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daily herald the Brown

vol. cxxii, no. 70

INSIDE

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

New U. fund supports interdisciplinary efforts By jennifer kaplan staff writer

falls for Titus, goes Gangnam Page 3

Laptop bandits Student wakes up as thieves flee Zete dorm room

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Dance brawl Cranston’s father-daughter dance ban ignites debate today

tomorrow

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71 / 53

From a class about downtown Providence to a workshop on puppet theater, the Humanities Initiative Collaborative Research and Teaching Fund has allotted over $100,000 in grant money to faculty projects in its first-ever round of funding this year. The initiative launched last year after an anonymous gift of $3 million, said Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin P’12, who currently heads the fund. “(The) idea is to try to leverage some interesting groups of faculty doing work here who might be in different disciplines (and) might not have the ability to work together because they might not have the resources to have a conference or to invite a guest,” McLaughlin said. The initiative is focused on promoting collaboration among the humanities and across disciplines, McLaughlin

added. In a newsletter to faculty members, McLaughlin wrote that the initiative’s support will take two forms — grants for “projects centered on humanistic interests” and funds to hire six new faculty positions in the humanities. So far, one faculty member has been appointed, and eight projects are in the works. The first appointee under the initiative, Paul Guyer, the Jonathan Nelson professor of humanities and philosophy, is beginning a series of interdisciplinary courses this semester and will start a collaborative project next semester. Guyer’s humanities department class examines philosophies of art in the 18th century. The class will be the first of a series examining similar subject matter across different centuries, he said. “The goal is to bring my own approach to these subjects to a wider range of students than might otherwise f i nd out / / Initiative page 2

acq ua co n f u o co

Emily Gilbert / Herald

After 18 years in Providence, WaterFire is travelling to Rome for its inaugural installation on the Tiber River. See page 8.

Paxson discusses new strategic plan at BUCC meeting By Tonya Riley Senior Staff Writer

About a dozen audience members attended President Christina Paxson’s first Brown University Community Council meeting as president yesterday in the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. Along with Paxson, nearly half of the members of the BUCC were new. Discussion of a new strategic planning process and updates on the recent online education initiative dominated most of the meeting. Building on the work of Provost Mark Schlissel P’15 and following an August retreat for senior administrators and faculty members, the University hopes to develop a new strategic planning process that would be true

to University traditions and still operate “on a time scale that is efficient,” Paxson said. “It’s a really great time for us to take what we’re doing to really tell the world about it and tell the Brown community about it and lead that into a capital campaign,” Paxson said, citing the University’s upcoming 250th anniversary in 2014 as the motivation for the new plan. Goals of the new strategic planning process include increasing the University’s global and local impact, increasing excellence in teaching and research and providing the necessary financial aid to appeal to a diverse and talented student body, Schlissel said. One of the new plan’s committees will focus on faculty recruitment, re-

tention development and diversity, ensuring that Brown provides existing professors with the resources they need while attracting new leading professors. “We can’t serve as a farm team for other institutions,” he said. Another committee will focus on developing new spaces to facilitate teaching both in the Knowledge District and on College Hill. A committee addressing an expansion of financial aid will also be formed. Much of the initial research on financial aid at the University is done, and it is just a matter of balancing financial aid with other priorities, Paxson said. In addition to the School of Engineering, Brown Institute for Brain Science and the proposed school of

public health, the University is looking to develop two or three more new major efforts, Schlissel said. Committees for the new strategic planning process should be launched by October and complete plans by the end of spring semester. Most committees will include undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty representatives. Another general focus of the new strategic planning committee will be re-evaluating and enhancing the 43-year-old New Curriculum and how it applies to the 21st century student, who increasingly seeks to split time between the traditional four-year degree and the real world, said Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron. / / BUCC page 2 “It’s con-

New Protestant chaplain hopes to serve all students By brittany nieves contributing writer

BRITTANY NIEVES / HERALD

New Protestant Chaplain Rev. Kirstin Boswell-Ford joined the University this summer after serving as Protestant chaplain at Bentley University.

Associate University Chaplain for the Protestant Community Rev. Kirstin Boswell-Ford joined the Office of Chaplains and Religious Life this summer after being hired in mid-May. “It all started with an email,” Boswell-Ford said. “I saw the position posted, and it seemed a phenomenal fit.” But the hiring process that followed was not quite as simple — “it was a pretty grueling process,” she said. The search process for a new chaplain began in March. A description of the job was circulated through numerous emails and publications, and a committee was created to read through the applications and then choose a finalist. The search committee included University Chaplain Rev. Janet Cooper Nelson, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Africana Studies Corey Walker and Associate University Chaplain for the Roman Catholic Community Henry Bodah, among oth-

since 1891

ers. After numerous interviews, three finalists were brought to the University in early May. The search committee was specifically seeking a candidate with a love for education as well as an innate ability to connect with others, Cooper Nelson said. “We hoped for a leader who would have real traction with the whole Brown community,” Cooper Nelson added. “We decided (Boswell-Ford) meets our hopes.” Boswell-Ford “made a good impression, being an articulate person of education with a calm kindness,” Bodah said. The new chaplain hails from Beachwood, Ohio. She later moved to Cleveland and then to London, where she attended high school. Religion was a central focus for Boswell-Ford throughout her childhood, both in the U.S. and abroad, she said. Her family visited a variety of houses of worship and witnessed different / / Chaplain page 2 demonstra-

UCS reps selected at first meeting By Katherine Cusumano Senior Staff Writer

The Undergraduate Council of Students filled vacant positions, and its committee chairs outlined initial goals for the year during the council’s first general body meeting of the semester Wednesday night. The general body members selected representatives to 14 positions. Kyra Mungia ’13 was elected communications chair, Gregory Chatzinoff ’15 was elected UCS-UFB liaison and parliamentarian, Sazzy Gourley ’16 was elected appointments chair and Alana Bhatla ’16 will fill the webmaster position. Maahika Srinivasan ’15 was elected corporation liaison, and Jon Vu ’15 was elected alumni relations liaison. The Ivy Council policy chair position was filled by Asia Nelson ’15. The three UCS representatives to the Faculty Executive Committee are Andrea Wistuba Behrens ’16, Christine Mullen ’16 and Woo-Hyun Byun ’16. Katharina Goetzeler ’16 was elected representative to the Late Night Fund, and Tsvetomira Dumbalska ’16 was appointed UCS representative to the Student Athlete Committee. Candidates gave short speeches describing their personal histories and experiences. “This year, my thing will be Facebook,” said Mungia, who ran uncontested. Following the speeches, the floor was open to questions. Treasurer Sam Gilman ’15 asked every candidate for Corporation liaison, who will be the conduit to the highest governing body of the University, / / UCS page 3


2 campus news / / Initiative page 1

c alendar Today

Sept. 20

4 P.M.

ToMORROW

Sept. 21

8 p.m.

Diaries of the Syrian Revolution

Production Workshop’s “ORDET”

Watson Institute

TF Green, Downspace

6 p.m.

9 p.m.

Brown RISD Art Science Event

Brown Stand Up Comics

Granoff Center

Metcalf 101

menu SHARPE REFECTORY

VERNEy-WOOLLEY DINING HALL

LUNCH Grilled Ham & Swiss Cheese Sandwich, Grilled Cheese on White, Cheese Ravioli with Pink Vodka Sauce

Vegan Mediterranean Stew, Swiss Broccoli Pasta, Gourmet Roast Turkey Sandwich, Ham and Bean Soup

DINNER Vegan BBQ Tempeh, Texas BBQ Brisket, Sweet & White Potato Au Gratin, Yellow Beans with Marinara

the brown daily herald Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tilapia with Provencale, Orange Chipotle Glazed Tofu, Orange Pad Thai, Lemon Rice

Sudoku

about them and to myself learn from a wider range of students who are working in different disciplines,” Guyer said. “That always makes it interesting.” In the spring and fall 2013 semesters, Guyer will co-teach a class with Rolf-Peter Horstmann, professor emeritus at Humboldt University in Berlin, about “realism, idealism and alternative responses to reality,” Guyer said. His goal for the project is to unite students from different concentrations and to conduct collaborative teaching that would not be possible without the grant, Guyer added. The initiative is also funding a class this semester entitled “Reimagining Providence,” which will bring together Dietrich Neumann, professor of history of art and architecture; Friedrich St. Florian, dean and professor emeritus at the Rhode Island School of Design; and Yale Professor of Architecture Ed Mitchell. The fund will allow for the collaboration with Mitchell, who is teaching a similar course about downtown Providence at Yale, according to

/ /Chaplain page 1

RELEASE DATE– Thursday, September 20, 2012

Los AngelesCrossword Times Daily Crossword Puzzle Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis

ACROSS 1 Former Astros, A’s and Mets manager Art 5 Arabian Peninsula title 9 Nonpaying rail rider 13 “Skip me this time, thanks” 15 Princess once allied with Hercules 16 Each 17 Mattress brand 18 Finished 19 Laugh-a-minute type 20 GM compact that replaced the Cobalt 23 Soft spreads 24 Asserted 25 Teams of fliers 28 Loss by #1, say 29 Opposite of 1Down 30 B.C. Lions’ org. 33 School-to-be? 34 Does some impromptu singing 36 Mineral in a wall, perhaps 37 Super Bowl highlights, for many 38 Dortmund’s region 39 It’s a wrap 41 “Vanilla Sky” actress 44 Prepare for a bath 47 Hobbyist’s cutting brand 48 Ocean holiday 51 Student aid 52 Beatles meter maid 53 Stirs up 55 DOD branch 56 D’back, for one 57 Diplomat 58 Eyelid concern 59 Part of CBS: Abbr. 60 Email button

bovines DOWN 31 38-Across 43 72 for 18, often spouse 1 Opposite of 2944 Passing grade 32 Emmy winner Across that won’t please Kay 2 The UAE has parents 34 Aloe targets been a member 45 Words of defeat 35 With a smile on of it since 1967 46 Sordid one’s face 3 Cavalry carriers 49 Seine 38 Speed Wagons, 4 George’s mom summers e.g. on “Seinfeld” 50 North Carolina 39 Stable 5 Make public school 6 Dessert preceder 40 Lawsuits 54 Pink Floyd 41 Frolic 7 How backroom guitarist Barrett 42 Vehicle pulled by deals are conducted ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE: 8 Desert dangers 9 Ed of “Apollo 13” 10 __ den 11 Drink in a belt 12 Chose 14 “Don’t throw that away” 21 “Apollo 13” director Howard 22 Sounds near the ears 25 __ of invincibility 26 Song-holding gadget 27 2011 Masters champ Schwartzel 30 Like an etcher’s 09/20/12 xwordeditor@aol.com acid

tions of faith, she said.“I gained a bigger appreciation for the breadth and depth of religion,” she added. This appreciation of religion permeated her professional life. Boswell-Ford worked as a director of operations for the International Association of Black Religions and Spiritualities, a nonprofit in Chicago, Ill. She also worked as the Protestant chaplain at Bentley University in Massachusetts. As part of her transition to the University this fall, Boswell-Ford has given public talks and preached in Manning Chapel. “There was a sense of comfort right from the beginning,” Boswell-Ford said. “The environment is one where there seems to be a great deal of care for students, staff and faculty.” As chaplain, she will serve as a support system for the student body. The Office of Chaplains and Religious Life

/ / BUCC page 1 strained by fundraising priorities and how we can actually make something work. It’s not going to be a clear cut, let’s-take-a-vote process,” Paxson said of the new initiatives. Bergeron also updated the audience on the new initiative for online courses and addressed BUCC member

/ / Elections page 8

McLaughlin’s newsletter. Professor of Theater and Performance Studies Kym Moore received a grant allowing Alejandra Prieto, who manages an internationally renowned Spanish puppet theater company, to come to Brown for a residency this semester. Prieto is teaching a class with Moore this semester and is also collaborating with Erik Ehn, professor of theater arts and performance studies, on his play, “Yermedea RAW,” part of a series of 17 plays titled “Soulographie: Our Genocides,” which opens in New York City in November. “Puppetry has many artistic forms included — you have painting, you have sculpture, you have video projections, (you) can work with animation puppetry,” Prieto said. “It’s about collaboration.” This residency is Prieto’s third at Brown. “I think it’s all about the exchange of knowledge,” she said of her experience at the University. “I’m here, and I’m learning, too.” Two separate grants will fund the visits of two professors this fall, who will each conduct at least one semi-

nar and one lecture, as well as meet informally with faculty and students, McLaughlin said. The professors — Jennifer Gonzalez, associate professor of history of art and visual culture at University of California at Santa Cruz and Andrew Laird, professor of classics and ancient history at the University of Warwick — could eventually become candidates for the five humanities positions that remain vacant under the initiative, McLaughlin said. Additional projects being funded this round include a symposium entitled, “The Thought of AIDS: Humanities and the Epidemic,” with Associate Professor of English and Associate Professor of Modern Culture and Media Jacques Khalip, and a multi-year international project called “Habits of Living: Global Networks, Local Effects,” led by Professor of MCM Wendy Chun, among others. “We have funding and would like to grow and expand over the coming years moving into President (Christina) Paxson’s term,” McLaughlin said. The next round of the bianually awarded grants will be reviewed in October.

provides assistance and advising for students with and without religious backgrounds. “I think one thing that’s very important is that people are encouraged and free to stop by, even if they’re not Protestant, not any of the religions in this hall or not even religious,” BoswellFord said. “This is a space for everyone.” Being a chaplain comes with several challenges, as accommodating the variety of beliefs at the University can prove a difficult task. “Our task is to try to wrap our arms in care around the Brown family without knowing what will be needed,” Cooper Nelson said. Due to the perpetuation of stereotypes and a lack of knowledge regarding different beliefs, another challenge chaplains face is to increase religious literacy among the University community, Cooper Nelson added. “Religion is put in a special category, as if religious people are doing

something more biased or narrow,” she explained. The task, she said, is to “let everyone know this is their home.” One way the office plans to tackle the problem this semester is through the “B Literate: Religion” project, which provides “a chance to explain questions, boundaries and a way of thinking from the inside of another way of thinking,” Cooper Nelson said. “The hope is that we can move beyond belittling conversations to ‘what’s going on here?’” With the addition of Boswell-Ford, the office hopes to strengthen its role as a support mechanism for students. “We are hoping her impact will be salutary,” Cooper Nelson said. “We are hoping her impact will be on whole community.” “I’m most looking forward to growing relationships with students and colleagues,” Boswell-Ford said. “I’ve already met such amazing people I deeply respect. … I’m always excited for what the day may bring.”

concerns. Anne Fausto-Sterling PhD’70, professor of biology, wondered if pressure on faculty to include innovative uses of technology in their courses would hurt junior professors because of the time the task would require. Several other committee members also expressed concerns about the effectiveness of the new online courses.

But Paxson said the University currently plans to proceed with the program on a limited basis and that ultimately the program will hopefully reduce teaching burdens and benefit students. Schlissel said the University is still learning about the potential of online courses, adding that most peer institutions are in a similar position.

R.I. House of Representatives The Rhode Island Board of Elec-

tions has finalized the last outstanding race from last week’s primary elections, announcing that Rep. William San Bento Jr., D-Pawtucket and North Providence, won District 58’s Democratic primary by one vote. After the first tally, the race was close enough for a judge to grant challenger Carlos Tobon’s request for a recount. One recount gave Bento a one-vote margin of victory, another put him up by two and a third showed the race in a dead heat. The unusually close vote caused havoc for state officials, who spent much of Monday searching for a mail-in-ballot that was allegedly not counted. Bento will not face an opponent in November’s general election, virtually assuring his return to the State House.

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the brown daily herald Thursday, September 20, 2012

city & state 3

Democratic primary results may bode well for marriage equality By Ria Mirchandani contributing writer

In the hours after vote tallies for Rhode Island’s Sept. 11 Democratic primaries started to pour in, political analysts and newspapers rushed to interpret what the results meant for the future of same sex-marriage in the state. “Tonight’s Democratic primaries were not kind to gay marriage supporters, who claimed just one of six key state Senate races,” reported Maggie Gallagher for the Providence Phoenix blog Sept. 11. But Ray Sullivan, campaign director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island and of Fight Back R.I., disagreed with that interpretation. Even after the primaries, Sullivan said he is still certain about the state’s prospects for legalizing same-sex marriage. Contrary to reports in several online blogs and newspaper articles, marriage equality supporters won nine races of the 19 they had endorsed — two in the Senate and seven in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, Sullivan said. “We had (a) few very big wins in Tuesday’s primaries,” he added. “We knocked off an anti-equality incumbent, Sen. Michael Pinga, D-West-Warick, and also helped Ryan Pearson (representing Cumberland and Lincoln), secure a win.” The victories of Pearson and Adam Satchell, who ran successfully against Pinga, were two wins for gay marriage supporters in the Senate. Five other endorsed races for Senate seats were

unsuccessful, but Sullivan said that the two big wins in the Senate and several more in the House were a “good boost in momentum as we start to focus on the races for the general elections in November.” Laura Pisaturo’s Warwick Senate race was one that garnered particular attention and support throughout the state. The fact that Pisaturo’s loss was so narrow was impressive, since she was attempting the difficult task of dislodging an incumbent in a primary,” said Denis Dison, vice president of communications for the Gay and Lesbian Fund, an organization that endorsed Pisaturo. Incumbent Sen. Michael McCaffrey, D-Warwick, held office for 18 years and had the whole Senate behind him, said Rep. Frank Ferri, D-Warwick. “Even though (Pisaturo) didn’t win the position, her race was a win for me because of the support she got for marriage equality. She brought out the voters — in the 2010 primaries, there were a total of 2,500 votes cast in the district, but this year there were a little more than 3,400 votes cast, and she received over 1,600 of them,” he said. Ferri said that Pisaturo, who is openly gay, did not run her race purely on the grounds of marriage equality, though he said the press and her opponent tried to emphasize that aspect. But her loss by a mere 227 votes should be a wake-up call to the Senate, making them pause to consider the enormous amount of support marriage equality has gained in the state, Ferri said.

Her race aimed to replace “the politics of division and inequality with policies of inclusion, compassion and equality,” Pisaturo wrote in an email to The Herald. Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox, D-Providence, has promised to bring the House to a vote on gay marriage next year. Sen. Rhoda Perry P’91, D-Providence, who originally sponsored the bill in the General Assembly seven years ago, said she recognizes that the majority of the House is pro-marriage equality and said she does not believe that it will be difficult for the bill to pass. “The Senate is more conservative, and we don’t have as many pro-equality members there, but as a result of these primaries, we might be a little closer,” she said. But it is important to wait for the results of the general elections in November to get a true sense of the course marriage equality will take in Rhode Island, Perry said. Greg Pare, director of communications for Sen. Teresa Paiva-Weed, DJamestown and Newport, who is personally opposed to gay marriage, echoed the sentiment. Sullivan said he believes that marriage equality is the right thing, not just for the state but also for humanity. “It’s a civil right — all R.I. citizens, regardless of who they choose to love, should be respected and treated equally in the eyes of the law,” he said. “There are more pro-equality members in the House and Senate than there ever were

Student arrested for alleged theft By mark valdez Senior Staff Writer

Joe Royo ’14 and Xavius Dorego, a Providence resident with no University affiliation, were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly stealing a student’s laptop and cell phone from her Marcy House room, said Paul Shanley, deputy chief of police for the Department of Public Safety. The theft victim, a member of Zeta Delta Xi fraternity who asked to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, said she had been asleep in her single when she woke up around 5:30 a.m. to the sight of an unknown person leaving with her laptop. Zete member Nathan Van Winkle ’13 called the Department of Public Safety

campus news

/ / UCS page 1 what they feel are currently the biggest issues facing Brown. Following elections, White passed the floor to each of the executive board members to describe their committees. Each committee chair briefly outlined their plans for the coming semester. Manya-Jean Gitter ’14, academics and administrations affairs chair, described her group as a “big idea committee.” She said her committee may focus on improving Department Undergraduate Groups. Gilman said he wants to help student service groups get additional funding. Mungia said the communications committee will grant its members the opportunity to speak with President

after the victim knocked on his door in a panic saying someone had been in her room, he said. “DPS’s response was impressive,” he said, adding that officers “came in from every entrance of the house.” Van Winkle said while he was talking with officers in the lobby, he noticed two males he did not recognize as Marcy residents carrying a backpack and a laptop. “I then shouted to DPS, ‘Hey! I don’t think those guys live in this house,’” Van Winkle said. The individuals were immediately detained, and Van Winkle confirmed that the laptop belonged to the victim. Royo and Dorego were each charged with burglary, conspiracy and possession of stolen goods in value exceeding $1,500, Shanley said. Royo was also charged with possession of marijuana, he said. The two men have been arraigned in court and given court dates. Christina Paxson through filmed “fireside chats,” intimate videos with University figures that are streamed online. UCS began developing these videos in 2011. Highlighted administrators have included Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron and former President Ruth Simmons. White said UCS will be working with the Brown University Community Council toward “strategic planning” — that is, how the University will progress over the next 10 to 20 years. This includes financial aid, online education, expansion of the campus and curricular changes, among others, he concluded. Bergeron and Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life, will be attending next week’s meeting.

The Marcy theft was followed by a cell phone robbery in front of the Watson Institute for International Studies on Thayer Street around 11:38 p.m. Monday, according to a DPS weekly crime and incident summary. The victim, a Rhode Island School of Design student whose identity was not disclosed, was talking on her phone in front of the Watson Institute when someone grabbed it from her hand and ran away, Shanley said. The Providence Police Department has begun an investigation, but the perpetrator has not been caught, he said. The frequency of cell phone and laptop thefts at this point in the semester remains about the same as last year, Shanley said, adding that he urges students to exercise caution with their valuables.

KIm PERLEY / HERALD

Though some disagree, many experts believe the Democratic primary election results will be a boon to state supporters of same-sex marriage. in history, and even though they are not in a majority in the Senate yet, it’s only a matter of time before we elect a promarriage equality majority and pass this civil rights legislature,” he said. “Even though we have civil unions in R.I., it does not award the same civil rights as marriage. Separate but equal does not work in our country, and full civil rights for LGBT families is our goal,” Dison said. Marriage equality is good for the state because it is good for families, Ferri said. “When families thrive, the state thrives,” he said.

The fact that neighboring states such as Massachusetts have already enacted a marriage equality law has cast the spotlight more intensely on Rhode Island. “The enactment of the law in Massachusetts shows that marriage equality has not ripped asunder the relationship between a man and a woman getting married, just because a man and man or woman and a woman get married. Traditional marriage is still going on and is fine,” Perry said. Rhode Island and Maine are the only two states in the New England area that have not yet legalized same-sex marriage.

Thanks for Reading!


4 campus news

the brown daily herald Thursday, September 20, 2012

Documentary explores Japanese internment By Mariya Bashkatova Staff Writer

Themes of division were explored yesterday at the screening of “A Divided Community: 3 Personal Stories of Resistance,” a documentary directed by Momo Yashima about Japanese interment. Through the stories of three men, the film focused on American citizens of Japanese ancestry who refused and protested the United States military draft during World War II while living in internment camps. The screening, which took place in the Center for Information Technology, was sponsored by the Department of American Studies. Through extensive interviews and photographs, Yashima explores the contradictions inherent in imprisoning a group of people for potential disloyalty to the U.S., then requiring them to fight in its army. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Executive Order 9066 forced 120,000 people of Japanese descent on the West Coast to be relocated to 10 internment camps scattered across the country. The young men living in the camps were still subject to the draft, but some resisted and were imprisoned. This refusal to fight caused a rift within the Japanese-American community. The “Resisters of Conscience” were accused of disloyalty and of ruining the image of the Japanese in America, Yashima said in a panel after the screening. “This is how the community is divided. And it’s still so, so strong today.” Eric Muller ’84, professor of law in jurisprudence and ethics at the University of North Carolina, and Michelle Cho, postdoctoral fellow in international humanities, joined Yashima in the panel discussion, which was moderated by Associate Professor of History Naoko Shibusawa. Another meaningful divide stems

from a rift between generations, the desire of American-born Japanese to fit in and internalized racism, Shibusawa said. Sometimes it is easier to go after the people in your own community than to protest inequality in the government or in society in general, she said. Yashima highlighted the very young age of the draft resisters, who were the first generation of Japanese children born in America. “At 18, you’re stupid!” she joked. The pull to assimilate into the culture of the country you are born in, is very strong, and children are often embarrassed by their “foreign” parents, leading to a split, she said. “We have to get the story to the kids so you guys can make a decision about what’s important to you. And this is how change is going to happen,” Yashima said, stressing the importance of awareness of the past. Muller delved into the legal issues of protesting the draft. While researching 1940s legal law, Muller was confronted by the “jarring discontinuity that exists between law and what we believe the Constitution stands for.” Though the Japanese-Americans who protested the draft were morally justified, it was not clear that their defense was based on a clear legal principle, he said. “Law and morality are not the same thing,” Muller said. When the crowd of 60 people in the audience were asked if they had ever heard about the “Resisters of Conscience,” only a few people raised their hands. “If we don’t look at these things and we don’t start forgiving and reaching out, we lose everything,” Yashima said. Today at noon, Muller will present color photographs from the Heart Mountain Internment Camp in the John Nicholas Brown Library to further honor the 70th anniversary of the internment.


the brown daily herald Thursday, September 20, 2012

Father-daughter dance ban sparks controversy By Morgan Johnson Senior Staff Writer

To promote his ongoing protest of the Cranston School District’s ban on “father-daughter” dances and other gender-exclusive events, Republican State Senate candidate Sean Gately released a written statement Monday and appeared on the program “Fox & Friends” yesterday to voice his intent to lift the ban if elected to office. Gately, who was interviewed in a segment of the program called “PC Police,” said he found out about the ban a week ago when his wife learned the annual “mother-son” dance at their son’s school would not occur as a result of the recent ban. The restriction was implemented last May when Judith Lundsten, thenassistant superintendent and now the current superintendent, met with school officials in response to a letter from Steven Brown, executive director for the Rhode Island affiliate American Civil Liberties Union, and Carolyn Mark, president of the state chapter of National Organization for Women. The letter specifically objected to an upcoming “Me and My Guy Dinner Dance” hosted by a local school’s parent-teacher organization, which was simultaneously planning a trip to a minor league baseball game for male students and their mothers.

School officials informed the single mother who filed the complaint with the local ACLU that she could attend the dance with her daughter, but they did not change the name of the dance or the baseball event. “Public schools have no business fostering the notion that girls prefer to go to formal dances while boys prefer baseball games,” Brown said in a statement responding to Gately’s press release. “I just think that this is the local ACLU kind of bullying our school system,” Gately said. If he wins the election Nov. 6, he said he will advocate an amendment to the state’s Title IX law so that it does not prohibit genderspecific events for parents and children, an exemption that already exists in the federal law. He added that the ACLU’s Rhode Island affiliate has a precedent for “taking advantage of communities like (Cranston) that don’t have a lot of cash on hand.” Cranston Mayor Allan Fung spoke out in opposition to the ban in his own statement released the day after Gately’s. “I have been flooded with calls from angry parents,” he said. “In the zeal to protect people who feel they are being disenfranchised, this policy has completely denied our children of one of the most cherished traditions in their school experience.”

campus news 5 comics Fly by Night | Adam Kopp

Minor Inconveniences | Lily Goodspeed

Cashew Apples | Will Ruehle


6 editorial & letter Editorial

the brown daily herald Thursday, September 20, 2012

Editorial cartoon b y a n g e l i a wa n g

Protesting intolerance Last week, in the Libyan city of Benghazi, American Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three members of his staff were killed in a mob attack on the American consulate. In the following days, protesters rioted outside U.S. buildings in Egypt, Tunisia and many other countries with large Muslim populations. The question of what caused these clashes has prompted debates around the world, but whether an angry civilian mob or an organized terrorist group caused Ambassador Stevens’ death, the violence has unleashed a toxic media firestorm. The recent riots have prompted a worrying blame game between the United States and the Middle East. Cultural and religious stereotyping has reached new heights in this age of digital media, and we believe our generation should be more informed and discerning about both international events and other cultural perspectives. Ostensibly, Muslim populations are rioting across the region because of an American-made film whose trailer was recently released on YouTube. The video, near-cartoonish in its execution, depicts the life of the Muslim prophet Muhammad in an unflattering light. In fact, the message of the film is generally anti-Islam. Many non-Muslims have expressed disbelief that a 14-minute video could prompt such an intense popular reaction — but in this, we need to be more culturally sensitive. To many Muslims, the trailer is not a laughable few minutes. It mocks their Prophet, something that is forbidden in Islam. We do not, of course, condone acts of violence against an entire country because of the unfortunate actions of a select few. The first step in cultural awareness, though, is realizing that while we may not understand such reactions, they still merit thorough examination. At a time when a mere photo or video can become a global Internet sensation in a matter of minutes, the need for cultural sensitivity becomes even more acute. Footage of the riots and articles about Ambassador Stevens’ record of public service circulated around social media websites, prompting angry — and instant — reactions from Americans everywhere. This, in turn, sparked anti-Muslim sentiments in a variety of forms, from personal blog posts to the recent issue of Newsweek featuring a cover warning of the spread of “Muslim rage.” When such information and reactions are as readily available to the world as they are today, we need to be even more discerning and sensitive about how we react. It may be a knee-jerk reaction to be outraged about the events in the Middle East, but what is more important than reacting strongly and immediately is to look at the facts of the case, and try to understand each other’s point of view. One of the few positive manifestations of this back-and-forth media discourse was a peaceful protest staged last week by Benghazi Muslims, who apologized to Americans for the consulate attack and defended the name of Islam. But should these protests even be necessary? As educated students and community members, it is our duty to promote cultural awareness and understanding rather than discrimination, and to consider carefully before we post those reactions for the world to see.

Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to editorials@browndailyherald.com.

le t ter Brown provides a range of options for leave-takers To the Editor: I am writing in response to Cara Newlon’s ’14.5 editorial about Brown’s medical leave policy for students (“A pattern of prejudice,” Sept. 19). Brown’s medical leave policy was formulated with two primary aims: (1) to encourage students to prioritize their health care, and (2) to support students in their academic success. In other words, there are moments when a student’s health might require more attention than it can be given while enrolled in a semester, and we want to encourage students and their families to make good decisions about when a student might not be able to perform academically at his or her potential because of a health issue that is interfering. These are the moments when we talk to students about taking a medical leave. The two-semester time frame is a general parameter for medical leaves to permit treatment and “a sustained period of recovery” that helps to ensure that students are ready to return and take on a full course load. When a student submits a request to return from medical leave, even after one semester away, each case is evaluated individually with careful consideration of any supporting documentation from the student’s health care provider. It is not common that a one semester leave will allow for a period of recovery when dealing with a complicated medical issue, but it can. In situations where a student has a rapid or dramatic improvement and the health care provider supports a return to university, we will approve a return. Ms. Newlon is concerned that it is difficult for students to

take courses at other universities while on leave. The transfer of course credits is a separate issue and is dependent on how the University evaluates academic credit hours. In many cases, the decision about taking courses at another university is going to depend on how well a student is feeling and how much time he or she needs to devote to their treatment or recovery. For some students, a part-time courseload could work and would allow for some academic progress. For others, they need the time to get better and will wait until their return to Brown to continue their studies. For all medical issues, the Offices of the Dean of the College and Campus Life work with students to manage their individual circumstances with the aim that they return to Brown ready to be successful in reaching their academic goals. Personal leaves are not intended for situations where a medical condition is the reason for the leave, and we have been more careful in the review of leave requests to make sure that they are managed appropriately. A student taking a leave because of a family emergency, job opportunity, or some other interest should have a different process for leave and return. For students who would like more information about leavetaking, please consult the websites for the Offices of Student Life and the Dean of the College. Deans are also willing to meet and discuss these options. Margaret Klawunn Vice president for campus life and student services

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An article in Wednesday’s Herald (“Theses drop under new IR rules,” Sept. 19) incorrectly stated that the Watson Institute for International Studies was behind the changes to the international relations concentration requirements and that no international relations concentrators in the class of 2013 were completing a thesis. In fact, the Watson Institute was not responsible for changes to the international relations program, and three concentrators from the senior class will be writing an international relations thesis. The Herald regrets the errors.

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opinions 7

the brown daily herald Thursday, September 20, 2012

Responsibility to protect (ourselves) zach ingber Opinions Columnist

A column in Tuesday’s Herald suggested not only that study abroad programs are relatively frivolous, but also that circumventing State Department travel advisories is an acceptable way to have a meaningful international encounter (“Want a real international experience? Take time off,” Sept. 18). Katie Sola ’14 posited that independently venturing into Lebanon, or any other country, is in fact the “correct” way to go abroad. Her message is wrong and potentially dangerous — she is suggesting that we ignore crucial security warnings so that we can have a meaningful “experience.” Just because we are intelligent students and desire enriching experiences, we shouldn’t have a false sense of invincibility, nor should we undermine and disregard the security measures taken by our government to keep us safe. Many security and diplomatic experts spend their professional careers deciding where it is safe for Americans to travel. Every country on the State Department travel advisory list is there for good reason. Each has internal instability that could change the political and social climate instantaneously. As evidenced by the recent murders in Libya and embassy breach in Egypt, the State Department has sound evidence to advise travelers not to go to certain desti-

nations. It is absolutely ridiculous to purport that Lebanon is included on the list because of “Israeli-American coziness.” Lebanon sits on that list because Hezbollah, an armed Islamic terrorist group, controls the vast majority of the country and has rallies in which supporters chant, “Death to America.” In addition, the New York Times published an article Sept. 17 about the Syrian conflict spilling over into Lebanon. I cannot imagine Lebanon is a safe place to travel.

and the men and women who risk their lives to protect American citizens. We, especially as privileged students, should take that to heart. You might remember the two American hikers who were captured and jailed in Iran on trumped-up espionage charges. Was the “experience” really worth spending time in a miserable Iranian prison? The two hikers not only put themselves at personal risk, but also jeopardized and compromised America’s safety and diplo-

Beyond the difficulty of convincing your parents to let you travel to Eritrea, you are putting yourself in grave danger and the U.S. government in an extremely awkward position. Enough cannot be said about having an embassy to walk into or a friendly police department to turn to in times of trouble. Sola wrote, “Of course, I sacrificed the logistical and social safety net of a traditional study abroad program. But living independently forced me to negotiate with Lebanese realities.” There is something seriously wrong here. Sola ignores the most important factor she forfeited by traveling alone to a dangerous country — security. The “Lebanese realities” she had to deal with could have resulted in far more serious consequences than temporary vagrancy. We need to appreciate that going to Lebanon or Mali or Sudan — especially independently — takes for granted the entire security apparatus of the United States

matic footing in the region. Should a student studying independently in unsafe territory get himself or herself into trouble, the U.S. will have to use both financial resources and political capital to bail them out — as it should — from a situation that could have been avoided had the student not ignored travel warnings and common sense. Furthermore, Sola downplays the severity of the problems in countries that she suggests people visit. The organized “political and religious violence” in Lebanon is not tantamount to the desultory crime in other cities. I would not suggest traveling to cities with high murder and assault

rates either, but that cannot be compared to regimented ideological groups carrying out methodical, organized violence. These groups also serve as the de facto government in certain areas. Would American students turn to Hezbollah if they needed help while traveling in Southern Lebanon? Or al-Qaeda in Yemen? It is also just as ridiculous to argue that navigating the streets of Providence late at night is similar to staying out of trouble in Beirut. If anyone has seen armed militias walking on Thayer Street, please tell me, because I might consider transferring. While it is noble and adventurous to seek out alternative opportunities to travel, this does not mean that we have the right as go-getters to ignore security admonishments and advisories. Beyond the difficulty of convincing your parents to let you travel to Eritrea, you are putting yourself in grave danger and the U.S. government in an extremely awkward position. Enough cannot be said about having an embassy to walk into or a friendly police department to turn to in times of trouble. After my sister was hospitalized with dengue fever in India, I cannot imagine what would have happened had she been traveling around Kabul. All in all, I will brave the walk home from Power Street in favor of risking my kidnapping in Benin. I don’t think my parents could afford the ransom anyway. Zach Ingber ’15 prefers to listen to the security experts he hopes to work with one day. He can be reached at zachary_ingber@brown.edu.

Beasts of the southern wild mika zacks Opinions Columnist

There is no place like home, and the Dorothies of the West Bank will tell you — there is no raging tornado like the State of Israel. Other tornadoes eventually run their course and allow their victims to heal and rebuild. But this whirlwind of violence and dispossession does not subside and disappear, nor will it, as long as there are still places like home for non-Jews in Area C of the West Bank. Under the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, the West Bank was divided into three zones, A, B and C. Area A was placed under Palestinian civil and military control, Area B under Palestinian civil control and Israeli military control and Area C under Israeli civil and military control. In a temporary system grown permanent, Area C — over 60 percent of the West Bank — rapidly became the new land without people for a people who just can’t get enough land. Despite the fact that the settler project in the West Bank came into being nearly two decades after the creation of Israel, it has deep, disconcerting roots in the earlier Zionist tradition, roots that are not lost on the settlers themselves even as they are suppressed and omitted by the more liberal segment of the population.

As we stood on the outskirts of an illegal outpost in the South Hebron Hills, an armed young settler explained to me that his actions are no different from those of our common ancestors, the early Zionists, who during the British Mandate for Palestine established outposts overnight in order to delineate the borders of a future Jewish state. A difference, I suggested, would be that post-1967 settlements stand

Needless to say, the settlements located in that same firing zone will remain intact. I know I shouldn’t use the words “ethnic cleansing.” While I sometimes wish my nose were slightly smaller and my Jewfro more manageable, I am not a selfhating Jew and do not wish to be labeled one. Yet no other term describes quite as aptly the systemic uprooting and forced transfer of entire populations based on

This whirlwind of violence and dispossession does not subside and disappear, nor will it, not as long as there are still places like home for non-Jews in Area C of the West Bank.

in gross violation of international law. But eying his weapon, a big gun handed to him by the Israeli military and carrying the Israeli Defense Forces stamp, there can be no doubt that he has the backing of the Israeli government, not I. His gun, cable TV, running water and playground demolish the discursive distinction between Israel proper and Israel improper as surely as the bulldozers of Caterpillar will soon demolish — for the second time — eight villages on the land the Israel Defense Forces now intends to utilize as a firing zone in the South Hebron Hills.

their ethnic and religious background. The settlers know their history — a history most Israelis still refuse to acknowledge. Between uprooting olive trees in the village of Nahalin and spray painting “death to the Arabs” in Susya, they must have found the time to read Ilan Pappe’s “Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.” And they continue to cleanse with vengeance — 50 attacks in July alone, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Another 26 incidents documented by Haaretz in August. In one incident, Jewish youths aged 12-13 from the Bat Ayin settlement threw a fire-

bomb into a passing Palestinian car and injured six. The Israeli Civil Administration helps them in their efforts to transform Area C into a Jewish-only space, happily providing the legal guise needed to demolish villages. It is legal only if one chooses to ignore that which the Civil Administration does not provide to 95 percent of Palestinians in Area C — building permits. Throw in the military, with schemes like the recent Firing Zone 918, and in a few years time, the disinheritance will be complete. I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore. The settlers poison Toto, Auntie Em gets beaten in the olive groves, Glinda’s soap bubble is confiscated by the IDF. And still, we let ourselves be fooled into believing in Israel’s peaceful intentions and in the inherent anti-Semitism of words like “apartheid.” Now, when a settlers’ government is planning a new and sinister war, and the foreign ministry accuses South Africa of remaining an apartheid state for its demand that settlements’ products be labeled as such, the world needs to act. The United States, as the chief supporter and enabler of Israel, needs to act. It’s never easy, it’s always too late, but nonetheless it must happen. Mika Zacks ’15 is from Israel and is a member of Brown Students for Justice in Palestine. She’d like to ask all proIsraeli activists already taking notes for their fierce and powerful rebuttals to read the history of the village of Susya.


daily herald city & state the Brown

Thursday, September 20, 2012

After primaries, races heat Providence’s WaterFire to light up Rome up in the Ocean State By Alison silver

Senior Staff Writer

By ADAM TOOBIN Senior Staff Writer

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced he was taking a new approach to his campaign Monday, focusing on a broader swath of issues than the economy — including President Obama’s foreign policy credentials. But Romney’s momentum lasted only a day before a video was leaked online showing the former Massachusetts governor labeling the 47 percent of Americans who receive some form of federal assistance as “dependent upon the government.” “My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” Romney said in the video. The video also showed Romney telling the donors — who each paid $50,000 to attend the fundraiser — that Palestinians have “no interest whatsoever in establishing peace and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.” His words spawned a firestorm of controversy, derailing Romney’s attempts to focus the election on what he sees as Obama’s failures as president. Romney defended himself in a press conference, saying his remarks were taken out of context in the initial video but conceding that he expressed his views “inelegantly.” His supporters have argued that the missing tape indicates the remarks have been doctored to make the candidate look bad in the eyes of the electorate. An extended version of the almost hour-long speech was made public yesterday, but the tape is still missing a minute or two of Romney’s speech. Obama, the Democratic Party’s nominee, criticized Romney’s remarks Tuesday night. “My expectation is that if you want to be president, you have to work for everyone, not just for some,” he said. U.S. Senate Rhode Island’s race for U.S. Senate is heating up as Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., battles to defend his seat against Republican challenger Barry Hinckley Jr. The race, like many others this election cycle, has centered on the

Democratic Party’s approach to the floundering economy. Whitehouse’s election has long appeared sealed, but recently Nate Silver, political analyst for the New York Times, listed the seat as one the Republicans might be able to win if they commit the necessary funds to the race. Silver argued that though Rhode Island traditionally elects Democrats, the state has a penchant for Independents and moderate Republicans due to its high volume of swing voters. He wrote that if Hinckley can persuade the Independents — who elected Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 P’16 to the Senate in 1998 as a Republican and in 2010 to the governorship as an Independent — that he is a centrist, autonomous from the Republican leadership in Washington, he might be able to pull off an upset. U.S. House of Representatives In the race to represent Rhode Island’s first congressional district, Rep. David Cicilline ’83 and his Republican opponent Brendan Doherty, former colonel of the Rhode Island State Police and superintendent of the Department of Public Safety, have begun an aggressive general election race. Doherty recently brought to light an incident when Cicilline, as chairman of the Providence Economic Development Partnership, provided one of his campaign workers with a $103,000 loan that the employee never repaid. Cicilline’s campaign initially said the worker had repaid the loan in full, but PolitiFact Rhode Island, a non-partisan organization that rates statements from politicians as true or false, clarified that the employee had not reimbursed the state. Doherty revealed his opponent’s connection to the deal when he published a “top ten list of David Cicilline’s most serious deceptions.” In the list, Doherty continued his assault on Cicilline’s comments as Providence mayor from 2010 when he said the city was in “excellent” fiscal condition. Cicilline has since said his view of the city’s condition was “overly optimistic,” an assessment confirmed by the $110 million structural deficit that Mayor Angel Taveras announced upon taking office. / / Elections page 2

Almost 20 years after WaterFire’s Artistic Director Barnaby Evans ’75 first illuminated the Providence River, the renowned festival is traveling halfway across the globe. This weekend, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras will travel to Italy for the inaugural lighting of 30 braziers on the Tiber River in the first WaterFire Rome. “WaterFire deals with our ancient fascination with the interplay of firelight and water,” Taveras said in a press release. “I cannot think of a more magical place to introduce WaterFire to Europe.” Italian Consul General Giuseppe Pastorelli attended the Sept. 13 press conference announcing WaterFire’s expansion and ceremoniously opened a recent WaterFire Providence. On weekend evenings May through October, WaterFire illuminates the Providence River with bonfires. The installation was originally dubbed “First Fire” when it was first held in 1994 as a celebration of the tenth anniversary of First Night Providence, the city’s New Years Eve festival, according to WaterFire’s website. Two years later, Evans put on “Second Fire” as part of an international architecture conference, which drew participants from around the world. The success of these first two festivals drove artistically-minded area residents to persuade Evans that the tradition should occur more regularly, said Peter Mello, managing director of WaterFire. Since then, WaterFire has established Providence as a global city and has drawn 15 million people to the lightings. Throughout the event’s 18-year history, it has become “a big economic driver for the state and the city,” yielding $70 million to local businesses and directly contributing $5 million of sales tax to the state, Mello said. Few other public art events generate crowds in the same numbers as WaterFire does — a fact that has garnered attention from people around the world, including Rome’s Mayor Giovanni Alemanno. Putting on an event like WaterFire involves coordinating with a large number of government entities, and the complexity is compounded when transported to a foreign city, Mello said. After obtaining the necessary permits only last week, Evans and the team of artists and coordinators at WaterFire had 10 days to create the first WaterFire in Rome.

kim perley / Herald

Providence’s artistic installation, WaterFire, will illuminate Rome’s Tiber River this weekend. Volunteers from both cities organized the event. “It’s a pretty short timeline to make this happen, but as (with) all WaterFire events and WaterFire volunteers, they will do an amazing job over there,” Mello said. Volunteers from Rome and Providence have come together to organize the event, including students in Rhode Island School of Design’s Rome program. The event will be sponsored by the city of Rome, as well as GTECH Holdings Corp. — a major employer in Providence — and Lottomatica, GTECH’s holding company. “It is our hope that … a bridge will be formed that will encourage closer cultural and business links between the two cities,” said Senior Vice President of GTECH Bob Vincent at the press conference. WaterFire’s expansion to Rome will not only strengthen current connections between the two cities but will also recall elements from Rome’s vast history of art and festivals. “Rome was a great stage theater for all sorts of festivals,” said Massimo Riva, professor of Italian studies. “In a sense, WaterFire continues on in that tradition that goes back to the Renaissance.” The Tiber River, located in the heart of Rome, will provide a much different setting for the festival. “The river is bigger, there is more water, the current is stronger,” said Italian native Lorenzo Moretti ’14, who hails from Udine. Because of the Tiber’s wider expanse, the braziers cannot be arranged

like they are in Providence — they would either need to be bigger or interspersed with other decorations, he said. But if adapted properly, “I think the context would actually make it more beautiful,” Moretti said. In Providence, gondolas adorned with lanterns float down the river, much like those seen gliding through the canals of Venice, but “with that I would be a little careful,” Moretti said — many elements of Italian culture are city-specific. “It’s a very bad idea to have a gondola in Rome” because Venice and Rome are very different cities, he said. Roman boats called “gallias” could be used as an alternative, Moretti added. Moretti said a long-running festival where people can come and go through the night and attend many times might gain more success in Italy. He added that WaterFire Rome might be an opportunity to raise awareness of the influence of Italian immigration to the United States. After showcasing in Singapore last year and now expanding to Rome, WaterFire might spread to other Italian cities in coming years. The popular event has been ranked by Greater Travel as one of the world’s greatest destinations after dark, along with Paris. “It was born here and it lives and thrives here,” Mello said of the festival’s home city. “It’s an iconic symbol of Providence and Rhode Island, and I think doing it in another place like Rome is only good for our city and our state.”

Central Falls on track to emerge from bankruptcy By SONA mkrttchian senior staff writer

After almost 13 months of bankruptcy proceedings, a six-year exit strategy is now in place for Central Falls, R.I. Earlier this month, the judge handling the city’s Chapter 9 proceeding, Frank Bailey of the United States Bankruptcy Court, approved the plan, which fully outlines budgets for fiscal years 2012 through 2017. The plan ensures that all of the city’s bondholders will be fully repaid for losses incurred during the city’s credit crisis in accordance with Rhode Island state law passed last year. But it also slashes jobs at the municipal level and strikes a huge blow to pension plans, all while also raising property taxes. Local authority in Central Falls was

ceded to a state-appointed receiver in 2010, though the city did not officially declare bankruptcy until Aug. 2011, at which point it had incurred $80 million in unfunded pension liabilities. Local officials are expected to regain control over the city’s governance as early as the beginning of January, but the final decision stands at the discretion of Rosemary Gallogly, R.I. director of revenue. “She has to feel comfortable that the elected officials really understand the plan and that they are ready, willing and able to carry out its terms,” said Theodore Orson, lawyer for the Central Falls receiver. “If they are resistant, she won’t terminate the receivership.” Lawrence Goldberg, a lawyer representing some of the Central Falls City Council, said many of the council

members, including council president William Benson, have had a chance to review the exit strategy, only to find that the budgets are flawed and unrealistic for the needs of the city. For example, there is no budget within the plan allotted for the physical infrastructure of the city, he said. “I can’t conceive of what they’re thinking,” Goldberg said. “Things fall apart in one year, let alone six.” But retirees will be the most affected by the cuts, with some former municipal workers losing 55 percent of their promised pensions. “For all intents and purposes, there were no negotiations,” said Bruce Ogni, president of the Central Falls Police Retirees Association. Retirees were approached with an offer and were ultimately forced to accept the cuts because of the threat

of completely losing their pensions, Ogni said. “We did all of our service,” Ogni added. “We did everything we were supposed to do.” But legislation that recently passed the General Assembly provides a $2.6 million appropriation to Central Falls, which Orson said will be used to “provide (retirees) with supplemental payments for the first five years,” meaning that no pensions will be cut by more than 25 percent during this preliminary period. “People were made promises. They fulfilled their side of the promise, and they acted in good faith … but the problem was there was no money,” Orson said. The fate of the Central Falls’ retirees was used as the driving force behind pension reform across the state,

including in Providence, Ogni said. Last May, facing a $110 million structural deficit, Mayor Angel Taveras negotiated a deal with Providence’s retirees for a suspension of cost-ofliving adjustments, a provision within pension plans in Providence adapting plans in accordance with living standards. Paul Doughty, president of the Providence firefighters union, said the reality of Central Falls added pressure to the negotiations as the bankruptcy “happened just down the road with similar numbers.” And Ogni said he would urge workers and retirees across the state to negotiate with their municipalities before they face a similar situation. “It just seems like once you’ve done your service, nobody cares about you,” he added.


Thursday, September 20, 2012