The Brandeis Hoot, April 8, 2022

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Volume 20 Issue 9

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”

April 8, 2022

Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.

IBS puts up Ukrainian Flag in support of refugees

Petition spreads addressing CA meal compensation

By Victoria Morrongiello

By Victoria Morrongiello



Above the entrance to the Sachar building for the university’s International Business School (IBS) are a set of 14 flags. IBS administrators recently made the choice to switch out a Russian flag for a Ukrainian flag, according to an interview with Kathyrn Graddy, Dean of IBS. The flags chosen to hang outside the IBS building are meant to be representative of the backgrounds of the graduate students of IBS. In addition to representing the student body, Graddy told The Brandeis Hoot that the flags

A petition began circulating around social media on April 6 relating to the compensation of Community Advisors (CA), the petition addresses the current “inadequate” compensation of community advisors and proposes demands to remedy the situation. A main point of the petition is having the university compensate CAs by covering the cost of their meal plan, this comes as the university begins negotiations for a new dining contract beginning on July 1. “For many years, Community

See FLAG, page 4

See CA, page 2


TEDxBrandeis explores ‘New Paths to Discovery’ By Victoria Morrongiello editor

The university held its fifth annual TEDxBrandeisU event—a series of talks organized by students trying to empower voices in the community—on Saturday, April 2. The theme of the five

speakers’ talk was New Paths to Discovery, Scarlett Ren ’24— TEDx Coordinator and Speaker Coach—explained to The Brandeis Hoot in an interview. “I’m grateful for the people,” Ren told The Hoot, “the speakers themselves are very talented individuals which is why I keep doing this… I get to see how other

people see the world… it’s about the bigger world outside of us.” There were five speakers at the event each from the Brandeis community—including undergraduate students, graduate students and alumni, Ren told The Hoot. The speakers for this year’s event included: Herlyne Das ’18, Jermey Huy (GRAD),

Xu Simon (GRAD), Jeffery Arnold and Thabang Matona ’24. Ren explained that each of the speakers came from different backgrounds and career paths, so the coordinators of the event had to come up with a theme that could, “bring together not just the ideas of what they were talking about—which is the main empha-

sis of [TEDx], because [TEDx] is about ideas that are worth spreading. But also at the same time we wanted to leave the audience with something to look forward to.” The theme New Paths to Discovery, Ren explained was intended to encourage community memSee TEDx, page 2

GSC hosts ‘Inviting In’ ball By Mia Plante editor

On Saturday April 2, students from various groups on campus hosted the second ever queer drag ball at Brandeis University entitled “Inviting In: A Ball Celebrating Pride.” The ball was a follow up to a similar event, “Drag Me to the Stein,” which occurred in October. The event was hosted in the lobby of the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) in partnership with student-run organizations the Queer and Trans People of Color Coalition (QTPOCC), Queer Jews at Brandeis (QJAB) and Triskelion. Ballroom culture is a notable historical aspect of queer

Inside This Issue:

culture, particularly for Black and Brown queer individuals, explains a Time Magazine article on the topic. The ballroom scene in New York City created an “empowered performance space” for queer people who otherwise were unable to have such freedom of expression. Events such as “Inviting In” and “Drag Me to the Stein” attempt to bring the same feeling of queer empowerment and connection to the queer community at Brandeis. The Brandeis Hoot asked Nicholas Ong ’23, leader of QTPOCC and host of the event, about this key aspect. “I think it’s crucial that events that center queerness See BALL, page 3


we had

News: commencement speaskers named Page 2 panera too Ops: mr beast burger review Page 12 and Sasha were not Features: relay for life fundraises Page 10 John impressed Sports: on our soccer stars Page 7 Editorial: univ. needs communication Page 8 OPS: PAGE 12

Bridgerton is back *loud exhale*




2 The Brandeis Hoot

April 8, 2022

‘New Paths to Discovery’ HY explored at TEDxBrandeis TEDx, from page 1

bers listening to the talks, “to find their path, their discovery, their new selves because there is always that one certain point when you have this ‘ah-ha’ moment in life.” Das is an alumna of the university who went on to receive her masters from Tufts University in Biomedical Sciences. In her career she has become the owner of “DasMedicine” and is co-founder of “Those Determined to Help”, according to a post on the TEDxBrandeisU Facebook page. Huy is a current masters student in computer science, though he has a background as a composer, conductor, music instructor and data curator, according to a post on the TEDxBrandeisU Facebook page. Huy is combining his computer science skills and musical talent to better understand “artistic phenomena” according to the page. Simon earned her post-doc from Brandeis, according to a

post on the TEDxBrandeisU Facebook page. Xu currently serves as a Chief Technology Officer at Enzo Technologies, according to the post, and she specializes in finding a common ground between executive and technological priorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) industries. Xu worked in the U.S. Department of State’s diplomatic anti-chemical weapons program office where she worked in international crisis management during the Syrian chemical weapons crisis in 2013, according to the post. Arnold is a current student at the Heller School for Public Policy, prior to attending the heller school he served in the U.S. Army, according to the post. Arnold served in the Army in September 2015, where he was deployed to Syria as a Human intelligence Collector, according to the post. In his role, Arnold attended courses at the Defense Language Institute and after receiving his degree

from the Heller School he will return to the U.S. Army as an officer. Matona is a current undergraduate student studying Business and Health: Science, Society and Policy. He graduated from the African Leadership Academy where he helped organize and develop entrepreneurial leadership in more than 30 countries, according to the post. Matona also has worked in youth development organizations as a program facilitator, according to the post. Ren told The Hoot that she worked closely with Mandy Feuerman—Assistant Coordinator of TEDx—and the rest of their team to plan the event. Planning began before winter break and each member of the committee was responsible for coaching the speakers. Committee members would provide feedback to speakers on their talks and would help create edits to their talks. The event ran for two hours, and each speaker spoke for 15 to 18 minutes, according to Ren. Ren said

that each member of their committee is dedicated towards the cause which allows them to work well together to create the event. Ren also told The Hoot of her involvement with TEDx prior to coming to Brandeis. Ren had been involved with the organization as a translator, speaker coach and a team lead for two years at TEDXUSeattle. With this experience, she is now a co-organizer of the Brandeis event. “This event provides a platform for speakers in the Brandeis community to share their ideas, passions, and life-changing moments. By stimulating intellectual and thought-provoking discussion, we hope to support leaders, thinkers, and innovators that will change the world,” according to their website’s description of the event. The event was sponsored by the Brandeis Education for Students by Students (ESS) group—a club on campus that provides a platform for students created by students to devel-

op and share their ideas, according to their presence page. ESS is responsible for two main events, one being the TEDxBrandeis collaboration and the other being Splash!, according to their presence page. Ren told The Hoot that Splash!—an event where Brandeis students teach classes to local middle and high school students—will be happening on Saturday, April 9. ESS officially partnered with the TEDx organization back in 2017, prior to this collaboration the event was referred to as DEIStalks, according to their presence page. This TEDxBrandeisU event was the fifth annual talk, and the first one back in person since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Ren told The Hoot. The university held a TEDxBrandeisU talk last year, but it was held virtually via zoom, Ren explained. Layout editor Anya Lance Chacko is a member of ESS and did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.

Petition spreads addresses CA meal compensation CA, from page 1

Advisors have advocated for full room and board compensation, on par with similar institutions, including full meal plan compensation and a stipend. These demands have not been met, despite consistent acknowledgment from administration,” reads the petition. There are four main demands highlighted in the petition: full compensation for meal plans, guaranteed adequate food over breaks, compensation to CAs for having risked their health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with an additional stipend and a meeting between CA Representatives and senior administrators to discuss problems with the current CA position requirements. One of the main goals of the petition is to address CA compensation through the payment of their meal plan; this has come forward as the university begins renegotiations for its new dining contract. The university’s CAs are required to purchase a meal

plan, however, they do not receive compensation for this. The petition notes that while CAs are provided with free housing, they do not receive full compensation for their room and board which includes the cost of the meal plan. Other higher education institutions do compensate their equivalent of CAs with meal plan coverage. Saint John’s University provides coverage for their Resident Assistants’ housing as well as coverage for their meal plan if they choose to be on a 14 meal plan, according to their website. The petition also notes other schools in the Greater Boston Area and Nation which provide their CA equivalents with full room and board compensation including Clark University and the University of Massachusetts Boston. “Despite CAs being tasked with upholding critical functions of the university, such as responding to crises at all hours, enforcing COVID-19 protocols, and building community, CAs have had no forewarning of policy changes, inadequate provision of PPE, and an overall lack of institutional sup-

port,” according to the petition. The petition also acknowledges that over the past two years, as the university has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an “undue burden placed on CA workload with no additional compensation.” According to the petition, the university should fully compensate its CAs by covering the cost of meal plans to align with the founding principles in social justice values. The coverage would justly compensate CAs for the additional roles they have taken on, according to the petition. “We urge upper administration to abide by Brandeis’ diversity principles, and “safeguard the safety, dignity, and well-being of all its members” through the proper compensation of meal plans for CAs,” reads the petition. In the petition it also cites the backgrounds of the CA community on campus, according to the petition, CAs are largely represented by “BIPOC and First-Generation Low-Income Students.” By not receiving full compensation the petition claims it shows the university’s fail-

ure “to meet the commitments made by the university to support its marginalized students.” Another demand of the petition seeks for adequate food to be provided over breaks. According to the petition, CAs are required to work at least one shift over break. Over breaks, CAs work, “as emergency personnel essential for the maintenance of our residence halls desperately rely on campus resources during these periods,” according to the petition. “Advocating for fair compensation for CAs is not a new conversation; during the Spring 2021, CAs sent a letter to administration detailing vital demands which remain unmet. Justifications as to why these changes could not occur usually involved a lack of such clause in the current contract,” reads the petition. In the petition, the writers address that they expect a response from administrators and they look forward to collaborations with administrators regarding the demands made. At the time of publication, 34 CA’s both current and incoming

signed in solidarity with the petition’s demands. The petition also received the signatures of 75 current undergraduate students, as well as four faculty, staff and alumni. The petition was addressed to multiple upper administrators including: Ron Liebowitz—President, Carol A. Fierke—Provost, Stewart Uretsky—Executive Vice President, Finance and Administration, Raymond Ou—Vice President, Shelby Harris—Assistant Vice President, Lisa Kranc—Chair of the Board of Trustees, Monique Pillow Gnanaratnam—Dean of Students and Tim Touchette— Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. The Brandeis Hoot reached out to Julie Jette for comment from the university on the petition but did not receive an immediate response by the time of publication.

Speakers for commencement for Classes of 2022, 2021 and 2020 announced By Emma Lichtenstein editor

President Ron Liebowitz announced this year’s commencement speakers in an email to the Brandeis community on April 1. The email specified speakers for the Class of 2022 ceremony, as well the “[Re]Commencement” for the Classes of 2021 and 2020. “Deval Patrick, H’17, the 71st governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, will offer the Class of 2022 an address that promises to be both inspiring and uplifting,” wrote Liebowitz. Patrick served as governor from 2007 to 2015, is currently the co-director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard

Kennedy School, according to his bio. Patrick earned an honorary degree from Brandeis in 2017. At the 2022 ceremony, David Harris P’05 and Christine Mann Darden will be recognized with honorary degrees, according to the email. Harris is the current leader of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), says his bio on Brandeis’ website. Harris strives to “assist Jews in danger worldwide, support Israel’s quest for peace and security, combat antisemitism, and defend democratic values against the radical right and the totalitarian left.” Darden is an aerospace engineer. Her bio on Brandeis’ website explains that she became a technical leader for NASA in the 1980s, where she continued get-

ting promoted, until she retired in 2007 as director of strategic communications and education. “I am also delighted to share that Marta Kauffman ’78, H’20, the visionary creator behind the iconic series ‘Friends’ will speak at [Re]Commencement,” read the email. “Kauffman will be recognized along with fellow 2020 honorary degree recipients, Jewish cultural scholar Ruth Calderon, artist Howardena Pindell, and philanthropist and humanitarian bridge-builder Alan Hassenfeld as part of our long-awaited celebration of the Classes of 2020 and 2021.” Kauffman is a producer of both television and live theater. According to her Brandeis bio, she produced the Netflix show

“Grace and Frankie,” as well as documentaries about Jewish subjects. Calderon is working to create a “‘Jewish renewal’ by encouraging and teaching Jews … to turn to Jewish texts like the Talmud and Torah, interpret them with their own understanding, and see them as rich sources of guidance on modern moral and social issues,” as explained in her bio. Pindell was the first African American coordinator of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, according to her bio on the Brandeis website. She has since opened her own gallery as well as created her own art, including some that have been featured in Brandeis’ Rose Art Museum. Hassenfeld, his bio reads, was CEO of Hasbro for

35 years before his retirement in 2005. He is also co-chair of the board of advisors of Brandeis Iternational Business School. “Our Commencement exercises recognize the hard work, persistence, and dedication of our students, their families, and our faculty and staff,” said Liebowitz in a BrandeisNOW article. “The three classes we will honor on May 22 have earned their moment to celebrate, particularly in light of challenges they have faced. All three of these classes had their college or graduate school experiences remarkably altered by COVID-19. We at Brandeis are so pleased to restore our in-person celebration for these students and alumni.”

April 8, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

Student Union spring 2022 election results By Roshni Ray editor

The student union announced to community members the winners of the 2022 Spring election. Spring elections opened on April 4 at midnight and remained open for the entire day until 11:59 p.m., according to Student Union Secretary Michael Pollard’s ’22 email. Community members were voting to fill the positions of Student Union President and Vice President, Secretary, Head Treasurer, Junior representative to the Board of Trustees, two representatives to the Brandeis Sustainability Fund Board, Allocations Board Member for a two-semester seat and Community Emergency and Enhancement Fund (CEEF) Representative. Winning the president and vice president position for the 20222023 academic year is Peyton Gillespie ’24 and Lia Bergen ’24. The pair won 58.56 percent of the vote with 560 students voting for them. Gillespie and Bergen ran against Ariel Schultz ’24 and Elisha Gordan ’24, who received 22.07 percent of the vote with 196 students voting for the pair. According to Gillespie’s candi-

date bio, the pair plan to tackle the following initiatives while holding their positions: crease access to free menstrual products using Student Union funds, improve campus transport for community members and integrate the university’s student union into the Boston intercollegiate Government to create a network to collaborate with other student governments in the greater Boston area. Ashna Kelkar ’24 won the Secretary position against Emma Fiesinger ’23 and Gonzalo Palafox ’24. Kelkar received 34.02 percent of the vote with 297 students voting in support. Fiesinger received 25.20 percent of the vote with 220 votes in favor and Palafox received 14.43 percent of the vote. Kelkar, in her candidate bio, said that as secretary she would work to increase transparency between the Student union and community members as well as administration. In this role, she also hopes to run successful and smooth elections, she wrote in her bio. There was one seat open for Head Treasurer which was won by Maggie Chang ’23. Chang ran against Emily Adelson ’23 for the position, Chang won 43.09 percent of the vote with 377 votes. Adelson received 24.81 percent of

the vote with 217 votes in favor. Multiple write-in options were provided for the Head Treasurer position including one vote for Chris Rock— notably in the media right now after getting punched by Will Smith at the Oscars. Chang wrote in her candidate bio that if elected to this position she would become more familiar with the new treasury platform in order to provide community members with “smooth operations and experience” working with treasury. Winning the one seat for Junior representative to the Board of Trustees is Shelley Polanco ’24. Polanco received more than the majority of the vote with 55.43 voting in favor of her. Polanco received 347 votes in favor of her. She ran against Meshulam Ungar who received 36.74 percent of the vote with 230 votes. There was a write-in option for Robert Downey Jr. as Junior representative to the Board of Trustees. Polanco wrote in her candidate bio that if elected to the position she would focus on creating a wholesome student experience, advocate for better distribution of resources to cultural spaces on campus and engage the student body into the Brandeis experience.

There were two seats open for the Brandeis Sustainability Fund Board, and three students ran for the position: Aman Qutab ’24, Ana Loza Pérez ’25 and Max Lerner ’23. Qutab and Pérez won the two seats with 23.62 percent and 35.04 percent of the vote respectively. Lerner received 20.87 percent of the vote. One initiative Qutab addressed in her candidate bio that she would like to make possible in this position is a clothes drive event at the university. She would like community members to donate lightly used or unused clothing to be donated to charity rather than having clothes be thrown away. Pérez wrote in her bio that in this position she would like to advocate for sustainability projects on campus and would be committed to providing support to access the necessary resources and funds for sustainability initiatives driven by the community. There were two seats open for the Allocations Board position with four students running for the seats: Jacqueline Floro ’25, Lexi Lazar ’24, Peter Meng ’23 and Owen Chan ’25. Floro and Lazar won the seats with 24.76 percent and 26.58 percent of the vote respectively. Meng received 18.06

percent of the vote and Chan received 10.33 percent of the vote. In her candidate bio, Floro wrote that in this position she would work with students and staff to better meet their needs for the clubs they are advocating for. Lazar wrote that in this position she would want to make marathon more equitable for cultural groups on campus, according to her bio. For the CEEF Representative Carolina Jacobs ’25 ran unopposed. Jacobs received 69.78 percent of the vote with 635 votes in favor. Jacobs wrote that in this position she would like to help in the process of approving and executing student projects. “I want to thank all of the candidates for running and the rest of the student body for voting. For those of you still interested in joining the Student Union, there will be more positions available later in the semester,” Pollard wrote to community members. Results of the elections were released to students on April 5, in an email sent by Pollard to community members. According to the vote breakdown, 1270 individuals voted in the election.

‘Inviting In:’ a ball celebrating diverse queer identities on campus BALL, from page 1

that events that center queerness at the intersection of cultural identity are at the forefront of our campus’ queer community. This particular event focused on ball culture, an integral union of Black and Brown queer bodies to come together and celebrate life and joy,” Ong emphasized. “When our campus has spaces and events centering the lives of our Black and Brown siblings, the overall energy is welcoming and empowering for the otherwise marginalized group of individuals in the Queer community.” The Hoot also spoke with Esther Daube-Valois ’23, President of QJAB, about the event. “Queer life on campus and the queer clubs

can sometimes get a little segregated—not everyone has the time to be in all of them—and it was amazing to celebrate all together,” Daube-Valois told the Hoot. The event itself brought together various queer groups in one evening, that may otherwise not have been able to hold such an event. “Eli [Sobel] from the GSC reached out to me as they were interested in creating a combination between a drag ball and a gay prom. QJAB was really excited to be on board as we don’t have the time or resources to plan something that big,” Daube-Valois explained. The event was focused on being “an uplifting party that was based on inclusion and diversity” in order to increase student morale during a long stretch in the semester. The Brandeis GSC wrote about

the event in an Instagram post on Saturday “reject cis-het normativity and express yourself!” “Inviting In” utilized the ball format and gave students the opportunity to walk in categories—themed runways and performances. The categories available for students to walk at “Inviting In” were Spring Fling, Patterns ‘N Prints and Bearded and Beautiful. At the event, multiple students took this opportunity to express their unique styles as well as to express their queer identities in a safe environment. Ong, the host of the event, performed alongside approximately 13 participating students and guest drag queen Nerukessa. The Hoot reached out to Nerukessa, a queer performer and artist from Rhode Island, to discuss

their experience at “Inviting In.” “I truly enjoyed my time at the Brandeis University GSC Ball this past weekend. The exceptional turn out of love and appreciation for one another is unmatched, and the energy was really good!” Nerukessa explained to the Hoot via Instagram DMs. Seeing “[participants] just enjoying their time was more than enough to make this a worthwhile experience,” they wrote. Ong explained to the Hoot the importance of Nerukessa’s attendance as the guest star. “A Black local drag artist felt like the most important aspect to center the event around, because we’re here to celebrate our queerness at the intersection of race,” Ong noted. “We chose to do the last category [Bearded and Beautiful] to

honor Nerukessa, the performer we invited, because of her iconic mustache,” Ong told the Hoot. On the queer community on campus, Daube-Valois explained to the Hoot, “I really love being the president of QJAB and being part of such a wonderful group of people … I enjoy every event and love creating queer communities on campus.” Ong told the Hoot similarly about forming QTPOCC and working on events such as “Inviting In”, “I wanted to bring the fun and show Brandeis how Queer and Trans People of Color celebrate life.” To stay updated on events held by all co-organizers of “Inviting In”, follow their Instagrams: @brandeis_gsc, @ queerjewsatbrandeis, @triskelion_deis and @qtpocc_brandeis.

David Weil rejected as U.S. Department of Labor’s top wage-hour regulator By Victoira Morrongiello editor

The Senate voted on naming David Weil (HELLER)—Dean and professor for the Heller School for Social Policy and Management— as Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division administrator on March 30. Weil had been nominated by Biden but was blocked from the position in a Senate vote. The motion was blocked by a 47-53 vote, with 47 in favor and 53 opposed. The vote breakdown had all Senate Republicans voting against Weil in addition to three democrats, according to a NYpost article. The three democratic senators to oppose the nomination were Joe Manchin of West Vir-

ginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Mark Kelly of Arizona, according to the article. Manchin had previously addressed concerns over Weil’s nomination last year when he was first nominated by Biden, according to a Bloomberg Law article. Weil’s nomination process stretched over the course of many months after a tie within the Senate labor committee which prevented the process from moving forward for final consideration, according to a Bloomberg Law article. In August 2021, the Senate Labor panel was split 11-11, which halted the confirmation process, preventing it from moving forward, according to another article. With the draw, an extra procedural vote was needed in order for Weil to be considered eligible for

consideration, according to the article. Biden wound up renominating Weil in order to move the process along in January 2022, according to the article. Weil received criticism from business groups and Republicans, according to the article, due to Weil’s opinions on gig-economy companies’ labor practices. Weil has publicly scrutinized gig-economy companies’ labor practices, which he received backlash for. Weil was also criticized by the International Franchise Association (IFA)—an organization for franchisors, franchisees and franchise suppliers—who released a statement on March 29, 2022 in opposition to his nomination, according to an IFA statement. “IFA strongly urges all senators to oppose the nomination of David Weil to the Wage and Hour Divi-

sion of the Department of Labor,” said Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs Michael Layman. “Dr. Weil’s track record previously serving in this role and his ideological agenda leaves no doubt that his policies would harm the hundreds of thousands of local franchise businesses around the country and the 8.2 million workers they employ. At a time when we are counting on small businesses to rebuild our economy, we ask all senators to reject this flawed nomination and protect local businesses and their workers,” reads the IFA’s statement. When Weil had first been nominated for the position, university President Ron Liebowitz said in an email to community members that, “[Weil] has been an exem-

plary leader here at Brandeis, and the U.S. government would be fortunate to once again benefit from his leadership.” According to the Bloomberg Law article, Tom Perez—a Labor Secretary under the Obama administration— said in an interview that Weil, “wanted to hear from ‘everyone’ when developing rulemakings or contemplating new initiatives.” Weil had been selected by Biden in June 2021 for the position as the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division administrator, according to a previous Brandeis Hoot article. Weil had previously held this role under the Obama Administration from 2014 to 2017.

4 The Brandeis Hoot

FLAG, from page 1

Above the entrance to the Sachar building for the university’s International Business School (IBS) are a set of 14 flags. IBS administrators recently made the choice to switch out a Russian flag for a Ukrainian flag, according to an interview with Kathyrn Graddy, Dean of IBS. The flags chosen to hang outside the IBS building are meant to be representative of the backgrounds of the graduate students of IBS. In addition to representing the student body, Graddy told The Brandeis Hoot that the flags are meant to be representative of all parts of the world. Current flags include India, Taiwan, Israel and China, according to Graddy. The flags were switched out after Russia began the invasion into Ukraine on Feb. 25, Graddy told The Hoot. The university, historically, is known for being a home for refugees during humanitarian crises, according to Graddy. She hoped that by putting up the Ukrainian flag it would “welcome people fleeing conflict,” not just from Ukraine but other countries currently in conflict as well.

April 8, 2022

Since there is a “finite number of flags” that can be put up, the Ukrainian flag was put up in place of the Russian flag, Graddy explained. Graddy explained to The Hoot that IBS has been in contact with Ukrainian alumni trying to support those affected by the invasion. IBS is, “very willing to support [Ukrainians] in what they need,” Graddy told The Hoot and the administration has been working on projects to both support Ukrainian students and alumni. One project IBS has been working on is called the Peace Scholarship. On April 6, the school officially raised $500k from donors, the money will be used to fund five full scholarships for Ukrainian students and other students fleeing conflict, Graddy explained in the interview. The goal for the Peace Scholarship is to hopefully raise $1M for 10 full scholarships, through the help of more donations. Graddy told The Hoot that university President Ron Liebowitz, has been in full support of the scholarship fund. According to the university’s official release statement about the Peace Scholarship, the money was raised from two members of the IBS Board of Advisors—co-

chair Alan Hassenfeld, a 2020 honorary degree recipient from Brandeis, and board member Barbara Clarke, M.A.’91, a graduate of the school—each donating $250,000. The rest of the donation money is through matching funds, according to the statement. The Peace Scholarship, according to the release is intended, “to support students who have been displaced from and forced to leave their country due to violent conflict or persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, or membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.” The first students to receive the grant money will be entering IBS in the fall 2022 semester. The hope for the Peace Scholarship is that it will provide students the opportunity to go off and do well after they graduate. In addition to the Peace Scholarship, students also have access to resources like the Student Access Fund, which was established after the COVID-19 pandemic began back in March 2020. To support alumni, Graddy explained that they have been trying to spread the stories of Ukrainians to show the reality of the situation and how “horrible” it is, Graddy said. In the alumni

newsletter, IBS has shared the stories of Ukrainians and how they are responding to the invasion. One alumni—Oleksandr Pertsovskyi M.A. ’10—is the head of passenger operations at Ukrzaliznytsia, Ukrainian Railway, Graddy told The Hoot. He has been using his position to help transport Uklrainains out of the country; Graddy explained to The Hoot the importance of using one’s position to help civilians in a time of crisis. “Pertsovskyi is using his management and organizational skills to maintain a transit system that has become central to the country’s wartime response,” reads the Alumni Newsletter. In the newsletter, a Business Insider article was linked telling Pertsovskyi’s story. According to the article, Ukraine’s railroad network is extensive and Pertsovskyi has been working to fit as many as six thousand displaced Ukrainians onto a single train. There have also been difficulties transporting civilians out of the country including an unexploded bomb that landed next to the railroad tracks. Pertsovskyi had to make the decision on whether the train should continue forward or not, luckily in this

COVID-19 Dashboard

instance according to the article, they had the opportunity to reroute the train to avoid the bomb. Pertsovskyi explained other difficulties such as the capacity limits when trying to transport people out of the country. The railway instituted a “women and children” first policy, according to the article, this policy left out African and Asian students trying to leave the country. Pertsovskyi also explained in the article how neighboring countries have been helping with refugees, for instance, Poland eased its customs procedures in order to receive more civilians fleeing Ukraine faster. The university’s alumni page also published the stories of alumni currently in Ukraine and their “harrowing experiences.” The stories shared are from Martin Zhunior, MBA ’11 and Marianna Yakubenko, M.A. ’05, and how their lives have been since Ukraine began the invasion. Editor’s Note: Editor-in-Chief Sasha Skarboviychuk is a Ukrainian student at IBS and did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.

In the Senate 4/3 •

The Brandeis Running Club was successfully chartered during the senate meeting. Jenny Zhao ’24 and Danna Jaffe ’24 attended the meeting and shared a presentation on the workings of their club. The club plans to hold group running sessions one to two times a week at a few different locations. In the future, the club hopes to run in areas beyond the local Waltham area so an estimated budget to include the cost of transportation and special events would be around $500 per semester.

The Brandeis Multicultural Hair, Art, and Empowerment club was successfully chartered after Jolecia Saunderson ’24 presented her club to the union. According to their presentation, the purpose of the club is to bring a club to campus that involves explaining the multiple diversities of hair and its importance, drawing and exploring hair art and engaging with empowerment. The club also aims to include BIPOC undergraduates and graduate students. After being put in the waiting room, Joseph Coles ’22 claimed that he “strongly supports” the club and mentioned they have put in a lot of effort into forming and creating plans for their club. Courtney Thrun ’22 agreed saying, “it’s actually clubs like these that actually get things done.”


Total COVID-19 tests administered each week. Last Update April 7, 2022.

No representatives from the Brandeis Impact Club attended the meeting.

Courtney Thrun ’22 also mentioned plans to implement a mental health task force to help combat the sense of “burnout that everyone is feeling right now.” Thrun also mentioned that the State of the Union event will be held on April 29 in the Shapiro Campus Center atrium.

In terms of executive board reports, Lia Bergen ’25 mentioned that the dining committee is working on addressing issues related to the BiteU application and is working on plans for ramadan meals in the dining halls. The Health and Safety Committee is working on initiatives to help the mental health of international students and continuing existing work on the PAD project. The committee is also doing research on the implementation of therapy dogs to get that initiative running as soon as possible. Peyton Gillespie ’25 from the sustainability committee mentioned that they have plans to have a meeting with other clubs for the climate coalition project they are working on. - Vimukthi Mawilmada


Total COVID-19 tests administered each week. Last Update April 7, 2022.


April 8, 2022

By John Fornagiel and Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Soccer has always been in Daria Bakhtiari’s ’22 DNA. From her father being a professional soccer player to starting the sport when she was only two, it seems like everywhere she went, soccer went with her. And with impressive records too: Bakhtiari was selected for the 2021 United Soccer Coaches All-Region II team, as well as the All-University Athletic Association (UAA) team in both 2018 and 2021. Moreover, she was also an All-UAA honorable mention in 2019. “I have been playing soccer since I was two. My dad was a professional player, so he got my entire family to play soccer,” Bakhtiari told The Brandeis Hoot in a Zoom interview. “Ever since I was little, I fell in love with the sport, and with each year I got more and more competitive.” However, Bakhtiari not only wanted to play soccer, but also wanted to go into the medical field as well. “Choosing a college was a really difficult process for me. I knew I wanted to play, but at the same time I also wanted to go on the pre-med track.” This meant that playing D1 would be essentially impossible due to the time commitment required for the sport. “At the end of the day, academics would be my number one priority,” Bakhtiari emphasized. Bakhtiari worries soon ended as she heard about the UAA league. “I started looking at schools that were in the UAAs, and found that Brandeis had a great record in the league as well as a good pre med program.” She does admit that she looked into rivals as well, but Brandeis ultimately won her over. In terms of her career journey, Bakhtiari commented that she was “terrified, and did not know what to expect since I was playing with some of the best players in the country.” An additional concern for her was that “the level of competitiveness was so high [she] was not sure how much time on the field she would actually get.” Ultimately, Bakhtiari was able to “go back to her roots” and played all the way through the season.

During her first year Bakhtiari started all 21 games that she played, scoring two points with one made goal. Despite her impressive performance for a firstyear, Bakhtiari said that although she had a great freshman year, she “did not have as large of an impact as [she] wanted to.” “For my sophomore year, I came in ready to play,” Bakhtiari told The Hoot. Overall, she said she had a great season despite numerous injuries. She started all 17 games she played, earning 11 points with five goals scored. This was the season that the soccer team made the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament, though they did not make it too deep within the tournament. “I finally felt like I was truly a part of the team and making a difference.” Junior year was difficult for Bakhtiari. After undergoing a hip surgery, she felt a lot of pressure on herself to “prove to myself that I did not change because of the injury.” She started 17 out of 18 games she played, earning 15 points with six goals scored. Overall, “we had a great team but a young team, so we did not make it to NCAA as this was largely a rebuilding year,” Bakhtiari elaborated. Her senior year took place after a year break following her junior year. “I was extremely excited coming off of COVID, I haven’t played competitively in a long time.” Bakhtiari elaborated that she recently came back from study abroad over the summer, however because of the coronavirus pandemic, she was unable to play with the team and did not have competitive soccer in her life.“I was nervous going into senior year, I was not sure how well I was doing,” because of the long break, “but I knew I was ready to play again.” Bakhtiari’s season did not go as well as she hoped. She suffered multiple injuries. “I was a fifth year, and my body was mad at me,” Bakhtiari added, though she still played through a lot of injuries.Additionally, the season has a rocky start because of how young the team itself was. A lot of my teammates have “never played at the UAA level,” however, when it came to actually playing in the UAAs, they “ended up beating

our rivals UChicago and Emory.” That was particularly exciting for Bakhtiari, as she had never beaten Emory before so “it was a huge win.” For her final year, she started all 19 games she played, earning 14 points with seven goals scored. Overall, Bakhtiari said that the team had a great season, though she wishes they could have gotten further in the NCAA competition. On the team itself, Bakhtiari explains that she has a big role: “I am the oldest, the only fifth year as well as a two year captain.” She has “more experience, [has] been to more tournaments,” although the team called her “old” they “relied on me to keep them going throughout the whole season” she said. “I was the one keeping everyone on track… the one who said this isn’t a joke, that we have to go far … I brought my experience to the team and had the respect of a lot of my teammates,” Bakhtiari added. However, this all came with pressure on her, as Bakhtiari tried her best to be there for the team; “if I had a bad game I took it personally… I didn’t want to play badly for the team,” explained Bakhtiari. Despite her confidence and impressive performance, when it comes to times right before the game, Bakhtiari pre-game ritual is the lack of one. “I try not to

think about the game… I have never been someone to put on headphones and focus.” On the contrary, she tries to do “anything to keep my mind off the game,” as if she is “not nervous, [she] can play,” Bakhtiari explained. When she is on the field, Bakhtiari says that she zones out, and is focusing entirely on the game; “I don’t remember anything of what I did when I come off the field,” she laughed. “Making friendships that are lasting forever” was Bakhtiari’s favorite part of being on the team, along with winning, of course. “This year having the seniors [Class of 2022] really helped me incorporate myself into the team.” Being able to talk to her teammates every day was a major help with getting through the season. Along with that,“the amount of wins we had, and that we beat Emory—that was massive.” The team also beat rival UChicago, and Bakhtiari scored in that game; “ watching it gives me goosebumps,” she added. Most of all, Bakhtiari, who has now graduated, misses the team atmosphere. “I haven’t seen them in a while, which is sad, because I have been so busy… I miss seeing them everyday, they helped me get through the last season.” Following her graduation in December of 2021, Bakhtiari has been studying for the MCAT,

The Brandeis Hoot 5

which she is taking in May and working as a medical assistant. After that she will “hopefully go to Med School in 2023.” But before that, Bakhtiari has another surgery ahead of her, the downside of a long successful soccer career. “I am currently in the middle of knee surgeries so I haven’t touched a ball since November,” said Bakhtiari. Right now, she is focusing on her life outside of soccer, which is “not an easy thing to do.” However, it was “good to step back and see that I would be okay without it and focus on my life and my future,” Bakhtiari added. When asked what advice she would give herself four years ago, Bakhtiari said she wishes she had asked for help earlier. “I thought I could do everything on my own. I thought that everything was falling into place. I wanted to do so well in soccer so I put academics on the back burner.” However she now sees that she needed to balance those things. “I wish I told myself that it was okay to go to office hours, TAs, professors, coaches… I did so much better when I started doing that. This is exactly the advice she would give to her younger teammates, adding that when you ask for help, “you’re helping the entire team and yourself.”


The next best team: the Minnesota Wild

By Natasha Girshin staff

Founded in 2000, The Minnesota Wild was the first expansion team of the millenia and it would take decades for it to find its footing. The only National Hockey League (NHL) team based in Minnesota, it had a duty to fill the hearts of Northern U.S. hockey fans. The Wild’s first few seasons as an NHL team were unremarkable. But as the years went by, more and more attention was being set on the team. The Wild broke numerous franchise records during the 2007–08 season, including most goals and points. Also, Jacques Lemaire recorded his 500th career coaching win as the Wild gained their first ever Northwest Division title in a 3–1 victory over the Calgary Flames on April 3, 2008. From the years 2009-2018 the Wild began to rebuild. Hiring a new general manager and trad-

ing old picks for fresher ones and during the first month of the 2009–10 season, the team announced their first-ever full-time captain, Mikko Koivu. However, during the 2009/2010 seasons, the Wild missed the playoff bracket and the head coach at the time was fired. With a new coach, the Wild decided to make some risky trades, which would improve their lineup for seasons to come. During the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the Wild used their 10th overall pick to select Jonas Brodin who has had 43 goals and 150 assists in his NHL career so far. In November 2011, the team set a franchise record for most wins in one month with 11. With a stellar start to the season that saw them sitting atop the NHL standings in early December, multiple injuries to key players for extended periods effectively eliminated the team from playoff contention for the fourth consecutive year. During the 2012 NHL En-

try Draft, the team selected Matt Dumba with the seventh overall pick, who is the current Assistant Captain on the Wild. On May 21, 2018, Paul Fenton was hired as the third general manager in franchise history. During the 2018–19 season, the Wild struggled to keep up in the extremely competitive Central Division as they had in previous seasons. Many key players like Eric Staal and Jason Zucker declined in quality from the season prior. Many reported that there was dysfunction in the organization, caused by a rift between Fenton, Boudreau and various players, ultimately leading to the trading of several core players, such as Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter. The Wild finished the season with 83 points, finishing last in the division and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012. In the 2019 off-season, the Wild signed free agent Mats Zuccarello to a five-year contract. On

July 30, 2019, Fenton was fired as general manager, just 14 months after being hired to that position. On Aug. 21, 2019, the Wild hired Bill Guerin as the fourth general manager in franchise history. On Feb. 14, 2020, the Wild fired head coach Bruce Boudreau and named Dean Evason as interim head coach. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wild participated in the qualifying round of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, but were eliminated in four games at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks. Kirill Kaprizov, the Russian baby-faced 24 year old, played his first NHL game with the Wild in January 2021, scoring the overtime winning goal against the Los Angeles Kings during his debut. On Sept. 21 2021, Kaprizov signed a five-year, $45 million contract with the Wild. As a result of the contract, Kaprizov became the highest-paid sophomore player in NHL history. The forward became the first player in

NHL history with three points in his first game. He scored his 37th point on April 19 which broke Marian Gaborik’s Wild rookie record of 36 points set in the 200001 season. So far, the Wild have yet to make it past Round 4 of the Playoffs. Yet, with key trades that were made in the 2021-22 season such as Marc-Andre Fleury who was (rightfully) rescued from the Chicago Blackhawks this trade deadline and Tyson Jost from the Colorado Avalanche, the Wild has a fantastic goalie and a well-seasoned player on their roster. With the Wild currently 11th in the league, it is no doubt that they will make it to the playoffs this season. While their chances of winning the Cup are low, their future chances to win the Cup improve with each season and each new addition to their roster. With players like Kaprizov, Fleury, Jost, Dumba and Spurgeon, the Wild will hopefully one day get to hoist the Stanley Cup.


The Brandeis Hoot

By Justin Leung editor

After playing seven straight games at home, the Brandeis men’s baseball team flipped to play four games away against Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) for the first weekend of April. The team played one game on Friday, April 1, two on Saturday, April 2 and one on Sunday, April 3. In game one, offense was difficult to come by. Across the first five innings of the game, the two teams combined for just four hits and no runs. CWRU finally broke through in the sixth inning as they took a 2-0 lead. The Judges did not get anything going, as their two hits in the second inning were their only hits of the game. Pitcher Mason Newman (GRAD) pitched a strong game overall as he allowed just two runs through eight innings, while striking out six batters. Junior left fielder Sam Nugent ’23 and center fielder Dan Frey (GRAD) had the only two hits in the game for the Judges. The final score of the game was

3-0 in favor of CWRU. Game two saw the Judges get behind early and unable to make a comeback. CWRU got out to an early 3-0 lead that was built upon in the fourth inning. Brandeis started a comeback when Frey hit a double in the sixth inning that scored second baseman Mike Khoury (GRAD). CWRU proceeded to score another two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and Brandeis could not make a comeback. Frey and Khoury each had two hits in the game. Third baseman Brian King ’23 had a walk and a run batted in (RBI). Pitcher Marc Maestri ’22 and pitcher Sean Decker-Jacoby ’24 combined to pitch eight innings and six strikeouts. Brandeis ultimately took the loss 2-7. Pitching carried Brandeis to victory in game three against CWRU. The Judges took the lead in the third inning off of a sacrifice fly from Nugent and a RBI single from Khoury. Both teams had multiple opportunities to score but both pitchers kept the scoring at a minimum. Pitcher Asher Kaplan ’23 pitched a nine-inning complete game to earn the win. He allowed

six hits but just one run, while striking out two batters. Out of his 116 pitches, 83 of them were strikes. Catcher Liam Kennedy ’22 led the team in hits with two. Even though the Judges’ offense was sparse, it was enough for Kaplan to keep the CWRU offense at bay and in the end, Brandeis won 2-1. The final game of the series was a nail biter. Brandeis got off to a fast 7-2 lead through two innings, but CWRU just would not give up. CWRU quickly cut the lead with a three- run sixth inning. Eventually, the ninth inning came, and Brandeis was up only one run. CWRU then tied the game in the bottom of the ninth inning and carried the game into extra innings. In the top of the 10th inning, the Judges had a runner on base after Khoury was hit by a pitch, however they could not bring him around to score. CWRU then proceeded to hit a walk off triple in the following half inning to get the walk off win at home. Outfielder Steve Simon ‘23, Frey and third baseman Victor Oppenheimer (GRAD) all had two hits in the game. King had

April 8, 2022

only one hit but also three RBIs. Brandeis could not hold onto their lead, and this resulted in a 7-8 loss in their last game against CWRU. The Brandeis men’s baseball team will play eight consec-

utive games at home through series against New York University, Lasell University and Washington University. That home game series begins on April 8 against New York University.


Brandeis softball has successful week By Francesca Marchese staff

The Brandeis softball team had a successful week playing on Marcus Field, as the Judges split a four game series with the Emory University Eagles and defeated Framingham State University in both games of the Tuesday night doubleheader. With the win, the Brandeis softball squad improved to 14-10 on the season. After facing adversity Friday afternoon with the cancellation of their first game against Emory University, pitcher Alex Cohen ’24 helped the Judges earn a University Athletic Association (UAA) split against Emory on day one of their first home UAA doubleheader of the season. The Eagles secured the win in the opener, 8-2, but the Judges responded in game two, 7-3, to earn the split against Emory. The Judges earned their runs in game one from a solo home run from Haley Nash ’24 and an RBI double by pitcher Cohen. Cohen had two of Brandeis’ four hits, both of which were doubles, and an RBI, while Nash totaled her third home run of the season and eighth of her career. Brandeis veteran pitcher Sydney Goldman ’22 took the loss in game one, allowing seven runs (four earned) and

By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

The Judges opened their outdoor track season at the Wellesley Invitational. Although the meet was unscored, the men won eight events while the women won seven. On the men’s side, Danny Krigman ’25 placed first in the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.71. In the 200 meter dash, Jamie O’Neil ’22 placed first with a time of 24.21, with Krigman coming in close after, with a time of 24.4. Daniel Chodorow ’24 placed eighth with a time of 28.13.

five hits in three innings of work; Goldman fell to 1-4 on the year. Rebecca Guerci ’24 was effective in relief, allowing just one earned run in four innings, surrendering one hit and walking three without a strikeout. While the Eagles got off to a quick start, scoring twice in the first inning and a solo homer in the second, the Judges were able to turn the Eagles’ 3-1 lead around after subbing in relief pitcher Cohen in the ball game. Cohen walked the first hitter she faced, but recovered with a strikeout and a grounder to short to keep the game in reach. Offensively, Cohen launched a homer to left center field, scoring the Judges second run, her second home run of the season and fourth home run of her career. Brandeis softball had a change of pace entering the fourth inning that allowed the Judges to take their first lead of the series. Shortstop Jolie Fujita (GRAD), led off with a double and first base Jamie Pippin ’23 followed with a single to short. Tristan Boyer ’25 then bunted the runners into scoring position and Lily Medici ’23 pulled a ball to left field to secure both runs; the Judges took the lead, 4-3. Marley Felder ’22 followed Medici with a single and the two executed a perfect double steal to make it a two run game; Felder returned home on a wild

pitch to give the Judges a 6-3 lead over the Eagles. In the sixth inning, Felder added an RBI single. Defensively, Cohen pitched a great game, as she retired 11 of the next 12 batters without a hit after her initial walk. In the campaign, Cohen improved to 6-1 with 4.2 innings of two-hit ball. Offensively, all nine Brandeis starters had hits, with Medici (2-3, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB), Felder (2-4, RBI, R, SB) and grad student Melissa Rothenberg (3-4, 2B, R) each collecting multiple hits. On Sunday morning, the Judges returned to action against the Eagles and after falling 9-3 in the first game, the Brandeis softball team remained focused and committed, earning a split against the visiting Eagles. Pitcher Rebecca Guerci ’24 sparked the Judges’ turnaround as she won the second game from the circle, 2-2 on the season; the Judges defeated Emory 8-4. Brandeis is now 1210 overall for the 2022 season and 2-6 in the UAA. The Judges were unstoppable to kick off game two, as the first five batters loaded the bases. Third base starter Nash cleared the bases with a double to center field; Nash, then, was the recipient of short stop veteran Fujita’s hit which gave the Judges a 4-0 lead against the Eagles. Fujita then scored on a sacrifice fly by Boyer to increase Brandeis’ lead

to five. After Emory made a huge adjustment by subbing in two relief pitchers, the Judges were only up 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth. Cohen and Melissa Rothenberg (GRAD) understood the assignment late and the game and were both able to slug an RBI double; Nash added an RBI single to make it 8-3. While Emory got a lead-off home run in the top of the seventh, Cohen successfully closed out the game. Defensively, Guerci was the player of the game,improving to 2-2 on the season. Pitching six innings in the UAA matchup, Guerci only allowed 15 Emory hits, 10 of which were stranded runs; Guerci gave up four earned runs, struck out two and did not walk a batter. Offensively, the Judges have four multiple hitters. Cohen, Rothenberg, Nash and Fiona Doiron ’25 each had two hits. Tying her season best, Nash drove in a game-high four runs. The Judges faced Framingham State for a doubleheader at home on Tuesday afternoon and defeated them in both games, 3-2 and 6-5. Cohen successfully won the first game from the circle, allowing six hits and two earned runs in seven innings; Cohen struck out 10, one shy of her career best, and walked just one. 82 of Cohen’s 113 pitches were strikes as she improved to 7-2 on the campaign.

In game one, the Judges earned an early 2-0 lead off of Kolb’s double to center field for her first two career RBIs. After Framingham got on the board, Cohen answered by sending the first pitch she saw to center field for her third home run of the season and fifth of her career. The Judges secured the win.Game two was a competitive and exhilarating game, as the game-winning rally came in the sixth inning. Felder singled to right and Rothenberg doubled to put two runners in scoring position. Cohen then followed with a single to left that successfully plated Felder and Rothenberg scored when the ball was booted. On a wild pitch from the Rams, Cohen advanced to third and scored on Hash’s single to left. Relief pitcher Chandra Penton ’23 effectively closed out the game. Penton earned the win with 3.2 innings of three-hit relief; she walked one and struck out a career-high eight to improve to 3-0 on the campaign. Offensively, each of the four hitters in the Brandeis lineup had two hits in game two. Cohen finished the game going 4-7 with three RBIs and two runs scored, a double and a home run. The Judge’s return to action this weekend, April 9 to 10, in Pittsburgh with a four-game UAA series at Carnegie Mellon.

O’Neil also placed first in the 400 meter dash, while Chodorow placed fourth, with times of 53.50 and 1:01.16 respectively. In the 800 meter dash, Henry Nguyen ’24 and Simon Goode ’25 placed fourth and fifth, with times of 2:13.07 and 2:14.90. Matthew Driben ’22 finished first in the 1,500 meter run with a time of 4:09.49. In the 400 meter hurdles, Ori Slotky ’24 placed second with 1:03.18. In the triple jump Slotky placed first, with 11.42 meters. In the three thousand meter steeplechase, Lucas Dia ’25 and Jac Guerra ’22 placed first and second, with times of 10:13.71 and

10:23.71 respectively. Jacob Grant ’22, O’Neil, Aaron Portman ’22 and Dylan Whalen ’25 placed first in the 4x400 meter, with a time of 3:38.33. In shot put, Cam Peirce ’25 and Jonathan Hau ’23 placed fourth and fifth, with 10.48 meters and 10.31 meters respectively. Hau also placed first in hammer throw, with a distance of 36.79 meters and second in discus throw. On the women’s side, in the 100 meter dash, Alya Campbell ’24 won with a time of 13.56, Smiley Huynh ’24 placed fourth and Anna Touitou ’22 placed sixth with times of 14.13, respectively. Campbell also placed first

in the 200 meter dash with a time of 27.87, along with Touitou who placed fifth and Ianna Gilbert ’24 who placed sixth. Gilbert also placed third in the 400 meter dash, with a time of 1:05.56, The 1,500 meter run also yielded wins for the Judges: Lizzy Reynolds ’24 placed first, Bridget Pickard ’23 finished second and Erika Karlin ’22 placed third, with times of 5:02.67, 5:07.63 and 5:22.34, respectively. Adah Anderson ’23 placed 11th with a time of 5:59.5. In the 100 meter hurdles, Campbell finished first with a time of 15.97 seconds. Olivia Zarzycki ’24 placed first in the 400 meter

hurdles with a time of 1:07.08. In the 4x400 meter relay, Hannah Bohbot-Dridi ’25, Campbell, Yahni Lapa ’23 and Zarzycki placed second with a time of 4:17.47. Zarzycki also placed first in women’s high jump, with a height of 1.45 meters. In women’s long jump, Huynh placed first, while Gabby Tercatin ’22 placed third, with distances of 5.18 meters and 4.46 meters, respectively Both the men and women’s team will be competing again on April 8th at the Ocean State Invitational at 5:00 p.m.nNews Editor Victoria Morrongiello did not contribute to the article.

April 8, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

Michael Burch ’22 was always up for the challenge By Justin Leung editor

Being able to adapt and face the new challenges ahead is an important overall skill. However, in sports, sometimes this skill is needed most. Defender Michael Burch ’22 at Brandeis had to make new adaptations throughout his entire career as he took on all the challenges that faced him. After three years of playing on the Brandeis men’s soccer team, Burch is prepared to graduate from Brandeis and move on to play one more season of soccer at Johns Hopkins University. Before getting to the present, we go back to where it all started. “It all started in preschool when all my friends were playing soccer and I told my parents I didn’t want to do it, but because my friends were doing it, I felt left out. So that’s how I jumped into it,” said Burch. Burch continued to play soccer throughout his life, even though it wasn’t necessarily his favorite sport. Throughout high school he mostly played the center attacking midfield position, which was different from what he played later in his career. He loved to compete, and this ultimately led him to his decision about where to go to college. “I was doing all my visits and I was getting recruited by people and for me it really came down to the decision of D1 versus D3. I could have sat on a D1 bench for two years before I got a chance to play and I love the sport and I love competing so I would probably have been miserable there,” said Burch. After much deliberation, Burch decided to go to Brandeis and in his freshman year he was extremely excited. The team had recently come off of great success, so Burch was ready to be a part of that success. At first, he was unsure about how he was going to be able to fit in with the team, but he quickly realized that this was not going to be an issue. “As soon as I got to Brandeis the whole team was so accepting. I thought there was going to be a hierarchical ladder socially speaking, but everyone was just so accepting,” said Burch. Unlike most freshmen, Burch got the opportunity to start right away for the team. He started every single game. “I played in every game and started every game, which was awesome. It was great

By Jillian Brosofsky staff

A pair of losses drops the women’s season record to 3-8. With COVID-19 outbreaks, unideal weather events and injuries over the past few weeks, the team resolved their three plagues just in time for Passover. Even with a full and healthy team, however, the Judges faltered: first losing a tight match against New York University (NYU) and later in the week falling handily to Tufts. Eventually losing 4-5 in the final head-to-head score, the teams had four points apiece as the last match went the distance. Brandeis continued to show dominance in the doubles and the

for my confidence, and I think it really helped me gain experience that just helped me throughout my four years here,” said Burch. Even though it wasn’t necessarily normal, Burch embraced the role and instantly went into winning and competitive mode. Burch remembers his first game very clearly. It was against Endicott College, and he recalled that it was a few of his former teammates’ debuts as well. “We won 2-0 and I had an assist on the first goal. So that definitely started the college career with a bang,” said Burch. It was a big moment in his young career and obviously this was a game to remember for multiple reasons. The team ended up winning 2-0 and was a great start for Burch. The rest of the season was mostly up and down for the team. They finished with a final overall record of 7-9-2 and a 2-4-1 record in conference. However, Burch had one additional extremely memorable moment in his freshman year. “It was one of our first UAA [University Athletic Association] games and it was against Emory who were ranked 10th in the country… That game was extremely competitive, and we eventually won it with 14 seconds left in overtime. I just remember everyone running on the field doing a dogpile. The feeling was electric,” said Burch. Even though Burch had a strong overall first season on the soccer team, his first year academically was different. He found the transition to be very difficult to the courses and finding a balance between sports and academics. “When I got to college, the super short-term goal was to be good at soccer and so I mostly focused on soccer,” said Burch. As a result, his grades ended up suffering. However, as time progressed, he got used to it and later found a strong balance between the two which was especially important because he knew his future was not in soccer. Entering his sophomore year, Burch had already begun to make big improvements. After spending time in the offseason playing with a semi-pro team, he began to make strides in his game offensively. “I think my main goal for that year was to be the best outside back in the conference,” said Burch. Not only did he want to be great, but he also wanted the team to be a lot better in his sophomore year. As a second year, he pushed

everyone around him to be better. This led to a significantly better team. The men’s soccer team finished 10-5 overall and 3-3-1 in conference games. Although the team performed well, they still remained on the very edge of making the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament. Burch had mixed feelings about his sophomore year. Even though the team did better, he still believed that not only could the team have been better, but he as an individual could have been better. With his experience as a starter, he thought that this would have been a big year for him. “I think my fitness was better and my defending was better… I wanted to get better offensively, and I thought I did, but it just didn’t show up in games for me. So that was a little bit disappointing,” said Burch. Then came the year of the pandemic. The team found it very difficult to remain connected and close throughout the time. To attempt to keep the team close, they did cooking competitions virtually to try and maintain morale. This was especially important considering most of the team was virtual to save a year of eligibility. Going into his senior year, Burch believed that this was his second to last year. He was going into it thinking he had one more additional season at Brandeis. But he still was setting big goals. Burch wanted to make the NCAA tournament because he never had before. The team was close in his sophomore year but just missed it. As a two-year starter, Burch knew he had to step up and lead the way. “We had 14 new freshmen, so socially I just wanted to make sure they were all comfortable and we could integrate them into the team well,” said Burch. Even though he was doing his best to build the team up, they overall started a little slow. Early on someone on the team tested positive for COVID-19, which slowed down the team’s progress. This became an issue considering the team hadn’t played competitively for a year and a half. “We had a really tough start to the year because we had a really young team and we had almost no chemistry”, said Burch. The slow start to the season led the team to once again miss the NCAA tournament. They finished 6-7-3 overall and 3-2-2 in conference games. However,

Burch was very proud of how the team ended the season. “We had some huge results. We beat three NCAA tournament teams at the end of the year”, said Burch. One of the wins included beating Emory University in overtime on Oct. 29. It was a night game against a nationally ranked team. After Brandeis went up 1-0, they ended up conceding two goals to fall behind 1-2 with just under 15 minutes left to play. He felt like they were having a lot of trouble making chances and that there was a lot of doubt about their chances to win the game. However, a goal from senior Isaac Mukala ’22 tied the game up and sent the game to overtime. “We were confident that we weren’t going to concede, it’s just a matter of scoring… Then I got the ball looked up and I was like holy shit there is nobody around me right now… Then our freshman Eli [Mones ’25], phenomenal player, and he made a run and was wide open and I passed it to him, and he tapped it in. It was freshman year all over again. Crazy celebrations and electric feeling, ” said Burch. This game was one of the great games the team played to end the season. Burch’s assist in the game was his second of the season and third of his career. These assists were a part of a big change the Burch had to make during the season. After spending most of his Brandeis career bouncing around in positions, he finally settled into the center midfield position in his senior year. He had to make the move because the team needed him to due to injuries and

first years furthered their impressive showings. Sabrina Loui ’25 and Bhakti Parwani ’25 playing at first and Cecilia Denis ’25 and Anastasia Sia ’25 playing at third won 8-3 and 8-2, respectively. The first doubles team expanded their winning record to 7-3 for the season so far. After the doubles, Brandeis led 2-1. In singles, NYU dominated the first half. First and second singles were completed in straight sets with NYU losing no more than three games in any set. In third singles, Ana Hatfield ’22 came out strong against her opponent bageling her in the first set. After losing the second set 3-6, she fell in the deciding set 4-6. With NYU only needing one more match to Brandeis’ three,

the final singles matches gave NYU three opportunities to win. Sia and Olivia Howe ’22 responded to this pressure productively. In fourth singles Sia added a score in the win column of her already impressive singles record this season bringing it to 8-3. Howe dropped only two games in her win at sixth singles. The match was tied 4-4 overall. It all came down to fifth singles. Denis started off strong winning the first set 6-2. Each player held five service games in the second set bringing the score to 5-5. The lengthy 7-5 set went to NYU as Denis lost her serve. In the final set, which decided the individual match and the en-

tire head-to-head, Denis held on for a while before losing 3-6. Brandeis couldn’t get enough of NYU on Sunday as the men’s team traveled to their away match. Though their ranking fell six points to 15, the team showed their strength as they dominated the head-to-head. They won 9-0 with the biggest challenge coming at third singles. Dylan Walters ’24 eked out his first set in a tiebreaker before crushing his opponent 6-1 in the second. This was the one real outlier as Jeff Chen ’22 at second singles, Colt Tegtmeier ’22 at fourth and Simon Kauppila ’23 at fifth all won 6-2, 6-3 and Adam Tzeng ’22 at first and Aaron Basye ’24 at sixth won with a bagel and a breadstick.

strength at other positions. The role was extremely challenging, but he knew he had to make it work. However, finally due to the consistency, he was able to get comfortable in the position and made the adjustments. This resulted in his first UAA team selection as he was awarded second-team AllUAA. Burch had overall mixed feelings about the selection. He felt like more of his teammates deserved to be awarded and he felt like he performed better than what was listed. However, he still found it nice to be recognized for what he had done on the field. A few months later, Burch received notice that he was accepted into a program at Johns Hopkins. All of the sudden it hit him. He played his last season at Brandeis, and he didn’t even know it. “Definitely really bittersweet. It would have been nice to know I was playing my last game for Brandeis. I think I would have taken a step back and enjoyed every little practice and every little game a little bit more,” said Burch. Overall, Burch had a fantastic career at Brandeis on the men’s soccer team. He was a starter in every year he played and always played wherever the team needed him to be. Now he moves on to face new challenges. Although it is a new school and will definitely take some time to adjust, Burch is no stranger to adapting to what the situation gives. “I am excited for my opportunity and I’m sad that I am leaving, but I am extremely grateful for the time I spent there and I’m extremely excited to compete for Hopkins next year”, said Burch.


Two days later, the women’s team was back on the court. This time in Somerville. Playing the tenth seeded Tufts team, Brandeis lost decisively. Tufts swept the board 9-0. Though they put up more of a fight in first doubles and second singles, Brandeis saw the losing side of many 6-0, 6-1 and 6-2 sets. Loui played in both close matches. She almost pulled off a win with Parwani at first doubles but ultimately lost 6-8. In second singles, Loui put up a fight before eventually falling 3-6, 5-7. The Judges are back in action this week as the women have their final two home matches of the season against Skidmore on April 9 and Franklin Pierce on April 10. The men take on Babson in an away match on April 10.

8 The Brandeis Hoot

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe.”

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

Volume 20 • Issue 9 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma

FOUNDED BY Leslie Pazan, Igor Pedan and Daniel Silverman


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

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

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April 8, 2022

Brandeis needs to be better at communication


ith COVID-19, we are all under a tumultuous period during Brandeis history where communication and transparency is as important as ever. However, we have noticed that in recent times, Brandeis administration has not been communicating with the community as effectively as it could be. There were communication issues as early as orientation. This year’s orientation was particularly tricky: the first back in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic has started and during a hurricane. Due to the bad weather, Brandeis had to change plans rather quickly in order to adapt to the storm. This is understandable; it would be unsafe to move in during such a storm. However, orientation leaders and staff only found out about these updates via emails from incoming first years. According to orientation leaders, changes were not discussed with the orientation team at all. The most recent and ongoing example involves the timeline of Brandeis getting a new dining vendor. As of the time of writing, April 7, the timeline posted on the Brandeis website indicates that the award of the contract along with a letter

of intent should have occurred in late March. However, it is now early April creeping on to mid-April and this goal has yet to be reached. Although we understand that the timeline is dynamic and we should not expect the university to strictly follow it, we would still appreciate being periodically updated on the progress of the dining contracts. As of the time of writing, the last time that the Brandeis community was updated was on March 2. In the original timeline on the university’s webpage, it indicated that the university would be naming three finalists in mid-March and re-presenting to community members, according to a previous Brandeis Hoot article. This has since been removed from the university’s Dining Services Requests for Proposals (RFP) without any information provided to the community over why it was removed or if it will be rescheduled. A second example comes from the rapid changes in COVID-19 policy without telling the appropriate staff before the greater Brandeis community. For example, over summer 2021, there were many changes to the testing policy (including the frequency that students and staff

were getting tested). Of course, COVID-19 and our response to it is very flexible and changes from day to day, depending on the positivity rate on campus and the other conditions related to the pandemic. However, there were multiple cases where the Brandeis community was notified of changes in testing policy without the testing staff being notified, even when they did not have a manager in charge of the testing site.We also still don’t know what coming back from spring break will look like. Should we be worried about another wave of COVID-19 on campus, would we go online if there is another spike on campus? With the new variant, it may spread quickly around campus with people Overall, we think that all of these examples indicate that the Brandeis administration should be communicating with their students and student employees alike more effectively than they currently are. In our opinion, this would lead to a more close-knit and comfortable community, where we are able to adequately respond to the rapid changes occurring on campus during these times.


April 8, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 9

An interview with former UCS Chief Climate they care about is really essential.

By Cooper Gottfried editor

During his recent visit to Brandeis’ campus, former Chief Climate Scientist and Director of Science and Policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists Dr. Peter Frumhoff sat down with The Brandeis Hoot for an interview. He spoke about his work in the field of climate science, what tomorrow’s answer to climate change may be and more. Dr. Frumhoff ’s time at Brandeis was for the Richman Distinguished Fellowship in Public Life, and he’s currently on sabbatical from his role as an associate at the Harvard University Center for the Environment. A BrandeisNow article says that “Frumhoff informs the public understanding” on climate science. If there was one thing you could tell the general public about climate science, what would it be? That the time to act is now. That the science is clear. That the risks that we face … are really quite daunting, and that the choice of what kind of future we’ll have is in our hands. … Sometimes people feel a lack of agency. Like what can I do? It’s this big global problem. I can change my light bulbs, but what the heck does that matter? … What I like to say is: the most important thing you can do about climate change is just talk about it. Talk about the fact that it’s real, that it’s human caused, that the evidence is clear, that it’s bad and that we can do something about it. Just getting people talking about it so it’s not a hidden issue and it’s not a polarized partisan issue is … [how] good decisions get made. How do you think conversations on climate change should be started? The challenge is how to avoid triggering the immediate shutdown of the conversation because it runs into someone’s filters. One of the poorly understood truths about climate change is that the fraction of Americans that are adamant deniers of the science is actually quite small, maybe about 10 percent. It used to be larger, but it’s a lot smaller now. The best way to engage people is to kind of take account of what they care about, start from where they are. Don’t come in and say … “I’ve got all these facts to share with you, and you’ve gotta sit down and listen to me [and] you’re not hearing how important this is.” Start by a conversation that says “let’s talk about the things you care about.” Find the things that it’s obvious people care about, [like] their kids, public health and their communities, and then connect the dots to those concerns. … Let climate change be the second or third paragraph of the conversation. … I think for some communities, people want to start by [saying], “I agree, it’s really serious. What can we do about it?” So that’s the other place to start if you’re on a different path. Starting with an understanding of your audience, knowing who they are [and] what

Your arrival to this campus is a preview of “Brandeis’ Year of Climate Action.” What steps do you recommend that Brandeis and other educational institutions take against climate change? I am thrilled to see the fossil fuel divestment movement begin to really gather steam. It was a decade ago that [the] divestment [movement] started from student activism on college campuses. Today we have … assets being divested from fossil fuel, including here at Brandeis. Has Brandeis done full divestment? No, it’s a step towards divestment. I know there’s a lot of frustration among many in the student body … about the limitations of the commitments that Brandeis has made so far, but they are a start and they can be built upon. So I would encourage Brandeis and others to lean into divestment as fully as possible. I think there’s a lot included in the Brandeis Vision 2030, … which I encourage people to read, which I think is quite thoughtful and, and, uh, impactful [even though] only some of its recommendations were taken up. I think Brandeis could do more [and] should do more. Frankly, a year of climate action is a fabulous concept and what I think we really need is a decade of climate action. A year is a starting point, right? The state of Massachusetts has committed to, in policies passed by the [state] legislature and signed by Governor Baker a year ago, reducing emission statewide to 50% below 1990 levels by 2030. It would be exceptionally valuable if thought-leading institutions like Brandeis committed to reducing emissions on at least that scale as well. So I’d like to see Brandeis take that kind of action as well.

It’s traditionally characterized by more… “colorless” terms. … So in the IPCC Summary for Policymakers, the document that policymakers agree to and sign off on, the term “fossil fuels” never comes up, it’s “human-caused emissions”. ... So one might point to the IPCC as an essential-but-conservative baseline for our shared understanding of what we face. How do you deal with the feeling of doom that climate news so often brings? Every fraction of a degree matters. A lot of people have this, I think misinformed notion that we have a decade left before the world collapses. You kind of hear various versions of that a lot, which is a misread of the state of the science. We are a long way away from the path we need to be on in order to bring emissions down enough to keep temperature rise within the limits of the Paris Climate Agreement’s 1.5 degrees Celsius increase. We are already facing serious harm at about 1.1 or 1.2 degrees, and 1.5 will be even worse. But every fraction of a degree matters, and it’s not a cliff we’re heading towards; It’s an opportunity to transition as swiftly as possible [to a greener world]. … I can’t tell you where we’re going to end up [in terms of warming], but I can tell you that finding ways to … transition to clean energy and to limit the damages of the impacts that we’re facing is a central challenge of our time. So feeling doom or despair is understandable, but I try to find ways to let the things that we face be motivating rather than disheartening. It’s both a challenge and an opportunity.

What did you learn from working on the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report team?

Antarctica recently hit 70 degrees Fahrenheit above its average temperature for this time of year. What other climate-change-induced abnormalities do you expect to see in the future?

Consensus is hard. The IPCC operates through a consensus process. Scientists gather from around the world [from] developed and developing countries in ranges of expertise to work through their understanding of the published literature at the time they’re writing [the report]. [They] try to address questions about the state of the science, what we know about impacts and what we can do about it. Sitting down with experts from different vantage points, from different disciplines, from different lived experiences and trying to read the same literature and say, “what can we say effectively and forcefully that’s also aligned with what we know to be true from peer publications?” It’s a really worthwhile process. Another thing I would say as a kind of learned outcome is [that] it’s also a conservative process. Consensus by its nature, isn’t necessarily the lowest common denominator because it’s based on published literature, but it’s definitely not where the cutting-edge science gets published. The IPCC has traditionally understated the risks of climate change.

We’re going to see more surprises, right? No one, even the people who’ve been studying Antarctica for a long time, expected to see 70 degrees Fahrenheit above typical temperatures for this time of year. So we’re definitely only going to see more things that are going to surprise us because we’re heading out of the range that our climate models [can predict]. We know that we’re going to see an intensification of heat waves and more periods of high precipitation and associated flooding and drought. The southwestern United States is in a historically unprecedented period of extended drought, a “mega-drought,” as we call it. … The other thing that is going to drive uncertainty is what our responses to it are. That’s also uncharted territory. I think we’re going to see more explicit interaction of climate impacts with other changes. To use an example that we’re all facing now: the war in Ukraine. Among the many other impacts that we’re facing is a dramatic decline in global grain supply. Ukraine is a major source of grain to portions of north Africa and large areas of the Mediter-


ranean. That by itself could be a driver of significant food scarcity, and who knows how [to] respond to that in places where people are already vulnerable [to food insecurity]. … If we see climatic changes affecting agricultural productivity, those two could work in a kind of negative synergy. So I think we’re going to see an interaction between climate change and other factors in a [more explicit] way. But I also think we’re going to see significantly accelerated advances in technologies and opportunities to deploy them. We need to transition to clean energy. [Therefore,] the expansion of battery storage [is needed] so that we can put wind and solar on the grid at scale. The continued decrease in the cost of wind and solar [is allowing it to] outcompete coal and natural gas. This is going to continue to accelerate as well. What policies do you think we need to mitigate climate change and adapt to the effects of climate change? So let’s focus on the United States for a moment. It’s a global problem, but the U.S. is a major actor. We are literally one vote away from the passage of a historic piece of legislation which grew out of the demands for a Green New Deal and transformed into a policy package called Build Back Better. [It includes] half a trillion dollars in investments in clean energy infrastructure, adaptation and financing support for highly vulnerable communities and extension of electric vehicle chargers around the country. … That set of policies is absolutely essential in order to bring the U.S. onto a path that moves us towards the 1.5 degree target and our commitment to reach it. … That’s going to require political will and it’s going to come from people telling policymakers and legislators, not just in Massachusetts where people are already supportive, that they demand change. That’s in my mind by far the most significant essential policy advance that we need, and time is running out. Do you have anything to say to students who want to “save the world” from climate change?

Vote. … The undergraduate population in the United States in 2016 … turned out abysmally poorly in the presidential election. Something like 45 percent of eligible undergraduate voters voted. I’m personally ashamed to say that the lowest proportion of eligible voters among undergraduates came from students in the sciences. … There was a big effort to get undergraduates and graduate students to vote in 2020, without saying “vote for who this person or that person,” just vote. … [After that campaign] the student vote shot up to about 60 percent. You can say it should be a lot more, but that’s a substantial improvement. If I could say one thing to undergraduates here at Brandeis about what they can do to make a difference, it’s to vote. Vote in every election. Vote at local levels, at state levels and at national levels especially in the November 2022 [midterm] elections, where a lot is on the line even though there’s no presidential candidate. What is your role at the Harvard University Center for the Environment? Most of my focus right now is on building a community of practice among scientists, legal scholars and lawyers. [I want] to get them to speak to one another across disciplines and across areas of interest, so that scientists can better support and inform the evidentiary basis for a growing number of lawsuits that are coming before the courts. In the United States and elsewhere, [there are lawsuits] seeking to hold governments and fossil fuel companies accountable for their action on climate change. The lawsuits take a number of different [approaches], but all of them require good science. Very few scientists know about the legal system. [There’s so much they need to know, like] what are standards of evidence? How does that differ between science and law? What kinds of information do lawyers or judges need? What’s it like to be an expert witness? So I’m really trying to acculturate the relevant scientific community to recognize this as an opportunity to weigh in.


The Brandeis Hoot

April 8. 2022

Gregory Zuckerman ’88: ‘The Hunt for the Covid Vaccine’ By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

In a webinar that took place on April 6, Gregory Zuckerman ’88 discussed his book “A Shot to Save the World: The Inside Story of the Life-or-Death Race for a COVID-19 Vaccine,” as well as journalism during the coronavirus pandemic. The event was introduced by President Ron Liebowitz, who said that “Brandeis is excited to welcome back Zuckerman.” The event would focus on “how we tell stories about the modern world,” he continued. The first question that was asked of Zuckerman was how an accomplished business reporter with an economics degree ended up reporting on COVID-19. Zuckerman said that this “struck [him] early in the process … There is no bigger story, scientific but also financial.” “These vaccines are modern science’s greatest achievement but also modern finance’s greatest achievement,” he continued. Among the grim outlooks on the situation, “There were researchers who were optimistic about creating this vaccine.” Zuckerman continued by say-

ing that he tells “stories through the people and not everyone likes that approach. I apply it to different areas,” including the energy sector and finance. He acknowledges that he writes about very difficult topics, but he does that through characters who hopefully the readers find entertaining. Although Zuckerman highlighted that not everyone likes that approach—of telling stories through characters—he tries to work with those who do not like it. His “editors have been very happy to have me work with experts in those fields,” Zuckerman added. When Zuckerman began the process of writing the book, he did not know too much about the topic. “I love to work with reports in the field to share stories with our audience, and I am very thankful for how willing they are [to share],” he said. He asked a lot of questions throughout the process, even hiring a Ph.D. student who worked closely with him and helped. Zuckerman hopes that the book would be of overall value to the whole community; the “reader can learn from people overcoming setbacks … I have my own, and I relate to the characters.” When asked about the scientist with whom he worked, Zucker-


man said that a lot of them are “high achievers that are Type A: competitive, with big egos and difficult. They are not necessarily people you want to have a cup of coffee with, and yet they step up and save the world.” A lot of people tend to say that they are unsure whether they like the characters in Zuckerman’s books or not, to which he said that he himself believes in gray characters. “I don’t like black and white characters.” Overall, this is a process, and people change their minds. This allows peo-

ple to learn from that person. When asked about the rampant anti-vaccine movement in the United States, Zuckerman said that changing their minds was not his goal. Before this one, the fastest vaccine ever made took four years, and with COVID-19, the time frame was much shorter. “I would be hesitant myself, if I didn’t research this book,” said Zuckerman about the vaccine. However people need to appreciate the history, there are decades of history behind this vaccine, as he explained.

Zuckerman is a writer for the Wall Street Journal and has published numerous books. He has won the Gerald Loeb Award three times. The event was moderated by Neil Swiney (JOUR) and Ann Silvio (JOUR), and according to the description, was “held in conjunction with the Brandeis Journalism Program’s new course on Science Journalism, the Pandemic and Disinformation.” The event was sponsored by the Journalism Program.

Brandeis Relay for Life: raising funds and healing together By Mia Plante editor

On Sat. March 26 at 5 p.m. Brandeis University hosted Relay For Life, a fundraising event put on by the American Cancer Society to raise money for cancer research. Brandeis Relay For Life is run by a group of students with a passion for cancer awareness who have been working towards raising their current yearly goal of 20 thousand dollars. This year marks the first in-person Relay the club has been able to put on since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Brandeis Hoot spoke to club organizers, members and event participants about the occasion. “It was very exciting to have an event in person after not being able to have one for two years because of COVID,” stated Sasha Skarboviychuk (GRAD), Co Food and Sponsorship Chair for Brandeis Relay. “A lot of the team were people who have been on it this whole time, and it was really great to finally be able to hang out in person.” Event Lead, Natalie Sadek ’23, had similar thoughts. Sadek told the Hoot “I was really excited to finally have an in-person event for Relay this year. After 2 years of COVID, most of campus is not really aware of what Relay is, but I am proud of our team for bringing this together and back to campus.” The event was hosted at Gosman Sports and Convocation Center, and utilized numerous campus and greater-Waltham resources such as student groups, donated food and volunteers from Brandeis Public Safety. “It

really does have a lot work and time that goes into it,” Skarboviychuk remarked, stating that her and other members of Brandeis Relay For Life “[went] to more restaurants than I can count, called even more than that, to try to secure food donations for the event.” The efforts put in by all students involved were not in vain, as the event had food courtesy of AK’s Pizza and Prime Deli as well as a volunteer performance by Brandeis improv comedy group Bad Grammer. The other Co Food and Sponsorship Chair, John Fornagiel ’22, had a special shout out for their food sponsors, “they are always so willing to help us out,” Fornagiel mentioned of Prime Deli and AK’s. “For all of the time that I have been the food and sponsorships chair for relay for life, that is three years now, they have always been a huge supporter of ours and are always willing to donate food for our cause. We know that if all else fails, we will always have their support,” Fornagiel enthused. Brandeis Relay’s itinerary consisted of opening ceremonies, followed by the survivor lap and a lap with all participants around the indoor track. Participants also played games, such as cornhole, and listened to survivor speeches. The event was marked by the powerful Luminaria Ceremony, in which participants decorate and light up luminaria bags for those touched by cancer and take a moment of silence for those the bags are dedicated to. “The Luminaria ceremony was extremely touching,” noted Skarboviychuk, “seeing everyone light up their candles for those for whom they Relay, it really showed that even though we might feel alone in the suffering we go through,

most people around us have gone through similar experiences.” Thomas Pickering ’23, another member of Brandeis Relay For Life, told the Hoot similarly, “Relay is one of those few events at Brandeis that unites the campus.” Unification surrounding such a terrible disease is what makes this event important for students beyond the fundraising itself. “Everyone has had cancer impact their lives at one point or another,” Pickering stated, “and seeing the community help to raise money during fundraisers and seeing all the names on the luminaria bags proves how deeply invested Brandeisians are in fighting cancer and making sure others can have the outcomes we have all hoped for.” Student participants and fundraisers have many different reasons for Relaying, as seen on the Brandeis Relay for Life Instagram account. Many of these reasons though come from a personal

connection to those who have experienced cancer. Student Matt Colbert ’23 wrote in a post on their Instagram, “Cancer has negatively affected several members of my family and I would do anything to help stop its spread.” Sydney D’Amaddio ’23 told The Hoot, “I participate because I watched my great aunt battle leukemia growing up and last summer I interned at a hospital working with pediatric cancer patients…” D’Amaddio “found their adversity to be incredibly inspiring.” Top individual fundraiser for the event, Alex Mindich ’23, explained to the Hoot that he has been a part of Relay for Life since high school largely because his mother is a breast cancer survivor. “I know that I am one of the lucky ones in that regard,” Mindich stated. “I have a few friends who have lost parents to cancer, so this is an event that means a lot to me as a way of being able to help other families overcome cancer

and hopefully prevent it one day.” Brandeis Relay for Life raised a total of $11,960.85 of their 20 thousand dollar goal. The top three team donations came from Phi Kappa Psi, The Sammy Supporters of Gamma Chi and Brandeis Women’s Basketball donating $2,599, $1,693 and $1,551 respectively. Top individual donors were Mindich, Isaac Fischer ’23 and Hannah Rubin ’23 who donated one thousand dollars, $604 and $460 respectively. Although the event itself is over, students are still able to donate to the goal on their Relay website. Editor’s Note: News editor Victoria Morrongiello is the Event Lead of Relay for Life and did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article. Fornagiel, Pickering and Skarboviychuk are editors on The Hoot and did not contribute to the editing of this article.



April 8, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 11

Welcome to the ‘Class of 2026’ By Thomas Pickering editor

To the children whose parents got down and dirty on some night in 2004, or day—we know some of you got freaky parents—we here at Brandeis want to offer you our most sincere welcome. At Brandeis you will be joining the ranks of some of the world’s greatest minds. From the guy who walks next to the Kiwibots to make sure that they always fall over (consistency is key right?) to the Branvan driver who swears that the bump we just hit was only a rock and not some student trying to get their tuition paid for, you will learn from and with the best of the best. This campus is full of bright students who every day are coming up with the most efficient and progressive ways to drop out and become a nomadic forager. But before they leave campus, there are some tips and tricks to Brandeis they want you to know so that you can be prepared to be a Brandeisian! We must begin where every day begins on a college campus: dorm

rooms. If you toured Brandeis then you may remember that one of our first year quads has a pond in the middle of it. Its natural beauty is without question and when they turn the fountain on in the middle of it you almost forget that it has the same hazardous chemicals in it as Chernobyl. But what you could not see on tour was the war happening over the pond. Brandeis has been engaged in an armed conflict with the geese of Massell pond for three years. Last year we saw a huge step towards peace with a ceasefire drawn up between us and the geese. They no longer attack when campus tours are present but all bets are off when tours end. We tried to advance our line by placing a life preserver into the grass but this only aggravated them more. We have all at one point or another been in a life or death situation where we had to fight a goose but from it we have gotten stronger and now have this recommendation for the incoming infantry. Never leave your dorm without your Brandeis M1A Scout Squad Rifle. Available for purchase from the Brandeis bookstore, this rifle

will be your key to safety on campus from those darned geese and on top of that it has the Brandeis logo awkwardly placed somewhere almost unnoticeable on it. That will be your key to making it to the dining hall for breakfast. This is where our second piece of advice comes in handy. Brandeis dining is well known around the bathrooms on campus. If you hear moaning followed by what sounds like a bubbly nuclear explosion coming from one of the toilet stalls then you know the Sodexo food was good today! Sodexo food at Brandeis is so good that you’ll be compelled to just keep going back for more! But with all that food entering you, it’s also going to need to leave you. Budget roughly 45 minutes after every meal to enjoy the back half of your “Sodexo Experience” which will only be enhanced if you remember to buy your own two-ply toilet paper. Nothing is worse than ripping up your asshole twice after a five star meal so always bring your own toilet paper because like they say, “twoply keeps the ass from bleeding Jeremy.”

But the meal is merely the energy you will need for your full day of activities on campus! You will have class for a few hours on any given day but don’t overbook yourself too much because, as is campus tradition, you’ll spend at least three hours a day crying. Now do not worry, these are happy tears! All around campus you’ll hear the excited utterances of happily crying Brandeisians saying things like, “I knew he would provide a stable and happy relationship for me” to “I am just so happy that Brandeis is a mentally stable community of hard workers who support each other” to “I cannot wait to make my parents proud with my degree in classical studies.” All of these happy people are the reason why the Brandeis Counseling Center (BCC) is always booked. It is a queue of happy Brandeisians going to the office to thank the BCC for always doing a complete and professional job with their students. Mental health on campus is super strong so when you arrive make sure to plan a visit to the BCC right away. You’ll thank us later when you realize how happy Brandeis can

make YOU! But of course what kind of students would we be if we didn’t leave you, the incoming payroll for our diminishing administration. *COUGH* I mean the incoming class of Brandeis students if we did not give you one final piece of advice we wish we knew before coming to campus: live on campus for as long as possible. There is simply something in the air here at Brandeis that keeps Brandeis students on campus. A growing and everlasting connection to the walls that will nourish and protect you. Some say that it is the magic of the campus, others say it is the passion Brandeis students have for their work and some say its the mold poisoning, but what it really is, is you. You will make Brandeis your own and have your own advice to give one day to an incoming class of students. Just remember that you will walk halls that hundreds of students have passed through before you and just like them, you will also wish you worked harder in high school and had gotten into Tufts. Welcome to Brandeis you poor poor suckers.

It’s okay to cringe at yourself, but enjoy things By Caroline O editor

I’m not totally afraid to admit my 13 year old self ’s interests. Like a certain population of other 13 year old girls, I too made a Tumblr blog and participated in the mind-mass fangirling over Benedict Cumberbatch, but specifically in his “Sherlock” era. I never watched “Supernatural,” but I was familiar enough with the show because a) my also-13-yearold friends and b) again, Tumblr. And, for the real killshot-slashself-roast of an op, I’m willing to shamelessly admit that I, too, absolutely daydreamed of horrendously Mary Sue self-insert stories in which I, a 13 year old girl, could absolutely join the ranks of badass superheroes or Jedi or “Doctor Who” companions or

By Victoria Morrongiello editor

I’m not typically a food reviewer, that job title has been reserved for Sasha Skarboviychuk (GRAD) and John Fornagiel ’22 and I am just a humble novice in comparison. Honestly, I don’t have many opinions, my job is typically to not have those so when asked to write an op I thought of the one thing I do have opinions on— muffins. So here is a very serious and legitimate ranking of muffins on campus. Dunkin: 7/10 I had my first Dunkin muffin while in quarantine. I do not have the Bite app and was not getting food so I was living solely off of Activia yogurt and Thomas’ plain bagels. So when my friend offered to order me a muffin and leave it outside my door you bet I took her up on that offer. I think the muffin got a higher rating mainly because I hadn’t had variation in my food for four days at that

whatever I was hyper-fixated on as a kid. Did I cringe a little bit as I wrote that entire introduction paragraph? Yes, I did. I cringed so hard that I considered tossing out this entire article and informing the Opinion Editors that “actually, sorry, I don’t feel like embarrassing myself today,” but that 13 year old girl unfortunately also grew up to be a rather shameless 22 year old. Therefore, I’ll continue. Because while I absolutely did cringe through that entire opening paragraph, there’s also a rather loud, rather adamant part of me that insists that I’m cringing because I’ve been informed that the things 13 year olds are interested in are inherently “cringe worthy.” I don’t think this is wholly true—I still don’t quite understand why I thought Benedict Cumberbatch was so attractive when I was 13, and I also don’t think there’s any-

thing particularly good about a show that apparently kills its girls and its gays. But then let’s look at other interests that teenage girls had in the last few years— boy bands like One Direction to K-pop groups like BTS, dramatic teen shows like “Gossip Girl” and “Pretty Little Liars,” generically attractive white actors like Dylan O’Brien and David Tennant … and there’s a certain level of eye-rolling that goes along with every single named item on this list. Now, there might be some legitimate reasons for this eye-rolling, but I’m more concerned with how it seems like particularly young girls aren’t allowed to properly like anything, whether it’s objectively embarrassing or not. Think of the boy bands example, for instance. There’s nothing inherently bad about groups like One Direction or BTS. Even if you don’t personally like their

music, that’s not to say that they’re the worst musical groups in the world. Or if we really want to get into it (which we do!), let’s think about big musical groups like the Beatles, which were appealing to both girls and guys alike—but it’s once again that teenage girl population that’s mostly mocked. And yet, we all know that one obnoxious white guy who boasts how he knows how to “properly” enjoy the Beatles which is, to say, not in the same hyper-excited way that the average teenage girl of the 60s might enjoy the Beatles. But what’s so wrong about a girl being insanely excited over something? What’s so wrong about a girl being intensely happy about that one relatively silly television show or book series or whatever is on her mind? Even if the current objects of obsession might be something to cringe over later, let people have their self-indulgent

fun. Now, this isn’t to say that every single object of self-indulgent fun is inherently good either. I still think that certain teen shows are pretty terrible, if only because the writing sucks and the actors are tired (looking at you, “Riverdale”). But hey, not every single TV show needs to be the next Emmy-award winning series with the weird sepia or blue-gray palette. Sometimes people can enjoy objectively trash television, and that should be (a little) okay too. In short, I don’t think everything needs to be expertly beautiful or five star worthy for people to enjoy things. Recognizing that something’s not quite as good as your teenager self thought is all fine and good, but the things you enjoyed as a teenager aren’t inherently stupid. It’s chill to just enjoy things for the sake of enjoying them.

point, so instantly it was a hit. I also added points for putting the sugar crystals on top because that stuff just hits different. It was a good amount of moisture— I’m not really sure if this is a metric for rating muffins but I feel like it’s something they would say on “The Great British Baking Show” so I’m running with it. It was a bit sweet though, which I guess is the point of a muffin, but maybe just a bit too sweet. Also, for reference, I got a chocolate chip muffin because fruit does not belong in dessert and I stand by that. C-Store 10098720/10 I FREAKING LOVE THE C-STORE MUFFINS AND YOU CAN NOT GET ME TO CHANGE MY MIND. I swear to god I have no idea what they put in those things but they’re amazing. First off, they’ve got options. You can get a chocolate chip muffin, you can get a plain muffin, heck you can even get a blueberry muffin even if it is against my beliefs. The sky’s the limit in the

C-store. I am a fan of the chocolate chip muffin, though it is a bit sweet. But my favorite has got to be the plain muffins. They’re not too sweet but also not so bland as to not taste like anything whatsoever. They’re also large and in charge so you do feel full by the time you finish the muffin, or alternatively you can save some for later as an extra snack. I’ve done both and you can’t go wrong with either. Though the top does not have any of the fun sugar sprinkles on top, I think it’s better without it so as to not be overwhelming with the sugariness—I am making that a word now. The muffin top is perfect and very moist, though the bottom is a bit dry—I have no idea what I’m saying here. I literally can’t judge food unless it’s on the scale of can I or can’t I eat it. Listen, I’ve never puked after eating one of these muffins so that’s why they’re great—end of review. Einsteins 4/10 The Einsteins muffins are alright, though they don’t have a

large selection to choose from. You can only get a blueberry muffin, and for those of you who actually were paying attention earlier, you would know that I live by the creed that fruit does not belong in dessert. That being said, it’s a good muffin for a blueberry muffin, mainly because there aren’t that many blueberries in it so it’s basically excusable. It also has the little crumble thing on top which is a nice touch and distracts you from the monstrosity that is fruit in dessert. I’m entirely too biased here to be rating this muffin so please don’t take anything I say here seriously. If you’re a fan of blueberry muffins this may be the muffin for you, but as for me keep the fruit separate. Though I do like Einstein’s cherry pastry thing, and before you even say cherries are a fruit I’ll beat you to it—I know I’m not perfect but this is my op so back off. Sherm 9/10 OKAY LET’S TALK ABOUT THESE MUFFINS. I’m not talking

about the ones they put out with breakfast at the dessert area, those are trash. They don’t even deserve to be on this op, make your own waffle before getting one of those at breakfast. There is no way to do breakfast wrong unless you are getting one of those muffins. Like why? No, no I’m talking about the ones at the allergen station that are individually wrapped. Specifically the Banana Chocolate Chip ones—once again this is an exception to my fruit rule because bananas are superior. These muffins are hard to find, which is the only reason why I deducted a point but when they are there man on man am I happy. They used to also sell them in the c-store in like fours but I haven’t seen them in a while. Banana-chocolate chip is the best combination. Period. Banana chocolate chip bread—amazing. Frozen bananas covered in chocolate—amazing. Banana chocolate chip muffins—amazing.


The Brandeis Hoot

April 8, 2022

In the belly of the Beast: a review of Mr. Beast Burger By Max Greisberg and Cooper Gottfried special to the hoot and editor

Ordered through the BiteU app and delivered by KiwiBot, Mr. Beast Burger has been a huge hit on campus since its introduction. So we decided to try it. Spoiler alert: it’s just ok. The ordering process Max: Any excitement from Mr. Beast Burger being added to Brandeis’ dining options was quickly extinguished by the horrible hours and the odd payment method requirements. This restaurant is only available for 12 hours a week, while most other restaurants are open for 12 hours a day. Furthermore, the only way to pay for this service was through a credit card rather than a meal swipe, points or WhoCash. This isn’t entirely desirable, but if the food is good, then all of this will be made up for. However, the pricing is different than the Mr. Beast Burger restaurant in this area, as some food items are more expensive at the restaurant while others are cheaper at campus. Since there is a Mr. Beast Burger a few miles away from campus, it creates the question of was this even a necessary addition. Cooper: There’s no time to explain how terrible the BiteU app is, so suffice it to say that ordering Mr. Beast Burger was a pain. Additionally, KiwiBots are allegedly piloted by Colombian workers making $2 an hour, so the kickable robots that delivered this food don’t have much appeal to me. It’s also annoying that we have to pay using a credit card instead of just using dining dollars.

But that’s enough complaining; now it’s time to eat. The food Max: We ordered a “Beast Combo,” which included a double patty burger with pickles, mayo, and ketchup, as we ordered without any pickles or onions. What we ordered was fifty cents less expensive than if we ordered outside of the school. There was also an order of seasoned fries and a water bottle. The KiwiBot took around 40 minutes to arrive, yet the food was still warm and crispy while the water was cold. The burger itself was just mediocre. It reminded me of a Wendy’s burger, but there wasn’t any tomato, lettuce included, or really any other topping besides a few pickle slices. Then there were the so-called seasoned fries, which lacked a lot of flavor. There was no extra price to pay for seasoned fries vs normal fries, so I can not complain that much. The fries were also just mediocre, but if there was ketchup included in the bag, they would have been a lot better. Overall, the hype behind the name of the brand seems to have been better than the food itself, which can be described as just “meh it’s ok.” Cooper: The only way that I can describe this experience is “it’s fine.” We split a “Beast Combo,” which included a burger, fries and a bottle of water. We got no onions or American cheese on the burger, and chose to get seasoning on our fries. The food itself was just ok. The burger was a bit overdone, and the fries lacked flavor and didn’t come with any ketchup or mustard. But, the burger and fries were warm and not soggy, while the bottle of water was still cold. I’d give the burger a five out


of 10 and the fries a four out of 10. If there was ketchup included or the burger was cooked a little bit less, then I think this experience would have been much more enjoyable. Final thoughts Max: Since a credit card was used as payment, my main focus was getting my money’s worth for the food. After eating at other fast food restaurants that focus on hamburgers, such as Five Guys and Shake Shack, I believe that it would be better off ordering one of the two and getting it delivered. I just don’t think Mr. Beast Burger can hold up to the fries of Shake Shack or the burger to Five Guys. You can get a fully customized burger from Five Guys with tomato, lettuce and bacon with a large amount of fries for around the same price, which seems to just be the better option. Would I

order again from Mr. Beast Burger? Maybe, as it did come quick and stayed hot which is often a problem with UberEats. However I would not order it frequently, as both myself and probably a very high number of students, do not like to eat fast food that often. This would probably be a “once a month” order if at all. Certain features like being able to pay with a meal swipe or being able to pick up the food yourself would make me more likely to order again, but not that likely. Cooper: When eating this, I couldn’t help but compare it to other fast food locations like Five Guys. There’s a Five Guys location just a 15 minute walk from campus, and it’s better than a KiwiBot delivery of Mr. Beast Burger ever could be. At Five Guys, you get more toppings and a better selection of toppings (including

mushrooms, jalapeño peppers and hot sauce) for free. Also, they have free peanuts! The quality of Five Guys is better, there’s more freedom to choose what you want to eat, and it can even be cheaper than Mr. Beast Burger if you’re willing to take a 15 minute walk into Waltham. When compared to Five Guys, Mr. Beast Burger doesn’t hold up. I can’t recommend it to anyone, because I know there’s a better dining experience less than a mile away. It’s nice that Sodexo is trying to add new food options to campus, but it would be even better if they improve the dining options that we already have. Food at the dining halls borders on inedible most of the time, and I feel that Sodexo should fix that problem instead of adding unhealthy celebrity-branded food to our campus.

Panera’s new ‘Take Chicken Sandwich’ review By Sasha Skarboviychuk and John Fornagiel editors

In an unexpected turn of events the chicken sandwich wars have a new, unexpected, contestant: Panera. Now we are all probably thinking the same thing: why? Though for once, we do not have a good answer for you. Panera came out with two chicken sandwiches: “The Signature Take Chicken Sandwich” and “The Spicy Take Chicken Sandwich.” The Signature Take is described as a “seasoned and seared chicken breast, parmesan crisps, emerald greens and garlic aioli on a brioche roll,” on the Panera website. While the Spicy is a “Seasoned and seared chicken breast, spicy Buffalo sauce, crispy pickle chips, and garlic aioli on a brioche roll,” according to the website. The sandwiches cost $11.99 plus tax and come with a choice of side (baguette, chips or an apple). Sasha Regular Take I was scared going into this; this is definitely the most expensive chicken sandwich in the industry (though we can get back to the debate on whether Panera is fast food or not), which means that expectations are already high for it. The first disappointment was the way the sandwich looked. I know better to trust the picture, but this was like night and day. On the website you get a nice, big sandwich; we actually got a pathetically small excuse of a sandwich. This was an okay chicken sandwich; there was nothing too special about it. The sandwich was

small, especially the piece of chicken on it. Like pathetically small. I am not someone who eats a lot, but this sandwich left me hungry (I was hungrily attacking my baguette after this). The sandwich was quite dry, it definitely needed more sauce, but I did enjoy the greens on it. I appreciate a sandwich with lots of greens on it. The taste was alright; nothing too notable. The crisps really can go though. Spicy Take Generally, my comments about this sandwich are the same as those for the regular: too small, still hungry. It was definitely less dry than the regular version, and the Buffalo sauce was good. However it was not spicy at all. Repeat after me: 19 times out of 20, buffalo sauce is not actually spicy. Stop putting buffalo sauce on things and calling them spicy. The spicy variation does not come with greens on it: WHY? I like my spice and my vegetables. The lack of greens on it definitely harmed the overall flavor. But it was still an okay tasting sandwich, if you customize it and add greens, it would definitely be the better one of the two. Overall, in terms of value for money, this sandwich gets a four out of 10, while in terms of taste I would give it a 7.5. John Regular Take When I first heard that Panera was releasing a chicken sandwich, I was ecstatic. For those who don’t know, I love chicken sandwiches, and a healthier alternative to feed my cravings for the smallest amount of calories possible sounds amazing compared to the

deep-fried oily alternatives you can get from most fast food joints. With that being said, the price is nothing to sneeze at: $11.99 for a sandwich and side is not too absurd in itself, but the sandwich has to be appropriately sized and also have an unforgettable taste that matches its unforgettable price. For background, I am not usually a big fan of Panera Bread’s food: I often find it overpriced and leaving me hungry, so I desperately hoped that this was an exception. When I got the sandwich from the counter, I was shocked at how freaking small it was. For comparison, it was around the size of my closed fist. While I do have large hands, that is still a really small sandwich. For this sandwich to be worth its price, it would have to taste like no other chicken sandwich I’ve had in the past and would have to knock my socks off. With that being said, the sandwich was quite tasty! I appreciated that it was not deep-fried and was coated in a layer of oil, but instead had vegetables and a sauce that complemented the chicken as the majority of the flavor in the sandwich, definitely a refreshing take on a chicken sandwich. Even though the sandwich was small, what was there was a great chicken sandwich. Overall, I would give the Panera Bread regular chicken sandwich an 8/10 for flavor, a 5/10 for size, and a 5/10 for price. Unfortunately, we were actually still hungry after finishing the chicken sandwich, so we ended up ordering one of their other sandwiches. Spicy Take While I love a good old spicy chicken sandwich and usually

prefer them to the regular chicken sandwiches, I feel mostly the same about this sandwich as the other one. The price is way too high, the sandwich is much too small, but what’s there is still a tasty sandwich nonetheless. I like the spicy sauce that they put on it and I think it’s a great addition to the sandwich, I just wish that there was more of it (and more of everything for that matter). The sauce was not too spicy and did not have me running for water, though I am pretty spice tolerant. Overall, I’ll give the spicy chicken sandwich the same rating: an 8/10 for flavor, a 5/10 for size, and a 5/10 for price. Nothing really changed except for the spicy

sauce, but other than that was basically identical. The story for all of Panera’s food items seem to be the exact same: overpriced, small portions, and left feeling hungry and ultimately unsatisfied. While we have noticed this as a common pattern among Panera’s food items, we hope that this is a trend that will be broken and Panera increases their food portions, along with a decrease in price. We both currently feel that there is no reason to order food from Panera Bread when we can just get more food for a smaller price (that tastes equally as good) from other restaurants.



April 8, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 13

‘driving home 2 u’ showcases Olivia Rodrigo’s greatest strengths By Caroline O editor

Now a Grammy-award winning artist, Olivia Rodrigo was and still is one of the hottest new artists of 2021 and onwards. At only 18 years old, she released the beloved hit “drivers license,” which has blown up Spotify and other streaming platforms since its release. Since “drivers license,” she’s released equally powerful and punk-poppish hits like “deja vu” and “good 4 u,” which brings us to her debut album, “SOUR.” Given Rodrigo’s hit songs leading up to the album release, no one’s surprised at how “SOUR” won Best Pop Vocal Album for this year’s Grammys. However, this article isn’t about the fantasticness of “SOUR”—this article is instead about the recently-released Disney+ documentary “OLIVIA RODRIGO: driving home 2 u,” which follows Rodrigo on a road trip from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. Over the course of this documentary, we get to see not only different iterations of the songs from “SOUR,” as well as all of those anxieties and triumphs that came along the way with making one of 2021’s biggest albums of the year. As someone who doesn’t par-

ticularly care for documentaries about contemporary musical artists (the fear of putting someone on a pedestal is just too great), I actually enjoyed “driving home 2 u.” This documentary remains solely focused on Rodrigo’s approach to her songwriting and album-making process, with clips of herself ruminating over certain pieces with her producer Dan Nigro. In one particularly memorable moment, Rodrigo and Nigro band together, five days before the expected album release day, to make the iconic album opener “brutal.” For anyone who’s even remotely aware of an album-making/releasing process, putting together a song and switching up the tracklist order five days before release is a scramble for most. However, Rodrigo’s determination and perfectionism, as well as her absolute creativity in how she jams out with her producer, all come together in a way that can’t help me personally from admiring the way her brain works. It’s simply too easy to see how Rodrigo has a bright career ahead of her already, just from the way she takes her work and herself seriously throughout this process. Another element of the documentary that I enjoyed was the mini concert-slash-tour. As Rodrigo travels across deserts and mountains, she sings snippets

of each of her songs from the album. They’re not exactly the same as they are on the album either—each song is given a slight twist, like “favorite crime” being a hauntingly stripped version of itself in an abandoned church, or the even punkier, heavy-metal take on “jealousy, jealousy.” While each performance is fantastic, my personal favorite is the string arrangement of “good 4 u,” which turns the anger of the song into a chilling ballad. I also absolutely adore the indie-rock take on the closer “hope ur ok,” which ends with Rodrigo running to the ocean with her bandmates in a coming-of-age-movie type ending that perfectly fits the sentimental vibe of the song. In each of these performances, Rodrigo proves herself to be an incredibly masterful vocalist, as well as someone who’s aware of the different genres in which she’s singing in. She’s equal parts spunk, sweet and sophisticated. She’s serious about the kinds of songs she wants to write and sing, and that shines through each one of these performances. These snippets can’t help but make me wonder if Rodrigo might ever explore into the different genres showcased in each of these clips, just because she’s already shown so much versatility in “SOUR” and now again in this documentary. If


she does wind up jumping from genre to genre, I can bet she’ll pull it off with a force that the music industry will remember for a while. In short, “driving home 2 u” was a solid elaboration on Olivia Rodrigo as an artist. The documentary already allows us a sneak peek of what Rodrigo might be working

on next, her emphasis mostly on that she wants to write happier songs, a happier album. She has an obvious vision in what she wants to do going forward, and she seems excited to bring all of her listeners along for the ride. Olivia Rodrigo is on a roll, and I cannot wait to see what she does next.

‘Death on the Nile’ explores love, murder and people By Cyrenity Augustin editor

I am a huge fan of murder mysteI am a huge fan of murder mysteries, so when I heard about “Death on the Nile,” my interest was piqued. I didn’t really have an understanding of the plot before starting the film—all I knew was that someone was killed—so I wasn’t sure what to really expect when watching it. After finishing the movie, I found that it was good, but there were certain aspects of it that just didn’t necessarily work for me. I am aware that the movie is based on the novel by the same name by Agatha Christie, and while I haven’t read it, I assume that the plot is quite similar, if not the same. However, since I have only seen the movie, I plan to review the film as if this was its decided plot, rather than being predetermined.

To give a brief description of the parameter of the movie, Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is a famous detective and ends up being invited to the wedding party of Linnet Ridgeway (Gal Gadot) and Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer) by his friend Bouc (Tom Bateman). As he spends time with the various other people invited, he learns about their various relationships with Linnet, and also the constant appearance of Jacqueline de Bellefort (Emma Mackey) who was Linnet’s best friend and is Simon’s ex-fiance. As the group all find themselves on a boat on the Nile River, (a failed effort by Linnet and Simon to continue the celebration away from Jacqueline), a murder takes place, and Poirot rises to the challenge to find the murderer and bring them to justice. As I said earlier, I love a good murder mystery. The collection of clues, the discovery of hid-


den secrets and the revelation of how everything fits together at the end always draw me in. However, for this particular film, I feel that there was too much time spent setting up the scenario. The death didn’t occur until about halfway through the movie, and while I did appreciate the sort of guessing game of “who is going to die?” while I waited for the actual murder to occur, I feel that making viewers wait so long for the revelation isn’t necessarily the best decision, and could lead to impatience and a loss of interest. I think the information provided, the setup of the different characters and their various relationships and possible motives should have been introduced in a shorter time span, giving a balance between character establishment and viewer attention span. In terms of aspects of the film that I loved, I’d like to specify the characters and the way that the actors portrayed them. For one, the way that Branagh played Poirot was, to put it simply, fantastic. I immediately was drawn to him not only as a detective but as a person as well. This appreciation also extended to Rosalie Otterbourne (Letitia Wright), whose playful nature, honesty, confidence and determination made me root her on from behind the screen. It is quite clear that she inherited that nature from her aunt, Salome Otterbourne (Sophie Okonedo), whose balance of flirts, humor and positivity with her self-confidence and laid back nature helped solidify her as one of my favorites, alongside the other two. Even Jacqueline, who is portrayed as a nuisance and antagonistic, garnered my sympathies, the pain that plagued her from heartbreak so clearly portrayed on screen. I could go on and talk about the way that all of the cast,


but I will sum it up with this. The characters were all played to perfection, and played with my emotions with the utmost success. Before I sign off, there are two quick things that I would like to touch on. First is the way that love works in the story. There is the overall love between Linnet and Simon, the heartbreak of Jacqueline for a lover that left her and various other discussions of love throughout the whole film that I’ll keep unspoiled. I didn’t expect such an inclusion, and I definitely didn’t think that it would be so important. I feel that because the film decided to examine and speak on the various love lives of the characters, there were moments where the film lost some of the focus on the actual murder mystery, and in turn, led to the plot feeling like it was being a bit derailed at points. However, I do recognize the importance of love to the film (and how it reflects individuals in real life) and there were moments when I loved the chemistry between two certain characters. I just feel that it made the movie less of a murder mystery

and more of an analysis through the means of a murder mystery. Secondly, the final revelation, and in turn, the solving of the mystery. I won’t spoil anything, but the way that the actors portrayed the various emotions in this scene was beautiful. Poirot really made readers sympathize and understand how he was feeling at that moment, and the emotions of the accused were so interesting and vividly portrayed. The way that the situation was wrapped up after Poirot solved the mystery wasn’t necessarily satisfying to me, but I think taking into account the way that the story had progressed to that point, it made sense. “Death on the Nile” is not just about death and love, but rather explores the various things people are capable of and are willing to do with the right motivation. The plot seems to focus more on analyzing this phenomenon rather than the actual murder, and while I do think that it does detract from the flow of the film at times, I can appreciate the analysis. Love can make people do the strangest things, after all.


The Brandeis Hoot

April 8, 2022

‘Bridgerton’ season two is somehow better than season one By Emma Lichtenstein editor

Imagine: it’s March 25 and you are swearing to yourself that you’re not going to binge “Bridgerton” season two. You’ve waited over a year for this moment, so now it’s time to savor the magic. You succeed the first day, opening Netflix to watch just one episode, only to immediately fail the challenge, watching the entire rest of the series the very next day. Following the books, the second season of “Bridgerton” takes on a new story, following a different Bridgerton sibling. This year’s leading man is Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), the eldest of the bunch. Viewers met him in season one as a playboy womanizer who doesn’t believe in love, a facade

that Anthony desperately tries to maintain throughout the season. But then the Sharma sisters come along. Edwina (Charithra Chandran) is the diamond of the season and therefore Anthony’s desire. She has been named the best of the best, what else does he need to know? But her sister Kate (Simone Ashley) disapproves of the marriage … something that might just end up benefiting Anthony. Warning: spoilers ahead. Going in, I was an Anthony hater. He seemed pretty basic in season one, with very few bits to redeem him. For the first two episodes, I was confused at what all the women of the ton (Yes, they say “ton” instead of “town” and I don’t know why) found in him. But episode three got me with the Anthony redemption arc.


The episode opens on a scene of Father Bridgerton dying in Anthony’s arms due to a bee sting. That horrifying shot comes back throughout the episode, watching as Anthony is forced to grow up and “be the man of the house,” caring for his mother and seven younger siblings at only 20 years old. If that’s not tragic enough, Kate is stung by a bee at the end of the episode, standing in the same garden where his father died over 10 years ago. Anthony is, of course, beside himself—the first time he allows himself to admit that he cares at all about Kate. That closing scene is probably my favorite of the season, and the first major turning point in the Kanthony relationship. Despite almost no sex scenes, Kate and Anthony are steamier than last season’s couple. In season one, viewers were treated to a truly astounding amount of spice, so the complete lack is unexpected, but a pleasant surprise. Season two takes us back to the traditional regency era, where even standing too close together is considered a scandal. Kate and Anthony’s relationship progresses through eye contact made across ballrooms, poetic speeches about why they hate each other and forced proximity due to the fact that Anthony is courting Kate’s sister. Who is doing it like them? As if these two couldn’t get any more insane, they share their first kiss at a wedding that is not theirs. Anthony is up on the altar, about to pledge his vows to Edwina—YES, the sister! He makes such intense eye contact with Kate that Edwina picks up on their hidden feelings and calls off the wedding. I’ve been told that this severely differs from the book, but I don’t care,


this made for great television. I should know better than to doubt showrunner Shonda Rhimes. It’s over-the-top and melodramatic and exactly the type of nonsense that I come to “Bridgerton” for. Their happy ending in episode eight is earned and well-deserved. During all of this madness, every other character is also creating their own chaos. Those Bridgerton siblings are nothing if not trouble. For example, Eloise (Claudia Jessie) resumes her hunt for Lady Whistledown, the anonymous “Gossip Girl”-esque blogger that plagues the city. In her quest, she learns more about feminism, friendship and first love. Benedict (Luke Thompson) embraces his artistic passions, going off to study at the Royal Academy. He discovers a new self-confidence and embraces

creativity from all sources. Colin (Luke Newton) continues to be, and I genuinely say this so lovingly, an absolute idiot. Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) is hopelessly into him, and has been from the very start of the show. The two are good friends, and Colin always goes out of his way to be kind to her. This season, he doubles his affectionate efforts, all in the sake of being “good friends.” Hopefully next season he’ll start to come to his senses and realize that perhaps he cares for Penelope in a way that is stronger than friendly. “Bridgerton” is one of those shows that I know I shouldn’t adore, but for some reason I just can’t stop thinking about. It transports viewers into an idealistic regency era world, one that you can’t help but get lost in. Season three can’t come soon enough!

‘The Bubble’ is Judd Apatow’s worst movie yet By Lucy Fay editor

“The Bubble” (2022), is a twohour meta-comedy, written and directed by Judd Apatow, about celebrities filming a dumb action movie during the pandemic. Had I known that information going in, I probably would not have watched it. I really wish I had known that information. There is simply nothing as cringey as a poorly done meta-joke and this movie is a twohour-long meta-joke that never becomes funny. There are a few funny bits throughout. Ignoring the film’s much larger flaws there may even be enough funny bits to make this a watchable movie, for some people, Judd Apatow tends

to be divisive. But this movie’s greatest flaw runs deep, that flaw being no one wants to see a heightened satire about the pandemic. Maybe in a decade, we can all reminisce and laugh at the ridiculousness of the coronavirus era. But for now, it’s just our lives, which is to say boring and exhausting. Funny movies serve as an important form of escapism, that few want bogged down by reality. That is not to say quality comedy cannot be made about the state of the world right now—it is just difficult. The only great examples I have seen are season one of “Staged” and the COVID-19 season of “Superstore.” These shows keep their comedy extremely relevant—they are full of likable characters and tend to be written in a subtle, down to Earth way. “The Bubble” emulates none of


these qualities. This film satirizes the pandemic as if it were in the past and to watch a film with that perspective is insufferable. A massive failure of “The Bubble” is its characters. It has a great cast, the central group of characters is entirely made up of talented big-name comics and actors, but no one shines. No character nor performance is memorable. It is unclear who viewers are even expected to like. Every person is an uncharismatic unrealistic antagonist, with ridiculous, soulless relationships and laughably hackneyed arcs. Given such a large group of awful characters, viewers have no reason to care about anything going on in the film. And the plot surely does not offset such a deficit of likability. A lot happens throughout “The Bubble.” Many people have sex, a finger gets cut off, three fulllength high production TikTok dance numbers occur with the entire cast, none of which are stemmed by plot nor serve any purpose other than to make this far too long movie even longer. But no things that happen actually matter. Most subplots go nowhere and are made up of two characters having obviously improv-based conversations for three to eight minutes. These scenes make up nearly half of the movie. It seems safe to assume these minimal production, two-actor segments were featured so heavily because of difficulties filming during the pandemic, but they slow the movie down and muddle the central


plot. Plus, while the central cast is made up of some great actors, not all of them have a lot of experience in comedy, and thus attempts to keep long improvised bits funny and entertaining fell flat. “The Bubble” takes so many liberties in assuming it is funny. There is an attitude throughout that screams; if characters are having fun and making selfaware jokes, the audience must be entertained. But that just was not the case. The characters were annoying villains so I did not care about them. The plot was too distracted to settle on a sol-

id threat, goal or structure, so it did not hold my attention. Jokes were outdated, side characters got too much screen time and to top it all off, I kept being reminded that we are living in a pandemic. I don’t want to say “The Bubble” is offensive because that is what this movie expects us Gen Z-ers, whom it repeatedly mocks, to say. But this film offended me. I was offended, as a youth, a woman, a Jew, a cinephile and a human being, by just how awful this movie truly is.

April 8, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

‘CODA’ is an Oscar winner with a lot of heart edtior

Although “CODA” was released on August 13, 2021, people are still talking about it over half a year later. Just a few weeks ago, “CODA” won Best Picture at the Oscars, along with Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur. Most of the films in Oscar season usually come out in the last quarter of the year so it takes a special kind of film released before that time period to get this widely recognized. “CODA” is that special film. It did not always get the talk of winning Best Picture, but it was soon seen that this film is unstoppable. That being said, when the nominees were first announced and it had not yet emerged as a frontrunner, it was still the film that I was rooting for. This was my favorite film out of all of the nominees and I loved it as soon as I saw it. While it was a fairly predictable film, I was still tearing up by the end. It was a sweet story that tugs at your heartstrings, and it shows what it is like to be in the deaf community. It is available on Apple TV if you want to watch it and understand its beauty. Based on the 2013 French film, “La Famille Bélier,” “CODA” follows high schooler Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones) who is a child of deaf adults (a CODA). She is the only person in her family who can hear, which leads to the constant reliance by her parents, Frank (Troy Kostur) and Jackie (Marilee Maitlin), and her brother Leo (Daniel Durant). Frank and Leo run a fishing boat and Ruby also works on the boat, mostly as the ears for what is happening. She has never seen her life outside of the family business. One day, she

notices her crush (Ferdia WalshPeelio) signing up for choir so she decides to join him. When the choir teacher (Eugenio Derbez) notices her talent, he pushes her to focus on singing. She grows to love singing and realizes that this is what she wants to do and she wants to go to Berklee College of Music. However, her family wants her to stay with the fishing business as they believe they can not survive without her. Frank and Leo are already dealing with serious money troubles with their boat and issues with the union, and they cannot deal with a change in their system. Ruby must decide if she is going to be with her family or follow her dreams. This is a very character driven film which means the film has to rely a lot on its actors. If the acting was not good, the film would have been written off as too cheesy or a glorified tv film. Luckily, this film does an excellent job with its casting. All of the deaf characters were played by actual deaf actors, which unfortunately cannot be said for the film’s French counterpart. I have to start by giving love to Troy Kotsur, who won an Oscar for his performance as Ruby’s father, Frank. He was a passionate man who would do anything for his family. We see him work everyday on his boat, fight at board meetings for better working conditions and express his love for his wife as if they only just got married. The scene where Frank first understands the beauty of Ruby’s voice is what broke me and shows Kotsur’s talented acting. I also really liked Emilia Jones acting as Ruby. She is being pulled by two worlds and she does not know where she fits in. She goes on a journey to find her voice, literally, and she learns to stand up for herself. She explains to her teacher


that she is always late because her family needs her, and she explains to her parents that she wants something more than a fishing boat. She grows more confident and she is relatable to anyone with a dream. I also enjoyed Marilee Maitlin’s performance as Ruby’s mother Jackie. Maitlin won an Oscar in 1987 for “Children of a Lesser God,” which made her the first deaf actor to win an Oscar. She has not done any prominent films since then due to a lack of options, but I want to see a lot more of her. In this film, she was the perfect caring mother. She was always willing to see her daughter’s point of view, leading to many heart to hearts between the two. She always supported her husband, but also wasn’t afraid to tell him straight if she questioned an idea of his, like changes in the fishing business. Her part was not that extravagant, but she still did a great job as a wonderful mother. I really enjoyed the simplicity

of this film. There were no huge twists or fancy effects. This was a film that was based a lot on conversations which grounded the film. You can feel like you know this family and even if you are not deaf, and you can relate to their situation. The choice between staying home or making a big life change can affect so many people, and that is what makes it easy to connect to this film. Some people did not like the film specifically because of the simplicity and the predictability was seen as a little boring. Personally, I believe that “CODA” is a straightforward film that does not need to try hard to reach people’s emotions. Not every film needs to be complex or dramatic. We see these four people who care so much and would do anything for each other. It was an emotional film because we see the issues deaf people have to face in life, such as running a boat without being able to hear what’s going on. I wanted Ruby to make ev-

eryone happy with her choices even though her parents could not understand her. I just wanted everyone in this film to be happy without feeling the need for sacrifice, which shows how well written the characters and story were. The beauty of this film is that it is timeless. There are some Best Picture winners that are so specific to their time they probably would have only won their year. There is nothing about “CODA” that makes it particularly specific for its time and I appreciate that. Anyone can enjoy this film because at the end of the day, it is a story about the importance of family and following your heart. I am really glad that this film won Best Picture so that more people will have an interest in seeing it. If you want to see a beautiful tale about gaining confidence and family, or you want to see some much needed representation of deaf people, watch “CODA” today.

The bloodless husk that is ‘Morbius’ By Sam Finbury staff

In the face of the masterfully designed entertainment domination conspiracy known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s difficult to recall the dark age that preceded the first Iron Man movie, when comics were silly nerd fodder and decade spanning, multi franchise Superhero macrocosms were laughable fantasy. In this “before time,” outside the secluded bubbles of the X-Men and Spiderman series, the majority of superhero movies refrained from adapting the heavy hitters of the comic industry, and opted for the characters that almost nobody knew or cared about: “Blade,” “Daredevil,” “Elektra,” “Ghost Rider,” “Spawn,” “Catwoman” and “The Punisher.” The heavy stink of embarrassment still surrounded the very idea of making superhero movies, so writers chose to adapt heroes who looked edgy and cool and who were obscure to the point that audiences could forget they were pulled from the pages of comic books. Their obscurity also allowed writers to do whatever they wanted with them, which is why the “Catwoman” movie has Catwoman literally sniff catnip and battle an evil Avon saleslady. These flicks were a litany of embarrassing club-footed messes (except Hellboy, which rules supreme), and while characters like Daredevil and the Punisher have found redemption in the MCU,

this grimy try-hard period of Superhero cinema serves reminder of the importance of substance over style. However, like the return of an eldridge evil thought vanquished, one last vestige of low effort antihero movies has spasmed into theaters. “Morbius,” an adaption of “Morbius the Living Vampire,” everybody’s favorite Marvel hero, is the brainchild of, I assume, some Sony executive who was cryogenically frozen in 2002, recently thawed out, and decided it would be a good idea to lose the studio a lot of money. With all luck, they’ll put him back on ice soon. “Morbius” is the story of Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto), a renowned scientist who injects himself with vampire bat DNA in order to cure his nondescript blood disease. As mad science is ought to do, his experiment goes awry and he transforms into a vampire. He now possesses all of the powers of a vampire bat such as a thirst for blood, echo location, wingless flight and colored smoke trails that bleed off him when he jumps around. You know, like a real bat. To Morbius, his powers are a curse, but for his adopted brother Milo (Matt Smith), who takes the same serum, they become a dark blessing, and out of jealousy, spite or boredom, Milo begins a vampiric feeding frenzy. Morbius is forced to find a way to stop Milo and end the movie as quickly as possible so everyone can go home. Before you jump to conclusions, the presence of Jared Leto

is not an automatic negative. Sure, Leto is a pretentious stick bug of a man who runs a cult (look it up), but the Morbius character is also a snobbish weirdo so the casting fits fairly well. Besides, though he’s not a good person, Leto is a good actor. However, Leto chose not to act in this film. Nobody did. Morbius’s placeholder love interest played by Adria Arjona, behaves like she just walked onto the studio lot to ask for directions. Jared Harris, bless his heart, plays Morbius and Milo’s mentor and is clearly only hanging around the set to pay for some new addition to his house. The best performance belongs to Matt Smith, who also doesn’t care, but decides to just have fun, grinning and hamming it up and even participating in an adorable dress-up dance montage. Even divorced from the performances, the “Morbius” concept doesn’t exactly lend itself toriveting cinema. Sure, nobody cared about the “Guardians of the Galaxy” either and Marvel made them work, but the source material was still that of a team, with emotional backgrounds and quirky memorable style to build upon. Morbius is one Spiderman side character, without a rogues gallery, fan base or sense of style distinguishable from other grimdark antiheroes. It might have worked if they tried, but a lack of care runs in the marrow of “Morbius,” to the point where the movie seems to have an antipathy for itself. I’m serious when I say that reading the Wikipedia plot sum-

mary for this movie and watching it are the same experience. This film has been edited down to vulture-picked bones, with all the jokes, heroic struggles, emotional depth, character growth and crucial plot stepping stones left gored on the cutting room floor. After Morbius becomes a vampire, the audience is subjected to the obligatory “hero figuring out their powers” scene. However, the director had a brunch to get to, so, rather than showing Morbius learning the ramifications of being a vampire slowly, allowing us to better connect with him, what follows is a ten minute montage of Morbius describing what his powers are as if he’s preparing us for a quiz. This same expositional fate befalls Morbius and Milo’s friendship, Milo’s villainous intentions, and basically anything that would have made the film slightly captivating. Of course, even a bad story ca be saved by good stylism. Well, no but let’s pretend it can because Morbius, if nothing else, is a character defined by gothic theming and horror elements. But “Morbius” never fails to fail completely, and this film, alongside being nauseatingly boring, is also hard to look at by virtue of the dark blue sunglass filter placed over every shot. This color grading, in combination with epeleptic editing, random slow motion and obstructive mid 2000’s CGI smoke, makes “Morbius” few piddling fight scenes utterly indecipherable. Although what their fighting

about remains a mystery considering both Morbius and Milo are doomed to starve to death, living in an alternate universe where people are scarecrows full of asbestos. For those who didn’t catch that, this gothic hardcore vampire movie doesn’t feature any blood, gore, or viscera, apparently striving for a family friendly G rating. This level of backwards shirted incompetence would be frustrating if I cared. But nobody does, not even the people that made “Morbius.” Despite seemingly gunning for a franchise, Morbius reeks of defeatism and obligation, a movie nobody asked for that exists because somebody on top floors at Sony said it should. The fact that it’s superficially connected to Marvel isn’t even upsetting. “Morbius” lacks enough impact to parasitically bring down any part of its greater cinematic universe. “Morbius” isn’t even a Marvel movie. It weakly tries to trick you into thinking it is, plastering the logo on posters, sneaking in little Spiderman references and stapling on after credits scenes that hint at sequels with forgotten Marvel side characters. But, this is a spin off, the words “associated with” scrawled above the Marvel logo like fine print in some Faustian contract. But no, it’s a skin tag in the armpit of the MCU that can be blythely pinched off and discarded, ultimately rendering “Morbius’” meaninglessness its only real virtue.


The Brandeis Hoot

April 8, 2022

Elden Ring’s PVP is kinda broken right now By Stewart Huang editor

In my last article on “Elden Ring,” I hypothesized that its player vs. player (PVP) experience would feel very much like the one found in “Dark Souls 3” but with substantial improvements. Well, now that I have played “Elden Ring” for 200+ hours, I can say that this hypothesis is only half true at the moment. I still maintain that this game is the best game I’ve ever played, and its PVP is a substantial improvement in terms of its variety, but it is way too imbalanced even when compared to previous installments. Just like past entries, the multiplayer of “Elden Ring” consists of invasions and dueling. An Invasion is as it sounds: You can “invade” other players’ worlds as they’re going through the single-player campaign and try to kill them, a chaotic experience that is unfair by design since you can only invade people who are co-oping in this installment. Whereas dueling is a more controlled environment where two players agree to a one-on-one fight via summoning one player to another’s world. Many animations and sound effects were also carried over from “Dark Souls 3,” so people who have played that game will find the flow of combat of “Elden Ring” extremely similar. But this is pretty much where the similarities end.

One major problem with “Elden Ring’s” PVP is that there are many things that do too much damage too fast and too easily. There is a weapon skill called “Hoarfrost Stomp” that allowed players to create a large cone of ice that can almost one-shot people at the cost of very little resources, and it was highly spammable because the cast time was also decently fast. It was so overpowered, dominating both PVP and PVE, that it was finally nerfed about two weeks ago. But so many other weapons and skills can do the same thing if not even better. There’s “Moonveil,” a katana that shoots out magical beams of energy that come out lightning fast and do insane amounts of damage. There’s “Rivers of Blood,” also a katana, that unleashes a flurry of slashes that can bleed and stunlock you to death in one combo. Many dual-wielding bleed weapons have basically the same power: if you make a mistake and get hit by them, prepare to be stunned and bleed to death. Granted, “Dark Souls 3” also had horrible weapon balance, but even the best weapons can never one-shot or almost oneshot you. Now imagine facing two or three players using these overpowered strategies as an invader. You might squeeze out a win if you’re a “Souls” veteran using every tool at their disposal, but the truth is most players won’t stand any chance unless they’re also using the same weapons and skills. Even then the numbers advantage

is just too much to handle most of the time. And an environment where people are constantly being one-shot is just not fun anyway. On the flip side of things, some weapons and skills in comparison seem completely unviable, especially heavier weapons like great hammers and great axes. The point of these weapons is that they have lower attack speeds in exchange for high damage output, and so they are made basically irrelevant by the wildly over-tuned stuff that do way more damage at twice the speed. In addition, their movesets and speed have also been nerfed compared to the ones in “Dark Souls 3,” which is a weird choice given how they were already not very good and that almost everything else became way better in “Elden Ring.” By itself, this problem of weapons having too much damage is still not that bad, at least in duels. There is room for counterplay, and I live for the challenge of facing these weapons with inferior loadouts. Most people who abuse these things aren’t very good anyway. However, the problem is made worse by two broken mechanics: poise and a weapon skill called “Bloodhound Step.” Poise is a stat that allows you to tank through attacks without being staggered. In “Dark Souls 3,” poise only applies to select weapons (mostly the heavier weapons like the ones I mentioned previously) and only when attacking, but poise in “Elden Ring” applies

across the board: It doesn’t matter what weapon the player is using or whether they are attacking. With high amounts of poise, a character can remain uninterrupted for several attacks even by heavy weapons, which makes for very little counterplay. You can’t really punish your opponent’s attacks because they can just keep wailing at you while ignoring your own attacks. On the other hand, “Bloodhound Step” is a skill that allows a player to dash through a great distance while being invulnerable. It is highly spammable with little recovery time and low resource cost, so it acts as both a get out of jail free card and an insane tool for aggressive playstyles. It’s mind-boggling how something so absurdly powerful exists in this game—an inferior version of it is also present in “Dark Souls 3,” and it is already extremely overpowered. Now imagine going up against someone with not only oneshot weapons but also with high poise and “Bloodhound Step.” It is an utter nightmare to face, even in a dueling environment. With all this said, I still think the PVP experience of “Elden Ring” can be a ton of fun, even to the point of surpassing that of “Dark Souls 3,” with the right conditions. The first thing I would recommend is to stay clear of high-level (level 125 to 150) invasions, which is where you’re most likely going to encounter the broken stuff. I think low-lev-

el invasions roughly around level 30 to level 70 are probably the most balanced PVP experiences, disregarding the fact that you’re always outnumbered as an invader, with not too much damage and poise to worry about, though “Bloodhound Step” might still be somewhat of a problem. But I actually found dueling at high levels to be the most fun at this time with some amazing variety that “Dark Souls 3” cannot possibly match. Despite the existence of these overpowered strategies, most players I’ve met aren’t using them. Thanks to the sheer number of options available in “Elden Ring,” there are still a lot of fun loadouts that are very strong but fair, and there is still a ton of player innovation going on with how new the game is. Even when you inevitably fight a poise-stacking, dashing monster wielding “Rivers of Blood,” the fight is still an interesting one because it doesn’t come up that often. You’re also given a good challenge that pushes you to improve. So I think PVP in the form of dueling is the best the “Souls” franchise has to offer so far, and I am confident that PVP as a whole will only improve from here. The game is receiving regular updates, while most of the issues I outlined here are easily fixed by tweaking some numbers. I just hope it doesn’t take the devs too long to do so.


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