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May 25-27, 2012
aving spent nearly one-fifth of our lives as Brown students, members of the class of 2012 have plenty of common experiences: our sunny afternoon march through the Van Wickle Gates, 3 a.m. cram sessions in the freezing basement of the Sciences Library and 5 a.m. breakfasts at Loui’s. These collective memories help make the Brown experience meaningful, but this magazine highlights the ones that are distinct. We’ve invited 16 seniors with unconventional experiences — serving in uniform in the Persian Gulf, witnessing history unfold on the streets of Alexandria, Egypt, conspiring to open a secret off-campus bakery — to share their perspectives. They have done so in a variety of ways, both written and illustrated. And as we gird ourselves for the experiences to come, we cannot help but feel that we find ourselves in the same boat as our alma mater. Like us, Brown is on the verge of a major transition, and we have an article on the transformative legacy of outgoing President Ruth Simmons and a full-length interview with Presidentelect Christina Paxson. Like us, Brown still has some unfinished business, and we bring a feature on the University’s unsteady implementation of the recommendations of the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice. And like us, Brown is negotiating its place in the wider world, so we also bring you a story on the University’s progress in mending its damaged relationship with the city in which it resides. We know how way leads on to way, and we know not when we might see you again, so we hope you hold onto this magazine and take it out once in a while, and think of us, your classmates. Or, in a pinch, there’s always Facebook. — The 121st editorial Board
2 3 4 Schedule of Major Events Senior Orators Honorary Degree Recipients
8 13 32 38 Ruth’s Legacy The Forgotten Report Repairing Relations Q&A with Christina Paxson
VoiCes oF 2012 Looking BaCk By the numBers
Sydney Ember Ben Schreckinger Brigitta Greene Anne Speyer Dan Alexander Nicole Friedman Julien Ouellet
c o n t r i b u to r s
David Chung Mathias Heller Katherine Long Sam Magaram Sona Mkrttchian Kate Nussenbaum Margaret Nickens Adam Toobin
c o p y e d i to r s
Olivia Conetta Alexandra Macfarlane Dan Towne
Cover picture by Avery houser Back cover by rebecca Levinson
SCHEDuLE OF MAJOR EvENTS
F r i d ay , M ay
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9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Campus Dance, sponsored by the Brown Alumni Association. Main Green, Lincoln Field
9:45 a.m. Commencement Procession Begins Faunce Arch, Main Green 10:15 a.m. Graduate School Commencement Ceremony Lincoln Field 11:15 a.m. (estimated) Medical School Commencement Ceremony The First Unitarian Church 12:10 p.m. (estimated) College Ceremony Live simulcast to the Main Green, Sayles Hall and Salomon Center. The First Baptist Church in America 12:45 p.m. (estimated) University Ceremony Senior orations and awarding of honorary degrees. Main Green 2:15 p.m. – 4 p.m. (estimated) Diploma Ceremonies for each department at assigned locations, as listed in the Commencement program.
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9:30 a.m. Commencement Forums A series of academic colloquia with faculty, alums and distinguished guests. 1:30 p.m. Baccalaureate Procession Line-up Graduates assemble on Waterman Street, facing east toward Thayer Street, with the line beginning at Faunce Arch, wearing cap and gown (tassels go on the right). Main Green 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. Baccalaureate Ceremony The multi-faith service featuring a keynote address by President Ruth Simmons will be simulcast to the Main Green, Sayles Hall and Salomon Center. The First Baptist Church in America 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Brown Daily Herald Alumni Reunion 195 Angell St.
In the event of severe storm conditions, the Baccalaureate and Commencement processions will be canceled and storm plans will go into effect. A message will be posted on the Brown website and sent via text message to all seniors. The Van wickle Gates will remain open until 6 p.m. on Monday.
the Brown DaiLy heraLD
s enior o rators
Mike Cohea / Brown University
Leor Shtull-Leber ’12
When applying to colleges, Leor Shtull-Leber ’12 looked for a school that attracted creative people. At Brown, she found them — but she says she found herself intimidated and “in awe” of the “amazing” students on campus. A self-described “floater,” Shtull-Leber found a place for herself in the Jewish community, taking on leadership roles in Brown/RISD Hillel that boosted her confidence. “It is good to have a home base where you feel comfortable in a large campus filled with intelligent and creative people,” she says. Now, Shtull-Leber says her biggest regret is not having enough time to meet even more people. “I wish I knew better,” she says. “I wish I could just be friends with everyone.” Shtull-Leber, a cognitive science concentrator, also teaches Hebrew at Temple Emanu-El’s religious school and the Wheeler School and serves on the Hillel Board of Trustees. She is a former design editor for The Herald. This summer, she will supervise a five-week trip to national parks in the western United States for teenagers. A similar trip to Alaska last summer inspired Shtull-Leber’s commencement speech. “I was noticing the way that people were literally crossing rivers,” Shtull-Leber says. “I wasn’t very good at it, but other people would run across.” In Shtull-Leber’s speech, river crossing serves as a metaphor for the way students approach their undergraduate education. She says the idea of “learning to cross a river” dovetails with the growth that students experience during their years at Brown. Her speech also draws on her own time at Brown and her initial insecurity. While Shtull-Leber says she is excited for her opportunity to share these ideas with her graduating class, she also feels the disappointment of students whose speeches were not chosen. She organized the publication of drafts of these speeches on The Herald’s website. In the fall, Shtull-Leber, an Ann Arbor, Mich., native, will move to New York City to begin work at a digital marketing agency. — Sona Mkrttchian
Tara Kane Prendergast ’12.5
“I see myself being an activist — I’m just not sure in what form,” says Tara Kane Prendergast ’12.5 says of her post-college plans. But Prendergast, who has already distinguished herself through service work on campus, does not need to wait to become an activist. Prendergast has dedicated her time at Brown to working in local communities and learning about issues of social injustice. When she first arrived on College Hill, she participated in the University Community Academic Advising Program, which encourages students to consider community involvement and social activism an integral part of the academic experience. “My whole time at Brown was informed by being a part of that community,” she says. After being homeschooled in Colorado and attending the Armand Hammer United World College in New Mexico, Prendergast came to Brown eager to experience the “active and engaged” campus she had heard about. Prendergast decided to concentrate in history after taking classes with Associate Professor of History Naoko Shibusawa. Shibusawa’s emphasis on the construction of cultural and socioeconomic systems provided Prendergast with a backdrop for the political activism work in which she was involved. The Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment program, which pairs University student tutors with refugee families, has been the “heart and soul” of Prendergast’s time on campus, she says. In her Commencement speech, Prendergast will draw on her experience working with Alice, a student she has mentored since freshman year. When Prendergast first met the family, they had just moved to South Providence from a refugee camp in Tanzania, and Alice, who was eight years old, spoke almost no English. The two worked together to build Alice’s vocabulary, and now Prendergrast helps her with her homework. Prendergast’s speech will address how Brown students as individuals fit into the larger global community, both in terms of the opportunities they have been given and the accompanying responsibilities these opportunities entail. “I’m not trying to say that everyone should go out and change the world,” she says. “But we can all make choices about how we contribute.” — Kate nussenbaum
h onorary D egree
Eight influential figures will receive honorary degrees from President Ruth Simmons on behalf of the University during this year’s Commencement exercises.The Board of Fellows of the Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, selected the recipients, following recommendations from an advisory committee of students and faculty members.
By David Chung
Bertozzi, professor of chemistry and molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley, is widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of bioorthogonal chemistry and is renowned as an accomplished researcher and teacher. In 2005, at the age of 39, she became one of the youngest chemists ever to join the National Academy of Sciences. Bertozzi is also active in outreach programs aimed at increasing female participation in the sciences. She graduated from Harvard in 1988 and received her doctorate in chemistry five years later from Berkeley. She pursued postdoctoral work at the University of California at San Francisco before returning to Berkeley in 1996 as a faculty member.
Rep. Lewis, D-Ga., is a dedicated advocate for human rights and ethical leadership. Born and raised in Alabama, Lewis was influenced by Martin Luther King Jr. and the activism of the era in which he grew up. During the 1960s, Lewis protested segregation, organizing sit-ins while a student at American Baptist College in Nashville, Tenn., and participating in the Freedom Rides. He also served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and helped organize the August 1963 March on Washington, D.C. Lewis entered politics in 1981 when he was elected to the Atlanta City Council. He has represented Georgia’s Fifth District in Congress since 1987.
Robinson is the author of three novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Gilead.” Robinson’s first novel, “Housekeeping,” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and named one of the greatest novels of all time by the Guardian Observer. A 1966 magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Pembroke College, Robinson received a doctoral degree in English from the University of Washington in 1977. “I have wonderful memories of Brown,” Robinson wrote in an email to The Herald. “I have continued to benefit from my undergraduate education for decades, and I am gratified to know that Brown considers me to have made good use of it.” Robinson teaches at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lectures at institutions across the United States.
The Office of Congressman John Lewis
Davis has won two Tony Awards for acting and recently received an Academy Award for Best Actress nomination for her portrayal of Aibileen Clark in “The Help.” Originally from South Carolina, Davis grew up attending public schools in the Central Falls area of Rhode Island and graduated from Rhode Island College in 1988 as a theater major. She performed with the Trinity Repertory Company during its 1988–89 season and helped start a theater program at a charter school in Central Falls. Davis continued her studies at the Juilliard School and has since appeared in more than 20 films and eight Broadway and off-Broadway theatrical performances.
Marilynne Robinson ’66
the Brown DaiLy heraLD
Sebastian Ruth ’97
Ruth, a violist and violinist, will be honored for his dedication to enriching the Providence community through music. Community MusicWorks, the nonprofit organization he founded after graduating from Brown, is home to the Providence String Quartet and offers free musical instruction to local residents. The quartet members also host artists-in-residence, commission new pieces of music and offer fellowships for up-and-coming musicians. First Lady Michelle Obama recognized Community MusicWorks with the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. Ruth, a MacArthur “genius award” recipient, sits on the boards of the International Musical Arts Institute and Music Haven, a nonprofit modeled on Community MusicWorks based in New Haven, Conn.
John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Broadcast journalist Sawyer has received many honors for her work, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. and induction into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. A 1967 graduate of Wellesley College, she began her television journalism career in her home state of Kentucky. She entered the national arena in 1980 as co-anchor of “CBS Morning News” and the first female correspondent for the network’s “60 Minutes.” Sawyer joined ABC in 1989 and served as co-anchor on “Primetime” and “Good Morning America” before becoming the anchor for “World News,” a position she has held since 2009.
Albert Einstein Institution
Sharp, a political theorist, is noted for his work examining the role of nonviolence in movements of social change. Following his studies in political science, debate and sociology at Ohio State University, Sharp conducted independent research on nonviolent action in New York City for his first book, which was published in 1960. He served as a research associate at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard for almost 30 years and founded the nonprofit Albert Einstein Institution, which is dedicated to studying and promoting nonviolent action and advocating pro-democracy contingencies across the world. Sharp is currently a senior scholar at the Albert Einstein Institution and professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Sharp called the honorary degree “a major recognition from a highly respected university of the importance of the work I’ve been doing.”
Wei Yang PhD’85
Yang is a noted engineer and researcher. He has served as president of Zhejiang University in China since 2006. Yang is a proponent of global collaboration among universities, and many of his engineering students have gone on to hold teaching positions across the United States and Europe. After completing his studies at Northwestern Polytechnic University, Tsinghua University and Brown, Yang taught engineering at Tsinghua in 1985. He was dean of the Department of Engineering Mechanics for seven years. Yang also served as director of the Failure Mechanics Laboratory of the Chinese Ministry of Education and director-general of the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council of China. He received Brown’s Engineering Alumni Medal in 2009.
What Brown’s 18th president will leave behind
Created with AndreaMosaic
By Katherine Long
President Ruth Simmons assumed office July 1, 2001, she took the reins of a University in turmoil. Former President Gordon Gee had resigned the previous year after the shortest presidency in Brown’s history and amid a cloud of criticism from students, staff and faculty. The Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, was divided between those who wanted a return to Brown’s traditional focus on the liberal arts and those who advocated an increased emphasis on science, research and corporate ties. Weeks into her tenure, Simmons found herself addressing a packed Salomon 101 on the evening of Sept. 11. “The University was at a very uncertain moment, a very delicate and important moment,” said former Provost David Kertzer ’69 P’95 P’98. “To compare the time when Ruth arrived and now — well, there’s simply no comparison.” As Simmons prepares to step down as president, she leaves behind an increasingly globalized University in a stronger financial position with a greater emphasis than at any time in its history on research and the hard sciences. Her students have elevated her to cult status. But it is her vision for Brown’s future, perhaps, which has been Simmons’ greatest legacy in her 11 years as president.
the time the campaign ended in in December 2010, it had taken in more than $1.6 billion, making it the largest fundraising campaign in University history. In 2004, a $100 million gift from billionaire liquor magnate Sidney Frank ’42, who dropped out of Brown after one year because he could not afford tuition, eliminated loans for the University’s neediest students and “raised the bar” for other donations, Simmons said at the time. Three years later, self-made millionaire Warren Alpert donated $100 million in support of medical education at Brown. Many attribute the success of the fundraising campaign to Simmons’ charisma and hard work behind the scenes. Kertzer calls Simmons’ fundraising ability her greatest achievement at Brown. Senior class board member Colby Jenkins ’12 said he remembers attending a luncheon for University donors at which somebody agreed to make a $1 million gift. “She was brought to tears,” he said. Simmons’ Plan for Academic Enrichment, enacted concurrently with the campaign, laid out a blueprint for the University: adding 100 new faculty positions, expanding graduate and professional education, increasing financial aid, upgrading facilities, Palpable changes ramping up research output and raisSimmons will be best remembered for en- ing Brown’s international profile. To that end, acting need-blind admission, leading record the University enacted need-blind financial aid fundraising and increasing focus on research for domestic students in 2003, the accomplishand the sciences. ment in which Simmons said she takes the most In 2002, Simmons launched the Campaign pride. She also oversaw the creation of the new for Academic Enrichment with the intention Medical Education Building, the Perry and of raising $1 billion over the next 10 years. By Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, the fitness and aquatics center and the renovation of the Metcalf Chemistry and Research Laboratory. While Simmons garnered praise within the University community for her commitment to fundraising and financial aid, her actions have not always been lauded off College Hill. In 2003, the University began to step up efforts to relocate Alpert Medical School to the Jewelry District and nurture a knowledge economy in the city of Providence. But as Brown continued to expand further into the city, the University’s relationship with Providence began to sour. Tension came to a head this semester, when the University and Providence clashed over how much money tax-emempt Brown should pay the city in lieu of taxes. Brown Herald file photo Simmons at her Oct. 14, 2001 inauguration. agreed earlier this month to pay
$31.5 million over the next 11 years. At the same time, the University’s increasing integration into the city’s economy “is immensely exciting,” said Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14. “This is the biggest change that has occurred under President Simmons’ tenure,” he said. “There’s going to be a natural, mutually advantageous situation.” During her tenure, Simmons has also expanded ties with other universities, both abroad and at home. The Office of International Affairs was founded in 2006 with the goal of increasing Brown’s global profile. Brown now boasts dozens of collaborations with universities around the world. Simmons also played a crucial role in expanding the exchange program between Brown and Tougaloo College. “She immediately made clear that she wanted to put more structure into the partnership — institutionalize it, with specific goals, activi-
“To compare the time when Ruth arrived and now — well, there’s simply no comparison.”
ties and objectives,” said Tougaloo President Beverly Hogan. When Hurricane Katrina hit, Simmons led the charge in getting other institutions to help those affected by the storm, she added. Simmons also pushed the University to look into its own history by forming the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice in 2003 to investigate Brown’s connection to slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. In 2006, the committee released a report with recommendations on ways the University should acknowledge its ties to slavery. Simmons’ critics claim that her tenure has been marked by an increasing privatization of the University, centralization of power in University Hall and a betrayal of Brown’s mission as a liberal arts institution. Some say Simmons’ increased focus on graduate students and professional programs draws resources — both financial and intellectual — from the humanities and the College. “The level of investments in the University’s traditional strength has gone off a cliff,” said former Herald opinions columnist Simon Liebling ’12, who has been one of Simmons’ most vocal critics during his four years at Brown. “Brown has diversified its options to mimic competitors, but because of Brown’s finite resources and emphasis on the liberal arts, what we’re left with is a pale, half-hearted imitation of
those other schools,” said Liebling, who played an integral role in bringing to light Simmons’ ties to Goldman Sachs during the 2009 financial crisis. He argued that Simmons’ goal is to turn Brown into “Princeton North” by copying that school’s academic and administrative strategies as much as possible. Liebling pointed out that Simmons and many people under her have previously worked at Princeton. Kertzer did not deny that Simmons drew inspiration from her days as a Princeton dean, but said it was there that she realized “that there’s absolutely no conflict between having an outstanding graduate program and outstanding undergraduate program.” Critics also say Simmons has focused too much on how Brown stacks up against peer institutions. Instead of focusing on amassing a large endowment or moving up U.S. News and World Report rankings — Brown has hovered around No. 15 for the past eight years — the University should have sought to improve the quality of the undergraduate experience by building teaching capacity, they say. But Simmons said she does not take these criticisms seriously. In an increasingly globalized world, Simmons said Brown must compete with universities from dozens of different countries for the best students. Continuing to be ranked on par with Ivy League and other peer institutions, who make significant investments in research and the sciences, is necessary to attract the smartest, most free-thinking students, she said. Simmons said she sees no problem with the University returning to its liberal arts roots, so long as it is aware of the consequences. Brown “could decide to move towards its college identity — that’s a decision the University must make,” Simmons said. “But liberal arts colleges are not designed to solve problems. Universities have that mission and purpose. And Brown is a university.” Though Simmons is not without detractors, nearly everyone agrees she leaves behind a legacy of strong leadership. “Ruth has a clear vision and charisma, not to mention gravitas and eloquence,” Liebling said. “When they name the dorm after her, that’s what they’ll put on the plaque.” It is her capacity to inspire others to stand behind her vision for the University that has helped her successfully implement controversial policies, Kertzer said. He said her greatest asset was her ability to encourage both faculty and students “to think of Brown as aiming to be more of a great world university.” When she came to campus, there were members of the Corporation who thought Brown was unique and should not be
compared to other research universities. They argued that creating professional schools might detract from Brown’s character. But Kertzer said Simmons won her critics over with her vision, determination and charisma. For example, after listening to the opinions of faculty, staff and administrators for close to a year and a half, Simmons presented an eightslide PowerPoint presentation to the Corporation detailing the University’s most pressing needs in February 2002. Two years later, the
“I don’t want my own views to be taken as a critique of the University. I leave it to others to define what the University will be.”
Corporation approved the full-length Plan for Academic Enrichment. “I think the PAE provided her vision for Brown. Once she provided that vision, everybody was invited to be a part of making that strategic plan work,” said Brenda Allen, former associate provost and director of institutional diversity. “There was something in there for everybody.” Allen, who is now the provost of WinstonSalem State University, said Simmons’ influence extended beyond the realm of University business. “Every day I remember a lesson that I learned and am able to apply it to my job now,” Allen said. “She will probably be in my head for the rest of my life.” In addition to inspiring University policymakers, Simmons has inspired a cult following among her students. Students have compared her to Jackie Robinson, Morgan Freeman, even God. She has had her face plastered on T-shirts and posters and been celebrated in song and dance. In a Herald poll conducted in March, under 2 percent of students responded that Simmons negatively impacted their time at Brown. Eighty-one percent of students responded that Simmons has contributed to their Brown experience in a positive way. “I’m completely puzzled by that,” Simmons told The Herald in April. “I’m a pretty plain person. I like to say what I mean and do what I say. I like to be fair, even-handed and honest. None of that recommends one to be popular, frankly.”
Short skirt, long jacket
It is precisely this attitude, though, that may endear her to students. “The notoriety isn’t why she does what she does. I think that Brown students respond to that so positively,” said Undergradate Council of Students President Ralanda Nelson ’12. “We will totally sing the praises of someone who works because they don’t want fame.” Jenkins, the senior class board member, who has been a tour guide and a coordinator on the Orientation Welcoming Committee and A Day on College Hill for four years, said that tour guides and OWC leaders play a role in perpetuating “Ruth’s cult following” by talking her up on tours and making sure incoming first-years know that she appeared on BET with Samuel L. Jackson. In many respects, Simmons’ popularity among students has the elements of a trend. It’s fashionable to be pro-Ruth, said University Historian Jane Lancaster PhD’98, and “maybe the students think they’re supposed to say they support her.” Todd Baker ’15, for example, called Simmons an “untouchable legend” in a September Herald article and compared her to a female Morgan Freeman, even though he has never met her. On a whim, Danny Sobor ’15 designed posters bearing Simmons’ face and the slogan “(T)ruth.” During her first year at Brown, Nelson dressed up as Simmons for Halloween, then called University Hall to ask if she could take a picture with the real Simmons. Much to Nelson’s surprise, her request was granted. “I ran into her as she was going to a meeting upstairs, and she says, ‘Someone does this every year. Why do the kids always wear red? I don’t wear red.’ She was talking to me about something so mundane,” Nelson said. “That’s when she became a person to me, not a figure, nor a force, not an enigma — a real person, a funny person.” Simmons’ presidency marked the beginning of a redefinition of Brown’s place relative to its peers. For many members of the community, the benefits of these changes are apparent — gleaming new buildings, smaller classes and need-blind admission. Simmons says that while she has had “some disappointments for sure” in terms of programs that were not implemented as fully as she would have liked, she is in no way disappointed by her presidency as a whole. “One of the strongest factors of universities is their capacities to debate strategies and ideas and have the strongest ideas emerge from that,” she said. “I don’t have so many disappointments. I don’t want my own views to be taken as a critique of the University. I leave it to others to define what the University will be.”
An inheritance of inspiration
Brown DaiLy heraLD
The forgotten report
Slavery and Justice at Brown
BY SYDNEY EMBER
Samuel Kase / Herald
University hall, the first building on Brown’s campus, was partly built with slave labor.
a storage warehouse about four miles from campus, nearly 1,000 copies of the Slavery and Justice report sit in boxes. But any attempt to acquire a hard copy of the report resembles a wild goose chase. Inquiries are directed through public relations, who are quick to reply that there are copies available to download online. Though about 150 are kept in the public relations office, further reports must be retrieved from the storage boxes, a drive away across the Providence River near
manufacturing facilities and a food bank. Out of sight, invisible, essentially forgotten. “We tend to have difficulty with these very fraught topics,” said President Ruth Simmons earlier this month as she sipped Orangina from a plastic cup. “But on a university campus, one would expect that that wouldn’t be such a powerful deterrent.” In the spring of 2003, Simmons formed the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice to examine Brown’s
historic ties to slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. At the time, a call for restorative justice was gripping the country, and Simmons’ charge pushed the University to the forefront of the movement. In laying bare Brown’s connection to slavery, Simmons hoped to respond to the community’s concerns. When the 17-member committee released its 85-page report more than three years later, it concluded with a series of recommendations. While some recommendations were lofty — including the creation of an institute with a full-time director to study slavery — they all reflected the fundamental idea that an institution’s relationship to slavery should not be swept under the rug. To that end, the committee hoped its report would be disseminated to students and discussed in classes. It recommended that Brown’s connection to slavery be taught during freshman orientation so even the University’s youngest students would be armed with knowledge of its past. But today, finding students on campus who have read the report is rare. There is no formal program to discuss the report during freshman orientation. Many faculty members are familiar with the report, but few teach it in their classes. Just this month, the University named Professor of Africana Studies Barrymore Bogues the director of the center for the study of slavery and justice. Though there are plans for a memorial, it does not yet exist. Last fall, Seth Rockman, an associate professor of history who was not on the steering committee but calls himself the “historian of this enterprise,” assigned the report to students in his first-year seminar, HIST 0970: “Slavery and Historical Memory in the United States.” He instructed them to read it in a public place and see if anyone reacted. His students came back the next week and said they had not met a single classmate who had heard of the report. None of them knew Brown was known for the report. None had chosen to attend Brown because of it. No student had enrolled in his class because they knew of Brown’s connections to slavery. “This is a living document,” said Evelyn Hu-Dehart, a professor of history who served on the steering committee. “But it’s dead.” On April 30, 2003, Simmons appointed a steering committee charged with helping “the campus and the nation come to a better understanding of the complicated, controversial questions surrounding the issue of reparations for slavery.” While many think Simmons was personally invested in forming a committee to examine Brown’s ties to slavery because she is black, she
“We tend to have difficulty with these fraught topics. … But on a university campus, one would expect that that wouldn’t be such a powerful deterrent.”
told The Herald earlier this month that this was never the case. “This didn’t have anything to do with me,” she said. “Race kind of reared its ugly head because I happened to be AfricanAmerican. But the reality was that I didn’t prompt this.” At the time, there were class action lawsuits and threats of lawsuits against corporations, banks and academic institutions including Yale and Brown that were thought to have ties to slavery. Two years earlier, in March 2001, The Herald ignited a firestorm when it printed a full-page advertisement paid for by the conservative agitator David Horowitz with the headline “Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery is a Bad Idea — and Racist Too.” Angry Brown university students stole copies of The Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice presented its 85-page report the newspaper, sparking a national debate over free in October 2006. speech. studies and history, at a community forum in Though many colleges and universities October 2004. “This is about making connecfounded before the Civil War were connected tions — not only being informed and reflective to slavery in some way, none had yet publicly on the past, but applying that to the present.” acknowledged these ties. Here was an opporAs the committee deliberated and retunity for the University to take the lead on searched, media outlets — including the New restorative justice by encouraging knowledge. York Times, the Boston Globe, the Guardian of “If all this process becomes is us wringing London and USA Today — worked themselves into a frenzy. Articles incorrectly fixated on the issue of reparations and how much Brown would be willing to pay. The “Today Show” aired a segment pitting black and white students against each other. Though many alums praised the University’s endeavor, others threatened to stop giving money. “If Brown pays money for slave reparations, you will never see another penny of mine,” one alum wrote in a letter to the committee. The letter, along with other messages to the committee, was never published. More than three years after its creation, the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice released its report October 2006. The committee had painstakingly researched the University’s connection to slavery, placed slavery in the context of other historical injustices and attempted to untangle the question of reparations. The committee discovered that more than 100,000 slaves arrived in the United States through Rhode Island. According to the re-
our hands about the fact that in the past, some people acted badly, I think we should pack up our tent and go home,” said James Campbell, the committee’s chair and a former associate professor of American civilization, Africana
Brown DaiLy heraLD
port, more than half the slave-trading voyages launched from North America began in Rhode Island. More directly, the Brown family, which gave the University its name, owned slaves. Slaves helped construct University Hall, a symbol of Brown, in the 1770s. About 30 people who served on the Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, owned or captained slave ships, and many of the University’s early donors owned or traded slaves. But the report also gave the sense that Brown’s historical connection to slavery was not as dark as people thought, which, perhaps, was the point. “I thought one of the reasons the president wanted to do this whole endeavor was a concern about misperceptions about our history,” said Ross Cheit, an associate professor of political science who served on the committee. “The story wasn’t as bad as some people thought it was going to be.” Simmons said last week that it didn’t matter what the story ultimately was. What does matter, she said, is that the University discovered its past and told its history. The last pages of the report outlined a series of recommendations that the committee hoped would serve the ends of justice by keeping history alive. Some recommendations, like creating a center and memorializing the slave trade, would provide focal points for acknowledging the University’s history and fostering sustained inquiry. Other recommendations leveraged Brown’s status as a university to address the legacy of slavery. The committee urged the University to use its resources to support public education in Rhode Island. It called for open acknowledgement of the role Brown’s founders and benefactors played in the institution of slavery and the slave trade. It recommended that the University “tell the truth in all its complexity” by distributing the report and sponsoring lecture series and public forums. “There is a responsibility to make some sort of amends,” said Seth Magaziner ’06, who served on the steering committee as an undergraduate. The committee wanted Brown to use its academic resources to promote interdisciplinary study of slavery, he said. In bold print at the end of the report, the committee wrote its final recommendation: “Appoint a committee to monitor implementation of these recommendations.” “You hoped it would become part of the institutional DNA,” said Campbell, who left Brown in 2008 and is now a professor of history at Stanford. “It was remarkable what it meant
to us and to the students and community who were here.” In February 2007, the University issued its response to the report, which included initiatives that expanded on the committee’s recommendations. While the University supported many of the recommendations in print, its immediate efforts went to implementing tangible, perhaps less controversial, initiatives. The University established the Fund for the Education of the Children of Providence that spring and the Urban Education Fellows program in fall 2008. But other recommendations seem to have slipped through the cracks.
to Brown’s Public Arts Commission. Though a nine-member committee chaired by Professor of Economics Glenn Loury laid the groundwork for an academic center, internal disagreement among its members delayed its recommenda-
“You hoped it would become part of the institutional DNA.”
tions for a course of action, they said. “I don’t think in my entire experience, I have ever seen anything quite like it,” Simmons said of the time Loury’s committee took to release recommendations. The formation of follow-up committees may have slowed some projects, but there were other factors. The financial crisis in 2008 sheared nearly $800 million from the University budget, forcing priorities to shift. “Brown probably would have been much more generous and capable of doing more of the recommendations if there were more money around,” Hu-Dehart said. To date, there have been no efforts to start an endowment for the institution. It’s hard to raise an endowment during the best economic times, and nearly impossible when it is unclear what such an endowment will support, Simmons said. “No donor is going to want to fund a center if they don’t know what it’s going to be,” she said. “Hopefully, as it gets started and there’s more flesh, we’ll be able to attract people who are interested in funding it.” But without an endowment, the center held little appeal. “You’re offering someone directorship of the center, the attractiveness of that is usually connected to center resources,” Cheit said. “To have letterhead but not a budget is not that attractive.” Since 2010, the University has extended offers for the center’s directorship to two people outside the University and at least two internal candidate, with disappointing results. Marcus Rediker, a professor at the University of Pittsburg, accepted the offer in March 2010 before declining it less than two weeks later for personal reasons. In fall 2011, the University formally asked Walter Johnson, professor of history at Harvard, to lead the center. He declined. In December, another offer went out to a Brown professor, but he also turned down the University for a position elsewhere. People familiar with the search say the difficulty of finding positions for candidates’ spouses played a role in the delays. Now that Bogues has accepted the directorship of the center, there is hope that interest in the report and its recommendations will be
“This is a living document. But it’s dead.”
Nearly everyone interviewed for this article pointed to the lack of a center as one of the reasons more recommendations have not yet come to fruition. Without a physical locus, it is difficult to keep the conversation going, they said. In its official response to the recommendations, the University wrote, “The president and provost will guide the process in such a way that it does not fall prey to the bureaucratic hurdles that can delay implementation.” Yet the center seems to have succumbed to the very hurdles the University was trying to avoid, Simmons said. “The reason that the center did not get going in a timely way is plain old-fashioned bureaucracy,” she said. Since the report was released, Simmons has not communicated with members of the steering committee, committee members said. Instead, she created two follow-up committees to address two parts of the University’s plan — the center and the memorial. Simmons said it was necessary to create these committees because the steering committee was “not an expert committee” on implementing their recommendations. They put forth the report as historians, political scientists, English professors and Africana studies professors, she said, and she wanted more focused committees to decide how to respond to the proposals. But these committees may have hindered progress despite making strides on their charges, said many people involved with the initiative. The 10-member Commission on Memorials, which included members from the Brown community and people nominated by the mayor of Providence and the governor of Rhode Island, took nearly two years to issue six recommendations. One of these recommendations was to pass many decisions about the memorial — including the memorial’s location and designer — on
reinvigorated. “Things happen really slowly at universities,” Campbell said. But, he added, “This is probably longer than one would have expected or hoped.” Though the center’s creation has been delayed by many factors beyond the University’s control, other initiatives simply have not been carried out. There is no formal discussion of the report during freshman orientation. The University proposed honoring the legacy of slavery on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but few students are on campus during the holiday, which falls over winter break. Katherine Bergeron, the dean of the College, said that while there were all-class meetings during freshman orientation devoted to the Slavery and Justice report in the first few years after its publication, the meeting has since evolved into a broader discussion about diversity. “I would still say that the orientation program, the idea, is alive and well,” Bergeron said. “You don’t want to create something that doesn’t have the chance to grow and breathe.” While the report is available online, Bergeron admitted it is “hard to find.” There is the sense among those involved that implementation of recommendations has not been as important as the report itself. Perhaps, they say, slavery is a difficult topic to discuss, and the University shied away from some initiatives out of fear of negative backlash. Others say this was not the case. “President Simmons was very much in favor of producing bold recommendations,” Magaziner said. “She never encouraged us to water it down.” Simmons denied that the difficult subject matter played a factor at all, and she offered her own reason for the report’s obscurity. “I think length had a lot to do with it,” she said. “It’s just difficult to plow through the report if you don’t have a good bit of time.” The University is quick to praise the initiatives it has implemented, like the Fund for the Education of the Children of Providence, the Urban Education Fellows program and its announcement in February that a designer had been chosen for the memorial. But these are some of the only concrete elements that have
The invisible report
A dying document
“I thought the community would be very interested in it, and that it wouldn’t get any notice outside. And it’s been exactly the reverse.”
come out of the report in six years. Steering dence in exchange for tuition. committee members and others interviewed The John Nicholas Brown Center for Pubsay part of the problem is that the University lic Humanities and Cultural Heritage offers never created the oversight committee specified a Fellowship for the Public Study of Slavery. at the end of the report’s recommendations. The fellowship, which was funded through “No one was paying attention,” Rockman the President’s office and is now funded by said. “And that had severe consequences.” the Provost’s office, covers full tuition for two In its response, the University addressed the graduate students each year and provides each committee’s call for an oversight committee, with a $19,000 stipend. writing, “The University created the Brown In 2009, the University asked Jane Lancaster University Community Council as a vehicle PhD’98, the University historian, to rewrite for the monitoring and implementation of programs of wide community interest. That body has reviewed the ongoing work of the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice and is a suitable body to continue monitoring progress on recommendations.” But since the University’s response was published, the BUCC has discussed the Slavery and Justice Brown university recommendations An image from the report of building records for what is now university Hall. just twice, according to its minutes — on March 13, 2007 when Sim- Brown’s history and include its ties to slavery. mons briefed the council on the University’s The Debra L. Lee Lecture on Slavery and Justice response, and on March 17, 2009, when then- had its first speaker in 2010. In April 2011, Provost David Kertzer ’69 P’95 P’98 reviewed Brown and Harvard co-sponsored a conference the progress of the plan outlined in the Uni- called “Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of versity’s response. American Economic Development.” “What would they have discussed?” SimThis past February, the University anmons asked. “I think once the projects got nounced it had selected the artist Martin started and they were actually underway, there’s Puryear to design a memorial. It should be up very little that any committee actually could on the Quiet Green by 2014, in time for the have done.” University’s 250th anniversary. Campbell, who chaired the steering commit“I think a physical thing makes a differtee and became the public face of the Slavery ence,” said Steven Lubar, the director of the and Justice initiative, left the University in 2008 John Nicholas Brown Center and a member for a position at Stanford. What, steering com- of both the Committee on Memorials and the mittee members wonder, would have happened Public Arts Committee. “My hope is that it’s a if he had stayed? way of bringing the whole thing back to life.” And now that a director has been selected, What has been done? there is hope that interest in the report and its Even if more can be done, the University recommendations will be reinvigorated through has still implemented some significant recom- the center he will create. mendations. The Fund for the Education of Brown’s efforts have also inspired other the Children of Providence, for universities to examine their pasts, including example, has raised $1.5 million. Emory University, the College of William and Though the University commit- Mary, the University of South Carolina and ted to raising $10 million for recently, Harvard and Princeton. the fund in 2007, it deems the But while the report has impacted colleges initiative a success. and universities nationally, it is still largely The Urban Education Fel- absent from life on campus. lows program, which began in “I thought the community would be very fall 2008, gives graduate stu- interested in it, and that it wouldn’t get any dents studying education the notice outside,” Simmons said. “And it’s been opportunity to teach in Provi- exactly the reverse.”
Brown DaiLy heraLD
vOiCES OF 2012
Thoughts and reflections from 16 members of the graduating class
Tour of duty
“I’m here. I’m safe. I love you, too,” I told crew team’s boathouse as a freshman walk-on. my mother. I placed the receiver back on the Brown crew was the defining experience of payphone and began my transition from an my undergraduate career. The hard work and 18-year-old civilian into a sailor in the United long hours provided me with the lifestyle I sorely States Navy. It was my first night at the Navy’s missed, and with these rowers and their coaches, boot camp, and within 10 minutes of stepping I found what I had been missing. In the ways onto the base, I had been told to strip naked, that mattered most — camaraderie, determinapack my old life into a small cardboard box tion and commitment to a shared vision — the and send it back home. What followed next crew team was like the military I had left behind. was about 24 hours of vaccinations, haircuts, Unfortunately, NCAA regulations prevented me marching and learning how to respond to orders from continuing to participate on the team. By barked in my face. “There are no children in the the start of my second year at Brown, I would United States Navy,” boomed the voice of my have to find a new way connect to the campus. recruit division commander that night. We all At Brown, I have served as president of both stood at attention next to our racks, hands at the Resumed Undergraduate Student Associaour sides curled into tight fists and eyes straight tion and the Student Veterans Society, acted as ahead. One of the other recruits had already a student coordinator for the Office of Student made the mistake of eyeballing him, and we had Veterans and Commissioning Programs and all paid the price. He slowly paced the length of the barracks, my home for The Brown experience we all share, while containing points the next three months, and stopped of commonality, is also varied and wholly individual. I will at the light switch. “You are all men never be able to completely or accurately frame the veteran now. Sleep.” experience at Brown. At best, I hope to touch upon what I A little over six years later, I woke believe to be some facts, experiences and insights veterans up. I was 25. I had studied electronics have in common. for two years, completed four yearlong tours in the Persian Gulf and • There are currently only four undergraduate U.S. held responsibilities and performed veterans at Brown. duties that far exceeded my rank. I • Not all veterans were in the Army. How can you had chosen to walk a path that less know who Josiah Carberry is, but not know the than 1 percent of Americans would real branches of the U.S. military? ever experience. And then I walked • We patrol the streets at night and deter would-be another — through the Van Wickle muggers. Safewalk, you’re welcome. Gates to become a Brunonian. • Safewalk did not hire one of our veterans. A vetMy transition back to civilian life eran with combat experience. We’re a little bitter. was challenging. Serving in the mili• Life after military service offers perspective. Most tary was an opportunity to contribute things are about as stressful to us as classes during to something larger than myself. At senior spring were to you. Brown, I was asked to focus on myself • Yes, we would love to have a drink with you. and work for my personal achieve• No, we will not buy you alcohol. ment. I missed the sense of camarade• We’re not old. You’re young. Very young. rie. I missed the feeling that by doing • We don’t understand hipsters, either. my best, I was also helping others achieve a larger goal and knowing that they were doing the same for me. During worked alongside the dedicated members of my time on College Hill, I endeavored to find Brown for Financial Aid. I choose to measure a way to hold onto this feeling. my success by improving the experiences of With only three other undergraduate U.S. those who will come after me. I hope when the veterans currently at Brown, feeling out of place Van Wickle Gates open again this September happens frequently. We don’t live on campus and for incoming veterans, their paths will be as aren’t on meal plan. Our shared military culture rewarding and filled with opportunity as mine makes it easier to interact with one another has been. than with the traditional student body. Seeking to introduce myself to the other students at David Salsone ’12.5 is an economics Brown, I soon found myself down at the men’s concentrator from oceanside, n.Y.
Follow your breath
We’re always pretending to be something. In middle school, we pretended to be the cool kid, aloof and disinterested. At some point, we’re supposed to grow out of this habit, to stop pretending to be the person we want to be and just start being her. But how do we make this shift? As a contemplative neuroscience concentrator, my path has been guided by many failed attempts to follow my breath. College raises the stakes of the middle school game of pretend. We don’t just need to fit in, but we’re figuring out what to do with our lives. Luckily, the rules of the game at Brown are very different from the rules of my conservative Catholic high school. People care about diversity, equality, intellectual honesty and integrity. But these attributes, when pretended, mean as little as pretending to be cool. I landed on wanting to be a doctor. Medicine seemed like a good fit: It met all of the rules of the game, and provided a good future. Everything seemed to be on track. But I wasn’t happy. In fact I was pretty depressed. At the happiest college in the country, it’s sometimes hard to admit that you’re depressed. This is when I started meditating. Meditation has a bit of a sexy public status, complete with brain images and yoga pants. But across the board, I’d say people start meditating because they’re in pain. I could sort of hide behind this facade of Buddhist practice while I was just figuring out how the hell to be okay. More than basic self-regulation, what keeps me meditating is the idea that I can practice being authentic, that I can train in this. Of course, I started out pretending to be a meditator. I pretended to be cool and calm, but inside I was still freaking out, still using other people’s rulers to measure myself. As I dove deeper into this practice, though, it became more and more clear that it’s not about pretending to be anything. In fact, it’s about stopping pretending altogether and starting to take a real look at what’s happening internally. At the time, that meant a lot of pain, a lot of self-judgment. Things started to change, and my priorities started to shift. I was sick of the selfjudgment, of the destructive and incessant comparing and failing to measure up. This practice of meditation opens you up to pain in general. We are all suffering. Some people are doing a lot more of it than I am. When
Brown DaiLy heraLD
The crossword kid
The summer after my sophomore year, I interned with Will Shortz, the New York Times crossword puzzle editor. Each day was a surrealist blend of letter and landscape. After a twohour train ride from my house in Brooklyn, N.Y., to his in Pleasantville in Westchester County, N.Y., I would enter a ball pit of words, a house where fun with language was so pervasive that anything could be a game. Shortz would greet me in his crossword-print pajamas, just after finishing his daily bowl of Alpha-Bits. Fortune cookies after Chinese takeout turned into quick bouts of charades. Shortz had a remarkable talent for putting magic into the mundane. There’s a reason he appears on the cover of some of his books with wand and top hat in hand. I started the Brown Puzzle Club when I was a freshman. At the time, I’d had about eight crossword puzzles published in the New York Times, one of which appeared in the Sunday magazine. And after bringing Shortz to Brown for a crossword tournament, my fate as “the crossword kid” was set. Once, when I was walking by the Office of Residential Life, an adminisSofia Castello y Tickell is from Mexico City and London. She is a concentrator in biology and an independent concentrator in photojournalism.
continued on page 23
you look at that kind of pain in the face, as poet Naomi Shihab Nye says, it is only kindness that makes sense anymore. Those abstract ideas of equality and diversity I began to see as rooted in this universal goal of alleviation of suffering, a political dimension of kindness. What’s ironic is that I’ve landed back on this desire to be a doctor. But the feeling behind this desire has changed so much. By stopping asking who I should be, I’ve tapped some internal power of who I actually am. I believe in equality and access to care, I believe in the alleviation of all kinds of suffering, in kindness as both a person-toperson and political practice. And it doesn’t matter so much what other people believe. Answering the question, “What should I do with my life?” with a list of what other people think is right has been painful and unhelpful. I am grateful to have found a way of developing my internal compass. Life after Brown is going to be uncertain and hard. We won’t often know what’s right or what we should do. But if I can follow this internal compass, I know I’ll figure it out. Annie Brown ’12 is an independent concentrator in contemplative neuroscience from Atlanta.
The Production Workshop Downspace theater transforms about once every four weeks. It takes around three and a half weeks for something to be built, lit, staged and refined. It takes around three hours to tear it all down, usually late on a Monday night. Nothing else in my Brown experience has been so constant in its changing. I don’t know that I’ve contributed all that much to this phoenixing — by my sophomore year I had learned what a vise grip was, but I only figured out how to use one two months ago. I am not the most useful person in any practical sense, though I’ve figured out more than I ever expected I would. Instead, I get to watch the shows cycle through the year, usually while holding a screw gun in trepidation like a well-meaning squirrel. I’ve been focusing lately on whether I learned much from witnessing this process, from being a part of it and having a stake in it. It seemed obvious to me that I must have, and after a few days of drawing a terrified blank, it finally became clear. The way theatre gives something to you is to request it. It asks for your energy, begs for your patience and demands fire. You give it all of these things however and whenever you can, and in return, you get a slice of pizza and your life back for a little while when it’s over. But you also get the opportunity to experience responsibility, accountability and ownership over the source of your passion. I have been told this is a major positive feature of the Brown experience. PW never looks the same on the surface — the seating will be oriented differently, the floor splattered with different colors, the people onstage, though familiar, are never entirely recognizable. Things that don’t change: Somebody will have left their sweatshirt in the box office, a decision meeting will take up your whole Saturday no matter how long it lasts, some piece of essential equipment won’t be working properly. I know these things won’t change, even if the Downspace transforms next September and I am not there to witness it. I will miss the tangible things, like numbering programs, reluctantly doing yoga before long meetings and carrying something very heavy very far. Archiving doesn’t often happen, and posters in our box office get taken down once every decade or so. Theatre doesn’t produce tangible memories in a reliable way like other pursuits. But I’ve still had the pleasure of being a part of something permanent. Deepali Gupta ’12 is a theater arts and performance studies concentrator from westport, Conn., focusing on writing for performance.
vOiCES OF 2012
To squish a rock
It’s one of Professor of Geological Sciences creations in the 1960s. These machines are an Greg Hirth’s favorite lines to frustrated students in incredible combination of precision and brute the rock deformation lab: “Relax, the earth takes force. They are ingenious in their construction millions of years to do what you do in a week.” — using, for example, a reconstituted ball screw Every day in the basement of the GeoChemistry from a big rig truck. building, we attempt to replicate, in tiny samples Thousands of rocks have been squeezed in laboof rock, the processes that build mountains and ratories at Brown, each experiment requiring hours induce earthquakes. Experimental rock deforma- of painstaking preparation. The last experiment tion is critical to understanding fundamental earth of my undergraduate thesis was named W1725. processes, but few institutions are equipped with Experiment W1 was performed in 1975 by Jan the specialized machines necessary for the work. Tullis, a professor well known around Brown for Brown is lucky to be one of them. her introductory geology course and her commitTo study earthquake ment to undergraduate adprocesses, we slide rocks vising. The “W” stuck after In some ways, it seems past each other at high a series of experiments on funny to study nature speeds. To investigate the Rhode Island’s own Westfrom a windowless flow of rocks deep in the erly Granite, back when the basement. earth, we subject geologic deformation labs and the samples to pressures equivDepartment of Geolocial alent to those up to 40 kilometers below Earth’s Sciences were located in Rhode Island Hall on surface and heat them to temperatures typically the Main Green. 800 to 1,100 degrees Celsius. As experimentalists In some ways, it seems funny to study nature abiding by research timelines, we cannot wait mil- from a windowless basement. On the other hand, lions of years to build mountains. We must ramp we are pursuing questions distant from the Earth’s up the temperatures to observe the same processes surface and far from human time scales. Although in a matter of days. After measuring the rates, con- geologists can accumulate evidence outdoors, the ditions and forces involved in deforming our rock basement laboratory is the only place to directly samples, we compare microscopic observations of constrain hypotheses of inner-earth processes our samples to natural examples, extrapolating inferred from rocks exposed at the surface. In the our results to the interior of the earth. laboratory, we learn about the beautiful structures Rock deformation arrived at Brown with the of real rocks by creating our own. hiring of geology professors Jan Tullis and Terry Tullis in the early 1970s. Both were previously Cameron Meyers ’12 is a geology/physics/math students of a famous father of rock deformation, concentrator from Delmar, n.Y. he is off to be a David Griggs. Several of the machines we use in backpacking camp counselor in Vermont for the the labs today are referred to as Tullis-modified summer, then returning to Brown to continue Griggs rigs, and many began as original Griggs research in the fall.
At the beginning of each hockey season, Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94 would tell the team that the hourglass had been flipped and the sands would trickle down until there was not a grain left. Unfortunately, there are only a few grains of sand left in the hourglass representing our time on campus, but these years have been the happiest of my life. I was lucky enough to play four years on the men’s hockey team and form lifelong bonds with my teammates, coaches and staff members. My classmates on the team have been my best friends, study partners and sometimes my worst enemies. But at the end of the day, we have grown up together. This year was special because we got a new teammate who taught us more about how to live life than hockey alone ever could. Ethan Bairos, a seven-year-old who was diagnosed with leukemia last year, joined our team through the efforts of my classmate Bobby Farnham ’12 and a local nonprofit called Team Impact that pairs children with lifethreatening illnesses and New England college sports teams. Ethan was my locker buddy this season. The way he has dealt with cancer and persevered resonated with the team. He made us laugh before games, and after disappointing losses he would always tell me I did a great job, no matter how horribly I played. It was wonderful to have him around. Even though we are leaving, he will always be a part of the hockey team at Brown.
I spent the summer before my freshman year checking off items on my packing list, completing forms, diligently reading the summer reading assignment and spending a mind-numbing amount of time on Facebook identifying potential friends in the class of 2012. In short, I did my best to anticipate and prepare for the changes that would accompany my transition from high school to college. But if I have learned one thing at Brown, it is that change is sometimes unfavorable, often unexpected and always offers an opportunity to learn and grow. I first stepped foot on Brown’s campus as a future pediatrician. I leave as a graphic designer in publishing. I spent my first semester at Brown reluctantly ticking off requirements for medical school that really didn’t interest
Crossed polarized light image, viewed with a gypsum plate, of an experimentally deformed plagioclase rock. Plagioclase is the most common mineral in the lower crust. The black line is a piece of nickel foil designed to track internal deformation of the sample and was originally vertical.
Brown DaiLy heraLD
After the season ended, I got the opportunity to play professionally with the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League, the top affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. I was walking into a movie with Bobby when I got a phone call from the team, and they told me to pack a suitcase and get to Springfield as fast as possible. It was crazy. I had to contact my professors and say goodbye to all my teammates as I left for Springfield. I was fortunate to have professors that accommodated my month-long absence in the middle of the semester. My professors have played a huge role in my time at school and have always accommodated the demands of our season. The open curriculum allowed me to take classes outside my economics concentration, and I was lucky to take many classes with Carrie Spearin, visiting assistant professor of sociology, that made me think about the world in a different way. My time at Brown has been the fastest four years of my life. It feels like yesterday I was walking through the Van Wickle Gates for the first time, and now I’m about to graduate and walk through the gates my final time. The transition from Brown student to Brown graduate is an exciting one, but it also marks the end of four years I will always cherish. Michael Clemente ’12 is an economics concentrator from Great Falls, Va. he will be playing professional hockey next year.
Manvir Singh ’12 is a human biology concentrator from Warren, N.J. He will spend next year studying insect societies and comics in Denmark with a Fulbright grant.
me (Okay, I didn’t exactly “tick off ” MATH 0010, unless you want to count the NC.). I dismissed my passion for art as a mere hobby, as a creative escape from tedious hours of lab work. It only took me three years to realize that what people had been telling me all along was true — I could incorporate my passions into a career! So now, I leave Brown with a degree in public health and a job in graphic design. Thank goodness for liberal education. I first stepped foot on Brown’s campus sure of my career as a student-athlete. I leave after battling for alpine skiing to remain a varsity sport at Brown. In the spring of my junior year, the alpine ski team was called into the athletic director’s office. We had been cut. Seven girls and I sat around the table in disbelief. This past fall, I fought with students, parents, alums and friends
of Brown skiing to save the program. I had the honor of meeting with President Ruth Simmons, who listened to our plea with remarkable patience and understanding and then recommended that skiing remain a varsity program at Brown (along with the fencing and wrestling teams, which were also initially recommended to be cut). This winter, we proved our worth as a team and came back from USCSA Nationals with a national title in slalom and a second-place finish overall. I first stepped foot on Brown’s campus with, well, both of my feet. I leave on crutches after breaking both of my legs this March. Thanks to God, I had a very successful ski season and qualified individually for the U.S. Alpine Championships in Winter Park, Colo. Unfortunately, on the last day of competition, I fell skiing and broke both of my legs. I have spent the hallowed
senior spring in a wheelchair and on crutches. But I have welcomed the perks: backstage passes to Spring Weekend concerts, the ability to shamelessly cut lines and bulging triceps. I have gained a true appreciation for those who are permanently handicapped. I never imagined that I would crutch out of the Van Wickle Gates, but after my shaky start in MATH 0010, I’m happy to crutch out at all. Looking back on my four years, I realize that I have made all of my friends without the help of social media, that no matter how much you spend at Target, a Keeney triple is a Keeney triple and that each person’s college experience is entirely, and wonderfully, unpredictable. Kia Mosenthal ’12 is a community health concentrator from Campton, n.h.
vOiCES OF 2012
My biggest failure
When we think about failure, we often think about teachable moments, right? Dozens of movies, songs and Commencement speeches focus on failures because those are the moments from which we can take something away. But our relationship to our work has two different value outcomes: failure and success. And like failure, prestige also affects our work. The other day, a friend asked me what I was most proud of out of my four years at Brown. My involvement in slam poetry and Brown’s spokenword poetry group, Word!, came to mind. My proudest moment came freshman year, with the first performance my parents ever saw. My parents always knew about the romantic pento-the-paper side of me growing up, but they had never seen me perform live, nor had they ever read anything I’d written apart from a college application essay. To have them understand this part of me was a hallmark of my spoken word career. Not only did they understand my poetry, they also thought it was good. Slam poetry, unlike spoken word, is competitive. There are tournaments. There are teams. There are rules, and at the end of the day, there are judges that place point values on your poetry. Two years ago, I competed in the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, where I reached the semifinals. This experience completely changed the art of poetry and writing for me. I started strategizing. I developed poems that would appeal to certain judges. I could even whip out my stock race-based poem if I knew the judges would like it. The validation was refreshing, and I found myself competing in poetry slams at different venues and different schools. But my satisfaction with these competitions and awards was a bit paradoxical. I originally started writing poetry for myself, my friends and my family. Now, I was writing poetry for people I didn’t even know. Why did I feel better about myself when those people accepted my poetry? And why was the recognition of my closest friends not enough? Taken another way, sometimes failure is the absence of prestige, or at least that’s the case in slam poetry. If you don’t come home at the end of the night with the gold medal, then your poetry wasn’t the best, and you failed. But anyone who has sat down to write poetry, or even a letter or a diary entry, knows the act of writing facilitates thoughtful reflection. I’m not trying to say that awards and prestige are bad. But whatever it is we do with our work
Four years ago, I had a very different understanding of social change than I have now. As a kid coming to this beautiful and privileged campus from another beautiful and privileged community, I believed that the challenges in the world, while certainly significant, were largely technical. If enough clever people like me were willing to help fix our shared social problems through community service and the like, then eventually we would overcome. True to form, during my first years here, I worked hard to get off College Hill to tutor, teach in an after-school writing club and assistant-teach an English class. Yet all the time I was trying to help people — people who faced poverty, hardship and severely constrained opportunities every day of their lives — I was not thinking about the systems that created such dire conditions. I was content to do service on a surface level, never stopping to consider in a real way the roots of inequality that were making that service necessary. My perspective began to change after meeting a group of amazing students at Hope High School, a Providence public school just down the road. They showed me that real, lasting change is best achieved when communities unite together to work for their own social, economic and political liberation. These students organized a protest in 2010 with some of their teachers to continue a community-based turnaround of their school. Inspired by their passion, several Brown undergraduates and I decided to assist them in their movement as best we could. That was the birth of the Providence Student Union, a direct action student-organizing program that I have been working to coordinate and expand over the last two years with the help of these public high school members. By winning concrete campaign victories to fresh fruits and vegetables. The idea that they could really make change for themselves was hard for some to get their heads around, but it is exactly this understanding that constitutes the revolutionary potential our world requires. This process of organizing has allowed for the development of this ethos. And that, I believe and hope, is the most dangerous threat we can produce against the status quo. As I’ve learned from the Providence community and the classrooms of Brown, inequality does not just happen. Poverty, hunger and violence don’t just happen. Behind every homeless student I’ve worked with in Providence, there’s a billion-dollar bank conducting a foreclosure auction. For every asthmatic child here, there’s a lobbyist spreading corporate cash to block environmental protections. For every young person whose family is living on poverty wages, there’s an already wealthy business cutting labor costs to increase profits. Behind every bankrupt school district, there’s a tax cut for the rich. I’ve also learned that justice, like inequality, does not just happen — rather, it must be fought for and won. I look forward to using these lessons in the coming years to do my part because there’s a lot of fighting that needs doing, and I can’t imagine a greater privilege than to join in the struggle. Aaron regunberg ’12 is a political science concentrator from Chicago.
Behind every homeless student I’ve worked with in Providence, there’s a billion-dollar bank conducting a foreclosure auction.
improve the quality of students’ educational experiences, we are working to build student power in the Providence public school system. And by learning to think critically about the conditions around them and speak their minds, students are developing into the leaders their communities need. I remember the students’ disbelief when they learned, after one of their early campaigns to improve Hope’s school lunch program, that the food provider Sodexo was finally agreeing to their ambitious call for a salad bar with
Brown DaiLy heraLD
— be it poetry, education, engineering, medicine or whatever — there is always going to be a gold medal. And sometimes because of that gold medal, we will stop doing what we want to do and start doing what we want to want to do. So the other night, after my friend asked me what accomplishment I was most proud of, I asked myself another question: Why do I do the things I do? And in answering that question, I realized that I had been doing slam poetry for the wrong reasons. And that, I would say, is my biggest failure. tim natividad ’12 is an ethnic studies concentrator from Amarillo, texas. he will work for Google in new York City.
The crossword kid (cont’d)
trator out on his cigarette break stopped me and talked crosswords for over half an hour. I was a hit with everyone’s parents without ever having met them — moms dig crossword puzzles. Brown students did, too. Soon, there were 15 to 20 people showing up to Puzzle Club every week. I like to think some fraction of Shortz’s whimsy has found its way to Brown. In summer 2010, I suggested to Shortz that the New York Times could publish puzzles created by Brown students every day for a week. There was an enormous amount of press surrounding the event, and it was incredible to see a passion I had once thought only I felt be shared by five other students. We were “the crossword kids,” a motley crew of students who loved tinkering with language. We were, as the New York Times noted, the most prolific college in America when it came to making puzzles. Perhaps most “Brown” of all, everyone in our club came to puzzles from a different branch of learning. That week, concentrators in chemistry, computer science, literary arts, English and classics were published in the New York Times. And Puzzle Club continues to grow, its members trying to stump each other with this bit of esoterica or that cleverly worded clue (Results of some white lies, 10 letters? Answer: Snow Angels) and proving that this sort of enthusiasm could only spread at a place like here. natan Last ’12 is an economics and literary arts concentrator from Brooklyn, n.Y. his book of 144 crosswords for a younger generation, titled “word.,” includes puzzles from other crossword-loving Brown students.
Courtesy of Sadie Kurzban
Students dance and sweat it out at a BodyRox class.
As an incoming student, I determinedly took on the identity of a stereotypical Brown student. I chopped off my hair, collected feminist essays, canvassed for Obama and participated in a student-led sexuality workshop. My first year was an unrestrained search for meaning that teetered between self-exploration and selfindulgence. That year, I also got a part-time, just a silly, something-for-spending-cash job as a Zumba instructor. As I led one workout class during my sophomore year, a new thought struck me. I was not being paid to work out. I was being paid to instruct. So I stopped staring at my own reflection and turned instead to my students. I learned to comfortably navigate my way around the crowded dance floor to give encouragement. Motivating others by allowing them to feel part of a community turned out to be the most powerful skill I have learned to use in life outside of these workout classes. Though the name of my workout class has changed to BodyRox, my following has grown substantially, and we’ve moved out of the OlneyMargolies Athletic Center and into Brown/RISD Hillel, people still know me as “the Zumba girl.” I still dance around in colorful spandex. But the girl looking back in the mirror sees the world in a different way than the girl from four years ago. And when I turn away from the mirror and toward my students, I am overwhelmed by a sense of community. As I scanned the dance floor during one of my last classes, I spotted all kinds of Brown students: people who have had a long day studying, people who are still searching for a job after graduation, people who seem to have everything figured out, and people who don’t. Teaching fitness classes takes time. There are days when I don’t want to teach because it’s raining (again) or because I have too much schoolwork. It would be easier to exercise on my own schedule. But then I remember the faces in the room. Why do something on my own, only for myself, when I can receive so much joy from joining other students as they dance with me? This passion has taught me the most valuable lesson yet — that life is more fun and more rewarding when I am surrounded by others. Brown has allowed me to compromise among all the versions I have seen of myself — the radical, the giver, the academic — to form the young woman whom I see in the reflection at my dance classes today. When I peer into my reflection in the dance mirror, I am looking back at myself and at the world through different eyes. In my classes, I am overwhelmed by the support of my friends, their friends and even strangers who have stood behind me through these years. And through this silly, something-for-spending-cash job, I have learned the beauty of sharing time with others. Sadie Kurzban ’12 is an economics concentrator from Miami. She plans to move to new York City to launch 305 Fitness, a business she developed with Brielle Friedman ’12 out of an entrepreneurship class at Brown.
vOiCES OF 2012
Courtesy of Amanda Labora
I will never forget speaking to my Arabic professor Zehad shortly before I fled the heart of Alexandria for the safety of Borg El-Arab Airport. After a sleepless night marked by random bursts of gunfire and pleas for peace and restraint broadcast through the local mosque’s public-address system, I was relieved to see my professor’s friendly face. “How are you, Zehad?” I asked him. “Well,” he said, staring past me, “I’m probably better off dead. … I’ve lost my job, and my students are leaving. I don’t know if the money in my bank account is worth anything. I want to be useful, but now what can I do?” My eyes welled with tears as his words seared my heart. I knew that I was forever changed. In Egypt, I witnessed both the best and the worst of humanity. I watched people like Nehad — my teacher, the director of our language program, a Muslim and a feminist — courageously take a stand against despotism. Meanwhile, I witnessed protesters brutalized with beatings, tear gas and even live fire. I cowered in the dark with my dorm-mates, Egyptian and American women, after hearing rumors that looters were entering homes to steal and rape. We found strength in one another in a situation in which we had no control. I kept a diary during that time. I can follow clearly how my voice was first tinged with awe and inspiration at being present during an important moment in history, then with fear and uncertainty, unsure of whether I would get out alive. Once I made it home to the U.S., I was driven by a purpose: to set the record straight about the revolution. I wanted to show that people from all walks of life came together to demand freedom — men and women, Muslims and Christians, educated and uneducated. I wanted to be a vehicle for the voices of the professors and friends I left behind, a link between Americans and Egyptians. My greatest victory was enabling the voice of Nehad to air on national television so that I no longer spoke for her. But, as time passed, I lost my voice. I struggled with guilt. I was just an American college student in Egypt by chance. After returning to the U.S., my distance from the revolution grew. I am not Egyptian, and the Egyptian struggle was not my struggle. I knew that I had a responsibility, but I did not want to be defined by my experience. I felt incapable of reintegrating into Brown. Somehow, the life I lived before my very brief time in Egypt was irreconcilable with the person I had become. After being confronted with my own mortality, my entire perspective changed. I struggled to find relevance in my academic work. But over the past year, I realized that the pursuit of knowledge — whether or not it relates to Egypt or social movements — is important and carries a social obligation. Leading by example, history professors James Green and Amy Remensnyder helped me find power in my scholarship. They showed me that, regardless of one’s profession, one can be humane, socially conscious and responsible. In Egypt, I realized the power of the collective to enact change. At Brown, I learned that of the individual. I continue to process my experience in Egypt every day, but I can now move forward in life with the confidence that my voice matters and the understanding that I must use it. For me, that means pursuing a career in medicine. I hope to use my voice to advocate on behalf of my future patients, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Amanda Labora ’13, a first-semester senior who will graduate next spring, hails from Miami and concentrates in history. She plans to attend medical school.
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White chocolate mousse Ingredients: 8 oz white chocolate 2 cups heavy cream Directions: Finely chop the white chocolate and place it in a bowl. Bring 2/3 cups of the heavy cream to a boil. Pour over white chocolate and stir until all white chocolate has melted. Whip the remaining 1 1/3 cups of heavy cream until stiff. Fold the white chocolate mixture into the whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Citrus cream cheese frosting Ingredients: 16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature 1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature 3 cups powdered sugar 2 tsp. vanilla Juice from half a lemon Zest from 2 lemons and 1 orange Directions: In a large bowl beat together cream cheese and butter. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and continue beating until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Lemon chiffon cake Ingredients: 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 1 Tbs. baking powder 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. lemon zest 1/2 cup olive oil 6 whole eggs, separated 2 egg whites 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (1-2 lemons) 1/4 cup water 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar Directions: 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom of three 8- or 9-inch round cake pans and line each with a parchment paper. 2. In a bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another large bowl, whisk together oil, egg yolks, lemon juice, water and lemon zest. Gently fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until the batter is smooth. 3. In a clean bowl with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold half the egg whites into the batter until almost combined. Then fold in the remaining egg whites. 4. Divide the batter evenly among the three pans. Bake 12-18 minutes, until a fork inserted comes out clean. Let cool slightly before removing from pans.
We started the Secret Bakery, an underground dessert cafe, in the summer of 2011 after being inspired by another secret Providence donations-based restaurant. We held the Secret Bakery one Saturday each month from 8 p.m. to midnight and served between 80 and 130 people each night. The menu changed seasonally but always featured three dessert options and one savory item. Here’s our original recipe for citrus explosion cake. Anna Jones ’12 and Sarah Marion ’12.5 are both biology concentrators from north Carolina. Grapefruit bar Ingredients: For the crust: 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 cups flour 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt For the grapefruit layer: 6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar 1 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (1-2 grapefruits) 1 cup flour Directions: 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans. 2. For the crust, cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Combine the flour and salt and add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a ball. Divide the dough into two pieces. Press each piece into the bottom of a greased cake pan. Chill for at least 20 minutes. Bake the crusts for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool. 3. For the grapefruit layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, grapefruit juice and flour. Pour over the crusts and bake for 18-25 minutes until slightly it jiggles slightly in the center but is firm on the outside. Let cool to room temperature.
Find this year’s Commencement speech submissions online at browndailyherald.com
Amid widespread panic in financial markets and in response to swiftly declining stock prices, former President George W. Bush enacts a $700 billion bailout package for unstable financial institutions.
Oct. 3, 2008
Cell phone pictures of Michael Phelps inhaling from a marijuana pipe surface. The Olympic gold medalist swimmer is suspended from the sport for three months.
Feb. 5, 2009
Then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., officially receives the nomination to be the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo.
Aug. 27, 2008
More than 131 million Americans go to the polls. Obama is elected president in a landslide, besting Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., by nearly 10 million votes.
Nov. 4, 2008
Obama signs the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly known as the stimulus package, allotting $787 billion to revive the economy.
Feb. 17, 2009
Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee tells a full Salomon 101 that the presidential race lacked substantial policy debate.
Obama is inaugurated. Almost two million people travel to the National Mall to watch.
Jan. 20, 2009
Mexican officials confirm cases of H1N1 influenza, known as swine flu. Several thousand cases are confirmed worldwide as the disease spreads.
Oct. 30, 2008
President Ruth Simmons announces that the University is assuming it will lose nearly 30 percent of its endowment by the end of June. Administrators later say the loss occurred by the end of 2008.
Jan. 27, 2009
Administrators announce that two students did not return to campus from their spring break trip to Trinidad. The students are later found, and a parent says no foul play was involved.
April 1, 2009
Members of Students for a Democratic Society attempt to enter a Corporation meeting in University Hall. Seven are eventually given probation after a disciplinary hearing.
Oct. 18, 2008
Brown ties Harvard for the Ivy League football championship.
Nov. 22, 2008
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Nas, Santigold and Of Montreal play Spring Weekend concerts on the Main Green.
April 17-18, 2009
Students storm the Main Green after Obama is elected.
Nov. 4, 2008
Former Senator John Edwards emphasizes the nation’s responsibility to end poverty during a lecture in Salomon 101.
March 10, 2009
The faculty votes to rename the Columbus Day holiday to Fall Weekend on the academic calendar. Then- Providence Mayor David Cicilline ’83 and radio personality Rush Limbaugh are among those who decry the change.
April 7, 2009
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The Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, successfully circulates proton beams for the first time.
Sept. 10, 2009
The XXI Winter Olympic Games are held in Vancouver. Host nation Canada sets an Olympic record with 14 gold medals, and American snowboarder Shaun White unveils the Double McTwist 1260.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor i s confirmed by the United States Senate by a vote of 68 to 31. Sotomayor becomes the first Hispanic justice on the court.
August 6, 2009
A 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastates the Caribbean nation of Haiti. 316,000 lives are lost, and one million are left without homes.
Jan. 12, 2010
july august september october november december january
After escaping from the Taliban in June, New York Times reporter David Rohde ’90 publishes five front-page stories in the Times detailing his capture and escape.
By a vote of 220-211, the U.S. House of Representatives passes the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, extending health care coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.
March 21, 2010
As the investment banking and securities firm Goldman Sachs faces allegations of financial wrongdoing, Simmons opts not to stand for reelection to its board of directors.
The University observes its first Fall Weekend holiday as Providence celebrates Columbus Day. DPS officers remove one protestor from an anti-Fall Weekend rally on campus.
Oct. 12, 2009
After tense negotiations and protests, Brown Dining Services employees and the University sign a new contract, avoiding the possibility of a strike.
Snoop Dogg, MGMT, Major Lazer, the Black Keys and Wale play the 50th Spring Weekend concerts on the Main Green.
April 23-24, 2010
Events that shaped life on campus and beyond
Obama signs the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act, which ends a Clinton-era policy that required gay Americans serving in the military to hide their sexuality.
Dec. 22, 2010
Eastern Japan is struck by a 9.1-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami. The events caused thousands of deaths and created crises at several nuclear power plants.
March 11, 2011
Americans head to the polls for midterm elections. The Democrats lose six seats in the Senate but retain a majority. They lose control of the House of Representatives.
Nov. 2, 2010
The United States, along with United Nations allies, conducts air strikes on Libya, which had seen weeks of violence between those who wanted to depose dictator Muammar Gaddafi and pro-Gaddafi forces.
Embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns after weeks of largescale protests in Cairo and other cities.
Feb. 11, 2011
Obama announces that United States special operations forces killed Osama bin Laden in a raid at his safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
May 2, 2011
The Fish Company, a longtime popular Wednesday night destination for students, confirms it has closed down.
March 14, 2011
Simmons announces there will be no immediate decision on the future of the varsity wrestling, fencing and skiing teams. Student athletes and supporters had protested the sudden elimination of these teams recommended by the Athletics Review Committee.
April 29, 2011
Faunce House reopens after a year of extensive renovations, featuring a revamped Blue Room and new study spaces.
Aug. 16, 2010
The Office of the Provost publishes a report revealing the University will offer professional master’s programs as early as fall 2012. The start date has now been pushed back to fall 2013.
Brown football beats Harvard in the first night game in the history of Brown Stadium.
Sept. 25, 2010
The Marty and Perry Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Brown’s newest fixture of modern architecture, opens for classes.
Jan. 26, 2011
The women’s crew team wins the NCAA National Championship on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif.
May 29, 2011
Diddy Dirty Money, Wyclef Jean, TV on the Radio, Das Racist, Lee Fields and the Expressions and Rebirth Brass Band play Spring Weekend concerts in Meehan Auditorium.
April 15-16, 2011
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Occupy Wall Street begins in Zuccotti Park, sparking a worldwide protest movement.
Sept. 17, 2011
Steve Jobs, Apple’s visionary leader, dies.
Oct. 5, 2011
Jim Yong Kim ’82, the current president of Dartmouth, is appointed president of the World Bank.
April 16, 2012
Standard & Poor’s downgrades the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+ for the first time in history. The country had had a AAA rating for 70 years.
Aug. 5, 2011
North Korea announces the death of Kim Jong-il roughly two days after he died of a heart attack.
Dec. 19, 2011
The Costa Concordia cruise ship sinks off the western coast of Italy after its captain steers the ship too close to shore in an apparent stunt.
Jan. 13, 2012
january february march april may june
The Medical Education Building opens in a renovated manufacturing facility in the Jewelry District.
Aug. 15, 2011
Simmons recommends maintaining the University’s academic policies toward the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, which does not permit ROTC’s presence on campus. Her recommendation follows a report released during the summer by the Committee on ROTC.
Oct. 19, 2011
Christina Paxson, dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, is named the University’s 19th president.
The University commits to contributing $31.5 million to Providence over the next 11 years, resolving an ongoing conflict with the city. “It was one of my most pleasant days as mayor of the city of Providence,” said Mayor Angel Taveras.
May 1, 2012
March 2, 2012
Simmons announces her decision to step down at the end of the academic year, ending an 11-year tenure.
Sept. 15, 2011
The new fitness and aquatics center opens to the public. The Jonathan Nelson ’77 Fitness Center boasts more than $700,000 of new equipment, and the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center houses a million-gallon pool.
April 16, 2012
Brown University’s 244th graduating class marches through the Van Wickle Gates.
May 27, 2012
Childish Gambino, the Glitch Mob, Cam’ron, the Walkmen, What Cheer? Brigade and Sepalcure play Spring Weekend concerts on the Main Green.
April 20-21, 2012
Events that shaped life on campus and beyond
Emily Gilbert / Herald
Mending Brown’s relationship with the struggling city of Providence
By AdAm TooBin
laring fog horns and brandishing signs reading “pay your share,” 100 Providence firefighters, policemen and community members marched at the base of College Hill the night of Jan. 11, demanding that the University increase its monetary contributions to the city. Many feared losing their pensions as a result of threatened cuts to the city budget. The University, they said, should not leave them to bear the brunt of that burden alone. Though the protest was just the latest flareup of a decade-long financial dispute between Brown and the city of Providence, this past year saw the most heated — and conclusive — debate. The hostility culminated this month as President Ruth Simmons stood at a podium in the State House, smiling alongside Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14. She announced that the University had committed an additional $31.5 million to the city over 11 years, exceeding Taveras’ initial request. Providence will be “the next great comeback star, and Brown University is going to be in the lead of that,” Taveras said at the press conference. The University will now contribute $7.9 million to the city annually through 2016. Between 2016 and 2021, that number will drop to around $6 million annually. For the next four years, Brown’s annual payments to Providence will be nearly twice the $4 million it has paid yearly since 2003.
the map,” he said at the press conference. “If we want to see Rhode Island succeed, it won’t get there without Brown.” Meanwhile, efforts to pass a bill mandating that nonprofits pay 25 percent of their assessed property taxes — a legislative effort to crack down on the University’s perceived negligence — appears have stalled in the Rhode Island House of Representatives. “I’ve always been really excited about the idea of a university that can Dan Alexander / Herald really partner with a city on issues of At the height of tensions between Providence and the university, economic development and social de- 100 local firefighters, policemen and residents protested at 121 velopment,” Paxson told The Herald. S. Main St. in January. “My hope — and I hope it’s not naive … is that with this agreement in place, we can did warn that the funds will come at the expense now move to a different kind of relationship of other areas — areas affecting students and where we’re not bargaining over fixed amounts faculty. The University Resources Committee, of money, but we’re really saying, ‘OK, what can the group responsible for recommending an we do go make Brown greater and Providence annual budget to the president, will have to find greater, and do that together?’” $3.9 million in next year’s budget for additional But on College Hill, student opinion is mixed. city contributions — almost $2 million more Some, like President-elect of the Undergraduate than originally planned. Council of Students Anthony White ’13, said As part of the deal, the University secured they are happy the University closed the deal. “I a few tangible concessions from the city. Two definitely trust the judgment of Ruth Simmons hundred and fifty new parking spots will be and her negotiating committee,” White said. made available for lease to employees and stu“This agreement is one that will not compromise dents over the next 20 years. The University the University.” will additionally gain control of four city blocks But many felt the city was too heavy-handed, running through campus. A turning point forcing Brown to give more than it could afford. Though the University does not have imThe resolution placated the University’s A Herald poll conducted before the deci- mediate plans for the streets, their acquisition detractors while paving a smoother path for sion was announced revealed a three-way split. marks the achievement of a long-term Uniincoming president Christina Paxson. Thirty-seven percent of students did not think versity goal, said Richard Spies, executive vice Referring to Brown as Providence’s “major the University should increase its payments to president for planning and senior adviser to league franchise,” Taveras has expressed his the city, while only 30 percent thought it should the president. pleasure at the restoration of relations between pay more. Thirty-three percent indicated no The University pursued these same streets in the city and the University. “Brown puts us on opinion. 2006, but the City Plan Commission rejected Brown’s ultimate its proposal. College Hill residents expressed decision did little to serious concern at the time over the University’s quell the debate on attempt to increase its physical presence on the campus. Students Hill. Then-President of the College Hill Neighcontinue to express borhood Association Barbara Harris called the concern that the in- proposal “completely ridiculous.” creased burden on the It is hard to argue that the market value of the University’s already parking spots and the city blocks is $30 million, meager resources will Spies said. But the value of positive relations, he negatively affect their said, merited the additional payment. educational experiThe University does not “want to be involved ence. The University’s in renegotiations every two or three or four decision to increase years,” Simmons said. “Brown will be enorcontributions be- mously grateful if, in a decade, the city is in yond Taveras’ initial very sound health.” request only adds to the criticism. A long path Financial aid will The debate over payments to the city sparked likely not see cuts, as in Simmons’ early tenure. Then-Mayor David it is endowed inde- Cicilline ’83 threatened to march up College Hill to hold a press conference in front of the Herald file photo pendently from the in March, student group Brown for Providence petitioned university Hall demanding University’s general Van Wickle Gates about taxing Brown. that Brown double its payments to the city. budget. But Simmons In 2003, Cicilline negotiated for the Univer-
sity to pay $1.2 million per year in lieu of taxes as well as further payments on new property acquisitions. Taveras, who has taken the helm since that agreement, fiercely attacked the University for not increasing its contributions in light of troubled financial times. Though politicians often look to nonprofits for supplemental revenue, this year’s negotiation was unlike previous fights, said City Councilman Sam Zurier, Ward 2. “Brown and Providence have lived together for 250 years or 300 years, and the city has never faced such a calamity,” he said. Since his inauguration, Taveras has sought to raise additional funds from the city’s nonprofits. The most contentious moment came in early January, when Taveras alleged the University had reneged on a deal to pay the city an additional $4 million annually. University officials denied they had made any deal, prompting Simmons to send a University-wide email criticizing Taveras. Negotiations broke down temporarily, until
lagged at around $2.5 million. But University officials pointed to Yale’s endowment — seven times larger than Brown’s — and the school’s bigger budget to explain this deficiency. The University’s $6 million in voluntary contributions next year will dwarf — as a percentage of either total endowment or annual operating budget — what Yale will give to New Haven. In 2009, the University set its sights on several parcels of land in the Jewelry District made available by the city’s relocation of Interstate 195. Since the opening of Alpert Medical School’s new home on Richmond Street, administrators often point to the surrounding area as a potential site for the new School of Engineering and other future ventures. But to acquire the now-vacant properties downtown, the University must come to an agreement with city and state officials. Talks between the city and the University broke down in 2009 over disputes about the University’s tax-exempt status. State legislators and Cicilline threatened to impose a mandatory tax on any nonprofit properties in the district. University Hall rejected these threats on the grounds that any mandatory tax initiative would make it impossible for the University to acquire additional land in the foreseeable future. The debate ended in inaction on both fronts. Johnson and Wales University has since acquired two Jewelry District parcels, but most of the properties remain vacant. In 2011, the state legislature mandated that nonprofits either contribute payments to the city in lieu of taxes or face taxation on any land in the area opened by the highway relocation. This month’s deal between the University and the city could foreshadow the renewal of talks with the state on further expansion into the Jewelry District. “Brown has certain plans for expansion and development that require favorable land-use regulation,” said Hilary Silver, associate professor of sociology. “It’s in Brown’s interest to get along with the mayor because they have expansion plans.” The University has nearly reached capacity on College Hill. Further expansion — especially that of major laboratory buildings — will likely extend downtown. The Jewelry District remains just one of a number of options for expansion of the School of Engineering, said Dean of Engineering Larry Larson. Further negotiations will be necessary before any acquisitions for the School of Engineering, but “given the recent agreement,
things will be much more amicable with the city,” he said. Still, acquisition of I-195 land will require negotiations with the state, and the recent agreement does not address this topic. “There’s no doubt that the agreement smooths the way in any kind of negotiation,” Spies said. “But the agreement is quite explicitly limited to the things that are covered in it.” The economic crisis of 2008 severely limited the city’s revenues, revealing a flawed system beneath the thin veneer of prosperity that Providence politicians had clung to over the past two decades. Taveras has condemned previous city administrations for burying a crisis that lay in the structural underpinnings of city finances. Taveras entered office facing a $122 million budget deficit. He immediately warned that Providence was facing a “category five” financial crisis and embarked on an ambitious agenda of spending cuts — closing schools and limiting city services — to help cut the deficit, which amounted to more than one-sixth of the overall city budget. Before the deal with the University and a separate deal with Lifespan announced that same day, the city had narrowed the gap to around $22.5 million. City officials have not announced the current size of the budget gap. The most pressing concern for Taveras when he entered office was Providence’s pension and health care funds. Beginning in the 1990s, the city stopped supporting both of these funds, and the pension plan was only 32 percent funded by 2012. The health care system was in far worse shape, with only around $1 million available for a system that should have closer to $1 billion. The city must allocate an additional $45 million per year to compensate for the deficiencies in these funds — a huge burden on a city that has suffered from a decades-long economic slump. In February of this year, Taveras said the city could have to file for bankruptcy if nonprofits did not increase their contributions and retirees did not agree to cuts in pension benefits. More than 40 percent of the city’s taxable land belongs to a tax-exempt organization. Providence already has the second highest commercial property tax rate in the country behind Detroit. As part of the attempt to close the deficit, Taveras called on the city’s nonprofits that receive tax-exempt status to contribute an additional $7.1 million. Between the University’s commitment to pay an additional $3.9 million per year, Lifespan’s dedication of $800,000 per year and the annual $958,000 from Johnson and Wales, Taveras has accounted for around $5 million of the funds he requested. It remains to be seen for Providence if the remaining $2.1 million will come at all, and from where. And it remains to be seen for Brown if its contributions will leave the University better off than it was before.
“Brown and Providence have lived together for 250 years or 300 years, and the city has never faced such a calamity.” — City Councilman Sam Zurier
Chafee interceded. Around that time, Occupy Providence, the local branch of the worldwide Occupy movement, jumped on the bandwagon, calling on the University to increase its contributions. Equating the University with “the 1 percent,” Occupiers accused Brown of not paying its fair share. A group called Brown for Providence formed on campus to pressure the University to contribute more to the city. The group held a press conference that received significant regional media coverage. Its 60 members delivered a petition with more than 600 signatures to University Hall, calling on the administration to double its payments. As a result of its 1764 charter granted by King George III of England, the University receives some unique tax exemptions that other nonprofits do not. Brown is not required to pay taxes on any of its original properties, including those no longer used for educational purposes. This exemption in particular drew the ire of groups like Brown for Providence that accused the University of receiving unfair tax benefits. Politicians have repeatedly pointed to Yale’s relationship with New Haven, Conn., as an example of a healthy town-gown interaction. Yale’s voluntary contributions totaled around $8 million to New Haven last year, while Brown’s
Brown DaiLy heraLD
“I really need to get to know this place”
President-elect Christina Paxson is taking a crash course in all things Brunonia while keeping her day job as dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Paxson will take the reins as president July 1, and her formal inauguration will take place in October. Paxson spoke with The Herald earlier in the month about her vision for Brown. By Nicole FriedmaN
Emily Gilbert / Herald
What are your plans from now until July 1? How are you preparing? I have a number of trips planned to Providence. I’m actually giving an academic seminar to a group of faculty, which I’m really excited about. In economics? Within economics, yeah. And public health. And then I will be back for Commencement. Because I really want to see how Commencement’s done — I’ve heard it’s wonderful — and just get a sense of what I’ll be doing the next year. So it’s training, maybe. And will you play a role in Commencement at all? No. I will wear my standard academic robes, and I will march, and I’ll just be an observer. The responsibilities of being the dean of a school are very different from the responsibilities of being a president of an entire university. Looking at that transition, are there particular aspects of it that you think will be difficult for you? I think, actually, the responsibilities of being the dean of a school are similar in many ways to being a university president. They’re just scaled down, right? So as a dean, I am responsible for overseeing the overall operations of the school. And I do a lot of fundraising, and I do a lot of academic planning. I meet with students. I work with faculty. So all of the elements, except for maybe athletics, are there. The challenge for me is that I will have to learn to be less directly engaged with everything. And as someone who I’ve always been — not a micromanager at all, but someone who really likes to be involved — I like to know what’s going on. And I think when you become the leader of an organization and institution as big as Brown, you have to give some of that up. Simmons, when she was inaugurated, put forth new initiatives very quickly. Do you have any intentions as to the speed with which you will introduce new ideas? There’s a reason why presidents’ inaugurations are usually in October, which is about four months after they begin. Because it gives them a good four months to really make those plans. One of the big differences between a uni-
versity and a company departmental resources — being CEO of a comor the undergraduate The challenge for pany — is that it really is experience. How do about collaboration and me is that I will have you think research and undergraduate needs getting people on board to learn to be less and doing a lot of listencan be balanced in a ing before you do a lot directly engaged with way that is, as you say, of changing. So I’m not conducive and compleeverything. at all averse to making mentary? changes. My experience — and But at least it’s not my this comes from having strategy to kind of do that in a very abrupt been a department chair and a dean — is way without really figuring — figuring a that the faculty members, among the senior place out first. And getting a better sense of faculty, tenured, who are the best teachers how people feel about different issues, and are also the best researchers. where the priorities should be. A lot of the excitement of being a researcher just reinforces being a really great What are the ways in which you think teacher. Brown is unique, or distinct from its peers, So I think that you do have to protect that should be maintained? And which are people’s time in the sense that Brown should the ways that are less critical to maintain? have a very competitive sabbatical policy. One of the reasons why I love Brown is it But the time is there. is very distinctive relative to most of its peer I worry a little bit more about the mentorinstitutions. And it’s partly the open curricu- ship and development of assistant professors. lum. I think it’s the fact that the curriculum Because they’re trying to do something reattracts a really interesting type of student, ally hard. They’re trying to learn how to be and also faculty member. You know, the great teachers and great researchers at the people who want to come to a place where same time. students have a lot of responsibility for their own learning, where they’re encouraged to In terms of physical planning, what do be very creative and to think very broadly you think are the University’s priorities? — that’s really different. And that makes it a I don’t have a complete set, a comprehenreally attractive place. And I think it colors sive set of priorities yet. Because I haven’t the whole atmosphere. done tours everywhere. I haven’t seen the (This atmosphere is) very robust. I don’t dorms, and I’ve heard a lot about the dorms. think it’s a fragile thing. And I do think that The engineering school is really out of space. Brown can aspire to become an even greater My sense is that during the financial research university than it already is. And downturn, the natural thing to do, and what doing that is not a threat — need not be a almost every university did, was to defer threat — to this very distinctive identity. some maintenance. And it’s time to start Actually taking these ideas that are em- catching up on that. bedded in the undergraduate program and bringing it up into the graduate program Where do University finances stand at this and into the, sort of, the way we think about point? research, is a really interesting idea. And it’s Well, the University is very well managed. a way to kind of grow Brown as a research And people here are prudent and sensible. institution while keeping that kind of distinctiveness. It often comes down to resource allocation. If the University doesn’t have infinite resources and wants to grow its research programs, research can come at the expense of faculty time,
I do think that Brown can aspire to become an even greater research university than it already is. And doing that is not a threat — need not be a threat — to this very distinctive identity.
There isn’t much slack in the budget. And so that’s why over the next six months, a year — probably less than a year, but six months after I start — the most important thing for me to do will be to work with the provost and with faculty and with administrators to really consider and hone the priorities. Cause we — we can’t do everything. And we have to think carefully about what we can do with existing resources, what we need to raise new resources to do, and also to figure out what are the things that are going to make
Is it more difficult to find a director because the Watson Institute has gone so long without a permanent director, which leaves its mission and goals undefined? on a wide range of issues related Your husband works for OppenThe more I talk to faculty members to international studies. heimer Funds, which is a firm around Brown, the more I get the sense that that’s well connected on Wall there is a strong consensus about what the Street and in the financial world. mission of the Watson should be. So I don’t Brown even more exciting, even better. What Would he be involved at all in University see a lot of disagreement. I think the answer are the big impact investments going to be? fundraising? to your question, though, is that it’s just really And, you know, that’s really the fun part of No, I don’t think so. He has his job, and hard to find a great director. We had some the job. So I’m looking forward to doing that. I have mine. very good applicants this year, but we’re He’s gone to some dinners and meetings looking for someone who is an outstanding In terms of fundraising, Simmons has with alumni, members of the Corporation. scholar, who also is very much connected to traveled internationally a great deal and He’s really enjoyed it. So I think he’s excited the world of public policy and international made a lot of connections for the Univer- about being involved in the Brown commu- affairs and who can also administer and sity internationally. Do you also intend to nity. And he’s told me that he’ll go to athletic direct a center at a place like Brown that travel in this job? events with me, which is great. Because I really calls for broad faculty engagement. So This coming year, I hope to go to London, want to go, but I’m actually — I’m not some- that’s a challenging list of things that we’re and then make an Asia trip, probably to body who knows a whole lot about a wide looking for, and it’s not surprising that it can Hong Kong, China. Probably a separate trip variety of sports. So this will be good. So I take more than one year to do. The fact that to India. And I really want to go to Brazil, think he’s excited about being involved. But there has been instability in the Watson, I but I don’t know if I can fit that in in the his job will not be to fundraise for Brown. think, has not been good. It hasn’t been good first year. for the morale of faculty there and other The goal of traveling internafaculty who are connected to tionally is really threefold. One it. But I’m very confident that I’m very supportive of the idea that is to meet with alumni. And we can get it moving in a really Brown has lots of alumni in spectacular direction. Brown University should become more China and India, Hong Kong, international. And I don’t like the idea of London. London’s a big hub. So The University has an ongoing one goal is just to go out and treating international (applicants) differently relationship with Tougaloo meet people. The other is to College, which is a historically than American (applicants) when it comes to black college in Jackson, Mislearn more about local institutions, universities, research sissippi — financial aid. centers and things like that I can’t wait to visit! I’ve never that might be good partners been there, I don’t know much for Brown. about it, and from what I’ve And then, I really think it’s important to Coming from the Woodrow Wilson School, heard from people who have gone to visit travel just to do — we need to do more to what are your thoughts on Brown’s Watson and people who have been involved in that raise Brown’s visibility around the world. Institute for International Studies? Have collaboration, it’s been terrific. you been informed or involved at all in the
How will you balance travel with on-campus responsibilities? Especially coming in as a new president, I really need to get to know this place. And you know, the external relations, a lot of it is going out and communicating to the world what Brown is. Well, I can’t really do it unless I know it. And so spending a lot of time talking to students, talking to faculty, talking to administrators and people in the town and the city, is very important. I want to be on campus at least probably 50 to 60 percent of the time, during the week, at a minimum. But I think that’s fully compatible with a I think the Watson Institute has pretty heavy-duty travel schedule, the capacity to really become a and being engaged elsewhere, too. And I’ll be here on the weekends, very, very vibrant focal point for because my family will be here on research and student engagement the weekends.
ongoing search for a new director for the institute? Do you think you’ll be involved in that as president? I am very excited about being involved in the Watson Institute. It’s an interesting place. It’s actually quite different from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in that it is an institute, not a professional school. And I think that’s a very important distinction. I think the Watson Institute has the capacity to really become a very, very vibrant focal point for research and student engagement on a wide range of issues related to international studies. I am planning on being fairly engaged in the search next year.
Brown DaiLy heraLD
What should President-elect Christina Paxson do first?
compiled By mathias heller aNd margaret NickeNs “The only thing I expect from her is to be as good as the old president.” — Jose Barros, cashier for Brown Dining Services “A lot of the directors of centers at Brown are still men, and so it’s important to make sure that women are fully integrated into the Brown community.” — Wendy Schiller, associate professor of political science
“Financial aid should be a priority, and she should give free hugs too.” — Grace Cain ’15
“Immerse herself as much as possible in campus culture — attending events and simply being present and open to the kinds of conversations that spontaneously develop on the Green.” — Laurel Bestock, assistant professor of archeology and Egyptology and ancient western Asian studies, in an email
“Continue to strike a balance between continuing to expand the research capabilities of this University to continue to improve its reputation, but still keep our undergraduate core.” — Anthony White ’13, incoming president of the Undergraduate Council of Students
“I look forward to meeting with incoming President Paxson and finding ways to work together towards a more successful Brown University and city of Providence. Brown’s success is vital to the economic future of our city, and I look forward to the University’s growth in the coming years — especially in Providence’s Jewelry District.” — Mayor Angel Taveras, in a written statement “Consider online options for some of the really big lecture courses.” — Jake Weber ’15 “In a time of University expansion … how Brown can retain and maybe build upon that uniqueness is, I think, one of the greatest challenges.” — Ken Miller ’70 P’02, professor of biology
ity. On the other hand, I’m very supportive of the idea that Brown University should become more international. And I don’t like the idea of treating international (applicants) differently than American (applicants) when it comes to financial aid. And transfer (applicants) as well. CommenCement 2012
“Increase spending on athletics.” — Nick Faber ’12, varsity football player
“Continue in the Brown tradition of helping the students at Brown, both undergraduates and graduates, become involved in the greater Providence community. … I think it’s important that Brown tries to ensure that the General Assembly is very aware of the multitude of programs and services that it offers to all residents of Rhode Island.” — State Sen. Rhoda Perry P’91, D-Providence
The admissions process is currently not need-blind for transfer, international and resumed undergraduate students. What are your thoughts on the trade-off between lowering the loan burdens for students on financial aid and instituting need-blind admissions for all students?
It’s a really hard question. I mean, I think we all recognize that the burden, especially on middle-income students, is very high. Because students are being asked to take out loans — sometimes, substantial loans — in order to attend college. Getting those burdens reduced has got to be a high prior-
If we had to prioritize, my own sense right now is that we would How are you dividing your responsibilities between your current prioritize first to making sure that all (applicants) are treated equally deanship and preparing to take on the presidency? given, you know, given their economic circumstances. If you have Well I’m not sleeping very much. (Laughs) No seriously, I am the same economic circumstances as another (applicant), you’re really working very closely with the staff and making sure that I treated the same way. And then, really going after reducing loan leave things in really good shape. burdens on students. But again, On the Brown side, I’m really finding it valuable that’s my own opinion right now. I to have conversations with as many people and as I think everybody at Brown many types of people as possible about Brown. haven’t heard all the pros and cons. recognizes that if Providence There’s going to be a lot of time for me to learn Is there any possibility that a lot of the fine-grain details, but getting a broad thrives, Brown thrives, and need-blind admissions would sense of the University community — their values, be phased in? That one applicant their goals, what they think is working well, where vice versa. population, such as international there may be some room for improvements. This or transfer students, could get period has actually been terrific to get me moving need-blind admissions before the University can offer it to all in that direction. applicants? It depends a lot on what resources are available. And given that Are there any issues that people have brought up repeatedly resources tend to — you get them slowly, gradually over time. That to you? usually means that you have to phase things in. As to the sequencI think one of the big issues for the University right now, esing of that, I really can’t speak to that right now. pecially in light of the agreement that it just signed with the city of Providence, is how can we really move forward to have a very positive, constructive relationship with the city? I think everybody at Brown recognizes that if Providence thrives, Brown thrives, and vice versa. I’m looking forward to moving to Providence this summer because that’ll put me in a position where I can really start to get to know people in the state and local governments and learn a lot about the work of local institutions that Brown collaborates with and start to think of ways to build on those collaborations and make them even stronger.
the CLass oF 2012
By the numBers
Number of spicies with eaten by the class of 2012: 84,000 Number of times members of the class of 2012 were greeted at the Sharpe Refectory by Gail McCarthy: 246,750
Number of states represented by the class of 2012 at matriculation: 49 State missing on matriculation: North Dakota State with the highest representation at matriculation: California (212 students) Number of states represented by the class of 2012 at Commencement: 47 States missing: North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming State with the highest representation at Commencement: New York (191 students) Winner of orientation Unit Wars in 2008: unit 10 (Hope College) Class of 2012 admission rate: 13.7% Class of 2016 admission rate: 9.6%
Number of matches made via Prospect and Meeting since 2010: 411 Number of condoms distributed by Health Services this year: 21,000 How much more likely seniors are to have had six or more sexual partners this year than other students: 4 times Number of Brown construction projects since 2008: 500 Total cost: $450 million Square feet added: 227,207 Reduction in metric tons of carbon used by the University between 2008 and 2011: 180,668 Number of food trucks on campus in September 2008: 1 Now: 14
Brown DaiLy heraLD
By the numBers
Number of volumes added to the University Library since 2008: 143,000 Number of directors of the Watson Institute for International Studies in the past four years: 4 Number of Rhodes Scholars in the class of 2012: 3 All-time Herald vs. College Hill Independent kickball series record: 9-3, Herald Annual tuition in 2008-2009: $37,718 in 2011-2012: $41,328 Average debt owed by Brown students at graduation: $22,468 Number of bachelor’s degree holders nationally under the age of 25 who were unemployed or underemployed last year: 1.5 million or 53.6% Dow Jones Industrial Average at matriculation: 11,517 At time of publication: 12,599 Percent of students who supported President Barack Obama in the 2008 election: 86.1 Percent of students who approve of Obama’s handling of his presidency as of April 2012: 78.8 Days since President Ruth Simmons’ inauguration: 3,982 Days remaining in tenure: 37 Tentative name of Simmons and President-elect Christina Paxson’s new restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Justin Coleman, Glenn Lutzky, Kim Perley, Quinn Savit, Min Wu / Herald
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In the town
where we all were weaned, there was a white tower with a gold top, and a large shopping mall that was carpeted gray and scratchy. On the prettiest street was a big, flat-walled armory, and on another street was a tree with a Styrofoam head in it. There were houses colored like pastel candies, houses painted in exaggerated bird colors and houses made of wood with bright doors and different kinds of people housed inside. Inside, people were eating and sometimes dancing. Back on the armory street, there was a venue at which you could get free pickles in a bucket, and nearby was a brick house with a swirling balcony. There were the big trees and a hill. There was a canal that was sometimes lit on fire. In the summer, once, we all went down to watch it — some gondoliers were supervising, holding their torches up from paddle boats and stoking the flames wherever the flames were dying. An orchestra crackled from speakers. There were many kinds of snacks for everybody.
In the park shaped like a rectangle there was a concrete arch, and in front of it was a squatting marble man, whose hand was poised out and palm-down, as if cupping the head of a child. The real man’s body, I mean, the body of the person whose statue overlooks the city, was supposedly buried under a tree, and the roots ate his body till the bark curled over his feet like shoes. Now, from his statue’s vantage point, it all is stretching out below in clusters: the buildings, looking dense and geometric, the Puritan steeple, the turquoise bus station, the vacant banks with ornate marble detailing and the black-windowed office buildings next to them. Down on that street one night, the white V-shaped high-rise was as huge as a ship approaching. The stone head built into its facade grimaced at us like a gargoyle. I know how slow a building really is, but at that moment it seemed to be moving toward us so fast that I ran to the next side of the block. The sun was not always persistent, but its setting each night was reliable, and so it washed in and out over us many times over. We all got all delighted by the way the sky would turn massive purple at the end of every day. But eventually there was enough. I put all my stuff in a box, and I left. The skyline is still standing there looking like it was cut with blunt scissors, so square and simply organized. The rooms where cooking and thinking happened look on the same streets as before. We who lived there in the past inhabit the place in sleep and walk around there. We know about the sun, about the buildings. On the hill, the bikes are spinning around, and lunch time is about to begin.
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