Live Blog: UCS Open Forum on Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion Plan

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Tonight, UCS is hosting an open forum discussion on Brown’s Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion Plan. The working draft of the plan, which was released on November 19th in an community wide email from President Christina Paxson P’19, can be read in full here. Provost Richard Locke, Dean of the College Maud Mandel,Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Liza Cariago-Io, Dean Mary Grace Almandrez, and Senior Associate Dean of the Faculty Janet Blume will all be participating in the panel at 8:00 p.m. in Salomon 001. Free Flatbread pizza and cupcakes will be served. If you can’t attend, but want to follow what’s happening, Blog will be covering the event live on the feed below.

Online feedback on the plan may be submitted until December 4th.

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Visiting Latinx student reports assault by DPS officer; Paxson and Latinx community respond

Around 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning outside Machado House, a senior delegate for this weekend’s Latinx Ivy League Conference was reportedly verbally harassed by two Department of Public Safety officers and then physically assaulted by one of the officers. Geovanni Cuevas, the student in question, was visiting from Dartmouth University and was staying in Machado House with a friend.

As a result of Cuevas’ experience, the Latinx Conference attendees cancelled planned events and discussions, and instead arranged an open meeting with President Christina Paxson P’19 and Mark Porter, Chief of Police for the Department of Public Safety. Following this meeting, both Russell Carey and President Paxson sent emails to the Brown community last night acknowledging the incident. Today, the Latinx Council convened again to discuss Paxson’s written plan for the University’s repsonse.

The meeting Saturday afternoon began at 1 p.m, with Paxson, Porter and Latinx delegates and supporters gathered in a crowded classroom in Salomon. Delegates formally presented Paxson with a list of demands to create a safe campus for students of color.

Paxson began by stating, “This will mainly be a time for listening, at least on my part.” Cuevas then gave the room his account of the incident outside Machado, explaining that he was “outside of the Machado party when a drunk student, stumbled outside.” Cuevas explained that the student “was confronted with flashlights and inappropriate touching” by the two DPS officers securing the event, “to which I had a very visceral response and said, ‘Hey, that’s inappropriate, you shouldn’t touch him like that.'”

The two officers then approached Cuevas and “proceeded to tell me that I was trespassing, despite the fact that I was a guest, hosted in that very house. As the situation escalated, I saw that my friends were uncomfortable, so I removed myself, but they told me I couldn’t come back to the house where I was being hosted. Obviously, I said that’s not going to happen, I’m sleeping here.”

When Cuevas went back in to the party through the back door, and went downstairs to find his host, he recalls that he “caught the attention of the security guard who was there.”  “Before I could even utter a sentence, I was grabbed, thrown up against the wall, thrown to the floor, told I was resisting when I wasn’t, scrapped on my face, told I was going to get pepper-sprayed,” he explained. “I was handcuffed and taken outside Machado, and detained there, until Brown students could come and verify my identity.”

Delegates of the Latinx Ivy League Conference then explained that the goal of their conference is “to empower the Latino students who have overcome cultural and structural challenges to attend Ivy League institutions.” Every year, around 80 students from these universities congregate to discuss “difficult topics that include race, gender, and socioeconomic factors effecting the Latino community in the United States.” However, the delegates had suspended the discussion of this year’s theme, Unity through Generations: the Past, Present and Future of Latino Leadership, to instead draft a list of demands for President Paxson.

“One of our delegates suffered violence at the hands of law enforcement hired by Brown. This incident recalls a longer history of institutionalized violence against communities of color,” said one Latinx delegate. The demands for President Paxson included:

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A recap of the State of Brown address

Last night, the third annual State of Brown address was co-hosted by UCS and President Christina Paxson, P’19. The event began with UCS President Maahika Srinivasan ’15 delivering a summary of projects undertaken by UCS this year. Paxson followed with a speech on her own major concerns for the university, noting that she could not give “a comprehensive list of everything that happened this year — it’s a lot, you know that — and the issues we’ve been dealing with aren’t just at Brown, they’re everywhere.” Much of the Q&A section of the event focused on the topics that have been of great concern to the student body and administration this year, including mental health resources, changing the university’s sexual assault and harassment policies, and diversity issues. 

What does UCS do?

Srinivasan began by noting that many students might wonder the above from time to time and she appreciated having State of Brown to clarify their role.

A major goal for UCS this year was to increase support for student advocacy, allowing student activists to either voice concerns to the administration through UCS or push for conversations where they could express themselves directly. To this end, they worked with the Student Labor Alliance regarding the protests for rights of university mailroom workers earlier this year, and they worked with students from the Imagine Rape 0 protests on communicating with the administration.

This year UCS has launched several important online initiatives; wtf*brown (beloved here at Blog) allows students to post and vote on suggestions for the university, and more recently their Textbook Exchange has created an online platform to buy and sell used textbooks, tagged by the class they are for.

UCS has also worked with ResLife to abolish the suite fee for all students; while this year the fee was decreased, they hope to see it gone in the coming years.

The future of Brown academics

President Paxson noted that State of Brown allowed her to answer the question “Where is Brown going?” for the student body, half of which had not matriculated when her Strategic Plan was released two years ago. To that end, she started with a briefing on some of the points of progress on said plan. Her desire is to move Brown’s open curriculum into the 21st century, using technology to embrace the unique cross-departmental education initiatives that Brown offers. An Engaged Scholars Program piloted this year in which students to engage with five departments, and integrate off-campus work into their education. Paxson also expressed desire to “blast away” large lecture classes, envisioning a Brown which uses technology to ensure that the university only offers small, intimate courses.

Diversity in Brown faculty

Paxson stated that the lack of diversity in our faculty posed a major problem for the university. Currently, only about 8.5% of Brown faculty is of unrepresented minorities, which Paxson acknowledged “just doesn’t reflect our student population.” Paxson stated she wanted to double this number in the next ten years; although 16% still sounds low, “it’s going to take a lot of work to do it.” The university has also started a diversity post-doc program, and will be making an effort to focus more on doctoral education in the next few years.

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Chow Down Brown: Chicken Roundup

Because of the sheer amount of forgetfulness laziness investigative journalism that has gone into this piece, getting this post up on Blog has been a semester-long process. But it’s finally here: a comprehensive study of the Ratty and Vdub’s grilled chicken selection. At times Canadian, once in a while European, and sometimes Southern, Brown Dining Services has provided us with an extensive and culturally-inclusive poultry menu. We look into what makes Italian Marinated so Italian, what distinguishes Sante Fe from the Caribbean Jerk, and examine the dressing of Cajun Style (punny).

Keep reading, because as a member of the Brown community, you should know about the various flavors that contribute to our campus’ daily chicken menu. We’re kind of kidding, and yet we do believe the sheer number of nationalities of the Ratty/V-dub chicken deserves recognition. Snapshots, profiles, and reviews follow…

Grilled Rotisserie

A little plain?

A little plain?

We have to begin somewhere, so it’s probably best to start simple. Grilled Rotisserie is your basic Ratty chicken: as far as we know, it boasts no dressing or ‘spices’ but is literally just grilled—on the rotisserie, of course. Inoffensive, this is your primary chicken style that all our other chicken is the same as works off of. Definitely a crowd pleaser, but also not going to be causing a traffic jam line at the Ratty.

Montreal Grilled

Mmm, Canadian.

We were skeptical as to whether or not Montreal Grilled Chicken is actually a thing, but lo and behold the spice-masters at McCormick have confirmed its legitimacy with a popular seasoning that includes garlic, salt, onion, black pepper, parsley, red pepper, orange peel, paprika, and green bell peppers. Moreover, our friends at Wikipedia claim that the Montreal deli Schwartz’s first created the seasoning in the 1940s and 1950s when broiler man named Morris “The Shadow” Sherman began adding their signature smoked meat pickling spices to his own rib and liver steaks.  Due to its popularity, it eventually became a norm in Montreal delis and steakhouses. And somewhere along the way, we suppose, the seasoning found its way… to the Vdub. Still, let’s put history aside and recognize that Montreal Grilled is empirically a funny thing to see on a menu.

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…Really?

Some traditions are better kept in the past

Diversity-appreciation is not quite as old as the university itself…

“A popular college song of the late 1910s went:
‘Oh, Harvard’s run by millionaires
And Yale is run by booze
Cornell is run by farmers’ sons
Columbia’s run by Jews
So give a cheer for Baxter Street
Another one for Pell
And when the little sheenies die
Their souls will go to hell.'”

For more information on anti-semitism in the university, read Joining the Club: A History of Jews and Yale by Dan Oren or Jerome Karabel’s The Chosen.


Newsweek totally wants us.

Typical Brown student.

Typical Brown student?

The news magazine just released a list of the “most desirable” American universities, and Brown ranks at number 10. We’re also #9 on the list of schools for “brainiacs”, which is based on some weird calculus involving our number of Nobel Prize winners (1) and acceptance rate (14%.)

Brown was also praised as diverse (#2, just behind Penn) and gay friendly (#14).

One list we didn’t make? 25 Great Schools with Great Weather. Way to be temperature-and-precipitation normative, Newsweek.