THE BROWN DAILY HERALD THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
VOLUME CLII, ISSUE 17
Former trapeze artist joins U. through RUE program After attending schools in Italy, France, MichelsGualtieri ’20 finds herself landing in Providence By AMY WANG SENIOR STAFF WRITER
At just 27 years old, Akaela “Kaely” Michels-Gualtieri ’20 has authored a children’s book, lived and studied in multiple countries and volunteered as an Emergency Medical Technician aboard ambulances in various cities. Perhaps most prominently, she has spent nearly twelve years touring the globe as a professional trapeze artist “living and breathing circus.” Now, Michels-Gualtieri has returned to academics as a first-year at Brown as part of the Resumed Undergraduate Education (RUE) program.
ARTS & CULTURE
Internship turned gap year The February of her ninth grade year, Michels-Gualtieri interned at McDonalds — an internship that paved the way for her future career. » See TRAPEZE, page 2
COURTESY OF AKAELA MICHELS-GUALTIERI
Akaela Michels-Gualtieri ’20, a member of the Resumed Undergraduate Education program, has explored the world as a performer, author and emergency medical technician. Her journey started after deferring her acceptance to Wellesley College to enroll in a small school in Torino, Italy.
UCS president introduces No Apologies Initiative Nguyen ’17 pens letter urging for application fee waivers for first-gen, lowincome students By EDUARD MUÑOZ-SUÑÉ SENIOR STAFF WRITER
NAOMY PEDROZA / HERALD
The Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice funds an educational civil rights movement program within a local high school. The program culminates in a week-long trip through historically relevant Southern cities.
CSSJ hosts civil rights education program Four students from Hope High School participate in workshops, travel to South to study activist movement By PRIYANKA PODUGU SENIOR STAFF WRITER
Maiyah Gamble-Rivers MA’16, the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice’s
manager of programs and outreach, grew up hearing her grandparents talk about life in South Carolina under Jim Crow. “The civil rights movement reminds me of my history,” she said. “It makes me better understand my family.” But as a student at Hope High School, there was “an overwhelming (amount) of information that I was never taught,” she said. Her personal connection to the movement coupled
with her dissatisfaction with the high school curriculum’s treatment of civil rights compelled her to ensure that current Hope High School students “see themselves in the narrative of struggle.” In 2016 Gamble-Rivers created the Civil Rights Movement Initiative, a program that teaches high school students about the civil rights movement through an annual series of workshops » See CSSJ, page 3
Undergraduate Council of Students President Viet Nguyen ’17 introduced the No Apologies Initiative during the UCS meeting Wednesday night with a letter calling universities to waive application fees for first-generation and low-income applicants by the 2017-18 academic year. Those who signed the letter penned by Nguyen include presidents of undergraduate student governments and leaders of first-generation and low-income student groups from 10 peer universities, including the seven other Ivy League schools, Stanford University, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. Many universities charge applicants more than $50 to apply, according to the Common Application’s website. The cost of taking standardized tests and sending scores to colleges can also pose an undue burden to students, according to the
letter. Though the College Board can waive the cost of sending scores, it grants a maximum of only four waivers, according to the College Board’s website. Many low-income applicants use fee waivers for schools they have a better chance of getting into rather than more competitive universities for which they are academically qualified, Nguyen said. “I really do hope this changes the way applicants view college,” Nguyen told The Herald. “There is so much misinformation out there that prevents low-income students from applying because they don’t have access to the necessary knowledge sources. Not having students jump through bureaucratic hoops is a very important step.” The letter begins with Nguyen’s own experience as a low-income applicant facing high application costs. “While these schools provided outstanding financial support once admitted, the support in the application process was another story,” Nguyen wrote in the letter. Citing studies from the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Atlantic, the letter describes » See UCS, page 3
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
NEWS R. Jacob Vogelstein ’00 wins award for advancements in neuroscience technologies
NEWS CAPS offers informational drop-in hours at student centers to expand outreach
COMMENTARY Powell: Recent columns misconstrue admissions process, U. priorities
COMMENTARY Vilsan ’19: Intra-party dissent is vital for recent political climate, starting on college campuses
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PAGE 2 • THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
Q&A: Vogelstein ’00 discusses neuroscience, intelligence technology Award-winning researcher discusses advancements in applied neuroscience technologies By BELLA ROBERTS SENIOR STAFF WRITER
R. Jacob Vogelstein ’00 works at the intersection of United States intelligence and neuroscience and received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in January. The award is the highest honor offered by the U.S. Government for science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their careers. Herald: Can you explain what the award is for? Vogelstein: The award is an early career award for my … contributions over the first few years of my research career. My research is focused on applied neuroscience technologies. I look to the brain for insights about how people think and how our brain is wired up to perform the algorithms that are the basis of our cognitive thoughts and processing. Then I try to build devices that replicate those processes or leverage the processes to allow people to do things that are smarter or faster. How is neuroscience research related to U.S. intelligence? In the U.S. intelligence communities, analysts are the bread and butter. Human analysts primarily use their brains to do their job. That means that any way we can use tools to increase the speed of thought and efficiency of analytical processing or to replicate human thought using machines are all ways we can advance our intelligence capabilities.
» TRAPEZE, from page 1 “The next year, we were joking about what I should do to top McDonalds,” Michels-Gualtieri said. “I should join the circus!” Michels-Gualtieri recalled herself joking. “And my mom said, ‘That’s a great idea!’” So join the circus she did. MichelsGualtieri’s mother discovered — or rather, established — an internship at a circus in San Francisco. “I would work in the daytime … and then at nighttime I could take any classes at the school that I wanted,” MichelsGualtieri said. Though she had been a gymnast from a very young age, this internship was her first ever encounter with the art of trapeze. Inspired and supported by her mother, Michels-Gualtieri decided to defer her acceptance to Wellesley College to continue pursuing her interests in circus performance. She represented the United States as the first American to study at a small school in Torino, Italy: the FLIC Scuola di Circo, or “FLIC Circus School,” an Olympic gymnastics training facilityturned educational institution. Michels-Gualtieri moved to Torino, new suitcase in tow, “and was pretty much lost, solidly, for about four months.” But as the weeks and months passed, she found herself enjoying her new home more and more. Gap year turned career After spending a year in Torino and outgrowing FLIC’s resources, Michels-Gualtieri reached out to talented
Where do you see the intelligence community in five years? I see a convergence of technology in machine learning and in conventional approaches. What we know about systems today is that while they are far more effective (than those from) decades ago, they are much less effective than the brain in processing tasks. We really need to move some of our processing off the human brain and onto computer systems that think like humans. The work I was doing for the intelligence community was looking at how the brain computes and trying to build intelligence systems that compute like the brain. Do you foresee any ethical dilemmas as intelligence technology becomes more attuned with humans? I think a lot of ethical questions are in building automated systems that make decisions. As society in general, we have to become comfortable that we are building decision-making into machines. Do you think the administration of President Trump will bring any changes to the way the government conducts or funds scientific research? Every administration brings its own unique perspective on science and engineering. The Obama administration was very supportive and began the (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative, which infused a lot of excitement and money into neuroscience research. I hope the new administration continues to pursue those kinds of investments. What experiences at Brown were trapeze coach Alexander Doubrovski to help her reach the “next level” of aerial arts. Despite the fact that the only mutual language they shared — French — was the second language for both parties, Doubrovski agreed to receive Michels-Gualtieri as a student at the Parisian L’Academie Fratellini, one of the oldest circus schools in the world. Further deferring her college career, Michels-Gualtieri began her studies in Paris with support from France’s governmental funding for the arts. While in school, MichelsGualtieri traveled to many different countries to perform, including France, Spain and Italy. “I got professional experience while being under the safety net of Fratellini.” Nevertheless, it wasn’t until her second year at Fratellini that MichelsGualtieri began to seriously view circus performing as a potential career. And sure enough, she began receiving contract offers almost immediately after graduation. At the age of twentyone, Michels-Gualtieri found herself abruptly launched into “this new career that nobody had planned for — it just kind of happened.” Life in the circus During her career as a professional trapeze artist, Michels-Gualtieri performed with troupes such as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus all across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Life in the circus kept MichelsGualtieri busy, but she made room for
COURTESY OF R. JACOB VOGELSTEIN
R. Jacob Vogelstein ’00 won the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering for his research on how neuroscience can be applied to the American intelligence communities’ technologies. particularly impactful on your career? Brown was incredibly influential on my career. In particular, I took Introduction to Neuroscience my freshman year
as an engineering concentrator. When I took the class, it was really eye-opening and really intriguing to see the parallels between the way the brain computes and the way the computer systems
compute. There are great synergies that could be exploited between the two. It was that class that really made me interested in pursuing this kind of neuroscience.
other pursuits as well. As a certified EMT, she regularly volunteered with emergency medical services while on tour. “From Monday to Wednesday, I would usually volunteer on an ambulance, no matter which city we were in — and we moved to a different city every week — and then from Thursday to Sunday I would perform,” she said. On one occasion, her medical expertise proved useful. A friend and fellow performer was seriously injured while rehearsing an act entitled the “Globe of Death” — a performance involving three motorcycles doing loops in an enormous metal sphere. Michels-Gualtieri, then a newly-certified EMT, was the most medicallyknowledgeable person in the building; as such, she was put in charge of the situation until the paramedics arrived. Though the performer ultimately suffered only a few broken bones, Michels-Gualtieri described the incident as one of “the scariest” experiences she has had in the circus. Michels-Gualtieri’s other wild circus experiences include a power outage during a trapeze act and a time when several circus animals were spooked and threw the act into disarray a mere twenty seconds before the curtain opened. How did Michels-Gualtieri’s family react to her newfound career? Unlike her mother, who was a staunch supporter from day one, some of her family members took issue with her career choice. “Not all of my family understood it or even thought it was
an acceptable thing for me to be doing with my life,” Michels-Gualtieri said. But she remarked a significant “shift” when she announced that she had gotten into Brown: “All of a sudden, you (didn’t) have to just take the path that everybody wants you to take to end up at a place you want to be.”
office hours with RUE-specific deans to dinner with President Christina Paxson P’19 herself. She has also received support from her fellow RUE students — who, despite their small number, come from an extremely diverse array of backgrounds. “One of the most magical moments for me was our first orientation brunch,” she said. “We all sat in a big room with both deans, and everybody told their story. And everybody’s story is incredible in its own right.”
Back to school Despite her twelve-year break from academia, Michels-Gualtieri always intended to return to school. After nearly a decade in the circus, she realized that she had outgrown her trapeze career. “(Performing) just became sort of empty … I’d reached the level I wanted to be (at) and I felt like I didn’t have anything to work toward,” she said. “It was confusing, because on the one hand I felt incredibly lucky to have this job. (There are) three circus jobs in the world for people who can trapeze professionally, and I had one of them.” She soon discovered the University’s RUE program and was drawn to Brown’s open curriculum. In September, twelve years after her move to Torino, she landed in Providence as part of the RUE Class of 2020 to study health and human biology. Of course, the transition back to school hasn’t always been smooth. At first Michels-Gualtieri suffered from “imposter syndrome,” often comparing herself to other students in class who arrived at Brown straight out of high school. But she has since found solace through the services Brown provides to its RUE students — from
Looking ahead Michels-Gualtieri still receives trapeze job offers. Most of the time she turns them down. This past winter break, however, she took the chance to tour in the Philippines — beginning to perform almost immediately after her last final exam. “I didn’t know if I would ever perform again when I decided to come to Brown,” MichelsGualtieri said. “I was okay with it. And then I really started to miss it.” All things considered, MichelsGualtieri has gained a lot from her years in the circus. “One of the greatest joys of it is meeting people from all over the world,” she said. “I’ve had a very privileged life; I grew up in DC, I went to private school … but I’ve met people I never would have met under any circumstances, and I see the world in a completely different way than I would have otherwise,” she said. “I say jokingly I think everybody should join the circus. I actually really mean it.”
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017 • PAGE 3
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
CAPS hosts informational open hours at student centers ‘Let’s Talk’ outreach efforts extend support to students who may be unfamiliar with counseling services By RHAIME KIM SENIOR STAFF WRITER
Counseling and Psychological Services expanded its outreach initiative “Let’s Talk” to the Nelson Fitness Center and the First-Generation College and LowIncome Student Center this semester after a successful pilot program at the Brown Center for Students of Color and the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center last fall. Therapists who are part of the Let’s Talk program hold informal drop-in hours at campus centers that serve student groups who tend not to seek counseling. Through the program, CAPS hopes to reach out to students “who have some stigma around counseling,” said Allyson Brathwaite-Gardner, interim director of CAPS. “I think it was an effort to create some bridges in different places and these centers are places where students do congregate naturally,” said Linda Welsh, psychotherapist at CAPS. “There are certain student groups that maybe have less familiarity with counseling,” and this program aims “to kind of lower the anxiety level of going to go some place else.”
Let’s Talk is “not a replacement for a therapy session” and does not involve “probing and dynamic work, like what therapy can be,” Nikole Barnes, psychotherapist at CAPS, said. Instead, Let’s Talk open hours engage in “casual conversation” about available services, counseling and selfcare, Barnes said. Sessions are similar to a professor’s office hours in that a psychotherapist is available at regular times every week to talk to students on a first-come, first-serve basis. This semester, CAPS will host open hours at all four centers for around one or two hours per week, depending on each campus partner’s request, she added. Another way by which Let’s Talk meetings differ from CAPS appointments is that a student can choose to remain anonymous unless there are safety concerns regarding the student or the community, Barnes added. The Let’s Talk initiative at Brown is modeled in part on Cornell’s program of the same name. After several months of background research and speaking to campus partners, CAPS rolled out pilots at the BCSC and SDWC last fall, Brathwaite-Garder said. Following the pilot program, both FLIC and the athletics department reached out to CAPS, Barnes said. Each therapist is assigned to a single center over the course of the semester in an effort to foster long-term
ANITA SHEIH / HERALD
Mark Porter, Paul Shanley and Michelle Nuey spoke at the UCS meeting in an effort to further DPS’s relationship and trust with the community.
» UCS, from page 1 the lack of low-income students at top universities. To increase socioeconomic diversity in institutions of higher education, the letter calls on universities to ensure that firstgeneration and low-income students are not deterred by the financial costs of applying. “Our lever of change is looking at how we can increase the number of qualified students from a lower socioeconomic background,” Nguyen told The Herald. “We want students from lower socio-economic backgrounds to apply to Brown.” Nguyen is meeting with administrators from Brown, such as Dean of Admission Logan Powell, and speaking
with those from other schools to address logistics and “the most effective way” to achieve the goals outlined in the letter. Nguyen ended the meeting by calling on UCS members to spread the word about the initiative and said that pressure from the student body would help move the initiative forward. Chief of the Department of Public Safety Mark Porter, Deputy Chief of Police Paul Shanley and Manager of Special Services for DPS Michelle Nuey also spoke at the UCS meeting to review DPS initiatives, field questions and hear suggestions by UCS members about how DPS can further its relationship with and increase trust within the Brown community.
CATHERINE HABGOOD / HERALD
relationships with students. Many therapists participating in the Let’s Talk program work with centers they feel a personal connection to themselves. “I wanted to go to the women’s center to work with LGBT-identifying students, but it’s open to all students,” said
Laura Sobik, interim associate director at CAPS. Heather Wong-Bailey, psychotherapist at CAPS, stressed that “all students are welcome at all centers, regardless of where we are located.” “From the feedback I’ve heard,
students seem to really appreciate and feel reassured about the option of knowing that we are available to them,” Wong-Bailey said. The program is ideal for a student “who’s contemplating on considering counseling and isn’t quite sure what it would be like,” she added.
» CSSJ, from page 1
that the workshops encouraged discussion, which made processing difficult subjects much easier. In their first workshop, students read about the murder of Emmett Till. “I had a lot of questions and opinions, but the fact that I could talk about it with everyone else was really relieving,” Akkani said. Gamble-Rivers assigned regular readings prior to each workshop — a workload comparable to other high school classes the students were taking, Akkani said. Everyone “wanted to do the research … we were all so passionate about the work,” she added. After finishing the workshop series, the students then travel through the South to visit cities like Birmingham, Selma and Little Rock. This year the trip took place from Jan. 13 to Jan. 20. In addition to visiting museums and landmarks within those cities, students had the opportunity to speak with activists who participated in the movement. “(Meeting) with the activists made me realize that … they were beaten and tortured so we could have … integrated stores and schools,” Imani said. “A lot of them were my age (at the time) and if they weren’t so brave, we wouldn’t have what we have now.” In Sunflower County, Mississippi, students visited the Sunflower County Freedom Project, a nonprofit working to improve the educational resources available to students living in the county. The CRMI students were particularly struck by the disparity in secondary education offered to students in Sunflower County and Providence. “(The students) would travel an hour and back just to receive SAT prep,” Akkani said. The experience “taught us how much privilege we had,”
she added. The visit also encouraged the students to create a partnership between Hope High School and the Sunflower County Freedom Project by having Hope students collect books to send to Sunflower County, Gamble-Rivers said. Brown community members may donate books by dropping them off at the CSSJ, she added. The trip has even come to shape some students’ lives beyond high school. “I was able to take what I learned and apply it to (every aspect of) my life,” Akkani said. Now a first-year at Boston University, she is majoring in journalism with a double minor in international relations and AfricanAmerican studies — a decision she said was influenced by her experience with the initiative. Jessie Dough, who participated in the program last year, said it encouraged her to inform her friends about the importance of voting. “I was encouraging people to vote (in the 2016 election) because I had learned about how many people died trying (to secure) the right to vote,” she said. Dough also stressed that the program made her realize that some of the most influential leaders of the movement aren’t always well-known. Understanding that there were many “civilians who helped but weren’t necessarily leaders or prominent people of the time was important … (it showed me how) people individually helped in their community.” Participants in the second annual CRMI will present their work at a lunch talk held at Churchill House at noon today.
that run from October to January. The initiative culminates in a free week-long trip through the South in which the students visit cities central to the civil rights movement. Gamble-Rivers said that young people are commonly misperceived as lacking interest in civil rights. But last year, Providence high schoolers demanded that ethnic studies be included in public education, demonstrating their desire to learn more about their backgrounds. The CSSJ, which funds the initiative, wanted to reach out to Hope High School and the broader Providence community because it “constantly (tries) to make scholarship from the University accessible to the public,” she said. “Maiyah came to my (Advanced Placement) English class and did a presentation about the program,” said Imani, a high school junior and 201617 program fellow whose last name has been omitted for privacy reasons. Interested students were asked to write an application essay about their favorite activist — with the constraint that they couldn’t choose Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks. The program hosts four fellows this year and had five fellows its inaugural year. Gamble-Rivers led the workshops on a weekly basis, and the sessions covered topics from the legacy of slavery to the role of music in the Civil Rights Movement. Students discussed parallels between the movement and Black Lives Matter and also talked about current political issues like mass incarceration, Gamble-Rivers said. Hefatz Akkani, a CRMI alum, said
ARTS & CULTURE PAGE 4 • THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
ALEJANDRO SUBIOTTO / HERALD
The newest business venture by the BOLT coffee chain proprietor Bryan Gibb allures the Providence-area community with a taste of artisan doughnuts in its convenient downtown location.
Knead Doughnuts serves up traditional sweets, connects community BOLT coffee chain owner brings confectionery, philanthropy to downtown Providence By JUSTIN FERENZI STAFF WRITER
On the fringe of the financial district and tucked away in a building with vaulted ceilings, bright white walls and elegant gold trimmings, Knead Doughnuts has begun to satisfy the sweet tooth of Providence’s downtown denizens. The doughnut shop came on the scene after a soft opening in January. Now the store has fully opened to the public and is working to create a brand centered around tradition, community and quality. Knead began as the brainchild of
Bryan Gibb, a co-owner of the BOLT coffee chain, when he noticed the national artisan doughnut trend had not yet reached Providence. “I had been kicking the idea around for a while, talking about it with friends,” Gibb said. “I started to build a team around it and got to bring doughnuts to the city.” The store strives to create a “timeless” and “approachable” product, Gibb said. With classic flavors such as glazed vanilla, chocolate cake and a few elegant novelties like Earl Grey and passion fruit, Knead does not subscribe to the
quirky outlandishness of other contemporary doughnut houses. “The Boston Cream donut is my favorite,” said customer Blake Gerry. “It’s the best one I’ve ever had.” Knead also sells a small selection of coffee products by Native, a New York City-based roaster. Knead partners with charity groups around Providence, providing doughnuts and donations for events such as school fundraisers, homeless shelters and nonprofits, such as the Izzy Foundation, a group that supports the families of children with chronic and debilitating illnesses. This spring, Knead will provide doughnuts for runners along the route of the Providence Marathon.
“The thing that we have is,” Gibb said. “It’s our medium. We can’t do it all, but we love giving back by doing the things we’re doing.” The company’s doughnuts can also be found in BOLT Coffee’s two locations in Providence. Gibb’s experience with BOLT helped him to open Knead, but only to a certain degree. “Both of BOLT’s locations cohabitate with other businesses, so the building development side of Knead was new to me,” he said. “We couldn’t just bootstrap our way into it this time,” Gibb said, adding that he had to be thrifty while renovating the 32 Custom House St. location. The location Gibb settled on is
spacious and airy, with a window that lets patrons look directly into the kitchen, emphasizing Knead’s focus on community. “I love it here because it’s rarely crowded, the doughnuts are great and the staff is friendly,” said customer Jeannie Szykowny. Marissa Roberson is one of those friendly staffers. “I love that we have the ability to work as a team to focus on one great product,” she said. “We try to create a vibe that’s uplifting and personal.” Gibb, who has interest in urban planning and development, says he hopes to one day expand Knead to other brick-and-mortar locations, though nothing concrete is in the works yet.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017 • PAGE 5
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
turning from conversion
SATELLITE DINING ANDREWS COMMONS
Pizza: Spicy Five Cheese and Garlic, BBQ Bam Bam, Pepperoni, Cheese JOSIAH’S
BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowl, Black Bean & Sweet Potato Burger
Chicken Tikka Masala, Vegetable Mango Curry, Turkey Chili
DINING HALLS SHARPE REFECTORY LUNCH
BBQ Chicken Sandwich, Mushroom Quiche, M&M Rice Krispie Treat
Grilled Mustard Chicken, Shrimp Fried Rice, Apple Pie With Crumb Topping
Nacho Bar, Sloppy Joes Sandwich, Greek Salad Bar, Ranger Joe Cookies
Roast Turkey With Sauce, Spanish Rice Bowl With Beans, Yogurt Bread
ALEJANDRO SUBIOTTO / HERALD
On Wednesday the Rhode Island State House Health, Education and Welfare Committee heard House Bill 5277, which would ban conversion therapy in Rhode Island. Many students lobbied on behalf of the bill.
Q U O T E O F T H E D AY
RELEASE DATE– Monday, February 4, 2013
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle Edited by Rich c rNorris o s sandwJoyce o rNichols d Lewis
ACROSS 1 David Copperfield’s forte 6 High-ranking Indian 10 Like the Sahara 14 Last new Olds 15 Alike, in Lourdes 16 Madcap 17 Main idea, as of an argument 20 “__ Pinafore” 21 Handy bags 22 Inventor Howe 23 Candy in a wrapper 24 WSW’s opposite 25 Stick to a strict budget 32 Beauty parlor 33 Saying to remember 34 Tool for a lumberjack 36 Cultivate the soil 37 Car pedal 38 Needed a BandAid 39 Till now 40 __ fatale 41 Town near the tip of Cape Cod 42 To the point 45 Notes after mis 46 Contents of a cruet 47 Saltwater candy 50 Rested (against) 53 __ Beta Kappa 56 Burnout cause 59 Part of USA: Abbr. 60 Like dedicated fans 61 18th-century Swiss mathematician 62 Goes bad 63 High roller’s rolls 64 Baseball’s Pee Wee DOWN 1 Sitcom set in Korea 2 Homecoming visitor 3 Jeweler’s inventory 4 401(k) alternative, briefly
5 Have inside 6 Take a break 7 Flu-like symptoms 8 Pokes 9 Three racing Unsers 10 Colorful garden shrub 11 Wife of a 6-Across 12 Ancient Peruvian 13 Turns blue, perhaps 18 Campus residence 19 Like someone pacing back and forth 23 Forehead 24 Rim 25 Comical Soupy 26 Material 27 Cheese city in northeast Italy 28 End of Rhett’s sentence that begins “Frankly, my dear” 29 Like a newborn 30 Relative worth 31 Put forth, as effort
32 Le Carré character 35 Tokyo’s former name 37 Puts money (on) 38 Songwriter Jacques 40 Wears at the edges 41 Social network for short messages 43 Bids 44 Male offspring
47 Old Russian monarch 48 Prefix with sphere 49 Guitar ridge 50 Volcanic output 51 City west of Tulsa 52 Does some sums 53 Ashen 54 Hurries 55 Legal memo opener 57 Carpentry tool 58 Feel bad about
ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE:
“And I started to joke, like: ‘I should join the circus!’ And my mom said, ‘That’s a great idea!’” — Akaela Michels-Gualtieri ’20
See TRAPEZE on page 1. CORRECTION A Feb. 15 Herald article titled “RoseLee Goldberg examines performance art” previously said that Performa hosts “biannual festivals to highlight the importance of performance art.” In fact, they host biennials. The Herald regrets the error.
By Bernice Gordon (c)2013 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
Lunch Talk with Civil Rights Initiative 12:00 P.M. Churchill House
Anthropology Day 1:00 P.M. Haffenreffer Museum, Manning Hall
Sarah Haley on Gender and Jim Crow Modernity 4:00 P.M. Petteruti Lounge
CSSJ: Slavery in Rhode Island 5:30 P.M. John Carter Brown Library
TOMORROW MUSIC NOW 1:00 P.M. Orwig, 109
INTRO TO BUDDHISM 4:30 P.M. J Walter Wilson, 411
ANIME NIGHT 8:00 P.M. Tech House
AD2CART 8:00 P.M. Grant Recital Hall
COMMENTARY PAGE 6 • THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
comic A Horse of Any Other Name | Zachary Silberberg
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COMMENTARY THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017 • PAGE 7
THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
Recent columns misconstrue admissions process LOGAN POWELL
Recent opinion pieces in The Herald have made assumptions about the University’s admission process and the priorities we emphasize. We believe strongly that Brown flourishes because of the talents of its students, faculty, staff and alumni, and it is disheartening and disappointing to read assertions about our goals that paint a picture of the University that does not resemble the reality we have worked hard to achieve. While one Letter to the Editor expressed skepticism over our efforts to achieve gender balance (“Letter: Brown should go gender-blind in admission,” Dec. 6) and another wrote that we have “institutionalized” a preference for elite private high schools over others (“Colby ’20: Equal admission rates for all,” Jan. 26), these opinions are not grounded in fact. They do a disservice to our mission, which includes a focus on strengthening the human connections on College Hill. It is not possible to detail the expansive multitude of ways we demonstrate a commitment to building a student body that is exceptionally talented and diverse, but it’s important to ensure that perceptions about Brown’s admission practices are shaped by facts. There are several that help ad-
dress the recent misplaced claims. First, in the past year alone, as a result of targeted recruitment, applications from first-generation students have risen by 14 percent. Brown has specific initiatives focused on ensuring that students from a full range of backgrounds are well represented in our applicant pool. One such program is QuestBridge, a partnership designed to help Brown attract and enroll highachieving, low-income students from around the United States. This year,
this year, and 70 percent of those were public schools. There is no school or set of high schools that receives priority review. All high schools are treated equally, and we always review applicants in the context of their high school setting. We also do not compare students from one high school to another. Each and every applicant is considered on their individual merits, talents and fit for Brown. Third, recognizing that a college visit is one of the strongest determin-
sion process is the same for all students independent of gender. There is absolutely no inherent advantage or disadvantage based on gender identification. Admission and enrollment patterns at Brown often mirror patterns that exist nationwide. Gender gaps that begin in primary school and continue through tertiary education should not be mistaken as any form of discrimination at the higher education level. And finally, it’s worth noting that
In the admission office, we know that Brown is a better institution when we invite diverse perspectives from students with intellectual passion and a deep conviction to contribute to and continue to strengthen the community. The admission office — with many staff who are alums — is part of this community and has the honor of helping to build it. Brown has increased its matches with QuestBridge, matching with 20 QuestBridge students compared to three last year. In addition, in the past year, our admission officers have doubled the number of visits to community-based organizations that advance college access. Recognizing that applying to college can also be a costly process, we waive the application fee for any student who finds it a hardship. The second important point is that Brown admission counselors visited nearly 700 high schools in the fall of
ing factors for a student’s acceptance of Brown’s offer of admission, we doubled the funding available for travel grants to low-income students to attend A Day on College Hill. The program brings admitted students from all income groups to campus to get a sense of life at Brown. And we remain committed to need-blind admission; we do not consider an applicant’s ability or inability to pay the cost of tuition when making admission decisions (for U.S. citizens). The next point is that the admis-
the objective academic qualifications of our admitted and enrolled students at Brown are as high as ever. In the admission office, we know that Brown is a better institution when we invite diverse perspectives from students with intellectual passion and a deep conviction to contribute to and continue to strengthen the community. The admission office — with many staff who are alums — is part of this community and has the honor of helping to build it. The recent opinion pieces in The
Herald suggest that, perhaps, the admission process is not “fair.” But it’s important not to confuse “selective” with “fair.” It’s an unfortunate reality that any admission process that admits only 9 percent of its applicants may seem unfair to some applicants in the other 91 percent. We should be proud that over 32,000 students applied for admission this year. And yet our commitment to maintaining a first-year class of 1,665 students means that many remarkable applicants will not be offered admission. Our goal is to admit and enroll a class that will uphold Brown’s values of academic excellence and diversity of thought. I encourage any current student or alum to join in the efforts we have already undertaken. Volunteer to tutor at a local public school; offer encouragement to a young student who dreams of one day attending college; offer your support to a college access organization; or sign up to be an alumni interviewer and share your love of Brown. We are together in the shared vision of Brown’s success. As we move forward with the class of 2021 and beyond, we will continue to focus on students who demonstrate deep intellectual curiosity, potential for leadership, diverse perspectives and a commitment to the Brown community and to the world.
Logan Powell is Brown University’s Dean of Admission. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stop toeing the line FABIANA VILSAN staff columnist The words “echo chamber” have been thrown around more times than can be tracked during this past presidential election and in ensuing months. Especially on college campuses, where many Americans first become politically conscious, the echo chambers dominating our discourse shouldn’t be dismissed as a fleeting phase — they are a serious threat to the future of our politics. After all, if we teach young minds to mindlessly toe the party line in hopes that any inconsistencies between party platform and personal perspective will just disappear, we’ll create a generation of mindless and inconsistent leaders. We, as university students, stand to lose the most if we continue to ignore the echo chambers that we ourselves engage in. Even at universities like Brown that pride themselves on diverse student bodies, diversity of thought isn’t always encouraged. I’ve witnessed it myself: As politics becomes increasingly personal, voicing a doubt or concern regarding the dominant political party on campus is a risk that not everyone is willing to take. In an “all-or-nothing” game, few admit to being undecided or, dare I say it, non-aligned. Yet, for all the inter-party hostility, intra-party dissent has never been more taboo. Voters on both sides of the aisle would agree that politics has increasingly become consumed by an “us” versus “them” mentality. But while we spend most of our time separating ourselves from “them,” we choose not to examine the “us.” I really do wonder if we’re as united as party slogans claim we are.
In today’s political climate, you pick a party loyalty and stick with it blindly, even when you can’t fully defend your party’s choices on some policy matters. Showing doubt or opposition toward your party’s platform is essentially considered a sign of weakness. None of us seem willing to admit that politics isn’t about absolute truth, and that few of us fit perfectly within a pure political camp. It doesn’t take much digging below the surface of party politics, though, to hit intra-party disagreement and confusion. So why can’t we be upfront about the fact that our parties aren’t perfect embodiments of our beliefs, and that we
Thomas Perez ’83, who backed Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, respectively — represent significantly different visions for the future of Democratic politics. The race has all the drama and disagreement over political agendas of the presidential election, though it doesn’t make as many headlines or Facebook feeds. In the meantime, some Republicans have grown increasingly critical of President Trump. “(The administration) is dysfunctional as far as national security is concerned,” Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, said after the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn, who lied about a telephone conver-
If we teach young minds to mindlessly toe the party line in the hopes that any inconsistencies between party platform and personal perspective just disappear, we’ll create a generation of mindless and inconsistent leaders.
don’t always know exactly which mold we fit in? According to the American Psychological Association, voters don’t think in exclusively ideological terms, no matter what the rhetoric of political elites might suggest. We may brand ourselves according to specific party ideologies, but the truth is we tackle political problems issue by issue, struggling to map our instincts on a spectrum. This year, the Democratic National Committee’s chairmanship election captures the internal struggle happening within the party. The frontrunners — Rep. Keith Ellison, D-MN, and
sation he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States. It’s clear to anyone watching what’s happening in Washington that the dominant political parties are anything but unified and that supporters on both sides of the aisle are more than a little conflicted. But, despite the importance of scrutinizing figures of authority regardless of political party, we’ve all picked up a dangerous habit: picking the party we consider the lesser evil and committing to its defense even when we disagree with it ourselves. The path to admitting the non-absolute na-
ture of politics must start on college campuses, where young adults from different backgrounds are forming their political opinions and, by extension, the future of politics. Universities are not the empowering institutions they claim to be if they don’t actively foster productive conversation among diverse young adults. College students are more politically active than they’ve ever been, participating in elections and protests across the country. A 2016 poll from the Higher Education Research Institute found that college freshman were more likely to participate in campus activism, believe in the importance of community leadership and foster multicultural understanding. Indeed, if we get into the habit of suppressing or policing intra-party dissent out of fear of seeming weak to the other side, we’re sending a dangerous message: It’s better to block out the realities you don’t agree with than to speak up. If we let this habit become an entrenched part of our political lives, we run the risk of producing young minds who are resentful of politics, distrustful of politicians and unlikely to contribute to national conversations. Self-analysis isn’t a sign of party weakness but rather the budding start of party progress. College students are the future of the political process, and that process begins at universities all over the country. In college and beyond, it’s the responsibility of young people to step up and say, “I don’t agree with certain political moves, even if it’s my team moving the pieces.” When was the last time any one of us made that admission or spoke to someone who challenged us to?
Fabiana Vilsan ‘19 can be reached at email@example.com.
ARTS & CULTURE THE BROWN DAILY HERALD
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
Trump administration at odds with national film culture DANIEL WAYLAND arts & culture critic Labels carry weight in Hollywood. They force actors, directors and writers into boxes that restrict their creative potential. But inherent in this labeling process is an understanding that these characterizations reflect merely impermanent and fluid narratives capable of renaissance and reconstruction. Other labels are more difficult to shake in 2017. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences labeled Director Asghar Farhadi a cinematic visionary, nominating his film “The Salesman” for an Oscar in the ‘best foreign language film’ category. President Trump labeled Farhadi a threat to national security through his immigration ban. Farhadi is Iranian, and the Academy Awards ceremony occurs on Feb. 26. Do the math. Various media outlets ran the controversy around Farhadi’s precense at the awards ceremony, and reports soon emerged that he could potentially attend by applying for a special exemption from Trump’s ban. The ban has recently been overruled by the Federal Court of Appeals, but Farhadi announced that he would boycott the Oscars, claiming: “The possibility of (my) presence is being accompanied by ‘if ’s’ and ‘but’s,’ which are, in no way, acceptable to me.” The controversy surrounding Farhadi’s attendance highlights emerging tensions between Trump and the sphere of arts and culture. Initial returns on the Trump administration in this regard
are not promising. Reports suggest that the president will consider cutting the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting from the national budget. While such action is yet to come to fruition, Trump has already participated in a series of silencing attacks on opposing voices by firing acting Attorney General Sally Yates and placing a gag order on the Environmental Protection Agency. These moves speak to a dedication to censure and uniformity that is particularly frightening to artists, especially following eight years of the Obama presidency. In a recent article for the New York Times, Wesley Morris considered former President Barack Obama’s relationship to art and culture, writing: “Mr. Obama has always seemed to understand the importance of culture as a mirror, window, escape hatch and haven. The Obamas were catholic in their tastes not because they had to be, but because that’s what we should be: open.” Obama understood the White House to provide a platform that legitimized marginalized voices, and so he actively supported storytellers and narratives that drove contemporary conversations about race, class and gender. During his presidency, Obama screened films at the White House like “Lincoln” and “Selma,” and, more recently, Michelle Obama hosted the cast of “Hidden Figures” for a screening of the Oscar nominated film. Donald Trump’s first White House screening choice? “Finding Dory.” Of course, there’s more to a
presidency than its attention or aversion to marginalized communities in popular culture. But the U.S. is not so far removed from the days in which black and brown artists could not step foot inside the White House that we can disregard the artisitic narratives privileged by the president. The choices of the Trump presidency will send shockwaves felt both in Hollywood and at the university level, particularly on campuses like Brown that enjoy both a strong cinematic and socially progressive presence. Brown Motion Pictures, the Ivy League’s largest student-run film production company, promotes an ideology that runs counter to Trump’s early moves as president. “There’s never been a more vital time to make art than at this moment,” said Ellie Gravitte ’17, a managing director of BMP. “I can speak for the board of BMP when I say we are really fortunate to be a producing body to help young voices make things to respond to the political climate.” BMP enjoys a preeminent position on campus — the organization offers a platform for artists hoping to express their varying responses to the cultural climate under a Trump presidency. The Trump administration’s current relationship to the world of arts and culture only underscores the urgent need for independent organizations that encourage progressive thought. These independent bodies have an obligation to provide a platform for voices that have been further marginalized by the Trump
administration. “The most important thing that producing bodies on campus should do is to keep creating and keep writing,” Gravitte said, adding that she regards BMP as an ideal patron for this type of inclusive, student-based art. Brad Weekes ’17, a director of Brown University Film Forum, similarly understands the value of independent film organizations carrying on the diversity of perspective of the Obama administration. “It’s easy to say Obama helped create a liberal progressive environment, but it also came from people pushing into that space,” Weekes said. More films portrayed this progressivism because of “film societies, like the one at Brown, committing to, engaging with and responding to difficult ideas.” As a screening collective, BUFF works to push into cultural discomfort, featuring films that are not only critically acclaimed and engaging but also reflect diversity in thought. In an attempt to distance itself from the Eurocentric model of popular cinema, BUFF recently partnered with the Middle East studies department to sponsor a series of screenings highlighting films from regions in the Middle East. Actions such as these make BUFF a platform for both resistance and cinematic celebration. Groups like BUFF and BMP are natural heirs to the Obama legacy of supporting marginalized artistic voices. “Look at the films people are talking about: ‘Moonlight,’ ‘Fences,’ ‘Hidden Figures,’” Weekes said. “These films tackle things that are uncomfortable, like blatant racism and homophobia … Films
ultimately can give voice to the voiceless and the ignored.” For those who believe platforms for voices don’t matter, remember what happened to Leslie Jones. When Columbia Pictures announced that the black actress and Saturday Night Live standout would co-star in a female-led remake of “Ghostbusters,” Jones faced racially and sexually charged backlash for her inclusion in the cast. Alt-Right media personality, Milo Yiannopoulos, led a horde of Twitter trolls in an unprovoked attack against Jones so vitriolic that Yiannopoulos’ Twitter account was suspended. Yiannopoulos is an editor for the right-wing media outlet, “Breitbart,” which at the time of the attack was run by Steve Bannon, now Trump’s Chief Strategist and closest advisor. This story matters, even within the liberal bubble of Brown’s cultural community. Bannon offered a platform for Yiannopoulis’s voice. Trump then gave Bannon the largest platform in the country: the White House. Next time you attend a BUFF screening or watch a BMP film, remember that something larger is at work here. These organizations move against a regressive current wrought by the Trump administration. The mere act of providing platforms for marginalized voices embraces an approach to art that is no longer mirrored by the White House. By supporting artistic spaces like BUFF and BMP that encourage inclusivity in both representation and expression, your actions can now take the form of resistance.