The Brandeis Hoot, March 4, 2022

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Volume 20 Issue 5

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”

March 4, 2022

Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.

Dining presentations begin for contract bid

Univ. responds to Ukraine invasion

By Victoria Morronielllo and Vimukthi Mawilmada

By Victoria Morrongiello editor


On Feb. 24, Russian troops invaded Ukraine under the orders of Russian President Vladamir Putin in an attempt to redraw the borders of the Soviet Union nearly 30 years after its collapse, according to a Washington Street Journal article. University President Ron Liebowitz wrote in support of peace between Russia and Ukraine in an address to community members on March 1. “I also want to express our collective concern for those within our community whose families and loved ones are being directly affected by the crisis in the region. May this conflict

The university’s dining contract with Sodexo, a food and facilities management company, is set to expire in July 2022 and has begun the selection process for a new vendor. The contract with Sodexo was set to end in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the contract was extended an additional two years, according to a previous Brandeis Hoot article. The university is hearing the initial bidder presentations for multiple food service operators including: Harvest Table, Nexdine, Sodexo Group, Avi Food Systems and Bon Appetit.

See UKRAINE, page 3

See DINING , page 2


Students organize ‘Rally to Defend Dining Workers’ By Anya Lance-Chacko, Cooper Gottfried and Victoria Morrongielo editor

On Friday, Feb. 18, dozens of Brandeis students joined dining workers in a protest for the dining workers’ union rights. The

protest, organized by the Brandeis Leftist Union (BLU), was held with three demands regarding the treatment of union workers. “We will not stand for this. Labor issues are student issues, and it is our responsibility to defend dining workers’ rights,” read pamphlets handed out to concerned community members at the rally.

According to pamphlets that were handed out at the protest, the demands were a public commitment to upholding union wages and benefits, a catering contract exclusive to union workers and representation and inclusion of union members in contractor selections. The third bullet comes as the university

undergoes its selection process for a new dining vendor, according to a Brandeis Hoot article. The pamphlets being circulated also included a QR code with links to keep informed on the BLU’s events, a list of chants that were used at the protest and a brief description of the dining worker situation.

In the section of the pamphlets describing the situation that sparked this protest the BLU wrote, “The dining union has been engaged in a struggle with the university over the past year. Catering workers have been stripped of their regular jobs. With the See PROTEST, page 3

Virtual opening of ‘My Mechanical Sketchbook’ at Rose Art Museum By Sarah Kim staff

The Virtual Opening Celebration for the Rose Art Museum’s new exhibition “My Mechanical Sketchbook” took place over Zoom on February 16. Selections from the work of American artist Barkley L. Hendricks were curated by Dr. Gannet Ankori, Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Rose Art Museum Director, and Dr. Elyan J. Hill, Guest Curator of African and African Diaspora Art. It includes oil paintings and photographs retrieved from Hendricks’s estate after his death in 2017.

Inside This Issue:

“At Rose we really like to amplify the voice of the artists,” said Ankori. She described Hendricks as “a virtuoso painter, a brilliant photographer, fashion icon… [and] a lover of basketball, music and poetry.” The hour-long celebration opened with a video, assembled by Rose intern Vincente Cayuela ‘22, introducing Hendrick’s work. It was set to “So What” by Miles Davis, one of the artist’s favorite musicians. The exhibit consists of five overlapping sections. One section, “The Eye and the Lens as Reflections of Self,” addresses black invisibility. In 1966, Hendricks participated in the Penn Academy Traveling Scholarship of the Arts.

News: Alex Bazarsky ‘23 has archelogical find Ops: The ethics behind dining vendors Features: Interested in a marriage pact? Sports: Men’s basketball ends season strong Editorial: New COVID-19 policies

Noticing an absence of diverse representation in portrait paintings, Hendricks highlighted blackness as a “spectrum, rather than a monolith” in his own painted and photographic portraits, according to Dr. Hill. One full-length portrait shown during the ceremony depicts Hendricks himself, wearing a crisp hat and a white blouse in his studio. One hand rests on his heart while the other holds a camera pointed at a mirror. “Boombox and Television” is inspired by technology, sights and sounds. A print of Anita Hill on a television screen and photographs of Miles Davis are See ROSE, page 2

Track and

Page 3 Field heads Page 13 ohio Page 12 Page 6 Ohio is in fact real! Page 10 SPORTS: PAGE 8



Art is too hot to handle! If you can’t handle the heat get out of the kitchen! ARTS: PAGE 17


2 The Brandeis Hoot

March 4, 2022

Univ. dining contract with Sodexo up in July 2022 DINING, from page 1

Harvest Table, Sodexo and Bon Appetit all presented back in 2020 for the dining contract bid before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The Hoot article. Chartwells also presented back in 2020 but did not return for the bidder presentations in 2022. Presentations were held in-person, with a virtual option available for community members to attend via Zoom, according to an email sent by Lois Stanley, Vice President for Campus Planning and Operations, to community members on Feb. 27. The five dining vendors presented in Sherman Function Hall and all community members were encouraged to attend, according to Stanley. At the in-person presentations, the dining vendors provided samples of their food for community members to test out. The presentations also offered a Q&A session for community members to ask questions. After this round of presentations, community members are asked to fill out a feedback form with their opinions on each of the presentations. The finalist will then be asked to present again in Mid-march to the Brandeis community, according to a timeline on the university’s Dining Services Request for Proposals (RFP) page. The letter of intent, which awards the contract to the next dining company, is intended to be released by late March, according to the timeline. Contract negotiation begins in early April with the contract being signed in early June. The new contract is set to commence July 1., according to the page. Harvest Table The Harvest Table Culinary Group presented on Feb. 28 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. The pillars of Harvest Table are they are authentic, collaborative and personalized, according to their resume. During their presentation, the company addressed how they plan to use the university’s Framework for the Future as a guide. Two pillars of the framework that Harvest Table plans to tackle are connectivity, both vertical and horizontally, and enhancing the student experience. The student experience is not just comprised of students but the greater Brandeis and Waltham communities, according to the company presentation. Harvest Table plans to also take care of their service workers, including members of the dining staff who are already on campus. The group also spoke on how they take care of their workers who produce the food they serve.

The control of dining service is being put in the hands of students with Harvest Table, which is not the traditional way of running a dining company, according to the presentation. The group advertised that their model of dining is “for students, by students.” Harvest Table works to create a “food story,” meaning that each community member will be working towards changing the food system alongside the Harvest Group employees. The current food system is broken, according to the Harvest Table representatives. It is broken because there is a disproportionate amount of people who are without food, nearly 30 percent of the food we produce is thrown away, according to the presenters. This indicates a problem with consumption and distribution rather than with production and this is something they seek to change. The company prides itself on food service done differently, according to their resume. Harvest Table is currently partnered with many universities including University of Rochester, Elon University and High Point University, according to their resume. The company advertises itself as approachable and will listen to the needs and wants of the community, according to their resume. Nexdine Nexdine Hospitality presented on Feb. 28 from 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. David Lanci, founder and CEO of Nexdine, spoke at the presentation on behalf of his company. According to Lanci, Nexdine offers a “holistic customized approach to dining, hospitality and wellness service management.” Lanci spoke of the inspiration for his company and career in hospitality coming from his upbringing and family where, “every time we ate it was an event,” said Lanci. The company has been ranked in food management Top 50 and Top 10 most innovative companies, according to the slideshow presentation. The company was founded 13 years ago and according to Lanci Nexdine is all about the people. Lanci said that the company would be built around the community and its needs. “Being people centric means being people-focused,” Lanci explained in the presentation. The company is founded under the principle of “Our Lighted Path,” where they act as a change agent in the community they are in. Being a part of change, the company explained, means offering diversity, equity and inclusion training and development opportunities for their employees.

The dining service is prepared to handle the Kosher dining made available by the university. Nexdine is, “dedicated to traditions and values of Kosher lifestyle,” said the presenters. The company also said during the presentation that it takes food allergen awareness seriously to ensure that all students are able to enjoy their food. According to Nexdine’s company resume, their culinary commitment includes having all of their food sources from reliable and safe sources, entrees and side dishes are made from scratch daily, fresh herbs are used in place of salt-based seasonings and seasonal and local ingredients are incorporated into their menus. Nexdine is currently partnered with “numerous secondary schools throughout the Northeast and is currently in discussions with colleges and universities throughout the country,” according to their resume. The dining company has been partnered with the University of Massachusetts medical school since 2019, according to their resume. As a company, Nexdine works on the implementation of sustainable policies to further their collective commitment to environmental and social responsibility, according to their social responsibility statement. On-campus, to further sustainable practice Nexdine plans to use reusable, biodegradable, compostable goods and ‘green’ chemicals, participate in composting and recycling on campus, use the Green Restaurant Association certification and create of on-campus greenhouses and raised bed gardens. Sodexo Sodexo group presented on March 1 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. All of the company’s senior staff members attended the presentation, which was mostly led by Steve Canario, the vice president of partnership solutions. “As a company and as individuals who have been honored to get to know your campus personally over the past eight years, we’re determined to elevate the student, employee and faculty quality of life across campus and throughout the Waltham community” according to their resume. Sodexo plans to take their kosher dining to the next level with the implementation of uCook innovation kitchen at Sherman dining hall. “uCook is where the students get to be the chefs” claimed the director of culinary innovation, Jennifer DiFrancesco. The space will be an interactive kitchen for Brandeis students and will host local and Sodexo guest chefs to prepare new kosher

menu items. DiFrancesco also highlighted there will be more plant-based options at the station in response to the demand for it. The Executive Chef, Douglas McGee noted that they will implement a Lemon Grass station in Sherman, given that Lemon Grass was the most popular station in Usdan Dining hall. In collaboration with the celebrity chef Mai Pham, Lemon Grass in Sherman will be introducing a “plant-forward” version of the original station in Usdan. AVI AVI Foodsystems presented on March 1 from 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. AVI’s Campus Services division was established in 2002, according to their resume, they are currently partnered with multiple New England universities including Wellesley College and St. Anselm College. “We feature an unwavering commitment to presenting wholesome foods prepared through minimal processing and with natural ingredients. Throughout our program, we have created fresher options with our made-from scratch philosophy, from Claflin’s house-baked sweets to our house-made pastas and pizzas,” reads their resume. According to their resume, AVI has not lost a single contract that they have signed in the past three years. The only contract which they lost was due to a system bid that they lost to a competitor at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. The main pillars of hospitality at AVI are that hospitality is about people and relationships, hospitality is about caring for and supporting each other, and hospitality is about serving others and putting the needs and interests of others first, according to their executive summary. The company’s values have overarching themes in the intersection between food, community and people. The dining program planned for the university will include an update to the Sherman Dining hall to include a new smokehouse and wood-grill concept, deli meats roasted or smoked inhouse and further development of kosher and other culinary platforms. Usdan Dining hall will also be renovated to include a healthier grill, a Pan-Asian noodle and ramen bar and new Exhibition Kitchen featuring global cuisines. Other editions include a Jimmy John’s sandwiches place in Upper Usdan; a refresh of popular brand locations including Dunkin’, Einstein Bros Bagels and Starbucks (Library). The company also plans to introduce LA Mesa Lat-

in American Cuisine in Upper Usdan, Kombucha and cold brew coffees on tap at The Stein and an all-new Hoot Express Market in the International Business School. Bon Appetit Bon Appetit’s Management Company presented on March 2 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Bon Appetit’s parent company is Compass Group, the same group which owns Sodexo. “At Bon Appétit, we see ourselves as your partner, and it’s our job to create a custom food program that speaks to Brandeis’ unique culture, student body, and sustainability goals,” according to their resume. Bon Appetit has experience providing Kosher dining to other universities. According to their resume, the company provides Kosher dining options to Wesleyan University, the food can be enjoyed by all students regardless of whether they follow Kosher living or not. Other universities they’ve provided Kosher dining to includes the University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Goucher College. In their executive summary, the company states that its business philosophy is rooted in providing “food service for a sustainable future.” Bon Appetit, according to their summary, is a leader in sustainable procurement, animal welfare, food waste management, and farmworkers’ rights. Outside of having contracts with university dining halls, Bon Appetit has contracts with Google, LinkedIn and Twitter headquarters and also services the cafés, restaurants and catering for events for The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and The Getty Center in Los Angeles, according to their summary. The goals of the company in their contract with the university are to increase the excitement and participation of community members in dining, provide radical transparency, earn trust, a dining experience that reflects the community, create a living food story and have sustainability and wellness be intertwined. Vendor social responsibility statements, qualifications, proposal executive summaries and company resumes can all be found on the university’s Dining RFP page. The feedback form can be found on the same page, community members can fill out the form for each of the presentations they attended and submit their opinion on the presentation, according to the form.

Rose Art Museum opens new exhibit ROSE, from page 1

showcased. Another series, “I, Too Sing America,” is inspired by a Langston Hughes poem—Hendricks was an avid fan. Hughes’s quotes have been placed on the walls of the Rose Art Gallery. “My work provides me with total freedom. In turn, it demands total honesty,” said Hendricks in 1976. He challenged viewers’ conceptions of masculinity and racial stereotypes; his art is marked by a use of high-heels and the color red, a representation of blood. Ankori described Hendricks as

an individual who “defied categorization.” His works were often subversive and political. More than anything, they were tied to his emotions, said James “Ari” Montford. Montford, a graduate of the Brandeis Art Department and Hendrick’s friend of over 40 years, characterized his peer and “role model” through anecdotes. They met at a party in 1972 and became close over the decades, eventually calling each other “brothers from another mother.” He remembers long conversations about the art community in Hendrick’s kitch-

en, visits to Hendrick’s studio in London and artistic escapades. Posturing as press reporters, they took photographs of a Klu Klux Klan rally in Connecticut. Hundreds of Klan members gathered, some harassing the two artists for the color of their skin. “Someone could’ve walked up behind us and put a knife in our back. It radically changed my work and I know it impacted Barkley as well,” said Montford. Back in Hendrick’s kitchen after the rally, the two men stood in stunned silence. Montford later received a postcard from his friend, a gesture

of gratitude for accompanying him. It also acknowledged their special kinship. On the back of the postcard: a painted self-portrait of Hendricks. He had sent Montford a piece of himself. Montford described Hendricks as relatively private with his work. Few people visited his studio. Following Hendrick’s death in April 2017, his widow called Montford. Susan Hendricks asked for help sifting through her late husband’s work, and together, they came across a garage of uncatalogued art. Montford recovered one of the photos taken during the Klan

rally, a close-up of men and women in full regalia. Now, the startling image hangs on the walls of the Rose. It was difficult for Montford to talk about his departed friend, but he offered an expansive portrait of the artist. “He was constantly, sort of, navigating that whole world out there,” said Montford. Hendricks was given the last word of the virtual ceremony. In an old interview clip, he states, “My camera, I call it my mechanical sketchbook.”

March 4, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

on anicent Mayan civilzation By Roshni Ray editor

A recent BrandeisNow article described the work of Alex Bazarsky ’23 and Professor Charles Golden (ANTH) in revealing the archaeological discoveries of the ancient Mayan civilization. Golden and Bazarsky employed drones to 3D scan a 20-mile sector of the Mayan civilization in Mexico. The 3D scanning technology allowed the team to make progress remotely during the summer of 2020 despite their original trip to Mexico being canceled due to the pandemic. The team worked weekly, analyzing how the topology of the landscape and the different structures they found informed the

patterns of human activity during the time of the Mayan civilization. Each member of the team was responsible for analyzing a particular area of the overall settlement. During this process of studying incremental sections of the Mayan settlement, Bazarsky made an interesting observation about one particular region: “I noticed one area had been less inhabited despite having a suitable area for civilization. This sparked my curiosity. Why wasn’t anyone living here?” she asked, as written in the BrandeisNow article. Given preliminary data, Bazarsky hypothesized that conflict between multiple societies may have resulted in this settlement pattern. Ultimately, her work was published in the academic journal “Remote Sens-

ing,” which documents progress in the diverse applications of 3D scanning technology. Bazarsky learned about the applications of Lidar technology for her project with Golden’s team. Lidar technology, or light detection and ranging technology, is a method of capturing the Earth’s surface through remote sensing technology. Lidar technology primarily has three components: a laser, a scanner and a GPS. This allows scientists and researchers to map, record and store data regarding environmental and human-made surfaces. According to an article published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Lidar technology is not only being used for archeological endeavors, but also to assist in producing

“more accurate shorelines maps, [making] digital elevation models for use in geographic information systems, and to assist in emergency response operations.” Previous research conducted by Golden and Professor Andrew Sherer from Brown University investigated the cause of the fall of the Mayan civilization. Golden’s primary research question was whether the demise was caused by drought or something else. Golden describes the commonly accepted narrative of the fall of the Mayan civilization, saying, “A severe, prolonged drought created an agricultural crisis that swept all of the Maya kingdoms into history.” However, their research contradicts this notion since the team found that the three kingdoms in the area

had an abundance of crops and were functioning in distinct technological and social hierarchies. Using the same Lidar sensing technology, the team found that there were forts scattered through the different valleys in the region, indicating that there may have been conflict between rulers, control over trade routes and the best agricultural resources. Bazarsky is double majoring in anthropology and Latin American studies with a minor in art history. The team is making continual progress towards uncovering more about the Mayan civilization in Mexico and will be able to dig and excavate novel findings on-site in Mexico this coming summer. Bazarksy plans to continue her senior research with Golden’s team.

Community members participate in rally to support union dining workers PROTEST, from page 1

Sodexo contract ending soon, all dining workers fear for the security of their jobs and union benefits. Throughout the selection process, Brandeis has done nothing to protect dining workers.” The pamphlet cited that many of the dining workers have been employed by the university for over 20 years, and still the university does not treat them “like members of the Brandeis community.” According to the BLU pamphlet, “The people who feed us deserve better.” Union worker, Lucia Hsiung, who has been working at Brandeis for 22 years spoke to The Brandeis Hoot at the rally. Hsiung described how she feels Brandeis is a family, as she has watched first years turn into graduates and has kept up

with them about their jobs, and how this is the first time that she’s nervous about her job’s security. “Every day we prepare the food students, we stay [for a] long time for students. We want to stay here, we don’t want [to lose this] job. I need to support my family, that’s very important. I also need insurance, I’m a cancer survivor. When I stay here I can make money and support my family, and I need to have good insurance from the union so it can support me to take care of my health. This is very important to me, if I lost my job I would lose my insurance—I can’t imagine that. I’m very appreciative that my job [was] always secure—I never think about a layoff or something like that but now I have to worry, that’s the problem, we hope Brandeis thinks we belong to Brandeis, we are part of Brandeis, that’s my hope.”

As described in the “Petition to Support Union Dining Workers,” students were concerned due to the information that the University was hiring outside contractors for event catering. The outside contractors who don’t receive wages and benefits that are protected by a union contract were being selected for catering events rather than providing union catering workers with those jobs. The petition went on to explain that,” The current dining workers have worked for Brandeis for decades and have fought to have fair wages and benefits, but now, their jobs are on the line. While the dining union can negotiate with Sodexo, they are not able to directly influence Brandeis’ decision making.” The petition states that students have the potential to have an effect on Brandeis’ decision-making. The petition

received the signatures of 566 students in addition to a number of concerned citizens, parents, alumni and faculty, all in support of the dining workers. Joshua Benson ’23, leader of the Brandeis Leftist Union, led the chants during the protest on February 18. Benson spoke to The Hoot and explained, “ I think that [the higher turnout than expected] speaks to the enthusiasm of students to support labor and social justice on campus, and the real urgency of the workers in retaining their jobs and their wages. I think we really showed the university that these sorts of things can’t fly under the radar, that students and workers were together and we’re watching the university and we’re not going to let anything slip past us.” The BLU also posted about the protest on their Instagram page.

According to the post, they want to make the catering contract exclusive to union workers, uphold the union contract even in the event that a new dining vendor is selected, have transparency over catering decisions and the selection process and have union dining workers represented in negotiation talks with new dining contractors. The protest began outside Upper Usdan near Loop Road. After rallying the students and thanking everyone for supporting the cause, protestors made their way from the Kutz Hall offices to the Bernstein-Marcus Administration Center, but upon entering didn’t encounter any present administrators. The BLU was joined by other concerned groups on campus including the Brandeis Labor Coalition and the Brandeis Nordic Skiing Team.

Univ. holds events to educate and support community members on Russian invasion of Ukraine UKRAINE, from page 1

end quickly and in peaceful resolution,” wrote Liebowitz in his address to community members. The university sent out a follow-up email on March 2 with a list of resources for community members impacted by the war. The resources included events and panels to provide, “opportunities to gather with the Brandeis community in dialogue about the invasion of Ukraine and in solidarity for peace.” Putin has led the invasion into Ukraine as a way to, “defend the Russian speakers in Ukraine,” according to a Wall Street Journal article. Specifically, Putin is focused on two self-declared republics: Donetsk and Luhansk which have not been under Ukrainian control since 2014. Putin refers to his plan as “de-Nazification” in a narrative he has created saying Ukrainian politicians are puppets to Western countries, according to the article. Ukraine has denied this narrative and its president

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has spoken on his Jewish background and how his father served as a Soviet officer during World War II. On Wednesday, March 2, Russia captured its first major city, Kherson. Kherson is a port city and it is a crucial area in the battle for the south, according to a New York Times article. In response to Russia’s attempted occupation of Ukraine, many countries have issued sanctions against Russia attempting to cause economic hardship and pressure, according to the article. “In recent days, the situation in Ukraine has continued to deteriorate, and we acknowledge the deep concern and uncertainty members of our community may be experiencing during this difficult time,” reads the email from Carol A. Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affair and Raymond Lu-Ming Ou, Vice President of Student Affairs. As a result of the war, many Ukrainians are fleeing their country, according to a Wall Street

Journal article. Over a million Ukrainian refugees have fled according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)-- the UN’s Refugee Agency. Most of the refugees are heading to Poland, according to the article. At the border between Ukraine and Poland, refugees have to wait nearly 60 hours to cross the border. The way to enter Romania is up to 20 hours and it has taken up to 24 hours driving from Odessa, Ukraine to the Moldova border, according to the article. While facing the invasion from Russia, Ukrainians are still facing multiple public health crises, according to an NBC news article. Due to slow vaccine turnout, only about 35 percent of Ukrainians have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a Time article. There is also a polio outbreak, which they have been trying to get under control since October of 2021. With the mass movement of people and with people forced into close proximity to shelter, COVID-19, can

spread rapidly, according to the Time article. Ukraine currently is at a “critical” oxygen shortage, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) Official, according to a CNN article. Oxygen is important for COVID-19 patients as well as those with other conditions, WHO is currently working to establish a route to get oxygen into Ukraine to make sure it can be used to treat patients. Students seeking support are encouraged to use resources available at the university, including the Brandeis Counseling Center, according to Fierke and Ou. Employees who are impacted by the invasion were encouraged to use the Employee Assistance Program for support. “As a university community, these events offer us the opportunity to work toward a better understanding of the crisis unfolding in the region as we all collectively hope for a peaceful resolution to the conflict,” reads the email. The Center for German and European Studies (CGES) will be

holding two events: Ukraine and Germany: Partnership in Times of Crisis on March 2 and Contextualizing the Ukraine Crisis on March 21. The Departments of History and Politics will be co-sponsoring an event Russia and Ukraine: Insights Into an International Emergency on March 3. The Russian Studies Program will be hosting A TALK-in About the War on March 3 and two more events called Russian Tea Against the War in Ukraine and Fund-raising Effort Against the War in Ukraine and in Support of Russians Protesting the War on March 3 and March 4 respectively. The Center for Spiritual Life and the Russian Studies Program will hold a co-sponsored event called Gathering for Peace in Ukraine on March 4. Editor’s Note: Opinions Editor Mia Plante and Editor-in-Chief Sasha Skarboviychuk did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.

4 The Brandeis Hoot

March 4, 2022

Joey Kornman ‘23 featured on Jeopardy!

By John Fornagiel editor

According to a BrandeisNOW article, Joey Kornman ’23, a Brandeis student, was selected as one of 36 other college students that would compete in the Jeopardy! National College Championship. The article states that Kornman is a double major in classical studies and economics with minors in politics and histo-

ry of ideas. Kornman stated that he chose these majors because of his passion for learning. Kornman also discussed his previous experiences with trivia. According to the article, Kornman began attending trivia nights at The Stein, and moreover, he also became a member of the campus quiz bowl team. The campus quiz bowl team is a team for individuals that are passionate about trivia. Finally, Kornman stated that while growing up, his family was

competitive in various knowledge-based games in another article from BrandeisNOW. In this article, Kornman stated that “only one member of [his] family was allowed to play at a time.” Kornman further elaborated that “our friends knew that if we all played together we would win,” which the article cited as a piece of evidence to Kornman’s ability in knowledge-based games and trivia competitions.Kornman found out about the Jeopardy! College

National Championship through the Brandeis campus quiz bowl team, according to the article. Subsequently, Kornman attended a series of online applications and interviews. After applying, Kornman waited for a response from Jeopardy. According to the article, Kornman heard months later that he would be competing in the Jeopardy! National College Championship. He would eventually be competing during Thanksgiving break in California

and was not allowed to tell anyone before the announcement according to the article.During the first match, which aired on Feb. 9, Kornman was able to complete the competition with $17,201 in winnings, and even earned a spot in the semi-finals, according to the article. In his second match on Feb. 18, Kornman did not advance to the finals.

New selection process for commencement speakers By Victoria Morrongielo editor

The university announced a new method of selecting commencement speakers for the commencement ceremony in an email sent to community members on Feb. 11. The new approach is intended to highlight students who have “demonstrated commendable accomplishments during their time at Brandeis,” according to the email. “This important event is the only time when the entire university community is able to gather together to recognize our graduates, making this an occasion for meaningful celebration,” wrote the administration about commencement in the email.

The new method will be applied to both the undergraduate and graduate student speakers. Typically, every commencement ceremony has one undergraduate and one graduate student speak on behalf of their class. Commencement speakers “reflect the distinctive qualities of the graduating class, demonstrating academic excellence, leadership in their activities and a commitment to improving the world around them,” according to the email. The new process will allow faculty, staff and students to nominate candidate speakers and will allow for the chosen speakers to receive guidance from faculty and staff as they write their speeches, according to the email. Students will also be able to nominate themselves in this selection pro-

cess. Those being nominated to speak must have either received or intended to receive a degree from August 2021, February 2022 or May 2022, according to the email. Another requirement is that students must be in good academic and community standing. According to the email, “The undergraduate and graduate students ultimately selected to speak at Commencement will receive a cash prize of one thousand dollars for their accomplishments, funded by the endowed Richard Kaufman ‘58 Memorial Prize for Leadership and Academic Excellence.” The Richard Kaufman ‘58 Memorial Prize for Leadership and Academic Excellence is typically awarded to students who,

“demonstrate leadership in campus activities and who, through academic achievement, exemplifies the well-rounded student who is likely to have a lifelong interest in his/ her/ their fellows,” according to a BrandeisNow article on academic achievement awards. Students will be notified if they have been nominated on a rolling basis, but no later than March 2, according to the email. Student nominees are expected to submit a draft of their speech no later than Monday, March 21 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Drafts of speeches will then be revised by selection committees composed of faculty, staff and students. The undergraduate selection committee will be led by Meredith Monaghan, Director of Academic Fellowships. The graduate selection committee

COVID-19 updates By Victoria Morrongiello editor

The university has begun to lift some of its COVID-19 restrictions on campus; as of Feb. 18, community members actively participating in physical activity no longer are required to be masked. “As of February 18, 2022, all actively exercising individuals, including practicing and competing student-athletes, are permitted to remove their masks during activity. Indoor masking is still required in all other circumstances (i.e. navigating the building, sitting in the stands, etc),” according to the Gosman Facilities policies page. Though community members are no longer required to wear masks while working out, they are still required to be masked when walking throughout the building or not actively participating in any activity, according to the Brandeis Athletics Mask Guidelines page. “Waltham mask mandates are still in effect, so all gym users and spectators are required to wear high-quality masks (surgical, N95, KF94 or KN95) at all times while inside Gosman or Linsey, unless actively swimming. Cloth masks are not permitted,” according to the page. Additionally, the university has updated the testing policies. According to a recent email from Brandeis administration, vaccinated students are required to test once a week. Vaccinated faculty, staff, and affiliated members are recommended to test once a week, but testing will be optional. Despite these regulations, testing will be available for anyone who wishes to get a test so long as they are asymp-

tomatic. Due to the less frequent testing, all testing will only occur at the Shapiro Science Center. The travel policy remains exactly the same for unvaccinated community members. For vaccinated community members, however, there is no longer a need to register domestic or international travel. Upon return, all fully vaccinated and boosted travelers outside of NewEngland are required to submit a test to receive a negative result. According to the email, “Brandeis recommends all travelers take a second PCR test 72 hours after their first test.” Masking policies have been relaxed: masks are optional on campus for vaccinated community members. Masks are mandated in all classes, spectator at indoor events, Brandeis transportation, and anywhere else where there is a sign that masks are required. A green or yellow Passport is still required to enter the library. The email includes that masking is always an option and people should always have a mask at hand in respect of other community members. The COVID-19 dashboard will be updated twice weekly instead of daily, according to the email. The change in masking policies comes as the city of Waltham also begins to lessen its COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. The city of Waltham announced that the wearing of masks in indoor settings is optional, according to the Waltham city website. Though, according to the page, “per the State of [Massachusetts], mask requirements will remain in certain locations such as on public transportation (includ-

ing MBTA, commuter rail, buses, ferries, airplanes, rideshares and taxis), healthcare facilities, and more.” Beginning March 7, the city of Waltham will lift its mask mandate for students and staff in Waltham Public Schools. Andrea Dine, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, sent an email out to the Brandeis community regarding returning to campus after the February break. Dine wrote that the, “days following breaks are our riskiest time periods for contagions.” This trend of an uptick in cases after a break was seen after the Thanksgiving break in the Fall 2021 semester, according to The Brandeis Hoot’s COVID-19 Dashboard. Dine asked community members to test if possible before returning to campus. If the test results come back positive, community members were instructed to stay at home and isolate and contact the Brandeis Case Tracing program. Upon returning to campus, according to Dine, community members were required to submit a COVID-19 test and remain in a soft quarantine until the negative result is received. While in soft quarantine, students were asked to keep their masks on whenever in the presence of other community members, avoid large gatherings and use the grab-and-go food options including the green boxes and the Bite app, until a negative test result comes back. According to Dine, the expected turnaround time for receiving test results is within 24 hours.

will be led by Matthew Sheehy, University Librarian, according to the email. Nomination forms will be open until March 1 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time, there are two separate nomination forms one for undergraduate students and one for graduate students. The email regarding the new process was sent out by Carol Fierke, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dorothy Hodgson, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Wendy Cadge, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Kathryn Graddy, Dean of the Brandeis International Business School, David Weil, Dean of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management and Raymond Lu-Ming Ou, Vice President for Student Affairs.

In the Senate 2/27 •

• •

Ashna Kelkar ’24 was appointed as the new executive senator of the Student Union, replacing Joseph Coles ’22 who held the title last semester.The senate also welcomed the new North Quad senator, James Brosgol ’25, and the new mid-year senator, Sherry Tao ’25. Both senators spoke on how they are interested in discussing sustainability-related issues around campus. A few clubs have been chartered since the senate met before the midterm break. Emily McKerrow ’24 attended the senate meeting to represent the Crafts and Conversations club. After a short presentation on the workings of the club and a request for $300 for supplies, the club was chartered. Abdukadir Ibrahim ’22 and Nai Qashou ’22 from the Network of Arab students were also able to charter the club after gaining a majority vote from the senate. No student representatives from the Brandeis Haircutting club attended the meeting so the club did not get chartered this week. The two co-heads of treasury Amanda Shneider ’22 and Josh Hopen ’23 joined the meeting to share a presentation, discussing the student union’s projected budgets for the upcoming year. The student senate budget totals at $21,000 to cover the cost of events like the Midnight Buffet and other social events. Midnight Buffet costs around $7,500 per semester and $15,000 for the academic year. The E-board budget is $4,000 to fund e-board sponsored initiatives like the take your professor to lunch program($1,000 per semester) and the student union retreat. The treasury budget will be $1,500, to cover treasury training costs and team bonding initiatives. The co-sponsorship budget will be $5,000 to cover campus-wide events like Deis Impact, Kindness Day and Indigenous People’s Day. The combined projects’ budget amounts to $20,000 to cover future plans like the commuter rail subsidy, Joseph’s Transportation Shuttle to and from the Airport and the Lyft subsidy, where students get discounted Lyft rides through a partnership with the university. Promotional events/supplies will total $3,000, A-board, $500, and office supplies will be $1,500 resulting in an overall budget amount totaling $56,000. Some of the senators shared some updates on their committees. The Facilities, Housing, and Transportation chair, Griffin Stotland ’23 plans to figure out a way to implement one-way signage along loop road and the surrounding the Charles River Apartments Quad in order to maintain the flow of traffic that drivers violate. Sahil Muthuswami ’24 continues to address problems regarding East Quad and plans to fix a “bump in the path that leads to skyline” as soon as possible. As the chair of the dining committee, Ashna Kelkar ’24 will be meeting with one of the kosher representatives to discuss possible plans for the semester and looks forward to collaborating with the sustainability committee.Audrey Sequeira ’24 and Sofia Lee ’24 are still in the process of planning possible socializing events for the sophomore class. - Vimukthi Mawilmada


March 4, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 5

Swimming & diving place eighth in UAAs, Dienstag to go to nationals By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Brandeis swimming and diving competed in the 2022 University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships at Emory University from Feb. 10 to Feb. 12. Both teams finished in eighth place, the men with 417 points and the women with 414.5 points. The Judges stayed in eighth place on all three days of the competition. Day one On the women’s side, in the 50 yard freestyle, Rennie placed 13th, making the ‘B’ finals with a time of 24.07. She beat her own school record for the event; Iizuka placed 29th in it, with a time of 24.76. In the 500 yard freestyle, Haubrich placed 34th with a time of 5:22.98. Anastasia Bekou ’25 placed 41st in the women’s 200 individual medley. In the 200-yard free relay Gold, Gonzalez, Iizuka and Rennie placed 10th with a time of 1:38.96. On the men’s side, Dienstag placed eighth in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:30.95; he broke his own school record. In the 200 freestyle relay, Barno, Dienstag, Ferebee and Andrew Ngo ’25 placed 11th with a time of 1:27.15. Ferebee came in 37th in the men’s 50 freestyle, with a time of 22.04, while Ngo placed 43rd in the men’s 200 IM. The Judges

finished the day with 158 points. Day two On the women’s side, Gold placed 14th in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 57.56 seconds. Olivia Stebbins ’22 placed 23rd in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:10.25. In the 200 yard medley, Gold, Iizuka, Rennie and Stebbins placed sixth with a time of 1:48.46. In the 100-yard backstroke, Ferebee placed 16th with a time of 52.19 seconds. Lu placed 21st in the 100 breaststroke, with a time of 57.71. In the 100 butterfly, Barno placed 20th with a time of 50.66. In the men’s 200 yard medley Barno, Dienstag, Ferebee and Lu placed ninth with a time of 1:34.25. The Judges finished the day with 316 points. Day three On the women’s side, Ema Rennie ’23 placed 22nd in the 100yard freestyle with a time of 53.19, setting a new school record. In the 200-yard backstroke Monica Iizuka ’24 finished 20th with a time of 2:07.58, setting a new school record, which she best by 0.47 seconds. Maya Haubrich ’24 finished 22nd with a time of 2:09.66. Bailey Gold ’23 placed 10th in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:06.89; this was the best finish the women had in the competition. In the 400 freestyle relay, Gold, Chloe Gonzalez ’25, Iizuka and Rennie finished 8th with a time of 3:39.87.

On the men’s side, Sam Dienstag ’24 placed sixth in the 1650-yard freestyle, with a 15:34.66. Dienstag beat his own school record by 10.16 seconds. In the 200-yard backstroke, James Barno ’23 finished 24th with a time of 1:58.59. Brendon Lu ’22 finished 17th in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:03.88; Lu broke the

school record for the event. In the 200-yard butterfly, Tal Spector ’25 finished 24th with a time of 1:55.52. The 400-yard freestyle relay, Barno, Dienstag, Benton Ferebee ’22 and Lu placed eighth with a time of 3:12.25. Following his performance at the UAAs, Dienstag will be going to the NCAA Champi-

onships in Indianapolis, which starts on Wednesday, March 16. He will compete in the 500 yard freestyle and the 1,650 yard freestyle; in the UAAs he was ranked 26th in the 500 yard and 11th in the 1,650 yard. According to a Brandeis Judges article, Dienstag is the first Brandeis swimmer to compete at NCAA since 2009.


Superstars came out to play for Super Bowl 56 By Justin Leung editor

“This is one, that it either looks great or you look like a complete idiot if you call it”, said NBC announcer Cris Collinsworth when describing a play during the National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl. Collinsworth was detailing a fourth and one yard play completed by wide receiver Cooper Kupp of the Los Angeles Rams with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. He ended up getting the first down on the play to keep the Rams drive alive. Kupp not only saved the season on that play, but he ultimately led the team down the field to score the go ahead and game winning touchdown. In Super Bowl 56, between the Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals, the Rams came out on top 23-20 as Kupp won the Super Bowl MVP with 92 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The Rams did not always have the lead. However, they firmly held control early in the game. After punting on their first drive, the Rams forced the Bengals to turn the ball over on downs in their first possession. Four minutes later, the Rams were on the board with a touchdown pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The Rams would score another touchdown in the first quarter, while the Bengals struggled to get their offense going and had just a field goal by the end of the quarter. However, as the Bengals entered the second quarter, they went down the field and scored a touchdown on a trick

play. The Rams countered with a strong drive that ultimately ended in an interception. Although the interception was bad, the real issue came when Beckham Jr. was injured during the drive. This injury would lead to many future issues for the Rams. After this, both teams did not score for the rest of the half as the Rams led 13-10. “We are in a great place, let’s go win the Super Bowl”, said Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor to his team during half time. The team appeared to take this message well, as Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow completed a 75-yard passing touchdown to wide receiver Tee Higgins on the first play of the second half. Although there appeared to be a penalty during the play, the refs let the play continue and rewarded the Bengals the touchdown. The atmosphere was beginning to change. Stafford came out onto the field to respond to the big touchdown and ended up throwing an interception on the first play. The interception though, was not his fault. Rams’ wide receiver Ben Skowronek bobbled a pass to him that ultimately fell to Bengals’ cornerback Chidobe Awuzie. This is where Beckham Jr. was sorely missed as Skowronek was in that position due to the injury. All of a sudden, the Bengals were in control. However, Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald quickly shut that momentum down with two big sacks. Donald is one of the best players, if not the best player in the NFL. He was relatively quiet in the first half as the Bengals offensive line were doing a very good job at double teaming him and making sure he was not able to get to Burrow. Donald’s two sacks

following the interception made sure the Bengals did not run away with the game. The Rams kicked a field goal on the following drive, but then came two defenses that would not let anyone do anything. For the next 15 minutes, the two teams combined for seven punts. The Bengals and the Rams had strong pass rush and very good run defense. Neither team had over one hundred rushing yards in the game. The Rams rushed for just 1.9 yards per play and had only 47 rushing yards in total. Additionally, without Beckham Jr., the Rams’ passing attack was limited as the Bengals just double covered Kupp for nearly every possession. The Bengals did not fare much better as they also could not run the ball. Rams defensive end A’Shawn Robinson was key in shutting down the Bengals run game. He had five tackles, a sack and a tackle for a loss in the game. After the Bengals punted with just over six minutes remaining, they had to make something happen. The Bengals defense had cut off their run game and their pass game. So, in the clutch moment, the Rams superstars took over. Stafford and Kupp were the clear heroes of the drive as they consistently connected for chunk plays. This includes the fourth and one yard run from Kupp. As the Rams approached the goal line, the Bengals attempted to get more aggressive. This aggression led to a controversial holding penalty on the Bengals that gifted the Rams a first down they desperately needed. A few plays later, the Bengals were called on a pass interference call that put the Rams on the one-yard line. These penalties appeared to be correct, however there was a lack of consistency based

on earlier in the game, where no penalties were being called. “I thought it was a really well-officiated game”, said Taylor when asked about the refs during the Super Bowl. In a postgame interview, “They wasn’t throwin’ flags the whole game. They shoulda let it play out”, said wide receiver Tyler Boyd, as he was not pleased with the ending. The penalties allowed the Rams to score a go-ahead touchdown with one minute and 29 seconds remaining in the game. Even though the touchdown was surely deflating for the Bengals, the team showed faith in second year quarterback Burrow. He had to atleast get his team into field goal range to push the game to overtime. The Bengals started out strong with two completed passes for a combined 26 yards. Then the Rams superstars stepped up once again. On third and one, Donald came off a block and grabbed Bengals running back Samaje Perine and pulled him back by himself to stop the run. This put the game on the line with a fourth and one. Donald once again stepped up and secured the win with a pressure that forced Burrow to make a poor throw and end the game. The Rams were Super Bowl champions. This game was filled with superstars. The Rams had Stafford and Kupp show why they are one of the best wide receiver quarterback duos in the entire league with the go-ahead touchdown drive. Stafford ended the game with 283 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. On defense, the Rams were led by Miller and Donald as they both had two sacks and two tackles for a loss in the game. The constant

pressure from the Rams defensive line made sure that Burrow had no time to throw the ball. Cincinnati may have lost the game, but their defense played well for most of the game. Bengals’ linebacker Logan Wilson had three tackles for a loss and defensive end Sam Hubbard added two of his own. These two heavily contributed to the lack of run game from the Rams. On offense, Higgins led the team in receiving yards with 100 and receiving touchdowns with two. Rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase had five catches for 89 yards. Burrow had 263 passing yards and one touchdown. “Obviously it stings, but you know we had a great year. Didn’t come out this last game like we wanted it to but, I think we still have something to celebrate”, said Burrow during a post-game interview. The Bengals players were obviously hurting, but Burrow puts it in the best perspective for the future of the team. This team is full of young talent and will definitely be back sooner rather than later. On the winning side, the Rams played an all-around great game. They played just well enough on offense to take the lead, and the defense helped limit Burrow and their dynamic offense to just 20 points. Although the Rams played far from perfectly, their superstars made sure that the team got the win they so desired. “I dreamed it. We made a play and won and that’s all that matters…” screamed Donald as he cried in an interview following the win. “It’s the best feeling in the world.”


The Brandeis Hoot

By Justin Leung editor

The Brandeis men’s basketball team had ups and downs all season through various winning and losing streaks and game cancellations due to the coronavirus. However, overall, the team finished the season strong with four consecutive wins and won five out of their last eight games of the season. The team finished the season 6-7 in the conference and 15-9 overall. On Feb. 11, the team faced off against Carnegie Mellon as they looked to build off their strong defensive game against Connecticut College. The game was very close through the first half as both teams went back and forth scoring and playing solid defense. This resulted in a 32-28 lead for Carnegie Mellon at the end of the first half. Carnegie Mellon was beating Brandeis in most offensive categories, however the game remained close. The Judges struggled to shoot efficiently in the first half. Brandeis forward Tommy Eastman (GRAD) shot just one-sixth from the field in the first half. Guard Colin Sawyer (GRAD) led the Judges in scoring with eight. The second half again was close, but the Brandeis shooting was still not consistent. Carnegie Mellon shot over 50 percent from the field, while Brandeis shot under 35 percent. The Judges kept the game close through 14 offensive rebounds and fewer turnovers compared to Carnegie Mellon. Sawyer hit five threes in the second half, but this was not enough as Brandeis fell to Carnegie Mellon 72-78. Sawyer finished the game with 26 points and six three pointers made. Eastman and forward Nolan Haggerty ’22 both finished the game with 11 points. Forward Toby Harris ’25 had eight points and seven rebounds from the bench. Following the loss against Carnegie Mellon, the Judges looked to bounce back with a win against Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). For the first 14 minutes of the game, both teams were even. Then slowly, CWRU began to build a lead as the Judges began to make a few simple mistakes. Brandeis was not shooting poorly in the first half, but they had many fouls and turnovers down the stretch that led to a 31-42 deficit. Eastman had nine points and seven rebounds in the first half. Guard Sam Nassar ’22 and Harris both had five points off the bench. The team overall had seven turnovers and eight fouls in the first half. Brandeis began the comeback in the second half with a quick layup from Sawyer and a steal leading to a layup from guard Dylan Lien ’23. Defense was going to be key for the Judges if they wanted to make a comeback. The Judges began to make a comeback as they

put pressure on the ball as they attempted to force turnovers. This strategy worked well as Brandeis had six steals in the half and CWRU had 13 turnovers overall. Even though Brandeis was forcing turnovers, CWRU continued to shoot very efficiently from the field. In the second half, CWRU shot a staggering 59.1 percent from the field. So even though the Judges were halting possessions, it seemed like CWRU just could not miss when they did shoot the ball. The result was a 66-80 loss for Brandeis. Eastman led the team in scoring with 18. Overall, the CWRU offense was too much for the Judges to handle as they had 20 assists in the game compared to the Judges nine. After two consecutive losses, the Judges looked to end the streak with a home win against Emmanuel College. The streak looked to be over as Brandeis started the game off with a 23-5 run in the first half. They continued to pour it on as Emmanuel could not stop the Judges on offense. This resulted in a 48-24-point lead for Brandeis at the end of the first half. Brandeis shot exceptionally well from three, as they were 10/20 from three-point range. Lien had four threes from the bench to give him 12 points in the first half. Harris also had 12 points from the bench as he missed only two of his seven shots. Eastman led the team at scoring in the half with 16 points. The Brandeis defense overall was strong as they held Emmanuel under 30 percent shooting for the half. In the second half the Judges were not as efficient shooting, but they continued to hold their lead. Guard Darret Justice ’23 had seven points off the bench in the second half and Harris resumed his strong game with another seven points. The Judges ended up winning the game 79-49 as they passed and rebounded the ball well. Brandeis had 24 assists to Emmanuel’s eight. They also had 17 more rebounds than Emmanuel. Harris had an all-around great game as he had 19 points while shooting 72.7 percent from the field. He also had 10 rebounds giving him a double-double for the game. Eastman was just shy of the double-double as he had 18 points and nine rebounds in the game. Two days later, the Judges faced off against the University of Chicago. Brandeis started the game off slow which gave Chicago a 7-2 lead. An Eastman layup and Nassar three woke up the offense and suddenly both teams were neck and neck. The two teams traded blows and ended the first half with Chicago barely winning 32-30. Eastman had a strong start to the game as he had 10 points and five rebounds in the first half. The Judges took the lead less than two minutes into the second half on layups from Eastman and Sawyer. They held the lead until

there was under eight minutes remaining in the game. Chicago would not give the lead back for the rest of the game as they proceeded to win 78-75. Even though they lost, Sawyer and Eastman made life very difficult for Chicago in the second half as they combined to score 34 points. This effort was outweighed by a very efficient Chicago offense. Chicago shot 64 percent from the field and 60 percent from three in the second half. Sawyer finished the game with 26 points and three assists. Eastman once again nearly had a double-double, as he ended the game with 24 points and nine rebounds. Hagerty had 10 points and did not miss a shot throughout the entire game. In the team’s second to last home game of the season, they faced off against Washington University (WashU). Earlier on in the season, the Judges lost to WashU in St. Louis, so they prepared for a revenge game at home. The game was also the team’s Senior Day. Brandeis looked outmatched early in the game as WashU built a 12-4 lead, however solid defense allowed the Judges to make a comeback. Brandeis took the lead with under seven minutes left in the half and never looked back. The Judges finished the half with a 41-31 lead. In the Senior Day game, the seniors had high quality starts. Sawyer and Eastman both had seven points. Hagerty had eight points without missing a shot. Nassar had two points and four assists. The second half was highlighted by a dominant offensive effort from Hagerty. He had 12 points and six offensive rebounds. Lien provided an offensive spark off the bench with 12 points. The two teams were even for most of the game, but the Judges got their revenge through an 84-65 victory. A key to the second half for the Judges was their ability to get to the free throw line. The team shot 10 more free throws than WashU. Hagerty had an all-around great game with 20 points, 12 rebounds and three assists. Eastman shot very well and had 16 points. Three days later, the Judges had another revenge game, but this time against Carnegie Mellon. Both teams started off the first half with inconsistencies with their offense. That was until the Judges went on a 10-0 run to give them a 21-10 lead with under three minutes remaining in the half. Carnegie Mellon closed the gap, but the Judges still held the lead of 23-18. Justice, Nassar and Harris all had five points to lead the team in scoring in the first half. Sawyer and Eastman struggled to get their offensive game going as they both shot below 20 percent from the field. Even with shooting inefficiency, Brandeis held the lead, partly because Carnegie Mellon also struggled with their shooting efficiency. In the second

March 4, 2022

half, Sawyer completely turned his game around as he hit two threes and scored 12 points. Lien once again provided an offensive spark from the bench as he hit all four of his three-point attempts in the half. Eastman also put his early game shooting woes behind him with seven points. The team dominated the second half on offense as they shot 63 percent from the field and 64.3 percent from three. This offense might have influenced their defense as they also held Carnegie Mellon to under 35 percent shooting from the field. Sawyer and Lien led the team in scoring with 12 points. Harris also added 11 points from the bench. Although the Brandeis’ offense was strong in the second half, the key to the revenge game was the great defense against the Carnegie Mellon forwards that stagnated their offense. In the team’s final away game of the season, the Judges faced off against New York University (NYU). The first half saw no team getting a clear advantage. With just over five minutes left in the first half, the Judges built a solid seven-point lead of 25-18, however NYU made a comeback that resulted in just a 29-28 lead for Brandeis at the end of the first half. The Judges shot the ball very well in the first half as they had a 50 percent field goal percentage. This high shooting efficiency was highlighted by guard Austin Clamage (GRAD), who had eight points on zero misses, and Hagerty with 11 points and no misses. The reason the game was so close was due to the turnovers and fouls from Brandeis. They had 11 turnovers and 10 fouls in just the first half alone. This gave NYU ample opportunity to stay in the game even though they were not shooting the ball well. The turnovers needed to be mitigated for Brandeis to win the game. In the second half, they did just that as they had just five fouls. Brandeis came out in the second half composed, while NYU was overly aggressive. NYU had multiple shooting fouls early and this resulted in easy points for Brandeis. One foul especially from NYU resulted in three free throws for the Judges and Sawyer proceeded to make all three attempts. The aggressiveness led to 34 total free throw attempts from the Judges in the half. NYU had 21 fouls in the half. Brandeis narrowly defeated NYU 76-72 in their last away game of the season. Four Brandeis players had double digit points in the game. Harris had 11, Sawyer had 12, Clamage had 13 and Hagerty had 21. Hagerty also had 12 rebounds which gave him another double-double. For the final game of the season, the Judges played a rescheduled game against NYU on Feb. 27. This game was clearly the Sawyer show. In the first half he had 16 points and four three point-

ers. Although Sawyer shined the brightest, the team overall played well offensively as they shot over 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from three. Eastman added 11 points as Brandeis held a 39-28 lead at the end of the first half in their final game of the season. In the second half, NYU came roaring back, as they cut the deficit to two with 11 minutes remaining in the game. It was as if Sawyer just said “no” to the comeback as he took over the game. Over the next five minutes Sawyer scored 11 points all on jump shots. It just seemed like he could not miss. His shooting was contagious as Brandeis went on a 19-0 run. The comeback was halted and soon after, the season ended on a high as Brandeis won 74-57. Sawyer in his final game with Brandeis had 29 points and seven three pointers. Eastman in his final game had 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Hagerty’s final game was an allaround great effort as he had eight points, five rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals. Nassar had four points, four rebounds and three assists in his final game. Clamage’s final game saw him play solid defense as he had two steals to go along with his eight points and six rebounds. Following the close of the season, three Brandeis men’s basketball players were awarded All-University Athletic Association honors for the 2021-22 season. Sawyer was named to the second-team All-UAA for the first time. He averaged 15.7 points per game while making just under 3 three pointers per game. Eastman was also named to the second-team All-UAA. He led the team in scoring with 15.8 points per game. Haggerty was named an honorable mention All-UAA. He averaged 10.6 points per game while shooting a team leading 59.3 percent from the field. This was six players’ final year on the Brandeis men’s basketball team. Forward Chandler Jones ’22, Clamage, Sawyer, Nassar, Eastman and Hagerty all have played their last game for the team. This list includes the top four leading scorers and top four leaders in assists for the team. Haggerty, Eastman and Jones also led the team in rebounds per game. So, the team is losing some of its top players. The Judges have many players though that have shown flashes that may indicate steps in the right direction. Harris had a higher three-point percentage than Sawyer and was right behind Eastman in overall shooting percentage this season. Lien also showed what he could do in his various stints of playing time off the bench. The team finished an overall good season with a win streak of four as they look to build off this season moving forward.


March 4, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

By Jesse Lieberman staff

The Brandeis Women’s Basketball team concluded its season this past weekend. Since the previous issue of The Hoot, the team has played six games, going 3-3. The team first went on the road, falling to Carnegie Mellon on Feb. 11 66-51, and defeated Case Western Reserve 61-58 on Feb. 13. Brandeis returned home the following weekend, dropping its game to Chicago on Feb. 18 59-49, and knocking off Washington University in St. Louis 58-57 on Senior Day. The Judges played their final home game of the season, beating Clark 81-58 on Feb. 23 before losing to New York University (NYU) 80-67 on Feb. 26. The team finished 9-15 with a 3-11 in the University Athletic Association (UAA) Friday, Feb. 11: Carnegie Mellon 66 – Brandeis 51 Senior guard Camila Casanueva ’22 had 12 points and sophomore forward Christina Bacon ’24 added 11, but it wasn’t enough as Carnegie Mellon outscored the Judges 21-6 in the second quarter and cruised to a 66-51 win.Brandeis trailed 14-12 following a close opening quarter. However, the Tartans opened the second quarter on an 8-0 run before junior guard Emma Reavis ’23 made a lay-up with 6:41 to go to cut the deficit to 24-14. The Tartans answered with an 8-0 run, extending their lead to 32-14. Brandeis went into the half down 35-18 and would trail by as many as 25 in the second half. In the decisive second quarter, Carnegie Mellon shot 5-for-7 from beyond the arc as a team, four of which came from Carnegie’s Isha Nambisan. In contrast, Brandeis made just one field goal in the period, going 1-of-17. Reavis finished the game with eight points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists. Forward Caitlin Gresko ’25 had five points and grabbed eight rebounds and sophomore forward Casey Perry ’24 scored four points and had six rebounds.

By Natasha Girshin special to the hoot

When you think of excellence in hockey you probably think of Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin or maybe even Connor McDavid. Gretzky and McDavid: heroes of the Edmonton Oilers. Ovechkin: the star of the Washington Capitals. Crosby: the Pittsburgh Penguins golden boy. They are what makes their teams “great” in the general sense. But what if I told you those teams, despite their one-hit-wonder stardom, pale in comparison to the current number one team in the league: the Colorado Avalanche. Nestled in the heart of Denver, where tourists pile in from across the country to frolic in the fresh skiing slopes, a hockey team barrels through fierce competition. The Colorado Avalanche, also known as the Avs, is a team few outside of Colorado care for. Yet,

Sunday, Feb. 14: Brandeis 61 – Case Western Reserve 58 Gresko had a team-high 12 points and Reavis had a near triple-double as the Judges made some big shots down the stretch to hold off Case Western 61-58. Brandeis jumped out to a 21-12 lead to end the first quarter. Case Western responded in the second quarter, outscoring the Judges 197, to head into the break leading 31-28. Brandeis started hot in the third quarter and led 41-35 after guard Tathiana Pierre ’23 made a lay-up with 5:15 to go in the quarter. The Spartans scored the next five points to cut the Brandeis lead to 41-40. The Judges answered with an 11-0 run and led 52-44 heading into the fourth quarter.Case Western opened the final period on a 7-2 run to cut its deficit to 54-51 with 4:37 remaining in the game. Brandeis responded with its own 7-2 run, five of which came from Gresko, to give itself a 61-56 cushion with 2:16 left. Two Case Western free throws made it a three-point game when the Spartans had one final chance with 10 seconds left. The Spartans inbounded the ball, but the Judges prevented them from even attempting a shot before time expired, giving them the win.Reavis had nine points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. Junior guard Francesca Marchese ’23 had nine points on three 3-pointers and a game-high four steals. Friday, Feb. 18: U Chicago 59 – Brandeis 49 Pierre scored a career-high 14 points and center Kerry Tanke ’22 added 12 points as the Judges fell to the visiting Maroons 59-49. Playing without leading scorer Camila Casanueva ’22, Brandeis had arguably its best quarter of the season to open the game, outscoring Chicago 20-12. The Judges shot 8-of-14 from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. The second quarter was a different story as the Maroons outscored the Judges 13-2. The Judges, who struggled to find high-percentage shots against the Maroons zone defense, did not score until Reavis knocked down a jumper with under 10 seconds in the player.

Brandeis responded in the third quarter, adjusting to combat the Chicago zone. Brandeis assisted on six of its seven made field goals in the quarter, and head into the fourth quarter even with Chicago at 38-38. But Chicago answered in the final period outscoring Brandeis 21-11. Brandeis shot just 31 percent in the quarter, while Chicago shot 39 percent and went 11-of-12 from the foul line. Sunday, Feb. 20: Brandeis 58 – Washington University 57 Reavis scored a go-ahead lay-up with 2.6 seconds to go as Brandeis overcame a 12-point halftime deficit to knock off visiting Washington University on Senior Day. Down 57-54, Pierre got fouled attempting a 3-pointer. Pierre made her first two foul shots. Pierre missed her final free throw, but Gresko grabbed the offensive rebound forcing a jump ball with 9.5 seconds remaining. The Judges, who had the possession arrow, inbounded the ball on the baseline and called timeout with six seconds left. In the ensuing play, Reavis caught the inbound on the left baseline, drove to the middle, and sank the finger-roll lay-up. Washington University had one final chance, but Jessica Brooks’ shot was wide right. Reavis posted a near triple-double again, scoring a career-high 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting. She also grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds and dished out nine assists. Tanke scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, for the first double-double of her career. Gresko scored 10 points, all of which came in the second half.The Judges, who again were without Casanueva, defeated the Bears for the first time at home since 2007-2008. Before the game, the Judges honored their two seniors, Casanueva and Tanke. Wednesday, Feb. 23: Brandeis 81 – Clark 58 Marchese scored 18 points on six made threes, both career highs, and the Judges knocked down a school-record 16 3-pointers to cruise to an 81-58 win in their home finale. After leading by as many as 17 in the first half, Brandeis saw Clark cut its lead to

47-44 with 5:58 left in the third quarter. The Judges responded with an 11-2 run to close out the quarter, capped off by a Reavis three with 26 ticks to go in the period to take a 58-46 lead. The Cougars scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to seven, but Brandeis scored the game’s next 12 points, culminated by three-consecutive 3-pointers from Marchese, Pierre and Gresko to give Brandeis a 70-51 advantage. The Judges moved the ball exceptionally well against the Clark zone, racking up 21 assists. Reavis had a game-high seven assists and Casanueva added five. Reavis recorded her second consecutive double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Tanke added 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, while Gresko scored 14. Brandeis emphasized playing through the inside, moving the ball around the perimeter to set up entry feeds to the post. The Judges’ commitment to attacking the interior paid off, creating open shots on the perimeter, and forcing several key Cougars to the bench with foul trouble. Entering the contest, the rebounding battle was a major focus of the team. The Judges outrebounded the Cougars 50-34 on the glass, limiting the Cougars to just eight second-chance points and igniting their transition offense. Saturday, Feb. 26: NYU 80 – Brandeis 67 Casanueva scored a team-high 14 points and set multiple school 3-point records, but the Judges fell short, losing 80-67 at No. 7 NYU. With just five points entering the fourth quarter, Casanueva went 3-for-3 from deep to set the new records. Casanueva surpassed Jessica Chapin’s ‘10 career

total of 167. Additionally, Casanueva set a new single-season record for 3-pointers of 50, breaking her prior record of 47.Casanueva finished her career with 1152 points, eighth all-time in program history, and an all-time best free-throw percentage of 87.1 percent. Casanueva is fourth on the career assist list with 317 and 12th in career rebounding with 507. She is one of 18 players in Brandeis history to have started more than 75 games.The Judges also got 12 points from Tanke, who also played in her final career game. Marchese scored nine points, knocking three 3-pointers, while Perry scored eight points to go along with team-highs of eight rebounds and three assists. Brandeis finishes the season 9-15 and 3-11 in the University Athletic Association (UAA). On Monday, Feb. 28, the UAA announced its Women’s Basketball Honors for the season. Casanueva earned Second Team All-UAA and Reavis earned Honorable Mention. Casanueva finished the season averaging 12.9 points per game on 40 percent shooting from the field. Casanueva led the UAA shooting 88 percent from the foul line and her 37 percent 3-point percentage was fifth in the UAA. Reavis averaged 10.7 points per game and led the UAA with 4.5 assists. Reavis also averaged a team-high 6.6 rebounds per game. A young group, the team showed tremendous growth throughout the season, especially in the UAA, which is regarded as one of the toughest conferences in the country. Editor’s note: Francesca Marchese is a staff writer for The Brandeis Hoot and did not contribute to this article.

they sit high and mighty above the nobility of the Tampa Bay Lighting (who won consecutive Stanley Cups during the last 2 seasons), and the Pittsburgh Penguins. But why is this team number one? Surely, it should be the Capitals, with Ovechkin who is set to beat Gretzky’s goal record in at least two seasons’ time. Or maybe even the Toronto Maple Leafs whose Canadian fans have been ridiculed as sore losers for an extended 53 year long Stanley Cup drought, squarely sitting at number five in the league. Even I, a dedicated hockey fan of the New York Rangers, barely noticed the Avalanche until I saw them on the top of the league standings a month ago. Slowly, I started watching their games, participating in the fan spaces, getting to know the players, and understanding their playing style. Their fluidity and confidence is something I’ve rarely seen in all the years I’ve been watching the game.

What makes the Avalanche special is their determination, goal scoring and their star studded roster. Other teams have one (maybe two, if lucky) star players. They take the brunt of the work, scoring the most goals, holding the team above water. With a good goalie and some minor collaboration, maybe a team like that could make it to the playoffs. But the Avalanche has it all. It would be an understatement to say that their entire roster is golden. Powerful defenseman, frenzied goal scoring forwards, fantastic goalies. It’s hard to put the spotlight on a single player. Many want to place it on Nathan MacKinnon, who works alongside captain Gabriel Landeskog as powerful goal scoring machines. But following the classic adage of hockey, “there is no I in team,” hockey is all about collaboration. A star player can only do so much without the rest of the team. That’s what makes the Avalanche so amazing. Many

NHL teams are only somewhat comfortable with working together. The goalies block the puck, the enforcers enforce, etcetera. Watching the Avalanche play is like watching a factory assembly line (minus the monotony). The passes are smooth and calculated, the goals are clean and precise, the defense is strong, the team feels molded. They ooze confidence and determination. This is what makes a hockey team win and what makes a hockey team special. Every Avalanche player works for the other. Making other teams like the Penguins, Oilers and Capitals, fall short. Betting all your cards on one player leads to maybe a few Stanley Cups, but is definitely not enough to sustain a team long term. The Avalanche know they will win because they trust each other harder than any other NHL team I’ve seen. The player chemistry and dedication are equal among all players and they know when to let each

other shine, and perform together in tandem. They can play together and have fun together, but in a way that works so well. During this season, the Avalanche have only lost 10 games out of 49 total. With five goalie shutouts and 1,600 shots against opposing teams. The team is a powerhouse of activity, clearly outshining the weaker teams in the league. Careless mistakes rarely happen and even with injured players, the team maintains its supremacy. Despite the Avalanche’s last Stanley Cup being awarded in 2001, there is a strong likelihood they will be major contenders for the Cup this 2022 season. With strong teamwork, an ever-growing win streak and star studded players the Colorado Avalanche is expanding its franchise not only to the top of the NHL standings but possibly to the Stanley Cup.



The Brandeis Hoot

By Jillian Brosofsky special to the hoot

February break brought the women’s tennis team to California to play the west coast teams Caltech and the University of Redlands. While the change of scenery did not help the Judges, Anastasia Sia ‘25 added to her individual season results achieving a season record of 3-2 in singles so far. Her fellow first year Bhakti Parwani ‘25 added two singles wins at first singles with a 2-1 record in the event. Against Caltech, Parwani took the only win for Brandeis in singles at number one. After losing the first set 1-6, she fought through

By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

The Judges competed in the indoor University Athletic Association championships at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Ohio. The women finished the first day in third place with 21.5 points, and the second day fifth, with 40.5 points. While the men finished the first day in sixth place with four points, and the second day in seventh place with eight points. Day one On the women’s side Erin

By Jillian Brosofsky special to the hoot

Though it’s been almost a year since Jeffrey Chen ‘22 and Adam Tzeng ‘22 got to the final round of the NCAA Doubles Tournament, a recent rematch with the team they played in the semifinals of that tournament resulted in a similar score. Playing first doubles, the pair played Nick Aney and Alex Budde of Gustavus Adolphus College at the ITA Division III Championships Feb. 26. Best of three sets was replaced by a single first to eight proset, but the match still came down to the wire with a win 8-7, 7-4 in the tie-breaker.

March 4, 2022

two tight sets winning both 6-4. Doubles proved no easier. She and Sabrina Loui ‘25 served one of two doubles wins, pulling it out in a tie-breaker to win 8-7 (7-5). Winning two points for Brandeis, Parwani was joined in the win column by Ella Subramanian ‘24 and Ana Hatfield ‘22 who won second doubles 8-3. Both of these teams have proven to be powerful doubles pairings. In the six times they’ve been partners this season, Parwani and Loui have lost only one match against Tufts in Oct. The latter pair have lost only one doubles match playing in the first position against MIT. In a spring season that started with a limited team due to the pandemic, the eccentricity

continued as their match against the University of Redlands (UR) played a reduced match due to weather concerns. According to this rule, they played until the first team reached five wins and played first to six in the doubles matches instead of the normal proset, first to eight. This rule falls under the Division 1 policy and makes play go faster. Though the score was 5-2 before play was stopped, the head-to-head was very close. By the time UR won their fifth match, Brandeis was ahead in the third doubles match 5-2. The matches at third and fourth singles went the distance as Nikita Salkar ‘24 and Loui both made it to third sets in their matches before losing. The two wins for Brandeis came at the

hands of Parwani and Sia in first and sixth singles respectively. With their season record now as 1-4, the Brandeis Women’s Tennis team has been very busy over the last couple of weeks. Going 1-1 in at home matches so far this season, the Judges showed strong performances by Sia and Subramanian, who came off a close loss in her match against Bryant In the season home opener against MIT on Feb. 11 Brandeis fell 1-8, but not before Sia showed her resolve at sixth singles. Losing the first set 2-6, she brought Brandeis their sole win winning the next set 6-4 and going on to win the tie-breaker handily 10-1. She went on to a close second doubles match playing

with Sabrina Loui ‘25 before losing in a tie-breaker 7-8 (2-7). Shaking off their defeat to MIT, the team followed it up two days later on Feb. 13 with a decisive win against Wellesley at Brandeis 8-1. Losing only at second singles, the Judges dropped only one other set at fifth singles where Subramanian continued the fighting spirit from her match at Bryant on Feb. 5 with a close win. After dropping the first set 3-6, she eked out the next set 7-5 to take the tie-breaker 10-4. Subramanian along with Loui, Parwani and Salkar won in both singles and doubles showing the depth of this team. Back on the east coast, the team is scheduled to play their next match at Wheaton on March 5.

Magill ’22 won the five thousand meter run, with a time of 17:09.99; according to a Brandeis Judges article she is the first Judge to win since 2000, and only the third in Brandeis history. The distance medley relay team consisting of Natalie Hattan ’22, Niamh Kenney ’22, Liz Korn ’24 and Victoria Morrongiello ’23, placed third with a time of 12:15.62. In pole vault, Smiley Huynh ’24 tied for fifth place, after going 3.32 meters; she also placed seventh in long jump with 5.15 meters. On the men’s side, the distance medley relay team consisting of Dean Campbell ’23, Willem Goff

’24, Jacob Grant ’22 and Aaron Portman ’22 placed sixth with a time of 10:55.49. In high jump, Dion Morris-Evans ’22 placed eight with a height of 1.84 meters. Day two On the women’s side Sonali Anderson ’22 placed fifth in the 60 meter hurdles, with a time of 9.25 seconds; she broke her own school record. Alya Campbell ’24 placed eighth with a time of 9.45 seconds. In the 400 meter dash, Devin Hiltunen ’22 placed sixth with a time of 1:00.81. Kenney placed sixth with a time of 10:15.38 in the 3,000-meter, while Zada Forde ‘25 placed

17th with a time of 10:56.22. In the mile, Lizzy Reynolds ‘24 placed 13th with a time of 5:25.49. In the 4x400-meter relay, Campbell, Hiltunen, Korn and Olivia Zarzycki ’24 placed fifth place with a time of 4:02.71. In high jump, Kirsten Man ’25 placed fifth with a height of 1.52 meters. On the men’s side, Reese Farquhar ’22 finished seventh in the 200 meter dash with a time of 22.92 seconds. Matthew Driben ‘22 placed 13th with a time of 8:42.30. In the mile, Willem Goff ’24 placed 16th with a time of 4:33.17, while Spencer Lee

‘25 placed 17th with a time of 4:38.99. In the 3,000 meter run. In the 4x400 meter run, Grant, Samuel Kim ’24, Portman and Jamie O’Neil ’22 finished seventh with a time of 3:28.45. In shot put, Zachary Reynolds ‘23 placed 11th with a distance of 12.36m, while Jonathan Hau ‘23 placed 14th with a distance of 11.18m. The Judges will next compete in the Tufts Last Chance meet, on Saturday, March 5. Editor’s note: News Editor Victoria Morrongiello did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.

The fifth-seeded Brandeis men opened the tournament with a tight 5-4 loss to Trinity University. At 4-4 the head-to-head came down to the fourth singles match with Dylan Walters ‘24. The match began looking like Trinity would win easily, winning the first four games. Walters responded by winning four games in a row as well. Trinity then broke at 5-5. This streaky first set was followed by traded breaks throughout the second. In the end, Brandeis fell 5-7, 4-6. With this loss, Brandeis played in the consolation semifinals match against Gustavus Adolphus college the following day. The Judges won with a 6-3 score.

Besides the notable match in first doubles, there were stand out showings from Colt Tegtmeier ‘22 and Dylan Walters ‘24 who both joined Chen winning in both the singles and doubles. Brandeis swept the doubles. Where most of the singles matches were finished in straight sets, win or lose, first singles was remarkably tight. Tzeng lost the first set decidedly 2-6 to comeback in the second, winning it in a tie-breaker. The match was decided in a supertiebreaker, where the two played first to 10 points win by two. A nailbiter, the match ended with a 10-12 loss in the supertiebreaker. The other close loss was at third singles

where Fox dropped the first set in a tie-breaker and the second 3-6. In the final match-up of the weekend, Brandeis fell 1-5 in their fifth place match. Colin Fox ‘24 and Walters delivered Brandeis their only win against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. At second doubles, the pair went 3-0 for the weekend. Fox and Walters are yet to lose a match during the entire spring season. Of the three matches that were stopped before they were completed, Tzeng was up 6-4 at first singles, Fox was leading 6-4, 3-4 in the third position and Walters was tied 6-3, 0-6 at fourth singles. At the end of the weekend, the Brandeis team was in sixth place.

This tournament comes off a particularly strong February for the Brandeis Men’s tennis team. In their first three matches of the spring semester, the team lost a single match out of 27 taking down Bentley University (9-0), Franklin Pierce University (9-0) and Merrimack College (8-1). In the first two matches, the Judges lost only three sets combined. While the dominance of this team didn’t fully translate in Cleveland, it’s clear they’re a force to be reckoned with in Division III men’s tennis. Looking ahead, the Judges will play an away match in Saratoga Springs, NY with Skidmore on March 6.

Shealy on placements in the New England By Anya Lance-Chacko editor

On Feb. 26, Brandeis hosted New England’s Intercollegiate Fencing Conference and placed significantly in both the individual and team aspects. The Brandeis women placed forth, and men sixth making the Judges fourth overall. Maggie Shealy ’23 played a significant role in the team’s win, going 14-0 in the team competition leaving the saber squad close behind MIT and Tufts in third place. Shealy described the experience, “This was my first season as being named a women’s captain, and I was pretty nervous. To have the title of captain is very important and you hold a lot of influence on your teammates,

especially the newer ones to the team. I’ve been very grateful and happy to make friendships and connections with my team and to see them earn victories. And as a squad captain group as a whole, I am certainly proud of how far we as captains have developed and grown throughout the year, so I’m super excited to be working with some of the same teammates next year, and also happy for those who are graduating, and will miss them dearly.” During her own competition, Shealy won 4-1 during the pool play and won the elimination bout 15-4, 15-12 and 15-11. She explained how, “Going into the match, I knew that Casey (my opponent) was an incredibly talented and smart fencer, and I too had to fence smart. There were a

lot of instances in the finals match where she was able to read me really well and could counter me … I think the factor that pushed me to be able to beat her was being able to pick up on her patterns and to disrupt them once she got too comfortable. And overall it was a really strong match, I have a lot of respect for her as an opponent and person, she pushes me to fence the best that I can.” For the women’s team, Brandeis’s most significant win was that of the epee squad tying with Brown and Vassar for first and the foil squad they finished sixth. The strong sense of community at Brandeis flows out into all of its sports as Shealy explained, “The biggest thing that contributed to my win was the support from my teammates.

Teammates who either were knocked out early or had a different job for the day followed me around as I began the individual round cheering me on or coaching me, which I really appreciated. I’m very glad that they were there for me, because their support and teammateship means everything to me.” Additionally, within this team competition with 12 wins Angela Shi ’24 placed second in her pool and Calla Lee ’25 fifth with 11 wins, which helped to move the team forward. For the men’s sabre (24 wins) an epee (19 wins) squad they finished fourth, with foil (21 wins) in sixth. Within the sabre squad freshman Joy Qui pushed the team competition forward with a score of 10-1, as well as senior Lucas Lin with 7-4 allow-

ing them to make the individual rounds where Qui had one win. In terms of the men’s foil sophomore Chaemin Daniel Lee and junior Drew Miller won 7-4 in the team competition, leading Lee into the individuals. The Judges are set for many more things as they are heading to NCAA regionals soon. Shealy exclaimed, “I look forward to continuing to train with my teammates for regionals at Vassar. It’s been a really long season, and we certainly aren’t the same fencers we walked in as, and our growth has been tremendous. My teammates push me to be the best person, fencer, and coach that I can be, and I really love being around them, whether that be in the weightroom, the fencing room or the classroom.”

March 4, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

By Francesca Marchese staff

The Brandeis Softball team traveled to California to face West Coast competition in preparation for their Spring 2022 season that is fast approaching. Ranked number 22 in Division III in the preseason by the NFCA, the Judges finished six-two on the week. The Softball squad swept Occidental College and Whittier College, while splitting with the University of Redlands and the University of La Verne. In the Judges 8-3 and 11-3 defeats against Occidental College, outfielder Amidori Anderson ‘22 was the big hitter for the Judges, as she went three-for-seven with a double, four RBI, four runs scored and three stolen bases. In each game, Anderson drove in two runs and led the Judges to their first two victories of the season. Pitcher Alex Cohen ‘24 had a strong showing offensively and defensively, as she went 4-for-8 with a double, three RBI and three runs scored on the day. Cohen earned the opening win for the Judges in the circle, tossing four innings of five-hit relief, only allowing one earned run while striking out five without issuing a walk. In her first collegiate at-bat, Fiona Doiron ‘25 drove in the game-winning run in the opening runs with a two-run single. Jolie Fujita (GRAD) scored four runs on the day, while Melissa Rothenberg drove in three; both Fujita and Rothenberg are graduate students at Brandeis University who have returned to the Judges squad this season. Rebecca Guerci ‘24 helped control the second game

By Ethan Chandler special to the hoot

The 2022 NBA trade deadline passed at 3 p.m. EDT last Thursday, with numerous teams making moves to strengthen their rosters. Let’s take a look at what went down around the league. In a true blockbuster, the Brooklyn Nets shipped superstar James Harden and Paul Milsap to the Philadelphia 76ers for a slew of players to bolster their roster around stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Brooklyn received Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and 2022 and 2027 first round picks. Following weeks of speculation surrounding Harden’s desire to remain in Brooklyn and Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey’s willingness to meet Brookyln’s demands, both teams got stronger. Numerous questions regarding this move will surround both organizations for the remainder of the season and beyond. Brooklyn moved on from Harden following just 16 games with their “Big Three’’ of Durant, Irving and Harden. Brooklyn went 13-3 within that span. In Ben Simmons, Brooklyn gets an elite defender and passer with mammoth holes in his game (most notably in his putrid threepoint shooting and free throws) and it is unclear how he will mesh on the court with co-stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Philadelphia received the definitive best player in the deal in Harden, yet the 2017-2018 most valued player (MVP) simply didn’t play as well in Brooklyn as he had in

from the circle in six innings; she allowed six hits and three earned runs, striking out two and walking none. Guerci threw an impressive 52 of her 65 pitches for strikes. On the second day of competition, the Judges split with host University of La Verne. After failing to La Verne 3-0 in the opener, the Judges bounced back to earn a win in the second game of the doubleheader, 5-3. While the Judges did have opportunities to score in the first game, the second was where they gained momentum. Rothenberg hit the Brandeis squad’s first home run of the season, in addition to driving in another run allowing the Judges to secure a five-three victory over the La Verne Leopards; Rothenberg scored her eighth career homer. Short stop Fujita and second baseman Marley Felder ‘22 each singled in a run, then with bases-loaded, Rothenberg drew a walk to give Brandeis a 4-2 lead. Madeline Gorey ‘25 also played a great game from the circle, allowing nine hits and three earned runs in their seven-inning complete game; the lefty first year pitcher struck out two and walked one, allowing one home run. In the Judges’ sweep against Whittier College, the softball squad rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning of a threetwo win in Game One of a doubleheader, then earned a pair of home runs from Rothenburg to provide all of the offense in a 5-2 Game Two victory. After a scoreless first four innings, Felder hit a two-out single and stole second. Rothenberg then followed suit, hitting

the ball to centerfield for her second home run this season; she then provided another home run for the Judges in the seventh, her third of the season, and 10th of her career, while also marking her first career two-homer game and a career best of five RBI. In addition to Rothenberg’s two home runs, Felder had three hits and scored two runs, while Nash and Anderson each hit doubles. After dropping the opener to the Redland Bulldogs, 5-2, the Judges picked up a 2-1 win in Game Two, improving their record to 6-2 and concluding their Cali trip. In the opener, the Judges were off to an impressive start, scoring twice in the top of the first inning when Haley Nash ‘25 delivered a two-run single run to left field, plating Fujita; this was Nash’s first homer of the season and the sixth of her career. Offensively, Rothenberg had another impressive showing in her fifth game of her final season

Houston in years past. Averaging 22.5 points per game on 33.2 percent from three-point range this season, Harden hasn’t been the 30 points per game superstar we grew accustomed to in Houston. His past two seasons have been marred by hamstring issues. The Nets and 76ers will meet in Philadelphia on March 10 in what will be a heated battle in advance of what should be a fascinating NBA playoffs in April. The Dallas Mavericks sent Kristaps Porzingis and a 2022 second-round pick to the Washington Wizards for Spencer Dimwidie and Davis Bertans. Dallas received a talented guard and sharpshooting center to pair alongside superstar Luka Doncic as they prepare to make a playoff run. Washington bolstered its rebounding and scoring with a highly talented center in Porzingis, who is currently out with a bone bruise in his right knee. Washington lost star Bradley Beal to season-ending surgery on his left wrist. The oft-injured Porzingis will be expected to shoulder the load on offense for a depleted Washington roster for the remainder of the season. The Boston Celtics acquired Derrick White from the San Antonio Spurs for Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, a 2022 first-round pick and a 2028 first round pick swap. Boston got a talented guard to pair alongside stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, while San Antonio received a slew of promising players and picks to bolster their roster as they continue to rebuild around guard Dejounte Murray. Boston also received Daniel Theis in a deal with the Houston

Rockets for Dennis Schroder, Enes Freedom and Bruno Fenando. Boston strengthened its depth at center while Houston added valuable pieces as they continue to rebuild around rising stars in Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood. The Milwaukee Bucks landed Serge Ibaka, two second round picks and cash considerations in a four team trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons. LA received Rodney Hood (MIL), Semi Ojeleye (MIL) and Vanja Marinkovic (SAC). Sacramento acquired Donte DiVincenzo (MIL), Josh Jackson (DET), Trey Lyles (DET), David Michineau (LA) and a second-round pick (DET). Detroit acquired power forward Marvin Bagley (SAC). Milwaukee added additional depth at the center position as they prepare for a playoff run, while LA, Sacramento and Detroit bolstered their benches. The Charlotte Hornets acquired Montrezl Harrell in exchange for Vernon Carey Jr, Ish Smith and a 2023 second-round pick. Charlotte got the center they were seeking to pair around budding stars LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges. Washington strengthened their bench. The Phoenix Suns added small forward Torrey Craig and received cash considerations in a swap with the Indiana Pacers for power forward Jalen Smith and a 2022 second-round pick. Phoenix also acquired guard Aaron Holiday in a deal with Washington for cash considerations. The Toronto Raptors traded Goran Dragic and a 2022 first-round pick for Thadeus Young, Drew Edwards and a 2022 second-round pick.

at Brandeis where she went 3-for4 with a double; Fujita added two hits and Nash drove in both Brandeis runs with her homer. The second game of the day was a pitcher’s duel. Pitcher Sydney Goldman ‘22 matched her opponent in the first four innings allowing one hit each, but the Judges gained momentum in the top of the fifth and never looked back. Fujita led off with a walk and moved to second one batter later on a single by senior Anderson. Catcher Kirsten Chandonnet got everyone involved when she singled home Balakrishna ‘24, and RF Lily Medici ‘23, plated 1B Jamie Pippin ‘23 with a hit to center giving Brandeis a 2-0 lead. In the split victory over the University of Redlands, Goldman tossed her 27th career complete game to earn her first win of the season; she allowed three hits and one earned run. With 10 strikeouts on the game, Goldman reached double figures

for the ninth time in her career. Throwing 118 pitches, Goldman totaled 71 strikes and walked two. The Judges concluded their February Break trip to California six-two, and many members of the softball squad stepped up big, both on the offensive and defensive ends. Graduate student and center fielder Melissa Rothenberg, though, was recognized as the UAA Softball Hitter of the week, as she successfully paced the 22nd-ranked Judges along the West Coast. She batted 0.448 with an 0.467 on base-percentage and .862 slugging percentage. Rothenberg additionally drove in 10 runs and scored five, as she hit three doubles and three home runs. She had career highs - 2 HR and 5 RBI; and Rothenberg was perfect in center field in nine total chances. Brandeis softball squad returns to action back in New England on March 20, with a doubleheader at Simmons College at noon.


The Orlando Magic landed Bol Bol, PJ Dozier, a future second-round pick and cash considerations from Boston for a 2023 second-round pick. The Utah Jazz acquired Nickeil Alexander-Walker (POR) and Juancho Hermangomez (SA) in a threeteam swap with San Antonio and the Portland Trailblazers. Portland received Joe Ingles (UT), Elijah Hiughes (UT) and a second-round pick (UT). San Antonio added Tomas Storansky (POR) and a second-round pick (UT). Utah strengthened its bench surrounding stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert while Portland and San Antonio continued to rebuild their rosters. The Oklahoma City Thunder added forward KZ Okpala from the Miami Heat in exchange for a 2026 second-round pick. In a massive move, Indiana acquired Tyrese Halliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristian Thompson from Sacramento for Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, Jermey Lamb and a 2023 second-round pick. Indiana added a rising star in Tyrese Halliburton (21) as well shooting and a veteran presence in the paint in Hield and Thompson. Both NBA executives and fans alike were shocked by Sacromento’s willingness to move Halliburton, a budding guard who had shown tremendous promise during time in Sacramento. Sacramento added an elite passer and dominant center in Sabonis and solid shooting in Holiday and Lamb. Portland sent CJ McCollum, Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell to the New Orleans Pelicans for Josh Hart, Nickel Alexander-Walker,

Tomas Satoransky, Didi Louzada, a 2022 first-round pick and 2026 and 2027 second-round picks. Portland continues its rebuild around superstar Damian Lillard by sending his elite costar McCollum to New Orleans. New Orleans added a dominant guard to pair alongside forward Brandon Ingram and center Jonas Valanchutis while they await the return of star Zion Williamson. The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Caris LeVert and a 2022 second-round pick in an exchange with Indiana for Ricky Rubio, a 2022 first-round pick and two 2022 second-round picks. Cleveland, currently the three seed in the Eastern Conference, added a prolific guard alongside guard Darius Garland, forward Evan Mobley and center Jarrett Allen. Indiana landed a solid scorer in Rubio (currently out with a torn ACL) and bolstered their future with picks. Portland sent Norman Powell and Robert Covington to LA for Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson and a 2025 second-round pick. Portland continued their rebuild while LA added another elite scorer in Powell and defender in Covington while superstars Kawhi Leonard (torn ACL) and Paul George (torn ulnar collateral ligament) continue to rehab from injuries. Another jam-packed NBA trade deadline has come and gone. Full of truly unexpected twists and turns, it will be fascinating to see how these moves pan out as the playoffs approach in April.

10 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 5 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, Joey Kornman, Josh Lannon, Kristianna Lapierre, Rafi Levi, Jesse Lieberman, Francesca Marchese, Scarlet Ren, Abigail Roberts, David Shapiro, Teresa Shi, Jamie Trope and Alex Williams

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

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March 4, 2022

Easing of COVID-19 policies is premature


n Thursday, March 3 all Brandeis students received an email update explaining upcoming relaxations of the COVID-19 policies on campus. This relaxation of policies comes with excitement, of course, it feels as though the world may be going back to some sort of normal for the first time in nearly two years. But, this change in policies also comes with immense anxiety for those who don’t feel ready to relax their personal defenses to COVID-19 and especially for those immunocompromised students who know they should not take any chances. To summarize the change in policies, vaccinated students will be required to test once a week as compared to the current 96 hour testing window. Vaccinated faculty, staff and affiliates are recommended to test once a week but it ultimately is optional. Because of the reduction of testing, the testing site at Mandel will be closed and all testing will occur in the Shapiro Science Center. This is concerning for students who currently have jobs at the testing sites, as many of them will be cut from schedules and getting hours—and therefore money—will become significantly harder. Additionally, vaccinated students are still capable of spreading COVID-19 similarly to unvaccinated students, so this restriction is illogical along those lines as well as generally unsafe. While COVID-19 is becoming less of a concern internationally,

testing often creates a safety net for students, faculty and staff. With the testing updates there is a “recommendation” for students to take a second PCR test after their first test post-return from travel outside of New England. Obviously there's nothing wrong with this idea in itself, but the concerning thing is that students won’t follow this recommendation. This means that there is a chance that students will have unknowingly contracted COVID-19 during their travels, which won’t show up on their test when taken right as they return, and potentially could spread COVID-19 before their next test a week later. Since students barely follow COVID-19 policies as they currently are, there is little hope in The Hoot editorial board that students will do what is “recommended,” “suggested” and considered “common sense.”Changes in the masking policies are especially concerning to the editorial board. As of March 7, masks will be optional on campus for fully vaccinated students with few exceptions. Masks will still be required in classes, but students will be able to remove them at the discretion of their instructors. This doesn’t mean that instructors will ask other students in the class if they are comfortable with others removing their masks though, which means immunocompromised and/or otherwise concerned students may be sitting next to an individual who is unmasked. This will create many

uncomfortable situations for students in the future. Spectators and audiences at indoor events with “concentrated occupancy” are still required to wear masks, but there is no definition of what constitutes concentrated occupancy in different locations. Masks will also still be required on all campus transportation and anywhere masking requirements are posted on campus. This means that unless a masking requirement is posted in the popular dorm common spaces, the SCC, Usdan or Gosman, students will be in concentrated indoor locations on campus without masks. While masking is still an option, it’s concerning for those who wish to continue masking to be around those who don’t. We are two years into this pandemic and it is wellknown that masks protect others, not us. Even the best possible masks students can be wearing—KN95s— don’t always do the trick. These updated to University COVID-19 policies are concerning to say the least, and severe-anxiety-inducing to be as honest as possible. Immunocompromised students continue to be overlooked by Brandeis administration through the relaxation of these policies, and students will be put at risk due to the recklessness of others. The Brandeis Hoot emphatically disagrees with the relaxation of these policies and hopes students continue to test regularly and mask-up indoors.


March 4, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 11

Interviews with Brandeis University’s academic leadership: the history of ideas program By Cooper Gottfried editor

The chair of Brandeis University’s history of ideas program, David Katz, sat down with The Brandeis Hoot to shed a little light on the history of ideas program, its future and himself. This interview is part of a series of interviews with the chairs of a plethora of different academic departmentsandprogramsatBrandeis. Why did you choose to come to Brandeis? So I lived here as a child, but I spent my entire life in Israel and then went to university in England. In Europe, they have a compulsory retirement age, unlike in America. I could see [the] retirement age coming over the horizon and I wasn’t ready to retire. My friends who retired quickly lapsed into showing pictures of their grandchildren and doing what we used to call “the organ recital.” You know, “my liver hurts, my lungs aren’t good.” So I thought, “this is not for me.” Then, my wife, Professor Amy Singer got the Hassenfeld Chair in Islamic Studies at Brandeis. She’s a very distinguished professor of Turkish and Ottoman history. So, we both came over and Brandeis very generously said, “well, we have this kind of gap in the program and you do history of ideas.” And I said, “oh yes, I do history of ideas.” So it worked out perfectly well for both of us. We’re both in the same department for the first time because, in Tel Aviv, she was in Middle Eastern history [and] I was in European history. … Now we’re in the same department, but we don’t agree on almost anything. I do religious and intellectual history, she does economic and social history and we have very different views on almost every issue, except politics where we agree completely. So that’s why I came to Brandeis and it’s been terrific. … I had been to Brandeis before because I was once an external examiner for a doctoral thesis, so I had actually been in the history department with some of my future colleagues and I try to look back now and see what room I was in [and] who I talked to, but I had no idea I would be coming here, and it’s been terrific. … Coming back to this country after 45 years abroad, I’m kind of a recovering American. There’s this wonderful thing called Netflix, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. And this Amazon thing, you want something and it comes the next day. … And there’s this stuff that fell down this weekend, this white stuff. I don’t really understand what the point of it is actually. And I’ve never taught in English before, so I’ve kind of had to get used to the different language and different culture, but it’s been great, I’m very pleased. What do you think that the history of ideas program does right? The program when I came in was totally comatose. I mean, it had no students, it was nothing. Now it’s 16 minors. It’s a successful, big program and all you needed to have this thing run was someone really dedicated to

the concept of history of ideas. I mean, you had directors before, but they were doing other things, and [history of ideas] wasn’t their main focus. And for me, as it happens, that’s my main interest. In the ’50s, history of ideas was a major part of Brandeis’ calling card. They had some very famous people who were connected [to the program, like], Frank Manuel and Herbert Marcuse, these were big names. … Everyone [who] thought Brandeis, thought history of ideas and that thing just kind of declined just because you didn’t have people. And Brandeis is a really small university… and you don’t have enough people to cover everything. And just by chance, you had people doing other worthy things, but not history of ideas. So when I came in, it was very easy, [because] there was a great demand for it. The difference between history of ideas and philosophy really is that philosophers want to find out “why is there evil?” whereas [in] history of ideas, we want to find out, “what did people used to think was the reason that there’s evil?” We’re kind of studying the ideas that were popular or pervasive in the past. We’re not as interested in the actual philosophical problems. So it’s a combination of history and philosophy really. And of course, English literature and other subjects, but that’s where the students come from. We had a big event at the beginning of this year. Remember you got a Constitution in your mailbox? That was my idea right here. First of all, I made sure every Constitution had a sticker with your name on it so you can’t get rid of it so easily, right? I got all these Constitutions from the government and everyone got a Constitution. Then we had a conference at the beginning of the year called “Just Read It!” And I brought together students and professors and I kind of had two students, one professor, two students, one professor and everybody just talked about what interests them in the Constitution. It was really a big success because I didn’t want to do it on Zoom. I did it only in person, [with] no recording. So if you wanted to come and see your friends, you had to be there. And then we had a great dinner. By the way, if you have salmon, you’ll get a great dinner. The one dinner you can get that’s going to be great in the Faculty Club is the salmon dinner… we’re going to do that every year.

really hard. Neuroscience, they’ve got their own thing and they have so many compulsory courses. What I would like is to have it administratively work. So someone who’s in the humanities can take courses in social sciences because the divisions are really artificial. In this university, history is [a] social science. In Tel Aviv University, it’s [in the] humanities. I taught at Princeton for a year and at Princeton, it’s also [in the] social sciences. I think what we could do better is to somehow allow greater flexibility for interdisciplinary programs. Why do you think that history of ideas is only a minor? What do you think the advantages and disadvantages of that are? It’s an interdisciplinary program, so I’m not really concerned whether it’s a minor or a major. I kind of like the fact that it’s a minor because it means that people don’t need to do so much to be in it [the history of ideas program]. It doesn’t limit them, but the advantage is that they meet other people who have similar interests, which is good. Brandeis, I have to say, is really good at promoting non-professional subjects like literature and philosophy. At Tel Aviv University, if you look at the page that they send out to prospective donors, you’d think that Tel Aviv was MIT. They only talk about curing cancer and COVID, …[and] you might have something about archeology because it’s sort of a science. … I used to complain all the time about that. But Brandeis really showcases philosophy and literature, all the stuff that’s why you go to college. It’s just after you get a real job, you’re not going to have time to do this anymore. This is your only opportunity to study a little literature, a little philosophy, then you’ll be doing rental contracts for the rest of your life.

How was teaching atTel Aviv different from teaching at Brandeis? First of all, Israeli students are older. They come in at 21 because they’ve been in the army for three years. … Another main difference is that in [America], … the center of your life is the university for better or for worse. It’s not like that in Israel. Very few people are living on campus, [instead] they’re living somewhere in Tel Aviv. The university may not be the center of their lives. The center of their lives may be being a bartender or maybe they have something else going on. … So the university is one of the things they do, and the campus is pretty much dead in the evening because people go back to their lives. And also, Israeli culture is very different. I mean, people always think that American Jews think that Israelis are their brothers. No, they’re actually very distant cousins, … and it’s a really different culture. I would say they’re much more involved with politics, they’re much more involved with the world around them. And a lot of them have had life experiences, which have, you might say, matured them [because] they’ve all been in the army. Not everybody in the army’s a big hero, but you know, if you’re exposed to a completely different kind of environment … the army’s like college in that sense, you go through being on your own for the first time, no one telling you when you have to go to sleep. The Israeli army isn’t as disciplined as you might imagine, everyone’s called by their first names and people talk back and it’s not [like the] American army. No one salutes or anything like that. [And] I was in the army for 20 years as a reserve soldier, I was a captain in the army. I guess the big difference is that the social element of college is done in the army. So you get them [the students] at

the other end and that makes it different. Another thing, another important difference is in Europe, not just in Israel but in Europe [too], you study one thing. When I was at university in England, I studied history. That’s all I studied. You become much more educated in a very narrow area. And I remember some of my friends in the early ’70s knew a lot about one subject, but you couldn’t ask them anything about the world. I used to say to my friends, “can you find Israel on the map?” No, they could not. They were so much better prepared [in a narrow field], but that’s all they knew. And the same is true in Israel. People in Israel tend to study two things, but they’re mostly related. So you’d say study European history and Middle Eastern history, for example, classic or middle history and Jewish history. … I used to think the English system was better and now I think the American system is better. One reason is that England has become very Americanized. I was still in the faculty in Oxford, and I went back to Oxford three years ago. I went back to the history department and I found the students were not any better than American students really … so I think now maybe the American system is better. What’s your favorite food? That’s a tough one. I do a lot of cooking. Shakshuka, add feta. That’s my clue. If you add feta to it, that changes everything. Nobody does it in Israel, but if you add feta, it’s a different experience. What dish do you find yourself cooking most often? I’m working now on perfecting the perfect French omelet, and I’ve bought this special pan. It’s all about moving your hands and flipping it. I do a lot of the cooking and my wife does a lot of the baking.

Is there anything that you think that the history of ideas program could do better? I just had to write [for] the first time in 18 years a report about what’s going on with the program. And one of the things I said in this report is that it’s an interdisciplinary program and all universities have a real problem with interdisciplinary programs because every division has a kind of different structure, even when the classes begin and end. …The biggest problem in philosophy now, which they call “the hard problem of consciousness” is how your brain cells create this consciousness that [lets you know that] you’re separate from the environment? … I had some students from neuroscience who also did a minor in history of ideas, and juggling the timing [of classes] is



March 4, 2022

The Brandeis Marriage Pact lets science solve love By Emma Lichtenstein editor

Though cuffing season is over, the prospect of love is still a popular topic at Brandeis. Brandeis Confessions is filled with posts of pining people giving an anonymous whine about their crush. Bumble stickers and flyers litter this campus telling you to “make a buzz!” Now, the Brandeis Entrepreneurship and Tech Association (BETA) is bringing a new dating service to campus: The Brandeis Marriage Pact. Run by Sammy Malley ’24, Eyal Cohen ’24 and Young Wang ’24, BETA “seeks to nurture student creativity and innovation by providing resources and a community for students of all backgrounds to pursue new ideas and ven-

tures,” said Cohen in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot. Their current project: to successfully help Brandeis students “find love.” Launched a week ago on Instagram, @brandeismarraigepact, the Brandeis Marriage Pact wants to help students “find a connection stronger than eduroam,” as stated in a post from March 1. To participate in the Marriage Pact system, students first fill out a questionnaire. Questions range from personal information—like religion or political leanings—to values—like thoughts on family—to sexual preferences. For example, one question presents the scenario, “If there were a red light, but no one was on the road, I would go.” Participants are then asked to decide how strongly they agree with this statement on a scale of one to seven, from “No way” to “Vroom Vroom.”

“The questions are based on psychological and sociological research into what’s actually important when it comes to predicting the long-term success of a relationship—each question, broken down to its core, taps into values that are essential to be compatible with your partner,” said Cohen. From there, you are matched with “your best match on campus,” according to the Brandeis Marriage Pact website. “We can’t promise you a match made in heaven, but we can promise a match made via groundbreaking algorithms and a little linear algebra. Swoon!” Cohen didn’t reveal the mysterious workings behind the algorithm, but he mentioned that it uses “cutting-edge research from psychology, economics and computer science.” The idea of a Marriage Pact is not unique to Brandeis. This

movement started at Stanford University, and, according to Cohen, has since has expanded to over 70 other schools—including Princeton, Tufts, Yale and Harvard. The Marriage Pact Medium blog has about 50 articles, many of which are dedicated to the success stories of their platform. “One of the problems we noticed on campus is a lack of cohesion among students,” responded Cohen when asked about the choice to bring the Marriage Pact to Brandeis. “We believe that Marriage Pact is an incredibly fun way to bring the entire school together, and it’s a nice proof of concept for what BETA can achieve in the future!” At the time of writing, the Brandeis Marriage Pact has 827 submissions, according to the live tracker on their website. Cohen said that BETA hopes to

reach about half of current undergraduates with this project. Cohen, the website and the Marriage Pact Instagram all agree: this pact is not binding. All three sources make it clear that the future of each pairing relies on the individuals involved. As the Instagram FAQ highlight reads, “Once you receive your match email, it’s up to you what happens next (though we suggest reaching out. Nothing to lose, everything to gain.)” If you’re ready to let science try to solve love, be sure to complete the questionnaire by March 6. And maybe, this matchmaker, matchmaker, will find you a find, catch you a catch. Perhaps the algorithm can look through its book and find you a perfect match.

GSC Pride Reps: a new support system for LGBTQ students at Brandeis By Mia Plante editor

For many students, finding their community is the scariest and hardest thing to do when transitioning to college. For queer and questioning students, this search can feel even more daunting. Since its beginning, the Brandeis Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) has provided a comforting space for students— regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation—to feel as though Brandeis is their home. Julián Cancino, inaugural director of the Gender and Sexuality Center, wrote in an email to The Brandeis Hoot that, “the Gender and Sexuality Center believes that who you love or who you are should not be a barrier to education and, so, we strive to attract and retain LGBTQ students. The Gender and Sexuality Center aims to expand resources and give students the support they need to thrive.” One way that the GSC has expanded said resources and support for students is through the creation of the Pride Reps program. The Pride Rep program is a year long, compensated peer mentorship program that began this past fall semester with nine undergraduate students holding positions. The program is designed as a leadership development program for students to learn about

queer topics, intersectionality, their identities and how to effectively affirm and uplift other students. In the fall, students are given information on the basics of LGBTQ inclusion which also assists the students’ own sense of belonging within their identities. In the spring, students apply the curricula from the fall by branching out to the community, hosting events and drop-in hours. Pride Rep Daphne Ballesteros ’24 states that the spring semester is focused on “how do we then take what we learned and help people with it?” The introspective aspect of the program is what makes it so unique when compared to other peer mentorship programs on campus. Ballesteros stated in a Zoom interview with The Brandeis Hoot that “[the program] has given me language that I didn’t necessarily have before, and skills and tools on how to take care of yourself as a leader. I feel like that’s something that’s not talked about at all”. Similarly, Pride Rep Sammi Cohen ’22, stated in a Zoom interview “I think a lot of times when we think about leadership it feels sort of by yourself, or independent, which can be kind of scary … but I think I’ve really learned how to utilize my team within this leadership position”. While the program serves to create highly-educated and caring peer mentors, it doesn’t ignore the fact that these students are


still students who are often still coming into their own identities. The students learn to collaborate as well as mentor one-on-one in order to give themselves and the student body effective peer assistance. This personalized seminar-style education has given Pride Reps the tools they need to adequately mentor students with queer and female identities. Even outside of the curriculum itself, the program is engaging and educational for all involved. In a Zoom interview with The Brandeis Hoot, program administrator Eli Sobel stated that “I find that I’m learning just as much from the students, and they are from each other, as they are from me—if not more.” Sobel is the main staff member that runs the Pride Reps program, they not only run the program but they also create the curricula for students, supervise the students, teach, and facilitate discussions. “It’s really rewarding,” Sobel stated about working at the Brandeis GSC and with the Pride Reps, “I love watching people come into themselves, it’s just a tremendous privilege.” After learning about themselves and the queer community, Pride Reps then use their knowledge for community building and to educate and affirm students. This takes the form of drop-in hours where students can speak to multiple Pride Reps in a casual setting, or schedule one-on-one time if preferred. Additionally, the GSC and the Pride Reps are hosting multiple events this semester such as LGBTQ affirming sex education and an open mic night. Cultivating a thriving intersectional queer and gender affirming community at Brandeis is what both Ballesteros and Cohen state as a goal for their involvement in the Pride Reps program. “I think that having this queer space for people to come to and feel safe in is super important and also more specifically, I think the idea of having a peer mentor available to you specifically to talk about issues surrounding gender, sexuality, feminism … is really important and something that I think I could’ve benefitted a lot from,” Cohen told The Hoot. “I hope to make the GSC a more inclusive space for queer


people of color on campus. I find the GSC to be like a home, I hope more people can get the benefits of that”, stated Ballesteros. As this first year of the program has continued to prove successful, the Pride Reps and Sobel have big plans for the future of the GSC and the Pride Reps program. Cohen mentions how the peer mentorship program will hopefully be viewed similarly to other peer support on campus in the future, “I would love for the GSC to be on the same level of PARC in terms of how we are discussed and viewed within the Brandeis community,” they said, “I want the GSC to become a bigger presence on campus.” Sobel hopes to create a “thriving peer mentorship program” at Brandeis. They hope to “increase the amount of training that Pride Reps do, and perhaps collaborate with the student union and get trainings required for all club leaders, for example.” These goals would help make Brandeis a more inclusive place for students regardless of their gender and sexuality, as well as build the number of queer students who utilize the GSC’s space and resources. But, Sobel discussed how the GSC is largely constrained by funding and staffing shortages at the moment. “It’s such a shame to turn students away because the kind of services or program we are offering doesn’t really exist anywhere else on this campus.”

Sobel mentioned about the number of students who apply to work at the GSC that they are unable to fund and supervise due to these limitations. “There are similar things but there isn’t the same kind of focus on self development as much.. it’s really hard to find so I love this program would love to make it bigger.” Despite these few setbacks, the Pride Reps program is succeeding in giving students the community they need. The Reps encourage students to drop by and reach out, “whether you have a formal question or topic that you want to discuss or whether you’re just looking for community,” said Sobel. Queer, female, both or neither, the Gender and Sexuality Center provides a great resource and source of kindness for all students at Brandeis. Cohen mentioned how finding yourself and understanding your identities can be hard and isolating but “there truly are so many people who are so kind and so willing to talk… there is a space for you here.” To find more information on events and programs stop by the GSC Office (Usdan G-69), check out the GSC website, follow the GSC on Instagram @brandeis_ gsc, and sign up for their newsletter. Sign up to meet with a Pride Rep or drop by their Office Hours from 4-6 p.m. Monday to Friday in the GSC.


March 4, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 13

Dining presentations attempt to wow, ethical issues loom By Max Kappler special to the hoot

Sodexo provided free boba tea. Nexdine distributed gift bags and boxes of food. AVI flew out an entire culinary team from Ohio. This week, five corporations held their presentations to take over Brandeis Dining Services when Sodexo’s contract expires at the end of this semester (Sodexo was one of them, it is bidding to renew its current contract). In this, the bidders tried to impress the student body with large food spreads and gifts for attendees. While crowds were sparse, students could often be seen grabbing plates of food and leaving immediately. Each of the five dining service providers bidding (AVI, Nexdine, Sodexo, Harvest Table, and Bon Appetit) stuck to a similar presentation format. First, an overview of the company, their corporate history, and their plans for Brandeis, including new retail locations and new proposals for new menus and stations in Sherman and Usdan. Generous time was allotted to discussions of “people-first” culture and sustainability practices, as well as guaranteeing high quality kosher

dining on campus. These presentations closed out with a Q/A section, which was usually dominated by kosher dining questions. During Sodexo’s presentation, students raised concerns about the BiteU app and food quality at Sherman and Usdan, especially what they saw as proliferation of undercooked meats as well as subpar kosher dining experiences. A frequent question at all four presentations the Hoot was able to attend (all but Harvest Table) was whether the bidders would retain the current staff under their union contract. All answered yes to retaining the current staff. The dining presentations, while unabashedly corporate in nature, still reflected companies trying to appeal to the Brandeis student body. While these new culinary options offered ranged from serious (such as CHX, a lunch hour Stein chicken sandwhich shop proposed by AVI) to trendy (Sodexo’s plan to deliver Guy Fieri’s Flavortown and the Mr. Beast Burger via KiwiBot), the presentations signaled the bidder’s belief that high food quality is of paramount importance to the student body. Despite the glamor and high expectations summoned by the presentations, a number of

the bidders on the Dining Service contract have complicated ethical histories surrounding their food service work. Out of the five bidders on the contract, three actively profit off providing food or operating in private prisons across the globe. Sodexo, under its subsidiary Sodexo Justice Services, operates 89 prisons in 10 different countries, including the UK and Italy. These prisons have been marked by human right’s abuses and reports of violence and poor living conditions. A 2017 BBC documentary about the Sodexo owned and operated Northumberland prison found extreme drug and violence issues. At Addiewell Prison, over 80 grievances are logged a week by prisoners, reportedly mostly about food quality. Sodexo formerly owned a large share in the Corrections Corporation of America, which owns over ½ of US private prisons. They sold their shares in 2001 due to universities dropping their contract as well as anti-prison industrial complex activism. Harvest Table, while not linked to any prison operations, is a subsidiary of Aramark, a Fortune 500 company, which has been linked to numerous legal and ethical vio-

lations due to its prison contracts. The Cavalier Daily, UVA’s student newspaper, in an article urging the campus to drop Aramark, noted that Aramark fed degraded food and inadequate portions to a prison in Michigan. Aramark was condemned by Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan for providing substandard food that had maggots and caused severe illness to prisoners in a prison near Jackson, Michigan. Additionally, Aramark employees in Ohio were disciplined for inappropriate sexual behavior towards inmates. Aramark’s detention centers in Ireland have also raised controversy. In 2018, Aramark publicly apologized after they refused to feed a sick child from Zimbabwe in a detention facility. AVI also benefits from providing dining services to private prisons. After pressure from the Wellesley Against Mass Incarceration, Wellesley College dropped AVI as their dining service provider. AVI addressed this in their presentation here at Brandeis, complimenting Wellesley for dialoguing with them and stating they intended to withdraw from the prison system by 2025. While they may have addressed concerns over this, AVI failed to mention in

their presentation that their tenure at Wellesley was marked by reports of racist and sexist harassment against dining hall workers. Workers blamed AVI management for racist behavior towards staff as well as sexual harassment towards dining hall workers. In addition, AVI’s tenure suffered from repeated controversy over violating dietary restrictions, putting student’s health at risk. These ethical issues speak to larger systemic issues in the food service industry and it’s complicated relationship with the prison industrial complex. Additionally, it also calls into question Brandeis’s committment to the school’s values of justice and social equality. If the school continues to support and work with dining service providers who benefit from legally and morally wrong practices, it compromises the university’s morals and may lead to a diminishment of our public reputation as a socially progressive institution. As Brandeis chooses a new service provider, ethical and moral standards, not presentation quality, should remain a top priority for both the administration and the student body.

Why NexDine is our best option By Vincent Calia-Bogan staff

There are few things that Brandeis students love more than a good old fashioned peer-to-peer competition. Our recent Jeopardy run, for one. The existence of our debate team, ironically named BADASS, for another. Our latest, most popular peer-to-peer competition? The dining presentations. It is not often that we have the chance to influence the outcome of these competitions, especially one as important to our daily lives as the dining contract that is up for grabs. But let me be clear: the administration has the unequivocal authority over who wins the next dining contract. They are under no formal obligation to listen to the wishes of the student body, although they would be very wise to do so. No time to waste– let’s get right into it, and why I think Nexdine is the candidate for Brandeis, moving forward. The dining presentations that went on during this week differ one critical (and unethical) way from the likes of Jeopardy or debate: the budgets. It was abundantly clear to me and anyone else who attended any one of these dining presentations that each of the companies involved spent thousands to even tens of thousands of dollars on their presentations. Given that, I took it upon myself to reach out to friends and friends of friends at schools where each of these companies serve their food. What I found was almost always in stark contrast to the presentations that each gave, and in my opinion, representative of what the real dining experience would be like at Brandeis under any one of these companies. Here are the four people I got ahold of: Matt, a freshman majoring in business and varsity golfer at Elon University and consumer of Har-

vest table food. Kylie, a freshman majoring in history and bioethics at Johns Hopkins University and consumer of Bon Appetit food. Carly, a freshman at Kenyon college majoring in creative writing and english literature, published poet, and consumer of AVI food. Jonah, a freshman at Yale University majoring in mechanical engineering, and consumer of Yale’s self dining model. Let’s get the worst out of the way first. As it turns out, we can do FAR worse than Sodexo. Bon Appetit at Johns Hopkins, as described by Kylie (and verified by me, once I saw the TikTok she had made with a slide show of some of her dining hall meals) is “entirely inedible” and “does terrible things to your stomach”. The food is so bad that the students at Johns Hopkins have successfully petitioned the university to terminate its contract with Bon Appetit early and switch to a self-dining model next year. She said nutrition, variety, and quality were all consistently horrendous– but her largest complaint was the amount of money she and her friends spend buying food from outside the dining hall. She explained her reasoning rather wearily to me, “I’ve spent a significant amount of money just trying to get proper nutrition at all, especially since we don’t have a grocery store easily accessible. At this point, we’re just trying not to become malnourished”. She also made a point in telling me that the Kosher options from Bon Appetit are “disappointing and very limited” at Johns Hopkins. However, she remains optimistic for Johns Hopkins adopting a self dining model next year. Based on this bleak report, you don’t need me to tell you that Bon Appetit is out. If they end up serving us, your intestines will likely tell you all you need to know. Carly didn’t have too long to talk to me– she was in the middle of midterms

when I contacted her– but of AVI food, she had this to say to me: “I prefer not to think about the food while I’m wolfing it down. If I’m not with friends, I’ve taken to watching netflix or reading to distract myself from it”. Interestingly, and for reasons my friend and fellow Brandesian Max Kappler explained in his sister article to this one (also in The Hoot), AVI was dropped by Wellesely last year (in favor of a self dining model) in a similar fashion to how Johns Hopkins is dropping Harvest table– and there is a component of their argument that has to do with inferior food quality. For these reasons, AVI foodsystems are also out. When I first asked Matt how he felt about Harvest Table food, he grimaced and had a hard time finding anything kind to say about it. “As an athlete, I have to be concerned about my nutrition” Matt quipped, later adding that he “wasn’t entirely happy, but not offended” with the level of nutrition offered through Harvest Table. “It’s edible” he declared after some deliberation, adding that the pizza they serve “is actually quite nice. Not New Haven good, but not [our mutual high school] bad, either”. (Matt and I both attended high school together in Connecticut. He takes his pizza seriously). He did mention that Harvest Table has issues with chronically undercooking their chicken and overcooking their fish (sound familiar?). However, given what Max discovered in his research into Aramark Food systems, the parent company of Harvest Table, I cannot in good faith recommend Harvest Table, either. Sodexo, shockingly (horrifically?) is one of our best options for continuing dining. My reasoning is simple: We know what the quality of the food is like. It’s a known variable, and that counts for a lot. That being said, we all have our own feelings about Sodexo, so my

endorsement of Sodexo only goes so far as to say: we can do considerably worse than what we have right now. I also was able to personally try Yale’s self-dining food with my friend Jonah over break. I was given a dozen freshly steamed dumplings, a wonderful noodle salad, and some fantastic vegetables. Their dining is as diverse as it is good; I would describe it as restaurant quality. It was filling, and for the first time in my life, I found myself slowing down to savor a college dining meal. Yale is the poster child for self dining, this is true, but as far as I’m concerned, they have set the bar high. If Brandeis was giving it’s students the option for self dining, I would hands down recommend that. Unfortunately for all 3000+ of us, they’re not. This brings me to Nexdine, which I believe is the closest thing we can get to self dining. Nexdine was the only company whose food I wasn’t able to evaluate out in the wild. (During our break, I scoped out the massive Alexion Pharmaceuticals building in New Haven, which has a Nexdine-served cafe. However, I couldn’t get past the security, so I gave up). That being said, their presentation was the most impressive of the lot (critically, it had far more substance in terms of food than any other brand). Personally, I really enjoyed their presentation. But, as I said earlier, the real reason it’s in this spot is because I see Nexdine as the next best thing to self-dining. Some quick facts: They’re the only company in this entire line up that is a smaller institution (in terms of valuation and assets) than Brandeis. Additionally, the only other higher education institution they serve is a cafe at UMass medical school (unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get out to Sherman center & South Street to try it), and it has gotten consistently good reviews. Nexdine is also

new: they were founded in 2009. Nexdine is local: they’re based in Mansfield, Massachusetts, which is not far from Brandeis. All this is to say, whereas we might well be stuck with whatever bad situation we find ourselves in with Bon Appetit, Harvest Table, AVI, or Sodexo, both Brandeis itself and the student body will have a proportionally outsized impact on the direction Nexdine dining service takes at Brandeis, similar to how a self dining system works. In other words, if we have an issue with NexDine’s services, we can bring it up with them, and I believe there would be a pretty good chance we could work out a fix through negotiation and simply maintaining communication. Rather than a static relationship with a 10+ billion dollar corporation committed to serving us food that may very well be shortening my life expectancy (looking at Bon Appetit, AVI, Harvest Table, and Sodexo here), we have a chance to engage in a more symbiotic relationship with Nexdine. The ability to work with them actively to ensure the students of Brandeis get proper nutrition from their meal plans and to work through grievances we may have with the food served is unique, and from my perspective, arguably the most important component of the entire food service selection process. (As I stated earlier, their food is reasonably good). I emphatically endorse Nexdine serving Brandeis Students food– both for the reasons I outlined here as well as the conclusions from Max Kappler’s brilliant investigative journalism– and, should they be awarded the contract, I am hopeful that we will have a much more positive relationship with the food we eat and the people who serve it here at Brandeis moving forward.


The Brandeis Hoot

By Pa Camara special to the hoot

Part I - Before the Episode “You know that show with Zendaya and high school where everyone dresses edgy and there’s all the penises you could see?” “Do you mean Euphoria?” “Yeah”. I haven’t seen the show, but if I had to describe it to someone based on what I’ve seen of it, I’d call it the show where “everyone dresses edgy and there are plenty of penises for your arousal.” Whenever shows become the newest big thing, I don’t usually rush to watch it right away, instead taking my sweet time. I literally just finished Squid Game as I came back to campus at the end of last month. As for how fire it was, on a scale of match to wildfire, I’d say it was a strong campfire and maybe, just maybe, a dumpster fire. However, Euphoria is the show that I keep hearing about, and I just can’t escape the memes. Look at this:


March 4, 2022

Euphoria? I’m EuFORIT Look how they massacred my boy. Walter White, a man who was the center of one of the best and badass tv stories has been reduced to this. He has been yassified. Never have I ever seen such tomfoolery before.


The top comment is literally “But where’s the matching mini purse”. I scroll down and I see “sorry. Mommy? Sorry. mommy?” Need I say more? I swear these kids are supposed to be like 17. I finally decided to give the show a watch like my employee is retiring. I prayed that the show would be more than pronoun pills and yassification. Little did I know that it was about a different kind of pills. So with free time, and Quaker Maple and Brown Sugar in hand (shameless plug intended) I watched the first episode. I saw the ratings for violence, nudity, and strong sexual content and knew I was in for a REAL treat. The main protagonist

is Rue, and I’d Rue the day that...I’ll stop. Part II - Thoughts on episode one Within the first few minutes of the episode, I saw myself in Rue. I grew up in a solid home with loving parents, and didn’t experience any traumas or any other major hardships. My childhood wasn’t all that remarkable, which is why I took a liking to Rue, and it is because I saw myself in her that I found it easier to understand her. I grew up with severe asthma which got in the way of my life, and I found myself able to compare my asthma to her anxiety to an extent. As expected, Rue is not perfect as she recently spent time in rehab against a drug addiction, which turns out to not be time effectively used, as she goes back to the drugs. It’s her carefree attitude and perspective that “the world’s coming to an end’’ which explains her lack of ambition that makes her character feel open and accessible to many teenagers who aren’t in the most favorable circumstances and not sure what to do with themselves. She even dresses like she doesn’t care, with messy hair and not so put together clothes. Among the other characters, we have Nate, an all-American douchebag whose personality seems to indicate an insecurity or less than glamorous life at home. It’s giving “daddy works all day and mom doesn’t pay any attention to me.” Like a foil to Nate is his boy McKay, who is typically in the passenger seat in more ways than one. There is also Jules, a transgender girl whose demons lie under being in the middle of a

rough divorce. Lexi is, according to Rue, the closest thing she has to a best friend, with a home life that is the opposite of Rue’s. In addition, the episode also introduces Kat, a seemingly “straightedge” who is constantly ridiculed by others because of her “purity”. I can appreciate this diverse cast of characters that are meant to capture a good amount of the varying personality types of teens. During the episode, Jules links up with a stranger she met on a dating app and lies about her age which leads to her statutory rape. Especially considering that Jules’ father had no idea what she was going to do, I perceive this encounter as a message from the writers as to the dangers teenagers get involved with when left to their own devices. This is also indicative of them trying to live life on their own terms. The main event of this episode is the party that Nate convinces McKay to have at the latter’s house, where all of the actions of the characters are indicative of their motivations and characteristics. Nate for example, has his shirt off the entire time which expresses a constant need to radiate an aura of dominance. He even angrily kicks people out of his kitchen once his ex-girlfriend Maddy succeeds in making him jealous by having sex with someone else. Even here, thanks to pressure and condescending by McKay’s brothers, Kat breaks free of her restraint and has sex for the first time. Speaking of sex, McKay has an intially awkward encounter with Cassie, who is Lexi’s sister. Cassie’s nudes were leaked and McKay, being the foil to Nate he is, compliments her, and they

have sex, though it was like sexual assault at one pont. However, there were some gripes I had with the episode. What I’ve seen of some of the characters comes off as cliche. Nate’s personality for example reminds me of a typical disney highschool bully. Even the scenes where Nate and Maddy were trying to get back at one another took away from the seriousness of the show in my opinion. It also felt like a disney movie scene. It led me to wonder if a scene of Rue’s younger sister witnessing her overdose, as traumatic as that was, and Nate and Maddy trying to make each other jealous at a typical high school party, were meant to be in the same show. With the themes that Euphoria touches on, I feel inclined to take it seriously. I also have no idea why McKay puts up with Nate, but I am optimistic that this is something that is explored in future episodes. To be honest, I noticed a stark difference between my feelings before and after watching the episode. I’m inclined to take away the thoughts of “pronoun pills” and “yassification” and take away from the episode that it tells a story of high schoolers who aren’t perfect and are struggling to figure out who they want to be. This is no longer the show where “everyone dresses like sluts and is full of penises”, but the show where everyone dresses like the person they find comfort in being, even if it’s for the worse. I’ll give it an 8.5/10, and I look forward to watching more Euphoria.

The toxic newsroom By Scarlett Ren staff

The newsroom is changing, but it is still extremely toxic. As I am writing this, I am feeling every bit of the pain to be an Asian minority, an international student and a woman in a predominantly white male industry. I feel angry but mostly helpless because how slow the world is changing, how I have no way of changing the current dynamic and directly from that, how little to no opportunities people like me get compared to those who have been historically advantageous. Maybe the data in the Columbia Journalism Review can do us more justice given that 37% of the U.S. population isn’t white, only 17% of U.S. newsroom staff is not white. Minorities comprise only 13% percent of the newsroom leadership. The percentage of people of color in different medium media companies stayed at about 20% from 2005-2017. That’s 12 years, given that we have come a long way. While the medium for multimedia journalism has developed and advanced rapidly, we have done almost nothing, or the bare minimum, to incorporate journalists of diverse backgrounds into the newsroom. The results are clear: our stories and angles are not covering the entire picture. How can a newsroom not be toxic when everyone inside comes from very similar perspectives, given their similar upbringings? How will

good debates and conversations arise regarding current events if everyone is looking at the issues through a traditional lens? I find it extremely hard, challenging, and unbelievable. I am enrolled in the journalism minor, and per requirement I have to finish an internship upon graduation. I think this is an important hands-on experience that I should complete if I really were to enter the industry later on in life. Not sure where to start, the department internship advisor provided me with the “journalism mentor” website to look for professional leaders in order to chat with them regarding their experiences and for advice. What a great resource and opportunity, I thought. But as I scroll through the page, I stumbled to find people whose faces looked like mineAsian, and then women. Out of the whole website, there were maybe 3. And then I looked at what they offered to help and do. Thankfully, they had a lot to offer, and I was able to book time slots with them and reach out. I was still very disappointed. A sense of frustration arose from seeing so many unfamiliar faces. I am not able to relate or connect with people if there aren’t many who understand my background and where I am coming from. My stress was doubled after seeing minorities like me aren’t being evaluated and selected off of the same basis. In addition, as unfair and toxic as it already is, my citizenship is still Chinese. There’s A LOT MORE to consider than just “trying things out” when compar-

ing to a lot of my peers in class. Followed are some of my major concerns if I were to pursue journalism: Where could I see myself reporting from? China? U.S.? What position do I take in each country? What are the things I have to give up for, in return for reporting in the U.S. or China? Can I afford it? Can I keep up with the ever-changing industry, killer writing skills, and competition? All else settled, can I single handedly form my own sphere and strength, given the lack of diversity we have in U.S. newsrooms? Journalism is a job that requires

so much more than just sitting at an office, 9-5 on a regular payroll and routine performance. It requires intense human interactions, leaving your desks, doing fieldwork, asking the hard questions, putting yourself out there and being courageous and firm. The last thing I want to happen is to have something in the way of pursuing what someone really wants as a career. The point here is that if the journalism firms/companies truly understood and cared about diversity, they wouldn’t be marketing it SO MUCH and emphasizing it more than it needs to be. It would reflect in their recruitment numbers and data, not in the number of diversity programs they enlisted and newly

created. I don’t really know what I can commit to just yet, but regardless, the newsroom is extremely toxic. I know firmly that, one: there’s two sides to everything. While the current dynamic isn’t changing as fast and efficiently as the world wants it to be, there are still improvements made and people out there who are willing to offer help. And two: one’s ability to write, think, and analyze critically will always be the foundation for a good journalist, rather than who you are at the end of the day. But I am not hopeless. Ultimately, I hope someday it’s less about the numbers, but more about the stories we tell as a group of storytellers.


March 4, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

Brandeis’ response to Russian invasion is outrageous By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

During my four years at Brandeis, I have accepted that Brandeis doesn’t really care about its international students. I am not here to claim that all international students feel like this, but in my experience Brandeis is not the best place in terms of cultural sensitivity. All of this is to say that I do not hold Brandeis to high expectations when it comes to responding to what is happening outside of the US—or at all really—but especially when it comes to my home country of Ukraine. I’ve even had to sit through a semester of a class on international relations where the professor referred to Ukraine as “The Ukraine.” But I am not here to discuss that, or what is going on in Ukraine right now, there are people who know more about the topic, are less biased, can express things more eloquently and frankly are better sources all-around. I am here to discuss something that the national media won’t: Brandeis’

“reponse.” Now you might be asking what response I am talking about— Brandeis has not issued any public response. Well, I received an email in response to the situation. I am not sure who exactly this email was sent to, but none of my American friends have received it, so my best hypothesis is that it was sent to Ukrainian students at Brandeis. But without further ado, here is the email I received: “Dear Students, We are writing to acknowledge the current military conflict in Ukraine and want you to know that the Brandeis Community is thinking of you. We hope that your friends and family are safe. We can imagine that this is a very difficult time for you. Please remember the many options for support on campus for both undergraduate and graduate students, including the Counseling Center (which can be reached at 781-736-3730), the Dean of Students Office (781-736-3600), the Center for Spiritual Life, the Office of Graduate Student Affairs (781-736-3547), and the Office of the Vice Provost for Student

Affairs (781-736-2005). Faculty, staff, and students can also visit the Support at Brandeis website to review the comprehensive list of resources and services available to all members of our community. If you need any assistance during this difficult time, please let us know. We are hoping that your friends and family are safe and will keep you all in our thoughts.” The email is from the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO), the Dean of Students Office and the Office of Graduate Affairs. There’s a lot to unpack here but let me address the elephant in the room: the “military conflict.” The fact that this is a Russian INVASION of Ukraine is not a contested fact, unless your source of information is Russian state-sponsored media, in which case I suggest looking into some of the resources mentioned in paragraph two of the email. It has been called an invasion by media on the left, right, north and south. I even brushed up on my French skills to find a French source calling it an invasion; my roommate

contributed a Spanish article that calls it an invasion. The president of the US has called it an invasion. So what is this email? This is the only acknowledgement we get from Brandeis that we got about this, and an “acknowledgement” is a generous term for this pathetic excuse of an email. I’m not waiting for an official statement or anything—I like to think of myself as a realist—but this cannot be it. This was sent to people who are directly impacted by the invasion. Are you actually telling me that you are here for me during this “very difficult time,” while not even acknowledging what is happening? Brandeis really has made a career of giving me reasons to not donate to this place once I leave. I am really out of line to ask for an actual acknowledgement of what is happening in the place where I was born? That I called home for almost 18 years? Where all my friends and family are? At least in an email addressed to people like me, I expected more. A “military conflict” is a term that can be used to describe the state Ukraine has been living

in since the 2014 annexation of Crimea, followed by the fighting in Eastern Ukraine. This is an invasion, and the fact that Brandeis is dancing around this topic makes me want to transfer out of this place (for the record, I am half a semester away from graduating, so unfortunately it’s a little too late for me to actually do that). Maybe they’ll call the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic a “period of time where a lot of people got sick” too. As for the rest of the email, I guess thanks for the resources. I am sure, based on more horror stories than I can count, the counseling center is well equipped to deal with such cases. Or they will just tell me my case isn’t serious enough. The last bit just gives me “thoughts and prayers” vibes. So Brandeis, you asked to let you know if I “need any assistance during this difficult time,” well, let’s start with an actual acknowledgement of what is happening. EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written prior to President Liebowitz’s email addressing the entire Brandeis community on March 1.

Breakfast is the worst meal of the day By Justin Leung editor

I have always wondered: If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, why does no one eat it? It’s because breakfast actually sucks. Someone recently told me that they had an opposing opinion, as they believed that breakfast is the best meal of the day. It’s safe to say I am no longer friends with them. I proceeded to ask 30 different people what they thought was the best meal of the day and only one person said breakfast was the best meal of the day. 23 people thought dinner was the best meal and six people thought lunch was the best. You read that correctly, more people believed that lunch was the best meal of the day than breakfast. Breakfast is definitely not the best meal of the day, and most people agree with me on that. My first reason why breakfast is not the best meal of the day is because it is in the morning. Not only is it in the morning, but it

is meant to be eaten around the time you wake up. How good is that meal going to really taste when you just rolled out of bed? It’s probably not going to be satisfying. As you eat this meal, while half-awake, you are probably thinking about all the work you have to do for the day. So, you are tired and now you are sad cause you realize that you have a long day ahead of you. Breakfast has now accomplished two things. Make you wake up earlier and think about how long your day is going to be. At least for lunch and dinner, there’s a bright milestone for the day. The timing of breakfast just inherently makes the meal worse. Also, nobody has time to make breakfast. As a college student, I can definitely say that I would much rather sleep than spend any time trying to make breakfast. I wake up relatively early each day and there is never a time where breakfast is on my mind. Why not just sleep longer and eat lunch a few hours later? Now let’s get to breakfast food itself. I am going to give pos-

sibly a very controversial opinion, but I think pancakes, waffles, and French toast are basically the same thing. They are all cake/ bread that you put syrup on. You can even eat all of them plain or with butter. There lies a big issue of breakfast food. Variety does not exist with breakfast. If three of the most staple breakfast foods are basically the same thing, you know something is wrong. Another issue is that most of the other common breakfast foods are not very enticing foods. Cereal is bread and milk. Toast is just bread and maybe some spread. Bagels are basically toast with a slightly different spread. I should be hungry after talking about food so much, but I can definitively say that no part of me wants to eat after hearing the “great” breakfast foods. Breakfast in general is one of the cheaper meals, which is a good thing. You can normally get very good value out of breakfast foods, as eggs for example can be filling and not expensive. This is the only good thing about breakfast.

However, I must point out the one glaring flaw in this concept that is going out to eat breakfast. Let’s take the example of avocado on toast. I can see why it is beneficial to eat avocado on toast, but please explain to me how you can justify going to a restaurant and ordering it. Yes, it is maybe worth it if you buy an avocado and make the meal at home, but why choose to pay $11.49 for basically bread and an avocado at a restaurant? You can probably buy a loaf of bread and two avocados with that price. Anytime I see someone order avocado on toast at a restaurant, I stand up and leave. Breakfast as a whole is so overpriced if you go out to eat it. I can never justify going out to eat breakfast because I refuse to pay $10 for two pancakes. For $10 you can order a large pizza. How could you say that it is worth it to pay the same amount of money for two pancakes as a large pizza? Finally, I am just going to say it. Breakfast is boring. There is no excitement when it comes to breakfast foods. I think there are times when you

may crave a pancake or a waffle, but the flavors that come with it just aren’t something that blows your mind as much as maybe a pizza. There are so many varying flavors from the sauce and the toppings that can make a pizza exciting. Now let’s think about how pancakes are exciting. These normal pancakes now have chocolate chips. I literally fell asleep writing that. Not all meals have to be exciting, but each meal should provide that opportunity. Breakfast just doesn’t do that. “I want to preface this entire article by saying that breakfast in general is the best meal of the day, no questions asked,” said John Fornagiel ’22 in an article. I want to end this article by saying that there has never been a more incorrect statement than this one. If there is one thing that comes out of this article, it should be that breakfast is at least not the best meal of the day if not the worst. Editor’s Note: Editor-in-Chief John Fornagiel approved of the publishing of this article.

It’s a long road. Enjoy it. By Cooper Gottfried editor

The three most common words on any college campus: “what’s your major?” It’s a question that everyone that’s ever gone through an undergraduate education has had to answer countless times. Some folks will have a solid answer, and some have even planned out the rest of their college careers course by course. It’s amazing to speak with someone who can say with conviction what they want to study, but I just can’t do that. As I often say to my family, my professors, and my friends, “I have no idea what I want to study.” If you’re like me, and you also haven’t got any semblance of a solid answer to that question, I’ve got good news: we’re not alone. We’re a part of the 50 percent of American college students who

start their college career undecided, and some of us will be a part of the 75 percent of American college students who change their major at least once. It’s taken a bit of time for me to come to terms with it, but I’m OK with not knowing what I’ll study. There’s a good reason for my utter indecisiveness, though. In stereotypical Brandeis student fashion, I’m just far too passionate about far too many things. I’m considering a major in environmental studies because I want to help preserve our planet’s biodiversity, I’m considering a major in computer science because I really enjoy knowing the inner workings of the machine that I typed out this article on, and I’m considering a minor in journalism because I’ve derived so much enjoyment from writing for Brandeis’ best media publication. The only thing I’m sure I’ll be studying is Span-

ish, and I’m already two courses in to the five course requirement for the minor I plan to complete in Hispanic Studies. My inability to choose a path for myself certainly isn’t for lack of trying, it’s just due to my desire to do so many different things. And, the worst part is, every time I take a course in a new discipline, I feel my interests being pulled in that direction. For example, this semester I’m taking an art course, FA56 “American Art” with professor Peter Kalb. It’s an art history course that has focused on paintings made in America during the colonial era so far. I will admit that I originally enrolled in the course to fulfill a few Brandeis Core requirements and had zero prior experience in art history. But, as the semester has progressed, I’ve found myself truly enjoying the content of the course and found myself stricken

with a desire to hop on a BranVan to the Museum of Fine Arts and explore everything every weekend. Last semester, I took a politics course, POL111 “The American Congress” with professor Jill Greenlee, and thought about whether a career in politics was right for me. The course had an interesting activity called the “legislative simulation” where each student took on the persona of a congressperson and had to cooperate to write and pass legislation. It was captivating, and I felt like I learned so much in the few classes that the legislative simulation took. Although I eventually decided that I’m not crazy enough to run for office, I did consider it for a while just because of how engrossing this course was. In my series of interviews with different academic leaders at Brandeis (which you should read

when you finish this article), I’ve learned about undergraduate education systems in other countries. Some of these professors told me about the education system in Europe, where students are required to choose what they want to study much earlier in their academic career. This allows for more depth of knowledge but restricts the breadth of it. If given a choice, I’d choose the American liberal arts system, although I do understand the benefits of the European system. Like all undecided students, I look forward to eventually figuring out what I want to do with my life. With my myriad interests, I believe that Brandeis truly is the best place for me to do that. I want to explore all my passions. I want to explore environmental studies, computer science, journalism, and see where they lead. Here, I feel like I can.


The Brandeis Hoot

March 4, 2022

The great French demographic mystery By Alex Williams staff

France in 1800 was a power that still could rule the world. Though Britain since 1763 had usurped the preeminent position of France among the great powers, the Treaty of Paris did not remove the foundations of French power. Only after a titanic half-century struggle could the Pax Britannica be allowed to emerge, during which a host of nations had failed repeatedly to shatter the French state. England rather found herself threatened with destruction by Napoleon Bonaparte, as the French dictator loosed his armies upon the Continent and annexed lands from Catalonia to the Baltic shore. Vast in cultivable territory, protected by seas and mountains, and positioned at the heart of a rich ecosystem of cultural interaction, French power nonetheless would not have been possible but for the historical population advantage under its feet. The innovative use of mass conscription, for instance, enabled France to marshall its superior population resources as an instrument of war in 1793, ensuring the survival of the First Republic and the spectacular expulsion of Coalition armies on multiple fronts. If one were to examine the demographic figures of 1800, one might understand the impression of European powers that France must have had at its disposal an apparently inexhaustible supply of soldiers. France of 1800 contained within her modern-day borders a population of over 26 million, roughly equal to Tokugawa Japan’s, and significantly exceeded only by those of China and Maratha India among all contiguous political entities. To this was added four million from annexed territories west of the Rhine, as well as almost twenty million more in French-controlled puppet states throughout Italy, Switzerland and Holland. Peninsular Spain, Prussia and Great Britain meanwhile had only 10 million each at this time, whilst Imperial Russia contained only 35 million in total, including over 21 million in Russia proper. The world as a whole contained one billion people, of whom 175 million populated Europe, and within Europe itself 15 percent lived inside the modern-day borders of metropolitan France. It is clear that whilst France was united, mastery of the world remained within her reach. Yet there was to be no final victory. French power was permanently broken in 1815 after decades during which the great powers studied their mistakes and combined together their

own manpower reserves. French borders were driven back and England, with her Channel never breached, survived to embark upon her imperial century. Had France’s population advantage remained, Paris might have justified the fear with which England continued to regard her for the next century. However, by World War I its advantage was all but lost, and this remains the most compelling question in all the demographic history of France. As the advent of the industrial age dramatically decreased mortality and improved living standards, the population of the European continent nearly tripled to 450 million by 1914, before crossing 700 million by 1990. Had France’s population grown at a similar rate, it would have neared 80 million by 1914 and surpassed 120 million by the Cold War’s end. This was not to be: throughout the “long nineteenth-century” the inhabitants of France only increased by a third, to a population of only 40 million by World War One. By then the population of Great Britain had quadrupled to 40 million whilst the population of Prussian-dominated Germany had far surpassed France to 65 million. This disparity, which had become an obsession for prewar French lawmakers, widened further by World War II, with Britain outnumbering France and Italy now equal in strength; even the recapture of Alsace-Lorraine had failed to lift the French population to 8 percent of the Continent’s. Again, the nation was forced to contend with the gravity of its fall from the sun, as numerically superior enemies repeatedly charged into it to devastating effect. In fact, had it not been for the acquisition of nuclear weapons and an unusually dramatic postwar baby boom which saw France’s population regain parity with that of the United Kingdom (where they remain equal to this day at about 65 million each), France’s future as a great power might have slipped away altogether and relegated it to a regional status akin to that of Italy, another former great power. These are centuries of gradual decline, punctuated by five republics and correlated almost perfectly with the incremental loss of France’s once-mighty relative advantage in population. This attests to both the critical importance of population for the maintenance of national power, and the great mystery which underpins the end of centuries of French military hegemony. What could account for the unique trajectory and relative failure of French population growth, when its neighbors doubled and tripled in size even as they shed millions of emigrants to

the New World? Compounding matters is the fact that the French population is recorded as having reached 33 million by 1850, which suggests that half of its population growth took place between Napoleon and Napoleon III. Even the loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany in 1871 removed only about one million from metropolitan France. Finally, a slower urbanization rate indicated a smaller rural migration to the cities, which presumably reduced the displacement and overcrowded poverty that most often encouraged nineteenth-century emigration. In the absence of emigration, relatively low fertility rates must bear the overwhelming responsibility for low French population growth. Indeed, fertility rates for 1900 reveal France to have the lowest birth-rate in Europe, and indeed the only one at only three births per woman; Britain, the world’s most industrialized society, was by that point at about 3.5 births per woman, while the German Empire was at nearly five and the Russian Empire surpassing seven. French policymakers were no doubt aware that fertility lay at the heart of its population woes, yet the disparity in births would persist until the late 1920s. Only in the wake of World War Two would France begin to experience any significant population growth at all, when birth-rates rose by 50 percent during five years of war to their highest levels since the nineteenth-century (the reasons behind this are nearly as inexplicable; it might as well be regarded as a second Great French Demographic Mystery). Industrialization and urbanization, the traditional destroyers of birth-rates, are almost certainly not entirely to blame in the case of France, which industrialized later and urbanized far slower than its northern neighbors. At the same time, it can be reasoned that the birth disparity between France and her neighbors did not precede the industrial age. According to a 1985 comparative study by the historical demographer Tony Wrigley, marital fertility in France remained consistent with her neighbors prior to the nineteenth-century. What, then, could have led to such relatively low birth rates, if not industrialization or ancient habit? Wrigley’s own demographic work appears to reinforce the population figures of France at various points in time. He attests that French fertility by 1840 was only about 66 percent of the level in 1800, before dropping to 50 percent of that level by 1900. This disproportionate drop between 1800 to 1840 allows us to triangulate the exact interval at which French fertility led its popula-

tion growth to stall. If, assuming the birth-rate in France in 1800 matched the 6-7 per-woman average for western Europe at the time, a drop to 66 percent by 1840 would result in a fall in the average number of births per woman from six to about four births per woman by 1840, after which it gradually declines to three by 1900 (after a brief period of increase during the rule of Napoleon III). Wrigley details an unusual increase in both the average age of marriage and the proportion of unmarried individuals within eighteenth-century France. This coincided with a considerable rise in illegitimate and premarital births, after which the rate of marriage began to increase even as life expectancy rose by 10 years and mortality declined overall. Wrigley suggests that French couples endeavored to limit births to remain consistent with these diminished levels of mortality. This would remain consistent with the behavior of populations in industrializing states, wherein decreased child mortality lessened the need for women to maximize their number of births to increase the probability their children would survive to adulthood. While this might explain why Frenchwomen elected to bear far fewer children during this period, it leaves unanswered the question of why mortality declined, and why both life expectancy and the average age of marriage increased in preindustrial France. It must be noted, of course, that if French fertility indeed averaged about six births per woman in 1800, the earlier trends in marriage must have made little effect upon the overall number of annual French births. Nonetheless, it is as if France at the turn of the 19th century, in the absence of industrialization, had somehow begun to experience the social consequences of an industrial society, whether in life expectancy or child mortality. Therefore, as they occupy the start point of this demographic transition, the First French Republic and the First French Empire are both crucial for analysis. And so, we return once more to Napoleon I. During the Napoleonic and Revolutionary eras, France was subject to a host of frequently violent and radical reforms that the rest of the Continent simply never experienced, notwithstanding the influence of the Napoleonic Code and other such reforms introduced by the French invasions. It is likely that in their efforts to overturn the traditional social relationships of French society, political revolutionaries disrupted the natural incentives for childbirth in a preindustrial society. One might recall the anti-Church campaigns, but

such a disruption is more likely to have been institutionalized by Napoleon, who reversed or mitigated many of the more fanatical gestures of the Jacobin regime. One particular law in the Napoleonic Code comes to mind: Napoleon ordained that an estate must be divided by the number of children in the family, and that, as “protected heirs,” children cannot be disinherited. This law, by standing in contrast to a more traditional custom by which the estate is entrusted in its entirety to the eldest heir, presents a rational incentive to limit families. The more children one has, the more one’s assets would need to be divided, which might diminish the desire to produce more prospective heirs. Of course, the extent to which this law would hinder the rural peasantry (the majority of the French population) is questionable, as is the influence of such a law on family-planning behavior. Yet, as it pertains to what might be the greatest demographic mystery in the history of modern France, any potential explanation is worthy of consideration. All mysteries invite speculation, especially if even the most researched explanations remain unsatisfactory. Indeed, while it remains unclear to me why the French birth-rate slumped in the decades after the First French Republic, I am reminded of the disparity between the Russian birthrates before and after World War Two, or the German birth-rates before and after World War One. It might be that reproductive behaviors change dramatically and permanently as a consequence of destructive social upheavals or calamitous events. What is fundamentally unchanged is the mysterious nature of the French demographic anomaly throughout the “long 19th century.” A nation that once could conquer the world was consigned to a fate of gradual decline in relation to its neighbors. France, in straddling the fertile rim of the Eurasian continent, was certainly promised a greater population than it ultimately received. Its demographic story over the last two centuries contains the same mystic quality as its historical fall from hegemony; once it was first among the great powers, and now it threatens to slip through the cracks altogether. There are few regions in the world whose populations have only tripled since 1700, and none so large as France; demography, if anything, had stolen her fate. The demographic history of France’s lost century thus deserves closer attention and should be regarded as among the greatest of modern mysteries.


March 4, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 17

‘Too Hot To Handle’ made me lose brain cells editor

Reality dating shows have been evolving over the years, but the essence of all of them is attractive, narcissistic people falling for other attractive, narcissistic people. Nevertheless, they remain popular and people become entranced by these shows. Netflix’s “Too Hot To Handle” has put a twist on the genre. They have to make a connection with someone, but they cannot have any sexual contact with each other. With the contestants that are chosen, it is quite a challenge. For the record, I want to make it clear that it was not my idea to watch the newest season of this show. When hanging with my friends, they suggested we watch it, and we watched the whole season together. Honestly, I think this is the only way you can watch these shows. Laughing and talking about dating shows with your besties makes the experience fun. I think I enjoyed the companionship more than the show. I knew the basic concept of the show before watching it, but it was another thing to witness these people’s desperation for sex. All of

these people seemed selfish and I do not think I witnessed any conversation that was not about shallow compliments or relationships. It’s a real study on vanity and sexual attraction, and I cannot say if I will watch this show again. The third season premiered Jan. 19. Since so many people knew about “Too Hot to Handle” by this point, the contestants were not told that was the show that they were going to be on. Instead, they were told they were going to be on a new show called “Pleasure Island.” They went off to Turks and Caicos thinking that this would be a show where they could get some pleasure. When they got there, they got a rude awakening. The ten sexy and sex-driven singles had to learn how to make actual bonds without getting sex involved. The producers knew what they were doing because the moment we meet each contestant, we can tell that they have a very high sex drive and a lack of romantic experience. In the opening interviews, the first thing that each of them talk about are their hookups, their love of sex and how they never get emotions involved when they are with someone. There is a cash prize of two hundred thousand dollars for who-

ever shows the most growth, but every time they have any sort of sexual contact, a certain amount of money is taken away based on the act. There are also wrenches thrown their way throughout the show, from being put in a romantic suite, to new contestants who may make the others insecure. They also have to go through different workshops that are meant to teach them how to love themselves and how to connect with other people. The people with the most growth win the show and the money, but growing for these people is easier said than done. Watching this was like going to the zoo. I could not relate to anything I was seeing from this species, but there sure was a variety of entertainment. Sure, I found some guys very sexy on this show (Stevan, if you’re out there, call me), but I feel like I have not encountered these people in real life. Their attractions had nothing to do with personality and they were always looking to start fights. They would yell at each other for spending money or if someone looked at “their partner,” aka a person they have clinged to after a few weeks. It is crazy how territorial some people got after knowing someone for a few days or weeks.

You’d think some of the couples were together for years. The way some people acted like a person was their property. It was also insane how even when there was a lot of money on the line, they still could not resist kissing the other contestants. How do these people ever go out in public if they can not even go a few days without doing anything? Every episode felt the same to me. They wake up, they have separate conversations about how they are doing, drama, they find out if anyone broke rules, they do a workshop, drama and it ends with some rule breaking. It gets repetitive after a while. I also found the workshops to be weird. They get professionals with job titles that don’t seem real to do activities that do not seem like they have much of a purpose. From putting paint on each other to the women showing love to their vaginas (no masturbation was involved), I have no idea how the producers came up with these ideas, and I don’t think they lead to much improvement. I was not going into the show expecting fine art. I know this is a guilty pleasure show that many would label “trash TV.” Still it is hard to believe that not only are people willing to act like this, but also do

not have the self awareness to realize how they come across on TV. Even if producers told them what to do, they still did not care about these reputations being built. While I was rolling my eyes after every other line, I felt it was interesting to put these unique people under a microscope. It was a lesson about relationships and shows that there really are people who think with their libido. I want to make it very clear, I am not slut shaming anyone and I consider myself a sex positive person who believes that people should do what they want as long as it does not hurt anyone. I just found the lack of restraint to be fascinating and how much these people are begging for attention. I guess those are reality dating shows in a nutshell. There has been no word on if this show will be picked up for a fourth season, and at this point, it will only get easier for contestants to figure out what show they are on when they try out. Would I watch another season? Only if I’m with a group of friends so we can laugh, I’m not going to suffer alone. If you want to take a break from thinking for a few hours or you want to see just how much sex can dominate the mind, watch “Too Hot to Handle” today.

Bucket List—a short story By Cyrenity Augustin editor

Wendy and Leo had made the first version of their bucket list at the age of 10. They had read about it in a book, and eager to grow a bit closer to the characters they admired, the two had met up after school and eagerly scribbled down their deepest wishes. As the two aged, the list shifted, dreams such as having a lion for a pet and becoming the next president shifting to hopes like learning how to surf and camping in the woods for a week. The running document had physical marks of their changing interests, packed with scribbled out words, a variety of different colored notes, coffee stains and wrinkles upon wrinkles. Of course, however, the goal was to complete a bucket list, not simply change it around. So, the two had set a goal.By the time they reached 30 (because to them, that seemed like centuries away) they would mark off every single challenge on their list. It was easy enough at first. They started a YouTube channel (which later on down the line they deleted out of utter embarrassment), had read 15 books in a month (that had consisted of very long nights and a lot of coffee) and even was able to get those surfing lessons they had wanted (which Leo ended up dropping, but became Wendy’s new favorite activity). Over the next 19 years, they had accomplished things that they had only dreamed of. The list was nearly complete. There was only one goal left. And that was how the two found themselves cramped in a car for a roadtrip to the Natural Bridges National Monument in Lake Powell, Utah. “I can’t believe you two are actually going to finish that list,” Leo’s fiancee, Carolin, whistled over the phone, which was connected to Wendy’s car system. “Nineteen years and you two never gave up on it.” Wendy looked up from the pas-

senger seat, where she had been occupying herself with a large slushie. “Well we promised each other we’d get it done, so that’s what we’re going to do! Besides, if we can’t do it, no one can.” “You got that right.” Leo drummed his fingers on the wheel, keeping his eyes on the road. “At the rate we’re going, we should arrive there about an hour before midnight, so we should be able to grab some good seats before the show starts.” “I mean, I guess, but driving all the way to Utah to see some stars? You could have done that from home.” “Meteor shower. And as for the location, it’s one of the best places for stargazing in the world. It’s our last item on the list, so it’s obviously got to be the biggest.” Wendy finished off her slurpee with a loud sucking noise, before stuffing it into their trash bag. “What Leo said!” “Well, if you say so.” The sound of background chatter came through on Carolyn’s side, before she spoke up again. “Alright, the soccer game’s about to start. I’ll call you back later?” “Sounds good, love. Kick their butts for me!” “Break a leg!” “I’m pretty sure that’s just for theater, but I appreciate the sentiment, Wendy. Have fun!” She let out a bubbly laugh, before hanging up with a beep.Silence fell over the car for a moment, before Wendy immediately leaned forward, pushing her hair out of her eyes in order to get a better look at the navigation system. “We’re not going to have to stop again, are we? We still have four hours left before we get there.” “We’ll be fine. I made sure to refuel at the gas station. We shouldn’t have to refill until we’re heading back to California.” Wendy leaned forward and knocked on the wood grain of her dashboard. “Really?”

“I’m not risking you jinxing this for us. We spent way too long planning this trip and way too long driving for something to happen when we’re so close.” “Oh please, we’ll be fine.” Wendy knocked on the dashboard again, and Leo simply rolled his eyes, pressing harder on the gas. The next couple of hours passed by quickly enough. About an hour in, the two drove past the “Welcome to Utah” sign (which elicited a cheer from the two of them) and after switching drivers, they continued onward. Nearing their destination. Smooth sailing. Until the car broke down.The sputtering noise that came from the car made both of their stomachs sink. The (quite desperate) denial of what was happening was only able to last for a few seconds before the car lurched to a sudden and complete stop. The silence that filled the car was smothering. Wendy gave the key a twist, gently at first, before giving it a couple of harsh turns. Nothing. “...Wendy?” “You’re joking. You’ve gotta be joking!” Wendy gave the key a couple of more turns, but nothing changed. She punched the steering wheel, issuing a loud honk, before flopping back against the car seat. They were stranded. After spending the next few minutes in despair and silence, Wendy called 9-1-1, while Leo got up and lifted the hood of the car. He stared at the intricate machinery under the hood before sighing and slamming the hood down. It wasn’t like he knew what to do with it anyway. Wendy threw the car door open and stepped out, drawing Leo’s attention as she slammed the door closed behind her. “Apparently my ignition switch is bad. So, we can’t go anywhere until we get a new one. They’re on their way, but we’re going to have to see a mechanic.” “What? We don’t have time to wait for a mechanic!” “Yeah, I know.” “Why didn’t you check your

ignition switch before we drove out here!?” “How was I supposed to know it needed to be fixed!?” “It is literally your car.” “Yeah? Well, you were the last person to drive it before me! How come you didn’t notice anything wrong?” “This is not my fault!” “Really? Because part of me thinks that it is.” “It. Is. Your. CAR!” Wendy opened her mouth to argue, but as she couldn’t find the words to properly express her anger, she settled for a yell of frustration before storming off down the road. “Where are you even going!?” “Away from you!” “You need to be here for when the police arrive!” Wendy waved him off with an annoyed grunt, and Leo had to resist the urge to kick the side of her car.Despite her stubbornness, Wendy returned by the time the police arrived (which was a little under an hour) and while she caught them up on everything that happened, Leo sulked some ways away, his backpack on his back and his eyes on the sky. The sun had been gone for some time now, and as he traced his eyes across the sky, he could see the stars lighting up the night. They weren’t kidding when they said that Utah was one of the best places for stargazing. He glanced over at Wendy, who was trying her best to stay calm (he could tell by the way that she was tugging on the bottom of her shirt), but he knew how heartbreaking this was for her. For both of them. Leo slung his backpack off of his bag, digging through it before pulling out a nearly ruined piece of paper. He smoothed it out, on his leg, before holding it up.At the top of the sheet was the absolutely horrendous writing of ten-year-old Leo and Wendy, and under it was a living document of their relationship. He chuckled to himself as he looked over the remnants of their childhood dreams, accessorized

by fading doodles. Wendy walked over, arms crossed tightly and a guilty look on her face as she came to a stop next to him. “Hey, I know that you’re upset. And I…” She paused at the smile on Leo’s face, before glancing at the bucket list in his hand. At the sight of it, she couldn’t help but laugh. “That thing’s barely holding on.” “Yeah, I know. It’s been through a lot.” “Yeah, it has.” Leo let his gaze go down the list, before landing on the last item, written so that half of it was in his round handwriting and the other in Wendy’s sharp penmanship: “Go see a meteor shower together”. He glanced over to the broken-down car, waiting patiently for a tow truck to arrive, before sighing and folding up the list. “Look, Wendy. I’m sorry for blowing up on you. It’s not your fault, and I know that.” He shrugged, looking up at her with a smile. “If we have to wait a bit longer than planned to finish this list, so be it.” Wendy let out a breath, before sitting down next to him, looking up at the night sky. After a few moments, she spoke up. “The whole point of the bucket list is that we wanted to do it together, right? So, as long as we see it together, no matter when it is, or where it is, I think that’s what’s more important.” “Mm.” The tow truck arrived and their car was hooked up while Leo ordered a Lyft. As they waited, the two laid out on the side of the road, snacks in hand and phone flashlights lighting up their faces. They talked, laughed, and sang, until, overhead, despite their rather inconvenient location the beauty of the meteor shower made itself known. They gazed in silent awe at the beautiful sight, nearly forgetting about everything else. Nearly. With a start, Leo reached into his pocket and pulled out the crumpled Bucket List. He held it out to Wendy, whi shrugged with a smile.


The Brandeis Hoot

March 4, 2022

I’m proud of ‘Proud Family: Louder and Prouder’ By Josh Lannon staff

Disney’s “Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” is a surprisingly successful revival of the early 2000s show “The Proud Family.” Interestingly, the show is not a sequel or reboot but seems to be a true revival or continuation of the original. As a result, some of the cultural elements can seem a bit weird, considering the central characters have remained tweens from 2001 to 2022. But the addition of new and updated characters, along with a sleek animation style that still respects the original show’s art style makes this revival of a classic Disney show all the better. The revival follows the plot of the original coming of age animated sitcom following the adventures of 14-year-old Penny Proud (Kyla Pratt) and her family, including her mother Trudy (Paula Jai Parker), her father Oscar (Tommy Davidson) and her grandmother Suga Mama (JoMa-

rie Payton). All these voice actors return to their iconic roles in the 2022 revival. Also returning to the series are Penny’s core friend group Dijonay Jones (Karen Malina White), Zoey (Soleil Moon Fyre) and Alisa Reyes as Penny’s frenemy LaCienga Boulevardez. Another returning character is Michael Collins, originally voiced by Phil Lamar but now voiced by EJ Johnson. Michael was a character in the original show who was originally portrayed as, or at least coded as, queer. Episodes like “Who You Callin’ a Sissy” called into question Michael’s sexual orientation, though it was never specifically expressed. The revival confirms that Michael is gender non-conforming. Micheal is not the only visible LGBTQ representation in the revival: There are also the new characters Randall Leibowitz-Jenkins (Billy Porter) and his husband Barry (Zachary Quinto), who are the parents of the new kids at school Maya (Keke Palmer) and KG (Julius Dubose). The main plot of the first episode of the revival continues

the series’s coming of age storyline, following tweens as they deal with the trials and tribulations of being 14. It starts with a magical light, visiting each of the tweens overnight and waking up completely different. Yes, that’s right, the show starts with a puberty episode. I was a bit nervous as to how this plotline would play out, as it could have easily been really cringey. However, the show avoids the pitfalls of a puberty episode for two key reasons. First, it’s used mostly as a means of justifying the updated character designs in the show. Secondly, the show not only treats the topic with a lot of respect but also ties it into a plotline showing the perspective of both Penny and her parents as she grows into a young woman. The show is overall entertaining, and more importantly, retains a lot of the humor of the original. A lot of the humor is derived from the patriarch of the Proud family, Oscar Proud. His desperate and increasingly embarrassing attempts to keep his daughter from growing up too fast are equal parts cartoonishly over the

top and also heartwarming and relatable for many viewers. Another returning aspect is Oscar’s hilarious dynamic with his mother Suga Mama, who serves as both a source of frank “tell it like it is” wisdom for Penny, as well as a pain in the neck for her son. While the show thankfully retains a lot of the humor and charm of the original series, it also has a minor continuity problem. Jumping from 2001 to 2022 is quite the time skip without any characters aging. Now that Penny and her friends are closer in age to Gen Z, some aspects of their world have also been updated. For example, one thing I noticed was that Penny and all her friends now have smartphones. I also remembered, after binging the original show over February break, that there was a holiday episode that made a big deal of Penny freaking out after getting a cell phone resembling an old flip phone. My, how times have changed–nowadays kids usually get their first smartphone by 12 years old. Other than the odd culture shock I had watching the original series

and then the new show (which reminded me of the inevitable march of time), the show is still the same at its core, the same family and character dynamics with an updated modern setting. That being said, the show is still clearly one for tweens, and everybody who watched the show as a young tween when it aired would be in their 30s by now. Although the show maintains the same style of humor and characters and updates the setting, it might have difficulty reaching both new audiences of young people and appealing to the nostalgia of those who watched it growing up. Despite this issue, I truly believe that this revival will find its footing somewhere. “Proud Family” is such an earnest revival that attempts to introduce a classic Disney cartoon for a new generation while still honoring the original show’s characters and themes. At the end of the day and after 17 years, the Proud family is still Prouder than ever.

‘Twenty Five Twenty One’ is the happy show we need now more than ever By Caroline O editor

As someone who regularly reviews Korean dramas, I try to make a point of waiting until after the drama’s complete before making a fully-formed opinion of them. This choice is made largely in part because sometimes I just don’t know how I really feel about a show until it’s done airing—because as too many of us know, a show can start off incredibly strong, only to disappoint us miserably at its conclusion. (“Game of Thrones,” anyone?). But “Twenty Five Twenty One” is a Korean drama that I have absolutely no qualms about reviewing and recommending, even though it’s only six episodes in its 16 episode run time. The reason for this rushed recommendation is simply that “Twenty Five Twenty One” is the brightest show that I’ve seen in a long time. Following the lives of young fencer Na Hee Do (Kim Tae Ri) and hardworking eldest son Baek Yi Jin (Nam Joo Hyuk), this show is relentless in its de-

piction of optimism in the face of hardship. Both of these characters have basically had some element of their youth taken away from them by the 1998 Korean financial crisis, most often referred to as “IMF.” Hee Do, an 18-yearold high school student, only has dreams of becoming a national fencing champion and when this financial crisis disassembles her fencing team, she tries all she can to keep pursuing her dream. Meanwhile, Yi Jin, a 22-year-old former student, works multiple part-time jobs in order to support himself after his family went bankrupt. While both are still so very young, they’re trying to make the most of their lives in these turbulent times. Hee Do does so with a bright smile and a fierce passion that’s only slightly tempered by the naivete of her youth; Yi Jin does so with mature nods and apologies to those who his bankrupt family might have dragged into the fray. By chance, the two stumble upon each other and find ways to cheer the other on. The constant enthusiasm and genuine desire for each character

to see the other succeed is what makes me want to recommend this show immediately. Hee Do’s brightness is infectious, not just to Yi Jin, but also to the viewers themselves. This isn’t to say that she’s completely stupid or that she hasn’t suffered—in her own ways, Hee Do has suffered on her own. Her dad passed away when she was younger, she has a strained relationship with her mother and she’s not very academically inclined. Fencing is quite literally the only thing she has left for herself and even though she fails time and time again, she gets back up. As she mentions in one episode, Hee Do makes a point to change all the sadder moments of her life into a comedy—because “laughing makes it easier to forget; you have to forget to move on.” To someone like Yi Jin, who has lost his family and his youth to the financial crisis, Hee Do’s words are very much a healing balm. As only a 22-year-old, Yi Jin has plenty of time to have a fresh start, but fresh starts don’t exactly feel possible when the whole country seems to have lost its head. And

yet, despite all that, Yi Jin seems to regain some hope too—and in return, he helps Hee Do when she’s feeling more vulnerable. Because he’s lost so much, Yi Jin sees the bright optimism in Hee Do and rather than discourage it, he pushes her forward. He tells her to “take your time and climb, and take whatever you want,” and for that moment, Yi Jin’s words aren’t just encouraging to Hee Do—they encourage the viewers, too. These bright scenes don’t just end with Hee Do and Yi Jin. Other lovable characters include Hee Do’s rival, the high school student fencing prodigy Ko Yoo Rim (Bona) who, because of her own impoverished background, treats fencing like a life-or-death situation. Although the two are rivals now, it’ll only be a matter of time before they truly become friends—especially since it seems that, unbeknownst to them, they’d actually competed with one another as children. (And every Korean drama fan knows that if two characters had crossed paths with one another as children, they are absolutely fated to become close

companions later in the future.) Other lovable characters include Moon Ji Ung (Choi Hyun Wook), Hee Do and Yoo Rim’s classmate who cheers both girls on with a genuineness that will make even the grumpiest of grumps crack a smile. And, of course, I can’t forget Coach Yang (Kim Hye Eun) who mentors Hee Do with equal parts rigor and deceptive easygoingness. Even though we’re only a quarter way through the show, I already know she’s joining the ranks of my favorite teacher-like characters—and honestly, I think we all need Coach Yang to get our heads on straight. With a cast of even incredibly bright, incredibly honest minor characters like these, “Twenty Five Twenty One” is never without a dull moment. They too join the ranks in making the show feel like the spot of brightness in an otherwise dreary time. So I encourage you to go visit them every Saturday and Sunday on Netflix. Go on—the kids of “Twenty Five Twenty One” probably cannot wait to welcome you into their hardships and, in turn, their hope for the future.

‘Cyrano’ (2021) is an old story told well By Lucy Fay editor

“Cyrano” (2021) is the newest musical iteration of the life of Cyrano de Bergerac. This simple story told so many times before, has been minorly reimagined, placed on top of a wonderful score and put in the hands of a fantastic cast to create a very watchable albeit imperfect movie. Whether you know it or not, everyone has heard the story of Cyrano. An intelligent, witty man falls in love with a woman, but because of a superficial barrier (what in the original story was a large nose is now represented by Cyrano’s (Peter Dinklage) dwarfism), he assumes she would not love him back. The man proceeds to write the woman letters sent

under the name of a more conventionally attractive man. The woman, most often called Roxanne, ultimately falls in love with the letters more so than the conventionally attractive man that claimed to have written them, and the story ends with Roxanne and Cyrano professing their love. The story is centuries old and has been told through musicals, stage plays, a Steve Martin movie, a 2018 high school rom-com called “#Roxy” and many more mediums. It is a feat to captivate an audience through a story they already know. Especially when that story takes over two hours to reach its conclusion. “Cyrano” succeeded in captivating but the praise for that success falls much more in the lap of Peter Dinklage and the Dessner brothers, who composed the film, than that of its writers. The movie is filled with talented

actors. Roxanne (Haley Bennet) and De Guiche (Ben Mendelsohn) both have great moments and portray their characters very effectively. Similarly, some single scene characters such as Valvert (Joshua James) or the singers of “Wherever I Fall,” gave memorable emotional performances. But far and away, the good entertaining scenes in “Cyrano” are the result of Peter Dinklage as the titular character. From his first appearance, Cyrano draws the attention of the audience. He shows such an emotional range as well as physical versatility in dance numbers and duels. Cyrano is not just a good protagonist, he is likable, sympathetic and consistently funny. Dinklage’s portrayal convincingly paints an intelligent, witty, fierce fighter; lovelorn and simultaneously set on proving himself as a soldier.

The film’s written dialogue is not lacking per se, but given the movie’s uphill battle towards distinction, without Peter Dinklage and the many great performances supporting him, the movie would not be worth watching. This becomes particularly clear in non-musical scenes of inevitable tribulations and squabbles. No one enjoys watching characters pouting over issues easily solved via a single conversation, especially when the audience already knew the issue was going to occur in the storyline. “Cyrano” has the first original movie musical soundtrack since “La La Land” I will listen to repeatedly, long after I have seen the film. The Dessner Brothers created such a specific theme in this soundtrack. With varying notes of folk, classical orchestral and traditional Broadway and lyrics rang-

ing from snippy silly conversation to heart-wrenching ballads about grief and love this soundtrack is truly unique and always entertaining. It listens nearly as well as an independent soundtrack as it does in accompaniment of the film. A personal favorite is the previously mentioned “Wherever I Fall: Part 1,” which brings tears to my eyes every time I listen to it. While I found this film largely made up for its banal plot, others more familiar with Cyrano de Bergerac than I may still find the movie tedious. I note this primarily because the older man sitting behind me in the movie theater made his contempt and boredom toward the film known and if he felt so strongly then that his voice deserved to be heard, I suppose I ought to give him a platform now.

March 4, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

The frivolous follies of ‘The Cuphead Show!’ By Sam Finbury staff

I can say, with absolute certainty, that there is no currently popular IP that more readily lends itself to an animated adaptation than “Cuphead.” For the uninitiated, “Cuphead” is a run and gun video game from 2017, designed and hand animated in the style of 1920s and ’30s rubber hose cartoons (think Steamboat Mickey and Betty Boop). The passion project from studio MDHR was lauded for its creativity, style, soundtrack and incredibly addictive and transcendently enraging boss fights, and as such, it’s no small wonder that the beloved video game based on cartoons would circle back around and become a cartoon itself. So, here we have “The Cuphead Show!,” 12 irreverent 15 minute episodes released on Netflix on Feb. 18 and executive produced by the Molderhauer brothers who started Studio MDHR in the first place. The virtues of “The Cuphead Show!’’ are predictably much the same as those of the “Cuphead’’ game. The animation is sugary stylistic eye candy, channeling the vivid designs and water smooth movement of both the game and the golden age of cartoons it was based on with a love and devotion that wafts out of the screen. Of note is the use of painted backgrounds and the occasional painstakingly crafted miniature, as well as the plethora of references to classic animation that will leave sharp eyed viewers patting themselves on the

By Stewart Huang editor

After years of desperate waiting, “Elden Ring,” the spiritual successor to the “Dark Souls” series, is finally out. I already have 50 hours of play time on my belt, but I’m still nowhere close to finishing the singleplayer. Even so, I’m tempted to say that this is the best game I’ve ever played. It has taken over my life at this point. When I’m not playing, I’m either thinking about it or watching my friends play, so I’m very angry that I have to write this article right now instead of playing some more. Staying true to its “Dark Souls” roots, “Elden Ring” is a third-person role-playing game (RPG) developed by From Software with an emphasis on difficult combat and exploration. But it is notably different from past entries in that it features a full open-world, which is something I usually despise in video games. But now I realized this might be the game’s greatest strength, and is actually a perfect addition to the “Souls” formula. There are two potential pitfalls for open worlds. One: The amount of content available can feel overwhelming and exhausting. Many open worlds have big exclamation marks everywhere a side quest is available, and their game maps are filled with markers and arrows that tell you where the points of interest are. The result is that you feel compelled to take on all these different tasks just because they’re there, and now you feel overwhelmed with so many quest logs on your screen.

back. The ear-dazzling classic jazz music soundtrack has also been translated over from the source material, incorporating several boss themes that made me grin with easy recognition. However, where “The Cuphead Show!” falters is in how it accommodates for what can’t be directly lifted from its source material: investment. While “Cuphead” the game may have hooked players through its brilliant aesthetics and theming, what made people constantly return and throw themselves into punishing boss fights in an unending cycle of inevitable death and hopeless resurrection, was that the game was really addicting to play. The controls were fun, the difficulty motivated you to not give the game the satisfaction of your surrender, and when, by some biblical miracle, you managed to beat a boss, the resultant dam-break of dopamine you experienced was worth all the years of your life you’d shortened with your frustration. The gameplay is what made the video game exceptional, and that is something the showrunners cannot translate over to “The Cuphead Show!” They can only replace it with writing and humor to replicate that sort of viewer investment and entertainment. “The Cuphead Show!” has a premise rather than a story, which is to say it relies on a cooky cast of characters, a unique setting and farcical 15 minute setups to draw audience interest. The set up is about as simple as setups go: the rambunctious Cuphead and the cautious Mugman (voiced by Tru Valentino and Frank Todaro

respectively) live in the chaotic cartoon world of Inkwell Isle and get into irreverent misadventures with its many inhabitants, including the Devil himself (Luke Millington-Drake) who seeks to claim their souls for his collection. Simple, two kids, messing about, getting’ found out, hilarity ensues. Except it doesn’t. While “The Cuphead Show!” manages to be sporadically funny, more often than not its style of humor is milquetoast, refraining from clever exchanges, visual gags or electrifying slap stick. I suppose it’s fitting since the golden age cartoons from which the show draws its inspiration weren’t exactly known for their knee slappers, but then again if I wanted to be impressed by animation I would watch those ancient relics, and if I wanted to be wowed by the “Cuphead” IP, I would just play the game. The fact that the show is based off of something I like isn’t enough to justify its existence, it still needs to hold my attention and tell jokes that don’t pass between my ears leaving a trace residue of humor. The writing of “The Cuphead Show” comes off as placeholder gags that would be thrown out by the showrunners during the first draft reading, editorial canon fodder. Plenty of “saying something and then the opposite happens” jokes, quirky reactions or tangents where the characters go off on an unfunny bit and then return to the plot, like an involuntary humor spasm. This hollow sloppiness extends to the very structure of the show, where, despite relying entirely on set-ups to mine its direction, often only introduces story

set ups halfway through any given 15 minute episode, leaving very little time to escalate things or unleash its arsenal of jokes. That or the episode lingers awkwardly on a story set up for half the run time before the characters decide to go on a misadventure to fix their problems. You can say, “Well, it’s a kids show without a real story! The writing doesn’t have to be that good.” And I would answer, “If a piece of media has words and movement and expects the viewer to be preoccupied by either, then it requires effort in it’s writing.” Spongebob is a kids show without a story and it, well at least it’s first three seasons, are some of the most immortally hysterical and memorably distracting pieces of entertainment of the last 20 years, mostly because of its incredible character and set up focused jokes. In comparison, “The Cuphead Show!” has yet to take full advantage of either its characters or set up, with an inordinate number of episodes involving the interactions of Cuphead and Mugman alone in their cottage or the surrounding woods. Given the source material’s cache of colorful bosses, all with different designs, powers, characters and settings, I’m frankly confused as to why this show doesn’t take full and exploitative advantage of them. They could have ripped the plot of the show straight from the game, having the Devil force our heroes to claim souls for him in order to pay off their own debts, giving each episode a villain of the week feel, as Cuphead and Mugman meet a new interesting boss, in a new interesting setting, and they have to

come up with a new and interesting way to win everytime. Some bosses from the game do show up to be the center of episodes, but icons from the game like King Dice (Wayne Brady) and Miss Chalice (Gray Griffin) who were hyped up for their expert voice actors, only make single episode appearances. And while those appearances are the highlights of the show, they shine so brightly that the rest of the series comes off as dimmer in their absence. I suppose it can be considered unfair to judge a show based on what it isn’t and what you wanted it to be. Critiquing “The Cuphead Show!” on its lonesome, the series is fine. The animation is great, the voice acting is fantastic, and there are plenty of episodes I enjoyed. But the show feels hollow for not capitalizing on the source material’s arsenal of characters, locals and set ups. Without the art style, music and the residual adoration of the game being flecked wetly onto the show, this series would be nothing special. Actually it is nothing special, since everything special about it came from the game. It’s up to “The Cuphead Show!’s” content rather than it’s dressings to make it stand out. Until then it’s good adjacent, a pretty scarecrow waiting for some filling. Netflix ordered 36 episodes and this season was only 11 so it could yet surprise us, but ultimately I left this show lamenting all the time I could have spent playing the game instead.

Two: The quality of the content becomes diluted because there is now so much space to fill. I think this one’s pretty self-explanatory. “Elden Ring” has neither of these problems. It has a ton of amazing content for the player to chew through but doesn’t feel overwhelming at all. Like previous installments, the game only gives you the bare minimum to get you going and lets you figure out everything else by yourself. You even have to pick up map pieces to fill out the map. The result is an exciting, organic experience. Instead of just mindlessly hunting down the quest markers and points of interests on the map, now you actually have to go somewhere yourself to see if there’s anything hidden somewhere for you to conquer and explore, and you can do things at your own pace. I also found that the quality of the places you can go to are just so consistently good considering that the game world is enormous. Every major area has its own intricate lore, interconnected level design, smartly hidden loot, not to mention fantastic scenery that will blow your mind. For instance, right at the start of the game, you will be greeted with an open expanse with an impossibly gigantic golden tree in the distance—-truly a sight to behold. Even the small points of interests and lesser dungeons have incredible rewards waiting for you to uncover like awesome weapons and fashionable (or god-ugly) armor. The exploration is so addicting, and it alleviates a lot of the frustration players might have with the game’s difficulty.

Stuck on a boss? Just go out and explore and come back stronger! The original “Dark Souls” is often praised for its interconnected and non-linear level design. There are so many places you can already go to right at the start of the game and thus have a variety of options for tackling the campaign (and potentially become overpowered early on in the game by optimizing the perfect route). “Elden Ring” is exactly like this but infinitely better because of the open world. I’m playing this game alongside a few friends, and I’m constantly amazed by all the different things they have encountered but I have somehow missed or haven’t seen. I always mention how freedom of movement makes open worlds fun, and “Elden Ring” achieves this by giving you a horse and a real jump button (jumping functions in previous installments were pretty awkward to use)! This may not sound like much to the average gamer, but it was such a huge step forward compared to what I’m accustomed to in the previous installments that I think “Souls” fans will absolutely love these additions. The game improves upon the methodical, one-on-one style combat system that fans all know and love by having so many more options and variety. You are now able to fight while on horseback, whether with a physical weapon or spell, which can be useful for kiting faster enemies, and your strong attack allows you to drag your sword on the ground to cut through enemies as if you’re an unstoppable force. There is a huge collection of spectacular weapon

skills compared to what was available in “Dark Souls 3.” Back then, weapon skills were mostly quite genetic and repetitive, with many weapons having the same basic skills. Now, there are so many unique weapons that have their own defining skill—they’re just so cool that I can’t wait to try them all out. I use a curved sword called “Wing of Astel” that creates an aura in front of you that explodes with magical energy. I also plan to get a sword called the “Sword of Night and Flame” that can shoot out a huge beam of energy and conjure a ring of fire, and I hear it’s insanely good for PVE (Player Versus Environment) content. In addition, you can even change the skills for most weapons so there’s lots of room for customization. Sorceries have also been substantially improved in “Elden Ring.” There are so many more spells you can collect right as you start the game, making the early-game experience so much better. You can even rapid-fire some spells that greatly boosts your damage output and makes the mage gameplay a lot more action-packed. In general, there’s a ton more flavor compared to what we had before, which was mostly just shooting magical missiles at things. Now you can call down meteors, wield a magical greatbow and slam down a big hammer. Sorcerer has always been my favorite class in these games and I’m having such a good time cheesing bosses with overpowered spells. The most notable addition of “Elden Ring,” however, are “Spirit Ashes.” These items allow you to summon NPCs (Non-Player

Characters) that will assist you in difficult fights. Initially, I wanted to avoid using them out of pride—I’m just too good at these games to ever need help. However, they are just so fun to use that I couldn’t help but use them whenever I can now. At high levels, they get a ton of health and good damage, and you can watch them almost solo certain bosses. My favorite summon has to be the “Mimic Tear,” which summons a copy of your player character. It can use the weapon and all the spells you have equipped and seems to deal the same damage that you do. It’s so good and fun to play with, and I think it fits my class identity perfectly. I think this is a great addition that is not only incredibly interesting but also makes the game a lot more accessible to new players. I’ve been so preoccupied with the single-player content that I haven’t had a chance to even touch the PVP (Player Versus Player) stuff yet. But from what I’ve seen, it feels exactly like “Dark Souls 3” PVP but with substantial improvements and more content , and that’s everything I’ve ever wanted for PVP. I cannot wait to sink another 1000 hours into dueling and invasions like I did before, maybe I’ll write a follow up when I actually get into them. But for now, even though I have only just experienced the single-player content, which I haven’t even finished, I already think “Elden Ring” is the best game I’ve ever played. It’s a hell of an addictive substance that will destroy my life and I’m so, so happy for that.


The Brandeis Hoot

March 4, 2022

BookTok worth it or not: ‘The Night Circus’ By Victoria Morrongiello editor

Since Caroline asked for this, I’m back reviewing another book from BookTok. Here’s my spiel: I watch TikToks and put the book recs on my “To Be Read” list, and I review whether it deserves the hype or not. This week’s review will be Erin Morgenstern’s book “The Night Circus.” I really enjoyed this book. She was cute and an easy read to fall into. I would highly recommend this book to people trying to get out of a reading slump because it is magical and captivating and extremely well written. The best way to describe “The Night Circus” is “Alice In Wonderland” meets “Romeo and Juliet.” Morgenstern blends the genres of fantasy, mystery and romance to spin

this tale about two magicians— Celia and Marco—who are destined to be the others’ undoing. Barnum and Bailey ain’t got nothing on Morgenstern. We start the book off by being told that, “The Circus arrives without warning”—chills. Instant hook, love it, 10/10. We then meet one of our protagonists, Celia. Celia is the daughter of an illusionist, Prospero the Enchanter, also known as Hector Bowen. Hector is no Harry Houdini though. His illusions are not a trick to the eye; they’re legit, like Harry Potter-type magic. Hector makes a bet with his nemesis and rival, Alexander, where both enter a student into a duel to see whose methods of magic-ing (I am making that a verb) are superior. The winner is determined when only one is left standing. And of course, who does Hector enter? That’s right: his own daughter.

Father of the year award goes to Hector. Alexander finds his student, Marco, in an orphanage and enrolls him to go up against Celia. Mind you, Celia and Marco are entered into this competition as literal children, like, eight years old. They are raised, aware of the competition but unaware of who their opponent is. We get a little montage over the years as Celia and Marco are raised separately and learning magic from their mentors. Hector is just winning the father of the year award year after year, as he literally breaks his daughter’s fingers and forces her to use magic to heal herself. The competition place is chosen as the Night Circus, and it opens when Celia and Marco are 18 and 21 respectively. Upon first meeting her, Marco is aware that Celia is his opponent, though she remains unaware. Though Celia and Marco don’t know it

at first, the point of the competition is to determine who has better control of their magic and the visitors of the Night Circus. Celia and Marco both construct these elaborate displays using their magic to entertain the people who visit the circus. In a classic tale of star-crossed lovers, Celia and Marco fall in love with each other, despite having to compete against each other. This is a little funny because Marco admits to his mentor, Alexander, that he loves Celia after having exactly one conversation with her. I have to admit I’m a bit of a romantic and love that Celia and Marco fall for each other in spite of themselves. It’s really beautiful to watch their relationship evolve from not knowing who the other is to enemies to lovers. Love is a rebellion in this story, and it shows that love isn’t something we choose to have happen to us.

Admittedly, the love story is a bit “meh” in comparison to the whole plot. I love that Celia and Marco are paired together by Morgenstern, though I do think they fell in love pretty quickly. Also, Marco is technically seeing someone else the whole time—Isobel, the fortune teller. Isobel really does get screwed over which sucks, and Marco did not deserve her. The ending is nice though, I would highly recommend it if you want an uplifting ending that won’t completely crush your soul (like “All the Light We Cannot See,” which I just finished and may or may not be my next review). My overall review is that, though it is not my favorite book, it is definitely enjoyable and light-hearted. It’s not a dense or difficult plot to follow though you do jump through different points in time and different character points of view.


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