Volume 16 Issue 9
“To acquire wisdom, one must observe” www.brandeishoot.com
Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.
March 29, 2019
Talk highlights black oppression in society By Sabrina Chow editor
RACE, SCIENCE AND JUSTICE
PHOTO BY SABRINA CHOW/THE HOOT
Dorothy Roberts speaks about black oppression in society.
The History Makers and African and African-American Studies (AAAS) program welcomed Dorothy Roberts, an internationally recognized scholar and social justice advocate, to speak about the intersection of race, science and justice in the African American community. Roberts spoke on the history of race, science and injustice in the African American community since the dawn of humanity and challenged the concept of race and biological differences that separate groups of individuals. Robert is the author of “Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty,” first published in 1997, and “Fatal
Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century,” published in 2011, which was reissued for a 20th edition special. A majority of Roberts’ work focuses on “transforming public thinking and policy on reproductive health, child welfare and bioethics,” according to her biography. The first part of the talk focused on the misconception that biological differences inherently produce social inequality between races and the “Scientific Invention of Race/Racial Identity.” According to Roberts, when the definition of race was first introduced in society in the 1700s, scientists believed that some force of nature created race, not God. “They claim that nature created race, and they could discover See RACE, page 5
Task force working to address workplace bullying at Brandeis By Celia Young editor
A faculty task force is working to create procedures to address workplace bullying at Brandeis. The Dignity at Work Task Force presented several recommendations to the faculty senate on
how to investigate and settle disputes involving faculty, graduate students and administrators. Workplace bullying is “a persistent pattern of degrading behavior,” according to Task Force Co-chair and Professor Carol Osler (ECON/FIN), and harms not only victims but Brandeis as an institution. “Some of our very best schol-
ars have left because they were bullied,” Osler said in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot. Osler emphasized that the pervasive pattern is key to the definition of workplace bullying. She gave the example of treating someone like they’re invisible, such as not saying hello to them as you pass them.
“If you’re consistently treated as if you’re invisible in that way, and other ways, you eventually get the message that you’re dirt. And that hurts. That is humiliation and degradation,” said Osler. The offenses can be small, Osler said, and the recommendations to the faculty senate list examples such as extensive unhelpful questioning, interrupting a colleague
and forgetting important manners. These acts, however, accumulate to form a pattern causing the victim of bullying to become very sensitive to the bully’s actions. “It is small, in every way, until it becomes a part of a larger pattern,” Osler said. Osler also described the costs See BULLYING, page 4
Brandeis graduate becomes first woman to win Abel Prize By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor
Brandeis graduate Karen Uhlenbeck ’66 Ph.D. ’68 became the first woman to win the Abel Prize, the mathematical equivalent of the Nobel Prize, announced the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters on Tuesday, March 19. According to the Abel Prize Committee, she won the award for “her pioneering achievements in geometric partial differential equations, gauge theory, and integrable systems, and for the fundamental impact of her work on analysis, geometry and mathematical physics.” Uhlenbeck will receive her prize from Norway’s
Inside This Issue:
King Harald V in a ceremony on May 21. In 2003 the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters created the Abel Prize. It is awarded yearly, to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to mathematics. Winners receive a certificate and six million Norwegian kroner—about $700,000. Uhlenbeck earned her B.A. in 1964 from the University of Michigan. Her graduate studies began in 1965 at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University, and she later continued at Brandeis University in 1966. In 1968 she earned her Ph.D. at Brandeis. In the late 1970s, Uhlenbeck and JonSee PRIZE, page 2
News: Free speech order unlikely to affect Brandeis Page 4 Page 7 Softball is undefeated 8-0. Ops: April Fools! Page 11 Features: Inside TRII Page 13 SPORTS: PAGE 13 Sports: March Madness after week one EDITORIAL: Happy Women's History Month Page 12
PHOTO BY SABRINA CHOW/THE HOOT
trizzy tré Talks Springfest. ARTS: PAGE 16
2 The Brandeis Hoot
Stephen C. Harrison Receives 2018 Rosenstiel Award, gives lecture By Faria Afreen staff
Professor, investigator and biophysicist Stephen C. Harrison received the 2018 Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research on Monday afternoon. In a lecture hall crowded with students and professors from all departments joined by President Ron Liebowitz, Chair of the Rosenstiel Biomedical Research Center Professor James Haber presented the award to Harrison. As the Giovanni Armenise-Harvard Professor of Basic Medical Sciences at Harvard and Children Hospital and an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harrison studies virial structures using X-ray crystallography. “Steve is not only a technical wiz[sic] but a true biologist interested in how crystallography and structure can illuminate behavior of biological system,” said Haber of Harrison. After a brief introduction about the recipient, Haber also mentioned “Photograph 51,” a play at the Central Square Theater celebrating structural biology. The play is about the people involved in the discovery of DNA’s double helix. Donald L. D. Caspar, who was Harrison’s Ph.D. mentor at Brandeis, was part of the play’s storyline and spoke of Harrison next. Casper talked about how his lab got started at Brandeis and also Harrison’s time there. “Steve designed a focusing X-ray cam-
era with an intensity that no instruments at that time could capture,” said Caspar. He showed a photograph of himself and his colleagues in front of the Rosenstiel Biomedical Research Center and then also of Harrison carrying his data on a flat utility cart, which garnered laughs from the audience. After Caspar’s speech, Haber emphasized Harrison’s connection to Brandeis and how he has published multiple times with researchers at Brandeis. After listing many of Harrison’s accomplishments, Haber gave the microphone to Harrison. Harrison gave an overview of his work. His presentation included colored crystal viral structures. The title of his presentation “Viruses, Proteins, and Cells” was a reference to “Proteins, Amino Acids, and Peptides,” a book by Edward Cohen that had an important influence on him. In his lecture, Harrison briefly talked protein self assembly and structure. The rest of his talk focused on viruses and genome delivery and included photographs and animations of many elaborate and colorful virus structures. Viruses with membrane can fuse with the membrane of the cell and “dump its contents.” However, how viruses without a membrane, called non-enveloped membrane, entered the cell was a mystery that captured his interest. To answer this question, Harrison studied Rotaviruses, a double-stranded RNA virus, as they had properties that allowed him to “tackle the problem more systematically.”
Harrison outlined his understanding of how Rotaviruses enter the cell in his talk. After trypsin activation, the virus attaches to the cell via cleavage of proteins on the virus’ surface. Invagination and vesiculation “appears driven by the virus particle itself than cellular machinery,” but this still needs to be sorted out, said Harrison. Then, calcium leaks and the virus particle escapes from the region where it was taken up and begins to transcribe in the cell. Harrison went into more detail, which included unpublished work, in the rest of his lecture about how the structure of the virus allows for an auto endocytosis entry into the cell. He supplemented his talk with many high resolution images of the protein structures involved. Harrison is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, a foreign member of EMBO and Royal Society and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Prior to Rosenstiel Award, Harrison won the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize (along with Don Wiley and Michael Rossmann), the ICN International Prize in Virology, Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize (with Michael Rossmann), the Bristol-Myers Squibb Distinguished Achievement Award in Infectious Disease Research, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Gregori Aminoff Prize in Crystallography, the UCSD/Merck Life Sciences Achievement Award in 2007 and the Welch Award in Chemistry in 2015.
Karen Uhlenbeck ’66 Ph.D. ’68 becomes first woman to win Abel Prize PRIZE, from page 1
athan Sacks discovered alternative energy measures that passed the compactness test—a test used to see whether something contains all its limit points and has all of its points lie within a fixed distance of each other, on almost all flat surfaces. This discovery prompted a new area of study called geometric analysis. Geometric analysis is a discipline that uses differential geometry to study the solutions to differential equations and vice versa. Using her previous research, Uhlenbeck initiated a systematic study of the moduli theory of minimal surfaces in hyperbolic 3-manifolds, also known as the minimal submanifold theory. She also contributed to topological quantum field theory and integrable systems.
In 1984, Uhlenbeck’s research also helped solve the Yamabe problem in differential geometry. In 1990, she became the first female speaker in 58 years at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Japan. In 1991, Uhlenbeck co-founded the Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI), which has the mission to “provide an immersive educational and professional development opportunity for several parallel communities from across the larger umbrella of the mathematics profession.” Throughout her career, Uhlenbeck worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Chicago. In 1983 she started working at the University of Chicago, after receiving the MacArthur Prize
fellowship. Currently, Uhlenbeck is a professor of mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a visiting associate at the Institute for Advanced Study and visiting senior research scholar at Princeton University. Uhlenbeck has also worked to support women in the field of mathematics. In 1991, Uhlenbeck helped launch a mentoring program for young women mathematicians at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. She also founded the Program for Women and Mathematics at Princeton, which makes mathematics more inclusive and provides funding. The mission of the program is to “recruit and retain more women in mathematics,” according to the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton.
PHOTO COURTESY ABELPRIZE.NO
March 29, 2019
IN THE SENATE: March 24, 2019 •
Vice President Aaron Finkel ’20 began the meeting by congratulating the newly elected 2019-20 President Simran Tatuskar ’21 and Vice President Guillermo Caballero Ferreira ’20. Finkel highlighted that himself and current President Hannah Brown ’19 will help the president-elect and vice president-elect have a smooth transition into office.
Finkel also noted that Senate elections will be occurring in the next few weeks, which will involve elections for all class senators and other special positions. He also restated that the free airport shuttle will be available for students coming back from April break, similar to the shuttles during February break.
The Senate passed and continued to negotiate on a number of amendments. An amendment clarifying A-Board policies on the criteria for the rejection of marathon request was unanimously passed. Another amendment, proposed by Class of 2022 Senator Nancy Zhai ’22 called for the elimination of the committee chairs’ requirement to submit social media posts weekly. Her plan is to have committee reports given during Senate updates, which are made available through Union outreach tools, instead of directly by the committee heads themselves. The amendment did not pass but will be revised for further consideration.
Three new amendments will be voted on in the following Senate meeting. The first amendment formalizes the Senate committee service requirement to attend committee meetings. Another amendment that was proposed would completely eliminate Article XI, “Special Union Programs” in the bylaws. Many of the sections of this article, argued Senator for Ziv and Ridgewood Quads Leigh Salomon ’19, were not programs still run by the Student Union and therefore did not need to remain in the Constitution.
Another amendment would repeal the override power of the executive senator. In the original amendment, the executive senator has the ability to override a proxy vote, a vote made on behalf of certain individuals that may not be present for important votes during the Senate. If the amendment passes, only a two-thirds majority vote of the Senate will override a proxy vote.
The Senate is still in discussion over an amendment for all secured clubs to have faculty or staff advisors. Finkel and Senator-at-Large Noah Nguyen ’21 both spoke about the concerns of secured club leaders by clarifying that “club advisors will not be making decisions for club leaders.” Finkel said that members of the Union have been meeting with secured club leaders to hear their complaints and attempt to resolve any misunderstandings in regards to the amendment. It will be voted on in the Senate next week.
Vidit Dhawan ’19, the Senate representative to A-Board, stated that they had spent five hours earlier in the day meeting with secured clubs to go over spending reports. Marathon decisions will be finalized in the coming week and released on Monday, April 1.
The Social Justice and Diversity committee is planning an amendment that will require training for all clubs that will be discussing sensitive topics including “racism, immigration issues, mental health, disability, sexual violence, etc,” said Racial Minority Senator Geraldine Bogard ’20. They will be working with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to host the trainings.
Community Emergency and Enhancement Fund (CEEF) is having an informational meeting on Tuesday, April 9 at 7 p.m. in the Union office. -Sabrina Chow
March 29, 2019
The Brandeis Hoot
Students and administrators discuss university finances By Celia Young editor
Students and three administrators from Brandeis financial services and finance administration gathered to discuss university policies—from financial aid, merit scholarships, improving communication about scholarships and grants to better encouraging diversity at Brandeis. Six students asked questions of the three administrators, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Stewart Uretsky, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer and Chief Business Officer Samuel Solomon and Assistant Vice President of Student Financial Services Sherri Avery. Chari Calloway ’21 asked about the possibility of increasing funds for students of color, especially through access to more funds from Greek organizations that could sponsor students of color, and how to create a more equal financial experience at Brandeis. Solomon responded that financial aid at Brandeis tries to take into account what a family can afford and strives to make Brandeis equally affordable to everyone. On the possibility of Greek organization funding, the administrators agreed that they weren’t
the right people to ask about recognizing Greek organizations. The conversation turned to awareness of financial assistance programs, and Student Union Officer for Diversity and Inclusion Zoe Fort ’21 recommended further communicating with the student body to find the best, most effective means of raising awareness about programs. Student Union President Hannah Brown ’19 suggested using posters around campus, as well as the large posters in the Shapiro Campus Center (SCC). Another method of communication discussed was not only having more open forums for discussion with students but to meet with different student groups around campus. Emily McGovern ’21 suggested strengthening communication by word of mouth, which she described as more powerful than receiving emails. McGovern, who said she had been to a few forums, said that communication had been a common issue in the discussions. Opening multiple lines of communication is necessary too, she said. Uretsky agreed, saying that something he had learned over the years was that “You can’t over communicate.” Another student, Janikah Brie ’20, asked if the Myra Kraft Transi-
tional Year Program, which meets 100 percent of institutional calculated financial need for four to five years, according to the Brandeis MKTYP website, could be used to financially support a student getting a master’s program for their fourth year, if they plan to graduate in four rather than five years. Avery responded that currently that would not be allowed, as once a student is considered a graduate student by the university registrar, they move into the graduate school’s pool for financial aid, which is significantly less than undergraduate, Avery said. Solomon and Uretsky said they would look into the matter. The discussion started with general updates from the administration, including the 50 million dollar gift received from the Cohen foundation and the more recent news that laundry will be free starting in the next academic year. The laundry fees will be built into the room rate for students living on campus, said Solomon, and should not increase the fee a substantial amount. Avery discussed different ways to apply for merit aid after beginning at Brandeis, including the Giumette Academic Achievement award, which is open to sophomores in their spring semester to apply for if
they have a 3.70 or higher GPA and meet the other requirements. Avery also described other programs for low income students, including health care vouchers, an emergency fund to help pay for student expenses such as food and a textbook voucher program. The money for the program, however, is dwindling. Avery said the fund would last for a year or maybe a year and a half, but more funds are expected to be raised at “Hoops for Help,” an annual Brandeis basketball game and fundraiser. Avery also described the impact of a family’s assets on their financial aid package. Assets minimally impact the amount of aid given, Avery said, compared to income. A family’s retirement accounts are also excluded in the financial aid formula. Avery also described how aid is determined, saying the office, “evaluates the ability to pay and not willingness.” Students in extreme circumstances can be considered independent, she said, but these circumstances are more rare. Solomon responded to a question from Brown about why Brandeis is so expensive. Solomon described that Brandeis’ tuition rises each year in order to pay for faculty raises, inflation and money for deferred maintenance. Solomon also said that it was in part
due to Brandeis’ small size, its emphasis on the sciences, its small endowment and its Ph.D. programs. Solomon gave the idea of making certain Ph.D. programs, which cost more than they provide to the university, once every two years rather than every year. Ph.D. programs also offer other benefits to the university than financial, he said, such as improving the university’s reputation. Uretsky discussed the sources of university fundraising, which come from alumni, family gifts and “friends of Brandeis.” There have been advancements in fundraising at Brandeis, he said, that include more staff in the Office of University Advancement who are able to reach out to more people. Uretsky also discussed possible cuts to programs in response to a question by Student Union Vice President Aaron Finkel ’20. Uretsky responded that cuts would not be on the basis of finance alone. Certain programs, ones that have a low contribution to the university’s mission and provide a low financial program might be considered, Uretsky said, but programs that contribute highly to the university’s mission also contribute to benefits other than financial.
Four panelists discuss upcoming Israeli national election By Thalia Plata staff
Four experts on Israeli politics gathered to discuss and answer questions on the upcoming Israel election on April 9. The event was moderated by Shayna Weiss, associate director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. The panelist included Eva Bellin (POL), professor of Arab Politics at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies, Shai Feldman (POL), Crown Family Director and Professor of Politics at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies, Yehudah Mirksy (NEJS),
professor of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and M.A candidate at the Brandeis International Business School, Doron Shapir. The panelists explained how Israel’s government works and its differences from the United States. Israel has a parliamentary system, in which the head of the legislature is also the chief executive. Israel’s election system is a proportional representational system, in which parties are rewarded the number of seats proportional to the number of votes it receives. Since Israel has a multi-party system, the legislative body is made up of coalition govern-
ments. After the election, the Israeli President will determine which leader holds a chance to develop a coalition government. The current election was called by the current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, months before he was accused of bribery. Controversially and to the disapproval of many American Jewish groups, Netanyahu encouraged a political agreement to unite three right-wing parties, including a faction made up of followers of the late Meir Kahane, an ultra-nationalist American-Israeli rabbi who was banned from Israeli politics for his racist opinions, according to The Washington Post
The controversies surrounding Netanyahu don’t end there; he declared on social media that “Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people and them alone” — a statement that drew fire for casting the country’s 1.8 million Arabs and other minorities as second-class citizens. His opponent, Benjamin Gantz, has reached out to all Israeli groups. Gantz’s opponents accuse him of having to depend on Arab-Israeli parties and is part of a broader strategy to paint him and his party as left-wing. Gantz said that he is neither left nor right. The panelists all agreed that Israelis do not care about the American-Jewish community’s
opinion. The panelists’ theories included that Israelis already have the support of Evangelical Christians in the United States, and they are much more concerned with issues of security and affordable housing. The event was sponsored by the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and the Crown Center for Middle East Studies, whose mission is to promote exemplary teaching and scholarship in Israeli history, politics, culture and society. The Crown Center is committed to conducting balanced and dispassionate research of the modern Middle East, according to Brandeis’ website.
Professor Anita Hill wins Courage Award from Poets, Essayists, Novelists (PEN) By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor
Anita Hill (AAAS, LGLS, The Heller School, WMGS), has been named the winner of the Courage Award from Poets, Essayists, Novelists (PEN) America. PEN America is an organization that aims to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide, with a focus on the combination of literature and human rights. According to the PEN website, its mission is to “unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.”
The Courage Award recognizes activists for free expression. Hill was chosen for her Senate testimony in 1991—where she said she was sexually harassed by then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas—her work as the chair of the Hollywood Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality and her work as a university professor, according to an article in The New York Times. “Hill stepped alone into the glare of the public spotlight to call out abuses that others insisted be forgotten or overlooked,’’ said Suzanne Nossel, the PEN America CEO in a press release by PEN America. ‘‘She has devoted her life since then to teaching, writing
and speaking out — in the process, helping to catalyze a global movement that is essential to the achievement of equality.’’ Hill received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1980, after which she began her career in a private practice in Washington, D.C. She also worked at the United States Education Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Hill was the first African American to teach at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, teaching contracts and commercial law, in 1989. Hill also received Honorary Degrees from Simmons College and Dillard University in 2001, Smith College in 2003, Lasell College in 2007, Massa-
chusetts College of Liberal Arts in 2010 and Mount Ida College in 2013. In 2017, Hill became the Chair of the Hollywood entertainment industry’s Commission to Eliminate Sexual Harassment and Advance Equality in the Workplace. She works to establish better practices and policies framework for addressing workplace abuses and discrimination as well as create equitable work environments in the industry. Hill is also helping to spread “The Gender/Race Imperative,” a project aimed to increase awareness of Title IX, a law mandating equal education opportunities for women. Additionally, Hill served on the 2012 strategic planning fi-
nancial task force at Brandeis. Currently Hill teaches courses on gender, race, social policy and legal history at Brandeis. She is also the subject of Freida Lee Mock’s documentary “Anita,” which premiered in January 2013 at the Sundance Film festival. Among other awards Hill received are the UC Merced Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance in 2016, the Alphonse Fletcher Sr. Fellowship Award in 2005, and the Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award. Hill will collect her Courage Award at a May gala hosted by comedian John Oliver.
The Brandeis Hoot
March 29, 2019
President Trump’s free speech order unlikely to affect Brandeis By Ryan Spencer editor
President Donald Trump’s executive order aimed at improving free inquiry on campus is ambiguous and universities such as Brandeis already promote free speech, according to a statement from Julie Jette, Director of Media Relations at Brandeis. The order, which Trump signed on live television after claiming that American students and values are “under siege” and that many universities attempt to “impose total conformity,” states that universities must promote free inquiry in order to receive certain federal research and education grants. Public universities must comply with the First Amendment and private universities—like Brandeis—must promote free inquiry by complying with their stated institutional policies regarding freedom of speech, according to the executive order which directs the heads of several federal departments to take “appropriate steps” to ensure that institutions receiving federal grants promote free inquiry.
The executive order states that funding associated with federal student aid would not be affected. But what would define compliance with the executive order or how it would be put into practice is not immediately clear, according to the statement from Jette. “This executive order is a solution in search of a problem,” Jette said in the statement, quoting another statement from the Association of American Universities (AAU) President Mary Sue Coleman. “The free and open exchange of ideas and information is already a fundamental cornerstone of the educational mission of America’s leading research universities, and our institutions are fully committed to the protection and preservation of this proud heritage of debate and discussion,” the AAU statement referred to by Jette said. “Brandeis will continue to abide by our Principles of Free Speech and Free Expression,” according to Jette, referencing the six-point document outlining the university’s policies on free speech, which was adopted earlier this year. Daniel Breen (LGLS), a professor of legal studies at Brandeis, said in an email to The Brandeis Hoot that “the text of the Or-
der itself really does not seem to accomplish anything terribly new” since universities were required to promote free inquiry in order to receive federal grants even before the executive order. Brandeis “probably need not worry about losing any funding” as long as it sticks to its Principles of Free Speech, he said. He told The Hoot that his impression is that Brandeis has been keeping to its stated principles. He used a lecture in April 2017 by Dinesh D’Souza, a provocative right wing speaker and political documentarian, as an example of someone who “has a political outlook that may not be common on campus” but has engaged in free inquiry on campus “without incident.” On D’Souza’s YouTube channel, the video of his lecture in front of a large group of Brandeis students, who engage the speaker after his talk in a Q&A, is titled “D’Souza embarrasses leftists at Brandeis U.” With the executive order, Breen told The Hoot, “There is always the danger of selective enforcement—that is, in order to play to its base, the [Trump] administration might seize on particular incidents of campus protests to punish universities where progressive
dissent is particularly strong.” Trump signed the order after inviting a handful of students and recent graduates, all from public universities, to speak about their experiences. One student from Miami University in Ohio was required to hang “trigger warnings” to show her pro-life display on campus. Another student, from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was “berated and cursed at” by staff, according to Trump, while at an event representing Turning Point USA, a conservative group. A student at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College was restricted to “free speech zones” when passing out Valentines with religious messages. “Today we are delivering a clear message to the professors and power structures trying to suppress dissent and keep young Americans—and all Americans,” Trump said, naming the students who spoke about their experiences, “from challenging rigid far-left ideology.” Brandeis has had run-ins with controversy over free speech in the past. In fall of 2017, the cancellation of a campus theater production sparked controversy and garnered an open letter from
FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization which protects the rights of students and faculty members at American universities. Other Boston area colleges have also faced controversy and criticism over free speech. Harvard University, for example, made FIRE’s list of “10 worst colleges for free speech” in both 2017 and 2018. Brandeis last made FIRE’s list of worst offenders in 2014 for disinviting Ayaan Hirsi Ali as a commencement speaker after students protested her views on Islam. University of Massachusetts Amherst made FIRE’s list the year before. In a statement about the executive order, FIRE—which calls itself a nonpartisan organization—stated that it “will watch closely to see if today’s action furthers the meaningful, lasting policy changes that FIRE has secured over two decades—or results in unintended consequences that threaten free expression and academic freedom.” In addition to trying to improve free speech, the executive order also contained provisions aimed at increasing universities’ transparency and accountability on issues of affordability and student loans.
PHOTO COURTESY WHITEHOUSE.GOV
Dignity at work task force proposes changes to address workplace bullying DIGNITY, from page 1
of workplace bullying not just to Brandeis but to the victim, which can include physical symptoms such as high blood pressure. Osler gave the example of a colleague from another institution who was bullied so severely she could no longer work. Osler also described how isolating workplace bullying can be for a victim, information included in the report given to the faculty senate. The task force has looked at evidence that suggests that issues of workplace bullying are rarely handled correctly by managers or human resources departments. Coworkers often do not witness instances of bullying, and those that do rarely offer assistance. The task force recommends resolving difficulties informally, if possible. Many people are afraid to come forward,
Osler said, especially because “bosses are usually the bully.” The task force recommendations are likely to change, said Osler, but the current executive summary of the January proposal recommends informal resolutions with “a Department Chair, a Dean or an Employee Relations representative in Human Resources.” The task force also recommends creating a new committee, the Dignity at Work Committee, under the faculty senate that will accept cases that couldn’t otherwise be resolved and cases “for which there appears to be sufficient cause to convene an inquiry.” The new committee would consist of nominated representatives from each division of the Art and Sciences, Heller and IBS. The committee would also include a representative of the VP for diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as a represen-
tative for graduate students. All members of the committee would receive formal training on workplace bullying. Each instance of workplace bullying submitted to the committee would be assigned to a subcommittee of three members. Osler described the need for new policies to address workplace bullying, saying that, like other institutions, “Brandeis has no policies and procedures, and until recently few people on campus knew anything about it.” Workplace bullying is seen as the “third-rail” of policy issues. “You’re at risk of becoming a lighting rid if you speak about it publicly,” said Osler. Furthermore, there is a large lack of awareness of workplace bullying, Osler said. “Most people think they know what bullying is but don’t understand that persistence is key.” Another
role of the task force is to raise awareness on the issue of workplace bullying, and the task force plans on having education sessions to provide more information to interested faculty. Though the faculty was generally in favor of the proposals, Osler said, it has experienced some pushback from faculty members. A couple people raised the issue of free speech, Osler said, but described the objections as relatively uncommon. Though some faculty members were uncomfortable with the idea, she said, others who experienced workplace bullying were incredibly grateful. The task force, created in January of 2017, began submitting their first draft of background literature and proposal to the faculty senate in February of 2018, and their recent submissions are continuing that effort. The report also includes possi-
ble consequences for workplace bullying—ranging from ongoing monitoring to recommendation for dismissal—and an appeals process. The report also recommends further monitoring of workplace bullying on campus, as the data doesn’t currently exist to learn how often it occurs, said Osler. The report recommends holding periodic climate surveys, creating a confidential reporting line and specific training for the university ombuds to address workplace bullying. The task force will be hosting education sessions about the report that the faculty requested, Osler said, and considering further feedback from the faculty. Osler expects the proposal to change but is hopeful about the prospect of addressing workplace bullying at Brandeis. Max Everson contributed to this report.
March 29, 2019
The Brandeis Hoot
Representative from Lovin’ Spoonfuls talks about impacts of food waste By Rachel Saal editor
While 42 million Americans suffer from hunger, 40 percent of food goes to waste, according to Deborah Hicks, a food rescue coordinator who spoke in Olin-Sang on Tuesday. Food waste is the largest source of solid waste, said Hicks, and even 30 percent less food waste could feed 50 million people. “We live in a society in which it is so easy to throw things out,” said Hicks. “It’s a huge privilege to even be able to do that.” Hicks said that the impact of food waste happens at various levels. The 25 percent of fresh water use goes toward creating that food that is eventually wasted and 300 barrels of oil used to produce and transport food each year is also wasted, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The 16 percent of methane emitted to the atmosphere is a product of organic waste discardment, according to Hicks. Massachusetts implemented the Commercial Food Waste Disposal Ban in 2014 for groups that dispose of one ton or more organic waste per week, according to the
Massachusetts Food System Collaborative, but Hicks says that food waste is not regulated enough. “It’s unique to Massachusetts so you might not have even heard of [the law],” said Hicks. “It’s kind of just a slap on the wrist because they’re lacking the resources, but it’s the first step.” Hicks works for Lovin’ Spoonfuls Food Rescue, a non-profit organization that is “dedicated to facilitating the rescue and distribution of healthy, fresh food that would otherwise be discarded,” according to its website. Hicks said that the organization has saved and redistributed over 12 million pounds of food. The organization is powered by hired staff that drives to commercial food distributors and collects unwanted, perishable foods for redistribution to various shelters and other charitable organizations. Hicks said that while food redistribution is important, the ultimate goal is to have more sustainable food production. Reduction at the source is important to prevent food waste and unnecessary resource use, according to Hicks. Food production cannot be limited, however, until consumers begin to buy less. Hicks gave multiple solutions for those who want to limit their
food waste. Her suggestions included planning out meals ahead of time and only buying necessary ingredients, buying individual fruits and vegetables, keeping friends informed about food waste and if appropriate,
asking friends for their leftover food when they don’t want it. Through Plenty, a culinary education program run through Lovin’ Spoonfuls, anyone can access food education, tools and guides to learn about how to sustainably
feed themselves and their families, according to their website. To learn about how to prevent waste and live more sustainably, Hicks said that you can visit Plenty at lovinspoonfulsinc.org.
PHOTO COURTESY LOVIN' SPOONFULS
Scholar speaks about the intersection of race, science and injustice RACE, from page 1
just how many races there were,” explained Roberts. In contention to this, she believes that “they [Enlightenment scientists] wanted to justify the domination of Europeans over other groups.” She highlighted that a lot of the definition of race was based on the desire for white control in society to “justify their brutal subordination over other groups of people,” she said. “Science was invented by race. The concept of race helped to shape science.” Roberts spoke about the oppression of black slaves, specifically women and the enslavement of their children. The colonists needed to define what the status of children born to a black woman and a white father was and determined that their “political investment in the power of whiteness” out-ruled the fact that the child was half white. “In doing that, they made black women’s childbearing not only the subject or regulation but that they could control the production of the birth of new people to enslave but also the very idea that race is naturally reproduced and that the status of black children is naturally reproduced by their mothers,” said Roberts. She went on to say how black babies’ enslavement from the womb of their mothers justified the sterilization of thousands of black women. “The most dangerous place for an African American child is in the womb,” said Roberts, quoting a billboard that was posted during this time period. Roberts shifted her gaze towards comparing the old and new “biosocial” science. The old section focused very heavily on the works of Nicholas Wade, a science
writer for The New York Times, and the controversial nature of his work. Following the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, Wade claimed that “the new frontier of genomics was to look for genetic differences between the principal races.” Wade determined that there are three distinct groups of races based on the differences in social values and creating different social institutions: White, Asian and African. White people were defined as being the most creative and able to develop democratic institutions. Asians were a conforming group of individuals, which would be suited for developing authoritarian institutions. “African people never evolved from the ancestral homeland and therefore are prone to violence and chaos and that’s why Africa is a tribal conflict and impossible for Africans to have a democractic institution,” Roberts said, referencing the works of Wade. Roberts further explained that the reason that his work was gaining prominence was because he was citing actual scientific studies that were racist towards groups of individuals. “Scientists defined race as a genetic grouping that the reason why this science was so popular and supported by our tax dollars, funded by the NIH was because it provided an explanation, medical explanation, for continued racial inequality and in a supposedly post-racial society,” said Roberts. The new “biosocial” science challenged the preconceived notions that black people were more likely to contract certain diseases because of their race. This science combined areas of science such as biomedical research, epigenetics and sociogenomics. “Race is not a biological catego-
ry that naturally produces health disparities because of genetic differences,” Roberts said, quoting her book, “Fatal Invention.” “Race is a political category that has staggering biological consequences because of the impact of social inequality on people’s health.” She further went on to explain that the biological differences seen between races are not caused by “innate differences” but by social inequality. All members in academia, whether it be the humanities or the sciences, have biases that constantly change the definition of race, Roberts explained. “Biologists define race and social scientists interpret and determine how it plays out in society,” she said. Roberts finished her presentation by saying how racial inequality cannot be explained without institutional racism. “The very concept of race as a natural division of human beings, that idea is a product of racism,” explained Roberts. “You only need to justify racism as the reason why race was invented in the first place.” “We should embrace the values of a value of affirming our common humanity by working to amend the structural inequality preserved by the political system of race,” Roberts said in closing. Professor Siri Suh (SOC), who teaches SOC 191A, Health, Community and Society, focuses a lot on the topics that Roberts spoke to. “I think that she’s doing incredibly important work in terms of forcing us to think about how science is conducted,” Suh told The Brandeis Hoot. She also said that young scholars, especially ones going into science, need to hear scholars like Dorothy Roberts “who actually trace the historical importance of racism in science and make
us think about solutions within science itself as an enterprise, as a field and how those kind of solutions or what those solutions have to do with social justice.” Roberts is the 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor
and George A. Weiss University Professor of Law & Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.
PHOTO BY SABRINA CHOW/THE HOOT
The Brandeis Hoot
March 29, 2019
Facilities resolves hot water outages in Shapiro residence hall By Celia Young editor
When the hot water ran out in the Shapiro Residence Hall in Massell Quad, Massell Quad Senator Kendal Chapman ’22 started showering at the gym. “Multiple people in the building filed work orders,” Chapman said. But the problem, which was brought to the Area Coordinator for Massell Quad in November, persisted until mid-March. However, in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot, Chapman was happy to say that the problem had been resolved. “DCL stuck to their word. We have had hot water for the past two weeks or so, and I have not heard any further complaints from other dorms,” said Chapman. The fix, provided by the university facilities department, involved replacing the mixing valve—the valve that blends hot and cold water to provide safe temperatures—on the hot water heater. Facilities also found a cross connection in one of the bathrooms. A cross connection “is when cold water is introduced to the hot water line from an open faucet,” wrote Associate Director of Operations & Maintenance Ryan Donahue to The Hoot. Facilities corrected that issue and then went through all the bathrooms and replaced the shower heads that were not operating correctly. “Since March 5, we have not received any work requests for the lack of hot water in Shapiro Residence Hall. I sent a plumber there yesterday to make sure everything is/was OK. He reported back that the water temperature that he tested in seven different bathrooms and one kitchen was 120 degrees Fahrenheit,” wrote Donahue to The Hoot.
Chapman first discovered the issue from her own personal experience. “Everybody noticed the problem because we all had to shower in it,” she said. She received a few complaints from fellow students in and around Massell Quad earlier this semester and communicated them to the Student Union Senate in their weekly Senate meetings. Community Advisors (CAs)
also brought concerns over the hot water to the attention of the Area Coordinator, Peter Budmen, in November during their one-onone sessions where they discuss facility related concerns, Budmen wrote in an email to The Hoot. Following these concerns and ongoing maintenance from facilities, the hot water in Shapiro Residence Hall was shut off Jan. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., wrote
Budmen, to address the plumbing concerns. However, students living in the dorms weren’t notified until after the fact, as Budmen’s email alerting residents to the outage failed to send, though Budmen wasn’t aware of this failure until 24 hours later, he wrote. Chapman and Budmen met in February, Budmen wrote to The Hoot, and Chapman asked about possibly replacing the
showerheads—a request facilities was able to complete over February break, wrote Budmen. Facilities’ work on the issue has been ongoing, according to Budmen. “We have been working together since the time we first heard of the concerns,” he wrote to The Hoot. But the situation, at least for the past two weeks, said Chapman, has greatly improved.
PHOTO COURTESY BRANDEIS.EDU
Brandeis named top Gilman Scholar institution By Sabrina Chow editor
For the second year in a row, Brandeis has been listed as one of the top small colleges and universities for producing Gilman Scholars through the Gilman Scholarship Program. In the past five academic school years, 65 Brandeis students have been awarded a total of $235,000 in scholarship through the program, according to a BrandeisNOW article. Students who have received the Gilman Scholarship have traveled to countries all over the world, including South Africa, Russia and Bhutan. The Office of Study Abroad on campus assists students who are qualified for the program to apply. Ashley Trebisacci, a study abroad advisor in the office, says that it is a privilege for her to assist students in applying for such a prestigious scholarship. “It is always wonderful to see such deserving students be granted a scholarship that often makes a significant impact on their study abroad experience,” Trebisacci said in an email to The Brandeis Hoot. Trebisacci spoke about being a resource for students to help students “present the fullness of their identities, passions and experience in them.” Trebisacci
also explained that the Gilman International Scholarship not only asks students to express their academic and career goals, but to share their personal stories. “I always feel lucky to be able to bear witness to those stories and help hone and clarify them in a way that will stand out to the Gilman selection committee,” she said. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a program run with the help of U.S. Congress, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and U.S. Department of State, according to the Gilman Scholarship’s official website. Each of these departments is “committed to ensuring that our next generation of leaders—American students of all backgrounds—engage internationally to foster mutual understanding and develop critical skills in support of our national security and economic prosperity, as well as their own futures,” according to their website. Trebisacci distinguished the Gilman Scholarship from other scholarships because of the opportunities that it provides for students who may not have an opportunity to study abroad otherwise. The scholarship is also available for students who are Pell Grant eligible and studying abroad for credit in the fall, spring or summer, ac-
cording to the Brandeis website. “Because it is overseen by the U.S. Department of State, winning a Gilman scholarship also means being granted access to a network which extends beyond students’ time abroad,” said Trebisacci. “This includes opportunities to network with other Gilman alumni and resources that help further their career goals.” There are a number of different parameters that help the Gilman International Scholarship determine the top producing uni-
versities. The main parameters that the committee looks at are the ”priority achievement categories”: the number of first-generation college students; racial and ethnic minority students; students with disabilities; Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) students and Most Unique Destination. “Most Unique Destination,” involves looking at the total number of destinations an institution sent students to during any point during the academic school year.
The “Gilman Greatest Growth Institutions” is also given to the top three institutions of each size and type depending on the growth of students in each of the priority achievement categories. According to an article by BrandeisNOW, during the 20172018 school year, Brandeis ranked second overall among small colleges and universities, defined as schools with less than 5,000 students, in producing Gilman Scholars. In the 2016-2017 school year, Brandeis ranked fourth overall.
PHOTO COURTESY GILMANSCHOLARSHIP.ORG
March 29, 2019
The Brandeis Hoot 11
TRII advocates and their stories: Benjamin Dombrowski By Polina Potochevska editor
The Right to Immigration Institute (TRII) founded at Brandeis is a unique organization that trains undergraduates to become accredited representatives in immigration courts and to gain legal experience firsthand. It allows for immigrants to receive assistance with many types of legal processes, making sure they have the support and the knowledge they need. Benjamin Dombrowski ’22 is an intended international and global studies and history major, who is an advocate within TRII and is also serving as the interim president of men’s rugby. An active participant in the Russian department as well, Dombrowski was trained through TRII’s program in the fall semester and is now an active member within TRII. “I’ve always been interested in legal studies, and when I first learned about TRII, it seemed like a great way to get experience and to learn about the immigration system in a courtroom setting and get experience with legal writing, but I quickly realized once getting involved that there was so much more to it,” said Dombrowski. He explained that it is so much more than a volun-
teer group or a way to gain legal experience but that it is a true service to the people that TRII helps, and is “life-changing” work. His personal ties to immigration come from his father, who is a German citizen. His mother is an American citizen, but Dombrowski was born in Germany and moved to the United States at the age of five. “The experience I’ve had is so dramatically different than what these people have had, but seeing what citizenship has done for my dad and the benefits that he’s gotten from being a citizen… sort of led me to this in a way, and I think has imparted on me a value of citizenship,” said Dombrowski. His personal experience has also demonstrated the holes found in the citizenship process. For example, while he and his family moved to the United States when he was five, his father only just became a naturalized citizen a year and a half ago, and “he’s had to work, pay taxes, do all the things expected of a citizen in that time and still he only now took the test and has become a naturalized citizen.” Dombrowski also mentioned that his father’s track was easy compared to what other people have gone through, as he comes from a European country.
Currently, Dombrowski is working on a team with one other student and a volunteer attorney on an individual’s case. In preparation, Dombrowski and the rest of the team do independent research, the team meets weekly with the client, and help with preparing the application and affidavit for applying for asylum. They prepare for interviews with the client as well. “[We reassure] them that we’re going to meet deadlines and help them get the information they need,” Dombrowski said. Dombrowski explained that the work at TRII can be challenging because while it is important, there is a lot at stake. “It’s so much more real and raw when you’re working with this one individual, learning their story, realizing that they only have a number of weeks to apply for asylum, and if they don’t, then they risk having to go back to a country that they fled for real, serious reasons, and that’s sometimes hard to reconcile and to deal with.” He mentioned that’s what makes being a member of TRII so fulfilling because the exchange of trust with clients allows students to see the positive results of their hard work and form lasting relationships with others. Some of Dombrowski’s most positive experiences related to
PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK.COM
TRII involve his fellow members. “What really sticks out to me is being surrounded by people who are passionate and really committed to helping, not just to fixing the system and helping people through the system but helping individuals,” said Dombrowski of the inspiring work that the members of TRII do and the community that it fosters. “The time that they commit is just so impressive, how much of their life they give away for this free legal work. Really the people who come and the work they do [sticks out], it’s a great environment to be in.” Dombrowski is potentially interested in pursuing international law in the future, but
his involvement in TRII has opened doors and raised possibilities that didn’t exist before for other types of legal careers. For those who are interested in participating in TRII but are unsure, Dombrowski advises that legal work is not the only type of opportunity that TRII offers. TRII also is involved with outreach programs, workshops, classes for high schoolers about immigration and lobbying local politicians for legislation. “If you’re not interested in actually being in the courtroom and working on paperwork, that doesn’t mean TRII isn’t a place for you to get involved… the more people who get involved, the bigger impact we can have.”
Featured Events Calendar MusicUnitesUS Presents: The Notion of Melody—An Interweaving of Culture and Spirit Saturday, March 30, 8-10 p.m., Slosberg Music Center 2019 was declared the International Year of Indigenous Languages by UNESCO. As music has its many languages, this residency honors the creativity and artistry of indigenous people around the world by focusing on select origin musical traditions and their contemporary expressions. The classes the artists visit during the week offer explorations of music, history, and culture. In informal and open discussions, and in the soundscapes, songs and compositions the musicians bring, we hope to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Native American and Maori aesthetics and cultural values. Edible Book Festival Monday, April 1, 12 – 5 p.m., Goldfarb 1, across from the printers Do you like books, puns and food? Join us for the Edible Book Festival! Get creative and sign up to bring a dish. If you’d like to bring more than one literary-inspired item, that’s fantastic! But please be aware that only one will be judged for prizes. Any type of food is welcome, but the food will be sitting out for several hours (non-refrigerated), so ice cream may not be the best idea. Please label all dishes and serving utensils you bring. The library will provide bowls/napkins/plates/forks.
John Stossel: Freedom and Its Enemies Monday, April 1, 7-8:30 p.m., Olin-Sang 101 Libertarian journalist John Stossel is a zealous advocate of free markets, a syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor. Prior to joining Fox, John co-anchored ABC’s primetime news magazine show, 20/20. Stossel’s economic programs have been adapted into teaching kits by a non-profit organization, “Stossel in the Classroom.” High school teachers in American public schools now use the videos to help educate their students on economics and economic freedom. They are seen by more than 12 million students every year. Stossel has received 19 Emmy Awards and has been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club. Other honors include the George Polk Award for Outstanding Local Reporting and the George Foster Peabody Award. Come listen to Stossel’s talk April 1 starting at 7 p.m. Stay to engage with and question him after his talk! Doors will open at 6:45.
“Let’s Make a Better World” Concert and Book Launch with Jane Sapp Tuesday, April 2, 12:30-2:30 p.m., Slosberg Music Center Join an open class session of “Protest Through Song: Music That Shaped America” as they welcome performer Jane Sapp for a concert and mini-symposium. A distinguished educator, musician, cultural worker, activist and associate of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, Jane Wilburn Sapp has visited the Brandeis campus on many occasions over the past twenty years. She has often worked with groups of students to present their stories, hopes and fears in the form of songs. As part of a ‘Deis Impact series, she worked with students to compose “Better Days.” Sapp will be performing stories and songs from her new book co-authored by Cynthia Cohen, “Let’s Make a Better World” (Brandeis University Press), which explores Sapp’s approach to social transformation and its roots in African-American musical traditions. Other speakers at the event include Professor Daniel Kryder, Heller School Dean Maria Madison, and Boston University Professor Emerita Sandra Nicolucci. A reception with light refreshments will follow.
Kevin Hom: The Architecture and Design of the American University: A Short History and Personal Exploration Tuesday, April 2, 5-6:30 p.m., Mandel G03 This lecture is part of the Richard Saivetz ’69 Annual Memorial Architectural Lecture Series. This talk will explore the historical origins of the American University through an examination of the political, social and economic agenda that creates them. Universities role in education, leadership, research and development, and global issues affect architectural solutions for higher education. This agenda has shaped the architectural symbolism and design of the academic community and its current design. Hom will demonstrate three examples of his work which explore personal solutions to the criteria and issues that architects face when they design for the 21st century university. Revolutionary Jews: The Politicization Of The Iranian Jewish Communities In The Twentieth Century Wednesday, April 3, 12:15-1:45 p.m., Schwartz 103 This year marks the 40th anniversary of a broad-based revolution in Iran that eventually gave birth to the Islamic Republic. In March 1978, a revolutionary group was elected to the leadership of the Jewish communities in Iran. They began forming alliances with
non-Jewish leaders of the revolutionary movement and actively taking part in operations, including publishing newspapers and pamphlets aimed to recruit more members to the movement. This facilitated the active participation of Iran’s Jews, the largest group in the Middle East outside of Israel, in anti-Shah demonstrations. In this talk, Lior Sternfeld will analyze the social and political transformations undergone by Iranian Jews that eventually led to the role they played in one of the most important revolutions of the twentieth century. Lior Sternfeld is an Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park. TEDxBrandeisUniversity Thursday, April 4, 7-9 p.m. Shapiro Campus Center Theater A TEDx event is a local gathering where live TED-like talks and videos previously recorded at TED conferences are shared with the community. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis. The content and design of each TEDx event is unique and developed independently, but all of them have features in common. This year’s speakers include: Abeer Pamuk, Ángela Mendez, Ben Greene, Nakul Srivinas, Shaquan McDowell & R Matthews. The theme revolves around Past Perspectives, Future Minds. - Compiled by Shruthi Manjunath
12 The Brandeis Hoot
“To acquire wisdom, one must observe.” Editors-in-Chief Abigail Gardener Sarah Terrazano Managing Editor Emily Botto Senior Editor Ryan Spencer Copy Editor Natalie Fritzson Deputy Copy Editor Jennifer Cook News Editor Celia Young Deputy News Editor Rachel Saal Arts Editors Ben Beriss Noah Harper Opinions Editor Sabrina Chow Deputy Opinions Editor Sasha Skarboviychuk Features Editor Polina Potochevska Deputy Features Editor Shruthi Manjunath Sports Editors Zach Cihlar Shea Decker-Jacoby Deputy Sports Editor Sophie Trachtenberg Layout Editor Candace Ng Social Media Editor Emma Lichtenstein Cartoonist Helen Wong
Volume 16 • Issue 9
the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma
STAFF Medjine Barionette, Emma Belkin, Lucy Braverman, Camila Casanueva, Katie Decker-Jacoby, Chris DeMena, James Feltner, Daniel Freedman, Stewart Huang, Jonah Koslofsky, Jackie Kostenko, Alex Kougasian, Jenna Lifschitz, Josh Lannon, Thalia Plata, Joseph Silber, Zachary Sosland, Rachel Wang, Emerson White, Hannah Wilson
MISSION As the weekly community student newspaper of Brandeis University, The Brandeis Hoot aims to provide our readers with a reliable, accurate and unbiased source of news and information. Produced entirely by students, The Hoot serves a readership of 6,000 with in-depth news, relevant commentary, sports and coverage of cultural events. Recognizing that better journalism leads to better policy, The Brandeis Hoot is dedicated to the principles of investigative reporting and news analysis. Our mission is to give every community member a voice.
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March 29, 2019
Celebrating the women of Brandeis
pril will arrive on Monday, signaling the end of March’s unpredictable weather and hopefully an increase in sunshine. However, the end of March also signals the end of Women’s History Month, and we at The Brandeis Hoot want to applaud the empowering events that took place this month, which celebrated the diverse women of the Brandeis community. The Brandeis chapter of GirlUp kicked off the month with their first-ever Cupcake Gala. The event invited over 50 female professors to share expertise in their fields, discuss the challenges they’ve faced in higher academia and give advice on overcoming obstacles in the workplace. The event was larger than expected, with various groups of professors facilitating panel discussions in multiple rooms within Mandel and Olin-Sang throughout the three hour time frame. GirlUp also hosted a Self-Defense Seminar later in the month, in which attendees were able to learn some Krav Maga self-defense techniques and had the option to donate at the door to local domestic abuse shelters. Additionally, the Brandeis Demo-
crats Club hosted a Women in Politics panel in honor of International Women’s Day (March 8). Four local politicians visited campus to discuss the obstacles surrounding running for and serving in office. Similar to the GirlUp Cupcake Gala, the four women politicians on the panel gave advice to young women interested in going into politics who will inevitably have to navigate the male-dominated field. Events like these should be more widespread and not just reserved for Women’s History Month. Women, especially college-age women, are more empowered and ambitious than ever, but the legacy of strong, inspirational women that came before them should always be celebrated. There are also so many incredible women at Brandeis that we have to look up to as role models. Professor Anita Hill (AAAS, LGLS, The Heller School, WMGS), for example, who has always been a prominent and impressive figure not only on our campus but in women’s history, won the PEN Award this month. The award recognizes Hill’s contributions to free expression, fighting consistently for women’s rights to
speak up for themselves when they feel they have been wronged or abused. A Brandeis graduate, Karen Uhlenbeck ’66 Ph.D. ’68, was also recognized recently when she became the first woman to win the Abel Prize (the mathematical equivalent of the Nobel Prize). The STEM field is often especially difficult for women to navigate because it is dominated by men, but women like Uhlenbeck are beacons of inspiration for girls who are skilled at math but may not feel as confident in their abilities since they have only seen men succeed in the field. The percentage of male full-time instructional faculty is higher than female faculty (57 percent to 43 percent), but the undergraduate female to male ratio is 60.6 percent to 39.4 percent. Regardless of number, the women at Brandeis impress every day with their intellect and skill. They are motivators, groundbreakers and educators and will only continue to inspire generations of Brandeisians to go after dreams they may have thought were impossible. Happy Women’s History Month, Brandeis!
Corrections: A previous version of "Thank U, Liquid Latex," said that Sabrina Chow took photos as a Hoot editor when she actually took photos as Sabrina Chow Photography, hired by Liquid Latex as an independent contractor. The article also stated that a piece was titled "Space Jam" when it was actually titled "Planetary Expedition." The article also misrepresented the flowers that were given to Liquid Latex President, Rebecca Kahn '19. They were given to her by Max Michel '21 on behalf of the entire Liquid Latex executive board.
March 29, 2019
The Brandeis Hoot 13
Softball continues undefeated record By Zach Cihlar editor
Brandeis softball extended their winning streak to 11-0 over six games in the past week. Their undefeated record earned the team the designation of the best start in Brandeis softball history. On Thursday, March 21, the Judges hosted a double header against Eastern Nazarene College. The Judges put up an incredible defense in the field throughout both games, letting only one Eastern Nazarene runner make it to home plate in each game. In the first game, Eastern Nazarene was the first to clock in a run,
going up on the Judges 1-0 in the first inning after the visiting first baseman ran in off a sacrifice fly from Eastern Nazarene’s catcher. The Judges offense hit the gas pedal from the first Eastern Nazarene pitch. The team scored eight runs over just six innings, with the highest number of runs coming in the fifth inning. With three runs in that single inning, the Judges’ offense propelled the team to 7-1, disparaging the other team. The teams cut the game off in the middle of the seventh inning. During the second game of the day against Eastern Nazarene, the Judges didn’t relent on the pressure. Again, despite allowing a run in the first inning, the Judges
dominated play for the rest of the game, ultimately winning 9-1 after just six innings. On Sunday, March 24, the Judges hosted yet another double header against Simmons College but triumphed over the team in much closer games. The first game featured an impressive comeback from the Judges in the bottom of the ninth inning. The teams started the ninth tied at 7-7. After allowing two Simmons runs in the top of the ninth, the Judges had to rally back to see their undefeated record secured. Third baseman Marley Felder ’22 earned her first career home run and ultimately her first career walk-off by pounding a home run
in the bottom of the ninth that propelled the Judges to 11-9 over the visiting team. The Judges took the momentum from the ninth inning of the earlier Sunday game to earn another win over Simmons and advance their record to 9-0 after the weekend. They won the game 9-6. Brandeis softball, hosting another double header against Suffolk University on Tuesday, March 26, earned two high-scoring, easy wins against the visiting team. Their opponents tapped out after five innings in both games.In the first game, Brandeis won 13-1 featuring a home run from Bridget Cifuni ’21 and solid offense across the board. All of the Judges’ start-
ers earned at least one hit, and all but one starter earned at least one run throughout the game. The Judges didn’t hesitate to continue the domination on the field during the second Tuesday game. Suffolk’s six runs were not enough to make a dent in the Judges’ confidence. With a home run from Julie Fujita ’21, the Judges won the game 15-6. Brandeis softball looks to continue with their undefeated record Friday, March 29 against University Athletic Association conference opponents Washington University. The Judges will play in a four-game series against their conference opponents over two days in St. Louis.
March Madness: after week one By Camila Casanueva staff
After four days of madness last March, articles raved about how a 16th seed had defeated a number one, a 22-point comeback, buzzer beaters and upsets all across the board. One year later, the madness has not quite lived up to what occurred last year after week one., History was still made, however, since according to the NCAA, all top-three seeds reached the Sweet 16. While in the Round of 32, every single team favored to win, won – the first time this has happened since the tournament expanded in 1985. Not only did the top seeds win, they did so by margins of 14.2 points on average, higher than those of any other NCAA tournament opening weekend. Ja Morant from Murray State led the No. 12 ranked Racers over No. 5 Marquette. Morant entered the tournament with the most hype alongside Zion Williamson from Duke, as he is projected to be a top-three pick in the NBA Draft. Without many nationally televised games, Morant has not received the same type of spotlight as Zion, but he got his chance, and he showed up and showed out. Those who got their chance to see Morant’s performance on Thursday were not disappointed, as he recorded the first triple double in NCAA tournament play since Draymond Green in 2012. He led the way for the Racers with 17 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds in a dominant 83-64 win to advance to the second round. His 16 assists
are the second most achieved in NCAA tournament history. The path to a national championship takes a little bit of luck, and this good fortune came just in time for the Blue Devils as they survived a fierce UCF effort. The University of Central Florida nearly pulled it off, taking Duke down to the wire. It was a game they should have won, but every team gets a little lucky sometimes, and that was just the case for the Duke Blue Devils. The madness of the weekend was jam packed into the final two minutes of this game. UCF exposed Duke in a big way, and future opponents will look to do the same. Shots were in and out for the red hot Knights in the closing seconds, ultimately a T.J. Barrett put back off a Williamson missed free throw would be the game winner, 77-76. The UCF coach Johnny Dawkins played for and coached alongside side Krzyzewski at Duke. The two are very familiar with one another and Krzyzewski acknowledged this was a bittersweet moment for him. UCF dared the rest of the Blue Devils to do anything, completely disrespecting the shooting abilities of point guard Tre Jones, who could not make the Knights pay going 1-8 from the three point line. It looked as if UCF had found the way to beat Duke, but the stellar performance of Williamson pushed the Blue Devils over the hump scoring 32 points, collecting 11 rebounds, four assists and 3 steals. But will Duke’s inability to shoot from three hurt them with tougher competition to come? We will find out come Friday as the Blue Devils take on Virginia Tech in the Sweet 16.
By Sophie Trachtenberg editor
For the first time ever, one perfect bracket remains heading into the Sweet Sixteen rounds of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships. According to NCAA.com, after 48 out of a total 63 games have been played, a bracket titled “Center Road” is the only one that has been able to predict with one hundred percent accuracy. This bracket belongs to Gregg Nigl, a 40-year-old neuropsychologist from Columbus, O.H., who said that he actually had no idea that his bracket was in fact perfect. With a plethora of upsets that have already occurred, the chance of having a perfect bracket at this point in the tournament are slim to none, with the odds of correctly selecting 48 games being exactly 1 in 28,474,976,710,656. From UC Irvine beating Kansas State by six, to Murray State dominating Marquette by nearly 20 in the first round to the 12th-seeded Oregon Ducks surviving into the third round, Nigl’s accomplishments have both amateurs and professionals alike in pure awe. Nigl entered his bracket into the Capital One NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge and was ultimately contacted in order to break the news of his highly unlikely success. When called, he was completely unaware of his record-setting performance, as the NCAA reports that the longest game predicting streak ended at 39 games in a row.
PHOTO FROM THEWEBSTERAPARTMENTS .COM
Of course, everyone is wondering what Nigl’s tactics were. In his interview with the NCAA, Nigl said he has been a lifelong basketball fan and has been filling out multiple brackets across several pools for about 10 to 15 years, sending in four for this year’s tournament. He does admit to paying attention to some bracketology but says that it mostly comes down to his simple personal preferences. After making his initial choices based upon actual basketball facts and their corresponding seedings, Nigl shares that the rest of his picks come down to a variety of miscellaneous factors, including which cities he likes best, the rivalries of the teams themselves and even their coaches. However, Nigl attributes his success to sheer luck, saying that he never expected this degree of perfection in his choices that more or less could have been random. While Nigl’s bracket has yet to see a loss so far, there are still 15
games left to be played. In his interview with the NCAA, it was said that while it cannot be calculated exactly, the odds of a completely flawless bracket are nearly a 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance. However, at this rate, Nigl just might be the first person to ever do this. His Final Four includes a number one seed matchup on one side, pinning Duke against Gonzaga, and a showdown against the number one seed in the South region, Virginia, and the number two seed from the Midwest region, Kentucky. Ultimately, he chose Gonzaga to beat Kentucky in the championship, straying from the very common choice of seeing the basketball dynasties of Duke and North Carolina have another intense encounter. Although the statistical chances are not in his favor, hopes are high that Nigl’s bracket will stay intact until the very end, making history one round at a time.
Baseball picks up two wins on the road By Emerson White staff
This week, the Brandeis baseball team picked up two victories on the road, beating Salem State 11-7 and Amherst 6-4. The Judges also had their first home game of the season on Thursday, where they suffered a 7-3 defeat to Suffolk University. The team picked up two losses the following week on the road: Salem State defeated them in the first match of their doubleheader 11-4 and Springfield won 1-0. After these five games, Brandeis improves to 9-5 on the season. In their first home game of the season, Suffolk held
Brandeis to a low four hits and only three runs. All three of the runs for Brandeis were scored in the first three innings of the game. Third baseman Issac Fossas ’21 got the Judges on the board with an RBI single in the first inning. Designated hitter, Scott Ziegler ’21, also had an RBI for the Judges with a double in the second inning. The last three runs were scored by first baseman Alex Parrot ’21, second baseman Victor Oppenheimer ’20 and left fielder Nick Yanco ’21. On the pitching side, the Judges used five different pitchers during the game. Gavin Dauer ’22, and Marc Maestri ’22 both gave up zero hits. Greg Tobin ’20 let in three runs, and Kyle Shedden ’20 and Rik Jhamb ’21
each gave up two. Next, Brandeis played a doubleheader against Salem State on Saturday. The Judges split with the Vikings, and each team picked up a win. In the first game, the Judges lost 11-4. Despite losing the first game of the doubleheader, the Judges came out strong in the second game defeating the Vikings 11-7. Brandeis was led by catcher Luke Hall ’21 who drove in six runs for the Judges. Fossas opened the game scoring the first run in the first inning. Mike Khoury ’21 then hit a double RBI in the second, and Hall drove in two more runs putting the Judges up 5-0.Pitcher, Cam Roberts ’22, held the Vikings to one run during the fourth, and the Judges went up 9-1. For
Brandeis Khoury and centerfielder Dan Frey ’21 each scored three runs.On Monday, Brandeis traveled to Springfield where the Pride barely defeated the Judges in a 1-0 game. In this game, it all came down to the pitching. For the Judges, pitcher Mason Newman ’21 threw a complete game only allowing three hits. Newman finished the game with 92 pitches thrown, 62 of which were strikes. Tuesday, the Judges were on the road again where they defeated Amherst 6-4. Brandeis was down 4-0 at the end of the fifth inning, then the Judges fought back in the final four innings of the game to pull out the victory. Dan O’Leary ’21 started off the sixth inning with a double to kick off a hitting
streak for the Judges. The Judges drove in three runs in the sixth, scored by O’Leary, Weiss and Connor Sheehan ’21. In the seventh inning, no runs were scored by either team, but the Judges came back in the eighth to take the lead over the Mammoths with Fossas and Khoury scoring. The Judges finished off the victory in the ninth with a run scored by Sheehan. This was the Judges’ first win over Amherst since 2009. Up next, the Brandeis Baseball team heads into UAA conference play this weekend. The Judges will face Emory University in four games in Atlanta.
14 The Brandeis Hoot
March 29, 2019
“A No No” remix receives mixed reviews amongst unexpected collaboration By David Cohen staff
Last week, Mariah Carey finally released her remix of “A No No,” one of her latest singles from her 15th studio album “Caution.” The song features British rapper Stefflon Don and is rumored to hint at feelings of aggression towards Stella Bulochnikov, Carey’s former manager, who split from the songstress after their relationship “was no longer beneficial,” according to Variety. While the original version received positive reviews all around, fans have expressed frustration due to a misconception that Lil’ Kim and Cardi B were supposed to be featured on the new track. But after the new British artist was given a chance, ratings have begun to increase. Like the majority of Caution’s hits, “A No No” is dark and revealing, giving subtle excerpts on Carey’s life, including past and present struggles. It samples Lil’ Kim’s 1997 single “Crush on You,” even incorporating Notorious B.I.G.’s refrain, though faster in tempo. Unlike her earlier songs, which feature a wide use of vocabulary, Carey sings more colloquially here, explaining how she won’t give any more attention to someone who has wronged her. While the chorus repeats the same line “I said
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no, no,” she plays around with phrasings to make a simple yet catchy melody. Stefflon’s part, on the other hand, is a little more explicit. She raps about the same sentiment of being judged but also uses the solo to advocate her strength as a woman and artist. That said, while her verse does fit within the vibe of the song, the remix seems largely copy and paste, without many new elements aside from small harmonies made from Stefflon. The two artists were unable to collaborate in the same studio, which may partly explain why the innovations are limited but given Carey’s previous history with remixes, I was left underwhelmed. Alternative versions of hits like “My All” and “We Belong Together” feature differences in articula-
tion, tempo, and to some extent, genre, which all remain absent in “A No No” remix. It’s not quite clear why this song needed a remix, however, as the original version thrives as is. Carey’s previous remixes built on R&B and pop songs, but “A No No” is predominantly hip-hop and doesn’t feature intense melisma that would be better accompanied with a secondary rap vocal part. The only song in the “Caution” album that features Carey’s technical skills is “Portrait,” but given its rather emotional nature, I don’t think a rap part would be appropriate. Nonetheless, with 18 Billboard Hot 100 singles and a vast array of awards accumulating over nearly three decades, Carey’s success in
the music industry is unbelievable. However, one must notice her rather peculiar evolution in genres. The innocent gospel ballads that dominated her debut albums seem a far cry from the dark R&B/hip hop collaborations she now presents, but in light of creative restraints imposed by former husband Tommy Mottola, a change in style ought to be expected once given complete songwriting freedom. That said, while Carey’s album does present her character in a new light, her everlasting attempts to stay at the top of the music game seem questionable. As a fan of her music myself, I believe her ’90s and early 2000s albums showcase the best of her vocal ability, but her more recent albums seem contrived,
expressive in lyrics but tight in execution. There are multiple factors to this, as her vocal nodules have been inhibiting her voice for years, but still, the changes in style are noticeably incongruous. It appears she is facing a dilemma: To stick with her older hits and maintain her now adult fan base or continue developing new songs to appeal to a younger audience, risking some criticism in the process. Considering “All I Want For Christmas Is You” reached No. 3 on the Hot 100 this past December, a record high after 24 years, there is no doubt that Carey won’t be leaving the public eye anytime soon. Likewise, with a $500 million net worth, any further songs could be solely recreational, and her personal life would be unaffected. If I were her, I would limit song production to singles going forth and dedicate more time with other pursuits. Her songwriting skills could effectively translate to poetry writing, where she could make her mark in another sphere of influence. Evidently, there are multiple pathways to follow, and I hope Carey considers expanding her career in the future. While her “Caution” album may not be the strongest in her discography, she will always reign as one of the top singers and songwriters in music history. I look forward to see what she pursues next.
March 29, 2019
The Brandeis Hoot
Hot Dad embraces the void By Chris DeMena staff
It’s 2019, and no one is more logged-on than Hot Dad. In the wasteland of Youtubers making music hides an odd gem. Dancing in front of a green screen in poorly fitting outfits and making jams is Erik, aka Hot Dad. His (growing) channel currently has about 100,000 subscribers. However, few of his songs have gone viral. But Hot Dad is a genuinely talented, funny and endearing artist that deserves more attention. Hot Dad seemingly originated out of the stream-trolling business model. Following the footsteps of Matt Farley and Motern Records, he released a record with 101 tracks that only averaged about a minute and a half in length. But instead of following Motern’s logic of there being a market of people who want a birthday song corresponding to their birthday or name, Hot Dad made an album of fauxtheme songs for TV shows, most of which already have opening themes. This trait, making songs with no real concern for being relatable or having an audience, is what Hot Dad would end up doubling down on. His more recent work consists of a mix of dad rock and synthpop. His best work doesn’t hold up as just good for a joke song but as sound, well-crafted instrumentals. Additionally, he has a complementary talent for crafting catchy choruses. He is also
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an expert in intentional grammar mistakes, dropping quotes like “maybe we can go to the Moon or maybe the Mars” and “I’m having f*ck with hundreds of girls.” His biggest hits to date are memetic songs dealing with topics like Guy Fieri, vaporwave covers of songs like “Mambo No. 5” or constructing a song out of a Facebook page like “I Really, Really Like this Image.” He’s also become a master of the absurdist love song for the digital age. Picture the vibe of Childish Gambino’s “Because the Internet” but without the “nice guy” angst. “If U Reply” revises the trope of hanging on someone’s every word substituting in online engage-
ments (notifications, shares, likes and the like). “And if you share my post, I’ll keep it in my home. I’ll print it out and I’ll frame it.” As ridiculous as he sounds, he seems genuine and the song is almost touching. One of his more recent singles, “The Game Zone,” sees him on the sultrier side of things. The song is coated with gaming references as innuendos that make it seem like Hot Dad wants to have sex with his PlayStation. But the song is more bizarre than it is corny or tongue in cheek because half the references, like “I’ll use my tongue on your touchscreen” and “your frame-rate getting wetter,” don’t even hold
up. He’s so engrossed in the online community that he can strike this balance of making that world seem awesome and ridiculous simultaneously (see “I Love Websites”). When not navigating web culture, Hot Dad is committed to making songs with the most arbitrary premises. The title of “Just Tell Me What Font to Pick (When I’m Making Websites for Kids)” should speak for itself (he ultimately picks Times New Roman if you’re curious). As should “I Don’t Have a Sense of Smell” which features the brilliant chorus “when the darkness comes, I’m not gonna smell the light” and a verse where he just reads facts
he googled about the affliction. No other artist would pen a whole song about trying to convince others that he loves “The Star Wars.” No one else would ask us if we “remember the pivotal scene in The Star Wars when Character C did that.” Hot Dad is dedicated to being himself and deserves a larger spotlight for it. In a market characterized by talentless twenty-somethings shamelessly capitalizing on trends, there is nothing more refreshing than an actual dad being uncompromisingly weird. “I Love Never Changing My Clothes” is the anti-“It’s Everyday Bro.” The proof is out there; the world needs Hot Dad.
‘Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’ – first impressions By Stewart Huang staff
If you’ve ever played any of the Dark Souls games, then you know what to expect from From Software: Challenging but extremely engaging gameplay. And their new action RPG, “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” is nothing short of that. It’s too bad that I didn’t have time to play more of the game, but I did have two good hours of gameplay so far. Let me share some quick first impressions. As soon as I jumped into it, I noticed how much more mobile my main character is compared to those in the Souls games. Jumping is a simple button press and is now a core part of the gameplay. Not only do you jump a lot higher, but you can wall jump to get even higher. As a result, the level design has a great emphasis on verticality. There are parts where you will have to jump to climb up ledges, and it almost feels like I’m playing “Uncharted” at times, and there seems to be no fall damage, which makes platforming a lot more fun for me because I normally suck at it. In addition to jumping, you also get an awesome grappling hook that allows you to easily go from one rooftop to another. By grappling on to vantage points, you can perform drop stealth kills that can take out enemies in one hit, or get away from bosses that would otherwise kill you. It’s super exciting to do because you really feel like an agile shinobi who can go anywhere and efficiently murder anyone. Unlike
in Souls games, where your vertical movements are limited to small-distance jumps, using ladders and elevators, and falling to death, “Sekiro” is a great change of pace and a welcome addition in regards to movement mechanics. But let’s move on to the combat, which is obviously the core focus of “Sekiro.” First of all, there’s no stamina bar, which is great news for players who hated the system in Souls games and just want to spam attack and quickstep to their heart’s content. There is also, quite surprisingly, a resurrect mechanic. You get to come back from the dead on the spot once, with half health, if you’re killed, but you die for real if you die a second time, unless you kill enough enemies to get another charge. Howev-
er, shields are not present in this game and guarding enemy attacks requires parrying with your weapon with precise timing. This isn’t much of a trade-off though because you can always evade attacks with quicksteps. The speed of combat is quite fast, probably faster than any Souls game to date, but don’t expect to be able to play the game like “Dynasty Warriors” and stunlock enemies with pure button mashes. All the enemies I’ve encountered so far will try to parry and deflect your blows, especially the humanoid bosses. It’s also a lot easier to die, at least in the earlier levels, as your starting H.P. bar is quite small, and healing items aren’t easy to come by. So how does this all translate to
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difficulty? I have only played for a few hours, but I think I have a decent grasp of it. If you’re famil-
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iar with the gameplay of Souls games, you’ll be thoroughly challenged, but it’s not too far from what you’ve experienced before. In other words, it’s everything you expect it to be plus some new things to learn. As a Souls fan, you shouldn’t miss out on this one. But if you’re a brand-new player to these kinds of games, you’ll probably struggle a lot because there are no games on the market that are quite like them. They are very demanding, and it’s easy to get frustrated, and “Sekiro” will probably be especially more so with its high-speed combat, low health and lack of healing. However, I still highly recommend it to those who might be turned off by the game’s difficulty because it will be an immensely rewarding experience. If you can spare some quality time for gaming, “Sekiro” will make every second worth it. Trust me. I can’t wait to play more when the weekend comes.
The Brandeis Hoot
March 29, 2019
Trizzy Tré wins Springfest spot By Noah Harper editor
Trizzy Tré, the Rapper, recently won the BEAM Competition for Springfest 2019 student performer. I sat down with the artist— also known as Tré Warner ’22— and discussed his music, career and getting to share a stage with Aminé. Born in Harlem, N.Y. and raised in Minneapolis, M.N., Warner plans on possibly pursuing degrees in Education Studies and Business. “I’m a brother of Sigma Alpha Mu; I am a member of Basement Records; and I’m Black in America,” he said. With his deep baritone voice, Trizzy Tré spits words rapid-fire. During the competition, he dropped a freestyle video that demonstrated a formidable mastery of lyrical language. He extemporaneously rhymes “pavement” with “Cambridge” and then “space.” It’s dizzying. It’s probably because Trizzy Tré started out doing spoken word poetry. “I had a seventh-grade writing teacher who introduced us to this spoken word competition ‘Louder Than a Bomb,’” he said. “I was just infatuated with it.” Tré shared that his spoken
word origins were instrumental in who he is as a rapper. “It’s gotten me very good at being poetic with the things I say—there’s a message, there’s meaning to what I’m saying.” As to his message, Tré said:“Sometimes songs I’ll just straight up talk about being a regular dude and being lonely sometimes. Sometimes I’m talking about fear of police in my songs. Sometimes I’m talking about worries—I’m gonna possibly eventually bring out a black son, and I wonder how is he gonna develop in this world? Is the future gonna give him a life like mine? Is it gonna be better than mine? Is it gonna be worse? How am I gonna teach him how to be a black man who can survive through the trials we’re going through in America right now?” He listed a variety of influences for him as an artist: Chiefly, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Vince Staples and Jay-Z. He also has a particular soft spot for The Notorious B.I.G. “Biggie Smalls is probably like the first artist I remember—my mom, she grew up in the Bronx. She always tells me how she watched hip-hop come up,” he said. “‘Hypnotize’ by Biggie Smalls was the first rap song I fell in love with.”
It’s worth repeating that Trizzy Tré is just a first-year. It speaks to his skills as a performing artist that he was able to clinch the BEAM Competition in his first year at Brandeis—though he does wish that there were more rappers on campus “just so I could have fun and playfully compete with them a bit.” At the moment, he said, it’s not a very crowded playing field. “I wish there was more of us out there.” But that’s also meant that he’s
gotten to have plenty of performance opportunities to hone his craft. From Basement Records nights at the Stein, to March’s “Shades of Blackness” event, he’s been able to develop his art while sharing his work with a campus audience. At Springfest, Tré gets to perform on the same stage as Aminé, Rico Nasty and Ari Lennox. To prepare, he’s been working in the studio with his producer, Alex Flaxman ’22. “We’re just making
music together, making sure we got a good setlist.” Look out for new music to debut during his opening act. “There’s definitely a few new songs coming at Springfest,” he said. A talented performer with a lot to say, Trizzy Tré, the Rapper will take the stage on Sunday, April 7, with the doors opening at 2 p.m. “Look out for me at Springfest,” he said.
PHOTO COURTESY TRE WARNER
Gaspar Noé’s pulsing, claustrophobic ‘Climax’ is a bottled anxiety attack By Jonah Koslofsky staff
So the first time I saw “Climax,” I had an anxiety attack. From what I understand, you’re not supposed to take a drug like LSD solo, and I’d say the same goes for seeing this bottled trip of a movie. It was too much. I’m ashamed to admit that I reached for my phone for a quick distraction, but it was powered off (as usual), and I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. As I searched for something else to occupy me aside from the images on screen, my Buncha Crunch box became a pancake. My movie tolerance is pretty high, but this pushed me past my edge. Now what? After piecing myself back together and another viewing, I’m ready to talk about “Climax.” From a filmmaking perspective, this is a finely constructed, terrifying and powerful motion picture. But you should not go in unprepared—in fact, I’m not sure you should go in at all. Story-wise, things are relatively simple: We’re introduced to a multicultural team of French dancers in the mid-nineties, brought together by Selva (Sofia Boutella). Stuck in an isolated warehouse during a freezing winter, the group has been rehearsing for days, and after a brilliant opening performance (captured in a single shot), they finally have some time to relax. As the group drinks and unwinds, they notice an inconvenient buzz—their sangrias’ been spiked, and what should be an enjoyable evening descends into unspeakable madness. And as depictions of madness go, “Climax” has no equal. There are traces of the catastrophic, winding grime of the upcoming “Her Smell.” The atmosphere feels positively Lynch-ian, recalling the drenched-in-red roadhouse
sequence of “Fire Walk with Me,” and the acid-party of Frank Ocean’s “Nikes.” Director Gaspar Noé unleashes long, intricate takes, rivaling the backstage, kinetic momentum of something like “Birdman.” But where the latter’s view always remains level, Noé spins and twists his camera, and the showy cinematography pulls us into these characters’ drugged out perspective, whether we like it or not. It seems to last for hours. There is no escape—for neither dancer nor audience. I won’t pretend to be familiar with Noé’s equally abrasive filmography, a catalogue of “provocative,” French fare… that I haven’t seen. The craziness he conjures here does serve a purpose (beyond that some of his images are still seared into my retinas), as “Climax” doubles as an allegory for his country’s descent. Like the recent “Us,” Noé’s national outlook is far from optimistic, as he tears the idealistic pluralism of his characters to shreds. But still, “Climax” finds ways
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to trip over itself. After that spectacular opening dance sequence, Noé crosscuts between a dozen, smaller interactions, as the troupe
kvetches and gossips. But this portion of the movie, which exists to quickly establish the characters, is downright dreadful. The
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dialogue, envisioned as “naturalistic,” is frequently disgusting— what should’ve been an example of economic storytelling hinders the whole picture. Noé sort-of expects you to forget this sequence because of the ensuing insanity, but we learn more watching these people dance than from any halfbaked conversation. Then the talking ends and the terror begins. Frankly, nothing’s gotten this sort of reaction out of me since “Hereditary,” another outside-the-box feature distributed by A24. But who is this for, besides Gaspar Noé? Who’s intensely interested in seeing the fall of France through this hyper-horrific lens? There are movies that take us out of our comfort zones to worthwhile results, but “Climax” doesn’t belong in their company. If you must, tread lightly into it— this film doesn’t pull any punches, and you’re likely to leave feeling like you’ve just been punched in the gut. I can’t recommend it.
The Brandeis Hoot, March 29, 2019