Daily Herald the Brown
vol. cxlv, no. 100 | Thursday, October 28, 2010 | Serving the community daily since 1891
ResLife to U. speaks on library push off- contract negotiations campus Says union salaries above market option By Alex Bell Senior Staff Writer
By Sydney Ember News Editor
The Office of Residential Life is aggressively attempting to move more students to off-campus housing next year to combat the overcrowding that has continued to plague the University’s residence halls, said Senior Associate Dean of Residential and Dining Services Richard Bova. ResLife is actively promoting offcampus options to rising juniors and seniors to eliminate the need to place students in temporary rooms including lounges and kitchens, a recurrent solution that has significantly limited the amount of available common space for students across campus. Currently, 37 rooms not intended as dorm rooms are being used as temporary housing, Bova said. There are 177 common spaces in the University’s residence halls, comprising 81 lounges, 43 lounges with kitchens and 53 kitchens. “We’re going to attempt to put more students off-campus earlier,” Bova said. Moving more students of fcampus will allow a one-year buffer against the housing crunch before planned renovations to the University-owned building at 315 Thayer St. are completed in summer 2012. The renovations, which Bova esticontinued on page 4
The University defended its specific positions on the ongoing library contract negotiations for the first time since the contract was extended after the two sides failed to reach an agreement. Originally set to expire Sept. 30, the contract between the University and library union workers was extended until Oct. 14 and again until Thursday. After taking a break from bargaining Wednesday because the mediator who has been working with the two sides was unavailable, negotiators are meeting again Thursday. “I don’t believe in negotiating
through the press,” Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Beppie Huidekoper told The Herald Wednesday evening. “I’m just trying to set the context. The context is broader than one population in the entire community.” Two major points of contention that have surfaced during the negotiations have been salaries and employee contributions to health insurance premiums. Karen McAninch ’74, the union’s business agent, told The Herald on Monday that the union was seeking a wage increase of 4 percent per year, and that the University’s offer stood at 1.25 percent. Between fiscal year 2008 and the current fiscal year, non-union staff salaries rose 7 percent on average, Huidekoper said, largely
Alex Bell / Herald
Hayley Kossek ’13, along with library worker Roland Harper, delivered a hollowed-out book with what she said was 500 petitions and signatures to President Ruth Simmons after her Family Weekend speech Saturday.
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Group combats int’l students’ culture shock Achebe By Nicole Boucher Senior Staff Writer
In one solitary corner of an otherwise still Pembroke campus last Thursday, freshly car ved jack o’ lanterns illuminated the beaming faces of first-years hailing from Africa to Asia, from Brazil to Beijing. The pumpkin-carving event, a program sponsored annually by the International Mentorship Program, provided a release from midterm stress and a chance to renew friendships with other firstyears originally formed during the international orientation program.
In addition to planning orientation, the program holds several events for international students throughout the year to facilitate the transition to life at an American college, said Angad Kochar ’12, one of four program coordinators.
FEATURE Like all domestic students, international students must first face the transition to higher education that can be difficult for even a native New Englander. “The University culture was
literally the biggest shock ever to me,” said Asad Hassan ’13, a program mentor who attended the pumpkin-car ving event. Hassan, who was born and raised in Pakistan before attending high school in Hong Kong, is no stranger to a wide array of international experiences. But for Hassan, adjusting to the rigors of college academics was not the end of his transition. “I’d never been to America before. It was over whelming,” he said, pointing to his shock when some stereotypes he had about
For as long as underage college students have found ways to drink illegally, officials have sought new ways to enforce the law. The Rhode Island State Police Department’s
Evan Thomas / Herald
A new task force is cracking down on binge drinking in and around College Hill.
News.....1–4 Section.....5–6 Sports.....7–9 Editorial....10 Opinion.....11 Today........12
Oct. 5 announcement of the Underage Drinking and Nightclub Safety Task Force is the most recent example of that pattern. The task force, composed of state and local officers along with fire marshals and various state li-
By Sydney Ember News Editor
censing officials, is an attempt “to ensure that minors are not being served and that the facilities are in compliance with maximum occupancy limits and state liquor control laws,” according to a state press release. Spearheading the new effort is the superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, Col. Brendan Doherty. He said underage college students from out of state travel to Rhode Island for local clubs and bars. “Unfor tunately, the city of
Acclaimed Nigerian writer and Professor of Africana Studies Chinua Achebe was awarded the 2010 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize at a ceremony at the Hudson Theatre in New York City Wednesday evening. The prize is one of the highest honors in the arts and is awarded each year to an individual who has “made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life,” according to the provisions of Lillian Gish’s will that created of the prize. The prize comes with a $300,000 award and a silver medallion. “When I was a boy, growing up in Nigeria, becoming a novelist was a far-away dream,” Achebe said in a Gish Prize press release. “Now it is a reality for many African writers, not just myself. The Gish Prize recognizes the long journey my fellow colleagues and I have taken, and I am proud and grateful for that.” Achebe joined the faculty in September 2009 after 19 years at Bard College. His novel “Things Fall Apart,” published in 1958, is
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State’s interagency effort to target teen drinking By Amy Rasmussen Contributing Writer
honored for literary arts
Brown researchers reveal the moon’s complex makeup
An interview with superstar goalie Paul Grandstand ’11
David Sheffield ’11 says to vote for the lesser of two evils
195 Angell Street, Providence, Rhode Island
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Thursday, October 28, 2010
“I’d never been to America before. It was overwhelming.” — Asad Hassan ’13, IMP mentor
New TA pay plan sparks protests from CS dept. Internat’ls face culture shock
By David Chung Contributing Writer
The Depar tment of Computer Science has implemented a new compensation policy for undergraduate teaching assistants in response to a University-wide review of undergraduate student employment practices, said Donald Schanck, assistant vice president and University controller. The changes have proved controversial among students and faculty in the department. Undergraduate TAs, who previously received stipends for a semester of work, will be required to report and be paid for ever y hour they work, according to Thomas Doeppner, associate professor and vice chair of the computer science department. Under the new policy, undergraduate TAs will be able to work no more than an average of nine to 10 hours per week. While some courses have only required TAs to work for an average of five hours, others have required a time commitment of up to 20 hours per week, Doeppner said. “We conduct internal reviews periodically in different areas of the University just to ensure that our current practices are in compliance with the law,” Schanck said. The Office of Internal Audit Ser vices, the Human Resources Department, the Student Employment Office and the Controller’s Office participated, he said. “In this case with the situation in computer science, we just found that these students, looking
at the jobs and responsibilities that they had, the work fell more towards employment as opposed to an award to the student or work that they were pursuing sort of on their own,” he said. The CS department relies heavily on TAs, Doeppner said, and is looking for ways to maintain the critical role TAs play in CS courses while ensuring they are paid “fairly and legally.” “We have no choice but to comply with it,” he added. Doeppner said he recently had discussions with Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron regarding the possibility of giving TAs a half-course credit as an acknowledgement of their time commitment and dedication. Professor of Computer Science Andy van Dam, who founded the CS undergraduate teaching assistant program when he came to Brown in 1965, has been upset by this change. “We’re not happy about it, and the students are certainly not happy about it,” he said. Though the new policy requires hourly compensation, van Dam said none of the TAs were enthusiastic about the prospect of earning more money. “TAs have historically willingly accepted a flat stipend throughout the semester for their work, viewing the rewards of shaping course development and impacting students’ learning processes as more important than monetary compensation,” wrote Stephen Poletto ’12, Kelly Newton ’11 and Nabeel Gillani ’12, head TAs for CSCI 0150: “Introduction to Ob-
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ject-Oriented Programming and Computer Science,” in a statement to The Herald. “Instituting a policy that requires TAs to be paid hourly directly impacts the amount, and quality, of work that TAs can do, and will have an adverse effect on the way students learn in computer science classes at Brown.” Administrative of ficials had been discussing this potential change since last spring, but the depar tment was notified four weeks ago that the policy would go into effect immediately, van Dam said. The first reporting period affected by this change was the first half of October, he added. Due to the involvement of numerous offices on campus in this matter, the policy has taken time to go into effect, Schanck said. “You just want to make sure ever ybody’s on the same track, we all understand what’s going on and that we have the situation correct,” he said. But Doeppner and van Dam said the University administration told the computer science depar tment that the federal government had mandated the change. Schanck said they were misinformed. “There was no review by a federal agency in this. This was all part of the University’s normal course of business,” he said. Doeppner and van Dam recently held a meeting on this issue with about 60 to 70 TAs, and “every single last question was, ‘How can we get around this? How can we keep what we have? How do we avoid this?’ ” van Dam said. Calling the program “a crown jewel,” he said that many alums who ser ved as TAs during their time at Brown see the change as a “terrible idea.”
“It’s probably a kind of social engineering tr ying to prevent exploitation,” van Dam said, “but my personal opinion is, as much as I’m in favor of many aspects of social engineering, that you get unintended consequences.” Van Dam said the department does not have the budget to pay for the 15 to 20 hours TAs work each week. Computations done by the department revealed that supporting such a system would require an additional $50,000 to $100,000, he said. Van Dam has implemented a few changes this semester to address this problem. The TAs in charge of his courses, CSCI 0150 and CSCI 1230: “Introduction to Computer Graphics,” receive an hourly pay for 10 hours a week, which over the course of the semester, will approximately total the previously earned semester stipend. In addition, they are enrolled in an independent study program, or what van Dam calls a practicum, which grants them more hours to ser ve as teaching assistants. Similar to the way in which a future half-course credit may supplement paid hours, van Dam’s TAs currently receive both pay and course credit. Despite these solutions, van Dam said he is worried that the new policy will not allow TAs to be as influential as they have been in the past. He described the TA system as “self-perpetuating.” “Kids become TAs because they were helped so much by TAs when they were taking the course, and they want to give that back,” he said. “I know my lectures are a minor component of what makes my course successful. It’s really the TA system, and I’m proud of that.”
continued from page 2 America actually came to life. Like that “frat boys existed outside of movies,” suggested Cindy Oh ’13, a mentor of Korean descent who lives in Singapore. Most international students face some level of culture shock, ranging from amusing realizations to experiences that challenge their world views. Culture shock “The international student population is ver y heterogeneous,” said Kisa Takesue ’88, who was the program’s coordinator until she became director of the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center this year. She said the term “international student” applies to dual-citizenship students, those who attended international schools and “some who have never left their hometown or city” before coming to Brown. This diverse population brings a diverse set of experiences, said Kochar, an American who gained international student status after studying abroad in Wales for two years in high school. Depending on one’s background, culture shock can affect some international students more than others. Julia Elstrodt ’14 comes from Brazil, where she attended an international school that had an International Baccalaureate program and typically sent students to American or British universities. With a German father, she said she experienced little difficulty adjusting to Brown because she “already had contact with many cultures.” But for other students, many of whom make up Brown’s growing Asian population, the cultural differences are glaring. Tianlin Yang ’14 went to a public high school in Beijing, China, an experience he called “dramatically different” from that of students who go to an international high school. “When I first got out of the plane, the first feeling was excitement and looking for ward to life here,” Yang said. But after the first week, the novelty wore off and he said he struggled to adapt to the Western style of thinking about problems and emphasis on class participation. During this unfamiliar time, “You have to keep tr ying and keep going anyways.” Michael Lin ’14, from Changsha City, China, helped form an advising program there for other students to help them apply to American schools. Coming from China, where Lin said he needed special software to remove the government’s block on Gmail, Facebook and other programs, he had little exposure to America prior to coming to Brown. Brown’s mentoring program “was conceived to help students continued on page 5
Thursday, October 28, 2010
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
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“The moon is not a dead place that’s stagnant.”
Researchers find lunar surprises By Brigitta Greene Metro Editor
The moon’s surface is surprisingly wet and complex, according to results from NASA’s Lunar Crater Obser vation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, mission published Oct. 22. LCROSS, which includes Brown researchers, intentionally slammed a rocket into the moon’s south pole last October. The collision sent debris sailing into the sunlight half a mile above, offering novel information about the chemical composition of the lunar surface. Scientists detected concentrations of water high enough to provide astronauts with a viable source, whether that be purified for drinking or re-engineered for rocket fuel. Frozen grains of ice make up between 5.5 and 8.5 percent of the lunar soil at the poles. “This is really fantastic,” said Brendan Hermalyn GS, who worked on the project. “It really does change our perception of the moon.” Along with a team of scientists, Hermalyn and Professor of
Geological Sciences Peter Schultz analyzed results from the rocket’s initial impact flash. Because no sunlight reaches the lunar south pole, the team used light from the collision itself to perform a spectroscopic analysis, which detected hydroxyl, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ammonia, free sodium and silver. Many of these compounds are highly volatile — easily evaporating — and were not detected in earlier samples from Apollo missions. The south pole sits in what is know as a “permanent shadow” region. Because it never receives light from the sun, temperatures remain low enough to preser ve compounds in a stable state. Apollo samples, on the other hand, were taken from warmer equatorial regions, Hermalyn said. But it is not just the simple discover y of these compounds that excites Schultz and fellow researchers. It’s the stories the compounds may tell of the history of the moon, the Earth and the solar system as a whole. Elements may have arrived aboard comets, asteroids and meteorites that have
slammed into the moon over the past billions of years. “The moon is not a dead place that’s stagnant. There’s a lot of science still going on there,” Hermalyn said. Of all lunar destinations, the poles represent the most remarkable chemical depository. Unexpected, “strange” compounds have migrated to the frigid, permanently shadowed regions, Hermalyn said. “These are pristine areas of the moon that hold a treasure trove of material.” But Shultz cited the fragility of the soil and cautioned against reckless future exploration. “The concern is that if we start landing there and messing things up, we will not have this historical document,” Hermalyn said. LCROSS is part of NASA’s Constellation Program, formed with the goal of sending astronauts back to the moon. Though President Barack Obama has promised increased funding for space exploration, he recently opted to hold back on this goal, instead encouraging private development in space flight.
— Brendan Hermalyn GS
LGBTQ center grows support By Nicole Boucher Senior Staff Writer
The LGBTQ Resource Center seeks to increase its visibility on campus to help students understand available resources and to combat negative representation in the media by creating a positive spirit of unity on campus, said Kelly Garrett, the center’s coordinator, at the Undergraduate Council of Students’ general body meeting Wednesday night. Continued media coverage of heated political debates over gay equality can paint a negative picture about the general attitude toward LGBTQ people across the nation, Garrett said. These negative depictions can add up and cause “LGBTQs struggling with their sexuality to feel bad about themselves,” she added. On campus, Garrett said, homophobic sentiment is limited compared to the rest of the nation, but “we’re not immune” to incidents such as anti-gay graffiti. Garrett said students can play a role in improving the positive atmosphere on campus by supporting the Safe Zone program, a program sponsored by the center designed to increase awareness on campus in part
by displaying a sticker showing solidarity with the LGBTQ community. Garrett said she is “trying to find a way for the average student at Brown to become a better ally.” The center will continue to hold pride events designed to continue awareness. On Nov. 18, there will be a vigil on the steps of Faunce House followed by a spoken word performance in Rites and Reasons Theatre. “The more visible and supportive people are, the more it will counteract negative images,” Garrett said. Undergraduate Finance Board representative and Herald sales director Kelly Wess ’11 also spoke to the council about the Capital Closets project, which is still in its planning stages. Through the project, UFB would invest capital in purchasing media aids such as microphones, speakers and projectors in order to minimize costs to UFB over the long run. Media Services charges the finance board each time groups are provided media for an event free of charge. Wess said UFB would save money by investing capital initially because it would cost UFB less over time if they could rent out equipment they bought.
Admins: Libraries must meet community needs continued from page 1 due to a salary freeze for non-union staff following fiscal year 2009. But unionized library workers saw an average salary increase of 14 percent for those three years under their contract despite the financial crisis, she said. “On average, I think our nonunion salaries are about at the market,” Huidekoper said. “This group is above the market.” Huidekoper also said the union has fared better than the market average for employee contributions to health premiums. McAninch said the union offered for the first time in Monday’s negotiations to increase health contributions from the current 6 percent to 6.25 percent in the third year of the contract. According to McAninch, the University’s best offer at the time was 10.5 percent the first year of the contract, 12.5 percent the year after and 14.5 percent in the final year. According to Huidekoper, University of Rhode Island employees shoulder between 12 and 20 percent of the cost of health insurance, those at Rhode Island College pay between 13 and 15 percent and all Providence College workers pay 20 percent. “We do believe we are being fair, we do care and we are concerned,” Huidekoper said. “But nobody is as low as 6 percent in the area.” On top of that, Huidekoper said the University is predicting a budget deficit of $3 million for the current fiscal year. “When we have one group of employees that are above market, we have to consider that,” Huidekoper said. “Fairness is in the context of
the market, but also in the context of the other priorities that we have.” Those other priorities include increasing undergraduate financial aid, which Huidekoper said was the fastest-growing expense for the University. McAninch said that following unproductive negotiations Tuesday, the beginning of Thursday’s negotiations will focus on the preservation of bargaining unit work, with talks involving University Librarian Harriette Hemmasi. “We want to get some assurance from her that as work is moved around or created, the bargaining unit is kept in consideration,” McAninch said. “At one time, there was more of a consideration of work as bargaining unit work.” McAninch’s concern stems from the changing nature of work in the libraries as they incorporate new technologies. She hopes to see more recognition of union members’ skills and the potential for those skills to be expanded to keep up with the library’s needs. Huidekoper offered little consolation to the union that lost 12 of its positions through last year’s restructuring, though it had no layoffs. “The libraries are changing, and I think we have to be sensitive to our libraries first and foremost meeting the needs of the community,” she said. If both parties can move past that hurdle, they will still have to resolve the financial questions involving pay increases and health premium contributions. McAninch said the library union’s members are scheduled to meet Friday morning, on the day this second extension runs out.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010
“If you want to stay with me, stay with me.” — Richard Bova, residential life dean
Overflow nothing new for ResLife Provost talks tuition, fin. aid at URC forum continued from page 1
mates will provide more than 60 on-campus beds, were approved by the Corporation at its October meeting and will start this summer. Plans for the renovations will probably be available in the next month, Bova said. Though Bova said he estimates that about 100 more students are living off campus than did five years ago, increased freshman enrollment — along with the decrease in the number of students studying abroad and an increase in the number of students coming back from leaves of absence — has aggravated the overcrowding problem. But the revamped effort to encourage more students to seek offcampus housing could exacerbate the problem rather than provide a solution. Bova said much of the overcrowding problem results when students who applied to live offcampus decide later that they want to live on-campus. Part of the problem stems from what Bova called “straddling juniors,” sophomores who apply for off-campus housing to keep housing options open for their junior year. Many of these juniors ultimately decide to live on-campus or study abroad after they have received off-campus permission, forcing ResLife to scramble to ac-
commodate the increased demand for on-campus housing. Other students decide they want to live on-campus if they are dissatisfied with their off-campus houses when they arrive at the start of the semester. When students complain to ResLife about their off-campus situation, Bova said his office will place these students in rooms that may have been previously left open for summer assignment. Sophomores and juniors who otherwise would have been able to occupy these rooms are then displaced to temporary rooms. “If you want to stay with me, stay with me,” Bova said. “I can’t in all good consciousness leave anyone out in the cold.” Because Bova said the University usually does not have a finalized enrollment number to offer him until August — and because his office has to “wait for the dust to settle from the lotter y” — ResLife is often faced with a “potential crunch” right before students arrive on campus. In order to relieve the pressure on University housing this year, ResLife approved 116 students for off-campus housing in August, Bova said, though only about 30 accepted. In May 2008, the Committee on the Residential Experience released a report that included rec-
ommendations for improving the on-campus living situation. Among the recommendations was a proposal to “open up more lounges in residence halls,” advice that has not been implemented, Bova said. Because the University guarantees on-campus housing for all undergraduates, ResLife has been forced to resort to placing some students in unconventional rooms such as spaces previously designated as kitchens and lounges. “There clearly are less lounges available,” he said. “I think there’s always an impact on students when there’s not as much communal space.” Though converting these communal areas into dorm rooms has changed the floor plans of many of the University’s residence halls, ResLife’s website does not always reflect these changes. For example, a kitchen in Goddard House that was converted to a dorm room is still listed as a kitchen on ResLife’s website. The plan for South Wayland House similarly lists lounges that have since been occupied by students. But Bova said his office is not planning to update the information on its website to indicate these temporary changes. “I would never go in every year and tell you,” he said. Though ResLife guarantees all residence halls will have at least one kitchen, Bova said this should not be taken literally, especially when considering independents who live in program houses. “Ever ybody does have access to kitchens, but it’s all up for interpretation,” he said. Bova said the outdated residence hall plans does occasionally result in complaints from students whose communal spaces were converted to dorm rooms. “We do hear complaints, and we do our best to work with students,” Bova said, adding that students can use any of the kitchens in program houses if their own kitchen is being used to house students. But Bova said ResLife has found no alternate solution other than converting lounges. “They are just used as overflow,” he said. “The other option is we just start tripling our doubles.”
By Chip Lebovitz Contributing Writer
Provost David Kertzer ’69 P’95 P’98 delved into budgetary matters at Wednesday’s open forum of the University Resources Committee, discussing the role of tuition increases and financial aid in the University’s plan to balance its books after losing nearly $740 million from the endowment in fiscal year 2009. The URC is the driving force behind Brown’s yearly fiscal plan, proposing a draft budget to the president for approval by the Corporation, the University’s highest governing body. The forum lasted close to a half hour and featured a 20-minute presentation by Kertzer, the group’s chair. The provost spoke to an audience of 20 people, nearly all members of the URC, in Rhode Island Hall. Kertzer said that net tuition, the difference between income from tuition and expenses from financial aid, was likely to increase roughly 1–2 percent next year. Undergraduate tuition is an important part of Brown’s budget, he said. Although tuition increased 4.5 percent this year, Kertzer said that such increases were not as large as they seemed, given that the University’s undergraduate tuition is low compared to other peer institutions. “We wish they could be zero,” Kertzer said, “but costs grow, so we sometime have to find the revenue to support them.” The percentage of students with financial aid increased in the class of 2014 to 46 percent, according to Kertzer, who said financial aid is one of the ‘biggest items in our budget” and is consistently rising. The increase in financial aid support — 39 percent of last year’s freshman class received aid — was “good news, but it comes at a cost,” Kertzer said. Financial aid, while important to the University, does detract from other areas that could use the funds, he said. Questions centered on the subject of financial aid and tuition increases. All four questions were asked by Julian Park ’12, one of the
few students who attended. Park asked whether rising undergraduate aid was a symptom of tuition increases, due to a rise in tuition causing more students to need financial assistance. URC member and Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Beppie Huidekoper answered that yearly financial aid requests are “close to double” tuition increases, meaning that even a tuition decrease of 2 percent would only lead to a financial aid request decrease of 1 percent. Park also asked about other Ivy League schools like University of Pennsylvania and Cornell having a higher percentage of students with financial aid than Brown, despite spending less money per student. Kertzer acknowledged the disparity but said that, “When you get to financial aid percentage, it’s a little bit tricky … one temptation that I think is almost universal that you shouldn’t make is that a school that has higher percentage of financial aid has more economically diverse students.” The amount that each school gives out per student could be less than the amount Brown distributes, Kertzer said, leading to a higher percentage of students being supported but with less money per person. Other issues the forum looked into were examining endowment levels and funds per student and Brown’s revenue stream in comparison to other Ivy League universities. Kertzer said that the percentage of the endowment spent on the budget will return next year to normal levels of around 5 percent, down from the 6.5 percent of the endowment which was spent last year. Despite Brown’s financial situation stabilizing, the University will still have to find ways to reduce its deficit in order to create new programs, Kertzer said. “What we’re working with at the moment is the notion that even increasing our revenues from normal ways … you see that we probably have enough revenue over the next few years to cover what we’re doing now but wouldn’t have any funds to do anything new,” Kertzer said.
Achebe’s ‘distinguished career’ honored continued from page 1 regarded as one of the premier works of African fiction. It has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 50 languages, according to a Gish Prize press release. “It is without doubt that Achebe’s remarkable career perfectly fits the intent of the award for an ‘unprecedented impact in literature,’ ” wrote Tricia Rose MA’87 PhD’93, professor of Africana studies and chair of the department, in an e-mail to The Herald. “I am thrilled that his long and distinguished career is being honored in this way.” The Gish Prize selection committee, which consists of five people,
chose Achebe from about 1,500 nominees, said Pamela Johnson, the Gish Prize administrator. “It’s unusual in the way we do this,” she said about the committee’s selection procedure. “There is a lively discussion, and then a selection process by ballot chooses the recipient.” Achebe has written more than 20 books, including novels and collections of poetry, short stories and essays. He served as editor of the African Writers Series, which introduced post-colonial literature from Africa to a broad audience, and has started magazines for African fiction, art and poetry, according to the press release. At Brown, Achebe heads the Achebe Colloquium on Africa, an initiative that promotes a greater appre-
ciation for African culture. Achebe has won many other significant awards, including the Man Booker International Prize for Fiction in 2007. “It’s certainly a significant tribute to the contributions Chinua Achebe has made,” said Vice President for Public Affairs and University Relations Marisa Quinn, who attended the “intimate, simple yet elegant” award ceremony at the Hudson Theatre. “We’re certainly honored to have a member of our community be honored in such a prestigious way.” The Gish Prize is administered by JPMorgan Chase & Co., which serves as the award’s trustee. Past winners of the Gish Prize include Frank Gehry, Robert Redford, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010
“I have spoken Chinese for 18 years and suddenly I have to get used to English.” — Xiao Liang ’14
Program guides internationals, targets educational challenges continued from page 2 transition to the American life,” Kochar said. Originally a student group, the program then worked under the Office of Student Life until it relocated to the Third World Center this year, according to coordinator Charles Limido ’12, who is from France. Many students see the orientation program as vital for a successful transition to the Brown environment. Oh said “it was critical to establish connections” before the majority of first-years come to campus. The program also provides peer mentoring from 22 upperclassmen throughout students’ first year at Brown. International students receive a summer contact from their home region who can answer questions before they arrive. Their on-campus mentor hails from another part of the world in order “to mix groups and origins so they get exposed to different countries,” Limido said. Julian Ezenwa ’14, from Nigeria, a Herald contributing writer, said having a mentor in addition to first-year advisers provides a good support system. “I just have so many people to talk to,” he said. To help maintain the mentorstudent relationship, the program also plans events throughout the year for the international community, Limido added. In addition to ever ything the program offers, further resources are spread across departments. The Office of International Student and Scholar Services, for example, deals with visas and documentation.
Times, they are a-changing The face and size of the international student body has greatly changed over the last 10 years, according to a 2009 Office of Institutional Research report. In the last decade, total international student population rose from 8.4 percent of the student body to 11.2 percent. The largest increase in the international population comes from Asia, according to the report. In light of these changes, the resources available to students are being reassessed across the administration, said Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn. Vice President for International Affairs Matthew Gutmann is working to make Brown a global research university, Klawunn said, adding that the Office of Campus Life is looking to review the international student situation. “We have orientation and (the program) and we’ve been thinking about ways we may want to expand,” Klawunn said. Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron added that international advising was brought up in the report of the Task Force on Undergraduate Education, and her office wanted to assess the progress of meeting those needs. The Undergraduate Council of Students is also working to bring student input into the conversation. The Administrative and Student Services Committee has been working on recommendations to bring to the administration that address student experiences, according to Chris Collins ’11, chair of the committee. Language barriers “Imagine taking all your class-
es in a language that is not your mother tongue,” Bergeron said, describing one of the most basic challenges new students from nonEnglish-speaking countries face. Katia Zorich ’14, who transferred from Moscow State University this year, said she found it incredibly tiring to speak English all day. With the rising numbers of students from Asian countries, the prevalence of difficulty in this area has caught administrators’ attention. “I have spoken Chinese for 18 years and suddenly I have to get used to English,” said Xiao Liang ’14. She said she has made use of the Writing Center to help hone her skills. It also makes a big difference if students attended an international or local school. As Brown has begun targeting more students from local schools over the last halfdecade, said program coordinator Marco Junco ’11, the number of students who struggle is on the rise. Some students have written few essays in English before coming to Brown, he added. Bergeron said her office has been working with other departments to break down language barriers. For example, they are looking into adding an English as a Second
Language employee to the Writing Center. UCS members have been working on assessing language improvements. Yang, a member of the committee working on these proposals, said one idea would be to have culture workshops throughout the year. Educational experiences The classroom learning environment also poses a challenge for international students. “Some of the adjustment issues have to do with pedagogical differences,” Takesue said. The emphasis on discussion and expected participation, as opposed to lecturestyle teaching, challenges many students used to a more formal relationships with professors. Zorich said the relationship with professors at Brown is ver y different from the university she attended in Moscow. There, “you have to have a way serious problem to e-mail your professor.” Yang said the fundamental way people think in the West and East is different, and training oneself in critical analysis can be difficult. To aid the adjustment to a new way of thinking inside and outside the classroom and address all the academic challenges they face, Klawunn said having a faculty ad-
viser specifically for international students might help. UCS is also considering recommending a program for international students similar to Excellence at Brown, a pre-orientation program that stresses academics, but less intense, Lin said. A preorientation program more tailored to the needs of the international community could be a beneficial way to address the academic concerns, he said. These provisions may be key to allowing students to embrace the openness that drew them to Brown in the first place. Natalie Riay ’13, who transferred to Brown from a college in Munich, Germany, said the American educational experience provides a uniquely different opportunity for more exploration without penalty. In Germany, students stick with what they planned to study or forfeit earned course credit. Program mentor Oh said she applied early to Brown precisely for its openness and responsiveness to the needs of international students. “Brown is a global research university,” Klawunn said, “If we’re going to bring students from all over the world, we need to be doing a good job making sure they have the educational experience they expected to have.”
Metro The Brown Daily Herald
“Personally, I think some of these people are kind of crazy.” — Christian Chirino, chairman of the R.I. Libertarian Party, on the Tea Party Thursday, October 28, 2010 | Page 6
R.I. open to consolidation, poll shows State’s Libertarian Party reorganizing after hiatus By Caitlin Trujillo Senior Staff Writer
Rhode Islanders support consolidation of their many local fire departments, police departments, garbage collection and other public services, according to a recent poll. But a proposed commission to study the benefits and drawbacks of such a consolidation has yet to come to fruition. The poll was part of a sur vey conducted by the Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions in September. Results indicated that 66.9 percent of the respondents would “support the idea of consolidating services,” according to a University press release. A similar question was asked in a survey in February 2009, when 78.3 percent of respondents said they would support consolidation. This year’s poll refers to a commission proposed in 2009 by Gov. Donald Carcieri ’65 that would “study the feasibility of consolidating or regionalizing public services like education, public safety and other municipal services.” Though Carcieri submitted the proposal again in 2010, the Rhode Island General Assembly has not addressed the proposal or moved to put the issue up for vote, said Amy Kempe, Carcieri’s spokesperson.
The poll said the commission would study whether or not the number of municipal services would constitute unnecessar y “duplication” across the state. Marion Orr, professor of political science and director of the Taubman Center, said the results indicate that Rhode Island voters are willing to further consider the idea of municipal consolidation. In the context of Rhode Island’s struggling economy, people might be prepared to entertain other methods of saving the state money if they prove worthwhile, he said. He said residents in one municipality may be hesitant to merge their public services with others. But the economic reality “may ver y well trump their concerns,” Orr said. Orr added that this most recent poll does not explore what services in particular might be consolidated beyond listing education and public safety as examples. People might have different feelings on the consolidation of local fire units than on a similar consolidation of garbage services, he said. Marcia Reback, president of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, said she thought school consolidation would be unlikely to gain strong public support on its own. “I don’t believe local residents
will want to give up their local school committees and local schools,” she said, adding that voters in Pawtucket objected years ago to consolidating their schools with Central Falls despite being offered money to merge. Some school districts are consolidated in Rhode Island, Reback said, but the state should consolidate into one school system. Doing so might save money — for example, by allowing the joint purchase of books and supplies — and allow for a set curriculum to be used in all of the state’s schools, she said. Reback added that such a merger might close the achievement gap between the state’s best and worst schools. She called a past proposal to merge just the three districts of Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls “horrific.” Reback said she does not view such a massive statewide consolidation as politically feasible. As the election approaches, the next governor will have to consider whether to prioritize consolidation, Kempe said. Candidate Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 would suppor t municipal consolidation if it proved economically viable, wrote John Cucco ’09, spokesperson for Chafee in an email to The Herald. Consolidation has not been “one of the most salient issues” in the election, but “there has not been any negative reception to the idea of consolidation when there will be proven savings,” he wrote. Candidate Frank Caprio, on the other hand, supports eliminating redundant services which have led to higher property taxes in favor of consolidation, wrote Nick Hemond, spokesperson for Caprio, in an email to The Herald.
By Jake Comer Contributing Writer
After a five-year hiatus, the Libertarian Party of Rhode Island is back in action. On Oct. 17, Christian Chirino, chairman, and Brian Stack, vicechairman, held a Libertarian Party convention for the purpose of electing officers, selecting provisional by-laws and generally revitalizing the party. About 10 people attended, Chirino said. Stack, Chirino and Treasurer Tony Jones began reorganizing the party too late to meet with congressional hopefuls and other political candidates to run under the Libertarian banner in the upcoming elections, Chirino said, but they are endorsing independent candidate Robert Healey for lieutenant governor. Healey has promised not to take a salary if elected and to work to abolish the office, which he considers a waste of taxpayer money. Chirino and the executive committee hope to hold annual official conventions starting next May to put things in order in time for next November’s elections. The Oct. 17 convention marked the first signs of life the party has shown in five years, Chirino said. He said that he didn’t know what accounted for its dissolution in the first place. “The executive committee didn’t meet anymore … pretty much it just fell into stagnation and it died,” he said. Chirino started doing research on the party and its history in early August, he said. He contacted the
old chairman, David Bibeault, a Republican candidate for Rhode Island state senator. But Bibeault is no longer on the executive committee for the party and did not attend the convention. Now it’s up to Chirino, Stack, Jones, secretary Elizabeth Richardson and member-at-large Gary Whitney to pull the party back together. “It’s been a work in progress,” said Chirino. “None of us were involved five years ago.” The revitalized Libertarian Party of Rhode Island is addressing a political need that isn’t being met by Republicans or Democrats, Chirino said. Specifically, “there’s a lot of excessive programs here … there’s a whole slew of things that libertarians don’t believe in,” he said. Rhode Island politics need a breath of fresh air, something different from “switching back and forth between Republicans and Democrats every four years,” party member Peter Rose said. “If we can get some people in elected offices who are actually libertarians, that should give governmental policy a good hard shove in the libertarian direction, which is likely to be a good thing,” he said. Chirino said that the political climate in Rhode Island that stimulated the reformation of his party resembles the prevailing atmosphere across the nation. As the popularity of the Tea Party has demonstrated, third parties are picking up steam all over the country. Associate Professor of Political Science Wendy Schiller wrote in an e-mail to The Herald that the nationwide surge in third party activity is a reaction to what voters see as unresponsiveness on the part of the government and the two major parties that compose it. “So when a third party comes along that has a simple but clear message of (responsiveness) to the average voter, that party can gain support,” she wrote. She added that the lasting success of these movements will depend heavily on the outcomes of the coming elections. “If third-party or alternate-party candidates win elected office then there will be a base to operate from in government in addition to the electorate. But if they do not win, then it will be a greater challenge to sustain their 2010 momentum,” she wrote. While Schiller wrote that the Libertarian party and other third parties in Rhode Island are benefiting from the success of the Tea Party, which demonstrates to voters that they have viable options other than the major Republican and Democratic parties, Chirino and Rose both said the Rhode Island Libertarians were not connected to the Tea Party. “Personally, I think some of those people are kind of crazy,” Chirino said.
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
Thursday, October 28, 2010
“We’re hoping we can curb some of the binge drinking.” — Col. Brendan Doherty, superintendent of the R.I. State Police
New task force targets underage drinking, overcrowded bars continued from page 1 Providence has been earmarked by students in Massachusetts and Connecticut,” Doherty said. “That’s just a culture that we’re trying to prevent.” The Providence Police started Operation Red Cup in 2009 in response to complaints from residents about off-campus Providence College parties. The new task force is instead focused on clubs and bars, Doherty said. “We’re hoping that we can curb some of the binge drinking and some of the loud and boisterous and poor behavior coming out of these nightclubs at closing,” he added. “It’s not a free-for-all.” Hitting home Although the task force is not yet a month old, local restaurants and bars are already feeling the effects. On the night of Oct. 14, Theo Spiridis — the manager of Paragon, Spats and Viva — was at Paragon when he received a call from one of the bouncers at Spats. The task force had arrived. Spiridis said Spats was serving about 58 people when four state troopers, a fire marshall and a state inspector walked into the restaurant. “They came in like they were doing a drug bust,” he said. “I was thinking something bad was happening.” After officers checked the IDs of several patrons, Spiridis watched as the force began a more thorough inspection that he said took the better part of an hour. “They wanted to go through all the stuff — liquor license, food license — basically any kind of license that the state issues,” he added. Spiridis said the task force even went so far as to ask how often the restaurant washes the beer taps. They were checking for health regulations. Spats did not receive any citations. But the same night, the nearby Kartabar restaurant was also visited by the task force and was cited for a blocked rear door, according to the Providence Journal. The restaurant’s owner initially agreed to an interview, but subsequently could not be reached. Although Doherty said that cases of underage drinking would not be reported to school officials, he noted that several underage customers had already been charged as a result of task force visits. “If we find someone who’s breaking the law, it has a dual effect,” he said. “The underage patron has to answer, and so does the nightclub owner.” “That’s what all these kids don’t understand,” Spiridis said. “It’s illegal. It does go on your record, and if you serve a minor, it’s just not worth it.” Although Adam Molano ’07 is the owner of the only liquor store located on campus, Spiritus Fermenti, he said that he is not too concerned by the task force. “It’s less about them trying to get
places in trouble and more about the safety issues that go with it,” he added. The majority of underage problems at his store, Molano said, arise from the newest members of the Brown community — the freshmen. “They probably did pretty well in high school — didn’t go crazy drinking — and then they get here and there’s alcohol everywhere,” Molano added. “They just kind of have to learn. It’s part of growing up.” “It’s hilarious,” Spiridis said, grinning at the mention of the underage throngs that line up outside his restaurants’ doors, only to be turned away. “Let me tell you, the California and the Maine population of Brown has increased tremendously over the years.” Despite his laughter, Spiridis emphasized that fake IDs are not taken lightly at any of his restaurants. All staff members are required to register with the police and bouncers take part in a 20-hour certification class, he said. Legacy of the Station fire For Doherty, one of the most important reasons for the creation of the task force was the need to take a stand against overcrowding in bars and nightclubs, because of the major safety concerns that result. “We’re a state that experienced one of the worst fires in the history of America,” he said. On the night of Feb. 20, 2003, pyrotechnics set off by the band Great White ignited flammable soundproofing at the Station, a West Warwick nightclub. At the time, the club was well beyond the capacity limits mandated by town officials. As a result of the blaze, 100 died and more than 200 were seriously injured. “There’s no question that there are some bars that allow capacity well over what they’re supposed to,” Doherty said. “One of these nights we’re going to walk into a bar and empty it out, before closing time.”
Although Spiridis said he was annoyed by the interrogative manner with which the task force is performing its checks, he acknowledged that capacity is one of the most pressing issues facing bars and nightclubs. “That’s why we have a line,” he said. “I’m not willing to go over a certain number of guests in the place — it’s the safety reasons and you’re doing it against the law.” Brown’s response When it comes to matters of underage drinking at Brown, “We take a harm reduction approach,” Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services, said of the alcohol enforcement and education that takes place on campus. “We try to stress for students the importance of their own health and safety – our priority is to have resources available.” “We’re hoping that the interagency task force would be able to respond to some well known concerns about local agencies that advertise to college students,” Klawunn said. Spiridis said he has noticed a definite change in the University’s concern for alcohol safety.. “They’ve improved a lot from when I first came to Thayer Street 11 years ago,” he added. “They didn’t have the Safewalk, the safeRIDEs.” “Our concern is centered on students who frequent the local establishments and consume alcohol to the point of being impaired,” Capt. Paul Shanley, deputy chief of police in the Department of Public Safety, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. “Our officers monitor the campus to deter criminal activity and to identify people who appear to be so intoxicated that they can’t take care of themselves.” Although the state police did not approach the University directly regarding the task force, Shanley wrote, DPS maintains a policy of cooperation with the local and state police to ensure student safety.
“Whenever addressing an issue like alcohol, a multidisciplinary approach is critical,” wrote Frances Mantak, the director of health education and a member of the Campus Life Advisory Board subcommittee on alcohol and other drugs, in an e-mail to The Herald. “Education, harm reduction and enforcement need to go hand in hand on such a complex issue.” Doherty emphasized that the major work of the task force — keeping people safe — has only
just begun. “Some of these poor decisions from a good kid can impact them for the rest of their lives,” he said, adding that he has seen such cases “far too often” in his years as an officer. “At the end of the day, we’d love to hear that we never have any fatal accidents as a result of people drinking too much in these bars,” Doherty said. But, “we’re here, and we’re coming to a bar near you and we’re going to continue this,” he said.
SportsThursday The Brown Daily Herald
No Bad-games Allowed — NBA preview, part 2 By Sam Sheehan Sports Columnist
Last week, I published part one of my NBA preview for what could be the most exciting season in the history of the league. I’m not going to say it was impartial because I took a big swig of Haterade and spat it out all over the Lakers. That’s going to happen again because I’m a bitter hometown fan who will always hate the Memphis Grizzlies management for handing them Pau Gasol in 2008. Also, because there aren’t lakes in Los Angeles, I suggest a name change to the LA Scientologists. Kevin Durant — the kid who’s saving basketball The NBA doesn’t have a great reputation. Outsiders look at the tatted-up, surly-looking millionaires and hear stories about drug possession and gun charges and automatically assume that this league is full of thugs. Of the past two MVP winners, one left
his home state’s team to go hit on models in Miami with his buddies and the other drew rape charges that had to be settled out of court. It is a problem that has really hampered the spread of NBA popularity. But this year’s MVP winner is going to change all of that. Yes, I just predicted this year’s MVP before a single week of basketball has even been played. He was the runner-up last year, when he locked down the scoring title, energized a young franchise and pushed the team to its first playoff appearance in five years. A 22-year-old who was chosen to be the leader of the young Team USA roster that won this summer’s Federation Internationale de Basketball Championships in Turkey — he was named the overall MVP for the tournament. It is his time. His name is Kevin Durant. During the last offseason, with continued on page 9
Thursday, October 28, 2010 | Page 8
Athlete of the Week
Kickin’ it with Grandstrand ’11 By Zack Bahr Sports Editor
Goalkeeper Paul Grandstrand ’11 has made, to say the least, an impressive showing on the pitch this season for the Bears. He currently holds the Brown record for most shutouts in a season and is tied for most career shutouts. Last year, he was named First-Team All-Ivy goalie, and he was Ivy League rookie of the year in his freshman year. For his historical performances in net, the Herald has named Grandstrand our athlete of the week. Herald: How did you decide to come to Brown? Grandstrand: I think going into the application process, Brown was my No. 1 because it was a great fit between academic and athletics. Because of that, it meant a lot coming in, and I was lucky because the coach wanted me here. How does it feel to be on a nationally ranked team? We try not to dwell too much on rankings because, at the end of the day, they don’t mean a lot. But it’s nice to say you were a part of (it). Do you have any siblings? Yeah, I have a sister who is two years younger than me. Her name is Rachel. She’s going to school in Ohio at Oberlin. What are you majoring in at Brown? Mechanical engineering. Wow. Is it hard to balance classes and soccer?
Jonathan Bateman / Herald
Soccer goalie Paul Grandstrand ’11 has already earned the school record for most shutouts in a season.
I don’t think it’s too hard. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. You know, I get that question a lot, but, like I said, it’s what I enjoy. What have been some of the unique opportunities at Brown? It’s hard to do anything. It’s like you said — how do I manage my time? It’s hard for me to really do anything outside of school and soccer. But within those two, I’ve had some great opportunities. With soccer, we’ve been traveling. We’ve gone to California for a weekend
and we flew into North Carolina for the NCAA Tournament. Any opportunities with engineering? Yeah. At the end of the semester, I’m going to go visit a General Electric wind turbine plant. You just get those sweet opportunities. What’s your typical summer vacation? Summer for me is … well, actually, it’s been the same the past two summers. I’ve had a half-time internship at a software company doing odd jobs and little programming. Then, I play on a (Premier Development League) team. There is MLS, (United Soccer Leagues), then PDL, which is meant more for college players. Which famous person would you want to meet? Brett Favre! I’m a Vikings fan and I’m from Minnesota. I have a lot of respect for him, with him playing as long as he has. The thing is, I hated his guts when he played for the Packers, but the fact (is) that he can switch sides. If you could travel to any place, where would it be? I would have to say either Australia or New Zealand. I love scuba diving and I think the Great Barrier Reef would be a place that I would love to go and see. What are you looking at doing post-Brown? I think the academic decision is to take a year off and go to law school (and) eventually work in patents. I think soccer may be an option, but that’s something that’s down the road and I tr y not think about it. You know, we have three games left in the season and it’s way more important that I focus on that.
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
Thursday, October 28, 2010
S ports T hursday
Sheehan ’12 predicts exciting upcoming NBA season continued from page 8 speculation about LeBron James and other free agents swirling about, it was a great time to grab attention. Basketball stars were fussing about being kept happy and opt-out clauses were all the rage. In an almost comical juxtapostion to this, Durant sat down with his parents and Thunder management and inked a five-year extension to his contract. No opt-out clauses in this baby. Just a guarantee by Durant to stay in homely, unflashy Oklahoma City and continue building the small team that drafted him into a basketball powerhouse. Now that he is committed for so long, other players who want to play with all-stars can safely sign with the Thunder without fear of him jumping ship if the going gets tough. Not that he would. This guy is a family man. The extension we were talking about? $86 million. Where does Durant live? With his parents. No supermodels lounging by the pool or movie stars doing blow off of his pool table. Just the pretty house he bought for his mom. He’s just a fantastic, humble, hard-working and incredibly talented young man. Now, he will save the NBA. The Thunder are the fourth-best team in the league by my calculations, but
they stand in stark contrast to the other three top teams. Unlike the Celtics, they are youthful. Unlike Kobe Bryant and his Lakers, they are humble. Most importantly, unlike LeBron James and Chris Bosh of the Heat, they are loyal. He and the Thunder will cut through the NBA like they are the Red Squadron during the trench run in “Star Wars” and snag a twoseed in the West. Durant is armed with the photon torpedoes to shatter the NBA’s bad reputation Death Star. People will say that the Thunder can’t win the title and that this trench run is an impossible task, but Kevin has bulls-eyed womp rats in his T-16 back home and they aren’t much bigger than two meters. If he is going to make it to the exhaust port and win the Western Conference, though, he needs to get past Darth Bryant and the Lakers. Godspeed, Kevin Durant. May the force be with you. Always. The tragic attempts of Chris Paul to do the right thing New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul is very good at basketball. In fact, CP3 will go down as one of the greatest point guards of all time if he doesn’t have too many more injuries like the one that sidelined him last year. He’s
a transcendent player — a guard whose most valuable skill isn’t his quickness, or his ability to blow through three defenders to get to the hoop, or even an uncanny ability to steal that rivals that of Thomas Crown. No, what makes Chris Paul special is his fantastic passing. Jaw-dropping feats of vision and athleticism that just highlight the number of ways that one man can make a whole team exponentially better. The New Orleans Hornet is the greatest point guard of this generation and a genuinely nice guy who is one of the most exciting players in the league. Maybe that’s why it seemed so uncharacteristically greedy of Paul to ask for a trade this past offseason. Well, he didn’t actually ask for a trade. He just said that if the Hornets weren’t even going to try to win games that he would rather be somewhere else. THE NERVE! Of course, Paul retracted the statements, apologized to the fans and since then has continued to be a model player. But those statements were like an off-handed comment about someone else’s attractiveness to your spouse. Now, whenever Paul has a bad game or the going gets tough, the New Orleans media will turn into a screaming signifi-
cant other. (‘WELL, IF MY FREE AGENCY SIGNINGS ARE SO BAD, THEN WHY DON’T YOU GO PLAY FOR THAT LITTLE HARLOT IN MIAMI?’) Chris Paul saw what happened to LeBron James’ image in Ohio when he left the Cavaliers. Not only is Paul a great guy, but he genuinely loves the people of New Orleans and doesn’t want to let them down. At the same time, it’s awfully hard for him to look around the league at other superstars banding together to win games or running away to big cities like New York and not feel a little envious. Meanwhile, on the home front, Paul has to play in front of a crowd that, after 17 home games last year, ranked 24th in attendance. That’s sixth from the bottom. If you think that the stigma of playing for New Orleans’ “other” team doesn’t get to him, consider how you would feel if the only other professional sports team in town was consistently showered in love and affection that seemed to be withheld from you. You could say it was because the Saints won the championship, but even in the 2007-2008 season, a year when the Hornets were the second seed in the West and had their most successful season in franchise history, team ticket sales
only picked up after football season ended. That year, the Saints went a mediocre 7-9. This is the situation Chris Paul finds himself in. He gazes wistfully out the window at all of the other NBA superstars frolicking about on their new teams in big-market cities. He realizes he has to stop daydreaming and he turns back into his office. He calls up the New Orleans fan base to tell them he loves them, but he can hear the Saints giggling in the background. The fan base hangs up on him, still furious about the stupid comment he once made. He sighs, sits back in his office chair and looks at the work he has in front of him on his desk: a division with the Rockets, Spurs and Mavericks. He knows he will be held responsible for this team and he will need to carry the players to the title. Chris grits his teeth, takes a deep breath and begins to work. You are doing the right thing, Chris Paul. And just like the old saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished. Sam Sheehan ’12 thinks Kevin Durant should spend his signing money at Tosche Station on power converters. Talk sports (or “Star Wars”) with him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial & Letters The Brown Daily Herald
Page 10 | Thursday, October 28, 2010
l e t t e r to t h e e d i to r
Sciences teach more than vocational training To the Editor: In her Oct. 26 column, “In defense of humanities,” Yue Wang ‘12 misses a critical point: Both humanities and the sciences are essential to a liberal arts education. I’m hard-pressed to argue against the merits of studying cultures or arts, but why relegate ever y other field to something “skill-based” and “vocation-oriented”? The undertone here is that these fields contribute little more to the broad perspective of a young mind than just skills, and that is dangerously short-sighted. My field — computer science — certainly gives undergraduates a skill set of programming and analysis that has weathered the recession. Computer scientists and engineers place near the top of most annual salar y rankings for both entr y-level and mid-career jobs. But studying computer science or mathematics also teaches us to see larger patterns in the natural world, and gives us a viewpoint to make sense of relationships between people, events and larger systems. Computing has given rise
to new forms of expression and identity-understanding with tools like Facebook, which has raised at least as many cultural and philosophical issues as technical ones. Research in visualization, where humans are brought “into the loop” to understand data, necessarily requires us to consider how an individual’s background and condition affect perception and interpretation. Sometimes the data we look at are rooted deeply in the humanities (e.g. computationally reconstructing archaeological sites, or identifying authors from fragments of poetr y). I challenge Wang’s idea that humanities students are “more adaptable” than engineers or scientists: How do we judge that? Embracing Brown’s open curriculum means supporting students in whichever fields they pursue, even pragmatic ones. Education is about finding new viewpoints, and humanities and sciences are both necessar y puzzle pieces in learning to interpret the world.
Steven Gomez GS Oct. 26
t h e b r o w n d a i ly h e r a l d Editor-in-Chief
Deputy Managing Editors
Emmy Liss Joanna Wohlmuth
Ben Hyman Seth Motel
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e d i to r i a l
Our courses MyCourses is on its way out, The Herald reported last week. The current version of the system will no longer be available beyond 2013 and Brown will either have to upgrade to the newer version or find a new platform all together. According to The Herald, the Academic Technology Steering Committee is looking for student input as they evaluate options for a new course system. The committee will work to prepare recommendations throughout the year so that implementation of the new system can begin by next summer. We agree that MyCourses is becoming outdated and there is need for a newer, more user-friendly system. We’ve come up with a list of suggestions, guided by faculty interviews, about features we’d like to see in a new course system. Stability MyCourses has a number of quirks. Users are unable to have multiple windows open at once and there are frequent maintenance periods during which the website is inaccessible. Although these are small inconveniences, we hope that the technology committee chooses a system that is more stable and has fewer technical difficulties. Customizability One popular option that professors turn to now is wikis — websites that allow professors to easily create and edit interlinked web pages. Wikis currently offer many features that MyCourses lacks. They make it easy to change page layout, create tables and embed HTML code, wrote Assistant Professor of Neuroscience Carlos Aizenman ’93 in an e-mail to the editorial page board. These features would allow professors to tailor their course pages to the needs of the class. MyCourses currently only offers one page layout and a standard slate of
interactive features, leaving professors less room to design course pages specific to their classes. Interactivity Currently, MyCourses is not as convenient as blogs and wikis are for interactive discussions or group work. Aizenman noted that wiki pages also allow students to create interactive projects. Associate Professor of Public Policy and Political Science Ross Cheit echoed this sentiment in an e-mail to the editorial page board, noting that while he uses MyCourses to post general course information, he has separate blogs for group discussion. Though MyCourses currently allows professors to create a discussion board, the feature is less flexible than external blog websites that allow users to customize post format or insert non-text elements. While we encourage faculty to use whatever platform they find most convenient, we also recognize some of the potential benefits of a central course system. As others have noted, a standard system could be integrated with Banner, making grade entry easier for professors. Students may also find it easier to obtain course information from a single, centralized system. For this reason, we hope the redesigned system will take some of our suggestions into consideration and ask other faculty members for their input on what would make the most useful course system. We’re excited that the University is taking steps to update its Internet presence to meet the needs of students and faculty — from redesigning the University homepage to switching to Gmail — and we hope the new version of MyCourses will be as successful as these other recent projects. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to email@example.com.
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Opinions The Brown Daily Herald
Thursday, October 28, 2010 | Page 11
Your candidate, now with slightly less evil DAVID SHEFFIELD Opinions Columnist Today I bought a stamp from the post office, affixed it to an envelope and mailed my ballot off to the Burlington County Clerk’s office. Despite the suggestion by Mike Johnson ’11 not to vote for a candidates I dislike (“Omens and prognostications,” Oct. 19), I abandoned simplistic idealism and did the right thing: I checked off the name of my incumbent representative, who rarely fails to disappoint me. Why? Because his opponents are assured to always disappoint me. I voted for a Democrat who opposed the health care reform and who disapproves of Muslims building a mosque in lower Manhattan. It would be nice to vote for none of the above (i.e. not vote for Congress), but I will not apathetically stand aside when there is a heated race between bad and very bad. While I might be able to exercise that third option, the district will still elect someone — it cannot just register collective disdain. It might not be pleasant to vote for such uninspiring candidates, but it is necessary. As part of my due diligence, I looked into the stances of all the candidates on the ballot — something I encourage everyone to do before casting a vote, regardless of whether one is likely to vote for them. My incumbent representative may be further to the right
than half of his congressional colleagues, but at least he supports essential legislation on environmental and civil rights issues. It’s better than nothing, which my district would get from his opponents: a Republican, a Libertarian and two people running under the slogans “Tea Party” and “Your Country Again.” The general election is not the time for protest votes in tight races. Voting for Ralph Nader’s 2000 campaign in Rhode Island or Utah was perfectly reasonable. Voting for
is also the more drastic protest vote, which involves doing the same thing in a decisive election. It can send the important message that politicians need to keep their base content. However, without some semi-organized effort, the second tactic is unlikely to send any greater message than the first one does, while causing unnecessary electoral defeats. If progressives want to protest the timidity of the president and Congress, they should do so in an overt manner in 2012 where there is time left to plan, not by quiet apathy in 2010.
Voting for the lesser of two evils is a necessary part of our political system.
it in Florida was not. While I wish that the United States had more robust third parties and an electoral structure to accommodate them, I am not willing to let foolish idealism get in the way of electing someone who is better than his opponent, even if underwhelmingly so. Voting for some third party candidate (or not voting at all) when your vote is unlikely to matter in an election will demonstrate your displeasure without enabling the election of the greater of two evils. There
With only two viable candidates, voters are usually forced to make large compromises in order to support someone. If there were more viable candidates, voters could choose people closer to their own political preferences. Johnson does not like the idea that Harry Reid or Sharron Angle could be elected with a large majority of voters opposed to their state’s senator elect. Unfortunately, giving voters a greater selection so they might vote with the passion he wants means that even fewer people would want
the winning candidate to have that office. Voting for the lesser of two evils is a necessary part of our political system. It would be nice to have a legislature more akin to parliamentary democracies, where there are often many political parties who regularly win seats. Despite many attempts, Americans should not expect viable alternative parties. Even in the best case scenario, a third party would suffer the fate of the United Kingdom’s Liberal Democrats, who have sizeable support but relatively few seats due to the electoral system. Perhaps I am just disheartened by only being able to support two candidates since 2006 without massive reservations. Maybe I am bitter that the Obamaphiles got to pretend they had a progressive candidate in 2008, while I was faced with another set of disappointing options. You may not want to resign yourself to such a bleak view, but pragmatism should nonetheless remain in mind. Elections are important, but the subsequent legislation makes the real difference. I wish I had a more inspiring message, but such is life. When you have to, suck it up and vote for the lesser of two evils.
David Sheffield ’11 is a math-physics concentrator and left social democrat from New Jersey’s third congressional district. He can contacted at david_sheffield@ brown.edu
Brown and the city: a look at our ambitions across the river IAN TRUPIN Opinions Columnist As the demolition of the old I-95 overpass opens up a channel of real estate across the northern boundary of Providence’s Jewelry District, plans are being laid for a new belt of development to encircle this historic neighborhood, which lies across the Providence River from College Hill. An amoeba-like growth of the Brown University campus will reach out and connect with a similar one from the campus of Johnson and Wales, fully separating the area from the heart of downtown. This expansion is hailed by editorialists and politicians alike as a foundation for redefining the area from a rusted-out industrial park to a shimmering new “knowledge district.” Hailed as a vision that will put Providence on course to become a focal point in the biotechnology and IT markets, this “knowledge district” is central to the knowledge economy that a coalition of business leaders, politicians and University administrators have been planning in recent years as the city’s future. A large part of this process will be developing connections between Brown’s expanding life sciences research facilities and new businesses that have moved to the area, such as NABsys Inc., which was founded by a Brown alum to market DNA sequencing techniques developed at Brown. What does this expansion on the part of Brown mean for our relationship with our city and its economy, particularly given this blurring of boundaries between the University as a center of research and the city as
real estate for businesses? Is this an ideal solution to the phenomenon of brain drain, which otherwise carries students educated in Providence to distant locales, as its proponents suggest? Or is this a further stage of the process in which Brown shapes the city to its ends, gentrifying diverse neighborhoods and absorbing large amounts of valuable land into its tax-free hoard, while the city struggles to keep schools open? In pursuing this mode of expansion, decision-makers at Brown are once again following in the footsteps of our venerated model,
cally change the Brown experience. As was pointed out by Herald columnist Sissi Sun ’12 (“Transfers appreciate Brown’s non-corporatization,” Sept. 28) the quality of the undergraduate experience at larger and more research-focused universities can be lower in everything from aesthetics to meal plan options than at institutions more focused on undergraduate education. In a school governed by a Corporation that already does not communicate directly with the majority of people who make up Brown, increasing the sprawl of the institution can only reduce
What does this expansion on the part of Brown mean for our relationship with our city and its economy?
Harvard, where partnerships between research institutions and the private sector have created a so-called knowledge economy in Cambridge. The pursuit of this vision, however, has clear consequences for the Brown community and the people of Providence. Several recent opinion columns (“In defense of Brown, Inc.,” Sept. 13; “A Brown Inc. education,” Sept. 29) have addressed our school’s current focus on expanding graduate programs and redefining itself as a major research university. Though whether this shift is justifiable is clearly a contentious issue, all parties seem to agree that the expansion of graduate programs will drasti-
community access to decision-making processes. The physical expansion of the University into an area separated by water from the main campus will also entirely change the meaning of Brown as a place. The current geographic unity of Brown’s campus is a reflection of the extent to which individual students unify disciplines and interests in their daily lives. The distance between certain parts of the University, such as the engineering laboratories at Barus and Holley and the French department at Rochambeau, for example, or between Perkins and anywhere, already contributes to the development of separate cultural spheres. In comparison,
what are the implications of having a shiny, isolated new Brown full of pre-professionals staring up at us on College Hill from south of downtown? Brown students often note the existence of a bubble that separates College Hill from the rest of Providence and the world. As the school expands towards downtown, Brown’s bubble will either have to grow with it or burst. Given that Brown’s current expansion involves entirely transforming the area into which it moves itself, as it always has done in the past, the latter scenario is unlikely. When large numbers of Brown students and the businesses that cater to them moved into Fox Point, a fusion of Cape Verdean diaspora and college culture did not develop. Rather, the old Fox Point, with all of its character, vanished. It is reasonable to predict the same for the Jewelry District. Brown’s plans for expansion are already underway and unlikely to change. The vision that motivates them, that of Brown taking a leading role in the development of Providence’s economy, is compelling, but nevertheless one-sided. Providence is a diverse city with a lot of history. To cast the University’s ambitions for expansion into biotechnology as the future of such a place is to ignore the range of realities that define it. As students, we should neither be lulled by this self-congratulatory language nor unprepared for the repercussions of expansion for our undergraduate experience.
Ian Trupin ’13 is concentrating in biology. He can be reached at Ian_Trupin@Brown.edu.
Today The Brown Daily Herald
Reorganizing the R.I. Libertarian Party
to m o r r o w
71 / 44
58 / 36
Sheehan ’12 provides NBA preview
Thursday, October 28, 2010
i n s i d e to day ’ s pa p e r
t h e n e w s i n i m ag e s
3 c a l e n da r Today
“En Las Manos de La Muerte” Rites
Halloween Treats in the Stephen
and Reason Theatre
Robert ’62 Campus Center
Changing teams: being a tranny at Brown, sloshed in the city, food and sex. Plus — your top ten and weekend five.
The Poler Bears Present...The
The Shining, presented by UNICEF,
Halloween Show, Harkness House
MacMillan Hall, Room 115
menu SHARPE REFECTORY
VERNEy-WOOLLEY DINING HALL
Bat & Gaz | Sofia Ortiz
LUNCH Chicken Pot Pie, Falafel in Pita, Zucchini and Parmesan Sandwich
Sloppy Joe Sandwich, Falafel in Pita, Cauliflower au Gratin, Rice Krispie Treats
DINNER Spiced Rubbed Pork Chops, Cheese Tomato Strata, Oven Browned Potatoes, Frosted Brownies
Roast Turkey with Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Shells with Brocolli, Butternut Apple Bake
a c r o s s to b e a r ACROSS you C*n’t Censor Me by Jonah Kagan ’13 1 Stands for, as one’s hood 5 Like many lit joints 10 Ratty backups, for some: abbr. 14 Swear to 15 She didn’t always mimic what Simon said 16 One whose jeans might be burning? 17 John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s son, for one 18 One who yearns 19 It’s near the radius 20 Just for ___ 23 Rocky peak 24 Nose: Preﬁx 25 Lament from a Nas song 31 Mushroom ends? 34 Gillette razor 35 “If you want ___ can supply you” 13 Sp. ladies 46 Captain Kirk’s (“We Takin’ Over” 64 “Va va ___!” 65 List title 21 Song title for organization lyric) 66 Head-___ ABBA, Rihanna, 47 From ___ Z 36 God, to Bob 67 Big fair and the Jonas 49 New wave Marley Brothers, to band ___ 37 Alternative to us? DOWN name a few Boingo 38 “Good golly 1 Stadium shouts 22 “I’m frustrated!” 51 Half of the gosh!” 2 “Fo ___? Fo 25 Dominatrix band that sings 40 “You’re my ___!” ___, ___? Fo material, “Daylight” 41 You know it’s ___, ___?” (“Mrs. perhaps 52 Other, in gonna be a long, Jackson” lyric) 26 “Some Like Oaxaca long time 3 Lady Gaga or ___” 53 ___ way, 42 “Is it just me, the singer of 1127 Stereotypical shape or form ___ you have to Down, e.g. sexy costume 54 ___ theory put more than 4 They may be (area of math just letters in this called to a bank 28 Offers that earn you two tickets concerned puzzle?” robbery for the standard with links and 43 “Othello” villain 5 Teleport a la price: abbr. braids) 44 “Making Plans for Harry Potter 55 Continental Nigel” band 6 Positive yardage 29 Series that started with currency 45 One who attracts 7 Bergman in Episode IV 56 Super Smash women “Casablanca” Bros. character 48 Place for a 8 Designer Cassini 30 “A form of bodysuit-like with a laser horseshoe 9 2008 satirical ﬁlm lingerie,” gun 50 Biblical verb about the military according to 57 Chuck Norris ending 10 They may have Wikipedia attack 51 Attractive three prongs matriarch 11 Hit with the lyric 32 Noted beehive 58 ___ sabe sporter 59 ___ impasse “She’s just a girl 60 Listlessness who claims that I 33 “Ask away” Solutions and 61 “___ hollers...” am the one / But 39 “Whenever you archive online at get a chance” 62 Class where the kid is not my acrosstobear. 40 Mutual slapping tangents aren’t son.” wordpress.com 45 Escape ___ off-topic? 12 “Glee” actress Email: brownpuzzles 63 Vast, in verse Lynch @gmail.com
Cabernet Voltaire | Abe Pressman
Dot Comic | Eshan Mitra and Brendan Hainline
The Adventures of Team Vag | Wendy Kwartin
Published on Oct 28, 2010