BlogDH’s top 10 posts of 2015

As we bid adieu to 2015, we can’t help but reflect on what has happened this year on campus. We have said goodbye to Abyssinia, examined the history of Thayer street, and we have even provided some solid recommendations for how Brown can thrive in the 21st century. We helped you write a resume and gave you a crash-course on female anatomy.

Our video team dramatically read Spring Weekend lyrics, interviewed our favorite Uncle Teddy, gave your Ratty life-hacks, and continued to produce our Brunonia series.

But perhaps most importantly, over the past year, important conversations transpired regarding systemic issues impacting our campus and beyond. We’ve seen students participate in #MoneyTalksatBrown protests. We’ve seen massive student support for the University to change Fall Weekened to Indigenous People’s Day. We’ve seen Brown students gather to stand in solidarity with the larger #BlackLivesMatter movement and attended a teach-in organized by Brown graduate students of color, who later proposed a list of demands to the University. And after a student reported assault by a DPS officer at the Latinx Ivy League Conference at Brown, we saw an overwhelming community response.

We certainly expect the upcoming year to have just as much in store as 2015 and we’re honored to continue serving up your campus news and happenings in 2016. Here’s to a full month of messing up the date and writing 2015 instead of 2016!

Without further ado, here are our top 10 posts from 2015:

10. Does money talk @ Brown?

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“A Gawker exposé published Tuesday [April 21st] quoted leaked emails with offers of preferential admissions treatment from Brown administrators, including President Christina Paxson, for the children of potential donors. The story has drawn rapid response from both administrators, who claim the messages were cherry-picked and taken out of context, and student protesters from the #MoneyTalksAtBrown movement, who argue that they further validate the group’s concerns about undue financial influence on university policy.”

9. Vote for your next Lecture Board speaker

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We had the honor of working with Brown Lecture Board to announce the potential Lecture Board speaker candidates and administer the Lecture Board poll to the student body. Lecture Board will announce the Spring speaker next semester!

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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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#MoneyTalksAtBrown protest draws large student crowd

Student unrest in the wake of the University’s mishandling of the GHB and sexual assault cases reached a bubbling point today–on Wriston Quad, on the Main Green, and, ultimately, in University Hall.

As students poured out of their 11 o’clock classes this morning, approximately 400 student protesters gathered outside the Ratty, handing in plain dollar bills to the protest organizers and in return receiving ones with “IX” emblazoned in red tape–what has become the unofficial symbol of the #MoneyTalksAtBrown movement. The movement has gained national attention, as reporters from a variety of professional publications were present at the protest.

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