vol. cxxii, no. 16
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Bookstore sees record Med School textbook rental numbers streamlines for more efficient health care By Eli Okun Senior Staff Writer
Alexandra Urban / Herald
Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse ’11 spoke to students about his work as mayor of his hometown in List Art Center yesterday afternoon. See page 8 for a Q&A.
Now in its third semester, the Brown Bookstore’s textbook rental program is an increasingly popular cost-saving tool among students. About 1,400 students used the program last semester, compared to roughly 300 students who used it in spring 2011, according to Mike McDade, the bookstore’s textbook department manager. McDade predicted the program would be used by 2,500 to 3,000 students this semester. The program also retains business for the bookstore, which has no plans to scale it back in coming years, said Steven Souza, the bookstore’s director. The bookstore took a hit with the growing accessibility of Amazon and other outside textbook
options for students in recent years, but the rental program, implemented January 2011, has checked its decline, Souza said. “Everywhere, textbook sales have been going down,” Souza said. “The rental option has presented a change in the dynamic.” He said bookstore traffic has stayed constant over the last year. Through the program, the bookstore offers many textbooks at discounted prices and requires students to return the books at the end of the semester. Because the process lengthens the life of a textbook, the bookstore is able to cut costs significantly. The rental program especially mitigates the cost of frequent new editions, Souza said. The bookstore employs two
UCS received 34 new student group applications last semester. The council approved 13 groups, on par with the average for the last few years, said Mae Cadao ’13, chair of the UCS Student Activities Committee, which makes recommendations to the council on which applications should be approved. Currently, there are five categories of student groups: Category
The Warren Alpert Medical School is in the first stages of streamlining its structure to more closely align the school with its clinical faculty and teaching hospitals. Centralizing the current system to improve coordination between the three actors will make delivering health care in the state more efficient and improve health outcomes for its residents, said Edward Wing, dean of medicine and biological sciences. The Med School garnered criticism last October when Darrell Kirch, chief executive officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges, visited the school and said he was “shocked at our antiquated, fractionated structure,” Wing wrote in a departmental newsletter last month. In the newsletter, Wing cited a “historic” lack of coordination between the Med School and hospitals and called for better integration among the three actors to enable more strategic decision making regarding health care delivery.
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New groups grapple with UCS procedures Professor elected to engineering See inside for new academy By margaret nickens By Senior Staff Writer
Professor of Engineering Huajian Gao was elected to the National Academy of Engineering Feb. 9, earning one of the highest honors an engineer can receive. Vice President for Research Clyde Briant was the last person from the University named to the academy two years ago, and before him, no one had been named since 2000. “I was very excited and honored to join the prestigious club of scholars,” Gao said. He thanked his colleagues at the University and the academy for the honor. According to the academy’s news release, Gao was recognized for his “contributions to micromechanics of thin films and hierarchically structured materials.” Gao’s research focuses on understanding how microscopic structures affect the properties and behaviors of substances, such as bone, protein, DNA and thin films, he said. His research began prior to joining the University in 2006. After receiving master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering science from Harvard in 1984 and 1988, respectively, he taught at Stanford
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news....................2-3 spotlights........4-5 editorial................6 Opinions.................7 features.................8
student group spotlights, pages 4-5
question whether the amendment, which students can vote on until midnight tonight, would result in less funding for their activities.
Italian delicacies delight on Federal Hill By Hannah Loewentheil Staff Writer
For many students, Federal Hill is the elusive strip of pricey Italian restaurants reserved for dinners during Family Weekend. But there’s another side to the neighborhood waiting to be explored — at just a short distance from the Dunkin Donuts Center and the Financial District, it is easy to see why Federal Hill has earned
its reputation as “the Heartbeat of Providence.” Marking students’ arrival to Federal Hill is a sculpture of La Pigna — the Pine Cone — that hangs from the center of the gateway arch to Atwells Avenue. The figurine is an
Fashionistas New group plans to bring fashion week to Brown
Italian symbol of welcome, which aptly suits the neighborhood. In this informal Little Italy, visitors will find a hub of unique restaurants, shops and galleries unlike anywhere else in Providence. During the daytime, Federal Hill has a relaxed atmosphere and offers a nice change of pace from crowded Thayer Street. People can stop to check out a local art gallery or grab a cannoli from one of the many traditional Italian bakeries. But on weekend nights, the streets burst into life. Lights draped from telephone poles illuminate the busy cobblestone streets. Visitors peruse Atwells Avenue with mouths watering as they gaze into the windows of the Italian restaurants that teem with business on Saturday nights. Among the many bars and night clubs, the Tammany Hall Pub and Parlor is particularly crowded with people lounging and continued on page 3
Hannah Lowentheil / Herald
The expensive reputation of Federal Hill belies its many affordable restaurants.
Levison ’14 calls for less ego, more debate
By Ju myoung Kim Staff Writer
Recent controversy over the constitutional amendment proposed by the Undergraduate Council of Students that would allow it more direct access to the Student Activities Fund has brought to light procedural distinctions already confronted by students applying to start new groups. In the first semester after receiving initial approval by UCS,
new groups do not receive funding from the Undergraduate Finance Board. But at a time when leaders of many groups complain of chronic underfunding, some
By Aparaajit Sriram Senior Staff Writer
t o d ay
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Med School develops new practice plan
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, February 15, 2012
continued from page 1
“The Menagerie of the Mind” Talk
Anthropology DUG Speed Dating
Giddings House, Room 212
7 p.m. WiSE Skating Trip
“39 Years After Roe v. Wade” Lecture
Smith-Buonanno, Room 201
menu SHARPE REFECTORY
VERNEy-WOOLLEY DINING HALL LUNCH
Bruschetta Mozzarella, Vegetarian Cajun Pasta, Pepperoni, Spinach and Feta Calzone, Seasoned Fries
Italian Marinated Chicken, Vegan Chili, Italian Meatballs with Sauce, Mediterranean Eggplant
DINNER Bourbon BBQ Chicken Quarters, Macaroni and Cheese, Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows
Stir Fry - Jamaican Pork or Tofu with Apricot, Vegan Ratatouille, Tequila Lime Chicken, Stewed Tomatoes
RELEASE DATE– Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Los AngelesCr Times Daily Crossword Puzzle ossword Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS 1 Superfluous thing 6 Copy room unit 10 Good-sized building site 14 __, meenie ... 15 Best way to make a mistake 16 Like a fly ball that hits the foul pole, ironically 17 *Classic little red wagon 19 Thomas __ Edison 20 Old AT&T rival 21 Dockworker’s gp. 22 Sign of the Ram 23 Tchotchke stand 26 O’er and o’er 28 VW forerunners? 29 Fifth canonical hour 30 *Memorable, as a day 33 Part of DOT: Abbr. 34 Marvin or Majors 35 Bern’s river 36 They’re not in the in-crowd ... and read differently, what each starred answer has two of 40 Humorist Bombeck 43 Snitch 44 Video game pioneer 48 *One seeding clouds 51 Animal toxin 52 Berlin conjunction 53 Tarzan raiser 54 Comes out of hiding 56 Wooden peg 58 Yoko from Tokyo 59 Tokyo, before 1868 60 Currier’s partner 61 *Knee-slapper 65 Experiment 66 Soothing additive 67 Doting aunt, perhaps 68 Art Deco master 69 Heckle 70 More than reasonable interest
DOWN 1 Turn to wine, as grape juice 2 *Nuclear plant sight 3 Home to Purdue 4 Full deck at Caesar’s palace? 5 “Seinfeld” uncle 6 *Suitcase lugger’s aid 7 “Shepherd Moons” Grammy winner 8 Unreturnable serve 9 Sea, in Paris 10 Out yonder 11 Actress Flockhart 12 *Rosie’s role 13 Puzzle solver’s smudge 18 Commonly decorated tree 22 Consumed 24 Columbus, by birth 25 “Mi casa __ casa” 26 Scarfed down too much, with “on” 27 Run for the hills 31 In-crowd 32 Busy employee of a paranoid king
37 Snare 38 “Oh, for pity’s __!” 39 “Must-see” review 40 Scholarly 41 *Broke up late, as a meeting 42 3-Down’s region 45 “And Still I Rise” poet 46 *Short-antlered animal 47 “Forgive me”
49 Practice opening? 50 *One paying a flat fee? 55 Pierre, to Pierre 57 Tequila sunrise direction 58 Bassoon kin 61 Indian rule from 1858 to 1947 62 __ de la Cité 63 Hosp. heart ward 64 Ring victories, briefly
ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE:
Three main actors
Under the current structure, there are three main actors involved. First is the Med School, which was founded in 1972 and has grown in size considerably since its launch. In 2011, it moved its operations to a new, larger office, a stylish building in the fast-growing Jewelry District that has received positive reviews from faculty, students and architects alike. The second actor is the clinical faculty, who technically belong to the Med School but work in the various teaching hospitals. Though “fulltime, voting members of Brown’s faculty,” Wing said, they are unlikely to be found roaming the green. There are about 600 clinical faculty members in total, spread out across 14 different clinical departments, including the Department of Medicine, the Department of Radiology and the Department of Emergency Medicine, Wing said. These faculty are responsible for teaching medical students, interns and residents. They also work with fellows conducting research. The third group involved is composed of seven affiliated teaching hospitals. Five of these seven hospitals belong to the two main health systems in Rhode Island — Lifespan and Care New England. Lifespan runs Rhode Island Hospital, the Miriam Hospital and Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital, while Care New England runs Butler Hospital and Women and Infants Hospital. The Med School strengthened its affiliation agreement with Lifespan in 2010, designating Rhode Island Hospital as the principal teaching hospital. But the current state of coordination between the Med School, the clinical faculty and hospitals leaves room for improvement, Wing said. “At most other medical schools,
the hospitals, the clinical faculty and the medical school are more tightly aligned structurally,” he said. Harvard Medical School, where Wing received his medical degree, boasts a more organized structure, where “they all move together and they all have a single governance or leadership,” he said. In a Dec. 16 op-ed in the Providence Journal, Wing discussed the failed merger between Lifespan and Care New England in 2010. “That was a mistake,” he wrote of the failure to reach a deal. “As a result, they compete rather than work strategically with each other. The truth is that our competition, both academically and clinically, is with Boston, not within Rhode Island.” This threat of competition from other academic medical centers lends urgency to the proposed reforms. “It’s a risk for us … we’re not as strategic as they are,” Wing said.
School’s clinical departments are currently working together to create a new practice plan. “Five different departments, which had their own practice plans, have formed a practice plan called University Physician’s (Group), Inc. that is actually a loose confederation of the (original) five practice plans,” Wing said. Lifespan has also approved a new practice plan, called Lifespan Physician’s Group, for community physicians and employed physicians tightly linked to the hospitals, Wing said. “There are two early practice plans, and how those will play out along with the Medical School is not clear at this point,” Wing said. In its attempts to improve coordination, the Med School is also nearing a strengthened affiliation agreement with Care New England, according to Wing’s newsletter.
First steps to coordination
The Coordinated Health Care Planning and Accountability Council could also play a role in efforts to improve coordination. The council is a legislatively-mandated task force charged with making recommendations to Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 and the state legislature on how to improve health care across the state. Though the council was established in 2006, it is currently redefining its principles and goals. Fox Wetle, associate dean of medicine for public health and public policy, has just been appointed to serve on the council. The council may play a role as the Med School tries to implement these structural reforms, Wetle said. But the council is still far from delving into specific issues, Wetle said. The proposed organizational changes are in their infancy. “You can’t ask for a more complicated landscape,” said Wing. “It’s going to be a long political process.”
Better integration requires instituting a single practice plan for the Med School, its faculty and affiliated hospitals. A practice plan resembles a contract between doctors, University and hospital administrators that stipulates the terms for the doctors’ roles in the medical program, bills and collects revenue for them and dispenses their salaries, Wing said, describing it as a “business model.” Many of the more integrated medical programs in the country work within a single practice plan, he said. Wing has experience with integrating a medical program under a single practice plan. “I spent most of my career at the University of Pittsburgh, and we actually formed a practice plan when I was there,” he said, adding that the plan was an intensive process that required the help of consultants and financial contributions from participating hospitals. To that end, some of the Med
Award to attract more graduate engineers continued from page 1 University between 1988 and 2002 and at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Germany from 2001 to 2006. At Brown, he continued his research with the Solid Mechanics group, a subgroup of the School of Engineering. The group already had an established history, and Gao is now one of its leading members, said Larry Larson, dean of the School of Engineering.
Gao’s election has positive implications for the School of Engineering, Larson said. It increases the national visibility of the University’s program and helps it attract more graduate students, who in turn can aid undergraduate researchers, he added. Gao said his research fits into the University’s programs on nano and microtechnology and biomedical engineering, and he added that he is pleased the University has put emphasis on such
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programs. Briant called Gao’s election “a great honor for him and for Brown.” “If you look at engineering departments and schools of engineering across the country, figures of merit, if you will, are how many of the faculty are in the Academy of Engineering,” Briant said. The National Academy of Engineering was founded in 1964 to promote the engineering profession nationally and advise the federal government on issues concerning engineering and technology, according to its website. The academy consists of more than 2,000 peer-elected members and foreign associates. Gao was among 66 newly elected members, who are some of the world’s most distinguished engineers, according to a National Academies’ news release. Prominent members of the academy include Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
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— With additional reporting by Shefali Luthra
Campus News 3
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Eateries, galleries delight on Federal Hill New female group satirizes staple of Federal Hill that serves what Federal Hill offers far more than continued from page 1 one customer described as easily the Italian food and French desserts. gender stereotypes sipping drinks at the bar. best pizza in Rhode Island. The thick Theaters and galleries endow the A taste of Bologna on a budget
While Federal Hill is home to delicious yet expensive Italian eateries, it also caters to those on a college student’s budget. More moderately priced restaurants are often overlooked among much-adored giants such as Al Forno or Siena. Nick’s on Broadway, for example, is both affordable and inviting. The neighborhood diner is casual but trendy inside its brick facade. Though Nick’s serves meals throughout the day, it is most popular for its weekend brunch, which induces serpentine lines of hungry customers. But those who wait will not be disappointed. Customers raved about the poached eggs, and a couple advised that the Mexican-inspired black bean and egg tortilla is a treat “not to be missed.” Broadway also houses Julian’s, another eatery acclaimed for its brunch scene. The menu is eclectic and specializes in vegetarian and vegan dishes. Loyal customers attested to returning time after time to eat their ritual brunch at the hipster restaurant, adorned by red pleatherlined booths, funky chandeliers and interesting art. Italian food brings a single word to mind — pizza. Caserta Pizza is a
rectangular pizzas are loaded with fresh toppings, and customers raved about a spinach pie called a “Wimpy Skippy.” The building is humble and nondescript, but the unfussy restaurant offers the most bang for your buck. European fare on the fly
Costantino’s Venda Ravioli is a much-loved Italian grocery store and deli, perfect for a quick and affordable meal. Inside the glass display cases, customers can choose from traditional Italian foods — they showcase a wide variety, including fresh cheeses, antipasto and gelato. It is hard to resist the aromas of homemade pastas and fresh sandwiches that circulate the room. Pastiche Fine Desserts Cafe is another gem on the Hill. There is a distinct Parisian atmosphere inside this French patisserie, a tiny space nestled on a side street off of Atwells Avenue. It provides an intimate and cozy atmosphere where customers can end their weeknights with freshly baked desserts or sizzling cups of hot cocoa. But on weekend nights, Pastiche is the place to be — you will be lucky if you can get a seat. Strokes of artistry
area with a rich, artistic culture. One notable absence remains, though — the historic Columbus Theater has remained closed since fire marshals shut it down for multiple violations in August 2009. The bright lights and facade of the building are reminiscent of the site of a flapper show during the roaring 1920s — the decade when the theater was built. The impressive architecture is still a feast for the eyes, but the owner has insufficient funds to restore the theater to the arthouse destination it once was. Gallery 17 Peck and Chabot Gallery are two neighborhood favorites and both showcase contemporary art. Artists who have been featured in Gallery 17 have often gone on to have artwork displayed in America’s most prominent museums. Chabot, set in the center of the Hill on Atwells Avenue, is bound to capture visitors’ attention with its bright red awning. Vibrant, diverse paintings line the walls of the pristine gallery. Contemporary art exhibitions featuring sculptures and paintings rotate according to schedule. It might not be New York City’s renowned Little Italy, but with its authentic eateries, theaters and classic New England charm, Federal Hill is a neighborhood worth exploring.
Rentals cushion bookstore revenue loss continued from page 1 kinds of rental programs, McDade said. Major textbooks the bookstore owns and knows will be used every semester — like the one for ECON 0110: “Principles of Economics” — are kept in stock to rent out. Most others are part of a “second-layer program,” McDade said, which is backed up by a third-party provider. Each semester, the bookstore produces a list of books it needs, and the provider tells the bookstore how much it will pay for the return of each book. The bookstore then sets a discounted rental price for students, and it is able to make a small profit when it sells the book back to the provider. The program is especially popular for large, expensive textbooks ubiquitous to science and social science courses. The University is not alone in its provision of a rental program, joining 2,560 college stores that offered such a program last semester. Two years earlier, that number was 300, according to a Jan. 31 press release from the National Association of College Stores. The release estimated national student savings from the programs totaled roughly $200 million last semester. Charles Schmidt, director of public relations for the association, said he expected rental programs to stay strong for a while. “Because the college stores are dedicated to saving students money on their course materials, and because this seems to have shown success, there’s no reason to change,” he said. Nonetheless,
Dan Fetke / Herald
Textbook rentals contributed to $200 million in national student savings last semester.
he pointed to “custom course savings,” in which stores would offer only the sections of textbooks that professors wanted, as another upcoming bookstore offering. At the Brown Bookstore, expansion is on the horizon. “We would like to ramp it up,” McDade said. “Right now we’re sort of held in check by this process called serialization,” or cataloguing and creating a database of all the books’ serial numbers. He said the bookstore would ideally get a significant software upgrade to boost that process. Though it has yet to decide whether there are sufficient funds, the upgrade would be in July’s budget and likely implemented by next January. If it materialized, the bookstore could eventually offer students the choice of new, used or rental at the check-out cash register. Very few students fail to return textbooks at the end of the
semester — McDade said the bookstore had to “chase down about 30 students” last semester, but most had simply forgotten and paid a late fee. Many students spoke positively about the rental program. Dan Chinh Nguyen ’14 said she used it this semester because the option made financial and practical sense. “The textbook was $250, and renting it was $95,” she said, also citing “the fact that you don’t really need the textbook after you take the class.” Though she has sold books back to the bookstore in the past, renting is much cheaper, she said. But the numbers did not add up for Nikita Uberoi ’15, who said she can sell textbooks elsewhere and sometimes prefers to keep books. “I feel like renting it isn’t worth it because you still pay a lot of money,” she said.
By jordan hendricks Senior Staff Writer
After one year, 200 subscribers and dozens of emails from an old man who blogs about love and cats, the RIB — Brown’s first all-female comedy group — is finally on the map. The group attained Category I student group status in the fall from the Undergraduate Council of Students, making it the “new baby” of the College Hill comedy scene, said Rachel Borders ’13, co-founder of the group. But the RIB’s journey began last spring, when Borders and Maria Acabado ’13, another co-founder and contributing writer for The Herald, were approached by a student who wanted them to be editors for a comedy publication written by women. “Maria and I got a group of girls together to write comedy for it, but that publication never really took off,” said Borders, who writes for the BlogDailyHerald. With this “new group of funny girls” and the comedic content they had already written for the original publication, Borders and Acabado decided to create their own comedy group and launch a website with the new material. When the group’s blog went live in the summer of 2011, the RIB was born. Its name, derived from the biblical account of woman’s creation from man’s rib, also carries a second meaning — “to rib” as in “to joke.” Now the group’s membership has approached 30 writers, all of whom contribute regularly to the online publication. Their writing includes Brown-related humor but also covers topics such as the dynamics of party dancing and the national presidential race. The group’s site has garnered an online following from College Hill and beyond. Among an assortment of subscribers to the blog is “Chris Sheridan,” a 55-year-old man who frequently posts his “creepy” opinions in response to the group’s sexrelated posts, Borders said. “It makes us happy that our humor transcends Brown,” she said. “I’m happy that we’re able to create stuff that entertains even old men.” Receiving comments from readers the group does not know is “great personal entertainment,” Acabado added. As a relatively young student group, the RIB has not chosen a specific angle for its material. “Because we haven’t narrowed ourselves down yet, we can really do whatever we want,” Acabado said. Still, while the content of the articles varies by post and writer,
much of the RIB’s humor satirizes gender stereotypes in comedy and elsewhere. Posts are often classified under categories such as “Life on College Hill,” “Study a Broad,” “That Time of the Month” and “What are Sports?” Even the group’s self-description on the site recounts its history in a satirical manner. According to the site, the founding members of the group came together, “synchronized their cycles” and “participated in exactly 17 semi-nude pillow fights” before officially publishing their work as a group. “It was actually 18 (semi-nude pillow fights),” Borders said. But the group does not only write about “lady things” because they have more “intelligence than to only talk about our boobs,” she said. The blog’s most popular post yet, a satire on the ongoing search for a new University president, has more than 10,000 views and was featured on the front page of WordPress, the site that hosts the blog. Written by Bryna Cofrin-Shaw ’14, the post is entitled “BREAKING NEWS: Presidential Search Committee Document Leaked.” In the post, Cofrin-Shaw unveils “news” of a memo from the Presidential Search Committee, documenting its “nationwide search … for a Native American, transsexual, Muslim, trilingual adopted woman” whose “degrees and experience in academia are fairly unimportant.” “The purpose of this search is to identify any possible individual who fits this description,” the fake document continues, “and make her our next President.” Other popular posts include commentary on the celebrity Kardashian family — Emily Spinner’s ’13 post entitled “Kim Kardashian is Krazy; Love is Not Real” pokes fun at the celebrity’s notoriously short 72-day marriage. “The Kardashian family continues to prove to be one big, hairy tease,” Spinner writes. “They’ll invite you to lunch to watch Kris Jenner get wasted from a casual six glasses of Chardonnay and then rip you to shreds for admitting you don’t want six kids before the age of 32.” Yet another post playing on gender stereotypes is Borders’ post, “When a Baby Cries,” a piece of writing that can convince even “the baby lovers to hate babies,” she said. “When a baby cries, I’m reminded of three things,” Borders writes. “One, the next two generations will be significantly uglier because they won’t inherit my genes. Two, that baby will one day grow up to be part of 99 percent. … And last, there are continued on page 5
4 Spotlights On
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Student group aspires to raise fashion consciousness By Maddie Berg Staff Writer
The stereotypical college dress code, immortalized in films and books, includes ripped jeans, untied sneakers and a sweatshirt bearing the college’s name. But looking around Brown yields a different conclusion — students are more inclined toward stylish, sporty chic and dapper get-ups rather than careless outfits. These well-dressed students inspire members of Fashion at Brown, a Category I group officially recognized by the Undergraduate Council of Students in the fall that attracts students who are passionate about everything sartorial. The group grew out of Brown’s first annual student fashion show, a project Alexandra Schultz ’11 initiated last spring. The show was accompanied by a design workshop and a model takeover of the Main Green designed to advertise the show. Schultz, who studied fashion design in visual arts classes, “saw how much interest and how much talent there was in fashion on Brown’s campus,”
said Mia Zachary ’13, director of Fashion at Brown. Schultz organized a fashion show in which designers from Brown and one from the Rhode Island School of Design presented two or three of their designs on student models. The show was a success and sold out with 200 attendees, many of whom gave positive feedback on the students’ innovative designs. Fashion at Brown plans to build on that success, expanding the show to a full fashion week. “We finally developed a name for ourselves. The group has really consolidated,” said Eve Blazo ’12, a coordinator for Fashion at Brown who styles and works with models. By becoming an official group, members hope to eventually have access to more resources from the University, including money from UCS, so they can expand the group’s influence on campus, Zachary said. “I think (Fashion at Brown) would like very much to become a group that gets a lot of funding because we have some pretty ambitious goals for events,” Zachary wrote in an email to
The Herald. She added that the group opposes the UCS proposal to amend its constitution so it can control its own funding because “it seems to risk not only the financial security of existing student groups but also to hinder the possibility of expanding new ones like ours.” Last year, the group received funding from the Creative Arts Council and revenue from the show’s ticket sales. “We really didn’t know what we
Group Spotlight were doing, so we didn’t have a lot of expenses,” Zachary said. Fashion at Brown is still applying for grants from the Creative Arts Council and Brown Student Agency. The group will also look to raise funds through bake sales and ticketing, and it is also looking for sponsors, Zachary said. These funds will primarily go toward financing a fashion week in April. The week will consist of fashion documentary screenings, a speaker and do-it-yourself workshops, Zach-
ary said. The week will culminate in the fashion show, which the organizers hope will be better attended and more cohesive than last year’s. “I think styling can always be better. That involves music choices, making sure the designer’s vision is articulated well and also coheres to the styling of hair and makeup,” Blazo said. Money will also go to non-fashion week events, such as the Sported@ Brown release party Feb. 24. Sported@Brown, created in part by Blazo and Arlando Battle ’12, is Fashion at Brown’s new blog, mainly featuring photographs of street-style fashion from around campus and profiles of students, Blazo said. The blog’s slogan, “Fashion for Everyone,” emphasizes the group’s goal to feature not only fashionable people, but also those who have a conscious style and “whose fashion sense reflects their larger goals in life or things that they are passionate about,” Blazo said. “It’s not just about you and your Marc Jacobs bag,” Blazo added. “It’s about you and your hand-me-down bag, and the story that was passed
down from your grandmother to your mother and now you have this bag.” In the future, as Fashion at Brown grows to be a bigger presence on campus and gains more funds, the leaders of the group hope Sported@ Brown and the fashion show will continue to expand and are considering making the show biannual, Zachary said. The group also aspires to have more events throughout the year and to partner with Unhemmed, the campus’ fashion magazine and BlogDailyHerald. This will all hopefully contribute to the group’s goal of making the University a place where people are conscious about fashion and present themselves with creativity, Blazo said. “Fashion is becoming a presence at Brown,” Blazo said. “I really hope that continues because everyone is implicated in fashion every day, and the way people curate themselves deserves to be celebrated.” “We may not be the most stylish group of people on campus, but we love what we are doing,” Zachary said.
Students for Obama kick off campaign By Elizabeth koh Staff Writer
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It is an unspoken rule that free pizza must make an appearance at new student group meetings — though the Nice Slice versus Antonio’s debate remains an unresolved controversy. Last week’s opening meeting for Brown Students for Obama proved the group was no exception to the rule, though few members needed the incentive of free food to attend. The new group, which drew about 40 people to its Wednesday night meeting in Wilson 102, is kicking off what is proving to be a contentious election year for both the president and his eventual Republican opponent. “It’s a really close race,” said Taylor Daily ’13, president of Students for Obama and vice president of the Brown Democrats. The group, which plans to rally support for Barack Obama’s campaign throughout the year, intends to reach out to the community by talking to peers on campus and canvassing both in Rhode Island and in neighboring states. Because Rhode Island is a traditionally blue state, Daily proposed canvassing throughout the year in New Hampshire to reach potential voters. “We can actually make a difference there,” he said. Daily said winning New Hampshire is critical to ensuring Obama’s re-election. By Election Day, the group currently hopes to reach 14,000 voters in New Hampshire, which represents 2 percent of the state’s projected number of voters. “It’s a pretty big goal, but I think we can do it together,” Daily said. The upcoming election makes Students for Obama unique among this semester’s new student groups. As an election advocacy organization supporting a specific candidate, its existence as a Universityrecognized group is limited to the period of time in which the election is ongoing. “Any person can try to start a group with the intent of helping a
particular campaign. We just mandate that they put a sunset clause in their constitution so they have to disband after the elections,” said Mae Cadao ’13, student activities chair for the Undergraduate Council of Students. Daily said the group will disband two weeks after the election. UCS has previously approved campaign-centered student groups such as Brown Students for Chafee, which lent support to the politician’s successful bid for governor of Rhode Island in 2010. UCS also approved Students for Barack Obama in 2008, which supported the president in his first campaign and was disbanded
Group Spotlight after that election. “We don’t want there to be no outlet or no space for these particular groups,” said Anthony White ’13, political and social action representative for the UCS Student Activities Committee, “so we’ll approve groups that we know will serve a large interest.” The group is already drawing students from other student-run political groups. “There’s definitely some collaboration” between the Brown Democrats and Students for Obama, said Melanie Fineman ’14, who sits on the executive board for the Brown Democrats. But Fineman’s group is more focused on specific issues in Rhode Island politics, she said, adding that, “Students for Obama is a great outlet for people who are more interested in the national issues.” The group also provides a forum for Obama supporters who might not identify as Democrats. UCS supports groups that surround candidates instead of political parties because they have the potential to bring different groups of students together, Cadao said. Students first approached UCS with the idea for an Obama-centered group on campus last semester.
Daily said he thought the existing political groups on campus were “too centralized” to focus on advocating for the campaign. Students for Obama is “the place you can come to do advocacy for the 2012 election,” Daily said. Daily and two other students collected signatures to prove public interest in the group and applied for recognition last semester. Students for Obama was approved as a Category I group, which means the University does not provide any funding. The activities of the group, which include canvassing and phone banking, will not require funds, Daily said, though he added that the Rhode Island Obama for America campaign has offered its support — so far in the form of the first meeting’s pizza. Obama for America campaigners “really know how to be most effective,” Daily said. “It’s just really nice to have professional people who are willing to give us support.” The group is also taking a page from the national campaign’s playbook, relying on Facebook and Twitter to get the word out. “If we can just say, ‘Hey, there’s this cool thing that’s coming up next week, come canvass with us for half a day,’ someone could be like, ‘Oh, that actually sounds great,’” Daily said. “It’s just another way to connect with people that is not traditional and works pretty well.” Daily said he hopes that around 200 people will attend the Students for Obama meetings by next semester. “It’s still a bit early for the campaign, so we’re not expecting massive crowds yet,” Daily said. “Our real goal is to get people to turn out when we are actually going out and doing work for the president.” He added, “We want to make sure that people who do support the president do contribute in some way to the re-election.” — With additional reporting by Margaret Nickens
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, February 15, 2012
New Student Groups 5
UCS says constitutional amendment will check UFB continued from page 1
S for service-oriented groups, Category A for club sports and categories I, II and III for all other student groups, Cadao said. New groups
When groups are first recognized by UCS, they start as Category I or Category S. There are currently 105 Category I student groups and 22 Category S groups. When approving new student groups, the council reviews their sustainability and the feasibility of their goals, said Anthony White ’13, political and social action representative for the Student Activities Committee. UCS also discusses whether the group is too similar to existing student groups, he said. Neither Category I nor Category S receives funding through the Undergraduate Finance Board, but Category I groups have the ability to apply for re-categorization one semester after they are first approved, White said. UFB, a subsidiary of the council, is responsible for distributing funds to student groups from the Student Activities Fund, which all undergraduates pay as part of tuition. The funding a group receives from the board depends on its categorization status, a ranking determined by the council. All student groups approved
by UCS have access to resources such as finance accounts through the Student Activities Office and spaces to hold meetings, Cadao said. UCS recognition also allows groups to use the University name when advertising or presenting events, an advantage when approaching outside speakers and organizations, White said. On average, it takes groups three years to progress from Category I to Category III, White said. Re-categorizing and moving up
Around 15 groups applied for re-categorization last semester, and 12 were approved, she said. Cadao said the Student Activities Committee does not take funding into consideration when approving or re-categorizing student groups. At the intermediate level, Category II student groups such as the Jabberwocks and Chattertocks — two a cappella groups — receive $200 each semester from UFB, Cadao said. This semester, there are 50 Category II groups. To acquire more funding, Category II groups must apply to join Category III, a ranking that includes 148 groups, such as the Brown Concert Agency and the Ivy Film Festival. Leaders of Category III groups submit an expanded budget proposal to UFB each year and can apply for supplemen-
tal funding as needed, according to the UFB website. Groups in this category also have free access to media services including projectors and sound systems, an option many student groups on campus find appealing, Cadao said. Access to media services was one of the main reasons What’s on Tap applied to join Category III last semester, said Brook Achterhof ’14, co-director of the dance group. The $200 it received as a
Group Spotlight Category II group wasn’t enough to cover the costs of its media needs, but its new funding as Category III allows members to rehearse with all the technical equipment they use in performances. Achterhof said working with UCS for categorization was very simple for her group, a sentiment shared by Frances Brittingham ’14, co-founder of Rhode Island Adaptive Sports — a Category S group. Brittingham also said the application process has become much simpler since it changed in spring 2011. Previously, the Student Activities Committee heard new group proposals each week. But now the committee only reviews applications once each semester, a system that allows the committee to focus on activities other than just group categorization, such as
hosting a voluntary orientation program for group leaders this semester, Cadao said. The UCS-UFB relationship
Though many student group leaders said they did not experience any issues with the categorization process, Caroline Hughes ’12, president of the Brown Polo Club, said she thinks UCS, UFB and the Student Activities Office should be more transparent about their individual roles in the funding application system. “I don’t understand UCS, UFB or SAO, and I would say, even after being re-categorized, I still don’t know what they do,” Hughes said. “I don’t know who my UFB rep is. I don’t know when the budget is due in the spring. I feel like it’s really hard for a group to know what is going on.” She also said she didn’t understand the relationship between UCS and UFB. The constitutional amendment proposed by UCS is partly intended to clarify that relationship, said Daniel Pipkin ’14, UCS-UFB liaison, in a Feb. 9 Herald article. Many University-recognized student groups are currently underfunded, said Michael Perchonok ’12, vice chair of UFB. The board was only able to fulfill twothirds of the budget requests it received last year, Perchonok said in a Feb. 9 Herald article.
But Cadao said student groups often return unused funds to UFB at the end of the school year. “Already, there’s minimal funding, and the budget’s clearly not enough for what student organizations on campus need,” said Nick Melachrinos ’15, who is attempting to form a DJ club. “Just giving that kind of flexibility to the UCS will limit all the other groups on campus.” While Melachrinos said he will continue to work towards building the group, he said he is worried his club will not be able to receive enough funding from the University. But Sam Gilman ’15, the UCS communication chair, said the amendment will not affect student groups, especially new student groups who do not receive funding from the University. The amendment could benefit student groups by creating a “better check and balance on UFB,” he said. The amendment would encourage smaller student groups to seek funding sources outside UFB, Cadao said. The council will be hosting a “formal discussion” about the proposed amendment at 5:30 p.m. today in Salomon 001, according to a campus-wide email sent Friday. All undergraduates can log on to MyCourses before 11:59 p.m. tonight to vote for or against the constitutional change.
The RIB seeks to balance ‘male-dominated’ comedy on campus continued from page 3 now 7 billion bitching people on the planet.” Beyond gracing the Internet with its witty social commentary, the group’s mission addresses a specific need for women’s presence in the College Hill comedy scene. “It’s kind of surprising that there wasn’t something in place before this,” Spinner said. Other members of the group offered perspectives from their involvement in other comedy groups.
Group Spotlight “A lot of times on campus, for whatever reason, girls get pushed aside in comedy,” Borders said. “We’re excited that girls are getting noticed more doing comedy in a positive way.” Lisa Franklin ’14, while not a member of the RIB, is one of two women involved in Brown StandUp Comics and is a copy editor for the Brown Noser. As a woman in comedy, it can be “tough at times,” she said. “None of the problems that arrive from having two women in a group of 17 has to do with the fact that any of the members are sexist or mean-spirited or intolerant,” Franklin said. What can be frustrating for Franklin, though, is “having to explain to guys that a joke is really sexist,” she said. While their group is mostly male, their audience is usually not. An audience that is less male-dominated “may not find a
joke funny,” Franklin said. “It’s sort of frustrating sometimes knowing that you’re the only voice that can bring that balance,” she said. Franklin said she thought that targeting a specific demographic to join a group — like the RIB did when it sought only female contributors — could seem “frustrating and regressive,” but “if you get 15 people who haven’t participated in comedy before, that’s fantastic.” “I don’t think it’s a secret that girls are funny, women are funny,” Acabado said. “And they can write a funny joke just as well as any guy.” The group aims to create a “fun, laid-back environment for funny girls,” she said, especially on a campus of “male-dominated comedy groups.” The group is just in its growing stages, Borders said. They constantly seek new members, though they don’t have plans to apply for recategorization at this time. But that doesn’t stop them from dreaming big. “A lot of times when people think of comedy, they think of (New York University), Northwestern or Harvard,” Borders said. “We want them to think of Brown.” Regardless of its status as an all-female comedy group, the RIB wants to set one thing straight. “We’re not out to prove anything,” Borders said. “We know women are funny. We’re just showing it.” “In your face, Brown,” Acabado chimed in.
Jordan Hendricks / Herald
With more than 10,000 views, a post “leaked” presidential criteria to be a “transexual, Muslim, trilingual adopted woman.”
comics Dreadful Cosmology | Dario Mitchell
Fraternity of Evil | Eshan Mitra, Brendan Hainline and Hector Ramirez
6 Editorial Editorial
A haze of excuses In a shocking op-ed published in the Dartmouth student newspaper The Dartmouth at the end of January, former Sigma Alpha Epsilon member and Dartmouth senior Andrew Lohse revealed intimate details of his fraternity’s hazing practices and criticized university president Jim Yong Kim ’82 for not cracking down on the negative side of Greek culture at Dartmouth. Lohse had informed administrators about the hazing — which included being forced to eat omelets made of vomit and chug cups of vinegar — the previous fall but was disheartened at their lack of response. We believe such willful administrative ignorance exists not only at Dartmouth, but also at many other universities, including Brown. As Dartmouth’s troubling allegations underscore the seriousness of the hazing problem, we urge all university administrations, including our own, to impose more stringent policies to combat hazing. Last week, more than 100 Dartmouth faculty members published a letter in support of Lohse, equating Dartmouth hazing with “moral thuggery” and calling for the administration to “hold (Greek houses) accountable.” While we agree with the faculty in their disapproval of the administration, we do not believe simply investigating hazing practices can be commendable unless the investigation demonstrates a true commitment to smoking out such transgressions. Fraternity hazing is not only humiliating and disgusting, but it constitutes emotional, psychological and physical abuse. Several years ago, the death of a pledge at the University of Texas chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon was attributed to excessive hazing, and the only action taken by the fraternity to remain on the school’s campus was to “implement a comprehensive educational program to eliminate hazing.” Hazing is a dangerous nationwide epidemic, and colleges everywhere need to take a harder line in order to abolish it. Brown nominally prohibits hazing in not only the Greek system, but in all student organizations. The administration defers to Rhode Island law for its definition of hazing, which includes “forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of the student.” It is all well and good to have such a policy, but the extent of its enforcement is unclear. Indeed, at Brown, it is generally accepted within the student body that hazing takes place during fraternity pledging. Yet, Brown has not cracked down on it in any significant or public way. Our frats are perpetually “on probation,” a vague term that gives no indication of the crime involved, nor the punishment threatened, nor what constitutes a violation of said probation. If the University wants hazing to stop once and for all, it needs to communicate to both the Greek system and the Brown community at large that these practices are unacceptable and intolerable. Furthermore, it should work with the Brown Greek Council to impose harsher and more individual punishments than probation to finally remove these foul “traditions” from our campus. We recommend that “higher education” live up to its name and that this be reflected in raised standards concerning student hazing implemented in universities across the country.
The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, February 15, 2012
by sam rosenfeld
CorrectionS An article in Friday’s Herald (“First-years discover viruses, analyze DNA,” Feb. 10) incorrectly stated that the Phage Hunters initiative was started six years ago. In fact, it began four years ago, in 2008. The Herald regrets the error. An article in Friday’s Herald (“Profs’ research dissects science of uncertainty,” Feb. 10) incorrectly identified the rostrolateral prefrontal cortex as the back part of the frontal lobe. In fact, it is the front part of the frontal lobe. The article also stated the clock test had not been run on patients with obsessive compulsive disorder. In fact, the test has been run on OCD patients but results have not yet been written up. The Herald regrets the errors.
Clarification An article in Tuesday’s Herald, (“Festival connects art and technology,” Feb. 14) reported that during her performance in Interrupt II, a three-day multimedia art studio, Vanessa Place performed works of fiction. Place’s performances were actually not fiction, but appropriations of real transcribed accounts.
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The Brown Daily Herald Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Proposing a UCS-UFB compromise By Remy FernAndezO’Brien Guest Columnist Dear friends, let us first give thanks that the state of political debate at Brown University remains an inspiring beacon, an example that certain national political leaders would do well to follow. Throughout the course of discussions about the amendment changing the way Undergraduate Council of Students is funded, I have honestly found legitimate, fair points being made by both sides, as well as a willingness to be reasonable and work toward a compromise. It is in this spirit that I humbly submit a two-part compromise proposal for public discussion, which would replace the proposed amendment. This compromise would alleviate existing issues concerning management of UCS and the Undergraduate Finance Board, without dramatically expanding the power of UCS. As an opponent of the current amendment, I will begin by conceding that UCS does extremely valuable work, which should be funded appropriately. As noted by UCS President Ralanda Nelson ’12 in a letter to student groups, UCS has been unable to secure funding for “providing computer chargers in the library for student use, placing a printing cluster on Pembroke campus and the UCS Annual Teaching and Advising Award.”
I will also concede that there are issues with the current funding practices of UFB. In fact, as a student leader for four years in the Sexual Assault Peer Education program, imPulse Dance Company, Body and Sole and Funk Nite, I am strongly in favor of giving UCS more oversight of UFB’s funding practices. Again, I quote a letter from Nelson: “I want to see a UFB that publishes financial records publicly after every year.” I heartily agree. With this common ground established,
tioned, but we still must exercise caution before removing the system of checks and balances that functions as the bedrock of democracies, both large and small. Allowing UCS to unilaterally fund itself may not prove problematic before you or I graduate, but it would set a dangerous precedent, under which funding could potentially be taken away from beloved student groups and events at Brown. My second contention is that the current process for voting on the amendment
Students were not presented with the other side of the issue before being asked to cast an irreversible vote.
I would like to present two simple contentions. The first, which I make as a graduating political science concentrator, isthat no branch of any government can reasonably fund itself. The following analogy is not perfect, but it may be helpful. Imagine that there is political tension between the United States Congress and the president — this might be difficult. The president advocates for a constitutional amendment that would allow his office to fund itself. As much I love the President, I would not vote for such an amendment. Congress — or, in this case, UFB — may be flawed, and the president well-inten-
is unfair. Unfortunately, Nelson, whose hard work and passion I have appreciated on other issues, opened voting on MyCourses after sending an email to the student body and publishing an editorial in The Herald. Students were not presented with the other side of the issue before being asked to cast an irreversible vote. UCS needs to provide a mechanism for students who voted on the first day of polling and have since heard the other side of the issue, to change their votes. This may come in the form of a re-vote or a simple change on MyCourses. Anything less would constitute an unfair, tainted vote
and would erode confidence in student government at Brown. As a proud big-government liberal, I do think UCS should receive adequate funding for its important initiatives. In this vein, I make two counter-proposals, which I believe are more measured and tailored to the problem at hand: 1) An amendment that establishes a minimum discretionary annual budget for UCS — a budget that can be raised as approved by the student body. 2) An amendment that increases the categories of items for which UCS can receive funding from UFB, such as the “giveaways” at Brown Employee Appreciation and Recognition Day, which Nelson has advocated. UCS is asking us, as discerning students, for the power and flexibility to fund projects that matter to all of us. With this compromise proposal, I believe that we can accomplish that end, without unduly stepping on the toes of student groups, or those of UFB. Let us come together to allow UCS to function effectively for the benefit of the student body, and let us do so without removing fair and necessary oversight. I will bring this proposal before the UCS Forum today, in Lower Salomon at 5:30 — please join me. Remy Fernandez-O’Brien ’12 would like to call his proposal the “STOP — collaborate and listen, UCS is back with a brand new mission” Amendment.
The self-conscious me By Sam Levison Opinions Columnist When I recently told a classmate that I was considering writing my first opinions piece on the topic of opinions, he declared with irony fit only for south of Power Street, “That’s so meta, bro.” What he meant to exclaim was “Have you no shame!?” — a statement meant to highlight the meaninglessness of such an idea and my writing it in the first place. Little did he know that his jab would become a lead in a real-life Herald opinion piece. How’s that for meta, bro? I bother with this brief anecdote because academic shame, or any notion of intellectual self-consciousness, is profoundly dangerous for the flourishing collegian. It hinders meaningful discussion, breeds feelings of inadequacy and not only de-prioritizes academic engagement, but also renders it terrifying. And unfortunately for us, despite a grading system engineered to encourage educational risk-taking and a generally cheery disposition, there’s a bit too much of it to go around at Brown these days. Now, before the pitchforks descend upon me for decrying self-criticism, let me make an important distinction between self-consciousness and self-awareness. Self-awareness is the experience of your history teaching assistant taking you aside to explain that empty references to James McPherson and a half-dozen uses
of the word “contingency” do not make for a good history paper. Self-consciousness, on the other hand, is the kind of insidious dread that prevents a student from stating an opinion, making a point or, God forbid, even asking a question in said history lecture. Ask a random Brown student if he or she had ever been in a class where a professor’s simple question was met by a Bueller situation — blank stares, seat shuffling and not a raised hand in sight — and you would be hard pressed to hear a single one say “no.” Perhaps it is a sim-
ing in the sciences — often become selffulfilling prophecies for minority group performance in the classroom. This follows a somewhat basic rule that if you hear something enough, you just start to believe it. It is possible, though, that the most dangerous and deeply embedded academic stereotype is simply the belief that if a statement is factually incorrect or provokes disagreement, then the student is inherently unintelligent — or, even worse, that any kind of intellectual endeavor will be met with a negative response from
The most dangerous and deeply embedded academic stereotype is simply the belief that if a statement is factually incorrect or provokes disagreement then the student is inherently unintelligent.
ple case of nobody reading anything ever, but the more plausible explanation is that students are saturated with a fear of peer judgment, of being wrong and, consequently, of being dumb. In essence, we are too aware of our status as undergraduates and too unaware of our role as thinkers. Two weeks ago, Stanford professor Claude Steele spoke about how stereotypes — such as women underperform-
one’s peer group because they find it trivial or inconsequential. Students seem to be more concerned with getting through the academic end of college than milking the experience for all it is worth. Such an attitude may not stem from lack of interest, but rather from lack of support. Support may provide the antidote to our fear of thought. Many courses in the humanities grap-
ple with the dichotomy of the positive and the negative. Negative thoughts are inherently unproductive, nonconstructive and bad for the soul as they beget more negativity. Positive thoughts, on the other hand, are constructive and encouraging, pushing one forward and supporting the individual. Call me a rider on the recent anti-cynicism bandwagon, but the simple solution to our paralyzing self-consciousness may just be the cultivation of a positive community — one in which speaking up is encouraged, disagreement is appreciated and, above all, nobody believes too strongly in the maxim that being incorrect is inherently bad. By genuinely supporting each other in the development of ideas, interaction with other students is no longer guided by a negative self-consciousness but rather a positive excitement. Furthermore, when our conception of failure becomes more about engagement and less about right versus wrong, our discussions will flourish in a freedom from pervasive anxiety. The far-fetched idea does not become stupid, but interesting because it provokes the most intriguing responses. In a way, this idea embodies freedom from fear in the broadest sense. When we focus on doing, rather than worrying, we can stop being Hamlet and start being Prince Hal. Sam Levison ’14 tried to not be selfconscious while writing this piece. You can contact him at email@example.com.
Daily Herald Feature the Brown
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Brown’s ‘unofficial historian’ remembered by faculty and staff By Austin Cole Staff Writer
When asked to describe Martha Mitchell, former University archivist, those who knew her pause for a few moments as they choose the words to best represent her. When they do begin to speak, it is with a hint of awe that they share their memories of this “extraordinary,” “very witty” and “generous” person. Mitchell, who passed away on Dec. 14, 2011, worked on and off for the University for more than 50 years before retiring in August 2003. But Mitchell was much more than just an archivist — she became the University’s unofficial historian when she wrote the Encyclopedia Brunoniana, a text that continues to serve as a key resource on all things Brown. The encyclopedia — now also available in the updated online version — chronicles the University’s history and culture in hundreds of articles on such varied topics as Asians, botany and Henry Wriston. A lifetime with Brown
Mitchell’s affiliation with the
University began long before she stepped foot inside the John Hay Library. Her father would take her to Brown football games when she was a child. These early experiences with Brown athletics likely contributed to her affinity for the University and later influenced her work in the archives, said Gayle Lynch, senior library specialist. Mitchell returned to the University in the late 1940s, after taking a job at the Hay following her graduation from Tufts University. A few years later, Mitchell left the University to attend the Library School at McGill University. After earning her degree, she returned to College Hill to be the Pembroke College librarian. She took another hiatus to start a family but returned to the Hay in 1967 and remained there for the next 36 years. “People tend not to come to a university when they’re young and stay for a long time,” said University Curator Robert Emlen, a frequent collaborator with Mitchell. Today, members of the Hay’s staff still use the finding aids and programs that Mitchell designed, said Gayle Lynch,
senior library specialist. A lasting legacy
Lynch first met Mitchell in 1972 and remembers her as both a talented archivist and an inspirational boss. “She made this job very interesting,” Lynch said. “You wanted to come into work every day.” Lynch also recounted Mitchell’s incredible memory. Though she did not always remember the name of everyone she met, she remembered exactly what they had been wearing — from head to toe — the first time they walked into the archives, Lynch said. Emlen also said Mitchell had “an astonishing mind” and “a photographic memory” that contributed to her historical prowess. He recalled coming into the archives one day in search of a citation for an old photocopy of a story from a Pembroke College publication. The article had no date or source listed, but Mitchell was able to deduce the source from the design of the article. She found the date by remembering when the story was published and
immediately gave him the citation. For good measure, she looked up the publication in the archives and found it exactly where she thought it would be. Though her memory was extraordinary, Emlen said he believes Mitchell’s factual knowledge of Brown’s history is just a small part of what will be missed. “She understood very clearly, profoundly, how important the culture is at Brown and how we understand the culture through its history,” he said. In addition to writing the most comprehensive collection of information on the University in the form of the Encyclopedia Brunoniana, Mitchell also published a history book — “A Tale of Two Centuries: A Warm and Rich Pictorial History of Brown University.” Professor of English Elizabeth Taylor, co-director of the nonfiction writing program, began working with Mitchell in the late 1990s. “Pretty much only Martha knew where everything was because she had organized it,” she said. Taylor called her archive organization and the Encyclopedia Brunoniana “phe-
nomenal gifts to Brown.” Taylor also recalled Mitchell’s remarkable voice and her ability to go from “story to story,” in an entertaining way. “She was a super source, a great storyteller, very funny ... she would enthrall us with her numerous memories,” Taylor said. A “caretaker” of history
Throughout her tenure at Brown, Mitchell ensured that she passed down as much knowledge as possible. Both Raymond Butti, library associate specialist, and Lynch refer to Mitchell as a mentor. Butti also credits her with inspiring him to take time off work to pursue a Library degree, much like she had. “She was generous in her knowledge,” Butti said. “I’ve tried to guide the archives according to her vision.” There is no doubt that Mitchell was treasured by the University and many of the people here. “With her death, we lost a source that was very valuable,” Taylor said. “She was a caretaker of Brown’s history,” Lynch said. “I wish we had more time to tap the source.”
Q&A with Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse ’11 Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse ’11, the youngest mayor in Holyoke’s history, called The Herald from his City Hall office last week to talk about his first five weeks as mayor. As an undergraduate, Morse worked at Providence City Hall for three years under the tutelage of then-Mayor David Cicilline ’83. As part of a speaker series sponsored by the Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions, he returned to campus for the first time since his election yesterday to share his experiences. You have been very involved with community and school organizations in Providence, at Brown and in Holyoke, Mass. What do you think best prepared you for a job in politics?
I think it was a combination of things. I think it was obviously my coursework at Brown in urban studies, taking classes with people like (Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy) Pat McGuigan with (PPAI 1700R: “Urban Revitalization: Lessons from the Providence Plan”); (Professor of Political Science) Marion Orr, my concentration adviser; (Director of Urban Studies) Hilary Silver with the homelessness course; my internship at Providence City Hall in the mayor’s office my sophomore year. And then my intense involvement back here at home, even while a student at Brown. I worked at a career center as a career counselor here, did a lot of community organizing, political involvement — working on other local campaigns — and things like that. So while at Brown I still stayed incredibly connected to my hometown of Holyoke. And how did these jobs help prepare you to become the mayor?
I think it was a broader understanding of urban issues and how
they interact with each other. Obviously, I think my time at Brown provided me with a perspective, like practical tools and a way to think about issues like education, economic development, downtown revitalization. In your first month as mayor, have you made any progress towards reforming and improving conditions in the city?
Just on Friday night, I did a ride along with the police department, to sort of get a better understanding. We’ve launched a new community policing initiative. We are going to be looking toward police dogs. We have a new community policing substation in one of the neighborhoods of the city. So on my ride along on Friday night, I interacted with local bodegas and markets, small businesses and barber shops in the area just to increase relationships between the police department and the residents in the community. Going to the apartment buildings and just building relationships is something important to me. In terms of economic development, just last night, the City Council unanimously approved an expanded tax incentive program for new businesses and existing businesses who expand or create new jobs in the city. That’s something that I campaigned on throughout the campaign — more incentives for businesses to foster an environment for economic development. What have been the most challenging aspects of your new job as mayor? As a recent college graduate and the city’s first openly gay mayor, have you encountered any biases in your term so far?
The age thing has come up, mostly as sort of a humorous aspect of something. I make fun of myself all the
time for my age, just to lighten the mood a little bit. Most of my employees are older than my parents, which we laugh about sometimes. Sexuality, not really. It hasn’t really come up too much. … Just getting to know the different people, and the different political players and knowing who’s with who and navigating the city councilors and the school committee and trying to bring together different coalitions to get a certain initiative passed or supported I think is always a challenge in any elected official’s job. What or who has helped ease your transition from college student to Holyoke mayor?
It was never sort of black and white, college on to campaign to mayor. Even throughout my four years at Brown, I was incredibly involved back in Holyoke. I traveled back and forth on a regular basis. My senior year, I didn’t even live in Providence. I lived in Holyoke and went to Providence a couple days a week for my classes. I already had an established presence here even before I launched my candidacy, which was an asset. Having had the chance to work in larger-city politics in Providence and smaller-city politics in Holyoke, how do the two compare?
This is obviously very empowering. I can actually get things done, bring people together, convene meetings that bring results for the city. In issues important to me, I can bring them before the council or before the voters and make something happen. I think that’s what’s completely different about this. … I’m the CEO of the city, pretty much, and everything has to pretty much come on my desk for approval or disapproval.
In a recent interview with the Boston Globe, you discussed the environment of “privilege and wealth” at Brown. How did seeing this wealth students affect you?
I think it just reminded me of how lucky I am to live in the city of Holyoke and live in a community where people have worked hard their entire lives to get where they are. It’s a blue-collar community where it’s a city but has a small town feel. And the city has a sense of community in that you can always count on your neighbor or someone else in the city to support you. And, I think, at times we needed, this community always comes together in a way that I’ve never seen in other cities. … I think that was something that I really realized throughout my time at Brown, is that I’m incredibly lucky to want to return home to my community, to my family, to my city and give back to my hometown. I think too often young people think that they have to go far in order to make a difference. They forget about their own backyard. Providence has asked Brown to contribute more to the city and has considered revoking the University’s tax-exempt status, provoking a heated debate between the University and the city. What is your take on the controversy?
As a mayor, (I think) it’s important that we expand or explore all options to bring revenue into cities. So even in the city of Holyoke, I’m bringing together a (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) group … because Holyoke does have a high percentage of non-profit organizations, and the city should have a policy, or some sort of precedent to approach these organizations and give revenue back to the city. For the most part, I support the intent of those initiatives.
Besides working on those PILOT programs, what do you hope to achieve in the next couple of months?
I’m hoping to work with local banks to create a grant and low interest loan fund for small businesses. One of our challenges is to create a good quality of life in the downtown. We have a lack of restaurants, bars, cafes in the downtown around the city hall and around our arts and entertainment district, so it’s important that I explore ways in which we could direct incentives through grants and loans to those businesses who want to move here or expand or move from a different part of the community to the heart of downtown. Because we are still dark after 5 p.m., and it’s really important that we light up the downtown and bring people down here and give them a reason to work here and a reason to live here. How would you instruct other students hoping to pursue a similar career?
It’s important to return to where your roots are. I think that’s the number one rule, and just to be heartfelt and sincere. … I think it’s important to surround yourself with good people, have good mentors and be incredibly focused on your goal, because I didn’t become mayor overnight. It was something that I worked towards for many, many years as an organizer, cultivating relationships over the last five or six years that allowed me to win this election. And then just work incredibly hard. I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t knock on every door in Holyoke, meet with everybody for over a year and a half, one on one, talking about my campaign. — Margaret Nickens
Published on Feb 15, 2012