vol. cxxii, no. 1
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
City spars with U. over increasing payments U. rises By Kate Nussenbaum Senior Staff Writer
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras’ request that Brown pay Providence an additional $5 million per year to help relieve the city’s financial woes has sparked a public battle between the city and the University, with the mayor now threatening legal action.
city & state In a Jan. 13 letter to the community, President Ruth Simmons wrote that the University offered to provide an additional $2 million per year for five years to support the city’s school system in response to Taveras’ request. But the mayor rejected the offer in a move Simmons called “surprising and disappointing” in her letter. “There’s nothing that’s off the
table,” Taveras told The Herald. “We need to make sure everyone pays their fair share.” Taveras first approached Simmons last spring to ask that Brown consider contributing more to Providence, said Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations. Simmons told the mayor Brown was committed to Providence’s success and wanted to explore ways to support the city that aligned with Brown’s mission, Quinn said. Over the spring and summer, representatives from Brown and the mayor’s office worked to identify opportunities for Brown to support Providence schools and to advance the city’s economic development. They worked together to develop a proposal for the University’s contribution, which has continued on page 4
in Peace Corps rankings By David Chung News Editor
large regular decision pool and we wanted to be cautious to make sure we saved spaces,” he said. A plurality of students — about 31 percent — declared interest in the social sciences, followed by about 26 percent in the life and medical sciences and about 23 percent in the physical sciences. Engineering was the most popular intended concentration, with 46 students — roughly 8 percent of admits — listing it as
Brown has moved up four spots this year in the Peace Corps’ ranking of top volunteer-producing colleges and universities, with 24 undergraduate alums currently participating in programs abroad. The University is ranked 21st among medium-size institutions, according to a statement released today by the Peace Corps. Last year, Brown ranked 25th with 21 alums volunteering in the Peace Corps. Peace Corps volunteers are at an historic high, with over 9,000 serving overseas, said Elizabeth Chamberlain, public affairs specialist for the agency’s New England regional office in Boston. Due to the competitive nature of the application process, recruiters this year looked for skills within specific areas such as agriculture, environment and education, Chamberlain said, and the Peace Corps has found those skills in students at Brown. “Brown students tend to be global thinkers,” Chamberlain said. “They see the point of Peace Corps. They see the need for Peace Corps. They
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Dan Alexander / Herald
Protesters demanded that the University contribute more money to the city in light of municipal budget woes. See page 4 for the full story.
Legendary Early acceptance dips to 19 percent coach Paterno ’50 dead at 85 By Shefali Luthra News Editor
Joe Paterno ’50 died Sunday morning, only two and a half months after his 46-year tenure as head football coach at Pennsylvania State University came to a close in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal. Paterno, who was undergoing chemotherapy for a treatable form of lung cancer, died from complications at the age of 85. He is survived by his wife and
Sports five children. Paterno was hospitalized Jan. 13. A family spokesperson released a statement Jan. 21 announcing that doctors listed him in serious condition. Later that day, the Penn State student website Onward State reported that Paterno was dead. CBS Sports, CNN and other news outlets subsequently reported that Paterno had died. Soon thereafter, the news was refuted by a family spokesperson and Paterno’s sons. “Joe is continuing to fight,” wrote Jay Paterno on his Twitter account. Jay Paterno later tweeted that
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news....................2-5 CITY & State........6-7 editorial............10 Opinions.............11 SPORTS..................12
Students react to State of the Union By Sahil Luthra Science Editor
President Obama delivered his annual State of the Union address last night, discussing the rising costs of higher education in a speech that focused largely on the economy. The president urged states to prioritize higher education in their budgets while also calling on Congress to expedite a law that would lower the maximum interest rate on student loans. He also addressed colleges and universities, stressing the importance of preventing tuition increases. “If you can’t stop tuition from going up,” Obama told institutions of higher education, “the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.”
Occupiers agree to leave park each night City & State, 6
Higher education is “absolutely necessary in today’s economy, so we have to keep that affordable,” said Taylor Daily ’13, president of Brown Students for Obama and vice president of the Brown Democrats. Daily watched the address with a Brown Democrats viewing party that filled Wilson 101. While agreeing that education costs should be kept low, Brown Republicans President Terrence George ’13 said it would be hard to speak to the feasibility of the plan without knowing more about the rationale behind tuition hikes. Pointing to the need for immigration reform, Obama addressed issues of citizenship for college students who are undocumented continued on page 6
Emily Gilbert / Herald
The Brown Democrats hosted a State of the Union viewing party in Wilson 101.
Pembroke pet Rebecca McGoldrick ’12 argues for pets in dorms
By Ethan McCoy Sports Editor
The early decision admission rate dropped to 19 percent this year as the University admitted 556 out of 2,919 early decision applicants to the class of 2016, according to the Admission Office. Early decision applicants were notified of the decision Dec. 13. The early decision acceptance rate fell slightly from last year’s 21 percent rate. This year’s applicant pool was the largest in the past three years. Last year, 2,796 students applied
early decision and 2,847 students applied in 2009. “It felt to us as though the academic strength of the pool was greater than certainly I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” said Dean of Admission Jim Miller ’73. Though he did not specify the exact number, Miller said the University deferred more than 2,000 applicants, adding that Brown likely “did defer a few more” applicants than in previous years. “We are anticipating another
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2 Campus News
Faculty forum debates calendar reforms
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Health Careers Advising Bonanza,
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SciLi, Room 315
Lecture on Literature and Language,
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DINNER Shaved Steak Sandwich, Vegetarian Spinach Strudel, Vegan Three Bean Casserole, Fudge Bars
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Stir Fry - Pork Lo Mein, Stir Fry Tofu Lo Mein, Roast Turkey, Glazed Carrots Fudge Bars
By Mathias heller Senior Staff Writer
About 20 faculty members and administrators discussed proposals to revise the structure of fall semester at a spirited faculty forum held in Petteruti Lounge Dec. 13. The forum specifically addressed changes to accommodate Rosh Hashanah and the semester’s vacation structure. The discussion centered on four proposals presented by Peter Shank, chair of the Faculty Executive Committee and professor of medical science, at a previous faculty meeting Dec. 6. One proposal suggested starting the fall semester the Wednesday before Labor Day to avoid Rosh Hashanah conflicts, while another recommended maintaining the default calendar of starting the Wednesday after Labor Day. The other two options were to postpone substantive calendar reform but to set calendar dates for 2013 — one plan accommodates Rosh Hashanah, while the other does not. Faculty opinion was divided. “This was founded as a religious institution, but I don’t think anyone would say it is now,” said James Allen, professor of Egyptology,
adding that specifically accommodating Rosh Hashanah would “open the floodgates” for scheduling conflicts with other religious observances. Allen said such a scenario would leave the University in a “tricky position.” But he added that having the fall semester start the Wednesday before Labor Day would still be the best option. Thomas Banchoff, professor of mathematics, agreed with Allen, adding that starting before Labor Day would provide space that could be used to create a weeklong fall break. Since Thanksgiving Day is the only holiday for instructors who teach classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Banchoff said a fall break would address the “asymmetrical” vacation time between fall and spring semesters. But some faculty members expressed concerns about starting the fall semester earlier, noting that the last week of summer can be valuable for faculty members who also conduct research. “There are many faculty members who actually do need that time to do their work,” said Seth Rockman, associate professor of history. Shank cited a recent survey of
faculty members that found that 60 percent of respondents favored keeping the current calendar. Many attendees agreed on the need to be mindful of students’ and faculty members’ religious considerations. Janet Cooper Nelson, chaplain of the University, said that with as many as 25 percent of the student body self-identifying as Jewish, administrators should consider Rosh Hashanah when making calendar changes. Faculty members also discussed extending Thanksgiving break to an entire week, which could accommodate students who live far away and have little flexibility in their travel plans. “We have to think about the economics of this for the individual students,” Cooper Nelson said. Banchoff said one potential compromise could be to start fall semester on Labor Day itself, an idea several faculty members supported. Faculty members also addressed the possibility of forming a study group to explore changing the schedule of final exams. Some advocated decreasing the length of exam period so students are not trapped on campus for extended periods of time between exams.
U. defers ‘a few more’ early applicants continued from page 1
RELEASE DATE– Wednesday, January 25, 2012
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ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE:
their field of interest. This year marked the second admission cycle since the University formally approved the School of Engineering in 2010. Since last year, Miller said more engineers applied and were admitted to the University. He added that the University spent “a lot of time” recruiting engineering applicants. The University received many more questions about financial aid from early decision applicants than in years past, Miller said. Because Brown’s need-blind admissions policy separates financial aid from admissions, Miller said he did not know how many early decision admits will receive financial aid. “People are very concerned about affordability, and we had a lot of questions about early decision financial aid,” he said. “Paying for college is a real concern.” Miller estimated that the University admitted between 15 and 20 students to the Program in Liberal Medical Education — making for an
Greg Jordan-Detamore / Herald Students were admitted early decision to the class of 2016 from across the continental United States (above) as well as around the globe. The largest concentration of admitted students — as in previous years — is found in the northeastern United States.
admit rate of between 4 and 5 percent. Usually, the University admits around 17 or 18 PLME students in the early decision cycle, he said. This year, the PLME applicant
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pool increased by 25 percent, The Herald previously reported. The University admitted about 160 athletes, roughly on par with the admit level for the past five years, Miller said. Since many athletic recruits apply early decision, the early decision admission rate is significantly higher than the regular decision rate. “That really skews our admit rate,” Miller said. “If you pull athletes out of that process, the admit rate in early and regular is very similar.” In the United States, the most admits came from New York, where 83 students were accepted. California followed, with 78 admitted students. Regionally, about 21 percent of admits came from New England, followed by about 15 percent from New York and about 14 percent each from continued on page 3
Campus News 3
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Minority applicants rise to record high Athletics director will
retire at end of year
continued from page 2 the Mid-Atlantic and California. International students comprised roughly 11 percent of early decision admits. The largest number of international admits hailed from China, with 13 students — or about 21 percent of international admits — accepted. Canada, the United Kingdom and India followed with nine, seven and six admits, respectively. The University has in recent years attempted to increase its presence in India and China by forming educational partnerships and organizing both a Year of India and Year of China. But Miller said he did not believe there were significantly more applicants or admits from either country this year. About 58 percent of admitted students come from public high schools, while about 35 percent come from private schools. The University also had a “record number” of minority students in the applicant pool, Miller said. Charlie Figueroa ’16, who was admitted as a PLME student, said he was very surprised to have been admitted. When decisions came out, his mother had the computer open and a video camera to record his reaction. “I screamed the F-bomb in front of her, which I’ve never done,” he said. Figueroa, who plans to study biology and theatre arts and perfor-
By Elizabeth carr City & State Editor
Greg Jordan-Detamore / Herald
A majority of students admitted attended public high schools.
Greg Jordan-Detamore / Herald
Admitted students have a range of academic interests.
mance studies, said he was drawn to Brown because it seemed very “community-oriented” and because of its LGBTQ culture. Regular decision applications were due Jan. 1. The University aims to have a first-year class of about 1,500 students. The University is still processing the total number of
regular decision applications it received, said Diane Duphily, executive assistant in the Admission Office. Duphily said the office should finish counting later in the week. — With additional reporting by Izzy Rattner
Director of Athletics Michael Goldberger will retire at the end of the academic year after 38 years with the University. His decision, announced in an email to the Brown community by President Ruth Simmons Dec. 13, surprised many athletes. “I had no idea that this was coming,” said Andrew Pintea ’12, captain of the men’s fencing team. “I had no idea this was even a possibility,” said Kyle NewhallCaballero ’11.5, co-captain of the football team. “Especially after President Simmons is stepping down, now the athletics director is stepping down. … It’s kind of strange for the University.” Goldberger said he had planned to step down a year ago, but Simmons convinced him to stay on for one more year to address issues facing the department. “We have a roadmap set up for where we want to go in the next six months,” Goldberger said. The plan involves enlarging the athletics department’s endowment, increasing its budget and developing facilities to stabilize the program. The new athletics facility is slated for completion this spring, which Goldberger said should make life easier for student-athletes. “Kids are working out in the weight room at six in the morning because we just don’t have the facilities,” he said. Due to the recent construction of new facilities, the new athletics director will be “walking into a really great situation here,” NewhallCaballero said.
Goldberger has “done a lot of really great things for Brown athletics,” Newhall-Caballero said. “He’s done a great job of getting alums to associate with the athletic department here,” which has boosted the department’s fundraising push, he said. Though Goldberger said he recognized fundraising as an important part of his position, he said he particularly enjoyed building personal relationships with students. “Any new director would have an incredibly hard job getting to know the individual teams on the level that Goldie did,” Pintea said. Goldberger noted athletes at Brown face a unique challenge not shared by those at other Division I schools. Athletic achievement “takes a lot of time, and you have to devote an incredible amount of energy to that success,” he said. “That makes it hard when you have to compete against some of the best students in the country academically.” He added that his successor must recognize that challenge. “What’s most important in an athletics director is understanding the academic requirements at a place like Brown, understanding what students have to do in the classroom.” The new director will also have to take charge of efforts to increase the department’s endowment over the next five years, he said. “Whoever comes in is going to have a really full plate,” he said. The University will launch a national search for a new director in upcoming months, according to Simmons’ email.
4 Campus News
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Renovated Metcalf Mayor seeks more funds from U. opens for classes continued from page 1
By morgan johnson Senior Staff Writer
Metcalf Chemistry and Research Laboratory — which underwent a $42 million renovation over the past year and a half — will host classes for the first time today since its overhaul. Students who took classes in Metcalf prior to its transformation are in for a surprise. “It was such a dump,” said William Heindel, chair of the cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences department that calls Metcalf home. Metcalf ’s 210-seat auditorium may be the most visible change that greets students and other visitors to the building. A state-of-the-art projector system replaces the original blackboards bemoaned by students who struggled to read professors’ writing
from the auditorium’s back rows. The room’s notoriously uncomfortable wooden seats, noisy radiators and out-of-date periodic table are gone. The refurbished auditorium space is already in high demand, Heindel said. The 74,187-square-foot building’s other iconic room, dubbed the “dome room” for its circular glass ceiling, has also undergone extensive changes. “It was in really bad shape before,” Heindel said of the third-floor room, which is now his favorite in the building. It is equipped with a kitchen and audio/ video conference capabilities and connects to a balcony overlooking a small library, a space which previously functioned as a fire exit. “I think one of the major problems in the previous building was continued on page 8
not yet reached the Corporation. The Providence Journal reported Jan. 10 that a document showed Simmons and Taveras agreeing on a deal under which the University would pay the city an additional $4 million per year. But Quinn said such a deal was never reached, let along presented to the Corporation. “Anything of that magnitude of dollars had to have the approval of the Corporation” because of the way Brown is governed, Quinn said. Because the mayor wanted a response in January, the University offered the additional $2 million per year while it continued to work on other aspects of the proposal, she said. Former Providence Mayor and current state Rep. David Cicilline ’83, D-R.I., previously requested additional resources from Providence private colleges and universities, Quinn said. Under a 2003 agreement, Brown contributes more than $2.4 million to the city in voluntary annual payments. The University makes additional voluntary payments of $1.3 million and another $1.6 million in taxes on property that is not used for educational purposes, like certain parking lots and many of its Jewelry District properties, Quinn said. According to the Jan. 9 draft of the report by the city Commission
on Revenue, Sustainability and Efficiency, nonprofit institutions like universities and hospitals benefit from city services and own 23 percent of the city’s land. The commission estimates that nonprofits cost the city between $36.3 million and $41 million annually. Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreements with the state help relieve the city of the financial burden. Dan Egan, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island, said the PILOT program was created to recognize the economic benefits that Providence’s nonprofits provide the state. Most of the benefits are generated by the income tax on employee salaries, which goes to the state rather than the city, he said. The PILOT program’s goal is to “recognize that discrepancy and funnel back some of that income tax” to the city, which has no income tax, Egan said. Even with voluntary funding from the city’s private colleges and universities, Providence is still struggling financially and needs more. City Councilman Sam Zurier, who sat on a subcommittee for tax-exempt nonprofit institutions, said the mayor needs an additional $7 million from the city’s nonprofits to balance the budget. Though the city’s annual operating budget is more than $600 million, Zurier said the $2 million
annual difference between what Brown offered to pay and what the city requested is significant. “If the city weren’t in the middle of a crisis, we wouldn’t be asking to do this,” he said. “If (the University) wants to open their books and show us that they’re on the edge of the cliff and about to go off, then that would be one thing.” But Quinn said the notion that the University has a huge endowment from which it can draw is a misperception. “There’s a belief that somehow having the $2.5 billion endowment is like a rainy day fund,” she said. Instead, the fund “is made up of funds provided by donors for specific purposes and is largely restricted,” Quinn said, since the University can only draw from earnings on its endowment, not the principal. Increasing direct cash payments in this economic climate is very difficult, Egan said, especially given the heightened need for financial aid among college students, which both he and Quinn stressed must be a priority for institutions of higher education. But Taveras emphasized the need for both sides to make concessions. “More than anything, it’s important that everyone realize that sacrifice is necessary — Brown needs Providence, and Providence needs Brown,” he said.
Locals protest tax exemption By Dan Alexander Staff Writer
Greg Jordan-Detamore / Herald
Metcalf’s large auditorium will be open for classes this semester.
Nearly 100 Providence firefighters, police officers and community members protested the University’s exemption from paying taxes
on many of its properties Jan. 11, blasting fog horns, chanting and holding signs that read “pay your share.” The protest was the latest sign of escalating tensions in an ongoing debate over how much the University should contribute
to the city. While President Ruth Simmons spoke at a Providence Foundation meeting inside 121 S. Main St., which houses several University offices, protesters on the street said the University should have to shoulder a greater tax burden so Providence residents could be spared. “I just spent 151 days in the hospital with cancer treatment over this last year with 19 procedures in 15 months, and you think I’m not ticked when I get hit with a bill and somebody else is coming up wanting us to pay more taxes?” said Bobby Lowder, who lives just north of Brown’s campus. “If all universities paid on their income-producing properties and their income — what they make, from the bookstore they’ve got, all the rest of that — like any other business, you wouldn’t have a problem.” The University is exempt from paying taxes on property used for educational purposes. But Brown, along with Providence’s other private colleges and universities, made an agreement in 2003 to voluntarily pay $50 million to the city over 20 years — a total that is significantly less than what the University would pay under regular property tax rates. Brown also pays taxes on recently purchased property, including the site of the protest, according to a University statement released Jan. 19. continued on page 5
Campus News 5
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, January 25, 2012
McCormick case Protesters demand that U. settled out of court pays its share to Providence A long-standing lawsuit accusing the University of mishandling charges that William McCormick, a former student and varsity wrestler, raped the daughter of a major donor was dismissed in federal court last December. The suit, filed against the University and two alums, was settled outside of court. The University “did not participate in any settlement negotiations,” said Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations, Dec. 21, and it does not have information about the details of the settlement. The settlement total was not publicly released. William Poore, the case mediator, had recommended sums of $850,000 and $1.05 million, according to a conversation between Scott Kilpatrick, McCormick’s lawyer, and Michael Burch, McCormick’s former advisor and an assistant wrestling coach at the University, detailed in a Jan. 20 GoLocalProv article. This conversation took place a month before a settlement was reached and was secretly recorded by Burch, according to the article. The dismissal stipulated the McCormick family may not sue the alums or the University on these charges again. The lawsuit was first filed under seal by Scott Kilpatrick, McCormick’s lawyer, in September 2009. The suit claimed the University mismanaged the female alum’s allegations of rape against McCormick after a September 2006 incident because of the relationship between the University and the female alum’s father, who is a high-profile donor. The Herald is withholding the alum’s name
because she may have been the victim of a sex crime. McCormick, formerly a member of the class of 2010, withdrew from Brown on a medical release in October 2006. McCormick’s complaint alleges that he was forced to leave campus following the incident in September without being made aware of the specific allegations against him. Between the night the alleged rape occurred and McCormick’s withdrawal from the University, the alum’s father communicated with President Ruth Simmons and Senior Vice President for Corporation Affairs and Governance Russell Carey ’91 MA’06 through emails later released in the lawsuit. The University maintains it did not commit any wrongdoing in addressing the matter, Quinn has previously stated. The lawsuit was transferred several times prior to its dismissal. The first two judges to preside over the case, William Smith and Ronald Lagueux, both of the Rhode Island District federal court, recused themselves. Smith recused himself last January because his daughter applied to Brown. Two months later, Lagueux recused himself because the alums’ lawyer, Joseph Cavanagh, had represented him in court in 1988. The case was transferred to New Hampshire prior to returning to Rhode Island last October to be heard by newly confirmed Rhode Island District Federal Court Judge John McConnell ’80. — Herald staff
continued from page 4 The protesters said these contributions are not enough, especially at a time when Providence is in dire financial straits. Lowder expressed concern that firefighters may lose their pensions due to the city’s fiscal problems. “That’s wrong,” he said. Firefighter Wayne Oliveira said the University could pay more taxes without even feeling the hit. “They bought up a third of the city, and they need to help,” he said. “They need to help because of the simple fact that the citizens of Providence are drowning in taxes, and they’re footing the bill.” The University’s Jan. 19 statement outlined its support for the city. In addition to its financial contributions to Providence, the University also provides jobs to 1,400 city residents and attracts people to the city who often start job-creating businesses, according to the statement. But Providence City Council-
man Nicholas Narducci Jr., Ward 4, voiced his doubts. “How many of their employees, if you’re looking at it that way, live in Providence?” Narducci, who spoke at the protest, asked in an interview with The Herald. While he said Brown does play a role as an employer, Narducci questioned the trade-off for the city. “Would we be better off for them to employ all outsiders and us to get their tax dollars?” he said. “Probably.” Rep. Leo Medina, D-Providence, said the issue is not specific to Brown. “Between Johnson and Wales, Brown University and RISD, you have the highest-value property and paying zero,” Medina, who also spoke at the rally, told The Herald. He said the city should not tax classroom buildings, but should consider taxing buildings that colleges and universities profit from, such as dormitories. In its statement, the University reiterated its offer to increase its
payments toward the city’s school system. “We seek to be part of the solution and offered Mayor (Angel) Taveras a plan to enhance the $4 million in voluntary and property tax payments we already make annually to the city by providing an additional $10 million over five years to support the schools,” the statement read. Simmons and Taveras last year made a tentative deal for the University to provide the city an additional $4 million per year, but this proposal was never presented to the Corporation — the University’s highest governing body — according to an article published in the Providence Journal Jan. 10. Taveras sent a letter to Simmons Jan. 4 expressing his disappointment and warning that the city may “pursue that revenue from Brown using alternate legal pathways.” Less than half an hour after the protest ended, Taveras stepped out of a black SUV and walked inside the building.
6 City & State
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Occupy protesters strike a deal Obama discusses economy, education By Adam toobin Senior Staff Writer
After striking a deal with the city, Occupy Providence announced the end of its full-time protest in Burnside Park Monday. Claiming victory after over 100 days, the Occupy members have agreed to leave the park at night in exchange for a day center for the city’s homeless. Protestors will remain in the park during the day. The agreement represents one of the first times an Occupy protest has ended with a tangible government concession. Other cities like New York, Oakland, Calif. and London ended their respective Occupy movements by force. The city and Occupy Providence turned to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence to organize the day center. The Diocese offered space in Emmanuel House, a South Providence organization that serves as a homeless shelter at night. The building could be open to the city’s homeless as soon as today, according to Miriam Weizenbaum, a lawyer for Occupy Providence. The center has been approved for three months of operation. The center will serve as a hub for the homeless to connect with “agencies in the state that are equipped to help people find permanent housing, receive disability coverage … and find jobs,” Weizenbaum said. Approximately 4,400 individuals were homeless in 2010, according to the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless. Thirty people gathered at Burnside Park yesterday afternoon to march to City Hall for a press conference announcing the agreement with the city. The speeches at the conference por-
continued from page 1
Adam Toobin / Herald
Protesters will leave Burnside Park at night in return for a center for the homeless.
trayed the deal as a victory for the movement. “We are proud to announce the victory of opening a day center for people who would otherwise be up against the elements in the harsh New England winter,” said Robert Malin, an unofficial spokesman for the group, at the press conference. Despite the outward enthusiasm for the deal, some members of Occupy Providence expressed doubt over whether the group should have given up their best bargaining chip — their commitment to occupying a public park — so readily. “I’m definitely opposed to it,” said Amanda Magee, an organizer for Occupy Providence. “There’s a lot that needs to
change. We don’t have enough to give up what we’re doing.” Occupy Providence has recently become a vocal opponent of the University’s tax-exempt status. The group marched on City Hall last week to lend support to city legislators voting on the issue. Occupy Providence’s decision to vacate Burnside Park at night, voted on by Occupy Providence’s general assembly, passed by only two votes. The agreement with the city requires the group to remove all tents and sleeping materials. But, they are free to maintain the information booths that make the park the center of their movement. Occupy Providence moved into Burnside Park Oct. 15.
immigrants. “Let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses and defend this country,” Obama said. “Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I will sign it right away.” Obama also proposed that high school students not be allowed to drop out until they turn 18. The president framed his speech by invoking the strength of unity in the Armed Forces and calling on Americans to work together in the coming years. “While the military metaphor had some disturbing implications, it’s a good metaphor for bringing people together,” said Conor Sullivan ’14, who watched the address with friends. Obama quickly moved into a discussion of the economy, discussing the challenges facing unemployed Americans and affirming a “commitment to train two million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job.” Daily applauded this plan, add-
ing that at present there are “a lot of talented people who don’t have the opportunity to get the jobs that are out there.” Obama also stressed the importance of tax incentives to encourage businesses to operate domestically and issued financial institutions an ultimatum that the government would not bail them out again. He proposed spending money previously allocated for the war to pay the nation’s debt and finance construction projects. George said he wished Obama had addressed entitlement reform, calling it “the elephant in the room.” Obama also spoke about the need for clean energy and protecting the nation’s supply of natural gas. George said he was disappointed Obama “had the audacity to mention America’s domestic energy production just a short while after denying the Keystone XL pipeline.” Daily said he would have liked to hear more about Obama’s specific foreign policy goals but was pleased by how Obama “presented his ideas clearly and effectively.”
Brown alums ‘see the need’ to serve in Peace Corps continued from page 1 seem to bring the flexibility that is required for signing up.” Having never been abroad before, Julia Duch ’12 said she is looking forward to immersing herself in a foreign country. Duch, a community health concentrator, applied for the Peace Corps this year in the hopes of working in a health-related field
prior to applying to medical school. Roger Nozaki MAT’89, director of the Swearer Center for Public Service and associate dean of the College for community and global engagement, said he believes Brown’s dedication to service is the “overwhelming factor” contributing to the University’s top ranking. Because many students who come to Brown are passionate about social issues, the University has traditionally succeeded in providing volunteers for the Peace Corps, Nozaki said. Today, alums are serving in more than 18 countries across five continents and in areas as diverse as agriculture, business development and youth development. According to the press release, 623 Brown alums have volunteered for the Peace Corps since its establishment 51 years ago.
City & State 7
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, January 25, 2012
News in brief Trustee’s fund under insider trading scrutiny again The $14 billion hedge fund founded and run by Corporation Trustee Steven Cohen P’08 is under renewed federal scrutiny after the recent arrest of a former company employee on charges of insider trading. Technology analyst Jon Horvath, who was arrested last Wednesday, is the fourth former SAC Capital Advisors employee to be charged with insider trading in the past two years. SAC Capital, based in Stamford, Conn., has grown to be one of Wall Street’s most influential and successful hedge funds since its founding in 1992, but the fund has been under federal investigations since 2007. Cohen has never been implicated in any misconduct. The heightened focus on SAC Capital has been part of a greater federal push to tighten regulation and oversight of the hedge fund industry. Last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission opened investigations into the fund’s trading patterns in two separate instances. The charges against Horvath focus specifically on insider trading tied to the $1 million profit the fund made from trading shares of Dell, Inc. in 2008. “The firm is continuing to cooperate with the government investigation,” an SAC spokesman told The Herald, but he declined to comment further. Cohen has served on the Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, since 2008. He was named among the world’s 100 most influential people by Time in 2007 and among the 100 wealthiest people by Forbes in 2009. Cohen has recently indicated a desire to bid for the ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers professional baseball team, and it is unclear how the mounting investigation of his fund may affect that bid. — Eli Okun
Cranston school ordered to remove prayer banner By Adam toobin Senior Staff Writer
Tensions surrounding a lawsuit in Cranston have escalated after Rhode Island District Federal Court Judge Ronald Lagueux ordered the removal of a school’s prayer banner Jan. 11. Jessica Ahlquist, a junior at Cranston High School West and a self-proclaimed atheist, sued her school in April, arguing that the prayer banner hanging in the school’s auditorium represented a formal government recognition of religion in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. After the Cranston School Committee voted to keep the banner, Ahlquist partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union to bring her argument before the U.S. District Court in October. After threats were made against Ahlquist, the Cranston Police Department increased patrols at her high school. “The threats just show how immature some people can be,” Ahlquist said. “I don’t see any of these as people who are bringing forth valid arguments.” The city must now decide whether to appeal the case. Though support for an appeal is high, the state of Rhode Island requires the defeated party to pay the victors’ legal fees. The school board already fears they will have to pay $50,000 to Ahlquist’s ACLU legal team, according to a Jan. 16 WPRI.com article. The school committee has not yet decided whether to appeal the decision. The class of 1963, the school’s first graduating classes, presented Cranston West with the eight-byfour-foot banner. David Bradley, a member of the graduating class of 1965, wrote the prayer. Bradley
has resurfaced during this debate to express his antipathy for the court’s ruling. Aside from one parent’s complaint in 2010, the banner has hung uncontested in the auditorium for almost 50 years. Though Cranston Mayor Allan Fung said he personally wants the banner to stay where it is, “given the likelihood of a success with the financial implications that could occur,” he said he cannot recommend the committee move forward with an appeal. “This isn’t about religion anymore — this is about the Constitution,” Ahlquist said at a school committee meeting this week, opposing a potential challenge to Lagueux’s decision. “Religion does not have a place in a school. This country was not founded on the ideas of Christianity. … It was founded on the idea of religious freedom, and if you really want to defend that then you will remove the prayer.” School committee member Michael Traficante said that the banner contains less religious imagery than several other facets of government institutions. He compared the prayer on the banner to the non-denominational prayer that the U.S. Congress says before beginning each session. Since the words do not denote any specific religion, Traficante said he thinks the Court should have let the prayer stay. Opponents of the banner’s removal argue the school does not maintain the banner for religious purposes, but rather because it is a part of the school’s tradition and history. Fung said the judge’s ruling “misses the historical and traditional position of that banner.” Though most of the discourse surrounding the topic has held a
civil tone, some members of the community have used harsh rhetoric and even attacked Ahlquist. Politicians, radio talk show hosts and religious leaders have all been a part of the discourse, often adding fuel to an already simmering fire. Rhode Island State Rep. Peter Palumbo, D-Cranston, called Ahlquist an “evil little thing” on the John DePetro Show, a local talk radio program. The Providence Journal reported Jan. 13 that the Cranston Police were investigating threats made against Ahlquist. She later confronted DePetro on Twitter, where the two fired back and forth at each other. At least three florists have refused the requests of the Freedom from Religion Foundation to deliver a dozen roses to Ahlquist in demonstration of their support for her cause, according to the foundation’s press release. One of the florists agreed to send the flowers but cancelled after a number of patrons called and threatened to stop using their services. The foundation has since filed a formal complaint with the State of Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights. The foundation also established a $10,000 Atheists in Foxholes Support Fund to provide “scholarships and assistance to persons who exhibit bravery in furthering the cause (of atheism).” Ahlquist will be the fund’s first recipient. A blog called the Friendly Atheist showed its support by establishing a college fund for Ahlquist, which now boasts over $27,000 in donations from over 1,000 different individual donors. “When you hear how much she’s going through, people are appalled,” said Herman Mehta, the
founder of the site. Mehta was inspired to see a “young girl talking so articulately about why this banner should not be there.” “It’s really amazing. For a long time, I didn’t know these organizations existed. I had no idea that these people were out there,” Ahlquist said. “Coming out of this, I have more friends and more support.” But the Internet has also fostered many attacks against Ahlquist. A blog whose founders call themselves “atheists in a small southern town” compiled tweets criticizing Ahlquist. One read, “May that little, evil atheist teenage girl and that judge BURN IN HELL!” Another tweet purportedly by a classmate of Ahlquist read, “Honestly I think the juniors are the most mad about the banner thing because of all us actually know the psycho (expletive).” Ahlquist has developed her own following across social media and the Internet. She has over 10,000 followers on Twitter and several Facebook groups are enlisting support for her case. The group “We Support Jessica Ahlquist” boasts almost 5,000 likes. The story has received local and national coverage. The Journal has featured the story on its front page at least six times in the past two weeks. The Huffington Post has run multiple stories concerning the lawsuit. Ahlqiust, who is 16, also has her own Wikipedia page, where she is described as an “American civil liberties campaigner.” The banner is currently hanging in the school’s auditorium, but the school has covered it while the committee deliberates on whether it should appeal the court decision.
8 Sports Wednesday
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Renovated Metcalf O’Brien ’92 to coach Penn State ‘ready for prime time’ continued from page 4 that it was just completely dilapidated so the ceiling would be falling on you while you were working and the wall was crumbling around me in one of my labs,” said Clara Kliman-Silver ’13. “It’s nice not to have that anymore.” Spaces created with aesthetics in mind are present throughout the L-shaped facility. A public art installation connecting the building to an outside courtyard reflects the department’s theme of visual perception through glass panels that bend light according to time of day. The exterior of the building remains mostly unchanged to keep its original 1923 appearance. “I think stylistically it looks very nice,” said Adam Bear ’13. Faculty office and research laboratory wings are connected by lounges and conference rooms, some outfitted with wall-sized whiteboards. Labs are clustered based on research areas within the CLPS department. But faculty offices are organized randomly to encourage collaboration among faculty across the department, which was created by the merger of cognitive and linguistic sciences and psychology. Graduate students are given
their own office space on the top floor, which previously served as an attic. Several showers have been added for the benefit of grad students and faculty. “They never have to leave,” Heindel said. The showers are also intended to encourage commuting by bike. Administrators hope Metcalf, which includes many environmentally friendly features, will attain a silver or better Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The CLPS department moved into Metcalf in early October while work continued on the building. Though the renovation — designed by the architecture firm Leers Weinzapfel Associates — is essentially complete, technology staff were still working yesterday evening to prepare for the semester’s start. “They’re still working out some kinks,” Heindel said of the building’s final touches. “We’re getting ready for prime time.” With additional reporting by — Margaret Nickens Check out www.blogdailyherald. com for photos from The Herald’s tour of Metcalf.
By ethan mccoy Sports Editor
Still reeling in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal involving defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, Pennsylvania State University formally announced the selection of Bill O’Brien ’92 as the new head coach of its football program Jan. 8. O’Brien succeeds fellow alum Joe Paterno ’50, whose legendary 46-year career ended in disgrace after his firing last November by the Penn State Board of Trustees. Paterno passed away Sunday. “Billy’s not afraid,” said Brown Head Coach Phil Estes, a friend and former colleague of O’Brien. “Penn State is not one of those things that Billy looks at as walking in there and having to tiptoe around.” “I thought he was a young and confident coach,” said Russ Rose, a member of the search committee responsible for replacing Paterno and the head coach of Penn State’s women’s volleyball team for the past 32 years. O’Brien’s 14 years of experience as a college coach and enthusiasm will be assets to a program looking to restore lost luster, he added. Rose served on a six-person search committee headed by David Joyner, the university’s acting athletic director. After a 40-day process, the group chose O’Brien for the position. O’Brien, who will leave his job as offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots once their season ends, played as a defensive end and linebacker for Brown and graduated with degrees in organizational behavior and management and political science. Following graduation, he remained at Brown for two
seasons, coaching tight ends and linebackers. Histime in Providence overlapped with Estes, who first joined the coaching staff as running backs coach in 1994. O’Brien has no shortage of experience coaching at the college level. Prior to joining the Patriots, O’Brien logged 14 years of experience at several institutions renowned for their athletics, serving as running backs coach for Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Maryland and as the offensive coordinator at Duke University. Estes pinpointed O’Brien’s experience coaching college football as his biggest strength and what differentiates him from Charlie Weis, another Patriots offensive coordinator under Bill Belichick, who moved on to a college head coaching career. Weis concluded a mediocre five-year stint as the University of Notre Dame head coach with a 35-27 record. “Billy understands how to recruit, and his personality has proven that,” Estes said. “So that’s why I think he’s going to be a good coach and do excellent things for Penn State.” After being hired as an assistant to the Patriots in 2007, O’Brien worked his way up to quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator. “He went on to coach one of the best quarterbacks ever in Tom Brady at New England,” Estes said. “Most people would go in there and let Tom Brady do as he does and just kind of give him a game plan. Billy was coaching him. “ O’Brien made national headlines in December for a heated sideline exchange with Brady following
an interception in the fourth quarter of a win over the Washington Redskins. “The fact that he was willing on national TV to go toe-to-toe with one of the top players in professional football — you have to have great confidence to enter that realm,” Rose said. But the decision to hire O’Brien has not been met with universal approval. A number of Penn State former players and alumni have voiced their displeasure that the new head coach is not affiliated with the university. Former All-American and three-time Pro Bowler LaVar Arrington told Blue and White Illustrated that he planned on putting his Penn State memorabilia in storage. Another former linebacker, Brandon Short, told Blue and White that the university had “turned their backs on our entire family.” Arrington has since apologized for his remarks via Twitter. “I thought a lot of people we interviewed had great strengths — a lot were Penn State people,” Rose said. “We heard from a lot of Penn State alums that were hoping we would stay within the Penn State family, but it didn’t go that direction.” O’Brien faces the challenge of rebuilding the football program following an ugly public scandal spurred by the allegations against Sandusky. Sandusky, who was accused of sexually assaulting eight underage boys on Penn State property, has since been indicted on 42 counts of child molestation. The scandal led to the firings of both Paterno and Penn State President Graham Spanier and the indictment of Athletic Director Timothy Curley for perjury. “I think it’s going to be a really hard transition period for them,” said University Director of Athletics Michael Goldberger. “When you think of what happened, it’s not a football issue, but it is certainly one in which adults in power didn’t appear to act the way they should have, and that’s a hard thing to overcome.” O’Brien’s hire means a continued connection between Brown and Penn State football. Rip Engle was Brown’s head coach from 1944 to 1949 and coached Paterno, who played both quarterback and cornerback at Brown. The pair moved to Penn State together, where Engle served as head coach for 16 seasons until Paterno took over in 1966. Both Estes and Goldberger acknowledged the relationship between the two programs but emphasized that the hiring was based solely on O’Brien’s individual qualifications and personality. “I understand that Bill O’Brien has been named head coach and I want to congratulate him,” Paterno said in a statement released following the hiring announcement. “I don’t know Bill, but I respect his coaching record, and I am particularly pleased we share a connection to my alma mater, Brown.”
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Sports Wednesday 9
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Paterno ’50 passes away amidst scandal continued from page 1 the news of students congregating at his statue outside Beaver Stadium was “inspiring” his father. Paterno is the winningest coach in NCAA Division I Football history, having claimed 409 victories with the Nittany Lions, including three Big Ten titles and national championships in 1982 and 1986. But the legacies of both the program and Paterno were tarnished when longtime defensive
coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested in November on charges that he sexually abused minors on Penn State property. The ensuing investigation revealed that Paterno and others had been aware of one incident but chose not to go to police. Paterno was fired by the Penn State Board of Trustees Nov. 9. Paterno’s cancer diagnosis was made public nine days later. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Paterno came to Brown in 1946 after serving a year in the U.S. Army in the final year of World War II. He played on both sides of the ball for the Bears, as a quarterback and cornerback, and owns a share of the school record for interceptions in one season with 14. Off the field, Paterno studied English literature and was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Paterno graduated in 1950. He forewent law school to move to Penn State that same year as an assistant coach, following Rip Engle, his coach at Brown, who had just accepted the head coaching job in Happy Valley. After Engle retired
Herald file photo
Joe Paterno ‘50 passed away Sunday after 46 years as Penn State head coach.
in 1965, Paterno took over the head coaching duties and held them for nearly half a century. Paterno also holds an honorary degree from Brown and was named to Brown football’s 125th Anniversary Team in 2003. Since 1991, the Department of Athletics has presented the Joe Paterno ’50
award to an “outstanding firstyear varsity male athlete.” In an interview with The Herald Jan. 11, Director of Athletics Michael Goldberger said no decision on the future of the award has been made and that the department will wait as long as it takes to make an informed decision.
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10 Editorial & Letter Editorial
An unrestricted internet On Jan. 18, approximately 75,000 web domains, including the American-version of Wikipedia and Reddit, effectively blacked out in protest of what is arguably the greatest legislative threat to web content since the advent of the Internet: the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. We are extremely heartened by uprisings and protests against these bills. SOPA and PIPA were designed to prevent international websites from hosting copyrighted material. While in this case they apply primarily to digital piracy, they would also apply to counterfeit merchandise. Our generation of college students, raised in the digital age, has worked to transform the Internet into an unprecedented locus of endless knowledge, creative power and disseminated information. The protest was effective in garnering support against the bills by highlighting the very problem that SOPA and PIPA would create. Our generation in particular cannot fathom the consequences of having limited Internet access — losing Wikipedia and some other sites for just a few days underscored how heavily we rely on information from all corners of the Internet. Fundamentally, the ideas behind SOPA and PIPA are not unreasonable, nor are they an infringement on civil rights. From a macroeconomic perspective, the act of piracy at its purest is a cesspool of dead capital. According to CBS News, “intellectual property-intensive sectors employ more than 19 million people in the U.S. and create $7.7 trillion in gross output.” These numbers would also inextricably rise with the passing of SOPA and PIPA, whereas piracy undoubtedly hurts the American economy and the piracy-affected industries in particular (i.e. music). At a more micro and moral level, individuals are obviously entitled to the profits and ownership that they deserve. Piracy is a criminal act that has caused real damage to countless artists, actors and software developers. This will only get worse as more aspects of our lives enter the digital age. That said, these bills greatly threaten the pursuit of knowledge and the distribution of information — hallmarks of an educated, informed and innovative population. They are massive impediments to academic research, creative expression and communication through the Internet global community. Perhaps most disconcerting is the bills’ undefined level of regulation. Even those committing benign and isolated acts, such as recording a popular song on YouTube, would be subject to a felony and prison time. In place of an egalitarian culture based on the vibrant sharing of ideas, SOPA and PIPA would impose chilling degrees of corporate control on cyberspace. Young people led the charge against SOPA and PIPA namely through the Internet, whether with petitions or protesting through popular ‘college-age’ websites like Facebook. In the face of this public backlash, politicians have directly changed their stances based on these blackouts, and the legislation was held for further revision. While SOPA and PIPA have been shelved for the time being, this is just the beginning of pushback — particularly by older generations — against the greatest information-sharing tool the world has ever seen. It is up to our generation, a generation that has grown up with the Internet and knows its democratic, educative and expressive capabilities, to protect it from restriction. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to email@example.com.
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The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, January 25, 2012
letter to the editor Brown is not need-blind To the Editor: As a recent alum, I today received both a letter and an email asking me to donate to Brown’s Annual Fund. Now, I won’t be donating because of the administration’s apparent intention of changing Brown into Yale, Jr., but what really irked me was that both appeals very prominently emphasized that Brown has a need-blind admission policy. It does not. Both international students and transfer students are admitted on a need-aware basis. With 10 percent of Brown students hailing from abroad (per the admissions website) and with transfer admissions in the neighborhood of 150 per year, that means that approximately 20 percent of the Brown students in every 1,500 person class are not admitted need-blind. In fact, Brown has
recently become quite intentionally less need-blind, not more. The Herald reported in March that “the prospect of additional revenue was a deciding factor in the University’s decision to increase the number of transfer students (by 50)” (“Transfer class to rise by 50,” March 14). If financial necessity means that Brown cannot afford to be fully need-blind, that’s an unfortunate truth. But, please don’t try to get me or other alums to donate based on the misrepresentation that Brown has “a need-blind admission policy — enabling all deserving students with diverse perspectives to benefit from a world-class learning environment” (emphasis added). If Brown teaches its students to be intellectually honest, it should hold its fundraising pitches to the same standard. Kurt Walters ’11
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The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Defending President Simmons By Garret Johnson Opinions Columnist As Brown students were recuperating over break, we received a rather dramatic email from President Ruth Simmons detailing the University’s recent squabbles with Providence Mayor Angel Taveras over Brown’s contributions to the city’s coffers. Last year, Simmons denied Taveras’ initial request of a $5 million annual grant. Simmons then proposed a counter-offer of $10 million over the next five years in addition to the $4 million that the University already pays. Taveras rejected the offer. I applaud Simmons for her courage. Brown is a tax-exempt institution, a designation that applies only to the buildings it owns that are used in educational activities. But Brown’s contributions to the Providence and Rhode Island economy are enormous. For starters, Brown employs 4,455 people, making it the state’s sixth-largest private employer. Of these employees, 82 percent live in Rhode Island. That is not to mention all the spending that occurs in Providence because of students, families and visitors. Appleseed, an economic consulting firm, estimates that Brown students spent $47.3 million in fiscal year 2009 alone. Add to that the fact that in 2003, the University agreed to pay $50 million as essentially a voluntary donation to Providence over 20 years.
In short, Brown is a huge positive force in Rhode Island’s struggling economy, despite its tax-exempt status. In her email to the Brown community, Simmons expressed interest in trying to help the city in ways that “do not effectively cripple the University.” As Brown students, we owe her a debt of gratitude for taking a stand. Though the University’s endowment grew to $2.5 billion last year, Brown has significantly fewer financial resources than many of its peer institutions.
must be made. Brown did not put Providence into its budget hole, and it should not be responsible for solving the problem. The current situation is due to its past reliance on significant one-time revenue sources and high costs of health care coverage for city employees and retirees, according to the Municipal Finance Review Panel convened by the mayor. The city has to come to grips with the fact that it cannot continue to provide the level of services that it does now.
The proper way for cities to weather the financial storm is not to bully these groups, who bring jobs and opportunity to the region, into submission. Any new aid to Providence could lead to cuts in academic programs, financial aid or research. Beyond the obvious financial strain that increasing payments to the city would create, there is also a larger issue of principle at play here. Yes, Providence has a $110 million deficit, which could be helped by increased contributions from Brown and other non-profit organizations. But the proper way for cities to weather the financial storm is not to bully into submission groups that bring jobs and opportunity to the region. Rather, Providence has to face the reality that in tough times, tough decisions
Despite all of this, there are still some angry protesters that demand that Brown be forced to pay taxes (“Outside U. building, protest targets Brown’s tax exemption,” Jan. 12). This reaction is an understandable, if sad, response to desperate financial times. Rather than asking why Providence is in a difficult position, the protesters are rabidly searching for any source of money that will delay the inevitable tough cuts. What better source than the largest landowner in Providence, the elite, tax-exempt university on the hill? I would like to remind this group that there is a reason why universities do not
pay taxes. The government rewards organizations whose missions are in the interest of society as a whole with tax exemptions. This allows institutions like Brown to use their money to advance education, as opposed to paying Uncle Sam. To revoke the tax exemption of universities would be a giant step backward for the educational system of this country, one that is already falling behind those of the rest of the world. It is easy for protesters to forget what Brown does for Providence. It is easy to yell and scream about how the University should “pay its fair share.” But I urge the protesters to think deeper. If the city of Providence had its way, it could simply suck money from Brown at will, whenever a financial need arose. This is a slippery slope. If a government can simply demand that private institutions continue to pay more and more in taxes, what is to stop it from turning to individual citizens? Now is the time for hard choices. It is time for cuts and tax increases so that the city is able to live within its means. Providence needs to end the culture of denial and kicking the can of budget balancing down the road. Now is not the time to coerce private entities to pay more in taxes than the law requires. Such a time should never come, not in America.
Garret Johnson ’14 is double concentrating in biology and French and is enjoying a life free of taxes, and income.
The student-dog relationship By Rebecca McGoldrick Opinions Columnist
Several lab tests and a week later, my diagnosis was in: Stress was the cause of my restless nights, my lack of appetite and my racing heartbeat. But my medicine is not a barbiturate or an exercise; it is 87 pounds, has a wet nose, and a heavy dose leaves me covered in golden fur. My medicine is a 5-year-old Labrador retriever named Hurley, and just the anticipation of leaving him home in New Jersey to finish my last semester at Brown makes us both whimper. But I am not alone. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 39 percent of American households currently own at least one dog. While exact numbers of college students with pets at home is difficult to determine, a casual conversation with my peers leads me to believe that many of us lack our greatest companion for years while earning a college degree. And science is showing that this interspecies relationship has more health implications than we might imagine. While pet owners in general benefit from having animal companions, a small but ever-growing body of research posits that dogs in particular are physically and psychologically advantageous for our well-being. Unlike other pets that may require tanks and cages, dogs need physical activity like walks. A study funded by the
National Institute of Health (NIH) found that “dog owners who regularly walked their dogs were more physically active and less likely to be obese than those who didn’t own or walk a dog.” Another NIH study found that people who owned pets had lower heart rates and blood pressure than those who did not have pets. But it gets better. Companion animals like dogs are gaining more attention from psychologists and other professional therapists. The Delta Society, a non-profit organization, trains and provides therapy animals to help peo-
petting time. In addition to increased levels of oxytocin, research at Kean University in New Jersey has shown that our cortisol levels decrease just from looking at dogs. High levels of cortisol are related to physical and emotional stress, and too much cortisol can have negative effects on the circulatory, nervous and immune systems. Stress contributes to a host of problems that affect us immediately and, over time, in the future. Some symptoms of stress include headaches, insomnia, frequent infections, stomach pain, nausea, mood
ResLife’s call for a new program house last fall received only one submission, and it was not Dog House.
ple suffering from physical and mental disabilities. At the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, Professor Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg has been studying oxytocin, a hormone that creates the feeling of comfort and attachment and induces antidepressant effects. In one study, Uvnas-Moberg tested dogs and their owners for levels of oxytocin over the course of a petting session and found that both subjects experienced bursts of oxytocin, which correlated with
swings, confusion, difficulty concentrating and increased smoking, alcohol and drug use. In the long run, stress has been linked to heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, as well as degenerative neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. While Brown touted with pride its rank as the happiest college in America in 2010, we dropped to number three this past year. The drop — though not signifi-
cant — should be considered, and suggestions for improvement, welcomed. Thus, in light of research showing the vast benefits of human-dog relationships, I was surprised to learn that Office of Residential Life’s call for a new program house last fall received only one submission, and it was not Dog House. As college students we face countless stresses, only some of which include striving for academic excellence and preparing for life after graduation. A link on Brown’s Psychological Services webpage to ULifeline — a website that provides statistics, facts and guidance to students and campus health professionals about stress and depression — claims that “nearly half of all college students say they have felt so depressed that they found it difficult to function during the last school year.” Given the evidence that shows the physical and psychological benefits of human-dog relationships, and provided the statistics of stress and depression on college campuses, it seems obvious to suggest that Brown should adopt a program house that centers on this relationship. Surely, there are details that need to be worked out, but four colleges have already enacted programs that allow dogs to live in certain residences. Whether it would mean bringing your childhood pet from home or participating in a pet foster program through a local animal shelter, the benefits are too significant to be ignored. Rebecca McGoldrick ’12 is willing to help underclassmen write a Dog House/ Animal House submission for ResLife.
Daily Herald Campus News the Brown
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Alums’ tea company blends ‘do good’ approach and creativity By Mathias Heller Senior Staff Writer
For many Brown students, studying abroad can seem like an extended vacation. But for Tyler Gage ’08.5, one semester in South America changed his entire career path — and led to a groundbreaking business idea. While doing linguistic research in Ecuador, indigenous families introduced Gage to tea from the guayusa plant. He discovered that tea from the plant, found only in South America, had more caffeine and antioxidants than any other tea, and he was inspired to set his sights on a new goal — bringing the plant back to the United States and into the marketplace. Today, Gage and Dan MacCombie ’08.5, his friend and business partner, are the president and executive vice president of the tea company Runa. Founded in 2008, the company gets its name from the indigenous Ecuadorian word “runa,” which means “fully living human being.” It generated $277,000 in revenue in 2011, according to the New York Times, and Gage said he expects sales to surpass $1 million in 2012. Runa tea products are now sold in 1,200 stores nationwide, including Whole Foods and Wegmans. For MacCombie, the company’s remarkable success is largely the result of a Commerce, Organizations and Entrepreneurship course taught by Danny Warshay ’87, adjunct lecturer in entrepre-
neurship, which he and Gage took in the fall of 2008. The course, formerly known as “The Entrepreneurial Process” and since renamed “Entrepreneurship and New Ventures,” required students to develop a business plan. Warshay’s positive response to their proposal for Runa helped convince MacCombie to set aside his desire to be a biologist and instead co-found the company. The COE course helped the cofounders make valuable connections, MacCombie said, adding that Brown also taught him the importance of “analytical rigor and hard work.” “We both had a passion for sustainable development and Latin America,” MacCombie said. MacCombie and Gage felt the time was right to introduce guayusa to a wider market and based their brand on the idea of a healthy, organic lifestyle, MacCombie said. But the entrepreneurs are not just out to make a profit. Runa also works to improve the lives of Ecuadorian farmers who grow and harvest the guayusa plant to make tea. The company aims to generate $500,000 per year in five years to support its indigenous business partners’ education, food costs and other expenses, Gage said. “We’ve really designed the business for a great impact on the farmers we support,” Gage said. “Our mission is to create livelihoods for indigenous families.”
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Small businesses experience a high rate of failure in their first few years, and the company’s co-founders were forthright in acknowledging the challenges of starting a new venture from scratch. They said they initially experienced difficulty reaching out to Ecuadorian farmers and trying to market a new product that had never been in the U.S. Besides the co-founders, Runa also has three other full-time employees in Brooklyn, N.Y., including Operations Manager Jim Schreiber, who said he took the job because of his interest in the company’s sustainable growing initiative with Ecuadorian farmers and its “nontraditional business culture.” Schreiber said he was intrigued by the product’s unconventionality. “Tea doesn’t always have an energizing aspect,” Schreiber said. “We’re expanding the market for tea.” The classmates-turned-entrepreneurs have recently expanded their business, introducing a new line of guayusa-based bottled tea beverages in an effort to compete in the bottled beverage market. Their mentor, Warshay, credits the success of his former pupils with their relentless drive to grow the business and their sense of social responsibility. “They have passion for changing the world in a meaningful way,” Warshay said. “They’re committed to what I would describe as doing well by doing good.”
Courtesy of Dan MacCombie
Tyler Gage ’08.5 and Dan MacCombie ’08.5 were recently named Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs for their partnership with South American farmers.
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Natalie Villacorta / Herald
The first snowfall of the semester hindered some students’ return to campus but also facilitated frolics on the Main Green.
Tom Sullivan / Herald
Only a day later, warm weather melted most of the Main Green snowman.
Published on Jan 25, 2012