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the Brown

vol. cxlvi, no. 59

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Since 1891

Promising hugs, Simmons welcomes the class of 2015

Med School sets up shop in Jewelry District

By Natalie villacorta Senior Staff Writer

By Alexandra MacFarlane Staff Writer

Deep in the heart of the former Jewelry District and burgeoning knowledge district, the new home of Warren Alpert Medical School is making Providence stronger, said Ed Wing, professor of medicine and dean of medicine and biological sciences, at the building’s opening ceremony last month. Though the building, located at 222 Richmond St., housed an office complex only sixteen months ago, the renovated space now features anatomy labs, classrooms with advanced technology and a sun-lit atrium dominating the center of each floor. “Believe it or not, 222 Richmond St. gives us medical students a reason to be excited about studying,” said Jenna Lester MD’14, who spoke at the Aug. 15 ceremony. At the event, Wing said students played a significant role in designing the building. The classrooms are specifically designed for current and incoming students, with lecture halls compatible with the newest technology and anatomy labs customized with natural lighting and ventilation to simulate doccontinued on page 3

President Ruth Simmons will keep her promise to give every member of the class of 2015 a hug, she said at her welcome speech on the Main Green Sunday. As she has done in the past, Simmons addressed her oration to the “most beautiful class to ever enter Brown.” While warm and light-hearted at times, her message was also one of humility — something not frequently touted in the halls of academia, she said. “Humility is not always easy to nurture,” she said. “But nurture it if you can because it will open doors for you that oth-

erwise will remain closed.” Simmons reminded incoming students that, though academic achievement is important, it is only one way to advance society. She encouraged the new students to be constantly open to learning. “It’s almost impossible to learn well if you believe you have all of the answers already,” she said. Simmons mingled with students and their parents before the ceremony began, getting a jump-start on her promised hugs and posing for photos. Apple Liu ’15, who posed for a picture

Glenn Lutzky / Herald

continued on page 5

Sydney Island ’15 and Jacy Anthis ’15 carried their class banner down the steps of Faunce House Sunday ahead of President Ruth Simmons.

TWC appoints new director Ivies


By ben Kutner Senior Staff Writer

The Third World Center appointed Mary Grace Almandrez as its new director this summer after a yearlong search process. Almandrez, who took office July 1, was joined by Oscar Perez, the TWC’s new assistant director for diversity initiatives. The TWC, which aims to represent minorities by supporting cultural groups and activities on campus, was under the interim

leadership of Associate Protestant Chaplain Reverend William Mathis after the unexpected departure of Karen McLaurin-Chesson ’74 last summer due to a family emergency. “People really connect with (Almandrez),” said Ricky Gresh, senior director for student engagement and a member of the search committee for the new TWC director. “People felt like she was really already part of Brown.” The search committee included faculty, students staff and alums.

Almandrez has the necessary experience to lead the TWC, Gresh said. She has founded diversityrelated programs at three other schools. “I fell in love with the students,” Almandrez said of Brown. She expressed admiration for “the level of thoughtfulness and care and love the students had” for the TWC. “My first year will really be spent working with the community,” she added. “I’m looking to

By Saturday, most of the fallen trees and leaves that had littered campus had been removed. The City of Providence has been working since the arrival of the storm to clean up city streets, removing trees from roads and placing them on sidewalks for later pickup. For many Rhode Islanders, Irene’s most lasting effect has been the power outages left in its wake. Roughly 325,000 Rhode Islanders were left without electricity, according to a press release issued by National Grid. The utility announced that it hoped to have all continued on page 2

continued on page 6


news....................2-8 CITY & State.......12

All Quiet

BSR loses signal and goes online only Campus News, 3


RIPTA proposes service reduction City & State, 12


Welcome, class of 2015 Editors’ Note, 10


Katrina Phillips / Herald

Debris littered Patriots Court after Tropical Storm Irene swept through campus.

Tropical Storm Irene hit College Hill more with a whimper than a bang Aug. 28, with the limited damage cleaned up by the time first-years arrived for Orientation Saturday. According to Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations, the storm’s effect on campus was mostly limited to damage to trees. Campus was littered with downed leaves and tree branches, which the Department of Facilities Management “began addressing as soon as it was safe to do so,” she said.

By Ashley McDonnell Sports Editor

Football fans love a big hit. But when that hit is a helmet-to-helmet collision, it can have major consequences: a concussion or even the possibility of long-term brain damage. To reduce the risk of head injuries, the Ivy League announced July 20 that it will slash the number of full-contact practices its football teams can hold each week. Under NCAA rules, teams can have up to five full-contact practices per week, but the Ivy League will now only allow two full-contact practices per week. Out of concern for head injuries, the Bears had already voluntarily limited their full-contact practices to the levels permitted by the new rules, said Head Coach Phil Estes. Since 2007, the football team has been playing with sensors in most players’ helmets that measure how hard, how fast and where impacts occur. “We’re going to put that together to see if it’s the number of hits or if it’s the impact” of

continued on page 6

In Irene’s wake, College Hill largely unscathed By Michael Danielewicz Contributing Writer

limit fullcontact practices

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2 Campus News

The Brown Daily Herald Tuesday, September 6, 2011

calendar Today

September 6

1 P.m.


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All Day Pick Up Sports and Tie Dye,

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Main Green 4 p.m.

5 p.m.


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Main Green



Spinach Quiche, Mediterranean Orzo, Grilled Tuna Sandwich with Cheese

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Roast Pork Ouvert, Pastito, Carrot Casserole, Baked Potatoes with Sour Cream, Brussels Sprouts


Katrina Phillips / Herald

Tropical Storm Irene felled trees, like this one on Patriots Court, across campus Aug. 28.

FEMA to help pick up tab after Irene hits Rhode Island continued from page 1


power restored to its Rhode Island customers by Sunday night, but as of press time a map on its website still displayed a small number of power outages in the Providence area. The outages have delayed the start of the school year in some Rhode Island communities. According to Quinn, a few buildings on campus lost power, prompting emergency generators to kick in. She said many members of the Brown community also lost power and water in their homes. The University opened its facilities, including the Olney Margolies Athletic Center, to affected members of


the Brown

the Brown community in response to the outages, Quinn said. Irene adversely impacted some campus programs, like Brown Outdoor Leadership Training’s planned hiking trip in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Though the trip was planned to begin Monday, Aug. 29, the departure was initially delayed until the following day. But because parts of the White Mountain trails remained closed that Tuesday, the group stayed on campus an additional day. BOLT participants left Brown last Wednesday and hiked along the Appalachian Trail in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts instead of the White Mountains. Participants

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The Brown Daily Herald (USPS 067.740) is an independent newspaper serving the Brown University community daily since 1891. It is published Monday through Friday during the academic year, excluding vacations, once during Commencement, once during Orientation and once in July by The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. Single copy free for each member of the community. POSTMASTER please send corrections to P.O. Box 2538, Providence, RI 02906. Periodicals postage paid at Providence, R.I. Subscription prices: $280 one year daily, $140 one semester daily. Copyright 2011 by The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. All rights reserved. editorial

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spent two nights in the wild — two fewer than originally planned. Despite the changes to the BOLT schedule, Max Song ’14, a participant, called the experience “fantastic.” “It opened my eyes to the sterility of the human-centric world we normally inhabit,” Song said. Christopher Piette ’14, a resident of Greenville, R.I., said the storm was “really hyped up.” “Power went out for half a day, which is inconvenient at most,” he said. Jing Wang ’15 of Cranston said people in some areas of her city experienced power outages, downed trees and some basement flooding. Governor Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 announced Saturday that he would ask President Obama to declare Rhode Island a disaster area because “the cost of the response effort, such as personnel overtime and other emergency services, is beyond the state and local recovery capabilities,” according to a press release issued by the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency. The president has since followed through on Chafee’s request. The state is now eligible for a 75 percent reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for approved recovery costs such as debris removal and repair of public facilities.

Campus News 3

The Brown Daily Herald Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In Jewelry District, office space becomes a school continued from page 1 tors’ offices. The three academies — lounge, study, food and storage areas for smaller groups of 40 to 45 students — create the most studentfriendly aspect of the building. The groups will serve as the social and academic centers for students, Wing said. The model was first introduced at Harvard. Doors connect the academies to one another to encourage collaboration across the school. The building also features “physical space where students can talk to advisers,” Wing said. Ted Apstein MD’15 is most excited about the “identity factor” of the academies. It is “our space where we become doctors,” he said. Apstein also said he is looking forward to the new technology that will accompany the design and construction of the building. Textbooks, lectures, study tools and classroom aids will all be on iPads. “There are no books in the libraries,” Wing said. “It’s all computers.” The newly renovated building held up well in its first test — accommodating an overflowing crowd and withstanding a downpour. Wing and President Ruth Simmons cut the ceremonial ribbon, after speeches by Wing, Simmons, Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and a medical student. The new home of the Med School, built as a jewelry factory in 1928, is “restoring an old strength of Providence,” Wing said at the ceremony. The 134,000-square-foot building was purchased by the University in 2004 and used for office space until 2009, when the University decided to renovate an existing building for the new Med School home rather than construct a new building because of financial constraints. Simmons has wanted to improve the Med School since she first took the reins as president of the University, Reed said at the ceremony. The transformation of 222 Richmond St. “affirms the success of the Medical School,” Simmons said. Simmons blew an affectionate kiss during the ceremony to Herb Kaplan, CEO of Warren Equities, who helped provide funds for the building. But it was to the medical students that Simmons dedicated the building. “This structure is for you,” she said. “It is about you. It is about preparing you to serve in an area vital to the public good.”

After 14 years, BSR loses radio signal By Louisa Chafee Contributing Writer

Brown Student Radio lost its lease to the 88.1 WELH signal after 14 years of broadcasting, prompting a switch to online-only programming that started Aug. 1. BSR previously leased the signal from the Wheeler School, a K-12 school located on Hope Street. But Wheeler “slipped in a clause” during the last contract negotiation allowing the school to terminate its contract with BSR with only 15 days notice, according to an interview with John Foley, BSR’s co-publicity director, published on media blog Radio Survivor. BSR received official word July 15 that its lease was ending, according to the blog. Wheeler made a “free-market decision,” said Ryan Lester ’12, BSR’s station manager. Wheeler upgraded its signal to 4,000 watts a year ago, increasing its coverage to northern Rhode Island, parts of southern Rhode Island and parts of Massachusetts, making the signal potentially more appealing to larger radio stations. After the signal upgrade, Wheeler began soliciting applications for a full-time operator — BSR had previously broadcast from evening into early morning — so BSR “pulled together to submit an application,” Lester said. Though the signal 88.1FM was lost to a WRNI (Rhode Island Public Radio) station “with more political clout,” Lester said BSR’s application was “the only other application taken seriously.”

WRNI General Manager Joe O’Connor said in an Aug. 16 Providence Journal blog post that the move would result in a “vastly strengthened” signal for the station. Radio Survivor said WRNI is looking to lease the station for the next 10 years, starting on Oct. 1. According to a statement from the Wheeler School, “this would be a once-in-an-institution opportunity to help bring high quality and publicly vital radio programming to a broad demographic across the entire state as well as bring the strength of Rhode Island and National Public Radio programming to our frequency.” BSR’s loss comes in the wake of

several other recent sales of student free-form radio signals, including stations at the University of San Francisco, Rice University and Vanderbilt University, according to a June Chronicle of Higher Education article. Lester said the transition from on-air to online programming has gone smoothly for BSR, despite some shows’ dependence on the terrestrial signal. Though the station will no longer be able to receive calls from listeners, BSR will be available to anyone with access to the website. BSR intends to obtain its own signal in the future, which would allow station operators to have more control over the program-

ming, Lester said. While leasing from Wheeler, Lester said BSR had to maintain not only Federal Communications Commission standards but also Wheeler’s stricter standards. These restrictions were a “point of tension” and a “strain on BSR,” he said. Online, BSR will have only its own code of conduct to obey. BSR receives funding from the Undergraduate Finance Board, donations and merchandise sales. Lester said the money previously set aside to lease the signal will be used to upgrade online infrastructure, audio equipment and servers to better accommodate online broadcasting.

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4 Campus News

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RIPTA cuts down the road, reduced service on horizon continued from page 12 “We will have to evaluate it as we experience it,” he said. Raaj Parekh ’13 takes a RIPTA bus every day to his internship in Central Falls. “Cutting RIPTA’s services would significantly decrease the feasibility of Brown students volunteering, interning or working any significant distance from campus, which would be a regrettable loss,” he wrote in an email to The Herald. Rhode Island residents expressed concerns about the looming cuts. Many residents rely on RIPTA as “their main mode of transportation to and from work (and) school,”

wrote Woonsocket native Laura Moynihan ’13, in an email to The Herald. “Cuts to RIPTA’s services would have significant negative consequences,” she wrote. Seventy percent of RIPTA’s riders have “no other options,” Odimgbe said. Matt Leon ’14, a resident of the Bristol County area, said he frequently uses some of the RIPTA bus routes slated for elimination. He also often takes RIPTA buses after 10 p.m. “I am going to have to get rides from family and friends,” he said. “Carpooling will be a big thing,” he said, but, as a student, he it is difficult to find a ride.

Students are often out late at night, Leon said, and the lack of bus service after 10 p.m. could cause Providence to lose business from non-residents who come into the city at night. “There is a lot of disappointment in the community,” Spies said. The financial shortfall is simply a result of the “tough times we are in,” he added. RIPTA Riders, a group focused on raising community involvement in the transport authority, began organizing protests in July to advocate

increased state funding for RIPTA. The group distributed information sheets about the cuts, urged riders to attend board hearings and obtained over 1,000 signatures on a petition that members delivered to the offices of state leaders, said member Julian Park ’12. “The budget crisis isn’t made by the board, but is passed down to the board by the state,” Park said. “The state has set up a self-defeating funding mechanism.” The creation of additional hearings and the postponement of the

decision reflect the success of public opposition to the proposal, Park said. The RIPTA Riders “have been a great resource and provide us with unique insights into rider perspectives,” wrote Odimgbe. “The goal is to try to minimize the level of service adjustments we will end up doing,” he wrote. The board is scheduled to address the issue at its Sept. 27 meeting. — With additional reporting by Elizabeth Carr

The Brown Daily Herald Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Campus News 5

Villarreal ’01 MD’05 Simmons, Bergeron welcome first-years charged with drug fraud continued from page 1

By Sahil Luthra Senior Staff Writer

A recent graduate of Alpert Medical School was charged with forging and illegally distributing prescriptions for drugs, including Vicodin, Adderall and Percocet, at Rhode Island Hospital. Robert Villarreal ’01 MD’05, an orthopedic surgeon, faces charges of forgery, drug distribution and conspiracy. Villarreal and federal prosecutors are currently working to reach a plea agreement, according to an Aug. 23 report by WPRI. Villarreal had previously appeared in federal court Aug. 3 and was released on a $50,000 bond, according to the Providence Journal. Villarreal is accused of forging signatures of several acquaintances and using several people to fill prescriptions on his behalf on at least 50 occasions between October 2009 and May 2011, according to a court affidavit filed by Special Agent Todd Prough of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Villarreal’s assistant, Gary Menissian, allegedly aided Villarreal. In the affidavit, Prough said Villarreal admitted to using up to 20 Adderall pills in a day and occasionally performing sur-

gery while under the influence of drugs. Villarreal is also charged with distributing medications to eight other hospital employees, according to the Providence Journal. Both Villarreal and Menissian have lost their hospital privileges. In a statement released Aug. 3, hospital officials said Villarreal was always under supervision while performing surgery. The hospital will cooperate in the investigation, said Gail Carvelli, a hospital spokeswoman. After graduating from Alpert Medical School, Villarreal completed a residency at Rhode Island Hospital, where he also finished a trauma and orthopedic fellowship in June. Until recently, the University’s directory listed Villarreal as an administrator in the Division of Biology and Medicine. In an email to The Herald, Mark Nickel, Brown’s interim director of news and communications, called the listing “a professional and collegial courtesy” during Villarreal’s training at Rhode Island hospital. Villarreal was not an administrator, but had access to some University services, such as libraries and email, due to his affiliation with the Med School.

with Simmons, said she appreciated Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron’s speech. Bergeron discussed “Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China” by Leslie Chang, which all incoming students were given this summer. The book tells the story of two migrant workers to Dongguan, one of many new industrial cities in China. Liu, who hails from China, said she thinks it’s important for American students to learn about China and said she liked that the book was

written from the perspective of a Chinese-American. Ralanda Nelson ’12, the president of the Undergraduate Council of Students, gave the class of 2015 three “gifts.” First, she welcomed them to their new home. Second, she encouraged them to embrace Brown’s diverse community. And third, she dared them to “be bold” and to “engage in a love affair with this University.” Jeremy Perlman ’15 listened to Simmons’ speech with his parents, Art Perlman ’80 and Claire Gutekunst ’80. “I hear she has a cult following, and I can see

why,”the younger Perlman said. His father agreed: “She embodies the spirit that we were so enthused about when we were here,” he said. Sydney Island ’15 and Jacy Anthis ’15 — who arrived early to get front-row seats for the speech — were chosen to represent the class of 2015 by accepting the first-year banner. “She’s amazing,” Island said of Simmons. “She’s kind of a pioneer for a way of thinking at these big academic institutions.” “I think the class of 2015 is going to be really awesome,” Anthis said. “You guys better watch out for us.”

6 Campus News

The Brown Daily Herald Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ivy League limits hard-hitting practices New faces continued from page 1 each hit that contributes to brain damage, Estes said. The new league rules only allow teams to hold full-pad sessions during both sessions of two-a-day practices once during the preseason. The league also reduced the number of allowed full-contact practices in the spring from eight to seven. Estes said he hopes other NCAA conferences will follow the Ivy League’s example. “I think it’s something that we need to do, as a league, to show other leagues,” he said. “I think the Ivy League is at the forefront.” The changes came in response to a study of three Division I football teams published last year in the Journal of Athletic Training, which found that — though players take more hits to the head per game than per practice — they suffer more overall hits during practice because teams practice more frequently than they compete. Following the study’s release in the periodical’s November-December 2010 issue, the league formed an ad-hoc Concussion Committee in December, which conducted its own investigation. The committee was composed of football coaches, athletic trainers, directors and administrators, as well as team physicians, medical experts and two Ivy

League presidents. Estes and former Brown football player Sean Morey ’99, who played in the National Football League and is now co-chair of the NFL Players Association’s Mackey-White Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, served on the committee. There is growing concern that big hits lead to long-term brain damage, Estes said. This concern, coupled with the study’s findings, led the committee to limit the number of full-contact practices for the safety of the players, he said. Offensive lineman Luke Landers ’12, who said he doesn’t think he’s “played a down of football at Brown without one of those sensors in (his) helmet,” expressed support for the league-wide change. “I think it’s definitely awesome that they’re trying to protect us as best they can and most importantly educate us and keep us healthy as players,” he said. “Whenever you know better, you do better.” But the new rules will present new challenges for coaches. In addition to the limitations now set on full-contact practices, the league is also urging coaches to emphasize proper tackling. “We need to keep the head out of the tackling and out of the blocking as much as we possibly can,” Estes said. “You must do a better coaching job.” “It’s not the same game we

at Third World Center

continued from page 1

Herald file photo

Players take more hits to the head in practices than in games during a season.

played 30, 40 years ago, where more contact was better,” Estes said. “We used to have steak and potatoes before a game. We didn’t digest that well, but that was the thought, that it would make you play better. We’re going to see the game of football changing. I think that’s a good thing.” But football is still a sport that requires grown men to tackle one

another. “I definitely think that head injuries aren’t going anywhere,” Landers said. “Big hits are a part of the game of football. People will still have concussions. But I think using different rulings like this will definitely reduce the number of big hits and will make players a lot more conscious of the decisions they’re making on the field.”

build upon the good work that folks have already done.” Almandrez said she wants to partner with all people concerned with social justice at Brown, not only students of color. The University also appointed Oscar Perez as the TWC’s new assistant director for diversity initiatives when Anjali Sridhar stepped down from the post after taking maternity leave, Perez said. Perez received his doctoral degree in the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies in May. His research related in part to the work of the TWC, according to Gresh. Perez, who has also worked at nonprofits in the Providence area, assumed his post March 14 after a selection process that began in January. “I think that this is a really exciting time for the TWC,” Perez said, adding that he will work to make the TWC more visible to the graduate community. “We’re really interested in creating more collaborative projects.”

The Brown Daily Herald Tuesday, September 6, 2011

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Commission named to allot land freed by I-195 move continued from page 12 any testimony. Common Cause initially got involved because the group felt that bill’s original draft violated the state’s constitutional separation of powers. Once this was fixed in subsequent drafts, Common Cause turned its attention to the “unbridled power of the commission,” Marion said. Daisy Schnepel, the president of the Fox Point Neighborhood Association, said the original

Senate version of the bill did not make Providence and the state equal partners in managing the land. Though the property belongs to the state, its location within the city affects Providence residents directly, Schnepel said. “It stands to reason that people in other parts of the state wouldn’t be as concerned,” she added. The association sought to change the bill by urging members to send Fox a personal message alongside an official statement outlining the legislation’s

perceived flaws, Schnepel said. Other neighborhood groups like the Jewelry District Association and the College Hill Neighborhood Association also expressed opposition to earlier versions of the bill, she said. But after the bill was amended and passed by the General Assembly, the Fox Point Neighborhood Association issued a statement to its membership via email stating that the final draft included “substantial improvements.” In addition to the equal division of

appointees granted to the city and the state, the bill now requires that the commission abide by Providence’s zoning ordinances, which Marion said was another improvement. The bill also prohibits the construction of a casino on the I-195 land. Chafee’s administration had already promised that a casino would not be built, Marion said, but the clause ensures that it will not happen. Still, Marion added, the need for a commission is debatable. He

questioned why a “quasi-public” mechanism for developing the land is needed, saying that a commission not directly accountable to citizens “really gets away from the democratic ideal.” Residents will at least have the power to press for good nominees to the commission, he said. “The best thing people can do is be watchdogs.” — With additional reporting by Sahil Luthra and Amy Rasmussen

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Editors’ Note

Editorial comic


A l e x Y u ly

Dear class of 2015, Welcome to Brunonia. Lucky for you, you can expect to spend your next four years sleeping in nicer dorms, working out in better gyms and studying with smarter classmates than any Brown student before you. But as the Brown experience comes to have more and more to offer, the responsibility to spend your four years wisely grows. So go to a naked party (at least once), try to brush your teeth before passing out at night and, when it comes to classes, shop ’til you drop. And, of course, be an informed member of your community. We make that part easy. We print five days a week when classes are in session. We bring you campus news, sports and arts. We cover the East Side, Providence and Rhode Island. Post- Magazine comes out in The Herald every Thursday with food, sex, music and beyond. runs around the clock with up-to-the-minute breaking news and regular posts on the campus social scene — and a lot more to boot. Mondays through Thursdays, this space will usually contain an editorial, written by The Herald’s editorial page board and representing The Herald’s official stance on campus issues. Fridays, this is where we run Diamonds & Coal, where we joke about the week’s news. The page opposite this one will usually contain two opinions columns, bringing independent views on a variety of topics. The entire operation is student-run, and we would be delighted if you joined us. We hope to see you around College Hill and to make loyal readers out of each and every one of you. Editors’ notes are written by the editors-in-chief.

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quote of the day

“It’s almost impossible to learn well if you believe you have all of the answers already.” — President Ruth Simmons See Simmons on page 1.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

RIPTA proposes 30 IRS revokes tax-exempt status of percent service reduction five Brown-affiliated nonprofits By Sarah Mancone Staff Writer

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority has proposed a 30 percent service reduction, including the termination of all service after 10 p.m., in response to its massive budget deficit. RIPTA held public hearings throughout the state during July and August to address proposed cuts. The transit authority was slated to decide on a proposal by Aug. 22, but the decision was postponed “to give RIPTA more time to consider public comments, incorporate any suggestions and review other possible alternatives,” wrote RIPTA CEO Charles Odimgbe in an email to The Herald. RIPTA faces a $4.6 million shortfall for fiscal year 2012 — a result of reduced revenue from the state gas tax and high fuel costs for its fleet. In past years, the General Assembly and the governor have allotted RIPTA funds, but given the state’s dire financial situation, no such solution has been made available. Proposed cuts include elimination of routes and route segments and reduced service. If enacted, the proposal would eliminate holiday bus service, all “Flex” services in Narragansett — which offer passengers the option of calling a ride — and some “Park n’ Ride” services, which provide free parking lots for commuters taking mass transit. The cuts would affect 39 bus routes and 35 communities. This is not the first time RIPTA has enacted major cuts. In 2008, the transit authority made service

reductions affecting 47 routes and eliminating 20 bus drivers’ jobs. The cutbacks would not change the University’s agreement with RIPTA allowing students, faculty and staff to ride for free. Proposed reductions should not have a significant impact on students, wrote Elizabeth Gentry, assistant vice president of financial and administrative services, in an email to The Herald. “Many of the routes that pass through College Hill are well-traveled and, at initial glance, don’t appear to be proposed for elimination or service reduction,” Gentry wrote, though she did note that the elimination of all bus service after 10 p.m. could affect students. The University reimburses RIPTA at a fixed rate per ride, an arrangement that will continue regardless of changes made to the services offered, she wrote. The Brown community uses RIPTA services approximately 32,000 times per month, with half that volume coming from student use. “We will minimize as much as possible any negative impact” on riders, Odimgbe said. The transport authority plans to base its cuts on the services riders say impact them most during the hearings, he added. “I do not believe we are going to leave anyone hanging out to dry.” Brown does not currently have any plans to change transportation services in response to the proposed reductions, said Richard Spies, executive vice president for planning and senior adviser to the president. continued on page 4

By Jake Comer Senior Staff Writer

Five nonprofits associated with Brown lost their tax-exempt statuses May 15 after failing to file the proper paperwork three years in a row.

CAMPUS NEWS Delta Phi Fraternity’s Beta Chapter, Sigma Chi Fraternity’s Providence Alumni Chapter, Alpha Epsilon Pi’s Beta Rho Chapter, the Brown Football Association and American Friends of the Hakluyt Society — which supports publication of historical material and is affiliated with the John Carter Brown Library — are included on a list released June 9 of Rhode Island nonprofits whose tax-exempt statuses were revoked by the Internal Revenue Service. Unless the organizations apply to have the status reinstated, donations to them will no longer be tax-deductible. According to the IRS website, about 275,000 organizations throughout the country had their tax-exempt statuses automatically revoked after failing to complete the appropriate paperwork for three consecutive years. Prior to 2007, nonprofits with yearly revenues less than $25,000 did not have to file paperwork with the IRS. But in the past three years, the IRS required organizations receiving less than $25,000 per year to fill out a new form, the 990-N e-Postcard. Nonprofits

that failed to fill it out three years running saw their tax-exempt statuses automatically revoked. Many of the nonprofits affected are no longer in existence or have merged with other organizations. Sigma Chi’s Providence Alumni Chapter has been inactive for some time now, said Fred Monroe, controller at the Sigma Chi International Headquarters in Evanston, Ill. The relatively recent advent of the 990-N requirement for small nonprofits took some organizations by surprise. “As far as I am aware, AEPi at Brown has not lost its tax exempt status, even though at some point last year we might have been at risk of losing it if we hadn’t taken the appropriate steps,” wrote Leslie Maazel ’12, president of Brown’s AEPi chapter, in an email to The Herald. But AEPi at Brown is listed among the Rhode Island organizations whose tax-exempt statuses were automatically revoked this year. The American Friends of the Hakluyt Society lost its taxexempt status due to a “lack of understanding the process,” wrote Maureen O’Donnell, the society’s secretary, in an email to The Herald. She said the IRS notification that Hakluyt was no longer a taxexempt nonprofit caught her by surprise. But she learned quickly that the same had happened to thousands of small nonprofits across the country, and that the IRS was providing them the op-

portunity to reapply for their former status. Hakluyt sent their application in early August, and have yet to hear back from the IRS. O’Donnell said she is not worried that Hakluyt’s application will not be accepted. “I really can’t see any problem with it,” she said. Jon Land ’79, alumni president of Delta Phi at Brown and alumni adviser to the Greek system at Brown, said he doesn’t believe many people know about the change in DPhi’s tax status. “I’m not even sure the University is aware of it,” he said. Similarly, Davies Bisset ’85, executive director of the Brown University Sports Foundation, said he wasn’t aware the Brown Football Association had lost tax-exempt status. Bisset said he does not know why the appropriate forms were not filled out, but the change should not make a significant difference for the football program. “Having (the Brown Football Association) set up as taxexempt is not critical,” he said, because the association doesn’t receive many donations. Most of the money received by the team comes through the sports foundation, not the football association, he said. The Brown Football Association is more concerned with coordinating volunteer fundraisers and alumni relations than with collecting money, he said. “Their work is more important than their (tax) status,” Bisset said. “We think we’re just fine.”

Commissioners appointed to allot I-195 land By Caitlin Trujillo Senior Staff Writer

Providence and Rhode Island government officials have chosen seven members to serve on a powerful commission designated to oversee the development of land made available by the relocation of Interstate 195. The commission will determine who will acquire and develop the land. Governor Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 signed the bill establishing the commission in July after the Rhode Island General Assembly passed it June 30, at the tail end of its regular legislative session. The House and Senate amended a previous draft of the bill to include provisions giving Mayor Angel Taveras more power in the appointment process. The legislation allows Taveras to recommend a list of at least six people for Chafee to narrow down to three potential commissioners. In line with the legislation, Chafee selected Women and Infants Hospital nurse Barbara Hunger, Meeting Street School President John Kelly and lawyer Mark Ryan

from Taveras’ picks, who were announced in an Aug. 23 press release. The legislation also provides Speaker of the House Gordon Fox, D-Providence, with the opportunity to contribute three names for consideration, from which Chafee selected one person — Kelly, who also made Fox’s list — as a nominee. Chafee chose the remaining four commissioners, two of whom have affiliations with the University — Adjunct Assistant Professor of Physiology Barrett Bready ’99 MD’03, who is also the president of Jewelry District biotech company NABsys, and Diana Johnson MA’71, an art consultant and past director of the David Winton Bell Gallery. Chafee’s other nominees include Michael Van Leesten, the CEO of the Rhode Island branch of non-profit organization Opportunities Industrialization Center, and Colin Kane, a real-estate development principal and Chafee’s pick for the commission’s chair. The nominees are now subject to the Senate’s approval. The

vote should come before the fall special session commences in October, said Senate Press Secretary Greg Pare. Though no date has been set for the nominees’ confirmations, Senate Corporations Committee will review the nominees and conduct public hearings during the month of September before making a recommendation to the full Senate, Pare said. The amendment changing the distribution of nominations was one of many to make the bill more palatable to those who feared the commission would grant too much power to the state, said John Marion, executive director of the advocacy group Common Cause Rhode Island. “Everybody’s goal is for this land to be developed for the city and state to maximize their potential,” Marion said. But the city and state have slightly different primary objectives. Given the city’s dire budget situation, its officials are concerned about generating additional revenue from property taxes, while the state is chiefly focused on job creation, Marion added.

“This needs to be a partnership,” he said, “not a tyranny from the state.” The law also mandates that if tax-exempt institutions like Brown purchase any of the land, they must either enter into an agreement with the city to make payments in lieu of taxes or pay the full value of property taxes. The University has expressed interest in developing the I-195 land, which neighbors the Jewelry District and its recently-opened Warren Alpert Medical School. University administrators hope the “knowledge economy” anchored by the Med School and affiliated hospitals will continue to thrive, said Marisa Quinn, Brown’s vice president of public affairs and University relations. But University Hall has not been approached to play a role on the commission, Quinn said. The bill further grants two parcels of land to Johnson and Wales University. It states the school is potentially the sole party interested in the land due to the parcels’ small sizes and their close proximity to other property

owned by Johnson and Wales. Community members expressed concerns about the potential negative impact of allowing tax-exempt institutions to purchase the I-195 land at a June 29 House Finance Committee hearing. But Richard Licht, the state’s director of administration, testified during the hearing that institutions like Brown could further transform the area into a science and technology cluster, spurring economic development. There was additional concern that the bill’s authors worded the text so that it would benefit potential land developers before Providence residents, Marion said. An initial draft of the bill included a clause allowing individuals affiliated with potential buyers of the land to serve on the commission. Quinn said University officials had no hand in drafting the bill, adding that University representatives might have attended public hearings on the commission in an unofficial capacity — and without offering continued on page 8

Tuesday, September 6, 2011  

The September 6, 2011 issue of the Brown Daily Herald

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