The Brandeis Hoot September 24, 2021

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Volume 19 Issue 4

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”

September 24, 2021

Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.

Student Union hosts special elections By Victoria Morongiello editor

The Student Union will be hosting its second election of the semester, according to an email sent to the student body by James Feng ’22, Student Union Secretary and Chief of Elections. These positions were not filled during the first round of elections held on Sep. 10, according to Feng. The positions available for the senate include: Charles River Community Senator, Ziv and Ridgewood Community Senator, Off-campus Community Senator and Senator-at-Large. The Branch Representative position available is for Junior Representative to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. There is also one Allocations Board position open; it is a one-year

Univ. updates shuttle service

seat as an Allocations Board member. All candidates are running unopposed for these positions. The candidate for the Charles River Community Senator position is Griffin Stotland ’24. Stotland served as the Charles River Community Senator last year and was also a chairman of the Senate Housing, Facilities and Transportation committee. With his experience, Stotland wants to drive positive change on campus, according to his candidate bio. “As Brandeis students, we deserve not just a voice but a true advocate in communicating our concerns and to take action in creating positive progress for life on campus,” wrote Stotland. Zachary Zhang ’22 is the candidate for the Ziv and Ridgewood

By Victoria Morongiello editor

The university has updated its transportation services for students, according to an email sent by Lois Stanley, Vice President for Campus Planning and Operations and Matt Rushton , Chief of Public Safety. There have been changes made to the shuttle schedules and routes as it returns to pre-pandemic operation, according to the email. The university has experienced difficulties with the BranVan service, a student driver shuttle See SHUTTLE, page 3


Univ. professor comments on fentanyl overdose By John Fornagiel editor

ccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fentanyl overdoses have increased by a factor of 12 between the years 2013 and 2019. Following the deaths of comedians Enrico Colangeli and Fuquan

Johnson on Sep 4., Traci Green (HELLER), Director of the Opioid Policy Research Collective, has commented on the fight against fentanyl and drug overdoses in a People article published Sep. 13. In Green’s comments, she states that as a medication, “[fentanyl] is extremely important… it’s fast-acting and strong, insofar as it will bring that immediate pain

relief.” However in regards to the pervasiveness of the drug in recreational use, Green states that fentanyl has “reached into communities where it hadn’t ever been before,” according to the article. In these communities, fatalities from fentanyl overdose are easy compared to other drugs like morphine and heroin because it is over a hundred times

as potent, according to a different article. Therefore, Green remarks that “if someone who’s used to taking cocaine at parties does a line of fentanyl or even cocaine that has some fentanyl in it, that can really be the difference between life and death.” That is because fentanyl overdoses can occur when people believe the drug that they are

taking is either cocaine, heroin or some other similar-looking powder, according to the article. In regards to stopping the continually growing rate of fentanyl, Green believes that “We have to learn to live with fentanyl because it’s here to stay… We have to adjust, and stay safe, and take See FENTANYL, page 4

Univ. plans to offer flu and COVID-19 booster shots By Nataniela Zavlum and Daniela Zavlun special to the hoot


Inside This Issue:

News: Univ. updates transportation schedule Ops: Black mold prevalent in univ. housing Features: Home and Abroad expedition opens Sports: Volleyball plays in UAA round-robin Editorial: Inconsistent univ. COVID-19 policy Arts: ‘Squid Game’ is traumatizing

Page 3 Page 9 Page 10 Page 5 Page 8 Page 14

The university announced the opening of its fall Flu Shot Clinic, as well as the beginning of its COVID-19 booster shot roll out for eligible community members, according to an update sent in a recent email by Morgan Bergman, Assistant Provost for Strategic Initiatives, on Sep. 15. According to the email, the Flu Shot Clinic will be held on Oct. 4, 5 and 6 in the Hassenfeld Conference Center on campus and is open to everyone in the Waltham community this year. Students

Abdel in Paris

TV Review

Social culture of France while studying abroad from a students point of view.

A review of Sex Ed. Season 3



can sign up for an appointment any day through the Flu Shot 2021 Website or by calling the Brandeis Health Center at (781)-736-3677, Bergman wrote. Moving forward from this, Jette wThe university’s Flu Shot Clinic webpage states that anyone who schedules an appointment to receive a flu shot must bring an insurance card in order to “determine eligibility to receive a flu shot at no charge.” Flu vaccines are covered at no charge by most insurance plans, according to the page. Uninsured participants can get a discount on their flu shots but are charged a sticker price of See UPDATES, page 4


2 The Brandeis Hoot

September 24, 2021

Student Union hosts second elections ELECTION, from page 1 Community Senator position. In this role, Zhang wants to have students’ voices heard on issues that may arise in this living situation, according to his candidate bio. “At the end of the day, an inclusive, well-maintained community is not only something that I have a personal stake in, it’s what everyone at Brandeis should strive for,” wrote Zhang in his candidate bio. The Off-campus Community Senator candidate is Anna Jacobson ’25. According to her candidate bio, Jacobson wants to im-

prove the student experience and listen to the voices of both commuter and on-campus students. Jacobson wants to make student life enjoyable and accessible, according to her bio, making sure that there is an inclusive space for off-campus students. “I want to make student life and involvement more enjoyable and accessible. I hope to make Brandeis a more welcoming and inclusive place for off-campus students,” wrote Jacobson. Samantha Shortall ’23 is the candidate for the Senator-at-Large position. Shortall has experience in the Student Union having served as a member of the Health and Safety Committee last fall, where

she contributed to reinitiating the free condom dispensers around campus, according to her bio. She also served on the Social Justice Committee last spring, where she spearheaded disability awareness education with a focus on gathering resources for Autism Acceptance Month, according to her candidate bio. One of Shortall’s main goals as Senator-at-Large is holding the BranVan accountable for sticking to its schedule. “As your senator, I will listen to your ideas and amplify your voices to fulfill your needs,” wrote Shortall. Max Lerner ’23 is the Junior Representative to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee can-

didate. Lerner, in this position, wants to continue to represent the student body and advocate academically for students. In his bio, Lerner wrote he wants to make full use of his voice to help the student body. “I want to make sure that students are well-represented in the administration and do my part to ensure that our voices are heard. The administration and faculty often take positive steps to making necessary changes for the student body; however, without proactive input from us, they cannot fully understand and empathize with what we have experienced and what we really need,” wrote Lerner.

Shiv Chawla ’23 is the candidate for the Allocations Board member position. This is a one-year seat. Chawla says he “intend[s] to make it my to[p] priority to be more communicative with the various student organizations that populate campus,” according to his bio. Campaigning for the special elections began on Sep. 21 and will continue through Sep. 29. Voting will be held all day on Sep. 29. An information session was held on Sep. 18 and all candidate biographies and intent to run were due on Sep. 20, according to Feng’s email.

In the Senate: Sep. 19, 2021 By Victoria Morrongiello editor

Student Union President Krupa Sourirajan ’23 announced the goals of the union for the academic year include increasing school spirit by making students well connected across different areas such as performing arts and athletics. “The union is what you make of it,” said Sourirajan to the returning and new Student Union members. What you put into the union is what you get out of it, Sourirajan explained. She encouraged everyone to make the most of their position. Another goal of the union is to mandate diversity training for all undergraduates. First-years would be required to take diversity training; in order to make this happen the Student Union would like to partner with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. A main goal of the President and Vice President is to improve mental health resources on campus. They want to make students more aware of the mental health resources they have available to them as well as host more events. Courtney Thrun ’22, Student Union Vice President, led the confirmation of e-board members by acclamation—a majority of

senators voted verbally. Sourirajan appointed individuals to these positions and their roles needed to be confirmed by Senate members. Jasmyne Jean-Remy ’22 was appointed Chief of Staff. Jean-Remy has been in the Student Union since 2020 and said she believes her experience makes her qualified for the position. The union voted by acclamation and she won. Shelly Polanco ’24 was appointed the Undergraduate Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer (UDIO), a liaison between students and administration. Polanco would be involved in making initiatives concerning diversity as well as making these initiatives more accessible to students. In this role, Polanco wants to push initiatives concerning how we form communities on campus and make sure everyone feels included. The union voted by acclamation and she won. Scarlett Ren ’24 was appointed Director of Community Engagement. In this role Ren would be responsible for the planning of events around campus including Pumpkinfest and Midnight Buffet. Ren said she wants student activities to be more vibrant. The union voted by acclamation and she won. Bonnie Chen ’23 was appointed

Director of Academic Affairs. In this role, she serves as the facilitator between students and professors. Chen said she wants to allow students to connect to professors outside of class topics including what to do post-graduation. The union voted by acclamation and she won. Clay Napurano ’24 was appointed Director of Health and Wellness. Napurano would be the student liason for the Brandeis Counseling Center (BCC) and be on the student advisory board. Napurano wants to connect students and the BCC to improve the way people view mental health on campus. Making a safe space on campus and allowing for a dialogue about mental health is important to Napurano. Napurano said he wants to make people aware of where the BCC is on campus and look at including mental health talks to normalize talking about mental health. The union had a vote-by-roll call, where the majority wins. The motion did not pass. Chris Tian ’24 was appointed Director of Technology. Tian would be responsible for working on the union website. There are currently two different websites and he’s going to update the union members with photos as well as maintain the website throughout the semester to make sure im-

portant information, including events, Student Union bylaws, the Student Union constitution and office hours, are available to students. The union voted by acclamation and he won. Francesca Marchese ’23 was appointed as Director of Media and Outreach. Marchese said her goal for the year is to help promote social media and not just Student Union events but other club events too. She’s been making posts since August on the Student Union’s social media. She wants to create eye-catching informational posts about what the Student Union does. The union voted by acclamation and she won. Emily Zhu ’23 was appointed as Director of Residential Life. Shu would be working as a liaison between the student body and the Department of Community Living (DCL). SHe wants to improve the quality of life on campus in dorms and in the dining halls. She wants to continue initiatives that have been started and get them finished, including new laundry machines and water machines in dorm buildings. The union voted by acclamation and she won. Selah Bickel ’24 was appointed as Director of Sustainability and Climate Justice. Bickel has had experience working with sustainability on campus, having been the co-chair of the sustainability

committee. She wants to focus on climate justice on campus; to do so Bickel wants to connect with groups on campus that focus on climate justice as well as check in with other groups to make sure they are following sustainable practices. She wants to promote education and climate justice on campus and in Waltham. The union voted by acclamation and she won. Noah Risley ’24 was appointed Director of Communications, a new position established by Sourirajan. The position was created to better facilitate communication between the Student Union and the administration as well as between the administration and the student body. Risley has experience having run communications for Brandeis Democrats, a club on campus. Risley said they are excited to get to work. The union voted by acclamation and they won. There were no chair reports because there are no senate committee chairs yet. Student Union members can run for chair positions based on an interest form sent out by Thrun. By the next senate meeting, chairs will have been decided.

COVID-19 dashboard


Total COVID-19 tests administered each week. Last Update September 23, 2021.


Total postive COVID-19 cases each week. Last Update September 23, 2021.

September 24, 2021


The Brandeis Hoot

Delays in campus shuttle service due to lack of student drivers TRANSPORT, from page 1

service offered by the university, due to a shortage of student drivers, wrote Stanley and Rushton. In addition to this, the shuttle service is also adjusting to operating at pre-pandemic capacity which is at a higher demand than what was expected last year. The pre-pandemic campus BranVan schedule ran from noon to 2:30 a.m. and the Waltham BranVan ran from 4 p.m. to 2:45 a.m. The resumption of this schedule and lack of student drivers has resulted in an inconsistency in the shuttle service, according to the email. Students interested in driving the BranVan can apply on Workday Student. They are looking for

students with flexible schedules. Students would receive competitive pay, according to the email. To temporarily resolve this situation, the university has recruited chartered buses which are covering the Waltham and campus routes seven days a week from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. until BranVan drivers are hired and trained to resume a fully student-run service, according to the email. Updates regarding campus transportation can be found on the Department of Public Safety’s campus transportation page. The page includes the most recent information regarding transportation, scheduling and maps of shuttle routes, according to the page. The university began running

the Boston/Cambridge shuttle after having disbanded that service last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the email, Stanley and Rushton reminded students of the updated schedule on which the Boston/Cambridge shuttle is running. The updated schedule can be found on the Department of Public Safety’s Boston/Cambridge shuttle page. Students should be aware the new schedule will be posted around campus soon, wrote Stanley and Rushton in the email, and should disregard the times currently up at BranVan stops on campus. The new schedule will also be available on Branda starting this weekend, according to the email. Joseph’s Transportation Ser-

vice is still being used on campus; buses running into Waltham from the university are supplied by Joseph’s. The buses run from 7 a.m. to midnight on weekdays, according to the email. Students should note the two separate schedules and routes for the Joseph’s Waltham Shuttle, wrote Stanley and Rushton. There is one schedule which runs before 4 p.m. and another which runs after 4 p.m. There are slight differences in the routes and the shuttles do not make the same stops as the Waltham BranVan service offered by the university which is driven by students. In addition to the Shuttle webpages made available by the university, there is also a new BranVan Instagram account, ac-

cording to the email. The social media account gives community members real-time updates regarding the service and informative posts regarding the various shuttle services offered by the university. According to Stanley and Rushton, they are looking for content creators to create informational posts for the account and increase information availability to students; students can apply on Workday Student for the position. Live tracking of campus shuttles is an available feature on the Branda app, according to the email. The app has been updated to now distinguish between BranVan shuttles and Joseph’s shuttles.

Univ. hosts seminar on Elon Musk’s gigafactory in Germany By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Elon Musk’s aspiration to build a new factory in Germany was the focus in “Awesome or Rather Awful Elon Musk and His German Gigafactory,” an event which is a part of the Center for German and European Studies (CGES) online series. This construction is facing a lot of backlash from German conservation groups. According to the event’s description, this conflict “highlights both an old struggle between environmental protection and climate protection, and the new difficulty Germany faces as it must urgently reduce its carbon emissions from transportation and electrify its vehicle fleet while protecting air, water, and soils.” Since 2019, Elon Musk has been trying to open a “gigafactory” in Grünheide, Germany, a municipality with 2.5 million residents. The issue with this location is that it is very close to two protected areas for fauna and flora habitats with a lot of biodiversity in. The gigafactory is expected

to produce up to 500,000 electric cars each year and have over 12,000 employees. In order to build the facility, 740 acres of woods would have to be cut down. The factory is expected to use 370 million gallons of freshwater per year, and create 244 million gallons of wastewater. With the factory using approximately 372 cubic meters of water per hour, environmental activists are also worried about the factory’s impact on the drinking water supply in the region. Although there are a lot of water sources in the region, there is little rain and it is still a problem, as over the last 20 years the level of groundwater has continued to go down. Local environmental groups have been opposing the opening of the plant, including Christiane Schröder, the managing director of NABU Brandenburg. The organization is a “branch of the largest nature conservation organisation in Germany,” according to the description. The goal of the society is to create “a world where animals, plants and humans live together in a fair way,” according to Schröder. The group was founded

in 1899 as a bird protection society, which has grown to 25 regional groups with over 19 thousand members and 23 employees. According to Schröder the factory project began on a very short timeline; there were only four months between trees getting cut down and when they wanted to start the project there. The proposal came in November, while work began in February, so they were unable to properly check if there are endangered species there, as it was during hibernation/migration season. Schröder discussed laws regarding nature protection in Germany, highlighting that the country has a duty to treat this part of nature in accordance with the general European environmental network. In the area in question, there are two rare species: the smooth snake and the sand lizard. However in the case of a factory, the laws that concern it the most are laws about emissions. “Everything that is built has to be removable if the final emission test fails, but that is unlikely because they are cutting down trees to build the factory; they cannot uncut them,”

said Schröder about the Tesla factory. Taking a step back from the Tesla factory project, Schröder explained how to get permission to build a factory in Germany in general. The requirements include detailed plans, analysis of soil and natural resources as well as the impact on residents. A plan on compensatory measures to be taken, and worst case analysis for accidental release of pollutants are also required. Then there is supposed to be a month of time given for the public to give feedback and have meetings to express their concerns. Only then can the company receive final approval to build the factory. Although Tesla has not received final approval yet, Schröder mentioned that they have failed some of these preliminary steps in the past; additionally, they have already begun cutting down trees at the site. In terms of responding to such projects, non-governmental organizations such as NABU have a variety of ways in which they can proceed. In response to the Tesla factory they “did as much as possible,” according to Schröder:

they wrote their objections to the preliminary permissions, wrote to Tesla three times, had many talks with Tesla managers as well as politicians and joined a public meeting for eight days with their own lawyer. They also tried to advise Tesla on nature conservation measures, but it fell on deaf ears, according to Schröder. Christiane Schröder studied biology with a focus on ecology and nature conservation, and has been a volunteer for species protection for more than 30 years. She has a special interest in amphibians, bats and habitat protection. The event was moderated by Sabine von Mering (GER), and was the first seminar of the CGES Online series. The event took place on Wednesday, Sep. 22, on Zoom; it was sponsored by the Center for German and European Studies (CGES). The next event in the CGES Online series will take place on Oct. 4, titled “Politics of (Un-)Breathing: Policing Blackness in Europe.”

Branda team gives advice on troubleshooting Duo authentication problems By Sarah Kim and Victoria Morrongiello staff and editor

The Branda team—a team responsible for the maintenance of the Branda app which connects students to university services— posted a solution to a Duo login error, according to their Sep. 6 blog post. The Branda blog post was published on the open platform Medium—a website where individuals can read and publish work, according to their page. The article walks students through how to enable cookies on their devices in order to have Duo remember their device for 30 days, according to the post. The article includes screenshots of what should appear on an individual’s device

as they walk through step by step, according to the article. “Do you receive the error message: ‘You need to enable cookies in order to remember this device? If so, no worries. The Branda team will show you how to fix this issue,” says the blog post. When signing into a Brandeis platform through Duo—a two-factor authentication service used by the university—the “Remember for 30 days” option presents an alternative to the two-factor authentication required for each sign-in. This feature works automatically for some Brandeis students, but others receive the message, “You need to enable cookies in order to remember this device,” according to the blog post. Individuals with iOS devices having trouble with Duo remembering their device are advised

to go to the Settings application on their device, according to the post. In settings, scroll down to the Safari tab and click on it. On this page, individuals should be able to scroll down to the Privacy and Security Section and see the options “Prevent Cross-Site Tracking” and ”Block All Cookies” in this section. According to the post, individuals should uncheck both the “Prevent CrossSite Tracking” box and the “Block All Cookies” box. Once cookies are enabled following the steps, community members should have the option to select at the bottom of the pop-up a box where Duo will remember your device for 30 days, when logging into your Brandeis accounts, according to the blog post. Once the 30 days are up you will have to repeat this action. When the device is not remem-

bered, Duo offers three alternate options to community members so that they can get into their Brandeis accounts. The options include receiving a phone call, a push notification or a text message, according to the Duo popup. On the Branda group’s Facebook page, Branda is described

as a “collaborative team that is improving the community at Brandeis.” This is an apt description. The organization continuously recruits new members and embarks on additional projects, attempting to make life slightly less confusing for students, according to their page.



The Brandeis Hoot

September 24, 2021

Growing fentanyl overdose mortality rate FENTANYL, from page 1

care of each other, and be on the lookout.” In the article, Green compares living with fentanyl to having to live with viruses: we have to adjust to its presence in our environment since we cannot make it go away, said Green. In a similar vein, Green believes that destigmatizing drugs

can help, commenting that “There may be shame of serious mental health concerns, or shame of their own use, or shame of returning use of relapse.” A potential way to test for fentanyl prior to engaging in drug use is to use fentanyl testing strips, according to the article. The testing strip works by dissolving the unknown drug in a given amount of water and placing the testing strip

inside of it. The testing strip will display colored lines if the sample is positive for fentanyl, according to the article. For treatment of a potential or suspected fentanyl overdose, it is helpful to carry naloxone or narcan. Green states that “if Narcan is available and in the hands of people at that party, or at the housing structure or wherever, we’d have more opportunities for a quick

response.” In some cases, having that life-saving antidote within reach can be the difference between a saved life and a fentanyl overdose. Green is an epidemiologist with a concentration in research regarding drug and opioid use, according to her Brandeis faculty page. Green currently also serves as a co-director of the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence

(COBRE) on Opioids and Overdoses at Rhode Island Hospital and acts as an advisor to the Rhode Island governor on addiction and overdose topics, according to her page. She serves as a consultant for the CDC on public health and has previously worked as the Deputy Director of the Boston Medical Injury Prevention Center, according to the page.

Brandeis Theater Arts Program revives live perfomances By Roshni Ray editor

The Brandeis Theater Arts department and the Undergraduate Theater Collective revive live-theater productions for the 20212022 academic year. Recently, students took the stage with the annual Brandeis tradition of the 24-Hour Musical. This year’s musical was “Camp Rock,” featuring more than 100 cast and crew members and lead performances from Laya Fridman ’25, Sam Newman ’23, Diego Robles ’24 and Nico Miller ’24. Now, the Theater Arts announce the upcoming production of “In The Empty,” directed by Brandeis alumni Sheila Bandyopadhyay ’99. Taking place outdoors on a custom-made stage, “In The Empty” tells a story inspired by the “resiliency and the power of the natural world,” reads the Theater Arts website. The Brandeis

community can watch the production on Oct. 1, 2 and 3 in the outdoor stage that will be built next to Spingold Theater. Bandyopadhyay is an independent theater artist based in New York City. She specializes in movement theater, or an emphasis on storytelling through physical actions, and has an extensive background in non-traditional theater performances, novel adaptations of classic works, music and ensemble-driven works, and Shakespearean productions. Theater Arts Chair Dmitri Troyanovsky shares “We’re thrilled to welcome back Sheila. She brings her signature movement aesthetic, a heightened sense of the theatrical, and a profound connection to the tradition of dance theater at Brandeis,” on the Theater Arts website. Omer Barash ‘25, a first-year actor performing in “In The Empty,” comments on the message of the play and his experience be-

ing a part of the team. To Barash, the piece concerns “a metaphor brought to life of an individual’s internal journey through the unknown. It is about learning to find meaning in the journey, comfort in the uncertainty, and wholeness in the empty,” he writes in an email to The Hoot. The production was developed and rehearsed over a one month period, according to Barash. Due to the short timeline of production, the piece posed a rewarding challenge to Barash, as he had to learn the material quickly. Additionally, the uncertainty and spontaneity of the production mirrored the creative process for Barash, and was therefore informative to him, he explains. As Barash puts it, the most unique aspect of the production was the level of collaboration that was necessary for the project to be successful. He writes about the experimental aspect of the writing process, which took the actor’s ar-

tistic opinions into account. Additionally, the culmination of this piece includes different forms of art: monologues, poetry, choreography and instrumentation were some of the many components of the project. To ensure the health and safety of all cast and crew members,

everyone had to have a green passport and be fully vaccinated, Barash recalls. Now back to full-capacity, the Theater Arts department has a running list of live performances that students and other members of the Brandeis community can attend this year.


Flu shot clinic beginning in early October UPDATE, from page 1

but are charged a sticker price of $47 for a regular dose and $80 for a high dose. Brandeis community members must have a green or yellow Campus Passport to display upon arrival for their shot and visitors must have completed their Visitor Daily Health Assessment on the day of their appointment per the university’s COVID-19 Policy. All participants must wear a mask. The website states that this year, the clinic will also offer free COVID-19 booster shots for im-

munocompromised community members who have waited 28 days after their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (if they received a second dose). Booster shots and flu shots can be administered in the same appointment, though; it is not necessary to schedule an appointment for a booster shot in advance. The website advises speaking with an available pharmacist upon arrival to receive a booster shot. Eligibility for booster shots, as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), may expand to the general

public in time, according to the website. Currently, third doses for COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed to individuals who are immunocompromised, according to the university’s page. The university will distribute third doses to the general public once the CDC mandates it. The CDC recommends a third dose for individuals who got Moderna and Pfizer eight months after receiving their second shot, according to their COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot page. There is currently not enough data for whether individuals who received the

Johnson and Johnson shot should receive a booster, though current research is being done to see if it would be effective, according to the page. Similar to how vaccine rollout was, the first eligible individuals will be those 65 years and older and those most at risk including healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities, according to the CDC. Bergman’s email also included reminders that community members must bring their ID cards to COVID-19 testing centers when submitting a sample and that the Brandeis Shuttle is now available

to transport students to the Mandel Humanities Center and Shapiro Science Center (SSC) testing sites. The testing site at Mandel is open 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. on Friday. The testing site at the Shapiro Science Center is open from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday through Friday. The university will continue to provide updates on COVID-19 policies according to evolving CDC and FDA guidelines, according to the webpage.

IBS Dean examines new form of art investment By Victoria Morongiello editor

Kathryn Graddy, Dean of the Brandeis International Business School and Fred and Rita Richman Distinguished Professor in Economics, reviewed a new form of investment that has emerged regarding art pieces. In an article published on The Conversation, Graddy discussed how buying shares of art pieces can become available to the masses via this new online platform; however, there are risks in investing in art, according to Graddy. Art investment funds are not a novel idea, according to Graddy: this practice has existed for years. However, the new form of investment is through Masterworks—a platform where individuals can invest in artwork, according to

their website—and it allows individuals to buy $20-increment worth of shares on art pieces. Investors, on this platform, can then sell their share of the artwork or wait until Masterworks sells the artwork and receive a pro rata compensation, according to the article. “For those thinking of purchasing art purely for investment purposes, it’s important to understand how art investment funds have traditionally worked, and whether experts believe it’s a good investment,” wrote Graddy in the article. Graddy has experience in economics and art history; she has co-taught a course on economics and art history with Nancy Scott, a professor of Fine Arts at Brandeis, according to the article. Wrote Graddy, “In this course, we spend time discussing the history

and profitability of art investment, both in theory and in practice.” Art investment can be traced back to a French fund which translates to The Skin of the Bear, according to the article. This art investment fund was from the beginning of the 20th century and was operated by a small number of partners. The partners each contributed identical amounts of money towards the purchase of pieces of art, according to Graddy. Andre Level managed the fund, according to Graddy; he was responsible for selling the paintings. Level and the artist each received 20 percent of the sale price; the investors would then split the rest of the money, according to the article. The artist received the 20 percent compensation on top of the initial sale they made on the investors. This art fund was successful, ac-

cording to Graddy, causing others to try and create other art investment funds. Other art investment funds like the British Rail Pension Fund received low gains for investors and were consequently less successful than the original. “There are art funds that are still in operation, such as Anthea and The Fine Art Group, and, of course, banks and auction houses have long described investing in art as a suitable diversification strategy for the wealthy,” wrote Graddy. Graddy notes it is important to look at the numbers when considering investing in art. Individuals should consider transaction fees, which may be high since those are typically seen with art, wrote Graddy. Though, according to the article, it is estimated that the performance of the stock market should not impact the amount of

returns on art investment. Since there is believed to be no correlation between the two, Graddy writes this may be a beneficial way of diversifying one’s portfolio. “Caveat emptor,” Graddy wrote (Latin for “buyer beware”), “art is a risky investment.” According to the article, Masterworks will be like traditional art funds in the respect that investors will make money if the price of their piece of art goes up. Investors will respectively lose money if the price of the piece goes down. Graddy writes that Masterworks seems “innovative and fun” and it could be a good platform for young investors. The site is easy to manage and can provide enjoyment, according to Graddy.

September 24, 2021


The Brandeis Hoot 5

Women’s volleyball plays hard through round robin By Justin Leung editor

Starting on Saturday Sep. 18, the Brandeis women’s volleyball team participated in the University Athletic Association (UAA) round robin. After losing to Tufts University earlier that week, the Judges hoped to bounce back as they entered the round robin. They played two games on Sep. 18. One game was against Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), and the second game was against the fifth-ranked Emory University. The final game of the round robin came against Case Western Reserve University on Sep. 19. Although the Judges fought hard, they ultimately left the round robin winless. In the first game of the round robin, the women’s volleyball team faced Carnegie Mellon. To start the match, senior Stephanie Borr ’22 had the first kill to give Brandeis the first point of the match. After a quick run from CMU, the Judges called a time out

after being down 2-8. The momentum from CMU appeared to be strong as the Judges eventually lost the first set 13-25. The second set was much closer, as Brandeis got their first point off a service error from CMU. Much of the second set was a back-and-forth duel. After Brandeis scored their 17th point, they went on a short run with a service error from CMU, an ace from sophomore Rita Lai ’24 and a kill from freshman Lara Verstovsek ’25. This run brought the game to 19-23. However, eventually CMU finished the set and won 25-20. The third set brought Brandeis one step closer to a comeback. With the score tied at 21-21, sophomore Ella Pereira ’24 came in clutch with two consecutive aces so the Judges could take the lead. This lead would eventually become too much for CMU and led to their first set win with a score of 24-22. In the third set, Brandeis had the lead for nearly the entire set. At one point the Judges were up by six points with only a few

points to go, as the score was 20-14. That lead would quickly evaporate as CMU would go on a quick run and eventually take the lead 23-22. However, Borr came through for the team as she had two kills to retake the lead and eventually take the final set. In the fifth and final set, the Judges started out strong going up 4-1. Eventually though, CMU would seize momentum and end up taking the final set 15-5. After going down 2-0 in the series, the Judges came back to push a set five but fell just short of the reverse sweep and ended up losing the first series of the round robin 2-3. Verstovsek led the team in kills with 13 and tied senior Kaisa Newberg ’22 in digs with 22. After the close match against CMU earlier that day, the Judges looked to get a win against Emory University. The first point of the match came from a kill by Borr. This set looked very good for the Judges as they were up 12-7 with three kills from Borr. However, Emory quickly went on a 7-point run to take the lead 14-12.

This run proved to be too much as this momentum carried over with the teams alternating points. The Judges would take one point, but Emory would then get two points. The slight edge over time allowed Emory to take the first set 25-19. In the second set, the Judges never led. After the score was 4-4, Emory never looked back. Ultimately the set ended with another win from Emory 25-14. In the final set, the Judges gave it everything they had as they kept up with Emory for half the set. However, once the score reached 9-8, Emory went on runs in bunches of 2-4 points and ended up winning the set 25-14 and the series 3-0. Newberg had an incredible series as she had 10 of the 25 kills from the Judges. Pereira led all players in digs with 14. In the final match of the UAA round robin, Brandeis faced Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). This would prove to be a tough matchup for the Judges. The first set did not start off well for the Judges as they quickly went down 0-6. Lai got the Judges on the


board, but that six-point run to start the set ended up being too much for the Judges to overcome. The Judges made some small runs and shaved the deficit to five runs a few times, but it was never enough to fully come back in the set, which resulted in a 14-25 loss of the first set. In the second set, the Judges tried to get ahead early. Following two aces from sophomore Ines Grom-Mansenecal ’24 and a few kills from junior Amelia Oppenheimer ’23, the Judges led 8-7. Then CWRU once again went on a huge run. By the end of the run, Brandeis was down 11-20. Newberg tried to cut off the momentum with a kill to make the score 12-20, but ultimately that would be the last point the Judges would score as they would lose the second set 12-25. The third set of the match did not have an ideal start for the Judges, as CWRU scored eight consecutive points to start out the set. This quickly led to a 4-14 deficit for the Judges.At this point Verstovsek turned on a second gear as she would score four of the next eight points for the Judges. This cut the deficit to two and got Brandeis back into the set. Unfortunately, the set slowly slipped away from the Judges after that. The final point came from an ace by Verstovsek, but the ace came too late as the score ended up being 16-25. So, after three tough sets, the Judges would fall to CWRU 0-3. Verstovsek led the team in kills with seven and was followed by Oppenheimer and Newberg who had six each. The Judges play three more games in September with two games on Sep. 25. One match is against Amherst College and the other is against Middlebury College.

Men’s soccer begins homestand with match against Tufts By Jesse Lieberman staff

Playing at Gordon Field for the first time in nearly three weeks, the Brandeis Men’s Soccer team lost to top-ranked Tufts 4-0 on Saturday. The defeat brings the Judges’ record to 1-4-1. The Jumbos got off to a quick start, scoring in the 4th minute. Tufts would score again in the 21st minute and led at the half 2-0. The second half belonged to Tufts as well, as the Jumbos scored twice more. The Jumbos’ performance demonstrated why they are the nation’s top-ranked team for NCAA Division III according to unitedsoccercoaches. org. The Jumbos are two-time defending national champions and have won four of the past six NCAA tournaments.

For Brandeis, freshman center back Andres Gonzalez was outstanding, anchoring the Judges’ defense and snuffing out several of Tufts’s chances. Junior goalkeeper Aiden Guthro, who was the University Athletic Association’s (UAA) Defensive Player of the Week last week, had three saves. Despite the score, the Judges had multiple chances to score. Their best opportunity came in the 27th minute. Midfielder Evan Glass took a throw-in from the right side in the Jumbos’ attack third. The throw deflected off several players before bouncing in front of sophomore defender Nick Dunstan-Maiese near the back post. Dunstan-Maiese attempted to head the ball in, but his shot just missed. Forward John Loo and midfielder Toby Marwell each took set pieces from just

outside the 18-yard box, but neither of their shots went on goal. The Judges tallied ten shots for


the match, their third highest of the season. The Judges were scheduled to play Wheaton College on Tuesday. However, the match was postponed due to a power outage on the field mere seconds before the match was about to start. There have been talks of rescheduling the match but nothing has been finalized yet. The Judges’ challenging non-conference schedule should bode well for them heading into UAA play. In addition to Tufts, the Judges played close with no. 21 Babson, losing 1-0 on the road. The Judges will play at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on October 6. The Engineers received some votes in the most

recent rankings poll but did not crack the top 25. Four teams from the UAA are among the top 25 teams in the country. The University of Rochester, University of Chicago, New York University, and Emory University rank 6th, 9th, 10th, and 25th respectively. The Judges have two games remaining on their homestand before traveling to Pittsburgh to take on Carnegie Mellon for their first match in UAA play this season. The team will play Bates College Saturday, September 25, at 2 PM and then conclude the homestand against Clark University on Wednesday, September 29, at 7 PM. All home matches can be streamed live at brandeisjudges. com.


The Brandeis Hoot

September 24, 2021

Cross country UMass Dartmouth invitational By Francesca Marchese staff

This week, the Brandeis University cross country teams took the course and competed in the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth) Invitational. For the first time this season, the women ran as a nationally-ranked squad, 29th, and placed second, while the men placed 10th overall. The Judges held their own this weekend, as they ran without senior leader and All-American Niamh Kenney, finishing just 15 points behind the victores WPI, 68-83. Senior leader Erin Magill ‘22 led the Judges this weekend, placing fourth overall with a time of 17:52:0; Magill nearly knocked a minute off her career-best for a five-kilometer course, finishing just 13 seconds behind the winner from Wellesley. Natalie Hattan ‘22 finished second on the Brandeis squad with an overall ninth-place finish, which was seventh among Division III runners. Her time was 18:30.40. Hattan shaved 45 seconds off her previous career best 5k time as she broke 19 minutes for the first time in her collegiate career. Juliette Intrieri ‘24 was the Judges’ third runner; she placed 22nd overall with an impressive time of 19:07.9 in her second collegiate race. Bridget Pickard ‘23 also ran a personal best, shaving off 12 seconds; Pickard finished


32nd overall and fourth on her team with a time of 19:20.8. Kayla DiBenedetto ‘25 rounded out the Brandeis scores in 33rd place, finishing in 19:21.3. First year Zada Forde finished 45th in 19:35.60 and classmate Kyra Au placed 82nd with a time of 20:15.90. The men finished with 344 points placing 10th overall in the tournament, only 44 points behind ninth place, Roger Williams. nFor the sec-

ond week in a row, senior runner Matthew Driben completed the five mile course in 25:04:20, which landed him 16th place this week. He ran 49 seconds faster and placed one position better than his previous showing at the UMass Dartmouth course. In his first collegiate race, Daniel Frost ‘25 was the team’s second finisher, coming in 60th with a time of 26:14.80. Walter Tebbetts ‘24, who also ran his first colle-

giate five mile course, placed 70th overall with a mark of 26:23.80. The Judges’ fourth runner beat his personal best at the UMass Dartmouth course by one minute and one second; Casey Brackett ‘23 finished in 88th place overall. Jac Guerra ‘22, a senior veteran on the Brandeis squad, rounded out the top five placing 126th place in 27:31.20. Luca Dia ‘25 finished behind Guerra in 136th place in 27:44.9, while Erik Lo-

pez, a fellow rookie on the men’s squad, finished 149th with a mark of 27:54.90. Jacob Grant ‘22, a senior on the Brandeis men’s cross country team, closed out the Brandeis runners in 28:34.0, an impressive time for 173rd place. On Oct. 2, the Judges mens and womens cross country squads will travel to take on Keene State in their Invitational event for their third race of the season.

Women’s soccer finds success with solid defense By Justin Leung editor

After tying their previous game against Babson College, the Judges looked to get the offense going early and secure a win. That is exactly what they did against Emerson College. It took only seven minutes for the Judges to get a goal on the board. Senior forward Juliette Carreiro ’22 made use of a great assist from midfielder Caroline Swan ’23 to get the first goal of the game. This was Carreiro’s third goal of the season and Swan’s third assist of the season. After that fast start to the game, there were no more goals in the half. Both teams shot the ball a total of five times within the first half. Only two of Emerson’s shots were on target and those two shots ended up being the only two shots they put on target for the entire game. In the second half, the Judges continued to put pressure on the Emerson defense. The Emerson goalie was impressive as she kept saving every shot Brandeis had. That was until senior midfielder Daria Bakhtiari ’22 was substituted back into the game. Bakhtiari

proceeded to score a penalty kick in the 79th minute. This goal was her second goal of the season and put Brandeis up 2-0 with only 11 minutes to go. These last 11 minutes ended up being a game of tough defense as neither team took a shot. So, the Judges ended up getting the win with a score of 2-0. The keys to the game were the constant pressure from the offense and very strong overall defense. In the second half, the Judges out shot Emerson 7-2. Sophomore forward Yasla Ngoma ’24 led the way shooting with 4 total shots and 3 shots on goal. Freshman goalie Hannah Bassan ’25 had a clean sheet with two saves and no goals allowed. Four days following their win over Emerson, the Judges turned to face UMass Boston. Once the game started, the Judges put a lot of pressure on UMass Boston. It only took 10 minutes for Brandeis to take four shots. The first shot on target from the Judges came from Carreiro in the 10th minute, but it was saved by the opposing goalie. UMass Boston had their first shot in the 15th minute, but it was saved by Brandeis goalie Bassan. The rest of the first half was just

constant pressure from the Judges as they took a total of 13 shots in the first half compared to only two from UMass Boston. Entering the second half, the Judges had a feeling that something had to fall. In the 64th minute Brandeis finally took the lead with a goal from senior forward Makenna Hunt ’22 with an assist from junior defender Meaghan McDonough’23. That

was Hunt’s 3rd goal of the season and McDonough’s first assist of her career. The rest of the half was a lot of shooting from Brandeis, but ultimately there were no more goals scored by either team, as the game ended with a score of 1-0. Brandeis took 17 shots in the second half compared to UMass Boston’s 2. Overall Brandeis outshot

their opponents 30-4. The Judges made sure that the only offense from the game was coming from them. As for the defense, Bassan continued her recent success and had three saves leading to a clean sheet. The Judges look to continue their recent success with their final game of September on the 28 against Lesley University.



September 24, 2021

“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 Editor 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 4 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, Joey Kornman, Josh Lannon, Kristianna Lapierre, Max Lerner, Rafi Levi, Jesse Lieberman, 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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The Brandeis Hoot 7

COVID-19 policies are inconsistent

randeis has established a wide range of policies regarding safety from COVID-19, from everyone getting tested multiple times per week to wearing masks indoors. However, these efforts are rendered a lot less effective due to inconsistencies in the enforcement of the policies. We appreciate the effectiveness of vaccines and the work they do to help stop the spread and severity of COVID-19, but some of the policies seem to counteract and contradict each other. The first issue is testing and keeping a green passport at all (or most) times. The only locations on campus that actually check passports are the dining halls and the library. Although a few professors check students’ passports before they enter the classroom, those are few and far between.The other issue comes in with the fact that both the library and the dining halls take yellow passports. A person can get a yellow passport by passing the daily health assessment and scheduling a test within the next 24 hours. However this does not assure that the person is actually getting tested: they can just be scheduling COVID-19

tests that they never show up for. This is of particular concern for students who do not live on campus, as the system does not require them to take the daily health assessment every day. Students who live off campus and do not visit the two locations could easily never get tested, and no one would be the wiser. The bottom line with these concerns is that there is no system in place that assures that everyone is actually getting tested: right now it is left to the integrity of the students. This does not make us optimistic about the current situation at Brandeis: with all the large in-person events coming back to campus, we should be doing more to assure everyone’s safety. Especially as the colder weather is coming, and more and more events will be moving indoors (as well as the incoming flu season). According to the COVID-19 training, students are still required to be masked in most places indoors, but it is inconsistent considering the lack of adherence to guidelines in other areas. Another questionable policy is the fact that professors are allowed to take their masks off to teach. In the context of the small

classrooms and the questionable benefits of speaking without a mask on, this seems to just scream “let’s spread COVID-19 to the students.” Although we understand that it is more convenient to lecture without a mask on, is the increased risk of the professors spreading the coronavirus really worth it? We would take a slightly muffled sound over the unnecessary risk. Despite these loosened precautions, other places on campus are still really heavily monitored. We cannot eat in the library, where we are all spread out, but cramming students into the dining hall is allowed. The performing arts are back on campus, which is exciting, but those students are allowed to perform without masks. We understand why—especially in live music, when you literally cannot play while masked. But it makes us question how seriously Brandeis is taking the pandemic this semester. We are confused about the inconsistency in severity of COVID-19 policies. Overall, Brandeis should take another look at the current COVID-19 policies and how they are implemented: there is definitely a lot of room for improvement.


8 The Brandeis Hoot

September 24, 2021

Student work in Goldman-Schwartz: ‘Home and Abroad’ exhibition By Emma Lichtenstein editor

Brandeis students are once again proving their talent with the fine arts. The 2021 “Home and Abroad” exhibition is now on display in the Goldman-Schwartz art studio building, featuring many different students from Brandeis, including award winners and those who participated in the Siena study abroad program. The informal exhibition will be available until Oct. 3. Three featured artists spoke to The Brandeis Hoot about their works on display. Aileen Cahill Aileen Cahill ’23 had never done an arts class where she produced paintings prior to this summer. “I am primarily an art historian, I’m not a studio art major,” she said. Cahill went to Siena with the Brandeis study abroad program. While she was there, she completed four paintings in less than six weeks—a very quick turn around, especially for one

who is unfamiliar with the painting world. Still, Cahill enjoyed her time, saying she really valued the skills she learned. “It doesn’t matter how many times you read in a book [about oil painting]... it’s completely different to be feeling it in your hands at that moment, to be manipulating that medium. It was a huge learning experience for me, and I’m really blown away by how much I didn’t know about painting. It allows me to look at art in a different way as an art historian.” Her favorite piece that she created was a landscape painting of her favorite views from Siena. “I knew that I wanted to come out with a painting that was a memorial to my time in Siena; it was more important to me to include things that were meaningful, than to have a beautiful painting that could be of any city.” This is the first time Cahill has displayed work, and she is excited to see her paintings in the exhibition. Anya Shire-Plumb

Anya Shire-Plumb ’22, on the other hand, is no stranger to art and displaying work. This is the second time she’s been featured in the “Home and Abroad” exhibition, as she studied in Siena in 2019. This year, projects that she made after taking an Arts New England class using the Remis Grant are on display. “I’m more of a figurative painter; I’m usually more drawn towards the figure and the body, but this class was a landscape class, so that was something different for me,” said ShirePlumb. She has a few pieces on display, including a large composite piece that is technically unfinished. “I think I wanted to include something in the show,” she said about the large piece. “I don’t think it would’ve made sense to include the two studies without showing what the studies were for.” Her favorite works are the two “studies,” areas of the big composite piece that she practiced before painting on the large canvas. These paintings were inspired by an area near her aunt’s


house in England. She is particularly drawn to her “acidic” study, as it is done with “acidic” colors like red and purple. She really liked the way the shadowing came out in that piece and enjoyed getting to use colors that might seem uncommon in nature, as well as the way she manipulated the oil to create very “flowy” brush strokes.

doing so in his thesis. “I’m excited because I feel like it’s a very poignant topic to be discussing right now, especially climate urgency, and the role of humans to nature. I tried to find something that connects me—and hopefully other people can connect with that desire. We are part of nature, not separate from it.”

Vicente Cayuela Aliaga Vicente Cayuela Aliaga ’22 hopes to show the connections between humans and nature in his multimedia pieces on display in this exhibition. Though he comes from a photography background, after taking a sculpture class at Brandeis he was inspired to create three-dimensional works of art. He is using plaster casts to make commentary about climate urgency. “I finally found a philosophical subject that I know I can explore through art,” he said. “I’m interested in the philosophical concepts of the artwork more than anything else.” His process involves making a rub ber mold of a subject, separating that mold in specific body parts, making modifications to fit his artistic vision and then finding ways to stage the parts in nature. He kept his subjects a secret, saying that he didn’t want to put a name to the bodies, so that way everyone could try to find themselves in the art. The displayed prints of his pieces are submerged in water or in a tree, showing the connection to nature. He’s really interested in exploring this connection, and is even

Interested in writing for Features? 


September 24, 2021

The Brandeis Hoot 9

The great Brandeisian facade: black mold By Thomas Pickering editor

Despite the hard-earned academic acclaim Brandeis receives as an institution it has continuously sat at #48 on 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 I would like to continue exploring the interconnected levels of infrastructure and take this one another level further to discuss the health hazards buildings can produce— more specifically—black mold. The buildings and structures we live in should not only be accessible, structurally sound and safe to exit in an emergency but most importantly, they should not pose a health risk to their residents. In any building one of the most illusive and dangerous problems can be mold due to its small size and lack of odor when in small quantities. Commonly referred to as “black mold,” stachybotrys is one of the most dangerous types of molds for a human to be exposed to. According to the CDC, mold of any kind can lead to persisting health issues within those who have been exposed to it either over a long duration of time or exposed to toxic levels of it for a very short amount of time. Individuals without underlying health conditions can come down with upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughs, wheezes, and

develop asthma due to prolonged exposure from mold. Those symptoms would greatly reduce the individual’s ability to perform athletically and remain active. For those on campus with asthma the symptoms can be much worse as mold can greatly increase the strength and severity of the asthma symptoms of the individual. Mold is a different beast compared to fire escapes and hallways. In an almost obvious point, fires are rare and there exist prevention measures which can be taken to greatly lower the chance of one occurring. Mold, in contrast to fires, can exist in spaces for months on end without proper detection in moist environments and one-time fixes are never enough to remove mold for good from any given space. One good example of this is the air conditioning vents on campus, they are the best ecosystem for mold to grow in as they are constantly dark, cold and wet. On top of being a good ecosystem for mold to grow, those vents connect the rooms in a system of air-conditioned vents. If not properly filtered the spores from the mold can be blown from room to room and from suite to suite. Without proper and prompt detection those spores can travel to every level of a residence hall and be inhaled by residents without them ever knowing for months on end. On a number of occasions my friends have had to deal with the effects of living in a moldy environment on campus. One of them was diagnosed with asthma after living in a dorm room their first year that had mold in the corners of the room. This friend, along with never having asthma before, never had problems breathing. Becoming asthmatic forced them to drop all competitive athletic sports and is now a lifelong condition they will have to manage since starting at Brandeis. Another one of my friends shared with me their experience with mold in Brandeis housing which has been just as problematic. Their first year this friend of mine was placed into village and started noticing odd symptoms two months into their first semester. Due to their pre-existing medical condition, they track their symptoms closely to know when

to inform their PCP and take certain medication. However, when their usual symptoms of dizziness and nausea began evolving into more serious conditions and adding more symptoms, they became aware that something was not right. The manageable symptoms they originally faced evolved into serious coughing fits, wheezing, shortness of breath and hair loss. When they visited a pulmonologist and went through a number of exams it was concluded that the root of the problem was not the pre-existing conditions but rather mold poisoning. The condition persisted throughout the “pandemic summer break” and started acting back up again the following academic year in the Rosenthal suite they were living in. My friend is still getting through the persisting issues that come with the poisoning into their third year here at Brandeis. Mold is an issue impacting students’ lives on campus currently as well. In the Ziv on the floor below my own there was an outbreak so bad all six students had to be removed from their living spaces. The mold existed in a truly toxic state as it was all along the ceilings of the common room and bathroom along with being in the walls and in the cabinets according to my neighbors. Disappointingly, they described waiting for around a week for a coordination effort from the university to remove the mold. During that time, they were moved to Rosenthal to live in until their suite was cleaned completely, a major disruption in the beginning of their school year and move in. Fortunately, none have discussed any problems with their health to me. Mold is a campus wide problem and is not exclusive to dormitories with air conditioning, such as Rosenthal and Massell, and in my own living experience Rosenthal does pose just as much of a threat to the health of students. Last year, in my own dorm room my window consistently froze solid with ice forming on the inside. The radiator was directly under the window and the hot steam would rise on the inside and condense on the cold window in the winter. Some nights were so cold that the steam would freeze to the window and create a wall of ice on the inside of

my dorm. Since my window was one of the walls of my room that meant my bed had to be pushed up against it on one side; leading to my bedding commonly becoming frozen to the window and absorbing more moisture than I would have ever expected. Components of my bedding became moldy and had to be disposed of immediately for my own health, an action I fear some students may not know to take under the same circumstances. Mold is present in dangerous ways throughout the campus and student health is currently at risk. I do not want to diminish the work DCL and especially facilities do to clean up mold on campus. Their work is valued and by no means goes over the heads of those who see them in those positions cleaning it up. However, the attitude towards mold on campus has to change and it has to come from DCL first. There should be an expected level of vigilance from DCL to check rooms over

the summer for mold rather than waiting for students to file a work order form. Especially from what was described to me from my neighbors it was hard to miss how much mold was in their suite and DCL should have acted sooner before move-in. DCL should engage in a more in-depth check of rooms after move out during the summer because to allow mold to get to such dangerous levels that students now are facing life-long health conditions is unacceptable to say the least—it’s inhumane and deplorable. Mold checks are the simple solution to the problem because if you have the ability to clean the mold it is best to do so before students are living in those spaces for the academic year. If this housing infrastructure remains as it is, the next review of Brandeis will feature words far harsher than, “hazardous and poisonous.”


Why everyone should build a PC By Cooper Gottfried special to the hoot

I built a PC back in September of 2020. Prices for components weren’t massively inflated like they are nowadays, and I was able to build a solid system with the money I saved up from my first job. It took a lot of help from my knowledgeable friends, but I got everything assembled in just a few hours. I’d always liked playing video games, but until I had a computer to play them on, I used an Xbox. I didn’t know anything about the hardware inside of my console, and I would be hard-pressed to even tell you what a USB port looked like. But, after building my computer about a year ago, I’ve become much more technologically literate. I’ve learned more and more about computer

hardware, and I feel much more confident working with any type of hardware. I get a ton of enjoyment out of the time I spend using my computer. Since last September, I’ve poured hundreds of hours into playing games I love with my friends. Despite the trouble I had with initially learning to use a keyboard and mouse to play games, I’ve had amazing times playing games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Portal and Minecraft: Java Edition. In addition to almost all of the games that are out on consoles, there are games that are exclusive to PCs. On a computer, Valorant, League of Legends, Dota 2 and many other titles are available, often for free. One of the best parts about gaming on a PC instead of a console is the long-term savings. You don’t need to pay for online services for a console, and you can

get hundreds of games for no cost at all. Plus, building a solid gaming computer can actually cost much less than a new console. PS5s and Xbox Series Xs are going for around one thousand dollars, while a gaming PC with similar power could normally be had for $700 or less (if there wasn’t a graphics card shortage). Then there’s the intangible gain from building your own computer. Personally, I feel happy every time I see my monitor light up because I know that I assembled all the parts to make it happen. It’s a classic case of effort justification, where the end result feels better because of all of the effort I put in. Even though my system may not have the newest hardware, it’s able to play the games I want at stable frame rates, and it gives me satisfaction knowing that I pieced it all together. Building a computer can seem

like a daunting task at first, but by making smart choices with your budget and following a few guides online, you can have your own system set up quickly and at a good price point. If you’re looking to get started, I recommend

checking out Linus Tech Tips’ build guides, the guys over there do a great job making PC building simple and understandable for beginners. If you need any in-person tips, I’ll be around to help. Happy building!



The Brandeis Hoot

September 24, 2021

Revolutionary in the wrong kind of way: “Texas Heartbeat Act” creates legal questions and incites fear By Mia Plante editor

Like every other woman interested in politics at Brandeis University, I have been following the developments surrounding Texas’ SB 8, or the “Texas Heartbeat Act” that was put into place on Sep. 1. This act procedurally bans abortions after the sixth week of gestation, when a fetal heartbeat is typically picked up, hence its name. This legislation is revolutionary in the worst imaginable way for women’s rights, and civil rights in general, in the United States. Women only make up roughly 27 percent of the Texas state legislature, meaning 73 percent of the voting power about women’s health and women’s rights in the state comes from men. 73 percent of the votes cast revoking women’s right to abortion in Texas were cast by men who know little to nothing about the science of gestation, women’s menstrual cycles and how early on pregnancies can be detected. Fueled by religious fervor and obvious hate for women’s autonomy, Texas men voted SB 8 into action, creating important new questions for the legal and political landscape in America. The revolutionary nature of this legislation is built into how it is policed. Within the text of SB 8, lawmakers noted that “any person other than an officer or employee of a state or local governmental entity in this state may bring a civil action” against any person who violates the new statute. Meaning, individual private citizens have been delegated to enforce the act. Deputizing citizens to take up civil action lawsuits against peo-

ple who seek abortions and who perform them after the six week mark makes governmental intervention nearly impossible as there is no one direct legal enforcer. The United States government cannot take up individuals’ charges against each person in the state of Texas that exposes women seeking abortion, and there is no law set in place that helps the government work around such problematic state legislation. Along with the simple fact that the law was made impossible to challenge before they are enforced, it also was written as to never have to occur. SB 8 presents citizens with $10,000 rewards for each individual or clinic they bring civil action suits against, and requires the individuals and clinics to pay for damages as well as their own legal assistance for each suit. So, for example, if 10 people standing outside of a Planned Parenthood saw someone enter for an abortion, each of the 10 witnesses could try both the person who seeked the abortion and the clinic for providing them. The act is essentially made to threaten abortion providers and people seeking abortions, and frighten them into stopping their practices entirely through the civil action power of individual citizens and a slurry of potential expensive suits. Women in America are appalled at how this act passed and the fact that nothing has yet to be done, but this is because there is nothing that already exists that could really be done about this. Some scholars suggest older legal tradition and intervention to counteract the new law. But short of Supreme Court intervention, I doubt there is any law or provision already written that could

stand up against such a wellthought-out redaction of women’s rights, and it is evident that the Supreme Court does not plan to do anything about SB 8. On Sep. 1, the USSC decided via shadow docket (which I discussed in a Hoot article last semester) that their intervention was not necessary at that time because “it is unclear whether the named defendants in this lawsuit can or will seek to enforce the Texas law against the applicants in a manner that might permit our intervention.” Since the Supreme Court ruled out the likelihood of their assistance pre-enforcement, it is also likely that they will not intervene as the statute grips Texas. Since it is written specifically not to be enforced, the Supreme Court would see no issue with it later on despite the fact that it is frightening women and abortion providers to the point where their rights are no longer viable. No pre-enforcement challenges made by the Supreme Court and no enforcement in general means there is little to no likelihood of the Supreme Court paying any more attention to the situation unless it is to cut rights to abortion further. It is obvious that the current Supreme Court makeup has bias against Roe v. Wade, but due to the case’s popularity among American citizens they fear that directly turning over Roe would cause a problematic stir. It seems as though the court will be ignoring these issues of anti-abortion state legislation, and cutting rights to abortion slowly via shadow dockets and cases that end up on their official docket. One abortion case to keep an eye on that is scheduled to be argued on Dec. 1, 2021 is the case of Dobbs v. Jackson

Women’s Health Organization. The case stems from a Mississippi law which bans most abortions after the 15 week period, which is noteably pre-fetal viability. After the law was shot down in the fifth U.S. Circuit Court, the case was sent to the Supreme Court and accepted for argument. With this case looming over the abortion rights scene, Texas’ abortion law is either going to be solidified via court opinion, or not. In my opinion, the likelihood of the court disagreeing with the Mississippi law is questionable. There is a 6-3 majority in the court at the moment, with their stance on abortion very clear. I worry that nothing positive will be done for abortion rights within the Supreme Court regardless of the precedent of Roe v. Wade. The court is a political institution despite the myth that it is separate from politics and individual ideas of morality, religion, right and wrong. Bias will slip through the widening cracks in the Supreme Court’s assumed neutrality, and no matter how clear the precedent, abortion rights will continue to be slashed. So, what is to come next? We aren’t really sure. Other states are going to be following suit with legislation that limits women’s right to abortion. New Hampshire, a swing state and my home state recently passed a 24-week abortion ban that was slipped into the new state budget bill this past summer. Other states in the south will follow suit with similar styles of abortion bans and legislation written to evade intervention. Some legal scholars worry about how this type of legislation could be warped into other bans, and could possibly affect

other constitutionally protected rights. Justices who dissented on the shadow docket decision also noted how they were worried about the potential consequences of not intervening not only in the case of Texas, but for the future. Nothing is entirely certain but the situation continues to unfold to reveal more concerning questions about what the Supreme Court may do, if anything. President Biden released a statement on Sep. 2 that called the ruling on SB 8 “an unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights,” and remarked that the federal government will be looking into what can be done to counteract the new law. But it is unclear if anything can be done by Biden and the executive branch. This is a case to be followed closely if you are at all invested in your civil rights and liberties. Whether you are a woman or not you should be wary of what is to come from legal loopholes brought up by SB 8 and the inadequacy of the Supreme Court’s handling of the legislation. We will see what is to come with the Dobbs case, but I am not optimistic. I have learned with American politics and law, it’s best not to be. *Author Note: Thank you to Professor Lenowitz (aka my favorite politics professor) for sending me some super helpful information that helped me write this piece, and for keeping students updated on the weird modern legal situation. Additionally, while this article focuses on women-specific terms, it is important to note that not only women get abortions but trans men, non binary people, etc. The right to abortion is important for everyone.

Look back over the past… and you can foresee the future too By Joey Kornman staff

When I was a little kid, my door was extremely colorful. While my siblings had plain white doors, just down the hall, the inside of my door was embellished with bright streaks of red and yellow and blue. I am not one of those artistic types, nor have I ever been, so the anomalous decor of my room had nothing to do with my ambitions or desires. Instead, my

door looked like a Jackson Pollock masterpiece because whenever I got put in time out, I would hurl my brightly colored toys at the door in revolt. Young me figured that my crying could only get so loud and that my anguish had to be amplified somehow. If I was not going to have a good time as a direct result of my bad actions, neither was anyone else trying to take a nap or concentrate. I was a splenetic child. For anyone who knows me now, I think I have gotten my anger managed a bit better (the inside


of the door in my dorm room has only had to be repainted once this semester). And just like how my erstwhile behavior no longer rears its ugly head, words like “splenetic” have been phased out as well— this is an unfortunate trend that I do not see stopping any time soon and I want to bring light to it before it’s too late. If you ever watch a 13-year-old try and have a conversation with someone old enough to vote, you will notice what can almost be classified as a language barrier. “Dope” and “swag” were hard enough for oldies like myself but it took me a while to figure out “esketit,” “sheesh” and “OD.” I do not mean to suggest that the English language (or any language for that matter) should remain stagnant; new words or uses of words elevate the language and its speakers. But, the inevitable consequence of the promulgation of slang or contemporary nomenclature is the crowding out of older, more evocative, (funnier to say) terms! If I tell my friends that “I’m going over there,” they won’t even bat an eye (maybe some of them will cheer over my departure, but that’s a different thing entirely). However, if I say that “I’m going over yonder” I have evoked a bygone, idyllic era. When I am writing an essay

or a speech or even an article, I am extremely cognizant of each and every instance that I use what I call an “obnoxious word.” I’ve done it here many times: “Erstwhile,” “nomenclature,” etc. When you read those words you probably thought to yourself “this guy thinks he’s better than everyone else.” Admittedly, when I am reading something or listening to someone and they use one of those “obnoxious words” I perk up and think of how they should have written or said it instead. Academic essays or articles are meant to be legible and intelligible. Subject, verb, object. We try to eliminate the passive voice and cut out filler words and rearrange sentences so that our messaging is as clear and concise as possible. In the age of the internet, with clickbait titles and with attention spans shorter than ever (purportedly), this modus operandi makes sense. But, I would argue that the “obnoxious words”—the words no one has said or heard in 200 years—have a value that should not be ignored or forgotten. To use another concrete example: If I say “others like that” no one cares but if I say “others of that ilk” then people (maybe thinking I am weird) actually take a second to process what I have said. “Why did he use that word?” When you write or

speak with the express purpose of being as direct and understandable as possible, you run the risk of being listened to briefly and efficiently, and of being quickly and summarily forgotten. When text or speech makes you stop for a second, for whatever reason, it challenges you and makes you read it again, often by design. The famous German sociologist Max Weber was notorious for making his books extremely hard to read and understand the first time through, just so he could force people to read his ideas again and really process them. I am certainly not Max Weber, and you also are probably not Max Weber, but the point still stands. I am not suggesting that you intersperse cumbersome, sesquipedalian verbiage into each of the sentences you string together. But, when you say or write something that you think is worth mulling over, maybe you should turn to some underappreciated, antediluvian argot. P.S. Here is a list of some of my favorite terms that have been seemingly lost to time in no particular order: 1. Hither and thither 2. Tubular (as in “totally tubular” not “involving tubules or tube-shaped structures”) 3. Higgledy-piggledy 4. Blatherskite 5. Brobdignagian

September 24, 2021


The Brandeis Hoot

Your guide to the Brandeis COVID-19 testing site By John Fornagiel and Sasha Skarboviychuk editors

As loyal workers of the Brandeis COVID-19 testing site, we have seen it all at this point, from busy days to dead days to days when we just wanted to lock ourselves in the closet and hide. We can also with confidence say that everyone at the testing site has a common goal: to get visitors out of there as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there is little the testing site staff can do to make the process faster, but there are multiple steps visi-

tors can take in order to get their COVID-19 test done as quickly as possible. Firstly, let’s go through the steps you need to go through when you come to the testing site. You need to go through three (maybe four) steps: passport check, registration, performing the self-test and check out. Passport is the easiest one: All you need to do is have your Brandeis Passport pulled up and ready to show; if everyone has their passport open, this process should not take more than five seconds. Please note that the passport should be shown in the browser and not a screenshot. In order to enter the testing site,

your passport needs to be green, yellow or orange. If you have a red passport because you need to make an appointment or do the daily health assessment, please do these things before you get to the testing site. If you don’t, chances are you will just have to do it while you are there and that slows everyone down. Additionally, if you have a red passport, there are bullet points right below your passport color that tell you exactly why you have a red passport. As mentioned above, it should specify whether you need to make an appointment or pass the daily health assessment. Registration is simple: We need


to put your name on your test tube. Why? So the Broad Institute doesn’t receive thousands of tests without names on them, which they then will not be able to connect the sample to the person. For this step, you just need to show some form of photo ID; someone even showed Sasha a Costco card once. Literally, as long as it has your face and name on it, it’s a valid form of photo ID for us. To make this process go faster you can have your photo ID ready while you are waiting in line, and have your test tube out of the bag and ready to go. Once you get to the registration desk, you can show your photo ID to the person working at the desk and then give them your test tube if you have one. Next, a step that you may sometimes need to take: self-administering the test! To really speed up this process, if you have a testing kit, you can actually self-administer the test in a private location prior to even coming to the testing site, eliminating this step entirely. This elimination alone can save you probably half the time that you would spend at the testing site. However, if you did not bring a test and need to test on site, follow the instructions that are in the booklet, place the testing swab in the test tube and head to checkout. Finally, you need to go to checkout. Checkout is the place where whether you have an appointment or not matters. If you want to get through checkout faster, make an appointment for the same day. If you do not have an appointment, we will need to add you manually, which takes much longer than just clicking off your name, so do us all a favor and just make the appointment. In general, the factor that plays the largest role in how long you

wait is the day and time you go for your appointment. As a general rule, Mondays are the busiest and Wednesdays are the quietest, at least in our experience. Usually a lot of people are also getting tested on Fridays and Sundays, because there is no testing on Saturdays. If you want to avoid lines, try to go on the less popular days, such as Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. In terms of time, the longest lines are usually right as the testing site opens at 9:00 a.m. and after classes get out. Classes at Brandeis start at even hours (8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m., through 8 p.m.) and most of them last 80 to 90 minutes, meaning that classes get out at half past odd hours (9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., through 9:30 p.m.). Avoid the testing site between the time classes end and the nearest hour (so if it’s 11:25 a.m. avoid the testing site until noon). The best times to come are around 30 minutes into the class period, so 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., etc. It also usually gets busy around closing (3:30 p.m. onwards), so that is another time that would be great to avoid. If you are only getting tested once a week, your best bet is to choose a time that is not in between classes, on a day that is not as popular. Happy testing! And please be nice to the test site workers, we are people too. Editor’s Note: These opinions are completely our own and are based on our own observations. They do not represent the opinions of the COVID-19 testing staff and are not meant to reflect coronavirus testing policy. Please note that COVID-19 testing policies do change, and the most current policies may not be reflected in this article.

Please bring back the milkshake machine By Emma Lichtenstein editor

My favorite part of the c-store has been removed. The milkshake machine used to be a source of joy for so many members of the Brandeis community. With its removal, and the loss of Curritos, there is no place left on campus to enjoy milkshakes. Please bring back the milkshake machine and bring ice cream to campus again. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, milkshakes could be found in multiple places on campus. There was Curritos, which had a small but delicious selection, including my favorite, the peanut butter milkshake (that I believe was called the “Jimmy Carter”). These milkshakes were delicious and decently-sized. While Swirl is good—everyone who knows me knows that I’m obsessed with their smoothie bowls—it only has smoothies, no milkshakes. Tres Habaneros and Swirl were a decent replacement for Curritos, but there is still one crucial aspect missing: the milkshakes. In previous years, you wanted more of a variety of flavors than Curritos offered, there was the wondrous glory of the milkshake machine. With a wide selection of flavors—including some smoothies—the milkshake machine was one of my favorite resources on campus. It could be found on

the right side of the c-store, on the counter behind the prepackaged ice cream bars. You used to be able to pick your flavor out of a fridge located next to the machine, before customizing the thickness of your milkshake on the machine’s screen. From there, it would blend the shake and you would take it to the cashiers to checkout. It was marvelous. I understand why the machine has been removed. With COVID-19 being so scary, it made sense for them to remove the machine last year. It involved touching a screen, something that could easily spread germs. It would be a pain to clean in-between uses. But, I can’t help but wish that it would come back. Touch points are already prevalent this semester. Dining halls have resumed “normal,” preCOVID-19-style eating. Sure, tables are now getting wiped in-between uses, but it’s still a lot of touch points. Furthermore, classes are basically all in-person again, with students sitting at the desks all throughout the day. Those don’t seem to be getting cleaned between classes; instead there are wipes in the room so students can wipe down the desks on their own. I happen to love this system. I know for sure that my table and chair are clean before I put my stuff down because I’m the one who sanitized them. Why can’t we do something like this in

the c-store? Since the milkshake machine was (is?) touchscreen, it’s easy to see how germs could spread. But why not put hand sanitizer or a tub of wipes next to the machine? That way, users of the machine could clean it down before and/or after usage. Sure, there’s the matter of the ma-

chine blending all of the different drinks, but that is before we eat them, before we get a chance to spread our germs. The milkshakes would be made by people wearing masks. How is that so different from getting food from the dining hall? Perhaps there are more complications that I am unaware

of, but to the average student, it seems pretty low-risk. Sure, there is ice cream on campus. There’s the pints in the c-store and the individually wrapped bars in both the dining hall and c-store. But, neither of these compares to the joy of the milkshake machine.



The Brandeis Hoot

September 24, 2021

Human nature: a universal language By Abdel Achibat editor

Part of my aim in studying abroad in Paris is finding myself in the social culture here, understanding it and actively participating in it as not just a tourist or an American exchange student, but like a Parisian would. As I have been slowly finding out, I am much more rooted in my American perspective than I thought. I never really considered how different the American experience must be to foreign exchange students at Brandeis, but gradually I am feeling just how different culture and shared consciousness are. Living in New York, there are certain cultural aspects that are just normal for me. Crackheads living in parks and stations right by where I live, knowing the sub-

way like the back of my hand and the fact that I have only really known a city life were all differences I had been made aware of when first engaging with people from different states in college. But, being immersed in a world where there are different cultural minorities present, different perceptions on drinking, smoking and partying and different mentalities on freedoms, liberty and community are all aspects I have been awoken to and that intrinsically exaggerate my own American perspective. I have had quite a few thoughts on these differences, but still feel like I have not met enough people or spent enough time here to really dumb down the French or European perspective. Especially considering that, truly, at the end of the day human nature persists through culture, race, ethnicity and gender. As many

differences there are concerning mindsets, political leniences and social culture, there are even more similarities on the way we act and react emotionally as people regardless of the way they manifest themselves. This universality of behavior, of friendship or comradeship is what I love so much. It is what allows me to use body language, past experiences and human friendliness to connect with people here as much as I have. It is what I have learned so extensively about as I internally compare and contrast dynamics between people and groups, and what I have more strongly believed to be the reason why certain people refuse to respect or accept people of differing identities. The bubbles that exist so profoundly all over suburbia in America are what have contributed to this American egotism that refuses to acknowledge

that human behavior prevails cultural differences and that is the foundation of the xenophobia and white supremacy that holds an unfortunate grasp on so many Americans. While clinging to one’s culture is normal and present in quite literally all cultures, the way it manifests itself in America, a country that prides itself on immigration and being a “melting pot,” is a perpetual and intentional misunderstanding of those who are different and then equating that difference with inferiority. The advantage that Europe has, which I believe is what has contributed to their 60-plus-yearlong journey to progressivism, is solely their proximity to the global south and Eastern hemisphere, in which they have more access to the mentality of engaging with and understanding the existence of other cultures. To say that Americans are inherently inept at

cultural understanding and will never be able to cease being xenophobic or racist would simply be wrong despite the consistent notion fed to cultural minorities in America of the persistence of racism. Instead, I believe a mainstream culture has been so far institutionalized as a product of geographical history in America that it has allowed racism and the belief of cultural superiority in suburbia and white communities to be so rampant. Ultimately, re-education is necessary in America to step away from this hyper-analysis of solely American values and culture to the very basic level of even in the home so as to truly raise our American youth to understand their placement in the world and transversely the existence of a human community based on shared inherent human behavior.

Gluten-free living at Brandeis By Mia Plante editor

Living on campus as someone who cannot eat gluten has been my biggest struggle at Brandeis University. My freshman year— albeit it was literally three months because I was a midyear right before COVID-19 hit—I survived off of rice and vegetables. I ate like a rabbit because it was either that or being sick on top of being an anxious midyear. I came to Brandeis from my semester in London where I cooked for myself and had many gluten-free options available to me everywhere I went. Even the Starbucks in the U.K. had a gluten-free sandwich option. I frequented cafes that had gluten-free pastries and dedicated gluten-free restaurants and bakeries and

lived in the “Free From” section of Marks & Spencer. I still dream about the spinach and ricotta gluten-free ravioli… Even before living in London for a semester, my home in New Hampshire was a designated gluten-free safe space. My mom can’t eat gluten and we found out around the same time that we both had the celiac gene. Also there are a few different local businesses in my town that make gluten-free and vegan baked goods (muffins, donuts, cookies, whoopie pies, pizza crust), we had it almost all places we went. But living at Brandeis is an entirely different story. Gluten-free and vegetarian options rarely overlap in the dining halls on campus. So many nights last year I would be in line in the vegan section of Usdan, unknowingly waiting for a seitan (gluten) based vegetarian meal. I know it is hard to accom-

modate everyone on campus, but it is so insanely frustrating to be hungry and have to settle for a depressing salad—sometimes without dressing because of soy sauce bases—or lentils and vegetables every single day. With the implementation of the Bite app last year, a whole other host of issues was created for people with gluten intolerances or celiac disease. Countless times I would order a sandwich on gluten-free bread and get to Louis’ Deli to find out that either they couldn’t find the gluten-free bread, or they were out of it. The frustration I would feel when leaving Usdan with a garden salad and an apple when I was craving a BLT was immeasurable when I had four classes a day sophomore year. Complaining about this seems so pointless and privileged but at a four-year university where we spend tens of thousands of

dollars a semester to eat, live and learn on campus, Brandeis should put some more effort into their allergen accommodations. Even at the C-Store where there are many gluten-free options available, they always seem to be far more expensive than their glutenous counterparts—which is a worldwide issue everywhere (except Italy)! I don’t want to have to spend $40 on a few snacks just to prevent myself from bloating three times my size and running to the bathroom during class—kind of seems like an unfair system, right? Especially when we don’t choose our allergies. Around six to seven percent of the US population has gluten sensitivities or allergies. That is around six to seven percent of Brandeis’ non-international population that is suffering at the hands of Brandeis’ and Sodexo’s failures to understand their needs. Gluten-sensitive Brandeis stu-

dents see the cold, sauceless gluten free pasta in the dining halls that is presented almost for show. We see the unappetizing options given to us and we just deal with it. This year I was eager to move to Grad so I could have the smaller meal block plans. I enjoy being able to dictate if I am going to eat a well balanced meal instead of the over-consumption of roasted vegetables that would be inevitable for me when eating in the dining halls. Being able to feed myself has given me the freedom to actually enjoy eating again and not just feel burdened by hunger while on campus. But gluten-sensitive underclassmen continue to suffer at the hands of the dining halls and their incompetence. Students with allergies must be given more palatable options and more balanced meal options at Brandeis University.


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!) By SSIS special to the hoot

Am I the only virgin on this campus? Thank you for asking this question! This is something a lot of people wonder about. Virginity looks different from person to person, since everyone has different sexual interests, desires and experiences. People’s definitions of virginity vary based on their definitions of sex. For some people, sex strictly means penis-in-vagina penetration. For others, a penis or a vagina doesn’t need to be involved at all in sex. Some people also consider oral and manual stimulation with a partner to be sex. What’s important is how you feel about virginity, how you define it for yourself and how you are engaging in your own desires.

It’s common to overestimate the amount of your peers that are having sex, yet according to surveys, one in three Brandeis undergrads are sexually active. So, if you haven’t engaged in any sexual activities before, you definitely aren’t alone. All sexual experiences and levels of sexual experience are valid. It might also be helpful to reflect on how you define virginity currently. You could think about why you define it that way, and whether or not you are comfortable with that definition. What kinds of sexual acts would make you not a virgin? And what would it mean for you to not be a virgin anymore? Virginity can often feel like a heavy term, and it can carry a variety of emotions for different people. Because there is at once a lot of stigma around sex and a lot of pressure to engage in it, many people feel pushed to have sex to meet other people’s standards and expectations. What matters most is how you feel and what you

want! Another thing that might be helpful to consider is what your desires might be and whether they are being met. Some ways to explore this include masturbation, watching porn and reading

erotica. Whatever your sexual experiences may be, is there anything you want to do, but have not yet? And if so, how would you like to go about experiencing it? Your sexual experiences and desires are your own. Whatever you would

like to do and whatever pace you would like to go at is valid. We hope this helps, and as always, SSIS members are happy to meet with you to talk through questions like this in our SCC office.



September 24, 2021

The Brandeis Hoot 13

Shang Chi and the legend of the Marvel solo movies By Rafi Levi staff

With the latest releases on Disney+, Marvel has become an incredibly confusing cinematic universe with lots of intertwined plotlines, new characters that might impact the franchise’s future significantly and the introduction of the multiverse concept. Looking ahead, it doesn’t look like it will get any better, as the studio is preparing to release movies like “Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness” and “Spiderman: Far From Home,” which will complicate things even more. In this status quo, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” was a breath of fresh air for those who had a hard time following the aftermath of “Endgame.” Before starting the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Marvel had to sell the film rights of its popular characters such as Spiderman, X-Men and the Fantastic Four to other studios due to financial troubles. So, MCU’s build-up before the first Avengers movie was all about introducing their remaining characters properly and hoping they were as appealing as the characters they lost the film rights for. Thus, we got movies like “Iron Man,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “The Incredible Hulk” and “Thor.” Admittedly not all of them were successful at the box office—“Incredible Hulk” still remains the biggest flop of the studio—but they all had one thing in common: originality. Even though they were part of a shared universe, all these solo movies had

a distinctive texture of their own. Once the MCU became all about the “comic book events” like “Civil War” or “Infinity War,” the solo movies lacked a distinctive style of their own. Movies like “Black Panther” or “Ant-Man” were almost like B-movies from the Classic Hollywood era which only existed because the events of the movie would be mildly important for the plot of the future “big” movies. Think about “Captain Marvel”: the only reason people saw Captain Marvel was that the character’s logo appeared at the end of an Avengers movie. From a marketing perspective, making people watch a two-hour movie which is essentially a trailer for the future movies is a great success. From a film buff ’s perspective, not so much. “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” on the other hand, reminded me of the early Marvel solo movies. It was definitely not disconnected from the cinematic universe, as it features several witty call backs to the old movies of the franchise, but at the same time I felt like the studio has given enough creative space to the director to build a separate world that would fulfill the needs of the source material. As the comic itself is heavily influenced by Chinese culture, it was a good choice to base the aesthetic style of the film on martial arts movies from the 70s and 80s. The fight sequences, especially the opening and the bus sequence, are quite impressive and the artistic use of color adds to the inventive world of the film. Also, the acting performances are exceptional with top tier names like Awkwafina, who has demonstrated her wide range

in the last years with movies like “The Farewell” and “Ocean’s 8,” and Tony Leung, who frequently paired up with the legendary Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai in the past. The lead actor Simu Liu had no trouble keeping up with his counterparts as well. But the star of the show for me was, in fact, Ben Kingsley, who makes a surprise cameo by reprising his comedic role as Trevor Slattery from “Iron Man 3.” What often becomes an issue for Marvel’s solo movies is the quality of visual effects due to financial restrictions. None of the solo movies in the past could live up to the nuanced visual work in the Avengers franchise, but Shang Chi comes pretty close. It seems like Marvel increased the budget

for this entry relying on the movie’s appeal to the Asian market. The movie featured well-designed visuals and memorable fight scenes with high quality CGI. The climactic battle scene at the end reminded me of the iconic battle sequences from earlier movies like the Battle of Wakanda and the Battle of Earth, but on a smaller scale. However, the narrative doesn’t match the visuals. The story is not bad necessarily, it is just the most a Marvel movie can do. When there are multiple movies intertwined with the story, the writers don’t have many places to go. Thus, the story becomes formulaic and at no point manages to surprise the audience. Writers are trying to compensate for this


by using humor throughout the movie, but it doesn’t change the fact that the story feels mechanical. There are some well-written and memorable scenes but they are only prescribed moments for superhero origin stories. Overall, I felt really pleased leaving the theater after seeing Shang Chi. The movie was more engaging than I thought, and the humor was not distracting, which is often my issue with Marvel movies. Of course, it is not a refreshing take on the genre that the audiences will remember, but I believe its efforts to stand on its own in a convoluted Marvel Cinematic Universe should be appreciated.

Hilarious Horror in James Wan’s ‘Malignant’ By Sam Finbury staff

Whatever credit James Wan is receiving for being the standard bearer of modern horror, I can safely say it is not enough. Wan, like Wes Craven before him, is a champion of horror movie franchises, creating the “Saw” series in the 2000s and spending the last decade shepherding the “Conjuring Universe,” including the “Annabelle” films, “The Nun” and the “Curse of La Llorona.” Add on his role in the “Insidious” films and it’s not an overstatement to say mainstream modern horror belongs to him. Are Wan’s films always great? No, a significant portion of them barely graze the surface of good, but they are popular and they are numerous and in years to come critics will be looking back and analyzing his oeuvre and influence Wan has had on the genre he has planted his flag of conquest in. But of course, if you flip and serve enough hamburgers, eventually your diners will begin to tire of their taste. With a horror filmography as extensive as Wan’s, it’s no wonder his solidified style has begun to feel stale; a heap of greyscale shallowly somber straightforward flicks about demons, ghosts and possession by either. James Wan himself must feel the same way about his catalogue of movies, because his newest picture “Malignant” shrugs off the dour mold of the “Conjuring” universe and happily decides to be something audiences haven’t experienced in quite some time: silly gory fun.

To say as little of the story as possible, “Malignant” revolves around the depressive and tired Madison Lake (Annabelle Wallis), who, after a miscarriage and the sudden death of her abusive husband, begins to be stalked by a mysterious figure known as Gabriel (Marina Mazepa, voiced by Ray Chase). When Madison starts having visions of Gabriel murdering people, she and her adopted sister Sydney (Maddie Hasson) decide to investigate her connection to him, uncovering deep and troubling truths about Madison’s forgotten childhood in the process. The plot itself is very straightforward, with minimal shocks or turns, carried out by a main character who is manifestly unengaging and who for the most part lets the plot of the film wash her all the way to the climax of the movie. However, I cannot hold this against the film as it is all just set up for the movie’s central plot twist, an amazing reveal that the rest of the plot dances tantalizingly around for the preceding hour and a half. It’s not a particularly shocking twist, and if you are paying attention you can basically guess the gist of “Malignant’s” climatic reveal by the opening credits. But what the terror of this movie lacks in surprise it makes up for in gloriously corny ridiculousness. The horror at the center of “Malignant” is the sort of smarmy creepypasta telltale that middle schoolers would tell at a sleepover, hamming it up with their face over a flashlight in order to unnerve the most gullible kid in their friend group. It is an unabashedly silly twist, one most

modern horror movies would shy away from, preferring respectable demons and ghosts to the over the top weirdness “Malignant” tightly embraces. The goofy gory madness that is “Malignant” is a breath of fresh air, surfacing from the grey and dreary serious waters of the rest of mainstream horror, allowing audiences to shamelessly indulge in the joyously unbelievable and deliciously disgusting scares we didn’t know we were so hungry for. You’ll never find yourself watching the screen from behind the safety of your fingers or gasping at the sudden death of a character you wanted to survive until sunrise, but thrills and chills aren’t exactly what “Malignant” is fishing for. It’s fun. From the opening montage of creepy medical diagrams and documents over hard rock like the credits of a Resident Evil game, to the full-on ultra gruesome climactic fight scene, complete with flips and kicks and compound bone fractures, “Malignant” plays like it was written by a try-hard teenager who may not be the best storyteller but is really fun to hang out with. “Malignant” never asks you to take it seriously; in fact, with its frequent jokes, Scooby Doo-esque settings, and nigh comical use of a dark remix of The Pixies “Where Is My Mind,” it balks at the very notion. James Wan had a ball making this film and it seeps through the screen and infects the audience, turning this movie into an extravagantly overblown buffet of corn, cheese and ham. The only thing stopping this movie from jumping the border

into horror comedy is, unfortunately, the main character herself, Madison. Compared to everyone else’s exaggerated humorous performances, Annabelle Wallis seems confused as to what movie she’s in, maintaining a mopey low energy and overly serious demeanor the entire run time. In addition, her character’s backstory of having had multiple miscarriages and being in an abusive relationship is such a tonal shift that it actually feels like a page from another script got shuffled into “Malignant.” Aside from a surface level theme of wanting a blood relation to another person which is barely explored and feels airbrushed onto the plot, Madison’s

backstory is almost parasitic to the film, draining color and energy from a movie that would otherwise be fully able to wink to the audience. As it is, the film is good enough. Is it scary? Is it compelling? No and no. Do all its jokes land? No. Is it fun as all get-out? Yes, and that’s all it really needs to be. It’s a much needed break from dreary grey business-serious horror and a return to the heights of absurdity and viscera that the genre has been scared to reach for for quite some time. I get the sense that “Malignant” was James Wan’s vacation from his usual horror schtick. I’m just glad he decided to take us along with him.



The Brandeis Hoot

September 24, 2021

‘Squid Game’ traumatized me

By Caroline O editor

When I was little, my mom and I sometimes used to play the wellknown children’s game Green Light, Red Light. Only instead of saying “green light, red light!,” my mom would say the Korean version, which roughly translates to “the hibiscus flower has bloomed.” That was the version of the game I was most familiar with, and growing up, I was delighted to learn of the American version (which was harder, in my opinion—saying “green light, red light” rolls much quicker off the tongue than something like “the hibiscus flower has bloomed”). This game, very much like the case for many children, was definitely a part of my childhood, and it was associated with happy, innocent memories. Then I watched Netflix’s newly-released “Squid Game,” the violent show in which a group of financially desperate people play childhood games with a deadly twist in order to get a grand money prize. The twist, of course, is death. Whether it be a shot through the head from the creepy animatronic that caught you moving during Green Light, Red Light or falling to your death from being dragged over the edge in Tug of War, you’re bound to die if you don’t stay focused.

We watch the said horrors and consequences of these games through our protagonist Seong Gi Hun (Lee Jung Jae), a middle-aged man struggling to make ends meet. When he’s given the chance to enter the mysterious game with huge financial awards, he of course takes it. Once entering the games, we meet the other protagonists, all of whom, like Gi Hun, joined because they were in similarly dire situations: the Pakistani immigrant Ali Abdul (Tripathi Anupam), the North Korean defector Kang Sae Byeok (Jung Ho Yeon) and the cunning thug Jang Deok Su (Heo Seong Tae), just to name a few. All of these characters range drastically in morality. As the protagonist, Gi Hun represents the everyman—someone who’s certainly not ready to murder others to win the games like Deok Su, and someone who’s not quite smart enough to win the games by strategy and cunning like his childhood friend Cho Sang Woo (Park Hae Soo). Instead, he gets through each game just barely by the skin of his teeth and eventually through the help of those in the games with him, but once the stakes get higher and higher, Gi Hun shows that despite all his shortcomings, he wants to remain an actual person and not just another game piece. I wish I could say that this theme makes the show somewhat more hopeful to watch, but it did

not. “Squid Game” is absolutely vicious, refusing to pull back on any punches when it comes to showing just how desperately people act in order to survive. One of the most haunting and telling ways this show demonstrates such is when just within the second episode, all the protagonists are given the opportunity to leave the games and return to their normal lives. You would think that their normal lives— even filled with debt and all sorts of other hardships—would greatly outweigh the horrific conditions of the games. However, this show excellently demonstrates that even these people’s “normal” lives have a certain tinge of death and violence to them: in the case of Ali, he returns to a boss who refuses to pay him despite his insistence on quitting the job soon. In the case of Sang Woo, he returns to cops who’ve discovered that he’s committed some financial crimes. In the case of Sae Beyok, she returns to the hopelessness of trying to take her mother out of North Korea. In the case of Gi Hun, he returns to finding out his mother is on her deathbed. All of the solutions for these characters are brutally simple: get money to get out. The show becomes even more disturbing once the viewers learn that the extremely wealthy are the ones watching the games. Listening to them speak among one an-

other is reminiscent of listening to people betting on horses, and the metaphor here could not be any louder. For the wealthy, the struggles of the poor are a trifling thing—a thing of amusement. Although this is hardly an original or uncommon theme, its execution still shocks its audiences into the utterly cold, hopeless feeling of grief and helplessness over the way the wealthy have such a hold over literally everyone else. In the end, it’s not so much the blood or brains on the floor that disturbs me the most—it is instead the sad, sick feeling in my stomach that even though this show is only fiction, there’s something too real about how desperate poverty makes people and how equally amusing such poverty seems to those who have never


had to suffer through it. Even as the protagonists reach closer and closer to the end of the game, it becomes clearer that the outrageous sum of money is what they want—more than anything, they just want some money to survive. Pay medical bills. Pay off debt. Buy a house. Basic things, nothing extravagant—and yet even those things seem so far off in real life that so many people find themselves playing this outrageous game instead. It’s such a chilling thing to consider: that the people involved in these games don’t intend to live like the billionaires in magazines, but instead only want to get through their lives in what should be considered the minimum for basic human happiness. Talk about depressing. Talk about painfully honest.

‘Sex Education:’ the importance of individuality, support and growth By Anya Lance-Chacko editor

When “Sex Education” first made its way onto the Netflix screen, it established itself as a unique show that wasn’t purely in pursuit of making a name in terms of entertainment, but a show that brought to many a sense of a sense of safety, understanding and acceptance that many previous shows had failed to provide. Season three brought this in an even stronger sense, as every character further developed and became less one-dimensional than they originally were. Since the beginning, “Sex Education” was a powerful show, but further seasons have brought on more of a sense of reality as psychological elements developed and this season brought that together in more ways than every previous season; however other elements seemed to fall apart as a result. In the earliest season, many characters seemed to be perceived as one thing or the other in a lot of ways. Although there was some variability, there seemed to be a general sense of villains and heroes. Mr. Groff (Alistair Petrie) was evil, Adam (Connor Swindells) was a dumb bully, Ruby (Mimi Keene) was the popular girl, etc. However, with each episode, the writers’ development of the characters allowed them to each individually grow and become more human. This element is important for the demographic. As a coming-of-age show, it allows us to understand that as we grow and develop, we all have to learn more about ourselves. What makes this especially beautiful is that it encourages this idea of finding ourselves as something non-exclusive to young adults, as it also focuses on the adults like Mr. Groff and Dr. Milburn (Gil-

lian Anderson). As human beings, we are constantly encountering challenges, learning and growing from our faults and accepting or losing the support of others in the process. “Sex Education” encourages the reality that this happens at every stage of life, and that’s okay. Often teen shows seem to highlight experiences that happen on a different life track for others whether that be college or many years later. Like so many other aspects of this show, this is an example of how it provides many people with security in accepting their unique experiences as being ok in the challenging timeline that is the human experience. This season brought on a new character: Hope (Jemima Kirke), the new Headmistress of Moordale. As mentioned previously, she could have initial impressions of being one thing: a dictator and a villain. However, that’s not how life works, and that’s not how the creators of “Sex Education” presented her in the end. She, like anyone else, had issues of her own that influenced how she interacted with others. The way she humiliated and harassed students was simply not okay—but understanding her background and seeing her open up to Otis in the final episode portrayed her as more than one thing. This small scene of interaction was incredibly powerful as it demonstrated the importance of seeking help and how we all can help each other in our own ways, and growing up is part of finding out how we would like to do that. Otis learned that he had a great passion for helping others and it was incredibly beautiful to see how he shared this with his mother. It also allowed us to see another perspective on Hope’s experience and how she may need to learn to accept help and also offer compassion for other people’s perspectives in the

same way Otis did for her. There were so many other moments like these that really made the show feel more real than any previous season; there were very few black and white moments but a significant amount of important grey lessons. Adam seems to constantly have his life beating down on him, and we all wanted him to win the dog contest, and that’s not always how life works; it’s not always fair. However, he did get an honorable mention, and that was enough. He was able to start to learn to grow into himself and discover who he was. Although it hurt, he didn’t let his break up with Eric disintegrate him, he was able to rise from the ashes. Everyone has their own individual life paths and that’s what truly matters in the end, is that we stay true to that while still accepting help from others, and season three truly captured this. Maeve (Emma Mackey) learned to not be so incredibly independent and accept help when she needed it, but she also didn’t sacrifice her own passions to be with Otis in the end. Mr. Groff was in a place of struggle, but he still found it within himself to make amends with Dr. Milburn and in the process had a bit of therapy that helped him to better understand himself, stand up for himself and move forward and continue to grow. One of the most powerful elements of “Sex Education” has been its sense of unity. One of the most remarkable scenes of the entire show was the bus scene in season two, when despite their differences all of the women stood together to support each other and share their experiences in regards to sexual harassment. This season maintained this element in a different way, where we seemed to get a lot of individual perspectives on each of the characters’ stories. However, this powerful sense of

unity came back when each student reclaimed the shame signs. Hope had made some students wear and use them as a “screw you” to society and a way to accept the aspects of themselves that they are supposed to feel ashamed of. This was so incredibly important, as it emphasized the idea that individuality is one of the most important elements we can hold onto in this world, and we can’t let anyone dampen that for us. We can support each other in accepting our own individualities. With this idea, however, there were some aspects of the overall cohesion that fell apart in this season as other elements grew. Previous seasons, perhaps when things were more one-dimensional, had such a strong sense of place as the soundtrack enveloped the listeners in the world. Ezra Furman had such a powerful influence on this as well as the inclusion of some oldies, but this season didn’t have the same effect. Additionally, the episodes’ progression lacked this

cohesion. There didn’t seem to be a clear arc in the same way other seasons did, although the focus on individual stories was powerful a more consistent pattern would have been more effective. Seeing Lily’s (Tanya Reynolds) story at the beginning of one was important, but it would have been even more influential, I believe, if we got that for every character that various episodes seemed to have a vague focus on. This season of Sex Education lacked the same continuity, although there were still so many important moments and it still was engaging enough to make viewers want to binge it. In the end, season three of “Sex Education” was more real, powerful and emotional than any other in the message it conveyed of growth in the human experience. However, with this came some distractions from the important element of time and place necessary to any continued piece of entertainment.


September 24, 2021


The Brandeis Hoot

The last time I saw Richard—a short story By Cyrenity Augistine special to the hoot

I’ve never been to a Fall Flex, thThe last time that I saw Richard was when we visited the Botanical Gardens in Downtown Atlanta, where he complained about how Tim and I—Tim’s my boyfriend, by the way—had no sense of tourism on our trips. He wasn’t exactly wrong—we had spent the last three days bouncing between restaurants, our room and movie theaters—but we made sure that we were having fun. But that wasn’t how Richard was. He wanted to see everything all the time. You know, he was obsessed with traveling, like those little tourist groups that take you to “the hidden beauties of ‘insert city name here’”. You know he’s probably off on one of those trips now. Got tired of us wasting his vacation time, packed up his stuff, and hopped on a tourist bus. You should check. Anyway, you want to know how he was when we last saw him, right? Well, he was meticulous as always. Banged on our hotel room at 8 a.m. sharp, because “We couldn’t let the day go to waste!” Tim almost strangled him right then and there, for what was maybe the seventh time since we got here, but Richard was already jog-

ging toward the elevators. Tim and Richard didn’t really get along too well. They had only met because of me, so it wasn’t that surprising. There were times when it got really serious though—they almost exchanged punches one or two times, but I always stepped in to fix it. It’s not like it was too bad, of course. They just...didn’t always see eye to eye. I think Tim just gets insecure sometimes, and Richard did not have the patience for it. When they first met Tim had pulled me aside and asked if “we had history?” I almost busted out laughing right then and there. After that, he never brought it up again, but you could still tell he was a bit uneasy around Richard, hence, their disagreements. Either way, they had come to some sort of agreement when it came to the trips. I don’t know the details, but no one’s dead yet— ... ... … The point is they make sure to suck it up and get along for the trip. Anyway, Tim and I got ready, and after getting our breakfast (with Richard glaring at us impatiently the whole time) we got an Uber and hit the road. Richard demanded that we walk, or

take those little motorized scooters, or at the very least use public transportation. Tim argued that all of us sucked at directions, but Richard was not hearing it. He’d rather wander around the city for an hour than actually get to the place we were trying to go. Typical Richard. So, of course, I stepped in and told him that if he was waking us up at eight in the morning to go to the garden, I wanted to actually go to the garden, not spend the whole day lost. He had grumbled for a few moments afterward but reluctantly called an Uber. And so, we piled into the back of a car and watched the city pass by through the window. Our driver, his name was Chris, tried to strike up a conversation. Tim didn’t seem to be in the mood (he was staring grumpily at his phone) and I was kind of too busy looking out the window. But Richard? He was ecstatic. He asked him all about the city: where the best place to eat was, if there were any tourist spots he recommended, blah blah blah. I think there was a point where the driver was hoping he would shut up, but alas, to no avail. When we finally arrived, we loaded out and Chris immediately pulled off, leaving Richard with a slightly confused look on his face. I turned to Tim,

expecting him to be nearly bursting with laughter, but he didn’t even look up from his phone. He was probably still tired. Anyway, when we got to the garden, we spent the day there, looking at the different flora and their plant sculptures. I had to say it was actually pretty cool. Richard practically begged me to take a picture of him in front of this weird phoenix sculpture, and then pulled me in for a selfie in front of a fountain. Unfortunately for him, in his excitement, he tripped backward and fell into the water. It was kind of funny, I had to say. Either way, it more or less cut our garden trip short. Richard was dripping wet and his phone was ruined. I figured that we’d all head back, but Tim said he’d “take one for the team” and take him back to the hotel. Said he could use the extra time to sleep. I asked him if he was sure, and he gave a quiet nod. I had to say I was kind of surprised by how willing he was to step up to help. But he said he was sure, and he did seem off all day, so he probably really could use the nap. So, they went back home, and I hung around the garden for the rest of the day. I came back home later that night, trudged into my hotel room, and fell on the bed, exhaust-

ed. Turned out over 12 hours in the blistering Atlanta heat could really sap the energy out of you. I changed into my pajamas and went to knock on Richard’s door, but Tim said that he had decided to go to bed early (typical Richard behavior) and that I should leave him be. So, I plopped in the bed, and a few seconds later I was knocked out. The next morning we were supposed to head back, but I didn’t wake up until noon, which was weird since our flight was at 10 and there was no way Richard would let us miss it. Tim said that he hadn’t seen him since the two came back to the hotel yesterday. There was the question of whether he had headed out to get a new phone (again, he was always on top of it) but there was no way to ask him. We waited around for a few hours, but he never came back. And that’s it. I know that you’re supposed to be looking for him, and I hope you find him soon, but I’m sure he’s fine. Richard is careful—one of the most careful people I know, to be honest. There’s no way something bad could have happened to him. He knew better than to take risks. Just...let me know when you find him, alright?

‘Come From Away’ Should Come to Your Heart By Rachel Rosenfield special to the hoot

“Somewhere, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of who knows where” is how one might describe the town of Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. A town where everyone knows everyone and everyday is just like the last. On Sep. 11, 2001, that all changed. This is the setting for the hit Broadway musical, “Come From Away.” The show premiered on Broadway in 2017, and in September of 2021, a professional recording of the show was made available on Apple TV+ in honor of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Now the masses who were unable to see live theater have access to this show. I was lucky to see this musical when it was on tour in 2019, and I am ex-

tremely pleased that more people will be able to see it. A show that blends catchy and fun songs with an important message of heart and hope, “Come From Away” is a must see for anyone. On Sep. 11, many flights in the air during the attacks had to be redirected, and dozens of planes redirected to Gander Airport, an airport that is seen as a crossroads. This led to the mingling of small town Gander folks with people flying from big cities who had previously never even heard of Gander. On paper, and in first impressions, they have nothing in common. However, as the days go on, people start to bond with each other and build true connections. Based on a true story and true experiences, this musical shows new friendships, and new romantic relationships, bloom. However, even though people are trying to enjoy their time in this new town,

both old residents and newcomers, the tragedy on Sep. 11 still looms over their heads and their hearts. For example, one woman who flew into Gander has a son who is a firefighter that worked during Sep. 11, and she spends her days wondering if he is okay. This is a show that does have light moments and humor, but it also has emotional, serious moments that evoke empathy for these characters as well as the actual people who had to go through this tragedy. “Come From Away” makes you go back and forth between a smile on their face and a tug at their heart strings with a beautiful story. Not only does “Come From Away” present an inspiring story, but it also features a soundtrack that people will be humming for weeks. In a Tony Nominated Score, any audience member can find a song that speaks to them.

This may be the thunderous and energetic opening number “Welcome to the Rock” or it could be the feminist anthem “Me and the Sky.” It could be the fun and danceable number “Heave Away” or the emotional “Something’s Missing.” All of the songs have something to offer and cannot be put into any specific genre. The score was written by husband-and-wife team David Hein and Irene Sankoff in their first Broadway musical. While I highly recommend that people see this musical, if someone honestly does not have the time, at the very least they should listen to the score of this musical and get captivated by the story through the ears. “Come From Away” is a musical unlike any other. Based on a heart wrenching true story with a completely original score, I was blown away when I first saw it. I’ve always believed that this is a mu-

‘Campus Life’ comic

sical that people should see, and now that it is on a streaming service, I believe it is important for people to see this show. No matter your background, you can find a way to connect to this story. It can bring someone down to Earth and present a new perspective on people living in a confusing and emotional time. I also appreciate how this was told in an easy to understand and entertaining format, so that it is easier to draw people into the story. A lot of people may not want to read a long book, but an exciting musical will make the learning fun and easy. “Come From Away” is a show stopping and inspiring musical and if you can not see it up close in person, I highly recommend watching it on Apple TV+ to understand why this show matters.


The Brandeis Hoot

September 24, 2021

‘How A Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom:’ a unique take on the Isekai genre By Josh Lannon staff

The very accurately titled “How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom,” takes a very refreshing take on the Isekai genre. For those uninitiated in the ways of anime, Isekai is a subgenre of fantasy in which a character is transported from their world into a new and unfamiliar one. Some western isekai stories would be things like “Alice in Wonderland” or “The Wizard of Oz”. At the start, “How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom” seems like a pretty standard isekai anime. A well educated 19 year old, Kazuya Souma, is summoned to another world by the king of the fantasy kingdom of Elfrieden in order to defeat the Demon Lord. The world includes standard fantasy races like elves and dwarves. So far pretty par for the course for an Isekai anime. However, rather than follow the traditional fantasy tropes of fighting the dark lord and saving the kingdom, this particular anime takes a more political approach to this tried and true anime formula. The key phrase in this anime’s long winded title is “realist hero.” Instead of fighting with swords and sorcery, this protagonist fights with sound economic policy and infrastructure planning. Rather than fighting demons and monsters, Souma quickly realizes that most of the Kingdom’s problems stem from its poorly

managed economy and adherence to medieval traditions. The new realist hero embarks on a quest to bring real change to the country. Over the course of the first season, Souma is appointed king and has to deal with several logistical and internal issues that plague the kingdom. All of which Souma solves with logical and realistic solutions rather than magical ones. For example, when trying to improve the kingdom’s bureaucracy, Souma expels the nobles who were appointed by their birth and sends out a call to recruit advisors based on merit. In another episode, Souma advi ses the elves to thin their forests in order to maintain the woodlands. While this seems blasphemous to the tree hugging elves, Souma explains how thinning forests can actually help promote new growth and protect the forest from adverse weather conditions. The series’ most appealing aspect is Souma’s realistic solutions to complex fantasy issues and as someone who likes to play a lot of resource management video games, I am a big fan of this concept. That being said the show has little else besides its premise. The animation is pretty basic by 2021 standards. This is most apparent in the series’ few action scenes. There are a few fantasy fight sequences in the first season, but they are not really anything to speak of. While these fights are not bad per se, they are very basic and boring. But then again, the


series is generally more focused on the political implications of war rather than the battles of the war itself. The show also distinguishes itself from other isekai anime through its restrained use of fan service. One common aspect of male oriented isekai anime is that the male protagonist usually develops a harem of beautiful anime

girls. While this particular anime does still have a potential harem in the form of Souma’s many female advisors, the show does not rely on fan service as its main selling point. While it is by no means the greatest new anime of 2021, “How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom” is still a great series with an interesting take on the Isekai

genre. Although the fights are not as fantastical as the fantasy setting, the show more than makes up for its standard animation quality by having the hero solve problems realistically rather than through forces alone. It may not be as exciting as other anime, it is still a refreshing series that tries something new.

‘Escape Room: Tournament of Champions’ is a thrilling addition to the ‘Escape Room’ series By Lucy Fay staff

“Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” is the second entry into the largely underappreciated Escape Room series. It is very easy to write off “Escape Room” as an unremarkable “Saw” clone, but the series and its characters have a certain charm that puts them above the rest. “Tournament of Champions” follows our two surviving characters from the first movie, Zoey and Ben, in their quest to prove the existence of the mysterious sinister Minos Corporation. Unsurprisingly, the two find themselves trapped in a similar perilous series of escape rooms with a new group of strangers. As they make their way out of a slew of puzzles, some light is shed on the dastardly organization tormenting our protagonists. A major difference between this film and the original is that “Tournament of Champions” is far more protagonist-centric and involves Zoey and Ben working towards larger goals than simply surviving. This change has pros and cons. Much of what made the first movie so special was how weird and compelling these random individual characters were and the unique dynamic that occurred as a result. None of the side characters in “Tournament of Champions” are nearly as memorable or ultimately important. Still, our protagonists are well-designed likable characters that keep the audience entertained

and hoping for a good outcome. Plus, as is easily observable in the Saw franchise, when a series does not define a clear end goal and has minimal overarching characters, it tends to meander and lose any initial charm quite quickly. So the avoidance of a completely new cast going through a glorified redesign of the first movie was the right choice for this series. This film also sees the addition of more palpable villains. Minos is no longer a group of faceless architects—it is a company with a boss and lackeys and people to blame for the torture chambers through which the movie travels. While this plot was not fleshed out nearly enough, it created an interesting, possibly unintentional feeling, of falling into the middle of a different movie. The audience experiences over an hour of escape room content and then suddenly, we are in a spy thriller with named characters who have relationships that we have no context for, and conflicts are actively occurring with little to no setup. The out-of-place feeling these new villains created was not necessarily bad. It was a dramatic shift in aesthetic and it efficiently drove the plot forward without giving an exposition dump. But there are about ten minutes of utter confusion as the audience regains footing in what exactly is happening. A central appeal of the first “Escape Room” is how it looks. To pretend either film is any sort of high-brow cinema would be a disservice to the film and anyone who watched it. It is not pretentious or artsy in any way, but


it does take itself seriously and one area where that really shows is the sets, the lighting, and the aesthetic of any given scene. In “Tournament of Champions” the physical rooms from which our characters are trying to escape are designed brilliantly. Every room looks and feels entirely different because the movie knows how to set each area. From a subway car, to a bank, to the beach, to a block of New York City each room feels so complete and detailed, which alongside the wonderful variety in music, makes each room individually memorable. The separate puzzles in each room as well are skillfully designed to be difficult to solve and thrilling to watch, while simultaneously including the audience and allowing us to

find hints the characters often never see. There are about a dozen movies called escape room that all follow the same formula, but the creativity of architecture in this highest budget version of an escape room movie puts it high above the rest. A slight disappointment in “Tournament of Champions” was the lack of backstory weaved into the individual escape rooms that we got in the first movie. With this escape room saga being a ‘tournament of champions’ and thus made up of players who had already, presumably, completed Minos escape rooms based on their lives, it made sense in the logic of the film to leave out additional backstory in each room, but for the sake of the new side

characters, it felt like a loss. An eternal struggle in any storytelling narrative is how to make the audience sympathize with characters the story dedicates minimal time to and this film could not quite figure out how to do that outside of some dramatic deaths. “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” may not match the quality of its predecessor, a film I have personally seen upwards of six times, but it still did not disappoint. The story is solid, the puzzles are enthralling, and most importantly the film captures that special “Escape Room” look. “Tournament of Champions” was a fine addition to a franchise that probably should not go longer than three films.

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