Volume 11 Number 8
Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper • Waltham, Mass.
Gender equality still out of reach
By Dana Trismen Editor
This week, Brandeis’ Women and Gender Studies core faculty released a list of statistics, titled “Report Card for Women at Brandeis University.” Accompanied by a graphic, the study unearths how many full-time faculty are women, how many women are on the board of trustees, how many serve in senior administration and more. “A number of faculty were concerned about the lack of women among honorary degree recipients
at the 2013 commencement, and we began by looking at the fraction of women amongst honorary degree recipients over time,” said Wendy Cadge, Women’s & Gender Studies Program Chair and professor of sociology. “From there we wanted to see how women are doing across campus more generally and compiled the information in the report card. We [had] hoped to include more information—about staff and students for example—but were not able to access that data.” The report card states that the amount of women on the faculty
increased from 14 percent of the full-time faculty in 1972-1973, to 42 percent in 2012-2013. Despite this positive increase, the report states: “Differences persist by rank.” “This is particularly evident among full professors, who are the most senior on campus. 69 percent of full professors were men in 2012-2013 compared to only 31 percent of women. A larger number of women than men are also hired into faculty positions off the tenure line, which are less stable positions in the long term and usually lower paid,” said Cadge. The report card was released to cel-
ebrate the department of Women and Gender Studies’ 35th anniversary. “It allows us to see how the number of women in different roles and positions has changed since our program started 35 years ago and where there is still work to be done on behalf of women and gender nonconforming people,” Cadge said. In examining the trends in honorary degree recipients, since 1972, 20 percent of honorary degrees have been awarded to women. For the Board of Trustees, the highest See WMGS, page 3
Speaker highlights Odysseus’ classical journey By Shreyas Warrier Staff
On Thursday, Mar. 13, the Department of Classical Studies hosted an event with an audience of over 45 people. As a Brandeis graduate, Professor Joel Christensen of the University of Texas at St. Augustine was welcomed back to the department with open arms. The chair of the department, Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow, introduced Professor Christensen as a “funny, intelligent, motivated guy,” and went on to state that the faculty in the department could not decide who would introduce him, and so decided to have two professors do him the honor. Minutes into her speech, Koloski-Ostrow began to tear up, and finished her speech amidst quite a few sobs she struggled to hide. The chair of the department then turned the podium over to Professor LeonSee CLASSICS, page 4
odyssey Students filled Lown Auditorium to hear Joel Christensen speak.
On Tuesday, March 11 students, faculty and staff gathered in Rapaporte Treasure Hall to hear Dr. Evelyn Murphy deliver the 19th annual Tillie K. Lubin Symposium talk entitled “Work Smart, Earn What You Are Worth.” Sponsored by the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and The WAGE Project, Inc., the 2014 Lubin Symposium invited Evelyn Murphy take part in a series of events this week on campus to teach women how and why to negotiate their salaries. In 1986, Dr. Murphy became the first woman elected to statewide office in Massachusetts serving as
Heller students shoot for social justice gold By Jess Linde Editor
Earlier this month, the Hult Prize, the world’s largest student competition for social good, was awarded to students from all over the globe for their entries. Since 2010, the prize, which is partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative, has invited groups of students to pitch their ideas for business startups with a social justice goal. The winner of the prize not only gets recognition for their startup, but $1,000,000 to fund their idea and get it started in the real world. Of the thousands of applicants this year, 200 teams ended up being selected for regional competitions, including a team of students from Brandeis’ very own Heller School for Social Policy and Management. The team is made up of five Heller graduate students with diverse and impressive academic backgrounds including computer science, sustainability and business. For example, group member Rachael Gold-Brown currently studies Sustainable International Development and Coexistence and Conflict, while teammate Yan Shi is a former HR executive for China’s Ping An Bank currently pursuing her MBA at the International Business School. By combining their diverse backgrounds and skills, the team won the Heller School’s first social justicebased startup competition last fall, which encouraged them to try for the Hult Prize. Though the team did not win the Hult Prize, they are far from
photo by emily reich/the hoot
See CONTEST, page 4
Ayala entertains in Levin
Evelyn Murphy teaches women to fight for their worth By Emily Belowich
March 14, 2014
Lieutenant Governor. Prior to that, she served as Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs in the late 1970s, holding responsibility for the state’s environmental policy. The program was followed by workshops on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings that echoed Dr. Murphy’s lecture to train young women how to advocate for a salary that they believe they should earn. In collaboration with the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, the Provost, the International Business School and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, this year’s Lubin Symposium gained support from the campus community in an effort to give women the tools to be able See WORTH, page 4
seac Asian Pacific American Heritage Month was celebrated by the Brandeis South East Asian Club (SEAC) in Levin on Saturday. See page 9 for more photos.
Inside this issue:
Page 3 Calming Landscapes News: Cal-Berkeley lawsuit creates change Arts, Etc.: ‘I and Love and You’ band rocks Garden Page 5 Professor’s art gallery in SpinOpinion: Science students ignorant of current events Page 13 gold invites viewers to reflect and Page 11 relax. Sports: UAA tourney challenges baseball team Page 10 Editorial: Survivors need more support
Arts, page 8
Fencing success Three members of Fencing team move on to national competitions.
Sports, page 11
photo by dora chi/the hoot
2 The Brandeis Hoot
March 14, 2014
Panel aims to promote dialogue between divided peoples By Shayna Korol Staff
On Monday evening, the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life held a panel discussion in the Reading Room of the Mandel Center for the Humanities entitled “Extremists and the Challenges of Public Conversation.” The discussion was moderated by Daniel Terris, director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. According to Terris, the Schusterman Center promotes dialogue between divided peoples, examines how people engage in civic discourse and looks at productive discourse happening within and across divided societies. This is accomplished through the engagement of the arts along with judicial and other legal figures. One of the difficulties presented in situations of intense conflict is the question of how much extremists should and will be involved in the discourse aimed at reaching a solution. Some of the questions that arise are: Should a government engage extreme elements, those who “use violence in their toolbox?” Does marginalizing their voices help or hurt matters? Of the three panelists, Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka Shiranee Tilakawardane, the first woman in Sri Lanka appointed as a Court of Appeal judge, sat in the center. She is a strong advocate for children’s rights and an expert in issues of gender and justice. “Everyone, every human being, has a right to peaceable assembly, free expression, ” Tilakawardane said. She stressed the importance of going to the grassroots level to figure out the needs of a community that often are not represented in the media. “Extremes are already represented in debates, because they are the most sensationalistic and generate the most interest,” she said. She pointed to the issue of the status of Tamil women in Sri Lanka being entirely dependent on a male relative (a husband or brother). Without that
relationship, they have no standing in the community, which puts them at a disadvantage. The 30-year Sri Lankan war from which the nation is still recovering involved Tamil separatists who wanted a separate country from Sri Lanka, and it saw the rise of single mothers, a precarious social status. Tilakawardane claimed that the Tamil separatists’ rhetoric was removed from the needs of people they claimed to represent, and that the Sri Lankan government needs to address concerns at the grassroots level. To her right sat Diego Arria, a former governor of Caracas, Venezuela, and businessman in addition to being deeply involved with the United Nations. He pioneered the “Arria formula,” implemented in March 1992 when he was President of the Security Council, an arrangement that informs the Security Council about issues that jeopardize international security. A vocal opponent of Hugo Chavez, he charged him with crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Arria spoke of the turmoil in Venezuela: “Things seem simpler in other countries, but when it hits home, it’s much more complicated,” he said. “Venezuelan society is divided: There’s hate on both sides.” Today, Arria said the political climate is extremely polarized, and after 20 students were killed in an insurrection that arose from a denial of human rights, the leadership saw the need for dialogue. He attributes a large part of the blame to the inaction of outsiders. “Other Latin American countries haven’t lifted a finger to help protect the human rights of Venezuelan citizens, and the United Nations established a moral equivalency of both parties,” Arria said. He added that the government uses language and rhetoric itself to discredit the opposition, and that the very label of “extremist” becomes a valuable tool to marginalize opponents. He cited President Carter’s visit in 2004 as enabling Hugo Chavez and
remarked that “dialogue is with the businessman, not with the people.” Between Terris and Tilakawardane sat Richard J. Goldstone, a retired Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and Chair of the Ethics Center’s International Advisory Board since 2004. He is a lawyer and a judge who served as the Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and chaired the Goldstone Commission, which investigated sources of violence that endangered South Africa’s transition to a post-apartheid society. He headed a fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict in 2009, which gave rise to the famous Goldstone Report. Goldstone addressed the issue of protest and free speech at university campuses, recently brought to attention by a rally conducted by the extreme group Islamic Jihad at Brandeis’ partner Palestinian university, Al-Quds. The controversy stemmed from the protestors’ use of Nazi iconography and anti-Semitic rhetoric. In response, Brandeis suspended its partnership with Al-Quds University. “People are entitled, especially on university campuses, to express unpopular extremes that incite extreme sentiments as part of their right to freedom of speech, but a meeting of minds is crucial,” Goldstone said. “It’s easy to sit from our position and dictate what someone else should have done.” In a recent incident that took place on a South African university campus, a new head of a student dorm was appointed, and her peers greeted her with a Nazi salute. Goldstone estimated that at least 90 percent of students who gave the salute didn’t know what it was, and thinks that if one spoke to the students and explained the significance the gesture held to Jewish South Africans, they would rethink their behavior. On the other hand, a comedian in Paris recently adopted a pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic routine that Goldstone
claims was intended to get publicity. Different solutions are required for different situations involving extremes, and in some cases, dialogue helps. If it is genuine misunderstanding, a different approach is required than towards malevolence, in which giving them an opportunity to speak enables them. He suggested adopting a case-by-case approach and claimed
that it is crucially important to listen to the voices of the victims. The mission of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life is to develop effective responses to conflict and injustice by offering innovative approaches to coexistence, strengthening the work of international courts and encouraging ethical practice in civic and professional life.
photo from internet source
conversation Shiranee Tilakawardane and Diego Arria discuss human rights in the context
Murphy gives lecture at Lubin symposium HEADLINE, from page 1
to know how to ask for what they deserve. Murphy is the founder of The WAGE Project, Inc., a grassroots organization dedicated to ending discrimination against women in the American workplace by aiming to eliminate the gender wage gap. In the beginning of Murphy’s talk, she said that one of the main problems in the gender wage gap is that there is too much discussion on the numbers and statistics, and less of a focus on taking action. She said it is important to recognize that women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, but if women start focusing more on how to change this statistic, they will see greater results in the long run. Murphy shared that half of this idea is having the confidence to ask for what you need and that the other half is having the tools to do something about it. “My goal right now is to have you walk out of here, committed to acting to be paid what you are worth, comfortable and confident that you know how to do that,” Dr. Murphy said. “This problem has been around for a long time and it’s not going to change unless we do something about it.”
Murphy shared her three-part toolkit that women need to ask for the salary they deserve. She said that the only way to accomplish the goal is to be objective, persuasive and strategic, and that this plan will not work if women fail to do one of these things. “If you are two out of the three, you won’t be paid fairly. The key is to keep assessing how good you are and to keep learning to get better,” Murphy said. First, Murphy claimed the important thing in being objective is doing research. This includes looking up people in your geographic location who have a similar job and figuring out how much they earn. She said it is important to calculate your benefits as well. “You have to aim high but be realistic,” Dr. Murphy said. Secondly, Murphy said that being persuasive includes listening, flexibility and positivity. She said that when you listen you will hear what your company wants, and the only way you will learn that is by listening for it. “You have to practice your pitch for five minutes, and then listen to what they want. Listen very carefully, that’s the key to flexibility,” she said. Lastly, Murphy said that in being strategic, everything is about timing. She says that it is important to sched-
ule a meeting that works for you and your boss. This might be right after you have received an award, or it might be in sync with the cycle in which most people in the company usually get salary raises. Murphy also offered suggestions as to how to talk with bosses who may not be initially in support of this idea. She said that some bosses might say there is not enough room in the budget for a raise, or that the CEO will not support this idea. She said that if you are strategic and persistent, you will be able to eventually get to where you want to be. Dr. Wendy Cadge, an associate professor in the sociology department, introduced the Lubin Symposium. She shared that 16 staff and faculty members will be trained this week to offer these WAGE project workshops over the next couple of years here at Brandeis. “We are really excited that this is an initiative that’s going to continue in a lot of different forms for a lot of different constituents,” Cadge said. The Lubin Symposium is named for Tillie K. Lubin, a woman who had a lifelong passion for the arts and a particular affinity for Spanish culture. In the late 1930s, she married Charles Lubin, shortly after he bought a chain of bakeries in Chicago. After
the birth of their first daughter, Sara Lee, they renamed their company the Kitchens of Sara Lee. The success from their company allowed the Lubins to engage in many philanthropic projects, not only at Brandeis but
also at Skidmore College and at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Her daughter, Sara Lee Schupf, served on the Women’s Studies Program Board in the 1990s and established the Lubin Symposium in her honor.
photo from internet source
March 14, 2014
WMGS releases report card on women’s status at Brandeis HEADLINE, from page 1
percentage of women on the board throughout the years was from 20022003, at 28 percent. But compared to other universities, Brandeis seems to have slightly fallen behind in terms of advancing women. “We have fewer women on the Board than national averages (on average universities have 30 percent women on the Board),” said Cadge. She also admitted, “We have slightly more women on the faculty and likely more men amongst senior administrators … National information about honorary degree recipients does not seem to have been published.” From 1972 to 2013, Brandeis has had one female president out of five. There have been two female provosts/ deans of faculty out of 12. There have been no female chief operating officers/executive vice presidents and no female chiefs of staff. There is only one category in senior administration in which there have been more females than men: in the role of Vice President of Communications. Susan Lanser, professor of comparative literature, English and women’s and gender studies who also serves as Head of the Division of Humanities, stated that Brandeis is both a school with a history of advancing women, and one that could still improve. “Brandeis has been a pioneer institution from its earliest years in recruiting women to the faculty of the life
The Brandeis Hoot
Cal-Berkeley co-op changing after lawsuit
sciences at a time when universities like MIT and Harvard were discriminating against women,” said Lanser, who also chaired the WGS program for six years, said. “On the other hand, it was not until 2002 that women became part of the tenured faculty in philosophy, which meant that we were lagging behind. It is my sense that our senior-most leadership less diverse in both gender and race than the leadership of many other institutions.” Now there are three women who serve on the philosophy faculty. However, Cadge has a clear vision on how Brandeis can improve going forward. “We would like to see the university commit to increasing the number of women on the Board of Trustees, among honorary degree recipients and amongst senior administrators. Studies show that universities are run somewhat differently when there is a critical mass of women on the Board which points to importance of making this change. We know this to be the case about senior administrators as well,” said Cadge. Lanser has a sound opinion as well. “My vision is for a Brandeis that includes—in its leadership, its faculty, its students, its board of trustees and its curriculum—the full spectrum of persons, perspectives and intellectual commitments of the United States and indeed of the world. Without this diversity of vision and voice, of knowledge and insight, we cannot fulfill our mission as a global liberal arts research university,” she said. photo from internet source
By Charlie Romanow Staff
graphic courtesy brandeis university
Cloyne Court, the nation’s largest cooperative student house is set to be rebranded and revamped 68 years after it was first purchased by the Berkeley Student Cooperative (BSC) at the University of California, Berkeley. The plan to alter the residential structure comes four years after John Gibson, a former resident of the coop, sustained serious brain damage from a drug overdose that occurred in his Cloyne Court dorm room. Gibson, a peace and conflict studies major sustained an anoxic brain injury on March 18, 2010 after ingesting a mixture of cocaine and marijuana with his roommate. The roommate was uninjured. Students found Gibson with bluish lips in a coma and waited two hours before contacting emergency services. Gibson must be cared for round the clock by nurses. His care is estimated to cost $500,000 per year. A lawsuit was subsequently filed by Gibson’s mother, Madelyn Bennett in Alameda County Superior Court, alleging that the culture of the co-op and Cloyne created an unsafe environment for students in which administrators were aware of constant drug trafficking and drug abuse. Bennett’s lawyer, Charles Kelly II, stated in the legal complaint that “the defendants’ failure to take any action created a ‘wild-west’ environment at Cloyne where residents believed that ‘anything goes’ and there would be no accountability for illegal drug trafficking or abuse.” The suit was settled out of court by BSC’s insurance carrier, but their insurance rates have gone up, and BSC President Michelle Nacouzi believes that if another incident were to occur, insurance rates would be too high for the cooperative to maintain affordable housing for students. The suit also claims that the school failed
to provide adequate supervision or drug-use education, instituted policies that discouraged students from contacting emergency services and did not have an on-site non-student property manager. The latter of these issues was mended after the suit as Cloyne hired a non-student to manage the team of student managers. A decision was made by BSC to change the house so as to minimize the chances of insurance rates rising any further. They would evict all 149 current house members before fall, and designate Cloyne a substancefree zone with an academic theme. As written in The Huffington Post, this would be “in effect, pressing a reset button to Cloyne culture and community.” Students believe that the BSC should be taking steps to prevent drug abuse but think that they are going about it in the wrong way. House Manager Mirit Friedman said that the proposed fix is only a “band-aid solution to a larger drugculture problem,” as reported by The Daily Californian. Further opposition stems from the recent popularity of Cloyne for its position as one of the cheapest housing options. The Daily Californian reports that Cloyne costs $2,250 per semester in an area where rent prices have been rising. “My parents don’t have a lot of money. The only reason that I’m here is because I was blessed with a scholarship. I was blessed with this place,” says resident Amber Mullaney in one of the testimonials on the Save Cloyne webpage. The cost includes many amenities such as a hot tub, sauna, billiard and ping-pong tables, arcade system, four square court, courtyard, greenhouse, gazebo, deck, study room, darkroom, basketball court, 24-hour kitchen and its well-known mural-covered walls. The BSC was founded in 1933 to provide affordable living to all students during a time when AfricanAmerican students were discriminated against when searching for
housing near the Berkeley campus. The popularity of Cloyne for its price has already seen a change in the house’s culture. Despite the house’s reputation, students report that it is much different than it was in past decades when students embezzled funds to buy illegal drugs, had drug parties and ran meth labs in the basement. “The house wasn’t even at full occupancy until rent control was lifted. Ever since then, we get more people that live here because they have to rather than want to. Every year the house gets tamer as more people who don’t want to live here move in,” said sixth-semester resident Erik Innocent to The Daily Californian. The BSC’s proposed plan would allow evicted students to move into other housing provided by BSC. BSC oversees 20 democratically run Berkeley properties, totaling 1,300 residents. It would also reduce the number of residents of Cloyne by 10 and create a new study room. BSC has received $400,000 from an anonymous donation, half of which would be used to alter the building into an academic house and the other half to seismically retrofit BSC houses. Cloyne residents, better known as Clones, object to the lack of involvement that Clones were offered in the decision making process. They are rallying to save their historic residence that is on the National Register of Historic Places and a Berkeley city landmark. They have set up a Facebook page promoting a “Save Cloyne” campaign and have their own webpage full of positive testimonials by current and former residents. Students have proposed counter proposals that aim to improve the co-op’s public image and deal head-on with substance abuse issues through education and counseling. Clones have effectively stalled BSC’s decision. Cloyne representatives and the BSC Cabinet will meet Mar. 13 before making any decisions in the following weeks.
The Brandeis Hoot
March 14, 2014
Speaker examines the ‘Odyssey’ through different lenses CLASSICS, from page 1
ard Muellner (CLAS), who began his speech by stating that “Joel learned a lot from his teachers here … but he shamelessly and guiltlessly struck out in his own direction in graduate studies.” He went on to describe the speaker as one who possessed “so much creativity, energy and motivation,” and discussed his published work on Nestor’s complaint from the ninth scroll of “The Iliad.” Upon the end of his speech, Christensen took the stand with an air of detached calm. He praised the Brandeis Classics faculty, stating that they taught the way that subjects should be taught and aided in “changing and rearranging lives”. Unorthodoxly, the professor began his lecture by stating that he used to hate “The Odyssey.” He said, “In comparison to ‘Iliad’ it didn’t have the depth or the complexity,” and ended his introduction by stating, “one thing I’ve learned to like is learning to like being wrong,” with a wry smile. Christensen spoke on learned helplessness and narrative therapy. He highlighted Zeus’s speech at the start
of “The Odyssey,” pointing out that he began by blaming the mortals for always blaming the gods for all evil that befell them. He discussed Odysseus’s construction of a hidden identity and defined nostalgia as a longing for a past that is no more. He spoke of Odysseus undergoing a heroic withdrawal and return, alienated from his home, and stated that the purpose of the epic was the “nostos,” Greek for “homecoming”. He spoke quickly, almost too quickly for the audience to follow, as he never paused between statements and never gave the audience the time to catch up with his words. In exploring the concept of learned helplessness, Christensen said, “Learned helplessness deficits occur mainly when the uncontrollable bad event is appraised to be an imminent threat to one’s basic commitments.” He related “The Odyssey” to AMC’s hit show “Breaking Bad.” He compared the two main characters, Odysseus and Walter White, after stating, “People met with uncontrollable outcomes often tend to give up, after attempting to cope in increasingly improbable ways”—a direct reference to Walter White’s decision to cook meth.
He then switched back to Odysseus, stating that he had been through so much—the sack of Troy, the butchering of Hyperion’s cows—that he had been reduced to a shipwrecked mess, constantly crying and sleeping every night with Calypso. Christensen reached his main point, triumphantly saying that Odysseus re-authors his own narrative, claims agency in his life and has an epic homecoming. He argued that Odysseus “doesn’t really make it home until he’s recognized by others.” To back up his theory, he said, “Psychologists show that memory plays a social function … Odysseus makes it home because others are there to recognize him.” Here, he exposed Odysseus and Walter White as both clever heroes who claim control over their narrative and then change their lives drastically. Odysseus was resourceful in reclaiming his identity: He fought through scars, recognition and memory. Odysseus’s violence protected his family. Christensen compared Odysseus to the hero of the novel “Infinite Jest,” Don Gately. Here, he returned to the definition of nostos, linking his arguments in a full circle. He described
photo by emily reich/the hoot
how “nostos claims that reclaiming identity is a constant struggle because it’s not self sufficient—it relies on memory and struggles.” In “Infinite Jest,” Don Gately was a former thief and addict, but by the end of the novel, terribly wounded, stood to defend his companions. Like Odysseus, Gately used stories of his past to remind himself of who he was, who he is and who he wanted to be. Gately learned how to control himself and his own agency, like Odysseus
and Walter White did. Christensen claimed that both “Infinite Jest” and “The Odyssey,” while contemplating the dangers of narrative, also illustrate the power of reclaiming and retelling. The professor ended his speech to rapturous applause led by his former professors. With a concise and precise conclusion, he affirmed, “The rehearsal of things past is how individuals and communities create identities.”
Loss of Hult Prize does not deter Heller students CONTEST, from page 1
finished. Because of the city’s association with prestigious universities and other institutions, Boston is home to many startup competitions throughout the year, including the Lean Startup Challenge and the MassChallenge, which the team plans on entering. “Even though we did not win the Hult Prize, this does not mean that our journey has stopped,” said team member Di Luo in an email to The Hoot. “We still can refine our idea and submit it to [similar competi-
tions such as] the MassChallenge.” Luo, who taught financial literacy and entrepreneurship in China and now studies Sustainable International Development at Brandeis, also cited the team’s chemistry as a reason for confidence. “We are good friends now,” Luo said. “We expect to build the same momentum and put the same effort as the Hult Prize into [future competitions.]” The team’s business model deals with improving access to health care in slums and areas of extreme poverty, which several members already had experience in. Eyad Fallatah, a
student of computer science, previously developed online applications for health care-based nonprofits, and Melissa Nazareno previously worked in health care management, and is now pursuing her MBA at the Heller School. “We based our business model in a slum in Ghana, where health care is impossible to access and incredibly expensive,” said Nazareno in an interview with The Hoot this week. Though the team cannot discuss the specifics of their model during competition season, Nazareno expressed her confidence in its structure. “I’m very lucky to be in this team,” Naza-
reno said. “Everybody works so well together, and we all want to change the world for the better, which makes us work harder.” According to Luo and Nazareno, Brandeis’ motto of social justice was a large influence on their business model. “At a school [like Brandeis,] with this kind of message, it is so easy to find other people who are passionate about the same things, it’s great,” said Nazareno. “The fact that I was able to find such great people to work with is definitely credible to Brandeis.” Luo holds similar sentiments. “When making the case study and pitch plan,
I never forget that there are 250 million slum dwellers suffering from chronic disease,” he said. Overall, the team is confident that they will be able to succeed in the future. “I’m not the kind of person to give up easily,” said Nazareno. “Boston is such a great place for [startup] competitions, and [the team] is really committed to improving and submitting our model.” Currently, the team is fine-tuning their plan for MassChallenge’s April 2 deadline, as well as trying to keep up with their studies.
Israeli comedian picks at stereotypes
By Clayre Benzadon Staff
On Thursday, Mar. 13, Brandeis’s Israeli Comedy Night was held in the Lown Auditorium with TBA, one of Brandeis’ improv troupes. They began by first improvising with the word “falafel,” setting the scene with two actors playing the roles of new caterers who got the job at the catering company out of desperation, as the company needed to make falafel sandwiches for 200 people in two hours. Sadly, however, the only thing that these two newbies could make were omelettes and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. TBA then acted out “Israeli tour guides,” with one guy imitating a thick Israeli accent, driving the tour bus while the other assistance tour guide, who was American, was too nervous and sick to even begin, stuttering, “Welcome to Israel … this is my first tour in English and I’m … not totally sure …” about anything, feeling helpless as he felt as though he should have taken some culture classes. The tour guide, however, reassured him with the common saying, “Everything is all right” in Hebrew and an order of a couple of shots at the disco. After TBA’s performance, comedian Benji Lovitt, who has entertained audiences across the world, including crowds at Hillel, on Birthright and at other campuses, has even appeared on Israeli television shows and radio stations. From the moment he stepped on stage, everyone began to
photo from internet source
laugh hysterically, as he started off by saying, “I was doing some research on Brandeis and saw that in 2010, it was considered the 31st most stressed out college in America … it’s halfJewish, I’m sure its higher than that, you know, with the Jews complaining about digestive problems, the economy …” And as he noticed the crunching of a plastic container during his performance, he was quick to comment, “Only Jews eat during shows. They can never compete with food!” He then went on to describe his life in Israel, as he has been living there for seven years now, and made a joke, “I know I’m becoming Israeli when I become a little too aroused watching this water [from Niagara Falls] …
The things that I would do to you … I would take a bath, that’s what I’d do to you …” Next, he went on to describe his observations of the Israeli citizens, humorously warning the audience, “Never bring an Israeli with you to a casino. Why? They’ll try to negotiate with the dealer!” After he involved the audience in trying to get us to address the different stereotypes that are associated with Israelis, he mentioned the fact that “the Israelis have no idea why anyone would want to move from America to Israel. They act very different once the tourists arrive— they’re on full-on marketing mode: ‘Oh Israel is great—the people, the beaches … we are all family here!’ But after Aliyah: ‘We were joking! You be-
lieve us? Why you want to live here?’” And an Israeli’s description is not complete without the aggressive attitudes of the sellers at the shuk markets, or as Lovitt likes to call it, “Dirty Walmart.” “You know, I’d like to see a job interview with someone who works at the shuk: ‘You have an excellent resume. Can you yell and scream? OK … can you dangle your cigarette over the food? OK … you have a sufficient amount of chest hair …’” Lovitt later asked the audience if anyone had ever been to Israel. Not surprisingly, almost the entire audience clapped to confirm his suspicion that people had. And he had a lot to say about the Israeli security checks in the El-Al airport. “The first time you travel, you have no idea where the
security guards get these questions from: ‘How do you know Hebrew? When did you have your bar mitzvah? Do you have a sister?’ But as I’ve gotten used to [the security checks], I’ve never felt safer. TSA, they don’t even know what they’re doing. They’ll just make up the rules as they go along: ‘Drop your pants and moon!’ or they’ll ask ‘Hi, welcome to Delta, is this a bag?’ Yeah … I’ll stick to El-Al.” Many audience members felt that the comedy was a bit confusing, despite the fact that Lovitt tried to focus on different stereotypes about Israel. Many audience members indicated that they had been to Israel, so perhaps they were looking for the comedy to reflect more than what felt like a person’s first impressions.
March 14, 2014
The Brandeis Hoot 5
Avett Brothers rock TD Garden By Theresa Gaffney Editor
The TD Garden hosts many concerts throughout the year, from Justin Timberlake to Miley Cyrus, but this past weekend, the stadium heard a different kind of music. On Saturday, The Avett Brothers played the Garden with opener Old Crow Medicine Show. While there were a fair number of empty nosebleed seats, for the most part, the house was packed for a band that isn’t used to such a large venue. When Old Crow Medicine Show walked on stage, the stadium was practically empty. The band didn’t seem to mind though, as they launched into their set. Eventually, the crowd began to fill up, and audience members could be seen moving to the beat. The band waited until about three-quarters into their set before playing their most popular song by far, “Wagon Wheel.” By the time they did, the stadium was packed, and everyone sang along. The Avett Brothers released their eighth and latest studio album “Magpie and the Dandelion” on Oct. 13, 2013. The announcement came at the summer 2013 Newport Folk Festival. Having attended the festival and listened to the CD, I was eager to experience a live performance of their new music for the first time. The first song of the set was indeed from the album; “Another is Waiting” was the first single from the album. However, the audience didn’t hear another song off of the newest album until the last quarter of the set list. Many popular songs such as “Open Ended Life” and “Morning Song” were left out of the set. While this could be explained by the fact that Boston was the last stop on this leg of the tour, it still seemed strange that the latest material wouldn’t be showcased. Despite the lack of new music, the Avett Brothers rocked the show with
avett brothers The band rocked the show with their flexible sound range.
a range of much of their other music. One of the band’s greatest skills is having such a flexible range of sound. From country music to acoustic ballads to all-out rock, there’s an Avett Brothers song for every genre. The band kicked off the show with a lot of high energy classics off of older albums, including some of the bigger hits such as “Laundry Room” and “I and Love and You.” These can be expected at every show and are the type of songs you might think you’ve outgrown, until it starts happening live. While some songs may seem mellow on the studio albums, the brothers break out at live shows, soaking up all of the crowd’s energy. Not a band to chat onstage in between songs, strong instrumentals by the brothers and their partners swept us from one melody to another. One of the most fun songs to watch them perform was “Slight Figure
of Speech.” It is a fast paced, upbeat song. Seth and Scott Avett and the gang were jumping around on stage just having a blast. The audience echoed this, clapping along and dancing in their seats. The best part of the song is when Scott begins a quick paced part that I can only describe as folk rap. “Are you to assess what I’ve been? What I am? Or become? Did you stop to accept how pathetically dumb it can be to attack those around ‘cause you’re true to color, a town, a time or a place?” While their music does tend to get a bit preachy, the lyricism is unsurpassed by any other. If you don’t like country music because of the tendency for dumbed-down subject matter, trust that the Avett Brothers are something else. The set they played on Saturday night was not full of my favorite songs. Many were ones that I regularly skip when listening to
photo from internet source
the band. Yet when they get out there live, the passion they put into each line makes the entire audience fall in love with the song all over again. It is easy to be entranced by the beautiful harmonies and lyrics of the brothers, but the rest of the band should not be thought of as background music. Joe Kwon, who first appeared on the album “Emotionalism” in 2007, turns the cello into one of the most exciting instruments on stage. Throughout the show, his bow strokes cut through the sounds of louder instruments. Kwon is not limited by the bulky and slightly awkward instrument either: With a strap holding it in place, Kwon can be seen on stage flipping his long black hair or playing passionately with his back up against Seth or Scott Avett’s. “Go to Sleep” finds its core melody in Kwon’s strong notes. The concert had a three-song en-
core. After the first song, they brought Old Crow Medicine Show back on stage to sing some classic folk covers. It wasn’t the same experience as if they had played “I and Love and You”—their most popular song, and the one that got them on most people’s radar—as the last song. But it was an experience filled with great, passionate music. It was tangible how much fun both bands were having on stage as they jammed. A few days before this concert, the Avett Brothers were featured on Jimmy Fallon. “We love these guys … They are awesome, they are awesome, they are awesome,” Fallon excitedly endorsed the band before they played. The Avett Brothers are becoming more of a mainstream quality band. They didn’t need all the nosebleed seats at the TD Garden this time, but perhaps at the next concert they will.
Chum’s gets funky By Jess Linde Editor
Last Friday night, students packed themselves into Chum’s Coffee House for a musical celebration they called “Fat Friday,” referring to Mardi Gras. WBRS hosted and organizaed the event and featured music by Philadelphia funk band Swift Technique and Brooklyn’s Turkuaz. The Facebook event described the bands as “large and exhilarating,” paying specific attention to Turkuaz, a dynamic ninepiece who have recently gained a lot of online attention. Doors to the event opened at 9 p.m., and Chum’s was filled almost instantly by excited guests, mostly students, though a few off-campus fans were also in the crowd. Swift Technique, a self-described “intergalactic funk caravan” took the stage first to the cheers of students. The large ensemble, which included a guitarist, electric bass, vocals, a drummer and two horn players, began their set by thanking WBRS for bringing them back to campus (Swift Technique performed at Chum’s last spring) before launching into their first song. The song, a high-energy funk jam, immediately whipped the audience into a frenzy, with dancing students completely covering the entire venue. Indeed, the only
people not dancing were the WBRS members running the Chum’s soundboard; even the band and the Chum’s employees behind the bar were getting down. Attendees continued to pour in, filling Chums to its limits as Swift Technique powered through their set. At one point, a student (unidentifiable to me in the dark) wearing a full-body banana costume managed to start a huge conga line that sped around the room. Eventually the beads and tiaras that had been passed out at the beginning of the show finally made themselves onto students’ bodies, and the Mardi Gras spirit was in full bloom. Swift Technique put on a great show, extending their songs with guitar and bass solos, horn solos, drum solos, all kinds of solos. However near the end of the set, something malfunctioned, and the volume went much lower. The band’s vocalist seemed to notice the change, but if anyone in the audience paid any mind, it was not shown because the party went on, even when Swift Technique finished and the event’s hosts put on a dancy iPod mix. After a 15 minute intermission, Turkuaz, “Brooklyn’s funk powerhouse” finally went on to insane fanfare. Setup took a little bit, as Turkuaz brought all nine of their band members (including two guitarists and three horn players) along, but it ended up being worth it. Though I had never heard of Turkuaz before
the show, I became a big fan by their musicianship, on-stage chemistry and penchant for funk-versions of songs by other bands—I even danced a little. Turkuaz, to put it simply, blew the roof off the place. Concert-goers who had been standing outside to escape the heat of Chum’s ran back in and did not leave again. Over the course of
their songs Turkuaz blasted through rock-style songs, indie-style songs and soul-style songs, always within a funk frame. The audience only grew crazier, with kids bumping into each other and taking breaks for water. I even saw my friend in the banana suit again, only for him to trip and drive his elbow into my side, which gave me a pretty bad bruise.
At the time I was too distracted by the atmosphere at the show to feel the blow, but the next morning it was definitely there. Thankfully my bruise wasn’t the strongest memory of the night. Rather it was the fun I had with the music, dancing with friends, watching other people go crazy and the overall sense of fun and camraderie the event created.
photo from internet source
turkuaz Brandeisians went crazy at last Friday’s Mardi Gras celebration at Chums.
6 The Brandeis Hoot
By Eli Kaminsky
March 14, 2014
Two new tracks give insight to Coldplay’s upcoming album
Music critics often comment that Coldplay, one of the most successful current alternative-rock bands to emerge from the London music scene, often releases music that strongly resembles several other older rock and pop artists. However, instead of criticizing the quartet, it can be quite beneficial to commend Coldplay for its combined, Buckley-style Britpop, melancholy Radiohead-esque warbling and U2’s massive stadium sound, with intelligent song structure, creative lyrical content and impressively precise musicianship. Rolling Stone once aptly described Coldplay’s hybrid and heavily developed sound as “a hypnotic slowmo otherworld where spirit rules supreme.” That eerie yet irresistible pop-rock energy is unmistakably a phenomenon to which Coldplay fans have been accustomed since the band’s debut album, 2000’s “Parachutes.” That being said, while this spacey and ghostly stadium vibe has remained present on each of the group’s five studio albums, the overall direction of the musical composition has evolved from the gloomy and reflective rock of earlier releases to a the more complex array of textures, keyboards, effects, resonant guitars and explosive hooks of the group’s most recent release, 2011’s “Mylo Xyloto.” On May 16, Chris Martin and his band mates are set to release “Ghost Stories,” their sixth studio LP and first in three years. Following the “proper” promotional model, Coldplay has released two tracks off the record: the
coldplay The band’s new album, “Ghost Stories,” is likely to be one of its softest albums.
stripped-down lead single “Magic” and the moaning electronica of “Midnight,” presented by a fantastical and trippy music video. The extremely energetic “Mylo Xyloto” was initially intended to be a light, acoustic and rather minimalistic release, but as is often the case with the musical process, plans changed and the final cut of the record was born. However, the band has decided to return to that initial stripped-down sound for Ghost Stories and both “Magic” and “Midnight” make that sentiment very clear. “Magic” kicks off with a looped bass-line that feels like a poppier ver-
sion of something off of Radiohead’s 2010 release, “King of Limbs.” The modest rhythm section quickly expands into a constantly rising set of transient keyboards, guitars and vocal swoonings. While Martin’s lyrics do not literally say all that much, repeated phrases like “Call it magic, call it true” over a constantly blossoming and evolving musical pattern have an essence of mystical power to them. Martin does not find himself drowning in words or complex concepts. He merely delivers an almost hauntingly simple message about love and companionship. As Martin becomes
photo from internet source
more desperate for the “magic” of being “with you,” the layers of music grow and quietly erupt before returning to the more mystical and cavernous section of the song. With “Magic,” Coldplay achieves the stripped-down musical goal they aimed for when first writing “Mylo Xyloto” and acts as a wonderful bridge between their earlier, more rock-oriented songs and their more recent spacey, colorful stadium sound, without losing the effect of either. While similar with regard to the general theme of minimalism that appears to be stressed on “Ghost
Stories,” “Midnight” is far more psychedelic and electronic than “Magic.” Both songs maintain that tender balance between quiet rock and massive stadium pop. “Midnight’s” lyrical message is somewhat less simple than that of “Magic,” though volume-wise, the lyrical content is equally insignificant on both tracks, as they highlight energy and emotion more than Martin’s stories. “Midnight” opens with a synth-heavy riff that almost feels as though it is actually breathing as the song progresses. Martin’s distorted and harmonized vocals gently kiss the riff as swirling keyboards surround his soft words. It is hard to believe that a song that starts out so quietly can burst into a massive electronic drop that could fit on a song by EDM artists the likes of Krewella or Alesso. An incredible point regarding “Midnight” is that despite sounding so musically different than anything Coldplay has ever released previously, the track still sounds unrecognizably “Coldplay.” The same is so for “Magic.” While neither track would stand out on “Mylo Xyloto” or “A Rush of Blood To The Head,” they are strong releases that sway away from the band’s typical sound. Coldplay has progressed since “Yellow,” their first hit, yet fans can still listen to one song from every album and not feel particularly alarmed or surprised by any one song of a particular album. Based on these two tracks, “Ghost Stories” most likely will stand as one of the softest albums Coldplay has put out in years, and probably will not stress hit singles or pop masterpieces, opting for more complex musical themes. We might as well just wait and listen. It is rare that Coldplay truly disappoints.
A surprising delight at Chorus and Chamber Choir concert By Christa Caggiano Staff
Between a cappella concerts, open mic nights and the one kid from your dorm who can do a less than stellar rendition of “Wonderwall,” Brandeis bombards you with vocal music. The Brandeis University Chorus and Chamber Choir concert showcased trained musicians. They were wellrehearsed, and would definitely be able to do an above average version of “Wonderwall.” The Chamber Choir began the concert. It is composed of alto and soprano voices, giving it a unique vocal quality and an interesting balance, firmly skewed to the treble. Their first song cycle was a selection of Béla Bartók pieces. These were mostly performed a cappella, but in a much more classical style than modern a cappella. These pieces were short, just the right length to keep the audience interested. The chamber choir sung them with good balance, and very in tune. At times, particularly in “Choosing a Girl,” their second song, the words were lost. Overall, I felt this was an insignificant detail, as the pieces seemed more about the auditory experience than the actual words. The next two songs were from the French canon. First was Gabriel Fauré’s “Le Ruisseau.” It is a phenomenally beautiful piece, largely well performed. My biggest complaint was that the choir was a little shrill in their high notes. Tamar Forman-Gejrot ’16, however, was exceptional and balanced out moments of shrillness in the choir with her charismatic solo. Her voice is well suited to French music,
photo from internet source
brandeis chamber choir The chorus impressed the audience last Sunday.
and had a deep sort of resonance, that really hit the back of the hall—quite a feat in Slosberg. The choir equally executed Claude Debussy’s “Salut Printemps.” It was slightly harder to make out the words, but again, despite the fact that a translation was provided, I did not seem to care about the words. By the number of audience members using their translation sheet, I felt that many people shared my sentiment. Perhaps more importantly, the French was pronounced accurately and sounded authentic, a testament to how well trained this choir is. Adina Shapiro ’15 soloed on this song. It is notable how beautifully she hit her high notes; she obviously spent a great deal of time working on this solo and crafting a beautiful shape to her line.
The Chamber Choir ended with Stravinsky’s “Four Russian Peasant Songs.” These sounded medieval, reminiscent of a madrigal, which was interesting given that the concert was billed as “Masterpieces of the 20th Century.” It was harder for the choir to interest me with this cycle, as there was not much room for harmonic or expressive change in the four short songs. Victoria Dieck ’17, who soloed on two of the four songs, brought a very intriguing presence to this set. Her voice would be well suited to pop music and was very different from the style of the cycle. Nevertheless, it made for an interesting thesis and a blending of talents. Their set was performed with remarkable precocity. Following the Chamber Choir was
the University Chorus, a large ensemble. At first, I had remarked on how full Slosberg was, but I only realized that it was because the entire chorus filled the hall. This ensemble was composed of male and female voices, which was a welcome change of pace. It made for an interesting set, Fauré’s celebrated “Requiem.” There was great dynamic range, which is difficult to achieve no matter the instrument. The chorus has a decent tone. I wished that they would have been more resonant, but this was not a major impediment to me enjoying this performance. All three soloists in this ensemble were very talented. Charlie Madison ’15, the soloist on the Offertoire, had a beautiful voice, so I wish the pianist would have been softer in dynamic,
because Madison was slightly obscured. Tabitha Rohrer, who soloed on the “Pie Jesu,” was confident, a trait I think all the performers need in this concert. A confident performer such as Rohrer makes the performance much more enjoyable for the audience. Jason Tang ’14, the last soloist on the Libera me movement, was amazing. He had a great intensity with excellent phrasing and stellar emotional appeal. Overall, I was very impressed with the chorus. I had no idea we had such talented vocalists on this campus, although I should not have been surprised given the incredible range of talents at Brandeis. I highly recommend going to a music department concert or two during your tenure at Brandeis to discover this for yourself.
March 14, 2014
ARTS, ETC. 7
The Brandeis Hoot
‘Top Gear’ provides top tips By Andrew Elmers Editor
With the change of the season, only one thing can be expected: a new series of “Top Gear.” Keeping with British television tradition, “Top Gear” presents new episodes on cars and motoring, usually around six or eight, two times a year. One of the most popular shows in the U.K., “Top Gear” has spawned spin-offs in numerous countries, including the U.S. None of these compare, however, to the quality and camaraderie of “Top Gear” U.K.’s three presenters: Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. Just as with any series of “Top Gear,” this latest one showcased a collection of high jinks and stunts aimed at impressing their primarily-male audience. Typical stuff from what is probably the most crass show on the BBC. I guess it would be expected that a show essentially focused on grease and brake-horsepower would be the least sophisticated, but it is still a completely different style of presenting than any American program targeted at the working class. It could just be their British accents, but the main draw that has kept viewers watching is the amount of fun the presenters genuinely have with each other. The topics, reviews and challenges have gotten a bit stale as most interesting ideas that concern cars have already been covered. This season particularly relied too heavily on testing hot hatchbacks or just reviewing obnoxious vehicles in exotic locales that have no real relevance to a large majority of the viewers. Far too often the presenters were separated
and forced to carry the segment by themselves. With segments covering how a six-wheeled Mercedes-Benz truck stands out among the Ferraris and Maseratis of the United Arab Emirates and a new coach-building company that customizes Alfa Romeos, “Top Gear” can get a bit tired out. Yet this is the calling card of “Top Gear” and why people are so interested; they get a peek at luxurious automobiles they would otherwise not be able to access. The camera work adds the most to the overall presentation, with fantastic pan-outs of cars, action shots and establishing shots. That’s where “Top Gear” transforms itself to more than just a car show. While England is constantly mocked for its dreary weather and increasingly Orwellian policies, the presenters make a strong effort to travel around the continent and around the world, featuring Lake Como in Italy, the Ukraine (before all the protests and Russian invasion occurred) and Afghanistan. The trip through Ukraine that Clarkson, Hammond and May took to prove to their producers that they loved compact cars over the oft-reviewed super cars was the most exhilarating portion of the series. After being forced to listen to self-help tapes during the trek across the fields of Ukraine, the presenters were presented with an interesting challenge. As compact cars are useful for their fuel efficiency, all three of their cars were filled with more than enough petrol to reach the border of Belarus. The problem, however, was that the route they were taking passed through Chernobyl. The presenters had to run out of fuel before they entered the danger zone, lest they wanted to be exposed
photo from internet source
top gear The show is breaking new ground by bringing cameras into the Shan State of Burma.
to the radiation. They found ways to weigh down their vehicles, decrease the aerodynamics and just drive recklessly in order to drain fuel. Then the annual Christmas special, which premiered this past week and finishes this upcoming Sunday night, covers long-distance lorry driving through Burma. Once again pitting the presenters against each other over weeks in a foreign land with trucks that are simply not suitable for the stress of driving over a thousand miles, this is where “Top Gear” shines.
Sure, the show is scripted for most of the jokes and gags throughout the season, but when the presenters are out of their element, pure humanity comes through. Such as the part when Hammond sprained his wrist when the horse he was riding to get more fuel in the next village bucked him off while trying to mount May’s horse— you simply don’t find that in any other program on television. Leaving viewers on a cliffhanger at the end of the first part of the Christmas special that aired over two months
past the holiday, the presenters are preparing to head into the Shan State of Burma. A somewhat autonomous region that has been through civil war and isn’t exactly open to Westerners, “Top Gear” is breaking new ground by bringing cameras into the region. Teasing with a rambunctious party thrown by both sides of the conflict to welcome the Westerners to their homeland, the series finale promises to close on a bang, even though the rest of the series was lackluster, to say the least.
Mieke Bal discusses film on cultural identity By Michelle Kim Editor
This Thursday, Mieke Bal came to Brandeis as part of the Art and Gender: Global Perspectives Lecture Series. A Dutch cultural theorist, video artist and founding director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, Bal came to speak and screen her film “Becoming Vera.” Before Bal began her lecture, titled “Resisting Resistance: Identity Politics Revisited,” she had a very short question and answer panel. When an audience member asked her when she became interested in feminist identity, she answered, “It started when I realized that I was born a feminist. When I was born, my father was glad that he had so many daughters because he thought they would become good homemakers.” A woman in the crowd then raised her hand and asked about Bal’s opinion on female artists. With a disapproving expression she retorted, “I have never used the term ‘female artist.’ No one says ‘male artist.’ I guess I’m an equalist that way.” At this point, I became very excited to hear the remainder of her lecture; she was extremely dynamic when answering questions and interacting with her audience, which consisted of art history students, professors and some old friends. However, I was a tad disappointed when she began her lecture. For the entirety of the lecture, Bal
read off of a printed script and only looked up a few times to briefly make eye contact with those who attended the lecture. I would have preferred that Bal showed her film before lecturing because I felt that her lecture was mainly an analysis of her film. Her film, “Becoming Vera,” follows subject Vera Loumpet-Galitzine, a three-year-old girl who has a Russian mother and Cameroonian father. One of the most noticeable factors that unify this ethnically-diverse family is that they all speak French: Vera’s mother and father were university students in Paris, where they met and eventually got married. The film shows “where [Vera] comes from [and] comes into her own” as she travels to France (her home country), Cameroon and Russia. In Cameroon, she visits Fumban, where she is initiated as nji mongu, the oldest daughter of her father, who is the nji (prince) of the Bamun kingdom. I thought it was a particularly interesting and visually dynamic film, but I was disappointed that, due to the lecture that preceded the showing of the film, I was unable to fully formulate my own ideas and understanding of the film. I was intrigued by Vera’s story because of her status as a “third culture kid.” Growing up with multiple backgrounds creates the need to impress all of them. Vera happily dances and plays during her travels but I thought that she was much more comfortable with her Western (Russian and
French) background than she was with her life in Fumban. I appreciated that the directors of the film opted to not use an authoritative narrative to state everything that was going on. Although this installation of the Global Perspectives Lecture Series was interesting, it could have been even better if Bal had chosen to show “Becoming Vera” before talking about it. I also would have liked to have heard more about feminist input on Vera’s initiation as nji mongu. All in all, “Becoming Vera” is a low-production film, but Vera herself is a highquality subject.
becoming vera Dynamic three-year-old Vera is the main subject of the film.
photo from internet source
The Brandeis Hoot
March 14, 2014
Bob Moody exhibit is a relaxing retreat By Cheshta Singh Special to the Hoot
Some quiet moments of contemplation can be found by observing Professor Bob Moody’s (THA) exhibit called “Work, Now, and Then” in the Dreitzer Gallery at the Spingold Theater. The exhibit featured many different works of Moody’s to ponder and reflect upon. One is sure to find an art piece that sticks out. Moody has widespread scene painting experience. He has done work for theaters, television, opera and colleges across the country. His artwork includes scene paintings, drawings and watercolor from his travels, life drawings and more. All of the pieces are extremely well done and some reflect the beauty of the world. Walking around to look at Moody’s works is soothing, and allows the observer to create their own experience by intertwining their own travel adventures as they observe the art. The mountain landscape painting was fascinating and aesthetically pleasing. It looks very realistic and draws the viewer in almost hypnotically. Take a break from exams and observe Moody’s exhibit. One is sure to leave away feeling more tranquil than when they had entered. moody’s paintings don’t make you moody “Work, Now, and Then” in Dreitzer Gallery
is open until Saturday, March 22.
photo by shanlai shangguan/the hoot
March 14, 2014
ARTS, ETC. 9
The Brandeis Hoot
SEAC APAHM event showcases musical talents
photo by dora chi/the hoot
10 The Brandeis Hoot
‘SpeakOut Brandeis!’ raises awareness, but survivors need more
“To acquire wisdom, one must observe.”
Editors-in-Chief Emily Stott Dana Trismen Andrew Elmers Opinion Editor Dani Chasin Sports Editor Theresa Gaffney Arts, Etc. Editor Mia Edelstein Copy Editor Julie Landy Copy Editor Jesse Zeng Photography Editor Jun Zhao Graphics Editor Katie Chin Online Editor Michelle Kim Deputy Arts Editor Jess Linde Deputy News Editor Emily Belowich Deputy News Editor Nate Rosenbloom Senior Editor
Volume 11 • Issue 8 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma
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March 14, 2014
Tumblr page featuring anonymous confessions about sexual assault, written by Brandeis students, sparked mass discussion this past week. Most of the posts on “SpeakOut! Brandeis” go into extreme depth, depicting the assault and resulting fear and pain. Firstly, we want to commend those speaking out on their courage. Sexual assault is often viewed as a hidden topic, a dirty secret that survivors must bear. Many college students feel stuck in a university setting where wild parties are the norm, where extremely sexual grinding and unwanted touching have become accepted. The students posting on “SpeakOut! Brandeis” are brave, posting warnings to other students and loudly proclaiming the message that this kind of assault is not OK, that no means no. And this is a message that the entire student body needs to hear. Yet there needs to be an awareness that Tumblr is not the best medium to display these atrocities. “SpeakOut! Brandeis” offers a voice to students who feel as though the university does not offer the proper support for their situations, but Tumblr does not provide the support these students seek either. Tum-
blr is a blog creator that allows countless amounts of posts with negative attitudes toward recovery across its servers. Tumblr delegitimizes these confessions, confessions made by Brandeis students that need to be addressed. The admissions posted on the SpeakOut! page are meant to be taken as factual statements, and should be treated as so, but the stigma against Tumblr for the density of these types of pages leaves the confessions simply lost in the noise While Tumblr is an easy vehicle to set up and spread popular thoughts through social media, it eventually reaches a limit of how useful it can be. Efforts need to be made to support the confessors on the page. The Tumblr should offer survivors the resources typically offered to survivors of sexual assault. Brandeis has hired a sexual assault services and prevention specialist who is knowledgeable on helping the survivor both emotionally and psychologically overcome the trauma. She is also not required to report the assault to authorities, and will keep any information strictly confidential. Sheila McMahon, Brandeis’ specialist, should be the first one receiving these messages and not an
insular online community in Tumblr. Brandeis has also made several other steps to combat sexual assault, from the Bystander Intervention Program to the constant availability of the Brandeis police. No amount of visibility from a website can offer enough solace to a sexual assault survivor. Brandeis’ efforts to increase programs against sexual assault have come a long way over the past two years. While “SpeakOut! Brandeis” is a good way to raise awareness, survivors need more than a simple Tumblr blog. Students who may have experienced a sexual assault or have other related concerns can contact: Sheila McMahon firstname.lastname@example.org 781-736-3626 Gosman 55-230 (main floor) Department of Public Safety 781-736-3333 Psychological Counseling Center 781-736-3730 Counseling and Rape Crisis Hotline 781-736-8255
March 14, 2014
The Brandeis Hoot 11
Fencers send three to Nationals By Mia Edelstein Staff
At the NCAA National Championship North East regional qualifiers, three Brandeis fencers did well enough to advance to Nationals later this month. Held at Wellesley College, the Regionals tournament saw fencers from Boston College, Brandeis University, Brown University, City College of New York, Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Hunter College, MIT, NYU, Queens College, Sacred Heart University, St. John’s University, Tufts University, Vassar College, Wellesley College, Yale University and Yeshiva University. Fencers competed individually rather than as squads as they had during most of the previous meets. The tournament was formatted in
elimination pools. A select number of fencers of each weapon advanced to the championships, and on Mar. 2023, the 55 fencers from the Northeast region will compete against the 89 other fencers from the Mid-Atlantic/ South, Midwest and West regions. Saberist Deborah Abiri ’16 was eliminated after finishing 2-2 in the first pool, coming in 36th for the day. Nina Sayles ’17 and Jaclyn Hammond ’17, both rookies, moved on to the second round. Although neither mustered enough wins to advance further in the competition, Sayles went 2-4 in the round and Hammond won one bout, and the two placed 26th and 31st respectively. The men’s saber team brought Adam Mandel ’15, Jess Ochs-Willard ’15 and Ben Loft ’15 to the tournament. Mandel placed fifth, which
qualifies him to go to Ohio State. He earned All-American status last year at the tournament, finishing 12th in the nation. There was a possibility that Ochs-Willard would join him, for Ochs-Willard was being considered for an at-large bid, but ultimately, the committee did not select him. Loft tied for 19th with an NYU fencer. Also representing Brandeis at Nationals will be female foilist Caroline Mattos ’16. She ended with a 15-8 record for the day and placed fourth in her weapon. Mattos, who went to Nationals last year, spoke about her experience at Wellesley: “During the final pool, I was stressed out because I wasn’t doing well and really wanted to qualify [for Nationals]. I realized that I couldn’t keep thinking about qualifying and had to focus on each touch, and it turned out in my favor.”
She is hoping to improve on her ranking of 23rd from her first Nationals competition. Vikki Nunley ’14, Annie Kim ’16 and Emilia Dwyer ’16 were also competitive on their strips, but none will advance. Nunley was 1-5, Kim 4-6, and Dwyer 3-7. All ranked below 35th. The men’s foil team will also be sending one competitor, Noah Berman ’15. In his third time at Regionals, he finished with a 9-14 record that secured his spot as 11th in his weapon. Julian Cardillo ’14 was close to advancing to Nationals again, but he came in 16th because of his 8-4 record. Len Grazian ’17, 8-8, came in two spots behind his senior teammate, and Ethan Levy ’15 tied for 27th with a fencer from Yale. The two women’s epee fencers to join the team at Regionals were Sonya Glickman ’16 and Gwen Mowell ’16. 21st at the end of the day, Glickman held a 7-9 record. Mowell’s first pool record was 2-2, and she tied Yale’s
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Alison Barton for 35th, but only one of the two fencers could advance to the second round. They fenced one bout to break the tie, but Barton won, eliminating Mowell, whose ranking came in at 36th. Coming from behind was epeeist Ari Feingersch ’16, who did very impressively considering his initial seed of 20. At the conclusion of the tournament, he was ranked 13th. Tom Hearne ’16 finished at 30, while teammate Justin Kwon ’15 came in 34th. Ohio State will host the fencers on Mar. 20-23. Schools that are sending fencers to the Championships are Brandeis, Brown, Cleveland State, Columbia, Barnard, Duke, Harvard, MIT, Penn State, Princeton, Sacred Heart, St. John’s, Stanford, Ohio State, Notre Dame, the University of Pennsylvania, NJIT, NYU, the Air Force Academy, Wayne State, UC-San Diego, the University of North Carolina, Yale, Cornell, Northwestern and Temple.
photos courtesy sportspix
Baseball team struggles in UAA tourney By Charlie Romanow Staff
The baseball team travelled to Sanford, Florida, for the University Athletic Championship which takes place from March 9 to March 16. Brandeis began the tournament on the wrong end of a 9-8 score against Case Western Reserve University. The Judges began the game strong with Brian Ing ’14 scoring in the first on a single by Tom McCarthy ’15. The Spartans responded in the bottom of the inning with two runs of their own on four straight hits. Brandeis went on to score at least one run in each of the next six innings, leading 7-2 in the sixth. Runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings were gained through two sacrifice bunts and a sac fly. Case would not add to the scoreboard until the sixth when they scored one run. Down by five, Case rallied in the eighth to come within one. Jordan Dague hit a tworun homer in the frame. The following two batters reached on walks and advanced on a passed ball. They both reached home within the next two at-bats. Brandeis still had the advantage in the top of the ninth when Dan
Gad ’14 reached on a single and was replaced on the bases by Sam Miller ’16. Miller stole second and reached third on a Connor Doyle ’16 single. The two base runners were unable to reach home though, each getting out trying to advance. Still up by one, pitcher Liam Coughlin ’17 got the first batter of the bottom of the ninth to ground out. Kerrigan Cain doubled down the left field line. The potential winning run, Dague, reached on a walk. Both runners advanced on a groundout to put the win within one out. William Meador doubled to left field to bring home both runners and win the game. Despite the loss, Brandeis had some good individual performances on offense. Ing was 3-3 with three runs, a double, RBI and two walks. Greg Heineman ’16, McCarthy and Max Hart ’16 each managed two hits. Hart had a double and a steal. Leadoff hitter Liam O’Connor ’16 had two RBI’s and a steal. Kyle Brenner ’15 started on the mound and allowed six earned runs on 14 hits in seven and two thirds innings through 111 pitches. He struck out and walked three batters. Coughlin was placed with the loss in his one inning on the mound.
Case’s Noah Sherman was 4-5 with two RBI’s. Cain was 3-4 with three runs. Andrew Gronski, Andrew Frey and Dague each had two hits. Dague scored twice. Meador led the game with three RBI’s. The Spartans had five pitchers take the mound, none throwing for more than three innings or 45 pitches. Andrew Rossman and Ray Kelly did not allow an earned run in the final three and one third innings. Kelly received his second win of the season, allowing one hit and striking out one in the final inning. The Spartans are currently 10-1. The Judges lost the following day 8-3 to Washington University in St. Louis. The team redeemed themselves on Tuesday, defeating the University of Rochester 3-2. They began the game bringing in two runs. Ing started the offense with a double to center. Heineman reached on a walk, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. McCarthy grounded out to score Ing and Kyle Brenner doubled to center field to score Heineman from third. The Yellow Jackets scored a run of their own in the frame as leadoff hitter Ethan Sander walked, stole second, advanced to third on an out and
scored on a single by Nate Schultz. Rochester tied the game in the third after Schultz doubled to left field to bring home a runner. Rochester would have the bases loaded with one out, but Colin Markel ’14 was able to strike out the final two batters swinging to get out of the jam. The Judges had a weak spell between the second and sixth innings, with no runners reaching third. They mounted their final push in the seventh as O’Connor singled to center, Ing singled to right and each advanced to second and third respectively. Heineman followed this by getting out at first, but drove in O’Connor. The remainder of the game was fairly quiet, as Brandeis walked away on top. Ing led the offense going 3-5 with a double and a run. Markel pitched a stellar 108 pitch complete game, allowing two runs on nine hits while striking out and walking two. This was his first start on the mound since Feb. 23 of last year and first win of the season. Yellow Jacket Lance Hamilton went 3-4 and Schultz was 4-5 with two RBI’s. David Strandberg pitched 5 2/3 allowing four hits, two runs and four walks. Andrew Crean got the loss, finishing the game allowing one
run and four hits over 3 1/3. The Yellow Jackets stand at 0-5. Brandeis lost the following day to then 24th-ranked Case 16-6 in eight innings. They followed this game up with back-to-back games, first a 5-3 win against Wash. U and then a 10-6 loss to Emory University. The teams win over the Bears featured a 4-4 performance by McCarthy and a win by Bring Ing, allowing three runs in eight innings. Through the first dozen games, Ing leads the offense with a .439 batting average, .610 slugging percentage, .477 on-base percentage, nine runs and five doubles. McCarthy and Doyle are also taking charge on offense, each hitting over .350. Ing and Brenner have had stellar seasons on the mound with 1.93 and 3.78 earned run averages respectively. The team is 6-6 overall after Thursday’s games and 2-4 in the conference. They conclude the UAA Tournament this weekend against Rochester and Emory and will return home next week with games against Bridgewater State University, Wentworth Institute of Technology and Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
12 The Brandeis Hoot
March 14, 2014
Professors should focus more on teaching than technology By Andrew Elmers Editor
I tend to grow frustrated whenever a class starts after the scheduled time. If I put in the effort to wake up and get myself to the classroom prepared and ready to go by a certain time each day the class meets, then I expect the professor to have the same diligence. Regardless of whether it’s a morning or afternoon class, the professor, who is paid to be there, should hold him- or herself to the same standards to which students are held— arrive to class on time and ready to go. Yet it is not a factor of the professor’s time management that causes these delays most of the time. Instead, my professors are typically preparing their lecture or discussion by the time I arrive to class. This is where the problems occur, that look of confusion trying to turn on the projector, find their PowerPoint presentation or simply connect to the Internet through the computer provided in the room. They have these lofty ideas of utilizing technology to aid the class, yet it almost always crashes in a blaze of glory, or at least delays the start of class by a few minutes, completely agitating students like myself. The most ardent offender to the sanctity of the schedule is Learning Catalytics software, where the pro-
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fessor posts a question online to be answered by students at the start of class on their phones, laptops or tablets. What is meant to take two minutes to keep the students honest about completing the readings for each class winds up lingering 10 minutes into class, with problems of students unable to sign in or not being able to see the question causing this delay. It adds nothing to the subject matter and forces the professor to rush
through the lecture. Of course Learning Catalytics is not the only plague on our education, nor is there a better way to make sure a lecture of over 100 students read the selections from the text. More concerns arise from just trying to integrate outside sources into the classroom. One professor wanted to show a YouTube clip of a lecture a colleague gave during class. After taking some time to get the sound to work from
the multimedia device, the lecturer in the video had problems proceeding through the slides on his PowerPoint presentation. This issue is not exclusive to Brandeis. It is extremely ironic that these professors with multiple degrees and years of honing their craft are afflicted by such trivial things to students, yet they still attempt these forays into the digital sphere. The university supplies each classroom with projectors,
screens and multimedia devices that are supposed to make it easier for the professor to utilize all these tools. It is nice to see professors using what is provided to try to make the class more interesting and go more indepth. Someone has to use the technology, or else students’ tuition would just go to waste, but it would be nice if it could be used correctly. See TECHNOLOGY, page 15
Does Brandeis really want name on all club swag?
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By Josh Kelly Staff
It would be fascinating to observe the change in individuals’ wardrobe between the beginning of the first year at Brandeis and the end of that person’s senior year. Yes, they likely will have cast aside the American Eagle t-shirts in exchange for H&M button-downs in an attempt to stop sending the message “Go to the middle school dance with me,” and start sending the message “Hire me please, employers!” Perhaps they will have decided that some dresses in their closets are just a bit too cutesy for someone their age. However, one of the more noticeable changes will have undoubtedly been the massive col-
lection of Brandeis paraphernalia, or “swag.” While at Brandeis, a student will be overwhelmed with water bottles, T-shirts, sweatshirts and Frisbees adorned with the logos of their various clubs and organizations. Largely, the production and distribution of all of this swag is left up to the clubs themselves. However, a recent move by Brandeis will require that all of these items have the name “Brandeis” on them. While this clearly has some good intentions behind it, it will invariably intrude into the way clubs define and market themselves. The administration has taken this measure as an effort to expand the Brandeis brand. Who can blame them? Of the major colleges in the Boston area, Brandeis is one of the least well-known. If one takes a stroll
through Prudential in Boston they will find kiosks selling not only Tshirts and sweatshirts from Harvard and Boston University, but also colleges well outside the city limits, like Boston College and Tufts. People do not generally think of Brandeis when they think of Boston—which is odd considering that Brandeis is one of the best universities in the Boston area. Through requiring clubs to carry the name of the university, hopefully more repute can be gained for Brandeis. Brandeis students would act as advertisements for the university, both on campus for any tour groups walking by and in Boston and around the country. Not only would the very expression of the word “Brandeis” act as an advertisement, but the coupling
of “Brandeis” with whatever the club or organization does would be good for the university’s image. Students are engaged in a lot of great activities, from theatrical productions to athletics to political activism. When a passerby would see the words “Brandeis Democrats” on a T-shirt they would think not just about Brandeis, but also about how Brandeis students are a politically active bunch. While these are great potential positive impacts, it is clear that there could be some drawbacks. Inherently, through tying themselves to the clubs and organizations through such a measure, Brandeis will be adopting the image of those groups. The university will be taking on both the “good” and, what in their eyes may be, “bad.” For example, there could be
groups with controversial viewpoints that the university would in essence be adopting. There could also be language deemed inappropriate by the university that they would be adopting. This could lead to problems for both the university and the students involved in the various clubs and organizations. If the university feels that a message of a campus group’s T-shirt is inappropriate for whatever reason then their image—as they see it— could be damaged. However, I could easily see a scenario whereby the university would decide to request that the group change the content of the T-shirt to get more in line with university values. This would be an intrusion into the messaging and marketing of individual groups on campus, which would be bad for the students involved. One could say that this would be fine, given that the university funds these campus groups and should be able to have some oversight. I would agree that if the university pays for the swag then they should be able to have some say in the content displayed on the swag. However, this—at least in my personal experience—is not the way it works. As part of theatrical productions, the debate team and The Hoot over the course of my time at Brandeis, I have gotten a lot of tshirts and sweatshirts, many of which cost money. It has simply become a custom for me to rush to the ATM as soon as the sweatshirts arrive so that I can get one as soon as possible. I am sure that many other groups that create swag for the purpose of advertising operate in a similar pay-per-item fashion. Therefore, I say to university officials that it is fine if you want to be involved in the way club T-shirts and sweatshirts are produced on campus, but please kindly send me a check for my Hairspray sweatshirt.
March 14, 2014
The Brandeis Hoot
Why particle physics is less important than Putin By Christa Caggiano Staff
Under the fluorescent lights of the library, drowning in a sea of vector notation, it is easy to forget that there is a real world out there. It seems as nothing else could matter but solving the problem correctly. Forgetting about the world in a brief math-induced haze, however, is vastly differ-
ent from not caring about life outside science. Nevertheless, I have had several conversations this past week with fellow science majors about how they do not think it is important to know about life outside the lab. This is my humble plea as to why this should change. Firstly, I concede it is incredibly difficult to stay informed about current events. The majority of Brandeis
students do not subscribe to a regular print newspaper, nor would I expect anyone to have the time to read an entire copy of The Wall Street Journal. Additionally, I do not think it is wrong to assume that most Brandeis students do not watch the news regularly. My dad once asked me what channel the local Waltham news was, and I actually laughed aloud, startled by how ridiculous this otherwise in-
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nocuous question seemed. Despite the inaccessibility of traditional news sources, no one on this campus has an excuse to not read the news. We are all part of Generation Y. All of us have access to the Internet. As a science major myself, I can attest to the sheer amount of time I spend on the Internet. A tab of physics problems slowly evolves into ten tabs ranging from a Buzzfeed quiz I will take no matter how dumb it is, to serious comparison shopping of ironic cat sweaters. I think it would be reasonable to suggest that in between massive procrastination, we should all open a tab of a news source of choice. It will take five minutes to skim the headlines, read a story or two, and to be marginally more aware than we were before. I am also not opposed to the gathering of news via social media. This is a surprisingly radical stance, but Twitter is a great platform for news. It allows you to follow journalists, major news organizations, opinion writers, and your intense Libertarian friend from high school. The wide range of sources and the instantaneous nature of these sources is where modern news lives. More than just having the ability to be informed, however, I believe that scientists should want to be informed. Science is irrevocably tied to the course of the world. Pragmatically, scientists should care because their scientific fates are governed by
federal and university grants. A topical example is Putin and Ukraine. The destiny of Ukraine is entangled in the greater destiny of the European Union. It is a fragile system, where minor political changes can bring major international upheavals. If something goes awry as Putin involves himself in Ukrainian affairs, the entire European political system could be thrown off track. This political system inevitably includes the economy. As the world economy ebbs and flows, so does science funding. In times of recession, it is the unfortunate truth that the American government will care less about funding particle physics than they will care about the national reserves. In times of war, defense funding skyrockets, and science funding is syphoned into missiles and bombs. Even more than simply being practical, don’t we all have a duty to care for each other? I am sure you have heard the saying that ignorance is bliss. I am much more likely, however, to side with the banner that FMLA displays in the SCC, which declares ignorance is privilege. We are all extraordinarily lucky to attend Brandeis, to be able to have dreams of finishing our Ph.D. in biochemistry or going to medical school. Globally, civil war, gang violence, or genocide disrupts dreams of people not as lucky as we are. Basking in our privileged safety is ungrateful. See SCIENCE, page 14
Will new meal plans meet students’ needs? By Joe Lanoie Staff
As the university plunged into midterms and the annual housing crisis, a lone email was sent to the entire student body. This email from Dining Services subtly delineated future meal plans and dining changes for the next school year. In a manner reminiscent of a “30 Rock” scene with Steve Buscemi approaching high school students, the email tried to “get down” to our level, and assure the community there remains nothing to question in dining. The email claimed accessibility to and understanding of the current student body. Dining services presented solutions to problems, claiming that they “did [their] best to match up the new plans to your dining habits and requests.” Yet a second look makes one see questions that remain unanswered, problems still unsolved and arising concerns. The new meal plans resolve some dining concerns, but raise new ones that cannot be rectified. The changes gave hope to some dining issues on campus, but that hope has since receded. Many students, including myself, have lamented over dining for years. It seemed that Aramark did not care or listen, and then Sodexo came in, posed as a knight in shining armor to defend college students from dining injustices. Sodexo began with poor results, but has since improved. They have listened, but still fall short. Philly cheesesteaks, which Sodexo claims to serve once a week, are absent from Upper Usdan. The stir-fry and pasta stations in Upper Usdan have perpetually long lines. The pizza and calzones in Upper Usdan are bland and burnt. Neither Starbucks nor Dunkin’ Donuts can make correct coffee drinks. To their credit, Sodexo has listened
to student demands often. This past week, Sodexo personally responded to a demand I made, yet refused to answer other questions I asked. Sodexo now proposes to significantly revolutionize the meal plans on campus, but looking more closely reveals problems in the new system. These proposed changes do not mention resolution of the problems of guest meals, weekend hours or vacation hours. When Sodexo mentioned a whole new plan for next year, they failed to highlight resolving problems in this new plan. Guest meals, for example, have new limitations. “During the first two weeks of the semester, one can choose to donate your guest meals to “Brandeis Be Our Guest,” who will in turn, use them to provide food for the guests of the Waltham Community Day Center.” Sounds like a great opportunity for “social justice”, right? Look again. “During the first two weeks.” Who budgets their 5 guest meals in the first 2 weeks of a semester? My visiting guests don’t tell me in the first two weeks of the semester when they are coming. A more appropriate choice would be to donate them during finals. Yet that would go against Sodexo’s funding model, since they would lose income, as unused “Guest Meals expire at the end of each semester.” That’s profit for them and wasted money for students. Weekend and vacation hours, as shown during this past February break, need drastic improvement. Only one place on campus takes meals after 8 p.m. on Saturday nights, and by then, most meal-eligible food items have been sold. During February break, Einstein’s hours were cut and Sherman had an oh-so-healthy fried dough and French fry night. There are also plans to make meal plans mandatory for all residents in a few years.
The meal plan changes raise new questions to old problems, such as price, the use of arbitrary numbers, lack of student input and meal equivalences. One aspect not delineated in the email was price. We don’t know how much these plans will cost, and we will have to choose them in less than a week. These plans cost thousands of dollars, and we have to choose blindfolded. Secondly, the numbers are arbitrary. Sodexo gave no logical reasons for offering 17, 12 or 8 meals a week nor why the Flex Points numbers are what they are. This leads into the next problem: lack of student input. Sodexo claimed “We’ve looked at what you’ve asked
for, where you eat, and when.” I only saw one survey completed, and that led to the demise of Quizno’s. The Dining Committee has made a lot of decisions transparent, but still is not fully communicative. Why were we not alerted about possible options? Finally, the meal equivalencies become even more of a nuisance under the new program. They will only be at the Hoot Market and instead of dollar amounts, “The current meal equivalency will change to a Take 3 option.” They step forward in expanding options, but yet this new system at the Hoot Market “will not be available to students who choose the Unlimited Plan.” Why not?
The Sodexo meal plans sounds promising but mean nothing if reforms are not implemented. I recommend including a meal plan for those off campus that’s affordable, more national chains and better transparency. We will eventually be forced to participate in this program, whether we like it or not, and will be charged even if we do not live on campus. This is pure extortion. I work for Sodexo, and I know they can be a pretty good employer. But they need to do one thing: realize whom they serve. They serve Brandeis, and we pay for Brandeis, so by extension they serve us. We should have a say in changing the status quo for the better.
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The Brandeis Hoot
March 14, 2014
Life contains more than covalent bonds That is exhausting. Just pick one or two issues to know and care about to With great power comes great re- start truly meaningful change. sponsibility. I am not entreating you I have heard several reactions to this to know or care about everything. from fellow scientists. The first is, of SCIENCE, from page 13
course, that their research will help better the lives of all those around them. In all brutal honesty, this is probably an unrealistic claim. There is a very likely chance that your research
may be wholly irrelevant to the greater human experience on earth. Algebraic topology is nifty and a worthwhile academic pursuit, but it is not going to end a dictatorship. I fully recognize
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your right to pursue your own happiness and to study something that you enjoy, but do not inflate your research to grandiose levels. This leads me to the second typical comment from my science major friends when I bring up the subject: that we should all strive for happiness, and that if current events do not make us happy, why bother with them? To this, I have two responses. Firstly, that is a horribly insensitive thing to say. Why are you so important that we should value your happiness over that of a child in Syria? Secondly, I think that this is an illogical statement. Caring about the world is the beginning of doing something to better the world. If every other human being in the world were a degree happier, your life would be better. There would be less crime, fewer crotchety professors and no more sadistically ridiculous problem sets. I cannot think of anything that would make a science major happier. So, fellow science majors, pull your heads out of your biology textbooks every once in a while. Look at the sky, breathe in the unpolluted air, and appreciate how truly beautiful the world is. And then, after you fully appreciate the world, do something to keep it beautiful. It is your responsibility and your vocation as scientists, and I expect as Brandeis students, that you will do nothing less than to rise to the occasion.
Nature: finding a retreat on campus By Monique J. Menezes Special to the Hoot
The morning after daylight savings began, like many students, I struggled to get up. After losing an hour of sleep, the sun seemed especially bright at 9 a.m. … excuse me, now, 10 a.m. On a walk up the hill from Massell Quad toward the library, I looked up and suddenly saw a deer prancing around on Chapels Field. I was not the only one surprised first thing in the morning. I heard the voice of a Brandeisian behind me gasp. Seeing a doe was not on the list of things I expected to see this past weekend. Nevertheless, seeing wildlife is nothing new. Turkeys and rabbits, among other creatures, wander around campus all year round. Just this week I’ve seen three first-years pause to take a picture of a heron gliding over Massell pond and another student stop on her walk to class to capture the image of a group of geese. Brandeis may be in Waltham and only a shuttle ride away from the big city of Boston, but the Brandeis bubble allows its students to be a little closer to nature in more than one way. Take areas such as Chapels Field and the Great Lawn for example. Great wide spaces of grass where events such as Spring Fest and convocation take place. We get to enjoy some fresh air and such events simultaneously. I know that may seem difficult to picture now with all the snow, but even in the cold of winter, many a snowball fight have brought people outside on such spaces. The campus offers more than a place to play outside. Students have gotten a little closer to the outdoor aspects of our campus. Carrie Chung ’17, shared her experience in a class called Fundamentals of Environmental Challenges taught by Daniel Perlman (BIO). She raved about one particular assignment that spanned across her fall semester, “The Place in the Woods” assignment. She was instructed, along with her classmates,
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to find one place on campus to just go visit weekly or biweekly and document. Carrie and other students each found an individual spot, where they recorded observations about the temperature, the trees around them, the leaves, the changes in the dirt and anything else they saw around them. These students took the time to watch the trees change last semester, from late summer to early winter, learning about them as they did so. Classes such as this and Eric Olson’s (HS) Field Biology encourage students to take their learning experiences outside the walls of a classroom. You do not have to take an environmental class to appreciate the nature on campus, though. Some of the trees
on campus are actually labeled, allowing everyone the opportunity to learn more about the environment around them. Some students get involved in clubs such as Students for Environmental Action, taking an interest in the environment and the natural world around them. Yet clubs are just one of the many ways to participate or even think more about the environment and nature. Brandeis’ campus does a good job providing space for us to enjoy the outdoors in an educational and recreational manner, but this is Brandeis. By that, I mean, Brandeis’ inhabitants do not tend to just enjoy things, we make conscious efforts to improve the things around us. In the area of
our environment, Brandeis has ecoreps, not the most common occurrence in colleges. These students hold positions to facilitate eco-friendly habits and environmental awareness. My eco-rep taught me that Brandeis is involved in composting. All that food you throw away at Sherman does not simply end up in a landfill. She also pointed out the daily reminders posted all over campus, like the stickers on light switches telling students to turn off the lights when leaving a room. Nowadays, we live in a fast-paced world where people get sucked into Netflix, Tumblr and Facebook. As students of Brandeis, we live in the city of Waltham, a suburban outskirt
of the big city of Boston, a center of a fast-paced lifestyle. Nonetheless, we do not lose touch with the natural world around us. Our campus, from the ponds to the trees to the open spaces, we are enabled to appreciate the classroom of the outside world. More importantly, we as inhabitants of the nature-integrated campus are conscious of our environment. We students do not lose touch with the world as a whole just because we live in the bubble of a campus. The weather is beginning to break. So whether you just want to get some sun on your face or take an active interest in the natural world that surrounds use, Brandeis is a place where that is more than possible.
March 14, 2014
The Brandeis Hoot
Can professors teach and not fumble with computers? TECHNOLOGY, from page 12
Yet these professors were not hired because of their computer literacy. They are some of the best minds in their fields and should be more focused on the actual subject matter of the course than trying to incorporate digital media into every aspect. I don’t know if the faculty attempt this because they actually believe it will add to their presentation or if they assume the modern student requires some sense of technology in their instruction to stay engaged. If it is the former, the professors need to realize that it isn’t helping and only hinders the class; if it is the latter, then they are grossly misinterpreting the current generation. Perhaps I’m not speaking for everyone in saying this, but the reason that I’m enrolled in this school is primarily due to the quality of the faculty. Just as with any musical act or stage performance, spectators will flock to wherever they can hear groundbreaking and vital information. Students here at Brandeis are quite fascinated by what it is their professors are teaching, which is why we are so involved with the class and going beyond the requirements to get a better under-
standing. We are not a group of rambunctious second graders that needs to be over-stimulated in order to be reached; we will be attentive in our studies regardless of the means used to present it. This sort of discord leads some to think that the veteran professors here at Brandeis are no longer able to teach. Certainly some of the older faculty have not been able to adapt to the present day and age of teaching, but the same problems occur to those professors who have recently finished their dissertations and just beginning their academic careers. And of course there are more factors at play in this argument than that some professors are unable to teach, but the problems most accustomed to students are the ones that take place in the classroom. What the professors need to understand is that there does not need to be such an eagerness to completely overhaul the educational process. I despised the requirements in high school that forced students to complete arduous online projects that rarely offered any substantial knowledge to the pupil. I understand that the sort of technology utilized in our courses is not as obnoxious as Prezi or Glogster, but the faculty here were not
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hired based on their overall computer literacy. Otherwise we would have classes all taught by bachelors who still live in their parents’ basement. The professors are here to teach, and they are among the most prolific at that in their fields as it is. They do not need to be supplemented by YouTube
or music. If the faculty here at Brandeis could keep focused on the subject matter and spend more time lecturing than trying to figure out how to get their PowerPoint up to full-screen, it would benefit both the students and the professors. The students would
get more out of the lecture, and the faculty would be more comfortable teaching material they know by heart instead of trying to get the projector to work. We are enlightened by some of the best professors in the country; let’s not deride them over insignificant technology.
UWS: a gateway toward poor writing habits
photo from internet source
By Shayna Korol Staff
I took two years of AP English in high school. At another college, I might have been able to test out of a course on the fundamentals of writing. That wasn’t the case at Brandeis. Here we have the hallowed University Writing Seminar (UWS), required of all undergraduates, a crash course in composition taught by graduate students or Ph.D. candidates. “The purpose of UWS is to teach you how to write,” said someone somewhere along the line, and that’s frightening. College students should know how to write. We all had to do it in the process of applying, but I understand that it’s designed to teach us to write in an academic, university setting, and that’s all well and good. The program is supposed to bring us up to speed on what professors expect. So why not have it be taught by actual professors? In terms of logistics, I can recognize that the way it currently is makes sense. It costs the school less money and time and effort to assign people who are working on completing their own educations the responsibility of teaching undergraduate students to coherently ex-
press their ideas on paper. Ultimately, however, it shortchanges all involved. Students don’t benefit from taking the class as much as they would if it were taught by a professor, and graduate students and doctoral candidates would be better off assisting rather than directing such a course. How to deliver work that meets a minimum academic standard, more or less the point of UWS, was in fact something I learned to do in my other subjects that were not writing intensive. Despite my complaints, or perhaps because I learned to work around them, I did reasonably well. Most of the feedback I received from my instructor was to simplify, to pare down and mince my words so that they could be swallowed whole. Point of pride, perhaps, but I felt like doing so was dumbing down my ideas, an insult to my reader’s intelligence. I came to the table assuming my audience knew something about the subject, and I very much did not want to walk them through it by handholding. Academic writing can often stand to be clearer, but layman’s terms aren’t always ideal for delving into a subject. The feedback my peers gave me was always noncommittal, and the emphasis on peer review detracted
from the point of the course, learning how to write for professors in an academic setting. “This is good!” did not constructive criticism make, and the same went for “Don’t like this.” What
my classmates suggested was often in direct contrast to what my instructor wanted, and time spent on peer reviews could have been time better spent elsewhere. I was often late to the class because I was frantically trying to write draft 1.3 or finish the second paper’s postwriting outline. The emphasis on steps was designed to work against students’ tendency to procrastinate, but it is not true to my own and many other people’s writing process. It’s difficult for me to get started, but once I catch wind it’s more or less smooth sailing. I’m not alone in being a spontaneous writer who edits after the foundation has been laid, rather than building from the ground up. Outlining a paper can be helpful; it should not be mandatory. I did it for this class, but I’m unlikely to do it again in my academic career. The student samples from previous years collected in the “Write Now!” book first-years were required to buy didn’t strike me as being uniformly well-written. It can’t be accounted for entirely, but the quality of writing wasn’t the only factor in the grade. The instructors, understandably, have
their biases, so we learn to write for them. “This isn’t high school,” I told myself so often that the thought started to make me cringe. Still, UWS wasn’t my only class, and I couldn’t devote nearly enough time and energy to my work in it as I would have liked. Because it was on top of everything else, UWS tore the rug out from underneath me. But just because I am done with UWS doesn’t mean that it won’t remain as the status quo—why would it? For the sake of students and faculty, however, a change in the structure of the program would be for the better. The different subjects offered for UWS provided options at first glance, but it all boiled down to a class that failed to prepare students to write for professors at a university level. The time and energy I devoted to my work for UWS could have gone toward a class that contributed to my major requirement or was simply something I took to broaden my horizons. Instead, I jumped through the hoops expected of me but learned little about the obstacle course.
photo from internet source
March 14, 2014
The Brandeis Hoot 11
Brandeis Catholic and Jewish students take on Rome By Dora Chi
Special to the Hoot
On a Wednesday morning from a stage at the Vatican came an announcement welcoming a group of Brandeisians, prompting a frenzy of cheering and waving of blue and white scarves. Pope Francis held a service and delivered a sermon in Italian, after which he whizzed through the crowd in his white popemobile, blessing babies, religious articles and the ill. That’s when Elena Insley ’15 and Alex Thomson ’15 looked up, smiled, and snapped a “selfie” with the Pope. This past February vacation marked the seventh annual church trip to Italy, during which 18 students—17 Catholic, 1 Jewish—flew to Rome to see the new Pope and explore Catholicism at the heart of its establishment. “I call it Birthright Catholic,” said Father Walter Cuenin, who has served as Catholic Chaplain at Brandeis for eight years and is behind the organizing and fundraising for the trip. Cuenin himself studied in Rome for eight years before being ordained in the Basilica. He said the students were chosen on the basis of their involvement and interest. Two weeks before Ash Wednesday, a Christian holiday commemorating the first day of Lent, Father Cuenin and the students stood among an international audience in St. Peter’s
Square, awaiting Pope Francis’ appearance. Father Cuenin said that the new Pope, who replaced Pope Benedict XVI after he surprised the public by announcing his retirement in 2013, has generated a newfound enthusiasm for the church. In a Feb. 23 interview with The Boston Globe, Father Cuenin, who has “adopted an accepting approach to divorced Catholics and gays,” expressed his awe over Pope Francis’ ability to electrify the church over his mantra of acceptance. “Who am I to judge?” the Pope famously asked in response to a question regarding gays. Pope Francis “is challenging the church to care for the weak and meek of the world,” he said. While seeing the new Pope was a highlight, Insley also emphasized that the trip was a rare opportunity for the Catholic student body to celebrate their faith with a larger community. While a Pew Forum on Religion survey from 2007 reports Catholics represent 23.9 percent and Jews represent 1.7 percent of the U.S. population, the Catholic presence is small in comparison to the Brandeis campus. Thomson added that religion can be a sensitive subject on a campus that has a majority of Jewish students. “I think that the topic of religion at Brandeis, for those who aren’t Jewish, can be alienating because of the large emphasis on Jewish tradition and culture. I think it’s important for mem-
bers of the non-Jewish faith, such as myself, to learn about the many other faiths represented on campus, as they have a lot of good to teach us,” Thomson wrote in an email to The Hoot. Father Cuenin believes in fostering this interfaith understanding. In 2012, he invited former Student Union President Herbie Rosen ’12, and this year, he approached Thomson about attending the trip to Rome; both are Jewish. While on the trip, Father Cuenin incorporated Jewish teachings into masses. In addition to being part of the papal audience, they had mass in the crypts below St. Peter’s Square— where Thomson served as altar boy— and climbed to the top of the Vatican and saw panoramic views of Roman architecture. They trekked north of Rome to Assisi, the land of peace and home of St. Francis, and found themselves enveloped in forests of olive trees. They found common ground through celebrating their faith’s history, reciting the same prayers and singing the same songs as worshippers from various parts of the world. “To be able to do that with others from around the world is really cool. It’s like finding a home in a bigger world,” said Insley, recalling how they encountered another visiting group reciting Hallelujahs and chimed in despite the difference in language.
They stepped through the rocky ruins of the Coliseum and the Sistine Chapel. For a day, they had the option of traveling to either Florence or Pompeii, where Mt. Vesuvius’ eruption left a grotesque, perfectly mummified collection of corpses and dusty artifacts. For Thomson, they made a stop at a synagogue in Rome and later explored ghettos from the Middle Ages. It was as if they had stepped into an art history textbook. When asked what challenges he faced on the
trip, Thomson quipped, “Whether to eat more caramel gelato or tiramisu for dessert.” At the end of the trip, Father Cuenin presented souvenirs—wooden crosses for the Catholic students, a miniature ceramic owl for Thomson—all blessed by the Pope. “My favorite part is seeing students come together,” said Father Cuenin. “It was a time of bonding and friendship, and it strengthens the community.”
photos courtesy elena insley and elizabeth allen
The Brandeis Hoot March 14, 2014