EPIIc symposium explores race in global politics with state dept. rep desirée cormier smith
by Anna Fattaey and Ishaan Rajabali Contributing Writer and News Editor
The Institute for Global Leadership at Tisch College hosted the annual Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship Symposium from March 9–11. Titled “Power and Prejudice: Race and International Relations,” the three-day event hosted several panel discussions on the prevalence of racial issues in global politics. Desirée Cormier Smith, special representative for racial equity and justice in the U.S. Department of State, delivered the keynote address for the symposium.
Before her keynote, Cormier Smith spoke with the Daily
about her work, calling it an “incredible honor” to be the first to hold her current position.
“It is a privilege that I don’t take lightly, because it also comes with great responsibility,” she said. “And while I’m honored to be the first, I don’t want to be the last.”
Cormier Smith’s job at the State Department involves engaging with marginalized communities in the United States and around the world.
“The most rewarding part is being able to actually interact with marginalized racial, ethnic and indigenous communities around the world, many of whom have shared that they’ve never interacted with a U.S. government official,” Cormier Smith said.
Before working in her current role, Cormier Smith served as a senior adviser in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, where she worked to promote racial justice through the U.N.
“Now, I’m doing the same thing but globally,” Cormier Smith said. “A lot of the work that I was able to do during my time in the Bureau of International Organizations, I’m continuing to do in this role.”
Now, Cormier Smith said, her biggest priority is “helping [her] colleagues at the State Department understand what this work is, why it is a national security imperative and then how to meaningfully incorporate it in all that we do.”
omerville allocates $1.6 million toward housing supportive services
by Estelle Anderson News Editor
Somerville’s Housing Division plans to allocate $1.6 million in federal funds towards services including rental assistance and housing stabilization by 2030. The funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME Investment Partnership American Rescue Plan Program, an initiative that provides funding to reduce homelessness and increase housing stability across the country.
“Some of the data on rising housing costs and the shrinking number of naturally affordable rental units in the market indicate a growing crisis of housing instability and loss as well as family displacement in Somerville,” Lisa Davidson, the City of Somerville’s housing grants manager, wrote in an email to the Daily. “The impact [of the funds] will ideally be more individuals and families moving more quickly to thrive
in stable and safe housing of their own.”
HUD allowed for four potential uses of the funds: producing and preserving affordable rental housing, expanding housing supportive services, providing tenant-based rental assistance and developing non-congregate shelters.
After consulting with community partners and collecting data, the city determined that the most pressing need in Somerville is increased affordable housing; however, their
funding only provides enough to build three rental units.
“In relation to the larg
er housing problems in Somerville, this is really a small amount of money,” Shomon Shamsuddin, an associate pro
fessor of social policy at Tufts, explained. “It’s not enough to really engage in any kind of large-scale development or housing production.”
According to Davidson, the city’s funds will make the
by Aaron Gruen Executive News Editor
The TCU Senate unanimously called on Tufts to divest from fossil fuels and commit to carbon neutrality by 2030 at its weekly meeting on March 12.
Resolution S. 23-3, titled “A Resolution Calling on Tufts University to Commit to Institutional Climate Justice,” was proposed by members of Tufts Climate Action. It formally calls on the university to create “a transparent, actionable plan with benchmarks and an associated timeline” for divestment from fossil fuels, revisit its investment policy pertaining to fossil fuels and bring the university’s deadline for carbon neutrality forward 20 years from its original goal of 2050.
The authors of the resolution requested a response from President Anthony Monaco, Peter Dolan, chairman of the Board of Trustees, the Investment Office and
Office of Sustainability within 2 weeks.
The Senate then approved 16 supplementary funding requests.
Students for Justice in Palestine received $10,249 for their upcoming Palestinian Solidarity Concert with 24 senators voting in favor, none opposed and three abstaining.
Tufts Robotics received $533 for transportation and lodging to the Norwalk Havoc Robot League competition with the funding passing by acclimation.
Tufts Sino-U.S. Relations Group Engagement requested $500 in transportation and gifts costs for speakers and panelists for an upcoming event. Funding was passed by the allocations board.
Black Students in Computer Science received $1,005 in group funding, which the Senate approved by acclamation.
Tufts Club Cheer received $19,839 for equipment and
Thursday, March 16, 2023 VOLUME LXXXV, ISSUE 8 THE INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF TUFTS UNIVERSITY EST. 1980 MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, MASS. FEATURES Who guards the Gardner? page 4 ARTS Film festival reels in the male gaze page 6 OPINION Walgreens wavers on the right to healthcare page 9 NEWS 1 FEATURES 4 ARTS & POP CULTURE 6 FUN & GAMES 8 OPINION 9 SPORTS BACK T HE
AILY tuftsdaily thetuftsdaily tuftsdaily The Tufts Daily The Tufts Daily firstname.lastname@example.org
COURTESY ANDREW HARRIS
NATALIE BROWNSELL / THE TUFTS DAILY A row of Somerville houses is pictured on Oct. 5, 2022. see EPIIC, page 3
Keynote speaker Desirée Cormier Smith is pictured.
UNIVERSITY LOCAL UNIVERSITY Tcu
March 12 meeting
s enate calls
see SENATE, page 2 see HOUSING, page 3 Originally published March 13
dr. Mitchell Lunn receives Lyon and Bendheim citizenship award for LGBTQ+ advocacy in medicine
by Shannon Murphy
Originally published March 14
Mitchell Lunn (LA’04), an associate professor of nephrology, epidemiology and population health at Stanford University School of Medicine, received Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life’s 2023 Lyon and Bendheim Citizenship Award in Barnum Hall on March 7 for his work in representing sexual and gender minority populations in healthcare.
Following the presentation of the award by Dayna Cunningham, dean of Tisch College, Lunn spoke about his career and accomplishments with Jennifer Greer-Morrisey, the civic life program manager for Tufts’ graduate health sciences schools.
Lunn spoke about the healthcare disparities within LGBTQ+ and sexual and gender minority populations. He attributed these inequalities to important studies and surveys, including the U.S. census, neglecting to ask participants about their sexual orientation and gender identity.
“If we look at a study of 10,000 people with diabetes, [it is] guaranteed there are LGBTQ+ people in that study,” he said. “Are they visible in the results? Absolutely not. And so it makes it really, really hard to start looking at some of the underlying reasons or underlying aspects in their lives that may or may not have contributed to whatever condition is being studied.”
Lunn is also the co-director of the PRIDE study — the title is an acronym for Population Research in Identity and Disparities for
Equality. It is the first national longitudinal study for adults that identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. The study has over 24,000 participants from across the country.
“The biggest thing that [the participants] do every year is an annual questionnaire. It’s quite substantial; it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete,” Lunn said. “But we also deploy surveys that are made shorter but are more in-depth on a particular topic.”
He is also the co-director of PRIDEnet, a series of digital and in-person networks of sexual and gender minority community members and nonprofit organizations across the country that allow the study to reach a national audience.
During the discussion, Lunn spoke about his experience as an undergraduate student at Tufts studying biology and French. He was the first student coordinator of the Summer Scholars program, which he says spurred his interest in a career in research.
Lunn was also an extremely active member of the LGBT Center on Tufts’ campus.
“It was a place where I kind of came to terms with my own identity as a cisgender gay man,” he said. “Getting involved in civic life that was initially focused primarily on the Tufts campus and then getting my start in the tinglings of a research career, … all those things really began [at Tufts].”
While at Stanford University School of Medicine, Lunn and his colleague Dr. Juno ObedinMaliver noticed that there was a lack of information surrounding
LGBTQ+ health in their medical education. The two published a national study of LGBTQ+ medical education during their residency, which Lunn credited with the realization that his passions for research and advocacy could intersect.
Currently, Lunn is primarily an LGBTQ+ health researcher, but he sees patients with kidney disease for around six weeks every year and works as a primary care physician for LGBTQ+ patients one day per week. He spoke about changes in attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community that he has witnessed while working in medicine.
“I would get very frustrated, for example, taking medical licensing exams,” he said. “It used to be where I could read ‘a 33-year-old gay man’ and I could stop reading the rest of the question and find a list of answer choices that either were HIV-related or HIV opportunistic infection related, and that was the correct answer.”
Greer-Morrisey opened the floor to audience questions,
which included the influence of recent anti-LGBTQ+ political measures on Lunn’s research.
“It’s going to be very, very difficult, from the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ [law] in Florida to many other things being criminalized, [such as] providers being put in jail for providing gender-affirming care,” he said. “It will be important for all of us to vote, to advocate, to campaign, to spread awareness, all the things that we can do, even in states that are much more welcoming and affirming like Massachusetts and California.”
Lunn concluded the lecture by sharing his optimistic outlook on the future of LGBTQ+ rights.
“Now [that] people are paying attention, especially to transgender and non-binary people, [these laws are] coming across the desk of legislatures. We might not like what they’re doing, but they’re at least seeing it, which is actually a hopeful sign to me,” Lunn said. “We’ll get through it. The arc of justice is long.”
Senate addresses 16 supplementary funding requests
continued from page 1
funding their upcoming trip to nationals with 17 senators voting in favor and eight voting against.
The Tufts S-Factor a cappella group received $450 for A/V services for their upcoming spring semester show. Funding was approved by the allocations board.
The Senate unanimously approved $2,000 in new group funding for The Women’s Network Tufts.
The Student Prison Education and Abolition Coalition at Tufts received $1,069 for an educational event about the school-to-prison pipeline. The Senate approved funding by acclamation.
Jumbo Jugglers received $1,482 for their spring show and a fire spinning retreat, which was approved by acclamation.
180 Degrees Consulting received $574 in funding for food for their spring semester symposium, which was passed by acclamation.
The Chinese Student Association received $700 for a
boba fundraiser and costumes for an upcoming culture show with the Senate passing by acclamation.
Tufts Black Out received $2,745 for transportation and lodging for a step competition in New York City with 25 voting in favor and one abstaining.
The Vietnamese Students Club received $2,007 for their
upcoming VSC Culture Show and for a boba fundraiser with 25 voting in favor, none opposed and one abstaining.
The Tufts Quidditch team received $665 for new uniforms with 19 voting in favor and seven voting against.
Tufts Italian Club received $1,800 to send members of their club to a cooking class
in April with the TCU senate voting unanimously in favor.
Tufts Athletes of Color received $3,425 to host an athletes of color week in April and movie night with 25 in favor, none opposed and one abstaining.
Varun Nagpal was named Senator of the Week, and the meeting was adjourned.
THE TUFTS DAILY | N E ws | Thursday, March 16, 2023 2 tuftsdaily.com
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SHANNON MURPHY / THE TUFTS DAILY
Dr. Mitchell Lunn (LA’04) is pictured in Barnum Hall on March 7.
MATTHEW SAGE / THE TUFTS DAILY The
TCU Senate meets on March
EPIIC panelists discuss environmental racism, colonization
continued from page 1
The symposium’s first panel, titled “Hidden in Plain Sight: Contending with Race in Global Politics,” featured Robbie Shilliam, professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University; Maribel Morey, executive director of the Miami Institute for Social Sciences; and Rev. Keith Magee, senior fellow in culture and justice at University College of London and a professor of practice in social justice at Newcastle University. The panel was moderated by sophomore Felix Bhattacharya.
Shilliam connected the security dilemma and Black politics by examining the work of John Herz and Ralph Bunche.
“A reconfiguration of security studies to engage adequately with Black politics will take new institutional configurations that implicate publication for funding, training, teaching, professional networking and public and policy engagement,” Shilliam argued. “Adding race to existing theories and methods will be insufficient.”
Morey examined the Carnegie Corporation and the implications of their philanthropy.
“If our goal with knowledge is now going to shape public policy, are we really challenging a white world order?” Moray asked. “As we imagine our work towards a more sustainable global community, which parts of this history do we want to move on from? How can we redefine useful and authoritative knowledge on race for national, regional and global communities?”
Magee spoke next about deconstructing race over the next five generations by deconstructing religion, social science, medicine and eugenics.
“Rather than to teach being an antiracist, let’s spend the
next five generations building something new,” Magee argued.
“How do we create something that’s not about the past but about the future?”
On the second day of the symposium, junior Ava Vander Louw spoke with panelists Marcus King, Michal Mlynár, Cheryl Teelucksingh and Diego Osorio about environmental racism and the climate crisis.
Teelucksingh, chair of the sociology department at Toronto Metropolitan University, began the discussion by speaking about her work on the migration of climate refugees from Western Africa to Canada.
“West Africa, and specifically Nigeria, which is the area that I’ve been interested in, is dealing with depleted soil conditions and deforestation due to the reduced rainfall in the context of ethnic tensions,” Teelucksingh said. “As a result of that, … the majority of the African immigrants coming to Canada right now are of Nigerian descent since 2016.”
Next, King, professor of the practice in environment and international affairs at Georgetown University, spoke about ecological apartheid and the Basel Convention. King explained that the treaty prohibits the dumping of toxic waste worldwide, but many countries still partake in the dangerous practice.
“Ecological colonialism is when northern countries extend their ecological footprint into the global south,” King said. “Of course, this can cause environmental insecurity and lack of resilience. So therefore, the disproportionate impacts of climate change on these countries is an example. It’s not characterized by the direct extraction of resources, like historical colonialism, but it is colonialism.”
Mlynár, deputy executive director of United Nations Habitat, spoke about environmental racism committed by governments, using e-waste as an example.
“According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, each year an estimated 94,000 tons of e-waste worth about $95 million … makes its way from Europe and the United States,” Mylnár said. “When this waste arrives in African countries, for example, it is stripped of raw materials mainly by young children working in poisoned landfills.”
Cormier Smith’s keynote speech, delivered on March 10, began by addressing the debate surrounding American history.
“There is ongoing debate about the need to acknowledge the tragic … parts of our history, including the forced displacement of Native Americans from their lands to a manifest destiny we created in the enslavement of Africans,” Cormier Smith said.
She then segued into the goals and challenges she is contending with such as environmental justice, xenophobia and systemic racism. She elaborated on the global implications of these issues, which extend from the advancement of inclusive democracy to combat structural inequities to confronting the rising tide of hate — including antisemitism, Islamophobia and the encroachment on civil rights — in different parts of the world.
“True democracy hinges on the premise that everyone has a say,” Comier Smith said. “Being a champion for freedom also means meeting this new moment of spreading authoritarianism. We must continue to lead with diplomacy rooted in America’s most cherished democratic values, defending universal human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.”
She also shared the stories and goals that have inspired her to take on this work.
“Maya Angelou once said that none of us can be free until everybody is free,” Comier Smith said. “As a Black American woman who is the descendant of enslaved people, this work is deeply personal to me. We are here because of centuries of people of African descent’s activism and demands for justice and equality. Let us never forget that we stand here on the shoulders of our ancestors.”
The final day of the symposium began with a discussion about the racialization of international conflict. The panelists comprised Professor Monica Toft, director of the Center for Strategic Studies; Savita Pawnday, executive director of the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect; and Andy Knight, professor of international relations at the University of Alberta. Senior Paloma Delgado moderated.
Toft initiated the discussion with a focus on U.S. intervention and the ideology at play behind it.
“I’m concerned about … this hyper-militarization of U.S. foreign policy,” Toft said. “Once we get involved, we tend to escalate our objectives. It’s not enough to go in and rout out the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Right now, we have to think about … nation building. And it turns out regime change is extraordinarily difficult, and we have really hard-core data and evidence that shows that it’s nearly impossible. It has to come indigenously.”
Pawnday spoke about how prevalent ideologies feed into power imbalances. She also described how the concept of the responsibility to protect aimed to change the approach to intervention by focusing on the causes for such action.
“It is a savior complex … to go and save these people without seeing that these people also have agency,” Pawnday said. “What we need to think about is in terms of transformation … when there is an intersection between peace and justice. … All of this requires us to acknowledge the crimes of the past, to honor those victims and to try … through legislative processes, through education systems, through all our institutions to make sure that society develops resilience.”
Knight examined how established narratives in history have contributed to the perception of intervention, shifting the focus from accountability to action without context.
“The Europeans created a global apartheid system where [Black] and brown and Indigenous peoples have been marginalized and treated as less than human,” Knight said. “This civilizational mission was legitimized basically by Western leaders, by philosophers, by capitalists, by churches, by scientists and even some academics who have actually led the charge to create some sort of justification for this inhumanity.”
The panel highlighted how race has influenced long-established ideas about humanitarian intervention and how it distracts from the original source of conflict in formerly colonized states.
“Within this entire neoliberal sense of ‘how do we save people in Africa, in Asia,’ the Western countries have completely denied the first … recorded genocides which were against indigenous populations,” Pawnday said. “The [future] response cannot be security. The response has to be rooted in what the communities want, and how we move forward.”
Somerville Housing Division receives HUD funding to help renters
HOUSING continued from page 1
greatest impact in the area of supportive services, which provide assistance and guidance to those at risk of housing loss and those experiencing homelessness.
“As the City and its residents move beyond the worst of the pandemic and as special pandemic funds are used up, there is an opportunity to look at the service delivery system and make sure it’s working for all members of the community in the most efficient and effective way,” she wrote. “This is an ideal time to examine our system’s capacity for greater coordination among service providers and working to preserve and bolster those interventions that can prevent housing loss in the first place.”
Housing loss is a growing issue in Somerville and Massachusetts at large, where
high rental costs make it difficult for many people in lower income brackets to find an affordable living situation. Massachusetts residents need an income of at least $37.97 per hour to afford the rent for a typical two-bedroom apartment, but the state’s minimum wage is only $15, leaving a significant gap.
To fill that gap, many rely on credit card spending, sometimes known as the “plastic safety net.” However, maxing out a credit card reduces one’s credit rating and can push them further into debt, making it harder for them to get a lease and often disqualifying them from certain employment opportunities.
With employment and credit cards proving unreliable, supportive services are especially crucial, according to Laurie Goldman, a senior lecturer in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and
Planning. One of the services covered by Somerville’s funding is case management, in which service providers work directly with households at risk of homelessness to help them determine their next steps.
“Good case management … is about working with families … to figure out what is their strategy for doing what it is that they want to do to be able to live a comfortable life that sustains everybody in their household,” Goldman said. These services, she said, could be anything from housing search assistance to helping families at risk of homelessness determine what other programs they are eligible for.
“All of that is tremendously, tremendously difficult [to do alone],” she said.
David Gibbs, executive director of the Community Action Agency of Somerville, reinforced this point.
“Once you’ve done that initial stabilization work, case management is about regular follow-ups with that family or household to make sure that things are going smoothly, to make sure that some new issue hasn’t come up that could jeopardize their tenancy, [to] make sure they’re still enrolled for the benefits,” he said. “It’s about the long-term relationship that you have with a household.”
In addition to case management, the funding will go towards services including rental assistance, street outreach, job training and startup costs relating to the money allocated for a new tenancy. More than $160,000 will also fund operating costs and capacity building for nonprofits, given that these organizations are largely responsible for running supportive service programs.
“There is this money to run programs, but you need to have more organizational capacity in order to be able to deliver the programs … [and] apply for the funding,” Goldman explained.
With the Allocation Plan established, the city’s next goal is to receive official approval from HUD. Following this approval, Somerville organizations will have the opportunity to apply for the federal funding.
“I think it’s a fantastic use of the money and I think it can have an appreciable effect in the short term to help stabilize folks and keep them here,” Gibbs said. “Long term, we need more affordable housing. We need better wages for people so they can afford the basics of life. … There’s a host of things long term that we need to pay attention to. But in the short run, this is welcome and should be very effective.”
N E ws 3 Thursday, March 16, 2023 | NEws | THE TUFTS DAILY
what the Isabella stewart Gardner Museum heist means for museums around the world today
by Sam Dieringer Deputy Features Editor
Originally published March 15
Eighty-one minutes. On the night of March 18, 1990, 81 minutes was how long it took two thieves dressed as police officers to steal 13 of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s most prized artworks. The thieves ran away with up to $500 million worth of art, including multiple works by Rembrandt van Rijn, Degas, as well as a painting by the renowned Johannes Vermeer. Above all else, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft is, to this day, the single largest property theft in the world, with repercussions that have reverberated for decades.
Thirty-three years later, the whereabouts of the artworks remains a mystery. Will they ever be found? Who took them in the first place? How have the thieves gotten away with it for this long? For most of these questions, we may never know the answer. What we do know, however, is that the Gardner heist’s legacy lives on and continues to impact museums around the world.
Andrew McClellan, a Tufts professor of history of art and architecture who studies the Gardner Museum, vividly remembers the day of the heist.
“It was a dreadful day. It was actually my birthday. … The scale of it and the audacity of the theft were shocking, but the losses were extraordinary in the sense that the thieves stole some of the most prized objects in the collection,” McClellan said.
McClellan alluded to the fact that this heist remains puzzling due to the seemingly random nature of items stolen.
“They left even more valuable things there too. … It’s strange. It remains a peculiar theft in the sense that it seems almost random in some ways, and yet, so random that it seems targeted,” McClellan said.
Kelly Horan, deputy editor of the Ideas section of The Boston Globe, worked as senior producer and senior reporter for “Last Seen,” a joint WBUR and Boston Globe podcast on the Gardner heist. Horan attempted to explain the “randomness” of the heist through her research on past art heists in the Boston area.
Based on multiple heists in the 1970s of other paintings by the Dutch artist Rembrandt in the Boston area, she asserted that the Gardner thieves were likely commissioned to primarily steal Rembrandt paintings.
“[The Museum of Fine Arts’ Rembrandt] was used successfully as a bargaining chip for
BY BECKY POVILL
an art thief who faced doing a lot of [prison] time for another art theft that he’d committed,” Horan said. “I could see how that would activate the ‘spidey sense’ of criminals, who’d be like, ‘Oh, so Rembrandt is good to steal.’ And it’s always been my theory that the thieves were commissioned by someone else to steal the Rembrandts and that they went in there for the Rembrandts.”
As for the rest of the stolen art, Horan believes the thieves took as they pleased, including sketches by French impressionist Edgar Degas and an eagle finial from a Napoleonic flag display.
“The other things that they stole, to me, suggests that they weren’t so much being selective as freelancing and grabbing stuff that they just liked. … I really believe that one of the thieves liked the Degas sketches
because he spent a lot of time at the racetracks and liked horses,” Horan said. While Horan believes the thieves stole items that drew personal intrigue, she said the nature of art theft rarely attracts thieves that steal art for pleasure. Instead, the art is “fenced,” or sold to buyers around the globe.
see HEIST, page 5
Growing up with technology: s kip the iPads and bring on the robots
by Summer Maxwell Contributing Writer
Growing up, Tufts sophomore Gabriela Perez remembers watching television at home. The shows and movies she watched influenced her perception of different people across the globe as well as a variety of societal concepts.
“TV was, at first, exposure to different cultures. With different Disney movies, for example, my only exposure to Asian characters that I can remember is [from] movies like ‘Mulan’ (1998),” Perez said. “All that then kind of stays with you especially if that’s what you’re seeing when you’re growing up.”
Mass media’s ability to influence children’s perceptions of other cultures and the world around them is just one of the many ways that exposure to technology can affect the developing minds of children. Experts are not new to sounding the alarm on the dangers of technology with research from the National Institutes of Health correlating excessive screen time to thinning of children’s cerebral cortex. Yet there is little consensus on what exactly the best way for children to interact with technology is — or if they should at all.
Introducing technology to children early on in their lives can help them get a jumpstart on understanding digitalization as our world becomes increasingly dependent on it. The key is to make technology an active learning tool rather than static screens used to occupy children that can perpetuate harmful stereotypes. At the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, educators and researchers are working to expose children to technology in a way that is hands-on and engaging.
Julie Dobrow is a senior lecturer in the child studies department and a Tisch College Senior Fellow for Media and Civic Engagement. Her current research focuses on children’s animated television through the Tufts Children’s Television Project, which analyzes characteristics and linguistic features of characters in children’s television with a focus on accents and terminology across race, gender, age and ability.
Dobrow outlined how children’s programming in particular is critical for their social and emotional development.
“While it is always changing, … there are certain things about your identity that form early in life when you start realizing that not everybody looks alike
[and] not everybody comes from the same sort of background,” Dobrow said. “Very young children even start making comparisons between ‘self’ and ‘other.’”
Perez works as a research coordinator for the CTV Project. She further spoke about the strong effects media consumption can have on younger kids.
“Children are so malleable,” Perez said. “They’re just taking in … all the information that they see. So it’s really important to make sure that [TV] is accurate to what the cultures are in making sure that there’s a variety of characters.”
The power of technology to influence how children perceive the world around them can have significant negative effects. According to Dobrow, when the CTV Project started in 1996, the research indicated that male characters outnumbered female characters by a ratio of 6-to-1 in action and adventure shows. Dobrow further discussed the finding that villainous characters were depicted as foreign characters three times more often than American characters.
“One of the things that I’ve heard from students in my classes for many years now is if they didn’t see themselves represented, it was hurtful, it was pain-
ful, and it had consequences,” Dobrow said.
The CTV Project’s results show the harm exposure to television can cause young children, but Dobrow said she is hopeful that the industry is changing.
“There is a lot more diversity than there ever was [previously] in children’s media both because of the number of platforms that are available for kids and also because I think there truly is a recognition out there among many content creators that they need to do different things and do them better,” Dobrow said.
Television is far from the only way children are exposed to technology. At the Tufts EliotPearson Children’s School, assistant teacher Abby Lee sees her classroom as a rare opportunity for kids to get a break from technology. She works in the Rainbow Room, serving students between the ages of 2–3. Lee spoke about why the school avoids using technology in the classroom so kids can focus on building connections interpersonally and with nature.
“[The children] mention [how they would] watch videos on [their] mom’s iPad or … see [programs] on TV and whatnot. But we try with the younger kids to have them more connected
to the natural world, so we have a lot more time outside,” Lee said. “There [are] no screens just so they don’t become vacant stares.”
Olivia Hobert, an enrichment teacher at Eliot-Pearson, spoke to similar experiences hearing from students about their use of technology at home.
“I think it is really nice for kids to have a break from screens because when they go home, that’s kind of all they do,” Hobert said.
Still, Hobert has found ways to utilize technology while teaching. She fosters her students’ connection to technology through KIBO, a screen-free robot. KIBO was developed by former Tufts Professor Marina Bers,and is designed for children ages between the ages of 4–7. Children can tell KIBO to perform different actions by sequencing an order of wooden blocks that KIBO can then scan.
Unlike just staring at an iPad or TV, KIBO is an interactive medium that teaches young students engineering basics. Hobert discussed the advantages of using KIBO.
“I think some of the drawbacks with screen technology
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Stolen artwork continues to leave a mark on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
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“People steal art often as a bargaining chip. It can be used as a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card,” Horan said. “It can be used to barter. ‘I have something you want, give me something I want.’ Very rarely, the research suggests people steal because they just love art.”
According to Horan, multiple theories suggest criminal Bobby Donati, or other members of the TRC Auto Electric gang, such as George Reissfelder, could have been linked to the heist. Other theories suggest that the heist was an inside job, with security guard Rick Abath singled out as the primary suspect. Horan explained that during the heist, no alarm went off in the museum’s Blue Room. Investigators realized that Abath had been the only security guard in that room earlier that night, which led him to be labeled as a suspect.
“It looked super fishy that there was no alarm. … There has long been speculation that there might have been a heist within a heist. … The only person that we know for sure who was in that room that night was Rick Abath,” Horan said.
Even three decades later, the Gardner heist continues to raise questions about art safety and museum security. Jennifer Gee, a second year master’s student in Tufts’ Art History and Museum Studies program, commented on the importance of museums prioritizing both security and atmosphere.”
“Of course, you have to strike a balance between safety and
accessibility in that it’s important to keep our works of art safe … but then on the other hand, you can’t keep entire museums held up like they have the Mona Lisa,” Gee said. “I think that the Gardner Museum’s approachability, the fact that you can still just walk through the museum … and you can get up close [and] see things … I think that’s very valuable to a museum experience.”
McClellan commented on the affordability of museum security and that many museums around the world continue to suffer from theft. However, he asserted that museums like the Gardner are unlikely to be robbed anytime soon.
“There are thefts every week from museums across the world, and it’s on a sliding scale in terms of what kind of security museums can afford. … I think the Gardner Museum now will be very well protected, for sure,” McClellan said. “So, poorer museums, smaller museums, yes, they’re vulnerable and things will get stolen.”
Today, the Gardner’s security is more extensive than it was in 1990, as seen in the expansion of a new modernized wing. Despite these expansions, the core of the museum quite literally remains intact. As part of her will, Isabella Stewart Gardner commanded that no artwork ever be removed from exhibition, let alone moved out of place. As a result, the empty frames from the stolen paintings remain exactly where they were, making for an eerie and dramatic reminder of the event that took place now 33 years prior.
“Any other museum in this country that wasn’t protected by a will of that sort would have covered over the loss. They would have taken down the empty frames. They would have filled the gaps on the wall with things from storage, or they would have bought new things, perhaps,” McClellan said. “One way or the other, they would never have left that physical trace of theft. The Gardner had no choice.”
Isabella Stewart Gardner’s commitment to preserving the integrity of her museum has reigned triumphant over any challenges. Almost 100 years after her death in 1924, many continue to wonder how she would have reacted to the heist that upended her life’s work.
“I mean it would have just been calamitous for her. If she’s somewhere out there in the great beyond, I think that she’s probably still weeping from this loss,” Horan said.
McClellan also shared his opinions on how Gardner may have reacted if she were alive.
“I think that she put so much effort into every detail of that museum,” McClellan said. “After she got over the loss, one could almost imagine her leading tours of the collection and drawing people’s attention to it and telling stories about where she got all the art and all the memories that she had attached to those works.”
Although it’s apparent Gardner would have mourned the loss of her works, experts on the matter agree that she would have done something about it. As McClellan alluded to, the muse-
um carried on Gardner’s legacy by turning the theft into an opportunity — an opportunity for more engagement within the museum.
“However, I think the museum and the world has managed to sort of turn that catastrophe into something of an interesting gain,” McClellan said. “I’ve asked guards, and the guards will say that more people ask about the theft than they ask about anything else, so in a funny kind of twist of irony, the theft has breathed a new kind of life into the place.”
Although the Gardner Museum has experienced a sort of revival based on allure from the heist, the inability to move items on display draws greater questions surrounding the museum’s ability to adapt and keep up with the digital age. McClellan offered a perspective that contrasts this assertion.
“I think one could counter argue that the more saturated our world becomes with reproduced images, the more value singular iconic works have,” McClellan said. “People are drawn to museums; they are drawn to the singular experience of removing themselves from the flow of life and … immersing themselves, in the calm and the sort of ethereal aura of museums and original works of art.”
However, McClellan also equally acknowledged the importance of museums incorporating digital technology and creating more interactive exhibits.
“Museums are taking much better use of computerized
access to information, QR codes and so forth, to make sure that they can find some level of compromise between the sort of image world outside the museum and the images inside the museum,” McClellan said.
Perhaps most importantly, McClellan expressed the importance of museums not only adapting digitally and physically, but also conveying interesting and important untold stories.
“The other thing that museums have to do is to move with the times in terms of what people are interested in,” McClellan said. “Right now, you see a huge emphasis on making museums into vehicles for social justice stories in particular. … So that emphasis on storytelling and using objects … as windows into a revised view of the past, is another crucial element that museums are taking advantage of to stay relevant.”
As for the Gardner Museum, the legacy of the heist and the museum’s ability to adapt to impending innovations, there is a continued sense of optimism and hope and a belief that the museum can outlast any future challenges.
“The Gardner is a very good example of how … people have an idea of [museums] as being musty, forgotten, frozen places that don’t speak to the present, but not so!” McClellan said. “The Gardner is alive and well in its frozen form, in its garden, and in the ways in which it reaches out and meets us in the 21st century.”
Technology can influence childhood development in ways that go far beyond screen exposure
continued from page 4
are just [that] it is kind of mind-numbing,” Hobert said. “With KIBO, [the students] have to physically move the robot and move around the coding block so it gets not just their mind engaged but their body [as well].”
Hobert spoke about the importance of introducing kids to a certain degree of technology.
“I think it is really important to teach kids to use technology in a way that is not just to play games or just something they do at home as a way to pass time,” Hobert said. “It can also be used to teach them things like coding and engineering.”
Conclusions on technology’s impact on children do not have clear-cut answers. It is true that screen time can have adverse effects on children’s development and that media can perpetuate harmful stereotypes. At the same time, technology can be a learning tool to expand students’ minds. When done well, technology can introduce them to different cultures and worldviews.
Dobrow shared how her strategy is to accept technology’s prevalence and not fight it.
“My own personal philosophy is, rather than disparage
media, … we need to harness it in positive ways,” Dobrow said. “As my students will tell you, I am forever talking about
the importance of media literacy, by which I mean making us all into people who can assess media, analyze it and also cre-
ate it in ways that are thoughtful and informed.”
As research continues to be developed, the one idea experts
can agree on is that technology is not going away anytime soon, and children need to be prepared to utilize it.
F E a T ur E s 5 Thursday, March 16, 2023 | FEaTurEs | THE TUFTS DAILY
ELIN SHIH / THE TUFTS DAILY
Eliot-Pearson Children’s School at 105 College Ave., under the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University, is pictured on Feb. 16, 2022.
deconstructing the male gaze at women Take the reel film festival
by Ava Dettling Assistant Arts Editor
Last week, the Daily had the opportunity to attend two screenings of Women Take the Reel, a film festival hosted at universities across the Boston area. Taking place in Barnum Hall, the event showcased two female-directed documentaries, including the award-winning documentary “Brainwashed: Sex-CameraPower” (2022) and the new Half the History short film “Tapping Into Our Past, Tapping Into Our Future: Ayodele Casel” (2022).
“Tapping Into Our Past, Tapping Into Our Future: Ayodele Casel” is co-directed by Tufts’ very own Jennifer Burton, who is a professor of the practice in the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, though she frequently works in the film and media studies department.
In an interview with the Daily, Burton discussed using film as a way to reveal untold history.
Burton began the Half the History project last year with Julie Dobrow, another Tufts faculty member. The project is dedicated to revealing less-known stories of female figures through short-form biographies, films and podcasts.
“Only 18% of the biographies [on Wikipedia] are about women,” Burton said. “We have a long way to go in terms of telling all these incredible stories.”
In the latest installment of the Half the History project, Burton follows dancer and choreographer Ayodele Casel.
by Odessa Gaines Arts Editor
For the 2022–23 academic year at Tufts, the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies has made an effort to produce shows for the “Year of Queer Magic.” Their newest product? “Red Rainbow” (2021).
“Red Rainbow,” written by Azure D. Orsborne-Lee and directed at Tufts by Professor Lily Mengesha, follows the hero’s journey of a young AfroMexican queer woman named Ixchel (Hillary Matos). Set during the COVID-19 pandemic, the story focuses on themes of loss, tradition and life.
After the recent loss of her grandmother, Ixchel is closed off to the world until her best friend, Nathaniel (Baffy Ntiamoah) manages to pull her out of bed and into a heroic quest. Little did they know, exploring the weird, glowing organisms living in Ixchel’s basement was more than it seemed.
Produced by Burton’s production company, Five Sisters and the Tufts Production team, the film explores Casel’s experience as a woman of color in tap dancing.
Casel takes us on a journey of dance, embodying the very figures that shaped the history of tap dancing. Some of the dancers featured include
Lois Bright, Juanita Pitts, Cora LaRedd and many others — all women who laid the groundwork for Casel. Thanks to old footage and savvy editing tech -
niques, the viewer can watch Casel dance right along with these influential figures.
After falling through a trapdoor, Ixchel and Nathaniel find themselves separated in a Mayan-inspired ‘World Underneath.’ With the dead, living and everything in between moving throughout this world, the two have to find each other, face their inner demons and work together to give Ixchel’s Abuela (Sarah Simmons) a proper Mayan burial so her spirit can be laid to rest. Alice in Wonderland” (1933) and part “Dora the Explorer” (2000–19) video game vibes, this adventure seeks to explore another world while centering black and brown queer voices.
Mengesha, the production’s director and visionary, emphasized the need for this story.
“We need more stories that celebrate that Black and Brown queer people live and indeed, can be the stars of a magical world like Red Rainbow,” Mengesha wrote in an email to the Daily.
One way this story came to life was through the costuming. In particular, the ensemble (Max Bennett, Athena Beauty, Victoria Chen, Rowan Cunningham, Rita Dai, Candy Li, Anna Li and Ilana Smaletz) had the most interesting costumes throughout the entire production.
First stepping on stage to funky music and clubbing lights in drag-inspired wear, the ensemble was a breath of fresh air. The costumes continued to elevate the story, making the audience feel immersed in the ‘World Underneath.’ From the network’s moth-like costumes to the Mayan-inspired patterns, the costumes added a whole new level to the show.
Tate Olitt, current junior and costume co-designer for the show, explained the power of these costumes.
“Getting to see the actors perform in costume … really allowed the costumes to fully come to life in all their extrav -
agance,” Olitt wrote in an email to the Daily.
Unfortunately, as an audience member, this production did have a few drawbacks, such as the overall pacing of the show. While the show time rounds out to about 90 minutes, it drags on, especially toward the end. The prologue is quick and to the point, but the final 30 minutes of the show feel unnecessary and slow. Around the 60-minute mark is when we see what should be the conclusion of the show — Abuela finally getting her proper burial and being laid to rest. As the entire ensemble surrounds Abuela and she makes her final exit from the stage, the energy dies down and the urge to rise to your feet for applause is overwhelming. And then, the story keeps going. And going. And going.
This script, in particular, feels as if it was written at several different points in time with different end goals. As an audience member, when
the play first begins you think it’ll be a story about a young woman trying to find her best friend in a magical world but then we get introduced to several small side quests relating to Abuela’s burial. But then Sunface (Luka Zorich) attempts to kill Ixchel and Nathaniel. Then, the show ends with Ixchel revealing herself as the Mayan goddess Ixchel, the Goddess of the Moon. Rabbit skeletal mask and all.
The unfortunate thing is that the script for this production does not live up to its synopsis. While this story arguably can be described as one where our Black, Indigenous and people of color queer leads live to see another day and get a ‘happy ending,’ it means little when the sole indication we get that Ixchel is queer is by a sudden statement she makes about her mother kicking her out for being queer. And just a
w EEKEN d E r THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2023 6 tuftsdaily.com
COURTESY JENNIFER BURTON
Professor Jennifer Burton films “Tapping Into Our Past, Tapping Into Our Future: Ayodele Casel.”
‘red rainbow’: what does it mean to celebrate Black and brown queer joy?
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Women Take the Reel festival deconstructs gender and film
REEL continued from page 6
For Burton, this filming choice was about working with what they know.
“I think that we really are engaging with the material that we know in really direct ways,” Burton said. “When we were talking with Ayodele, so much of it was really about taking these steps and embodying them, and embodying history.”
Casel taps her way through an unseen history, bringing to light both her skill and the skill of those who came before her.
Following the short film came “Brainwashed,” a lecture-turned-documentary directed by Nina Menkes. The doc was adapted from Menkes’ “cinematic experience” lecture, “Sex and Power: The Visual Language of Oppression.” With over 175 movie clips ranging from 1896–2020, the film is a truly visual experience. Through this cinematic exploration, Menkes reveals how ideas of women have become embedded in our culture through the visual grammar of cinema — including lighting, framing, angles and movement — thus contributing to sexual and employment discrimination in the film industry.
Men and women are filmed differently, Menkes believes. These are differences you may not have noticed before, but they are pervasive cinematic techniques. She breaks it down into the simplest of terms: subject and object. Men look, women are looked at. Often, women’s bodies are chopped up by camera framing into fragmented body parts — reducing them to the body parts taking up the screen. If not fragmented, their bodies are on general display for the audience. This effect can be augmented by camera movement, like slow pans along a woman’s passive body.
Lighting also contributes to this distorted vision of women; men are typically depicted in what Menkes calls 3D lighting, putting all their scraggles and wrinkles in full view. Women, however, are placed in 2D, fuzzy lighting, reducing them to picturesque, unblemished versions of humans. Menkes affirms that these filmic traits are rooted in
Saba S. and Jack Clohisy Queeries
the “male gaze,” a term first coined by Laura Mulvey in her 1975 essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.”
The rest of Menkes’ thesis revolves around this concept of the male gaze, which refers to the depiction of women as seen by the male spectator. The film is interspersed with various interviews with women in the industry, including Julie Dash, Eliza Hittman and Mulvey herself — the “original gangster” film theorist, according to Menkes. Mulvey herself admits that she only mentioned the male gaze once in her essay, but “it’s become its dominant memory.” Yet, Menkes continues to employ this concept to show that male and female power dynamics are encoded in cinematic language, affecting women’s place both in front of and beyond the camera.
The documentary shows nearly 200 films throughout its length. One after the other, Menkes breaks down the shot design of fan-favorite films, revealing their sexist connotations.
For Burton, it was this repetition that made the film so effective.
“So often, we’ll get into the complexity of it all,” Burton said. “There was something really powerful to me about just saying, ‘It’s here, it’s here, it’s here.’”
This repetition certainly serves its purpose. By the end of the film, you will understand just how invasive these portrayals are throughout cinematic history.
Many of the scenes surround the subject of desire and sex. Shots are pulled from films like “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999) and “Titane” (2021), which undoubtedly cover matters of sex. When dealing with scenes that surround the topic of desire, they will tend to be shot in a more consistent and predictable way — whether that be slow-motion sex scenes or provocative dancing. Menkes’ point was better proved when she showed film scenes that weren’t inherently sexual in the context of the narrative.
One such example was Brian de Palma’s “Carrie” (1976), whose opening credit scene consists of naked teenage girls prancing around their locker room and taking steamy showers. Not necessarily crucial to the story, huh?
‘Red Rainbow’ centers BIPOC queer joy
RAINBOW continued from page 6
few scenes later, we see her “confront death” via a flashback to the moment when she attempted suicide on her New York City fire escape. Ixchel’s queerness is seemingly boiled down to something harmful to herself and to her family.
Nevertheless, this production found ways to be enjoyable. There is no way to overstate the amount of work, time and passion each and every actor, staff member, designer and crew personnel put into this production. Characters like Farmer (Elias Rodriguez) breathe fun and light-hearted energy into the show. Every time the Aerialist (Ledao Gavaldà) mounted her silks, eyes would widen in fascination — and a bit in fear. Moonface (Kulfi Jaan) most definitely stole the audience’s attention as the show closed out with their enticing vocals.
Overall, as an attempt at telling a story of “Queer Magic” and specifically Black and brown “Queer Magic,” the production fell flat. The source material allowed for much creativity design-wise, but the production failed to create a story that your typical audience member
could watch, understand and continuously engage with.
Still, there is a note of hope.
As Mengesha writes, it remains hopeful that “Red Rainbow” “creates space for Black, Brown, and Indigenous
Menkes explains how female directors also fall victim to sexist film techniques. She explores some who “do it right” and others who she believes contribute to harmful portrayals of women. Julia Ducournau, director of the previously mentioned “Titane,” is pitted against Chloe Zhao, director of the much different “Nomadland” (2020). According to Menkes, Ducournau’s presentation of her female character grinding atop a car made the camera predatory, thus contributing to a predatory culture. Zhao, however, was a mark of real change to Menkes, as her female lead not once stripped and did a sexy dance.
So, who does it right? Why, Menkes herself, of course. Quite unabashedly, she lauds her work as the golden standard of female portrayal. In her films, women engage in sex, but the act is seen as laborious and unenjoyable. In this sense, Menkes subverts the sexualized gaze of women.
The next steps for women in the film industry are left rather unclear. The talking heads briefly discuss how they would reconfigure an objectifying scene from the 2019 film “Bombshell.” But their fixes would simply include increased censorship. While nudity is not always necessary in filmic portrayals of women, the context is ignored yet again here. Desire and sex are undoubtedly important topics to discuss and topics that are not going anywhere anytime soon. To simply say “show less nudity” or “make sex unenjoyable” is reductive and undermines the nuances of filmmaking and desire.
Following the film, Menkes joined the screening via Zoom for a Q&A. Someone asked what Menkes thought the next steps for filmmaking were. Was it establishing a female gaze in cinema? Menkes was quick to say no. She doesn’t believe in all-encompassing blanket terms like that. The female gaze is certainly not something to scoff at, but Menkes’ point was that film portrayals are not about gender but about power.
Burton said it best: “It’s not the camera, it’s who’s holding the camera. It’s not male or female, necessarily. It’s someone who wants to exert power over someone else.”
Drag Me to Tufts
Mark your calendars because Friday, March 31 is International Transgender Day of Visibility. This is an annual awareness day that allows the accomplishments of transgender people to be spotlighted and offers schools and communities an opportunity to create and celebrate more trans-inclusive spaces.
Many schools take this time to go over gender terminology, help students understand pronouns and give a platform for trans voices on their campuses. In the past, student organizations at Tufts have posted resources for students to access and opened dialogues about what this day signifies. 2023 would have been no different if it weren’t for the Tufts University Social Collective and the Tufts LGBT Center’s new program, Drag Me to Tufts.
This event stars RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants Kerri Colby and Raja and will mark the inaugural performance of the Jumbo Drag Collective. This new student group on campus was inspired by Professor Kareem Khubchandani’s Critical Drag class that was offered in Tufts’ Theatre and Performance Studies Department. The course covered the intersectionality of gender, race, sexuality, class and much more when it comes to drag performances and led to the creation of the Jumbo Drag Collective.
This event is inspiring and offers a way for students interested in pop culture to go support their peers who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Understanding drag and taking part in it is an important aspect of the identity of many trans individuals and can be affirming to their gender identity.
Notably, Raja was the winner of the third season on RuPaul’s Drag Race and Colby reached the top 10 of season 14. It is exciting to see campus resources valuing its students by looking for unique and exciting ways to engage with its queer population. Run by both Tufts’ LGBT Center and TUSC, what better way to honor International Day of Transgender Visibility than by bringing in two of the biggest trans and nonbinary stars in contemporary media?
Looking for ways to support the trans community outside of the show? Check out organizations such as the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, The Trevor Project and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute to find more ways to offer assistance and support to the trans community. There are so many ways to get involved, so let’s not stop the support at the upcoming drag show. We can continue to uplift and support trans voices from this point forward.
Tickets go live on TuftsTickets on March 27 at 10:30 a.m., so set your alarms because this is a show you won’t want to miss!
Saba S. is a columnist at the Daily. Jack Clohisy is a senior studying computer science. Jack can be reached at email@example.com.
students to see the theatre as a place for them.”
Without a doubt, this production opens the door for future BIPOC queer theatre at Tufts, and hopefully more is on the horizon.
a r T s & Po P c u LT ur E 7 Thursday, March 16, 2023 | arTs & PoP cuLTurE | THE TUFTS DAILY
VIA NILES SCOTT STUDIOS
scan to listen to our latest episode!
The stars of “Red Rainbow” are pictured.
Fun & Games
Last Week’s Solutions
Julia: “Everyone has to lose their Vermont virginity this semester.”
Difficulty Level: Getting out of bed in the middle of a fake nor’easter
You: a humongous whopping nor’easter that was supposed to sweep me off my feet Me: sad and downtrodden in the freezing pouring rain on a walk to my 9 a.m. When: Chewsday Where: Not Somerville, apparently
You: A 4-foot-tall statue of the red M&M mascot. Me: A man gazing in wide-eyed bliss upon your four feet of plastic glory only to become overwhelmed with disappointment upon reading your outrageous price tag. Someday, sweet prince ... someday. When: This past weekend. Where: Outside an antique store in Vermont.
THE TUFTS DAILY | Fu N & Ga ME s | Thursday, March 16, 2023 8 tuftsdaily.com
F & G
NIGHT AT THE DAILY
Walk away from Walgreens
by Talia Wilcox Staff Writer
I’m currently reading a book called “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus. The story follows chemist Elizabeth Zott through the trials and tribulations of being a female chemist in the 1950s. It’s full of romance, funny stories about parenthood, and stories of misogyny and sexism. Although this novel is set in the 1950s, it seems we are ever closer to reverting back to the loss of women’s rights. Women’s rights and autonomy took a serious hit with the overturning of Roe v. Wade last summer, and last week, Walgreens put women on notice regarding their ability to access medical care as they will not sell the abortion pill mifepristone in 21 states. This decision, prompted by Republican attorneys general, is an extreme show of cowardice by Walgreens. Not only are Republicans interfering with personal healthcare decisions, but this choice has once again made access to abortion much more limited for women who don’t live in urban areas.
by Toby Winick Opinion Editor
Originally published March 13
As the Democratic Party seeks to build upon its historic midterm success from last year, the 2024 presidential election is a particularly important topic. President Joe Biden will likely seek re-election, giving him an incumbency advantage. Yet, with less than a year until the South Carolina primary, the most significant news development has been Marianne Williamson’s decision to run again in 2024.
Williamson is likely not going to be the nominee. She dropped out of the 2020 primary in January after failing to separate herself in a crowded field. Still, she is the first Democrat to enter the race.
I believe that the election of Joe Biden in 2020 has inadvertently put the Democrats at a devastating crossroads regarding their 2024 prospects.
Much of the reason surrounding Biden’s delayed campaign announcement is the significant concern over his electability. His approval rating is currently at only 43.9%. It is standard for presidents to lose popularity as their term goes on, but this figure at this point in his term places him at almost the same level as notably divisive former president Donald Trump and below Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Therefore, Biden’s polling num-
Mifepristone, commonly branded as Korlym or Mifeprex, accounts for over half of abortions in the United States, according to research from the Guttmacher Institute. This statistic is extremely important for women living in a post-Roe world. The Guttmacher Institute also found that in the first 100 days after Roe’s overturning, across 15 states, 66 abortion clinics stopped offering services. Even more shocking, prior to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, this cluster of 15 states only had 79 abortion clinics. Now only 13 clinics remain, and all of them are in Georgia. In the 15 states immediately impacted by the overturning of Roe (including but not limited to Alabama, Texas and Louisiana), only one state is offering abortion services. For women in rural areas, abortion clinics may not be accessible, and pharmacies carrying this drug offer the only local access to abortion. Not only does this political battle mark a victory for Republican legislators asserting more control over women’s bodies, it is a serious step toward
taking away agency over women’s healthcare in general, which could extend beyond abortions. Moreover, we must recognize the reality that when safe abortion procedures are not readily available, the number of women who seek out unsafe and risky procedures may rise — a threat to women we thought Roe v. Wade had eliminated.
Democratic states and legislators are already taking action. California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted on March 6, “California won’t be doing business with @ walgreens — or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk. We’re done.” Newsom’s statement and economic decision toward Walgreens, at a cost of $54 million, marks an emphatic ideological stand against this Republican agenda. Other Democratic legislators are following suit; Democrat Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is leading a coalition of six Democratic senators questioning where Walgreens will distribute abortion pills. States that have already banned medication abortions will not be
receiving distributions of mifepristone, but states that have not banned medication abortions are also affected by this decision. For example, Alaska and Montana will not be receiving this legal medication for medication-assisted abortion because of Republican interference. In a letter to Walgreens, the coalition of Democratic senators wrote, “The refusal to dispense a medication that is legal and safe to patients in need would be a betrayal of your customers, and your commitment ‘to champion the health and well-being of every community in America.’”
Living in a post-Roe world, the closing of abortion clinics and stopping of abortion procedures in many states have already presented extreme challenges for women seeking healthcare. But Walgreens’ decision has threatened abortion in states that haven’t banned the procedure. Republicans have taken a private healthcare issue and politicized it. We should be worried about other pharmaceutical companies following suit and further putting women
The Democrats’ 2024 primary paradox
bers reflect more than general fatigue.
Back in 2020, Biden was elected largely because he was a moderate, well-known candidate, who, to put it simply, wasn’t Donald Trump. His name recognition as former vice president was a significant contributor to why he polled so well. For Democrats, countering one of the most controversial presidents in history with a safe household name seemed to be the correct play. However, it is unlikely that just being good enough will make him a successful candidate four years later.
Biden is merely seen as an adequate leader compared to Trump, and his approval rating has dropped among members of his own party and people who lean Democrat. Only 71% of Democrats approve of his job performance, down more than 20% from two years ago. Despite major policy breakthroughs like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and managing the war in Ukraine, Biden’s age means he has been perceived as physically and mentally unhealthy. This combination of detractions has greatly decreased Biden’s electability in 2024. A plurality of Democraticaligned voters in a CNN poll who wanted to replace Biden said it was because they were afraid he would lose to a Republican in the general election, and the next-largest group simply didn’t want him to be reelected.
Based on these numbers, we can infer that while Biden may
still be good enough to secure some votes, Democratic voters would be more motivated by a younger, more personable candidate who can command the attention of a national audience. The problem is that there is not really anyone in the party who can do so right now. Looking at projections for potential candidates, the top alternative seems to be Vice President Kamala Harris. She is younger than Biden but has struggled with similarly poor approval ratings — largely due to her association with Biden. Despite the fact that the vice presidency is often a stepping stone to the presidency, concerns over Biden’s electability have been conflated with hers.
Examining other rising candidates, a separate issue arises: Biden has already beaten them. Another popular pick is Pete Buttigieg, the current Secretary of Transportation, who made waves for his 2020 campaign as “Mayor Pete.” Ultimately, he stepped down after falling behind Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, eventually endorsing Biden as a fellow moderate. A similar fate met Amy Klobuchar as well as Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke, who withdrew before the primaries. Thus, Biden is still considered the party’s best shot in 2024.
Biden’s election in 2020 has made his succession problem worse. The two avenues that one would look at to determine the next nominee are exhausted.
at increased risk of reduced access to abortion.
Recent decisions taken by Republicans and Walgreens are serious steps away from improving access to essential and legal healthcare. Abortion is healthcare, and this political power play fosters male dominance and puts female lives at risk. Though it may feel like we cannot directly influence the decisions of legislators, we do have economic agency. If we boycott Walgreens, it will send a powerful message to legislators and companies about how we feel about their interference in our healthcare. In most U.S. households, women are doing the shopping. Imagine the political and economic power gained if all people, especially women, refused to shop at Walgreens. Let’s follow Gov. Newsom’s example and boycott Walgreens to stand up to these Republicans and show that we will not stand for this blatant disregard for our healthcare or bodily autonomy. We have a stake in how our healthcare plays out, and we can take economic action to spur a political outcome that returns abortion access to women.
Vice President Harris has proved unpopular and mired in controversy that began with her own presidential campaign, and other contenders have already lost an election to Biden — automatically making them inferior choices. Of course, the party would not be in this position had they not opted for a safe, tenured politician in 2020.
Hindsight is 20/20, but Biden and the Democrats should and must have understood that the 2024 campaign might not be as simple as sticking to the status quo. The long-term goal of nationally
strengthening the party had been sacrificed for the short-term goal of beating Trump, which was arguably possible without Biden due to Trump’s divisiveness. Therefore, the Democratic Party is faced with a paradox: Biden is not liked, it is not known if he should run, but again, Biden is the best choice they have. I would be glad to welcome Biden back into the White House over DeSantis, Trump or Haley, but Democrats need to focus on shifting narratives and innovating both now and in the future to keep the party competitive.
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President Biden is pictured in 2021.
Willow Project exposes urgent need for permitting reform
by Esma Erdem, Maxwell Shoustal and Keshav Srikant Staff Writer, Opinion Editor and Contributing Writer
Originally published March 14
In January 2017, ConocoPhillips, the largest crude oil company in Alaska, proposed the Willow Project — an oil drilling project in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska that will take decades to complete and could produce up to 600 million barrels of oil. Since the proposition, the project has been seeking government consent, and President Joe Biden’s administration recently approved the project on a smaller scale than what was proposed. While Alaska’s Congressional delegation argues that the project will create jobs, boost domestic energy production and reduce the country’s reliance on foreign oil, environmentalist politicians such as Al Gore described the project as “recklessly irresponsible.”
According to the Biden administration’s estimates, the project could produce 278
million tons of greenhouse gasses — which is equal to adding 2 million cars to the traffic — over the course of a 30-year span. The project faces significant opposition from environmental groups and Indigenous communities, as it not only threatens the local communities in Alaska but could also exacerbate the climate crisis. Drilling and construction in the fragile Alaskan ecosystem will negatively impact habitats of endangered or vulnerable species such as polar bears, walruses and caribou. As the proposed location is used by Indigenous communities for hunting and fishing, the project also concerns Indigenous rights. The development of the project would harm their traditional ways of living and cultural heritage.
The extraction, production and consumption of oil all contribute to climate change through the process of burning fossil fuels. Climate change threatens to destroy habitats, reduce biodiversity and potentially cause serious harm to the health of our planet. It is essential to take these environmental consequences into account when developing such projects. Though the Biden administration has approved the
project, they should have been more considerate of environmental factors.
Nevertheless, Biden’s incentives to approve the project are understandable: Drilling more oil will mean the United States is less dependent on oil from notable human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia and Russia. We paid for this dependence dearly when gas prices went up and inflation increased after the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Russia and stopped buying Russian oil. However, the way to achieve energy independence is not by drilling more oil, but by pursuing renewable energy projects, which would create independence without hurting the climate. For more clean and renewable energy to truly take hold in America, though, we need permitting reform.
The idea of permitting rules for projects was largely born with former President Richard Nixon’s signing of the National Environmental Policy Act — a bill meant to stop projects that would hurt the environment. Unfortunately, NEPA is now often used to stall projects for reasons unrelated to the environment. In 2022, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) proposed a bipartisan permitting reform bill. The reform would have placed a time restriction on how long NEPA reviews could last and would have helped the government meet goals laid out in the Inflation Reduction Act. However, the proposal was tanked by right-wing Republicans as retaliation for Manchin’s support for bills like the Inflation Reduction Act and by progressive Democrats who argued it would lead to more pipelines being built. While permit-
ting reform may have led to more pipelines, such as the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia, it would also have cleared the way for many clean energy projects that are stalled due to excessive permitting laws. In fact, 42% of projects stalled by NEPA are related to clean energy while only 15% are related to fossil fuels, according to a 2021 R Street policy study. For this reason, Manchin’s permitting reform was a practical proposal which would have done more good than harm.
One consequence of excessive environmental regulation that Manchin’s bill would have curbed is the Ten West Link transmission line: a high-voltage transmission line project from Arizona to California that was stalled pending regulatory approvals for eight years until this January. In some states, permitting processes go even further. California, for example, has the California Environmental Quality Act, which was based on NEPA. Intended to protect the environment, this law is currently being used by oil companies to block an oil drilling ban in Los Angeles.
Ultimately, it is understandable that there is hesitancy around relaxing regulatory rules because we often think of them as protecting the environment. Still, the data is clear: Such rules do more to stop the type of infrastructure projects required to become an energy independent country and move away from oil than help the environment. As the threat of climate change continues to worsen, it is essential that we pass permitting reform.
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MAY 21, 2023
2 ranked wins propel men’s lacrosse to 4–0 start
by Matt Chen Sports Editor
Tufts men’s lacrosse enters every season with the expectation of success, and the start to this one has been no different. In a four-day stretch that has seen the No. 2 Jumbos face two nationally ranked opponents, Tufts showed grit and poise, allowing them to continue their undefeated start to the 2023 season.
On Saturday, Tufts traveled west to No. 12 Amherst for a showdown with their NESCAC rivals. In a back-and-forth game that saw 44 total goals, the Jumbos came back to Medford with a 23–21 win to improve their record to 3–0 overall and 2–0 in the NESCAC.
It was Amherst who started the game strong, leading 9–6 after the first quarter and leading by as many as five goals in the second.
“Defensively we started off slow, giving up too many shots inside,” senior midfielder Joe Murtha said. “[We] weren’t picking up the 50–50 ground balls, giving them too many opportunities.”
Midway through the second quarter, Tufts began to fight back. A goal from firstyear LSM Ben Frisoli kickstarted a 4–0 run from the Jumbos to close out the first half, heading into the locker room trailing by only a goal.
The second half saw both teams exchange goals until early in the fourth quarter when a goal from senior attacker Tommy Swank to tie the game at 20 started the Jumbos’ game-winning stretch. Goals from senior midfielder Jack Boyden, senior attacker Kurt Bruun and sophomore defender George Panagopoulos ensured the Jumbos would return to Medford with a win.
Despite the slow start, Tufts picked up 18 more ground balls than Amherst and won eight more faceoffs.
“We have at least one or two drills that are dedicated for ground balls every
practice,” Murtha said. “A lot of the times whenever you get more ground balls, you’re gonna end up on top.”
While every team would like to coast through their regular season schedule, that is simply not the case for most. However, playing difficult games like this early in the season has its benefits, namely getting early experience playing against teams with the talent and hunger to compete in the NCAA Tournament come May.
“When you’re playing a team that has the same talent as you, talent means nothing,” Murtha said. “It just puts us in those situations that we will be in at the end of May.”
Back at Bello Field on Tuesday, Tufts faced off against yet another nationally ranked opponent, this time No. 7 University of Lynchburg. Playing in less-than-desirable weather conditions, the Jumbos improved to 4–0 on the season with a convincing 19–4 win over the visiting Hornets.
The Jumbos’ defense stood sound throughout the first half, forcing 20 turnovers and allowing only two goals from Lynchburg to lead 9–2 at the break.
The second half was more of the same, as the Hornets only managed two more goals, unable to find a way to stop the Jumbos’ attack. Brunn had five goals while sophomore midfielder Charlie Tagliaferri added three of his own.
As a team, Tufts outshot Lynchburg 62–21 and forced 40 turnovers. The Jumbos also picked up 57 ground balls to the Hornets’ 25 and won 11 more faceoffs.
In what has become a pattern early on in the season, the Jumbos have seen contributions from players across all four class years. Whether it is a first-year or a senior captain, Tufts has the privilege of having one of the deepest rosters in all of Division III every season.
In the Amherst game, Frisoli and fellow first-years Ethan O’Neill, Victor
Salcedo and Jack Regnery all had contributions logged on the box score, with numerous sophomores getting on the stat sheet as well.
The Lynchburg game saw multiple underclassmen also log contributions in the box score in addition to the established juniors and seniors.
“We have a lot of fresh guys, fresh legs on the bench to throw in there,” Murtha said. “It really makes a big difference going through the third quarter and fourth quarter stretch.”
Tufts men’s lacrosse has become synonymous with success, having won 11 NESCAC titles and three NCAA Division III Championships. The team enters each season with high expectations and while postseason goals are certainly in the players’ minds, Murtha says the team is focused on taking the season one day at a time.
“While we have our goals in the back of our minds, at the front of our minds, we have every opponent,” Murtha said. “We really have to take every single opponent seriously.”
With multiple NESCAC games left in the season as well as some tough non-conference matchups, this Tufts team is certainly not a finished product. Cutting down on mistakes and being disciplined will be key to seeing how far this year’s team goes in the postseason, but if they are able to, we could be seeing yet another successful season for the Tufts men’s lacrosse program.
“Everyone on the team sees the potential that we have,” Murtha said. “But we know we have to work to maximize that potential every day.”
While this coming week is spring break for most Tufts students, the Jumbos will stay busy and travel to New Jersey on Sunday for yet another ranked matchup, this time against No. 20 Stevens Institute of Technology.
Timothy Valk The Wraparound Be bad for Bedard
It’s not often that the race for last is as intense as the race for first, but this NHL season has toppled that trend.
All eyes — owners, general managers, coaches and fans — are on 17-year-old Connor Bedard, the crown jewel of this year’s entry draft. Bedard is considered to be not only the best player in his draft class but also a rare, “generational” prospect. Many believe he is the best since Connor McDavid entered the league in 2015 — and the two of them share more traits than just a first name.
Bedard, a Vancouver kid, plays for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League and started with them after being granted “exceptional player status” by Hockey Canada in 2020, allowing him to enter the major juniors a year early. He recently competed in the World Junior Championships for Team Canada, breaking the Canadian record for all-time points with 36, knocking the great Eric Lindros off the throne. Bedard is a 5-foot10 playmaking center who thrives in all aspects of the game — footspeed, creativity, shooting, defensive instincts, you name it. Dynamite on the ice and a highlight reel goal waiting to happen, Bedard is a bundle of high-end skill wrapped up in one 17-year-old.
It therefore comes as no surprise that NHL general managers have been ogling at Bedard all year, though honestly, some have been ogling since his toddler self was lacing up skates. A look at the current standings shows that Columbus, San Jose, Chicago and Anaheim are in the thick of the loser’s race. With the current NHL Draft Lottery system, where the last-place team only has a 25% chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick, the importance of finishing at the bottom is diminished, but teams will still do everything they can to stack the odds in their favor.
Whichever team plays the ping pong balls right will be adding an immediate superstar to their roster who almost certainly will shape their franchise for years to come. Remember the name: Connor Bedard.
A few other thoughts from around the NHL:
1. Speaking of McDavid, the Oiler has 56 goals and 129 points through 68 games. Video game stuff.
2. Unlike last year when the playoff picture was wrapped up before January, the Eastern wild card race is on! The Penguins and Islanders currently hold playoff spots, but the Panthers, Sabres, Capitals and Senators are all within 7 points of taking those spots. Florida and Ottawa especially have heated up lately — can they catch up with under 20 games left to play?
3. No team has disappointed more than the Calgary Flames this season, who now sit 6 points out of a wild card in the West. Calgary has been too inconsistent and can’t score enough to remain relevant. Old-school head coach Darryl Sutter is popular among management, but could changes be coming to the bench next season?
4. L.A. Kings cup-winning goaltender Jonathan Quick, who was stunningly traded to Vegas by way of Columbus at the deadline has had himself quite the start in Sin City. A 3–0 record and .939 save percentage — Quick is sticking it to the Kings for moving him.
Enjoy this week’s action as the playoff push arrives in full gear!
Timothy Valk is a sophomore studying quantitative economics. Timothy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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COURTESY TUFTS ATHLETICS
The men’s lacrosse team celebrates in their game against Lynchburg on March 14.
Race and the NBA MVP
The NBA MVP Award has always been completely ridiculous. It is the most confusing award ever conceived with zero agreed-upon criteria with which voters can even begin to formulate an opinion. Surely this hasn’t caused any problems over the past few weeks.
While stupid in its own unique way, the NFL at least narrows down the award to basically one position, and so long as a quarterback on a successful team has a solid statistical season, we can all go home feeling like the
world won’t end. This formula of 99% of the league having essentially no chance from the outset is not feasible in the NBA, so league officials have decided on determining a league MVP through rampant subjectivity, voted on exclusively by sportswriters. Now, the NBA must face an unfortunate byproduct that comes with explicit subjectivity: implicit bias.
Kendrick Perkins, a former player and influential pundit, lobbed accusations that Nikola Joki ć — a white player from Serbia who has won the last two MVP awards — is being artificially boosted in this year’s MVP debate by racism among voters.
Perkins backed up this claim with two lies and a truth, correctly stating that the last three MVP winners to not finish top-10 in scoring were white but falsely asserting that 80% of voters
are white and that Jokićć pads his stats to appear better than he actually is.
Perkins, who by all accounts is a wonderful guy to work with, was quickly rebutted by J.J. Redick, a former player, who said that Perkins was mischaracterizing the situation by falsely implying that white voters favor white players.
Their conversation, which aired on ESPN’s “First Take” — one of the most infuriating shows in existence for those of us who still appreciate thoughtfulness in sports commentary these days — has been all over the news spectrum. Fox News articles painted Perkins as being a racist himself while HBO’s Bomani Jones defended Perkins and warned Redick that his rebuttal had won him support from people he probably would rather not have on his side. The next day, ESPN
ended up issuing a correction for Perkins’ 80% claim.
Talking about race and sports is always difficult but becomes utterly impossible when nuance and facts are removed from all sides of the argument. Perkins’ claim that Jokić may be buoyed by racism in voting is not by definition wrong, and Redick should not have dismissed it out of hand. Racism is so pervasive in America that it would be hard to imagine it does not play any role in the MVP conversation.
Perkins’ mistake was not his initial claim but that he made things up to support it. The NBA does not publish demographic information about voters, but ESPN’s internal review found it was significantly more diverse than Perkins had suggested. And, anyone who has ever watched Jokić play knows also that he does not stat-pad but is rather a
genius at exploiting floor spacing with incising passes and superhuman vision.
Why did this conversation around race quickly devolve into an on-air yelling match? It is a fascinating question to ask and gets to the crux of why I started this column in the first place. We should be having these discussions, but we should be having them in good faith. I don’t know who is going to win the MVP — if I had to vote today, it would probably go to Giannis Antetokounmpo, who just eviscerated the Kings with a 46-point masterclass — but let’s have every uncomfortable conversation necessary. Hopefully, then we can figure out what it even means to be the NBA MVP.
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Oliver Fox is a sophomore studying history. Oliver can be reached at email@example.com.