THE TUFTS DAILY
Thursday, March 13, 2014
VOLUME LXVII, NUMBER 35
Where You Read It First Est. 1980
Tisch College dean receives service award by Victoria
Daily Editorial Board
Dean of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service Alan Solomont (A ’70) during a Feb. 21 Pentagon ceremony received the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest civilian honor awarded by the United States Navy. Solomont was presented with the award by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who had first notified Solomont last summer that he was to be honored when he returned to the country after serving as a U.S. Ambassador to Spain from 2009 to 2013. “I was speechless,” Solomont said. “I really was. I was blown away. It was such an incredible surprise and honor.” Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Admiral James Stravridis and Solomont’s wife Susan Lewis Solomont (G ’81) attended the Pentagon ceremony. “The ceremony itself was very moving, and [was] presided over by the Secretary of the Navy himself, the Honorable Ray Mabus,” Stravridis told the Daily in an email. “He spoke about Ambassador Solomont and his work in Madrid, and before the ceremony he hosted a personal and intimate lunch for the ambassador and his wife, Susan.” At the ceremony, Mabus recognized Solomont for his work on a key military agreement with Spain. According to Solomont, the plan included stationing
U.S. Navy destroyers in southern Spain as part of a missile defense shield for all of Europe to protect against ballistic missiles from rogue nations like Iran and North Korea. “We worked closely together on ensuring that our Spanish allies would invite us to permanently ... station four ArleighBurke Aegis Destroyers in Rota, Spain,” Stravridis said. “This required exceptional diplomatic skill on the part of Ambassador Solomont, who was the leader of this vital effort.” Solomont explained that his interest in public service began during his own time as an undergraduate at Tufts. As a student during the 1960s, Solomont said he saw issues such as the Vietnam War and civil rights struggles politicized on campus. “[I] began to realize that we have responsibilities beyond ourselves, and we can really influence big issues by banding together,” he said. “When I left Tufts, I was a community organizer for a bunch of years. Even though I’ve done a bunch of different things in my life, the one consistency was being engaged both in politics, but also [doing] other kinds of community work.” According to Solomont, about one-third of the U.S.’s ambassadors are not Foreign Service officers, but citizen diplomats, a category into which he would place himself. see SOLOMONT, page 2
Courtesy Ohio Fair Food
Senior Nate Pelz and junior Diane Adamson march near Wendy’s flagship restaurant in an effort to get the company to sign the Fair Food Agreement.
Student protest encourages Wendy’s to sign Fair Food Agreement by Justin
A group of 10 Tufts students traveled to Columbus, Ohio, last weekend to protest the fact that Wendy’s has refused to sign the Fair Food Agreement. According to junior Diane Adamson, one of the Tufts organizers, the event was part of a larger campaign by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and its affiliate group, the Student/ Farmworker Alliance (SFA). “The leaders of the organization are farm workers, in Daily Editorial Board
JumBonnaroo performances raise funds for Relay for Life by
Daily Editorial Board
Relay for Life raised $4,838 last weekend during JumBonnaroo, an event that spanned Thursday
through Saturday nights and incorporated six fraternities. Two fraternities hosted ticketed parties each night with musical performances by Tufts students, which created
Courtesy Jay Dodd
a music festival-type atmosphere, according to Special Events Co-Chair for Relay for Life at Tufts Benjamin Silver. “Every night we wanted to give people two different options,” Silver, a sophomore, said. “People were offered two very different kinds of party experiences and could go between them. It’s kind-of like a music festival where you have an eclectic collection of music and people go between stages.” In the past four years, Relay for Life has hosted Party for Life in November, Silver said. The event typically lasts three nights and raises around $2,000. JumBonnaroo altered Party for Life this year by highlighting Tufts talent with student bands, rappers and DJs, and bringing together twice as many fraternities, Silver explained. “Basically, I wanted to rebrand Party for Life,” he said. “[I wanted to] move the focus away from the drinking culture and re-brand it as a music festival.”
Relay for Life raised nearly $5,000 last week during a series of musical performances at six fraternities.
Inside this issue
see RELAY, page 2
particular tomato pickers, who came together to improve their working conditions and created a program called the Fair Food Program,” Adamson said. “[Through this program] they pressure corporations that are major buyers of tomatoes, [like] Walmart and McDonald’s, to sign on to this agreement, which includes one more penny ... that goes directly to the workers for every pound of tomatoes that they pick.” According to Adamson, the program, through a third-party monitoring agency, ensures that
the workers are paid acceptable wages. She explained that Wendy’s is one of the only large corporations that has not signed the agreement. “The whole purpose of the series of events was to put pressure on Wendy’s to sign the Fair Food Agreement because they’re really the last hold out in terms of major fast food corporations ... McDonald’s has already signed, Chipotle is on [and] Taco Bell is on,” Adamson said. “There are really 11 multibillion dollar see PROTEST, page 2
Hillel promotes reading for local children by Sarah
Daily Editorial Board
Around 800 children and their families from the Medford and Somerville area attended the 14th annual Hillel-sponsored Read by the River event last weekend. According to Alexandra Zeitouni, a member of the Read by the River committee, the students, aged pre-Kindergarten to the fifth grade, were encouraged to read books and complete book reports for the event. On Sunday, volunteers spoke to the children and asked them questions about the books they had chosen. “The initiative is really to improve literacy in young students in the area,” Zeitouni, a junior, said. As a reward for completing their book reports, children received free books donated by Random House and movie passes to the Somerville Theater in Davis Square, according to Hillel Program Director Lauren Bloom. Student organizations and outside groups also hosted booths at the event, in line with this
year’s carnival theme, according to Bloom. In total, there were 26 Tufts organizations, including Theta Delta Chi, Alpha Phi, Tufts Literacy Corps, Engineers Without Borders, Shir Appeal, Her Campus at Tufts and Hillel, as well as five outside organizations, including the Somerville Fire Department and the Somerville and Medford Public Libraries. Activities such as face painting, bookmark making and hangman were featured at the booths, and there was even a stand that allowed kids to construct a bridge out of marshmallows, according to this year’s Read by the River chairs, Kara Goldstein and Jeremy Gross. “The kids really seemed to take advantage of all of the booths that were offered and spent quality time at all of them,” Bloom told the Daily in an email. Over 100 Tufts volunteers helped out at the event, and University President Anthony Monaco also made an appearance, according to Goldstein and Gross. see HILLEL, page 2
The Department of Music will hold an all night music festival on March 28 in Granoff Music Center.
Tufts alumnus recently publishes his second book, in which he explores bad sex, humor and writing.
see FEATURES, page 3
see WEEKENDER, page 5
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The Tufts Daily
Stavridis: Solomont is ‘superb diplomat,’ ‘exceptional patriot’
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“When I was nominated to be ambassador, and I had to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as part of my confirmation, [and] I said to them, ‘I come before you at an auspicious moment in our country’s history when the President and the Congress have asked ordinary citizens to roll up their sleeves to solve the problems of our communities, the nation and the world. I come before [you] as one of those citizens, nothing more and nothing less.’ What I was really saying is, ‘I’m a citizen-diplomat,’” Solomont said. “This was actually the only time in my life when I did full-time public service as my work. I’ve done a lot of things on a volunteer basis, but this was a very special experience.”
Caroline Geiling / The Tufts Daily
Dean of Tisch College Alan Solomont on Feb. 21 received the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Secretary of the Navy.
Solomont said that he was honored to receive the award from someone he has gotten to know personally. Mabus and Solomont met through a mutual friend in the Boston area, and Solomont said that Mabus visited him while he was serving in Spain. “We just took to each other,” he said. “[Mabus] happens to be an incredible human being and an incredible public servant. I [had] a deep affection for the man and an admiration to begin with, and then he calls me and tells me that [I was receiving the award] and that just blew me away.” Concluding his speech at the Pentagon ceremony, Solomont expressed his extreme gratitude. “I am deeply honored to receive this award for Distinguished Public Service,” he said in his remarks. “I accept it with great humility and as a sign that [I] have joined the community to which most of you already belong. And with that membership comes the responsibility to value our men and women in the armed forces, in the Foreign Service and throughout our government — to support them and to tell their story to the rest of America.” While he insists that he was simply doing his job, Solomont said that the opportunity to fully engage with the public and a desire to collaborate with others is what led to his successes. “I’m enormously flattered to be recognized,” he said. “I know that what we did was important, but it was a team effort. I think what I learned in my service is what incredible work our Foreign Service does, our embassies do overseas and our men and women in uniform do. I don’t think I had any full appreciation for [what] the work they do [means] to our security and our prosperity. This made me feel a part of that community, which feels very good.” Stravridis said that the award is an incredible recognition and one accurately bestowed on Solomont. “In any given year, there are only a few individuals so recognized,” Stravridis said. “This award is a very high honor indeed and richly deserved by Ambassador Solomont, [who is] a superb diplomat and an exceptional patriot.”
Organizers hope to host similar event next year
continued from page 1
Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp), Zeta Psi, Alpha Tau Omega (ATO), Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), Delta Upsilon (DU) and Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) each hosted one party for the event, Silver said. “It really incentivized the fraternities to want to participate because all the money that was raised was then divided and given back to the fraternities for their Relay for Life team[s],” ATO Philanthropy Chair Gracie Peck, a sophomore, said. Silver said that event organizers sold 550 tickets as either one-night or threenight passes. The JumBonnaroo crowd included students who typically do not attend fraternity events, according to SigEp Philanthropy Chair Sam Berzok. “We definitely noticed a different crowd than we usually have at our parties,” Berzok, a sophomore, said. “We are trying to make an inclusive environment out of a philanthropy event.” Peck agreed that there was a different atmosphere at JumBonnaroo than typical fraternity parties. “With a live band there is a really nice atmosphere,” she said. “Everyone is having a great time listening to the music and dancing.” The event also gave Tufts musicians and performers a chance to showcase their talent to the community, according to Silver, who promoted the artists on the JumBonnaroo Facebook event page with links to their music and information about booking. For senior Andrew Berman, DJing at Zeta Psi on Thursday night was his first time performing at Tufts in two years. “I’m getting picked up by a booking agency right now, so I’m going to have to start playing a lot,” Berman said.
“This was a good opportunity to get back into it.” In addition, the collaboration of the six fraternities promoted inter-Greek unity on campus, Silver said. “The more we can collaborate and connect, the better off we will be and the more good we can do,” he said. Berzok agreed that Relay for Life is the perfect opportunity to promote interGreek collaboration on campus. “Almost every chapter on campus gets involved with Relay for Life,” he said. “I think that is a huge uniting factor. It wasn’t artificial.” The annual Relay for Life, which raises money for the American Cancer Society, will take place this year on April 11 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. “Relay for Life is a great community event that brings together people who have had experiences with cancer or know people with cancer,” he said. “It is a great way to honor survivors and people who have passed away, and it is also a lot of fun.” Silver said that, overall, JumBonnaroo was a success, and he hopes to host a similar event again next year with additional nights to include more fraternities and musicians. He also suggested that in the future, Relay for Life could host an event similar to JumBonnaroo each semester, rather than only in the spring. “I think the fact that we had things going on every night that weekend really elevated Tufts’ nightlife for a lot of reasons,” he said. “There were a lot of different kinds of talent and we brought out a lot of people who don’t regularly go out to these kinds of things. We had all kinds of scenes. There was definitely something for everyone, and everyone had a lot of fun.”
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Students rally behind farm workers PROTEST
continued from page 1
corporations that have already signed the Fair Food Agreement, which has created huge changes in Florida for these farm workers ... It’s not really a question of whether or not Wendy’s is going to sign ... but a question of when and how much pressure that we need to put on them.” According to Wendy’s spokesperson Bob Bertini, the restaurant chain believes its practices already ensure workers are treated fairly. “We do not believe it’s appropriate for us to compensate individuals who work for another company,” Bertini told the Daily in an email. “Because of our high standards, we already pay a premium to our tomato suppliers in Florida, and we expect them to compensate and take care of their employees. The harvesters work directly for them, not us.” He also explained that all of Wendy’s tomato suppliers are signatories of the Fair Food Code of Conduct. According to Adamson, however, the decision of Wendy’s CEO Emil Brolick is hypocritical. “Ironically, [he] was CEO of Taco Bell when Taco Bell signed the Fair Food Agreement back in 2005 and, at that time, [he] issued a statement saying that in order for the Fair Food Agreement to work, other corporations needed to sign on,” Adamson said. “He basically put out this whole statement about how they were being a leader in fast food and how everyone else needed to participate, but now that he is CEO of Wendy’s, he’s refusing to sign and essentially contradicting his own words.” Nearly 800 activists, including students, farmworkers and families, gathered in Ohio, according to Adamson. She said the weekend of events included a candlelight vigil to celebrate International Women’s Day, a concert and dance at a Columbus church, as well as a march to Wendy’s flagship restaurant near the corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ohio. Protest attendee Margaret Young said the weekend was well-organized and a great experience.
“The mood of the whole thing was so cheerful and optimistic,” she said. “Compared to other protests, to me this is not a contentious issue ... Everyone was there in solidarity ... Nobody was there trying to detract and get angry.” The Tufts students who attended the protest were members of a variety of different student groups, including Tufts Labor Coalition, United for Immigrant Justice, the First Generation Student Council and the Tisch Scholars, according to Adamson. While the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate provided the groups with $1000 of funding, attendees paid $125 per person for a train and bus they shared with other university students. Student participation was especially important because of the role they play as consumers, Adamson said. “With Taco Bell in , the Student/ Farmworker Alliance started a campaign called Boot the Bell where, especially at major universities that had fast food on their campus, students lobbied successfully to cut the contract of Taco Bell at their universities until they signed the Fair Food Agreement,” Adamson said. Nevertheless, Adamson credited the farmworkers for leading the campaign and said that the students are simply following along. “It’s really important for any talk of the food movement to include discussion and action about labor and about the workers who so often go unmentioned in those conversations about changing the food system,” she said. “Farmworkers are the major speakers, farmworkers walk in the front, farmworkers set the agenda ... Students are not there to save them — we’re just there to support and to learn.” Adamson described the protest as “rejuvenating” and said it proves that anyone can create change. “People who are thought of as being disenfranchised, through work and determination over a very long period of time, have successfully pressured corporations into changing some of their most fundamental policies,” she said. “It’s amazing.”
Tufts organizations collaborate to encourage reading HILLEL
continued from page 1
“We felt great about it,” Goldstein, a senior, said. “It really just was a smooth, fun day for all of us, and the board worked really hard this whole year to make sure it was as seamless and easy as possible ... It was something that organically grew into a fun and open environment for the children.” There was also a carousel structure that was built entirely from scratch for the event, Goldstein added. According to Zeitouni, participants were particularly excited by New England Patriots’ cornerback Logan Ryan’s attendance of the event. “Logan Ryan was also a huge hit,” Bloom said. “He was kind, smart and engaging and incredibly patient as he signed autograph after autograph.” Goldstein and Gross explained that one difference in this year’s Read by the River event was the creation of a tutoring program at the Arthur D. Healey School in Somerville. They said that they hope that both the tutoring program and the
event continue to expand and reach even more children. “It’s cool to kind of see the event transform over the years,” Goldstein said. “Lauren [Bloom] introduced us to a former Read by the River member who is older and came to the carnival with his young daughter. It’s really ... interesting to think about how it might come out in another 10 years.” Gross added that the engagement between the student volunteers and the children was important in getting the children excited about reading. “We got a few emails from parents who told us that the event has become a staple that they look forward to every year,” Gross, a senior, said. Bloom explained that Tufts Hillel is committing to expanding contributions to the school’s host communities. “The Jewish tradition has stressed the importance and impact of literacy, and we thought a lot about how to promote skills that would advance education and opportunity for all,” Bloom said. “It made sense for ‘the people of the Book’ to promote reading.”
Courtesy Kara Goldstein
Members of the Read by the River committee celebrate another successful event this past weekend.
Eva Batalla-Mann | Valuable Delusions
Raise a Spoon
Nicholas Pfosi /Tufts Daily
On March 28, Granoff will host various musical acts throughout the night, including performances by Tufts Wind Ensemble.
Department of Music seeks to unite on-campus music groups by Sophie
Daily Staff Writer
Following spring break, students and faculty members alike will gather in the Granoff Music Center to participate in Tufts’ first-ever all night music festival. The event aims to provide students from both within and outside the music department with performance opportunities and to give students exposure to other oncampus artists with whom they may not yet be familiar. “[The festival] is a celebration of campus music,” Professor and Chair of the Department of Music John McDonald said. “We haven’t done that as purposefully before [with previous music department affiliated events].” Danna Solomon, the organizer of the Granoff All Night Music Festival and a staff assistant in the Department of Music, described the goals of the program, which will be held on March 28. “We have been trying to unify music at Tufts ... for the past couple of years,” Solomon said. “We were really looking for something unique to put on with our resources ... [We] conceived of the event as a way to bring music on campus together because I think that people [consider] the Tufts music scene and the Tufts music department [to be] very separate entities.” Solomon said that there is room for improvement in the relationship between the music department and the on-campus music scene. “I’m hoping that [this event] will redefine us in some ways,” Solomon said. “I think a lot of people don’t feel that the music department necessarily supports the music scene at Tufts.” This event will give students the opportunity to use Tufts facilities to perform — something which is not always possible for those who are uninvolved in the music department. The Granoff Music Center, which opened in 2007, features state-of-theart performance spaces, most notably the Distler Performance Hall, according to McDonald.
Those planning the event hope to take full advantage of the music center by having acts stationed throughout the building. “Obviously, the music department is an academic department, so we can’t support absolutely every [student musical group],” McDonald said. “We have limited space. This is a night where there are ... fewer limitations.” Junior Maeve Bell-Thornton, who is one of the students who helped to plan the event, also remarked on how the festival will bring increased attention to the Tufts music scene. “The music department, as this [all night event] shows, is really interested in reaching out to more of the student body,” Bell-Thornton said. She also noted that not all Tufts students are currently aware of the music department’s diverse resources and programming. “There are a lot of really great free concerts and performances that are offered,” she said. “I don’t think people are really aware of the music scene here.” Junior Gabe Rothman, who is performing in multiple acts at the event, echoed that sentiment. “I think our music department is a little underrated,” Rothman said. “I think the people that are involved in the department are really committed and really love the professors that they work with.” “A lot of the [department’s] concerts are very under-attended,” he added. “I think that a lot of people don’t really know a lot of the different groups that are going on ... [and] this [event] is kind of a way to bring some sort of attention to [the department] and show [the] campus that we have a pretty awesome music department ... and there are some cool things going on.” Since the opening of the Granoff Music Center, the department has strived to act as a resource for both students and the local community. The Community Music Program offers music classes for local children and teenagers on Saturdays, workshops with community musicians and a regular Community Concert series every
Sunday. Most recently, Tufts Symphony Orchestra performed works from Beethoven, Bernstein and Shostakovich at the series. All of the festival participants are affiliated with Tufts, and the event will also include performances by faculty members and graduate students. “The final count for number of acts was something around 40 ... it [is] pretty extensive,” Solomon said. “We ended up having to shuffle the way that we wanted to present the music so we weren’t running until 6 a.m.” According to Solomon, performances will range in size from large ensembles, like the Tufts Wind Ensemble, to solo and duet acoustic acts. The festival’s schedule was designed to maintain variety throughout the night., and though students may come solely to see a specific act, they are encouraged to stay and make their own discoveries. “We’re hoping that people stick around and drum until the sun comes up,” Solomon said. The event will feature fundraisers to help student musicians perform outside of Tufts and go on tour. Entrance to the event, however, will remain free of charge. “A lot of Tufts students go on tour, but not all of the students can afford to travel,” Solomon said “We try to offer some scholarships, but we’ve recently lost a lot of the funding. We will be selling raffle tickets at the event, and we’re also securing a lot of sponsorships from local institutions.” Although its focus is on music, the all night festival will also feature some non-musical acts. “We got Cheap Sox [Tufts’ improvisational comedy troupe] to [agree to] perform,” Bell-Thornton said. The event’s inclusion of different performers from across the university marks an effort to unite all aspects of the Tufts music and a new era for the music department. “We’ve never done anything quite like it before,” Solomon said. “The [music department] has done large-scale events, but nothing ... like this.”
he sun! I think I had forgotten what it felt like. The last few days have been a beautiful melange of above 30-degree bliss. The snow starts to melt and the short shorts and Vibram FiveFingers shoes are whipped out, creating a flurry of excited and very pale individuals. Davis Square becomes littered with people in the afternoons, centered around a quirky girl with a Zooey Deschanel haircut playing Alt-J songs on the ukulele. Words like “spring,” “rejuvenation,” “frolic,” “rebirth” and “ice cream” come to mind. The minute the weather starts to change I feel the need to make ice cream, a common spring and summer activity in my family. One of my dad’s claims to fame is picking up an expensive Simac il Gelataio 800 (some people know car models, but I’m not one of them) model ice cream machine at the thrift store for just a few bucks. The thrift stores in my town are home to many hidden treasures. Whether you find a sacrificial Aztec knife or an Italian ice cream machine, it’s usually a good day at the thrift store. The Italian beauty quickly became a new member of our family to make the scorching Ojai summers of endless 100-degree days more bearable. This is when we began to test the bounds of what could be made into ice cream or sorbet. We tried peaches from our tree, fresh mint, watermelon, strawberries and, of course, margaritas — a couple scoops of margarita sorbet and the heat doesn’t seem so bad after all. The meditative hum of the “little ice cream machine that could” is the sound of summer, the little plastic blades gyrating as the liquid becomes cool, creating small ice crystals — the key to making it so smooth. During the summer, the machine makes the rounds between different family friends’ houses and is used as the centerpiece of dinner parties. It’s “the sisterhood of the traveling ice cream machine.” It’s like “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” (2005), but there’s much less teen angst when you don’t have to worry about all fitting into the same pair of pants. The ice cream machine is always a good talking piece, and it brings people together. It takes a village to make a good batch of ice cream. And that’s when the creativity comes in. You don’t need to go to a hipster ice cream shop in Berkeley to get exciting strawberry balsamic or orange rosemary ice cream. Look around and take a risk. Maybe it will be gross, but you could also have invented the new salted caramel — a fad that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Summer is the perfect season for this practice because there is time to hone your craft and take pride in it. It’s the perfect time to refuse to revert to the convenient option, but instead choose one that will bring you closer to your food and the people you are sharing it with. It’s like a mini slow food movement in your own backyard, raising a spoon to the cornerstones of caring, cultivating and connecting. Ultimately, as Alice Waters, president of Slow Food International, says on their website, “our everyday meals can anchor us to nature and the place where we live.” I’m probably totally jumping the gun and today is going to be the next Blizzard of ‘78, but a girl can dream. After this long winter, summer just seems like the echo of a Jack Johnson song. I guess we just have to take it one day at a time, and with each rising degree know that we are closer to a bowl (or cone) of bliss.
Eva Batalla-Mann is a sophomore majoring in peace and justice studies and community health. She can be reached at Eva. Batalla_Mann@tufts.edu.
The Tufts Daily
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Weekender Arts & Living
Tufts alumnus releases new book ‘What’s Important Is Feeling’ Wilson talks bad sex, writing and black humor
Wilson’s new book addresses “Soho aliens” and the “posers” that populate New York City.
dam Wilson (LA ’04) has garnered enough critical acclaim and literary merit over the past two years to turn more than a few heads. A regular contributor to The Paris Review and a finalist for the National Jewish Book award, he has had work published in Tin House, Meridian and “The Best American Short Stories 2012” — to name only some of his many accolades. The writer and Tufts alumnus has published two books. His debut novel, the tragicomic “Flatscreen” (2012), chronicles the life of Eli Schwartz, a lackluster high school graduate navigating suburban malaise, drug-addled entropy and the loss of authentic identity in the cultural fallout of the modern entertainment industry. His most recent publication, the short story collection “What’s Important Is Feeling,” has just been released in bookstores.
of time — or having the motivation to write at all, for that matter — requires a particular disposition. “You have to have an incredible amount of narcissism,” he said. “You have to be able to tell yourself, ‘These characters are so important [that] the rest of the world needs to know about them.’” This, he says, is coupled with deep selfloathing and a brutal inner-critic (and, of course, plenty of coffee). It’s not difficult to imagine this as Wilson’s modus operandi. Many of his protagonists tend to be hapless individuals: laid-off investment bankers wandering New York, two OxyContin addicts attempting to spice up their sex lives with a live lobster, a bandleaderturned-corporate-sellout reminiscing over his twisted first love. They are people who subsist on the fringe of society, oscillating between self-loathing and the need to carry on with life. What’s remarkable then is Wilson’s ability to make the drab, noxious minutia of these people’s lives so incredibly humorous.
On writing Surprisingly, writing wasn’t Wilson’s first career choice. “Mostly, I wanted to be a baseball player,” he said. “But that dream ended at age 12. Then I wanted to be a rock star, but then that sort of petered out.” He concluded that writing, “honestly, was the only thing I was any good at.” Written over a 10-year span, several of the stories in “What’s Important Is Feeling” were written during the same period as “Flatscreen.” When asked if he subscribed to some ritualized method to guarantee productivity — something several writers claim to do — Wilson said he didn’t follow any particular regime. Commenting on a writer’s ethic more broadly, he claimed a simpler tactic. “You’ve got to be somebody who’s willing to wake up every morning and write,” he said. “You have to be able to finish something. And that takes incredible amounts of work.” He speculated that having the motivation to write over such an extended period
The dark laughs “What’s Important Is Feeling” toes the line between comedy and grief, and it is this combination that makes the book so appealing. Wilson has been lauded for his ability to effectively achieve this delicate balance, and it is something that he has a great deal of interest in himself. “I’m a big fan of Louis C.K.,” he said. “He’s constantly playing with the line between what’s funny and really sad.” The influence is clear: Wilson, who is the recipient of the 2012 Terry Southern Prize for Humor, is constantly conjuring black comedy from the bleakest corners of his characters’ lives. Coupled with his rapid-fire prose and forthright tone, the stories are lucid to the point of hilarity, much like the titular story, “What’s Important Is Feeling,” in which a chiggers-infested movie set is waylaid by its impossibly pompous writer and vexed production crew. “The director, Andrew Solstice, had lost interest,” Wilson writes. “He spent most of
Anthony Martinez Daily Editorial Board
Courtesy Adam Wilson
Author Adam Wilson has a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts and a Masters of Fine Arts from Columbia University.
his time trying on cowboy hats, posing in the hair/makeup mirrors, and blowing residue from his finger gun.” This is to say nothing of the inimitable confrontation between the writer and the set’s animal wrangler, regarding whether the movie’s cat can be guaranteed to “smell death” in the climactic final scene. When asked if he thought people undervalued literature’s comedic power, Wilson responded that he believes they often do. “People underestimate literature’s capacity for anything,” he said. What is both brilliant and difficult about black comedy is its ambivalence — its ability to remain simultaneously sad and funny. Wilson clearly recognizes that many struggle with this dichotomy. “Humorous books often aren’t taken as seriously as less funny books are,” Wilson said. “This may be part of the great American problem of genre delineation — everyone’s very quick to categorize.” It’s difficult to imagine anybody not finding the book hilarious. Beyond the more sophisticated instances of humor, there are plenty of belly laughs sprinkled throughout the stories. Not least among these are the sexual frustrations of Wilson’s characters. When asked if he simply found sexually-frustrated characters more entertaining to write about, Wilson aptly pointed out that nobody cares that much about a lady-killer and that, almost indubitably, bad sex is funnier than good sex. What’s at stake Many of the stories in “What’s Important Is Feeling” are presented as warped coming-of-age tales. Likewise, “Flatscreen” is about the pitfalls of entering adulthood and the ways in which people cope with its ensuing disappointments. “They’re coming-of-age stories about people who have already received the coming-ofage stories,” Wilson said. “We’re a generation that’s in a particular predicament where we’ve all seen this movie where the guy leaves while the perfect song plays and disappears into the distance ... It’s a false happy ending.”
bropho via Flickr Creative Commons
In regard to his own fiction, Wilson felt that, “the characters are stuck with the fact that life ends up being a lie, and they have to figure out what it’s going to be.” Much of Wilson’s fiction deals with the way in which people are increasingly becoming subsumed in performances of themselves rather than dealing with who they really are or attempting to substantiate their fractured identities. In “The Long In Between,” a short story from his new book, a college graduate becomes slowly disillusioned with the superficial antics of a professor she once admired and emulated, as she falls in with her coterie of academic intelligentsia. “I came to understand that the SoHo aliens I’d initially found threatening were only posers like me, that in fact all of real New York was itself a simulacrum of the somehow realer New York of our Hollywood-assisted imaginations,” Wilson writes. Wilson has echoed this concern in other interviews, as well. In regards to “Flatscreen,” Wilson stated in a Nov. 14, 2013 interview with the academic blog Points that, “In part, ‘Flatscreen’ is a book about the way that television and mass media have compromised American imagination and created a generation of screen-gazing catatonics.” “I think social media is part of it,” Wilson said. “We’re comfortable comparing ourselves with our friends or sort of their representations ... but what ends up happening is that we only ever see each other looking our best.” This is one of the deep anxieties in his fiction, and part of the reason, perhaps, why in attempting to feel something — unmediated by representation — his characters often come closest to peace or a sense of resolution. Wilson will be giving a reading at Tufts in April. Keep him on your radar. Emotionally resonant and palpably comedic, “What’s Important Is Feeling” is an effortless read. If, as he asserts, it is television and cinema that have arrested the imagination of the American public, then his writing is devastating proof of literature’s capacity to entertain, striking an inspiring dent in otherwise sterile soil.
Elen Nivraw via Flickr Creative Commons
Actor Paul Dano helped publicize Wilson’s first book ‘Flatscreen.’
The Tufts Daily
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Interview | Aaron Paul
Aaron Paul discusses making ‘Need for Speed’ by
Timothy Charouk Daily Staff Writer
Following critical praise for his complex portrayal of Jesse Pinkman on the acclaimed TV series “Breaking Bad” (2008-2013), Aaron Paul now has his first major lead with the upcoming film “Need for Speed.” The Daily recently participated in a roundtable interview with Paul, in which he discussed the pressure that comes with headlining a movie, classic car films and what the future may bring. The Tufts Daily: You’re known for a lot of indie work, or supporting roles, but this is your first major lead. Are you starting to feel the pressure of it? This is your movie, your name is on the marquee. Aaron Paul: The more I do interviews like this, [the more I say], “Yes.” People always ask, “Are you feeling the pressure? How are you taking all this pressure?” But honestly, I try not to think about it too much. And the film comes out soon, so we’ll know [then] if it does well or not. The movie speaks for itself. I think it’s a fun movie, and I think it has a great story. [The script] surprised me when I read it.
TD: Is this something you want to keep doing? Being the lead in a big budget film like this? AP: Not necessarily — it depends on whether or not the character is there. Right after “Need for Speed” I did a film that we did for around $400,000. It’s called “Hellion.” [It’s a] super small, low-budget independent [film], and I love making those movies. I’m just trying to mix it up [and] try something different. TD: Having played the video game, I had my own expectations going into the film, but what really surprised me were the car crashes. It really made you think about the impact of street racing. Despite the coolness of the street racing, these crashes seemed so real. Did that realism draw you to the film? AP: Yes, I agree with you. This film does not condone street racing whatsoever. That’s why Scott [ Waugh], our director, wanted everything to be practical, [with] no [computer-generated imagery (CGI)]. We’re used to watching films where there’s a lot of [CGI], which is fine, but they’re lying to us. I loved that they wanted to do a sort of throwback to how car movies used to be done, like “Bullitt” (1968) or “Vanishing Point” (1971). That’s what they pitched me when they sent me the script. Scott grew up on the sets of those movies, and I loved that he wanted to do it [practically].
Gage Skidmore via Flicker Creative Commons
Aaron Paul explains part of his pre-production process for ‘Need for Speed.’ TD: Were you thinking you wanted to get into the world of action? AP: I knew I [wanted] to do something lighter because I had been part of a show that was so heavy for so long, [which] was amazing. We were such a family, and in between takes we were having the best time. But the character was just so heavy, so tortured. I wanted to do something that steered far away from that sort of thing. Will I play more tortured roles? I’m sure. For some reason, I like to put myself through that. I wasn’t searching for this. It just came my way out of nowhere, and I’m happy it did. TD: You’ve worked opposite the of Bryan Cranston and Christian What was it like to be the lead? was it different when you didn’t someone like that to play off of?
likes Bale. How have
AP: It’s all the same really. We have a stellar cast, but it’s kind of strange to be at the top of the call sheet. The pressure is slowly seeping in. It felt the same, though. The goal is to just get lost in the moment and [to] believe [in] what’s actually happening. Working with Bryan made every day a master acting class. I would not be the actor I am today without him. Working
opposite him for six years, you naturally become better at what you do. Christian was just incredible to watch. TD: Since you had to do a lot of driver training, is this the most pre-production you’ve ever done? AP: Yes. I had to gain a lot of weight to do this movie. If you watch the final season of “Breaking Bad” you can see that I slowly start to balloon out. I loved all the prep, though. Every day that I went out to the [race] track I got just a little better. I learned something new. There are tracks all over this country, and you can go there and take courses to learn how to race. It’s actually a lot easier than you’d think. To slide the car around is super simple, [like doing] a reverse 180 or even a full 360. TD: What was your favorite car to drive in this film?
Believe it or not, spring break is once again upon us. Ah, spring break: the only time of year that Florida isn’t the worst state of all time. Though some of us will stay local and endure the overcast skies and chilly air of Medford and Somerville, many will head to tropical locales to enjoy the sun and surf. Whatever your situation, the Daily Arts Department has compiled a list of artsy activities for you to do while enjoy your week-long exotic siesta.
9) Watch “Spring Breakers” (2012): This modern day classic has all of the necessary spring break elements: former child stars doing weird sex things, ragers on the beach and James Franco in cornrows. 8) Take artsy photos: We can’t wait to see your “creative” Instagram post of your pale, pale legs with a Jodi Picoult book on your knees and the beautiful beach as a backdrop. #blessed 7) Read the Bible: #literallyblessed
Star Aaron Paul calls ‘Need for Speed’ a homage to classic car films.
TD: Are there any particular directors that you look forward to working with in the future? AP: There’s so many. I just worked with one of my all-time favorites, Ridley Scott. He’s such a legend. But I would love to work with [Steven] Spielberg. He [was involved with] this, but he didn’t direct it. Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Nicolas Refn, [Quentin] Tarantino — there’s so many great directors that I would love to work with.
Top Ten | Artsy things to do this spring break
10) Make Pintrest crafts: Good luck. You know as well as we do that trying to make a Pintrest craft is like trying to finish a game of Monopoly: It’s just not gonna happen.
Courtesy DreamWorks Pictures
AP: My favorite car, hands-down, was the Gran Torino. We all wanted that car so bad. There’s two identical Torinos that they gutted and remade to use in the movie. They ended up wrecking one of the cars during the first race by accident. Then Scott and I fought for the second one, but neither of us got it.
6) Start that blog: You have a lot of amazing things to say about the system, education, your step-dad and the prison industrial complex. Now is the time to make your voice heard. Speak your truth.
5) Go on a Netflix binge: You hated everyone obsessing over “House of Cards” (2013-present) this past February. Well, it’s time to drink the proverbial Kool-Aid (and also the real Kool-Aid because it’s probs gonna be, like, hot). 4) Play barbershop with your hairy legs: Let’s be real people, shaving your legs during the winter is a joke — ain’t nobody got time for that. After peeling off your jeans and your thermal underwear (which may be fused to the skin in certain places at this point), feel free to get creative with some designs. 3) Get ignored by your family: Now that the jolly holiday season is gone for good, nobody’s going to be happy to see you — not even the family dog. 2) Consider cutting your hair super short but then back out at the last minute: After one too many breakdowns on the makeover episodes of “America’s Next Top Model” (2003-present), you back out. You could only pull it off in the ironic Lena Dunham style anyways, and you’re just not brave enough. 1) Get drunk: C’mon, let’s be real. We’re all just counting down the days before we can leave our right minds. Just be safe, dummies! SPRING BREAK 2014 FOREVER. —compiled by the Daily Arts Department
The Tufts Daily
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Nash Simpson | Throwblack Thursday
What’s Up This Weekend Looking to make your weekend artsy? Check out these events! FUSION Concert: Featuring David Choi: Before spring break, the Tufts Asian American Alliance will present its annual FUSION concert. This year’s headliner is Korean American singer David Choi. The concert will also feature performances by student groups Spirit of Color and Tufts Bhangra, as well as spoken word artists LuDow, Kaitlin Pang and Terence Tran. (Tonight at 9 p.m. in Cohen Auditorium. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at tuftstickets.com, the Campus Center Info Booth or Cohen Box Office.)
Dropkick Murphys: In what has become an annual St. Patrick’s Day tradition, Boston band Dropkick Murphys will perform at the House of Blues Boston this weekend. Supporting acts for the concert include Lucero and Skinny Lister. (Saturday at 7 p.m. at House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne Street, Boston. Tickets start at $39.60 and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com.) St. Patrick’s Day Parade: In celebration of the holiday next Tuesday, the Allied War Veteran’s Council will be hosting their annual South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade this weekend. The parade is attributed as the second largest in the country, with crowds between 600,000 and one
million people each year. (Sunday at 1 p.m. starting at West Broadway and Dorchester Avenue. Admission is free.) Ellie Goulding: English singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding will be performing in Boston next week, as part of the latest stop of her spring U.S. tour. Goulding’s most recent album was “Halcyon Days” (2013), an expanded edition of her 2012 album “Halcyon.” (Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. Tickets start at $44.70 and can be purchased at ticketmaster. com.) —compiled by the Daily Arts Department
Ira Glass talks shop, power of storytelling by Jennifer Straitz
Daily Contributing Writer
The Boston Celebrity Series presented its latest performance, “Ira Glass: Reinventing Radio,” this past Sunday, continuing is 75-year long tradition of inviting talented performers from a variety of fields to Boston. On March 9, a packed house at Symphony Hall gathered to see a man with a familiar voice: Glass is the host of the wildly successful radio program, “This American Life,” which has been nationally syndicated since 1996. However, a unique start to the performance kept all waiting slightly longer than anticipated to see the 55-year-old Glass, who started his career in radio as a 19-year-old intern. With house lights dimmed, he played a clip from his radio show describing a woman’s experience as her house was lifted up in a tornado. This introduction — with its complete absence of accompanying imagery — interestingly mimicked the experience one has listening to the radio. After the clip was over, Glass had the lights raised and made the first of what would prove to be many minor jabs at himself. The self-deprecating host humorously greeted the audience by noting that he thought they “would have looked better too.” With evident skill, Glass proceeded to intertwine a variety of clips from “This American Life” into his lecture, describing the art of storytelling and what he believes sets his show apart from others. Armed with a music stand, a handful of printed notes and an iPad, Glass introduced the audience to the concepts he believes constitute a good program — namely, telling a more complete story than the one that other major news producers are providing. An example was “Somewhere in the Arabian Sea” (2002). The prologue of the “This American Life” episode — which is devoted to detailing life on an aircraft carrier that supports bombing missions in Afghanistan — focuses on a sailor whose sole duty was to load the vending machines onboard the car-
rier. Glass emphasized that other news outlets only give attention to the military agenda of the sailors. He and his team, conversely, wanted to highlight the often forgotten aspects of life on a carrier with a 5,000-person crew. In a similar vein, Glass played part of a segmented entitled “Just Keep Breathing” from another “This American Life” installment, “What Doesn’t Kill You” (2012). In this clip, a woman recounts being attacked by a shark when she was a teenager vacationing in New Zealand. After being taken to the hospital, the doctor told the teenager’s parents that she would be fine. But it did not take long for the girl, as she began to experience strange and painful symptoms, to realize that something was amiss. Throughout the following night, she struggled to convince her parents to take her back to the doctor for treatment. On the surface this sounds like an engaging, if random, experience that most listeners would likely not be able to relate to. Yet, Glass showed his storytelling expertise in the segment by tying woman’s experience to something larger: many teenagers have experienced the pressing desire to feel understood and to convince adults that what they are saying is correct.
True to the title of his talk, Glass further reinvented the listening experience of his audience by incorporating a preview of his upcoming show, “Ira Glass: One Radio Host, Two Dancers.” As he discussed his approach to radio storytelling, Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass (of the dance company, Monica Bill Barnes and Company) joined him onstage to dance to his recordings from the radio show. Though quirky and innovative, this visual addition seemed to contradict his message earlier in the talk that emphasis should be on the power of the emotion in the words (and not on visual imagery). A confident speaker, the most disappointing aspect of the event was Glass’s focus in the second half of his talk on expletive-laced storytelling. Though it aroused some laughs from the audience, overall, the beginning of the evening was more insightful. It was there that Glass guided his audience through the process of creating his art form. The second half, unfortunately, focused more on instances of crude humor in his work throughout the years. The base humor and seemingly random addition of dancers took away from what overall could have proven to be a much more enjoyable listening experience.
Brighterorange via Wikimedia Commons
Glass’s intriguing lecture chronicles radio’s evocative storytelling potential.
The Artsy Jumbo
Sophomore Pelluzzo performs spoken word, plays drums
Courtesy Lydia Pezzullo
It’s impressive when students’ passions take them deep into their interests. It’s even more impressive when their eclectic hobbies bring them into wide spans of activities. Lydia Pezzullo, a sophomore and cognitive brain science major, pursues music and poetry. Pezzullo’s varied range of artistic interests revolve around a common core of rhythms and beats: those present in the shifting tonalities and intonations of her spoken word poetry, the percussion of her tenor drums in the pep band and the sounds of the mallets she plays for the school’s orchestra. “A friend of mine did it at a local coffee shop,” Pezzullo said about her introduction to spoken word. “We started going, and it turned out there was this whole spoken word scene: all of these different poets, some of them pretty accomplished. We started going every week, writing our own stuff, reading our own stuff.”
Saying her style leaned more toward “traditional poetry,” Pezzullo mentioned the diverse blend of hip-hop influences that many in the burgeoning Tufts spoken word poetry scene employ. Pezzullo is also a member of the pep band, which she describes as a fun experience. “We go to home games and one away game and have a strong and proud tradition of [eating] donuts at every game,” she said. Pezzullo is also involved in orchestra at Tufts. This semester, a percussionist from the orchestra who needed another drummer to play a symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich contacted Pezzullo, asking her to join. Maybe cognitive brain science does lead to artistic explorations, after all. —by Brendan Donohue
remember the first time I saw the movie “White Chicks” (2004). It was a reasonably priced $5 matinee on the Saturday following my 12th birthday. “Lemme get one ticket to ‘White Chicks’ please?” I said to the only employee in sight. “Kid, you know it’s rated PG-13 right?” he responded. I stepped away from the ticket booth, smiled wryly, stood tall and placed both hands behind my back, hoping for the best. He leaned toward me to speak again: “So ... are you 13?” I paused for what seemed like an eternity before finally muttering, “Um ... yes?” Clearly sensing the fib, the employee shook his head, shrugged a shoulder and gave me a ticket! “White Chicks” turned out to be hilarious. I’ve always had an insatiable desire to laugh at blatantly offensive, insensitive, politically incorrect comedy. That Saturday afternoon, I hooted and hollered in the theater until my sides hurt. I, along with a handful of other entertained moviegoers of all races, thoroughly enjoyed the antics of the undercover African-American FBI agents dressed in whiteface drag. I laughed then, and quite frankly, I still laugh today. But at what cost? By laughing at “White Chicks,” I’m essentially condoning the use whiteface, implicitly claiming that it’s a culturally acceptable practice. Yet on the other hand, I cringe whenever I see blackface in any way, shape or form, even in somewhat harmless contexts, such as in the case of Laurence Olivier’s blackened visage in the four-time Oscar-nominated film, “Othello” (1965). Looking back, I should have realized that I was being hypocritical in failing to see that “White Chicks” is reverse racism at its finest. But then again, maybe it’s not. Not if reverse racism doesn’t exist all. Could that be possible? In a standup routine that went viral in an Internet second, comedian Aamer Rahman makes the claim that reverse racism simply doesn’t work. “I [could] be a reverse racist if I wanted to,” he said. “All I would need would be a time machine ... and I’d go back in time to before Europe colonized the world ... and I’d convince the leaders of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America to invade and colonize Europe ... [I’d] set up some kind of, I don’t know, trans-Asian slave trade ... [I’d] just ruin Europe ... I’d make sure I set up systems that privilege black and brown people at every conceivable social, political and economic opportunity ... If, after hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years of that, I got on stage at a comedy show and said, ‘Hey what’s the deal with white people?’ ... that would be reverse racism.” Rahman is closer to right than wrong in making this well-stated claim that reverse racism isn’t a legitimate thing. Considering the way in which he chooses to define racism, his point could very well be true. After all, there’s certainty something to be said about the reality in which we live: if the movie had been called, say, “Black Chicks” and it starred white comedic actors, there would be a national outcry, to say the least. In other words, the historical implications of raceshaming tactics such as blackface cannot be ignored. Still, the phrase “reverse racism” doesn’t need to have to be a bona fide dictionary definition in order for us to realize that it’s still not okay to legitimize a film that involves black actors sporting white masks for the purposes of entertainment. It’s wrong. And we all know that. But at the end of the day, most of us will still laugh at “White Chicks,” and we will still laugh when Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock do their classic mockeries of white voices. In doing so, we not only approve one type of racism, but also participate in the resulting perpetuation of racism against minorities. Nash Simpson is a senior majoring in English. He can be reached at Nash. Simpson@tufts.edu.
The Tufts Daily
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Editorial | Letters
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Poster campaign is postitive artistic initiative In the last few weeks, a series of art installations have popped up on a variety of walls around campus. Featuring the faces and words of prominent voices of color, the installations have helped to spark vibrant discussion via a new and exciting medium on the university’s campus. Usually reserved for neon-colored fliers and aging scraps of duct tape, some of Tufts’ walls have recently been host to the likenesses of Audre Lorde, James Baldwin and Pedro Albizu Campos. The origin of the installations is unknown: No one has publicly claimed ownership of the pieces, and this mystery is a part of their appeal. The organic, secretive nature of the art lends it an even greater authenticity. The new posters have appeared in several locations around Tufts, from outside of Latin Way to the academic quad. Each has been adhered to its respective wall using a degradable sort of paste that eventually wears off and seems to cause no long-term
damage to Tufts facilities. In this way, these installations differ from standard street art pieces, which generally come in the form of damaging spray paint. In 2009, the university commissioned famous street artist Shepard Fairey to install a large wheat-paste mural outside of the Mayer Campus Center. The installation coincided with his exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. The new posters echo the Shepard Fairey installation in that they provide a highly-visible artistic means of inspiring conversation on campus. Yet, unlike the Shepard Fairey installation, these haven’t (at least to the best of our knowledge) cost the university a dime. Guerilla art generally carries a populist sentiment. Both the messages of each installment and the anonymity of their creator(s) serve this purpose by simply allowing Baldwin, Lorde Campos and the other social critics to speak for themselves.
Ultimately, the mysterious posters have provided a visible outlet for leading voices of the often under-represented communities of color and creatively incited discussions that might have otherwise failed to occur — all without any openly acknowledged source. The installments’ anonymous origin might be their most compelling feature. Not knowing the creator allows the art to communicate for itself, instead of being complicated by the additional connotations a student group or individual might attach to the installations. The lack of a physical face associated with the project makes the faces of the papered figures more powerful and their word more potent. The art installments are an excellent example of street art executed with passion, intellect and integrity. They’ve facilitated dialogue, without causing any damage to Tufts buildings. The intellectual life of Tufts students emerges in the classroom, and now, on the walls of the university.
eficial for any party. Ironically, these groups are becoming everything the conflicts of the Middle East are at the moment: poking at each other’s sides and seeing how hard one can push (whether passive-aggressively or just plain aggressively) to receive a reaction and before receiving some sort of consequence. These groups need to embody the peace process that we all hope to see in the world through mediated discussion. So to those involved in these groups, I say put your money where your mouth is: Have a discussion in front of an audience, possibly one
mediated by unbiased members of the international relations and peace and justice studies departments. Show us that conflict can be resolved peacefully, that people can compromise and understand someone else’s beliefs (and why they have them) while maintaining their own and that there is hope for the present and future outcomes of the conflict and the region as a whole.
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Letter to the Editor Dear Editor, In light of the many recent articles, comments and demonstrations regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I have found myself somewhat disenchanted by the proponent groups of both sides. Don’t get me wrong, I believe it is entirely justified and powerful to write, speak and demonstrate, so long as it is done in a respectful, open-minded manner. Unfortunately, this is exactly what I feel these groups lack. While the intentions are well thought out, the resulting effects of some recent demonstrations on campus are not ben-
Sincerely, Nathan Finberg Class of 2017
Correction In the March 12 article titled “Engineering professor launches app contest,” the Daily incorrectly stated that Tufts had partnered with the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) to launch a software application contest. In fact, Tufts is partnering with Karen Panetta, an Associate Dean of Graduate Engineering at Tufts who is an active member of IEEE.
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Thursday, March 13, 2014
The Tufts Daily
Jonathan Moore | Politically Erect
Career Center must expand by
Friday, Feb. 7, I gave a presentation to the Board of Trustees about the need to support new initiatives in the Career Center that maximize the way it supports students. The ideas I presented came from the hard work of many professionals within the Career Center who had listened to students and had thought diligently about how to best meet the needs of today’s Tufts students. The suggestions also came from students I had talked to who had expressed frustration about the internship grant process and about getting an appointment with a career counselor. I met at length with Jean Papalia and Donna Esposito in the Center and I believe that the plan we created will maximize support for students’ unique needs and would set Tufts on the cutting edge of universities in preparing its students for entering the working world. During my time at Tufts, I have found that most if not every student wants to do an internship related to their career interests. Eighty-five percent of Tufts students have had at least one internship before graduation. Students know that, in a competitive job market, internship experience is one of the most powerful pathways into employment. Nationally, somewhere between one third and one-half of all internships are unpaid. Likewise, 40 percent of Tufts students’ internships offer no compensation. To ameliorate this financial burden, Tufts offers 40-45 internship grants to students who will not be paid for their summer work. The grant application process is competitive with a deadline in late March. There are a number of challenges with this model. First, 45 grants are not enough to match students’ needs. Also, many students do not hear back from employers before the March deadline, thus disqualifying them from applying for the grants. Even with these challenges, the Career Center receives more than 100 applications for the internship grants and has to turn away over half of all applicants. With the increasingly mandatory nature of internships, this seems unfair. Tufts must support its students to gain meaningful work experience that jumpstarts their careers,
especially those students that need financial assistance. Students whose parents or guardians have the financial means to accommodate an unpaid internship should not be at an advantage for gaining this experience. We need funding for all students on financial aid who wish to work an unpaid internship for the summer. Equalizing the playing field allows Tufts students to succeed, no matter their financial background. I have heard stories of students who would not even apply to full-time unpaid internship programs, because they knew that they would not be able to financially support the experience. I know others who worked nights and weekends to support themselves, in addition to working full time at an internship. Simply stated, we need more internship grants. We need a system that allows all students on financial aid to be eligible to receive one internship grant to support an otherwise unpaid summer internship. In the proposed system, students would be able to receive this funding after meeting a set of prerequisites, including attending an internship prep course or workshops offered by the Career Center. These classes could cover topics ranging from narrowing in on a career field to writing cover letters and resumes. The workshops equip students with the tools that they need to search for and land an internship. With more funding there would be greater flexibility in deadlines, making grants much more accessible to students who need them the most. In order to support this plan, it is imperative that we hire more employees within the Career Center. Williams College is half our size, yet has roughly the same number of career counselors that we do. Tufts is falling behind many of our peer institutions in the ratio of career counselors to undergraduate students. Having more counselors will allow the Career Center to match the increasing demand among first and second year Tufts students. This past year, there was double the amount of consults with first and second year students as there were even five years ago. The greater desire for meetings among younger students means that there are fewer meeting times for juniors and seniors. The wait time for a one-on-one consultation averages around three weeks. When you have an application deadline in
two weeks and you want someone to look over your resumé beforehand, this system is failing you. Hiring professionals focused on targeting first and second year students would address their unique needs and would allow for greater specialization for juniors and seniors. Instead of providing general support, career counselors would be able to be sector-specific coaches, with counselors specializing in a particular career field. At my meeting, the trustees spent a considerable amount of time discussing the need to change the Career Center to reflect the reality of the 21st century, and discussed the possibility of online work and group meetings. While I think this is valid, it does not apply to the student who wants someone to look over his resume or wants specific advice based on his experiences. Students still desire the one-on-one connections with career professionals. They also want connections with alums. The Alumni Association made clear that alums overwhelmingly want to support students trying to navigate the job and internship markets. We should capitalize on this convergence of interests and facilitate more interactions and mentorship possibilities between students and alumni. This plan clearly has a dollar sign attached to it. While it is true that the cost of student services has risen over the past decade, so too has the importance of getting internship and work experience in a changing economy and unpredictable job market. As one of the trustees on my committee aptly said, it is Tufts’ mission to prepare its students for life after graduation. Internships are increasingly seen as gateways into professional success, and therefore Tufts must be a part of paving the way for a transition into the workplace for students wishing to create successful professional careers. While the plan would require significant fundraising, the investment will pay off over time through student successes. It is time for the university to make a greater investment in the career development and professional success of its students. Lia Weintraub is a senior majoring in international relations. She can be reached at Lia.Weintraub@tufts.edu.
I’m an English major who might be the assistant director of marketing by
There’s a myth out there that a degree in the humanities is a ticket to post-graduation employment behind a fast-food counter. As shown in a Tufts Daily article published last week, we’ve begun cultivating another myth that humanities and English majors in particular are only eligible to become journalists, teachers or publishers. The idea that English majors might understand something like (*gasp*) business has, apparently, become ludicrous. Let me dispel both of those myths for you. I’m a Tufts senior, an English major and I have a post-graduation job lined up in marketing. To the best of my knowledge, this apparent blasphemy has not yet caused the sky to rain blood, or the earth to tear itself asunder. How did I, the poor, poor misguided humanities major (“it’s okay Mom and Dad, I’ll get lots of critical thinking skills”) finagle something as unimaginable as — dare I say it — employment. I worked really, really hard. Typically, when you work really, really hard on something, be that something your chemical engineering problem set or an application of Freudian theory to the films of Hitchcock, good things come of it. The majority of “business” (a term I’ll use loosely to define anything like marketing, sales, finance, human resources, etc.) jobs out there don’t care what your degree says. The only thing, and I mean quite literally
the only thing, the people that may one day hire you care about, are these magical little things called skills. Skills are not “I learned this really cool thing in x class today,” or, “My senior thesis is kind of related to x job task.” Skills are quantifiable (burn that word into your brain) achievements you made in a role similar to the job you’re applying for. They look kind of like this: Wrote, promoted and archived more than 500 blog posts. Successfully filled 10 vacancies in a twomonth period. Achieved 120 percent of sales goal with 20 percent year-over-year growth. “But these don’t sound like things I learn in my classes,” you might say. In fact, you’re 100 percent correct! Most of your classes won’t result in bullets like the above for your resume. You take classes so that you can get the “soft” skills (critical thinking, analytical aptitude, superb writing, etc.) you need to build “hard” skills like the above. Where do you make those hard skills? Internships. If you’ve been quickly scanning through this piece, stop now and read this paragraph in full. The number of internships you do in college will get you hired. Do one every summer. Every semester, if you can manage it. They’re the real-world applications for all of the wonderful, beautifully abstract and impractical concepts Tufts teaches you. If you can walk out of this school with a resume that doesn’t include your summer job scooping ice cream or your extracur-
ricular activities, employment won’t be that difficult for you to find. As for choosing (or standing by) your major? Study what you love! Do you seriously want to spend four years bored out of your mind in classes you couldn’t care less about, just because you think it’ll end up in a job? That’s not a wise way to spend $60,000+ of your parent’s money, and you’re probably just going to end up impassionate and jaded by the end of it. Look at your life, look at your choices. If what you love happens to be a humanity or an art, and you have the audacity to expect to be A) employed and B) employed in a field that’s not journalism or publishing, fear not, friend; you are actually not audacious at all! You can have any job that you want, provided you put in the work to get it. Bear in mind that you are not somebody like our friends in engineering, whose coursework often results in real-world skills. You’ll have to build your own skills through other outlets like internships, but I promise you, you won’t even think twice about that if you love what you’re doing! Major in what you want to, and don’t let anybody tell you differently. We’re all going to be up to our ears in debt anyway, so make sure you at least enjoyed the reason why you got into it in the first place anyway. Michael Restiano is a senior who is majoring in English. He can be reached at Michael.Restiano@tufts.edu.
When we lose the “why”
ormally this column kicks off on a blatantly political note, but today’s reflection will be a bit different. One of the things I hear quite often, be it from myself or from others, is that lacking a direction is frightening. “I don’t know where I’m going,” someone might say. “What direction am I going in?” Feeling like you’re “all over the place” isn’t really a pleasurable state of being — in my personal experience, it’s one of confusion and anxiety. We’re taught from birth that our journey will be linear and that we won’t have to take steps backwards; we won’t have to fall on our faces only to discover that we injured ourselves for good reason. Without this sense of self-certainty in the future, we second guess ourselves, doubt things that deep down we hold to be true and sometimes shut down, giving into the pressure and giving up on pushing past what troubles us. What I am coming to realize more and more is that for me, this fear of not knowing what comes next or anxiety about not having a self-defined and pre-planned future can be traced back to one simple question: “Why?” When word broke about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 730 over the weekend, I could only imagine how engulfed by these feelings of fear and uncertainty the families and friends of the 239 aboard became. “Why has this happening to my loved one, my friend, my life, me?” As just an observer, it was impossible to put myself into their shoes and truly commiserate a grief so unexpected and bizarre, especially since the “how” has yet to be, and may never be answered, yet alone the “why.” Faced with long-standing histories of inequities and modern day dilemmas that test our patience, hurt our hearts and tempt our self-destruction, explanations and justifications are few and far between. We cannot rely on logic and reason to sustain our spirits as we fight for what we believe is right, just as we cannot rely on logic and reason to convert our opponents and make love from hatred or cooperation from opposition. This, as we know, is a most laborious task, and it is through that tireless and dedicated action that we inform our own bodies and minds about our personal “why”: Why we stay up until three in the morning writing love poems to enthusiasts and oppressors alike. Why we tolerate the titters, sighs and sidecomments when we embark on educating others, in the hope that something gets across, even if it’s just our own willingness to listen. Why we hold protests and direct actions regardless of the pushback, regardless of the fear mongering. These are the whys I prefer to think about more often because they remind me about the strength and beauty of people around me who insist on making a difference at all costs. All this to say that in working to become more “politically erect” and aware of how it is our obligation to un-educate ourselves as well as educate ourselves and others, we cannot forget the work of self-care, self-love and self-survival. After all, constant questioning and critical critique, while seemingly productive, comes at a cost for each and every one of us. Let’s remember to take care of ourselves and one another.
Jonathan Moore is a freshman majoring in American studies and political science. He can be reached at Jonathan.Moore581594@ tufts.edu.
Op-ed Policy The Op-Ed section of The Tufts Daily, an open forum for campus editorial commentary, is 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. Op-Ed cartoons are also welcomed for the Campus Canvas feature. All material is subject to editorial discretion and is not guaranteed to appear in the Daily. All material should be submitted to email@example.com no later than noon on the day prior to the desired day of publication; authors must submit their telephone numbers and day-of availability for editing questions. Submissions may not be published elsewhere prior to their appearance in the Daily, including but not limited to other on- and off-campus newspapers, magazines, blogs and online news websites, as well as Facebook. Republishing of the same piece in a different source is permissible as long as the Daily is credited with originally running the article.
The Tufts Daily
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Married to the Sea
SUDOKU Level: Traveling with friends to the Caribbean, drama-free.
Late Night at the Daily
Montana: “Oh, a tea bag. Can I eat it?” Want more late-night laughs? Follow us on Twitter at @LateNiteAtDaily
Please recycle this Daily.
The Tufts Daily
Thursday, March 13, 2014 Wanted
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Aaron Leibowitz | The Fan
Boycott the Knicks
Sofia Adams / The Tufts Daily
The men’s tennis team will travel to California next week to begin its season.
Tufts to play five games in as many days MEN’S TENNIS
continued from back
not only have a longer spring season, but also play outdoor tennis yearround. This advantage will challenge the Jumbos, considering that they have been practicing indoors since November due to cold weather. “Something that will be really interesting will be playing Trinity in California [since] in years past we’ve
played them in much colder elements in the East,” Jacobson said. “We’re all excited to see what will happen, but if we keep working the way we have been, we think things are going to go our way.” The NESCAC conference is the toughest for men’s tennis; last year, four NESCAC teams were in the top-15 national rankings by the end of the season. Tufts looks to include themselves in this mix and hopes to get the conference win against
Trinity early on in the season. “We are looking forward to taking one match at a time,” Telkedzhiev said. “Hopefully our hard work will pay off by making NESCACs and also getting nationally ranked. We have had that mindset since the beginning of the year.” “The key to our success this year will be treating every match with equal importance and staying disciplined with our match preparation,” Glickman added.
Jumbos look to challenge themselves early WOMEN’S TENNIS continued from back
taken by freshmen. Under the guidance of senior captain and top singles player Samantha Gann, the freshmen — Conner Calabro, Jacqueline Baum, Chelsea Hayashi, Hanna Slutsky, Irem Bugdayci and Meltzer — are making the transition from their mostly individual careers in the junior circuit to a unified team atmosphere. “Everyone stepped in and wanted to be best friends, supporting each other on and off the court,” Gann said. “We’re all so excited to play for one another and work hard for one another.” Meltzer echoed those sentiments. “It’s great there are so many of us who are new. That [fact] and the upperclassmen have made the transition easy,” Meltzer said. “I love [playing on a team] — I like it a lot more than the junior [circuit], where it seems like everyone is cutthroat and competitive in a bad way. Here everyone is together, taking a lot of
the individual pressure off.” Having played almost exclusively competitive singles throughout the junior circuit, the young Jumbos have had to put a lot of emphasis on doubles this offseason. The three doubles matches are played before the six singles matches in a dual match, meaning the performance in doubles often sets the tone for the rest of the matches. “In [the] junior [circuit], I didn’t play a lot of doubles, and I think that’s the same for the other girls,” Meltzer said. “We’ve been working on it a lot, not so much technically, but learning how to play doubles. We’re working on good positioning on the court and getting used to playing with someone else out there. It’s important: We want to get those three early points in our matches.” After a slew of injury issues in the fall season, another point of emphasis for Tufts during this offseason was to be healthy and focus on fitness in the gym. “A big priority for the [team and
myself ] is fitness and making sure we’re all ready for the beginning of the season,” Gann said. “A major goal we have is to never lose because of fitness. Everyone is doing really well.” The team’s fitness will be tested with four matches in five days out west, where they will play La Verne, Denison, Azusa Pacific and Claremont Mudd Scripps. The stretch will be by far the busiest of the season for Tufts; a week of good results in the Los Angeles heat will provide encouragement for an already confident group. “We want to peak at the point in the season where we should be peaking, and winning our spring break matches will be a very good start,” Gann said. “Every year we want to win a National Championship — that’s always our main goal — but it’s just as important to focus on small goals along the way. We have to stay focused, play our best tennis in every match and limit giving away free points and games.”
n this space last year, I wrote that, as much as I despised the Mets’ ownership and the way the team was being run, I could not bring myself to stop attending games. That remains true. And it probably makes me a hypocrite for saying this: Knicks fans should boycott the Knicks. As a fan, I’m about as loyal as they come: Mets, Giants, Rangers and Knicks. But only recently has the thought crossed my mind that, if the Knicks continue down the same path, I might someday abandon the basketball team I’ve supported all my life. I’m so mad at the Knicks. I hate them. I hate James Dolan. I hate everything the team does. Naturally, then, I was pleased to see that Knicks fans are planning a protest outside Madison Square Garden (MSG) before next Wednesday’s home game against the Pacers. The fan group that organized the protest — KF4L, a.k.a. Knicks Fans For Life (oh, the irony) — cited “systemic and consistently recurring lack of responsible decision-making at Madison Square Garden” by owner James Dolan and team executives, as the source of their anger. “We understand Dolan will not sell,” Mark Griffin, one of the protest organizers, told reporters in an email. “We understand change may not come of this. We just want our voices heard.” I commend Griffin and his group for speaking up. The problem is, Dolan doesn’t give a crap about what the fans think. If he did, wouldn’t he have said something by now? But the bigger problem is that, even as the Knicks keep losing — they were 25-40, 3.5 games shy of a playoff spot, entering last night’s game against the Celtics — they continue to rake in the dough. In January, Forbes revealed that, for a second straight year, the Knicks are the NBA’s most valuable franchise at $1.4 billion. Thanks in part to the renovation of MSG, the team turned an all-time record profit of $96 million last season. A mere protest will not change that. Likely in response to the planned protest, the Knicks sent the following email message to season-ticket holders on Tuesday: “If you plan to attend the Knicks game on Wednesday, March 19th, we’d love for you to attend the Knicks Happy Hour [at 6 p.m., two hours before tip-off], courtesy of Chase. At this event, you’ll meet some Alumni, receive vouchers for merchandise and concessions and be able to watch shoot-around from a great spot.” Classic Knicks. While some die-hards are outside MSG protesting the dire state of the team, others will be inside the building throwing more money at the franchise. All of which is to say that Knicks fans need a new strategy: boycott the team. Next time, instead of organizing a protest, get fans to agree not to attend a given game. Ideally, the fans will band together until, one night — one glorious night — the world’s most famous arena is empty except for the players on the floor. (Hypothetical: If J.R. Smith hoists up an illadvised jumper and no one is there to hear it clank off the back rim, does it make a sound?) Knicks fans are nothing if not passionate. But if they really want their team to win — and if they want any chance of an ownership change — they will use the power of the purse. They will send a message by withholding all support for the franchise. If KF4L organizes it, I’ll hop right on board. In the comments section of a recent nj.com article about the upcoming protest, commenter sertsj123 quipped: “One owner away from a title.” Sertsj123 is right. The Knicks’ title run begins with a boycott.
Aaron Leibowitz is a senior who is majoring in American studies. He can be reached at Aaron.Leibowitz@tufts.edu.
Jumbos moving forward from last year’s championship Softball sets sights on another national title by
Daily Editorial Board
On the heels of a 46-3 season capped by its first-ever NCAA National Championship, the softball team was unanimously voted No. 1 in the 2014 National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association Div. III preseason rankings. While the Jumbos are glad to be in the spotlight again, they know they will be judged by their performance on the field this season. “After winning the national championship last year, it’s amazing to be recognized as the No. 1 team in the nation,” senior cocaptain Jo Clair said. “However, rankings are just rankings. Every time we take the field, we are going to give our opponent their toughest game.” The Jumbos’ toughness set them apart last year, helping the team claw its way through games and overcome adversity over the course of a long season. Their tenacity was on display during the championship game, when Tufts staged a three-run rally to defeat SUNY Cortland 6-5. This year’s squad needs to be even tougher if it wants to realize its goal of winning another national championship. They expect this season will be more challenging with every opponent viewing them as the team to beat. The Jumbos also understand what it takes to win: hard work and dedication. “What makes this team so special is the commitment every member has for the program,” senior co-captain Sara Hedtler said. “We’re all willing to put in the work and make whatever sacrifices are necessary for the betterment of the team. Everyone will have to work even harder than we have in the past if we want to achieve the same level of success.” While Hedtler is proud of what she and her teammates have accomplished, she acknowl-
Courtesy Patricia Cordeiro
Junior Allyson Fournier will look to follow up on her impressive sophomore season, in which she won Div. III Athlete of the Year and led Tufts to a National Championship.
Young team to take on West Coast competition next week by Jason Schneiderman
Daily Editorial Board
After an offseason full of hard work, team building and rehabilitation, the women’s tennis team, ranked No. 18 in Div. III, is ready to kick off the spring season in California next week. Tufts will compete against three nationally-ranked teams on their trip to the West Coast, including Claremont Mudd Scrips, the No. 4 team in Div. III. After last year’s disappointing spring break trip to Atlanta, in which Tufts lost three matches by a score of 5-4, the team is looking for strong performances to start the season. The Jumbos have the opportunity to make an early statement to their local competition by playing well against other top schools. “We’re looking for team results first,” freshman Alexa Meltzer said. “Hopefully, we can use these matches to put a few early wins under our belt and start building momentum for the rest of the season.” Meltzer is one of six freshmen on this young team, whose talent and potential have been clear from the season’s onset. Tufts won two of its three head-to-head matchups in the fall semester against Babson (7-2) and Brandeis (8-1), with five of the top six singles spots
Virginia Bledsoe / Tufts Daily Archives
see WOMEN’S TENNIS, page 11
Senior captain Samantha Gann will look to provide leadership to a young Jumbo squad that features six freshmen on the roster.
edged that it’s time to turn the page. “The success we have had the past few years should serve as a jumping off point for this season,” the outfielder said. “However, it is a brand new season, and nothing that happened last year matters this year.” With a new season comes a new team, and this year’s roster includes eight freshmen. Though they feel added pressure of joining the defending champions, they said they are excited and eager to contribute. “I am really looking forward to the road ahead of us,” freshman outfielder Summer Horowitz said. “I hope that when I am called upon, I’m able to do my best and help my team win,” freshman infielder Marissa Heyer added. The freshmen will join an explosive lineup headed by Clair and Hedtler, both of whom batted over .400 last year. The Jumbos boast quality hitters in almost every position, which is why head coach Cheryl Milligan thinks this year’s offense could be better than last year’s. “We are in a position to put a few more runs on the board this year,” Milligan said. “We plan to, and have worked very hard to, be a great hitting team.” Junior Allyson Fournier, last year’s Div. III Athlete of the Year, anchors the pitching staff. One of the best pitchers in the country, Fournier led the nation in ERA and was the winning pitcher in the championship game. When she takes the mound, Tufts is virtually unbeatable. The Jumbos’ season starts Saturday in Minneola, Fla., when they will play the first two of their 14 spring break games. In the meantime, Milligan still wants to see her players focus on making smarter decisions and executing in the field, but she feels confident they will be ready for the start of the season. “I’m excited to open up next week and see what this team will do,” Milligan said. “I know what they can do.”
Jumbos start season with cross-country road trip by
Catherine Worley Staff Writer
Although many Div. III tennis teams across the country have already completed several matches to kick off the spring season, Tufts men’s tennis will begin over spring break at Claremont Colleges in Claremont, Calif., where they will take on Denison, Sewanee, Pomona, Occidental and Trinity. It will be a quick jump into team play, especially compared to the more singlesoriented fall season the team had last semester. In the first half of its 201314 season, Tufts only played one dual match, an 8-1 victory over Babson. Despite only competing in one dual match, the team participated in the Brown Invitational, the Middlebury Invitational, the ITA Regional Championship and the Wallach Invitational. According to sophomore Rob Jacobson, Tufts found success during the stretch in September and October. “[Sophomore]Nik [Telkedzhiev] got to the semifinals of ITAs, and [sophomore] Jay [Glickman] got to the finals of the Middlebury Invitational, and I had some pretty consistent results at all of those tournaments,” he said. Telkedzhiev agreed that they had a good fall season, but believes the team is a lot stronger now because of its hard work during the offsea-
son, and how much harder they have been working since the beginning of the spring season in mid-February. “In the next few months, we have huge opportunities to show how much better we have gotten,” he said. Glickman, the team’s No. 1 singles player during the fall, also attested to the team’s effort during the winter months. Although they were proud of their accomplishments during the fall season, players understood they had a lot of work to do to prepare for the year, he added. “Everybody stayed extremely motivated and focused in order to put [himself] in the best position to win matches this year,” he said. The Jumbos welcomed five freshmen this year, adding to the team’s depth. “Everyone on the team is capable of playing which is really positive for us,” Jacobson said. The team begins its season with a dual match against Denison next Monday, followed by Sewanee on Tuesday, Pomona-Pitzer and Occidental on Wednesday and Trinity on Friday. It is a grueling set of matches, but a test that should help the Jumbos in the long run. The new set of opponents will also pose a challenge to the team. The California schools see MEN’S TENNIS, page 11