Brown Announces Director of Race and Ethnicity in America

In case you were wondering, Brown is just a few short steps away from solving racism in the United States. In what may very well be a cap to the university’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan, Brown’s directory has named Professor Tricia Rose “Director of Race and Ethnicity in America.” (Not the Center of the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America — just Race and Ethnicity in America.)

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There’s a new dean in town (kinda)


Helping students with the varied academic issues they encounter has been Dean Shannon O’Neill’s job as the Dean of Juniors and Seniors, since she came to Brown in 2015. This past spring, her role has grew to include handling students’ struggles around substance abuse and sobriety.

For many the title Dean of Chemical Dependency will arouse confusion or curiosity, maybe even eliciting a snort or a chuckle. But, as college campuses are often filled with vibrant and at times destructive party scenes, the position makes sense for a lot of people. The Dean of Chemical Dependency has a job that differs from that of any other Dean because they face the trials and tribulations of students and faculty striving to remain sober. To simplify things, let’s call O’Neill the Sober Dean.

Surprisingly, this title is not new. According to Maud Mandel, Dean of the College, this job has a long standing history, having gradually evolved into what it is today. It started in the 1970’s with Associate Dean Bruce Donovan, whose passion for this kind of work filled a void on campus. As Mandel put it, the position, “was unique across the higher ed landscape.” Dean Donovan initially worked alongside Health services with the intention of aiding faculty in recovery, or those with family members or friends dealing with the disease. The support services began branching out to students and by the 1980’s supporting students’ became the primary focus.

When Donovan retired in 2003, Mandel explained that, “a number of people on and off campus that he had been working with, including alumni, endowed a position to keep the work ongoing and that’s when the position of Dean of Chemical Dependency took shape.”

This position might seem redundant when CAPS and health services already provide support in this realm. Dean Mandel clarified that the intention of the position “was for students going through recovery to continue to be successful academically, which is what the office of the Dean of the College is focused on. There was a concern that students who were still using or in early recovery might not be successful academically, so linking academic advising with chemical dependency support was intrinsic to the thinking of this position.”

Mandel had nothing but praise for O’Neill, describing her as “wonderful” and looking ahead at the work she will be doing said, “she’ll do this in her own way…and I am very supportive of that.”

O’Neill has big plans to support students in recovery going forward, in addition to what has already been done. “Historically, Brown has had a once a week, hour-long group meeting of students in recovery who are committed to abstinence from substance use. I would like to expand that to include monthly outings, social events and workshops with guest speakers, as well as provide a bi-weekly group session with a counselor. I also hope to secure a residence on campus with a lounge for meetings and hanging out. My role has been to provide academic and social support support and, help navigate the institution. I think we can build a more robust program, especially if we look at what’s been happening in the field of collegiate recovery in the last ten years.”

The struggle of an addict or alcoholic is not one everyone can understand, but it is not an uncommon affliction. The necessity of this position and the impact it has on recovering students and staff was deeply underscored by Deans Mandel and O’Neill. Having an individual always there to help a student in crisis is essential to a university campus.


Donut get a food tattoo

Posted on the “Brown University Class of 2018” page. No one reached out to me.

Last year, my dad and I got our first tattoos together — a matching sun. Less than a year later, my dad turned that into a sleeve and I ended up with two more tattoos. We decided it was time for another father-daughter tat. This time, we got matching donut tattoos!

Yes, matching donut tattoos. Continue Reading


The ethics of voting for a rapist

“Politicians shouldn’t be judged based on their sex lives” one of my guy friends told me after the (first) Anthony Weiner sexting scandal. “They should only be judged on their policies.”

There might be something there. I’m assuming that’s how Republicans who plan to vote for Trump feel about their candidate: that he should be judged based on his promise to cut the business tax rate to 15 percent, not on his 2005 comments boasting that he can do “anything” he wants to women, on the basis of his celebrity, including “grab(bing) them (sic) by the pussy.”

One could argue that there’s even something noble about being so attached to ideals of economic or social policy that you’re willing to elect someone who is so deplorable that they would brag about committing sexual assault.

There is a definite idealist sentiment to separating a candidate from their sexual history, and (one could argue) a moral one as well.

Imagine for a moment how satisfying it would be for queer candidates to have their queerness be a non-issue for their election campaigns or for an otherwise qualified political candidate to not have to respond to their husband’s sex scandals from nearly 20 years ago.

 yes, my allusions are very subtle. I’m being subtle here.

But as much as I’d find a purely policy-based election refreshing, I personally don’t believe it is the appropriate response to modern democracy.

When (the married, former congressman) Anthony Weiner was exposed (pun intended) as sending sexually explicit texts and messages to “about six” women, including a 21-year-old college student in 2011, I argued that his mass sexting could be cause to question his policies on net neutrality, sexual harassment and the sexual exploitation referred to as “revenge porn,” even if he says nothing of these things within his official platform.

Similarly, The Donald’s actions have created a perceived platform as well — one that considers menstruation more repulsive than rape and sexual harassment the onus of the victim. At present, his official platform fails to mention rape even once. Would it be difficult to believe during his presidency that he will be less of an ally to victims of sexual violence? Would it be difficult to believe he would dismantle what limited structures are in place to protect those who have experienced harm or those structures meant to penalize those who have committed harm?

Additionally, if Trump is elected, (he has about a 16 percent chance according to political statistician Nate Silver — the same probability that in one roll of a fair six-sided die the die will land on a two) a full generation of young Americans will internalize that men can assault women, brag openly about it and remain just as popular as before.

So I don’t want someone accused of raping a thirteen year old/someone whose wife accused him of raping her/someone who was recorded on a bus with Billy Bush bragging about assaulting women to be president, but I desperately don’t want men around men — at Brown or elsewhere — to think they can assault me and face no repercussions for it. In my (entirely non-expert) opinion, a Trump presidency doesn’t need to repeal any legislation on the criminalization of sexual assault to make rapists feel more comfortable assaulting others or to make the assaulted feel less comfortable speaking out about their experiences. Society’s tabulated indifference to Trump’s actions will do that the moment he is elected president.

Even though neither of these concerns are based in Trump’s proposed policies, my feelings have most definitely impacted my ability to even consider voting for Trump. In fact, I’d feel uncomfortable voting for Trump no matter what policies he stood for, which seems almost anti-democratic when spelled out.

I am thoroughly swayed by my knowledge of Trump’s sexual history. Specifically, his treatment of women and his failure to redeem himself for it have forever sullied him as a candidate for me. This is an extreme case of a candidate’s sexual history being marched out during an election, but as (hopefully) the logical extreme, Trump serves as a philosophical litmus test:

Should we be able to judge politicians on their sex lives? Or should we judge them on their policies alone?

You know my vote. What’s yours?

April Cum-She-Will


Niche YouTube channels that will make you appreciate YouTube’s weirdness even more

Ants Canada

Comparing ant species, raising ant colonies and doing the American Ant Challenge — these are just some examples of the topics covered by this channel, which focuses on anything and everything ant-related. It is run by an ant aficionado from the Philippines who loves to learn and teach others about ants by housing them in colonies in his home. The best part is just how well made these videos are. The footage is good quality, there are voiceovers, time lapses, expert angles, a variety of shots, seamless transitions and so much ant knowledge. It seems as if the YouTube channel is run just by this one guy, but judging by its website, AntsCanada is a prospering company that sells supplies for housing and maintaining ant colonies.

Favorite Quote: “If you look carefully there at the top, you’ll notice that there’s a grouping of ants just kind of sitting there — sitting there as if … they were planning something, or waiting for something. Based on experience, when ants do this, I’ve found that they are ready to make an escape.” (From video titled “OMG! My Fire Ants Are Planning an Escape”)

The Slow Mo Guys

Using HD movie-grade cameras worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy dedicate this channel solely to filming random things in slow motion. These videos show you things that your eyes cannot catch on their own. Some favorites include “Slow Mo Rainbow Flame – 4K – The Slow Mo Guys,” “Paint on a Speaker at 2500fps – The Slow Mo Guys,” “Jelly Tennis – The Slow Mo Guys,” I love the goofy intros, dramatic music and the actually beautiful and interesting images they end up creating with each video.

Favorite Quote: “I feel like you could make anything look good in slow mo.” (From video titled “Slow Mo Guys Channel Trailer”)
(Similar Channels: Hydraulic Press Channel and the “Will It Blend?” series from Blendtec)


Created by Ian Britt, owner of a pogo stick company called Vurtego, this channel features videos that will teach you more than you will ever need or want to know about pogo sticks, from how to use one to how to maintain one. His devotion to pogo sticks is inspiring, as silly as it may sound. Some of the tricks he shows himself doing are quite impressive and potentially dangerous.

Favorite Quote: “There are TWO *crosses arms with both hands displaying peace signs* that we do to keep our sticks bouncing like new.” (From video titled “Adding Lube to Your Pogo Stick)

Primitive Technology

Through demonstrative tutorials on living in the wild with things like grass huts, bows and arrows and slings, this channel teaches you various skills, from hunting to building to cooking. The creator of this channel is an Australian native, who fans often think has military training, but is really just a self-taught professional survivor who proves to all of us lazy people at home that we really should get better hobbies. Though he only joined the world of YouTube a little over a year ago, with consistent releases of one new video per month, he has gained over 3 million subscribers and over 153 million views on his videos.

Favorite Quote: “When I watch how-to (sic) videos, I fast forward past the talking part to see the action part. So I leave it out of my videos in favor of pure demonstration” (from the “About” page on his channel).

Lowered freshpectations

I thought I knew everything about college before I came to Brown. I thought that I was headed off to four years of constant fun, excitement and recklessness. Sitting here on the month-iversary of my arrival on College Hill, I now realize that I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. The following are the numerous mistakes in my thinking.

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