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THE BROWN DAILY HERALD TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018

VOLUME CLII, ISSUE 50

WWW.BROWNDAILYHERALD.COM

Athenaeum acquires rarities with anonymous gift ADOCH

gives students insight into campus life

$100,000 donation restores colored plates to rare set of books, enhances special collections By ELISE RYAN

ED students invited for first time in recent history, ADOCH split into two weekend programs

SENIOR STAFF WRITER

The Providence Athenaeum, one of the East Side’s hidden gems, announced the reception of a large anonymous donation March 26 — marking a new era for the library’s special collections. The $100,000 gift, donated by a couple who have been loyal members of the Athenaeum for years, was directed at developing the library’s special collections, which will give the Athenaeum the opportunity to acquire and conserve rare works. “We’re committed to the physical culture of the book,” said Matt Burriesci, the Athenaeum’s executive director. “They saw a real need here for us to be able to acquire more things for the special permanent collection and also to have funds to restore some of the materials,” said Kate Wodehouse, director of collections and library services. The Athenaeum’s usual budget for special collections is small, with efforts

By JACOB LOCKWOOD SENIOR STAFF WRITER

TIFFANY DING / HERALD

The Providence Athenaeum, located on Benefit Street, offers a unique collection of literature and art. A recent gift will allow for the expansion of the special collections, as well as new conservation efforts. targeted toward circulating materials, commented in a press release pub- volumes on shelves that reach from leaving few chances for acquisition lished by the Athenaeum. floor to ceiling. Broken by the bookand conservation. “I don’t know in our The Athenaeum sits behind the shelves into two levels of small alcoves, history that we’ve ever had anything University’s Rockefeller Library on the library welcomes readers and this big directed especially toward the the slope of College Hill but remains studiers alike. The room that houses special collections,” Wodehouse said. unexplored by many Providence resi- special collections, the Philbrick Rare “We are very grateful to be part of dents and University students. The Book Room, adjoins the library’s main this extraordinary Athenaeum com- walls of the first floor and mezzanine Reading Room downstairs. munity and its history,” the donors contain some of the library’s 180,000 » See ATHENAEUM, page 2

The past two days, the campus teemed with over 750 prospective students exploring Brown through A Day on College Hill. The University will welcome another 500 admitted students next weekend, marking the first time that ADOCH has been split into two programs, as The Herald previously reported. “We know very conclusively from our survey data and our enrollment data that students who visit campus are more likely to enroll,” said Dean of Admission Logan Powell. “So it was important for us to have two programs for those students who might » See ADOCH, page 3

Seattle-based Sarah Galvin Intelligence officer talks cybersecurity combines poetry, humor Vinh Nguyen explores ‘Writers on Writing’ guest’s poetry features eccentric language, audience participation By MAIA ROSENFELD CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Critically acclaimed writer Sarah +Galvin turned her Thursday evening performance at McCormack Family Theater into a half-poetry reading, half-stand-up comedy show, pausing between every few pieces to ask a volunteer from the audience to share a joke. As part of the Literary Arts Department’s Writers on Writing Reading Series, Galvin read from both a collection that she is currently compiling and from her 2017 book “Ugly Time.” Throughout the reading and the question-and-answer, she emphasized the similarities between jokes and poems and added that they differ only in their endings: While jokes end with a “reductive gesture,” poems end with an “expansive gesture.” The humor of Galvin’s poetry demonstrates this parallel. Galvin read poems with titles like “Pastaphilia” and “My Grandpa Mailed Me a Piece of

INSIDE

Pie Flattened Between Two Pieces of Wax Paper.” But the hilarity of Galvin’s poems does not detract from their potential to touch on serious issues in a powerful way. Xochi Cartland ’21 chose to introduce Galvin at the reading for LITR 1200: “Writers on Writing” because she loves Galvin’s unexpected turns from facetiousness to earnestness, she said. “There are some moments that are kind of after the absurdity that just say so much,” Cartland added. In her introduction, Cartland commented that “Galvin’s poems are both disturbing and delightful; there are very few people who can turn a doctor’s advice to flatten a line of ants with your ass into a poem about our mutual humanity.” Assistant Professor of Literary Arts Sawako Nakayasu, who taught a section of the “Writers on Writing” class and invited Galvin to Brown, said she also appreciates Galvin’s unconventionality. Nakayasu met Galvin at a poetry reading where they both shared their work. “I just sat there in the audience and enjoyed her reading so much, enjoyed her person, and everything about it was very sparkly and exciting,” Nakayasu said. “So when I had this opportunity » See POETRY, page 2

cybersecurity threats, says technological risks require creative solutions By MELANIE PINCUS SENIOR STAFF WRITER

​​In an increasingly digital world, cybersecurity is no longer a “technical issue,” but rather a concern that is​ “broad ranging,” with implications for a variety of fields, including international security and the global economy, said Vinh Nguyen, the national intelligence officer for cyber issues on the U.S. National Intelligence Council, in a lecture hosted by the computer science department Monday. “It is something that we all have to be responsible for and we all have to understand,” Nguyen elaborated. Nguyen’s lecture, entitled “The Growing Risk of Surprise in Cyberspace,” highlighted the increased cybersecurity vulnerability that has accompanied the growing pervasiveness of technology. “We can see that certain norms that we’ve held … since the World War II victory, that this order that we created, the institutions that we built, (are) eroding by the day” due to

TIFFANY DING / HERALD

Vinh Nguyen, national intelligence officer for cyber issues on the U.S. National Intelligence Council, discussed implications of cybersecurity. the rise of technology and the lack of sufficient cybersecurity precautions, Nguyen said. Frequently, companies sacrifice security in order to be economically competitive, Nguyen added.

“I would argue that the drive for global competition, that we all want to grow and to be prosperous and competitive, (comes) at a cost of security that we pay in the long-run, and that » See CYBER, page 3

WEATHER

TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018

ARTS & CULTURE Spring Coffeehaus event hosted by B-Side magazine showcases talents of Brown student artists

COMMENTARY Editorial: The University should install more water bottle filling stations to combat water concerns

COMMENTARY Flynn ’20: The Herald should no longer prohibit the use of the Oxford Comma in its style guide

COMMENTARY Story ’19, Greenwell ’20: Students should campaign for reproductive rights in Rhode Island

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ARTS & CULTURE PAGE 2 • TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018

» ATHENAEUM, from page 1 “The Athenaeum is a unique library and cultural center, and we welcome and enrich the educational and cultural pursuits of our members of the community. … We encourage a diverse public to engage in spirited conversation,” Burriesci said, noting the Athenaeum’s dedication to humanities pursuits and preserving its historic building. The new fund allowed for the acquisition of three illustrated plates for one of the treasures of the special collection— the “Description de I’Égypte” — a 25-volume set of books commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th century, Wodehouse explained. The Athenaeum spent 10 years conserving the set, which was originally acquired in 1838 — only two years after the institution was founded. “We’re the only library in the state to have a complete set,” Wodehouse said. The set is housed in a custommade Egyptian cabinet in the Rare Book Room. “(In) the mid-20th century, they noticed that there had been some plates that had been taken from (the library),” Wodehouse said. “They happened to be these 14 color bird prints from the natural history portion of the set.” Wodehouse found three of the plates for sale, featuring a total of 15 birds, and decided to purchase them to enhance the Athenaeum’s current collection. “Restoring the set to completion really adds a lot to the Athenaeum,” Burriesci said. The plate most prominently featured at the front of the exhibit depicts

» POETRY, from page 1 to invite a poet, she was one of the people that came to mind.” Although Galvin’s work may be eccentric, she claims she is not a surrealist because “I’m just writing stuff that happened to me,” she said. Galvin draws much of her inspiration from conversations and dreams, but also finds ideas in more unorthodox places, such as poorly translated menus. Once Galvin has decided on the subject of a poem, she reads other writers’ work to find tools to help contextualize her thoughts, she said. She carries

a Pharaoh eagle-owl. Athena, the patron goddess of the Athenaeum, is often symbolized by an owl, “so it felt like a real homecoming to have an owl plate, ready and available,” said Robin Wetherill, the Athenaeum’s director of marketing and communications. Currently, the plates are featured alongside “Observing Nature: Edna Lawrence and Cabinets of Curiosities,” the Athenaeum’s spring exhibition, which will be on display in the Philbrick Rare Book Room through June 17. The exhibition was put on in partnership with the Rhode Island School of Design’s Nature Lab in celebration of the Lab’s 80th anniversary, and it contains items from the Athenaeum’s collection as well as the lab’s. “We were so thrilled to have the acquisition fit so seamlessly with the exhibit that was already planned. With this exhibit, we’re highlighting the real treasures of our natural history collection, and these plates fit beautifully into that,” Wetherill said. “It’s been one of our most viewed exhibits already.” Wodehouse plans to extend the power of the gift by waiting to spend its entirety. “I don’t want to rush into any big decisions, acquire anything too quickly,” she said. “It gives me time to be very thoughtful about it.” She plans to consider what would align well with the current collection, future exhibits and “the narrative of the Athenaeum and the people that have connected with it over the years,” Wodehouse said. “People think we’re a part of Brown or a part of RISD or think we’re a part of the courthouse and don’t really know that they can come in. So we’re trying to get members of the public in and excited about it,”

around five books, including “Letters to Wendy’s” by Joe Wenderoth and “The Difficult Farm” by Heather Christle, which she turns to for guidance when stuck. According to Galvin, these books have taught her that surrealism is not nonsense; it must abide by its own conventions. “What’s most important to me is creating an internal logic in a poem,” Galvin said. “The logic has to remain consistent and it has to have a purpose. … Nothing can be wasted.” Galvin has also learned about poetry through music, she said. The artist who served as “the real origin of (her)

THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

COURTESY OF THE PROVIDENCE ATHENAEUM

The Athenaeum’s fountain, which has been turned off for over a decade, will resume flowing at 2:30 p.m. May 20, during a Garden Party and Open House that will also feature tours and children’s events. Wetherill said. “When people walk in the door, they’re just amazed that this treasure exists and that they’d never really known about it.”

The Athenaeum will be hosting a Garden Party and Open House May 20, during which the Athenaeum’s Richmond Fountain — which has

been turned off for more than a decade — will once again flow. The newly acquired plates will be on display during the open house.

style” was Sexually Active Corpse, a one-man band who rapped nursery rhyme-like poems over beats made only with children’s instruments. “They were so surreal and dirty and weird, and I could just tell that he was only doing it for himself,” she said. “So that was what made me really want to write poetry.” Galvin herself started out in a band, writing lyrics and playing guitar throughout high school. After her guitar was stolen, she realized she could replace music with other tools. “The first big lesson I learned about poetry was that it’s composed of layers of

meaning in the same way that a song is composed of different instruments,” Galvin said. “And if you’re just using words, you have to add something else to create that momentum; you don’t have a base, you don’t have a beat, … so the words have to do all that work.” Galvin has experimented with various ways of creating this type of momentum including structural and tonal manipulation of her writing so her poetry can move like music. The content of Galvin’s poetry works with this rhythmic flow to shock and stir the reader. “The way I think a poem should make somebody feel is

(like) when they’re a really little kid and they encounter an idea for the first time that’s crucial to being an adult, but they don’t know what it is,” Galvin said. She believes that everyday life becomes redundant and makes the world seem boring, but a childlike perspective can bring back the excitement, she added. “I think that the purpose of poetry and art in general is to restore people to that state where they can experience things with new highs,” Galvin said. “The human brain craves novelty, and I think art puts your everyday experience in a context where you can experience it anew again.”


NEWS

TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018 • PAGE 3

THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

» ADOCH, from page 1 have had a scheduling conflict that would have precluded them from attending at all in the past. … We really would love for as many students as possible to be able to visit campus.” In addition, the budget for travel grants was doubled, allowing 423 admitted students to receive fully subsidized travel to and from campus, Powell wrote in a follow-up email to The Herald. This year, ADOCH was shortened from three days to two days, which posed a challenge for Jardelle Johnson ’19, ADOCH student co-coordinator. “We were required to think about what was most important, because there was just no way we could (include) everything they had for the past ADOCHs,” Johnson said. “I think we’ve been pretty successful.” Sunday’s events — which included an activities fair, a talent show and a new food truck festival — focused on giving prospective students a taste of life outside the classroom. On Monday, visiting students were invited to shop classes and attend faculty lectures and panel sessions to learn about academic life. “We have a lot going on. … We deliberately made it that way so that they can pick and choose what they want to go to,” Johnson said. “I really hope that they will value how much freedom they will have at Brown.” Additionally, visiting students were placed into units similar to firstyear units. “If they’re coming alone, we don’t want them to be wandering around by themselves,” Johnson said. “We want to give them an already built-in community.” Units were a welcome feature among prospective students. “The units are really great for meeting new people,” said Carlos Tejada of Passaic, New Jersey. Tejada added that he enjoyed competing with his unit in Brown’s Amazing Race, a campuswide scavenger hunt. While Tejada was “pretty sure” about committing

» CYBER, from page 1 is not something that we are thinking about,” he said. Combating cyber threats requires thinking beyond traditional responses to adversaries, he advised. “In the military when you have an opponent, … you neutralize them,” Nguyen said. “But in cybersecurity if you try to neutralize and mitigate your adversary, you actually just gave your adversary a lesson to learn how to evade you and how they can recover and operate

SAM BERUBE / HERALD

Prospective students from the class of 2022 gathered at the ADOCH activities fair in Meehan Auditorium. Brown student representatives from various clubs and organizations set up booths this weekend to showcase the various ways students can get involved on Brown’s campus. to Brown before coming to campus, he said his experience at ADOCH made him far more likely to enroll. Unlike in recent years, students admitted through early decision were also invited to participate. “Expanding the program this year to include early decision students … will add a lot of energy and vitality to the mix” because early decision students are sure they will be enrolling, Powell said. “I’m excited we got to come this year,” said Yenteen Hu of Westfield, New Jersey, who applied in the early

decision pool. Hu added that she was glad ADOCH allowed her “to explore parts of campus I didn’t know about.” Aditya Hoque of Marlborough, Massachusetts, another early decision admit, agreed with Hu. “It’s been good to meet everyone we’ve seen on social media for the last few months,” Hoque said. Even though Hoque needed no convincing to attend Brown, he was especially enthusiastic to visit campus for ADOCH. “I ED’d here for a reason,” he said. Provost Richard Locke P’18 and Alexia Melendez Martineau ’18,

ADOCH student co-coordinator, joined Powell and Johnson in welcoming the prospective students at a reception in the Salomon Center Sunday. Locke and Powell both praised the class of 2022 during the reception. This year, the Admission Office “read and assessed more than 35,000 applicants, the largest applicant pool in Brown’s history,” Locke said. “(The Admission Office) had the inspired choice of zeroing in on each of you, and they were able to identify you as Brown students.”

Pointing to the size of the applicant pool and the low acceptance rate, Powell told the crowd of admitted students, “You’re about to make history as the greatest Brown class ever.” “Now, I may have said the same thing last year to the class of 2021,” Powell joked. “But I really mean it this time.” “You’re going to discover the answer to that question of ‘Why Brown?’ today and tomorrow,” Powell continued. “Savor every moment you’re here, and then come back in the fall and savor four years with us.”

against you later on. So you actually teach them resilience.” To operate under these conditions, Nguyen advised innovative approaches and determination. “We’re advising people to be more resilient — we advise people to really think about the complexity of the system,” he said. “We have to approach it that way rather than using traditional tools to fight a threat.” Individuals can take certain steps to protect their data in the face of heightened risks, Nguyen told The Herald.

“The most important recommendation I would ever give is two-factor authentication,” Nguyen said. “It is a pain in the neck, but it is something that is (also) a pain in the neck for your adversaries.” Students enrolled in CSCI 1800: “Cybersecurity and International Relations” attended the lecture. Professor of Computer Science John Savage, who teaches the course, introduced Nguyen. Josh Levin ’20, who took CSCI 1800 last year and is a teaching

assistant for the course this year, said he appreciated hearing Nguyen’s take on some possible solutions to cybersecurity threats. “These types of talks have an inherent pessimism because it’s about how to combat problems and such, and I think it’s interesting to hear how he approaches that pessimism and how he thinks” the United States and concerned citizens “can get over that hump,” Levin said. Daniel de Castro ’20, a double concentrator in computer science and

political science, said the talk was relevant to both his fields of study. “It was interesting to see how policy is going to have to play a role in the future of internet governance and technology in general,” de Castro said. Ultimately, Nguyen stressed the power of each person to positively affect cybersecurity. “We can all take little actions to make it better,” he said. “You don’t have to be a cybersecurity professional to do cybersecurity. You can do it by yourself every day.”


NEWS

PAGE 4 • TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018

THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

B-Side Spring Coffeehaus adds to Underground hum B-Side Magazine hosts annual Spring Coffeehaus show, features various student artists By LIYAAN MASKATI SENIOR STAFF WRITER

Live music complimented the distinctive hum of The Underground Coffee Co. Saturday afternoon as the B-Side Magazine hosted its annual spring Coffeehaus show, which featured various student performers and groups. “Sometimes at Brown if you’re doing something that’s not quantifiable in terms of a grade, or a thesis, or an internship, it doesn’t always get recognized,” said Michael O’Neill ’19, managing editor of B-Side. “I wanted to put on an event where students can perform and (display) these skills, and others can come and watch.” The lineup of featured student musicians included performers Drew Wendel, Sofia Frohna & Friends, Cat Carignan, Alidade, Julia Hava, The

ALEXANDRA HANESWORTH / HERALD

Schapiro 17 and Tourist Tortoise. “I really like The Underground as a space for more singer-songwriter artists,” said Drew Wendel ’19, one of the performers, who describes her music as “singer-songwriter, very strippeddown and acoustic.” The intimate setting of The Underground is ideal for such performances, and harmonizes well with Coffeehaus’s intention of

bringing people together in a small space and making student artists heard, she elaborated. “The event had a really cool laidback vibe,” said Charlie Saperstein ’21, a writer for B-Side. “People were streaming in and out, doing homework, stopping by — and I think everyone really appreciated the performers,” he continued.

Hosting the event at The Underground is mutually beneficial to both the student-run coffee shop and the featured artists, O’Neill said. “The Underground gets more business from the extra audience and the students get the opportunity to show off stuff they’ve worked really hard on,” he explained. Following the spring Coffeehaus, B-Side will host their annual tent show

April 25, which will showcase a variety of student performers in an outdoor setting. “My favorite part of (hosting these events) is giving people a platform to perform and getting to meet so many people on campus who are so incredibly good at making music,” O’Neill said, and added that such events help showcase the variety of student acts on campus.

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TODAY

TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018 • PAGE 5

THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

r a i n , r a i n g o away

menu SATELLITE DINING ANDREWS COMMONS

Pizza: Cheese, Spinach & Feta, Bacon Chicken Ranch, Pepperoni, Sausage & Jalepeño JOSIAH’S

BLUE ROOM

Grilled Portobello Mushroom, Crispy Chicken

Chicken Kadhai, Avial Vegetable Curry, Foccaccia bar

DINING HALLS SHARPE REFECTORY LUNCH

DINNER

Chicken Fingers, Mashed Potatoes, Shrimp Fried Rice, Black Bean Chipotle Fritters

Risotto Primavera, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Salt and Pepa Jerk Chicken, Dal Cali and Yogurt

VERNEY-WOOLLEY LUNCH

DINNER

Lentil Chili, Broccoli Florets, Shaved Steak Sandwich, Gnocchi with Alfredo Sauce

Beef Noodle Soup, Chicken Andouille Shrimp Jambalaya, Red Potato with Chive Sauce

sudoku

TIFFANY DING / HERALD

Students tired of winter weather as a rainstorm hit Providence Monday, destroying umbrellas galore. Prospective students visting campus for ADOCH braved the weather to explore campus after attending events this weekend.

Q U O T E O F T H E D AY

crossword

“Sometimes at Brown if you’re doing something that’s not quantifiable in terms of a grade, or a thesis, or an

internship, it doesn’t always get recognized.

— Michael O’Neill ’19, managing editor of B-Side Magazine

See B-SIDE on page 4.

CORRECTION An earlier version of the article “Film discusses Rosa Parks House” stated that the documentary directed by Fabia Mendoza is entitled “A White House.” In fact, the documentary is entitled “The White House.” An earlier version of the article also stated that the film was a personal artistic endeavor led by Fabia Mendoza’s husband Ryan Mendoza. In fact, the film focused on a personal artistic endeavor led by Fabia Mendoza’s husband Ryan Mendoza. The Herald regrets the errors.

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Probability Seminar: Jose Blanchet 11:00 A.M. 170 Hope St., Rm 108

Test Anxiety: What is It and How to Manage It 12:00 P.M. J. Walter Wilson

‘Stolen Education’ with Enrique Alemán 4:15 P.M. BERT 130

International Fiction Now 5:30 P.M. 70 Brown St.

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Writing 3D 10:00 A.M. Granoff Center for the Creative Arts

Free S’Mores from Climate Action League 11:00 A.M. Wriston Quad

Rory Kennedy: Social Impact and Story Telling through Documentary 6:30 P.M. Salomon Center, Room 001

Jeopardy and Ice Cream Study Break 7:00 P.M. Leung Gallery


COMMENTARY PAGE 6 • TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018

THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

EDITORIAL

Thirsting for more water stations During orientation week, all first-year students are given a welcome package that includes a reusable water bottle. This policy can be traced back to 2008, when the student organization Beyond the Bottle pushed the University to scale back its use of disposable water bottles. Today, Brown Dining Services does not sell plastic bottles of water, and students are encouraged to fill and drink from reusable water bottles. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, as many buildings do not have water bottle filling stations in close proximity. Several buildings across campus lack water bottle filling stations, including the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and the Center for Information Technology. More egregiously, none of the three first-year dorms in Keeney Quadrangle — which houses 600 students and constitutes the “largest self-contained residential unit on campus” — contain even a single water bottle filling station. This means that students working and residing in these buildings need to venture elsewhere to fill their bottles or resort to buying bottled water or filters. This poses unnecessary challenges for students and community members as they try to stay hydrated. It goes without saying that all students should have easy ac-

cess to safe drinking water. Providence, however, has a track record of elevated lead levels in drinking water. At higher risk of lead contamination are buildings built before 1947 — including many of the University’s residence halls. Students have previously complained about visibly discolored water in halls such as Graduate Center and Perkins Hall. A number of students interviewed by The Herald have voiced doubts about the quality of the drinking water from kitchen and bathroom sinks. An Undergraduate Council of Students survey from earlier this year showed that a large majority of survey respondents ranked the importance of increasing access to water filling stations as “four or more on a scale of one to five,” with five designating the highest-priority issues. Though the sample size of this survey is small, it demonstrates at the very least that a significant number of students have been inconvenienced or troubled by the dearth of water stations. Of particular concern is the belief that tap water could contain lead: Though the University has tested samples of waters in each of the halls and found that they do not contain lead levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s action level, even trace amounts of lead could have potential consequences for students’ health and well-being.

In response to these concerns, the UCS campus life committee has recently submitted a proposal to the Department of Facilities Management to add 10 new water stations around campus. There is no timeline for the implementation of the initiative, and Facilities Management has not yet accepted or approved it. But, while there remains a lot of work to be done to enact the proposal, we are optimistic that these additional water stations will significantly bolster the University’s efforts to enhance accessibility, student wellness and campus sustainability. We hope that the administration takes students’ concerns about drinking water seriously and acts on them soon. After all, it is long past time that all residential buildings — and frankly, all buildings — at Brown are equipped with a reliable source of clean water.

Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board: Anuj Krishnamurthy ’19, Mili Mitra ’18, Rhaime Kim ’20 and Grace Layer ’20. Please send responses to this opinion to letters@browndailyherald.com and opeds to opinions@browndailyherald.com.

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COMMENTARY TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018 • PAGE 7

THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

Herald, employ the Oxford comma JAMES FLYNN staff columnist Anyone who has written for the Brown Daily Herald has had to put up with the stain of barbarism that persists in its style guide. I am referring to the rule that prohibits the use of the Oxford comma, or the serial comma, which is the comma placed before the coordinating conjunction in a series of three or more terms. In the list, for example, “the United States, France, and China,” the Oxford comma is the last one before the “and.” This comma usually lends itself to resolving egregious ambiguity. It is a wonder, then, why the style guide of The Herald nonetheless strictly enforces a rule to no other effect than to make writing more ambiguous. The reasons turn out to be a dogmatic appeal to authority and a desire to fit in with major news publications. The Herald has indulged this practice for too long and must reform it hereafter. In the publishing world there is a great divide in the use of the Oxford comma, which is often the subject of vehement and bitter controversy. Lynne Truss, in her style guide “Eats, Shoots & Leaves,” comments that “There are people who embrace the Oxford comma, and people who don’t, and I’ll just say this: Never get between these people when drink has been taken.” Oxford University Press, most American book publishers and many American style guides recommend its use. “Comma Queen” Mary Norris of The New

Yorker, which is famous for its rigorous copy editing, calls the Oxford comma “a bulwark against barbarianism.” On the other hand, most British publishers, most American newspapers — such as The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times — and the widely used Associated Press Stylebook recommend against its use, according to Steven Pinker’s book, “The Sense of Style.” The Times forbids the Oxford comma except in cases “where a sentence would be awkward or confusing without it,” and justifies the omission by appealing to what news writing has “traditionally” done, without fully understanding the rea-

ing Resource Blog: (1) “He enjoyed his farm, conversations with his wife and his horse,” and (2) “Highlights of Peter Ustinov’s global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector.” Also consider these two examples from recent articles in The Herald. One article describes an art exhibit featuring objects left by people crossing the Mexican-American border, and it includes the following sentence: “These objects include backpacks, water bottles, clothes and pieces of fabric worn by people around their shoes to conceal their footprints, the artist added.” Because

he said.” Because there is no comma after “cinematography,” it is ambiguous whether the artist was actually scriptwriting or was simply studying scriptwriting — a significant difference. Opponents of the Oxford comma might claim that its omission makes the prose smoother and brisker. Because commas cause the reader to pause by signaling a separation of ideas, they say, the use of all commas should be minimal. But this claim is mistaken. In a series of three or more terms, the pauses that commas produce are necessary, since they allow the reader to distinguish intuitively and fluidly among those terms.

The AP Stylebook’s rule against the use of the Oxford comma is based on a dogmatic appeal to tradition; The Herald’s adaptation of that rule is based on a dogmatic appeal to authority. soning behind that tradition: “perhaps seeking a more rapid feeling in the prose, or perhaps to save time and effort in the old days of manual typesetting.” The Herald uses the AP Stylebook as its default style guide, which most professional newspapers also use. It wants to come off as professional, though it does not employ the same nuance that the Times does in its policy. As a copy editor of three semesters, I not once have witnessed an intentional exception to the rule for clarity’s sake. But the omission of the Oxford comma is often problematic. Take these two examples, which I’ve drawn from “The Sense of Style” and the Oxbridge Proofreading and Edit-

there is no comma after “clothes,” the sentence at first read seems to say that it was both the “clothes” and the “pieces of fabric” that people wore around their shoes. It is only upon reaching the end of the sentence that the reader realizes that the participial phrase cannot be modifying “clothes.” This causes the reader to pause in confusion and then to go back to reread the sentence. Another article profiles an artist: “As an adult, he began to forge his path as a creative through multiple forms of expression, including designing sets for teleplays, restoring historical sites around Cuba, studying cinematography and scriptwriting as well as directing a performance art group,

Without a pause before the last term, the reader, at first read, does not distinguish intuitively the last term from the previous term in the series. Thus the lack of a pause often yields confusion and disrupts the flow of the prose. Anecdotally, in my time at The Herald, virtually every copy editor to whom I have spoken about this rule has expressed the same loathing for it that I feel. Many other writers and editors there have also expressed utter contempt for being forced to adhere to it. These objections are not merely trivial complaints from exhausted copy editors — the omission of the Oxford comma can have real-world consequences. The faulty

omission of the Oxford comma once cost Oakhurst Dairy in Portland, Maine, $5 million in settlements, when a court found Maine law governing overtime pay ambiguous precisely because of the lack of an Oxford comma. Those rare individuals who claim to like the excision of the Oxford comma have justified their position not on the basis of any merits of the rule, but on the basis that this is the way it has been done for a long time and the way the Times does it. But these are not good reasons. The AP Stylebook’s rule against the use of the Oxford comma is based on a dogmatic appeal to tradition; The Herald’s adaptation of that rule is based on a dogmatic appeal to authority. We are at a point in history, grounded in the ideals of the Enlightenment, when dogma, authority and tradition are no longer viable arguments for anything — reason and rationality must trump those more invidious forces. Brown, moreover, prides itself in producing free thinkers who reject appeals to the established way of doing things. For the sake of the comprehension of its readers and the sanity of its writers, and for the sake of progress, The Herald must lead the way in eliminating this rule from its style guide and allowing the Oxford comma.

James Flynn ’20 can be reached at james_flynn1@brown.edu. Please send responses to this opinion to letters@browndailyherald.com and op-eds to opinions@browndailyherald.com.

Students must fight for reproductive rights in R.I. CELIA STORY AND LIAM GREENWELL op-ed contributors Many Brown students assume that Rhode Island’s status as a blue state — and its reputation for progressivism on the national stage — means that we live in a safe haven of reproductive rights. But in fact, NARAL Pro-Choice America ranks reproductive rights access here as “severely restricted,” its lowest grade, on par with states such as Alabama and Texas. In short, the condition of reproductive health care access in Rhode Island is unacceptable, and Brown students must work harder to support protections for reproductive rights in the state. In January 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that abortion is a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution. Even though this landmark decision nullified abortion bans across the country, many states like Rhode Island did not amend state laws on this issue. Forty-five years later, the ban is still on the books at the state level in Rhode Island — and if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, as President Trump has promised to encourage, abortion would once again be illegal. Even though abortion is currently legal because of Roe v. Wade, Rhode Island law burdens patients seeking reproductive health care with draconian restrictions. A doctor must notify a married woman’s husband, for example, before performing an abortion. Women under 18 must obtain parental consent for an abortion proce-

dure, even in the cases of rape, incest or child abuse. Low-income women on Medicare are not able to obtain health insurance to cover an abortion procedure. And bans on late-term abortion do not provide an explicit exception to protect the health of the woman. These restrictions are in part why Rhode Island has earned such a low rating from NARAL on reproductive health access. For many years, progressive representatives in the Rhode Island House and Senate have tried to codify the protections of Roe v. Wade in state law through the passage of the Reproductive Health Care Act. This bill would ensure

essential goods under Rhode Island law, and are therefore subject to sales tax. State Rep. Edith Ajello, D-Providence, who is sponsoring a new bill to eliminate tax for these products, said in a committee hearing last June that the tax is unfair. Tampons are necessary “for women’s physical health and safety,” she said, and the tax is particularly a burden for low-income women. There is some hope, however, that the political status quo regarding reproductive health in Rhode Island is shifting. It is encouraging to see several pro-choice women and men, such as Rebecca Kislak ’94, running for the State House

Even though abortion is currently legal because of Roe v. Wade, Rhode Island law burdens patients seeking reproductive health care with draconian restrictions. that current federal protections are guaranteed under state law and would repeal unenforceable measures such as the requirement for spousal notice. But the leadership of the State House, which consists mainly of anti-choice Democrats, perennially stalls the bill’s progress. Every year when the bill is introduced, it flounders in committee and never makes it to the floor for a vote. Rhode Island falls short when it comes to other reproductive rights issues as well. Tampons, for example, are still considered non-

this election cycle. But as of now, the tampon tax bill and the Reproductive Health Care Act, once again, are stuck in committee. To that end, Brown NARAL has organized phone banks and canvassing efforts, in addition to extending invitations to pro-choice State House candidates to come to campus. Brown NARAL and the Brown chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union are also co-sponsoring a discussion with Wendy Davis, the former Texas state senator who gained national attention after her 11-hour filibuster to delay the passage of abortion restric-

tions in 2013. We hope the event will serve as a reminder of the importance of robust reproductive health care legislation, and of the dire state of reproductive rights in Rhode Island and nationwide. We urge our peers to attend and take part in the discussion. But more importantly, it is imperative for Brown students to campaign for reproductive rights progress in Rhode Island, especially in the face of a regressive federal administration. That means supporting pro-choice candidates in November, specifically candidates for the Rhode Island State House and Senate who will support bills such as the Reproductive Health Care Act. It also means educating people on campus and beyond about the appalling environment of reproductive health care restrictions in the state. This is especially critical as federal protections for abortion are the most at risk in the 45 years since Roe v. Wade. Please join us on April 21 at 4 p.m. in Metcalf Auditorium to welcome Davis, and in the larger fight for reproductive justice as we mobilize for the November state elections.

Celia Story ’19 is a member of Brown NARAL. Liam Greenwell ’20 sits on the executive board of the Brown chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. They can be reached at celia_story@brown. edu and liam_greenwell@brown.edu, respectively. Please send responses to this opinion to letters@browndailyherald.com and other op-eds to opinions@ browndailyherald.com.


NEWS THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018

International Student Experience Center fosters community, support International students study, connect, mentor in New Dorm space established last spring By IVY BERNSTEIN STAFF WRITER

Following requests to increase support and resources offered to international students, the University created the International Student Experience Center in May 2017, said Christina Phillips, the center’s program director. The center allows international students to connect with the University’s international community regardless of their country of origin, Phillips said. With the creation of the ISE Center, Beatriz de Arruda ’19, who works as a coordinator for the International Mentoring Program, said she has seen a “huge difference on campus” over the past year. “The international students have more of a sense of community and support. The center raises visibility and resources for” them, de Arruda said. Building a sense of community for first-year students is critical because “they’re so far from home,” she added. The ISE Center also helps firstyears transition to life on campus. “Cultural differences can be very difficult to navigate. For example, in

some cultures, asking for help can have a different meaning than it has here, so people struggle with how to reach out for help,” de Arruda said. As a mentor for IMP, Andrea Alvarado ’20 said she finds helping first-years adjust to University life to be very meaningful. “I’ve been able to share everything I’ve learned here and … provide support, especially for students from Latin America,” Alvarado said. In addition to fostering a sense of community, the center functions as a study space for international students, Alvarado said. The center — located in Vartan Gregorian Quad A — is just one component of the International Student Experience on campus. Students can also engage in programming, socialize and study at the ISE’s other space, The Globe, located in J. Walter Wilson, Phillips said. The ISE Center houses IMP, which coordinates a four-day preorientation program for international students, trains mentors and plans programming throughout the year. Previously, IMP — which began in 1999 — was located in the Student Activities Office in the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center. In addition to the pre-orientation program, ISE helps organize events such as the IMP Gala, karaoke night, gingerbread house-making and conferences with CareerLAB.

GUS REED / HERALD

The International Student Experience Center was created in May 2017 as a place to forge a sense of community and support, while simultaneously raising visibility and gathering resources for international students. These programs “make the family bigger and help (students) interact in meaningful ways,” Alvarado said. “ISE makes it easier for people to find peers that have similar struggles and to have a sense of Brown (as their) home,” de Arruda said. With the success they have experienced over the past year in helping first-year students, ISE is currently working on developing a similar support model for graduate students to

begin during the next academic year, Phillips said. But the University can still do more to help international students, de Arruda said, adding that the University’s need-aware financial aid policy hurts the diversity of the international community on campus. “International students who do not apply for and receive financial aid upon admission to Brown are not eligible for institutional aid in

subsequent years even if a student’s financial circumstances change or a sponsor discontinues providing support,” according to a University web page on financial aid for international students. “If there is a huge crisis in your country and it changes your financial status, you cannot get financial aid to support your education. This creates a lot of financial stress for those people,” de Arruda said.

INTERNATIONAL FICTION NOW

Celebrating the Unspeakable Practices of Robert Coover and the International Writers Project Tuesday, 17 April

Wednesday, 18 April

Thursday, 19 April

A voice performance of selections from Robert Coover's novel, Gerald's Party – this performance will be directed by Roderick Coover and will include cameos by many of the presenters who will be taking part in the festival.

Writing 3D – Visits to the CAVE and/orYURT to see experiments by current and former Brown students in 3D digital language arts, presented by John Cayley.

Postmodernism: What Was It? What's Next?, a panel discussion with Elisabeth Bell, Samuel Coale and Larry McCaffery

5:30 pm (doors open at 5 pm) McCormack Family Theater 70 Brown Street

A handful from among the countless former students whose visions grew through their being mentored by Robert Coover will present short readings: Robert Arellano, Shelley Jackson, Eurydice Kamviselli, Alexandra Kleeman and Joanna Scott. Joining this reading is Robert Coover's friend and literary colleague, Jonathan Baumbach. 7 pm McCormack Family Theater 70 Brown Street

for more details visit:

infictionnow.literaryarts.xyz

10 am to noon Studio 4, Granoff Center 154 Angell Street

From Electronic Writing to Digital Language Art, presentations by Robert Arellano, John Cayley, Samantha Gorman, David Jhave Johnston, Ian Hatcher and Benjamin Moreno Ortiz.

11 am McCormack Family Theater 70 Brown Street

Edwidge Danticat, Siri Hustvedt and Richard Powers read from their literary work. 4:30 pm 117 MacMillan Hall 167 Thayer Street

2 pm, McCormack Family Theater 70 Brown Street

Paul Auster, Robert Coover and Don DeLillo read from their literary work.

Celebrating the International Writers Project, readings by noted authors Russell Banks, Ru Freeman and Marlon James.

167 Thayer Street

7:30 pm 117 MacMillan Hall

T.C. Boyle and William Kennedy read from their literary work.

International Fiction Circus Now — the festivities culminate with presenations by Mary Caponegro, Matt Derby, Rikki Ducornet, Brian Evenson, Jack Foley, Ben Marcus and a host of others juggling language and all sorts of other surprises.

7:30 pm Martinos Auditorium, Granoff Center 154 Angell Street

9:30 pm McCormack Family Theater 70 Brown Street

4:30 pm Martinos Auditorium, Granoff Center 154 Angell Street

This festival was made possible by support from the Brown Arts Initiative and the Office of the Provost and is sponsored by the Department of Literary Arts

Tuesday, April 17, 2018  

The April 17, 2018 issue of The Brown Daily Herald

Tuesday, April 17, 2018  

The April 17, 2018 issue of The Brown Daily Herald

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