The Brandeis Hoot 03/13/2020

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Volume 17 Issue 8

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”

March 13, 2020

Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.

Brandeis University and COVID-19 Study abroad students sent home

Univ. releases updates By Rachel Saal editor

By Rachel Saal and Teresa Shi editor and special to the hoot

On March 14, Brandeis University will send home all study abroad students from CDC level 3 European countries in the Schengen zone, including the UK, Spain and Denmark, while other students who are in programs in non-level 3 countries are strongly recommended to return to their permanent residence, according to an email sent to all Brandeis students abroad on March 12. In the email, Brandeis claimed that health and safety should be most prioritized in the unstable circumstance. Students should continue to follow further instructions from the program. For traveling, students will come back to their permanent address to study remotely off campus. In terms of financial implication, students also need to check with the program about the possibility of receiving a refund to decide whether or not to depart. The Office of Study Abroad will be in touch with programs that have not been suspended to help support the students. One student, Nicolas (Nico) Leger ’21, had intended to spend the year in Seoul, South Korea at Yonsei University through the CIEE program, but after having spent his first semester in Seoul, he returned home before his spring semester began. Leger told The Hoot in a phone interview that he had intended to graduate from Brandeis in Spring 2021, but he will now graduate in the Fall 2021. Leger is currently at home in Waltham, MA after receiving instruction from Brandeis to self-quarantine. He said that he is not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 and is maintaining the self-quarantine. Leger said that when he flew back to the U.S., no one questioned him about his exposure to COVID-19 in the airport, and that if he hadn’t put himself in quarantine, he would have been able to walk around freely. He said that he doubts, however, that he has the virus and that he’s “not particularly concerned.” “There were health measures [in South Korea] that I don’t see See ABROAD, page 2

Inside This Issue:



Students petition for online classes A petition started going around Brandeis to move classes online days before the university announced that classes would be moved online. Started by student Hange Zhu ’22 on March 8, the petition was an effort to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus. “We care about our Brandeis community,” Zhu wrote in an email to The Brandeis See PETITION, page 3 Hoot. At the time

By Caroline O staff

Page 4 News: Students petition for class to be added. Page 9 Ops: Four graduating editors say good-bye. Page 6 Features: Class of 2020 responds. Sports: Fencing sends 2 to NCAA Championship. Page 11 Editorial: On the univ.’s response to COVID-19. Page 7

Track and field 2 Judges travel to NC to represent Brandeis at nationals. SPORTS: PAGE 12

A pathway to a pandemic

Panelists from across the United States gathered for an online-panel about various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The panelists included Elanah Uretsky (IGS/ ANTH), Katherine A. Mason, a Professor of Anthropology at Brown University, Jennifer Bouey, Tang Chair of Chinese Policy and Deborah Seligsohn, a Professor of Political SciSee PANDEMIC, page 2 ence at Villanova

By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

All Brandeis classes with more than 100 students will move online by Monday, March 16 and the last day of in-person instruction for all classes, regardless of size, will be Friday, March 20, according to an email sent to members of the Brandeis community on March 11 by President Ron Liebowitz. There are not any recognized Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases that the university is aware of in students, faculty, staff or in the Waltham area, according to a March 11 email from the Student Union following an interview with Provost Lisa Lynch. All undergraduates living in on-campus housing are asked not to return to campus after noon on Wednesday, March 25. They may begin moving out of their housing earlier and will not be penalized in their classes if they choose to leave campus. Students can move out by visiting their Quad Office to receive an official check-out envelope, according to an email from the Department of Community Living (DCL). “COVID-19 presents the Brandeis community with an unprecedented challenge due to daily changes in guidance from state and federal authorities and the lack of knowledge of the virus,” reads Liebowitz’s email. “It is clear, however, that we must take steps to help limit the spread of the coronavirus by reducing our density of population on campus. Doing so will reduce the risk of the spread of virus within the community, especially among those most vulnerable.” The Passover and Spring Recess dates have been moved to March 23-25, April 9-10 and April 15-16. Undergraduates will be allowed to remain on campus in the residence halls on a case-by-case basis, but they will need permission from DCL. Examples of students for whom exceptions would be made include international students, those with ongoing on-campus jobs, those who do not have a home to go to where they would be able to continue their online classes or for whom going home is not an option, according to the email.

The tempest Brandeis’ take on a classic Shakespeare play. ARTS: PAGE 14

See UPDATE, page 3


2 The Brandeis Hoot

COVID-19: Pathway to a Pandemic? PANDEMIC, from page 1

University as well as the former Environment, Science, Technology and Health Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. The event was moderated by Allyala Nandakumar, the Director of the Institute for Global Health and Development and the M.S. Program in Global Health Policy and Management at Brandeis. Chandler Roseburger took questions from the audience and asked them to the panelists. The first question the panelists addressed was the difference between a virus and a pandemic as well as why it took “the WHO such a long time to formally declare COVID-19 a pandemic?” Bouey answered the question saying that “in terms of the virus and definition of pandemic, a pandemic is an epidemic that is spread to multiple continents, it fits that definition, now that we have more than 100 countries reporting cases.” In terms of why COVID-19 is so contagious, Bouey explained that “it is one of the seven types of coronavirus: four of the seven cause common cold, however the three others have caused SARS, MERS and now COVID-19. I believe COVID-19 is the most dangerous of them.” The reason why she considers it most dangerous, is because “most causes are mild, 80 percent, a lot of people can still move around when they first get it,” which means that people are able to quickly spread the disease without being aware that they are doing so. The next question came from Nandakumar, who asked how the recent downturn in relations between the United States and China has impacted the efficiency of the response. Bouey responded that after the SARS outbreak in 2003, “communication has improved between the Chinese Center for Disease Control (CDC) and U.S. CDC [who] worked shoulder by shoulder in the last 17 years, but in the last 3 years the collabora-

tion is not as close as before.” Seligsohn added that the Bush administration made the decision to help China with the outbreak. There was a huge argument to set up a flu program to collect samples from China, after which there was a field epidemiology training facility built and global disease detection program started with over 40 offices around the world after that. They have been reduced under the current administration, due to funding cuts. Uretsky spoke about the effect that social media had on this epidemic. She said that a large part of the reason why the quarantine was successful was because China is an authoritarian regime and could impose harsh punishments for breaking of the quarantine, which is not something that could be done in Africa during the Ebola epidemic, for example. China’s response has been good because of the people that work in the CDC and China has built a good monitoring system, better facilities and new laws on public health emergencies. “The response to the epidemic has been very emotional and those emotions have played a large part in the way people and governments respond to the epidemic,” added Uretsky. Mason added that a large problem with COVID-19 is that “in this time of year in the winter it is hard to distinguish between COVID-19 and other illnesses.” She also emphasized that “while China had been praised for its bold efforts we acknowledge the collateral damage on the Chinese people: small businesses going bankrupt, people stuck in China and migrant workers who cannot work.” When it came to the question of what other countries can do, she said that “quarantining millions of people is catastrophic.” The event was sponsored by the departments of International and Global Studies, East Asian Studies, Health: Science, Society, and Policy Program, M.S. Program in Global Health Policy and Management and the Asia Pacific Center.

March 13, 2020

IN THE SENATE: March 8, 2020 •

The Senate discussed the student petition for classes to be held online in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Executive Senator Scott Halper ’20 said that this was “not happening as far as I know. It’s an administration decision.” Several senators raised concerns that moving all classes to remote meetings would be disruptive, and that while infrastructure exists for recording some classes for accessibility reasons, those resources may be insufficient for moving all classes online.

The Senate considered and passed a resolution allocating $137 for Student Union branded stickers to be put on the condom dispensers which are being installed in cooperation with Student Sexuality Information Service. The resolution was voted on by acclamation and passed unanimously.

The Senate considered and passed a resolution allocating additional funds for the purchase of informational posters about alcohol. The money previously allocated for this purpose was insufficient due to a miscommunication with the printer about price. The resolution was voted on by acclamation and passed unanimously.

The Senate considered and passed a resolution allowing clubs which admit members through auditions to become chartered. The resolution was voted on by acclamation and passed unanimously.

The Senate considered and passed a resolution providing funding for Trans Day of Visibility, planned to be March 31. The resolution was voted on by acclamation and passed unanimously.

The Senate considered but did not vote on a resolution retroactively authorizing funding for International Women’s Day, which was the day of the meeting.

The Senate considered but did not vote on a resolution which would have added additional requirements for future chairs of the Dining Committee. Senators raised concerns that it would be asking too much of the future chair, and that the position is hard enough to fill as is.

The Senate considered but did not vote on a resolution which would have modified the requirements for office hours for members of the Student Union. Several senators spoke out that members of the Student Union, particularly those on the Executive Board, ought to be more consistently present for their office hours, and asked how office hours could be enforced. The Senate decided to further debate and vote on this resolution in their next meeting.

The Senate approved changes to the constitution of the Justice. The changes concerned the succession of editors-in-chief and the club consultant. The changes were voted on by acclamation and passed unanimously.

Halper expressed concerns that the E-Board is not adequately communicating with the broader Student Union, saying that “there is a feeling among other branches that they’re not in on the conversation on E-Board.”

Halper talked about the ongoing E-Board effort to create a bachelor of sciences degree in math.

Health and Safety Chair Leah Fernandez ’22 announced that the process of putting dispensers for menstrual products in nine locations on campus was nearly complete. Two, she said, would be located in gender neutral bathrooms, and two in handicap accessible bathrooms.

Chief Justice of the Brandeis Judiciary Rachel Sterling ’21 spoke to the Senate about the role of the Judiciary and answered questions. She described the Judiciary as “basically [Human Resources]” for the Student Union, and said that they do what they can to resolve conflicts without trials. -Tim Dillon

Univ. sends all students in CDC Level 3 countries home, suggests others abroad return home ABROAD, from page 1

here,” said Leger. “It’s more just that things are being closed and there’s a state of emergency. It just seems that technically things are being closed but they aren’t taking health measures.” Leger said that in Korea, he would get in trouble if he didn’t wear a face mask and that anytime he entered his dorm, a machine would take his temperature. He got a tattoo while in Korea, but he wasn’t allowed to take anyone with him while he got the tattoo and had to wear a mask throughout the process, according to Leger. He said that the tattoo shop was sanitized every hour and he felt very safe. “My biggest stressor right now is: when will Corona stop being an issue?... I’m planning on going

back to Korea in June hopefully, [to] spend the semester there and then study abroad,” said Leger. According to Leger, his program was delayed two weeks in mid-February and later canceled at the end of February. A study abroad advisor provided two other different programs in London and Berlin as substitutes. However, he was mainly interested in studying abroad in Korea. Leger said that he was stressed at first while figuring out his next step and being the only Brandeis student in the program. However, he affirms that Brandeis “has been overall pretty helpful.” He has communicated with his study abroad advisor more frequently than his program advisor, according to Leger. Lindsay Dawes ’21, who was studying in Madrid, Spain through Boston University’s (BU)

Madrid Internship Program, is flying back to the U.S. on Sunday. She is not quarantined but “strictly encouraged not to travel and to limit exposure in crowded public places,” according to Dawes. “On Monday of this week, Spanish news reported that cases in Spain had tripled and Madrid announced a 15 day closure of all colleges and universities. My program scheduled a meeting for Tuesday to discuss what that meant for us,” wrote Dawes in a message to The Hoot. “On Tuesday, in the meeting, we were told our classes would move online but the program was staying active for now. Four hours later, we received an email from BU informing us that a student in our program who attended a different university than myself in Madrid had just tested positive for Coronavirus and our program was

suspended, effective immediately. We were given until Sunday to return to the U.S. in order to receive reimbursement from BU for travel cost & the remainder of the program fees.” Dawes said that she knows one student on her program who tested positive for COVID-19, but the student went to a different university and they had not come into contact with each other in weeks by the time he tested positive. Dawes said that Brandeis didn’t help or harm her situation, or contribute much to the process. She will finish her semester remotely with online versions of her courses provided by BU, and she should still receive all intended credits for this semester. “In regards to Coronavirus, virtually no one here in Madrid—or elsewhere in Spain to my knowledge—was scared, concerned, or

panicking in the ways I understand people in the U.S. are until cases began to escalate. But even now, I don’t see panic or fear in most people here, only concern for at-risk populations and cautionary action and care for themselves.” Brandeis said that they are continuing to monitor the situation and will update students in a March 5 email sent to students who were accepted to study abroad for the Fall 2020 semester or 2020-2021 academic year. “If you have any questions or concerns about spending the fall semester or year abroad, please feel free to reach out to us and we are happy to speak further,” reads the email. Brandeis is also complying with the state’s request to cancel international travel for student groups, according to an email sent to the community on March 5.

March 13, 2020


The Brandeis Hoot

Students petition to have classes online days before announcing online transition PETITION, from page 1

of writing, the petition had gained over 2400 signatures, but Zhu and other students behind the petition said it had been initially criticized as “overreacting.” “If there was no debate over the issue, we wouldn’t have started the petition from the beginning.” The focus of the student body, however, has now shifted from the petition and onto the recent policies set in place by Brandeis. Three days after the petition had gained traction, University President Ron Liebowitz released the official statement that all Brandeis classes would be moved online by March 20, and that Passover and spring recess would be shifted to March 23-25, April 9-10 and April 15-16. Students are asked to not return to campus after March 25. The email also noted that the Department of Community Living (DCL) will be allowing students to stay on campus on a case-by-

case basis. Before the official announcement, however, other schools in the greater Boston area had already initiated measures in preparation for the coronavirus. As of Tuesday, schools such as Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Babson College, Amherst College and Boston University had announced either moving classes online and/or disallowing students from remaining on campus. Forbes estimated that at least 135 schools have closed or taken similar measures in response to the coronavirus. In the meantime, students have started mobilizing to help one another: multiple Facebook groups have been made, offering storage, housing, transportation and other necessities to students who either cannot afford to go home or do not have a home to return to on such short notice. Brandeis student Lena Rose

Burdick ’21 has created the Brandeis Resource-Pooling In Response to COVID-19 Facebook group, where many Brandeis students have started offering services to any and all who require assistance during this time. In addition, Brandeis students have also been circulating a Google form for donations and support to first-generation and low-income students affected by the recent COVID-19 updates. Able community members and friends are urged to Venmo @brandeismutualaid or donate via Paypal at In addition, many Brandeis students have started offering up emotional support as well. The Student Union has also maintained communications with the administration, then communicating any new information to the student body as well. Brandeis faculty and staff have also been proactive during this time. As online classes are a

new experience for many in the community, Zoom workshops— Zoom being the program of access for these classes—are to be led by the Center for Teaching and Learning on Friday, March 13. “I am impressed with the creativity and thought that faculty members are putting into reimagining and remapping their courses,” wrote Provost Lisa Lynch in an email to The Hoot about the new change in the learning environment. “This is not the experience any of us imagined but we will get through this most unprecedented time.” However, a number of concerns have still been brought up by Brandeis students: WiFi, facility maintenance and dining are just some of the concerns for those who are staying on campus. Lynch explained that the administration is allowing students living in residence halls who cannot go home because they would not be able to work online. “They may have to move their current

room though to ensure greater social distancing,” she noted. Additionally, Lynch provided that the library—which will remain open—has a loaner policy for laptops, and any student who may be in need should contact Matthew Sheehy. In addition to the library, Gosman will also remain open, although with limited hours. Those updated hours can be found on the Gosman website: facilities/schedule. The Dining Committee has also reported updates on the latest dining updates: all dining locations except Currito’s, the Stein, Farber Starbucks, Mandel Cafe and the Science Center Cafe will remain open, although with updated hours. In addition, the Kutz Food Pantry—located in Kutz Hall—will remain open. Meal plan reimbursements are also on the way, although more updates have been reported to be coming soon.

Brandeis sends students home due to growing concerns over COVID-19, all events cancelled ment will be provided at a later date, according to the March 11 email from President Liebowitz. “Right now, all seniors across the country are being affected in regards to credits,” reads the March 11 email from the Student Union after its members interviewed Provost Lynch. “We have been assured that graduate schools will be taking this into account and consideration. Updates will continue to come out as all schools figure out their new policies.”

UPDATE, from page 1

Financial Aid “Students moving out of university residence halls will receive a prorated refund for room and meal plan charges—meaning that the university will refund departing students for the portion of the spring semester they will not be living in their residence hall and using dining services,” according to an email update sent to the community from the Brandeis Health Center on March 12. “These adjustments, as well as any changes to need-based financial aid, will be calculated and applied to students’ accounts after students move out of university housing. Dining services will remain available for students who receive permission from the Department of Community Living to stay on campus, or who will continue to live off-campus in Waltham.” If you are concerned about how to afford going back home or have other financial concerns, the Brandeis Health Center website says that you should contact the Office of Student Financial Services to discuss options that may be available. Academics Faculty will make accommodations for students who leave campus prior to March 21, including exams. Class attendance and participation policies will be revised to indicate that students’ grades will not be penalized due to the need to accommodate health needs, a student departure from campus before March 21 or the move of all academic work online. The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) will support this transition to online classes. “This will not be the same experience as having class in person by any stretch of the imagination,” said Lynch in an email to The Brandeis Hoot. “But after meeting with department chairs today and talking with faculty and the Deans I am impressed with the creativity and thought that faculty members are putting into reimagining and remapping their


Food served in the dining hall now comes in separate containers to prevent contamination.

courses. This is not the experience any of us imagined but we will get through this most unprecedented time.” The email says that if a student has a class with “unreasonable levels of projects/work due throughout this week,” they should contact the department chair. The email says that under existing guidelines laid down by the university, professors cannot force students to remain on campus in order to complete a test, exam, lab assignment or other projects. “Zoom has been upgraded across campus to be able to accomodate 500 individuals at a time,” reads the email from the Student Union. “All materials are trying to be made as accessible as possible—Brandeis has outlined guidelines on how professors can make technology accessible, as well as three copiers on campus that turn all resources accessible.” The Brandeis Bookstore is extending free shipping site-wide so that students can access materials without coming to the store’s on-campus location, according to an email from the Brandeis Bookstore sent to the community on March 12. The bookstore will most likely remain open on campus with limited hours as long as university dining services are open, according to a bookstore employee. Students may bring

rental textbooks home if they are needed to complete the semester, the employee said. Events All events or meetings with more than 20 attendees, on-campus or off-campus, must be postponed, cancelled or “virtualized,” according to the March 11 email from Liebowitz. DCL is cancelling all events, including fundraisers for the rest of the semester, according to an email from Senior Department Coordinator Susan Wilson on March 12. She said that these cancellations came after extensive consultation with Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Dr. Mark Brimhall-Vargas. The Intercultural Center (ICC) is cancelling all of its club events scheduled to be held at Levin Ballroom and Sherman Function Hall, according to an email sent to club leaders from DCL on March 12. Club events scheduled at other locations will also be cancelled. These determinations are made based on student reservations forms submitted to Conference and Events. The email says that no exceptions will be made. Students were encouraged to reach out to the Department of Student Activities regarding contracts. All club events at the ICC, Sky-


line Residence Hall and Ridgewood Quad are cancelled as well, according to the email. All food-related fundraisers are cancelled. Athletics “Following the conclusion of non-traditional practice sessions on Friday, March 13, all fall sports practices will be suspended,” wrote Director of Athletics Lauren Haynie in an email to varsity athletes. “In addition, following the conclusion of intercollegiate athletic events on Sunday, March 15, the remainder of the 2020 spring sports season will be cancelled.” Gosman Sports and Convocation Center will remain open for informal recreation and will operate on its regular schedule through March 20, according to the Brandeis Judges website. No more than 20 individuals will be permitted to occupy any recreational space at one time and guest privileges are restricted until further notice. All external user group rentals are cancelled, effective March 14, until further notice and all intramural sports, group exercise classes, personal training sessions and club practices will end on Friday, March 13. For Seniors Information on Commence-

Campus Resources For students who utilize Brandeis Counseling Center (BCC) or Health Center services, TeleHealth will be used so that students can have meetings remotely. These resources will be HIPAA compliant and will utilize Zoom Medical, according to the March 12 email. Brandeis is following CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MPH) for screening COVID-19 risk and is testing with the MPH, according to the Brandeis Health Center website. “If you have no known risks for COVID-19 please make an appointment for care at Brandeis University Health Center by calling us or using the secure patient portal to schedule your appointment,” says the Brandeis Health Center website. “Notify the front desk of your symptoms upon arrival.” The CDC does not recommend the use of face-masks for people who are well, according to the Brandeis Health Center website, and it says those resources should be saved for the spread of infection in health care settings. Mandel Café, Science Center Café, Heller Starbucks, Farber Library Starbucks, The Stein and Currito’s in Upper Usdan will all close on Friday, March 13. Dining will be consolidated to Sherman Dining Hall and Usdan Dining Hall. The Faculty Club, Dunkin’ Donuts, Einstein’s, Louis’ Deli, SubConnection, and the sushi bar located in Upper Usdan will remain open for the time being.


The Brandeis Hoot

March 13, 2020

Panel addresses history of voting and voter suppression By Tim Dillon editor

We get the democracy that we deserve and demand, according to Jay Koffman ’68, MA ’73, the founding director of Beacon Leadership Collaborative and a former member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and moderator of Voting and Democracy in 2020 and Beyond, an event put on by the Brandeis Politics Department on March 9 in Rapaporte Treasure Hall. The event also featured State Senator and Brandeis alum Rebecca Roust ’01, John Shattuck, professor at the Tufts School of Diplomacy and Harvard’s Kennedy School and Boston City Councilor for District One Lydia Edwards. The panelists discussed the state of voting and democracy in the United States, covering both the history of the struggle to expand the vote and modern attempts to

restrict the right to vote. Summing up the history of voting in the United States, Shattuck described voting as “the cornerstone of democracy,” but said that it had long been withheld from the majority of Americans. At the country’s founding, Shattuck said, the right to vote was not guaranteed, and the only people who could vote were property-owning white men. The next two centuries, he said, saw important steps forward for voting equality, such as the Fifteenth Amendment, passed in 1870, which nominally allowed all men to vote, the Nineteenth Amendment, passed in 1920, which gave women the right to vote, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Supreme Court decisions which overturned Jim Crow laws and the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, passed in 1971, which lowered the voting age to 18. Voting in recent years, Shattuck said, has been characterised by

systemic efforts to make it harder to vote, especially for minorities. These practices, which Shattuck characterized as a “war on the vote,” include voter ID laws, the purging of voter rolls and gerrymandering. Shattuck ended by saying that “we’re in a critical moment for democracy in America.” Roust spoke about clerical and logistical issues which can prevent people from being able to vote, saying that “even in Massachusetts people get turned away from the polls.” She spoke about the importance of automatic voter registration and advocated for Massachusetts to switch from front-end automatic voter registration, where people are automatically registered to vote when they get a driver’s license or complete certain other state forms, and given the chance to opt out on the form, to back-end automatic voter registration, where people are automatically registered and


must reach out to the state to opt out. Roust also argued for Massachusetts to move its state primary to earlier in the year, saying that the current Massachusetts law which mandates holding it seven weeks before the general election lowers turnout. Edwards spoke about her experiences campaigning and said that she was able to win by reaching out to potential voters to whom no one else had reached out. She said that campaigning in multiple languages was crucial to her success, as well as a willingness to

be present outside of an election year. She spoke about the need for the United States to have a culture of voting, and for people to believe that their votes matter. On voter suppression, she said that she feels “encouraged to hear how hard they’re working to suppress the vote, because it means we’re winning.” The panel was asked about ranked choice voting, which they supported, saying that it encouraged politicians to try to appeal to a broader coalition and behave more civilly.

Democratic socialist advises against Sanders for president By Emma Lichtenstein editor

Though the topic of a professor’s talk was democratic socialism, his solution to the United States’ current political situation was a Joe Biden presidency. Professor Peter Dreier, E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College, referenced a Gallup poll saying that 43 percent of Americans—and 58 percent of people between the ages of 18-34—think socialism could be a good thing for this country. Dreier said that he thinks Bernie Sanders should drop out of the primary and acknowledged that the sentiment was controversial. Dreier believes that Sanders and Warren should go to Biden together and try to cut a deal in exchange for endorsement. He paused here to acknowledge that Biden is not the perfect candidate, but that Dreier still thinks he is the best bet at beating Trump.

Dreier said that more important than having a candidate with the best policies is having a candidate who can defeat the current president. According to Dreier, Milwaukee used to be a hub for socialism in the early twentieth century, electing socialist mayors for about a 50-year period. He spoke about Daniel Hone, who was mayor of Milwaukee when TIME magazine named it the most efficient city. Today, there are over 60,000 members of the Democratic Socialists of America, according to Dreier. But, he argued that there are more people who support socialist ideals that are not comfortable with the label. Dreier mentioned a couple of public opinion polls with results that supported this theory. He said that 85 percent of Americans—including 58 percent of Republicans—support a two percent wealth tax like the one that Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed. Additionally, he said that the majority of Amer-

icans support universal health care. He transitioned into discussing how the radical, failed plans of one generation are “the no-brainer ideas of the next generation.” Dreier used social security as an example. He then argued that the role of the left was to make radical issues more mainstream. The left’s job is to “take these radical ideas, educate the public about them… and hope that Republicans will steal the ideas.” With Republican support, these ideas have a chance at being implemented. He said that he understands that oftentimes, the radical ideals that Republicans may support are a watered-down version of the original thought. This is something relevant now, he said, referencing many Bernie Sanders supporters. Later, he discussed some of the most influential movements of the last decade—movements responsible for changing the landscape of America. His top 11 political


movements include: Occupy Wall Street, Fight for 15, Black Lives Matter, Women’s March, #MeToo, the March For Our Lives and Indivisible. He also mentioned the fights for DREAMers and immigration rights, for rent control, for voting rights and an end to voter suppression and environmental activism. During his bit on envi-

ronmental activism, he asked if Brandeis had divested from fossil fuels. His question was answered with many disappointed “no”s and one very passionate “boo!” from an audience member. This panel was hosted by the Department of Politics and Brandeis alum Jules Bernstein ’57 on Tuesday, March 10.

Student petitions for course on history of women in science By Sabrina Chow and Dara Goldfein editor and special to the hoiot

Women in science are often at the forefront of scientific discovery, but not many are recognizable to the general public and oftentimes not credited for their discovery, according to Mia Hayford ’20. So, she’s trying to change that. Hayford began a petition two weeks ago to get a “History of Women in Science” course taught at Brandeis, and it has since collected over 100 signatures. “Women have made incredible contributions to the knowledge, progress, and discoveries present within the scientific community,” according to the petition. “These contributions have expanded our understanding of the world that

occurs around us and within our own bodies.” But, according to the petition, many of the women are nameless and unknown to the greater community, and they have not been credited for the work that they contribute. Her involvement in the project, “The History of Women in the Discovery of RNA Splicing,” with Scholar Pnina Abir-Am in Women’s Studies Research Center helped her learn strategies “that can be used to reduce, in the hopes to eventually dismantle, discrimination within the scientific field,” she told The Hoot in an email. “I wanted this information to be accessible to every student, so when I spoke to Dr. Abir-Am, she told me about the ‘History of Women Science’ courses taught at other universities.”

According to the petition, AbirAm has taught this course previously at Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, Berkeley. “I believe that having a course like this is essential in order to promote professional success and social mobility for future scientists and STEM professionals,” Hayford told The Hoot in an email. “If you are aware of the history of discrimination, you are more likely to be able to identify it, know how to work around it if you can, and combat it in your own career. If we are not aware of the history of discrimination of women from all backgrounds, we are at risk of perpetuating the same white patriarchal systems, inevitably pushing progress back.” Hayford believes that learning the history of women in science

allows individuals to appreciate women and give opportunities to younger generations so that the entire field can continue to promote an equitable change for the future. Hayford has been in contact with multiple faculty members on campus, including HSSP chair James Morris, who stated that he “would love to see a course like this taught at Brandeis.” Abir-Am is not actively assisting Hayford with the petition but has expressed her interest in having a course like this taught at Brandeis. Hayford is currently reaching out to professors who may be interested in teaching the course, with the possibility of the university hiring a new professor to teach this course. Hayford hopes that students would be able to share the knowl-

edge they learned through the course with their peers “so that we can teach students to navigate fields that are not intrinsically set up for them,” she told The Hoot in an email. “Another hope of mine would be to encourage others to ensure that the scientific community is equitable for everyone, so individuals receive proper recognition for the work they have done and that social mobility within the scientific field is attainable for everyone.” “I am extremely humbled by the support I have received from friends, peers, and professors whom I have told about the petition,” said Hayford. “The positive support from the Brandeis community has been incredible.” As of print time, there are currently 106 signatures on the petition.


March 13, 2020

The Brandeis Hoot 5

Marc Weinberg: the man, the myth, the legend By Shruthi Manjunath editor

Professor Marc Weinberg has been teaching at Brandeis since 2005 and has taught various classes in film production. He currently teaches ENG 79A (Screenwriting Workshop: Beginning Screenplay), ENG 139B (Screenwriting Workshop: Intermediate Screenplay) and ENG 149A (Screenwriting Workshop: Writing for Television). He previously taught FILM 100A (Introduction to the Moving Image). One of Weinberg’s most memorable experiences at Brandeis was one summer in which he and twelve of his students created a short film. First, each of the students wrote a script for the film and one script was ultimately chosen. Then the students shot and edited the film and created a complete movie. As a professor, Weinberg enjoys large classes due to the fact that he really enjoys making students laugh and the more students there are in class, the more laughter will be present. He plays games with his students in class in order to make them laugh. For example, Weinberg explains that the number of excuses people have given for why they can’t turn in work or can’t come to class is uncanny.

Over the years he has tallied up the excuses and created a “Family Feud” game for his students to play. On the first day of class, he divides the class into teams and the students guess the various excuses that people give for not coming to class or not turning in work. One of the examples he gives is people saying that they overslept, however, the earliest class he teaches is at 2 p.m. Other people have told him that they emailed him the work but he didn’t get it. In addition to this “Family Feud” game, he creates many other games to try to get people to think about film. One example is the “Complete the Story” game. Weinberg gives the students a feature film and gives them parts of the plot, but does not reveal the whole story. As a result, the students are forced to figure out where the story goes and, as a result, what the director is trying to accomplish. Outside of being a professor, Weinberg has worked in the entertainment industry as a writer. He explains that at one point in his career while he was living in L.A. he and his wife were hired by A&E to write the script for a movie about the magician Harry Houdini. As they were writing the script, Weinberg and his wife had

access to all of Houdini’s personal files in which he explained how he performed his magic acts as an escape artist. Weinberg describes how it was really cool to be able to see into the mind of a magician. Weinberg explains that he really enjoys working with his wife due to the fact that they work well together and help each other when they are experiencing writer’s block. He highlights how “that’s one of the greatest joys of working in the entertainment industry” in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot. While working in the entertainment industry, one lesson Weinberg learned was the fact that the entertainment industry is a business. Weinberg explains that superhero movies, for example, are made because they make a lot of money and studios need the money in order to survive. The entertainment industry requires a give and take relationship. It requires collaboration due to the fact that films are very expensive to make. Individuals have to be willing to be team players. Weinberg has had many students work in the entertainment industry after taking a class with him. Weinberg also teaches at Emerson College and Boston University. He explains that many students enroll as film students



and believe that they are ready to make a movie when, in reality, they have so much to learn. He describes how it’s a thrill to see how many of his students have gone into the entertainment industry. He advises many students to do an internship in California to see if they enjoy working in this industry. Many of Weinberg’s former students have gone on to work at world-renowned studios and receive various accolades. Josh Gondelman ’07 won multiple Emmys while working with John

Oliver. Gondelman is also a successful stand-up comedian and is one of the head writers on “Desus and Mero.” Joey Hartstone ’05 has written two feature films with Rob Reiner, the director of “The Princess Bride.” Many of Weinberg’s students have become producers, worked at networks or worked on casting TV shows. Weinberg highlights how watching people find their passion is “a real joy” and “it’s a real pleasure teaching at Brandeis” due to the fact that students here are “inquisitive, passionate and open minded.”

Majors at Brandeis: where do you stand? By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Brandeis is known for having a large number of students with multiple majors and minors. It was not until 2017, however, that double majors were more common than single majors, with 49.4 percent and 45.9 percent respectively. Triple majors only accounted for 4.6 percent that year. Since then, the amount of double and triple majors continued to increase while the amount of single majors decreased, with the low in 2018 at 40.5 percent. The Class of 2019 had the largest number of triple majors at 5.2 percent. From 2010, which is the farthest back the data on the Brandeis website goes, there were an average of 866 bachelor’s degrees awarded, with the high being 957 in 2015, and a low of 777 in 2011. Through the decade, there have been more Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees awarded than Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees, with B.A.s averaging 667, and B.S.s averag-

ing only 199. However there is an increasing trend in the Bachelor of Science degrees, with 242 awarded in 2019, in comparison to 128 awarded in 2010. Latin honors are used in some colleges and universities, including Brandeis, to show the level of distinction that the student with the degree has earned. According to the Brandeis website, at Brandeis Latin honors are determined solely by a student’s final grade-point average (GPA). They include Cum laude (with praise) for those with a 3.5 GPA, Magna cum laude (with great praise) for those with a 3.7 and Summa cum laude (with highest praise) for those with a GPA of 3.8 or higher, but only if “the student also is awarded departmental honors.” The overall trend has been an increase, with the class of 2019 being the highest, with 58.2 percent of the graduating class receiving Latin Honors. The average over the decade is 53.8 percent, while low is 49.2 percent in 2014. In terms of undergraduate degrees by division, social sciences

has been the most popular division with an average of 780 students per year and a high of 890 students in 2015. Science has been the second most popular division, doubling in size from 2010 to 2019, from 210 to 420 respectively, with an average of 329 students per year. Science has a growing trend. Humanities, which started off with more students than science, with 223 in 2010, has been decreasing to 129 in 2019, with a low of 112 in 2018. The average number of students with humanities degrees is 155. Creative arts remained fourth throughout the decade, with an average of 48 students per year, a low of 41 in 2019 and a high of 65 in 2012. Independent Interdisciplinary Majors (IIM) have been the least common in the past decade, with an average of nine students per year, and a high of 15 in 2016. In terms of majors, economics has been the most popular major at Brandeis in the last decade, falling second only to biology between 2013 and 2015, with an average of 143 people majoring in

economics. The highest number of students with an economics major was in 2019, with 188 students, which accounted for 23.4 percent of the graduating class. Biology has consistently been the second most popular major at Brandeis, only falling to third place in 2016 to business. The business major, which only began in 2011 with 34 students, has been placing third since 2016, which is also when it was at its high with 145 students, where it tied for the most popular major of the year with economics. Before the creation of the business major, psychology was consistently the third most popular major, falling into fourth place after 2016. Majors that placed after fourth place appear to change depending on the year. The least popular majors at Brandeis include: Biological Physics, German Studies, Comparative Language and Literature, Spanish Language and Literature, Russian Studies, Russian Language and Literature, Italian Studies and Hebrew Language and Literature. All of these majors have had years

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in the past decade where there wasn’t a single person graduating with the major. Russian Studies has had the most graduates with 26, and a high of five students each in 2014 and 2015. Biological Physics has the second highest amount with 25 students since 2010, with a high of seven in 2015 and 2017. Comparative Language and Literature has had 17 graduates, but has had a decreasing trend, with only two people graduating with the major since 2015. Italian Studies has had 18 students majoring in it, with no one majoring in it since 2014, when it had four graduates. Nine people graduated with a degree in Herbrew Language and Literature, one less than German Studies, which had 10 graduates in the last decade. Spanish Language and Literature and Russian Language and Literature have only had one person graduate in the last decade. Russian Language and Literature, Italian Studies and Herbrew Language and Literature have not had a student graduate with the respective degree since 2014.


The Brandeis Hoot

March 13, 2020

Class of 2020 responds to online transition By Class of 2020 special to the hoot

The Brandeis Hoot asked the Class of 2020 to give their thoughts surrounding the latest developments of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and how it is affecting Brandeis. The questionnaire we distributed focused on students in the Class of 2020 specifically, as this group of students has faced many different epidemics throughout their lifetimes and face uncertainties surrounding graduation and other end of the year events as of print time.

“ ” ” “ ” “ “ ” ” “ ”“ ” “ ” “ “ ” ” “ ” “ “ ” ” “ I want a petition to start about Springfest, Senior Week and Graduation.

It should be clear to everyone that this type of language is not okay: ‘There is no need for concern, as this virus is only dangerous to the immunocompromised/elderly.’ This type of language devalues the lives of the immunocompromised/elderly, and also overlooks the responsibility we have as a community to halt the spread of the virus in order to protect our immunocompromised/elderly members of the community. Additionally, we should not be comparing this to the flu. While most of the population would have an experience very similar to getting the seasonal flu, this overlooks the fact that COVID is many times more deadly than the flu, and there isn’t a vaccine.

More straightforward answers and better ways to make sure students can be tested. Fix the infrastructure of the health center and make it something that students will go to. Most people I talk to forgo the health center and go straight to the ER or urgent care because the health center’s structure and quality of care is that bad.

Don’t cancel graduation. Don’t cancel senior week. Don’t cancel Springfest. Or, refund me half my tuition.

I think Brandeis is responding well, however it is a really scary time and while the emails are helpful, it is definitely inducing fear in many students.

It is unfortunate that the coronavirus is aligning with our last semester in college and it is really saddening to me. Humans think we have mother nature mastered, yet these epidemics prove to us that we are not above nature.

I wish this didn’t have to impact my senior spring :/

Clarity. Resources for students who are panicking. Reasoning behind their decisions, or at least links to resources to learn about what’s going on for community members who aren’t scientifically literate.


The administration should talk to their autoimmune compromised students and see whether or not their actions are actually supporting them.

I would like some tuition back or funding for my work, because online classes mean I physically will be unable to continue my studies (my painting thesis—as I will lose studio access and resources).

It just makes me question our entire health system. I don’t know enough to truly make a statement, but I do know that I’m grateful none of these epidemics lined up and affected my family while my mom was in between jobs and we didn’t have insurance.

Mass hysteria does not help. Sicknesses spread, but at the end of the day, we cannot stop our lives and our education because of it. Seniors deserve to finish their college careers by taking classes in person, having a final Springfest, arts showcases, senior week, and graduation (commencement) all in person, for which they have worked so hard for the past four years.

All I would say to this is that it is showing me how hopeless[ly] unprepared governments are to contain and prevent things like this from spreading once they take hold, and how there doesn’t seem to be any coherent coordination between the government and other major organizations (such as schools, municipal governments, global health organizations, etc).

I think that seniors deserve to have commencement, even if it is postponed. Many are the first to go to college in their family, many have left their families and homelands behind to come here and get an education. To not have a graduation ceremony would be heartbreaking and unfair to all of us that have worked so hard. Even if a compromise could be worked out, I’m pretty sure we can all agree that we would want some kind of commencement or celebration even if adjustments have to be made. This epidemic is for sure dangerous but people need to educate themselves and understand that life cannot come to a complete stop—why doesn’t anyone react like this during flu season? Coronavirus is new so it is scary, but people at risk should stay home without it sacrificing the freedom of other healthy people. Us younger healthier people have been shown to not have ANY symptoms while having the virus—so we should implement strict and thorough policies of cleanliness and sanitation. But cancelling everything including commencement detracts from any type of hope, joy or celebration. I’m sure there is a way to compromise so that students that worked so hard for four years can get a graduation like anyone else. I’m sure parents who cannot leave their countries to see their child due to travel restrictions would still rather their child get their diploma on video, than not at all. This would be taking away a once in a lifetime achievement.


March 13, 2020

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe.” Editors-in-Chief Candace Ng Polina Potochevska Managing Editor Emily Botto Deputy Copy Editor Madeline Rousell News Editor Rachel Saal Deputy News Editor Tim Dillon Victoria Morrongiello Arts Editor Jonah Koslofsky Deputy Arts Editor Aaron LaFauci Emma Lichtenstein Opinions Editor Sasha Skarboviychuk Features Editor Shruthi Manjunath Sports Editor Sophie Trachtenberg Deputy Photos Editor Grace Zhou Layout Editor Sabrina Chow Deputy Social Media Editor John Fornagiel


Volume 17 • Issue 8 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma

Founded By Leslie Pazan, Igor Pedan and Daniel Silverman


Josh Aldwinckle-Povey, Medjine Barionette, Camila Casanueva, Vivian Chang, Sam Finbury, Lucy Frenkel, Stewart Huang, Uma Jagwani, Joey Kornman, Alex Kougasian, Josh Lannon, Dane Leoniak, Justin Leung, Jesse Lieberman, Francesca Marchese, Anna Nappi, Zach Newman, Caroline O, Hannah Pedersen, Thomas Pickering, Lucy Pugh-Sellers, Isaac Ruben, Jacob Schierson, Zachary Sosland, Courtney Thrun, Adian Vinograd, Caroline Wang, Emerson White

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.

SUBMISSION POLICIES The Brandeis Hoot welcomes letters to the editor on subjects that are of interest to the community. Preference is given to current or former community members and The Hoot reserves the right to edit or reject submissions. The deadline for submitting letters is Wednesday at noon. Please submit letters to along with your contact information. Letters should not exceed 500 words. The opinions, columns, cartoons and advertisements printed in The Hoot do not necessarily represent the opinions of the editorial board.

CONNECT phone • (781) 330-0051 e-mail • online • facebook • twitter • instagram •

ADVERTISE Advertising in The Brandeis Hoot helps spread your message to our readers across the Brandeis campus, in the Waltham community and beyond through our website. All campus organizations receive a 25-percent discount off our regular prices. To reserve your space in the paper, e-mail us at ads@

GIVE A HOOT, JOIN THE HOOT! Writers, editors, photographers and graphic artists wanted to join The Brandeis Hoot, your weekly community newspaper. To learn more, send us an e-mail at, or visit our website

UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS We welcome unsolicited submissions from members of the community sent by e-mail to Please limit submissions to 800 words. All submissions are subject to editing.

On the university’s COVID-19 response

e, the editorial board of The Brandeis Hoot, feel the weight of the impact of the university’s decision to transition to online learning. This change to our lives and our college careers will no doubt affect our memory of Brandeis and our time here, especially for the Class of 2020 as they approach graduation. The sadness and anger that students feel for the loss of events, practices and performances is undeniable. So much work and effort was put into these endeavors, and we respect how difficult it is to have to give up on them. However, we have witnessed a lot of blaming—toward administration and fellow students. We know that it is a stressful time, but we hope that students can come together and try to understand both what the administration is doing and that it is no one’s fault. This global pandemic was unforeseen, and we believe the

Editors-at-Large Natalie Fritzson Celia Young


The Brandeis Hoot 7

administration is doing what they think is best. This was going to happen no matter what, as Brandeis followed the actions of other schools across the state, the country and the world in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. The impacts of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) are real. As of publication time, there were 134,681 coronavirus cases, with at least 1,631 cases confirmed in the U.S. The actions of schools around the country and at Brandeis are not overreactions, and the measures that various authorities have taken to prevent the spread of the disease are necessary. And even if they weren’t, Brandeis administration essentially did not have any other choice but to shut down considering pressures from parents, donors and other universities. There are always things the administration could have done better—three separate three-day breaks are just con-

fusing—but in comparison to other schools in the greater Boston area, Brandeis is giving more time. More time to its students to figure out housing and more time to its faculty to prepare for moving classes online—a large shift, especially for smaller classes in the humanities and the fine arts. We, especially our four graduating seniors, appreciate having a week and a half to let the news sink in and seek closure. The opportunity to say our final goodbyes makes it a little easier to leave the friends and professors with whom we have built relationships. We are thankful for the way that the Brandeis administration handled this stressful situation, though we are sad to leave this campus earlier than we ever thought we would. Editor’s Note: Editors Rachel Saal, Sabrina Chow and Sasha Skarboviychuk did not contribute to this editorial.

On moving forward

e, the Editors-in-Chief and Managing Editor of The Brandeis Hoot, must announce, although bittersweet, that this will be the last issue of this academic year. The transition to online classes in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic means that we have to leave campus for the rest of the semester

and complete the remainder of our undergraduate degrees virtually. Amid the confusion, anxiety and disappointment, we are proud to have served the Brandeis community for the past four years, and to have given our time to The Hoot. The Brandeis Hoot is for, by and about the Brandeis community and we will continue to support this

newspaper as we move on to our next endeavors. We have the utmost faith in our upcoming leadership and trust that they will support our paper to the best of their ability -Candace Ng and Polina Potochevska, Editors-in-Chief and Emily Botto, Managing Editor


In a News article titled “Brandeis first US univ. to endorse drugged drink testing devices” printed in the Feb. 26 issue, the article incorrectly stated that Sarah Berg said that Brandeis was the first university to bring SipChips to Brandeis and that University of Carolina Chapel Hill was unable to implement SipChips. The statements were made by Ricki Levitus ’20. In a Features article titled “Women of Color Alliance diversifies its audience” printed in the March 6th issue, the article incorrectly stated that the Women of Color Alliance was previously exclusive to women of color. The Women of Color Alliance is open to all students regardless of race and gender, though many attendees in the past identify as cis-gender women of color.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

8 The Brandeis Hoot




We love Jake Judd.


Once a Hoot editor, always a Hoot




It isn’t Dover until we say it is.

Working hard, or hardly working on our last issue?

March 13, 2020





Three dudes, chillin’ in H-lot, five feet apart ‘cause they’re not gay.



Words of encouragement during these tough times. PHOTO BY RACHEL SAAL/THE HOOT

March 13, 2020


The Brandeis Hoot 9

Due to the sudden closure of Brandeis’ campus, this issue, March 13, 2020, will be the final issue that our graduating seniors will work on for The Brandeis Hoot in their undergraduate careers. Some have been part of The Hoot since their first semester at Brandeis. Here, they give one last bit of advice to all underclassmen through the wisdom that they have gained over their time here at Brandeis. Best of luck to the entire graduating class of 2020. We cannot wait to see what you will accomplish.

Thank you, Brandeis By Polina Potochevska editor

I didn’t know that I wanted to go to Brandeis, at first. It was a school I applied to on a whim after hearing from my grandfather that a distant family relative went here. Four years later, I have come to realize that Brandeis has been so much more to me than just my undergraduate college or my alma mater, but it has truly been a home. It is a community of people that I care about, and that care for me. Sticking to the tradition of the senior op (in which all graduating editors at The Hoot write an opinion piece for their last issue), I would like to give some advice to any underclassmen looking to make the most of their college experience. First, I want to encourage you to go out of your comfort zone. Everyone will tell you this even though you may roll your eyes, because it is the truth. You can believe me, now that I’m old. I came into this school with no previously made friends, and left being the Editor-in-Chief of The Hoot with my fellow top-dog Candace, President of the Brandeis Ballet Club and a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority (DPhiE). None of that would have happened if I didn’t push myself to be social and make

connections with people, in addition to committing to my academic pursuits. Everyone coming into college is afraid about not making friends, and is desperate to find a place. I believe that everyone has a place at Brandeis, and have found that to be true of my experience, but it took a lot of courage and a lot of prayer. I am endlessly grateful to have come to know God throughout my time at Brandeis, and can see the ways my life has been blessed in the past four years. I had little-to-no experience in journalism when I joined The Hoot my first semester of freshman year. I simply had a desire to write, and found a community of people who shared my passion for writing, while also being able to give information to the Brandeis community in an easily digestible way. I highlighted students, professors, classes and events that showed the best of what Brandeis has to offer. I wrote opinions pieces that helped to make change. I wrote for every section at least once (even though it took me until the last issue of my senior year). I am eternally grateful to this club for all of the lessons it has taught me, and urge anyone reading this to join that club you’ve been interested in but are debating whether or not you should join it next year. You should. You never know where it can take you!

Second, you do not have to do everything. In the past, I have worked three jobs concurrently (shout-out to the Brandeis Bookstore for being the best place on campus to work), served as the Undergraduate Department Representative (UDR) for Russian Studies and ran two clubs, all on top of a four or five course-load (ending up with two majors and two minors in true Brandeis fashion). And while I survived it, it was really hard! Brandeis is unique in that its students are not as competitive with each other as they are within themselves. It is easy for Brandeis students to feel burnt out, myself included, but we need to remember that going to college is not purely about academics— although they are also incredible here, and being a Humanities Fellow changed my college experience for the better. College is an amazing time of transition where you can learn how to be an adult, make life-long connections with students and professors and also not yet feel the full stresses of being an adult, and you should take advantage of that freedom to have fun and pursue what brings you joy. And sometimes things did get really stressful. In fact, maybe now more than ever. Navigating writing a senior thesis from home in addition to completing classes,

figuring out a summer job and finding housing for the fall for graduate school (Emerson College ’22!!!) is not easy. I recognize for other students more pressing stressors such as food insecurity or WiFi/housing insecurity is looming as I type, and that I am in a very privileged position. I hope to find a way to support fellow Brandeis community members, especially seniors, as we all try to figure out how to finish off the semester strongly and positively. Again, you do not have to do everything. I firmly believe our lives are not just about boosting our resumes. But if you pursue what you love with passion and drive, and chase what makes you happy and what challenges you, you can surely succeed. And tip 2.5: it’s okay to ask for help. We’re only human. Third, and lastly, as this is a lesson I am still learning, try to make the best of every situation. I never anticipated that my senior spring would be cut short in March due to a pandemic. I never thought that I would miss out on my last Spring Showcase for the Ballet Club, and never complete choreographing my senior dance. I never thought I’d be typing my senior op on March 11 through thick waves of tears. I never expected to have my commencement ceremonies hang in the balance of the Brandeis ad-

ministration. Despite the crushing and disappointing sequence of events that have transpired in the last week or so, I am still endlessly grateful to have had my four years of college at Brandeis University. I am thankful that The Hoot was saved from dechartering last year, and will continue to be a community newspaper for, by and about the Brandeis community (#HootNationIsThriving). I celebrate the Ballet Club’s growth and the new sisters I have met and befriended through DPhiE. The photographs and videos I have taken I will keep close to my heart. The friends and sisters that I have made, I will keep forever. And who knows, maybe seniors will be back in May for commencement. Maybe we’ll have our annual kickball game this week before we all go home. I know next year I’ll certainly be back at Brandeis in the audience of the SCC Theater, cheering on the fifth annual performance of “The Nutcracker” and stopping by the BMC to catch up with editors working on their layouts on a late Thursday night, as I have done so many times before. From the bottom of my heart, Brandeis, thank you so much for everything. I loved going here, learning here and forming relationships here. I’m going to miss you.

Don’t lose hope By Emily Botto editor

We all know why the seniors are writing their traditional opinions articles now instead of in two months. We all know why the fact that this is happening now is especially unfortunate for Brandeis University seniors. We all know that it sucks for everyone who had an event canceled that they worked their butts off for, and for everyone who has to miss the last moments of their college career, spending them at home. But I’m not going to talk about that because I have no doubt talked about it enough in the past few weeks.

Instead, I’m going to talk about the last almost-four-years that I have spent as a student at Brandeis and what I learned about the world and about this school. I came to Brandeis wanting to get as far away from high school as possible—something to which I’m sure a lot of people can relate. I was still a person obsessed with keeping my nose in a book and ignoring everything around me, and I was reluctant to look up and make an effort to talk to people and find friends. I rolled through a few friend groups the first few weeks of freshman year, trying to find where I belonged. And eventually I did. One of the first people I met in class is now one of my

roommates, four years later. I met my best friend during my first club meeting and, through her, found the place that I had been looking for and had been missing throughout high school. There are a lot of great people that I have met here, and my life wouldn’t be the same without them. In fact, out of anything, the classes that I took, the clubs and the events in which I participated, I think I learned the most about people. To be honest, before I came to college, my main goal was to avoid them. But, in the last four years, I have certainly become more confident in talking to people. I suppose that was my “glow up” in college: being able to talk

to strangers without an anxiety attack. Brandeis was a weird place to learn how to become social, as half the people I met were just as timid as I was, and the other half were so outspoken that it was hard to get a word in edgewise (why are you booing me? I’m right). This led to a lot of clashes between students and a lot of people talking over others. But I think many of the people I met here grew alongside me, the latter learning to listen to the former, and the former learning how to speak up. We are never going to be perfect. We were flawed when we came to Brandeis and we continue to be flawed now. All we can hope

From freshman year to senior year


to do is change as we go along, to get better and more confident and to love ourselves and the people we care about more with each day. For seniors right now, life feels like a TV series that got canceled after a nail-biting cliffhanger, and we’ll never get to know what happened. What could have happened if this year had continued the way it was supposed to? But I think it is important for us seniors to think not about all the things we have missed but about all the things we were able to accomplish and to experience. It sucks. I am here to validate all your feelings of suckage. I am also here, however, to remind you that you did well, and you should be proud of yourself.

Up next

Welcome Sabrina and Celia!


The Brandeis Hoot

March 13, 2020

How Brandeis has changed me By Candace Ng editor

I would never have imagined my senior spring being abruptly cut short by a global pandemic like the novel coronavirus, and that my “senior op”—a tradition where graduating editors on The Hoot write opinion pieces reflecting on their times at Brandeis— would be written and published in March. As I write this, I am grappling with conflicting emotions ranging from fear to bewilderment to nostalgia. The closure of the university comes with the anxiety from the coronavirus, the uncertainty of what my academics and thesis will look like, the sadness of leaving my friends and the culmination of it all—saying goodbye to my undergraduate career with a lack of closure. Reflecting on my time at Brandeis, I have changed a lot, and most certainly did not expect to be who I am now. I applied to Brandeis under Early Decision II (ED-II) on a whim, unsure as to whether I would ever love it the way my classmates did and won-

dering whether I could have been happier at a different institution. I am glad I did; I only wish this was not the end. One thing that has been characteristic about my time at Brandeis, and arguably my favorite thing about the school, is the flexibility it offers in academics and extracurriculars alike. I have never been told that I couldn’t do anything, but rather, have been encouraged to go for it. I came into The Hoot during my first semester with no journalism experience, and what started out as two hours of layout design for The Hoot every week became operating a full 16-page weekly publication as an Editor-in-Chief alongside Polina (#HootNationIsThriving). In my sophomore year, I became a Community Advisor (CA) for the Department of Community Living (DCL), and learned to be a stronger, more confident leader on my halls and staff team. Two years later, I became a Head Community Advisor for the largest residential area on campus (Massell and Rosenthal Quads), and gave a six minute and 40 seconds long PechaKucha speech

about how my identities affect my role as a CA to the entire department in fall training. This past fall, I said yes to writing an honor’s thesis, after spending the entire summer leading up to senior year debating whether I should because I had no psychology research experience. And here I am, conducting a study on the effects of religion on depression and risky behavior, thanks to encouragement from my advisor, Dr. Ellen Wright, and a whole lot of prayer with and from my friends. Faculty and students alike not only told me to pursue these opportunities, but also run after them. What changed the most during my four years at Brandeis—and what ties each of the three experiences together—would be my faith. I grew up in the church and in a Christian home, but my faith was not my own until my sophomore year. Being a Christian at Brandeis required intention and active devotion in ways that I have never known; I had to make the choices to get involved in a local church, participate in an on-campus organization (Cru Brandeis

Christian Fellowship) and spend time learning and growing in scripture. It came with lots of joy, and I got to meet some of my best friends. These choices also came with sacrifice, such as weekends spent with other Cru chapters in the Greater Boston Area and 9 a.m. shuttle rides to Harvard Square followed by 20-minute-long walks in the sun or rain or snow. Together they form my most fond memories, like watching fireworks on the fourth of July from the roof of our summer house and fall nights spent running around a campsite in New Hampshire. There were little things along the way, too: lavender lattes at my favorite coffeehouse, finger touches and sweet texts when I least expect them. Besides monetary and time sacrifices, being a Christian, especially on a college campus, came with the task of learning to love on the people around me with truth and grace. With my closest friends, it looks like raw, vulnerable conversations about our physical, mental and spiritual health. Other times, they are

conversations in which we call each other out on our words and actions. With other friends, residents and peers, it means seeking to be patient and understanding with them. It means choosing to love and support them in spite of rejection. Love comes in both words and actions; Bob Goff once wrote, “simply put, love does.” As I continue to learn to love like Jesus, I hope my words, actions and inactions reflect him well. This is my four years at Brandeis: completing a major and two minors, writing a thesis, working one job, being involved in and leading two clubs, getting out of my comfort zone and going up and down the multitude of hills that make up the campus. While I am still in disbelief that I will be finishing my undergraduate degree virtually, I think I have made good use of the time I did get to spend on campus. Thank you, Brandeis, for all the opportunities and the ways you have changed me. More importantly, thank you for always telling me that I was enough and that I could do anything I am passionate about and put my mind to.

Stop calling it ‘the Ukraine’ By Polina Potochevska and Sasha Skarboviychuk editors

There are a lot of bothersome things about Brandeis: laundry, food, overcrowded classes, the list can go on and on. But we would like to focus on an issue that might not bother a lot of people on campus but it does bother us. And if you do value social justice, this issue should bother you too. The funny thing about this issue is that it is about one short word: “the,” in the case when it is put in front of Ukraine. The Ukraine. Both of us were born in Ukraine, both ended up at Brandeis University for our undergraduate careers and both are members of the incredible editorial board of The

Hoot. And yes, while our paper is called The Brandeis Hoot, we are from Ukraine. Not “the Ukraine.” It is not only a major pet peeve of ours to hear our country being called “the Ukraine,” but it is also borderline offensive. As William Taylor, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009, put it in a Time article from 2014, “The Ukraine is the way the Russians referred to that part of the country during Soviet times … Now that it is a country, a nation, and a recognized state, it is just Ukraine. And it is incorrect to refer to the Ukraine, even though a lot of people do it.” Even Google Docs recognizes that “the Ukraine” is grammatically incorrect by underlining it when typing, in addition to it being politically incorrect, as we have just established. Ukraine is a nation, not a ter-

ritory within another country. There is no reason for it to have the article “the” before it. As Ukrainian journalist Olena Goncharova wrote in the “Kyiv Post,” as quoted in an article on Foreign Policy’s website, “Saying ‘the Ukraine’ is more than a grammatical mistake—it is inappropriate and disrespectful for Ukraine and Ukrainians,” as it suggests that Ukraine is a “region of a country” or a “colonial territory.” However, Ukraine is neither of those things, but is its own independent state. As a fun fact for those who may not be familiar with the Russian or Ukrainian languages, there is no use of articles in the language at all. Therefore, calling it “the Ukraine” is uniquely English jargon. If you are still not convinced, try saying “the Poland” or “the Russia.” Doesn’t sound right, does

it? Ukraine works the same way. Losing the article “the” is like a metaphoric gaining of independence for Ukraine. A large part of the irony is that we have heard it being referred to as “the Ukraine” at Brandeis, which is ridiculous given that it tries to represent itself as a progressive institution with a focus on social justice. If we are talking about social justice, then please do our country the justice it deserves and refer to it in the correct manner. Do you really want to be grammatically incorrect and ignorant? What is also surprising is when we hear our peers say “the Ukraine”: the expression has been incorrect for longer than they have been alive! It becomes infinitely more ironic when you hear “the Ukraine” from a politics professor, who

is lecturing on what is currently happening in Ukraine. At that point it is unclear whether it is just ignorance (which may be to some degree excusable) or an actual insult towards our country (which is unacceptable). There have been times when Sasha climbed over chairs (it was quite a show) to walk out of class, after a politics professor kept referring to it as “the Ukraine.” Even after Sasha pointed it out. So much for political correctness at politically correct Brandeis. Sasha would go as far as to argue that referring to a country correctly is as important as referring to someone with their preferred pronouns. If you do not believe us, just Google “the Ukraine.” You will get thousands of articles that will tell you why “the Ukraine” is wrong and insulting.

SSIS advice column By SSIS special to the hoot

What type of books are in the SSIS library? Can I check the books out? Thank you for asking! The SSIS library is made up of over 650 volumes about sexuality, gender, healthy relationships, sexual health and wellness, and erotica. Our books range from guide books such as the “Guide to Getting It On” to erotic novels like “SMUT Vol. I.” Our library also includes photo books like “The Little Book of Big Boobs.” We have history books that may be helpful for research purposes, for example “The Gay Almanac.” One could also find in our library a collection of DIY books for making your own sex toys! On the first day of each month, we publish our book and product of the month on our social media. Be sure to check out those posts if you are interested in keeping up with our featured library books!

Welcome back to the SSIS column, where we answer any and all of Brandeis students’ questions about sex, sexuality, identity and relationships. If you have a question you’d like answered in our next column, email or leave a question in the Google Form link on the Student Sexuality Information Service Facebook page. Any and all questions are welcome: there are no bad, stupid, or weird questions! (Note: These answers are good-faith attempts by SSIS to be helpful to the Brandeis community, and are by no means exhaustive or to be taken as universal. If these answers don’t resonate with you, either pay them no mind, or reach out to us with suggestions for improvement!) All of our books are available to be checked out by Brandeis community members for a period of two weeks at a time—although you can always renew books if you don’t finish them in two weeks. I want to go to SSIS but I’m scared I will see someone I know there and it will be awkward. How do I avoid this? This is a great question! SSIS is open for our regular office hours, but we are also open by appointment. To make an appointment, text 586-ASK-SSIS (586-2757747) and ask to come into the office. That way, you and the SSIS member will be the only people in the office and you will not run into someone you know. If you are concerned about the SSIS member being someone that you know, we’d like to remind you that SSIS is a confidential space,

so SSIS members will not tell anyone you were there or bring it up to you in other contexts. If you are still concerned about a particular member, you can request over text to not have that member open the office. Thanks for asking! I am interested in working at SSIS! How can I apply? That’s so amazing! Our applications are open now and will close on March 25. There is no prior experience necessary to apply. To fill out an application, come to our office either during office hours or text us at our texting service (586-ASK-SSIS) to set up an after-hours appointment—this can be in the evenings, weekends, etc. We usually recommend allowing for about 30-45 minutes to fill out the application. Once you fill out an application, you will be asked to sign up for several interview times when you


are available. The interview is 30 minutes long and will also be in our office. We will contact you in

April to let you know if you have been selected. Let us know if you have any questions!


March 13, 2020

The Brandeis Hoot 11

Fencing sends Morales and Shealy to NCAA championships By Emerson White and Polina Potochevska staff and editor

Last weekend, the Brandeis fencing team competed in the NCAA Northeast Regional Tournament, hosted by Cornell University, and three fencers finished in the top seven of their respective weapons. After this weekend’s competition, Brandeis will send two women’s sabre fencers, Jessica Morales ’23 and Maggie Shealy ’23, to compete for the Judges at the 2020 NCAA National Collegiate Fencing Championships in Detroit, MI. Both Morales and Shealy, seeded sixth and 14th respectively, boasted outstanding performances for the Judges. Each fencer went 6-0 in the first round of competition, easily advancing to the next round. Morales also had an impressive plus-16 touch differential, tying for the highest indicator, and Shealy was not far behind in third with a plus-11 indicator. Next they moved into the semifinal round where Morales finished 6-2 with a plus-four indicator and huge wins over St. John’s University, Yale University, Sacred Heart University and Brown University to advance to the next round. Shealy also made it to the next round, coming in at 11th place out of the 12 spots available. She went 3-3 in the semifinals with a plus-one indicator. She fought off Cornell, Columbia and Yale to se-

Rookies Jessica Morales ‘23 (left) and Maggie Shealy ‘23 (right) were set to compete in the NCAA championships later this month.

cure her spot. Overall, the women’s sabre final round was a tough competition. The top three of the women’s sabre all finished 8-3 while the next five competitors finished 6-5; this included Shealy and Morales. The results put Shealy in sixth place with a plus-one indicator and Morales just one spot behind in seventh with a zero-indicator. After these finishes, both women will be the first to represent Brandeis women’s fencing in the NCAAs since 2014. To continue, they are the first two women to go in the same year since 2004. For the men’s fencing team, Ben Rogak ’23, seeded 24th, made it to the final 12 of the Northeast

Regional. In the opening round, Rogak went 4-2 with a plus-nine indicator, securing him the seventh spot in the semifinals. In the semis, he went 4-2 again with a plus-six indicator. He also boasted impressive wins over Harvard, NYU, Yale and Columbia. The final 12 was extremely competitive on the men’s side with all 12 fencers earning at least four wins. Rogak finished an impressive seventh place, but given his original seeding it is uncertain if it will be enough for him to make it to nationals. Rogak would be the first Brandeis men’s epee fencer to reach the NCAA Championships since 2011. Other impressive Brandeis fin-

ishes include Jared Sugarman ’21, who finished 26th in the men’s foil. For the women’s foil Jessica Gates ’20 took home 31st. Lucas Lin ’22 picked up a 29th place finish in the men’s sabre, and Jess Spear ’21 finished in 30th for the women’s epee. Shealy and Morales have each had very successful first seasons for the Judges. Shealy led the women’s team with a total of 69 wins and was named UAA Fencer of the Week three times throughout the season. She was also named first-time All-Northeast Fencing Conference. Morales was just behind her, with the second most victories at 63. She also maintained the best winning per-

A day in the life of a Brandeis athlete: Eric D’Aguanno ’20 By Sophie Trachtenberg editor

This column attempts to highlight a variety of student-athletes, striving to unearth what the hectic life of a Brandeis athlete exactly entails. With this in mind, such a collection of stories will serve as a testament to the hard work, passion and resilience that athletes at Brandeis specifically embody, hopefully working to bridge the gap between student-athletes and the rest of the Brandeisian community. Returning late at night from a special University Athletic Association (UAA) road trip, Eric D’Aguanno ’20 exits the plane alongside his teammates after a brief flight from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Just two days prior, the veteran shooting guard scored his 232nd three-point shot against opponents from Case Western, becoming Brandeis’s all-time leader in baskets drained from behind the arc. The threeyear team captain goes to bed level-headed, however, knowing that he will wake up the next day with the privilege and the opportunity to continue guiding his young team. The next morning arrives quite quickly, as D’Aguanno’s alarm at 7:30 a.m. sharp signals him to get out of bed and begin another week of intense studying, lengthy practices and mental preparation for more conference play that awaits him the upcoming Friday. The


sociology and business double major emerges from his Charles River dorm room and heads to the main center of campus, finding himself in Upper Usdan grabbing a coffee and socializing with friends and teammates before his work truly commences. After spending the morning completing readings for class and simultaneously crafting his busy schedule in his ever-so-handy Google Calendar, D’Aguanno hikes to the Mandel Center for the Humanities to fulfill his position as a Teaching Assistant. Under Professor Sava Berhané, D’Aguanno functions as a resource for his peers that are taking a class titled “Leading in the Era of Diversity,” an elective in the business school that fosters an understanding of working professionally with oth-

ers who might be different from oneself. Following the end of class, D’Aguanno squeezes in some time for a quick bite to eat, then makes his way down to Gosman for a demanding basketball practice and a much-needed recovery session thereafter in the athletic training room. On a night with little school work to accomplish, the student-athlete decompresses with a few highly competitive games of Mario Kart after dinner, competing against his friends that double as both roommates and teammates. It is only then that D’Aguanno goes off to bed, knowing that his duties will continue when he wakes the next morning to do it all again. When asked what the greatest part of the student-athlete experi-

ence is here at Brandeis, D’Aguanno replied with no hesitation saying, “my guys.” Much like many others who compete at the varsity level, D’Aguanno emphasized that moments spent in the locker room with one’s teammates, or rather the time they spend with each other off the court, make this lifestyle and this experience both unforgettable and worth it. He said, “Having those shared goals are huge in developing relationships, which is what I think really brings us together as a group.” It is this sense of camaraderie that serves to unify the men’s basketball team, with D’Aguanno using his passion for the game, voice of reason and infectiously positive attitude to lead his fellow teammates through the strenuous challenges that being a student-athlete


centage, at .875 with only 19 losses. Morales was also named UAA Fencer of the Week five times. Morales has also competed internationally for Colombia at the Junior Pan Am Games in February, where she received the bronze medal. The two fencers will compete at the NCAA Championships on Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20 in Detroit, MI. As of publication time, NCAA President Mark Emmet and the Board of Governors have cancelled all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships amidst the evolving public health threat of COVID-19, according to the NCAA’s website.

entails. Inevitably, senior year has rolled around for D’Aguanno, as he bore the word “Judges” one last time across his chest when taking on rivals from New York University late in February. Reminiscing on his previous four years here, the 1,000 point scorer notes that he has broken out of his shell, has developed a strong sense of vocality and has learned to embrace his goofiness around his equally silly teammates. He commented, “I want to leave a mark on this place. Through this experience, I have learned to approach every situation with a positive attitude and a smile, which I hope rubs off on the guys and the community.” D’Aguanno is not done yet, as he has recently been admitted to the Heller School Social Impact MBA Program and wishes to return to the court alongside the Judges in a different fashion next year, this time volunteering as a graduate assistant coach. Leadership—whether that be in the classroom or in the gym— seems to be a common theme for D’Aguanno, who has proven that a joyful outlook, a spur of confidence and strength in the face of adversity can propel one forward and inspire others at the same time. It is with that mentality that D’Aguanno approaches all aspects of his life, as his legacies stretch far beyond simple basketball stat lines, but are rather reflected in how he has continuously led others through his short time here at Brandeis.


The Brandeis Hoot

March 13, 2020

Track and field send two to national meet By Sophie Trachtenberg and Sabrina Chow editors

Two Judges from Brandeis University will head down to Guilford College for the 2020 NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships in Winston-Salem, NC this upcoming weekend, taking on the country’s finest track competition. On the women’s side, Niamh Kenney ’21 will participate in the 3,000-meter run event, while Jack Allan ’20 will represent the men’s team and contend in the heptathlon. Allan will be the first Brandeis male to ever qualify for the NCAA championships in this event. Both of these qualifying scores came from the Tufts Last Chance Meet held on Jan. 31. Kenney punched her ticket to nationals with a time of 9:51.40, coming in with the fifth-fastest

time across all of those competing in NCAA Division III. This was almost 10 seconds faster than her previous personal record (PR). With this time, Kenney is headed back to the NCAA Championships where she competed along with her cross country teammates in the fall of 2018, but is now making her first appearance in the indoor track setting. Her first race will be held at 1:30 pm on Friday, March 13 for the preliminary round, and then later the next day for the finals at 4:45 pm on Saturday, March 14. Allan set the Brandeis University all-time record in the heptathlon with a score of 4782, making him stand in the 15th seed as he enters the national meet. Although this record was set at the Tufts meet, Allan has continued to improve, setting further PR’s in four out of the seven events in the heptathlon. At the Championships, Allan will compete in the first four events on Friday, and

finish the last three on Saturday to round out the meet. Other members of both the men’s and women’s teams competed at the Tufts Last Chance meet, hoping to drop their seed times and qualify for the national meet. All-American Devin Hiltunen ’22 placed second at the meet in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.61 seconds. Hiltunen is currently ranked 24th amongst all Division III runners and was five hundredths of a second away from qualifying, with only the top 20 participants in the event qualifying for the meet. Hiltnunen also competed in the 400-meter dash, placing fourth with a time of 59.38 seconds. She is currently ranked 37th amongst all Division III runners and was less than half a second away from qualifying. Danielle Bertaux ’20 placed seventh at the meet with a time of 10:12.26. She is currently




ranked 49th amongst all Division III runners after the meet. Andrea Bolduc placed tenth in the mile with a time of 5:21.58. The distance medley relay team of Bolduc, Kenney and rookies Sydney D’Amaddio ’23 and Victoria Morrongiello ’23 were ranked 28th in Division III after a second place finish at the University Athletic Association conference meet with a time of 12:16.72. On the field, Willa Moen ’20 placed ninth in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9.55 seconds and seventh in long jump with a distance of 4.89 meters. On the men’s side, Josh Lombardo ’21 PRed for the fourth weekend in a row, running his first mile under 4:20, placing fifth with a time of 4:19.26. Classmate Aaron Baublis ’21 finished ninth in the 60-meter hurdles with a


time of 9.20 seconds. Allan placed fourth in the long jump with a distance of 6.46 meters. As of publication time, NCAA President Mark Emmet and the Board of Governors has cancelled all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships amidst the evolving public health threat of COVID-19, according to the NCAA’s website. The competition was originally closed to spectators with only essential personnel in attendance. Editor’s Note: Victoria Morrongiello is the deputy news editor for The Hoot and a member of the women’s track and field team. Josh Lombardo is a staff writer for The Hoot and a member of the men’s track and field team. They did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.

NBA suspends its season over COVID-19 outbreak By Jacob Schireson staff

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic surges around the world, many institutions have seen their regular operations cease. On Wednesday, the NBA suspended its season. Minutes before the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder were set to tip off Wednesday night, doctors rushed the courts to spread information to team officials. Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19. Players and fans waited perplexed at the delay until minutes later, both teams and their staff members were sent back to

the locker room and the PA announced to the fans in attendance that the game had been postponed. The Thunder crowd began to boo as fans were escorted out of the game. Hours later, the NBA sent out the announcement many had suspected was coming: “The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. The test result was reported shortly prior to the tipoff of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, tonight’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena. The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until

further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.” All Jazz team personnel were immediately tested and instructed to stay in Chesapeake Energy Arena overnight. Five other teams who recently played the Jazz also had their members instructed to self quarantine. Following the NBA’s announcement, the MLB, NHL, MLS and NCAA have followed suit, suspending their seasons or cancelling tournaments and upcoming play. As word of the NBA suspension spread across the country to various games, it reached Dallas where the Mavericks were playing the Nuggets. Quickly, ESPN

reporters made their way to Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban for comment on the NBA’s decision. Cuban expressed his support: “I trust Adam [Silver]. You know what? It’s really not about basketball or money,” Cuban said. “Literally, if this thing is exploding to the point where all of a sudden players and others have had it, you think about your family. You want to make sure you’re doing this the right way. Now it’s much more personal, and you’ve seen what’s happened in other countries, but just the whole idea that it’s come this close and potentially a couple players have it, just, ‘stunning’ isn’t the right word. Just crazy.” Cuban expressed a sentiment that many across the world feel

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as they see institutions close and the familiarity of everyday life slip away. This is bigger than basketball, this is about the well-being of the country and more broadly the world. As the pandemic continues to spread and interrupt the regularities of our daily lives, it is important to try to ‘flatten the curve’ of its peak. If we do not take the proper precautions and the spread and peak of infection is too great, the United States healthcare system will be overloaded and as a result, we could see a great number of extra, relatively preventable deaths. It is important in this time to wash your hands frequently, avoid large gatherings and to not touch your face. This is so much bigger than basketball.

March 13, 2020


The Brandeis Hoot

Baseball plays big games before possible end of season By Justin Leung staff

On Tuesday, March 3, the Brandeis Judges baseball team took their first loss of the season to the Endicott Seagulls in a close game that ended with a score of 8-9. This game was the first loss after winning five games in a row to start off the season. The Judges led for a majority of the game before getting roughed up in the bottom of the ninth and losing the lead. Both teams were held scoreless for two innings before Brandeis took a large lead in the top of the third inning. Left fielder Tommy Sand ’21 led the inning off with a double to left field to get the team’s first hit of the game. After a single from shortstop Drew Michaud ’23, the Judges would score two runs on a triple from designated hitter Alex Parrott ’21 and a single from center fielder Sam Nugent ’23. Another run would come from a walk by third baseman Brian King ’23 and a walk by the Endicott pitcher causing right fielder Mike Khoury ’21 to score. The Judges would score the final two runs of the inning on a single by second baseman Victor Oppenheimer ’20. Brandeis would not score again until the sixth inning on a home run by Michaud. The final run would come on a fielding error by the Seagulls as Oppenheimer hit the ball toward the Endicott second baseman and reached on an error, leading to the final run from Brandeis from Nugent. Greg Tobin ‘21 cruised through four innings of pitching before running into trouble in the fifth inning. He allowed four hits and three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Tobin would allow one more run in the sixth inning before getting pulled from the game with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. He would finish the game allowing seven hits, four runs, two walks and three strikeouts. Pitcher Mason Newman ’21 would follow but he would strug-



gle to finish his one and a third innings as he would allow three runs on three hits. In the bottom of the ninth with one out, Christian Tejada ’23 would come into the game with the bases loaded and surrender one walk and one hit. However, the Seagulls would score the final two runs to win the game on an error and a fielder’s choice to lose the game in the bottom of the ninth. The Judges moved to 5-1 before playing two games against Bowdoin. Just four days after the loss to Endicott, the Judges lost a pair of games against the Bowdoin Polar Bears with a score 2-8 in both games. After averaging nearly 12 runs a game for the first six games of the season, the Judges’ offense was nearly shut down, as they scored only two runs in both games. Their string of hot offensive games finally cooled down against the Polar Bears. In the opener, Brandeis would not get its first run until the sixth inning. This run came from a home run by right fielder Mike Khoury ’21. Beyond the home run in the sixth and a double to right field in the first inning by first baseman Isaac Fossas ’21, the only other hits by the Judges came via a single by Oppenheimer and a run batted in (RBI) single from designated hitter Dan O’Leary

’20. Beyond Khoury, Fossas, Oppenheimer and O’Leary, the team was held hitless in seven innings. Pitcher Kyle Shedden ’20 started the game and nearly went the entire game. He pitched six innings, had six strikeouts and no walks, but he allowed six runs on seven hits. He pitched into the final inning of the game but had to be pulled after allowing a home run and a single to back to back batters. Donnie Wessie lll ’20 finished the game, but he struggled with command, as he allowed three walks, two runs and a hit in just an inning. In the second game of the day, the Judges would score only in the fourth inning. Already down six runs when going into the fourth inning, Fossas would start the inning off with a single. Catcher Luke Hall ’21 immediately followed with a triple to right center field. With a rally starting, King hit a sacrifice fly to score Hall from third base. However, the rally did not continue. Those would be the only runs that the Judges would score the entire game. Pitcher Cam Roberts ’22 started the game but he struggled to have his best stuff, as he pitched only two and two-thirds innings and allowed six runs on six hits. He did strike out five batters. Asher Kaplan ’23 followed for three and

a third innings, but he also labored quickly, as he allowed five hits and two runs. Jackson Carman ’20 pitched a clean ninth inning to end the game. In both games, the Judges struggled to get the offense going, as they were unable to get many hits. Even when they did get hits, they were unable to string a bunch of them together to score runs. The pitching staff was unable to be consistent throughout both games, leading to sixteen runs being scored on them in the two games. Following these two games, the Brandeis Judges’ record went to 5-3. To bounce back from these losses, the Judges got a win in the first game of a double header against the Western New England Golden Bears with a score of 13-1. However, in the second game of this matchup, the Judges lost by a score of 0-4. The win broke a three-game losing streak and showed how effective their offense can be. In the opener, the Judges scored quickly in the second inning after a leadoff double from Hall and a single from Sand. They would score one more run in the fourth inning before having a huge offensive explosion in the fifth inning when Brandeis scored 11 runs on eight hits. Oppenheimer, King, Michaud, Khoury,

Fossas, Hall and Sand all had RBIs in the inning. Michaud, Khoury, Fossas and Hall all hit home runs in the inning with the final three coming back to back to back. Michaud’s home run was a grand slam to left field. This offensive explosion would be the last of the runs that the Judges scored for the rest of the game. Tobin pitched an absolute gem against Western New England. He pitched a complete game and allowed only one run, striking out thirteen batters and walking no one. He was nearly unhittable, as he let in only four hits. This strong pitching performance helped lead Brandeis to the win in addition to the big fifth inning. In the second game of the double header the Judges were held scoreless. They had only three hits the entire game. Two of the three hits came in the bottom of the third inning. Designated hitter Liam Kennedy ’21 hit a single to left center, and Nugent hit a single up the middle of the infield. Even though these hits came in the same inning, they did not result in a run being scored. Fossas would hit a single to left field to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning, but nothing would materialize in the inning as he was later thrown out trying to steal second base. Newman made the start, but he struggled early into the game. In the first inning he allowed backto-back home runs and therefore gave the Golden Bears an early three run lead. He settled down after the first and allowed only one hit before the seventh inning. In the top of the seventh inning he allowed another home run to the first batter of the inning. Tejada finished the inning, allowing a hit and a walk but no runs. Additionally, just after scoring 13 runs in a game earlier that day, the Judges were held scoreless. With the win and the loss, the Brandeis moves to a record of 6-4 on the season. As of print time, Brandeis Athletics has released a statement stating that after Sunday, March 15, the remainder of all spring sports seasons are cancelled.

Men’s and women’s tennis fall on the road By Josh Lombardo special to the hoot

This past weekend, the eighth ranked Judges men’s tennis team competed against Division I Bryant University Bulldogs on the road, losing 2-5 and moving to 2-3 on the season. In doubles action, the Judges were able to come up with a win in No. 1 doubles as David Aizenberg ’20 and Anupreeth Coramutla ’21 won 6-3 over Guidi Argentini and Trent Massam. Bryant won both matches in No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. The duo of Raja Vohra ’21 and Colt Tegtmeier ’22 lost to Grant Pertile and Alexander Schou 2-6 in No. 2 doubles. In No. 3 doubles, Nikhil Das ’21 and rookie Simon Kauppila ’23, fell 2-6 to Andrew Corrado and Nick Lorenz. In No. 1 singles, Aizenberg lost in straight sets, 2-6, 1-6 to Argentini of Bryant. In No. 2 singles, Coramutla was able to continue his strong day with a win over Massam 6-3, 6-4. Vohra was defeated by Schou 4-6, 4-6 at No. 3 singles.



Das gave the Judges their second singles win of the day, coming back after a set down, defeating Teague Burger 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, at No. 4 singles. Nico Ramirez ’22 nearly made a comeback to force a third set against Nick Lorenz at No. 5 singles, pushing Lorenz to a tiebreaker in the second set. Lorenz was ultimately victorious, defeating Ramirez 1-6, 6-7. In No. 6 singles, Tegtmeier held an early lead

after the first set, but couldn’t hold off Pertile, losing 7-5, 4-6, 4-6. The Judges were set to return to action on March 15 to face thirdranked Middlebury College on the road. However, due to COVID-19, Middlebury College has suspended all spring sports. The Brandeis Judges women’s tennis team also traveled this past weekend to face the Welles-

ley College Blues. The #20 ranked Judges lost 6-3, now moving to 1-5 on the season. In doubles action, the Judges won two of the three matches, jumping to an early lead in the dual match. In No. 1 doubles, the duo of Lauren Bertsch ’21 and Ana Hatfield ’22 defeated Selina Peng and Libby Chang of Wellesley 8-6. At No. 2 doubles, the team of Rachel

Zubrinsky ’21 and Isabel Cepeda ’21 also defeated Michaela Markwart and Michelle Chen 8-6. Lastly, in No. 3 doubles, the underclassmen team of Summer Quinn ’22 and Grace Wang ’23 could not hold off Cinji Lee and Korina Hernandez for the doubles sweep, losing 2-8. After a slow start for the Blues in doubles, Wellesley dominated in singles, losing just one match. Bertsch, in No. 1 singles, gave the Judges their sole singles victory of the day, holding off Markwart in three sets, 6-1, 2-6, 7-5. In No. 2 singles, Hatfield was able to win the first set and an early break, but ultimately lost in three sets to Chang 6-2, 4-6, 5-7. Zubrinsky, at No. 3 singles, forced a tiebreak in the first set, but was defeated by Chen 6-7(2), 0-6. In No. 4 singles, Cepeda lost to Peng in straight sets, 0-6, 2-6. Dana Feng double bageled Wang at No. 5 singles, winning 0-6, 0-6. Lastly, in No. 6 singles, Quinn lost 3-6, 1-6 to Korina Hernandez. The Judges are set to host the Endicott College Seagulls on Friday, March 13.


14 The Brandeis Hoot

March 13, 2020

One last time: Koslofsky’s Corner By Jonah Koslofsky editor

Well, that got here quick! Dear reader, you’re holding in your hands the last print issue of The Hoot for the 2019-2020 school year, which just so happens to contain the very last “Koslofsky’s Corner.” Yes, this self-indulgent exercise must come to an end, as COVID-19 shutters the doors of this university a month and a half before graduation. It’s an eerie time in the world: our New England winter has been extraordinarily pleasant and mild, leaving us with the best weather anyone could ask for during a global pandemic. I’ll be leaving soon, too. I can’t pretend to have processed the fact that in just a few days, I’ll be getting in my car (my beloved, beatup stick-shift minivan) and driv-

ing 16 hours back to my native middle-west. I’m not sure when I’ll see Brandeis again. Over the past few days, it’s begun to feel like nothing matters. Why go to class when class is about to be cancelled? Why go to online class when instruction over Zoom feels so useless? With the state of the world so clearly out of all our hands, what does an event like commencement matter? Stories are comforting because they have an end, a satisfying closure. Over the course of this year, I’ve tried to use this column to highlight stories that are significant to me, to express why certain works of self-expression matter. But even if you’re convinced to watch “The Way Back” by my review this week, how the hell are you going to see it when going to a theater presents some very real health concerns? It looks like my time at Brandeis is not going to get that satisfying,

narratively-consistent closure. And that’s OK. The truth is, the state of what we care about is out of our hands, always. That doesn’t mean that stories are useless— though perhaps the more honest the story, the more depressing. I’ve spent the past four years at this school thinking about narratives, taking them apart, putting them back together and even writing a few of my own, and that’s the only conclusion I feel confident sharing. But there is joy that’s honest, too, and writing for The Hoot has been one of my most consistent sources of joy over the past four years. At the start of the school year, I thanked those who encouraged me as a freshman and promised to try to do the same. Over the past eight months as Arts Editor, I’ve done my best to bolster anyone and everyone with a desire to write about art and pop culture. I hope it helped.

I’m quite proud of what we’ve accomplished with this section, and I’m really excited to see what it becomes next year. Emma Lichtenstein and Aaron LaFauci will be taking over in August, and I have complete confidence in their abilities (there may even be an increase in coverage of Brandeis events). Again, if you are a person passionate about art, reach out to them. They’re some of the friendliest people I know, and they’ll be happy to help get your words into the paper. Emma, Aaron, I’m so excited to see what you build—and I’ll be reading, weekly. Endings are hard. They don’t really make sense. This is the part where I’m supposed to convince you that everything you just read was worthwhile, that it was all building to a cohesive, valuable point you can take away. Look, writing is a pain. You rarely feel you’ve expressed all of what you’re

trying to say. You’re not fighting disease or working to make change, you’re sitting behind a laptop, desperately trying to make something worthy of the time you’re putting into it. And you can bet that the same goes for making a newspaper every week. In our first issue of the year, I wrote about “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” a movie about a guy who’s out of time, a guy who—because the world is changing—doesn’t get to make silly stuff any more. I was going to do a “Koslofsky’s Corner” on how FKA Twigs’s music makes my brain ooze. I was going to write one on how “Gone Girl” has aged somewhat poorly, or at least how I get why my Mom hates it now. No, I’m not going to stop writing—but I am going to stop writing this piece. So long— maybe it’s time Koslofsky left his corner.

‘The Tempest’ took Brandeis by storm By Uma Jagwani staff

“The Tempest” is a widely established Shakespearean play about an ex-duke of Milan, Prospero, who is exiled to a remote island with his daughter, Miranda. Using magic, he tries to seek revenge on his brother Antonio, who took the Dukedom of Milan from him, and the King of Naples, Alonso, who aided Antonio. Part of Prospero’s plan is that he wants Miranda to fall in love with Ferdinand, Alonso’s son. This performance still felt exciting and refreshing. Aside from the story, many things made it worth watching: a magnificent set, colorful costumes and remarkable performances by Brandeis University actors. Upon first arriving at the Laurie Theater for Brandeis’ play production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” the elaborate set design was what first caught my attention. Set on a distant island, the set design itself was contemporary yet ancient and evoked a mysterious and dynamic atmosphere right at the onset of the play. The tube-like ramp that descends from the right hand corner of the stage added depth and complexity to the set, including a mysterious entrance through which actors slid down


and entered. The black rubber pieces mimicking sand added interesting texture to the stage. The audio and visual effects that were used to perform magic were flawless, as the sound of Prospero’s magic staff added theatrics to the play. This ambiguous yet intriguing set lends itself to being trans-

formed for different scenes and the way this was directed with moving from the ocean storm to the inner island all worked in the context of this set. One aspect that made this play particularly refreshing was that many traditionally male characters were played by female actors,

and it was interesting to see the note about the change of pronouns in the script to fit the cast members they had. This change is not only fitting for March, as it is women’s history month, but also serves as a subversion to the actors of Shakespeare’s time when female characters were played by male actors in Shakespeare’s plays, since women were not allowed on stage. The vivid costumes were very eye-catching and evoked a more playful and whimsical tone for the play, adding a touch of carnival to the magical island. Despite seeing an overall good performance from the cast, some particularly remarkable performances stand out. Caliban (Renata Leighton ’21), one of Prospero’s servants, was one of the strongest performances of the play. Their body movement, sneers and scowls, the commitment to playing a wretched slave was extremely impressive. Also, Ariel (Grace Ahlin ’23), another of Prospero’s servants, was done justice by Ahlin’s lovely performance that seemed to mesh dance with the fluid way they walked and snuck invisibly around other characters. Other great performances include Anderson Stinson III ’21 as Alonso’s brother Sebastian, Jonah Koslofsky ’20 as Antonio and Elizabeth Hilliard ’21 as Steph-

ano, who offered a thrilling performance as a drunk butler. The scenes where Trinculo (Maia Cataldo ’20), Stephano and Caliban are drunk were very entertaining and funny to watch. Prospero (Evelyn Inker ’23) was most exciting to watch when they were being aggressive and mean, especially to Caliban and Ariel; however, in spite of this I found other parts of their performance unable to match the stage presence of the other actors. The overall experience of The Tempest was interesting, and what kept me interested was not always the play itself but the way it was portrayed without a particular time setting and its mysterious, magical atmosphere. While it’s definitely not one of my favorite Shakespeare plays—I find the ending too tame—the Brandeis Theater Department really rendered it unique with its own modern twists. The Tempest was originally planned to show again this coming weekend between March 1315 on Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. However, this is now cancelled due to new school policies. Editor’s Note: Jonah Koslofsky is the Arts Editor of The Hoot and did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.

March 13, 2020


The Brandeis Hoot

‘The Assistant’ quietly dismantles an evil system By Anna Nappi staff

While the film industry has a reputation for sensationalized, contrived world-building, movies often capture the monotony of daily life to shed light on the quietly overlooked moments that pass us by with time. They reveal the uncontrollable good and bad, the subtle emotion of ordinary occurrences that we render unimportant because, when the mundanity of evil is not highlighted through a specific lens, it becomes easy to ignore. Kitty Green’s “The Assistant,” is not meant for escapism. In the film she wrote, directed and co-edited, Green urges her audience to note every detail as we follow Jane (Julia Garner), a scrupulous assistant to an anonymous film production bigwig, throughout her taxing workday. At her boss’ beck and call, Jane performs thankless task after thankless task, suffering countless indignities without complaint. While the men sit at their desks, it becomes her responsibility to deliver lunch (taking audacious criticism when she accidentally brings the wrong sandwich), handle unwanted phone calls and watch over a co-worker’s children. She is forced to assume the role of caregiver: not only for the kids she babysits in a colleague’s absence, but also for the male assistants who rely on her to manage the unpleasant work and the boss she must consistently clean up after (both figuratively and literally). As Jane carries out her tedious


routine, I was reminded of Chantal Akerman’s “Jeanne Dielman,” a nearly four-hour-long powerhouse film centered around the titular character’s grueling, repetitive lifestyle. Similar to Akerman’s magnum opus, “The Assistant” is slow and, at times, undeniably boring, as it recounts a single day in the life of its protagonist. But this is exactly why it’s effective. The audience is there to observe, to feel the strong undercurrent of misogyny running through Jane’s office and notice the subtlety with which it is perpetuated. We watch as Jane finds a discarded earring

in her boss’ office, retrieved later by a hurried, visibly troubled woman whom she has never met. We see her accompany a naive, unqualified new hire to a hotel where the boss will then meet the young woman in a situation poised for him to take sexual advantage of her. We witness Jane’s growing discomfort and her eventual visit to the Human Resources department and we continue watching as the manager dismisses her claims in a brutal show of manipulation. Jane’s employer is never identified by name or shown on screen, and his voice is rarely heard. De-


spite this, the implied presence of Harvey Weinstein, founder of Miramax and The Weinstein Company, who has been accused of abuse and rape by over a hundred women, feels impossible to dismiss. “The Assistant” premiered almost two years after Weinstein was first publicly accused and less than a month before he was charged for third degree rape and first degree criminal sexual acts by the New York County District Attorney’s Office. These charges stemmed from two accusers, Jessica Mann and Miriam Haleyi, whose experiences mirror those

of the women depicted in Green’s film. With its bland set design and lack of explicit references, however, “The Assistant” is able to comment on both Weinstein and the general prevalence of powerful men using their status to coerce and assault women. The boss could be anyone because the office could be anywhere and the business could be anything. Green chooses to conceal Jane’s employer, and, in turn, the world around him is emphasized. If this film is about Weinstein at all, it’s about the system that protected him for so long.

‘The Way Back’ is way more than just an inspiring sports movie By Jonah Koslofsky editor

In the opening shot of “The Way Back,” Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck), throws a rope down the frame. The camera pans, just slightly—it’s not quite clear toward whom he is tossing it, but the act doesn’t seem all that out of place on a busy construction site. Jack spends his days here, earning a living—more specifically, mon-

ey he can spend on cases of beer, gin and his nightly trips to the local watering hole. The tragedy at the heart of “The Way Back” is that everyone knows Jack is suffering. His sister, his ex-wife, his friends who help him stumble home every evening; everyone can see beneath his unconvincing surface and his brisk “I’m fine.” The viewer, too, can see beneath the surface of this somewhat-by-the-numbers premise. Soon, Jack gets a call from his for-



mer high school principal, who offers him the chance to coach his alma-mater’s basketball team. Jack, who hasn’t been on the court in years, is reluctant to take the job, but he eventually accepts. What kind of inspiring sports movie would this be if he didn’t? There is a sincerity baked into every frame of “The Way Back,” particularly present as Jack gets more and more invested in the success of the Bishop Hayes varsity team. But director Gavin O’Connor (“Warrior,” “The Accountant”) knows exactly what kind of movie he’s making, as he seeks to elevate conventional material with graceful staging. O’Connor knows his star is the key. Affleck has starred in billion dollar movies and directed a Best Picture winner, but his issues off-

screen are no secret. He’s been open about his own struggles with addiction and alcoholism, struggles you can feel him working through in “The Way Back.” Affleck turns in a deeply honest performance, bolstered by little details in his inflections. He really sells the idea that this guy has built a routine around numbing himself, and his problem is never played for laughs, nor does the film exaggerate or exploit Jack’s demons. Still, it’s not all gloom. Former “Daily Show” correspondent Al Madrigal co-stars as Jack’s assistant coach Dan, and together, the pair do their best to get the Hayes team into shape. Instead of leaning too hard into Jack’s relationships with his players for cheap, sentimental lesson-learning, like

our protagonist, you just sort-of get tired of seeing this team lose. O’Connor mines a lot of comedy—and even some pathos—out of Jack’s courtside manner, as he screams at referees and desperately tries to push his team to a victory. That is until Bishop Hayes does get its act together, and its triumphs become a real possibility. In these moments, O’Connor emphasizes Rob Simonsen’s score, not above a slow-motion shot or two to increase the tension around a game-winning basket. No, “The Way Back” doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s not really any single contest or regional championship that’s at stake. It’s about whether or not Jack can catch the rope he’s throwing to himself. To watch Affleck try is stirring stuff.


The Brandeis Hoot

March 13, 2020

What to do while bored at home By Emma Lichtenstein editor

Mrs. Obama, it’s been an honor. We’re officially packing up and going home. Though we still have classes, I know most students are going to have a lot of extra free time on their hands now that club responsibilities are over. So, here are some recommendations—of all different media—about how to fill that free time. 1. Check, Please! Despite my deep apathy toward

sports, “Check, Please!” by Ngozi Ukazu has managed to capture my heart. Eric Bittle—lover of hockey, baking and Beyonce— starts the series as a scared freshman at Samwell University. This series follows him as he navigates the challenges of joining a hockey team, fitting in and dealing with sensitive family issues. Along his journey, you not only see his character development, but his teammates’ as well. It’s mostly light and wholesome, and every single character has some sort of growth arc. This entire comic can be read for FREE online. The story ends in April, so be sure to catch up

now! 2. That ‘70s Show I never thought I’d be able to binge over eight hours of content in one day, but “That 70s Show” proved me wrong. I started the first season over winter break and so quickly became enraptured with this lighthearted show. The show is not perfect by any means—it certainly lacks representation and some of their jokes are very outdated—but overall the show makes for a great time. It’s one of the few shows to ever make me laugh so hard that I cry. The show follows six high schoolers as they try to figure out life’s import-

ant questions: who to date, what to do about college and how much weed is too much weed. 3. Leigh Bardugo Novels Though fantasy is far from my favorite genre, I truly adore all of Leigh Bardugo’s novels. She is a master storyteller, interweaving plot lines beautifully and giving her characters some of the best development that I’ve ever read. Not to mention, she has a gorgeous writing style. Currently, Bardugo has two completed series as well as a new one that she is working on. Her first series is the Grisha trilogy, which introduces

readers to her fantastical world of those who can manipulate all elements: things like light, metals and even human organs. This series follows a brave girl who ends up becoming the face of a revolution. Her second series, the “Six of Crows” duology, follows six main characters on the heist of their lives. They’re the best criminals around; no job is too outrageous for them. Her most recent work takes place immediately after “Six of Crows” but the cast of characters changes quite a bit. To say more is to spoil, so check it out for yourself!

The magnificent seven of Post-Bacc 2020 By Aaron LaFauci editor

For those out of the know, the Brandeis fine arts department hosts a post-baccalaureate program every year. The post-baccs are students (from Brandeis and beyond) who have graduated and are looking to spend an extra year expanding upon their artistic abilities. While working on their own projects, they serve as teaching assistants for undergraduate courses in the art studio. Each spring, these artists come together at the Dreitzer Gallery to show off their finished works. I asked one of the post-baccs this year why she chose Brandeis’ program given that our arts are not particularly well known or well funded. The answer was simple: it is one of the cheaper programs around. That is not to say, however, that Brandeis’s post-baccalaureate is not known in academic circles, and the talent we acquire every year tends to be extraordinary. In light of the campus closure, this year’s post-baccalaureate art gallery could not have gotten off the ground soon enough. Tuesday’s opening celebration was rife with anxieties surrounding the uncertain future of campus operations. In a foreboding shift from last year’s opening, the cheese and

wine normally prepared by studio art technician Rebecca Cora Strauss was replaced by a contagion-resistant platter of oranges, prepackaged snacks and canned drinks. It is a fact, however, that art shines in adversity, and the COVID-19 paranoia did little to tarnish the fabulous quality of the pieces on display. In spite of the uncertainty, the post-baccs of 2020 have produced a series of works worthy of the title “magnificent.” The gargantuan oil paintings of Micaela Nee are the first pieces to steal visitors’ attention. The gallery’s rightmost painting, “10 year old Happy Meal,” is a clean rendition of a container of McDonald’s french fries and a cheeseburger within a covered glass dish—the kind of diner display-ware usually reserved for freshly baked pies and cookies. Behind the dish is a wall of garish pink leopard print. The message hits immediately enough to induce hilarity: American fast food is tacky but all-consuming. You wouldn’t put a Big Mac in a glass case, yet that kind of fast food remains an essential aspect of the American diet. This concept is greatly built upon by Nee’s accompanying works. “Born and Bread in the USA,” a series of photographs, depicts these disgusting, towering monstrosity sandwiches filled with candy and jelly and spaghetti-o’s

and donuts and more. These morbid creations are pierced all over by tiny American flags and those plastic sword toothpick things. The photographs speak to a kind of uniquely American form of domination, a culinary colonialism vulgar enough to fascinate and disgust simultaneously. To match these photographs is another massive oil painting aptly titled “PB & J, Twinkie, Mac & Cheese Sandwich.” Well, the title speaks for itself. It is a grotesque but beautiful display of oil creative prowess. The paintings themselves really are strangely beautiful, a testament to Nee’s apparent mastery of realism. Glass is traditionally one of the most difficult materials to render regardless of medium, but Nee manages to capture the subtle refractions of the glassware with unpainterly photorealism. The same can be said for the semi-transparent smudges of jelly seeping out of “PB & J.” The brushstrokes are practically invisible in both of her works. The fries are golden but limp (like the way they get when you put them in the fridge overnight), and the buns of her sandwiches possess an iconic prefab glossiness. The effort is obvious, and Nee’s works might one day warrant a grotesque gallery of their own. Opposing Nee’s bright and hyper-organic pieces on one end of the gallery is Siyi Cao’s cool and mysterious machine wreathed in darkness on the other. The official title of the installation is “GATEWAY_V1”, but where there would normally be a title on the plaque is instead a QR code leading to a binary string that needs to be run through a translator in order to discover the true name of the work. Playfulness is Cao’s specialty, and “GATEWAY” is a highly interactive work of engineering that demands visitors to mess around with it in order to discover its various functions. A PVC gateway frames a rotating triangular prism on a pedestal that swivels automatically to reveal a glowing face. I mistakenly believed the robot-head was following me around the room, but that was not the case. The doorway undulates and fills with color as visitors approach the pedestal. I will not reveal the secret mechanisms of the installation, but a ton of engineering and thought went into every aspect of the gateway’s design, only to be hidden behind a facade of black paint. It is an artistic black box. The seemingly random rotations and color shifts are actually a form of communication, but perhaps the truth of its messages will die with this exhibition! Though not the most immediately impressive objects on display, Scott Lerner’s collection of


assorted detritus and plaster cast calculators confront Cao’s playful futurism with retro visions of technological waste. The artist’s primary display table is laden with colorful plaster renditions of primitive handheld game devices and electronic planners. In explaining the assortment, Lerner recalled foot-driven cars in the Flintstones. The cars in the cartoon are this absurd halfway-there Stone Age technology that would never, ever be seen. Likewise, these button-laden pocket devices share a kind of primitive worthlessness. The invention of the smartphone has reduced these objects to mere trash. The rough plaster texture of these objects highlights their uniquely tactile nature. They are covered in grooves and protrusions. Where the technology of Cao’s artwork is clean and concealed, these old pieces of equipment possess a kind of expressive charm that touchscreen technology has largely been deleted from our lives. To Lerner, the art of these things is not forgotten. All of this commentary would not be complete without a statement on the human condition under social media, and Claudia Kim’s diverse array of installations deliver on that front. She bravely makes art of her own lived experience by printing her own Instagram photos and Tinder interactions onto silken posters that glimmer and twirl as they hang from the ceiling. This installation is grove-like. Visitors can walk among the hanging posters in order to fully immerse themselves in Kim’s digital life. Smiling and (apparently) happy photographs

of Kim are juxtaposed with less fun Tinder interactions from racist men that reduce Kim’s Asian identity to a sexual novelty. Kim’s manicured photo-smiles are also placed under scrutiny by the handmade pillows that litter the floor of the exhibit. Each pillow possesses a face of detached anguish that indicates more than a little dissatisfaction. The virtual world classes violently with the material one throughout Kim’s portion of the gallery. In terms of emotional impact, this artist takes the cake. A final special mention must be given to Rasha Obaid’s set of wax miniatures titled “Every person leaves a trace.” The figures, placed next to Nee’s mega paintings, are easy to miss, but they show strong craftsmanship. I find the title particularly charming. The hand-molded figures are riddled with tiny fingerprints and notches, indications of the artifice itself. Like the individual brush strokes of a painting, every fold of the wax is proof of the artist’s individuality. There is something soothing about this presence; in a gallery, one is never truly alone. This article only highlights a handful of the spectacles currently on display in Spingold’s Dreitzer gallery. I highly encourage all readers to make an effort to visit the show themselves before the campus shutdown goes into full effect next week. The post-bacc gallery really is one of the final campus events to be held this semester, so get out there and experience the magnificence before it is too late! You’ll never see a Big Mac the same way again!

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