vol. cxlviii, no. 116
Mia McKenzie discussed how race and sexual orientation influence identity and relationships By JASON NADBOY CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Renowned author and creator of the blog Black Girl Dangerous Mia McKenzie interwove comedic descriptions and personal anecdotes with discussion of serious topics including racism in America and growing up as a queer child in a packed Metcalf Auditorium lecture Wednesday night. “You guys seem cool — you’re already laughing,” she said soon after the talk began. McKenzie described her life by first listing everything from her childhood she said made her gay, including an experience at church camp, where she first experienced what it was like to reject someone. The girl was “several shades darker” than herself, and McKenzie rejected her because she had been taught that darker individuals are less attractive, she said. McKenzie met her rejected romantic prospect several years later, only to see just how beautiful the girl had become and realize how foolish her childhood misconceptions about skin color and attractiveness had been, she said. McKenzie said some parts of the media showed a different reality to her growing up, portraying untraditional male figures like Sinbad, Prince and Michael Jackson, who would still gain female attention. These experiences planted “a seed that would later grow into a really, really queer tree,” she said. She also spoke about her experiences as a black woman. She said she has encountered degrading comments like, “Your hair is so cool — can I touch it?” McKenzie asked a white volunteer from the audience to come up and repeat this to her. She responded with witty comebacks, eliciting cheers from the audience. “To be a black girl in the world is to be dismissed,” she said. Her self-esteem faltered between ages 10 and 14, she said, but she had a supportive family. “I never forgot I was smart, gifted,” she said. Speaking about oppression is difficult because “it’s all been said already,” she said. “Still, so many people don’t seem to get it.” » See DANGEROUS, page 2
U. nears fundraising goal for engineering building Total funds raised must reach $80 million before the U. finalizes plans for the new building By MICHAEL DUBIN SENIOR STAFF WRITER
The University is about $15 million away from the funding threshold required before it can select an architect and a site for a new College Hill engineering building, said Provost Mark Schlissel P’15. Administrators decided in the spring that the new engineering building will be constructed somewhere near Barus and Holley rather than in the Jewelry District — an option the University initially considered — so it would be connected to the rest of the campus, The Herald reported at the time. But its precise location on the Hill has not yet been determined, Schlissel said, adding that the current campus layout cannot accommodate the new building. Schlissel said the University has raised about $65 million for the new
ALAN SHAN / HERALD
Though the new building will not be constructed in the Jewelry District, it is unclear where on College Hill the new facility will be located, given space limitations. space. Before it can solidify details about the new building, the University must raise $80 million of the total $160 million goal established in its campaign to expand engineering.
A Corporation guideline suggests the University should be halfway toward its fundraising goal before hiring an architect and should have raised 90 percent of the funds before breaking
ground, Schlissel said. “The University hasn’t always followed that rule, but I think it’s an important practice to follow in a difficult » See ENGINEERING, page 2
Taveras leads in gubernatorial poll Variety About a quarter of Voters weigh in on gubernatorial candidates show to aid respondents said Taveras would best improve the state economy if elected typhoon relief A WPRI poll released Tuesday gives Mayor Angel Taveras the highest job approval rating in the state, beating out both General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung. Democrat Clay Pell and Republican Ken Block suffered a lack of name recognition among voters.
By MARIYA BASHKATOVA
SENIOR STAFF WRITER
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras leads the pack of 2014 gubernatorial candidates in job performance rating and perceived ability to improve the state’s economy, according to a WPRI poll of 506 registered state voters released Tuesday. When asked to choose among the five probable candidates, almost 26 percent said Taveras, a Democrat, would do the best job of improving the state’s economy as governor. About 20 percent of voters said they believed Cranston Mayor Allan Fung would be most effective at generating growth throughout the state, while 16 percent opted for likely Democratic candidate General Treasurer Gina Raimondo. The candidates’ perceived abilities to improve the state’s economy are poised to significantly influence the election, as 57 percent voters said the economy and job creation should be the state’s primary concern. Voters also expressed satisfaction with Taveras’ performance as mayor. About 50 percent of voters said Providence has improved since
CITY & STATE
President Christina Paxson will match the first $2,500 the Filipino Alliance raises
Gina Raimondo Angel Taveras Feeling:
VERY SOMEWHAT SOMEWHAT NEGATIVE VERY NEGATIVE POSITIVE POSITIVE
By EMILY DOGLIO CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Ken Block Clay Pell ADAM TOOBIN / HERALD
Taveras became mayor, 31 percent said it has remained the same, 8 percent said it has declined and 11 percent were unsure. The poll asked voters about their opinions on the five likely gubernatorial candidates — Taveras, Raimondo and Fung, as well as Democrat Clay Pell, a former U.S. Department of Education deputy secretary and grandson of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell, and Ken Block, a Republican who ran for governor in 2010 as the leader of the Moderate Party. When asked about the job performance of the candidates who currently hold office, voters gave Taveras, Raimondo and Fung generally favorable performance
reviews. Taveras garnered the highest approval rating, with 57 percent of respondents indicating his performance has been good or excellent, 19 percent calling his performance fair, 6 percent calling it poor and 18 percent saying they did not know enough to answer. Raimondo, who has not formally announced a run for governor despite popular expectations, also received good reviews. Fifty-one percent of voters said her performance as General Treasurer has been good or excellent, while 20 percent said it was fair, 13 percent said it was poor and 17 percent said they did not know enough to » See GOVERNOR, page 5
Richard Feynman, David Foster Wallace and Michel Foucault
Tutoring local refugees for at least three hours per week, students teach and learn
Tennis ’14 argues the U. should bolster tuition aid for employees’ children
Blogger talks inequality, privilege
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2013
The University has teamed up with the Filipino Alliance to coordinate aid for relief efforts in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the island nation Nov. 8. The Filipino Alliance will participate in a “global weekend of solidarity” this weekend in collaboration with international charity organizations to raise money for storm victims, said former alliance co-chair Rexy Josh Dorado ’14. The weekend’s highlight will be a benefit variety show held at 5 p.m. Sunday in List Art Center with proceeds donated to aid relief programs in the Philippines. President Christina Paxson will match the first $2,500 the alliance raises, Dorado said. The group has raised about $500 so far, said alliance member Dumichel Harley ’17. The variety show’s name, “Bayanihan,” can be translated into English in » See RELIEF, page 3 t o d ay
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2 university news
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2013
» ENGINEERING, from page 1
Janus Conversation: Free Speech
In the Interest of Others
List 120 9 P.M.
Watson Institute 8 P.M.
Alumnae Hall Auditorium
menu SHARPE REFECTORY
LUNCH Mushroom Quiche, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Herbs, Grilled Turkey Burger, Eggplant Parmesan Grinder
Beef Stew, Vegetable Stuffed Red Peppers, Steak Fries, Italian Vegetable Saute, Assorted Frosted Cupcakes
DINNER Toasted Ravioli with Italian Salsa, Mediterranean Eggplant Saute, Baked Scrod Garden-Style, Sauteed Spinach
Tequila Lime Chicken, Butternut Squash Formato, Coconut Ginger Rice, Lemon Buttered Broccoli Spears ALAN SHAN / HERALD
Mia McKenzie, creator and author of the blog Black Girl Dangerous, spoke about race and sexual orientation to a full auditorium Wednesday.
» DANGEROUS, from page 1
“There is no such thing as reverse racism,” she said. Racism is a system of oppression that limits the rights of life based on race, she said, adding that white people are not subject to any such limits due to racism. To illustrate her point, she listed ways in which people of color — whom she called POC — could be racist, which included stealing white people’s land, enslaving them and wiping out their traditions. “Break their espresso machines,” she added, an example met with laughter. “White privilege is real, and every white person has it,” she said. People are neither visually surprised when white people are smart nor are they followed around in a store to make sure they do not steal anything, she said. It is not the responsibility of people of color to educate white people about race, she said, adding that nothing can ever be said that will change the “lackadaisically ignorant.” During a question and answer session, one student asked McKenzie to talk about the best and worst pieces of advice she had ever received, without identifying which was which.
One piece of advice was to never change yourself to fit what other people want of you, she said, and the other was to change yourself to fit what other people want of you, an answer met with laughter from the audience. Another student asked how to handle a committed relationship with an individual who does not understand terms such as “white privilege.” McKenzie urged the student to engage in dialogue as much as she could but to “know your limits.” If the person remains ignorant, the relationship may not be worthwhile, she said. A student asked about the role of racism among POCs in response to an incident McKenzie mentioned about an Asian woman who was amazed she could write so well. McKenzie responded that while she is accustomed to using the term POC, “I’m not POC. I’m black.” Being black is a very different experience than being South Asian, she said. “It was fantastic — I love her,” said Ivy Alphonse-Leja ’14, an audience member who said she has been reading Black Girl Dangerous for a year and half. “You know what I love — when people don’t see race,” McKenzie said.
budget year,” he said. At a recent forum sponsored by the University Resources Committee, Schlissel said the University budget deficit remains a major concern in planning new programs and projects. The University aims to reach the $80 million mark by the end of the calendar year, Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy Russell Carey ’91 MA’06 said in April. Schlissel said he is optimistic the University will achieve that goal but that it “is not a certainty.” The expansion will provide the School of Engineering with 100,000 additional square feet, Carey said in April. Both Schlissel and Dean of Engineering Larry Larson said there is not space within the current layout of College Hill for a project of this size. To make a new building fit, Schlissel said, the University would either have to “move other structures” or convert a space such as a parking lot. Larson said Boston-based planning and design firm Sasaki Associates, which the University worked with throughout the strategic planning process, is assessing “many potential options” for opening up space. The company is in the process of making a recommendation about where to build the new engineering facilities, he added. Sasaki Associates could not be reached for comment by the time of publication. The goal is to arrive at a plan that “allows engineering to expand and become more successful that does so within our financial means … and with the least disruption possible to existing programs and spaces around the campus,” Schlissel said. In April, students voiced support for the University’s decision to build new engineering facilities on College Hill instead of the Jewelry District, and that backing has remained steady. It is “important to have the engineering department in a central location,” said Rebecca Pinals ’16. Tyler Smith ’16 said a new building in the Jewelry District would be inconvenient for students. But he said he hopes the planned expansion in the vicinity of Barus and Holley takes place without “trampling” any historic, long-standing buildings nearby. Marisa Quinn, executive vice president for public affairs and University relations, said in April that any new construction near Hope Street would mind the community’s historic roots, The Herald previously reported.
university news 3
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2013
U. to offer free Microsoft software In addition to offering personal software, CIS aims to improve wireless Internet and printing By MAXINE JOSELOW SENIOR STAFF WRITER
Students will be able to download up to five free packages of Microsoft Office programs to their personal computers by Jan. 1, Chief Information Officer for Computing and Information Services Ravi Pendse announced at Wednesday’s meeting of the Undergraduate Council of Students. The packages will include Word, PowerPoint and Excel and will be compatible with Mac and Windows, Pendse said. He added that a few UCS members may be able to “beta test” the package before it is released to the student body. In response to campus-wide complaints about wireless Internet and printing, Pensde also sought feedback on improving students’ technological experiences. According to a poll UCS conducted this semester, 93 percent of students have difficulty connecting to Brown-Secure, the campus’ main wireless network, at least one to three times a week. Pendse encouraged students to participate in a “culture of proactiveness” by reporting their Internet problems to CIS. “If you see problems, let us know,” Pendse said. “We will continue to work until your wireless issues get fixed.” Wireless Internet access has
improved in the Sharpe Refectory, and CIS officers will complete work on Barus and Holley and Emery Hall in the coming weeks, he said. Sam Rubinstein ’17, UCS general body member, said he was pleased first-year dorms were receiving attention. “Every time I get one of those emails that says we’re working on the Wi-Fi in your building, I smile inside,” he said. CIS officers should hold a table in the Ratty where they ask students about their Internet concerns, said Kiera Peltz ’16, UCS communications chair and former Herald staff writer. Wireless printing emerged as another topic of concern. Maahika Srinivasan ’15, UCS academics and administrative affairs chair, said she would like to see “efforts to fix wireless printing.” “The system for wireless printing is a bit of a pain, and the instructions are not very clear,” said Ryan Lessing ’17, UCS parliamentarian. Pendse responded that CIS is creating a video to better explain how students should use the wireless printing system. Several Council members also suggested enhancing the Brown website. The UCS Academics and Administrative Affairs Committee has discussed the possibility of putting links to online resources such as Banner “all in one central place” on Brown’s website, Rubinstein said. “The Brown website could be a lot better than it is,” Pendse said. CIS recently did a “soft launch”
of a mobile version of the website, he said, adding that the mobile site will be released as an app next semester. The Council also listened to Gabriel Filsinger ’14 present a website he created where students can suggest, discuss and vote on projects for UCS to tackle. Filsinger, a business, entrepreneurship and organizations concentrator, said the website would offer students a “quicker connection” to Council leaders. The site has already gone live, and students have posted ideas such as better heating in the Sciences Library and better quality teaching in math courses. Malikah Williams ’16, UCS campus life chair, said she thinks the site should be moderated. “If somebody posts something inappropriate, it will be taken down,” Filsinger said. “The biggest challenge in implementing something like this is making sure people know it’s there,” said Ian Cossentino ’17, UCS general body member. “We need to get the word out.” UCS President Todd Harris ’14.5 could send a campus-wide email promoting the website, Filsinger said in response. The Council also approved an amendment to its constitution that requires UCS members to attend one Undergraduate Finance Board meeting per semester. Lessing said it came to his attention that the rule was not in the constitution, though Council leaders have been enforcing it.
THIS WEEK IN HIGHER ED
BY MATHIAS HELLER, UNIVERSITY NEWS EDITOR
New study finds nationwide spike in science and engineering degrees The number of bachelor’s degrees awarded nationally in engineering and the sciences rose over the past five years by a substantially higher rate than those in other fields, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported Tuesday. The Chronicle cited a study released Tuesday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center that found a 19 percent jump in the number of engineering and science bachelor’s degrees since 2009. Other academic fields saw 9 percent increases over the same period, according to the study, which included the social sciences in its classification of science degrees. The study found that 32 percent of bachelor’s degrees nationwide were awarded in engineering and science disciplines this year. Though women received 57 percent of total bachelor’s degrees, they received 50 percent of engineering and science degrees. Over 60 percent of science and engineering degrees earned by women were in social science and psychology fields, compared to 37 percent of those awarded to men. Some analysts linked student perceptions of a stronger job market in engineering and science fields to the larger growth rate in degrees in these fields, the Chronicle reported.
Campus protest at Palestinian university leads Brandeis to suspend ties Brandeis University suspended its partnership with Al-Quds University in Palestine following a Nov. 5 protest at the institution in support of suicide bombers, according to a Monday news release from Brandeis. The protest at the Al-Quds campus featured demonstrators raising Nazi salutes and wielding fake weapons, while banners portraying suicide bombers surrounded the protestors, multiple news outlets reported. Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence requested that Al-Quds President Sari Nusselbeh denounce the demonstration, according to Brandeis’ release. Al-Quds administrators responded by posting a statement on the university’s website that lambasted “Jewish extremists” for seeking to “exploit” the protest, Inside Higher Ed reported Tuesday. Al-Quds’“unacceptable and inflammatory” response led Lawrence to suspend the partnership, according to the news release. The partnership had allowed for faculty and student exchanges between Al-Quds and Brandeis “that have advanced the cause of peace and understanding,” the news release stated.
Yale administrators project staff layoffs in coming years
COURTESEY OF REXY DORADO
Members of the Filipino Alliance said helping relief efforts is a way of connecting with their cultural Identity. They have already raised $500 in donations.
» RELIEF, from page 1 multiple ways, including “being a nation together” or “being heroes for each other,” Dorado said. Members of Brown’s Filipino community “have the sense of trying to give back” to others as part of their cultural identity, Dorado said. Giving back to the community “is not always a feeling that we know what do with,” Dorado said, adding that the “call to action” to help storm victims is a way for the Filipino community to contribute. The University may help organize a trip to the Philippines for students to aid in reconstruction efforts, said University Chaplain Janet Cooper Nelson, adding that she hopes the
trip would happen in the summer or fall of next year. “We need to respond with kindness and relief, but we need to respond with smarts” by harnessing students’ intellectual experiences to help with ongoing redevelopment efforts in damaged areas, Nelson said. Students who are unable to donate should focus on other ways to help, she said, using what they learn in the classroom to make a long-term impact on global redevelopment. The alliance began fundraising by collecting donations at the “Legends of the S.E.A.” performance Nov. 16, said event organizer Heidi Dong ’14. The show was part of the Asian American Heritage Series sponsored by the Third World Center, Dong said.
The event raised $451, Harley said. Alliance members are still deciding to which charities they will donate collected funds as the group determines the best way to provide immediate aid and long-term support to storm victims, Dorado said. Members will provide collected donations to the Brown Global Health Initiative, which will forward the funds to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and to smaller on-the-ground relief groups composed of doctors and other volunteers in the Philippines, Dorado said. Group members recognize the Filipino community has a sense of urgency for helping storm victims, and alliance members hope to “trap that energy in a bottle,” Dorado said.
Yale’s continuing budget deficit will likely necessitate administrative staff layoffs within the next three to five years, the Yale Daily News reported Tuesday. President Peter Salovey and Provost Benjamin Polak told the Yale Daily News that “reductions in personnel and non-personnel costs” will be enacted across various departments and divisions to close the university’s current $39 million budget deficit. Yale posted a 12.5 percent investment return during fiscal year 2013, but the university’s endowment remains smaller than it was before the 2008 financial crash, the Yale Daily News reported. Brown reported a 12.6 percent investment return — the second highest growth rate in the Ivy League after Penn’s 14.4 percent — for the last fiscal year. Eliminating Yale’s deficit must center on reducing personnel costs, which currently comprise 60 percent of the university’s expenditures, Vice President for Finance and Business Operations Shauna King told the Yale Daily News. Administrators said the likelihood of staff layoffs will rise after the 2014-2015 academic year but that payroll reductions will probably not occur before then, the Yale Daily News reported.
4 city & state
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2013
‘Bike Providence’ boosts two-wheeled travel The city’s narrow roadways pose problems for the creation of lanes for bikers and motorists
The plan will assess teacher skills and prioritizes increasing cultural awareness
By ZACH FREDERICKS CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Mayor Angel Taveras and the Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission unveiled “Bike Providence,” the city’s master plan to make Providence a more bike-friendly city, Nov. 5. Under “Bike Providence,” officials plan to install a comprehensive network of bike lanes throughout the city, adding to the 38.1 miles of existing bikeways and making the city more bike-accessible, according to the city’s report on the initiative. The plan also calls for consideration of bicycle accommodations in all future urban planning as well as the creation of “a culture in which both motorists and bicyclists understand that traffic rules apply to everyone.” To achieve these goals, the plan calls for modifications to the city’s roadway design, pavement management program and zoning laws. “Bicycling makes Providence a more livable and healthy city,” said Liz White, Taveras’ deputy director of communications and media relations. “The Bike Providence master plan is an investment in a healthier community, cleaner air and a bicycle-friendly culture for our residents and visitors.” The Rhode Island Bike Coalition has advocated Taveras’ plan. “The mayor in his time in office has definitely supported initiatives to make biking lanes better in the city,”
Plan for city schools to focus on teacher performance
By JOSEPH ZAPPA STAFF WRITER
ALAN SHAN / HERALD
The city plans to update its streetscape by designing bike lanes and shared bike and car lanes in an effort to make the city safe and accessible for bikes. said Matt Moritz, board president of the Rhode Island Bike Coalition. “It supports a rich and diverse city.” The report lays out plans for clearly designated bike lanes to address concerns about biking in Providence. “The plan is good because it is the city saying that bikes belong on the streets,” said Jack Madden, owner of Legend Bicycle. “One of the challenges in our infrastructure is a s a city that was established more than 300 years ago we have smaller streets, which can
make installing bike lanes more challenging,” White said. On streets that are too small for bike lanes, the city plans to make marked shared lanes that both motorists and cyclists can use safely. Neither city planners nor proponents of “Bike Providence” said they see these challenges as large obstacles to the plan’s implementation. “These are things that have been done in other cities before. It’s not like we’re reinventing the wheel,” Madden said.
Superintendent Susan Lusi presented her strategic plan to revitalize the Providence Public School District to about 50 community members, teachers and city council members Wednesday night at William D’Abate Elementary School. The bulk of the plan, Opening Doors to Our Children’s Futures, explains structural improvements intended to better assess and develop teachers’ and administrators’ skills. New statewide teacher evaluations were implemented for the first time last school year. About 90 percent of the state’s teachers were found to be either effective or very effective, and the district will now work to “refine and improve implementation” to gain a better understanding of teacher performance. The evaluations, which were formerly carried out once every five years, are now annual and involve both announced and unannounced classroom visits by administrators, Lusi said. Administrators are currently negotiating with the teachers union to determine whether evaluations will affect compensation when the new teachers’ contract is implemented in August 2014. “In the outside world, you have yearly evaluations,” said Shavon Smith, parent advisory council member, adding the evaluations are an important step forward in ensuring students receive the highest quality education possible. A school’s holistic performance is also important to consider, Lusi
said. Every school currently has an improvement plan based on quantitative factors such as achievement, attendance and suspension rates. Test scores, though not a part of the formal teacher evaluation system, are used to measure achievement. The plan aims to create a “culture of accountability” by encouraging faculty to use new data systems in evaluating and improving upon their weaknesses, Lusi said. Teachers will also receive help from math coaches — previously cut due to a lack of funding and brought back due to popular demand — and a teacher induction program through which senior teachers will help new teachers adjust to the job. Lusi added that she hopes an administrator induction program will also be developed this summer. Parents can request four schools before their children are assigned to a primary school for kindergarten, but it is not always possible to accommodate their preferences. One community member said her child was not assigned to any of the four schools she desired. “We can … make (kindergarten registration) more transparent and easier to use,” Lusi said, but “it does not mean everyone will get their choice.” The plan includes an administration pledge to increase cultural awareness and work with parents and the greater Providence community. Nearly 60 percent of the district’s students come from non-Englishspeaking homes, which poses a variety of challenges, ranging from preventing cultural harassment to teaching students in their second language. About 19 percent of students are classified as English Language Learners, who require a » See SCHOOLS, page 5
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2013
» GOVERNOR, from page 1 answer. Raimondo consistently received a 51 percent approval rating across Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike, though more Independents rated her performance excellent. Taveras found more solid support in the party, with 67 percent of Democrats rating his performance as good or excellent, an advantage which may help him when he faces off with Raimondo in the Democratic primary. Of the three elected officials, Fung showed the least name recognition. Thirty-five percent of respondents said they did not know enough to rate his job performance, while 47 percent rated his performance good or excellent, 12 rated it fair and only 5 percent rated it poor. Pell has not officially filed a bid for governor but formed an exploratory committee Monday, a strong indication he will run. Despite his prominent lineage and the celebrity status of his wife, Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan, 60 percent of voters said they did not know enough about Pell to rate the prospective candidate. Thirty-three percent said they had positive feelings about Pell, while 7 percent reported negative feelings. More than 68 percent of voters said they did not know enough to form an opinion on Block, who has never held an elected post.
Twenty-three percent said they had a favorable opinion, while 9 percent said their opinion was negative. Block’s name recognition was higher among Republicans, with 47 percent saying they have a favorable opinion of Block and 47 percent saying they did not know enough about him. On the whole, most Rhode Island voters said they believe the state is on the wrong track. A quarter of respondents said “things in Rhode Island are moving in the right direction,” while about 57 percent said the state is moving in the wrong direction. In a state where Democrats hold most government positions, 44 percent of Democrats said they disagree with the state’s direction, compared to 85 percent of Republicans. Only 30 percent of voters approved of Lincoln Chafee’s ’75 P’14 P’17 job performance as governor. About 38 percent of voters called his job performance poor and 27 percent called it fair. About half of voters think the state’s gun laws do not go far enough, while 12 percent think the laws go too far. Respondants split on their approval of Obamacare, with 41 percent expressing favorable opinions and 42 percent expressing unfavorable opinions. WPRI and the Providence Journal hired Fleming and Associates to conduct telephone interviews to ask a random sample of 506 registered Rhode Island voters about the 2014 election and related topics.
BRYTE unites refugees, student tutors The tutors aim to help local families with language skills while building relationships By MEGHAN FRIEDMANN CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Christine Pappas ’14 tutors a 9-yearold girl from Burundi, but she is not always the one doing the talking. “I’m constantly asking her to teach me things,” Pappas said — her tutee would like to become a teacher one day. “She has been really fortunate and has had really dedicated teachers in school,” she said. “What I’ve been able to do is encourage that in her.” Students said they see an impact on their own lives when they tutor members of Providence’s refugee community through the Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment program, which Pappas helps coordinate. BRYTE-ning the community BRYTE matches Brown studenttutors with refugees who live in Providence. About 130 tutors currently volunteer through the program, each working for at least three hours weekly, said Julia Stoller ’15, BRYTE’s Providence public schools liaison and a tutor with the program. But “BRYTE is not just about the three hours a week,” Stoller said. “It’s about another person. It’s all about a relationship.” The tutors aim to improve tutees’ English language skills, assist with their schoolwork and build relationships, which involve activities outside of coursework, Stoller said. She has taken her tutee to a Brown soccer game and to the RISD museum. BRYTE also hosts events for the tutors, tutees and the tutees’ families, such as an annual Thanksgiving
» SCHOOLS, from page 4 specialized curriculum. The student body’s diversity is a strength, Lusi said, but “you have to make sure that staff and students appreciate the variety of cultures from which students come.” Because classes are primarily taught in English, “children are doing double the work,” said Andres Ramirez, assistant professor of educational studies at Rhode Island College. “We are missing an opportunity” by not educating students in both their first languages and English, Ramirez said, adding that there is inherent difficulty in learning
dinner, Stoller said. Many students tutor for BRYTE for all four years of college, and some keep the same tutee through their tenure with the program, Stoller said. Tutors commit not solely to one tutee but to an entire family, she added, and many tutors eat dinner or do other activities with those families.
Beyond Brown In addition to providing tutoring, BRYTE helps refugees integrate into the Providence community. Roberti has brought her tutee to dance performances at Brown, she said. Because her tutee likes to write and perform music, Roberti has worked with her to record music, even putting one video on YouTube, she said. “Some of our tutors have helped the parents and their families study for the citizenship test,” Stoller said. Refugees often do not know much English when they first arrive in the United States, Galloway said. When she first started tutoring, her
tutee could only say basic greetings, like “hi” or “how are you.” Galloway said she recalled talking to her tutee later and thinking, “Nine months ago I would not have been able to have this level of conversation with him, and it’s just crazy to see how that’s progressed.” BRYTE tutors and coordinators also work with Providence schools and other local resources to respond to tutee needs. “One student was … feeling very isolated at her school, and a lot of her friends — other refugee students that she knew — were going to a different school, so we helped her transfer,” Stoller said. For tutees with learning disabilities, BRYTE collaborates with a social worker in the Providence public school system to get them Individualized Education Programs without the normally-required evidence, Stoller said. Typically two years of evidence of the disability is required for an IEP, and refugees often do not have those records, she added. BRYTE also helps prepare tutees for life after high school. The program recently hosted a “Preparedness Day” to educate tutees about post-graduation options, hosting representatives from schools like the Community College of Rhode Island and employment readiness programs, Stoller said. “We had some students there who had never heard the word ‘college’ before,” she said. One speaker at the event had previously been tutored by BRYTE and now has a full scholarship to Connecticut College, she added. One of the tutees in the family Stoller works with has already been approached by multiple colleges, including being recruited by the University of Rhode Island for soccer, she added.
concepts in a second language when students are not yet proficient. “We are trying to work towards late-exit ELL programs so (students) can learn the concepts in (their) native language,” Lusi said. Administrative goals have recently shifted to a focus on proficiency in both languages because bilingual education is preferred, she added. But instituting district-wide bilingual education would require funding to hire teachers certified in both languages and to buy dual-language materials, she said. A translator was present during the presentation so Spanish-speaking parents, who comprised the majority
of parents in attendance, could understand and pose questions to Lusi. “My goal is to have a conversation,” Lusi said, calling for dialogue between parents and school faculty. “It is a partnership between the schools and the families,” Smith said. Parents are not sufficiently involved, though “the schools are really eager to have parent involvement,” she added. “I find a wall in terms of what I can do for my girl,” Ramirez said. He called for “real change” in the way parents are invited to join the educational process and said parents should “be part of the schools in a structured way.”
Opening eyes BRYTE has been “the most formative experience of my Brown career,” said Abbie Galloway ’16, BRYTE’s volunteer training coordinator. “It’s just a reality check,” she said. “You go and you tutor and you realize that that exam that you’re stressed out about is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.” Tutor Gina Roberti ’14 said the program has impacted the way she views the world and the way she perceives her role in the local Providence community. “It’s allowed me to be a much more conscious person about the … world outside Brown,” she added. Pappas said participating in BRYTE has prompted her to consider jobs in education after graduation.
comic Cat Ears | Najatee’ McNeil
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2013
Insurance company cuts could shortchange state seniors According to the Providence Journal, 36,000 R.I. senior citizens enrolled in United HealthCare’s Medicare Advantage Plan will have fewer treatment options as of Feb. 1. The insurer notified almost all surgeons at Rhode Island Hospital, roughly 70 percent of the surgeons at Miriam Hospital, every open-heart surgeon in Rhode Island and physicians in the Koch Eye Associate that they will no longer be part of the plan’s network. Affected individuals can either find new physicians in the UHC network or change their insurance plans by Dec. 7. Yesterday, we praised Rhode Island for its implementation of the state exchange, and we support its decision not to offer the problematic insurance fix that President Obama proposed last week. The state has also acted appropriately in this instance: Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and Health Director Michael Fine have written to United HealthCare criticizing the move and attempting to determine whether these changes will leave the provider capable of providing care for its Medicare Advantage patients. Unfortunately, as the two note, they do not have jurisdiction over the changes — United HealthCare’s plan falls under federal, not state, control. For that reason, we urge the company to reconsider or at least explain its cuts and to ensure that its Medicare Advantage Plan meets R.I. seniors’ needs. As Kilmartin and Fine note, United HealthCare has not clarified the details behind the rationale of a decision that could seriously harm many state residents. According to Rhode Island Public Radio, the two “admonish United for failing to explain in more detail why it dropped certain doctors,” writing that “limiting the number of doctors for Medicare patients in a state with such a high percentage of elderly people could affect patients’ ability to access and afford the doctors they need.” Furthermore, they protest that the insurance company did not inform patients directly, expressing worry that those being treated will have difficulty transitioning care. This situation is not specific to Rhode Island: The Florida division of UHC has removed about 45 percent of providers who were in its Medicare Advantage system, including the highly regarded Moffit Cancer Center. In Connecticut, the only nephrologist in the New Britain Region was removed, along with the more than 1,000 doctors in the Yale Medical Group, which comprises the faculty of the Yale School of Medicine. As Penn medical student and health policy researcher Miranda Rosenberg wrote in the Hartford Courant last week, “Based on the information available, it is clear that the company’s end goal is to unload its sickest, costliest patients.” We worry that senior citizens enrolled in Medicare Advantage with United HealthCare will have insufficient resources to meet their needs, and we urge the state health director to continue to press the insurance company for more information. As the Rhode Island Medical Society told the Providence Journal, physicians from a host of specialties have been removed from the network: family medicine, general internal medicine, geriatrics, general surgery, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, pulmonology and rheumatology. Given that these trends have been replicated in several states, it may be that federal oversight is necessary to ensure companies like United HealthCare act in compliance with the law and can provide sufficient services for their patients. The rollout of the Affordable Care Act in Rhode Island has been successful thus far, but it is situations like these — though out of the control of the state — that leave Rhode Islanders with insufficient care. We urge United HealthCare to respond to state demands to justify its cuts, and we encourage state health officials to continue their efforts to protect the 36,000 Rhode Island seniors enrolled in the company’s Medicare Advantage Plan. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board: its editor, Rachel Occhiogrosso, and its members, Daniel Jeon, Hannah Loewentheil and Thomas Nath. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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THE BROWN DAILY HERALD THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2013
Tuition assistance shows appreciation for faculty MAGGIE TENNIS opinions editor
Last year, I wrote a column about one benefit of being a Brown employee: child care (“Take care of day care,” Sept. 25, 2012). Specifically, I wrote about the lack of institutionally sponsored child care at Brown for University faculty and staff members with young children. My article was prompted by the closure of the Taft Avenue Daycare Center, the only full-time center to care for children of faculty and staff members, and the unfortunate unwillingness of the University to found a new center. Yet I was pleased and heartened when, after a lengthy review of the employee child care benefit package this past June, the University announced its decision to subsidize employee child care. The creation of the subsidy demonstrates administrators’ awareness that a child care provision is important to attracting the best faculty and staff — its existence portrays Brown as an employer that appreciates the importance of a balance between work life and family. Indeed, Provost Mark Schlissel P’15 said, “Offering an incomeadjusted child care subsidy aligns
with our commitment to being an also shockingly uncompetitive with employer of choice and acknowledg- offerings at peer institutions. In a es the needs of families with young comparison with 19 other schools, children.” Brown’s TAP is third to last. Despite On numerous occasions, Schlis- the University’s recent move to insel has spoken about the importance dex TAP benefits — or increase asof hiring new faculty members with sistance at the same rate as tuition — energy and innovative ideas. His TAP offerings remain dismal. And statement shows that he recogniz- under this indexing policy, Brown’s es the relationship between provid- TAP will remain at 24 percent of ing beneficial child care options and tuition. Within the Ivy League, the attracting young faculty members. University is only beating Harvard But he’s forgotten and Dartmouth in another important “The provision of terms of TAP offerfacet of the packings. Seriously? We a competitive TAP can do better. age — tuition assistance for their chilTuition assissuggests that the dren. tance is a signifiUniversity values cant draw for the Actually, he its employees at a very best faculty. hasn’t forgotten, but he doesn’t seem deeper level, one Yes, child care may to understand the seem like a more not concerned significance of reimmediate issue for fusing to offer a with their capacity young parents, but more substantial the promise of havto work in the tuition assistance ing money to send present.” program. Right a kid to college is a now, TAP provides more unique selling $10,000 per child. Administrators point than providing day care alone. chose that figure in 2002 to repre- Any employer can offer child care sent 36 percent of Brown’s tuition. packages — though the dearth of But as Brown’s tuition has contin- such options in this country continued to rise, the TAP fund amount ues to appall me — but an employer has held constant. It’s not only 12 providing tuition assistance dempercent lower proportionally to tu- onstrates not only an appreciation ition this year than in 2002, it is of employees’ needs, but also their
children’s needs many years down the road. In a way, offering a competitive TAP symbolizes recognition of the power of the faculty’s children to excel far off in the future, and such recognition communicates a much deeper appreciation to potential employees of their needs and desires as people. Providing child care options does, of course, fulfill an important need. But the need it fills is more concerned with allowing the employee to do good work — and spend more time working, surely — because that employee doesn’t have to be worrying about watching his or her child, carting that child between caregivers or other related matters. Instead, the provision of a competitive TAP suggests that the University values its employees at a deeper level, one not concerned with their capacity to work in the present. Schlissel has argued against substantially increasing Brown’s TAP. His excuse lies in the assertion that the University simply doesn’t consider TAPs to be a main attraction for new faculty members. I’d like to see some evidence to support that argument. Did the provost conduct interviews of existing faculty members or potential hires and conclude that raising the percentage of tuition assistance was not a significant de-
sire? If so, I’d urge him to make the community aware of such evidence. Doing so might address the general disgruntlement among current faculty members, voiced in the most recent faculty meeting, that the TAP remains low while inflation persists and tuition grows steeper. The focus does not necessarily need to be on raising the TAP to its initial 36 percent level, but more increase is required if Brown wishes to continue to portray itself as an “employer of choice.” I recommend establishing some sort of endowment that provides funding for employee benefits from which money could be drawn to support a TAP increase. Ultimately, I’d like to echo Professor of Religious Studies and East Asian Studies Harold Roth P’17, chair of the Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, who expressed his wish that the University be “more creative” in finding sources of funding. I can think of at least one way that would allow TAP to represent a larger percentage of Brown’s tuition: lower tuition.
Maggie Tennis ’14 is considering a career in academia, but examples of maltreatment of faculty by universities is making her question this decision.
They who work shall eat ... unless they’re interns ARMANI MADISON opinions columnist
I remember when “summer vacation” was just that — a vacation. One thing that puzzled me as a first-year was the heavy emphasis Brown students placed on internships. I heard the assertion time and time again that internships were essential to landing a job after graduation and to gaining necessary experience and skills. The idea of seeking internships and working — aside from a part-time job to earn extra summer cash — was alien to me. But in today’s world, the trinity of college degrees, internships and prior job experience are expected from those looking to gain a professional entrylevel position. College students’ demand for internships has gotten so high that companies can have competitive internship positions, even if they are unpaid. One thing that puzzled me was that unpaid positions even existed. Still more surprising is that the offering of unpaid internship positions — giving companies the benefit of unpaid labor — can be deemed legal. But it is true that today’s economy is an employer’s market, and that college students, concerned about their futures and about getting their feet in the metaphorical
door, desire internship opportunities enough that they will accept unpaid positions. I define an unpaid internship as one that offers neither direct monetary compensation nor indirect compensation through arrangements or benefits provided on the employee’s behalf, such as housing or certification programs. The employee should benefit in some tangible way, and the company should either directly or indirectly compensate employees for their work through the company’s financial resources. In my eyes, a program that either directly pays employees or reasonably compensates them in another manner is basically ethical. The concepts of working without compensation, and especially of paying to work, are entirely counterintuitive. But where there is demand, there inevitably will be a provider. Is the value placed on undergraduate internships as high as that placed on degrees? According to analysts at High Fliers Research, “half of the (United Kingdom’s) top graduate recruiters said those without relevant experience have ‘little or no chance’ of being offered a job at their firm this year, even if they have a firstclass degree from a top university.” In an article for U.S. News and World Report, Brian Burnsed wrote that in America, “University officials and employers almost universally maintain that partaking in an internship
… before graduation is integral to enough that financial compensation finding meaningful employment in is unnecessary — is utterly ridicutoday’s seemingly impenetrable job lous. Experience does not put a roof market.” over a poor intern’s head, nor does It is an established fact that in- career building advice fill a strugternships are an increasingly vital gling student’s stomach. According component of a successful applica- to an article from InternMatch.com, tion for a profes“the Department of sional position. “How can students Labor has a clear Sure, it is definitesix-point test that who can barely ly possible to have charges employers competitive internafford college pay with paying interns ships, even if unamong other crito work during the if, compensated. The teria, the employer question is not of summer, when they derives ‘any value’ whether it is pos- need desperately to from the participasible, but whether tion of the intern.” earn all the money Of this practice, the it is fair to have uncompensated comarticle states, “the they can?” petitive internships unpaid internship — and the answer is “no.” It is totally paradigm is inherently unfair, disunethical for any employer to offer criminatory, perpetuates inequality an uncompensated internship, un- and hurts the economy.” less there are benefits that are relaAn unpaid internship will only tively equivalent to pay offered to attract students from a higher soemployees. Unpaid internships, es- cioeconomic background. How can pecially those students take away students who can barely afford colfrom home, are not only unpaid but lege pay to work during the summer, also cause interns to effectively pay when they desperately need to earn for working. When one factors in all the money they can? Sure, scholhousing, transportation, food, cloth- arships and funding are available for ing and other miscellaneous costs students who need it, but these are associated with living, particularly if all quite competitive, and fundingthe position is in a place where the backed students make up a minority student does not reside, the student of those who accept these positions. ends up paying dearly to work. If an organization benefits from the The argument by these companies labor of an employee, it should pay — that the skills, experience and net- or otherwise financially compensate working offered by the internship is said employee. To refuse to do so,
whatever the alternative argument, is unethical, greedy and dishonest. In a world where, according to Business Insider, “more than half of college student internships are unpaid,” completely eliminating uncompensated internships would be impractical. To do so would drastically reduce the number of internships available. Some students can afford to take unpaid internships, and they should be able to do so if they wish. The answer is to make stricter and more routinely enforced guidelines by which to judge whether or not an unpaid internship is legal. The current guidelines established by the Department of Labor, which an internship must follow in order to be legally unpaid, need to be enforced more than they presently are. Programs should be scrutinized properly in a method that abides by the Department of Labor’s standards. It is time to hold all competitive unpaid internships accountable and to make sure that the many unpaid internship programs that fall through the cracks of government regulations are subjected to these standards.
Armani Madison ’16 is one of those students who can’t really afford or justify paying to work. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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daily herald university news THE BROWN
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2013
New funding board increases support for service groups The board awarded seven groups $200 this semester but has been criticized for a lack of publicity By MAXINE JOSELOW SENIOR STAFF WRITER
Funding for student groups has seen vast changes this year, with finances now going toward service groups and covering food at events. This semester, the new Service Group Funding Board began allocating funds to service groups that meet its criteria. Last spring, the Undergraduate Finance Board started covering up to half of the cost of food at events. The policy changes regarding service groups and food mark “two big milestones” for student group funding, said Leila Veerasamy ’15, UFB chair. Some student group leaders told The Herald they have benefitted from the new policies, while others criticized the policies or reported still feeling underfunded. In the past, service groups have struggled to operate without official University funds. But starting this semester, these groups, designated Category S, have been able to apply for $200 of baseline funding from the Service Group Funding Board. The board results from a code change to the Undergraduate Council of Students’ constitution last spring. The change called for an entity separate from UFB that gives money to service groups
to “further their missions.” Though UFB doles out funds to Category 1, 2 and 3 student groups, it has historically refrained from funding Category S groups. The previous system did not reflect Brown students’ engagement in the community, said Alex Sherry ’15, UFB vice chair. “There was a gap in the system, and the goal was to bridge that gap.” UCS Vice President Sam Gilman ’15, who helped write the code change, called the funding strategy “a moral issue.” “We were saying what students do on Brown’s campus is more important than what students do in the community,” he added. Seven service groups received $200 each from the board this semester, said Noelle Spencer ’14, chair of the board. The board’s funds will have a “major impact on helping Brown students interact with the Providence community in a larger way,” she said. Julia Lynford ’14, co-president of Active Minds, a service group that aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, said she was “thrilled” her group received funds. “We can do so much more now … that wouldn’t have been feasible last year,” she said, adding that Active Minds is already planning to hold a workshop, show movies and bring in speakers next semester. But some service group leaders criticized the board for its lack of publicity. The board sent information about applying for funding to service group
SHIRLEY LEUNG / HERALD
Last spring, UFB began funding up to half of the food costs for student groups’ events, which previously were responsible for all food payments. The board will later evaluate and determine whether to increase its funding. leaders via MyGroups at the start of the semester, Spencer said. Alzheimer’s Activists was incorrectly listed on MyGroups as Category 1, and its leaders did not find out they could apply for funds until the deadline had passed, said Tara Torabi ’15, co-president of Alzheimer’s Activists. “They should do more to make funding for service groups known, like having information available online,” she said. Jana Foxe ’16, a community fellow for Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere, said she had not heard of the board. Foxe said she wished she had known about the board, despite the fact that it cannot offer HOPE funding because it is a Swearer Center for Public Service group, not a Category S group. “As a chair of a service group, it’s important that we’re contacted about such
funding opportunities,” she said. Student groups have historically been responsible for funding food for events, but UFB began covering up to 50 percent of the costs last spring. Food can be “integral to events” such as dinners or receptions after lectures, Veerasamy said. The new policy will benefit cultural groups the most, since their events tend to center around food, Sherry said. Virginia-Eirini Kilikian GS, treasurer of the Hellenic Students Association, said she thinks the new policy will solve her group’s financial concerns. “The real issue has been food,” she said, noting that roasting a lamb on a spit for Easter has cost the group about $500 in the past. “Other than that, all of the money we get is perfect.” The policy “opens up a lot of what we can do,” said Gayatri Mehra ’14,
president of the South Asian Students Association.This year, SASA was able to reduce the ticket price for its annual Dinner Dance in October by half, since ticket sales did not have to offset the expense of food, she said. “But it would be great if UFB could fund 100 percent of the cost, because you still have to raise money to cover the other 50 percent,” she said, adding that SASA still feels somewhat constrained due to a general decrease in UFB funding in recent years. Looking ahead, the board will assess the effects of the food policy and decide whether to raise the 50 percent benchmark, Sherry said. “We needed to be a little conservative at first, because we didn’t know how much demand there would be,” he said. “We’re going to re-evaluate it after this year.”