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Daily

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vol. cxlvi, no. 99

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Humanities Committees to seek input fund will on presidential search open for faculty use By Shefali Luthra Senior Staff Writer

By Shefali Luthra Senior Staff Writer

The University will use a $6.9 million fund containing multiple grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and an anonymous $3 million donation to promote collaborative teaching and research in the humanities and hire six faculty members, said Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin P’12. The deployment of these grants will constitute a major portion of the Humanities Initiative, which was launched last year. Humanities faculty members will be able to apply for the funds in coming weeks, McLaughlin said. In addition, the University will continue its recruitment of six faculty members who will engage in departmental teaching and coteach classes with other faculty members. McLaughlin collaborated with Katherine Bergeron, dean of the College, Joseph Meisel, deputy provost, and Michael Steinberg, director of the Cogut Center for the Humanities and professor of history and music, this summer to determine how to use the $3 million grant specifically to promote humanities at the University. Collaborative teaching looks continued on page 3

The presidential search committees will host eight forums and four department chair meetings in the next two weeks as part of the search for the University‘s 19th president, Chung-I Tan, chair of the Campus Advisory Committee and professor of physics, said at yesterday’s faculty meeting. At the first faculty meeting since the Campus Advisory Committee and Corporation Search Committee were named, administrators and faculty members also discussed University revenue streams and decisions about the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program and athletics. The first chance for faculty input on the presidential search

Since 1891

R e a d yo u r v e g g i e s

will be at a Nov. 8 faculty forum. Chancellor Thomas Tisch ’76, who is heading the Corporation Search Committee, will attend along with other members of the Corporation Search Committee and Campus Advisory Committee. Tan said the two committees will work collaboratively and follow the model laid down by those involved in the last presidential search. The committees are in the first phase of the search process. Through December, they will ask questions, establish the University’s current goals and decide what they want in the next president, Tan said. Tisch aims to “learn as much

Corrine Szczesny / Herald

continued on page 4

Thayer Street patrons can expect tears — of laughter — with the arrival of the Onion. See full coverage on page 5.

Eyeing international students, U. ups aid With letters, the last four years. International The centerpiece of these recent students received $7.7 million last reforms was an exemption from U. strives year compared to $3.3 million in paying tuition for families makFor many of the world’s best and the 2007-08 academic year. ing less than $60,000 with under to increase brightest college applicants, the International students will re- $100,000 in assets. choice of which elite U.S. college ceive $8.4 million in aid this year, The overall number of interminority to attend often comes down to an additional increase of 9 per- national students receiving finanone factor — who can offer the cent, said James Tilton, director cial aid increased by 84 percent highest bid. In a sign that Brown of financial aid. in the last five years, from 115 to enrollment By Mathias Heller Contributing Writer

is trying harder to compete with its Ivy League peers in recruiting international students, the September update of the Plan for Academic Enrichment highlighted a 133 percent increase in financial aid for international students over

The increase followed the Corporation’s approval in October 2006 of a 30 percent raise in financial aid for international students and changes in financial aid policy for all students during the 2008-09 school year, he said.

212, Tilton said. But the share of international students receiving financial aid still stands at only 10 percent, he said. In addition, while need-blind admission for

of the bank to close their accounts in defiance of the fee and what they saw as the bank’s corporate greed. “I was going to close my account at the end of this month,” said Nasim Azizgolshani ’14. “Now I’m not so sure.” Though she is against the bank’s “big, bad business,” a Bank of America account is convenient because she can access it from her home in New York, she said. The proposed fee would have applied to purchases made with a debit card but not to cash withdrawals from ATMs. The fee, which would have taken effect in January, would not have applied to college student accounts,

By the time she opened a letter from President Ruth Simmons at the beginning of her senior year of high school, Taylor Bright ’15 already knew Brown was her top choice. But reading the letter — one of 11,000 sent that year to a pool of prospective minority applicants — reassured her of her decision. “It made me more comfortable,” Bright said. “Just the fact that she reached out. I felt more secure going to a school knowing that minorities are appreciated.” Though Simmons told The Herald last month she does not see herself as a “role model” to minority or female students, some wonder if her presidency has had a positive effect on minority applications to the college. Simmons began sending letters to minority students after enrollment figures for black students fell in 2009, said Dean of Admission James Miller ’73. Though the University was accepting more black students, matriculation numbers were stagnant — only

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Madeline Schlissel / Herald

inside

Bank of America customers would have been required to pay a monthly fee for debit card use starting this January.

news....................2-5 editorial.............6 Opinions..............7

In a surprising reversal, Bank of America announced yesterday it will not charge a monthly fee for debit card use. The bank’s decision in September to charge customers $5 per month for card use spurred popular petitions, protests and even graffiti at some bank locations. “We’ve been listening to our customers for the last couple of weeks,” said Tony Allen, communications executive for Bank of America. “Given the feedback and the competitive conditions in the marketplace, it would be best if we did not continue with the fee.” In Providence, Occupy protesters had encouraged customers

Midnight Chills Don’t Recycle Help! Annual organ concert draws Halloween revelers Campus News, 8

Lebovitz ’14: Out with the old and in with the new?

opinions, 7

An overload of advising options opinions, 7

weather

Bank of America cancels planned debit card fee By Aparna Bansal Senior Staff Writer

By Gadi Cohen Contributing Writer

t o d ay

tomorrow

57 / 36

59 / 39


2 Campus News calendar Today

November 2

12 P.m.

ToMORROW

Simmons pens letters to recruit minorities November 3

7p.m. The Future of Sudan,

Death Penalty on Trial: A Panel

Joukowsky Forum

Discussion, MacMillan 117

8 p.m.

8 p.m.

Eiko and Koma’s “Regeneration,”

“Lady Windermere’s Fan,”

Granoff Center Studio 1

Stuart Theatre

menu SHARPE REFECTORY

VERNEy-WOOLLEY DINING HALL LUNCH

Buffalo Chicken Wings, Carrots and Celery Sticks with Bleu Cheese, Vegan Nuggets

Bacon Ranch Chicken Sandwich, Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Fresh Green Beans, M&M Cookies

DINNER Shaved Steak with Mushrooms and Onions, Roasted Beets, Spinach Strudel with Cream Sauce

Cilantro Chicken, Mexican Cornbread Casserole, Herb Rice, Stewed Tomatoes

Sudoku

Crossword

The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, November 2, 2011

continued from page 1 6.7 percent of admitted students for the class of 2012 and 6.3 percent of admitted students for the class of 2013 were black. Simmons’ effort is part of a University-wide outreach to prospective minority applicants in response to disappointing yields. But the University continues to compete against aggressive financial aid packages from rival schools. Qualified minority and lowincome students “know they’re a commodity” and apply to and gain admission to many top-tier schools, Michele Hernandez, a college consultant and author of three books on preparing for college admissions, told The Herald last year. Students from less affluent backgrounds find many of Brown’s peer institutions more attractive, she said. Applications to the University from black students more than doubled under Simmons, from 978 in 2000 to 2,478 in 2010, while total applications have increased by 84 percent, from 16,801 in 2000 to 30,946 in 2010. While she was applying to colleges, Bright — who, like Simmons, is a black female — was on the receiving end of a push from the Admission Office to increase minority applications to Brown. As part of the campaign, Simmons communicated with 11,000 prospective applicants through direct mail, discussing the application process and describing the daily life of minority students at Brown. Though she knew who Simmons was at that time, Bright said Simmons’ race or gender did not impact her decision to apply. “It’s not the fact that she’s black and

Daily

the Brown

Herald file photo

Simmons sends personal recruiting letters as part of an initiative to make the University as attractive to minority applicants as peer institutions.

a woman,” Bright said. “It just inspired me to see someone like President Ruth, who is so determined and successful in her life and career.” As a minority recruitment intern, Corbyn Nchako ’14 works with the Admission Office to communicate with prospective applicants and persuade them to apply. Minority applicants are generally impressed by Simmons, he said, which has helped encourage prospective students to apply. “Ruth was chosen to be the president of Brown University because people were convinced that she had the necessary leadership

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skills, personality, drive, intelligence and passion to effectively lead this institution,” Nchako said. “These are the same reasons why minority students are drawn to Brown — because the University sees them as having the necessary attributes to effectively add and contribute to the Brown community.” “President Simmons is both iconic and inspirational to our applicants in general, but in particular for minority students,” Miller said. Though Nchako and Bright agreed that Simmons serves as a role model to minority applicants, they both felt it is her attempt to shape Brown into a more welcoming community that makes her a valuable a president. “As long as Brown reaches out and shows the minority opportunities that exist,” minority students will be attracted to Brown, Bright said. Simmons’ letter demonstrated to Bright that Brown appreciated who she really is, she said. After she read the letter, Bright sat down to write the president a response. “I wrote back to her saying that it was really thoughtful to send a letter like that to me,” she said. “No other school did that.”


The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Campus News 3

Int’l financial aid up but Humanities to emphasize collaboration U. still lags behind peers continued from page 1

continued from page 1 U.S. applicants has been in place at the University since 2003, the policy does not apply to international students. Any discussion about implementing need-bind admission for international students would be “a larger conversation” involving Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron, Dean of Admission James Miller ’73 and other senior administrators, Tilton said. According to a poll conducted by the Herald in April, nearly 40 percent of students thought increasing financial aid should be the University’s highest priority. Still, the recent changes have made a positive difference for some international students. “It’s definitely made it a lot more possible for them to be here,” said Indu Voruganti ’12, a Canada native who participated as a freshman in the International Mentoring Program, which assists international students with the college transition process. “A lot of progress has been made.” Still, expanding need-blind admission “would make Brown a lot more attractive to international students,” Voruganti said, adding that she knows many students from abroad who depend on financial aid to attend Brown. Mohsan Elahi ’14, a member of the International Scholarship Committee who has represented Brown at college fairs in his native Pakistan, agreed that the lack of

need-blind admission is a major problem for recruiting interested candidates. “Not being need-blind really deters students from applying,” he said. “If Brown wants to create a university with people who are more qualified, the only way they will achieve that is expanding financial aid.” Elahi said one of the first questions he gets from most prospective applicants at college fairs is about financial aid. When he explains Brown’s policy, students often head for nearby tables that tout need-blind admission for all applicants. Many international students are forced to rely on scholarships and loans instead of financial aid, said Minoo Ramanathan ’11, the Departmental Undergraduate Group and TA Conference coordinator at the Curricular Resource Center. “As an international student, I knew the opportunities for aid were very limited,” said Ramanathan, who is from India. “I constantly had to be reminded that it was a privilege for me to be here.” Pathikrit Bhattacharyya ’14 echoed his fellow international students’ view that Brown still trails some of its peers in financial aid, but said he felt the administration had made progress. “A lot of the other Ivies have better financial programs for international students, but I think Brown is catching up,” Bhattacharyya said. “The University is moving in the right direction.”

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to go beyond “overspecialization” to address “social problems in the realm of a department,” McLaughlin said. The initiative will try to bring a humanities-based perspective to recent University research foci like brain science and engineering, with the goal of making the humanities more relevant in research, McLaughlin added. At the undergraduate level, the administration will also encourage faculty members to design and teach new introductory courses connecting the humanities with contemporary issues, he said. Such classes might cover the role of globalization in modern society, something McLaughlin said

humanists are “well situated to address.” Other possibilities could include classes examining what defines Europe or Europe’s impact upon Africa, he said. McLaughlin said these courses could be used to make a case to students not concentrating in the humanities for the field’s relevance. The administrators identified collaboration as a goal because of the perception that humanities work is done in isolation, McLaughlin said. “There still seems to be a persistent image of work in the humanities — of research in the humanities especially, I’d say — you know, the lone humanist toiling away in a library somewhere,” he said. In fact, McLaughlin said, crucial humanities scholarship is

based in collaboration. The University is in talks with the first candidate of the planned six scholars to be hired under the initiative. At Tuesday’s faculty meeting, McLaughlin said he plans to ask candidates to propose projects they cannot currently undertake that they would like to pursue at the University. The recruited scholars will likely receive tenure, McLaughlin said, which would increase the ratio of tenured to untenured faculty — a statistic the University is trying to lower. But he said the staggered nature of the hiring process will minimize that impact. “In all likelihood, we will not hire six new faculty members this year,” McLaughlin said at the meeting.


4 Campus News

The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tuition projected to increase by 3.5 percent continued from page 1 about Brown as possible,” Tan said. Tisch will attend all forums and meetings regarding the search. Tan solicited nominations for the next president at the meeting and called the Campus Advisory Committee a “very diverse group.” The committee includes five campus faculty members, one medical school faculty member, three undergraduates, two staff members, one graduate student and one medical student. Provost Mark Schlissel P’15 presented on the composition of University revenue sources over the past decade. While revenue has grown 5.5 percent, the distribution of revenue sources has been very consistent, he said. Tuition makes up around 30 percent of the University’s revenue, more than at any of the University’s peers, Schlissel said. Institutions like Princeton, Harvard and Yale draw the most money from their endowments, while research universities like Duke draw the most revenue from research grants. “The biggest lever in everything we do is tuition,” Schlissel

said. The Corporation is concerned about revenue growth for the University, President Ruth Simmons said, adding that decisions to pursue new projects and investments will “have to be in response to the economy.” Simmons solicited opinions as to whether the University should continue increasing tuition, which is projected to go up by 3.5 percent this year. Simmons added that members of the Corporation have enormous pessimism about economic growth over the next decade, an attitude she said will influence tuition growth. Schlissel indicated concern that growth in tuition could particularly harm middle-class students, whose financial aid packages often involve student loans as well as grants. Consequently, Schlissel said the students matriculating to the University could become less representative of the general population. Simmons also spoke about the reports she made to the Corporation regarding ROTC and athletics. Some Corporation members expressed concerns that her recommendation not to reinstate ROTC indicated a lack of sup-

port for the military, she said. The Corporation’s request to instate an on-campus ROTC office was in part to show that the University is not opposed to the military. It is “unusual for a governing board to step in in such a way” by mandating an office’s creation, Simmons said. Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services, said there will be a proposal to outline the office’s purpose by the end of the semester. Simmons said the University endorsed her recommendation regarding athletics, though there is still a good deal of concern about reduction in admission slots reserved for athletes. She added that she imagines the issue of athletics is one that will come up for discussion again in the coming years. “We’ve got to struggle with this for some time,” she said. Schlissel also announced the plan to develop a digital scholarship lab in the Rockefeller Library. The lab will include touch screens and digital monitors for student and faculty use. The University will also establish a committee to discuss instituting an open-access policy for published research. University

Librarian Harriette Hemmasi and Vice President for Research Clyde Briant will head the committee, and Schlissel said he plans to solicit recommendations from the Faculty Executive Committee for other faculty members to sit on the committee. Peter Shank, chair of the FEC and professor of medical science, announced two upcoming faculty forums — one Nov. 15 about conflicts of interest and another in December about revisions to the academic calendar. Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin P’12 discussed the tenure reports he presented at the Corporation meeting. The University will aim to have 70 to 75 percent of its faculty tenured, a lower percentage than at present, he said, but that goal will be realized over several years and will not be used to determine individual tenure cases. McLaughlin will present on tenure again at the February meeting of the Corporation. Memorial minutes were read for Anatole Shapiro, professor emeritus of physics, and Morris David Morris, professor emeritus of comparative development and sociology.

Booming baritone accompanies organ tunes continued from page 8 Night Wind Howls.” Bryan Tyler Parker ’11 GS sang the solo vocals, impressing the crowd with his resounding baritone voice. “I really liked how they changed it up by having Tyler Parker sing the solo piece with the organ,” Cadabes said. Steinbach fondly recalled the most memorable concert moments since he revived the annual recitals, including the studentaccompanied rendition of “The Monster Mash” and the year the casket nearly flipped him upside down. He always makes sure to close the recital with the ominous sounds of Bach’s “Toccata con Fuga in D Minor.” Sprung said the piece is the appropriate end to the annual concert, as the music itself sounds like an idea progressing. Similar to the toccata, the recital, he said, is only “becoming bigger and bigger.”

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Campus News 5

The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Jocular journalism: The Onion greets Providence By Alexandra Macfarlane Staff Writer

Humor is about to hit Thayer Street. Starting Thursday, copies of the satirical newspaper the Onion will be available on campus and in 14 other locations throughout Providence, according to Jonathan D’Onofrio, general manager of the newspaper’s Providence branch. Onion newsstands appeared on the streets today, most of them in the downtown area. The Onion has been planning its Providence launch since July, D’Onofrio said. Just yesterday, the paper received permission from the city to install the newsstands. The Onion will also be delivered to buildings on campus and establish-

ments on Thayer Street in the near future, he said. Satire is not new to campus, and the Onion will circulate alongside the University’s own humor publication, the Brown Noser. The Noser, which launched in 2006, makes light of campus news and undergraduate culture. It will not directly compete with the Onion’s satire of national issues, said Zack Bornstein ’12, editor-in-chief of the Noser. Bornstein said he hopes the Onion will give students a taste for satire, leaving them hungry for more. “It’s the funniest publication out there,” he said. “If they only read the Onion, that’s for the best.”

called Campus Edge accounts, Allen said. Ganaelle Joseph ’15 said she would have continued her account with the bank if the fee were implemented, but would have only used her debit card for cash withdrawals. “I don’t want to pay to use money,” she said. “That’s ridiculous.”

Cloud Buddies | David Emmanuel

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

— With additional reporting by Tony Bakshi

Bank of America backpedals on new fee continued from page 1

comics

Young investors had another take. Lingke Wang ’12 uses a credit card, so he said the fee would not have affected him. But because he is a stockholder in Bank of America, he said he is happy the bank reversed its decision. Bank of America wants to “reward and recognize” its customers, Allen said. “That was our strategy then, and that is our strategy now.”

The Unicomic| Eva Chen and Dan Sack


6 Editorial & Letter Editorial Paying for Projo

Editorial cartoon

Rest in peace, Projo.com. The Providence Journal put down the ailing website two weeks ago, replacing it with a sleeker providencejournal.com. The new website offers condensed news, but full print edition content will only be available in an eEdition behind a pay wall for those who do not subscribe to the paper. The pay wall’s implementation is unsurprising as the paper is floundering for revenue. In the six months leading up to October, circulation dropped 7 percent. Advertising revenue was halved over the last five years. Hundreds of Journal employees were let go in recent years. Management hopes pricing online content will turn the paper’s fortunes around. We encourage the library to seek an arrangement that enables undergraduates to read the eEdition for free. While access through ProQuest is suitable for research, the database cannot easily fill the Journal’s role in the daily lives of news-hungry students. Unfortunately, the online redesign does not seem especially promising. Using the eEdition — which students can currently access for free — is relatively easy. But by trying to recreate the experience of reading a print edition, navigation is made more cumbersome and the layout more cluttered, particularly when compared to the online version of the New York Times, an internet success. Dan Kennedy, a Northeastern University assistant professor of journalism, wrote on the website Media Nation that the changes reveal a paper “sacrificing its website in order to bolster its print edition, which is where it makes most of its money,” a strategy he characterized as short-sighted. Such an effort would also undermine the values of an organization dedicated to informing the public. Indeed, our experience with the old Journal website does not inspire confidence in management’s commitment to online content. While many papers invested in blogs and other original online features, the Journal’s website was consistently substandard — its political blog, for example, mostly reprinted press releases and articles from the print edition. And why should we pay for access when outlets like WRNI and WPRI offer robust journalism on the web free of charge? Despite our misgivings, we do hope the Journal finds a way to tap online revenue and build a sustainable business model. While the paper is no longer a behemoth — two decades ago, circulation equaled 20 percent of the state’s population — it is still a vital news source. According to Scarborough Research, nearly 50 percent of Providence-area adults read the paper or visited its website during an average week in 2010. Without increased revenue, the paper will eventually lose its ability to act as a government watchdog in a state already lacking an effective opposition party to maintain accountability. Aside from paying for content, there are no obvious ways we can support newspaper journalism. But college newspapers could play a role in formulating business models that support newspaper-style reporting in the digital age. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported on a company called Press+, which is assisting student papers experimenting with online pay walls. Press+ hopes experimentation on campus will give journalism’s emerging leaders new ideas about how to support serious reporting in the real world. While we hope college newspapers can devise means to sustain themselves without resorting to pay walls, we support efforts to find new ways of doing business. If the next generation of journalists helps papers like the Journal reinvent themselves and emerge stronger from these difficult times, it will benefit the public. 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

Directors Aditi Bhatia Danielle Marshak Margot Grinberg Lisa Berlin

The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, November 2, 2011

by sam rosenfeld

letter to the editor WPC leaders must take charge To the Editor: I am heartened to see this paper engaging in the debate about the Women Peer Counselor Program. As a sexual health advocate, and former first-year student, I think it is critical that the WPCs as a group are sufficiently trained to deal with their core issues. Lucy Stephenson ’13 commits the fallacy of the beard when she argues that because WPCs cannot “train for years,” any training they receive is pointless (“WPCs are worth having around,” Oct. 20). Providing training on how to speak to a victim of sexual assault should not be a controversial position. If the Office of Residential Life is unable or unwilling to provide training to WPCs on how they can fulfill their mission of facilitating and perpetuating discussion of their eight core issues, then the leadership of the WPC program must make changes. To sit idly within an organization that does not provide the

necessary training to carry out a still vital mission is to fail to fulfill their duty to first-year students at Brown. First-years deserve to live in residence halls where their WPCs are trained in what they claim to see as important. As a sexual health advocate, I know the importance of training. The issues of sexual assault and eating disorders are too emotionally charged to approach naively. WPCs must receive specialized training if they wish to meet their mission statement. I support Reed McNab ’12 and Leigh Carroll ’12 in their call for WPCs to leave ResLife. The Minority Peer Counselor program broke with ResLife but stayed in the residence halls. WPCs must do the same if ResLife continues to marginalize the program. ResLife must recognize the continuing impact of these issues on the men and women of Brown University. Timothy Peacock ’12

quote of the day

“I don’t want to pay to use money.”

— Ganaelle Joseph ‘15

Sales Finance Alumni Relations Special Projects

Managers Justin Lee Collections Collections Sam Plotner Nicky Robbins Invoice Staff Kevin Lynch Daniel Slutsky Analytics Jared Davis Sales and Communications Alumni Engagement Nikita Khadloya Emily Simmons Ad Relations Human Relations James Eng Angel Lee Business Development Owen Millard Business Development Gregory Chatzinoff Web Relations Post- magazine Editor-in-Chief Sam Knowles Editor-in-Chief Amelia Stanton BLOG DAILY HERALD David Winer Editor-in-Chief Matt Klimerman Managing Editor

See bank on page 1.

letters@browndailyherald.com 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 letters@browndailyherald.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.


Opinions 7

The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Swimming in the flood By Camille SpencerSalmon Opinions Columnist Brown’s celebrated open curriculum affords us great power in directing our own education, but as we have all been told in some way or another many times, with great power comes great responsibility. Luckily, the University recognizes that higher education is serious business and therefore assigns each incoming student an academic adviser along with a student peer adviser to help them adjust. Sounds straightforward enough. But is it really? If you need help, Brown is like Geoff ’s Superlative Sandwiches if choosing a sandwich could possibly have long-term effects on your life choices and Brown advising made great use of puns. To illustrate — there is first-year advising, advising for international students, Randall advisers and Matched Advising Program for Sophomores, advising for your eventual ­— and hopefully stable — choice of concentration, dean’s open hours, Meiklejohn peer advising, minority advising, pre-law advising and health career advising — pretty much everything but white guy guilt advising. If that is not enough for you, CareerLAB has a handy collection of tip sheets on everything from writing a resume (“What have I actually done with my time here?”) to negotiating job offers (“Wait,

there are situations in which people would pay me? To perform some skill that I have somehow acquired?”). And Morning Mail is always full of informarion sessions you will probably miss because you have class or would rather sleep than further complicate your schedule by taking on another activity or you do not have time to read Morning Mail. Or anything that is not for class.

only one or two of these advising sources. The problem then is actually going forward and seeking out the right kind of help for you in particular, which is a spotty process on its own. For instance, my experience with the Meiklejohn program was that I did not have much experience with it — or with my assigned peer adviser — but plenty of former first-years feel that their Meiklejohn helped them figure

The way I see it, advising at Brown is kind of like cable television: There are tons of options to choose from, but you end up only really paying attention to one or two of them.

How do we navigate these waters? The way I see it, advising at Brown is kind of like cable television: There are tons of options to choose from, but you end up only really paying attention to one or two of them. If your assigned advisers do not do much more than okay your classes, and you are the sort of person who will have a crisis without external input, you are fortunate enough to have access to a surfeit of alternative ways of arming yourself with advice. Realistically, though, you will develop a dynamic with

Brown out at a time when it seemed overwhelming. For some, like me, it is a carefully matched mentor (through such initiatives as the New Scientist Program) who finally seems to understand their greatest obstacles in adjusting to college life and helps them to figure out study habits, class balances and general survival mechanisms that help prevent their heads from exploding. Part of the trickiness of this process has to do with the variability of advice-providing individuals who not

only have the knowledge you are looking for but also care enough to help you figure out what this knowledge is. My point is that the responsibility for doing more with your time than surviving day-to-day life is almost entirely up to you – which might come as a surprise for some. The resources are there, but not laid out linearly enough to not require some trial and error. Effective use of the collective knowledge that comes from other people having faced similar challenges will make it possible to do more than scrape by. If you do happen to forget the almost absurd abundance of resources available to you, your email inbox likely fills up on a regular basis with messages from all ends of the University suggesting that you complete the other 10 percent of life activities — i.e., everything that does not involve just showing up. You can in fact learn to be engaged at 9 a.m., form genuine relationships with professors and perhaps eventually find yourself in a position to negotiate an offer for real, adult-person employment, all while navigating the social challenges of living in a transient population of similarly confused people. But, to roughly paraphrase many adventure games, “Take this. You never know what you may need on your journey.” Camille Spencer-Salmon ’14 is not qualified to advise anyone but gleefully does so anyway. She can be reached at camille_spencer-salmon@brown.edu.

Retread society By Chip Lebovitz Opinions Columnist Last week, I caught the triumphant return of “Beavis and Butt-Head” to television after a 14-year hiatus. Along with an excellent Out of Bounds sketch comedy show, it helped bookend a transcendent week of comedy. While “Beavis and Butt-Head” was an immature barrel of laughs, the question that struck me was why bring back the show now? Not that I mind bringing back the show, but it seemed symbolic of an American society determined to dredge up anything from the 1990s even tangentially worth salvaging. That is a much more inherently worrisome topic — America as a retread society. The innovative spark that once defined the American psyche seems in desperate need of a recharge. But one TV show does not make a trend. Beavis and Butt-Head snickering at MTV’s ridiculous programming — who knew LMFAO was an uncle-nephew tandem — is just symptomatic of a greater trend. Just turn to the national policy level. Obamacare and the idea of the individual mandate are based directly on a Heritage Foundation concept formed during the 1990s Clinton-era health care battles. Furthermore, the president’s people are the same: President Obama’s cabinet has slowly but surely morphed into a near replica of the Clinton cabinet. Cur-

rent Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was a chief of staff for former President Bill Clinton, and current Chief of Staff Bill Daley served in the same capacity for Clinton. There is also Hillary Clinton, but I would venture that her experience as first lady was not the chief qualification that the president looked to when he made her secretary of state. Our societal retread extends back into the entertainment industry. I was torn at the recent news that “Arrested Devel-

The movie industry seems to echo this same mentality. The numbers of revivals, remakes and four-quels seem to have reached all time highs, and some of the movies were not even that good or high grossing in the first place. I am looking at you “Paranormal Activity 3.” But let’s take a step back for a second. Doesn’t it make sense for people to reach into the past for inspiration? Isn’t that basically the entire concept behind the phrase, “Learn from the past to improve the future?”

When 69 percent of America thinks the country is declining, the proper move is not to scrounge the recycle bin for something nice that worked 10 years ago.

opment” could be potentially picked up after five years for a new season leading into a movie. I wanted to be excited at the prospect of being able to hang out with a gang of my favorite TV characters, but at the same time, what does it say about a TV network that is so helplessly lost that it cannot engineer a new successful show and instead has to turn back to one it already canceled for terrifyingly low ratings.

Not exactly. The saying looks better on paper. Forward momentum is necessary in everything. For example, going back to politics, there is a difference between promoting a talented up-andcomer from an old administration and literally taking the same guy and putting him back in his original job. I am not saying the members of the Clinton cabinet are not highly qualified, but at this point there have been more than 10 years to

groom new talents. Obama clearly understands the concept: just take Attorney General Eric Holder, a former deputy attorney general under Clinton, or National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, a former assistant secretary of state. The main reason that stagnancy is all so troubling is that it perfectly dovetails with the national fears of decline. When 69 percent of America thinks the country is declining, the proper move is not to scrounge the recycle bin for something nice that worked 10 years ago. The nation as a whole feels paralyzed, with everyone only venturing down the same path. America is just not acting like the home of the brave. I get that trying new things is dicey. I get that people run the risk of looking desperate and admitting that there is a problem, but shaking things up at least portrays that you care about the future and are trying to make things better. Put another way, I would rather go out swinging than with a whimper. So lend me an ear, corporate America, White House and major television networks. Try us. Throw something new out there. Heads do not have to roll, and the wheel does not need to be reinvented. Just stick your head out and go for it. Or you could hire Out of Bounds to make you a sketch comedy show. At least they are original. Chip Lebovitz ’14 is still waiting for Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s ’75 P’14 response. Don’t be a stranger.


Daily Herald the Brown

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Higher ed news roundup

by K atherine Long and K at Thornton senior staff writers

Cooper Union may be free no more Due to budget shortfalls, Cooper Union — a tuition-free college in downtown Manhattan — may start charging its students to attend, according to the New York Times. The move would be a “last resort,” Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha told the Times. The college has been free since it was founded in 1859. Cooper Union has had to turn to “unsustainable practices” to keep fiscally afloat, such as withdrawing from its endowment, according to the Times. Alums and students are outraged about a prospective shift in what they see as a central tenet of the university. A student walk-out is planned for today, and a petition to “preserve free tuition” gathered 2,000 signatures as of Nov. 1, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Presidential debate spots selected

Emily Gilbert / Herald

The Sayles organ appeared young next to a “200-year” dead Mark Steinbach who played it to a spooked crowd last night.

Steinbach delivers spooky midnight concert By Erin Kilduff Contributing Writer

Portraits of former University deans and professors adorn the walls, and the space flickers with the eerie glow of camera flashes. Students with laptops, sleeping bags and tired expressions fill the cavernous Sayles Hall. Strange

Arts & Culture costumes abound, and couples scatter the floor, looking for the best place to lay their blankets, pillows and Ivy Room falafels. A projector on the back wall reveals a black abyss with a sole light. No, it’s not the line for SexPowerGod tickets. It’s the annual Midnight Organ Recital, one of most famed University Halloween traditions. Reinstated in 1993 after an eight-year hiatus, the Midnight Organ Recital proves consistently popular, combining classical organ music with the excitement of the holiday. Mark Steinbach, University organist, curator of instruments and lecturer in music, said the concert has grown

significantly since its inception. “The first year, there weren’t that many people,” Steinbach said, but “these years, it’s absolutely packed.” Despite the cold weather Monday night, this year’s concert was no exception. Arnie Ramirez ’13, who has attended the organ recital each year she has been at Brown, said the inviting atmosphere helps introduce students who might not otherwise listen to classical or organ music to the craft. “It’s like a giant sleepover for Brown students, except a very short sleepover with very cool music,” she added. The recital’s cozy atmosphere and student participation contribute to its ever-increasing popularity, said Florian Sprung GS. Joseph Cadabes ’14, a secondtime attendee, praised Steinbach for taking a high art form and embellishing it “with little quirks like the opening casket presentation, the costuming and the overall theater of it.” Each year, the concert opens with a dramatic entrance from Steinbach who — as he tells the audience — has risen from a 200-

year slumber to play organ for the crowd. Carried in a casket by two lines of black-robed priests, Steinbach emerges to ask the audience the year and place, taking in resounding cries of “Halloween” and “Sayles Hall.” Monday night, one student yelled “I love you, Mark Steinbach,” to which the vampire organist responded, “I love you too.” Steinbach typically begins with more classically oriented pieces, which this year included Jehan Alain’s “Litanies” and Charles Gounod’s “Marche Funebre d’une Marionnette.” He followed those with the crowd-pleasing “Hedwig’s Theme” from the Harry Potter film series. The frosty weather was not the only aspect unique to this year’s performance — Steinbach said he had never before played a Halloween recital with snow on the ground. Members of Brown University Gilbert and Sullivan accompanied Steinbach in a rendition of Arthur Sullivan and William Gilbert’s “When the continued on page 4

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Monday the universities where the three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate will take place. The University of Denver will host the first presidential debate Oct. 3, 2012, Centre College in Danville, Ky., will host the vice presidential debate Oct. 11, 2012, Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., will host the second presidential debate Oct. 16, 2012, and Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., will host the third Oct. 22, 2012. The debate in Denver will be “the first presidential debate in the history of the state of Colorado,” according to the DU Clarion, Denver’s student newspaper. Centre College hosted a debate in 2000, and this year the college will “set a new standard for excellence,” said Centre president John Roush, according to the school’s student newspaper.

Yale recruiting LGBTQ med students Yale released admissions brochures last month targeted at lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer prospective medical students, according to the Yale Daily News. It plans to send the brochures in official information packets next year, wrote the YDN. “It’s a big step for our medical school to be doing this,” said Jorge Ramallo, head of Yale’s Gay-Straight Medical Alliance. Health care professionals have stressed the need for more diversity among doctors so that all patients feel more comfortable in medical offices. “Many LGBTQ patients are afraid of getting care or being judged,” Shane Snowdon, director of the Center for LGBT Health and Equity at the University of California at San Francisco, told the YDN.

Business school apps declining Applications to business schools are on a “downward spiral,” with 67 percent of business schools seeing a decrease in the number of applications this year, compared to 47 percent last year, according to data collected by the Graduate Management Admissions Council reported in Bloomberg Businessweek. The council theorized that a changeable economy and disincentives to take time off work played into the decisions of many not to apply to business school. But the relatively small number of applicants means getting accepted to top business schools has become easier, with two-thirds of the top 30 schools admitting more students for this year than they did in 2010. Even Stanford Graduate School of Business, the most selective business school, saw selectivity drop one percentage point, to 7 percent.

Expectations high for drug safety proposal, prof says By Katherine Long Senior Staff Writer

Every year, medicines with dangerous side effects enter the market, but the Federal Drug Administration is unaware which medicines these are. In a fast-paced and often lighthearted lecture yesterday, Sebastian Schneeweiss, associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard, outlined a plan to instate an alert system for potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals in front of roughly 30 graduate students and professors. His proposed system would collect data from computer records of

health care providers and correlate it to on-the-market pharmaceuticals. This would allow the FDA to identify medications with adverse effects above a level of acceptable risk. “Right now, there’s a haphazard non-system” to screen for harm once drugs hit the market, said David Savitz, professor of community health and the organizer of the seminar. If Schneeweiss’s system were enacted, it could prove an efficient way of reducing the number of drugs with adverse side effects available on the market, he said. But Schneeweiss acknowledged

that before any automated system could be implemented effectively, government regulators would have to determine the maximum allowable number of adverse side effects before a drug is recalled. Currently, that level is usually only “vaguely defined,” he said. For example, Avandia, a popular diabetes drug recalled by the FDA in 2010 because of evidence that it led to heart attacks, remained on the market for 10 years because of lack of consensus about acceptable risk, according to the New York Times. Despite the event’s relatively

anti-FDA tenor — Schneeweiss included several jabs at the agency’s lack of rigor and emphasis on business over consumers — Savitz said he is optimistic Schneeweiss’s proposal will be heard favorably. “At the moment we’re increasing pressure on health care delivery to be accountable,” he said. “There’s more and more of a desire to get it right. It’s our job as the academic community to nudge federal agencies into doing the right thing.” Questions from the audience centered around the subjective components of drug regulation. Many explored the tension between

government regulation and consumer freedom, prompting discussion as to the amount of drug information the FDA should release. Also under scrutiny was the process for choosing which variables to account for when synthesizing large quantities of patient data. “Despite all these great datafinding tools, there are still unknowns,” Dan Escudero GS told The Herald after the lecture. “There’s a lot of subjectivity in seemingly objective tools. It’s interesting to see how all these things play into each other.”

Wednesday, November 2, 2011  

The November 2, 2011 issue of the Brown Daily Herald

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