The Brandeis Hoot, March 25, 2022

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Volume 20 Issue 7

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”

March 25, 2022

Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.

Univ. concerns with dining

Helicopter lands on campus

By Victoria Morrongiello

By Victoria Morrongiello



The university administrators had a talk with community members concerned with dining workers’ rights on Friday, March 18 inside Bernstein Marcus Administration Center. The meeting was meant to be a follow-up to an earlier rally and demands brought to administrators on March 11, according to a previous Brandeis Hoot article. “Community members should be aware of the power that students and workers hold on this campus and what we can accomplish when we organize and demonstrate together,” Joshua Benson ’23, a member of the BLU who attended the conversation, said in an interview

Highlighted within the most recent issue of Brandeis Magazine is one of Brandeis University’s many programs created to educate and support the community, the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative (BEJI). BEJI was founded in 2019 by Legal Studies and English faculty members Rosalind Kabrhel (LGLS), John Plotz (ENG) and David Sherman (ENG) with a focus on “critical inquiry into the carceral system” and “community engaged-learning,” according to their website. The Initiative is largely inspired by movements for restorative justice and, as emphasized on their site, uses its unique position as PHOTO FROM PROFESSORCAROLANDERSON.ORG

See DINING, page 3

See HELICOPTER, page 3

Educational Justice Initiative featured in Brandeis Magazine By Mia Plante editor

Highlighted within the most recent issue of Brandeis Magazine is one of Brandeis University’s many programs created to educate and support the community, the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative (BEJI). BEJI was found-

ed in 2019 by Legal Studies and English faculty members Rosalind Kabrhel (LGLS), John Plotz (ENG) and David Sherman (ENG) with a focus on “critical inquiry into the carceral system” and “community engaged-learning,” according to their website. The Initiative is largely inspired by movements for restorative justice and, as emphasized on

their site, uses its unique position as the work of a university to “bear responsibility for addressing persistent, systemic inequities in our society, including the persistent racism of educational and criminal justice institutions.” Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative is focused on providing education for those impacted by incarceration as youth or

adults, which has been proven to have many positive effects on students. According to studies conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice, prison education programs improve facility safety and positively impact reentry for students. A study by the US Sentencing Commission also showed how higher education often reduces the rates of recidivism among

offenders. The 2016 study stated that “offenders with less than a high school diploma had the highest recidivism rates (60.4 percent), followed by high school graduates (50.7 percent) and those with some college (39.3 percent). College graduates had the lowest rates (19.1 percent).” BEJI and other See BEJI, page 2

Contextualing Russia-Ukraine By Roshni Ray editor

In a recent webinar organized by the Center for German and European Studies, panelists Stephen Lloyd Wilson, Assistant Professor of Politics, Simon Pirani from the University of Durham and Marcel Roethig from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Kyiv, Ukraine contextualized the war between Russia and Ukraine. The conversation was moderated by Brandeis professor of German Studies (GER) and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WMGS), Sabine von Mering. Mering notes the drastic and sudden impact of the Rus-

Inside This Issue:

sia-Ukraine conflict, citing how within four weeks, there have been thousands of deaths, millions fleeing and multiple economic strains. This webinar, titled “Contextualizing the Ukraine Crisis,” explains the political, economic and global impact of the escalating tensions between the two nations. Wilson detailed key information about the political history of Ukraine and Russia. Due to its unique geographic location at the intersection of Europe and Asia, Wilson refers to Ukraine as the “West-East junction.” Ukraine’s proximity to both Europe and See UKRAINE, page 2

News: Student organization becomes non-profit. Ops: The Kiwi Bots now talk Features: Author discusses inter-war period Sports: Softball continues season Editorial: A Wellness Day is not enough


Erin Magill

Page 3 Page 12 And her path to victory. Page 8 SPORTS: PAGE 4 Page 5 Page 7

Riverdale is back And it is wilder than ever. ARTS: PAGE 16


2 The Brandeis Hoot

March 25, 2022

In the Senate, March 20, 2022 By Victoria Morrongiello editor

Queer Jews at Brandeis (QJAB), a group for Queer/LGBTQIA2S+ Jewish students on campus according to their constitution, was up for establishment. However, no representatives from the club could come to this meeting. Teri Tozzi, Assistant Director of Student Affairs, said that the club could come at another time to present. The Brandeis Curling Club was seeking to be chartered. Alex Pickett ’24 presented for the club and explained that, if chartered, they would officially start in fall 2022. The typical curling season is from October through March, the club would hold their practices Friday nights from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Similar to the skating club, Pickett explained that for practice they would carpool to the Broomstones Curling Club in Wayland. Current members of the club are working to get BranVan certified to transport team members to practice. College curling has four members officially but there will be no cap placed on the amount of students allowed to join, Pickett explained. The team would need eight players for a whole match.

Pickett explained that they already have a team of four but are actively recruiting and will continue recruitment in the fall. So far, they have traveled to the curling club to watch a match and have been in conversation with Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Boston University (BU) on competing against them. The club has spoken with Julie Mizraji, Intramural Sports Coordinator, on coordinating an event in the fall to have students who want to try curling go to the curling rink with the club. The union moved to vote by roll-call, the club did not get chartered with eight yes, six abstain and three no. The club did not get chartered due to the large number of abstains, though the Curling Club may come back in the future to present once more, depending on feedback from club support. The Brandeis Pokemon Club was also seeking establishment, however they did not show up to the meeting. The club also missed their meeting with club support earlier in the day, according to Charlotte Liu ’24. The Brandeis Entrepreneurship and Tech Association (BETA) club was seeking chartered status. BETA has already launched programs campus-wide including

The Brandeis Marriage Pact. Eyal Cohen ’24, CEO of BETA, spoke on behalf of the club. The club wants to bring a greater entrepreneurship culture to campus, Cohen explained that the university offers a good education that can “coalesce into good entrepreneurship.” The club will allow students to work together and build off of each other, Cohen explained. BETA will offer assistance to students as they prepare their start-ups for launch. The club will do this, Cohen explained, through workshops with business leaders, provide help with branding and help to search for funding grants. The board for BETA has good leadership skills, Cohen explained, and members come from all different academic backgrounds so the club wouldn’t just benefit Business or Econ majors. By being a chartered club, BETA would use the marathon money funding to help build up the club. The club has met with some International Business School (IBS) professors but does not have a direct partnership, Cohen explained. Though some professors have expressed interest in having a mentor role and some IBS graduate students have signed up for BETA. Peyton Gillespie ’25 said, “I think BETA has a lot of potential

and I think their board has a lot of potential as well.” Gillespie also commented how The Marriage Pact as a proof of concept shows the interest for the club on campus and the success of their initiatives. Nicholas Kanan also commented on the club saying they were the most prepared non-chartered club the union has seen. One concern raised about the club was its interview process to let students join, some members of the union were concerned that this would make the club restrictive which is not within chartered club rules. The senate voted by roll call with the motion to charter the club passing. Senate Chairs then presented their reports for their committees. Courtney Thurn ’22, Vice President, spoke on this semester’s midnight Buffet. The union plans to pivot after last semester and respond to student feedback on where they should improve. Students at the last midnight buffet raised concerns around COVID-19 safety and long lines, Thurn explained. The union is trying to organize food trucks for the event and trying to book a different location than Levine Ballroom where it is typically held. The union hopes to make the event split half inside and half outside.

Thurn also spoke on trying to get printing paid for for students. Thurn explained that the union is looking into free printing for students since not all students have access to printing and may not have a means of paying for it. Joseph Coles ’22 and Audrey Sequeira ’24 said this was a great idea. SOJO committee chair, Zachary Zhang ’24, said he is currently working on the signage issue in the Charles River Apartments with Samatha Shortall ’23. The committee is also working on setting up their Instagram page and Deis Impact. The Health and Safety Committee member, Emily Adelson ’23, spoke on how the committee is working with Period Activists at ‘Deis. The committee is also working on creating an event with the Brandeis Counseling Center’s (BCC) therapy dogs and doing research on different fidget toys. Gillespie spoke for the sustainability committee and said they were working on several initiatives. They are currently reaching out to the climate club leaders on campus to try and create a climate coalition between clubs to create greater climate action on campus.

Engineering Science major approved By Victoria Morrongiello editor

The university announced that The School of Arts and Sciences is developing plans to introduce an Engineering Science major beginning in the 2026-27 at the latest, according to a university page. “In order to participate in an increasingly technological world, an increasing number of research universities like Brandeis are offering degrees in engineering, a discipline that connects science to society through the use of technology,” reads the university’s page. The university, according to the webpage, has the “core elements” to establish engineering research

and education on campus. The university believes there could be a successful engineering science major due to the fact there has been “success of our basic science programs,” according to the webpage. The addition of an engineering science major will strengthen the university’s interdisciplinary learning, according to the webpage. The university has other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs including the NSF funded Brandeis Materials Science Research and Engineering Center (MRSEC)—a research center looking at understanding basic components and applying it to the role in larger systems—and the Maker Lab—a center on cam-

pus which encourages effective innovation. “Leaning on the School of Arts and Sciences’ strengths in interdisciplinary learning, our interdepartmental program will offer a distinctly Brandeisian experience in Engineering Science, capitalizing on the vibrant synergy between our life sciences and physical sciences departments,” reads the university’s Engineering Major webpage. The introduction of the new major will create a “re-imagining” of the university’s sciences department. The major will be incorporated into pre-existing programs and it will align with the university’s science faculty and students, according to the page. Community members in the School of

Arts and Sciences, Heller Graduate School and the International Business School (IBS) can explore the university’s, “new approaches to issues of ethics, design, equity, sustainability and entrepreneurship.” To do this the university intends to offer collaborations, capstone projects and courses teams—which involves courses taught with interdisciplinary faculty from various departments including creative arts, humanities and social sciences. This will allow for the material to be covered in a liberal arts context, according to the page. The proposed Engineering Science major curriculum will including training on how, “engineers think, design and solve problems,” according to the page.

The major will incorporate the university’s strengths, which according to the webpage include bioengineering, materials science and neuroengineering. The university hopes to blend its pre-existing undergraduate and graduate programs with its new Engineering Sciences major. Dorothy Hodgson, Dean of Arts and Sciences, announced the approval for the Engineering Sciences in an email to community members on Jan. 18. According to Hodgson’s email The School of Arts and Sciences is in the works of developing the major and raising funds for it.

The univ. hosts wellness day to focus on community care By Roshni Ray editor

The Division of Student Affairs in partnership with the Student Union is hosting a Wellness day on March 25. The day is meant to provide undergraduate and graduate students with “opportunities to explore student organizations and resources,” according to an email from Andrea Dine, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Shelby J. Harris, Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement and Campus Life. “We recognize that the war, pandemic, and other crises have added to everyone’s stress – in addition to the regular anxiety about midterms, schoolwork, and life,” wrote Dorothy Hodgson, Dean of Arts and Sciences, in the

March Undergraduate Newsletter. Due to these stressors, Hodgson encouraged that professors either cancel or reschedule their Friday classes so that students could participate in the Wellness Day events. Hodgson encouraged another alternative for professors to use their class time as a way to “promote a sense of belonging,” according to the email. The university will be sponsoring multiple events for the Wellness Day including, CommuniTEA, Lawn Games and meet dogs from the Prevention Advocacy Resource Center (PARC) sponsored Carnival, according to the email. The focus of the event is to encourage self and community care and promote gathering and having fun on campus, according to the Programs and Events page. Other events being held on the Wellness Day include a Zen

Garden Craft Project, sponsored by the Office of Graduate Affairs being held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Grad Center. Community members will have the opportunity to make their own Zen garden at the event. The Division of Student Affairs will be sponsoring a CommuniTEA Wellness Event in tandem with We Wear Blue from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Blue Booths outside of the Shapiro Student Center. The event will be giving out free boba tea and ice cream, with vegan, dairy free and Kosher options. Brandeis Athletics will be sponsoring Lawn Games out on the Soccer Field from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to allow students to enjoy outdoor activities and the spring weather. PARC will be hosting a carnival in the Fellows Garden from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. where students can play games and win

prizes. At the carnival community members can play with dogs and learn about the resources PARC has to offer. The Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) will be having an Open Mic Night at the Stein. The event is being co-hosted by GSC, Triskelion, the Intercultural Center (ICC), Prevention, Advocacy & Resource Center (PARC) and the Student Sexuality Information Service (SSIS). The event intends to highlight queer trans and or BIPOC artists. The student union in partnership with the Dean of Students Office will be hosting a wellness walk on Wellness Day. The wellness walks will also be held on Friday, April 29 and May 6. Students, faculty and staff will be encouraged to walk with other community members to talk “candidly about their mental health and general wellness.”

The walk will include peer-led discussions in small groups to encourage discussions around mental health.


March 25, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

BEJI featured in Brandeis Magazine MAGAZINE, from page 1

education programs and initiatives focused on incarcerated individuals attempt to assist incarcerated people through these proven benefits. Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative has five different partners and programs, such as their partner the Emerson Prison Initiative (EPI). EPI gives incarcerated individuals the chance to earn a bachelor’s degree from Emerson College while still held at the Middlesex Correctional Institution at Concord. BEJI assists in this initiative through providing tutors, teaching fellows and instructors year-round who work with students and mentor them through the program. BEJI is also partnered with the Petey Greene Program which “supports the academic goals of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people through high-quality volunteer tutoring programs, while educat-

Ukraine, from page 1

and Asia have invited the juxtaposition of both Western and Eastern cultural influences. As such, Ukraine is made up of diverse ethnic, linguistic and political identities. Wilson further explains Russia’s motivation for perpetuating the current war, describing how Putin subscribes to the belief that Russia is a central power that protects Slavic countries from the “abuse of foreign countries.” Wilson explains how this ideology bolsters Russia’s tendency to pressure Ukraine imperialistically, describing how as a historical power, Russia does not believe in the sovereignty of neighboring Slavic countries. Ukraine’s attempt to

ing volunteers on the injustice manifest in our carceral system,” according to their mission statement. BEJI works as the connection between interested students and the program, training and placing students in different facilities to serve as tutors. Another one of their programs, the Partakers Empowerment Program (PEP), was featured in the article in Brandeis Magazine. BEJI’s website defines the program as a 13-week virtual workshop for those who are soon to be released from incarceration. Alongside community partner Partakers, which facilitates mentorship and reentry programs in Massachusetts, PEP focuses on the many worries surrounding reentry. PEP’s graduate and undergraduate student workers facilitate workshops on topics such as civic engagement, professionalism, personal finance, technology and education. One previous student of the

Partakers Empowerment Program, Tammy Walker, was interviewed for Brandeis Magazine. The article discusses Walker’s struggle with finding employment post-incarceration including being turned away from a job at a sandwich counter since she wouldn’t pass a background check despite the fact that she has a master’s degree in criminal justice administration and worked as a police officer for over a decade. Walker stated that, “I’m doing the best I can to fit back into society, and to be turned down for that job was a kick in the back.” Brandeis student Maheeb Rabbani ’23, who is involved in PEP, told Brandeis Magazine about his experience working with the program, “you are actually making an impact in the real world.” Rabbani stated, “the knowledge I’ve gained from actually talking to people who have been in the carceral system is unlike anything you can learn in the classroom.”

Rabbani’s experience working with PEP is consistent with the goals of the program and the needs of the incarcerated population. “There is a growing Brandeis community of people who want to learn about the carceral system by getting involved in this extramural teaching opportunity,” co-founder John Plotz (ENG) told Brandeis Magazine. “We are creating spaces where Brandeis people and people caught up in the system can exist together as peers.” Although many of BEJI’s programs connect students with off-campus opportunities to assist incarcerated individuals, previously incarcerated individuals or those high-risk communities, BEJI also has on-campus learning opportunities for students. BEJI hosts a reading group that discusses carceral issues through reading memoirs, legal analysis, political theory and more. Students also have the opportunity to

get involved in the Media Working Group for BEJI which sends out the BEJI newsletter, runs their social media accounts and conducts outreach. Additionally there is a Legal Studies course taught by Rosalind Kabrhel (LGLS) entitled Legal Studies Practicum: Experiences with Justice (LGLS145A). The course gives students an understanding of the prison industrial complex, consequences of incarceration and how education can assist in reforming the criminal justice system. Students in the course are placed at various institutions to get hands-on experience with restorative justice work. Brandeis students are encouraged to reach out to any of the co-founders if interested in becoming involved with the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative. Students from all disciplines are welcome to participate.

join NATO and the EU therefore contradict Putin’s vision for Russia and its power over neighboring Slavic nations. Wilson adds, “I think it’s critical to understand that Putin’s perspective here isn’t irrational; you might not agree with it [and] it might be evil, but it is not irrational. It is not the actions of a madman.” Wilson also addresses the future outcome of this conflict. Since Putin is determined to establish the legacy of great Russian power during his leadership, Russia is unlikely to step back from asserting control over its Slavic buffer states. “From a certain perspective, that means that there are not any easy ‘off-ramps’… in terms of minimizing human suffering,” Wilson explains. Putin’s

extreme efforts towards achieving his vision for Russia make it difficult to mitigate the conflict with monetary negotiations, causing other nations’ leaders to look to other solutions. Pirani offers a historical and current summary of Russia’s economic strengths and constraints and how they connect with the ongoing conflict, emphasizing the gas trade that has been central to Russian relationships with Europe and particularly Germany. When Russia was incorporated into the world economy at a larger scale after World War II, its main purpose was to be a supplier of raw materials such as oil, gas and minerals. This puts an economic constraint on Russia and Putin’s goals include moving away from

the over-reliance on revenue from the export of raw materials, Pirani explains. Ukraine is important in Russia’s economy because the export of raw materials occurs through a pipeline in Ukraine. While the gas trade is crucial to Russia’s relationship with Europe and Germany, Russia’s buyers of gas have been on a steady decline for the past 30 years. With growing tension between Russia and Ukraine in the past, gas imports from Russia to Ukraine have stopped completely. A goal of European nations is to cut off dependence on Russian fossil fuels by 2030. Pirani states that while this may be feasible, it would also cause economic strain for European countries. Putin is currently attempting to counter-

act economic strain with military strength. Lastly, Roethig spoke about the connection between Germany and Ukraine in this conflict. In the past, Germany has seen itself as a “mediator” of conflicts within Ukraine itself. For example, the Minsk agreement in 2014 marked the end of the war in the Donbas region of Ukraine. Roethig explained how the Germans plan to aid Ukraine in modernizing its economy and developing the Ukrainian military. While Ukraine was not prepared for a large-scale invasion, Germany is helping by providing arms to Ukrainians. Roethig explains that this poses the question of whether this will provide enough help to Ukraine to defend themselves.

Community members speak on dining worker concerns DINNING, from page 1

with The Hoot. There are four main demands curated by community members, according to the Brandeis Leftist Union’s (BLU) Instagram page. The first is that the catering contract is exclusive to union workers; this demand arose from the university hiring non-union workers to work at smaller catering events. The second demand is to uphold the union’s contract with dining workers; this is a concern as the university is in the middle of the new dining vendor selection process. The third demand is transparency; dining workers have not been informed

on decisions made about catering events and have also not been involved in the dining contractor selection process, according to the BLU’s post. The final demand is that the dining workers be represented as the selection process continues so they may, “have a seat at the table,” according to the post. Benson said that from the meeting, concerned community members wanted to emphasize the importance of language regarding catering exclusivity in the dining workers’ contract. When asked what they hoped to accomplish Benson wrote, “we intended to relay the specific language around catering exclusivity and the feed-

back of the forum to the admin.” According to Benson, the university administration who attended the discussion were Lois Stanley, Vice President for Campus Planning and Operations and Raymond Ou, Vice President of Student Affairs. At the time of publication, administrators had not made an official statement in response to the demands brought to them by community members, according to Benson. Benson explained to The Hoot that the university would be issuing its response to their demands on March 25. “We will see how productive the meeting was this coming Friday [March 25] when the universi-

ty offers its official response and action plan regarding the conversation with [Stanley] and [Ou] last Friday,” Benson wrote to The Hoot. Benson wrote to The Hoot that he hopes the university’s statement with their plan of action regarding dining workers incorporates the concerned community members’ demands with language around catering exclusivity. The university’s response, according to Benson, will influence the response of the concerned student group. “Their response will determine the next steps, if they give us everything we want, our next step is to celebrate, if they don’t, then we

escalate,” they wrote to The Hoot. Leading up to this meeting, concerned community members gathered on multiple days. The first rally to defend dining workers with these demands in mind was held on Feb.18. A sit-in was then held on March 11 inside the Bernstein Marcus Administration building. The Hoot reached out to Julie Jette—Assistant Vice President of Communications to receive comments from administrators on their thoughts regarding the meeting but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Emergency responder helicopter on campus HELICOPTER, from page 1

a motor vehicle around 11:30 a.m. near the intersection between Prospect Hill Road and Columbus Avenue, according to an article. The pedestrian is reportedly a middle-aged man, per the article, and he was struck by

a van on Prospect Hill Road. The victim is being treated for serious injuries, according to the article, after having suffered from major chest trauma. The helicopter spotted on the club field was used to transport the victim to a nearby medical facility. Rushton explained to commu-

nity members that the university’s athletics fields are a “preferred landing site for emergency MedFlight helicopters.” Whenever there is a need for emergency vehicles to respond to situations in the Waltham area, they are permitted to land on the club field, Rushton wrote. “We are glad that

we can provide this service to our neighbors, and our thoughts and prayers are with the injured individual,” Rushton wrote to community members in his email. It is unknown at the time of publication whether the pedestrian was in the crosswalk when they were struck, according to

the article. At this time, according to Rushton’s email, they do not believe the pedestrian was a Brandeis community member. Rushton addressed that the several news helicopters circling over campus were also linked to this incident.

4 The Brandeis Hoot


March 25, 2022

Erin Magill’s unsurprising rise By Justin Leung editor

“But it just hit me all the sudden in that moment. Wow, I suddenly got good at cross country,” said senior Erin Magill ’22. Magill spent three years at Brandeis working to become the best, and finally in her senior year she got the opportunity to show it at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championship. She had traveled to Nationals in her freshman and senior year for cross country, but this was very different. This time she was going by herself. The year was full of ups and downs, but Magill was ready to go. This is how Magill quickly became one of the best long-distance runners in all of Division III sports. Before Magill was running in the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships, she was running in the Girls on the Run competition. This was in fact the first running competition Magill ran, and it dates all the way back to elementary school. Magill began running when she was in elementary school and even though the Girls on the Run competition was not competitive, she definitely took it seriously. “I remember in fourth grade, I pretty much tied for first in that race with one other girl. And I remember that just made me want to win next year… I took this very seriously. Much more than the most of the elementary schoolers in the race,” said Magill. Her passion toward running and competing continued throughout high school before she went to Brandeis. At Brandeis, Magill runs year-round, through the cross country, indoor track and outdoor track seasons.Magill remembers her first experience running at Brandeis with a very good cross-country team. Even though the team was already very strong, she worked hard to become the eighth runner on the team. Therefore, when the team went to Nationals, she was able to go as an alternate. The experience was eye opening as it was something you couldn’t get anywhere else. She described how great it was to run and learn with great runners early on in her collegiate career. Even though she got to go to Nationals, Magill believed that just going wasn’t enough. She wanted to be on varsity next year and run at Nationals. A few months later, Magill ran in indoor track for the first time. The season was unlike what she had done before, as she had to make adjustments to the new training style. This led Magill to hit times that were a little lower than she would have liked. “I wish I could tell myself as a freshman to be patient with it. That it’s pretty common to not have an especially exciting season as a freshman because you’re building toward running better as a junior and senior,” said Magill. Magill proceeded to watch Emily Bryson ’19 compete and win multiple competitions at Nationals that year. Watching her teammate compete she described it as, “One of my favorite memories of my time at Brandeis”. All this continued to make her want more, but as she later realized, it was a process, and that Nationals was the ultimate goal that she was going to have to continue to work hard for. In her sophomore year, Magill made a big jump throughout the year. She moved to be the third

runner for the cross-country team as she demonstrated her consistent improvement. Moving to the third spot was significant, because it meant that she was scoring points for the school. The year overall though was a little slow for the Judges, as they did not qualify for Nationals. “I went under 19 minutes in the 5k for the first time in cross country of sophomore year…I had been trying to break 19 minutes for like the past four years in high school and freshman year. So to finally run a few seconds faster than that felt like a really big deal,” said Magill. At this race at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Magill continued to make strides of improvement. When she finally hit this new benchmark, she was ecstatic. Although Brandeis finished 13th in that competition, Magill continued to show off her competitiveness as she finished 13th overall in the race with her personal record. “I decided to start running it because we didn’t have any 5k runners on the team. And it’s also just not a very popular distance because a lot of people think running 25 laps around the indoor track does not sound like fun. So as the one person who thinks that does sound like fun, it seemed clear to me that that’s the event I should be focusing on,” said Magill. So, after just one year of indoor track, Magill set to make a transition. However, she was totally ready for it. What made this so easy? Magill just loves to run. “People say you must work so hard to do all this running and also be a student. But I don’t really consider running to be work. Running is just fun for me. It’s the best part of my day when I go to practice, go for a run with my friends. I couldn’t ask for anything better,” said Magill. The big takeaway that she had from her second year of indoor track was that she enjoyed running the indoor 5k. When you run indoor track, there’s twice as much cheering in the crowd and the energy is much more distinct. Also, you get to watch all your teammates run which adds even more to the overall experience. When compared to cross country and outdoor track, the feeling is just different as everything feels less pronounced outside. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic. This caused her sophomore year outdoor track season to be canceled, as well as most competitions in her junior year. Although the teams would meet to practice and do time trials, there were only a few competitions throughout the season. Magill only got to compete in one track competition throughout the year. The loss of a season only motivated Magill more. “I was so excited to start racing again because I had been training all throughout that year and a half when we didn’t have any races. And I knew when we got sent home in March of 2020, that we had no idea when the next season would be. But I just had it in my head that it could be I was training for cross country in 2021,” said Magill. She described how she trained a lot during the summer before her senior year and that it felt like she was running really well. “I was consistently surprised by how fast I was going for my runs and how strong I felt while doing it. I was super excited to see what I

could do at that point.”, said Magill. It turns out that she was right and as she was a lot better. Magill recalled her race at Umass Dartmouth where she ran under 18 minutes for the 5k. “I came around the corner and saw the clock said 17 minutes and 30 seconds and was just blown away. What just happened? I am about to break 18 minutes. My coach was not surprised at all,” said Magill. The cross-country team as a whole showed inconsistencies throughout the year but they knew that the Regional Championships was going to be the make-or-break race for them to make Nationals. Magill described how she was nervous for the race knowing that they needed to have a good race as a team to make it to Nationals. In the race where senior teammate Niamh Kenney ’22 and Magill placed eighth and ninth in the race, the Judges finished fourth overall and got a chance to compete in Nationals. Kenney and Magill were the only two runners on the current team that had ever gone to Nationals for cross country and Kenney was the only one that competed. This was important because running at Nationals was completely different. Most people ran in a large pack because no one was slow. Kenney finished in 32nd and Magill finished in 36th. “I actually didn’t know that top 40 runners were All-American… I didn’t think it was a possible goal for me. So I was not nervous at all going into that race… My only goal was to run a final cross-country race to be proud of. And then I came in 36th. Somebody said, you came in 36th, that’s All-American. And I was like: IT IS?” said Magill. Both Magill and Kenney ended up earning All-American honors and it was the first time since 2002 that Brandeis had two All-Americans in the same season. The Judges placed 20th overall, but definitely got a good laugh out of Magill not knowing she just barely earned All-American honors. Magill’s final cross-country season ended on a high, but it quickly turned south. A foot injury at the end of cross country led Magill to miss the first month of indoor cross country. “That was rough because I really like running so not running is a big bummer, especially coming off the high of making All-American in cross country,” said Magill. She was forced to not run and

instead spend time on the stationary bike. Even though she went a month of not running, Magill was very surprised to see that she didn’t really lose anything. She seemed to be just as strong as before. Magill in her first race back won the unseeded 5k race just a month after a foot injury. One of her most memorable races though was in the University Athletic Association (UAA) Indoor Track and Field Championships. “I was seeded first in that race by a little bit, which made me really nervous because I was like: I have to win,” said Magill. In her freshman year, Magill finished with a time of 19:16 and finished third from last, in her sophomore year she finished in 10th with a time of 18:34, and in her last year she finished in first with a time of 17:09. The improvement since her freshman year was on another level. Magill found the race overall as fun. Since she is the only 5k runner, she remembered seeing the whole team watching and cheering her on. Magill’s coach told her to run to win the race, so she ran in second place until the last 400 meters. Then she sprinted and blew by the person first. This strategy ended up working extremely well considering Magill finished 13 seconds ahead of second place. Then came the big one. After the distance medley group from Brandeis barely missed out on making it to Nationals, it left Magill as the only indoor track runner from Brandeis to go. The event took place in Winston Salem, NC and Magill arrived before her race to complete various pre-meet tasks. “Super cool. I was excited when I walked into the building and saw all of the NCAA Division III National Championship signs lining the track,” said Magill. All the excitement built up to one of the biggest moments of her career. Then, all of a sudden, the race started, and everyone was running a lot faster than she expected. “I was a little bit alarmed because you definitely don’t want to go out too fast in a 5k because if you get tired in the middle of the race, you have a lot of race left to go… I was a bit nervous when I saw we were going out considerably faster than my best time. But I reminded myself that I thought I could go faster at UAA,” said Magill. She knew that most of the runners hadn’t run at this pace before,

so they were likely going to fall off at some point. Eventually this became true as she started passing runners who were beginning to have slow laps. Magill caught two people who were drifting off the lead pack and entered sixth place. With 1200 meters remaining, Magill ran hard to try to catch the person in fifth place, but she ultimately missed fifth place by 0.3 seconds. Her final time was 16:54.62 and was the first time that she broke the 17-minute mark. The great finish was enough for her to earn another All-American honor. When looking back on her career, she admits that her career took an interesting turn. “To be there, in the race as a senior, I never even had that as a goal. Because I wouldn’t have imagined that I could get that much better at running. In a way it’s strange because, I didn’t have a junior year season, I skipped over the part where I thought I might be able to qualify for Nationals. And I skipped the part where I qualify for Nationals and think it would be cool to be All-American, but I am not quite there. But went straight from sophomore year, not even having Nationals as a goal, to senior year coming in sixth,” said Magill. It may seem like Magill just got good out of nowhere, but in reality, she just consistently made improvements each year. The year off of competitions made it seem like she had this drastic improvement, but she described how even in her junior year she felt like she was getting better. Her running career is not over yet as the outdoor track season is just beginning; however, she has most certainly made her mark on Brandeis athletics with her competitiveness and determination to always get better regardless of the situation. Magill’s teammates had a lot to say about her impact on the team. “Erin is very speedy but perhaps an even cooler fact about her is that she has a frog bucket hat,” said junior Victoria Morrongiello ’23. In all seriousness, Magill demonstrated incredible improvement throughout her career. This led her to win multiple accolades and become one of the top long-distance runners in Division III. “If somebody had told me, freshman year, as I was coming in third to last in that race, that I was going to win it as a senior, I wouldn’t have believed them. I would have thought they were crazy,” said Magill.


March 25, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 5

The Brandeis Hoot

Jack Eichel, the overlooked hockey golden boy By Natasha Girshin staff

Jack Eichel was once described at the age of 17 as “the new face of American hockey.” He is considered a member of the steadily growing crew of young talents in hockey, along with fellow 2015 draftee Connor McDavid. Now, 25 year old Jack Eichel of North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, is a center for the Vegas Golden Knights of the National Hockey League (NHL). Eichel was selected second overall in the 2015 NHL entry draft by the Buffalo Sabres. Jack Eichel spent 3 years with the Buffalo Sabres before being picked as team captain in 2018. He played a stellar 201819 season where he scored his 100th NHL career goal in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings. On November 16, 2019, Eichel scored four goals in a 4–2

win over the Ottawa Senators. He was the 7th Sabres player to record four goals in one game and first since Thomas Vanek did it on April 10, 2010. On January 2, 2020, Eichel became the first player in Sabres history to score a penalty kill goal in overtime, and also set a franchise record for goals scored in overtime, as the Sabres won 3–2 against the Edmonton Oilers. Yet, this career high with the Sabres was short lived when in April 2021, it was announced that Eichel would miss the remainder of the 2020–21 season to recover from surgery to repair a spinal disc herniation. Consequently, Eichel’s relationship with the Sabres failed to improve, and on September 23, 2021, Eichel was stripped of the team captaincy as a result of being placed on long-term injury reserve. With this hardening news for Sabres fans and a steady decline in performance for the team, a deci-

sion had to be made for where to send Jack Eichel. If you managed to stumble upon a sports news section in summer 2021, it is highly likely that you would spot an article discussing the impending Jack Eichel trade. The Jack Eichel trade was a massive one that would change the course of not only his future hockey career but would undoubtedly improve his future team’s chances. Like the famous Wayne Gretzky trade from Edmonton to Los Angeles, it was heavily scrutinized and debated. But unlike the Gretzky trade, it wasn’t due to a lack of funding on the Sabres’ part, but simply because the Sabres had no use for Eichel anymore. So, after an agonizing summer it was announced that Jack Eichel would be traded to the Vegas Golden Knights. Much to the chagrin of Sabres fans, who would now have to stay up an extra 2 hours to watch their old beloved captain

play for a team across the country. The trade was met with mixed reviews, many of the positive ones coming from Golden Knights fans and fans hopeful to see Eichel make a swift return and recovery, getting back into his past hockey groove. On Jack Eichel’s first game in Buffalo following the trade, he was met with a chorus of boos from the fans. Many people seem to agree with this slander and shame and blame Eichel for his trade which was simply due to an absence due to injury, and another opportunity for Eichel to jumpstart his career. Fans booing Eichel’s return to his former home arena is nothing short of ironic and demonstrates the lack of understanding the fans have regarding his personal wellbeing and the lack of respect for Jack Eichel’s future career as an NHL player. In a sport where one injury could push you into retirement at 30, the return of Jack Eichel despite

his significant injury, provides high hopes regardless of the bitter Buffalo fandom. In an interview with the Athletic regarding the reaction to his Buffalo return he said, “This is about the loudest I’ve heard this place ever, it only took seven years and me leaving for them to get into the game.” The Sabres fans never truly appreciated Eichel when he was captaining their team and now that he’s finally gone, they realized that they took him for granted. But the hockey world, and especially Eichel’s new home with the Golden Knights won’t take him for granted. In Jack Eichel’s blossoming return with the Golden Knights there should be nothing but hope for the once underappreciated captain. His post-trade return to hockey might not have felt the warmest, but there is no doubt that Jack Eichel in all his curly glory will shine in his new armor.

Softball shows split results By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Brandeis women’s softball played against Simmons College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI); they won both games against Simmons but dropped both to WPI. This puts the Judges at 8-4 on the season. The Judges played against Simmons college, winning 3-1 and 3-2. In the first game against Simmons, in the first inning, Melissa Rothenberg (GRAD) got to third base on her hit, scoring a run following a hit by Jolie Fujita (GRAD). Their second run was also in the first inning. In the third inning, the Judges scored again thanks to Haley Nash’s ’24 hit. Rothenberg also struck out Simmons’s Shannon McMahon, preventing them from scoring. Marley Felder ’23 hit 2-3, while scoring two runs. Alex Cohen ’24 tossed four in-

nings with seven strikeouts and one unearned run, and hit a triple. In the second game it was Simmons who opened the score, scoring two in the second inning. However in the fifth inning the Judges caught up, when Jamie Pippin ’24 was hit by a ball while batting. Tristan Boyer ’25 hit got herself to second base and Pippin home. Boyer then scored. In the eighth inning, Tara Striggow ’23 started on second base, coming home after two hits. In the four innings Cohen pitched, she had one hit and six strike-outs. In the first game against WPI, Brandeis was only able to get three hits. The largest advance was by Cohen, who hit a double. Pitcher Rebecca Guerci ’24 pitched four innings, allowing eight hits and eight runs, while walking three and striking out one. WPI earned eight runs, while Brandeis earned zero. In the second game, though Brandeis outhit WPI, they lost

0-2. Rothenberg and Fujita both hit twice, making it to first base each time. While pitcher Sydney Goldman ’22 had six strikeouts.

In the first, third and fourth innings the Judges had to leave with loaded bases. The Judges return on Fri-

day, March 25, playing against Washington University, for their first UAA game since 2019.


Tennis has a mixed week as men receive award By Jillian Brosofsky staff

The men’s tennis team received the ITA Steve Wilkinson Sportsmanship Award on Friday. Coming a month after the ITA Division III National Men’s Team Indoor Championship, the award acknowledges the team that showed respectful and positive attitudes while maintaining a rigorous level of competition. Even with their losing record at the tournament in February the Judges were composed and honest on the court.This week started off streaky for the men’s team in a tight match against Denison, ranked 16th to the Judges’ ninth. Doubles continued to prove dominant for Brandeis as they swept the three matches. Adam Tzeng ’22 and Jeff Chen ’22 maintained their three-match win streak, beating their opponents 8-2. Colin Fox ’25 and Dylan Walters ’24 continued their impressive pairing in second doubles winning 8-4. Singles proved much more difficult as Denison went on to win five matches in

straight sets. Playing at third singles, Fox came back after losing the first set 1-6 to eke out a win in a tight 10-8 tiebreaker. The next day the Judges were at it again, playing the University of Rochester at home. This matchup proved fruitful for Brandeis as they beat their opponents 7-2. After winning all the doubles again, the Judges swept the first three singles matches securing the win. The final three singles matches were reduced to eight-game pro-sets to speed up the match. The University of Rochester won two of those three matches. Colt Tegtmeier ’22, playing at fourth singles, lost a close match in a tiebreaker 7-8 (2-7) and Hunter Levine ’23 lost in fifth singles 5-8. Aaron Basye ’24 handily beat his opponent 8-3 in sixth singles.While the men’s team solidly beat Rochester, the women’s team had less luck. In fact, they were plagued by issues somewhat beyond their control. With the current spike in COVID-19 cases and quarantines at Brandeis, the women’s team had only four players at the ready in this match. This meant that they forfeited

third doubles and fifth and sixth singles. Out of the six playable matches Brandeis won four. Anastasia Sia ’25 dominated in both the singles and doubles losing only four games in both. After winning at second doubles with Jiayi Zhang ’24 8-4, Sia won 12 straight games for her win at third singles. Her doubles partner also fared well, winning 6-2 after Rochester secured their win. COVID-19 wasn’t the only thing working against the Judges. Bhakti Parwani ’25 experienced an injury during her doubles match, compromising her showing. While she and her partner Ella Subramanian ’24 were able to pull it out 8-7 (7-3), they both fell in their singles matches. At first singles, the injured Parwani lost 4-6, 3-6 and Subramanian lost at second 1-6, 1-6. The split week from the men’s team brings their season record to 7-3 and they enjoy a break until April 2 when they play an away match with Tufts. The loss for the women’s team brings their season record to 3-6 and they play Babson in an away match on Sunday, March 27.


6 The Brandeis Hoot

The Brandeis Hoot

March 25, 2022

Baseball continues to be on a tear By Justin Leung editor

After going 2-2 to start the season, the Brandeis baseball team prepared for the first home games of the season. Between March 18 and 23, the team played five games, all at home. Their first game was against St. Joseph’s college and offense was plentiful. The two teams combined for 25 hits and 19 runs in the game. After a relatively clean first inning from pitcher Asher Kaplan ’23, the Judges quickly put up three runs to give them the lead. Two of those runs came via a tworun home run to right center field by catcher Luke Hall (GRAD). In the second inning, the Judges scored another three runs. This time first baseman Mike Khoury (GRAD) hit a two-run home run. As St. Josephs scored a combined three runs in innings two and three, the Judges put the game away with seven runs in the third inning. Khoury hit his second home run of the game and led the team to a 13-3 lead going into the fourth inning. The lead proved to be enough as the final score of the game was 13-6 as the men’s baseball team won their first home game of the season. Khoury was unstoppable at the plate, as he had four hits in his four at bats. He also had four runs batted in (RBI) and a walk. Right fielder Steven Simon ’23 and center fielder Dan Frey (GRAD) both had three hits in the game. Kaplan pitched four innings while allowing four

runs and had five strikeouts. The team was supposed to play a game against Bates College on Saturday, but the game was postponed and ultimately played the next day. In game one against Bates, the Judges got out to an early 6-0 lead thanks to a Khoury home run and extra base hits from third baseman Brian King ’23 and Frey. However, runs in the fifth and sixth inning led the Bates comeback. Ultimately, the Judges went to the bottom of the seventh with a chance to get a walk off win. Walks to second baseman Mike DiCenso ’24 and outfielder Sam Nugent ’23 and a hit by a pitch gave the Judges the bases loaded with a chance to win the game. Then the perfect player for the situation came up to the plate. Khoury stepped up to the plate with another two hits in the game after the four hit performance a few days before. He did not disappoint as he hit a walk off single to give the Judges a 7-6 victory. Pitcher Christian Tejada ’23 started the game and pitched two scoreless innings. In their second game of the day against Bates, the Judges quickly were behind by four runs as Bates got Brandeis starter, James Murphy ’25 out early. Then in the third inning, the Judges’ offense came alive. The inning was highlighted by a grand slam by shortstop Drew Michaud ’23, as he led a six run Brandeis third inning. They put up another four runs in the next inning as Frey also hit a grand slam. For the rest of the game, the Judges continued to pour on the

runs as the final score was 21-9 in favor of Brandeis. Khoury had another three hits in the game, including another home run. Three days later, the Judges played Wentworth Institute of Technology for an afternoon game. Brandeis once again got out to an early lead as they led 3-0 after the third inning. Frey continued his recent success with RBI singles in the first and third innings. Although the Judges scored a few more runs in the game, the team’s success was fo-

cused on pitcher Mason Newman (GRAD). Newman pitched a complete game shutout with nine strikeouts. This was his third career complete game and first career complete game shutout. The final score of the game was 9-0. Designated hitter Aidan Schleer ’25 and Hall each had two hits in the game, while Frey added three hits and four RBIs. Khoury also continued his recent success with an RBI double and a walk. Khoury’s incredible week led him to earn University Athletic

Association Hitter of the Week honors and a spot in the Team of the Week. Additionally, he was named Division III National Hitter of the Week by the National College Baseball Writers Association. The baseball team looks to continue their strong start with another home game against Bates on March 25. They will then play two more games against Amherst College on Saturday, March 26 and a game against Lasell University on Sunday, March 27.


Camila Casanueva ’22: smashing all the Brandeis records By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Even at the young age of five, Camila Casanueva ’22 knew that she wanted to play college basketball. “I was competitive as a kid [and] knew I wanted to play in college,” she told The Brandeis Hoot in a Zoom interview. As she grew older, she understood that she also wanted to go to a really good school as well. At Brandeis, “it is not all about your sport, school comes first, and as a team we encourage people to join other things” according to Casanueva. Casanueva finishes her career at Brandeis with All-UAA women’s basketball honors in three seasons. She is seventh on Brandeis’s career scoring list with 1,152 points; first in three-pointers in a career with 169, 50 of them coming from this (2022) season, making her first in three-pointers in a season as well. She also comes in first in career and season (2020) free-throw percentages, with 87.1 percent and 90.0 percent, respectively. In her final season, Casanueva averaged 12.9 points per game, while being second on the team in rebounding, assists and steals. “I always wanted to smash the records,” said Casanueva. And she did. Basketball takes up “a lot of time, but it has been well worth it” for Casanueva. ”It was never a burden for me; it was something I really enjoy,” she told The Hoot. It feels like “you are working towards something with the group, which is probably what I will miss the most… [it is] what always motivated me.” “The biggest thing is how close

we are; it is a team where you feel like everyone is your friend.” This is what Casanueva was looking for in a team, and this was exactly what she found when she got here. During her time here, the team has gone through numerous changes; “the biggest thing was raise the standards for yourselves, while also remembering that it is not all about the outcome.” The team worked “sending a message that it is all about the journey and how we get to be successful,” which is the biggest lesson Casaneuva took away from her time at Brandeis. “I’ve learned that it is so not about winning. I am not going to think about the games we lost, I am going to think about all the times with the team.” The team worked on creating a close knit community, and that, according to Casanueva, is what led them to succeed. “We are enjoying the process and becoming more an an elite team.” Leadership was Casaneuva’s area of greatest growth: “early on I would get heated towards teammates… I had to lean that there are leadership styles that work for different people. I learnt that you gotta learn about your teammates and their styles of communication, what motivates them.” Overall “that really helped me be a better leader and teammate,” she concluded. Now that it is almost time to leave, Casanueva reflects on what she will miss the most. Definitely “the relationships, being a part of a team and working towards a bigger goal. Being around the team everyday. It is bigger than basketball. We all got here and we are made to be a team, you realize you all

have common goals and values.” In general “Brandeis’ athletic community is so supportive and welcoming. Everyone keeps tabs on everyone and wants everyone to be successful.”“Looking back, the team has come a long way trying to build a different culture,” Casanueva concluded.

After graduation, Casanevua is looking forward to traveling and exploring what is out there. “I would love to play basketball, but right now I do not have anything lined up,” she said. “If I can get an opportunity to play, I would.” When asked what advice she would give to her teammates,

Casaneuva says to “take advantage of every day; it goes by so fast.” “This is going to fly by. Try to embrace those moments and enjoy being with your teammates. Go outside your comfort zone, that’s what makes us all better teammates, people and athletes,” she concluded.



March 25, 2022

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe.”

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

Volume 20 • Issue 7 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma

FOUNDED BY Leslie Pazan, Igor Pedan and Daniel Silverman


Jillian Brosofsky, Vincent Calia-Bogan, Natasha Girshin, 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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The Brandeis Hoot 7

Who is actually getting to take advantage of the Wellness Day?


n March 17, Dean Dorothy Hodgson sent an email out to the Brandeis community that read, “I have joined Provost Carol Fierke and the other academic deans to encourage our faculty to consider a ‘Wellness Day’ on Friday, March 25th, and either cancel (or reschedule) their classes or use class time to promote a sense of belonging.” While this Wellness Day has been planned for a while, first announced on March 7 email from the Student Union, classes being canceled was a new addition. While professors may be “encouraged” to cancel class, it seems like many are choosing not to. Among The Brandeis Hoot Editorial Board, very few members have Friday classes canceled. The largest reasoning for continuing to have class on Friday has been a necessity to stay on track with the syllabus. Canceling a class so late in the semester doesn’t allow for wiggle room in order to squeeze in all the content before the end of the term. As it is, many of our professors are behind the syllabus, making an unplanned obstruction critically damaging to lesson plans. This may be understandable, but it’s endlessly frustrating. Students are burnt out, and would definitely appreciate celebrating the Wellness Day. March is the longest stretch of this semester without a break, as both February and April have entire weeks off. Last year, when

these week-long breaks were not offered to students, Brandeis factored in “Wellness Days” in order to allow students to have a chance to unwind amidst midterm season. This year, however, no such days were originally factored in, other than our typical breaks. Regularly scheduled breaks making a return is exciting, another check on the list of “returning to normal.” But, this is still not a typical semester. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, actively worsening students’ mental health. Additionally, even if the pandemic was completely gone, the trauma would not be that quickly erased. We have been dealing with this for two years; as a community, we’ve felt the loneliness of quarantine, the hurt of losing family members and the unpleasantness of actually having COVID-19. Factoring in more breaks will only help the Brandeis community in the future. We understand that each class is precious, but so is students’ well-being. We appreciate the attempt to give Brandeisians a Wellness Day. The activities planned by the Student Union—like free boba and a carnival—are appealing. We just wish that we could attend. Certain lucky individuals will get go, those with no Friday classes or professors who were nice enough to cancel. But, many will be trapped in class as their friends have fun. On

top of that, to no fault of the Student Union, COVID-19 is ripping through the Brandeis community. After Brandeis removed many of their COVID-19 protocols on March 3, cases have spiked, with 62 cases last week and 110 cases this week. All of these people are in isolation, meaning they cannot attend these Wellness events. Furthermore, due to all of these positive cases, many additional students are close contacts. This means that they’re in quarantine and also cannot join these events, as they are all in person, with no virtual options. A spike in cases could not have been planned for by the Student Union, but the timing is unfortunate, and an increase this large could have been lessened by continuing to keep up rigid COVID-19 prevention methods like mandatory masking and testing for all. We, as students, are tired. Those who can enjoy the Wellness Day are excited for the festivities, but the majority of our Editorial Board—and the majority of students we know—are going to miss out on these festivities due to a lack of forward planning. We urge Brandeis administration to incorporate Wellness Days into March next year, as the ramifications on mental health from both the stress of midterms and the COVID-19 pandemic are not going anywhere anytime soon.


8 The Brandeis Hoot

March 25, 2022

Paul Jankowski draws parallels between the events of Pre-WWII and today By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Does history have lessons for us to apply to today? According to Paul Jankowski (HIST), author of “All Against All: The Long Winter of 1933 and the Origins of the Second World War,” there are strong parallels that can be drawn. According to the book’s description, it “ is the story of the season our world changed from postwar to prewar again,” focusing in particular on the time between November of 1932 and April of 1933, when “so much went so wrong.” According to Jankowski it was “collective mentalities and popular beliefs” which caused nations to be on the path to war, as well as “any rational calculus called national interest.” The book “reconstructs a series of seemingly disparate happenings whose connections can only be appraised in retrospect.” The book discusses a “narrow time frame but I hope it opens up wider questions about the 1930s and the [second] world war,” said Jankowski at a Zoom event. There were many “major developments around the world … [at] first sight very little to do with each but I tried to show in the book that they do have something to do with each other.” Through that, Jankowski tries to discern the origins of the Second World War. Hitler became chancellor of Germany, Japan left league after invading Manchuria, Italy was seriously planning the invasion of Abyssinia, Roosevelt came into power in the United States, the Soviet Union had “forced collectivism and industrialization, famine deportation and active killing, killing millions of people notably in Ukraine.” “Each of these marked a rejection of the world beyond the

border…[making the] statement that it was a hostile and dangerous place.” Jankowski identified Hitler and Nazism as the most extreme action that was occurring. He added that “Soviet paranoia was not just about the capitalist world but national enemies and historic enemies. This defined the whole world.” This was all during the aftermath WWI, which left even the victors unhappy. But here Jankowski tries “to stress popular sentiments, currents of imposition, a strong sense of national interest… leaders played to this in many different ways.” In the Soviet Union “Ukraine was seen as the playground for Anti-Soviets.” The parallel that Jankowski identified as most important is that “material interests [and] rational calculus is not an adequate explanation of how peoples and nations act towards each other … How they act reflects who they are or who they want to be, how they see themselves in the world.” Though he also highlighted that identity can change over time, Germany provides a classic example of that. One of the questions asked of Jankowski was whether it is time for Germany to end its pacifism. He explains that decades ago, it “was not a foreign policy change, that was a collective identity decision.” But the debate itself is so current, German public opinion may be changing. Jankowski was also asked if he noticed big turning points where mistakes were made. He brought up the obvious answers of appeasement and the Treaty of Versailles, however in the early ’20s, if the big three powers, the US, Britain and France “had been able to organize something more organized and with more teeth in it, the whole inter war period could have been different.” He also added that the failure of the League of

Nations is not at fault, it’s the fault of the members of the league. There was also a tendency at the time of speculating whether world disarmament could have worked to prevent WWII. There was a tendency that large parts of people wanted disarmament and people felt betrayed. However “public opinion was really inconsistent and very confused about this” said Jankowski. The position of government that they would be willing to reduce arms as long as it did not harm their own security, was flawed. Pacifist movement was strong and real during that time but sometimes it didn’t ask itself what it would do when the country was to be threatened, he continued. Once that arose, confusion set in. Therefore, Jankowski highlights, it is a mistake to think that people were good, while the governments were bad. And “if the league failed, it was because the members failed,” concluded Jankowski. He was also asked what his book did for us during this time of extreme nationalism. Jankowski noted that there are a lot of parallels worth drawing, especially with appeasement. “The parallel would be yet another attempt of the faully of having appease Hitler.” In European media the movement now is that ever since 2014, Europeans have been appeasing Putin; “they have turned a blind eye to the reality of who he was and what he wanted.” They believed they were dealing with a rational actor with whom you can negotiate, according to Jankowski. The parallel with Chamberlain’s policy is quite clear, but after Munich, public opinion began to change. “Something like that is going on now … especially in Europe, they have been too indulgent with Putin” said Jankowski. A new, much more tough stance is needed. He also highlighted the im-


portance of knowing who you are dealing with. “Let us not reduce all of this to game theory,” said Jankowski “Understanding of the country you are negotiating with is crucial.” Another lesson Jankowski draws is the failure of effective international consultation; it “is a clear resounding message of the book I write.” However, today there are many more organizations than there were in the 1930s. There are also current signs of unity within the EU and NATO, which “have been very striking [and] something Putin has completely failed to predict.” Jankowski is the Raymond Ginger Professor Emeritus of History at Brandeis. According to his faculty page, Jankowski is currently working on the sequel to “All Against All.” He also “teaches the history of modern Europe and of France in particular, as well as

the history of wars and warfare, especially those of the twentieth century, in Europe since the Middle Ages.” Along with “All Against All,” he authored “Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War,”“Stavisky: A Confidence Man in the Republic of Virtue,” “Communism and Collaboration: Simon Sabiani and Politics” and “Shades of Indignation. Political Scandals in France, Past and present.” He has also won numerous awards, including the Taylorian Institution Award, World war I Historical Association Tomlinson Book Award, American Council of Learned Societies and the British Universities North America Foundation Award. The event took place on Thursday, March 24, over Zoom and was sponsored by the Center for German and European Studies. It was moderated by Sabine von Mering (GER).

Inclusivity in elementary classrooms By John Fornagiel editor

Rachel Kramer Theodorou (ED) is a Senior Lecturer in Education and Elementary Faculty Leader according to the Brandeis faculty website. According to her profile, she used to be a classroom elementary and English as a Second Language (ESL) classrooms for over 20 years in both public and private schools. Throughout her time in the classroom, she noticed that there was a lack of diverse representation across many different social identities such as race, ethnicity and more according to a BrandeisNOW article. Specifically, after analyzing the different books within her own classroom, she found that many of the stories included white children and very few children of color, with Theodorou stating that “this was during the start of the multicultural education reform movement” according to the article. A post by University of Washington College of Education states that a goal of the multicultural

education reform schools so that students have the necessary skill set to navigate through a racially and ethnically diverse world. Under this movement, the article states that schools began to create many diverse books collections that increase representations of diverse communities within the classroom. Nadine Sims Bishop’s “Windows and Mirrors” analogy, quoted by the article, states that this literature allows kids to see themselves better (mirrors) and also be able to understand and create connections to others (doors). For Theodorou, this means heavily favoring the use of books and other texts that contain diverse characters, as opposed to overrepresentation of a particular group, according to the article. Moreover, in her class ED 232A, which is “focused on the principles and effective procedures for teaching in elementary school” according to the course page, this means allowing students to first analyze their own biases and their own experience of human differences. The students then analyze children’s literature and choose materials that will resonate culturally with kids, ac-

cording to the article. According to Theodorou, this will allow students to “become thoughtful educators that fill their classrooms with literature their students feel seen in,” according to the article. This type of approach has seen a positive approach in classrooms, with Theodorou stating that “you can see their excitement as they practice reading these pieces to each other,” further emphasizing that “they are choosing books for their own classrooms” in the article. Jackie Mundus ’22, a student in elementary teacher education, has also said that “[she] now truly realize[s] how children’s books can transform a student’s relationship with themselves, one another, and their education.” According to the article, librarians Zoe Weinstein and Alex Willett are also attempting to expand their collection of early education books. They have already received award-winning books as well as taking requests from other members of the community. These efforts have not gone unnoticed by other departments, however. Departments such as Sociology and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies classes which are indepen-

dent of the education program have also been using this new collection of books, according to the article. It also states that there

are cases which students have borrowed books for use at home, where students read the books of this new collection to children.



March 25, 2022

Fighting for disability rights has been a lifelong project for Judy Heumann By Emma Lichtenstein editor

Paralyzed from polio at 18 months old, Heumann has spent most of her life in a wheelchair. From not being allowed access to schools as a child because of her to recently working on a documentary with the Obamas, Heumann has helped make the world more aware of disability rights and needs. In a Brandeis Zoom event on Wednesday, March 23, Heumann discussed her social justice work and her part in making “Crip Camp,” a documentary about a camp designed specially for disabled youth. “It’s a film that will stand the test of time,” said Heumann. She recalled that she was brought to six different viewings of “Crip Camp” and that at each following discussion, she “heard over and over, ‘how come we haven’t heard this story yet?’” She explained that she had noticed that a lot of abled people were uncomfortable talking about disabilities and disabled rights. “I think disability is something that many people are fearful of.” She commented that other dis-

abled people felt instantly seen by these types of discussions, but that this subject able-bodied people tried not to think about. “On reflecting on what social justice means for us in the disability community, we really have to look at disability more deeply, we can’t avoid it,” she said. Disabilities are affecting people, whether permanently or temporarily, our lives change.” She said that “people are really unprepared for changes” that can affect someone’s daily life strongly. Heumann’s mother was supportive of her child throughout her entire life, said Heumann, something that she was lucky and grateful to have. But, even so, there was something isolating, as she recalled being the only person she knew in a wheelchair— until she went to summer camp. As she attended a summer camp specifically designed for disabled people, she was able to connect with others who could relate to her particular instances. “Being able to go to camp … as much as I disapprove of segregated education, it was the first time I met other disabled people.” She explained that there was something incredible about “getting to meet those people, and talk about the expe-


riences we were having—there was a visceral understanding.” She detailed that there were some experiences that only disabled encountered—like not being able to enter a building if it didn’t have a ramp, or purposely not drinking water if a place didn’t have an accessible bathroom—so having people relate to her was a novel, and critically important, moment. Since then, Heumann has not only done the documentary, but has also written two books, both

about her advocacy and life experiences as someone who is disabled. “We need to be looking long term at what we want our communities to look like … for me, the issue of disability in Judaism has slowly been emerging in discussions since the 1980s,” she said. “Jewish Disability Inclusion month has been an important part of sunagnouses and other Jewish institutions to start having these conversations … and more diabled people are now becoming

rabbis!” But, she was clear to note, that despite this progress, there is still a long way to go, as these are still relatively new conversations, with accessibility needs still not being met at some synagogues and Jewish spaces that she has been to. “I find that I do get angry but my biggest emotions are really [about] problem-solving and trying to look at what can be done in order to resolve things,” said Heumann. “It takes a lot to get me really angry … but when I do, watch out.”

Interviews with Brandeis University’s academic leadership: the Romance Studies department By Cooper Gottfried editor

The chair of Brandeis University’s Italian studies program, Professor Fernando Rosenberg, sat down for an interview with The Brandeis Hoot to shed a little light on the Romance Studies 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 doesn’t the Italian studies department have a major, while the other romance language programs do? The Italian studies faculty had been reduced and the only tenured professor there retired a few years ago and that’s [left] the department without a tenured faculty, so it’s unsustainable. So that’s the reason that Paula Servino has been at Brandeis for more than 20 years. She’s the main spirit of the Italian program. She, along with Sylvia Monteleone, decided to do a program that is not a major, but is an independent major (IIM). That’s something particular to very small programs at Brandeis, is that [they] have independent interdisciplinary majors. … So it does have a major, but it’s not under the Romance Studies umbrella. French and Francophone studies and Hispanic studies have a more consistent and diverse faculty that can offer a diversity of classes and a curriculum in lower level [learning] and upper level [learning] every year. What do you think that the Romance Studies department does right? We have a common sense of purpose from the very beginning of the language instruction you

take when you come to Brandeis. [For example,] you don’t know any Spanish, and you start taking Spanish classes, and you can go through the sequence and graduate having read Dante, or having explored Italian culture, Latin American culture or French culture. … So there is a development that goes from the very early stages of language to an immersion [in] the cultures that this language encompasses. In Hispanic studies, for example, many students come from high school with a good level of Spanish and they can, they can hit on the last semester of language instruction and then take literature [and] … film classes in the language. So that kind of a connection between the language learning and the cultural experience and getting to know the authors and the filmmakers and the popular culture of different places. … We are proud of doing that. What do you wish that students knew about the Romance Studies department? It’s not only the great authors of the literary traditions that we want to force down students’ throats. It’s where we study those. In the context of popular culture and important debates that have to do with class and race and gender that touch our contemporaries in a very powerful way. I would like students to know better [that that is] what we do. There are things that really matter. I can see how even if I’m teaching something that is from the 19th century, I want to ask questions that are relevant for us today so that it’s not something removed [from the modern world]. What is your favorite class to teach? There is a class on the short story that I call “El Cuentero” which is “The Storyteller” [in English].

That’s a class that is a lot of fun because we just read short stories and it’s a kind of a common experience of reading together. [Sometimes we] read aloud, and it’s recreating this experience of stories. … It’s an interesting dynamic that I try to create in the class, of telling stories and reading stories and sharing stories. That’s a class that I enjoy a lot. Another class is my “Literature, Film, and Human Rights in Latin America” class. … We study the history of human rights and we see things that are also relevant for understanding today’s world. What role do you think the Romance Studies department fills in a Brandeis education? I think it opens horizons. Brandeis declares itself a global [institution that is] trying to educate citizens of the world. I think that sensitivity and openness to intercultural communication is something that we try to foster. How do you think that your time in Argentina informed how you teach about

Latin American culture? I was born and raised in Argentina until the age of 28, which is when I came here. … I came here at a [later age] when compared to other immigrants that come early on. I came here when I was at the PhD level. So I never stopped comparing [the two cultures]. … The experience of having been brought up in Argentina [and] the educational system are very different. But … how does it inform my teaching? Let’s say in Argentina [that] cultural production and artistic production are very alive. That’s something that I think is very interesting in Latin America: culture happens in the streets. It’s not only artists, it’s people creating things, people making do with what they have and creating something great out of that. You walk on any street in Mexico and you see something that is very different because people are very invested in creating and recreating and exploring and re-imagining their culture. That’s something that is … very much

part of people’s daily existence. I think it’s not something [that] … students call … “academic.” And they use the term “academic” as something that is separate from real life. That’s the border that I try to cross, because I think what happens in terms of cultural creation is part of people’s daily existence and reality. It’s not something that happens only in museums, only in theaters, only in libraries, kind of enclosed spaces that are just to visit for one night. It happens everywhere. Is there anything that you wish the students knew about you? I’ve got my education all in public schools and I’m proud of that. My primary school, high school and university in Argentina were all public schools and I got a great education. I’m a first generation university student, … the first in my family who had a doctorate. … Many students at Brandeis are also first generation and I want to connect to that.



March 25, 2022

OPINIONS The simple joy of Wordle and its variants editor

Word games have existed for centuries, from the basic hangman to the exciting Scrabble. Now, there’s a word game for the modern age, the game of Wordle. If you have been on Twitter recently, you have probably seen Wordle as a top 10 trend, or you’ve seen people tweeting random green and yellow boxes. These are demonstrations of how Wordle is taking the world by storm. Everyday at midnight, a new Wordle puzzle is made available. Your job is to guess a five letter world in six tries or less. If letters in the word you guess turn green, they are exactly where they are supposed to be. If letters turn yellow, they are in the word, but you guessed them in the wrong spot. If the letter turns gray, the letter is not in the word. If you guess the word right for days in a row, you get a streak. Not to brag, but I am currently on a 23 day streak. My strategy is that my first three words are always “steak,” “pound” and “girly.” Works like a charm. Unfortunately, there is only one Wordle a day. That means

once you are done, you have to wait for a new day. Fortunately, I have found other fun variants of Wordle that I have found. One of the first ones I found was Lewdle. This functions the same as Wordle, but you can only guess dirty words. I’d say my strategy for that but I don’t know if that’s appropriate and it’s honestly a less reliable strategy. Lewdle is weird in that some days it does five letter words and some days it does six letter words. And if you don’t know what the word means, Lewdle will define the word for you after the game and link you to Urban Dictionary. It is definitely harder than Wordle, but it is still a lot of fun. Then there is Quordle. Quordle require a lot more thinking. Again, it functions just like Wordle, but times four. You have to guess four five letter words at once. Luckily, you get nine tries for this one because six tries would be impossible. I use the same strategy for this one that I use with Wordle, and it honestly is not as hard as you might think. The fun of this game is that it is not over once you guess the daily puzzle. There is a practice section on Quordle where there are un-


limited puzzles that you can keep playing, which I find a great way to kill boredom. There is also Octordle which ramps up the stakes even more. You have to guess eight words at once with thirteen guesses. This one also does daily puzzles and practice. I do not play it as much because it feels more intense, but it certainly is a game for a thinker. Stepping away from words, there is Nerdle. Nerdle is a game for people who like to work with numbers. In Nerdle, you have to guess a math equation that takes up eight spaces in six guesses. It is never anything too complicated, just addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, although it could be multiple at once. Same rules as the word games, except instead of yellow, purple is the right number in the wrong spot. I’m more of a wordy person, so Nerdle requires more thinking for me as I have to remember what some equations equal. Nerdle also has mini games on their homepage. There is Mini Nerdle for a six block equation. There is Instant Nerdle where the required numbers are there and you have to put them in the right order. Then there is Speed Nerdle where you are timed, so you have more pressure. Now the math fans can have their puzzle game fun too. Last but not least, there is Heardle. Music lovers, this one is for you. In Heardle, you are playing the beginning of a song and you have to guess that song. It starts with the first second, then the first two seconds, then the first four seconds, then the first seven seconds, then the first eleven seconds and your last chance is the first sixteen seconds. In this game, you are allowed to skip your guess if you really don’t know it, but that just means you have less chances. The game will also auto suggest songs when you start typing, which can be helpful if you know the artist and not the song or you only know part of the title. It has songs for everyone, from modern day Lil Nas X to old school Fleetwood Mac. Once the word is guessed or you are out of guesses, the game will automatically



play the song from SoundCloud. So you get to play a fun game and possibly find a new song for your playlist. These are not the only variants of Wordle, just the ones that I have played. There is also Worldle for guessing countries and Squirdle for guessing Pokemon. And I’m sure there are other variants that I do not even know about. People are seeing how popular Wordle is getting and they want to work off of that popularity. It has never been a better time to be a puzzle game fan. I like these games because they are fun distractions that work out my brain. I might

learn something new or I may improve my strategizing skills. All of these are fun games to play when you need a break. And if you are swamped with homework or studying, these games usually do not take more than five minutes so they are nice relaxers. I highly recommend checking out one of these games or all of them, they are all free on a web browser. I don’t know if I have a favorite out of the games that I have just mentioned as they all have their positives and negatives, but I like how they all are a lot of fun and they all require me to think.

Ask SSIS Welcome back to the Student Sexuality Information Service (SSIS) column, where we answer any and all of Brandeis students’ questions about sex, sexuality, identity and relationships. If you have a question you’d like answered in our next column, email or leave a question in our Google Form: Any and all questions are welcome: there are no bad, stupid or weird questions! (Note: These answers are good-faith attempts by SSIS to be helpful to the Brandeis community, and are by no means exhaustive or to be taken as universal. If these answers don’t resonate with you, either pay them no mind or reach out to us with suggestions for improvement!) By SSIS special to the hoot

My suitemate recently got into a relationship with this guy and he comes over all the time to have sex, even on weekdays when I have class the next morning. I can always hear them through the wall because her single is next to mine. I have earplugs but they’re really uncomfortable and don’t block out everything. What can I do without being rude or starting a fight? Hi, thank you for sending this into SSIS! It sounds like you’re in a tough situation right now and it’s great that you’re looking out for your suitemate’s feelings. Though this situation is uncomfortable,

there is definitely a way to ease your discomfort without upsetting your suitemate. Communication from both of you is going to be key here. You could text your suitemate to see when she’s home to try and talk; try to avoid having this discussion five minutes before her boyfriend shows up. You can let her know that you’re really supportive of her and her boyfriend’s new relationship, but that some aspects are starting to negatively impact your life. Starting difficult conversations with “I feel” instead of “you do” can help to avoid pointing fingers and creating animosity. You can try to lay out the facts, like you losing sleep before your morning classes which makes it hard for you to study. Do your best to avoid saying things that might create shame like “I hate hearing you

have sex, it’s gross,” there’s a good chance your suitemate hasn’t realized you can hear her. Once you’ve laid out your side of the story, you could propose a few compromises, like maybe her boyfriend only comes over on Thursdays-Saturdays or before 11 p.m.. If you feel worried that your suitemate will get angry or won’t hear you out, you could ask another one of your suitemates or a close friend to be in the suite or nearby to help you out if needed. Hopefully all will go well and your suitemate will be understanding of your sleepless nights and you can be understanding of her relationship. Please text us at 586-ASK-SSIS if you need any help or have any other questions!



March 25, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

attacks by conservatives are baseless By Mia Plante editor

This past Monday, the Senate began their confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. While this process is significantly less grueling than previous confirmation hearings as conservatives will still hold the majority of Supreme Court seats, Jackson’s nomination shows why appointing the first Black woman to the Supreme Court is important. But whether it swings the Court’s ideological makeup or not, Judge Jackson’s existence on the Court further pushes the racial boundaries that have been in place since the nation’s founding. The American Bar Association published a report in 2020 outlining the demographics of Bar-certified lawyers in the U.S. As noted in the report, 86 percent of lawyers in 2020 were white, which is an overrepresentation of the white population as a whole which only makes up 60 percent of all U.S. residents. Additionally, only 5 percent of all lawyers in 2020 were reported as African American. Women also make up a smaller portion of lawyers than men, 37 percent. Judge Jackson is an individual who has multiple marginalized identities as a Black woman. Because of this, seeing Judge Jackson on the Supreme Court solidifies for other women of color that they can make it in the legal profession as well. This is a step in the right direction for the United States, but as usual it has

come with racially charged backlash from conservative media and lawmakers. Earlier this month Fox News’ Tucker Carlson made comments about Judge Jackson’s nomination on his problematic show “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” Carlson not only made a remark about her name, but also asked about Judge Jackson’s LSAT scores, something he has never done for any Supreme Court nominee before. “[I]t might be time for Joe Biden to let us know what Ketanji Brown Jackson’s LSAT score was. How did she do on the LSATs? … It would seem like Americans in a democracy have a right to know,” Carlson questioned. But why would this be such a cause for concern for the conservative media figure? Not only is this a stark example of American double-standards when it comes to non-white people in professional fields, but shows the lack of genuine problems that can be asked about Judge Jackson. As someone who is currently studying for the LSAT, the test that largely assists admission to law schools in the U.S, Carlson’s claims are unfounded. The LSAT does not test students on what they know about American law and how to interpret it, rather, it is a test that determines one’s ability to think logically and critically in different scenarios. This is a fact that Tucker Carlson conceded to on his show this past Tuesday, but yet he still holds that one way to show Judge Jackson’s ability as a great legal scholar is to know her LSAT scores. Conversely, Carlson called Jus-


tice Amy Coney Barrett one of the most “impressive” people to receive a Supreme Court nomination in 2020. To compare their histories, Judge Jackson attended Harvard Law School, served as Justice Breyer’s law clerk, has experience as a public defender, was the Vice Chair of the US Sentencing Commission, and has held positions on the US District Court for D.C. and its Court of Appeals. Justice Barrett, is the only Justice on the Court who did not attend an Ivy League law school and is the most inexperienced person to be nominated for the Supreme Court since Justice Clarence Thomas was nominated in 1991. But Tucker Carlson, whose education ends at a Bachelor’s degree, is worried about Judge Jackson’s LSAT scores… There is no other reason this would be asked besides racism, as Judge Jackson’s record is stacked and her expertise is unquestionable. Additionally, in the hearings conservative lawmakers showed their true lack of knowledge about the legal field—and the Constitution—while questioning Judge Jackson. Those who oppose her confirmation believe her experience as a public defender and some of her previous sentences prove she isn’t tough on crime. But this is a laughable position as being understanding of criminals and what leads them to crime and being a good defense attorney does not mean someone promotes crime. Instead, what Judge Jackson’s experience as a public defender does is give her a better understanding of the fundamental right to counsel and fair trial that is enumerated in the sixth amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Some critics, namely, Senator Josh Hawley, point out the very few cases where Judge Jackson ruled somewhat lightly as compared to the recommended sentence by the federal sentencing guidelines, but the criticisms were unfounded. According to 18 U.S. Code 3553, there are many other factors to be considering in the imposition of a sentence. This includes history and characteristics of the defendant, kinds of sentences available, and policy statements, among others. Additionally, a letter from nine retired District and Circuit Court judges

was written to the Senators who proposed this issue. The letter defended Judge Jackson’s rulings as “entirely consistent” with nationwide sentencing patterns and defended her stance on the child pornography case in question. Other Republican Senators who have their eye on the 2024 Presidential elections spoke up against Judge Jackson’s history. Ted Cruz also questioned Jackson about her rulings in child pornography cases. Trying to keep a tough-oncrime media presence is necessary for republicans vying for the seat. While they have no real argument to make against Judge Jackson, her confirmation is a chance for them to get the spotlight for another ridiculous claim. Cruz even asked Judge Jackson about her views on critical race theory, claiming that it’s being taught in schools and that a specific book taught at a private school where Jackson is on the board of trustees is teaching kids that “babies are racist.” I don’t even have to explain why this is ridiculous, and the critical race theory ‘issue’ is only touted by white Americans who are afraid of confronting the fact that they benefit from America’s institutionalized racism. The proof is there, it’s easy to understand, but it’s not a children’s book so I doubt Ted Cruz will read it. Senator Marsha Blackburn, a republican from Tennessee who has a feud with Taylor Swift for some reason, pressed against Judge Jackson in her opening statements. Blackburn asked about Judge Jackson’s “agenda” and if it’s to “let violent criminals, cop killers, and child predators back to the streets.” Blackburn also asked Judge Jackson to define the word “woman,” which has essentially nothing to do with what Jackson’s role in the Supreme Court would be. Rather than underscoring Judge Jackson’s expertise and what would make her fit, or not fit, for this role, Blackburn instead used her time to secure more radical right wing media points. During Senate confirmation hearings it is so obvious to me that our lawmakers—and therefore the general public—do not understand that it is impossible to remove politics from the Supreme Court. The questions being asked of Judge Jackson, and that have been asked of other Supreme Court nominees in the

past, make no sense when you understand that the Supreme Court is an inherently political body. Presidents elect justices that have similar political views to them and many opinions on contested cases are split down party lines. This isn’t something new that President Biden is doing, as Senator Blackburn claimed in a tweet on Wednesday, this is a fact of the Supreme Court’s existence. It also is extremely hard for judges and legal professionals to remove their political, religious and personal beliefs from their decisions—even when guided by the Constitution. Laws provide a significant amount of room for interpretation from the use of the word “reasonable” to the very ambiguous ninth amendment. Utilizing personal beliefs comes into every single decision judges make from a local to federal level and it’s ridiculous of our government to claim otherwise. Even with the confirmation of Judge Jackson to the Supreme Court, conservatives will still hold the majority. Conservatives though keep underscoring the importance of her radical views shifting Supreme Court ideology—which they certainly will not. Ted Cruz tweeted on Wednesday that he “hope[s] every Republican and every Democrat looks at Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record and asks if she would be someone who would defend the Constitution and protect our Constitutional rights. Free speech, religious liberty and the Second Amendment all hang in the balance!” In actuality, none of these things are in question, and none of them would be even with a leftwing majority on the Court. Just like this article, the coverage of Judge Jackson’s hearings has focused more on the insanity that is modern American conservative thought instead of the groundbreaking confirmation this will be. Judge—soon to be Justice— Ketanji Brown Jackson is an amazing figure in American politics and within the legal field, she will bring a much-needed well-rounded perspective to the Supreme Court. I am more than excited to see the Supreme Court be slightly more representative of this country and excited to hopefully see more people pursue a law degree because of it.

The perks of traveling editor

After nearly a year of living in France and traveling around Europe, I feel as if the more I experience different countries and their cultures, the less different everyone becomes. While Rome certainly looks more ancient than Berlin, and Barcelona was definitely cheaper than Paris, I have made more mental notes of how similar and pervasive human behavior and emotion is than how different these cultures are. In every city, you can find music and bar enclaves with graffiti, smoking and the youth. You can see the difference in housing, the difference in publicly-kept cleanliness, between those with mon-

ey and those without it. You can see which groups of people are made to clean, to work, to serve and how so often they are brown and immigrant. You can see the snobbiness and high horses of the white elderly. You can see for as many unwelcoming people there are, there will always be those to show you kindness. You can see the energy of the city, the way how, whether slow, or fast, on bikes or on trains, we all move for the same reason: to work, to provide for those closest to us, to keep moving, to keep living. It seems like the world is so divided, that first world countries are kept hidden and protected from the third world. That the social ailments created by imperial forces will never reach the developed world. But what I have seen in Ecuador and Morocco is

that human behavior remains the same. Whether without the glitter of the West, and sometimes with it, we all interact and move the same way. We all gather, we all celebrate, we all work. The idea that we, in the first world, are so different, so privileged, is in many ways not real. We are not naturally privileged, we simply grow to be exploitative, we grow to accumulate, but we act, we react the same. A friend of mine had asked me recently what I have learned in my time living in Paris and traveling, and what I have seen most is how it is not us who are different but rather just what we’re surrounded with. It is not our identities that make us distinct, that make some superior and others oppressed, but the way how the world sees us and treats us. It is not intrinsic that Western

Europe does not suffer from famine and war, the susceptibility of their populations and their earth is no different. Consequently, our human behavior and psyches are no different. What is, however, is that while Paris can receive a billion euros when the Notre Dame burns down, Yemen gets forgotten. While, in the end, traveling does not make you, or make me, more “cultured,” it does make the world make more sense. It shows you just how connected, just how endless the expanse of human society is, and just how deluded we’ve become to think we are any different or any better than anyone else. It breaks down the idea of cultural superiority in real terms. Understanding that life in person is always different than the reality captured and manipulated through another’s lens. That

misfortune and war are external circumstances, but human love and life is pervasive. Uncovering the layers of capital and classism, you can see real, common, human emotion, regardless of whether in Europe, North America, South America or Africa; while it may be manifested or interpreted differently we all feel the same. Traveling and experiencing are integral to really instilling the idea that history only paints a portrait of what has occurred to people, not who they are. It is with seeing and interacting with people that we flatten the earth in our minds, by making cultural differences more real and understanding how they are actually more us than anything else.


The Brandeis Hoot

March 25, 2022

Shabbat shalom, exploring the unknown: my experience visiting Shabbat services By Pa Camara special to the hoot

“OMG you should totally come to services” were the words that I’d hear whenever my friends would talk about the event. “Hah! Jewish I did” was always the goto response that left me fighting demons as I’d try to fight back against uttering, fighting an ego higher than gas prices. I never thought about taking up the invitation because I am Muslim, so I find one religion to be more than enough for me. I also did not think it was a situation that I needed to put myself in. However, under the guilt of taking a free bottle from the SCC, I finally decided to take the initiative, Friday at 6 p.m. I never knew where services were occurring, as I was planning to go with friends, but I ended up having to find my way there on my own. The first place I headed to was the Multipurpose Room in the SCC scrambling like an egg to get there as soon as possible. Desperately looking for any signs of Hillel, I saw a table with receptionists and name cards. Behind it, I saw fancy tables and shiny silverware. Exchanged words later, it turns out that not only were there several services going on simultaneously, but I didn’t know where to go. I felt screwed like a

nut. Luckily though I was given an educational guess that I needed to go to the alumni lounge. The receptionists were really nice, although I forgor their names. I headed over to Usdan, walking at an extremely brisk pace, hoping that I could slip in services easily without my entrance attracting the curious eye of the attendees. This brings me to my impression of services. I always imagined a sort of big congregation full of rows with a rabbi preaching for the entirety of the services. I ran into a friend on the way who was drinking an Einstein’s latte, and I made a terrible joke about Brandeis Latte which was without a doubt more than enough to justify my bite orders being stolen for the foreseeable future. I am also glad to report that before entering services, I met someone else who’s name I also cannot remember, but only where he was from. I did in fact open the door to a bunch of eyes facing my direction, but the setting for services was not what I expected. It was chairs in a circle, which made for a more intimate and warm setting. I tried to go with the flow of services, but luckily for me, everything was explained so that I definitely felt a lot less lost. I picked up a blue song book, with page numbers periodically being announced. The only downside, which did not matter to me all that much, was I could not always

sing along because what was being sung was not always on the page, but I imagined that this was simply due to me being an outsider. Those who were already attending already knew the original song, but that doesn’t really matter because I would have hummed, shook my head and vibed regardless. Honestly, that was probably for the best seeing as my “singing” would without a doubt lead to a BEMCo call being made. There was something else I wanted to bring up but I cannot seem to remember which is oh so very sad. Anyway, to sweeten the pot, I got to use eggdog. A plastic egg shaker with dog stickers to be specific, a maraca. There were also moments during which I felt more like I was Jew, like when there were times to acknowledge loved ones. Before I knew it, time was up like a house being taken away by balloons. Honestly, time flew and I had a fun time. I found the community to be nice and warm and I have no regrets. It was a time just navigating the services, but like a chess piece we move. Anyway, multiple services occurring to accommodate the varying Jewish populations is better than a one size fits all approach. Louis D. Brandeis would turn over in his grave if Brandeis wasn’t accommodating. The way I see it, while you don’t necessarily need to involve yourself with one religion, it

doesn’t hurt to poke around a little and see what you can discover. It was an experience to remember. I only have one regret, and it’s that I didn’t somehow deviously lick a Hillel Bag. Though this occurred well over a month ago, thank Louis D. Brandeis we’ve been blessed with Brandeis Overheard. The

post was a quote from a Brandeis student speaking about the event, and they said “It’s a great event, you go, some random Rabbi says deez nuts, everyone claps and then you leave.” This post essentially summarized my thoughts before services, and spoke to me like my mother. God Bless America.


Per audacia ad astra editor

The last NASA launch was over a decade ago, in 2011. That mission, known as STS-135, carried four people and the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module and a Lightweight Multi-Purpose Carrier, which were then delivered to the International Space Station. NASA has largely unheard of since then, but there’s an innovative new space program that appears to be a sister to the Apollo Program set to launch in just a few months. In news that has slipped under the radar, NASA is planning to

launch the first rocket in the Artemis Program. Artemis I will be an uncrewed mission and is planned to launch in June, although some suspect it will launch a few months behind schedule. The purpose of the first Artemis launch is to test the Orion launch system that will be used for future crewed missions, and the spacecraft is intended to spend nearly a week in a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon. Other Artemis launches will be crewed, and one of them will even include a lunar landing. The Artemis program has a surprisingly long history, starting all the way back in 2012. Originally named “NASA Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1),” the program was

delayed while a similar launch was carried out by the European Space Agency. The EM-1 launch was originally intended to happen in 2016, but was delayed until 2018, then 2019, then 2020, then 2021 and after a part failure it was delayed a final time until June 2022. Before the launch later this year, there will be a “wet dress rehearsal” in April, where liquid fuel is loaded into the rocket but is not ignited. Although Artemis I’s launch is simply a proof of concept, the goal of the Artemis program is to set up a base on the Moon to allow for future deep-space exploration and scientific discovery. The Moon’s gravity is about as strong as Earth’s gravity, which


makes it ideal for longer range space missions. If liftoff is more fuel-efficient, then future space missions can have a longer range and hopefully discover more about our galaxy. The concept of a lunar base is extremely exciting, but life on the Moon presents its own extreme difficulties. For starters, one day on the Moon is the equivalent of 29 days on Earth, and the Moon’s surface temperature can be as high as 127 degrees celsius or as low as -173 degrees celsius depending on which side of the Moon you’re on. The moon also has no atmosphere to protect its surface from cosmic radiation and cosmic debris, making all structures and people living on the lunar surface extremely vulnerable. But, despite all of those challenges humanity should still press on, not because it is easy but because it is hard. When I read the news of Artemis I’s upcoming launch, I only had one question: “what took us so long?” The first time humans were on the Moon was in 1969, as part of the Apollo program. It was a singular moment in human history, the first time we left our cradle and learned to walk on an interplanetary level. But, largely for political reasons, we haven’t been back to the moon since 1972. A NASA administrator once said that putting humans on the moon by 2024, which the Artemis program plans to do, would require more federal funding. NASA once constituted four percent of the federal government’s budget, but now it makes up less than one percent. The NASA administrator said that more funding is very unlikely, as a space program is considered a “political risk.” But, the benefits of a lunar base for space exploration are unparalleled. It could serve as a fueling stop, al-

low for better telescopic observation, and allow us to learn more about the Moon itself. It appears that the main hurdle our space program faces is funding, which is absurd considering how our government chooses to allocate money. NASA gets a considerable amount of funding, $23.3 billion, but it needs more funding to be able to take on ambitious projects like Artemis. Funds could be allocated from somewhere like the US military, which somehow got $715 billion this fiscal year. There isn’t a non-fascist reason that the military needs that much money, especially when it could go to improving people’s lives and exploring the cosmos. Let’s say that the defense budget was halved, which still leaves more than enough money for any military to do… whatever things a military needs hundreds of billions of dollars for. That leaves just over $350 billion to go to better public education, better infrastructure, better community services and even to government organizations like NASA. The point is, the government has the money. They’re just choosing to spend it on unnecessary wars instead of exploring our galaxy (and helping citizens). It’s exciting to see the beginnings of a lunar base program come together, even if it is at a snail’s pace. Humans are an infinitesimally small speck in the vast expanse of the Milky Way, let alone the universe, and it’s high time that we learn about our galactic neighborhood. I believe that a lunar base is the key to human exploration of the cosmos, and the Artemis program is the first step in that process. The Artemis I launch can’t come soon enough.

March 25, 2022

By Sasha Skarboviychuk editors

Ben and Jerry’s is back to blessing our taste buds with four new delicious flavors. Of course, we looked all over Waltham to hunt them all down. Topped: Dirt Cake Dirt Cake is described as “Vanilla Pudding Ice Cream with Chocolate Sandwich Cookies & Chocolate Cookie Swirls Topped with Milk Chocolatey Ganache & Chocolate Cookie,” on the Ben & Jerry’s website. Sasha I’m not a huge cookies and cream fan, so I didn’t have super high expectations for this flavor. The vanilla ice cream tasted a little weird to me, it was almost chalky which I find so weird because Ben & Jerry’s ice cream itself is usually great. The cookie crumbs, although they give the ice cream a fun texture, I didn’t really taste them. I expected there to be some flavor coming from them, but I just couldn’t find it. The whole cookies (apparently I got all of them, since John didn’t get any) were alright. I think the fact that they were whole was a little much? They literally had whole Oreo sized cookies in there (which didn’t taste anywhere near as good as regular Oreos). As always, the topped part was good, but too much all at once. I would much rather have it more evenly dispersed. Overall, I would rate it a seven. John I am a huge cookies and cream fan, so needless to say I was really excited for this ice cream flavor and had incredibly high expectations. In particular, I loved the ganache on top and the chocolate was very rich. One of my issues with it though is that the crumbles on top of the ganache were kind of messy and were very easy to spill, but delicious nonetheless.


The Brandeis Hoot

The vanilla pudding ice cream itself was okay. Apparently, there were cookies which I am sure were great but my half of the ice cream did not have any! In general, I wish the ice cream was more heterogeneous: after getting through the ganache on top, the ice cream itself was quite homogenous and was a bit boring after a while. However, I would give this flavor a 7.5/10. Topped: Chocolate Milk & Cookies “Chocolate Milk & Cookies” is described as “Chocolate Ice Cream with Chocolate Chip Cookies & Chocolate Cookie Swirls Topped with Milk Chocolatey,” on the Ben & Jerry’s website. Sasha This was an underwhelming flavor. When I first read the description, I was super excited to try it: chocolate ice cream, a chocolate cookie swirl (my favorite swirl) and cookie dough? Sign me up. Well, after finishing half a pint of this flavor, I have one pressing question: Where are the cookies? Chocolate ice cream was great, as always, as was the cookie swirl. But all in all, this flavor could’ve been great but it wasn’t. Overall, I would rate it a seven as well, but I definitely expected more from it. John Like Sasha, I was so excited to try this flavor. Personally, Milk & Cookies is one of my favorite flavors, and adding a topped on it with “chocolate” in the title can only make it better, right? Like most of the topped ice cream flavors, I found that the topped itself was very rich and tasted fantastic. However, when you get to the actual ice cream part I find myself quite disappointed. The rest of the ice cream tasted essentially like chocolate ice cream with fudge flakes. Overall, I would give this a 6.5/10, and I do think that it needed more toppings within it (more fudge flakes maybe?) Chewy Gooey Cookie

Chewy Gooey Cookie is described as “Milk Chocolate & Coconut Ice Creams with Fudge Flakes, Shortbread Cookies & Caramel Swirls,” on the Ben & Jerry’s website. Sasha Okay first and foremost, let’s address the elephant in the room: why is this flavor called chewy gooey cookie if it barely has anything to do with cookies? Its only cookie connection is the shortbread cookies, which is a stretch at best. Next, let’s talk about the weird combination of flavors here: milk chocolate, coconut, caramel and shortbread cookies. Definitely sounds like everything you have in the kitchen. But let me tell you that this flavor was very good. Ironically, the thing that I liked the least was the shortbread cookies, they were chalky and just not great overall. The coconut ice cream was delicious and definitely the dominant flavor in the mix; but the rest of the elements weren’t lost either. Overall, I would rate it an 8.5 out of 10 and will definitely be looking for it in stores! John I have to agree with Sasha on this one. This milk chocolate and coconut ice cream tasted amazing and was hands-down the best part of the flavor. With that being said, the coconut ice cream definitely stood out amongst the rest of the flavors, which is not something that I would have assumed based on the description or the name of the flavor. I have always found the shortbread cookies to be a disappointing addition to the Ben & Jerry flavors, and that is the same case here. They almost just taste like bland and chewy pieces of bread within ice cream, which is not the flavor I am looking for in most ice creams. However, I think that the coconut ice cream tasted incredible, though the title really does not give an accurate description of the dominant coconut flavor. Overall, I would give

this ice cream an eight out of 10, and would definitely buy it again even if the title and description is a bit misleading! Mint Chocolate Chance Mint Chocolate Chance, a collaboration with Chance, is described as “Mint Ice Cream Loaded with Fudge Brownies,” on the Ben & Jerry’s website. Sasha I love mint. And I love brownies, so when I saw that Ben & Jerry’s came out with a mint ice cream with brownie pieces, I was ecstatic. The mint ice cream is perfect: it was not too minty but also not too creamy where it tasted like someone added peppermint syrup to vanilla ice cream (I find that this is a common issue with mint ice creams). The brownies were good, as always, though it was kind of hard to taste them in all the mint. There were lots of brownies in the ice cream, which I really appreciate. Here’s a take I don’t know if John will agree with—usually all of these ice creams we try, we eat a pint in one sitting (between the two of us), but I don’t think this is a flavor you can do that with. By the time I finished my half, I

was quite sick of it. But overall, I think this was a great flavor, I would give it an eight out of 10 and would definitely buy it again. I don’t know who Chance the Rapper is, but that man has great taste in ice cream. PS- I am still waiting for some company to make plain mint gelato. My life will then be complete. John I will admit, I am not as big on mint as Sasha is, but I can appreciate a good mint chocolate (or in this case, mint brownie) ice cream. The mint ice cream itself was great. Most of the time, when eating mint ice cream in large quantities like I love to, the mint flavor can get overwhelming and ruin the rest of the ice cream. But I feel like Ben & Jerry’s knows their audience: The ice cream was not incredibly minty to the point where we could not finish the pint, but it was just minty enough so that I could enjoy it. However, with that being said, I think that the ice cream had too many brownies in it! I would have appreciated to taste more of the ice cream and less of the brownies. It was a great addition, but maybe less of it in the future?


The Kiwibots talk now and yes, I still like them By Caroline O editor

Now, before I get into this opinion piece, I want to preface by saying that I’ve seen the “Terminator” movies and most of “Doctor Who,” so I get the whole fear of robots thing. I am someone who is mildly terrified by the concept of Siri and Alexa, someone who shivers whenever I see that there’s an advertisement on my phone based on one sleep-deprived Google search done at

3 a.m. (Google, I don’t actually want a Dutch oven. I’m a broke college senior, and they’re way too expensive. Also, I live at Brandeis. Where do I have room to keep a Dutch oven? Stop recommending me Dutch ovens!) So, with all that said, I should be afraid of the Kiwibots, those little robot companions of ours, the ones that have a weirdly excellent sense of navigation on this Sisyphean hill of a campus. But actually, despite all the sci-fi movies about the horrors of robots, I found myself actually liking them. They make me smile! They flash

little emoji faces! They’re busy little bees, here to save you the walk to Einstein’s and Upper at 9 p.m., when you’re exhausted from hours of classes and extracurriculars. Oh, and they talk now. Imagine my surprise when I, a very tired college senior, walked down to meet my Kiwibot, only to hear it chirp. And whine. And, after I got over the initial shock of hearing it make sounds, the Kiwibot, in its impatience, literally asked, “Hello-o-o?” Imagine my surprise when I, a very tired college senior, heard


myself reply (yes, reply), “Hang on, hang on, let me just find the stupid button.” Imagine my absolute horror at realizing that I’d legit replied to a robot, straight out of the “Star Wars” movies. (Because does Anakin Skywalker or Poe Dameron actually understand whatever their cute little droids are talking about? According to Wookiepedia, they do, but this isn’t the “Star Wars” universe. I don’t actually speak in binary or whatever it is the droids speak in.) So, given this new information, does this change my opinion on the Kiwibots? Will I join the ranks of students purposely standing in the way of Kiwibots, just to piss them off? Will I, too, join the angry mob in kicking over Kiwibots or threatening to run them over with the car I don’t have? I’m a little unsure. Because here’s the thing: on the one hand, it’s initially unsettling for your Kiwibot to call after you because you haven’t picked up your food yet. It’s also initially unsettling for your Kiwibot to keep calling after you, even after you’ve gone into your building. And it’s even more unsettling to see your Kiwibot linger outside for another minute before finally turning around. But here’s the other thing, and perhaps the thing that will abso-

lutely get me killed if the robots ever decide to turn into violent killing machines: I still find it cute. Perhaps it really is years and years of watching “Star Wars” that’s eating my brain, but I find the Kiwibots’ new talking abilities endearing. They’re so cheerful and chirpy, and even their “hello-o-o?” makes me smile, especially when I’ve been doing nothing but writing papers or doing homework or listening to the clock tick one second closer to my latest deadline. So this is a plea from your local Kiwibot-enjoyer: please don’t kick the Kiwibots just because you hear them greet you. They’re probably just programmed to repeat the same three or four sounds. It’s a little shocking at first, but the ability to voluntarily make noises doesn’t make a thing inherently creepy, does it? (Okay, maybe flawed logic. I think we can all recall a few people who have voluntarily spoken and then immediately made you want to run for the hills. Or grab a bottle of pepper spray.) But I still stand by my point. If the Kiwibots talk now, then I’m personally cool with that. Just don’t judge me too hard if you see me responding to one of them. And also maybe prepare my grave if they really do turn out to be angry killing machines.


14 The Brandeis Hoot

March 25, 2022

‘King Richard’ is a formulaic biopic from a unique perspective editor

Serena and Venus Williams are two of the greatest tennis players of all time. However, it was quite the uphill battle to get where they are now. “King Richard” explores how their father, Richard Williams, helped them on their journey to success. Through his unorthodox methods and his relentless pushing, he helped make sure his daughters could be the tennis stars of his dreams. Starring Oscar nominated Will Smith, this is a run of the mill predictable sports biopic that follows the Williams sisters from childhood to championship, but through their father’s eyes. It was not a particularly inventive film but having it be told from the point of view of the athletes’ father was a fun twist. I was entertained by this film and it deserves the six Oscar nominations that it received. It is the early 1990s in Compton, California. Richard Williams (Smith) and his wife Brandy (Aunjanie Ellis) are raising their two daughters, Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton), along with Brandy’s three daughters from a previous marriage. Before they were even born, Richard has had dreams of his two daughters becoming tennis stars and he has crafted a plan to accomplish that goal. The family can not afford fancy tennis lessons, so

By Sam Finbury

Richard and Brandy have to coach the girls on their own time. He records the girls and shows them off to professional coaches in the hopes that they will be coached. Venus is the one that is scouted by top coaches, while Serena has to work harder to reach her sister’s level. Richard decides they will skip the juniors tennis circuit, as he thinks it is too much pressure for young girls. The family then moves to Florida where the girls can be coached by Rick Macci (Jon Bernthal) for the next couple of years before they go pro. With his domineering personality, Richard Williams gains an unfavorable reputation in the young tennis world and Venus and Serena have to do what he says. They soon realize if they want to make it to the big time, they have to make some of their own choices and achieve their own dreams, with only a little help from their father. What makes the film stand out is the performances. Will Smith carried the film as Richard Williams and dominated every scene he was in. He had to stand up to gang members while his daughters practice and stand up to tennis coaches who had methods against his beliefs and Smith owned these scenes. Smith portrayed anger and toughness in how he acted, and he transformed into Richard Williams. He yelled, gave impassioned monologues and was expressive in displaying how much his plan meant to him. No one would mess with Richard, and Smith was the face of tough-

ness. There were layers to this performance and Will Smith deserved his Oscar nomination. The other Oscar nominee of this film is Aunjanie Ellis as Brandy, Richard’s wife and Serena and Venus’s mother. She was a strong woman who always thought about the people around her. Ellis showed how this character is more than a typical wet blanket wife by conveying that she had goals and that she was the one making sure her children were happy. Ellis always had a look of determination on her face and she never wavered, and Ellis proved why Brandy was important to this story. When she was yelling at Richard, you believed every word of her passion. Ellis had a voice that made people listen and her voice was filled with emotions, such as anger, sadness and hope. Brandy is a strong woman and Ellis expressed how strong she can be. I also appreciated Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton’s performances as Venus and Serena respectively. They were understated parts, but they revealed what childhood was like for two legends. They showed what it was like to grow up in a poor household, compete against other tennis players and stand up to their father. Sidney shined at the climax where she is playing her first junior grand slam and had to be in the zone. Seeing her crying from the intensity while trying to stay perfectly in the zone made it seem like the stakes were real for her. Singleton shined in a scene where she talked to her father about why

Venus was getting all the attention and she felt left out. She exhibited hope and sadness all at once and her eyes revealed she wanted success more than anything. She expressed fear that she was never going to do as well as her sister. This scene shined a light on the harsh world of being an athlete and competing with a sibling. Sidney and Singleton portrayed two girls that put their blood, sweat and tears into everything and they demonstrated looks of determination in every scene. They revealed how tough it is to be a child athlete with Richard Williams as a father. While I liked this film and found it to be a fascinating character study, I did not think it was the most exciting film. There was a certain formula found in this film that is found in most biopics. It is the classic rags to riches story where people go from nothing to everything. While the subjects are what make the film interesting, I feel like I have seen similar films before. Films like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Theory of Everything” show the straightforward lives of real people and we all know the people at the center of these films become successful, so everything will work out in the end. If it hadn’t, the film would have never been made. This formula makes this film predictable. We all know that the Williams sisters are going to be icons. In order to watch these films, I have to remember that it is about the journey, not the destination. While this is not the most creative film, there was

some uniqueness to it to separate it slightly from the biopic formula. The creative choice for this story was to put it in the perspective of the Williams sisters’ father instead of themselves. It provided extra details about problems in his life, such as gang violence, and disclosed extra background for how they were raised. If it was through Serena and Venus’s point of views, it probably would not have been that captivating of a film. The real Richard Williams has a reputation of being a mean person that was not a likable coach in the tennis circuit. This film portrayed that side and even though it is possible the film went easy on him, the audience saw an interesting point of view from someone who is not exactly a hero. It followed the biopic formula, but that formula was elevated. There could have been something more to make this film more unique, but I like the creative choices that were implemented. This film came out in theaters in late 2021, but it was made available for at home audiences on HBO Max on March 24 of this year. And on March 27, audiences will find out if it will take home any Oscars. There’s a high chance that Will Smith will win Best Actor for his role in this movie. Even though he would not be my top choice to win, the win would still be well deserved. If you want to see an underdog sports film with a different outlook, or you want to know about some of the greatest players in the history of tennis, watch “King Richard” today.

Thoughts on a ‘Bioshock’ movie: all the light has gone out of my life


Caring about things is the gateway drug to disappointment. I have been burned by this simple fact again and again. I loved “Game of Thrones,” and then season eight happened. I loved “Star Wars” and then the sequel trilogy happened. Like the brighteyed romantic I am, I always rush into another escapist diversion, thinking that this time I won’t be left reeling in an exhaust of wasted time and emotional investment. Perhaps I care too much about fictional nonsense that doesn’t matter getting subjectively ruined, but it feels nicer than caring about our real world that does matter and is getting objectively ruined. I’d rather be obsessive about something with lower stakes. Anywho, in corporate media’s dark quest to hunt down every property that is even remotely enjoyable and vampirically monetize its every facet until it is an unapproachable desiccated husk, Netflix has announced that there will be a movie based on the Bioshock, my favorite video game series. I am… upset, but subject my roommate to another of my famous two hour rants, I think it would be healthier for everyone if I used the inexplicable goodwill of The Hoot’s Art section editors to hash my feelings out in print. The Bioshock series is a masterpiece of storytelling and game design. When I say the “Bioshock series,” I mean Bioshock 1, 2 and 2’s DLC “Minerva’s Den. The mas-

turbatory Ken Levine self insert fanfiction known as “Bioshock Infinite” is not a real Bioshock game, and if you think it is, you are a fool who is easily impressed by faux-deep messages and flashing lights. I will die on this hill with a sword in my hand and a smile on my face. The REAL Bioshock games take place in the fallen city of Rapture, a 50s Art Deco dystopia built at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean and founded by the megalomaniacle industrialist Andrew Ryan, in order to gather all of the greatest minds of the earth together to live in a paradise devoid of laws, religion and moral quandaries. It is a capitalist hellscape that, predictably, collapsed in a civil war fueled by corporate tyranny and worker unrest. Players attempt to escape its beautiful ruins, all the while learning more about the city’s history and the corrupt science that still runs through its veins. The franchise is a dark and compelling exploration of objectivism, populism, morality, choice and change and is chock full of iconic moments and charismatic characters. It’s no wonder that the possibility of an adaptation would make the wallets of corporate suits rumble. Video game adaptations get a bad rap, and while they mostly deserve it, they don’t have to. The key interactive investment produced by video games is impossible to translate between mediums, but as long as the key narrative draws of the source material can be identified and distilled, I believe an adaptation can work well. The “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie

pulled it off, kind of, since it understood that the biggest draw of the franchise were its cartoonish and charismatic characters, and so those were the main focuses. Additionally, I have high hopes for “The Last of Us” series since it has an incredibly simple world and centers around two fleshed out characters and their endearing relationship, which lends itself to emotionally engrossing TV. But Bioshock can’t be translated to another media, because its biggest draw isn’t its story, or even its cast, its world, the city of Rapture, which is a character unto itself. Bioshock doesn’t have a plot like other video games do. Ninety percent of the time you are walking around, filling a checklist of objectives to overcome one obstacle, move onto the next and then leave the level. However, while you are traipsing around, you are collecting “audio diaries,” short recordings of various Rapture citizens talking about their backstories, experiences in the city, personal philosophies and challenges during the war. These dozens of harrowing little side stories are dictated by characters we usually never meet and who are usually dead by the time we are experiencing Rapture. Even the few characters we encountered in the present of the game are already baked through by the time we meet them face to face, their previous character development conveyed through the audio diaries we find. These tapes also fill out the backstory of the city piece by piece, explaining the idealism of its founder, the war

that threatened it all and the scientific breakthroughs that paved the way to damnation. But all of these brilliant little lore pockets take place in the past. Movies tell stories about things happening in the present of the story. You see the problem? If all the best parts of the Bioshock narrative are side stories happening to people other than the protagonist, then they will either have to be excised from the film or dumped in an unswallowable boulder of bastardized exposition. Or the movie could take place in the heyday of Rapture and we could witness the fall, which would be possible if this were a 20 episode mini series with an ensemble cast rather than a two hour movie rushing to the end so it can alchemize our enjoyment of the games into gold and squeeze it from our pores. Other untranslatable elements include: game mechanics such as “plasmids” which tie directly into the world and its themes, the numerous self indulgent plot vacations such as the Fort Frolic level that have nothing to do with the “plot” and are simply self indulgent fun, and of course, the silent protagonists. Jack Wynand, the character you play in the first game, lacks either a personality or a voice, which is for the best as it allows us to experience Rapture personally rather than through the screen of another identity. This also makes the central twists of the plot more effective and the choices we make as Jack thought provoking and thematically impactful, choices whose existence would be erased by adaptation via

the distillation of an interactive experience into a static slump. I suppose a writer could do the writerly thing and give Jack a personality, streamline the world and twist together a narrative held together by pipe cleaners and gum. But Bioshock isn’t good because it’s simple. It’s a Gordian Knot of a world composed of side stories and atmosphere which a movie would have to cleave in half in order to make it coherent for audiences. But cutting anything from the source material would be akin to removing screws from an engine to make it fit in a smaller car. Everything contributes to the whole. Because of this necessity of removal, the best Bioshock movie that could possibly exist would still not be good enough to justify its own existence. All this enterprise can do is propel the Bioshock series into the public consciousness. It was bad enough when Ben Shapiro’s sister thought the series that is explicitly about the value of empathy was actually a love letter to Ayn Rand. My skull feels smaller at the thought of talking heads, nimrods and nose-pickers alike all weighing in with their own gleefully bad takes. The adulation of Bioshock Infinite and the underappreciation of Bioshock 2 was bad enough. Of course I can’t stop the blood-rusted wheels of media conglomerates from grinding my favorite series into a cheap marketable biscuit. I can only watch and despair. And rant to you, I suppose. I do feel a little better now. Though not by much. Actually, not at all. Dammit.


The Brandeis Hoot

March 25, 2022

‘Hogwarts Legacy:’ please don’t mess this up By Josh Lannon staff

In September of 2020, a new video game based on the Harry Potter series “Hogwarts Legacy” was announced and released a teaser trailer. For two years, news about the game has been relatively quiet. That is, until March 17, when the gameplay trailer was released. For those who do not know, a teaser trailer for a video game is usually a cinematic, or a short video that showcases the world of the game, but doesn’t necessarily show actual gameplay. Other times, a gameplay trailer does show actual gameplay in its current form. Usually the game is still in development at this stage, which means that many of the features showcased may not make it to the final cut of the game. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing, because the game has time to edit its imperfections, but also has the chance to lose some really cool elements as well. “Hogwarts Legacy” is set well before the time of Harry Potter, and as such, the player will be attending the wizarding school in the 1800s. While the player will still go through iconic mo-

ments from the book and movies franchise like being sorted into a house, the major difference is that the player will be enrolling as a fifth year student. Usually, Hogwarts students start out as first year students, when they are 11 years old. In this case, the player will be 15 years old. This is probably a good choice because it allows the game to be geared more towards themes that appeal to teens and young adults rather than young kids. For example, in the books and movies, Harry Potter’s fifth year takes place in “Order of the Phoenix,” which is noticeably darker in contrast to the first four books. The trailer teases these darker elements by showing the magical beasts known as Thestrals, which can only be seen by people who have seen death, now implying that the player has seen death. The trailer also suggests that the player can learn darker magic and shows an avatar casting the killing curse. This is clear evidence that there will be a morality system to the game, and that it could have a darker narrative. Since the game is set in the 1800s, we won’t get to see many of the iconic characters from the franchise. However, the trailer specifically states that some

familiar faces will appear. For example, the gameplay trailer shows a few of the characters like Nearly Headless Nick and what could be Peeves the Poltergeist, two of the ghosts that haunt Hogwarts. Peeves is especially interesting, as he does not appear in the movies, which suggests that this version of Hogwarts is based more on the books than the films. One of the coolest aspects of the gameplay trailer was that the player could explore iconic locations like the Room of Requirement and the nearby town of Hogsmeade, but it also showed areas less explored in the films and books. For example, all four house common rooms were shown in the trailer, rather than just the Gryffindor common room we saw in the books and movies. Gameplay wise, the main narrative will revolve around a Goblin rebellion. As such, the trailer featured a lot of combat in which the player used a variety of spells to defeat goblins and dark wizards. However, when I think of the Harry Potter franchise, combat is not really what comes to mind. Instead, my idea of a Hogwarts game involves exploration, mysteries, puzzles and social interaction rather than a first person shooter.

Thankfully, the trailer also showcased different mechanics like potion brewing, taming magical beasts, learning new spells and broomstick riding, although a Quidditch element was not confirmed. I can’t really imagine a Harry Potter game without that. Of particular note is beast class, where you learn how to keep magical creatures and later can create a magical home for all your critters in the Room of Requirement. Another aspect of gameplay is relationships with other students. The trailer revealed three such characters: Natsai Onai, Poppy Sweeting and Sebastian Sallow. Each character has a different personality and after learning more about their stories, they can join the player on their adventures. Having interesting and compelling supporting characters will be an essential part of what makes or breaks this game. Without these interesting characters, it just won’t feel like a Hogwarts game. Based on the trailer, the world of Hogwarts looks beautiful. There seems to be changing seasons and amazing lighting effects that really bring the whimsical nature of Hogwarts to life. However, while the graphics look amazing, it’s too early to say if these are the

final graphics, or if the game will run well on certain systems with such amazing graphics. There is one element of the graphics that I would like to see changed and that is the player character’s appearance which is trapped in the uncanny valley. When a video game characters’ appearance is in the “uncanny valley,” that means it is meant to look as realistic as possible but comes off as creepy or robotic. While the environment looks magical and breathtaking, the characters within it could use some work in avoiding that creepy look. The gameplay trailer for “Hogwarts Legacy” shows that this game has the potential to be the Harry Potter game fans have been wanting for years. If the game winds up being more combat focused and less about the magical setting or the characters remain wooden and creepy then it may not live up to expectations set up by the trailer. However, from what the trailer highlights, we may well be in for a game that lets us live our own Harry Potter story. Here’s to hoping that the development team at Avalanche Software gets it right. Good luck to them, and please don’t mess this up.

‘Turning Red’ is for 13-year-old girls and then some By Caroline O editor

I remember what it was like being a 13 year-old-girl. I fawned over celebrities (Chris Pine specifically from “Star Trek,” you will always be my first love), wearing the brightest clothing (I swear Disney channel made those hideous neon leggings look cute) and all around being the coolest teenager-which-is-basically-an-adult ever. But of course, as most of us know, 13 is also the age that most girls especially cringe at when flipping back to their memories, and if you’ve cringed at any of the things that I’ve mentioned, then you can see why! For some bizarre reason, there’s nothing cringier or weirder than a 13 year old girl exploring 13 year old girl interests which, yes, includes getting moon-eyed over unattainable stars and wearing clashy clothing. Thirteen is simply not the age where girls are celebrated. But “Turning Red,” the latest Disney-Pixar movie, challenges all of that, and I

am incredibly happy that it did. For those who haven’t either watched or caught up on all the Twitter discourse about this film, “Turning Red’’ follows Mei Lee (Rosalie Chiang), a 13-year-old girl whose already chaotic pubescent life is overturned when she turns into a giant red panda. According to Mei’s mother Ming (Sandra Oh), who has gone through a similar process, this giant red panda-ification is hereditary, a gift that was blessed by an ancestor. Now, Mei needs to wait for an entire month before she can get rid of this red panda-ification forever. In the meantime, Mei just needs to keep her emotions under control—so long as she keeps them under control, she can remain human. If she gets too excited, however, poof! She’s back to Red Panda Mode. Now, don’t let this comedic premise fool you. Like any Pixar and Disney collaborative film, “Turning Red” delivered such a poignant message about growing pain and more specifically, the growing pains that are specific to Asian immigrant families. Like many Asian immigrant parents,

Mei’s mother is incredibly dedicated to her daughter’s betterment—but what I loved about this film is that instead of going down the typical “Tiger parent” representation of Asian families, “Turning Red” shows the nuances that come with Asian parenting. We see this most in how Ming handles the red panda situation. The movie reveals early on that this red panda transformation is a gift passed onto the women of the family. As someone who’s struggled with this transformation herself, Ming sees Mei’s own red panda situation as something that must be fixed. Like any parent, Ming wants to keep her daughter from going through a potentially painful process, but she goes about this with a rigidity and stubbornness that speaks so well to what it’s like to grow up with an Asian parent. Because you see, it’s not just that Ming wants to protect Mei from this red panda situation—she also wants to keep Mei from all the ditzy things that comes with being an immature 13-year-old. Ming looks down on the boy band that Mei privately loves; Ming looks

down on Mei’s much more relaxed friends Miriam (Ava Morse), Priya (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) and Abby (Hyein Park). As such, Mei’s struggle between wanting her mother’s approval and also wanting to be a typical 13-year-old girl drives the whole movie, the red panda gift being an excellent metaphor for puberty and, ultimately, finding more of one’s own self in this growing period. It’s therefore impossible to not smile a little at Mei learning to love and control her red panda self, whether it be leaping over buildings in her red panda form or bouncing between her red panda and human forms when dancing with friends. In the process, Mei learns to have the fun that every 13-yearold girl wants and deserves, and in the peak moment of the movie, Mei finally admits to her mother that she was never going to be the perfect daughter that her mother wants: “I’m sorry I’ll never be good enough for you!” she screams, which are hauntingly echoed by a past Ming crying about how “I’m never going to be good enough for [my mom]—or anyone.” And thus, underlying all of those

themes about the messiness of being 13 with a mother who doesn’t quite understand why her perfect daughter’s changing, is the theme of how literally everyone has a messy side to them—a messy side that shatters the illusion of perfection that tortures so many people. So as Mei takes her mother’s hand, and as Ming finally apologizes to her daughter for ever making her feel like she needed to be perfect, “Turning Red” prods both characters into a direction of growing, whether as a 13-yearold or as a fully grown adult. For that reason alone, “Turning Red” deserves all the recognition for making a film that’s so poignant in the complications that come with youth and families. This film treats all of these topics in such a complex, nuanced way that can have viewers laughing in one second, crying in the next. It’s honest and perhaps one of the best representations of girlhood and all of its highs, lows, epicness and, yes, even the cringiness. It’s perfect.


The Brandeis Hoot

March 25, 2022

Yes, ‘Riverdale’ season six is actually the weirdest By Emma Lichtenstein editor

I thought I’d seen it all from “Riverdale,” and still they manage to surprise me. Foolishly I believed that we were past the insanity of mothman and an organ harvesting cult, and that, miraculously, the writers would start writing coherent plots. Of course, I was wrong. This is “Riverdale,” after all. And, believe it or not, season six seems to be the weirdest yet. “Riverdale’s” fast pace is legendary, but this season opener takes the cake. We start on a demolished house, the closing shot of season five—and also the end of the “Rivervale” miniseries nightmare that we endured last fall. A bomb has gone off, destroying Archie’s (KJ Apa) entire house. The three occupants—Archie, Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) are all alive, suspiciously undamaged from this threat. They have superpowers now! That’s how they survived! There’s really no way to easily transition into that one. This show refuses

to make sense, but, at this point, it really doesn’t have to. Archie is now invulnerable and incredibly strong. Obviously, that’s what Archie really needed: more strength. Aggressively stuffed into the “wholesome boy next door” archetype over and over, Archie remains the most basic character ever created, an embarrassingly white bread man with the personality of a cardboard box and a never ending slew of “good” qualities. Meanwhile, Betty, his now girlfriend, has the power to sense threats. Whenever someone is about to turn violent, Betty can see them glow red, giving her the opportunity to stop them from hurting others. Yep, it’s knock-off Hulk and the girl who can fix him. Meanwhile, Jughead goes deaf. As Mr. and Mrs. Perfect are getting literal superhuman abilities, Jughead loses his sense of hearing. Honestly, I don’t know what to say. I have no idea where they’re going to take this, but I have to assume it’s going to be something ableist. Likely, they’re going to try to tackle something important—like how deaf people are neglected in a hearing society that

doesn’t sign—but will instead do the “Glee” type of representation, where really, everyone just wishes they hadn’t even tried. Luckily he has his girlfriend, Tabitha (Erinn Westbrook) to help him through this. She has no plot lines outside of Jughead, so she’ll have plenty of time to encourage him as he watches his best friends benefit from the bomb that destroyed his sense of hearing. How did this bomb get inside Archie’s house anyway? Probably Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos), Veronica’s (Camila Mendes) father and go-to villain of this show. Whenever anything bad happens in Riverdale, Hiram is the number one suspect—and usually the one who actually committed the crime. He’s been working with the Ghoulies, the evil gang of Riverdale, not to be confused with the Serpents, the good gang that almost every single main character is part of. But, he might not be doing anything else evil since Veronica killed him. Or, more specifically, she hired a hitman. Against her own father. Personally, I think some therapy would do Veronica—and honestly

whoever’s in charge of her plotlines—some good. These daddy issues are really out of hand. But not everyone believes that Hiram was behind the murder attempt. This is “Riverdale,” nothing can be too easy. Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) believes she is the cause of this, thanks to a curse she put on Archie, Betty and Jughead last season. I guess the writers figured that if they could get away with superpowers, why not introduce the occult? In an actual surprising twist that I enjoyed, Cheryl’s grandmother Nana Rose (Barbara Wallace) backstabbed her granddaughter and allowed Cheryl’s body to be possessed by a dead, witchy ancestor named Abigail. This Abigail plotline is not promising at all, but always nice to see the elderly woman go rogue. Perhaps “Rivervale” was a warning. The five episode miniseries was a lead-up to the show’s 100th episode, and took place in Riverdale’s counterpart, Rivervale. This new town was exactly like the original, except tragically cursed. A new character died every episode from some new horror, from La Llorona to the

Devil himself. Maybe instead of being a chance for the writers to get all the insanity out of their system, it was foreshadowing the magical elements that were soon to come. However, this isn’t the first time “Riverdale” has blurred fantasy and reality. Back in early seasons, the Gargoyle King was terrorizing the town, only to be ended in a Scooby-Doo style reveal. Mothman was prominent for last season, until that too turned out to be a side effect of legends passed down too long. I don’t want to get too excited about the possibility of real magic on this show, but it looks like it might actually happen this time. I should just give up on this show, but I’ve invested too much time to stop now. Besides, no one has even sung yet this season! I can’t miss that. Are there any musicals about witches or superheroes? Unfortunately, I’ll be tuned in to the CW every week, eager for whatever garbage the “Riverdale” crew serves me up.

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