emotions behind the words through stylized bodily movement and facial expressions that imbue the lines with a dynamism they might otherwise lack. As Tyler writes in his director’s note, the play crosses space and time and blurs the line between reality and fantasy to “unite the three elemental couples” and “examine the paradoxical nature of romantic experience.” The stories all suggest that the process of falling in and quickly out of love is shared across different eras, as transcendent as music. “Doris to Darlene” runs tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in Leeds Theater.


Editorial & Letters The Brown Daily Herald

Page 6 | Friday, December 4, 2009

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

Flu misconceptions must be corrected To the Editor: As a teacher of immunology and vaccine science at Brown, I am quite pleased to read of the popularity of the H1N1 vaccine among undergraduates (“Students go hog-wild over vaccine,” Dec. 3). I am compelled, however, to address certain quotes in the article as they echo common misconceptions about influenza and the vaccine. “They just came out with this vaccine and I don’t think it’s very well understood.” While it is true that this strain of influenza is new, the vaccine itself is produced in exactly the same way that seasonal influenza vaccines have been produced for many years. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons for the current shortages of the H1N1 vaccine, since the vaccine manufacturing infrastructure takes many months to ramp up to full production and we got a late start with this strain of the virus. The swine flu is “a lot like other flus, so I’m not worried about it.” Most people don’t realize how serious seasonal influenza is. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that in a “typical” year there are at least 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths related to influenza infections in the United States, mostly among the elderly. What is

different about the 2009 H1N1 strain is that it is hitting younger populations harder than usual, and Brown undergraduates are squarely in the age range that has seen an elevated level of infections, hospitalizations and deaths. “It would be inconvenient to get sick, but I’m sure I could manage.” You might feel differently if you got sick the night before a final exam. And even if you can manage, think about the people you could pass the infection to who might have a harder time with the virus. Like a friend with asthma or some other chronic disease. Or an elderly relative when you go home for winter break. And don’t forget about your professors! “I’ve never gotten the flu in the past.” Then you are extremely fortunate. But by the same logic, would you not put on your seat belt because you’ve never been in a serious car accident? Or not look both ways when you cross the street since you’ve never been run over by a bus? In short, influenza vaccines are safe, effective and they save lives. Protect yourself and the people you care about — please get vaccinated. Richard Bungiro PhD ’99 Lecturer in Biology Dec. 3

t h e b r o w n d a i ly h e r a l d Editor-in-Chief Steve DeLucia

Managing Editors Michael Bechek Chaz Firestone

Deputy Managing Editors Nandini Jayakrishna Franklin Kanin Michael Skocpol

editorial Arts & Culture Editor Ben Hyman Features Editor Sophia Li Metro Editor George Miller Metro Editor Joanna Wohlmuth News Editor Seth Motel News Editor Jenna Stark Sports Editor Andrew Braca Asst. Sports Editor Han Cui Asst. Sports Editor Alex Mazerov Asst. Sports Editor Katie Wood Graphics & Photos Chris Jesu Lee Graphics Editor Stephen Lichenstein Graphics Editor Photo Editor Kim Perley Max Monn Asst. Photo Editor Jesse Morgan Sports Photo Editor production Ayelet Brinn Copy Desk Chief Rachel Isaacs Copy Desk Chief Marlee Bruning Design Editor Jessica Calihan Design Editor Asst. Design Editor Anna Migliaccio Asst. Design Editor Julien Ouellet Neal Poole Web Editor Post- magazine Arthur Matuszewski Editor-in-Chief Kelly McKowen Editor-in-Chief

Senior Editors Rachel Arndt Isabel Gottlieb Scott Lowenstein

Business General Managers Office Manager Shawn Reilly Alexander Hughes Jonathan Spector Directors Sales Ellen DaSilva Sales Claire Kiely Finance Katie Koh Asst. Finance Jilyn Chao Alumni Relations Christiana Stephenson Managers Local Sales Kelly Wess National Sales Kathy Bui University Sales Alex Carrere Credit and Collections Matt Burrows Opinions Alyssa Ratledge Sarah Rosenthal

Opinions Editor Opinions Editor

Editorial Page Board James Shapiro Editorial Page Editor Matt Aks Board member Nick Bakshi Board member Zack Beauchamp Board member Debbie Lehmann Board member William Martin Board member

Anna Migliaccio, Jessica Calihan, Katie Wilson, Gili Kliger, Designers Nicole Boucher, Joe Milner, Carmen Shulman, Copy Editors Dan Alexander, Nicole Friedman, Ben Hyman, Hannah Moser, Seth Motel, Night Editors Senior Staff Writers Dan Alexander, Mitra Anoushiravani, Ellen Cushing, Sydney Ember, Nicole Friedman, Brigitta Greene, Sarah Husk, Brian Mastroianni, Hannah Moser, Ben Schreckinger, Anne Simons, Anne Speyer, Alex Ulmer, Suzannah Weiss, Kyla Wilkes Staff Writers Shara Azad, Emma Berry, Alicia Chen, Zunaira Choudhary, Alicia Dang, Juliana Friend, Anish Gonchigar, Sarah Julian, Matt Klebanoff, Etienne Ma, Christian Martell, Heeyoung Min, Jyotsna Mullur, Lauren Pischel, Kevin Pratt, Leslie Primack, Luisa Robledo, Dana Teppert, Gaurie Tilak, Caitlin Trujillo, Monique Vernon, Senior Business Associates Max Barrows, Jackie Goldman, Margaret Watson, Ben Xiong Business Associates Stassia Chyzhykova, Marco deLeon, Katherine Galvin, Bonnie Kim, Cathy Li, Allen McGonagill, Liana Nisimova, Thanases Plestis, Corey Schwartz, William Schweitzer, Kenneth So, Evan Sumortin, Haydar Taygun, Webber Xu, Lyndse Yess Design Staff Rebecca Ballhaus, Caleigh Forbes, Gili Kliger, Jessica Kirschner, Leor ShtullLeber, Nicholas Sinnott-Armstrong, Kate Wilson Photo Staff Qidong Chen, Janine Cheng, Alex DePaoli, Frederic Lu, Quinn Savit Copy Editors Jenny Bloom, Brendan Burke, Sara Chimene-Weiss, Miranda Forman, Sarah Forman, Casey Gaham, Anna Jouravleva, Geoffrey Kyi, Jordan Mainzer, Joe Milner, Claire Peracchio, Lindor Qunaj, Madeleine Rosenberg, William Tomasko

P aul tran and richard stein

e d i to r i a l

Rites of passage

Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School is on track to implement a new standard that will bolster its rising status. After careful consultation with the Medical Curriculum Committee, which includes medical students and undergraduates in the Program in Liberal Medical Education, the school’s officials have advanced a proposal to require Alpert’s students to pass Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination before graduating. They are already mandated to take Step 1 and Step 2, though not to pass them; the final step follows during their first year as residents. The first component of the USMLE tests students’ application of scientific concepts, and scoring well is essential to securing sought-after residencies. Official approval is expected early next semester, and Alpert’s graduating class of 2014 will be the first to be officially mandated to pass. The new requirement is primarily a symbol of the progress that the University’s young and burgeoning medical school has made. Re-established in 1975 after a hiatus of more than a century, in years past the school has suffered from lagging rates of Step 1 passage among graduates. The new requirement demonstrates confidence in the diligence and intellect of Brown’s future doctors, and will serve to further motivate those few who might otherwise fall behind. It also signals to potential staff and students that Alpert is a serious institution that is gaining ground on its more established peers. The initiative is doubly welcome in the wake of a misguided attempt last month to strip PLME undergraduates of their currently guaranteed spot at Alpert if they apply to other medical schools as well. This would have started with the class of 2011, thus constituting a violation of trust and a deeply unfor-

tunate precedent for future University decisions. After widespread student outcry, the administration scaled back this policy, and now PLME students who apply out only risk deferral from Alpert rather than outright rejection. Superficially, the new standard resembles the misguided proposal for the PLME admission option, because it may become official policy after some medical students have made their decision to attend. Certainly, some of the administration’s perpetual detractors will grumble that the new standard is unfair. But virtually all graduates pass Step 1 already, and those who are heading into a PhD. program rather than aiming to get their license are eligible for a waiver of the requirement. And any hypothetical underachievers whose plans would be seriously disrupted by the change might want to reconsider their career path — no matter how leisurely they dawdle through the licensing process, they will be facing plenty of shifts that will make Step 1 look like a cakewalk. The new mandate is a sound decision arrived at through diligent deliberation and close consultation with those who are in the best position to understand its impact: students. Its implementation will serve as a reminder not only of the Medical School’s progress, but of the generally — though far from exclusively — high quality of University decisions. Seeking out opportunities to work with administrators tends to be much more constructive than simply waiting to pounce on their missteps. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to editorials@browndailyherald.com.

correction Due to a reporting error, an article in Tuesday’s Herald, (“Med School mulls new requirement,” Dec. 1) incorrectly stated that Associate Dean of Medicine Philip Gruppuso told The Herald that federal guidelines require students to pass the USMLE Step 1 exam. In fact, Alpert Medical School students must only take the Step 1 exam. The article also erroneously stated that Gruppuso told The Herald that students are not required to take the Step 2 exam. Students are in fact required to take the Step 2 exam. 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 letters@browndailyherald.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

Friday, December 4, 2009 | Page 7

Sticky fingers

BY MIKE JOHNSON Opinions Columnist If you’re like me, you look forward to the crime updates that the Department of Public Safety sends us. Perhaps it’s a healthy dose of schadenfreude, but the Campus Safety reports are much more interesting to read than Morning Mail messages, as they practically embody an e-mail version of “Cops,” minus the trailer park drama. But something that’s been making a recurring appearance in these crime reports is fairly disturbing. No, not rogue roller-blade gangs that knock over innocent pedestrians, but rather laptop theft. Now, my laptop has my life on it. In the cyber age, we need laptops to send and receive e-mails, write papers and, obviously, Facebook-stalk anyone and everyone we’ve ever met. By no means am I unsympathetic to victims of laptop theft — those little boxes of circuits cost much more than they probably should. But the reason a theft victim feels distraught about his or her loss is the exact reason a thief’s grubby little fingers sweat at the thought of nabbing a laptop: They’re worth a lot of money. I think it’s safe to assume that no Brown student would leave $2,000 lying on a table in the Ratty while wandering around the Roots

and Shoots line spelunking for pumpkin ravioli. So why, then, do backpacks lie unattended in chairs, waiting to be plucked by the sticky fingers of a vagrant? If the goal is to reserve a table (which is exceedingly necessary on pumpkin ravioli night — those things are delicious) then a jacket suffices, or perhaps a friend can watch the group’s belongings until one of them returns. According to the campus safety e-mail up-

things stolen, lock your door. Unfortunately, the time of “The Scarlet Letter” has passed, and thieves don’t walk around prominently displaying a giant “T” on their chests. As a result, the materialistic Brown student who affords certain sentimentality to his or her belongings is forced to suspect everyone. Who knows what will happen while we carry our laundry down the four flights of stairs, outside, and then back inside to the laundry room, as

Unfortunately, the time of ‘The Scarlet Letter’ has passed, and thieves don’t walk around prominently displaying a giant ‘T’ on their chests. dates, 25 laptops have been stolen in October and November alone. Twenty-five. Yet only three of the seven in November were victims of ill-advised seat saving in dining halls. In October, 12 of the 18 purloined laptops were pilfered from residence halls. This is especially perplexing, because everyone’s room comes with a door with a lock on it, standard, for no additional fee. It’s a fairly simple causal relationship, and yet it’s one the students of Brown seem not to have grasped — if you don’t want your

some New Pembrokers are forced to do? I know of some students who are so prudent as to lock their doors when they leave to go use the bathroom. This is perhaps a little overzealous, but, on the bright side, they still possess their laptops. However, I know others who still don’t lock their doors when they go to sleep. This is very, very bad. Not only does it allow prank-playing neighbors to sneak into their rooms to move the furniture around, it also allows malicious burglars to steal whatever shiny things they come across.

It is important not to blame the victim in all cases. If people weren’t sinking to the low level of selling others’ belongings to make a quick buck, this wouldn’t be an issue. But unfortunately, there are those who are cowardly enough to steal and graft, and it is a fact of life. It may never be known what possesses a person to stumble across a door that is closed and test it to see if it’s locked. Still more perplexing is what possesses that same person to then open the door, chancing that the tenant of the room is still inside. Does the thief have a line such as, “Oops, this isn’t the lounge!” prepared for that contingency? But whatever twisted logic a thief uses to drive his detestable actions, it is possible to deter him with simple steps. Travel in packs — vigilant, aware packs that don’t leave laptops lying around the Ratty and V-Dub. Invest in an alarm system for your computer (many of which are free, especially if you have a MacBook) or a Lo-Jack device. Definitely register your devices with DPS. These steps could prove invaluable in recovering your belongings should they be stolen. But most of all, fellow Brunonians, lock your doors, and don’t leave your stuff lying about, unless you aren’t incredibly attached to it.

Mike Johnson ’11 isn’t bitter at all about the laundry situation in New Pembroke.

Is ‘good and getting better’ enough? BY KATE FRITZSCHE Opinions Columnist Yesterday, Psychological Services announced its plans to hire a new psychotherapist in order to expand resources available to students. This move will increase the number of free visits students are allowed each year from five to seven, and it should also reduce the waiting time before students are able to have their first appointments at Psych Services. Mental health services available through Psych Services are hugely beneficial to the student body, but there are many improvements that could make the process easier and less stressful. Some of these improvements will come with the hiring of a new psychotherapist, but there are certainly issues that this change won’t address. Students don’t usually go to Psych Services until things are pretty bad, because we don’t want to admit that we’re having a tough time with any sort of mental issue. The temptation to try to keep up appearances is strong; no one wants to admit to emotional instability, even though more people are struggling with psychological problems than you might realize. For one thing, getting an appointment at Psych Services can often take more than a week if it’s not an emergency. Unfortunately, most of us let the situation get pretty desperate before we make the call for help, even if we don’t get to the point of a technical emergency. Trying to get help should be a positive step forward, not a difficult one. The hiring of a

new therapist should reduce this waiting time, which would do a great service to students in need of urgent, but non-emergency, psychological assistance. Once they get an appointment, undergraduates are limited to five free visits per year at Psych Services. While for many students, this may be sufficient to help them over whatever struggles they were coping with, for most in need of assistance, five visits is not enough. And so, the counselors at Psych Services often try to refer students to outside providers early on in their treatment if they can tell that five visits won’t cut it. Again, this is an area where

cases, when we need to see a specialist for a specific type of psychological treatment, we are referred off-campus. But when an in-house counselor can be of help, the process of getting an appointment with that provider should be a lot easier than it is. I’ve heard from friends who saw a generalist for as many as three appointments before they were able to see the specialist they really needed, even when the diagnosis was clear. Once we are able to see the specialists, they are extremely helpful, but if we could get appointments with them more quickly, the psychological healing process could begin a lot sooner.

The process of referrals for psychological care, most significantly, can be a huge headache for students who are already feeling overwhelmed.

the new psychotherapist will be hugely helpful to students. Having seven free visits instead of five is a significant difference and may allow some students to complete the treatment they need on campus without ever having to deal with the referral process. Psych Services has many different types of psychotherapists on its staff, and some students are initially placed with a therapist who can’t provide what the student really needs for his or her particular issue. In many

The process of referrals, most significantly, can be a huge headache for students who are already feeling overwhelmed. I have spoken with several students who have been asked to call their health insurance companies and ask them for names of providers near campus who would be covered by their policies. This is standard practice at Psych Services for students who have insurance outside of Brown’s Student Health Insurance Plan. While this may not seem unreasonable, some students

may not want their parents to know they are receiving psychological help, so using their parents’ insurance creates a whole other host of problems. And even without that obstacle, just making a phone call about mental health issues can be stressful or embarrassing. Once a student finds an outside provider who will be covered by his or her insurance, Psych Services can provide the formal referral. However, for many distressed students, starting to open up with one counselor is already difficult. Being told they need to switch to another psychologist and start all over again can be even worse for the students most in need of psychological help. While Psych Services tries to refer these students quickly to someone who will be able to provide ongoing treatment, it would certainly be easiest if they were able to simply continue seeing the same provider at Psych Services for the duration of their treatment. Ultimately, Psychological Services is there for students when they need it, and its services are covered in our regular bills for the semester, so it has no marginal cost to us. But the administration of the process could be a lot more student-friendly, and students deserve to have it be easy to receive help when they ask for it. Taking the first step can be hard enough, so when we say we need help, we really need it to be there.

Kate Fritzsche ’10 is an applied math-economics concentrator from Kennebunk, Maine. She can be reached at katherine_fritzsche@brown.edu.

Got something to say? Leave a comment online! Visit www.browndailyherald.com to comment on opinion and editorial content.


Today The Brown Daily Herald

5

Fifth symphonies times five

Lock your doors already!

7

to day

to m o r r o w

53 / 31

45 / 29

Friday, December 4, 2009

a w e s o m e b lo s s o m

Page 8

diamonds A diamond to the fact that early decision applications to Brown were up 21 percent in a year of economic turmoil. Dean of Admissions James Miller ’73 adorably chalks this up to the fact that Brown is a “good value,” but we have to credit the rising profile of Brown’s up-and-coming Watson Institute for International Studies. Google hits for “Watson + Brown” have been through the roof this year. A diamond to the swine flu. Sure, it’s a deadly pandemic that has taken thousands of lives, but here on College Hill it was a nice change of pace from the capitalist pigs that usually haunt Brown students. A diamond to Brown’s third-place 2009 football team. We’ll always take bronze over brains. A diamond to the city of Providence, which banned indoor prostitution, threatened to cancel all Brown parties and tried to tax students $150 per semester. Despite all of that grumbling, you did legalize marijuana compassion centers, and if Brown wasn’t the city’s largest dispensary, we might not be so gosh-darn happy.

5 c a l e n da r Today, december 4

saturday, december 5

8 pm — “Doris to Darlene,” Leeds Theatre

7 PM — Men’s Ice Hockey vs. Quinnipiac, Meehan Auditorium

11 pm — Chattertocks and Yale Duke’s Men Concert, MacMillan 117

10 pm — Brown Concert Agency Presents Speakeasy Sessions Vol. II, Grad Center Lounge

menu Sharpe Refectory Lunch — BBQ Beef Sandwich, Bulgur Stuffed Pepper, Cajun Potatoes Dinner — Pasta and Seafood Medley, Toasted Ravioli with Sauce, Garlic and Butter Infused Rice

Verney-Woolley Dining Hall

A diamond to some of the semester’s big speakers: Pervez Musharraf, Patrick Kennedy and ... OK, the second one wasn’t really a big speaker. And coal to the first one. Speaking of which, a diamond to our favorite lecture hall. Our staffers have fond memories of the many compelling lectures we’ve covered in a “half-full Salomon 101” — the only room on campus that’s never half-empty. A diamond to President Obama, whose inauguration fell on the same day as our first Herald issue of the year. Since then, you may have won a Nobel prize, saved the economy and appeared in a really cool slow-motion football advertisement — but at least we have an exit strategy. Lastly, a diamond to you, dear reader — it’s been real. Everyone gets a diamond this week, but you don’t need to take yours with a grain of salt. Thanks for putting up with 12 months of bad puns — you’ve been very gourd sports. Sincerely, The 119th editorial board

Lunch — Chicken Fingers!!! Dinner — Shepherd’s Pie, Red Potato Frittata, Asparagus Cuts with Lemon

comics Dot Comic | Eshan Mitra and Brendan Hainline

crossword

Cabernet Voltaire | Abe Pressman

Fruitopia| Andy Kim

Hippomaniac | Mat Becker

Friday, December 4, 2009  

The December 4, 2009 issue of the Brown Daily Herald

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