Volume 9 Number 12
Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper • Waltham, Mass.
Technical failures delay polls; votes still being tallied Candidates try to stand out in crowded-field debate
April 20, 2012
Tuition increase a balancing act
By Connor Novy
By Jon Ostrowsky
Elections were initially planned for Thursday, from midnight to midnight, but due to short notice in scheduling eComment page 15 mail lists with LTS, were postponed until 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Current Student Union President Herbie Rosen ’12 felt it was necessary to still allow the students a full 24 hours to vote, pushed the poll closing to 2 p.m. Friday, April 20. Rosen felt that for technical reasons, he should keep polls open an entire day, though it is likely that the extra 12 hours on Friday are unnecessary. “Maybe voter turnout might be a little different, but the people who I think are going to vote have already voted,” Rosen said Thursday evening. Rosen said he only notified the LTS contact who manages security of email lists earlier this week, short of the typical two-three week notice she receives to prepare e-mail blasts for the election. Because of the shorter than average notification time, the starting time was delayed.
After six weeks of searching, police discovered the body of Franco Garcia in the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. “We’re really wondering all the same thing,” BC senior Jamie Zhang said, “Why it took so long to find him.” While the exact circumstances of Garcia’s death are still unknown, a preliminary examination offered that the body showed no signs of struggle or foul play, instead was consistent
The board of trustees’ decision to increase student tuition costs by 4.1 percent reflects the challenge of a young university with a small endowment attempting to balance the needs for enhanced services and facilities with students’ ability to pay for them. Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment Andrew Flagel said that while administrators understand no increase is ever welcome, the job of running a university as a non-profit institution requires evaluating business proposals with added scrutiny. The challenge, he said, is to “maintain the things that we value most at Brandeis in a way that’s fiscally sustainable.” Flagel noted that the portion of the upcoming fiscal year $306.7 million budget related to tuition costs—approved at $1.9 million—reflects the necessary, albeit costly path forward for Brandeis. “I’m here because I believe that the educational model that we have is the right one, and it’s an exceptional opportunity for students. That model though is one of the most costly that’s ever been created in higher education,” Flagel said during an interview in his office Thursday morning. “It is a model which envisions accomplished research faculty bringing students into their research and being informed by their research in the classroom, in classrooms that are small.” The board’s approval to increase total costs for returning students to more than $56,000 has been met with mixed feedback. It has angered some over the specific budget items approved, but upset many others over a process that left students surprised by
See GARCIA, page 3
See TUITION, page 5
This year’s election has seen more competition than years past, with six presidential candidates and a run-off between incumbent Vice President Gloria Park ’13 and Senator Ricky Rosen ’14 for second-in-command. In a debate Wednesday, presidential candidates faced off, attempting to differentiate their platforms. The largest point of contention was tuition increases, which candidates were reticent to condemn, but generSee DEBATE, page 5
photos by ingrid schulte/the hoot
presidential debate Candidates discuss Union issues on Wednesday.
BC campus reacts to Franco Garcia’s death By Connor Novy Editor
After a seven-week search that left police baffled, Boston College senior Franco Garcia, 21, was found in the Chestnut Hill Reservoir on April 11. Police searched the reservoir for four days in February but came up emptyhanded. Garcia was a chemistry major and played clarinet in the school band. He commuted from home and worked as
a pharmacy technician at the CVS in Waltham, less than two miles from Brandeis. Garcia disappeared the night of Feb. 22 from the popular college bar Mary Anne’s, where he had been drinking with friends. He left the bar sometime before closing without his companions, who were unable to locate him when the bar closed and left, assuming he had taken a cab home. His cellphone pinged off a tower located near the reservoir, placing him
’Deis alumna’s quest for lost family trunk ends in ‘miracle’ By Rachel Hirschhaut Staff
For Brandeis alumna Erin Maidan ’03 of Waterloo, Iowa, this Holocaust Remembrance Day holds a special significance. This year she has honored her grandparents’ memory by reclaiming a lost artifact of family history—the trunk that held all of their possessions during the Holocaust, The Appleton Post Crescent reported this week. “It’s a miracle. It’s like getting a piece of them back,” Erin Maidan said. “The trunk is the perfect reminder of our struggles, and the hope that comes with redemption. Maidan’s grandparents, Jozef and Sonia Maidan, were Polish Jews who both survived concentration camps, Dachau and Auschwitz, respectively.
near Moore’s Hall on the Boston College campus, shortly after 1 a.m. He was seen on an ATM camera around the same time. Until the discovery of Franco’s body, some believed he was still alive, but at Boston College, according to Daniel Friedman, a BC junior, “most people assumed the worst. It’s really difficult to disappear in this day and age.” No personal belongings were found, and no credit card activity could direct officials to his whereabouts.
Staff win Hoops for Haiti, 43-42 in OT
They hid in a forest near Bialystok, Poland, until they turned themselves into a concentration camp called Radom, living in fear of people finding them. Jozef was taken to BergenBelsen and later Dachau, and Sonia was sent to Auschwitz. Sonia, who arrived in a railcar packed so tightly that people who died could not fall to the ground, described her survival as a matter of chance. Sonia was liberated on April 1, 1945. She believed that her freedom was an April Fool’s Day joke and slavery was the reality, something Erin still cannot fathom. The Maidans were reunited after the war, at a displaced persons camp called Felderfink, outside of Munich. Jozef saw Sonia’s name on a list of See HOLOCAUST, page 2
hoops for haiti The staff beat the students in a buzzer-beater, 43-42. More pictures, page 5.
photo by alex patch/the hoot
2 The Brandeis Hoot
April 20, 2012
Holocaust survivor’s family heirloom finally recovered HOLOCAUST, from page 1
survivors and traveled for two weeks on foot to find her. They had lost everything, even their two-year-old son Avram, who was taken. Yet at the same time, they began to rebuild their lives. Sonia gave birth to a daughter, Rifka, at the displaced persons camp, and they raised two more children in America, one of whom was Erin Maidan’s father Henry. The Maidans arrived in America with $18 and a trunk full of their remaining possessions, which has become a symbol of their immigrant heritage. They worked hard to achieve
the American dream, learning English and running two tailor shops for three decades. It was initially Jozef ’s skills as a tailor that secured his survival, because he was able to receive extra rations from the guards. When Jozef Maidan grew ill and had to close the store, they sold the trunk for money. It was bought by Orrin Miller, a local history buff. Erin Maidan did not rediscover it until she interned at the Grout Museum District and museum historian Bob Neymeyer helped return it to her. “As far as the trunk goes, Bob and Francesca (the museum staff) are the real heroes,” she said.
Influenced by her family heritage, Maidan studied European Cultural History, German Language and Literature, and NEJS with a focus on Holocaust studies. She was the only Jewish German major in her time at Brandeis. Maidan was one of only three Brandeis students to study abroad in Germany. She spent a year at the University of Heidelberg, the oldest university in Germany. Maidan was “prepared to go fully incognito” while doing research on Jewish-German relations after the Holocaust, the subject of her thesis. Yet she says what she found “surprised me intensely,
and changed my entire life, especially how I relate to Germany. I had a wonderful time and found the healing I was never really searching for, but it found me.” Sonia Maidan supported Erin’s journey, and even sent her off with a list of details such as her addresses before the war and places she must visit: the major Jewish centers of Eastern Europe such as Prague, Budapest, Warsaw, Krakow and Berlin. At the end of her trip, she spent a week alone in Poland, visiting Auschwitz. Maidan sees the bittersweet significance of the trunk. She says it symbolizes her grandparents’ suffering,
but it also represents healing and the freedom to pass their Judaism onto the next generation. On Holocaust Remembrance day Thursday, the Miller family presented the trunk back to the Maidan family in a small ceremony. “It’s no surprise to me that all of this happened very close to Pesach. It is the month of freedom after all, now as much as ever,” Erin Maidan said. “My story continues, the Jewish story continues. We were slaves in Egypt, we were slaves in Europe and now we are free Jews thanks to their sacrifice … Not all is lost. There’s hope things can be returned.”
Students win school’s Sprout Grants for tech startups By Ben Federlin
Special to the Hoot
The university announced this year’s recipients of the Sprout Grants, ranging from mobile apps to the potential detection of dirty bombs. The Sprout Grant program was designed to promote innovation and entrepreneurship within the Brandeis community and facilitate the development of programs focused on technological commercialization. Seven of the 20 candidates received funding, sponsored by the provost’s office and the Brandeis University Scientific Advisory Council. Approximately half of the applicants were in the life sciences while the other half were in computer science. Each candidate was decided by a separate panel of judges in the discipline. The innovators were awarded $80 thousand, $30 thousand more than last year. Professors Lawrence Kirsch (PHYS) and Hermann Wellenstein (PHYS) have been developing a grant-winning project with undergraduate students. Their project, a socalled “spin-off ” of years of designing and building particle detectors for high energy physics experiments at Fermi Lab and CERN, is an alternative form of radiation detectors. These
detectors will be designed to screen containers for potentially dangerous substances such as dirty bombs. Ideally the project could be used by government agencies for the detection of intended terrorist attacks. According to Wellenstein, the demand for these kind of devices has increased greatly following the 9/11 attacks. Another winner of the Sprout Grant was Professor David DeRosier (BIOL) who focuses on structural biology. He is currently working on a project with four other scientists, Professor Gina Turrigiano (BIOL) and her postdoctoral student, Marc Nahmani, as well as Frank Mello, whom Derosier described as a “superb machinist.” The primary focus of their project is the brain. “We decided on the method of super-resolution fluorescence light microscopy carried out at very cold temperatures—temperatures not far from that of liquid nitrogen,” DeRoiser said. He described the process involved in the execution of their project. “To do this work, we needed to design and build a cold stage that would keep the sample at very cold temperatures that would be compatible with a high-resolution microscope objective working at room temperature and that would fit on any fluorescent
photo courtesy of brandeis university
microscope. The project was a highrisk project—one that took us years to overcome all the challenges.” Another group led by Dr. Suresh Gorla also focuses on biology but in a very different way. Her group is
studying the detection and prevention of a particular strain of tuberculosis. Gorla expressed her gratitude toward the grant and how it could help improve the work she and her co-workers are doing.
“Our laboratory has discovered nine new compounds that inhibit Mtb in a test tube. With the help of the Sprout grant, we will be able to study the efficacy of these compounds in animal model of Mtb infection,” Gorla said.
Program rules leave room for ‘major’ changes
By Emily Belowich Staff
Currently, Brandeis offers 43 majors and 43 minors, with room to explore fields that overlap and cover cross-disciplinary issues, but 10 of the majors do not offer minor programs. Extensive major requirements could turn away students interested in only minoring in the topic. Such students could benefit from the additional course requirements as well as the introduction of new subject material. Major-only departments are arbitrarily formed—it is not necessarily based on the number of students who have already declared the major. Academic departments that do not offer a major have limited resources because of their size. Currently more than 300 undergraduates have declared psychology as a major. As one of the most popular majors at Brandeis, the psychology department has never offered a minor program and according to department chair Professor Paul DiZio (PSYCH), there has been no discussion of this possibility. “If students brought a petition to the dean and the dean approached us, we would definitely think about it,” DiZio said. “We would probably create a proposal and include students in the evaluation committee.” DiZio says that it would be most
important to include students in this discussion as it directly affects their future. “There would be costs to making a minor and so we have to ask ourselves: What would the students be getting from it?” He believes that employers and admissions committees do not value students any more for having a psychology minor. Technically, he does not believe that having a minor is a valued cost of students’ education. From a liberal arts perspective, students would have an advantage if they had the opportunity to acquire a basic understanding of human thought and to apply that knowledge to a variety of fields, including business, education and law. DiZio says that a minor would actually fit quite well into Brandeis’ psychology department but, as a department that is heavily research- and quantitative-oriented, a minor would have to include Statistics and Research Methods as well as a few other elective classes in order to sustain the psychology department’s mission. “The point would be to uphold the rigor but stay in tune with what the students want,” DiZio said. “I just don’t think students would go for that. From the faculty perspective, students have to be able to evaluate research in order to understand the content.” The Italian Studies program recently shifted from a major to a minor
because of its limited resources. Students can still obtain a major in Italian Studies, but it is now an independent interdisciplinary major, according to Romance Studies department chair Professor Michael Randall. Students who entered in the fall of 2011 no longer have the opportunity to declare an Italian major without the independent interdisciplinary major option. “It has always been an independent major, basically, because in order to complete an Italian studies major, students have to take a number of courses in language, literature and culture. Students have also always had the opportunity to participate in an independent study,” Randall said. But even with the limited resources, there is still a relatively large interest in the program, given its size, according to Professor Paola Servino, co-chair of the Italian studies program. “The group of students involved is very motivated, lively and engaged,” Servino said. “It’s a very well-balanced program and we do a lot with little resources.” The program maintains a strong interdisciplinary approach by incorporat-
ing films, literature and other media. Servino believes that this encourages many students to participate in independent studies and to engage further their knowledge through extracurriculars and study abroad. The program currently has 10 students who are Italian Literature majors and approximately 15 students in the minor program. There are only two professors because the program’s tenured professor retired last year and is not being replaced, according
to Randall. While the program cannot financially afford to offer more classes, Professor Randall said that the administration is very supportive of their department. “Giving the possibility to students who want to do either [major or minor] is the best solution,” Randall says. “With that being said, I think we’re doing a pretty good job of maintaining a strong program for students who show interest.”
April 20, 2012
The Brandeis Hoot
Board inducts three corporate leaders as members
By Emily Beker Staff
The board of trustees elected three new members last week; Michael Frieze, George Krupp and Lisa Kranc ’75 begin their term on the board starting May 20. Frieze is chairman of the Gordon Brothers Group, a business and finance firm; Krupp is the co-founder and co-chairman of The Berkshire Group, a business and finance firm; and Kranc is the senior vice president of AutoZone Inc. Krupp and Frieze are both philanthropists in the Boston-area and Kranc is an alumna and supporter of the alumni association to give back to the university. Former president Jehuda Reinharz assisted Krupp when Gann Academy, a local pluralistic Jewish high school, needed space to
hold classes until they could have their own building. Frieze was a Brandeis trustee from 2001 to 2005, and his wife is a Brandeis fellow and a member of the Heller School Board of Overseers. The couple supports the Transitional Year Program and the Posse Scholarship fund as well as the Heller School scholarships. Frieze’s love for Brandeis is due in part to its Jewish heritage and its strong social justice ties, according to a university press release. Kranc ’75, has been on the Alumni Association Board of directors since 2006. In 2008 Kranc was made vice president of the board. Kranc has been very involved in the creation of B Connect, the online alumni community and heavily involved in helping the alumni establishments on
campus thrive. Kranc told The Hoot that she is “honored, humbled and excited to be named a trustee.” Kranc’s goal as a member of the board of trustees is to “ensure that they are helping the university administration to consider how best to thrive for the short- and long-term.” Kranc has the experience from the other boards that she has served on to help the institution grow. She hopes to understand how the university continues to ensure the high quality of education for their students and faculty. “I have always felt that the core values that the university embodies were special and unique—particularly social justice and truth unto its innermost parts,” Kranc said. “It is certainly a rich heritage upon which to build
and grow.” Kranc will focus on strengthening alumni connections to Brandeis, drawing on her experience working with the varying boards that center around alumni. When asked about her experience as a student at Brandeis, Kranc said, “Brandeis was truly a life-changing experience for me, no exaggeration.” She arrived at Brandeis the daughter of a holocaust survivor, coming from a chicken farm in a small town in Eastern Connecticut. “Brandeis opened up my mind and my world to lots of opportunities,” she said. Some of her opportunities while at Brandeis included a semester abroad at Tel Aviv University. Her fondest memories of Brandeis were the classes that she took as a stu-
dent. To this day, decades later, Kranc can still remember specific classes she took, like “Job and the Problem of Evil” or “Marx and Freud.” Kranc also took an American Art History course with Professor Bernstein that she still vividly remembers. She spoke fondly of all her American Studies classes, a field that eventually became her major. The friends she made at Brandeis continue to affect her life. Kranc told The Hoot, “next week I’ll be in Israel at my nephew’s bar mitzvah and will be visiting with a long-time Brandeis friend, from DeRoy in l971 in Jerusalem.” Brandeis is a big part of her life, with her brother and her three cousins from her family also going on to join the Brandeis student body.
Garcia, 21, found in reservoir after nearly two-month search
funeral at st. ignacius of loyola church in chestnut hill
GARCIA, from page 1
with signs of an accidental drowning. “Some speculate that if someone had been involved and they heard that the reservoir had been dragged and they hadn’t found anything, they’d figure it wouldn’t be dragged again and dumped the body,” says Friedman, who “does not personally ascribe to this theory,” but asserts that there is a portion of the student body that is skeptical of the accidental nature of the case. Zhang presented another alternative. “Most people just believe he was locked in the weeds, so divers had difficulty to find him,” he said. “It’s a big lake.”
photo from internet source
The tragedy was less significant to Boston College than initially assumed. While the media reported widely on the case and social media sites were overwhelmed with support for Garcia’s family, the BC student population was less than wholeheartedly involved. “Of the people I knew,” said Zhang, “I don’t know anyone who actively looked for him. They might have put up posters, but no one went and looked with them.” Friedman said that after the “initial shock” the fervor “got a little subdued. There was a period, a kind of calm” before the body was found. Students are not permanently affected by the tragedy. “For a while,
flyers with garcia’s image went up across the region
kids were more aware, but college kids are also idiots and it’s hard to penetrate the feeling of invincibility. It’s chilling that it’s the local bar, that on any given night you’ll find 20, 30 kids there, but it hasn’t changed the campus that much,” Friedman said. Zhang agreed: “After kids came back from break, it felt like everything was the same again, maybe kids are slightly more careful, especially about leaving by themselves, but in terms of BC culture, I think it’s largely the same.” In late February, police extensively searched the reservoir and the surrounding areas, including pump houses and nearby wooded areas,
finding nothing. They used both divers and sonar, but were unable to locate Garcia. At the time, Massachusetts state police had no reason to believe he was in the reservoir, spokesman David Procopio told The Hoot earlier this month. It was only a logical place to look because his cellphone pinged nearby. After failing to contact him multiple times the following day, his family became alarmed and returned from a vacation in New York. They found that he had not been home and his car was where he had parked it on Tuesday, before going out with his friends. His clarinet was still inside. The disappearance inspired a mas-
photo by ingrid schulte/the hoot
sive manhunt, which included missing posters that covered Boston College campus, social networking announcements and celebrity involvement. Singer Bruce Springsteen, whose son is a senior at Boston College, tweeted the information and requested that if anyone had any information that they call Boston police. Students feel their safety isn’t compromised by Garcia’s disappearance, which Friedman compared to the year’s earlier suicide at the college, nor the police’s slow discovery of his body. “I think they did their best, whether they did a good job, I don’t know,” Zhang said.
Housing charity to raise money with Waltham run
By Emily Belowich Staff
WATCH (Waltham Alliance To Create Housing) Community Development Corporation will hold its annual 5K walk/run this Sunday, April 22, at 10 a.m. to raise funds for its Emergency Funds Assistance Program, providing emergency grants for low-income residents in need of housing. WATCH is a non-profit tenant advocacy organization located in Waltham that serves low-income individuals in the Greater Boston area. It works to create affordable housing, providing adult education and empowering the underrepresented residents of the Greater Boston area through civic engagement. WATCH was established in October 1988 at the First Congregational Church in Waltham. Residents made major efforts to help establish the organization, and they perse-
vered because of their desire to preserve and promote diversity in the city of Waltham. Since then, there have been hundreds of Brandeis students who have volunteered and interned at the Housing Advocacy clinic through community-engaged learning classes, MLK scholars and the Friends club. The clinic is a free, drop-in service that offers support for tenants and landlords and connects them to the resources they lack. It began in January 2007 in Professor Laura Goldin’s Environmental Law and Policy Class and grew into a unique partnership with WATCH and the Boston College Law School Legal Assistance Bureau. It is staffed entirely by Brandeis students, who are all trained by Professor Goldin, a lawyer from Boston College, and the supervisors at the housing clinic. “Our work sends a really positive message that Brandeis is an integrated part of the community
and we are here to actively participate and be a part of it,” Abi Steinberg ’12, one of this year’s clinic’s Brandeis student coordinators said. Steinberg is one of the supervisors over at the clinic and works closely with Goldin. Steinberg says that there are a wide variety of services that the clinic provides because the needs of each client will always vary. The clinic helps clients with fair housing issues, particularly regarding the need to be in an environmentally safe environment. “The goal is to demystify housing legislation. We aren’t lawyers, nor we do we act or pretend like we are, but we will direct them to the resources that they need,” Steinberg said. Services at the clinic also include free legal assistance provided by the BC Legal Assistance Bureau and referrals to other essential services such as food and fuel assistance, medical care, domestic abuse pre-
vention and job training. All of these services are made in part by the funds that have been created by student leaders. The Emergency Housing fund, which will be replenished after the race, raised $3,000 from the race in Spring 2010 and the coordinators are hoping to raise even more this year. “I just recently spoke to a woman who only needed $30 for rent, but I’ve also talked to people who need a lot more. This is why these funds are so helpful,” Steinberg said. The 5K run is one of two essential fundraisers for WATCH that students organize. Every Friday, WATCH Group runs an initial shuttle to Trader Joe’s and then a later shuttle to Shaw’s and Russo’s, each time charging $4 for the ride, where proceeds go to the Emergency Housing Fund. Steinberg said the idea just came from brainstorming with other students and then eventually getting feedback from the
community to help make the fundraiser a success. She contacted the experiential program and worked through them to be able to utilize their vans. “Initially, I sent out a survey to figure out if something like this would be useful, how much people would be willing to pay and where people would want to shop,” Steinberg said. “It turns out that people are excited about it because not only is it something they actually need and utilize, but they are also giving money to a great cause.” The walk/run on Sunday is sponsored by the Student Union, Aramark, PopChips and Trader Joe’s. Students will meet at the Great Lawn and walk or run around Loop Road three times in order to complete the 5K. All participants must pay $10 to register, in which all of the proceeds will be donated.
The Brandeis Hoot
April 20, 2012
Dr. Cheng Li discusses ramifications of upheaval in China
dr. cheng li and professor gary jefferson
By Zach Reid Staff
Dr. Cheng Li, director of China research at the Brookings Institute and a member of the Academic Advisory Team of the Congressional U.S.-China Working Group, discussed the changing face of Chinese leadership in a lecture Wednesday in Rapaporte Treasure Hall. The seminar commemorated the new issue of the Brandeis International Journal (BIJ), which featured China as its central
topic. Li discussed what he views as the four largest shifts that the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is currently facing: the two Coalitions within the party, the new identities of newer generations of Chinese citizens, the weakness of the faction’s leaders and the political deadlock that pluralism has helped to cause. According to Li, the Populist and Elitist coalitions each occupy roughly half of the seats of power in the CCP’s upper government. He described
photo by ingrid schulte/the hoot
the Populist Coalition as being comprised of rural and provincial leaders who follow a Marxist ideology and are known as the “New Left.” The Elitist Coalition is led largely by the sons of previous prominent leaders, who are often called “Princelings.” These officials are mainly businessmen who naturally focus on business and economic matters. With regard to the identities of new generations of Chinese citizens, Li discussed the decline of “technocrats,” or leaders who have college
degrees in engineering. Rather, he believes that “entrepreneurs are on the rise” and that businessmen are becoming the new majority among younger citizens. He asserted that the weak leadership in the government may not be the fault of incompetent politicians but rather a public distrust for certain offices. He believes that this weakness may be countered by the usage of the “Team of Rivals” strategy, which requires leaders to appoint their chief opponents to positions in their administration, “just like how Hillary Clinton became Chief of State” under Barack Obama. “The strategy can also lead to political deadlock,” cautioned Li. He mentioned how the nature of political pluralism, an influence of democracy, can lead to further instances of deadlock by resulting in a diverse range of leaders who don’t always agree on important issues. While this can lead to inefficiency, it is becoming more and more common in modern societies. The presentation concluded with more light-hearted banter as well as the future of Chinese Leadership. He believes that the CCP, in order to survive, will begin an incremental transition to democracy with its largest issues as “a move to Constitutionalism, more elections and a completely open media.” Following Li’s presentation, Brandeis Professor Gary Jefferson (ECON) responded to the presentation and added his own interpretation of the current situation. Jefferson agreed with Li’s analysis of the CCP’s
Profs up their influence as reporter’s ‘experts’ By Gilda Di Carli Staff
A recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal written by Professor Jytte Klausen (POL) on the Toulouse shooting reflected the popular practice of professors being contacted as experts to publish in the mainstream media. Klausen, an expert in the politics department on Islam in the West, relayed her experience writing the op-ed. Having already done extensive research on jihadist terrorism and access to a “large database of jihadist incidents and information about terrorists,” Klausen was able to write a well-informed article on the topic. Because the brother of the Toulouse shooter, Mohamed Merah, was in the database, she was able to disagree with the widely-held “lone wolf ” argument. She instead explained that Mohamed Merah was part of a strong network connected to al-Qaida. “In sum, I had perspective and facts to contribute,” she said. Despite this awareness, getting this perspective into the paper requires a whole other series of steps. “Getting an op-ed in a major newspaper is highly competitive and a lot of work,” she said. After staying up the whole night writing the piece, keeping an eye on the French news as new pieces of information came in about the shooter, there was the issue of contacting the editor of a major newspaper quickly. “Decisions about what goes on the op-ed pages are made early the day before, so to keep the news value I knew I had to act fast,” she said. Director of News and Communications Charlie Radin, a former foreign correspondent and Middle East bureau chief for The Boston Globe, helped Klausen efficiently
contact the editors of The Wall Street Journal, because “30 minutes after his call, the European edition of The Wall Street Journal accepted the op-ed. The U.S. edition followed shortly after.” “Because the U.S. edition was published first, I ended up working all day Friday with an editor at The Wall Street Journal here slicing words and fact-checking. Newspapers have very strict verification rules, particularly in instances involving controversial facts,” Klausen said. Often times professors do not know how they come to be contacted as experts on topics that are newsworthy. Professor Robert Art, expert in the Politics department on international relations, U.S. foreign policy and national security, has been quoted frequently in the newspapers but was not certain about how the press contacted him. “I really don’t know how I get on reporters’ lists to call. Part of it may be due to Brandeis because the university provides names of faculty to the press for various subjects. Part may be due to my publications,” Art said. Aaron Zelin, a research assistant in the Politics department, suggested the Internet and social media played a role in the British newspaper, The Telegraph, contacting him as an expert on the “cyber attack” on al-Qaida online forums a few weeks ago. “Reporters reached out to me. This either occurs through a colleague suggesting they speak with me or following me through Twitter or following my website,” Zelin said. Klausen said that the aggregator and wire service, Reuters, “routinely” contacts her. “Over the years I have developed a reputation as an expert on matters related to Muslims in the West. I am listed on several lists of expert networks, e.g. the
eventual fate and said that he believes “political reform is as deep and meaningful as economic reform” in China. He mentioned that the CCP needs to go about “the reallocation of property rights from the state to individuals and companies.” It also needs to address an individual’s rights to ideas and the fair distribution of human capital, as well as the overall workforce in China. Professor Chandler Rosenberger (IGS) helped to orchestrate a Q&A session for Li and Jefferson. The two fielded a variety of questions on topics ranging from the recent Bo Xilai scandal to the role of women in the government and the treatment of minority groups in China. The Brandeis International Journal, a student-organized international affairs publication, hosted the event. Chief editor and Europe head Sungtae Park ’12 said the journal is “a way for students interested in international relations to form networking groups as well as get their opinions published.” Students at the seminar were receptive to what Li had to say. Abigail Steinberg, a UDR for the International and Global Studies department, said that the entire event was “beautifully planned and well-executed.” She also praised how Li “included things I haven’t heard in past responses” in his answers to questions. Rosenberger had high praise for the BIJ, saying how impressed he was that “the journal had the foresight to make [China] the topic of their spring issue.”
Faculty meeting in brief By Connor Novy Editor
British Council, a U.N. list associated with the Alliance of Civilizations, and various other European lists. In my experience, the media does not use those aggregated lists,” Klausen said. Ultimately, building up a level of credibility through academic publications is the first step in identifying oneself as expert, Art, Klausen and Zelin all agreed. Klausen’s book, “The Cartoons that Shook the World,” generated a media storm because it involved an issue already very much in the global media: the Danish cartoons of the Muslim Prophet, Klausen said. Zelin also admitted, “Through my work I have built a level of credibility, which is why on certain issues a reporter may want to talk with me about a particular topic.” Art, author of several publications, including the recent edition his widely-cited reader co-edited
photo from internet source
with Robert Jervis, “International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Problems,” admitted “To be publicly quoted in the press is a good thing.” For Klausen, getting published in the media is not driven for desire of recognition. “Getting quoted in the news media is not very important to my academic career or reputation. My motive is really to try to change the tone of public discourse on issue[s] where I have expertise,” she said. Zelin explained the drive to be quoted in the media also runs on a moral strain. “Although being quoted in the media may not be prestigious it is still important insofar as academics have a duty to provide context and expertise to a particular topic. If not, then the general public is misinformed by frauds, hacks and hucksters,” he said.
Fiscal Year 2013 budget plans to draw on the Brandeis endowment by 5 percent. In Thursday’s faculty meeting, President Lawrence noted: “Is that drawing the endowment too high? You bet,” but conceded that it is the lowest draw rate in a number of years. “FY-13, I think, is a good budget,” he said. “It should allow us to feel the wind, ever so slightly, at our backs, and blowing in the right direction.” The increase in tuition, according to Lawrence, will go partly to foreign language and partly to LTS, because, he says, as a research institution, a well-funded and current technology service is imperative. The Princeton Review included Brandeis in their “Guide to Green Colleges.” While there are no rankings in the guide, Steve Goldstein says Brandeis is on the “cusp of silver, but still bronze.” Professor Irina Dubinina (RUS) has been awarded the Louis Brandeis Award for Excellence in Teaching. Her students laud her with making the complex Russian language understandable “and even easy,” according to one of the nominations. Professor Timothy Hickey (COMP) won the Lerman Neubauer award. He chairs numerous committees, as well as the computer science department for a number of years and the faculty senate. Numerous changes were made to the faculty handbook. The position of “instructor,” which does not require a PhD or pending PhD, was created, and appointment terms for non-tenure track professors were shortened.
April 20, 2012
The Brandeis Hoot
Six would-be presidents face off before election DEBATE, from page 1
ally called for more transparency and communication between the student body and the board of trustees. Dillon Harvey ’13, current Union director of community advocacy, said he felt “blindsided by the decision” to raise tuition by 4.85 percent for newly admitted students and 4.11 percent for continuing students. “We’re not the only ones with a tuition increase,” pointed out presidential candidate and current Union secretary Todd Kirkland ’13, but he wants better communication with the board of trustees and an online method for students to examine university finances in a simple way, so they know where their tuition is going. Louis Connelly ’13 suggested that instead of reacting to “always increasing costs” with tuition raises, the university should look for “ways to cut costs.” Continuing the pecuniary concerns, club funding, which garners 1 percent of tuition currently, was hotly debated. Kirkland conceded that this is much higher than the funding that goes to clubs in many institutions. Many students feel that too many clubs are chartered each semester, which stretches the F-Board’s resources too thin. Club funding inspired a more various response. Candidate Josh Hoffman-Senn ’13 believes that club funding could be raised through private sponsorship of local businesses and corporations. Harvey questioned the constitutionality of this move, and felt that it could compromise the position of the student union as an unbiased
governing body. Hoffman-Senn rebutted that “constitutionality is not a problem.” “We need to be an unbiased organization,” Harvey said, to which Hoffman-Senn noted that the Senate innately avoids bias because of democratic vote. “A lot of clubs get chartered at this point at Brandeis, and that’s a good thing,” Hoffman-Senn said, but explained that when students charter clubs, they “don’t know how to rally support” for their new institutions run clubs and “need more support from the student union.” A major failing of this year’s Student Union, candidates felt, was the lack of delegation to the E-Board and integration, not between the trustees and the student government, but committees inside the Student Union. David Fisch ’13 believes that he can better integrate WBRS, of which he is now programming director, into the Student Union agenda. Harvey and Kirkland both emphasized the opportunities in social media. Harvey cited the “age of communication technology” and said that Twitter, Facebook and e-mails were the best way to let students know what was going on. Connelly pointed out that perhaps technology and communication were not the aims of good student government. “What’s more important is what we can do for students,” he said. “Students should not be left in the dark,” Kirkland said, even when committees were not allowed to release a report, they should still let students know that there is some forward progress.
Flagel explains tuition decision TUITION, from page 1
the suddenness of the decision. In a flyer distributed at the Student Union presidential debate Wednesday evening, Brandeis Students for a Democratic Society Political Platform critiqued the tuition increase. “Brandeis students were not invited to engage in the decision-making process. Instead, two students were invited to watch and the rest of us received an e-mail requesting we direct our complaints toward Herbie Rosen [’12] and Andrew Flagel,” the group wrote. “As with all important university decisions, this one was decided behind closed doors by the selfselecting board of trustees.” Flagel explained that Brandeis is actually different from many of its peer institutions because it allows students to elect representatives to the board of trustees. The bylaws of running a private university and non-profit could not feasibly allow students to vote in that decision-making process. Explaining the business perspective of managing Brandeis, Flagel said, “This is a small city for all-intensive purposes.” The financial decisions are complex and sometimes unpredictable, he added, noting that some budget items reflect estimated costs for fuel expenses and snow removal, for example. The senior leadership team under President Lawrence that has now comfortably settled into its first year in office, must define its vision of a Brandeis identity, set goals, and seek to improve university services and programs to achieve them. The university’s financial standing has changed greatly during the past three years. In a post-Rose debacle, post-recession era, there is pressure to
photos by ingrid schulte/the hoot
continue renovating and revamping campus infrastructure. Prospective students and families visiting campus earlier this month for Admitted Students Day revealed the dilemma facing administrators. There is a delicate decision-making process and balancing act required to maintain the value of financial access to a university education, while also providing services and maintaining buildings to compete with other top-30 universities. Without those services and buildings, students may elect to enroll elsewhere, regardless of the costs. Flagel said he understood the effort to inform students of the decision immediately via e-mail was not enough to actively promote transparency. But he also explained that it would not be sensible for students to know every financial proposal from the beginning of the year that is on the table. His vision going forward includes town hall, group and even individual meetings to hear student feedback. Flagel will host an online forum with parents in the coming weeks to answer questions on a variety of topics, including tuition costs. Reflecting on his time in the administration at the University of Michigan and George Mason University, Flagel said he understood the financial pressure was different here because of the smaller endowment. But he cautioned, decision-making under this administration is not a closed-door system and one that even senior leaders are constantly re-evaluating, not just in terms of outcome, but also regarding process. “Exploring new models is not something that anyone is opposed to,” he said.
Playing for a cause
photo by alex patch/the hoot
hoops for haiti (Left) Napoleon Lherisson ’11 and Ipyani Grant ’12 go for the ball at the third annual Hoops for Haiti event on Thursday,
April 20. The event was a fundraiser for the Brandeis Haiti Initiative (BHI). (Right) Members of the student team, Student Union President Herbie Rosen ’12 and BHI President Jon Ostrowsky ’13, discuss the game.
6 The Brandeis Hoot
April 20, 2012
The Katzwer’s Out of the Bag
Student newspapers fool around with articles and prestige By Yael Katzwer Editor
Nearly three weeks ago a popular college holiday hit—April Fools Day. While college students may be “adults” who are breaking into the real world, we are still very juvenile in many ways. Most of us cannot pass up the opportunities for tomfoolery that April Fools Day gives us. While some of these jokes have been harmless little gags between friends or heart attack-inducing “confessions” to parents, some jokes have made headlines beyond campus. The editor-in-chief of Boston University’s student-run newspaper, The Daily Free Press, resigned after the paper got heat for its April Fools edition in which an article attempted to satirize the current allegations of administrative laxity about sexual assault and the two BU hockey players recently arrested for sexual assault. The paper received a flood of angry letters and media scrutiny about the attempt at satire. The last issue of The Hoot published a column titled “BU editors make foolish mistake” in which the author explains that, while one imprudent article should not ruin an aspiring journalist’s career, the paper was still wrong to print the article. The author asserted—and rightly so—that The Daily Free Press is a serious newspaper. As a serious newspaper, dabbling in satire cheapens the hard-hitting and thoughtful articles that the paper usually prints. This is why The Hoot did not have an April Fools edition this year. If BU were the only school to have this problem, it could be called an error; however, Rutgers’ satirical
photos from internet source
newspaper The Daily Medium is also facing blow-back for an article they published in their April Fools edition. The article titled “What about the good things Hitler did?” mockingly points out that the Holocaust was not all bad for the Jews; they give reasons such as that the genocide spurred the Jews to create Israel. While this article seems dumb all by itself, the real issue stems from the byline. The byline listed Aaron Marcus, a senior at Rutgers, as the author and printed a photograph of him next to it. Marcus is a frequent writer for Rutgers’ campus newspaper The Daily Targum, for which he writes pro-Israel columns. He is also the main complainant in an ongoing allegation against the Rutgers administration that they have mishandled anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents and that they do not do enough to protect their pro-Israel and Jewish students. Marcus has
enlisted the Zionist Organization of America and the Anti-Defamation League in his complaint. First of all, I do not understand why a satirical newspaper—read: a newspaper that is always joking—needs an April Fools issue, but that is beside the point. The Daily Medium is being accused of anti-Semitism, harboring anti-Israel sentiments and harassment. The Daily Medium’s editorin-chief Amy DiMaria released a statement reading: “I want to state publicly, in the strongest possible terms, that the only subject we meant to parody was Marcus, whose work The Daily Medium staff has found as something more than suitable for parody. This piece was not an attack on any religious or ethnic group. It was not an attack on defenseless private citizens. The article we wrote was about Marcus, a sometimes controversial public persona.”
I agree with DiMaria entirely. As a co-editor of The Blowfish, Brandeis’ own satirical newspaper, I cannot help but see some similarities in the two papers. As a Blowfish editor, I would not have printed that article—not because it is offensive but because it was not that funny. That was DiMaria’s real mistake: printing an article that was not funny enough to go to press. A good rule of thumb—as reprehensible as it may be—is that the funnier something is, the more offensive it can be. Obviously there are still lines, but I do not think DiMaria crossed those lines; after all, this is not the first time this joke has been made. As for mocking Marcus, he is a public figure and therefore fair game. A rule at The Blowfish is that we do not make fun of anyone or anything smaller than The Blowfish. So, professors and very vocal students are our meat and potatoes but the average schmo who may
live across the hall from me will remain anonymous. This is a rule that other satirical newspapers employ as well. This past week The Onion printed an article decrying the real tragedy of the Titanic—the poor nutritional content of the food on board. The kicker: This piece was written by Michelle Obama—that is to say, her name was in the byline. It was a funny and well-written article. And why did it work? Because everyone knows who Michelle Obama is and what she stands for. Michelle Obama is to The Onion as Aaron Marcus is to The Daily Medium. He is a public figure whom most people on campus know of. Had Marcus just been a columnist for The Daily Targum who wrote pro-Israel columns, he would not be an appropriate source for parody; See FOOLS, page 7
Facebook fallacies: reevaluating social networking
graphic from internet source
By Zoe Kronovet Editor
Ever since Facebook began to gain popularity, people have worried about what it meant for our social interactions. As technology advances, so do the complaints that our humanity’s social skills
are deteriorating and that technology is to blame. Almost everyone relies on Facebook for one reason or another. If you are an international student or you study abroad, Facebook serves as your connection back home and helps to preserve friendships that otherwise
could have been lost. It can also help with re-entry back into your college or home environment where you haven’t missed out on as much because you have been able to keep up with your friends’ lives while you branched out in another country. Today, where connections mean everything, the occasional Facebook stalking of a former classmate or business associate isn’t necessarily a bad thing when they might be able to help you out later or vise versa. If used for these purposes, Facebook can enhance friendships and have a purposeful role in your life. All too often, however, we are content to let our “friends” number add up as we stare at the growing number with poorly disguised pride and admiration. There is an increasing amount of pressure that accompanies shallow friendships that Facebook perpetuates. These meaningless relationships that we keep around simply to stalk college activities and latest dating drama only proves that Facebook gives the facade of intimacy while actually creating distance between friends. Facebook enables selfaggrandizement in the sense that we constantly feel pressured to demonstrate to all of our friends
how happy we are and how wonderful our lives are. Facebook puts us in the horrible position of needing to proclaim our own successes. We are entering the era of a new kind of peer pressure, where we are constantly doubting our own happiness and feel compelled to exaggerate our own satisfaction with our lives for the sake of keeping up with the virtual Jones. When we scroll through our news feeds and see all the happy smiley faces of our “friends” at a party, red solo cups in hand, we start to worry that maybe we need to look as happy too. Furthermore, Facebook can impede us, prevent us from letting go of friendships that were only temporary and prohibit us from fully immersing ourselves in our college experience. Because of Facebook and other forms of social media the college experience has transformed. Cellphone in hand, we are more worried with checking in with our old friend’s experiences, that we miss the possibilities right in front of us. We are trapped in an endless circle of faking our own happiness so that we feel equal with our friends who are engaging in the same kind of opaque behavior. Facebook also sets up judg-
ments that ultimately fail. Everyone Facebook stalks their future roommate only upon meeting them to say, “you are nothing like I thought you would be based on your Facebook.” Profiles pictures and quirky About Me sections give false first impressions that we end up having to rectify after meeting the person whom we stalked in person. We become consumed with tweaking our profiles until it projects the perfect image of ourselves. These inaccurate projections further the problem because we become entangled in our own convoluted web of lies and are unable to escape from our impulse to overstate our satisfaction. I’m not advocating for turning off your Facebook accounts and stepping away from social media entirely. I am, however, suggesting that we all take a closer look at what role Facebook plays in our lives. Is it merely a tool through which we stalk our former high school friends or is it how we get in touch easily with our best friend who lives 1,000 miles away? If Facebook’s purpose is to advertise how fabulous your life is then maybe it’s time for some self-reflection to question the impulses that drives you to publicize your happiness.
April 20, 2012
The Brandeis Hoot
The Editor’s Desk
Why Brandeis should care about Franco Garcia
missing A flyer posted in search of the missing Franco Garcia in March 2012.
By Jon Ostrowsky Editor
Community news coverage must extend beyond the confines of Loop Road to the streets of Waltham. Occasionally, it must extend to other colleges, cities and towns. We define community broadly at
The Hoot and cover it beyond this campus because what happens here is not isolated from what happens in Newton or Weston or Waltham. When nine Brandeis students were hospitalized for alcohol intoxication on the night of Pachanga in October 2010, for example, local towns suffered a shortage of ambulances. City officials were upset.
photo by ingrid schulte/the hoot
They had to deploy limited resources to transport drunk Brandeis students to the hospital. When three men were murdered on Harding Avenue last fall, one of them was a Brandeis alumnus. On a campus where we often write about academic, athletic and extracurricular achievements, it would be easy to pretend that a drug-related
homicide is not our business—too off topic to be covered in a student newspaper. So when Franco Garcia, a 21-year-old Boston College student who worked at a CVS pharmacy in Waltham, went missing in February after a night of drinking with friends at a local bar, like the multitude of Massachusetts media outlets, college students and Garcia’s family members, we were shocked by the case. Local news is best covered by community newspapers. Just as national newspapers have unique access to interview politicians, students newspapers have unique access to interview students. We can relate to their situations. We understand what college students experience on a daily basis. Life at BC is not far removed from life at Brandeis or any other school in the Boston area. The campus might look different, the classes might vary, the Conte Forum might seat thousands more than Red Auerbach Arena in Gosman, but the issues students face relating to drugs, alcohol, mental health and crime are the same. Nearly two months after Garcia first went missing at a bar in Cleveland Circle, police divers recovered his body after a passerby noticed it on April 11 in a nearby reservoir— the same reservoir they searched for four days weeks earlier. The circumstances surrounding Garcia’s death are still unclear. Pending a full toxicology report, initial findings from the autopsy led officials to believe Garcia’s death was an accidental drowning. But as his mother, Luzmila Garcia told The Boston Herald on Wednesday before going to Newton Cemetery for his burial, “We want to know the truth. I want to know what happened. What really happened to him?” I do not intend to speculate on the cause of Garcia’s death nor the circumstances surrounding it. Our role as journalists is to report on
facts, not speculation. But simply because the facts are unclear does not mean we should stop asking the difficult but crucial questions. Something or someone, even if it was accident, caused Garcia to die. In college, we are often unaware, too young and inexperienced to recognize when we put ourselves in danger, or see our friends in trouble. This is not unique to BC. It is true of every college community, including Brandeis. And now students at BC must cope with a tragedy that those closest to Garcia cannot stop thinking about. Few can make sense of the case. What are students to do when the police and private investigators have no answers? How can they find peace and understanding without knowing how he died. For Garcia’s friends and classmates, their typical college experience was turned upside down this spring. Now, their worries stem from uncontrollable grief rather than uncertain grade-point averages. This is the environment of shock and confusion that now fills the campus just seven miles from Brandeis University. We may never know all the answers. But I do believe that by continually reporting on this case, by continually talking to BC students and by continually asking the questions everybody is wondering but too afraid to say aloud, we will come closer to understanding the truth. What shocks the college community about Garcia’s death is that he was no different than the peers in his classes—a hardworking student known for his kindness and friendship. And now a community is searching for answers. As student journalists, we have an obligation to contribute to that search. And we will not shrink from that responsibility simple because it takes us beyond South Street.
End reliance on surveys By Alex Schneider Editor
They told us the Wabash survey was just an informal questionnaire, but it sure looked like an SAT exam. Thankfully, it only lasted one hour. The Wabash survey was given to the incoming class of 2012 when we were first-years and then again last month with commencement on the horizon. Admittedly, my sole motivation for taking the Wabash was the chance of winning one of a number of valuable prizes, including a $400 gift card (full disclosure: I didn’t win). Seniors who took the questionnaire also received a $7.50 gift card to a local ice cream shop. I’m certainly grateful for the ice cream. But, at the same time, I’m not convinced Brandeis will learn much from the responses I provided. The thinking behind the questions was to develop a profile of the accomplishments and perspectives of seniors who received a Brandeis education. But the questions were vague, broad and highly irrelevant, boiling important questions about alcohol and drug usage, personality traits, engagement with professors, and participation in student clubs to the one-to-five scale. At Brandeis, students receive requests to respond to surveys almost
on a weekly basis from academic services, the Hiatt Career Center and the Student Union. Surveys typically ask anywhere from 10 to 25 questions, ranging from name, class year and major to rating programs or services on the one-tofive scale to the usual, “feel free to add anything else.” That’s a whole lot of data. But is the data useful? From a statistical standpoint, probably not. The students who actually answer the survey aren’t necessarily representative of all students. Questions are often written by administrators who lack training in survey writing, which results in questions that are sometimes worded in a biased manner. At the same time, students aren’t necessarily motivated to think carefully about questions, but merely to provide responses in order to be entered in a drawing to win a prize. But the problems extend beyond the statistical. After the Student Union’s recent Pulse survey—a weeklong online questionnaire— we were promised that input would be used to improve student services. I reviewed responses to the survey, and what stood out was interesting information, but not necessarily actionable trends. The Union asked when students wanted the dining halls to be open. That
one’s easy—24/7/365. These surveys provide far too many data points, many of which yield meaningless numbers that don’t always tell the whole story. Union leaders in particular are elected with a mandate, and that should be enough to bring about change. Endless surveys slow down the process and provide unnecessary information overload. Administrators have more of a reason to use surveys, but they rely on them far too much because it is easy to do so. How can anyone hope to learn anything from bubbles darkened on a page? The real way to profile the graduating class isn’t to ask simplistic questions as part of the Wabash but to pay attention to students throughout their time at Brandeis, to engage them and meet them, to speak to professors and mentors who know students best, and to listen when students have concerns. SurveyMonkey doesn’t bring about change. People do. These surveys could ask hundreds of questions in every possible way, but unless someone reads and acts on the answers, the surveys are useless. At Brandeis, too many administrators and student leaders are relying on surveys to appear to be responsive to students rather than
actually to be responsive. There are other ways. More students should be included in university committees and administrators should hold more regular forums to gather student input and open channels of communication with club leaders to be more connected to student activities on campus. They can also
reach out to students, be present at events and really try to gather meaningful input before making decisions. Sometimes it’s just easier to pay $7.50 for a survey than to expend time and energy in getting to know students. But that time and energy would be well spent.
Campus newspapers foolishly cross lines FOOLS, from page 6
for parody; however, Marcus made himself a public figure when he complained about the Rutgers administration, bringing several articles-worth of bad press to the university. Marcus needs to learn to take a joke—even if it is a poorly told one. Both BU’s Daily Free Press and Rutgers’ Daily Medium made mistakes this past April Fools Day. The Daily Free Press treaded land that a serious newspaper should avoid; it stepped outside its comfort zone
in the worst way and published an offensive article about a very sensitive topic. While The Daily Medium also published an offensive article about a very sensitive topic, it deserves more leeway because those kinds of articles are the paper’s bread and butter. The Daily Medium exists to lampoon people, places and events on the campuswide and even national level. The Daily Free Press needs to remember that it is not The Daily Medium and The Daily Medium needs to remember that being edgy is not enough—it needs to be funny as well.
The Brandeis Hoot
April 20, 2012
Debates reveal what candidates don’t offer this should present a challenge to his candidacy, he parried nicely enough, saying that he changed schools only because of their great communications program and citing his return. But he could have used the lifeline to a fuller extent, and not just to explain what made Brandeis unique in his mind. He could have explained what he learned there, on the outside. For the biggest similarity the candidates shared was the range of debate itself, the issues and solutions they raised. Brandeis should be a home for social justice, but even idealism has its limits. We know dining on campus has many problems. But points will never be able to be used on non-Aramark food; they just don’t work that way, they’re a creature of Aramark. This means Chums is off-limits, and offcampus restaurants a sheer impossibility. And guys, WhoCash is not a way to solve dining on campus. WhoCash is money. Just plain money. It is the rhetoric about the board itself, and the most critical issue represented by the university budget and long-term plan, is the biggest example of student politics run completely off a cliff. Many candidates were embarrassing themselves on this issue, and they’re not alone. If David Fisch had made the best parry to the difficult transferring questions, he would have offered an answer gained outside the hallowed, sheltered grounds of Brandeis, gained from anywhere else, that seem to be holding other candidates and interested parties hostage. The board of trustees will never let students in on every
By Nathan Koskella Editor
I am interested in all things Brandeis. While there hasn’t been a much bigger booster in my three years, like most I follow politics, current events almost too much. I’m a law and policy dork; I surely do follow too much. So against the conventional wisdom (judging by the turnout) I found myself unable to stay away from the Student Union presidential and vice presidential debates Wednesday. I did not attend the pilot one last year, featuring just the top post wannabes and only three well-known candidates at that. But this year no fewer than six esteemed fellow students are running for president. And the veep slot, between just the incumbent and another member of the Senate, was presented for the first time. The candidates had much in common. (For one thing seven of them were male, but that’s a whole other person’s column.) Six of them were in suits, radically overdressed for Olin-Sang on a weeknight with an audience of 30 and no faculty or staff. Four of them were on the e-board, the most inside of insiders. Steven Milo was present for comic relief. He’s a nice, successful classmate and a friend, but students’ biggest advocate before the administration needs some more ideational muscle. One candidate who could not have been pegged with the usual, establishment label was David Fisch, a rising senior. Fisch left Brandeis for the fall semester, transferring to Syracuse. Upon enrollment there, he says, he immediately wanted to return. When the moderators asked if
decision it makes. And students cannot have a meaningful vote: even with “full powers,” they’d outnumber upstart students representatives 40-2. But this is more than just cynicism, though a slight dose, unBrandeisian as it may be, could do for many of us. The board of trustees is basically the body that “owns” Brandeis. We are a private university with private, exclusive membership. Candidates lamented that budget decisions are made without student approval. Some even called for alternate ways to manage tuition increases. But the way the board of trustees works is, for the most part, as it should be. Yes, they could be more transparent. But even this is a Brandeis-land buzzword, because knowing two months ago that tuition will increase 6 months from now would not change a thing. Students can’t be left to decide when tuition needs to rise, and what faculty, amenities or resources need be cut. The process involving a board of trustees that makes decisions exclusively or a budget that at times calls for surprise tuition hikes is not the problem. Good results happen at other universities with the exact same structure. Students for a Democratic Society, a student group who passed out a platform (of sorts) should instead focus on why the board is wrong. Not why having a board the way it is set up is wrong. But why they came to the wrong conclusion. Our candidates should realize the limitations of their wouldbe offices. But then they can use them to accomplish real things. Asking simple questions about how much it costs to fix East, create more parking or expand aca-
photo by ingrid schulte/the hoot
demic resources would accomplish more than rhetoric about social justice. Though Fisch did not rise to the trick question and talk about life
outside the Brandeis bubble, some student leader should offer a vision of social justice that included some real-world experience with practical, even skeptical exactness. They would have my vote.
Occupied thoughts on the Great Teach In
photo from internet source
By Morgan Gross Editor
A few days ago, I received several Facebook invitations to a series of events titled the Brandeis 99% Spring Week. This collection of events is part of the larger 99% Spring—an offshoot
of the original Occupy protests that seeks to organize and train interested individuals to participate in protests nationwide. A highlight of the events taking place at Brandeis will be The Great Teach In on the Great Lawn. The event is being planned by Brandeis sociology professor Gordie Fellman
along with a group of passionate students and will feature sessions led by occupiers, academics and activists. Topics covered will range from the legal implications of the Occupy movement to the environmental ones. The docket of speakers is impressive, but what is truly interesting about this teach-in is that university administrators will not just be present on the Great Lawn but also participating. In addition to speakers from the Occupy movement itself, the event will begin with opening remarks from Provost Steve Goldstein and will feature presentations from faculty members and from President Fredrick Lawrence. Some are saying that the administrators’ involvement is a symbol of the university’s commitment to its legacy of social justice and activism; however, the idea of Brandeis’ highest authorities speaking alongside occupy organizers seems strange to me for a few reasons. Occupy is an anti-authority movement at its very core. And while it is not impossible to imagine that Goldstein and Lawrence might be personally interested in the movement, I can’t help but think that the university’s administration is making a strategic move with their participation in this event. I won’t pretend to know how the provost or president became involved with the teach-in, but I will
say that it is rare for authorities and occupiers to stand on the same stage together. By involving themselves in the planning of an Occupy-associated event, the university is able to keep its eyes and ears on individuals and groups who might be inclined to protest. It seems to me that their decision came with good reasons. Last year on campuses around the country, students formed Occupy protests as groups in solidarity with the original Occupy Wall Street movement. They adapted the 99 percent identity to the student body and the 1 percent to its administration. In these movements, students set themselves in opposition to university authorities and—often very successfully—frame the administration as the unquestionable enemy. One of the most famous of these university occupations took place on the campus of UC Davis, where students organized an occupation to protest unfair tuition rises and corrupt action behind the closed office doors of university administrators. Actions of the members of Occupy UC Davis were met with police intervention and violence. As images of student protests filled the nation’s newsreel, I couldn’t help but wonder when Occupy Brandeis would hap-
pen. Students are not short on complaints here. Dining, housing, health services and steep tuition rises are just a short list of grievances drawn upon daily in the discourse on the state of the university. With the university’s left-leaning tendencies and history of social action and civil disobedience, an occupation seemed inevitable. Counterintuitively, no student arose on campus, and Occupy lost steam quickly. But if the 99% Spring is an attempt to resurrect the Occupy of the past, an associated event organized on campus is an undeniable red flag. It is clear that Brandeis’ administration is trying to align itself with Occupy in order to make it more difficult for students to rationalize an occupation of our campus. Additionally, by helping in the organization of an Occupyrelated event, the university is able to watch the discussion and action of students who would be likely to occupy our campus. I am not trying to condemn the university for its efforts, so much as make it clear that their actions have possibly unforeseen implications. It is admirable that students, staff and faculty members worked together to organize such an interesting event and I am excited to see how it and the rest of the university-occupy discourse plays out in the final weeks of this semester.
April 20, 2012
The Brandeis Hoot
Romney clinch sets up long general campaign
By Rick Alterbaum Columnist
Well, it seems as if the general election has already begun. It was not like the outcome was really much of a surprise since former Governor Mitt Romney’s primary competition included your wacky conspiratorial Uncle Ron, Newt the two-time divorcee and Rick Santorum, who lost his last election in his home state by 18 points. But now, Willard finally has his shot at the presidency, having been designated next-in-line because of his runner-up status in the 2008 Republican primary behind John McCain. This election will not be inspirational. Barack Obama is no longer the messiah embodying hope, change and promise, as opposed to the eight long dark years of George W. Bush. Instead, voters are going to be faced with a simple question: Who is the lesser of two evils? As a result, instead of running on positive, uplifting themes, the candidates will do everything in their power to tear each other down personally and politically. On one hand you have a president who, quite frankly, cannot run on his record. Eight percent unemployment; $16 trillion debt; enormous deficits; record foreclosures; credit downgrading; lack of sustained economic growth—these are not positive signs. Furthermore, Obama’s signature policies have been a bust. Depending
on your outlook, the stimulus package was too small, filled with pork or generally ineffective. The health care plan is arguably unconstitutional, will add trillions to the debt, encourage employers to drop their employees’ coverage in favor of the health exchanges, and slash Medicare and raise taxes while creating a new, unaffordable entitlement program. Dodd-Frank does not address the too-big-to-fail problem or Fannie and Freddie. Obama’s only major foreign policy success has been the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. In contrast, we all know Romney’s flaws: He is out of touch, awkward, pandering, lacking convictions and someone who drove his car with his dog attached to the roof. To the left, he is a combination of a late 19thcentury robber baron, such as John D. Rockefeller, and a right-wing extremist in the image of Barry Goldwater. To the right, he is the next in line in a string of candidates, such as Bob Dole and John McCain, who, because of their moderation, cannot distinguish themselves in a meaningful way from their opponents. To everyone else, he is an enigma. This election will also simply be typical. Romney will accuse Obama of being a tax-raising, Europeanstyle socialist who does not believe in American exceptionalism. Obama will attack Romney as a vulture capitalist plutocrat who also is a weird Mormon, by the way. War on women, the Buffett rule, tax-and-spend liber-
graphic by linjie xu/the hoot
al—all of these catch phrases, slogans, and symbolic gestures and policies will be heard constantly. In other words, this election will not rise in any way above the usual left-right-divide. We won’t learn anything original or gain any insight into fresh ideas. Big government, small government; high taxes, low taxes; free trade, fair trade; pro-life, pro-
choice—nothing new to see here. Although I am jaded, I will still keep track of what happens for its sheer entertainment value. And heck, I do look forward to seeing who Romney picks for his vice presidential nominee. It’s hard to do worse than Sarah Palin. Marco Rubio, Rob Portman, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie— who will be the lucky man or woman
for the job? I do wish that elections were more substantive and issue-oriented, and less divisive. But ultimately, this is our democracy, warts and all. So let’s go watch as our favorite former constitutional law professor and privateequity leader duel with rhetoric until we head to the polls come this November.
Dining during break is deplorable
provisions on demand A student pays at the Usdan P.O.D.
By Lila Westreich staff
During spring break, my friends went down on Sunday to the Village P.O.D. for dinner. The schedule clearly stated that the hours that day would be 4 p.m. until midnight. But 5 p.m. came and went and the doors were locked and the lights off. Brandeis brags about its international student body. On my floor alone there are students from Ger-
many, Taiwan and Switzerland. Unless those students’ families are able to afford international flights multiple times a semester, I can’t imagine they’re going to be returning home every break. Coming from Minnesota alone is a 2.5-hour plane ride and costs around $500, including the use of my mother’s frequent-flyer miles. I know for a fact that there are hundreds of students in the same situation, unable or unwilling to pay thousands of dollars to go home for Brandeis’ strange break schedule throughout the year. This results in
photo by nate rosenbloomthe hoot
a large amount of students present on campus during semester breaks. Why doesn’t our dining system reflect our campus population? I’m not only upset about the Village P.O.D. hours during semester breaks. The hours for the main dining halls are just as strange. Sherman opens later and closes earlier. Einsteins is either closed permanently or open for a four-hour period on the weekend. The C-Store is the only reliable place for food on breaks, but it is not convenient for those residing in lower campus and how many
times can I eat Chobani yogurt, frozen dinners and fruit cups in one week? It is not too much to ask for an alternative, reliable food source during our breaks. Outside of the break schedule, the regular weekday hours of the V-Store are noon until midnight. There are a large number of midyears, sophomores and juniors living in the Village as well as the upperclassmen in Ziv that would love to grab breakfast or coffee near their dorms. For people exercising at the Village gym in the morning, many of which enjoy taking
a break from their studying to fit in a run, the V-Store is not an option for a post-workout snack. The selection at the V-Store is also unimpressive. They tend not to restock frequently and the amount of food offered in relation to the number of people that live near the store is pitifully inaccurate. It would also make sense for the selection to be larger if the V-Store were open for more hours each day. All in all, it would create more revenue for the school and more avenues for the students to use up points and meals.
10 The Brandeis Hoot
April 20, 2012
Tóibín reads ‘The Master’ to a captivated audience By Dana Trismen Editor
Esteemed novelist, playwright, journalist and scholar Colm Tóibín visited campus on Wednesday to read from his novel, “The Master.” Tóibín has won various awards from the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award to the Los Angeles Times Book of the Year Prize for “The Master,” a novel that delves into the life of 19th-century writer Henry James. “The Master,” details James’ insecurities and follies, and seeks eventually to humanize completely James. Sponsored by the Creative Writing department, this event was very wellattended as Brandeis students and faculty alike came to see this seasoned author read. Professor Steven McCauley highly praised Tóibín in his introduction, describing his effect on audiences when he read out loud, claiming it caused people to inch forward in their seats, hold their breaths and remain poised in this way, mesmerized by his reading. As Tóibín began to read, he did not disappoint. His voice is low and moving, at once soothing and yet impossible not to pay attention to. While Henry James has long been dead, Tóibín’s prose and his voice bring him entirely back to life. Tóibín read two sections of “The Master,” one describing James’ experience during opening night of one of his plays, and another sentimental piece about a woman’s clothing. Tóibín described how James did not witness his show’s opening night, instead choosing to go watch an Oscar Wilde play and return after
the show’s conclusion. His play was a complete failure and public humiliation, something Tóibín shows that James at once highly feared and hoped against. Tóibín’s prose is utterly descriptive—it is easy to imagine James nervously walking back and forth between the two plays, wondering what his fate would be as a playwright. Tóibín described how it was necessary to immerse completely himself in James’ life, to surround himself with all accounts of the man. Tóibín is indeed such a master that he artfully twisted a short radio segment aired in 1956 into an entire section of his novel. In the radio segment, an old woman spoke about how she knew James briefly. Tóibín understands James’ motives and psyche so well, that the short segment is enough for him to create entire scenes and dialogue. Professor Kathy Lawrence led a discussion with Tóibín following his reading. She quizzed him on James’ life, uncovering that Tóibín certainly knows even more about the man than what is in his book. She also uncovered facts about Tóibín himself, such as his political history in which both his grandfather and his uncle were involved in the Irish IRA. Prompted by Lawrence, Tóibín talked about his homeland explaining how Ireland does not seem that small if one lives there. In a way, Tóibín’s writings often have a political undertone. He does mention the treatment of the Irish people by the hands of the English, and he describes how in Ireland, America was considered “glamour” while England was simply “neces-
sity.” Lawrence also questioned Tóibín on why he decided to take on Henry James, saying it was an audacious topic since many think they “own” Henry James. She asked him whether he was concerned about taking a very private man and making his life public, or how Tóibín was ever able to get inside this great writer’s mind so fully. Tóibín was not fazed by this question, instead pointing out the similarities between himself and the man who was called “The Master” by his fans. Tóibín points to the fact that James, like himself, was balding, the second son in a family of five, and had a very similar relationship to family, community and religion. Tóibín also seems to have had similar experiences. He describes how one of his novels was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, which basically means he did not win the Booker Prize. He described that night where they announced the winners as one where he hoped he would win, but realized once he had not that he was facing a night of misery and embarrassment and wondered why he bothered going at all. Tóibín compared this to James himself, on the night of James’ play release, at which the public booed him and James wondered why he turned to writing plays at all. It seems as though Tóibín, who has researched James immensely, has managed to bring him to life not through hard facts but because he understands James as a person. With an easy to listen to voice, Tóibín is as much a writer as he is a public speaker, and both are entirely captivating.
photo by nate rosenbloom/the hoot
the master Colm Tóibín came to Brandeis April 18 to
read from his critically acclaimed novel, “The Master.”
‘Without Gorky’ delves deep into a twisted mind By Max Randhand Special to the Hoot
“Without Gorky” explores the life of Arshile Gorky, an accomplished painter and European immigrant. Gorky came into his own in the Surrealist field and was a pioneer in the abstract expressionist school of painting. His works are proudly displayed all over the nation, including such illustrious museums as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. “Without Gorky,” shown Thursday in the Wasserman Cinematheque, is a unique look at both his life and his suicide. Without Gorky is directed by Cosima Spender, Gorky’s granddaughter. Her third film, it is simultaneously an investigation into the life of the illustrious painter and a showcase of the impact of his death. The film opens with Cosima’s mother and aunt visiting their parents’ old house in Sherman, Conn., where Gorky spent the final parts of his life. The pair explore old childhood memories as they walk through the rooms of the house. The film’s tone is set with the final lines of the scene, said by Cosima’s aunt Natasha as she looks tearfully out the kitchen window: “I wish I could remember.” The film unfolds as Cosima uncovers the truth about her grandfather while interviewing family members and ascertaining their feelings about him. Most of the exposition about Gorky is told by Cosima’s grandmother and Gorky’s wife, Magoush. These scenes are intercut with those of the family as it is today, the aging Magoush quibbling with her daughters on an understandably touchy subject. Natasha cannot seem to remember anything, as she was only
arshile gorky “Without Gorky” chronicles the life of Arshile Gorky, painter, through the eyes of his family.
three when Gorky took his own life, and Mara, Cosima’s mother, acts with polite dismissal toward the topic, saying that the time for anger is over. The interactions between these three are as important as Gorky’s paintings, and they offer a distinctly personal look into his world. Through her interviews, Magoush reveals all sorts of details about Gorky, ranging from the humorously trivial to the deeply profound, and sometimes surprisingly unsavory. The progression of Gorky from brilliant free spirit to aggravated and abusive husband is very sobering and masterfully revealed. One can almost trace the progression of Gorky’s psyche into dark and frightening places, drawing
the viewer closer into the bizarre mystery of the man. This of course culminates in his suicide, which gives the film a sense of finality. It is not the end though; the family continues searching for clues about Gorky’s life. At the end of the film, when the family visits Gorky’s home country for the first time, the depth of Gorky’s character is revealed with several revelations that rounds out the family’s (and the viewer’s) understanding of him as a man. The film is highly reminiscent of “The Great Gatsby”: It tells the story of an immigrant painter who wants nothing more than to be free, fully realizing his potential for art in the same way that Gatsby becomes a wildly suc-
cessful businessman. Both men pursue the American Dream, that endless horizon where anything is possible. Even the way Magoush meets Gorky is wildly similar to when Nick meets Gatsby; Magoush is told that she simply must meet Gorky, and spends most of a party sitting next to him, only realizing his identity just before she leaves. It also helps that Gorky is a charismatic individual; even though he was talented and proud, he was something of a mystery to the family, and of course to the viewer. As such, any insight into his mind is a wonder, and the viewer is left wanting more. The structure of the film draws in the audience, allowing their sympathies to deepen as they are drawn
photo from internet source
deeper into the story of Gorky. As Magoush reveals nastier and nastier things about her husband, Mara becomes more hostile toward her, clearly disagreeing with some of Magoush’s life choices. But all animosity vanishes in the final scenes, and with the complete knowledge of Gorky, the family is at peace. I came away from the film in a state of Zen-like contentment, satisfied that I knew Gorky as he was meant to be known, with no irritating loose ends or further questions. The documentary has been optioned by the BBC and Canadian TV to be broadcast. If the opportunity presents itself, watch this film—if the narrative does not hook you, the mystery of Gorky will.
April 20, 2012
The Brandeis Hoot
ARTS, ETC. 11
‘In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)’ satisfies
By Candice Bautista Editor
“In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)”: The show with two possible titles leaves the audience wondering what the show is about. It could either prove that the audience member in question has a dirty mind, or just prove that the audience member was naive in not expecting this from a Brandeis theater production. Either way, it was not what anyone expected, for better and for worse. I personally imagined it to be a variant of “The Vagina Monologues,” with people standing on-stage clutching a dildo or vibrator and soliloquizing. Instead, “In the Next Room” put on by Brandeis Players was a tragic comedy featuring Leila Stricker ’13 as Mrs. Catherine Givings and Aaron Fischer ’15 as Dr. Givings in their half home, half doctor’s office. Dr. Givings specializes in treating hysteria with— you guessed it—a vibrator. Set in the late-1800s and early-1900s, electricity itself is a new concept, let alone a device used for sexual pleasure. The show depicts the vibrator using so much electricity, it sometimes causes the house’s electricity to shut off. Dr. Givings’ patients include Mrs. Daldry (Nicole Carlson ’14) and Leo Irving (Julian Seltzer ’15). There are so many issues that go on in the play, it is hard to pin down what exactly the show is about. Catherine Givings is mildly crazed, full of energy and continuously looking forward to her husband’s next patient to show up so that she can have company. Catherine’s interactions with the patient Mrs. Daldry only focuses on their
unstable marriage as they share how their interactions with the vibrator was something completely ineffable. When they do finally end up explaining their orgasms to Elizabeth (Sneha Walia ’15), Catherine’s wet nurse, it is clear that something is missing from their marriage. Catherine responds by flirting with every man she sees and trying to rouse a fight from her husband. Mrs. Daldry responds by pursuing Dr. Givings’ nurse Annie (Chastity DeLorme ’14). There are themes of loss, lack of identity, feminism and, underlying all of these, masturbation. There seems to be too many themes, however, to really feel any effect from the show. This is not due to any weaknesses in acting. This show may have had one of the strongest casts of any Brandeis production this semester. Stricker was genuine as Mrs. Givings. Her character’s ups and downs made perfect sense in the context of the show, and it was very possibly due to the depth in her character. This was intensified when combined with Carlson as Mrs. Daldry. Their scenes together were possibly the best in the show. In one scene, the pair takes turns holding the vibrator for the other. Their chemistry was stronger than any other pair’s chemistry, especially stronger than the bond between Mrs. and Dr. Givings. That was possibly the point that kept the show from truly succeeding. Although this is supposed to be a cold marriage lacking any sort of passion, there was just nothing that led the audience to believe that Mrs. and Dr. Givings actually ever cared about each other in their lives. Though the two actors were dedicated to their characters, it was just difficult to pull off their relationship.
This is a disappointment considering how well the cast did together and interacting otherwise. The only possible weak spot was Julian Seltzer ’15 as Leo Irving, another one of Dr. Givings’ patients. He does a lot better than he has done in other roles this semester, but he’s still spotty in some parts, which distracts from the overall flow of the show. Playing an Englishman, his accent gets way off course at times, sometimes divulging into an irate Irishman, only to bring it back with his charmingly awkward mannerisms. In general, however, the acting was spot-on, if not at times a little lackluster and messy. Just walking into the theater, the show gives off the impression that it is a show you could not possibly hate. The set in itself is amazingly done, with the doctor’s office in “the next room” well built. The actors smoothly travel through the set, and engage the audience immediately. The best part of the show though, is hands-down the costume. I applaud costume designer Grace Fosler ’14, as every single person’s outfits were beautifully designed and masterfully made. Not only did it go with the time period, but the clothing matched the characters correctly. Mrs. Daldry and Mrs. Givings were dressed in gorgeous gowns (that changed when appropriate!) and Leo Irving donned a beat-up jacket and cap that pretty much shouted “I’m a painter!” All in all, “In the Next Room” is definitely good by Brandeis theater standards though not necessarily excellent. If someone moaning on-stage makes you uncomfortable, or you are thinking of bringing your grandma, think twice before seeing it. Otherwise, it is a perfectly fine show.
the vibrator play Leila Stricker ’13, Aaron Fischer ’15, Nicole Carlson ’14, Julian Seltzer ’15, Chastity
Delorme ’14 and Sneha Walia ’15 star.
photos by nate rosenbloom/the hoot
12 ARTS, ETC.
The Brandeis Hoot
April 20, 2012
‘The Cabin in the Woods’ delivers both terror and laughter By Juliette Martin Editor
Released last Friday after a threeyear delay, “The Cabin in the Woods” opened to an amazingly positive response. Directed and written by Drew Goddard along with Joss Whedon, “The Cabin in the Woods” is simultaneously hilarious and horrifying. The combination of horror and comedy has been explored many a time in films such as the “Scream” franchise, but never quite as “The Cabin in the Woods” has achieved it and never to such uproarious success. “The Cabin in the Woods” presents itself as the classic horror story, a tale of five college kids escaping for a weekend to an old cabin. It is a premise that has been done to death and would offer little to a new movie. Whedon and Goddard, however, have done something very new with it. The scenes of the cabin, which play out mostly like a stereotypical horror movie, are interspersed with shots of a sort of corporate office, which is at first an absolutely ridiculous thing to do. We quickly learn that the Cabin, and indeed other such settings around the world, are being manipulated and controlled from this office for initially unknown purposes. The superimposition of these two drastically different settings, indeed different films entirely, makes the beginning of the film rather confusing. Yet the film manages to pan out into a series of brilliant twists, utilizing the classic tropes of horror to elicit legitimate fear in the watcher. At other times, the film is equally hilarious. The line between fear and comedy is
‘the cabin in the woods’ Five friends unleash untold horrors from a forest cabin.
masterfully walked. Unfortunately, talking about the best parts of this movie would spoil much of what makes it great. Suffice to say, the way this film turns horror on its head is unabashedly wonderful. Though “The Cabin in the Woods” models itself on a twisted form of the classic horror story, often one of the hallmarks of such stories is the terrible acting. Luckily, since “The Cabin
in the Woods” is not actually that movie, the acting is quite impressive. It most notably features a pre-“Thor” Chris Hemsworth, playing a character who would usually be the alphamale jock, but is in fact a highly intelligent and devoted student. Most of the remaining cast is relatively unknown (though fans of Joss Whedon will recognize Fran Kranz and Amy Acker from the show “Dollhouse”).
photo from internet source
While there was no performance that was truly amazing, the overall standard for the movie was very good. There was also a wonderful surprise appearance at the end by a beloved and huge-name actor, but I will leave that moment for viewers to enjoy on their own. One of the greatest things about this film is how truly imaginative it is. Tons of creatures, some obviously
out of horror movies and some not so much (there is a particularly hilarious encounter with a killer unicorn) make appearances. There are obvious homages to specific horror films, including “It” and “Saw,” along with a general splash of all sorts of creatures out of myth, legend and nightmare. The CGI here is very well done, monsters blending seamlessly in with their surroundings. Another wonderful part of the overall experience of seeing this movie is how often the audience reacts. Though reactions swing between horror-prompted fright and audible laughter, the fact that both extremes are elected by the same film, often one right after the other, reveals how successfully the movie wields both of the genres in which it can be placed. It is highly rare for the parody of a horror movie to be legitimately frightening, but “The Cabin in the Woods” certainly is. My one critique of “The Cabin in the Woods” lies with its resolution. After an enormous amount of build up, what actually appears is less than what it could be. Furthermore, at times “The Cabin in the Woods” feels like the prequel to some other movie, perhaps the set up for a post-apocalyptic film. The end of the movie leaves the viewer desperately wanting to know what follows, as if set up for a sequel that, by the sheer nature of the movie, will almost definitely never exist. While it makes sense that the movie leaves the watcher longing for the film that could follow, the two would be ultimately only loosely See CABIN, page 13
‘American Reunion’ brings new life to an old favorite
By Gordy Stillman Staff
It has been a long time since the last good “American Pie” movie. Plenty of people, for good reason, ignore the straight-to-DVD releases under the “American Pie Presents” banner. Even though “Beta House” had a few funny moments, and they all featured Eugene Levy as Jim’s dad, Noah Levenstein, none of the newer films compared to the original trilogy. At the very least, “American Reunion” proves that the formula for a funny “American Pie” movie is not as simple as having Eugene Levy, a character named Stifler and a version of the song “Laid” played at some point. All three of the original films had their own story that flowed from one to the next. In “American Pie” it was about four friends wanting to lose their virginity before graduating from high school. With the second movie the plot centered on their summer after freshman year, trying to have fun in addition to maintaining their friendship. In the final movie, “American Wedding” the gang gets back together because one of them is getting married. “American Reunion” takes place 13 years after the first movie. It includes everyone that the audience might remember returning to East Great Falls Michigan for their first High School Reunion; apparently someone dropped the ball on the 10-year reunion. Unlike “American Wedding,” the last film in the main series, everyone memorable from the first movie returns for the reunion—even the characters that skipped out on the wedding. At this point, Jim (Jason Biggs) is a corporate drone, and has a two-yearold son with his wife Michelle (Alyson Hannigan). Jim’s mother passed away three years earlier, and Jim and Michelle are struggling in their rela-
tionship. Another “American Pie” favorite, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), mostly works out of his house and is married to a woman he loves, but eagerly looks forward to reuniting with his friends and spending some time away from watching shows like “Real Housewives.” Oz (Chris Klein) is a football broadcaster for a second-rate copy of ESPN, lives in L.A. and even went on a season of the movie’s version of “Dancing with the Stars.” In the intervening years he and his girlfriend Heather (Mena Suvari) broke up because he was moving to L.A. and she was staying in Michigan for medical school. Stifler (Sean William Scott) is an office temp working for someone that treats Stifler like Stifler treats other people. Last but not least, like always, Finch appears to have been spending his time doing his best to live the life of “the most interesting man in the world.” The plot centers on the three days leading to the reunion and the reunion itself. For Jim, most of the time involves things getting in the way of talking with Michelle and fixing the problems in their relationship. For example, on day one, the four friends run into Stifler and they hang out. Stifler gets the group drunk and the rest of the night is a blur. On day two, Jim and friends find themselves having to deal with the annoying high school students that hang out where they used to hang out. I was able to anticipate many of the plot points but, in this case, it really was not a problem. While predictability can be a downside, the anticipated parts were done well and featured the occasional twist. For example, two characters unexpectedly began dating. Additionally, the traditional end of the movie hook-up between a member of the group and an older woman was both predictable and, at the same time, very entertaining,
class of 1999 The cast of “American Pie” reunites for a fourth film with great success.
paired with the reunion of the “MILF Guys.” Quite simply everyone worth remembering from the original movie is back and no one appears just for the sake of appearance. Even Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), while only having a one-scene cameo, appears at the one moment where doing so would be funniest. Additionally, all of the characters that were only in the first two—like Nadia, Vicky (Tara Reid),
etc.—are integrated back into the story in a fitting way. In addition to the nostalgic characters, the movie also balances nostalgic music with current songs. Aside from simple jokes, like referring to music from the mid-’90s as “classic rock,” the music only served to enhance the memories of what made the original films great and why this movie was so good compared to the direct-to-DVD films that have been released over the
photo from internet source
last seven years. If you’re looking for an awardwinnng film, you’re in the wrong place. But if you are looking for a funny movie that will leave you laughing, balance the expected with unexpected and have a nostalgic element to it, then “American Reunion” hits the spot. The plot is plausible, the jokes are well done and it exceeds expectations for a sequel so long after the last theatrical film.
April 20, 2012
ARTS, ETC. 13
The Brandeis Hoot
‘Mass Effect 3’ soars beyond expectations, amazes critics
commander shepard The protagonist of “Mass Effect 3” confers with an ally.
By Zach Reid Staff
“Mass Effect 3” is a third-person shooter RPG created by veteran developer Bioware and available on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. This is the final game in a trilogy that has developed an incredible fan following; they have come to love the storytelling and player involvement. The game not only reaches the expectations set for it by the previous games, but exceeds them in spectacular and incredible ways. “Mass Effect 3” follows the story of Commander Shepard of the Systems Alliance, the government of all human worlds in the galaxy. During the past three years, Shepard has been warning the galaxy about a race of hyper-advanced starships, the Reapers, who would return as they did every 50,000 years to harvest all organic life in the galaxy. The game begins with the bulk of Reaper forces descending on Earth, and Commander Shepard is forced to flee the planet. Shepard gathers a squad of loyal friends to go with him/her (the player can choose Shepard’s gender) to resolve a variety of conflicts between different races in the galaxy, in order to build up enough military forces for a counter-attack to retake Earth and defeat the Reapers. Arguably the most important aspect of “Mass Effect 3,” as well as the previous games in the series, is player choice and the ability of the player to influence how the events of the game play out. Not only does “Mass Effect 3” match the level of choice presented in previous games, it far eclipses them. As the player attempts to build a coalition of allies, many methods for gaining help present themselves. The questionable morality of some of the options, however, force the player to consider whether addressing
Arts Recommends films
photo from internet source
the immediate problem of the Reapers is worth the long-term consequences of his or her actions. The player’s choices have a drastic impact on not only squadmates, but allies from past games and other popular characters—some of whom can be directly harmed or die based on the player’s choices. One of the biggest gameplay improvements lies not in the weapon variety or powers, but in the overall mobility of the player. Commander Shepard can now climb up and down ladders, as well as sprint for an unlimited duration—an ability that has significant impact for many of the available player classes. Even more importantly, however, is the updated and re-vamped cover system which allows the player to run and roll between different forms of cover. This results in a highly increased sense of mobility, and makes it much easier to navigate the battlefield. The system of melee attacks, or close quarters combat, has also been significantly reworked. While “Mass Effect 2” did fix many of the issues with the melee attacks in “Mass Effect 1,” “Mass Effect 3” has streamlined them to become a useful and viable part of the player’s combat tactics, instead of a clunky option that is only useful in extreme circumstances. Players can now use a class-specific heavy melee attack, which does increased damage to enemies and can be used to execute certain foes. The system of powers (abilities) in “Mass Effect 3” has also been streamlined from previous games, and allows players to have an even more customized role for their character. At the beginning of the game, players are allowed to choose one “class” for Commander Shepard, which determines what type of powers their character will have, ranging from technology-based abilities to bi
photo from internet source
‘The Kill List’ If you read the title “Kill List” and imagine a generic action film, you’d be very wrong. “Kill List,” the sophomore effort by British indie director Ben Wheatley, focuses on Jay (Neil Maskell), a British veteran of the Iraq War. Jay clearly suffers from PTSD, and the fact that he’s now a hitman doesn’t help matters. A mysterious man orders him to kill three seemingly unconnected public figures, and we see formerly meek Jay transform into a brutal killer, inflicting unspeakable violence against his victims. This isn’t just a regular mission, though: Something’s off about the entire situation. “Kill List” is essentially three films in one: It begins as a marriage drama, transforms into a hitman movie and ends as a horror film. A sense of dread pervades every scene. This may be the singular story of a fundamentally deranged man, but it’s also a furious fever dream condemning a society corrupted by violence. Even when you don’t know what’s going on, which is often, it’s always engrossing. The title may sound generic, but “Kill List” is anything but. sean fabery, editor
See MASS EFFECT, page 14
Audiences love ‘Cabin in the Woods’
photo from internet source
‘Let the Right One In’ “Let the Right One In” is a Swedish film from director Tomas Alfredson, based on the novel by the now rather popular John Ajvide Lindqvist. The film tells the story of Oskar, the young boy of negligent parents who is violently bullied and appears mildly disturbed, and his relationship with Eli, a strange child who moves into his apartment complex. As the story unfolds and affection grows between the two, it becomes clear that Eli is not what she seems. Eli, in fact, is a vampire, and the movie cycles between a tender exploration of the relationship between Eli and Oskar and a frightening portrayal of Eli’s evil. The movie is shot almost entirely at night, against a bleak and snowy landscape that creates a dark, quiet and poignant tone, truly setting “Let the Right One In” apart from the conventional vampire film. It is deeply thought-provoking, exploring questions of friendship and social normalcy from Oskar’s unusual viewpoint. Both intriguing and frightening, “Let the Right One In” is a truly masterful film.
juliette martin, editor
photo from internet source
CABIN, from page 12
connected, which is why “Cabin in the Woods” would in fact have made sense as a prequel. Unfortunately, another film would be too separate a story to be even really connected with “Cabin in the Woods.”
Overall, I adored “The Cabin in the Woods.” It is both funny and frightening, flawlessly parodying the classic mindless horror story in a way that is intelligent and entertaining. Though it has been fairly un-advertised, “The Cabin in the Woods” is a great movie for long-time fans of horror as well as newcomers.
14 ARTS, ETC.
The Brandeis Hoot
April 20, 2012
Dream away in the ‘Dreams Huatuclo Resort and Spa’ By Betty Revah Staff
The time to dream has come and the place to do it is Huatulco, Mexico. Now that summer is around the corner, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to concentrate on school work. Some might even go as far as to say that it’s impossible not to daydream about the possibility of a little free time, a lot of piña coladas, a few infinity pools, a killer view of the ocean and good Mexican food. Thankfully, there is good news for all the daydreamers out there, because there is actually a place that offers just what you imagine. The Dreams Huatulco Resort and Spa is a perfect combination of relaxation, rest and fun. As its name cleverly points out, the all-inclusive hotel is in charge of making you feel as if you’re in a dream. From the moment you are welcomed at the gate with tropical drinks and moist towels, to the very sad moment when you leave, the staff is in charge of taking care of your every wish. The Dreams Huatulco Resort and Spa lies on Tangolunda Bay, one of the largest and most beautiful bays along the pacific coast of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Even though the resort’s location is flawless, there are so many things to do inside its elegant metallic gates that it’s not even necessary to venture outside. In order to keep guests busy, the resort offers several activities, ranging from the aerobics in the pool, pottery painting lessons and loud kids club, to some less successful late-night comedy shows. Overall, the Dreams Huatulco Resort and Spa is a fantastic experience.
driveway of dreams The Dreams Huatulco Resort and Spa offers stunning views, great service and endless sunshine.
For the rooms, the resort offers all kinds of accommodations, from suites to doubles. All the rooms have beautiful views, either of the glistening ocean or the sparkling pools, and most importantly, every room has a TV, which comes fully equipped with American and Mexican networks, highlighted with famous “telenovelas.” The rooms are very spacious and the beds comfortable. Whether you go there by yourself or with family the rooms won’t be a problem. One of the only weaknesses at the resort is the food. While guests can eat whatever and whenever they please, the excitement wears off even-
tually when they realize that the resort serves the same things every day (and that gaining a couple of pounds is more than likely). The resort has a few fancier restaurants that offer Mexican, Italian and French food, however, and the dishes in most of those restaurants are tolerable. The only thing I would go back for would be the churros in the Mexican restaurant though. Additionally, the service leaves a lot to be desired. The problem with the food is not so much the quality—the banana bread in the mornings is to die for and so is the pizza in the afternoons—but how little the dishes change. It would certainly help
if they created more variety in the menu. Regarding the facilities, there is nothing to complain about. If you want to lay out in the sun, which is what most people go there to do, the resort offers many options. There are sunbeds alongside the pools and even in the water. Plus, there are also huts with sunbeds. Once you leave the security of the perfectly manicured resort, however, the scenery tends not to be so pretty. On the plus side, Mexico is one of the most beautiful destinations. Not only are the people friendly and polite, but it is also a country that offers
photo from internet source
a never ending succession of parties and relaxation. No matter what you do no one will judge you and, if you ever need help, natives are always around to provide it. Also, being so close to the United States is an advantage, since there are plenty of people who speak English in case Spanish is not one of your strong suits. The Dreams Huatulco Resort and Spa might not be the ideal getaway if what you want is to explore and be adventurous. But if you want to eat, sleep, rest and repeat, you’ll find no better place. In fact, the resort does a great job of describing itself: It really is an oasis of dreams.
‘Mass Effect 3’ shines despite controversy MASS EFFECT, from page 13
otics, which resemble telekinesis and other psychic abilities. “Mass Effect 3” is also the first game of the series to feature a multiplayer component—an ambitious undertaking that has paid off for Bioware. Players use characters unrelated to their iteration of Commander Shepard to defeat waves of enemies, giving them a chance to experiment with other classes and abilities. While the multiplayer does provide direct benefits to the single-player campaign as a reward for progress, players who don’t wish to use it aren’t required to, and can still have a rich and complete “Mass Effect 3” experience. Graphically, the game soars past all expectations. The incredible variety of backgrounds and combat zones also help to involve the player in the galactic struggle. The player will find his or herself fighting through space stations, frozen, “ice ball” worlds, vast spaceships and finally a massively devastated London. Foot battles with Reapers have also been masterfully executed, as the sheer scope of these mechanical behemoths will give any player pause. Additionally, each of the alien races the player interacts with show a different way life could have evolved, and reflect this in their overall design. Whether it’s the Turians, an avian species; the Asari, a race of pseudo-asexual blue women; or the Krogan, massive armored warriors who resemble some kind of reptile, all of the different races in the game add a sense of diversity to the game and contribute to the idea that everyone in the galaxy is in the conflict together. The audio effects of “Mass Effect 3”
‘mass effect 3’ Shepard and her companions defend the galaxy from a deadly threat.
are very well executed, drawing the player fully into the experience. The voice acting is also in line Bioware’s high audio standards, an aspect of the studio’s games that has vastly helped increase their popularity. Each character, whether a squadmate or a seemingly-random civilian, has a distinct voice, which make them all the more realistic to the player. Just as well-composed as the audio is the soundtrack of the game, which is nothing short of a masterpiece. Many notable composers, including Clint Mansell, who recently gained acclaim for his work on the film “Black Swan,” worked together to create the soundtrack. The tracks
themselves really compliment the action and plot of the game, whether it’s an adrenaline-pumping line during a massive battle or a hauntingly mournful ballad during Commander Shepard’s reflections on the current situation on Earth. Even when listening to the soundtrack apart from the game, the composers have been able to bring the struggle of a galaxy grappling with total war and its accompanying sacrifice to their listeners. The ending of “Mass Effect 3,” however, has received far more anger than praise from the game’s fans. From the game’s release on March 6, there has been a storm of criticism about the
photo from internet source
ending, citing how those last 30 minutes of a more than 40-hour game go against the very nature of the “Mass Effect” series because they do not respond to player choices throughout the series or provide a good sense of closure. In response to this outcry, Bioware has announced that they are releasing downloadable content (DLC) called “Mass Effect: Extended Cut,” which will contain new cinematics and epilogue scenes. Casey Hudson, project lead and executive producer for the “Mass Effect” series, said that his team was releasing the DLC to give “more context and clarity to the ending of the game, in a way that will feel more personalized for
each player.” This scenario is unprecedented in the video game industry. The fact that Bioware (and the studio’s owner Electronic Arts Inc.) is willing to re-write their vision for the game to accommodate fan requests is nothing short of incredible, if not a dangerous precedent. While it may be deserved in this case, this will allow gamers to ask for the same treatment from other developers in the future. Due to Bioware and EA’s status as industry giants, this could result in players complaining to smaller developers that “Bioware changed their game for us, so why don’t you?” Whether as a new level of cooperation between designers and players, or as a bargaining tool for a studio’s customers, this could represent a turning point for the entire industry. I believe this DLC is not only warranted, but necessary to maintain the reputation for player choice that the series has earned. Removing choice from the conclusion of a saga of games, books and comics that fans have been enjoying for five years smacks of either a terrible mistake on the part of the writers or a last-minute change by EA—a possibility I hope is true. As a longtime fan of Bioware, I find it difficult to believe they would create an ending that they had to have known would disappoint their fans to such an extent. Despite the controversy surrounding the ending, “Mass Effect 3” is arguably one of the best games released to date and is a strong contender for Game of the Year for 2012. If you’re looking for a game that you can play through again and again, while building tangible emotional connections with the characters and places depicted in it, “Mass Effect 3” is an absolute must-buy.
April 20, 2012
“To acquire wisdom, one must observe.” Editor-in-Chief Jon Ostrowsky Managing Editor Yael Katzwer Alex Schneider Editor Emeritus Connor Novy News Editor Morgan Gross Impressions Editor Candice Bautista Arts, Etc. Editor Brian Tabakin Sports Editor Ingrid Schulte Photography Editor Nate Rosenbloom Photography Editor Emily Stott Layout Editor Steven Wong Graphics Editor Leah Finkelman Production Editor Suzanna Yu Copy Editor Gordy Stillman Business Editor Deputy Section Editors
Victoria Aronson Morgan Dashko Zoe Kronovet Juliette Martin Dana Trismen
Senior Editors Destiny D. Aquino Sean Fabery Nathan Koskella Savannah Pearlman
Volume 9 • Issue 12 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma
Founded By Leslie Pazan, Igor Pedan and Daniel Silverman
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.
The Brandeis Hoot 15
Improve election procedures
eaders of today’s edition of the board’s weekly take may just now be finding out the results of this semester’s Student Union elections. Scheduled for Thursday of course, due to technical difficulties President Herbie Rosen ’12 informed the student body Wednesday that the vote may be postponed to noon from midnight. But by noon Thursday students’ email inboxes were flooded with numerous e-mails from Rosen, apologizing, explaining and promising quick access to polls. At nearly 2 p.m. polls opened, and so the constitutionally-mandated 24 hours will conclude later Friday. Students could perhaps more easily forgive Rosen’s pleas if this were the first, second or even third Union flub in the last year. The Union has been criticized for voting irregularities and painfully slow tabulation of results, lasting until early into the morning after the given election. This time of
course the results can’t even be looked at until the following afternoon. And the greatest instance of Union malaise among the student population has been the sheer lack of participation in what by definition should be a competitive process—running in its elections. The number of rescheduled elections, empty seats and obsequious e-mails begging us to vote would be funny if it weren’t happening on our campus, to our students. The Union should have resolved the difficulties surrounding the BigPulse voting system long before the presidential and other elections. Setting up the vote is the only action the executive board is actually mandated to take. The entire system needs revamping. The election is always late with poor participation: To solve the problem, elections need to take place on a much larger time scale. This election took place right after spring break, and most students
have simply not had the time to be invested. Candidates need more time to campaign; students should have fullthroated, weighty platforms. Potential candidates would find it more appealing to mount a run, rather than leaving half of the Senate or Finance Board unfilled. Just as importantly, students who could meaningfully get to know the candidates would actually vote and vote with enthusiasm. (This year’s pseudo-constitutional Abstain option should be unnecessary.) In a time of great change and possibility at our university, elections should be about more than just Facebook events and popularity contests, all in a blitz of a three-day burst of e-mails. If Brandeis is serious about any commitment to social justice, its student government should be a place of meaningful debate and active solutions. And its elections should be on message, on time and on the priority list of student voters.
SUBMISSION POLICIES The Brandeis Hoot welcomes letters to the editor on subjects that are of interest to the community. Preference is given to current or former community members and The Hoot reserves the right to edit or reject submissions. The deadline for submitting letters is Wednesday at noon. Please submit letters to letters@ thebrandeishoot.com along with your contact information. Letters should not exceed 500 words. The opinions, columns, cartoons and advertisements printed in The Hoot do not necessarily represent the opinions of the editorial board.
STAFF Senior Staff Nafiz “Fizz” Ahmed Alana Blum Debby Brodsky Sam Allen, Rick Alterbaum, Emily Beker, Alex Bernstein, Emily Breitbart, Marissa Budlong, Justin Burack, Adam Cohen, Haley Fine, Jeremy Goodman, Rachel Hirschhaut, Paula Hoekstra, Adam Hughes, Gabby Katz, Josh Kelly, Samuel Kim, Zoe Kronovet, Arielle Levine, Ariel Madway, Estie Martin, Adam Marx, Anita Palmer, Alex Patch, Lien Phung, Zachary Reid, Betty Revah, Zach Romano, Ricky Rosen, Aaron Sadowsky, Jessica Sashihara, Sarah Schneider, Alex Self, Naomi Shine, Diane Somlo, Sindhura Sonnathi, Ryan Tierney, Alan Tran, Yi Wang, Rachel Weissman, Lila Westreich and Linjie Xu
connect phone • (781) 330-0051 e-mail • firstname.lastname@example.org online • thebrandeishoot.com twitter • twitter.com/thebrandeishoot facebook • facebook.com/thebrandeishoot
Advertising in The Brandeis Hoot helps spread your message to our readers across the Brandeis campus, in the Waltham community and beyond through our website. All campus organizations receive a 25 percent discount off our regular prices. We also design basic ads for campus organizations free of charge. To reserve your space in the paper, contact us by phone at (781) 330-0051 or by e-mail at email@example.com. GIVE A HOOT, JOIN THE HOOT!
Writers, editors, photographers and graphic artists wanted to join The Brandeis Hoot, your weekly community newspaper. To learn more, send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website http://thebrandeishoot.com/join. CORRECTION
The graphic for the Impressions article “Why so mad, Huffington Post?” from April 5 should be credited to Linjie Xu, not Yi Wang. Due to reporting errors, an article titled “In memoriam: David Waltz, 68” from April 5 incorrectly stated that Waltz worked at Princeton University. He worked at a research laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey. The article also incorrectly referred to Waltz as chairman of the Computer Science department.
Look sharp for that interview!
16 The Brandeis Hoot
April 20, 2012
Siegal exposes corruption of internationl adoptions By Victoria Aronson Editor
As a fellow of the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, Erin Siegal has painstakingly unearthed the corruption of international adoptions, particularly those stemming from Guatemala, and exposed them to the public with her books “Finding Fernanda” and “The U.S. Embassy Cables: Adoption Fraud in Guatemala, 1987-2010.” “Erin has told a beautiful and heart-wrenching human story in ‘Finding Fernanda,’ her first book about two mothers drawn together in their love for the same child—and the criminal enterprise that threw them together,” Florence Graves, director of the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, said. The book explores the tragedy associated with adoption fraud as Mildred Alvarado, a woman from Guatemala, is forced to endure the kidnapping of her daughters, one of whom is adopted by Elizabeth Emmanuel, a resident of Tennessee. Through the representations of both women’s struggles, Siegal captures the pain of adoption fraud. When questioned as to her original impetus for investigating the exploitation and fraudulency of international adoption, Siegal recalls an event that bore a vivid impression upon her mind. While embarking on a trip to Washington D.C. in the company of her sister, she observed countless American parents leaving with their adopted Guatemalan children at the airport. Originally seeking to photograph the impressionable moment, Siegal subsequently researched Guatemalan adoptions only to discover terrible accounts of fraud dating back to more than a decade ago. She recalls being puzzled over the fact that “nobody’s doing anything to stop it, and I wanted to know what’s enabling it and why.” Although American adoptive parents may be unaware of the crimes
photos from internet source
mildred alvarado Guatemalan mother in “Finding Fernanda.”
associated with Guatemalan adoptions, Siegal reveals that U.S. officials were informed of it to an extent. She states that “documents show this internal dialogue in the U.S. State Department about reports of baby buying and selling and a whole host of unethical practices.” In association with adoption fraud, reports of child trafficking, visa fraud and even the untimely deaths of birth mothers have arisen with the release of cable communications between the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. State Depart-
ment dating from 1987 to 2010. The release of these communications, however, was only granted after the publication of “Finding Fernanda” and after the relentless persistence of Siegal, who reported filing 30 Freedom of Information Acts as well as having had interviewed more than 350 individuals. As a consequence of this delay, Siegal opted to publish the revealing documents within a 718-page volume to ensure increased awareness of the flaws plaguing international adoption. Published on the site for “Finding Fernanda,” one such cable dating from November 1996 reveals the reported attempts of a Guatemalan woman to regain custody of her child. The communication states, “In fact, she [the birth mother] said that following our first interview he [the adoption attorney handling this child’s case] had ‘yelled and screamed’ at her, threatening her with physical harm if she did not return to the embassy and sign the relinquishment.” Recognizing the horrors of these situations, Siegal attributes the corruption to “a lack of regulation” and the prevalence of those “who are looking to make a quick profit by engaging in unethical business.” Graves remarked upon the prolonged process associated with obtaining information, stating that the “potential sources or victims are afraid to speak for fear of retribution; officials can be slow in responding to public records requests; and wrongdoers are rarely interested in the revelation of their bad deeds.” It is precisely due to these circumstances that, according to Graves, it is “so necessary to sustain in-depth, nuanced, well-informed investigative reporting like Erin Siegal’s” and why she is “so pleased to have found such a welcoming home for the Schuster Institute at Brandeis University, which values deep intellectual discourse—and values the truth enough to make it the university’s motto!” When questioned as to the implications of her work, Siegal cited recent court cases that have arisen to obtain justice for the crimes associated with adoption fraud. In particular, she
‘finding fernanda’ written by Erin Siegal.
references the Karen Abigail case, in which two Guatemalan women involved in the adoption process were found guilty of human trafficking charges. According to Siegal, joint investigations into city adoption agencies were also initiated last summer. In recognition of her work concerning human rights infringements within the field of international adoption, Siegal was presented with the James Madison Award by the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California.
“Erin’s work has enabled adoptive parents, adoption industry professionals, policy makers and interested journalists to better understand the depth of the corruption in Guatemalan adoptions—and the crisis it created for tens of thousands of people whose lives were damaged by flaws in the process,” Graves said. Currently, Siegal’s investigative journalism portfolio includes conducting preliminary reports on various border issues while currently living in Mexico.
April 20, 2012
The Brandeis Hoot
Jewish vote in elections past and present By Dana Trismen Editor
Professor of American Jewish History Jonathan Sarna (NEJS) recently published his new book “When General Grant Expelled the Jews,” discussing the election of 1868 in comparison to today’s political climate. During the election of 1868, Jewish voters faced a daunting choice. Republican candidate Ulysses S. Grant
was the man who had issued Order 11 on Dec. 17, 1862, expelling the Jewish people from Grant’s war zone. While it was eventually exposed that Grant issued his order for partially personal reasons related to his father, it was still viewed as a harsh act. The order was revoked on Jan. 4, 1863, upon reaching the desk of President Abraham Lincoln. It held consequences for the Jewish people both psychologically and physically, as some of
them were mistreated in the process of relocating. As Sarna argues, the election of 1868 presented a dilemma for Jewish liberals. “Domestic policies of the republicans during that time period were very much to their liking, but how could they vote for a man who had expelled Jews from his far zone, in what was the single most anti-Semitic act in the United States,” Sarna said. Sarna describes this choice for the Jewish liberals as an internal one, a question of whether a person should “vote for a party bad for the country in order to avoid voting for a man who is bad for the Jews.” Sarna wants to get across that Jewish liberals at this time were in turmoil, trying to measure out the “percent of yourself as an American and sense of self as a Jew” and which percent would overcome the other. He draws a direct parallel to the 2012 elections, arguing that today, there is a “sense on the part of many Jews that Obama is not as supportive of Israel as his predecessors.” If Jewish liberals do not wish to vote for Obama because they question the strength of his support for Israel, their other choice is to vote for the Romney, whose platform goes against what many liberals believe politically. Sarna believes that “lots of Jews in both cases will find their situation very parallel to the election of 1868.” Like the election of 1868, Jewish voters have to consider their obligations as Americans as well as their obligations to the Jewish community. Sarna discussed whether a person can forget they are Jewish in a voting booth, or whether that is an identity that cannot be left outside the voting
photos from internet source
author professor jonathan sarna
polls. Making connections to further back in history, Sarna even related the election of 1868 to the federalist papers—their “concern over factions” and “putting the needs of country first regardless of group interest.” Sarna does admit that the impact of the Jewish vote in both the election of 1868 and today may be over-exaggerated. Grant won the election of 1868, yet it may have been more because of black voters who approved of his ef-
forts to improve their lives and grant them rights. Indeed, Sarna believes that the “power of the Jewish vote was exaggerated by four to five times,” and that people believed there were more voters than actually existed. At the time, the media was concerned with the ramifications of Order 11, so the Jewish vote came to the forefront despite the fact that the number of Jewish voters was not as large as imagined.
Brandeis sprinter Vincent Asante excels By Shreyas Warrier Special to the Hoot
Brandeis track star Vincent Asante ’14 came to the United States from Ghana three and a half years ago and despite his time here he still considers Ghana his home. He does admit that he feels as though Ghana has changed from when he used to live there. Having been away from the country for so long and having not seen his family and old friends, he knows the situation in his homeland will not be exactly the same. Asante was brought to Brandeis through a Posse scholarship, given each year to 10 students out of a pool of 1,600 applicants. The 10 students are selected for their academic ability, leadership and communication skills. Asante is an explosive sprinter who competes in the 160- and 200-meter events, as well as the four-by-one relay when the chance arises. He developed an interest in track in high school, after finding that he disliked his soccer coach. Asante then tried out for the track team and realized that he was good at sprinting. Aware that he had never liked long-distance running, he “decided to compete in the sprints in his first heat.” Depending on the competition, Asante preps himself for his events in different ways. If he hasn’t worked out for a few days, or if it is the start of the new season, he is generally nonchalant. “I just go through it, see where I’m at and judge myself,” he said. After his event, he makes plans on how to improve and works on them during his training sessions. When he is going to a meet where the competition is known to be tougher and the stakes are higher, however, Asante admits he becomes nervous the night before. In order to combat this, he gives
full reign to his goofy side, confessing himself to be a natural joker. He chooses to deal with his anxiety by “just relaxing, playing around and saying ridiculous things that no one understands just to chill out.” This side of Asante is evident in his character right from the onset. He has a wide smile and an easygoing personality, an attitude that has gained him many friends, although he is still a conscientious student. His girlfriend spearheaded a movement
asante takes first at a meet
with his friends to get him tickets to go back to Ghana this summer, where he will stay for three weeks before he returns in order to pursue a summer job. As of now, he is an HSSP—Health, Science, Society, and Policy—major, planning to go into physical therapy. He believes that going into this field will help him learn how his own body works and how better to improve his own performance, in addition to helping other people re-
cover from their own injuries. Asante is motivated. Each time he steps on the track, he looks to better his best times, to hold on to a consistent high standard. He is also involved on campus, working and holding a Community Advisor position in addition to keeping his scholarship and competing on the track team. Although it is difficult for him to manage his time with so many responsibilities and priorities, he does so well. He says with a smile,
“time management is what I eat daily.” After his time at Brandeis, Asante hopes to go to graduate school for physical therapy, but would like to stay involved in track. He hopes to come back and coach at some point. In the meantime, he wants to enjoy his stay at Brandeis with his friends on and off the track team. He says that the team has a special bond given that he loves his teammates. While Asante has recently been finishing third in most of his events, he hopes to im-
photo from internet source
18 The Brandeis Hoot
April 20, 2012
Baseball’s miserable season continues with more losses By Brian Tabakin Editor
This past week, the Brandeis baseball team dropped two more games to Amherst and Keene State 13-6 and 16-8 respectively. Since beginning the season 4-3 after a long Florida road trip, the team has gone a dismal 2-25. Their record now stands at 6-28 (1-7 UAA). On Tuesday, the Judges hosted Amherst College. In the first inning, both Amherst and Brandeis each scored two runs. In the top of the frame, Amherst registered the runs on backto-back home runs from shortstop Taiki Kasuga and designated hitter Kevin Heller. Brandeis came right back and tied the game in the bottom of the frame when second-baseman Sean O’Hare ’12 cranked a two-run shot to left-centerfield. After the Judges held Amherst scoreless in the top of the second and third innings, O’Hare launched another home run to give the Judges a 3-2 lead. This was his first collegiate two-home run game giving O’Hare a career-high three home runs this season and eight in his collegiate career. In the same inning, the Judges added another run when designated hitter Pat Nicholson M.A. ’12 singled with one out. Pinch runner Joe Galli ’12 ran for Nicholson and scored two batters later after a double from Pat Seaward ’13 and a suicide squeeze bunt from Zach Malis ’13. Brandeis further extended the lead to 5-2 in the fourth inning on a twoout RBI double from catcher Kenny Destremps ’12. Unfortunately, Amherst pitcher senior Hayden Metz went on next to retire five of the six batters he faced, giving his team the opportunity they needed to mount a rally as the Judges could not maintain the lead. In the top of the sixth inning, it appeared starting pitcher Kyle Brenner ’15 would keep cruising along after he retired the first two batters he faced. He was unable to retire another batter, however, as the next seven Amherst players were able to reach base. T he biggest blow was a bases-clearing double from senior John Wagner that turned a 5-3 Judges lead into a
photo by paula hoekstra/the hoot
6-5 deficit. Wagner then scored on a single from Kasuga and the visitors ended the inning with a 7-5 lead. With the lead in hand, Amherst quickly put the game away, scoring three runs in the seventh inning, two runs in in the eighth inning and a run in the ninth inning while Brandeis was only able to muster one run after the fourth inning. For the game, there were nine different players with multiple hits between the two teams. Kasuga had the best day at the plate for either team, going 4-of-6 with four RBIs and a home run. The top three hitters in the Brandeis lineup all went 3-of-5 with O’Hare leading the way with two home runs and three RBIs. Right fielder Zach Bardwell ’15 also scored three runs. Brenner took the loss for the Judges allowing nine hits and seven runs during 5.2 innings of work. He struck out four while walking four.
Immediately the following day, the Judges returned to the road to face Keene State. Unfortunately, the Owls bum rushed starting pitcher Alex Tynan ’12, tagging him for seven runs in the first inning. Peter Burgio started the damage with a two-run triple to left-center field, and then Larry Longo launched an RBI double. Chuck Vogt doubled down the left-field line to drive in another run and Tanner Chase added a two-run single. Greg Bates completed the onslaught with an RBI single through the right side of the infield. Tynan did not make it out of the first inning. While the Judges’ offense was able to get going in the third inning, the team was unable to climb out of the early hole. The Judges scored three runs in the third inning on RBIs from O’Hare, Brenner and Seaward, but Keene State got a run back on an RBI single from
Kyle Morrill in the bottom frame of the inning. O’Hare led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo shot to trim the deficit to 8-4, but once again the Owls were able to get the run back in the bottom half of the inning. After holding the Judges scoreless in the top half of the sixth inning, the Owls broke the game open. Longo launched a two-run home run in the sixth inning and then he drove in two more runs with a single in the fiverun seventh inning. Brandeis scored three runs in the eighth inning and a run in the ninth inning but the Judges still ultimately fell to Keene State 16-8. Seaward, Brenner, O’Hare and Bardwell each finished the game with two hits in a 13-hit performance for the Judges. After a promising start to the season, this season has become a lost cause for the Judges.
The Judges will look to close out the season with a modest winning streak when they travel to Endicott on Saturday for a 1 p.m. matchup.
21 – 10
23 – 8
8 – 18
6 – 28
16 – 9
Box Scores Amherst
13 – 6
@ Keene St.
16 – 8
Softball stays hot on the road By Alex Bernstein Staff
After losing three straight games last week, the Judges returned to their winning ways during the weekend, sweeping Bowdoin in a doubleheader Sunday with scores of 7-3 and 4-3. The Judges then split a doubleheader Tuesday versus Babson, winning the first game 7-4 while dropping the second 4-3. The Judges have now won 13 of their last 17 games and are 18-12 overall. In Sunday’s opener, the Judges exploded with four runs in the fourth inning, breaking the tie to take a 5-1 lead. Rightfielder Amanda Genovese ’15 hit a clutch, two-out double with the bases loaded to drive in a pair of runs. In the sixth inning, Bowdoin scored two runs to cut the lead in half at 5-3, but the Judges responded with two crucial insurance runs when first baseman Marianne Specker ’12 and center fielder Lauren Porcaro ’12 hit back-to-back RBI doubles. Winning pitcher Caroline Miller ’12 pitched very well, allowing just one earned run on three hits while fanning nine batters. The victory was
the 31st of Miller’s career and she improves to 9-4 on the season. Porcaro led the Judges in their victory, going 3-for-4 with a run scored while driving in two. The Judges out-hit Bowdoin 12-4 on the day. In the second game, the Judges got off to a good start in the second inning when pitcher Melissa Nolan ’14 hit a solo home run, the fourth of her career and her first of the 2012 season. Later in the inning, Genovese hit an RBI infield single to give the Judges a 2-0 edge. In the bottom of the fourth, Bowdoin rallied to take a 3-2 lead but did not hold on to it as the Judges responded when Porcaro led the next inning off with a solo shot to tie the game up at three. The Judges would take the lead for good later in the inning when DH Casey Ducinski ’13 came home on a groundout. Miller was then called from the bullpen and threw two perfect innings in relief, fanning five of the six batters she faced to earn the save. Nolan, the winning pitcher, allowed three runs on three hits while striking out eight in five innings.
Looking to continue their winning ways, the Judges went to Wellesley on Tuesday to face Babson College for another doubleheader. Porcaro had a big day, hitting a home run in both contests. In the opener, Babson took the lead early on, scoring two runs in the bottom of the third. The Judges struck back in the top half of the next inning with Miller hitting a two-run homer to tie up the game. Babson regained the lead in the sixth, going up 3-2. In the top of the seventh, the Judges found themselves down to their last out, but after a pair of two-out singles, Porcaro hit a three-run homer to give the Judges their first lead of the day. Brandeis added two more insur-
photo from brandeisnow
ance runs on another two-run blast by Miller and held off a late Babson rally in the bottom of the seventh to seal the victory. Miller, who improved to 10-5 with the win, went 6.2 innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits while striking out six. Her performance at the plate was even more impressive, however, as she went 3-for-4 with two home runs and four runs driven in. In the nightcap, the Judges did not score a run during the first six innings, while Babson scored two in the fourth to take the 4-0 lead. When the Judges finally made some noise at the plate, it was too little too late. In the seventh inning, Porcaro hit a three-run homer, her second of
27 – 3
22 – 9
22 – 10
21 – 14
18 – 8
Box Scores @ Bowdoin
the day, thereby bringing the Judges to within one run. The Judges did not score again, striking out and then popping-up to end the game. Nolan gave up three earned runs on six hits, while striking out three in the losing effort. She is now 5-2 on the season. The Judges face Clark University in a doubleheader on Saturday.
April 20, 2012
The Brandeis Hoot
Brown leads strong track and field class
Warwick hopes for NCAA berth
By Brian Tabakin Editor
Picking up right where he left off at the end of the indoor track and field season, Chris Brown ’12 continued to pick up wins in the UAA. In the previous season, Brown earned his first All-American status at the NCAA Championships. Now in the outdoor track and field season, Brown will lead a group of Judges in the University Athletic Association championships hosted by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh from April 27 to 29. Currently, Brown is ranked in the top 20 among all Division III athletes in two events: the 800-meter run and the 1,500-meter run. On April 7, at UMass Lowell’s George Davis Invitational, Brown won the 800-meter run with a time of 1:53.13. His time was better than those of 10 other competitors from Division I and Division II schools. At the moment, this time is ranked the 17th fastest in the event in Division III and is the fastest time in the UAA. Additionally, on April 14, in a quad meet at Dartmouth College, Brown won the 1,500-meter race with a lifetime best time of 3:50, more than four seconds faster than the closest competitor. At the same event, Alex Kramer ’13 earned a fourth place finish with a time of 3:57.35, which is ranked 39th in Division III and third in the UAA. At the UAA championships, the Judges are hopeful that Vincent Asante ’14 will have another strong showing. Asante, the 2011 UAA rookie of the year, placed fourth in the 100-meter dash at Dartmouth with
By Brian Tabakin Editor
photo from brandeisnow
a time of 11.15 seconds and finished in third in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.83 seconds. Currently, Asante is ranked fourth in the UAA in the 100-meter dash and seventh in the 200-meter dash. Furthermore, Brandeis has two more runners ranked in the Top 10 of the UAA this season. Mik Kern ’13 will join Brown in the 800-meter run at the UAA Championships. Kern is currently ranked sixth after posting a time of 1:57.31 at Dartmouth where he earned third place. Ed Colvin ’14 is also ranked sixth in the UAA in the 5,000-meter
run dating back to his first place finish at the Tufts Snowflake Classic on March 31 where he posted a time of 15:08.49. In the field events, Brandeis has enjoyed strong showings from its firstyears, having already earned four Top 10 finishes and another two Top 10 performances from the sophomore class. Jeffrey Maser ’15 is currently ranked fourth in the high jump with a mark of 5’ 11.75” that was set at the Tufts Snowflake Classic. Kensai Hughes ’14 is ranked fourth in the long jump with a career-best per-
formance of 6.43 meters set at Dartmouth while Alex Schmidt ’14 is currently ranked eighth in the long jump with a mark of 6.24 meters set at Tufts. In the javelin, Jonathan Gilman ’15 and Jacob Wilhoite ’15 are ranked fifth and ninth respectively in the UAA. At the Stonehill Skyhawk Invitational on March 14, Gilman threw the javelin 48.79 meters while at the UMass Lowell meet, Wilhoite threw the Javelin for 45.90 meters. Viet Tran ’15 is currently ranked eighth in the triple jump with a mark of 12.37 meters set at the UMass Lowell event.
Men’s tennis still struggling to find extended consistency as season nears end
The Judges’ women’s track and field team has enjoyed just one nationally ranked showing this season. Kate Warwick ’12, a previous NCAA qualifier, placed sixth in the 1,500-meter run at a quad meet at Dartmouth on April 14 with a time of 4:43.37. Her time was good for second among Division III athletes at the meet and the time currently ranks 45th among all Division III athletes and seventh in the UAA. Additionally, Warwick finished 12th in the 5,000-meter run at the 2012 Indoor Track and Field championships and placed 48th in the same event at the Division III championships. In UAA competition, the Judges’ best performance this season was turned in by Kim Farrington ’13. Farrington is currently ranked fifth among all UAA athletes with a distance of 10.74 meters in the triple jump set at the Dartmouth event. Also in the Top 10 are Lily Parenteau ’12, currently ranked eighth in the high jump with a 5’ 1” mark; Alyssa Fenenbock ’15, ranked ninth in the javelin with a throwing distance of 30.66 meters; and Brittany Bell ’13, ranked 10th in the long jump with a distance of 5.08 meters.
Women’s tennis gaining steam By Brian Tabakin
By Brian Tabakin
This past week, the Brandeis men’s tennis team dropped all three of their games, two on the road, to fall to 4-10 on the season. This past Friday, against 10thranked Bowdoin, the Judges failed to earn a single point as they were swept in both doubles and singles in a 9-0 loss. This was not a case of the matches being competitive either as the Judges’ only chances at registering points came at No. 2 doubles in which Ezra Bernstein ’12 and Dave Yovanoff ’13 lost 8-6 and at No. 1 singles in which Josh Jordan ’13 lost in three sets 3-6, 6-3, 10-8. Two days later, the Judges hoped to rebound when they faced Boston College. Unfortunately, the Judges were again soundly beaten in a 7-2 loss. The only two points Brandeis earned came in tiebreakers. In No. 2 doubles, Bernstein and Yovanoff were able to defeat Billy Grokenberger and Michael McGinnis 9-8 (7-3) while Michael Secular ’15 dispatched Matt Wagner 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) in No. 5 singles. A few days later, the Judges returned home to face 24th-ranked Trinity College. Brandeis got off to a quick start sweeping doubles action with an 8-5 victory in No. 1 doubles, an 8-5 win in No. 2 doubles and a 9-8 (7-2) win in No. 3 doubles to take a 3-0 lead into singles. Unfortunately, the Judges were unable to sustain any momentum in singles action as they fell to Trinity 5-4.
15 – 0
12 – 5
12 – 6
12 – 7
6 – 11
4 – 10
Box Scores @ Bowdoin
@ Boston College
photo by paula hoekstra/the hoot
Trinity won all five of their points in straight sets with victories coming in No. 1 singles, No. 2 singles, No. 3 singles, No. 5 singles and No. 6 singles. The Judges’ lone win in singles action came at No. 4 singles in which Ber-
nstein defeated Charles McConnell 7-5, 4-6, 10-5. The Judges will return to action on Sunday at 11 a.m. against Division I Bryant College in their final home game of the season.
13 – 2
15 – 3
16 – 4
12 – 4
13 – 5
Box Scores @ MIT
This past week, the 20th-ranked women’s tennis team rallied from an early deficit to defeat MIT 6-3. With the win, the Judges are now 13-2 on the season. MIT took a 2-1 lead into singles action as the Engineers’ pair Anastasia Vishnevetsky and Michelle Dutt upset Faith Broderick ’13 and Carly Cooke ’15 in No. 1 doubles 9-7. The Judges’ lone victory in doubles action came at No. 3 doubles in which Dylan Schlesinger ’15 and Simone Vandroff ’15 earned an 8-3 victory. In singles action, Roberta Bergstein ’14 evened the game at 2-2 with a victory at No. 6 singles. After winning the first set 6-1, her opponent retired giving, the Judges the point by default. At No. 2 doubles, Broderick avenged her doubles loss to Dutt with an easy victory in straight sets 6-0, 6-2. Alexa Katz ’14 pulled the Judges within one point of the match victory with a 6-1, 6-2 victory at No. 5 singles and Cooke finished off the comeback with a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 1 singles against Vishnevetsky. Finally, Allyson Bernstein ’14 picked up another point with a 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 3 singles. Vandroff suffered the only singles loss for the Judges with a 3-6, 6-3, 10-6 loss at No. 4 singles. The Judges will end their season with a pair of ranked matches. They will travel to face 19th-ranked Wellesley on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and return home to face 28th-ranked Trinity in the final home game of the season on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
The Brandeis Hoot
April 20, 2012
The Brandeis Hoot - April 20, 2012