The Brandeis Hoot, January 14, 2022

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Volume 20 Issue 1

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”

By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Classes will be held remotely until Feb. 1, with students having the option to move in up until Jan. 31, according to an email sent by Ron Liebowitz, President, Carol A. Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Stew Uretsky, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and Raymond Lu-Ming Ou, Vice President of Student Affairs. “Our impressive vaccination rate is likely to significantly mitigate the degree of illness we experience on campus. However, we should all be prepared to see much higher positivity rates in our COVID testing program due to Omicron,” reads the email. In response to the surge, classes will begin remotely, currently in-person classes are scheduled to begin on Feb. 1. The email highSee POLICY , page 4

January 14, 2022

Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.

lighted that this is a temporary measure which they “hope will enable us to return to in-person classes and other activities quickly.” During this period, dining halls will be “grab-andgo.” Additional information regarding the changes to dining will be released at a later date. Residence halls will open as planned, on Jan. 16, however students will be able to choose to delay their arrival up-until Jan. 31. Additionally, students should be prepared to isolate themselves in their own rooms, due to the “limited isolation spaces available,” according to the email. Further decisions regarding isolation, such as the location and length will be made on a case-by-case basis. These decisions will be made by medical providers, following CDC guidelines. All students are required to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as they come to campus. Non-essential staff will also continue to work from home until Feb. 1; return to campus will be determined by individual PHOTO BY SASHA SKARBOVIYCHUK

By Roshni Ray editor

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions in Higher Education released the 2021 classifications for research activity in universities and colleges across the U.S. As of Dec. 15, Brandeis

dropped from being classified as an R1 institution to an R2 institution, according to the Carnegie Classification page. The main difference between R1 and R2 research institutions lies in the relative level of funding and research output from the university, according to the Carnegie Classification page. R1

institutions have a “very high research activity” while R2 institutions have “high research activity.” Both R1 and R2 institutions are awarded with at least 20 research or scholarship doctoral degrees and have had at least $5 million spent in the past year on research expenditures. While the classifications have

been released publicly, there is still a six-week review period during which Chief Administrators and Institutional Research Directors will review the basis for the classifications, according to the page. The classifications will be deemed as official by the end of January 2022. The Carnegie Classification

provides a standard framework to capture the differences in university goals and output since the 1970s, according to their webpage. The website states that, “this framework has been widely used in the study of higher education, both as a way to represent and See CLASSIFICATION, page 4

By Victoria Morrongiello editor


Inside This Issue:

News: Univ. to require COVID-19 booster Ops: MidBuff was a disappointment Features: New prof. in Biology department Sports: Changes to atheltics in the spring Editorial: Hopes for the semester

Drew Weissman ’81, MA ’81, P ’15—a Penn Medicine physician—has been named among the Time’s 2021 “Heroes of the Year.” Weissman was nominated for his contribution towards RNA vaccines specifically for the COVID-19 vaccine. Weissman and his colleague Katalin Kariko—a Penn Medicine researcher—collaborated to invent the mRNA technique used in the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, according to Weissman’s Penn Medical page. Both vaccines are being distrib-

Frisbee makes

Page 2 history Page 11 travels to Page 8 Banshee nationals, placing 16th Page 5 Page 7 SPORTS: PAGE 6

uted globally to help prevent COVID-19 infection and spread, and are approved for use by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), according to the CDC’s website. The research and development of this technique was done over the course of more than 15 years, according to the page. “Every experiment doesn’t work. Every hypothesis isn’t good. It was a continuous flow of negative feedback. But we saw the potential of the RNA and neither of us would give up,” said Weissman in the Time video. Weissman and Kariko first found a way to modify mRNA

over a decade ago, after that discovery they expanded on the technique to create a delivery system that could package mRNA into lipid nanoparticles, according to the page. By creating this packaging system, it allows the RNA to reach the intended part of the body that will allow the immune system to fight the specific disease—in this case, COVID-19. According to the Time article, Weissman and Kariko came to the breakthrough together which found that, “changing a specific mRNA building block helped the molecule evade the immune system.” From there, Weissman

The Satire Don’t look down on “Don’t Look Up” ARTS: PAGE 15

See HONORS, page 2


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January 14, 2022

Former student honored for work on vaccine HEROS, from page 1

found that mRNA could be encased in a fat bubble, by doing this, it would protect the genetic code of the material that is trying to be injected into the body. This then triggers the immune system to target antigens that match what has been injected by the vaccine, according to the Time article. This in essence gives the human body a set of instructions on how to fight different diseases after having the vaccine injected into them. “After that their research sped up rapidly. For disease after disease—more than 20 in all, including norovirus, influenza, HIV, hepatitis and Zika—the mRNA-based vaccines the duo developed during the 2000s were nearly 100 percent effective in protecting

By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

All members of the Brandeis community will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster by Jan. 25 or as soon as they become eligible, according to an email sent by Carol A. Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Stew Uretsky, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and Raymond Ou, Vice President of Student Affairs. It was announced in December that all community members would have to receive a booster by Feb. 15. Those that currently have exemptions will be exempt from the booster requirement as well. The university’s booster requirement for community members comes “in response to the

lab animals from getting infected,” according to the Time article. The work of Weissman and Kariko was able to be applied to the COVID-19 vaccine. “These laboratory breakthroughs made mRNA safe, effective and practical for use as a vaccine against COVID-19,” according to Weissman’s faculty page. Time magazine, in its “Hero’s of The Year” article dedicated to the scientists behind the vaccine— including Weissman and Kariko, refers to the scientists as “The Miracle Workers.” The Time article highlighted the work of two scientists, in addition to Weissman and Kariko, for their work with developing the COVID-19 vaccines, Kizzmekia Corbett and Barney Graham. According to the Time article, the scientists’ by, “exposing the in-

ner workings of how viruses survive and thrive is what made the COVID-19 vaccines possible.” In the Time Heroes of the Year 2021: Vaccine Scientists video, the four doctors explain that this vaccine was not a quick fix, it was that the technology had been developed at the “right time” for them to be able to implement it in the fight against COVID-19. Many people criticized the vaccine process when it was first released, claiming it was rushed, according to the video. Corbett explained in the article that she wished information about the vaccine came out different, “because it came without the understanding of all the work we had done before. While we did design a vaccine basically overnight and move quickly into clinical trials, there was so much confidence in the way we did that because

we’d been preparing for years.” The process of using mRNA technology took Weissman and Kariko 16 years to figure out how to use it safely in the human body, according to the Time video. Weissman and Kariko developed the mRNA technology for the vaccine but it was Corbett and Grahman who developed the sequencing of the COVID-19 virus which could be used in the vaccine. According to the Time video, the four scientists are now working to apply their findings to other diseases including the flu and cancer. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has since received FDA approval in August 2021, an update from its previous status which allowed it to be used for emergency use. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the FDA, but

only for emergency use, according to Weissman’s faculty page. Weissman went to Brandeis for his undergraduate degree, he studied biochemistry and enzymology, according to a BrandeisNOW article. He fulfilled his premed requirements at Brandeis and continued his education to receive his PhD and MD from Boston university, according to the article. After graduate school, Weisman went on to work on HIV research at the National Institute of Health (NIH). In this fellowship position he worked under Dr. Anothony Fauci who is currently the Chief medical advisor to the U.S. President Joe Biden.

continuing spread of COVID-19, the rise of new variants and the availability of booster vaccinations for [Brandeis’] entire community,” according to the email. Individuals are eligible for their booster shot if they received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna shot at least six months ago or if they received their doses of Johnson and Johnson at least two months ago, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot page. Those that are currently not eligible to receive their booster will have 30 days to provide documentation to the university, according to the email.Individuals who did not receive an FDA approved vaccine will receive communication in the coming weeks. For booster shots, individuals

do not have to receive the same brand they got for their initial shot, according to the CDC’s page. The email also reminded Brandeis community members that they do not have to get the same vaccine as their first one(s). Additional information regarding booster shots can be found on the CDC’s website. For community members who have already applied and received approval for their exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination, they will also automatically be exempt from the booster requirement. According to the email, community members exempt from the COVID-19 vaccination do not need to reapply for exemption. The university is also currently working on organizing more booster clinics on campus; however, community members were

encouraged to get their booster shot over the winter break. Boosters are available at hospitals and pharmacies, according to the email; individuals can also receive their boosters at local pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS. “Scientific evidence has shown that immunity to COVID-19 wanes over time. Early data suggest that the Omicron variant is more transmissible than Delta, but that booster shots have been shown to restore and strengthen immunity. Adding a booster to the original dose will help to slow the spread of COVID in the spring semester,” wrote Fierke, Uretsky and Ou in the email. Additional booster clinics are currently being scheduled for January in order to assure that all members of the community are able to meet the Jan. 25 dead-

line, according to an email sent by Ron Liebowitz, President, Carol A. Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Stew Uretsky, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and Raymond LuMing Ou, Vice President of Student Affairs on Jan. 7. Additional announcements will be made on the COVID-19 Response website. The university’s Campus Passport Portal at the time of publication does not have a place to upload booster documentation. Information on how to upload booster documentation will be provided within the coming weeks, according to the email. The vaccination page of the COVID-19 Response Website has additional information available for community members on the university’s policies.

Univ. updates requirements for students to return to campus By Victoria Morrongiello editor

The university updated its COVID-19 policies for community members as they return to campus for the spring 2022 semester, according to an email sent on Dec. 20 by Carol A. Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Stew Uretsky, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and Raymond Lu-Ming Ou, Vice President of Student Affairs. The university will also be adjusting its spectator policy for athletics events. “Despite the Delta variant and the persistence of the pandemic, our campus maintained a remarkably low positivity rate thanks to our commitment to social solidarity,” wrote the administrators in the email. Due to the circulation of the Omicron variant, the university will be carefully considering its current COVID-19 procedures

and policies to adjust to the new risk of the variant, according to the email. The Omicron variant “will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta [variant] remains unknown,” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) webpage. The CDC, at the time of publication, believes that those who develop the Omnicron will be able to spread the virus to others, regardless of their vaccination status or whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic, according to the CDC’s webpage “Since this pandemic began, the leadership at Brandeis has relied on a rigorous analysis of data and a careful review of guidance from health officials at state and federal levels to inform our decision making,” according to the email. The new guidelines include that students living in on-campus housing will be required to take a COVID-19 rapid test or PCR test 24 hours prior to moving in

for the spring 2022 semester, according to the email. To submit negative test results, students can visit the MyHousing portal to upload their results, according to the email. The university will also encourage all other returning community members, including faculty, staff and off campus students, to test within 24 hours of departing to return to campus, according to the email. If any community member tests positive before their arrival to campus, they are required to isolate at home and not come to campus. The university is encouraging community members to take rapid tests prior to coming to campus in order to keep the community safe and ensure they are not bringing COVID-19 to campus or to the testing locations on campus. In the email, the administrators reminded community members that our testing system is only for those who are asymptomatic. Community members can receive rapid tests at local phar-

macies and drugstores, including CVS and Walgreens, according to the email. The university also provided a list of resources to 40 FDA approved tests for COVID-19. “Plan ahead to be sure you have a rapid test on hand or have access to a testing site in order to test and receive results prior to your return to campus,” according to the email. All residential students returning to campus are required to take a test at the university’s testing site upon arrival, according to the email. Students are to remain in a soft quarantine until they receive a negative test result. The turnaround time for receiving results is typically one day. The university’s athletics department has also made alterations to its spectator policy on Dec. 31. Due to the local and national difficulties to receive PCR testing, the testing requirement to attend games has been changed from a negative test result 48 hours beforehand to 72 hours before the date of the competition,

according to the athletics department’s page. All Brandeis community members will be required to present a green passport upon entry to Gosman Sports and Convocation Center, according to the page. This is for both spectating and utilizing the facility. For nonBrandeis community members, they are required to present a negative PCR test result from 72 hours prior. Non-Brandeis community members cannot provide a vaccination card in place of the testing requirement, according to the page. Individuals who tested positive in the last 90 days will have to provide proof of the date they tested positive in order to gain admittance to Gosman Sports and Convocation Center, according to the page. Additional changes to the university’s COVID-19 policies may occur as the university continues to monitor the current conditions to ensure the safety of the Brandeis community, according to the email.

January 14, 2022

By Victoria Morrongiello editor

The university announced that it has begun preparations for its 75th anniversary, according to an email sent to community members by Patsy Fisher, Vice President of Alumni Relations and Dan Kim Senior Vice President of Communications, Marketing and External Relations on Dec. 20. The university will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2023. “Brandeis University will celebrate its 75th Anniversary in 2023, and we want to do all that we can to make sure it will be a memorable and momentous year,” wrote Fisher and Kim. The university was founded in 1948, starting with 107 stu-


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dents and 13 faculty members, according to the university’s Our Story page. Brandeis was started by an American Jewish community that offered education to Jewish people, other ethnic and racial minorities and women. All of which were groups that experienced discrimination in higher education at the time, according to the university’s page. For the 75th anniversary of the university’s founding, the university has assembled an anniversary staff planning and work group, according to the email. The committee is composed of 21 members of university faculty and staff, according to the Staff Planning and Work Group document. Fisher and Kim serve as co-chairs to the committee. The committee will be respon-

sible for creating “an outline and timetable of all activities, projects, and events that will take place as part of the celebration,” according to the email. This outline proposal of the committee will be presented to President Liebowitz in mid-February 2022, wrote Fisher and Kim. “We want to generate as many creative ideas as we can and create a plan for celebrating the anniversary in a coordinated way across campus and beyond. In order to do those things, we need your help,” according to the email. Brandeis community members were asked to submit ideas or plans they would like to see at the 75th-anniversary celebration next year, according to the email. For the commemoration of the university’s 75th year, the

university would like to honor its “nostalgia and history, along with a bright optimism about what the future holds for this great university,” according to the email. The university would like to involve community members in this process to deepen community engagement and get people excited for the celebration. According to the email, suggestions for the celebration should revolve around these prompts: what is the essence of Brandeis, and how should we celebrate it and how do we reflect on Brandeis’ storied past and look to its future. To submit ideas to the committee for review, community members can use a form embedded in the email. According to the form, community members can submit ideas for each question

separately. The form requests that individuals filling it out put in separate entries for separate ideas and ask that community members do not submit multiple ideas for each prompt in one entry. Community members are able to submit more than once on the form, according to the form. “We know that, as members of our community, you care about Brandeis and have a deep commitment to the university. We want to tap into that energy—and your creativity—as we begin planning for the 75th Anniversary celebration,” wrote Kim and Fisher. The form will be left open through Feb. 1. The university asks that community members do not submit the same idea more than once, according to the email.

Univ. receives $10 million donation from alumnus By Emma Lichtenstein editor

A center that will “strengthen civic and community engagement” is coming to Brandeis after the university received a $10 million donation, according to an email from President Ron Liebowitz on Jan. 4. The main goal of the Samuels Center, according to the alumni article, will be to prepare students for engaging “ethically and responsibly” with communities after they leave Brandeis. The article also mentions that the Samuels Center will also help support research conducted by both students and faculty—with current projects including prison

outreach and education, supporting people with disabilities, legal aid clinics, climate justice, domestic violence and mobilizing women’s groups in rural areas overseas—as well as support the novel Community Engaged Scholars Program (CESP). “Expected to launch in fall 2022, CESP integrates the extracurricular student experience—such as service work that students may participate in through the Department of Community Service and Student Affairs— and academics, so that students may draw critical connections between their social justice commitments and their studies,” reads the article. The article also states that the Samuels Center will provide stipends so that students can access engagement ac-

tivities regardless of financial status. He highlighted that Waltham Group, a service-based club on campus, will benefit from these new resources, and use that to further their community engagement. Liebowitz wrote that their hopes for the center include that it will be able to expand the civic community on campus, in Waltham and in the Greater Boston area. The center will also serve as a part of the university’s mission in the Framework for the Future initiative. The Framework for the Future is a report which compiles recommendations and guidelines which create a framework for the future of the university, according to the university’s page. The center will be a part of the ethos

which the university was founded on and will continue to pursue in its future, according to Liebowitz’s email. “During planning that led to the Framework, we identified that need for a unifying structure that would build upon and further our institution’s strong culture of community engagement. With this new center, we will be well-positioned to realize our goal by combining the very best of Brandeis’ cutting-edge research, scholarship and creative work as each relates to volunteer service,” wrote Liebowitz. The donation was made by Bobbi Samuels ’63 and the Samuels Family Foundation—an organization founded in 2015 with the principle of repairing the world, according to their webpage. The foundation supports

programs that educate children and help children in need, according to their page. It also works to support programs that support social justice. The donation was made in the honor of Victor “Vic” Samuels ’63 who passed away in 2020, according to an article on the Brandeis Alumni website. The new center will be called the Vic and Bobbi ’63 Samuels Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation. It will be accessible to many campus groups, according to Liebowitz’s email, including Waltham Group, a collective of student-run volunteer groups on campus, according to their page. A timeline for the Samuels Center construction has not been announced at the time of publication.

By Victoria Morrongiello editor

In preparation for the spring 2022 semester, Student Union President Krupa Sourirajan ’23 wrote to The Brandeis Hoot on the union’s plans as the student body faces the threat of the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. The Student Union will continue to work to support students regardless of whether the Spring semester is held virtually or in person. “I am excited to bring new initiatives and events this semester and collaborate a lot more with other clubs on campus,” wrote Sourirajan to The Hoot. One change that has been made is that the winter round of elections will be fully virtual, wrote Sourirajan. The Student Union has also decided to postpone its semesterly union meeting to a later date in February, this comes after the university pushed the first two weeks of classes into virtual learning, according to a previous Hoot article. As for other Student Union run events, the modality will be decided closer to the date they are planned for. The Union will also be introducing a new format to their weekly newsletters this semester in order “to ensure everyone can stay connected with what we are doing along with showcasing what other clubs around campus are up to,” wrote Sourirajan to The Hoot. While navigating online learning, after having a nearly en-

tirely in-person fall semester Sourirajan suggested that students should, “make use of our existing resources on campus like Academic Services to get their questions answered and the extra support they might need.” Another piece of advice Sourirajan offered is for students to attend office hours with professors in order to stay connected and keep up with course material no matter the type of learning format. For mid-years arriving on campus Sourirajan advised they take advantage of all events on campus—whether they are being held virtually or in-person. To incoming students, Sourirajan wrote, “Try to make an effort to get to know the people on your floor and when you come to club events, you will naturally meet people as well.” The university announced it would hold the first two weeks of classes online on Jan. 7 in an email from President Ron Liebowitz. This is meant to be a temporary measure, with classes resuming in-person on Feb. 1. “I know it might be really tough to get adjusted to campus life again this semester as we juggle between modalities so I would encourage everyone to get outside as much as possible, mask up and maybe take a walk with a friend, listen to music or even have some alone time,” wrote Sourirajan.


Around 4 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021 firetrucks responded to the fire alarm in Ziv Quad, according to social media posts of students. The Brandeis Hoot reached out to Area Coordinator of Ziv, Village and Ridgewood Quads, Montana Epps,

about what caused the fire. Epps responded writing, “Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to disclose any of the information.” Students were required to evacuate from the building while the situation was handled by the Waltham Fire Depart-

ment. Students were kept from the building for about an hour, they were allowed to return to their rooms a little before 5 a.m., according to student accounts. Seen in the photo obtained by The Hoot are firemen and multiple fire trucks at Ziv 127 on Dec. 11.


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ONLINE, from page 1

departments. Staff members are also asked to get a COVID-19 test prior to returning to campus. Brandeis will implement the CDC’s guidelines for mask-wearing, and encourages members to use surgical masks or respirators (KN95 and KF94) in order to be better protected. Members of the Brandeis community who have tested positive over the winter break are required to notify the Brandeis Case Tracing Program, in order to coordinate their return to campus.

Additionally, the email reminded members of the Brandeis community that if they are “contacted by BCTP, you must respond.” Individuals who test positive to COVID-19 may not come to campus until they have been cleared by BCTP. All members of the Brandeis community will be required to receive a vaccine booster by Jan. 25; those with exemptions will retain them. Individuals who received non-FDA approved vaccines will receive instructions soon. Individuals who are not eligible must submit documentation of receipt within

30 days of eligibility. Additional instructions for uploading documentation are to follow. On-campus booster clinics are currently being scheduled; Brandeis had clinics in late November and December. More information can be found in a previous Hoot article. Community members are strongly encouraged to take a rapid test immediately prior to their return to campus. The COVID-19 testing site in the Shapiro Science Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. The email highlighted that the testing site is only

January 14, 2022

to be used by asymptomatic individuals. Students living on campus are still required to submit a negative rapid or PCR test prior to returning to campus. An email from MyHousing was sent out to students, providing a place where they can upload their negative test results. Students living off-campus are encouraged to get tested prior to their return. In-person events will no longer be allowed to serve food or beverages; participants are required to be masked regardless of the size of the

gathering. “We are deeply grateful to the Brandeis community for everyone’s ongoing efforts to keep each other safe throughout the many challenges and changes we’ve experienced since March 2020. Thanks to your partnership, we have been able to continue the important work of our teaching and research mission since then,” concluded the email. All further details and new updates are available on the COVID-19 Response website.

ByVictoria Morrongiello

if they have any question ideas for what should be added to the survey which would best allow for there to be a change in the targeting of BIPOC students in noise complaints. The survey offers suggestions for what potential question changes could look like including, “how often do you clean your room? How sensitive are you to noise at night? What noise conditions do you need to sleep,” according to the survey. No updates regarding the revision of first-year matching process have been made on DCL’s Becoming Anti-Racist page. The Becoming Anti-Racist page updates community members on how the working groups of the Community Living Staff are incorporating ideas from the Black Action Plan into the department in order to become anti-racist. According to the page, it is meant to be, “updated regularly to share information with [Brandeis’] community as [DCL] focus on being anti-racist.” The most recent update to the page was on September 30, according to the working groups’ community check-ins. The Hoot reached out to the student leaders of the Black Action Plan, Sonali Anderson ’22 and Deborah Ault ’22, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

COVID-19 dashboards


The Black Action Plan— a student-run group creating structural change on campus to increase equity for BIPOC students— is collaborating with the Department of Community Living (DCL) to make changes to the first-year roommate matching process, according to a post on the Black Action Plan’s Instagram page. The Black Action Plan posted on their Instagram on Nov. 23 that they were looking for questions and suggestions for how to improve the first-year roommate matching process. According to the post, the alterations to the matching process would be in an attempt to help stop noise complaints and the targeting of BIPOC students in these complaints. “BAP is working with DCL to create new questions for the firstyear roommate matching process to limit roommate situations that put Black, Brown, and Asian students at risk of targeted noise complaints,” according to the post. The form to submit questions and suggestions for the university’s firstyear matching process is linked on the Black Action Plan’s Instagram page. On the form, it asks students


Total postive COVID-19 cases each week. Last Update November 18, 2021.


Total COVID-19 tests administered each week. Last Update November 18, 2021.

tier rankings CLASSIFICATION, from page 1

control for institutional differences.” The Carnegie classification updates as needed, according to their page, in order to reflect substantial changes in institutions. Since it was established in the 1970s, the classifications have

been updated in 1976, 1987, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, 2018 and 2021. Additionally, the Carnegie Classification arrives at its classification using empirical data from universities and colleges. The data sources from which the classifications are drawn include the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System

(IPEDS) from 2019-2020 as well as the 2019 and 2020 National Science Foundation surveys in Higher Education and Research Development and the Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering. The methodology for ascertaining university rankings is detailed on their website. The

research expenditures and output that the Carnegie Classification system considers is not limited to research within the realm of science, technology, engineering and math, but rather also includes research from the humanities and social sciences. This tool has been used by researchers, administrators and pol-

icymakers across the nation. It is used to determine the grants and federal and state funding that institutions receive and even serves to inform the U.S. News and World Report rankings of universities. It was originally produced by the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University.


January 14, 2022

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Athletics bans spectators, games postponed By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

As of Jan. 7, no spectators will be allowed at games. The previous policy was a negative test from 72 hours prior, to attend a game at the Gosman Sports and Convocation center, according to the Brandeis Judges website. The policy for attending the Gosman Sports and Convocation center for members of the Brandeis community remains: all

attendees must have a green passport to enter the facility. Individuals that have tested positive for the coronavirus in the last 90 days and are exempt from testing must provide proof of the date of their illness. Masks are required for all visitors of Gosman. Brandeis ranked 50th in the initial Learfield Directors’ Cup, according to the website. Brandeis’ points came from two sports: women’s cross country and women’s soccer. These are mid-season

rankings, which are unofficial. This makes Brandeis 10th in New England. Official rankings will be released in the spring, once all seasons are complete. The women’s cross country team placed 20th in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which earned Brandeis 54 points. While the women’s soccer team, which got to the second round of the NCAA tournament, got 50 points. Points are awarded based on the way the school fin-

ishes in the NCAA competitions. The Cup was created by USA Today and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. Due to a high volume of positive tests, the Dec. 30 men’s basketball game against Union College was canceled, according to the Judges website. Additionally, the men’s game against Bates that was supposed to take place on Jan. 3 was postponed to Feb. 16. The games against New York University on

Jan. 8, against Carnegie Mellon on Jan. 14 and Case Western Reserve University on Jan. 16 were postponed as well. The next scheduled home game for the men is against Emory on Feb. 4. On the women’s side, their Dec. 31 game against Gordon was also canceled. Their Jan. 3 game against Clark was postponed; no makeup date has been announced. Additional changes to policies can be found on the Judges’ website.

Women’s basketball plays close games By Justin Leung editor

Before going on winter break, the Brandeis women’s basketball team played two games at home against Bridgewater State University and Eastern Nazarene College. The first game was against Bridgewater St. on Dec. 2. The Judges had very even scores throughout the team in the first quarter, as no player had over three points. Guard Tathiana Pierre ’23 had three points with five different Brandeis players having two. Both teams shot below 30 percent from the field, resulting in 28 combined points in the first quarter between the two teams. The Judges’ shooting inconsistencies continued into the second quarter as the team

only made three of 12 shots. Senior guard Camilia Casanueva ’22 had four points all from the freethrow line. Guard Emma Reavis ’23 and first-year forward Mollie Obar ’25 had three points. The third quarter saw both teams be much more efficient shooting as Bridgewater St. had 24 points and Brandeis had 23 points. Sophomore guard Selenya Gonzalez ’24 came off the bench and scored nine points. Reavis and Casanueva added four and three points in the quarter. Going into the final quarter of the game, Brandeis was down by eight points. To make the comeback, they proceeded to hit five 3-pointers within the quarter. Obar had 11 points in the quarter while making 3-pointers. Forward Caitlin Gresko ’25 also came alive in the quarter with six

points. Brandeis was down one point in the final minute, but the team could not get any shot to fall and ultimately, they lost the game 73-74. In the game against Eastern Nazarene, the Judges took the lead quickly in the first quarter and then never looked back. Casanueva and forward Kerry Tanke ’22 had six points in the quarter, while Gresko led the team in rebounds with four. In the second quarter, Casanueva and Tanke again had six points to lead the team. Reavis distributed the ball well with three assists. During the final two quarters, the Judges were outscored, however, their lead built up in the first two quarters was too much for Eastern Nazarene to overcome. The final score of the game was 66-51, giving Brandeis a big win. Tanke

finished the game with 18 points and Casanueva added 13. Gresko had an all-around good game with six points, 10 rebounds and two steals. A month later the Judges faced off against New York University (NYU). The two teams went back and forth for three quarters. Tanke started the first quarter well with seven points and two rebounds. Every player in the starting lineup scored. Casanueva had three points and two assists. The starting lineup continued to play well as Gresko and Reavis both had five points in the quarter. Tanke had another seven points and four rebounds. Both teams were inconsistent in the third quarter on offense. The two teams combined to score just 26 points. In spite of this, Tanke still scored six points. Going

into the fourth quarter, Brandeis was winning 56-53. The NYU offense proceeded to go on a strong run and outscore Brandeis 23-12 in the final quarter. This led to a Brandeis loss of 68-76. Three Brandeis players finished the game with double-digit points. Tanke had 20, Reavis had 13 and Casanueva had 12. Tanke led the team in rebounds with eight, while Casanueva led the team in assists with six. The Brandeis women’s basketball team will play against Carnegie Mellon on Jan. 14, 2022. Editor’s note: Francesca Marchese is a staff writer for The Brandeis Hoot and did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.

Brandeis swim & dive place seventh By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

The Judges competed at the Gompei Invitational at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Sunday, Dec. 5. They earned 3,400 points during the three-day competition. Two new school records were set in one event by the women. Chloe Gonzalez ’25 set Brandeis’ record with a time of 53.46 in the 100-yard freestyle, however, in the next heat, Ema Rennie ’23 broke Gonzalez’s record with a time of 53.41. Rennie also placed eighth. In the 400-yard freestyle

relay event, Gonzalez, Rennie, Bailey Gold ’23 and Monica Iizuka ’24 placed fifth, while also setting a new school record with a time of 3:37. In the 200-yard butterfly, Gold placed second with a time of 2:07.42. In the 200-yard backstroke, Iizuka placed ninth with a time of 2:11.33. On the entire team, 13 events qualified for individual finals. The men’s team also had 13 events that qualified for individual finals. Sam Dienstag ’24 won the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 15:44.82; the second-place swimmer was over 30 seconds behind. In the 400-yard freestyle

relay, Dienstag, Benton Ferebee ’22, Brendon Lu ’22 and Dylan Levy ’24 finished ninth, with a time of 3:12.16. In the 50-yard breaststroke, Seth Shin ’24 placed fourth with a time of 27.61. Andrew Ngo ’25 placed eighth in the 100-yard individual medley, with a time of 54.56, while Tal Spector ’25 finished the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:58.90, placing 10th. The swimmers are back in the pool on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 1:00 p.m. They will compete against Bridgewater State and Keene State.


Men’s basketball wins four straight games By Justin Leung editor

Before winter break, the Brandeis men’s basketball team played four games in the month of December. On Dec. 3, the team played in the New England Big Four Challenge against Babson College. In the first half, both teams were very even, as the score was 30-25. Guard Colin Sawyer (GRAD) led the team in scoring with 12 points. Forward Chandler Jones ’22 came off the bench and added eight points and three rebounds. Both teams had inconsistent shooting as Babson shot 37.9 percent from the field, while Brandeis shot just 33.3 percent. The key difference came from the Judges’ 3-point shooting as Brandeis had four more 3-pointers in the first half. The second half started with just

a five-point lead from Brandeis. Both teams saw increased shooting efficiency, and this resulted in 40 points from Babson in the second half and 42 from Brandeis. This led to a 72-65 win for the Judges in the New England Big Four Challenge opener. The second-half scoring for Brandeis was led by guard Dylan Lien ’23 as he added 11 points and three assists in the half. Overall, the Judges beat Babson in all aspects of the game. Brandeis outrebounded them by eight and had nine more free throw attempts. On Dec. 4, the Judges faced off against Tufts University in a quintuple overtime championship game. Both teams had limited scoring within the first half as the Judges had 25 points and Tufts had 21. Sawyer led the team in scoring with six. Forward Nolan Hagerty ’22 led the team in rebounds with five. The team had

eight more rebounds than Tufts in the first half. Going into the second half of the championship game, the Judges looked to maintain their fourpoint lead. With three seconds remaining, Tufts tied the game to move to overtime. Sawyer and Hagerty led the team in scoring with 12 and 11, respectively. Jones had six points off the bench in the half. However, the team shot just 35.5 percent from the field. The game was locked for four consecutive overtime periods. This led the teams to remain tied going into their fifth overtime period. In the fifth overtime, Brandeis went right after Tufts and attempted to get to the freethrow line as much as possible. Forward Toby Harris ’25 accomplished this as he had eight points in the period with five of them coming from the free-throw line. The team overall had 11 points in

the overtime period just from the free-throw line. Overall, the game ended with a score of 108-102. On Dec. 7 the Judges faced Lasell University. The Judges took the lead quickly in the first half and did not look back. Brandeis took 43 points compared to Lasell’s 23. Sawyer and Harris had 10 points in the half with Hagerty adding six points and six rebounds. Overall, the team shot 58.6 percent from the field. In the second half, the Judges continue to push their lead. They shot well overall 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point line. Harris had another 10 points in the first half. Guard Austin Clamage (GRAD) had six points after coming off the bench while not missing a single shot. The final score of the game was 88-44 in favor of Brandeis. In the team’s final game before going on winter break, the Judges

faced off against Colby College. The first half saw both teams’ neck and neck as the score was 30-29 with Brandeis leading by one point. Jones led the team in scoring with eight and was followed by sophomore Ryan Power ’24 who had seven points. The second half saw the lead slip away from Brandeis as the team was down by seven points with three minutes in the game. However, the Judges made a strong comeback within the last three minutes. Jones finished the comeback with a clutch free throw with three seconds remaining to take a one-point lead. Colby College would not get another shot off leading to a final score of 69-68. Since that game, the team has not played another game due to the games being postponed.


The Brandeis Hoot

By Justin Leung editor

Brandeis men and women’s fencing had their first home meet on Dec. 5. They participated in three separate rounds, both teams facing six different schools. In the first round, the men’s team faced Yale University. The team started with a win as freshman Tony Escueta ’25 won his first sabre bout 5-4. Senior Lucas Lin ’22 then lost 3-5 to even the score for sabre between Yale and Brandeis. Sophomore Berwyn Lu ’24 closed the first three bouts with a win 5-3. Lin and Escueta added four more wins, to give Brandeis a win in sabre 5-4. Men’s foil was less successful. Sophomore Luke Ritchie ’24 and junior Jake Hempe ’23 were the only two Judges to have a foil win for the men’s team, as the team lost 2-7. The epee team had very close bouts against Yale. Junior Ben Rogak ’23 and freshman Tal Kronrod ’25 both

had two bout wins. Sophomore Ben Wang ’24 added a bout win and this led to the men’s epee win of 5-4. Overall, the Brandeis men’s team would lose 13-14 to Yale in the first round. The women’s team also faced off against Yale in the first round. In sabre, the women’s team had four bout wins. Three of them came from Maggie Shealy ’23 and one came from Kayla Turnoff ’25. This would not be enough to win as the women’s team ended up losing sabre 4-5. The women’s foil and epee teams were less successful. Neither group won a bout, leading to an overall Yale win of 23-4. In round 2 the men’s team started off against Saint Joseph’s University. The sabre team were close to taking the set, but ultimately lost 4-5. Lin had one bout win and Escueta had three bout wins. Both foil and epee followed, and both only won two bouts each. Hempe and Lee won a bout in foil and Rogak won two for epee. Overall, the Brandeis men’s fencing lost

8-19 to Saint Joseph’s University. In their round against Saint Joseph’s University, the women’s team were neck and neck all throughout. Sabre won four bouts as Shealy had one win, Turnoff had two and senior Jada Harrison ’22 had two. This was not enough as they lost 4-5. The foil team had six total bout wins to give them a 6-3 win. Junior Alexander Wicken ’23, freshman Alex McKee ’25 and junior Rachel Liu ’23 each had two bout wins. The epee team was less successful as they lost 3-6. Monica Aponte ’23, Bronwyn Rothman-Hall ’25 and Calla Lee ’25 each had only one bout win. Overall, the Brandeis women’s fencing team lost to Saint Joseph’s University 13-14. Round three was against Cornell University. The women’s team started with a win in sabre 5-4. Shealy won all three of her bouts and Turnoff won two of her bouts. The foil team did not win a bout and lost 0-9. Epee proceeded to only win two bouts. The bout

January 14, 2022

wins came from Angela Shi ’25 and Rothman-Hall. Overall, the women’s fencing team fell to Cornell 7-20. The men’s team against Cornell started off well with a 7-2 victory in sabre. Joy Qiu ’25 had two bout wins, Nick Quan ‘24 had three bout wins and Anthony Rabinkov ’25 had three bout wins. The men’s team also won foil with a score of 6-3. Chaemin Daniel Lee ’25 won all three of his bouts, Alexander Ma ’25 won two of his bouts and Drew Miller ’23 won one bout. Epee was the only competition that the men’s team did not win. Mark Shamis ’25 won two bouts, Wang won one bout and Harrison Kaish ’22 won one bout. The men’s team did end up winning overall in round three 17-10. In round four, the men’s team took the overall victory 15-12 against Brown University. They won sabre 7-2 and epee 6-3, while losing foil 2-7. The women’s team, however, fell to Brown 7-20, as they lost sabre 4-5, foil 1-8, and

epee 2-7. In round five, the men’s team won again, but this time against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They won sabre 7-2 and epee 6-3, while once again losing foil 3-6. The women’s team played their closest round yet as they lost 13-14 to MIT. Sabre won 6-3, but foil lost 3-6 and epee lost 4-5. In the final round of the invitational, the men’s team finished with their fourth consecutive round win with a win against the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) 18-9. Sabre, foil and epee all won their respective competitions 6-3. The women’s team also defeated UIW 16-11. Epee won 6-3 and sabre won 7-2. The men’s and women’s fencing teams will look toward their next competition on Jan. 22 for the second Northeast Fencing Conference of the season.

Track and Field Dec. 4 season opener By John Fornagiel editor

On Dec. 4, track and field began their 2021-2022 season at Springfield College, ending the day with several victories and other second-place finishes. The Brandeis track and field team saw two victories in the 200-meter dash during the event. One of these victories was Reese Farquhar ’22, who won the event with a time of 23.28 seconds.

Farquhar beat out his opponent Jean Paul Castro from American International by a hundredth of a second. Devin Hiltunen ’22 had two victories throughout the event. She also won the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.20 seconds, beating out her opponent Hope Maher from Springfield College who had a time of 27.01 seconds. Hiltunen also won the 400-meter dash in 1:01.74, the eighth-fastest in D3 throughout the weekend. Olivia Zarzycki ’25 won the 600-meter run with a time of

1:45.45, with Christina McPhilips coming in second place at the event with a time of 1:46.66. The third place finisher was Emma Donohue from Springfield College, who was over two seconds behind McPhilips with a time 1:48.78. Brandeis’ Victoria Morrongiello ’23 won the 1000-meter run with a time of 3:17.34, with Brandeis Elizabeth Dunphy ’22 finishing in second place with a time of 3:23.62. Finally, Lizzy Reynolds ’24 was also able to clinch the victory in the one-mile

run with a time of 5:38.17. The second-place finisher was Mackenzie Feeney from Russell Sage College who finished the onemile run with a time of 5:47.45. The women’s 4x400 relay team, composed of Yahni Lapa ’23, Sonali Anderson ’22, Alya Campbell ’24 and Zarzycki, was also able to secure a victory with a time of 4:19.34, beating out the second-place finisher Union College with a time of 4:36.80. Jacob Grant ’22 was also able to secure a victory in the 1000-meter run with a

time of 2:37.78. The second and third-place finishers were Dylan Whalen ’25 and Aaron Portman ’22 with times of 2:41.72 and 2:42.00 respectively. The fourth place finisher was Benjamin Neff from Union, who finished over 7 seconds after Portman with a time of 2:49.65. Editor’s Note: News Editor Victoria Morrongiello did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.

Women’s Ultimate Frisbee made history during their fall season By Emma Lichtenstein editor

Banshee, the Brandeis Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team, made history this fall by making it to nationals, which were held in Norco, California from Dec. 17 to Dec. 20. Adding to the sweetness of this feat, they placed 10th at the competition. The team was led by captains Eve “Echo” Robinson ’22 and Allie “Fresca” Mundis ’22. “It was awesome to get to experience the highest level of frisbee for our division,” said Mundis in a Zoom interview with The Brandeis Hoot. This accomplishment came during a special fall semester of play. Mundis explained that typically Ultimate is only played in the spring, but since competitors lost time during

the COVID-19 pandemic, players were given the chance to make up for lost time with a one-time-only fall season. “Usually the fall is completely developmental for us, which is nice, especially for newer players. I think that this season was a little bit different just because it wasn’t an expectation [to win competitions] at all,” she said. Even though it took away time for practice and training before competitions, Mundis enjoyed this extra season. “It was definitely a wacky season, and honestly nobody was expecting it, so I think that made it like so much more special,” she said. Though competitions did not happen for a while during the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Mundis revealed that Banshee still practiced, which she thinks helped them do as well as they did

this season. Also contributing to their success was “a number of really outstanding players,” according to Mundis. She explained that every member of Banshee gets to play at competitions they’re present at, with no one benched the entire time. Mundis stressed the importance of community in frisbee on campus. Tron, the Brandeis Men’s Ultimate Frisbee team, also made it to nationals, so the two teams supported each other heavily, said Mundis. Banshee started a GoFundMe to help fundraise for their trip to nationals, and she says she was amazed at the support. According to Mundis, many alumni donated, including Banshee founders. Also new this year was the introduction of new coaches: Head Coach Elana Schwam, as well


as Aaron Freedman and Hunter Lang. Mundis acknowledged their part in the success of Banshee, but also made sure to credit the work of herself and her fellow captain. She revealed that none of the coaches were able to support Banshee on their trip to California for personal reasons, so it was up to Robinson and Mundis to “call plays” and oversee the team. The women worked together to ultimately rank higher than expected. Tron had no such luck, losing all of their first-round games, and ended the fall season in 16th place. Going into the competition, Banshee was ranked 14th out of 16, but they ended 10th. Banshee lost to Rice University, 13-10, and Carleton College-Eclipse, 11-4. They beat Richmond, 10-13. This

win buoyed them into the championship bracket, where their run was cut short. Though Banshee ended in 10th, there was an opportunity for higher rankings. Unfortunately due to a COVID-19 outbreak, they were unable to play later games, as the women on the team were close contacts. Mundis was, of course, disappointed, but she is also hopeful for the future now. “We’ve definitely seen what’s possible and every year we do better than the last,” she said. “We made it once to nationals in the fall, and I’m so happy with that— like, that is already so unbelievable and surreal! But I think we’ve seen what the team can do, and we’ve seen what’s possible, so I’m hopeful for the spring.”


January 14, 2022

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe.”

Editors-in-Chief John Fornagiel Emma Lichtenstein Sasha Skarboviychuk Deputy Copy Editors Logan Ashkinazy Emma Stott News Editor Victoria Morrongiello Deputy News Editors Vimukthi Mawilmada Roshni Ray Arts Editors Stewart Huang Caroline O Deputy Arts Editors Cyrenity Augustin Lucy Fay Rachel Rosenfield Opinions Editor Mia Plante Deputy Opinions Editor Cooper Gottfried Features Editor Shruthi Manjunath Deputy Features Editor Jahnavi Swamy Sports Editor Justin Leung Layout Editor Anya Lance-Chacko Photos Editor Grace Zhou Editors-at-Large Abdel Achibat Thomas Pickering Madeline Rousell

Volume 20 • Issue 1 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma

FOUNDED BY Leslie Pazan, Igor Pedan and Daniel Silverman


Sam Finbury, Sarah Kim, Josh Lannon, Kristianna Lapierre, Max Lerner, Rafi Levi, Jesse Lieberman, Francesca Marchese, Abigail Roberts, David Shapiro, Matt Shapiro, and Alex Williams

MISSION As the weekly community student newspaper of Brandeis University, The Brandeis Hoot aims to provide our readers with a reliable, accurate and unbiased source of news and information. Produced entirely by students, The Hoot serves a readership of 6,000 with in-depth news, relevant commentary, sports and coverage of cultural events. Recognizing that better journalism leads to better policy, The Brandeis Hoot is dedicated to the principles of investigative reporting and news analysis. Our mission is to give every community member a voice.

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The Brandeis Hoot 7

Hopes for the semester

ell, here we go again. This semester marks our fifth semester that is considerably impacted by COVID-19. Since then, there have been so innumerable changes to our community, and we have all shown tremendous adaptability to these changes. Due to our extraordinarily high vaccination rates, booster mandates and a rigorous COVID-19 testing site, it appears that Brandeis is very well-equipped to deal with the pandemic.However, we believe that this semester will look quite differently than the last one. In fall 2021, we were entering the school year with no cases being reported on campus over the summer for 10 consecutive weeks. However, in spring 2022, we are entering the semester with over 100 students either in isolation or in quarantine at the time of publication, and with over 50 members of our community testing positive each and every week. Moreover, these statistics are from the campus during winter-break; Brandeis is hardly at a quarter capacity, yet the current positivity rates on campus are devastating. We are not bringing up these figures just to be pessimistic about the current state of Brandeis (and of Massachusetts as a whole). While we certainly hope that the COVID-19 situation on campus will improve and we all will not be moved online again, we

also understand that this might be inevitable. Rather, we bring this up to drive home the point that we are currently in a very sensitive and unprecedented state for Brandeis where we are not used to having these high positivity rates on campus. If you think that it was important to quarantine in your rooms, wear masks and not engage in large social gatherings indoors a year ago, then it is even more important right now. It’s also important to note that just because positive cases on campus and close contacts are much more commonplace now than they have previously been, this does not diminish how seriously you should take a close contact quarantine or a positive case. This is especially true as the Omicron variant tears through the United States, which is a particularly transmissible variant. We encourage the entire Brandeis community to do their due diligence and be responsible. Get tested twice a week. Stay home if you are sick. Respond to contact tracers if they reach out to you. Wear your mask. Fill out your Daily Health Assessment, truthfully. It’s really not that hard. Except… Last semester a lot of students experienced classes in which professors do not give the students an option to come to class virtually, forcing students to choose between missing class or coming to class sick. Professors who do this:

you are part of the problem. We cannot believe that the university actually allows this. We don’t want to go to class where people are clearly sick because the professor doesn't want to record the class / open a zoom link. It is outrageous. We are in the middle of a pandemic, act accordingly. Having classes recorded is one of the best things that came out of the pandemic. This is a huge part of the reason why students are lying on the Daily Health Assessment! Why would someone truthfully say that they are not feeling well (thus getting a red passport and not being able to come to campus) if they will just miss out on class materials which are crucial to their success? Brandeis needs to get its COVID-19 policies straight: it cannot tell students to stay home if they are sick and then penalize students who are being responsible. We get it, some students will take advantage of the leniency, but is that seriously worth people coming to class sick? Do better, Brandeis. We hope that this semester, everyone will be more considerate of one another. We hope the Student Union continues to advocate for true student needs, and focuses on why they were elected in the first place. We hope, through collective efforts, we can have a “normal” semester.

8 The Brandeis Hoot


January 14, 2022

Professor Christine Grienberger’s research on integration of synaptic inputs in mammalian brain By Shruthi Manjunath editor

Professor Christine Grienberger (BIOL) is a new faculty member at Brandeis. She is specifically an Assistant Professor of Biology. She is a neuroscientist whose research mainly focuses on understanding how information is processed in the mammalian brain. She looks at individual neurons and how they integrate synaptic inputs. Her lab studies the entorhinal-hippocampal circuit, which is important in spatial learning. Grienberger is a medical doctor by training and became very interested in the brain during medical school in Germany when she did an internship in which she interacted with many Alzheimer’s patients. During medical school, she did a research thesis on Alzheimer’s using the mouse as a model organism. After that she decided to fully pursue research and completed her PhD. Currently she is studying learning and memory formation and how the brain is able to learn and store new information. She explains that a goal in her research is to

“contribute my piece of the puzzle in understanding how learning and memory works.” Grienberger’s research has implications for Alzheimer’s. She explains that Alzheimer’s patients do not progressively decline, they experience good phases in which they recognize their environment and bad phases when they do not recognize anything. This displays that Alzheimer’s is not only genetic, but neurons also play a role in this disease. She highlights, “Looking at the function of neurons and how they are active and how they store information is an important component to understanding pathologies like Alzheimer’s.” Grienberger’s research uses mice as model organisms. Specifically, in experiments, mice complete learning tasks and the neurons in the brain are recorded in order to obtain data. A microscope or an electrode is used to record the activity of the cells. Then, researchers are able to look at neurons at different levels of complexity. Different techniques are used, including two-photon Ca2+ imaging, or whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, among

other techniques, in order to look at activity in neurons. Researchers are able to look at individual cells or large populations of cells and discover changes in the structure of these neurons and the way they function. Grienberger explains that “I mostly focus on how these synaptic inputs are integrated in individual neurons to change the activity of an individual neuron.” The learning tasks that the mice undergo include running on a treadmill and exposing different sensory cues such as items they can touch like velcro, sticks that touch their whiskers, or visual stimuli that makes them think they are running in a tunnel. Grienberger highlights that for mice, studies have shown that smell or olfactory stimuli seems to increase connections between neurons. This is likely due to the fact that mice live in burrows underground and as a result, they are not as visual as we are. In contrast, she believes that for humans, we are very visual creatures, so visual stimuli may increase connections between neurons. Mice are useful as a model organism as the structure and properties of their brain are very simi-


lar to that of humans. In addition, there are many tools that can be used to study the brains of mice. Grienberger explains that, “it’s the best compromise between doing something relevant for human diseases but also having tools available to understand the mechanisms involved.” Overall, Grienberger hopes to understand more about the mam-

malian brain through studying how sensory stimuli affects neuronal connections and therefore memory in mice. Her research allows for an understanding of what increases connections between neurons in mice which has implications for neuronal connections in humans too and understanding how memory is affected by changes in neuronal connections.

HEAR: Heal. Empower. Advocate. Rise By Jahnavi Swamy editor

Heal, empower, advocate, rise (HEAR), founded in 2021 by Lauren Rifas ’23 and Mckenna Walsh ’23, is a peer support group for sexual violence and relationship abuse. In an interview with The Brandeis Hoot, Walsh said that the main goal of the group was to “make students feel heard,” and provide a safe space for students to share their experiences. Rifas said that the group was an opportunity to help those feeling isolated and create a sense of student-based community. According to Rifas, discussions with peers can offer a distinct kind of support than what mental health professionals can provide. Rifas and Walsh welcome any students who wish to join the group. The group meets twice a month on Mondays over zoom. Walsh says meetings begin with a “little mini icebreaker of some sort to say hello.” This is then followed by

an activity to make everyone feel comfortable to share their personal experiences. For instance, in their last meeting, Walsh said that “everyone drew out a timeline of their life and plotted out five to 10 important events that happened.” They then move on to the discussion portion of the meeting. Rifas noted that “It feels like communication is always rolling even when we’re in the middle of an activity.” They prepare questions and activities but welcome deviations in the structure to make it as community-based as possible. Rifas and Walsh emphasize that they don’t consider themselves leaders during the discussions. Even while a participant is sharing, “the spotlight isn’t on them because it’s a group,” says Rifas. They both talked about the advantages of using zoom as a platform because students have the option to turn their cameras off, log off at any time or even use anonymous usernames. They also stressed that the group builds around students’ own comfort levels. Participants

can share as much as they want or “just not speak the entire meeting and just listen in.” However, the founders are open to exploring in-person activities if they should become safe in the future. When asked about the challenges they faced while founding the HEAR group, they talked about administrative issues that came with being a “non-official” Brandeis club. Walsh mentioned that they were not able to use listserv and were not listed on the Brandeis club page, which meant “it was difficult in itself to get the word out.” Despite the administrative challenges, Rifas said “for McKenna [Walsh] and I, being a non-official club, is something that makes this group so unique and special and important to us.” They did not go through the process of official registration and stressed that this aspect helps make the group more centered around the community and emphasizes confidentiality. Rifas’ and Walsh’s long-term goals for the group include reach-

ing as many people as possible and making the group more approachable. Walsh stated, “I want to acknowledge it is a scary leap

of faith.” They hope that HEAR continues to serve as a community-based resource that students can look to for support.

Interested in writing for Features? Email!

January 14, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot 9

Taking stock: A look into the polaris lounge fridge By Jamie Trope special to the hoot

The variety found within the C-store holds nothing on the sheer volume of food found within the refrigerator in North Quad’s Polaris Lounge. On Dec. 12, 2021, I conducted an investigation into the contents of the Polaris kitchen. Here are the results, and this is what they reveal about us. (Full disclosure: for health and safety reasons, I did wear gloves while looking through the fridge.) The Polaris fridge is a whole other world: tubs stacked on top of pizza boxes on top of a precariously balanced egg carton. I have never seen loose eggs in a fridge before, so I can definitively say that this experience has changed me. I was surprised by the variety of items available, especially easily perishable items like vegetables, dairy products and chicken breasts. With everyone already gone or just about to head home, I am doubtful that this will all be finished in time. As a current North Quad resident myself, I am no

stranger to the Polaris kitchen. Throughout the Fall 2021 semester, I cooked/baked in the kitchen twice, and both times, I was greeted by an equally full fridge. I have never witnessed an empty fridge, and the only labels present on any of the items say some variation of “leftovers, please take this!” The Polaris fridge is where leftovers and perfectly good vegetables meet their demise. Personally, I would not use any of the freebies or leftovers. I am especially concerned by the open packet of chicken breasts, which are exposed to the rest of the fridge and potentially contaminating everything else inside. When I first started looking into the fridge, I found the random food products amusing. As the trawl continued, however, I became less amused and more worried. I am worried about how much potential food waste is occurring within Polaris kitchen. I understand the desire to donate leftovers to others in the community, but the current methods of doing so are not leading to an effective or efficient outcome. If you want to leave something in the fridge, here are my suggestions:

1. Leave a note for when the item was put in the fridge; and specify if the item is free to take (not everyone has a fridge in their dorms to store food) 2. All items (especially animal products) should be in air-tight bags/properly sealed as to not contaminate other food products (opened butter should not be touching the shelves of the fridge) 3. Open plates of food should be wrapped in clingfilm or tinfoil

4. If you see something old, toss it out! (The thanksgiving leftovers should have been tossed out long ago) Though the future of the food in Polaris may seem dismal, there is still hope. The majority of the food I found was not moldy or unreasonably past its sell-by date, and as I have walked home to my dorm after classes, I have regularly seen people cooking in the kitchen. Not everything goes to

waste, and we have the ability to ensure that even less of it will be thrown in the trash. Polaris is a space regularly frequented by freshmen from both North and Massell, and it is important that we come together as a community to take care of it, clean up after ourselves, and make the campus a better place. And please, do not leave your loose eggs in the fridge.

Oral health and manners By Thomas Pickering editor

When I was a child, I had the mouth of a Brit. My mouth was simply too small for all the teeth inside of it and on top of that I had a crossbite overbite. Which is a very nice way of saying that my teeth were all crammed in there and with nowhere to go. When I was young as five my hygienist had already warned me that braces were not an option, but rather something I would need when all my adult teeth came in. Since the moment my last baby tooth fell out, I was ushered into the world of oral health and hygiene. I have seen everyone from hygienists to dentists to orthodontists to periodontists to have every kind of oral surgery and procedure done in my mouth. So, when people say that a good smile is priceless, I can look you dead in the eyes and say that it does in fact actually come at the small prices of somewhere close to 20 thousand dollars (mostly covered by insurance—thanks America!). But recently I had an encounter that simply stood out from the rest. You see, I had to have the sealants removed from my molars—numbers 14 and two, for reference, in case there are any future dentists reading this article right now. And while the procedure was fine and everything went as was planned inside my mouth, what happened outside of it that made me wonder if I was going insane. It all began and really was consistently an issue with the dental assistant. For her privacy, we will call her DA, as it seems fitting to me. Fair warning, we will get to know DA pretty well throughout the course of this story. But where do all fantastic stories begin? In the waiting room of course. So, there I was, sitting in the waiting room alone patiently preparing myself for the procedure. That is when DA walked in and called my name, “Tom!” Being the only

one in there I simply replied with “yup” because nothing more is needed. It is the dentist’s office not a job interview but it always makes a difference to be polite so when DA awkwardly said “hi” to me I reasonably responded with “How are you?” Now let’s make a quick pit stop in the story here because it is what DA did next that confused me and should have been my sign to get out. The following words still confuse and haunt me to this day because DA responded with “Of course you can.” Now at this moment I had gotten up from my seat to go back to the examination room, as you do at any dentist’s office, but I couldn’t figure out what she thought I said. So, let’s make a bet? Just you and me. Did DA hear; 1. Can I use the bathroom? 2. Can I come back? Or 3. Can I run away from it all? If you guessed option one then we both may be right! I can only assume that is what she heard because what followed was her leading me to the bathroom and then pointing to where the examination room is. But I was far too confused at this point to deny using the bathroom plus I had to use it anyways so why not? So, after that weird exchange I went into the bathroom to do my own business but unfortunately the door does not fully close in the jam. I pushed it in as much as I could without making a ruckus and to compensate turned the not only the lights but also the vent on so people knew I was in there. The lights and vent combo are an almost universal symbol of “hey, someone is in here so please do not enter” and with that combo comes a big whopping bowl of foreshadowing. On the door I heard a knock and as any rational human being would do, I said loudly, “Yup, I am in here!” But alas DA’s ears had deceived her again, either that or she has no concept of personal space, as the door opened with her behind it. I was minding my own business as she quickly screamed “Ahh!” and slammed the door. Now this is

where Catholic school taught me well, as I calmly finished my business and went into the examination room. But, as I was walking down the small hallway, I could not help but wonder what was going through DA’s mind. Did she not believe that I went into the bathroom? I know she saw me walk in there. Did she think I made a break for the hill and ran away? But why would I do that if I had already been there waiting for 20 minutes? I could no, and still cannot, begin to fathom what was going through her head. I was exactly where she had told me to go; but this was merely the first of many weird little accidents that had me wondering if the simulation was breaking a little bit that we all live in. I entered the examination room, sat in the weird dentist chair and there was my dentist and DA— who was now acting like none of whatever the fuck that was earlier had just happened. But awkwardness is a part of life so as I tried to move on DA only made the day weirder during the dentist small

talk. It is that part of the visit while they prepare the tools and equipment and try to relate to you even though they work with teeth for a living and you are—you know—normal. During the small talk, DA found it appropriate to touch my shoulder and chest. Now again, people touch you, that’s just life—it’s awkward, but with everything DA had just put me through, I began to wonder what glitch I was experiencing. It did not end there my friends and loyal readers. No, it did not! Then as the dentist had numbed me and had the drill up my left molar (number 14) I then felt a weird rush of water on my face. You guessed it! It was DA who was wielding the water spritzer (which should be inside the patient’s mouth) like a handgun and had it pointed at my face! Because when the dentist asked her, “can we get some water?” HE MEANT IN MY MOUTH AND NOT ON MY FACE! Not a single drop of water made it into my mouth. No, that would be too normal for this visit. It all ended up on my face

The water had to be cleaned off of my face of course but did DA get a paper towel or some cloth to wipe it off? NOPE! She used the dental bib around my neck and effectively suffocated me in the process of wiping off the water. From that moment on I decided to close my eyes and enter into my own happy space for the rest of the visit. But of course, as the visit ended and they walked me out DA had to say, “I feel like we tortured you today.” To which I simply laughed and walked out. That visit really made me think about life. It made me realize how simple manners can make a whole experience that much more normal or weird. And so, thank you DA, because if it was not for you, I would not have been able to come to this conclusion: life is great, I love life, it is people I hate. But unfortunately, life is riddled with people, so let’s all please try to make it as nice for everyone around us as possible and just double check before walking into bathroom doors.



The Brandeis Hoot

January 14, 2022

Study abroad during a pandemic By Abdel Achibat editor

Going into this year studying abroad in Paris, I was very aware of the potential drawbacks being that we are still quite in the middle of a pandemic. By contrast, and much to my surprise, my first few months here were absolutely splendid. Masks were used in public spaces, and people were still in the process of getting their first or second vaccinations, so evidence of the pandemic was still everywhere. However, bars and clubs were filled till the end of nights, restaurants were packed and delicious and public spaces

and parks were at full capacity and exhumed a feeling of a breath of fresh air. Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the direction my study abroad experience seemed to be heading in. Traveling between European states was not necessarily encouraged, but was most definitely entirely possible and full of activities and excursions to do. The general consensus was one in which personal responsibility was key in curbing COVID-19 rates but lockdowns seemed to be a distant past. This trend continued until about the end of November. By the first week of December, Omicron started taking hold in Europe,

resulting in mild flight cancellations and restrictions on nightlife in countries like Germany. It was at that point when France started to close down clubs, dancing bars and reinstate certain precautions. While Christmas was still relatively lively with crowded Christmas markets, packed (non-dancing) pubs and twinkling lights everywhere, nightlife still felt like it took a hit. New Years featured no fireworks displays, and the lack of clubs made the overall sentiment less like a national holiday and more like a semi-lively Thursday night. Coupled with the winter cold, these new restrictions are definitely giving me quarantine flash-

backs and have been the low of my study abroad experience so far. Escaping the cold to winter vacation hotspots is rather hard and complicated. To people who are thinking of studying abroad during this time, I would say it truly is not worth it. I am so unbelievably thankful to have experienced those first few months and anticipate that the warmer months of my next semester will similarly provide more cultural fun, but truly the experience I am getting now is nowhere near comparison. In this time of relative quietness compared to how it usually is or how it previously was, I have found new interests in visiting

Paris’s many museums, art galleries and cafes. Venturing into nearby hiking trails and wintry forest parks is a beautiful alternative to the fun of bar-hopping. This time, although impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, can still be rewarding. Overall, I am thankful for the time this has provided me to explore the more solitary, quiet lifestyle of Paris. While I wouldn’t recommend studying abroad during this particular segment of the pandemic, it still is an opportunity to dive into the rest of what Paris and France has to offer.

Adjustments to the spring semester due to COVID-19 By Cooper Gottfried editor

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve read Brandeis’ recent email detailing the changes to the COVID-19 policy and the upcoming remote return to classes. In case you haven’t, here’s a brief summary. 1. Brandeis will be holding classes remotely for the first two weeks of the spring semester. A return to in-person instruction is anticipated on Feb. 1, but this is subject to change. 2. Students may delay their return to campus, and can choose to arrive as late as Jan. 31 if they so choose. Students may also attend remote classes from anywhere. 3. Hereafter, students who are on campus and test positive for COVID-19 may be forced to isolate themselves in their dorm rooms. This is due to a lack of university-provided isolation housing. 4. Students must submit proof of a COVID-19 booster shot by Jan. 25 (the previous deadline to submit evidence was Feb. 15). 5. The university will be holding more booster clinics in the very near future. 6. Dining halls will be grab-

and-go until in-person classes resume on Feb. 1. 7. Isolation and quarantine periods will follow the newly updated CDC guidance. 8. Students, faculty, and staff all must submit negative PCR or rapid tests before arriving back on campus, regardless of arrival date. Students who are living off-campus are not required to submit tests, but are strongly encouraged to. 9. If you contract COVID-19 over the break, you must contact the university’s tracing service. 10. Non-essential staff who are currently working from home should continue to do so. 11. No more food will be served at in-person events. Additionally, people who enter lounges or attend in-person meetings are required to wear masks regardless of the amount of people present. 12. Students are strongly encouraged to wear surgical masks or respirators (KN95 and KF94) instead of other types of masks. That was a lot of information for one email, and most of the adjustments the administration is making seem logical. For example, requiring tests prior to a return to campus is a great step and should help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Additionally, allowing faculty members to

continue working remotely and allowing students to delay their return to campus are great steps. Requiring booster shots is a great step, and the adjustment to the deadline is necessary. To ensure that the return to in-person instruction goes as smoothly as possible, as many students as possible should be boosted. Thus, requiring students to have their booster at least a week before remote instruction ends is a very well thought out adjustment that will protect the Brandeis community. However, some adjust-

ments listed in the email are not so logical. For example, expecting students who test positive for COVID-19 to quarantine in their own rooms is a terrible provision. For students who test positive, their roommates and hallmates have a much higher likelihood of being infected too. While students may have already spread the virus to their roommates and hallmates before knowing they were infected, this provision raises the probability that students will infect their neighbors. The university should invest money into more

isolation housing or buy hotel rooms for students who become infected to avoid spreading the virus throughout residence halls. This adjustment endangers students and faculty, and appears to be neglecting the health of the Brandeis community as a whole. Save for the change to isolation requirements, the administration seems to have a good handle on their COVID-19 response. However, the true test will come once students begin to return to in-person classes.


A letter to our nemesis By Victoria Morrongiello editor

Dearest Gravity, First, I would like to start off with a formal apology. It was never the intent of myself nor the rest of The Hoot (™) staff to make you feel like you were in a one-sided relationship. Believe me, been there, done that and I know it’s awful so we are truly sorry for making you feel that way. That being said, we gladly accept you guys as our nemesis on campus. I personally quite enjoyed our back and forth on the whiteboard last semester, very Perry the Platypus and Dr. Doofenshmirtz vibes, if you will (you can decide who is who in that scenario). Though I must admit your page counting skills on the whiteboard were quite confusing. Also just in terms of custody, the whiteboard is ours. At least this is what I’m told by my superiors because—to be honest—I just showed up one day and that whiteboard was already

there. For all I know they built the SCC around the whiteboard. But neither here nor there, this is us formally staking our claim to the whiteboard. And, yes, it took a long time to get the marker off because it was on there for two years. Don’t worry, I’m only slightly bitter. I’m not providing context on that one for those who are confused—deal with it. I’m glad you guys liked our HitList by the way. I debated giving context to the people who don’t frequent the Brandeis Media Collation (BMC) room often but to avoid potential run-ins with the administration, yes we put up a Hit List but it’s just the names of all the editors of the Hoot. Why did we call it a Hit-List and not a family tree you ask—cause, that’s why. Back to my point, nice little copycat moment, the paper towels were a nice touch. I want you to know I spent approximately an hour writing out those names and cutting them, I can see the same amount of effort was put into yours. I propose a prank war in the BMC room commence immedi-

ately. I think this will really improve the camaraderie the university wants to facilitate amongst students on campus. Also, may I suggest we invite the other clubs in the BMC to join in this rivalry. We wouldn’t want anyone to feel left out. How do we get other people in on this, I’m not sure if anyone will actually read this? We can discuss the details later. On behalf of the entire Hoot editorial board, thank you for naming us before The Justice. We don’t have that happen often, typically we just get left out altogether like that one child the parents don’t like. In fact, at the involvement fair in September someone came up to our table and asked us if the name of our paper was a joke. And if that doesn’t just about sum up our presence on campus I don’t know what will. Whoever that person was, thank you sir, you made my day. We, maybe I shouldn’t speak on behalf of our editorial board for this one, but I most definitely agree with you guys about the equestrian club. WHERE ARE THEY KEEPING THE HORSES?

On another note, where are they keeping the equestrian club? We are all quite excited to begin this journey with your club. Thank you for throwing down the gauntlet to initiate the beef between our two student union-approved clubs. We sensed the tension there for a while but didn’t know whether we should instigate

anything or not. We look forward to a prosperous relationship and an interesting semester of finding weird things in the BMC. One last note, we know what you keep in your filing cabinet. (That is a threat). Forever your favorite nemesis, The Hoot (but really Victoria <3)


January 14, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

Stop comparing every Korean drama to ‘Squid Game’ By Caroline O editor

Netflix has been producing original Korean dramas since roughly 2018, its first original series being the 2-season romantic drama “Love Alarm,” followed by other beloved shows like the zombie period drama “Kingdom,” the revenge coming-of-age “Itaewon Class” and the uplifting medical show “Hospital Playlist.” From these brief summaries alone, Netflix has proven itself to be capable of producing a number of versatile Korean dramas matching with those of mainstream Korean television networks like JTBC or TvN. And, as someone who has been watching Korean dramas since elementary school, I can attest to the fact that the Netflix-produced Korean dramas are good. Just as Netflix is with its American shows, the Netflix-produced Korean dramas are a bit more willing to delve into more explicit scenes that wouldn’t fly in Korean mainstream television. Think blood and gore that you would find in the apocalyptic drama “Sweet Home,” the steamier, not-quitesex scene-but-an-implied-sexscene in the action thriller “My Name” and, my personal favorite, the B-plot friends-to-lovers queer love story in the romantic “Nevertheless.” Netflix has, in many ways, both opened the doors to international audiences in appreciating the art of the Korean drama, as well as expanded on storylines that mainstream Korean drama writers were tentative or could not explore. Now, my name-dropping of all these Netflix-produced Korean dramas is not meant to be a proud little pat on the back for myself (yes, Caroline, you’ve watched

By Mia Plante editor

In early December the Student Union held Midnight Buffet, a large-scale late-night event with a variety of food options for Brandeis students. Unfortunately, this event occurred after our last publication of the semester, so I was unable to criticize it until now. But I, as well as many other students I have heard from in and outside The Hoot, took issue with this year’s Midnight Buffet so I find it necessary to make these concerns known despite it being a month after the event. First, the event was widely advertised and very hyped up for the amount of success that it brought. Many students were expected to show up, and many did. The event was planned over a long period of time, which takes a lot of work and money. I want to let the Student Union know that their efforts to make an enjoyable event were appreciated, but the execution, on the other hand, was lacking. The night began quickly; the line grew long within a short period of time and people pushed their way inside the small corridor where the MAD Band was playing that led the way into the entrance of MidBuff. Because of the newer

or have heard enough of these shows, good for you). Rather, all of these name drops and brief blurbs are meant to get to the crux of my issue with the Korean drama scene lately: that despite this huge variety in Korean dramas, people have still been attempting to pitch every single dark Netflix Korean drama as the next “Squid Game.” For those who have somehow been living under a rock lately, “Squid Game” is a Netflix-produced Korean drama about a group of financially struggling people who enter a series of horrific games in order to win money. It is a fantastic show in its own right, with a stellar cast and an incredibly hard-hitting message about how society fails its citizens. However, since its release, people have simply over-exhausted “Squid Game,” holding the show up as some pinnacle of Korean drama success—and as a result, are acting as though this is the only fantastic Korean drama worth watching. Don’t believe me? About a month after “Squid Game’s” release, Netflix released another original Korean drama called “Hellbound”—yet another incredibly dark show, albeit with very different themes from that of “Squid Game” because, as anyone with half a brain should know, dark shows can be dark in different ways. In December, Netflix released yet another Korean drama, this one called “The Silent Sea”—a sci-fi drama about astronauts on the moon. And yet, with both “Hellbound” and “The Silent Sea,” you’ll find articles from CNN to The Blast attempting to pitch both shows as “the next ‘Squid Game,’” as though that’s a comparison worth making for every dark Korean drama. Now, this isn’t necessarily a new

kind of comparison. Think of all the YA dystopian novels that came out after “The Hunger Games”: everyone was blurbing books as “the next ‘Hunger Games.’” Similarly, every new middle-grade fantasy-esque series was being pitched as “the next ‘Harry Potter.’” However, if you’ve read anything that was compared to “The Hunger Games” or “Harry Potter,” you’ll remember that more often than not, those descriptions weren’t on the mark. Not only that, but those descriptions completely invalidated the authors’ originality. That’s exactly the case with everything being compared to “Squid Game,” except because Korean dramas are such a new

variants that were emerging at the time, I was surprised to see that there was no limit to the number of people packed into such a small area at once. It was a very concerning and suffocating half an hour wait once you got inside. For many though, it was unlikely that they would make their way inside. The line to get in stretched around the central part of Usdan and continued a bit slightly outside of the courtyard. It was a snowy, freezing night, and people were hopeful even as no one was informing them how food was running out and their time spent freezing their fingers was wasted. Of course, you cannot expect to accurately estimate how many students will show up to an event; you also cannot control the weather to make it less of a painful wait, but the Student Union failed to adequately communicate to the many students waiting outside. Other student groups on campus, with lesser budgets, have been successful in their many food-focused events on campus in the past; for example, literally any of the culture club events featuring food this past semester. There was a serious lack of care for the students waiting outside of the event shown by the Student Union’s inadequate communication. Additionally, as a student with a food allergy I was—

unsurprisingly—met with barely any options despite the over $6000 the Student Union spent organizing the event. Based on the senate money resolution for Midnight Buffet, the Union spent nearly $4000 on food expenses alone. Knowing this, I was confused as to why the options for very common food allergens were met with: salad, fruit salad, chips and salsa. Sure, I appreciate the minimal effort shown so I can eat something, but it gets exhausting eating like a rabbit when everyone else is chowing down on sliders, pizza, cake, dumplings, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, quesadillas, etc. It is 2022, gluten-free pizza exists, and the slight upcharge for gluten-free crust would not have made as much of an impact on the costs as the twenty-four 3D outer space tablecloths you bought did. This is not the first time the Student Union has been disappointing students with food allergens, as previously in the year they were handing out cookies, advertised vegan and gluten-free cookies but ended up “not knowing” which were the gluten-free and vegan ones, so students with these dietary restrictions were given nothing. Yes, it is hard to account for every allergen ever. What I, and other students with dietary restrictions, expect is if

medium for non-Korean audiences, this comparison feels even flatter. What non-Korean audiences need to recognize is that, like books, the Korean drama as a medium is incredibly versatile and, frankly, not every Korean drama is “Squid Game” nor does it really want to be “Squid Game.” Simply put, not every Korean drama needs the weight of being compared to “Squid Game” in order to be seen as a watch-worthy hit. Not only that, but “Squid Game” is a fantastic show in its own right, and it deserves to have a spotlight without being used as some catch-all for a medium that’s always been trying out different hats.

So, that said, if you’re interested in exploring the world of Korean dramas, definitely do—but just don’t take the comparison to “Squid Game” to heart. Check out any of the available titles on Netflix: whether you’re craving something dark and mysterious like the thriller murder mystery “Beyond Evil,” something light and touching like the coming-of-age sliceof-life “Hello, My Twenties!” or something magical and supernatural like “Hotel del Luna,” I guarantee that you can find a Korean drama perfect for you. Believe me, there is so much more to the world of Korean dramas, no comparison to “Squid Game” needed.


you are going to account for them slightly, don’t halfway care. What would solve these issues altogether is releasing a menu prior to the evening, where students can see the options they have and decide whether it is worth the two-hour wait in the snow to have some loose pieces of lettuce. I would like to conclude by saying that the issues surrounding this year’s Midnight Buffet are not the fault of any one person, but a collective issue of miscommunication and lack of knowledge about food allergies. In the future, I would recommend the Union get some help from the school

dietician on how to find options for more common food allergies. Additionally, I would recommend a general increase in transparency with students, from releasing the menu before the event, to letting students know when staple food items have begun to run out within the event. Finally, I would like to stress the Student Union to uphold more COVID-19 safe policies. We as Brandeis students are aware of how a large event can become a super-spreader, and sometimes just because something meets university COVID-19 requirements doesn’t mean it is therefore safe.



12 The Brandeis Hoot

January 14, 2022

BookTok Worth it or Not: ‘We Hunt the Flame’ By Victoria Morrongiello editor

It’s a bit ironic that I’m the one writing this column considering I don’t have TikTok on my phone. I do, however, have Instagram reels, which is basically TikTok but three weeks behind. In this column, I will be reviewing books that are either really hyped up by TikTok or given really poor reviews. Warning: I am extremely biased in what I read, and I’m a sucker for Young Adult Fantasy books with a good enemies-to-lovers trope. Hopefully, my opinion of these books will help you decide whether it should be your next read. “We Hunt the Flame” by Hafsah Faizal: I absolutely adore this book. Like, if I could marry a book, I would marry this one. First off, a warning, this book is a part of a duology. People may have opinions on the amount of time they are willing to invest into a series, and I totally get that. Also, just the cost of investing in a book series is definitely something that I know people may like to know in advance before starting a book. The fact that this book is the first of two is never advertised on BookTok, so boy oh boy was I confused when I came to the end on a cliffhanger, only to find out there is a whole other book.

That being said, I also read the second book, “We Free the Stars,” and it was just as amazing as “We Hunt the Flame.” So I was a little surprised to see nothing about “We Free the Stars.” It wasn’t that kind of series where the storyline falls off or becomes repetitive after multiple books. It definitely stayed consistent in its quality, and I always found myself enthralled in the world which Faizal created. It also helps that this isn’t a long series, and everything does get wrapped up by the end of the second book. Though, the potential for a continuation with some characters for a third book is definitely there. Why should you read “We Hunt the Flame?” The book has it all: enemies to lovers trope, a dope female protagonist who doesn’t need a man, a fantasy journey and just some really great quotes. Your main protagonist is Zafira, a Huntress who disguises as a man to provide food for her people by venturing into the Arz. Zafira gets approached by a witch to go on a quest to retrieve an item that would get rid of the Arz which plagues her people. Only, she’s not the only one after this artifact, Nasir, the Prince of Death, is also after it by the order of his father. As they journey through the Arz both characters find themselves in an alliance with each other as they learn about the history of their lands and the truths in the

myths they’ve been told. This book is the first book in a while where I was just stunned by some of the lines including: “A thousand leagues and a thousand sands. For you a thousand times I would defy the sun,” “darkness is the absence of light, the mere reason light exists. Without darkness, light would have no confines” and “a life without purpose may be no life, but a life without love is nothing but an existence.” I mean, come on, this book is just so beautifully written and it’s one of the few books where I think the characters all make sense together. The main protagonists of the novel form a zumra, which means a group, and you can see how these personalities work together and it’s really believable. The characters have so much dimension to them, and you can tell that they were never meant to be individual characters because they all weave into each other. Their actions are responses to those around them and are driven by the situations they find themselves in. The way they fight together and communicate is so wonderfully portrayed and you can really see how they become a part of each other’s meaning. It’s difficult enough as a writer to create a character that people can love as an individual. But Faizal has created characters who you love individually from their own internal monologues, as well

as the way they interact in this larger network. The book also just flows wonderfully, even in the transition to “We Free the Stars.” Everything that Faizal writes has a purpose and a reason, nothing is thrown in “just because.” It’s a slow-burn with your enemies-to-lovers trope because you see these two characters—Zafira and Nasir—who are diametrically opposed and how they eventually find their way to each other. And it’s beautiful. Especially since you see character traits of the pair be juxtaposed through the story. For instance, Zafira driven by her compassion for others, she hunts for her entire people not just for herself, and

then you have Nasir who is quite literally the prince of death and is prevented from showing compassion to the people he is ordered to kill. Faisal tells a story about love, not just romantic love but platonic love—love for one’s people, love for one’s brother, love for family by blood and the family that we choose. She delves into these concepts of love and how it can drive our actions and lives as humans. She creates this fantastical world that grips you and makes you want to read more. You root for all the characters, and even at the end, you are wishing for more. So go read this book and its sequel because it was amazing.


‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’: A super enjoyable twoand-a-half hour long callback By Mia Plante editor

Like the rest of the world, I have joined in the Spider-Man renaissance. Throughout winter break I spent my days in between work and studying watching every Spider-Man movie, preparing for what I knew was going to be an amazing combination of the live-action Spider-Man movies as a way to wrap up Tom Holland’s storyline. While I am not entirely sure if there will be more movies featuring my second favorite British Spider-Man, “No Way Home” ties the loose ends into a solemn and introspective bow. With Spider-Man’s identity exposed, as seen in the end credit scene of “Far From Home,” Peter Parker’s life is turned upside down in the worst ways possible. His very status as a hero is questioned when he is arrested for the murder of Mysterio, and his chances of a normal future are thrown away as the world begins to turn their backs on him. What ensues after Peter attempts to fix the future for his friends—and himself—is a break in the multiverse, causing villains and Spider-Men from other realities to be pulled into the Tom Holland Spider-Man New York. Such an interesting premise for a movie brought nostalgia for fans of past Spider-Man movies, while also forcing Tom Holland’s Peter Parker to really question what he is doing with his power. Unlike the other two Spider-Men, Tom Holland’s Peter Parker had yet to really grapple with the reality of his abilities, and what his responsibility to the public is because of them. Finally, he got his classic Spider-Man moment with Aunt May, in lieu of an Uncle Ben.

With great power comes great responsibility. It wasn’t exactly those words that Aunt May told Peter, but it was close enough to really hit audiences in the chest. Peter finally had to think about how much hurt he has caused, even to those who may have deserved it. Having Peter grapple with this while faced with every villain from the other two realities was an amazing touch, as unlike the villains Tom Holland’s Peter had encountered thus far, most Spider-Man villains are redeemable. Electro (Jamie Foxx), originally shown in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” with Andrew Garfield, was a misunderstood loner who became a villain by chance. His power made people notice him for the first time. Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), as seen in the last of the Tobey Maguire trilogy, was a criminal who happened to fall into some sort of nuclear matter test site while running from the police, becoming entirely made of sand in the process. But Sandman, or Flint Marko, was only a criminal to get money for his terminally ill daughter. Doc Ock’s (Alfred Molina) mechanical arms began to control him because of a freak accident, Lizard (Rhys Ifans) only transformed himself in order to grow back the arm he lost, I could go on and on. Even Green Goblin (Benedict Cumberbatch and Willem Dafoe) is redeemable. Norman Osborn, a desperate man trying not to lose his failing company, took a serum that made him go insane. Each one of the villains portrayed in “No Way Home” had a reason for their villainy, and was able to become better or be cured if someone gave them a second chance. Each Spider-Man had to

grapple with the fact that they have to forgive the villain who caused them the most pain. Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man was able to forgive Sandman for killing Uncle Ben in “Spider-Man 3.” In this movie, Andrew Garfield eventually was able to fight to cure Electro, who caused the death of Gwen Stacy in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” And Tom Holland ended things once and for all with a dramatic fight between him and the villain who caused an equal amount of pain for him. Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man also got to have an emotional scene successfully catching MJ, whose Amazing Spider-Man counterpart, Gwen Stacy, did not get the same lucky treatment. I went into the theater with the highest of hopes and came out completely fulfilled. While things may not all be happy for every Spider-Man, they all upheld their duty to do good even when it is the hardest thing to do. Additionally, the all-star cast was hilarious and kept things light despite their characters having very real

battles. The Spider-Men have comedic back and forths discussing their differences in abilities and struggles which really highlighted all the best parts about each rendition of the classic character. There were a few surprises here and there, like a cameo from Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil. Along with a surprising new power for Spider-Man’s best friend Ned Leeds—that hopefully will not be used to create another best friend to supervillain story arc—and an unexpected change of heart for Doc Ock. Additionally, Electro’s comment about there being a Black Spider-Man out there was a lovely connection to Miles Morales as Spider-Man and the upcoming October 2022 release of “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” The return of (most of) the previous Spider-Man villains from the first two adaptations of the hero’s story allowed for many solidly matched high-energy fight scenes while also creating the redemption arcs each of these villains deserved. Although previous

iterations of Spider-Man hinted at how the audiences should understand the villains, this movie forced us all to understand them. The many scenes of the villains interacting with one another allowed for audiences to see them as more than just destructive characters but mostly lost and somewhat goofy. Additionally, the return of the previous two Spider-Men and the strange balance between each actor’s portrayal of the iconic hero kept the movie fun despite its focus on greater heroic themes: forgiveness, understanding and responsibility. Overall, while multidimensional storylines can be confusing and messy, Marvel and Sony have kept the Spider-Verse comical and exciting even when colliding a bunch of starkly different spider-worlds into one New York City. If you haven’t seen this amazing movie yet, definitely do. I am sorry for the slight spoilers but you chose to read this, and also there’s a lot more I could have spoiled. ;)


January 14, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

‘Emily in Paris’ season 2: The bad and the, surprisingly enough, not-as-bad By Caroline O editor

When I watched the Netflix series “Emily in Paris” last year, I thought it couldn’t actually get much worse than what I saw. Besides Emily’s (Lily Collins) fantastic outfits and the very pretty Paris scenery, there aren’t a whole lot of good things in this show. For those who aren’t yet aware, “Emily in Paris” is about American marketing executive Emily Cooper, who moves to Paris to work at a firm acquired by her company in Chicago. Chaos ensues, mostly of the quirky “clueless American in a foreign country” kind, as well as the “oh, girl…you MESSED UP” kind. The latter is in reference to the first season’s finale, where Emily, thinking that her neighbor Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) is leaving Paris, throws caution to the wind and sleeps with him. The only problem is that Gabriel is Emily’s first French friend Camille’s (Camille Razat) boyfriend. The season ends with Emily realizing that Gabriel is staying in Paris after all, which puts her in a sticky position as a result. Sometimes a bit cringey, other times outright bad (like how Emily slept with a minor in the first season), it’s a bit questionable why “Emily in Paris” got renewed for a second season, let alone got nominated for a Golden Globe. But because I’m a hopeless optimist who believes things could get better, I decided to give this show’s second season another chance. And, to my absolute surprise, the show got better. Not a whole lot better, but better enough for me to not want to throw my lap-

top out of the room, as I did after finishing the first season. Don’t get me wrong: there were still pretty cringey, questionable moments in the show and I would still be annoyed if “Emily in Paris” got another Golden Globe nomination somehow. One of my biggest grievances with the show, for instance, is how the whole Emily-Gabriel-Camille love triangle is handled. While Camille shows off an actual backbone during the first half of the show (staying away from Emily and Gabriel, one of her most iconic lines to a semi-apologetic Gabriel being “it’s not like Emily just tripped and fell on your d*ck”), she turns into quite the Regina George. In a “Mean Girls”-esque fashion, Camille manipulates Emily into thinking that they’re back on good terms, making our silly protagonist promise that neither of them will get together with Gabriel. Of course, this is all a part of Camille’s greater plot to win back Gabriel’s heart, and to be honest, it’s a little sad. On the one hand, I think Camille deserves to be a little manipulative and rude—after all, her so-called friend did sleep with her boyfriend. But on the other hand, her boyfriend also slept with her friend. My personal vote is for Camille to find better friends and a better romantic partner, but apparently the creators of “Emily in Paris” have other plans for her character, especially given how the second season ended: with Camille moving into Gabriel’s apartment, just when Emily’s about to make her grandiose confession of love. Again, I suppose Camille’s ruthlessness is understandable, but

it’s 2022, and we’re still having female characters getting into this kind of hissy fit over a man who, frankly, doesn’t deserve either of them? This is such a tired trope, and while I can’t say I’m totally surprised by this twist, I’m still a bit disappointed. That said though, there were enough actual improvements that made my watching this 10-episode comedy-drama series actually a bit more tolerable. For one, all of the characters speak actual French when Emily’s not included in the scene, which was a complaint from the audience after the first season. For another, the side characters—which, to be honest, are probably the most likable characters in the series—are even more fleshed out this season, with actual storylines that made them a little more dynamic than they had been in the first season. My personal favorite was that of Mindy Chen (Ashley Park), who is no longer just Emily’s sidekick, and now she reveals she has a real dream of her own: becoming a singer. As such, the audience gets the fantastic treat of listening to Ashley Park’s lovely singing voice—her cover of BTS’ “Dynamite” even got a nod of approval from the K-pop group’s lead Kim Nam Joon (nicknamed ‘RM’)! Talk about impressive. But perhaps the most impressive turnaround of this season was the final episode, in which we see Emily’s boss Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) go toe-to-toe with Emily’s boss back in Chicago, Madeline (Kate Walsh). Here, we finally get a glimpse of exactly how much Emily’s changed since coming to Paris—how despite her cultural blunders, she’s at least

somewhat grown accustomed to the way of life in Paris, and more importantly, how she’s grown onto her French colleagues. So Madeline’s entry into the fold is a striking one: where Sylvie emphasizes the personal relations between the firm and its clientele, Madeline emphasizes the financial. Although I personally have no idea how the French work culture is in real life, the final episode painted an interesting picture of how the American business brain works. Madeline is incredibly entitled, taking over offices and acting as though her methods are the best and only methods—it’s a quick reminder to the audience of exactly how Emily was like when she first started working in Paris. But Emily’s grown a little bit by now. She struggles against Madeline and does everything she can to keep the peace be-

tween her very American boss and her French colleagues, and, to be honest, she becomes a much more sympathetic character as a result. If we forget her mess of a love life, Emily actually becomes a bit more tolerable of a character. Her genuine respect for her French colleagues, combined with her quiet disapproval of Madeline’s entitlement all points to how perhaps there’s a bit more to her cutout personality. So, with all that said, I guess I can grudgingly admit that the second season of “Emily in Paris” is just O.K. It’s still ridiculous, and I still question the things I do to watch Lily Collins’ lovely face, but you know—there’s room for “just O.K.” television. There’s room for ridiculous, over-the-top television. So bring it on, season three—let’s see what you’ve got.


‘Weather Girl’ will cure rainy day blues By Emma Lichtenstien editor

As all great romance novels do, “Weather Girl” by Rachel Lynn Solomon revolves around hijinks. The scheme is simple: meteorologist Ari Abrams and sports reporter Russell Barringer team up to “parent trap” their bosses, Torrance and Seth. Torrance and Seth used to be married before a nasty divorce that led to fighting in the workplace, an uncomfortable environment and no room for newbies to move up the office ladder. Ari and Russell hatch a plan to help the two rekindle their love and hopefully earn a promotion for their good work. Of course, this plan is a secret, and watching the two go to increasingly greath lengths to learn secrets about their bosses is truly hilarious. What starts as simple questions here and there turns into swing dance lessons, a couples massage and a trip to the hospital to welcome a new baby. But, as Torrance and Seth get closer and closer, so do Ari and Russell. The two of them just click. The two start as scheming friends, full of hope that they can fix the relationship of their bosses. Even before the two start actively flirting, they wonderfully complement each other. He’s enarmomed by all her quirks, the ones she is so often embarrassed about. She is eager to learn everything about his life, and blends in perfectly with his little mismatched family (his kid, his ex-wife and his ex-wife’s new

husband). Ari and Russell have this overwhelming respect for each other at the heart of their relationship. Ari had never been to a hockey game, but she adores going with Russell so she can hear him speak passionately about his favorite sport. Russell never thought much about the weather, but he’s learning to pick up patterns. The two care for each other, both in the loving sense and in the physical sense. Russell takes care of Ari when she hurts her elbow, going above and beyond friend duties in order to make sure that she’s okay. Ari is quick to help any time she can with his daughter, Elodie, and always provides reassurance when he needs it. They’re opposites working to be more alike, pulled together by attraction and a love scheme (that becomes nothing more than a thinly-veiled excuse to hang out with each other more). Like all Solomon heroes, Russell is positively drool-worthy. A Jewish ex-hockey goalie turned loving teen dad turned sports journalist with an incredible sense of style? Yeah, you can say he’s a catch. He is overwhelmingly kind and caring to Ari in all stages of the novel, through both pining and pain. Solomon doesn’t shy away from writing his vulnerabilities. She lets him be self-conscious about his weight, something usually reserved for female leads. Russell is open about his love of his daughter, but also his fears of being a father. He is open about his dating struggles and his

relationship with Elodie’s mom. Russell is everything a good romance novel hero should be. He even encourages Ari to be open about her struggles, and doesn’t at all shy away from any of the details that Ari is so ashamed of. As I admire every time, Solomon embraces the uglier parts of life, not afraid to talk about struggles with mental illness. Ari has depression, something she starts the novel being rather embarrassed about, but learns to accept over the course of the novel. For Ari, this is her biggest downfall, the reason no one can ever truly love her. It’s a dirty secret that she tries to keep hidden from all those around her. But, Solomon writes acceptance; she writes about learning that depression isn’t a personal failure. Ari goes to therapy and takes medicine to help her. She writes good days and bad days, but overall she writes that mental illness isn’t a terrible taboo, it’s just part of life sometimes. “Weather Girl” is very much a romance novel, but it is also a novel about familial healing. Most prominent would be the healing of Torrance and Seth, who rekindle their love and welcome the birth of their first grandchild. But Ari also has a lot of healing throughout the novel. Ari and her mother have never been close, not since Ari was a little girl. Ari’s mom also has depression, but she never sought out treatment when her children were young. Now, years later, Ari and her brother are trying to forgive their mother for

childhood trauma, as well as fix a relationship that has been broken for years. It’s hard, and it’s messy, but it’s wonderfully written. Solomon reminds readers that no relationship is beyond repair, as long as both parties are willing to try to make it better. Unsurprisingly, Rachel Lynn Solomon has once again knocked it out of the park! “Weather Girl”

is effortlessly charming and a delightful read. As always, she romanticizes Seattle so beautifully that it almost makes me want to pack up everything and switch coasts. Her characters are loveable and so, so real. Though it’s the heart of winter, this book is warm like sunshine (and, for Ari, as exciting as rain).



The Brandeis Hoot

January 14, 2022

Bingo: a short story

By Cyrenity Augustin editor

Mickey had learned about the Farmer’s Groceries’ bingo board two days into her job, and she had to admit, it was the coolest thing she had ever heard of. Her coworkers had all crowded around her and very ceremoniously presented a card, filled with squares containing a bunch of prompts like “chase an animal out of the store” or “have to call the manager over.” Apparently, the first person to get bingo (and have the manager on duty sign off on it) would get some mystery prize from the store owner, but no one had ever made it. So, Mickey had made it her personal goal to be the first. That was two years ago, and she still had yet to reach that goal. At 9:00 pm she walked into the building for her shift, making her way down the near-empty lanes to the back. Bingo card secure in her bag, she chanted in her head that today was the day. She had handled every nightmare customer and picked up the midnight shifts just in order to fill as many bingo boxes as she could. She was so close to that line of five, and nothing was going to get in her way. “Mickey! Just in time to see me mark off another square.” The girl looked up to see Owen Favrine holding up his own bingo sheet, a fresh ‘x’ marked on his card, and a smirk on his face. “That makes a line of four. Looks like someone’s going to have to work a bit harder to keep up.” Mickey had to do her best not to snarl. “Actually, Owen, I already have four. So it looks like you’re the one who’s running a bit behind.” And with that Mickey continued to walk past him, clocking in for the day. Owen had joined the staff two months after Mickey did, and when he was introduced to the bingo game, had also decided that he wanted to win the mystery prize. Ever since then, the two had become rivals, going back and forth in their race for ‘Bingo!’. The others seemed to delight in this,

running their own bets on who they thought would be the first to get it. She didn’t really care about the bets though. She just wanted to claim the prize and wipe that dumb-looking smirk off of Owen’s face. Mickey punched in her time of arrival and turned to the closet full of aprons just in time to see Michael walk through the door. The usual nighttime manager on duty, he looked like he had just rolled out of bed and was regretting doing so in the first place. But, with his busy schedule during the day, and having to come here to work until 4 a.m., she couldn’t really blame him. Farmer’s Groceries prided itself on “Being there for your shopping needs, from sunrise to sundown, to that midnight craving that has got you down.” So, the employees had the wonderful honor of keeping that promise. “Evening Michael.” “Hey Mickey, hey Owen,” He dropped his backpack in a locker, before punching in himself and grabbing his apron. “It’s just going to be three of us working tonight since it’s one of the slowest shifts.” “What? Owen’s working? I thought that Leo was taking the night shift.” “Yeah, but he ended up having a family issue that he needed to resolve. Owen said he could cover.” Great. Mickey took out her bingo sheet from her bag, fixing Owen with a look before walking out onto the floor. She was hoping to be the only “bingo hunter” tonight, but she supposed she would have to just make do with what she had. Besides she only needed one more square to win, and what were the odds that both of their final prompts would occur in the same night. And so, the night shift commenced. The three of them monitored the store, cleaning up the occasional mess in aisle whatever, putting items back on their assigned shelves, restocking low items and helping checkout the occasional customer. As the night progressed, the store died down, and by midnight the three em-

ployees were sitting on the conveyor belts, eyes trained on the sliding doors as they waited for literally anything to happen. “So, two almost bingos huh? What’s the last prompt you two need?” With unrivaled speed, Mickey pulled the bingo card out of her apron pocket. “Chase an animal out of the store. Which, given how out in the middle of nowhere we are, will probably happen sooner than later.” “What about you Owen?” He pulled his card out, giving it a shake as he stared intensely at Mickey. “Same thing.” The three fell silent, and Michael looked between the two, locked in an intense glaring contest, before busting out laughing. “Well, that’s going to be a wild battle royale huh? Especially with the competitive streak you two have.” “I wouldn’t really call it a battle.” Owen bristled at that, and Michael let out an awkward whistle as he slid off of his perch. “Cool, cool. Well, I’m going to go to the back for a bit. Don’t fight while I’m gone.” And with that, the two were left by themselves, the silence of the store mingling with the tension brewing between them. Mickey turned to face the entrance of the door but felt her mind slip elsewhere as the time ticked by. If she was being honest with herself, the chances of anything out of the ordinary happening at 12 a.m. Tuesday morning was little to none. Everyone knew the crazy stuff usually happened on the weekend, anyway. It was disappointing, sure, but she figured that at least that meant that Owen wouldn’t be finishing his bingo card tonight either. And that was when the door opened with a ding, and a blur of brown crashed into the pyramid display of macaroni boxes. Owen let out a scream, and Mickey stared in gobsmacked silence as they gazed upon the squirming body of a deer, kicking its legs as it got back to its feet and sprinted down one of the aisles. This had to have been a joke. The two looked at each other,

the only sound coming from the deer making its way further into the store. Michael came running out from the back door, phone in hand as he yelled. “Everything okay? I saw the deer on the monitor and-” The two turned to look at him. The realization dawned in his eyes. “Wait, wait-!” Owen and Mickey jumped off of their respective conveyer belts and dashed after the deer. The two took to opposites sides of the store, glancing down aisle after aisle to catch sight of their victim. Just as Mickey looked into the bread aisle, she saw the deer turn left, heading to the pet section. She sprinted ahead, and slid into the front of the aisle to cut it off. As she moved in, yelling with her arms up, the deer turned around and sprinted back out, crashing into the dairy section. Mickey followed it, popping out of the aisle just as it regained its footing and sprinted away. Behind her, she heard Owen, running up, and took the opportunity to stick her leg out, sending him toppling over and onto the linoleum floor face first. With that obstacle out of the way, Mickey continued her pursuit, cornering the deer by the dairy section. With nowhere else to go, the deer sprinted down another aisle, heading back to the front. She gave chase, and as they grew closer Michael jumped on top of one of the conveyor belts. From his perch he watched as the deer ran by, crashing into a stack of water jugs before finally skittering out and into the dark parking lot outside. Mickey leaned against the register, heart pumping with adrenaline as she tried to calm down. From the back of the store, Owen stormed over, grumbling as he held a hand to his bleeding nose. Michael, however, stared at the scene in aghast silence, which was interrupted when he shouted and leapt down from his perch to pull Owen away from Mickey, who he was shaking by the collar. “No, NO!” “She tripped me!” “I did. And because of that I won.”

“I OUGHTA-!” Owen lunged for her again, and Michael tightened his grip, pulling him away. “Alright, let’s not! Mickey go to the back, now. Owen, go to the bathroom, I’ll get the first aid kit.” Owen glared and opened his mouth to argue, but at the absolutely fed up look on Micheal’s face, he grumbled, and Michael let go, watching Owen slink off. Michael gave Mickey a look, and she slid off of the conveyor belt, walking into the back office. And that’s where she waited, bingo card in hand until MIchael walked back in, closing up a first aid box. The two locked eyes, and he sighed before taking the card in her hand and signing off on the last box. Finally, she had gotten a bingo. “What is wrong with you?” “Oh please, Owen would have done the same thing if he was in my shoes. You know that.” “If that’s what you’re going to keep telling yourself.” Michael went into the back office, and Mickey heard the ringing of keys and the clicking of a lock before he came out with a wrapped package. He held it out to her, and she took it with an almost revered silence. “Congratulations, I guess.” Mickey ripped open the packaging, an unshakeable smile lighting up her face. She had waited so long, put up with so much crap, and she had finally done it. She couldn’t wait to see the look on Owen’s face when she showed him the… Mickey ripped away the rest of the wrapping to reveal a magnet. One of the cheap, four dollar magnets that they sold by the register that showed the store logo. The two looked at the prize in silence, which was broken by Owen walking in, a bandage on his nose. He looked at the magnet in Mickey’s hand, looked at her face, and proceeded to die of laughter.

Keeping the magic alive: ‘Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts’ By Cyrenity Augustin editor

I have to start off by saying that I did not realize that “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts” was a series of interviews, as opposed to a short film/something along those lines. However, that did not take away from the magic of the experience of watching the reunion. Harry Potter was huge when I was growing up; every Halloween there were dozens of Harrys, Rons and Hermionies running around. In my school’s library, there was only one copy of each of the books, and the line to check them out was always long. It really was our childhood, though I have to admit that I myself was not a “potter-head” by any means, but these are movies that are very hard not to enjoy. (No, I have not read the books, they are on my ever-growing “to read” shelf though). To me, what made the union magical was the cast appeared to really enjoy making the movies as

much as the audience enjoyed the movies themselves. I don’t know if it’s just me, but sometimes I watch a show/movie, really enjoy it, and then I find out that the cast doesn’t really get along and for some reason, that really sours the experience for me. I guess it is just very nice to know that Harry Potter was magical all around. Before I go into the special itself, can we just take a moment to internalize that the first movie, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” came out 20 years ago. I was a little over a year old when the first movie came out, and here we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of it coming out. Ugh, when movies remind you of your age. Onto the special itself: it was split into four chapters, based on distinct “eras” in the series. In the first chapter, the cast discussed the first two movies, when they were still children and how it was like getting started and auditioning. The remaining chapters discussed the other steps of the franchise. Throughout, they revealed stories from their time on

set, some previously heard, others not so much. My favorite part was definitely the casts’ reflection on how they grew up on set (they were basically filming a movie a year for a decade), and how their relationships changed with those around them. It was truly heartwarming to see the cast together and how much love there was between everyone working on the films. There were definitely some parts that made me tear up. It was also crazy to see how much the main trio grew up and changed from the time they were 11 (I know they age just like everyone else, but). However, not everything was always happy on the Harry Potter set; the cast discussed their struggles throughout the shoots as well. A noticeable theme was that a lot of the younger actors oftentimes found themselves feeling lonely and definitely did not have a “normal” childhood. The other touching part were the tributes paid to cast-members that passed, such as Alan Rickman, who played Snape, among others. Noticeably absent were Mag-

gie Smith, who played Minerva McGonn and Julie Walters, who played Molly Weasley. Although there were others absent from the reunion (many commented on the man from Twilight that was in one movie), but to me, those were characters that I missed. The Weasley family is not the same without Molly, and her absence was clearly felt in their scene together.

Although this was more of a behind the scenes and 10 years later, the reunion had the same magic as the movies. If you are looking for a way (other than the eight movies) to get back into the Harry Potter world, I would definitely recommend watching “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts.” I will definitely have the urge to rewatch the movies now.


January 14, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

‘Sex Lives of College Girls’ is way more than that editor

In an age where it seems that most television shows are either about being in high school or being an adult, shows about college life are few and far between. As a college student, I want to watch a show that I can connect with. HBO Max’s “Sex Lives of College Girls” feels like what I have been looking for. Do not let the raunchy name throw you off, because this is truly a terrific show. Created by Mindy Kaling, known for her work on “The Mindy Project” and “Never Have I Ever,” SLOCG follows four college freshmen as they tackle every challenge thrown at them, both academic and personal. Despite coming from four different backgrounds and having four unique personalities, the girls are all enrolled at the fictional Essex College in Vermont, which context shows to be a prestigious liberal arts college. We see them at their highs and lows, their outstanding grades to academic struggles, their hot hookups (the show did get its name for a reason) to their romantic rejections and everything in between. As of Dec. 9, all 10 episodes are available on HBO Max for you to binge in a day like I did. This is a show filled with a fun main cast, and everyone can find a character they relate to. I liked all of these characters, and they were all fleshed out in ways that made them feel real. First, there is naive Kimberly (Pauline Chalamet). She comes from a lower-middle-class background in a predominantly white area.

She is not used to the affluence and diversity of her fellow classmates, and she can sometimes be awkward around her peers. Then there is bubbly Bela (Amrit Kaur). Bela cares about two things: joining her school’s prestigious comedy magazine and sleeping with as many hot guys as she can. She was a nerd when she was in high school, and college is a time where she can be cool. Next up is sporty Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott). Whitney is a star soccer player who also is the daughter of a popular U.S. senator. She wishes that she could step out of her mother’s shadow sometimes and she always tries to prove her worth on the field. Finally, there is posh Leighton (Reneé Rapp). Leighton is a legacy student that comes from a lot of money and always acts as if she is the coolest girl in the room. She may give off a standoffish vibe, but she has some secrets she is trying to protect so that she can have a perfect reputation. All of these girls appear to have nothing in common on the outside, but they soon form bonds that only college can provide. As soon as I started this show, I was hooked. Everything about this show was solid. The storyline flowed very well. Having four main characters with mostly separate lives means that a lot has to be jam packed into each episode. Luckily the writers were able to put multiple plot lines into each episode without giving a clunky feel. While some points may have been stronger than others, I feel that each of the stars has multiple moments where they shined. The show was also able to introduce multiple side characters

that were each fleshed out. From Kimberly’s coworkers to Whitney’s teammates to Bela’s fellow writers to Leighton’s volunteer group, and any love interest that these characters cross, everyone is a full character. I also have to applaud the show for its terrific writing. Often in TV shows or movies about young people, the adult writers will try too hard to sound young, and that can make for some cringe-worthy lines. While there are a few moments here and there that seem a bit much, I feel that these girls actually talked like college girls. The writers of this show had clearly done their research as the dialogue felt very natural. The 10 episodes flew by as this was an easy and fun show to watch. A lot of people watch television so that they can escape reality, or to live vicariously through people’s lives. While I’ve had a lot of fun in college, I would not say it has the excitement to sustain an episode of a television series. I watched this show because it promised crazy college times, and I wanted to see that craziness. Luckily, this show delivered. While some events seem far-fetched and some character choices make me want to look away from the screen, I had a lot of fun watching this. Not only that, but I also felt that there were moments that I felt I could relate to as a college student. From new crushes to new clubs to new friends, I could see some of myself in them. I also enjoyed the inclusivity of this show. SLOCG had a diverse cast with representation from various ethnicities, body types and sexualities, which created an enjoyably progressive

environment. I also liked seeing a female-led show that had an incredibly sex-positive message, showing that women can be driven by sex without being slutshamed. I loved getting to know all of the characters, from the main cast to the supporting cast. I wanted to be friends with a lot of these characters because they were captivating and felt real. This show has been confirmed for a second season, and I am waiting for the release date to be announced. Mindy Kaling has been having several successes

lately in terms of television comedies and it looks like that streak is continuing. Do not let the lewd name turn you off because even though it is about sex, it is so much more than that. If you want a fun, sex-positive, female-driven television show with a lot of heart, or you are just a bored college student that wants to see crazy college lives, watch the first season of “Sex Lives of College Girls” on HBO Max today, and then wait patiently with me for the second season.


‘Don’t Look Up’ is a political satire for the ages By Lucy Fay editor

People are no longer fazed by threats of the world ending. We cannot afford that luxury. If the whole world came to a halt every time society was on the brink of destruction or mass death seemed imminent, nothing would get done. “Don’t Look Up,” a political satire released on Netflix in December, understands how we have all grown complacent regarding the long list of tragedies and disasters unfolding in the world. This movie wants to remind its audience, in clear memorable terms, that if the Earth dies, literally nothing else matters. “Don’t Look Up” follows two scientists (Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio) on their sixmonth quest to save the Earth from a comet. What should have been a straightforward but urgent matter of collaboration between the scientific community and major world governments turned into a mess of collusion, misinformation, scientific distrust and partisan politics. This all too real story of a government failing its people perfectly captures how problems of the utmost importance, such as climate change, are handled in America, while also creating a group of down-toEarth developed characters with great comedic timing. Purpose-driven films rarely succeed in both hammering home the moral they are built around and producing a quality movie. “Don’t Look Up” does. But there is no consensus around that conclusion. Critics are divided, and it’s easy to see why. This

movie is terrifying. It’s steeped in Juvenalian satire, in the tradition of “1984,” except there aren’t 70 years between viewers and the political commentary. “Don’t Look Up” isn’t trying to be subtle, or jovial or idealistic. It screams in the face of its audience the world is dying and the steps we’re taking aren’t working, aren’t enough. That’s not funny. It makes sense that audiences are disturbed by seeing their reality under such a harsh lens. And political satire in itself is not exactly universally beloved. If the likes of “Veep” or “Yes Minister,” far sillier and more detached examples of political satire, do not fall into the spectrum of your sense of humor, this movie surely will not. “Don’t Look Up” could not work without its stellar cast. The majority of this movie is made up of A-list actors playing primarily off-brand roles. Meryl Streep is an obnoxious corrupt politician, Leonardo DiCaprio is a mild-mannered nerd, Timothee Chalamet is an almost unattractive 20-something vagabond. The movie defies typecasting and yet the performances are incredible. Which allows every central character to undergo a realistic and satisfying character arc. It seems hard to believe in a movie that competently presents the possible political and social ramifications of an impending natural disaster that individual characters and their personal journeys would feel so central to the story. Things get crazy when the world seems like it is ending and the only way that phenomenon will translate to an audience is through real human situations. Characters commit adultery, be-

tray one another and get married on a whim, but also have shallow conversations about spirituality and complain about insignificant frustrations. These small occurrences, while not having any impact on the larger matter at hand, made this movie enjoyable and added tenfold to the realism “Don’t Look Up” relied on. Of course social media would care more about a celebrity couple breaking up than a comet that will not affect them for six whole months. A Republican presidential candidate going up

in the polls because they do not hide that they smoke cigarettes makes perfect sense. Humans are hard to get right, but if you wanna intrigue people while terrifying them with how awful the world is, characters individually and in group settings need to parallel life. This movie got humans right time and time again. “Don’t Look Up” was an impressive display of clever dialogue, expansive characters and relevant cutting political commentary. It felt true to life and emotional beats hit hard, wheth-

er they were related to the end of all life on Earth or the strangely beautiful relationship between Jennifer Lawrence and Timothee Chalamet’s characters. It is not unreasonable to react to this movie with aversion. Sometimes we need a break from reminders that the world is screwed and it is all our fault. While this movie is funny throughout it is not exactly a popcorn movie. But if you are feeling up to a well-made analysis of the hellscape we call home, give this movie a try.



The Brandeis Hoot

January 14, 2022

‘The Book of Boba Fett’ was worth the wait By Josh Lannon staff

The character Boba Fett has fascinated Star Wars fans for years since his relatively minor role in the original trilogy, his expanded origins in the prequels and recurring appearances in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Forty-four years after his first-ever appearance in the otherwise maligned 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special—and yes, that is where Fett first appeared to audiences—the Star Wars galaxy’s most infamous bounty hunter has finally gotten a solo series. But was it worth the wait? “The Book of Boba Fett’’ starts on a high note, but its first episode is ultimately bogged down by a split narrative between Boba Fett’s past and present. The story takes place right after the teaser for the show at the end of the first season of “The Mandalorian.” At this point, Boba Fett has reclaimed his iconic armor and killed Jabba’s majordomo Bibb Fortuna, in doing so taking over Jabba’s criminal empire. The first episode involves Boba Fett’s attempt to maintain control over his new criminal empire in the Tatooine city of Mos

Espa. He has to learn how to act like a crime lord rather than a bounty hunter and deal with the cloak and dagger politics of the galactic underworld. A secondary plot line takes place in flashbacks to when Boba Fett first escapes the Sarlacc pit and is captured by the Tuskens, also known as the Sand People. Taken separately, these flashbacks are as interesting as the main storyline. For example, the show opens with Fett in a bacta tank recalling his traumatic experience escaping the Sarlacc Pit. In all my years as a Star Wars fan, I never thought I would actually get to see the inside of the Sarlacc, not to mention Boba Fett’s gauntlet bursting out of the sand. This scene was great, but the subsequent flashbacks that intercut the story take away from the narrative as a whole. These flashbacks show Boba Fett’s time as a prisoner of the Tuskens as he slowly earns the respect of the tribe. These scenes provide some answers as to where Boba Fett has been prior to appearing in “The Mandalorian,” but the two plotlines of past and present don’t really intersect. Usually, a flashback provides depth to a character’s motives, providing the audience with information

about the past that recontextualizes the events of the present. However, in this case, Boba’s adventures with the Tuskens ends the episode leaving both storylines unresolved. The flashbacks do not advance the main plot, but rather appear to be separate narratives altogether, leaving the episode feeling like two halves of different stories stapled together. Despite this minor issue, the show has a lot of potential, thanks in large part to the performance of Temuera Morrison reprising his role as Boba Fett. First seen as Boba’s father Jango Fett in the prequel trilogy and then later heard as the re-dubbed voice of Boba in the original trilogy, Morrison gives his all in this performance and really embodies the legendary bounty hunter in a way we haven’t seen him before. Boba Fett was always a mysterious figure, his face always obscured by his iconic helmet. Even the young Boba Fett we see in the prequels, played by Daniel Logan, doesn’t give us a full sense of the man behind the T-shaped visor. Morrison plays Fett as a man who has seen the worst the galaxy has to offer and survived. His grizzled voice and weathered appearance manifests as a hardened battle-scarred war-

rior giving life to the man in Mandalorian armor. As such, Fett lives up to his legendary reputation as a deadly bounty hunter. We get to see Fett fight both in full armor in the present day and without his iconic weapons during the flashbacks. Fett’s fight with a six-limbed creature is exhilarating to watch as he manages to strangle the beast with nothing but his chains. The fight earns him the respect of the Tuskens, but also highlights his lethality outside of his armor. In the present timeline, Fett fights off a group of assassins alongside Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) and Jabba’s old Gamorrean guards. What makes the fight interesting is that Boba is actually injured. Unlike the many seemingly unkillable Force users in the Star Wars galaxy, Fett can actually be hurt. It may take away from some of his overall badassitude, but it also gives the danger more weight if the audience knows he can be hurt. In addition to the excellent action and performances, world-building is also done very well. Some people may be tired of returning to Tatooine for what seems like the millionth time, but the show avoids rehashing what

has already been done by further exploring what we already know about the planet and its people. The show does return to iconic locations like Jabba’s palace, but generally focuses more on new locations and people like the vast city of Mos Espa. It adds to the lore of the world by highlighting the different criminal and political factions within the city and focusing the plot on a specific area rather than the entire planet. The show also explores the culture of the Tuskens, making them more than just monstrous raiders. Tatooine feels like a living, breathing world rather than just a backdrop or starting point for a larger story. “The Book of Boba Fett” does a lot of things right, in both its world-building and action. While the flashbacks seem separated from the main plot, it doesn’t make the show unwatchable. At the end of the day, we still finally get to see a Boba Fett show. It is by no means perfect, but it does live up to a lot of my expectations. It’s well worth a watch for both hardcore and casual Star Wars fans and was definitely worth the wait.

‘Cobra Kai’ continues the ‘The Karate Kid’ legacy with humor and more than a few illegal crane kicks By Zach Katz staff

“Cobra Kai” shouldn’t work as a show. In theory, it sounds like a shameless nostalgia mine. The show’s concept originated as a recurring punchline on “How I Met Your Mother” and it was first released on a pretty much DOA streaming service, Youtube Red. Despite all odds, “Cobra Kai” manages to succeed as both a continuation of the “The Karate Kid” saga and as a TV show in its own right through a combination of compelling storytelling, a healthy dose of nostalgia and more than a smidge of suspension of disbelief. Season four of “Cobra Kai” picks up exactly where season three ended. Johnny Laurence’s (William Zabka) new dojo, Eagle Fang, finally joined forces with Daniel LaRusso’s (Ralph Macchio) Miyagi-Do in order to defeat the titular Cobra Kai dojo, led by John Kreese (Martin Kove). In response to his former teenage nemesis and protege teaming up, Kreese recruits Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) from “The Karate Kid Part III.” One of my biggest problems with the third season of Cobra Kai was that it had lost most of the

moral ambiguity of the first two seasons. With Laurence forced out of Cobra Kai, the Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang students were undoubtedly the good guys and all of the Cobra Kai students turned into clear-cut antagonists. This season dwells in shades of gray— the Larusso family is antagonistic a surprising amount of the time and formerly antagonistic characters like Tori (Peyton List) and even Kreese himself show more sympathetic characteristics, with Tori trying to keep her life and family together by reentering school and Kreese finally realizing that he made mistakes with Johnny during the first “Karate Kid.” The emotional core of the show is, as always, the seemingly never ending feud between Johnny and Daniel. By now, both characters are in completely different places than they were when they first met in the first “Karate Kid,” but are still trapped in a repeating cycle. Their tenuous alliance at the start of the season nearly breaks apart several times before their rivalry resurfaces in a climactic rematch. Before that, however, Johnny and Daniel both get to see how life is on the other side. An early episode gives both senseis a chance to learn the others’ karate style, gaining a real, albeit short lived, respect for each other.

Daniel’s almost bullheaded desire to stick exclusively with his preferred style of karate, even when it means sacrificing his best chance of defeating Cobra Kai by teaming up with Johnny, is annoying at times, but this tendency does reinforce how Johnny is the protagonist of the show. Johnny and Daniel’s conflict also reverberates through the younger generation of characters in the show. Both of their protegees, Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña) and Samantha LaRusso (Mary Mouser), are pulled to learn from each others’ teachers. By the end of the season, Samantha is a much more aggressive fighter than Daniel ever planned for her to be and Miguel realizes that fighting for an All Valley Championship might not be what he wants anymore. Johnny’s own son, Robby (Tanner Buchanan), who has sided with both Johnny and Daniel in the past, is now fully done with their rivalry and is learning from Kreese. Robby plans to use Cobra Kai for his own benefit, unwilling to trust anyone after Johnny and Daniel both seemingly betray him. Over the course of this season, Robby takes on his own protegee, a middle schooler named Kenny, who is being bullied by Daniel’s younger son, Anthony (Griffin Santopietro). In another

effort to correct mistakes of past seasons, Anthony is actually relevant to the plot now, rather than just being relegated to an occasional one off appearance per season. The other students each get a chance to shine, especially Hawk/ Eli (Jacob Bertrand) and Demitri (Gianni DeCenzo), who are finally back to being friends after two seasons largely at odds. One of the biggest swings of this season was easily the reintroduction of Terry Silver. When the audience first sees him again, Silver appears to have left his Cobra Kai days behind. He’s happy, content, and in therapy. His actions towards Daniel in “The Karate Kid Part III” are passed off as being under the influence of a significant amount of drugs. Over the course of 10 episodes, Kreese not only drags him back into the fold, but pushes Silver off the deep end. By the end of the season, Silver has completely gone off the rails, culminating in a surprising betrayal. Most of the complaints I’ve heard about season four, and about “Cobra Kai” as a whole, is that the show’s karate fights strain the suspension of disbelief. I strongly disagree. The reality of the show is heightened, yes, but the show manages to get around that by having its own characters

remark on how absurd several aspects are. Daniel’s wife, Amanda (Courtney Henggeler) expresses disbelief in the first episode that their “family’s safety relies on winning a karate tournament.” Another character later comments on the frequency of karate fights infringing on their lives. “Cobra Kai” is also genuinely funny and meta when it wants to be, with a character once remarking that their “core demo is middle aged men and their sons.” “Cobra Kai” is a perfect example of how the recent trend of reboots and revivals should operate. By treating its original source material with care, but also critically examining it in order to tell a brand new story, “Cobra Kai” is able to continue the journeys of legacy characters such as Johnny and Daniel, while also adding new characters such as Miguel, Sam and Robby to those same legacies. Season five has already been filmed, so hopefully it won’t be long until “Cobra Kai” returns to Netflix with more punches, laughs and earnestly emotional kicks to the heart.

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