The Brandeis Hoot, March 18, 2022

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Volume 20 Issue 6

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”

March 18, 2022

Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.

Students hold sit-in to support dining workers

PAX and SJSP minors discontinued in Fall 2022 semester

By Anya Lance-Chacko and Victoria Morrongiello

By Nataniela Zavlun and Daniela Zavlun



Students held a sit-in inside Bernstein-Marcus Administration Center on March 11 in support of dining workers on campus. Students were able to meet with the administration to voice their concerns and hear the university’s plans. Lois Stanley, Vice President for Campus Planning and Operations, and Stew Uretsky, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, met on March 11 with approximately 30 students, Julie Jette— Assistant

The university will be discontinuing the Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence (PAX) Studies and Social Justice and Social Policy (SJSP) minors starting in the Fall 2022 semester, according to an email obtained by The Hoot. “Two social justice minors have been killed,” wrote Professor Gordon Fellman (SOC/ WGS), Program Chair of the PAX minor, in an email interview with The Hoot. Fellman explained that the department’s difficulties in appointing successors to head the See PAX, page 3

See DINING, page 2


Prof named inaugural director of new community and civic center ByVictoria Morrongiello editor

Sara Shostak (SOC/HSSP) was announced as the inaugural director of the Vic and Bobbi Samuels ‘63 Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation, according to a Brande-

isNOW article from March 8. Shostak will take the helm of the center upon its opening which is projected to be in Fall 2022. “The Vic and Bobbi Samuels ‘63 Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation is being founded at an extraordinary moment in history. Together, the COVID-19 pandemic

and an urgent reckoning with America’s history of racial injustice call on us to develop new ways of addressing systems of inequality and their many consequences for individuals, families, and communities. At the same time, the climate crisis and challenges to democracy, peace, and justice around the world

demand collective strategies,” wrote Shostak to The Brandeis Hoot in an email interview. In this role, Shostak wrote that one of her top priorities is supporting students, this she plans to do in a number of ways. She wants to make funding available for students to undertake research projects on behalf of communi-

ty-based organizations like for example providing mentorship on projects. She waldo wrote that she is meeting with students to get their perspective on the design of the Samuels’ Center’s programs in order to have a better understanding of student needs and hopes See DIRECTOR, page 3

Alumni in Ukraine call for support from community members By Victoria Morrongiello editor

The university’s Alumni Association shared “harrowing stories” from alumni currently living in Ukraine amidst the Russian assault on the country, in a recent article from March 8. Russia has continued its invasion of Ukraine, attacking major cities and urban areas including: Kyiv, Kherson and Melitpol, according to the live updates from The New York Times. “The day will come when we will rebuild everything that is being destroyed. It will surely be based on the utmost love for our country and its people, and peo-

Inside This Issue:

ple all around the world supporting us in various ways,” alumna, Marianna Yakubenko IBS MA ’05, is quoted saying in the article. Alumni reached out to the Alumni Association with their personal stories to be shared with Brandeis community members. In their conversations, alumni also spoke of ways in which members of the community can support Ukrainians as they face the war with Russia, according to the article. Martin Zhunior IBS MBA ’10, another Ukrainian alumni featured in the article, spoke to members of the Alumni Association See ALUMNI, page 2

News: univ. adjusts covid-19 policies Ops: working chads in the club Features: italian program interview Sports: magill earns all american Editorial: housing selection process


Abdel in paris

Page 3 But he’s talking about Page 11 Ukraine Page 9 OPS: PAGE 13 Page 7 Page 8

texas chainsaw massacre

chainsaws were harmed in this film ARTS: PAGE 15


2 The Brandeis Hoot

March 18, 2022

Students discuss concerns with administration over dining worker retention with new dining contract approaching DINING, from page 1

Vice President of communications— wrote to The Hoot in an email. Stanley and Uretsky spoke with students regarding their concerns for dining service workers as the university begins to make its selection for a new vendor. According to Jette’s email, “[Stanley] and [Uretsky] had a productive, respectful dialog with the students and appreciated their viewpoints.” Jette wrote on behalf of the university’s administration that they are in agreement with the student goals seeking to protect the employment of current dining workers as the new contract is signed. The new dining vendor is set to start in July 2022. “The university demonstrated how much we value our colleagues when we financially enabled Sodexo to refrain from laying off staff when COVID-19 forced us to shift to all-remote learning in March 2020,” wrote Jette. This commitment, as Jette describes, to dining workers has not wavered and each of the five companies which presented for the contract bid has, “affirmed that the current hourly staff will all be hired.” Though Jette noted that the hiring process has changed so workers may be denied hire on the basis of background checks and drug testing. If Sodexo receives the contract again, the workers will be retained, according to Jette. Uretsky explained in the meeting with students, “we have been working with sodexo throughout the pandemic in terms of ensuring that those staff working for them… did not lose their jobs, very important commitment we made to sodexo…all of the workers throughout the pandemic maintained jobs… [we did not have] a single layoff relating to [COVID-19] at our university, feel proud of being able to say that.” Students voiced concerns regarding the retention of workers. Jette wrote to The Hoot that, “the dialogue was also useful to clarify a number of questions by the

students, such as confirming that Commencement activities will be catered by Sodexo. Also, one of the student representatives who sits on the Dining RFP Steering Committee was able to describe the ways in which broad student input into the final decision-making process is being sought.” Within the meeting itself, Stanley explained to students that the, “decision to go from exclusivity to non-exclusivity for catering happened two years ago, as a result of… lots of discussion with student groups, that is where the request came up with our community to drop exclusivity.” Uretsky explained, “[The] exclusivity clause was what we were responsible for when we negotiated the two year connection with Sodexo…in part to meet community response that we want to carve out to have the flexibility [for small event delivery]. Sodexo themselves were not interested in maintaining that… [It] does not move the needle in terms of staffing in any way- not going to lay off anybody–matter of meeting community response… people feeling that they had to sneak a food truck on [campus]. ” Stanley explained how the $250 threshold for small events came in for, “smaller pizza-like events for student groups to have some latitude, as we heard they were exercising anyway,” and Uretsky added that the $250 threshold existed, “so it wasn’t subjective [as to] what the definition of a small event was.” After the meeting, Marrissa Small ’22, a Brandeis Leftist Union (BLU) member, explained to The Hoot that, “they put all of the issues [on] when people were having events below $250 with non-union people…they shifted all the blame onto student groups and people coming in as freshmans and not knowing that, they never admitted that it was university-sponsored events that we know happened, that were catered by non union workers.” Ellis Huang ’23, another BLU member, added, “The issue is very clear on the administrative side. We weren’t doing student education

or whatever before the contract was changed, and it was only after the contract was changed that we are seeing any of these issues so it doesn’t make any sense to provide student education as the solution.” During the meeting, in response to student Joshua Benson’s ’23 concern that large events were being billed as multiple smaller events, Uretsky responded by saying, “That’s wrong, [and] violates [our] spirit and intent, if we were aware [we] would absolutely follow up…that is not allowed.” Uretsky explained that this, “ kind of activity [may be] happening [at the] local level- impossible to be aware unless someone made us aware.” When Benson responded by requesting that administration communicate directly with the Union, Uretsky responded by saying, “ We aren’t part of the contract between sodexo and the union, so we can’t negotiate the terms and conditions… student, staff, faculty etc are stakeholders in the dining vendors, which is why we are holding open sessions…[The] union negotiates with the food service vendor, not us.” Uretsky later added, “ the legal relationship doesn’t mean that we can’t talk to and communicate with the workers.” Small explained after the meeting, “If you put that language in the contract, it just can not hap-

pen. That’s the easy solution if you don’t want all this stuff happening.” Huang explained that, “they also got caught up on catering workers under $250, but the point is that if there are catering workers there- then they should be union, period. If there’s staff there, they should be union, period (‘regardless of the money,’ added Small), if there’s an issue with the size of the event, then fine. Maybe there can be more in addition to the union workers, but not as a replacement.” After the meeting and protest, Huang explained, “Understanding catering and…dining services is well within their job descriptions, and they should have all of this information already. In addition to that, the petition was released in November and we were very specific in the language of the petition. I think that if 10 percent of the student body signed onto it there’s no way the petition language is not specific or hard to understand, they’ve had plenty of time to respond to this, so shame on them for pivoting during the entire meeting… saying we need more time to look on it.” Stanley and Uretsky are going to be following up on issues where additional information is needed, according to Jette. An issue which is still being sorted out is in regards to the role of catering staff at small gatherings

for example when a small group of students or employees order sandwiches or pizza from an outside provider. Once matters get figured out, Stanley and Uretsky will update community members, they assume there should be feedback in the next week. “[Stanley] and [Uretsky] look forward to continuing the constructive dialogue with the students, and maintaining the lines of communication that have now been opened,” wrote Jette. Jaiden Wolfman ’23, a member of the BLU, explained that they would be following up with Stanley and Uretsky about their investigation on March 18. Wolfman’s concluded by exclaiming, “People in power like to pretend they have a lot less power and influence than they actually do; and that upsets me because they can change, they can make material change to policy…They’re just refusing too out of the excuse of its too much work, it’s not their position, we don’t have the time or resources. And it’s just all a facade, and none of it is real, and they just don’t wanna do the work that they are being paid to do.” Discussions between students and the university are ongoing, another meeting will be held on Friday March 18.


Prof. Fellman speaks on the closure of PAX and SJSP minors PAX, from page 1

programs after the departure of program chairs may have contributed to the decision to close the minors. According to Fellman, “ the university could have worked to continue (and even combine) the two programs, it seems to have decided to end programs without large enrollments and committed leadership,” he wrote. According to the PAX minor’s page on the university’s website, the program began in 1984. It was named the PAX program after the Latin word for “peace”, and its focus was on the Cold War and nuclear politics. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the program expanded its focus to, “a more universal study of coexistence and conflict resolution” and was renamed Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies, though it is still referred to as the PAX minor, according to the page.

“At a time when violence is increasing in our society and the world as a whole, it seems to me PAX and SJSP offer much of crucial value to students and to Brandeis education,” wrote Fellman. The minor includes courses related to non-violence and group conflict resolution from a variety of departments, according to the page. It also had two of its own classes, PAX 120B- Inner Peace and Outer Peace and PAX 160A- Stopping War: Analyzing Anti-War Movements. Fellman wrote to The Hoot that despite his efforts to raise money for courses such as Inner and Outer Peace and Nonviolence in Theory and Practice, those courses will no longer be offered at the university next year. “The university has shown zero interest in keeping them going and some senior administrators may well not even know what they are about,” wrotre Fellman. A contributing factor to the

downfall of the minors, according to Fellman, is that no successor was groomed to take over the position as head of the minor. Fellman wrote that he,”made the huge mistake of not grooming a successor to head PAX after my retirement.” For the SJSP minor a similar situation occurred, Fellman explained, as one SJSP head left the university years ago, and his successor to follow him had, “gone on to something else,” he wrote. The SJSP minor, according to its page on the university’s webpage, “provides a common place for students in all disciplines to engage with issues of justice and equity.” It also encourages students to “explore policy areas in concrete detail, focused variously on particular groups (children, the elderly, people with disabilities), or particular services (healthcare, income support).” The minor consists of a core course in Social Justice and Social

Policy, as well as electives in the categories of Dynamics of Discrimination and Inequality, Historical and Comparative Perspectives on Social Justice, Diversity and Difference: Cultural Practice, and Social Justice in Action: Policy Approaches to Social Problems. The SJSP minor, “does not seek to promote a particular ideological agenda, but rather to spark creative thinking about complex social problems. It carries the search for norms and principles into the wider arena of practical experience,” according to its university page. Both minors offered opportunities for internships, study abroad experiences, and independent studies, according to their requirements pages. “The killing of the programs suggests classic bureaucratic top-heaviness and indifference to other than bottom-line considerations when a program may need reorganizing, not burial…

This opens the question, is social justice anything more than a marketing slogan for Brandeis? If not just that, why not figure out how to keep those programs going? It’s not a hard task,” wrote Fellman to The Hoot. Alumni of the PAX minor have gone on to work at various organizations, according to their webpage. Forsan Hussein ’00 is the co-founder of Zaitoun Ventures– a investment firm which is affiliated with Invest In Peace. Alumna Lindsay Mitnik ‘16 has become a campus organizer at PIRG Campus Action– an organization which unites students to be the action for change. Recent internships sponsored by the SJSP minor include at the Legal Aid Society, in their Immigration Law Unit and at the African Refugee Development Center in Tel Aviv, Israel as a Higher Education Caseworker, according to their page.

March 18, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

Disability Student’s Network hosts upcoming webinar on how to support students By Roshni Ray editor

The Disabled Student’s Network is a campus organization that serves to provide a community for disabled students at Brandeis and promote advocacy and activism for representation for the disabled. The founders of the club are students Luca Swinford ‘22 and Zoe Pringle ‘22, and the club hosts multiple weekly meetings in-person and over Zoom. On Wednesdays at 8 pm, the club holds community meetings in Heller G55 or over Zoom and every other Thursday, the club holds meetings regarding advocacy and activism. This allows the club to support both students who are looking for a community as well as students who want to focus on activism. Some of the club’s current initiatives include hosting a webinar panel discussing current findings in public health and disabilities. The main focus of the webinar will be to discuss recent Covid-19 policies and their effect on the

disabled as well as the relationship between public health policies and the disabled community. Monika Mitra, the Nancy Lurie Marks Associate Professor of Disability Policy from the Heller School of Management and Stephen Gulley, a lecturer in the Health, Science, Society and Policy (HSSP) department and a current health and disability researcher will serve as guest speakers to provide insight on the focal topics of the webinar. The virtual panel will be held on Friday, Mar. 18 at 2:00 PM. Any Brandeis community member can register for the event. The club originally came to be in April 2021. According to a recent BrandeisNow article covering this club, co-founder Swinford was inspired to initiate this club after taking the course HSSP 128A: Disability Policy with Mitra and with his other co-founder Pringle. After observing that there was no organized group for disabled students on campus, the team decided to start one. While the shift to remote learning had postponed some of their plans and had shifted in-person meetings to

virtual meetings, the two founders were determined to move forward, according to the article. Another inspiration for the club was from the disability activism group Sins Invalid, which serves to celebrate and recognize the diversity of the disabled community. The article described that

Sins Invalid recognizes “many disability communities are dominated by white, physically disabled people, which can create a sense of exclusion for those who aren’t white, cisgendered, heterosexual, or those whose disabilities are not physical.” The article imparts the goals of

the founders: “The planners hope to send the message that public health needs to be inclusive to everyone. Both the disabled community and the non-disabled community need to come together to stand against ableism.”


Russia continues invasion into Ukraine, alumni speak on ways community members can help Ukrainians UKRAINE, from page 1

via Zoom. Zhunior described the situation as being, “surreal,” saying, “ it’s hard to believe it’s happening.” Zhunior also shared his story from when the invasions started on Feb. 24, he said that when he first heard the explosions starting in the middle of the night he woke up but tried to deny what was happening. After failing to get himself to fall back asleep, he turned on CNN to confirm that the invasions had started. “In Kyiv, we have a lot of sirens throughout the day and we hear some explosions. Thankfully, most of them are somewhere in the distance, but our windows still shake and we wake up in the middle of the night from sirens,” he explained what the current day to day life is like in Kyiv. While Zhunior has decided to stay in Kyiv, he told the Alumni Association that he put his mother on a train heading to Poland for safety. Zhunior noted that it is predominantly men left in Kyiv, with women and children having left. Zhunior explained, “There

are so many people, just ordinary guys like me, without any military experience. So many people are willing to take up arms and defend the nation. So many people are outraged by this injustice.” Currently, in Kyiv Zhunior explained that in the cities center where he is located they have been able to stay in their apartments for the most part since the, “bombardments are predominantly happening right now in the outskirts.” Those in the city still spent one night underground in the subway system as a means of sheltering. Zhunior explained that they move to shelters if the bombardments continue for a long time or if the blasting is sounding from a closer distance. “I would like to call on the Brandeis community to support Ukraine, to support the community, to support the army, because they are our heroes, our hope for Ukraine. You know, it’s so funny, that I’m a Black guy who has been living in Kyiv, Ukraine, and the president of the Russian Federation talks about Neo-Nazis in Ukraine and it’s just so ridiculous: the accusa-

tions, the degree of the lies he’s telling,” Zhunior said according to a transcript from the interview. An action to support Ukrianians that Zhunior encouraged is for community members to contribute towards the Ukrainian National Bank fund which supports the Ukrainian Army. “ I would like them to do whatever they can to support the people of Ukraine, because we need the whole world behind us if we are to get through,” Zhunior said. Another Ukrainian alumni, who remained unnamed in the article, shared his story of moving himself and his family out of Kyiv— the capital city of Ukraine which is under assault by the Russians. The alumni shared the moment before leaving his apartment where he took the opportunity to take pictures of valuables he was unable to bring with them when they left. Among the items that he was unable to bring with him included his Brandeis diploma. According to a CNN article, at least 636 Ukrainian civilians have been murdered since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24, according to a report released by the

United Nations (UN) on March 13. The UN Human Rights office (OHCHR) announced that among those dead include six girls, 10 boys and more than 30 children whose gender has not been identified. A total of 1,125 civilians have been injured as a result of the invasions. The death toll does not include from cities like Kharkiv and Mariupol, which have seen the most bombardments, according to a New York Times article. The death toll in Mariupol alone, according to local officials is upwards of 2,400 civilians, this comes after a theater which was housing approximately 1000 civilians was destroyed in Mariupol by Russian forces. The UN issued its highest court order on March 16 following a case filed by Ukraine with the International Court of Justice. The UN called for an immediate cease-fire on the Russian invasion and condemned the military force Russia has exerted onto Ukraine, according to a New York Times live update. The ruling is “largely symbolic” and will likely not cause Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine, but it does show

support for the Ukrainian government, according to the article. Mykolaiv— one of the first cities to be invaded by Russian Troops under the orders of Russian president Vladimir Putin— has been a key city in the invasion. After moving deep within the city limits, the Russian troops have been pushed back outside of the city limits by Ukrainian armies, according to a New York Times article. Russian troops are still assaulting the city due to its important geographic location which has access to the Varvarivsky Bridge which can be used to head to Odessa, the Ukrainian city with the country’s navy headquarters, according to the article. Ukrainian troops have been launching counter attacks in multiple cities including Kyiv trying to cause the most damage to the Russian military, according to a New York Times article. The only Ukrainian city to be occupied by Russia is Kherson, according to the article.

Indigneous scholars discuss art as a decolonization tool By Emma Lichtenstein editor

Two PhD scholars, Zoe Todd (GRAD) and Celeste Pedri-Spade (GRAD), discussed their art in a virtual talk at the university, on Wednesday, March 16. This event—sponsored by the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies—focused on how the two “manifest and mobilize their obligations within spaces where colonial institutions still work tirelessly to dispossess and displace Indigenous people,

their laws and their stories,” according to the event description. Todd discussed how the “growing popularity” of Indigenous narratives, with support from white people, has “been incredible to track.” She mentioned that she noticed an uptick in these stories in recent years, especially around ecological and environmental issues. They fear, though, that this awareness has also led to some misconceptions. She worries that there are now “overly romanticized notions of the ‘ecological Indian’” by non-Indigenous people, she explained in the talk. According to her

PowerPoint slides, this romanticization, “can make it harder to be openly anti-colonial, anti-racist [and] anti-imperalist in our research, advocacy [and] scholarship.” Todd also made note that anti-colonial work was “overtly political” and that trying to romanticize a body of people took away from the strength and seriousness of their message. Todd takes action by incorporating art. She is part of Freshwater Fish Futures, a Canadian “collective of scientists, artists, writers, landscape architects, architects, environmentalists, journalists, and community leaders dedicat-

ed to honouring reciprocal responsibilities to freshwater fish in watersheds locally and globally.” They relate this back to her personal life, she said, by incorporating fish that their family worked with, or by depicting a fish that has been harmed by oil pollution. Pedri-Spade also uses art in her work, but she focuses on honoring the connection between humans and nature, she said. “I speak as a mother, a daughter, a granddaughter, a great-granddaughter.” She explained that her work strives to honor six generations of family. Some shared examples of her work were redoing photos that

had been taken decades ago. One photo she showed Zoom participants was of a young girl, posing in the same spot her great-grandmother had taken a photo back in the early 1900s. “Reproducingn photographs provides a space where we can express our freedoms … a space where we came together to reflect, to laugh, to be living,” she explained. “ [We’re] reconnecting and strengthening our present day relationships with one another, our ancestors and our land.”


The Brandeis Hoot

March 18, 2022

3D-Printed Smithsonian exhibit honors Deborah Berebichez ‘96 By Roshni Ray editor

Brandeis alum Deborah Berebichez ‘96 is being honored for her work as an ambassador for women in STEM fields and in her prominent role in science media through a new Smithsonian exhibit called #IfThenSheCan - The Exhibit. The exhibit will be installed at the National Mall and features 120 life-size, 3D-printed statues of female STEM leaders. Founded by Lyda Hill Philanthropies, the goal of the exhibit was to empower middle school and high school girls inclined towards STEM careers. The IF/THEN initiative led by Lyda Hill Philanthropies sought to empower women through statues specifically because of the profound lack of female representation in public structures: out of all the statues in 10 of the largest cities in the U.S., a half dozen statues were of women. Additionally, the founders noted the large discrepancy between the percent of females that make up the workforce and the percent of women that make up STEM related fields: while half of the workforce is made up from women, under 30%

of all STEM fields are composed of female workers. 3D-printing statues allowed the exhibit designers to merge the representation of women with their respective accomplishments in scientific careers. Using 89 cameras and 25 projectors, the designers were able to instruct the 3D-printer to develop incremental layers of acrylic gel layers, ultimately taking the form of each of the women ten or more hours later. Berebichez’s profile in the #IfTheSheCan exhibit describes her strong passion for science education and outreach and her acclaimed work towards empowering under-represented science students. She holds a prominent role in numerous science media projects, including being a co-host for the Discovery Channel’s program called Outrageous Acts of Science, and serving as an expert on the Travel Channel, NOVA, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, and other international media outlets. Currently, Berebichez is the head data scientist at the company Metis in New York, where she is working to create data science training programs for students. Beyond her professional accomplishments, Berebichez holds numerous academic qualifications.

As an undergraduate student at Brandeis, she double-majored in physics and philosophy. Afterwards, she went on to be the first Mexican woman to earn a PhD in physics from Stanford University under the mentorship of Nobel Prize winner Stephen Chu. Furthermore, Berebichez completed one postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University in the Applied Math and Physics

Department and another postdoctoral fellowship from New York University’s Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences. A recent article published in the Brandeis Alumni network webpage describes Berebichez’s inspirations during her undergraduate career. Astronomer Janet Mettei, one of the first Wien scholars of Brandeis University fueled Ber-

ebizhez’s passion for physics and nurtured her ability conducting physics research. The article includes a quote of Berebichez sharing how Mettei influenced her, saying, “[Mettei] said I should communicate my expertise as a woman in science and inspire other women like me, who were attracted to science but for some reason felt they couldn’t fulfill their dreams.”


Shostak named director of Samuels’ Center, wants the center to be ‘radically inclusive’ PAX, from page 1

for what the center will provide. The first of a series of listening sessions was held with students on March 16 in order to gauge student needs, more sessions will be happening over the next couple of months and Shostak reaches out to community members. Those with questions or concerns or who want to be a part of the listening sessions are encouraged to reach out to Shostak via email at, she wrote to The Hoot. Shostak also shared her hopes for the Samuels’ Center with The Hoot. According to Shostak, she hopes the center will be “radically inclusive,” she wants it to be a space that welcomes all students and support them in their personal and professional paths with community engagement and civic service. She also wrote that she hopes it will offer needed resources to provide and “a community of practice to support community engagement by faculty and staff.” Another hope of Shostak’s is that the Samuels’ Center will allow for current bonds between the university and outside community partners to grow. Shostak hopes that the center can provide a space where relationships between the university and community organizations in the Waltham and Greater Boston area can prosper. The Samuels’ center also provides the opportunity, according to Shostak, to create new research opportunities and practices that look into the causes of inequalities in our communities. “ I appreciate that many students at Brandeis want to be part of changing the world, and the Samuels Center is here to support you in becoming ethical, effec-

tive, collaborative and responsible leaders of change,” wrote Shostak. The Samuels’ Center will provide students the opportunity to respond to problems in our community via community service and collaborations which focus on civic transportation, wrote Shostak, which can help with the current problems being faced in the world. The university’s founding principles which are committed to “social justice, a strong culture of community service among students, surging interest in community-engaged research and teaching among faculty and staff, and create a “front door” to the university for community partners,” will be brought together in the Samuels’ Center, according to Shostak. “Together, we will develop new models for community engagement and civic transformation that will meet the challenges of this historic moment and help us create a more just, equitable, and sustainable future,” wrote Shostak. Shostak was selected for the position by Carol Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, she told The Hoot. Shostak has, “been working on strengthening community engagement at Brandeis for years, including through the Framework for Our Future process, the Social Justice Curriculum Committee and the Community Engaged Scholars Committee,” she wrote to The Hoot. Shostak has been recognized for her teaching being honored with the Michael L. Walzer ‘’56 Award for Teaching at Brandeis, according to the BrandeisNOW article. She has also been recognized for her scholarship through funding via grants from the Merck Family Fund, the Ruderman Family

Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, according to the article. At the university, Shostak has worked on the Social Justice Curriculum Committee from 2018 to 2019 and the Community Engaged Scholars Committee from 2019 to 2021, according to the article. Currently, she is involved in the Mura Kraft Transitional Year Program (MKTYP), Posse Scholars Program and the Board of Trustees as a member of the Committee on Student Life. The Vic and Bobbi Samuels ‘63

Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation is intended to be an interdisciplinary resource combining Academic Affairs and Student Affairs as a part of the university’s Framework for the Future campaign. The framework for the Future is a report composed by faculty, staff, trustees, friends of the university, parents and students that provides a framework for the, “scaffolding for the university’s coming decades,” according to the final report. The university announced its plans for the Vic and Bobbi Sam-

uels ‘63 Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation on January 4 after receiving a $10 million donation from the Samuels Family Foundation, according to a previous Brandeis Hoot article. The Samuels Family Foundation is an organization that advances education, supports children in need, encourages the flourishment of Jewish life and promotes social justice, according to their webpage. The donation was made in honor of Victor “Vic” Samuels who passed away in 2020, according to the Hoot article.


March 18, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

Univ. updates COVID-19 policies: students resume twice a week testing By Victoria Morrongiello editor

The university saw a surge in close contact numbers during the week of March 6, this surge came the week after the university announced the relaxing of its masking policy on campus. Shelby Harris, Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement and Campus Life and Monique Pillow Gnanaratnam, Dean of Students, wrote to students regarding the rise in close contact numbers. “We have an unusually high number of community members who have recently been identified as close contacts and are now required to quarantine. We are writing today to remind you that at Brandeis, those identified as COVID-19 close contacts must quarantine, without exception,” Harris and Pillow Gnanaratnam wrote to students. The university then announced beginning on March 17, students would have to return to getting tested twice a week. This update

comes exactly two weeks after the university announced vaccinated students could get tested once a week. In an email sent by Andrea Dine, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, she wrote, “we are adjusting our policies to meet our community’s needs in light of the data.” According to Dine, a majority of cases are coming from large social gatherings off-campus, not from labs or classes. The increased positivity rate of community members is also coming from the student population, not from faculty and staff numbers which remain low. “It is our hope that increased testing will mitigate the current rise in cases and that we will not need to further tighten COVID restrictions on campus,” wrote Dine. On March 10, the university had 42 students in isolation and 118 students in quarantine, according to a screenshot obtained by The Brandeis Hoot from March 10 of the university’s COVID-19 dashboard. 118 students in quarantine marks the highest number of stu-

dents to date in quarantine. As of March 16, 26 students were in isolation, and 62 were in quarantine. Isolation housing is reserved for students who have tested positive on a COVID-19 test. Quarantine is reserved for students who have either been listed as a close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or whose test results either come back as inconclusive from the Broad Institute, according to the university’s Quarantine and Self Isolation Protocol page. “A close contact is someone who was within six feet of a person infected with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes within a 24-hour period. Given the high volume of close contacts noted by cases, close contacts will be notified via email of their exposure and encouraged to contact the Brandeis Community Tracing Program ( if symptomatic or with concerns or issues,” Harris and Pillow Gnanaratnam explained to students in the email. Students are released from

COVID-19 Dashboards •


Total postive COVID-19 cases each week. Last Update March 17, 2022

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Total COVID-19 tests administered each week. Last Update March 17, 2022.

quarantine on day five if they do not have symptoms and test negative on a PCR test provided at the Health Center not at the standard testing site in the Shapiro Science Center (SSC), according to the email. Students were reminded that the exposure date is not day one but rather day zero of the quarantining period. “This is not merely a formality. A significant percentage of recent close contacts have gone on to test positive for COVID-19,” the administrators explained. Harris and Pillow Gnanaratnam wrote that the contact tracing team has been receiving complaints from students arguing that they do not meet the requirements of being a close contact. Students are arguing with contact tracers to be released from quarantine early in order to “accommodate their social schedules.” Another complaint Harris and Pillow Gnanaratnam have been noticing is students pressuring their peers who have tested positive to change the original information that had been given to

contact tracers in order to be released from the close contact list. “This kind of behavior is unacceptable and subject to further action as outlined in Rights & Responsibilities,” Harris and Pillow Gnanaratnam wrote in regards to the student complaints, “and more importantly, it only serves to harm our community, which, just this week, is beginning to enjoy the freedom and opportunity of loosened COVID-19 policies.” “Every student has a responsibility to work truthfully, cooperatively and respectfully with Brandeis Community Tracing Program staff. Let’s continue to take care of ourselves and one another so that we can all enjoy this spring,” they wrote to students. The Hoot reached out to Morgen Bergman, Assistant Provost for Strategic Initiatives, who oversees the testing sites on campus for further comment on positivity rates from close contact individuals, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

In the Senate 3/13

The Brandeis Chess club, also referred to as Deis Chess, was successfully chartered during last Sunday’s senate meeting. The representatives of the club that attended the meeting were the two co-presidents, Zared Cohen ’25 and Marcus Sutton ’25, who shared a presentation explaining the workings of the club. The club will harbor a community of players, both newcomers and experienced players who can play against each other and learn new strategies, according to the student presenters. One of the main reasons that Deiss Chess was seeking to become a chartered club was that they needed funding to pay a US Chess Federation (USCF) membership for club members. The fee costs $32 per individual, to participate in competitive events. The club would also request funding for clocks, chess sets and to cover potential transportation costs when competing against other schools. As the Senate sponsor for the club, Peyton Gillespie ’25 said that “their organization is amazing.” Representatives from the Brandeis Pokemon club will be attending next Sunday’s senate meeting to potentially get chartered as a club. Ashna Kelkar ’24 mentioned that the union will be holding elections to fill up the slots freed after senator resignations. Joseph Coles ’22 raised his concern that holding elections on April 4 goes against the constitution as the elections would be held beyond the 14-day period after resignations. Kelkar said that the reason they decided to push it back was that the students that were potentially interested in running were so small that “it didn’t make sense” to run the election within the timeframe. Instead, moving it back would allow more time for students to think about running and potentially get more candidates running. “Honestly it’s a gamble, but it’s better to have this gamble than only having a few people run for multiple positions,’’ said Kelkar. The student union will also be holding a round of special elections to fill up a few positions that will be active for the rest of the semester. There is one seat open for the senator for the Class of 2023, the senator for Foster Mods, the senator for Skyline and Rosenthal. An Allocations Board member for a two-semester seat as well as a seat for a CEEF representative will be open. Elections will take place on April 4. The student union discussed plans to hold an outdoor festival event on Saturday, April 2. The event will give clubs and groups or individuals a chance to perform an item to showcase their talent. More information on registering for auditions was sent out to students via email. - Vimukthi Mawilmada


6 The Brandeis Hoot

March 18, 2022

UAA and ITA recognizes Brandeis tennis By Jillian Brosofsky staff

Adam Tzeng ’22 of the men’s team and Bhakti Parwani ’25 of the women’s team achieved University Athletic Association (UAA) Athlete of the Week. The award recognized Tzeng’s dominant week, losing a total of six games, and Parwani’s showings against Bentley and Colby this past week, getting the Judges their sole singles win in their match against Colby. The association rewards athletes from Brandeis, Emory and other member schools for excellence in their sport and recognizes universities that weave athletics throughout the campus

environment. This marks Tzeng’s second consecutive week with this honor and fourth overall and Parwani’s first such honor. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division III national poll ranked the men’s team number nine. This is the fourth consecutive season where the Judges are inside the top10. It comes as they improve their overall season record 6-2 with a 6-3 win against Colby. In doubles, Tzeng and Jeff Chen ’22 won handly in first doubles 8-3, followed by a 2-8 loss at third with Hunter Levine ’23 and Colt Tegtmeier ’22. At second doubles, Colin Fox ’25 and Dylan Walters ’24 won in a tight set 8-7 (7-3) at second, af-

ter coming back from behind. The singles matches were largely one sided, with straight set scores all the way down the leaderboard. Tzeng dropped only three games on his road to victory at first singles while Chen, his doubles partner, won with closer scores 7-5, 6-4. Colby won in third and fourth singles with 6-3, 6-2 and 7-5, 6-4 scores respectively. Simon Kauppila ’23 secured the win at sixth singles 6-0, 6-3 followed by Tegtmeier’s 6-2, 6-2 win in fifth singles. Over on the women’s side, the team went 1-1 in this week’s matches. Against Bentley, they secured a decisive 8-1 win while they lost 1-5 against Colby. This makes the team’s over-

all season record 3-5 so far. The Waltham head-tohead kicked off as second and third doubles didn’t lose a game between the two. First doubles was closer as Ana Hatfield ’22 and Ella Subramanian ’24 came back from 4-5 down to clinch the set 7-5. The singles started off closer than the doubles. After a quick win with Parwani in first, Bentley proved victorious at third with a 6-1, 6-4 win. After Nikita Salkar ’24 won in second the score was 4-1 meaning the Judges needed only one more match to win. That came when Anastasia Sia ’25, playing at fifth, lost only two games on her road to a win followed by Jiayi Zhang’s ’24 double bagel win at sixth.

While the Colby match started wholly one-sided with a sweep in the doubles, Brandeis showed some late fight in the singles. After a quick Colby win in second singles, Parwani won 6-4, 6-3 at first bringing the match score to 1-4. To win, the Judges would have to score the four remaining matches. At third, Hatfield lost the first set in a close tiebreaker, 6-7 (5-7). Her grit didn’t waver until the very end, losing the second set 5-7. The newly ninth seeded men’s team plays Denison and the University of Rochester at Gosman in back to back matches on March 18 and 19. The women’s team plays the University of Rochester on March 19 at home.

The forgotten indigenous roots of hockey By Natasha Girshin special to the hoot

While the roots of ice hockey have been debated by historians over the years, many North American First Nation tribes played a version of the ice hockey we know today. Ice hockey was first observed by Europeans being played by Mi’kmaq (or Micmac) people in Nova Scotia, Canada in the late 1600s. It was called “ricket.” Pucks were carved from cherrywood, which was used until later in the century when rubber imported by Euro-Americans replaced the wooden puck. Although hockey has since evolved, the first indoor NHL game, played in Montreal in 1917, shared some similarities with the Mi’kmaq game, from the numbers of players on the ice to the rules. It is debated and highly contested whether the Mi’kmaq people invented ice hockey or simply borrowed it from another source but it is certain that they are highly discredited for their version of the game. The roots of ice hockey are gen-

erally placed onto the rich white men who played for the Original Six for the National Hockey Association (NHA) before the creation of the NHL. There is a clear “missing Indigenous link” for the roots of ice hockey. As stated by Paul Bennet in his essay, “Reimagining the Creation: The ‘Missing Indigenous Link’ in the Origins of Canadian Hockey.” “The popular Anglo-Canadian quest for the genesis of hockey continues unabated among defenders of rival geographic claims. One of the interesting things about these different claims, however, is that they all reflect a Euro-centric perspective on the development of the game.” As stated earlier, the Mi’kmaq game was witnessed by European settlers and was then taken and stolen and transformed into the game we know today, which is still played by a large majority of white players. Through accounts of a Mi’kmaq man named Dr. Jerry Lonecloud in 1913, he describes the game they played and its similar roots to today’s ice hockey. They called this game, “Duwarken,” which

means “a ball played on ice.” Lonecloud describes, “In that game, “a round stone” was “hit on the ice” by a stick, most likely “a spruce root” which was called “Duwarkenaught.” The stone ball was hit by a striker, causing the round stone to roll along the ice and be chased down by other players. The other players tried to interfere with the stone carrier and take it from him before it was returned to the striker. The player who returned it safely was permitted to hit the ball next.” This game bears a strong connection to the game of ice hockey which was played by White European settlers soon after their viewing of the Mi’Kmaq game. Not only colonizing their lives, but colonizing the game. The first Canadian Indigenous NHL player, Frederick “Fred” Sasakamoose (December 25, 1933 November 24, 2020) was of Cree descent. When he was six years old, Canadian authorities forced Sasakamoose and his brother into a truck and took them to a residential school in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan. It was there he learned to play ice hockey. Ca-

nadian residential schools, run by priests and Catholic authorities and missionaries, set out to rid First Nation children of their Native heritage and religion and teach them Catholic and White values. Within those “schools,” there was an onslaught of abuse, assault, and murder of Native children, whom have never recieved justice to this day. Children like Fred were stripped of their identity, abused, and were separated from their families. But one place where Fred could find solace was on his hockey team, ironically a sport stolen from his own First Nation heritage, run and provided to him by the very individuals who were abusing his people. The priest pushed Fred to improve his hockey skills and eventually his efforts led him to join smaller hockey leagues until he was approached by NHL scouts. He was signed onto the Chicago Black Hawks in 1953 and only spent one season with them, scoring 31 goals, before retiring to spend the rest of his hockey career in minor leagues. Sasakamoose wrote a memoir about his hock-

ey and residential school experience called “Call Me an Indian’’ which is one I highly recommend reading if you would like to learn more about his story. Sasakamoose died of complications from COVID-19 in 2020 and paved the way for more Canadian Indigenous hockey trailblazers such as Carey Price, the current goalie for the Montreal Canadiens. Price is of Nuxalk and Southern Carrier Aboriginal heritage, being the first Canadian Indigenous NHL player to receive the Vezina Trophy for goalie achievements in 2015. In his speech, he addressed First Nations youth to “be leaders in their communities. Be proud of your heritage, and don’t be discouraged by the improbable.” If you would like to learn more about Canadian roots of ice hockey I highly recommend the Netflix documentary, “Indian Horse.” And if you would like to donate to Indigenous hockey charities I highly suggest donating to Hockey Cares by True North Aid.

Shealy named athlete of the week By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

The men’s and women’s fencing teams competed in the NCAA Northeast Regional championships at Vassar College.On the women’s side in the saber’s opening round, Maggie Shealy ’23 went 5-1, which put her in the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, we went 4-2, bringing her to the finals, where she went 3-8. Also in saber, Kayla Turnof ’25 placed 37th. In women’s epee Bronwyn Rothman-Hall ’25 went 3-2 in the preliminary round and 2-4 in the first round, placing 24th, while Monica Aponte ’23 placed 36th. In women’s foil Alex McKee ’25 went 2-2 in the preliminary round, but falling 0-6 in the first round, placing 32nd. On the men’s side, in saber, Tony Escueta ’25 went 3-3 in the first round, moving to the semifinals. In the semifinals he went 5-1, finishing 11th overall. Also in saber, Anthony Rabinkov ’25 placed 24th, Berwyn Lu ’24 placed 25th while Nicholas Quan ’24 placed 28th. Ben Rogak finished 12th in men’s epee, where he went 4-2

in the first round and semifinals. Also in epee, Joshua Shuster ’23 and Tal Kronrod ’25 placed 31st and 35th, respectively. In men’s foil, Luke Ritchie ’23 placed 28th,

Elliot Siegel ’23 placed 33th while Jake Hempe ’23 placed 34th. Shealy and Escueta will compete at the NCAA National Collegiate Championships, in the

University of Notre Dame between March 24 and 27. They are two of nine Division III fencers selected to go. Following her performance

in the Regional championships, Shealy was named as UAA’s Athlete of the Week for the week ending March 13.


March 18, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 7

The Brandeis Hoot

Go away Tom Brady By Justin Leung editor

“You finished right?”, said soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo to quarterback Tom Brady. Brady proceeded to respond with a face of uncertainty before the video ended. On Feb. 1, Brady announced his retirement from football after 22 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). This was huge news because Brady in his 22nd season was on the All-Pro second team and second in Most Valuable Player award voting. So, he couldn’t just barely play football at his advanced age, but he actually was still very good. Following the announcement of his retirement, people remained uneasy because it just didn’t seem like this was the end for Brady. These people were in fact correct. Brady announced that he was coming out of retirement to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 20222023 season. This announcement was in fact on the same day as the video with Ronaldo. Another crazy “coincidence” came when Brady’s final touchdown pass ball was sold for over half a million dollars earlier on that same day. That buyer seriously got unlucky. Brady’s retirement lasted just

49 days. The Major League Baseball lockout lasted longer than his retirement. Buccaneers’ fans can rest easy now as they were set to need a quarterback once Brady retired. They get at least one more season with him. According to Fox Sports, Brady’s return brought the Buccaneers Super Bowl odds to a tied second with the Green Bay Packers. Before the announcement, the Bucs were around the middle of the league in Super Bowl odds, but now they are all of the sudden contenders again. I think most people are wondering the exact same thing. Why won’t this guy go away? Brady has dominated the league for the past two decades and he just won’t go away. If his first retirement lasted just 49 days, who knows how long until he actually retires? He probably will keep playing until he is just barely starting to regress. The worst part is, he seems like he’s almost getting better with his age. Is it actually possible that Brady plays until he is 50 years old? I really hope not, and I think most NFL fans would agree with me. Brady is without a doubt one of the best if not the best player of all time, but it’s time for a new generation of NFL quarterbacks. Quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Josh Allen

have already shown that they are ready to take the league by storm, but Brady is somehow stopping them from winning championships. Brady has already denied Mahomes of two possible Super Bowl wins, who knows how many

more he is going to deny if he keeps playing. There isn’t much more to say about Brady unretiring. He’s back and I want him to go away. Although most people are sad that he’s back, a few fans and players are definitely happy

that his retirement was short lived. “Thank you! Throw that last touchdown pass on somebody else,” said Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey.


Magill places sixth, earns All-America honor By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Erin Magill ’22 competed in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships in North Carolina. Magill finished with a time of 16:54.62, finishing in under 17 minutes for the first time in her career. Her fastest lap of the race was finished in 36 seconds. She was off the university’s indoor 5000 meter run record by 8.92 seconds. The school record was set by Mariko Tansey Holbrook ’03 in 2003 on a banked track, while Magill raced on a flat track which typically results in slower times. Back at Brandeis, the men’s and women’s track and field team had a watch-party to cheer on Magill. Teammates were able to watch the meet from Gosman Athletics Center via a live stream linked on the Brandeis Judges’ website. “Erin is such a talented runner!! It’s amazing to think

about how she ran our freshman year and compare that to last weekend. She’s gotten faster every season. She’s also so funny and kind and it’s so easy to cheer her on, I am so glad she is my friend and teammate and I hope she is so proud!” captain Natalie Hattan ’22 told The Hoot. Magill’s performance at the championships earned her All-American honors for the second time in her career. She earned her first All-American honor earlier this year during her cross-country season. The last time the judges qualified for Nationals was in 2020 right before the COVID-19 pandemic with athletes Niamh Kenney ’22 and Jack Allen ’20. Though the athletes were unable to compete since the meet was canceled, the day before it was scheduled to occur. Nationals were not held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic so no athletes competed. Editor’s Note: News Editor Victoria Morrongiello did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.


Baseball wins against Trinity By Jesse Lieberman staff

Graduate students Mike Khoury (GRAD) and Luke Hall (GRAD) each homered and Mason Newman (GRAD) pitched six quality innings as the Judges staved off a late charge to defeat Trinity 15-9. With the win, Brandeis is now 2-2. Brandeis scored nine runs in the first three innings. Steven Simon ’23 led the game off with a single. Khoury doubled Simon home and scored on Hall’s two-run homer. Khoury hit a two-run homer in the second to give Brandeis a 5-0 lead. With two outs in the top of the third, Brandeis loaded the bases with three straight walks. Sam Nugent ’23 doubled to right, bringing in two runs. A passed ball brought in

another run. After Simon walked, Khoury singled in Nugent. Trinity scored twice in the bottom of the fourth. Brandeis answered by scoring a run each in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Brandeis added three more runs in the ninth to take a commanding 15-5 lead heading into the final half inning. The Bantams scored four runs all with two outs in the inning, but Gavin Dauer ’22 induced a pop-up to end the threat and secure the win. Khoury went 3-for-4 with four RBI. Hall went 2-for-4 with three runs batted in. On the mound, Newman was dominant in his first win of the season, pitching six innings, allowing just two runs and striking out two. Brandeis will host Saint Joseph’s of Maine on Friday, March 18 at Stein Diamond at 4 p.m..



8 The Brandeis Hoot

“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 6 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma

FOUNDED BY Leslie Pazan, Igor Pedan and Daniel Silverman


Vincent Calia-Bogan, Sam Finbury, Sarah Kim, Josh Lannon, Kristianna Lapierre, Max Lerner, Rafi Levi, Jesse Lieberman, Francesca Marchese, Abigail Roberts, David Shapiro, Matt Shapiro, Alex Williams, Daniela Zavlun and Nataniela Zavlun

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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March 18, 2022

Brandeis does housing right

t is everyone’s favorite time of the year: housing selection season. The time where everyone is wondering whether they will end up living a blissful life in Ridgewood or stuck in the swamps of East. We also know that we here at The Hoot are quite critical of the university, so we wanted to acknowledge something that Brandeis does right: the housing selection process. Apart from the occasional allegation that sports teams are given preferential treatment in the lottery, in theory, the way Brandeis does housing is the most fair and equitable way. In case you are not aware, all students who applied for housing get a random housing lottery number assigned to them in late March. This number correlates to the order in which they get to pick their housing. Students with accommodations get first pick at accessible housing, based on which accommodations they need. Students with accommodations are allowed to pick from a select number of rooms and suites set aside for students with accommodation needs. No housing selection system is perfect. Many college students have voiced their concerns to their institutions about how housing numbers are chosen. Even after alterations, Tufts students demanded more change to their housing system to make it more equitable and fair in order to ensure students have access to affordable housing. Marist College has a housing system based on “priority points,” according to their website. Students get more “priority points'' if they have a higher GPA, are involved in clubs and organizations on campus, are a member of a sports team or if they have no disciplinary action cases on their account. This system raises many red flags. First, it favors students who have more time

to participate in campus activities, students who have to work may not have the same opportunities to join clubs. Another concern that comes with this system is the pressure it can put on students to perform well academically. On their website, Marist breaks down what GPAs correlate to how many points a student receives. If students have a bad semester, they are then penalized for it in the housing process. This also doesn’t seem fair to students across majors, with some majors being notoriously harder than others. Lastly, students may choose to participate in activities in clubs not out of interest but out of a desire to get a better housing number— which is not a good incentive. Many colleges and universities do opt for the lottery system, similar to the one Brandeis has in places. Wofford College in South Carolina also has a lottery process system, with numbers released in mid-march and ordered by class standing. The system deviates from Brandeis in that upon receiving their numbers, students then select roommates online along with their building and floor preference. Housing then gets assigned to them in April. While the ranking of housing preference is an interesting process, it would be quite nerve wracking to not know right away whether what you selected is what you in fact get. With Brandeis’ system at least you know right away if you got your Ridge or not. Other colleges have students pick their own lottery number or declare housing by appointment. These prospects do not appear any better than Brandeis’ system and seem as though they would cause additional stress to students who are already pretty stressed out. The closest thing to a perfect housing system is probably Harvard which according to

their website, “the Thursday before Spring Break, at 9AM, crazy upperclassmen from your assigned house will come bang on your door in all of their costumes and house gear and hand you and your blockmates the letter that welcomes you into their House.” Harvard literally sets up their housing like Harry Potter houses, a fact they themselves acknowledge on the website, and now we will feel underwhelmed when we receive our numbers via MyHousing. Of course, no one wants to get a bad number and end up living in East. However, someone will have to live in East, because there is not enough space in the nicer dorms. Since not everyone can live in the nicer dorms, we need to find a way to figure out who gets the nicer housing. There really is no better system than the lottery system; the alternatives we discussed at other schools all come with their own issues. The only potential improvement we could think of in the system is if people got a bad number the previous year, they should get a better number the next year. This allows for people to not be stuck in “bad” housing the entire time, while others get “good” housing the entire time. We wish everyone luck in the housing lottery! Some tips from our editorial board when selecting living situations: make sure to check the Facebook Groups if you need more people to fill out your suite, living with friends sometimes isn’t the best option, know your standards of cleanliness and when you want to go to sleep— this will help avoid roommate disagreements down the road. If you’re living in Rosie, don’t bully the people on the other side of the suite, though it should be known that one side always gets ownership of the common room. One last thing: not East.


March 4, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 9

Interviews with Brandeis University’s academic leadership: the Italian studies program By Cooper Gottfried editor

The co-chairs of Brandeis University’s Italian Studies program, Professor Paola Servino and Professor Ramie Targoff, sat down for an 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? Professor Servino: So I graduated in foreign language instruction in Italy and I moved to Boston and started to teach languages immediately at Tufts and Brandeis. Then, eventually, it grew into a very interesting position and it became my “American dream”. I wanted to teach Italian in a foreign country, and I had this opportunity here and Brandeis has welcomed me tremendously since the very beginning. I started as a language instructor, and I moved up [to] a very interesting position where now, I am a co-chair … of Italian studies and basically the representative of faculty for Italian [studies] and [I] take care of all aspects of the curriculum and event coordination. This is my 32nd year at Brandeis. I found it immediately an environment that culturally and intellectually really embraced the passion for Italian culture and literature. … For me, this really is the right place where I can cultivate my interest to teach the language and the culture. Professor Targoff: I came as an assistant professor teaching Renaissance literature in the English department. It was a great place for me to be at, [and] it’s been a wonderful intellectual environment for me in English, which is what my PhD is in. In recent years I’ve been working more in Italian, which is my second language. Paola welcomed me into the Italian studies program around 10 years ago when we had a sort of transition at Brandeis. So that’s been just a second home for me in the last eight or so years. How do you feel that you

complement each other’s strengths to run the department effectively? Professor Targoff: This is not a compliment, this is just a statement of fact: Paula [Servino] runs this department. I help her in ways that I can, but my primary affiliation is actually in English and until May or June, I was the director of the Mandel Center for the Humanities. For the last decade I’ve been running the Humanities Center and I’m a full professor in English. So my relationship to Italian is really to support the program as much as I can, as a little bit of an outsider. … Paula [Servino] is … the visionary, she really runs the program. So the extent to which our strengths complement each other is really that I am there to help Paula [Servino] when she needs me, but Paula [Servino] is really the life force of the Italian studies program. Professor Servino: It’s important to say that Ramie [Targoff] has taught for me one semester while I was on sabbatical. This course … Italian Jewish culture, we are very proud of [it, and] we both taught [it] in Italian. We are one of the very few, if not the only ones that can teach upper level students Italian Jewish representation in the Italian language. That speaks a lot to what we try to do here. And she’s definitely supportive in many aspects of [the program’s] visibility in the university. What do you guys think that the Italian studies program does right? Professor Targoff: As head of the Humanities Center, I’ve had exposure to a lot of different programs at Brandeis. I think one of the real strengths of this program … is its extraordinary outreach to the students. [Since] long before the pandemic … the Italian studies program has been really hands-on with the students. Professor Servino will know every single student in the program and she would be able to tell you something about that student. And that’s true for everyone teaching in the program; there are very deep personal relationships and a lot of informal advising [and] informal mentoring. It’s a program that really thrives on the liberal arts college com-

munity of getting to know your students, [of] getting to know your faculty and of real conversation. So I think that’s something that really distinguishes the program from other units and from other departments on campus. Professor Servino: We make sure that students can see that even if they’re studying something that’s so completely “unpopular”… they truly get affected by [an] appreciation of culture and literature. … And I think what we all have been doing here both with Raime [Targoff] and the other Italian teacher [Silvia Monteleone] and I is also being extremely present in the curriculum and being sure that the latest changes are applied. We are following [up] not just because we have to check boxes, but because we do believe that a true world … [includes] an understanding and appreciation of other cultures. Is there anything that you think the Italian studies program could do better? Professor Servino:, I think implementing the message [of] how important it is to study Italian. And I think the reason [to study Italian] is not just because of the classic traditional romanticized idea of Italy, a beautiful life, the food, the culture, the music, those are all strengths. The geographic position, [and] how important it is nowadays because of migration from North Africa, … and the contribution that Black Italians, for example, are giving to literature. … There are so many ways the [world’s] cultures intersect with Italian culture. … It’s really intertwined in ancient and current history of the world. So there are many reasons to revitalize that view of Italy as a country and as a culture. Professor Targoff: The extent that we can bring a bigger picture of the complex and rich, not just beautiful, [but] messy and combative current history, 20th century history [and] 21st century reality of Italy to complement what you … are already inclined to love about Italy. The extent to which we can bring a greater awareness of what one can learn about the world in its current moment from studying Italy, that’s a challenge for the program that I think would bring more students into the program and just bring a greater awareness of how important it is to the campus.

Italian classes, but interdisciplinary classes that include Italian. So I teach a course … called Gods and Humans in the Renaissance, which I team teach with an art historian, Jonathan Unglaub, a professor of art history [here at Brandeis]. There we pair literary texts with paintings. And again, it’s probably a third or maybe half [in] Italian, but the course is about … how we think about gods in the plural and God in the singular during the Renaissance through different kinds of art. Professor Servino: And for me, [my favorites are] two classes that I’ve created in Brandeis in the last few years. One is Italian Jewish Culture, Cinem and Literature and the other one is Mapping Italian Culture. [Teaching] Italian Jewish Culture has been a wonderful challenge for me … [and] passing that to students at Brandeis, … [ because many of them] really love the appreciation of what it means to be Italian-Jewish people and writers. Mapping Italian Culture really draws on the key questions that also come from political struggle. Like we said, it’s not always, like Ramie said, a fantastic mandolin view and Vesuvio and the food of Italy, but it really taps on political challenges. I love particularly the ’70s to teach about internal terrorism, the division and the eternal quest about North and South Italy and what generates the diversity and division in that. I also love to teach, in the same course, about Blackness in the Italian curriculum. I specifically teach short stories from current Italian black writers that are very popular in the Italian curriculum all over the country. Also, Italian-American representation, because one thing that’s very important is also to appreciate some scholars and writers and movies that have to deal with Italian-American culture, which breaks the stereotypes. So one of the goals of Mapping Italian Culture is to encounter the stereotypes, to make some sense of them historically and break them. … So to put those pieces together is a wonderful opportunity for me to stay connected with what’s going on in the current Italy, but also to cherish what has been happening here in the Italian-American world. Professor Targoff, you’re part

of many different departments. How do you feel that these departments intersect? Professor Targoff: So the basic relationship between the Italian studies program and my home department, which is English, has to do with overlapping texts and topics. … And I’ve actually just published the first translation into English of the first book of Italian poetry ever written by a woman. The work that I do is mostly sonnets and love poetry, which is something I teach a lot in English, [and it] has been spilling over into my work in the Italian program. Now that I’ve stepped down after a 10 year period of running the Humanities Center, I’m really looking forward to bringing some of that research … into my Italian studies teaching. So hopefully in the next couple years, I’ll be doing that. The shared literary interests of the two fields are how I personally manage to … [bridge] that divide. Professor Servino, how do you feel that your time in Italy has affected the way that you teach classes here in the United States? Professor Servino: I was born in Naples and I came here after my graduation. … The approaches [to teaching] are completely different. What has changed me tremendously, and this is my primary research interest, is [the] pedagogy of language and literature. … Americans in general and Brandeis [students specifically] are really strong in addressing pedagogical developments. This is really unique because when I confront myself with Italian colleagues, although so many wonderful things are happening on the other side [of the ocean], there is still some sort of teacher-centered approach. … It’s really [important] to implement this interactiveness, this practical side of teaching that brings projects and presentations in a very concrete way. So I do like that aspect that I learned here. I mean, if I didn’t come here, I probably wouldn’t have been approaching my teaching in such a pragmatic way. Language, culture and literature have to be practiced and also have to be retained. If you don’t have the right pedagogy, things just become information that goes over your head.

What is your favorite class to teach?


Professor Targoff: My current favorite class to teach is my Witchcraft and Magic in the Renaissance class, which is probably a third Italian material. It’s also about Scotland and England and France and Germany, and also Salem, Massachusetts. … In recent years I’ve been finding it more and more satisfying as a way to think about gender and inequality and the legal position of women and of people who are on the outside of society through amazing works of literature. … So I’ve been loving that. And, this is true for a bunch of us who teach in the Italian studies program: we might not be teaching strictly



March 4, 2022

Dr. Zhang-Wu unpacks research of multilingual international students By Emma Lichtenstein editor

Dr. Qianqian Zhang-Wu—Assistant Professor of English and Director of Multilingual Writing at Northeastern University—has found that international students face a lot more challenges than just a vocabulary barrier. In “Languaging Myths and Realities: Journeys of Chinese International Students”—a virtual talk at Brandeis on Wednesday, March 6—she explained that cultural differences also play a large role in the collegiate success of multilingual international students. She explained that for her research, she uses the term “‘mul-

tilingual students’ instead of ‘English language learners’ as to not perpetuate … the idea that their home languages do not matter.” She said that she didn’t want to place English as the peak language, but instead reflect it as a secondary language for the students in her study. Before unpacking her research, Zhang-Wu utilized an interactive activity to get participants in a specific mindset. To start, she had participants try to describe their weekend in two minutes, but had a catch: no one was allowed to use the letter “n.” While participants tried to write down their answers, Zhang-Wu gave frequent time updates. “I mean to be annoying,” she joked. She explained that this exercise was to make participants


understand to feel pressure when speaking and to feel like they can’t communicate clearly. “[This is] exactly the everyday experiences of many of our multilingual International students,” she said. She followed that up by diving into her own research, conducted at Hillside University. She stated that her first key finding was that “international students have a lot of within-group variabilities.” She explained that the 12 students she studies, all from China, all faced different struggles, based on past experiences and chosen majors. One of the issues Zhang-Wu highlighted was cultural differences. For this, she gave a few examples. She said that one student struggled with math, because in his school in China, his teachers were more focused on getting the right answer, but his teachers in America cared more about showing your work and the way the answer is calculated. Another student, she said, faced struggles outside of class, as they worried that befriending American students would make them a “traitor” to their Chinese friends. Her second key finding was that the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores did not accurately predict “ability to function linguistically” in college. She explained that students with access to private tutoring, or students who had the ability to take the TOEFL exam many times, had inflated scores, ones that more reflected test taking skills rather than language. One example she gave was of a student


who struggled with understanding their friends’ banter—they were confused as to why everyone was “keeping up with the credentials.” Zhang-Wu clarified that this was actually “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” but that a cultural barrier prevented the student from recognizing the name. She noted that these differences and various experiences “came from one ethnic group … such a small population among our diverse international students on campus.” Her slides read, “International students are problematically teated as a homogenous and group defined by raceless-ness and linguisitic incompetence.” One type of resource won’t fit all issues, she noted. So how can universities help international students? “Firstly we must help


multilingual students understand their linguistic needs and challenges beyond their TOEFL scores,” stated Zhang-Wu. She said that universities should encourage students to “move on from their TOEFL scores … and instead focus on … their ability to function linguistically across disciplines.” Other tips included utilizing office hours to understand a specific professor’s expectations and to take advantage of any offered support systems on a campus. This event was co-hosted by the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life; the International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO); and the English Language Programs, according to the event description.

A tribute to Marty Wyngaarden Krauss By John Fornagiel editor

Former Brandeis university provost Marty Wyngaarden Krauss PhD ’81 passed away on the evening of Jan. 12, according to a news article at the Heller School. Specifically, according to the article, Krauss was able to complete her PhD at the Heller School, and later joined Brandeis faculty in 1984, where she spent the vast majority of her professional career. Krauss touched many different aspects of the Brandeis community, being involved in several areas around the university. During her early career at Brandeis, namely as a student at Brandeis and a new faculty member, she was mentored by Gunnar Dybwad, who campaigned for the civil rights of individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, according to the article. Additionally, the article states that

using the lessons she learned from Dybwad, Krauss was able to hone her research on the impacts of developmental disabilities, both within the family and in larger society. According to the article, Krauss later accepted the role to become the John Stein Professor of Disability Research. She also accepted a role as the director of the Nathan and Toby Starr Center on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. In these roles, she mentored several PhD students on their research. She then accepted a role as the Heller school’s associate dean for faculty and academic programs, in which she established the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy. Overall, the article states that Krauss has received several awards for her work. These include the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation International Award for Leadership and the Christian Pueschel Memorial Research Award for the National Down Syndrome Congress.

Krauss was able to leave Heller in 2003, but she did not leave Brandeis. Instead, she became the university’s provost and senior vice president of academic affairs which she held for eight years, according to the article. Under this role, Krauss was able to orchestrate many projects including Brandeis’ 2006 reaccreditation and the launch of the Office of Global Affairs. After this position, Krauss retired in 2012, but still remained intertwined with Brandeis by acting as the honorary chair of the Heller School’s 55th anniversary celebration in 2014. However, Krauss came out of retirement to act as Heller’s interim dean from 2014 until 2017, where she supported the development of Our Generation Speaks, according to the article. The article also links an obituary and forum as well that is designed for individuals to leave their memories of Krauss.



March 18, 2022

OPINIONS We still need masks!

By Nicole Garmizo special to the hoot

*Editor’s Note: This article was written prior to the reversal of testing requirements on March 16 When I transferred to Brandeis in the fall of 2019 I was ready to open a new chapter in my life, meet new friends, audition for theater on campus and join an acapella group. What I didn’t expect was for a global pandemic to start in my second semester on campus. Two years of a global pandemic is not exactly the college experience that any of us were expecting, but here we are. Everyone—including myself—wants this pandemic to be over, but it’s not. With the coronavirus infections steadily declining, it makes sense for us to want things to start going back to normal. However, every time the world has started to open up again, a new wave of the pandemic starts and Brandeis isn’t immune from that. Brandeis’ recent policy change is going to put students at risk

of contracting COVID-19. Relaxing masking and testing policies, as well as not updating the COVID-19 dashboard everyday, and making all of these changes all at once is extremely irresponsible. In my opinion, these changes should have been made gradually, starting with reduced testing and then, after a while, reduced masking. Wearing a mask and keeping our hands clean is the best way to stay healthy in the midst of this pandemic, so why do we stop doing that every single time things start to look up? Yes, having to submit COVID-19 tests and wearing masks is inconvenient and uncomfortable, but we do have a greater campus community to look out for. We have disabled community members, immunocompromised and immunosuppressed community members, community members who live with or care for people who are at a high risk for COVID-19 and this pandemic is still very serious and scary for those people despite the number of cases decreasing. On a personal note, I have a chronic condition

that hasn’t been diagnosed yet and I don’t know how my body will react to the COVID-19 virus. Personally, I was very disappointed when it was announced that the COVID-19 dashboard would not be updated everyday starting March 7. I had been checking the dashboard almost everyday this entire school year so that I would have up to date information as to how Brandeis was doing in terms of the pandemic.

Having up-to-date information about the pandemic on campus is very important to me and others, especially those of us who have to worry about our health. As a disabled student on campus, it is extremely scary to not be able to keep up to date daily about the pandemic and I feel like everyone I know is becoming a close contact. A recent email from Brandeis University Student Affairs stated that there is an “unusually high


On Sunday March 13 most Americans resumed daylight saving time (DST), and moved their clocks ahead by one hour. The U.S. will resume standard time in November, when the clocks get pushed back by an hour. Like nearly 75 percent of Americans, I feel that we should do away with the practice of changing our clocks. I may actually get my wish, as Senator Marco Rubio (A Republican from Florida) recently introduced a bill called the “Sunshine Protection Act of 2021.” This bill, which recently passed the Senate via a unanimous consent agreement, would stop the practice of changing our clocks twice a year in the United States. This bill works specifically by repealing Section 3 of the Uniform Time Act of 1966, effectively ending the practice of changing our clocks

twice a year. Against all odds, Marco Rubio finally proposed a law that will help the American people. Daylight saving time is an antiquated practice, and it needs to go. To understand DST, it’s important to know the practice’s history. Daylight saving time has been a common practice for a little over a century at this point. It was first thought of by Benjamin Franklin in 1784. His proposal suggested that Paris’ citizens should wake up earlier in the day to avoid wasting lamp oil at night. Franklin’s proposal is seen by many as a joke, but it’s still the first written account of a suggestion to implement daylight saving time. The first serious proposal for daylight saving time came from George Hudson in 1895. Hudson proposed DST with the intention of allowing people to have more daylight during summer evenings and more daylight during winter mornings. Hudson was ridiculed when he proposed this idea, and his peers said that “calling the

hours different would not make any difference in the time.” Despite heavy criticism, Hudson’s idea was later picked up a few decades later. DST was used by the United States, Germany, France and other warring nations during World War I. By encouraging citizens to spend more time outside in the warm summer months, these nations hoped to conserve coal for the war effort. The next significant event in daylight saving time’s history is the 1966 Uniform Time Act. This law created the daylight saving system we have in America, where we lose an hour of daylight in the spring and gain an hour of daylight in the fall (the specific day on which we change our clocks on was later adjusted by President George Bush in 2007). The Uniform Time Act applied to all U.S. states, but some have since opted out (Hawaii and Arizona [but not the Navajo Nation within it]). Not all countries observe DST either; the practice is only common in the European Union, the U.S. and

Canada.One argument in favor of the observation of daylight saving time is that it saves energy, as it encourages people to stay out later in the warm months and thus use less energy in their homes. However, with the development of technology human behavior has changed. The advance of technology means that people are using their TVs and air conditioning systems regardless of the time of day and outside temperature, and thus the electricity savings that DST was intended to bring are now negligible. It’s been found that DST only saves about 0.03 percent of America’s total electricity use annually. While this is a non-zero number, it’s not significant enough to merit the inconvenience that changing the clocks brings. DST has also been linked to a myriad of health problems. Changing the time is linked to heart attacks, cardiovascular disease risk and metabolic syndrome among other ailments. Additionally, sleep deprivation and lower worker productivity are common

Rules for the club

By Thomas Pickering editor

To my travel enthusiasts I regret to inform you that the pause in travel stories has continued one more week. I promise that next week I will inform you as to how my weekend in London went but as for right now there is something more pressing on my mind—etiquette in a club or bar. In Europe there really is no fraternity or sorority that exists around colleges to cram you into an unfinished basement for drinks and dancing on a Friday night. Rather, people here go to whatever club is closest to them to enjoy themselves. In my opinion the club is so much nicer because I would rather pay for drinks and know what I’m getting than have a stoned brother pour mostly coke into a cup for me. But that is besides the point, the real issue I want to address here

are those people in the club that just ruin it for literally everyone else around them.Beginning with the people who I will name the “working Chads”. The “working Chad’’ is that dude in the club who got there straight from work. He did not hesitate in his journey from work to the club and is still fully dressed for his job. He is wearing a sweater, button down shirt underneath, khakis and has loafers on. This guy ruins all the vibes when you are next to him for a few reasons: one, the man just looks stiff and out of place. It’s like finding an onion ring in your French fries. You were not expecting it in there, you don’t really know if you want it and honestly the whole thing would be easier if it wasn’t there. Two, he’s got no energy. My man just came off of a shift at work and has no energy to party. So, he stands there like the sad statue he is and still has the audacity to lean into you when you are just trying to dance.

number of community members who have recently been identified as close contacts who are now required to quarantine.” Only updating us on the statistics twice a week keeps the campus in the dark for days about what is happening. I think the university should rethink recent changes to the masking and testing policy since the COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting the on-campus community.


It’s about time!

By Cooper Gottfried

The Brandeis Hoot 11

I give “working Chads” four bicycles out of 17 bicycles and recommend he goes home and takes a nap before ruining the vibes for everyone around him.Secondly, to the people who just stand in front of the DJ, I will name them the “frozen bros”. These guys are easily spotted because they generally wear all black and think it’s “slick” looking and some take it a notch up and wear glasses inside the very already dark club. But the best way to identify them is that they are definitely the kind of person to watch professional sports and say something along the lines of, “I can’t believe he fumbled that catch! I would totally have made that catch if my ankle didn’t need surgery when I was 13 on my AAU team. I could have gone pro, well actually I was going to go pro, but you know, my whole ankle thing.” These bros fight their way to the front by throwing shoulders and then just freaking stand there! You cannot

assume the best spot in the club and not fully enjoy it, that should be grounds for prison time honestly. I would even accept a head nod out of these people as “dancing” and not be so upset, but these morons stand there like statues. The “frozen bros” get negative two Clorox wipes out of 27 Clorox wipes and I recommend that they go to more museums. Then standing still in front of the focal point of each room won’t seem odd, but the sunglasses inside still will.Finally, for those party jumpers out there, this one’s for you. Now I do not mean party jumpers as in those people who go from party to party, you guys are fine. I am talking about the people who think dancing is just jumping up and down as high as you can go. I will name this group of people the “jumping beans.” I want to admit that there is absolutely no problem in certain levels of jumps when dancing. You jump to the beat and maybe only get an inch

the week after the clock changes. This lower worker productivity is particularly significant, as it’s been estimated that a loss of $480 billion in knowledge worker productivity occurs the week after the clock changes.The Sunshine Protection Act is the most recent in a long line of anti-DST legislation. More than a dozen states have passed legislation or resolutions that end the observation of DST. This bill hasn’t become law yet, and it’s becoming increasingly unclear if it will. Some sources cite the bill’s “bipartisan support” as a positive sign for its passage into law, while others have cited some legislator’s concerns about “children going to school in the dark” as a negative sign for its passage into law. Either way, this law must now pass through the democratically controlled House of Representatives before it lands on President Biden’s desk to be signed. I’m heavily in support of the Sunshine Protection Act, and like Marco Rubio said, “This is an idea whose time has come.”

or two of air, it really should be no more than a calf raise. However, if you are jumping so high that you hit the elbow of my raised arm, now we have a problem. You cannot get mad at me for “elbowing you in the head”, no no no buddy, you headbutted my elbow! I do not know what planet you are from but you’re going to apologize to me. I give the “jumping beans” a solid four apples out of 13 apples because it’s just a misunderstanding but you still are not in the right here. I recommend getting a trampoline for home if you want to jump that high. So, from “working Chads”, to “frozen bros”, to “jumping beans” just know you are making enjoying the club harder than it has to be. If you know someone who is this way or see someone who is like this, give them the phone number of the BCC and the link to this article. Neither will help but maybe, just maybe, they can somehow gaslight these people a little bit.


The Brandeis Hoot

March 18, 2022

‘Dirrty’: self-expression or self-contradiction? By Harsh Aryan special to the hoot

In my Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies class, I was asked to analyze a feminist and thought-provoking music video. The reason I picked Christina Aguilera’s music video, “Dirrty” was because of how avant-garde it was. Indeed, it was truly ahead of its time. For those who don’t know, Christina Aguilera is an American Latin songstress who is celebrated for using her tremendous vocal prowess to approach topics such as feminism, sexuality and domestic abuse. One of her most critically acclaimed yet shocking albums was her fourth studio album Stripped (2002). Her song and music video “Dirrty” received a tsunami of attention for its liberation of female sexuality as well as the departure from Aguilera’s “squeaky clean” image established in her previous albums. The instances where Aguilera constructs sexual images involve her wearing risqué clothing, dancing erotically and depicting overly sexual fetishes such as male fantasies of lesbianism and catfighting, mud wrestling and body worshiping. However, Aguilera still conforms to quite a few regressive gender stereotypes such as depicting the defining quality of masculinity as displaying aggression, having female dancers in the video with the exact same body type as her and fetishizing race. In a patriarchal society, women’s clothing is constantly policed by society and women are not allowed to revel in their sexuality, as it is believed that a woman’s sexuality only exists for a man’s pleasure. In fact, women are shamed by society for wearing revealing clothes if they want to. This reminds me of Jamaica Kincaid’s short story, “Girl.” The sentence, “to prevent yourself from dressing like the slut I know you are so bent on becoming” demonstrates how women are judged, shamed and policed by society for the clothes they wear. Their choices are constantly dictated by the male gaze. It exemplifies how limited a woman’s autonomy really is. However, by wearing what makes her comfortable and enjoying her sexuality, Christina Aguilera reclaims her autonomy. In the music video she dons several risqué outfits. The first of which are her infamous black leather chaps and a red bikini and the second is a black mini-skirt and black bikini. Red symbolizes sexuality and passion whereas black symbolizes strength. Thus, through the symbolic representation of her clothing, Christina Aguilera demonstrates that the subversion of patriarchal norms is powerful and there is strength in a woman reclaiming her agency- by wearing clothes that she wants to wear. In addition, in a patriarchal society, women experience tremendous disrespect and invalidation from men. This is done to

maintain male dominance. When looking at the music video, one of the sentences that jumped out at me was from Sarah Ahmed’s “Slammed Doors” -“women enter, only to head right out again: whoosh, whoosh.” The door doesn’t symbolize freedom or liberation but, rather, an exit that exists for women to be chased out of the system by men to maintain male supremacy. This notion of male supremacy extends itself to the topic of sexuality. It is firmly believed that women cannot be expressive of their own sexuality. Although, men can be expressive of their sexuality and are allowed to sexualize women because a woman’s sexuality exists for a man’s pleasure. In the music video, Christina Aguilera constructs women as sexual beings and refuses to conform to gender stereotypes thereby, breaking free of patriarchal norms. This is clearly seen through a closeup shot of her in a cage. A cage is a symbol of restriction, oppression and signifies a loss in freedom and agency. When Christina Aguilera leaves the cage and tosses her jacket, she immediately begins to dance in a sultry manner and moans provocatively. This signifies a liberation or freeing of female sexuality. She agrees that she is “nasty” and “too dirty to clean her act up” thus, showing how freeing it is for a woman to revel in her sexuality. Aguilera subverts patriarchal norms by depicting herself as a sexual being and celebrating her sexuality and autonomy. Thus, she once again reclaims her power and autonomy by subverting patriarchal norms of gender. Her refusal to conform to gender stereotypes is also seen when she rides a motorbike in the opening of the music video of “Dirrty.” In essence, Aguilera demonstrates that women, like men, are sexual beings and there is power in a woman reclaiming her agency and sexuality by subverting norms of society. Moreover, Aguilera further dives into her sexuality in the music video by exploring aspects of female pleasure which are denounced by the patriarchy. In the music video of “Dirrty”, Aguilera is surrounded by other women and is seen dancing, twerking and writhing in pleasure. This is demonstrated by her aggressively growling out “Ooh baby” and stroking her crotch. The stroking of her crotch and shaking of her hand are also indicative of female masturbation. This is particularly significant as Aguilera demonstrates how female pleasure should be celebrated and not ignored. When I was watching the music video, one of the sentences that jumped out to me were from the book, “Coming to Understand: Orgasm and the Epistemology of ignorance” Nancy Tuana writes: “What was once common knowledge or even common scientific knowledge can be transferred to the realm of ignorance

not because it is refuted and seen as false, but because such knowledge is no longer seen as valuable, important or functional.” This notion extends itself to the topic of female pleasure. According to religious scriptures, a woman’s lustfulness led to the original sin- sex. As such, society considers female pleasure as vulgar. However, Aguilera’s depictions of female masturbation and her suggestive smirks once again denounce such values. She is clearly a woman who takes pride in her pleasure and embraces her sexuality rather than ignoring it. By doing so, she also encourages other women to take pride in their own sexuality and reminds them that female erotic pleasure does not exist for a man’s satisfaction. However, while Christina Aguilera celebrates female sexuality and its liberation, she still sexualizes herself in a manner which subtly implies that a woman’s sexuality exists for a man’s erotic viewing pleasure. For instance, when Aguilera is thrusting her hips and stroking her hair suggestively, she is surrounded by several male bodybuilders who are all staring at her in a suggestive and intense manner, another instance is when she and her female dancers are in the boxing ring dancing, all of them are surrounded again by male mud wrestlers. In both scenes, the camera closes in on her crotch and her head swaying aggressively, depicting female orgasm. However, because she is surrounded by men in her music video who are smiling sexually at her erotic self-touching, it sends a message to her audience that a woman’s sexuality exists for a man’s sexual satisfaction. Laura Mulvey states in her book “Visual Pleasure and Narrative cinema”, that a woman is regarded as someone who “holds the look, plays to and signifies male desire” really is exemplified by the sheer number of men in the video. The camera shots zooming in up close on Aguilera’s buttocks, breast and legs is evident of how women are seen as objects of male desire and male sexual pleasure and it is misogynistic as it implies that a woman’s true value is in her body parts and not her identity and personhood. The camera also zooms in intensely in the scene between Aguilera and another female boxer wrestling and fighting each other as the men lick their lips and cheer raucously, strongly suggesting male erotic fantasies of lesbianism and catfighting. Also, the director of “Dirrty,” David LaChapelle, is also a man, it introduces a gender bias and reinforces the notion that a woman’s sexuality is solely intended for a man’s viewing pleasure.Moreover, Aguilera conforms to eurocentric standards of beauty and thereby, excludes members of her female audience who don’t have the same body type as her. Indeed, there is an implicit fat stigma present in the music video of “Dirrty.” All the dancers

have Aguilera’s body type- petite breasts, short height, slim legs and a flat stomach. These were features idolized by Eurocentric beauty standards during the early 2000s, which was when the music video was released. Although the ideal body type has now changed and beauty standards are evolving constantly, there is still a pressure to conform to those standards. By having women who all have the exact same body type as her, Christina Aguilera subtly perpetuates the notion that only women who conform to Eurocentric beauty standards deserve to be sexually liberated. She reinforces the notion Eurocentric standards of beauty are the norm and thereby, exacerbates the pressure that women experience to conform to those standards. There aren’t any plus-sized women in the video or women with a diverse range of body types. This is an example of “harboring whiteness.” According to Caleb Luna, in her piece “Your Fat Stigma is Racist - Here are 6 Ways to Fix That,” Latinx and Black folk are scrutinized for having “full” and “fat” features, whereas white women are applauded for slim features. Being slim herself and having only slim female dancers featuring in her music video, Christina Aguilera glorifies white-eurocentric standards of beauty. She thereby marginalizes Black and Latin X folks, as well as women who don’t have the same body type as her. Thus, reinforcing the message that only women who look like her deserve to be sexually liberated.Another problematic aspect in Aguilera’s music video is the fetishization of race. One of the things that I learned from my Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies class is that misogynoir is a term used to describe the anti-Black racist misogyny that Black women experience, particularly in US visual and digital culture. The stereotypical Jezebel is the image of hyper sexualized Black women and is seen as “animalistic, strong, insatiable. In the music video of “Dirrty”, there are many Black female dancers who are aggressively twerking and dancing suggestively. This reinforces the Jezebel stereotype and fetishization of Black women. This is particularly problematic as these stereotypes are harmful to and marginalize Black women. This is corroborated by the CDC as Black women are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related deaths than their white counterparts. The music video also reflects Aguilera’s privilege. Devon Carbado defines privilege in his essay “Privilege” as, “those of us who unquestionably accept the racial, gender and heterosexual privileges we have.” Even though Aguilera is acknowledged by the media as part Latin, she is white-passing and has been treated by the media as a white woman throughout her two-decade long career. As such, she is not subjected to the harmful stereotypes, such as the “spicy Latina”, that

other Latina women must face, which is an example of her privilege. Thus, Aguilera’s privilege in the music video is evident as she fetishizes minorities such as Black and Latinx individuals, without having to face the repercussions of the fetishization. What is also problematic is her portrayal of masculinity as being solely defined by aggression and being highly testosterone driven. All the men present in the video are mud-wrestlers and bodybuilders, all of whom have extremely muscular and toned physiques. The video depicts men punching and wrestling one another and are cheered on by other wrestlers in the video. This glorification of violence as an indicator of masculinity is both regressive and harmful. According to Michael S. Kimmel in his essay “Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame and Silence in the Construction of Gender Identity”, “Violence is often the single evident marker of manhood.” If a man doesn’t demonstrate violent behavior, he is seen as a “sissy’’ and bullied by his male peers. This is an example of Aguilera’s privilege because as is defined by Carbado, when someone is a “perpetrator of discrimination,” they are demonstrating their own privilege. Because Aguilera is not a man, she doesn’t have to experience or be subjected to some of the pernicious stereotypes that even men experience in society such as constantly having to prove their dominance and masculinity through brute aggression, which is damaging to their mental health. Also, in Aguilera’s music video all the men have extremely muscular physiques and the camera focuses in and highlights these features. This indicates that manhood is defined by the presence of brawn and strength. By glorifying aggression and muscular bodies in her music video, she conforms to patriarchal norms of society that judge and deem men as “sissies” if they are not muscular and aggressive, thereby demonstrating her privilege once again. Thus, through the symbolic representation of clothing, metaphors, close-up shots and sultry dancing, Christina Aguilera portrays female sexuality as a liberating experience. However, because her representation of female sexuality borrows heavily from already existing societal gender norms, her attempt at liberation still perpetuates problematic and regressive patriarchal and racial stereotypes. This mélange of female sexual liberation, messaging and adherence to problematic societal norms is a characteristic of early 2000 music videos. However, Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty” is still significant because the music video and song inspired other female artists and women at large to unapologetically embrace their sexuality. Both the song and music video cemented Aguilera as a talented vocalist and feminist icon of the early 2000s.

March 18, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

American drug epidemics and their responses: perceptions of drug users vary along racial lines By Mia Plante editor

The United States has been struggling with the ever-worsening opioid epidemic since the 1990s when increased opioid prescriptions led to widespread opioid addiction. Driven by greed, private companies fraudulently marketed highly-addictive narcotics as safe for moderate pain — as seen in the case of Purdue Pharma and their drug Oxycontin. Growing up in New Hampshire I always knew that there was a drug problem in my community. Many people I know have family members who have struggled with drug abuse, and there aren’t many good resources for mental health and addiction treatment in the area. Recently though I have had my eyes opened even further through discussions in a class on the war on drugs and how companies — and the government — almost always put profit and politics over people. The opioid epidemic has killed an estimated five hundred thousand individuals in the United States since 1999. Each year the number of opioid related deaths increases fairly steadily, and in the year 2020 nearly 92 thousand people died from drug overdoses including opioid overdoses. These deaths are not confined to illicit opioid use but prescription opioids as well — in 2020 over 16 thousand individuals died from opioid overdoses involving prescription opioids. Ever since the market for prescription opioids being used for moderate pain was created in the 1990s, the pharma-

ceutical industry, healthcare providers and illicit drug dealers have been profiting from over-prescription and later, addiction. This fact is not even hidden as “pill mills”, clinics that prescribe opioids at extremely high levels, have persisted despite attempts by the government to curb opioid addiction in the United States. Still, 81 percent of oxycodone prescriptions in the world are written in the United States, and hundreds of millions of prescription painkillers are distributed yearly. Some of these “pain clinics” don’t just stop there, but have figured out ways to make even more money off of the addictions they create. One chain of pain care clinics in New Hampshire, Granite State Pain Associates, is “affiliated” with an addiction recovery center called ROAD To A Better Life. These medical resources are not only located in the exact same five towns in the state, but have an overlap of four medical staff members. These clinics are able to get patients hooked on prescription painkillers and profit more off of the addictions that follow suit. Lack of adequate regulations surrounding these drugs and how they are prescribed — even now — has pushed the epidemic further. With the incentive of money in such a money-driven society, many prescribers are pushed to look past their morals as medical providers. Even those who are unaware of the harm they are causing are over-prescribing opioids for things as minor as ankle sprains. But even with this prescription-happy world that we live in, non-white pain patients experience significant discrimination within the medical community

in how their pain is treated. Black patients are 22 percent less likely than white patients to receive pain medication in numerous settings. 47 percent of physicians underestimate the pain of Black patients as compared to 33.5 percent of physicians underestimating the pain of non-Black patients. Disparities in pain treatment and a lack of addressing implicit biases and ignorance within the medical community has been reflected in the overprescription of pain medications for white patients and the underprescription of pain medications for Black patients. This has made the opioid epidemic a largely white epidemic, which explains the more enthusiastic response given to those who have suffered from opioid addiction as compared to largely non-white drug epidemics. The crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and ’90s, a significant portion of sufferers Black, lower class Americans, was responded to with the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act. This legislation, as promoted by the Reagan administration, consisted of imposing harsher sentences for crack cocaine users than powder cocaine users and demonized an entire community of drug users. Reagan’s “War on Drugs” targeted Black inner city drug users and significantly increased the rate of incarceration of Black Americans. By 1989 one in four Black male Americans was either incarcerated or on probation or parole. It’s clear this criminalization of those with drug addictions and those who resort to selling drugs for income is mostly focused on Black individuals as the opioid epidemic presents an entirely different story than the crack epidemic.

Instead of instantly putting in place mandatory minimum sentences for opioid users, the government and media perspective on drug abuse shifted to that of sympathy. $7.4 billion was allotted in 2018 to fight the epidemic through furthering research and treatment as opposed to the billion-or-so dollars dedicated to incarcerating crack users in the 1980s and ’90s. Even during the opioid epidemic with this change to a sympathetic view of drug users, the general perspective of non-white drug addicts has remained the same. When reading through stories of Black and Latino opioid cases, their crimes are highlighted, their personal lives and struggles are not highlighted as well or as often as what is done for white opioid users. Earlier this year the Biden administration announced it was planning on distributing $30 million of grants within a nation-wide harm reduction program. The program, as a part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration would disperse funding that could be used to purchase equipment for safe drug use including needles, overdose reversal medications and safe smoking kits. This funding and subsequent harm reduction effort could significantly reduce the risk of individuals’ getting blood borne diseases, reduce likelihood of overdose deaths, reduce stigma around the disease of addiction and hopefully lead people to feel more comfortable getting help within their communities. But, with the announcement of this grant, the administration gained significant backlash from Republican lawmakers who uti-

lized racist rhetoric within their tactics. Republicans claimed this money would be used to fund “crack pipes” which is incorrect and very clearly plays to the racist narrative of crack and crack users being significantly more dangerous than other drugs and drug users. Simply using the term “crack pipe” instills fear in many ignorant Americans who associate drugs they don’t use or understand with violence, but opioid addicts with mental illness. Republicans didn’t create an uproar over free needles being a part of the kit because their constituents are likely much closer to the opioid epidemic than the crack epidemic. They utilized the Reagan-era racist demonization of Black Americans and drugs commonly associated with Black communities to their political benefit. This type of harm reduction efforts is a step in the right direction for the United States, but it took hundreds of thousands of white Americans to die before action was taken. If the demographics of the opioid epidemic were anything like those of the crack epidemic, it is safe to say that even fewer efforts would be taken to prevent overdose deaths. Conversely, good-samaritan laws likely wouldn’t be common and there would be significantly less advancement in the field of addiction rehabilitation. Harm reduction is seen as vital in modern American drug policy, unless it has anything to do with reducing harm to Black communities and individuals. This, like everything else in American public policy, stems back to the racist roots of our system and people.

Ukraine is the new Afghanistan; Western hypocrisy in support for Ukraine By Abdel Achibat editor

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has truly been in progression for quite some time, in which its democracy has been challenged consistently since its independence in 1991. Starting in 2014 during the Euromaidan revolution where Crimea was annexed, Russian involvement in politics in neighboring former Soviet Union countries has continued to pose threats to sovereignty. Therefore, it has been far from a surprise for Ukrainians that Russia has held interests in further monopolizing its political control over Ukrainian territory. The true surprise, or rather gravest disappointment, is that Russia is deeply invested in air, land, sea, cyber and perhaps even nuclear warfare in order to achieve this goal, largely signaling an even more serious endeavor of occupying and absorbing former Soviet Union states, effectively changing the political geography of Europe and Eurasia. America’s grave interest in this particular incident in which a foreign power is violating another state’s sovereignty goes beyond just mere humanitarian concern for Ukrainians. This is particularly evident by the fact that America has been the recent subject of multiple incidents of violating another state’s sovereignty, namely within the Middle East. Conse-

quently, America’s intrinsic placement in this conflict is the fact that one of the key players is Russia, and NATO allies are expected to be in some way affected soon. If any NATO ally is to be affected during this highly sensitive “western” conflict, it would mean that virtually all 30 NATO countries would be involved; an indication of quite literally a World War. Amongst these recent escalations within the Russo-Ukrainian war, it seems increasingly evident that Ukraine overestimated their importance to the West, and have significantly acted on social media in a reactionary fashion. Historically speaking, America and the West have always supported “freedom fighters” against Soviet, or in this case Russian, influence. They have routinely provided weapons, financial aid, and global support as they did in Afghanistan. Ukrainians and western media’s diction on covering the crisis, however, seem to be relying on white privilege and Ukrainian’s proximity to European identity in order to garner enough support to fully deter Russian forces. This is in contrast to Afghanistan and Iraq who were both demonized by western media and were neglected the opportunity to represent themselves on the world stage before their culture was painted as mystic and their people as radical extremists. It is both Ukrainians proximity to European identity and their access to western capital (technology and social me-

dia) that have made their fight so widely popularized. What the Ukrainian government has neglected to wholly understand, however, is that they are merely another actor on the world stage that is not fully integrated into the West and is under the global influence of Russia’s history. Whether America and the West engage in the war, or provide significant post-war funding, stands to be an indication of whether European and white proximity can truly prevent desperation and oppression in a political globe of constant exploitation of those not part of The West. As witnessed by the historical precedents of military pullouts from Afghanistan and Iraq and from colonial precedents of Europe’s pullout from Africa, leaving nations in a state of war without proper post-war funding leads to widespread systemic political disarray. It is worthy to note that Ukraine has only been independent since 1991 and has had corrupt and popularly disputed presidents ever since. This democracy is quite literally still in the making, thus inclination towards corruption remains even more plausible in this particular state of emergency. The biggest concerns I see forthcoming are not an engagement of all major military forces in the Russo-Ukrainian war spanning into a world war, although it truly is plausible, but rather a subsequent radicalization of

Ukrainians and long-term deterioration of international politics. Supplying military weapons and support to enraged political individuals has historically never resulted in peace, especially when notably not combined with postwar reparation measures. Historically, these “freedom-fighters” have always become derailed, radicalized, highly militarized, and demonized by western media. Within the coming months, it is inevitable that Ukrainian “freedom-fighters” will continue to overestimate their importance and underestimate their inclinations to radicalization and anger stemming from global injustice. Whether Ukraine, and the West, win the war or not, the global stage will soon be dealing with a highly politicized population of radicalized individuals (rightfully so) furthering the calling out of


international political debate to comprise of sovereignty concerns and aggressive measures against world actors, which will undoubtedly continue to shake the global community off of its 70 year long foothold on “peace.” Somewhat ironically, this eventual question for international politics has been long brought up by Middle Eastern countries calling out America’s imperialism, but will only now be taken more seriously due to Ukraine’s European and white proximity. The largest question we must ask ourselves in order to enter into a new global political age of liberty, independence and free trade is whether white privilege and American capitalism continues to take precedence over the indiscrete physical and economical massacre of the global south.


March 18, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 14

The 94th Oscars prediction


It is that time of year again! Oscar season is once again upon us. On March 27, 2022, the 94th Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre and will air on ABC. All of Hollywood comes together to honor the best in film from 2021. Nominees came out on February 8, and that is when the excitement kicked into high gear. Some people have the Super Bowl, I have the Oscars. Every year I am analyzing, researching and watching films that get Oscar buzz. I try to think like the experts and learn about the very best films. While I know there are plenty of great films that do not get the buzz due to being small, I like to use the Oscars as my resource for films. After careful scrutinizing, here is what I think will win the Oscar and what I want to win the Oscar. Best Picture: With 12 nominations, the most for a film this year, “The Power of the Dog” is presenting itself as the one to beat. It’s going into Oscar night with the most precursor awards, including Best Picture at the BAFTAs, Critics Choice and many more. Critics fell in love with this Western about love and courage. It was a fascinating film that has been the head of the pack for a while, and that will most likely culminate with the top prize at the top award show. That being said, I have seen most of these films and I have to say “CODA” was the one that stole my heart. An emotional story of a teenage girl being the only hearing person in a family of deaf people was what drew me in the most, and it would win if I had it my way. Best Actor: Will Smith carried “King Richard,” the story of the Williams’ sisters’ childhood and their ruthless father. He gave an exciting performance that took home the Golden Globe, BAFTA and the Critics Choice award.

The academy loves biopics and Smith’s portrayal will most likely lead him to bringing home the statuette. However, Andrew Garfield’s performance in “Tick Tick Boom” was legendary. In the musical film about Jonathan Larson’s life, Garfield learned how to sing, play the piano and he effectively became Larson while tugging at my heart strings. I have seen this film twice since it came out, and that is because of Garfield. I’m still bitter that this film wasn’t nominated for Best Picture, but I can still hold out hope for its star. Best Actress: This category is probably the most erratic one of the year. None of the nominees were nominated for a BAFTA and none of them are in a Best Picture nominated film. It’s a tough category to predict, and I might make a different prediction on the day of the awards, but I’m predicting that Jessica Chastain will win for her performance in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” the story of cheerful televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. With a SAG award, Bafta and Critics Choice award under her belt, she has become a top contender. It was not the easiest role, especially under pounds of makeup, and Chastain really showed Tammy’s rise and fall in a powerful way that fascinated me. She stole the show, and even though she was not always a top contender, I have been rooting for her since I saw the film. I think she will win the Oscar and she is also who I want to win the Oscar. Best Supporting Actor: This category has gone back and forth, and at this point Troy Kotsur seems to be able to take it for his role in “CODA” as a caring and devoted father. Kotsur is the first deaf actor ever nominated for an Oscar in a role that has been a real breakthrough for him. The race for best supporting actor has become a tight race, with Kotsur picking up some big key awards late in the game, SAG, BAFTA, Critics Choice, etc. While it did


not seem to be leaning towards him a few weeks ago, I predict that the Academy will give him the award. If it were up to me, I would want Kotsur to win as his performance was amazing. I believe he can win this award and that is what I want to happen. He played a character that felt so real. I hope I see him more in the future. Best Supporting Actress: In 1961, Rita Moreno won Best Supporting Actress for playing Anita in the original “West Side Story.” Fifty years later, it looks like history will repeat itself with Ariana Debose playing the same role in the remake of “West Side Story.” Critics have loved her take on the iconic role and she has been a huge standout of the film for critics and award shows. Personally, I really enjoyed Jessie Buckley’s performance in “The Lost Daughter” where she played a younger version of the lead, showing the hardships of raising children. It was a bit of a surprise to see her name on nomination day, but it was a pleasant one. Even though she wasn’t the lead, she was my favorite part of the film, and her winning will make for an interesting upset. Best Director: This category is not really a competition. It has

been clear for months that Jane Campion will win for “The Power of the Dog.” She has dominated every awards show and every critics’ pick. She has been predicted for a while and no one else really has a chance. I have to agree with what the critics have been saying. Campion created a Western feel and brought out stellar performances from the actors. It was a western for modern audiences, and she told a fascinating tale. Campion presented the story in a special way that made for an exciting film, and her win would be well earned. She is almost guaranteed a win by this point, and I am hoping that will happen. Best Adapted Screenplay: This appears to be another category where “The Power of the Dog” will receive the statuette. The film was adapted from a book by Thomas Savage, and critice admired how this novel was brought to life. Considering the domination in the director category and being the favorite in the best picture category, it seems only natural that the story will get a win too. However, “CODA” has the potential to be a contender, as it has gained momentum in the past few weeks. The story of this film has grabbed

people’s hearts and was told expertly. This story could have been told as an average feel good story, but it was written so well that even the most predictable moments grabbed you, which is what gives it potential to win. It is the story that moved me the most and I would want to see it recognized. Best Original Screenplay: In this category, “Belfast” will have its time to shine. This is a heartfelt semi autobiography of the much loved Sir Kenneth Branagh that takes place in 1960s Ireland. Considering the film has talked about being a contender in Best Picture and got early attention with a win at the Toronto Film Festival, this could be the original story that receives its praise. That being said, “Licorice Pizza,” the story of young romance in 1970s San Fernando Valley, could sneak in with a win for Paul Thomas Anderson. It was a cute romance that critics enjoyed. Despite the problematic age gap in this film, I really enjoyed the story. It was about carefree young people making money, learning about the film industry and falling in love. I think it would be nice if Anderson won his first Oscar after eight previous nominations.

‘Star Trek Picard’ has an incredible new season By Zach Katz staff

It would be an understatement to say that the first season of Paramount+’s “Star Trek Picard” was divisive. Although fans were thrilled to return to the TNG era of the “Star Trek” universe, many found the conclusion of the season-long arc to be disappointing and— I’m sorry, I need to address the elephant in the room. It’s the Borg! The Borg! A proper representative of the Borg Collective, or a splinter of it that is seemingly just as powerful, on our television screens in the year 2022! The Borg are my favorite “Star Trek” villains. I’ve been suspicious of anything mysterious and green over on “Star Trek Discovery” for the last two years, so the second a green anomaly appeared on the show that currently stars two of the Borg’s three worst enemies, I had my hopes up. Then we heard their voice, and I was almost certain. And then, finally, their massive ship emerged from the rift they apparently tore in the fabric of space/time and Seven (Jeri Ryan) confirmed my dream and all the characters’ worst nightmares. But I’m getting ahead

of myself. The first two episodes of season two of “Star Trek Picard” focus on establishing where the main characters are after the events of the first season. Thankfully, everyone seems to be in a much better position. Jean-Luc Picard, played by, as always, Patrick Stewart, is the head of Starfleet Academy, with Raffi (Michelle Hurd) serving as an instructor and Elnor (Evan Evagora) in place as the Academy’s first Romulan cadet. Captain Rios (Santiago Cabrera) has rejoined Starfleet and is the commanding officer of the new USS Stargazer, named for Picard’s original command, which features one of the best new ship designs found in this recent batch of “Star Trek” shows. Seven has taken command of Rios’s old ship and is using it to fight the good fight with the Fenris Rangers, while Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) and Soji Asha (Isa Briones) seem to be in the middle of a diplomacy tour for Soji’s android home planet. Both burgeoning relationships that were set up last season, between Rios and Jurati, and between Raffi and Seven, seem to have fallen apart or become strained in the time between seasons. After each character is reintroduced, the premiere episode “The Stargazer” reunites everyone, oddly except for Soji,

on the titular starship to investigate the aforementioned Borg-induced anomaly. There they are faced with a complication that feels directly out of an old school “Star Trek” episode. The Borg are requesting to join the Federation. Obviously, this announcement is met with a wide array of reactions. Seven, unsurprisingly, advocates for destroying the Borg ship before they have the chance to assimilate the gathering Federation fleet. What is surprising is that Picard actually seems willing to entertain the possibility that the Collective is telling the truth. Making new allies out of old enemies is one of the most important morals that “Star Trek” has consistently preached, and although the idea of the Borg being brought into the fold initially leaves a weird taste, it is intriguing. Of course, then the Borg get impatient, announce that they’re “out of time” and start assimilating the Stargazer. Left with no other choice, Picard activates the self-destruct system, thus ending the shortest season of “Star Trek” to ever be put on air. Not really. The world fades to white, and then suddenly Picard is in his house. But things are different. The sky and ground are brown, and his Romulan staff have been replaced by an-

droids and alien slaves. Then Q, still played to perfection by John de Lancie, shows up. The second episode, “Penance,” opens with an extended conversation between Q and Picard. Q is in rare form here, at times acting like this is simply another test for Picard and humanity, and at others acting genuinely disturbed. In terms of immortal, omniscient beings, Q has never been the most stable one around the block, but he usually means well. As Picard later tells the group, now he seems “unstable, not quite sane.” As they figure out later in the episode, thanks to a captured Borg Queen (Annie Wersching), Q has made a single change to the timeline, turning the Federation into a xenephobic, facist state known as the Confederation, and Earth into a dying world. In this new timeline, Raffi is a security chief, Elnor is a freedom fighter, Jurati is seemingly running experiments on prisoners, Rios is leading a war against the Vulcans, Seven is the completely human President of the Confederation, Annika Hansen, and Picard is the warmongering General Picard. Once the group gets back together and discovers that they are all aware of the shift in the timeline, they decide to set out to fix Q’s damage by traveling back to 2024 and undoing

his alteration. The episode ends as they face a new challenge in their journey, but trailers assure fans that they will be successful in their attempt to reach the past. At only two episodes in, the second season of “Star Trek Picard” seems primed to be one of the best seasons of “Star Trek” that has been released during this new period of “Star Trek” television. Both episodes practically ooze with love for the franchise, and there is a trail of easter eggs constant enough to make long term fans happy. The fleet from the first episode is built from ship models originating from “Star Trek Online,” fixing one of the biggest problems fans had with last season’s finale, the fleet of identical ships. “Penance” features callouts to fan favorites like Sisko and Martok and many more. There are even some surprises in the episodes that I haven’t mentioned, but will definitely make any cautious fan feel optimistic. Of course, there is a chance that later episodes of this season might disappoint, but for now, it feels really good to be unreservedly excited for new episodes of “Star Trek.”


The Brandeis Hoot

March 18, 2022

‘Orlando:’ style over substance but in a good way By Josh Lannon staff

This past weekend, Brandeis’ Department of Theater Arts premiered its newest production “Orlando,” based on the novel by Virginia Woolf and adapted for the stage by Sarah Ruhl. Brandeis’ production is carried by an amazing ensemble cast whose already compelling performances are enhanced through creative costumes and a minimalist set design. The story follows the character Orlando, an aristocratic poet who cannot seem to write his masterpiece, and seemingly stops aging around 30 years old. Orlando’s journey goes through the 18th to 20th centuries. The show deals a lot with the theme of gender identity. For act one Orlando identifies as a man and as a woman in act two. The actors give their all in their performances and the show has a surprisingly large ensemble element. All the actors surrounding Orlando act as a type of Greek chorus, donning different costumes to play specific characters in Orlando’s story. While it is clearly Orlando’s story, it would not be the same without the ener-

gy brought by the ensemble cast. Of particular note, Ruth King ‘24 gives an over the top energetic performance whether she is playing a named character or is part of the ensemble. Other noticeable performances include Peirce Robinson ‘22, who gives a hilarious performance as the Archduchess, who is really the comically inept Archduke that relentlessly pursues Orlando’s affection. Every member of the ensemble showed amazing commitment and dedication in their performances, as did the show’s title character. Orlando is played by Ellie Forster ‘24, who gives an excellent performance, playing both masculine and feminine roles. Forster showcases great range in their acting ability as Orlando shifts from different emotional states throughout the course of the play. While the ensemble provides the levity and comedic elements of the show, Forster provides the emotional core of the show as Orlando deals with heartbreak and tries to find out who they are. Supporting this talented cast are some amazing costumes. The costumes designed by Kat Lawrence ‘22 are amazing, both for the ensemble and named characters. The Queen, played by Luc-

ie Blau ‘24, has an amazing and complex dress that is reminiscent of Elizabethan attire. Her dress is so grandiose that it actually serves as a set piece in addition to a costume highlighting both the character’s vanity and extravagant personality. Each ensemble member also has an excellent outfit colored in black and white, possibly in relation to the show’s theme of gender identity with black and white representing femininity and masculinity. But in keeping with the show’s themes of fluid gender identity, all the ensemble costumes are a mix of black and white and a mix of traditionally feminine and masculine clothing, rather than one or the other. The show’s set is fairly minimalistic, which allows the actors to go all out on stage without drawing attention away from them. There are no massive or gaudy setpieces that draw focus away from the actors. Instead, the set is made up of hanging metal frames which are used for multiple settings. My compliments to scenic designer Baron E. Pugh and lighting designer Jeff Adelberg for their excellent use of the stage space to highlight the actors. The use of lighting and shadow, in particular, was phe-

nomenal. During some dramatic scenes, the actors’ silhouettes stretched across the backdrop of the stage in a very eerie but compelling effect, enhancing the actors’ performances. For example, the entry into the 20th century was accompanied by flashing lights and the sounds of old timey cars. I really appreciate the use of light and sound to denote the passage of time, rather than a set piece that would distract from the very character driven narrative. While the show is very funny and the cast is great, it is sometimes almost too funny. I noticed that the constant bombardment of joke after joke and quip after quip left me feeling less and less amused. Even the more serious scenes, in which Orlando reflects upon life and themselves, are usually undercut by a one-off joke or snarky comment from the ensemble. For the most part the jokes land and are genuinely funny, but every now and then there would be a joke either someone didn’t get or got little more than a cough from the audience. Thankfully, those moments were few and far between. Despite all the glitz and glamor, “Orlando” has one major flaw that plagues many stylized per-

formances, and that is style over substance. The show’s narrative is simple yet vague. While the theme of gender identity is clear, the overall message of the play gets muddled in all flashy clothes and flashing lights. Normally, I enjoy a vague ending or a production that makes you think about its message rather than simply tell you outright, but in this case, the show’s morality comes off as confusing rather than thought provoking. But perhaps that is the point, as for much of the show and even at the end, Orlando is still searching for who they are. Regardless of these minor issues, Brandeis’ production of “Orlando” was still entertaining and tackled the complex issue of gender identity. While the show doesn’t really find a conclusion to that issue, it does not detract from the artistry within the performance. The ensemble brings hilariously high-energy physicality to the show. Combined with creative costumes and a minimalist set design the ensemble is able to shine on stage, “Orlando” is an example of a show that takes the hard work of many different people both cast and crew to create something truly awesome. Editor Cyrenity Augustin did not contribute .

‘Pirates: the Last Royal Treasure:’ funny, but a bit lost By Caroline O editor

Every once in a while, you want to watch a silly movie. When I say that there are some films that are silly, I’m talking about films that might have humor, but they might also have a million other little elements that make for a somewhat jarring (although not always unpleasantly so!) watch. The recently-released Korean film “Pirates: the Last Royal Treasure” fits right into that category. There’s action, adventure and comedy, and while the film absolutely doesn’t take itself seriously, there are just so many little things that make this film a whiplash of a watch. That said though, it’s fun, and if you want to watch a pirate movie that’s not too complicated but hits on all the ridiculous tropes of this kind of film, then ‘Pirates’ might be at least somewhat worth the two hours. This story mostly follows

Woo Moo Chi (Kang Ha Neul), self-proclaimed leader of a group of bandits, as well as the last swordsman of the now-fallen Goryeo dynasty. The movie opens with his bandits and himself floating alone at sea, nearly at the brink of death when the pirate captain Hae Rang (Han Hyo Joo) and her crew save them. For three months, these bandits and pirates have been living on the same ship, and just when they’re about to officially get at each other’s throats, they’re set off on a voyage to seek out long-lost treasure. But of course, they’re not alone in this search. Also looking for the treasure is none other than Woo Moo Chi’s old nemesis, Bu Heung Soo (Kwang Sang Woo) who, like Moo Chi, had served in the Goryeo military. And so the adventure starts, filled with cinematic sword fights, a classic whirlpool in the middle of the sea and, at the climax of the movie, an epic showdown on the top of a lightning-stricken moun-

tain. At the very least, “Pirates” knows exactly what counts as a good setting for action, and these specific scenes are all absolutely compelling. This is in part because the two main leads Moo Chi and Hae Rang are charismatic, stealing every single scene they’re in. Moo Chi is full of swagger yet skill, and it’s easy to see why he was such an excellent swordsman back when he was in the Goryeo military. He’s an easily likable character, brandishing the shortest of knives with the cockiest of smiles and yet also making the silliest of mistakes (that still somehow come across as weirdly charming). Hae Rang, while not as quick to cheer as Moo Chi, is also a powerhouse of a lead. In my opinion, she even outshines Moo Chi—her confident gait and stare is enough to make even a scoundrel like Moo Chi shrink a little bit. My personal favorite scene is when she goes toe-to-toe with him on the ship, the two of them going so far as to stand at the top of the sails. It’s

unsurprising that Moo Chi falls in love with her—if Hae Rang were pointing at me with her sword and wicked grin, I too would have probably lost myself a little. But outside of the interesting action scenes and the power of both leads, “Pirates” is still only somewhat okay, especially towards the second half. While the first half of the film had me giggling over the antics of the pirate crew and the bandits, the second half took on a more confused direction, in part because there were just so many things happening at the same time. For example, towards the climax of the film, we had Moo Chi battling Bu Heung Soo on top of a mountain (which is in itself an insanely dynamic scene), and then a second later, we’re switching over to Hae Rang and her crew’s epic showdown against Bu Heung Soo’s men, but then a second after that, we’re switching over to whatever the heck Hae Rang’s crewmate Mak Yi (Lee Kwang Soo) is doing with…pen-

guins? On an abandoned ship? That scene’s funny, but it’s such a different tone from the insane action from Hae Rang and Moo Chi that I found the transition more distracting than anything else. This isn’t even a linear transition either—we’re going back and forth between all three big moments in the movie, and what could have actually made for a simultaneously exciting and comedic moment instead stretched out each scene well past its impact. Because of those scenes, I feel the movie could have been at least thirty or forty minutes shorter. Ultimately, this film is a mixed one for a viewer like myself. A solid start, some genuinely solid actors and some interesting action scenes, but all of that felt a bit tainted from the confusing second half. But if you’re not totally deterred by that, “Pirates: the Last Royal Treasure” has its fun moments, and if you’re very severely craving some goofy pirate fun, then this film might do in a pinch.

‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (2022) is awful

By Lucy Fay editor

Every “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (TCM) movie is terrible. Spanning from the original to the 2022 Netflix release and taking a tiny reprieve for “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2” (1986), which is arguably watchable, the series has always been awful. I state this to be clear that I came into “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (2022) from a place of unrelenting anger and cynicism. My review may thus be overly harsh. This “Halloween Kills” lookalike follows a group of young people, 40 years after the original massacre took place, as they attempt to gentrify a rundown Texan town. That is genuinely the plot. Five Gen Z/Millennials buy an entire town in order to sell it to influencer chefs but then Leatherface kills them all. Any further facade of plot or character was utterly contrived and despicably underwritten. But that is not what matters

in this criticism. No “TCM” movie has ever claimed to be driven by anything other than violence and mindless entertainment. Audiences who, for some ungodly reason, enjoy this series, do not enjoy it for its thoughtful character studies and low concept structure. They enjoy watching the big man with a spooky gross face chainsaw a screaming half-naked woman whose name was maybe said once. Despite my biases, I am a slasher fan, so I do understand what makes these movies entertaining. The key is in the creativity. Which, in all honesty, “TCM” (2022), the eighth iteration, had a bit of. The original “TCM” (1974) was, in many ways, the original 70s slasher, and thus the basis for the more famous 80s slashers. No “TCM” (1974) means no Freddie, Jason, Michael or Chucky. The original had a clear directorial vision. It reveled in grime and sleaziness. It was a true grindhouse picture made by lovers of the widely dismissed and scorned genre, in order to make its audi-

ence uncomfortable as well as terrified. I respect the original and appreciate its importance in a genre I hold so dearly, but the sadistic levels of sexism and ableism throughout make it unwatchable. “TCM” (2022) is not ableist or sexist, but it also does not have any apparent directorial vision nor the saving charms or inspiring nature of an authentically low-budget sleazy slasher. All this Netflix release has going for it is gore—a lot of gore used in ways not often seen. Directors like Ari Aster have normalized sitting in images of unfiltered body horror and yet still, the vast majority of low-brow high-budget horror shy away from it, either because of a lack of imagination or fear of polarizing their audience. They may show a stab wound and blood pouring out of a victim’s mouth, but few have the braves or facial prosthetic ability to show a skinless face, a mouth doubled in length via sharp instrument or even a beheading. “TCM” (2022) was not afraid. Chainsaws do

not result in neat pretty deaths, and heads with the faces cut off, equally staples of the series, are nasty. A lot of people die in this movie, often in quick succession, and for a film that otherwise does not have a unique or inventive bone in its body, these deaths occurred in ways rarely seen. They were simultaneously quick, violent and well thought out. No matter how painful and asinine the rest of “TCM” (2022) may be, it showed gore not just often but imaginatively, in both methods of kill and bodily mutilation. Any fans, or begrudging viewers, of the past “TCM” films, will be confused to scrub through this supposed sequel and find no mention of the Sawyer family. The Sawyer family, or the Hewitt family in the early 2000s “TCM” remake, are the cannibalistic extended family of Leatherface. They are integral to the premise and horror of the past movies. At first, the original movies present Leatherface as a singular evil force, but it slowly becomes clear

his insidious intentions span a dangerously large group of people. The protagonists are surrounded by the Sawyer family, and gruesome death begins to feel inevitable. It is terrifying. But the Sawyers were not in “TCM” (2022). Leatherface’s entire established backstory was changed and replaced with nothing of substance. The unstoppable murderous force really is just him, a human man. Leatherface and the Sawyers have been minimized into every other human slasher. They have become another Michael Myers clone. “TCM” (2022) managed the most inarticulate, insensitive anti-gun violence message I have ever seen. The youngest character, Lila (Elsie Fisher), is a survivor of a school shooting. She is shown early in the movie having traumatic flashbacks at the sight of a gun, but by the end, she wields one without much thought. Still, the director insists he made an anti-gun violence movie. This film was unpleasant, senseless and bad for the series as a whole.


The Brandeis Hoot

March 18, 2022

Adirondack Chair Conversations with the statue of Louis Brandeis, part one — a short story By Vincent Calia-Bogan staff

“Look around.” I don’t understand. “Explore your surroundings.” But I live in them. “You do not live in them. You have become them; a sapling who thinks itself an acorn. Your home is vacant.” And it was gone. And that was the first conversation I had with them. I am not entirely sure who they are, nor what they inhabit. They came to me first during a time of questioning, of doubt, of sorrow and of stagnation. I found myself having the time of my life when I heard that voice, encouraging me to look around. I did not know what they meant. Each sentence had been spoken in a different voice, but uttered in the same tongue and of the same mouth. For some time, I sat in silence, pondering what they meant. The whole day, I heard nothing, and did nothing. I found my friends. I handed homework in on time. I performed on each exam. During this time, I carried on: I had no bearing. The only way to move,

therefore, is forward. “Why do you march?” My footfalls hardly echo on concrete; it’s more of a shuffle. The soles of my shoes wear according to my shuffle. “My mind is overrun with the march of your legion” But I walk alone. I have walked at times with peers. I have always walked alone. “If to the precipice you stride, the road is well worn. Take care not to stumble.” Nowhere in my view or on my path is there a precipice. It is a flat country; we haven’t cliffs. And that was my second conversation with them. I grow frustrated with their riddles. They mean nothing to me; they are as self contradictory as they are directionless. I feel compelled to make sense of their nonsense. Their content consumes my daily thoughts. I question the acorn. Such a harmless thing, a seed. Dare to look beyond the drop, I tell myself. A step forward is all it takes to reach the other edge; it asks of me to lift my leg upwards as well as forward. A step. A stair, I find, a solid stair. I take the first step, over the gaping crevasse, looking

inward to the unanswered questions I have been avoiding, but am here to answer: Who am I, and where will I go? “Do you go forth without malice?” I step forward with some fear. Malice is born of fear. “Fear is a derivative of malice. I ask again: Do you stamp?” My step is heavy, but not violent. My legs are leaden. “Who makes the step?” I made the step. My limbs are in the control of no other. “A forceful will exists. It sets in motion the minds of lesser men. They call it their own.” My mind is my own, I assure you. “That is a dict from mind to be executed by body; a mandate of will as fulfilled by the mind is separate.” And that was the third conversation I had with them. The voice has become familiar; comfortable, almost. I do not know where it comes from, nor am I certain of its motive. My instincts tell me to trust it, welcome it, treat it as if it were an old friend. I feel myself speaking inwardly, asking the question: for whom do I draw breath? For

what do I study? Where does this road I walk lead? These questions, I find, live plainly. They are written on every test, in every paper, within each text. For what does the sparrow sing, I ponder? For a mate. And yet, that answer is unsatisfactory. What is a mate? Before long, I find myself asking: what is the purpose of a sparrow, and why does it seem to know it better than my peers and I know our own? “Who gives a choice?” Anyone, I suppose. A choice, however, is a luxury: I still have to do my work. “Who made the decision for you to do your work? I guess I did. It is why I am here, to work for a degree. “Who accepts an opportunity?” They who are offered one; they’d be a fool to neglect it. “There is a fool, there is one endowed with good fortune, and there is a student. Who is who?” I don’t understand. “Deaf ears hear the most”. And that was my fourth conversation with them. I understand now. For me they want a direction. But their direction is not a path I can

follow. It is not north. Nor is it an academic department. Their description fits no trail; it hardly fits a description. Every step feels made less by misshapen lumps of cold flesh yolked to legs and more like a dance on pointe. While my steps are improving, it is solitary. The path ahead is covered in moss. The warm green hue mortifies me, strikes my heart with a fiery grip. The sparrow lives to feed, flee, breed, and fight. Its primary directive is to make more sparrows. I realize I have never had a primary directive before. It has never been a question. Directives come from above. My body, my mind, my being, it all threatens to route. It longs to fall into lock step. The march of the legion. I look to my friends for strength; they lend what they can spare for this war. I dread every step, I cherish every step. My will, I find, fears none. Day four has come to a close. What new questions will I be asked tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow? What new knowledge will I come to? The prospect of the days to come terrifies me; for the doubt remains still: What if what I learn proves to be my undoing?


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