daily herald the Brown
vol. cxxii, no. 89
UCStudent fee Council raises activities fee, talks Morning Mail overhaul
Corporate woe Moraff ’14 calls for a more democratic U. government Page 8
Hospital cure Court approves R.I. hospital’s acquisition by for-profit chain today
65 / 53
68 / 60
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Dalai Lama calls on youth to spread peace By katherine cusumano senior staff writer
Donning a Brown baseball cap, clasping his hands and inclining with a slight bow, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet took the stage before an audience of thousands of students, faculty members and Providence residents yesterday afternoon, delivering a speech titled “A Global Challenge: Creating a Culture of Peace.” “Firstly, I want to show you my real face,” he opened, taking off the hat and continuing with a series of jokes about his balding head and white hair. Despite his initial humor, his speech quickly turned to the serious matter of peace and its relation to cultural identity, scientific developments and the environment. “We are the same human being, mentally, emotionally, physically,” he said, explaining that when he meets new people, he feels like he already knows them. Kinship is intrinsically linked to a happy life — a theme he
returned to throughout his lecture — while violence only perpetuates a cycle of fear, stress and frustration, he said. To illustrate this, he pointed to the bloody history of the 20th century, which featured Nazi aggression and wars in Korea and Vietnam, as well as the use of scientific innovation to bring about immense violence in the case of the atom bomb. “This 21st century should be a century of dialogue,” he said. His Holiness stressed respectful dialogue as the most constructive foundation for peace. He called on audience members below 30, 20 and 15 years of age to raise their hands and then appealed to them as the future of this century. Above all, he emphasized the importance of cooperation. “If you are being swept away by an immense wave, one individual cannot rise above that tide,” his translator filled in for him. The Dalai Lama then turned to science and the environment, which he described as moral and practical issues because life / / Lama page 2
mike cohea / brown university
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama spoke of the need for “a century of dialogue” in his lecture at the Rhode Island Convention Center Wednesday.
Digital scholarship lab supports visual learning Website highlights in-state internships By KIKI barnes
The Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab will be open for classes and individual student use in the Rockefeller Library this month. Featuring 12 55-inch highresolution LED panels, the seven-foot high, 16-foot long “video wall” provides high-quality imaging capability to Brown faculty and students, according to a University press release. Classes are starting to use the lab as early as this week, and the space will be open for student use later this month, said Patrick Rashleigh, the library’s newly appointed data visualization coordinator, who will oversee the lab. “We’re all used to projectors,” he said, “but classroom projectors get kind of fuzzy when you enlarge an image.” The monitors in the lab use 24 million pixels to provide the highest resolution imaging available on campus. Each of the 12 seats in front of the
display includes a cord that can plug into any laptop. The laptop’s display is then converted into a high-resolution image that can be shown on the monitors. There are numerous configurations capable for display, and up to 12 different computers can be projected at the same time. The sound-proof lab includes a surround sound audio system and two cameras with video conferencing capabilities. There will also be two additional touch-screen monitors that can be linked to the display or used independently, said Harriet Hemmasi, University librarian. “It’s to the extreme,” Hemmasi said. The lab is a state-of-the-art viewing and analytical space, she said. The display wall holds many additional uses and possibilities, such as turning microscopic images from the biological sciences into macroscopic images that are more easily observed. The wall can also be an
exhibition space for digital art. The lab can connect its display to other places on campus, such as the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for Creative Arts, Hemmasi said. The library is planning to offer a prize to the student who thinks of the most creative use of the lab, Hemmasi said. A timeline has not yet been set for the contest. “The lab is a very flexible facility that promotes comparison, discussion and interpretation,” said Andrew Ashton, director of library digital technologies. “It goes far beyond.” “What is a library? It’s not just books anymore,” Hemmasi said. “It’s a space for production, interpretation, creative use of technology and integrated technology.” The idea for the lab came out of a research project in 2007, Hemmasi said. Andy van Dam, professor of computer science, and Massimo Riva, professor of Italian studies, were work-
ing on a digitization of the Garibaldi Panorama, she said. Measuring 4.5 feet high and 273 feet long, the 360-degree painting is one of the longest in the world, according to a 2007 University press release. Van Dam, Riva, Hemmasi and others viewed the digitized image on a coffee table-sized touch screen, but it was only usable by a small number of people, Hemmasi said. When studying the image became difficult, they used a TV screen instead. “The big screen became the receptacle, and the project became more collaborative as a result,” Hemmasi said. The team then came up with the idea for the Digital Scholarship Lab. “It’s a very collaborative space where you can work together as a class to interact with an image,” Rashleigh said. The library submitted a proposal to Patrick Ma P’14, who expressed great interest in the / / Lab page 2
ACLU fights new medical marijuana restrictions By Sora Park Contributing Writer
The Rhode Island affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Rhode Island Department of Health over new conditions in the state’s medical marijuana policy. The lawsuit is brought on behalf of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition, the Rhode Island Academy of Physician Assistants and Peter Nunes, an individual whose application to participate in the medical marijuana program was denied by the Department of Health under the new policy. The new conditions, instated in June, allow only licensed physicians to authorize medical marijuana for their patients. Before the change was made, registered nurse practitioners
city & state
and physician assistants were also allowed to approve medical use of the drug. The ACLU’s lawsuit seeks a court order declaring that the department’s action violates multiple statutes and voiding the new conditions. The ACLU is arguing that the department violated the Administrative Procedures Act by failing to take into account the public’s input before it changed the regulation, in addition to violating the 2006 Medical Marijuana Act, which legalized the use of medical marijuana in the state, said Steve Brown, director of the ACLU. “In preparation for the opening of Compassion Centers in Rhode Island, the department took a closer look at the newly amended medical marijuana statute and decided to prohibit nurse practitioners and physician assistants from authorizing medical marijuana to patients,” said Dara Chadwick, chief of-
ficer of health promotion at the department. “This is based on legal analysis of the statute.” She declined to further comment on the issue. JoAnne Leppanen, executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition, expressed hope that the new conditions will be overturned. She said on top of the Administrative Procedures Act, the department violated the Global Signature Authority Law of Rhode Island, which states that a nurse practitioner’s signature may be substituted wherever a physician’s signature is required. The law implies that a nurse practitioner should be able to authorize medical marijuana. Nurse practitioners also function as the primary practitioners for many of the state’s patients and even work independently in some cases, giving them the same authority as a licensed physician, Leppann added. “The Health Department has
changed the law arbitrarily and retroactively,” Leppanen said, “and this action has wreaked havoc on the health of some of our most fragile citizens.” Peter Nunes, the main plaintiff of the lawsuit, had his access to medical marijuana cut off by the new conditions, Leppanen said. He had formerly acquired his medical marijuana from a nurse practitioner and is struggling to find a licensed physician, particularly due to the financial burden it represents. “I think that the ACLU has a high chance of winning this case,” said Steven DeToy, director of government and public affairs at the Rhode Island Medical Society, which joined the lawsuit Monday. “Not only does the department’s policy changes violate state laws, but it also interferes with the practice of nurse practitioners and physician assistants.”
By Monica Perez contributing writer
For many Rhode Island college students, finding an internship that allows them to summer in the Ocean State is a tricky endeavor. But bRIdge, a new state-wide initiative launched Oct. 9 by Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 and higher education leaders, is tackling that problem by helping connect students to local internships. The goal is “to match Rhode Island employers with talented students looking to gain valuable professional experience,” according to the program’s website. Through the initiative’s user-friendly website, bRIdge.jobs, college students and recent grads can create an account and personal profile in as little time as it takes to open a new Facebook account. Users are able to search for internships in almost any field, including journalism, engineering and health care. Employers are also able to create profiles that explain the qualifications, expectations and compensation of their proposed internships. The website includes a “featured” internships section and even offers the option to upload resumes and send them directly to employers. bRIdge is different from other internship portals like Monster.com because it is designed to link Rhode Island college students with state organizations. The website is a “central match mechanism” for employers and college students, said Michael Trainor, special assistant to the commissioner of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education. bRIdge is truly the first of its kind, he said. The initia/ / bRIdge page 3
city & state
2 campus news / / Lama page 1
c alendar Today
4 p.m. Screening: “The Lady”
Family Weekend Piano Workshop
List Art 120
Grand Recital Hall
7 p.m. Richard III
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Zeta Delta Xi lounge
menu SHARPE REFECTORY
VERNEy-WOOLLEY DINING HALL
LUNCH Cheese Ravioli with Pink Vodka Sauce, Grilled Ham and Swiss Cheese Sandwich, Broccoli in Cheese Sauce
Ham and Bean Soup, Gourmet Roast Turkey Sandwich, Swiss Broccoli Pasta, Vegan Mediterranean Stew
“depends on this blue planet,” he said. “If I join any political party, I will join (the) Green Party,” he added, laughing. He also spoke about incorporating religious ideals such as compassion, love and forgiveness into secular thought, refuting the idea that secularism represents a disdain for religion. He added that even religious figures such as Mahatma Gandhi incorporated secular thought, in particular when Gandhi proposed a new Indian constitution. After his lecture, the Dalai Lama addressed pre-recorded questions from audience members, including professors and students from Brown and local high schools.
/ /Lab page 1
DINNER Vegan BBQ Tempeh, Baby Mesclun Greens tossed with Honey Dijon, Tossed Fresh Caesar Salad
the brown daily herald Thursday, October 18, 2012
Baked Manacotti with Meatless Sauce, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes, Egg Rolls
project. Ma, Corporation trustee Cathy Halstead and one anonymous donor
A recurring theme in his responses was the importance of education and of remaining connected to other people and societies. Assistant Professor of American Studies Elizabeth Hoover asked for advice regarding native peoples working to recover from forced cultural change. The Dalai Lama responded by noting modern culture’s appreciation of individual cultures. “Isolate, almost like suicide. No use,” he said. He described how Scandinavian cultures have embraced modern education while maintaining a measure of traditional dress and their own language. This modern education, in conjunction with traditional linguistic and spiritual practices, are central to cultural autonomy, he said.
Traditions remind us who we are, he said, adding that writing systems are a particularly beneficial long-term method to preserve cultures. “He emanated a feeling of true happiness, which was really refreshing to see,” said David Chodakewitz ’15 after the event. He said it was inspirational to be in the presence of such a major figurehead whose message is as powerful as it is simple. Though a closed-captioning mistake left viewers with “just fuck it” as His Holiness’ transcribed final words, the Dalai Lama actually turned to humor again in his conclusion, urging the audience to spend their time thinking and discussing — or, if they had been unaffected by his words, “just forget.”
funded the lab, Hemmasi said. “It was expensive, but it was a good investment of funds,” Hemmasi said, though she declined to provide the
total cost of building the lab. As the data visualization coordinator, Rashleigh said he will make sure the lab runs smoothly, provide expertise for the teaching aspect of the display and explore the use of visual means of communication, he said. The library plans to hire a student to help oversee and run the lab, he said. “We’re still experimenting, and we want others to experiment as well,” Rashleigh said, adding that the lab’s website launch is imminent, and all information will be available through the University Library’s website. “The production of new kinds of scholarship like visual literacy is becoming increasingly more important,” Hemmasi said. “We have to recognize that people learn in different ways all around us. The visual and multimedia cannot be ignored.”
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the brown daily herald Thursday, October 18, 2012
/ / bRIdge page 1 tive was created to help students sort out what they want to do after graduation, introduce students to local employers and prevent the notorious Rhode Island brain drain. “We want to keep our brightest students here,” Trainor said. “Experiential learning is extremely valuable,” Trainor added. More than 80,000 students attend Rhode Island colleges, and national studies show that college students who complete internships are more likely to receive job offers after graduation than their peers who do not have internship experience, according to the Providence Journal. The website is the product of three years of planning by organizations including the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island and the Board of Governors for Higher Education. This collaboration made bRIdge available to all 11 of Rhode Island’s universities and colleges, public and private alike, said Daniel Egan, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island. The presidents of these institutions are very excited about the initiative and have leveraged their support, Egan added. Career centers at local colleges like the Career Development Center at Rhode Island College and the CareerLab at Brown have already gotten on board with bRIdge. “RIC has been providing internship placements for many years through its Career Development Center,” wrote Jenifer Giroux, director of outreach programs at RIC, in an email to The Herald. “However, this new website will allow students, graduates and employers the ease of accessing and posting to the site 24 hours a day,” she wrote.
bRIdge is also an effective tool for young entrepreneurs and new businesses. Smaller companies can often get lost in the swarm of major internship search sites, but bRIdge aims to simplify the process of promoting internships, said Adrian van Alphen, RISLA’s employer relationship and internship development manager. He provides tips, sample profiles and resources to new businesses to help make their profiles clear and impressive. Adam Leonard ’10, the program’s manager, said small businesses have a difficult time becoming visible on internship boards, especially if they lack a human resources department. He said he believes that with a Rhode Islandspecific program, these businesses can develop close relationships with the academic institutions and use the state’s small size to their advantage. Furthermore, bRIdge helps to assure students that the internships are safe and high-quality by visiting the individual businesses and getting a better idea of what the student will be doing during their time there. All companies are required to meet certain criteria before they are able to advertise their profiles, van Alphen said. “This initiative is a great way to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit of talented Rhode Island students,” he added. Since its launch, the initiative has proved to be a breakthrough for many state schools. At RIC, responses from administrators and students has been “overwhelmingly positive,” Giroux wrote. The CareerLab will provide more information for students through email and social media as employer presence begins to increase on the site, Jim Amspacher, career advisor and coordinator for Careers in the Common Good, wrote in an email to The Herald.
campus news 3 UCS votes to raise student activities fee By Katherine Cusumano Senior Staff Writer
The Undergraduate Council of Students passed a proposal for a student activities fee increase from $214 to $290 per year at its general body meeting last night. The proposal, which would augment the Undergraduate Finance Board’s budget by approximately $465,000, will be presented today to Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services, said Alexander Kaplan ’14, chair of the Student Activities committee and a Herald staff writer. At the moment, the University can only afford to fund 70 percent of student groups’ financial needs, Kaplan said. Compared to peer institutions, student groups at Brown receive significantly less funding — for example, Tufts University’s equivalent of the Brown Concert Agency receives approximately $25,000 more a year, he added. The increased student activities fee would merely allocate some funds from the potential tuition hike by the Undergraduate Resource Council toward student activities, said Undergraduate Finance Board Vice Chair Daniel Pipkin ’14. Pipkin also emphasized the value of student opinion in University decisions. “Student opinion is extremely important,” he said. “It’s really dynamic, it’s really cool.” Every year, as the number of student groups increases and inflation takes its toll, the UFB has a smaller pool of funds to provide to individual groups, he added. UCS also proposed a student activities consumer price index, which will account for these factors through an “almost systematic percent increase,” Pipkin
NAR GULVARTIAN / HERALD
At its meeting Wednesday night, the Undergraduate Council of Students gave an update on its ongoing process to revamp Morning Mail. said, adding that such a system “alleviates the need to go back and forth every year.” The index means that UCS will only need to re-examine the fee every three years, Kaplan said. The vote in favor of the resolution occurred after an executive session during which general body members deliberated on the issue. This session was invoked because UCS could not spend two weeks on the resolution, which is normally their protocol, said Treasurer Sam Gilman ’15. Parliamentarian and UCS-UFB liaison Gregory Chatzinoff ’15 also mentioned the six-year UFB spring budget report that will be released Friday. The report lists the funding trends for the top 30 UFB-funded Category 3 student groups from 2007 to 2012. The Admissions and Student Services Committee is in the process of an over-
haul of Morning Mail, said Abby Braiman ’15, the committee’s chair. The goal is to make the long list more legible and “less skimmable,” she said — events will be recategorized from the vague “events” and “announcements” to more specific headings, and clicking will take the reader directly to each sub-heading. The Council is also trying to get University administrators to do a “Gangnam Style” video, said Kyra Mungia ’13, communications chair. To close the meeting, President Anthony White ’13 mentioned the URC open forums Nov. 7 and 8, which will aim to stimulate discussion about the student activities fee proposal. The next UCS meeting will feature two young alumni trustees of the Corporation, the University’s highest governing body.
6 editorial & letter Editorial
A lesson in local policy Many Brown students only bother with Providence politics when it concerns the University. Last spring, the negotiations between former President Ruth Simmons and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras about the University’s contributions to the city were the subject of widespread campus discussion. If we were only paying attention to those negotiations, we would have a bleak picture of the state as one with a mismanaged government and suffering economy. But while Rhode Island — and Providence in particular — are indeed going through hard times, there are many initiatives in place to address the situation. These projects, which include new gambling legislation and the introduction of crime watch groups, have the potential to help the state and its capital city in a big way and should thus be brought to the attention of the Brown community. In light of the recent wave of assaults and robberies, Brown students should pay attention to Taveras’ recent efforts to reduce the city’s crime rate. In the past month, there have been more than 900 violent crimes reported in Providence, and the mayor’s response has been swift and multi-faceted. His efforts include creating more jobs for the city’s youth population in an effort to keep them busy and off the streets, increasing the number of law enforcement officers in dangerous areas and instituting a gun tip line. Above all, he is trying to engage Providence residents in promoting their own safety by calling for more neighborhood crime watches. Taveras’ economic and crime-prevention policies reflect an over-arching philosophy that top-down policies are not the only solution to the city’s problems. Rather, the people affected — namely, the citizens themselves — should have a role in fixing them. This “we’re all in this together” mentality, when combined with innovative policies, has the potential to improve social and economic conditions in Providence. Though more than 80 percent of participants in a recent Providence study believe the city is going through hard economic times, Taveras’ approval rating has still risen 13 percent in the last year. This puts him at a 60 percent approval rating, which is frankly amazing both in absolute terms and relative to the more pessimistic national public opinion of the economy. Though the city is obviously still suffering, Taveras’ concrete efforts and public transparency have distinguished him from other Providence politicians. His approval rating demonstrates that good communication and determined effort are what Providence wants and needs in its leadership. Of course, the biggest problem Rhode Island faces is its economy — but even this is being addressed through new measures regarding the state’s casinos. This election day, Rhode Islanders will vote on new measures to expand and improve operations in two casinos, one in Lincoln and the other in Newport. Regardless of your individual opinion on gambling, this legislation will not only ensure these casinos are competitive with nearby casinos in Massachusetts but will also create new jobs and increase state tax revenues. Though casino reform may not be the first policy that comes to mind when we think about ways to improve the state’s economy, maybe unconventional policies are exactly what we need. While Rhode Island is a tiny state that rarely appears on the national radar and the vast majority of Brown students come from out of state, the issues surrounding state and local politics should still be relevant to the Brown community. It is time that we broke a little more out of the “College Hill bubble” and actually started paying attention to what is going on around us — if not because these policies will affect us directly, then because they are affecting thousands of people in our state. The University is playing its part by contributing millions of dollars to help improve the local economy. As Brown students, it is our job to contribute awareness. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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le t ter
Student activism should be celebrated, too To the Editor: Brown applauds its student-athletes, devoting an entire glossy sports newsletter to these deserving students. It is high time that similar publicity be given to those students who are concerned with improving the life of people struggling to simply put food on the table day to day. The latest example is Stoni Tomson’s ’15 column (“Terminate Adidas contract now,” Oct. 17) representing the Student Labor Alliance and discussing
Adidas’ shameful treatment of its former employees. Student activism of this nature is a vital part of the educational experience at Brown and should be highlighted just as our athletic experiences are. Maybe the Swearer Center for Public Service could learn from the Brown Sports Foundation about how to attract the Brown community’s attention and encourage even more Tomsons to step up. Tom Bale ’63
Correc tions An article in Wednesday’s Herald (“Congressional candidates spar over unemployment, Medicare,” Oct. 17) incorrectly stated that the candidates debating were vying to represent Rhode Island’s second congressional district. In fact, Rep. David Cicilline ’83, D-R.I., and former State Police Superintendent Brendan Doherty are running to represent the state’s first congressional district. A caption in Tuesday’s Herald (“MakerBot printer transforms 2-D images into plastic models,” Oct. 16) incorrectly implied that objects in the corresponding photo were created by a MakerBot. In fact, the objects were not created with a MakerBot and in most cases could not be made with one. The Herald regrets the error.
quote of the day
“We are the same human being, mentally, emotionally, physically.”
— His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama See lama on page 1.
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America’s only open curriculum, WRITten off By Open Jar Foundation Guest Columnist Until last year, Brown was in a curricular league of its own. There are plenty of colleges that purport to have some variety of “open curriculum.” Some are very close to open — like Amherst College — and others are pretty far from it — like the University of Rochester. But to our knowledge, not a single traditional college in this country, other than Brown, had a completely open curriculum. We say “had” because Brown no longer has a truly open curriculum. Over the past year, with little dialogue and no fanfare, Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron and the College Curriculum Council have transformed Brown’s minimal writing proficiency requirement into a two-course distribution requirement, unless students can demonstrate proof of writing improvement via other means in their last four semesters. Their changes are not the minor tweaks they make them out to be. Rather, they have dismantled the only completely open curriculum in the country. Seeing Brown fall from its unique place into the realm of its less progressive peers, apparently without so much as an open forum or faculty vote, has been the most depressing moment in our time as Brown students and alums. We should have seen it coming. A few years ago, there were some rumblings: “W” courses were introduced (“More active writing enforcement in store,” April 23, 2009); the deans embarked on an unannounced let-
ter-screening offensive (“Deans screened letters without telling students,” Sept. 7, 2009); and the departments were given a mandate to enforce writing standards (“Writing requirement oversight to be shifted to departments,” Oct. 7, 2009). Throughout that time, one thing was clear: There were “no plans to require all students to take a ‘W’ course,” and even Dean Bergeron stressed that “students would not be expected to take a specific course” to satisfy the writing requirement. By the following year, it looked like things
set so distinguishable that you can sometimes identify someone as having gone to Brown simply by sharing a short conversation with them. Brown’s curriculum is something to celebrate and brag about. And yet our recent history is fraught with Deans of the College who just don’t get it. Former Dean of the College Paul Armstrong, who stepped down in 2006, fought to pollute our grading system with meaningless pluses and minuses before backing down in the face of student protest and a column penned by
Legitimate change at Brown can’t come in the form of dictates from the Dean or the CCC. At Brown, the curriculum is owned by the students and the faculty. had calmed down. But this year it started again in earnest, with a “clarified” writing requirement including WRIT courses (“U. clarifies writing requirements,” March 8), and now the updated WRIT-course mandate, which requires students either to take a WRIT-designated course or upload proof of writing improvement in their last four semesters through other means.(“Changed requirement calls for second WRIT course,” Sept. 25). How did we get here? It’s simple: Brown has a dean problem. The New Curriculum is the best thing about Brown. It’s what makes the place stand out from a crowded field of elite institutions. It’s the reason why most students choose Brown. It’s Brown’s greatest weapon in student recruiting. It attracts and nurtures a special sort of independent thinker — a mind-
Ira Magaziner ’69 P’06 P’07 P’10 and Elliot Maxwell ’68 P’06, architects of the New Curriculum. And now we have Dean Bergeron, who reintroduced course caps and prerequisites in the guise of technical change — the implementation of Banner — and who has now led the effort to close our open curriculum. For how much she touts the excellence of Brown students and alums, Bergeron must not have a very high estimation of our intelligence. Or so we gather from her attempts to veil her changes to the curriculum with unsupported claims about the spirit of the curriculum. “These new terms do not represent any change to the requirement,” she claims. “They represent … a better way to carry out what the requirement has always implied.” Better according to whom? We don’t think Brown students are buying it.
We don’t have space to explain the drawbacks of mandatory course requirements. Magaziner and Maxwell did that more than 40 years ago, far better than we ever could. And it really doesn’t need much explaining for this audience. Every day, members of our community explain the values of curricular freedom to others: Brown applicants to their nervous parents, Brown students to their jealous peers and Brown alums to their skeptical coworkers. That’s what’s so upsetting: Dean Bergeron has caused Brown to cede tremendous ideological ground in the name of a questionable methodology that we rejected long ago. Do we think that Brown should stay the same way forever? Absolutely not. But legitimate change at Brown can’t come in the form of dictates from the dean or the CCC. At Brown, the curriculum is owned by the students and the faculty — the students because they designed it and fought for its implementation, and the faculty because the academic power is fundamentally vested in them. The function of the dean is to run Brown’s undergraduate college within the parameters of that curriculum, not to hunt for ways to change it. Brown is a place for activist students, not activist deans. It’s time to undo the ill-conceived changes made over the past year and to have an inclusive campus dialogue about the state of Brown’s curriculum, how it’s working and how it might work better. Matt Gelfand ’08 is the president and executive director of the Open Jar Foundation, presenting this column on its behalf. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The horrifying makeup of the Brown Corporation By daniel moraff Opinions Columnist
Every so often, we hear that x percent of Americans don’t know their own congressman. We are then supposed to nod sagely and share a chuckle about dumb, ignorant Americans. But here at Brown, our lives are mostly run by the Corporation, and we generally have no idea who they are. Fifty-two people rule this University. Forty on the Board of Trustees, 12 on the Board of Fellows, which combined hold essentially all governing power. So out of the 52 people who guide our destiny, how many would you guess are executives in the financial industry? Take a minute. Relax. Go someplace where you can sob quietly in peace. This is, in fact, the number of people on the Corporation from the financial industry: Twenty-six. Twenty-six of the 52 people that run our lives are employed by a grim assortment of hedge funds, mutual funds, banks and venture capital firms. Twentysix of them. Twenty-six. Add in three more people from law firms. All of them corporate. One is with Skadden, which Vault.com ranks the third-most prestigious law firm in the world and “Wall Street’s most powerful law firm,” with annual revenue of $2.17
billion. The second is with with Sullivan and Cromwell, Vault.com’s fourth-most prestigious law firm with a speciality in corporate mergers and an annual revenue of $1.08 billion. The third has bounced around from the auto industry to the oil industry. We’ve got the chairman of a communications company, the owner of multiple textile firms, the president of an importing company and the CEO of Fandango. We also have a couple of management consultants and four high-powered media executives.
many of them are well-meaning administrators. The point is that the super-rich tend to have a certain perspective on what matters and what doesn’t. When the Corporation seems to embody the worst of the corporate world — valuing profit-friendly sciences over the humanities, treating workers with contempt, focusing on glitzy and luxurious buildings rather than on the University’s core mission — it shouldn’t surprise us. When the University’s government looks like a Wall Street board meeting, the University will act like Wall Street.
It’s plutocracy in its rawest, most hideously pure form.
Three-quarters of the Corporation are very wealthy people with the perspective of very wealthy people. “The 1 percent” is the 75 percent. This isn’t some random fluke — in a system where one gets on the Corporation by writing Brown a big check, power is essentially bought. It’s plutocracy in its rawest, most hideously pure form. The point isn’t that the super-rich have nothing to offer. To the contrary, they are likely to be very good at keeping money rolling into this University, and I’m sure
It’s not surprising that we as students are generally apathetic toward the Corporation. After all, students have no power, and it’s a big leap to engage with something when you have no power. It’s a bizarre, autocratic system, but it’s one more easily ignored than changed. It’s just the way it is and the way it has always been. And so, inevitably, tuition keeps rising as the business-friendly sciences keep expanding and the University is run mainly as a tool of corporate America. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We
didn’t vote for these people. The faculty didn’t vote for these people. The unions didn’t vote for these people. Only alums got to vote, and even they only elect 14 members. University policy affects us as much as any local or national government, and we have no say. None. It flies in the face of everything we believe in. At the end of the day, it’s not the Corporation’s fault. They can’t help being a bunch of millionaires and (at least two) billionaires. We have to make the call whether or not we’re confident that these millionaires and billionaires understand the bite of tuition hikes, the importance of wages and benefits and the social mission of a University beyond educating a bunch of good corporate employees. If we want a school that works as more than a cog in the financial system, we have to take things into our own hands. Brown should be run by students, faculty and employees, not by a bunch of executives distinguished by their talent for moneymaking. Democracy has to be more than an abstract concept — it has to be something we actually believe in and fight for, or our University will continue to be twisted by the wealthy plutocrats who run it. Students in Quebec successfully went on strike and won, defeating outrageous tuition hikes just this year. We do have power if we ever decide to use it. A healthy injection of democracy into University governance would work wonders. Daniel Moraff ’14 can be reached at email@example.com.
daily herald the Brown
Thursday, October 18, 2012
city & state
For-profit chain acquires R.I. hospital Poll finds increased support By Steven Michael Contributing Writer
Prime Healthcare Services, a for-profit California hospital chain, gained court approval Oct. 9 for an asset purchase agreement to buy Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket. The acquisition came after Massachusetts-based Steward Health Care System pulled out of an agreement to buy the struggling independent hospital, underscoring a national trend of hospital consolidation. The hospital has been in receivership since June 2008 under the authority of the state courts. “The receivership process has allowed us to find efficiencies and negotiate savings,” said Landmark spokesman Bill Fisher. “We’ve had a long and winding road as we try to find a purchaser.” Fisher attributed the hospital’s poor financial situation to a “long period of under-reimbursement by insurers.” Landmark receives only 78 percent of the state average reimbursement rate due in part to its patient demographics, which include large numbers of elderly and low-income individuals covered by Medicare and Medicaid. These federally funded health insurance programs reimburse hospitals at a lower rate than private insurers. Landmark provides $7 million in uncompensated care and services 45,000 emergency room visits each year, Fisher said. “It’s a critical community asset that needs to be preserved,” Fisher said. “That’s the goal of the receivership process — to preserve our assets for the long term.” Steward, also a for-profit hospital chain, pulled out of the purchase amid a failure to come to a satisfactory agreement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Rhode Island’s largest insurer. “Despite support from many of Rhode Island’s elected officials, regulators, unions and communities, a number of private health care entities are not in
support of Steward’s model of integrated community care,” according to a statement released by Steward following the fallout. Chris Murphy, director of media relations at Steward Health Care, declined to comment further. Prime saw an opportunity to make the purchase when Steward withdrew, said Edward Barrera, communications director for Prime Healthcare. Expanding from its base of 14 hospitals in California, Prime recently purchased six additional hospitals spread across Nevada, Pennsylvania and Texas, Barrera said. Prime sees potential “to improve outcomes and financially stabilize the hospital,” Barrera said. Though there is no “cookie-cutter” model for hospital restructuring, Barrera said Prime will likely increase investment in medical technology, an area where hospitals facing financial hardships tend to underinvest. Prime pledges to invest $6 million in Landmark over five years, provide $3 million in bridge financing and maintain the current level of charity care, Barrera said in a Sept. 28 press release. Under Rhode Island’s Hospital Conversion Act, both the state attorney general and the Department of Health must approve hospital mergers. The deal between Landmark and Prime still awaits the green light from regulators, which Barrera estimated will happen by May 2013. In the weeks prior to the Prime deal, Landmark also reached an agreement with Blue Cross that will allow patients covered by the health plan to continue to receive care at the hospital. In Rhode Island, “Blue Cross dominates the commercial insurance market,” said Ira Wilson, professor of health services, policy and practice. “Anyone who wants to participate in commercial insurance needs to have a contract with Blue Cross.” As each hospital or hospital system negotiates separate contracts with in-
surers and the terms of each contract remain secret, reimbursement rates vary significantly between hospitals. Due to its status as an independent community hospital, Landmark has difficulty bargaining for favorable terms in a contract, Wilson said. He added that it is probable that differences between Prime’s and Steward’s business models allow Prime to accept a lower reimbursement rate while remaining profitable. “As the leading health insurer in Rhode Island, Blue Cross continues our commitment to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to improve the health of our community. We believe there is no more important work than ensuring the integrity and sustainability of our state’s health care delivery systems,” according to a statement released by Blue Cross. The passage of the President Obama’s health care reform legislation acted as another catalyst for hospital consolidation and has endorsed a shift away from “fee-for-service” payments for health care, Wilson said. Instead, “you give a delivery system a fixed amount of money, and say, ‘You deliver this amount of service for this amount of money.’” Wilson said the Landmark deal is indicative of a larger trend toward hospital consolidation. “There are benefits for hospitals and physicians to be a part of a larger network for this to work,” he said. While pointing to the important role of Landmark as a hospital and employer in northern Rhode Island, Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences Edward Wing expressed concerns about the hospital being purchased by a for-profit company. “All of Brown’s teaching hospitals are not-for-profits, as opposed to Prime,” Wing said. “For-profits do not perform research and do not tend to train medical students and residents — that’s a big difference between the two types of systems.”
for same-sex marriage
KIM PERLEY / HERALD
House Speaker Gordon Fox, D-Providence, will bring same-sex marriage legislation to a vote in the House in 2013, according to his spokesman. By isobel Heck contributing writer
WPRI poll results released Oct. 1 show that 56 percent of Rhode Island voters are in favor of same-sex marriage and only 36 percent are in opposition. These numbers represent historic highs and lows, respectively, in Rhode Island, and same-sex marriage supporters said they feel that the movement’s building momentum is finally supported by statistics. A February poll showed 50 percent of Rhode Islanders supported same-sex marriage, while 41 percent opposed it. The most recent poll represents an 11 point widening. “These polls reflect what we’ve seen on the ground for the past two years,” said Ray Sullivan, campaign director for Marriage Equality Rhode Island. “We’re excited, and we’re certainly pleased, but we’re not surprised.” The same-sex movement has been steadily gaining support in past years but has experienced hold-ups in the state legislature. In 2010, House Speaker Gordon Fox, D-Providence, who is openly gay, supported a same-sex marriage bill but ended up deciding that it was not im-
mediately feasible. In a blow to same-sex marriage supporters, he shifted his support to a civil union bill in April of 2011. Gabriel Schwartz ’13, co-coordinator of Brown’s Queer Political Action Committee, said while the civil union bill was a step in the right direction, it is still discriminatory. “The poll is helpful because it shows what we have been trying to prove,” he added. “Rhode Island is a Catholic, blue-collar state, and this hasn’t always been okay.” At Brown, students are actively pushing for a same-sex marriage bill by supporting candidates in favor of same-sex marriage and by volunteering with MERI, Schwartz said. Bennett Knox ’15, another co-coordinator of the Queer Political Action Committee, said while the poll is encouraging for the upcoming presidential election, the Sept. 11 primaries were the more important race in Rhode Island. Over half the candidates who would support a same-sex marriage bill won their primary battles, two in the Senate and seven in the Rhode Island House of Representatives. “It’s going to be a long haul, even if we do get the legislature,” Knox said. “We’re hoping the polls like these will give us the tools to do this, as initiative for people to sign up.” “If the poll is used correctly, it could be a very good thing,” Knox added. “The danger is that if you spread it around to the wrong people, it could frighten people against (it), and it could be counterproductive. But it is an encouragement, and it is encouraging for those fighting for their views to be backed.” The current level of support for samesex marriage in the General Assembly is unprecedented, Sullivan said. And once legislators reconvene in January, a same-sex marriage bill may move forward quickly with the speaker’s support, he said. “Should I be re-elected, I am committed to bringing marriage equality legislation to a vote in the House early in the 2013 session. I believe we will have the necessary votes to pass marriage equality in the House. The results of the WPRI poll confirm my belief that this is an issue gaining great momentum and acceptance in Rhode Island,” wrote Larry Berman, Fox’s spokesman, on behalf of the speaker, in an email to The Herald. The bill would also have support from the state’s top leader. “The governor has backed the issue prior to now, and continues to do so,” said Christine Hunsinger, director of communications for Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14. “The Speaker intends to propose the marriage equality bill, and the governor would back it.”