The Brandeis Hoot September 17, 2021

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Volume 19 Issue 3

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”

September 17, 2021

Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.

Univ. ranks in U.S. News

Heller Child Opportunity Index used

By Sasha Skarboviychuk

By Sarah Kim


special to the hoot

Brandeis remained ranked 42nd in the U.S. News and World Report Best National University rankings, not dropping for the first time in five years. It tied for 42nd place with Boston University, Case Western Reserve University, Tulane University and University of Wisconsin-Madison in the category of Best National Universities, according to the most recent U.S. News rankings. In the 2021 edition, Brandeis tied for #42 with Boston University, Case Western Reserve University, University of Texas at Austin and University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the category of Best National Universities, according to the rankings. In the 2020 edition, Brandeis tied for #40, while in 2019, Brandeis ranked 35, tied with the Georgia Institute of Technology, according to the list of the previous rankings. In the previous three years, Brandeis ranked 34th. Brandeis’s highest ranking was in 2014, at 32nd place. In this year’s ranking, Brandeis

The Child Opportunity Index (COI), developed by researchers at Brandeis’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management, was applied to Allentown, PA this fall in order to evaluate the causes of gun violence in the area. As COVID-19 restrictions have begun to subside in the past few months, a spike in shootings and homicides have alarmed activists and leaders in the community. “The COI has had impacts far beyond what we initially expected,” said Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Professor of Human Development and Social Policy at Brandeis and director of the ICYFP, in an email interview. “When opportunity is shared equitably, everyone benefits.” Dr. Abby Letcher, an Allentown family medicine physician, cited the town’s low score on the COI in Allentown newspaper The Morning Call. A low score on the scaled index indicates a lack of institutional support for youth in the area. Letcher discussed how

See RAKINGS, page 2


Univ. resumes study abroad after pause due to COVID-19 By Victoria Morrongiello and Roshni Ray editor

After a year-long intermission of study abroad programs during the pandemic, Brandeis students have resumed travel this year. According to a recent Brandeis-

Now article, 19 students participated in study abroad programs this summer, and more than 50 students are expected to travel this fall to destinations such as Ecuador, Ghana, Mexico, South Korea and throughout Europe. Alisha Cardwell, Director of Study Abroad, describes the goals and logistics of study abroad programs this semester via an email

interview with The Hoot and invites students to explore options for themselves at the “largest study abroad event of the year” on Thursday, September 23rd. “We are excited that there are currently Brandeis students studying abroad again around the world! We are early in the study abroad application cycle for next year, but have already

enjoyed talking to students interested in studying abroad next summer, semester, or academic year,” wrote Cardwell. 19 students were among the first to go abroad since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Summer 2021 programs which were offered, according to a BrandeisNow article. 18 of the 19 students went

abroad through Brandeis study abroad programs. For the Fall 2021 semester, the university has nearly 50 students studying abroad, according to the article. Study abroad experiences have been slightly altered, according to the BrandeisNow article. In order to maintain health and See ABROAD, page 3

The univ. honors the 20th anniversary of 9/11 By Victoria Morrongiello editor

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks on Sep. 11, 2001. In honor of the 20th anniversary, the university held commemorations, an academic panel, an experiential panel and a flag tribute for those lost on Sep. 11, according to the university’s September 11: 20 Years Later page. “9/11 should always be a re-

Inside This Issue:

minder that tomorrow is never promised,” wrote Joshua Feld ’22, one of the student coordinators of the flag tribute. To pay tribute to the lives lost on Sep. 11, the university collaborated with students Feld and Zachary Vollser ’22 to place flags in the grass by the Louis Brandeis statue on campus. The university posted a picture of the flag tribute on their Instagram page, writing that the flags were to “commemorate those lost on September 11,”

News: Student Union with another election Ops: A review of Ben & Jerry’s new flavors. Features: COVID-19 effects healthcare workers Sports: Men’s soccer play tight games to start Editorial: Brandeis is overcrowded

according to the post. American flags were also placed on the Great Lawn to honor the anniversary, according to the university’s page. Feld and Vollser collaborated with the university administration to come up with suggestions for the type of commemoration and the implementation of the flag tribute, wrote Feld in an email interview with The Hoot. The two worked with the Department of Student Affairs to create the display, wrote Feld.

Volleyball Ties

Page 2 Women’s teams tie in Page 12 Brandeis first 8 matches. Page 10 SPORTS: PAGE 6 Page 7 Page 9

Vollser wrote that he wanted to pay tribute to those lost on Sep. 11 for multiple reasons, including wanting to honor the heroism of those lost while trying to help others, to honor the innocent people who were going about their routine either going to work or traveling and to make sure that those who are too young to recall the events of that day remember it as well. Another reason Vollser included was the fact that there are peo-

ple simulating the events of Sep. 11 using video games and then uploading them to the internet. “Many were commenting on how distasteful these videos are, however, their creators would try and silence many of our concerns. It is our duty as young people to fix what is broken and prevent this from ever happening again, and doing an act of kind-

no accessibilty The Brandeis campus is just not accessible. OPINIONS: PAGE 11

See 9/11, page 4


2 The Brandeis Hoot

September 17, 2021

Student Union hosts Fall 2021 elections By Victoria Morrongiello editor

The Student Union held its Fall Election filling 12 senate seats, one representative position, one allocations board seat and five judiciary positions. 359 students participated in the elections this year, according to the demographic breakdown. Students were instructed to vote only for the positions which they are a demographic of, according to the Round 1 Election Packet 2021 document shared by Student Union President Krupa Sourirajan ’23. Meaning students in the class of 2025 could vote for the Senator for the Class of 2025 but not for the Senator for the Class of 2024. Similarly, students could only vote for the Quad Senator for where they are currently living on campus. There were four class senator positions open for this election. Shannon Smally ’22 won the Senator for Class of 2022 seat. Smally ran unopposed, and received 84.38 percent of the vote, receiving 46 votes out of the 55 that voted for the position. Students were only allowed to vote for senators The Senator for Class of 2023 is Emily Adelson ’23. Adelson ran unopposed and received 83.64 percent of the vote. Dwayne “the rock” Johnson did receive a vote in the “other” write-in option for the position. The Senator for Class of 2025 position had two seats open, Lia Bergen ’25 and

Camaron Johnson ’25 won the available positions. Bergen and Johnson were two of five students running for the position. Bergen received 27.8 percent of the vote while Johnson won 27.41 percent of the vote. Each received 72 and 71 votes respectively For Quad senator positions, there were five seats open. There was one seat open for the Massel Quad Senator, Peyton Gillespie ’25 won the position against Kat Roberts ’25. Gillespie received 62 of the 109 votes. The North Quad Senator position was won by Meli Jackson ’25. Jackson won with 75.86 percent of the vote, running unopposed. East Quad Senator is Sahil Muthuswami ’24. Muthuswami ran against Ben Topol ’24 and won 54.17 percent of the vote where Topol had 41.67 percent of the vote. The 567 and Village Quads Senator position was won by Nicholas Kanan ’23. Kanan won with 66.67 percent of the vote, running unopposed. Rosenthal and Skyline Senator had one seat open, which was won by Asher Brenner ’24 who ran unopposed. Brenner won 70 percent of the vote. The Racial Minority Senator position had two seats open, which were won by Rani Balakrishna ’25 and Herry Wang ’25. Balakrishna and Wang received 47.28 and 39.67 percent of the vote respectively. They ran unopposed for the positions. The Myra Kraft Transition Year Program Senator position was won by Gonzalo Palafox

’25. Palafox ran against Natalie Ramirez ‘23 both received 50 percent of the vote totaling to four votes each. The Representative to Brandeis Sustainability Fund (BSF) Board was won by Jacqueline Wang ’23. Wang won, running unopposed and received 287 of the 359 votes. Allocations Board Member, which is a three-semester position, was won by Emma Fiesinger ’23. Fiesinger ran unopposed and won with 77.52 percent of the vote. For the Judiciary, five seats were open for the Associate Justice Position. Matt Shapiro ’23, Jonei Ettricks ’23, Eammon Golden ’22, Gabby Grunfeld ’23, and Sidy Kante ’25 won the five seats. The five students ran unopposed, Shapiro received the largest percent of the vote with 19.52 percent of the vote. In the email, Student Union Secretary James Feng ‘22 wrote that for those who did not get elected in these elections there are still opportunities for students to get involved in the Student Union. Feng included that the special elections would be held in two weeks, marking the Student Unions second round of elections for this semester. Positions that were open but were not voted on include: Ziv and Ridgewood Senator (one seat), Charles River Senator (one seat), Foster Mods Senator (one seat), Off-Campus Senator (one seat, open to off-campus residents), Junior Representative to the Under-

graduate Curriculum Committee (one seat, open to Class of 2023), Allocations Board Member for a one-year seat (two seats, open to entire student body) and Allocations Board Member for Racial

Minority Students to a one-year seat (one seat, open to racial minority identifying students), according to the Round 1 Election Packet 2021 document.


Univ. suggests how to avoid waiting on testing lines By Peter Mitelman, Victoria Morrongiello and Emma Lichtenstein staff amd editors

The university released tips for avoiding lines at testing sites as well as updates on the timing of test results, in an email to the Brandeis community sent by Morgan Bergman, Assistant Provost for Strategic Initiatives on Sep. 3. The email also included updated information about testing and mask policies. Community members have been experiencing long waits at testing sites, according to Bergman’s email, due to peak hours for testing. To avoid these testing lines, Bergman advised that community members try the following: schedule their appointment in advance using the university’s

COVID-19 portal; avoid coming in at opening (9 a.m.) on Monday mornings; try to schedule tests for when classes are in session and schedule appointment slots for when there are very few community members registered. According to Bergman, mid-afternoon appointment slots are often good to select since there are short lines, as opposed to early in the morning, specifically on Mondays, when there are long lines. Bergman also advised that once you make an appointment you should try and come for that designated time: showing up outside of your scheduled testing window creates longer waiting times. In the update, Bergman also discussed wait times for test results. According to Bergman, the university experienced “extremely fast turnaround times” in regards to receiving test results. However, due to an increase in the number

of samples being tested by the Broad Institute, the institution the university has partnered with to distribute COVID-19 tests to community members, there have been delays in receiving results. Test results should be received anywhere from 12 to 60 hours after submitting your test result, according to Bergman. Community members should not worry if the test results take 24 hours to receive; this is typical, according to the email. Individuals who have not received their test results in 72 hours should then begin to worry, wrote Bergman. After what Bergman referred to as the “beginning-of-term rush,” community members should see a shorter turnaround time that it takes to get results. Brandeis currently has two testing sites open: one at the second-floor forum of the Mandel Center for the Humanities, and

the other in the Ground Floor Atrium of the Shapiro Science Center, according to the university’s COVID-19 testing page. The Mandel site is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday. The Shapiro Science Center site is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day of the week except Saturday, according to the page. Bergman noted that testing sites close “promptly” at 4 p.m. and at 12 p.m. at Mandel on Fridays. The testing sites must abide by their closing times in order to get the tests to the Broad each night, wrote Bergman. In the update, Bergman reminded community members of the university’s mask policy, which remains in effect. Masks are required in all indoor spaces on campus regardless of an individual’s vaccination status. An individual’s face covering should fit

snugly over the nose and mouth. Bergman wrote that bandanas, scarves, gaiters and masks with valves are not considered acceptable face coverings by the university. In another email sent on Sep. 10, Bergman noted that updates on the sign-ups for the Fall Flu Shot Clinic will be coming next week. Last year, the university administered 2,300 flu shots to community members, according to Bergman. “We look forward to keeping our community healthy this fall by offering a robust clinic once again,” wrote Bergman. Community members who receive their flu shot vaccine at the university’s clinic will receive an “I vaccinated at Brandeis” sticker.

Brandeis does not drop in rankings for the first time in five years RANKING, from page 1 received an overall score of 73, a one-point increase from the previous year. The six-year graduation rate dropped by one percent to 88 percent from the previous year; the student-to-faculty ratio remained the same at 10:1, according to the ranking. Brandeis ranked #31 in Best Undergraduate Teaching, an eight-place increase from the pre-

vious year, where it ranked 39th. It is tied with Yale University. In 2020, Brandeis placed 76th in Best Undergraduate Teaching in 2020, according to the ranking. Brandeis also ranked #40 in the Best Value Schools category, up from last year’s ranking of 43rd. Brandeis increased its ranking in the Top Performers on Social Mobility category, going from #191 in 2021 to #143 in 2021. Brandeis ranked #138 in 2020 in the Social Mobility category, according to the prior ranking. It was no longer

at the top of the list in the FirstYear Experiences and the Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects categories. A previous Hoot article includes a description of how the U.S. News and World Report ranks universities. In order to be in the National Universities category, a school has to have a wide range of programs for students and be focused on research. The quality is judged by 15 measures.


September 17, 2021


The Brandeis Hoot

Heller School Child Opportunity Index used to measure gun violence risk HELLER, from page 1

socioeconomic inequities in the community engender its susceptibility to firearm-related violence. The concerned physician attributed criminality and high incarceration rates to the quality of education and other forms of support for children in Allentown. According to FBI data, the violent crime rate in Allentown is higher than 92 percent of other cities in Pennsylvania. The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis houses programs and research projects relating to social policy and equity efforts. The COI, developed by a team at the Heller School’s Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy (ICYFP), includes 29 measures of child wellbeing in the areas of “health, education, and social and economic resources,” as their website explains. Acevedo-Garcia

explained that the COI 1.0 was published in 2014, and the updated version, the COI 2.0, was launched in January 2020. There are currently 10 data and policy researchers working on the project at the ICYFP, some of whom were involved with this work before it was brought to the Heller School. Clemens Noelke has been the research director since 2016. “Understanding the conditions children experience is the first step toward ensuring that all children have equitable access to the resources they need to thrive,” said Acevedo-Garcia. The COI 2.0 provides quantitative data on 72 thousand United States census tracts and is publicly accessible. An interactive map is also available on the website, equipped with the ability to zoom-in on census tracts for more precise information. This is presented as a blue gradient superimposed on a map of the United

States, illustrating regional Child Opportunity Levels in a visual manner. There is also an option to filter these results by race and ethnicity, which highlights the disparities—across education, health and environment, and social and economic conditions—between specific demographics, especially those that have been traditionally marginalized. Acevedo-Garcia emphasized the significance of racial and ethnic composition in the areas studied. “The COI describes neighborhood conditions that have been shaped by long standing residential segregation and disinvestment in communities where Black, Hispanic and Indigeneous people and immigrants live.” The ICYFP is especially invested in highlighting these imbalances, Acevedo-Garcia expressed.


Univ. resumes study abroad after pause due to COVID-19 ABROAD, from page 1

safety measures, students are not allowed to travel between countries for the weekend— something which students studying abroad would typically be allowed to do in previous years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students currently abroad have noticed a decrease in tourism which has also impacted the study abroad experience, according to the BrandeisNow article. Multiple students also commented on feeling safer in the country where they were studying abroad due to high vaccination rates and larger percentages of people wearing face masks, according to the article. With the exemption of religious and medical reasons, students must be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to travel this fall, according to the Brandeis Study Abroad website. Cardwell

explains that Brandeis staff are monitoring health and safety precautions and are able to connect students with program-specific requirements for travel. She encourages students to reach out to their program of interest to determine health guidelines including quarantine policies, travel regulations, testing and mask requirements. After the halt in study abroad programs, Brandeis students voice their excitement about resuming travel; Aileen Cahill ‘23 describes her trip to Siena in a BrandeisNow interview, commenting, “We were very engaged in the art and culture and very lucky to be able to do that.” Looking to the 2021-2022 academic year, Cardwell writes that the “Office of Study Abroad aims to once again, be able to help students have academically rewarding and immersive experiences abroad where they can live and learn in another culture.” The cancellation of study abroad

for the spring 2021 semester was announced to community members in an email sent by Lisa M. Lynch, Provost, in October 2020. The university made the decision to cancel study abroad due to: student health and safety, travel restrictions, country-specific requirements, impacts to programs on the ground, the potential for disruptions of consular support abroad and the risk of being sent home early in the event of major health concerns, wrote Lynch. Students traveling abroad in the Spring 2020 semester were sent home early when the COVID-19 pandemic began to cause increasing concern. In an email sent on March 16, 2020 to the Brandeis community, university president Ron Liebowitz “strongly advised” students to return home as soon as possible. In the email, Liebowitz noted that many students had already made plans for returning home at that point.


Heller Prof cited for work relating to traumatic brain injuries and opioid misuse By Victoria Morrongiello editor

Individuals who have experienced traumatic brain injury have been linked to higher misuse of prescriptions and opioid abuse, Rachel Sayko Adams (HELLER) found in a Brandeis study that looked at associations between opioid misuse and individuals who’ve experienced traumatic brain injuries, according to a Medical Press Article. The purpose of the study was to observe the “association of lifetime history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) with prescription opioid use and misuse among noninstitutionalized adults,” according to the study. The data set observed in the study is from the Ohio Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

(BRFSS) which is a surveying system that tracks adults’, 18 years of age and older, health practices, conditions and risk behavior, according to the BRFSS page. The data is open to the public, the sample observed in Adams’ research was from a 2018 cohort of individuals who completed a prescription opioid and lifetime history of traumatic brain injury modules, according to the study. The results found that having a lifetime history of traumatic brain injury is significantly associated with prescription opioid use and misuse, according to the study. The study controlled for demographics in their results including sex, age, race, ethnicity and marital status of the participants in the study. The study revealed that individuals with traumatic brain injury had a 50 percent higher risk for

using prescription opioids in the past year than individuals who had not experienced a traumatic brain injury. Another result of the study found that individuals with traumatic brain injury had a 65 percent higher risk for prescription opioid misuse in comparison to adults without traumatic brain injury, according to the study. From the sample analyzed, 22.8 percent of adults in the sample were identified as having a lifetime history of traumatic brain injury. 25.5 percent of the sample reported having prescription opioid use in the past yet and 3.1 percent were considered to have misused prescription opioids, according to the study. The results support the “perfect storm hypothesis”, according to the study. The “perfect storm hypothesis” claims that individuals with a history of traumatic brain

injury are at a higher risk for exposure to opioids and consequently misusing opioid prescriptions in comparison to individuals without a history of traumatic brain injury, according to the study. A potential takeaway from these results is to have routine screening for a lifetime of traumatic brain injury, monitoring individuals through screenings can help medical professionals target those who are at a higher risk for opioid misuse to better prevent the misuse of prescriptions, according to the study. The study recommends that rehabilitation clinicians should begin routine screening for potential substance use or misuse when treating patients with a history of traumatic brain injury. The conclusions of the study also suggest a potential for a faster acceleration of dependence on

prescription opioids by individuals with traumatic brain injury, due to the “highly addictive nature” of opioids. “While there has been increasing concern for individuals with TBI who are prescribed opioids, our study is among the first to assess a lifetime history of TBI in relation to prescription opioid use and misuse among noninstitutionalized adults,” according to the study. The study notes that previous research has focused on using pharmacy data including orders and fills of prescriptions. The problem with doing this means that the data does not necessarily accurately portray medication use, according to the study.


The Brandeis Hoot

September 17, 2021

The univ. honors the 20th anniversary of 9/11 9/11, from page 1

President Ron Liebowitz updated the Brandeis community on the progress concerning the University’s Anti-Racism Plan, in an email sent on Aug. 25. With the help of David Fryson, Interim Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the university plans to form a more “equitable and inclusive” environment. The update comes a little over a year after the plan was released; the Anti-Racism initiative was first introduced to the community in an email update sent by Liebowitz in June 2020. The official first draft of the plan was released to the public in November 2020, in order to receive feedback from the community, according to Liebowitz. The plan was drafted through a compilation of action plans written by concerned community members targeting three parts of

campus life: public safety and human resources, community living and residential life and athletics and the academic schools, according to a previous Hoot article. In his email update, Liebowitz encouraged students, faculty and staff to read the draft of the Anti-Racism Plan and submit feedback via the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion page on the University’s website. Liebowitz described the motive for creating the Anti-Racism Plan in his most recent email, writing, “In June 2020, a much-needed conversation on race and systemic racism was initiated around the country.” The Anti-Racism Plan was originally spearheaded by Mark Brimhall-Vargas, former Chief Diversity Officer and Vice Presi ness (or remembrance), is a great start to pave the way forward and honor those who lost their lives on a fateful day,” wrote Vollser. Feld, who grew up in Queens,

New York, wrote that he wanted to get involved in the commemoration for the first responders who put their lives on the line that day as well as for the people who continue to be affected and die from illnesses as a result of the attacks, wrote Feld. Feld worked as an intern for Answer the Call, an organization that provides financial support and additional assistance to families of New York City first responders who died on 9/11. He worked with families of victims and served as an advocate for them. “We vow to never forget, as we should honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” wrote Feld. The university held an event on Sep. 9 that discussed the interdisciplinary implications of the events following the attacks on Sep. 11, according to the events page. The academic panel discussed the events following the attacks from a political and psychological lens, according to the

page. The speakers discussed the topics of bias, perception, terrorism and international policy in the wake of Sep. 11, according to the page. The university made the event available to community members both in-person and online via Zoom. The academic event was co-hosted by the Politics and Psychology departments. The speakers included: Angela Gutchess (PSYC), Professor of Psychology, Jennifer Gutsell (PSYC), Associate Professor of Psychology, Jytte Klausen (POL), Lawrence A. Wien Professor of International Cooperation and Gary Samore (POL), Professor of the Practice of Politics and Crown Family Director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies. An experiential panel was held on Sep. 10 that featured faculty members who discussed their personal experiences from Sep. 11, according to the events page. Faculty members who were in

or near New York City on Sep. 11 shared their stories from that day and how it impacted their lives, according to the page. The university made the event available to community members both in-person and online via Zoom. The experiential panel was sponsored by the office of the president. The speakers included: Neil Swidey (JOUR), Professor of the Practice and Director of the Journalism Program, Amy Singer (NEJS), Sylvia K. Hassenfeld Chair in Islamic Studies and professor of History and Carol Osler (IBS), Martin and Ahuva Gross Professor of Financial Markets and Institutions in the Brandeis International Business School (IBS). The university held commemorations on Sep. 9 and Sep. 11 in partnership with the Center of Spiritual Life. The event acted as a moment of reflection for community members to remember those lost on Sep. 11. The event was held

Enviornmental Studies launches new minor By Roshni Ray editor

The Environmental Studies program recently launched a new minor called Climate Justice, Science, and Policy (CJSP), consisting of a suite of classes tailored to inform Brandeis students about the equity issues, scientific innovation and policies surrounding climate change. Assistant Professor of Climate Science and Undergraduate Head of Advising of Environmental Studies Sally Warner described the goals of the minor and its academic implications for students in an interview with The Hoot. Students must first take a broad introductory course titled Climate Change: Causes, Impacts, Responses and Solutions, currently taught by Warner. Warner explained how students adopt various perspectives to examine the issue of climate change in this course, including a scientific lens, a moral lens, a political lens, an artistic lens and an innovative lens. According to the course syllabus--contact Warner for more details--students first learn about the physical and chemical causes of climate change, underscoring significant evidence of anthropogenic influence on climate change. Students then learn about legal and philosophical questions to consider when implementing policies aimed at combating climate change. Finally, students examine multiple solutions to mitigate and eradicate the adverse effects of climate change. “I use the word solutions, as opposed to solution, very deliberately,” Warner said. “There is no silver bullet.” The minor’s core introductory requirement will impart on students that “climate change needs to be fixed in all sorts of ways, both in terms of mitigating emissions...but also... helping communities adapt,” she emphasized. In addition to coursework, attaining the minor requires students to partake in a professional development activity. This can include attending webinars or talks where prominent figures speak about climate change, attending sustainability workshops and more. Experiential learning opportunities are also available for students in study abroad pro-

grams. Warner emphasized the importance of guest speakers as an enriching addition to students’ academic experiences in the minor. She plans to invite professors across departments to speak about how their research interests and expertises relate to climate change and add crucial perspectives to the issue, she described. Another notable feature of the CJSP minor is its interdisciplinary nature, Warner explained. The three pillars of justice, science and policy capture the ideology of multiple disciplines, thereby catering to a wide variety of student interests. “No matter where a student comes from, if they are a science student or more of a humanities student...they can find a way to tie climate into their current interests,” she said. In addition to the multiple academic avenues students can pursue at Brandeis to learn about climate change and environmental concerns, Warner reminded students to explore clubs and organizations regarding sustainability in order to become a part of a community that practices green and clean methods. Some organizations that Warner highlighted were Symbiosis, Brandeis Sustainability Ambassadors and Brandeis Climate Justice. Armed with a well-rounded background on climate change, students who complete the CJSP minor can look forward to many job prospects, Warner envisions, saying, “I am most excited about seeing what kinds of jobs students land with the climate minor on their resume…[Climate change] is such an important problem for today and going into the future, that I really think it will open the doors for students to be able to get the job in whatever sector they want.” Warner encouraged students to reach out to the Environmental Studies faculty and staff if they are interested in learning more about the minor. She believes that this minor will equip students with the necessary information to pursue solutions to climate change, and invites students to get involved, saying, “We want Brandeis students to be part of the solution going forward.”

COVID-19 Dashboards



Total COVID-19 tests administered each week. Last Update September 14, 2021.

Total postive COVID-19 cases each week. Last Update September 14, 2021.

September 17, 2021

By Cooper Grottfried special to the hoot

To quote Minnesota Vikings beat writer Luke Braun, “It’s your god-given right to be too high on your favorite football team week one, don’t let anyone take that away from you.” Well, Braun was absolutely right about that, and his Vikings fell to the Bengals in overtime. Football is back, and NFL fans everywhere couldn’t be happier (unless they’re Cowboys, Falcons, Bills, Vikings, Lions, Titans, Colts, Football Team, Jets, Browns, Patriots, Packers, Giants, Bears or Ravens fans). After an offseason that seemed way too long, the NFL and all of its characters are back. Tom Brady is defying the very laws of nature down in Tampa Bay, and Lamar Jackson is still leading his team in rushing yards. The Cowboys came to Tampa Bay and lost to the Bucs 29-31 in the first game of the week. Both Tom Brady and Dak Prescott threw for around 400 yards, but Brady threw four touchdowns and Prescott threw three. Neither team was able to get the ground game going; not a single back in the game had more than 34 rushing yards. This was an exciting game, but it showed us that Brady has truly bested Father Time. The Miami Dolphins picked up a 17-16 win against the New England Patriots in Foxboro on Sunday. Mac Jones’ first game in the NFL wasn’t a win, but he did put up a solid performance and even tossed his first NFL touchdown. Tua Tagovailoa didn’t have his greatest game, going for 202 yards with a touchdown and a pick. This mediocre performance allowed Jones and his 281-yard performance to win the day. Seeing Jones as the starter was interesting, especially after all of the drama surrounding him and Cam Newton, but he seems to be the right guy for the job. The Jacksonville Jaguars lost badly to a lackluster Houston Texans squad. In a 21-37 defeat, #1 pick Trevor Lawrence lost his first regular season game since 2017. Lawrence threw for over 300 yards, with three touchdowns and three interceptions, but the Jaguars lost the turnover game to a Texans squad that was without Deshaun Watson. We also saw Matt Stafford with his new-look Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Stafford looked rejuvenated in his 34-14 blowout of the Chicago Bears and attained a nearly perfect passer rating of 156.1 for the


The Brandeis Hoot 5

NFL week 1 recap

day. The Bears weren’t so lucky, but David Montgomery did go for over 100 yards with a touchdown. It’s an inevitability that Andy Dalton cedes the starting job to Justin Fields, and after Dalton’s performance on Sunday, Fields’

the records for most passing yards (14,489) and touchdowns (117) through his first 50 starts. The catch is, he’s only played 47 games so far. The man may put ketchup on his steak, but that sin can be forgiven if he keeps playing like

a slow first day, catching only half of his eight targets for 31 yards. It remains to be seen if the 2021 Falcons will be in the cellar of their division like they were last year, but this game is certainly not encouraging.The San Francisco

MVP candidate in the early parts of the season, and this game was no exception as he tossed four touchdowns. Tyler Lockett also had a great game, hauling in two of Wilson’s four scores. Carson Wentz’s first game in Indy was


arrival may be closer than previously thought. The New York Giants took on the Denver Broncos and lost 13-27 this week. Teddy Bridgewater was rock steady with 264 yards and 2 touchdowns. In other news, Daniel Jones hit 40 career turnovers and Saquon Barkley’s longest carry of the night went for 5 yards. The Giants lost badly, and look to be on course for their fifth sub-.500 season in a row. The New Orleans Saints wiped the floor with the Green Bay Packers this week en route to a 38-3 victory. Aaron Rodgers had a terrible game and wound up with a passer rating of 36.8. For context, if a QB threw the ball into the ground on every play, their passer rating would be 39.6. Jameis Winston also threw for five touchdowns and only 148 yards. That’s the fewest yards in a five-touchdown game since at least 1950, according to Pro Football Reference. The Packers lost, but this seems like a small hiccup rather than the new norm for last season’s NFC North champions. The Kansas City Chiefs clashed with the Cleveland Browns this week, and the team from Missouri came out on top 33-29. Despite an 83-yard, two-touchdown day from Nick Chubb, the Browns just couldn’t pull out a win. Patrick Mahomes was once again dominant with over 300 yards and three touchdowns, but the Chiefs didn’t get much going on the ground. Mahomes now has

this. Beating the New York Jets 19-14, the Carolina Panthers’ Sam Darnold got the revenge game he was waiting for, and he got the job done. He had nearly 300 yards and a touchdown, with Christian McCaffery as his leading receiver. Zach Wilson also had a solid outing, with more than 250 yards, a touchdown and an interception. This was Wilson’s first NFL game, and the bright lights didn’t seem to get to him. The Panthers’ defense did though, as he was sacked six times throughout the game. Both young quarterbacks seem to have potential, and this outing was more positive than negative for both of them. The Arizona Cardinals traveled to Tennessee to take on the Tennessee Titans today and won in a 38-13 romp. Kyler Murray had an outstanding performance, throwing for nearly 300 yards with four touchdowns through the air and one on the ground. The Titans couldn’t get much going anywhere, as Ryan Tannehill barely eked out 200 yards, and the duo of Julio Jones and Derrick Henry combined for 106 yards from scrimmage. The Titans are a good team, and this game seems more like an outlier than an indicator of a bad season to come. Jones’ old team, the Atlanta Falcons, sorely missed him in their 6-32 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Jalen Hurts tossed three touchdowns and had an impressive 126.4 passer rating in this blowout game. Kyle Pitts had

49ers faced off with the Detroit Lions, and the 49ers won 41-33 in this high-scoring contest. For the Niners, both Deebo Samuel and Elijah Mitchell eclipsed the century mark in yardage. For the Lions, nobody eclipsed the mark, but TJ Hockenson came close with new quarterback Jared Goff slinging it around. Goff had 338 yards and three touchdowns in his first game in the silver and blue and hopes to bring the Lions to the playoffs for the first time since 1991 this season. The Minnesota Vikings-Cincinnati Bengals game went to overtime, and the Bengals emerged victorious 27-24 in one of two overtime games this week. Dalvin Cook just couldn’t heat up this week, and only managed 61 yards on the ground this week. Adam Thielen kept the Vikings in the game, though, going for nearly 100 yards while catching two touchdowns. Ja’Marr Chase finally shook off the drop problem that plagued him all preseason and went for more than 100 yards and caught a touchdown in his first NFL game. His connection with fellow LSU alum Joe Burrow seems to be strong, as the pair connected on a 50-yard bomb for the receiver’s first score in the league. The Seattle Seahawks headed over to Indianapolis and beat the Colts in their own stadium, 28-16. This game wasn’t particularly close, but both quarterbacks performed well and threw for around 250 yards. Russell Wilson is always an


spoiled by Wilson’s great performance, but he showed nice chemistry with both of the Colts’ running backs. Justin Herbert’s Los Angeles Chargers trumped the Washington Football Team (sic) 20-16. Washington lost their QB early on in the contest, as Ryan Fitzpatrick went down after having thrown only six passes. On the other sideline though, Herbert and Keenan Allen haven’t missed a beat. Their chemistry from last season is still strong, and Herbert targeted Allen 13 times this game. The Washington Football Team is without an identity both on and off the field, and both issues need immediate attention from the front office. The Buffalo Bills had high hopes coming into the season, and those are now tempered after their 16-23 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bills couldn’t get much of anything going on offense and only had one offensive touchdown. If the punt-block touchdown never happened, this defeat would look much worse for the Bills. Najee Harris also got every single running back carry for the Steelers, and his role in more competitive games will be interesting to watch. Finally, on Monday night, the Las Vegas Raiders beat the Baltimore Ravens 33-27, getting the last word in this week’s second overtime game. This game got interesting late, with each team committing a turnover in overtime before the Raiders scored a touchdown to end the game. Darren Waller was the Raiders’ top performer, and he was targeted by Derek Carr nearly 20 times throughout the night. Lamar Jackson played fine as a passer but led his team in rushing as has become the norm for him. The Ravens had been plagued by running back injuries, losing their starting running back and his backup shortly before the start of the season. Jackson may have to run even more than normal to make up for those losses in the backfield.That wraps up the first week of the NFL season. Next week, we’ll see Giants vs. Football Team, Broncos vs. Jaguars, Bills vs. Dolphins, 49ers vs. Eagles, Rams vs. Colts, Raiders vs. Steelers, Bengals vs. Bears, Texans vs. Browns, Saints vs. Panthers, Vikings vs. Cardinals, Falcons vs. Buccaneers, Titans vs. Seahawks, Cowboys vs. Chargers, Chiefs vs. Ravens, Lions vs. Packers and Jets vs. Patriots.


The Brandeis Hoot

September 17, 2021

Men’s soccer plays close matches to start the season By Justin Leung editor

After a 0-0 draw against Western New England, the Brandeis men’s soccer team faced a tough stretch of four games within a single week. Following these four games, the team ended up with a record of 1-3-1 to start the season. Each game was very close with two of them even entering

The game against Hobart occurred on Sep. 4 and was played at Keene State as a part of the Keene State/Home Depot Classic tournament. Unfortunately, the Judges fell to Hobart College 0-1. Both teams played solid games defensively as the only goal came in the 22nd minute off a corner kick. The Judges did not take a shot in the first half, while Statesman took five shots. Out of those five shots taken, only one shot was on target, and it was the only goal

man were on target in the second half. Forward John Loo ’25 took three of the five shots from Brandeis with one of them being on target. The only other shot on target from the Judges came from sophomore forward Max Horowitz ’24. Junior goalie Aiden Guthro ’23 did not have a save in the game as the only shot on target from Hobart College went into the net. Both teams committed 10 fouls each and had two yellow cards each. It was a tough fought


overtime. The first game of this tough stretch came against Hobart College, three days following a double-overtime draw against Western New England.

of the game. In the second half the Judges outshot the Statesman five to two, but unfortunately could not put anything into the net. None of the shots from the States-

defensive game for both teams that ultimately ended with a onegoal difference. In the other game of the Keene State/Home Depot Classic tour-

nament, the Judges faced Keene State and got a win in overtime. The Judges’ defense continued to be solid as they allowed zero goals and led the team to a 1-0 victory. Both teams combined to have 18 shots in two full halves of the game. However, the Owls had zero shots on goal. Following the completion of the first 90 minutes, the game went into overtime, where junior midfielder Khalil Winder ’23 scored an unassisted goal in the 99th minute and sent the team home happy. Winder had six total shots in the game, with three of them being on target. Guthro again did not have a save in the game as none of the Owls’ shots were on target. Surprisingly, the Owls committed 25 fouls in the game, compared to the Judges’ 6. Game four of the season came against Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on Sep. 8. In this loss, the Judges struggled to get solid shots on goal. This resulted in a 0-1 loss to WPI. Guthro had a strong game with seven saves and allowed only one goal. This goal unfortunately was the game-deciding one. In the first two halves of the game, the Judges were getting outshot by WPI 9-13. This carried over into overtime where the Judges were unable to get a shot off and allowed WPI to score a goal in the 98th minute to seal

the win. Out of the nine shots that the Judges took in the game, only two of them were on target. Freshman forward Gabriel Haithcock ’25 and senior midfielder Skylah Dias ’22 were the only two Brandeis players to get a shot on goal. The final game of the tough four-game stretch came against Babson College. In this game, the Judges were once again shut out and ended up losing 0-1. The Beavers were putting pressure on the Judges from the start, as they had eleven shots in the first half alone. They then had another eight shots in the second half. Guthro did his best by saving six of the seven shots the Beavers had on goal, but he conceded a goal in the 41st minute which ended up being the game winner. Brandeis only managed to take four shots in the game with two of them being on target. The two shots on target came from Loo and freshman midfielder Toby Marwell ’25. This game was the fourth game already this season the Judges had been shut out. The only goal of the season so far came against Keene State in overtime. After this tough week, the schedule does not let up as the Judges will play games against Tufts University, Wheaton College and Bates College all in the same week. They first play Tufts on Saturday, Sep. 18.

Brandeis women’s soccer: Sep. 4 – Sep. 13

By Jesse Leiberman staff

The Brandeis women’s soccer team concluded their four-game homestand this past week, beating Lasell University 6-0 on Sep. 4, losing to Clark U 2-1 on Sep. 8 and defeating Eastern Connecticut State University 5-0 on Saturday. Saturday, Sep. 4: Brandeis 6 – Lasell 0 Sophomore Yasla Ngoma ’24 scored twice and Sydney Lenhart ‘24 had two assists as the Judges routed Lasell for their first victory of the season. Senior forward Juliette Carreiro ’22 opened the scoring in the 27th minute, beating Lasell’s goalkeeper with a left-footed shot. Brandeis freshman goalkeeper Hannah Bassan ’25 set up the play, booting the ball near midfield following a shot from the Lasers. The ball deflected off Ngoma to Lenhart, who chipped the ball over to an open Carreiro. Ngoma scored a minute later, doubling the Judges’ lead. The Judges added a third goal

in the 44th minute and led 3-0 at the half. The second half also belonged to the Judges. Senior Makenna Hunt ’22, Ngoma, and freshman Charlotte Majer ’25 each scored. For Ngoma, the goals marked her second and third goals of the season. Carreiro and freshman midfielder Dominique Paglia ’25 added an assist. The Judges dominated throughout, outshooting the Lasers 352. For Judges head coach Mary Shimko, the victory marked the first in her career. Wednesday, Sep. 8: Clark 2 – Brandeis 1 Despite outshooting the Cougars 22-8, the Judges’ comeback attempt fell just short, as the Judges lost to Clark for the first time since 2008. Up 1-0 to begin the second half, the Cougars doubled their lead in the 48th minute on a header. The Judges fought back, answering in the 55th minute. Ngoma won the ball in the Cougars’ defensive third and rifled a shot. The Clark goalkeeper saved her shot, but couldn’t scoop up the rebound before Carreiro



found the back of the net for her second goal of the season. The Judges maintained possession for most of the match and created numerous opportunities. One of these chances included a shot from a set piece by senior midfielder Lauren Mastandrea ’22 in the 27th minute, which missed just above the crossbar. Saturday, Sep. 11: Brandeis 5 – Eastern Connecticut State 0 Juliette Carreiro recorded a career-high three assists and the Judges totaled 30 shots on the way to defeating the Warriors 5-0, concluding their homestand on a positive note. Lenhart scored her first collegiate goal, tapping in a Carreiro cross to open the scoring in the 23rd minute. Three minutes later, Hunt scored her 10th career goal courtesy of another Carreiro assist.

The Judges led 2-0 at the half. Ngoma opened the scoring in the second half in the 61st minute, which came off a corner kick from junior midfielder Caroline Swan ’23. Carreiro found Lenhart again in the 68th minute to increase the lead to 4-0. Less than a minute later, senior midfielder Daria Bakhtiari ’22 scored her first goal of the season, heading in a cross from Swan. The Judges are now 2-1-1 on the year. Ngoma leads the team with four goals and Carreiro leads the Judges with four assists. The Judges will play four more matches, two away and two at Gordon Field, before beginning play in the University Athletic Association (UAA) Saturday, Oct. 2, at Carnegie Mellon. The next home game for the Judges is Wednesday, Sep. 22, against UMass Boston at 4:30 p.m.


The Brandeis Hoot

September 17, 2021

Cross country finds success at Wellesley By Justin Leung editor

On Sep. 3, both the men’s and women’s cross-country teams participated in the Wellesley Invitational to start off the season. The women’s team finished in first place and the men’s team finished in second place. The women’s team had 33 points and

beat out Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Wellesley College, Mount Holyoke and Regis College. Overall, the team had an average 5k time of 19:07, which was 13 seconds faster than the second-place team WPI. Senior Niamh Kenny ’22 led the way for Brandeis, as she finished in second place overall with a time of 18:35.5 and an average mile time of 5:59. She was behind first place

by five seconds. In third place, senior Erin Magill ’22 finished with a time of 18:44.7. Magill finished 15 seconds in front of fourth place. Senior Natalie Hattan ’22 came in fifth place to solidify three of the top five runners for Brandeis. Out of the top 20 runners that came from five different schools, Brandeis had seven of those top 20 runners. First-years Kayla DiBenedetto ’25 and Zada

Forde ’25 both finished in the top 20 in their first competitions with Brandeis. DiBenedetto ran a 19:36.1 and Forde ran a 19:56.6. Overall, the women’s cross-country team finished with an average time of 19:07, which was thirteen seconds faster than second place. The men’s team finished in a solid second place with 45 points as they beat Regis College but fell to WPI. In the men’s 5k, senior

Matthew Dribben ’22 placed fourth overall for the Judges with a time 16:11.2. He came just four seconds from a top three finish. Sophomore Walter Tebetts ’24 also finished in the top ten with a time of 16:42.6. Freshman Daniel Frost ’25 competed for the first time for Brandeis and finished third overall for Brandeis and 11th overall. He missed out on a top 10 position by just two seconds. Lucas Dia ’25 and Erik Lopez ’25 were two other Brandeis first-years that ran in this competition. They proceeded to finish in 18th and 19th place. That makes three first-years in the top 20 runners overall for Brandeis. The Judges had eight runners in the top 20. However, WPI ran very well that day as they took eight top 10 positions. Additionally, WPI took the other 12 top 20 positions. Overall, the Judges had an average time of 16:51, which was 42 seconds behind WPI. Both teams will take their success and use it as momentum for their next competition at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational on Sep. 18.


Women’s volleyball ~ season summary so far By Francesca Marchese staff

After winning their 2021 season opener, the Brandeis Women’s Volleyball team competed in 7 additional games, both on the road and in Red Auerbach Arena, finishing their non conference performance 4-4. Unlike most teams, the Judges have consistently shown their grit throughout their season trailing 2-0, as they not only pushed Springfield to 4 sets, but the Judges also defeated Emerson College 3-2 at home in an impressive comeback. The Brandeis Women’s Volleyball trailed by two sets and faced three match points in the fifth against Emerson College; the Judges, though, still triumphed over both deficits to defeat Emerson College, 3-2. The set scores were 19-25, 21-

25, 26-24, 25-22 and 16-14. While Emerson dominated the first two sets and started off the third with a comfortable lead, veteran Stephanie Borr ’22 kicked off a Brandeis 9-2 run with a kill and a block assist. The Judges then evened the set at 17-all on a block from senior middle blocker Kaisa Newberg ’22 and setter Ines Grom-Mansenecal ’24. Grom-Mansenecal continued to aid her team to victory after her incredible performance in the Springfield Invitational where she had 29 assists, four kills, four service aces and two block assists; as a result, Grom-Mansenecal earned her first career All-Tournament honors. In the Judges dramatic win over the Emerson College Lions, the third set featured seven ties and three lead changes before Newberg executed her second block solo of the match to claim the set


for the women, 26-24. Lara Verstovsek ’25 had five kills to lead the Judges in the third, while Newberg had three kills, as well as five of her seven blocks in the third set. Verstovsek, Amelia Oppenheimer ’23, and Grom-Mansenecal each recorded double-double performances; Verstovsek had a match-and career-high 19 kills to go with a career high 13 digs. Oppenheimer also recorded a career-best 15 kills and 15 digs, the third-highest total in her career. To top off the statistics of the night, Grom-Mansenecal had a career-high 54 assists along with


10 digs. Respectively, it was the second, fourth and second double-doubles of their careers. The Judges could not carry that momentum into their last non-conference match, as they lost in three sets to the Tufts University Jumbos, for the second time this season. This weekend, the Judges take the road to participate in their first UAA Conference games since 2019 in Chicago, where they will play their first of three Round Robins. The Volleyball squad will meet Carnegie Mellon and fifth ranked Emory on Saturday Sep. 18 and Case Western on Sunday Sep. 19.

8 The Brandeis Hoot

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe.”

Editors-in-Chief John Fornagiel Emma Lichtenstein Sasha Skarboviychuk Copy Editor Madeline Rousell News Editor Victoria Morrongiello Deputy News Editor Roshni Ray Arts Editors Stewart Huang Caroline O Opinions Editor Thomas Pickering Deputy Opinions Editors Mia Plante Features Editor Shruthi Manjunath Sports Editor Justin Leung Layout Editor Anya Lance-Chacko Editors-at-Large Abdel Achibat Tim Dillon Grace Zhou

Volume 19 • Issue 3 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma

FOUNDED BY Leslie Pazan, Igor Pedan and Daniel Silverman


Jonathan Ayash, Lucy Fay, Sam Finbury, Zach Katz, Josh Lannon, Kristianna Lapierre, Max Lerner, Rafi Levi, Francesca Marchese, David Shapiro, Matt Shapiro, Jahnavi Swamy, Luca Swinford, 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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September 17, 2021

Brandeis is overcrowded

s excited as we are to return to in-person learning, we are concerned about the pressure that the volume of students is having on campus operations. After a year of short lines and empty spaces, the campus is suddenly stuffed to the brim with people milling around. This year brought in a record number of 945 first-year students. Lofted triples are a common occurrence at Brandeis, but there seem to be more than ever this year in order to accommodate the influx of students. Even with these cramped spaces, there is still not enough room to lodge students, as some first-years are living in East Quad—residence halls that are typically set aside just for sophomores. Nothing says welcome to Brandeis like living in a ditch on the side of campus, in a notoriously lousy residence hall. Furthermore, only 52 percent of students currently live on campus, according to the U.S. News report. Another struggle comes with the dining halls. Upperclassmen remember the preCOVID era of cramped dining halls and the fight to find seats during the peaks of lunch and dinner. This year seems to really bring back that challenge. While a rush is expected at peak hours, it is only exacerbated by the block schedule. In previous years, classes would end in staggered times—either at the half hour or at the 50-minute mark—so the dining hall arrival times were staggered. Now, more classes end at the same time, meaning the swarm is incredibly overwhelming.Though there are many retail locations on campus, these are also overwhelmed during peak times, with food preparation getting extreme-

ly delayed. Various community members are even joking about the lines outside of Dunkin in Usdan. Last year, the Bite app was stellar at minimizing wait times for food, allowing students to order ahead and pick it up later. While the service still moves quickly at off-peak times, editorial board members have waited around 30 minutes after their designated pickup times to get food during the lunch rush. We understand the app has to accommodate a much larger community of students than last year, however, the delays are still alarming, since the university should be able to handle the capacity of students it is allowing on campus.Additionally, classrooms seem more packed than ever, likely due to the high volume of new students and the overlap of classes due to the hour and a half block. The new COVID-19 space capacities seem to have been created just to say that they have a cap; this labeled capacity doesn’t stop Brandeis from shoving 30 people into a room that is really only meant for no more than 20 people. Once again, the university should be able to handle the number of students permitted to be on campus without endangering students with violations of health and safety protocol; and even without COVID, no one likes people breathing down their necks. The larger both lower and upper level classes become, the less usable a lot of classrooms on campus become. According to the university COVID-19 training module, unvaccinated individuals (which make up five percent of our community) are still required to maintain six feet of social distancing. That is simply not possible in

most of the classroom spaces being provided. Parking is another issue waiting to crack: in the past, if you arrived on campus at 8 a.m. you could get a decent parking spot. Now if you want a spot anywhere near Ziv, you better arrive at 6 a.m.; by the time 8 a.m. rolls around, your best bet is in some questionable spot near the business school. Forget finding a spot in general between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. There are many people on the Brandeis campus every day outside of the typical Brandeis community, too. Tours are happening again and guests are allowed on campus, which leads to some intense testing lines, especially first thing in the morning and right before the sites close. The university has acknowledged this problem, and what was their solution? “Go during class hours.” We’ll get right on that during our next biology lecture, I’m sure the professors won’t mind. We are worried about how sustainable this model is. Yes, we are returning to normal, but the volume seems to be taking a larger toll on the campus and community than it has in previous years. The university cannot continue to admit students at the rate it is when it doesn’t have a place to put them. What is going to happen when the normal class size becomes similar to the class of ’25? We understand the financial consequence of why the university is accepting so many students; we know the university needs the tuition of the students it’s accepting. But in order to maintain this community, something is going to have to give. There needs to be serious action, otherwise the community will not be supported.

9 The Brandeis Hoot


September 17, 2021


1. Executes a kingly doody? 6. Break rock into pieces 11. The commuter rail is under its auspices 14. Nostalgia-generating TV phenomenon 15. Winter beverage 16. Remarks of comprehension 17. Changes before completion 18. Non-absolute persons? 20. Products of WWI fighter jet line 21. One’s winning longshot 22. Anger, I reckon 23. Bar beverage 24. Nordic name 25. Eugene of Tchaikovsky opera 26. Hobbit pair 30. TV Drama lifesaver 31. Secretary of War Root 32. 365 days in Madrid 33. A multitool has many of these 34. Variety eaters 38. Qualifies a youthful grandparent 41. “Look ___ you leap.” 42. Consult 46. Settlers of Catan resource 47. Work together 50. Wealthy Massachusetts town 52. Shakespearian conjunction 53. McFly mother Thompson 54. Deathly smell 55. Bovine lamentation 56. Covering for the outdoors 57. Descriptor for Inside Out? 60. Keen of Logan and His Dark Ma terials 61. Advertised at “0%!” 62. Nominal homophone of Ireland and Egypt? 63. Weapon of Classical Greece 64. Roadway abbreviation 65. Oversupplies, in economics 66. Giveaways, in poker


1. Component of a syllogism 2. Complex descriptor 3. Craft of “The Paper Menagerie” 4. Sets in a place 40. Return to earlier state 5. Instagram, for ex. 43. Chickpea-based fritter 6. Neck-area grabbing 44. Without end point 45. Mass Effect adversaries 7. Writer of verse 47. Necessary step in apple 8. Tear that defined Pats’ pie-making ’08 season 48. Geographic features 9. Spirit of African origin common to Polynesia 10. A Guatemalan man, 49. Familiar prefix for scisay ence majors 9. Spirit of African origin 51. Peppa Pig watcher 10. A Guatemalan man, 55. A quality of beer, say say 56. Pre-DVD innovation 11. Utterly devastates 58. Don’t buy if snake-de12. “look at” to excuse rived? oneself 59. 16th century Portu13. A sense of agreement? guese carrack 19. Great displeasure 60. Period of temporal in21. Not yet ancient vestment 24. “e pluribus, ___” 25. Nose-scrunching scent 27. Piratical slang 28. Neo-classical composer 29. Beatles’ downfall 33. Internet participant 35. Second in a noble line? 36. Acronym referencing non-internet world 37. God of love 38. Terror of pigs? 39. Take early preventive action

Friendship by Chris Martin Last Week’s Summer Crossword Answers: ACROSS 1. Pigs 5. BSMS 9. Natal 14. Amok 15. Lute 16. Uluru 17. California Girls 20. Arf 21. Log 22. Dig 23. Not 24. Leg 25. Adi 26. Eres 28. Tropical Storms 34. Ensear 35. Slums 36. Rues 38. Slosh 41. Dear 42. Innit 44. Sealed 46. Boston Tea Party 50. Esau

51. MPs 52. Has 54. Tao 57. STR 58. Lei 59. EMP 60. Independence Day 64. Enero 65. Ipse 66. Sato 67. Reset 68. PTSD 69. Lyon DOWN 1. Pacal 2. Imaret 3. Golf Greens 4. Ski 5. Bloodies 6. Surgical 7. Mtn. 8. Seidel 9. Nuggets 10. Ali 11. Turn 12. Arlo 13. Lust

18. Mud 19. Airs 27. Solder 29. Onsite 30. Arose 31. Rued the Day 32. MMA 33. SSR 36. Rib 37. Uno 39. Seamless 40. Happened 43. Tosspot 45. Lasic 47. Nate 48. Turnip 49. Yamato 53. Spy On 54. Tier 55. Anne 56. Odes 61. Ere 62. Dpt. 63. ESL


10 The Brandeis Hoot

September 17, 2021

Introducing New Mandel Center for Humanities Director Ulka Anjaria By Roshni Ray editor

Ulka Anjaria (DEP) takes the reins as the second Jehuda Reinharz Director of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Humanities, following her predecessor Ramie Targoff (DEP). During her time at Brandeis, Anjaria has held positions as a Professor of English and is affiliated with the South Asian Studies program and the Film, Media, and Television program at Brandeis. Her research interests include South Asian literature and film, postcolonial literature, global perspectives, and interdisciplinary learning. Additionally, she has authored two books analyzing Bollywood and contemporary Indian media, with her most recent book offering an introduction to Hindi cinema. Anjaria’s research interests and teaching experience inform her novel take on humanities at Brandeis. The word “humanities” has a tendency to evoke mental images of ancient texts, art, and music-items that would likely be found in a museum, Anjaria explains. “I think that word sometimes gives

off this old-fashioned vibe, so my goal at the Mandel center is to... make humanities feel relevant to everyone in the Brandeis community and expand the idea of humanities beyond just the study of texts,” she says. Anjaria sees class curricula as a place to instill a greater sense of the present impact of work in the humanities, saying, “Thinking about curriculum, what kinds of courses to undergraduates and graduates want to see which makes us think about the direct work the humanities can do in the world.” Part of making humanities feel relevant to a wider audience includes adopting the perspectives of social scientists, scientists, and artists when understanding historical and current issues. “I am an English professor but I never only get English majors in my classes, and I think that makes for great discussions,” Anjaria notes. While Anjaria feels that the opportunity for diverse perspectives in humanities class settings is attainable at the undergraduate level, the specialization that a graduate program in humanities demands is less conducive to interdisciplinary thinking. She plans to instill cross-departmental communication at

Brandeis graduate programs and help students realize that “[their] field is not the only one where you can learn something...and [their] campus is not the only place you can learn something.” Reflecting on political issues and public health issues from the pandemic this past year, Anjaria hopes to convey to students that “...we can do better if we deal with [these issues] in an interdisciplinary level.” Another important goal of Anjaria’s is to help students understand humanities from a global perspective. Anjaria explains that if people only engage with media from the U.S., “...[they] can get a very distorted picture of what is happening in the rest of the world.” Her publications concerning foreign media aim to counter negative representations of South Asian cultures. Anjaria seeks to translate her research goals into common class practices at the humanities, where students push themselves to “get over stereotypes [they have been] inadvertently imbibed from the media, and include people on their own terms...without condescension.” In addition to class content, Anjaria believes that guest speakers


are an important contribution to the humanities experience at Brandeis and can serve as a means of introducing under-represented perspectives in academia. This coming year and in the future, Anjaria plans to “invite more people to campus who work in the humanities in a variety of ways, not just scholars.” This includes high school teachers, media production teams, and more. Some guest lectures that students can look forward to this year include the annual Mandel Lectures in Humanities this April where Columbia University professor and writer Colm Tóibín,

will be discussing James Baldwin. Additionally, several faculty members will be discussing their work, among which is Professor Patricia Alvarez Astacio (ANTH) and her fieldwork with textile workers in Perú. Under the leadership of Anjaria, the humanities at Brandeis will offer a multitude of new inclass, practical, and enriching experiences with interdisciplinary, global, and innovative focuses. As Anjaria puts it in a BrandeisNow interview, “It’s an exciting time to be leading an institution like this because the humanities are more important than ever.”

Healthcare for all: Davidson’s Summer at C-TAC By Jahnavi Swamy staff

Sarah Davidson ’23 spent her summer interning at the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC). C-TAC is a coalition aimed at ensuring that all Americans with illnesses receive “comprehensive, high quality, person and family-centered” healthcare. C-TAC has initiatives to improve delivery systems, as well as public and private health policies. During her time there, Davidson learned about advanced care

planning and the intricacy of the American Healthcare system. In an email addressed to the Hoot, Davidson recounted some of the work she did this summer, “I helped plan and execute a Member-Up in which C-TAC coalition members discussed the Greater Illinois Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition and their legislative success in the Care Bill.” Her work involved communicating with organizations, so they can help advocate health policies at the state and federal levels. Advanced care planning, the aspect of the policy agenda that Davidson is focused on is one of

C-TAC’s priorities. The goal of advanced care planning (ACP) is to increase accessibility to counseling, advance directives and other planning documents. The C-TAC advocates for increased coverage of ACP by Medicare. Davidson heard about C-TAC at a Hiatt Career Fair at Brandeis University and decided to apply because the goal of the coalition aligned with her interest in “the human side of healthcare.” She explained that she was also drawn to C-TAC because of its focus on “comprehensive changes in the healthcare system.” As a junior majoring in psychology

and Health, Science, Society and Policy (HSSP), Davidson believes that healthcare is not solely about medicine. She expresses that it can also be important to consider the community-based, economic, political, or spiritual aspects of healthcare. According to Davidson, one of the main lessons she learned over the course of this internship was the necessity of applying different perspectives to the healthcare system. She said, “It was inspiring for me to see a diverse group of organizations from all across the country coming together to sup-

port one another with the common goal of ensuring comprehensive health care for all.” Davidson is also interested in the transition to telehealth during the Covid-19 Pandemic and the need for greater accessibility to resources. When asked about her hopes for the future of healthcare, Davidson said that she hopes for increased healthcare accessibility. She expressed that “healthcare should not be a privilege,” but rather should be available to all individuals. Davidson hopes to continue her work and create meaningful change in the healthcare industry.

How Covid-19 has affected academic faculty at medical schools By Shruthi Manjunath editor

Many people have wondered whether the COVID-19 pandemic has increased burnout in physicians throughout the United States. Dr. Linda Pololi, a distinguished senior scientist and research scholar in the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis, has been conducting research on the culture of academic medicine and how Covid-19 has affected academic faculty at medical schools. She is the principal investigator and director of the national initiative on gender culture and leadership in medicine known as C-Change. C-Change is a year-long program where mid-career faculty come together for two to three day conferences that occur four times a year in which they participate in group peer mentoring.

This program focuses on building characteristics that will allow individuals to be leaders in medicine and good mentors while also allowing individuals to have a clear notion of what is important to oneself. Dr. Pololi has documented the culture of academic medicine for many years at Brandeis and wanted to create changes in the culture of academic medicine. She and her colleagues found a way to do so through C-Change which provides mentoring programs and career development for faculty members. Dr. Pololi explains that, “We have always had a focus on increasing the diversity of leadership in academic medicine, both for women and for people not well represented in medicine, racially and ethnically.” Dr. Pololi and her colleagues were given funds by the NIH to study a peer group mentoring

model in place in randomized control trials and also look at the mechanisms of action. However, the spread of COVID-19 caused a delay in planning and research. As a result, the team decided to ask academic faculty at medical schools three questions regarding how COVID-19 was affecting them: how has COVID-19 affected the meaning you find in your work, how are you feeling about your role and career choice now with the coronavirus pandemic, and how are your values being impacted or tested in these times. The participants in this study consisted of faculty members at medical schools from 16 states, half being physicians and half being PhDs enrolled in the study for two years. The participants were also selected based on their demographics: half were people who are racially and ethnically well-represented in medicine and half were underrepresented in

medicine along with half being men and half being women. In March 2020, Dr. Pololi sent the participants a personalized email and asked them the three questions regarding how they were doing in response to COVID-19. 90% of participants responded and Dr. Pololi and her colleagues analyzed the responses. The participants highlighted how the pandemic allowed them to find meaning and realize the importance of their work and it aligned with their personal values. Dr. Pololi and her colleagues were surprised that most of the participants did not say that this had been a very difficult time for them. Instead, they recognized the risks they were taking and found meaning in their work. There were very few responses about the negative aspects of this pandemic. According to Dr. Pololi, “This

group of people is very dedicated to doing what they can to contribute and help which is great.” The team plans to follow up with the participants in the study in a year regarding how they are feeling. In addition, the team is also working closely with many of these participants through C-Change programs in order to build important skills needed in academic medicine. Overall, Dr. Pololi emphasizes the importance of making sure one’s career choice aligns with one’s personal values. She specifically highlights, “these great opportunities may come along and divert you from what is most meaningful to you, and you can change your mind, but you have to intentionally make sure that these things are aligned for you, because that’s what makes you vital and enthusiastic about what you’re doing, because the work is hard.”

11 The Brandeis Hoot

OPINIONS Reflecting on my summer

By Mia Plante editor

This summer, I worked too hard. I allowed the guilt of working at an understaffed and poorly managed restaurant to get to me, and I picked up every open shift I could. At the time I thought I was doing something good for my coworkers and for my bank account. In retrospect though, the money I made was not worth it. Looking back at everything I did over the past three-ish months I realize I was turned into a zombie—an anxious, overworked and severely dehydrated zombie. Nearly every day I would work from around 11am to midnight, surviving off of my hours-old watered down iced coffee and fries I’d steal from expo when no one was looking. I recognized then how unhealthy my life had become, both for my physical and mental

health, but I wasn’t sure what I could do about it. I became addicted to the money I made and almost addicted to working so hard I’d throw up. I barely had time to spend with my family and friends, and talking to my long distance boyfriend was becoming increasingly difficult when all I had to say of my day was how tired and stressed out I was. Despite all this, and the fact that my life became extremely empty during my months at work, I don’t necessarily regret how dedicated I was to my job. I do regret that I was so dedicated to working at a corporate restaurant that I likely didn’t care if I lived or died. The effort I put into a lot of what I do is my biggest downfall because of how quickly I burn out, and the Applebee’s in my small town did not nearly deserve my effort. Coming back to campus, I realized just how badly my brain had been scrambled by the con-

stant anxiety I felt while working all summer. Even in the rare times pressure wasn’t put on me by customers, coworkers, or managers, I managed to put pressure on myself. This led to me dissociating frequently at work - on autopilot but still anxious - something I have fallen into many times before. Now it is a few weeks after my last shift and I am still trying to shake off Zombie Mia and go back to my usual self. I am halfway alive-and-well and halfway stuck in my tourist-industry-induced numbness. This experience taught me that I am self-sabotaging when it comes to work, but not in the quirky way people respond to interview questions about their biggest weakness. I am self-sabotaging at work to the point that it severely affects my wellbeing! While almost always overloading myself academically, this semester I am going to try to avoid

recreating my summer in hopes of completely returning to my usual levels of anxiety. I will also attempt to return to my baseline of bitchiness, as working in the service industry made me both a ruthless monster and a teary-eyed child. I wouldn’t wish the type of summer I had on anyone. I know now that money isn’t worth my happiness, and I am lucky to have the privilege to step away from 60-hour work weeks. Not everyone has that luxury! I know firsthand how much of a toll this amount of work takes on a person—which is yet another reason why we must raise the federal minimum wage so people don’t have to work three jobs to keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables. I hope sharing my unhealthy relationship with work this summer reminds readers to tip their servers and bartenders a

September 17, 2021

minimum of 20 percent and not to yell at them ever. (The times I was yelled at left me in tears. There are ways to solve problems without screaming at someone.) Service workers deserve respect and if you don’t give that to them you are irredeemable in my eyes. Finally, if any of you find yourself struggling with overworking, do not let yourself get to the point I allowed myself to get to this summer. Eat three meals a day, drink water and take breaks without guilt —we ALL deserve time to be more than just students or workers. I know how easy it is to slip into unhealthy habits, especially at a school for self-proclaimed overachievers. If you need to talk to someone contact the Brandeis Counseling Center (; 781-7363730) or outside counseling if it is available to you.

The Great Brandeisian Façade - Building Accessibility By Thomas Pickering editor

Despite the hard-earned academic acclaim Brandeis receives as an institution it has continuously sat at #48 on the list of the ugliest college campuses in America. As described by the college reviewers from COMPLEX magazine, despite Brandeis hiring one of the most renowned modern architects of the twenty-first century, Eero Saarinen, his skill was not enough to pull the campus together and make it beautiful. COMPLEX even wrote, “Brandeis mixed these Modernist buildings with bland, brick structures and a castle to come up with their current campus. This jumble of styles and aesthetics leaves the school looking disheveled and incoherent.” If only those writers were able to see the inside of those buildings and what complicated, dated and in some cases unsafe methods they take to foster student life on campus; it is safe to say that their conclusion of the university may be more scathing than just “disheveled and incoherent.” For this edition of the column, I find it wise to shift gears a little here, to a topic far more nuanced than building appearance and safety, because this will not only prove how expansive the concept of infrastructure is, but also how desperately Brandeis needs to pay more attention to the infrastructure on campus. The topic for this week concerns accessibility on campus, which I want to break down into two separate issues: building accessibility and building accommodation. By this I mean I want to first dive into the routes and paths disabled students need to take to access buildings and then explore the challenges they face when they enter those buildings. This article is in no way a catch-all for every issue that is present for disabled students on campus—simply an observation based on the buildings and paths I walk on and how inaccessible they present themselves. As a humanities major, I am all too familiar with the Rabb steps. The long staircase makes the walk up to the Mandel Quad feel like a mountain hike every morning and even for some

able-bodied individuals, the staircase is no easy task. However, for disabled folks, access to the quad is incredibly cumbersome based on the entrance to it and where it lets out into the quad. To allow disabled students to have access to Mandel Quad, atop its little hill, there is a ramp (really a service road for vehicles) which is between Rabb and the Mandel Center; in other words, it is about 264 feet west of the Rabb steps. The accessible path then lets the user out behind the Rabb building about where the steps lead to as well. It is clear that any accessible way for disabled students to make it up to the Mandel Quad will be difficult due to the hill. My issue with the access comes with the cost of the time it takes for someone to use that path and how it is not specifically designed for individual access. It would be at the very least helpful to install a path specifically for those who need it. Otherwise, the cobblestone on the side of the service road, which can have cars rolling up and down it, makes for an incredibly bumpy and sometimes dangerous ride up for someone in a wheelchair. There are many other parts of campus that need consideration on how to make them more accessible, but now I want to look inside some of the buildings and explore their efforts towards being accessible. In terms of building accommodation, it is clear to see that most dormitories have accessible restrooms. They can be found throughout campus, and as wonderful as that is, there are some which are entirely inaccessible by severely disabled and wheelchair-bound individuals. The greatest example of this issue is in Usen Hall, which is labeled as having a ground floor (what any observer would call a first floor) and then a first floor one flight of stairs up (better observed as a second floor for all intents and purposes). On the “first floor” there is an accessible bathroom with proper equipment to take a shower and use the lavatory. The singular problem is that someone in a wheelchair cannot make it up the flight of stairs to get to the proper facilities, rendering the bathroom dysfunctional for those who need it most. To fix this issue, that hall would either need an elevator or some entrance onto the “first floor” so that it can be prop-

erly accessed. Another building accommodation issue, or really oddity in my opinion, is at Olin-Sang’s eastern entrance (the door closest to the Rabb steps). Olin-Sang’s eastern entrance is between an external and an internal staircase with an automatic opening button on the inside. While this may be helpful for someone with crutches who needs to leave the building, it does not allow for wheelchairs to make an exit through those doors or even have easy access to the classrooms. Wheelchair-bound students would need to enter through the other end of Olin-Sang which is a far more time-consuming and tedious maneuver. The stairs on both the inside and outside of the door is a clear issue, and on top of that

the interior stairwell presents real danger to handicapped students. The classrooms on the side of the stairwell have their entrances right at the corner of the landing and the stairwell going down is a few inches away. Anyone, even completely able-bodied individuals, could accidentally stumble and could find themselves falling down the stairs. To fix this issue it would take some construction, as the entrance would have to be made level to the ground outside and the stairwell would have to be pulled further out from the building to allow more room between the stairs and the classroom doors. Infrastructure is a truly nuanced topic; from building design to accessibility it impacts how we live in our world. It is not a sexy top-

ic and does not get much screen time or attention, but the more one observes the physical spaces around them it becomes clearer and clearer how much change is needed and how soon it is needed, from increasing accessibility to academic quads through specific ramps, making “accessible” restrooms accessible from the ground floor or an entrance on its floor or even by making doors with automatic opening capabilities accessible to any student who needs to get through them. If this necessary infrastructure remains as it is, the next review of Brandeis University could end with the words “inaccessible and exclusionary.”


September 17, 2021


The Brandeis Hoot

Ben and Jerry’s ‘Topped:’ very hit or miss By John Fornagiel and Sasha Skarboviychuk

and would probably not buy it again.


PB Over the Top John Usually, when I get a peanut butter dessert flavor it is at the top of the list by far. Ask my parents, they would have to buy jars and jars of peanut butter in a pathetic attempt to satisfy my insatiable lust for peanut butter sandwiches. Therefore, when it came to this flavor, I was so excited for the peanut butter topped along with the peanut butter swirl. But then we actually opened up the ice cream: where the heck were all of the peanut butter cups and peanut butter swirls? It’s safe to say that my heart was broken, and my rating certainly reflects this heartbreak. I would give this flavor a six out of 10 for the lack of peanut butter goodness.

Ben and Jerry’s has been blessing us all with seven new and changed flavors: the topped. They are variations on regular Ben and Jerry’s flavors, except they have ganache and another topping at the top of the pint. Chocolate Caramel Cookie Dough John I absolutely think that the “topped” portion of the ice cream was by far the best part. If you could get the perfect combination of ice cream and topped it was like heaven on earth. Now, in saying this I mean no harm to the ice cream itself: the flakes of chocolate mixed with the vanilla ice cream and cookie dough chunks were nothing to sneeze it. The topping was simply that good. In fact, I think that if Ben and Jerry’s made a dessert with just the topped portion of this ice cream it would be a knockout. This flavor gets an 8.5 out of 10 for me, and I am totally looking to buy this one again. Sasha The top part was the best part of this ice cream, though I have to say there were not enough candies (which were very good) in the chocolate. The caramel swirl wasn’t bad but it felt like there was barely any of it, apparently I got all of it too. The cookie dough chunks were delicious but there were not enough of them. The chocolate ice cream was good, but the flavor was nothing special. The idea for the flavor was good, but the execution was not there, it was basically chocolate ice cream with a tiny bit of caramel and some cookie dough chunks. Overall, this was an underwhelming flavor, I would rate it a seven

Sasha Unfortunately this was another underwhelming flavor. The top part (chocolate with peanut butter cups) was delicious, as were the peanut butter cups found in the ice cream, and there really is nothing bad to say about the chocolate ice cream. But the peanut butter swirl was nowhere to be found (though we did find something resembling it at the bottom), and my half of the pint only had like five peanut butter cups (I think John has even less). This flavor was really just chocolate ice cream with the occasional cup; there’s nothing bad about it, but nothing special and not worth the money. I would rate it a six out of 10 and will not be buying this flavor again, there are better Ben & Jerry’s flavors out there. Salted Caramel Brownie John Oh my gosh, you guys. This thing was absolutely amazing. Like seriously, if there was a way to give an ice cream flavor a hug

this would be the first on the list. Keeping in mind that I do not really like caramel too much, my opinion is worth quite a bit for this flavor. My favorite part was definitely the brownies, they were so good. I would give this flavor a nine out of 10, and I would definitely be purchasing this again! Sasha This flavor tied to be our favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor of all time. It was delicious, and everything I would ever want in an ice cream. I love caramel and vanilla ice cream together, it is my favorite combination of sauce/ice cream. The brownie bits are my favorite Ben & Jerry’s topping, they’re amazing and I love them. Now imagine this all together: delicious vanilla ice cream with lots of caramel and brownies; what could be better? The chocolate on top was really good as well, though the ice cream was great even without it. Overall this is a great new flavor, I would rate it a nine and it is already on our grocery list! Strawberry Topped Tart John One thing that you guys should know about me is that I hate any berry-flavored items (well, except for blueberries, those things are awesome). Therefore, take this opinion with a grain of salt. This was one of the worst Ben and Jerry’s flavors that I have ever had. The topping was much too strong, I do not even think I could stomach the rest of it after the first couple of bites. Oh, did I mention that I absolutely hate tart as well? It was almost repelling, I would give this a four out of 10. But hey, maybe if you like strawberries this could be for you! Sasha This is definitely one of the worst Ben and Jerry’s flavors I’ve had. The top isn’t bad, I like the combination of strawberry and

white chocolate, but the hard candies they put into the top ruined it. The ice cream itself tasted like regular strawberry ice cream, while the pie chunks were weird and oddly crumbly, and tasted kind of like bread more than pie. Overall this was not necessarily a bad flavor, but it’s just not worth the $4 I paid for it. I would rate it a six and will definitely not buy it again.

Thick Mint John Yet another solid flavor coming out from the “topped” series. The chocolate ganache on top was great! If you mixed it with the mint ice cream below, it was like mint chocolate chip ice cream on crack. The heterogeneity inside of the ice cream was super refreshing and made each bite feel unique. Additionally, the mint flavor was the perfect intensity. Overall, this flavor gets a seven and a half out of 10 for me. If I was more into mint-flavored things, I might even give this a higher rating! Sasha This flavor is a major improvement on the Mint Chocolate Cookie flavor. I really like the minty chocolate cookies: with many desserts you either don’t feel any mint or it is too overpowering. However these cookies were perfect, they were minty but not too minty. This allowed the flavors to mix together very nicely, without having one overpower the other, so the chocolate and mint balance out well. Overall, I would rate this flavor an 8.5 and will buy it again soon. Tiramisu John Unfortunately, as Sasha later elaborates, the ice cream was a little melted since our freezer malfunctioned, so we did not get the true full experience of this ice cream! Setting that aside howev-


er, this flavor was wonderful. The topped was a chocolate ganache that blended really well with the ice cream. I swear, the ice cream really did taste like tiramisu! The coffee mixed with the shortbread and the ice cream all added together to give that same flavor profile. Overall, this ice cream gets an eight out of 10 for me. Definitely worth the repurchase! Sasha I have to start off by saying that we had the ice cream when it was a little melted. Overall, it was a very nice flavor. I love the mascarpone ice cream, and the chocolate with the hint of coffee. But I also love tiramisu so of course I think this ice cream is amazing. The one thing I did not love about this flavor were the shortbread bits, they were not bad, but they had a weird chalky taste to them. Overall, I would give this flavor an eight, and would probably buy it again. Whiskey Biz John My first thought when biting into this ice cream is how prominent the alcohol/beer flavor was. It definitely made this particular ice cream flavor unique. Although I am not the biggest fan of white chocolate, I could tell the white chocolate that was part of the topped was also really high quality, and definitely added to the uniqueness of the flavor! Sasha elaborates on this later, but I was also not a big fan of the blonde brownies, I would have much preferred if they were left out entirely to be honest. Overall though, this gets an eight out of 10 for me! The uniqueness definitely adds a couple points. Sasha The white chocolate at the top was amazing, probably my favorite top of all the topped flavors. I just wish white chocolate chunks were throughout the ice cream, not just the top. The ice cream itself was quite good: definitely one of their more unique flavors. My issues with this favor come from the swirl: it tasted like medicine that you have as a kid, you know the medicine they make “flavored” so it doesn’t taste as bad. I have mixed feelings about the blonde brownies, they aren’t bad but they aren’t amazing either, I would’ve definitely preferred a better filling in these. Overall, the flavor wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t terrible either, I would give it a seven, but I don’t know if I’d buy it again. Looking at the topped flavors through a broad lens, we would both say that they were a huge creative success. Not many ice cream companies have done something like this before, and we would say that B&J had a unique idea, and executed it perfectly, catering to many different types of flavors from peanut butter, to chocolate, to even strawberry. Out of this whole list, there will definitely be a flavor that suits you, even if it was not to our tastes!


The Brandeis Hoot

September 17. 2021

Democratic values in contrast By Abdel Achibat editor

Coming into Paris, I had aspirations of understanding the French perspective concerning politics, identity and the function of society as a whole. I did not expect to have such an internal turmoil of the contrasts between the American and French perspectives on race and identity politics to such a degree within my first week. Simultaneously, I am aware of how much more complex the contrasts and my opinions will get as I actually begin to enroll in French politics classes. In the multiple conversations I have had with the friends I have made, I have been made aware of the insistence of French politics to regard identity politics as a destructive aspect to French

identity that contrasts America’s mainstream obsession with identity as a result of our deep-rooted value of individualism. The French perspective recognizes the multicultural aspect of French society as a part of its postcolonial context but insists that a french identity be dominant and prioritized to protect a sense of community, socialism and anti-discrimination. Statistics of race, religion and other minority identities are not federally collected so as to not allow the state to discriminate. It is written in the constitution that there must not be a separation of religion and government and in all public spaces. Racial identity is made to be relevant to being or “feeling” French. The theory is that creating and governmentally distinguishing between identities distracts from the overall French objective and value of equality

and liberty. Consequently, the immediate impact is that institutionally, the French government does not have the right, nor the statistical information to systematically discriminate against racial, ethnic, or religious minorities. This contrasts greatly with the American system that collects data on identities to place groups of people into classes which are thus then able to be discriminated against on an institutional level. It also contrasts with the liberal viewpoint in America that uses identity politics to attempt to protect discriminated groups in its recognition of their existence. While the French government is made to be so that they cannot realistically institute policies that target minorities, this is evidently not felt on a personal level. It is the same principle made to protect minorities in

France with the values of community, socialism and equality that have also allowed for the hijab ban and policies including, what I believe to be, targeted language. While this governmental decision to eliminate identity on the federal level so as to protect and prevent marginalization is theoretically supposed to seep down into the psychology of its constituents to be anti-discriminatory, islamophobia, xenophobia and racism still exist. Ultimately what is seen is a misunderstanding of the prioritization of certain identities in a world where multiple identities will always coincide within the individual. Again, this is my own American perspective and internalization of the importance of individuality that lets me criticize the French perspective but consequently allows the American government to continue system-

atically oppressing racial, ethnic, sexual and religious minorities like myself. Thus, my immediate criticisms may simultaneously be my own misunderstanding of what identity has to mean. What I seek to understand is what conglomeration of American liberal identity politics and French community and socialistic values present in their constitution will create a society where both on the institutional and psychological level, racism cannot exist. The answer must be present in the historical and current perspective of the individual constituent as they must be changed to internalize the notions of identity to not intertwine with superiority or a lack of a base human community that effectively should trump all.

SSIS advice column By SSIS special to the hoot

My partner recently told me that they frequently watch and enjoy porn. I know a lot of people watch porn and I’m not inherently against them watching it, but I can’t help comparing myself to these porn stars and feeling self-conscious and insecure with my partner now. What can I do to be more comfortable? Insecurities around porn are extremely common and valid. Many of the body parts and acts depicted in porn are extremes of average sexual encounters and do not represent the reality of sex. Porn stars have trained makeup artists, camera workers, directors, and even plastic surgeons who ensure that their bodies and performances look as perfect as possible for the scene, and while this works for these displays, this isn’t how most sex appears. In reality, sexual experiences can be sweaty, noisy, slippery and awkward; and that’s okay! Keeping open communication with your partner can help you work through insecurities together and hopefully make your sexual life all the more enjoyable. Discussions around porn can be challenging, especially when discussed with your partner, but they are often necessary and can help in the long run. Asking yourself what makes you self-conscious may help get to the root of the problem. Is it the physical characteristics of these actors? Is it the positions that they are performing? Are there specific kinks or fetishes that your partner is watching that you may not be comfortable with? Realizing the cause of insecurity is the first step in addressing it. Once you’ve identified the cause/causes of these feelings, you may want to think about bringing them up with your partner. Having open communication may help your partner ease or explain some of your concerns and give them space to express why they engage with pornography. Understanding why porn matters to your partner may help you sympathize with your partner as they sympathize with you. What kind of sex toys would you recommend for first timers? Exploring sex toys for the first

Welcome back to the SSIS column, where we answer any and all of Brandeis students’ questions about sex, sexuality, identity and relationships. If you have a question you’d like answered in our next column, email or leave a question in the Google Form link on the Student Sexuality Information Service Facebook page. Any and all questions are welcome: there are no bad, stupid, or weird questions! (Note: These answers are good-faith attempts by SSIS to be helpful to the Brandeis community, and are by no means exhaustive or to be taken as universal. If these answers don’t resonate with you, either pay them no mind, or reach out to us with suggestions for improvement!) time can be both a really fun and nerve wracking journey! There are tons of sex toys out there, so it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to start. Below are some options that can be good for those who would like toys aimed towards beginner play. It’s important to keep in mind that every body is different, and what is fun and pleasurable for some might not be great for you! Bullet Vibrators: For vagina owners, one of the first toys that often come to mind are vibrators. Vibrators are especially great for those who enjoy clitoral or external labia stimulation. For those looking for a vibrator that is small and discreet, but still packs powerful vibes, a bullet vibrator can be a great place to start! Most bullet vibrators come in a cylinder shape, with a button on the bottom that can be pressed to change the intensity or pattern of the vibrations. They are made of either ABS plastic, which gives it a metallic feel, or silicone, which is often a softer, squishier material. Though typically advertised for vagina owners, bullet vibes can also be used by penis owners! It can be placed on the back of the shaft or perineum for some fun sensations. Dildos: Though bullet vibes are great for external play, they are often not long enough or girthy enough to provide great internal stimulation. For vagina owners looking to explore internal play, a dildo can be a great option! Dildos tend to range between 4-8 inches of insertable length and 1.2-1.75 inches of girth, with many different shapes and textures. If you are new to dildos or insertable toys in general, finding a smaller dildo with a soft material can be a good place to start. As with any type of play, adding lube to the mix can help with smoother insertion and an overall more pleasurable experience! Masturbation Sleeves: For penis owners looking to explore sex toys, a maturbation sleeve can be a great way to spice up solo play. This soft and flexible cylinder toy, usually made of elastomer jelly or silicone, slides up and down the penis to increase grip and stimulation while mas-


turbating. Most sleeves come with soft ridges or bumps on the inside for added pleasure, some even made to mimic the feel of an anus or vagina. More advanced (and expensive) versions can come with a vibrating element as well. Though it may be good to start with a simpler version of this toy, feel free to try different textures and types until you find the one for you! Butt Plugs: If you are interested in trying anal play, butt plugs are a perfect toy for beginners. Butt plugs are cone shaped toys that are inserted into the rectum. All butt plugs must have a flange, or flared base, to ensure

that it doesn’t get lost in the rectal cavity. It’s also extremely important to use lube while exploring butt plugs, as the anus does not self lubricate and is more susceptible to soreness and tears. What’s so great about these toys is that they come in many different sizes, allowing the user to increase size and girth as they become more comfortable with insertion. Smaller butt plugs will be around 2-3 inches in length, while larger ones will range between 5-8 inches. As a beginner, it’s okay to start small and only do what you’re comfortable with! This will keep the experience pleasurable and will allow you to work up over

time. This list of toys is certainly not exhaustive, but it could provide a good place to begin your sex toy journey! Though these toys can all be used on their own, feel free to bring them into the bedroom with a partner to spice up partnered sex as well. If you are interested in purchasing any of these products or have any further questions, come into the SSIS office or text our texting line (586-ASKSSIS) and we can help you think through ideas and options.


September 17, 2021

The Brandeis Hoot 14

Fall Flex 2021: a whole lot of waiting By Stewart Huang editor

I’ve never been to a Fall Flex, this time called “a welcome back concert,” so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I’m probably not mistaken in thinking that there was a lack of communication, and that the acts themselves, while mostly solid, weren’t exactly worth all that time anxiously waiting on a sunny day. Upon entry, there was no show host announcing when the concert was going to start, so I waited for what must have been 30 minutes. Now, having to wait is perfectly normal since people need time to get in, but not knowing how long I’d have to wait made the waiting frustrating. And then, without any introduction, the first artist, $ean Wire, suddenly appeared on stage and started his performance, which was easily the weakest part of the concert. The crowd remained pretty dead throughout the act. Even the folks at the very front had trouble keeping up the momentum. I blame this partially on the fact that Brandeisians are a boring bunch (like me) who hate fun and there weren’t a lot of us there—the main crowd couldn’t even fill a 10th of Chapels Field. But most of this is on the organizers, who didn’t tell us when a show was about to start, so a lot of people were still lining up for their free lemonade and ice cream when it finally hap-

pened. $ean Wire himself also had trouble hyping up the audience: repeating “I appreciate you, Brandeis!” and “Let’s make some noise!” (though, those probably aren’t the exact words) had only a minor effect on the crowd, and it was dissipating after the second song. This is not to suggest, however, that the artist didn’t care or wasn’t giving his all. Quite the contrary, it was a high-spirited hip-hop performance that looked incredibly exciting on his part. It just wasn’t very impressive to witness. He was using a backtrack, rapping over the recorded vocals in his performance. I’m not aware of the industry standard, but isn’t that just your everyday karaoke, except in front of a crowd? This opening act lasted for about 15 minutes, which was followed by another 30 minutes of waiting for the next one. Again, there was no announcement as to when we were going to get the next act, so waiting felt especially painful. Luckily, you, the reader, will not have to wait, as I will fast forward time with the power of my words. The second performance, by Latrell James, came to us abruptly as the first did, and by Zeus, it was much better. He was clearly much more comfortable, less scripted when interacting with the crowd and he had us participate in the performance in classic call-and-response fashion, a great trick for hyping people up. He also gave the crowd

dance instructions—I admire the initiative. And he didn’t use a backtrack. Overall, this is a solid performance that gave the crowd some much needed energy, probably my favorite out of the three. And it’s back to waiting again, for about another 30 minutes, until the third artist, Audrey Nuna, came out of nowhere, as you would expect at this point. The crowd was especially excited for her appearance since she was the main act, and a lot of people who were waiting in line for the free food rushed back in to join us. I was excited too because I saw that she had brought a band with her—a drummer and a guitarist/ SFX guy. Unfortunately, her voice was muffled throughout the entire performance (but not when she was talking, oddly enough), which was a detriment since hip-hop relies so much on the vocal performance. I think this was a combination of her microphone having way too much bass and the drums and SFX being so loud that they overshadowed the vocals at times. But what she lacked in clarity, she more than made up for with her energy. The crowd was inspired and super hyped up, and she remarked on how we were livelier than the crowd at USC, which was “70 times the size.” But personally I didn’t enjoy the performance as much as I’d have liked to since I could barely make out the lyrics. All three performances were decent, but none were outstanding enough to make up for the fact



that I had to wait anxiously and constantly while being outside on a sunny day. I think the concert would have been much better served if it were more tightly organized so that there was less downtime—one 30-minute break

is probably enough time for people to get their free food. Or, at the very least, there should have been more communication about the show’s schedule. Waiting while not knowing when it might end is cruel and unusual punishment.

Reminiscence: Memorably Forgettable By Sam Finbury staff

Remember “Inception?” Over a decade ago, Christopher Nolan’s science fiction masterpiece surged into theaters to dazzle us with its unique premise, mind-bending plot and fantastical visuals. Well, writer-director Lisa Joy really hopes you remember “Inception” because she sure did when she made “Reminiscence.” Released in theaters and streaming on HBO Max, “Reminiscence” reeks of “Inception” nostalgia jacking, its trailer proudly displaying a wave-battered city in ruins, slow motion dream-like imagery and Hugh Jackman rumbling Nolan-esque “deep” dialogue. It is exceedingly easy, by design, to assume that “Reminiscence” is an Inception clone, except with a memory machine instead of a dream machine, desperately gnawing at the ankles of its predecessor long after Nolan’s epic has already walked off into the sunset. Having actually watched “Reminiscence,” I must admit that its similarities to Inception are more a varnish than anything else, strategic set dressing meant to bait rather than being a bootleg to its core. Despite its obnoxiously flaunted influences, “Reminiscence” is its own movie, a neonoir science fiction thriller filled with money, love, and death. However, looking back, I wonder if “Reminiscence” wouldn’t have profited more off of being the ripoff of “Inception” that everyone assumed it would be, because if it had, maybe some good writing might have rubbed off on it. “Reminiscence” takes place in a Miami of the not-to-distant future, after sea levels have risen to drown most of the coast. Af-

ter the country was wracked by a series of nondescript wars, the uber-rich have bought up most of the remaining dry land, leaving the poor to make due amidst the drowning ruins of the old city. In a world as bleak as this, Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman) and his partner Watts (Thandiwe Newton) make a living running a Reminiscence machine, a device that allows people to realistically relive their happy memories from better times. After Mae (Rebecca Ferguson), a client of Nicks and the love of his life, vanishes without a trace, Nick and Watts use the Reminiscence machine to search the city and their own memories to find her. On their quest, they begin to uncover a vast conspiracy at the heart of the city and horrible truths about the kind of woman Mae might have been in a neo-noir adventure that is played woefully straight. The plot of this film is utterly detached from its sci-fi setting, with the mystery so unimaginative that it could have taken place in L.A. in the ‘50s, or New York in the present, and work as well as it does in future Miami. The crime has nothing to do with the rising sea levels, the unrest of the lower classes, the drugs that ravage the masses, the corruption of the police, or the oppression of the rich. The first half of the movie is spent setting up a world that the second half of the film is aggressively uninterested in. The mystery barely has anything to do with Mae herself, let alone Nick and Watts, so unengaging and uncreative that it comes off like the flat styrofoam floor model used to advertise the noir genre in general. One of this film’s more egregious crimes is that it entirely ignores its main gimmick, the Reminiscence machine itself. In

better sci-fi noir stories, the technology that sets the world apart is also at the center of the crime being investigated. For example, in Netflix’s “Altered Carbon,” the rich are able to download their minds into a device called a cortical stack, allowing them to transfer their consciousnesses between bodies so they can live forever. In the first season, the main character is hired by a wealthy man to investigate his own murder, after he was assassinated and came back in a new body, and the mystery that follows is chock full of body-switching, cloning, mind infiltration and resurrection, all while maintaining a noir taste. By comparison, “Reminiscence” retches at the thought of having fun with its premise. The most done with the ability to relive memories is a couple of coolish transitions where the scene we were just watching was just a past event being revisited and some interesting side effects of using the Reminiscence machine too much. Unfortunately, these gimmick explorations never rise past the level of ‘neat’ and the Reminiscence machine mostly just takes the place of really good CCTV that Nick uses to look for clues, by far the least creative exploitation of such a whimsical device. I am of the firm belief that even the most vapid, dull, sinking ship of a story can be sailed safely to shore by a crew of good characters. Unfortunately for “Reminiscence,” Hugh Jackman is a vacuous, howling trench of charisma in this movie. It is astounding how little “Reminiscence” makes you care about Jackman’s character, coming off as a boring, whiney, weepy, obsessive weirdo throughout the entire picture. This isn’t helped

by Jackman’s omnipresent noir narration, droning on across the movie in speeches so drowsy and written that it leaps over the border into parody. It is fitting then that Nick falls in love with Ferguson’s Mae, a mannequin love interest with all the passion of a text-to-speech app. Given the sparse screen time actually devoted to Nick and Mae’s relationship before she disappears and how said relationship amounts to “man + woman + breathy whispering + sex = whirlwind romance” it is a mental exercise trying to care about Nick’s search for her. And all the while, the character of Watts is standing off to the side with an actually compelling

backstory and arc and Thandiwe Newton’s indelible charm, punctuating the desiccated husk that is the film’s story. The irony of “Reminiscence” being so forgettable seems almost purposeful, and what’s tragic is that it really could have been so much more. If the movie had integrated its sci-fi world into its neo-noir story and embraced its characters then it could have been a halfway creative revival of noir cliches in a fantastical setting. But I guess Lisa Joy found that task to be too much effort, and if a film can’t be bothered with caring about itself, why should anyone be bothered with watching it?



The Brandeis Hoot

September 17, 2021

Kanye West’s Donda: Flawed Beauty By Daniel Xu special to the hoot

After over a year of waiting and countless rumors, Kanye’s 10th studio album “Donda” has finally been released to the public. This album represents the crossover between his 2019 Gospel-focused album, “Jesus Is King,” and his more traditional hip-hop albums that preceded it. “Donda” seeks to fuse the two genres by delivering faith-based lyrics over drum and bass production. Some tracks are able to achieve this combination perfectly. For example, the song “Hurricane” contains singing, rapping and choir vocals over an instrumental that blends hip-hop and gospel masterfully. “Pure Souls” and “Remote Control” are examples of more tracks that achieve this.

However, this isn’t consistent across the album; tracks like “24” sound like pure gospel, while the track “Junya” has little to do with faith and is instead about an expensive designer watch. The tracks that lean more towards one side or the other aren’t necessarily bad, though, as they bring variety to the tracklist. Considering the album’s runtime of one hour and 48 minutes, this is needed. Beyond just Kanye, “Donda” features some of the biggest names in the music industry, including JAY-Z, The Weeknd and Travis Scott, along with underground artists Vory, Rooga and KayCyy. The best feature performance on the album is easily from Brooklyn rapper Fivio Foreign, who delivers fast flows and brainy wordplay on track four, “Off The Grid.” Baby Keem elevates “Praise God” by going into his upper reg-

ister and providing an amusing falsetto verse. Lil Baby and Lil Durk deliver solid verses on their respective songs, which is unsurprising, as they have done so on almost every major rap album release this year. On the album, most guest appearances match or exceed Kanye’s energy. There are no features here that are outright disappointing, which is impressive seeing as there are features on almost every song. Being an album named after and dedicated to Kanye’s late mother, “Donda” successfully honors Dr. Donda West by sampling audio clips of her voice and containing lyrics such as “We gonna be okay … I know you’re alive, God’s not finished.” Moments such as these are genuinely touching and will resonate with any listener who has lost a close relative. As someone surrounded by numerous

controversies, Kanye succeeds in reminding listeners that he is human and deserves empathy. Where the album slips are production glitches and unnecessary parts. Many listeners have complained about the subpar mixing and static sounds on certain tracks. These definitely taint the experience, especially considering the long wait and Kanye’s reputation as a perfectionist. The tracks “Donda Chant” and “Tell The Vision” have no replay value. The former is Donda’s name being repeated 60 times. “Tell The Vision” is a poor repackaging of Pop Smoke’s song of the same name. Some tracks, most notably “God Breathed” and “Jail,” have unnecessary outros that could have easily been cut for a more concise listening experience. There is also the blank album cover to speak about; yes, the cover is just a black

square with nothing else. Some say it is an artistic choice that fits the desolate tone of the album, but this could have been achieved with a more creative approach. The final cover choice seems like the product of indecisiveness and laziness more than anything else. Despite these numerous faults, it’s not hard to look past them as “Donda” is still a one-of-a-kind beautiful album that appeals to both hip-hop heads and gospel listeners. Besides, Kanye has been known to edit and fix albums even after their initial release, which is a possibility for “Donda.” If the main concerns of the album were addressed, it could easily go down as a classic and one of the best records in Kanye’s discography. As it stands now, its fate is still unknown.

“Certified Lover Boy” is a bona-fide waste of an hour and a half By Brandon Wu special to the hoot

“Certified Lover Boy” is the newest album from popular Toronto rapper Drake. “Certified Lover Boy,” Drake’s sixth studio album, was rumored to drop during the fall of 2020, but the actual date, January 2021, was announced in a teaser that same fall. Fast forward almost a year and several delays, and the album has finally dropped. Does it meet the hype? To be brief, no. On the contrary, this album is anything but brief. A blistering 21 tracks in 86 minutes, CLB gives West’s “Donda” (108 minutes), released just five days prior, a run for its money. However, runtime is the only facet in which “Certified Lover Boy” contests its rival album. “Certified Lover Boy” is filled to the brim with bad singing decisions, questionable rhymes and less charisma than that one friend who thinks he can sing. Drake starts out lukewarm on “Champagne Poetry,” a reflection on his place in the world amid social unrest and public pressure. Drake references the BLM protests as well as the George Floyd murder trial in passing, but the main direction of the song shifts into his perspective on fatherhood, rapping about the slights

made toward his absentee parenthood of his own son. However, Drake’s lyrics remain noncommittal when he is not addressing disses towards him, a constant trend in this album. Drake goes from mediocre to bad in “Girls Want Girls,” a song that ranges from groan-worthy to confusing. Drake pieces together an entire song fetishizing lesbian women, rapping the now viral line, “Yeah, say that you a lesbian, girl, me too,” presumably under the logic that both lesbians and Drake are attracted to women. However, Drake conveys all this through the same monotone drone, as if it might absolve him of singing this stupid song. It truly feels as if Drake’s mind wrote a parody of hip-hop songs in the early 2000s, only for his voice to not get the memo and keep singing in the same two-note register. “Fair Trade” is the first highlight of the album for me. The track’s delicate but catchy background is sung by Charlotte Day Wilson. Drake’s vocals, while not explicitly loud and energetic, build off the sensual energy from Wilson’s intro, as he half-sings, half-raps about the fake friends that he’s made and lost on his way to the top of the entertainment industry. Travis Scott’s trappy instrumental blares loudly in the background as Drake defiantly claims that the friends he has lost are a fair trade compared to the peace he has gained. Although the lyrici-

sim is not impeccable, its strength lies in the personality that Drake lets shine through, rapping that “Mama used to be on disability but gave me this ability / And now she walkin’ with her head high and her back straight.” Truly inspiring words for any listeners going through injuries right now. The album falls right back down on its face with “Way 2 Sexy,” a less offensive version of “Girls Want Girls” that sounds basically like what you’d expect a song titled “Way 2 Sexy” to sound like. The Future and Young Thug features are painfully dull and basically get lost in the song’s repetitive instrumental. If you must listen to this song, watch the music video for a five-second clip of Kawhi Leonard dancing that will make your pain go away. “Yebba’s Heartbreak” is a pleasant interlude halfway through the album that features Grammy-award winning singer and songwriter Yebba. Yebba’s crooning “I do, I do, I do” is enough to break your heart, as the passion in her voice crescendos and comes back down again, resembling the phases of pain after heartbreak. “Race My Mind” is a lowkey jam that sees Drake in his feelings, knowing deep inside that the girl he’s with is unfaithful, but begging her to change his mind. From the onset of the intro hook, Drake is musically revived, singing with far greater emotion than the entirety of his performance

so far. This track is a banger, with Drake doing it all, singing over a comfy beat that culminates in volume and intensity as he begins rapping. The second half of the album is markedly less embarrassing than the first half, but that’s also its downfall. I may have enjoyed the latter batch of songs more, but I also don’t remember them. There is nothing special in the lyrics, the content or the vocal delivery that jumps out at me, no matter how


many times I listen to the album. Even the features start to become stale; Kid Cudi’s part in “IMY2” sounds like an outtake from “Man on the Moon 3.” My most common reaction to a song on “Certified Lover Boy” was neither hype nor disappointment, it was boredom. If you’re looking for a good sad jam from Drake, look no further. Put on “Take Care,” because the next good Drake album may be a long time coming.

‘Campus Life’ comic



The Brandeis Hoot

September 17, 2021

‘D.P.’: a dark look at the Korean military By Caroline O editor

With the increasing popularity of K-pop and K-dramas to non-Korean audiences, more and more people are becoming aware of South Korea’s mandatory military service for men. At least in America, it’s not exactly commonplace anymore to learn that one’s favorite actor or singer is taking a break for military reasons—but in South Korea, as a response to the constant threat from North Korea, all men ranging from the ages 18-28 are required to serve for 18 months. The new Netflix mini-series “D.P.” explores the brutalities of military service, specifically through the eyes of Deserter Pursuit team Private Ahn Jun Ho (Jung Hae In) and Corporal Han Ho Yeol (Koo Gyo Hwan). While South Korea may not be actively involved in war, this series doesn’t shy away from the violence within Korea’s own military ranks, covering harrowing instances of hazing and suicide. Given the amount of hardship in military training, it’s therefore not surprising that there would be a few people who would desert their post. This is where Jun Ho and Ho Yeol come in, and in the span of six episodes, we follow their attempts to catch individual deserters and their reasons for desertion. Given the grim and gritty nature of this kind of story, there aren’t too many bright moments in this series save for the interactions between Private Ahn and Corporal Han. These two play off each other perfectly as the duo of the mild-mannered, newbie soldier and the flirty, sarcastic senior. Despite the darkness of their lives, Jun Ho and Ho Yeol both manage to be at least marginally moral, perhaps in part because as Deserter Pursuit soldiers, they’re less

exposed to the harassment that occurs within the barracks. That said, their jobs are still difficult, and each episode demonstrates just how complex these characters are. One particularly memorable instance is when Jun Ho and Ho Yeol confront a soldier who deserted in order to move his dementia-ridden grandmother to a nursing home before their neighborhood could be demolished by local construction companies. Even with their unpleasant jobs, the protagonists handle the situation with respect and care and, above all that, real compassion for the individual cowering before them. This is the underlying theme of this series: that in the end, humanity is the most important thing in the face of darkness. Jun Ho and Ho Yeol try their best to bring some of that where they can, whenever they can, even though it sometimes ends in tragedy rather than not. It’s a sad battle against the toxic masculine culture of the military, one that the show demonstrates can sometimes break even the gentlest and most kind hearted of souls. One of the most memorable moments that demonstrates this is towards the end of the show, when Jun Ho and Ho Yeol have to confront Cho Suk Bong (Cho Hyun Chul), who deserts in order to murder his recently discharged tormenter, Hwang Jang Soo (Shin Seung Ho). Like many of the deserters, Cho Suk Bong starts military service as an innocent young man—as a former art teacher, he draws cute cartoons to cheer Jun Ho, offers him snacks and shines his shoes before going on another operation. But while Jun Ho maintains his personality by leaving the barracks, Suk Bong is often alone and therefore harassed, hardening in the process. When Jun Ho and Ho Yeol attempt to catch Suk Bong, the

audience finds him ready to murder his tormenter—and it is only when Jun Ho tells Suk Bong about one of his former students getting into college does he falter. But in a thematic moment that is not at all lost on the viewer, this moment of humanity extinguishes itself once more military personnel come to stop Suk Bong, and so the cycle of violence repeats itself. The most chilling moment of this exchange is when Jun Ho begs Suk Bong

to stop so that they could change the way things are run in the military, to which Suk Bong replies that even the canteens the soldiers drink out from haven’t been changed since 1953, the year of the Korean War. “They can’t even change the canteens,” Suk Bong says bitterly. How can the military change the way it handles its internal violence? This question remains unanswered. The show concludes on a

bittersweet note, asking its viewers to question exactly what stays the same, what can be different. What, in the end, can perhaps keep people from losing themselves completely to the cruelty of their surroundings. As the show has been recently renewed for a second season, perhaps we will get more answers to that question. In the meantime though, “D.P” asks us to hold onto our humanity for just a bit longer.

‘Supernatural’ is so old, it could legally drive the Impala By Emma Lichtenstein editor

Monday Sep. 13 marked an important birthday: the hit CW show “Supernatural” turned 16. Though the show finally ended last November, it remains culturally relevant, with a fandom that won’t die and actors who thrive off of chaos. It’s crazy to think that all this mess started with the two Winchester brothers on a quest to find their father. I revisited the “Supernatural” pilot episode for the anniversary, and I am once again shocked by how good it was. It’s a true horror show. It’s gritty and compelling and scary. Yet between the fear, there are comical lines and the beginnings of some truly complex characters. Dean (Jensen Ackles) is the perfect amount of cocky with his oversized leather jacket and infuriatingly charming smile. Sam (Jared Padalecki) is wonderfully sincere, a college boy with an even mix of compassion and anger. The pilot is home to so many iconic lines that used to constantly fill my tumblr homepage—like “Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole.” The show is far from perfect, but I can remember the appeal, why 15-year-old-me fell in love in the first place. The characters are compelling

and the plot lines seem clear. Two brothers on a road trip, hunting monsters, on a journey to find their missing dad, listening to classic rock and eating in diners and sleeping in motels. John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is set up to be a terrible father—something the rest of the season will confirm. Dare I say it, but season one is good. Sam has psychic powers, viewers start to appreciate the Winchester family dynamics and it all just feels like it fits. Every plot point has a clear purpose. Sure, it has some classic early 2000s-era problems, but overall, a solid start. However, the show definitely does not stay as good as the pilot, and instead takes viewers on a journey filled with racism, homophobia, bad graphics, worse acting and plots that never really hit their full potential. Even the good parts were bad. “Supernatural” was about two brothers, a 1967 Chevy Impala and family. It grew in culture and theme to become a phenomenon. It was supposed to be creator Eric Kripke’s male fantasy: two manly men, muscle cars, hot women, no rules. It ended up being about characters who fight their universe’s God and yet are still unable to break free of toxic masculinity. Beloved side characters we met along the way were constantly reduced to

the sidelines, usually killed. As great as the Winchesters are, their friends are also so compelling, so it hurts to see them repeatedly killed off for shock value. Most notably, the Winchester’s canon best friend for 11 years, an angel named Castiel (Misha Collins), is murdered over and over again. They bring him back every time—potentially due to fan outrage if you read into the metaphors in season 15—but it still hurts to see your favorite character explode and drown and get stabbed. Ironically, if you focus on Castiel only, “Supernatural” becomes a wonderful tale about breaking free of your toxic family, rebelling for love, earning forgiveness and raising a child. It takes creator Eric Kripke’s male fantasy of hedonism and Hell, and makes it as a beautiful canonically queer love story about righteousness and free will. However, half the writers won’t even acknowledge Castiel’s existence, so there’s really no joy here. It’s impossible to either fully praise or condemn any of the writers on the show. Kripke, who managed the first five seasons, had a wonderful vision for the plot, but it was filled with morally questionable aspects, like women only existing to sleep with Dean. Later writers tried to amend those mistakes, but ultimately failed,

only ever with side characters, often accidentally. Castiel only exists because of a writer’s strike that prevented the “Supernatural” staff from wrapping up the season three plot lines. Kripke even admits to having a “no angel policy” in early seasons. Crazy, right? And yet, I still watched the whole thing. I did break free for a few years, fed up with the nonsense of the characters endlessly dying and coming back to life. But even I could not resist the allure of the finale—15 years of a show, finally being tied up. I frantically binged the seasons I had yet to see, easily falling back into old habits, watching as many as six episodes a day to try to catch up in time to see how it would all wrap up. Obviously, I was disappointed. With a finale that bad, you would think that the fandom would die off, that they would be so betrayed by endless death and the world’s choppiest finale and just give up. Pursue a new show, maybe. And yet, much like the Winchesters themselves, the fans refuse to quit. Recently, Destiel— the ship of Dean Winchester and Castiel—hit one hundred thousand works on ao3, the most popular fanfiction site. Many cast members, including Collins, attended a convention at the beginning of the month, once again

trending the show and highlighting new information. “Supernatural” has truly gained a cult-like fanbase, and yet it started so simply. “Supernatural” had essentially no budget when it aired, and was originally planned to be only five seasons long. It was through the fans that it got to stay for 15 years, to leave an impact (albeit not a good one) strong enough to trend on tumblr almost every day. “Supernatural” is a hard show for me to reckon with. On one hand, I genuinely believe that “Supernatural” is the worst written show of all time. On the other hand, the secret good version that lives in my head is the most compelling script ever written. The subtext and offhand implications add layers upon layers to these characters. The problem with a series going on for 15 years is that there are countless different writers, each with their own vision of who the characters are and how they should act. (Personally, I believe in Steve Yockey supremacy.) This results in so many inconsistencies that the writers have accidentally created some of the most complex characters. If the writers would lean into those complexities, maybe this could’ve been a respected show, but alas, the finale proved that it was always and only a show about two brothers, a muscle car and no rules.

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