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Daily

Herald

the Brown

vol. cxlvi, no. 97

Monday, October 31, 2011

Since 1891

New course 72-hour deadline tool links to passes quietly Facebook Occupiers remain in Burnside despite city’s order to disperse

By Elizabeth Carr Senior Staff Writer

CourseKick, a new course-search database created by computer science concentrators Dylan Field ’13 and Devin Finzer ’13, launched today. The application offers resources similar to those of Mocha but with updated features linked to Facebook. Finzer described the application as “an outlet for discovering courses rather than just searching for them.” Users log onto CourseKick using their Facebook usernames and passwords, linking the application to their accounts. They can then scroll through courses and see which of their Facebook friends are in their classes. A last-minute redesign centralized the site’s friends component. “That’s the part of the page people’s eyes are drawn to,” Field said. Students can share their schedules on Facebook, and the team is looking to add other features to increase the social nature of the site, like starting chat rooms and allowing friends to recommend and comment on courses, Finzer said. “School is already inherently social, and this isn’t reflected online,” Field said. Through another pending feature, the site will soon generate course recommendations based on students’ current and past selections. An algorithm takes into account data from the Office of the continued on page 5

By Adam Toobin Staff Writer

A cheer rang out at Burnside Park at 9 p.m. last night. As the clock ticked past the hour, protesters had officially begun to defy Providence Mayor Angel Taveras’ order to leave, and there were no police in sight. Though Taveras had promised he would not use force, a group defined by skepticism of politi-

cians, police and established order could only expect the worst. A

general sense of relief fell over

Emily Gilbert/Herald

continued on page 5

Providence Occupiers have defied the city’s demand that they vacate Burnside Park.

Faculty, staff dissatisfied with childcare For some, affiliated families. Spots at Mount allowed to attend after their third Halloween Hope are offered first to faculty and birthdays. staff, with any extra spaces offered The Brown/Fox Point Early Nearly 22 percent of female re- to graduate students. Childhood Education Center offers tricks and spondents to a Herald faculty poll Taft Avenue Day Care Center, child care for children who are three completed earlier this month are which exclusively serves children to four years old and does not ac- treats never strongly dissatisfied with available of Brown community members, ac- cept children below the age of three. child care resources. Just over 14 commodates 20 children between These strict age restrictions force percent of male faculty members the ages of six weeks and three years. some children to wait up to a year get stale By Nora McDonnell Contributing Writer

indicated strong dissatisfaction. The results reflect a high level of frustration among faculty who have experience with the University’s child care system. A combined 59 percent of faculty members stated they are not acquainted with the issue or had no opinion. Faculty and staff are given special preference at three child care centers in the Providence area. Mount Hope Day Care Center reserves all of its 14 infant care center spots for Brown-

But there is competition for these spots, and parents must plan ahead. Interested parents are put on a waitlist, typically for nine months to one year. “Right now (parents) know that they have to get on the waitlist at least six months to a year before they have a baby,” said Mary Castriagnano, director and head teacher at the Taft Avenue center. The Taft Avenue center is also licensed only to care for children up to age three. Children are not

after leaving the Taft Avenue center to enroll at Brown/Fox Point. Along with faculty members, graduate students and staff have also expressed misgivings. Graduate students in particular, who are not eligible for the University’s back-up care program and receive lower priority in Brown-affiliated centers, have a hard time finding sufficient care for their children. continued on page 5

football Penn Brown

Emily Gilbert / Herald

inside

Alex Norocea ‘14 split the uprights from 39 and 42 yards to help beat Penn.

ARTS..........................2 SPORTS....................3 News........................5 editorial...............6 opinion.................7

Snow Day

M. Soccer squeaks out win against Penn during storm Sports, 3

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earned 6-0 victory over two-time defending champion Penn. The win was Brown’s (6-1, 3-1 Ivy) fifth straight and the first loss for Penn (4-3, 3-1 Ivy) in its last 18 league games. “It was a wet, miserable and muddy day,” Head Coach Phil Estes said.

feature

“And we enjoyed every minute of it.” Two field goals from Alex Norocea ’14 made the win, proving to be all the Bears would need. Norocea connected on a 39-yarder in the second quarter to draw first blood and split the uprights from 42 yards out in the third quarter to make the score 6-0. “We practice in all these different conditions, and we had no idea how far out we’d be able to go and have him kick it,” Estes said. “Because of the footing, the mud, the wind — it was just a gut feeling to kick it, and when we did, I said, ‘Wow, he made it.’” continued on page 3

continued on page 4

Funny Girl? Sovern ’14: Funny females wanted opinions, 7

weather

In cold and rainy conditions at Brown Stadium Saturday, the Bears fought their way through the mud to a hard-

Toting grinning plastic jack-o-lanterns, plastic bags and empty pillowcases, Disney princesses, Harry Potters and Buzz Lightyears will venture into the streets tonight in search of sugary treats. But some

of these creatures are not so little anymore. Every Halloween, a number of Brown students gather their friends, throw together whatever is in their closets and join College Hill’s smallest residents to trick-or-treat. After a somewhat unsuccessful stint trick-or-treating near Wickenden Street her sophomore year, Marianna Neubauer ’13 said she and her friends discovered that the neighborhoods north of campus are the best sources for candy. Kate Alexander ’12, one of Neubauer’s trick-or-treating partners over the past two years, said age did not hinder the experience. “I don’t remember anyone telling us we couldn’t have candy because we were too old,” she said. But Frannie Brittingham ’14 said a few people skeptically asked her what grade she was in after knocking on their doors. Fortunately, her honesty paid off. Several houses

Bears snap Penn’s 18game Ivy win streak By ethan mccoy Sports Editor

By Brielle Friedman Staff Writer

t o d ay

tomorrow

52 / 38

53 / 36


2 Arts & Culture calendar Today

october 31

4 P.m.

ToMORROW

November 1

3 p.m.

Why Women Don’t Run for Office,

Afternoon of Mindfulness,

Salomon 001

Horace Mann House, Room 202 4 p.m.

11:55 p.m. Midnight Organ Concert,

A Regional Perspective of Sudan,

Sayles Hall

Watson Institute, Joukowsky Forum

menu SHARPE REFECTORY

VERNEy-WOOLLEY DINING HALL LUNCH

Popcorn Chicken, Italian Roasted Potatoes, Vegetarian Submarine Sandwich, Worms in Mud

Chicken Fajitas, Vegan Black Bean Tacos, Vegan Refried Beans, Mexican Succotash, Worms in Mud

DINNER Roast Beef au Jus, Macaroni and Cheese, Gyro Sandwich, Halloween Birthday Cake

Italian Meatballs with Pasta, Pizza Rustica, Broiled Stuffed Tomatoes, Halloween Birthday Cake

Sudoku

The Brown Daily Herald Monday, October 31, 2011

Cult horror film lacks thrills By kate nussenbaum Contributing Writer

Students whose pumpkin cravings were not satisfied by the muffins from the Blue Room certainly got their fill Friday evening. To kick off Halloween weekend, the Arkham Film Society and Malachi’s cafe presented a screening of the 1988 horror flick “Pumpkinhead” in the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. The film’s plot was original if not thrilling — teenagers accidentally kill a man’s beloved son while drunkenly riding dirt bikes. The man wants revenge on the teenagers, so naturally he goes to a witch who magically connects his vengeful wishes to a giant pumpkin-headed demon. Pumpkinhead destroys each teenager until the man, disgusted by what this brutal extension of his psyche is doing, puts an end to the monster in one last gory scene. It is easy to see how the film has garnered a cult following: It is a movie about a giant pumpkinheaded demon that hunts down annoying teenagers. But it is equally as easy to understand why the general public gave it a lukewarm reception: It is a movie about a giant pumpkin-headed demon that hunts down annoying teenagers. The film’s main problems are that it is too sad to be fun and too

unrealistic to be scary. Almost all of the movie’s scenes are slowmoving and darkly lit. But rather than creating an aura of suspense, they create one of gloom. The scene of the son’s death is depressing, not foreboding. That said, “Pumpkinhead” manages to entertain. The startling bursts of creepy music coupled with the main character’s chilling stares of hate are enough to induce shivers, while some of the monster’s scenes have enough blood to satisfy the gore-crazy. The highlight of Friday’s event though, was the half-hour trailer show preceding the film. The trailers, selected by the film society, included unsettling previews for 1970s and 1980s cult horror films such as “Three on a Meathook” and “Critters.” The snapshot of each film gave viewers both a sense of the genre and the creeps. Josh Gravel, co-founder of the Arkham Film Society, said he and a friend established the society, devoted to “cult horror and exploitation films,” after helping independent local filmmakers set up screenings and working at The Rhode Island International Film Festival. “We decided we wanted to do something on our own,” Gravel, 34, said. The society’s name pays tribute to Rhode Island native

H.P. Lovecraft’s fictional town of Arkham, a location in many of his horror and science fiction stories. Gravel said in addition to hosting two or three events in Providence, the society also consults with smaller film festivals in the area. This was their first event at Brown. Gravel works as a projectionist in the Granoff ’s auditorium. Not wanting the space to go to waste, he asked to show screenings on nights when the theater was not booked. “Pumpkinhead” was presented in its original form on 35 mm film. “There’s something warm and oldfashioned about actual film,” Gravel said. “There is an advantage to seeing films with an audience. Every money shot that we remember seeing — a big part of that was also the theater experience. There’s something really communal about that.” He said he also plans to screen “Night of the Hunter” on 35 mm — rather than digital — film Nov. 12 and is in talks to bring Oscarnominated animator Bill Plympton to campus in December to show his films and speak. For students who missed the screening but still want to enjoy themed movies before the holiday’s end, Gravel recommends the 1978 “Halloween,” “Trick or Treat,” “Suspiria” and the 1931 “Frankenstein.”

Occupy music fest draws small crowd Crossword

By Adam toobin Staff Writer

With the threat of eviction looming, Providence Occupiers spent the weekend at Occustock, a threeday concert organized by Matt Weisberg ’12, Sarah Grimm ’12 and Providence resident Jay Wills. Over 20 different artists played at three locations Friday through Sunday in support of the Occupy movement. Political protests and music go hand in hand, Weisberg said. Protesters try to make the world into what they want it to be, he said, and music allows them to portray that ideal. “Music reaches out to people who are not immediately involved in your cause,” Weisberg said. Last week, a member of Occupy Providence approached the organizers and asked them to arrange a concert for this weekend. Weisberg said they were initially

Daily

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skeptical they would have enough time to find bands and venues. But after receiving a lot of support from the Occupy community, they began to plan in earnest. The organizers traveled to New York, where they visited Occupy Wall Street to recruit artists to play for them. Weisberg spoke at an Occupy Wall Street General Assembly to ask for volunteers, and they soon had artists from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut willing to donate their time to perform in Providence. Occustock also received support from the Providence community. Local businesses donated equipment and venues for the concerts, though most asked to remain anonymous. Weisberg said the businesses feared alienating customers who disagreed with the movement’s goals. Despite the community support, the concert almost did not happen

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Saturday. The owners of the original venue dropped out at the last second, and the owners of the Whiskey Republic had to step in, Weisberg said. The organizers called the bar Friday to ask to use the venue, and the owner agreed to donate the space as well as free coffee and food. The music over the weekend was as diverse as the Occupy movement’s politics and included rap groups, rock bands and reggae artists. Some of the bands came from Occupy Providence, some from Brown and one from a local high school. But between the celebration of Halloween weekend and Saturday’s snow, Occustock struggled to draw a crowd — Friday’s concert was nearly empty. Due to a band cancellation and logistical problems, Sunday’s concert began three hours later than scheduled. The concert Sunday benefited the Rhode Island Blood Center. The Occupiers are trying to not just create big political change, but also build and foster community, Weisberg said. He added that there are two agendas within the Occupy movement — the political component is a large part, but the Occupiers also want to force people to reconsider how they view their world and maybe start to “believe in other people again.” The concert comes at a precarious time for Occupy Providence. Commissioner of Public Safety Steven Pare ordered the protesters to leave Burnside Park by 9 p.m. yesterday (See full coverage of Occustock on page 2).


Sports Monday 3

The Brown Daily Herald Monday, October 31, 2011

M. Soccer

Polar Bears down Quakers at snowy Stevenson By Sam rubinroit Assistant Sports Editor

The men’s soccer team faced two tough opponents Saturday night, battling Mother Nature and Penn en route to a 1-0 victory.

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The weather made a formidable adversary, with rain, sleet and snow fusing together to obscure Stevenson Field and the players’ lines of sight. The forecast was ominous as game time approached, but with league play underway and the uncertainty of future weather patterns, there was little possibility of the match being rescheduled. “The conditions are nearly impossible for both teams,” said Head Coach Patrick Laughlin. “But as we move further along in the season, we get to a point where it’s hard to squeeze games in, and we’re not sure tomorrow might not be worse.” “Unfortunately, tonight the field

conditions just kept getting worse and worse and worse,” he added. The game appeared to be taking place in a snow globe, with constant flurries limiting visibility and cloaking the end lines. The players’ long sleeves and gloves proved insufficient protection — by game’s end many players left the game with bright-red ears and scraped legs from sliding. “That was probably one of the craziest games I’ve ever played in,” said Taylor Gorman ’12. “It wasn’t soccer — it was a battle of wills.” Both teams had difficulty in the opening half. Players struggled to maintain their footing, and the layer of slush covering the field caused the ball to lose its momentum and slow to a stop quickly. The Bears (9-4-2, 3-1-1 Ivy) outshot the Quakers (67-2, 1-4-0) eight to six, but neither team was able to find the back of the net before the end of the opening period. At halftime, as the players hustled back to their respective locker rooms, all fans in attendance retreated to the warmth of their cars. As the second half commenced,

the game appeared doomed to end in a scoreless tie as players skidded across the field and shots and passes fell short of their marks. But in the 63rd minute, a Quaker foul inside the box resulted in a penalty kick for the Bears. Austin Mandel ’12 capitalized on the opportunity, drilling the ball into the upper-left corner for his first goal of the year to put Bruno ahead 1-0. Mandel, a native of Southern California, said he had endured snowy conditions on only one other occasion. Nonetheless, he said he knew he held the upper hand over the goalkeeper when taking the penalty kick. “I figured that if I put it in a decent spot, he wasn’t going to save it,” Mandel said. “He’s not going to move well in that weather.” The Bears’ defense was unrelenting for the remainder of the game, holding the Quakers scoreless to earn Bruno’s eighth shutout of the season. Goalkeeper Sam Kernan-Schloss ’13 only had to make one save on the night and was credited with the clean sheet. The victory keeps the team’s

Emily Gilbert / Herald

Austin Mandel ’12 scored the lone goal on a penalty kick in the Bears’ win over Penn.

hopes of an Ivy League title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament alive, but the Bears must win their final two league matchups against Yale and Dartmouth to preserve their chances. The Bears travel to New Haven Saturday to face Yale before return-

ing home Nov. 12 to take on Dartmouth. “I’m proud of them for battling through the difficulties,” Laughlin said. “The guys have shown that they are willing to scrap and fight for anything, and they proved it again tonight.”

Bruno stretches win streak to five with shutout continued from page 1 Brown’s attack was without its top two rushers, Mark Kachmer ’13 and John Spooney ’14, who were both out with injury. Cody Taulbee ’14 got the bulk of the carries in their place and was the Bears’ top rusher, grinding out 49 yards on 18 carries in sloppy conditions. A 235-pound fullback, Taulbee offers a more physical and north-south running style than the speedy Kachmer and Spooney. “It was made for having a big tailback, these conditions,” Estes said. “We actually just started running Cody Taulbee on Wednesday to see what he could do just in case it was going to be muddy, and he was very good.” “He also has a little shake for someone that big,” Estes added. The passing offense was rendered ineffective by the adverse conditions, and quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero ’11.5 only mustered 140 yards on 14 completions. Alex TounkaraKone ’11.5 led the Bruno receivers with five catches for 56 yards. Brown’s defense played just as pivotal a role as the weather, recording its second shutout of 2011. Before this season, the Bears had not recorded a shutout since 1990. Linebacker Daniel Smithwick ’12 led the way with seven tackles, an interception and a forced fumble. Brown’s defense held Penn quarterback Billy Ragone to a horrifying stat-line of 6-15 for 32 yards and three interceptions. The Bears also recovered two fumbles to cap a fiveturnover day. “We just felt we were in control,” said cornerback A.J. Cruz ’13. “We were ready to play, and we executed.” Both teams moved the ball in the first quarter but were unable to put points on the board. Brown entered inside the Quakers’ 25-yard line but had to punt after a big loss. Later in

the quarter, Penn recovered a fumble on a dropped punt return in Brown territory. After a hopeful drive, Penn kicker Connor Loftus pushed wide a 28-yard attempt. Norocea’s first field goal came after Brown began a drive with great field position at the Quakers’ 45-yard line. Big gains on catches by Tounkara-Kone and Tellef Lundevall ’13 moved the ball into field goal range, and Norocea did the rest. Penn looked poised to get on the scoreboard as halftime neared, ripping off big gains on the ground to

move toward the Brown red zone. But running back Brandon Colavita had nowhere to go on third-and-one, and on the fourth-down try, Smithwick tracked down a scrambling Ragone in the open field and tackled him just short of the first down marker. In the third quarter, Norocea doubled Brown’s lead to cap a drive that started at the Bears’ own 14-yard line. A pair of key scrambles by NewhallCaballero helped move Bruno into field goal range. After burning all three of their timeouts late in the fourth quarter,

Penn got its final chance when it got the ball back at its own 47-yard line with just 2:29 remaining on the clock. But on the drive’s first play, Ragone overthrew his receiver, and Mel Farr ’12 picked off the errant ball, sealing the win for Brown. While Estes was well aware that the win broke Penn’s streak — the second-longest in Ivy League history — he said his team approached the game no differently than it would any other. “We didn’t talk about that,” Estes said. “We just wanted to play Penn

and the team we saw on film.” The victory moves Brown into a three-way tie for second place in the Ivy League standings with Penn and Yale (4-3, 3-1). Harvard (6-1, 4-0) is currently in first place in the league. In yet another all-important Ivy matchup with championship implications, the Bears will travel to New Haven to take on the Bulldogs next week. “It’s just as satisfying week in and week out to get that ‘W,’” Cruz said. “We’ve got to put this one to bed after we watch film and get ready for Yale.”


4

The Brown Daily Herald Monday, October 31, 2011

W. Soccer

Bears confront Penn, abysmal weather in frozen deadlock By sam wickham Sports Staff Writer

The women’s soccer team battled through sleet and snow Saturday to earn a hard-fought 0-0 double-overtime draw against Ivy foe Penn. The Bears (10-4-2, 3-2-1 Ivy) held the Quakers (13-2-1, 4-1-1) scoreless in slippery conditions, marking only the second

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time this season that Penn has failed to find the back of the net. The freezing rain and gusty wind was not enough to keep the game from proceeding, and both sides were forced to battle with the weather from the outset. “We were ready to play,” said Head Coach Phil Pincince. “We had trained in all of that mud on our practice field the prior two days to the game,” he added, “So I thought we were well-prepared to play in those elements.” “When it started snowing in the second half, it was certainly something a lot of players have never experienced before,” said captain Sarah Hebert-Seropian ’12. “But I think the team dis-

played great character. I didn’t hear anyone complain, despite that some players couldn’t feel their feet, couldn’t feel their hands. I didn’t hear a single person complain about whether or not the game should have been canceled.” Both teams got off to attacking starts, using the icy field to send skidding shots toward goal. Bruno’s first chance came in the 16th minute when Chloe Cross ’15 sent a curling corner kick into the box. The Quakers’ clearance bounced out to Marybeth Lesbirel ’12, who fired a shot on frame through traffic, forcing a save from the Penn keeper. Bruno’s defense remained tight in the first half, allowing seven shots. Bears goalie MC Barrett ’14 was forced to make three saves of her own in the half, and the teams remained tied going into halftime. “We were very strong in the back,” Hebert-Seropian said. “I think everyone was aware the ball would be sticking, but we managed that really well, and I think we didn’t give them many chances in the end.” The wintry mix gradually turned into snow at the start of the second half, adding a layer of slush to the already wet turf. The Bears were also now attacking into

the wind, making it more difficult to play longer balls up field. The Quakers used the wind to their advantage, keeping the ball in Bruno’s third of the field for most of the half. The Quakers recorded 11 shots to the Bears’ one, but still could not break the deadlock. In a close call, Gloria Chun ’12 cleared the ball heroically off the goal line in the final five seconds of play to send the game into overtime. The Bears held the shot advantage in both periods of extra time, but the freezing conditions kept either side from creating a clearcut scoring chance, and the game ended in a 0-0 tie. But Mother Nature could not entirely put a damper on the afternoon, which was Senior Day for the 2011 season. Six graduating seniors were honored at the start of the game, and all got the start in their last game at Stevenson Field in a Brown uniform. “In their four years, they’re the group that have sort of put us back to where we want to be with Brown women’s soccer,” Pincince said. “This group has had three out of four winning seasons in this program,” he added. “They’ve had a very successful run, and they

Jesse Schwimmer / Herald

Louisa Pitney ‘14 and the Bears battled Penn to a goalless draw in double OT.

will be sadly missed.” “I speak for all of us when I say we’ve all had a great experience here at Brown,” Hebert-Seropian said. “The team is just awesome, and I think we’re all very thankful.” The Bears will play their last match of the season Saturday against Yale (8-5-3, 3-2-1) in New Haven. The draw with Penn dashed Bruno’s hopes of claim-

ing the Ivy League title, as leagueleader Harvard (11-4-1, 5-0-1) won this weekend, assuring itself a share of the title and an automatic berth in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. “I think we’ve had a very successful season, and to end with a win would reflect that,” HebertSeropian said. “We want to give it a last, hard-fought effort and end the season well.”

Community stirs up Halloween scares continued from page 1 rewarded her with extra candy for telling the truth.“People like to say you’re too old to go trick-or-treating, and there’s definitely a point where you think you’re too cool. But you can never be too old for free candy,” she said. Ben Laur ’14 is not your typical trick-or-treater — he said he does not really like candy and gave his collected treats away to friends last year. For Laur, the holiday is all about costumes and decorations. One year, he dressed as Darth Maul from Star Wars, complete with a hand-painted mask. Though Brittingham said she is still unsure of her costume this year, she is planning to trick-or-treat again. As a volunteer with Project Goal, a non-profit that uses sports for social change, she tutors middle school students and plays soccer with them. Brittingham and other volunteers plan to take their students trick-or-treating tonight — “We’re hoping to raise funds for the organization,” she said. Every year, Pascal Van Hentenryck, professor of computer science, organizes the entire schedule of CSCI 0310: “Introduction to Computer Systems” around his Halloween lecture. He dresses up for the class and throws out candy to his students. “Coming from Europe, I discovered Halloween here in Rhode Island, ” Van Hentenryck wrote in an email to The Herald. His favorite

part of the holiday is children’s reactions to candy, he wrote. “There are those who try to get as many candies as possible and run as fast as they can after that. And there are the shy ones who just take one. When you tell them to take another, you can see the joy in their eyes, and that is priceless.” Though he does not think college students are too old to trick-or-treat, Van Henteryck wrote, they need to be creative to avoid competing with the younger children. Brown students are certainly up to the challenge. Neubauer said she dressed up as a bathroom one year during high school, complete with a toilet seat on her head and a shower curtain as a cape. In addition to trolling for treats, Alexander has found another way to celebrate the holiday at Brown — for the past two years she has helped out at the annual Ladd Observatory Halloween party. The party is part of the Observatory’s efforts to reach out to non-physics concentrators and the greater Providence community. They serve refreshments, turn the laboratory into a semi-haunted house and bring out the telescope so guests can check out constellations. “It was fun. I got to stand in a corner and jump out and scare people,” she said. But Alexander said she still misses a few things about celebrating the fall holiday at home, especially carving pumpkins and making pumpkin pie. “Homemade pumpkin pie just doesn’t compare to the Ratty’s,” she said.


Campus News 5

The Brown Daily Herald Monday, October 31, 2011

Project revamps course selection continued from page 1 Registrar from 2005 to present, producing course recommendations based on the records of past students with similar course combinations, Finzer said. The site is uniquely formatted to “make shopping for classes a more pleasant experience,” Finzer said. He said that during shopping period, students are not necessarily deciding between two different classes but between two completely different schedules. Both Finzer and Field expressed discontent with the red block that appears when classes conflict on Mocha. On CourseKick, coinciding courses do not block each other out but instead appear side-by-side in the same time slot. Students can check and uncheck courses to add and remove them from their schedules while keeping them on a list. The CourseKick application originated in an assignment for CSCI 0320: “Introduction to Software Engineering.” “We definitely want to see students who get excited about something and keep working on the project after they finish the class,” said Daniel Kimmel ’12, a teaching assistant who helped mentor the group. This is not the only recent effort to improve the registration process, said Alex Unger ’11, a former head teaching assistant. “Their project was different because it focuses on what your friends are taking.”

“I think that CourseKick could become, and probably will become, the most popular discovery tool,” he said. “There are a ton of places where this would be equally useful,” Unger said, but he added that the prospect for offering this application to other schools is problematic. “It’s designed for a university where there’s a lot of choice in courses. It won’t work as well where things are more regimented.” One of the most laborious tasks in bringing CourseKick to life involved persuading the Registrar’s Office to release data from Banner to fuel the recommendation aspect of the application. “Trying to spread it to other schools would be a large time commitment in terms of negotiating with them on that front,” Kimmel said. But CourseKick also lacks oneclick registration, a key feature of the Brown Course Scheduler, which the University launched in Spring 2010. After finalizing their courses on CourseKick, students must recreate their schedules on Banner to register. “We did some user studies at the beginning of the semester, and that’s the one thing people were looking for,” Field said. One-click registration outside of the Banner system is unlikely, wrote University Registrar Robert Fitzgerald in an email to The Herald. Course registration requires data involving grading and degree completion that are protected under federal law, he wrote.

Childcare options leave staff, grad students vexed continued from page 1 Katie Silberman, whose husband is a graduate student, said she has found the system to be insufficient. “There’s no continuity of care,” she said. “Both Taft and Brown/Fox Point are hard to get into because they’re small, so I think there just aren’t nearly enough spots for all the need that there is.” “We definitely need bigger facilities with more spaces that start in infancy and go through kindergarten,” Silberman said. “There’s just a huge need out here.” Brown/Fox Point saves 60 percent of its spots for Brown-affiliated families. Children are accepted through a lottery system that grants priority to University-affiliated families. Every Brown-affiliated child was accepted last year, said Chris Amirault, executive director of Brown/ Fox Point. Heather Goode, receptionist and office assistant in the Office of the President, wrote in an email to The Herald that she is satisfied with Brown/Fox Point, which has “gone above and beyond” to prepare her daughter for elementary school. Alice Esteves ’12 said she must pay for child care for her son outside

of Brown/Fox Point hours, which end at 5:30 p.m. “He goes to school during the day,” she said, “but if I have a meeting that’s happening in the evening, there’s not really anything.” “I haven’t gotten any calls from anybody stating that they have a complaint about not enough slots, not enough child care centers. I haven’t heard anything actually,” said Michele Wise, senior benefits special programs coordinator for human resources. Employees have access to up to 100 hours of back-up care through the Bright Horizons program, said Drew Murphy, director of benefits for human resources.

Occupiers remain despite warning continued from page 1 the park as Occupiers realized the mayor would keep his word. Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare presented the Occupiers with a 72-hour notice Friday to leave the park or face eviction. In other cities, confrontations between Occupiers and police have resulted in mass arrests and violence. Taveras has taken a unique tack by indicating his intention to seek a court order against the Occupiers. “This will allow the protesters to have their day in court and for a full public, legal vetting of the issues,” he said in a statement. In the statement, Taveras cited concern about the onset of cold weather as one reason for the decision to crack down on the Occupation. Earlier Sunday afternoon, two lawyers supportive of Occupy Providence instructed protesters on what to do in the case of arrest. They reminded the Occupiers they were part of a non-violent protest and said nobody should resist arrest. The lawyers told the crowd of 30 or so people that under the offenses listed by the police commissioner in his Friday letter, it was possible they could spend up to 30 days in jail if arrested. The police might go into the tents, and protesters could be held responsible for any illegal material found inside, they said. In the statement, Taveras said he understands Occupiers’ frustration with the recession and appreciates their use of non-violence

but cannot allow a continued Occupation in the park. He encouraged them to return to the park between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., when it is open to the public. The statement cited an opinion issued this weekend by the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union that U.S. Supreme Court precedent favors the city’s case. The ACLU noted its disagreement with the Supreme Court precedent and stated that other forms of speech remain protected. If protesters lose the court battle, they fear the mayor will resort to forceful eviction. Protesters expect the city to file its lawsuit today. Many Occupiers doubt Taveras’ sincerity in associating himself with the movement. Mark, one of the original organizers of Occupy Providence, said he believes Taveras did not mobilize to forcefully evict the Occupiers because the cold weather would soon drive them out anyway. Mark declined to provide his last name. This weekend’s snow has demonstrated the difficulties of a sustained occupation. But a sign reading “Valley Forge Ahead!” on the park’s statue of Ambrose Burnside indicates at least some protesters want to stay the winter. An organizer said Sunday was their “busiest day yet.” Even after Saturday’s snowstorm, which destroyed four or five tents in the camp, morale remained high. Protesters declared Sunday “Solidarity Sunday” and held events throughout the day,

comics Cloud Buddies | David Emanuel

Fraternity of Evil | Eshan Mitra, Brendan Hainline and Hector Ramirez

Methodology

Online questionnaires were sent to personal accounts of 902 faculty Sept. 25 and advertised on the faculty Morning Mail Sept. 27, Oct. 4 and Oct. 7. The poll closed Oct. 8. Only faculty that “teach, advise or interact with undergraduate students” were invited to respond, and 174 responses were recorded. The poll has a 6.6 percent margin of error with 95 percent confidence. Find results of previous polls at thebdh.org/poll.

including a rally, a general assembly and an Interfaith Vigil for Peace and Justice. Sunday was also the final day of Occustock, a threeday series of concerts organized by Brown students to help generate support for the movement (see full coverage of Occustock on page 2). The non-denominational vigil seemed to echo the encampment’s mood. In one refrain of the classic protest song “This Little Light of Mine,” protesters sang “Even in Burnside Park, I’m gonna let it shine.” “It reminds us we all have our own part to play,” said the leader of the song. By all reports, Taveras’ order to abandon camp seems to have had the opposite effect, deepening the protesters’ resolve. The camp remained at full capacity Sunday night. A number of newcomers from as far away as Boston made a noticeable addition to the now 17-day-old Occupation. As soon as Occupiers establish the legality of their camp in Burnside, they can turn to changing Wall Street, Mark said. The Occupy protesters want to hold Wall Street accountable and “do to the bank CEOs what Bernie Madoff did to the American people,” he said. Rumors of a City Council attempt to prevent the police from removing the protesters bolstered morale as the temperature hit freezing Sunday night. Increased interest in Occupation has protesters hoping their elected officials will be less likely to risk a negative public reaction to any eviction.

Uni The Unicomic | Eva Chen and Dan Sack


6 Editorial Editorial

The Brown Daily Herald Monday, October 31, 2011

Editorial cartoon

by a l e x y u ly

Giving first-years the gender-neutral option The Herald recently reported that the Office of Residential Life is considering a proposal that will allow first-year students to choose to be assigned a roommate irrespective of gender (“Gender-neutral housing gains traction,” Oct. 24). The goal of the proposal, spearheaded by Gender Action, is to allow students who are uncomfortable with the traditional gender binary to feel at home in their living environments. Such a system would be implemented by adding an item to the housing questionnaire that first-years receive in the summer, asking whether students want their gender to be left out of the equation when matching roommates. Though some specific first-year housing requests, such as substance-free living, group students together in the same location, a strength of the proposal is that gender-neutral doubles would be scattered across first-year dorms with some consideration given to placement of gender-neutral bathroom facilities, thereby promoting inclusivity. The proposal would be an extension of the current gender-neutral option, which was approved for upperclassmen in 2008. Though there are currently few mixed upperclassmen doubles, a genderneutral housing option would potentially have greater effect on firstyears — freshmen are usually required to live in doubles, whereas upperclassmen have often more choices to live in suites or singles. Traditionally transgender students have had to work individually with ResLife to request alternate housing, and allowing students to preemptively indicate their preferences would undoubtedly save time and alleviate stress for all parties involved. Though the customary fear in allowing for students of the opposite sex to room together is that some may choose to participate for the wrong reasons or that it will promote promiscuity, students can generally be expected to make this choice wisely. In the past, ResLife has cautioned against couples rooming together, and we hope it is able to effectively communicate the motivation behind offering this housing option to incoming students who may be unfamiliar with the concept of gender-neutrality. On the other hand, in an email to the editorial page board, Maddy Jennewein ’14, co-president of Gender Action, said it is entirely possible that transgender or questioning students will not be the only ones who opt in for gender-neutral housing, but allied students will do so as well out of solidarity. This would provide a great opportunity for both Brown to send a message about institutional accommodation to new students and for freshmen to join in making such a statement before they even step foot on campus. We find this proposal to be strong in many respects, and we hope that current students will join in endorsing it by signing Gender Action’s petitions. With the University making plans to construct new dorms and reorganize first-year housing, it is important to consider the other aspects of the freshman dorm experience that impact a student’s sense of well being. As ResLife sends the gender-neutral housing option forward, we hope to see the Office of Campus Life and Student Service approve it and thus provide future classes of Brown students with the living environments in which they can feel at ease. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to editorials@browndailyherald.com.

t h e b r ow n da i ly h e r a l d Editors-in-Chief

Managing Editors

Senior Editors

Sydney Ember Ben Schreckinger

Brigitta Greene Anne Speyer

Dan Alexander Nicole Friedman Julien Ouellet

editorial Kristina Fazzalaro Rebecca Ballhaus Claire Peracchio Talia Kagan Amy Rasmussen Tony Bakshi Ethan McCoy Ashley McDonnell Sam Rubinroit Anita Mathews Sam Carter Hunter Fast

Arts & Culture Editor City & State Editor City & State Editor Features Editor Assistant Features Editor News Editor Sports Editor Sports Editor Assistant Sports Editor Editorial Page Editor Opinions Editor Opinions Editor

Graphics & Photos Abe Pressman Emily Gilbert Rachel Kaplan Glenn Lutzky Jesse Schwimmer

Graphics Editor Photo Editor Photo Editor Assistant Photo Editor Sports Photo Editor

Production Dan Towne Olivia Conetta Anna Migliaccio Katie Wilson Leor Shtull-Leber Neal Poole

Copy Desk Chief Assistant Copy Desk Chief Design Editor Design Editor Design Editor Web Producer

Business General Managers Matthew Burrows Isha Gulati

Office Manager Shawn Reilly

editors’ note During the course of its standard copy-editing process, The Herald discovered that portions of an article scheduled for publication in print Oct. 18 used language from another source without proper attribution. A previous version of the story that included the problematic language had been published online Oct. 17. The Herald reviewed all of the writer’s past articles for similar problems. That review turned up a total of four articles, dating back to 2009, with passages containing language identical or nearly identical to that of other sources. Many of the passages included attribution to the original sources but failed to indicate when language was directly copied from those sources. A note has been appended to the online versions of articles that were found to have insufficiently cited quotations, and the writer has been dismissed from our staff. The Herald continually trains its reporters in proper attribution and journalistic ethics. We are reviewing those training procedures to ensure that The Herald’s standards are clear to all staff members. We apologize to our readers.

quote of the day

“You can never be too old for free candy.”

— Frannie Brittingham ‘14 See halloween on page 1.

Letters, please!

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Opinions 7

The Brown Daily Herald Monday, October 31, 2011

Morality and occupation By David Hefer Opinions Columnist

The world is a big, chaotic place. It is populated by people with conflicting interests, and this often leads to turmoil. In certain cases, we can use morality to resolve those conflicts. This is the situation we find ourselves in with regards to the Occupy movement. The 99 percent has a list of desires that basically fall under the banner of “End corporate greed.” The wealthiest 1 percent, on the other hand, wants to keep the money it now has and keep earning more and more money — not quite an end to corporate greed. I agree with Reuben Henriques ’12 (“99 percent is not enough,” Oct. 28) that “the Occupiers must make … (a) compelling claim about the moral and material stake we all have in narrowing economic inequality.” The Occupiers claim that they are fighting for justice. Just acts are moral, and unjust acts are not. While there is a second argument that it is in the best interest of the 1 percent to acquiesce — this is the material stake Henriques mentions — I wish to focus solely on the moral aspect. By no means will I try to undermine the justice argument — ignoring the plight of a huge majority of the population is unjust. Instead, I will examine what someone

commits himself or herself to when he or she appeals to the moral status of an action to reconcile conflicting interests. To this end, let’s look at what kind of thing goodness is. There are two salient options here. The first holds that goodness is an objective property of the world, akin to astronomical properties. Even if people had no opinions about what stars are made of, they would still be made of very hot plasma. Similarly, an immoral act, like stealing, would still be immoral even if we had very different ideas about morality. Moral truth exists independently of us.

jective or relative to our culture. Why might someone buy into this second idea? The biggest motivation is tolerance. It is a matter of fact that our moral system is different from the ancient Greeks’, which is different from the Babylonians’, which is different from the modern Japanese’s, etc. Unlike in disputes about astronomy, we cannot tell who is morally correct by any kind of observation. Since there is unresolvable disagreement, it would be foolish to criticize other cultures for reaching conclusions different

If morality is subjective, calling corporate greed unjust is as effective as telling someone they prefer the wrong flavor of ice cream. … Either give up on the call for justice, or impose your will on other cultures.

The alternative is to say that morality is constituted by us. It is a by-product of our emotions or our culture or something like that. This makes morality a lot like etiquette. If we were not offended by somebody’s slurping their soup, it would not be rude. Similarly, if our culture determines that dishonesty is wrong, it is. If we were all okay with it, it would not be immoral. This makes moral judgments either sub-

from ours. We should be tolerant of their standards and not impose ours on them. So even if morality were objective, we should not treat it in that way. How does this relate to the Occupy movement? If morality is subjective, calling corporate greed unjust is as effective as telling someone they prefer the wrong flavor of ice cream. Saying “Corporate greed is bad” is just a fancy way of saying “We

really dislike corporate greed” or “Our social norms are incompatible with corporate greed.” But Wall Street already knows the Occupiers dislike corporate greed. Why should using fancy words move the 1 percent any more than just stating your displeasure? And the 1 percent might not care what social norms dictate. And why should they? Many at Brown support the SlutWalkers, and their purpose is to flout certain norms. If we decide which norms are good to ignore based on which ones we like, we are back to saying “We dislike corporate greed.” But committing yourself to objective morality also commits you to criticizing other cultures. No longer can we say “Though we find forcing women to veil themselves immoral, it is part of Muslim culture, and so we cannot criticize it.” Just as everyone was required to end slavery, even if they were not a slave, we are required to end this practice, even though it does not affect us. The same goes for all immoral practices abroad. Is this kind of intolerance bad? I suspect many Brown students will find it at least uncomfortable. This poses a dilemma. Either give up on the call for justice, or impose your will on other cultures. David Hefer ’12 knows morality is objective. Up with imperialism! Rationally resolve your disagreement by emailing him at david_hefer@brown.edu.

Why there are so few women in Brown comedy By Lindsay Sovern Guest Columnist

On Thursday, I attended the Ivy Film Festival’s screening of “Miss Representation,” a documentary that investigates depictions of women in American media. The documentary questions the way female politicians, journalists, actors and professionals are viewed by a society that prioritizes women’s bodies over their minds. In an interview during the film, comedian Margaret Cho recounts how the network that aired one of her television shows criticized her body repeatedly before removing her show entirely. As a woman in comedy at Brown, I have never witnessed such explicit sexism. But I do believe that Margaret Cho’s story points to deeper issues in the way the media socializes women, which may help explain why there are so few women in comedy at Brown. Excluding the members of “The Rib,” Brown University’s female comedy blog, there are very few women involved in Brown’s many performance and written comedy groups. I am one of two women in the Brown Stand Up Comics and one of about six female staff writers for the Brown Noser. Other comedy groups on campus do not have significantly different numbers of women. I do not believe that this is a result of sexism on the part of the comedy groups

themselves, as I know that many comedy groups desperately seek out women in auditions. Rather, I believe the media’s message to women that their bodies are more valuable than their minds has a discouraging effect on both girls’ and women’s confidence that they are funny and makes them less willing to prove their comedic abilities in a competitive audition. Being funny is often considered a masculine trait. I believe that girls are socialized to be passive in relationships with boys —

by predominantly male comedy groups. “Miss Representation” shows that the media judges female bodies more harshly than male bodies in many contexts. Women in politics and journalism are consistently judged not only for their abilities in those fields, but also for how they look while performing professional activities. Comedy is no exception. In a recent Fox News online article entitled “New Crop of Comediennes Combine Funny Bones with Banging Bodies,” self-proclaimed “entertainment expert”

I believe participation in comedy can help women reclaim their bodies.

to be chased on the playground, to be asked to prom and to laugh at jokes, not make them. In these widely accepted and even romanticized narratives, the onus to make jokes falls on boys and men, while girls and women are expected to look pretty and reward boys and men with laughter. Auditioning for a comedy group requires women to believe they are funny — a belief the media sabotages by continually objectifying women and teaching that women are the audience for the comedy men create. Even women who recognize that they are funny in a social setting may not be confident enough to submit their humor for judgment

Patrick Wanis reports, “For women, frump isn’t funny any longer. The new female comedian has to be the sexual aggressor, sexually provocative, dominant and successful.” Wanis contributes to the commoditization of women’s bodies by reducing female comedy to sexy female bodies. I believe participation in comedy can help women reclaim their bodies. The infamous Saturday Night Live Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton 2008 presidential election sketches are a perfect example of how comedy can subvert sexist commentaries on women. In her role as Sarah Palin, Tina Fey pokes fun at the media’s blatant sexu-

alization of the former governor of Alaska. As Hillary Clinton, Amy Poehler mocks the media’s harsh judgment of the Secretary of State’s body, clothing and voice during her run for the presidency. Fey and Poehler show how valuable women are to comedy and how female comedic contributions are needed to expose and mock sexism. I want to encourage Brown women to reject the notion that they are not funny and get involved in comedy. Brown comedy needs women’s voices to effectively reflect the community it parodies. Comedy has the capacity to emphasize and play off assumptions people make based on commonly accepted ideas. For example, misdirection jokes use an audience’s preexisting inclination to draw certain conclusions and then surprise them with an alternative view. Sarcastic jokes can often include observations that necessitate an audience’s ability to understand that an understatement is ironic. Many jokes articulate already relatable feelings and experiences with an absurd twist. Comedy is uniquely situated to both demonstrate what widely accepted assumptions exist in society and to ridicule them. Women comprise more than half of Brown’s community, but unfortunately, Brown comedy does not reflect this. This is a call to Brown’s funny women to shake off the patriarchy and laugh at it instead. Lindsay Sovern ’14 is a gender and sexuality studies and Slavic studies concentrator. She can be reached at lindsay_sovern@brown.edu.


Daily Herald Campus News the Brown

Monday, October 31, 2011

U. to hit sustainability In inspections, low-level violations goals ahead of schedule found in 18 percent of dorm rooms By Mathias Heller Contributing Writer

The University is well ahead of schedule on President Ruth Simmons’ goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 42 percent below 2007 levels by 2020, according to the Office of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Initiatives’ fall 2011 report released Oct. 18. “We’ve made significant strides compared to our peers,” said Chris Powell, director of sustainable energy and environmental initiatives. The University has reduced its carbon footprint by 26.1 percent below 2007 levels, surpassing the halfway point for reductions only four years after Simmons set the goal. A 2008 investment to switch from oil to natural gas for heating accounted for much of the progress, Powell said. “At the time oil was relatively cheap, but we understood natural gas was much cleaner,” he said. The Department of Facilities Management also installed energyefficient lighting in 21 buildings and performed energy-use assessments on nearly two dozen others in the fiscal year that ended in June. The campus recycling rate rose to 40 percent during the same period. The office has spent $7.6 million on carbon reduction initiatives resulting in savings of $1.5 million in annual energy expenses, according to the report. The energy conservation rate will likely slow, Powell said, but he is not concerned that it will plateau. “We’ve been ahead right from the start,” he said, adding that Facilities Management will take advantage of new technology as it becomes available. The 59 percent waste diversion rate, which reflects the amount of material diverted from landfills for recycling or reuse, is limited by recycling regulations set by the state of Rhode Island, Powell said. “When that changes, we’ll be able to recycle more, especially certain types of plastics.” Though Powell said Facilities Management has received mostly positive feedback, some have expressed objections to changes implemented in the past few years.

“I wish they had more dialogue with the student body on decisions,” said Samantha Powell ’13. She called new low-flow shower heads “a huge problem.” Facilities Management is still planning to reduce energy use in the BioMedical building and to complete a “dorm energy efficiency project,” which will use Diman House as a test case to install green technology, said Chris Powell. The new aquatics and fitness Center will include the first hybrid solarthermal system of heating in the state, he said. Gretchen Gerlach ’14, an intern at Facilities Management and coordinator for the student group EcoReps, which focuses on improving green living in areas such as dormitory life, said she was surprised by the news that energy conservation is well ahead of schedule. “It is surprising that so much can be done so quickly,” Gerlach said. “People really took it to heart. I think we’re on the right track, and we’re going in a really good direction.” Though Gerlach said she would like to see the recently released Facilities report circulated more widely, she has seen an impressive uptick in the level of student interest in sustainability, and that EcoReps meetings have enjoyed much better attendance this year. To build on the progress already made, EcoReps is working on a project to create what Gerlach called “greenroom certification,” in which students can pledge to make their dormitory rooms microcosms of sustainable living, with an emphasis on recycling and reusing materials. “People are interested, and they’re aware. We’re changing habits,” she said. “It’s as simple as using a reusable bottle and getting kids to call Facilities Management when their rooms are too hot in the winter instead of opening the window.” But campus is still not as green as it could be. “A lot of people leave the lights on in the bathroom when nobody’s there,” said Libby Stein ’15. “So if they had signs telling people not to do that, it would be really helpful.”

By Alison Silver Contributing Writer

This semester’s health and safety inspections found violations in 18 percent of dormitory rooms and resulted in one fine for the possession of a candle. Most of the violations were low-level. Open source flames are the most dangerous and destructive elements in a residence hall room, according to Richard Bova, senior associate dean of residential and dining services. For that reason, candles are the only objects for which students may incur direct fines. The fine per candle is $100. ResLife notifies students in advance of all upcoming health and safety inspections, which happen every semester. Inspectors work in teams of two and scan the room for prohibited objects in plain view. They do not open any closets or drawers. Candles found in plain sight are confiscated immediately, but Bova said students tend to recognize the dangers of candles in dorm rooms and to be “very conscientious about not using them.” ResLife usually issues $500 or less in fines annually. “ResLife is really good at explicitly saying what is and is not allowed in most cases, and I think it’s reasonable that they don’t want candles in the dorm rooms because people leave them lit,” said Amanda Vernon ’12, who

Rachel A. Kaplan / Herald

ResLife inspectors found violations in 18 percent of dormitory rooms during this semester’s health and safety inspections. Above, excessive wall hangings create a fire hazard.

incurred a $100 fine last year for having a visible candle in her New Dorm single. “That’s the price you pay,” she said. The most common violations during this semester’s inspections were power strips and extension cords with too many plugs in them and tapestries or other objects concealing smoke detectors. The incidence of violations varies little from year to year, Bova said.

ResLife inspectors leave warnings, in the form of written notes, for problems in dorm rooms that need correction. If upon re-inspection, inspectors find the same problem, a mandatory meeting with ResLife results. For items such as gasoline, halogen torchiere lamps or fire extinguishers that qualify as immediate hazards, no warning is issued and the items are confiscated.

Program could give alums JSTOR access By Adam Asher Contributing Writer

Alums may soon have access to the online journal database JSTOR, according to Steven Thompson, head of acquisitions and electronic resources for the Library. The University is looking to join a JSTOR pilot program that gives alums from affiliated institutions continued access to the database. If approved, the University would join 19 other participating schools, including large public universities like Pennsylvania State, small liberal arts schools

like Amherst College and fellow Ivy League institutions Columbia and Yale. The University’s JSTOR subscription costs would increase by 10 percent, or about $6,000 each year. Thompson said the cost is “not prohibitive.” JSTOR is currently in the process of deciding whether to add more schools to the program, and if so, how many, Thompson said. “It is still a pilot program,” he said. While JSTOR assesses what the effect of expansion would be on the service’s use, demand on its servers and its pricing models, the program is likely to remain in the pilot phase, Thompson said.

JSTOR is also considering offering the service publicly as a product. The program’s status should be decided sometime in November, Thompson said. Representatives from JSTOR declined to comment for this story. Though no alums have requested to join the program to date, Thompson attributed the lack of demand to a lack of awareness. The University currently offers several electronic resources to alums, including Academic Search, Business Source and Newspaper Source.

Eerie genre celebrated at Brown Bookstore fiction fest By Hannah Kerman Contributing Writer

Authors Paul Tremblay, John Langan and Laird Barron congregated in the warmth of the Brown Book-

arts & culture store Saturday night as cold rain and snow fell in the dark outside. It was fitting weather for the end of the bookstore’s first Speculative Fiction Fest. Standing by a table with a num-

ber of creepy-looking titles, Barry, a tall, dark-haired bookstore employee answered the essential question — what is speculative fiction? “Speculative fiction is sort of an overlap of sci-fi, fantasy, horror and the supernatural — anything that uses unconventional themes, settings as part of the storytelling process,” he said, moving a book with a scorpion on the cover to make room for one with a dead hand. “Last year, we just had one night called Sci-Fi in R.I., but this year, we wanted to expand,” Barry said.

The new, longer and more extensive event began Thursday afternoon and continued into Saturday night. It included panel discussions, informative speakers, author readings and movie viewings. Authors including Dan Pearlman, Paul DiFillipo and Brian Evenson, professor of literary arts, came to the bookstore to share their craft — the eerie, off-beat stories of this expanding genre. “People have to come up with something new,” said Bob Geake, a Brown Bookstore employee in-

volved in planning the Speculative Fiction Fest. “American fiction has become very mundane,” he said. “It’s these new authors who are trying to extend it.” While the panel discussions and readings were fairly well attended, both organizers expressed disappointment that so few people showed up for the movies. “It’s about finding the right mix of things to draw people in,” explained Geake. Difficulty advertising the event as well as its coinciding with Hal-

loween may have caused attendance to be low, the organizers speculated. The event portends something larger for the bookstore than this one genre, on this one weekend, Geake said. “We are trying to make this more of a venue for local authors,” he said. The Speculative Fiction Fest represents the first multiple-day, genre-themed event to be held at the Brown Bookstore. “But just like in speculative fiction,” Barry said with a wave of his hand, “The possibilities are endless.”

Monday, October 31, 2011  

The October 31, 2011 issue of the Brown Daily Herald

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