VOL 7, NO. 1
JANUARY 22, 2010
B R A N D E I S U N I V E R S I T Y ' S C O M M U N I T Y N E W S PA P E R
Academic cuts imminent pending CARS review “The Board has given us no choice” – Dean Adam Jaffe
BY ARIEL WITTENBERG Editor
The university will be forced to make cuts to its academic commitments in response to what Board of Trustees member Meyer Koplow ’72 called a “$25 million ongoing budget shortfall in the typical year” at a special faculty meeting Wednesday evening. Such cuts could include the “phasing out” of entire majors or Master’s programs, allowing current students to complete the program without offering the programs to
Aronin trial to be open to public
incoming classes. Members of the student press were not allowed into the meeting in order to give faculty the opportunity to speak freely, however, they were able to speak directly to Koplow and Dean of Arts and Sciences Adam Jaffe after the meeting. Jaffe said the decision to make additional cuts was top-down, saying, “Frankly, the Board has given us no choice.” Last fall the university suffered from what was then projected as an $80 million budget shortfall over the next five years. In an attempt to close those budget gaps,
the university’s Curriculum and Academic Restructuring Steering Committee (CARS) recommended that the university suspend contributions to retirement funds of faculty and staff, and initiated the Justice Brandeis Semester program, both of which were implemented by the Board of Trustees. Last spring the CARS committee also recommended that the university attempt to entice older faculty to retire early, however it was unsuccessful. The Board hopes that by phasing out departments and academic programs, it can begin to cut contract faculty accordingly. The hope is that
BY LEAH FINKELMAN Staff
See UJ, p. 4
See CARS, p. 3
Castle Quad one of coolest dorms in U.S.
BY NATHAN KOSKELLA
Despite initial efforts on the part of the Union Senate, the impeachment trial of Union Secretary Diana Aronin ’11 will be open to the public. The Senate decided to withdraw its request for a closed trial earlier this week, and the Union Judiciary (UJ) decided to “not exercise the authority granted” to them, according to an e-mail from the UJ’s Chief Justice Judah Marans ’11. Aronin was charged as having “willfully corrupted and violated the duties set forth to her in the Constitution” by the Union Senate on Dec. 6 under Article XII of the Union Constitution when she allegedly failed to put a Constitutional amendment for the creation of a midyear senator position to the student body for a vote. The Union Constitution does allow for a trial’s closure if “the presence of the public [at the trial would]…have a negative impact on the hearing.” The initial Senate brief requesting a closed trial would have allowed the campus media, but argued that if open, the trial “could create a public spectacle which would be damaging to both the Union as a whole and Secretary Aronin as an individual.” The respondent’s counsel, Deena Glucksman ’11, however, readily dismissed the notion of closing the trial shortly after the Senate’s action. In Section I of her response brief, she argued it is “neither the responsibility nor jurisdiction of the claimant’s counsel to defend the rights of the respondent.” Glucksman also stressed that the charges concerned the responsibilities of Aronin only as Union Secretary, not her private status as a student and thus did not merit closing of the trial for fears of her personal reputation. The Senate’s withdrawal of the motion came after the respondent’s brief was cou-
the phase-out will also lead to the retirement of older professors in the affected programs. While the cuts are necessary, Koplow said he hopes they will be taken as an opportunity for the university to prioritize what makes Brandeis special, and to cut back its “academic commitments” accordingly. “We need to strengthen and foster that which we excel at, but if that means we can’t spend money on other programs, does that lead to cuts? Absolutely it does,” Koplow said.
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot
USEN CASTLE: Dorm linked to J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts pictured above on a winter evening.
U.S. News and World Report recently dubbed Usen Castle one of the eight “coolest dorms in the nation” also including dorms at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Virginia, and College of William and Mary. Usen Castle, built in 1928, predates the founding of the university, making it the oldest building on campus. It was added to the list due to features such as balconies with panoramic, scenic views of the Boston skyline. The Castle also includes Cholmondeley’s (also known as Chum’s), which, according to urban legend, was the inspiration for Central Perk–the coffee shop in Friends, created by Brandeis alumni Marta Kauffman ’78 and David Crane ’79. Student opinion varies on whether the Castle deserves its place on the list. Some adore their housing in the castle and hope to live there in the future, while others feel it is poorly designed and does not live upt to the hype, regardless of how cool it may seem from the outside. Rachael Pass ’13 hopes to live in the Castle during her sophomore year because it reminds her of Harry Potter’s alma mater, Hogwarts. “I want to live in the Castle because Chum’s is my Room of Requirement, and the courtyard is the perfect place to practice my Quidditch skills,” Pass said. Students who feel negatively about the Castle blameits poor interior construction. “Have they seen the inside?” Erin Wise ’10 asked, before pointing out that because the Castle was designed from the outside in (architecture convention dictates buildings should be designed from the inside out), and is full of dead ends and hallways that lead to nowhere. No matter what their thoughts on the Castle, however, none can argue it’s not one of a kind.
Justice Brandeis Semester application to debut this week BY DESTINY D. AQUINO Editor
Portions of the Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS) application are available on the JBS website and the complete application will be available by next week. Admissions to the program will be on a rolling first-come, first-serve basis beginning Jan. 29. “The online application will be available shortly but in the meantime, students
SCOTUS tosses election fund restrictions Impressions, page 15
will be able to start some of the application pieces, such as the application essay and resume” JBS Manager Alyssa Grinberg wrote in an e-mail to The Hoot. Additionally, with the aim of boosting publicity and knowledge about JBS, an informational video highlighting the individual programs and their aims has been added to the JBS website. Students will be notified of their admissions decision two to four weeks after the complete application is received. Programs
The Hoot turns five! Arts, Etc. page 10
may reach their capacity far before their final March 15 application deadline therefore it is best to apply as soon as possible, JBS Grinberg explained. During the first six weeks of the semester, the JBS program will be holding information sessions beginning with Beacon Hill Report on Jan. 26 from 4 to 5 p.m. The info session will be held in Room 313 of the Shapiro Campus Center. Dates and times for remaining JBS programs will be announced as they are scheduled.
THE HOOT ONLINE
Hoot Report: Scott Brown, future of the health care bill Brandeis Watch: w/ President Andy Hogan: budget cuts, Grad renovation, aid for Haiti Third Wavelength: The future of feminism
2 The Brandeis Hoot
January 22, 2010
Keck gives $1 mil grant to study active matter BY LEAH FINKELMAN Staff
The W. M. Keck Foundation has given Brandeis a grant of $1 million over three years to be designated towards recent experiments in the study of active matter. Active matter is a non-living material that, nonetheless, can move independently (as opposed to plastic or steel which cannot.) The Keck grant will add on to last year’s $7.8 million grant from the National Sciences Foundation for the study of active matter. “Brandeis has been at the forefront of recent advances in materials science and biology, both in studying the properties of materials occurring in biological systems, and in understanding the role of material properties in the structure and function of cells and cellular components,” Prof. Seth Fradensaid (BIOL) said, adding that active matter, though a relatively new concept, is no exception. The study of active matter is a multidisciplanary one. While Fraden studies biology, he has collaborated with physicists Prof. Zvonimir Dogic and Prof. Robert Meyer for the past six years in order to study active matter. Many systems, including molecules, cell flagelli and galaxies, assemble themselves. Though not living, these are examples of active matter, using energy to create movement in time and space. The Brandeis scientists hope to understand how “biological gadgets” are composed and
constrained, and use this newly acquired information to create nano-systems that mimic those biological gadgets for application, Meyer said. Their research works in two directions, a “bottom-up” and a “top-down” approach. In the bottom-up approach, scientists investigate how those “biological gadgets” are constrained, and how that affects the parts of the organism. The top-down approach has scientists examining the smaller parts first, to figure out how they work and essentially reverse engineer the system to be recreated synthetically. “How do these moving filaments feel the presence of their neighbors in a large organized array? How do they behave collectively? Are there rules? It’s not really clear how these organized systems of self-propelled filaments will behave, but we get hints of some possibilities from observing flocks of birds and schools of fish,” Meyer said. “Understanding the rules of behavior of this new kind of matter may help us understand processes like cell motility,” he continued. The W. M. Keck Foundation helps fund educational institutions for new research in medicine, science and engineering, as well as in support of undergraduate education. Brandeis joins other research universities who have received similar grants, including California Institute of Technology, for research on the origin of the observable universe, and Princeton University, for development of a nano-scale microscope.
PHOTO BY Ariel Witenberg/The Hoot
ACTIVE MATTER: Inside the Carl J. Shapiro Science Center, where Brandeis faculty are studying the properties of active matter.
Search firm to be chosen by end of month BY ARIEL WITTENBERG Editor
Brandeis' Presidential Search Committee will announce its choice of search firm to continue to look for the university's next president by the end of the month, and hopes to present the faculty with candidate profiles by the end of February. The announcement, which was made on the newly launched presidential search website www.brandeis.edu/presidentialsearch, did not disclose a deadline for picking a new president. Chair of the search committee and member of the Board of Trustess Meyer Koplow '72 told The Hoot that a presidential search firm was necessary in order to take the initiative in the search. "You don't want to just sit back and wait for people to send in their applications," Koplow said. "You want to look for people who are a perfect fit for us, but who maybe don't know
it yet." Koplow added that the search firm will be helpful not only for finding candidates, but for vetting candidates once they have been chosen and conducting background checks. While Koplow did not have any figures for the firms salary, he said a typical arrangement with a presidential search firm would "cost about one third of the new president's first year compensation." Current President Jehuda Reinharz, who resigned in October saying it was "the right time" for him, has a yearly salary of $384,801, meaning that if the search firm had found Reinharz for Brandeis, their salary would total at $128,267. At the time of his resignation, Reinharz said he will remain president of Brandeis until June 30, 2011 or until the Board of Trustees finds a replacement President. In preparation for choosing the President, the search com-
mittee released an online survey to the student body over winter break in order to gage what Brandeis students are looking for in the next university president. "We want to make sure we reach out to all of the constituencies to see what they want Brandeis to be in 2020," Student Union President and Presidential Search Committee Andy Hogan '11 said.
President Jehuda Reinharz
National endowment helps pay for Mandel programming BY NATHAN KOSKELLA Editor
The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded the university with a $600,000 grant for support of Brandeis’ academic programs in the humanities. The government agency distributes federal money to worthy promoters of humanities education, and Brandeis’ grant will be put towards the new Mandel Center for the Humanities, according Dean of Arts and Sciences Adam Jaffe and information from the endowment’s Web site. The administration said that the NEH grant will pay for the new activities at the Center, including conferences, teaching lectures and other humanities events held there.
According the fund’s Web site, a grant of Brandeis’ type is meant to “assist institutions in developing sources of support for humanities programs.” Brandeis will have to raise $1.8 million, or three times the donated amount, as a condition of being awarded the grant, $1 million of which has already been accounted for. Brandeis’ award, according to the endowment, is the second-largest allotted for the state of Massachusetts, but the largest to any college or university. Panelists for the grant noted the Brandeis proposal’s review anonymously, but Brandeis was rated with a “strong humanities core, both both a sign of its commitment to the humanities disciplines and to liberal arts education.”
January 22, 2010
The Brandeis Hoot
MLK event inspires, urges students to join Haiti relief BY JON OTROWSKY Staff
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot
I HAVE A DREAM: Dean of Student Life Jamele Adams inspires students at Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations. ADVER TISEMENT
The Brandeis Community gathered Monday evening in the overfilled Shapiro Campus Center Theater to celebrate the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in an event entitled “A Heart Full of Grace,” which featured oratory performances, music and poetry. The fifth annual celebration included Kennet Altidor’s ’10 performance of Dr. King’s final speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” as well as a speech from Reverend Hurmon Hamilton of the Roxbury Presbyterian Church. Hamilton reminded the audience that Dr. King was “an ordinary person with several extraordinary responses.” He explained that Dr. King felt anger and fear throughout much of his life, yet used these emotions to fuel his drive to help others. “If you can be inspired by his life you will not simply reach where he reached, but you can farther,” Hamilton said. He asked the audience to tell themselves, “before I live and leave this planet, I want to do something about the way world is.” Speakers at the event stressed the importance of social justice and help for others during a desperate times, focusing on aiding Haiti, which has suffered from numerous earthquakes since Jan. 12. “Yes, I’m happy that we’re all helping now, but where were we before the earthquake?” Hamilton said. After opening remarks, Shaina Gilbert ’10, a first generation Haitian American, and Nate Rosenblum ’10, a leader of the Waltham Group, asked students and others to offer support for the Haitian community. As part of their speeches, all audience members with Haitian descent held hands on the stage and held up two Haitian flags as they prayed for their nation. “We are injured in body, but not in [our] souls,” Gilbert said. “Thank you for your support, love and prayers for Haiti during our darkest hour.” Rosenblum, who recently returned
from a community service project in Haiti three days before the earthquake occurred, stressed that “as a community we will move forward and support both Haiti and the Haitian people,” he said. Gilbert also asked the audience to remember the strength of the Haitian people and to discover “who we are losing.” Following the students’ remarks about the earthquake in Haiti, Ashley Hebert ’09 sang “Go Light Your World,” and said that it’s a song “about sharing your gifts with your community and your family.” Speaking to the students specifically, Hamilton asked them to learn from Dr. King’s use of emotion and to help better a decaying world. “The question is not how ordinary you are. The question is how prepared are you to make extraordinary responses to the anger that lies within, to the fear that lurks around,” Hamilton said. The evening also included a performance from Jamaal St. John a poem entitled “Hush.” As St. John read his poem he said that “freedom is an unborn child growing in the womb of our psyches despite a miscarriage of justice.” Hamilton told the students to enjoy themselves in college, to go on dates and go to parties, “but at the end of the day, decide, that’s not good enough.” “[It’s] not good enough until you have done something about taking this broken fragile world–done something to help transform it just a little bit more…” Reverend Hamilton said. The event also featured performances by the Brandeis Jewish A Capella group Manginah, the Voices of Praise Gospel Choir, the Roxbury Presbyterian Church Praise Team and Youth Choir and a song from Lynne Jordan. Father Walter Cuenin, the Catholic Chaplain at Brandeis explained that the event represented the Brandeis spirit well because it celebrated all different faiths. “I think it’s a great sign of the unity of all God’s people coming together. To me, it’s what Brandeis really is. We celebrate all peoples traditions of faiths and certainly the spirit of Dr. King,” Cuenin said.
CARS reinstated in order to facilitate Academic cuts Previous changes insufficient for solving budget woes
Board has told us there will definitely be reductions,” Jaffe said. He added that specific programs would Last semester when CARS recommended be phased out, as opposed to an across the that the American Studies, Afro and Afriboard cut because “why would you want can American Studies and Classical Studies to cut departhe board is not in a position to make these deci- m e n t s things that are sions...These decisions belong to the academy. be conv e r y verted strong?” i n t o Last - Meyer Koplow, ’72 p r o spring’s grams CARS t h e committee has been reinstated in order backlash from the community was so great to determine which programs should be that Provost Marty Krauss rejected the sugphased out. gested changes. Given last year’s response, “The Board is not in a position to make the plan to phase out entire programs is these decisions,” Koplow said. “These de- likely to elicit objections from faculty and cisions belong to the academy.” students. The reinstituted CARS committee will But, Koplow said, the university has no not have the same flexibility as it did last choice. year, Jaffe said. “I hate to play the bad guy,” Koplow said, “Last spring there was a sense that we “But if the resources aren’t there, the rewere discussing changes that we then had sources aren’t there.” the right to accept or not accept, but the
CUTS (from p. 1)
The Brandeis Hoot
January 22, 2010
Inspirational speaker Maura Cullen talks about diversity and sensitive speech BY JON OSTROWSKY Staff
Diversity educator Dr. Maura J. Cullen lectured students about common mistakes people often make when speaking to minorities in an event held in Levin Ballroom of the Usdan Student Center on Tuesday evening. Cullen, author of the book 35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say, focused her speech on the vast majority of people who do not intend to discriminate against minorities, but do so accidentally. Her lecture, entitled “Taking Adversity Out of Diversity,” covered different themes relevant to diversity as well as larger themes of communication. “The quality of your life will be determined by the quality of your communication,” Cullen said. She explained that diversity is one of the hardest topics for many to discuss: “If you can communicate about that [diversity], there’s probably not so much we can’t talk about.” A common misperception many people make when speaking with minorities or groups that face prejudice and discrimination is saying they know what it feels like to face discrimination, Cullen
said. “There’s no way that any one person can know everything there is to know in the world,” she said. You all have experience and knowledge that not everyone has, so share it.” Cullen listed some of these “well-intended”, but misinterpreted statements as, “some of my best friends are…I know exactly how you feel, I don’t think of you as…” “When you say something like this, we know that our difference really does matter to you,” she said. Cullen told students that often times when speaking to someone who is a different race, gender, sexuality, or religion than they are, it is important to remember that one individual comment has the ability to then be taken out of context. Although we may not realize it, people may overreact to a comment about their differences because they are used to a “lifetime of being stepped on,” she said. Cullen, who has made many appearances at past Brandeis first-year orientations, was asked to speak at Brandeis Tuesday by Michelle O’Malley, director of Community Living for first-years and sophomores. “My goals for bringing Maura here were to have her give students a shot in
H1N1 vaccine available free of charge at Brandeis health center BY DESTINY D. AQUINO Editor
The Brandeis Health Center has recieved another batch of H1N1 flu vaccines, according to a Jan. 7 e-mail sent to the Brandeis community by Vice President and Dean of Students Rick Sawyer. The vaccine is now readily available at the Center free of charge by appointment. It takes several days for the the vaccine to become fully effective therefore it is important for all members of the community to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The Health Center has also recieved another batch of seasonal flu vaccines, which cost $15. The campus-wide flu policy is still in effect. If a student is experiencing a fever, cough, severe body aches or headaches they should call or visit the health center immediately.
UJ trial scheduled for Sunday in Lemberg UJ (from p. 1)
pled with another from Union President Andy Hogan ’11 against closing the trial. Hogan opposed the closing of the trial in a friendof-the-court amicus curiae brief that contended it was “imperative that the trial remain public.” Combating the claimant’s reasoning that reputational damage or public reaction could weaken the trial, Hogan argued that because the story had been first reported in The Hoot on Dec. 6 with “no protests, no complaints, and no aggressive action taken by the public,” the plaintiff ’s argument was irrelevant. Hogan acknowledged in the closing of his brief an “exclusive, secret, and ‘behind closed doors’ reputation” of the current Student Union government, and argued that the trial being open to the public was the best way for the Union to attempt a reputation as being “open, transparent, and honest with the student body.” The case, In re Aronin, will proceed as scheduled Sunday at 4 p.m. in Lemberg Academic Center.
the arm and get them excited for the new semester–help students start off the semester right appreciating differences, but also help with communication skills because students tend to be very awkward around each other in terms of interpersonal skills,” O’Malley said. In a lecture featuring both laughter and silence, Cullen interacted with the audience, and stopped to answer questions from students throughout the evening. Cullen also participated in a professional development workshop earlier Tuesday and spoke separately to student leaders, O’Malley said. In addition, Cullen advised students to react to hurtful comments by using three simple steps: “breathe, acknowledge and respond,” she said. “Only then can we ensure that we do not overreact to negative words about each others differences.” “I want you to be you and allow people to be them. It’s common sense folks,” Cullen said. Cullen donated Tuesday evening’s total sales from to the Hope for Haiti organization in order to provide aid and relief to victims of the recent earthquake. A DV E R T I S E M E N T
35 THINGS: Diversity speaker Dr. Maura Cullen gave a speech at Brandeis Tuesday modeled after her book 35 Dumb Things Well-Intentioned People Say. In her speech, Cullen described various ways well intentioned people make minorities feel uncomfortable.
January 22, 2010
ar, e w y ame e is n ur n e h T yo er h t t ge out n ad ! t a th Hoo i w he T in
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FEATURES Student Financial Services with a smile 6 The Brandeis Hoot
BY CHRISSY CALLAHAN Editor
Silva Bedrossian is sitting sidesaddle in a conference room, a cappuccino–one of her vices, she quickly admits–in front of her. She’s wearing a red scarf–meticulously placed around her neck–and a black sweater over a button down shirt and slacks. From her outfit you can tell Bedrossian is all at once a put together professional, yet simultaneously personable and colorful–the pop of red color in her scarf provides you the proof. As she talks in her noticeable accent, Bedrossian regularly smiles and laughs, often using her hands to animatedly express a point. Bedrossian has shoulder length strawberry blonde hair and a contagious signature laugh that rings at the very least a few times each day. Bedrossian can often be heard engaging in playful banter with her co-workers, but today it’s her turn to get ribbed for the after effects of her current 15 minutes of fame. Bedrossian, who has worked at Brandeis for 17 years, was recently recognized for her work when she was awarded the Louis and Helen Zirkel Award, presented annually to the staff member who “demonstrate[s] loyalty and dedication to the university and to its mission.” Although deeply touched by this honor, Bedrossian says that initially, it came as quite the surprise. “I was happy but embarrassed too…I felt like I’m [just] doing my job,” she says. “It’s good to know that people recognize what you’re doing. Somehow it’s nice, but it’s embarrassing to be in front of everybody [at the awards luncheon],” she says then laughs. Somewhat uncomfortable with the attention she’s getting for winning this particular award, Bedrossian bursts into a fit of laughter as a co-worker and close friend of hers enters the closed room and playfully teases her about her newfound fame. Ever the good sport, Bedrossian takes it in stride and laughs along. You could consider her the peace maker and adapter of her office – the person who gets along with just about everybody – hardly a far cry from the way Bedrossian has lived her whole life. When she was a child, Bedrossian explains, her mother told her she used to adopt classmates’ personalities, taking on their character traits so as to get along with them better. She is in many ways an ever-adapting individual who assesses a situation and does her best to settle in to her surroundings. Case in point: She adjusted her lifestyle when she moved from her native Lebanon to the United States 27 years ago; she quickly settled in to the various jobs she’s held at Brandeis; and she adapts which languages she speaks to the diverse students she serves in her position as student financial services representative in the Office of Student Financial Services. Bedrossian started at Brandeis 17 years ago in a temporary position in purchasing that spanned a year. At the time, she had a young son to take care of, so the time off during the summer that her job provided her was convenient. At the end of that first year, Bedrossian moved on to a permanent position in the development office and later become a university cashier after a year and a half in development. She has spent the past 12 years working in student accounts, a section of the Office of Student Financial Services. Here, she handles the Tuition Management Services monthly tuition payment plan, which allows students and parents to pay tuition costs over a 10-month period. Bedrossian helps students and parents understand how the oftentimes confusing system operates, graciously answering questions over the phone and in
January 22, 2010
person. In an anonymous letter nominating Bedrossian for the Louis and Helen Zirkel Award, a fellow co-worker described Bedrossian’s consistently exceptional customer service: “It is difficult to cite one or two examples of Silva treating students, parents and colleagues with respect because she always, always does. I have never heard her deal with anyone–in person or on the phone– any other way.” Bedrossian’s sensitivity to customers’ problems is appropriate since dealing with money can certainly be a delicate issue, especially when many parents end up miscalculating their budgets. But Bedrossian sympathizes with parents’ well-intentioned dreams of providPHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot WITH A SMILE: Silva Bedrossian hard at work in the Office of Student Financial Services. ing their children with a good education. “Parents want to send their kids to get [a] make sure I’m here, happy [and] smiling students, Bedrossian doesn’t always get such good education even if they cannot afford it,” [for] the students. I mean, everybody has good feedback. Working in a job where monshe says. Bedrossian’s accommodating na- their own problems, actually. But you’re here ey issues abound can sometimes create tense ture and understanding demeanor come in to help them. And I love the atmosphere, and situations. Since Bedrossian serves as the gohandy when assisting international students I like helping with the students, and working between for an outside tuition company and for Brandeis parents, she sometimes becomes who have language barriers and who might with them.” Although she seems to have it altogether, the bearer of bad news and often takes invollive in different time zones, thus complicatthere’s more to Bedrossian than her pleasant untary responsibility for problems that arise. ing what should be a simple phone call to personality. And like most people, BedrossAnd of course, there’s always that angry parBrandeis during business hours. ian’s life–filled with seasonal periods of hapent who calls and yells at Bedrossian. Instead “With international students, it’s hard for piness and struggle–has been far from perof getting angry, though, she lets them do just them to understand [the tuition payment fect. that. plan]. And once they trust you, once they beBorn in Lebanon, Bedrossian didn’t move Exhibiting her even-mannered, adaptable lieve in you, it doesn’t matter if [they’re on the to the United States until 27 years ago, when personality, Bedrossian says, “You let them list of students you’re assigned to help.] They the war in Lebanon was intensifying. When get frustrated and yell as much as they want keep coming to you with every basic quesshe emigrated from Lebanon, Bedrossian [and then explain the situation to them].” tion, [even] personal questions,” she says and left autonomy in the workforce–her husband In the same nomination letter, one of Bedlaughs. “I don’t mind; I understand. Me havhad owned a business and she used to do his rossian’s co-workers applauded her patience ing an [international] background, I underbookkeeping; she left the comfort of fluency in the face of sometimes angry parents: “Like stand how hard [it is] for the parents.” in a country’s language and surroundings; all of us in student accounts, Silva has reBedrossian often applies her international and she left the culture and customs she was ceived many phone calls from angry parents. experience to her work in the Office of StuShe always calmly, respectfully deals with the dent Financial Services. Her extensive lin- used to her whole life. “We used to have everything in [Lebanon]. parents and never passes the call off to her guistic ability–she speaks Turkish, Arabic, You know, we used to have our own business, supervisor. She has a pleasant manner that Armenian, English and a little bit of French, and we used to know the language, ” she says. immediately calms the parents. I often hear for a grand total of five languages–has en“The lifestyle is totally different; that’s why I her refer to angry callers as ‘Sir’–which does riched Bedrossian’s work in student accounts. really [relate to] international students. ” wonders in changing their attitudes.” Although most students who call her probBedrossian had to adapt to a new culture Bedrossian explains that assisting parents is ably converse with Bedrossian in English–a that seemed to demand more out of its resithe most important aspect of such situations, language she knew not even a word of before dents, one that fostered more stress and more and that even though she doesn’t make the moving to the United States–she is able to acbills to pay. It wasn’t always easy during those rules, she’s responsible for making the paycommodate those who cannot converse freefirst years, but helping her adjust was the rest ment process easier for parents. ly in the language that has become so familiar of Bedrossian’s family–including her broth“Sometimes it’s out of your control and to her these past 27 years. ers, sisters and parents–who also moved to sometimes you have to make sure that the Bedrossian is easy-mannered and a relaxed the United States around this time. parents feel comfortable…and give them conversationalist, the type of employee that “I’m so happy that I have them. I would some kind of relief, ” she says. certain Brandeis students like to adopt as a On closer look, this attitude is part and confidante. In fact, many international stu- have not made it without them,” she says. Despite the culture shock she experienced parcel of Bedrossian’s ability to step outside dents do just that. upon arrival in the United States, though, of herself in order to understand how other “Sometimes they just come in to talk to Bedrossian has thrived both professionally people’s life situations. So it comes as no surme,” she says. and personally, helping those around her prise that traveling –another way of drinking Plus, after their initial meeting with Bedand all the while maintaining her heritage in other people’s life experiences, along with rossian–where she most often establishes and Armenian roots. Keeping those roots the world’s diverse scenery – is one of her fatheir payment plan and mails their first alive in her two grown sons and 2 ½ year old vorite pastimes. payment for them–many students come to “I love traveling. It’s like seeing outside of rely on her help, returning each month to granddaughter is essential for Bedrossian. She speaks Armenian–her first language–at the world; it’s really different when you see give Bedrossian their payment to mail, even home with her family, and is active in the how people live,” she says. “Like when I went though they’re technically responsible for Armenian community in her hometown of back home to Lebanon [and saw all the poor doing so themselves. It’s easy to understand Waltham, volunteering for various groups. people]…you come in and really appreciwhy people are drawn to Bedrossian. She is “There is still a need for the Armenian ate [what you have]. I want our new generaas warm as the cappuccino she’s nursing, and community to be together. They need the tion, our kids, to get to see how it is outside exhibits a gentleness which seems to emanate young generation to…learn about Armeof [their] world to appreciate what they have from genuine kindheartedness rather than nian, ” she says. “[So] I like to be involved as now, which they don’t appreciate, ” she says showy benevolence. Plus, she has a free-spirmuch as I can. ” then laughs. ited, fun-loving nature that rubs off on you Given her love for helping others through Upon discussing traveling, it becomes even pretty quickly. volunteer work, it comes as no surprise that clearer that Bedrossian is thankful for what Since she exudes such positivity, it’s unBedrossian’s favorite part of her job is helping she has. Traveling and witnessing other’s difderstandable why one international student, students. ferent condition of life, she says, teaches you having seen a happy and smiling Bedrossian “When a student comes in…and when you that material riches are only one form of fulduring each of their interactions, once asked help them, when they’re happy, when you fillment. Bedrossian if her life was perfect. Bedrossian connect to them…I feel good that I’m doing Says Bedrossian, “[The formation of] hapchuckles as she recalls this situation. something good [for them, ” she says. piness has nothing to do with money; that’s “I said: ‘No one’s life is like that, believe Even though she’s a favorite among many personality. ” me,’” she says. “When I come into work I
January 22, 2010
The Brandeis Hoot
IN SERVICE: Seniors Nate Rosenblum and Jenna Brofsky discuss how they help Brandeis athletic and preformance groups serve the Waltham community.
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot
Clubs-In-Service bridges gap between Brandeis and Waltham BY SHIKCHHA SRIVASTAVA Staff
Community, opportunity and justice–these are three prominent aspects of the Brandeis campus that are thought to define its ideology. When praising their school, Brandeisians often mention these ideals. But when it comes down to translating these principles into reality, some find it hard to combine all three and still produce concrete results. Not anymore. These three ideas were recently combined in the form of a single outlet: Clubsin-Service, a community service based initiative brought alive in part by the hard work and determination of Jenna Brofsky ’10 and Nate Rosenblum ’10. The initiative encourages and helps strategize collaborative efforts between clubs and student organizations on the Brandeis campus in order to directly connect with the Waltham community through combined volunteer efforts. “It’s effective to mobilize people through the clubs they’re involved in on campus,” Brofsky said. The Clubs-in-Service initiative was started in 2008 under thenStudent Union President, Jason Gray ’10. Student coordinators Brofsky and Rosenblum both became involved in the fall of 2009 based on similar campus involvement focused on community service: Brofsky serves as director of community advocacy for the Stu-
dent Union and Rosenblum is on ibly excited about the initiative the Waltham Group’s Budget and and looked forward to getting Steering Committee. their team involved in the coming “Jenna and I [became involved] semester,” Rosenblum said. “[They in an effort to take the initiative to were] inquisitive about how the the next level,” Rosenblum said. program worked and how to get “It was a clear partnership for the involved as well as the types of two of us to work together.” projects their teams could do.” BrofAt its s k y core, a n d Sports teams and performance ClubsRosengroups at Brandeis...are very in-Serblum vice injoined talented and have the opportunity v o l v e s f orc e s to provide a lot of wonderful t a p with a pi ng g r o u p service to our community. i n t o of four t h e -Nate Rosenblum ’10 n e e d s to six s t u of the dents to further develop the initiative, Waltham community. Brofsky which has been running success- explained just how Waltham can fully for a year now. The team improve with the help of Clubsrecognized the potential of sports in-Service. teams to get involved in commu“[The program] forms a relanity service. Earlier, the team put tionship with Waltham,” she said. together presentations that Brof- “No one realizes that Waltham is a sky and Rosenblum presented to community that could really benthe athletic staff administration in efit from the resources we have at November. Brandeis.” “Sports teams and performance However, both Brofsky and groups at Brandeis…are very tal- Rosenblum agree that although ented and have the opportunity to many Brandeis community memprovide a lot of wonderful service bers applaud the concept of orgato our community,” Rosenblum nizing community service events, said. few have directly participated in The positive feedback from the community service efforts that administration provided further Clubs-in-Service seeks to collabosupport for Brofsky and Rosen- rate. blum. “Everyone likes the idea in the“Many coaches seemed incred- ory but in practice, it’s difficult to A DV E R T I S E M E N T
get involved,” Brofsky said. Brofsky further explained how more clubs can participate in order to make Clubs-in-Service a more recognized and rooted initiative on campus. “In order to be successful, we rely on clubs to reach out. We need these clubs to step up to the plate,” she said. But to facilitate a successful partnership, Brofsky said, the needs of the Waltham community need to be voiced loud and clear so that proper help can be provided. “We need Waltham to tell us what [it] needs,” she said. To do so, Rosenblum explained how any Waltham-based agency in need of additional support can go online to the Brandeis homepage and fill out a volunteer support request form. The Department of Community Service and Community Connections Waltham Group will then respond with information about Brandeis community members or organizations who wish to help. The Clubs-in-Service initiative assists behind the scenes in this process by figuring out which clubs are willing to help and organizing efforts between clubs. Clubs on campus who are in need of volunteer support for a service project in Waltham can also approach Clubs-in-Service and fill out a volunteer request form. Clubs-in-Service will then strategize with clubs with similar
needs and give them the support needed to hold a successful event. “We pair people up,” Rosenblum said. He further explained an example of Cubs-in-Service. Cooking Club and Waltham Group’s Kids Club have been featured in the spotlight on clubs and service for their recent collaboration. The Waltham Kids Club is an after school program that brings kids from the Waltham area to the Brandeis campus for fun and educational programs. The Cooking Club and Kids Club both collaborated effectively to hold a successful Healthy Eating and Food Week. Cooking Club volunteers made healthy snacks with the kids and spoke to them about healthy eating habits. Yet, although community is an integral part of the Brandeis campus, it has not been embraced as much as the Clubsin-Service student coordinators would like. Rosenblum explained how Brandeis members can come together to create a profound effect on the Waltham community. “We would love to have each club participate in at least one project every year,” he said. “The possibilities to benefit our community are endless and the needs are great, [so] if each club took a few hours every year to help …we would provide an incredibly beneficial impact on Waltham.”
8 The Brandeis Hoot
January 22, 2010
Women’s basketball wins two of five games over break BY HANNAH VICKERS Editor
The female Judges faltered slightly during mid-season play, dropping two of three University Athletic Association matchups against Washington University of St. Louis Bears and the University of Chicago Maroons. They are now 1-2 in UAA play and 8-5 overall going into the weekend where they will host two more UAA teams: the University of Rochester and Emory University. “We have been playing much better teams lately and we are constantly in games,” cocaptain Jessica Chapin ’10 explained to The Hoot, “but there are points where we struggle and put ourselves in a tough position to win.” Brandeis finished out 2009 with a 65-55 victory over the Regis College Pride on New Years Eve. The Judges had trailed 30-28 at the half but were able to rally back to secure the win thanks to a career performance by center/forward Kasey Gieschen ’10. Gischen had her first career double-double with 17 points and ten rebounds. Brandeis exploded in the last 7:46, going on an 18-6 run to close out the game. During that stretch Gischen put up five points, including the go-ahead point. Morgan Kendrew ’12 also contributed to the victory by adding nine points in the closing run and was six-for-six from the line. Chapin, who became the ninth player in team history to reach the 1,000-point plateau on Dec. 5, had 11 points, four rebounds, and a game-high four steals in her effort against the Pride. Chapin also put up four assists, as did classmates Carmela Breslin and Lauren Rashford. While Chapin admitted it was a “very nice personal accomplishment” to reach that 1,000-point plateau, she remained focused on the team and the task at hand. “There are many more team accomplishments I would rather attain by the end of my career,” she said. Although they closed out the year with a win, the Judges opened 2010 with a loss at home against the University of New England Nor’easters on Jan. 5. Chapin had another career game when she scored her 138th career 3-pointer, a new school-record. Brandeis held the lead for the entire first half, leading by as much as 18. Chapin reached her record with 5:42 remaining and after nailing her shot from the foul line, the Judges held a commanding 3517 lead. After a brief run by the visitors, the Judges went into the break with a 12-point lead of 42-30. The Nor’easters answered back in the second stanza and went on a 13-3 run in the first five minutes of play. With 15:45 remaining in
the game Brandeis held a narrow two-point lead. The Judges held on to single digit leads for most of the half, but the Nor’easters finally broke through to take the lead for the first time with 7:08 remaining off a three-pointer. Brandeis struggled to regain their foothold but after some back-and-forth shooting by the two teams, New England pulled ahead for good with 4:33 left on the clock. Despite numerous attempts by the home team to take control, they were unable to come back and finished the game just four points back. The Judges went down to New York on Jan. 9 to open up UAA play for the season against the New York University Violets. Thanks to double-digit performances by four players, Brandeis took down their rival 73-68. Chapin paced the Judges with a game-high 25 points. Forward Amber Strodthoff ’11put up 17 points for Brandeis while Gieschen had 12 and Kendrew added 11. Chapin scored the first points of the game on a layup at 18:32 and the Judges held the lead from that point forward, starting with a 5-0 run over the next minute and a half. The Violets tied it up at 14:56, but Brandeis answered back immediate with four points to regain control. The Judges led by as much as 13 in the first stanza thanks to layups from Strodthoff, Kendrew, Gieschen, and Chapin in addition to numerous foul shots. Their hosts brought it back to single digits and took game to 34-27 going into the break. The Violets came out of the locker rooms with a pressure defense that brought them within five of the visiting Judges. Brandeis quickly got back in the game and kept pushing themselves back up to a double-digit lead through the first five minutes of play. NYU would not give up, though, and fought to bring it within three with just ten minutes left. That started a 10-4 run for the hosts, which tied the game at 57 a piece with under five and a half minutes remaining on the clock. Brandeis fed off the pressure and responded just over 20 seconds later to regain the lead off a trifecta by Chapin with an assist from Cincotta. From that point forward the Judges battled to maintain the lead and fell within one at 4:35. They kept the pressure up for the remainder of the game and held on for a fivepoint victory. The Judges continued their UAA roadtrip on Jan. 15 when they faced off against nationally ranked WashU. The Bears, currently the number-three team in the country according to D3hoops.com, opened the game with eight unanswered points and would not give up the lead from that point forward. Although the Judges were able to get within three thanks to a three-pointer from Cincotta with just over siz minutes remaining in the first half, the
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot
FULL COURT PRESS: Jessica Chapin ’10 and classmate Lauren Rashford put the pressure on Washington Univeristy of St. Louis last season..
Bears responded with a dominating 15-4 run to take a 41-27 lead into the break. While Brandeis fought to get the game to single digits in the second half after WashU led by as many at 17, they were unable to overcome their UAA competitor. A threepointer by Kendrew brought the Judges to just a nine point deficit with 3:33 remaining in the game, but once again the Bears held on, eventually finishing the game by a ten-point margin of 67-57. Strodthoff had her second double-double of the season and her career with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds while Kendrew led the Judges with 13 points. Guard Lauren Rashford ’10, who has been recovering from an injury, came off the bench to tack on 12 points. Chapin was only able to get two points after being shut out by the WashU defense, significantly lower than the 17.8 points per game she has been averaging. Brandeis faced off against the Maroons this past Sunday in Chicago but despite a career performance by guard Diana Cincotta ’11, who contributed 16 points to her team, the Judges were unable to triumph. Cincotta put up eight of the team’s first ten points, helping Brandeis jump to a 10-6 lead in the first three minutes. The home team responded swiftly with a 13-4 run to pull ahead 19-14 by the ten minute mark. Kendrew nailed the next three-pointer and thanks to a lay-up shortly after the Judges tied that game at 19 with 9:25 left in the half. The Judges momentum slowed in the last
five minutes of the half and by the break Chicago owned a ten-point lead, 38-28. Brandeis did not stay down for long, though. After trading shots to open the second half, the Judges rallied with a 16-4 run in less than seven minutes. With 12:48 remaining in the game Mia DePalo ’11 nailed her shot to give the Judges a 46-45 lead. Their lead would not last for long. Chicago fought back with nine straight points in just over two minutes to take back the lead 5446. They would not relinquish the lead from that point forward and finished up the game with a double-digit advantage of 74-61. The Maroons improved to 10-4 on the season and 2-1 in UAA play with the win. Looking ahead to this weekend, the Judges will open up home UAA play when they face Rochester, ranked second in the UAA with a 12-2 record overall and 2-1 in conference play, on Friday night at 6 p.m. “We are focusing on playing our game for 40 minutes without having any let downs,” Chapin told The Hoot. “If we can do this we should have a successful weekend.” After taking on Rochester, the Judges will take on Emory on Sunday at 2 p.m. They currently sit second to last in UAA rankings with an 8-6 record after going 1-2 in UAA play. “We still have a tough schedule to finish out the season but if we continue to progress and get better we should do very well,” Chapin added.
Referees ruin games BY SARAH BLOOMBERG Staff
When I was in high school I went to a football game where my school lost because of a bad call. My high school team was kicking for a field goal to win the game and the referee made them kick from further out than they should have. They missed the field goal and lost the game. Afterward my grandpa, who was also at the game, told me he hates it when the referees decide to play and interfere with who wins and loses. And after watching the Boston Bruins lose to the Ottawa Senators on Monday, I cannot agree with him more. First, I doubt the Bruins would have won even if they had fair calls. They were playing poorly and must have been tired after
returning from a road trip down the East Coast. Goalie Tim Thomas was pulled halfway through the second period after allowing three goals. But the worst of all the game was the referees’ own play. It is one thing when a ref makes a bad call; but this was ridiculous. It started out with the ref not getting out of the way of the puck early in the game that ruined a Bruins chance at scoring. Then there were bad calls against the Bruins and not enough calls against the Senators. For example, in the second period, Mark Recchi received a minor penalty for the rarely called elbowing. Following his arguing the penalty, Recchi received another minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Senators went on to score in the first of Recchi’s penalties, but luckily the Bruins were able to hold off any more goals during the next
two minutes while Recchi was in the box. While the Bruins were getting penalties throughout the game, the Senators received only one penalty in the entire sixty minutes. And there were times that looked like the Senators were slashing and hooking; nothing extreme, just what happens (and usually is called) in every hockey game. The referees must not be able to tell the difference between the Senators’ white jerseys and the ice as it was the only reason I could see for the lack of called penalties. The final, and worst, referee play happened midway through the third period. The Bruins had finally scored a goal, and though they were down 4-1 the team seemed to be building some momentum. Bruins’ defenseman Dennis Wideman had the puck but lost it as he skated into the ref. Senator Jonathan Cheechoo got the puck
and skated in for an easy goal to end the scoring for the night with five goals for the Senators and the lone goal for the Bruins. After the game, Wideman said, “I know it didn’t matter tonight because it was 5-1, but what if it had been a tied game?” And that is the problem, and it should not matter whether the game was tied or a complete blowout. It comes down to something most people are taught in elementary; if you do something wrong, it is usually better to admit it and try to fix it. Yes, it would have been embarrassing to have to admit that the ref messed up, but when the mistake led to a goal something should have happened. And if something like this happens again, maybe next time during a playoff game or during a game where the bad call makes or breaks a season, how will the NHL respond?
January 22, 2010
The Brandeis Hoot
Men’s basketball on a roll, wins four of five games in the New Year BY HANNAH VICKERS Editor
The Brandeis men’s basketball team has been earning their national ranking with their continued success during the break. The Judges, currently ranked 15th in the nation by D3hoops.com, is 11-2 overall, 2-1 in conference play, and undefeated at home. They opened up the New Year with a 74-69 win on the road against the Curry College Colonels. Guard Vytas Kriskus ’12 who put up a career-high 26 points in 25 minutes off the bench led the offense. The Colonels and Judges battled back and forth in the opening half, trading off single digit leads until there was just 6:52 remaining. At that point Terrell Hollins ’10 tied the game and then took the lead off two foul shots before tacking on another two points off a jump shot less than a minute later. From that point forward Brandeis just added to their lead, eventually taking a 46-34 advantage going into the break. In the first five minutes of the second stanza the Judges continued to tack on the points and at one point led by as much as 18 after Kriskus nailed a three-pointer at 15:44. The home team fought back to stay in the game, and with 2:06 left on the clock finally broke down the Brandeis lead to just eight points. The Colonels ended the final two minutes of play with a 9-4 run but were only able to come within five of the Judges. Hollins was the only other Brandeis player with double figures, putting up 12 points, but led with 11 rebounds. Brandeis moved on to open up University Athletic Association play on Jan. 9 against the New York University Violets in New York and suffered their second loss of the season in a tight 62-50 game. The shooting just wasn’t there for Brandeis, with the team making just 15-of-61 from the field and 4-of-27 in three-point range. Hollins led the Brandeis offense with 14 points, connecting on
six-of-eight from the field. Classmate Kenny Small also reached double-digits with 12 points in the game, connecting on 6-of7 from the line but only making 2-of-15 from the field. Kriskus, who played such a vital role in their previous victory, was only able to hit four of 12 attempts for nine points on the day. After the disappointing loss earlier in the week, the Judges came back fighting at home and took down the Bates College Bobcats 81-57. Bates took an early lead over their hosts, jumping up by as much as ten-points with five minutes left in the half. From that point on, though, the Judges turned on their offense. With just under two minutes remaining before the break, Hollins nailed two foul shots to tie the game and take the lead. Thanks to a trifecta by guard Tyrone Hughes ’12, Brandeis had a fourpoint lead going into the second half. The Judges extended their run into the second half, going 29-4. The second half was like a completely different game. Brandeis dominated the court and pushed up the score until they were leading by 25 and 26 at multiple points. Kriskus led the Judges with 19 points off the bench, followed closely by Small and Hughes who contributed 16 points each, a career-high for Hughes. Guard Andre Roberson ’10 finished out the double-digit scorers by adding ten points. Brandeis continued their winning streak in an exciting overtime victory on Jan. 15. Winning in overtime is great, but taking down the third ranked team in the country and two-time defending NCAA champions Washington University of St. Louis Bears is even better. The Bears led by as much as six points in the first half before losing some momentum. With less than ten minutes left before the break, the Judges went on a 14-1 run to gain a 28-19 lead with 5:11 on the clock. WashU finally managed to get back on the board with
less than two minutes remaining in the half but were only able to bring the game within four before halftime. The Judges opened up the second half leading their hosts 3026 and a jumper by Roberson followed by a three-pointer by Hughes quickly brought it to 3528. Brandeis would not give up their hard earned lead and held the Bears at bay. The game was tied at 43 with 12:33 left to play but Roberson answered back with a foul shot and another jump shot to give the Judges a three-point lead. With 8:09 remaining on the clock the Bears tied it up again at 46 off a foul shot. The Judges were not able to crack through for over four minutes until Kriskus nailed a trifecta at 3:59 to regain a narrow lead. A WashU layup with 12 seconds left tied the game at 49 apiece, though, and forced both squads into overtime. It did not take long for Roberson to take back the lead, making two foul shots at 4:10 to bring the game to 51-49 in favor of Brandeis. The Bears refused to be silenced and continued the nail biter by tying the game at 53 each with just under a minute and a half left. Hughes went to the line with 32 seconds remaining and came up big for the Judges, nabbing a 5553 lead. Forward Rich Magee ’10 followed suit and hit the eventual game winner from the line with eight seconds remaining, bringing the game to 57-53. WashU scored their final basket with three seconds on the clock to bring it within two, but forward Christian Yemga ’11 hit one from the line with one second left to make the final score 58-55. After the excitement in St. Louis, the Judges continued their streak by taking down the Chicago University Maroons just two days later. The teams traded leads in the first five minutes of play before Brandeis settled in for the remainder of the first half, leading by as much as nine and as little as
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot
BALLIN’: Kenney Small ‘10 gets past the Lasell defense in the season opener to take one to the hole last season.
one. They owned a 36-32 lead going into halftime. The Maroons came out of the locker rooms ready to take back the lead and accomplished exactly that. The hosts tied it up just thirty seconds into the second half and took the lead a second later off a foul shot. The Judges did not let them get comfortable and tied it up before regaining the lead just over half a minute later, pulling ahead 28-27. Chicago stayed with it and tied the match up again at 17:36 with 41 apiece. They managed to hold on to as much as a three-point lead over their nationally ranked opponents for the next four and a half minutes before the Brandeis answered with a 14-4 run in just
over 4:31. The Judges took a onepoint lead at 13:03 and would stay ahead from that point forward. With 6:48 left on the clock Brandeis took a double-digit lead off a layup by Hollins and led by as much as 12 with 3:25 remaining off a foul shot by Roberson. The Maroons made an 8-2 run in the last minute of play, but were unable to pass the Judges. Brandeis finished the game with a six-point lead, wining 75-69 over their UAA opponent. The Judges will play their home UAA opener against the Rochester University Yellowjackets at 8 p.m. this Friday night. The UAA play continues this weekend when Brandeis will host Emory University at noon on Sunday.
Men’s and women’s track and field triumph at Poyau Invitational BY HANNAH VICKERS Editor
The Brandeis track and field teams hosted their first home meet of the season, the Reggie Poyau Memorial Invitational, honoring a Brandeis runner of the same name who tragically drowned in May 2003 while studying abroad in Senegal. Both teams honored him in the best way they could: having an outstanding performance. The women finished first of six teams while the men took fourth out of seven. “The team did really well, it was really impressive,” co-captain Suzy Bernier ’10 told The Hoot. “The girls team got second last year and this year we won, so it was great to see that improvement.” In al,l the women had five individual winners as well as coming in first in the 3,200-meter relay. Julia Alpaio ’10 finished first in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:20.84 and classmate Beth Pisarik edged
out an Amherst runner in the 1,000-meter run by four-tenths of a second with a time of 3:01.47. Pisarik was also on the triumphant relay team along with Erin Bisceglia ’12, Jess Girard ’10, and Hannah Lindholm ’11. The group finished with a time of 9:47.21. Grayce Selig ’11 captured first in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:11.72 followed by teammates Kate Warwick ’12 and Ally Connolly ’10 to claim the top three spots. Co-captain Lucia Capano ’11 competed in four events on the day and came out on top in three. Capano won the 55-meter dash by seven-hundredths of a second, coming in at 7.60 seconds as well as the long jump where she had a distance of 5.30 meters, or 17 feet, 4 ¾ inches. She also ran the lead leg in the 1,600-meter relay that placed second with a time of 4:19.00. Her most exciting event by far was the triple jump where she beat out her nearest competitor by over a foot with a leap of
11.27 meters, or 36 feet, 11 ¾ inches. This has qualified her for her first career NCAA championship. She was named one of the University Athletic Association Athletes of the Week for her accomplishments. Capano was not the only Brandeis competitor to qualify for the NCAA championship. In Bernier’s only event on the day, the high jump, she set a new school record and ensured her first trip to the national championship. “It was really exciting!” Bernier told The Hoot. “It will be my first trip to the NCAA, teammates have gone before me so this is great. I’m so happy Lucia made it, too. She had a great day.” Bernier’s jump of 1.67 meters (5 feet, 5 ¼ inches), which won the event by four inches, broke the school record by 0.02 meters. “I want to get a higher height,” Bernier explained. “I only set the school record by half an inch and I want to shatter it.” According to Bernier, the first individual race, the men’s 3,000 meter, really set the
pace for the rest of the day. Devon Holgate ’11 had a come from behind win in the event with a time of 8:44.45. “Devon was behind until the last 150 and in the last 50 he just went right past the kid,” Bernier explained. “It was like he said, ‘We’re dominating.’” Holgate was one of four on the men’s team to take first place. Brian Foley ’13 won the 400-meter dash by three-hundredths of a second with a time of 51.44 while Aaron Udel ’10 came in first in the 800-meter at 2:00.14. Ben Bray ’11 completed the mile in 4:23.23 and walked away the winner. The Judges are next in action in Medford on Saturday when they will compete in the Tufts Invitational. Their next home meet will be the UAA Championships on Friday March 5 through Saturday March 6. “Hopefully [our success at this home meet] will set the tone for UAAs,” Bernier told The Hoot, adding that hosting the event “is going to be amazing.”
10 The Brandeis Hoot
January 22, 2010
Happy fifth birthday to The Hoot!
BY IGOR PEDAN Editor Emeritus
Mod 14. That’s where it all started. That’s where my suitemates and I conceived of the crazy notion that two ex Justice Editors, an ex-Union Secretary and a handful of friends with little or no prior newspaper experience could do this. That’s where we decided that instead of having a party-filled, stress-free final semester at Brandeis, we would dedicate countless all-nighters to starting and operating a college newspaper. That’s when the first six issues of The Hoot were mostly written, edited and produced. We were fortunate. We miraculous convinced the F-Board to take a chance on us and fully fund the printing of a newspaper that hadn’t even printed one issue. We somehow managed to secure an office and convince then Vice President for Students and Enrollment Brian Walton to furnish it for us with two brand new computers and a 11x17 printer. Most importantly though, we lucked out big time in that so many dedicated and competent writers, illustrators, photogra-
phers and editors found us and stuck with us despite our missing the printing deadline for the first issue by three days. These same writers and editors after just one semester of experience took over The Hoot upon our graduation and admirably nurtured it to a vibrant school newspaper—one that continues to keep the powers at Brandeis, be they student or administrative, accountable. Five years later, I stared at a blank word document for hours thinking how to express the immense pride I feel knowing The Hoot is still printing. Sustaining a second newspaper for such a small campus is no trivial feat and to do so through more than five stable editorial transitions is a testament to the high quality of students at Brandeis. I’m very proud. When The Hoot was founded it was new and was not rooted in tradition. We got to shape it into whatever we wanted. My hope was that upon our departure from Brandeis, The Hoot became what each successive generation of Editors and writers needed it to become. Every so often someone asks me
if a current iteration of The Hoot is what was envisioned upon its inception. My answer is always the same: “Absolutely!” I’m no longer on campus. The Hoot is no longer my baby. It belongs to the current generation of Hooters and whichever direction they think is best for The Hoot, should not be detoured because someone thinks its counter to what the founders of the paper may have wanted. The whole point of The Hoot was to fill a void that existed at Brandeis and who better to know what the current void is than current crop of wonderful editors. To be stuck constantly questioning if this is something the founders intended would just burden successive generation of editors to run the paper as if it’s 2005 and not 2010. That is the legacy we hoped to leave behind—one of change, innovation and agility rather than stagnation and tradition. From following The Hoot over the past five years, I’m ecstatic that in fact that is the case. I do want to pass one piece of advice to current and future Hoot editors. Your friends are impor-
Not Harry Potter, not Narnia New novel suffers identity crisis
BY KAYLA DOS SANTOS Editor
Part tribute and part bitter criticism, Lev Grossman’s novel “The Magicians” reads as a commentary on the fantasy books that bewitched us as children, in the process stripping them of their magic. Unfortunately, this tale does not stand on its own because the author has focused more on
true. The magic he read about in the Fillory books, where a child escapes to an enchanted world through a grandfather clock, is real. But the world he becomes a part of is more dangerous and sinister than it first appears. Quentin is not a likeable character. He is selfish and depressing. He mopes around most of the book, even when he is given
true, would happiness be an easier emotion to experience and sustain? Through his magical studies, and the incidents that come with growing up, like sex, drugs, and drinking (this is definitely not Harry Potter), Quentin persistently grapples with this dilemma. “He had painstakingly assembled all the ingredients of happiness.
PHOTO BY Kayla Dos Santos/The Hoot
THE MAGICIAN: Lev Grossman’s novel defines itself by what it is not–”Harry Potter.”
defining what the novel is not— it is neither “Harry Potter” nor “The Chronicles of Narnia”—and less on creating a unique world of his own. After being accepted to a college for magic, Quentin Coldwater’s deepest wish has come
practically everything he desires. However, this is what Grossman does particularly well, which is the most compelling aspect of the novel. The author poses the question: what constitutes happiness? In a world where magic exists, where dreams literally come
He had performed all the necessary rituals, spoken the words, lit the candles, made the sacrifices. But happiness, like a disobedient spirit, refused to come.” It is Quentin’s struggle to produce See MAGICIANS, p. 13
GRAPHIC BY Max Shay/The Hoot
tant. You’ll hear that friends you make in college you’ll keep for the rest of your life. You’ll hear correctly. No club, no newspaper is worth the sacrificing friendships for. The Hoot is an adventure. It’s part of your awesome journey through Brandeis. If, however, The Hoot stops being fun, if coming to editorial board meetings, writing articles, taking pictures, drawing illustrations, editing copy and prettying up layout becomes a chore, please walk away. Please don’t lose precious days of your
short four years at Brandeis working on something you are no longer passionate about out of some sense of responsibility to continue The Hoot. I would rather The Hoot cease printing than for editors to sacrifice their friendships or something like their studyabroad chance just to keep The Hoot going. However, as long as you are having fun, please continue the trend of producing a quality community newspaper. Happy fifth anniversary!
BY ARIEL WITTENBERG
and ever judgmental eye of the nation on my commonwealth. In case you missed it, according to the pundits this election would be somewhat of a midterm exam for President Obama. If the Democrats couldn't hold on to one of the bluest states in the nation, how would Obama be able to win reelection come 2012? (Never mind the fact that 49 percent of Massachusetts voters are registered independents, more than the number of Republicans or Democrats). Furthermore, the pundits pontificated this election would determine whether or not the health care bill would pass. If Scott Brown won, they said, the Democrats would no longer have the 60 votes needed to overcome filibusters, which would ultimately destroy the health care bill and cause Teddy to roll over in his still fresh grave. That's a lot of pressure for the seventh smallest state in the nation (Massachusetts totals at 10,555 square miles). The buck doesn't stop there. After the election, the general population (Brandeisians included) were airing all sorts of hate for my state. Facebook statuses of non-Massachusetts Democrats universally read "dissappointed in Mass. :-(," "REALLY?! Massachusetts, REALLY?!," and "Curse you, Massachussetts." I was even called a "masshole" by someone's Facebook status just by virtue of residing in the commonwealth, something I find insulting even without idea that a person's political affiliations can dub them a hole of any kind is in and of itself insulting.
My state, my choice Editor
Massachusetts is a blue state. Or, at least that's what most people have assumed in the past. As such, Massachusetts is not usually a state plagued by imperialistic campaigners, crossing state lines to ensure our votes. In fact, it is more often the politically motivated people of Massachusetts who cross state lines into New Hampshire, for example, to get out the vote for their chosen candidate. As a lifetime resident of Massachusetts, I have always felt I was missing out on some integral part of the political process because of the indelible blue filler that has covered my state on electoral maps for decades. I romanticized the swing state. I welcomed and wished for the day people from opposing parties would knock on my door and duke it out over which candidate was more deserving of my vote. And, I thought, as opposed to in Massachusetts where Republicans are usually overlooked and Democrats are taken for granted, living in a swing state makes your vote count more. But after this week's special election for the late Ted Kennedy's senate seat, I have experienced a 'day in the life' of a swing state, and no longer have the desire to live in one. Unlike many on the Brandeis campus, this sudden comraderie I feel with New Hampshirites has absolutely nothing to do with the results of Tuesday's election. In fact, I am fairly confident that no matter what the outcome of Tuesday's race, I would still be nostalgic for those good old days, when I did not feel the watchful
See SWING STATE, p. 11
January 22, 2010
The Brandeis Hoot
2009: The year in film
BY SEAN FABERY Editor
2009 was a pretty great year for film. I say this with some trepidation. After all, how can anyone pass judgment on a year in which hundreds of feature films were released? Of course, it’s all strictly subjective: sometimes a wealth of films will connect with you in a given year, sometimes… not so much. To give an example, I didn’t think 2008 was such a hot year, as it failed to deliver a film that matched the beautiful narrative
acrobatics of “Atonement” or the stark madness of “There Will Be Blood,” both of which were delivered in 2007. Film viewing, like any attempt at understanding or enjoying art, is a completely personal endeavor. But, even on a quantifiable level, 2009 was pretty remarkable. For one thing, in an industry that has tended to be a boy’s club, there was a large crop of films helmed by notable female auteurs like Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”), Lone Scherfig (“An Education”), and Jane Campion (“Bright Star”), each of which
received numerous critical hosannas. Female directors also met with success at the box office, with both Nora Ephron’s “Julie & Julia” and Nancy Meyers’ “It’s Complicated” attracting large audiences. Unfortunately (at least, I think it’s unfortunate), the most victorious female-directed film of the year at the box office turned out to be Betty Thomas’ “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.” Oh, well—can’t have everything. It was also a banner year for science fiction. Most notably, of course, there’s “Avatar,” which
coupled a familiar plot with state-of-the-art visuals. It’s currently poised to become the highest grossing film of all time. There were also “Star Trek” and “District 9,” two blockbusters that gave positive attention to a genre that doesn’t always receive it. No other year in recent memory has featured such a plethora of high quality animated films. As usual, Pixar’s “Up” proved to be a big success, while Disney returned to traditional animation with its charming, if slight, “The Princess and the Frog.” “Coraline,” meanwhile, gleefully imbued itself with
a darkness from which children’s films tend to shy away. “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” too, proved to be utterly charming. These films provided entertainment without condescending to their target audience, certainly a rare feat when so many children’s movies choose to grant their films little more than repeated jokes about flatulence and pop culture references that will feel dated in five years time. But enough about generalities. We each have our personal preferences, and I’m no different. I’d like to share my personal top 10 films of the year.
#1. “Bright Star” It would undoubtedly be a bit twee to describe director Jane Campion’s latest film, portraying the romance between Romantic poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and seamstress Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), as poetic. But visual poetry is the best term to describe Campion’s work at its best. The film delves, in a way few films have done this beautifully, into the similarities in the way we approach both art and love. The film’s potency could easily have been dampened by the romantic clichés and period mustiness
that afflict some films that try to tackle the same kind of material. Instead, it proves to be something transformative. For all its beautiful period-specific details, it’s absolutely modern or, perhaps more accurately, timeless. This is especially true of Cornish’s performance, as one could easily see her character in any era. The world Campion creates is lived-in and feels absolutely true, and it is in this truth that the film finds its beauty, exploring the same territory that Keats himself once explored.
#2. “Inglourious Basterds” A band of Jewish Americans embark on a plot to kill as many Nazis as possible in Nazi-occupied France. That would be a pretty audacious plot for any film, but Quentin Tarantino pulls it off beautifully, balancing his penchant for killer dialogue with a stellar ensemble cast (surprisingly, the Basterds prove to be the least engaging characters in the film). The film has come under fire for switching the historical
role of the Jews and Nazis. However, it’s hardly that simple, as there are actual consequences for their drive for vengeance. And Tarantino, always the cineaste, also makes “Inglourious” a commentary on the potency of film; it’s not a coincidence that some of the most prominent characters are cinema owners, movie stars and film critics.
#3. “Up in the Air” No man is an island. Hardly a new thought, but writer-director Jason Reitman mines this for all its worth with his follow-up to “Juno.” George Clooney stars as Ryan Bingham, a man who fires people for a living, which entails flying virtually every day. His only long-term goal is to become a member of an elite society of frequent fliers who have hit 10 mil-
lion miles. All this changes, however, when he meets Alex (Vera Farmiga), a flirtatious frequent flier, and Natalie (Anna Kendrick), a novice employee. Hollywood rarely seems to make these kind of films for adults anymore, opting instead for explosions and celibate vampires. This film certainly makes a strong statement for a return to classic filmmaking.
#4. “Where the Wild Things Are” Spike Jonze’s latest film received a mixed reaction upon its release, partially, I think, from a misunderstanding over its aims—it was much more a film about childhood than a children’s film. And here Jonze captures childhood so perfectly: the feelings of injustice, the proclivity to actively submerge oneself in a fantasy world, PICTURES FROM Internet Source
and the slow but steady realization of our own responsibility in the world outside ourselves. In a way, the segments of the film outside the world of the wild things are even better than the ones that take place within it–though the wild things are pretty amazing, too. See MOVIES, p. 13
12 ARTS, ETC.
The Brandeis Hoot
January 22, 2010
2009: The year in music BY DANIELLE GEWURZ Editor
2009 has brought us the end of the decade, and some pretty awesome tunes to boot. While you’re trying to remember that dates end in 2010 now, there’s still time to catch up on 2009’s best new music. As far as pop goes, it was an interesting year, and while Lady Gaga continued her neo-Madonna schtick, “Bad Romance” proved to move past the electropop of her previous singles for sheer unbelievable enjoyment. Meanwhile, teen artists dominated the airwaves, including the Kanye-maligned Taylor Swift, who, unfortunately, did not have one of the best videos of all time. Nonetheless, it appears that at the ripe age of 21 I am officially too old to follow most of these trends, no matter how many times I hear “Party in the USA” in public. Hip-hop did have a decent year. Though Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint 3” was mostly a disappointment, there were the possible exceptions of “Run This Town” and “Empire State of Mind.” Lil’ Wayne’s experiments with a rock album notwithstanding, 2009 did see Weezy return to form in mixtape capacity with the uneven but delightful
“No Ceilings,” where Wayne turns at least two ringtone rap songs into his typical free-associative rambling, and it’s still as delightful as ever. And Mos Def ’s “The Ecstatic” brought new respect to the underappreciated MC. Rap also saw, finally, the release of two long-delayed albums, Clipse’s “Til The Casket Drops” and Raekwon’s “Only Built for Cuban Linx…Pt. 2,” and both managed to live up to most of their hype. While Clipse have slid from the sheer condensed lyricism of “Hell Hath No Fury” to lusher, cluttered tracks that outstrip the spare coke rap of earlier efforts, it’s nice to finally hear them have fun again. And a Kanye guest spot on “Kinda Like A Big Deal,” where he’s goofing off reminds all of us that Clipse did in fact once have a good time; this is the group that rapped on Justin Timberlake’s “Like I Love You,” after all, so the lightness is a welcome return. As for Raekwon, there’s no doubt that this album was truly worth the wait. With Jay-Z slacking, T.I. and Lil’ Wayne both out of commission due to legal issues (and the same goes for Gucci Mane), the return to form of the Wu Tang lyricist was unbeliev-
PHOTO FROM Internet Source
GRIZZLY BEAR: The indie band presented one of the best singles of the year.
ably rewarding. At the same time, though, “Cuban Linx” is a nostalgia album, not one that seeks to push hip-hop forward. And right now, it appears that Drake is 2010’s biggest player, which doesn’t speak well for future prospects.
In the indie arena, there were quite a few promising albums, many in the pop or electro vein. Grizzly Bear did deliver a transcendent album of rock, though, with his single “Two Weeks” proving to be one of the best of the year. Newcomer Girls threw
together the best of Elvis Costello and the Beach Boys in an album (called “Album”) about dissatisfaction, boredom, girls and how sometimes you just “want to be friends forever.” Both were albums of delayed gratification, worth multiple listens and twisting out into new revelations each
Broc and Roll: Adventures in Chinese cooking
BY ALISON CHANNON Editor
Sunday evening, a few friends and I decided to make a pilgrimage to H-Mart in Burlington. HMart is an Asian grocery store the likes of which I had never seen. It is a cross between a massive supermarket, food court and weird mall. If you’re so inclined, you can get dinner at the food court, buy groceries and then stock up on North Face jackets and cosmetics. And they have 36 locations in 13 states across the country. Upon entering, shopping carts ahead of us, we encountered a formidable produce department. It extended row upon row–easily four times the size of the Waltham Hannaford. The standard supermarket fare was there—apples, oranges, pears, spinach, broccoli —along with more unusual fruits and vegetables like Asian bitter melon, bok choy, Chinese eggplant (it’s long, thin, bright purple and delicious), and Chinese broccoli (thinner than the standard
Frozen dumplings, brand and filling of your choice A half bunch of Chinese broccoli, about ¾ of a pound 1 clove garlic 2 T soy sauce 2 T red wine vinegar ½ t sugar ¼ t hot red pepper flake (Use less if you don’t like spicy food) A pinch of ground ginger Canola oil or vegetable oil
Cutting board Chef ’s Knife Pairing Knife Sauté pan with lid or a wok of you have one Colander or salad spinner Measuring spoons Wooden spoon or other preferred utensil Tools needed for chosen preparation of dumplings
broccoli with leaves instead of florets and slightly bitter) to which we shall return later. Along with their amazing produce and amazing produce prices (39 cents a pound for bananas!), H-Mart has a great selection of tofu, fresh noodles, sauces and dried fish. But what really took the cake for me was the endless array
of frozen food items. Now I’m not big on frozen pre-packaged food. I really enjoy cooking and, if I’m tired or strapped for time, I prefer a can of Progresso soup to a Lean Cuisine. Although, I must say, I anticipate the inevitable rushing and exhaustion of the semester by cooking once and eating twice, sometimes even thrice. That said, the endless cases of frozen dumplings made me too excited to pass over. They had dumplings of every sort—seafood, pork, chicken and vegetable. I grabbed a promising-looking bag of vegetable dumplings that can be boiled, cooked in the microwave or fried. Obviously, I chose to fry them, and I have not been disappointed. I wish I could tell you the brand, but alas, it is written in characters I do not recognize. With my dumplings and vegetables in hand, I decided to have a go at putting together a meal. So here is my first foray into cooking Chinese broccoli with dumplings. There is certainly room for improvement but this is where
PHOTO BY Alison Channon/The Hoot
I started and, overall, I’m quite happy with it. Instructions: First things first, cut off the ends of the broccoli stems. Then use a pairing knife to cut or peel away any especially tough skin. I left my broccoli stems long but they would certainly have been faster to cook had I chopped them into smaller pieces. After trimming the broccoli, wash it thoroughly. Mine wasn’t gritty but it definitely needed a good rinse. I used a colander for this but a salad spinner would be great if you have one. While the broccoli is draining, pour enough Canola oil into the bottom of your pan to coat the bottom. Then turn to medium. While the oil is heating, dice the garlic and measure the hot pepper and ginger. The oil should be hot but not bubbling. You can tell that oil is hot if you tilt the pan and you see the oil change texture. Then throw in the garlic and spices and stir. Cook for one to two minutes.
See WRAP-UP, p. 13
We want the garlic and spices to infuse the oil but we don’t want it to burn. Add the broccoli and stir. We want the broccoli to get a nice sauté flavor before adding our liquid. Let the broccoli sit in the hot pan for a moment while you mix the soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar, turn up the heat on the broccoli just slightly and add the mixture. Cover the broccoli and let steam for 5 to 10 minutes. You should be able to stick a fork in the stems without them being mushy. While the broccoli is steaming, prepare your dumplings according to the package directions. If you choose to boil them, you will want to put a pot of water on to boil when you begin heating the oil for the broccoli. When the broccoli and dumplings are finished, plate them. I laid the broccoli over the dumplings so the soy sauce and vinegar mixture would serve as a sauce for the dumplings as well as the broccoli.
PHOTO BY Alison Channon/The Hoot
January 22, 2010
The Brandeis Hoot
Living in a swing state SWING STATE (from p. 10)
2009 music wrap-up WRAP-UP (from p. 12)
PHOTO BY Ariel Wittenberg/The Hoot
So, at the risk of living up to the "masshole" label, and with all due respect to the pundits, energetic volunteers and concerned citizens—please, get out of my state. To be clear, I am not opposed to any sort of "get out the vote" campaign--civic engagement is an integral part of democracy, no matter whom you vote for. I even understand the urges of Massachusetts citizens further engaging in the political landscape by discussing elections with their neighbors and attempting to convince them of whom to vote for. But I am (however recently) opposed to people unconnected to my state telling me what to do. While the nation may be focusing on the implications this vote will have on health care, or what kind of omen it could be for Obama, the fact is that this senator will have an impact on politics and policy both
nationally and locally long after the health care debate is settled. I do not mean to minimize the effect this election has on the national scale—its effect is and will continue to be great. But if you don't live in Massachusetts, you've already elected your senators—you've made your choice, so don't tell me how to make mine. The senator from Massachusetts is just that--the senator from Massachusetts. The results of Tuesday's election—for better or for worse—was the decision of Massachusetts alone, and we, more than any other population, will be the ones to live the consequences. So while Martha Coakly supporters called it "Ted Kennedy's seat," and Scott Brown rebutted by calling it "the people's seat," this is just a friendly reminder that really, it’s Massachusetts’ seat.
LIVE THE LIFE FANTASTIC: “Fantastic Mr. Fox” proved delightful.
PHOTO FROM Internet Source
time. On the other hand, Phoenix’s latest, which was unavoidable due to its prominence in movie trailers and Cadillac commercials, was simple pop that bypassed the head to go directly to the feet. Two bands of similar naming conventions, The xx and jj, both also produced gorgeous pop albums, artfully weaving electronics and instruments in tableaux dark and sunny, respectively. But this year’s best albums are without a doubt Animal Collective’s “Merriweather Post Pavilion” and Bat For Lashes’ “Two Suns.” Both honed a variety of influences, ideas, and talents into focused yet grand albums, sweeping and full of hidden depths. Where Bat For Lashes moves moodily through the laments of Natasha Khan, creating a gloriously lush atmosphere for heartache, Animal Collective revels in sheer weirdness and somehow manages to make it into pop.
The avalanche of music this past year only serves as a further reminder as we enter into 2010 that the music industry is still in a constant state of flux. Artists at all levels, from the margins of handmade zines to platinum records, are constantly expanding their repertoires, their influences, and their instrumentation. Even as genres cross over and blend, more and more microgenres pop up—this year’s was chillwave, exemplified by Neon Indian. Electronica and hip-hop are making their influence felt throughout the industry, and their fingerprints show up all over the charts. Don’t believe it? Just listen to DJ Earworm’s mashup of 2009’s hits. Despite the overwhelming presence of the Black Eyed Peas, it’s been a year of experimentation and expansion, and new artists have flourished. 2009 was an exciting time to be a listener, a challenging time to be an artist, and a terrifying time to be a record executive.
“Magicians” unimpressive MAGICIANS (from p. 10)
happiness, to find happiness, to even define happiness that engages the reader, not his supernatural schooling or the adventures he encounters. The book’s failure comes from its inability to separate itself from J.K. Rowling’s or C.S. Lewis’s creations because Grossman’s world depends on the fact that it is neither. He constantly compares Quentin’s world with Fillory, a world of talking animals and amazing quests that exists in a book series that many of the novel’s characters were obsessed with as children. Grossman’s Fillory is clearly a placeholder for Hogwarts or Narnia. Often he would preface a description with “This wasn’t Fillory,” emphasizing his point that if magic and magicians existed in the real world it would not be used to battle evil or talk to furry woodland creatures. Unlike Hogwarts, where students would perform spells with a magic wand, at Brakebills learning magic is a series of dull tasks. Quentin complains that “it turned out to be about as tedious as it was possible for the study of powerful and mysterious forces to be.” Studying magic for Brakebills’s students is more like memorizing flashcards and doing practice tests for the SATs than
an exciting adventure. The author’s efforts to distance Quentin’s ‘real’ world with the pre-existing fantasies that exist in literature have stripped his imagined creation of any magic. This may be his point, but it is a blunt one that he makes over and over again, sacrificing the chance to explore his world for lambasting Rowling’s and Lewis’s worlds. At 500 pages, “The Magicians” might not be worth the time it takes to read it. If you are sick of “Harry Potter” and want a more adult approach to magic, though, pick up a copy and give it a shot. “The Magicians” cannot stand on its own, but glimpses of original ideas make some parts entertaining and hint at a talent that does not need magic to support it.
The fantastic films of 2009: one moviegoer’s thoughts MOVIES (from p. 11)
#5. “Drag Me to Hell”
#7. “Summer Hours”
For my money, no film came close to being as entertaining as this movie, which marked director Sam Raimi’s return to horror-comedy. It wholeheartedly embraced all the conventions of horror, gleefully indulging in one over-the-top, schlocky scare after another. It also proved surprisingly timely considering the recession, as its plot followed a young bank employee, who, seeking a promotion, denies a loan to an old gypsy woman trying to keep her home. This woman, of course, proceeds to curse her. Horror ensues.
I would say that no film about estate taxes has ever been this well-done, but director Olivier Assayas’ “Summer Hours” is about much more—particularly the effects of a globalized society on one relatable family. After its matriarch suddenly passes away, her three children—each now living on a different continent—must decide what to do with the family’s summer cottage, which also happens to be filled with numerous pieces of art that hold great sentimental value.
#6. “An Education” Charming. No other word describes this film quite as aptly. Based on a memoir by journalist Lynn Barber, Lone Scherfig’s film details the attempts by Jenny, a 16-year-old girl living in 1960s England, to escape the boredom she is sure the Oxford education her father has planned for her will ensure. The story, though not exactly original, is buoyed by a fantastic script by novelist Nick Hornby and a stellar cast. Carey Mulligan, who portrays Jenny, is easily the standout and has rightfully received comparisons to Audrey Hepburn in her prime.
#8. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” In a stellar year for animation, director Wes Anderson’s take on the classic Roald Dahl tale was the standout. Anderson’s distinct retro style, which some have come to write off as tired, meshed perfectly with the world Dahl created in his novel.
#9. “Thirst” Korean director Park Chan-wook’s newest film revolves around a Korean Catholic priest who becomes a vampire, causing him to suddenly be pulled into a life of decadent desire after living a simple, chaste life. Chan-wook runs with this, creating an
entrancing narrative about the nature of man’s baser qualities.
PHOTO FROM Internet Source
KEEP ON TREKKING: J. J. Abrams successfully revitalized the “Star Trek” franchise.
#10. “Star Trek”
I’ve come to not expect much from summer blockbusters, but J. J. Abrams’ revitalization of the “Star Trek” franchise proved to be an exception. Too many blockbusters are overly long, needlessly filling themselves with as many incomprehensible action sequences as possible in order to show off their special effects. Abrams, instead, provided an immensely satisfying film that had both a strong cast and an intriguing plot.
I was initially inclined to include “Avatar” in my actual list, but watching it was such a singular experience that it was hard to objectively compare it to other films. Needless to say, James Cameron’s latest epic was certainly an experience, coupling a compelling—if familiar—narrative with groundbreaking technology that fully immersed you in a world so unlike our own. Between this and “Titanic,” moviegoers should know never to doubt his ambitious style of filmmaking.
14 The Brandeis Hoot
Established 2005 "To acquire wisdom, one must observe." Ariel Wittenberg Editor in Chief Alex Schneider Managing Editor Destiny D. Aquino News Editor Nathan Koskella Deputy News Editor Bret Matthew Impressions Editor Chrissy Callahan Features Editor Hannah Vickers Sports Editor Jodi Elkin Layout Editor Max Shay Photography Editor Leon Markovitz Advertising Editor Vanessa Kerr Business Editor Savannah Pearlman Copy Editor Leah Lefkowitz Layout Editor Sean Fabery Arts Etc. Editor Kayla Dos Santos Arts Etc. Editor Senior Editors Sri Kuehnlenz, Kathleen Fischmann Alison Channon, Danielle Gewurz
Leslie Pazan, Igor Pedan and Daniel Silverman
SUBMISSION POLICIES The Hoot welcomes letters to the editor on subjects that are of interest to the general community. Preference is given to current or former community members. The Hoot reserves the right to edit any submissions for libel, grammar, punctuation, spelling and clarity. The Hoot is under no obligation to print any of the pieces submitted. Letters in print will also appear on-line at www.thehoot.net. The deadline for submitting letters is Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. All letters must be submitted electronically at www. thehoot.net. All letters must be from a valid e-mail address and include contact information for the author. Letters of length greater than 500 words may not be accepted. The opinions, columns, cartoons and advertisements printed in The Hoot do not necessarily represent the opinions of the editorial board. The Hoot is a community student newspaper of Brandeis University. Produced entirely by students, The Hoot serves a readership of 6,000 with in-depth news, relevant commentary, sports and coverage of cultural events. Our mission is to give every community member a voice.
Think our editorials are wrong? Write a letter to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning from our mistakes
ednesday evening, the Board of Trustees announced that the university must make substantial cuts to its academic programs in order to tackle a persistent multimillion dollar budget shortfall. After summarily rejecting last semester’s budget trimming suggestions courtesy of CARS, the university community will no longer be able to hem and haw over possibilities. We will be forced to cut where it hurts. Like Dean Adam Jaffe said, we have no choice. Last semester, this editorial board encouraged students and faculty to have an open mind about cuts or changes to academic
January 22, 2010
programs. While the phasing out of a beloved major or the semi-forced retirement of an admired professor is regrettable, for the sake of the whole, painful choices must be made. This is not a new message. President Jehuda Reinharz stressed this point during discussions about the possible selling of the Rose Art Museum’s collection. Valid message though it is, it will of course impact the character of the university we’ve all come to know over the past years. But at least this time around, the decision to cut has been thought over much more thoroughly. The measured way in which this announcement was made stands in sharp contrast to the hubbub and
confusion that surrounded the debate about the Rose Art Museum and indicates the administration may have learned something from that debacle. The university, the administration and the student body will now be heading into this process with both eyes wide open; rather than the uncertainty that surrounded last semester’s CARS committee, the community knows that cuts must ensue from this next round of discussion. Hopefully, all participants will be more circumspect this time at all stages, from formulating recommendations to making concrete attempts to solicit opinions from students and faculty.
Aronin trial a call for change
his sunday, Union Secretary Diana Aronin ’11 will be tried by the Union Judiciary after being impeached by the Senate on Dec. 6 for allegedly failing to put a Constitutional amendment for the creation of a midyear senator position to the student body for a vote. This trial could result in the removal of Aronin from office. Meanwhile, Union President Andy Hogan ’11, who allegedly supported Aronin’s original decision to withhold the vote, was simply censured. This disparity in consequences suffered by the two alleged perpetrators is preposterous; however, this editorial board recognizes the difficult dilemma the Union Senate faced upon discovering Aronin and Hogan’s alleged
transgressions. On the one hand, if the Senate simply censured both Aronin and Hogan, it would send the message that there is no consequence for breaking the Union’s bylaws, thereby rendering them insignificant. On the other hand, impeaching and potentially removing Aronin and Hogan only adds to the perception already held by a large part of the student body that the Union is self-important. Unfortunately, as it now stands, the Union Constitution allows for no happy medium between being kicked out of the governmental body and receiving a hyped up finger wagging. This must change. In order to be respected and taken seriously by the student body, there must be some alternative to these two choices.
Fortunately, the Union Constitution is currently under review. We hope that the review committee learns from this trial and thinks of a way to prevent such situations from occurring. The best form of student government is one that is able to lead by example and make changes that will be best for the student body as a whole. The members of the Union can certainly disagree, but the government’s structure ought to foster an environment whereby disagreements can be resolved easily and without fuss. This editorial board expects the proposals of the Constitutional Review Committee to address these specific concerns. Otherwise, our student government will continue to remain aloof and its judicial proceedings laughable.
January 22, 2010
The Brandeis Hoot 15
Democrats should be for free speech John Nash and Brandeis Justices rightfully allow campaign advocacy
GRAPHIC BY Ariel Wittenberg/The Hoot
BY NATHAN KOSKELLA Editor
At the time of publication, I have been assaulted with news of epic proportions and far-reaching political ramifications. It was predicted beforehand, though at one time unthinkable, and the conclusion alters decades of elections norm. And no, it's not that Scott Brown beat Martha Coakley. (Maybe we’ll have an equally smart and progressive candidate with slightly better mass-marketing skills to bat off the fly in two years. Granted, President Give-Up-On Health-Care will be on the ballot, but it should bring out the base to make sure everyone votes. No one truly believes more people living here agree with Scott Brown). But in what will be the biggest political development of the year (crossing my fingers), the Supreme Court yesterday threw out the longstanding edict banning corporations, unions and other groups from spending money to influence candidate elections throughout the country--a stark change from over a century of limits on nearly every kind of political speech by corporations and these other advocates, including ads not being shown 60 days before an election. Now with money from shareholders’, members’ and donors’ general treasuries, executives, union leaders and NGO activist can spend at will, specifically endorsing a candidate, views and any other form of political speech most liberals wish to see exercised only by the physically present legal “person.” Attack ads, promotional literature and other appeals to voters will be maximized and multiplied for this year’s election cycle. Many people, if fewer than at one time in our nation’s history,
strongly identify with one political party. I am one of them: progressive Democrats all around the country are confused at what the party is doing, how its stance on a particular issue is averse to them and how the Dems are behaving cowardly. I am completely at odds with the Democratic conventional wisdom right now and they’re putting political considerations above what should be a right. No, not health care (not by itself). I am, seemingly alone in my party and circle of likeminded, not especially dismayed by yesterday morning’s decision at all. The First Amendment doesn’t
I am, seemingly alone in my party and circle of likeminded, not especially dismayed by yesterday morning’s decision at all. literally protect a person’s free speech: it prohibits the government from abridging speech. Speech. Which is real no matter if I buy a megaphone to sat it person out of my wallet or a group of shareholder-elected managers does from theirs. It’s hard, but true. But enough, I’m going beyond Justice Scalia-esque constructivism. The First Amendment does a lot for all of us. It’s just a matter of fairness. A corporation cannot stand for election or vote, and they are not as legally important as the individual person. But restrictivist advocates, from Common Cause to The New York Times, don’t
mention that any group of people cannot do these things. They vote separately, but can certainly join together in trying to influence others’ political opinions. Political parties are an example, and there are those we’ve never even heard of doing this right now. If I happen to be a shareholder (which I hope to never be able to say), so what: If my “any” group (say 4 people)’s shared wallets can be pooled to buy a really large sign for our Randomness Party candidate to hold up at the middle school voting place, certainly, by all means, you don’t feel threatened so it’s fair. But why can’t I do the same thing with my fellow two million fellow shareholders on some TV ad? Yes, these people are more conservative then we are, my fellow distressed-thisweek liberals. Yes, most vast multinational corporations favor Republicans (see political considerations, above). Yes, the conservative wing plus Kennedy are at the most hypocritical point in the Court’s recent history, always ranting about liberal activist judges, when they threw out a hundred years of their precious precedent including the far-off and irrelevant decision in…2003. But it’s more honest this way. Plain and simple. The true tragedy was that those corporations weren’t being punished anyways. Only the very biggest titans could get around restrictions and had a name large enough that even 61 days before Election Day they were heard. The decision will create “unprecedented opportunities for corporate ‘influence-buying’ corruption,” according to campaign finance control group Democracy 21’s president Fred Wertheimer in The Times. We’re all so thankful then, Fred, and those breaches weren’t allowed to happen in the health care debate. The smaller companies and independent non-profits gained their rightful voices this morning. The former law in most instances restricted the Sierra Club environmental group from endorsing a candidate for their green record within the time frame, banned anti-poverty activists from coming out directly for a candidate on TV, and permitted the government to halt publication and remove books from the shelves if defined to be corporate-bought “electioneering communications.” Plain and simple. Free speech is all of ours (even as a group, in a joint treasury) whether we’re Wal-Mart or the ACLU. The point is that people should become informed voters anyways: If I’m rich, which will never happen, and I tell you how to vote (by a commercial in the middle of Grey’s Anatomy) right before you go out to vote, why do you listen to what I tell you at all? Because I’m rich?
PHOTO FROM Internet Source
BY ADAM HUGHES Staff
One does not need to be at Brandeis very long to feel the pervasive influence of some of the great thinkers who have come to and from our school. From the artistic festival dedicated to Leonard Bernstein to the semi-frequent visits from Thomas Friedman, the university works hard weaving its relatively short but highly illustrious history into the fabric of its modern reputation. John Nash's name, however, is frequently omitted from discussions of our most honored faculty. This is understandable from a surface perspective; Nash was only affiliated with Brandeis from 1965 to1967, long after the brilliance of his early work had given way to schizophrenic delusion. However, his massively influential academic achievements and inspiring personal story surely merit him at least a passing reference in the history of this institution, and they have left him with a highly unique list of accomplishments worthy of serious attention in its own right. How many other people can brag of winning a Nobel Prize and inspiring an Oscarwinning movie? How many others have been lost to the academic world for 30 years in the clutch of debilitating mental illness and recovered to resume productive work? Most importantly, how many can brag of making foundational discoveries that have changed the course of fields as diverse as economics and robotics? It wasn't until I read Sylvia Nasar's bestselling 1998 biography "A Beautiful Mind" that I knew that Nash had been affiliated with Brandeis at all. By 1965, Nash's delusions had already forced him to abandon his position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, caused his family to commit him to multiple mental institutions and led him to such intense paranoia that he moved to Europe and tried to renounce his United States citizenship. Even the prodigious genius of his early career could not keep his academic career from teetering on its last legs. Thankfully, Nash had several key allies in the rapidly growing Brandeis mathematics department. His former student Joseph
Kohn chaired the department, and his close friend Al Vasquez was on its faculty. They decided that Nash's talent was worth the gamble of his fading sanity, and he was invited to take a research position without any teaching responsibilities. For a while, it appeared that Nash's new position had revitalized him. He retreated from social exile and frequently discussed his research with colleagues. He resumed his groundbreaking work on partial differential equations. His first year culminated in a paper, “Analyticity of Solutions of Implicit Function Problems with Analytic Data,” which was published by the prestigious journal "Annals of Mathematics" and has drawn significant praise from the mathematics community. A second paper followed soon after, though it remained unpublished until 1995. Unfortunately, by late 1966, Nash had relapsed into a persistent delusional state, one that would sideline him for the next thirty years and threaten to consign him to the dustbin of academic history, even as his ideas were revolutionizing multiple fields of study. His thoughts turned towards numerology and mysticism, and he became convinced that foreign governments were alternately plotting to kill him and sending him messages encrypted in The New York Times. Ultimately, it seems that he didn't quit, resign or get fired from Brandeis as much as he merely stopped showing up, and he moved to Virginia with his mother in 1967. Ultimately, Nash's legacy at Brandeis is mixed. Even during his periods of successful work, he seemed to consider the university as more of a stepping stone to a higher profile institution than a place where a leading mathematician would want to establish a long-term career. However, the quality of his work at Brandeis is undeniably high, and the Brandeis community in turn likely helped him remain lucid for as long as possible. So let's keep John Nash in mind when we discuss the luminaries of our school and celebrate the small part we played in one of the most fascinating stories in the history of mathematics.
The Brandeis Hoot
January 22, 2010
Book of Matthew
A brief (sort of) history of the filibuster in American politics BY BRET MATTHEW Editor
SENATE PRESIDENT: The Chair recognizes Senator Smith! SENATOR SMITH: Thank you sir. Well, I guess the gentlemen are in a pretty tall hurry to get me out of here. The way the evidence has piled against me, I can’t say I blame them much. And I’m quite willing to go, sir, when they vote it that way, but before that happens I’ve got a few things I want to say to this body. I tried to say them once before, and I got stopped colder than a mackerel. Well, I’d like to get them said this time, sir. And as a matter of fact, I’m not going to leave this body until I do get them said. SENATOR PAINE: Mr. President, will the Senator yield? SENATE PRESIDENT: Will the Senator yield? SENATOR SMITH: No sir, I’m afraid not! No sir. I yielded the floor once before, if you can remember, and I was practically never heard of again. No sir. And we might as well all get together on this yielding business right off the bat, now. What you have just read is a scene from “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” the beloved 1939 film that brought the concept of the filibuster out of dusty Senate-hall obscurity and into the national consciousness. If you are familiar with the film, then you know that this particular scene marks the beginning of Senator Smith’s 23-hour filibuster—a delay tactic that requires senators to keep talking during Senate debate in order to prevent a vote on a bill they oppose. In Smith’s case, he single-handedly prevents the rest of the Senate from voting to expel him over false corruption charges. I bring this story up because I have been thinking about filibusters a lot lately. Apparently, so are senators. Statistics clearly show that they are using filibusters more than ever before. Fifty years ago, Senate terms never saw more than a handful. But in just this past decade, Senate terms experienced at least fifty. The filibuster has now become an ingrained part of political life, with every major piece of legislation having to pass its grueling test before becoming law. That being said, I have found little evidence that people outside of the senate truly understand filibusters. This is troubling. Too often, when people think about filibusters, they imagine Senator Smith, hunched over his desk and engaged in his final, desperate monologue. It certainly makes for a memorable movie scene. But this romanticized view of the filibuster not only betrays its history, but also makes it difficult for us to take a clear look at the merits of this famous tactic. I write this column today as a way to examine the history of the filibuster and how it has evolved into what it is today. It must first be pointed out that the Constitution makes no mention of the word filibuster. It simply gave both houses of Congress the power to determine their own procedural rules, most of which were based on English parliamentary procedure. In the early days of the republic, when both Houses were small, these rules allowed members to speak for as long as they wanted. At first, there existed a rule allowing the Senate to vote to “move the previous question,” which ended floor debate and preceeded a final vote. However, Senators rarely invoked this rule, and eventually eliminated it altogether in 1806. While this theoretically threw the door wide open for filibuster after filibuster, they were never used in practice. Legislators preferred oth-
er methods of delaying bills. In the House of Representatives, for example, members would sometimes use a tactic called the “disappearing quorum,” during which minority congressmen who were present on the floor would refuse to vote and then declare an absence of a quorum. By 1842, the 242-member House of Representatives had grown large enough that its leadership decided to limit debate time, thus ending any potential for filibuster. The Senate, on the other hand, was still quite small in comparison, and no such moves were made. Tradition, and the notion of a “dignified Senate” prevented members from seeking a filibuster. But this changed in 1837. Three years previously, the Senate had voted to censure President Andrew Jackson for withdrawing federal deposits from the Bank of the United States. Jacksonian senators sought to remove the censure from the Senate Journal, and they commenced a filibuster, talking for hours and preventing the Senate from carrying out the day’s business. Finally, that night the Jacksonians managed to pass their bill removing the censure, and the filibuster ended. In the second half of the 19th century, the number of filibusters grew, as did attempts to reform the practice. After Senators William King and Henry Clay had a near-filibuster showdown on the Senate floor over Clay’s proposal to charter the Second Bank of the United States, there were four attempts in the next fifty years to either bring back the “move the previous question” rule or to establish a method of cloture. But it wasn’t until 1917 that the Democratic-controlled Senate, at the behest of President Woodrow Wilson, adopted a cloture rule. Under this rule, two-thirds of voting senators could end debate and move to a final vote. Of course, while this rule was a big step in theory, it is difficult to say if it made much of a difference in practice. Rounding up two-thirds of voting senators to support anything other than the most popular of bills was not an easy task, and many filibusters continued while a frustrated majority tried again and again to end debate. The 1960s were particularly contentious, as Southern Democrats frustrated Northerners by filibustering civil rights bills to their hearts’ content. However, one of the few victories of the cloture vote came in 1964, when 67 senators voted to stop Senator Robert Byrd’s 14 hour and 13 minute filibuster against the Civil Rights Act. The act
was later passed by 71 votes. In the 1970s, efforts to reform the filibuster continued. With firsthand experience of how a filibuster could delay Senate proceedings, Senator Byrd, now the majority leader for the Democrats, began to use a “dual track" system of legislation. Under this system, the majority leader could seek unanimous consent to push a current bill off the table as unfinished business and move on to another bill. In the case of a filibuster, dual tracking allowed the Senate to continue to function the way it never could before. And in 1975, the Democratic majority changed the cloture rule so that only three-fifths of senators sworn in would be necessary to end debate (In the 100-member Senate, this amounts to 60 votes). At this point, many Democrats probably thought that the filibuster had been effectively bypassed. They were wrong. As I mentioned earlier, filibusters and the subsequent cloture votes have increased exponentially over the past half-century. There are many possible reasons for this. First, the two parties in Washington have become more bitterly divided than any time in recent memory, perhaps since the Civil War. This fact, though made cliché by the constant harping of the media, must not be overlooked when studying the workings of the Senate. The strong divisions between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans have grown to the point where neither side seems to feel comfortable letting the other rule as the majority without filibustering at every opportunity. Since it is rare for either party to achieve a 60-vote majority for any length of time, stopping these filibusters often proves difficult, and many a Senator has invoked the phrase “nuclear option,” referring to a rule change that would end the filibuster forever. Second, the dual tracking system, while succeeding in moving Senate procedure along in the face of a filibuster, also made the process of filibustering much easier. Think back to the last time you watched “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” One thing this movie demonstrated quite well was the sheer effort that goes into a filibuster—Senators must continue to speak for hours on end in order to keep it alive. But if the majority leader switches to another bill, this no longer becomes necessary. Senators can block a bill by filibustering just long enough for the Senate to move on to other business. Until the bill comes back up for debate, they are not required to do
PHOTO FROM Internet Source
anything to continue its delay, thus making their filibuster much easier. Of course, Senate leadership does not always use dual tracking, which brings me to my third reason. For reasons not entirely clear, Senate leadership—particularly the current Democratic majority—seems unwilling to face an actual filibuster. Instead of forcing the minority to take to the floor and start reading out of the D.C. phonebook, the leadership prefers to essentially stall its own bill, amending it until it is more acceptable to the minority. The hope is that with enough changes, there will be no need for a filibuster. The reality is that if the minority is actually willing to compromise, the result is often watered-down, centrist legislation. And if not (as is the case with the current health care reform bill), the result is often no legislation at all. Basically, usage of the filibuster has gotten to the point where nothing can be done in the Senate without 60 votes in favor. In our current political climate, this is troubling. Both parties have found it extremely difficult to hold onto that kind of majority. Case in point: Scott Brown’s recent victory in the Massachusetts special Senate election. One has to wonder if 41 Republican senators will allow 59 Democrats to achieve their agenda. At the same time, one has to wonder what the Democrats will do about it. By now, you probably expect me to call for the end of the filibuster. That would certainly be an easy call to make, and I won’t pretend that I am not leaning toward it. But I think, at least for the purposes of this column, I am going to have to stop short of that. The filibuster is a tough issue to deal with. It continuously agonizes the majority, only to delight them once a poor election season leaves them as the minority again. It often stands in the way of popular legislation, but who is to say that popular legislation is the best legislation? (No one who pays attention to Congress, that’s for sure). The filibuster is used far too often, without a doubt. But I think there are some rather obvious ways for the Senate majority leadership to discourage this practice without going as far as ending it altogether. In the coming year, Senate deadlock will almost certainly raise the question of the filibuster’s existence. While it is a worthy question to address, I, like many Americans, hope the Senate will fulfill its role as the world’s greatest deliberative body and not be too hasty.
January 22, 2010
The Brandeis Hoot
The stroke of midnight in Haiti BY CHRIS BORDELON Columnist
A whole lot of nothing occurred when the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announced last week that it was resetting its “Doomsday Clock” to six minutes before midnight, a minute further from Doomsday. The value of the Clock's measurements, it turns out, depends upon how well the Clock is calibrated. The news media's output these last few weeks has seemed much like the Clock's: both are mere instruments in the hands of those best positioned to manipulate their output. The Clock records in an unscientific way the mental flatulence and flinches of a self-important clique of scientists and retired policymakers. It works like this: when members of the Bulletin want to make headlines, they reset the Clock. The Clock publicly registers their approval or disapproval of recent public policymaking relevant to their interests. As a “Doomsday Clock,” it is supposed to scare people into demanding government action pleasing to the scientists. The expertise of the Bulletin's Board of Sponsors lies mainly in the hard sciences, but they know a little about psychology and marketing, too: never in its nearly 60 years of existence has their Clock moved more than seventeen minutes away from the Cinderella-esque finality of midnight. Unsurprisingly, the clock has not proven to be very precise. It stood as far as seven minutes from midnight during the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, and as close as three minutes during much of Mikhail Gorbachev's premiership in the Soviet Union. During the Cold War era, the Bulletin focused mainly on atomic weapons. But in the early 1990s, when the threat of a deadly nuclear exchange seemed to have become very distant, the scientists worried that their Doomsday Clock might become a cuckoo clock, and that only their crazy graduate students would still listen to them. Fearful of losing the tan that the media spotlight left on their pointy heads, the scientists decided to keep adjusting their clock every few years. They did so
even though the threat of doom had changed so dramatically that it seemed hard to compare Cold War “minutes” with postCold War “minutes.” In 2007, the purview of things that Bulletin members' expertise allegedly entitled them to scare people about expanded to include a headlinegrabbing thing called climate change. Ironically, the scientists' clock setting helps explain why there exists what the Bulletin's website calls a “gap between experts and lay audiences,” a gap that the Bulletin itself is supposedly designed to “bridge.” Endlessly crying wolf, even from an ivory tower, will cause others to stop listening. The Bulletin's Clock can still make headlines, but the Clock doesn't seem to produce the results supposedly desired by the scientists other than the unstated one of making news. The Doomsday Clock is a fairly weak instrument employed by an elite to spook democratic publics into using scarce resources in particular ways. A more powerful instrument is the very apple of the scientists' eyes, the news media itself. Its output is routinely calibrated by people with more to gain from their handiwork than mere attention. Take Google's recent troubles in China. The company and its counterpart Yahoo agreed in 2006 to do the Chinese dictators' dirty work. The dictators' permission to cash in on China's growing market (which now has more Internet users than any other country's) was purchased with the companies' agreement to censor the output of their Chinese search engines to eliminate Chinese dissidents' and human rights activists' websites. Now it has emerged that hackers in China -- who may work for China's government-- have been breaking into email accounts of Chinese and foreign advocates of Chinese democracy and human rights on Google's Gmail and other web-based mail services. The world will never know how many people have been harassed, arrested, or worse based on information obtained in this manner, but it may soon hear details about a few of them. Google's
pious chieftains didn't allow the Chinese government's repressiveness to spoil two years of moneymaking, but they apparently draw the line when the blood on their hands threatened to become actual rather than virtual. Still, Google executives skillfully made journalists sing when, on Jan. 12, they announced the company's unwillingness to censor results on its Chinese search engine. For those who'd forgotten how the company had justified censoring search results in the first place, a press release portrayed its Chinese venture as “incredibly hard” to give up. The venture was said to have been based on the calculation that “the benefits of increased access to information... and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results,” rather than a desire to maximize profits. Google's public relations blitz may keep it looking good no matter how badly its censorship and failure to safeguard user email accounts turn out to have hurt opponents of the Chinese regime. Moreover, a bigger issue may be avoided: whether decisions to abet foreign governments' repression are best made by corporations rather than American lawmakers. President Barack Obama also hoped to shift the media's enthusiasm for him back into high gear when, on Jan. 14, he proposed a “Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee.” He wants to tax large financial institutions “as long as it takes to raise the full amount necessary to cover all taxpayer losses” under 2008's Troubled Asset Relief Program, up to ten years. The goal, said Obama, is that of “recovering tax dollars while promoting reform of [crisis-causing] banking practices.” His reasoning would appear sound to any redblooded taxpayer: “If these companies are in good enough shape to afford massive bonuses, they are surely in good enough shape to afford paying back every penny to taxpayers.” Obama seeks a white-hat and starring role in the struggle against outlaw bankers. But unlike the best good guys in Western films, Obama seems more concerned with image than with
justice. His proposal would not link an institution's tax liability to the amounts it received from TARP or that it paid in bonuses, but to its “size and exposure to debt.” Taxing banks leaves “massive bonuses” in the hands of the bankers who took them. And the tax won't touch badly-managed small banks. The applause-generating tax obscures Obama's role in creating the very giveaway to the banks that he now cites to justify the tax. TARP reflected an agreement between the outgoing George W. Bush and incoming Obama administrations: each president obtained discretion to distribute half of a huge sum of money to financial firms. Neither Obama and his friends nor their Republican counterparts attached legal strings to these handouts to keep bankers from pocketing them as bonuses. Obama's tax will raise money. But spreading liability over ten years dilutes its value to taxpayers and its impact on bank practices. Bonus collectors at bailed-out companies will learn a different lesson: once a bonus is paid, the government won't penalize its recipient. Bonuses from bailout funds remain safe to take. Sadly, even Haiti's earthquake has proven to be an occasion for media manipulation. On Saturday, the president and his two immediate predecessors in office outlined forthcoming efforts by Bush and Bill Clinton to facilitate contributions to Haitian relief. Those efforts deserve media and public support. But they also
keep questions embarrassing to all three men from being asked. At a time when the US maintains city-sized armies thousands of miles away in Iraq and Afghanistan, why is it so difficult to help an island that is only a 1.5 hour flight from Miami? Given Haiti's longstanding poverty, the beating it has taken from hurricanes in recent years, and its location in what many Americans still call this country's “backyard,” why did help for Haiti have to wait until the wrath of God cut down at least 50,000 people and left what the United Nations estimates to be more than 300,000 others homeless and starving? Did Haiti's lack of resources and the unimportance of its commerce help cause the delay? Perhaps most troubling is the question of when the task of aiding Haiti will be deemed completed. Restoring the island to its pre-earthquake position would still leave it poor and devoid of opportunity. Is that a just outcome after years of American neglect? Unlike, say, banker relief or invaded-country relief, it will be hard for Americans to make money on Haitian relief. Bipartisanship is easy to maintain when no pie exists to be divvied up. But while elite posturing may mask troubling questions, it won't help Haitians waiting for American resources to be mobilized on their behalf. For once, it seems appropriate to cheer on politicians' fundraising, because for many Haitians, a real Doomsday Clock approaches midnight.
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The Brandeis Hoot
Hoot Comic Strips Sleazy
January 22, 2010
The Self Shelf By Matt Kupfer
Solving gay marriage: A matter of civics BY ALEX SELF Columnist
Humor is Dead
By Xander Bernstein
By Ian Price
Out of all the conflicts that plague our country, few have been as divisive or heated as that over gay marriage. The relatively simple idea that those with identical genders should have the right to marry in the eyes of the state has drawn praise and condemnation across the country. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find a single citizen who didn’t have a strong opinion one way or the other. The peculiar aspect about this issue is how often it is painted in terms of black and white. Conservatives decry gay marriage as an “attack upon the sanctity of marriage.” They’re so incensed at this perceived attack upon their most sacred values that they not only try to prevent gay marriage, they go so far as to strive for a constitutional amendment banning it. Meanwhile, the other side, naturally, struggles to achieve exactly the opposite. Liberals are absolutely intent on achieving the mantle of marriage for homosexuals. The benefits of marriage alone would not be enough because gay couples would not be married in the eyes of the state and would therefore be unequal. Thus, civil unions have not are not the solution to this morass, at least not in the traditional sense. With this ideological chasm, a solution that satisfies both sides is never going to come about. Instead, what will occur will be something along the lines of the Proposition 8 dispute in California, with vitriol and hatred spewed by both sides. Like abortion, this issue brings out the worst in people. In California, one saw religious zealots tout signs condemning the very existence of gay people. Meanwhile, people who contributed to Proposition 8 were ostracized in their communities for their personal views. Along with everyone else, I do have strong personal views on this issue. However, I am writing here to propose a compromise that will satisfy both sides. I honestly can’t see a fortuitous finale for the gay marriage debate. As it stands bitter fighting will take place until one side is finally crushed into the ideological pavement. My solution is fairly simple. The debate seems to stem over the sanctity of marriage vs. the value of equal rights. Those with strong religious views believe that allowing homosexuals to marry would violate the sacrament of marraige. Meanwhile, gay marriage advocates want equal recognizance in the eyes of the law. The irony here is that both sides have valid points. Marriage is a religious institution that has been adopted by the law. Gays have every right to question why they don’t have equal rights under the law and religious conservatives have every right to try and protect their institution. The solution I propose is to take marriage out of the language of the law. Right about now, you’re probably questioning my sanity, intelligence, or some combination of the above but hear me out. Simply put, one would have all the benefits of marriage but one would no longer
pick up a marriage license from the town hall. Instead, there would be a different name for what is in effect the same article. In essence, everyone would recieve a civil union, regardless of sexual orientation Then, with a state license in hand, the happy couple could have their religious ceremony at the local church. If the church didn’t want to marry gay people, it would not have to. Once this happens, there’s not much to talk about in the gay marriage debate (at least not politically). Obviously, gays would be allowed to obtain a state license for their unions. They would finally have equality before the law while conservatives would have their marital sanctity. The issue of gays striving for marital recognition from churches is entirely separate as it would have nothing to do with the state. The real problem with gay marriage is the fact that a religious institution is embedded in the language of the law. One cannot deny equality in the eyes of the law based on religious premises. If one truly wants to protect the holiness of marriage, then one has to separate it from the law, which shouldn’t be beholden to religious dogma in the first place. In the end, the gay marriage debate comes down to separation of church and state. Of course, my solution will probably never be implemented. It’s complicated and almost requires more societal change than simply allowing gays the right to marry in the first place. I eagerly await the Congress that tries to “eradicate marriage,” as I’m sure it would be framed. I have no doubt that it will never happen, but it is the only shade of gray I’ve come across with such a polarizing issue. Instead, we will have more bitter confrontations like Proposition 8 (even now being challenged in court) that will further divide the country. In the event that one side does triumph, divisions and hard feelings will remain. Either side’s triumph would result in vitriolic infighting that our country simply doesn’t need as it faces its greatest domestic challenge of the last fifty years. With my solution, we can resolve this issue for the state. The conflict over whether churches should allow gays to marry can continue where it belongs, in the realm of religion as opposed to courtrooms across the country. However, that conflict would undoubtedly be much tamer than the current one, and certainly much less debilitating. Also, this resolution would immediately provide a fair settlement for both sides as opposed to the forcing churches to go against their beliefs or disenfranchising homosexuals. The gay marriage quandary stems from a constitutional fallacy that came about when homosexuality was banned in most of the world. The framers can’t be blamed for not foreseeing our present crisis but that doesn’t absolve us for not correcting their mistake. It’s time for this country to move beyond this divisive conflict and deal with its myriad other problems at the dawn of a new decade.
One cannot deny equality in the eyes of the law based on religious premises.
January 22, 2010
The Brandeis Hoot
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Walking Tour of Brookline's Jewish Cuisine Sunday, Jan. 24, 10 a.m. â€“ 1 p.m. Meet at intersection of Harvard Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue at 9:55 a.m. Attend this event hungry, because for $44 you can eat your fill of Jewish Cuisine in Boston. As you visit Jewish food stores and restaurants, you will taste a wide variety of Jewish favorites. In addition, you will learn about the culture behind the food. Reservations are required at www.brooklinetour.com.
Free Film Fridays Friday, Jan. 22, 11:00 a.m. Boston Museum of Science For free you can see"Antarctica" and pretend to swim through a crystalline cavern, see "Adrenaline Rush: The Science of Risk" and pretend to sky dive, or see "Di nosaurs Alice!" and pretend to walk among extinct Dinosaurs, amongst various other 3-D films. If you want to attend, you can only pick up tickets on Friday at the Museum box office on a first come, first serve basis.
Winter Involvement Fair Sunday, Jan. 24, 1- 3 p.m. SCC Atrium Come see the amazing diversity of clubs on the Brandeis Campus at the semester Involvement Fair. Clubs will have booths set up to give you information on what fun opportunities they are offering for the new, Spring semester.
How To Find An Internship Sunday Jan. 24, 12 - 1 p.m Hiatt Career Center If you are considering an internship for this summer or for this or future semesters, come attend this informative seminar organized by Hiatt. You will earn about helpful skills and available resources for finding the perfect internship. For more information contact hiattcenter@ brandeis.edu.
Snow Tubing at Amesbury Sports Park Saturday, Jan. 23, 1 - 6 p.m. T-Lot Take advantage of this week of snow by signing up with the Department of Student Activities to go tubing. For only $10 you will tube for three hours and eat a yummy pizza dinner. Sign up in the Department of Student Activities in the SCC. On Saturday, meet to leave at 1 p.m. in T-Lot.
Mentalist: Eric Dittelman Friday, Jan. 22, 9 â€“ 11 p.m Mark your first weekend back at Brandeis with a memorable events. Eric Dittelman is a mind-reader who puts on an impressive and funny show. Grab your friends and prepare to be amazed!
HOOT SCOOPS Brandeis students ‘Hope for Haiti’
20 The Brandeis Hoot
January 22, 2010
By Destiny D. Aquino, Editor
PHOTO BY Phil Small/The Hoot
PHOTO BY Phil Small/The Hoot
PHOTO BY Max ShayThe Hoot
PHOTO BY Phil Small/The Hoot
HOPE FOR HAITI: (From the top) Father Walter Cuenin leads students in prayer at the Haiti Vigil Wednesday night. Students have their face painted with the Haitian flag to show their support. Students discuss the events in Haiti in the Shapiro Campus Center. Voices of Praise sings “God is a healer” to lift the spirits of those attending Wednesday’s vigil.
Students gathered in the Shapiro Campus Center Wednesday evening to give both their prayers and dollars at a vigil to honor those killed and injured in Haiti’s Jan. 12 earthquake. But while Wednesday’s vigil was perhaps the most visible example of the connection between Brandeis and the Caribbean nation, in fact, Brandeis has been involved with Haiti for years. Shayna Gilbert ’10, who grew up in Mattapan, Mass., but is the daughter of two Haitians, began last night’s vigil saying “I am standing here leading this vigil, but I am wanting to go back to Haiti.” “My heart is definitely with Haiti right now. It is a beautiful land, w i t h b e au t i PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot ful people and food that tastes amazing, and I don’t know if any nation could get over [the earthquake], but if anyone can, they can.” This past summer, Gilbert, along with four other students, traveled to Haiti and started the Empowering Through Education camp in order to teach Haitian children both academics and leadership skills. But beyond visits to Haiti, Brandeis is also home to a sizable Haitian and Haitian-American community which includes both students and staff members, many of whom have family members affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks. Gilbert explained in an interview that many of these community members have chosen to keep their connections to the earthquake private because of the uncertainty of conditions there. “There are several students who haven’t heard back yet from the original earthquake,” she said. “But every time there’s an aftershock or news of looters there’s more to be worried about.” Patrick Medelus ’12, who was born and raised in Haiti, spoke at the Vigil for Haiti about his feelings during this devastating time for his country. Overcome with emotion, Medelus opted to speak in his native Creole, with Gilbert translating to the crowd of roughly 75 students. “The images on the news are hard for everyone, but they really choke you up when you realize that you played soccer on those same streets when you were younger” he said. JV Souffrant ’12, who traveled to Haiti with Gilbert this past summer told The Hoot in an interview that many Brandeis community members have looked toward the Brandeis Haitian community to plan relief efforts to Haiti. However, he said the process of mobilizing a large-scale effort is a slow and steady one as many members of the Haitian community on campus are still coping with the aftermath of the earthquake and are trying to take their healing process slowly. Efforts to raise money for Haiti have been underway on campus all week. Members of the ETE camp have been tabling in the Shapiro Campus Center and has raised $2,473 for Hope for Haiti, ETE camp and the Red Cross as of Thursday night. Gilbert told The Hoot she hoped some good could come out of the earthquake in the form of educating students about Haiti’s condition. Haiti–once the richest colony in the western hemisphere–is currently the poorest country in the western hemisphere. “It’s sad that a catastrophe has to happen for people to be interested, but I really hope this leads students, and people in general, to learn about the richness, the culture, how it got so rich and how it got so poor.” Nate Rosenblum ’10, who visited Haiti with non-profit Hope for Haiti for a week durring winter break and left the country only three days prior to the earthquake, echoed this sentiment at the vigil. Rosenblum said while many news anchors mentioned how the earthquake is a particularly devastating blow to Haiti because of the country’s poverty, “That’s not the Haiti I saw.” “You know, when I went to Haiti I was confused for the whole trip,” he said. “People there are so poor, and they have almost no food, and no water, but they are so happy, and friendly, and welcoming. That is what Haiti is.” Rosenblum is not the only Brandeisian who, despite having no familial connection to Haiti, feels a tie with the nation nonetheless. At the vigil, Jillian Rexford ’13, who worked at the ETE camp this summer, expressed her deep connection with the people of Haiti. “In three weeks Haiti will be out of the news. But I hope it will stay in your hearts longer than that,” she said. “This summer was my first time going out of the country, let alone to Haiti, but I now have 43 children invested in Haiti. You don’t need to be of Haitian descent to make a difference.” Chrissy Callahan, Becca Carden, Jon Ostrowsky and Ariel Wittenberg contributed to this report.