vol. cxlvi, no. 16
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Hotel labor dispute resolved
Algorithms can’t solve CS gender gap By Sahil Luthra Senior Staff Writer
By KAT THORNTON Senior Staff Writer
Fiona Condon ’12 was reading over a project handout for her computer science class. The prompt presented a hypothetical scenario, and while some students might have been amused, Condon found it “a little off-putting.” A woman is upset because she cannot figure out the answer to a problem and her boyfriend is not around to help her. The prompt instructs the student to help. “I understood it was kind of a continued on page 3
Last night the Westin Providence hotel and union workers of Unite Here Local 217, came to an agreement on a contract ending a labor dispute that started in March. At a press conference — which organizers held in both English and Spanish — workers rejoiced with cries of, “I have my job back!” and “Welcome back to the Westin!”
city & state Herald File Photo
“For bigger concentrations, they can be a great way to ensure that the students get to know each other and get more actively involved in their field, especially as it relates to Brown and its population,” Aida Manduley ’11, co-leader of the gender and sexuality studies DUG, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. Jacob Combs ’11, leader of the English DUG, also said the group allowed students in the department to meet each other outside of class. “Besides the fact that we’re all students and scholars, we’re people too. In English, we love reading and we love talking about books. The English DUG provides a discussion space for this,” he said. “It’s a great way to get people out of the classroom and into an environment where you don’t
The contract’s details were not disclosed, but a press release called it a “mutually beneficial agreement” that will provide “solid job security,” prohibit increased subcontracting and set a baseline number of fulltime jobs. “It’s a huge community victory. It’s a huge worker victory,” said Camilo Viveiros, executive director of Rhode Island Jobs with Justice, an organization that supported the Westin employees. Workers began boycotting the hotel after their union contract expired Oct. 2009. In March 2010, the Westin unilaterally decreased wages by 20 percent, increased the cost of health care by 20 percent, hired 50 subcontracted workers and decreased vacation time for select long-time employees, Viveiros said. Rhode Island Jobs with Justice, with help from the Brown Student Labor Alliance, discouraged groups from holding events at the Westin by informing them of the boycott. Beth Caldwell ’12 said the Student Labor Alliance successfully encouraged three Brown groups to hold their events elsewhere, including the 2011 Class Board’s Gala. Even with community help and the “perseverance” of employees, the struggle was full of “blood, sweat and tears,” said Audrie Ramsay, an employee of three years at the Westin and member of the union’s negotiations committee. Ramsay was laid off in June 2009, along with many other employees, but she will be one of the 50 percent of workers to get their jobs back as part of the contract, she said. The renegotiation of contracts between the union and the Westin happens every few years, but this one has been the most difficult, said Carmen Castillo, who has worked as a room attendant for 16 years and has served on the negotiations committee for 13 years.
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The Department of Computer Science analyzes which types of assignments are most intimidating to women.
UCS to change student group application process A new application process for establishing student groups will go into effect this week. In response to the findings of an audit performed over the course of the previous year, the Student Activities Committee has decided to reform its operations “to better serve groups,” Chair Ralanda Nelson ’12 said at a forum hosted by the committee in Salomon 101 last night. The Undergraduate Council of Students and its student activities leaders determined that the committee was spending the majority of its time categorizing and
re-categorizing student groups, a process through which groups are organized according to their function and funding. Because they have been holding weekly meetings to categorize student groups, student activities committee members have been unable to dedicate their time to other essential issues, Nelson said. The committee has recognized the need to serve groups beyond the point of creation, she said. An application process has replaced the weekly meetings this semester so that committee members may dedicate more of their time to other matters, she said. Students hoping to start their own groups will be required to at-
S t o p, r u s h a n d R o l l
tend an informational session about group creation. The next session will be held Feb. 28. They will also need to classify their group by type — such as cultural, religious or political — and obtain the approval of the committee member who oversees that classification category. And they must review Section XIV of the UCS Code of Operations, which explains the process for obtaining University recognition, and determine which categorization their group merits. Category S is reserved for fundraising and service-oriented groups, and club sports belong to Category A. Other groups are placed in Cat-
DUGs see increase in popularity on campus By Ashley Aydin Senior Staff Writer
Katrina Phillips / Herald Prospective Greeks roll sushi and make connections at a Zeta Delta Xi rush event.
news....................2-3 CITY & State.........5 editorial..............6 Opinions...............7 SPORTS...................8
Frats and sororities woo students with free food Campus news, 5
egories I, II and III based primarily on their funding requirements. The University does not provide any direct funding for Category I groups, whereas Category II groups receive $200 per semester and Category III groups can seek additional funding from the Undergraduate Finance Board. Category I and Category II groups may also apply for additional funding during the year. Students must submit a constitution, an initial member list and the student group application available on the UCS website. Both a hard copy and an electronic copy are required. The application was released Monday and must be submitted by 9 p.m. March 16 for consideration.
The number of active departmental undergraduate groups has increased from 24 to 49 since July 2009. According to the Plan for Academic Enrichment’s October 2010 status report, administrators have worked to strengthen “the number and effectiveness of student department undergraduate groups by developing websites, guidelines and coordination with concentration advisers.” A 50th DUG — for the Center for Language Studies — is in the works, Besenia Rodriguez, associate dean of the college for research and upperclass studies, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. For many students, DUGs are a way of getting more involved in their concentration and studies.
Reconsidering our Corporation rhetoric
Running High Bruins witness professional runner set distance record
By David Chung Senior Staff Writer
t o d ay
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2 Campus News c alendar Today
5 p.m. “The Language of Pain”
Hipocrasy, Democracy and
Pembroke Hall, Room 305
Hip(Hop)ocracy, Wilson 302
Reading by novelist Bradford Morrow,
Lecture on politics in the Caribbean,
McCormack Family Theater
menu SHARPE REFECTORY
VERNEy-WOOLLEY DINING HALL LUNCH
Pepperoni, Spinach and Feta Calzone, Bruschetta Mozzarella, Pumpkin and White Chip Cookies
Beef Pot Pie, Vegan Chili, Hot and Spicy Vegetable Saute, Pumpkin and White Chip Cookies
DINNER Sustainable Seafood Cavatelli, Oven-Roasted Tofu Triangles, Spanish Steak, Frosted Brownies
Tequila Lime Chicken, Vegan Ratatouille, Basil and Parmesan Bread, Frosted Brownies
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, February 16, 2011
DUGs foster ‘sense of community’ continued from page 1 have things like class participation or grades.” Every year, both active and inactive DUGs are required to submit a request for funding for the year from the Dean of the College’s office, which includes a budget and a list of upcoming activities. A DUG is considered active if it has at least one student leader, support from the department in the form of a faculty advisor and at least two events per semester, Rodriguez wrote. Each DUG is eligible for $500 of funding from the Dean of the College’s office to match $500 of departmental funding. Rodriguez wrote that she and Ryan Lester ’11, the DUG coordina-
tor, have been contacting the handful of departments that do not yet have DUGs. “In some cases, faculty have suggested proactive students who we’ve contacted to spearhead DUG creation or revitalization efforts.” Combs said he is focused on increasing student awareness of the English DUG. “There are announcements in classes to tell you about things going on within the DUG,” he said. “We work with professors to spread the word about what we do. It’s a lot of e-mailing and a lot of social networking.” The main purpose of DUGs is to increase student-faculty interactions outside the classroom and to help connect students with fellow concentrators, faculty and alums.
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“DUGs create additional opportunities for these types of less formal interactions,” Rodriguez wrote. “Brown students are incredibly resourceful and proactive, and DUGs provide a vehicle for them to create disciplinary-specific activities that help build community and provide valuable resources for concentrators.” “The goal is to enhance the sense of community in each concentration by providing some funding … so that students can invite guest lecturers, organize panel discussions and hold other events that might be of interest to concentrators,” she wrote. Rodriguez gave examples of language DUGs that have hosted film series and lunches in the Sharpe Refectory where only Spanish or Portuguese is spoken. She added that other DUGs have hosted alumni and faculty lectures, student research presentations and panel sessions on finding internships or getting into graduate school. Besides being a good way to meet faculty and fellow concentrators, involvement in a DUG allows students to “sort of take the reins of programming that is directly involved with recruiting people into the concentration,” Manduley wrote.“For people unsure about concentrating, getting in touch with a DUG and its people can help them make a decision — the concentration finally has a set of faces attached to it, and those people can discuss the intricacies of a concentration more in depth.”
Campus News 3
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, February 16, 2011
CS department looks to narrow gender gap in concentrators continued from page 1 topical joke based around the themes of the course,” Condon said. “But at the same time, having that trope be right in the project handout was a little irritating.” While she said these experiences are “absolutely not” the norm in the Department of Computer Science, the stereotype of women struggling with computers is culturally ubiquitous. Nationwide, the number of women in computer science is one of the lowest out of all science, technology, engineering and math fields. In 2009, only 11 percent of computer science bachelor’s degree recipients were women, according to a survey by the Computing Research Association. Departmental efforts
Statistics for Brown reflect national trends. Roughly 15 percent of CS concentrators are female, said Tom Doeppner, director of undergraduate affairs in computer science. He added he has seen that figure climb as high as 25 percent in the past. The department tries to make sure introductory courses have female teaching assistants and analyzes which types of assignments are most intimidating to women. The Admission Office is “quite aware” that the department wants more women who express an interest in CS, Doeppner said, though he said he was unsure if expressing an interest would actually increase a female applicant’s odds at admission. Admissions officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The CS department also offers three introductory sequences, partially in hopes of attracting women. But offering many options likely has not affected the University’s numbers, Doeppner said. He said he doubts introductory courses “are scaring women off any more than they’re scaring men off.” “The problem is not that women get disenchanted with CS when they get here — it’s that they aren’t coming here interested in computer science,” he said. “The perspective that people are getting is that a bunch of male hackers get together and just code all the time, which isn’t really computer science.” Like Brown, Yale is “pretty reflective of the national trends,” said Dana Angluin, a professor of computer science there. Of the 20 computer science majors who graduated from Yale last year, only four were female. The department considers attracting women “a fairly strong priority,” Angluin said. In recent years, Yale has staffed its introductory computer science course with female faculty to encourage its female undergraduates, she said, although the department does not tailor the curriculum toward women specifically. The university also has a student group for women to “work on supporting each other in the major.” Some students may take a computer science course to help fulfill Yale’s quantitative reasoning requirement, giving faculty a chance to convey the excitement of the field,
Angluin added. In the classroom
As a math-computer science double concentrator, Lu Zeng ’12 said she would have to question her counting skills if she didn’t notice the gender disparity in her CS classes. “But has it affected the experience of my education? Not at all,” she said. It’s hard to definitively say why there are fewer women in the field, but female presence has historically been low, she said. “It’s a little bit like wondering why there aren’t more people from sub-Saharan Africa in the Winter Olympics,” she said. Condon — who plans to concentrate in American civilization and computer science — said she knew after her first course that she wanted to study CS. She enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment after overcoming challenges and developing competency in the languages of computing. The case was similar for Zeng, who had not initially planned on concentrating in the field. “I could start from nothing (and go) to something like Tetris in a semester,” Zeng said. “I liked the feeling of mastery that I got from a course like this.” But getting women to take their first class in the department can often be difficult, and Condon said she does not know how the department might be able to encourage women to do so. She said she did not feel that her classes so far had catered specifically to her gender, but that she would not want them to. Still, there are signs the University is making an effort. Condon pointed to the Women in Computer Science group and the Artemis Project, a summer program run by undergraduates to introduce high school students to the field. The network of undergraduate TAs and events held by Women in Computer Science and the departmental undergraduate group help to provide a “strength of community”
in CS at Brown, Zeng said. Women in Computer Science declined to comment for this story. “The issue of women being underrepresented in the sciences is deeply complicated, and I am concerned that simplifying it to fit within the space constraints of a newspaper article will result in misunderstandings,” wrote Ashley Tuccero ’11, a coordinator for the group, in an email to The Herald. A decline over time
The proportion of females in computer science peaked during the early 1980s. But by the end of the decade, women were dropping out of the field. Computers were gradually becoming “a boy thing,” said Harvey
“What’s more useful is to find the root causes. … Percentages just mean nothing to me.” Shriram Krishnamurthi, associate director of computer science Mudd College President Maria Klawe. When computers were emerging in the early 1970s, most typists were women, and so computer science seemed like a job for women. But the computer games that arrived in the 1980s changed that perception, since most of them involved sports or simulated violence. The games were “very easy to program — a piece of light going across the screen and being able to figure out whether it hit the target or not,” Klawe said, adding that it was natural for game development to subsequently be “very focused on boy interests.”
The number of students interested in computer science increased significantly at the end of the 1990s, according to the New York Times. Since then, rates have steadily declined. As computer use spread to other disciplines, “people discovered you don’t have to do computer science to do computers,” Doeppner said. Most universities try to attract more women to the discipline, said Shriram Krishnamurthi, associate professor of computer science at Brown. But “I don’t know what the right baseline is. Is it parity? Is 50-50 the right number? Should it be 70-30 in one direction, maybe 70-30 in the other?” he said. “What’s more useful is to find the root causes. … Percentages just mean nothing to me.” Raising the numbers
At Harvey Mudd, the number of female computer science students has gone up significantly in recent years, the proportion of females increasing from 10 percent to 42 percent, according to Klawe. The department offers a number of summer research opportunities to female rising sophomores. It also restructured its introductory computer science class, which all students take in their first three semesters. The focus of the class switched from Java programming to computerbased problem solving, resulting in a remarkable increase in popularity, Klawe said. Harvey Mudd also started inviting its female freshmen to a computer science conference where approximately 95 percent of the attendees are women, Klawe said. Even students who do not end up majoring in the field leave with a changed perception of it. “It’s like, ‘Oh yeah, there are tons of women in CS! I met a thousand of them,’” Klawe said. She said she believes Harvey Mudd’s success can be replicated at
other schools, since the changes were not expensive. As an undergraduate, she was told many times that there were “no good women mathematicians,” even though she was one of the best at every school she attended. Zeng, however, said that the open curriculum might make Harvey Mudd’s approach difficult to implement at Brown. The student body of an engineering school is “very self-selecting,” she added. Broadening focus
While Krishnamurthi said he supports the University’s departmental efforts, he takes a wider view of the situation. “I don’t understand why women should be more important than say, African Americans or Hispanics or the poor,” he said. “I don’t want to be picking and choosing and saying, ‘That’s the most important criterion.’ For me, they’re all students.” Krishnamurthi, who taught an introductory CS course last fall, said he believes the larger problem is a misunderstanding of what computer science is. He said the problem is largely fueled by high school programs. The Advanced Placement computer science curriculum taught in many high schools has “tons of contradictions” in its design, he said. Many universities, including Brown, do not offer credit for AP computer science. Krishnamurthi said this should be an indication that additional reform is needed. To combat the problem, Krishnamurthi has spent the past 15 years running two outreach programs to introduce high school and middle school students to computer science. While he does hope to alleviate misconceptions about computer science, Krishnamurthi says his goal is broader and that ultimately, he hopes to improve students’ math skills and encourage them to get into science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Greek houses recruit with sushi, fondue, steak By Katherine Sola Senior Staff Writer
The month-long rush process began Jan. 31, and campus Greek organizations have a wide range of events planned for new recruits — including Sushi and Haiku with Alpha Delta Phi, Under the Sea with Alpha Chi Omega and Hookah and Mediterranean Night with Delta Tau. Catherine Mardula ’12, the rush chair for Zeta Delta Xi, said the events with “sushi and fondue” are the most popular and bring in students who might not have considered joining a fraternity. She also said the open mic nights were very popular, drawing 40 students. Adam Driesman ’12, recruitment chair for Sigma Chi, said people’s motivations for rushing “definitely vary,” but emphasized the appeal of a “close-knit group of people” similar to the groups of friends students might have had at home. All students have to do is attend the events, which might be dodgeball or a steak dinner. But the process can become “stressful and competitive” with up to 100 students rushing for 25 to 30 places, Driesman said. The Greek Council plays an important role in regulating rush. Araceli Mendez ’12 is the public relations chair for the Greek Council as well as a member of Zete. She said two houses are not allowed to have events at the same time,
minimizing competition. At the end of the rush process, each Greek organization gives desired students bid cards. The students then turn in bids to their chosen house. The Greek Council stipulates that students must go to a neutral location to hand in these cards, again minimizing pressure. The Council also publishes the rush booklets that are delivered to students’ mailboxes. Mendez highlighted the central location of Wriston Quadrangle as a reason that “all types of people end up rushing.” It is easy for students to stop by events, she said, and find out if a particular house appeals. Avoiding the housing lottery is “absolutely not” a factor in students’ decisions to go Greek because of the large time commitment of joining a house, said Richard Bova, senior associate dean of residential and dining services. He cited the fact that in the past few years only one or two students have changed their minds and moved out of Greek housing during their sophomore years. “Students who go Greek want to be Greek,” he said. There are 374 students in Greek housing this year. But Patrick Lec ’12 said avoiding the lottery was “the biggest factor” in rushing Delta Tau two years ago. The uncertainty of the lottery led him to consider joining the house. After getting a “decent” lottery number, he decided against it.
Westin, labor union reach agreement continued from page 1 In the past, the negotiations committee had worked with the state government rather than with the owners of the Westin, Castillo said. The committee found the owners harder to negotiate with. When the Westin decreased wages in March, they also increased employees’ workload, according to Castillo. This increase in expected workload resulted in an increased number of back injuries and sparked worker frustration, Viveiros said. Castillo, who received applause
as she walked to the podium at the press conference, said this was a historic night for housekeeping. She said she felt “proud” of the new contract because of the economic and managerial pressure the workers were able to overcome. Mayor Angel Taveras said the agreement is important to the city. He added that he wants to increase the level of tourism to help build the city’s hotel business and benefit hotel employees. Castillo announced that the workers’ “next victory” will be a contract for employees at the Renaissance Hotel.
Campus News 5 comics BB & Z | Cole Pruitt, Andrew Seiden, Valerie Hsiung and Dan Ricker
Dot Comic | Eshan Mitra and Brendan Hainline
6 Editorial & Letter Editorial Clean cuts
By now, most people recognize that the United States’ debt is growing at an unsustainable pace. For various reasons, federal deficits and debt have ballooned in recent years. It is clear that Congress will have to make very tough decisions to get the budget back on track. With a national debt now approximately equal to our gross domestic product and an annual deficit in excess of $1 trillion, we recognize that all Americans will have to bear significant sacrifice — in the form of spending cuts and probably raised taxes as well. And while the necessary measures will surely be painful for most Americans, we expect that they will step up and accept the requisite changes if they think it will solve our considerable fiscal problems. We were therefore somewhat reluctant to criticize national House Republicans when we learned of their proposal to make draconian cuts — as much as 15 percent or more in some areas — to federal aid for science, research, education and other areas of domestic spending. We know constituencies always complain when they fall to the budget axe, and constructive criticism is often hard to come by in tough times. But the proposal to make these cuts in the name of fiscal responsibility is not honest. Compared to our country’s massive deficit, these and other cuts to domestic programs amount to a small drop in the bucket. By contrast, the proposal foresees essentially no cuts to defense, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which together account for more than 60 percent of the federal budget. Add in other things that cannot or will not be cut — like interest on the debt — and the vast majority of the budget is apparently off-limits. But you cannot squeeze blood from a stone. These misguided efforts to balance the budget solely by cutting domestic spending in areas like science and education cannot do the job. Yet these token cuts that essentially amount to a rounding error in the grand scheme of things will ravage the areas they affect. For example, the proposal’s plan to cut 30 percent from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which funds basic scientific research, will undoubtedly have seriously negative effects on students, universities and our nation’s competitiveness in research and scientific advancement. Like the similarly large cuts to the National Institute of Health, these reductions will significantly diminish federal grants and cripple academic programs at universities throughout the country. Also, the elimination of AmeriCorps and Teach for America will hurt the students that take advantage of those programs and the underprivileged who benefit from them. Huge cuts elsewhere in the proposal will have similarly negative effects on education, transportation and energy, among other areas. We have already seen the dangers of cuts like these at the state level. In California and Washington, for example, the financial crisis busted state budgets and forced devastating cuts in state aid for those states’ world-class public universities that resulted in double-digit percentage increases in class size and tuition. We understand that there will need to be cuts, even to important programs, to get our nation’s fiscal house in order. But these cuts should be pursued responsibly, fully mindful of the serious impact they will have on those they affect. Everyone should share in the pain that balancing the budget will require. And funding for science and colleges should not be slashed to make a symbolic point. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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by sam rosenfield
le tter to the editor Morris ’88 defends guest column To the Editor: In response to Jennifer Grayson’s ’11 letter (“Requisites no reason to reject ROTC,” Feb. 14) comparing the pre-med requirements to the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps required courses, her comparison doesn’t hold water. Giving a student a choice to pursue a medical career voluntarily because he or she is interested in it is very different than an outside entity saying “we will not give you — or will take away — your scholarship money if you don’t take these nine or 10 required courses.” By way of example, lets say creationists came to Brown and said they would pay for the education of some students, but in return, those students have to: 1. Spend eight years working for us after they graduate. 2. They must not have any moral convictions against creationism — and certainly could not risk speaking out against it. 4. We would prescribe seven hours a week of their extracurricular time. 5. We would require them to take 10 specific courses.
6. They have to get their hair cut the way we want them to, and they have to wear our uniform one day a week. 7. International students, resumed undergraduate education students and overweight students are excluded, even if they wanted to join us. Certainly, no one at Brown would support that scenario. I never understood why some people feel Brown must have an ROTC unit. We don’t have everything, nor prepare Brown students for every career, that other schools and even other Ivies have and do. University of Pennsylvania has a School of Nursing and Cornell has a School of Hotel Administration. The nursing and hospitality industries are both perfectly fine and moral industries to send students into, yet no one is clamoring to have similar programs at Brown. By the same token, no one is saying that Brown graduates cannot join the military at the officer level in the absence of ROTC. Dave Morris ’88
quote of the day
“It’s a little bit like wondering why there aren’t more
people from sub-Saharan Africa in the Winter Olympics.
— Lu Zeng ‘12, see gender on page 1 C O R R E C T I O N S P olicy The Brown Daily Herald is committed to providing the Brown University community with the most accurate information possible. Corrections may be submitted up to seven calendar days after publication. C ommentary P O L I C Y The editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial page board of The Brown Daily Herald. The editorial viewpoint does not necessarily reflect the views of The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. Columns, letters and comics reflect the opinions of their authors only. L etters to the E ditor P olicy Send letters to email@example.com. Include a telephone number with all letters. The Herald reserves the right to edit all letters for length and clarity and cannot assure the publication of any letter. Please limit letters to 250 words. Under special circumstances writers may request anonymity, but no letter will be printed if the author’s identity is unknown to the editors. Announcements of events will not be printed. advertising P olicy The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. reserves the right to accept or decline any advertisement at its discretion.
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, February 16, 2011
The debate about the Corporation is repetitive and dull By anthony badami Opinions Columnist Please, dear reader, don’t turn the page. I know what you’re thinking, “Another column about the Corporation? I’d rather stab myself in the eyes with Blue Room chopsticks.” I assure you, I share your feelings. But I’m torn. I, like so many undergraduates, want very badly to reform the practices of the Corporation. Yet every time I approach the topic I am immediately turned off by the cliche-ridden arguments that populate the discursive space. It’s taxing and boring and alienating. Thus, it is time we reorient the discussion surrounding this salient topic, starting with the language we use. In a recent column, Julian Park ’12 called Brown students “blissful customers ready to become blissful corporate workers” (“Corporatization and a pirate ship metaphor,” Feb. 11). Really? Not only does this kind of rhetorical hand-waving come off as incredibly condescending, it hasn’t a ghost of a point. What does that phrase even mean? It may just be the narrow social circles I haunt, but it seems to me that Brunonians, variegated as they are, struggle every single day with these types of questions, trying to sort out their various academic, social and political identities in light of these huge moral dilemmas. You make us sound like rapturously stupe-
fied sheep — not the best way to persuade someone to your side. Another argumentative approach that really miffs me is the treatment of the Corporation as some kind of colossal, featureless, feeling-less machine: the Corporation with a capital “C” — mechanical and sinister. Park dubs them “power-drunk pirates.” The word for this is de-humanizing. Again, how can you expect to attract bees when you’re throwing beakers of acid at the hive? Speak to the “Corporation” like
There are definitely ways to address these important issues without lazily reclining on empty platitudes. Let me offer a few. First, if you want transparency, don’t merely harp on the necessity of keeping the devious Brown Inc. accountable — everyone’s heard that. Instead, argue that transparency would allow students to gain an understanding of the trade-offs, sticky predicaments and ethical plights faced by the people who run the Corporation. Argue that you want transparency so that we can
You make us sound like rapturously stupefied sheep — not the best way to persuade someone to your side.
they’re people — complex, flawed, ordinary people, capable of understanding the moral weight of their decisions. The word for this is empathy. Quite honestly, I can’t even parse the term corporatization. How does one go about avoiding corporatization, exactly? Does arguing for social justice mean decorporatizing? Why are the two mutually exclusive? The assumption that corporations are bad is so hackneyed and infantile that one can’t even read it without rolling one’s eyes into the back of one’s skull. Nevertheless, opinions columnists continually posit this supposition like it’s Biblical revelation.
stop treating these people as non-human entities. Second, get your finance-oriented peers on board. Can you imagine a rally in front of University Hall comprised of commerce, organizations and entrepreneurship concentrators, young entrepreneurs and future investment bankers? The novelty of this spectacle would draw more eyes and more attention than any ladder-raising Students for a Democratic Society protest could. It’s fresh, imaginative and wholly unexpected. Third, speak their language. Get an article in the Brown Spectator. Argue that, from a free market perspective, as a zealous Ayn Rand objectivist, you can’t stand the
dealings of the Corporation. Wouldn’t that resonate with students and administrators in a more serious way? Imagine all of the protests, the mountains of opinions columns, the innumerable barbs that have been cast at the Corporation, not just in our tenure, but throughout the entire history of Brown. Do you think there’s an argument they haven’t heard? As college students at an elite university, we’re supposed to be idealistic, inventive and passionate, yet we invoke the same, tired ideas over and over again — -ism this and Marxist that — and it gets to the point where you don’t even feel like reading a column once you see the words “corporatization” or “Brown Inc.” glaring back at you. The more these terms and arguments are thrown around, the more saturated the dialogue about this subject becomes, making the whole thing seem less consequential than it really is. If we are to reclaim the discourse surrounding this issue, we have to attack cliche. If we really hope to change the way our school is managed, as well as the values that guide that management, we must search for an unorthodox approach. Eschewing overworked vocabulary and banal metaphors may be a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Anthony Badami ’11 is a political theory concentrator from Kansas City, Mo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Corporation is back in town By chris norris-leblanc Opinions Columnist Yes, everyone, it is once again that time of the year. The body of people who have the final say in every decision pertaining to this University has graced us with its presence and, so to speak, laid down the law. After reading President Ruth Simmons’ e-mail to the community informing us of the Corporation’s many conclusions, my interest was piqued by the implications of several data points and promises. Since the total amount of money raised for the “Boldly Brown” Campaign for Academic Enrichment was $1.4 billion in May 2009 and $1.61 Billion in December 2010, this means our University received more than $200 million in new funding last year. In light of the contract negotiations between University administration and the dining services and library workers over the past two years, my jaw is left hanging ajar, low and slightly to the right. Although a great deal of this money is earmarked for pet projects of the Campaign for Academic Enrichment, we must not forget that donors do not always have a shining vision of where they want their money to go. Rather, the University often solicits funding for certain projects. In my opinion, it is the University’s responsibility as an employer and as a supposed agent of positive change in the world to ensure that above all else, their community members are taken care of. If we oper-
ate under the assumption that our University should strive to make sure its students, faculty and staff are protected as much as possible throughout this financial crisis, how can the Corporation begin to justify yet another tuition hike while the majority of the United States is still suffering from the reverberations of the most recent economic crash? If the answer to this question is their standby — to ensure the future financial success of Brown University — it will mark the most ignorant and backwards inability
to continue recruiting and retaining the best faculty; and attracting and rewarding staff who are working ever harder to keep Brown functioning as well as it does.” To unpack this statement a little, I think it is reasonable to extrapolate that “recruiting” and “attracting” mean hiring, “retaining” means tenuring and “rewarding” means increasing compensation. First, though Simmons claims that the University wants to continue hiring — and subsequently tenuring — faculty, there has been a serious debate brewing among ad-
I think it’s high time the Corporation comes clean and changes its name to the Man.
to recognize economic privilege I have seen in my three years as a part of this community. Unless the University plans on a public admission of “Whoopsies, our bad” closely followed by the immediate reinstatement of the benefits University employees were forced to forfeit in the name of the economic downturn, I think it’s high time the Corporation comes clean and changes its name to the Man. Yes, I mean the Man you stick it to. Simmons goes on to report that another key priority is to ensure “that compensation remains competitive in order
ministration and faculty about our tenure rate as compared to those of our peer institutions. Specifically, some feel that our tenure rate is too high. This leads me to believe that “recruiting and retaining the best faculty” is no more than empty rhetoric, vaguely suggesting a positive and placating idea while the administration actively pursues its opposite. Especially given the fact that since the 2002-03 academic year, the percentage of assistant professors has increased by 49.5 percent while the number of tenured professors has increased by only 9.3 percent, I am highly skeptical of the University’s commitment to follow through
with this promise. Second, we can notice that in the latter part of this statement, “faculty” is changed to “staff.” Since the median salary of tenured professors actually decreased by about $1,000 last year, I am left wondering where administrative compensations stand in this picture. Though information about the composition and compensation of faculty is easily obtained, charts detailing this information about administrators are either buried deep in the bowels of some university website or do not actually exist. But since our chief investment officer, Cynthia Frost, and our president, Ruth Simmons, both make more than $800,000 per year, I am inclined to believe that highlevel administrators are certainly included in this program of “rewarding.” So, what does all of this mean? At the end of the day, I think it strongly points towards a conclusion reached by Herald opinions columnist Julian Park ’12: Corporate profiteers run our University (“Corporatization and a pirate ship metaphor,” Feb. 11). And it suggests not only that these people run our University, but that they are changing it in a fundamental way. Considering the disagreement between university statements about tenure rates and their subsequent actions and the all-too-familiar use of corporate rhetoric about “rewarding” accompanied by bloated administrative salaries, I have to agree with Park one more time: It is time for mutinous revolt. Chris Norris-LeBlanc ’13 is from Rhode Island. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Daily Herald Sports Special the Brown
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Q&A with Bernard Lagat By James Blum Sports Staff Writer
The men’s and women’s indoor track squads crossed paths with an all-time distance champion, Bernard Lagat, at the New York Road Runners Saturday Night at the Armory last weekend. In a time of eight minutes, 10.07 seconds, Lagat, 36, captured his fifth American indoor record. He has won two Olympic medals in his career, in addition to seven gold medals at various World Championships. Lagat started his career competing for his native Kenya, but became an American citizen in 2004. The Herald caught up with Lagat after his record-setting race. Herald: At what age did you first start to run seriously, and what did it consist of at that time? Lagat: Well, you know, the thing is I started running seriously after high school. I started training seriously but competing — I wouldn’t even call it competing because I was a college student and didn’t know much about anything ... I was 21 when I started competing, I would say, seriously. And then, of course, following up, coming up to Washington State (University), meeting my best coach, James Li, who has been my coach up ’til now. So everything has been so good, because from one coach who is really good in Kenya to another one who is even better in terms of coaching collegiate athletes and also professional runners.
long on the distance, in terms of doing the mileage, but now I can do longer mileage. So I am doing longer now, but I am concentrating on doing longer but also faster. If I do long, sometimes I split it into two, almost like I have a tempo run in there. I have to go all out, but still, at the end of it, I’m running 13 miles. And then we do track session once a week, sometimes twice a week, do purely tempo runs twice a week. So it’s those kind of workouts I do more than I used to do before. So it feels like my workouts are more distance now, more endurance paced because of my 5000-meter races. And so what should we expect from you in the future? What races do you have your eyes on? I have my eyes on the world championship 5000 meters. I’ll be running with strong guys now, young guys. There’s a guy from Kenya who ran 12:53 in 5000 meters last week. So those are the guys I’m expecting to meet, you know, the guy’s 20 years old and he’s running superbly fast right now. Very strong. So it depends
who I run against, but hey, I am out there pushing myself 100 percent in training. And do you have any thoughts on the 2012 Olympics? Yes — same thing and same approach as I’m doing for 2011 world championships is the same approach I will also be doing next year in 2012 as I prepare for Olympics. Of course, the more important thing is to be healthy, to be strong and to train well. At the same time, just pray that all goes well at the trials, that you make the team, because now the United States team is getting stronger. … They know that in order for them to be the best in the world, they have to race against the best. And you see the American guys going overseas competing at the very best level, and they do the best job. I’m proud of them all, and I’m happy that I’m in the mix of the American athletes that are doing well so far. So I’m going to be doing that knowing that it’s important, first of all, if I want to go to Olympics to run strong and to qualify for it.
Why did you decide to become a naturalized American citizen and compete for the United States instead of Kenya? What made me decide to do that is the fact that I was looking at my career and because what I’m going to do after my career is over is stay in America and, you know, work and raise my family in America. … I want to settle down, so when I start my family I could be able to stay in one place. And of course, being a runner, I would like to represent the United States to the best of my abilities, which I’ve been able to do in so many outings that I’ve been able to go, like world championships and even Olympics — even though I could not make it to the finals of the 1500, but made the finals of the five in 2008. Every experience I’ve had running in a 10-year period has been of great importance. So that’s one of the things that I actually enjoy in my career — representing the United States. What does your training consist of today? Well, it is a little bit changed. I used to concentrate more on not
Courtesy of Andre Zehetbauer
Bernard Lagat finished third in the 1500 meter event in the International Association of Athletics Federations 2009 World Championships in Berlin.
Bears race in New York as national two-mile record set By James Blum Sports Staff Writer
As the Bears closed the book on their regular season at last Saturday’s New York Road Runners Night at the Armory meet, the record books were reopened — the Bears watched Bernard Lagat, professional distance champion, set a new American record in the indoor two-mile run. Although Brown did not bring home any records, the women claimed third place and the men finished seventh. Lagat’s impressive performance came during a special two-mile race at the meet, which also included high-school star Lukas Verzbicas, who was chasing the high-school two-mile record. Lagat broke the record, which had stood for 21 years, by five seconds as he clocked eight minutes, 10.07 seconds. “The pace started, you know, really nice and comfortable at the beginning,” Lagat said. “So that’s why I was able to do a 4:02 (mile) towards the end of the race.” Lagat was assisted in his efforts by pacing rabbits — two runners who helped him stay on his record-setting pace for portions of the race — but for the final laps of the race, Lagat was alone in his efforts. To put the accomplishment in perspective, both of Lagat’s miles were faster than Brown’s top one-mile finisher, Dan Lowry ’12, who ran 4:09.26. “This time around, it was different, you know, it was a special set of a race,” Lagat said. “And I knew that in order for me to get this record I had to be strong towards the end by myself.” Though he ran alone during the last laps of the race, the enthusiastic crowd of college runners cheered Lagat on. “The crowd was going crazy while he was running and after,” Lowry said. “We actually got a picture with him right after he did it.” Even when he was unsure if the crowd was cheering for him because he was behind or ahead of record time, Lagat acknowledged that the crowd helped push him. “Even towards the end there with five laps to go, they started banging on the sideboards,” Lagat said. “I was happy that I was able to be with them and run and get their support.” “The crowd was awesome,” Verzbicas wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. “The race was a good experience.” Verzbicas missed setting the high-school record Saturday evening by three seconds, as he ran 8:43.24. “Before the race, I felt great,” he wrote. “After though, I felt very bad for some reason. I must have had some sort of an allergic re-
action to the dust of the armory because I couldn’t stop sneezing for the next few days.” Although he did not break the record in this try, Verzbicas will compete in the 5,000-meter and two-mile at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in March. “When he came a little short of it, that’s the nature of it,” Lagat said. “I’ve tried to go into a race hoping to run a certain time, but I come short. But that doesn’t diminish my ambition, so I keep going and keep going and I told him the same thing as well.” Before and after the two-mile event, the Bears had several impressive performances of their own. The women accrued 84.50 points throughout the meet, and Brynn Smith ’11 won an individual title in the weight throw. “We had really good performances,” said Head Coach Michelle Eisenreich. Gabriela Baiter’s ’11.5 performance was another highlight of the meet for Brown, as she jumped 12.9 meters to capture second place in the triple jump. In addition, Colby Lubman ’14 earned fifth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 56.99 seconds. The women’s distance team also contributed to the third place finish with the 4x800-meter relay, earning second place overall. Firstyear runners Margaret Connelly ’14 and Heidi Caldwell ’14 claimed seventh and 11th place finishes in the 3000-meter run, which they ran to hit certain, controlled times according to Eisenreich. Though the men left the Armory with only 57 points overall, they did come away with two titles. Daniel Smith ’13 captured the shot-put title with a heave of 16.88m and John Spooney ’14 won the 200-meter dash in 21.94. The men also had some strong finishes in the longer events. Kevin Cooper ’13 came in second in the 1000-meter run. Lowry and Anthony Schurz ’12 placed well in the one-mile run, finishing sixth and ninth, respectively. “It was a (personal record) for me, so I’m pretty happy about that,” Lowry said. “It could have gone a little bit better, but two weeks out from (the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships), it’s a good sign of improvement.” The next challenge facing Bruno will be the USA Track and Field New England Championships at Harvard Feb. 20. “Not everyone is competing at the USATF meet,” Lowry said. “A lot of us aren’t competing if we are racing at Heps. We have a break week and then get some more speed work in.” The Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, hosted by Columbia, will be held Feb. 26 and 27.