vol. cxlviii, no. 73
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2013
Fall Concert canceled, funds go to Spring Weekend ‘Sink’ BCA plans to honor the U’s 250th anniversary by devoting more funds to Spring Weekend this year By EMMAJEAN HOLLEY SENIOR STAFF WRITER
Brown Concert Agency’s annual Fall Concert has been canceled as part of an effort to devote more funds to this year’s Spring Weekend, said BCA Communications Chair Will Peterson ’14. BCA and the Undergraduate Finance Board agreed upon the change, Peterson said. Because this academic year marks the University’s 250th anniversary, Peterson said BCA hopes to “make
an even bigger and better event out of Spring Weekend this year.” Cancelling Fall Concert is essentially a means of “reallocating funds” to the April celebration, he said. The cancellation will likely be a one-time case and BCA plans to hold Fall Concert next year, Peterson said. Last year BCA spent $30,000 on the Fall Concert and $180,000 on Spring Weekend, Peterson said. This year BCA has a larger budget, and the majority of its extra funding will also be spent on Spring Weekend, Peterson said. Despite these financial considerations, Peterson said BCA still plans to host Speakeasy concerts. According the official BCA blog, these “smaller, more intimate” events » See CONCERT, page 2
makes waves at PW Playwright Ursula Raasted ’14 floods the PW Downspace with original devised theater By ANDREW SMYTH SENIOR STAFF WRITER
EMILY GILBERT / HERALD
This will likely be the only year Fall Weekend is canceled, BCA members said. BCA will continue to host Speakeasys throughout the year.
Harvard economist maps future for India’s development Nobel laureate Amartya Sen advocated improvements in Indian education and health By MICHAEL DUBIN SENIOR STAFF WRITER
India’s persistent inequality stems from the country’s focus on pure economic growth and the government’s neglect of education and health, said Amartya Sen, professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard and a 1998 Nobel laureate in economics, in a lecture Thursday afternoon. The talk, delivered to a packed List Art 120, was part of the Watson Institute for International Studies Distinguished Speaker Series and was organized in collaboration with the
Brown-India Initiative. President Christina Paxson moderated the talk and introduced Sen as a “towering figure in his field” with an “astonishing intellectual range.” Despite knowing him for many years, she said she still finds it “a little intimidating to introduce Amartya Sen.” Provost Mark Schlissel P’15 and Dean of the Faculty Kevin McLaughlin P’12 were also in attendance. Sen said he is dubious that the best path is economic growth first and development second, adding that the poverty and inequality resulting from this arrangement has caused India’s growth to stagnate. India’s annual gross domestic product growth, close to 10 percent in 2007, was just 3.2 percent last year. Growth and development should not be separate endeavors but should
instead be pursued concurrently, he said. India’s neglect of basic public services like education and health care forms “a dramatic contrast” with rapidly developing countries like China and Brazil, Sen said. In the talk, he often returned to the comparison between India and China. China has implemented a universal health care system, while more than half of Indians live in a home without a toilet, causing widespread open defecation, he said. A healthy labor force misses fewer days of work and promotes stronger economic growth, Sen said. Addressing the education issue, Sen contrasted China’s near universal literacy with India’s 73 percent literacy rate, which is even lower for women. Investments in human capital are
essential for the nation’s development and economic growth, he said. Sen said gender inequality and sex-selective abortion have also held India back. He showed the audience a map that accompanied an article he wrote for the New York Review of Books earlier this week, called “India’s Women: The Mixed Truth.” Using the female-male birth ratio in Ireland as the standard, the map showed a clear line of demarcation: In the northern and western states of India, the female-male birth ratio falls far below Ireland’s figure, while the eastern and southern states surpass it, Sen said. He described “gender justice” as “essential” for both development and economic growth. Sen spoke about the media’s role » See INDIA, page 2
Death by drowning is a familiar aesthetic preoccupation. Wading beneath the willow tree with Ophelia, floating with Hokusai in the shadow of Mount Fuji or chasing the white whale with Captain Ahab, readers have been here before. “Drown thyself?” Iago asks in William Shakespeare’s “Othello.” “Drown cats and blind puppies.” Anxieties about slipping beneath the surface also loom large in “Sink,” a new play written and directed by Ursula Raasted ’14 for the Production Workshop Downspace. It is a deftly chosen title for a work obsessed not only with sinking as a physical and emotional experience, but also with synchronization and synchronicity — with being in and out of sync. Deploying movement, light, sound and text in startlingly original combinations, Raasted renders a dramatic space that is at once completely foreign and disquietingly familiar to our own historical moment. The play unfolds in nine interconnected, non-sequential vignettes that » See SINK, page 4
ARTS & CULTURE
For thrillseekers, campus buildings a concrete jungle By SABRINA IMBLER SENIOR STAFF WRITER
Robyn Sundlee ’16 scaled a fire escape, clambered over a grate, hauled herself on a railing and swung over an abyss — all to watch the stars fall. It was early spring. A meteor shower had hit Providence, and she wanted the best possible view. The clamor of traffic, din of drunks and warbling of the Thayer Street saxophonist had all faded out, muffled below four stories of brick. Sundlee and a
HERALD FILE PHOTO
Students have climbed atop structures like Metcalf, Faunce, a RISD building, and the statue of Marcus Aurelius on Simmons Quad, pictured above.
friend climbed to the roof of Littlefield Hall, equipped only with a blanket and adrenaline. The roof of Littlefield is now where Sundlee, a Herald opinions columnist, comes to relax, to emote and to revitalize. “This is my place,” she said. “To mellow out, all wrapped up by the sky.” Sundlee is among a handful of avid climbers on campus. To these students, Brown can seem like a veritable urban jungle of structures just aching to be climbed. And for some, rejuvenation comes best with elevation. Started from the bottom Many of the University’s most enthusiastic climbers have backgrounds in the field. But the climbing varies from indoor rock climbing and mountain climbing to urban exploration.
What a gem
Gemini serves up Eurasian fusion food, satisfying cravings for sweet and spicy
Will Barnet ’12 performs Shakespeare in New York City parks
President Christina Paxson gets cubic zirconia. Find out why
ARTS & CULTURE, 4
ARTS & CULTURE, 5
Student adrenaline junkies risk life and limb scaling various campus structures
A life-long climber, Conor Wuertz ’16, could not even recall the first structure he climbed. Before Brown, he scaled elementary schools, high schools, University of California at Davis’ “Death Star” building and even an old abandoned tomato paste cannery. “I have this urge to conquer a building,” Wuertz said. “It just sits in my head until I satiate it.” Logan Harris ’16, who lives on Mount Tamalpais in California, said climbing grounds her. “There are no mountains in Providence,” she said. “You don’t have a sense of where you are unless you climb.” Both mountains and buildings present distinct physical challenges to climbers. Mountains and rock formations must be scoped out before climbing and » See THRILL, page 3
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2 university news calendar TODAY
Brown Taiwan Society Nightmarket
Community Ice Skate
Sayles Hall 9 P.M.
Meehan Ice Rink 8 P.M.
Brown Stand Up Comics Show
Brown RISD Hillel
menu SHARPE REFECTORY
LUNCH Vegan Tofu Hot Dogs, Onion Rings, Tuna Salad, Grilled Montreal Chicken, Cheese Ravioli Salad With Lemon
G e r m a n S a u s a ge C h ow d e r, Butterscotch Chip Bars, Vegan Brown Rice Pilaf, Nacho Bar, Sticky Rice
DINNER Zucchini, Squash and Tomato Stir Fry, Italian Chicken Parmesan, Tomato Basil-Infused Rice, Bacon Rounds
Tilapia Provencale, Cavatelli Primavera, Vegan Spicy Dahl, Whole Wheat Penne
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2013
U. expands programs in Cuba and Spain After discontinuing the study abroad program in Egypt due to local unrest, the OIP diversifies options By REBECCA HANSEN CONTRIBUTING WRITER
The Office of International Programs has expanded its offerings to include a spring semester in Cuba and a physics program at the University of Cantabria in Spain, but its previously-offered fall semester in Egypt has been canceled due to deteriorating conditions in the nation. Students now have the option to study abroad in Havana in either the fall or spring semester, as opposed to just the fall. The program was originally limited because the University had to work with the Department of the Treasury’s sanctions on travel to Cuba, according to Director of International Programs and Associate Dean of the College Kendall Brostuen. “We wanted to be very careful about developing the program,” he said. After students reported that the trips were “productive and enriching experiences,” the University decided to offer the program in the spring as well, Brostuen said. The expansion of the Cuba program is part of a move to develop more study abroad opportunities based on the consortium model in Barcelona, Spain. The Consortium for Advanced Studies in Barcelona, which was created by eight U.S. universities, allows
students to take classes at four institutions in Barcelona, according to the consortium’s website. The University hopes to partner with other American colleges to develop a program in Cuba that “sets itself apart,” Brostuen said. The new program would include opportunities to study in Cuba for a full year and take courses at several different Cuban universities. Brostuen said he hopes to begin this expansion next fall. Lily Hartmann ’17 said she’s excited about the possibility of a yearlong trip to Cuba. “This is really a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said. “When will I ever get the chance to go to Cuba?” Through the program added for physics concentrators who want to study in Spain, physics concentrators will be able to take science classes in English while also learning Spanish in a required course at the University of Cantabria. This program has been developed to allow physics concentrators to study abroad while completing their rigorous concentration requirements, Brostuen said. Brown also offers a similar engineering program at the same university. Science concentrators account for only 9 percent of students studying abroad, The Herald previously reported. By allowing students to complete their concentration requirements in English at foreign universities, Brostuen said he hopes to enable more STEM students to study abroad. The School of Engineering and the Department of Physics encourage students to go abroad, Brostuen
said. “They’re very open to it,” he said. “They understand the importance of an international dimension.” A study abroad opportunity in Alexandria, Egypt, run by Middlebury College, was canceled this semester because of unsafe conditions in the country. Instead, students were given the chance to study in Amman, Jordan. No Brown students signed up for the Egypt program so none were affected by this change, said Jeff Cason, dean of international programs at Middlebury. The spring program is still scheduled to be held in Alexandria, but Middlebury will decide in the next week whether to transfer the program to Amman instead. Middlebury will consider several “different factors” in the decision, including the “general security situation” in Egypt, Cason said. If students sign up to go to Egypt in the spring and the situation changes, they will again be given the choice to either go to Jordan or opt out and receive a full refund, Cason said. Currently, the University prohibits students from studying abroad in Egypt and several other countries with severe U.S. State Department Travel Warnings . The University will reconsider Egypt’s situation in the coming months and decide whether it will remain on the OIP’s prohibited countries list, Brostuen said. In the unlikely event that Middlebury goes forward with the Egypt program but the country remains on the University’s list of prohibited countries, Brown students will not receive University approval or credit for the program, Brostuen said.
» CONCERT, from page 1
Janssens said. He added that because of the increased funding for Spring Weekend, he has “high expectations for the lineup” and is “looking forward to see(ing) what BCA is going to do with the extra cash.” Taylor Moss ’16 echoed this sentiment. “The cancellation is unfortunate — but it’s Brown’s 250th anniversary, which obviously doesn’t occur very often, so that makes it worth it,” he said. He added that while he has “faith that those in charge of the decision knew what they were doing, we won’t be sure what the right decision is until we can see more specific plans.”
typically occur four times a year and feature musical talent from Brown, RISD and the Providence area. “It is a bit of a bummer to cancel the Fall Concert because it’s always so much fun,” Peterson said. “We love it because it gives an opportunity to bring in smaller acts that might not fit in with the general vibe of Spring Weekend.” Arun Janssens ’15 said he has never attended the Fall Concert. “I was actually planning on getting hyped up for it for once, so I’m mildly disappointed that it’s canceled,”
» INDIA, from page 1 in raising awareness among Indians about the country’s extensive inequality. “One of the reasons why the inequality … is so high in India is because the public discourse has not seen how terrible their level of inequality is,” Sen said. “In order for inequality to fall, we have to recognize inequality to be a really important issue.” “Through his own work, (Sen) essentially gave economists permission to think in a much more expansive way,” Paxson said.
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THE BROWN DAILY HERALD FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2013
» THRILL, from page 1 require immense finger strength, Wuertz said. Buildings, on the other hand, follow patterns and aid the climber with right angles and ledges, he added. “Sometimes you need to hurt your body to climb,” Wuertz said. “But it feels so good.” Ain’t no building high While the Metcalf Chemistry and Research Laboratory retains a reputation as the site of virgin climbs, other structures on campus — such as the statue of Marcus Aurelius, the roof of Faunce House, the bear outside Salomon Center, the perimeter of the second story of Caswell Hall and a Rhode Island School of Design building, to name a few — have been conquered by routine climbers. When Sundlee missed entering the Van Wickle Gates during convocation, she devised an easy fix: climb over them. Sujay Natson ’16 mounted the statue of Marcus Aurelius in the middle of winter, the snow and ice making his climb particularly slippery, he said. On one trip, Sundlee carried a watermelon to Littlefield and catapulted it off the roof. It exploded the instant it hit the ground. “Watermelon shrapnel went all the way to Sayles,” she remembered. “(Sundlee is) so agile when she climbs,” said Charlotte Kim ’16, a novice who climbed with Sundlee around a week ago. “She’s like an ant.” In general, these climbing aficionados have no group, official or unofficial. Most climbs are spontaneous and often introduce newbies to the University’s structural terrain. “It’s always exciting to encourage somebody to be less scared and experience something really cool with you,” Sundlee said. One goal uniting these students may come as a surprise: the Sciences Library. It represents the ultimate test, a crowning prize of climbing at Brown. Wuertz has spent hours on the 13th floor scoping out a possible path. Natson and Harris have long speculated about the view. “That place is Fort Knox,” Sundlee said. “There are unlimited alarms up there.” Come down now? The Department of Public Safety receives an average of two to three official
calls per semester from workers or officers who have spotted students climbing structures they should not climb, Deputy Chief of Police Paul Shanley said. DPS considers climbing University structures a safety violation and will collect the information of the offending students to forward to the Office of Student Life for disciplinary procedures, Shanley said. “They just want to gather and talk and party,” Shanley said. “But god forbid they fall.” J. Allen Ward, senior associate dean of the OSL, echoed Shanley’s prioritization of students’ safety, saying his office enacts disciplinary measures for each case on an individual basis, considering the student’s intent and whether he or she had entered a locked building. While punishments extend as far as probation, most students caught in the act who cooperate with DPS just receive warnings, Ward said. In the case of uncooperative, intoxicated students, the OSL makes sure to have conversations with them to discourage further similar behavior, Ward added. Shanley could not recall any instances of students hurting themselves by climbing buildings in his time at the University. The risk of injury is just part of the responsibility students must take into account when climbing, Natson said. Some students enjoy the thrill of getting caught. In her first week at Brown, Harris went to the Rochambeau House to take a Spanish placement exam only to be confronted with long lines of students waiting to take the test. So Harris and a friend opted for an adventure — and ended up climbing out of the window of an upstairs bathroom onto the roof. They had circled the roof twice when a man with a French accent yelled at them to come down, Harris said. The two students attempted to flee the scene, but the man and a woman — both French — headed them off in the waiting room with a stern lecture. The woman ended up proctoring Harris’ placement test. “She was glaring at us the entire time,” Harris added. “But that’s what made it exciting.” “You might be scared out of your mind,” Sundlee confessed, rubbing a swollen, purple bruise the size of an apricot on her forearm, a souvenir of her last Littlefield jaunt. “But there’s always peace at the top.”
U. to help digitize diplomatic records Brown will partner with the U.S. and Brazil to digitize documents pertaining to diplomacy By DORI RAHBAR CONTRIBUTING WRITER
The University has launched a partnership with the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and the Brazilian National Archives to digitize a trove of documents on diplomatic relations between the two countries. Memos and telegrams from U.S. Department of State files pertaining to Brazil’s politically unstable period of the 1960s, 70s and 80s will be uploaded to the University library website as part of the initiative, entitled “Opening the Archives.” “It’s a part of a democratization of making available this important material about US-Brazil relations at a crucial time in the history of the relations between the two counties,” said Professor of History and Brazilian Studies James Green, who spearheaded the partnership. “This is the first time that any university in the United States has done this kind of project,” said Green, adding that Brown’s partnership is a “pilot project” that could serve as a model for future research collaborations between universities and foreign countries. “We are pioneers,” he said. Green said the partnership originally sprang from his idea for a summer project to make the archives more accessible for scholars of both countries. After speaking to a colleague at Maringa University in Brazil, who was working on a similar project, Green combined his efforts with his colleague to raise enough
grant funding from both institutions to take 10 Brown students and two students from Brazilian universities to work on the project this past summer at NARA’s offices in College Park, Md. and Washington. Brown student participants had previously taken classes with Green and went through an open application process to join the project, he said. Students spent the summer scanning and digitally indexing the previously all-paper documents housed at NARA. Once fully organized, the documents that were processed this summer will be accessible on the University library website. The rest of the period archives remain undigitized, but Green said he is working on fundraising efforts to allow the project to continue next summer. “The hardest part was just the sheer volume of work,” said Adam Waters ’15, who worked closely with Green to organize the project this summer. “We estimate that we scanned around 10,000 documents this summer,” Waters said. “We were sort of overwhelmed when we first got there by the sheer amount of material,” said Emma Wohl ’14.5, a former Herald arts and culture editor, who spent the summer in Washington. “We were caught in a sort of microcosmic world and caught in a sort of huge process that I’m not even sure we understood when we were there, our role in the international cataloguing of history and the past.” Support for “Opening the Archives” was widespread among the project’s different partners, Green said. “The National Archive in Brazil was excited this was happening because they want this kind of documentation to be available,” he said, adding that U.S. officials also
expressed enthusiasm because they seek to both preserve these archives and expand access to the documents. “All of this material, every time a researcher asks to look at it and touches it and folds it, it destroys the paper in some way,” Green said. “They are excited that we’re digitizing this material.” Students also conducted individual research projects related to human rights violations during Brazil’s military dictatorship of 1964 to 1985, Green said. He added that participants in the project also collaborated with Brazil’s National Truth Commission, which was established by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to investigate human rights violations in this era. The commission plans on using the documents scanned by students this summer in its investigations of individuals who worked with the Brazilian military regime, Green said. Though Green said the digitization process helped make many documents from this era more accessible, he noted that much of the archived material from the military dictatorship era remains classified. The National Truth Commission has asked the Obama administration to declassify other relevant documents, he added. Green said increased transparency about U.S.-Brazil relations is particularly important for Brazilians. “When it’s launched, it will be on the front page of every paper in Brazil,” he said, adding that many Brazilians want to learn about the full extent of U.S. participation in the Brazilian military’s 1964 coup. The website with the digitized documents — currently under construction by University library staffers — will be launched in April, Green said.
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THE BROWN DAILY HERALD FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2013
Gemini serves up Eurasian fusion, from blintzes to pad Thai The recently opened restaurant’s menu offers both classic and adventurous options By HANNAH KERMAN STAFF WRITER
When a restaurant boasts mastery of the cuisines of three continents, there are bound to be hits, misses and one or two dishes that border on bizarre. Such is the case with Gemini Bar and Grill — the restaurant that opened this summer in the Waterman Street space previously occupied by Spice Thai Bistro. Along with a revamped menu featuring “Eurasian cuisine” — including Western staples and influences from across Asia — the owners of Spice brought in new management for their latest venture, said Danny, a new waiter at the restaurant.
The eclectic options include a large selection of soups, salads, pastas, Asian entrees and fusion dishes. Some options like wings, sliders and dumplings are fairly typical. Others, like bacon scallop guacamole and Thai quesadillas, are slightly harder to find on College Hill. With entree choices ranging from General Tso’s chicken to goulash, ordering required some direction — Danny’s suggestion of the crispy hot basil chicken, which runs $9 for lunch and $13 dinner, did not disappoint. Marked with two stars for spiciness, the dish provided a kick without being overwhelming. The basil flavoring was pungent and the fried chicken crunchy. The rice proved the perfect vehicle to sop up every bit of the delicious sauce. The veggie pad Thai, a favorite at Spice, was a bit greasy, but the generous portion of well-cooked vegetables, noodles and crunchy fried tofu slathered in sweet peanut sauce satisfied a hungry college student for the reasonable price
of $8.50. While only $1.00, the dry breadsticks, flavored with a dash of butter and bit of salt, left something to be desired and weren’t worth the price. The dessert menu adhered to the restaurant’s multicultural theme, with the golden banana offering a tropical flair and the angel cake with marscapone cheese offering hints of Italian cuisine. The $6 ricotta strawberry Russian blintzes were more of a loose crepe with a soft shell and bland, saccharine filling. Bedazzled cans of fake flowers line the restaurant’s surfaces and brighten Gemini’s red walls and black tablecloths. Outside, a number of warped metal tables, which Danny admitted were bought on Craigslist, line a terrace overlooking the Sciences Library. But the spicy Asian-inspired dishes, not the decor, make the trip down Waterman Street worthwhile — and the 10 percent student discount doesn’t hurt either.
PAIGE GILLEY / HERALD
Gemini Bar and Grill opened this summer on Waterman Street, replacing Spice Thai Bistro.
Alum wows with solo Shakespeare performances on the streets of NYC Will Barnet ’12, a popular street artist, performs soliloquies for New York City park-goers By YVETTE RODRIGUEZ CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Will Barnet ’12 has been making a name for himself in the Big Apple with a distinctive solo act, infusing canonical Shakespearean verse with the attention-grabbing energy of street performance. For over a year, Barnet has been performing Shakespeare on request around the city — frequenting such popular destinations as the High Line, Washington Square Park and Central Park. Determined to become an actor, Barnet said he moved to New York City the day after his graduation.
Barnet spent his first months in New York attending open calls, but he said he soon felt inspired by the myriad of street performers and their ability to entice onlookers. “Seeing cool people doing cool things inspired me to see if I could get people to stop,” he said. A popular street artist — recently featured in the New York Times — Barnet has definitely persuaded more than a few pedestrians to stop and watch him perform. He has adapted his skill set, he said, learning to transition from performing for one person to engaging with a growing audience of twenty during a single soliloquy. Barnet also said he has been able to cultivate a “monologue by request” style of his own. “I have started to be known for my work,” he said. But the biggest lesson Barnet has learned, he said, is the importance of “cultivating oneself ” — becoming comfortable with oneself and learning
“Sink” is composed of nine interconnected, non-sequential vignettes.
to develop into what we aspire to be. Barnet credits his energy for Shakespeare and acting for inspiring him to create “Will in the Park,” a move that established him as “the guy who does Shakespeare.” He added that the initiative he took in carving out a unique identity among performers in New York helped gain him recognition in the theater community and has led him to auditions and even modeling gigs. “Build yourself,” Barnet said, adding that “you can build your own work so that people want to work with you because they know you empower yourself.” He said his philosophy of proactivity and self-help derives from individuals like Patrick Stewart who “built themselves rather than asked to be built.” Barnet said he did not always aspire to acting — as an undergraduate,
he concentrated in anthropology. He discovered acting late in college, he said, and from then on he constantly looked for ways to get involved and began taking classes in the theater department. Barnet was involved in Brown University Motion Pictures — then known as BTV — RISD productions and Shakespeare on the Green, and he “became embedded in the theater scene,” he said. Barnet said Brown’s open curriculum and his experiences as an undergraduate shaped his professional path. His love for acting in college and ability to break into what he calls the “Brown bubble of casting” nurtured his ambition and potential as an actor. “I look back to see how to frame my experiences and to figure out where I am going to go next,” Barnet said, adding that he is always thinking about “how to take the work and
productions of the Brown bubble and insert them into the mechanism of NYC acting.” Yotam Tubul ’14 who worked with Barnet on “Roomies”— a production in which Will was the protagonist — said Will’s attitude is perfectly complemented by his “clever and original idea to make some good disposable income.” Tubul added that he recently ran into Barnet at the park himself and saw the Shakespearean at work, soliciting viewers for a performance. Barnet said he intends to keep doing what he is doing so long as he has the energy to do so. But in the long run, Barnet said he plans to take his acting career to the next stage. Though he loves the theater, Barnet said he realizes he will have to reconcile between “the things I want to do and things I am a good fit for” and is considering working in television.
» SINK, from page 1
much of the narrative content. Military marches and dance-like pantomimes lend the production a rhythmic lyricism. In one scene, bodies lurch forward and backward on a simple wooden frame to imitate a maritime expedition. The nine actors have achieved a remarkably cohesive gestural vocabulary that operates on equal footing with the text. “We devised a lot of the movement in the piece through rehearsals,” Raasted said. “The script has been redrafted and rewritten throughout as we figured out where we’re going.” Sound also animates the work, with electronic pulses suggesting crashing waves and brooding storms. The most compelling passages come from the sirens, for whom Raasted has written an original three-part harmony in repeating melodic units — think the opening measures of Björk’s “Medulla” via Phillip Glass. “Anything can be anything,” we are told, “when you put it on a loop.” Becca Millstein ’16 is especially evocative. Order repeatedly threatens to collapse. As Odysseus reminds us, sailors and sirens are a perilous combination. When one member of the tribe falls out of step, the others seize upon him. “If you have something to say,” they demand, “then spit it out.” Without names
or distinct personalities, the actors struggle to distinguish between individual and collective identity. “Show me your teeth so that I can recognize you,” they plead to one another. Stomping around checking their pulses, the sailors, sirens and soothsayers alike are desperate to make sense of a world punctuated by violence and miscommunication. A sailor orders a siren to drown nine kittens. A Dalmatian is shipped off to space, sacrificed for science. Lifeguards remind us that drowning can look a lot like waving. In the work’s most powerful monologue, Patrick Madden ’15 insists, wide-eyed, “We are all treading water. We are all going nowhere.” Luckily, Raasted had the foresight to interrupt the existential anxiety with some unapologetic fun. Moments of cataclysm are framed by moments of unhinged celebration, including a delightful outburst of synchronized swimming, delivered semi-clothed with manic, Mickey Mouse Club smiles. There’s a lot to unpack in “Sink.” Messy, experimental and sometimes deliberately opaque, it won’t be hemmed in. But submit to Raasted’s strange, vividly realized universe. Fill your pockets with stones and descend into the riverbed. You might find yourself eerily at home.
follow nine anonymous figures through an unsettling, vaguely nautical dreamworld. The actors are organized into distinct triplets of “sirens,” “sailors” and “soothsayers,” but also constitute a collective of tangled interchangeable bodies. What at first seems to be a tidy structural framework belies the scope of Raasted’s ambition — “Sink” swells and contracts, waxes and wanes with the dramatic intensity of a capsizing freighter. The plot centers on a series of illfated romantic encounters between the sirens and sailors, who are paired off into couples and assigned private dramas. The soothsayers provide a kind of dialectic, variously interjecting, intervening and interpreting exchanges. The couples are plagued by miscommunication, desperately out of sync. In one scene, a couple, played by Simon Henriques ’15 and Jillian Jetton ’14, argue in a garbled jargon the audience can barely make out. The performance circles relentlessly around the failure of language to articulate what the players would like to say. Of course, the script is only a fraction of what makes “Sink” float. Tightly choreographed movement sequences supply
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2013
science & research 5
Sheridan Center offers mentor program The mentorship will allow graduate students to aid undergraduates in research applications By STEVEN MICHAEL SENIOR STAFF WRITER
The Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning has created a new program to fund research that specifically focuses on supporting graduate students in mentoring undergraduates, said Kathy Takayama, executive director of the Sheridan Center. The program, entitled “The Principles and Practice in Reflective Mentorship Initiative,” was organized by Takayama and Neal Fox GS, a graduate student in the department of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences, and reflects the Sheridan Center’s theme for this academic year — mentorship, Takayama said. Undergraduate and graduate students will work together to apply for one of two types of projects — “Research Partnership” projects or “Community of Practice” projects, Takayama said. Research partnerships involve one undergraduate and one graduate student working together on research related to the graduate student’s thesis, while “Community of Practice” projects involve one or more graduate student mentors leading up to four undergraduates in broader projects like research skill development or reading
groups, Takayama said. “We tried to make this a flexible program for the first iteration. We want to see what kinds of projects people come up with,” Fox said. Takayama emphasized that the program is open to students in all disciplines, adding that humanities students are “particularly interested” in the initiative because they have fewer opportunities than students in the sciences to work directly with graduate mentors. Research partners can apply for up to $5,000 in funding, while “Community of Practice” teams can apply for up to $7,000, Takayama said. Four groups will be chosen for the program, she said, though she and Fox said they expect more will apply. No new grant is funding the initiative — instead, funds will come from the Sheridan Center’s budget, Takayama said. “We would love to be able to expand the program, but the funding would have to continue,” Takayama said. Applications are due Sept. 30. A selection committee will meet in mid-October to determine which groups will receive funding, Takayama said. The committee will comprise seven faculty members from different disciplines, Fox said. Once the groups are chosen, mentors and mentees will begin meeting in late October, Takayama said. Fox was inspired to create a
graduate-undergraduate mentoring program by one, the “Double Hoo Fellowship,” that existed at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Virginia. But Fox wrote in an email to The Herald that the University of Virginia program “was not designed to train good mentors so much as to provide the opportunity for mentoring to take place. In that sense the program lacked follow-through.” “The graduate students didn’t get any coaching about how to be a better mentor and how to help undergraduates develop as researchers and thinkers,” Fox said. Fox worked with Takayama for over a year to develop Brown’s version of the program, coming to the conclusion that there are many alternative mentorship models to the sometimes sub-optimal one-on-one model. “There’s a special opportunity to do this at Brown because Brown is so focused on undergraduate education,” he said. Fox will meet separately with graduate and undergraduate students over the course of the program to address challenges, he said. Graduate students will also attend roundtable discussions with faculty members on topics like “Balancing Life and Scholarship,” “Inclusive Mentoring” and “Building a Community,” Fox wrote in an e-mail to the Herald. Xuan Zhao GS said she plans to apply for a research partnership with Baxter DiFabrizio ’14.5 through the new program. “I want to learn how to be a successful mentor myself,” Zhao said, adding that she has benefited from many mentors over her time as a student. DiFabrizio plans to help Zhao run studies and analyze data for her research on “perspective taking” in the cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences department. “The idea is to produce something better than if the graduate student had done it on her own,” said Bertram Malle, professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences and Zhao’s doctoral adviser.
‘Scialogues’ showcase undergrad research The new monthly event allows students to engage in discussions about their research findings By ADAM HOFFMAN CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Wednesday marked the kickoff of Scialogue, a new monthly event where undergraduate students present their research and receive feedback from their peers. The program, whose name is short for scientific dialogue, was initiated by Katarzyna Sierzputowska ’13.5 in association with the University’s chapter of Sigma Xi, an international research honor society, and the Triple Helix, an organization that publishes a journal focused on science, society and law. Interested students can opt to present their work in a brief two-minute “Elevator Talk,” a five-minute “Data Blitz” for those in early stages of research, or a full 10-minute presentation that includes an explanation of the research methods and results. The Scialogue also allows students to become “experts” in particular topics outside of their research areas and present metaanalyses of the subject areas’ literature. “Graduate students have journal club, but there is no place for undergraduates to present their research on campus,” Sierzputowska said. “We wanted to start hosting events on campus to raise awareness for the Sigma Xi chapter, get students aware of research opportunities and see the kinds of research that other students are involved with,” said Geeta Chougule, program assistant of the Brown Sigma Xi chapter. During the event, which was held in the Science Center, three students gave 10-minute presentations on topics including astrophysics, medicallysupervised drug injection sites and the socioeconomic effects of sleep deprivation. “Science communication is really
comic A & B | MJ Esquivel
difficult, and it is a big issue today,” said Sarah Blunt ’17, who gave a presentation on astrophysics research she conducted during her gap year. “Forcing me to put my research in more general terms not only helps me understand it better but also makes the research more significant because others are able to understand it.” The audience included about 25 first-years and sophomores, many of whom said they found the event interesting and informative. “It was awesome,” said Lucy Xu ’16. “I really like how there were different topics and presentation styles. Some are more in-depth like a scientific research paper, and other are more like a Triple Helix article style.” The idea for the shortened presentation style comes from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute research program in which students who conduct summer research give brief “elevator talks” on their projects. The shortened presentation format marks a departure from traditional research talks by challenging students to communicate their findings succinctly to a scientifically literate audience, Sierzputowska said. “You have a short amount of time to convey months if not years of research, so you really have to think about the most important things of your project,” she added. Scialogue is part of a larger Science Center initiative to increase science communication at Brown, said David Targan ’78, associate dean of the College for science education. “Science itself is increasingly collaborative and interdisciplinary. When science becomes more of a community and global effort, the issue of communication becomes all the more important,” he said. “If we want to continue to get support for science, we need to be able to explain ourselves,” Targan added. Undergraduate students who are interested in giving presentations at future events can apply on the organization’s website.
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2013
DIAMONDS & COAL A diamond to the student who broke the door to the Blue Room — baked goods are completely worthy of looting. But a word of advice to the owners of Meeting Street Cafe: You may want to consider steel reinforcements. Coal to the student who said, “I wanted to have the chance to expose myself to a lot of Brown communities and see where I wanted to get involved.” Call the police — we’ve found the John Street masturbator. Coal to Provost Mark Schlissel P’15, who said online education is “being driven by people experimenting and wanting to explore the potential of online content.” We believe that is also how the pornography industry got its start. Cubic zirconia to President Christina Paxson, who said, “Brown will be better if it’s a little bit bigger.” We’re so insecure about our small endowment. A diamond to journalist Stuart Taylor, who said he is not “a color-blind absolutist.” If he were, his clothes would never match, but he would be adamant about wearing them anyway. Cubic zirconia to the Divest Coal member who said, “The question at hand is not whether or not Brown is going to lose money — that’s not even part of the consideration.” That was our logic too when advocating for a permanent on-campus petting zoo. Unfortunately the University thought otherwise. Coal to “Beautiful Souls” author Eyal Press ’92 who told students, “Do something you’re passionate about rather than something at which you’re incredibly gifted.” Hospitals in Providence are about to experience an onslaught of students who injured themselves juggling flaming chainsaws. Coal to the first-year who said, “I’ve been in some nasty bathrooms.” Yeah, that’s where people poop.
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THE BROWN DAILY HERALD FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2013
‘Redskins’ have no place in the NFL ANDREW FELDMAN opinions columnist
As another NFL football season began and the Washington Redskins opened up their season at home, a new year of controversy surrounds the nation’s capitol. More people than just Philadelphia Eagles fans rooted against Washington that night. Even people who have never seen a game of football are beginning to root against the team — or more specifically, its name. The Washington-based football team resides in a city that is supposed to be a symbol of freedom, democracy and individual liberty. But instead of having a patriotic name like many Washington sports teams have, the football team is identified by a term many consider offensive. The origin of the term “redskin” is controversial in itself. Some argue it just refers to Native Americans, who referred to themselves as “red” in order to differentiate themselves from white settlers during colonization. But more and more people
believe that a “redskin” refers to the scalps of Native Americans brutally skinned by colonists during the French and Indian War. In 1755, an edict offered monetary rewards to colonists for Indian scalps. Not only did this clear the land of its natives, but these scalps were also paraded around and given as gifts. Football is a violent sport. Concussions and torn ACLs seem as abundant as touchdowns. But to name a team after a mangled body part serving as a trophy goes beyond barbaric. There is no place for that in the United States, let alone in the NFL. Even if the name only referred to Native Americans, what connotation does that hold? That name isn’t a fond pet name historians devote to those they research. It is a term derived during a time of ignorance, hatred and violence. Should the Washington football team be allowed to keep its name just because many Americans are unaware of its origin? Just because not everyone is breaking down the door of Dan Snyder, Washington’s owner, does not mean we should just forget about it. It shouldn’t matter whether
this issue only directly insults 100 gressmen, he will not change the people or 1 million. The fact that name. The longer he postpones any group is being discriminated the inevitable, the more his team against should be enough to en- will suffer. courage all Americans to come Washington wouldn’t be the to the aid of their fellow citizens. first team to change its name, esIf the issue involved a larger or pecially not the first team named louder minority of Americans, after Native Americans to do so. this would not be a question. St. John’s University changed its There is no way, in name from the this day and age, Redmen to the “Football is a that a team would Red Storm. The violent sport. be allowed to be University of Minamed after a deConcussions and ami of Ohio used rogatory term for to be the Redskins torn ACLs seem black people, Jews before becoming as abundant as or members of the Redhawks. any other minor- touchdowns. But to The list goes on to ity. What makes include Stanford, name a team after Marquette and Native Americans different? Syracuse Univera mangled body Just recently, sities, along with part serving as a Riley Cooper, an several schools Eagles wide re- trophy goes beyond that changed masceiver, received cots. All did so to barbaric.” mandatory counappease those seling after a video of him using who were hurt by their names. the “N-word” surfaced on the In- Why can’t the Washington team ternet. This was only the trans- change its name? These schools gression of an individual, not an showed it’s better to rebrand than entire organization. Allowing an wait for fan discontent to build. entire team to be referred to as an All of these schools not only apoffensive slur is much worse. Sny- peased fans but also profited from der recently announced that, in the change. Whether for menspite of a request made by 10 con- tal or moral profit, there doesn’t
seem to be a reason to keep the name any longer. A name change for a Washington sports franchise is not unprecedented, either. Washington’s NBA team, the Washington Wizards, was originally named the Washington Bullets. With a team that has been around for over 80 years — though some of those years were before the team moved from Boston — there are many sentimental reasons people still cling to the name. But at the same time, a lot has changed since the team was founded, and there is no room in a billion dollar industry for teams to halt progress. Several media outlets have already stopped using the slur. By changing Washington’s name to something like the Red Hawks or the Red Rapids, all fans of the team have to do is buy a piece of duct tape to cover up part of the team name on their old jerseys without even having to buy new ones. It’s that easy. Andrew Feldman ’15 constantly changes his fantasy football team’s name and can be reached at email@example.com
Let yourself look ROBYN SUNDLEE opinions columnist
The 2013 World Press Photo Contest is brimming with the dead and dying in Syria, oil-smeared corpses of soldiers in Sudan and murdered children in Palestine. Our first instinct is to recoil from these pictures, as if they disrespect the victims’ suffering. Some newspapers have expressed anxiety at publishing the more ghastly photos of the Syrian conflict due to fear of backlash from the public. Arielle Emmett, a photojournalist herself, argues that publications that printed photos following the Haitian earthquake were callous and dehumanizing, run by publishers making sensationalist ploys to entice readership through obscenity. Many researchers have claimed being inundated by violent images in the media can numb us to brutality. No one can deny that images are dangerous and can be misused. It is characteristic of the modern attitude to be suspicious of something meant to elicit an
emotional response. Yet we must is self-delusion. As Susan Sontag acknowledge how very easy it is wrote in her book on war photogto sit back far away from harm raphy, “No one after a certain age and doubt the motives of those has the right to this kind of inwho have risked their lives to nocence, of superficiality, to this capture images of tragedy in Fal- degree of ignorance or amnesia.” lujah, Aleppo or Kabul. Humanity isn’t lost when we look I contend that being exposed at a picture of something awful to news media that depict vio- happening to someone else — it’s lence and suffering is essential to lost when we would rather prebeing a global cittend it never hapizen. It forces us pened. “In this era of a to confront truths Wherever peothat can contrib- million distractions ple feel safe, they ute to greater emwill be apathetic and departures pathy and underto the plights of from reality, it is standing. While those far away. more important it is natural to be How do we comsuspicious of or bat this indifthan ever to pay turn away from ference? We can productions of attention to actual, only put ourselves the grotesque, decorporeal human in other people’s pictions of atrocishoes through obsuffering.” ties jolt us from serving the dire apathy and innature of their spire reflection. We must look at situations. Only by making ourthe pictures of mutilated bodies, selves feel unsafe can we evoke smoking wreckage and crying fa- real empathy. Reading about thers so that we may know the tragedies in far-off lands is simworld we live in. ply not enough. Text is bloodTo see bodies in pain is to con- less. But images can galvanize. front reality and the consequenc- Consider the photography of the es of human action. Anything less Vietnam War and its effect on the
antiwar movement or the images of anguish following the Haitian earthquake and the resulting flood of relief donations. It is nothing short of irresponsible not to educate oneself about the cruelty and agony of the world, and it is nothing short of heartless to prevent oneself from engaging in sympathy for the victims. This is how we should regard images of great violence: not with skepticism or disgust, but with pure, unadulterated sympathy for the victims. War and disaster imagery is disturbing to be sure, but it needs to be seen to remind us of the consequences of moral and political actions. If true pictures of atrocities are being used as a spectacle to entice viewers it is beside the point. The choice of whether to respect delicate sensibilities or to remind the population of the nature of tragedy is an obvious one — especially in the case of the earthquake in Haiti where individual action could help ameliorate misery. In this era of a million distractions and departures from reality, it is more important than ever to pay atten-
tion to actual, corporeal human suffering. Sontag concluded her book with the statement: “Let the atrocious images haunt us. Even if they are only tokens, and cannot possibly encompass most of the reality to which they refer, they still perform a vital function. The images say: This is what human beings are capable of doing — may volunteer to do, enthusiastically, self-righteously. Don’t forget.” Photographs that appall us also force us to pause and consider and rouse sympathy for an individual on the other side of the world. Many of us will never understand what it means to truly suffer like the individuals in Syria. We will never know what it’s like to be at war, to be dying of sarin exposure or to lose a child. We can only look and imagine. But we must not turn away. Robyn Sundlee ’16 doesn’t handle violence and gore well at all, but she’s working on it. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
daily herald sports friday THE BROWN
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2013
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Gallas ’16 steps up in Invitational Bruno looks to The driver swims like a dolphin and bites like a shark en route to scoring eight weekend goals By DORI RAHBAR STAFF WRITER
With the men’s water polo team’s two leading scorers out for the Bruno Fall Invitational last weekend, Matty Gallas ’16 stepped up to the plate and scored eight goals during the tournament. Gallas is originally from Manhattan Beach, Calif., and plays as a driver on the 6-4 squad. For his intrepid play, The Herald has named Gallas its Athlete of the Week. How did you start playing water polo? I started playing water polo in high school. I’d grown up always swimming, and I played basketball when I was little, and I think I got sick of the individual part of swimming — it was kind of boring. And I loved the team aspect of basketball, so my parents brought it up one day, if maybe I wanted to play water polo. They didn’t want me to play football in high school, so that became the obvious option in the end. What was your first year like on the Brown team? I had a really good time on the team and I loved all my teammates. Adjusting to the game was kind of different, mainly because people are more mature. Guys are bigger, to be honest. On my high school team I was always one of the biggest players, and then coming to college it’s like I’m the smallest guy on the team, or one of the smaller guys, and I pretty
much have to rely on being fast. … But from the team aspect, I loved the team from day one. Everyone seemed to get along. Most of us are from California also, so I had a connection in that sense.
What is the hardest part of training, or school and sport at the same time? The whole school and sports thing, that’s tough. I mean, the thing is it’s hard to be a student-athlete, especially at Brown when obviously everything revolves around academics, but at the same time, you’re involved in a D1 sport and it’s super time-consuming. And it’s hard taking these two giant time sucks and putting them together and having time in the middle of the day to nap in between and stuff like that. For me, my whole schedule revolves around napping in the middle of the day because I have to leave two hours, otherwise I can’t practice the way I want to. You guys get up really early, right? Tomorrow morning we have 6 a.m. practice. And then we have another practice in the afternoon. So we have double days twice a week. It’s definitely pretty tedious after a while. But the hardest part of training is probably just getting up in the morning and getting in the pool. What does being a driver entail? It means I tend to stay on the outside. Mainly on my team, my role is to be more of a passer than anything else. We’re surrounded by a bunch of really good shooters, and occasionally I’ll shoot if I’m open and have an opportunity, but I’m really supposed to set up.
How long can you tread water? Because you can never touch the ground. I mean, it’s kind of funny when people ask you that because it’s kind of second nature. I don’t really think about it. I don’t know, it’s like walking. This weekend you scored a lot of goals. Any thoughts? I had a couple good goals this weekend. … We had a couple people out for injury. Our two leading scorers were out with concussions, and we played a bunch of hard games, and I think this weekend was really big for us, not just for me but as a team we came together without having those people to rely on. And that’s so important for us, especially the freshmen coming in — they get playing time and get confidence. What’s your routine before a game? I’d say I eat a lot before games. A lot of people don’t because we’re in a pool and a lot of people think they can’t eat before going in a pool, but I can’t play if I’m hungry. If I start to feel hungry in the pool, it’s all I’m thinking about. So I eat a lot before I get in. That’s the only thing I abide by. What is your message for people who don’t have any relationship with Brown athletics? Just get out there and go to the games. Even if you don’t know what the sport is about or how to play it, when you go to the actual games you can feel the energy in the pool or at the field or wherever you’re going. I think it brings a lot of people together. It’s not just about being on the team, it’s about support.
squash Hoyas again Brown looks to notch fourth straight season opening win against nonconference foe By CALEB MILLER SENIOR STAFF WRITER
The football team hosts the Georgetown University Hoyas (1-2) Saturday to open its 2013 campaign, carrying a streak of five consecutive winning seasons into the program’s 136th year. The two teams squared off in the nation’s capitol last year, and the Bears trounced the Hoyas 37-10. Bruno has surpassed the Patriot League challenger by double digits all three times the programs have met. But defensive end and Co-Captain Michael Yules ’14 said past success is completely behind them. “Last year’s game with Georgetown is in the books,” he said. “It has no bearing on what we’re doing this year. We’re going full force ahead and working as hard as we can like we’re lining up against the best team in the country.” If history is an indicator, fans at Brown Stadium are in for an exciting game. Each of Bruno’s last four season openers have been decided by three points or fewer with the Bears coming out on top in the last three contests. All of those games were against nonconference challengers, so each side is less familiar with its opponent, which makes preparation is more difficult, said Head Coach Phil Estes. “The hardest thing about Georgetown is there’s no film exchange,” he said. “A lot of what we do is going to be making
adjustments on the run.” Georgetown has three games under its belt — losses to Marist College (1-2) 43-23 and Wagner College (1-2) 28-21 and a victory over Davidson College (0-2) 42-6. Three games of experience can be a real advantage, Yules said. He added that the Bears will have to “learn what kind of team they are” quickly to make up for their lack of game experience early in the season. Wide receivers Tellef Lundevall ’13.5 and Jordan Evans ’14 combined for 11 catches, 112 yards and a touchdown against Georgetown last fall and return looking to repeat their dominant performance. Yules also posted one of his best games of the year against the Hoyas last season, registering five tackles — two of which were part of a crucial goal line stand — and a sack, en route to earning Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week. Yules led a dominant Bruno defense that allowed just one yard of total offense in the second half. With an away game against conference rival Harvard a week away, some may be quick to overlook the Hoyas, but Estes said the team is focused entirely on Georgetown and nothing else. “(This game) won’t have anything to do with Harvard,” he said. “This week it is all about Georgetown.” Quarterback Patrick Donnelly ’13.5 said he is just excited to get out on the field. The team has done its preparation, and the players are anxious to prove themselves, he added. “We just need to come out with confidence and play,” he said. “If we stick to the game plan, I think we have enough talent to get the job done.”
The Patriot Way: Backbone of a dynasty or overblown myth? MIKE FIRN sports columnist
For the past decade-plus, the prolonged success of the New England Patriots has been predicated on a singular philosophy. This so-called “Patriot Way” is designed to create an environment in which no individual transcends the team. Winning is all that matters, leaving no room for distractions or personal gripes. Every player and coach understands and accepts his role. The results have been astounding. Regardless of the personnel surrounding the core of owner Robert Kraft, Head Coach Bill Belichek and quarterback Tom Brady, New England’s system predictably churns out victories. In a league marked by relative parity — 28 of 32 teams have made the playoffs since 2007 — the Patriots have compiled 148 regular season wins against just 46 losses since 2001, including 10 playoff appearances, and three Super Bowl titles. By comparison, the Indianapolis Colts are a distant second with 129 victories since 2001. But in the wake of perhaps the most shocking criminal revelations in recent football memory, it’s worth posing the question: Does the famed Patriot Way
have any legitimacy? With the first-degree murder charges brought against former Patriot star Aaron Hernandez have come questions about how the genius of Belichek and Co. could have committed such character oversight. The Patriots’ philosophy was supposed to filter out the good guys from the bad guys, winners from losers — both on and off the field. New England would seem like the last franchise to be leveled by such a newsworthy off-field incident. By now, everyone with even a passing interest in sports knows about the Aaron Hernandez case. Hernandez faces six charges related to the murder of Odin Lloyd, including first-degree murder and five gun-related violations. Hernandez, who signed a five-year contract extension worth up to $40 million last summer, has seen a steep fall from grace. But should the zero-tolerance Patriots have seen it coming? Trouble first found Hernandez back when he was still in high school in Bristol, Conn. Following his father’s death, Hernandez was “very angry” and “wasn’t the same kid,” his mother told USA Today Sports in 2009. He took to marijuana and began hanging out with questionable influences. Originally intending to play football at the University of Connecticut like his father, Hernandez instead committed to the University of
Florida because he needed to “get away,” Hernandez told the Hartford Courant. The change of address hardly brought a fresh start. In his first two years in college, Hernandez was arrested in a bar fight, questioned in relation to a shooting and suspended for marijuana use. His final season at Florida, though, was marked by stellar play and zero off-field incidents, leading his mother and coaching staff to believe that Hernandez finally “turned a corner and was maturing,” said a Florida staffer in a Boston Globe article. Nevertheless, concerns about persistent marijuana use and gang connections scared most teams away from Hernandez, despite his immense talent. Prior to the 2010 draft, Hernandez wrote a letter to the Patriots assuring the team he would not present a distraction and proposing that his compensation be tied to behavior-related clauses. This sincerity prompted the Patriots to select Hernandez in the 2010 NFL draft, and over the next three seasons, Hernandez lived up to his word by delivering on the field and making himself publicly invisible. It wasn’t until this past summer that everything fell apart. If the Patriot Way is being called into question in the aftermath of the Hernandez fallout, the Patriot Way is being misconstrued. On the NFL Network,
Kraft said it’s “about trying to collect a lot of good people” who are “doing things in the community.” That’s a tidy quote for public relations, but above all, the Patriots care about one thing: the ruthless march to victory. Throughout the Kraft-Belichek-Brady era, the Pats have consistently shown a willingness to gamble on clubhouse cancers and legal liabilities with the hope that the stringent Patriot aura would whip them into shape. Sometimes this strategy has worked (see: Corey Dillon, Randy Moss and Aqib Talib). Other times it hasn’t (Chad Ochocinco, Brandon Lloyd Albert Haynesworth). The Patriot Way is not a panacea and cannot apply to every player. Those whom it does sway, however, elevate their production. In any case, the Patriots have never hesitated to cut ties as soon as a player’s distraction exceeds his worth on the field. The Patriots’ system rewards those who work hard, shut up and produce. Talent doesn’t buy a second chance, either. Replacement-level players who can grasp the playbook and don’t make mistakes are more valuable in Belichek’s formula for success than a Pro-Bowler who divides the locker room. Everyone outside of the KraftBelichek-Brady triumvirate is ultimately replaceable, so all players focus solely on their football responsibilities. With a strategy that balances risk
and reward, the Patriots have historically managed to avoid a personnel decision that blew up in the face of the organization, a la Aaron Hernandez. But with a closer look, the Hernandez story actually fits fairly well into the Patriots’ mold. The team took a flier on a player whose talent was undervalued by the market due to non-football flaws. It extracted elite production from Hernandez for three seasons and released him immediately when he became a distraction that outweighed his production. This case is simply more high-profile. This time, a win-at-all-costs strategy brought collateral damage. When Kansas City Chiefs’ linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend at their house and then himself at the Chiefs practice facility last December, the tragedy elicited sympathy, not accusations, toward the Chiefs. So does New England deserve blame for Hernandez’s crimes? Does it have a responsibility to make sure such a legal risk was never on the team in the first place? That judgment is for you to make. In the meantime, the Patriots will just keep on winning.
Mike Firn ’16 doesn’t condone murder but loves those Patriots’ W’s. Contact him at email@example.com