vol. cxlvi, no. 49
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Vandal defaces campaign posters
Bill would limit access to abortions in R.I. By Morgan Johnson Staff Writer
By David Chung Senior Staff Writer
An unidentified Caucasian male student has been vandalizing the campaign posters of candidates running for positions on the Undergraduate Council of Students, Undergraduate Finance Board and Class Coordinating Boards, according to Ben Farber ’12, UCS vice president and a presidential hopeful. The word “poly-slut” appeared on campaign posters across campus over the past few days, as students began voting Tuesday for next year’s leaders. It is unclear what, if anything, the word means. Elections Board Chair Anthony White ’13 said he first came across a defaced poster at 2 p.m. Tuesday and sent an email to candidates that evening asking them to remain alert for such “disrespectful and completely unacceptable” behavior. White also notified the Department of Public Safety of the developments. Farber witnessed the vandal scribbling the phrase across posters Tuesday. Though Farber confronted the vandal, he did not ask for his name. The vandal appeared continued on page 3
Herald file photo
Despite Spring Weekend’s reputation for debauchery, many students skip the partying for quieter activities.
Hold the foam: passing on Spring Weekend By claire schlessinger Contributing Writer
For many, Spring Weekend heralds a suspension of normal rules and responsibilities before students start to get serious about finals. The weekend often stretches into more of a week, starting with earlier events like Wednesday’s Mr. and Ms. Brown pageant and continuing until the traditional Sunday afternoon performance by Dave Binder on Wriston Quadrangle. Students’ desire to drag out the festivities is well-summarized by the popular “bender till Binder” t-shirts. But this bacchanal is not for everyone. The season brings many other commitments, from competitions to conferences to contemplation to coursework — and some students just choose not to go.
Hell-raising on the Hill
“I don’t like the whole culture of (Spring Weekend),” Brian Lin ’12 said. It “rubs me the wrong way that there’s a week to waste yourself,” he said. Many students approach the event with the attitude that they are so stressed they “need a whole
feature week to be shitfaced,” he said. Lin recalled seeing a student during Spring Weekend stumbling around with her pants down, clearly a “huge mess,” he said, adding that it is hard to imagine how anyone would not be “sickened” by the sight. Even the Encyclopedia Brunoniana politely refers to drinking as “always a traditional part of
Spring Weekend.” But students’ experimentation can take on a bolder dimension. Students for Sensible Drug Policy at Brown offers a testing service to check the purity of ecstasy. The student group’s Facebook event page reads “Spring Weekend’s coming up. Crazy times often come with some colorful pills.” Lin said he feels as though this “week of insanity is a tradition” that encourages many people to partake because they feel it is permissible. Ivayla Ivanova ’11 did not go to Spring Weekend her first two years at Brown. When she went for the first time last year, she said she got a headache from the smoke around her, though the concerts were outdoors. In general, the smell of pot “hits me in the head,” she
medians such as Sarah Silverman. “RISK! is about throwing yourself into the water — going out on a limb,” Allison said. Hosted by the comedy club Out of Bounds, the show featured firstperson tales deftly delivered by professors and students, as well as Allison and Black. The only requirement for the stories was that they relate, however loosely, to this show’s theme of education. What emerged was an eclectic mix of stories that were both playful and poignant, such as one about the wisdom Adam Weinrib ’12 gleaned from a bean-dip-loving Texan cabbie and one about mishaps with a stubborn frog in biology class recounted by Connie Crawford, adjunct lecturer in theater arts and performance studies. All of the stories were charming and provocative individually, but the real fun of the show was seeing where they all intersected. Crawcontinued on page 4
continued on page 8
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arts & culture
Hilary Rosenthal / Herald
Comedian Michael Ian Black headlined RISK!’s first college show last night.
news...................2-5 editorial...............6 Opinions..............7 City & State..........8
Contaminated baked goods cause salmonella outbreak Campus News, 3
Black was a part of RISK!, a live show and podcast that allows people to share personal anecdotes. The show, which was staging its first college gig, was created by actor and writer Kevin Allison. After sensing a lack of honesty in his stand-up act, Allison decided to make a forum for people to connect by telling their own true stories. RISK! is usually performed in Los Angeles and New York City, according to the show’s website, and has featured many co-
Likely story Admission letters ease pre-frosh stress campus news, 5
A socialist’s take on the ROTC debate
“The story I’m about to tell is filled with so many levels of shame, it’s almost unbelievable,” said professional comedian Michael Ian Black Wednesday night in MacMillan 117 before launching into a description of a drug deal that took place at a Buffalo Wild Wings. “I’m not even sure why I’d want to divulge this.”
city & state reduce costs. But Tuesday’s last-minute amendment, added to the state bill by Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Jamestown and Newport, would prevent women from purchasing insurance plans that cover abortions through Rhode Island’s exchange. Women would instead have to buy separate coverage for abortion. Yesterday, state legislators in the House took up a version of the bill without the controversial amendment. “I signed on when it was a clean version of the bill,” said Sen. Rhoda Perry, D-Providence. Perry chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which approved the bill before it went to the Senate floor. After learning that the bill’s language places more severe restrictions on abortion access than the federal law does, Perry voted against it. Perry said she feels the legislation will particularly affect the state’s poorest women. Other government officials have also come out against the amendment, including Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts ’78. Roberts leads the Rhode Island Health Care Reform Commission, which aids the state in implementing health care reform. “She felt the language was unacceptable,” said Roberts’ spokeswoman Maria Tocco. Under an eleventh-hour compromise that paved the way for passage of the federal legislation, private plans offered on the exchanges may cover abortion, but no federal funds can pay for the procedure. Pro-life interest groups that
RISK! conquers campus with first college show By Phoebe nir Arts & Culture Staff Writer
A bill passed in the state Senate last Tuesday would make Rhode Island’s health care exchange one of the most restrictive in terms of abortion access. Called for under federal health care reform, health care exchanges are intended to provide an easy framework to compare and purchase private health care plans. Ideally, the exchange would improve health care coverage, expand access, promote competition and
t o d ay
61 / 39
53 / 36
2 Campus News calendar Today
3:30 P.M. SPEC Day Carnival,
Gerard House 119
ROTC Then ROTC Now: Opposing
“TV on the Radio” Concert,
Militarism on Campus, Wilson 105
menu SHARPE REFECTORY
VERNEy-WOOLLEY DINING HALL LUNCH
Vegan Nuggets with Dipping Sauce, Vegan Tacos, Chicken Milanese, Apple Turnovers
Ginger Chicken Pasta, Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich, Gingered Sugar Snap Peas and Carrots
DINNER Tortellini Angellica, Grilled Boneless Marinated Pork Chop, Sunny Sprouts, Carrot Cake
Meatloaf with Mushroom Sauce, Artichoke and Red Pepper Frittata, Asparagus with Pecorino, Carrot Cake
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, April 14, 2011
Students opt out of Spring Weekend continued from page 1 said. Though she said she still enjoyed the weekend, she wished the administration would better regulate marijuana use at the concerts to make the experience tolerable for students sensitive to drug use. The Contemplative Studies Initiative is offering meditation retreats Saturday and Sunday called “Staying Grounded on Spring Weekend.” The workshop is part of a regular series of events, but this year it happened to coincide with Spring Weekend, said Harold Roth, professor of religious studies and East Asian studies and director of the initiative. The event is for students who do not want to participate in Spring Weekend or for students who want to attend Spring Weekend with the “tools to participate in an intentional” and “more grounded way,” he said. The workshop — which is filled to capacity with 60 registered participants, 44 of whom are students — should enable attendees to enjoy the weekend without having to “alter consciousness” with “excesses and chemicals,” he added. ‘Bigger than Spring Weekend’
across to bear ACROSS 1 Pot, for one 5 Still up in the air 8 Safe___ (nighttime transportation convenience) 12 Breakfast purchase on Thayer 13 Some Keats works 15 Memorable experience 16 Wood-shaping tool 17 Ingredient in a healthy mufﬁn recipe 19 Land unit 20 When Brown Puzzle Club meets 21 Home to a wellrespected dining establishment 26 Allot 27 Oodles 31 Pause words 34 Shakespeare king 35 Frodo’s home, with “the” 36 Game where you can ﬁnd the starts to 17, 21, 47, and 56-Across 40 Attachment to 21-Across 41 Newport is on one 42 Golfer Ernie 43 Preﬁx with semiquaver 44 Have a farm, say 47 Game where you party members can die of cholera 51 Free handouts at some events 55 Java keyword that can follow an if clause 56 Subject of a question in a children’s rhyme 59 Boolean variable option 60 Plant that soothes burns 61 Certain chocolate cookie 62 Sexy caller 63 Drink contianing carbonic acid 64 Quarterback Manning
by eshan mitra ‘12
Other students would have liked to attend the concerts and surrounding activities but had conflicting commitments. Jamison Kinnane ’12 will not be able to attend the festivities because she is on the Brown Mock Trial team, which is participating in this weekend’s national tournament in Iowa. She said she would have liked to see Diddy Dirty Money but
was not particularly enthusiastic about some of the other artists. “TV whatever,” she said, referring to Friday night headliner TV on the Radio. Almost 40 students from Brown will attend Power Shift, a national climate change conference in Washington, D.C., this weekend. The four-day conference is only held once every two years, whereas students “can technically party every weekend,” said Gina Roberti ’14, one of the students who is helping to organize Brown attendees. The conference “is going to be just as fun” as Spring Weekend with speakers, concerts and workshops, said Jacqueline Ho ’14, the other organizer. The chance to recharge the environmental movement on campus is “bigger than Spring Weekend,” she said. Kevin Deemer ’11 is going to the annual music festival Coachella in California this weekend instead of staying on campus. In a message to the Herald, Deemer wrote he has “mixed feelings” about missing “one of the most fun weekends of the year.” But he said he felt there is “no comparison” between Spring Weekend and Coachella, which attracted many of the performers students were hoping to see. The California event will have hundreds of thousands of attendees and upwards of a hundred performers, including Kanye West, Arcade Fire and the Strokes. All the hype
“Everyone knows the real party’s in the (Center for Information
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Technology),” said Rakesh Patel ’13, who will not be attending any of the weekend’s events. “Sunlab dude? Yeah, dude,” he said. “It’s gonna be wild.” He said he “never even gave (Spring Weekend) a thought” because he would “rather be in the CIT programming shit.” Graduate students may also choose not to participate because they are not as connected to campus life as undergraduates. Dave Fossum GS, a first-year doctoral student in ethnomusicology, said he had not heard of the events. “I’m sure after this weekend I’ll know what Spring Weekend is,” he said, adding he might be interested in going — especially as someone who studies music — after checking out who is playing. During his freshman year, Michael Tackeff ’12 did not know any of the bands performing and felt tickets were expensive, so he decided to forego the concert. Instead, he “just chilled in Keeney” where he was “alone in the dorm,” he said. After the first night’s concert, Tackeff said he decided not going “was a huge mistake” and unsuccessfully tried to get tickets for the second night. When friends came back to the dorm raving about the experience, Tackeff said he realized Spring Weekend was “more a social experience.” Brown Concert Agency Booking Chair Abby Schreiber ’11 said the event is a “celebration of Brown and of each other.” She added that because Brown is not a huge sports school, it is hard to generate real school spirit any other way. This year though, the weather may interfere with some students’ plans. Residents of dorms on the Main Green receive free tickets to the concerts when they are held outdoors, so many chose not to buy tickets online. Hope College resident Ben Laur ’14 said he had been planning to attend at least the Friday concert with the free access, but because of the BCA’s rain call, Laur is now without tickets. The decision to hold the concerts indoors is “kind of annoying” because it might not even rain, he said, adding that outdoor concerts provide a “much more fun environment.”
Campus News 3
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, April 14, 2011
UCS hears update on Salmonella breaks out in R.I. MyCourses evaluation By Elizabeth Carr Staff Writer
continued from page 1 slightly “embarrassed,” Farber said, but remained firm about his actions and expressed frustration about the posters’ placement across campus. “Everyone has a voice. I do too,” the perpetrator told Farber. UCS Student Activities Chair Ralanda Nelson ’12, who is also running for president, said a friend saw the individual vandalizing posters in Metcalf Hall yesterday afternoon. “I’m going to beat his ass,” Nelson said at the UCS general body meeting last night, eliciting laughter from the council’s members. Catherine Zabriskie, director of academic technology services, and Gillian Bell, Computing and Information Services project manager, also spoke at the meeting about the Learning Management System Project. The project, which began in the fall, aims to evaluate MyCourses, gather community feedback and recommend a new online platform. The team received 767 student responses, 234 faculty responses and about 15 staff responses to an online survey, Zabriskie said, and concluded MyCourses is “ineffective on student communication and group projects.” The project team is seeking a learning management system with a “straight-forward navigation ap-
proach” capable of supporting online chatting, multiple platforms and foreign languages, Zabriskie said. The team is also interested in incorporating Google and Banner capabilities into the new system to provide a “one-stop shopping” site. Four system vendors have been invited to campus, Bell said, and undergraduate and graduate students have been involved in listening to and reviewing their presentations. The team is evaluating potential learning management systems based on price and flexibility, among other factors. Zabriskie said the team will test potential systems in the Sharpe Refectory April 20 during lunch. The team hopes to make a recommendation to the University by early May, reach a decision by early June and implement a pilot program next year. The council, in cooperation with the Brown Democrats, also introduced a resolution supporting the passage of the “Opportunity RI” legislation in the Rhode Island General Assembly. The bill aims to keep college graduates in the state by providing tax credits to pay back student loans. The bill has received bipartisan support in the legislature and on campuses statewide, said Jeremy Feigenbaum ’11, president of the College Democrats of Rhode Island.
As of Wednesday morning, 75 cases of salmonella had been reported as part of an outbreak centered at DeFusco’s Bakery in Johnston and Cranston, according to Annemarie Beardsworth, spokeswoman for the Rhode Island Department of Health. Of the 75 people who contracted salmonella, two have died, and two are still in the hospital, Beardsworth added. The outbreak came to the attention of the Department of Health March 25, when 15 patients at the West Shore Health Center, a nursing home in Warwick, fell sick and tested positive for salmonella. The Department of Health searched the kitchen at the nursing home but did not find anything that would cause the illness and began to look at what food had been brought into the nursing home. The nursing home had ordered zeppole, an Italian pastry, from DeFusco’s Bakery as a part of a St. Joseph’s Day celebration. Investigators “found significant violations of the food code” at the bakery upon inspection, Beardsworth said, and DeFusco’s was closed that day. All food products from the bakery were recalled. Several victims are currently in the process of filing suit against the bakery for medical expenses, negligence and pain and suffering. The
Johnston bakery voluntarily closed March 25, according to a Department of Health press release. Calls to both of the bakery’s locations revealed that the numbers are out of service. According to the Food Establishment Inspection Report, ready-to-eat pastry shells used for zeppole, eclairs and cream puffs were stored in egg cartons, which could potentially contain salmonella bacteria from the eggs. Other violations included sinks that were not easily accessible and properly supplied to ensure that employees washed their hands, equipment and utensils that had not been properly sanitized, food that was stored on the floor and accumulations of dirt and debris. Many of the same violations had also been
found when DeFusco’s Bakery was last inspected April 23, 2010. “Foodborne outbreaks are relatively common,” Beardsworth said. “What’s unique about this outbreak is the number of people who are ill, the percentage of young people who are ill and the percentage of people that are being hospitalized.” Twenty-nine victims — about 40 percent of those infected — were hospitalized due to the illness. Beardsworth also noted that the deaths of the two individuals cannot be officially traced to salmonella. Though they had eaten baked goods from DeFusco’s Bakery and tested positive for salmonella, there was no physical evidence linking their deaths to the bakery, she said.
4 Campus News
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, April 14, 2011
RISK! explains meaning of life continued from page 1 ford and Will Ruehle ’13— who co-organized the event along with Jamie Brew ’12, a Herald contributing writer — told stories about how they were both forced to perform euthanasia on small animals. Nina Mozes ’08, Weinrib and Black all told
stories featuring prepared meats. Allison, Crawford and Black all referenced hallucinogenic mushrooms. RISK! packages storytelling, the oldest art form in the world, for the Internet age — it is snappy, funny and tongue-in-cheek without sacrificing the sincerity that has always been the key to capturing imagina-
comics Dr. Bear | Mat Becker
Dot Comic | Eshan Mitra & Brendan Hainline
tions. It is the hybrid you might get if you bred a Lolcat with a lion. Members of the audience might have come for some laughs, or maybe a sighting of Black, but they left with much more — by the end of the evening, they had witnessed a Frankensteinian construction about the meaning of life.
Campus News 5
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, April 14, 2011
‘Likely’ letters preempt admission cycle By Nick Lourie Contributing Writer
While most Brown applicants suffer through months of anxiety before finding out if they have been admitted, approximately 300 students each year — about one-fifth of an admitted class — learn of their pending acceptances in advance through “likely” letters, according to Jim Miller ’73, dean of admission. Like many other schools, Brown sends letters informing prospective students they are “likely” candidates for admission before official acceptance decisions are released. “You can assume your likely status means you will be admitted to Brown if you maintain your current record of achievement,” one such letter informed an applicant in 2010. About half of all likely letters mailed by the Office of Admission are for athletes. Schools initially began sending likely letters in response to pressures to recruit student athletes earlier in their high school careers, said Michael Goldberger, director of athletics. The athletic recruiting schedule has never matched the regular admissions schedule and athletes are often asked to commit to schools before regular applications are due. Likely letters for student athletes are typically sent out beginning Oct. 1 — the earliest allowed by Ivy League recruiting agreements. Student athletes need to weigh scholarship and other admission options earlier than most students, and likely letters to athletes are “driven by external forces to Brown’s calendar,” Miller said. A significant portion of incoming recruits — about 40 to 50 percent every year — receive these letters, Goldberger said. But the University also sends likely letters to promising applicants in order to
show an early interest in students of high academic potential, Miller said. These letters normally are sent in February and March. Recruited athletes Alexa Caldwell ’11, who plays women’s lacrosse, and football player Kyle Newhall-Caballero ’11 both received likely letters. Caldwell received her letter in
early October, a week and a half after mailing in her application. She said the letter allowed her to contact other schools that were recruiting her, freeing up spots for other student athletes. “The recruiting process brought about a lot of uncertainty, so when I received a likely letter I felt a sense of relief,” Newhall-Caballero said.
6 Editorial & Letter Editorial Do not target legal immigrants A committee in the Rhode Island State Senate heard a bill late last month that would require businesses with at least three employees to use E-Verify, an online database that checks a job applicants’ eligibility to work in the United States. The bill is meant to discourage businesses from hiring unauthorized workers — in other words, it is an effort to crack down on the hiring of illegal immigrants. In light of Rhode Island’s current economic difficulties, the state should ensure that legal residents and authorized workers receive the jobs that are available, said state Sen. Marc Cote, D-Woonsocket and North Smithfield, the legislator who proposed the bill, in an April 7 Herald article. But the system’s ability to correctly identify unauthorized workers is highly suspect. Overall, the system is about 96 percent accurate, according to a 2010 report by an outside firm contracted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to study E-Verify’s accuracy. But it is only successful half the time at doing what it is supposed to do — identify potential hires who are not allowed to work in the U.S. About 54 percent of the unauthorized workers checked by E-Verify were given the green light to be hired, possibly due to the use of fraudulent documents by unauthorized workers. In this light, Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s ’75 P’14 decision to do away with former Gov. Donald Carcieri’s ’65 policy of using E-Verify for all state job applicants is commendable and highly sensible, and we agree with Chafee’s spokesman’s characterization in last week’s Herald article of E-Verify as a “divisive tool.” Why roll out a system that has the potential to alienate Rhode Island’s legal immigrant population when it fails to consistently accomplish its ostensible purpose? The proposed legislation comes at a time when the topic of how the state handles illegal immigration is especially sensitive. The Providence Journal reported last week that Attorney General Peter Kilmartin brought Secure Communities — a controversial program that checks the information of all people who are arrested and booked by lawenforcement agencies against a federal database to see if they should be deported — into effect in Rhode Island at the end of March without any public announcement. Providence asked to opt out of Secure Communities, but according to an assistant director of the program, all local law-enforcement jurisdictions must share their information with the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Secure Communities in particular carries with it a high risk of racial profiling and producing fear and distrust of the local police. Along with E-Verify, another attempt to more seriously enforce federal immigration law, this program contributes to a climate of hostility toward people who are not perceived as Rhode Island’s own. The reality is that nearly 12 percent of the state’s population is Hispanic or Latino, and almost 13 percent was born in another country, according to last year’s census. Out of those that are foreign-born, nearly half are now U.S. citizens. As Rhode Island and the rest of the country attempt to find ways to enforce immigration law, let us aim to do so effectively and fairly, without promoting the discrimination or exclusion of people who are, in fact, our own. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to email@example.com.
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b y a l e x y u ly
letter to the editor More can be done to prevent pedestrian accidents To the Editor: Last year, I was crossing Charlesfield Street and saw that there was a car far down the road. When I reached the sidewalk, another student passed me, about to cross. Without thinking, I turned knowing that this car was approaching, just in time to watch the student be struck by the right front side of the vehicle. Having been the only witness, I was asked for a report from Brown and Providence police. After speaking to the Brown Department of Public Safety officer, he explained that a huge part of the problem with pedestrian accidents is that Brown police have no jurisdiction over traffic laws and are therefore not able to protect students and drivers to the best of their ability. He believes in the Brown police, who are always on campus and have the sole interest and purpose of maintaining the safety of Brown students. At George Washington University, where I went before transferring to Brown, campus police liberally gave out large tickets to students for jaywalking. Students were obviously outraged but proceeded to stop jaywalking. Even in a large city where there are far more cars driving far faster, students on campus were much safer because they were more aware of their surroundings since they did not want to pay $100 for not crossing at the crosswalk. Campus police were also able to stop drivers not obeying traffic rules, which enabled students to walk around campus and feel safe.
For a small and relatively closed campus, the number of pedestrian-car, car-car and car-bicycle accidents is unbelievably high. The student that I saw hit was lucky that the driver had been safe and responsible and going below the speed limit, knowing that there were students around. But we have all seen the cars racing down Thayer Street while students are walking around at night. Also, on College Hill there are not enough crossing lights, and the crosswalks are often faded, which makes them less conducive to use and harder for drivers to see. Students should feel safe not only in their dorms, but anywhere on campus. Although drivers being reckless is not preventable, there are obvious changes that the University needs to make so that this chain of accidents is cut. Unfortunately, too many accidents have happened and the changes will be retroactive, but something must be done so that students can maintain confidence that the school is doing its best to keep them safe. Beyond what Brown can change, we all have to be as careful as we can. I implore that everyone look away from your phone, your iPod or your friend when you are crossing the road. The students hit on Friday night were being careful and were hit by a reckless driver. If you have a car on campus, learn from these events and be wary that students are not always checking both ways and may not be in the right mind when walking around. Molly Chambers ’11.5
quote of the day
“Everyone knows the real party’s in the CIT.” — Rakesh Patel ‘13, on his Spring Weekend plans See spring weekend on page 1.
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The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, April 14, 2011
Changing the debate on ROTC: a socialist’s perspective By Luke Lattanzi-Silveus Guest Columnist In the debate over whether the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps should return to campus, the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is usually given as an answer to the question “why now?” This is not the real reason, as ROTC’s history shows. ROTC came into existence in 1916, part of the United States mobilization for World War I. It was designed to be an officer-producing institution for the U.S. Army, which it remains to this day. Between the wars, it gained its place on many college campuses to put the resources of universities at the disposal of the military training program. In 1964, the ROTC Vitalization Act was passed. This act required that military instructors be given the status of professor, without the instructors or course material being subject to review by the faculty or any other university body. And indeed, many ROTC courses would not survive such scrutiny, then or now. One need only look at the subjects of some offerings, such as “Army Values” or “Warrior Ethos” to realize that they are more focused on indoctrination than education. It is also important to note that American ground troops were deployed in Vietnam the year after the ROTC Vitalization Act was passed. The increase in the resources given to ROTC — the act also provided financial aid to enrollees — was part of the buildup to the Vietnam War.
The Brown faculty voted to take away ROTC’s academic status in 1969, at the height of the protests against the Vietnam War. Officially this was because of the absence of accountability concerning military course content, but the timing is no coincidence. Students and faculty were fed up with this unjust war, and as a part of their protest, they demanded the military organization of ROTC be removed from campus. Students and faculty across the country opposed the war and, in many cases, burned down the
higher ranks of the armed forces. Second, it shows that ROTC’s expansion is directly connected to the expansion of American intervention abroad. For the past decade, the United States has pretty steadily increased its involvement in foreign countries — notably by invading them. This is the real reason there has been such a push for its reinstatement now. President Obama needs a military that is perceived as legitimate to help justify the continued occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the many other
Let us make this a referendum on American imperial wars and our intervention in the Middle East, which most Americans today oppose. buildings that housed the ROTC programs on their campuses — including the ROTC building at Kent State, which was burned down during the protests that led to the shooting of unarmed students by the National Guard in May 1970. ROTC was finally fully expelled from Brown’s campus in 1972. What does this brief history show us? First, that ROTC was expelled from campus because of its lack of accountability and role in the prosecution of the Vietnam War — not because of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Its repeal does not therefore address the reasons for which ROTC was expelled in the first place. The U.S. military is still engaged in unjust wars around the world, and the ROTC curriculum still answers only to the
acts of American intervention around the world. This also helps justify the president’s request for $881 billion for the 2012 defense department budget while public sector jobs and wages are being cut everywhere due to a budget deficit. Giving legitimacy to ROTC by bringing it back to campuses is part of this effort. Having ROTC on campuses also grants the military concrete access to the intellectual and scientific resources of academic institutions. The University would be providing its facilities to the vocational training that is ROTC, as the only use of ROTC courses is to join the military. You will notice that no other organization gets to have its own courses and access to University institutions and
students. And quite rightly so — the idea of having courses run by Bank of America or Shell frankly appalls me. In bringing ROTC to our campus, the powers that be are trying to make us and our University complicit in the wars by giving the military special privileges and resources to which it has no right. By opposing ROTC, we send a clear and powerful message that we are against the wars and against militarism in general. To keep it off campus, we need to show the administration and ROTC itself that we do not want it back. We need to do more than just debate this in The Herald or the Sharpe Refectory — we need to take collective action and make our opposition visible. I ask everyone who opposes ROTC, for any reason, to rally against it! Other campuses have failed to block ROTC’s return, in part because University administrators, eager to please their political patrons, have artificially limited the debate. Let us make this a referendum on American imperial wars and our intervention in the Middle East, which most Americans today oppose, according to recent national polls. If you stand against our occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, come out and oppose ROTC. There will be a rally against ROTC in the near future — keep an eye out for it. I’ll be there. Will you?
Luke Lattanzi-Silveus ’14 is a proud member of the International Socialist Organization and would love to be contacted at email@example.com for more information about ways to get involved.
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Thursday, April 14, 2011
Homelessness on the rise as R.I. economy lags By Katherine Long Staff Writer
Wilma Smith was only 17 years old when she first became homeless. She was no longer eligible for the Massachusetts foster care system and did not have an apartment or a place to go. “Even though I’d received a scholarship to Duke University, I had a child and so going to school wasn’t an option,” she said. Instead, Smith lived in shelters, with friends and on the streets for four years, until she received public housing assistance from the Boston Housing Authority. Even then, her housing was not secure. Seven years after she moved in, her building was sold. The new owners turned her out of the apartment, and Smith moved to a women’s interim shelter in Pawtucket. “The roughest part about being homeless was giving up early on my dreams,” she said. “The roughest part about being a homeless mother was knowing what needed to be done to take care of my children but not having the services or the ability to get to that point.” Due to the recession, Smith’s experience has become more common, with more Rhode Islanders homeless this year than last. A steady increase
Experts say the number of homeless children and families has increased over the past five years. But precise figures are difficult to obtain because of variations on how “homeless” is defined and changes in reporting methods. Last week, Rhode Island Kids Count released its annual factbook detailing the economic, psychological and educational status of the state’s youth. That data reveals high numbers of homeless children and families, many of whom are without a home for the first time due to the economic downturn. “In 2010, we sheltered 109 women and children. In 2009, we sheltered just under 80,” said Jennifer Barrera, program manager at Lucy’s Hearth, a transitional shelter for homeless women and their children in Middletown. But the number of people in shelters alone does not give a full picture of the level of homelessness. Rhode Island public school personnel, who are required by law to identify homeless children and provide them with transportation and other assistance, estimate that 44 percent of homeless children are in shelters while 42 percent stay with relatives or friends, 10 percent stay in hotels and 4 percent remain unsheltered. Changes in the needs of the state’s homeless are placing new strains on shelters. “Families have to stay longer in shelters because there’s less affordable housing on the other
end,” said Stephanie Geller, a policy analyst for Rhode Island Kids Count. “This makes it difficult for shelters to provide adequate services.” Barrera said more mothers rely on the agency’s program for all of their daily needs. In the past, “moms pretty quickly learned to budget money and pay off their bills. Now moms aren’t able to achieve some of the program goals,” she said. These state trends reflect national statistics. A March 6 “60 Minutes” report found that 16 million Americans were homeless in 2010, up from 14 million in 2008. That report also noted the increasingly long-term nature of homelessness. But experts believe homelessness in Rhode Island may not be as bad as in other states. “There are some reports from a couple years ago suggesting that Rhode Island was above average,” Geller said. Since then, the state’s homeless problem has likely gotten worse, she added. Connected causes
Unemployment, lack of affordable housing and reduced government assistance — brought on by the economic downturn — are making it more difficult than ever for homeless families. State unemployment rates have been declining for 11 months, according to the Department of Labor and Training, but Rhode Island still struggles with doubledigit unemployment. In February, the state’s unemployment rate was 11.2 percent, the highest in New England. “The high unemployment situation in Rhode Island definitely has contributed to the increase of homeless families and children,” said Jim Ryczek, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless. He added that the availability of affordable housing in the state is below average. The average cost of rent in Rhode Island increased by 56 percent between 2000 and 2010 — from $748 to $1,165 — far outpacing national growth. Rhode Island has the highest percentage of households spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent, according to Kids Count’s factbook. Rhode Island has the highest foreclosure rate in New England. Between January 2009 and December 2010, there were 4,738 foreclosures in the state, which amounts to a loss of $5.6 billion in wealth, according to a March 1 Providence Journal article. In 2008, Rhode Island shelters saw a 300 percent increase in homelessness due to foreclosures. Over one-third of Rhode Island foreclosures are of multi-family rental units, which, when closed, can cause two to three families to lose their homes, according to Ryczek. “Rhode Island had a nontenant friendly policy, where the landlord didn’t have to notify
tenants by law that the property was being closed on,” Ryczek said. “You heard stories of landlords collecting rents up until foreclosures.” But in 2009, the federal government passed the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, which specified landlords must give tenants at least 90 days notice of foreclosure. Decreasing government aid
The Neighborhood Opportunities Program, a state-funded program for affordable housing established in 2001, orginally subsidized both development and operation of affordable housing. But since 2008, due to budget cuts, the program only subsidizes rents for families with very low incomes, neglecting the development of new affordable housing. Also, the program is a fundas-you-go initiative that requires representatives to vote every year on its existence. Rhode Island is one of nine states without a dedicated fund for affordable housing, according to the Kids Count factbook. In July 2008, the state changed the name of the Family Independence Program — which offered up to five years of monetary, housing, transportation and educational assistance to pregnant women and adults with children — to the Rhode Island Works Program. The change came with eligibility restrictions and a twoyear time limit for cash aid. In August 2010, shelters saw a dramatic spike in the number of families seeking assistance after their final Family Independence Program aid packages expired, according to Ryczek. He said shelters generally see an increase after the holiday season, when families lose their housing or feel they can no longer rely on friends’ charity. “Simply put, Rhode Island Works doesn’t work,” Barrera said. “The program now has requirements that some parts of the homeless population just can’t meet.” Some of the women in Lucy’s Hearth can only read at a fourthgrade level, according to Barrera. “As a result of the state’s high un-
employment, they’re forced to compete for RI Works approval and for jobs filling your coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts with people who have master’s degrees.” Barrera also noted that homeless families have practical concerns that make it more difficult for them to qualify for government aid than low-income families on the brink of losing their housing. “To apply for housing, you need all sorts of documents,” said Smith, the formerly homeless mother. “When you’re homeless, you tend to lose those sort of things moving from one place to another carrying your life on your back. It creates this sort of vicious cycle, where to escape homelessness, you really need a reliable place to store your possessions.” The budget strikes a blow
Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 unveiled his proposed $7.66 billion budget March 8, which would address the state’s $331 million shortfall by cutting funding to some departments and increasing taxes. Chafee proposed reducing the sales tax from 7 percent to 6 percent and imposing new taxes on currently exempt items like overthe-counter drugs, haircuts and car repairs. He also proposed a 1 percent sales tax on other previously tax-exempt items including clothing, heating fuel and water for residential use. Chafee emphasized that instead of cutting services, his budget focuses on restructuring departments to make them more efficient. But, he said in an address to state legislators, “at the end of the day, I urge you to recognize that we simply cannot continue to fund our current level of services.” Advocates for the homeless are troubled by many aspects of Chafee’s budget. The budget would trim $60 million from the state Department of Health and Human Services, which is on track to grow by $96 million between 2008 and 2012. The Department of Children, Youth and Families, a sub-department of Health and
Human Services, would have its budget cut by $13.6 million under Chafee’s proposal. More recently, Chafee proposed cutting the Neighborhood Opportunities Program from the budget. Rhode Island Housing, a quasi-public agency that relies on federal funding, should pay for the $1.5-million program instead, he said at a March 20 press conference. Experts agree that cuts to programs and agencies that address homelessness would be more of a blow to the homeless community than sales tax changes. “Mental health services, substance abuse services, family counseling, life skills courses, parenting classes. … Not having these services available is an open invitation to repeat the cycle of homelessness. You can’t just give people housing, although that’s unarguably the most important step,” Smith said. But Chafee has taken a positive step by reviving the Interagency Council on Homelessness, according to Ryczek. The Council is charged with figuring out how state agencies can work together most effectively to tackle homelessness. Common ground
Smith is now pursuing a master’s degree in case management at Rhode Island College. She has four children, the oldest of whom is a student at Job Corps. It has been 14 years since she was last homeless, but she said the experience still feels recent. Smith rejects the perception that it was an entirely negative stage in her life. “Sure, there are people in the homeless community who can tear you down with things like substance abuse,” she said. “But there are also people who are really supportive. … I couldn’t have escaped homelessness without my friends.” Homelessness should not be treated as “an unfortunate stigma,” Barrera said. “It’s the people pouring your coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s the receptionist at your doctor’s office. It’s the kid on your school bus.”
Abortion bill passes Senate continued from page 1 were disappointed with the federal law’s abortion provisions lobbied Paiva Weed forcefully to include the amendment, Perry said. “It’s a back-door ban,” said Kate Brock, executive director of the political advocacy group Ocean State Action. Brock said the abortion provision of the state bill appears similar to the federal abortion amendment, but actually forces women to buy additional abortion coverage. Little demand exists for such coverage because women do not generally plan for abortions,
Brock said. Some believe the amendment does not do enough to break ties between abortion and government. “I can assure you the prolife community does not consider this as any sort of victory,” said Barth Bracy, executive director of Rhode Island Right to Life. “The language merely prevents the abortion industry from gaining the full amount of the windfall they had anticipated.” But opponents argue the language adds unnecessary specificity to the bill, which is meant to be a blueprint for a future exchange.
Brock said the amendment damages Rhode Island’s reputation as an innovator in health care. Similar amendments to exchange bills concerning abortion have already come up in Virginia, Utah, Missouri, Mississippi and Florida, Brock said. Should the bill pass in its current form, Rhode Island would be the first decidedly blue state to approve language preventing exchanges from offering plans that cover abortion. “We’ve taken strong steps. We have tremendous leaders in health care,” Brock said. “To take a step backwards is a horrible precedent.”