The Brandeis Hoot, March 11, 2022

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Volume 20 Issue 5

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”

Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.

March 11, 2022

Intercultural Center celebrates 30th anniversary By Victoria Morongiello editor

The Intercultural Center (ICC) — a resource on campus dedicated to providing a safe, respectful place for students to learn and become aware of the many cultures on campus— celebrated its 30th anniversary on March 4. “The ICC represents community, culture, and connection. When the founders came together to advocate

for the ICC, they did so with the hope that racially minoritized students, faculty and staff, would have a space on campus that truly acknowledged, affirmed and celebrated their marginalized identities. In this respect, the ICC represents a deeper sense of belonging and affirmation for Black, Indigenous, Latinx and Asian students,” wrote the current director of See ICC, page 3


Gina McCarthy speaks on the future of climate change By Anya Lance-Chacko editor

The university hosted an event featuring White House National Climate Advisor, Gina McCarthy,in a webinar moderated by Journalism Program Director, Neil Swidey (JOUR). McCarthy currently serves under the Biden administration as the nation’s Climate Advisor. Prior to working under the Biden administration, McCar-

thy served as the 13th Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under former President Barack Obama. McCarthy has been cited by the New York Times as being, “The most powerful climate change official in the country.” With all her time in public service, McCarthy is well versed in navigating conversations that lead to productive solutions when advocating for common-sense climate change mitigation strategies, she explained

during the webinar. McCarthy spoke to the idea of connecting one on one with individuals and finding common ground to work towards effective solutions. McCarthy described how personalizing conversations and making them more achievable is far more effective than using fear to motivate you, “... fear as an instrument to engage [is] the worst thing I think you can do…it’s either you…put your head in the sand….Or to deny something or run away from or you ignore it.”

McCarthy used the metaphor of running a marathon, and how everyone deserves to celebrate the smaller achievements like making it up heartbreak hill, she explained in the analogy. “ I deserve to…actually get all excited about that, and pat myself on the back. Even if I’m not over the finish line yet,” said McCarthy. McCarthy also explained the importance of not only recognizing every achievement but also the importance of bringing people together. “Celebrate every

damn step, and bring as many people onto that step as you can, then they’ll wonder what comes next,” McCarthy told students. Although often considered a partisan issue, McCarthy explained how that is not the case, and also how she’s helped people to come to this realization. Citing the fact that ultimately this is a people problem: the planet will be ok, we just may not be. She went on to explain how, “you need to figure See CLIMATE, page 2

Russian Department hosts Unity Week Against War ByVictoria Morrongiello editor


Inside This Issue:

tennis wins

News: Univ. ranked in Women’s Power Gap Survey Page 2 Ops: Treating artists with respect at concerts Page 11 Men’s and Women’s tennis wins games in their season. Features: Learn more about Mountain Club Page 9 Sports: Baseball starts season Page 5 SPORTS: PAGE 6 Editorial: We are The Brandeis Hoot Page 8

The Russian Studies Department in collaboration with the Russian club co-sponsored events for the Unity Week Against the War week, according to the Russian Department’s events page. Multiple events were held throughout the week of March 8 through to the 12. The Unity Week Against the War in Ukraine is meant to bring attention to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and provide community members with the opportunity, “to show their support and learn more about the situation in Ukraine,” according to a post on the university’s Instagram page. “The faculty of the Brandeis Russian Studies program condemns Russia’s military assault on Ukraine and President Putin’s use of historical distortions and cyn-

The Not so Marvelous Mrs Maisal

Yikes... that’s what we’ve gotta say ARTS: PAGE 14

ical lies to justify Russia’s attack on Ukrainian sovereignty,” reads the department’s page, “We stand with all the people of Ukraine and Russia who oppose this war. Our hearts are with our students, alums and colleagues, many of whom have family and friends in the region” The first event held on March 8, was a fundraiser to support Ukrainian refugees. Community members could buy a sunflower hairpin from the Shapiro Campus Center (SCC) atrium. All of the proceeds raised from the sale would be going towards a fund for Ukrainian refugees, according to the event page. Another event was held on March 8 to teach community members the Russian alphabet in order to make anti-war signs. The goal of the event is to teach those who are not familiar See UKRAINE, page 2


2 The Brandeis Hoot

March 11, 2022

Brandeis marked as a “Leader” among elite universities in regard to gender power equality By Mia Plante editor

The university was ranked as a “leader” among elite universities in “The Women’s Power Gap at Elite Universities: Scaling the Ivory Tower” report released in January 2022. The university was ranked fifth on the index placement for its progressive policies in regards to gender power equality on campus, according to the report. The study focused on 130 “R1” classified universities researched previously to identify those who are leaders in gender equality within higher education and those who lag behind, according to the initiative’s website. Publishing such a report in which universities are ranked against one another was done in hopes of “driving faster change” in regard to closing the gender power gap the website reads. Brandeis University was ranked fifth in gender

equality within university leadership, as seen in BrandeisNow. According to the study, women have outnumbered men on college campuses for decades. Women have earned the majority of bachelor’s degrees for the past 40 years, the majority of master’s degrees for the past 35 years and the majority of doctoral degrees for the past 15 years, notes the report. Out of the 130 “R1” universities examined in the study, 55 percent of PhD earners are women while only 22 percent of university presidents are women. Out of this 22 percent of presidents, only five percent are women of color, despite the fact that women of color are the “fastest-growing segment of the college population in the United States,” according to the report. Since 2020, the number of Black male university presidents have doubled, but the number of Black woman presidents have not seen

such increases, the study notes. The study states that men make up 61 percent of academic deans, 62 percent of provosts, 78 percent of presidents and 90 percent of system presidents in academia. Through these numbers, gender disparities within the larger system of “R1” universities are apparent, according to the report. Out of the universities examined, only six have had at least three women presidents, and 60—46 percent— have had none. In Massachusetts, three out of eight “R1” universities have had a woman president—including Brandeis University—and currently, none have a woman president, according to the study. The Women’s Power Gap Initiative ranked universities based on gender equality within the power structure by awarding points to universities in three areas: the number of past women presidents and if the university currently has a woman president, if there is a

woman provost and the percentage of women who are academic deans, members of the president’s cabinet and tenured professors. Brandeis University ranked fifth overall with a total of 78.9 points and was classified by the Women’s Power Gap (WPG) as a “Leader”. Points were awarded to Brandeis University for having one previous woman president, currently having a woman provost (Carole A. Fierke), having women holding 80 percent of academic deanship positions and for the fact that women make up 14 percent of the president’s cabinet and 35 percent of all tenured professors. The report notes that only three universities have a number of 80 percent or higher when it comes to women in academic deanship positions. This number means that there is a large pool of “highly qualified” women for a president position, as the report claims that presidents are

often picked from previous deans. On top of the fifth-place index placement, Brandeis University is ranked second in the academic dean rating, sixth in tenured full professor rating and fourteenth in the president’s board rating. Brandeis is also the only university marked as a “Leader” by the report among the eight “R1” universities in Massachusetts and is one of three alongside Harvard and MIT that has ever had a woman president. The WPG Initiative and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) published a companion report to their previous report, “The Power Gap Among Top Earners at America’s Elite Universities,” entitled “The Women’s Power Gap at Elite Universities: Scaling the Ivory Tower,” in January 2022.

Unity Week Against War in Ukraine raises awraeness on Russian invasion of Ukraine UKRAINE, from page 1

with the Cyrillic letters how to read and write in order to curate anti-war posters, according to the event page. Anti-war signs were hung along the base of the stairs in the SCC. Signs read, “Peace in Ukraine” and “Protect Not Attack” with blue and gold coloring that match the colors on the Ukrainian flag. More anti-war signs were written in Russian, calling for an end to the violence, according to a photo obtained by The Brandeis Hoot. On March 9, The European Cultural Studies Program (ECS) in partnership with the Russian Studies Department and Russian club hosted its first event in the Chocolate Cake Lecture Series, according to the event page. The talk covered LeoTostoy’s— a

Russian writer— work “War and Peace”. The talk was set to occur before Russia invaded Ukraine, but was later tied into The Unity Week Against the War since the Russian Department deemed it would “be relevant to the ongoing situation,” according to the event page. Later on March 9, community members were given the opportunity to go to Skyline Commons to make Cheburashkas— a fictional character created by Soviet writer Eduard Uspensky. According to the event page, Cheburashka, “is a symbol of friendship and brotherly love.” Community members could make their own Cheburashka with felting provided by the department. Community members could also make hearts or sunflowers with the felting. If students wished to, they could donate the Cheburashka they

made to their fundraiser or they could keep them for themselves to bring “peace and comfort.” A screening of the documentary “Winter on Fire” occurred on March 10. This event was intended to provide community members with the, “opportunity to learn about the western perspective on the Euro-Maidan revolution of 2014, which set in motion a chain of events that led to the war in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea,” according to the event page. Following the documentary, university professors Stevel Wilson (POL) and Irina Dubinina (RUS) facilitated a discussion with students where students were encouraged to ask questions. “All We Need is Peace” is the name of the event being held on March 11. This event is the second fundraiser of the Uni-

ty Week Against the War week. Featured at the event will be homemade cakes, bliny and more Ukrainian and Russian dishes, according to the event page. Money raised from this event will be donated towards Ukrainian refugees and Russian anti-war protestors, according to their flier. The event will be held in the atrium of the SCC. The last event scheduled for the Unity Week Against the War week is a cooking session. On March 12, community members will have the opportunity to make Borsch. Borsch is a hearty soup that is “a staple for Ukrainians and Russians alike,” according to the event page. It is also common in Polish and Eastern European Jewish cuisine. The event will have both meat and vegetarian options of Borsch available for community members to enjoy, according

to the event page. The event will be held in Ridgewood Commons. “As we are all deeply distressed by these events and ask ourselves what we can do, the Russian Studies program will continue its work toward our declared learning goals, which include helping students apply the acquired understanding of literary, linguistic, and historical analysis to raise and explore new questions about Russia and the Russophone world. We believe that acquiring this knowledge and skills is ever more important in these difficult times. We recognize that our classes will now take place in the shadow of this war, and we are here to support our students and colleagues,” reads the Russian Studies Department page. Editor-in-Chief Sasha Skarboviychuk did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.

Current climate advisor Gina McCarthy speaks in webinar through Journalism event CLIMATE, from page 1

out what motivates people, how you can be helpful to put things in perspective so that progress can be made… I try to curate the information in a way that allows me to speak to people, because the whole clue isn’t to make people understand climate,… the goal is to get them to act in a way that’s content with what climate tells us.” For example, McCarthy explained how families are a form of common ground that can often be used to connect people to the issue who initially see themselves as too distant from it. McCarthy explained to the audience how using family could be a means of getting the public to think about the impacts of climate change.“Do you

have any kids?” MCCarthy asked, “What do you want for them as they grow up? What if you told you that I thought climate was going to impact their ability to lead that life?” McCarthy offered an “optimistic” view, she explained, that contrasts the message of fear most of Generation Z grew up hearing. “ Right now, in DC, for the past year— and a little bit more— I’m amazed that we have shifted away from climate denial- period… Right now I am having trouble finding a climate denier— not that I’m looking for the.” McCarthy is hoping that more attention will begin to be brought to the issues of climate change, this is due to undeniable changes to the environment. “With all of the wildfires, and

the droughts, and the heat, and the floods, and the hurricanes, all that has made people realize that we are in trouble, and people are looking for answers,” McCarthy explained. “While there still is a lot of embracing this fossil fuel reliance… there are… reasons for that well beyond whether they believe in climate change,” McCarthy told students. She went on to describe how, “in the end, people will do what’s right. For themselves and their families, we just have to make sure that we’re telling people that the clean energy solutions are exactly that. They’ll grow jobs, those unions are all in on this…so you gotta get down to those human values that everybody shares and make sure you are raising those as the reasons to do it, in-

stead of ‘I worry about the planet.’” McCarthy explained the firsthand accounts she has witnessed about the actions officials are taking now in addition to looking into opportunities in investing in smart agriculture and electric vehicles, “We’re spending the $1.2 trillion in the bipartisan infrastructure law in a way that’s entirely consistent with resilience and adaptation and smart climate action moving forward, that’s also going to heavily invest in communities left behind… there’s a lot of questions about whether the government works for people or not, we better show that it does,” McCarthy told students McCarthy ended with a message for Brandeis students, on how they can instigate change,

“thinking about how you can open up opportunities for the communities left behind, even if it’s a small act, it’s the best thing that you can do…It’s been too far too long that those injustices have continued… and there’s nothing profound about that, but what is profound, is just doing something meaningful in those communities. So get together, think about it, and hang out together. And be hopeful, please. I’ll come to chase you down and find you and track you down!” The event was on Tuesday, March 8 and was sponsored by the Journalism Department. McCarthy is a Massachusetts native and attended University of Massachusetts and Tufts University and for Graduate School.

March 11, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

Univ hosts multiple events to celebrate International Women’s Day By Victoria Morrongiello editor

International Women’s Day—a day meant to celebrate the achievements of women and recognize the gender-related bias of society—was on Tuesday, March 8. University departments and student groups hosted multiple events to honor women on campus and around the world. “Brandeis is one of only 13 universities nationwide—and the only university in Massachusetts—to be identified as a “Leader” in the report’s Comprehensive Gender Index and Ranking,” the

university posted on Facebook for International Women’s Day. The Brandeis South Asian Student Association (SASA) hosted an International Women’s Day Panel. The event featured women in leadership positions who have South Asian identities, according to the event page. The speakers discussed with community members how their identities played a role in the decisions they’ve made in regards to their careers. The panelists featured women from multiple academic institutions including: Ulka Anjaria (ENG/ SAS/ FILM) from Brandeis University, Smitha Radhakrishnan from Welles-

ley College, Banu Subramanian from University of Massachusetts Amherst, Jyoti Puri from Emerson College and Nafisa Tanjeem from Lesley University. The event was held on Monday, March 7. The Undergraduate Departmental Representatives (UDR) for the Health: Science, Society and Policy (HSSP) major also hosted a panel for International Women’s Day. The event featured three professors at the university: Sarah Curi (HSSP/ LGLS), Thuy Lam (HSSP) and Lindsay Rosenfeld (HS). The event was specifically intended for community members who have “an interest in going into academic, [or] an interest

in HSSP,” according to an email sent by the HSSP UDRs. All community members were encouraged to attend to learn about the professors’ experiences as women in academia. The panelists were also answering questions from community members that were submitted via google form prior to the event, according to the email. The event was held on Monday, March 7. The Jewish Feminist Association also held an event for International Women’s Day. The event was held in the Shapiro Campus Center Atrium and featured other feminist organizations on campus and consisted of a breakfast and fair for community members to at-

tend, according to the event page. The university has other initiatives celebrating women throughout the month of March which is recognized as Women’s History Month. On the university’s social media pages, they will be highlighting the, “accomplishments of Brandeisian women, past and present,” according to their Facebook post. The first post of the month highlighted the history of the Women’s gender Studies (WGS) department on campus. The Brandeis Judges’ Instagram, “will be highlighting the women in [Brandeis athletes’] lives who have shaped them into who they are today,” according to a post on their Instagram page.

ICC celebrates anniversary by ‘Continuing the Vision’ ICC, from page 1

the ICC, Habiba Braimah, in an email interview with The Brandeis Hoot. The center was established on March 4, 1992, as a space for marginalized communities on campus to foster and celebrate diverse experiences and perspectives with respect, according to the anniversary description page. The ICC “works to foster a welcoming community where diverse experiences and perspectives are valued and dedication to the understanding of cultures and ethnicities is essential,” according to their website. The theme of the 30th-anniver-

sary event was “Continuing the Vision.” The idea stems from the inaugural theme of the ICC’s conception, known as “A Vision Realized,” according to their page. The idea for “A Vision Realized” was inspired by and paid tribute to the student groups from the Push Committee, the student group that led to the founding of the ICC. The center originally oversaw nine founding clubs; today it is home to 16 student-affiliated clubs and organizations, according to their page. A History Panel Discussion surrounding the ICC was held on March 4. Alumni were invited to the event to speak on their experiences and reflect on the legacy

they left behind after graduating. The founders of the ICC and past leaders were also asked to attend the event to celebrate the center, according to the event page. “I hope that students truly understand ICC’s rich history and mission. I want students to understand that the ICC was intentionally designed with them in mind… and recognize the ICC as a space where they can explore their own racialized identities and find a community that affirms their existence. Lastly, I want students to learn about and appreciate the beautiful and rich diversity that exists right in our own space,” wrote Braimah. On March 3, another event

was held in honor of the 30th anniversary. This event was an ICC alumni career panel. The event was held virtually but was open to all members of the Brandeis community, including students, alumni, faculty and staff, according to the event page. The event was held in partnership with the Alumni of Color Network and the Hiatt Career Center’s Rise Together Mentor Network, according to the page. After the panel was over, students had the opportunity to enter breakout rooms on Zoom with alumni to network. Regarding the future of the ICC, Braimah wrote that she hopes to see an expansion to

the staff of the center. This, according to Braimah, would help support the center as it tackles important work. Another goal for the future of the center is to have it “be widely recognized for its efforts in championing diversity, equity and inclusion,” wrote Braimah to The Hoot. For those not familiar with the ICC, Braimah wrote to The Hoot saying she wants community members to “know that the ICC is the cultural hub on campus.” The ICC is a place that is interested in learning how to better meet the needs of students, and the staff cares about the success of university students, wrote Braimah.

Prof develops protein structure determination technique By Roshni Ray editor

International Women’s Day—a day meant to celebrate the achievements of women and recognize the gender-related bias of society—was on Tuesday, March 8. University departments and student groups hosted multiple events to honor women on campus and around the world. “Brandeis is one of only 13 universities nationwide—and the only university in Massachusetts—to be identified as a “Leader” in the report’s Comprehensive Gender Index and Ranking,” the

university posted on Facebook for International Women’s Day. The Brandeis South Asian Student Association (SASA) hosted an International Women’s Day Panel. The event featured women in leadership positions who have South Asian identities, according to the event page. The speakers discussed with community members how their identities played a role in the decisions they’ve made in regards to their careers. The panelists featured women from multiple academic institutions including: Ulka Anjaria (ENG/ SAS/ FILM) from Brandeis University, Smitha Radhakrishnan from Wellesley College, Banu Subramanian

from University of Massachusetts Amherst, Jyoti Puri from Emerson College and Nafisa Tanjeem from Lesley University. The event was held on Monday, March 7. The Undergraduate Departmental Representatives (UDR) for the Health: Science, Society and Policy (HSSP) major also hosted a panel for International Women’s Day. The event featured three professors at the university: Sarah Curi (HSSP/ LGLS), Thuy Lam (HSSP) and Lindsay Rosenfeld (HS). The event was specifically intended for community members who have “an interest in going into academic, [or] an interest in HSSP,” according to an email

sent by the HSSP UDRs. All community members were encouraged to attend to learn about the professors’ experiences as women in academia. The panelists were also answering questions from community members that were submitted via google form prior to the event, according to the email. The event was held on Monday, March 7. The Jewish Feminist Association also held an event for International Women’s Day. The event was held in the Shapiro Campus Center Atrium and featured other feminist organizations on campus and consisted of a breakfast and fair for community members to attend, according to the event page.

The university has other initiatives celebrating women throughout the month of March which is recognized as Women’s History Month. On the university’s social media pages, they will be highlighting the, “accomplishments of Brandeisian women, past and present,” according to their Facebook post. The first post of the month highlighted the history of the Women’s gender Studies (WGS) department on campus. The Brandeis Judges’ Instagram, “will be highlighting the women in [Brandeis athletes’] lives who have shaped them into who they are today,” according to a post on their Instagram page.

Uni. promotes good sleep habits during Sleep Week By Victoria Morrongiello editor

Health and Wellness Promotion—a resource on campus that offers many services and programs to support student health and wellness—hosted sleep week on campus from March 6 to 13, according to their website. Sleep week is intended to encourage better sleeping habits through multiple themed events and activities throughout the week. It is brought to students by Wellness Programmers. “Prioritizing sleep is one of

the most important things you can do to improve your well-being. There are numerous benefits to getting a good night’s sleep, including energy, better stress management, improvements to memory, concentration, and athletic performance... and more,” according to an email sent by Brandeis Wellness to community members on March 1. A “special installation” was put in the Shapiro Campus Center (SCC) atrium to celebrate sleep week, according to the email. In the SCC, event organizers set up a dormitory bed, fully made and fitted with sheets, at the bottom of the stairs.

Other activities planned throughout the week included DIY Sleep Kits giveaway, Sleep Mask Decorating, Sleep Trivia, Deep Relaxation Zen Zone, Pajama Day and a Healthy Sleep Habits Challenge. The Healthy Sleep Habits Challenge began on March 6. Blank ballots were made available in the Health and Wellness Promotion (HAWP) office and were electronically downloadable, as well. Students were asked to fill out the sleep habits sheet to encourage better habits, according to the ballot. On the ballot, positive sleep habits included trying

a sleep tracker app, getting at least six hours of sleep one night of the week, being off of screens at least 30 minutes before bed, keeping consistent bedtime for three days and more. Students were asked to submit their ballot to the HAWP office by March 13 for the chance to win one of six prizes. The prizes included a memory foam mattress topper, pillow top mattress topper, weighted blanket, sleepbox sound and white noise machine, fleece throw blanket and a dream journal, according to the email. Multiple events were held for sleep week, including Library Yoga on Friday, March 11. The

event served as a stressbuster and was held by Kat Page, a fitness coordinator at the university, according to the event description page. Another event held was Deep Relaxation Zen Zone; this event was partnered with the Center for Spiritual Life. It was intended to make students engage more in mindful practices. Students were encouraged to “join in this special Sleep Week Zen Zone to engage in meditation that will help you experience relaxation during the day and sleep well at night,” according to the event description.

4 The Brandeis Hoot

By Victoria Morrongiello editor

The Student Union will be hosting its first round of special elections for the spring 2022 semester, according to an email sent to community members by Michael Pollard ’22, Student Union Secretary, on March 6. Pollard will be acting as the Chief of Elections for this election cycle. The first round of special elec-

March 11, 2022

tions comes a little over a month after the union held its first elections of the year, according to a previous Brandeis Hoot article. The senator seats open are Senator for the Class of 2023, Senator for Foster Mods Quad, Senator for Skyline and Rosenthal Quads. According to the email, students running for these positions must be members of that specific community, meaning that if a student runs for the Class of 2023 senator position they must be

graduating with the class of 2023. There is also a seat open on the Allocations Board. The Allocations Board Member seat is a two-semester seat, this position is open to the entire student body. There is also one seat open for the Community Enhancement and Emergency Fund (CEEF). CEEF is an emergency fund for student groups on campus that also provides funding for student-led initiatives, according to their page. This position is

open to the entire student body. The student union held an information session on Monday, March 7 virtually via Zoom. The information session was for students, “to learn more about the duties of each position,” according to Pollard’s email. For campaign logistics, students had to submit their intent to run on Tuesday, March 8 by 11:59 p.m., according to the email. Candidate bios and photos then are to be emailed to Pollard

by Wednesday, March 9 at 1:00 p.m. Candidate bios were sent to community members on Thursday, March 10, after this students are allowed to begin campaigning and can campaign on election day as well, according to the email. Voting for the first round of special elections will begin on Wednesday, March 16 at 12:01 a.m. and will run for 24 hours, according to the email.

Betsy West discusses career in journalism By Emma Lichtenstein editor

For Betsy West, the best subjects are ones she admires, as she told students in an event held by the university. West, a documentary journalist, spoke on her work alongside Julia Cohen, her longtime creative partner. Together, the two of them have created documentaries on influential Americans, from Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Julia Child. “Having a partner, especially if the partner is as smart and hardworking as Julie Cohen, is a blessing,” said West in a talk at Brandeis. “Julie and I have similar sensibilities about filmmaking.” She said the two of them have similar interests in subjects and compatible story-telling methods, with both of them preferring to do light-hearted documentaries.

West joked that getting to work on documentaries about people she admires has been “psychologically fantastic.” For West and Cohen, there is a fine balance between their personal feelings and their journalistic responsibilities. West made sure to emphasize that she hoped to explore rougher parts of each person’s story—that these were not puff pieces but instead a detailed overview of a subject’s life. Most of her talk was focused on her 2018 film “RBG” on Ruth Bader Ginsburg. West mentioned that getting Ginsburg to agree to film was a long process, with Ginsburg originally saying that she wasn’t ready to talk. To show how serious they were, West and Cohen reached back out to ask if they could interview some of Ginsburg’s friends, West said. Their plan worked. Instead of

interviewing professors or academics, West mentioned that the two wanted to email friends of Ginsburg because they wanted to focus on people who would bring a “positive energy” to the documentary rather than interviewing peers. Their goal was to “make the sources come alive.” West also discussed the emphasis of the love story in the documentary. Ginsburg’s husband, Marty, was a prominent figure throughout the documentary, but this was something very intentional. “We loved that it was a feminist love story,” West said. “We leaned into it.” The two felt her successful marriage added to Ginsburg’s story and “impressive” accomplishments. West also addressed her work on ex-Brandeis professor Pauli Murray. Murray fought for social justice—for Black people, for women and, especially, for Black

women—years before the official Civil Rights Movement began. The documentary allows sources to speak about Murray, with some using she/her pronouns and others using they/them pronouns. Deciding which pronouns to use was a struggle for West, saying that Murray always officially used she/her pronouns but did write letters about struggling with gender identity. West and Cohen left that to the discretion of the interviewees. West personally ”tries to move away from pronouns, and instead just say Pauli.” As Murray has passed away, West explained that she and Cohen had the film be “narrated through the sound bytes and archive tape that we find … It was tightly scripted, [and we were] careful about everything.” This style was intentional, as West said she doesn’t like to make “docu-dramas.” “Sometimes with

docu-dramas, liberties are taken with the truth,” she said. “Narrative arcs need more substance, but a documentary doesn’t follow that same formula.” She explained that while the general takeaways may be the same, a docu-drama may enhance details in order to make the story more interesting or connected, something she is not doing. She tries to be as journalistic as possible, she said. Her next project, again alongside Cohen, is a documentary on Gabby Giffords, a retired politician and gun control advocate. As for what comes after that, West isn’t sure. Her dream interview, she admitted to the audience, would be with Dolly Parton. West and Cohen’s work attempts to highlight women they admire, she said, an ambition they will likely spend a lot more time pursuing.

In the Senate 3/6 •


Total postive COVID-19 cases each week. Last Update March 10, 2022


Total COVID-19 tests administered each week. Last Update March 10, 2022.

The Fireside Theater Company gained status as an established club, during the Senate meeting. The club had been chartered last semester, and it is commonly known from its creation and production of the play, “Our Day Will Come,” based on the Irish Civil War. The president of the club, Alexander Ross ’22 attended the meeting to present their plans for the future. Some of their plans include potentially hiring a theater professional and conducting “table reading workshops” in addition to hosting play productions each semester. Upon deciding the status of the club, Peyton Gillespie ’25 commented, “I think it’s a no brainer. It’s clear they know what they are doing.” However, Joseph Coles ’22 was not as convinced, commenting, “we need to ask the club to do more”. Despite the motion passing, Coles voted no while Charlotte Li ’24, Nicholas Kanan ’23 and Griffin Stotland ’23 voted to abstain. Chair of the Health and Safety committee, Skye Liu ’23 chartered Mood Psychology, a club that will work to provide psychological support for international students along with career counseling and support for students that have an interest in psychology fields in the future. Liu mentioned that Mood Psychology is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and has many chapters across universities in the United States, providing mental health resources to Chinese students. When talking about the Brandeis Counseling Center, Liu claimed “they just assume that we are going through the same kind of emotional distress as domestic students but that is generally not true. We face a different set of challenges.” Liu plans to translate club materials to English and have the club open to all international students. After being chartered the club plans to potentially collaborate with the chapters from Boston University and Harvard. Jason Dayan ’23, attended the meeting in hopes of chartering the Brandeis Haircutting Club. The club plans to teach students how to cut hair and provide a space where students that already possess the knowledge to exchange ideas and methods with each other. Students would learn the techniques of cutting hair through demonstrations on mannequins and the use of videos. Upon Dayan being put in the waiting room, Kanan said, “It seems niche but I don’t think it’s quite there yet.” Coles was also not convinced, adding, “I don’t think they deserve funding in the first place.” Courtney Thrun ’22 asked the club to come back in three weeks and present again once the club has held a few more meetings. The proposed treasury budget for the 2023 fiscal year was approved by the popular vote. Josh Hopen ’23, and Amanda Shneider ’22 presented the budget at the meeting after the midterm break. While the motion was approved, Coles voted no, while Audrey Sequeria ’24 and Gonzalo Palofox ’25 voted to abstain. - Vimukthi Mawilmada


March 11, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 5

Brandeis baseball opens season By Jesse Lieberman staff

The Brandeis Baseball team began its season last week going 1-2. Brandeis dropped the season opener to Anna Maria 8-6 on March 2. The Judges then defeated Babson 6-5 in 12 innings on Saturday and lost to Wheaton 14-4 on Sunday. All games were played at the New England Baseball Complex in Northborough, Massachusetts. Wednesday, March 2: Anna Maria 8 – Brandeis 6: Outfielder Sam Nugent ’23 had three hits and graduate student Mason Newman (GRAD) struck out five, but it wasn’t enough as the Judges’ comeback came up short. Brandeis trailed 8-3 heading into the top of the seventh. Centerfielder Dan Frey (GRAD) singled with one out. Frey stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Third baseman Brian King ’23 doubled to left to bring home Frey. King scored after second baseman Victor Oppenheimer (GRAD) doubled to right. Brandeis added another run in the eighth. Nugent led off with a single to right. Outfielder Steven Simon ’23 reached on a fielder’s choice and Nugent went to third following an error by Anna Maria. After a strikeout and a hit batter, Frey came up with the bases loaded with one out. Frey grounded out to first, bringing in Nugent to make the score 8-6. Jakob Newman ’23 came in to pitch the eighth. With runners on first and second with nobody out, Anna Maria’s Kosta Drosidis singled to right. Simon picked up the ball and threw it to Oppenheimer, who relayed it to catcher Luke Hall (GRAD). Hall tagged out Anna Maria’s Hunter Dunithan, who was trying to score from second. An intentional walk loaded the bases with one

out. Newman escaped the jam by getting a strikeout and then a groundout. In the ninth, Brandeis began its rally with a two-out pinch-hit double by catcher Liam Kennedy ’22, which brought Nugent to the plate representing the tying run. Nugent popped out to first to end the game. Saturday, March 5: Brandeis 6 – Babson 5 (12 innings) Left-hander Cam Roberts ’22 pitched three scoreless innings in relief and picked up his first collegiate hit in the game-deciding rally as Brandeis overcame a 5-0 deficit to pick up its first win of the season. Trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth, Hall led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch. Frey struck out and King hit a bloop double to right, advancing Hall to third. Oppenheimer brought in the tying run after grounding out to shortstop. In the bottom of the 12th, Op-

penheimer hit a chopper up the middle for a one-out single. A wild pitch moved him to second. Roberts, who had no prior collegiate at-bats, hit a sharp ground ball between the first and second basemen. Babson’s Josh Yellen made a diving stop, but no one covered first, allowing Roberts to reach for an infield single. Shortstop Nick Heafey ’24 hit a slow chopper up the middle. Babson forced Roberts out at second, but Heafey beat the throw to first, giving the Judges the walk-off win. Lefty Marc Maestri ’22 made his first start this season, going 4.1 innings and giving up four runs. Maestri ran into trouble in the fifth, loading the bases with one out with the score of 1-0 Babson. Weisse III came in relief, giving up a sacrifice fly and a two-run single, which extended Babson’s lead to 4-0. Asher Kaplan ’23 relieved Weisse III, going 2.0 innings and

allowing one run. After giving up a run in the top of the sixth, the Brandeis bullpen pitched six consecutive scoreless innings. Frey led the way for Brandeis, going 4-for-6 with a triple and two runs scored. It was the third career four-hit game for Frey. King had three hits, and Oppenheimer drove in three runs. Sunday, March 6: No. 14 Wheaton (Mass) – Brandeis 4 Infielder Mike Khoury (GRAD) and Brian King (GRAD) each hit home runs, but it wasn’t enough as Wheaton scored at least once in every inning to cruise to a 14-4 win. The Lyons, who moved up two spots to No. 12 in the most recent edition of the NCAA Division III rankings according to d3baseball. com, scored once in the first inning on a solo homer. Brandeis responded in the bottom of the first, with Khoury’s blast to center. Wheaton scored four times in the second and twice more in the third

to give it a commanding 7-1 lead. Brandeis did not score again until the seventh. King drilled a homer to right-center. An Oppenheimer walk and a double from Aidan Schleer ’25 brought Heafey to the plate with runners on second and third. Heafey snuck a ground ball up the middle, driving in Schleer and Oppenheimer. King went 3-for-4 on the day and was the only Brandeis player with two or more hits. Sean Decker-Jacoby ’24 made his first appearance of the season, striking out four. Brandeis’ game against UMass Boston for Wednesday was postponed. A rescheduled date of the game has not been announced. Brandeis will travel to Colby for a double-header on Saturday, March 12 and play its first games at Stein Diamond on Sunday, March 13, against Williams.


Saber earns bronze at NIWFA Championships By Francesca Marchese staff

This season, the National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Association (NIWFA) Championships were held at Drew University in Madison, NJ. The women’s fencing squad at Brandeis University fared well in their first trip to the NIWFA, placing fourth overall, while also securing two medals - the saber squad earned silver, while individually, Maggie Shealy ’23 won silver. The saber squad, comprised of veteran Jada Harrison ’22, Shealy and rookie fencer Kayla Turnof ’25 led the judges, posting 29 wins on the day. Shealy’s team performance allowed her to qualify for the individual competition where she was the second seed and Turnof also earned a spot in the individual competition as the fifth seed. Unfortunately, Turnof was upset in the first round, 15-2, by a fencer from Smith College; Shelly, though, successfully defeated her first opponent from Temple, 15-8, and clinched the win over Stevens in the second round, allowing her to advance to the medal round. In the semifinals, though, Shealy fell to another Temple saber fencer who went on to secure

the gold in the individual competition; Shealy proudly represented herself and the Judges on the podium, earning a silver medal; the saber squad won bronze at the NIWFA Championships. Brandeis’ foil squad placed

sixth at the NIWFA Championships, while the epee squad placed seventh overall. Individually, both Bronwyn Rothman-Hall ’25 and Monica Aponte ’23 were eliminated in the first round of the epee individual

competition; Rothman-Hall fell to epee gold medalist from Long Island University, 15-9, while Aponte fell to the runner up, 15-13. Alex McKee ’25 advanced to the foil elimination round as the second seed, but was upset in

the first round, 15-10, by an opponent from Temple University. The Brandeis women’s fencing squad returns to action on Sunday, March 12 at Vassar College where the 2022 NCAA Regionals will be held this season.



The Brandeis Hoot

March 11, 2022

The National Hockey League and silencing victims of sexual assault in professional sporting By Natasha Girshin special to the hoot

Warning: The article contains mentions of sexual assault. On May 13, 2021, a shockwave was sent through the professional sporting world, more specifically the hockey world. A former player on the Chicago Blackhawks filed a lawsuit under the name John Doe, alleging prolonged sexual assault at the hands of then-video coach Brad Aldrich during an off-ice incident during the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup championship. According to the investigation, on May 23, 2010, following learning of the assault, Blackhawks executives held a meeting about the claims and decided they would not address them until after the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The matter was not discussed again, and on June 14, 2010, five days after Chicago won the Stanley Cup, the Blackhawks human resources director gave Aldrich the option to resign or face termination if John Doe’s claims turned out to be true. Aldrich chose to resign

and was permitted to participate in postseason celebrations and was allowed to have his name etched into the Stanley Cup. The lawsuit document itself became public on the Internet and if you wanted to read the case for yourself, you could. In the lawsuit, John Doe testifies a deeply disturbing act done by Aldrich. At the time, John Doe was only 20 years old, serving as a Blackhawks backup prospect player and Aldrich was 27 at the time, working as the video coach, in his second year on the job. Following the release of the document, sports fans demonstrated massive support for John Doe and disdain at the Blackhawks organization and the NHL for appeasing Aldrich rather than listening to and keeping their players safe. John Doe remained anonymous until October 2021 when in an interview with SportsCentre, he revealed his identity as Kyle Beach. In response to the decision to keep Aldrich involved in postseason activities following the assault, Beach claimed, “And then when they won, to see him paraded around lifting the Cup,

at the parade, at the team pictures, at celebrations, it made me feel like nothing. It made me feel like I didn’t exist. It made me feel like I wasn’t important and… it made me feel like he was in the right and I was wrong.” Following the assault, Beach also claimed that the other players on the Blackhawks were made aware of the assault and made offensive comments towards him. In the interview, it is further revealed that in the past, Aldrich assaulted a high school hockey player he coached prior to his acceptance in the NHL, of which he pleaded guilty and is a registered sex offender. In finding this fact, Beach gained the courage to stand up for himself and make sure that nobody else could be hurt by Aldrich. This revelation brings the thought into question: If the NHL knew of Brad Alrich’s past assault, did they knowingly allow a sexual assaulter into professional coaching where he could further harm individuals? And if this is the case, which it must be, it makes all the more sense why the Blackhawks organization and the NHL didn’t want

to fire Alrdich following Beach’s assault, and makes it all the more harrowing that the NHL knowingly allowed Beach and other players to be put at risk. According to ESPN, an independent investigation by the law firm Jenner & Block concluded that “nothing was done” by senior leaders to prevent the harassment Beach faced. After the investigation, the NHL fined the Blackhawks two million dollars for what it called an “insufficient and untimely response” to Beach’s accusations. Some fans and journalists have pointed out that the penalty was one million less than the league initially fined the New Jersey Devils in 2010 for skirting around the salary cap. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman argued that the fine against Chicago was “substantial.” Is two million dollarsenough “punishment” for allowing a convicted and resigtered sexual assaulter to coach for your team? Is two million enough to cover the lifetime of damage inflicted on Beach? It isn’t, because according to Forbes, the Blackhawks are the fourth most valuable NHL franchise with a value of $925

million; two million doesn’t even make a dent. And Gary Bettman had the audacity to claim that the fine is “substantial.” The Blackhawks franchise should have been demolished for such an act. The league also announced that all executives, staff and players would have to complete mandatory training sessions to learn more about abuse by the end of the year. Training won’t help if the NHL team organizations continue to hire registered sex offenders who already had two sexual assault allegations under his belt. There have been little public cases of sexual assault in male professional sporting throughout the years. Mainly due to pressure, stigma of male sexual assault victims, and the fear of public backlash, and even if it is known within the team it is kept under tight wraps until, with the case of Kyle Beach, it is released to the public 11 years later. However, the Kyle Beach case stands as one of bravery, strength, and the corruption and enabling of abuse within the National Hockey League and professional sporting.

Judges compete in Last Chance meet, Magill going to nationals By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

The Judges competed in the Tufts Last Chance Qualifier on Saturday, March 5. The meet was non-scoring. On the women’s side, Niamh Kenney ’22 finished fifth in the three thousand meter run with a time of 10:08.84, ranking 37th in the nation. In the 200 meter dash Devin Hiltunen ’22 placed seventh, with a time of 26.17. Alya Campbell ’24 finished seventh in the 60-meter hurdles, with a time of 9.44 seconds, while Sonali Anderson ’22 placed ninth with a time of 9.48. In the women’s distance medley relay consisting of Natalie Hattan ’22, Liz Korn ’24, Erin Magill ’22 and Victoria Morrongiello ’23 placed fourth with a time of 12:01.55. While in the 4x400 meter relay Campbell, Hiltunen, Korn and Olivia Zarzycki ’24 placed sixth with a time of 4:05.90. Erin Magill ’22 will be compet-

ing in the NCAA championships in the five thousand meter run, for which she qualified at the UAAs. On the men’s side, Reese Farquhar ’22 placed seventh in the 200

meters dash with a time of 23.19. In the 60 meter dash Farquhar placed sixth with a time of 7.15, while Danny Krigman ’25 placed ninth with a time of 7.27.

This was the last competition in the indoor season. The Judges will move outdoors for the Bridgewater State Invitational, on Saturday, March 26.

Editor’s Note: Victoria Morrongiello is the News Editor of The Brandeis Hoot and did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.


Men’s and women’s tennis win games away By Justin Leung editor

The Brandeis men’s and women’s tennis teams traveled to play their first set of matches in March. Men’s tennis faced Skidmore College, while women’s tennis played Wheaton College. Both teams had just come off a loss and were looking to turn their fortunes around. Men’s tennis started the day off with a doubles win by Jeffrey Chen ’22 and Adam Tzeng ’22. The 8-4 victory gave the Judges a positive start to the day as the Judges have rarely trailed after doubles this season. However, Skidmore would proceed to take

the next two doubles matches. Colin Fox ’25 and Dylan Walters ’24 were narrowly defeated 8-7 in the second doubles game. In the third doubles game, Colt Tegtmeier ’22 and Hunter Levine ’23 also barely lost, as the score was just 6-8. Overall this gave the Judges a 1-2 deficit going into singles. In the first singles match of the day for the men’s team, Tzeng evened the score with a 2-1 set victory. Tzeng fell behind in the match after losing the first set 4-6, but he proceeded to win two consecutive sets 7-5 and 6-3 to win the match. The second and third singles matches saw the Brandeis get swept in straight sets, before Walters won a straight set of his

own to cut the overall Brandeis deficit to one. To complete the comeback, Tegtmeier completed a straight set where he did not drop a single point to the opposition in his second set. The total scores between the schools was even at four. In the final match, the Judges had freshman Aryan Nijihawan ’25 compete. The first set was close, but Nijihawan narrowly tooked the set victory 6-4. He then proceeded to give Brandeis the win with a 6-2 set victory. The Judges left Skidmore college building on their 5-2 start to the season. The Brandeis women’s tennis team started the day cruising as they won both of their doubles matches. Bhakti Parwani

’25 and Jiayi Zhang ’24 won the first doubles game of the day 8-2. In the doubles game right after, Summer Quinn ’22 and Olivia Howe ’22 beat their counterparts at Wheaton College 8-4. The final doubles game was given to Brandeis because Wheaton was required to forfeit. Ana Hatfield ’22 started the singles round, but ultimately lost after three sets. Cecilia Davis ’25 followed with a straight set win to set Brandeis back on track. Zhang then proceeded to win a straight set without dropping a single point. Howe came after and also won a straight set, while dropping only two points in the two sets. Finally, Quinn finished the

games for the day with a straight set where she also did not drop a single point. One more match was scheduled but ultimately forfeited by Wheaton. This gave Brandeis an overall victory of 8-1, as the Judges improved their record to 2-4 on the season. The men’s tennis team will hope to continue their season with a competition against Colby College on March 13 at home. Every game in March will be a home game for the men’s team. The women’s team will also play at home, but will instead face Bentley University on March 11. This game was rescheduled from March 6 and will be followed by a home game against Colby College on March 13.


March 11, 2022

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe.” Editors-in-Chief John Fornagiel Emma Lichtenstein Sasha Skarboviychuk Deputy Copy Editors Logan Ashkinazy Emma Stott News Editor Victoria Morrongiello Deputy News Editors Vimukthi Mawilmada Roshni Ray Arts Editors Stewart Huang Caroline O Deputy Arts Editors Cyrenity Augustin Lucy Fay Rachel Rosenfield Opinions Editor Mia Plante Deputy Opinions Editor Cooper Gottfried Sports Editor Justin Leung Layout Editor Anya Lance-Chacko Photos Editor Grace Zhou Editors-at-Large Abdel Achibat Thomas Pickering Madeline Rousell

Volume 20 • Issue 5 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma

FOUNDED BY Leslie Pazan, Igor Pedan and Daniel Silverman


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

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

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The Brandeis Hoot 7

Our role in the Brandeis community

e, as the Brandeis community newspaper, take immense pride in being the community’s source of information and elevating the voices of community members. We love connecting with groups on campus and telling people’s stories. But we also recognize that a lot of members of the community don’t know who we are or why or how we do what we do. So this is us! There are some general housekeeping rules we keep as a part of our ethics policy, which is a public document that can be viewed by members of the general public. If you would like to read our ethics policy, please reach out to for a copy. As a newspaper, we are unable to release articles to groups or individuals prior to publishing. We can, however, disclose quotes being used by individuals in articles. If asked, writers can show the individual specific quotes that are being used. But, writers are not permitted to share any of their own writing before publication. Edits can be made after publishing if there are any factual errors. We cannot grant anonymity without just cause. We, as a paper, also cannot offer anonymity to anyone, it must be asked for and then we will decide whether the issue requires anonymity on a case by case basis. Granting anonymity is offered when there is a risk to the wellbeing of a source. We cannot record an interview with a source without explicit consent. We will ask, prior to starting the interview, for consent to record. Once articles are finished, the recordings get deleted, as they are simply for quote checking, not publication consumption. For public events, there is “no reasonable expectation of

privacy,” according to the Columbia Journalism Review. This means that, at public events, we are allowed to record and take photos without asking for prior consent. This includes protests on the Rabb steps and in study spaces in the Shapiro Campus Center. We aim to ask for consent when possible, but doing so is not always possible at impromptu events. When we cover events, we can be found either with a press pass or a piece of Hoot merchandise. This makes us easy to identify. As journalists, we are free to cover, including to photograph, events that are open to the public. If events are being advertised on social media, platforms including Instagram and Facebook, as public events open to all community members, the paper has a right to be there, too. We cannot, however, attend closed event meetings unless we are explicitly invited by the group hosting the event. We report on the news; we do not make the news. If a noteworthy event happens on campus, it is our responsibility to cover it, regardless of our feelings about the event or the individuals involved. As a paper, we strive to unbiasedly cover campus situations. As a campus news source, we do not censor students unless they use targeted hate speech. We publish what we are sent in order to maintain complete freedom of speech and press on the Brandeis campus. We understand that readers might not always agree with opinion pieces published or the way we cover campus news. We welcome any and all feedback from the community! Please reach out to the EIC email, or the individual section editors, to provide comments. The names of our section editors can be located in our masthead,

both online and in print. Our writers work hard, but responding to community feedback is out of the realm of their responsibility. Our editors, though, are better to have discussions. We are also accessible if you want to reach out to us with any comments or concerns on our website under the contact tab. We want to hear feedback from the community, but we encourage students and other community members to use the proper feedback channels. Please remember that we are a club, too! We do not get paid for this. We try our best to highlight the stories that we think are most pertinent to the Brandeis community. However, as a staff of around 30 people, we are unable to always cover everything; there is simply too much going on at Brandeis for us to be at every event, sports game and protest. We want to be a positive resource on campus for all community members, and we would love to have more people involved with our paper. We don’t have any requirements to start writing and there is no maximum or minimum set number of articles that you must contribute to our publication. Our writers are encouraged to write as much or as little as they want with zero pressure. We also encourage community members to attend our production night on Thursday nights. Production nights are when we make our paper; they are completely open to the public if you are willing to make the trek up the stairs of the SCC to the third floor. We hope this provides some clarity on our existence on campus and hopefully this transparency will invite more community members to interact with us!

8 The Brandeis Hoot


March 11, 2022

Interviews with Brandeis University’s academic leadership: the theater arts department By Cooper Gottfried editor

The chair of Brandeis University’s theater arts department, Dmitry Troyanovsky, had an email interview with The Brandeis Hoot to shed a little light on the theater arts department, its future and himself. This interview is part of a series of interviews with the chairs of a plethora of different academic departments and programs at Brandeis. Why did you choose Brandeis? I have a very personal and long history here. I was a Brandeis undergraduate in the 1990s. I double majored in theater arts and politics. I loved my experience. As a student, I found a very dynamic creative and intellectual home, I had amazing mentors and made lifelong friendships. Some years later, I came back to teach because I’m passionate about continuing the tradition, passing on the knowledge and the ethos, which shaped my own life as a young person. What do you think that the theater department does right? We do many things right. We welcome all students, regardless of their experience with theater. We open possibilities for students who have not had the opportunity to be exposed to theater and encourage students with prior experience to discover new aspects of theater. If you acted before Brandeis, here you might realize that you’re also excited about design or playwriting. Students are encouraged to explore directing, technical theater, costume design and so on. The excellent artists and scholars who work in theater arts are dedicated to helping students unlock spaces of deep creativity. Our students use the language of theater to understand themselves and their place in the world. In a recent newsletter, we featured a story about a student from China who came to Brandeis to study Biochemistry, took a class in theater literature to fulfill his creative arts requirement and found it so meaningful and relevant that he’s now taking more theater classes and is considering a minor in theater arts. That’s a great example of what we do right. Obviously, we love when students major or minor in theater. But that’s far from the only way to participate. Our classes and productions are open to all. Every student at Brandeis is welcome to audition for our shows, take classes or try their hand at a backstage job. What do you think that the theater department could do better? We can be better at connecting with different communities on campus. We are always thinking about how to be more inclusive. How can we extend an invitation to as many students as possible? What are the obstacles preventing students from taking our classes or being in our shows? Of course, it’s important to recognize that we are a part of a large institution. We exist within the bigger university framework. Not everything is up

to us. For example, we have no control over things like financial aid or scholarships. We can’t offer a limitless number of new courses. Expanding our staff and faculty is a challenge. Nevertheless, we are trying to find creative solutions, work around the limitations, be as inviting and vibrant as we can. We can also do more to position ourselves at the center of the intellectual and creative life on campus. Over the past few years, our public programming has engaged with topics from race and bigotry to gender and sexuality to religion and zealotry to science, technology and the environment. We’d like for more members of our community to be a part of these conversations. Theater is essential to a healthy, functioning society. Theater is a place where we come together to feel alive, to understand our differences and learn to be together in our imperfect world. One of my favorite theater artists, the great American director, Anne Bogart, says that theater is an art of resonance. Our department could have even greater resonance within our community. What do you wish students knew about the theater department? We recognize and respond to students who are hungry for experience. We have a very caring faculty. Teaching, mentoring and nurturing students are high priorities for us. These bonds don’t disappear upon graduation. We maintain ties with our former students. Recently, several graduates came back to collaborate with us as designers, directors and stage managers in our 2020-2021 Season. Spingold theater is a wonderful playpen for students who want to make the most of their time at Brandeis. Our department offers plentiful opportunities and resources for students to create and present their own work. An upcoming highlight is the annual Senior Festival—a culmination of a yearlong thesis process. This year the Senior Festival coincides with the Festival of the Arts April 28 to May 1. Students can enroll in independent studies and senior projects to experiment and research with our support. We believe in artistic freedom and innovation. There isn’t one right way to make and experience theater. We encourage students to find their unique path.

from the arts and non-profits to corporate boardrooms to research and development to the world of startups, entrepreneurship and innovation. My former students rely on their theater foundation to thrive in law, marketing and science. I would also add that the study of theater is a tremendous lens for self-knowledge, a key to success in any endeavor. How does this department fit into Brandeis’ DNA? There are multiple ways Theater Arts fits into Brandeis’ DNA. Our mission is to foster new ideas and artistic expression and challenge our students to enact change through the arts. We believe theater contributes to a more just, diverse and free society. Theater inspires us to be culturally and socially aware individuals and global citizens. Together with our students we aspire to theater that seeks collective and individual “truth even unto its innermost parts.” Brandeis is a small liberal arts school with a big research mission and that too is perfectly reflected in our department where students conduct research side by side with a top-notch group of professional artists and scholars. What do you work towards in your free time? Two weeks ago, I would have said that I’d love to travel more for pleasure because there are many fascinating places and cultures I’ve not experienced yet. The tragic events unfolding in Ukraine are pushing me to reevaluate my priorities. I’m considering spending time in Europe as a volunteer, working with Ukrainian refugees. If I have free time, I’d like to get back to yoga, which I haven’t kept up with since the start of the pandemic. Yoga is generative to my artistic practice and overall wellbeing. What do you wish the students knew about you? For me theater is life changing and transformative. Early in life I experienced the full force of history. I was born in the former Soviet Union, in Kyiv, the city being

assaulted by the Russian army as we speak. As the Soviet regime was coming apart, my family fled antisemitic persecution and instability. We spent months being refugees in a stateless limbo while the United States vetted us for entry. As a teenager in New York, I craved a sense of belonging. I was figuring out how to fit into my new home, wrestling with my budding awareness of being gay and seeing my parents struggle. Theater became a refuge to share my experience of the world. It gave me a space where I communicated with my body and images. My four years at Brandeis were vital. This place offered me resources to discover my artistic identity. As a first-year student, I took a class on the avant-gardes, which changed everything. I encountered a slew of experimental theater makers and alternative aesthetics. I realized I wanted to direct and that I didn’t care for mainstream, commercialized American theater. My mentors in the department took what I was doing seriously. They prepared me for graduate school and beyond. Now, I’m trying to pass the baton. When I teach, I do my best to convey to students that I see them as artists and thinkers. What is the most innovative theater production that you have ever seen? I’ve seen a lot of tremendous theater over the years. It’s hard to name one production. As a graduate student I saw a hallucinatory production of “Macbeth,” directed by a Lithuanian visionary Eimuntas Nekrošius. The whole experience felt like an incredible fever dream. It was theater at its most complex: beautiful, disturbing and very human. Twenty years later, the images still haunt me. I talk about this production with students in my course on Russian theater. Out of all of the theater productions that you’ve taken part in, which was the most challenging? That was probably “4:48 Psychosis”, which I directed in Shanghai with Chinese speaking actors. The play from “in-yer-face” theater

movement is notoriously opaque. It’s not a play in a traditional sense. It’s a semi-abstract prose poem without defined characters, action and stage directions. Then there were cultural and language barriers in the process. It takes time, even under the easiest of circumstances, for the director to build bonds with new performers. It’s a delicate dance. I had to do it with a translator, jet lag, cultural differences... after each rehearsal I would return to my hotel room drained. Eventually, it turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life as a director. A few years later, I came back to Shanghai to stage another production. I plan to direct there again when it becomes possible to travel to China. I miss my Shanghainese theater friends. What is your favorite class to teach? I love teaching directing. While directing is, of course, a specific craft, it can be of interest to anyone interested in the art of composition, visual imagination, the mind-body connection and the way our physical environment affects us. I enjoy teaching Russian theater. One of the fundamental questions we delve into in Russian theater is how to be a free artist in un-free or undemocratic circumstances. Can theater be a force of resistance? Given the horrific current events, the question is very relevant. What’s happening now in that part of the world is tragic. Sometimes, theater helps us make sense of the unimaginable. Speaking of which, I’m now putting together a new course on theater and the Holocaust. I’m researching the topic together with a brilliant theater student, Ruthi Wasserman ’23, who’s contributing to the development of the future course. We’re looking at plays, opera and dance. Antisemitism and anti-Jewish violence are on the rise globally. Antidemocratic governments with fascist-like ideologies are making a comeback. Just look at the war crimes being committed by Putin’s regime in Ukraine. We need to talk about how to represent atrocity on stage. It’s going to be an important class for our community. Students will be able to take it next fall.

What can graduates do with a theater degree? Students with a B.A. degree in theater can succeed in every profession. It’s not necessary to go into theater to make use of your degree. Theater, as an art form, requires many areas of knowledge and proficiency. When you major in theater, you learn to understand historical contexts, analyze human behavior and hone your communication abilities. Daily, you deal with critical analysis, research, imaginative problem solving, organizational skills, just to name a few things. You also come out with important life skills like focus, emotional intelligence, resilience, collaboration and intuition. These are extremely useful no matter what you end up doing after Brandeis. Today, these abilities are highly prized everywhere



March 11, 2022

Mountain Club takes Brandeis outdoors By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Following a near closing of the club and the coronavirus pandemic, Brandeis’ Mountain Club is back and stronger than ever. In 2018, it dwindled to a group of friends who were the only people there, with the old president passing the leadership of the club to a friend upon graduation. “It was two people who had a closet full of gear and a club that was kind of dead,” Mountain Club president Hannah BenDavid told The Brandeis Hoot in a Zoom interview. When “I came to Brandeis and saw that it wasn’t there, I was disappointed,” BenDavid continued. “But then they sent out an email which said that the club is looking for board members.” She joined

in fall of 2018 as a trip leader. They started up the club again, and in the spring had a larger budget, so they did more trips; “that is when demand skyrocketed,” said BenDavid. They used to do trip sign ups on a first-come first-serve basis, but then a “trip filled up in 2 minutes, and we decided that we needed to run a lottery.” To show the scale of the club’s growth, they went from “a three thousand dollar budget to a 56 thousand dollar budget.” This is a “great community of people who love outdoors and are very laid back” as well as a “home for people who want to gain experience,” BenDavid continued. However the issue of too much demand continued to persist; however, the E-Board has gotten as many people as they can from the community outdoors on weekend trips, according to BenDavid. In fall 2020, they organized a


total of 13 trips, averaging one to two trips per weekend. Mountain Club has over seven hundred people on their Listserv, which allows for different levels of commitment

to the club. “People stay tuned for trips that are interesting,” said BenDavid. However, most trips are no-experience necessary, and most fall hikes and ski trips are for beginners, but they still offer great views and scenery. White water rafting and ice climbing, which are done with guides, also do not require experience. Some trips are free, but it depends on the trip. Typically gas and food are not covered so there is a fee for that, though fees run between five and ten dollars. However, “we understand that not everyone is interested in beginner trips,” said BenDavid. For those who would like to go on their own [more difficult] hikes, Mountain Club has gear that Brandeis students are able to rent for free, such as kayaks, everything you need to go camping or hiking on your own. “This allows

students to run their own trips.” “My favorite trip was ice climbing, definitely, I’ve been doing it since I was 14,” said BenDavid. “The guides we work with are fantastic, they love teaching beginners and inspiring people.” Ice climbing, which is like rock climbing but on frozen waterfalls where you climb up with ice picks, is a very niche sport, she explains. It is “normally inaccessible, because it is expensive and requires a lot of gear,” However, with funding, Mountain Club is able to offer it. Mountain Club’s next trip is a ski weekend which will take place between March 11 and 13, which is open to anyone. During April break, the group will be going backpacking, but that trip will require previous experience. More information about upcoming trips can be found on the Mountain Club Instagram.

Gina McCarthy talks about Climate Change… and so should you By Vimukthi Mawilmada editor

When the words “climate change” get dropped in a conversation, people in the room have mixed reactions. The words could induce fear, dread or a sense of hopelessness in some and others may not even understand what it means. No one really knows the best way to talk about climate change … except for Gina McCarthy. In the words of Neil Swidey from the Brandeis Journalism program, “you guys are in for a treat” for what she has to say. The President’s chief advisor on domestic climate policy, Gina McCarthy attended a virtual panel discussion with Brandeis Professor, Neil Swidey (JOUR), on how people should engage in discourse about climate change in a way that will make people listen. McCarthy has established a reputation for being one of the nation’s most respected and effective leaders on climate change, even having served as President Obama’s head of the Environmental Protection Agency in the past. Throughout the panel, McCarthy shared her insights on many of the questions that Swidey had prepared. “If I don’t ever have to say the word climate, and I can motivate everyone to jump on clean energy and shift away from fossil fuels … Hallelujah.” Throughout the discussion, McCarthy emphasized how clear speech is key when initiating change, mentioning that being unable to communicate

with people simply means “you’re gone.” McCarthy highlights how trying to communicate all the science about climate would overwhelm people, making it difficult to understand and initiate action. She believes that figuring out exactly what motivates people, helps them put things into perspective and real progress can be made. In McCarthy’s words, “it’s really all about communicating in a way to motivate the kind of change that science is demanding.” When asked about what goes on behind the scenes when pushing different climate policies McCarthy had a lot to say. She explained how the issue of climate change is now being pushed to every cabinet-level in government, especially the department of transportation. McCarthy claims that the transportation sector is the “largest emitting sector” of greenhouse gas and needs to find a way to become “cleaner.” “When you have all of the big three automakers in the US committing to getting 100 percent of electric vehicles by 2035, that’s amazing”, said McCarthy. McCarthy also suggests that people need to hold major companies accountable for the emissions they produce. McCarthy spoke a little on the ban on Russian oil imports given the current political tension between Ukraine and Russia. While the US needs fossil fuels, McCarthy believes that the US needs “clean energy” now more than ever. She claims “it’s the only way to independence from people like Putin” who would take advantage of the fossil fuels they control.

McCarthy gave her opinion on the media and how climate change coverage is often portrayed. McCarthy believes that the more people cover weather events that are happening and put them into context with climate change is more likely to induce fear among viewers. Displaying solutions to climate change like encouraging clean energy and how it can produce potential job opportuni-

ties seems to be the best plan of action. “That’s how we know we win. When we no longer have to talk about the problem and all we do is dwell on who has the coolest car next,” said McCarthy. McCarthy strongly believes that hope is everything. Fear would only cause you to “put your head in the sand or run away,” said McCarthy, suggesting that hope is the only way people can face the

difficult reality of climate change. She believes that hope is what gets people excited to take a stance and initiate action. Her final message to the students at Brandeis was to take advantage of the climate justice initiatives and clubs on campus and raise awareness of the issues surrounding climate change. If not, McCarthy would “come chase you, and find you and track you down”.



The Brandeis Hoot 10


March 11, 2022

‘Unity week against the War’ is an outrageous joke By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

A week after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, Brandeis finally decided to respond by holding events regarding the matter. I would really like to say that those events were good, but just like everything at Brandeis, they were a disappointment. But my bar for Brandeis has always been low, so what exactly was so outrageous to warrant another article? Well, the series of events, sponsored by the Russian Department and Russian Club, wonderfully titled “Unity Week Against the War,” was essentially a celebration of Russian culture colored blue and yellow. I get it: The Russian-affiliated organizations at Brandeis were put into an awkward spot. But there were only two routes to go: Stay out of the spotlight or come out and support Ukraine in this disgusting violation of everything post-WWII Europe was supposed to stand for. It seems like they decided to go a third route though. Let me start off by talking about the concept of a “unity week.” Are they really trying to push Russian and Ukrainian unity right now? This actually has got to be a joke. How many Ukrainians want to be “friends” with Russians right now? The people who lost their loved ones? Like this man who lost his wife and two children and found out from Twitter. Or maybe it’s the thousands of people who lost their homes? Maybe those who’ve lived in agony the past two weeks worried sick for their loved ones and their country. The answer is clearly all of the above. Do they not understand the pain we are all in? This is my fucking home getting destroyed. For context, I am Ukrainian; I lived in Kyiv before coming to Brandeis. And I’m lucky, I’m thousands of miles away from all of this. Not that that helps me sleep at night. But millions of people are not so lucky. I cannot imagine the pain and trauma people who are actually in Ukraine have already endured (and unfortunately, how much more of it they likely will have to endure). And these people have the audacity to promote unity. Are they actually telling me that there needs to be unity with Russians? I actually have no words, like I am in pure disbelief. These past two weeks have been like a living nightmare, and this just

makes it that much more surreal. Maybe a few generations down the line, there can be “unity” but right now, when these wounds are so fresh they are still bleeding, bringing up anything like this is nothing short of appalling. If you were hoping that the unfortunate name/theme of this week is the only thing that went wrong, I am sorry to tell you that it is far from it. Also, the irony of this being sponsored by a club and department that represents the invader is just too much to handle. In my most humble opinion, it would be better to leave the support of Ukraine events to a neutral party. I definitely do not want anything to do with anything Russian right now and do not have the mental health to go to their “supporting” events. But even the concepts make my blood boil. Let’s go through the events of the week. First, we had the “International Women’s Day by Hillel and Fundraiser to Support Ukrainian Refugees.” According to the event description, you could “participate in a fundraiser to support Ukrainian refugees by buying a sunflower hairpin.” Great, celebrating women, sunflowers, donations to Ukraine; nothing bad to say here. Unfortunately the positive comments I have end here. The next event was “Russian Alphabet for Anti-War Protests.” Okay, I get that this is sponsored by Russia-affiliated departments, but teaching the language of the invaders during a week that is supposed to be about the two coming together? So Ukrainian is not a language in your eyes? Especially in a conflict where language plays such a crucial part. Russia for a long time has claimed that Ukrainian is not a language, which all ties back to the idea that Ukraine isn’t a sovereign nation. Do I really need to spell out why this is fucked up? And I get it, there is no Ukrainian language course at this school, but if you know the Cyrillic alphabet, there are very few changes that need to be made to teach Ukrainian letters. Or at least frame this as learning the Cyrillic alphabet not Russian. Also just for the record, if anyone has actually been to a protest, you would see that most signs are in English (so everyone can understand), with a few in Ukrainian and maybe one or two signs in Russian. Who thought this would be a good idea? The only context where a poster in Russian would


be appropriate is if you are trying to speak on behalf of Russia/Russian people (i.e, Russian people writing “forgive us” on posters, as seen in protests around the world). This makes sense. But if you are going to an anti-war protest, please do not bring a sign in Russian. That is inconsiderate at best and extremely ignorant. Next, was “‘War and Peace’ Then and Now” with chocolate cake to follow. But that isn’t really my issue with this event. My issue is that this is a discussion on a book by a Russian author yet again during a week that supposedly is about Ukraine. The website does note that this event was planned earlier, but they thought it was “relevant to the ongoing situation.” I guess a discussion about “War and Peace” may be relevant but including a Russian author (when there isn’t a single piece of Ukrainian literature discussed) is just in poor taste. This one is probably my favorite: “Cheburashka Against the War,” where they would be making felt Cheburashkas. Cheburashka is a Soviet cartoon character, and according to the event description, a symbol “of friendship and brotherly love.” I have already covered the topic of friendship, but let me say this again: “Brotherly love” is a thing of the past. And not even the very recent past. Did everyone conveniently forget about the annexation of Crimea in 2014? Or the fact that there has been a war in Eastern Ukraine throughout this entire time? Or, going further back in history, the Holodomor (not officially considered, but, essentially, a genocide against Ukrainian people done by guess who)? If your “brother” killed your spouse and children, would you really consider them a brother after that? Listen if you want to felt something, why not do something that is Ukrainian or neutral? White doves for example. Or sunflowers. Something that is not a freaking Soviet symbol. Not that there’s ever a time to celebrate Soviet culture, given all the atrocities committed under the regime, but if there ever was a time to NOT celebrate it, it’s definitely now. I cannot express how enraged this makes me; the narrative of Russia and Ukraine being friends has to stop. Especially because Putin’s supposed agenda is bringing Ukraine back into Russia, so pushing unity is as good as agreeing with his agenda. What exactly he wants is unclear, but Ukrainian independence/sovereignty definitely isn’t it. Next up is a “Documentary on the Ukrainian Maidan Revolution” plus a Q&A with two Brandeis professors. As you can guess, one of the professors is a Russian studies professor. There are more than one hundred colleges in Massachusetts; could you really not find a Ukrainian professor to give this talk or at least have a Ukrainian professor there? Granted I do have to say that I am writing this before this event happened, and cannot comment on what was said during the Q&A (though is there really much hope to be had?). Of course, Russian and Ukrainian candy will be provided at the event. The next event is a “Fundraiser for Ukraine,” which is described as “our second fundraiser with home-made cakes, bliny, and other Ukrainian/Russian dishes.” Now let me just highlight something that is said on an-


other poster: “All proceeds will go to support Ukrainian refugees and Russian anti-war protesters.” When someone first texted me about this, I just couldn’t believe it. No one would have the audacity to equate these two. But no, yet again Brandeis proves that my already low bar was held too high. Now, I am not saying that what is happening to the anti-war protesters in Russia is good or right. Or that they do not deserve support. But you cannot equate them to Ukrainian refugees who are running for their literal LIVES. Putting the two as equal causes is fucked up. I really do not know how else to explain it. How can people be this insensitive? How can you think that jailed protesters = refugees running for their lives? How? I have so much more to say about this, but if people do not understand that this is not okay, then I don’t think there are any words I can say to explain. Also, let me take a second to talk about the name of the event “All-We-Need-Is-PEACE.” This is probably the first thing I fully agree with. But here’s the problem: If Ukraine stops fighting, there will be no more Ukraine. If Russia stops fighting, there will be peace. So why exactly are you trying to support both sides here? You cannot support both sides in this conflict. The final event of this week is “Ukrainian/Russian/Jewish cooking: Borsch.” Once again we cannot seem to shake Russian off the Ukrainian thing. Ukraine has the most solid claims over borsch, or at least the most famous variation of it. Props to them for making a Ukrainian dish, but once again they had to include Russia in it. (I acknowledge that it is a staple dish in many Eastern European cuisines, but come on.) The final blow to me was this quote on the Russian Studies Department page. “The faculty of the Brandeis Russian Studies program condemns Russia’s military assault on Ukraine and President Putin’s use of historical distortions and cynical lies to justify Russia’s attack on Ukrainian sovereignty. We stand with all the people of Ukraine and Russia who oppose this war. Our hearts are with our students, alums and colleagues, many of whom have family and friends in the region. As we are all deeply distressed by these events and ask ourselves what we can do, the Russian Studies program will continue its work toward our declared learning goals, which include helping


students apply the acquired understanding of literary, linguistic, and historical analysis to raise and explore new questions about Russia and the Russophone world. We believe that acquiring this knowledge and skills is ever more important in these difficult times. We recognize that our classes will now take place in the shadow of this war, and we are here to support our students and colleagues.” I am so happy they stand with the people of both countries. But what should I be surprised about? Through all of these events, they clearly showed that they do not in fact stand with Ukraine. The fact that they can’t even pretend to be is disgusting. There is no way to stand with both Russia and Ukraine in this war. (Also my favorite term, “military assault.” You can find my response to this in a previous article.) Overall, this really was a week of ignoring Ukrainian culture and instead presenting Russian culture painted blue and yellow. (And no, putting blue and yellow on everything does not make it more Ukrainian.) If the goal of this was to support Ukraine and Ukrainian students, why not do something about UKRAINIAN culture? And more importantly, just leave Russia out of it. This is not a story where you can take both sides. It has been said many times, but let me say this again: If Ukraine stops fighting, there will be no more Ukraine. If Russia stops fighting, there will be peace. What two sides are we even talking about? Do I actually have to mass email graphic images from the invasion for people to understand that what Russia is doing is atrocious? Yesterday, a children’s hospital and maternity ward were shelled. You cannot look me in the eyes and tell me about another “side.” Brandeis, I am so disappointed in you. I am embarrassed to be a Brandeis student. I cannot believe that during this difficult, for lack of a better word, time, I have to also deal with this. Do better Brandeis. You are happy to brag about your Ukrainian alums that you are so proud of, but what about the Ukrainian students that are here now? Do you really think this has not tainted my experience at Brandeis? I am already in so much pain, and all of this feels like you are taking a knife and jabbing it further in. There isn’t much I can do about all of this, but I hope everyone involved with this outrageous response takes a long hard look in the mirror.

March 11 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

The onslaught of anti-LGBT legislation in 2022 is purposefully bigoted By Mia Plante editor

*Content warning: contains mention of suicide Conservative parents and lawmakers are terrified of queer people. They are scared of queerness and queer joy, and the fact that openly queer people do not subscribe to their old-fashioned religious ideologies is appalling to them. This disdain and ignorance can be seen in the slew of anti-LGBTQ legislation being presented across the country so far this year. One of the most notorious of these bills is the Parental Rights in Education bill, lovingly dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by queer activists, that was proposed in Florida earlier this year. As of March 8, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill passed the Florida state Senate with a vote of 22-17. This means all that is left in the lawmaking process is getting the bill signed by governor Ron DeSantis, who obviously is going to do so. Following the passage of the bill 69-47 in the Florida House on February 24, students across the state held walk-outs against the bill. One high school student who orchestrated a demonstration was suspended “indefinitely” for handing out pride flags and creating discourse on campus about queer rights and education. Despite the pushback from young people and the nation as a whole, the state continued to go through promoting this legislation as “parental rights.” Supporters of the bill claim that it is not bigoted, rather it promotes the rights of parents to have a say over what their children are being taught in schools. Florida Representative Joe Harding stated on the topic, “Families are families. Let the families be families. The school district doesn’t need to insert themselves at that point when children are still learning how to read and do basic math.” But as someone who grew up going to public school in a swing state, I never once was impressed upon

by the school district to become queer. Rather, my school did not have any discussion about relationships, gender and sexuality until fifth grade when many students began puberty. Even throughout high school I don’t remember being taught about safe sex practices for non-heterosexual sex. The fact that legislators claim that this is a genuine problem is laughable and horrifying, as the true nature of the bill is sinister. The text of the bill states that “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” Vague wording and the “or” clause in this bill is what is worrying queer Americans and allies. Who is to determine what is “age-appropriate” or “developmentally appropriate” in a state that allows conversion therapy for LGBTQ minors and does not have any state-wide anti-bullying and anti-discrimination laws in place to enforce equality for LGBTQ Floridians? The precedent that is being set with this bill and its support is disgusting, obvious and purposeful. Even a sponsor of the bill, Senator Dennis Baxley, was unable to point to any instances of classroom instruction that the bill is meant to be targeting when asked. This harmful bill is one of many in the slurry of anti-LGBTQ and anti “divisive concepts” bills being proposed across the country. My home state of New Hampshire recently shot down a bill criminalizing parents who sought gender-affirming treatments for their transgender children. A few other anti-LGBTQ bills in New Hampshire had less fortunate outcomes though. HB 1077 was introduced in January and was written to repeal the current ban New Hampshire has on conversion therapy for minors. This bill recently passed committee with amendment — that the children would

have to seek out the conversion therapy themselves — and is set to be voted on in the full house later this year. HB 1180 is another bill focusing on restricting queer individuals’ safety and liberties and, if passed, would require “state recognition of biological sex”. It’s especially painful to see these bills pop up in my home state, that, for a short period of time, I assumed was past this type of bigotry. Iowa is another state that has caught sizeable media attention recently with the passage of their HF 2416 into law, effectively prohibiting transgender girls and women from participating in sports according to their gender identity. There have been many debates surrounding this topic, as opponents of trans rights claim that transgender women and girls have advantages over cisgender women and girls in sports, despite having no actual proof of their claims. This bill does not benefit cisgender athletes, it only adds another layer to the dysphoria, social stigma and danger that transgender women and girls deal with every day. Sports practices are where students and adults alike can find community and an outlet for stressors in their lives, which transgender athletes need just as much—if not, more—than cisgender athletes. Supporter of the bill, college student Ainsley Erzen, smiled excitedly about it’s passing and stated at the signing ceremony that the passing of the bill means, “women are so much more than a hormone level, that the things girls love are worth protecting and their hard work and dedication is recognized and their dreams can become a reality.” To this I say: define being a woman then, define femininity, explain why you’re so afraid of allowing transgender girls’ dreams to become a reality too. Additionally, Erzen wrote in a nauseatingly transphobic Op-Ed in the Des Moines Register that “if you try to ignore biological differences, I guarantee there will be nothing left of women’s sports.” But, in this opinion piece, Erzen was unable to cite a single example of a trans-

gender athlete that would dominate women’s sports. Instead, she only cited examples of cisgender men beating women in athletics competitions—brazenly ignoring the fact that cisgender men and transgender women are not at all the same. Texas also has been under fire recently for its treatment of transgender youth and their families. Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services on February 22 asking for them to investigate any known instances of gender-confirming medical treatment. This follows the February 18 opinion of the Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, which states that when performed on children, gender-affirming “procedures and treatments … can legally constitute child abuse under several provisions of chapter 261 of the Texas Family Code.” The summary of this opinion also states that in considering child abuse cases, the court must factor in “the fundamental right to procreation” and “issues of physical and emotional harm associated with these procedures and treatments,” but largely ignores the mental and emotional toll that gender dysphoria has on transgender individuals. Additionally, the “genital mutilation”, also known as medically assisted gender affirmation, mentioned within the opinion does not occur often for individuals under the age of 18. Most surgeries of these kinds occur when transgender people are over the age of 18, and are not allowed for individuals under 16. The belief that a parent would forcibly make their child medically—or even socially—transition is appalling, as even the most progressive parents often struggle to fully accept their transgender children and treat them with the respect they deserve. What this opinion and its follow-through by the governor does is criminalize the few families who are supportive of their transgender children and who allow them to begin hormone therapy to ease their gender dysphoria. Texas Children’s Hospital has

now stopped offering hormone therapy in response to the governor’s order, and multiple families have claimed to be under investigation and scrutinized by the DFPS. The ACLU recently filed a case to block the investigations on behalf of transgender families, stating that the order of the governor and the attorney general “isn’t rooted in the needs of families, the evidence from doctors and the expertise from child welfare professionals.” It’s so clear what all of this legislation is meant to do. Conservative lawmakers and parents are saying the quiet part out loud— they don’t respect or care about LGBTQ individuals. These bills are based on absolutely no tangible facts, rather they are created out of hatred and used for political gain alone. The lives of LGBTQ children, adults and their families are on the line with these bills. Promoting stigma around queer identities is very literally going to kill people. In the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS), 82 percent of respondents reported ever seriously thinking about suicide in their lifetimes, 40 percent reported that they had attempted suicide at some point in their lifetimes. A 2019 analysis of the USTS determined that for those who face discrimination, these numbers increase. 51 percent of respondents who had experienced four instances of anti-transgender violence reported attempting suicide in the past year, and 98 percent of respondents who faced significant discrimination seriously thought about committing suicide. One factor associated with lowering the risk of suicide is gender-affirming care. Implementing anti-bullying laws specifically for preventing bullying regarding sexual orientation has also been found to reduce risk of suicide among all children, as reported in 2019. These bills, orders and opinions are egregious. If you have the ability to vote a homophobe and/or transphobe out of office, please do so this election season. I know I will.

Stop disrespecting artists at concerts By Hannah Gudeman special to the hoot

On March 4, indie pop artist Clairo announced that she would be rescheduling five concerts originally scheduled to take place this week due to a sinus infection, additionally stating in her Instagram story that she “just [needed] to take a step back from performing.” Considering the way that she and other artists—most prominently fellow indie pop star Mitski—have been treated on tour and online in the past few months, I’m not surprised that she needed a break. In a video posted on Twitter during Clairo’s Pittsburgh show on March 2, a fan screamed “You’re so hot!” immediately after Clairo finished singing “Blouse,” a song explicitly—and ironically— about sexual harrassment in the workplace, and she looked visibly uncomfortable afterward. While that was the most egregious ex-

ample of blatant disrespect, it was far from the only one: The tour has been marked by stories of fans throwing bras onstage mid-song, yelling comments between songs that are annoying at best and degrading at worst, and screaming or having loud conversations with friends during songs like “Just Like Today,” which details Clairo’s struggles with anxiety and depression. All of these happened at the show I attended in Boston on Feb. 28, and they tainted otherwise incredible performances from Clairo and her opener, Arlo Parks. Similar horror stories about Mitski’s “Laurel Hell” tour have cropped up all over the Internet in the past few weeks, mostly fans making sexual comments or calling her “mommy” while she was performing. This is even more disturbing in the wake of her now-deleted Twitter thread from a few weeks ago in which she expressed discomfort about being treated like a commodity at concerts, only to be met with com-

ments like “I paid for this show so I can do what I want” and “You can’t tell your fans what to do.” I understand that for many people in the crowd, certainly more than usual, these shows are either their first concert in a long time or their first concert, period. Even if we weren’t coming out of nearly two years without live music, both Clairo and Mitski’s audiences skew younger: Every other person around me at my show had X’s drawn on their hands, and most of the people near me in line used high school IDs to get in. But that doesn’t excuse the kind of behavior these tours have been plagued with. While I don’t want to be one of those people who blames social media for all of society’s ills, its utter dominance over our lives during the pandemic didn’t help, either. Even though social media allows artists to connect more directly with their audience, the parasocial relationships that form as a result make it all the easier for fans to break artists’ boundaries

and forget that they don’t know artists personally. After all, there’s a reason Mitski’s social media is entirely run by her management team. Additionally, the proliferation of memes like the hugely viral “Excuse me, mommy? Sorry. Mommy? Sorry.” sound bite on TikTok has resulted in a massive wave of sexual harrassment in comments on the platform, both towards public figures and ordinary people, that people don’t take seriously because it’s “just a TikTok meme.” Another alarming trend that has emerged during these tours is that most of the people making inappropriate comments toward these artists are also young women. Both Clairo and Mitski have amassed large queer fanbases, myself included, and I appreciate the community these artists have created. But the women making these comments need to understand that harassment is harassment regardless of the gender of the harasser or the target (yes, calling male artists “daddy” on

stage is also extremely disrespectful) and hearing comments like this from another woman doesn’t make them any less uncomfortable to hear. As much as you think you know an artist because you relate to their songs, you don’t really know them and vice versa, and there is no situation when yelling “Spit in my mouth” or “Step on me, mommy” at a stranger is at all appropriate. In the end, it doesn’t matter how much you paid to go to a concert. Everyone else around you paid for tickets, too, and the artist deserves, at the bare minimum, to be treated like a human being. There’s a clear difference between singing along to a song or cheering when your favorite song starts playing and outright sexual harassment, and it’s disappointing that so many people at these concerts can’t see that. Basic human decency should not be this difficult.


The Brandeis Hoot

March 11, 2022

Sodexo’s mobile app is almost as bad as their food By Cooper Gottfried editor

As Brandeis prepares to choose a new dining vendor, I feel myself drawn to reflect on our current vendor, Sodexo. They do many things wrong, but there is perhaps nothing more egregious than their mobile ordering solution: BiteU. This app, which is intended to be a universal remote for ordering on-campus food, is an unwieldy, convoluted and time-wasting mess. When you first open the app, you’ll be greeted by a few things on the home tab. First, there’s a rewards program. When you reach 300 “bites,” which I can only assume is Sodexo’s corporate term for orders made on the BiteU app, you’ll apparently receive some kind of reward. This reward is not specified, but it is locked behind an inordinately high number of mobile orders. Next, there’s a log of recent orders that you’ve made on the app, which sit just above two advertisements. The first of these advertisements, which is for the “student board of directors” returns a page not found error when tapped. The second advertisement leads to a Brandeis webpage introducing KiwiBots. Below the advertisements, there’s a slew of events listed. All of these events lasted the entire month of February and are nonsensical. Apparently, there was a “Crispy

Goat-Cheese Burger” event for the entire month of February. Good to know! The next page of the app is the news tab, which gives advertisements for dishes that aren’t served on our campus. There are ads for “Simply to Go” and “Love of Food” on this page. The only problem is we don’t have a “Simply to Go” or a “Love of Food” on Brandeis’ campus. There are also corporate advertisements here for Oreos, Bang energy drinks and Little Secrets chocolate. I’m glad that Sodexo can make ad revenue from BiteU because it gives me hope that they’ll put at least some of that money towards improving this godforsaken app. The third page of the app is the menu tab. After loading for 17 years, this tab displays menus for Sherman Dining Hall, Sherman Kosher and Lower Usdan Dining Hall every day. This is a great feature in theory, as it lets you know ahead of time what food you’ll be eating and later regretting, but the menus are unintuitive (and at times inaccurate) in practice. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all displayed on the same page, so you have to scroll very far down to see what’s available for dinner. I admit that I’m nitpicking, but it’s incredibly tedious to have to scroll through hundreds of items just to see that nothing good is being served every single day. The second to last page on the BiteU app is the order tab. Let’s

say I for some reason decided that I want to eat Tres Habaneros. There are multiple options here, including ASAP Pickup - Meal Exchange, Faculty Club Tickets, KiwiBot Delivery, Pickup - Retail, Upper Usdan ASAP Pickup and Upper Usdan ASAP Pickup - Meal Exchange. After deducing that the Upper Usdan ASAP Pickup - Meal Exchange option holds Tres Habaneros, the actual ordering process is hellish. I choose the options for my meal and then go to checkout. I’m greeted with a prompt to “choose pickup destination”. There’s only one option under that menu, and it’s “choose

pickup destination.” After choosing “choose pickup destination” as your pickup destination, you’re prompted to say whether you’re positive with Covid or self isolating. Presuming you’re not, you’re then prompted once again to “choose pickup destination.” Again, there’s only one option, but this time it’s “Pickup Inside Upper Usdan.” After all of that, I can finally pick up my burrito from Sodexo’s Chipotle knockoff. The BiteU ordering process is so tedious, it’s almost like Sodexo doesn’t want us to eat their food. The last tab on the BiteU app is the pay tab, and it’s actually pretty

useful. It allows you to use your phone like your ID card to buy food and also lets you check your balance of weekly meal swipes, dining points and WhoCash. This is actually a very nice feature, and for the first time, I have no real complaints. Sodexo can do better on many fronts, but improving the user experience on BiteU, which was one of the key points of their contract extension,would be a good place to start. If Sodexo is Brandeis’s choice for our next dining vendor, I sincerely hope that the quality of their app (and their food) improves.


All gassed up on trains again By Thomas Pickering editor

If you saw my name on this article and thought, “oh boy, I wonder if this article is about European trains?” then you would be half right. I want to take a quick break from your regularly scheduled programming concerning my erratic adventures around Europe to discuss something that most Americans are probably fuming about at the moment—gas prices. Again, you may be wondering, “Thomas, is this going to turn into another one of your rants about the glory that is effective public transit?” The short answer is yes, but as you will read, the long answer is a little more nuanced than simply that. According to AAA, the national average for gas prices in the Unit-

ed States have reached an all time high of $4.17 per gallon (without proper adjustment for inflation, the highest cost of gas in U.S. history still stands from July of 2008 when properly adjusted to the current US dollar). People in California face gas prices upwards of six dollars and it is wild to think that merely two years ago in April of 2020 gas prices dropped to $1.94 per gallon on average in the U.S. If you are upset at these gas prices as an American you certainly have some reason to be upset at the increase in cost. It is not an insignificant increase by any means and can burden some families when it comes to saving money for other essential needs. However, if you are blaming Russia’s war and invasion of Ukraine on the increase in prices then you are placing your anger in the wrong spot. The truth about

American consumption of Russian oil products is that Russian crude oil and petroleum exports to the U.S. represent eight percent of all its imported oil and less than two percent of the U.S. supply. What the United States imports from Russia is almost insignificant when it comes to our overall oil consumption which is largely imported from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. So, what I don’t want all of you American motorists to do when you pull into a gas station is scoff and blame it on the war. What I do want you to do is scoff and blame it on American oil executives. The increase in gas prices derives from the American oil industry trying to make a quick buck. Back in April of 2020, when gas prices were at their lowest point in years that I mentioned earlier, oil producers were in the red. Barrels of oil were costing corporations


more to drill and export than they received in return from profit. In some rare cases there were stories of the barrels being worth more than the oil they were containing. The oil industry in the U.S. took a major hit as we all sheltered in place and let our cars mothball in our driveways. Oil needed a comeback and as pandemic restrictions were being lifted the hope for industry workers was that people would all jump right back in their cars and the money would flow as it did before lockdown. However, people decided to work remotely and the industry did not bounce back as it had predicted. It was also continuing to suffer from initial pandemic losses that they could not completely compensate for until profits stabilized. The oil industry was on its back foot but not completely in the corner. They were only put there when the Build Back Better bill was passed and the recent Post Office overhaul was signed into law by President Biden. The sustainability goals of these two bills to move American energy and transit to electric automobiles served as a death sentence to the oil industry who see their business falling into a final descent. So what better way to make a quick buck than to increase gas prices at the backdrop of a war where the major power involved happens to be Europe’s largest oil trading partner? So please, do not blame the war on your gas prices, blame it on the selfish executives using the war as the perfect veil to hide their own desires behind. But of course, this wouldn’t be an article from Thomas Pickering unless it properly mentioned a solution that involved trains. Simply put, effective public transit which connected not just towns to cities but towns to towns

would make gas and oil products less relied on to get to work by individual commuters. The issue with our system is that our public transit connects outlying cities and towns to the largest metropolitan area within one hour. For instance, in Massachusetts all of our commuter line trains run from Boston to other cities such as Worcester, Fitchburg and Lowell. Which is very effective for moving people in and out Boston or moving people along those lines, but the issue comes when trying to move between lines. If I, a Worcester resident, wants to make it to Fitchburg I need to take the train into Boston and then out from Boston on another line; from another station I might add as well! This journey could take over two and half hours for a drive which is only 25 minutes. For people who commute to Worcester from Fitchburg for work or school it just makes sense to rely on a car. But if we were able to invest in an interconnected public transit system then we wouldn’t be forced to only travel along our lines from Boston. We could go to Fitchburg from Worcester or Lowell from Framingham. We need a public transit system which looks like a spider-web and not simply radiating lines from Boston. From there our reliance on gas would decrease and our frustration when prices increase could be subsided. So, do not blame the war for gas prices; blame a public transit system which is not effective in moving people laterally between lines and especially blame those in the oil industry who are profiting from the suffering of the largest refugee crisis on the European continent since World War II.

March 11 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

A Beginner’s Guide to Local Public Transportation By Eve Robinson special to the hoot

You probably know the feeling: It’s break on campus, you decided to stick around for the week, and now that all your friends have stowed away for the week, you’re left without a car or the Brandeis shuttle to get you out and about. There is an easy, accessible solution to cure those break blues and satisfy your curiosity about the world outside of Waltham: the MBTA. Massachusetts is nationally recognized for its extensive public transportation network. You can get from Waltham to Boston’s North End in 40 minutes. You can venture to Porter Square with only two bus transfers. The MBTA is reliable and consistent and doesn’t follow the academic calendar. Are you not fully comfortable with your local public transportation savvy? Don’t worry, this article has you covered. Whether you’re looking to run errands, scouting out a new restaurant or want to walk an uncharted stretch of the Charles River Bike Path, there is something for everyone in this list of the 10 best stops off the 70 and the 553. Of course, cover the basics: Where are the bus stops for my pickup? First, know what to look for. When finding a stop, look for the unassuming yellow plaques with the classic MBTA “T” logo at the top. They’re easy to overlook but just as easy to notice if you know what you’re looking for. If you’re taking the 553, head down to Gosman and you’ll see the stop right on the corner of South Street and the Gosman car entrance. If you’re taking the 70, you’ve got

a few options. If you live up in North Quad, take the North Cut through Cedarwood to the stop at Everett Street and Main Street. If you live closer to South Street, walk 15 minutes (or BranVan) towards Main Street and just off the corner of Prospect Street. What’s the best way to track the bus? In my experience, Google Maps has proven to be more accurate than the official MBTA app. Get there 5 minutes before the scheduled arrival. Unlike Brandeis shuttles and buses, MBTA buses won’t wait if they arrive early to a stop. How much does a bus ride cost? For the 70 and 553, each ride costs $1.70. You can pay with a CharlieCard, CharlieTicket or in cash (you do not need exact change, but you won’t get your $0.30 change). They do not accept credit cards, as I discovered the first time I took the 70 into town. The 70 Oakland Street @ Main Street Just two blocks southwest of this stop and you’ll find Central Rock Gym, a New England rock climbing gym with locations all over the greater Boston area. If you want to visit on days that the Brandeis Mountain Club isn’t making a trip, the 70 is your way to get there. You can just go for bouldering, or sign up for a staff belay buddy to tackle some toprope climbs. Cross Street @ Main Street This stop is the nexus of numerous activities. Food, shops, museums, groceries––you name it, Watertown has it. You can hop on the Charles River Bike Path for a stroll in urban nature. You can peruse vinyl selections (mostly

punk and metal) at Wanna Hear It Records. You can explore the history of Watertown’s substantial Armenian community at the Armenian Museum of America. If you have a sweet tooth, check out Tabrizi Bakery, a spot for traditional Iranian treats. And while it’s a bit more of a trek, Sakayana and Little L Bakery are two gems tucked away in the residential area of Watertown. Sakanaya specializes in sashimi-cut seafood and offers quality take-out sushi. The adjacent storefront, Little L Bakery, open Thursday through Saturday, sells a modest amount of Japanese-French fusion pastries. Arsenal Street @ Arlington Street You could easily get off at the stop before this one (Arsenal @ Elm street) for Target and Arsenal Yards, but the Arlington Street stop gets you closer to a must-see location of East Watertown in the spring. Mount Auburn Cemetery is just as much garden as it is burial ground. Take your time walking the winding roads here before ending at Sofra Bakery & Cafe just outside the cemetery grounds. 450 Western Avenue This unsuspecting stop is surrounded by a breadth of shops. If you’re a plant fanatic, check out Mahoney’s Garden Centers. They have a slew of houseplants that are dorm friendly. Walk down a block further, and you can take a coffee break at Pavement Coffeehouse. If you walk a few blocks toward Everett Street, you can appreciate the Charles River at Herter Park. Massachusetts Avenue @ Pearl Street The second to last stop for the inbound 70 does not disappoint.

Here in Central Square is the connection point for the red line T train. It can take you further into Boston proper or a bit northwest towards Harvard Square and Somerville. There are so many opportunities in the area that choosing just a handful would be a disservice to everyone. So, follow your nose, heart or Google maps to guide you around the area. Any cardinal direction can lead you to gems. The 553 Elm Street @ Webster Street This stop drops you in the homey town center of West Newton. Stop at Mango Thai Cuisine for their golden rolls. Or dip into The Paper Mouse or Artitutes, two local gift shops with handcrafted art and supplies. If you’re into cinema but prefer a smaller, calmer environment to that of AMC theatersm visit West Newton Cinema. The theater is independently run, has a small array of concessions and is wheelchair accessible. Washington Street @ Cross Street I’ll say it, Hannafords and Market Basket just are not the same as Trader Joe’s. Lucky for you, the 553 drops you off directly in front of the Newton Trader Joe’s here. Not to mention, you won’t have to vie for a parking spot in the cramped lot behind the store. Washington Street @ Harvard Street You can’t say you’ve had the full metro-Boston college experience without experiencing Cabot’s. The old-school diner is one block from the bus stop and a sugar fanatic’s dream. They serve over two dozen flavors of ice cream and are very generous with their portion sizes. It is a Newton landmark that will transport you back in

time and into a food coma. You’ll be glad you don’t have to drive home after. Washington Street @ Lewis Terrace Just over the bridge from this bus stop is Cradles to Crayons, a nonprofit organization that organizes and distributes children’s goods to families in the Greater Boston area. If you want to get involved in community service, you can sign up to volunteer with Cradles to Crayons through their website. Right across from Cradles to Crayons is Cabot Park. As someone who needs a steady fix of dogs in my life, this is a good park to find some. Washington Street @ Bacon Street This final stop serves as a connection point for buses heading in all directions. My favorite is the 504 express into Back Bay. On weekdays when the Boston shuttle isn’t running, you can transfer here onto the 504 for direct service to the steps of the Boston Public Library. It’s a premier study spot and a good place to see a healthy dose of non-Brandeis students. Brandeis transportation services are great—they can get you all over Waltham, campus and (less frequently) into Cambridge and Boston. At the same time, it’s a useful skill and fun challenge to explore the services provided beyond the campus bubble. I implore everyone to take advantage of the nationally-renowned transit services right in our neighborhood. Learning the ups and downs of public transit and expanding your understanding of our immediate geography may make for a more meaningful and well-rounded college experience.

A review: the new dining hall vendors who may be replacing Sodexo By Jenny Zhao special to the hoot

As the contract of Sodexo will expire by the end of this semester, five dining hall vendors—including Sodexo itself who planned to renew their contract—took turns to present the Brandeis Community food samples in the past week. I had a chance to taste three of the five vendors last week, by which I will give each of them a detailed review below. *Disclaimer: this is completely personal and might be judgemental Nexdine: As the first vendor that I had a chance to taste, the fancy look of the food packaging–well-designed plastic containers with customized stickers—wowed me at first impression. According to the standard of my Asian taste, the Kimbap (Korean-style sushi rolls) surprised me because this is something I have never seen at Brandeis tables (or even heard of at other college dining halls). Although frankly speaking, the unseasoned rice stuffed inside the seaweed was quite plain and the roll had a saggy taste overall, seeing this kind of unprecedented food on a college dining server’s table was still surprising in a good way. What Nexdine truly impressed me was its detox water. With chopped pineapple and crushed

mint soaking inside coconut water in a fancy plastic bag container, you can imagine one of those drinks being sold for $6.99 plus tax on Newbury Street. But today you can actually get it free in your college dining hall with a qualifying taste. I could actually taste the fruitiness from it, compared to the smell-less, tasteless, meaningless detox water from Sherman— well, I know the bar is low. AVI: My favorite one. Compared to other vendors’ ready-made food, AVI presented their food fresh and hot off of the stove. The menu was mind-blowing: lobster mac n cheese, wagyu burger, wagyu fried rice ... Although the reality of wagyu was in doubt, the mini-size serving of all dishes in delicate wood-like containers was something I have never experienced. The chickpea hummus with a softshell was also classy. It was like having an omakase—a fancy Japanese dining style in which you get to sit face-to-face with the chef, who cooks you the minimum portion of food made out of the freshest high-end ingredients. Bon Appetit: As someone who spent the first of her 14 years of life growing up in China, the bubble tea from Bon Appetit reminded me of my childhood—no, I’m not talking about how authentic it was. I am talking about the over-sweetness of the tea and the mixture of over-

ly-food-colored boba, and how they reminded me of the powder-made drink sold right across my elementary school in early 2010s China. The chicken sandwich was also disappointing. The bread was toasted into a hard-as-stone texture, but the patty was cold and no longer crisp. The dressing was also flavorless. I was sure that it must have been made earlier that morning. To make an inad-

equate metaphor, the bread was the tomb of the chicken patty, and this sandwich was the tomb of my tastebuds. Conclusion Overall, the performance of all the vendors was beyond my expectations. Each of the three vendors had at least one dish that surprised me, either by the taste or by the creativeness. There have been conspiracy theories that all of them gave their best to win the

bid, but how the actual food tastes like next year would be a different story, just like how Sodexo did (I didn’t go to their session but I heard the food taste exactly like Sherman but looked so much fancier). However, after getting tired of Sodexo food for years, it would be no doubt all the Brandesians need is to have a sense of newness in their future meals.




The Brandeis Hoot 14

March 11, 2022

‘The Batman’: the line between justice and vengeance By Josh Lannon staff

“The Batman” really leans into the darker aspects of the Batman mythos to create a compelling narrative that explores Batman’s role as a vigilante. The film also avoids many of the pitfalls that plague superhero movies like repetitive origin stories or building to another sequel. The central narrative is compelling and returns to Batman’s roots as the world’s greatest detective as the caped crusader chases down clues left by the enigmatic Riddler (Paul Dano). The film shows a young Batman (Robert Pattinson), early on in his career as a vigilante crime fighter. This version of Batman is still quite new to the game and displays more violent tendencies. At the start of the movie, Batman claims to be vengeance, and initially, he is viewed by others and most of the police as a violent vigilante. While this interpretation of Batman is noticeably darker, Batman thankfully does not go full anti-hero and kill his enemies. His moral code about crossing the line from vigilante to murderer is still present in this iteration. However, the main character arc of this Batman involves examining what it means to be a vengeful vigilante and whether Batman can be a hero if he only inspires fear. “The Batman” starts off strong with a compelling narrative centered around Batman chasing down clues in pursuit of the serial killer known as the Riddler. The film starts out dark, as we see the Riddler kill his first victim and leave morbid clues for Batman to follow. This case leads Batman down a rabbit hole revealing deep corruption within Gotham that also connects to his parents’ mur-

der. We all know Batman’s parents are dead, and while they are a central part of the Batman mythos, the film thankfully avoids portraying their death again. In fact, the movie assumes that you know who Batman is. It starts out with Batman already being established in Gotham City and he is already partnered with Jim Gordon, played by Jeffrey Wright. It doesn’t rehash his origin or try to connect Batman to a larger universe. It is self-contained and assumes that the audience might know a little about Batman, and the movie is better for it. The film also uses dialogue sparingly and often uses its action sequences for character development. For example, when we first see Batman fight, he takes a few hits from some random thugs. This shows that he is still relatively new to being a vigilante, as well as showing Batman as more human and not an unkillable superhero. There is still plenty of superhero style action, but it is more grounded than your typical CGI fights. The fight scenes are gritty and realistic, rather than cartoonishly ridiculous or extremely one sided. Robert Pattinson does a great job physically embodying Batman, but also gives a uniquely emotional portrayal of Bruce Wayne. The physical performance by Robert Pattinson is amazing, as he can portray a variety of emotions through his body language alone and even behind the cowl we can see elements of his more emotionally scarred take on Bruce Wayne. Pattinson’s performance as Batman is broody and dark; he really gives his all in portraying Bruce’s emotional trauma. While Pattinson makes for a great Batman, the moodiness also leaks into his portrayal of Bruce Wayne, who noticeably lacks the playboy

attitude or facade that has been present in previous live action iterations like Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. In fact, the movie focuses very little on Bruce, although it dives deep into his emotions and motivations, it primarily depicts Pattinson as Batman. To be fair, this film’s darker tone does not leave a lot of room for a billionaire playboy. Joining Pattinson’s Batman is Zoe Kravitz’s performance as Catwoman. Kravitz has great chemistry with Pattinson, and the legendary romance between the Cat and the Bat takes a central role in the film. Their relationship is initially fairly creepy, as Batman investigates her connection to a person of interest in the murders by the riddler. However, Selina serves as more than a love interest, this Catwoman has her own motivation and story arc involving avenging her dead friend and finding out who killed her mother. Her character arc connects to Batman’s struggle with his own past as he questions his impact on the city. The central theme of the film involves Batman straddling the line between vengeance and justice. The film draws parallels between Batman and Riddler, as Riddler only kills those who took part in a large-scale conspiracy. This interpretation of the Riddler is noticeably darker, as it portrays him as a serial killer rather than some of the sillier versions of the character (I’m looking at you Jim Carrey). But the film stays true to Riddler’s obsession with Batman, leaving him clues that he wants Batman to figure out. However, the film gives their relationship a unique spin as it portrays Riddler as truly being obsessed with and partially inspired by Batman’s crusade on crime. This Riddler sees himself as another masked vigilante un-

masking a corrupt city rotten to the core. As Batman comes closer to finding Riddler, he sees more connections between himself and Riddler that cause him to reexamine his effect on Gotham City if he inspires mad-men like Riddler. “The Batman” is a surprisingly complex Batman movie that avoids rehashing well known elements of the Batman mythos in


favor of creating a character driven murder mystery that examines his motivations and actions as a vigilante. Fans will find a lot to love about the film, but its three hour runtime might turn off more casual viewers. However, those who do see the movie will find a compelling narrative that really feels like a Batman story, not just a Batman movie.

How ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ lets the queer community down By Ori Cohen special to the hoot

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was an excellent show in its first three seasons. It follows the story of Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), an aspiring comedian and her struggles to make it in comedy in 1950s America. However, episode five of the current season is the worst and most transformative episode in the entire series. In the span of an hour, the entire show was ruined for me and many other queer viewers. Season three featured Midge’s growing popularity as a comic. She met Shy Baldwin (Leroy McClain), a famous Black singer, who offered her a job as an opening act on his worldwide tour, and she took that opportunity in a heartbeat. It was her big break. Throughout the tour, Shy and Midge grew closer; in episode six, Midge found Shy hiding and injured from a lover, who he admitted to be a man. After Shy confided in her, he insisted that she could not tell anyone. Midge is shocked, but reacts well for a straight white woman in the 50s. Midge noticeably grew more prideful and immature over the course of this season. Wheth-

er it was her undermining other characters, or acting as though her comedy was infallible, she slowly became less sympathetic. This was easy to brush off due to the stresses she faced during the tour. But this all culminated in an atrocious act Midge committed in the season finale. To an entirely booked crowd in the Apollo (a famous venue for Black performers and audiences), she outed Shy. This utter betrayal resulted in her getting kicked off Shy’s tour. The shot of her standing stunned on the tarmac as Shy’s plane took off in front of her marked the lowest point in her character arc. At least, that is how it seemed. Season four opens with Midge essentially having a tantrum—-childish, yes, but had she come to her senses and taken responsibility, it would’ve been an understandable breakdown. However, as the season continues, she does not reflect on her actions nor improve in any way. Instead she decides to become even worse. In the most heinous scene of this episode, Midge corners and confronts Shy in a bathroom in order to resolve what the director of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Amy Sherman-Palladino (ASP), attempts to portray as a deep-set guilt. Instead, this scene is one of manipulation, condescension and

victim blaming. Midge’s actions are unforgivable. Her audacity to act as though her losing an opportunity was in any way comparable to the amount of emotional turmoil and potentially life-threatening damage she did to Shy is disgusting. Her entitled justifications were even worse: “I was desperate for that laugh. I was desperate to just go out there and kill. And I did kill, which was my job. But I never would have hurt you.” There is no alternate way to interpret her words, and her tacked-on claim at the end comes off as cheap. She already hurt him, caused irreparable harm, but still expects to be forgiven. And this obsessive need for an apology is the crux of the issue: She genuinely believes that she deserves to be apologized to. Throughout the scene, she states that she thought they were friends and that Shy should have let her on the plane so she could apologize and acknowledge that she messed up. However nice these platitudes are, this does not make up for a season of pettiness. Her goal in attending Shy’s wedding in the first place was to ruin the night and take revenge. Had this been ASP’s attempt to demonstrate the lowest point of her character arc, where the bathroom scene forced her into a place of introspection

and improvement, I would have applauded them. In fact, right as she entered that bathroom, I was excited in the hopes of seeing Shy yell at her, or even to quietly but firmly state that she was a bad person. However, to ASP, Midge is the main character and thus can do no wrong. One of the most infuriating aspects of this scene is her proposed moral superiority. She not only brings up what Shy should have done in order to cater to her feelings, but berates him for having fired his musicians and distancing himself from his friends. While watching this, I had to pause it midway through in order to fume. As a queer person myself, this scene hit hard. When I was in high school, my closest friend at the time outed me. Thankfully, it did not spread far and did not endanger me, but the damage was done. Any queer person knows the terror of others knowing your gender or sexuality before you are ready, especially if it is not safe to come out. There is no comparable experience in my life—-and it marked the first and only time where I openly cried in front of a friend. Much like Midge, the person who outed me did not do so out of malice, but because of a dangerous obliviousness and ignorance. And that distinction

could not matter in the slightest to me. I had hoped this scene could see Shy break through to her and make her understand how deeply she betrayed him, perhaps out of a personal need to see someone so much like my ex-friend express genuine regret. At least I got to yell at the person who outed me. Shy, on the other hand, was written to essentially beg for her friendship back. He suggests that they can meet up sometime, before being cut off by Midge who states that she’s: “[...] not falling for that again. [They’re] not friends.” And to make matters worse, this scene is followed by Midge white-knighting. She refuses to take a bribe from Shy’s PR team, in an attempt to defend his honor, despite having outed him. This scene solidified Midge as an antagonist and made her impossible to relate to. The mere fact that Shy Baldwin’s actor is not set to be in any other episode this season is worrying, implying that ASP decided this was an end to any conflict Midge feels. In this one moment, the show sent the message that no matter what injustice you face, as long as the perpetrator apologizes then you have no right to feel upset.

March 11, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

What is love? A look into ‘Black Love, Everlasting: An Ode to Black Intellectuals Erased’ By Victoria Adusei special to the hoot

On Sunday Feb. 13, I was lucky enough to be in attendance at both Cassipea Stith’s ’22 and Logan Shanks’ ’24 first event. Titling this curation of Black artistry “Black Love, Everlasting: An Ode to Black Intellectuals Erased,” there was an exuberant amount of care and attention conjured up in this space. One thing I noticed throughout my journey within this art project was the diversity in showcased art mediums. Beginning with the showing of the documentary “Amazing Grace,” a film which displays the community experience between Aretha Franklin and the members of the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, and ending with journal prompts centered on interiority and introspection, there was a lot of love that I felt within this space. I also saw multiple different archival photographs displaying the different dimensions of love; through joy, art, and connection. At first, when I sat down to write this article, I was simply going to provide a summary of my experiences. I was going to detail the few times I had cried while watching Aretha and the choir work in tandem to evoke visceral reactions out of the audience in the church. Or perhaps document the moments of writer’s block I experienced as I tried to reflect on how I would perceive my sense of being outside of capitalism and the gender binary. However, I felt it was important to incorporate the words from the artists themselves. So, I

am calling to attention the personal connections this project had to both Cassipea and Logan. I conducted separate interviews with them, in so getting a better understanding of why they were called to do this work, as well as what goals they had for this event. Logan Shanks: First, what is Black Love, Everlasting: An Ode to Black Intellectuals Erased? “This is a curation that brings together some Brandeis archives of Black feminist intellectuals who matriculated through this university. These photos in particular are from Parker Thompson, a History major who is a junior at Brandeis. He collects different photos of Black being, Black resting, Black existing, Black joy, Black happiness, Black love. He also collects images of Black folks not necessarily in a state of trauma but in a state of intention and happiness and community and family. This being said, I really wanted to bring together those images and Black feminists who have matriculated through this university to uphold love; as Aretha franklin would say a force that could rock this Earth foundation. “ Is there a personal reason behind why you felt called to do this work as well as a need to display love within Black Feminism? “Definitely pragmatic, as both an African & African American Studies major as well as a Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies major. Black feminism has answered the questions I didn’t even know to ask. I think it [Black feminism] needs to be honored more and needs to be seen as a tool of expanding the possibility of what the world could be. I feel like I was

mainly called to do this because I know that a lot of the access that I have, not even in terms of the educational white matric material goods, can be described using Black feminist language. This language has helped me to become a more self-actualized person and to know what I need and to have desires and wants…it has also called me to share and curate these resources and readings in a way that is accessible to my community. I owe to Black feminism the words to be able to name those things.” I noticed that a part of your art curation incorporated the concept of being able to sit and rest with your thoughts as well as being able to put those thoughts on paper. I know that you guided us through this process by offering journal prompts to essentially drive us to introspection. This being said, one prompt that stood out to me was “what new world would emerge if we gave up gender & capitalism as the entry into freedom?” How does this art display of Black feminism & Black love relate to giving up a gender binary as well as to freedom from the constraints capitalism places on our wants & desires? “I think what this installation does is interesting. Kinda in the way we move as humans in this capitalist system we’re constantly in a state of rush, always in a “oh I need to get to the next thing”. You know, not by our consent of course, we’re kinda forced into these different flattened out roles, sort of like robots trying to keep the machine of capitalism moving. I feel like with what our installation does it forces you to sit, rest, and dwell. And to theorize

the dwelling as a moment where you don’t necessarily have to labor or perform and give anything. All you have to do is rest and sit and be in your body and in yourself. And that’s something that we honestly don’t have the privilege to do, as humans period in a capitalist system, but especially as Black folks. Especially as Black femmes, Black queer folks, like we don’t have that luxury. So we really wanted to carve out such space to do that. It could kinda be unsettling at first like “what am I supposed?” but just be. There’s no expectations coming into this space. All you needed to do is just be with the work and have reverence for Black feminist intellectual gyneology.” What about your thoughts on Black womanhood outside of the gender binary and its relationship to the driving force behind this exhibition, love? “Black womanhood outside the gender binary looks like your value not being tied to your capacity to labor for other people. It also looks like how you are in your body and in yourself, that’s what it means to me. Also, showing up and being in community with other people. Of course, making something out of nothing but not romanticizing the struggle of that. And lastly, the Black genius that is Black womanhood.” Cassipea Stith: What drove you to work on an exhibition about Black love, feminism & intellect? “The project spurred out of a conversation between Logan and I and I’m always willing to hop on board with anything I’m able to support. When Logan said she wanted to have an event specifically for Valentine’s day centered

around Black history, I thought that was really cool because I haven’t seen them merged before. I’ve never seen a space where Valentine’s Day has centered Black history and I think that’s really important when thinking about how we empower Black folks. For us, Black History is occurring at all times, and not just in connection to the month of February. We envisioned a connection between Black History and Valentine’s Day as a way to relate Black Intellectuals to another context that normally isn’t associated with Black scholarship.” What goals did you have for this event? What were you hoping to receive in terms of reactions to your project on Black love and Black feminist intellect? “My goal for the event was that everyone would come into the space feeling love, love for themselves, love for one another. I think that some of the cliche aspects of Valentine’s Day produce unproductive interactions that are centered around ingenuity. Some things I can think of are like speed dating. We kind of used this concept as a framework but rather than simple interactions we wanted to inspire people to meet a Black intellectual they may not be familiar with. Out of that we figured conversations could be produced amongst students that would actually get them to form genuine relationships. Also on doing the work alongside Logan for students, we wanted to prove that anything you want to create you very much can. A part of even learning about Black intellectuals leads to recognizing that we have intellectual power of our own.”

The new ‘West Side Story’ is a well crafted but unnecessary remake editor

It has been over 50 years since film audiences were introduced to the tragic love story of Tony and Maria. “West Side Story” originally premiered on Broadway in 1957, with six Tony nominations and two wins. In 1961, the critically acclaimed musical was adapted for the big screen and won 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, making it the musical movie with the most Oscar wins. In 2021, Steven Speilberg put his vision of the story on screen, starring Ansel Elgort and newcomer Rachel Zegler. While this vision may not have done amazing at the box offices, it has received critical acclaim with seven Oscar nominations. Even though Speilberg did make some creative changes, this film was mostly the same compared to the 1961 version. This begs the question, why did we need a new version of this film if we could just turn on the original? In this musical retelling of “Romeo and Juliet,” the setting is 1950s New York. Instead of the Monatagues and the Capulets, we have the Jets and the Sharks, two rival gangs. The Jets are white and lead by Riff (Mike Faist) and the Sharks are Puerto Rican and lead by Bernardo (David Alvarez). They fight with each other every chance they get as they are

both trying to gain power over the West Side of Manhattan. The lives of both of these gangs change when Tony (Elgort), a Jet and Riff ’s best friend, falls in love with Maria (Zegler), a Shark girl and Bernardo’s sister. This does not go well with either of the groups. Theifnor brawls become more violent as emotions run high. Tony is mentored by his boss Valentina (Rita Moreno), the owner of the general store, and Maria is mentored by Anita (Ariana Debose), Bernardo’s girlfriend who is like a sister to Maria. Despite the guidance, no one is prepared for the chaos that will ensue. A main thing that makes this different from the original is, of course, a new set of actors. The talent certainly lived up to their predecessors. Considering the original Tony and Maria had other people’s singing voices dubbed over, that is a point for this film. Zegler was found in an open casting call and had not been in anything professional before, and I was really impressed with her performance. She was able to show Maria’s innocence in how she talks about how unfamiliar she is with love and her positive attitude despite how she is surrounded by gangs. She also shows her strength when she stands up for her love for Tony and how she will not let anyone get in her way in her fight for love and independence. Zegler did this all with a fantastic singing voice and I hope to hear

that voice more in the future. I felt Elgort did a fine job with his performance. He had a nice singing voice which was shown in his belt in the song “Maria.” He did a lovely job showing Tony’s passion for love, for his friends and how he is trying to clean up his act away from his previous crimes. The stand outs were Riff and Anita. Faist brought a lot of power to the role of Riff. He owned the scenes he was in. From standing up to rival gangs, encouraging his friends to gain confidence, the violence he inflicts and the violence he receives. Riff has a hard life and Faist let that show. Plus he led dance routines like nobody’s business. The way he moved his feet in “Jet Song” and “Cool” captivated me. Faist has a history of Broadway training, and that came across in this performance. Debose also carried her scenes, showing how Anita is a strong confident woman that can sing amazingly. She speaks her mind proudly with a commanding voice that makes everyone listen, even gang members. She confronts Maria about the dangers of dating Tony, explaining to Bernardo why she loves America and stepping up to the Jets for Maria. She will go as far as she can when it comes to her beliefs. “A Boy Like That” was a stand out song for her that showed her powerful spirit and powerhouse vocals. Debose has been nominated for her performance in

this film and following in the footsteps of Rita Moreno’s performance of Anita in the original, I can see her winning that Oscar. The reason the original film was a classic was because this is a very exciting story. The excitement was captured in this version as well. From the vibrant songs to the violent brawls and everything in between. This is a story that will have you singing along one second and crying the next second. All of the characters have complexities to them and that is what makes you so invested. People like Riff and Bernardo are violent gang members, but they still care so much about their friends and family. Tony and Maria support the people around them, but they also hold on to each other with a love that is deep and true. Valentina and Anita both try to protect the people close to them, but they think about their own wants as well. Every character is wonderful and they make the story special. Even if you already know how it is going to end, since it is based on Romeo and Juliet, you are still glued to your seat, curious as to what will happen and the deaths are shocking. It is a thrilling story of love, strength, emotions, race and friendship, but this version did not bring anything that drew you in more than the original. The main change was Rita Moreno playing the store owner, Valentina, when the original was a character named Doc played by

a white man. This movie explains that Valentina is Doc’s widow, mostly as a wink to Rita Moreno being in the original. Other than that, most of the changes were changing song order/locations, more Spanish being spoken by the Puerto Rican characters and a character named Anybodys that was previously seen as a tomboy is now seen as transgender. None of the actual plot was changed, no songs were added and the motivations were still unchanged. Even though it was not a carbon copy film, it did not do anything memorable enough to warrant the need for a revival. Usually revival movies are made as a cash grab and I believe that is probably true for this film as well. Despite this being an entertaining watch, I do not see it going down in history like the original. “West Side Story” did not do as well in theaters as expected, but now people do not have to leave their homes to see this film. On March 2, the film was made available on Disney Plus and HBO Max. I would recommend watching this film as it is enjoyable, just do not go in with high expectations. If you want to see if this lives up to the original, or you just want to see a heartbreaking romance with a catchy soundtrack, watch the new “West Side Story” today.


The Brandeis Hoot

March 11, 2022

BookTok worth it or not: ‘Normal People’ By Victoria Morrongiello editor

It’s a Saturday night and you know what that means: I stayed in and read a book to inform you over whether you should read it too. The answer this week? Read to find out. Here’s my deal: books come up on the BookTok algorithm, and after enough pressure (and whether or not I can get my hands on a copy), I read the book. Then I come here and rant. This week’s victim is “Normal People” by Sally Rooney. Well, to put it simply, “Normal People” crushed my soul and I would let it do it again. “Normal People” is a perfectly crafted novel and boy, oh boy, I don’t even think I have the words to describe how complex this book is. I mean seriously, I wanted to scream and cry the entire time. It is entirely authentic and raw. It shows you how reck-

less young people can be when it comes to others’ feelings and their own. The main characters aren’t perfect, but they’re loveable and relatable because of it. They mess up and try to be good people, but even they struggle with knowing how to be good. It’s a quick read with low investment, so a manageable escape on top of school work. But do prepare yourself for some emotional damage. We have our two main characters, Connell and Marianne, who are teenagers living in Ireland. We see them grow up together from high school to college and we see their dynamic change over the years. Connell who starts out as a popular golden boy with self-conscious tendencies, and Marianne as the outcast smart girl transform into the other when they get to college. The two have a connection that neither of them really understand or accept, for that matter. They go around in these circles, dancing around their true

emotions for each other, WHICH IS FRUSTRATING AS A READER. Connell doesn’t really deserve Marianne, a fact that even Connell’s mother tells him, and I agree with. Marianne deserves the entire world, and we see her get treated like garbage by literally every man in this book. And I hate that even with a guy like Connell, who she shares such an intimate connection with, she still doesn’t get treated right. The novel was wonderfully written… until we reach the ending. Throughout the entire book, our two main characters are in this cycle where they constantly hurt each other, and I feel like you reach the end of the book and they didn’t break the cycle—they just fell into another loop of it. I hate the way Marianne just accepts the fact that she will always be there. It’s like she’s making herself a cushion for Connell to fall back on; indispensable, if you will. She accepts that he will go off

and do great things and she will stay put, where he can find her. Like no, hunny, you deserve more for yourself. Marianne has just been through so much that she would rather be lonely without him than be with him but feel unworthy. But should that really be the bar we set for men? This book also ends on a cliffhanger, so you don’t know whether they actually in fact break this cycle and learn from their past, which I don’t love. Now it was brought to my attention that maybe they aren’t supposed to be able to break the cycle. Maybe Marianne is not able to accept a healthy form of love and will therefore only accept the love she thinks she deserves. And that’s deep and maybe a bit too real. The ending didn’t ruin the book for me though, I still adored it. I liked it more than “Night Circus” but not as much as “We Hunt the Flame,” but that’s a bit unfair because they’re all very different book genres and styles. I don’t

normally read romance books, but I got super invested in this very quickly and I did finish it in a day I was so hooked. Here are some quotes and my reactions to cap off this review: “I’ m not a religious person but I do sometimes think God made you for me.” “She closes her eyes. He probably won’t come back, she thinks. Or he will, differently. What they have now they can never have back again. But for her the pain of loneliness will be nothing to the pain that she used to feel, of being unworthy.” “Generally I find men are a lot more concerned with limiting the freedoms of women than exercising personal freedom for themselves.” “Most people go through their whole lives, without ever really feeling that close with anyone.” Read this book. It’s also a series on Hulu.


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