vol. cxlvi, no. 37
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Herald poll: students divided on ROTC’s return Professor Do you think the ban on ROTC should be lifted? sues U. over research protocol By Greg Jordan-Detamore Senior Staff Writer
Associate Professor of Education Jin Li filed a complaint in federal court late last month against the University in response to a Brown Institutional Review Board decision that blocked her from publishing three years worth of data from her study on the education and socialization of Chinese immigrant children. Li declined to comment on the pending suit and the terms of the study on the advice of her lawyers, she said. The lawyers, Kathleen Hagerty and Thomas Dickinson, did not respond to requests for comment. Vice President and General Counsel Beverly Ledbetter also declined to comment because the University has not officially been served with the lawsuit. The complaint, filed Feb. 25 in the federal court for the district of Rhode Island, specifically points to the 45 Code of Federal Regulations section 46, “protection of human subjects,” to justify Li’s belief that her study should never have been subjected to IRB review because it involves no federal employees or funds and “poses no threat to any human subject.” The University’s IRB office states on its website, “All ‘research’ involving human participants must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board … to protect the rights and welfare of the human participants.” When implementing the code referenced in the lawsuit, the University also “explicitly requires research involving minors to have full Board Review,” Regina White, associate vice president for research, wrote in an email to The Herald. The IRB office was unable to comment on details relating specifically to the case, according to Mark Nickel, director of University communications. According to Li’s website, her longitudinal study followed three groups, each consisting of 100 children and their mothers. Study participants were divided into middle-class European Americans, middle-class Chinese immigrants and lower-class Chinese immigrants. The project was funded by $833,756 in external grants from
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news......................2 CITY & State.........5 editorial...............6 Opinions...............7 SPORTS...................8
Katie Wilson / Herald
percent of non-seniors. Compared to older students, first-years are less likely to strongly approve and more likely to state that they are not familiar enough to answer. Twelve percent of first years strongly approve, compared to 19 percent of non-first-years, and 26 percent of
first-years stated they are not familiar enough to answer, versus 19 percent of older students. Following the congressional repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, universities that previously banned ROTC began to reconsider their stances. Harvard announced
continued on page 3
City waits to approach U. for increased contribution By Morgan Johnson Staff Writer
Though Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is reviewing recommendations to garner more revenue from non-profits, representatives of the city’s hospitals and higher education institutions said officials have not yet approached them about increasing contributions to the city. The city has not talked to any private colleges and universities in Providence about paying more for city services, Taveras’ spokesman
David Ortiz said. Taveras has so far focused on cutting spending rather than increasing revenue. Providence faces a $180 million budget deficit over the next two
city & state years, according to a Feb. 28 report released by the Municipal Finances Review Panel. Ortiz said the rest of the report’s recommendations — including those concerning non-profits — are currently “under review.”
The report estimates that nonprofits’ tax-exempt properties are worth $3 billion. “Hospitals and colleges need to either increase or begin to make payments for city services,” the report reads. But both university and hospital representatives expressed a tepid response to the recommendations in the report. “Taxing students or institutions of higher education are counterproductive approaches,” said Marisa Quinn, vice president of public affairs and University rela-
tions. Ed Quinlan, president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, said hospitals hope the city will take into account their financial challenges. “We understand and appreciate the financial pressures and that there will be a similar understanding about our hospital funding,” Quinlan said. Brown and three other private colleges in Providence signed an agreement in 2003 to contribute continued on page 2
Spotted at Brown: Panties make periods ‘sexy’ By jordan hendricks Contributing Writer
Dressed in a black and white cocktail dress and donning bright lipstick, Julie Sygiel ’09 lifted her glass of pink champagne in a toast. “Here’s to being sexy and successful. Period,” she told a downtown
feature audience Saturday night at her company’s launch party. The formally clad crowd — which included students, professors, Sygiel’s friends and friends of friends — chimed in with a “Cheers!” and waited in anticipation for what was probably the first fashion show of its kind in history. Sygiel is co-founder and CEO
Tough Times City officials hold forum to discuss school closings
City & State, 5
of Sexy Period, a company that designs underwear for menstruating women. Saturday’s party celebrated the Brown-born company’s recent success — nearly all of the 500 pairs featured at its preview sale have sold — and national media recognition. But this success did not come easily. “I never understood the phrase ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ until developing this company,” Sygiel said. Ideas flowing
Sexy Period was conceived in the spring of 2008, when Sygiel and cofounder Eunice Png ’09 took ENGN 1930: “Entrepreneurship and New Ventures” with entrepreneur Danny continued on page 4
Courtesy of Memphis Diaz Garcia
Sexy Period underwear, conceived by Brown alums, is leak- and stain-resistant.
The real disaster is in Japan, not the U.S. opinions, 7
By Amy Rasmussen Senior Staff Writer
There is no consensus among students concerning the campus ban on the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, according to a Herald poll conducted last week. The poll addressed a variety of issues including student approval of campus leadership and the effect of overcrowded housing. More students approve than disapprove of lifting the ROTC ban — with 17 percent strongly approving, 26 percent somewhat approving, 14 percent somewhat disapproving and 10 percent strongly disapproving. But a third of students did not state a preference, with 20 percent indicating that they are not familiar enough to answer and 13 percent giving no opinion. More males than females strongly approve lifting the ROTC ban — 21 percent versus 13 percent, respectively. A similar trend was seen with seniors, 23 percent of whom strongly approve compared to 15
earlier this month that it would reinstate its ROTC program. President Ruth Simmons established a committee last month to examine the University’s policy on ROTC. The Herald poll was conducted March 14-16 and has a 2.3 percent margin of error with 95 percent confidence. A total of 972 students completed the poll, which The Herald distributed as a written questionnaire in J. Walter Wilson and the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center during the day and in the Sciences Library at night. Simmons’ approval rate has fallen over the past year. In spring 2010, 78 percent of students stated they approved of the way Simmons was handling her job as president, while 74 percent approved last fall. Last week’s poll showed 62 percent of students approving, though the “not familiar enough to answer” and “no opinion” options were combined in previous
t o d ay
48 / 31
43 / 33
2 Campus News calendar Today
The Brown Daily Herald Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Administrators wary of student fees continued from page 1
“How the West Was Lost,” Lecture by
“Using Medical Anthropology in
Dambisa Moyo, MacMillan 117
Global Health,” BioMed 291
“The Man Who Would Be King,”
Film Screening: “Women in War
Zones,” Wilson 102
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Grilled Tuna Sandwich with Cheese, Spinach Quiche, Mediterranean Orzo, Chocolate Chip Cookies
Shaved Steak Sandwich, Vegan Stuffed Peppers, Green Beans with Tri-Color Peppers, Tostitos
DINNER Vegan Chow Mein and Tofu, Chinese Fried Rice, Sesame Chicken Strips, Magic Bars
Chicken Pot Pie, Tortellini Provencale, Baked Potatoes, General Tso Chicken Stir Fry
$50 million in voluntary payments to the city over the next 20 years. “They were able and willing to support the city as good neighbors,” said Dan Egan, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island. Universities can sympathize with Providence’s financial situation because “collectively we’ve had to make the same tough decisions,” Egan said. “We thought the 2003 agreement was landmark in length and amount, and there’s a legal value to that agreement that should be respected.” Egan said the city needs to focus
on making other sectors contribute before attempting to make colleges and universities pay more. “It can’t just be higher education helping,” he said. Hospitals do not pay voluntary fees to the city like colleges and universities do. “The principle we have taken is that hospitals are unique in that they provide service to Providence residents regardless of ability to pay, and that represents over $150 million a year,” said Quinlan. He said the hospitals’ tax-exemption was reviewed in a series of meetings between the city and hospital officials last year. No proposals to charge hospitals were made at that time.
In addition to recommending the closings of four elementary schools last Monday, Taveras agreed to a 10 percent pay cut for himself and his executive office payroll and laid off about a dozen city employees to generate about $2 million in savings. He also froze all nonessential spending and new hiring and plans to combine city departments. Some of the report’s other suggestions include implementing a special vehicle registration for college students as part-time residents of the state, as well as possible housing fees and property taxes for residence halls and medical office buildings owned by hospitals.
Lawsuit disputes research ruling continued from page 1 the Foundation for Child Development and the Spencer Foundation. According to the complaint, the IRB approved Li’s initial plans — which included a series of educational tests, surveys and interviews — to compensate each family $600 for three years of participation in the study. After beginning the investigation, Li discovered that
“lower income families were consuming considerably more time” than middle- or upper-class participants. Li altered the system of compensation to award the families in the lower-class group $600 while other subjects received a lowered sum of $300. As cited in the complaint, all participants were made aware of and agreed to this change through a consent form.
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Jamison Kinnane ’12, who was involved in the European-American portion of the study, said Li never discussed the financial details of the project with her. By the time she joined the project in fall 2009, the financial modifications had already been implemented. The study began Nov. 1, 2007, and was slated for completion by Oct. 31, 2011. In February 2010, Li presented the IRB with the requested modifications to the study. The IRB refused to grant the changes and informed Li she could not include data from the families who were paid $300 “unless arrangements were made to make additional payments to those families to bring their total to $600,” according to the complaint. Once a human research protocol has been approved, “the principal investigator is responsible for complying with the protocol exactly as approved by the IRB,” White wrote. Any changes to the study must be “specifically approved” by the IRB before they are implemented, she wrote. Detailed instructions for modifications to protocols are available on the IRB website. This decision rendered Li “unable to use substantial portions of the data” because her current funding situation prevents retroactive payments to other subjects, according to the complaint. Li estimates the damages of lost time and data to be worth upwards of $200,000 and “demands judgment in an amount sufficient to compensate her for her economic loss,” according to the complaint. Li’s complaint alleges that she was denied “any opportunity” for an internal review of the IRB decision. Currently, there is no formal internal review process, but investigators are able to appeal a decision to the vice president for research, White wrote. “While in accordance with federal regulation, no University official may overturn a decision of the IRB,” she wrote. The vice president for research “may facilitate a discussion between the board and the investigator with a goal of reaching a satisfactory resolution.” The complaint asserts that Li made multiple unsuccessful attempts to resolve the matter with the IRB.
Herald Poll 3
The Brown Daily Herald Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Poll: Simmons’ approval rating falls continued from page 1 polls as “don’t know/no answer.” Thirty percent of students stated they strongly approve of Simmons and 32 percent stated they somewhat approve. One percent stated they strongly disapprove and 4 percent stated they somewhat disapprove. A quarter of students stated they are not familiar enough to answer, while 8 percent gave no opinion. Seniors were more likely than other students to approve. Thirty-nine percent of students stated increasing financial aid should be the University’s highest priority. Ten percent stated the highest priority should be building new residence halls, while 15 percent stated its priority should be renovating existing campus housing. Nine percent stated it should be hiring more faculty and 8 percent stated improving food options is most important. Seven percent stated it should be improving classrooms and labs, 6 percent stated the highest priority is improving athletic facilities and 6 percent stated “other.” A majority of students indicated that overcrowding in on-campus housing — specifically the accommodation of students in kitchens and lounges — has affected their residential experience. Eleven percent stated it has affected them very much, while 43 percent stated they have been somewhat affected. Fortysix percent stated it has not affected them. Numbers may be skewed by responses from students living off campus — 58 percent of seniors, many of whom live off campus, said they are “not at all” affected. Almost two-thirds of students stated they use on-campus gyms at least once per week. Six percent stated they use them multiple times per day, 16 percent stated they use them once per day, 19 percent stated every two days and 23 percent stated once or twice per week. Fourteen percent of students stated they use them once or twice per month, 12 percent once or twice per semester and 11 percent stated they never use them. Construction on a new fitness and aquatics center is currently underway and should wrap up by April 2012, according to Stephen Maiorisi, vice president for facilities management. A majority of students stated that they leave College Hill at least once per week, with 4 percent leaving College Hill at least once per day, 28 percent leaving two or three times per week and 29 percent doing so once per week. A third of students stated they leave College Hill once or twice per month, while 5 percent stated they do so once or twice per semester and 1 percent stated they never go off College Hill. First-year students indicated they leave College Hill less often than other students, while seniors indicated they do so more frequently. Over a third of poll respondents indicated they will be continuing their classroom educations immediately after graduating, with 15 percent planning to go to medical school, 15 percent to graduate school, 4 percent to law school and 1 percent to business school. Meanwhile, about a quarter of students
stated they plan to get jobs, 8 percent stated they will enter a service program such as Teach for America or the Peace Corps and 5 percent stated they have other plans. Many students — 28 percent — indicated they were unsure. Almost two-thirds of poll respondents indicated that Brown was their first choice when applying to college, though only a third of transfer students said so. Five percent of students stated Yale was their first choice, while 3 percent said Harvard and 5 percent stated they most wanted to attend another Ivy League university. Four percent stated Stanford was their top choice, 7 percent stated their first choice was another U.S. school and 1 percent stated it was a foreign school. One in 10 poll respondents indicated they had no first choice. Almost all students indicated they are happy with their Brown experience, with 72 percent stating they are very happy and 24 percent somewhat happy. Two percent of respondents stated they are neither happy nor unhappy, while 2 percent stated they are somewhat unhappy and 1 percent very unhappy. Most students — 84 percent — have not considered transferring out of Brown. Twelve percent of students stated they have considered transferring somewhat seriously, while 4 percent have considered it very seriously. Eighty-nine percent of students stated they never use prescription drugs that are not prescribed to them, such as Adderall or Ritalin, to help with schoolwork. Two percent stated they do so once per year, 5 percent stated once or twice a semester, 2 percent stated once or twice a month and 1 percent stated more than once a week. Many students indicated they are unfamiliar with the Corpora-
tion — 43 percent stated they were not familiar enough to approve or disapprove of its governance. Sixteen percent of students gave no opinion. Six percent strongly approve and 24 percent somewhat approve, while 3 percent strongly disapprove and 9 percent somewhat disapprove. Methodology
Written questionnaires were administered to 972 undergraduates March 14–16 in the lobby of J. Walter Wilson and the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center during the day and the Sciences Library at night. The poll has a 2.3 percent margin of error with 95 percent confidence. The margin of error is 3.4 percent for the subset of males, 3.2 percent for females, 10.1 percent for transfer students, 2.4 percent for non-transfers, 4.6 percent for seniors, 2.7 percent for non-seniors, 4.6 percent for first-year students and 2.7 percent for non-first-years. The sample polled was demographically similar to the Brown undergraduate population as a whole. The sample was 44.3 percent male and 55.7 percent female. First-years made up 26.6 percent of the sample, 26.2 percent were sophomores, 24.1 percent were juniors and 23.1 percent were seniors. Of those polled, 5.2 percent of respondents identified themselves as being transfer students. Statistical significance was established at the 0.05 level. Senior Editor Julien Ouellet ’12, News Editors Alex Bell ’13 and Nicole Boucher ’13, and Senior Staff Writers Greg Jordan-Detamore ’14 and Lindor Qunaj ’13 coordinated the poll. Herald section editors, senior staff writers and other staff members conducted the poll. Over the next several days, The Herald will publish a series of articles about individual poll questions. Find previous polls’ results at thebdh.org/poll.
Full poll results Do you think the ban on ROTC should be lifted? Strongly approve: 16.94% Somewhat approve: 25.93% Not familiar enough to answer: 20.45% Somewhat disapprove: 13.95% Strongly disapprove: 9.71% No opinion: 13.02% What school was your first choice when applying to college? Brown: 64.25% Harvard: 3.42% Yale: 5.39% Stanford: 3.52% Other Ivy League school: 5.28% Other U.S. school: 6.84% Non-U.S. school: 0.83% No first choice: 10.47% How seriously have you thought about transferring from Brown? Very seriously: 3.81% Somewhat seriously: 11.75% Not at all: 84.44% How happy are you with your Brown experience thus far? Very happy: 71.77% Somewhat happy: 24.06% Neither happy nor unhappy: 1.98% Somewhat unhappy: 1.67% Very unhappy: 0.52% What are your plans immediately following graduation? Graduate School: 14.95% Medical school: 14.53% Law school: 4.42% Business school: 1.37% Employment: 23.89% Service Program (e.g. Teach for America, Peace Corps, AmeriCorps): 7.58% Other: 5.47% Unsure: 27.79% How often do you leave College Hill, on average? At least once a day: 4.13% Two or three times a week: 28.00% Once a week: 29.03% Once or twice a month: 33.16% Once or twice a semester: 4.86% Never: 0.83%
Once a day: 15.96% Every two days: 18.96% Once or twice a week: 23.01% Once or twice a month: 13.68% Once or twice a semester: 11.61% Never: 10.88% How often do you use prescription drugs that aren’t prescribed to you, such as Adderall or Ritalin, to help you with your school work, on average? More than once a week: 1.45% Once a week: 0.02% Once or twice a month: 1.86% Once or twice a semester: 5.27% Once a year: 2.38% Never: 88.84% In your opinion, what should be the University’s highest priority? Increasing financial aid: 38.71% Building on-campus residence halls: 10.07% Renovating on-campus housing: 15.27% Hiring more faculty: 9.23% Improving athletic facilities: 6.15% Improving classrooms and labs: 7.21% Improving food options: 7.53% Other: 5.83% To what extent has overcrowding — the accommodation of students in common spaces such as lounges or kitchens — affected your residential experience? Very much: 10.89% Somewhat: 43.46% Not at all: 45.65% Do you approve or disapprove of the Corporation’s governance of the University? Strongly approve: 6.14% Somewhat approve: 23.93% Not familiar enough to answer: 42.87% Somewhat disapprove: 8.53% Strongly disapprove: 2.60% No opinion: 15.92%
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ruth Simmons is handling her job as president of the University? Strongly approve: 30.27% Somewhat approve: 32.23% Not familiar enough to answer: 25.00% How often do you use on-campus gyms Somewhat disapprove: 3.72% Strongly disapprove: 1.03% to exercise, on average? No opinion: 7.75% Multiple times a day: 5.91%
The Brown Daily Herald Tuesday, March 22, 2011
‘Sexy’ leak resistance dispels monthly anxiety for women continued from page 1 Warshay ’87, adjunct lecturer in engineering. Warshay is familiar with start-ups — he created his first business as an undergraduate. Sygiel, Png and two other classmates — one female and one male — had to propose a business plan providing a solution to a problem. “Eunice had just taken a trip over winter break with a few of her closest girlfriends, and they all had their periods at the same time,” Sygiel said. “All of a sudden she realized that she’s not the only one who has period spills — just no one ever talks about it.” The group decided to create a line of “period underwear” that was not only leak-resistant and stainresistant but also cute, unlike the “granny panties” that women often wear while menstruating, Sygiel said. The underwear would be designed to be an added layer of protection rather than a replacement for a woman’s usual menstruation products. Warshay was initially dismissive. “I remember sitting with Eunice and Julie in the lobby of (Barus and Holley) and I said, ‘I’m looking for business plans in this class that would project over $100 million in sales. How big could this opportunity be?’” Warshay said. Warshay encouraged the group to gather qualitative and quantita-
tive data showing there was an actual need for their product and find examples of similar companies with over $100 million in sales. Development cycles
Menstrual spills are not exactly “a topic that most people are that comfortable talking about, especially not a male professor,” Warshay said. “Nevertheless, they figured out some creative ways.” A student entering a women’s bathroom on campus that spring might have seen a flyer and a pen taped to the wall. “Does your period suck? Take this survey. Help improve your period experience!” the flyers read, with spaces for anonymous answers. Questions on the flyer asked about the underwear the survey taker wore during her period and how often she experienced leaks. The group also conducted interviews online and in person. Sixty percent of surveyed women experienced period spills at least once a month, and many expressed desire for the product. Having won Warshay’s approval, the group continued developing its business plan throughout the semester. But even after the class ended, Png and Sygiel kept working on the product. The duo entered the 2008 Rhode Island Elevator Pitch Competition and won $300 and the
support of an investor. Various fabric companies advised the group to use a plastic film for their underwear, like similar products on the market. Png and Sygiel were determined to use a non-plastic fabric that would set them apart from their competition. But by Commencement Day, they still had not found it. In October 2009, while the duo worked five jobs between the two of them, they caught a break and found a leak- and stain-resistant fabric that contained no plastic. Png and Sygiel sewed prototypes — Hanes underwear with the special fabric sewn into the bottom — and mailed them to hundreds of volunteers. They asked the researchers to test for a “worst-case scenario spill” — one hour of unprotected, heavy flow, Sygiel said. Participants washed the underwear, wrote down feedback and sent back the results. “What we found was that it worked great for leak resistance, and sometimes it worked well for stain release, but sometimes not,” Sygiel said. “We decided to launch with a product with a black lining to hide stains.” With their product technology in place and enough investors for Sygiel to work full-time for the company, Sexy Period was on a roll. Png chose to attend graduate school for vocal performance and is no longer actively involved, but her voice in
Sexy Period can be still be heard in the promotional video’s vocal track. There are three Sexy Period collections — Friday Night Fabulous, Blossoming Beauty and Simply Stunning — and three cuts — cheeky, hipster and bikini. Prices range from $32 to $44 depending on style and cut, and the products are currently only available through Sexy Period’s website. They are soft and similar to the texture of a bathing suit. Some are floral-patterned, while others include lace details. A tide of interest
Sexy Period has received a good deal of media attention, from an appearance on National Public Radio to myriad blog reviews. The blog coverage is a mix of praise and criticism. A sardonic article on Gawker, “‘Sexy period panties’ help you menstruate on yourself, sexily,” opens with the line, “Have you been longing for a diaper to sop up excess period blood? Not an ugly diaper, but a sleek, sexy one?” Most of the critical reviews are driven by a dislike of the inclusion of the term “sexy” in the product’s name. But the name is here to stay, whether in the company name or under an umbrella brand name in the future, Sygiel said. “Misinterpretations are that we’re advocating for women being sexy 24/7,” Sygiel said. But Sexy Period disagrees. “It’s
more that during that time of the month, every woman feels not at her best. We want to banish that moment,” said Caitlin Conn ’12, marketing coordinator and an initial prototype researcher. “We want these to be your favorite underwear that you can wear.” The name “definitely catches attention, and it sticks in people’s minds,” Conn said. Ultimately, Sygiel said, Sexy Period is not only about underwear. “Compare today’s society with 40 years ago,” she said, gesturing to her display of three pairs of Sexy Period underwear sitting on a Blue Room table. “We probably wouldn’t have underwear on the table. I probably would not be presenting to male investors. It was so taboo back then.” Sygiel intends to keep expanding. The company will restock in April after receiving feedback from the preview sale. For the future, Sygiel said she has considered developing men’s and children’s lines utilizing similar technology. “There’s nothing out there on the market like this,” said Holly Bronhard, the pattern maker who brings Sexy Period’s sketches to life, at the launch party. “They’ve definitely hit a great target market.” During her toast, Sygiel admitted the product can still be an awkward topic, even to those involved. Warshay, she said, “still blushes when he talks about us.”
City & State 5
The Brown Daily Herald Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Providence still reeling from school closing announcement By Claire Peracchio City & State Editor
Without his Providence public school education, Mayor Angel Taveras would not be where he is today, he told audience members at a forum to address pending school closings. But, he said, the city’s fiscal challenges require overhauling the school system to cut costs, meaning fewer schools and unwanted changes for parents, students and teachers. “If you have a solution, if you have an idea, please share it with us,” Taveras told the crowd at the Saturday morning forum organized by the Parent Advisory Council, a parent leadership group in the district. The gathering, held in a gymnasium at the John Hope Settlement House on Providence’s West Side, was the first in a series of meetings to allow community members to voice their opinions and get answers from city officials before the Providence School Board decides whether to approve the recommended closings. The Providence Public School Department is holding six forums this week starting Tuesday. The meetings come as the public reels from last Monday’s school closings announcement. The city plans to close four elementary schools and turn Bridgham Middle School into an elementary school for students from the Asa Messer Elementary School and the Asa Messer Annex, two of the schools slated for closure. City officials also recommended relocating the students of West Broadway Elementary School, which is now housed in a middle school. Officials estimate that between about 1,500 and 1,900 students will be affected by the changes, either through relocation to a different school or reassignment within the same school building. The closures and concurrent teacher firings are projected to save at least $12 million for the city, which faces a $180
million two-year budget deficit and a $40 million deficit in its school department budget. Tom Nolan, a first-grade teacher at Flynn Elementary School, said he was “just as confused as everyone else” about how the district will decide which teachers to retain if the closures go into effect. He said he hoped to get answers from the Saturday morning forum. “With the amount of money my school needs, I wasn’t surprised,” Nolan said of the decision to close Flynn. The closings have generated anxiety among his students, who are not sure where they will go to school next year, he said. According to the financial report commissioned by Taveras when he took office in January, expenditures on education make up nearly 55 percent of the city’s budget. Personnel costs, including teacher salaries, comprise about 85 percent of total school spending. School administrators plan to eliminate 40 to 70 teaching positions — first by offering retirement incentives to approximately 200 eligible teachers and later by firing teachers according to criteria to be agreed upon by the Providence Teachers Union and the city’s school department. Taveras issued dismissal notices to all Providence teachers Feb. 22, citing the need for “maximum flexibility” in trimming costs. “The challenge is how we’re going to resolve those rescissions and call-backs,” Providence School Superintendent Tom Brady, who also spoke at the forum Saturday, told The Herald. He said options for deciding which teachers keep their jobs range from criterion-based hiring, a process in which teachers apply to be rehired, to seniority, the automatic “last-hired, first-fired” system that means new teachers are always the first to lose their jobs. Beginning last fall, teachers in Providence were no longer hired
based on seniority and instead were required to submit a portfolio and undergo an interview process through criterion-based hiring. Brady said negotiations with the union to decide how teachers will be fired could take two and a half to three weeks. “Looking at the size of the budget deficit, it’s going to be a challenge,” Brady said of maintaining educational quality while slashing costs at the city’s schools. Under state law, class sizes cannot exceed 26 students for regular education and 12 students for special education. The school district will focus on sending students to classrooms that are already below the maximum limit. The average class size will likely increase, said Christina O’Reilly, the spokeswoman for the school department. The closings will also affect five Swearer Center Programs at the
Asa Messer Elementary Schools and Bridgham Middle School. The Swearer Center programs make up the “vast majority” of after-school programs at Asa Messer, according to Jeff Bauer ’11, the coordinator of the Brown Language Arts Program. Bauer said the fate of the programs is uncertain at this point, given that it is still unclear where Asa Messer students will be relocated if the school board approves its closure. Bauer and other coordinators at Asa Messer and its feeder school, Asa Messer Annex, are organizing to advocate at forums this week to keep the Asa Messer community intact if it relocates. Hannah Miles ’13, a coordinator of the Swearer Classroom Program, teaches literacy classes at Asa Messer Annex, which was built in 1895. One of the criteria for closure was the condition of the school building. “It’s a really old building,” she said.
“The city would have to sink a lot of money in it to keep it running.” Providence schools will not be the only educational institutions feeling the budget crunch if Taveras has his way. When one attendee at the Saturday forum asked the mayor whether the city was looking into finding other sources of revenue from taxexempt non-profits like Brown, Taveras said his administration had already begun conversations with the city’s non-profits. Brown, the Rhode Island School of Design, Johnson and Wales and Providence College agreed in 2003 to pay $50 million to the city over 20 years, but that agreement was negotiated with former Providence Mayor David Cicilline ’83. Providence’s hospitals currently make no direct contributions to the city. “I don’t believe anyone is exempt from this,” Taveras said.
comics BB & Z | Cole Pruitt, Andrew Seiden, Valerie Hsiung and Dan Ricker
Dot Comic | Eshan Mitra and Brendan Hainline
6 Editorial & Letter Editorial
The Brown Daily Herald Tuesday, March 22, 2011
b y a l e x y u ly
Textbooks and taxes It hardly needs to be reiterated that the country is going through tough times and that government bottom lines at every level throughout the nation have been battered by the resulting loss in revenue and increase in welfare expenses. Rhode Island has been particularly hard-hit, with the fourth highest unemployment in the nation after Nevada, California and Florida as of January. The result has been soaring deficits and drastic cuts to the budget. Last year, the state eliminated its deficit partially by slashing aid to state and town governments. Several weeks ago, we saw the havoc these cuts have wreaked, when Providence made international news for firing all its teachers. In fact, the city simply gave its teachers notice that they could be fired, but the controversy illustrated the real harms of continuing budget cuts. With all these considerations in the background, we were cautiously supportive of Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s ’75 P’14 plan to increase some taxes instead of cutting spending, particularly because he plans to use some of the revenue to protect funding for public universities in Rhode Island — truly an important goal. And after besting general election opponents who campaigned against more taxes, Chafee can claim a popular mandate of sorts for his plans. Some of the changes make sense. Rhode Island’s sales tax is relatively high at 7 percent, yet a lot of items — like coffins — are exempt. Chafee’s plan to lower the tax rate to 6 percent while broadening its reach is a commonsense solution to a difficult problem. But other changes give us pause. Chafee wants to tax other currently exempt items such as clothing, water bills and textbooks at 1 percent. We understand that that rate is extremely low, and for some citizens, it would not have a heavy impact. And the fact that all clothes are tax-exempt leads to the absurd situation where fur coats are tax free in Rhode Island. We think a proposal by state Sen. Elizabeth Crowley, D-Central Falls, Pawtucket and Cumberland, to tax clothes costing more than $500 at the full rate is reasonable. But for many low-income citizens, every dollar counts. Taxing their utility bills and T-shirts could impose a hardship. Additionally, increasing the already steep cost of textbooks could make life even harder for college students — if it does not drive them to buy their books on Amazon to avoid the taxes. We know that few Rhode Islanders will shed a tear for Brown if the General Assembly effectively taxes its students through a small tax on textbooks. Our tax-exempt status as an institution, after all, contributes to the shortage of property taxes brought in by the city and state. We understand our obligation as residents of Rhode Island to contribute to solving the difficulties that we face as a community, and we will not reflexively oppose any tax that might affect us. But the state should think through the consequences of any changes it makes to the tax code. New taxes should not fall disproportionately on poor, disadvantaged or vulnerable demographics — doing so would be counterproductive, given the reason for needing to raise state revenues. We hope the General Assembly keeps these important considerations in mind when it begins the difficult but essential task of ensuring that the budget is balanced in a way that is fair to all the state’s residents. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
t h e b r ow n da i ly h e r a l d Editors-in-Chief
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le tter to the editor Be careful with herbal remedies To the Editor: In reference to yesterday’s article (“Local apothecary supplies herbal remedies, legally,” March 21), I hope that people choosing herbal remedies will keep the following points in mind: An herbal remedy could interact with prescription or over-the-counter medication you are taking. Natural doesn’t always mean safe. Manufacturers aren’t required to get Food and Drug Administration approval before selling dietary supplements or herbal remedies. Be wary of miracle cures, pseudomedical jargon and cure-alls. When something sounds too good to
be true, it probably is. As the article mentions, the person selling you an herbal remedy may not have any licensing or training to do so. It’s important to let your medical provider know if you are taking herbal remedies. As is the case with conventional medicine, if you choose alternative therapies, it’s important to do your research, ask critical questions and advocate for your health. Edward Wheeler Director of Health Services
quote of the day
“Compare today’s society with 40 years ago. …
We probably wouldn’t have underwear on the table.
— Julie Sygiel ’09, co-founder and CEO of Sexy Period See Spotted at Brown on page 1.
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The Brown Daily Herald Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Tsunami! Fear-mongering in international media By Lorraine Nicholson Opinions Columnist As Bill Maher quipped on last week’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” lackluster tsunami waves in California “pose a great danger to making everything about us.” As always, the comedian-pundit jokes at the expense of big media outlets. Yet this time, his criticism rings true. Finding myself in California a little over a week ago, I was bombarded by news reports containing tsunami alerts and live footage of the coasts of Big Sur, Calif. Waves swelled, and a couple of boats tipped over. Meanwhile, in the tsunami-stricken Sendai area in Japan, people were dying by the thousands. Surprisingly enough, this news was secondary. What gives, CNN? Needless to say, this is not the first time big media outlets have pulled such pranks on the American public. Last year, I spent the spring semester in Hawaii. Following the earthquakes in Chile that February, the state of Hawaii was subject to tsunami warnings. Alarms sounded throughout the islands. I loaded my car with nonperishables. And then, after traveling to higher ground, I took a nature hike. In Hawaii, the locals knew immediately that, while the waves would technically
qualify as tsunamis, they would not even destroy the low-laying areas. In fact, despite all of my vehement protests, many of my friends went surfing that very day. Nevertheless, major news outlets were dominated by panic-stricken reports of the tsunami that may or may not wipe out the 50th state. As is the case with the earthquake in Japan, these reports are largely fear-mongering on the part of the international
ture. At home on the mainland, my mom left frantic, tearful messages on my voice mail, and my friends at Brown sent anxious texts. Meanwhile, in Hawaii, the situation was nothing more than another beautiful day when no one had to work. As was the case with the Chilean earthquake in the beginning of 2010, American media outlets caused panic when no panic was due. What should be the focus of news coverage — the destruction in for-
What should be the focus of news coverage — the destruction in foreign countries — becomes secondary to strictly American concerns.
media circuit. When the American public thinks of tsunamis, they think of devastation on the same scale as Louisiana or Thailand — carnage to an unprecedented extent. And yet, what my American peers do not understand is that a tsunami is defined as any body of water displaced by an earthquake or an underwater volcanic eruption — not necessarily one that causes mass death or destruction. The news reports, as mentioned previously, painted a distinctly different pic-
eign countries — becomes secondary to strictly American concerns. On the one hand, I feel international news bureaus continue to underestimate our ability to be sympathetic. And yet, on the other hand, they consistently misconceive our overall interest in what is going on around the world. In the case of the most recent earthquake, we should be concerned for the Japanese people, not for ourselves. While such a conclusion seems obvious to me,
reporting in the U.S. remains, predictably, completely self-centered. One of our immediate concerns has been the stability of Japan’s nuclear reactors, which were damaged by the earthquake. Experts across the country confirm that the distance between Japan and the U.S. is simply too large for a nuclear cloud to cross. According to David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University, those outside of the evacuation zone in Japan “are going to get doses … comparable to a chest X-ray.” In other words, for those of us living in the U.S., radiation poisoning should be a non-issue. News broadcasts should be concentrating on relief efforts, not the unlikely event of nuclear disaster in Alaska. On the home front, while issues at Brown constitute our primary concerns — as is only natural — we must remember at least to keep an eye on the television in the Brown Bookstore. We must remember to skim the New York Times from time to time. We must remember that life is bigger than College Hill. As kids in America, let’s stay aware of what’s going on in the world, because, as much as we may protest, these events make up our future, our present and the course of the rest of our lives.
Lorraine Nicholson ’12.5 is a literary arts concentrator from Los Angeles.
Obama supports an apartheid state By solomon swartz Guest Columnist On March 2, 2007, presidential hopeful Barack Obama made a speech in Chicago regarding his “clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel.” He went on to say that Israel was “our strongest ally in the (Middle East) region and its only established democracy,” and then added, “That will always be my starting point.” Last week ushered in the Israeli Apartheid Week discussion, and students walking on the Main Green were encouraged to sign a petition condemning Brown for supporting Israel due to the apartheid that it is allegedly practicing against Palestinians in the West Bank. Apartheid is defined by Princeton’s WordNet database as “a social policy or racial segregation involving political … economic and legal discrimination against people who are not whites, the former official policy in South Africa.” It was implemented in South Africa to suppress its native black community and maintain white control of the country. Why, then, would Obama support Israel if its actions resemble such discrimination? The same man who has championed health care reform, economic change and equality for all Americans is supporting a clearly antidemocratic country? Obviously, the issue is more complex than it appears to be. The Jewish people are more than just a religious group. The Jewish people are
a nation — a nation whose culture and traditions are deeply rooted in the land of Israel. The Palestinians, too, are a nation that has dwelled in the same land for generations. Both nations have legitimate but conflicting claims over the small parcels of land that are now the state of Israel and the West Bank. If you believe that both peoples should coexist and have a right to self-sovereignty, then you support what is called the two-state solution. Both peoples should have a country that is ruled by their
spin in the foreign media as well as among Israelis and Palestinians. In this sense, we are not talking about discrimination at all. Palestinians are given access to Israeli hospitals, as demonstrated by Brown’s own Israeli Film Festival of College Hill’s showing of “Precious Life,” a documentary showing a Palestinian family’s struggle to keep its baby boy alive and the Israeli doctors who treated him despite his nationality and religion. Palestinians are given opportunities to work and live
Peace will require both sides to come to the table in earnest, and Israelis need to continue their support of the two-state solution and not abandon hope.
own democratically elected governments. Due to population discrepancies, the only way to have sovereignty in a democratic fashion is to have two distinct countries — Israel and Palestine. American politicians, including Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as Israeli politicians such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have long recognized this reality. So the issue is not apartheid because we are not talking about one country imposing internal discrimination upon its own ethnically different citizens. Instead, we are talking about two separate and distinct nations locked in a stalemate in peace negotiations and border disputes that make heads
in the state of Israel and are provided with electricity and infrastructure subsidized by the Israeli government in many of the areas where they reside. Khaled Abu Toameh, a Palestinian journalist and documentary film maker, said in his article “Islam Today” that “Israel is a wonderful place to live and we (Israeli Arabs) are happy to be there. Israel is a free and open country. If I were given the choice, I would rather live in Israel as a second-class citizen than as a first-class citizen in Cairo, Gaza, Amman or Ramallah.” I had the privilege of hearing Toameh speak at a seminar I attended in Israel three years ago. He argued that the most effective way to achieve peace is to address the prob-
lems in the current Palestinian authorities. He claimed that until the Palestinian leadership — not its people — becomes more interested in helping the livelihood of its citizens, rather than wage war with Israel, peace could not be achieved. I agree with Toameh that peace will require both sides to come to the table in earnest, and Israelis need to continue their support of the twostate solution and not abandon hope. For there to be peace, Israel needs to continue making concessions and have patience in its policy development, but I know that such a thing can only happen if Israel feels secure enough that making those concessions will not put its citizens at risk. Following the evacuation of the Gaza Strip by Israeli military forces in 2005, the Palestinian organization Hamas responded by shooting over 6,000 rockets into the Israeli town of Sderot. Those rockets killed innocent Israelis. How can Israel evacuate the West Bank without the assurance that its security will be preserved? As Americans, we need to stand by Israel, not condemn it. By showing that we are on its side and that we will not allow our support to falter, we can give its leaders the confidence in Israel’s security to make additional concessions and negotiate. Brown has always been a bastion of liberal values and a leading intellectual powerhouse. The students here are bright future leaders, and by showing our support, we can aid the peace process and bring more prosperity to the region. Solomon Swartz ’14 is the spokesman for Brown Students for Israel. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daily Herald Sports Tuesday the Brown
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Bears defend Ocean State Cup title Bruno wins one of four at UMBC tourney By Sam Wickham Sports Staff Writer
Coming off a dominant 13-6 victory at Holy Cross last Wednesday, the women’s lacrosse team (5-2, 1-1 Ivy League) continued its winning ways Sunday against an in-state foe, defeating Bryant University 14-4. Bruno’s stalwart defense was the key to success in both games, as the Crusaders (2-7) and the Bulldogs (1-5) struggled to consistently find the back of the net. Ten different Brown players recorded either a goal or an assist in the win, which gave the Bears the Ocean State Cup title for the second year running. “I think it’s great that we have an Ocean State Cup,” said tri-captain Alexa Caldwell ’11. “I think it will be a great tradition looking forward and hopefully expand lacrosse in Rhode Island.” The Bears’ offense got off to a roaring start in defense of the Cup, as two goals from Caldwell and one each from Erin Roos ’14 and Kaela McGilloway ’12 established an early 4-0 lead. The Bulldogs were able to pull one back from a free position shot in the 11th minute, but Bruno responded swiftly, adding three more goals from Bre Hudgins ’14, Grace Healy ’14 and Julia Keller ’12 over the next 10
Jesse Schwimmer / Herald
Senior and tri-captain Alexa Caldwell ’11 led women’s lacrosse to a 14-4 Ocean State Cup victory over Bryant with four goals and an assist.
minutes. Strong transition defense kept the Bulldogs at bay for the rest of the half, allowing the Bears to head into the intermission with a commanding 7-1 lead. The second half started similarly to the first, with Bruno again netting two early goals, this time from Caldwell and Keller. It became clear that the Brown offense could counteract any Bryant attack, as the Bears responded to each Bryant tally in the next 15 minutes with two goals of their
own to maintain a double-digit lead 13-3. One late Bryant goal from Madeleine Pickett was answered again by a Bruno strike, as Healy’s late goal secured the 14-4 victory and the honor of Ocean State Cup champion for the second consecutive season. The Bears’ defense was stellar in its last two games. The team’s 30-15 advantage in ground balls won and 20-13 advantage in draw controls helped subdue both the Crusader and Bulldog offenses. “One of our biggest goals was to really do well on all the hustle plays, which are draws and ground balls,” Caldwell said. Healy has “consistently won a lot of draws every game, but a lot of people are winning draws recently, which really helps,” Caldwell added. “The defensive unit played strong,” added Head Coach Keely McDonald ’00. “They were physical and adjusted to the officials calling a lot. I thought they played smart.” Bruno now looks to take its stingy defense cross-country with the hopes of slowing powerful No. 7 Stanford next Tuesday at 4 p.m. This game will be the first of a few difficult matchups for the Bears, as they move on to play four games in 13 days, three of which are against ranked opponents.
By Alex Mittman Sports Staff Writer
The softball team won one and lost three at the University of MarylandBaltimore County Spring Classic this weekend, beating Saint Francis University 4-3 and falling to UMBC 9-8, Morgan State University 5-4 and Niagara University 8-4. The Bears left Maryland with a 5-6-1 record, but the squad came close to having a winning weekend as its games against St. Francis and UMBC went into extra innings. The game against St. Francis featured some of the back-and-forth run scoring that characterized the two extra-inning games. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Kelsey Williams ’14 scored on a sacrifice fly from Jen Kries ’14 to tie up the game 3-3. Going into the ninth, the Bears caught St. Francis catcher Chelsy Cosentino in a rundown between third base and home to prevent the go-ahead run from scoring. Brown escaped from the top of the ninth after Danielle Palms ’14 caught a pop fly to shortstop. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Maegan Sloggett ’14 scored the winning run for the Bears, round-
ing home on an RBI single from Kristi Munoz ’14. The game against the tournament’s host school was particularly lengthy, going 10 innings. Brown was down 3-0 going into the seventh, but scored five runs in that frame. Sandra Mastrangelo ’12 had two RBIs and then scored on an error by UMBC’s catcher. Pinch hitter Erica Kahn ’14 ended the inning with a groundout to first, stranding Kries on base. But in the bottom of the seventh, UMBC responded, scoring another two runs to tie the score at five. Brown and UMBC each scored in the eighth, pushing the game into extra innings. In the top of the 10th, Kristin Watterlond ’14 scored the team’s only run, but the Bears surrendered two runs to UMBC in the bottom of the inning for the walkoff win. “It was a good fight,” pitcher Lauren Kattchee ’12 said. “We’re looking to build off of (the team’s performance in the tournament) and win in the future.” The Bears will play a doubleheader against in-city rival Providence College Thursday before kicking off the Ivy League schedule at Princeton and Cornell.