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Daily Herald the Brown

vol. cxlv, no. 106 | Friday, November 5, 2010 | Serving the community daily since 1891

Poll: three in Choi says ‘antidote’ to four approve homophobia is courage of Obama Simmons stays popular; UCS remains largely unknown By Kristina Fazzalaro Senior Staff Writer

According to a recent Herald poll, President Obama continues to receive large support from Brown students, with 77.5 percent approving of his job performance as

THE HERALD POLL president — 18.5 percent strongly approving and 59 percent somewhat approving. Only about 18 percent of students — 13.3 percent somewhat and 4.6 percent strongly — stated disapproval in the poll, whose results showed that Obama is as favored on campus as he was in last November’s Herald poll. In national polls, Obama has not fared as well — the Associated Press’s exit polls from Tuesday’s elections showed that 45 percent of voters approved of Obama and 54 percent opposed him. The Democratic Party took a huge hit this week, losing control continued on page 2

By Caitlin Trujillo Senior Staff Writer

In the moment leading up to Daniel Choi coming out as gay to his mother, he could tell she sensed something was bothering him. “She knew I had something in my mind, something in my heart,” he said, and he wanted to clear the air. As he tells the story, he describes his mother’s reaction to his revelation as a slight pause, and then — “Don’t marry a white girl!” He exaggerates her shrill voice, but humor is how he copes, Choi told an audience in MacMillan 117 Thursday night. His speech, cel-

ebrating the 30th annual Asian/ Asian-American History Month convocation, drew on his own personal experiences as a gay Korean-American in the military and his life before and after he came out of the closet on the “Rachel Maddow Show” in March 2009 and was subsequently discharged from the Army. It took all the bravery he could muster, Choi said, but that bravery is the strength he prizes. “Our courage is the only thing that can stop people from losing hope,” Choi said. “Our courage is the antidote.” But courage, he said, is not what continued on page 3

Rachel Kaplan / Herald

As part of Asian/American History Month, Dan Choi spoke to students about his experiences as a gay Korean-American in the military.

Negotiators return from week-long stop By Alex Bell Senior Staff Writer

Negotiators for the University and the libraries union met Thursday for the first time since last Friday, with the thrice-extended union contract set to expire Monday, more than a month past its original expiration date. At their meeting Monday, union members voted down the University’s offer per the union bargaining committee’s recommendation. “The members expressed to us distress that the University was asking them to do what wasn’t possible,” Karen McAninch ’74, the

union’s business agent, said. She said concern over increasing employee contributions to health care premiums and issues relating to the preservation of work dominated the members’ meeting Monday. McAninch said Thursday was the first date that worked for the University and the union after the proposal was voted down, but they could only fit about three hours in. Friday’s negotiations will start at 2:30 p.m. in the Rockefeller Library. The talks will follow a rally hosted by the Student Labor Alliance beginning at 2 p.m. outside of University Hall.

SLA member Lenora Knowles ’11 said delegations of an unspecified size may go to the offices of unnamed “key players in the negotiations” after the rally. “They know who they are,” Knowles said of the unnamed administrators. SLA sent delegations to administrators earlier this week, but she said Friday’s delegations will be larger. Knowles said the rally will also likely entail a march to the Rock and the Sciences Library. “If workers aren’t happy with what’s going on, students will act accordingly,” she said. “And what we’re doing Friday is not an end.”

In PW’s ‘Nunsense,’ the nuns sing and dance

By Emma Wohl Staff Writer

“Nunsense,” a musical comedy by Dan Goggin, is not the kind of production one usually sees at Brown. “Theater around here tends to get kind of high-brow,” director Mariagrazia LaFauci ’12 said. That’s certainly not an issue with this show, running at Production Workshop Nov. 5-8.


Lydia Yamaguchi / Herald


Anne Kocher’14, Karin Nilo ’14, Blair Perry ’11 and Amanda Vernon ’12 as the singing and dancing nuns of “Nunsense.”

News.....1–4 Ar ts.........5 D&C.........6 Opinion.....7 Today........8

“Nunsense” takes place at the theater of the Mount St. Helen’s Catholic School, where 52 of the roughly 70 nuns of the Little Sisters of Hoboken recently died due to the questionable cooking of their chef, Sister Julia, Child of God. Five of the survivors put together a variety show to raise money for the burial

of four of the dead nuns, who are presently housed in the convent’s freezer. What ensues is a lot of wackiness involving feuds between the nuns, all of whom are shown to have flaws and very temporal desires. Sister Mary Leo (Karin Nilo ’14) dreams of becoming a famous dancer; Sister Robert Anne (Amanda Vernon ’12) hopes to progress from understudy to a starring role in the show; Sister Hubert (Blair Perry ’11) longs to be Mother Superior and turn the Little Sisters of Hoboken into “the Big Sisters of Newark.” As they stumble their way through their show, their petty grievances and long-standing grudges all eventually come to the surface. Really, though, the plot is secondar y; it’s more a way to string together songs and jokes than an continued on page 5

Call him Andy: CS’s innovator By Ashley Aydin Senior Staff Writer

Andy van Dam, professor of computer science, is not your typical educator. When you walk into his class, you might witness a spoof of “Snow White” or a music video from “The Lion King.” Even better, you can call him by his first name. And he can’t seem to shake those rumors that one of the main characters in “Toy Story” was named after him.

FEATURE Van Dam, who has been part of computer science at Brown since 1965, is one of the department’s co-founders. He also served as the department’s first chairman. “We convinced the administration to departmentalize us,” he said. He mentioned that the department was very countercultural when it started, especially since the department had undergraduates serve as research assistants and teaching assistants — something few universities did at the time. Ending ‘artificial differences’ Van Dam said the department still cares a lot about undergraduates. “That may seem like a totally obvious thing, but I can assure you that at the time I started teaching undergrads, a lot of other universicontinued on page 4

Brown v. Yale

Not so new

Going Loko

Home game is a must-win for Bears’ championship hopes

Spoehr discusses the history of the New Curriculum

Kurt Walters ’11 argues we should drink what we want

sportS, 3


Opinions, 7

195 Angell Street, Providence, Rhode Island

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C ampus N EWS

Poll: more than half of undergrads have stolen from eateries continued from page 1 of the House and facing a larger Republican minority in the Senate. But despite national trends, the president maintains support from students. A Herald poll conducted just before the 2008 presidential election showed undergraduates supporting Obama over then-candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., 86.1 to 6.3 percent. The Herald poll was conducted Nov. 1–2 and has a 3.0 percent margin of error with 95 percent confidence. A total of 915 students completed the poll, which The Herald distributed as a written questionnaire in the University Mail Room in J. Walter Wilson and the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center during the day and the Sciences Librar y at night. At 74.0 percent, approval for President Ruth Simmons remains high — slightly lower, but statistically the same, as in recent semesters. A total of 5.9 percent of those polled said they disapproved, with an additional 20.1 percent saying they did not know or had no answer. Those who said they approved of Simmons were roughly split between doing so “strongly”

and “somewhat.” The Undergraduate Council of Students saw consistent approval rates from past years, with 43.5 percent of students approving of UCS and 10.4 percent not approving. About 46 percent responded that they did not know or had no answer. Students were largely confident in their or their family’s ability to finance their education, with 64.3 percent responding in the affirmative. About one-third of students were worried about their family’s ability, including about 10 percent who said they were “strongly worried,” statistically unchanged from the past two semesters. When asked about sexual orientation, 84.4 percent of undergraduates stated they were heterosexual while 6.4 percent identified as homosexual, 5.7 percent as bisexual and 1.7 percent as other. Among men, 11.3 percent identified as homosexual and 4.5 percent as bisexual, while 2.1 percent of women identified as homosexual and 6.8 percent as bisexual. The Herald poll found that approximately 60 percent of students have stolen from or violated rules on food at eateries run by Brown

Dining Ser vices this semester, which has undergone some recent restructuring with the reopening of the Blue Room and the closing of the Gate for lunch. About 47 percent have taken out food from the Sharpe Refectory or Verney-Woolley Dining Hall after having eaten there. Also, approximately 23 percent of students have removed silver ware or other nonfood items, while about 15 percent of Brunonians have eaten at the Ratty or V-Dub without swiping in. About 16 percent have taken something from an eatery, not including the Ratty or V-Dub, without paying. Just under 42 percent of students repor ted they had used marijuana this semester. Slightly over one-third of consumers, 15.6 percent in total, said they use at least weekly on average. About 84 percent of students said they had drunk alcohol at least once this semester, including 80.3 percent of students under age 21 and 92.3 percent of those 21 or older. The vast majority of all students, 73.0 percent, have drunk this semester more than once a month on average, but less than daily. 15.3 percent responded that they did not consume alcohol at all this semester. The Herald poll found that only about 10 percent of students feel unsafe walking around campus

at night, while 90 percent stated they felt ver y or somewhat safe. Of those sur veyed, 96.7 percent of men and 84.3 percent of women said they felt safe on campus at night. The poll found that 40.5 percent of students said they had interacted with their professors outside of class at least once a week on average this semester. In addition, 28.4 percent said they met with their professors less than once a week, but more than once a month, and another 21.2 percent had met with a professor at least once this semester, but less than once a month. An over whelming 69.6 percent of students are or were satisfied with their assigned freshman roommate, with 47.9 percent stating they were ver y satisfied. In contrast, 25.9 percent of students were dissatisfied with their roommate — 14.3 percent were somewhat dissatisfied and 11.6 were ver y dissatisfied. Methodology Written questionnaires were administered to 915 undergraduates Nov. 1–2 in the lobby of J. Walter Wilson and the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center during the day and the Sciences Librar y at night. To ensure random sampling, pollsters approached ever y third person and asked each one to complete

a poll. The poll has a 3.0 percent margin of error with 95 percent confidence. The margin of error was similar for results above citing subsets of gender or age. The sample polled was demographically similar to the Brown undergraduate population as a whole. The sample was 46.3 percent male, 53.2 percent female and 0.4 percent other. First-years made up 25.0 percent of the sample, 24.5 percent were sophomores, 25.5 percent were juniors and 25.0 percent were seniors. Of those polled, 64.5 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 19.7 percent as Asian, 9.3 percent as Hispanic, 9.2 percent as black, 1.4 percent as American Indian or Alaska Native and 0.7 percent as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. Also, 3.9 percent identified with a racial group or ethnicity not listed and 1.6 percent chose not to answer. The sum of the percentages is greater than 100 percent due to respondents who identified with multiple ethnic or racial groups. News Editor Sydney Ember ’12, Arts & Culture Editor Suzannah Weiss ’13 and Senior Staff Writers Alex Bell ’13 and Kristina Fazzalaro ’12 coordinated the poll. Herald section editors, senior staff writers and other staff members conducted the poll.

Herald poll results Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ruth Simmons is handling her job as president of Brown University? Strongly approve: 34.8% Somewhat approve: 39.2% Somewhat disapprove: 4.5% Strongly disapprove: 1.4% Don’t know / No answer: 20.1%


Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Undergraduate Council of Students (UCS) is handling its job? Strongly approve: 8.2% Somewhat approve: 35.3% Somewhat disapprove: 8.2% Strongly disapprove: 2.2% Don’t know / No answer: 46.1%

Daily Herald the Brown

Editorial Phone: 401.351.3372 | Business Phone: 401.351.3260 George Miller, President Claire Kiely, Vice President

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The Brown Daily Herald (USPS 067.740) is an independent newspaper serving the Brown University community daily since 1891. It is published Monday through Friday during the academic year, excluding vacations, once during Commencement, once during Orientation and once in July by The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. Single copy free for each member of the community. POSTMASTER please send corrections to P.O. Box 2538, Providence, RI 02906. Periodicals postage paid at Providence, R.I. Offices are located at 195 Angell St., Providence, R.I. E-mail World Wide Web: Subscription prices: $319 one year daily, $139 one semester daily. Copyright 2010 by The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president of the United States? Strongly approve: 18.5% Somewhat approve: 59.0% Somewhat disapprove: 13.3% Strongly disapprove: 4.6% Don’t know / No answer: 4.6% How confident or worried are you about your or your family’s ability to finance your Brown education? Strongly confident: 34.9% Somewhat confident: 29.4% Somewhat worried: 23.9% Strongly worried: 9.9% Don’t know / No answer: 1.9% How would you describe your sexual orientation?

Heterosexual: 84.4% Homosexual: 6.4% Bisexual: 5.7% Other: 1.7% Don’t know / No answer: 1.7% How safe or unsafe do you feel walking on campus at night? Very safe: 48.3% Somewhat safe: 41.7% Somewhat unsafe: 9.0% Very unsafe: 0.9% Don’t know / No answer: 0.1% How satisfied or dissatisfied are/were you with the freshman-year roommate you were assigned at Brown? Very satisfied: 47.9% Somewhat satisfied: 21.7% Somewhat dissatisfied: 14.3% Very dissatisfied: 11.6% Don’t know / No answer: 4.5% On average this semester, how often have you interacted with professors outside the classroom? More than once a week: 17.4% Once a week: 23.1% Less than once a week, but more than once a month: 28.4% Once a month or less, but at least once total: 21.2% Not at all: 9.4% Don’t know / No answer: 0.5% On average this semester, how often have you used alcohol? At least once a day: 2.1% More than once a week, but not

every day: 30.5% About once a week: 26.3% More than once a month, but not every week: 16.2% Once a month or less, but at least once total: 9.0% Not at all: 15.3% Don’t know / No answer: 0.7% On average this semester, how often have you used marijuana? At least once a day: 3.5% More than once a week, but not every day: 6.3% About once a week: 5.8% More than once a month, but not every week: 9.5% Once a month or less, but at least once total: 16.7% Not at all: 57.6% Don’t know / No answer: 0.5% Which of the following have you done at Dining Ser vices eateries this semester? Eaten at the Sharpe Refectory or Verney-Woolley Dining Hall without swiping in: 4.4% Taken something from a Brown Dining Services eatery (not including the Sharpe Refectory or Verney-Woolley Dining Hall) without paying: 16.3% Taken food to-go from the Sharpe Refectory or Verney-Woolley Dining Hall after eating there: 46.7% Removed silverware or other nonfood items from a Dining Services eatery: 22.7% None of the above: 38.0% Don’t know / No answer: 2.0%

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“I haven’t tried it out yet, but it would definitely be useful.” — Ramon Castillo ’11, referring to a new textbook pricing feature

U.S. gov’t requires textbook disclosure By Aparna Bansal Contributing Writer

Emily Gilbert / Herald

The Bears look to break a three-way tie for second place in the Ivy League with a crucial win against the Yale Bulldogs.

Bears and Bulldogs set to square off this weekend

By Chan Hee Chu Sports Staff Writer

After a deflating loss at the University of Pennsylvania, the football team (43, 3-1 Ivy League) returns home for a crucial matchup against the Yale Bulldogs (5-2, 3-1 Ivy) on Saturday. The loss to the Quakers left Brown in a three-way tie for second place with Yale and Harvard. With only three games remaining, the Bears need to win out to have any chance of winning the league championship.

SPORTS The Bulldogs have also only lost to Penn inside the conference. Yale will look to avenge last year’s 35-21 loss to Brown in New Haven. In order to beat the Bulldogs, the Bears will have to shut down an explosive Yale offense led by quarterback Patrick Witt. Witt, one of the best quarterbacks in the league, is averaging over 275 yards through the air per game. While their passing game has received much of the accolades, the Bulldogs also feature a consistent rushing attack averaging more than 127 yards per game, led by running back Alex Thomas. “You can’t just worry about stop-

ping the pass because they can run the ball as well,” said Head Coach Phil Estes. “We are going to try to give them diverse looks to slow them down.” The Bears will need to create pressure with their front, led by Clayton McGrath ’11.5. The linebackers and secondary will also be tested as the Bulldogs feature multiple receivers capable of making plays. The Bears have set goals to prevent big plays and to limit Yale to under 100 yards on the ground, Estes said. While stopping the balanced attack of Yale will be priority number one, the Bears themselves will look to improve upon their offensive showing at Penn. The Bears’ lone touchdown was an 85-yard kickoff return by Mark Kachmer ’13. Joe Springer ’11 will again lead the Bears’ offense. Despite suffering an injury at Penn which forced him to leave the game, Springer will be back under center against Yale. Patrick Donnelly ’13 will also see action, but most likely only in predetermined “wildcat” packages. The coaching staff would also like to see improved play in the running game and has set 150 rushing yards as a goal against Yale, according to Estes.

Choi dissects ‘model minority myth,’ ROTC continued from page 1 led to the recent suicides of gay youth across the country. When people are not able to marry who they love, or get jobs, or be protected from bullying, the oppressors are to blame, he said. Choi criticized President Obama’s recent attempt to comfort LGBT youth who might be feeling helpless at the same time his administration opposes repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, saying that “silent homophobia and loud homophobia have the same results.” “You are Pharaoh,” Choi said. “Let my people go.” Another injustice Choi mentioned was the “model minority myth” that Asian-Americans ­— particularly people hailing from East Asia — face. Besides excluding many Asians from other parts of the continent, such as the Southeast, the myth enforces a perceived need for Asian-Americans to fit a specific mold to be accepted

by society. Though his talk focused mostly on the culture of oppression and how to fight it, Choi fielded policy questions as well. Choi called Brown, and schools like it, “heroes” for prohibiting the ROTC from its campus so long as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is in effect. One female audience member asked Choi if he saw any irony in his activism when the military he was once part of has been conducting a war against the Iraqi people. “I support so much of your message, but I can’t help but think we’re fighting for the rights of people like you and me” to wage war in the Middle East, the woman said. Choi praised the question, calling the military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan unjust and saying the greatest threats to American soldiers were cultural illiteracy and an inability to relate to the people in these countries. But, Choi added, militaries will always exist, if only to provide for the common defense.

As students registered for the spring semester, they may have noticed an additional feature available on the Banner Course Scheduler — the ability to view a list of the textbooks that they will require for each class. “It’s a new requirement that the Congress has implemented as part of its 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act,” said University Registrar Robert Fitzgerald. “As of July 2010, we are required to make available, to the greatest extent possible, information regarding the required and recommended textbooks for each course at the time of students’ registration.” All universities receiving federal aid from the government are mandated to follow this requirement, listed under Section 133 of the Higher Education Opportunity Act. The requirement was created to promote greater transparency and allow students to assess the total cost of each course.

At Brown, the registrar has worked together with the Brown Bookstore to make this information available to students. “We have gone beyond the requirements by listing not only the title, author and ISBN, but also the new and used prices for the books at the Bookstore,” Fitzgerald said. “It is a great service to students.” “I haven’t tried it out yet, but it would definitely be useful,” said Ramon Castillo ’11. “I could price the cost of a class and know beforehand if I need a $300 textbook for a class.” “Before costs, I would consider the amount of reading for the class,” said Aida Haile-Mariam ’13. “I would reconsider taking a class that is not only expensive, but reading-heavy.” The bookstore directly receives information about the textbooks required for each course from the professors. This requirement can pose a problem for some professors. “Because registration takes place months before the start of the semester, professors don’t always have the information about

which texts they will be using,” Fitzgerald said. But in general, most are sympathetic toward the new requirement, recognizing that it is out of consideration for the students. “A lot of us were starting to do it anyway. No one I know is really enraged by it,” said Professor of History Linford Fisher. “It also makes professors give more thought to the books that they issue for the class,” he said. Jack Wright, associate professor of psychology, said the requirement is not a major problem for him as he has been using the same textbook for several years. “But I can imagine situations where it is not as easy … such as for a new course,” he said. Professors receive gift cards from the Brown Bookstore for complying with the textbook information policy before the deadline. The government is also expected to start auditing next year to ensure that universities are complying with the provision of the law.

Spoehr discusses New Curriculum’s history By Jeffrey Handler Contributing Writer

Thursday night in Wilson 102, Senior Lecturer in Education Luther Spoehr spoke before approximately 20 students about “The New Curriculum as a historical phenomenon,” discussing how it was initially inspired and how it has evolved over time. According to Spoehr, many have an oversimplified view of the curricular change that took place at Brown. Spoehr said the “master narrative” of what took place in 1969 was as follows: “In the late 1960s, a band of student activists came together and put together a proposal that put Brown out of its stodgy and conservative past and moved it to a radical and unique future, one that has stayed with us for the past 40 years.” Spoehr set out to correct this commonly held, but incorrect, belief of what took place. Spoehr began by explaining how and why the American university evolved during the 1960s. During this decade “college was becoming a lot more important,” as significantly more students began pursuing higher education. The number of college students in the United States almost quadrupled during this decade, going from 2.3 million students in 1960 to 8.5 million in 1970, Spoehr said. The hopes for this generation, the late baby boomers, were at an all-time high — and so was the demand for a college education. As universities were growing, concerns surfaced that students would become increasingly alienated, Spoehr said. While such concerns originated in large research universities, they did arrive at Brown, where the enrollment had increased by 1,000, to 4,600 students during the 1960s. Though Spoehr said it was somewhat odd

to see similar concerns at Brown and at larger research universities such as the University of California at Berkeley, he suggested that a relative sense of scale definitely had to do with such concerns. Brown also had a history of innovative curricula, Spoehr said. “In the previous 30 years — that is to say since 1937 — Brown had already had two new curriculums: one in 1937 and one in 1947.” In 1967, Ira Magaziner ’69 P’06 P’07 P’10 and Elliot Maxwell ’68, working in a Group Independent Study Project, prepared a report calling for radical curricular

changes, which prefaced the New Curriculum of 1969. The concerns voiced in the report were ver y much relevant to the time, that “American schools were basically turning students into zombies,” said Spoehr. The report was also ver y concerned about the preprofessional focus on campus. When Spoehr was asked to discuss the future of Brown’s curriculum, he hesitated, saying, “I’m a historian.” “Institutions don’t stay the same,” Spoehr said. “That’s one of continued on page 4

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“We’re young and vigorous and reinventing ourselves constantly.” — Andy van Dam, Professor of Computer Science

Computer science department has ‘got a friend’ in Andy continued from page 1 ties didn’t teach computer science to undergrads,” he said. Stephen Poletto ’12 is one of van Dam’s head teaching assistants for CSCI 0150: “Introduction to ObjectOriented Programming and Computer Science.” Poletto’s duties include attending class lectures, holding his own office hours, running lab sections, grading assignments and staging interactive skits for the class. Van Dam’s teaching assistants play a large role in the course’s content. “There’s also a lot of course development year-to-year,” said another head teaching assistant, Nabeel Gillani ’12. The computer science department is one of the University’s most independent departments. For instance, members of the department have email addresses at the domain. “We’re independent, because it’s part of our field to work like that,” van Dam said. “It’s good for the computer science department to be on the leading edge.” The computer science department is known for a more casual vibe — the department’s professors traditionally wear casual dress to class and their students often call them by their first names. When van Dam came to Brown, he “never liked, for example, the engineering tradition of calling people by their last names,” he said. “I thought it was stuffy and undemocratic.” Allowing students to call him by his first name became a habit for van Dam early on in his career, he said. “I always felt that formal address puts a distance between people. That difference is not helpful,” van Dam said. “You know you treat people with respect, and it goes both ways … but you don’t have to be called ‘professor.’

Modes of address can create artificial differences.” Adding to this more casual atmosphere in his classes, van Dam incorporates skits with silly themes into his lectures –– a tradition that goes back to the 1970s. “The humor thing started from the very beginning, to do silly things in class to break the tension,” he said. “It lightens up the atmosphere and reduces distance between the teacher and students.” Poletto and the other head TAs enjoy prepping for these skits. “When we were preparing the opening day skit, working on it over the summer and writing the script out for him to look over, there was a scene with a hipster in it. We had an e-mail thread over the summer explaining to him what a hipster was,” Poletto said. “Andy really enjoys being theatrical.” Making his mark In the early ’90s, van Dam developed carpal tunnel syndrome after years of typing. He said after a while he noticed it was a serious problem. This spurred him to support department-wide policies that emphasized the importance of taking a break from typing. Van Dam has instituted the use of pop-up reminders for students to take a break on Sunlab computers and inserts stretch breaks in his classes. “The activities were introduced for fun and to have a little bit of a break. An hour and 20 minutes is a long time. So, it just breaks things up a little and it’s good for the mind and body,” he said. “For multiple years, I brought in my hand surgeon to show gory pictures to show what happens. I might start doing that again,” he added. Van Dam was also influential in determining the layout of the CIT building, especially during his time as chairman of the department. He said as chairman, he lob-

bied for the building and did a lot of fundraising for its construction. He requested four key features for the building: atriums on each floor, large open windows, showers and a Chinese restaurant. He said atriums were needed to “bring as much light and space for people to congregate.” For the showers, van Dam said he had to explain that many of the students and faculty within the department pull all-nighters and bike to school. Van Dam wanted a Chinese restaurant, which he described as being a total novelty at the time, because he said he is a “Chinese food fanatic.” Van Dam said he thought the restaurant would be a good moneymaker for the University, as it would attract a large clientele. Van Dam also founded the Brown Graphics Group, the longest-running graphics research group in the world, and CSCI 1230: “Introduction to Computer Graphics” –– the longestrunning graphics course, according to his website. “Graphics is fun and graphics is interesting and exciting. People are still wowed by it,” he said. “You go to see ‘Toy Story 3’ or ‘Avatar’ and you think ‘Wow! How do you do that?’ Graphics is just everywhere.” Van Dam has been influential not only within the computer science department but also within the University. Van Dam served as the first Vice President for Research, explaining that the position was created because “the dean of grad school was also the dean of research,” he said. “It was like asking the dean to do two fulltime jobs.” He said the problems of fundraising and research became complex. “There was too much to do, and so the administration and the Corporation felt the time had come and asked me to do the job,” he said.

Van Dam spent four years on the job, which he said had its “goods, bads and uglies.” “I’m appreciative of the opportunity. I think I managed to do a number of important things during my years,” he said. The right values Aside from his many roles in the computer science department and within the University, van Dam has multiple hobbies which include “outdoor sports, eating, drinking well and my grandkids,” he said. Along with these hobbies, Brown plays a special role in van Dam’s life. “It has the right attitude and the right culture. It’s liberal and relaxed,” van Dam said. “It’s mellow, it’s intense, and I don’t see that as a contradiction. People work hard and are genuinely interested in what they’re doing, and that’s not true in every subject and every school.” Brown has the “right values in undergrad and grad education,” he added. “Brown has most of what makes a small liberal arts college work, but it has research opportunities to make undergrads excited about research,” he said. On the subject of those “Toy Story” rumors, van Dam denies that he was an inspiration for one of Pixar’s most recognizable characters. Despite the many rumors that Andy from “Toy Story” was named after van Dam –– a rumor possibly fed by the fact that he shows several clips of Andy from “Toy Story” at the beginning of CSCI 0150 –– he explains that it is an urban legend. “I can’t shake it. It’s simply not true,” he said. Still, if one examines “Toy Story” frame-by-frame, the influence of computer science on the field is obvious, van Dam said.

“You see our book (Computer Science: Principles and Practice) on the bookshelf,” he said. “We certainly had an influence on early Pixar.” Still, he said it is true that Steve Jobs invited him to the premiere of the first “Toy Story” film. “He signed the special book describing the making of Toy Story with the inscription ‘you made it so’,” van Dam said. “It was a really wonderful evening.” Constant reinvention Van Dam manages to have close relationships with his students. “Andy makes himself really available. He becomes an adviser to you,” Kelly Newton ’11, a head TA for CSCI 0150, said. “I’m always surprised at how approachable Andy is. He was my adviser freshmen year. From the get-go he makes you call him ‘Andy.’ I think he’s there for anything I would possibly need.” Gillani added that van Dam’s advice expands beyond the classroom. He said van Dam gives his students advice on internships and research opportunities. “He really thinks critically about what students are getting out of his course. He’s always looking to improve things,” Poletto said. And of course, computer science is dear to van Dam and his students. “I think the fact that progress is so rapid and the bar keeps being raised” is what makes computer science so special, van Dam said. Gillani said he feels the same. “Computer science is very much a tool for solving difficult problems in the world. The fact that there’s this boundless feature of the field is appealing.” “I think I view a text editor the way other people view a canvas. It’s a way I express myself artistically,” Poletto added. Still, van Dam said the field is young, and it’s just at its beginning. “We’re young and vigorous and reinventing ourselves constantly,” he said.

Spoehr on U. in historical context continued from page 3 the points I’m hoping to get across tonight — Brown in 1969 is not the same as Brown now by any stretch of the imagination.” “I thought it was really interesting,” said Sam Margo ’14. “Professor Spoehr is kind of ‘the man’ ... He was talking about the push toward pre-professionalism and I thought that was very interesting because that’s on-going right now.” Ian Eppler ’13, who took a class with Spoehr last year, also said he was very pleased to hear Spoehr speak. “I think that Professor Spoehr is one of the best lecturers and professors/teachers at Brown.” “I will take advantage of any opportunity to hear him speak,” Eppler added.

Arts & Culture The Brown Daily Herald

Friday, November 5, 2010 | Page 5

Nuns have fun in PW’s Chorus rocks out to Rachmaninoff whimsical performance By Kristina Fazzalaro Senior Staff Writer

continued from page 1

essential part of the production. The song-and-dance numbers are show-stopping fun; really, the play would be worth the (nonexistent) price of admission for no other reason than to see a line of nuns dancing a can-can, the reverend mother singing a burlesque-inspired number outfitted with a red feathered boa or one sister singing a duet with a foul-mouthed puppet. The actors own their cheesiness, exhibiting overly expressive faces and overthe-top acting. The jokes, which come thick and fast throughout the show, do not concern themselves especially with political correctness. There are throw-away lines about missionary positions, leper colonies and “The Catholic Girl’s Guide to an Immaculate Conception.” Sister Robert Anne entertains the audience with her impressions of imaginary nuns Sister Pocahontas, Sister Heidi and Attila the Nun. The light, fast-paced comedy takes a turn for the even more absurd at the end of the first act. Reverend Mother Superior Mary Regina, played with great commitment by Anne Kocher ’14, goes into a drug-induced, pratfall-heavy soliloquy for no apparent reason other than to give Kocher some practice acting as broadly as possible. Such broad physical comedy is necessary for the scene, so audience members who do not take pleasure in watching public embarrassment will have to grit their teeth for a few minutes. Fortunately for the pacing of the show, this story line is mostly dropped in the second act, which continues the formula of lots of

songs, lots of jokes and not much plot. The deus ex machina solution to the nuns’ financial woes is mainly important because it triggers another ensemble musical number, which showcases the impressive gospel stylings of Perry in the best song of the show. “Nunsense” is an interactive performance, with the audience taking on the role of nuns’ audience. Guests are quizzed about the history of the nuns’ order, revealed in an early number; they are approached by the actors seeking approval; they are asked to contribute to a collection plate and sparkly hats passed around the house. The show “brings the audience in in a nonhostile way,” LaFauci said, adding that some shows “attack” the audience with their message. “Nunsense,” on the other hand, just says “Hey! Howya doin’? We’re nuns!,” she said. LaFauci said she chose “Nunsense” as her directorial debut due in large part to its silliness, but also because it “gets at the heart of what musical theater wants to achieve.” With a background in musical theater during high school, she said she wanted to direct in a style with which she was familiar. A lot of the time, though, “we just came to rehearsal and played,” LaFauci said. The actors’ training involved clowning work and “ ‘Looney Toons’-style running around.” “Take off your Brown thinking cap and just have two hours of fun,” she advised. Indeed, it’s the best way to enjoy this broad, meandering, but eminently enjoyable show. “Nunsense” will run in T. F. Green Hall Nov. 5-8. Admission is free for Brown students.

The Brown University Chorus opens its fall season Saturday evening with a hauntingly beautiful performance of Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Vespers” at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul. Director Louis Frederick Jodry described “Vespers” as extravagant and exciting — and the piece is just that. Rachmaninoff’s music weaves together moments of peaceful meditation with triumphant crescendos that leave listeners enraptured, hanging onto every perfectly performed note in anticipation of what is to come next. “What I love about this piece is that it calls for the extreme,” Jodry said of the piece’s ability to flow from very quiet, tender moments to victorious heights. Hearing this stunning piece in the cathedral only heightens the experience. As Jodr y said, the church has “opulent acoustics” that resonate the notes back to the audience in an amazing fashion, enriching the already plush harmonies and textures of the music. The music is “as intricate as this ceiling,” Jodry said, referring to the gorgeous ceilings of the cathedral, with its gold filigree, stone work and red and blue hues.

Beyond the acoustics, the setting is beautiful. The decor and sheer size of the cathedral create an atmosphere of awe. Jodry said that when Rachmaninoff composed the piece, this is the setting he would have envisioned. The performance provides “a little glimpse of the eternal,” Jodry said. The chorus as a whole is spectacular, coming together in perfect synchronicity to relate the powerful emotions Rachmaninoff’s piece conveys to the audience. Two soloists are featured in the concert — Olivia Harding ’12 and Andrew Wong ’11 — who each deliver wonderful, though very different, performances. Wong’s meditative solo is beautiful in its softness and peacefulness, while Harding’s rich, deep voice is strong and vibrant. “Rachmaninoff understood that some women have ver y low voices,” Harding said. Her wonderfully haunting voice compliments the intensity of the Russian text extremely well. The piece was written in Old Church Slavonic — a variation on Russian that is used in the Orthodox Church. Lynne deBenedette, chorus member and senior lecturer in Slavic studies, has helped the chorus learn the correct pronun-

ciation of the hour-long choral text. The chorus has been begging Jodr y to direct Rachmaninoff’s Vespers for about two years, said chorus member Ellen Shadburn ’12. They had performed snippets of the piece two years ago as part of a performance with Providence College, Jodry said, and since then have been petitioning him to put on the piece in its entirety. “This stuff is so brooding and emotive,” said chorus member Ethan Reed ’12. “And Russian is so much fun.” The concert is free for Brown students, but Jodry said he hopes that the public comes out to see it as well, as all funds will be put towards the chorus’s next trip abroad. The combination of compelling music, a gorgeous setting and pitch perfection from the chorus promises to make the chorus’s first fall concert a unique and memorable performance. “If there was a choral concert to go to, this would be it,” Shadburn said. The Brown University Chorus will perform Rachmaninoff ’s “Vespers” at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul and 4 p.m. Sunday at St. George’s School in Middletown, R.I. Admission is free for Brown students.

Editorial & Letters The Brown Daily Herald

Page 6 | Friday, November 5, 2010

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

Workers question U. math To the Editor: In last Thursday’s article concerning negotiations between Brown’s library workers and administration (“University speaks on library contract negotiations,” Oct. 28), Beppie Huidekoper is quoted comparing average raises for our unionized staff with raises for non-union staff at Brown. She is “trying to set the context” and cites “fairness” to justify Administration’s positions. By Huidekoper’s calculations, over the last three years, union staff received an increase of around 14 percent compared to seven percent for non-union staff. She wants to provide context, but fails to provide specifics about these figures. Does she count upgrades as well as annual raises in her assessment of non-union increases? During these three years, non-union staff received raises due to changed responsibilities — even during the 2009 wage freeze for which Huidekoper claims a zero percent increase. We aren’t convinced that seven percent tells the whole story. In 2007, we negotiated 3.5 percent increases for the next three years, totaling 10.5 percent. During that period and before, the library’s unionized staff dwindled from over 90 to 65. The consequence of this downsizing and the accompanying reduction in professional librarians is that unionized workers are now responsible for

work that was once shared by two or three people and/or done solely by professionals. To make this reorganization possible, Library Administration reclassified several positions. We suspect Huidekoper folds these upgrades into the extra three percent she calculates into our increase. We address these seemingly minor calculations because Huidekoper insists her definition of fairness, in the context she provides, must be served. Unions are the backbone of workplace fairness — we would love to see non-unionized workers at Brown organize and negotiate for what is fair. In 2007, we bargained fairly for annual raises. Subsequently, during the economic downturn, the University decided — despite its shaken but still enormous endowment — to freeze non-union salaries and cut positions. Here is the context: Brown made business decisions — not because it was broke like many businesses, but because it was less wealthy — that have negatively affected its nonunionized workers’ livelihoods. Now it turns to our union as we try to negotiate a reasonable balance between job responsibilities, wages and premium co-pays, and asks us to be fair.

Marie Malchodi ‘86 Library Associate Specialist Deborah Peterson A.M.’83 Senior Library Specialist

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

Managing Editor

Deputy Managing Editors

Senior Editors

George Miller

Chaz Kelsh

Emmy Liss Joanna Wohlmuth

Ben Hyman Seth Motel



Arts & Culture Editor Anne Speyer Arts & Culture Editor Suzannah Weiss Features Editor Sara Luxenberg Features Editor Brian Mastroianni Metro Editor Brigitta Greene Metro Editor Ben Schreckinger News Editor Sydney Ember Sports Editor Zack Bahr Sports Editor Tony Bakshi Asst. Sports Editor Ashley McDonnell Graphics & Photos Graphics Editor Stephen Lichenstein Graphics Editor Alex Yuly Photo Editor Stephanie London Photo Editor Max Monn Photo Editor Hilary Rosenthal Jonathan Bateman Sports Photo Editor Jesse Morgan Asst. Sports Photo Editor Production Copy Desk Chief Kelly Mallahan Asst. Copy Desk Chief Joe Milner Asst. Copy Desk Chief Dan Towne Design Editor Julien Ouellet Asst. Design Editor Gili Kliger Asst. Design Editor Leor Shtull-Leber Asst. Design Editor Katie Wilson Web Editor Neal Poole

General Managers Office Manager Claire Kiely Shawn Reilly Katie Koh Directors Sales Kelly Wess Finance Matthew Burrows Asst. Finance Danielle Marshak Client Relations Margaret Watson Christiana Stephenson Alumni Relations Managers Local Sales Isha Gulati Local Sales Arjun Vaidya National Sales Rajiv Iyengar University Sales Aditi Bhatia University Sales Jared Davis Recruiter Sales Trenten Nelson-Rivers Business Operations Lauren Bosso Business Analytics Jilyn Chao Margot Grinberg Credit and Collections Special Projects Alexander Carrere Staff Kathy Bui Opinions Opinions Editor Michael Fitzpatrick Opinions Editor Alyssa Ratledge Editorial Page Editor Matt Aks Tyler Rosenbaum Editorial Page Editor

Post- magazine Editor-in-Chief Sam Carter Editor-in-Chief Kate Doyle Editor-in-Chief Marshall Katheder

BLOG DAILY HERALD Managing Editor Matt Klimerman Managing Editor Anne Simons Managing Editor David Winer

Gili Kliger, Julia Shube, Designers Olivia Conetta, Max Ernst, Mrinal Kapoor, Alexandra Nuttbrown, Amy Rasmussen, Copy Editors

Ashley Aydin, Claire Peracchio, Anne Speyer, Night Editors Senior Staff Writers Ana Alvarez, Ashley Aydin, Rebecca Ballhaus, Alexander Bell, Nicole Boucher, Fei Cai, Kristina Fazzalaro, Sarah Mancone, Claire Peracchio, Lindor Qunaj, Mark Raymond, Luisa Robledo, Caitlin Trujillo Staff Writers Anna Andreeva, Anne Artley, Anita Badejo, Casey Bleho, Amy Chen, Alicia Dang, Sarah Forman, Miriam Furst, Max Godnick, Thomas Jarus, Julia Kim, Kristina Klara, Leonardo Moauro, Emily Rosen, Bradley Silverman, Anne Simons, Alexandra Ulmer, Qian Yin Senior Sales Executives Katie Galvin, Liana Nisimova, Isha Gulati, Samantha Wong Sales Associates Roshni Assomull, Brady Caspar, Anna Cook, Siena deLisser, Begum Ersan, Tommy Fink, Ryan Fleming, Evan Gill, Debbie Lai, Jason Lee, Katie Lynch, Sean Maroongroge, Zahra Merchant, Edjola Ruci, Webber Xu Senior Finance Associates Jason Beckman, Mae Cadao, Adam Fern, Krystle Onibokun Finance Associates Lisa Berlin, Mahima Chawla, Mark Hu, Jason Lee, Justin Lee, Kevin Lynch, Jennifer Morgan, Sam Plotner, Nicholas Robbins, Dan Seder, Daniel Slutsky, Emily Zheng Design Staff Rebecca Ballhaus, Caleigh Forbes Web Staff Warren Jin, Claire Kwong, Adam Zethraeus Photo Staff Alex DePaoli, Emily Gilbert, Katie Green, Freddy Lu, Glenn Lutzky, Evan Thomas Editorial Page Board Members Anita Mathews, Melissa Shube, Gaurie Tilak

E rik S tayton & evan donahue

d i a m o n d s a n d c oa l A nondenominational diamond to the interfaith comedy show “One Muslim. One Jew. One Stage.” We enjoyed it much more than last year’s effort, “Two Goys, One Cup.” Coal to the student trying to steal quarters from a washing machine to pay for her laundry — using a butter knife. Based on our latest poll, it’s a fair bet that knife came from one of the dining halls. A francophile diamant to the Brown International Organization and their scholarship fund, acronymed BRIOSCH. But we’re holding out for BAGET. A diamond to Gov.-elect Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 for sending Frank Caprio to a third-place finish in Tuesday’s election. That’s yet another employer choosing a Brunonian over a Harvard grad. On that subject, coal to Rhode Island for keeping polls open until 9 p.m., and keeping us and our printer up even later than usual. Next time we’ll just guess.

Cubic zirconium to Wednesday night’s Brown/ RISD Hillel Speed Dating. We would have given you a diamond, but it’s already on some girl’s finger. Coal to Cornell’s anti-hazing website,, though if it’s anything like the deans’ new Focal Point search tool, your site must make for some interesting graphics. A cold-shower diamond to the history department, whose chair told us it wouldn’t “have just sexy courses” in the future. Good. After being seduced by the likes of “China’s Late Empires” and “English History, 1529-1660,” we’re looking forward to a tamer lineup. A monster diamond to the University of South Carolina, whose course on Lady Gaga puts even LITR 1150W: “Clown Aesthetics” to shame. “Diamonds and Coal” is written by The Herald’s staff. Write your own at

c l a r i f i c at i o n An article in Thursday’s Herald (“Funding may limit UCS advisory handout,” Nov. 4) reported that Ben Farber ’12 said MyCourses would be used for the next UCS election. Farber has informed The Herald that while MyCourses is an option under consideration, no final decision about the elections has been made.

C O R R E C T I O N S P olicy The Brown Daily Herald is committed to providing the Brown University community with the most accurate information possible. Corrections may be submitted up to seven calendar days after publication. C ommentary P O L I C Y The editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial page board of The Brown Daily Herald. The editorial viewpoint does not necessarily reflect the views of The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. Columns, letters and comics reflect the opinions of their authors only. L etters to the E ditor P olicy Send letters to Include a telephone number with all letters. The Herald reserves the right to edit all letters for length and clarity and cannot assure the publication of any letter. Please limit letters to 250 words. Under special circumstances writers may request anonymity, but no letter will be printed if the author’s identity is unknown to the editors. Announcements of events will not be printed. advertising P olicy The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. reserves the right to accept or decline any advertisement at its discretion.

Opinions The Brown Daily Herald

Friday, November 5, 2010 | Page 7

A place for HIV in queer dialogue ANDREA LACH DEAN RORY MERRITT Guest Columnists There is no shortage of queer dialogue at Brown University. Curious minds flock to the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies to engage in cerebral discussions of gender and identity formation. Students make annual statements about anti-normative behavior and social assumptions at Sex Power God. With our gender-neutral bathrooms, effective Queer Alliance and progressive administration, we are leaders of the queer movement among universities and campuses nationwide. Unfortunately, this passionate, valid, but often esoteric dialogue misses and perhaps intentionally ignores the pressing reality of HIV and its disparate impact on gay men. Whereas 20 years ago, AIDS mobilized the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, LGBT and HIV activists now often make a point of distinguishing themselves from one another. As a result, our generation has all but forgotten, without regret, that AIDS was once called the Gay-Related Immune Deficiency. The images of young, white men in San Francisco hospice centers that once defined the disease have been replaced by those of poverty-stricken African orphans. Domestic HIV testing campaigns proclaim HIV the

“equal opportunity disease,” avoiding the risk of offending marginalized groups. The message: HIV does not discriminate. But HIV does discriminate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over half of new domestic HIV infections are among men who have sex with men (MSM). We cannot dismiss this fact as a remnant of the 1980s, hyper-inflated by our middle-aged MSM predecessors in New York City and San Francisco. We cannot ignore that MSM are the only group in the United States which has seen increas-

cietal assumptions about sexual minorities. Addressing this issue feels like regressing into a tragic history we did not write and one we have fought to overcome in order to write our own story of celebration and liberation. Admittedly, in comparison to debating theoretical motives behind anti-LGBT rhetoric or fighting for marriage rights, the facts about HIV seem strikingly unromantic and almost offensively simple. MSM are 44 times more likely to contract HIV in their lifetimes than men who do not have sex with men; the relatively thin layer of cells in the rectum is

This passionate, valid, but often esoteric dialogue misses and perhaps intentionally ignores the pressing reality of HIV and its disparate impact on gay men.

ing numbers of new HIV infections since the 1990s. We must acknowledge that it is gay and bisexual men who are affected by the recent significant number of new HIV infections at Rhode Island campuses. These statistics make us uncomfortable, and frankly, the reality is awkward. The stigma attached to HIV is uninvited in the queer dialogue. The fear in addressing these issues is rooted in our desire to normalize LGBT identities and to challenge so-

highly susceptible to viral penetration, making unprotected anal intercourse a substantial risk for HIV infection. We are facing a public health crisis among college-aged MSM in Rhode Island. The liberal impulse to handle AIDS in a delicate, neutral fashion, and our fear of reducing a marginalized population to such corporeal concerns, have allowed this topic to escape discourse at centers like Brown. However, the persistence of the AIDS epi-

demic in gay men in the United States not only belongs in LGBT discourse, but reflects the entire premise of queer dialogue. The relationship between gay men and HIV is a symptom of inequality, of patriarchy and misogyny, of valuing normality while fearing deviation. It is a direct consequence of discrimination, lack of self-worth, isolation and loneliness. It is about choices. It is about sex. Our hesitation to be open and honest about HIV in the gay and MSM community is not only dangerous, but also limits our examination of complex social realities to which the queer movement is committed. The Brown community should take great pride in its many contributions to the queer movement. We are comfortable with what makes others uncomfortable, which allows us to break the silence surrounding tough issues and push boundaries without apology. Now it is time to open the dialogue further, to challenge ourselves to face that which makes even us uncomfortable, to talk candidly about the staggering rates of young gay men becoming infected with HIV. If we do not do so, no one will. And if no one will, all our other queer dialogue will be hollow and our story, once again, will be written for us.

Andrea Lach Dean MD’11 is a fourth-year Brown medical student. Rory Merritt ‘09 MD’13 is a second-year Brown medical student and president of Gays, Lesbians and Allies Advancing Medicine.

Of Four Lokos and liberty KURT WALTERS Opinions Columnist If you’ve been conscious on a college campus or visited in the last month, you’ve probably heard of Four Loko, a popular new drink combining malt liquor, caffeine and somewhat questionable fruit flavoring. After a media firestorm was set off over the alleged danger of these drinks following an incident of alcohol poisoning at Central Washington University, the inevitable calls to ban the drink weren’t far behind. Calling it anything from a “blackout in a can” to (rather inscrutably) “liquid cocaine,” critics have banned the drink from three college campuses, including URI. The Attorney General of Washington is calling for a statewide ban and others are sure to follow. These calls to ban Four Loko should trouble all of us, not just would-be frat boys and people who find it inconvenient to consume cocaine in non-liquid form. Paternalistic legislation is not simply an annoyance to be shrugged off. In fact, it is fundamentally illiberal to violate freedom in self-regarding actions in this way. By “liberal”, of course, I’m referring not to political left-liberalism in the vein of Ted Kennedy, but to philosophical liberalism, the foundational value set of America, shared by everyone from Thomas Jefferson to Ronald Reagan to Nancy Pelosi. This set of values is rooted in respect for the individual — including allowing each person to make decisions for him- or herself.

Before I wax philosophical, though, let’s look at the case against Four Loko. Detractors cite several highly publicized cases of extreme intoxication at the hands of the drink this year. With a 23.5 ounce can that is 12 percent alcohol by volume, one Four Loko is the equivalent to nearly five beers. Additionally, it contains the same amount of caffeine as a 12-ounce cup of coffee. Because caffeine’s stimulating effects can counteract feelings of intoxication, those mixing caffeine with alcohol often drink more than they otherwise would. Moreover, a Wake Forest study from last year supports the common-

the age of majority and our low voting participation means that lawmakers are more liable to limit the rights of our generation than older, vote-rich generations. I don’t mean to deny that such a drink is a potent mix and suggest it is something to take lightly, and I’m sure that many students have been exceedingly irresponsible with the drink. However, caffeine and alcohol are by no means a combination exclusive to Four Loko, which it shares with time-honored classics like rum and Coke and Irish coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I naturally think that

The “nanny state” should not just be a boogeyman-esque fear of anti-government conservatives.

sense assumption that students are more likely to sustain alcohol-related injuries if mixing alcohol and caffeine than if drinking alcohol alone. This is all not to mention the fact that with both substances being diuretics, Four Lokos can naturally be expected to lead to some pretty heinous hangovers. The knee-jerk response in America to a troubling new trend like this is “you know, they oughta make a law about that.” College students often bear a disproportionate amount of this paternalism (see “Drinking Age, the”) as we have only recently passed

regulation, especially of potentially dangerous substances like this, is crucial. Making sure that consumers know what is in the product they are buying and how it might affect them is absolutely paramount. However, so long as someone knows what they are getting themselves into, even a profoundly dumb and self-destructive choice is one we must respect so long as it doesn’t harm anyone else. This is far from a moot point in today’s society. With a whole raft of paternalistic laws mandating seat belts and motorcycle

helmets, forbidding voluntary, physician-assisted suicide and imposing extremely large “sin taxes” on products like cigarettes, it is clear that the state does not respect our ability to make our own decisions and be responsible for their consequences. The “nanny state” should not just be a boogeyman-esque fear of anti-government conservatives. Even those of us who recognize the essential functions that government provides can still object when the government takes an inappropriate role. This still leaves plenty of room for the state to play an appropriate role of protecting other people from the harmful impacts of others’ decisions by doing things like banning smoking indoors or mandating safety locks on firearms. And of course, choosing not to wear seat belts or helmets is profoundly dangerous, suicide is often an unparalleled tragedy, and smoking is short-sighted at best. By no means do I want to counsel readers to do any of those things. Still, we should recognize the dangers of paternalism and reject this troubling legal practice. As Henry David Thoreau said, “If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.” And with that, let’s slip out the back door, raise our Four Lokos in the air and have a toast to allowing people the freedom to control their own lives.

Kurt Walters ’11 swears that the makers of Four Loko didn’t pay him to write this column. He can be reached at

Today The Brown Daily Herald


Chorus opens its fall season


1 c a l e n da r

12 p.m.


comics november 6

Bat & Gaz | Sofia Ortiz

8:30 a.m.

“Mapping Decline” Lecture, Mencoff

Dash for Diabetes, Rochambeau

Hall Seminar Room


8 p.m.

8 p.m. O Barulho Mesmo (The Same

Brown University Chorus Concert,

Noise), Grant Recital Hall

Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul



Hot Pastrami Sandwich, Curried Tofu, Zucchini Frittata, Roasted Herb Potatoes, Raspberry Swirl Cookies

Dot Comic | Eshan Mitra and Brendain Hainline

Chicken Fingers, Baked Vegan Nuggets, Peanut Butter and Jelly Bar, Raspberry Swirl Cookies

DINNER Manicotti Piedmontese, Sustainable Salmon Provencale, Curried Tofu, Pound Cake with Strawberries

57 / 40

52 / 34

Friday, November 5, 2010

3 November 5

to m o r r o w

HIV important in queer dialogue

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


to day

Seafood Jambalaya, Tortellini Italiano, Grilled Chicken, Pound Cake with Strawberries

crossword The Adventures of Team Vag | Wendy Kwartin

Classic Fruitopia | Andy Kim

Classic Hippomanic | Mat Becker

Page 8

Friday, November 5, 2010  
Friday, November 5, 2010  

The November 5, 2010 issue of the Brown Daily Herald