vol. cxlvi, no. 81
Thursday, October 6, 2011
60 locals, students, faculty, gather on the Main Green
Graduate School to pilot dual degrees
By Dan Jeon Contributing Writer
By Sahil Luthra Senior Staff Writer
A group of about 60 students, faculty and Providence residents gathered on the Main Green yesterday at noon to discuss the possibility of creating a grassroots movement called “Occupy College Hill,” inspired by the ongoing “Occupy Wall Street” rallies. The movement is a reaction against “the 1 percent” — the wealthiest 1 percent of the U.S. population who, according to the movement, afflict the other 99 percent through greed and corruption. “Moneyed interest and corporate interest have a stranglehold, and there is a reflection that this can be changed,” said Daniel Moraff ’14, an attendee of Wednesday’s
“It should be a fundamental right of all Brown students to have a university dedicated to comprehensive and regular renovations
A new Graduate School initiative, which the University announced yesterday, will allow doctoral candidates to pursue a master’s degree in a secondary field while they are earning a Ph.D., beginning next fall. A $2 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that will fund students pursuing a degree in the humanities provided an impetus for the program’s launch. The Grad School provides financial support for five years of study, and the Mellon grant will fund the sixth, according to a University press release. Known as “Open Graduate Programs: Graduate Education — Uniquely Brown,” the initiative will target the set of students who are interested in two often distinct areas of study and help them prepare for careers, said Paul Weber, dean of the Graduate School. “We say that our undergraduate students are in charge of their education — they’re the architects of their education,” Weber said. “So the thinking is, ‘Well, could some graduate students be interested in being the architects of their graduate education?’ And it’s very much a Brown way of
continued on page 4
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‘Occupy’ protests hit College Hill
Courtesy of Timothy Syme
The protests movement that began in New York City with “Occupy Wall Street” came to the Main Green yesterday.
gathering and a Herald opinions columnist. Phrases such as “we are the 99 percent,” “we are going to occupy Providence” and “act upon the impetus” reverberated around the eclectic group of protesters. Protesters slung profanities, called for selfdetermination and claimed they had been “screwed over,” by the wealthier 1 percent.
While many present at the event were clear supporters of the movement, others had come to the Main Green out of curiosity. Robyn Schroeder GS expressed uncertainty about the movement. “I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Schroeder said. Issues raised at the meeting included labor and environmental concerns.
Participants in the rally said they hope to join with “Occupy Providence,” a larger movement throughout the city, also based on the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Meetings of “Occupy Providence” will be held at Burnside Park, next to Kennedy Plaza. There will be another “Occupy College Hill” meeting today at noon on the Main Green.
Immigrant UCS mulls statement on housing tuition break Calls dormitories ‘embarrassingly substandard’ protested by resolution opposing the elimina- cussion in preparation for a vote tion of any varsity athletics pro- next week, used strong words in grams and heard from Dean of decrying University failures to hundreds The Undergraduate Council of the College Katherine Bergeron live up to students’ expectations. By Katrina Phillips Senior Staff Writer
news....................2-7 CITY & State........8-9 editorial............10 Opinions.............11 SPORTS..................12
jumps the shark, tastes fall
Number of GISPs per semester 25
Fall ‘ 1
g ‘11 Sprin
0 Fall ‘ 1
continued on page 7
Fall ‘ 09
The number of Group Independent Study Projects has fallen to eight this semester, down from 22 in the spring and 14 last fall. The number of GISPs is one barometer of student engagement with the New Curriculum. The Curricular Resource Center characterized this semester’s downturn as an aberration. Over the last four years, an average of 12 GISPs have been completed in the fall semester and 22 in the Spring. Fall enrollment in GISPs is generally lower than spring enrollment because students must submit a proposal for the 14-week semester
five months before the semester begins, according to Peggy Chang ’91, director of the CRC. In the spring, students only have to submit a proposal by early November. Additionally, first-years, who are ineligible to participate in GISPs in the fall, become eligible in the spring. Though there are only eight GISPs this semester, 13 were proposed. Kathleen McSharry, associate dean for writing and curriculum, said 29 GISPs were proposed for last spring semester, and 22 became projects. Chang said she was “a little surprised” that four applicant groups declined to revise their proposals.
By Izzy Rattner Contributing Writer
Anna Migliaccio / Herald
In protest of criminalizing protest Opinions, 11
continued on page 2
GISP participation down this semester
Fall ‘ 08
Governors for Higher Education last week that would make undocumented students in Rhode Island eligible for in-state tuition. The rally, organized by Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement, coincided with a press conference held by six legislators — four state representatives and two state senators — to criticize Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 for supporting the measure (See page 12 for full coverage of the controversy). Radio personality John DePetro, host of the John DePetro Show, opened the rally by addressing Chafee with the words, “You are the governor, not a dictator!” as the crowd cheered in agreement and waved the American flag. Many
city & state
and Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services. Both the proposed housing statement and athletics resolution, still under revision and dis-
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in front of the State House yesterday afternoon to protest a policy approved by the Board of
Students discussed a statement deploring the “embarrassingly substandard” state of campus housing at its general body meeting last night. The council also discussed a
Fall ‘ 07
By anna lillkung Staff Writer
t o d ay
66 / 42
61 / 40
2 Campus News calendar Today
Humorous Speech Contest,
Women’s Volleyball vs. Harvard,
Smith Buananno 201
Pizzitola Center 9:00 P.M.
Film Screening: Riscado,
Granoff Center for the Creative Arts
menu SHARPE REFECTORY
VERNEy-WOOLLEY DINING HALL LUNCH
Chicken Pot Pie, Zucchini and Parmesan Sandwich, Falafel with Tzatziki, Rice Krispie Treats
Sloppy Joe Sandwich, Vegetable Strudel, Cauliflower Au Gratin, Rice Krispie Treats
DINNER Beef Strip Shish Kabob, Cheese Tomato Strata, Chicken Vegetable Soup, Frosted Brownies
Tuiton break sparks protest continued from page 1
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, October 6, 2011
Roast Turkey with Sauce, Shells with Broccoli, Butternut Apple Bake, Frosted Brownies
attendees carried black roses to symbolize their mourning of Rhode Island’s perceived poor leadership. Legislators, Tea Party members and other supporters also carried
city & state signs that read, “What part of ‘illegal’ don’t you get?” and questioned what funds “Santa Claus Chafee” planned to use to pay for the undocumented students’ education. The rally featured a variety of speakers, including a Rhode Island resident named Flori, who hails from Romania and said she became a legal citizen the “right way.” Her message to Chafee is that citizens have both rights and duties, including the obligation to respect the law, she said. Delores Issler of the Ocean State Tea Party In Action group pointed out that there is a difference between illegal aliens and immigrants, as a protester waved a sign reading, “R.I. loves legal immigrants” behind her. State Rep. Peter Palumbo, DCranston, questioned whether the governor’s priorities were in the right place, adding that he takes
Herald file photo
Protestors yesterday criticized “Santa Claus Chafee” for his support of in-state tuition rates for undocumented students.
issue with Chafee’s consideration of a policy change to allow undocumented students the “privilege of a driver’s license.” The rally was interrupted early on by a group of approximately 20 counter-protesters in clown outfits who walked behind the speakers while waving signs that read, “This circus is for clowns only” and “My clowncesters came here the
right way.” The clowns, who call themselves “Clowns for Immigration Law Enforcement,” targeted Palumbo as “the biggest clown of them all.” But the clowns did not disrupt the protesters, who continued to chant, “USA! USA!” “Governor Chafee, maybe it’s time for you and your pal Obama to hit the road,” DePetro said.
Grant enables grad school initiative continued from page 1
thinking.” There will be no formal prerequisites for applying, and Weber said the Grad School will select about 14 students for next year’s incoming cohort. He emphasized that though the Mellon grant covers only students pursuing degrees in the humanities, any graduate student will be eligible to pursue a master’s degree in any other field. Weber has also secured
additional funding to support non-humanities students, said Matteo Riondato GS, president of the Graduate Student Council. The effort is part of a University goal to allow 48 doctoral students to pursue secondary degrees, according to the release. But specific numbers are not especially important, Weber said. He added that the pilot program might be altered in response to student interest and available funding.
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Weber said the application deadline will likely be in February, but he said he hopes to announce further details in a month. He added that he has been examining the possibility of an open graduate program since he started as dean of the Grad School and applied for the Mellon grant last year. Weber presented the program at a meeting of the Graduate Student Council last night, and student response was “very positive,” Riondato said. “Although the doctoral degrees are meant to be very focused on your very narrow field of interest, I think more and more students realize that a breadth of interest is useful, and more and more research is going toward mixing different fields that were not considered to be similar,” Riondato said. The grant follows a $498,000 gift from the Mellon Foundation in January to fund an international humanities program through the University and comes at a time when the University is seeking to strengthen its connection to the humanities, according the release. A representative of the Mellon Foundation declined to comment.
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The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, October 6, 2011
Campus News 3
Students hone consulting skills By mArgaret Nickens Contributing Writer
In a world of lectures and textbooks, not many college students are able to get hands-on job experience outside of internships. But over the past few years, two student-run groups have developed to help undergraduates gain consulting experience and contacts by working with professional organizations off campus. These two groups — the Collegiate Consulting Group and the Sustainability Consulting Partnership — work with individuals and corporations to solve business and environmental problems, giving group members a chance to hone their practical skills. “(Institutions) approach us with a business question and ask us to help them solve it,” said Ross Geiger ’13, vice president of the Collegiate Consulting Group. Helen Mou ’10 and Amanda Zarrilli ’09.5 founded the Sustainability Consulting Partnership in 2010 to complete their thesis requirements for the environmental science concentration. Since then, the group has grown to about 26 members. The club’s work with outside corporations has opened up many opportunities for its members, said Spencer Fields ’12, vice president of internal affairs for the Sustainability Consulting Partnership. “The (Collegiate Consulting Group) does a good job of preparing you in the sense that it is very analysis-driven and researchdriven,” Geiger said. Geiger joined to learn more
about consulting and to see how much the field would appeal to him professionally. He said he thinks interest in the group has grown since the financial crisis, which “turned a lot of people away from banks.” The Sustainability Consulting Partnership has volunteered on a number of different projects, including writing an environmental education curriculum for a Haitian youth program, building a pollution prevention wall for the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School in Providence and doing research for Green Edge, a New York City consulting firm. This year, the group plans to work with the Providence city government to measure and reduce the energy consumption of various public buildings, like City Hall. They are also working with Mark Kravatz, the designer of the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, a public-private partnership that seeks to make homes more environmentally friendly. The Collegiate Consulting Group, which has assisted local organizations like DCI Productions and the Clinton Global Initiative, will work on internal projects this fall, producing its own publication and hosting conferences where various executives and researchers help participants improve their consulting skills. The Sustainability Consulting Partnership also plans to bring in outside speakers, such as Mayor Angel Taveras. “At the end of the day, this is a learning experience,” Fields said. “We want to make sure we’re getting something out of it.”
wa l k i n g t h e wa l k
Rachel Kaplan / Herald
The Thayer Street sidewalk in front of Metcalf Chemistry and Research Laboratory opened yesterday. Faculty from the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences are moving into the building starting this week.
Classes take on rooms their own size By Alexander Kaplan Contributing Writer
Though shopping period was riddled with overcrowding and classroom shuffling, the Office of the Registrar has now solved all known space constraint problems. Robert Fitzgerald, university registrar, affirmed that no classes currently have more students enrolled than spots in their respective classrooms. He said his primary focus was the safety of students and professors. “We, Facilities Management and Environmental Health and Safety are always concerned about fire code
regulations and the well-being of our faculty and students,” Fitzgerald said. “In fact, on many occasions, we’ve had to force an instructor to move out of a room that was too small for precisely those reasons.” During shopping period, when course sizes tend to fluctuate, the registrar’s office monitors class enrollments but waits to move classrooms, except in the most extreme cases. HIST 1460: “History of the Middle East,” was relocated four times during the first three weeks of the semester. Despite the seemingly constant flux, Shiva Balaghi, a postdoctoral fellow in the Cogut
Center for the Humanities, said the registrar’s moves ultimately allowed more students to enroll in her course. Similarly, ECON 0110: “Principles of Economics,” was very popular during shopping period and currently has 516 students who are easily accommodated in spacious Salomon 101, which has a 594-person capacity. “We wouldn’t want to turn interested students away with an enrollment cap,” said Rachel Friedberg, senior lecturer in economics, who teaches the course. Ross Lerner ’14, a student in the class, joked, “I am just glad I’m not forced to use the lefty desk anymore.”
4 Campus News
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, October 6, 2011
UCS tackles empty gyms and dorms in ‘decay’ continued from page 1 of all dormitories,” the statement now reads, adding that University dorms are “embarrassingly substandard compared to those of our peer institutions.” The statement, which calls housing “increasingly a negative experience for Brown students,” outlines a call for a comprehensive plan to maintain residence halls before they reach unacceptable levels of “decay.” It is the first statement UCS has proposed in a decade. The plan is to pass the statement in time to present it to administrators before the Oct. 20 Corporation meeting. UCS members agreed that speedy renovations should take priority over construction of new dorms, which they said could take years. Members bemoaned the Corporation’s repeated refusal to allot the Office of Residential Life the full amount they request. Proposed athletics resolution
The council then moved to a resolution criticizing, point-bypoint, the Athletics Review Committee’s rationale for cutting the varsity wrestling, fencing and skiing programs. The resolution featured research compiled by the teams themselves, which had already been presented to the committee, but which UCS said was not previously readily available to students. After detailing various points of data to prove the teams’ value to the University, the resolution concluded that the committee’s findings were “unsubstantiated and lacked thorough and comprehensive research.” “We therefore, on behalf of the undergraduate students of Brown University, urge the Corporation not to cut these valuable athlet-
ics programs,” the statement concludes. Bergeron and Klawunn
Earlier in the night, Bergeron and Klawunn took a markedly more positive view in their address to the council. The two recounted improvements that have been made across the University in the last year from their collaboration with UCS. Bergeron highlighted the improved support for international students, changes to the Center for Careers and Life After Brown and progress on the transition from MyCourses to Canvas. She enthusiastically revealed the feature of Canvas that allows class assignments to automatically appear in students’ Google Calendars. She emphasized that CareerLAB underwent more changes than just name and logo, but that the “name of the center should actually reflect the multiple purposes,” since finding a career is more of a fluid process. Bergeron also alluded to the planning of an event called the January Career Laboratory, scheduled to be announced later in the month. This new event, she said, “will feature a whole lot of alums to do networking” and give students of all years a chance to discuss career options and meet alums in another capacity. Klawunn then discussed what she called the Division of Campus Life and Student Services’ four mission areas — facilities, student support and advising, diversity and connections with faculty. She also discussed the planned dorm at 315 Thayer St. and the consolidation of first-year housing in Pembroke and Keeney Quadrangle, eliminating concerns of the far distance of Perkins. When
questioned about the elimination of small first-year dorms like Littlefield, Klawunn said the University plans to renovate several Pembroke and Keeney dorms to create smaller units, preserving the “Littlefield experience” elsewhere. She also discussed proposals “to create more of a center” for international students, combining the services and programs available to them and making something that would be “more visible and a real sign of our global mission.” She apologized in response to student concerns with the satellite fitness centers, saying, “We did not manage that well this year.” “We will have new machines in there as quickly as we can,” she added. Bergeron and Klawunn both detailed the strengths of the Faculty Advising Fellows program, urging students to take advantage of the program’s events. “They are some of our best teachers and advisers,” Klawunn said of the faculty participants. Bergeron highlighted a “new appendage to the program,” in which students can now take individual faculty members of their choosing out to lunch. When the floor was opened up to questions, UCS members raised concerns about inadequacies in
Rachel Kaplan and Alex Bell / Herald
Students at last night’s UCS meeting discussed housing and heard a presentation from Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron.
the explanation of prerequisites for international students, inconsistencies in policies for preregistration waitlists and lack of centralization of the University’s online tools. Klawunn and Bergeron took the questions in stride, offering possible solutions to the students’ concerns.
Later in the meeting, UCS also approved a name change and realignment to the charity group Sports Corps, the change of the student group Right to Play’s constitution and talked about the progress of their compilation of dossiers on each member of the Corporation in preparation for this year’s Corporation meeting.
Campus News 5
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, October 6, 2011
Student ‘melt’ creates surplus in available housing By Abby Kerson Staff Writer
With all but four temporary beds removed from University housing, the Office of Residential Life now has 20 beds free, according to Richard Bova, senior associate dean of residential and dining services. The surplus comes after three consecutive years of overcrowding, peaking at the start of last year when 74 students were living in converted common spaces. On the first day of this semester, the University was expecting 4,689 students to live on campus, 10 more students than there were beds, Bova said. But this number did not account for “melt,” or students that decide not to come back to Brown each semester. As of now, the “melt” is about 30 students, Bova said, which is on par with previous years. During the first few weeks of every year, some common spaces are turned into temporary housing, but “as students settle, so do we,” Bova said. This year, ResLife set up 42 beds in temporary housing. The common spaces are converted as a safety measure for last minute issues requiring students to move. There were several emergencies over the first few weeks, Bova said, and three students were liv-
Day one overcrowding 80 74 70 61 60 52 50 45 42 43 40 30 20 3 10 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 0 -3 -10 Housing surplus -20 -22 -30
Anna Migliaccio / Herald
Number of beds short (or extra) on the first day of school.
ing in temporary housing at the start of term. Those three students have since moved off campus. Thirty-eight of these temporary beds — including the housing in Vartan Gregorian Quad and Wriston Quadrangle — have been restored to their original use as common rooms, Bova said, and there are currently no occupants in the remaining two doubles. These two rooms will likely remain as such for the duration of the semester in case students unexpectedly need housing, but will be converted back by next semester, Bova said. These rooms
are not kitchens, nor are they from buildings with few common areas, he added. Though the melt creates vacancies, free beds may be in “dingles” — rooms with two beds but only one occupant — and might not be acceptable for someone with an emergency who does not wish to live with a roommate. Bova estimated that of the more than 100 juniors put on the wait list for off-campus permission last year, all but a couple ultimately received approval. There are currently 1,340 students living off-campus.
Greg Jordan-Detamore / Herald
This former lounge in Keeney Quadrangle’s Jameson House now houses students.
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, October 6, 2011
Campus News 7 TODAY IN Brown HISTORY On Oct. 6, 2000 Several Brown students joined a group of 25 at the home of then-State Rep. David Cicilline ’83 to watch a vice presidential debate between Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman. Matt Shechmeister ‘03 called Lieberman “more likeable” and said he “conveyed more experience” than Cheney. Cheney was identified as a former secretary of defense, while Lieberman, now an Independent, was labeled as a Democrat from Connecticut. On Oct. 6, 1981 The Herald reported a man stealing $100 from the Ivy Room. The man, who also was found to have stolen a purse and a wallet, told Ivy Room manager Timothy Brown he had a gun, though Brown told The Herald he didn’t actually see a firearm. On Oct. 6, 1978 The Southern Africa Solidarity Committee picketed before an address owned by Corporation Member Thomas Watson ’37. Watson later commemorated the Thomas J. Watson Sr. Center for Information Technology in honor of his father, the founder of IBM. On Oct. 6, 1971 The University scrapped planned renovations to Faunce House, which would have included creating a snack bar, “outdoor cafe facilities” and lounge space. Administrators cancelled the renovations, choosing to expand the campus post office instead. Officials from the Student Activities Office expressed frustration about the decision, especially since the administration had not consulted them before scrapping the plans.
Gadi Cohen / Herald
The building at 121 S. Main St. has become a focal point in negotiations over which buildings Facilities employees staff.
Facilities talks tackle off-campus buildings By jordan hendricks Senior Staff Writer
As bargaining between Facilities Management and the University on a new labor contract continues this month, the question of who will staff off-campus University buildings — Facilities or an outside company — is increasingly important. Showing support for the workers, the Student Labor Alliance has collected more than 500 signatures in a petition for workers to staff off-campus properties, said alliance member Andres Villada ’13.5. In general, Facilities maintains buildings that are entirely devoted to University use, Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations, wrote in an email to The Herald. But for University-owned buildings that also house commercial tenants, the University hires Cushman and Wakefield, a management firm that offers services such as collecting rent from tenants and providing custodial staff. Currently, at least four University-occupied buildings are not staffed by Facilities employees. Negotiations have centered on 121 S. Main St., a building almost fully occupied by the University except for Hemenway’s Restaurant on the first floor, said Karen McAninch
’74, business agent for the United Service Allied Workers and a representative of Facilities in the contract negotiations. McAninch said custodial positions at 121 S. Main St., as well as other off-campus University buildings, should belong to Facilities workers. “That’s our work,” she said. “We maintain the properties of Brown University.” McAninch said she doubts that outside employees are paid the same rates as Facilities workers, whose pay ranges from $14 to $25 per hour. Quinn declined to comment on the pay of Cushman and Wakefield employees and other issues surrounding the negotiations in order “to ensure the integrity of that bargaining process,” she wrote. But she added that a requirement of the University’s contract with the management firm is that their employees are unionized. “There is precedent for Brown to rent out space and continue to have Facilities do the maintenance,” McAninch wrote in an email to The Herald. For example, New Pembroke 4 houses Blue State Coffee as a tenant on the first floor but is maintained by Facilities. McAninch wrote that the Facilities union would work with Cush-
man and Wakefield workers to keep them from losing their jobs if their positions at University buildings were transferred to Facilities. Villada said there is “overwhelming student support for this cause.” The Student Labor Alliance has distributed posters and flyers for students to hang on their doors, so workers can see that students support them. “This is something that needs to be brought to the attention of the school,” he said. “How workers are treated says a lot about how the school is run.” — Additional reporting by Gadi Cohen
GISPs see decline in popularity this fall continued from page 1 McSharry said revising is an arduous process that may begin two months before the deadline and carry into summer for some people.
Campus news Only one course was rejected outright by the committee, which decided the topic could not meet the criteria of the liberal arts. Jasmyn Samaroo ’13, who took a GISP on lucid dreaming last fall, wrote in an email to The Herald that planning her course was difficult and that she received “little direction” in the process. But McSharry said creating a syllabus independently is one of
the most valuable aspects of doing a GISP. Evan Schwartz ’13, independent concentration and independent studies co-coordinator, said students who participate generally give positive reviews of the projects, but many students do not even consider conducting GISPs. Recently, the CRC has taken new steps to publicize the program with a blog, a bulletin board in J. Walter Wilson and departmental undergraduate groups. Schwartz said the CRC wants to further promote GISPs by partnering with A Day on College Hill. Forty students attended an information session for spring GISPs Tuesday night in the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center.
8 City & State Undocumented students eligible for in-state tuition continued from page 12 said. A primary criticism is that the new undocumented college students would be a drain on state resources. But the Latino Policy Institute study predicted that the change would actually generate $162,000 in additional revenue for state schools, as the revenue from additional tuition would outweigh the cost of instructing new students. State education administrators have pushed back on the claim that granting undocumented students in-state tuition would displace citizen students. “Our policy isn’t going to change in any way which
students are considered for admission,” Linda Acciardo, director of communications and marketing at URI, said in The Narragansett Times yesterday. “We’ll continue to admit every qualified Rhode Islander.” Fairness and the economic imperative of an educated workforce motivated the board’s decision, Trainor said. Rhode Island already provides undocumented students a K-12 education, he said, and “the board felt that to have someone who calls Rhode Island home have to pay out-of-state tuition was not consistent with how we treat them in elementary through high schools.”
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, October 6, 2011
Falling approval for Taveras continued from page 12 dence voters’ satisfaction with Taveras and their satisfaction with local services as inconsistent. “Part of that is just fear and worry that things are not under control,” Schiller said. “You’re happy with your services now, but you’re worried that in the future those services might go away.” Hilary Silver, associate professor of sociology, said the dip in Taveras’ approval might have been caused by his efforts to rein in Providence’s budget shortfall, which was $180 million after he took office. “He’s found it necessary to close schools. He’s obviously bargaining hard with the unions and he’s certainly not hiring a lot of people,” Silver said. “Maintenance will be deferred and other things will happen that will be tough on citizens.” Silver also pointed to property tax hikes imposed in August as a possible source of dissatisfaction with the mayor. “It reflects people’s self-interest in the economy and the extent to which they have to respond to the fiscal stress that they are laboring under,” Silver said. Defying national trends, President Barack Obama’s approval rating among Providence voters has
Are you very satisfied, satisfied, neither satisfied or dissatisfied, dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with public schools in your neighborhood? Very satisfied
33.4% Very dissatisfied
8.7% Anna Migliaccio / Herald Taubman Center Poll
increased by more than 10 percent since March. His approval rating now stands at 56 percent, up from 44 percent in March. “I think that public opinion in this state reflects the fact that
President Obama finally proposed a jobs program,” Silver said. “It’s a Democratic state where there is high unemployment, and Obama stood up and said we had to do something about it.”
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, October 6, 2011
City & State 9
Chafee, U. admins Students face rising rent rates tour Pittsburgh continued from page 12
By Claire Peracchio City & State Editor
Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 traveled to Pittsburgh Tuesday on a fact-finding mission to learn more about options for developing the Knowledge District in downtown Providence. A group including Mayor Angel Taveras, Rhode Island Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences Edward Wing, Vice President for Public Affairs and University Relations Marisa Quinn and top business and union leaders joined him on the trip. The group toured the facilities of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and met with officials at the center to discuss topics like the role of hospitals and institutions of higher education in city development, workforce training, land use and lessons that can be gleaned from the $8 billion Pittsburgh health center. “Pittsburgh is an impressive model of how an old-economy steel town transformed itself into a cutting-edge medical and educational center of excellence,” Chafee said in a statement Tuesday. “By aligning sometimes competing groups — universities, hospitals, government, labor and business — toward a common goal, Pittsburgh has become a leading center of
‘meds and eds.’” Wing, who spent more than two decades working in academic medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, said he was excited to return to the city he once called home. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center “is a remarkably successful academic medical center where the philosophy of using clinical revenue to support the academic mission is the major priority,” Wing wrote in a statement to The Herald. “That philosophy has created one of the premier centers in the United States, which was evident in yesterday’s trip with Gov. Chafee and Mayor Taveras.” The trip is the third led by Chafee to inform development efforts surrounding the downtown real estate made available by the relocation of I-195. Rhode Island political leaders hope the area will serve as a hub for life sciences and biotechnology research and fuel much-needed job growth in the state. In February, President Ruth Simmons and Dick Spies, executive vice president for planning and senior adviser to the president, accompanied Chafee on a visit to the Texas Medical Center in Houston. The governor also led a trip to the University of Maryland Medical Center and BioPark in April.
units on College Hill. The company’s units on Thayer, Benefit and Angell streets were all rented for next year by Labor Day weekend. “I’m quite pleased,” said Baskin, who said she was surprised by the influx of early leases. She said a lot of students are aware that city of Providence taxes have gone up, and are looking for housing earlier to make sure they get something affordable. But for now, Baskin said rates for renters have gone up only “marginally” despite the fact that property owners are now paying taxes on 75 percent of the value of their holdings. “I might consider an increase next year,” Allen said. “I have to keep my eye on the national economy, so I’ll play it by ear.” — Additional reporting by Aasha Johnson
James Hunter / Herald
Students say affordability is a primary impetus for living off campus.
comics Chester Crabson | Tess Carroll
Cabernet Voltaire | Abe Pressman
Fraternity of Evil | Eshan Mitra, Brendan Hainline and Hector Ramirez
10 Editorial & Letter Editorial
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, October 6, 2011
by sam rosenfeld
Parsing the pension problem As many of us prepare for the first round of midterms, Rhode Island lawmakers are getting ready for a test of their own. The General Assembly will soon convene for a special session to address the state pension system’s $7.3 billion unfunded liability. There will almost certainly be major changes in the way Rhode Island doles out pensions, and past and present state workers are bracing for cuts in their benefits. We understand this issue is probably not at the forefront of many students’ minds. Debate over pensions often alternates between simplistic dogma — decrying state workers fighting for their benefits as greedy or the politicians trying to fix the system as heartless — and technical terminology like accrual rates and vertical hybrid plans. Pensions are simply not the most exciting issue. But this debate affects all of us, not just state employees. The pension problem is so large that it consumes resources we could be using to bolster Rhode Island’s anemic economy. General Treasurer Gina Raimondo released a report in June showing that taxpayers’ “contribution to state retirement expenses has doubled in the last seven years” and is expected to double again by 2013. At that point, 16 cents of each taxpayer dollar will go toward the pension fund. Raimondo further notes, “In recent years, state aid to cities and towns, which is used mostly for K-12 education, has decreased annually by 8 percent, and state aid for higher education has dropped by 5 percent each year” as lawmakers try to support the pension system. So far, the process is showing promise. A series of public events allowed lawmakers and the public to become better informed about the issue’s intricacies, and Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 is set to release a detailed proposal to the General Assembly. Yet as we enter the decision-making phase, there are new concerns to address. Transparency, for example, is crucial. Many members of the Assembly have a personal stake in the legislation’s outcome because they or their close relatives receive or will receive a state pension. Legislators must avoid the temptation to enact reforms that do not immediately set about closing the unfunded liability. Josh Barro of the Manhattan Institute notes, for example, that many states rely on cuts to future workers’ benefits to alleviate pension troubles, delaying savings for “years or decades.” A better approach, commonly taken in the private sector, is to apply changes to the future benefits of all workers. Benefit cuts should be balanced and progressive. Chafee is expected to propose a freeze on cost of living adjustments, depriving current retirees of an increase in benefits. Outside experts say there are at least two simple ways to lessen this move’s harm: Spreading the cost of living adjustment cuts out among current retirees as well as near-retirees or structuring the cuts progressively, so high-income pensioners see their adjustments reduced more than less well-off retirees. Innumerable poor decisions led to the pension crisis. But now is not the time to point fingers. For the sake of all Rhode Islanders, lawmakers must craft a solution that promises a stable pension fund while minimizing the pain for state employees during these difficult times. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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le tter to the editor ROTC debate lacks fresh perspectives To the Editor: The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps debate has become a tired vehicle for Brown’s most extreme voices. In his recent column, Oliver Rosenbloom ’13 continues to fan the flames, this time calling on “civic duty” to support the military on campus (“The fundamental dilemma behind the ROTC debate,” Oct. 3). While the majority of the article has a punishing tone for a seemingly “out-of-touch and ungrateful” campus, he confusingly ends by saying that he has no answer for the University. In a half page of newsprint, there ought to be something unequivocal and supported. Campus dialogue around issues like ROTC is dangerously bad at a University whose self-image is so polarized. The ROTC debacle is a talking point for many left-leaning students who know little about the program. For conservatives, it’s an example of institutional disrespect for the military by elitist liberals. In a subtle nod to late Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, Rosenbloom suggests that we have over-
looked our civic duty. The problem is that so little of this kind of rhetoric is supported beyond gut feelings. Rosenbloom cites no examples of the Brown community “demonizing the military and the men and women who protect our liberty.” He addresses none of the practical issues that were raised about implementing ROTC at Brown, e.g., strain on resources or clashes with Brown’s New Curriculum. He suggests that adherence to Brown’s liberal values could be relaxed to adhere to nationalistic ones, but that quickly becomes an ideological argument. The architecture of a persuasive argument has to include more than ideology, especially after a year of debate. Sadly, I no longer read The Herald’s opinions columns with the expectation of learning something new. Even an exhausted topic like the ROTC debate can be worthwhile to read if there are new perspectives or supporting evidence, but these seem to be in short supply. We should be trying to teach and learn instead of appealing to ideology. Steven Gomez GS
quote of the day
“There has been a lot of misinformation by people who are on an anti-immigrant agenda.” — Michael Trainor, Rhode Island Office of Higher Education See tuition on page 12. C O R R E C T I O N S P olicy The Brown Daily Herald is committed to providing the Brown University community with the most accurate information possible. Corrections may be submitted up to seven calendar days after publication. C ommentary P O L I C Y The editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial page board of The Brown Daily Herald. The editorial viewpoint does not necessarily reflect the views of The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. Columns, letters and comics reflect the opinions of their authors only. L etters to the E ditor P olicy Send letters to email@example.com. Include a telephone number with all letters. The Herald reserves the right to edit all letters for length and clarity and cannot assure the publication of any letter. Please limit letters to 250 words. Under special circumstances writers may request anonymity, but no letter will be printed if the author’s identity is unknown to the editors. Announcements of events will not be printed. advertising P olicy The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. reserves the right to accept or decline any advertisement at its discretion.
The Brown Daily Herald Thursday, October 6, 2011
A false choice By Camille SpencerSalmon Opinions Columnist I go to Brown’s Focal Point page a lot. It’s handy because, despite frequent navel-gazing, my thoughts— and those of fellow students — about life goals usually don’t go further than “I am he as you are he as you are me ... what?” The page description suggests that I should use it to “explore the many intellectual paths” I could embark on at Brown, and there really are many — 78 concentrations at present, to be exact. The side column comes with a helpful sorting mechanism with five options that essentially boil down to “humanities” or “sciences.” Why use this distinction? Stupid question, right? In order to make sense of the world, we look for patterns amid the mess, and we make categories out of those patterns (often, but not always, in pairs); concrete or abstract; ketchup or mustard; small or large; sciences or humanities. Non-science-concentrating folks look at the organic chemistry textbook so often in my hands and scrunch up their noses. “How could you do that to yourself?” Cue the usual script: I complain about invisible molecules, and Person A sympathiz-
es. When I come back to my cozy Graduate Center cell block later, one of my suitemates has to write a paper. “Again?” I say, shocked. “I can’t even remember how to string words together. What does that mean?” Give me a problem set: It’s a much more familiar exercise at this point. You’d think the sciences and the humanities existed in different dimensions.
years shuffling into the Sharpe Refectory and scoff at the young’uns for their eagerness — even though that was them a year before. Constructing these walls between fields of study seems ridiculously artificial. Aren’t they all to some extent an attempt to understand the world? Often, the underlying ratios of symmetry, or their violation,
Yet we leap at the chance to draw lines, forgetting that categories should only be useful sorting mechanisms — not impenetrable divides.
It’s weird because it’s likely that before coming here, many of us displayed at least a decent aptitude on both portions of the standardized test of choice or had the grade point average to prove it. Yet we leap at the chance to draw lines, forgetting that categories should only be useful sorting mechanisms, not impenetrable divides. We do this as students, and as people, countless times a day in non-academic situations, too. I’ve seen many a newly-minted sophomore eye the eager-faced crowds of first-
make something beautiful or interesting, as in M.C. Escher’s ubiquitous mind-bending prints. And one of the greatest scientific discoveries was fueled by a very human, subjective desire to uncover the structure of some key protein before someone else did. Numbers, for all their comforting neutrality, need to be perceived by beings that would rarely be described as neutral — like stressed-out undergraduates. We collectively give these constructed
divisions their power. To rely so heavily on the categories we impose limits us. We should try to see the ways in which the humanities and sciences are related and use the narratives of one to enrich our understanding of the other, rather than limiting ourselves to one narrow view. The picture is more complicated than I’ve made it sound, of course. Plenty of students take Brown’s open curriculum as an opportunity to study across many disciplines at once, even if only as visitors. (Poetry and neuroscience? Don’t mind if I do.) But too many of us get caught up in ticking off a checklist of requirements despite the constant advice to “explore what Brown has to offer,” identifying as a certain type of student and focusing on getting that summer research position. The reality is much more complicated and interdisciplinary, so close your eyes and pick a Satisfactory / No Credit course if taking a calculated leap to “the other side,” whatever that may be for you, seems to be too much. And keep in mind that a field by any other name would still probably require that you know how to string a few words together. Camille Spencer-Salmon ’14 is a neuroscience concentrator from Miami, Fla. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The criminalization of dissent and why it matters By Malcolm Shanks Opinions Columnist
At Brown, we are known for meaningful analysis and crafting innovative methods for change. This is thanks to an atmosphere that privileges social justice and positive transformation. So it is natural that we should worry at attempts to curtail our academic and political freedom. We must expose these attacks to truth and not allow them to stifle our voices from conference rooms. In early September, 157 colleges and universities received a letter reminding them of their responsibility to combat anti-Semitism on their campuses. No doubt anti-Semitism is and has been a blight on humanity. But the anti-Semitism to which Israel Law Center refers is not the systematic reduction of religious protections for Jewish students or an atmosphere of religious or ethnic chauvinism that makes students feel unwelcome. It is the criticism of the “Jewish state of Israel.” This letter is a thinly veiled threat, encouraging universities to stifle discourse that is critical of Israel. It operates on faulty logic, assuming that all Jews support proIsraeli policy, accusing all pro-Palestinians of anti-Semitism and all Muslim groups of supporting terrorists. But perhaps the most insidious part of this letter is its role in a broader campaign to narrow discourse and criminalize dissent on college campuses. It falls on us to ensure that accusations of anti-Semitism are taken seriously, while at the same time critically engaging attempts to stifle free speech and use Brown’s Jewish
community as a shield against legitimate criticism of the Israeli settler state. In the letter, Kenneth Leitner, the center’s director of American affairs, calls our attention to two issues. One is that “Jewish and Israeli students feel intimidated” because they think they will be held accountable for the “supposed ‘wrongdoings’ of the Jewish state of Israel.” The other is that the Muslim Students Association forms “the university arm” of Hamas even though Leitner admits he has no evidence that any chapter is supporting the organization at this time. That
in their opposition to Israeli settlements and in their support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. It bears mentioning that the Knesset outlawed the movement in Israel this summer. This process operates in conjunction with the justice system to form a military-prison-industrial complex that stifles dissent in every conceivable way, from police brutality to harsher sentencing for acts of civil disobedience to media blackouts. The consequences are chilling. Students at UC Irvine and UC Riverside were sentenced Sept. 23 to three years of
There is a reason universities are sites of protest. Universities are sites of power where experts forge discourse and fashion the agendas that ultimately dictate the arc of history.
Leitner would accuse Muslim Student Association chapters of affiliating with groups the U.S. considers terrorist with no evidence is obvious Islamophobic incitement. Furthermore, there is a glaring contradiction in legitimately asking that Jewish and Israeli students not be held accountable for the actions of Israel and then asking universities to cast a suspicious eye over Muslim students. The letter is only more troubling in the context of the current McCarthyite political climate, which systematically intimidates professors and students who are vocal
probation and 56 hours of community service for disturbing the speech of Israeli ambassador Michael Oren. The “Irvine 11,” as they are called, were threatened with prison time for exercising their right to free speech. It is abundantly clear that, had the students not been Muslim and had the issue not been Palestine, their sentencing would have been lighter. It is also clear that pressure of the kind being exerted on Brown had a hand in their treatment — as an example to pro-Palestinian student activists. Lt. Dan Choi was arrested for chaining himself to the White
House fence in protest of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, while Howard students were arrested for protesting the execution of Troy Davis in the same fashion. Police now respond to the call to maintain order through preemptive arrests that often include detaining individual journalists, like at the Denver Democratic National Convention in 2008, and harsh sentences to prevent people from protesting again, as they attempted to do to Lt. Choi and got away with doing to the Irvine 11. In September 2010, 23 anti-war activists in Minneapolis, Chicago and Grand Rapids, Mich. were served subpoenas to appear before a grand jury investigating support for terrorist organizations. Historically, students have been central to sociopolitical change. Brown students coordinated in 1968 to force the University to admit higher numbers of students of color. They also marched against the war in Vietnam. Brown students have protested the Iraq War, police brutality, unfair labor practices and the lack of corporate accountability. Students saddled with prohibitive debt and faced with neoliberal government and corporate corruption are behind political movements in Tunisia, Chile and New York. There is a reason universities are sites of protest. Universities are sites of power where experts forge discourse and fashion the agendas that ultimately dictate the arc of history. And just as resistance accompanies hegemony, it is natural that student and faculty protest should check the power of academic institutions and push to them toward more humane futures. Malcolm Shanks ’12 is a gender and sexuality studies and Middle Eastern studies concentrator.
Daily Herald City & State the Brown
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Controversy erupts over tuition break for illegals By SOPHIA SEAWELL Staff Writer
James Hunter / Herald
Off-campus rents — often an incentive for students to leave University housing — may go up due to tax increases.
Tax hike may increase off-campus rent By morgan johnson Senior Staff Writer
One of the many draws of off-campus rentals for juniors and seniors is their relative affordability compared with on-campus housing fees. But as College Hill landlords are faced with increasing property taxes, tenants may have a harder time finding affordable housing. Last year, the city discontinued tax cuts for landlords that has given them a 33 percent exemption on the appraised value of their property. Peter Allen PhD’74 P’10, a College Hill landlord for 36 years who currently leases 15 apartments in the area, said he has not passed the tax increase on to his current tenants, though a clause in his lease enables him to do so legally. He
added that his landlord association plans to negotiate a rollback with the city. Gail Medbury, director of University auxiliary housing, said it has become more expensive to own property and students may see rates go up as a result. But some students say rising rates would cause them to reconsider the decision to move offcampus. “When you live off-campus, you have to purchase a bed and a desk and kitchen supplies that you don’t have to worry about when living on campus,” said Christina DeBenedictus ’12. “So if rates were to go up, it would become much less affordable, and a lot less worth the time that you may put into it.” “For me the draw is affordability. The main reason why I live off
campus is because it’s cheaper,” said Michael Gray ’11.5. “If it was more expensive than dorms, I’d probably still be in the dorms,” said Caitlin Stone ’12. “But since it’s not, I live offcampus.” Despite potential rent hikes, the market for off-campus rentals is as thriving and competitive as ever. Housing groups have been signing leases progressively earlier in the semester in recent years, and this year’s students have been the earliest yet by some landlords’ accounts. “This has been a really strong rental year,” said Emma Baskin of Bright Lights Property Management, a Massachusetts-based company that manages several continued on page 9
The Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education unanimously approved allowing undocumented students to attend public colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates last Monday. The change has sparked debate, with supporters contending that it would net additional revenue for state schools and opponents arguing that it could take admission spots from citizens. Students qualify for the policy — which has been compared to the DREAM Act by supporters — under three conditions. The student must have attended a Rhode Island high school for at least three years, received a high school diploma or G.E.D. from a Rhode Island school and signed an affidavit stating their intent to pursue citizenship as soon as possible. The new policy will affect Rhode Island College, the University of Rhode Island and the Community College of Rhode Island starting fall 2012. Travis Escobar, the student body president at Rhode Island College, said he supports the policy. “There are a lot of people … who are put in a situation where they were brought here when they were young and they grew up under a public education system,” said Escobar, who is Puerto Rican. “And they can’t progress to higher education because of what their parents brought them into.” Though Escobar said he could not speak for the entire student body, he said a few students in his political science class “felt that if you’re illegal, you shouldn’t be given in-state tuition.” This sentiment was echoed by Nick Tsimortos, the student
body president of Roger Williams University, a private university that would not be affected by the change. “We pay so much to go to school, and we work hard to get where we want,” he said. “It’s not fair to see students come into the country illegally and take spots of students who have been working hard their whole lives.” Besides Rhode Island, 12 states currently permit undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. Rhode Island is the first to make the change through policy rather than legislation. “Legislation had been filed in our General Assembly for the past several years and never made it out of committee,” said Michael Trainor, spokesman for the Rhode Island Office of Higher Education. Once the new Board of Governors — appointed by Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 after he took office in January — learned that “it was completely within their authority to make this change,” they took action, he said. According to a 2011 study by the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University, the change would result in 24 additional undocumented students attending state colleges and universities, a 31 percent increase in non-citizen enrollment. In 2009, there were 74 full-time undocumented students attending these state schools. The decision has been controversial and was the rallying cry for demonstrators gathered at the State House yesterday to protest Chafee’s leadership of the state (See full story on page 1). “There has been a lot of misinformation by people who are on an anti-immigrant agenda,” Trainor continued on page 8
Taubman poll shows declining support for mayor By Hannah Abelow Staff Writer
Mayor Angel Taveras’ approval rating has fallen slightly in recent months, according to a public opinion survey released last week by the Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions. Registered voters in Providence are now nearly evenly split in their opinion of the mayor. Almost 48 percent of those surveyed felt that Taveras was doing an excellent or good job, down from 52 percent of respondents in a similar poll taken in March. Forty-four percent of those surveyed in the recent poll felt that Taveras was doing a fair or poor job as mayor. Respondents were also split on their opinion of Providence public schools, with roughly 38 percent expressing satisfaction and 41 percent dissatisfied. Fifty-six percent opposed the mayor’s decision to close four public schools.
The survey also addressed development plans for a Knowledge District downtown and voters’ attitudes about Providence’s economy. In keeping with other poll results showing ongoing economic malaise, 86 percent of respondents hold a negative view of the city’s economy. Wendy Schiller, associate professor of political science and public policy, said the drop in Taveras’s ratings indicates “people in Providence are just as worried about the economy and about pensions as everyone else in the country.” “On a local level, Taveras is doing just fine,” Schiller said. “The problem is people are worried about the future, and lately he has not been as transparent in explaining his decisions as he was when he first came into office.” Schiller said she does not see the divergence between Provicontinued on page 8
How would you rate the job Angel Taveras is doing as mayor of Providence? DK/NA
13.1% Good Only fair
How would you rate the job Barack Obama is doing as president? DK/NA
Anna Migliaccio / Herald Taubman Center Poll