Volume 16 Issue 20
“To acquire wisdom, one must observe” www.brandeishoot.com
October 25, 2019
Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.
Judiciary rules on constitutional case, Senate responds By Celia Young editor
PHOTO BY GRACE ZHOU/THE HOOT
Students gathered for the second “Critical Conversations.”
The Judiciary ruled that the Student Union President and Vice President violated the Union constitution and bylaws in a case centering on the ability of the executive senator to sit on Executive Board meetings. The results of the case mean that the executive senator has the right to sit on the Executive Board in the vice president’s absence, reads the full Judiciary opinion, in order to increase transparency and communication in the Union. After the full judiciary opinion was released on Friday, the Senate Rules Committee, chaired by Scott Halper ’20, authored an amendment condemning Simran Tatuskar’s ’21 actions and calling for her to apologize to several Union and ex-Union members,
and recommended an apology to the Brandeis student body. It also recommends that the executive senator serves on the Executive Board when the vice president decides it is necessary. The proposed amendment, which will be voted on at this week’s Senate meeting on Sunday, is part of the Senate’s powers to enforce the Student Union Code of Conduct. Punishments range from revoking access to the Student Union office, impeachment, a public denouncement, temporary removal from meetings and expulsion from office, according to an earlier Brandeis Hoot article. “The Judiciary is the ultimate arbiter of the constitution. They’re the ones who are supposed to be interpreting the constitution. And you may agree or disagree with our decision, but our responsibility with the Senate is to impose a See UNION, page 2
Univ. analyzes education effectiveness By Sabrina Chow editor
Students transferring to other institutions is the most common reason students withdraw from Brandeis, a self-study published in September 2018 found. The study also looked into educational effectiveness and external and internal
reviews of academic departments. In the study, Brandeis examined areas of educational effectiveness as part of the university’s accreditation process through the New England Commissions of Higher Education (NECHE). The eighth of nine NECHE standards focuses on educational effectiveness and student retention rates. Standard Eight: Ed-
ucational Effectiveness The eighth standard, “Educational Effectiveness,” looks to make sure that the university is obtaining a substantial amount of information from graduates about what they have gained through their college experience and which areas in the university can be improved as a whole. Transferring to other schools is
the largest reason students leave Brandeis, “which can be a sign of dissatisfaction with the quality of education,” writes the self-study. An analysis conducted by the university found that most of these transfers are because students are looking for a different type of school than what Brandeis offers. These types of schools include: a small liberal arts college,
a large university with a greater variety in programs or a state school with lower tuition costs. The second reason for withdrawal is for physical or mental health reasons, which has been a “cause of concern” for the university. Data from the National See ACCREDIDATION, page 4
Brandeis University donor and entrepreneur dies By Rachel Saal editor
Morton Mandel (P’73, H’89) one of the university’s largest donors, died on Oct. 16 at age 98. Mandel and his two brothers used $900 to launch an auto-parts distributor, Premier Industrial Corp., in Cleveland in 1940. They sold it 56 years later for $2.8 billion, according to the Druckers Institute website. The three brothers later created the Mandel Foundation. The Mandel brothers said that “the Hallmark of our philanthropy is our commitment to invest in people with the val-
Inside This Issue:
ues, ability and passion to change the world.” The Mandel foundation committed $22.5 million in 2007 to build The Mandel Center for the Humanities, according to the Brandeis website. “His impact on Brandeis is literally all around us: The foundation that he established along with his brothers Jack and Joseph funded the creation of the Mandel Center for the Humanities, the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education, three endowed faculty chairs, and numerous student fellowships,” said President Ron Liebowitz in an email to the See MANDEL, page 4
MORTON MANDEL Mandel,
Page 2 News: No website is safe. Page 11 Rookies compete in Ops: Why are you really here? Olympic trials. Features: New emergency management director! Page 10 Page 5 SPORTS: PAGE 7 Sports: Swimming swims to victory. EDITORIAL: Getting your money’s worth. Page 8
one of Brandeis’ largest donors, recently passed.
Love and information Department show wows! ARTS: PAGE 16
PHOTO FROM BRANDEIS.EDU
2 The Brandeis Hoot
October 25, 2019
No website is safe, says alumni lecturer in talk on advertising technology By Emma Lichtenstein editor
No website is safe, not even brandeis.edu. That idea was the focus of Walt Mossberg’s ’69 lecture on “ad tech”—technology that allows companies to track a user’s data. The Oct. 22 lecture before about 80 Brandeis students described how companies track things like which websites users visit, which ads they click on and how long they spend looking at the ads they see. Mossberg argued that ad tech has caused three major problems: the theft of user privacy, the concentration of corporate power and a rise in misinformation and disinformation. Mossberg claims that collecting user data, commonly done without user knowledge, permission or consent, is a form of theft. He explained that the concentration of corporate power has lead to five tech companies controlling what the general public
thinks of as technology, though he did not name these five. His lecture focused on a rise in misinformation and disinformation, placing emphasis on the spread of misinformation, which he joked was better known as “fake news.” Mossberg is part of the News Literacy Project—a project that “a national education nonprofit offer[s] nonpartisan, independent programs that teach[es] students how to know what to believe in the digital age,” according to the Project’s website—and he underscored the importance of valid and valuable information. So how should users deal with this problem of tracking? The first piece of advice Mossberg offered was an app and website called duckduckgo. Duckduckgo is a private browser search engine that prevents ads from tracking users. He then showed the audience another feature of Duckduckgo, which reveals how many ads were originally on the visited website. He displayed screenshots of differ-
ent websites he visited along with their ad count. The New York Times had 43 different trackers. The first of them were from Google and Amazon, but then it split into stranger companies that no one in the audience had ever heard of before. The Boston Globe had 82 trackers, including Facebook, Google, Amazon and several more unknown companies. Most surprisingly, even brandeis.edu was not safe. Duckduckgo found four trackers on the Brandeis homepage. Mossberg showed that both Google advertising and Google analytics were amongst the trackers. Mossberg then explained the three different types of tracking. The first type he mentioned was cookies, “a string of text that is coded into a website and can follow users around the web.” He described cookies as outdated at this point, despite being the most well known type of data collecting. The second type of tracking discussed was web pixels. He said
that a pixel is just one plot on an electronic screen, but that this plot can also follow users around the web due to its coding. He added that this is how Facebook and Google track their users. Lastly, Mossberg described maids. Maids are unique identifiers of smartphones, that every single smartphone has a different identifier, he said. He mentioned that phone providers downplay this feature, claiming that it can be used if the phone ever goes missing. Before wrapping up, Mossberg proposed his own solutions to the ad tech crisis, such as a strong federal privacy law. He pointed out that the United States has no federal protection of user privacy on the Internet, despite having many other privacy protections for other issues. His next solution was to bundle subscriptions together into a deal that works for most people. He acknowledged that many newspapers get their funding primarily through advertising, not through subscriptions from readers, but
that if readers could create a plan that works for them, subscription sales might increase. This could involve something like having the option for micropayments, paying for an individual article rather than a whole subscription. He also suggested that any collected data from a website should only be necessary data (like which articles in an online newspaper earn the most views), and that no third party should be allowed to access it. Privacy laws in the European Union and in the state of California are examples of governmental policies designed to protect Internet users, said Mossberg. He argued that his ideal law would force every tracking service to be opt in, and to regularly check back in on users to make sure that the tracking company still had the users’ consent. Mossberg is a retired journalist, who worked for the Wall Street Journal for about 40 years before he retired in 2017, and now serves on the board of the News Literacy Project.
Judiciary rules Student Union President and Vice President violated constitution, Senate responds UNION, from page 1
punishment,” said Halper in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot. Halper said that he and the Rules Committee took in opinions from the Senate and members of the student body, and concluded that the apologies were what was best for the Brandeis student body and members of the Union. Any apology, said Halper, would be reviewed by the petitioners, the Judiciary Committee and the Senate to make sure the statement was accurate to the case. There were no calls in the Senate for a higher punishment, said Halper, including impeachment. Guillermo Caballero ’20 contested this, writing to The Hoot, “Many students and some senators talked to me about an impeachment inquiry, however, I think that would not necessarily bring a learning opportunity for all parties involved. However, I do believe that a temporary suspension from office would have been an appropriate response to the many breaches of the constitution.” Tatuskar challenged the idea that a public apology would be beneficial, given that the disagreement was Union-specific and instead she is apologizing to individuals personally and privately, she said in an interview with The Hoot. Tatuskar wants to move forward by focusing on opening more lines of communication and creating more accountability within the Union. “I am still having private conversations with people as I should be, and I guess my perpetual concern is that if you mandate an apology, it becomes less genuine. And I am apologizing to those who I feel like I truly need to, but that’s being done on my own terms, and that’s being done on my own accord.” Tatuskar also said she was working with the Dean of Students Office to hold a mediated
conversation with the complainants, Senior Representative to the Board of Trustees Zosia Buse ’20, Caballero and Chief Justice Rachel Sterling ’21, and said she was uncomfortable revealing who she was speaking to privately. “I fully admit that there were things that came up that I accept full responsibility for that I didn’t do correctly. That is what it is. But I also think that it was a personal issue and a personal situation and all it showed was a lack of communication. I think that that communication, now that it’s happening, should be authentic. It shouldn’t be mandated, and it shouldn’t feel forced.” Halper contacted Tatuskar mentioning the amendment on Monday before the Senate met, which Tatuskar confirmed in an interview. The Senate will ultimately decide whether to enact the amendment, said Tatuskar, in their vote on Sunday. Halper also said the Rules Committee would consider a censure against Vice President Caballero that would be introduced at this week’s Sunday Senate meeting. The two amendments were not drafted simultaneously, said Halper, because Caballero did not attend the Monday evening Senate meeting on Oct. 21 when the amendment regarding Tatuskar was introduced. The two constitutional violations, said Halper, were also different in scale. The Judiciary opinion found that Tatuskar violated two articles of the constitution and one article of the bylaws, while they found that Caballero violated one section of the bylaws in missing “several mandatory Student Union events and meetings” and in not effectively communicating his disagreement with Tatuskar over the role of the executive senator, according to the judicial opinion. “I was surprised by the decision,” wrote Caballero to The
Hoot. “I thought we were able to miss a certain number of meetings to account for sick days or other circumstances. I do agree that I should have communicated my decision about co-chairs to Simran [Tatuskar] but I didn’t think that I was mandated to communicate the change on my decision about co-chairs given that I gave that power to the chairs,” continued Caballero. Caballero was referring to another disagreement in the case where he said that Tatuskar could choose the non-Senate Committee co-chairs in spring 2019 and then changed his mind in September. Caballero wrote that he trusts the Senate’s judgement in drafting the amendment. The Judiciary’s Opinion
One of the central elements of the case was the role of the executive senator. The Judiciary ruled that Union President Simran Tatuskar ’21 erred in not allowing Executive Senator Jake Rong ’21 to sit on Executive Board meetings in the absence of the vice president. At least four Union-elected members attend Executive Board meetings, where the Executive Board manages Union operations, meets with university administrators and carries out initiatives based on student concerns. The executive senator is required to fulfill the duties of the vice president in his or her absence, according to Article two section 4.3 of the constitution. The complaint was brought to the Judiciary on Oct. 7, before
The Judiciary case clarified the role of the executive senator.
Rong and Tatuskar met in person to discuss the situation. Rong said he wished the complaint wasn’t filed before that discussion, he said in an interview with The Hoot. “I would have liked to talk before the… complaint was submitted,” said Rong. “I definitely wish that conversation had taken place sooner, and I think that if we had more conversations of that type as opposed to trying to hash out everything through Slack, for example, we might not have had to have it escalate to that point.” Rong said that the Union is working to improve communication and Union culture as a whole. Tatuskar also said she hopes the Union will move on to take concrete, actionable steps to improve communication.
PHOTO FROM HOOT ARCHIVES
October 25, 2019
The Brandeis Hoot
Panelists discuss false knowledge as part of new general education requirement By Rachel Saal editor
Everything that you know, you have learned through the filter of your senses and your unique experiences, according to panelists on Wednesday in Sherman Function Hall. The panel was a part of the new Brandeis CORE curriculum that requires students to attend at least one of the “Critical Conversations” moderated faculty discussions, according to a previous Hoot article. Professor Angela Gutchess’ (PSYC) studies focus on memory, while Professor Jennifer Gutsell (PSYC) studies social psychology and neuropsychology along with how people understand each other. Professor Hannah Snyder (PSYC) studies cognitive functions related to mental health. The conversation was moderated by Professor Teresa Mitchell (PSYC). “The other thing about science is that we always have to be willing to drop what we think is true today in the face of new evidence that disproves it,” said Mitchell. Gutchess said that most people think of problems with memory as simply forgetting, but it’s more complex than that. A lot of issues regarding memory include the creation of false memories, according to Gutchess. She listed a series of words and told the audience to try to remember them. She then asked the audience to
raise their hands if they recognized certain words. When she said the word “window,” the majority of the audience raised their hands, and Gutchess said that she didn’t actually say the word window—she said words related to windows. This exercise was an example of how false memories are created, according to Gutchess. Gutsell explained how we care about what other people think about us in many aspects of our lives and often use our understanding of ourselves as a “template” when trying to understand other people. She said that this practice can often lead to us creating stereotypes when we see others as dissimilar to ourselves. The best way to correct harmful stereotypes is to “be humble” and find a “common identity” in other ways. Snyder described the progression of how mental health psychology has shifted. She said that the first stage emphasized psychoanalysis and the importance of recognizing and interpreting the meaning of harmful thoughts. The second stage is when cognitive behavioral therapy emerged, according to Snyder, and those harmful thoughts should be addressed and changed. She said that the third stage consisted of psychologists saying that those thoughts might not even hold significance and shouldn’t be taken seriously.
PHOTOS BY GRACE ZHOU/THE HOOT
New Operations Specialist joins Department of Student Activities By Celia Young editor
When he’s not taking night classes to complete his master’s degree, Jake Thongsythavong is working as the Department of Student Activities (DSA) new operations specialist, after joining Brandeis on Oct. 7. Thongsythavong, a second-year master’s student at Salem State University, is replacing JV Souffrant ’13, who started as an employee at Brandeis in 2017. As operations specialist, Thongsythavong also supervises the Campus Center Team (CCT), the operating staff of the information booth in the Shapiro Campus Center (SCC), the Usdan Game Room and works with DSA on their events and registrations. While managing both his job and classes is difficult, Thongsythavong says, doing both is worth it because what he learns in his program directly applies to his work at Brandeis and vice versa. “It’s harder than I thought it was going to be for sure, but I definitely think it’s worth it,” Thongsythavong said. “I’m getting experience here that I wouldn’t have gained otherwise just being in school, so I’m very grateful for the opportunity.” Though Thongsythavong has only been at Brandeis for about three weeks, he said he was excited to work with other department
members on projects like Family Weekend, which is this weekend, and in managing the Campus Center Team. One of the reasons Thongsythavong decided to pursue his master’s in higher education and student affairs was because he enjoys working closely with students. “[With Brandeis] being 20 percent international students, that was especially appealing to me because I definitely love working with international students, underrepresented students and students of color.” Thongsythavong first heard of the position when he was a program coordinator at Northshore Community College this past summer. Thongsythavong worked with the six-week bridge program Men As Leaders Empowered to Strive (MALES), which is designed to help new minority students transition to college and engage in their campus community, according to the program’s website. At MALES, Thongsythavong focused on planning and hosting events and workshops where he also met Director of Student Activities Dennis Hicks, who was working as an instructor at the program. Hicks told Thongsythavong about the potential for an open position in Brandeis’ Department of Student Activities, Thongsythavong said. Hicks lat-
er reached out to him when the operations specialist position opened, which Thongsythavong started on Oct. 7. Thongsythavong completed his undergraduate degree in counseling psychology at Johnson and Wales University but decided to transition into higher education and student affairs after he realized how much he enjoyed working with students at his university’s peer education organization. At Salem State, Thongsythavong worked in the retention services office which analyzed data on why
A NEW FACE IN STUDENT ACTIVITIES
students stay or transfer out of the university and how to help students graduate on time. Though the experience was valuable, Thongsythavong said, he much prefers to work with students than in data analytics. At Brandeis, Thongsythavong said he was transitioning into the role and his different responsibilities, like registering and planning events, and meeting different Brandeis staff members. Coming to Brandeis, Thongsythavong said that the Department of Student Activities was small but that the
transition into his new role was fairly smooth. “It’s still been pretty hectic but great hectic.” Thongsythavong supervises about 18 students who work in the information booth in the SCC, students who help set up and break down events and on events programming. Thongsythavong hopes to make the information booth a presence in the SCC and a fun environment for all students. Thongsythavong will complete his master’s degree in May 2020.
Jake Thongsythavong joined the department on Oct. 7.
PHOTO BY CELIA YOUNG/THE HOOT
The Brandeis Hoot
October 25, 2019
Students in BAASA, WoCA and MoCA analyze masculinity in communities of color By Lucy Frenkel staff
Students attending “Unpacking Masculinity in Communities of Color” learned about and discussed what the core of masculinity is, and how this “man-made” concept has the capacity to harm many, depending on who controls the narrative. Around 40 Brandeis students attended the event, which was held Wednesday evening in the Intercultural Center. Brandeis Asian American Students Association (BAASA) hosted the discussion about masculinity in communities. The event was also sponsored by Brandeis Women of Color Alliance (WoCA) and Brandeis Men of Color Alliance (MoCA). Representatives from BAASA, MoCA and WoCA respectively got up in front of the room and gave a brief presentation on the history and overview of perceived masculinity, or lack thereof, in their communities. Even though the histories of different people of color in America are very different, there are commonalities that one can dis-
cuss when thinking about masculinity, including emasculation, discussed the presenters. The presentations described that there was, and still is to an extent, a systemic form of emasculation in communities of color. U.S. immigration practices and laws in the 20th century expressed extreme xenophobia towards people from East Asia, expressing it by emasculating East Asian men, said Jasmine Le ’20. Le gave the example of a strict quota on Asian women allowed in the U.S., so that the Asian race in America could not grow. Meanwhile, racial mixing was outlawed and frowned upon. Lastly, the U.S. media started to openly caricaturize Asian men as feminine, as seen in, for instance, Mr. Yunioshi of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” said Le. The group came together to discuss this emasculation and characterization at the end of the presentations, including the lasting impacts emasculation and characterization have on the way people see Asian American men, and the way Asian American men see themselves. Next, Roland Blanding ’21 described how the U.S. disenfran-
chised and emasculated black males during the Slavery and post-Slavery eras of American history using three main systemic means: Restricting access to family, education and access to cultural capital. In this case, cultural capital is what you value as a society, said Blanding. Because African people were seen as subhuman “livestock” by slave owners, animalistic rather than
“empathetic” values were rewarded. Emotionality and selflessness were seen as handicaps because they didn’t lead to greater worker productivity. The event wrapped up with discussions on how we, as a society, can resist traditional toxic masculinity. Many echoed that in order for there to be healthy masculinity, it should be viewed as an individual definition, not a collective
idealistic goal. Some group members also thought it wise to not even think about “masculinity” when going about one’s daily life. Rather, men should strive to think about a code of ethics that relates to being a human being. Lastly, it was suggested that men should speak out against oppression that they witness against others.
PHOTO BY LUCY FRENKEL/THE HOOT
Brandeis analyzes education effectiveness in eighth part of accreditation self-study ACCREDIDATION, from page 1
College Health Assessment shows that undergraduate students at Brandeis experience greater levels of anxiety and depression than their peers at other institutions. The self-study added that 10 or fewer students also withdraw for academic reasons. Measures of success for highly selective colleges and universities are the “exclusivity of admissions process” and “success of graduating students,” according to the self-study. At Brandeis specifically, the university measures success based on the graduation rates of students. From academic years 2011 through 2017, the firstyear to sophomore retention rate was 94 percent with a 91 percent six-year graduation rate. The university also found that female students graduated at higher rates than male students. Asian American students were retained and graduated at the
highest rate, followed by white students, international students, black students and Latino students, according to the self-study. The Senior Survey, given to all Brandeis graduates, is another method in which the university is able to gain insights on the effectiveness of education. The survey has various questions that look into the graduate’s overall experience at Brandeis and their plans after graduation. The survey demonstrated that, on average, 97 percent of graduates are employed, attending graduate school or doing some meaningful activity within one year of graduation. The university also conducts external and internal reviews of different departments and programs, which add an additional perspective on the success of education compared to peer institutions. These reviews look at the curriculum, degree requirements, syllabi, faculty staffing levels, administrative support and looks into the experiences and opin-
ions of both faculty and students. The Office of the Provost created an ad hoc assessment committee in 2006 to address the issue of evaluating departments on campus. This committee created university-wide learning goals and sponsored workshops on developing learning goals for individual departments, which are showcased on each department’s website, according to the self-study. The assessment committee decided to change these assessments to a more decentralized model, which allows each department to choose how they want to evaluate their effectiveness. Senior Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Kim Godsoe told The Brandeis Hoot in an interview that a lot of assessment is typically decentralized because of the diversity of each department. “NECHE is just one form of assessment that the university can use to determine their effectiveness,” she said. One of the advantages of this type of assessment model is that
departments are “better able to design, reflect on, and engage in their own assessment processes,” writes the self-study. “[Departments] are more likely to embrace assessment as a tool for understanding what their students are learning and what expectations exceed student knowledge.” The university also recognizes that a disadvantage of this model is the compliance between departments. Departments are able to choose how
often they complete the assessment, so it is up to the university to monitor how much each department does assessments. Godsoe added that it is a huge burden on not only the university but also departments to perform these assessments every year because of scheduling and determining the best form of assessment. This is the sixth part in a series looking into the self-study.
PHOTO COURTESY NECHE
Morton Mandel, university benefactor and father of alumna, dies at 98 MANDEL, from page 1
Brandeis community on Oct. 21. “In all that he gave to us and to many other organizations and causes, he championed the same value and promise that drives us as Brandeisians—to use our skills, talents, and resources to improve the world.” “Described as having come at a critical time, when the humanities are under increasing duress
in a culture dominated by the hard sciences and the valuation of empirical data, the Mandel Foundation’s gift reflects the belief that society must support the liberal arts tradition, and that for education to be truly complete, it must be broadly constructed on a solid humanities foundation,” said the website. Mandel is survived by his wife, Barbara (P’73, H’19), his children, Amy ’73, Thom and Stacy, according to Liebowitz’s email.
According to former Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz in the Cleveland Jewish News, he worked with Mandel when he was first considering donating to Brandeis. Mandel wanted to “transform Jewish education and strengthen Jewish identity in the United States.” In 2009, Reinharz announced his resignation from Brandeis after 17 years, and became president of the Mandel foundation. “But in our last conversation,
he said please promise that everybody is going to feel comfortable, is going to feel good about the building. Whatever you can do to make that happen, don’t spare any money. And that was Mort,” said Reinharz in the Cleveland Jewish News. “I mean he cared about the people who worked for him. He was demanding. He wanted to make sure that things were done at the highest level. He always wanted to
raise the bar. But it was very important to him that people who worked in his business also in the businesses in Israel also in the foundation felt good about working at Mandel.” Peter Drucker, one of the most widely-known and influential thinkers on management, according to the British Library, named Mandel as one of three impressive CEOs alongside Jack Welch and Andy Grove.
October 25, 2019
Men’s soccer go 2-1 on the weekend
By Jesse Lieberman and Sabrina Chow staff and editor
Senior midfielder Max Breiter ’20 scored once against Washington University (WashU) in St. Louis and twice against Springfield as the Judges won two of three games this past week. The Judges are now 9-3-4 on the year and 2-1-1 in conference play. The Judges are in sole possession of third place in the University Athletic Association (UAA), with each team having three conference games remaining. The Judges split their two conference home games, losing 0-1 to then No. 5 University of Chicago (UC) last Friday and defeating WashU 3-0 last Sunday. The defeat to UC was the Judges’ first loss since Sept. 14, where they lost to, then, No. 1 Tufts University 0-2. The Judges traveled to Springfield for their final non-conference match this past Wednesday, winning 2-0. In game play against the UC Phoenix’s, the Phoenix’s were able to earn a goal early in the second half of the game, scoring in the 49th minute of the match. Neither offensive side were able to go through the defensive of the other team and the rest of the game remained scoreless. UC ultimately won the match 1-0. Breiter opened the scoring against WashU on an assist by senior back Dylan Hennessy ’20, followed by a goal by forward Will DeNight ’23, all in the first five minutes. Breiter’s two goals
The Brandeis Hoot 5
Men come in first at Hartwick Relays, women in the top five By Francesca Marchese staff
against Springfield tied him with DeNight for the team lead in goals with six, while Hennessy’s fourth assist of the year against WashU tied with him junior midfielder Noah Gans ’21. Breiter’s offensive showing has been a pleasant surprise for the Judges. Breiter hasn’t been much of a goal scorer in his career, with only four career goals prior to this season including zero last season. Similar to their game against WashU, Breiter came out strong against Springfield College, scoring two goals in less than four minutes, helping the Judges to a non-conference win on the road. His first goal was in the 22nd minute of the match, at 21:33 and the second goal was at 24:50. Breiter’s sixth goal of the season against Springfield ties his for the Judges and UAA lead in goals. Goalkeeper Greg Irwin ’20
PHOTO FROM BRANDEISJUDGES.COM
made a career-high nine saves during the game, making this game his seventh shutout of the season, and 13th of his career. After reaching the national semifinal in 2017, the Judges struggled to find their footing in 2018, going 7-9-2. The Judges have rebounded nicely this season, having equaled their goal total from a year ago. The Judges currently have a +14 goal differential, whereas it was +4 a season ago. Senior goalkeeper Irwin has been a large part of that, notching seven shutouts this season. The Judges will travel to Emory University on Friday, Nov. 1 and then to the University of Rochester on Sunday, Nov. 3 before closing out UAA play against current second place team New York University (NYU) on Saturday, Nov. 9.
In the second meet of the season, the Brandeis swimming and diving teams placed in the top five at the Hartwick Relays. After falling short to Roger Williams in the first meet of the 20192020 season, the Brandeis men pulled ahead and finished first in the Hartwick Relays, while the Brandeis women placed fourth at the meet. The women had numerous top three finishes in the mixed 200-yard medley relay, in addition to the 800-yard medley relay. The Brandeis men finished atop the podium, as they won seven out of the 11 qualifying races. This meet put the Judges to the test, as there were no individual races; rather, the teams had to work together to find success in the relay races. The Hartwick Relays consisted of 3x100 races in each category: a mixed gender 200-medley relay and an 850-yard freestyle. Senior Tamir Zitelny ’20 found great success, recording multiple fastest times across the board. Benton Ferebee ’22 and James Barno ’23 led their backstroke team to victory, winning their 3x100-yard relay event by an incredible 12 seconds—their time was 2:47:69. In the men’s 3x100yard butterfly event, seniors Jus-
tin Weissberg ’20, Matthew Arcemont ’20 and Barno dominated the race, finishing at 2:44:69 with a margin of five seconds. In addition to these outstanding victories, the Judges secured victories in the 200-yard freestyle relay, the 3x200-yard medley relay, the 200yard medley relay and the 800yard medley relay. Not to be outdone, the Brandeis women finished atop the podium numerous times, but their most successful win was the 800-yard medley relay. Juniors Audrey Kim ’21 and Emily McGovern ’21, who were joined by Bailey Gold ’23 and Christina McPhillips ’23, edged out the College of Saint Rose by .10 seconds, finishing with a time of 9:21:35. The Judges secured second place in the 3x100-yard backstroke relay, the 3x100-yard butterfly relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay; the women also had a few third place finishes, too, in the 3x100-yard breaststroke relay, the 200-yard medley relay, and the 400-yard freestyle relay. The Brandeis women teamed up with the men to win in the mixed-200-yard medley relay as well with Zitelny, McGovern and Gold, joined by Daniel Wohl ’21; they won by more than three seconds with a time of 1:48:01. Both the men and the women will resume action on Saturday, Oct. 26 at home in Linsey Pool against Vassar College.
Tennis ends their fall seasons, Tegtmeier receives athlete of the week honors By Sophie Trachtenberg editor
This past weekend, both Brandeis tennis teams played in their final tournaments of the 2019-2020 fall seasons. On the men’s side, the team headed south to Middletown, CT to compete in the Wesleyan University Invitational while the women traveled up north to Middlebury, VT to take on the Middlebury Hidden Duals. Colt Tegtmeier ’22 was the top performer for the men, winning his singles flight, while Diana Dehterevich ’20 and Lauren Bertsch ’21 both beat Williams College in singles matches to produce the women’s sole wins of the competition. Tegtmeier started off singles play strong in the ‘D’ draw with an upset against the number one seeded opponent from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), ending with a score of 6-0, 6-2. He then took on the Tufts University Jumbos, winning 6-4, 7-5 in the quarterfinals. On the other side of the bracket, fellow classmate Nico Ramirez ’22 beat out the hosts of Wesleyan 6-1, 6-1 in the opening round. From there, he matched up teammate Hunter Levine ’23 in the quarterfinals, forcing a third set with scores of 3-6, 6-1, 15-13. This is where Tegtmeier
and Ramirez met, competing in the semifinals against each other, but it was ultimately Tegtmeier that surfaced with the win, completing the match by a margin of 6-2, 6-3. Once again, the Judges would have a face-off against their own peers, as Tegtmeier took on Benjamin Wolfe ’20 after he had beaten the Bowdoin College Polar Bears 3-6, 6-4, 10-3 in the first round, an opponent from
Coramutla ‘21 and Aizenberg ‘20
Middlebury College by a 2-6, 6-4, 10-6 margin in the second round, and finally the Amherst College Mammoths by scores of 7-5, 7-5 in the third. This made for an all Brandeis finals, with Tegtmeier taking the top spot with an overall winning score of 3-6, 6-3, 12-10. Also leading for the Judges was Anupreeth Coramutla ’21 and David Aizenberg ’20 in doubles action. In the ‘A’ draw, the duo
took on all schools from the New England Small College Athletic Conference, first defeating Tufts 8-5 to open play. In the second, the pair beasted Wesleyan 8-7 (7-3). Against competitors from Bowdoin in the semifinals, the Judges won by the same margin of 8-7 (7-3) before heading to the championship. In the finals, Coramutla and Aizenberg saw action from another Wesleyan pair, de-
PHOTO FROM BRANDEISJUDGES.COM
feating them 8-6. Continuing in doubles action, Tegtmeier once again fought strong. With partner Rajan Vohra ’21, they were able to defeat RPI 8-3 to start off the bracket. Next, they faced Middlebury in the quarterfinals, winning 8-6. They continued to meet Amherst in the semifinals, winning handily by a score of 8-5. It was in the finals that the duo fell, losing to the number one seeded pair from Bowdoin in a tiebreaker 7-8 (3-7). For his performances, Tegtmeier received Brandeis Athlete of the Week honors for the week of Oct. 22. At Middlebury, the women’s tennis team saw tough competition in doubles action, as they were unable to pick up a single win. However, in singles, Dehterevich and Bertsch were able to come out strong with wins over the Williams Ephs. Detervich bested Katherine Orgielewics 6-4, 6-4 while Bertsch defeated Chloe Henderson in a tiebreaker 3-6, 6-2, 10-6. Both tennis teams will take a break until the spring of 2020 when they return to the court to take on the Bryant University Bulldogs. The men will also compete in their first ever run to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Team Indoor Championships in Minnesota in February.
The Brandeis Hoot
October 25, 2019
Women’s cross country finishes in 10th at Connecticut College By Caroline Wang staff
Brandeis’ cross country team had their final invitational meet of the season at Connecticut College Invitational this past weekend. At a quick glance, the women’s team placed 10th overall of 29 teams, while the men’s placed 22nd of 28 teams. The men’s team was running an 8K course at this meet. The Judges scored 629 points total, placing them in 22nd. Mark Murdy ’21 was again Brandeis’ top finisher, for the third time of the season. He finished with the time 25:56.2, 17 seconds faster than the last time at this meet. Josh Lombardo ’21, with his first performance of the season, finished second among the Judges with a time of 26:33.3, placing 147th. Dan Curley ’20 shaved his time at the last Connecticut College meet by 30 seconds for 174th place, with the time of 26:46.0. The two other top five finishers were Matthew Driben ’20 and Brian Gao ’20. Their times were
PHOTOS FROM BRANDEISJUDGES.COM
27:15.8 and 28:17.2, respectively. Overall, Williams College won the championship, with two top five finishers and the other three finishers all placing among the top 20. MIT came in second and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers placed in third. Moving towards the recap on the women’s team, they placed 10th among 29 other teams. This time, the Judges ran a 6K track. Brandeis’ top finisher was Dan-
ielle Bertaux ’20, leading the team for the second time in a row. She finished the course in 22:41.4, for 48th place. As a highlight, she cut her freshman time at this meet by nearly two minutes. Niamh Kenney ’21 came sixtenths of a second after Berta, finishing at 22:42.0. This is her debut race of the season, with the placement at 50th. Brandeis’ third finisher was Andrea Bolduc ’21, coming one second after Kenney.
Her time was 22:43:3, for 53rd place. In addition to that, she ran a minute faster than last year’s time, with an improvement of 38 places. Erin Magill ’22 finished her personal best 6K at 23:01.9, coming in 67th place of 365 runners. Hannah Walsh ’22 was Brandeis’ last top five finisher at 23:51.2. This is her third time being a top five finisher of the Judges team this season. Moreover, Walsh cut
her time from last year’s meet by one minute and 50 seconds, and improved 61 places overall. In total, the women’s team earned 333 points for 10th place. The winner on the women’s side was team MIT, with four top 20 finishers. Williams College placed second, while Tufts placed third. The cross country team will return to action at the UAA Championship on Nov. 5th in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University.
Women’s soccer drops two straight By Camila Casanueva staff
The Brandeis University women’s soccer team dropped a 2-1 decision to the University of Chicago in a University Athletic Association (UAA) contest on Gordon Field. It was only the third time this season that the Judges allowed multiple goals, this time to the Maroons, who are ranked 13th in Division III by the United Soccer Coaches and by D3Soccer. com. The first half was evenly played as both teams were able to get off six shots. However, the Judges had the slight edge with four of their six being on goal, compared to just one for the visitors. The Ma-
roons’ goalkeeper did a nice job denying Juliette Carreiro ’22 in the ninth minute as she came off her line to deny an initial save, then forced the rebound to go over the net. In the 24th minute it was Makenna Hunt ’22 who had her shot blocked, as the Maroons’ keeper punched her shot over the crossbar. It was Chicago who would finally break through in the 35th minute off a cross to the left side where the Maroons would fire a shot into the back of the net. The visitors were able to get a key insurance goal early in the second half when Brandeis was called for a hand ball along the goal line, leading to another Chicago goal and giving the Maroons a 2-0 lead in the 51st minute.
The Judges would increase their pressure in order to get things going. Brandeis broke through in the 64th minute as Daria Bakhtiari ’21 crossed the ball from the right side with both Juliette Carriero ’22 and Katie Romanovich ’21 inside the box. Carriero flicked the ball over a defender to an open Romanovich, who buried her first goal of her collegiate career to cut the deficit to 2-1. The Judges were able to get one more shot on goal, and it would come in the 66th minute from Bakhtiari, but once again the Maroons’ goalkeeper was there for the save, holding Brandeis in check the rest of the way. Brandeis had a 12-9 edge in total shots and a 6-2 advantage in shots on goal. Chicago owned the edge in corner kicks, 4-3, while Brandeis had seven fouls to six for the visitors. Victoria Richardson ’20 took the loss and did not have any saves. In their second UAA contest of the weekend, the Brandeis University women’s soccer team went head to head with the fourthranked Washington University (WashU). The Judges played evenly with the Bears for 88 minutes until WashU scored a heartbreaker with less than 90 seconds left in regulation to defeat the Judges 1-0. With the loss, Brandeis falls to 9-5 overall, 1-3 in the UAA. With a back and forth first half, both goalkeepers did a terrific job, each
PHOTOS BY GRACE ZHOU/THE HOOT
making incredible saves for their teams. For the Judges, it was Richardson who made an outstanding diving save in the 28th minute. Both teams had an opportunity to strike early in the second, but WashU was denied by another Richarson save in the 48th minute. The Judges would get going on a counter attack after the save, however Hunt’s shot went just wide of the goal. The Bears would increase their pressure in order to speed up the pace. It would finally payoff, after Richardson punched a shot back into play over the touch-line, WashU would take full advantage on the ensuing corner kick. The initial kick would hit the crossbar, but the rebound fell to another WashU player who
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would finish it off with just 89 seconds left in regulation. In the final seconds Bakhtiari would get a decent look on goal but sent the ball high over the net to secure a narrow win for the visitors. The final shots favored the Bears, 20-14, including 11-8 shots on goal. Richardson would establish her new career high with 10 big saves in the losing effort. The heartbreaker was reminiscent of last season in St. Louis when WashU scored in the final minute of regulation to secure the win. The Judges will look to get back on the winning track as they face Eastern Connecticut State University at 1 p.m. for a non-conference game on Saturday, Oct. 26.
October 25, 2019
The Brandeis Hoot
Volleyball looks forward to conference tournament By Courtney Thrun staff
The Brandeis women’s volleyball team spent this humpday playing the Tufts University Jumbos. The first set went back and forth throughout the entire game, and with a missed serve by the Jumbos—near the end of the game, the Judges were up 2423. After a kill by Desler and two attack errors by the Judges, the Tufts team was able to grab the dub, winning by the set 26-24. The Jumbos earned the first three
points in the second set, and the Judges were unable to get a lead anytime during the set. The Tufts team won the set 25-10. The third set began with an ace by Sophia Acker and a block by Belle Scott ’21. Unfortunately after obtaining this small lead, the Jumbos over took the Judges and won the set 25-18, winning the game 3-0. After their match against Tufts University, the Brandeis volleyball team had a few days to practice and rest before heading to Cleveland and taking on two strong University Athletic Association (UAA) opponents, the
Washington University (WashU) Bears and the New York University (NYU) Violets. Both of these games occurred on Sunday, Oct. 20. The first game of the day was against WashU. Washington University captured the first two set wins, winning both 25-16. The third set was do or die for the Judges, and they were able to come out with the win 25-17. Unfortunately their one-set win streak came to an end, and they lost the fourth set by two points, 25-23. Regardless of the outcome, Emma Bartett ’20 was an offensive weapon, obtaining the most
kills (16) between both teams. Kaitlyn Oh ’22 was also the game leader in digs with 19. After playing Washington University at 12 p.m., the Judges had a quick turn around and played New York University at 2:45 p.m. The game against the Violets had a similar fate as the last. NYU snagged the first two set wins, 25-18 and 25-19. Once again, the Judges pushed the game to a fourth set by winning the set 25-21. The last set was back and forth, both teams earning their fair share of time spent in the lead. The game was tight near the
end, and the score was tied 20-20. However, following a timeout by NYU, the Violets found another gear and won the set 25-22, winning the game 3-1. Amelia Oppenheimer ’23 led the game in kills with 14, and once again Oh, the Judges’ libero, led both teams in digs with 15. Following these games, the Judges are 1-6 in the UAA and 4-17 overall. They will be the seventh seed in the conference championships. Tune in as the Judges take on Emerson and Manhattanville on Saturday, Oct. 26.
Judges compete in Olympic Fencing Trials By Sabrina Chow editor
Brandeis Judges rookies Jessica Morales ’23 and Maggie Shealy ’23 competed in the first of four Olympic Trial events this past weekend in Kansas City, MO. Points earned during this event and other international scoring events will help determine the 2020 Olympic team. Any individuals that compete
at the Division I level in the three fencing events (sabre, foil and epee) have the opportunity to earn points towards a potential Olympics bid. Both Morales and Shealy competed in the Division I saber competition, making them part of a field of Olympic hopefuls. Morales (International Fencing Club/New England) competes internationally for Colombia and went 5-1 in pool play during the first part of the tournament. Her only loss was to Monica Aksamit
(Metropolitan NYC/Manhattan FC). Morales ended up with wins against Charlotte Scalamoni-Goldstein (New Jersey/ KUFA), Kathryn Kynett (Mountain Valley/Premier FA), Levi Hoogendoorn (Minnesota), Yi Lin Lu (Canada/San Bernardino/ AFC) and Aleksandra Strzalkowski (Colorado/FaoDenver). In Shealy’s pool, she went 2-4 in pool play. Shealy had hard fought wins over Kara Lindee (Arizona/Notre
Dame) and Catherine Kim (North Texas/GFA). She lost to Xinyan Chen (Georgia/Arsenal FC), Sarah Lacson (Orange Coast/Laguna FC), Mikaela Avakian (Southern California/West Coast FA) and Shreya Reddy (Mountain Valley/ Premier FA). After pool play, Morales ranked 22nd in the field of 125 fencers, qualifying for the final bracket with an individual score of +10. Shealy also qualified for the bracket tournament with an individual score of -8, placing 93rd
overall. In bracket play, Morales received a bye in the first round, guaranteeing her a place in the top 64. She beat Lola Possick (Long Island) to make it to the round of 32. Morales ultimately lost to 10th seed Honor Johnson (Southern California), good for a 20th place finish overall on the weekend. Shealy lost her first round match in the bracket to Ryan Kenkins (Orange Coast/Bergen FC) and placed 93rd overall.
8 The Brandeis Hoot
“To acquire wisdom, one must observe.” Editors-in-Chief Candace Ng Polina Potochevska Managing Editor Emily Botto Senior Copy Editor Natalie Fritzson Copy Editor Jennifer Cook Senior News Editor Celia Young News Editor Rachel Saal Arts Editor Jonah Koslofsky Opinions Editor Sasha Skarboviychuk Features Editor Shruthi Manjunath Sports Editor Sophie Trachtenberg Layout Editor Sabrina Chow Social Media Editor Emma Lichtenstein
Volume 16 • Issue 20 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma
October 25, 2019
Getting your money’s worth: plan your dining
n the wake of the university’s dining contract negotiations and the Request For Proposal’s (RFP) request for community input, The Brandeis Hoot editorial board would like to urge the student body to attend the RFP open forum session on Oct. 28 and 29 and ask the university to allow them to choose how they spend their money on food at Brandeis. Students who live on campus are required to have a meal plan. The current meal plan options that are available through Sodexo at Brandeis require students to also purchase a fixed amount of “points,” which can be spent in select locations on campus. For many students, especially first-years and sophomores, coming to Brandeis is the first time that they are being financially independent from their families, even if it is in a limited capacity. The points and meal swipes, however, encourage a relaxed approach to budgeting and semester spending, even though there is a suggested budget chart on Brandeis’ website. Meal swipes expire at the end of each week, and points expire at the end of each year. This expiration creates a pressure for students to either spend their money or watch it “disappear.” The pressure to spend these points and swipes also allows students to ignore the high prices
that their swipes translate to and ignore the amount of money that they are actually spending on late-night C-Store runs. Additionally, the words “point” and “swipe” denote that the act of spending money is a game rather than the act of spending limited funds. Even though there are price signs at the swipe stations when entering the dining halls, these signs are small and the prices are inconsequential to students when they understand that they have already spent money on their swipes. And, at the C-Store, not every item has a label with how much it costs, which encourages students to simply pick out the things they want and hope that they have enough points left to cover what they are buying. The first step to combat this is to attend the RFP open forum session to ensure that the dining committee and the administration are advocating for your ability to be financially responsible while at Brandeis. With this, we commend the university for making strides to help students be more fiscally responsible by including the new Brandeis Core requirement category of Health, Wellness and Life Skills (HWL), which offers courses such as “Financial Literacy for College Graduates.” Topics discussed in the class include “bank accounts, salary and job benefits, managing credit and saving for
long-term goals,” according to the syllabus. There are ways to save in college, apart from budgeting your points and meal plans. One tip to be more fiscally responsible is to take advantage of resources on campus. For example, if you live off campus and do not have a meal plan or have food-related difficulties, Brandeis has an on campus free food pantry stocked with nonperishables, in which students can take a few items as needed. There is an online registration form, and the pantry itself is located in the Graduate Student Center conference room in Kutz Hall. Classes like the ones offered in the new HWL curriculum can give students valuable skills in budgeting. However, Brandeis can still improve upon students’ understanding of budgeting and spending habits. Points are money, and students need to understand that the system that Brandeis uses does not translate to the real world. The money you save in real life does not disappear if you don’t spend it, and you are not on a time-crunch to buy things with it. Outside of meal plans and points, there are ways to save money during college and learn how to budget, despite the arguably negative effects of the spend-or-lose system.
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Faria Afreen, Medjine Barionette, Emma Belkin, Camila Casanueva, Chris DeMena, Tim Dillon, James Feltner, Sam Finbury, John Fornagiel, Lucy Frenkel, Madeline Herrup, Stewart Huang, Gunnar Johnson, Alex Kougasian, Aaron LaFauci, Dane Leoniak, Jesse Lieberman, Josh Lannon, Francesca Marchese, Victoria Morrongiello, Zach Newman, Lucy Pugh-Sellers, Madeline Rousell, Zachary Sosland, Courtney Thrun, Emerson White, Nicole Zador, Grace Zhou
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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Corrections A previous version of the article "Brandeis' online reporting site offers anonymity with follow-up" printed on Oct. 18 misspelled Jurado’s name. The date of the founding of the Office of Equal Opportunity was also March 2018, not March 2019. OEO also handles the investigation and resolution of any reports of discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct. The 90 days goal is also not limited to Title IX complaints, but all formal complaints.
October 25, 2019
What a great smelling cow.
The Brandeis Hoot 9
PHOTO BY SABRINA CHOW/THE HOOT
Waking up early has its perks.
We love books!
WEEK IN PHOTOS
PHOTO BY EMMA LICHTENSTEIN/THE HOOT
Brandeis Tennis Club jumped up a bracket during the USTA Sectionals tournament! (Not sponsored by corn flakes). BTC
PHOTO BY POLINA POTOCHEVSKA/THE HOOT
Honey Pot Hill never disappoints.
PHOTO BY SABRINA CHOW/THE HOOT
PHOTO BY CANDACE NG/THE HOOT
10 The Brandeis Hoot
October 25, 2019
Manfredo’s goals as the Emergency Management Director By Shruthi Manjunath editor
In many cases, emergencies strike which creates terror and uproar in the community. Individuals then have to deal with the aftermath of the emergency and must work together to mend the community. To prevent these emergencies from happening in the first place, steps need to be taken in order to create back-up plans so that individuals do not have to deal with loss and heartache. In college, many students are living on their own for the first time in their life. As a result, they often take their safety for granted and may not be educated on how to manage emergency situations. Students should be familiar with
Campus Safety Office, be careful at night, learn how to defend themselves, and have safety and security supplies available. In addition, students should always walk in groups at night and be aware of their surroundings. Specifically, here at Brandeis, in January 2019, Josh Manfredo was elected to a new position of Emergency Management Director. This position includes anything from writing emergency planning documents, meeting with individuals to discuss any concerns and finding solutions, talking to members of the community about what to do before, during, and after an emergency, and creating exercises for emergency drills. Manfredo explains that there are three basic steps to being prepared for an emergency. The first step is to be informed. Individuals
Samuel W. Adams and Joshua Manfredo at a convention together. THE URI OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
PHOTO FROM TODAY.URI.EDU
must be aware of their surroundings. Specifically, individuals must know their exits, any evacuation plans, and where any fire extinguishers or automated external defibrillators are found. In addition, individuals must know if something in the environment does not seem right. In some cases, individuals must know about reporting methods. Staff members or the Public Safety website are options for knowing reporting methods. The second step is to plan ahead. In every situation, individuals should have a communications plan in which they are able to communicate with someone during an emergency. Individuals should also have an emergency kit which includes essentials such as food, water, medicines, clothing, a flashlight, and a radio. The website www.ready.gov provides methods for creating plans and preparing emergency kits. The third step is to take action. Individuals can participate in training sessions provided by Public Safety. These training sessions include topics such as CPR and how to respond to an active threat. Individuals can visit www. brandeis.edu/emergency-prepare to find information on how to act in specific scenarios that could occur on campus. Individuals should also register for the Brandeis Emergency Notification System which provides information about snow days and other emergencies.
PHOTO FROM TWITTER.COM
Manfredo explains that as the Emergency Management Director, his short term goal is to have more discussion based training. He has spoken to groups on campus about what to do during emergencies however he wants to speak to more individuals. He also wants to create a short survey in which he can understand the community’s awareness of emergency management. Based on that survey, he will work towards educating the community on emergency management. Manfredo’s long term goal includes changing the perception of emergency preparedness activities. Specifically, Manfredo wants to “be more proactive” and stop
future emergencies from happening. Overall, at one point in their life, individuals will be put in an emergency situation in which they must learn to think on their feet and devise a solution to the situation they are in. To prepare for this situation, individuals can take training sessions, create an emergency kit, and in general just educate themselves. It is important to always be aware of one’s surroundings and remain calm. Together, individuals can work together to prevent future emergency situations from happening, but also in general just be prepared for what life may throw at them.
Lead UDR Advisory Board acts as bridge between UDR’s and faculty By Sabrina Chow editor
When looking for advice on classes, there are always many options around campus and resources who are able to provide assistance. Whether it be your academic advisor, a Roosevelt Fellow or Undergraduate Departmental Representative (UDR), all these resources are here to make your class decision-making process easier. Within the UDR program, select UDR’s have been chosen to serve as “Lead UDRs” to serve on an advisory board. There is one Lead UDR for each School of Arts and Sciences Division (Creative Arts, Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences) as at-large Lead UDR,
Joan Tarkulich, the program administrator for the UDR program, told The Brandeis Hoot in an interview. Each of these Lead UDRs meet with the faculty lead of each division and work toward integrating all the departments and programs under their division. Renee Korgood ’20, a second year UDR for the politics department and the Lead UDR for the Division of Social Science, decided to apply to become a UDR because she really enjoys helping students and actively wanted to make the politics department more visible on campus. “As someone who’s interested in not only national but also state politics, people usually have one-sided views,” Korgood told The Hoot in an interview. “I am hoping to expand the politics program’s profile and how politics is seen at Brandeis.”
MEMBERS OF THE 2018-2019 RUSSIAN STUDIES DEPARTMENT
PHOTO BY POLINA POTOCHEVSKA/THE HOOT
Fox Baudelaire ’20, a second year UDR for the biological physics department and the Lead UDR for the Division of Science, also saw that there is a need to make the UDR program more visible. “I saw that there was room for improvement and its mission,” he said in an interview. The Lead UDR Advisory Board was created to create a stronger line of communication between each division head and UDRs, said Elaine Wong, the senior associate dean for undergraduate education. The board also came out of a conversation in the undergraduate academic advising working group within the task force on the undergraduate experience in President Ron Liebowitz’s Framework for Our Future. “A student member of the committee, who was a UDR while he was at Brandeis, suggested that it would be helpful” to build a program that better integrates students with faculty and staff, Wong said. Tarkulich added that the Lead UDR Advisory Board allows UDRs “to build a smaller community within the bigger program,” she said. “It is starting to bring a focus to looking at the UDR program as a whole and having more student leadership in the program. Ideas will now be coming from and being executed by the students themselves, without as much oversight from the dean’s office.” Korgood finds the most fulfilling part about being a UDR
the ability to help “students find an enjoyable path or major and take courses that fulfill interests or taking courses that may interest them that they would not have known about without speaking with me,” she told The Hoot. “I wanted to go above and beyond, and I wanted there to be a greater sense of community [in the UDR program],” Baudelaire told The Hoot about why he wanted to apply for the Lead UDR Advisory Board. Korgood added that she applied for the advisory board because she liked being a UDR and wanted to be in a greater peer advisory position on campus. “I have learned a lot about being a UDR: communication, event planning and working with professors and faculty members who might not have time to figure out an event to plan,” she told The Hoot. “I wanted to pass along what I had learned, especially to new UDRs, who may not know some things about the department that they are UDRs for.” The UDR program has not seen major changes since the Lead UDR Advisory Board was formed, since the program is so new, but the program is working towards bringing more cohesion with different departments. “We are just trying to bring everyone together,” Korgood told The Hoot. “Lots of departments have done collaborative activities, but we think there can be more collaboration but with more coordination as well.”
PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK.COM
The Lead UDR Advisory Board meet with Wong and Tarkulich each week and also with the faculty head of their respective divisions. “We work with other Lead UDRs working on initiatives to improve the student experience and streamline the UDR program,” Korgood told The Hoot. Tarkulich also spoke about how they are hoping to expand the reach of the UDR program and have a representative for every program on campus. There are 125 UDRs currently employed for the 2019-2020 academic school year. Applications for the UDR program open in the late spring semester. Students interested in being a part of Lead UDR Advisory Board must have served as a UDR for at least a year prior to applying. Editor’s Note: Editor-in-Chief Polina Potochevska ’20 is a UDR for the Russian studies department.
October 25, 2019
The Brandeis Hoot 11
I got into my favorite lab! Now what?
By Faria Afreen staff
Many students who come to Brandeis intending to be a science major want to get involved with the research happening in the labs all around campus. We are lucky that even though Brandeis is a research university, undergraduate students have the opportunity—and are encouraged—to get involved with research and contribute to our understanding of the world and ourselves. After you’ve been invited to join a lab, it is important to determine whether the lab environment and your assigned mentor is a good fit. Gaining lab experience is valuable, but if your mentor is not making your time in the lab enjoyable, please do yourself a favor and ask the Principal Investigator (PI) for a mentor switch or join a different lab. Not all mentors are perfect, but it’s important to choose one that best suits your personality and is committed to helping you grow as a scientist. I had the experience of having a bad mentor, and learned the hard way before meeting my current mentor. I am very thankful for her dedication to teaching me, answering my questions, as well as encouraging my curiosity and professional development. Her consideration for my time, well-being and responsibilities outside of lab makes her a joy to work it and the lab environment a safe learning place. Here are some questions to consider when thinking about your mentor: 1. Are they respectful of your questions? Do they answer them immediately, or do they ask you to look them up on your own without any direction? Post-docs can be very busy, but are they someone who cares more about you getting them results than your actual learning? Do they seem to be mentoring you solely because their PI asked them to or because it will look good when they’re applying to faculty positions? The same applies to graduate students, as they are also very busy with all their duties. It is important that your mentor
does not take their stress out on you by reacting to your confusion with disrespect, even if they are busy! That being said, it is equally important that you also take the time to process and understand the material they have taught you, take notes, and attempt to answer your own questions. Asking for help is a critical skill to learn, especially if you plan on going to graduate school. As a graduate student, you might have to figure out a lot of information on your own, through trial and error or asking others. 2. Are you constantly seeking help from someone outside or inside of lab instead of them? Are you comfortable telling them you don’t understand something?
Once, my former post-doc mentor asked me to learn how different cells recognize foreign material that may cause an immune response. Even though I had previously told him I had never taken an immunology course and understanding primary literature about MHCs and the different expression levels in different types of cells was difficult, my then post-doc was unkind as I explained to him what I did know. It was frustrating that I had to reach out to someone else to better understand the material when he could have helped me understand. To make the situation worse, he was upset when I took time to meet with someone to understand the material, instead of being in the lab. There was also a time when he asked me to design TaqMan probes for qPCR to detect single point mutations. I had suggested to him that sequencing is the best way to detect point mutations, but he insisted that I do this method to save time. Since he had seemed to not have done this himself, I scoured through various literature and papers to create primers that would be best for experiment. I loved that he gave me the independence to figure out this on my own, but when my attempts did not work, his sour reaction made feel discouraged. As an undergraduate scientist, your mentor should be able to help you through things, wheth-
er it is understanding why something went wrong or working with you to figure out the best design for an experiment. 3. Do their teaching methods fit with how you best learn?
Along with this question, it is important to think about your previous lab experience. Do you enjoy—or are you able to—being more independent, or would you rather have a more hands-on mentor? Are you someone who can apply something with theories alone, or are you a more hands-on/visual learner? Does your mentor give you papers and go over them with you, or do they assume you understand it? Do you like more structure and having a list of tasks to do when you’re in the lab, or can you learn equally well when things are less structured and spontaneous? 4. Are they respectful when they give you feedback or when you make mistakes? We all make mistakes. What is important is what you learn from it. Your mentor should not make you feel like you are a terrible person or scientist because you did something you did not know or because something did not go well. I once threw out a sample not knowing how important it was because my mentor was absent, and I was used to doing so in a previous lab. My mentor at that time showed visible tension and made me feel like he was going
to hurt me. You absolutely do not want to be in this situation.
5. Are they respectful of your responsibilities outside of lab (i.e school work)? As undergraduates, we have responsibilities outside of lab, schoolwork and otherwise. While you should always work your lab schedule around your mentor’s and make sure to let your mentor know if you can’t be in early in the week (especially when you’re first starting out and are not quite independent), your mentor should be supportive of your academic and social commitments—and not annoyed by them. Your mentor might not understand all your responsibilities and priorities when you first join, so it may be important for you to talk to them about it. Work together to create the best game plan to reach your lab project goals while balancing your other duties. 6. Are they excited about and committed to help you when you apply for opportunities? There are so many opportunities in the sciences, such as programs, fellowships, conferences and grants. Is your mentor someone who understands the importance of applying to these for your career, and supports you in doing so? Do they take the time to mentor you and give you feedback? I once was told “you’re more excited about finding your next opportunity than lab” when I was applying to present at a con-
ference, and I thought this was completely wrong. This is what I would say is gaslighting, and is a completely disingenuous interpretation of who I am. I was encouraged to apply and was excited for the opportunity to share what I was doing because I loved my project. How could I not be excited to write about my research? 7. Are they respectful about your future career choice? Your mentor should be respectful of your career path beyond your bachelor’s degree. It is completely fine to not know what you want to do after, but some mentors specifically want students who are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. I once had a mentor who disliked me because I had said I want to do an MD, and got even more upset when I sparked an interest in pursuing MD-Ph.D. programs. Instead of understanding my reason for wanting to pursue a certain career, I was told that I was wasting an opportunity. If your mentor loved their experience in graduate school, they should share their experience with you and give you reasons to pursue a Ph.D. instead of the other degrees you’re interested in. It is important to talk to both your PI and mentor early on about what your goals are. Don’t be shy about stating ambitious goals—they can help you create more manageable ones, or let you know if their lab is not the best choice for pursuing your goals.
PHOTO FROM SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Cloning myself? By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor
It is that exciting time of the year again. You know the time I’m talking about. The one during which you are running around like a chicken with its head cut off because early registration starts tomorrow and you have no idea what you are majoring in, let alone what classes you want to take. Planning your schedule is stressful: there are so many factors to consider. If you know what you’re majoring in, great, you eliminated a major issue. But even if you know your major, there are so many requirements, prerequisites, co-requisites and all that fun stuff. Oh yeah, and then there are the general graduation requirements. Everyone forgets about those. Then when you finally figure out what classes you need to take,
you go to see when those classes are offered, and guess what? You cannot take two of them because they overlap. This is what makes creating your schedule so frustrating. Well, all the classes you need are at the same time. Last semester, I had four classes I needed to take offered at the same time. Three of them were within the same department! Unless Brandeis has a cloning machine I am not aware of, this appears to be a problem, and not only for me. I understand that classes overlapping are unavoidable, but at Brandeis there are “popular” times, when every single class you can imagine is offered, and “dead” times, where unless you’re a theatre or music major, there are no classes for you. And this is something that is really starting to become an issue, not only for students, but for professors with low enrollment. Let’s take a look at Spring of
2020. The “popular” times are Monday, Wednesday, 2 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. (block K) and 3:30 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. (block L), as well as Tuesday, Thursday, 2 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. (block N) and 3:30 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. (block P). Don’t get me wrong, those really are great times. Having my first class at 2 p.m. every day? Yes, please! In Spring 2020, block K has 83 different classes offered. According to my addition (which is somewhat reliable) there are classes in 33 various departments offered. Talk about variety. Block L has 72 different classes offered, in 27 departments. Also not bad, right? Block N has 77 different classes offered, in 30 departments. And finally, block P has 67 different classes offered, in 23 departments. Some of the blocks are more diverse than others, but what about the “dead” times? There are quite a lot of those, but let’s look at Tuesday, Friday 8 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. (block A2),
Fridays 2 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. (block S5), and Monday, Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 9:50 a.m. (block BX). Block A2 has 38 classes, in only seven departments. Twenty-three out of those 38 classes are music classes. Nothing against music, but this block is far from the definition of variety. Block BX has 39 classes, in eight departments. A little bit better than the previous block, but… out of those 39 classes 23 are, you guessed it, music classes. Those lucky music majors. But okay, I get it, those two are morning classes, and no one really likes those. But what about block S5? It has 40 classes, in eight departments. And like in the previous two blocks, music classes account for over half of them. So maybe I am being a little dramatic in calling them “dead” times, but they are not exactly “popular” either. The average amount of classes per block (without doing any complex math) ap-
pears to be around 50 to 60 classes per block. That is also a lot, but it is manageable! A few more fun facts: block A2 has the least classes, with only 38, while block K has the most, with 83. I understand that scheduling is not easy for anyone. Professors have other things to do, and the classes have to fit their own schedule. But for the sake of the success of the students, departments need to be more aware of how their classes are scheduled. If you schedule three classes, which are major requirements, at the same time, how can you expect students to be able to finish them all? Four years seems to be a lot of time, until you realize that it’s really not. Hopefully departments may be able to communicate with one another, and fill up those “dead” blocks. Music, you’re doing great.
The Brandeis Hoot
October 25, 2019
Happy kissing: don’t catch the kissing disease By John Fornagiel staff
If you have been on a college campus for long enough, you are bound to hear of someone who has mono or “the kissing disease.” Mono, medically known as infectious mononucleosis, is a contagious viral infection that is transmitted through saliva. This means that it can be spread through kissing, coughing, sneezing and by sharing utensils. Although it can be irritating and debilitating to have, it is not often fatal. People in our age group are the most likely to get mono. Indeed, teens and adults in their 20s are very likely to contract mono and pass it on to others. So, how will you know which of your buddies you should avoid sharing straws with so that you do not get this annoying illness too? Unfortunately, it is difficult to dis-
tinguish the signs and symptoms of mono from those of any other common ailment. It typically has an incubation period of six to eight weeks, meaning you typically will not experience any symptoms for this long. The signs and symptoms associated with it include headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpit, swollen tonsils, sore throat and a skin rash. Although these are more of the minor symptoms that are hardly distinguishable from the common cold, there are further complications that can occur that are far more serious. For example, the disease can cause swelling of the spleen, potentially causing it to rupture. In this case, you would feel a sudden, sharp pain in the upper left part of your abdomen, just slightly below your left ribs. Seek medical attention immediately if this occurs. There are various other complications that can
occur, such as liver issues. In this case, your skin may appear tinted yellowish. Once again, seek medical attention immediately if this occurs. Otherwise, treatment for mono simply consists of getting enough fluids and rest just like the common cold. Even in the absence of these complications, it is still recommended to make an appointment with your doctor if you suspect that you have mono. There are also some extremely rare complications that can occur during mono. For one, you can begin showing symptoms of anemia, which is when you have a low red blood cell count. A consequence of this would basically be that your body would not be able to circulate oxygen as well, and you could get very tired. Moreover, the amount of platelets that are in your blood could decrease. Platelets are a critical part of the blood clotting process. Without platelets, your body
would not be able to clot blood as well, and if you get a cut, you could possibly lose a lot of blood. Your tonsils could also swell and possibly obstruct breathing. Even more severe complications include those having to do with the nervous system. Preventing the spread of mono is way easier said than done. If you are infected, then you can help contain the spread of the virus by keeping your spit to yourself. Keeping in mind that spreading spit can occur during coughing, sneezing, kissing and the sharing of utensils, you have to be very mindful of where your spit is going. It is also important to remember that even after symptoms are alleviated, the virus that causes this disease can remain dormant in your saliva for months. Meaning you have to keep up this whole “no spitting on people” way longer than anticipated. Now that you know what mono
is, you can now more easily identify who your friends have been kissing, if they get it! You just simply have to trace back a month or two, see who had the illness at the time, and then plot a chart with the probabilities with people who your friend possibly contracted the disease from! Just kidding, but at least now you know what mono is, some common symptoms associated with it, the more serious symptoms in case the disease takes a wrong turn and how to effectively minimize the spread of infection. Happy kissing! (Note: These articles are goodfaith attempts to be helpful to the Brandeis community and are by no means to be taken as universal. This article does not replace the advice of a medical professional. This article is not written on behalf of the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps (BEMCo) and is not affiliated with BEMCo in any manner.)
SSIS: advice column By SSIS special to the hoot
Welcome back to the Student Sexuality Information Service (SSIS) column, where we answer any and all of Brandeis students’ questions about sex, sexuality, identity and relationships. If you have a question you’d like answered in our next column, email email@example.com or leave a question in the Google Form link on the Student Sexuality Information Service Facebook page. Any and all questions are welcome: there are no bad, stupid or weird questions! (Note: These answers are good-faith attempts by SSIS to be helpful to the Brandeis community, and are by no means exhaustive or to be taken as universal. If these answers don’t resonate with you, either pay them no mind, or reach out to us with suggestions for improvement!)
Last week, while I was going down on a girl, she started her period, like red sea parted level of period. I’m pretty sure I got some blood in my mouth. Should I get tested for STDs? Also, how do you get period blood off of blankets because I got some stains. First, going down on a person you’re seeing while she (or they) is on her period (or menstruating) has no more of a risk to spread STD/STIs than going down on her in general without the use of safer sex products. STDs can be spread in a few different ways: genital fluids, blood and mucous membrane to mucous membrane contact. When going down on a person, without using a condom or dental dam (or other barrier method), you are coming in contact with some genital fluid (this is usually called “pre-cum” or “vaginal discharge”). By ingesting those fluids, you are assuming the risk of contracting an STD, but adding menstrual blood into the equation in no way ups the likelihood of contracting an STD. It is recommended to get STD/STI tested every three
months if you are sexually active, tested with each new sexual partner or once every 12 months if you are not having sex or are having sex with only one partner. Also, fun fact, menstrual blood isn’t much different from the rest of the blood in your body. In fact, menstrual blood is coming from a sterile environment (the uterus) and therefore probably has a lot less bacteria than a lot of things that may touch our mouths everyday. Period sex might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but in no way is it dangerous or dirty. Period blood can actually be really fun! Often women are more sensitive to stimulation while on their period, and you’ll probably have to use less lube! Throw down a towel or hop in the shower for easy clean up! Now for your second question: How to get blood stains out? Blood stains can be treated really effectively with hydrogen peroxide (if you don’t have any, the C-Store often sells it.) Start by rinsing the stained area in COLD water until the water runs mostly clear. Wring it dry and pour a bit of hydrogen peroxide on the stained area. Y ou should use enough to satu-
rate the fabric with the peroxide. Let that bad boy sit for five to 10 minutes, it should look a bit white and bubbly. After five to 10 minutes, rinse your blanket out in cold water again. If the stain is still around, repeat the process a couple times. Once the stain is mostly gone (think all but a very subtle discoloring), slather on some of your standard laundry detergent, or OxyClean is best if you can get your hands on it, and pop the blanket in the washing machine on cold water and hang it to air dry. As with most stains, the sooner you try and remove it the better so that it doesn’t have as much time to set. An important note: Heat will set the stain in your blanket forever. Make sure you are using cold water and air drying until the stain is totally gone; it might take a few washes. Can I use a menstrual cup if I’m a virgin? Yes! If you haven’t had penetrative sex, used tampons or masturbated with a sex toy or finger it may take just a tad longer to get the hang of using a menstrual cup, but it is by all means still possible. It can be good to get to
know your body in preparation for using a menstrual cup. With clean hands, you can try using your fingers to find the opening of your vagina and get a sense for the direction it goes in. You can also try using a mirror—either handheld or place one on the floor and stand over it—which can be helpful for more visual learners. The most important thing is to relax! If you don’t relax, your vaginal muscles can tighten up and make the process more difficult than it needs to be, so just take some deep breaths— you got this! It is important to note that there are also different types of menstrual cups. At SSIS, we carry three. Two are reusable and one is only reusable up to two times. The first reusable menstrual cup that we carry is called the Diva Cup. It is made out of 100% medical grade silicone, with no added chemicals (no BPA), latex, dyes or plastics. To sterilize your diva cup, you can boil it for five to 10 minutes. In between uses, simply rinsing it out will do the trick! The second reusable menstrual cup we sell is called the Keeper Cup. It is very similar to the Diva Cup, but it is made out of gum rubber instead
of silicone, which means that in order to clean it you cannot boil it but can just soak it in soapy water. The Keeper Cup is an opaque brown color, which means that you don’t necessarily have to see the contents of your flow if you don’t want to! It also has a longer stem that can be cut to a customizable length. Both the Keeper Cup and Diva Cup hold roughly one fluid ounce of liquid, can be worn for up to 12 hours and are sold at SSIS for $20 each. The third menstrual cup that SSIS sells is the Soft Cup. It is made out of soft plastic and can be worn twice (simply flip it inside out between uses) and can be worn during penetrative sex. It costs $0.25 at SSIS! Why might someone choose to use a menstrual cup? There are lots of reasons! Using a menstrual cup decreases environmental waste created from tampons and pads. It is also more cost effective than other menstrual products like tampons and pads because it is a long-term investment. Menstrual cups also don’t have to be changed out as often as tampons and have even anecdotally been reported to help reduce cramps!
October 25, 2019
The Brandeis Hoot 13
Toi Derricotte talks the pressing power of poetry By Zach Newman staff
Toi Derricotte entered the main room of the Bethlehem Chapel about five minutes before her 5:30 p.m. talk was scheduled to begin on Oct. 22. With a big smile, she walked slowly through the small audience, greeting students she saw and asking if they were writers. When I told her that I was writing about her poetry reading for The Hoot, she recalled a recent interview that she did for the student newspaper at the University of Pittsburgh, where she teaches writing. Making her way across the room, she listened intently as students opened up to her about their work. Under the soft yellow glow of the chapel’s ceiling lights, she approached the podium. She brought with her a kind, gentle energy that filled the small room and put the audience at ease. Following an introduction by Professor Elizabeth Bradfield (CW), Derricotte softly sang “Deep Song,” a Billie Holiday track about loneliness from 1956. Derricotte read selections from her new book, titled “I: New and Selected Poems,” as well as her 1999 memoir “The Black Notebooks.” Derricotte has won numerous awards for her literature, including her new book, which was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry. She is also the co-founder of Cave Canem, a non-profit organization that features the voices of African American poets. Her visit was a featured event within Brandeis’ 2019-2020 Creative Writing Reading Series. At the beginning of her talk, Derricotte said that she first heard Billie Holiday when she was fourteen and realized that she was not alone in her sadness. Then, in her
twenties, she said, she read Sylvia Plath’s poem “Daddy” during a writing workshop and had the revelation that she could take unspoken, torturous thoughts and feelings from within and make them into something passionate and powerful. She described poetry as a mirror that she uses to see herself in a new way and credited writing for helping her cope with life. “If I didn’t have poetry, I’d probably be dead,” she said. She began by reading pieces that focused on her troubled relationship with her father. In her poetry, Derricotte described her childhood, recalling heart-wrenching memories like begging her father not to beat her when she had a migraine and attempting to hold back her tears so he would not accuse her of crying for attention. Before reading a poem about her father titled “When the Goddess Makes Love to Me,” Derricotte said that to change in the present, one has to grapple with personal history, even if it is traumatic. Due to the emotional weight of Derricotte’s work, she sings her poems instead of reading them. She said that she sings the same melodies for her poems at each reading, and when she writes, she is “writing by a song.” In her head, she said, the words have musical sounds. In much of Derricotte’s work, America’s troubled racial history forces the author to grapple with her identity. Derricotte is African American but passes as white, and said she often feels that she is doing something wrong when she’s simply walking in her own skin. She then read her 1997 poem “Passing,” which describes Derricotte’ discomfort with being black in a literature class. In the poem, she asks her peers, “Was I passing
PHOTO BY POLINA POTOCHEVSKA/THE HOOT
when I was just sitting here, before I told you?” Derricotte interjected in the middle of reading “Passing” that she still has complex experiences regarding her race to this day, telling a brief story about an encounter that morning in the airport. Derricotte described making a comment to a woman about how black folks greet each other. She said she could see the woman wondering if Derricotte herself was black, and after Dericotte informed the woman of her race, the two of them talked about passing as white in America. She then finished reading “Passing” and posed a question to the audience. At the end of the poem, Derricotte describes the following scenario: Her father, who also passes as white, goes to get his driver’s license updated. The employee, without looking up, asks her father what race he is. Her father remains silent. The employee then looks up. What race, Derricotte asked the audience, does the employee write down? After taking answers from audience members, Derricotte said
that she thinks the employee would have written down that her father was white, since in that era, one would not challenge someone’s whiteness. She also said that race makes people “think crazy.” However, she added, in the modern era, “You have to think crazy to survive.” To conclude her poetry reading, Derricotte sang another Billie Holiday song called “Everything I Have Is Yours.” During the audience Q&A, Derricotte shared more about her background and what led to her becoming a poet. She explained that her family expected her to be a doctor or a teacher and never even mentioned professions like poet artist. She told the audience that she had planned to be a doctor. However, she became pregnant at age 19 and left her hometown of Detroit after graduating from Wayne State University in 1965. Upon moving to New York City, she took writing workshops and graduated from New York University in 1984 with a master’s degree in English literature. She also explained more about
her relationship with her father during the Q&A. She said that at age 19, when she was pregnant, she went to a Catholic home for girls and gave birth. When she came home to show her son to her father, Derricotte discovered that he had taken all of her poems from her childhood footlocker and burned them in a fire. Speaking about a possible reason for her father’s behavior, Derricotte said that her father didn’t think he could ever be loved. She then spoke more broadly about how some people tragically lose the ability to love. “One of the most brutal things that happens to us is the way we’re afraid to express tenderness and connection,” Derricotte said. At Brandeis, Derricotte fearlessly shared her struggles, memories and observations through her poetry. In her concluding remarks, she told the audience that writing can help us learn to love ourselves, forgive others and understand loved ones. Derricotte’s talk, like her poetry, was something awe-inspiring.
With a woozy, warped feel, Frank Ocean is back By Brittney Nanton special to the hoot
Frank Ocean is undeniably one of the most reclusive and mysterious artists of the past decade, who is no stranger to the phrase “good things come to those who wait.” With that in mind, if you are a fan of Frank Ocean, this weekend may have been particularly exciting for you. As many of you may already know, reclusive R&B
artist Ocean just released a new single. No––this is not some kind of sick joke. “DHL” is the newest official Frank release since “Moon River” in February 2018, a cover of the original sung by Audrey Hepburn. “DHL” premiered on Frank’s Apple Music Beats 1 show titled “Blonded Radio,” which had been inactive since last December. The track was co-produced by Ocean alongside Boys Noize, a popular EDM artist. It starts with a woo-
PHOTO FROM BLONDED.CO
zy, warped kind of feel. Then the second verse opens up with Frank rapping in his natural calm, relaxed manner––which has been his main style of rapping since his iconic verses on Odd Future’s “Oldie” and Earl Sweatshirt’s “Sunday.” As the song progresses, Ocean balances between flaunting his trips around the world to sharing bits and pieces about his love life––which the singer also keeps relatively private. I love the song. It’s not what one would typically expect once they hear that there is new Frank Ocean out, but I think that’s one of the reasons why I like it so much. It’s another example of Frank’s ambiguity as an artist, which we mainly got to see on his last album, “Blonde.” One of the main things that people have noticed was the cover art for “DHL,” specifically the 13 silhouettes of what one would assume are images of Ocean. This has led many fans to assume that the “Channel Orange” singer’s newest project is going to be featuring 13 tracks. Frank Ocean also previewed two other new songs during his “PrEP+” event titled “Cayendo” and “Dear April”––both of which were remixed by Justice and Sango. Justice is a French EDM group, and Sango is a popular DJ and record producer based in Washington (Sango also recently released a remix of Ocean’s “Nights,” which had also been played at the nightclub event). The two songs
are expected to be released on vinyl according to Ocean’s website. Snippets of the songs are also available on YouTube, even if we haven’t heard the full versions yet. These songs have earned great response from fans; however, Frank’s “PrEP+” event has been receiving negative spotlight. The “PrEP+” event was announced on Oct. 17 and was designed to be a series of parties that pay homage to New York’s ’80s and ’90s club scene. PrEP, which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a daily pill that lowers the risk of contacting HIV through sex by 90 percent. The singer also announced the event to imagine what the club scene back then would have been like if the preventative drug had been created. It was also intended to be a safe space for people to come together and simply enjoy themselves without the external pressures that life brings. The event had a strict “no phones allowed” rule and an even stricter guest list. However, there has been some criticism of the party due to the fact that a few perceive Ocean’s attempt at inclusivity as actually erasing LGBTQ history due to the fact that most of New York City’s nightlife culture back then was centered around those living with HIV and the allies that supported them. Many of the responses argue that by imagining a club scene with the drug gives the idea that the ’80s club scene would have
been better without these individuals, thus erasing them from LGBTQ history as a whole. Ocean responded to this criticism by explaining how the purpose of the event was mainly to bring awareness to the drug, explaining how he has encountered many people who do not know what the drug actually does as well as shining light on the fact that the drug can be exclusive due to its high price. In my opinion, I can completely understand the criticism that people have with this event. The idea was clever––yes, imagining a world without HIV is definitely something that many would want. However, a problem arises when you do not pay homage to many of the LGBTQ folk who did not have the luxury to ignore this problem. One of the things that I think Ocean could have done better was to properly acknowledge and pay homage to the legends who lost their lives to the disease, instead of constructing his event in a way that erases them from the narrative. When it comes to Ocean and what he may be up to next, there have been a few conspiracies about Ocean’s new album and what fans expect from it. There haven’t been any hints on when Ocean is actually planning on releasing his third album, but fans have definitely been on the edge of their seats waiting to see what the mysterious artist has up his sleeve.
The Brandeis Hoot
October 25, 2019
‘Jennifer’s Body’ 10 years later: this Halloween, we eat men By Olivia Ellson staff
Ten years ago, audiences watched Jennifer Check (Megan Fox) brutally murder and eat men on-screen. And they hated it. When “Jennifer’s Body,” starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried, hit theaters in fall 2009, it became an instantaneous box office flop, almost universally mocked by critics. Over the last decade, however, this horror-comedy has steadily grown in popularity, gaining praise and prestige it never saw while in theaters. Wickedly funny and wonderfully dark, this film centers on two female leads: The demon-possessed cheerleader Jennifer Check and her nerdy best friend Needy Lesnicki (Seyfried). Their phenomenal performances, paired with screenwriter Diablo Cody’s fast-paced, witty script make this movie a must-see. So why was it originally such a commercial failure? “The studio had a strong, unshakable belief that this movie needed to be marketed to young men, specifically,” Cody told “Entertainment Tonight” in a recent interview celebrating the film’s 10th anniversary. “I got a very memorable email from a marketing person at the studio once,” she continued, “where I had sent him this articulate defense of the movie and here is how it should be marketed and said, ‘What specifically are you thinking?’ And he wrote back: ‘Megan Fox hot.’ Three words.” Looking at the posters, this marketing strategy is immediately apparent: a close-up of Fox’s red-painted, seductively parted
lips; Fox posed in a sexy schoolgirl outfit (which she never actually wears in the film), her legs spread just enough to be suggestive. Essentially, the marketing team brought in audiences full of young men who wanted to objectify Megan Fox for a movie in which every single man who objectifies Megan Fox ends up violently and horrifically killed. While this strategy obviously makes no sense and completely misses the point of the movie, it was typical treatment for any project involving Fox at the time. Following the release of “Transformers” (2007), Fox became an international sex symbol. “Objectified is not the right word. It doesn’t capture what was happening to me at the time. But it wasn’t just that movie, it was every day of my life, all the time, with every project I worked on, with every producer I worked with… I think I had a genuine psychological breakdown,” Fox herself said in the “Entertainment Tonight” interview. Later in the interview, referencing a “Jennifer’s Body” scene in which a group of men try to use Jennifer as a human sacrifice, Fox said, “that was really reflective of my relationship with movie studios at that point. Because I felt like that’s what they were willing to do, to literally bleed me dry. They didn’t care about my health, my well-being, mentally, emotionally, physically—at all.” In many ways, Jennifer perfectly embodies that stereotypical popular girl everyone loves to hate. Trapped by constant objectification, her social status relies completely on male attention. She lacks any agency to stop men
PHOTO FROM TUMBLR.COM
from using her body and sacrificing her for their own pleasure. It’s a trope we all recognize from real life, but this time, thanks to magic and demonic possession, Jennifer actually gets to take revenge. There are no words to describe how cathartic it is to watch an hour and a half of Jennifer Check eviscerating misogynists. In a delightful subversion of common horror tropes, this Sexy Girl isn’t the victim; she’s the monster. Still, Jennifer is gorgeous. She’s sexy. She’s desirable. In some ways, she’s everything the trailer and posters promised. But unlike almost every other Sexy Girl to grace the big screen, Jennifer’s desirability isn’t effortless. We watch Jennifer constantly struggle to maintain that level of perfection. She has to keep eating human flesh in order to stay strong. If she goes too long between kills, her beauty will fade. Her state of hypersexuality is literally a demon that must be fed.
This distinction is the fundamental reason why this film is so brilliant—the same reason that the predominantly male audience threw it under the bus 10 years ago—“Jennifer’s Body” is about turning the inherent violence of performing femininity outward instead of inward. It’s about a teenage girl destroying the men who force her to become an object, instead of destroying herself. In a brief scene near the end of the film, Jennifer stares at herself in a mirror, exhausted and worn down, in need of a human snack. Juxtaposed with her reflection is a photograph depicting a younger, brighter version of herself. We watch Jennifer smear make-up over her face, blinking back tears, desperately trying to become that unattainable image. In that moment, we see the true violence of performed femininity and self-sexualization—the way teenage girls tear themselves apart trying to achieve perfection.
Later, Needy reveals that before Jennifer turned to cannibalism, she had an eating disorder, showing once again that Jennifer’s destructive path started long before the supernatural got involved. The violence was simply being committed against herself. In Needy’s words: “Hell is a teenage girl.” Even as the film explores its other themes of developing sexuality, internalized homophobia and toxic friendships, it repeatedly returns to the violence of performing for the male gaze in a stunningly insightful look into the female experience. It’s no wonder, therefore, that Hollywood—years before the #MeToo movement—didn’t care to see “Jennifer’s Body” succeed. And it’s also likely the reason why the movie is now rising above cult status, uplifted by the growing female voice in the film industry to become a truly popular film. Jennifer has finally found her audience.
Koslofsky’s Corner: Even if you’ve never read a comic before, enter the ‘House of X’ By Jonah Koslofsky editor
OK, this is it. This is the piece where I truly unleash my inner (and outer) nerd. I’ve been reading comic books since I was eight years old—these days, dozens of millions of people turn out for every adaptation of each superhero story, but what not nearly as many know is that the comics these films are based on are still being published. Marvel’s publishing wing is going strong, just as it was 10 years ago when yours truly started making weekly pilgrimages to his local comic book shop. It’s worth mentioning that I’ve always felt comfortable entering said comics shops. “Simpsons” caricatures aside, these stores can be a welcoming home for nerdy folks, or toxic swamps of neckbeards only interested in catering to dudes. Anyway, since I started buying comics every Wednesday (the world standard for new comic book day), the X-Men have… suffered. On a lot of levels. Some company context: Back in 2009, Disney purchased Marvel— they put the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies into theaters, but they’re also responsible for comic distribution. Meanwhile, the film studio Fox has been making X-Men movies for the last two decades, even though Marvel
PHOTO FROM JONAH KOSLOFSKY/THE HOOT
(Disney) still controls the comic rights. Somewhere in the last 10 years (around 2012), as competition between the companies was really heating up, an order came down the corporate ladder: Stop making quality X-Men comics. Then last year, Disney purchased Fox. This is a bad thing (for reasons I don’t really have time to get into), but there is one clear silver lining: The X-Men are allowed to be good again. Enter Jonathan Hickman. Hickman’s been writing comics for the better part of the last 20 years. He’s an ideas guy, and even if you’ve never read a word he’s written, he’s responsible for some storylines and images you’re likely familiar with. Remember the Hy-
dra twist from “Winter Soldier?” That’s taken from a Hickman book called “Secret Warriors.” Remember Thanos’ henchmen, his towering, circular spaceship and the invasion of Wakanda in “Infinity War?” That’s all from his 2013 crossover “Infinity.” Hickman seemed to walk away from Marvel in 2015 after completing a couple legendary runs and wrapping up his “Secret Wars.” He did some more work on the independent side of the industry—which is even more confusing than his superhero stuff. Then Marvel seemed to approach Hickman with an offer he couldn’t refuse: Come back, and you can have the X-Men. Just make them matter again. This summer, that’s exactly what Hickman did. Comics generally run monthly—not so here. Instead, Hickman launched two parallel, six-issue series starting in July. The first, “House of X,” is set in Marvel’s present, and chronicles the radical new status quo of the X-Men. The second, “Power of X,” has a bit of a twist: that X is actually the roman numeral for 10, and the series is set across four different timelines. Each issue begins at the beginning, the moment Charles Xavier has a dream of human and mutant co-existence, then flashes ahead 10 years, to the present (the same moment when “House of X” is set). Then the next section of each issue is set 100 years lat-
er, and the last a thousand years into the future—again, powers of 10. Both books were published on alternating weeks, meaning we got three solid months of weekly Hickman books (the final issue hit stores last Wednesday). If you can’t tell, this story does get pretty heady. Some of the exposition can’t be delivered diegetically, so Hickman includes pages of text and graphics that convey the necessary information to the reader. They’re engaging and formally inventive, but not as stimulating as the rest of the pages, drawn by up-and-coming artists Pepe Larraz and R.B. Silva. Larraz and Silva both have their own distinct styles, but they’ve both learned a lot from Stuart Immonen (perhaps the single best comics artist of the 21st century). As a result, their art shares a similar, vibrant sensibility, coming together to create a cohesive aesthetic for this new status quo. And the story itself? It’s a radical redefinition of who the X-Men are and what they mean. Professor X—who’s always been the good-natured, J-Street-esque idealist of the mutant community—has changed. As a result, the X-Men are no longer confined to a mansion in Westchester. Instead, they’ve established their own nation-state, promising to distribute a set of helpful designer drugs to mankind in exchange for sovereignty. Magneto—the separatist, former ideological-opposite of
Xavier—has joined forces with his old friend. What does it all mean? What are the consequences of Xavier abandoning his dream for this concrete, potentially superior reality for all mutant-kind? It’s also exciting to watch Hickman re-contextualize one of the X-Men’s sidekicks as the key to the entire saga. Moira MacTaggert has been hanging around since the mid ’70s, but Hickman incorporates her—and time travel as a whole—into the broader story in a way I’ve never quite seen before. But what’s even more shocking is the accessibility of this 12-issue story. Even with all its conceptual heavy-lifting, “House of X” and “Powers of X” are a great jumping-on point for people who haven’t been reading the X-Men comics for the past few years. In fact, I’m willing to go a little further: It’s a great place to start for people who’ve never picked up a comic before. After umpteen feature films, pretty much everyone has a passing knowledge of the X-Men, and everything else you need to know to grasp the story is in these pages. The movies are great, but comic book characters really thrive in the medium they were built for. Stories like “House of X” are proof. The whole thing will be published as a trade paperback soon—but honestly, I’ve got all the issues in my dorm room. I’d be happy to lend them out! After all, with great nerdiness comes great responsibility.
October 25, 2019
The Brandeis Hoot
‘The Lighthouse’ shines By Zachary Sosland staff
“The Lighthouse” is a new psychological thriller from Robert Eggers, director of the critically acclaimed indie horror film “The Witch” (or “The VVitch” as it is often stylized). The movie revolves around two lighthouse keepers, Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) and Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) who slowly but surely lose their minds on an isolated New England island. “The VVitch” was one of the first movies I watched when I was getting into horror, so I was excited to see what Eggers would do next behind-the-camera. Furthermore, I was lucky and fortunate enough to see a screening of “The Lighthouse” that was followed by a Q&A with Eggers. As for the movie itself, I was blown away. First, I cannot stress enough how incredibly made this film is. Eggers shot the movie in black and white 35-mm film grain with a 1.19:1 aspect ratio, which adds to the unsettling atmosphere and makes the movie feel like a period piece. Even the lighting and shot composition give it an oldschool look that is hard to put into words. This film is truly one of the best directed movies of the
year because Eggers makes the audience feel tense and claustrophobic throughout. Some of the shots floored me. The production design also makes this setting feel tangible and lived in. Additionally, the performances are terrific. I have not seen much of Pattinson’s work outside of some clips of “Twilight,” but he is excellent in the film. He starts out quiet and just wants to get his work out of the way. As the movie goes on, however, we learn more about him that makes us think twice about his character. My favorite from this film by far is Willem Dafoe as the old lighthouse keeper Thomas Wake. Whether he is barking orders or reciting sea shanties, this guy is so full of energy; he’s simply a joy to watch whenever he is on-screen. I would love if he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at next year’s Oscars but that seems doubtful, considering the Academy’s stance on most genre films. Similar to “The VVitch,” Eggers knows how to direct animals—which in this case are seagulls. That is all I will say without going into spoilers. Of course, I have to talk about the screenplay of “The Lighthouse,” which Robert Eggers co-wrote with his brother Max Eggers. Similar to “The VVitch,” this film moves at a slow pace,
which bothered me at first. Then I realized the slow pace was deliberate because it emphasizes how difficult working as an assistant lighthouse keeper feels. Moreover, the movie throws images at its audience to make them question their sanity just as Winslow descends into madness. This film is also hilarious, which I found surprising since it’s from the same writer/director as “The VVitch.” “The Lighthouse” is truly one of the best films of the year. The terrific performances and chilling atmosphere make this movie one to look out for. I can’t wait to see what Eggers directs next, which apparently is a movie about Vikings. PHOTO FROM INDIEWIRE.COM
PHOTO FROM ROGEREBERT.COM
‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ Review: just watch the first one By Samuel Finbury staff
There is an important scene midway through the first “Zombieland” movie that I think sheds light on it’s sequel’s failings. In it, our group of survivors, having formed an uneasy truce with each other, make a pit stop at an abandoned kitsch gift shop and joyously destroy all the knicknacks together in order to let off steam. It’s a very small scene, but it solidifies our main characters as friends. They all live in a brutal world that has taken everything from them, but for the first time, instead of acting hardened and untrusting, they team up to destroy things together and find an elusive happiness in it. This sequence, while so small it is not even mentioned in the Wikipedia plot summary of the first “Zombieland” film, contains within it more depth, comedy, and memorability than the entirety of “Zombieland: Double Tap.” In “Zombieland: Double Tap,” professional survivors Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone), Tallehasee
(Woody Harrelson) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) live together in the extravagant ruins of the White House as a family. However, Wichita gets cold feet after Columbus proposes to her, and Little Rock is tired of Tallahassee acting like an overbearing father, so the pair leave the group without warning. Unfortunately, Little Rock wants too much freedom and runs off with a pacifist hippy named Berkeley (Avan Jogia) to live in a peaceful comune that’s safe from the zombie hoards. Columbus, Wichita and Tallehasee must hit the road once again to find her and resolve their group’s issues so they can be a family once again… except… they were already a family. That was the entire point of the first movie. But 10 minutes in, Wichita and Little Rock ditch the group with no intention of returning. It’s not only out of character, but it leaves the movie repeating all the same story beats of the survivors realizing the importance of friendship, resulting in a feeble retread without the charm and impact of its predecessor. The “Zombieland” films are not deep character pieces, but they are character-based. All the ten-
sion and comedy and satisfaction comes from watching these different characters interacting with each other and growing together as a team. The first film indulged in grotesque zombie killing, but it also had genuine moments, like when the other characters realized that Tallehasee had a son that died. The movie had pathos, and that pathos is why we cared about anything on screen. “Double Tap” feels hollow in comparison, with toned down and less emotionally true versions of established characters. It would take me around five seconds to write a version of this story that doesn’t betray all the development our heroes have undergone. One where our character’s don’t seem to reset to factory settings. One where Tallehasee’s parental relationship to Little Rock is mined for pathos and comedy and Columbus and Witchita’s relationship troubles ring true. One where Tallehasee isn’t given a needless cardboard love interest whose purpose is to bamboozle the audience into thinking that there is some cohesive, compelling, emotional throughline to this butterfly kiss of a zombie film. But I’m a lowly critic, not a professional screen-
PHOTO FROM THEVERGE.COM
PHOTO FROM VARIETY.COM
writer who is paid to make worse versions of existing characters and plots. “Double Tap” also feels like it has less of the rude but endearing quips and character dialogue exchanges that were the comedic fuel of its predecessor. There are some good character based jokes and exchanges sprinkled about, but they are fewer and farther between. On the whole, the humor feels tired and listless. The comedic center piece of this film, the scene where Tallehasee and Columbus meet survivors who are basically their mirror images and squabble with them is funny for a moment but drags on at a geologic time scale, ending with little ceremony. What’s worse is that it feels like there are a lot of comedic setups that are never latched on to. The intro of “Double Tap” establishes that there are multiple types of zombies now, and some are faster, some are smarter, some are harder to kill. Unfortunately, the movie never exploits its own set up, and the heroes ultimately just mow these new zombies
down like the blood balloons they are. I can imagine a loud mouth like Tallehasee having to sneak around a hoard of sound seeking undead, or an anxious clean freak like Columbus having to kill a giant gross slime filled zombie that explodes. These are hand wrapped comedic set ups that would have made for memorable action scenes as well. Instead the audiences time is whittled away with the other mirror survivor scene, and with the “comedic relief ” Madison, a survivor character whose gimmic is that she is vapid and dumb, a running joke that got old when the first trailer came out two months ago. “Zombieland: Double Tap” is a domino effect of mediocrity. The characters are lazy, so the comedy is lazy, so the action is lazy. The first film hit like a brass knuckles punch to the gut, and this one is like a gentlemanly slap in the face with a doily. There are parts that are funny, and there are parts that are memorable, but ultimately, it only serves to make the original “Zombieland” look even better.
The Brandeis Hoot
October 25, 2019
Lots of love and too much information By Aaron LaFauci staff
I lost my notebook over the weekend and sort of freaked out. I kept everything in that notebook: homework deadlines, poetic thoughts, Hoot assignments. As it happens, all of my notes for “Love and Information” were in there. I tore through my memory trying to recall every detail of the production, so I could provide the most informative, the most sublime, the most photorealistic review of this production. Alas, what horror I experienced. Is it not my duty as an arts journalist to depict with mechanical precision the ephemeral experience of watching college students act live? How else would the Brandeis community survive Spingold FOMO? But through the frantic motions of my desperation, I was reliving the very essence of “Love and Information.” “Love and Information” is more of a compilation of thematically cohesive sketches than a traditional play, but this was not unexpected. As somebody that has been following Brandeis theater consistently for three years now, I have finally learned one important detail: The mainstage is for the famous, big budget productions while the smaller Laurie theater is reserved for the less traditional art shows. First-year purveyors would do well to note this dichotomy and adjust their expectations accordingly. Issues of love and information are disorienting in the 21st century. In presenting its titular themes in the most contemporary way possible, the production is bent on overloading the senses. Scenes representing everything from
PHOTOS COURTESY BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY
awkward hookups to discussions of the philosophy terrorism are violently cloven from one another by sudden sound cues and shifts in lighting. During sketches, the actors more or less succeeded in representing human beings (more on that later), but when a scene transition began, everything changes. The lights would dim, or else become blinding, and synthetic ambience or indie pop would blare. The actors were immediately jarred from character, their faces dimming and shoulders stiffening as their lockstep bodies were propelled, like puppets pulled taut or animatronics upon a track, contorted by some unseen force. A fresh pair of automatons would arrive to replace the old, and the next scene would begin like nothing strange had happened at all. The set design was equally alienating, at least initially. It possessed the detached aspect of a modern art museum, with grey metal latticework juxtaposing an array of disconnected objects: an old piano, a table covered in party hats, a small CRT, a worn couch. The sheer quantity and diversity
of this play’s scenes necessitated the development of a versatile stage, and it was evident that a ton of effort went into ensuring that the set could be easily compartmentalized. The two tiered scaffolding was capable of becoming anything it was required it to be, whether that was the dimly lit living room of an apartment or an observation deck in an industrial poultry farm. By switching a row of white LEDs beneath the upper floor of the scaffold, the lower floor of the structure convincingly emulated an office space. When one scene demanded children in a playground, giant fluorescent spotlights allowed the structure to fade into the background entirely and created the impression that the actors had moved outside. The ease with which I could repeatedly suspend my disbelief and buy into the shifting locations is a testament to the play’s thoughtful construction. It must have been a pain to strike. A considerable amount of credit is due to the director, Brandeis alumnus Caley Chase ’16. Caryl Churchill, the playwright behind “Love and Information,” wrote the show to provide as much creative agency to directors as possible. This means the official script is sparse, and I mean really sparse. There are almost no named characters, lines are completely unlabeled by character and only divided up by line breaks, and the number of italic stage directions throughout the entire document could probably be counted on one hand. Even the order of the scenes is only vaguely prescribed by the script. The script itself often reads more like a compilation of poetry than a real play. This means that almost every aspect of the show beyond the dialogue itself is a product of the director and
her staff. Incredible moments like the slow dance memory sequence in “Piano” have no basis in the script at all. Laudable work! The costume designer, Chelsea Kerl, must have had a field day with this thing. Of course, a production is nothing without talented actors, and this show’s cast was stacked with strong senior performances. Do remember that I lost my notes, so if I forget any particularly glamorous moments, please feel free to contact me by email, and we can try to schedule some time for me to dote over you. Haia Bchiri ’20 was great as always. She is so consistently great, in fact, that I think on some subconscious level the audience wanted to see her break. That’s a lie; we all just wish we could be hugged the way she hugged Zack Garrity ’20 during “Grass.” Rachel Greene’s ’20 performance of a poultry brain scientist was particularly memorable. The terrifying glee that she perceptibly contained while she describes the process of beheading chicks and slicing their brains into slides was really something else. Later, she sort of forms herself into the unspoken protagonist of the play when she comes loose from her robot track and begins to wander the theater between scene changes. The concern and eventual horror with which she begins to address the audience makes one feel a bit guilty for playing the voyeur to so many private scenes. The representation of children in this production was surprisingly satisfying. Maryam Chishti ’20 made a powerful first impression in her monologue of “The Child Who Didn’t Know Fear.” The frightful convulsions that wracked her body between calm orations were just unhinged enough to elicit concern. Later, she would cement herself in the minds of audience goers forever by staring at a prop baby and basking in the glow of a snail. To compliment Chishti’s childlike persona was Alaysia Penso ’23. Her overalls and spunky dialogue were brimming with expression, but she took on some more mature scenes as well, especially near the end. Hopefully future productions will allow her to explore this less comedic side of her acting ability. Noa Laden ’20 seemed to be in a perpetual state of confusion and despair throughout the show, but she displayed a lot of tact in her
ex-reunion scene. Despite appearing to dominate her scene partner in “EX”, she ended the show with Garrity on a positive note. It was very cute. Kat Lawrence ’20 played an older women well (she was the pianist in “Piano”), but her highlight was the punky meditation on terrorism that she delivered while wearing an edgy green coat. She was a strong choice for these harder themes, and the nun outfit was great. Caitlin Crane-Moscowitz’s ’20 reveal that she was actually Alaysia’s mother during one of the couch scenes had an unreal, slap-in-the-face quality to it, and I think she of all the actors carried the “Twilight Zone” vibe of the show the strongest. Maia Cataldo ’20 impressed the audience during the scene “Memory House,” in which she had to memorize imaginary objects in an imaginary house and recite them in order twice. Her acting here was more complex than a lot of viewers might have realized: There is a real art to acting like you are about to forget something (Shakespeare himself plays with this idea in “Hamlet” with Polonius). Her sense of pacing should not go unrecognized. My main criticism of “Love and Information” is its harsh aphoristic style––it is, afterall, very British. The scenes are relatable, yes, but they lack a certain sentimentality that us Americans crave. After being forced to observe scene after scene of mania and broken relationships, I began to feel just as trapped as the inter-scene actors. Zack Garrity was the escape hatch. Whether he was frantically trying to avoid a recently fired employee, gazing at stars millions of lightyears away or reciting genetic sequences with a smile, Garrity had the uncanny power to reinvigorate the audience after the most dismal scenes. We hated to see those kids steal his stone. Garrity has been honing the awkward tall guy act for years now, and this show serves as a wonderful addition to this final chapter of his Brandeis theater career. “Love and Information” was claustrophobic. It was scary and alien, and it often made me feel a bit bad. But behind the strange lights and the museum exhibition exterior is a kind of optimism that can only be forged in the most ruthless cultural critiques. It is a good reminder to loosen up sometimes and just love somebody. This is all just information anyway, right?
Trust us: ‘Trust Exercise’ is a truly great book By Lucy Pugh-Sellers staff
“We almost never know what we know until after we know it,” Susan Choi writes in the midst of her novel, “Trust Exercise.” This sentiment gets to the heart of her novella, a finalist for the 2019 National Book Awards Longlist in Fiction, and a book my soul could have written if it had the words. Although it is better not to know too many specifics before reading it, the story is told in three acts. It follows characters that build their lives in relation to a specialty performing arts high school, dubbed the Citywide Academy for the Performing Arts (CAPA), in an unnamed but recognizable southern city. The book begins with a high school relationship between two young characters, Sarah and
David, and unspools from there, musing on memory, subjectivity, consent and worth. Choi’s prose is delicious. It isn’t sparing but instead meanders, detailed through the thoughts of her characters. Choi has a way of writing things that you have never quite been able to identify but gets to the heart of an action, a thought, a way of being, in such a way that you can’t imagine ever having said or even experienced it more clearly. Things which you never thought could be written so truly are written here as if they are nothing, yet they feel like precious jewels of insight: the way you feel when you aren’t on the same page with someone, the mannerisms of an important teacher, the echoes of a past you can’t quite escape. The structure of the novel—which I cannot spoil for you now—also contributes to this feeling, as Choi
brings the reader to unexpected places that feel exactly right. I did not realize until I looked on Goodreads that this is a controversial book. Clearly, it is not for everyone—no art truly is. In this case, reading those reviews from readers who hated it, or gave up after 60 pages, or didn’t get it, left me frustrated. But as I thought about it more, I couldn’t blame them. “Trust Exercise” is a book that either resonates with you, or it doesn’t. It is a book you feel deeply, or you feel disconnected from. Perhaps this disconnect exists because you have never seen your life in terms of performance (or perhaps because you didn’t have a high school relationship with someone we’ll call “David”). Choi takes risks in this novel, and they definitely paid off for me. There were times when I could not tear my eyes away from the page, and other times when
I was forced to—to truly process the words I was devouring. I will definitely be seeking out her other
work, and I recommend this one to anyone searching for their next great book.
PHOTO FROM AMAZON.COM
The Brandeis Hoot October 25, 2019