The Tufts Daily - January 26, 2023

Page 1



a homeowner looking to rent out rooms was blocked by an obscure law — now lawmakers want to change the rules

A Somerville homeowner attempting to rent rooms in his house to Tufts students has faced unexpected resistance from the city government on the grounds that his request to house unrelated students is unlawful. The homeowner, who requested that the Daily not identify him by name, has been appealing to the Somerville City Council for months.

The rule in question prevents more than four unrelated persons from living in the same unit and requires a group living permit, approved by a review board, to bypass the restriction. The homeowner’s son, who is a stu-

dent at Tufts, lives with his father at the property.

The homeowner’s requests for a permit, however, have been deferred at several points, including at one point by Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne’s office. Denise Taylor, director of communications at Somerville City Hall, explained the decision to ask for a continuance.

“The City requested a continuance, which is a fairly common occurrence, to allow due diligence over a limited time period to review … the affordability impacts as well as potential safety or management needs of this proposal for a non-standard use,” Taylor wrote.

s omerville City Council passes measure to eliminate medical debt

The Somerville City Council unanimously passed a resolution on Jan. 12 calling for the cancellation of Somerville residents’ medical debt. Headed by City Councilors At-Large Willie Burnley Jr. and Charlotte Kelly, the plan details the reappropriation of American Rescue Plan Act funds to buy medical debt portfolios in bulk for those residents who make up to 400% of the federal poverty rate, or those for whom debt is 5% or more of their annual income.

“Somerville has the opportunity to transform thousands of residents’ lives with very few resources and this is an incredible opportunity to center equity and economic justice in how we spend our remaining ARPA funds,” Kelly said in a press release. “We can lead boldly around the issue of healthcare debt, support our residents who continue to struggle due to exasperated economic and medical impacts of COVID-19, and strengthen our relationship with medical institutions that serve

as the primary point of medical care for our residents.”

Medical debt has become a strain on millions of Americans. According to a recent survey by the Commonwealth Fund, which supports research into healthcare issues, 79 million Americans have unpaid medical bills or medical debt problems.

In 2020, collection agencies held $140 billion in unpaid medical debt and today, medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States. A 2022 poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that a quarter of adults with health care debt owe more than $5,000, and of those, one-fifth do not expect to ever pay it off.

“Doing something like this is really a win-win-win,” Burnley Jr. said. “It’s a win for those in health care positions because they save money that they may otherwise never get if people can’t afford to pay them back.

… It’s a win for the residents who, because of medical debt, are subject to worse credit scores [and] have a harder time finding employment, housing [and] health care. And it’s a win for the

city because we get to support our residents and be at the forefront of pushing our neighbors to do something similar.”

In order to achieve their plan, Burnley Jr. and Kelly have partnered with RIP Medical Debt, a national nonprofit founded in 2014 by two former debt collectors, which purchases medical debt around the United States from providers with the intention of forgiving consumers.

“Medical debt is a debt of necessity, and by that I mean it differs from most other types of debt in this country, as no one seeks out a chronic illness or an accident,” Daniel Lempert, vice president of communications at RIP, said.

Lempert also spoke on the emotional impacts of medical debt.

“People who have debt in general are three times more likely to struggle with issues of anxiety or depression,” Lempert said. “And more recently, there’s been research looking at medical debt as a social determinant of health. … It’s really antithetical to the purpose of healthcare in

Cambridge reels after police killing of sayed arif Faisal

Originally published Jan. 24

The Cambridge City Council held a special meeting on Jan. 18 to discuss the protocols of the Cambridge Police Department after police fatally shot Sayed Arif Faisal earlier this month. Faisal was a 20-year-old Cambridge resident and engineering student at UMass Boston.

Since his death, the Bangladesh Association of New England has raised over $61,000 for Faisal’s family. In a statement released earlier this month, Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui offered her condolences to Faisal’s family.

“I did not have the opportunity to know Faisal in life, but I have learned from his loved ones over the past week that he was a kind and thoughtful friend with a warm smile and big heart,” Siddiqui wrote. “At his funeral on Saturday, I heard about a bridge builder who was generous and deeply commit-

ted to his community. Everyone knew him as a support system with big plans and great potential. Instead, his parents had to bury their only child—who they lovingly called Prince—at the age of twenty. I know this grief is felt across our city.”

Siddiqui called a Jan. 12 community meeting and the city council meeting to provide information about the incident and uplift the voices and concerns of residents and the Bengali community. Representatives from the Cambridge Police Department, Cambridge Holistic Emergency Alternative Response Team and Muslim Justice League were also present at the city council meeting.

Cambridge Police Commissioner Christine Elow provided a description of the incident to the City Council. According to Elow, on Jan. 4 the department received reports of a man, later identified as Faisal, who jumped out of a window

page 4 OPINION
page 9 SCIENCE Bees abuzz over new vaccine page 7 NEWS 1 FEATURES 4 ARTS & POP CULTURE 6 SCIENCE 7 FUN & GAMES 8 OPINION 9 SPORTS BACK
Daily The Tufts Daily
Shankar discusses his memoir, ‘Correctional’
Letter from the managing board: What to expect from the Daily this semester
tuftsdaily thetuftsdaily tuftsdaily
NICOLE GARAY / THE TUFTS DAILY Somerville City Hall is pictured on March 12, 2022. see RENT, page 2
see DEBT, page 2 see FAISAL, page 3

Tufts parent blocked from renting to students due to zoning law


Judy Pineda Neufeld, the Ward 7 Somerville city councilor, has helped the homeowner throughout his application process, starting in September 2022.

During the initial Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, held over Zoom, the homeowner shared his plan with the council, explaining that additional residents would move into the extra bedrooms in his house.

“[The homeowner] did his best to try and understand the concerns and really respond to [neighbors],” Pineda Neufeld said. “There [were] a number of folks on the call who were supportive, who know that we’re in a housing crisis, regionally, nationally, and feel like the more housing the better, which I agree with.”

Neighbors attending the meeting were primarily concerned with noise and parking. The homeowner addressed their concerns by saying he will have policies in place to minimize disturbances.

“The purpose of my family having the house here is to

support my son’s education and help him transition into an independent person,” the homeowner said, according to an official meeting report. “Since I live in the house, I can interview and select tenants only from Tufts. I also have policies in the lease agreement by implementing Tufts student living policies, such as quiet hours, no smoke, … no parties in the house, no loud music in the backyard. I will supervise based on these policies.”

Despite the homeowner’s continued efforts, the vote for his permit has been delayed multiple times and has yet to be approved. Pineda Neufeld said that the case was “slated to be on the agenda in November” but was pushed back to December after the zoning meeting failed to reach a quorum. It was at a public commentary hearing when a nearby resident — later identified as Ballantyne’s husband — spoke out against the permit.

Taylor denied any connection between the opinions of Ballantyne’s husband and decisions made by the mayor.

“The Mayor’s focus on affordability is long-standing

and well-documented and is not related to her husband’s personal opinions,” Taylor told the Daily in an email. “However, due to the proximity of this project to the Mayor’s home, she has recused herself from this matter and any findings related to Hamilton Road will not involve her.”

The Zoning Board of Appeals deferred the case to Jan. 4, when on the brink of resolution, a representative from the mayor’s office requested a continuance until Feb. 15 on behalf of Ballantyne.

“It is concerning to me that a family member of the current mayor could make a request and then suddenly, the city government seems to be holding back a permit from a resident,” Somerville City Councilor At-Large Willie Burnley Jr. said, adding that he is not in favor of the housing policy, which he said the city does not have the capacity to enforce on a large scale.

“This [homeowner] has gone out of their way to go about the right process and has had to wait for many months at this point,” Burnley Jr. said. “I think it’s quite

a shame, the kind of struggle we’ve been putting this person through.”

The controversy has also sparked a debate about the law itself and whether it should remain in place.

Pineda Neufeld and Ward 3 Somerville Councilor Ben EwenCampen have begun the process of overturning the prohibition within the city government. According to the minutes of a Jan. 12 City Council meeting, Ewen-Campen, who serves as the council’s president, argued that the “law is unevenly enforced throughout the city” and is “discriminatory to low-income people and students.”

“I have always opposed this law, and I, for years, have been hoping to overturn it,” EwenCampen said at the meeting.

“There’s interest on the City Council to do away with this rule that feels outdated and doesn’t work for the city,” Pineda Neufeld said. “I think the more housing we can have for everyone in our community, from students, to families, to multigenerational living — all of that alleviates the crunch that we’re feeling.”

Burnley Jr. and Kelly spearhead effort to relieve debt

any country — which is to make people healthier — to put a burden on them emotionally or financially.”

He also noted the impact medical debt can have on a person’s credit score, which affects financial viability, loan applications and housing opportunities. RIP works to alleviate these issues by purchasing debt in large bundled portfolios for pennies on the dollar. They estimate that $1 donated can, on average, erase $100 of medical debt.

“If you no longer approach debt-buying from a for-profit point of view and instead put

a philanthropic lens on it, you can actually purchase large amounts of medical debt very cheaply,” Lempert said.

If Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne approves the allocation of city funds, RIP will work with the city to identify which residents qualify and then reach out to hospitals and providers in the area to see if they are willing to sell the debt to them. The process is source-driven, meaning residents will not have to apply or do any work themselves to have their debt erased. Those who qualify will receive a letter in the mail informing them that their medical debt has been paid off.

The resolution is now being discussed in the Committee of Public Health and Public Safety, and a public hearing to increase understanding surrounding the process is scheduled for Feb. 13. Meanwhile, the deadline for non-profits like RIP to apply for ARPA funds is Feb. 3, at which point the mayor’s administration will begin sorting through the applications and appropriating funds.

But for Burnley Jr., there is a lot more work to be done beyond this resolution and the borders of Somerville.

“The more difficult question is, how do we create a universal program that reveals the reality that healthcare is a human

right?” he said. “It’s not just people who make under a certain threshold who shouldn’t be in medical debt — it’s everybody. Medical debt shouldn’t exist.”

Lempert agrees, as RIP plans to not only continue to branch into local government work, but also add to their policy shop.

“Medical debt abolishment is very much an end-of-theline intervention. We’re sort of catching people after they’ve gone through the whole system, and they’ve been suffering with this financial burden,” Lempert added. “It’s not to diminish the work, but we’re also looking at what we can do upstream to stymie the flow of fresh medical debt in this country.”

THE TUFTS DAILY | n ews | Thursday, January 26, 2023 2 THE TUFTS DAILY Julia Shannon-Grillo Editor in Chief – EDITORIAL –Alexander Janoff Senior Editor Aaron Gruen Ella Kamm Daniel Vos Aditya Acharya Madeleine Aitken Peri Barest Charlotte Chen Olivia Field Skyler Goldberg Zoe Kava Ari Phillips Megan Reimer Ethan Steinberg Estelle Anderson Amelia Colafati Ishaan Rajiv Rajabali Matthew Sage Katie Spiropoulos Executive News Editor Deputy News Editors News Editors Assistant News Editors Madeleine Aitken Executive Audio Producer Contact us P.O. Box 53018, Medford, MA 02155 Please recycle this newspaper! Aaron Klein Rachel Liu Madeline Mueller Associate Editors Kaitlyn Wells Sam Dieringer Isabelle Kaminsky Elizabeth Zacks Owen Bonk Mark Choi Katie Furey Maya Katz Layla Kennington Kendall Roberts Kate Seklir Sam Berman Guillem Colom Halia Frishman Tobias Fu Vedant Modi Grace Nelson David Van Riper Ella Sanders Carmen Smoak Executive Features Editor Deputy Features Editors Features Editors Assistant Features Editors Henry Chandonnet Blake Anderson RaiAnn Bu Jack Clohisy Alexis Enderle Ryan Fairfield Odessa Gaines Nate Hall Siavash Raissi Carl Svahn Ava Dettling Megan Reimer Saba S. Matthew Winkler Erin Zhu Executive Arts Editor Arts Editors Assistant Arts Editors Idil Kolabas Henry Murray Daniel Chung Julieta Grané Gian Luca Di Lenardo Dzheveira Karimova Justin Solis Toby Winick Executive Opinion Editors Deputy Opinion Editor Opinion Editors Arielle Weinstein Bharat Singh Matthew Chen Oliver Fox Ethan Grubelich Executive Sports Editor Deputy Sports Editor Sports Editors Ian Lau Peri Barest Avery Hanna Yanqing Huang Emilia Nathan Sarah Sandlow Chris Tomo Cindy Zhang Executive Science Editor Science Editors Sam Russo Investigative Editor Julia Carpi Executive Video Editor David Kim Quan Tran Executive Photo Editors – PRODUCTION –Mike Kourkoulakos Production Director Meghna Singha Olivia White Max Antonini Alexa Hopwood Olivia Leviss Executive Layout Editors Layout Editors Avril Lynch Becky Povill Executive Graphics Editors Liz Buehl Ella Dovey Executive Social Media Managers Evelyn Altschuler Executive Newsletter Editor – BUSINESS –Sam Berman Business Director Michelle Alizada Ryan Sorbi Isabel Francis Urvija Mafatlal Alison Guo Erika Kim Assistant Business Directors Ad Managers Receivables Managers Elizabeth Foster Kate Seklir Alumni Liaisons Odessa Gaines Ryan Sorbi Intentionality & Inclusivity Committee Chairs Delaney Clarke Charlene Tsai Social Committee Chairs Brendan Hartnett Makenna Law Elena Lowinger Faye Thijssen Editorial Editor Editorialists Merry Jiao Marlee Stout Megan Amero Aedan Brown Sophie Dorf-Kamienny Lindsay Garfinkel Lucy Belknap Julieta Grané George McGurkin Isabel Overby Eden Sekwat Executive Copy Editors Deputy Copy Editor Copy Editors Assistant Copy Editors
DEBT continued from page 1
Tufts Medical Center is pictured on Nov. 19, 2022. Mark Choi Education Committee Chair

and cut himself with glass and a knife. Officers approached Faisal and attempted to convince him to drop the knife after pursuing him for over five blocks.

Elow described Faisal as unwilling to cooperate with officers. Elow stated that after trying to deescalate the situation, officers fired their 40-millimeter non-lethal sponge round. Once this also proved to be unsuccessful, one officer, who has yet to be to be identified, used lethal force.

Elow defended the department’s use of force.

“We train to stop the threat. Aiming for a small target in a very stressful, rapidly evolving event is not safe or practical and more likely than not, we would not hit the intended target and may actually injure an innocent bystander,” Elow stated in the meeting.

Residents and city councilors expressed confusion as to why the officer who killed Faisal is yet to be named.

“We still have to wait for the district attorney’s investigation to complete,” Elow said. “Until that, we do not have criminal charges pending, there is no discipline pending and we do not see any glaring policy violations. So for that reason, we are not currently going to release the name of the officer.”

Elow noted that the Cambridge Police department is one of the most “progressive, well-trained national leaders in policing” and constantly seeks to improve its service. The Department is the third in New England to participate in the Integrating Communications Assessment and Tactics training, a course designed to provide officers with the tools to de-escalate incidents involving people experiencing crises.

Despite this police training, residents are not convinced of the Cambridge Police Department’s ability to address mental health crises such as Faisal’s. Residents demanded that the City Council fund the Cambridge HEART, a community-based public safety program designed to dispatch trained, trauma-informed staff to address the needs of those in crisis.

Residents are angry with the disparities in HEART funding. In the 2023 fiscal year, the city of Cambridge has allocated $73.5 million toward its police department. The city has yet to allocate funds to HEART despite having approved the program a year and a half ago. HEART is currently seeking $2 million to become fully operational by 2023.

Mike Prince, an emergency responder at Cambridge HEART, spoke to the council about the importance of trauma informed responses in crisis situations.

“I am a person from this community who has lived traumatic experiences, which aids me when assisting a person in crisis. Being trauma-informed means understanding a person can be extremely elevated or low and still deserve proper human treatment,” Prince told the city council. “The police are trained to use force and violence and are not necessary for every crisis.”

Prince noted that unlike officers, trauma-informed crisis responders are better trained in de-escalation tactics.

“Sayed did not have to die. … If there was a trauma-informed response, things could have been different. We don’t need the city to invest more money in policing,” Prince said. “The city needs to invest in other options for residents to call when they need support. This is why we want the city to invest in Cambridge HEART and hire more people

from our community who can handle these types of calls.”

Others also called on the Cambridge City Council to divest from the police, reinvest in social services and increase police transparency.

Fatema Ahmad, executive director of the Muslim Justice League, a non-profit in Boston, asked councilors to invest in resources that would increase public safety.

“We have to look at both creating true alternatives across the board, not just to address mental health, which is clear here, but housing, traffic and so much more,” she said. “We have to talk about actually taking away violent response from the police because every aspect of this, from chasing him to shooting him with a sponge grenade and then actually using firearms, was violent. We want to see change.”

n ews 3 Thursday, January 26, 2023 | news | THE TUFTS DAILY
Faisal, 20-yr-old student, remembered by community FAISAL continued from page 1 VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS A protester holds a “Stop the Killing” sign in a protest against police violence on May 26, 2020.

FeaT ures

‘Correctional’: Tufts poet ravi shankar’s memoir explores forgiveness and hope behind bars

“The impulse for writing this book came out of this time I spent in Hartford Correctional and the men I met,” Ravi Shankar, an English lecturer at Tufts and a Pushcart prize-winning poet, said. “I had filled probably seven or eight composition books, you know, full of everything.”

In his early 30s, Shankar, an Ivy League graduate, was offered a tenured faculty position for creative writing at Central Connecticut State University. His work later appeared in The New York Times, and Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer commended his anthology project “Language for a New Century” as “a beautiful achievement for world literature.” Shankar has also published multiple books and scholarly articles, and won numerous teaching awards at various institutions.

Despite his remarkable credentials and accomplishments, Shankar was not immune from the New York Police Department’s notorious stop-and-frisk policy. In 2008, he was racially profiled and targeted by a New York City police officer, who arrested Shankar on a specious warrant for “a five-ten White male weighing 140 pounds.”

The first time he found himself behind bars, though, Shankar shared his story with NPR and won a $15,000 settlement against the city and NYPD.

In 2013, Shankar found himself in jail again, this time in Hartford Correctional Center, “a level 4, high-security urban jail,” for violating his probation for DUI.

Shankar’s second incarceration coincided with his promotion to full professorship, and the local newspapers were quick to sensationalize the event, with provocative and dehumanizing headlines and overtones. Facing growing media pressure, Shankar was eventually compelled to resign from his academic position, and his marriage also ended from the fallout.

In many ways, Shankar shared that his memoir begins with a sense of puzzlement as to how his successful life — at least on the surface — could have taken such a nosedive.

“The book is very much about taking accountability, but [during] that period, there is a sense of … a black cloud that sweeps over you,” Shankar said. “Just when things couldn’t get any worse and something else would happen again to precipitate this. … There’s a wrecking ball to my career, my life, my family and my community, right in the middle of this very successful life. Why?”

In so asking, Shankar aims to weave together an intricate tapestry of his story and journey through his memoir, which bears

on today’s broader social and political issues.

“[The memoir] is an introspective journey, but then in going inside, I find that the story that I’m telling is much larger. And it encompasses many things from immigration to mental health to the mass media,” he said. “I felt compelled to write my side of the story.”

For Shankar, it was important that his memoir uplift and amplify the voices of those whose words are often silenced in society. Indeed, he explained that other inmates in the Hartford Correctional Center motivated him to write and publish his memoir, with a goal of making invisible instances of injustices visible.

“The men that I met … said, ‘You have a voice, you can do something with this,’” Shankar recounted. “In the course of mining my own story, I … experienced something that many of us don’t acknowledge but that exists as the shadow of America, alongside of us all of this all the time. I knew about this all theoretically, but when I saw it firsthand, … I felt compelled to tell that story.”

What emerges from the memoir is an illuminating account of the American criminal justice system and its dehumanizing elements.

“A true whistleblower from the NYPD said that there was, in fact, competition between the precincts at the end of the month to see who could get the most callers, and … stop-andfrisk, … what it did was over 800,000 innocent New Yorkers were stopped under various pretenses,” he said. “[In my memoir], I tried to include as much of the legalese and bureaucracy. … It seemed like the process-

es were meant to intentionally destabilize and dysregulate [the inmates].”

Shankar also highlighted the salience of the criminal justice system and reform for all Americans, across political affiliations and beliefs.

“When I think about the criminal justice system, it’s not a Republican or Democratic issue. [It’s about the fact that] … the taxpayer money is being spent on a system that is ineffective and has one of the highest rates of recidivism in most developed countries,” he said. “And that, to me, seems like [the system is] either really inefficient or intentional. And when you see who is being incarcerated, then it seems pretty insidious to me.”

He cited, for example, how the number of people in prison shot up from 250,000 in 1980 to 2.1 million in recent years. The upward trend, for Shankar, reflects the racialized aspects of the American prison system.

“I was looking at the roots of mass incarceration and, of course, jails as a punishment is a relatively new phenomenon,” he said. “I write about this [aspect]… in ‘Correctional,’ of the two great movements of explosion in the prisons: After the Civil War and the post-Reconstruction of the South and then … after the Civil Rights Movement. And I think that we are aware of that [racialized dynamic].”

Along these lines, he added that out of 60 people in the Hartford Correctional Center, roughly 55 of them were people of color.

Despite the gravity of the book’s central themes, his memoir interestingly unfolds in poetically evocative prose and a cascade of vignettes. In this regard, Shankar

and then the prevernal season that comes before spring,” he said. “And as I was writing this, it felt to me like my assimilation, because I was born here in America, and then moved back to South India, which I wrote about in the book.”

Shankar further elaborated on his personal journey through the metaphors of seasons.

“When I came back to America, all of these experiences, I couldn’t really communicate with my American friends. … I didn’t really have the language to describe the mysticism I felt in some of these temples [India] or being with my extended family, sleeping on the rooftop,” he said. “My assimilation was like trying to compress six seasons into four in some way. And so I have these letters … to people with whom I wanted to make amends, but then making that kind of more metaphoric.”

In light of his memoir, Shankar also formulated and introduced his conception of forgiveness.

“I’ve been feeling more and more … that there needs to be a kind of a shift in public consciousness. … My hope is that the book is not a static artifact, but something that spurs people into some action,” Shankar said. “When I talk to my students about writing, [I tell them that] it’s when you get too polemical [that] your writing becomes less effective and persuasive.”

On a more personal note, he shared how the memoir has helped him to see his many cultural identities as a strength, not as a hindrance to his literary expression. Along these lines, Shankar elaborated on the special place poetry has had in his life over the years.

“I think part of the reason I became a poet was that some of the moments I was most deeply moved as a child was when I went to Hindu temple,” he said. “There were these chants in Sanskrit, which is a language I couldn’t understand. Yet, I still was deeply moved by the experience of hearing the language. And that, to me, that is what poetry can do — the language, it kind of enters your bloodstream.”

In that spirit, Shankar divides his memoir into six chapters, which reflects the six seasons in India. Each chapter also begins with his personal letters, which serve as the textual anchors and bridges for his work as a whole.

“There is this epistolary component. I have these six letters [at the beginning of each chapter]. In India, there are six seasons. So in addition to the four that we have here, there’s the monsoon season of heavy rain,

“I think the book is as much about self-forgiveness as it is about anything else. But, … is [forgiveness] conceivable? Absolutely,” Shankar said. “Revenge and hating someone [are] like drinking poison and expecting me to kill your enemy. … In Buddhism, bodhisattvas are those who are able to say: ‘Think of your enemy as if she were your child from another life.’”

Ultimately, he remarked that the memoir broadly represents his deep and ongoing engagement with his identities and issues of social justice over the years.

“I think that getting a fall from grace in a lot of ways allows you to rediscover who you are and see the shared humanity and those you may have otherwise dismissed and might not have even been aware of,” he said. “So now I do find that it’s cracked me open in some way that when I’m more aware of the people I meet in [the streets].”

Going forward, Shankar is excited to be a part of Tufts’ new and emerging creative writing department, with more faculty readings and writing salons in the planning. As for his creative works and personal projects, he hopes to experiment with a wider range of literary mediums, including fiction.

“I think after this excruciating work that unpeeling happens; you’re revealing things about yourself and [the] people around you. I’m quite tired of my own writing,” he confessed. “I’m always a poet. So I have another book of poems I’m working on. And I’ve now written essays and memoir and poetry, the one thing that remains is fiction. So maybe I’ll work on some fiction, as well.”

explained the philosophy behind his methodology in presenting his and others’ stories. MARK CHOI / THE TUFTS DAILY Dr. Ravi Shankar is pictured holding his memoir on the Academic Quad.

From basements to nightclubs, Tufts student organizations host a variety of formals

With the end of every semester comes final exams, final papers and most importantly, formals. Many student organizations at Tufts host social events known as formals where members pull the fanciest outfit they brought to college out of their closet for a special night with friends or maybe even a date.

Tufts junior Petey Lemmon is the Green Dot representative and former risk manager for the Tufts chapter of Delta Tau Delta, and has attended many formals hosted by the fraternity.

“Usually, we’ll hold a full formal at the end of the winter semester. … We do a semi-formal halfway through the spring semester as well,” Lemmon said.

The way these formals are thrown can vary widely, as student groups select different venues based on their budget and resources.

The Tufts women’s lacrosse team holds their formal in the basement of one of the team member’s off-campus houses. Sophomore Pascale de Buren is a goalie for the team and enjoys the atmosphere created by this casual environment.

“People mingle and make conversation, and overall, it’s just fun listening to good music and hanging out with friends, and just being dressed up in a basement, which is kind of a fun contrast,” said de Buren.

Despite having the option to host their formal in the DTD fraternity house on campus, DTD usually chooses to rent out a nightclub venue.

“The last two out of the last three were at Big Night Live,” Lemmon said. “Every semester, we get charged a certain amount to host events like this. The funds also go to philanthropy and a lot of other stuff that we do, but you know, some of it is also allocated for these formals, which are always a lot of fun.”

The Chinese Students Association hosts their formal at 51 Winthrop, which suits the more structured atmosphere of their event, complete with dinner, performances and a humorous charity auction of members. Unlike some other formals, it is a strictly alcohol-free event due to the on-campus venue location.

Megan Dacey-Koo, a junior studying community health and co-vice president of the Chinese Students Association, has played an integral role in planning the CSA formal in recent semesters.

“We have some sort of performances, which are usually put on by our club members. … There’s also lots of announcements, lots of community building,” Dacey-Koo said.

“Our club members should come and get dressed up, maybe bring a date [and] hang out with friends.”

For organizations with a large number of students, it can be difficult to accommodate the entire group while taking into account venue limitations.

“We had an RSVP form if you wanted to come to formal and then our list was over our cap of 150 so we had to weigh the people who signed up to come versus their meeting attendance,” Dacey-Koo said. “We didn’t want to reject anyone, but unfortunately we had to be like, ‘Oh sorry, yeah you haven’t come to any meetings.’”

DTD is also more strict with their guest list for formals than they would be for other social events.

“Usually for our social events, we get two to three invites, sometimes less, sometimes more,” Lemmon said. “But for formal, you get one invite, and that’s usually your date, but it could be anyone who you just want to bring.”

Despite the name “formal,” which typically suggests black tie attire outside of college, most formals at Tufts follow a ‘cocktail optional’ dress code. This often indicates short dresses and suits. Sometimes, the formal may have a theme with a dress code to match.

“This past fall, our theme [for the CSA formal] was [Lunar Gala: Shunan Forest], and the dress code was black and white,” Dacey-Koo said.

Often, attendees are unsure of the right footwear to pair with their outfit, weighing considerations of comfort and style.

“It’s either heels or sneakers … I would say normally heels for formals, but sometimes people change into sneakers just to be more comfortable,” de Buren said.

Besides the attire, another major aspect that differentiates formals from other parties is the presence of “mystery dates,” where each member of the organization can choose to be paired with another attendee.

On the women’s lacrosse team, it is the responsibility of the upperclassmen to select mystery dates for the rest of their teammates.

Mystery dates can refer to someone outside of the organization specifically invited to be a date. Larger organizations will sometimes choose to pair up members within the organization instead of inviting external guests, which is what the CSA did last fall.

“People submitted a matchmaking form if they wanted to be match-made with their preferences, what their personality was, did they have any red flags that they didn’t want in a partner, etcetera. And then we matched people based on those criteria,” Dacey-Koo said.

Lemmon explained that DTD seeks potential mystery dates online. “We usually send out a form [that] just says, hey, what’s your name? Your year? … And then we start pairing based more so on what your year is,” Lemmon said.

Mystery dates can relieve the stress of having to find someone to bring to formal.

“My view is the top tier date you can bring is someone that you know, whether it’s in a romantic context or not. … I think as long as you have a date that’ll show up to do all the formal date things, as in dance, have a good time, be social, that’s the ideal date,” Lemmon said. “If you can’t find anyone like that on hand, mystery dates [are] a perfectly great option.”

When mystery dates arrive at the event, they often find a name tag customized with a specific word that’s part of a phrase. Their job is to find the person with the other half by walking around the room and talking with everyone.

“Sometimes they do the really fun tag thing where they think of dynamic duos. So there might be a Mario to a Luigi, there might be a peanut butter to a jelly or something. … I think my most recent one was Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg,” Lemmon said.

Although attendees are encouraged to socialize with their date, it is alright to part ways during the formal if it isn’t a perfect match.

“If you don’t vibe with your mystery date, you can go hang out with a teammate or go hang out with other friends that are there,” de Buren said.

Lemmon agreed, though added that it was polite to stick through with the assigned mystery date especially if they seem to be putting in effort to socialize.

“It depends. If you have a mystery date that doesn’t seem like they want to socialize or that they, for whatever reason, aren’t interested, I don’t think it’s on you to keep trying,” Lemmon said. “However, if you have a mystery date that is trying very hard, I think it’d be common gesture to keep trying to be social and talk.”

Formals are casual social functions after all, so it is the full right of the attendees to choose how to spend their time. “Overall, I think it’s all about your personal comfort as well. If you are personally for whatever reason not comfortable in the situation anymore, you have the full right to withdraw,” Lemmon said.

The lead-up to the formal can sometimes be as enjoyable as the formal itself.

“The night before formal, we stayed up pretty late with friends making egg tarts that we served at formal,” DaceyKoo said. “I think it’s just a fun way to bond with people. … You get to talk with people more and you hear more about their experiences with the way they interact with the culture.”

Ultimately, formals are simply a chance for students to dress up and have a memorable night with a community they have spent the semester with.

“It’s cozy and fun. It’s not like your Met Gala, but my teammates have a lot of fun decorating [the basement],” de Buren said. “They put a lot of effort into the guest list … and try to make people feel as welcome as possible.”

Fea T ures 5 Thursday, January 26, 2023 | FeaTures | THE TUFTS DAILY
Theta Chi formal is pictured on Dec. 1, 2022.

The 2023 Golden Globes were a glossy masquerade

The Golden Globes have always been a bit of a peculiar entity. The categories seem nonsensical: What defines a drama, as opposed to a musical or comedy? Plus, with a virtually unrecognizable voting body (anyone ever heard of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association?), the awards given at the Globes were almost laughable. But as the only major awards show to serve alcoholic drinks tableside, the Globes were always a fun game of chance celebrity encounters and drunken speeches.

That is, until 2021. After a Los Angeles Times investigative piece revealed that there were a whopping zero Black voters in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, public opinion turned on the Golden Globes.

Coupled with testimony from the likes of Scarlett Johansson revealing the horribly sexist lines of questioning that HFPA members have put actresses through in their campaigning, it seemed like the downfall of the Golden Globes was imminent.

Hell, Tom Cruise even sent back his three Golden Globes. After a public reckoning with the problematic antics of the HFPA, the 2022 Golden Globes were taken off the air.

And then, come 2023, poof! All is forgotten. On a one-year test stint with NBC, the Golden Globes were allowed a chance to relight the fire. Minus some biting remarks from host Jerrod Carmichael, the glitz and glamor of the Globes came right back into place. From Michelle Yeoh stating that she could “beat up” a piano player to a drunken Mike White acceptance speech, what’s not to love? With their couture gowns and brazen self-indulgence, celebrity culture reunited with the eccentric ceremony.

To some extent, a new and replenished Globes is for the better. After the 2021 accusations, the HFPA made significant structural changes to their organizations. The voting body added 103 new international members, outweighing the 96 active members before the change. Where Black voters once had no representation, they now make up 10.1% of the voting body. The changing voter profile also made for a more logical spread of awardees. Where the Golden Globes were once known for its random, ill-fated choices, winners this year were much more in line with what experts predict for other major ceremonies like the Oscars.

Adding new members is a perfect band-aid to their 2021

controversy. But the HFPA’s problems are bigger than just their voter makeup. The Golden Globes are, on their face, a fraudulent awards show. Who is the Foreign Press? It seems that no one knows. One has to guess how they spend their time, except for luxuriating in their five-star hotel rooms purchased by the “Emily in Paris”

For 95 years, the Academy Awards has never nominated an Asian woman in the category of best actress. On Tuesday, Jan. 24, that streak was broken by Malaysian icon Michelle Yeoh, who was nominated for her performance in the A24 film “Everything Everywhere All At Once” (2022) as Evelyn Wang. Yeoh’s career has spanned nearly 40 years, originally starring in Chinese action films. Prior to her role in “Everything Everywhere,” Yeoh was most known in the Western entertainment industry for starring in the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997), “Crazy Rich Asians” (2018) and the Marvel film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (2021). “Everything Everywhere” marked the first Hollywood leading role for Yeoh, and her performance has been a hot topic throughout the awards season.

Earlier this month, Yeoh became the second Asian actress to win the Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy award at the Golden Globes. The first was her castmate from “Crazy Rich Asians,” Awkwafina, who won for her role as Billi Wang in “The Farewell” (2019), which was also

an A24 film. Despite a remarkable performance, Awkwafina and the film as a whole ended up being completely overlooked by the Academy Awards that year. Yeoh’s nomination marks a major milestone for the 60-yearold actress and the Asian community as a whole.

Based on the Critic’s Choice Award results and the Golden Globes, the Best Actress award will likely be a battle between Yeoh and Cate Blanchett. Blanchett is nominated for her role as Lydia Tár in “Tár” (2022) and won the Critic’s Choice for her performance. Though Blanchett’s performance was admirable, it should be Yeoh who takes home the award.

Whether she is in an intense fighting scene or delivering an emotional monologue, Yeoh is always captivating and powerful. At the core of her character is a deep love for her family, which Yeoh captures with such ease and honesty. Without a doubt, Yeoh was the best actress of the 2022 film season and should be honored with the Academy Award. Not only is her acting talent unmatched — yes, at age 60 she still does a majority of her own stunts and is an exacting martial artist — but she is humble, authentic and inspirational.

Yeoh is not the only member of the “Everything Everywhere” cast to be nominated for an award, as the film received the most Academy Award nominations (11) of any film this year, four of them in acting categories. Ke Huy Quan received a Best Supporting Actor nomination, while both Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu received nominations for Best Supporting Actress. Most notable of these nominations is Stephanie Hsu, who was snubbed at many of the award shows leading up to the Academy Awards.

Hsu’s performances as Joy, Evelyn’s daughter, and Jobu Tupaki, the multiversal villain dedicated to destroying Evelyn, is one that is fascinating and gripping. Hsu expresses the deep evil behind Jobu in a way that is mysterious and terrifying, while also being comedic at times. While playing Joy, Hsu is emotional and desperate for her mother’s acceptance — a stark contrast to Jobu. Though it seems unlikely the Academy will award both Hsu and Yeoh for their performances, Hsu is well-deserving of this nomination.

Quan is another cast member to receive both the Golden Globe win and an Academy nomination. The actor, who quit acting for decades after starting

(2020–) team. Funnily enough, “Emily in Paris” scored itself two nominations that year. Plus, with their penchant for giving much-needed gigs to Hollywood nepo babies, it seems that the Golden Globes are a grab-bag of moneyed Hollywood politics.

This year’s Globes weren’t perfect either. Underneath the flowing drinks and Chanel gowns was

a darker underbelly, ever-present in its horror. While most of the nominees showed up for the red carpet and ceremony, many nominees were notably absent. Such a shame that Amanda Seyfried was busy “creating a new musical” and Zendaya was … well, working. Not suspicious at all.

his career as a child star, earned his nomination for his role as Waymond Wang, Evelyn’s husband. His character is kind and loving and Quan is the perfect actor to play this role. In one of the most notable and most quoted scenes in the film, an alternate version of Waymond says to Evelyn, “In another life, I would have really liked just doing laundry and taxes with you.” The line is simple and beautiful. Quan’s delivery of this specific line and every line is superb.

“Everything Everywhere” is a film that proves the industry is changing, and the Academy’s decision to nominate the film for 11 awards emphasizes that

statement. With Hong Chau’s nomination for “The Whale” (2022), this year’s Academy Awards marks the highest number of Asian actors nominated in the history of the awards in a single year. Though all of the “Everything Everywhere” actors deserve great credit for their performances, Yeoh is the core of the film and winning the Academy Award would be a historic honor. Her career is one defined by persistence, grit and unbridled talent, and she continues to be true inspiration to her community. There is no actress more deserving of the Best Actress award this year than Michelle Yeoh.

VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS Signs for the Golden Globe Awards are pictured.
‘ everything everywhere’ made Oscar history — and rightfully so
see GLOBES, page 7
The title card of “Everything Everywhere All At Once” (2022) is pictured.

The Globes still has much work left to do


There was also a notable, Brendan Fraser-sized hole in the room. Back in 2018, Fraser accused Philip Berk, former head of the HFPA, of groping him. Being the head of a major voting body, Fraser said that the incident made him retreat from much of the industry. The Globes, however, did not have much of a response. Noting that the touching was intended as a joke and not as a sexual advance, the HFPA decided to keep Berk as their leading face. It wasn’t until 2021, following

the Globes’ public controversy, when Berk was removed from the organization. Now a major contender for his work in “The Whale” (2022), Fraser emphatically protested the ceremony. And, unsurprisingly, the Globes responded by refusing to reward his performance.

Awards shows frequently employ a sort of “spotlight seat,” gaming out who will sit towards the front of the theater.

The event planners will place one of their biggest stars in this seat, for others to gaze upon with awe. This has led to some fantastic conclusions: Who can

forget Olivia Colman’s impassioned Oscar speech in which she catches a glimpse of Lady Gaga, seated right up by the stage? The spotlight seat represents all that an awards show intends to be; it’s star power at its finest.

For the 2023 Golden Globes, that spotlight seat was given to none other than Brad Pitt. Of course, Pitt is a massive name within the industry and holds significant name value. But, as a face for the Globes at large, the seating seems a bit problematic. The choice comes just months after court papers

revealed former wife Angelina Jolie’s abuse allegations against Pitt. These allegations include claims of physical abuse against both Jolie and their children.

As the general public faces a cultural reckoning with Pitt’s celebrity status, it seems that Hollywood is fine to go on just as planned. You couldn’t help but stare at Pitt in that seat, with Quinta Brunson stopping her acceptance speech to comment a simple, “Hi, Brad Pitt.”

Where the Globes were concerned, Pitt was the peak of Hollywood nobility, untouchable in his character.

The Brad Pitt dilemma perfectly represents the issue of this year’s Globes. With their eye-catching gowns and pre-written acceptance speeches, celebrities wanted a normal awards show. They wanted to be celebrated. Because of this deep-seated desire, Hollywood donned their masks, and pretended that everything was okay. They simply glossed over the horrifying truth, that the Globes are a conflict-ridden, ridiculously founded and unethically produced joke. But, if one puts on a smile and keeps their head out of the news, they can pretend all is well.

‘Puss in Boots: The last wish’ is another dreamworks success

Succeeding the original “Puss in Boots” (2011), “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” (2022) presents our charming protagonist as his usual hedonistic and proud self. Unfortunately, after a joust that goes awry, Puss (Antonio Banderas) discovers that he is on the last of his nine lives. But of course, our fearless hero laughs in the face of death and dismisses the prescription of retirement. However, after a chilling encounter with a hooded, red-eyed wolf (Wagner Moura), Puss flees.

Out of shame and fear, Puss buries his uniform and takes up shelter at Mama Luna’s home for strays, and it is here that Puss meets an unlikely friend: the small, chihuahua-like dog, Perrito (Harvey Guillén). Clumsy and optimistic, Perrito is in many ways an antithesis to Puss. Despite serving as a comedic character for many portions of the movie, his innocence and clarity become his greatest sources of wisdom.

Other well-known characters are also presented: Puss’s former flame, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek Pinault); Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and the three bears (Olivia Colman, Samson

Kayo and Ray Winstone), now a working crime family; and the baby-faced and bloodthirsty Jack Horner (John Mulaney), a collector of coveted fairy tail memorabilia. Their paths intertwine as they race to find the Wishing Star, a mythical object that can grant its owner any wish they desire, and in this mythical race, every character wants first place.

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is visually delightful, and alongside animated works like “Arcane: League of Legends” (2021–) and “Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse” (2018), it reflects the growing artistic inclinations of the animation studios. While previous DreamWorks projects have focused on drawing their lines infinitely closer to hyper realism, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” pulls away and embraces the more freeform washes of paint reminiscent of digital illustration. Perhaps this has partially to do with the success of Japanese animation techniques in media, and such inspiration is seen most clearly in the actionpacked segments of “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.”

There is a moment toward the beginning of the film, when Puss first encounters red-eyed Death, that overshadows the remainder

of the film in its technical excellence: after a theatrical duel with the wolf, Puss is nicked in the forehead. He notices the blood that has dampened his paw and the music in the theater lowers into an eerie whistling. We see, through his eyes, the milestones and memories of his life flash across the screen in gold, and the sudden fear of death, not just Puss’s but also our own, holds the audience in awe.

This moment feels like the peak, and no other moment in the story captures the audiences’ attention at a level remotely as high. After the introduction of the Wishing Star map, the agenda of this movie becomes quite clear, and the trajectory of the plot follows in accordance to easily formed predictions. The audience is carried through the rest of the movie through bits of comedy and occasional epiphanies, but these following scenes largely remain outshined, even the final battle scene. Regardless, the confidence and ambition of “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” shines through. It is a movie that ponders the absurdity of fear and love in a way that is invigorating, and it confronts the existence of that fatal and final destination with a tact and a sense of humor that keeps it light on its feet.

For the first time ever, a vaccine has been approved for insects.

Early this January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offered conditional approval of a unique vaccine. The vaccine, developed by Dalan Animal Health in Atlanta, Georgia, is specifically designed for honeybees and will target American foulbrood bacteria.

Bees pollinate one-third of the crops in the United States, but their numbers have long been dwindling. American foulbrood bacteria is one of many culprits, as it can spread easily from colony to colony. Without the vac-

cine, beekeepers have had to burn all of the hives and equipment that have come into contact with the bacteria in an effort to prevent its spread. The disease, combined with climate change and pesticides, has contributed largely to the decimation of bee populations around the world. Researchers are hopeful that the vaccine can help eliminate at least one of the many natural enemies of the bee population.

Because bees do not have antibodies, scientists believed that bees could not develop immunity. However, a 2015 study revealed that if exposed to a specific protein, bees could transmit an immune response to their descendents. Therefore, in bee colonies, immunity can be spread through the whole hive through just one queen bee.

No shots will be injected into the small insects, however. The honeybee vaccine will be delivered in the form of food: Dead bacterium larvae of the species that causes American foulbrood will be fed to the queen bee through royal jelly, a sugar-based food typically provided to queen bees. The vaccine will then travel to the queen’s ovaries after being digested, causing all of the larvae to hold immunity.

While society is familiar with vaccine protocols for domesticated pets and livestock, this vaccine is unprecedented as it is the first of its kind for nontraditional livestock.

As the vaccine continues to roll out to beekeepers around the United States, it will be exciting to see the increasing immunity of a vital species.

a r T s & P OP Cul T ure 7 Thursday, January 26, 2023 | arTs & POP CulTure | THE TUFTS DAILY
VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS An original edition of the “Puss in Boots” fairytale is pictured.
from page 6
A bee is pictured on Nov. 11, 2022.
s CIenCe a groundbreaking insect vaccine: Can you bee-lieve it? Originally published Jan. 24



You: a pair of AirPods left in the Somerville Theatre after a 7:30PM showing of M3GAN Me: want to listen to the new boygenius in Tisch but can’t find my lost headphones

THE TUFTS DAILY | Fun & Games | Thursday, January 26, 2023 8 Fun & Games F & G
Last Week’s Solutions Difficulty Level: Staying in your chair during PDF-ing SUDOKU - CREATED BY
Aaron: “Mike poop Mike poop poop poop”
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ACROSS 1 Villain in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish 6 Not mainstream 7 "Battlestar Galactica" commander 8 Individualist, or what Puss in Boots is 9 What protagonist in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish fights with DOWN 1 Calls 2 Provide funding for 3 Hersey title town 4 Hourglass, e.g. 5 Got wind of C H E S S 6 R A N A T O S A K A 8 W A T E R N T E S T
You: a vibrant community of students who really should send missed connections to the Daily. Me: the production director for The Tufts Daily. When: all the time, preferably on Wednesday nights. PUSS IN BOOTS

Dear fellow Tufts community members, First of all, thank you for taking a minute to pick up this copy of The Tufts Daily (or for reading it online, if that’s more your style). We are excited to be back!

This semester, like last semester, we will be publishing new content every weekday and printing once a week, on Thursdays. These print editions will comprise both brand new content as well as a handful of our favorite pieces from throughout the previous week.

Our special editions this semester will coincide with several high-profile campus events, including Commencement, Jumbo Month, the 43rd anniversary of the Daily’s first publication and — of course — April Fools’ Day. You can pick these, or any of our weekly print editions, up

PI n IO n

LETTER FROM THE MANAGING BOARD Our semester in preview

at more than 20 distribution locations on and off campus.

After the publication of our inaugural Tufts Daily Diversity and Inclusion Report last December, we identified several areas of improvement, including lowering financial barriers for entry and ensuring our content reflects the diverse experiences of the Tufts student body. We continue to seek feedback and input from the community as we work to address the challenges highlighted in the report.

The Daily aims to serve you, the Tufts community, but we also invite you to join us in working toward that goal. Whether you’re a writer, visual storyteller, critic, graphic designer, photographer, grammar nerd or finance fanatic, the Daily wants to be a place where you can hone your skills and participate in providing an

essential community service. As members of the managing board, we all found our campus home here at the Daily, and we hope it can be just as instrumental to your Tufts experience.

As always, we want you all to be a part of the conversation. We encourage you to reach out to us at or submit a letter to the editor or op-ed at On behalf of everyone here at the Daily, thank you for taking the time to read our work every day, and here’s to an incredible spring 2023 semester!

Sincerely, Julia Shannon-Grillo

Alexander Janoff Aaron Klein Rachel Liu Madeline Mueller Mike Kourkoulakos Sam Berman


Pick up a copy of the Daily each week at one of our 20+ distribution locations.

The fall off: Causes and implications of China’s declining population

For the last few decades, China has been not just one of the world’s strongest economies, but its most populated country. However, recent news suggests that it may have already fallen to second in the race that it has spent decades dominating. The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics announced that in 2022, the country’s population fell by 850,000 to 1.411 billion people, marking the first time the population has decreased since 1961. It is hard to say that this news was unpredictable, considering China’s population structure. Still, this crisis and China’s response will certainly have a large impact on China, its trading partners and its rivals.

China’s accelerated population troubles stem from its

former one-child policy, which was put in place in the ‘80s to control population growth at a time when China’s economy was still developing. The goal was to make the economy grow by reducing birth and death rates, giving more workers the freedom to enter the workforce and stay there. Ultimately, the plan succeeded, and China saw rapid economic growth from the ‘80s to the 21st century as the working-age population nearly doubled.

By 2015, China’s GDP had exploded to second-largest in the world, but the workers that had helped China reach this peak 35 years prior had begun retiring, slowing China’s economic growth. To try to rectify the situation, China modified its policy to two children, and again to three in 2021.

However, reversing decades of precedent isn’t so simple. A developed economy means that people are less likely to want to have more kids, even if they are allowed to. More people move to cities for work, where the cost of living grows and the labor market tightens, making children more expensive. To address the demographic crisis, China will need to do more than roll back old legislation. It will also need to attack the effects it previously worked so hard to create. Unfortunately, its quick rise has made many solutions difficult because of drastic changes to culture. Many believe that China’s current plan of economic benefits and increased elderly care doesn’t do enough. They feel China needs to alleviate all of the problems that create concern for childbirth: something that could take years,

especially when dealing with such a large population.

This quick rise has also made conventional balancing difficult. Other countries offset unsustainable birth rates with migration. For instance, though the U.S. and U.K. have had fertility rates around 1.6 births per woman, which is below the sustainable level of 2.1 births per woman, their populations have continued to increase, being helped by migrants from the Global South who often come to seek better opportunities. In China, the benefits of economic growth have not been shared to the same degree of other developed economies, as education and health care access are still relatively unevenly distributed. Therefore, many people are still leaving China to find better opportunities elsewhere —

China’s net migration rate has been consistently negative since the start of its economic rise. China has been unable to distribute its economic growth so far, hurting its chances at a population rebound.

This should be an important lesson for many other countries, particularly those that rely on China as a trading partner. China isn’t the only country facing population concerns. Japan and South Korea are also experiencing dropping populations. Though China’s population is much larger, slowing birth rates and a decreasing workforce are an international problem. It is important that China find creative solutions that address the root causes of the problem, lest it threaten the international order that its own growth helped create.


Anyone who has recently been in the Tufts gym has likely noticed and been irked by the crowding. In some ways, this is not Tufts’ fault. It is not a surprise that gym attendance is heightened in the period following New Year’s Day as New Year’s resolutions are meant to be based on the idea of self-improvement. Logically, going to the gym fulfills this nat-

On Nov. 30, 2022, OpenAI, an independent artificial intelligence foundation co-founded by Elon Musk in 2015, launched ChatGPT, a new chatbot built through OpenAI’s GPT-3 language model system, which quickly gathered attention from different industries worldwide. The model is trained through supervised and reinforcement learning on a vast dataset of text. Although the model and the technology behind it have been around for a while, OpenAI is estimated to have 1 million users already in the same week they made this technology public.

From writing a love letter, to generating business ideas, to planning a personalized exercise plan based on specific fitness level and goals and to offering advice on removing peanut butter from a VCR in the style of the King James Bible, the ChatGPT can complete a variety of tasks. Unlike other chatbots, ChatGPT can also detect and correct coding work in addition to producing paragraphs in any language. It is also persistent with its ability to pick up from where you left the conversation. However, it


Tufts’ gym isn’t working out

ural desire. However, given the unpleasantries of the current state of the Tufts gym, the administration ought to concoct and implement a more responsible plan for the future.

Getting the proper amount of exercise is important for everyone, but it carries the utmost importance for college students. Exercise can relieve common sources of pressure in college, such as having trouble concentrating, poor sleeping habits and

disconsolate moods. In addition to the obvious benefits associated with being physically fit, it is these mental health benefits that behooves a university such as Tufts to prioritize gym accessibility. It would be unfair to claim that Tufts has not been attempting to support students’ mental health in other ways, such as Counseling and Mental Health Services, whose number is printed on all students’ Tufts ID cards. Furthermore, Tufts’

various identity-based centers undoubtedly play a role in improving the mental health of members of these communities. Moreover, the newly implemented Indigenous Center proves that Tufts has remained committed to building communities to relieve the anxieties and stresses felt by these groups. Nevertheless, even members of these groups can stand to benefit from what consistent exercise offers for one’s well-being.

In the time since returning to Tufts, it has become especially clear that the Tufts gym is inadequate. Although Tufts has an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 6,500 individuals, the fitness center space is about 7,000 square feet. The gold standard of college gymnasiums, the Yale gym, has 14 floors and over 12 acres of indoor space. A less jarring example is the Colby College gym, which has a three level, 13,000 square foot fitness center. Both schools have significantly larger facilities than Tufts despite having smaller undergraduate enrollments.

Since the gym is dominated by cardio machines such as treadmills and ellipticals, those looking to do weight training might find scarcer opportunities. The inadequate number of benches brings


ChatGPT: Exciting or terrifying?

also has a reputation to be prone to error. The website includes warnings about how ChatGPT may provide flat-out incorrect answers or biased information. As the AI systems’ responses are based on the data they have been trained on, their systems are prone to providing biased information.

The chatbot has received positive and negative reactions, with The New York Times labeling it as “the best AI chatbot ever received by the general public” while also raising questions about how it will affect fields such as higher education, law, business and programming.

Artificial intelligence has the undeniable potential to revolutionize the way we live our lives; it is already integrated into our society through many platforms: AI-based chatbots in customer service, financial forecasting or data analysis. ChatGPT in particular has the ability to complete tasks more efficiently than humans, which may disrupt and replace traditional jobs.

One of the other concerns that ChatGPT raises is its potential effects on higher education. In addition to ChatGPT’s ability to write college application essays, it has also passed an MBA exam given by the University of

Pennsylvania’s Wharton School with a B and passed tests required for medical licenses and business degrees. With such concerns about negative impacts on learning, New York City schools banned the AI chatbot, ChatGPT, on school computers and networks.

However, Cherrie Shields, a high school English teacher in Oregon with 30 years of experience, purposefully makes her students use ChatGPT to make them learn how to structure their essays and how to ask the correct questions to reach their aim. Shields also said how resources such as SparkNotes or CliffNotes have been online for years and were already available to students who were willing to cheat. She came across arguments in her department to implement trap questions in assignments to test who “cheated” through ChatGPT or to increase the in-class assignments to reduce the “risk” of using ChatGPT. Instead of implementing such restrictions, learning and teaching how to make use of this technological tool correctly is the key.

ChatGPT can be used as a personal tutor where one can ask it to explain specific things at multiple levels of difficulty. This can be highly beneficial in providing a person-

alized learning experience. It can also detect mistakes in coding and advise ways to correct them which could save a programmer hours of work and enhance their productivity and efficiency.

OpenAI is also expected to release its next model, GPT-4, in the first quarter of 2023. With artificial intelligence products constantly advancing, we must find ways to correctly incorporate AI into our lives. Rather than banning or prohibiting a potentially useful resource, higher edu-

a somewhat disappointing lack of variety to students looking to pursue weight training goals.

In addition to overcrowding at the gym, Tufts physical education classes have too few offerings, which makes it difficult to land a spot in one of these courses as an underclassmen. By the time freshmen in the School of Arts and Sciences are able to register for classes, many P.E. classes tend to be completely filled.

During the New England wintertime, outdoor opportunities for exercise are scarce, and access to the Tufts gym and enrollment in physical education courses become ever more necessary. With spots in these P.E. classes filled, students turn to the gym as a last resort of sorts. Their intentions of improving their physical fitness and mental health are worthwhile, and should be more urgently considered by the Tufts administration. Students going to the gym in the early weeks of this semester will without a doubt see overcrowding no matter what time they attend, and this less than ideal experience could turn away some people who might have otherwise established very good habits. A New Year’s resolution should be yours to fail, not the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center’s.

cation institutions should come up with new policies and guidelines regarding ChatGPT usage in assignments. Students and learners should also be aware of their morals surrounding academic integrity.

AI brings challenges and concerns with the fear of change and the unknown, yet it also creates new opportunities for society and humanity to develop and advance. As AI products continue to advance, we must find ways to use them ethically and responsibly.

The Tufts Daily is a nonprofit, independent newspaper, published Monday through Friday during the academic year, and distributed free of charge to the Tufts community. The content of letters, advertisements, signed columns, cartoons and graphics does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Tufts Daily editorial board.

EDITORIALS Editorials represent the position of The Tufts Daily Editorial Board. Individual editorialists are not necessarily responsible for, or in agreement with, the policies and editorials of The Editorial Board. Editorials are submitted for review to The Tufts Daily Executive Board before publication.

VIEWPOINTS AND COLUMNS Viewpoints and columns represent the opinions of individual Opinion editors, staff writers, contributing writers and columnists for the Daily’s Opinion section. Positions published in Viewpoints and columns are the opinions of the writers who penned them alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Daily itself. All material is subject to editorial discretion.

OP-EDS Op-Eds provide an open forum for campus editorial commentary and are printed Monday through Thursday. The Daily welcomes submissions from all members of the Tufts community; the opinions expressed in the Op-Ed section do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Daily itself. Opinion articles on campus, national and international issues should be 600 to 1,200 words in length and submitted to The editors reserve the right to edit letters for clarity, space and length. All material is subject to editorial discretion and is not guaranteed to appear in the Daily. Authors must submit their telephone numbers and day-of availability for editing questions.

ADVERTISEMENTS All advertising copy is subject to the approval of the editor in chief, executive board and business director.

THE TUFTS DAILY | O PI n IO n | Thursday, January 26, 2023 10
GRAPHIC BY CHATGPT ANN MARIE BURKE / THE TUFTS DAILY The Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center is pictured on Aug. 28, 2020.

women’s swimming triumphs in nail-biting meet against mIT

Women’s swimming and diving took down the MIT Engineers 151–149 for their Senior Day meet on Saturday. Strong showings from all grades combined for the victory, but a storybook finish and pool-record-earning 200-meter freestyle relay composed of three senior Jumbos along with one first-year clinched the win with a time of 1:36:27. The women’s team fell to MIT earlier in the season, but coming off a winter break training trip and a couple successful dual meets, the No. 8 ranked Jumbos were able to edge out the No. 6 MIT Engineers. First-year Lily Klinginsmith, the only non-senior member of the winning 200-yard freestyle team, spoke about the senior meet and the 200-yard free relay.

“It was super fun for senior night,” Klinginsmith said. “The energy was amazing. And personally, I just loved being on a relay with three seniors because it was quite a poetic end to the senior meet to have us just out-touch that last relay to win the meet.”

Both teams were fairly evenly matched throughout the meet. The closeness was reflected starting from the first race, the 200-yard medley relay. Tufts lost to MIT by less than one-tenth of a second, coming in at 1:47:22. MIT was just slightly faster at 1:47:16. The women secured their first top finish thanks to senior Allison Cremer

who swam a winning time of 10:41:36 in the 1000-yard free. MIT and Tufts would trade off top finishes and second place for the remainder of the meet.

Other significant achievements included two wins by senior Claire Brennan in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:53:58 and in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:05:93. Senior Katelin Ulmer was on the winning 200-yard freestyle team and gave the Jumbos another win in the 50-yard freestyle event with a time of 24:30. In the diving events, senior Sydney Ho posted a winning score in 1-meter diving with a 305.99, followed by runner-up first-year Malia Leung’s 294.00.

Senior Katelin Isakoff was a member of the winning 200-yard freestyle relay and secured a win of her own in the 200yard fly with a time of 2:07:91. Isakoff commented on her senior season and this graduating class.

“It’s pretty bittersweet,” Isakoff said. “I think one of the best things that happened this year was getting to become really close with the senior class. And so it’s definitely sad that it’s coming to an end, but I’m just really happy for the way that the experience has turned out because of all the people that I’ve gotten to meet along the way.”

She expanded on the closeness of her class to further describe the culture of swimming and diving at Tufts.

“Team culture is one thing that makes our team specifically really special,”

Isakoff said. “The team feels like family and everyone has each others’ back in the pool and also outside of the pool. … Our associate head coach always says ‘the sky’s the limit’. And I think just believing in our potential and believing in each other has really helped create a pretty unique and special bond.”

Hoping to use that bond and reach for the metaphorical sky, the women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams will head into championship season on Feb. 9, competing in a week of NESCAC competition. Going into her first NESCAC meet, Klinginsmith expressed her excitement.

“We have NESCACs coming up pretty soon here, so I’m hoping we can secure another win. And I’m just super excited to see everyone drop time and see all the hard work that everyone’s put in pay off,” Klinginsmith said.

Swimming and diving will then head to Greensboro, N.C. for NCAA championships in mid-March. Isakoff described her feelings about the postseason as a whole.

“My big goal is just for us to give it our best effort,” Isakoff said. “No matter the outcome, as long as we give it our best and we do it together, I’ll be really proud of the group and really proud of myself.”

Before that, however, both the men and women will head to Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. to take on Hamilton College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in a tri-meet on Saturday.

Behind the Bruins’ historic season

Hi! Welcome to The Wraparound, the professional hockey column of The Tufts Daily. Whether you’re a diehard NHL fan or someone who enjoys the occasional diving save you’re in the right place. Every other Thursday I’ll recap what’s going on around the National Hockey League — scores, stats, standings, trades — while adding some of my own thoughts and opinions towards the end. Let’s get right to it!

There’s no denying that this inaugural issue must have a local focus. Let’s face it: The Boston Bruins should be the talk of the entire league. More than half a season in, they are the NHL’s crème de la crème, boasting a 38–5–4 record. On Jan. 5, Boston tied the 1944–45 Montréal Canadiens in becoming the second fastest team to reach 30 wins in NHL history — only second to the 1929–30 Bruins.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the Black and Gold’s stellar season is that no one saw it coming. Longtime head coach Bruce Cassidy was fired after a disappointing first-round loss against the Hurricanes last spring. The summer consisted of several critical injury announcements: Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk were not expected to lace up the skates until November or December.

But the Bruins have exceeded expectations in historic ways. The hiring of coach Jim Montgomery after Cassidy’s firing last season has proven to be genius, with Montgomery now a favorite for the Jack Adams Coach of the Year award. Forward Jake DeBrusk — though currently injured — is having a career year with 16 goals thus far. Linus Ullmark became the fastest goaltender in NHL history to 25 wins in his second year in Boston.

The Bruins are sitting pretty atop the NHL’s Atlantic Division, and will undoubtedly be hosting a first round playoff series come April, an edge that could be crucial considering their inability to win on the road in Carolina last year. The core isn’t getting any younger with Marchand, captain Patrice Bergeron and Taylor Hall all in their thirties. If this is the Bruins’ last ride, it has started as an amazing one.

A few other thoughts from around the league:

Could the Vancouver Canucks have handled the firing of coach Bruce Boudreau any worse? It was publicly known that Boudreau was a goner for months, yet Vice President Jim Rutherford refused to fire him until the new year. The Canucks need an entire facelift — one that newly hired Rick Tocchet hopes to be a part of.

If the Bruins are hot, the New Jersey Devils are simmering. The surprise team of the year, the Devils have gone from No. 28 in the NHL to No. 3. Jack Hughes? Superstar. Dougie Hamilton? Point-producing dynamo. New Jersey has an excellent core for years to come.

At this point it’s an annual discussion: Are the Edmonton Oilers really going to waste an otherworldly Connor McDavid season? McDavid — or McJesus, as some say — is on pace to become just the sixth player in history to top 150 points in a single season. The Oilers hover around a wildcard spot, and there would be no greater atrocity than a McDavid-less postseason.

Timothy Valk is a junior studying quantitative economics. Tim can be reached at

sPO r T s 11 Thursday, January 26, 2023 | sPOrTs | THE TUFTS DAILY
COURTESY JOSEPH ACQUAVIVA The Tufts swimming and diving teams are pictured at the MIT Winter Invitational in December 2021.

sports and society

B.I.F.Y. and Basketball

The Boston Celtics are the best team in the NBA. And I might need a doctor.

In my previous attempt at dissecting Boston’s unique sports anatomy — an introspective reckoning with my pinstriped demons that, to date, insist on being called the New York Yankees — two conclusions, each deserving of further academic inquiry, emerged:

1. I hate the Yankees.

2. It’s not me, and it’s not the Yankees.

My clinically questionable diagnosis — what I’m calling “Boston-Induced Fury at the Yankees” (B.I.F.Y.) — will certainly need to be peer-reviewed before Mass. General Hospital can start clinical trials on a treatment, though early returns show a long road for the effort to find a cure. Even more troubling is the appearance of a second condition, likely due to the yearly onset of basketball season.

Last go-around, after executing a dramatic in-season turnaround, the Celtics endured a brutal playoff gauntlet only to lose to the Golden State Warriors in six games. However, this Celtics regular season has so far been about as successful as I could ever hope for. We sit atop the NBA. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are playing the best basketball of their careers. But I can hardly watch.

In my sports memory, the Celtics have never been this good. I was five years old when the Celtics won their last championship in 2008. But sports memory is distinct from actual memory, as unless one is relentlessly exposed to it during their impressionable years, it is unlikely anyone under the age of seven can remember having a real attachment to a local sports team. As far as I can remember, I technically cared about the results of Boston sporting events before the age of 10, but my involvement was limited by a borderline-unconstitutional legal constraint known by modern scholars as bedtime.

I do not remember how I felt when New England won Super Bowl XXXIX or when the Celtics won the 2008 NBA Finals. Irrelevant. What matters is that I do not remember how I felt when we lost Super Bowl XLII or the 2010 NBA Finals. But I can tell you where 9-yearold me was when it hit me that the Patriots would lose Super Bowl XLVI: crying in an overly comfortable chair in my living room, unable to accept that the Patriots would have to wait until September to avenge this defeat. It was as if I was having an existential crisis, realizing for the first time in my life that the Boston sports teams could lose.

The pain of losing a championship is formative for a young fan in Boston. It activates a dormant gene of Calvinist fatalism that is present at birth. The Puritan founders of the city believed God had prenatally determined if they would go to Heaven or be damned for eternity. Each time a team falls short at the gates of glory — like the Celtics did last January — I sink into a deep spiritual depression, suddenly sure that the destinies of my beloved teams are to burn in Hell. I can only shut my eyes, cross my fingers and pray to whatever God is listening to save our souls, and to guide Tatum’s high-arcing 3-pointers into the basket.

Oliver Fox is a sophomore studying history. Oliver can be reached at

men’s basketball falls to Bates, looks to rebound in nesCaC play

Despite fighting until the very last minute, the Tufts men’s basketball team fell to NESCAC rival Bates College in a hard-fought away game 67–63. The defeat drops the Jumbos to 13–4 on the season and a 2–2 record in NESCAC play while Bates improves to 7–10 overall and 1–3 in the NESCAC.

Despite the Jumbos coming in with the better record, it was Bates who took an early lead, with a 3-pointer from guard Steph Baxter giving the Bobcats a 12–4 lead after five minutes of playing time.

“First of all, you [have to] give credit to Bates, good team this year, good coach, they had a good game plan for us,” senior guard Carson Cohen said. “We really talked about valuing the ball and taking advantage of our possessions, and I think we kind of got away from that, even from the beginning.”

The Jumbos responded with an 11–2 run capped off by a jumper from firstyear guard James Morakis to retake the lead. The rest of the first half saw both teams trade baskets before a 10–2 run saw the Jumbos take a 32–25 lead back to the locker room.

That momentum carried into the second half, with Tufts leading by as many as 8 points near the halfway point. However, Bates would begin to find some momentum of their own, slowly breaking down the Jumbos’ defense before taking a 62–61 lead with under two minutes remaining after a layup from first-year guard Elliott Cravitz. Bates continued to hold onto the lead after a game-tying attempt from senior guard Dylan Thoerner

missed. One free throw from Bates forward Devin Harris was enough to seal the win for the hosts.

Despite outscoring Bates in the paint, turnovers proved to be costly for the Jumbos, as 16 turnovers resulted in 20 points for the Bobcats.

“We pride ourselves on being tough and mature and experienced players, and that didn’t show through our taking care of the ball,” senior guard Tyler Aronson said.

Shooting 33.3% overall from deep, the Jumbos possess numerous players capable of letting it fly. However, Bates was able to limit Tufts to just nine attempts in the game.

“Defensively they were really solid,” Cohen said. “We’re kind of a team that obviously has a lot of good shooters ... so credit to them for getting us off the 3-point line.”

Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives for the Jumbos to take away from this game. Thoerner led the team with 18 points, while sophomore forward Trumann Gettings netted 11. Morakis and sophomore guard Khai Champion each had 9 points off the bench.

As a team with a mixture of experience and youth, the Jumbos know they have the depth to compete against anyone, as evidenced by an impressive 26 bench points.

“We have 17 guys that all can really play on this team, so it's really tough to scout for us,” Aronson said. “Everybody has the opportunity and the skill set to go score and make a play, and that makes us a really dangerous team, especially heading into the later months of the season.”

As seniors, both Cohen and Aronson have long settled into their roles on the

court, bringing poise and leadership even when things are not going their way.

“[One thing Head Coach Brandon] Linton preaches, that I like to preach as well, as a point guard, is really just getting set in the offense,” Cohen said.

“One of the most important things is just taking it possession by possession.”

“Whether that be rebounding the basketball, guarding, trying to be a good leader for the team, there’s always a way you can help out,” Aronson said. “If you’re not scoring the ball or doing what you want on offense, there’s always ways to help impact the team.”

Pointing to strong wins over Amherst and Hamilton after a loss to Connecticut College earlier in the season, Cohen believes the Jumbos always find a way to respond after a loss.

“We like to look at ourselves as kind of a rebound team, a bounce-back team,” Cohen said. “After the Conn. loss this year, we had two really excellent games the next weekend.”

Up next for the Jumbos are two more games on the road against conference opponents. Tufts travels to Williams on Friday before making the drive up to Vermont for a Saturday showdown against Middlebury. Both opponents are among the strongest in the NESCAC this season, with Middlebury boasting a 15–2 overall record and Williams at 16–2. Despite strong seasons from both teams, Tufts knows they have the ability to compete with any team in the league.

“In our locker room and with our inner circle, we really think that we’re still one of the teams to beat in the league, if not the team to beat,” Cohen said. “Our confidence has not wavered at all yet. We’ll be ready to go for the weekend.”

r T s
COURTESY TUFTS ATHLETICS A Tufts men's basketball player goes up for a hook shot in Cousens Gymnasium.