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BROWN DAILY HERALD vol. cxlix, no. 43

since 1891


Controversial Paxil paper still under fire 13 years later

Undergraduate Council of Students: presidential candidates’ priorities Asia Nelson ’15

Maahika Srinivasan ’15

Administrator accessibility UCS transparency Mental health resources Dining experiences Residential experiences

Sexual assault policy reform Campus safety Mental health resources Advising Job and internship counseling

Jonathan Vu ’15 Financial aid -Increase aid for domestic students -Implement universal need-blind admission Mental health resources Dining experiences

Some say former U. professor Martin Keller’s paper was ghostwritten and should be retracted JILLIAN LANNEY / HERALD

UCS and UFB hopefuls announce candidacies

Drechsler ’15 and Gourley ’16 square off for UCS vice president, while top UFB candidates run unopposed By CAROLINE KELLY SENIOR STAFF WRITER

The race for president of the Undergraduate Council of Students will be a three-way contest between Asia Nelson ’15, Maahika Srinivasan ’15 and Jonathan Vu ’15, while the race for UCS vice president will feature Alex Drechsler ’15 and Sazzy Gourley ’16. After gathering signatures this week, candidates submitted their official applications at a UCS Elections Board meeting Tuesday night. Several UCS presidential candidates told The Herald that if elected, they would prioritize bridging the gap between students and administrators and improving student wellness, including mental health resources, campus safety and dining services. Nelson, a UCS general body member, said her campaign centers around improving aspects of students’ daily

lives that administrators may not glimpse. If elected, Nelson’s main project would be implementing a “See It Say It” campaign, a hashtag on social media that would let UCS get direct student feedback on issues such as safety, dining, campus life and residential housing, she said. The Council would then report those concerns to administrators, she added. “I’ve had my eyes set on the UCS president since I entered freshman year,” Nelson said, adding that she was inspired by hearing former UCS president Ralanda Nelson ’12 talk at UCS general body meetings and former President Ruth Simmons speak during her first year orientation. Srinivasan, chair of the UCS Academics and Administrative Affairs Committee, said she will seek to reduce the gap between students, administrators and the Council, and to make UCS general body meetings

a place where students could discuss “their plans and what they want to take” from their Brown experiences. She described her plans to improve mental health resources, reform sexual assault policy and reassess the effectiveness of campus safety measures. Advising will also be a key topic in Srinivasan’s campaign, with her platform calling for assessments of concentration advising quality as well as improved job counseling. Vu, the class of 2015 president and a former UCS alumni relations liaison, wants to bolster financial aid for domestic low-income students and extend need-blind admission to international students and Resumed Undergraduate Education applicants. He aims to resolve students’ dining issues by making different plans more equitable and flexible. He also seeks to expand mental health services. “We should treat mental health services like the other health services Brown offers,” he said. “When students need them, they should be

available no matter how many times students are looking for care.” Vice presidential candidates touted campus life issues and increasing students’ voice in University governance. Gourley will campaign on a platform centered on maintaining student wellness, including reforming mental health and sexual assault policies. He will also aim to make University governance more transparent by improving the relationship between students and administrators, the Corporation and UCS, and to streamline students’ experiences using resources such as Brown-Secure and the official Brown online alumni database. Gourley said he hoped to build on his work with students and administrators as UCS Appointments Committee chair last year and UCS Admissions and Student Services Committee chair this year. “I’m running for vice president because I want to continue to build those relationships,” he said. “I want to extend the » See UCS, page 2

U. to change dept. names, expand professional programs By WING SZE HO SENIOR STAFF WRITER


Faculty members unanimously passed a motion to rename the Department of Geological Sciences the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at a faculty meeting Tuesday. Faculty members and administrators also voted to rename the Department of Slavic Languages, adopt the new title “professor of the practice,” establish an Institute for the Study of Environment and Society and reschedule the annual Convocation ceremony starting this September. Expansion of the Office of Continuing Education also emerged as a key point of discussion. The faculty of the geological sciences department includes academics trained in a wide variety of disciplines,

such as physics, mathematics and Earth sciences, which “should not be grouped under one name,” said Timothy Herbert, professor of geological sciences. The new name more accurately describes the department’s course offerings, faculty members’ research focuses and partnerships with other groups on campus, Herbert said. Some faculty members expressed concerns that the new name of the department is too long and complex. Herbert responded that the new name is longer, but it is more representative of the work of the department. Most of the Earth science departments at peer institutions have compound names, he added. One faculty member voiced concern about whether the name of the geological sciences concentration will also be

changed. Herbert said the department is unsure of whether the concentration name will change, but the possibility is currently under investigation. Department members do not think students will confuse the new name with other environmental activities on campus, Herbert said. The name change will hopefully “make students more aware of the department, even before they come to Brown.” A motion to rename the Slavic languages department the Department of Slavic Studies was also passed unanimously. Svetlana Evdokimova, professor of Slavic Languages and chair of the department, said the department’s current name does not accurately represent its work. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees granted by the department are already named “Slavic studies,” Evdokimova said. The new name acknowledges the


department’s depth and brings its work in line with other departments at Brown that focus on a specific geographiccultural area, including East Asian studies, French studies, German studies, Hispanic studies, Italian studies and Portuguese and Brazilian studies, Evdokimova added. President Christina Paxson led a discussion on the Office of Continuing Education and a potential change to its name. The office currently offers online and on-campus programs for high school students, summer sessions for undergraduate students and executive programs such as the IE Brown Executive MBA and the Executive Master of Healthcare Leadership. The department’s current name “sounds like education for retired people … it does not sound like a Brown degree,” Paxson said. The administration considered new names such as “Professional Studies,” » See FACULTY, page 2

Science and Research

Hillestad ’15: Keep the Leung Family Gallery quiet and celebrate introverts

Sexual Assault Task Force founders: U. should step up efforts to break silence on assault

U. researchers discuss the future of space travel and humans’ role in space in March conference

BELL Hawaii program teaches high school students about leadership and the environment






Faculty members adopt new professional title, establish new environmental center


Two weeks ago, Edmund Levin and George Stewart, members of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, sent a letter to the editor of the Academy’s journal, requesting an explanation as to why a controversial study led by former Brown Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Human Behavior Martin Keller has not been retracted. The paper — which details the findings of Study 329 and focuses on the effects of the drug Paxil on adolescent depression — has been continually criticized since its publication in 2001. While Levin and Stewart have worked to get the paper retracted, Jon Jureidini, a professor at the University of Adelaide in Australia and a member of the nonprofit Healthy Skepticism, has been working with his team to reanalyze the original data and republish the results.


A controversial history Since its publication, Keller’s paper, which suggests that Paxil is an effective treatment for adolescent depression, has been criticized for being ghostwritten by associates of GlaxoSmithKline — the drug company that makes Paxil. In 2006, Keller publicly acknowledged that GSK had given him tens of thousands of dollars during and after the time the study was conducted. Keller did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this article. A Senate investigation in response to a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit confirmed the presence of ghostwriting in the paper, said Paul Thacker, a fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard who participated in the Senate inquiry. But Rachel Klein, one of the 22 cited authors on the Keller paper and a professor at New York University, said while she thinks GSK played a role in writing the paper, it was not ghostwritten. Continued research in the years after the article’s publication has suggested Paxil is linked with an increase in suicidal ideation in adolescents, The Herald previously reported. The study is continually cited in » See PAXIL, page 4 t o d ay


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2 university news » FACULTY, from page 1 because the office’s programs are focused on administrative issues instead of academic matters, Paxson added. Dean of the Office of Continuing Education Karen Sibley said enrollment in the undergraduate summer session and online pre-college program has grown over the past decade. Over the same period of time, the popularity of the on-campus pre-college program and executive program has grown even more substantially, Sibley added. The office hopes to develop new programs in areas such as engineering management, strategy and big data, analytics, finance and communication, international health delivery systems and public arts, Sibley said. These programs target professional masters students who have different needs than do traditional, academicallyoriented masters students. According to a recommendation from the Advisory Board Company, a consulting firm based in Washington, the office’s expansion will likely bring financial benefits to the University, Sibley said, citing the fact that Johns Hopkins University’s executive programs have brought over $30 million to their School of Arts and Sciences. In the past five years, revenue from the University’s Continuing Education programs has increased by over 11 percent, while similar programs at peer institutions have increased their median revenues by over 31 percent, Sibley said. Over the same time period, the gross annual revenue of the University’s Continuing Education programs is over $21 million, while the median

of Brown’s peer group is between $41 and $50 million, Sibley added. Sibley said the new programs at the Continuing Education office will create teaching opportunities, bring a new pool of students to campus and generate additional revenue. The University’s current budget deficit “enables (administrators) to be risk-takers,” Sibley added. Additionally, the office’s downtown location at 200 Dyer St. contains sufficient classroom space, and is equipped with a dining area where professional students would be able to interact with their peers, Sibley said. A motion to establish an Institute for the Study of Environment and Society was passed unanimously. The institute will serve as a foundation for interdisciplinary work, including biology, political science and environmental studies, said Amanda Lynch, director of the Environmental Change Initiative and professor of geological sciences. A motion to amend the Faculty Rules and Regulations was passed unanimously to change the official date of Convocation from Wednesday to Tuesday following the first Monday in September. This measure will move Convocation to the day before the first day of fall classes, rather than on the first day itself. A motion to amend the Faculty Rules and Regulations was passed with two abstentions to establish the new faculty title, “professor of the practice.” Some faculty members suggested the Faculty Executive Committee amend the term “sabbatical leaves” to “sabbatical leaves and scholarly leaves,” which professors of the practice will be

ineligible to take. One faculty member expressed concern about the misuse of the general title of professor, describing the professor of the practice title as “a bad idea.” Practitioners do not deserve the title of professor because they do not necessarily publish scholarly work, he added. “The new title is a name change for an existing position,” Paxson explained, adding that the proposal was brought up by the School of Public Health. The current title of “clinical professor” is not commonly used across the country in the public health field, said Terrie Wetle, dean of the School of Public Health. Other departments, such as the Department of Theater Arts and Performance Studies, agreed on the need of a more appropriate title for practitioners in their departments, she added. Iris Bahar, professor of engineering and chair of the Faculty Executive Committee, announced that the University’s Committee on Faculty Retirement and the University’s human resources department have jointly organized two sessions on financial planning and retirement planning for faculty members. Bahar and James Allen, professor of Egyptology and ancient Western Asian studies, presented a FEC plan for ensuring excellence in teaching. Some faculty members expressed concerns over the necessity of the document, with one member asking “why are we fixing problems that we don’t have?” The faculty will vote on the adoption of the document as an official guideline for teaching and evaluations at its next meeting, Bahar said.


» UCS, from page 1 work that I’m doing this year to a wider level, in terms of the student groups and administrators, to address the issues that Brown students want to address.” Though Drechsler did not attend the meeting on Tuesday, he wrote in an email to The Herald that his campaign will focus on adding a student representative to the Corporation and making the University’s highest governing body more accountable to the student body. He will also advocate greater support for service groups, which have been “historically underfunded,” and pushing UCS to reach out to more student groups, Drechsler wrote. Alex Sherry ’15 is running unopposed for chair of the Undergraduate Finance Board. Sherry ran for the position last spring and lost to Leila

Veerasamy ’15, The Herald reported at the time. Sherry told The Herald he aims to facilitate better communication between UFB representatives and student groups by making UFB representatives undergo more comprehensive training. He also hopes to have UFB representatives tell student group leaders their funding decisions during in-person meetings. Dakotah Rice ’16 will run uncontested for UFB vice chair. Rice, a UFB representative and an undergraduate representative on the Committee on the Events of Oct. 29, said he wants to make UFB’s decision-making process paperless and more efficient. He also hopes to boost the transparency of UFB decisions by making the board’s meeting minutes publicly available. Voting for both UCS and UFB positions will take place online April 8-10.



Wisconsin university bans student classroom videos

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is expected to issue a policy this week banning students from recording and distributing footage of university classrooms, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported Friday. First-year student Kyle Brooks posted an online video of a guest speaker making comments critical of the Republican Party during a course lecture in February, which incited controversy at the university, the Chronicle reported. The new policy would prohibit students from distributing similar footage in the future. University of Wisconsin Chancellor Richard Telfer wrote in a statement that faculty members are permitted to establish individual classroom policies, but the “free exchange of ideas” without fear of outside repercussions must be a right for both faculty members and students, the Chronicle reported. But Brooks disagreed, saying the real issue should be what the guest lecturer said in the video — attacking Republicans as homophobic and racist, among other comments — instead of the video itself. Of 72 four-year colleges, 20 indicated that they currently have rules prohibiting the recording and distribution of discourse inside classrooms, according to a Chronicle-conducted survey.

NLRB rules Northwestern football players can unionize

Northwestern University football players are employees and have the right to unionize, the National Labor Relations Board ruled March 26, marking a major development in the ongoing debate over the rights of students in institutions of higher education to unionize. After unsuccessfully petitioning the university, a majority of the team’s players, led by senior quarterback Kain Colter and lawyers from the National College Players Association, began a hearing before the NLRB in February, CNN reported at the time. Northwestern administrators said in a statement that the university will appeal the decision, arguing that members of the football team are students and not employees. An appeal may take years to fully resolve, CNN reported. Athletes cited payment in the form of scholarships, 20 to 50 hours of work per week and their generation of millions of revenue dollars for Northwestern to make the case to the NLRB that they are employees. Team members said the formation of a union would lead to the adoption of better medical services, scholarships and even the possibility of monetary compensation. The NCAA said in a statement that it was disappointed with the NLRB’s decision and student-athletes play sports to enhance their academic experience rather than to be paid. Students’ unionization has been a point of contention at Brown in the past. The University made headlines in 2004 when the NLRB ruled that graduate student teaching assistants are primarily students and do not have the right to unionize. Last week’s NLRB decision, if upheld on appeal, would likely have broad implications for the decade-old ruling as well as the future of college athletics.

Former Yale president to join Coursera

Former president of Yale Richard Levin will become the chief executive of Coursera this month, the New York Times reported March 24. Levin, who left his position at Yale in June, has served as an adviser to the massive open online course platform since January and pioneered Yale’s MOOC program, Open Yale Courses, in 2007. He will focus on encouraging partner universities to expand their offerings of MOOCs and on improving Coursera’s international presence, particularly in China, which is the largest source of Coursera registration behind the United States, the Times reported. Last year, Brown joined a number of other elite universities in setting up MOOCs, offering three such courses through Coursera, The Herald previously reported.

New study finds most STEM PhDs work outside of academia Most professionals with doctorates in science, engineering, technology and mathematics fields are pursuing work outside of an academic setting, according to a new study conducted by the American Institutes for Research, the Chronicle for Higher Education reported Tuesday. The study analyzed data from over 400,000 people who have earned doctoral degrees in STEM fields between 1959 and 2010. Of those sampled, 61 percent work outside of academia, while 43 percent do not principally conduct research. Professionals with doctoral degrees in fields relating to statistics and math were the most likely to have academically-oriented careers, with over 60 percent of the doctorate recipients reporting work related to higher education. Engineering doctorate recipients were the most likely to work outside of higher education, with 74 percent doing so. The study suggests that doctoral PhD students should have additional training in skills that will be most useful outside of an academic setting, the Chronicle reported. “Retention in STEM — particularly for underrepresented groups — would improve if doctoral training and career guidance are more relevant to the nonacademic sectors most students enter,” the authors of the study said in a news release Tuesday.

university news 3 Meiklejohn program amps up recruiting More contact with student groups increases competitiveness of advising program By STEVEN MICHAEL SENIOR STAFF WRITER

Around 54 percent of students applying to be first-time Meiklejohn peer advisors were accepted into the program for the 2014-15 academic year, said Kayla Rosen ’14, a Meiklejohn Leadership Committee member, adding that this marks the lowest acceptance rate in years for which data is available. Approximately 59 percent of “rookie” applicants were accepted in 2013, while 58 percent were accepted in 2011, Rosen said. No data was available for 2012. Rosen attributed the lower acceptance rate this year to an “aggressive” advertising campaign. Unlike in past years, the Meiklejohn application went online before winter break so students had more time to fill it out, she said. Meiklejohns also reached out to several student groups and organizations — including the Residential Peer Leaders and the Third World Center — to boost interest, she added. “We did everything more. We went in-person and gave a five-minute pitch to a lot of large lecture classes,” Rosen said. Rookie and returning applicants must go through separate application processes, she said. Two leadership committee members interview each rookie candidate, while a third Meiklejohn leader reads his or her written application, Rosen said. The 12-person leadership team then discusses all applicants as a group and reaches final decisions. Ann Gaylin, associate dean of the College for first-year and sophomore studies, declined to release the size of

Satisfaction with Meiklejohn advising In annual surveys by the Office of Insitutional Research and the Office of the Dean of the College, the vast majority of first-years have reported that they are satisfied with their Meiklejohn peer advisors. Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied 2014


Very satisfied

2013 2012 Source: Office of Institutional Research this year’s rookie applicant pool, but she added that there was a “robust number of applicants.” Though the applicant pool has remained roughly the same size over the years, too much attention has been focused on small variations in the applicant pool from year to year, Gaylin said. “The pool size is where it should be,” she said. “There is no concern about the applicant pool.” The number of rookie Meiklejohn applicants has declined each year over the last three years for which data is available, dropping from 517 applicants in 2010, to 492 applicants in 2011 to 470 applicants in 2012, The Herald previously reported. Since not all applicants who receive acceptance emails decide to fill the position, Gaylin predicted that there will be 350 to 360 Meiklejohns next year, which she said would be slightly higher than normal. Gaylin pointed to data from the Office of Institutional Research that shows the majority of first-years are pleased with their Meiklejohn advisor. Fortyfive percent of first-years reported being “very satisfied” and 41 percent reported being “satisfied” with their Meiklejohn

Rookie Meiklejohn acceptances This year saw the lowest first-time acceptance rates to the Meiklejohn peer advisor program in recent history.

58 50%

59 54

40 30 20 10 0

2011 2013 2014 Note: Data was not available for 2012. Source: Kayla Rosen ’14, a Meiklejohn Leadership Committee member JILLIAN LANNEY / HERALD

advisor this year, according to the Office of Institutional Research website. Last year, 46 percent of first-years reported being “very satisfied” and 40 percent reported being “satisfied.” Rookie applicants may decide to apply because they were inspired by their own peer advisors during their transition to Brown. “First-years respond when they had a fantastic Meiklejohn experience and want to pass that on,” Rosen said.

4 science & research »PAXIL, from page 1 other papers as evidence of Paxil’s effectiveness, Jureidini said. That a fraudulent paper is still cited “really has to be addressed,” he added. “I think the concern is legitimate,” Klein said. “But I think it is too bad because the paper presents everything. As long as you give the information, you’re not misleading.” The University has declined to support any efforts to have the paper retracted, The Herald previously reported. Leemon McHenry, a member of Healthy Skepticism, and Jureidini have written to the University administration to ask for support in having the article retracted, but administrators have refused, McHenry said. “The University takes seriously any questions about the soundness of faculty-conducted research,” said Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations. “While the University cannot comment on individual personnel cases, it does take appropriate actions whenever such questions are raised... We have effective policies in place, and those policies are consistently applied, although they are confidential.” Clinical Professor of Family Medicine David Egilman ’74 MD ’78 said though no institution has ever punished a faculty member due to ghostwriting, “It’s a social responsibility to make sure that fraudulent information is not published by faculty.” Retracting the paper Levin said he first became interested in Study 329 due to his association with

AACAP. Though 13 years have passed since the publication — and despite the Senate investigation finding the Keller article to be fraudulent — there “still has been no effective action in getting it retracted,” Levin said. Levin and Stewart’s regional division of AACAP has sent two different letters to Andres Martin, the editor of the journal. In addition to the one sent two weeks ago, the group sent a first letter requesting the study’s retraction. In response to the first letter, Martin wrote that the paper did not meet the criteria for retraction, Stewart wrote in an email to The Herald. The group was also informed that leadership at the journal had instructed the ethics committee not to investigate the article, Stewart said, adding that he was not sure why the committee had been “muzzled.” Martin has not yet responded to the group’s second letter, asking for an explanation, Stewart wrote. Martin did not return The Herald’s requests for comment. Reanalyzing the data Jureidini, along with four team members, is currently reanalyzing the data from Study 329 to “write the paper as it should have been written,” he said. The decision to do so came in the wake of the British Medical Journal’s Restoring Invisible and Abandoned Trials initiative, announced June 2013. The initiative “calls for third party authors to publish or republish unpublished and misreported clinical trials,” according to a document released by the BMJ. In the document, the BMJ named Study 329 an “abandoned study” — a

study no one is working on but which is “misreported” and has not been corrected or retracted. Jureidini said he and his team have been reanalyzing the data since late last summer and hope to have a draft completed in the next month. “What they have found is that the fraud and corruption in the Keller article is far worse than anyone ever expected,” McHenry, who has worked closely with Jureidini, said. Specifically, the paper is far worse in terms of safety and efficacy, he added. Very few people, including Keller, ever looked at all the raw data, McHenry said, adding that most of this was done by statisticians associated with GSK. It is “ironic” that his team has looked at the data more than any of the authors of the Keller article, Jureidini said. Levin and Stewart both said they support the study’s reanalysis. It may “be unrecognizable when Jureidini publishes it,” Levin said. Jureidini said he hopes the original Keller article will be retracted in the wake of the republished one. But Klein said she does not think the new results will show the Keller article to be fraudulent. “I’m all for the data being examined,” she said. “If it is true that the results are very different, that would be a very different situation, but I can’t imagine that that would be the case,” she said. A clinical perspective Despite the Keller paper’s suggestion of the efficacy of Paxil, many psychiatrists said they do not prescribe the drug to patients.



Former University Professor Martin Keller published a 2001 paper on the drug Paxil that was allegedly ghostwritten by GlaxoSmithKline. Multiple psychiatrists interviewed said Paxil has worse side effects and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants and should not be prescribed as a first-line drug. Allegations of ghostwriting and the role GSK played in Study 329 raise issues related to the relationship between psychiatrists and drug companies. Study 329 and the Keller article are “a very good soap box from which to talk about the atrociously dishonest and morally unethical things the pharmaceutical industry has done,” Levin said. Thacker said studies like Study 329 show that psychiatry is not independent from drug companies, and pharmaceuticals have “captured and owned the field of psychiatry.” “You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them,” said Louis Velazquez, a practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist, referencing drug companies. Research psychiatrists also rely on

pharmaceutical companies to fund their research, said John Fanton, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Baystate Medical Center and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine, who was completing his residency at Brown when the allegations about Study 329 arose. When there is an economic downturn, there is “a legitimate need to identify and access other finding streams,” he said, adding that pharmaceuticals often will provide the most money for research. But there is an “inherent conflict” between researchers and pharmaceutical companies, because researchers are required to share both good and bad knowledge, and pharmaceutical companies may have different goals, Fanton said. If the paper is retracted, it will create “ongoing problems” for GSK, Thacker said. “There’s a lot of egos and a lot of money at stake.”

today 5



brunists for bruno VERNEY-WOOLLEY

LUNCH Meatball Grinder, Chicken Broccoli Pasta Alfredo, Pasta Fagioli, Roasted Parsnips

Barbecue Chicken Sandwich, Falafel, Beets in Orange Sauce, Vegan Gumbo Casserole

DINNER Haddock Veracruz, Grilled Boneless Pork Chop, Vegan Greek Beans and Vegetables

Orange and Ginger Chicken, Egg Foo Young, Asian Vegetables, Sticky Rice, Thai Sweet Pork Stir Fry





Grilled Cheese




Chicken and Wild Rice, Butternut Squash and Apple, Baked Potato

Naked Burritos



Visiting Professor of Literary Arts Robert Coover read an excerpt from his newest novel,“The Brunist Day of Wrath,” yesterday during the Contemporary Writers Reading Series, sponsored by the Department of Literary Arts.

comics Eric & Eliot | Willa Tracy ‘17

RELEASE DATE– Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Los Angeles Times Puzzle c r o sDaily s w oCrossword rd Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis ACROSS 1 “That’s enough from you!” 4 City whose tower’s construction began in 1173 8 Pops out of the cockpit 14 Seoul-based automaker 15 Bulky boats 16 Hit one’s limit, in slang 17 How poets write? 19 Like a classic French soup 20 Tree of Knowledge locale 21 How moonshine is made? 23 Quick summary 26 Learned 27 Actress Thurman 28 Bath bathroom 29 Go to the bottom 33 How parts of a whole can be written? 38 Middling grade 39 “Doctor Who” actress Gillan 40 Taylor of fashion 41 Strong glue 43 Lyrical preposition 44 How a priest preaches? 47 Electrically flexible 49 Lyrical preposition 50 Feel crummy 51 World power until 1991: Abbr. 53 Spirits brand with a Peppar variety 57 How kangaroos travel? 60 Former Cubs slugger 61 Meadow lows 62 How some paper is packaged? 65 Land on two continents 66 Squeaker in Stuttgart 67 Big fan 68 1987 Beatty flop 69 Freelancer’s detail 70 Big primate

DOWN 1 One going downhill fast 2 __ Kush mountains 3 Port in a storm, so to speak 4 Score to shoot for 5 Taxing initials 6 Knitter’s coil 7 Part of LPGA: Abbr. 8 What the coldblooded don’t feel 9 She performed between Creedence and Sly at Woodstock 10 Sends away 11 Aloof 12 Napa vessels 13 Piggery 18 Last 22 Needs a fainting couch 24 Saudi neighbor 25 WWII female 28 Hard-hit ball 30 Clickable image 31 Coming up 32 Florida __ 33 Blue-and-yellow megastore

34 Stash finder 35 Willard of “Best in Show” 36 Brewpub 37 Pre-final rounds 42 Speaker between Hastert and Boehner 45 Coffee order 46 Pickup at a 36-Down 48 Picasso, for one

52 Justice Sotomayor 53 “Easy-peasy!” 54 Fictional Doone 55 Go through entirely 56 Small bite 57 Short notes? 58 Small bite 59 Lowers, as lights 61 X-ray kin 63 Ont. neighbor 64 L.A. campus

Against the Fence | Lauren Stone ‘17


calendar TODAY




German Consul General Rolf Schutte will discuss Germany’s role as a European and global power along with the fundamentals of German foreign policy, Germany’s economic strength and Germany’s perspective on global politics. Watson Institute, Joukowsky Forum 4 P.M. ODYSSEY LECTURE: RICK ROSS — DRUG KINGPIN TURNED REFORMER

Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the Political Theory Project host former drug trafficker Rick Ross, who will discuss his journey from drug trafficking to social reformation, focused on assisting underprivileged communities and spreading literacy. List 120 TOMORROW



Brown’s Amnesty International chapter will be raising funds for the summer camp, BRYTE, as well as raising awareness about the plight of refugees and immigrants around the world. Salomon 001 8 P.M. JEWS OF BROWN: GALLERY OPENING

By Doug Peterson and Patti Varol (c)2014 Tribune Content Agency, LLC


Jews of Brown, the well-known Facebook page, will be transformed into a gallery hosted by Brown/RISD Hillel. Free food will be provided and the attendants will have the opportunity to have their own photos added to the gallery. Brown/ RISD Hillel, Glenn and Darcy Weiner Center

6 commentary



No Corporation without representation The movement for student representation on the Corporation has recently stirred a wave of discussion around campus. As the University celebrates its 250th birthday and looks forward to the future, the Corporation has been highly scrutinized and, at times, criticized. Its decision last fall not to divest the University’s endowment from major coal companies is just the most recent example. We believe that despite arguments concerning the limited qualifications of a student representative on the board and the great burden representing the entire student body would place on said student, it is nonetheless important and constructive to appoint a student representative to the University’s highest governing body. The students who have expressed interest in placing student representatives on the Corporation have raised important issues. They object to the unchanging nature of the Corporation that stems from the fact that members select their own replacements. While the University changes, the Corporation does not. Perhaps most notably, students have played a role in putting into place some of the University’s most far-reaching and characteristic policies, such as the New Curriculum and need-blind admission. Giving students a place in the Corporation would ideally increase student power and influence on decisions that affect the entire Brown community. At the same time, however, we must consider the issues that having student representation on the Corporation would raise. As President Christina Paxson suggested at the State of Brown address, such a role could place too much stress on student representatives while compromising confidentiality. In truth, it would be an enormous responsibility for a single student to represent the entire student body at the level of the Corporation, and the hefty responsibilities of the members of the Corporation could indeed hamper a student’s ability to perform in other areas. However, a student representative could serve for perhaps a two-year term, giving them time to learn the ropes and build relationships. We believe that an elected student would be capable of balancing their normal responsibilities with this role. Moreover, we must consider that Brown is an economic institution as much as it is an educational institution. Student input is important, and the University does seek that input in a variety of ways, largely through polls and search committees. President Paxson indeed deserves credit for working to ensure that students voices are heard. Still, voices against student representation on the Corporation maintain that the University is not a democracy. We counter that the University is in fact composed of many democratic elements, and that there are few compelling reasons why this should not extend to decision-making at the level of the Corporation. Certainly, many complex investment decisions may not be expected to be well-addressed by students, but this argument would negate not only the value of student representation, but also the value of the Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies. This committee’s role is surely valued by the Corporation, and also counts two undergrads and a graduate student among its ranks. Further, increased student involvement in University governance could create greater investment among the student body in the future of the University. Such good will could have significant implications for their giving behavior once they leave College Hill. We believe that the Corporation should add an elected student representative — not only would such a move engender good will among the student body, but it could create a lasting legacy of alum involvement with the University. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board: its editors, Matt Brundage ’15 and Rachel Occhiogrosso ’14, and its members, Hannah Loewentheil ’14 and Thomas Nath ’16. Send comments to editorials@



Faculty, student groups free to invite speakers To the Editor: Nearly 50 years ago, in 1966, the Brown University faculty voted to establish the right of any faculty member or student group to invite any speaker of their choosing to campus. This new policy was affirmed by the Brown University Corporation, and it remains in effect today. This policy change took place during a turbulent time in America. Memories of the McCarthy Era blacklists were still fresh, the Civil Rights movement was in full swing and opposition to the Vietnam War was mounting across the country, especially on university campuses. The new policy represented a huge win for Brown students. Previously, students had to gain the approval of the Brown administration to bring controversial speakers to campus. Malcolm X’s visit to Brown in 1961 nearly didn’t happen: President Barnaby Keeney refused several student requests to invite him. He finally relented only on the grounds that no University funds be used to support the event. The new policy removed the administrative filter on who could be invited, paving the way for a much wider range of ideas to be presented and debated at Brown. This year, some students have questioned whether there should be limits to this policy. They have argued that there are some people whose ideas are so hurtful to members of the community that they should not be invited to speak at Brown. This includes then-New York City Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly and, more immediately, Sergeant Benjamin Anthony, a reservist in the Israeli Defense Forces, who is to speak at the Brown/RISD Hillel this evening. The Hillel invitation to Sergeant Anthony differs from the invitation by the Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions to Commissioner Kelly in one important respect: Hillel is an independent organization and its events are governed by Hillel policies, not University policies. However, the Hillel event has resurrected the important debate over “who

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can speak” at Brown. I hope members of our community pay attention to this debate. As most members of the Brown community know, I strongly support the current policy that allows faculty members and student groups to invite anyone of their choosing to campus. I will continue to support and enforce this policy as long as I am Brown’s president. To backslide on this issue would be to condone censorship. It would have a chilling effect on the intellectual environment on campus and erode an important right that faculty members and students currently enjoy. I certainly do not want to revert to the old days, in which the approval of the Brown president was needed to invite a controversial speaker to campus. I would also oppose giving this power of approval to any other person or group on campus. Such a move would hurt the entire community. It could even come back to harm the very individuals who have objected to inviting Commissioner Kelly and Sergeant Anthony — by limiting their ability to bring speakers with opposing points of view to campus in the future. What should members of our community do if someone whose views and actions are thought to be abhorrent is invited to speak on campus? Students have many options. One is to attend the talk (if it is open to the general population), listen and ask hard questions. Another is to boycott the talk. Yet another option is to protest. Protest has a long and proud history at Brown. Time and time again students have used it to express deeply felt beliefs about important social and political issues. Peaceful protest — which respects University policies and Rhode Island laws — is protected by the Brown Code of Student Conduct. I am proud of our students who exercise their right to peaceful protest and, as president of Brown, I will support this right with as much energy and zeal as I support the right of faculty members and students to invite anyone they want to speak at Brown. Christina Paxson President


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commentary 7


Silent Leung fosters a more inclusive community SAM HILLESTAD opinions columnist

I admit — until recently I had never been to the Leung Family Gallery. I have long admired its beauty from afar, and its elegant chandelier is a highlight of the Main Green. But my curiosity was piqued when I read a column by James Rattner ’15 arguing that Leung should be a space for conversation and community rather than the remarkably peaceful study room it has organically become (“Leung Family Gallery should not be silent,” Mar. 21). So, armed with an excuse to visit the Gallery, I went exploring. The room exceeded my expectations. It is a magnificent space, far larger and more beautiful than the view from the Main Green lets on. If you’ve never been, I implore you to go see for yourself. But please — be respectful. Much of the room’s enchantment comes from its tranquility. Leung manages to be peaceful and comforting in the most tumultuous part of campus. The Gallery has a calming effect in the often overstimulating hub of activity that is the Steven Roberts ’62 Campus Center, also known as Faunce. It is a place of respite amid the chaos of campus life. But for that to remain the case, the room must be quiet. Of course, not everybody sees it that way. Rattner argues that since the room was originally intended to be a social space, its evolution into a qui-

et study room was a mistake. He also makes the audacious claim that socializing is the most important aspect of college life. In that vein, Rattner argues Faunce should be used exclusively for socializing, and the 49 percent of students who want the Leung Gallery to remain quiet should be relegated to the libraries. Whereas I encourage you to bask in the tranquility of the Leung Family Gallery, I cannot make the same recommendation for our libraries’ absolute quiet rooms. They are dungeons —

tional practice of introvert-shaming. It is not malicious, but it is harmful nonetheless. The phenomenon is so common that it frequently goes unnoticed. We’ve all been subject to it, and we’ve all participated in it ourselves — even introverts like myself. It’s those judgmental looks you get eating alone at the Sharpe Refectory. From the other perspective, it’s when you invade that person’s table because you’re too tired of looking for an open one. It’s that distinctive pressure

cism that pressures them to become people they’re not. The process is only amplified on a college campus where social capital is the defining measure of worth. In this, Brown is particularly complicit. To reiterate, introvert-shaming is not a conscious act. Yet, that fails to vindicate us. We are still blameworthy for blindly accepting society’s demeaning attitude toward introverts. We must be more conscious of this status quo mindset that favors extroversion. We must be understanding to-

Leung is not merely a quiet study space. It is a place to enjoy silence together. Fostering a sense of community does not require active conversation. places to go only when forced. Equating those dark, miserable chambers with Leung is not only a gross misrepresentation, it is insulting. Rattner writes, “Faunce should foster and celebrate Brown’s community.” I agree — but remember, there are a multitude of ways to celebrate our diverse community. It is closed-minded to assume that everybody views socializing as the best way to foster a strong sense of community. Though Rattner’s point is true for many, it is a vast generalization. His line of reasoning disregards those who value introspection over small talk. It subverts the quiet will of introverts in favor of the raucous dominance of extroverts. Unfortunately, this is a theme on Brown’s campus. Brown, like most universities, engages in the uninten-

you feel when your friends give you a hard time for staying in on the weekend while they go out and party. For those doing the pressuring, it’s when you drag your friend to that party over their protests. It’s when introverts are told to stay in their libraries and leave the entirety of Faunce for the extroverts. And finally, it’s when you barge into Leung and break the room’s precious silence even though you know better. There is a pervasive lack of empathy toward introverts, who are often treated like there’s something wrong with them for avoiding the everyday social interactions that extroverts thrive on. This stems from our preconceived notion that, while being an introvert is fine, being an extrovert is always better. Introverts are bombarded with criti-

ward those who see Leung as a sanctuary from Brown’s overbearing social scene. Leung is the one place on campus where the community comes together to celebrate introversion, and the fact that it happens at the center of campus makes it that much more powerful. In other words, Leung embodies the exception to the fallacious rule that extroversion is always better. That rule is based on the assumption that’s at the heart of introvertshaming. Rattner, and the Brown community at large, assume socializing is — or at least should be — inherently valued by everyone. That assumption blinds us to the value of a room used for anything other than socializing or studying. Leung is not merely a quiet study

space. It is a place to enjoy silence together. Fostering a sense of community does not require active conversation. There is a different, often more fulfilling connection to be found in shared silence. That connection is what makes Leung unique. The room not only allows us to appreciate the beauty of silence, but it allows us to do it together. That is the introvert’s dream, for we are not misanthropes. We still yearn for a sense of community. If the purpose of Faunce is to foster that sense of community, then Leung has achieved that goal far better than one more room for socializing could have ever done. The room’s original design was good, but what it has become is great. If it takes a sign officially designating the room as quiet to protect that greatness, so be it. Thus far, however, without any explicit direction, the Gallery has managed to become a bastion for introverts on a campus dominated by extroverts. Ultimately, that is the virtue of having this quiet space at the heart of campus. Leung lets us be around people, see friends, and do work — all without the pressure to engage in meaningless small talk. The room sheds the need to constantly put up a facade, and its silence remediates society’s push toward extroversion. In short, the Gallery lets us be ourselves in public. Do not take that away from us.

Sam Hillestad ’15 can be reached at

Sexual assault policy battle inspires deja vu AMY LITTLEFIELD, ALLISON PAPAS, AMELIA PLANT AND LILY SHIELD guest columnists

It was with a mixture of interest and pain — and a powerful sense of deja vu — that we read The Herald’s recent article on the newly formed Sexual Assault Policy Task Force (“Task force focuses on sexual assault policies,” March 19). In the spring of 2007, when we were all undergrads on College Hill, we found ourselves having similar conversations about how many of our friends and peers had survived sexual assault on the Brown campus and then lacked the resources to support them through their recovery. We too organized a Sexual Assault Task Force to promote awareness and improve resources and support for survivors of sexual assault. We developed a list of demands for the University and spent the next few years working to accomplish our goals: a sexual assault resource center, a support group for survivors, a peer education program aimed at prevention, a full-time sexual assault staff person, a 24-hour on-campus sexual assault hotline and most importantly, a review of campus policy — in particular, a rewriting of the disciplinary code, more extensive training for Department of Public Safety and all other staff who come into direct contact with survivors as well as the development of a system of anonymous reporting to improve sexual assault statistics. In 2006, DPS released its annual crime report stating zero sexual assaults were committed on campus in 2005. Zero. Brown later revised the number to four. To us, that number proved the system was broken. One in five women will be sexually assaulted during her college career. That means that at Brown, well over one hundred students were likely assaulted in 2005, and almost none came forward. We wanted to help end the

silence. And we knew that would take deep, systemic change. We did extensive research both on sexual assault policy at other schools around the country and on Brown’s own history of providing sexual assault resources. We drew inspiration from the students who came before us — kudos to the women in the 1990s who wrote the names of perpetrators in a bathroom stall in the Rockefeller Library when the University ignored their requests for an improved sexual assault policy. We met with DPS and Health Services. We had an audience with President Simmons and the Brown University Community Council. We worked

survivor support group, established a resource center in the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center and launched a peer education program. Some of us joined the University’s newly-formed Student Sexual Assault Advisory Board to represent the needs of students to the administration. We welcomed Trish Bakaitis-Glover, the first full-time staff person to focus on addressing sexual assault on campus. We were proud of the work that we did, proud to have had the opportunity to help shape the school we care about passionately. After the four of us departed, we know the Task Force remained active, at least into the 20112012 year. The student momentum must eventu-

After all of that research, work and energy on the part of both Brown students and staff, how is it possible that five years later current Brown students must reinvent the wheel to implement resources and change policy? closely with then-Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services and Interim Dean of the College Margaret Klawunn and Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy Russell Carey to negotiate reasonable steps the University could take to accomplish our goals. We were invited to participate in the 2009 review of the disciplinary code. Our hope was that the changes we helped craft would ensure that any student who sexually assaults another would be expelled and that victims were no longer re-traumatized — or “slutshamed” — by the disciplinary process. We also held protests on campus, including one during parents’ weekend, to publicize our demands. We led the annual “Take Back the Night” march against sexual violence through residential buildings to emphasize that sexual assault was in fact happening at Brown. We formed our own

ally have lapsed, but Brown’s attention to this crucial issue should not have graduated with us. We recognize that many large, brand name institutions like Brown University have trouble publicly acknowledging their weaknesses. But once you acknowledge a problem and take steps to remedy it, how can you let the change slip away? After all of that research, work and energy on the part of both Brown students and staff, how is it possible that five years later, current Brown students must reinvent the wheel to implement resources and change policy? This has been an alarming lesson in institutional progress and growth. Was Brown’s willingness to work with us simply a means to placate our public vocalization of the problems that we saw on campus so that we stopped drawing negative attention? Or is advancement on this painful issue simply so slow

that each new generation of students is forced to start from scratch? We are not willing to accept either explanation. The crisis of sexual assault on college campuses has become a topic of national conversation — even the White House is joining the call for change. When one in five women can expect to be sexually assaulted while at Brown, the time to act is long overdue. Brown’s recent crime data shows that 16 sexual assaults were reported on campus in 2012 with one more reported on “public property.” Seven were reported in 2011 and nine in 2010. That’s likely more accurate than four. But it’s not enough. Victims are still being silenced. We cannot deny that the University has made progress. Students now have access to a coordinator of sexual assault prevention and advocacy and a sexual assault response line, for example. But addressing the epidemic of sexual assault requires a more profound change in attitude. It requires a larger commitment by Brown to stop blaming victims and tolerating perpetrators. It requires replacing the commitment to Brown’s reputation with a commitment to justice. As alums, we commend the current members of the Sexual Assault Policy Task Force. Keep up the fight; we’re proud of you. And thanks for adding “Policy” to the name. Good move. In return, we will make the most of our position as part of the institutional history to hold Brown accountable for the promises it makes to students when offering them a place to live, learn and thrive for four years.

Amy Littlefield ’09 — littlefield.amy@; Allison Pappas ’08 —; Amelia Plant ’10 —; and Lily Shield ’09 — were among the founding members of the Sexual Assault Task Force in 2007.



BROWN DAILY HERALDscience & research Future space missions explored Conference discusses targets for future space travel, merits of humans and robots in space By JASON NADBOY STAFF WRITER

Researchers and astronauts gathered to address the future of human space travel at the Microsymposium 55 conference held in Texas March 15 and 16. The conference featured speakers from the University, Russia’s Vernadsky Institute and the Brown-MIT NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute. Conference discussions centered around SSERVI’s four targets for future space exploration — near-Earth asteroids, the moon, Mars and the two moons of Mars — Phobos and Deimos. “The whole idea of this conference was to help prepare what the scientific goals of future exploration would be,” said Professor of Geological Sciences James Head, PhD ’69 P’90, one of the organizers of the conference. “That’s why we had sessions on each of these individual destinations.” Rather than getting caught up in the detailed scientific discoveries that each destination could offer, the conference dealt with the larger picture, Head said.

“It was really new information presented in a synthesis manner that provided clear goals for space exploration,” he said. The next goal “is to demonstrate human capability by visiting a nearEarth asteroid,” Head added. Researchers at the conference addressed whether to focus on sending humans back to the moon or exploringnear-Earth asteroids, he said. Visiting the moon is important because astronauts can train there for the future explorations, he added. But due to funding concerns, it is unclear where future explorations will be targeted, wrote Clark Chapman, senior scientist at Southwest Research Institute in Colorado, in an email to The Herald. Chapman wrote that he gave a talk on the specific scientific issues that will need to resolved before humans may be able to land on near-Earth asteroids. “If you look at the history of major discoveries, it has to do with exploration,” Head said. “It’s tremendously exciting and important.” During the conference, Head addressed the tradeoffs between robotic and human space travel. “It’s a partnership really, and the question is how to optimize,” Head said. Both have advantages that when paired together would make space exploration more efficient. Robots can be used to do tasks such

as repairing technology so that humans can focus their time on other matters, he said. Humans have the ability to analyze their surroundings and make decisions quickly when they are on the space body themselves, he added. It takes time for robots to send information back for huamns to analyze on Earth. Robots are also limited in the places they can travel, Head said. For example, a big rover would not be able to navigate a narrow valley a few hundred meters deep, while humans could. The conference also featured “enthusiastic discussions by young people working toward future exploration in space,” Chapman wrote. The NextGen Lunar Scientists and Engineers — a group that aims to encourage younger generations of scientists to be involved in planning future space missions — also attended the conference, wrote Ryan Clegg, a graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis, who is part of the group and who spoke at the conference, in an email to The Herald. Clegg and her co-member Sarah North-Valencia gave a talk at the conference stressing the “importance of keeping the moon at the forefront of discussion as a future destination.” “We need to bridge the gap between our generation and the Apollo generation,” Clegg wrote.

BELL offers ‘experiential’ learning High school students travel to Hawaii for leadership, environmental sustainability lessons By RILEY DAVIS SENIOR STAFF WRITER

While some high school students may spend their spring breaks sunning on a beach or sleeping late over family vacations, 30 high school students traveled to Kamuela and South Kona, Hawaii with the Brown Environmental Leadership Lab. Through BELL, founded in 2002, high school students are given the opportunity to develop skills that will help them positively respond to problems plaguing the environment. In Hawaii, students explored the complex coral reef systems and green sea turtle populations. They traveled to sustainable farms and organic coffee plantations and immersed themselves in Hawaiian culture. “The goal was to develop a program that was academically challenging for highly motivated and capable high school students that was experiential in nature,” said Robin Rose, senior associate dean of Continuing Education and founder of BELL. Immersion in whatever environment they are studying is essential to understanding its problems as well as potential solutions to those issues, Rose said. “It’s one thing to care intellectually about what’s happening with climate change or degradation of coral reefs or forests or whatever,” she said. “But when you live in it, are part of it, you consequently have a different relationship with it.”

In addition to Hawaii, BELL also offers programs in Costa Rica, the Gulf Coast and, starting this summer, Alaska. Each of the programs offers different cultural and ecological advantages, Rose said. From palm frond weaving to snorkeling among endangered species, students were asked to focus on both the cultural and ecological issues around them and how the two relate. In Hawaii in particular, “you’re learning about traditional Hawaiian culture and values and how those connect to environmental issues both past and present,” Rose said. Leadership development is also a large focus for students participating in BELL programs, Rose said, adding that she hopes students will employ the skills they learn at BELL in their communities. Portions of students’ time in each program are dedicated to leadership building and reflective exercises, where students are asked to think about what kind of leaders they are and how they fit into group roles. BELL students hail from all over the world, coming from as far as South Africa and Switzerland and as close as Rhode Island to participate in one of the four programs offerred, Rose said. The application process is rigorous, requiring an essay, transcript and teacher recommendation. The caliber of some the essays is “really quite impressive,” said Lauren Watka AM ’12, BELL program manager. Watka added that many of the students actually aspire to attend Brown, and so they receive some extremely competitive applicants. Students who are admitted must pay for the trip, either out of their own pockets or through fundraising

efforts — the Hawaii program costs $3,195 not including airfare, though some financial aid is available. “In many of the places, there are still similar (environmental) issues, but they are manifested in a totally different and culturally specific way,” Watka added. Some students, she said, actually complete multiple programs and report learning just as much in a second program as in the first. For Jayce G, a science teacher at Arlington High School in Massachusetts, who attended BELL Hawaii in 2004, the experience was one he will never forget. At the end of his trip, he said he wanted to move to Hawaii and live there for the rest of his life. “Every moment that we were there was something new and something really cool,” he said, adding that he incorporates the leadership skills he learned at BELL into his teaching today. Christina Catanese has returned to work at BELL several times since she completed the flagship BELL Rhode Island program in 2002. Catanese said she appreciates the science and leadership skills she acquired during the program, which play a role in both her work at a nature conservancy in Philadelphia and as a dancer. She said she is also grateful for the relationships formed with people in the program. “The people you connect with are amazing, they are some of the most special people in my life,” she said. If Watka could have students take one thing away from their Hawaii trip, she said she “would hope that they fall in love with a people and a place that they never would have had access to before, and be prompted from that to care for their own home more.”


Grad students win competition for decoding brain activity

Two graduate students, Ali Arslan GS and James Niemeyer GS, were named first- and second-place winners, respectively, of the Brown Institute for Brain Science’s inaugural brain computation competition March 20, according to a University press release. The graduate students were able to determine whether participants were paying attention to a given activity without ever observing or interacting with them. Instead, the students mapped brain activity that indicated parts of the task on which the participants focused. Arslan and Niemeyer measured electrical impulses in the participants’ brains and determined which impulses corresponded to attention for dozens of participants. In the process, they sifted through 18,000 data points of electrical signals. Once the winners were named, faculty sponsors announced another neuroscience competition that will take place later this spring. The contestants will attempt to interpret data from surgery patients’ implants as the patients watch TV shows. They may be asked to predict patients’ reactions to the show from measures of their brain activity alone, according to the press release.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the rise

Instances of urinary tract infections caused by bacteria that don’t respond to commonly prescribed antibiotics are increasing, according to a report from a team that included University researchers, published online in the journal Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control. The report was highlighted in a Lifespan press release March 25. Despite the bacteria’s unresponsiveness to some antibiotics doctors generally prescribe, the researchers discovered “that many of these bacteria causing urinary tract infections were susceptible to an older, inexpensive antibiotic, nitrofurantoin,” said Leonard Mermel, professor of medicine and a co-author of the study, in the press release. “Recognizing the strains that are resistant to common antibiotics is critical to providing proper treatment and better outcomes,” Mermel said in the release. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria may be increasing, because humans and farm animals are prescribed antibiotics at a higher rate than ever to treat infection, Mermel said in the release, adding that finding new ways to stop these bacteria from causing harm to patients is critical. “It’s imperative that we determine why these bacteria are resistant to some antibiotics so that we can develop new ones to combat dangerous, and possibly fatal, infections,” said Steve Kassakian, a teaching fellow in medicine who co-authored the study, in the release. For this study, the researchers examined data from patients infected with bacteria resistant to common antibiotics over the course of five years. The number of these infections has increased from 2006 to 2011, according to their analysis.

Two professors receive half-million award for research

The National Science Foundation honored two University professors with CAREER Awards, the most prestigious awards junior faculty members can receive from the foundation, according to a University press release. One of the recipients, Baylor Fox-Kemper, assistant professor of geological sciences, will use his $594,000 grant to continue developing mathematical and physical techniques to analyze the effects of small-scale changes in ocean currents. These can be used to analyze broader-scale phenomena within the ocean and to see the shifts’ effect on the ocean’s ability to regulate the global climate. Such methods can help predict future climate change, as current models fail to adequately incorporate modest changes in ocean flow. In addition to facilitating his research, the grant will allow Fox-Kemper to present his work throughout Rhode Island in collaboration with the Narragansett Bay conservation group Save the Bay. Fox-Kemper, who recently moved to the state, said he is “eager to meet other people working to ensure ocean sustainability and conservation and to meet students and citizens across Rhode Island who want to know more about climate and oceans,” in the release. The other recipient, Thomas Serre, assistant professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences, plans to investigate human and primate vision. He received $500,000 from the NSF. Serre will explore how humans perceive objects in extremely short periods of time. In previous experiments, Serre has determined that many participants can accurately answer questions about images they have seen for only 150 milliseconds.. Serre now plans to build on his experiments and piece together an algorithm to model brain activity during this initial stage of vision. Such algorithms could be important in self-driving cars and other technology that employs visual techniques, according to the press release.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014  

The April 2, 2014 issue of The Brown Daily Herald