vol. cxlviii, no. 17
Grad School sees small decline in overall applications
After this semester, Canvas will fully replace MyCourses
One percent fewer prospective graduate students sought admission to Brown By mark valdez SEnior staff writer
Zombie zeal Standardized test instigates an un-dead student protest Page 7
Bit of a problem Dorris ’15 advocates caution around BitTorrent networks today
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thursday, february 14, 2013
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Applications to the Graduate School decreased by 1 percent this year, wrote Graduate School Director of Communications Beverly Larson in an email to The Herald. While applications to the University’s Ph.D. programs dipped 5 percent, applications to master’s programs received thus far have risen 8 percent compared to last year, Larson wrote. Deadlines for master’s programs vary, so applications to some programs could still come in, she added. Some programs, such as the master’s program for engineering, have already reached their deadline for accepting applications. Others, like the master’s program in American studies, have deadlines up to July 1
“or until the class is full,” according to the Graduate School’s admission site. It is too early to say how many applicants will be admitted this year overall, Larson wrote, but she added that Graduate School administrators expect the number of admitted students to be similar to last year’s. In a survey of the class of 2011 conducted by the Center for Careers and Life After Brown, 22 percent of respondents indicated they planned on heading straight to graduate or professional school following their graduation from the University. Director of CareerLAB Andrew Simmons said information about the class of 2012’s post-graduation plans should be released around April. But he said the percent of Brown students in the class of 2012 headed to graduate and professional schools will probably be consistent with past years, somewhere between 23 and 25 percent. “It may go up a little bit in times of economic crisis,” Simmons said. The Graduate School anticipates receiving notice by April 15 from
EMILY GILBERT / HERALD
Compared to last year, the University has received fewer applications to Ph.D. programs and more applications to master’s programs. admitted applicants as to whether they will attend the University, Larson wrote. The Graduate School works with
department chairs and graduate study directors to accept varying numbers of students depending on each de/ / Grad page 2 p a r t m e n t ’s
Students examine independent study options Gate will Many independent move to study programs remain popular academic Andrews options for students Hall By molly schulson senior staff writer
When the New Curriculum was created, its progenitors “envisioned independent study as a cornerstone of the Brown academic experience,” according to the Curricular Resource Center’s website. More than 40 years later, though the College Curriculum Council approved only eight Independent Study Projects and 16 Group Independent Study Projects this semester, 1,730 students are currently participating in Departmental Independent Study Projects, and the number of independent concentrators has increased in recent years according
to data given to The Herald by the CRC. The wide range of courses Brown offers provides students with more options that may lessen motivation to design independent study projects, Associate Dean of the College Kathleen McSharry wrote in an email to The Herald. When the New Curriculum took off in the 1970s, the University had fewer class offerings, said Peggy Chang ’91, director of the CRC. Many standard courses or concentrations originated as GISPs, including the American sign language and neuroscience concentrations. “Back then there were around 100 GISPs a year, but that was a time when there were not 2,000 classes, 700 professors or 78 concentrations,” Chang said. Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards and fellowship programs sponsored by the Watson Institute for International / /Study page 3
The renovated eatery is scheduled to be completed by January 2014 By Hannah Loewentheil senior staff writer
EVAN THOMAS / HERALD
Run out of the Curricular Resource Center, independent study programs aim to give students the chance to expand the scope of their learning.
Art shows love’s evolution
D OR M L i f e
Depictions of romance throughout history inform understandings of love in the modern era By Katherine Cusumano Senior staff writer
Come February, one can hardly enter a drug store without experiencing a visual assault of walls lined with mass-produced cards, chocolates and pinks of every shade — ubiquitous evidence of the commercialism with which Valentine’s Day has come to be associated. But the Valentine — and romance itself — has a long and illustrious history beyond Hallmark sales. Courtly love first made an appear-
arts & culture
ALAN SHAN / HERALD
Miller and Metcalf halls were renovated last semester. In the fall, the dorms will host first-years.
ance in the 12th century as a way for women to seek out “fulfilling love” despite politically arranged marriages, wrote Elizabeth Bryan, associate professor of English, in an email to The Herald. Literature of the time depicts conflict between heterosexual and homosocial relationships, she wrote. This “dilemma fuels many a narrative plot in the Romance genre.” In the early modern period before the French Revolution, art was completed on commission, said Evelyn Lincoln, associate professor of history of art and architecture and Italian studies. Chests, or cassoni, were gifted to a couple upon their marriage. They were inscribed with scenes of weddings and mythology. The underside of the lids portrayed a nude man or woman, as if sexuality were an object to be kept safe along with the riches of a marriage, Lincoln said. Early mod/ / Love page 9
The Gate will be relocated to Andrews Dining Hall and expanded into a new eatery and social space, said Richard Bova, senior associate dean of residential life and dining services. Construction is scheduled to begin in June, with an estimated completion date of January 2014. There is “a lack of space on campus where students can meet, talk with classmates and eat at the same time,” Bova said, adding that the Gate is limited in its seating capacity and food offerings because of its current size. The new Andrews Dining Commons will serve as an eatery, as well as a study and meeting area for students. “We are currently looking at an area with about 200 plus seats,” Bova said. The construction project will eliminate the wall currently separating the kitchen from the main area to create an expansive space where students can see the activity in the kitchen, Bova said. “We are utilizing a lot of glass so students will enjoy the openness of the space,” he said, adding that it will retain its 15- to 18- foot ceilings. Other features will include new seminar classrooms and access from Andrews Commons to a new 24-hour study center. “If you think about mushing several floors of / / Gate page 4
2 university news
UCS condemns federal budget sequester
c alendar Today
8 p.m. One Billion Rising Dance
Poler Bears’ Valentines Day Show
9 p.m. March for Marriage Equality
IMPROVidence is Back Show!
menu SHARPE REFECTORY
LUNCH Eggplant Par mesan Grinder, Mediterranean Bar, Grilled Turkey Burger, Red Velvet Cupcakes
Cajun Blackened Chicken Sandwich, Eggplant Parmesan Grinder, Vegan Dal Cali, Vegan Oatmeal Cookie
DINNER Toasted Ravioli with Italian Salsa, Caprese Salad, Tortellini Provencale, Strawberry Jello
Tequila Lime Chicken, Butternut Squash Formato, Curried Shrimp, Carrot Cake
the brown daily herald thursday, february 14, 2013
The sequester would cut federal student financial aid, making Brown unaffordable for some By Maxine Joselow Senior Staff Writer
The Undergraduate Council of Students will send Congress a statement formally declaring its opposition to the federal sequester and its consequences for students. The statement, drafted by UCS Treasurer Sam Gilman ’15, asserts the council’s disapproval of the federal sequester’s 6 percent cut in federal financial aid for students. The sequester could cut across the board federal spending. It was originally slated to take effect January but has since been pushed back to March. “A 6 percent cut in student aid equates to a complete loss in educational opportunities for more than 100,000 students and millions more will lose a significant portion of their aid,” the statement reads in part. “It will force students to pay for (Congress’) inability to comprise.” Gilman presented his idea for the statement to the council at last week’s general body meeting, where it was met with general agreement. The council approved the motion to send the statement to Congress without objections. “This is an issue that affects so many Brown students. So many Brown students are on financial aid,” said Kyra Mungia ‘13, UCS communications chair, in support of the statement. Council members’ concerns about the statement centered on style. Many UCS members suggested making grammatical modifications. Only Maahika Srinivasan ’15, UCS Corporation liaison, proposed altering the statement’s content by cutting the phrase “People should always come before politics”
/ / Grad page 1 size, she added. While the number of applications dipped for spots in the Graduate
Justina Lee / Herald
UCS will send a formal statement opposing the federal budget sequester, which could reduce student aid by up to 6 percent. because of its politically charged tone. “So any input other than grammar?” said UCS President Anthony White ’13. Sazzy Gourley ’16, UCS general body member, asked whether other schools were producing similar statements. White said he believes schools in the University of California system have also publicized their disapproval of the federal sequester. He added that he plans on sending Brown’s statement to peer institutions to solicit their support. “Is this statement going on the website? I feel like students don’t really go on the UCS website,” said Malikah Williams ’16, UCS general body member. The statement will be publicized on both the council’s website and Facebook page, White said. Besides discussing the statement opposing the federal sequester, UCS also reacted to Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin’s P’12 presentation of the Committee on Faculty Retention, Recruitment and Development’s
interim report. The committee will advocate providing more time for faculty members to conduct research, promoting a diverse faculty and ensuring faculty members’ salaries remain competitive with those at peer institutions, McLaughlin said. In addition, the committee recommends professors on sabbatical receive full-time pay instead of 75 percent pay, McLaughlin said. Council members saw negative consequences of giving faculty members more time to conduct research. Additional time for research could detract from time spent advising students, said Todd Harris ’14, UCS general body member. It could also make faculty members less available to teach courses, said Gregory Chatzinoff ’15, UCS-UFB liaison. “At Brown especially, advising is part of teaching,” McLaughlin said. “if you can bring in interesting visiting faculty while faculty are away doing research, that actually can be better for students.”
School, the overall number of students taking the Graduate Record Examination in 2012 experienced a much larger drop of 18 percent from last year’s total — falling from about
800,000 to 655,000. It is difficult to tie the number of tests taken with applications received in a given year, since GRE test scores remain valid for five years, Larson wrote in an email to The Herald last year. Adith Ramamurti ’13 applied to various graduate schools to pursue a postdoctoral degree in theoretical physics. While Ramamurti said the applications were “self-explanatory,” he said he was unaware of the extent of standardized testing in the admission process, adding he did not realize he had to take the GRE so early in the cycle. “I hadn’t thought about grad school back in the spring,” he said. “The physics department and (the University) hadn’t put together any information sessions to tell you what you had to do.” “Ph.D. and master’s programs are all over the map,” Simmons said, adding that there is no uniform procedure for giving information to graduate school applicants about the process, given the differences between programs. Ramamurti said he anticipates hearing back this month and said he had friends at Brown who have already begun hearing back from graduate schools to which they applied.
www.browndailyherald.com 195 Angell St., Providence, R.I. Shefali Luthra, President Samuel Plotner, Treasurer Lucy Feldman, Vice President Julia Kuwahara, Secretary The Brown Daily Herald (USPS 067.740) is an independent newspaper serving the Brown University community daily since 1891. It is published Monday through Friday during the academic year, excluding vacations, once during Commencement and once during Orientation by The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. Single copy free for each member of the community. POSTMASTER please send corrections to P.O. Box 2538, Providence, RI 02906. Periodicals postage paid at Providence, R.I. Subscription prices: $280 one year daily, $140 one semester daily. Copyright 2013 by The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. All rights reserved. editorial
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university news 3
the brown daily herald thursday, february 14, 2013
Professors’ transition to Canvas nears completion After this semester, instructors will no longer have the option of using MyCourses By SORA PARK CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Around 610 courses have switched from MyCourses to Canvas, according to data released by Hong Chau, instructional technologist for the academic technology division of Computing and Information Services. The University is in the final semester of a two-year transition from MyCourses to the new course website Canvas. MyCourses will be available to faculty members until the end of this semester. After MyCourses’ parent company, Blackboard, announced in 2010 that it would cease supporting the platform beyond October 2012, the University searched for a new system for over a year. CIS opted for Canvas after analyzing over 1,000 faculty and student survey responses on what changes they wanted
/ / Study page 1 Studies, the Swearer Center for Public Service and the Office of International Affairs also attract students who may have otherwise pursued independent study projects by satisfying their desires to pursue projects outside the traditional classroom experience, McSharry wrote. Even with the University’s increase in course offerings over the years, some students still opt to create their own ISPs or GISPs, with projects ranging from “Chemical Systems of Food” to “Hip Hop Education.” “The experience of a semester entirely self-driven with ... much less accountability to a professor is totally different,” said Laura Ucik ’13, a CRC independent studies coordinator. Crafting a course Trends in the last 10 years show GISPs are often more abundant in the spring semester. The number of GISPs this semester more than doubled compared to the fall, reaching 16 projects compared to last semester’s seven, according to the CRC data. “The fall is when you have the idea brewing but you haven’t acted on it and the spring is when you can act on it,” Chang said. Independent study projects have also increased since last semester, rising from five to eight, according to the data. Independent study applications must be filled out by students interested in doing any non-departmental independent study, group independent study or academic internship. The faculty adviser must also submit a sponsorship statement. “The proposal process through the CCC is somewhat rigorous in that you
/ / Media page 12 Compliments.” “Brown Admirers” allows students to post details about a crush or someone they admire, tagging the person in the post without revealing their own identities. Posts on the page range from meaningful declarations to witty innuendos targeted at specific people. Giulia Nicita ’15 was tagged in a
to be made, The Herald reported last year. Administrators cited Canvas as a beneficial tool because of its interactive media features and capacity to interface with other tools like anti-plagiarism software and mobile friendliness. “We have yet to receive negative feedback from students about Canvas,” said Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron. “There is a clear preference for Canvas over MyCourses.” “It depends on the course as to whether MyCourses or Canvas is better,” said Martin Donoyan ’15. “Canvas is interactive and a better place for discussion. It’s very user-friendly.” “Canvas is good to use, but it has lots of different options that sometimes don’t take you to the right place,” said Katie Voss ’14, adding that it allows students to have blog assignments and discussion sections and that she likes the calendar feature. While the majority of courses have already made the switch to Canvas, MyCourses still hosts roughly 130 courses. Chi-Ming Hai, professor of medical science and one of the professors who has
yet to make the switch, said he continues to teach his physiology course on MyCourses because of the site’s simpler management system and specialized features that he said facilitate better teaching. “I was able to receive one-on-one instruction from the staff of MyCourses’ (Information Technology Group) whenever I encountered problems,” Hai said, adding that he does not believe the support structure for Canvas is as helpful as MyCourses’ support services. “Personally I think that Brown should present the option of choosing one system or the other to the professors,” he said. But administrators said the Canvas information technology group is working to strengthen its troubleshooting methods to aid faculty members with the system.“We are constantly working with the vendor to address concerns as they may arise,” Bergerson said, adding that she has received positive feedback on Canvas. - With additional reporting by Mark Valdez
The University decided to transition to Canvas after Blackboard, MyCourses’ parent company, announced it would no longer support the system.
literally come up with a 14-week syllabus the semester prior, and that’s not easy to do,” Chang said. “I think the process for the draft syllabus is very challenging,” said Caroline Karp, senior lecturer in environmental studies. She has advised four GISPs in past semesters. Some students find the process of designing a course valuable. “You also learn a lot from the process of composing a bibliography, justifying and framing (a project’s) creation in the larger context of academia and higher learning,” Rexy Durado ’14 wrote in an email to The Herald. He co-created a GISP on Filipino-American culture that he is taking this semester. This year, Ucik and fellow IS coordinator Nikhil Kalyanpur ’13 implemented a new step in the independent study review process that provided students with early feedback on their proposals, McSharry wrote. “Dean McSharry said it was the best batch of proposals she’s seen in her entire time with the program,” Ucik said. “It’s not just the quantity but also the quality of proposals that was improving.” The process to prepare for a departmental independent study project is less formal, according to the CRC website. Such projects do not require CCC approval but instead go directly through a faculty adviser’s department. Students are encouraged to submit statements to faculty advisers listing goals for their projects, according to the Dean of the College website. On students’ transcripts, departmental projects are all called “Independent Reading and Research.” “I’m coding for (Associate Professor of Psychology Leslie Welch’s) experiment and then going to lab meetings
and reading relevant papers to get a background on the cognitive science part of what I’m doing,” Chloe KlimanSilver ’16 wrote in an email to The Herald. Welch approached Kliman-Silver at the beginning of the semester about working in her lab, Kliman-Silver wrote. Kliman-Silver did not think she could take a fourth class this semester, so she decided to participate in the independent study instead.
Karp has mixed feelings on GISPs, she said. Students plan a syllabus and then take the class the following semester but do not set aside a time to do the course, she said. Mikala Murad ’16 was involved in the planning stages of the Native American slavery GISP but eventually decided to drop out. “I kind of realized communication in the group wasn’t as great as it could have been,” she said. About a week into the semester, a specific day for the group to meet was still not decided, she said. “They scramble to find a time to meet, which is always difficult because they have to fit it in with all of their other classes. As an adviser I found that very stressful,” Karp said. “It’s a bureaucratic issue that can be solved quite easily if all GISPs can ... choose a fixed number of class periods.” “If we had figured our schedule out from the beginning, it would have been a lot easier and it would have changed my decision to stay in the course or not,” Murad said. CRC coordinators have thought about creating a “more collaborative study space” for GISPs, Ucik wrote in an email to The Herald. The coordinators are interested in reserving the Memorial Room in the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center for GISPs to use as needed, Ucik wrote. “This is all part of our efforts in general to create more of a community around independent study,” she wrote.
post last week — the message said the sender would “fly to Italy with her and back anyday.” Though Nicita thought the message was comical, she still doesn’t know who posted it. “Now every acquaintance I interact with I think ‘hmm, could it be you?’” she said.
found that 24.8 percent of Brown students are in an exclusive relationship with one other person, and 56 percent of students expressed interest in being in a monogamous relationship. Contrary to these data, many students still perceive a strong “hook-up” culture on campus. “I think here we definitely do not have a relationship culture. It seems to be more about hook-ups,” Kim said. Nicita said most of her friends are
Hooking up A Herald poll conducted in the fall
Coordination Complications Students and professors voiced praise for and concerns about the independent study opportunities. “If a student has an idea or wants to learn something but it’s not offered at Brown, they should commit and find a way to make their own independent study,” said Floripa Olguin ’16. She is currently taking GISP004: “Native American Slavery and the Transition into Higher Education” with four other students. “(GISPS) are a great way for students to expand outside of what Brown already offers,” said Elizabeth Hoover, assistant professor of American studies and adviser to the Native American slavery GISP. She also advises a student in a “Small Farm” Academic Internship this semester. Academic internships allow students to combine independent study projects with internships while earning course credit. A senior faculty member once recommended Hoover not to participate in advising independent studies because professors do not get teaching credit for them, she said. Professors can advise a maximum of 10 independent studies at a time, Chang said. Coordinating meeting times and places for GISPs can also be a challenge.
Independent concentrations Students who want to take their academic independence one step further can apply to complete independent concentrations, the number of which has increased in recent years, according to the CRC. Currently, 26 students
are working on completing their own concentrations, according to data given to The Herald by the CRC. Philosophy, politics and economics is currently the most popular independent concentration, with three students declared. Other independent concentrations include logic, jazz studies, aesthetics, deaf and disability studies and intelligence systems. “There has recently been a lot of focus on raising the awareness of independent concentrations,” Chang said. The application process has been made clearer and less daunting, she said. “In the past, if you wanted to do an IC you were handed a packet that was 10 pages long, and now the application form is two double-sided pages,” said Evan Schwartz ’13, CRC independent concentrations coordinator. “A lot of people think it’s impossible to do an IC,” said Schwartz, who is independently concentrating in political economy and education. “Most of the work that goes into it is figuring out exactly what you want to do and how to go about it, but that’s something that everyone should be working on anyway,” he said. Even with an independent concentration, students need to make sure a majority of their required courses are official Brown classes. No more than two required courses in an independent concentration can be an independent study. Schwartz said an independent concentration may or may not have an effect on post-graduation employment prospects. “As most people are finding, no concentration is a shoe-in for getting a job,” he said. “You have to be proactive about it, and the same goes for independent concentrations.”
not in relationships and instead opt for hook-ups. She said she only knows of one of her friends being in a “good relationship,” which started in class. Age also appears to be a factor for students seeking relationships. “As you gain more experience and interact with more people, the chance of you building a relationship grows,” said Hiuwai Lee ’13, adding that more upperclassmen seem to be in relation-
ships than first-years. Student plans for Valentine’s Day vary based on their relationships. Though many are without a significant other, they are still looking for ways to have fun. Maria Bugane ’16 said she will be working at the Ratty but plans to send a friend a singing valentine. “It’s a good time to show a friend you care about them — not so much declarations of love,” she said.
4 university news
the brown daily herald thursday, february 14, 2013
Miller, Metcalf open to upperclassmen after renovations The Pembroke campus dorms will serve as housing for first-year students this fall By Brittany nieves senior staff writer
Miller and Metcalf halls opened this semester to all students after completing renovations that began last summer. The dorms currently house upperclassmen but will be converted to first-year-only housing this fall. Students in the dorms currently include transfer students, those who have returned from study abroad and others who have requested room changes. Many of the students residing in the dormitories currently live alone in double rooms due to excess space availability. “I was studying abroad in Barcelona for a semester, so they placed me here,” said Carolina Gomez ’14, who lives in Miller. “All the transfers got placed in doubles with a roommate but all the study abroad got placed in singles.” Students who studied abroad last fall were allowed to request residence for the spring semester on Pembroke campus, said Leah Stansky ’14, who was placed in Metcalf this semester. “It’s the nicest dorm I’ve lived in thus far,” Stansky said. After years of deterioration, the dorms were completely overhauled to a much greater extent than Keeney Quadrangle and Andrews Hall, which were also renovated last year, said Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services. Keeney Quad and Andrews Hall required less renovation than Miller and Metcalf, which needed completely new heating, plumbing and electrical systems. “These two buildings were a gut renovation, which means they were really torn down to the studs and everything was redone,” Klawuun said.
/ / Gate page 1 (Faunce House) together, this will be the aim up on Pembroke,” said MaryLou McMillan ’85, senior director for planning and projects. The new eatery will “give students a sense that there is housing, food, congregating space and a whole personality to Pembroke,” said McMillan, who lived on Pembroke Campus for three years while
“These were our two worst buildings on campus for the systems, especially for the heating systems, and now it’s just spectacular,” she said. Renovations also included installing an elevator in each dormitory, creating community lounges with kitchens on the first floor, restoring laundry rooms and adding spaces for students to relax, play games, watch television and have meetings. There are study rooms on each floor, as well as individual restrooms “for students who are not working with a gendersegregated binary,” said Richard Bova, senior associate dean of residential and dining services. Miller and Metcalf are now handicap-accessible, a requirement for new dormitories on campus, said Kaylyn Shibata ’14, a member of the Residential Council. Older dorms on campus do not have these functions, but because the requirement is new, they are not in violation of this regulation, she said. Changing Miller and Metcalf so they would have doubles was not the intention when the planning process began, Klawunn said. “While we were (in the planning process), we came up with the idea, from listening to students, that these buildings would be better used as a first-year residential area, instead of what we were doing with the buildings before,” she said. The Miller and Metcalf dorms will house 164 students in doubles this fall, Bova said. Currently, Miller and Metcalf are attached to Andrews Hall, but the University will divide the buildings in the future, Shibata said. Other future renovations include adding interactive dashboards that will tell students their energy consumption levels. Residential peer leaders are currently being trained to work these dashboards and communicate the importance of sustainability to students, Klawuun said.
Renovations of the buildings included new community lounges, elevators and spaces for study and recreation. First year students will be moving in next fall.
she was a student. Bova said in addition to the Miller, Metcalf and Andrews renovations, the new eatery will help “to anchor Pembroke” and provide a “great tribute and opportunity for Pembroke students.” Andrews Dining Commons will retain the current Gate’s menu — including pizza and panini sandwiches — but will also offer expanded options, Bova said. He said he anticipates the space will re-
main open on weekends and until late at night to maximize student use. “We will be meeting with students to refine the menu and hours of operation,” Bova said. Elodi Healy ’16 said she has a “Gate crew” with whom she visits the eatery almost every night. She said she enjoys the “pretty good food,” large seating area and convenient location near her dorm.“I just don’t want to lose a place to hang out,” she said.
ALAN shan / herald
Miller and Metcalf halls, which underwent extensive renovations this year, are currently housing transfer students and students returning to the University from studying abroad.
Alan shan / herald
Ian Garrity ’16 lives on Pembroke Campus and works for Brown Dining Services at the Gate. “The Gate really cements the community, especially on weekends because the (Verney-Woolley Dining Hall) isn’t open,” he said. Garrity said he hopes the new space will continue to serve “as a resource (in which) to work and make money,” he said. “The Gate is a wonderful place to work and I hope the University
works on retaining that.” Student staff size is unlikely to decrease — “If anything (the Andrews Dining Commons) will require new folks to support it,” he said, adding that the Blue Room serves almost three times the volume of food today the eatery did before renovations. “From the way it sounds, the new eatery could be very swanky,” Garrity said. “It’s going to be a different Gate.”
the brown daily herald thursday, february 14, 2013
To: Emily M
To: Sami I
“Happy Valentine’s Day to one of the finest polyamorous people I know. I’ve had a crush on you since rugby season all those years back. Give a homegurl a chance?”
“You are as sweet and feisty as Tiger Balm. And I really like Tiger Balm. Be my valentine?”
To: Main Green
To: Hot girls in the Ratty
“I sit idly by while you shine. I relish my tranquility yet I admire your boisterous popularity — how can we overcome these obstacles between us? I long to unite our long bodies. ”
From: Your Secret Admirer
From: Quiet Green
To: Amara B
“Damn, girl. I saw you at “Come A Little Closer.” I was nervous around you, you so damn fine. Wish I woulda worked up the courage to ask you to dance, but got sidetracked by friends. Maybe next time. But just for now, will you be my valentine?”
To: Tim with the kind eyes
“You have extremely kind eyes. I notice them always. That’s really all I have to say.”
To: Brown University
“Dear Brown: You have given me no employable skills, a shoddy alumni network, hypersensitivity to racial jokes and a sense of expectations for myself few human beings can hope to live up to. Yet all I ever think about is going back to you. Will you take me? Because no employer will. Really, I love you, Brown.”
From: An Unemployed Alum
“Happy Vaentine’s Day. I’m sorry I’m in Colorado and can’t celebrate, but I know you’ll read this. I love you Bean, see you Sunday for our makeup Valentines!”
From: Zach Long
To: Alex C
“You are the epitome of the sexy nerd. You are the guanine to my cytosine, the sin^2 to my cos^2, the electrophile to my nucleophile. You had me hooked the first time you wrote <B, just because it was a “slightly more accurate” heart than <3. If I had my way, I’d stare into your eyes and let you talk science to me all night long. Much love.”
sam kase / herald
The Brown Bear statue on the Main Green was decked out yesterday with roses, flowers and posters in honor of Valentine’s Day.
For more valentines, visit blogdailyherald.com
6 university news M a r i ac h i m a d n e s s
the brown daily herald thursday, february 14, 2013
Today in University History
by Kiki Barnes senior staff writer
2003 In the aftermath of the Columbia space shuttle tragedy, students and professors mourned the fallen astronauts while expressing optimism for the nation’s space program. But letters Americans sent to various national newspapers contained “cynical, even hateful” tones, The Herald reported at the time. Voice of the People Editor at the Chicago Tribune, Dodie Hofstetter told The Herald she “saw a lot of letters questioning whether or not the astronauts were heroes and many saying the space program must go on.” She added that a few letters discussed the possibility that the disaster was the result of sabotage or terrorism. The Brown community reacted more sympathetically, The Herald reported. “We’d all gotten used to the space program being generally safe,” then-Professor of Political Science Darrell West said at the time. “(The shuttle was) a very sophisticated technology that sometimes fails.”
1983 sam kase / herald
Brown Mariachi plays a song and delivers roses at the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center as part of a Valentine’s Day celebration.
The Corporation — the University’s highest governing body passed a vote that required all male financial aid applicants to — generate proof of their having signed up for the selective service, The Herald reported. “Brown University will not replace with its own scholarship or loan funds federal scholarship or loan funds forfeited by its students as a result of their decision not to register for the draft,” the Corporation’s statement said. The Corporation passed the decree in response to the Solomon Amendment, a national law that withheld government scholarships from non-registered students, Vice President for University Relations Robert Reichley told The Herald. Estimates of Brown students on financial aid, who did not register for the draft, ranged from 20 to 200.
sam kase / herald
In her lecture about art and mental health, social worker Jane Hesser described empathy as a “leap of imagination” into another person’s mind and memories.
/ / Hesser page 12 question and answer session following the speech, audience members noted the stark contrast between Hesser’s privacy-oriented clinical practice and the public nature of art. “Both have their own anguish,” said Margaret Howard, clinical associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior and director of the Day Hospital for Postpartum Depression at the Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island. A double concentrator in neuroscience and English, Adela Wu ’13 said she enjoyed learning about how clinicians can establish empathetic relationships with patients and was surprised to hear detachment and judgment portrayed in a positive light when it came to doctorpatient interaction. Commenting on Hesser’s integration of art and clinical practice, community member Rachel Balaban said, “It’s all mixed together in this beautiful soup.”
The Inter-Fraternity Council passed a motion declaring rushing illegal in the Ivy Room, The Herald reported. In what IFC President James Seed ’63 referred to as “dirty rushing,” fraternities would send “teams” of upperclassmen to the Ivy Room to actively recruit first-years. The practice was advantageous to larger fraternities, which had enough members to remain in the Ivy Room for extended intervals of time, The Herald reported at the time. Rick Howard ’63, treasurer of the IFC, told The Herald that while the practice did not go against any existing rules, it was “not in the spirit” of rushing.
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the brown daily herald thursday, february 14, 2013
SPOTLIGHT ON by Sona mkrttchian THE STATEHOUSE city & state editor Teacher tenure The House Labor Committee reviewed legislation this week to revise employment policies for Rhode Island’s public schools. Rep. Scott Guthrie, D-Coventry, introduced the bill, which suggests a system of seniority through which teachers would be “suspended” from schools when student populations decrease. Under this policy, teachers would be suspended “in the inverse order of their employment unless it is necessary to retain certain teachers of technical subjects,” according to the bill. When student figures return to stable levels, teachers will be reinstated in the order in which they were notified of suspension. Guthrie’s bill also stipulates that schools may not hire new teachers while there are teachers waiting to be reinstated.
‘Ban the box’ Rep. Scott Slater, D-Providence, and Sen. Harold Metts, D-Providence, introduced legislation in the General Assembly this week to “ban the box” on job applications that questions applicants on their criminal histories for private R.I. businesses. Providence is currently one of the 40 cities across the nation that already has similar laws in place for the public sector. If passed, the legislation would give residents seeking employment in the private sector a “chance to be considered on their qualifications, not immediately rejected from consideration because of a wrong decision in their past for which they have paid their debt to society,” Slater said in a General Assembly press release. The legislation would also prevent employers from requesting criminal background checks from prospective applicants. But this bill would not supersede current laws prohibiting individuals convicted of certain crimes from working with those specific groups of society to whom they pose a risk, such as children or the elderly, according to the GA release. “Individuals who have done wrong and paid for their mistakes should not be haunted for the rest of their lives,” Metts said, according to the release. “People coming out of prison need jobs to feed their families, pay rent, move on with their lives.”
Sandy Aid Approximately two months after the R.I. congressional delegation pressured Republicans to pass an aid package for states affected by Hurricane Sandy, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation is receiving $15 million of federal aid to facilitate reconstruction of state infrastructure. Sen. Jack Reed, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rep. Jim Langevin and Rep. David Cicilline, all D-RI, jointly announced the appropriation earlier this week. Rhode Island has now received approximately $48 million of federal aid to rebuild after the storm, according to a press release from the delegation. This most recent aid package results from the Superstorm Sandy Supplemental Appropriations bill, which was signed into law by President Obama at the end of January.
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8 city & state
the brown daily herald thursday, february 14, 2013
Students oppose test in ‘zombie’ rally
The high-stakes NECAP test may prevent up to 60 percent of Providence seniors from graduating By Emily Boney Senior staff writer
Rhode Island public school students gathered yesterday to protest a new policy from the Rhode Island Department of Education that requires high school seniors to pass the New England Common Assessment Program, a state-sponsored standardized test, in order to graduate. The students, dressed and painted to resemble zombies, took up a battle cry that echoed through the streets of Providence: “No education, no life!” The Providence Student Union, a student-led organization founded at Hope High School in 2010, led the group, which shuffled and groaned its way to the Department of Education from Burnside Park. The “undead” theme was meant to symbolize the lifelessness someone experiences without a high school diploma, said Hope High School student Bryan Varela. “It takes our life away from us,” he said, adding that those without a high school diploma have much more limited options in the job market. Once the protest reached the Department of Education’s building, Claudierre McKay, a Classical High School student, gave a speech outlining the intent behind the protest
EMILY BONEY / HERALD
The Providence Student Union participated in a protest against the new requirement for all high school seniors to pass the NECAP exam. and the reasoning for the participants’ zombie attire. “To take away our diploma is to take away our life,” he said, and was answered by moaning and shrieking from the crowd of “undead” students. Varela said money spent on testing would be put to better use diversifying the curriculum. High schools should give students the option to study “what they want for a career,” Varela said. He added that supplies for the schools would also be a good use of educational funds. The student union’s website outlines a wealth of reasons why standardized testing does not increase the quality of public education. The test does not better teaching quality, improve curriculum or give students the skills they need to succeed later in life, the website states. A disproportionate number of minority and English Language Learning students fail standardized tests, according to studies conducted over the past decades. Union members also fear curricula will be geared toward the test, stifling
student creativity, according to the student union website. The new testing requirement goes into effect this year. It requires students to score at least “partially proficient” on the math and reading portions of the NECAP, according to a Department of Education news release. Students take the test once in their junior years, and if they receive scores below “proficient,” they must take it again in the fall of their senior years. This year, 40 percent of juniors in Rhode Island scored “substantially below proficient” on the math exam, and only 34 percent were proficient, according to a press release from the Department of Education. In the release, Gov. Lincoln Chafee ‘75 P’14 said he was “concerned” about the math deficiencies of Rhode Island public schools but was pleased by the improvement the state had seen in the last few years. Rhode Island’s four-year high school graduation rate last year was 77 percent.
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the brown daily herald thursday, february 14, 2013
Central Falls mayor sentenced on bribery charges Moreau will serve two years in prison and pay $25,000 fine for receiving illegal contributions By aparaajit sriram senior staff writer
Former Central Falls Mayor Charles Moreau was sentenced to two years in prison Tuesday by the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island for accepting gifts from friend and contractor Michael Bouthillette. In exchange, Moreau had awarded Bouthillette an exclusive contract for renovations to city buildings, according to a Feb. 13 Boston Globe article.
Between the years 2007 and 2009, Bouthillette worked on at least 167 buildings in the city, charging inflated rates and earning what prosecutors deemed “unreasonable profits,” the Associated Press reported. In return, Bouthillette installed a furnace in Moreau’s Central Falls home and performed “more than $16,000 in renovations” at Moreau’s second home in Lincoln, according to the Providence Journal. Central Falls — which is Rhode Is-
O n c e , T w i c e , s o ld
sam kase / herlad
Students were “auctioned off” for charity last night at the Brown International Organization’s Cupid’s Market.
land’s smallest and poorest municipality — declared bankruptcy in August 2011. At that point, the city’s deficit was over $6 million. After a year under state receivership, during which a stateappointed official governed the city, Central Falls emerged from bankruptcy in October. Moreau, who served as mayor for over eight and a half years, was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine. He will report to prison on March 4. In explaining his judgment, U.S. District Judge John McConnell said he considered the effects of Maureau’s behavior on public trust but ultimately
decided not to impose the maximum sentence of 27 months. Moreau presented a letter to the court accepting responsibility for his misdeeds and appeared regretful during the proceedings, apologizing to friends, family and the citizens of Central Falls, the AP reported. Bouthillette was sentenced to three years’ probation and 2,000 hours of community service, fined $5,000 and was ordered to pay Central Falls $160,000 to set up a charitable fund for local residents. He was also ordered to “release an estimated $277,000 in liens” on sites where he worked, according
to the AP. Moreau pled guilty to charges of corruption last September only hours after resigning from his post, The Herald previously reported. A 2010 investigation conducted by the Providence Journal revealed that Bouthillette received “almost $2 million and numerous personal bonuses for the contracted services,” The Herald reported previously. Former City Councilman James Diossa will serve as mayor for the remainder of Moreau’s term. Diossa has vowed to run an honest and transparent administration, the AP reported.
/ / Love page 1
recipient, said Vanessa Ryan, assistant professor of English. Among the most successful were cards created by professional artists. Cards varied “from domestic, personal craft to a more professional, commercial art,” she said. Victorian novels had a steady focus in the courtship leading up to marriage, or “the marriage plot,” Ryan said, adding that this interest derived from the instability of motivation behind choosing a suitor. According to family historians, the 18th century marked a shift from companionable relationships — those that founded “security and strengthening larger social ties” — to romantic marriage, which is more self-interested and based in erotic attraction and desire, Ryan said. But the Victorian novel explores the idea that perhaps the foundations for marriage were not so dichotomous. The heroes and heroines of these stories are confronted with options, which ultimately lead to greater self-realization. In literature, Victorian courtship is conducted in public. Common motifs include walks and excursions, balls and drawing-room songs — “maybe you do a duet together,” Ryan added. Unspoken attraction is highlighted through a blush, a stammer or a stolen glance.
Though the Victorian novel has moments when gender is well defined, its fundamentals hold sway in a variety of partnerships, gay or straight, Ryan said. Science can now shed further light on modern romance. The body’s reward system is the product of evolution, designed to drive an organism towards survival through hunger, thirst and arousal, said Julie Kauer, professor of molecular pharmacology, physiology and biotechnology. Foods such as chocolate, which are especially high in fat, act on the hypothalamus, which projects to this reward pathway to induce pleasure, she said. There is also a social component to food cravings. In the United States, men report chocolate cravings less frequently than women, while a South American culture reports identical desire between sexes, she said. Certain foods do not necessarily induce arousal — the “aphrodisiac” myth — but Kauer said they might lower the threshold at which other sensory inputs activate sex drive. Kauer also speculated that falling in love works on the same reward pathway in the brain that leads to addiction. “You start to crave that person,” she said. “Love is such a big concept and such a changing concept,” Ryan said. “It really resists the generalizations.”
ern art tends to depict love as a triumph after battle, Lincoln said. The end of a courtship was a staged conquest, where a man would steal a woman away on horseback and ride off with her. Relationships were not strictly heterosexual. During the Renaissance, same-sex friendships had a more amorous quality. Men could share a bed and openly declare their affections for one another, said Richard Rambuss, professor of English. “They could be, so to speak, getting it on, or not at all,” he said. Seventeenth-century writer John Milton’s concept of the relationship moved away from marriage for political gain and toward a companionate relationship, founded on bonding and intimacy, Rambuss said. This resonates with current debates over the definition of marriage. Milton’s depiction of Adam and Eve in “Paradise Lost” detaches sex from procreation — they freely had sex in the Garden of Eden without the intention of reproducing. Common settings for romances included the pastoral, in which a couple would escape into the forest together, and military scenarios, Rambuss said. In the Victorian era, Valentine’s cards were tailored specifically to the intended
comic Old Lace | Veena Vignale
10 editorial & letter Editorial Going through changes Last Wednesday, the University’s Health Services and insurance administrators announced that in coming years, the student insurance plan will cover sex reassignment procedures for transgender students. This progressive move, which places Brown among a small group of 36 pioneering schools to offer insurance coverage of full sex reassignment procedures to students, is more than just a new feature at the University. It is an affirmation of commitment to community. It’s an assurance to our transgender colleagues that they will be equally cared for as part of the Brown family. And it is just the kind of progressive policy those who are not transgender can use to engage with issues relevant to transgender students at Brown. This is no simple commitment: Sex reassignment can be a lengthy, expensive and multidisciplinary affair. It requires cooperation from primary care providers, psychologists or psychiatrists and surgeons, with extensive resources coming from each, including consultations, hormone treatments and physical reconstruction surgery. All of this can amount to $50,000. Brown has declared it is willing to make this kind of effort for the transgender community within its student body. Without this policy, these students would have had to pay their own ways through the procedures, or sought outside insurance, sometimes without the help of their families. The move brings our student insurance plans up to date with the precedents set by national insurance companies, something the large majority of college-level institutions have so far failed to do. The American Medical Association House of Delegates voted in June 2008 to declare refusing insurance coverage of sexual reassignment procedures is grounds for claims of discrimination, opening the door to lawsuits against insurance companies that did not yet cover such procedures. Guaranteeing coverage of sex reassignment is a smart move for a University that does not want to force its students to wade through red tape, either in a legal case or in searching for other insurance, for something that already is more or less guaranteed by the national representative body of physicians. But just because the University’s Health Services has acknowledged and accepted transgender students, that does not exempt the student body from its responsibility to do the same. The institution’s policy is only part of the equation of building an alliance and support for LGBTQ individuals at Brown and beyond. The other part is for the rest of us to develop an acute understanding of the experiences of those who identify as transgender and vice versa. It is our collective responsibility to educate ourselves about the issues of sex reassignment and the stories of those who have undergone that process. Mere tolerance is never enough. We are here to expand our comprehensions of the world and to challenge and overcome our preconceived assumptions and biases. We ask the members of the Brown student body who have not already done so to get closer to these issues of gender identity in wake of this announcement. Alliance is more than acceptance, and true community can only come from understanding and honest interest in the experiences of our peers. This is as true of transgender students at Brown as it is of everyone else. Only we carry the ability to make our campus the safe space it deserves to be. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board: its editor, Dan Jeon, and its members, Mintaka Angell, Samuel Choi, Nicholas Morley and Rachel Occhiogrosso. Send comments to email@example.com.
t h e b row n da i ly h e r a l d Editors-in-Chief Lucy Feldman Shefali Luthra
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the brown daily herald thursday, february 14, 2013
Editorial cartoon b y a n g e l i a wa n g
le t ter to the Editor
Grade policies reflect graduates’ complaints To the Editor: The Herald published an article (“Econ dept. looks to curb grade inflation,” Feb. 7) and an editorial (“Fighting inflation, causing stagnation,” Feb. 12) regarding recent efforts by the Department of Economics faculty to combat grade inflation. Such efforts have been agreed upon by the members of our faculty over the past two years, but The Herald misreported many details, giving the impression letter grade shares suggested solely for our single entry-level course ECON 0110: “Principles of Economics” are binding quotas that apply also to our more than 50 other courses. The editorial
even suggested well-performing students could have their grades lowered to fill a quota for Cs. In our more detailed response in the online version of The Herald, we explain the guidelines in question and point out they were in large part a response to the complaints of recent graduates and are being applauded by many of their current successors. Roberto Serrano Chair, Department of Economics Louis Putterman Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Economics
Cl arific ation An article in Wednesday’s Herald (“Blizzard provokes climate change debate among scientists,” Feb. 13) reported that changes to the Arctic climate were establishing conditions conducive to strong storms and attributed this to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists. In fact, the 2013 report stated that some scientists believe this may be the case.
quote of the day
“They could be, so to speak, getting it on.”
— Richard Rambuss, professor of English See love on page 1.
C O R R E C T I O N S P olic y The Brown Daily Herald is committed to providing the Brown University community with the most accurate information possible. Corrections may be submitted up to seven calendar days after publication. C ommentar y P O L I C Y The editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial page board of The Brown Daily Herald. The editorial viewpoint does not necessarily reflect the views of The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. Columns, letters and comics reflect the opinions of their authors only. L etters to the E ditor P olic y Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a telephone number with all letters. The Herald reserves the right to edit all letters for length and clarity and cannot assure the publication of any letter. Please limit letters to 250 words. Under special circumstances writers may request anonymity, but no letter will be printed if the author’s identity is unknown to the editors. Announcements of events will not be printed. advertising P olic y The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. reserves the right to accept or decline any advertisement at its discretion.
the brown daily herald thursday, february 14, 2013
The truth about torrents Cara Dorris Opinions Writer What if there was a way to get all of your textbooks for free? How much would you save? $500? $600? $700, even? Try googling “torrent” and the name of your textbook. I am talking about BitTorrent networks: online tools that enable users to stream material from many different sources at once. These days, torrenting is the pita and hummus of collegiate file sharing, a reliable — and mostly illegal — way to access software, movies, music and yes, textbooks. We all have seen the commercials. Piracy is often compared to stealing a television or car. But the reason these digital products are so easy to take, other than the fact that the Internet allows easier distribution, is that BitTorrent creates the illusion of innocence because no single user is uploading or downloading entire files. It eliminates the free rider problem by combining the two processes. Torrenting may be like stealing a car — if that car was stolen piece by piece from many different sources. But if the car I wanted could only be accessed illegally, I would probably be guilty of grand theft auto. Look at it this way. Some textbooks are not available digitally, so students scan them into PDF format and then share the files with friends. Similarly, if I cannot find a book on Kindle I need for class, I feel justified in
downloading one of these files rather than scanning the 1000 pages on my own. There is no way to reasonably compensate the publisher who is not meeting the demands of the market. Likewise, many television shows and movies are plagued with complicated legal issues that prevent them from being published on Amazon, Netflix or Hulu — the biggest suppliers of legal online television. Sometimes the only way to access them online is through file sharing methods like BitTorrent.
or your account gets blocked. In that case, you had better like the new blonde roast at Starbucks, because that is where you will be spending your days. But despite its rigid copyright infringement policy, the University sure is not helping students find other options. It is no secret there are significant problems on the supply side. The newest textbooks cost hundreds of dollars each. Yet classes almost always order the most recent editions that usually contain only a few extra pages. In other words, Brown,
If suppliers are not catering to the market and there is no other way to access a product, then I believe torrenting can be justified. But file sharing is a dangerous game. Some companies are known to put trackers into torrent networks and then report illegal activity to the federal government. Copyright holders try to make examples out of a few individuals. In the past, college students have been sued for millions of dollars and some have faced criminal penalties. A handful of files even contain malicious viruses. Things get even stickier when we look at Brown’s own policy. BitTorrent completely violates the University’s Acceptable Use Policy and is relatively easy to recognize and track through IP addresses. If you are caught once, you receive a warning. If you are caught multiple times, you are thrown off the network
like most universities, works with publishers to force students to dole out as much cash as possible. Brown does offer some services — outlandishly expensive software like Final Cut Pro is available on Brown computers and the library also has online editions of certain books. Other than that, you can take The Herald’s editorial page board’s suggestions — share with a soon-to-be-resentful friend, borrow a book “long-term” from the library or purchase international editions — all of which sound somewhat traumatizing. Brown does a paltry job of providing students with attractive alternatives to BitTor-
rent. We need a wider variety of programs on Brown computers and additional discounts for necessary software. We also need a greater selection of e-books, especially because the current system only allows partial downloads of up to 60 pages at a time. Until then, many students will be motivated to dig out their parrots and strap on their historically inaccurate eye patches. Anything to save some doubloons. But if you are going to pirate, you need to do it right. It is not worth being banned from the network. If you absolutely must download something, do it at Starbucks or through other public Wi-Fi. And how do you know if something is pirated? Here is the rule of thumb: If you neither watch an advertisement nor pay for the product, it is definitely illegal. If you do get caught, immediately delete everything on your computer that might be illegally obtained, no matter where you downloaded it from. But more likely — what if you do not get caught? Beyond legal implications and Brown’s policy, remember you are stealing someone else’s work. If you want people to keep developing things, you need to pay into the system. But it is a complex issue. If suppliers are not catering to the market and there is no other way to access a product, then I believe torrenting can be justified. Just remember: You are being watched. Cara Dorris ’15 can be reached at email@example.com.
Less Facebook, more face time Claire Gianotti Opinions Columnist
It’s an agonizing decision. To friend? Or not to friend? Facebook is the new flirting frontier, and the decision to make the move to solidify a virtual friendship is a crucial first step in establishing communication with your crush. It shouldn’t be. Nowadays it seems we spend more time clicking through photos than engaging in conversation. The impact on nascent romance is disastrous. Facebook ruins everything that is fun about a fresh romance. Think about it. With the click of a button a person’s — hopefully not first — impression of you will be informed by some geeky or awkward or hot pictures of you from high school. Or even worse, by that embarrassing mobile upload circa 11:45 pm Wednesday. Maybe you have a virtual existence that is more awesome than your everyday life existence. Good for you. You’ll probably be even more inclined to strut your Facebook stuff. But even if your profile’s got it going on, a friend request is a guaranteed too much too soon. Facebook provides an information blast. Without any conscious effort you can learn anything about a person, never having exchanged more than smiles and brief vacuous New England greetings. It is a problem when I may not know what your voice sounds like but
I know your sister’s name, her school and her taste for trashy reality television. Virtual courtship-creeping can cause real life problems. Internet-acquired knowledge easily slips into conversation inciting at best a hearty laugh among mutual creepers or at worst a real life de-friend. Facebook destroys that wonderful organic intimacy you can slowly build with someone through genuine interaction and interest. As a social medium, it allows us to
to fresh starts and new beginnings? In a sense, we are boxed in by the online footprint Facebook records for us. Friendships maintained solely on Facebook are their own brand of feigned intimacy. With this ease and convenience, we don’t have to earn our friendships. In today’s digital world where a work and life balance is hard to come by and everyone is plugged into their wireless networks twenty-four hours a day, it may be
Your twenties is the easiest time to socialize with peers and especially to meet new people. Leave online dating and the like for your post-divorce midlife crisis.
assert complete and total control over how we are perceived by others. CareerLAB tell us our Facebook profiles are our own personal brands. They are how we package and present ourselves to our peers. This may seem like a good thing, but it is not. In fact, it is a very boring thing, and it severely limits our actual social lives. What happened to spontaneity? What happened
hard to imagine a social life without a social network. Even the most basic of human interactions — feeling attracted to someone — has become virtual. Tinder, an app that connects anonymous users who show mutual interest, claims to offer “a fun way to break the ice.” But really this is a debilitating crutch for the twenty-something, requiring no intentional action or courage
to initiate romance. We all fear rejection. Get over it. You know what is more fun than looking at pictures of hotties? Talking to actual hotties. Your twenties is the easiest time to socialize with peers and especially to meet new people. Leave online dating and the like for your post-divorce midlife crisis. We can’t afford to lose our basic interpersonal skills out of laziness or fear, especially when it comes to issues of superlative importance like procreation. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I encourage those of you who hide under the security blanket of virtual reality to make a real move to let that special someone know they are indeed special. If you feel like love is in the air, carpe diem! Chat with your special someone over coffee. Or better yet, pay for his or her free sandwich at Geoff ’s on Tuesday. Or, if there is no special someone, go forth and acknowledge those familiar faces who clutter your news feed when you see them around campus. We all have those Facebook friends who aren’t our reality friends. They are the people you awkwardly smile at — or perhaps just avoid altogether — at Nelson Fitness Center or the Sharpe Refectory. Invest some time and energy in the people you like, or think you might like some day. When it comes to love, convenience counts for little. Claire Gianotti ’13 is president of the Brown University Luddites. Valentines may be sent via carrier pigeon.
daily herald science & research the Brown
Lecture combines art and mental healing Social worker Jane Hesser discussed her use of empathy to connect to her patients and artwork By Phoebe Draper SENIOR STAFF WRITER
Artist and psychiatric social worker Jane Hesser spoke about how her artistic work influences her clinical practice at last night’s lecture installment in the Creative Medicine series. Hesser spoke to an audience of about 30 people in the Pembroke Center. “The process of healing and the process of making and studying art are about creating meaning — you build it, and build it and build it again,” said Hesser, who works as clinical care coordinator at the Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island. The subject of empathy — which she defined as a “leap of imagination” into another person’s experience — took center stage as Hesser described the parallel experiences of relating to artwork as well as to patients. Though it has serious clinical utility, empathy does not always come easily, Hesser said. “I thought I was going to be a superconnector,” she said, describing her early ambitions in psychiatric school. “Well, I had to surrender that fantasy very quickly — on day one.” While “super-connecting” may be beyond realistic expectations, Hesser said clear benefits result when empathy is part of the clinical interaction between doctor and patient. Positive results include higher patient return, clinicians obtaining better information and decreases in clinician burnout and litigation, she said. But by the same token, empathy can only take a doctor so far, she said. “You don’t want the person who can pull your boat to shore to be in the boat with you,” Hesser said. “You just want them to pull you in.” Hesser spoke about the links she found between art and medicine —
most notably the “mindfulness” both artists and clinicians exhibit. “In both art and healing, you need to know what you’re working with,” Hesser said. “If you think you are looking at a puzzle, then there is a finite answer to the problem. But if you are dealing with a mystery, sometimes you are not going to get answers — you are going to get more questions.” Both artists and doctors face this challenge of dealing with uncertainty, and it demands an extraordinary amount of stamina, she said. Hesser illustrated her points by showing the audience artwork by three different artists, the most famous of whom was Frida Kahlo. Though these often disturbing pieces may force audience members to detach themselves, this detachment triggers self-reflection that ultimately results in a more meaningful — and empathetic — experience, Hesser said. “I have to look away from this art,” she said after displaying self-portraits taken by artist Hannah Wilke as she underwent cancer treatment. “It reminds me of when I’m in a room with someone who is telling me a trauma story. There’s a part of me that shuts off, and I’ve cultivated that part, I need that part.” Much of the art shown brought to light “the isolation of severe illness,” said Jay Baruch, assistant professor of emergency medicine and founder of the Creative Medicine Series. Hesser also spoke about judgment — a quality she honed during art critiques while getting her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, she said. “Judgments are not always the bad guy,” she said. “If I get too judgmental, I can’t work as an artist or a social worker,” but judgment can also serve as a catalyst for deeper self-reflection during an artistic or clinical process, she said. Hesser urged the audience to be aware of their judgments and analyze them as clues that may lead to empathetic connections. During the / / Hesser page 6
thursday, february 14, 2013
Harvard prof talks human nature, violence Psychology professor Steven Pinker noted the decline in human violence over millenia By Katherine Cusumano Senior Staff Writer
In a talk that combined hard neuroscience with historical analysis, Steven Pinker, Harvard professor of psychology, discussed the nature of human violence and its decline over time. Pinker addressed an audience of several hundred community members in Salomon Hall Tuesday night as part of a lecture series presented by the Rhode Island Medical Society. “We may be living in the most peaceful era in our species’ existence,” Pinker opened. With a title drawn from Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address, “The Better Angels of Our Nature” — Pinker’s latest book and the title of his talk — traces the decline of violence across human history. Aided by multiple charts and graphics, Pinker outlined five phases of this decline and related them to historical, social and neurobiological contexts. Roughly 6,000 years ago, humans existed in an anarchic state of nature, Pinker said. Fifteen percent of prehistoric remains show evidence of violent death — compared to 0.03 percent today. Pinker’s “pacification process” accompanied the prehistoric era. As empires and states attempted to assert their hegemony, they sought to bring natives under state control, thereby decreasing feudal and raid-based violence, Pinker said. By the end of the subsequent “civilizing process” — which lasted from the years 1200 to 2000 — English citizens were 35 times less likely to be murdered compared to its start. In the evolution from the Middle Ages to modernity, kingdoms were consolidated. These kingdoms produced institutionalized criminal justice and financial instruments, resulting in “positive-sum trade,” Pinker said. The “humanitarian revolution” saw an abolition of torture, execution and corporal punishment. The decline in capital punishment even preceded its legal abolition by approximately 50 years,
David Deckey / Herald
In a lecture Wednesday night, Harvard professor Steven Pinker spoke about the influence of literacy and printed publications on human nature. Pinker added. Pinker said he attributed these developments to the rise of literacy and printed publications. Literacy contributed to the intermingling of people and ideas that marked cosmopolitanism. “Knowledge began to replace superstition and ignorance,” he said. Pinker noted that while the 20th century was marred by World War II, no wars have occurred between developed countries since 1946. Pinker said he attributed these decreases to “hypothetical pacifying forces” drawn from Immanuel Kant — democracy, trade and international communities. The final “rights revolutions” stage decreased violence on a more human level, Pinker said. The rise of women’s rights, for instance, resulted in an 80 percent decline in rapes, he said. Pinker presented a multitude of reasons for this steady but sporadic decline in violence. Among violence’s sources are rage, desire for dominance and “pernicious cost-benefit analysis” of utopian ideologies such as Nazism. Pinker also outlined neural regions that may contribute to each of these motivations. In contrast, Pinker’s “better angels” that pull humans away from violence include self-control, empathy, morality and reason, which similarly have recorded
neurological foundations. Human nature and innate violent tendencies have not necessarily changed, Pinker said, but the social context in which people find themselves makes violence less beneficial. “Every baby born is a potential homicidal maniac,” Pinker said during the question and answer period following the talk. History, science and social analyses blend together in Pinker’s argument to describe the forces that have allowed the “better angels” to triumph over the motivations for violence. Justice systems circumvent self-serving violence — “you’re outsourcing your revenge to a third party,” he said. Improved technology has accompanied trade and travel links, increasing interconnectedness among humans and augmenting empathy. Intelligence quotient increased three points per decade throughout the 20th century, Pinker said. More educated and literate societies commit fewer violent crimes, are more liberal and more receptive to democracy, he added. Pinker concluded the talk with a call to turn society’s focus from the question of why there is war to why there is peace — a jump from pessimism to optimism, to demand “what have we been doing right?”
Social media sparks Valentine’s Day connections Internet platforms allow couples and admirers to show their affection in myriad formats By Maggie livingstone staff writer
The atmosphere around Valentine’s Day at Brown varies from students using web tools to meet matches to clubs planning events. For a generation that grew up on Facebook, Twitter and smartphones, traditional romance and courtship can seem like a thing of the past. But this year on Valentine’s Day, Brown students have more than one medium to express their love.
‘Breaking the ice’ Launched in October 2012, Tinder is an app for smartphones that has taken campuses by storm. Users create a profile linked to their Facebook accounts, al-
lowing photos, interests and friends to be revealed to potential romantic matches. Based on those common factors, the app suggests profiles of people within a certain mile radius — from 10 to 100 miles — that users can choose to “like.” If both parties “like” each other, Tinder allows them to begin a conversation. “We are in every major city in the U.S. and hugely popular on college campuses,” wrote Rosette Pambakian, a publicist for the company, in an email to The Herald, adding that Tinder has facilitated over 10 million matches so far. “It became the liaison between you and that person you always wanted to talk to,” said Tanner Larson ’15, a campus ambassador for the company. The app was founded in California and has been successful at west coast schools like University of Southern California, said
Jordan Mandelbaum ’15, head representative for the company at Brown. Brown and Boston University were used as test schools on the east coast, and from there the app has “exploded,” he said.
Cupid’s arrow astray? Though Tinder has quickly gained popularity, users have scrutinized its moral implications. “The whole idea of courtship could fall out with the app,” Mandelbaum said.. Because users only see a picture of a potential match — and few other details about them — the matching “can be seen as shallow,” Larson said. “You don’t have to talk to the person though, so it’s very non-committal.” But many students who use Tinder do not view the app as an avenue for a serious relationship. “I’ve never heard of someone being in a successful relationship from Tinder,” said Reid McDuff ’16. “I’ve heard
of some people hooking up but never a relationship.” McDuff has a Tinder account but said he only uses it “as a joke.” He said his friends “start weird conversations and are generally messing with other users.” Since anyone can join the app, there is a risk of encountering less than desirable strangers. Eligible members need only meet three parameters — they must be 18, have a Facebook profile and live within the designated mile radius. Monica Kim ’16 created a profile on Tinder and has received messages that made her feel uncomfortable, she said. “Sometimes when people chat me, I don’t respond. And they keep harassing me with chats,” she said. People do not use Tinder to find relationships, she said, adding that “there are like 50-year-old men on there.” McDuff also said he and friends have encountered some questionable characters on the app. “I’ve had some
creepy followers that my friends and I accidently liked — people way older than us,” he said. “Then we had to block them.” While Larson acknowledged that sometimes the app could seem “creepy,” he said Tinder is tailored to user preferences, adding that “people have met their matches in real life and have had a great time.” For Brown students, the app has not yielded as many successful results as at other universities — particularly Southern schools, Mandelbaum said. He said Brown has been a difficult market for the app because students here are “set on the type of culture they want.” Secret admirers Another digital interface recently created in the spirit of romance is the Facebook page “Brown Admirers,” hot on the heels of another anonymous fo/ / Media page 3 rum, “Brown