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vol. cxlv, no. 8 | Friday, February 5, 2010 | Serving the community daily since 1891
Science center debuts today
Starting Friday, the Gate will be closed “indefinitely,” Retail Supervisor Tony Antetomaso confirmed late Thursday evening. “We’re not sure when it’s going to open,” Antetomaso
By Goda Thangada Senior Staff Writer
After months of construction at the Sciences Library, the third-floor science center will open Friday at 9 a.m. While finishing touches like the installation of smartboards remain, students can begin holding group study sessions and taking advantage of advising in the space. The 4,000 square-foot facility, which will have a grand opening in March, features study space conference rooms and a laboratory dedicated to developing outreach projects. “The science center is unique in that it treats science education as one entity,” said David Targan ’78, associate dean of the College for science education. The center will equally serve faculty and students, whether they are science concentrators or not, Targan said. “We’re trying to encourage all students to take advantage,” Targan said. Non-science students can consult with faculty about appropriate science courses or can learn about outreach opportunities, he said. The outreach program did not have a home before the science center was proposed. Outreach programs managed by Adjunct Assistant Professor of Neuroscience Jennifer Aizenman and Assistant Professor of Engineering Karen Haberstroh will now be housed
Matt Dunne ’92 is in the midst of a five-person race for the Democratic nomination for governor of Vermont. Dunne concentrated in public policy and American institutions at Brown, has served in the Vermont state senate and currently works for Google. He lives in Vermont with his wife and children. The Herald had the chance to ask him about his memories from Brown, his campaign and his plans for the future.
The Herald: You graduated from Brown in 1992 with a degree in public policy. Did this influence your decision to go into politics? Dunne: I already was interested in politics when I arrived at Brown and, in fact, one of the reasons I chose Brown was that I visited the Taubman Center
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said. A leaking steam pipe is the cause of the closing, said Gate Unit Manager Kara Segal ’10. — Alicia Chen
Music star Kulash ’98 is more than ‘OK’ BY Suzannah Weiss Arts & Culture Editor
Nick Sinnott-Armstrong / Herald
The new Science Center on the third floor of the SciLi will welcome both concentrators and non-concentrators.
at the center, Aizenman told The Herald. Outreach is relevant to the majority of faculty members at Brown, Targan said. “Many faculty are interested in or required to do outreach,” Targan said. Though an outreach component is required by a grant from the National Science Foundation, Targan said that Brown outreach would have happened without the mandate. “Most were going to do it anyway,” he said.
Taubman Center shaped alum’s road to state office By Sarah Julian Staff Writer
Gate closed indefinitely
(for Public Policy) when I visited campus. It was clearly a place that was focused on innovation in policy and the real world. That was exciting and I ended up spending much of my time at Brown when I wasn’t in the theater at the Taubman Center. What I tell people about my experience at Brown is that it’s a place that teaches you to have no fear, so when I graduated, a couple people encouraged me to run for office the same year that I graduated and, with the inspiration that Brown gives students, I jumped into the race and it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that I won. How were you involved in theater? I spent most of my class time in the public policy program and the rest of my time doing theater. I was actively involved with thecontinued on page 2
Aizenman works with Project ARISE, a program for local high school biology teachers. She also runs a mobile lab program that takes lab-based lesson plans to nearby schools. Haberstroh works with Physical Processes in Environment, a program for teachers at all grade levels. Information about alternative outreach programs will also be available at the center. “The science continued on page 2
Damian Kulash ’98, lead singer, guitarist and lyricist of the rock band OK Go, is “a little manic” right now, he told The Herald on Wednesday — and justifiably so. After releasing its third album, “Of the Blue Colour of the Sky,” the band was touring Europe until last week, and is now filming four music videos — one in “a giant wareARTS & house space” in Los Angeles — while preparing for an upcoming tour through Australia, China and Japan, Kulash said. Highlights from the European tour included being approached by Iranian filmmakers on the street in Amsterdam with “very particular nerdy film questions” about OK Go’s videos and witnessing bassist Tim Nordwind creating a song and music video entirely on his iPhone, Kulash said.
OK Go also was featured on the soundtrack to “New Moon,” the second movie of the Twilight saga. “Any musician in the world would have given an arm to get on that soundtrack,” he said. Despite his band’s success, which includes a 2006 Grammy for the video for “Here It Goes Again,” Kulash said his years at Brown were “probably the best four years of my life.” Kulash said the people he met at college are still some of his closCULTURE est friends, even though they are “spread across the globe now.” He even met his wife at Brown, where they took a course together in the Department of Modern Culture and Media. “I didn’t go (to Brown) to get a job,” he said. “I went there to meet amazing people and generally enrich myself and grow up.” Brown students are fortunate “to continued on page 5
Smiley: MLK ‘died for more than just this’ By Anne Simons Staff Writer
In the 13th Martin Luther King Jr. lecture, television and radio personality Tavis Smiley urged a mostly full Salomon 101 to push harder for the civil rights changes that King advocated. Smiley, who hosts a talk show on PBS, opened his lecture by calling King “the greatest American we have ever produced.” King’s legacy is important, he said, because “the only weapon that Martin ever used was love.” King worked hard during his life to promote the values of love and speak honestly about problems, which cost him his popularity and his life, Smiley added. He acknowledged that his own position as a talk show host and the presence of an African-American as president of an Ivy League university — a reference to President Ruth Simmons — represent progress for civil rights. But, he added, “Martin died for more than just this.” Though Smiley agreed that Presi-
Nick Sinnott-Armstrong / Herald In Salomon 101, talk show host Tavis Smiley chided President Barack Obama for justifying the troop surge in Afghanistan with a reference to Martin Luther King Jr.
dent Barack Obama’s election was a testament to racial progress since King’s era, Smiley criticized Obama for ignoring the problems of everyday people. While the election of Obama signals that the country is less racist than it was, the idea that
it is now post-racial is “nonsense,” he said. He said he thought Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, which began with a reference to continued on page 3
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subText Will textbooks be the latest medium to fall to the digital age?
shakespeare opens “Twelfth Night” brings l a u g h t e r t o Tr i n i t y Repertory
facing the pro-po Simon Liebling ‘12 offers insight on an alleged case of police brutality
talk of the brown Students weigh in on the V-Dub’s new breakfast hours
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“Students should take our classes because they really want to.” — Professor of Geological Sciences Jan Tullis
Dunne ’92 on his Brown experience and his gubernatorial campaign continued from page 1 ater as well as with the programs in playwriting. Friends used to joke that I was the only person who actually used my degree after college to pursue a career. The art of communication is nearly as important as an understanding of policy in order to be an effective elected official. Did you have any memorable classes or professors? Certainly. Professor Cheit (Ross Cheit, associate professor of political science) was a strong influence on me, both in ethics class, as well as an adviser on my senior thesis. Professor Zuckerman (Alan Zuckerman, former professor of political science) was an extraordinary teacher on political theory. I also thoroughly enjoyed my classes with Tori Haring-Smith (former professor of theater), Paula Vogel (former professor of literary arts) and Lowry Marshall (professor of theater, speech and dance). How are you feeling about your current campaign for governor? It’s a very exciting time to be
running for office. The momentum is fantastic. Over 100 people signed up to volunteer for the campaign. We are reaching out to Vermonters across the state to get involved. I think my experiences helping build a Vermont-based software company, my current work at Google, as well as my experience transforming a large federal program (AmeriCorps VISTA) prepare me well to bring Vermont into a new era. Who do you believe is your biggest competition of the other Democratic contenders? Right now you’ve got five people who are running who all have a base of support and I don’t think there’s anyone who is seen as a frontrunner. I’ve not been in the legislature or elected office in the last five years. We don’t think that will be a problem given current sentiment towards elected government. It actually may be an asset and I was quickly moved into the ranks of those who may win the primary and the general election. If you are elected governor, what is the first thing you would
like to accomplish? The first thing we need to do is make sure Vermont (is) a place where we can build entrepreneurbased jobs. When Vermont has been successful in the past has been when we are an innovationbased state, and unfortunately, we are not there today. My first order of business would be to bring high-speed fiber optic broadband to the state. The software company I was a part of was started in a barn. Google was started in a garage. If you don’t have broadband in a barn and garage, you won’t have entrepreneurs. We need direct investment in institutions of higher education to bring ideas from classes into the marketplace. Third is we have to create access to early-stage capital. Do you find that your job at Google acts as a complement to your role as a state senator? It has certainly given me exposure to the cutting-edge innovation that can allow us to transform the way that we do government, as well as transform the way that we think about job creation. Do you aspire to continue in
politics, maybe one day on a national level? Oh, for right now I am focused on becoming the governor of the state that I love and hopefully moving it to a better place. I live today in the farmhouse that I grew up in, and I’m raising my family there, and my only calling now is to leave my state better than I inherited it. Do you have any advice for Brown students hoping to go into politics? Have no fear. If you are interested in politics, you will always be forgiven if you run at a young age, passionate about making change happen and with a willingness to work hard on behalf of people you represent. Even if a young person doesn’t win, the experience you gain from that campaign process will serve anyone well for the rest of their career. The only other piece is that I’ve spent my career empowering young people in the political process, and that resulted from being empowered by my home community. The other was the real-world approach that the public policy program at Brown brought to classes
Courtesy of University Archives
Vermont candidate for governor Matt Dunne ’92
and academic learning. I actually was inspired by the work of the Taubman Center and the encouragement to bring one’s academic interests into the real world. That led me to actually create two political research shops, one at the University of Vermont and the other at Dartmouth to provide objective research to legislatures. The ability to make a difference and to learn from that engagement is significant. So that’s another piece of Brown that I brought with me to my work in Vermont.
New science center includes outreach lab, group study space continued from page 1 center is intended to pull together all the different outreach activities, coordinate the efforts, and align the programs,” Aizenman said. Targan said high school teachers could use the outreach lab to
actually do science and “advance professional development.” The 46 participating teachers have already used the lab to isolate DNA and will use bioinformatics to analyze it this weekend. “The science center serves as a resource for us to make our outreach
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more visible,” Aizenman said. Though group study space has existed in J. Walter Wilson, Targan said the science center is the third location for the Advising Central concept. Professor of Geological Sciences Jan Tullis, a member of the Science Center Advisory Board, said she hopes students will be motivated to explore the sciences. “I’m a total believer that we shouldn’t have a science distribution requirement,” she said. “Students should take our classes because they really want to.” Tullis said that the center is a part of an overall effort to improve the quality of advising and make science “collaborative, friendly, encouraging.” Five professors will hold office hours at the Center, Tullis said. The project could be repeated on the fourth floor of the SciLi, as the growing use of electronic resources causes more shelf space to open up, but “not any time soon,” Targan said. “We’ll play it by ear and see what the demand is,” he said. The bulk of the “several million” dollar cost of the science center went towards a heating system that can serve the remaining floors of the library, Targan said. Targan said the center’s flat-
Nick Sinnott-Armstrong / Herald
The Sciences Library’s new science center features flat-screen televisions and smartboards.
screen televisions and smartboards are part of an initiative to bring new technologies to science education. Touch-screen controls for the screens are “unbelievably easy,” but the smartboards may require a learning curve, Targan said. The science center is also the pilot space for a new online reservation system that allows students to see
who is occupying available rooms at an given time. For now, reservations must be made manually. “Our idea is to make it immediately responsive and maximize the usage of the space,” Targan said. Targan said he’s sure the space will prove popular. “I can already see the need for more space,” Aizenman said.
Friday, February 5, 2010
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Study: Copayments impede senior health care By Zung Nguyen Vu Contributing Writer
Recent increases in insurance copayment levels have encouraged senior citizens to delay getting outpatient care and treatment until their conditions become acute, according to research by two Brown professors and a former graduate student. Assistant Professor of Community Health Amal Trivedi, who led the study, said insurance copayments have increased substantially in recent years. He attributes the change to a decrease in insurance companies’ coverage, which makes patients pay more out-of-pocket expenses in order to dissuade them from unnecessary treatment. Several past studies have supported this reasoning regarding the general population, Trivedi said. But senior citizens require special medical attention, as their health is generally in worse condition and can degrade rapidly. They often live on fixed incomes, though, so they do not have much disposable income, he said. According to the group’s research, if subjected to higher copayments, elder patients are likely to avoid treatment until their condition becomes acute — which often requires them to spend extra money on hospitalization and treatment
for more serious illnesses that develop. “Increasing copay is a counterproductive cost-containment strategy,” Trivedi said. “When it comes to treating elders, increasing copayment leads to an overall increase in cost and a reduction in health outcome. It is a lose-lose situation.” The researchers compared changes over the course of two years in patient use of health services with 18 insurance plans that increased copayment levels and 18 other plans that held their copayments fixed. Trivedi worked on the study with Husein Moloo MPH’08 and Vincent Mor, professor of medical science and chair of the Department of Community Health. Mor said the research group is in the process of reaching out to various insurance companies to push for a change in the private market. “Though further categorization of which patients and which services to restrict copayments on will make health insurances that much more complicated,” Mor said, “this will be beneficial for both the companies and the patients.” The article, titled “Increased Ambulatory Care Copayments and Hospitalizations among the Elderly,” was published in the Jan. 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
“I want Barack Obama to be a great president.” — Tavis Smiley, television and radio personality
Obama a ‘down payment’ on King’s dream continued from page 1
King and continued on with a justification of some wars, diminished King’s legacy, adding that this was a “dangerous, dangerous thing to do” on the world stage. The Obama administration’s decisions to increase the troop presence in Afghanistan and to spend billions of dollars supporting banks also drew fire from Smiley. In a joke that drew many laughs from the audience, Smiley said Obama’s campaign song, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” was addressed to Wall Street because the financial sector was getting all the money. Smiley did qualify his criticism of the president by saying that he “couldn’t have been happier” when Obama was elected and that he will remember the moment for the rest of his life. But people have to hold Obama accountable and “have the courage to correct him when he’s
wrong,” he said. “I want Barack Obama to be a great president,” Smiley said. “I believe he can be a great president, but great presidents are not born — they have to be made.” Presidents who have advanced civil rights, such as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and L yndon Johnson, have needed someone to push them to do so, he said. African-Americans, and everyone else, must push Obama more, he said. It would be “tragic” for Obama to be a one-term president, he added. “Too many people have worked too hard for this to be a failed presidency,” Smiley said. Smiley said he wants to show people that Obama is not the fulfillment of King’s dream. He’s “a wonderful down payment on the dream,” he said. He called out politicians and leaders for being more concerned with power than truth.
“We don’t like to wrestle with the fact that every empire in history has at some point fallen,” Smiley said. He added that the U.S. could face that fate if it does not address the problems of extreme poverty and increasing militarism. Some in the audience greatly appreciated Smiley’s remarks. Mariam Amin ’11.5 said the “incredibly honest” talk from Smiley made her take a closer look at herself and praised his constructive criticism. She said the talk was “totally relevant … to Americans as a whole.” Malika Ali ’09, a college guide at the Swearer Center for Public Service, called the lecture “incredibly brilliant” and Smiley “courageous.” Jason Becker ’09 GS called the lecture “powerful,” adding that it “pointed toward the disconnect between the way that people participate in our society and the way you create action.”
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Kindle not yet igniting campus
By Emily Rosen Staf f Writer
Over the last couple of decades, cassette tapes and records have largely been replaced by CDs, downloadable music and iPods. With the invention of electronic reading devices, it appears that printed books may be the next victim of the power of technology. In recent years, a variety of electronic reading devices, including the Kindle launched by Amazon. com in 2007, have entered the market. Hundreds of thousands of books, newspapers, magazines and blogs are now available for download on these devices. Many texts read in courses at Brown are not only available online, but are also compatible with the Kindle and other similar devices. But few students today are pulling out these gadgets around campus, in class or at the library. “The electronic book in the textbook industry is lagging,” said Steven Souza, director of the Brown Bookstore. “The technology has to move forward before it becomes of serious interest to students.” Souza added that some universities, including Princeton, have tested the use of digital textbooks on campus, but students have gen-
erally not found them useful. A digital reader “isn’t student friendly,” Souza said, adding that he does not see a huge demand for digital textbooks at Brown. At this point, Souza said, the next step would be book rentals, rather than digital editions of books. “I’ve tried using the Amazon Kindle for schoolwork, but I found it’s a little difficult to use,” said Robin Davis ’10. “When you’re writing papers or looking for sections, you usually flip back and forth through the pages, but for reading novels and reading for fun, I think it’s pretty great,” she said. Brian Kelly ’12, an English concentrator, said he only bought paper copies of books. “I like having books, and I like to save them on my shelf,” he said. Professor of Italian Studies Massimo Riva, who studies digital humanities and contemporary narrative forms, said he predicts that digital texts will eventually become more popular and widespread among students. “Over the next few years, we will see a change in landscaping,” Riva said. “The way we use the librar y may change and transform itself.” While he said printed books will likely not become obsolete, Riva
said he pictures students “working and studying in a hybrid environment” as professors make more extensive use of digital textbooks and libraries adopt them. At the same time, though, Riva noted that “this (transition) is something that is slow in happening.” He said he thinks no radical change will take place immediately, but he mentioned that the introduction of Apple’s new iPad could potentially influence the popularity of portable reading devices. In addition, Riva said he feels the younger generations would generally be most receptive to digital texts and that this form of reading would be able to become natural for them. Riva admits that there is a “less intimate engagement with the text” when reading it on an electronic device, but he also recognizes that electronic book readers “facilitate access to texts” and have some additional features when compared to print versions. As digital texts continue to grow, Riva said, it becomes more important to transfer a variety of works, including literary classics, to digital format. “As we move to digital texts, it is important that we bring with us all the richness and knowledge books give,” Riva said.
Arts & Culture The Brown Daily Herald
Comical tale breaks dark wintry chill BY Amy Chen Contributing Writer
While winter sweeps in the cold air and lingering darkness, Trinity Repertory Company’s production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” is sure to throw the audience into gusts of warm laughter with its feverishly energetic — if at times too hysterical — characters. The play, which runs through March 7, opens with a crowd of jubilant characters raising their voices to the celebration and spirit of the Christmas season. Their smiles are contagious and their enthusiasm and happiness effusive, as people tap their feet, smile and laugh in sync with the cast. Even for those who have never read the play, there is no doubt that these voices and expressions already signify a light-hearted story to come. What gives rise to such exuberance are the somewhat confusing yet irresistibly fascinating twists and turns of the plot. The play is centered around the quest for love, complicated by cross-dressing and mistaken identity. Viola, a girl dressed as a boy, is a servant to the Duke of Illyria, with whom she is in love. The object of the Duke’s infatuation is Lady Olivia, who, in turn, falls in love with Viola, thinking she is a man. Misunderstandings abound as people confuse Viola and her lost twin, Sebastian, both played convincingly by Cherie Corinne Rice GS. There is also a hilarious — if somewhat poignant — scene based around the public embarrassment of Lady Olivia’s blindly infatuated and faithful steward, Malvolio, played by Clinical Professor of Theatre, Speech and Dance Brian McEleney, who also directed the show. McEleney was outrageously bold in the classic comedic role, and clearly engaged in his performance. In simple terms, “Twelfth Night” is a tale about falling in love, making true confessions, admitting mistakes, solving misunderstandings and then falling in love all over again. In flurries of ridiculous movements, with hands flailing, feet tripping and bodies colliding, the characters are fascinating in their silliness, perhaps in part to compensate for their sometimes extreme obnoxiousness. Perhaps the most shameless character, Lady Olivia’s uncle, Sir Toby, never hesitates in jumping and flailing his arms in the air or doubling in maniacal fits of contagious giggles — behavior that might be the result of the character’s proclivity for gulping down bottles of wine. Fred Sullivan Jr. perfectly embodies the brazen Sir Toby. Beyond the general characterization of mere silliness, there lies within each character a deeper layer, only to be uncovered by the onset of love and passion. Who
would expect the arrogant Lady Olivia to transform after falling in love, symbolically trading her black velvet dress for a deep red one as she stumbles around the stage in total infatuation and disbelief? Meanwhile, Lady Olivia’s faithful steward, not realizing himself caught in a trick, sheds his stoic, formal demeanor and blooms into an unabashedly happy and hilarious caricature, all for the sake of love. Just like its multi-layered characters, the play reveals its substance beyond the obvious comedy. Between the scenes of humorous trickery, there are gripping moments as the characters declare their love and make poignant confessions. While each character is different, they are united by their passion and their determination to find love. Interspersed throughout the play are musical moments, including songs sung by the Clown, played by Chair of MFA Programs Stephen Berenson, and several piano pieces. The play’s other music also includes “Twelve Days of Christmas” by Walter Afanasieff and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Tucked away in a magical world, one of Shakespeare’s best, the play temporarily relieves the memory of the wintry, dark world outside. The two-act play, which lasts for two hours and 40 minutes with intermission, brings plenty of moments that will fascinate, stimulate, cheer and, most of all, exultingly surprise and raise the audience to their feet. As Curt Columbus, the show’s art director, commented in the media program, “We are drawn to the very quality of the thing that is lacking, pouring out the opposite light to fill the darkness.”
Friday, February 5, 2010 | Page 5
From MCM to Grammy: Damian Kulash ’98 continued from page 1 be in a society of people who are so intellectually competent,” he added. “Most of the world is really not like that.” Kulash played in three bands at Brown, where he concentrated in MCM, before OK Go came to fruition in 1998. He and Nordwind, though, “have been making all sorts of s— together since we were 11,” including “a lot of videos, a lot of art, a lot of projects of all sorts,” he said. “Our M.O. is chasing down the ideas that thrill us the most.” The band’s name, in fact, originated as a childhood inside joke between Kulash and Norwind. “We were 10 years old and we had this visual art teacher, and he would sort of hover behind you while you were already drawing and repeat ‘OK OK OK OK go!’ ” The new album’s title, “Of the Blue Colour of the Sky,” has an equally rich story behind it. The name is based on an 1876 book titled “The Influence of the Blue Ray of the Sunlight and of the Blue Colour of the Sky” by A.J. Pleasonton, who allegedly “proves that blue light is the general life force,” Kulash said. “He got a patent on the color blue.” “I am fascinated by the author’s desire to find a way forward,” he said. “His subjectivity was so intensely motivated that he could believe it was objective science and convince the entire world.” Kulash sees parallels between Pleasonton’s thought process and that of the songwriter, who must “believe in the mystery and power of things and look for a way forward, even if your logical brain tells you otherwise.” Logic, Kulash said, sometimes poses an obstacle to his songwriting. “So much of what excites me about music is its ability to commu-
Courtesy of OK Go
Damian Kulash ’98 and the other members of OK Go who just put out a new album, “Of the Blye Colour of the Sky.”
nicate intense emotions in a square second,” he said. Kulash added that lyrics can hinder this purely aesthetic experience “because you have to incorporate logic and meaning.” He said OK Go’s music strives to combine feeling and reason to create songs that, as a totality, speak to both sides of the brain. “I don’t feel like I write for an audience as much as I write for myself,” he said, and his career seems
to reflect this spirit of genuine selfexpression. The main criteria for the band’s videos, known for being low-budget, light-hearted and unconventional, is that they are “the most exciting and ridiculous things we can make,” Kulash said. “We’re extremely lucky to be able to chase our creative ideas,” he said. “I’ve been doing that since day one.”
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We have a number of grievances against the U.S. Senate. Here’s one more to add the list: The dysfunctional chamber is stalling on an important bill that would expand student aid and go a long way towards making college affordable. We had high hopes when the House passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) in September. Right now, there are two ways to secure federal student loans. Most loans are distributed through private loan companies and are guaranteed and subsidized by the federal government. About 2,000 colleges — including Brown — participate in direct lending, in which the Department of Education makes loans without an intermediary. SAFRA calls for an end to bank-based student lending and requires all institutions to move to direct lending. Simply by eliminating banks as middlemen, the bill would save $87 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The legislation would use that money to increase access to education in a number of ways, including raising the maximum Pell Grant and lowering the interest rate on federal student loans. Both federal programs assist millions of American students each year. SAFRA is long overdue. Since the 1980s, college tuition and fees have increased 439 percent — far more than medical care, the Consumer Price Index or median family income. Paying for college is taking an increasingly heavy toll on families, even when financial aid is considered. At public four-year institutions, Americans in the middle income quintile spend on average 25 percent of their family income on college. The same figure for the lowest income quintile is a whopping 55 percent of earnings. A 2008 report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education summed up the situation with grim predictions: “The continuation of trends of the last quarter century would place higher education
beyond the reach of most Americans and would greatly exacerbate the debt burdens of those who do enroll.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like SAFRA is going to move forward anytime soon. Loan companies oppose the legislation, claiming it would eliminate jobs in the lending industry. Critics in the Senate say the free market will do a better job supplying loans than the federal government, and that, in the words of one senator, “relying on budgetary gimmicks to stage another Washington takeover” will not benefit students. Mostly, though, the bill is stuck in the Senate’s procedural funk. Because legislators do not have the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster, they are hoping to pass SAFRA through the reconciliation process, which allows senators to change existing laws to reduce federal spending with a simple majority vote. The problem? The health care bill may also move through reconciliation, and under Senate rules, only one bill at a time may be considered under this process. That means the student loan bill will either have to wait, or become intertwined with the already imperiled health reform bill. Either way, timing does not look good. July 1 marks the beginning of the student-lending season, and each day of delay on SAFRA will make it more difficult for the Department of Education to expand the direct lending system before summer. Come on, Senators. It’s inexcusable enough that millions of Americans do not have access to an affordable college education. But it’s even more inexcusable that you are keeping it that way. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Opinions The Brown Daily Herald
Friday, February 5, 2010| Page 7
Police brutality comes to College Hill SIMON LIEBLING Opinions Columnist There are days in Providence when it feels like the only thing more common than rain is the police, when, with the Brown, RISD and Providence departments, you can’t turn a corner, right here on the East Side, without running into yet another cop car. But even though we live next door to a precinct office, and even as our demand for police services is cited to justify imposing a student tax on us out-of-towners, we on College Hill hear precious little about police-community interactions. The rest of Providence, though, is not quite as immune. While we on campus have heard little to nothing about it, the rest of the city has been atwitter since December over a case of police brutality as clear as they come, and the city’s failure to do anything but punish the victim. Back in October, a group of Providence and RISD officers caught up with Luis Mendonca after a brief chase in a parking lot off Benefit Street. He was subdued and in handcuffs, with police officers starting to take him away, when Providence police detective Robert DeCarlo marched up to the helpless Mendonca and kicked him. He started swinging away with a flashlight, mercilessly beating Mendonca again and again until the other officers pulled Mendonca past DeCarlo, when he took one last parting kick at his
victim’s limp body. The police report filed by the officers naturally makes no mention of DeCarlo’s gratuitous hunt for a punching bag. But unfortunately for the detective, his macho power trip was all caught on tape by a security camera aimed at the lot, and that tape fell into the hands of the Providence news media this December. Mendonca, who according to his lawyer was in a coma for two days, was convicted of assault and sent to jail. DeCarlo kept his job pending an internal investigation, and
Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman had the gall to call a meeting in Elmwood two weeks ago to tell Providence residents how to reduce violence in their own communities. Though his department remains incapable of policing itself and bringing violent criminals in its own ranks to justice, he thought it would be appropriate to meet with the public to tell them why they’re not doing enough on their part. While many of those present at the meeting called for more jobs and community programs as the time-tested way to discour-
He was subdued and in handcuffs, with police officers starting to take him away, when Providence police detective Robert DeCarlo marched up to the helpless Mendonca and kicked him. to date has not been charged with a crime. When police officers investigate police officers, they tend to find themselves innocent, especially when the son of the Internal Affairs investigator working on the case was an officer on the scene that night. Mendonca has since been handed over to the federal agents at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and faces deportation, despite the fact that he is a documented immigrant, living legally in the United States. DeCarlo remains a free man. It was under these circumstances that
age violence, Esserman announced that the city was expending its resources, doubling the size of the department’s gang unit and placing more officers in public schools. The news was rightly and roundly booed by those who had come to remind Esserman that, as the DeCarlo incident illustrated, police are often the perpetrators, more interested in protecting their own than in making any honest effort to reduce violence. Given the lack of any semblance of justice for Mendonca, it’s hard to imagine the public responding positively to an increased
police presence in their neighborhoods and schools. Spending money on cops while ignoring the suggestions of community members and organizations breeds resentment, not progress. And since the Providence Police Department has shown that its officers can beat defenseless citizens with impunity, more cops means more situations like this one. Except next time, the officer will be more careful to avoid security cameras. And that’s part of what makes this incident so scary. Were it not for the security footage, we would have taken the cops’ word over Mendonca’s, and DeCarlo would have gotten away with it as soon as the officers filed their falsified police report. It raises the question of how often this happens beyond the fortuitous gaze of witnesses and surveillance cameras, but it also shows us that police are only accountable when they are being watched. Which is where we come in. Remember, this didn’t happen in some distant neighborhood you never visit: This was on College Hill, on Benefit Street. We each have the capacity to stop violent cops like DeCarlo from victimizing people like Mendonca. We can pay attention to the police we see everywhere. Make them well aware that their communities are watching them and keeping them honest. And let them know that if we see something, we’ll say something.
Simon Liebling ’12 is from New Jersey. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ending educational inequity BY MARCO MARTINEZ Guest Columnist My 30-minute commute to work, with the potent three cups of coffee en route and the beauty of the sun shining between sporadic trees, offers a nice snapshot of my past two years. Teaching fifth-grade science to 140 wide-eyed students at PFC David Ybarra Middle School in Edcouch-Elsa, Tex., has been the most demanding but inspiring experience of my life. It has also been quite surreal for one particular reason: I’ve had the opportunity to inspire hundreds of students in the little town where I grew up. Going into Brown as a freshman, I had my heart set on medical school. I was taking classes to fulfill the requirements needed for a degree in Human Biology but, like every other student, I changed my concentration midway. I fell in love with the Department of Latin American Studies, which is where I eventually received my degree. Yet, as graduation approached, I felt compelled to push off graduate school to fulfill a larger purpose in my life. Having interned for Teach For America my junior year, I learned about the organization’s mission and goals. I came to realize that joining such a powerful movement was what I needed to do postgraduation. You might say that I heard “the calling,” but to this day I have never felt quite as passionate about anything I’ve ever done before. Teach For America is a non-profit organization whose mission is to build the move-
ment to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting the nation’s most promising future leaders in the effort. Recent college graduates from all backgrounds and career interests commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools. In doing so, Teach For America teachers go above and beyond traditional expectations to lead their students to significant academic achievement, despite the challenges of poverty and the limited capacity of various public school systems. The achievement gap hasn’t always been something I’ve been attempting to mini-
and is home to some of the poorest counties in the nation. A large number of the region’s students live in colonias, unincorporated neighborhoods often lacking basic infrastructure such as paved roads, running water and electricity. The challenges of poverty hinder students’ ability to study or even get to school. But in the face of these setbacks, I have noticed that academic success is very much possible within the classroom. Throughout my two-year commitment, there have been rare, yet inspiring moments. One example is when my most chal-
Having interned for Teach For America my junior year, I learned about the organization’s mission and goals. I came to realize that joining such a powerful movement was what I needed to do post graduation.
mize. Growing up, I was a part of those statistics. The Rio Grande Valley, located in the southern-most portion of Texas, is 96 percent Latino. Depending on the school district, 71 to 97 percent of the student population qualifies for free or reduced-price lunch. Many students who qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch sometimes eat only the meals that are offered to them at school. The Rio Grande Valley is growing rapidly
lenging student pulled me aside and in a low whisper said, “Mr. Martinez, you’re the best teacher I’ve ever had because you’re the only guy on our team … and because you’re the only person who has ever made learning fun for me.” Moments like these compel me to ensure that my students succeed in and out of the classroom. I’ve been told that I’m the first young, male role model that most of these
students have ever had, and the fact that I grew up in the town where they live allows them to see the possibility of success. Every chance I get, I emphasize the importance of graduating from high school and of attaining a college education. I emphasize that a college degree is the best thing anyone could ever have, no matter who you are and where you’re from. Although the achievement gap within our educational system may seem an insurmountable challenge for one individual person to conquer, the mission of Teach For America seems much more attainable when the gap is closed in the classroom itself. With over 7,300 current corps members, each closing the achievement gap in their own classrooms, we are all players on the same team, aiming for the same target: to ultimately give all children in this country an opportunity to have an excellent education. It’s the academic inadequacies I see every single day that fuel the fire within me to be the best teacher I can be. Although it has been an arduous road, being a teacher through Teach For America has been an epic and fulfilling chapter of my life. Teach For America has given me the opportunity to inspire great young minds. I urge you to consider joining me in the movement to end educational inequity.
Marco Martinez ’08 is in his second year of teaching in Edcouch-Elsa, Tex. He can be reached at Mantoniomartinez@gmail.com.
Today The Brown Daily Herald
Copayments deter care for seniors
Women’s Basketball — The Bears (5-13, 2-2 Ivy League) will host the second-place team in the league, Columbia (12-6, 3-1), on Friday night. Brown will then take on last-place Cornell (5-12, 0-4) the following night. Both games are at 7 p.m. in the Pizzitola Center.
Wrestling — The wrestling team will host four dual meets this weekend. The Bears take on Boston University and Drexel on Friday at noon and 2 p.m., respectively, and then Penn and Princeton on Saturday at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., respectively. Men’s Basketball — Brown (7-14, 1-3 Ivy) will hit the road and take on Columbia (7-11, 1-3 Ivy) Friday night before facing No. 25 Cornell (18-3, 4-0) Saturday night. Women’s Hockey — Brown (2-16-4, 0-13-3 ECAC) will play at Harvard (13-5-4, 9-5-2) on Friday and at Dartmouth (8-12-2, 5-10-1) on Saturday.
c a l e n da r Today, February 5, 2010
tomorrow, February 6, 2010
5:00 P.M. — Opening of MF Husain: Early Masterpieces, Pembroke Hall
5:00 P.M. — Remembering Our Wings, Rites and Reasons Theater
8:00 P.m. — Brown A Cappella Stands for Haiti, Salomon 101
8:00 P.M. — An Evening with Stephen Sondheim and Frank Rich, Salomon 101
menu Sharpe Refectory
Verney-Woolley Dining Hall
Lunch — Bulgar Stuffed Pepper, BBQ Beef Sandwich, Asian Noodle Bar
Lunch — Chicken Fingers, Vegan Nuggets, Butter Cookies
Dinner — Toasted Ravioli with Sauce, Pasta and Seafood Medley, Strawberry Jello
Dinner — Shepherd’s Pie, Orange Vegetable Pad Thai, Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting
to m o r r o w
34 / 17
31 / 16
Reading goes digital with new technology Friday, February 5, 2010
s p o rt s a ro u n d t h e b e n d Men’s Hockey — The team (7-12-2, 5-7-2 ECAC) will host Harvard (512-3, 5-6-3) — which hasn’t beaten Brown in two years — at 7 p.m. on Friday in Meehan Auditorium. Dartmouth (6-15-0, 4-10-0), which won the first season meeting, 9-4, will come to town the next day to face off at 4 p.m.
d i a m o n d s a n d c oa l Coal to faulty plumbing for abruptly closing our favorite Pembroke eatery. Rest assured, The Herald will not rest until Gategate is uncovered. A diamond to students applying for unpaid internships. Trust us — you’ll need it. Coal to Pauly D for staying out of Providence till May. Good luck on making your Commencement keynote more stimulating than Fareed Zakaria’s. Diamond to the new solar trash compactor at the Ratty for squeezing everything together. Maybe now we can fit through the newly slimmed-down Faunce Arch. Diamond to Rebecca Maxfield ’13, who qualified to be a contestant on the College Championship of “Jeopardy!” — not for competing, but for putting up with that smug, moustache-less Canuck, Alex Trebek. Coal to penny-pinching administrators for cutting $14 million from next year’s budget. You can get rid of all the varsity sports you want, but for heaven’s sake, give us our Gate back!
Diamond to vodka. Diamond to whiskey. Coal to hangovers. And diamond to the brave souls who volunteered to get blitzed on vodka and whiskey in the name of science for Professor of Community Health Damaris Rohsenow. Coal to the bursar for no longer sending our parents statements in the mail. While we appreciate your environmentalism, there’s a good chance we won’t be reenrolled in the fall. Coal to the group of apathetic students or whoever for protesting protests or something. Whatever. Diamond to Brown for being the most H1N1-vaccinated university in Rhode Island. We may be known as laid-back hipsters, but in this case, we took the advice of Health Services Director Edward Wheeler. We didn’t “get casual.” We got vaccinated. Diamonds and coal are now do-it-yourself! Visit diamondsandcoal.com for cheers and jeers of your own.
comics Cabernet Voltaire | Abe Pressman
Dot Comic | Eshan Mitra and Brendan Hainline
Excelsior | Kevin Grubb
STW | Jingtao Huang
Published on Feb 5, 2010