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the Brown
vol. cxliv, no. 74 | Tuesday, September 29, 2009 | Serving the community daily since 1891

Peer tutoring program axed, cited as ineffective
By lauren Fedor Senior Staff Writer

The University-sponsored peer tutoring program has been all but eliminated this semester by administrators, leaving students unable to access one-on-one homework help from fellow undergraduates — and hundreds of former tutors out of a job. Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron said Thursday that the decision to eliminate the existing tutoring program came from concerns about whether “the one-on-one tutoring model worked in all cases.” She said the change was not a result of attempts to trim spending. “This was not driven by (the) budget,” she said. “It is about maximizing resources.” Bergeron said administrators were also concerned about the lack of oversight with the existing program, under which tutors would track their own hours. “Any program that is so distributed like that is going to lack accountability,” she said. Bergeron said a smaller, more focused program based on “facili-

Arts center construction on schedule
14 months remain on $40m project
By Sydney emBer Senior Staf f Writer

Sydney Ember / Herald

Administrators have all but eliminated one-on-one peer tutoring this semester, citing myriad concerns.

tated study groups” would probably be more effective at responding to students’ needs. A new program will feature peer “academic coaches” and organized study groups for select courses, she announced in an e-mail

to students Monday afternoon. The study groups will consist of three to six students and will be led by a peer facilitator, according to Bergeron’s e-mail, and will meet weekly throughout the semester to

review important topics covered in class. Historically, the Curricular Resource Center — part of the Office continued on page 2

environmental series joins humanities and science
By sara luxenBerg Contributing Writer

A year-long series integrating the humanistic and scientific perspectives of environmental problems began last Wednesday with the New England premiere of “Butte, America,” a film chronicling the history of a Montana mining town with the same name. The screening, which included a discussion with the filmmakers, marks the first of many events in the interdepartmental film and speaker series, “Nature and Legacy: Humanists, Scientists and the Environment.” The Cogut Center for the Humanities and other on-campus bodies have sponsored this year’s series to integrate several disciplines, draw a wide audience and foster intellectual discussion about the pressing environmental matters, said Cogut Center Director Michael Steinberg, who is also a professor of history. “Nature and Legacy” is the second series the Humanities/ Science project has offered. The first, “Darwin’s Evolution,” honored the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species.” In addition to the Cogut Center, this year’s series is sponsored

by the Committee on Science and Technology Studies, the Center for Environmental Studies, the Environmental Change Initiative, the John Nicholas Brown Center and the Urban Studies Program. “We’re interested in how questions that are profoundly scientifically informed, like climate change and changes in the natural world, actually work or take shape in a particular social context,” said Anne Fausto-Sterling, chair of the Faculty Committee on Science and Technology Studies. The “Butte, America” film screening saw a turnout of about 70 people, according to FaustoSterling. She said the documentary was chosen for its integration of the issues of “community development, labor history and environmental discussion.” Steinberg said he considered the film a “broad-minded way of starting off the series.” Upcoming events include another film — “Blue Vinyl,” a documentary about America’s use of plastics — and several panels, each covering a topic within the broader theme. This year’s panels will differ from last year’s in that fewer panel members will lead the discussions to allow more time continued on page 4

Kim Perley / Herald

The General Assembly will convene at the State House for a two-day session Oct. 28 after a more-than four month break.

Stage legislators will return later this month to full plate
lawmakers to make indoor prostitution illegal and a drive to drop the last three words from the official state By the time the Rhode Island General name — Rhode Island and ProviAssembly returns to the State House dence Plantations. Lawmakers will for a two-day session on Oct. 28, the also vote on a bill first proposed by building’s halls will have Providence Mayor David been empty for more than Cicilline ’83 geared tometro four months. And when ward levying a “student the legislature — which hastily left impact fee” on all out-of-state students the Capitol June 26 — returns, it attending Rhode Island’s private colwill face a host of contentious bills leges and universities. The bill would that have sat dormant during the require universities to pay $150 per student per semester to the state in extended summer vacation. The divisive matters at stake if the an attempt to help alleviate Rhode Assembly fulfills its promise to meet continued on page 5 late next month include a push by
By sydney emBer Senior Staff Writer

Construction on the $40 million Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts in the heart of the campus is underway and on schedule, setting the stage for a cross-disciplinary hub that will cater to the University’s various art departments. “Our goal from the outset was to create an atmosphere where the arts become a presence on campus,” said Richard Fishman, professor of visual art and director of the Creative Arts Council at Brown. “We wanted something that would be central to the campus on the Walk, close to the Brown community.” Fishman said the 35,000-square-foot center will have “project studios,” large spaces containing equipment and technology for various art disciplines. He said there were three such spaces planned — a 2,400-square-foot space and two 900-square-foot spaces. The center will also include support spaces such as a multimedia studio, a recording studio, a robotics studio, art galleries for student showcases and a 200-seat recital hall, he said. Construction on the center is set to finish in November 2010, Michael Guglielmo, assistant director of project management for the University, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald, noting that classes will be offered in the new space starting the following January. “Construction is currently on schedule,” he wrote. Use of the building’s rooms will depend on proposals submitted by faculty and students who wish to gain access to the various available spaces. An executive committee of the Creative Arts Council — consisting of the chairs and directors of each art department and students selected by other students in the creative arts — will review the proposals before granting approval for the requests. Rhode Island School of Design students and faculty will also have access to the space. The Creative Arts Council is also providing grants to Brown faculty, Fishman said, to support continued on page 3

inside

News.....1-4 Metro.....5 Editorial...6 Opinion....7 Today.......8

News, 3
two degrees or none? The University considers eliminating a rarely used B.A./M.A. program

Metro, 5
party’s over A local Republican leader quits over the behavior of the national party

Editorial, 6
animal wrongs? Students should keep an open mind about animal rights activism

Opinions, 7
religion redux Mike Johnson ’11 reopens the debate about spirituality on campus herald@browndailyherald.com

www.browndailyherald.com

195 Angell Street, Providence, Rhode Island

PAGE 2

C AmpuS n ewS
continued from page 1 will be supported by study groups. More classes may be added to the list later. Professor of Computer Science Andy Van Dam is one instructor who has expressed his concern about the facilitated study group model. Van Dam, who teaches CSCI 0150: “Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming and Computer Science,” told The Herald Friday that the new program — as currently outlined — would not effectively support his students. “It will not be what I need in CS 15,” he said. The University’s largest introductory computer science course, CSCI 0150 routinely enrolls more than 150 students, Van Dam said. He added that though three head undergraduate TAs and 16 others — paid by the department — offer more than 60 hours of combined weekly support to students, many still require oneon-one tutoring. “Most of the students have never programmed,” he explained. “They get through the course because they have one-on-one help.” From one to many But Rome said the facilitated study groups will educate students more efficiently and effectively. “This is more pedagogically sound,” she said. “Research supports it.” She said the study groups are expected to begin meeting at some

THE BROWN dAILy HERALd

TUESdAy, SEPTEMBER 29, 2009

“If we can save half a dozen kids, that’s money well spent.”
— Professor of Computer Science Andy Van dam, on subsidizing tutors

one-on-one tutoring cut; effectiveness, accountability at issue
of the Dean of the College — has provided students with one-on-one tutoring for more than 200 courses, free of charge. The new model — which will also be free to students — will offer facilitated study groups for a select number of classes, Bergeron said. So far, those include introductory language courses in Arabic, Chinese, French and Spanish, as well as challenging introductory courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and economics. In her e-mail to students Monday, Bergeron wrote that individual tutoring will be available “by application on a selective basis.” She said administrators have already targeted courses in which tutors have traditionally been in high demand. “Right now, we’re beginning with setting up things for the heavily impacted classes in the social sciences and the physical sciences,” she said. Yolanda Rome, director of cocurricular advising and tutoring programs, said Friday that some faculty members have expressed concern about eliminating one-on-one tutoring entirely. “We’re trying to be responsive to what people have been saying,” Rome said. At the request of some professors, the select introductory classes point next month. Rome — who assumed responsibility for the University’s tutoring program after Gretchen Peterson, program coordinator of the Academic Support Center, left to accept a position at Boston University — added that peer “academic coaches,” unlike the limited study groups, will be available to all students for help in all courses. But the coaches will not provide support for specific course material. Instead, they will offer individualized suggestions on such topics as time management, exam preparation and note-taking, Rome said. “We want to help students hone their study habits,” she said. Rome said that since the first week of school, the University has hired eight academic coaches and nearly 50 study group facilitators — all undergraduates. She said that amid the hiring, members of the Office of the Dean of the College and the Curricular Resource Center have been meeting with faculty members and students to discuss how to staff the new program. “We’ve been soliciting requests from departments,” she said, adding, “It’s a work in progress, but we know that this is a better model.” Professor of Chemistry David Cane, who is teaching a section of CHEM 0360: “Organic Chemistry,” said he thought the facilitated study groups were “very good ideas.”

group tutoring — at least
the university will sponsor “facilitated study groups” for select classes, set to begin sometime next month.
Arabic 0100, Arabic 0300, Biology 0470, Chemistry 0330, Chemistry 0360, Chinese 0100, Chinese 0300, Economics 0110, French 0100, French 0300, Hispanic Studies 0100, Hispanic Studies 0300, Math 0090, Math 0100, Math 0170, Math 0180, Physics 0030 and Physics 0050.
Source: Dean of the College

“I think organized group study is an extremely effective way of learning,” he said. “If it’s properly managed, the student can become actively engaged with the material.” Cane said he regularly encourages students to get together in dorms or libraries to review material on their own, adding that the additional facilitation of a trained group leader might provide additional benefits. Cane said the Department of Chemistry offers weekly problem sessions led by faculty members as well as undergraduates hired by the department. He said the chemistry department will continue to offer those sessions in addition to any new study groups that are set up. Van Dam — who has taught at Brown for over 40 years — said that under the old tutoring program, he only allowed former TAs to tutor CSCI 0150 students. Former teaching assistants are familiar with the problems and challenges students face, he said. Van Dam said the introductory class relies on a “Socratic dialogue,” where students seeking help with projects are often asked questions rather than simply given answers.

But this type of instruction would be ineffective in a facilitated study group, he said. “The Socratic method doesn’t work in a group,” he said. CSCI 0150 has not been included on the list of classes for which facilitated study groups will be offered. Van Dam said that though he had spoken with members of the Office of the Dean of the College to discuss his concerns, he had already taken steps to ensure that his students would have support they need. “Tutoring, to me, is essential as the next step in case teaching assistant office hours aren’t sufficient,” he explained. “I can’t afford to wait until we get this sorted out.” He said he decided to hire former TAs to begin tutoring current students in the absence of University-paid tutors. The students are currently working as volunteers, but Van Dam said he was willing to pay them out of his own pocket if the University will not pay for them. “I am so passionate about this that I would subsidize it out of my own pocket,” he said. “If we can save half a dozen kids, that’s money well spent.”

sudoku

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Daily Herald
the Brown

The Brown Daily Herald (USPS 067.740) is an independent newspaper serving the Brown University community daily since 1891. It is published Monday through Friday during the academic year, excluding vacations, once during Commencement, once during Orientation and once in July by The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. Single copy free for members of the community. POSTMASTER please send corrections to P.O. Box 2538, Providence, RI 02906. Periodicals postage paid at Providence, R.I. Offices are located at 195 Angell St., Providence, R.I. E-mail herald@browndailyherald.com. World Wide Web: http://www.browndailyherald.com. Subscription prices: $319 one year daily, $139 one semester daily. Copyright 2009 by The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.

C AmpuS n ewS
Concurrent degree program scrutinized
By Kevin pratt Staf f Writer

TUESdAy SEPTEMBER 29, 2009 ,

THE BROWN dAILy HERALd

PAGE 3

“It’s a unique place in the country.”
— Richard Fishman, director of the Creative Arts Council

A rarely-used joint degree program that lets undergraduate students graduate with both a master’s and a bachelor’s degree in four years may soon face elimination, according to administrators. Two committees have recommended the program be eliminated, but the final say rests with the faculty, which has not yet considered the proposal. The concurrent bachelor’s/ master’s program is still available for students who are submitting applications this year, and its elimination would not necessarily preclude current students from participating. Though the two committees — the Graduate School Council and the College Curriculum Council — have both recommended the program be eliminated, several steps remain before the proposal would come before the faculty for an up-or-down vote. “The process from this point is to discuss the findings of the two Councils with faculty in the small number of departments that have awarded these degrees in the past decade,” wrote Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron, who chairs the CCC, in an e-mail to The Herald. “That will happen in the next month.” The proposal will then be discussed by the Faculty Executive Committee, Bergeron wrote, adding that it is “possible” the faculty could consider the measure “this year.” It is unclear whether current

students would still be permitted to enroll in the program if it is eliminated, according to University Registrar Michael Pesta. That determination would be up to the Committee on Academic Standing, he said. The four-year concurrent-degree option has drawn only a limited number of students throughout the years. The University also offers a five-year program for students to pursue both a bachelor’s and a master’s, and there are no plans to end that program, said Stephen Lassonde, Deputy Dean of the College. “I don’t think there’s a good reason for (keeping the program),” Lassonde said. “To me, students should be doing this in a five-year master’s.” “There have been years where there’s been only one” graduating student who took advantage of the program, Pesta said. “We’ve had eight (students) two times, in 1994 and 2001, but on average it’s been two a year.” Under the program, students completing bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four years can pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees in two different departments. Jeremy Goodman ’10 is taking courses to graduate with an M.A. in philosophy in addition to his B.A. “I was considering the five-year (master’s) program, but when I found out about the four-year program, that was a much better fit,” Goodman said. “It’s been nice for me, but if it continued on page 4

diane Mokoro / Herald

The Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts will give Brown arts a “cross-disciplinary space.”

Creative arts center underway, so far on time
continued from page 1 course development and programs that will optimize the new building space. The center has been in the works for seven years, Fishman said, though the building’s construction only began last May after the University procured the necessary funding. The groundbreaking occurred soon after the Corporation approved naming the center in honor of Corporation member and former Brown trustee Martin Granoff P’93 and his wife, Perr y Granoff, for their continued fundraising both for the creative arts and for the University. The Granoffs are philanthropists and national advocates for the creative arts, Fishman said. They also organized the Brown Hillel campaign that led to the Glenn and Darcy Weiner Center at Brown/ RISD Hillel — in 2004. “The Creative Arts Center will be phenomenal for Brown,” Granoff said in a statement before the groundbreaking ceremony in May. “It will bring together the best and brightest students, taught by an extraordinary faculty, and give them a unique architectural environment designed for collaboration, experimentation and excellence in all of the arts.” The Center is designed by the architecture firm Diller, Scofidio and Renfro, the team behind the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. They were selected from a list of candidates because “they understood the program that we wanted about a cross-disciplinary space,” Fishman said. “It’s a unique place in the country.”

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continued from page 3 M.A. candidate in philosophy, said the program has been valuable. “I personally like the opportunity it presents,” Lafer said, “because it allows me to pursue master’s work as an undergrad.” Despite the program’s uncertain future, Lafer said he spoke to Lassonde this semester and felt assured that he would be able to graduate with both degrees. Professor of computer science Tom Doeppner, who has advised students on the concurrent B.A./ M.A. track, said the program is “part of the Brown tradition.” “It doesn’t have a whole lot of students who are doing it,

THE BROWN dAILy HERALd

TUESdAy, SEPTEMBER 29, 2009

wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be heartbroken,” he added. Goodman said he would “probably not” be taking courses for his master’s in philosophy if he could not earn it in four years. But he said the four-year master’s may not be missed in his concentration. “I don’t think it’s that much of a loss for philosophy. Maybe it’s a loss in other areas, where having a master’s could help in other ways,” he said. Jared Lafer ’11, a Herald opinions columnist who is also a B.A./

B.A./master’s option max be cut panels bring together scientists, humanists
but I’ve been here 30 years and this program has been in place (since) before then,” he said. “So it’s been here a long time,” Doeppner said. The program has been listed among the University’s offering since 1964, according to Pesta. Despite its accelerated timeline, Doeppner said the concurrently earned master’s is not seen as any different than the same as a master’s earned in the postgraduate years. “The only difference is that you use some courses to satisfy both bachelor’s and master’s requirements,” he said. continued from page 1 for audience participation, FaustoSterling said. Each panel will include three members: a humanities scholar, a scientist and someone to discuss relevant policy questions. According to Steinberg, the emergence of newer fields of study in the humanities such as “eco-criticism” and environmental history means that scholars will bring a distinct perspective to the discussions. “On the issue of the environment, the humanists obviously share everyone’s concerns,” he said, “but the broader question is, how can humanists have something to say to the issue, in terms of possible policy and analyzing the effect on people’s lives?” Leaders of the project have struggled with event planning this year due to the economic downturn. To cut costs, “Nature and Legacy” will not have the luxury of the print advertisements that were used for the Darwin series, Fausto-Sterling said. Though Steinberg said the organizers “were somewhat limited by budget realities, just like anyone else,” monetary concerns did not affect the strength of the program. Future panels will include “Climate Change” (Nov. 5) and “Toxicity” (March 18). Steinberg said readers should expect to see another panel, entitled “The Return of Nature,” which will discuss the implications of taking nature for granted. In addition to variety in the panelists’ academic backgrounds, Steinberg said he hopes the series will attract a wide range of audience perspectives. Last year, the Darwin events drew participation from the University as well as the greater community, including local high schools. Steinberg said he expects the same kind of participation this year and emphasized the importance of a rich discussion. Because of the broad range of perspectives in the audience and among the panelists, “there should be something fresh and, to a great extent, unpredictable, about what happens at these events,” he said. Fausto-Sterling echoed Steinberg’s enthusiasm. “We’re very excited by it,” she said of “Nature and Legacy.” “I think it’s going to be very interesting … these are pressing scientific/social issues that are in our lives and we are happy to be able to have a public investigation of them and conversation about them.”

metro
The Brown daily Herald
metro in brief

“The Republican party needs to reevaluate itself.”
— Former state Republican leader Ivan Marte
TUESdAy, SEPTEMBER 29, 2009 | PAGE 5

grant helps r.i. pre-schoolers
The Providence economy may be sputtering, but the city’s students are getting an educational boost. Ready to Learn Providence, a nonprofit made up of, among others, parents and teachers who seek to prepare young students for school, has won a $3.9 million grant from the U.S. department of Education, according to a press release from the office of Rep. Jim Langevin, d-R.I. The Early Reading First grant, which will aid five programs in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls, is designed to help early-childcare programs nationwide develop ways to prepare preschoolers for kindergarten. Over a three-year period, teachers will receive training and mentoring, and the centers will receive books and other materials. The organization is one of only 28 nonprofits and school districts to receive the grants, which drew over 450 applicantions. “Ready to Learn Providence should be commended for their tremendous effort in securing this Early Reading First grant, which reflects the high priority this Congress has placed on ensuring that all children have the preparation and skills they need on their very first day of school,” Langevin said in the release. “Reaching children as early as possible and engaging them in reading is key to making them life long learners.” — Sydney Ember

‘Disenchanted,’ state rep. leaves G.o.p.
By alexandra ulmer Senior Staff Writer

r.I. legislators gear up for busy session
continued from page 1 Island’s budget deficit. According to an article in Monday’s Providence Journal, Rhode Island’s part-time legislators — who receive an annual salary of about $14,000 — usually meet three days a week between the first Tuesday in January and the end of June. During years with particularly pressing concerns, lawmakers usually return in July to settle unresolved matters. But this year despite promises to return to the Capitol, the General Assembly took a prolonged vacation, citing an inability to find a convenient time that satisfied lawmakers’ various summer vacation plans, according to the Journal. During their last session, both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed bills to close a loophole that has allowed indoor prostitution to persist in the nation’s smallest state. But they will have to merge the individual bills — which differ in the specified types of punishments allowed for customers and prostitutes — before a copy can reach the desk of Gov. Donald Carcieri ’65. The House and Senate also passed identical bills eliminating the last three words of the state’s official title. If each house passes the final version of the bill, state residents will vote on the issue in a November 2010 referendum.

The chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Hispanic Assembly, Ivan Marte, has resigned from his position and left the G.O.P. following a Republican Congressman’s outburst during an address by President Obama. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., shouted, “You lie!” during Obama’s speech to Congress about health care earlier this month, when Obama said health care reform would not benefit undocumented immigrants. The moment became a flashpoint for partisan rancor, with most Democrats condemning Wilson and many Republicans defending him. Marte told The Herald his increasing resentment towards the Republican party was the underlying reason for his resignation. “I thought that was very uncivilized on his part,” Marte said of Wilson’s outburst. “I felt ashamed to belong to the same party.” Marte emigrated from the Dominican Republic at age 16 and has

been a member of the G.O.P. for over 20 years. “I have been disenchanted for a while,” he said. “The Republican Party needs to reevaluate itself,” he added, describing the party as unchanged since the 1880s. But participation is crucial in changing a political party, said Giovanni Cicione, the state Republican chairman. “We welcome dissent; we don’t demand 100 percent (adherence). Our 80 percent friend is not a 20 percent enemy.” Describing himself as “surprised” and “disappointed” by the resignation, Cicione said he would be open to Marte’s return to the party. “He’s a good Republican,” Cicione said. But the exclusion of minorities — on both a national and local level — that Marte saw became too much for him, he said. He expressed severe disappointment with Gov. Donald Carcieri’s ’65 lack of outreach to the Hispanic community in Rhode Island and a recent crackdown on undocumented immigrants by the state government under Carcieri’s administration.

Amy Kempe, a spokesperson for Carcieri, declined to comment on Marte’s resignation. A 2008 executive order signed by Carcieri aimed to prevent undocumented immigrants from working in Rhode Island and causing an undue burden on the state. Additionally, the order permits Rhode Island state police officers, after training, to undertake the same actions as Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, including raids. Prior to the crackdown, the governor had asked Marte to prepare a report on how to best approach the Hispanic community, Marte said. None of his recommendations were subsequently enacted, he said. “The governor gets advice from a lot of people,” Cicione said, adding that he commends the governor’s immigration policy. Since he quit, Marte’s inbox has been “bombarded” by more than 400 messages of support, primarily from Hispanics, he said. “People are giving me a lot of support for standing up against this kind of misbehavior,” he said.

editorial & Letters
The Brown daily Herald
Page 6 | TUESdAy, SEPTEMBER 29, 2009

l e t t e r to t h e e d i to r

Column misstated unitarian universalist theology and membership
to the editor: I’m writing to respond to Michael Fitzpatrick’s ’12 column (“The secret life of atheists at Brown,” Sept. 24). As the facilitator for the Brown University Unitarian Universalist Group (BUUUG), I am pleased that our group was included in his article. Our members see this as an opportunity to rectify some misconceptions about our group, and about Unitarian Universalism as a whole. On one point he is absolutely correct: BUUUG (which has no “undergraduate” U in it; we welcome graduate students too) is completely accepting of students identifying with Christian beliefs. However, his article implied that the groups available to Christians were those groups “targeted specifically at Christian students to promote solidarity and celebrate their religious views.” While BUUUG opens its doors gladly to students identifying with Christianity, we are not a group targeted specifically at Christians. Rather, we are a group targeted at Unitarian Universalists and those interested in Unitarian Universalism. Fortunately, this misconception provides the group a welcomed opportunity to clarify our religious tradition to the Brown community. While Unitarian Universalism has deep roots in Judeo-Christian theological history, we are not a sect of Christianity. Our faith draws on a diversity of religious sources, encouraging an individual search for truth and meaning in our lives. We are united by common values as opposed to a creed or dogma, and while our values are common to many world religions, we agree to celebrate and practice them from all different origins of belief. We commonly call our faith a “living tradition,” meaning it has evolved through history and will continue to achieve more inclusivity and diversity of thought. In other words, as many Unitarian Universalists say, you don’t have to believe alike to love alike. Historically, both Unitarianism and Universalism grew out of the Protestant Reformation, beginning as two religions contemplating and debating Christian ideas. The merging of the two groups to create Unitarian Universalism has broadened the base of religious thought from which we draw — you will rarely find two Unitarian Universalists who completely agree on theological grounds. In our group at Brown, we have members who identify with Christian, Hindu, humanist, Jewish, earth-based, atheist, agnostic and many other types of religious and non-religious thought. Our minister in Providence is also a Zen Buddhist master. While our backgrounds are diverse and transcendent, we remain one people committed to a set of inclusive and love-centered principles. Chelsea waite ’11 Brown University Unitarian Universalist Group Facilitator Sept. 28

FRANNY CHOI

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Anyone who walks by the Main Green this week during the day is likely to be confronted by a slew of blown-up photographs depicting the graphic details of violence done to animals. These images are juxtaposed with shots of similar types of harm being done to people in the context of famous historical injustices like the American slave trade. Having to walk by such pictures certainly doesn’t make for a fun trip home from class. But does it serve a purpose? We think it’s still too soon to tell. But early reports from the exhibit’s first day suggest that the Brown Animal Rights Club and their partners from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are doing a surprisingly good job pulling off an exhibit that borders on tastelessness. The dangers of photo displays like this are wellknown. PETA’s 2003 display “Holocaust on Your Plate,” which placed pictures taken in death camps next to those from factory farms, provoked a furious reaction from Jewish groups and Holocaust survivors. A similar poster put up in Berlin, emblazoned with the caption “To Animals, All People are Nazis,” was ruled “an offense against human dignity” by a German court in March. At first glance, the Main Green display appears to have similar problems. It’s only natural to think that side-by-side pictures of a cow and a slave being branded equate the two practices. Many people would with good reason be repulsed, or at least turned against PETA’s cause, if they believed the display was making the point that the worst atroci-

Animal wrongs?

e d i to r i a l

ties in human history are morally indistinguishable from killing a cow to make a beef Carberry. On the other hand, BARC and PETA rightly note that the conditions in which animals in factory farms or in many laboratories are kept are appalling. You don’t have to think animals are anything close to our moral equals to believe we ought to reform these practices. Animal rights groups perform a valuable service by highlighting the worst abuses. The BARC/PETA display toes the line between making a counterproductive equation and providing valuable information. Fortunately, the staff at the display were willing to acknowledge this tension and address concerned passers-by accordingly. BARC and PETA members went to great pains to explain that their intent was raising questions about our use of animals rather than establishing moral equivalence. The polite and intellectual manner in which they addressed even hard questions demonstrated that the exhibit, rather than being an exercise in sloppy moralizing, was intended as a serious reflection on animals in modern society, a point underscored by the arguments made on the billboards accompanying the photographs. So, Brown students, keep an open mind. The display may be shocking, but the care its creators put into it turns what could be offensive into something potentially of great value. A short stop at the conversation booth might be well worth your time. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to editorials@browndailyherald.com.

opinions editor opinions editor

correction
An article in Monday’s paper (“Liberian VP offers hopeful view for troubled nation,” Sept. 28) incorrectly noted that Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation report was established after similar commissions in South Africa and Rwanda. In fact, Rwanda has not established such a commission.

editorial paGe board James Shapiro editorial Page editor matt Aks Board member nick Bakshi Board member Zack Beauchamp Board member debbie Lehmann Board member William martin Board member

c l a r i f i c at i o n
An article in the Sept. 17 paper (“Rail service extended to Warwick airport”) stated that a car rental facility that is a part of the Warwick Intermodal Facility helps T.F. Green Airport’s marketing efforts to airlines, according to Patti Goldstein, vice president of public affairs and air service marketing at T.F. Green. In fact, the entire transportation hub, which also includes a train station and car parking, assists with the airport’s marketing strategy.
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opinions
The Brown daily Herald

TUESdAy, SEPTEMBER 29, 2009 | PAGE 7

The two-thousand-year (approximately) debate
opinions columnist
of Catholics at Brown,” Sept. 17), speaking out about the oppression she feels at the hands of atheists at Brown, and by an atheist, Michael Fitzpatrick ’12 (“The secret life of atheists at Brown,” Sept. 24), who reinforced Fritzsche’s point by mocking her complaint. I’d like to rebut both of those columns here. First, to feel singled out because of the pretentious behavior of others is not new. I think we can all agree that those who flaunt Christians. They offered starting-point suggestions: “hypocritical,” “extremist” and “conservative.” It was odd to me that a negative connotation of Christianity could have pervaded so deeply into our consciousness that it becomes inconceivable to think of the religion as anything else. They continued to ask what I felt the role of religion was at Brown. Before this week, I wouldn’t have known what to say. Now, spreading this belief to all people of the earth, so that all may enjoy its teachings and the warm fuzzy feeling it provides. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a general description of every religion, ever. Whether one is black, white, purple or razzledazzle rose, from San Diego or Togo, every person is instilled with a sense of community with others and a belief that the human race can accomplish something to make our limited time on this planet worthwhile. God need not have anything to do with it; there is a difference between religion and faith. It’s possible to believe in the power of the human spirit, in the triumph of good over evil and in the simple practice of charity without subscribing to a host of religious tenets or doctrines. In this definition, God has nothing to do with spirituality or faith. A belief or disbelief in God doesn’t make someone “right” or “wrong,” nor does either give anyone the privilege to rudely spout his or her ideology and mock those who disagree. It’s not a question of who is made to feel more unwelcome on campus, nor is it a question of which group has the most student organizations to join. Spirituality and faith take place in the human mind. We each have just one of those, and we all have the right to feel secure inside of it.

By MIKE JOHNSON
Barbs about religion seem to be flying on Brown’s campus. I’d like to overburden the Herald reader even more by lending my thirty pieces of silver to the debate. Religion at Brown is a much touchier subject than it should be. Brown’s own history with the topic is embedded in its architecture, where we are presented with “In Deo Speramus,” or “In God We Hope.” This is similar, but strikingly different, from our nation’s motto of “In Deo Confidimus,” or “In God We Trust.” Brown, then, isn’t placing trust in God, it’s merely hoping that God will lend a hand now and then. Implicitly, our University is allowing us to choose our own destiny and take hold of our future. That essential fact lies at the heart of everything Brown University stands for: choice. We can choose to take whatever classes we like for the duration of our time here. We aren’t restricted by core requirements or over-rigorous concentration requirements (except possibly Engineering concentrators. Sorry). Similarly, we are allowed to choose to flaunt our religion, as some do, or keep it to ourselves, as most do. However, I’m still stymied by the fact that the mere mention of God throws everyone into a tailspin over religion. We’ve seen columns in this section by a Catholic, Kate Fritzsche ’10 (“The secret life

It’s possible to believe in the power of the human spirit, in the triumph of good over evil and in the simple practice of charity without subscribing to a host of religious tenets and doctrines.

their rejection of religion are just as annoying as those who flaunt their religion. Second, to blast someone’s understandable concern over their religious freedoms only contributes to a culture of intolerance and disrespect, however tongue-in-cheek such remarks may have been. In the midst of all this, two men (perhaps smelling religion in the water) stopped me at the Gate and asked me for a minute of my time to talk about religion. One thing they asked was what word I would use to describe

I replied that it was unfortunately the source of division and intolerance. There is a religion that preaches kindness to others. It teaches that we should provide for those less fortunate than ourselves. Its pillars are love, peace and equality across race and gender. As a religion, it espouses belief in something greater than the individual, some guiding power that energizes the human spirit. This enables us to achieve great works of art and to discover the wonders of the universe through empirical observation. It prescribes

mike Johnson ’11 wishes we could all just get along.

providence’s unwanted students
By FATIMA AQEEL
opinions columnist
I’m not sure what Mayor David Cicilline’s ’83 experiences were like here on College Hill. But I can’t help but wonder where he’s getting his ideas regarding student contributions to the city. Did he feel that Brown students were just a bunch of rich kids who were unconcerned about the rest of the Providence when he was around? Were they just a bunch of moochers who took what they got from their community for granted, and gave little in return? Along with proposing a plan to tax hospitals (I’m guessing his experience with those hasn’t been that great either), Cicilline is a proponent of a “student tax,” which would place a hefty $150-per-student, per-semester charge on all of Providence’s private colleges. Much heated discussion has followed the latter proposition in forums ranging as far and wide as the Senate, newspapers and even Facebook groups. Proponents of the tax argue that it is high time that students pay up for the large share of the city’s services that they consume, such as, umm … the fire department (always there to rescue us from the scourge of burnt popcorn), and that they should contribute to the city in its time of dire financial need. But there’s another way to think about it. If you, as a student, start getting charged for any negative externalities you might impose on the community, then technically, shouldn’t you get paid for any positive externalities you contribute to the city too, or for any services you provide (in the non-prostitution way)? Heck, if that started happening, I’d quit my job right now! Let’s take, as a case in point, examples of what the positive externalities of Brown students are on Providence. I am part of a program called University Community Academic Advising Program that is specially designed to provide students with opportunities to get to know Providence better and to engage in community service here. For example, students from this program take Health, which also works with immigrant communities. I went to a Project Health meeting recently and listened to the students speak earnestly about their success stories in trying to link immigrants to the resources they need. I was taken aback by how passionate the volunteers were, even though they weren’t being paid a dime for their efforts. Maybe it’s time they started seeing some cash money for all the hard work they do. Moreover, our positive externalities do not end merely with community service. The universities are banks of knowledge which will help the country in future. The United As this student tax is discussed in the Senate, however, they are forced to wonder: is what they have to offer Providence only in terms of money? Do students’ efforts for the community not account for anything? Jake Heimark ’10 writes, concerning the tax, “It alienates students, faculty and staff, and discourages us from getting more involved in the community” (“An unfair burden,” Sept. 7). Students are being made to feel unwanted, and we have started to feel undervalued because our efforts are going unrecognized. What may happen in the future is that many bright students from other states or abroad, students who are genuinely interested in making their community better and who would benefit the country’s knowledge bank, will not apply to the colleges here because it is too expensive to live in Providence. Governor Donald Carcieri ’65 understands what the impact of the fee on these students will be. The Providence Journal cites him as having said, “The cost of higher education is already out of reach for many families and assessing them a $300 yearly fee only exacerbates the burden.” In the end, therefore, if this tax succeeds in being passed, it will not just be students, but Providence itself, that will suffer.

Is what students have to offer Providence defined only in terms of money?
part in efforts to teach English or math at high schools after school hours, and to help take care of the mentally disabled. They take time out for the city from their own school work on a completely unconditional basis. This pattern of service is obviously not just restricted to UCAAP. You might be a tutor at a school or a member of an environmental organization on campus. You might be part of student programs such as Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment, which helps the numerous refugee families in Providence, or of Project States is an increasingly knowledge-based economy, and with this reality in mind, it might not be wise for Providence to appear hostile to universities. In the real world, Brown students’ Ivy League education and the skills they’ve acquired in college will fetch them high salaries. Obviously, they would never consider demanding compensation from the city because contributing their time is part of being good citizens. And as good citizens, they want to use what they have to make people’s lives better.

Fatima aqeel ‘12 is an economics concentrator from Karachi, Pakistan. She can be reached at fatima_aqeel@brown.edu

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5

Legislator says farewell to G.O.P .

to day

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One more against the ‘student tax’

tuesday, septemBer 29, 2009

7

70 / 51

66 / 44
page 8

walk on the creative side
Cabernet voltaire | Abe Pressman

comics

1
c a l e n da r
tuesday, septemBer 29 11 am — Study Abroad Fair, Lincoln Field 7 pm — Guatemala Film Series: “Sipakapa Is Not For Sale,” Joukowsky Forum wednesday, septemBer 30 12 pm — Fall Career Fair, Sayles Hall 5:30 pm — Providence Latin American Film Festival: “Mañana,” 17 Canal Street

dot Comic | Eshan Mitra and Brendan Hainline

menu
sHarpe reFeCtory lunCH — Tempeh Fajitas with Pico de Gallo, Red Rice, Linguica Sandwich dinner — Orange Turkey, Acorn Squash with Curried Rice and Chickpeas, Au Gratin Potatoes with Fresh Herbs verney-woolley dining Hall lunCH — Shaved Steak Sandwich with Mushrooms, Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Sandwich, Sunny Sprouts dinner — Pot Roast Jardiniere, Oven Browned Potatoes, Vegan Rice and Beans, Chocolate Marshmallow Cake

Hippomaniac | Mat Becker

RELEASE DATE– Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
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DOWN 1 Comfy soft shoes 2 Understand, in slang 3 Mortgage payment-lowering strategy, briefly 4 Sentimental place in the heart 5 Fluffy stoles By Dan Naddor

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