daily herald

the Brown
vol. cxxii, no. 116


Page 3

Cry baby
Study finds cry acoustics an indicator for autism

Faculty votes to add Urc lecturer position
By kaTe deSiMone
senior staff writer

wednesday, december 5, 2012

since 1891

Page 4

Rabbi search
Current rabbi steps down, Hillel works to fill position Page 8

The state of R.I.
Members of media discuss economics and partisanship



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Faculty membership on the University resources Committee will increase from six to seven following a faculty vote tuesday. The vote was part of the last scheduled faculty meeting this semester. The change creates a membership position for a lecturer or senior lecturer on the committee, which makes annual budget recommendations to the president. The proposal was brought by the Faculty executive Committee and met with no discussion or questions before being brought to a vote. The motion’s rationale stated that after the UrC added two undergraduate student members this year, raising its total student membership from five to seven, “(a)n objection was raised that faculty should not be a minority on a faculty committee.” The num-

ber of undergraduates on the committee was increased as a response to concerns that the UrC’s budget recommendations — which include determining tuition hikes — are of particular relevance to students, The herald previously reported. The motion is also part of continuing efforts from the FeC to include lecturers and senior lecturers, who are not tenure-track faculty, in faculty governance committees. Last month’s faculty meeting saw the passage of a motion to add a lecturer or senior lecturer to the FeC’s membership. The incentive option for immediate retirement of tenured faculty — which offers a year’s salary to encourage older faculty members to retire — will end in June 2014, pending a proposed one-year extension and enhancement to the current program, Provost Mark Schlissel P’15 announced. while the incentive / / UrC page 5

dave deCkey / Herald

a Chicago-based company recently bought MunchCard and will restart the service after tackling technological and legal challenges. see page 2.

U. switches to user-friendly faculty research database Physicists
By Uday ShriraM
Contributing writer

The University switched tuesday to a new database for compiling and displaying faculty research profiles and curriculum vitae called VIVo. the new system allows faculty members to publicly upload and update their C.V.s and will replace the existing Directory of research and researchers at Brown. The transition was initially marred with technical difficulties and slow servers, but the Dean of the Faculty’s office is working to identify the source of the problems and remedy them in preparation for a “more relaxing introduction to VIVo” over the next year, said Kevin McLaughlin P’12, dean of the faculty, at tuesday’s faculty meeting. VIVo will be “our public facing website for faculty research,” McLaughlin

said. The current database is “not kept up to date” and is “a clunky website, not very searchable, not very easy to update and pretty primitive,” he said. VIVo will require faculty members to update their information on the database every year and to provide a statement about their annual research progress to the faculty chair. The administration uses information from faculty member’s C.V.s to determine their salaries. Under the new system, faculty members will no longer be required to provide information such as what classes they taught, how many students were in each class or independent study projects they supervised. The University will “capture that information directly from the registrar” and “simplify the process for faculty to submit their updated C.V.s,” McLaughlin said.

Faculty members are being asked to upload information they want on the website, and to update it annually. researchers from other universities will also be able to track faculty members who are performing research on a specific topic. The VIVo application can produce uniquely formatted C.V.s, such as a national Institutes of health formatted C.V., which many professors at Brown need to apply for grants. Some faculty members had mixed views about the switch. “In principle, this is not a bad idea, but it would be good to understand who will be taking care of updating it efficiently,” said roberto Serrano, professor of economics and chair of the department. “often these new systems have glitches and frictions that are annoying to navigate through,” Serrano added. “And I do feel that the departments have

not been consulted sufficiently before implementing the change.” Serrano also said the current research directory has not proven useful. “I have almost never used it and when I have, prompted by some Google search, I have found the information there either outdated or incorrect,” he said. Some faculty members, including Serrano, do maintain updated information on their personal websites, but feel that if the University wants to implement a centralized system, it should properly update and maintain the site. A number of faculty members were apprehensive about the fact that the C.V.s on VIVo will be used to calculate faculty salaries. But James Valles, chair of the physics department, said that “C.V. data has always been used for evaluating a professor’s productivity and impact.” he / / vivo page 5 added that de-

across nation seek dark matter
By Sonia Phene
staff writer

alum makes ‘bartering sexy’ with closet swapping site
By Mark valdez
senior staff writer

Courtesy of BIB and tuCk

Sari Azout ’10 and her childhood friend Sari Bibliowicz understand the experience of wandering into your best friend’s closet and finding a sweater there that she never wears — but that you know would go perfectly with a pair of jeans you own. “one lady’s trash is someone else’s treasure,” Azout said. “we wanted to make bartering something sexy.” In pursuit of this goal, they cofounded last month the online shopping market Bib and tuck, which brings unwanted clothes from the closets of women across the nation to cyberspace. The website, which currently only offers women’s clothing, has already been featured in Vogue, elle and Fast Company and continues to grow rapidly in membership.


Bib and Tuck, an online bartering website co-founded by Sari azout ’10, allows members to sell and purchase women’s clothing and accessories.

threading the needle Bib and tuck allows members to

sell clothes they don’t want anymore for “bucks,” which can be used to purchase goods from other members. Members decide on the value of the clothing and list the price in bucks. “You’re shopping without spending,” Azout said. when a member wishes to sell an item, it is referred to as a “bib,” while a purchase is called a “tuck.” Azout, an international student from Colombia, graduated from Brown with a concentration in Commerce, organizations and entrepreneurship. She said she was particularly inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit at Brown but wasn’t sure what she wanted to pursue after graduation. Initially, she took a job at Barclays Capital in new York as a bond trader and moved in with Bibliowicz, who was her childhood friend in Colombia. Bibliowicz was working for the travel section of Gilt Groupe, an online members-only shopping destination that “provides instant insider access to today’s top de/ / Fashion page 2 signer labels,”

Buried deep underground in Black hills, S.D. lies a cavern with a titanium tank the size of a phonebooth. over the next year, researchers hope this vessel will detect dark matter, the presence of which physicists have long been aware, but which has never been directly observed. the tank was filled with xenon gas Monday, one of the final steps of preparing to turn the detector on. The detector is being run through the Sanford Lab as part of the Large Underground Xenon experiment, a massive multi-institution effort to detect dark matter. Data collection is scheduled to begin in January. Modern physics only explains about 5 percent of the universe, the part that is made up of normal matter, or the things that we can see. The remaining part is made up of dark matter and dark energy, said richard Gaitskell, professor of physics, who is one of many researchers working on the LUX experiment. “It is extremely embarrassing to admit that we don’t know what 95 percent of (the) universe is made of,” Gaitskell said. The ideas of dark energy and dark matter were born of astrophysical observations. In the 1990s, images of distant supernovae from the hubble Space telescope showed the expansion of the universe was accelerating, not slowing as was expected due to the effects of gravity. Scientists conceived the idea of dark energy as the underlying cause of this accelerated expansion and determined that it may make up 72 percent of the universe based / / dark page 4

science & research

2 campus news
C alendar
TODAY 7:30 P .m. “The Future of Healthcare Reform” MacMillan 115 8P .m. Ghanaian Drumming Concert Grant Recital Hall 8P .m. SPEC Candyland 2012 Sayles Hall DEC. 5 TOmORROW 11 A.m. Cookies on the Main Green Main Green DEC. 6 By kaTherine CUSUMano
senior staff writer

the Brown DAILY herALD weDneSDAY, DeCeMBer 5, 2012

munchcard to change under new management
MunchCard, a student-owned Thayer Street restaurant discount program, went inactive when it was bought by a Chicagobased company earlier this semester. with the acquisition now complete, the new ownership plans to enact a series of changes to the MunchCard system before reactivating it. “There’s no real timeline,” said Steven tran ’13, a former member of the MunchCard ownership team. tran said he could not foresee when the card would come back online. The acquiring company is in the midst of a period of transitions “including new people coming onto their leadership team,” said Ben Vishny ’14, MunchCard’s co-founder. The acquisition marks the new company’s attempt to enter into the “closed-loop issuance” market, Vishny said. Under a closed-loop system, the card will be accepted only at a limited number of vendors, and the company does not want to reveal their plans to competitors prematurely, he added. The former MunchCard owners have been in contact with the acquiring company several times per week by phone and through meetings at the company’s base in Chicago. Though Vishny and tran no longer have official roles in the company, they have maintained consulting positions during the transition period. Thayer Street restaurants accepting MunchCard in the past required a separate swipe terminal to work, but this will be phased out when MunchCard goes live under new leadership, Vishny said. The acquiring company is attempting to replicate the program’s local focus while reconciling restaurant merchants’ existing hardware. Vishny and tran outlined three areas of difficulty that the company must address before MunchCard goes live. First, it must integrate technological systems — restaurant merchants use “over 600 different types of just touchscreen ordering machines,” Vishny said. expansion would have been impossible for MunchCard under student ownership because they did not have the systems of a piece of clothing or accessory and allows for fewer resources to be used in the long run. “The average household disposes about 70 pounds of clothing each year,” she said. Bib and tuck offers members the opportunity to trade unwanted clothing rather than trashing it. bibs, tucks, bucks The website is strictly a membersonly shopping experience, much like Gilt, JackThreads and rueLaLa. while they originally sent an invitation email to 100 friends in July, Azout said, the number of members has grown to 2,500 members. “we now have a waitlist of 5,000,” she said. Azout and Bibliowicz handed out bracelets with the invitation code to some fashionable new Yorkers who they passed by on the street. once in, members can invite friends, who will then receive invitation codes as well. Alternatively, aspiring members can enter their email addresses on the website and wait to receive a code. “we go through the waitlist each day and accept a few people,” Azout said. “we want to build an online community for creative people.” once invited, members are given a rundown of the process called “what the tuck.” The site operates similar to twitter, allowing members to follow each other. Social media is a large part of the website’s outreach. Members are offered “free bucks” for bibbing an item right out of Instagram, following the site on twitter


Sweet and Sour Tofu, Chicken Artichoke Pasta Medley, Sunny Sprouts, Flame Grilled Vegan Patty Roasted Corn Chowder with Bacon, Broccoli Quiche, Italian Beef Noodle Casserole, Vegan Fagioli Soup

Vegan Chala Masala, Curried Tofu with Coconut, Cajun Pasta with Chicken, Braised Bok Choy Baked Chicken Parmesan, Tofu Parmesan, Butternut Squash and Leek Risotto, Caesar Salad


capacity to carry out this integration, tran added. Second, there are a host of legal implications that arise from applying the card in different states, which the next company will attempt to do at multiple universities. For example, some states honor expiration dates, while others do not, Vishny said. “There’s a little more of a complex environment involved,” Vishny said. Finally, developing a student network poses a challenge to the company. “we function as a very personable company,” tran said. “we’re in the Brown community, we support the Brown community.” The acquiring company wants to maintain the personal level of service and “student-powered” fundamentals that initially attracted card-holders, Vishny said. The company does not have access to identification information from students who originally signed up last year, he added. Those accounts have been closed and students will have to sign up again when MunchCard is again available.

/ / Fashion page 1
according to the website. Bibliowicz took the job after graduating from new York University in 2009, with a major in marketing and hospitality. “nYU was a great place to really immerse yourself in a diverse group of people,” she said. “That’s where I fell in love with style and fashion.” Though Azout had a steady job, she said they “shopped so much, (they) would have no money.” Azout and Bibliowicz, who refer to themselves as ‘Sari A’ and ‘Sari B’ on their website, would “(shop) each other’s closets,” swapping clothing and accessories. Using their savings, they came up with the idea for Bib and tuck. stitch by stitch Though the shortened version of her name is “Bib,” Bibliowicz said it is just a coincidence that the name of the business is Bib and tuck. The name was fashioned from the old english phrase “wear your best bib and tucker,” Azout said, which literally means to wear your best clothes. “Most people don’t use 40 percent of their wardrobe,” she said. “It’s really a hot space.” “There is not much of a creative community online,” Azout added. The website allows users to post stylish pictures of their clothing — sometimes straight out of Instagram — which gives it a chic and unique vibe. Azout added that the venture could be good for the environment. Because she’s “focused on quality over quantity,” Azout said the site extends the life span


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and connecting with Facebook. Bib and tuck’s Instagram feed is filled with chic photos of snake-skinned high heels, nude Celine heels and a pair of bubble gum shoes. The caption reads “warning: will bring you up when you’re down … Go tuck ’em.” The range is “from Zara to Prada,” Azout said. “we have about 50 percent designer clothing, 25 percent indie oneof-a-kind clothing and 25 percent of lower-end clothing like h&M and Zara.” Among the editor’s Picks are a vintage red sweater from the 1980s with a ram on the front that reads “100 percent cashmere” for 40 bucks, a pair of pointy, black lace Dior shoes for 300 bucks, a one-shoulder bright green floral ralph Lauren dress for 250 bucks and a magenta and violet psychedelic tank for 25 bucks. Users are encouraged to take unique and captivating photos of their bibs. “we think that if it’s worth selling, it’s worth styling,” reads the website’s frequently asked questions. once an item is tucked, Bib and tuck sends the bibber a shipping label and a box to ship the package out to the member who tucked. “It’s nice to receive packages,” Bibliowicz said. “Members are encouraged to write a little note like ‘Thank you so much for tucking my piece.’ It personalizes it a bit.” Azout said though the site is exclusively for women’s clothing at the moment, she wants to “dominate that space” before potentially expanding to include men’s clothing as well. Corina Arnal ’14 was one of the first test group members to join the site. Since then, she has tucked a shirt, a pair of pants and shoes. “I was most iffy on the shoes because there’s something gross about having had feet in them before,” Arnal said. “But the girl said she bought them after her heel broke a couple of blocks from home. The tag was still at the bottom.” Arnal said she bibs items she doesn’t want anymore, ones that don’t fit properly or “something that my mom got me that’s really nice, but that’s not really me,” she said. She added that she enjoys the “curated community” of members, as well as the “cutesy propaganda” sprinkled throughout the site. “everyone is excited to be participating in it,” she said.

the Brown DAILY herALD weDneSDAY, DeCeMBer 5, 2012

cry acoustics help identify autism early, study finds
By PhoeBe draPer
senior staff writer

science & research 3
development would benefit the autism field of research by allowing specialists to initiate intervention measures earlier, Sheinkopf said. Unfortunately, the dynamic between early identification and intervention is a “chicken and egg problem,” he said. Currently, little to no treatment options are in place for high-risk infants under 12 months, he said. But early identification of high-risk children may inspire the development of treatment options for these infants, Sheinkopf said. Sheinkopf and Powell both noted that the study’s small sample size was a weakness. The biggest challenge was identifying prospective high-risk infants — a difficult task given that autism is not diagnosed until age two, Sheinkopf said. “It’s a first publication in this area,” Sheinkopf said. “we need to follow up.” Powell said it was “surprising” there were more females in the at-risk group, as autism typically affects more boys than girls. For example, if an older sibling has autism, a younger brother has a one in four chance of developing the disease, while a younger sister’s chance is one in nine, she said. Since the initial study, Sheinkopf said he and his colleagues have been “replicating and extending” their work. The team joined forces with Professor of engineering harvey Silverman to develop a computer program that would hone their cry analysis technique. Armed with the new and improved cry analysis program, Sheinkopf said the team is currently examining cries’ phonation, or harmonic vibration of the vocal cords. “You can think of it as a tape recording with a lot of static in the background versus a tape recording without static,” Sheinkopf said, describing the difference in phonation between high-risk and low-risk infants. The cries of high-risk infants are less clear and have more background noise, he said. “we are looking at more variables, more frequencies to describe the cries, and piecing those different elements together to find patterns,” Sheinkopf said. The new cry analysis mechanism is a “useful tool” that the team looks forward to sharing with the research community at large, he said. Analysis of cry acoustics proves useful for other developmental disabilities and neurological impairments, including early infant brain damage and in utero drug exposure, he said. when it comes to cry acoustics in relation to autism, Sheinkopf said the University’s lab is one of the few doing this work. “Vocalization in autism is an area that has lain dormant, but is resurging,” Sheinkopf said.

The acoustics of a baby’s cry may serve as one indicator of whether an infant will develop autism, according to a recent study conducted by University researchers. “A major challenge in research in autism is how we can identify autism in early infancy,” said Stephen Sheinkopf, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior and lead author of the study, published in the october issue of the journal of Autism research. “we know that older children with autistic disorders often produce sounds in odd and unusual ways … we wanted to measure this phenomenon in infants in the context of crying,” he said. Sheinkopf and his fellow researchers examined the naturally occurring cries of about 40 six-month-old infants, representing two subject groups. one group was identified as high-risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder because the subjects had an older sibling with the disease. The second group was identified as low-risk for autism because the subjects had no siblings who had the disorder, Sheinkopf said. recordings of the cries were made using a camcorder and microphone embedded in a vest worn by each infant at home, according to the study. once recorded, the cries were categorized into pain-related and non-pain-related cries. The pitch of the cries was identified using a program specifically designed for

the study. when the researchers compared the pitches of the pain-related cries from both groups they found that the cries of the high-risk infants on average had a statistically significant higher pitch than the cries of low-risk infants, Sheinkopf said. In fact, the three infants in the high-risk group who did develop autism were the subjects with the three highest-pitched cries, he said. no statistically significant difference in acoustic features was found for the non-pain-related cries, according to the study. “Atypical cry acoustics … may serve as a positive symptom that, when combined with other indices of risk, may have additional value as a means to increase the accuracy of early identification efforts,” the study states. one of the study’s major strengths was its “careful and systemic approach while using naturalistic observation,” said Kelley Powell ’06, post-doctoral psychology fellow at the Yale University Child Study Center, who was not involved in the study. Most cry acoustic studies evoke cries systematically to gather data, Powell said. The experimental design of this study, in which cries were observed “naturalistically,” was a new approach to collecting cry acoustic data, Powell said. She recommended the researchers reevaluate the infants when they are 36 months old to see if the infants with Autism Spectrum Disorder still have a higher-pitched cry. Identifying autism early in an infant’s

4 campus news
By CaleB Miller
staff writer

the Brown DAILY herALD weDneSDAY, DeCeMBer 5, 2012

after five years, rabbi rackover to leave brown and Hillel
rabbi Mordechai rackover, associate University chaplain for the Jewish community, will be leaving the University at the end of the academic year. The announcement was made in an internal hillel community email Friday and confirmed by rackover in a tweet Monday night. rackover, who started at the University in 2008, said his decision to leave was driven by his family. “As a family, we’re trying to find the right community and the right schools for our kids,” he said. “It’s the fifth year, so it’s kind of a nice bookend.” Marshall einhorn, executive director of hillel, said the search for a new rabbi will begin soon and extend through most of the spring semester. Because the position holds responsibilities with both the University and hillel, the search committees will include a range of contributors. reverend Janet Cooper nelson, University chaplain, said the dual nature of the position makes the search process more complex. “Mordechai actually holds two jobs — he gets two paychecks, he has two sets of accountabilities,” Cooper nelson said. “There’s a lot of connections that have to be worked out.” Though the structures of potential search committees have not been determined, both einhorn and Cooper nelson said it is important to involve undergraduate students in the hiring process. understanding of what it is. “we’re looking for something nobody has ever seen that we strongly suspect is there because of indirect observations,” said Simon Fiorucci, senior associate of physics at Brown and commissioning director at the LUX experiment. Detecting dark matter would be an “enormous step” in better understanding both particle physics and astrophysics, said James Verbus GS, a member of the Brown Particle Astrophysics Group working with the LUX experiment. “on the particle level, we’d be detecting a particle outside the standard model,” Verbus said, “and on the astrophysics level, dark matter has huge cosmological effects, being critically involved in the formation of galaxies and galaxy clusters.” “we view it as a community effort to find the right fit for our next rabbi and certainly that starts with the students,” einhorn said. he added that outside of interviews and committees, the candidates’ visits to campus will include “significant interaction with students in different settings.” Since his hiring, rackover has initiated a number of programs in the hillel community including student-run high holiday ceremonies and a weekly community study of Jewish texts. rackover also encouraged more students to participate in Birthright trips to Israel. rackover said his imminent departure will not affect his work, adding that he recently received a grant to purchase Kindle readers as part of a literacy program he will be working on through the The xenon-filled tank is encased in over 70,000 gallons of water, which provides shielding from the radiation of the surrounding rocks, and the detector also consists of an array of photomultiplier tubes, Verbus said. If the LUX experiment successfully detects dark matter, the physicists will see two flashes of light. “when dark matter interacts with xenon, it is like billiard balls scattering,” said Kevin Lesko, head of operations at the Sanford Underground research Facility and senior physicist at the University of California at Berkeley. “electrons are shaken off the nucleus,” he said. “The recoiling nucleus produces light and the electrons that are emitted drift upward to produce a second flash of light.” spring semester. rackover has been a tremendous teacher for the Jewish community, einhorn said. Lex rofes, student president of hillel, said students will remember rackover’s spiritual knowledge and openness. “he provides a lot to students who learn with him. he has been a great asset to our hillel and has worked with students a great deal on a number of different projects,” rofes said. Cooper nelson stressed rackover’s enthusiasm for teaching about Judaism. “he loves learning about, loves talking about it,” she said. “That was a very wonderful synergy for Brown because Brown tends to draw people that love learning.” Students have expressed some surprise and sadness since the announceThe photomultiplier tubes are able to detect these flashes of light, he added. Brown graduate students work with these photomultiplier tubes and handle the electronics and analysis of the experiment, said David Malling GS, another member of the Brown Particle Astrophysics Group. The laboratory is placed underground to shield it from cosmic rays from outer space, which would produce unwanted radiation, Verbus said. At the surface, about one cosmic ray per second passes through matter. At that depth underground, about one cosmic ray passes through matter every three or four months, he said. . “we can make a detector very ‘clean’ so that the intrinsic radioactivity is very low, but we can’t do anything except run away from cosmic rays by going deep underground,” Lesko said. In July, the LUX detector was lowered into the underground cavern, and the team filled the encasement with water last month. now that the tank is filled with xenon, the team will run final checks before liquefying the gas in January. At that point, the team will begin data collection, Fiorucci said. when the detector starts running, it will be far more ment because of the connections they have established with rackover, einhorn said. though rackover said he never worked on a campus before, he said he enjoyed his time at the University because of the students he has gotten to know. “In the process of my interview and learning about the institution I came to understand that students were very bright and very self-motivated,” rackover said. “I’ve found great student interactions and nice experiences with people learning.” rofes said rackover will be missed. “we’re sad to see him go,” he said. “But at the same time, we are optimistic we can find someone who can continue all the great work that he’s done.” sensitive than previous experiments. “within the first 20 hours, it will surpass the sensitivity of all previous dark matter experiments except one,” Gaitskell said. “within two weeks, it will become the most sensitive dark matter experiment of all time.” The longer the experiment runs, the more sensitive it becomes. “even though the flux of dark matter particles through matter is in the millions per second, the probability of an interaction — even in a detector the size of LUX — is very small,” Gaitskell said, adding that interactions could happen as infrequently as once per week or once per year. The challenges for the team are the uncertainties in running the detector underground. The first time running an experiment can lead to unexpected consequences, Malling said. “we have the advantage of learning from previous experiments.” observing dark matter in the lab would only be the first step to understanding this exotic form of matter, Lesko said. “even if we find it, it is not a definite answer to the question,” Fiorucci said. “There is a lot of work still to be done, and it is an exciting time to be in physics.”

/ / dark page 1
on its effects, according to an article on nASA’s website. The other 23 percent is made up of dark matter, so called because it does not take on the form of things we see. Scientists have determined that dark matter is not like the dark clouds of normal matter because those clouds contain baryon particles, and no baryonic radiation has been detected with dark matter. Instead, dark matter is believed to consist of exotic particles like weakly Interacting Massive Particles. The LUX experiment is looking for interactions of these wIMPs to find dark matter. The search is driven by the knowledge that this matter exists without an

the Brown DAILY herALD weDneSDAY, DeCeMBer 5, 2012

campus news 5
tirement. Gill said the new committee would collaborate with the Committee on Faculty recruitment, Career Development and retention, but the committees would not be duplicates of each other. A separate committee on child care was formed after the closure of the taft Daycare Center this August and distributed a survey to employees about their child care needs. The committee will report its findings to the FeC and will then present the recommendations to the provost, Gill said. President Christina Paxson and Schlissel gave updates on the strategic planning process. Paxson clarified the role of two ad hoc committees of Corporation members and alums, which are tasked with campus planning and digital technology. The committees represent an effort to get constituents involved as informed ambassadors who would collaborate with the faculty and student committees on campus, but not to duplicate these committees. Schlissel said his office is planning a day-long retreat in January for the six campus committees to present their progress and look at overlap between their findings. he said an “enormous pleasant surprise” was the number of proposals submitted to the Academic Priorities Committee for the Signature Academic Initiatives, which will choose two or three interdisciplinary projects for the University to emphasize over the next decade. Since 79 proposals were submitted, the APC may try to combine projects to incorporate more of the campus, Schlissel said. The University may find other ways to support projects not selected as signature initiatives, since many more projects were submitted than he had anticipated, Schlissel said. Gill also announced a faculty forum to discuss criteria and procedures for the promotion of an associate professor to a full professor. The forum will likely be held in February so the FeC can have a proposal ready by April’s faculty meeting.

/ / UrC page 1
option will not be replaced, phased retirement plans, where faculty members gradually scale back their work and take less pay, will continue, Schlissel said. The University is seeking ways to encourage older faculty members to retire in order to recruit new, younger scholars while maintaining a relatively consistent ratio of tenured professors. Schlissel said he and other administrators and faculty members analyzed how many eligible faculty members were actually choosing the incentivized retirement option, and they concluded incentives did not have any effect on the number of faculty members retiring. The change has not yet been approved or put in formal language, Schlissel said, but he added that he is ready to give up on the incentivized system. The current plan, ending June 2013, provides one year’s salary to tenured faculty members retiring in their late 60s. The plan proposed to extend to June 2014 is an enhanced offering: It will provide a lump sum of a year and half ’s worth of the retiree’s current salary, in addition to a $20,000 lump sum to subsidize special costs like health insurance as well as a $2,000 annual fund for three years. The annual fund is intended to ease the transition to retirement, providing funds to travel, complete publications and continue scholarly work. Schlissel added that the University will also work to provide office space to faculty members entering retirement. hal roth, professor of religious

studies and FeC member, noted that for the last 18 years, the University has offered incentives for retirement but not benefits. while the enhancement to the plan is an important step in supporting faculty members as they end their time at Brown, it does not provide continuous benefits, which most other institutions offer, he said. Schlissel responded that a longterm benefits plan would impose costs that would be reflected in salaries, tuition, financial aid and the University’s ability to improve. he added that other universities are backing away from their retirement benefit plans for this reason. The proposed changes to faculty retirement plans sparked a multitude of questions, but Schlissel put an end to the discussion with an anecdote from when he was a dean at the University of California at Berkeley. Though some of his colleagues were hurt financially by staying on during the 2008 financial crisis, they didn’t consider retiring from academia. “It’s not a question of pay, it’s a question of your identity,” Schlissel said. The FeC recently established an ad hoc joint committee to explore issues surrounding faculty benefits, said Mary Louise Gill, chair of the FeC and professor of philosophy. In particular, the ad hoc committee is charged with making recommendations on child care, tuition aid and retirement benefits afforded to University employees. The ad hoc committee comprises two members each from the FeC and the Committee on Faculty equity and Diversity and one from the Committee on Faculty re-

/ / vivo page 1
tails about a professor’s research, books, grants and other information listed on the C.V. can be useful in determining salaries. McLaughlin expressed concern about a “rumor floating around that VIVo is going to classify publications according to the rank of the journal,” which is not true, he said. VIVo is just a database and will not do any analysis, he said. The other advantage of the new system is that the database is searchable, McLaughlin said. researchers can access the database network and find out who is currently working on similar projects at other universities like Cornell, which uses a similar system. The current Directory of research and researchers will stay accessible until February of next year, in order to allow faculty members to make the switch to VIVo. -With additional reporting by Kate DeSimone

Join the Club | simon Henriques

6 editorial
take on financial aid
In light of the strategic committee on financial aid’s announcement during a public forum last week that it will recommend the University offer need-blind admission to international and transfer students, we want to address financial aid at Brown. The committee, which was created to shape President Christina Paxson’s long-term goals, will present its recommendation to Paxson and Provost Mark Schlissel P’15 early next year. we strongly agree with the committee’s recommendations, and given overwhelming student support for increased aid as well as the inherent need for such a policy, creating universal need-blind admission should be Paxson’s top priority. In a herald poll conducted this spring, 57 percent of students indicated that making admission need-blind for transfer and international students should be a higher priority for the University. The same poll found that a plurality of 37.8 percent believed increasing financial aid was the most important issue on which the incoming president should focus. And in April, a newly formed group called Brown For Financial Aid circulated a petition demanding that Paxson improve the University’s financial aid policies. Moreover, in her final State of Brown address, former president ruth Simmons said “financial aid should be a top priority for the University.” Couple this outpouring of support with a brief look at the financial aid policies of Brown’s peers, and the University’s status quo grows more concerning. harvard, Princeton and Yale practice need-blind admissions for both international and transfer students and agree to meet 100 percent of their demonstrated need. harvard’s financial aid budget is $172 million this year — nearly double that of Brown — The herald reported in April (“relative to peers, U.’s financial aid lags behind,” April 24). And 42 percent of students who took the spring herald poll said their financial aid packages did not adequately meet their levels of financial need. while Brown has a significantly smaller endowment than its peer institutions, the University should make a concerted effort to step up its standard to match those other institutions have set. An uncompetitive financial aid policy has consequences for the student body that will only worsen with time. need-aware admission makes the University less socioeconomically diverse — Director of Financial Aid James tilton ’73 told The herald in April that only 28 transfers were on financial aid, though roughly 135 total transfers were enrolled in the 2011-12 year alone. The value of having a socioeconomically diverse student body is inarguable. As Schlissel told The herald in April, “It’s voices around the table. The more heterogeneous, the more diverse those voices are, the better learning you do.” he added, “If we can’t provide that kind of environment, then you’re not getting the best education we can provide.” Furthermore, aside from the social benefits a diverse set of peers can provide, it goes against a basic moral code to deny students admission based on their family’s income — or, worse, to force them to turn down Brown as their first choice because other colleges are able to offer them additional aid. The University has certainly made significant improvements to its financial aid policies in the last decade, expanding its aid offerings under Simmons and increasing the size of the average aid package by 55 percent over the past seven years. The University’s aid offerings are also miles beyond those at other institutions across the country. we are well-aware that the state of the current financial aid policy is a function of budget constraints and a relatively small endowment. But in the interest of Brown not lagging behind other universities and, more importantly, of having the smartest, most interesting and most diverse student body possible, we stand with the committee on financial aid and ask that Paxson devote her time and upcoming capital campaign to expanding financial aid at Brown. Today’s editorial was written by The Herald editorial board. Send comments to herald@browndailyherald.com.

the Brown DAILY herALD weDneSDAY, DeCeMBer 5, 2012


editorial Cartoon b y j acq u e l i n e f e i l e r

t h e b row n da i ly h e r a l d
Editor-in-chiEf Claire Peracchio ManaGinG Editors rebecca ballhaus nicole boucher GEnEral ManaGErs siena delisser danielle marshak sEnior Editors tony bakshi natalie Villacorta BuSINESS officE ManaGEr shawn reilly EDIToRIAL sarah mancone Arts & Culture Editor Joseph rosales Arts & Culture Editor elizabeth Carr City & State Editor amy rasmussen City & State Editor aparna bansal Features Editor Jordan hendricks Features Editor lucy feldman News Editor shefali luthra News Editor alexandra macfarlane News Editor sahil luthra Science & Research Editor Jake Comer Sports Editor lindor qunaj Sports Editor sam rubinroit Assistant Sports Editor dan Jeon Editorial Page Editor annika lichtenbaum Editorial Page Editor lucas husted Opinions Editor garret Johnson Opinions Editor Jared moffat Opinions Editor greg Jordan-detamore Special Projects Graphics & photos emily gilbert Photo Editor sam kase Photo Editor tom sullivan Photo Editor Jonathan bateman Sports Photo Editor production Copy Desk Chief olivia Conetta Assistant Copy Chief sara Palasits Design Editor kyle mcnamara Design Editor Julia shube Assistant Design Editor brisa bodell Assistant Design Editor einat brenner Web Producer neal Poole

An article in tuesday’s herald (“U. up in arms over alleged sword theft,” Dec. 4) incorrectly quoted Beverly Ledbetter, the University vice president and general counsel, as saying of a lawsuit filed by the University in early 2011 for the theft of a tiffany & Co. silver presentation sword, “our legal strategy is simple — we own it, they stole it and we want it back.” In fact, Ledbetter said, “our legal strategy is simple: we own it; it was stolen; we want it back.” The article also refers to Donald and toni Tharpe as “the couple accused of stealing the missing sword.” In fact, what is in dispute is the couple’s claim to ownership of the sword, not the sword’s theft. The herald regrets the errors.

CorreC tion

dirEctors Julia kuwahara samuel Plotner nikita khadloya angel lee Sales Finance Alumni Relations Business Development ManaGErs Justin lee kaivan shroff gregory Chatzinoff luka ursic alison Pruzan elizabeth gordon david winer Human Resources Research & Development Collections Finance Operations Alumni Engagement Fundraising Marketing

“It is extremely embarrassing to admit that we don’t know what 95 percent of the universe is made of.”
— Professor of Physics richard Gaitskell see Dark Matter on page 1.
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CorreCtIonS PoLICY The Brown Daily herald is committed to providing the Brown University community with the most accurate information possible. Corrections may be submitted up to seven calendar days after publication. C o M M e n tA r Y P o L I C Y The editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial page board of The Brown Daily herald. The editorial viewpoint does not necessarily reflect the views of The Brown Daily herald, Inc. Columns, letters and comics reflect the opinions of their authors only. LetterS to the eDItor PoLICY Send letters to letters@browndailyherald.com. Include a telephone number with all letters. The herald reserves the right to edit all letters for length and clarity and cannot assure the publication of any letter. Please limit letters to 250 words. Under special circumstances writers may request anonymity, but no letter will be printed if the author’s identity is unknown to the editors. Announcements of events will not be printed. ADVertISInG PoLICY The Brown Daily herald, Inc. reserves the right to accept or decline any advertisement at its discretion.

quote of the day

PoST- MAGAzINE Clay aldern Jenny Carr Editor-in-Chief Editor-in-Chief

BLoG DAILY HERALD matt klimerman meredith bilski Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor

the Brown DAILY herALD weDneSDAY, DeCeMBer 5, 2012

opinions 7
suggestions for swearer
options available on the Model t, the first mass-produced automobile, by saying “any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it is black.” Similarly, the Swearer Center effectively tells Brown undergraduates that “any student can do any public service that he wants, so long as it is teaching.” Sure, you can teach in a classroom or as a private tutor. You can teach middle school students, high school students, immigrant adults or even prisoners. You can teach science, math, arts, english as a second language or even sex education. But the Swearer ates. while the center states that “Brown’s educational philosophy continues to promote active community engagement as a central component of undergraduate education,” the emphasis on teaching programs means that, for many Brown students, community engagement will be incompatible with their undergraduate education. The center’s teaching-centric approach essentially tells a wide swath of Brown undergraduates who attend Brown to develop skills unrelated to pedagogy that their talents and skills are incompatible with public service. For those students, a services by connecting organizations to public policy students, who receive training in quantitative and qualitative program evaluation methods. Many Brown undergraduates are interested in legal careers, but Brown provides few opportunities for these students to experience legal work prior to law school. rhode Island’s public defender and legal aid organizations use undergraduate volunteers in a variety of capacities, but their recruitment capabilities are limited. The Swearer Center could bridge this gap, recruiting much-needed undergraduate volunteers and providing meaningful public service career experiences for students. The center would be ideally situated to facilitate these programs: Its staff members have substantial knowledge of the needs of rhode Island’s public service organizations, and the center does an excellent job of incubating student-run service groups. The Swearer Center should form relationships with extant student-run service groups that are not currently affiliated with Swearer and should also form new ones. Admittedly, financial limitations may preclude expansion at the Swearer Center. If financial limitations are the impediment, administrators should address them. every Brown student should have the opportunity to participate in meaningful public service during their time at Brown, and the Swearer Center could provide these opportunities in the future. Ian eppler ’13 is just another bleedingheart Brown liberal who wants to change the world. He may be contacted at ian_eppler@brown.edu.

Ian ePPler
opinions Columnist
The Swearer Center for Public Service is a great asset to Brown, Providence and rhode Island. It operates dozens of programs around the state, providing service opportunities to hundreds of Brown undergraduates every year and serving thousands of rhode Island residents. Its fellowship and grant offerings allow many Brown students to engage in research or work that makes the world a better place, regardless of financial circumstance. we are lucky that Brown has made an institutional commitment to support and develop the Swearer Center over the center’s 25-year history. But the Swearer Center is not all that it could be. The center itself reports that, in any given year, approximately 700 students participate in Swearer community service programs. At a school with a reputation for attracting students interested in public service, shouldn’t the campus home of public service attract more than 10 percent of the undergraduate student body every year? Despite its significant merits, the Swearer Center is simply irrelevant to 90 percent of the student body. why has this happened? A look at the Swearer Center’s program offerings provides significant insight into its limited appeal. Yes, the center offers dozens of superficially distinct programs. But the programs are remarkably similar in their substantive skill requirements. Legendary car manufacturer henry Ford described the

at a school with a reputation for attracting students interested in public service, shouldn’t the campus home of public service attract more than 10 percent of the undergraduate student body every year?
Center’s definition of “service” is effectively one thing: teaching. The Swearer Center’s teaching-centric approach to public service is needlessly limiting. Its teaching programs fill important needs in rhode Island’s schools, community centers and prisons, but there are many additional needs in the communities. Brown students, with their incredible intellectual capabilities, unique skills and boundless energy, should not be limited to addressing one need. The center’s limited focus wastes potential and motivation. The center aims to “connect the capacities of Brown University with those of the larger community.” A heavy focus on one “capacity” means that it will be incapable of accomplishing this goal. The center’s teaching focus also sends an unfortunate message to Brown undergraducommitment to public service is not co-curricular or extracurricular, it is anti-curricular. In order to better utilize the capabilities of undergraduates and provide a meaningful co-curricular public service opportunity to students of all intellectual interests, the center should expand its definition of public service beyond teaching. Students have many skills that would be incredibly valuable to rhode Island’s public service organizations. For example, computer science concentrators should be connected to organizations that need web sites or other software development assistance, and comparative literature and foreign language concentrators should be connected to organizations that need translation assistance. The Swearer Center could help rhode Island’s nonprofits improve the quality of their programs and

birthright: whose right?
MIka ZaCks
opinions Columnist
In less than a month, I will be going home to Israel. I was considerably more excited about it before the latest assault on Gaza. Still, home is home, even if home is a colonialist, militarized occupation state. So I’m going. I’m flying with turkish Airlines, the cheapest airline I could find. My ticket cost a little over $1,000, which is approximately 115 hours of serving pizzas at the Gate. honestly, working at the Gate is not as bad as it sounds. It can be therapeutic, and someone recently donated an excellent set of speakers to the Gate staff. But if someone offered me a free trip to Israel, I’d probably say yes and hop aboard the occupation wagon. Israel does all sorts of things to whitewash its illegal occupation of Palestinian land and its disregard for basic human rights. It tries to justify these crimes by branding itself as a gay haven — pinkwashing — and by cultivating its image as an environmentally progressive state — greenwashing — as if Palestinian queers are not subject to checkpoints and the uprooting of ancient olive groves is just what the planet needs. twice a year, it engages in a third type of laundering: brainwashing. Since 2000, taglit-Birthright Israel has flown more than 300,000 young Jews from 59 different countries to visit Israel. Its official website describes Birthright Israel as a “social experiment” designed to “ensure the continuity of the Jewish people by strengthening Jewish identity, Jewish communities and solidarity with Israel.” By bringing young persons of Jewish heritage to the only ethnocracy in the Middle east, the organizers seek to “foster understanding and identification with Israel,” to use Jewish identity — an identity that far predates the modern Jewish state and that will hopefully outlive its racist, colonial structures — to whitewash atrocities committed against Palestinians. other side of the Mediterranean. It is full of nightclubs, cafes and markets. It shows no trace of its not-so-distant past, of Palestinian villages destroyed and erased in the ethnic cleansing of 1948. Throughout the country, hebrew names replace the Arabic ones in a wildly successful campaign of collective forgetting. Kiosks sell falafel in a pita, a typical Israeli dish. Jewish national Fund forests silently mark the places where Palestinians once lived and worked and died. Invisible from the windows of the bus, ocin refugee camps in Gaza, the west Bank and the neighboring countries. Born nonJewish, they have no right to the land they and their ancestors inhabited for centuries. Born non-Jewish, they are not eligible for free 10-day educational trips to the state that expelled them from their home. Birthright is “the selling of Jewishness to Jews” as a founder and financial supporter remarked. And they buy it. In fact, over the past 12 years, Birthright participants have spent $76 million on gifts and souvenirs. According to the organization’s web page, the program has contributed $535 million to Israel’s economy. while I think this is a compelling reason to boycott Birthright, I did not decide to write this article to advocate for people to reject the offer of a free vacation to an otherwise unaffordable destination. But I do ask that they be critical and take the opportunity to see for themselves. Israeli and Palestinian groups like ta’ayush and Breaking the Silence offer free organized tours to the occupied Palestinian territories, tours that fall outside “the tempo and rhythm of Israel.” They reveal a reality of systematic discrimination, segregation and injustice. They reveal a reality that anyone committed to the Jewish tradition of social justice and empathy must witness. Mika Zacks ’15 does not believe that bombing civilians is inherently Jewish and can be reached at mika_zacks@brown.edu for more information about pro-justice, pro-peace organizations in Israel for prospective Birthright students.

the organizers of Birthright seek to use Jewish identity — an identity that far predates the modern Jewish state and that will hopefully outlive its racist, colonial structures — to whitewash atrocities committed against Palestinians.
During their 10-day educational trip, participants are taken to the beautiful and occupied Golan heights, climb up Masada at dawn and visit Yad Vashem, the holocaust museum in Jerusalem. They ride camels in the desert, visit the western wall in the stunning, historical — and occupied — old City of Jerusalem and make friends with IDF soldiers that are assigned to their group. They experience Israel, and despite the undeniable realities of Palestinians living under brutal military occupation, they have a blast. tel Aviv is a fun city. In fact, it’s not very different from any european capital on the cupation and dispossession are not part of the taglit program. next month, when I go home, so will tens of thousands of Jews my age. Apparently, it is their right by birth, simply for being born Jewish. They will be welcomed in the airport by cheering Israeli youth chanting “Brothers! Brothers! Joy! Joy!” They will probably have the time of their lives. After all, according to independent research conducted by the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, over two-thirds of participants feel much closer to Israel as a result of the trip. Meanwhile, nearly 1.4 million Palestinians will remain

daily herald feature
the Brown
By Maddie Berg
senior staff writer

weDneSDAY, DeCeMBer 5, 2012

student startup provides businesses with licensed music playlists
Stephen hebson ’12 pointed upwards and grew quiet for a moment, calling attention to the alternative track playing over the dings of spoons and hisses of steam at Blue State Coffee. “where we are sitting right now in Blue State, they need public performance licenses,” he said. That is where overhead.fm comes in. The company, founded last spring by hebson and his partner Parker wells ’12, supplies licensed music to businesses over the Internet. Like Pandora, the company provides playlists that stores, restaurants or coffee shops can play using any phone, computer or tablet they already have with no extra hardware needed. “There are other providers that license music for stores, but we are the first ones to move it entirely online,” hebson said, adding that this reduces costs and makes the process easier for customers. “we’ve taken the idea that the Internet is the future of how we listen to music and implemented that in a new market,” wells said. hebson learned about music licensing through an internship with Ato records and working on the Brown Concert Agency. he said he also knew how much businesses can spend on music from working at a coffee shop in high school. recognizing the need for a less expensive and more user-friendly option, he decided to pursue the idea of an online music platform for businesses and began coding the site. he shared the idea with his roommate, wells, who was eager to work on it. “what got me early on was the ideology of it,” wells said. “The music industry is not particularly fair to artists, and at the same time, music is really expensive for retailers. It seemed as if both parties that were using this type of service were losing.” After hebson and wells came together and solidified their ideas, Adjunct Lecturer in engineering Steven Petteruti advised them to pitch the idea to the rhode Island Business Plan Competition last spring. “we entered it on a whim. neither of us had any idea how to write a business plan,” hebson said. But the pair ended up winning the competition, receiving $15,000, press coverage and professional services. They were then accepted to a three-month accelerator program in Los Angeles that provided them with funding, office space and connections. During their time at the accelerator program, the team obtained the necessary licensing and finished coding the website and apps for Android and ioS. They are now focusing on building their customer base and getting investors to sign on, which will allow for more advertising. “It’s a fun place to be. now that we are done with the licensing, it’s all about figuring out what really moves that dial,” hebson said. only a month after its official launch, overhead.fm is currently used in 11 locations nationwide and may soon be picked up by a few chains. wells and hebson hope that with the specific features of overhead.fm these numbers will grow, and they will be able to compete with other companies that provide music for businesses. Clients can alternate between the many genre- and business-specific playlists — including indie coffee house, ’90s and dive bar — as often as they want. “If you are in a restaurant, you are going to play music with an up-tempo for higher turnover of tables, whereas if you are in a coffee shop, you want something slower,” wells said. hebson and wells create these playlists and change and update them regularly. Companies can also tailor these playlists using thumbs up and down icons, much like on other music websites such as Pandora. right on beat hebson and wells met in their Keeney Quadrangle unit their first year and became roommates three years later. Though he concentrated in history and economics, hebson works on the coding and construction of the actual product, making sure everything works from a technical standpoint. wells, who concentrated in mechanical engineering, works on the business side of the operations, including investor relationships and advertising. A year ago, hebson said he expected to work at an advertising agency, while wells thought he would work at Google. But both decided to forgo these more conventional plans to start their own company. “There is a lot of luck, but it’s kind of cool doing something where it is so closely tied to how well you do and how much you’re capable of,” hebson said. “I like the idea of working on startups,” wells said. “I’m kind of working on my own project.” hebson also attributed his desire to create a startup to Brown’s supportive atmosphere. “You can come out of Brown feeling like you can do anything,” he said. “You have to feel like that to start something like this and trust it enough.” wells likened the startup experience

Stephen hebson ’12 and Parker Wells ’12 founded overhead.fm last spring, launching with $15,000 from the r.i. Business Plan Competition. to working on a project for a class. “You get to choose your team, choose your project, and you work on it on your terms, as long as you’re successful,” he said. “I’m trying to make a company, but I’m trying to make a company with my friend. … That’s one thing I like about it.” the next act So far, both hebson and wells said things have gone smoothly. “There haven’t been any really rough patches. There have been things we have tried that didn’t work,” hebson said. he said the pair originally attempted to license the music in a different way, but ultimately decided to switch methods, which luckily did not present a setback. “one of the things that is good about us as a team is we tend to make changes really quickly,” he added But both also said they realized they have a long way to go. “It’s not like I’m looking back at this and thinking, ‘oh, we’ve made it now,’” hebson said. For the near future, they are focused on raising a financing round, which will allow them to spend more money on advertising and will hopefully get more customers. wells also mentioned the possibility of the company growing beyond music. “we prove that we can sell something, in our case a simple music service … and then from there you expand and go into all the other areas,” he said, citing Google’s expansion beyond the search engine as an example. wells said he hopes building a strong and trusting customer base through the music site will aid this goal. For now, the pair is enjoying where they are. “It’s insane. There have been some serious highs and lows along the way,” hebson said. “It’s been a crazy, crazy six months.”

Courtesy of stePHen HeBson

Panelists discuss state economy, political climate
was 10.4 percent, the second highest in the country. “The number one issue has been the economy ever since the decline of manufacturing (in rhode Island),” Donnis said, also questioning whether Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 would be a better fit to lead the state during easier economic times. nesi expressed similar views, saying, “I was going to do the political answer of ‘economy, economy, economy.’” rhode Island was as wealthy as Massachusetts in 1947, nesi said, though the state’s economic prosperity has steadily declined since then. “rhode Island is wedged between two of the most wealthy states — Massachusetts and Connecticut,” he said, adding that jumpstarting growth in the state is crucial. other issues the panelists mentioned were gay marriage, the state improving its national reputation and climate change. “rhode Island can’t deal with (climate change) all on its own,” nesi said. “But it can begin to think about it. we are the ocean State. In 100 years, the State house could be beach-front property.” The panelists also focused on the role of the now-defunct 38 Studios in rhode Island, former red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s video-game company, which was granted a $75 million loan by the rhode Island economic Development Council in 2010. “38 Studios is the posterchild of what not to do with tax incentives,” Fitzpatrick said. Donnis commented that he wonders whether it would have been more beneficial to give out 75 $1 million loans rather than giving one $75 million loan. “After the horrendous decline of 38 Studios, (rhode Island) could see more talk about economic development,” Donnis said. The panelists were also asked to speak about future elections in the state as well as the potential impact of the large majority of Democrats in the General Assembly. nesi encouraged people to focus on what is happening within the Democratic Party, with Fitzgerald adding that “there is a huge spectrum within the Democratic Party.” Questions from the audience about local politics focused on what can be done outside of politics to fix the economy as well as the role of tourism in rhode Island. nesi said there have been a lot of “bone-headed” decisions made, and “there is no quick fix.” Donnis said help to small businesses and focus on education are “a good thing for the future.” “A lot of people come out of Brown and (the rhode Island School of Design) who could be nurtured,” Donnis said. In terms of tourism, Donnis said, “things like waterFire can have a big impact.” “we need exports, and tourism is an export,” nesi said. “we should bring in wealth from elsewhere.”

Meron tadesse / Herald

Wendy Schiller, associate professor of political science, moderated a panel featuring prominent rhode island journalists.
By iSoBel heCk
Contributing writer

Three leading voices in rhode Island media discussed the state of local and national politics in a panel discussion organized by Common Cause rhode Island and the Providence Athenaeum tuesday evening. The panel, entitled “A time to Campaign and a time to Govern,” was moderated by Associate Professor of Political

Science and Public Policy wendy Schiller and featured rhode Island Public radio reporter Ian Donnis, Providence Journal columnist ed Fitzpatrick and wPrI.com reporter ted nesi. Schiller opened the discussion by asking the panelists what they think will be the top three political issues in 2013. All three said the number one issue currently is the ailing economy. rhode Island’s unemployment rate in october

city & state

“we are the biggest little state in the Union,” Fitzpatrick said. “(rhode Island) needs to keep investing in the state parks and beaches that bring people here.” As the focus switched to federal politics, conversation centered on the fiscal cliff, financial reform and banking. Donnis said the federal government is not working in a way people would like to see and that many people do not like the current state of hyper-partisanship. “It is sad that people who should be able to act like adults spend little time together,” Donnis said. nesi discussed the “the rise of hyperpartisanship,” and Fitzpatrick added that this extends into the role the public plays in shaping national discourse. “everyone not only has their own sets of opinions but their own sets of facts,” he said. “President obama needs to be a little more (Lyndon B. Johnson) and less (John F. Kennedy),” Donnis said. obama needs to “advance his agenda,” he said, while being less “cool and distant.” responding to an audience member’s question about whether journalists ask the right questions, the panelists discussed the role of the media today. “It’s a great time to be a journalist, but a terrible time to be a newspaper,” nesi said. Fitzgerald said the rise in fact-checkers and data analysis in journalism is a beneficial development. Schiller ended the discussion on the note that “voters cannot expect more of journalists than they do of themselves.”