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.

Image via.


What to do this week: November 30 – December 6

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Monday, November 30 

Event: Into the Grind(s)
Location: The Underground
Time: 5:00 p.m. — 7:00 p.m.

“Come sample coffee varieties from around the world and learn about different brewing techniques and blends in the Underground Coffee Co.” This event is totally free and will feature informational sessions on brewing techniques at 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, December 1

Event: UCS Open Forum
Location: Salomon 001
Time: 8:00 p.m.

The Undergraduate Council of Students will be moderating a forum on the Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion Plan. The event will include both an overview of the plan and a Q&A with the following administrators: Rick Locke, Maud Mandel, Liza Cariaga-Lo, Mary Grace Almandrez, & Janet Blume.

Wednesday, December 2

Event: In Transition: A Thayer Street Pop-Up Exhibition
Location: 271 Thayer Street (Where City Sports used to be)
Time: 2:00 p.m.

Come to the unveiling of this exhibition about Providence’s street art scene. Sponsored by Artbeat, this event will feature artists from the community.

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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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wtf*Brown: free Adobe Creative Suite coming for Brown students

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According to a UCS update on wtf*Brown, Brown has begun a contract with Adobe to provide free Adobe Creative Cloud to all Brown students. The acquisition was announced by Ravi Pendse, Vice President for Computing and Information Services and Chief Information Officer, at Wednesday’s UCS General Body Meeting.

Adobe Creative Cloud includes a range of graphic design, video editing, photography, and web development software, including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, After Effects, and Dreamweaver. Adobe’s subscription-based service, Creative Cloud, costs $19/mo for students, and the full, non-subscription Adobe CS6 suite costs upwards of $999 (for the ~master collection~).

Just imagine. For free, you will soon be able to Photoshop yourself riding a giraffe wearing a top hat, animate that work of art in Flash, make a life-size poster in InDesign, and then make a Dreamweaver site dedicated to your friendship with said giraffe! Fonts! Brushes! Effects! The possibilities are endless!

Details about the service are pending, but CIS hopes to make the full creative suite available to students in a couple weeks.

Image via Timmy Jeng ’18.


UCS open forum on mental health

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In response to the loss of a community member this Tuesday, UCS hosted an open conversation in Faunce last night, accompanied by two student representatives from the Mental Health Community Council. The main conversation topics were announced at the meeting’s start: In the wake of this suicide, what needs to be done immediately, and what can be done in the long term future, so that all community members feel safe and cared-for?

Students at the meeting said they wanted to talk about what had happened in their classes, and expressed satisfaction with the conversations their professors had facilitated in smaller courses. Other students were upset that their professors hadn’t mentioned anything. One person proposed that the administration email tips or guidelines to professors on how to breach this topic with their students. Notably, there was widespread dissatisfaction with the decision to uphold the no make-up policy for the Orgo midterm, which also happened last night.

Understandably, plenty of students don’t want to study in the SciLi or the CIT right now. Those present at the meeting agreed it would be helpful if the University could temporarily supplement the 24 hour resources, offered by those buildings, at different spaces on campus. Continue Reading


Our favorite WTF* Brown ideas so far

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When UCS launched WTF* Brown [Ed’s note — No, it doesn’t stand for what you think it does] last week, we all knew it had some serious potential. Yes, students could now now express their totally commonsensical proposals for improving life at Brown on a forum where the powers that be would actually be paying attention (looking at you, John Lonergan). But perhaps more importantly, there also now was yet another site on which we could waste our creative potential.

Little did we know it would take just a few days for some truly great proposals to make it to WTF* Brown’s Reddit-like front page. Here are some of our favorites:

Some make a lot of sense, often to the point that we can’t believe the University hasn’t implemented them yet:

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Others… well, this probably won’t happen:

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