vol. cxlvi, no. 25
Bookstore to install alarms after thefts
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Campus debate on ROTC intensifies
e d u c at i o n i n c r i s i s
By Louisa Chafee Contributing Writer
After three notebook computers were stolen from the Brown Bookstore in the past month, the store has decided to install alarms on all laptops to prevent further thefts. According to Steven Souza, the director of the Brown Bookstore, someone outside the Brown community stole a laptop from the bookstore several weeks ago. The thief had been loitering in the computer area, he said. When a worker placed a laptop behind the counter to retrieve another for a student customer, the man reached behind the counter and walked out with the laptop. Souza contacted the Department of Public Safety that day when he noticed one of the display laptops was missing. Bookstore and DPS staff looked at footage from security cameras and used a screenshot of the man’s face to identify him. DPS handed the case over to the Providence Police Department, continued on page 2
By Mark Raymond Senior Staff Writer
comets had only been seen from a far distance. This initial mission cost $330 million. In comparison, Stardust-NExT was cheap, totaling just $29 million. The night Stardust-NExT flew by Tempel 1 was full of tension, Schultz said. “It was like finals here at Brown.” Researchers were expecting to receive five images immediately after the spacecraft passed by the comet, around 10 p.m. But as they waited tensely in mission control in the jet propulsion laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., the images never came. Schultz went to bed. After a restless night, he awoke to a surprise — the images had not only appeared, but successfully captured all the researchers had hoped to see. Comets consist of a head — the bright spot visible to the human eye and surrounded by an envelope of dust and gas called a coma — and a tail, which extends tremendous distances. Made of ice and dust, they
The recent congressional repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the creation of a committee to review the University’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps policy has intensified the debate over whether ROTC should be reinstated on campus. Since the decision to end the on-campus ROTC program in 1969, students interested in participating in ROTC have only been able to do so through a partnership with Providence College. Earlier this semester, President Ruth Simmons formed a committee to research the University ROTC policy and issue recommendations this spring, which has increased student mobilization for and against ROTC. Provost David Kertzer ’69 P’95 P’98, who was a member of the committee that examined ROTC policy in the 1960s, said the recent repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” brings the ROTC debate “back to some of the earlier issues about having a department of military science and having faculty chosen by the military.” When he was a student on the committee, Kertzer wrote a minority dissent rejecting the committee’s recommendations to modify the on-campus ROTC program but not eliminate it entirely. Kertzer opposed what he thought was a “culture conflict” between the University’s liberal arts atmosphere and the norms of the military science department, he said. “The very idea that the faculty of Brown University has a ‘responsibility’ to devise military training programs on campus must be seriously challenged,” Kertzer wrote in his report, according to a 1969 Herald article. Though he strongly opposed Brown’s ROTC program as a student, Kertzer said “it was a different environment in the late sixties,” and the prospect of going to war upon graduation had an effect on student opinion. As debate continues to permeate campus, the University’s position will depend on the current committee’s findings.
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Sophia Seawell / Herald
Mayor Angel Taveras’ decision to issue dismissal notices is raising uproar over the extent of state policymakers‘ power to make sweeping changes in the face of sky-high budget deficits.
State’s $300 million deficit takes toll on education By Katherine long Staff Writer
Last Tuesday, Mayor Angel Taveras issued termination notices to all 1,926 Providence public school teachers, citing the city’s dire budget deficit. The move ignited a controversy over how far state politicians can go to address financial challenges. According to recent estimates, the state and its municipalities face
deficits as far as the eye can see. Rhode Island has a $290 million shortfall for the next fiscal year
Putting Rhode Island’s public schools to the test First in a five-part series that is projected to grow to $375 million by 2016. Yesterday, Taveras reported that Providence is facing a nearly $110 million deficit for the
upcoming fiscal year. Almost $40 million of that deficit resides in the Providence Public School District. With policymakers looking to the education system for cuts, the state’s schools are feeling the strain. In addition to firing teachers, Taveras announced yesterday that he plans to close four to six schools to rein in the city’s deficit. continued on page 7
By morgan johnson Contributing Writer
Despite its chilly location and subject matter, “On the Ice,” produced by Cara Marcous ’97, is heating up the film festival circuit.
The 2011 Sundance Film Festival selection tells the story of two teenagers trying to get away with murder in Barrow, Alaska, writerdirector Andrew Okpeaha MacLean’s hometown. The two teenage friends attempt to cover up the accidental murder of their friend during a fight on a seal hunt, and “On the Ice” explores their return to their hometown, Marcous said. “Their relationships deteriorate,” she said, “and they have to make the decision of what kind of people they want to be.” Two weeks ago, the film won Best First Feature at the Berlin International Film Festival. “Total surprise. We are over the moon,” Marcous wrote in an e-mail to The Herald
news...................2-5 CITY & State.....6-9 editorial.............10 Opinions.............11
soon after getting the good news. In addition to the Berlin festival and Sundance, the film was shown at the Istanbul International Film Festival. All of the success is quite an accomplishment for Marcous — this is the first narrative feature film she has produced. From Brown to Barrow
Film is a fairly new medium for Marcous, who was once more familiar with the drama of live productions. At Brown, Marcous studied theater, anthropology and literature and immersed herself in the campus theater scene, she said. In addition to joining the comedy group Out of Bounds during her first year, Marcous said she was involved in over 15 theater productions at Brown. “She was a great actor,” said Lowry Marshall, a theater arts and performance studies professor who taught Marcous. “She was widely cast and wrote a lot.” continued on page 2
Terminated City Hall crowd protests teacher dismissals
City & State, 7
By Natalie Villacorta Senior Staff Writer
Professor of Geological Sciences Peter Schultz has a lot of luck with comets. Just 49 years ago, he convinced a girl to stay up until 3 a.m. to watch a meteor shower — this girl became his wife. And this past Valentine’s Day, he came up close and personal with a comet he has been researching since 2005. The comet’s name is Tempel 1, and the NASA mission is called Stardust-NExT. The spacecraft Stardust flew by Tempel 1 Feb. 14, getting a glimpse of the comet’s surface and revealing a side researchers had never before seen. “I’m ecstatic,” Schultz said. Schultz works with other researchers from Cornell and the University of Washington to study the composition of comets. In 2005, their mission Deep Impact was the first to get an inside look at a comet, providing information about the appearance of its surfaces and composition. Before Deep Impact,
tries Whipahol, gets weird with Shakespeare
Alum’s producing career Celestial fly-by brings first heats up with ‘On the Ice’ glimpse of comet’s interior
t o d ay
24 / 14
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2 Campus News calendar Today
“Exclusivity at the TWC” Workshop,
imPulse Dance Spring Show,
Faunce Multipurpose Room
9 p.m. “As You Like It,”
menu SHARPE REFECTORY
Courtesy of Cara Marcous
LUNCH Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwich, Vegetarian Pot Pie, Milk and White Chocolate Chip Cookies
DINNER Italian Vegetable Saute, Chicken and Lo Mein Noodle Stir Fry, Chocolate Oatmeal Squares
Pork Medallions in Portabello Sauce, Au Gratin Potatoes with Fresh Herbs, Vegan Paella
Across to bear ACROSS 1 Kickass 5 PBS science show 9 Acct. summary 13 Kitchen drawer? 14 Actress Olin 15 Deposed Iranian 16 Hang ﬂaccidly 17 Bit of work 18 Preﬁx with wolf or rabbit 19 Recent Best Supporting Actor nominee 22 ___ Bud 23 Sufﬁx with urban 24 Terre Haute sch. 25 Whitehouse or Reed, for RI 26 Eastern “way” 27 Sub-feathers coat 28 “___ Diego, which of course in German means a whale’s vagina” (“Anchorman” quote) 29 Seattle’s ___ Field 31 Effs up 33 Mayor-elect of Chicago 34 Disney Channel movie about a surfer who moves to Vermont 39 Seethe 40 Harold of “Ghostbusters” 41 Vice president Spiro et al. 44 OS of choice for Brown students 45 “So the ___ won’t let me be or let me be me, so let me see” (Eminem lyric) 48 “Mine!” 49 “___ right?” 51 Sufﬁx with morph 52 Glass or Gershwin 53 Hasty escape 54 Noted yellow saxophonist 57 It’s parallel to the radius 59 Eastern princess
academy award loser
60 Greeting from lolcats or the main character of 12-Down 61 Type of beer served at the Ratty 62 Famous mother of eight 63 VapoRub maker 64 Maternal “Twilight” character 65 Bio. and geo., e.g. 66 Those, in Toledo DOWN 1 Eff ups 2 Not as good 3 “Don’t worry about me” 4 Drink in a pouch 5 “Nobody’s laughing.” 6 Count ___ (2004 Jim Carrey role) 7 Travel papers 8 They might get broken by a good juke 9 Direction from Bos. to Prov. 10 Recent remake of an 80’s TV show
Bookstore thefts spur increased vigilance continued from page 1
VERNEy-WOOLLEY DINING HALL
Baked Vegan Nuggets with Dipping Sauces, Hot Turkey Sandwiches with Gravy, Edamame with Peppers
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, March 3, 2011
by Jonah Kagan ‘13
11 One who might sing “La Bamba” 12 Hilariously bad movie whose main characters can be found at the start of 19-, 34-, and 54-Across 13 Come clean 20 Bolt on a track? 21 Hot dog ___ stick 30 Monastery titles 31 Korean leader Syngman ___ 32 Orch. section 34 Cult following of Insane Clown Posse 35 “I want to eat that!” 36 “I share your feeling!” 37 Savoriness 38 “Well done with that tricky action!” 39 “That did not work!” 42 ___-Mart 43 Smug looks
45 Recently closed Wednesday night spot 46 Kicks the bucket 47 Latin dog 50 Newton or Asimov 55 Not into 56 Frat letters 58 Gobbled
who have put out a warrant for the man’s arrest, but he has not been apprehended. Executive Director and Chief of Public Safety Mark Porter did not respond to requests for comment. Two more laptops were stolen from the bookstore Feb. 25. Again, the thief loitered in the technology department but brought an apparatus to cut the security cord. DPS was notified the same day, but a suspect has not yet been identified. Because of this second theft, Souza said the bookstore will be putting alarms on the laptops. “We thought we were secure with locks on them,” Souza said. Bookstore administrators are also looking into placing tracking programs in the computers with help from Computing and Information Services. They hope to never reach the point of having security staff patrol the store, Souza said. “We’ve got to help ourselves. Be observant,” he said. “It’s the nature of the beast,” Souza said, adding that “we lose inventory every year,” but “three computers in a couple of weeks is inordinately high.” The first theft was due to “procedure not being followed,” Souza said. He said the culprits are probably people who steal for a living, and he is worried the bookstore is considered an “easy target.” A laptop and an iPhone were also stolen from the GeoChem Building Feb. 4. Two males who are not students were caught on surveillance camera Feb. 4 leaving the GeoChem Building after being inside for 10 minutes, according to WPRI. A MacBook Pro laptop and an iPhone were reported stolen from a lab in the building the same day. The Providence Police are looking into the situation, according to WPRI.
The other BDH blogdailyherald .com
Alum finds success with first feature film continued from page 1 Marshall said she gets the feeling that Marcous can do “anything she wants,” adding, “she’s very attractive and enthusiastic.” After graduating, Marcous focused more on the writing and production side of theater. While working in New York with Peter Dubois MA’97, Marcous accepted a grant to work with Perserverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska for a month, she said. Some of her new Alaskan acquaintances put her in contact with MacLean, who has “similar artistic interests in theater and film,” she added. The two met upon her return to New York. The Road to Sundance
Marcous and MacLean first worked together on a documentary in 2005. She then went on to produce his short film “Sikumi (On the Ice).” In 2008, the film won the Jury Prize in Short Film at Sundance. With the film’s success, Marcous and MacLean decided to turn the short into a feature-length film, she said. MacLean wrote the screenplay while Marcous served as a “soundboard” during its development, discussing ideas and changes with him, she said. The film was shot in MacLean’s hometown of Barrow, Alaska, best known for being the northernmost city in the U.S. “I pretty much run the show,” Marcous said of her various responsibilities as a producer, which involved pre-production, editing, casting, financing, sound and nearly every aspect of the film’s creation. “I think for me the creative side of producing is the most rewarding,” Marcous said. The most challenging aspect of the filmmaking process came from working around the film’s tight budget, she said. Though
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Cara Marcous ’97 (above) won an award for her first feature film at the Berlin International Film Festival last month.
Matthew Burrows, Treasurer Isha Gulati, Secretary
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less than thrilling, learning the business side of producing is crucial, she added. Marcous’ previous experiences at Sundance, first in 2008 for the short version of the film and then in 2009 as part of fellowship program, helped her know what to expect for “On The Ice.” She promoted the film through multiple screenings, panels and meetings with distributors. Foreign distribution deals for the film are already in place, and the next step is deciding on American distributors, Marcous said. The film will most likely screen at the Boston Independent Film Festival as well as at several more festivals in the summer, she added. Critics have generally praised the film for its cinematography and regional authenticity. The most common critique of the film seems to focus on the inexperience of the film’s actors. Selling the film has been difficult because all of the actors are unknowns, Marcous acknowledged, but she added it has stood out because “it’s a unique project.” “We met hundreds of people,” Marcous said of the film’s casting process. All of the actors in the film are Inupiaq, as is MacLean, and — with the exception of one Canadian Inuit actor — have no previous acting experience. Juggling roles
“My heart’s still in theater,” Marcous said, but in the meantime, she plans to focus on producing film in order to firmly establish her career. She still has a strong interest in writing and is currently working on a film script. If she were to give up on writing, “I’d resent my career,” she said. For now, acting is on the backburner. “When I decided to focus more in producing, I was letting go of acting in a way,” she said, adding that she loves and misses acting but that the reality of the lifestyle can often be difficult and less than inspiring. “It’s not the only thing I love,” she said. Mentors and fellow students from Marcous’ Brown years have been influential in shaping her career, she said. At Brown, “I’ve learned what true artistic collaboration is,” she said, adding that she still thinks about the artists she respected here and is still in contact with many of her collaborators from college. When you get to a point in your career when you have a project “and can hire all of your friends,” she said, “it’s totally the dream.”
Campus News 3
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, March 3, 2011
New trustee to grow alumni network Philbrick ’78 shares passion By Julian Ezenwa Contributing Writer
Following the sudden December death of Joseph Fernandez ’85, George Billings ’72 has taken on the responsibility of maintaining connections with nearly 100,000 alums as president of the Brown Alumni Association. Billings, who is also the newest trustee of the Corporation, said he plans to continue Fernandez’ work in building relations between current students and alums. “If you’re in class with very interesting, competent people, all of those competent, good, committed and interesting people go on and use all those adjectives when they graduate,” Billings said. “The 93,000 (alums) are a community that you as an undergraduate are a part of. So how could I not want to make it possible for more people to connect?” Future plans
Billings said he will continue to strengthen the association’s existing programs, in part by better integrating the student and alumni populations. He said the associa-
tion’s Alumni Schools Committee currently interviews more than 90 percent of applicants, the first step in establishing a bond between alums and the next generation of undergraduates. He also mentioned BRUnet, a job networking website that connects students to alums who are established in prospective career fields. Currently, about 5,000 alums list their contact information and work experience in a directory students can access on the site. Billings said the association will also work to maintain international connections through social networking initiatives and by continuing to support Brown clubs and reunions. “I figured the best way we can honor Joe is to continue the good works that he and others started over the decades,” Billings said. “That’s one part of it. I hope we can broaden our outreach and appeal to more members of the Brown community.” The Corporation approved Billings as a new trustee Feb. 12, filling the slot reserved for the association’s president. While Billings said he is still learning
about his new role, he believes the University’s highest governing body is aware of the challenges it must address in the upcoming years. “Brown, like all institutions, is adapting to maintain its relevance on the global stage,” he said. “One of Brown’s challenges is determining what resources need to be raised and what resources need to be applied in carrying on Brown’s strength into the future.” Billings said he believes his expertise as a management consultant provides the skills necessary to fulfill his role as a trustee. He currently serves as president of consulting firm Billings and Company. “My work in the past has involved fixing organizations that were profoundly broken and, in some cases, working with organizations that were very healthy but had a lot of opportunities,” he said.“I would put Brown absolutely in the latter category — healthy, relevant enterprise with great opportunities facing it.” Billings added that his experiences in consulting have given continued on page 4
for learning through writing By Max Ernst Contributing Writer
Non-fiction writer Nathaniel Philbrick ’78 P’08 discussed his methods of choosing topics, finding and synthesizing sources, conducting on-site research and developing characters in a question-and-answer session yesterday in the List Art Center. An audience composed primarily of community members gathered to hear moderator Steven Lubar, director of the Haffenreffer Museum and the John Nicholas Brown Center, ask Philbrick about his writing and research methods. A brief forum for audience participation followed the formal discussion. The discussion between Philbrick and Lubar centered on the preparation needed to write historical narratives, but Lubar also asked about the motivation behind the author’s writing. “The reason why (my writing) works is because I’m learning,” Philbrick said. “I am fascinated with America and am interested
in the engine behind the history.” Philbrick, who recently published “The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn,” said writing each book is nearly a three-year project. He typically spends the first year creating a bibliography, reading a variety of topical materials and finding sources. After gathering all the necessary materials, he spends the next two years “working on the book chapter by chapter.” “I’m not the most organized person, but I have developed a system for this,” Philbrick said. “I read as sporadically as I can but I organize my notes by chapter.” Though Philbrick has little educational background in history and does not work for a university, he has discovered a passion for writing diverse historical works simply because the novelty of each subject is interesting to him, he said. “My books all have to be as different as possible,” he added. Philbrick said his unique contribution to literature is providing his continued on page 6
Students debate, committee considers University’s ROTC policy continued from page 1 “The committee has the task of opening up this discussion so that these views can be weighed carefully in a manner consistent with the spirit of open inquiry and intelligent discourse that should exist in a university environment,” Simmons wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. “Brown students would benefit from what ROTC can offer, and the military would benefit from what Brown students can offer,” wrote Lynn Della Grotta ’13, a member of Students for ROTC, in an e-mail to The Herald. The group advocates for the return of an on-campus ROTC department, according to its website. Even before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed, there was talk about whether ROTC should come back to Brown, she wrote. “The repeal should only make us want to move with diligence and urgency.” Joy Joung ’11 was the only Brown student participating in the Patriot Battalion ROTC program at PC last year, but she was
discharged in October after undergoing brain surgery this summer. In a Feb. 25 Herald article, Joung said one first-year male is now the only Brown student in the battalion. She added she would support bringing ROTC back to Brown, though she does not mind the current system. “If I could save the 10-minute drive to Providence College, I would,” she said. “The biggest inconvenience is having to leave campus.” According to Major Tucker Shosh, an enrollment officer with the program, one Brown student participates in the program every two to three years. Though the number of Brown students in the battalion is low, Joung said this is not the program’s fault. “My experience with the battalion at PC has been exceptional,” she said. “They welcome Brown students and don’t treat me any differently.” While opposition to a military presence at Brown is not as visible on campus as it was in the late 1960s, there are still students
opposing the return of ROTC. Julie Pittman ’12, a member of the Coalition Against Special Privileges for ROTC, said there are still many reasons why the University should not allow the military to return to campus. “It comes down to issues of academic freedom, academic standards, militarization of the campus, tacit approval of military policy and the rampant discrimination against transgendered individuals, as well as the record of sexual assault in the military,” she said. Pittman added that allowing the military to have a say in the appointment of professors would conflict with the University’s academic standards and “threaten faculty governance, much like the current debate around tenure.” Madeleine Jennewein ’14, copresident of transgender advocacy group GenderAction, said the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” failed to address the military’s categorization of transgender individuals as having a “mental disorder.” Regardless of what the com-
In 1969, Provost David Kertzer ’69 P’95 P’98 opposed ROTC’s presence.
mittee reviewing ROTC policy concludes, there is a shared degree of skepticism all around about the likelihood that ROTC will return to campus. “What we don’t know is whether the military would even be interested in establishing a program here,” Kertzer said. “It is quite expensive for them to set up these programs.” Joung said even with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” she is not sure the University will change its policy.
“I think it’s a step, but I don’t think it’s enough to swing the decision the other way,” Joung said. “It’s great that they’re having the discussion, but right now it is more of a discussion about the logistics of what it takes to have ROTC on a campus.” Shosh said students participating in the ROTC program through the Patriot Battalion have not explicitly expressed a desire for a program at Brown. “The students have had no issues with it,” he said, adding that students from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth travel 45 minutes to participate in PC’s battalion. Administrators agree the committee’s findings will ultimately guide this debate. “It may well be that the armed services have no interest in establishing a unit at Brown or that our students may prefer a Providence College option,” Simmons wrote. “Neither possibility absolves us from determining whether banning an ROTC unit from Brown should be current University policy.”
4 Campus News
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, March 3, 2011
Alumni president to further student-alum connections continued from page 3 him the ability to develop longterm solutions for organizations. Leadership experience
Billings’ leadership history extends back to his days as president of the Class of 1972. Since then, Billings has stayed involved with the Brown community. Prior to becoming president of the alumni association, he served on its board of governors.
He was also a vice-chair for the Campaign for Academic Enrichment, the University’s largest fundraising initiative, which topped off at $1.61 billion when it came to a close Dec. 31. “Thanks to the campaign for academic enrichment, there are even more dedicated faculty and of course a lot of new programs and new initiatives,” Billings said. “George was one of the active members soliciting gifts and outreaching to alumni around the
country,” said Jerome Vascellaro, co-chair of the Campaign for Academic Enrichment. “I think he is a very special person.” Billings said he has seen Brown change over the years. “Brown is a much more cohesive place now than it was when I was there,” he said. “I was at Brown during the height of the Vietnam War, and that was a period of unsettlement throughout the world.” But at its heart, the University remains the same, he said. “Brown then, as now, had an extraordinary, dedicated faculty with the continuing commitment to teaching at the undergraduate level,” he said. “That’s one thing that’s really important. I think it goes to the foundation of Brown’s relevance and strength.”
Courtesy of the Brown Alumni Association
Trustee George Billings ’72 hopes to continue a blossoming initiative to strengthen alumni relations.
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Campus News 5
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, March 3, 2011
UCS names Elections Board chair, U. Resources Committee member By David Chung Senior Staff Writer
The Undergraduate Council of Students commenced the spring elections and appointments process with two student appointments and announced the progress of various projects at its general body meeting last night. The council unanimously motioned for Anthony White ’13, a member of the Student Activities Committee, to serve as Elections Board chair for the UCS, Undergraduate Finance Board and class board elections in March and April. White will oversee the elections process and address the complaints and concerns of candidates and students. UCS also recently appointed former Herald staff writer Ben Noble ’13, a member of the Campus Life Committee, to a two-year term on the University Resources Committee. The committee reviews University budget needs and submits a proposal annually to President Ruth Simmons. Applications for positions on other University committees are currently available and must be submitted March 8 by 11:59 p.m. The Admissions and Student Services Committee is continuing its efforts to obtain Brown e-mail addresses for alums, improve satellite gyms and introduce a program that would allow stu-
Sophia Rabb / Herald
UCS discussed plans to renovate the Bears Lair and continuing efforts to establish permanent Brown e-mail addresses.
dents to monitor the statuses of dormitory washing machines and dryers online. Committee Chair Chris Collins ’11 announced the committee plans to present a resolution on behalf of UCS next week encouraging the establishment of permanent Brown e-mail addresses. Though the University administration will make the final decision, UCS resolutions have been influential in past decisions, and there have been “no steps backwards” in the process thus far, he said. The initiative to renovate the
Bears Lair, increase funding for fitness equipment and place Department of Facilities Management staff in charge of cleaning satellite gyms is gaining support. Currently, the University outsources cleaning of satellite gyms. The committee is working with Matthew Tsimikas, assistant director of athletics and physical education, to move the project forward, Collins said. The implementation of LaundryView, the application that would make washer and dryer statuses viewable online, also
remains likely, he said, because Richard Bova, senior associate dean of residential and dining services, has consistently expressed support for the project. Collins, Bova and Andrew Tran ’11, chair of Residential Council, will meet March 9 to assess the project’s priority level. Noble and Campus Life Chair David Rattner ’13 have been discussing potential changes to SafeRide with Transportation Manager Carleia Lighty. They are seeking to install maps on campus indicating SafeRide routes
and are discussing the potential installation of trackers in vans so students can be aware of the van’s locations when planning trips across campus. The latter initiative will be expensive, Rattner said. Both Harvard and Northeastern University currently use tracking systems. Rattner and Noble are also hoping to modify SafeRide routes. Students have complained about the inefficiency of the current system, so they said they hope to introduce a shortened route between the Sciences Library, Keeney Quadrangle and Perkins Hall between the hours of 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. The Alpert Medical School’s move to the Jewelry District will also affect the redrawing of routes, Rattner said. Peter Johnson ’13, who sits on the Campus Life Committee, is meeting weekly with the management of the Blue Room to improve its services based on feedback collected last semester. He said he is working to increase the number of signs displaying prices and hopes to add variety to Blue Room fare by offering food from various Thayer Street eateries in addition to Kabob and Curry. UCS will soon begin its spring budgeting process and submit a budget request for next year, UCS President Diane Mokoro ’11 announced.
6 Campus News
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, March 3, 2011
Higher ed news roundup
by Greg JordanDetamore senior staff writer
New website to expose corruption in higher education
Stephanie London / Herald Philbrick emphasized the importance of addressing a range of historical events in his writing yesterday.
Author speaks to personal take on history continued from page 3 own viewpoint on historical events. Though he said it is hard to pick fresh topics, he enjoys surprising people with the subjects he selects and providing his personal take on history. “If I picked a cagey topic, I wouldn’t have a passion for it,” Philbrick said. “It would drive you crazy to focus on other works that have already been produced.”
Philbrick also discussed visiting the sites where historical events occurred to conduct research and understand the setting underlying particular actions. “Place is where primary documents meet the land,” he said. “If you haven’t seen the place, what do you really know?” Four audience members asked Philbrick questions related to his work following the conversation between him and Lubar. Queries
ranged from further questioning about his books and research to the future of primary sources in the digital age. “In the future, research will involve different technology, but in the end, it will turn out about the same,” Philbrick said. “There has been a radical change in the kinds of evidence we have created, but people are still writing interesting books and examining all kinds of evidence.”
Impact site smaller than expected continued from page 1 differ from rocky asteroids. Comets are “the closest thing to nothing that anything can be and still be something,” Schultz said. At the center of a comet’s coma is the solid nucleus — four miles across in Tempel 1. In the Deep Impact mission, a probe was released into the nucleus of Tempel 1, creating a massive explosion. The spacecraft measured the composition of the ejecta to get a look inside a comet. But because there was so much ejecta obscuring their view, the researchers were unable to see the crater created by the impact. One of the goals of this year’s Valentine’s Day mission was to see the site of the 2005 impact. The researchers were curious about the size of the crater, which turned out to be much smaller than they expected. Schultz hypothesizes that the crater “healed
Courtesy of Peter Schultz
Schultz is involved in a project that entails close-up observation of Temple 1.
itself.” He compared the probe’s impact to throwing a rock into snow. “We may have hit a spot that was pretty soft,” Schultz explained. The main purpose of StardustNExT was to see what the other side of Tempel 1 looked like, since the first mission had been unable to image the entire comet. The researchers found that the comet was covered with other craters, indicating a histo-
ry of impacts, as well as smooth and layered areas, which suggest Tempel 1 may be the result of two comets colliding. The pictures collected by Stardust-NExT complete the picture of Tempel 1, the first comet of which all sides have been seen. Comets are leftovers of the early solar system, Schultz said. Some researchers think that comets brought the organic compounds that are the building blocks of life to Earth. “We could be reassembled pieces of a comet,” Schultz said, laughing. Other theories hypothesize that oceans were formed when comets containing water collided with the Earth. Though this individual mission may not answer all the questions scientists have about the origin of Earth, its findings are significant. Before, comets were just astronomical objects, Schultz said. But now, having seen below the surface, scientists have a lot more questions to answer.
UniLeaks, a website similar to WikiLeaks, is making its way to college campuses across the globe. UniLeaks accepts anonymous submissions of “restricted or censored material … which is in some way connected to higher education” to publish on its website, according to the UniLeaks submission guide. “We welcome the challenge of exposing to public scrutiny the corruption and mismanagement which our sources are in the process of uncovering among U.S. colleges,” according to a Feb. 28 open letter from UniLeaks to American college presidents. “In an appeal to both academics and students, UniLeaks has invoked America’s historical commitment to a free and open education system in addition to the nation’s commitment to openness and transparency in government,” according to a Feb. 28 UniLeaks media release. UniLeaks will also be posting content related to institutions in other countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom. Establishment of the site was partially inspired by student actions in response to the U.K. government’s recent cuts to university funding, according to a Feb. 20 open letter from UniLeaks to U.K. university vice chancellors.
Yale to change financial aid policies Yale will increase financial aid for some low-income families while reducing aid for higher-income families starting this fall. Parent contributions will not be required for families earning less than $65,000 per year — compared to a previous limit of $60,000 — according to a Feb. 18 Yale Daily News article. But families earning over $130,000 will contribute more than in the past. “The drop in endowment, our desire to help more folks on the lower end and our belief that making moderate adjustments on the higher end will still enable complete economic diversity” were the major driving factors behind the decision, Yale’s Director of Financial Aid Caesar Storlazzi said in the article. Just over half of undergraduates received financial aid in the 2009-10 school year, with an average package size of $34,433, according to Yale’s financial aid website. Brown does not require a parent contribution of those making less than $60,000 with assets valued at less than $100,000, according to the Office of Financial Aid website.
City & State 7
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, March 3, 2011
R.I. battles deficit with cuts to education spending continued from page 1
the budget for the coming fiscal year. Even then, the budget must be approved by the General Assembly, a process that can take months. “In creating the funding formula, the Rhode Island Department of Education projected that all general revenue funds that used to be supplanted by (stimulus) funds will be restored,” Denault said. “While this might not be the case, the main issue for next year isn’t the status of the funding formula itself but how the phase-in, phase-out transition will be affected by the budget crisis.” While the state is receiving $75 million in federal Race to the Top funds for the coming school year, those funds are not designed to fill budget shortfalls, according to Gist. “The Race to the Top funds are for specific things that will help us to transform our system,” such as specialized training for teachers and administrators, hiring consultants and developing teacher evaluation systems, Gist said. She added that the state’s education spending places it among the top five in the nation. “Rhode Island invests pretty generously in education,” she said.
“We simply cannot have a situation next year where we have more teachers on the payroll than we can afford to pay or have expenses that exceed our resources,” he wrote in a letter addressed to all Providence residents Sunday. Taveras emphasized in the letter that not all teachers will be dismissed, but due to a March 1 deadline for alerting teachers of changes to their job statuses, notifications were sent to all teachers “to retain the maximum flexibility we could to manage significant cuts to the school budget.” In Cranston, the school committee approved a plan to cut an array of sports teams, all middle school instrumental programs and teacher salaries and benefits to reduce the Cranston School Department’s $6.3 million deficit. Besides music programs, “there isn’t much to cut anymore,” Cranston Superintendent Peter Nero told the Providence Journal Jan. 19. As it stands, both school districts are counting on receiving state aid, provisioned under the state’s new education funding formula, in order to operate next year. But that money is up in the air.
Looking for cuts
State funding in jeopardy
The state’s budget woes have been brewing for several years. Rhode Island currently faces a deficit that is almost one-tenth of the state’s general revenue. Cities, themselves suffering shortfalls, are counting on state aid to bridge their budget gaps. “Over the past few years, the state refused to make cuts that could help to relieve its structural deficit,” said Ashley Denault MPP’07, policy analyst for the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council. Instead, it used one-time federal stimulus funds to fill holes in its budget, according to Denault. Meanwhile, state tax revenue de-
Stephanie London and Sophia Seawell / Herald
Protestors opposed last week’s firing of all Providence public school teachers at a rally yesterday. Mayor Angel Taveras issued the dismissal notices as a response to the city’s budget deficit.
clined as taxpayers were hit by the recession. In the past two years, state funding for education has fallen by $47.7 million, while other aid to cities has dropped by over $149 million, according to Daniel Beardsley, executive director of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns. But last summer, Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, state legislators and education experts designed a funding
formula for school districts that would increase total state aid for education by 12.3 percent — to $700,250,084 — by dispensing funding to districts based on enrollment. The formula, slated to go into effect this July, increases funding to historically underfunded districts, such as Barrington, Warwick, Providence and Cranston, while decreasing funding to charter schools and many affluent districts. Before the law authorizing the funding formula was
enacted last June, Rhode Island was the only state lacking such a formula. Reductions in funding for districts that stand to lose state money will be phased in over 10 years. Districts gaining money will make the transition over seven years. But the state’s deficit means the funding formula’s implementation could be in jeopardy. Districts will not know about the status of state funds until March 8, when Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 proposes
But in Cranston, the outlook will be grim if the funding formula aid does not materialize. “When the superintendent says there isn’t much more to cut, there isn’t much more to cut,” said Stephanie Culhane, a member of the Cranston School Committee. “We’ll have to go back to the drawing board and redesign our budget for the coming year.” The committee is also considering making more cuts in the next two years. “Would we move to make those cuts sooner? It’s a possibility,” she said. Providence will also face problems if it does not receive its share of formula funding. continued on page 8
Over 1,000 rally against teacher dismissals at City Hall By SOPHIA SEAWELL Contributing Writer
Over 1,000 demonstrators gathered outside of City Hall yesterday to protest the firing of all of Providence’s 1,926 teachers. Teachers, students, union leaders and local politicians spoke in support of Providence teachers who received notice of their terminations last week. The firings are meant to give the Providence School Board more flexibility in its budget, Mayor Angel Taveras wrote in a letter addressed to Providence residents. Teachers received notice in time for the school board to meet a March 1 deadline for notifying them of their job status. City Councilman Kevin Jackson promised teachers he would continue to support them “fully
and strongly” and told the crowd that he had spoken up in the school board meeting last week. Seven other councilmembers were also present at the rally. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, called the dismissals “destabilizing to kids and dehumanizing to teachers.” Speakers drew several comparisons between Providence and Wisconsin, where thousands of workers are protesting legislation that would restrict their collective bargaining rights. In a speech to the crowd, Steve Smith, president of the Providence Teachers Union, announced that Taveras was “insulted by the reference to Wisconsin” because he considered the two situations very different. “He’s right,” Smith said. “It’s worse.”
In Providence, teachers have been terminated instead of being laid off, making them ineligible for unemployment benefits and preventing them from being hired back based on seniority. The crowd echoed this complaint with chants of, “Negotiate, not terminate!” Protesters and speakers voiced their concerns about the firings’ effect on the district’s students. “We have children crying at home and asking questions in the classroom,” said Diane Almestica, the Parent Teachers Association president at Kennedy Elementary School in Providence.“The board needs to realize who they’re punishing most — the kids.” Ruth Nelson, a teacher in the Providence Public School District, said her students are confused and worried but that she
does not have answers for them. “I don’t even know what’s going to happen today,” she said. Providence public school students also attended the rally. Angeline Gwein, a student at Hope High School, said the dismissals will “affect future generations” of students. Seven-year-old Alfred Lima said, “We must support all teachers — well, especially the ones getting fired,” eliciting a round of laughter from an otherwise serious crowd. Teachers from several nearby cities came out to show their support. Donna Rogers, who used to teach in Providence, said she is “worried the same thing will happen” in Warwick, where she now teaches. “If they start here, they’ll spread,” Deb Renaud, a teacher in
Narragansett, said of the firings. “It’s just the beginning.” Despite the teachers’ frustration, many protestors called for communication and compromise. “We need to negotiate, not litigate,” one speaker said. Julie Latessa, a teacher in Providence, told the crowd that she and her coworkers are “flexible,” adding, “we know how to cooperate.” Sentiments ranged from desperate to hopeful. Ann McGhee, a teacher at West Broadway Elementary School, said this is “the only time in my life I’ve felt pessimistic, and I’m an optimistic person.” She added that she sees “no hope” for the situation. Others, like Nelson, were less worried. “I have no fear,” she said. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
8 City & State
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, March 3, 2011
Backed by students and PAC, former R.I. rep. fights corporate control By Hannah Abelow Contributing Writer
David Segal, a former state representative who garnered support from students for his congressional bid last September, has stayed active in politics since finishing third in the first district Democratic primary. In October, he co-founded a political action committee with activist Aaron Swartz called Demand Progress. As a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives for District 2, Segal was
an important ally for University student groups supporting progressive causes. Segal said he intends to use the PAC to promote the policies he advocated while in office and to “try to push back against corporate control of governments and the power of the incredibly wealthy in this country.” So far, Demand Progress has focused on the issues of free speech and “Internet freedom.” It was able to influence the outcome of the vote to renew the Patriot Act in Congress because other groups
opposing the controversial law, demoralized by their inability to block its passage in previous years, stayed on the sidelines this year, Segal said. Congress renewed the act — but for two months instead of three years — and plans to look into ways to reform it. “We are hoping to broaden the menu of issues we work on and start working on issues of corporate control,” Segal said. Following his unsuccessful run for Congress, Segal campaigned for other candidates for local office in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, he said. Lyndsey Barnes ’11, who worked on Segal’s campaign during the summer and fall, said she was encouraged by Segal’s actions after he lost the primary. “He pretty much started the PAC right after the primary, and that means a lot
of great things about his future,” she said. Barnes originally joined Segal’s campaign because she supported his advocacy for burial rights for same-sex partners. “The Brown community still has a lot of support for him because he was so involved with us for the past eight years,” she said. Alex Campbell ’10, who also volunteered for Segal’s campaign, said students still support Segal for the same reasons they “were attracted to his record and what he stands for in the first place.” While he has not ruled out running for office in the future, the 31-year-old Segal said he is enjoying a break from public office, which he has held since he was 23 years old. He was first elected to the Providence City Council in 2002. “I definitely think he has a fu-
ture in politics, whether it’s with something like the PAC he’s doing right now or if he decides to run again,” Barnes said. “I think that a lot more people are aware of who he is and what he stands for, which sets him up to have a future in Rhode Island or elsewhere.” Will Emmons ’09, campaign manager for Segal’s 2008 General Assembly reelection campaign and a member of his congressional campaign staff, said he would be happy to campaign for Segal if he ever decides to run again. “I think the PAC is off to a really exciting start,” Emmons said, adding that he is impressed by Segal’s extensive network of contacts and ongoing work with Demand Progress. “I think that David has an exciting life ahead of him regardless of what he decides to do,” he said.
Looming cuts test schools’ creativity continued from page 7 The city is currently renegotiating its contract with the Providence Teachers Union, a $120 million package of teacher salaries, benefits and personnel costs. “There’s more pressure to obtain financial concessions, and it reduces the room to negotiate other parts of the contract,” said City Councilman Sam Zurier, a former member of the Providence School Board. He added that the City Council’s public hearings will allow negotiating parties to exchange information about teachers’ work and salary expectations as well as potential savings. “It’s an open question if the negotiations will conclude that we can maintain the current cost of the contract,” he said. The contract contains regulations for the length
of the teacher work day, length of the school year, teacher salaries, mandatory teacher training days and parent-teacher conferences, as well as seniority rules that can affect layoff decisions. In Rhode Island, teachers cannot be laid off based on any criterion other than years of service. Both sides recognize the teacher contract as a major factor influencing the quality of education in Providence. On Tuesday, Taveras announced that students, teachers and parents will find out March 7 which schools will be closed and where displaced students will be sent. The school board will also vote on rescinding teacher dismissal notices March 14. “I do not want to prolong this period of worry and uncertainty for any student, teacher or citizen any longer than we have to,”
Taveras said in a March 1 Journal article. Creative stopgaps
Officials and experts recognize that schools will have to be resourceful in compensating for budget cuts. “Districts will have to be creative. It’s been a really challenging past couple of years,” Denault said. “At both the state and the local level, it’s time to start taking a long-term approach.” Part of that creativity might mean turning to unusual sources of aid. In Cranston, the New England Laborers’/Cranston Public Schools Construction Career Academy, the city’s public charter school, donated $79,928 to the city’s school department to save the district’s sports programs. The money had been earmarked for sports over the years as the charter school tried unsuccessfully to build its own athletic facilities, according to a Feb. 8 Journal article. Meanwhile, a group of Cranston residents is expected to launch Music is Instrumental, a 15-week program meant to fill the void left by cuts made last year to music programs in elementary schools. More than 200 students have already enrolled in the program, which offers classes in 12 of the district’s 17 elementary schools. Other districts have not been so lucky. In January, Portsmouth voters rejected a proposal to restore $765,301 to the school department’s budget by raising property taxes. Despite the difficult financial situation, Gist remains optimistic that her extensive docket of reforms — which include toughening requirements to enter the state’s teacher training programs, starting rigorous yearly evaluations of educators, expanding public charter schools and revamping high school graduation requirements — are feasible. “Right now, we are completely confident that we will be able to move forward with our reform efforts, but we will have to watch our funding decisions,” Gist said.
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, March 3, 2011
Remembering Asst. Eliminating course catalog a mistake Coach Denis Chartier To the Editor:
To the Editor: We are writing to share with the Brown community a tribute to our coach “Denny” — who will forever be in our hearts — and share what we will remember about him (“Body of assistant coach found,” Feb. 28). The candy — he made everything sweeter with the one-pound bag of jolly ranchers he brought to every game and practice. His attentiveness and sensitivity — he would pull us aside to ask what was wrong or give gentle but constructive criticism. His desire to make everyone’s life a little brighter — he drove his small silver Honda Fit to our field so that we could blast (Joyce Chun’s ’11) remix to the beep test as we ran our fitness tests. His unconditional encouragement — he kept a positive attitude no matter what and had a unique ability to make everyone around him feel special. His playfulness — his handshake and the “high four” he would give to lighten the mood and make us laugh. He would tease us about boys, our favorite sports teams and the dynamic duo’s sweaty goalie gloves.
His dedication to us and to the program — individual sessions any time, anywhere. His glasses would go flying when he would put his body on the line as goalie during the four-goal game. He spent countless hours bringing new players to our team. His loyalty to Brown — he left his head coaching position to be our assistant coach. His sweet tooth — he had dessert before dinner, always in large quantities. His selflessness — when Gina (Walker ’11) tore her anterior cruciate ligament, he said he wished it had been him. He offered to drive (Joanna Price ’12) home when she tore her Achilles tendon so she would not be uncomfortable on the bus. He loved his family — he let us hold the babies after games and invited us into his office to look at photos. His grandkids adored their “Pepe,” and he would tell us his plans for his upcoming wedding anniversary. We remember how much he loved our family. And we will never forget. The Women’s Soccer Team
There has been an assertion that the paper Course Announcement Bulletin is superfluous and replaceable by an online system (“U. to phase out course catalog,” March 1). Justifications seem to include a concern for conservation regarding paper waste. Frankly, this rings tinny — compare with other debatable expenses, and one wonders. After all, many copies of the glossy and great Brown Alumni Magazine end up in recycling bins, too. Another point is about up-tothe-minute information lacking in the static paper bulletin. Both are points that have some merit but do not carry the day. I believe that the Brown curriculum can be viewed as a delightful menu, with annually changing “specials” along with standard but welcome fare. Diners — students! — need to see this menu, displayed logically and categorically and with appealing, legible graphics, in order to consider from the full range of possibilities. This means of providing information
is foundational to good choices, along with good sense and perhaps solid advice from others with “taste.” Sure, the online Banner system has the information, but as with digital clocks, it is displayed in individual nuggets and in a starkly unappealing fashion. If we know we are seeking a sirloin steak, we can search for it and probably find it. But what of the other tasty options that are invisible in this sterile electronic system? A course book is the global positioning system to our garden of curricular riches. Invitingly and historically decorated by (Professor Emeritus of Art Walter Feldman’s) art prints, it is a true “page turner.” I’m a double alum, long term dean, adviser, faculty member at Brown and veteran of the New Curriculum that was enacted in the first year of my college class in 1970. I cannot conceive of working out course choices and arrangements other than by this book. Despite whether other institutions have adopted this, or whether some opine that students trash these books, I believe that the paper Course An-
nouncement Bulletin is a right for all who wish for it and not an item to be purchased for an extra fee by tuition-paying students. Fine, go electronic for all manner of paper trail processes such as concentration declarations. I still and will write all over pads with and for students, working out the details like a big and changeable puzzle. But our minds are still programmed in the analog fashion at many levels. To legislate the digital approach to our course menu seems a heavy-handed and probably misguided approach. Good, clear information is at the core of good academic — any, really — decision-making. It is oxygen. Save the old-fashioned but excellent paper Course Announcement Bulletin, and provide it gratis to all who request it! Offer the choice. Isn’t that a lot of what Brown is all about? Marjorie Thompson ’74 PhD’79 P’02 P’07 P’09 P’12 P’14 Associate Dean of Biological Sciences
comics Cloud Buddies! | David Emanuel
Dr. Bear | Mat Becker
Dot Comic | Eshan Mitra and Brendan Hainline
Find our City & State series Education in Crisis: Putting Rhode Island’s public schools to the test on browndailyherald.com/education-in-crisis
10 Editorial Editorial
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, March 3, 2011
b y a l e x y u ly
IR is on the right track International relations is one of the largest concentrations at Brown and by far the biggest without a department. So it is not surprising that a recent change in the concentration’s requirements precipitated a widespread brouhaha on campus. Though the revisions include a few minor changes, perhaps the most controversial is the increase in required classes from 11 to 14 in addition to a language component that could add up to six more. Without a doubt, the increased course load makes IR the most extensive bachelor of arts concentration. Keeping in mind that most students come to Brown with enough foreign language experience to be able to fulfill the language requirement in fewer than six classes, though, the revised curriculum will probably not be any more onerous than the average bachelor of science degree. What’s more, it appears that the changes, which are several years in the making, will have a positive effect on the concentration as a whole. Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron wrote in an e-mail to the editorial page board that the increased course load is necessary because of IR’s interdisciplinary nature. According to a final report issued by the advisory committee that formulated the changes, the fact that IR does not have a departmental home and its resulting dependence on other departments and concentrations has resulted in an unsustainable breadth that harms “intellectual depth and coherence.” By consolidating the tracks, focusing the core requirements and ensuring a relationship between future IR concentrators’ chosen language, course of study and possible study abroad program, the new IR curriculum should ensure that students who graduate with a degree in IR have a coherent program and specific skill set. As one member of the advisory committee remarked, the old program looked less like a concentration than a general education curriculum in the social sciences. Some have speculated that the changes were motivated by a desire to decrease the number of students who chose to concentrate in IR. Though this might be a side effect of beefing up the program, we do not think it factored into the final decision. Claudia Elliott MA’91 PhD’99, associate director of the IR program, wrote in an e-mail to the editorial page board that many students failed to develop focused, coherent programs under the old system. The new requirements should go far toward fixing this problem. Much has been made of the plight of second-semester sophomores, many of whom were likely blindsided by these changes. Elliott said the IR program has eased this burden by allowing flexibility for sophomores who had already taken certain classes in anticipation of fulfilling the old requirements or who had not strictly lined their language up with their other classes. We hope that any future unanticipated hardships that may be caused by this switch will be met with similar accommodations. We applaud the thought and effort that went into formulating these alterations to the IR curriculum. The old program had some serious drawbacks, and we expect these changes will go a long way toward remedying them. To students for whom the additional classes are a bridge too far, we recommend the Department of Political Science’s international and comparative politics track. To a certain degree, IR’s difficulties are a result of its unique situation. But we urge other concentrations to undergo a similarly thorough self-examination — call it a second Campaign for Academic Enrichment.
Clarification An article in Wednesday’s Herald (“Student activities endowment stagnant,” March 2) described the goal for endowing a student activities fund as a “$20 million goal” and stated that the Undergraduate Council of Students initially set a fundraising target of $17 million to $21 million. The current fundraising target is $17 million.
quote of the day
“The closest thing to nothing that anything can be
and still be something.
— Professor of Geological Sciences Peter Schultz, on comets See fly-by on page 1
Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, March 3, 2011
Painting Brown Khaki By Ian Trupin Opinions Columnist Arguments for and against reinstating the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps as a credit-bearing institution on campus have animated this opinions section for some time now. But as lengthy as the debate has been, an important consideration has not received enough attention — the University’s reputation and its associated financial interests. When President Ruth Simmons created a committee to reconsider Brown’s relationship with ROTC this month, she created a forum for a dialogue with enormous symbolic significance, though less practical urgency. As has been frequently asserted, the 1969 and 1981 decisions to deny ROTC special access to our campus were essentially critiques of the U.S. military. Though other pretexts were used to justify the decisions, such as questions over the academic rigor of ROTC courses, opponents of ROTC were motivated by distaste for the wars, occupations and discriminatory practices of the U.S. military. From the beginning, the question of restoring ROTC privileges has been a question of the University’s public stance towards the military. As the constituents of a private, publicly subsidized educational institution grounded in the common good, do we feel bound to open our doors to a military presence of any kind? It must be recognized that militarization in higher education — or the rejection of it — can take many forms, of which ROTC affiliation is only the most visible. In 2008,
the University received $8.6 million of its research funding from the Department of Defense. Though Brown is apparently not one of the many universities in this country that welcomes classified research, our campus’ research ties to the military are nevertheless strong. To some extent, this is to be expected given the augmentation of Brown’s engineering programs. Nationwide, the Department of Defense is the largest source of federal funding for engineering departments at research universities. Other military-university connections are perhaps less obvious. There is, for example, a biology lab at Brown whose investiga-
ROTC is a determinant of the perceived compatibility of universities with military interests is also unambiguous. The Solomon Amendment II of 1996 required that universities allow ROTC and military recruiters access to their students or lose their eligibility for federal funding. As Brown students may access the ROTC program at Providence College, Brown is not in violation of this law. But this law demonstrates the political forces that may be brought to bear against an institution that does not accommodate the military to its satisfaction. So is it worthwhile to object? Proponents of the reintroduction of ROTC on
Something is lost when we subordinate our academics to the interests of the military, be it financially or symbolically. tion of bat flight is financially underwritten by the Air Force, which hopes to create a new generation of remote-controlled drones. Even the social sciences, with their allegedly leftist bent, have not been free of military patronization. In 2008, the Department of Defense announced the Minerva Research Initiative, an $18 million initiative to employ social science scholars at universities around the country in a series of research projects of interest to the Pentagon. Clearly, there are strong financial incentives for universities like Brown to maintain ties with the military. That the interaction between campuses and programs like
campus suggest that military affiliation can diversify both the campus and the military. But in assuming that militarization can occur as an equal exchange on our campus, their argument is flawed on every level. Besides being repulsively elitist, the argument that Brown students could infiltrate and change the conservative military culture from the top down ignores the rigidly normative culture that is so well embodied by the slogan “Army of One.” This restrictive and unequal basis of interaction is also reflected by the nature of research funded by the Department of Defense. A glance at the Minerva Initiative’s grant application forms shows that the military is
fully supportive of free academic inquiry, as long as it is restricted to one of five topics including Chinese military technology research, the strategic impact of religious and cultural change in Islam and terrorist ideologies. As Catherine Lutz, chair of the Department of Anthropology, has written, “based on the history of other disciplines fed by Pentagon funds … we know that whole fields, not just individual researchers, are militarized in the process. In a similar vein, the Network of Concerned Anthropologists denounced another Pentagon social science research program, Human Terrain System, for reasons including the lack of informed consent of the subjects and the possibility that subjects might be harmed as a consequence of participation. In such programs, the military is clearly not accommodating the ethics and principles of other disciplines but selectively using them. Something is lost when we subordinate our academics to the interests of the military, be it financially or symbolically. If we do so, what will become of those whose moral and political beliefs prevent them from participating in academia when the results of their work will be destructively employed? I ask this as the grandson of a man who was forced against his conscience to develop biological weapons while serving in the U.S. military. Regardless of what the committee decides, it will undoubtedly ignore the broader context of military-University relations. Yet we must make these connections if we want to be good advocates for the kind of Brown we can wear comfortably. Ian Trupin ’13 is a COE concentrator who loves Ethiopian food as much as life itself.
Evangelizing English By Susannah Kroeber Opinions Columnist It is not elitism that worries me about Brown graduates. That elitism is defined by a quest for higher learning and knowledge. It is not the large number of students who pursue careers for no reason other than a desire for money. It is not the graduates who spend their first year out of Brown engaging in activities with no motivation other than to build their resumes. At least they are honest about the relative value of their careers. It is an idealism bordering on religious fervor that truly scares me. Every year, we send new graduates out into the world, and with their highbrow education, many of them choose to go to far-flung regions kept obscure by poverty, lack of economic opportunity and political disenfranchisement. Some of these students participate in programs like the Peace Corps, which stress immersion in the local language and culture in the hopes that America’s youth will better understand the diverse world we live in. Others embark on service projects, building houses or schools or attempting to augment local medical services. Most of us agree that these are noble endeavors. But there is one activity that fundamentally unsettles me — the project of
teaching English to the poor and disenfranchised youth in non-English speaking countries around the globe. Organizations such as the China Education Initiative — a group that has recently contributed to bathroom stall decorations — say that they produce teachers who “develop a deep understanding of the causes of educational inequity” and that their program creates “long-term systemic change.” The organization’s website states, “Chinese language skills are a strong asset” but not essential. Never mind the fact that the State
The idea that knowledge of English is more important than literacy in one’s native language or basic math skills is preposterous. But it has roots in Western notions of civilizing and proselytizing. Europeans brought their languages to Africa and the Americas — even when indigenous peoples managed to obtain political control, prevalence of European language persisted, such as that of English and Afrikaans in South Africa after apartheid. By teaching English to poor people with little access to education, we are making
In faraway rural areas, teaching English is about as useful as teaching calculus in sixth grade. Department ranks Chinese in the top tier of most difficult languages to learn, which would suggest that a six-week crash course would not be enough to communicate with those who have had minimal English language exposure. How does a two-year commitment begin to address systemic challenges? How does minimal knowledge of local languages or dialects create an atmosphere where teachers can get a real sense of the causes of educational inequality? And why is English the most important skill to teach children who have limited opportunities to be educated in their native language?
our own lives easier, not improving theirs. We are ensuring that we can communicate in our own language wherever we go, rather than taking the time to learn a bit of the local tongue. We are ensuring that our own national ideas and philosophies — such as democracy and Christianity — can be transmitted with greater ease to other countries. We are, with a nicer varnish, attempting to civilize. Not many people take the time to notice that efforts to increase native language literacy rates would be much more useful. After all, it should be more important for people to read labels on food contain-
ers, street signs, job advertisements, government documents and local newspapers than the New York Times. It would also be more useful to help with math education so that children who will most likely grow up to be farmers or small merchants will be able to grasp the basics of accounting and banking. It does not take an extensive knowledge of a foreign language to teach basic mathematical concepts. If foreign teachers could do this, it would free up the native language teachers to teach reading and writing, which they are probably most qualified to do. It would be lovely to think that all students could benefit from a young, foreign teacher coming into their village or town for a couple years to teach English. It would be lovely to think that this will help them go to college or get a better job. But in places where most kids are barely literate by the time they graduate high school — if they even make it that far — it is far more likely that the best we can do right now is help with basic education, even if that does not include English. In faraway rural areas, teaching English is about as useful as teaching calculus in sixth grade. All we are accomplishing is a process of indoctrination. We are saying that America is on top, so everyone else should be able to understand us. Susannah Kroeber ’11 is a Slavic studies and history concentrator who has spent 13 years living in the developing world.
Daily Herald City & State the Brown
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Blood tests facilitate Bill aims to amend R.I. constitution cancer detection By Kat Thornton Senior Staff Writer
By Ted Burke Contributing Writer
Simple blood tests can provide surprisingly accurate indications of bladder cancer, according to research conducted by Carmen Marsit, assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine. His paper published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology Feb. 22 indicates that certain patterns of methylation, a mechanism that controls the way genes are expressed, are associated with bladder cancer. After examining a variety of blood samples, Marsit’s team could predict with promising accuracy which patients had cancer. Patterns of methylation also serve as an indication of carcinogenic exposure over a person’s life, which otherwise can be hard to detect. “We kind of see it as an integrated measure of risk,” Marsit said. “We can’t tell every exposure a person has had. There’s no way to keep track of all of that.” “Bladder cancer is difficult to detect,” Marsit said. In the future, methylation markers may be a much easier way to detect the disease. “Clinically, it could become a very useful tool,” he said. Previously, researchers looked
specifically at bladder tumors. Marsit’s research took a new approach, trying to identify the changes to DNA methylation that were not in the target tissue, but in the blood. Marsit’s research is far from finished. “We don’t know how predictive it is,” Marsit said. The next step is to determine if the patterns are diagnostic or predictive. As of right now, it is uncertain whether the methylation markers associated with bladder cancer are present before the cancer starts growing or are consequences of cancer. “We’re kind of teasing out who might get the best use out of this,” he said. The research may also be applicable to other cancers, especially those that are hard to detect. “This is better than looking for little mutations,” Marsit said. He hopes to look more deeply into methylation testing for other forms of cancer in the future. Marsit’s research team consisted of Brown researchers Devin Koestler GS, Assistant Professor of Community Health Andres Houseman, Professor of Community Health Karl Kelsey, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Community Health Brock Christensen and Dartmouth Professor of Community and Family Medicine in Epidemiology Margaret Karagas.
A bill was introduced in the State Senate yesterday to amend the state constitution and restore the Rhode Island Ethics Commission’s jurisdiction over legislators. State Sen. Edward O’Neill, ILincoln, North Providence and Pawtucket, introduced the Senate version of the bill, which state Rep. Michael Marcello, D-Scituate and Cranston, originally introduced in the House of Representatives Feb. 15. The ethics commission currently has the power to investigate and prosecute all state officials other than members of the General Assembly. If passed, the bill would restore powers to the commission that the Rhode Island Supreme Court removed in 2009, when it ruled 3-1 that the speech-in-debate clause of the state constitution — which has historically exempted legislators from civil suits or prosecution when proposing bills — made lawmakers immune to the Code of Ethics during legislative acts. John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, an organization that promotes ethics in politics and is a proponent of the bill, said the state has the “strongest ethics commission in the country,” but that without authority over the 113 members of the General Assembly, it is not strong enough.
RIPEC report shows dire state finances By Jeffrey Handler Staff Writer
With Rhode Island facing a $290 million budget shortfall, the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council released a report last week on the state’s financial outlook. Though the information in the report is not new to officials, it provides a comprehensive overview of the fiscal challenges facing the state. “I don’t think anything in the report is necessary a surprise,” said Ashley Denault MPP’07, policy analyst for the non-profit public policy organization. “What we’ve done is kind of outlined a way that we think the state needs to start approaching the budget, taking a longer-term look.” Rhode Island is the highest spending state per enrollee in Medicaid, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Growth in Medicaid has exceeded growth in other areas of the state’s budget. Denault attributed high expenditure rates to the structure of Rhode Island’s Medicaid program. Due to rapidly increasing medical costs, Medicaid takes up an increasing share of Rhode Island’s budget. But decisions made at the state level can control the growth of Medicaid spending, she said, adding that reducing Medicaid expenditures requires determining better ways to fund Medicaid for both the state and its patients. The report also suggests Rhode Island avoid tax increases that would
put it at a disadvantage compared to neighboring states. The state’s tax policy should not be merely a shortterm attempt to increase revenue, but rather focus on efforts to “attract and retain business,” according to Denault. The three largest outlays in Rhode Island’s budget are human services, employee and operating costs and local aid, the report found. The first two categories have grown substantially over the past decade. Local aid, which includes state support for municipalities and education aid, has been cut in recent years due to chronic deficits. The council emphasizes “realigning the state’s priorities with regard to the expectations of local government” to cope with cuts in funding for the state’s 36 municipalities, Denault said. Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 has studied the budget issue closely, said Samuel Levitt, Chafee’s communications officer. The governor seeks a “long-term investment-based approach” to spending that will balance competing needs to reduce deficits, maintain existing programs and promote economic growth, Levitt said. But the current budget deficit is not just the result of the overspending by the state government. Severe revenue declines due to a tough economy have exacerbated the state’s deficit, Denault said. Since the recession hit Rhode Island before the rest of the country, its tax revenue saw declines earlier than
other states. “We’re seeing the revenues recover,” Denault said, “but a lot of the current recession is related to the revenues, not necessarily to the expenditure.”
“Given the long history of corruption (in Rhode Island), it makes sense that we should have a powerful ethics commission,” he said. Most recently, three former North Providence city councilmen pled guilty to charges of bribery and corruption this week. The councilmen resigned last May after being indicted twice. North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi called reinstating the commission’s authority over the General Assembly “a great idea.” He said the situation in North Providence was “embarrassing” and “exhausting.” “It takes you away from managing government, and that’s why we’re here,” Lombardi said. But some worry that giving more jurisdiction to the commission would vest too much power in the body. Ross Cheit, associate professor of political science and public policy and vice-chair of the ethics commission, said he was concerned about the commission having both the ability to define the code of ethics and to enforce it. Cheit also said the commission deals largely with conflicts of interest that arise in the General Assembly because the state’s legislators only work part-time. For example, the case that led to the 2009 Supreme Court decision involved a state senator who received significant commissions for selling
health insurance to CVS employees while opposing legislation in the Senate that would be detrimental to the Rhode Island-based pharmacy chain. “We have a rich history of corruption in this state,” Cheit said, but the most well-known cases involve criminal violations — which would be handled by prosecutors, not the ethics commission. Steve Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, said legislators could be “paralyzed” by the bill. He said he feared they would refrain from voicing their concerns and those of their constituents to avoid punishment for conflict of interest. Brown said he believes the speech-in-debate clause is important because it protects legislators from harassment. The bill would give the ethics commission “unbridled discretion” over what legislators could say in public settings, Brown said. “We think this sort of power should not be vested in one agency.” He said there are ways to fight corruption in the state without giving the ethics commission free reign, like creating separate divisions of the commission for defining and enforcing ethical standards. The House passed a similar bill introduced by Speaker Gordon Fox last year, but the Senate did not vote on it.
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