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by Brown Daily HeraldJun 28, 2014
“A supporter of former Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci filed Cianci’s declaration to run for the office again Wednesday, 17 minutes before the deadline, the Providence Journal reported .
Cianci served as mayor of Providence between 1975 and 1984 and again between 1991 and 2002, during which he was convicted twice — once for assault and once for public corruption. For the latter charge, he served five years in prison, finishing his sentence in 2007.
Cianci has chosen to run as an independent, which gives him “a little bit of a breather” this summer, Scott MacKay, a political analyst for Rhode Island Public Radio, told The Herald. Without the need to worry about a primary election, Cianci has time to hire staff, raise money and focus on his health.
Despite a January cancer diagnosis, the 73-year-old Cianci said his health will not deter his campaign, the Boston Globe reported.
Cianci joins two other candidates running as independents — Lorne Adrain and Jeffrey Edward Lemire. Six Democrats and one Republican have also declared their candidacy to fill the seat of current Mayor Angel Taveras, who is running for governor.
Cianci won the office as a Republican in 1974, but was forced to resign after his first criminal conviction for assault. He was elected again as an independent in 1990 and was known as “Buddy II” until his second criminal conviction in 2002, the Journal reported.
Cianci “was very skillful, winning enough influence and power to get stuff done in Providence,” said James Morone, director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions and professor of political science and urban studies. “Those very skills had dark sides, and that’s what made him this vindictive person that some people really dislike.”
When it comes to Cianci, “you see, quite literally, two people,” Morone said. One Cianci is a man with “incredible entrepreneurial skill to sell Providence,” Morone said, adding that as mayor, Cianci “changed the face of the city, partially through salesmanship.” The other Cianci “is a bare-knuckle, nasty machine politician,” he added.
After Cianci’s candidacy was filed, Democratic candidate Brett Smiley released a statement saying, “Providence cannot afford to return to the corrupt politics of the past, and that is what Buddy Cianci’s candidacy represents.”
“He’s a polarizing figure. Very few people are lukewarm about Buddy Cianci,” MacKay said, adding that this run is the “Buddy Cianci vindication tour.”
“There’s probably 40 percent of the city not voting for him under any circumstances,” he said. But, he added, in a multi-candidate field, the vote will be split up and Cianci could win the election with as little as 34 percent of the vote.
Cianci has performed this trick before, Morone said. During the 1990 election, Cianci won by 317 votes against two opponents, the Journal reported.
Wendy Schiller, associate professor of political science and public policy, noted that when times are bad economically, people get nostalgic and remember the past in a more positive light. “That’s what Buddy is counting on,” she said.
Schiller, MacKay and Morone all said changing demographics pose the greatest challenge to Cianci’s campaign. He must adapt to the current population, which is younger and more professional than when he previously ran, Schiller said.
Providence’s Hispanic population also grew by almost 33 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.
Cianci must convince the electorate that he is “a mayor of the 21st-century Providence” with energy and vision to improve current conditions, MacKay said.
Schiller said it is “vitally important” for the Brown community to pay attention to the upcoming election. “The future of the way Brown interacts with Providence … will depend a lot on who the next mayor is,” she added.
And the fact that the pool of candidates includes a 73-year-old two-time convict aiming for a seventh term “makes Providence politics just plain old fun to watch,” Morone said.”
by Brown Daily HeraldJun 26, 2014
“Beginning Aug. 1, the University will work with office technology company Ricoh USA to improve mail delivery operations on campus, wrote Beppie Huidekoper, executive vice president for finance and administration, in an email to The Herald. As a result of this decision, current Mail Services employees — with the exception of two unionized workers — will lose their jobs.
Nine Mail Services workers were given notice last week that their jobs would be terminated by July 31, said Alex, a Mail Services employee whose name has been changed to maintain confidentiality.
“We were stunned,” he said. “We sat there, and most of us were speechless.”
The University made the decision to switch to Ricoh in May, following an internal review of Mail Services last semester, Huidekoper wrote.
The University will provide laid-off staff members with outplacement services and “generous severance packages,” she wrote. The displaced workers are also eligible to apply for available mailroom positions under Ricoh USA, as well as other University positions, she added.
But wages and benefits may decrease under Ricoh, Alex said, adding that he thinks Ricoh is “just going to can” the office’s current workers after the fall delivery rush.
Ricoh’s University Kiosk/Inbound Mail system mimics the University’s current system structurally but incorporates a self-service kiosk where students scan in with ID cards before receiving packages from Ricoh staff, according to the company’s website.
The system aims to improve communication, increase efficiency, streamline the package delivery process for students and reduce the number of misplaced packages, according to the website.
“Many large institutions like Brown are finding that … the changing environment calls for a new approach to delivery operation,” Huidekoper wrote, adding that Ricoh emerged as “the most qualified” company for the University to work with.
Current Mail Services employees were told that Ricoh’s technology will improve efficiency, Alex said. But had the University paid for the technology, current staff would have been able to operate it, he added.
Karen McAninch, union representative for Brown University workers, including facilities and dining staff, said she represents the two unionized mailroom employees who will maintain their jobs. McAninch said she sent a petition on behalf of the non-unionized employees to the National Labor Relations Board and that a hearing with the NLRB is scheduled for July 3.
In response to the University’s decision to use Ricoh, an undergraduate student started an online petition addressed to Huidekoper entitled, “Retain the staff and organization of the mailroom.” The petition began circulating June 21 and has garnered over 900 signatures. The student responsible for the petition declined to comment on the record.
Anneke Elmhirst ’15, who first posted the petition on Facebook, said, “I felt pretty confident that most Brown students would be unhappy by this event.”
The petition highlights one mailroom employee who took three trips with a handcart to assist a disabled student move boxes into her dorm.
“That’s what we do,” Alex said. “We just do that over the course of every day. And we don’t do things and wait for applause.”
Rachel Himes ’15 wrote in an email to The Herald that she decided to sign the petition because of her positive experiences with the mailroom staff, adding that she did not want “to be complicit in actions that resulted in their termination.”
“I think Brown has to put its money where its mouth is instead of giving social justice lip service while neglecting to keep even the smaller administrative decisions in line with these principles,” Himes wrote.
At a union meeting Tuesday evening, McAninch said other Brown union members expressed support for the mailroom workers.
McAninch said she thought the online petition was an “impressive” effort and demonstrated students’ loyalty to the staff.
Students have historically organized in response to University outsourcing decisions. In 2006, the Save the Bookstore Coalition was created after the University proposed outsourcing the Brown University Bookstore to Barnes & Noble, The Herald previously reported. The bookstore switch did not occur in part because of students’ protests. McAninch said the University’s announcement about the mailroom came with less time before the switch than the bookstore proposal.
Mail Services workers said they cannot believe how fast a petition was created, Alex said. “I didn’t expect this outpouring of support.”
Students plan to forward the petition to “necessary administrators” once 1,000 people have signed it, Elmhirst said. But Huidekoper told The Herald that a student petition will not change the University’s decision.
“The employees who work in the mailroom are valued members of the community, and I understand that many people who have participated in the petition drive commented on the friendly service they have received,” Huidekoper wrote. “The University has extraordinary people who work here, and we will ensure a fair and respectful process as we work with staff during this transition.”
But the “enhanced services and administrative expertise that can be provided are simply too compelling,” Huidekoper wrote of the University’s agreement with Ricoh.”
by Brown Daily HeraldJun 25, 2014
“Charged with the brutal murder of his ex-girlfriend last September , Yongfei Ci — at the time of the crime a visiting graduate student at Brown’s Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics — was sentenced to 46 years behind bars last week, the News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois, reported.
The sentence is four years fewer than the length recommended by Assistant State’s Attorney Steven Ziegler. But Ci will serve the full 46 years per the terms of his plea bargain, according to the Illinois Circuit Court’s website.
Ci, a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, drove from Providence to Urbana, Illinois, in late September bearing knives and a pellet gun he had purchased over the course of several days . He could not come to terms with the fact that his ex-girlfriend, Mengchen Huang, had ended their relationship and found a new boyfriend, according to testimony reported by the News-Gazette.
Ci admitted he forced his way into Huang’s Urbana apartment and stabbed her to death while leaving her roommate tied up and locked in a bathroom.
Ci addressed the judge during his sentencing hearing, asking her to contextualize his offense and “to see me not through this single act but my life prior to this offense,” the News-Gazette reported.
Ziegler countered Ci’s argument, calling the defendant “dangerous” and describing how Ci had planned at least one week in advance to torture and murder Huang, the News-Gazette reported.
After Ci serves his time in prison, he will face deportation to China, his home country, the News-Gazette reported.”
by Brown Daily HeraldJun 18, 2014
“Two Brown undergraduates were asked to leave campus in late April amidst a criminal investigation by the Providence Police Department into an allegation that the students sexually assaulted a female Providence College student in November, the Providence Journal reported Friday .
Both Brown students were first-year students at the time, the Journal reported.
Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations, told The Herald the two students remain enrolled as undergraduates but said the University’s policy is not to discuss “individual student matters.”
The University learned of the criminal investigation in February when the PC student, also then a first-year, filed an official complaint with the Providence Police against the two Brown students, Quinn wrote in an email to The Herald.
“Brown has cooperated fully with law enforcement,” Quinn wrote. “The University considers first and foremost the safety and security of campus and makes decisions in a timely way based on the best information available.”
Quinn declined to comment on what might have changed between the time the University was first notified of the investigation in February and its directive for the students to leave campus in late April.
The Providence Police Department and the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office are currently considering whether to convene a grand jury — a move that could lead to an indictment of the two students — according to the Journal.
In her complaint, the PC student said she met the two Brown students, both members of the football team, at Louie’s Tavern, a bar near PC that closed earlier this year after its liquor license was revoked for serving alcohol to minors, the Journal reported.
The PC student reported to the police that she had known one of the Brown students since third grade.
She recalled feeling “drugged,” despite having had only one shot of alcohol.
She told police that after being brought to a taxi, she awoke in a bed in a Brown dorm room next to one of the Brown students. The other Brown student then asked her to perform oral sex on him, according to a police report describing the incident.
The PC student told the police she left the dorm room early the next morning before going to the hospital later that night.
Shortly after the complaint was filed, PC barred the two Brown students from its campus via a No Trespass order, according to the Journal. The female student also won a restraining order against them around the same time, NBC 10 reported.
A lawyer for one of the Brown students filed a countersuit in Rhode Island Superior Court against the female student in May, asserting that the she had made “false and defamatory statements” that damaged his client’s reputation, the Journal reported. The court later dismissed the countersuit.”
by Brown Daily HeraldJun 04, 2014
“Maud Mandel, associate professor of history and Judaic studies and director of the Program in Judaic Studies, will become Brown’s next dean of the College July 1, the University announced Tuesday.
Mandel’s selection as the University’s top academic officer for undergraduates concludes a national search that began last October , shortly after the announcement that then-Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron would leave Jan. 1 to serve as the president of Connecticut College.
Mandel will replace Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn, who served as interim dean of the College last semester.
“Professor Mandel has a deep appreciation for the value of the Brown curriculum to cultivate intellectually independent, creative and analytic minds,” President Christina Paxson said in a University press release. Mandel has served in several different advising roles at Brown, Paxson wrote in a community-wide email Tuesday afternoon.
In an interview with The Herald, Mandel cited her work on Team Enhanced Advising and Mentoring, a group that advises students of underrepresented backgrounds and first-generation college students, as the “most direct” preparation she has had for the role of dean of the College, noting that the work has introduced her to issues like financial aid and career advising at Brown.
Mandel graduated from Oberlin College with a bachelor of arts in English in 1989 and received her masters and doctoral degrees in history from the University of Michigan.
She began teaching at Brown as a visiting assistant professor of modern Jewish history in 1997.
Unlike incoming Provost Vicki Colvin , Mandel is an internal hire, which some students called for this spring as searches for both positions were underway. But the two selections also leave the racial diversity of the senior administration — among the lowest in the Ivy League and another point of emphasis for some students — unchanged.
Mandel named her long-term experience at and consequent personal connection to Brown as one of three factors that drove her interest in the dean of the College position since it first became available. The vision of the current administration and the proliferation of massive open online courses, which has challenged traditional ideas about what universities can offer students, also drew her in, Mandel said.
As a veteran faculty member, Mandel witnessed changes to the advising program under Bergeron, and said she hopes to expand on those reforms. While Bergeron built up first-year and sophomore advising, Mandel hopes to strengthen concentration advising, she told The Herald.
Advising, which Paxson called “a personal priority” of Mandel’s in her email, must address all the opportunities available to Brown students, Mandel said — a goal she describes as “advising the whole student.”
“We want students who come to Brown to feel like they got an experience here that’s unique and important that would not be available to them at other places,” Mandel said, with advising a vehicle to achieve that goal.
Mandel’s scholarship and teaching focus on an array of topics within Jewish and French history, including immigration, the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and nationalism. Her most recent publications have explored the relationships between Jews and Muslims in France.
As a scholar of European history, Mandel said, she is particularly interested in the international impact students can make. She said she is also especially intrigued by engaged learning and sophomore seminars, and was one of a few professors to teach a sophomore seminar last semester, HIST 0980B: “Becoming French: Minorities and the Challenges of Integration in the French Republic.”
Outside of Paxson’s strategic plan, Mandel is concerned about the decreasing number of undergraduates concentrating in the humanities, a trend she has personally witnessed at Brown, she told The Herald. As dean of the College, Mandel will be poised to make clear to students and parents that the humanities teach valuable skills, she said, adding that tackling the problem also “has to do with admissions and the type of students we want to bring to Brown.”
Mandel will also confront the issue of grade inflation, which was discussed during the selection process, she told The Herald. “President Paxson has made clear that one of the initiatives of the dean of the College will be to address grade inflation.”
At Brown, Mandel has been appointed as a faculty fellow at the Pembroke Center and the Cogut Center for the Humanities, according to the press release. Her teaching has also been acclaimed by students: On the Critical Review, several of her most recent ratings are close to the highest possible score of 1.
Mandel will have a leading role in implementing the components of the University’s strategic plan that focus on strengthening undergraduate education, according to the press release.
She will not teach next year, but hopes to get back in the classroom shortly after that, she told The Herald, adding that she would not have taken a position that would isolate her from students.
Mandel recently started work on a book project and will continue doing research in some capacity as she moves forward with administrative work, she said.
The search committee that selected Mandel was chaired by outgoing Provost Mark Schlissel P’15 and staffed by several professors, staff members and undergraduates.”
by Brown Daily HeraldMay 27, 2014
“Amidst the celebration of Brown’s 250th anniversary, the University awarded 2,440 diplomas Sunday to the class of 2014, including 1,594 bachelor’s degrees.
The ceremonies began Saturday with the Baccalaureate service held at the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America. The service included prayers from major faiths and artistic performances celebrating the diverse cultural heritage of the graduating class.
Nalini Nadkarni ’76, professor of biology at the University of Utah, gave the Baccalaureate address. As an ecologist, Nadkarni studies tree canopies in the rainforest and advocates for the protection of the trees’ habitats.
Throughout her talk, Nadkarni used trees as a motif, tracing their role in many religious traditions and even inviting trees to join in the ceremony.
She reflected on the unorthodox ecology-related programs she has started — having prison inmates raise endangered plants and animals, inviting artists into the canopy and teaching tattoo artists how to draw biologically correct trees.
When she received the invitation to speak at Baccalaureate, Nadkarni said, she thought the University had made a mistake, given the nonlinear path she has taken in her career. “Know if the straight path between Earth and sky is appropriate for you,” she advised the new graduates.
Toward the end of her speech, she encouraged graduates to take out their phones and send a “flash tweet” of their dreams and goals, accompanied by the hashtag #Brown2014.
On Sunday morning, the undergraduate class of 2014 marched out through the Van Wickle Gates and reconvened the College Ceremony at the First Baptist Church, where President Christina Paxson officially granted them bachelor’s degrees.
In her remarks, Paxson compared the brief ceremony to those of past centuries when the service included 20 speeches and all students, family members and community members could fit into the church. Though those days are over, Paxson said the University’s values of social justice, dedication to the humanities and global outlook have endured.
All graduating students then gathered on the Main Green for the University Commencement service. Caroline Bologna ’14 and Joshua Block ’14 gave orations for the senior class.
Bologna spoke about the overwhelming experience of attending the Activities Fair as a first-year, in a talk entitled “Labels.” She urged graduates to look beyond assigning labels to themselves and others based on what activities they join. “I can’t begin to characterize myself as a particular type of person,” she said.
Her experiences in classes transcended those labels and made her aware of the limitations of what she knew, she said.
“We didn’t come to Brown to find answers,” Bologna said. “We came to Brown to come up with better questions.”
In his talk, entitled “Listen,” Block encouraged graduates to seek out and listen to the opinions of others, particularly those with opposing viewpoints. “We understand there aren’t two sides to every argument, there are fifty.”
Honorary degrees were awarded to Lee Eliot Berk ’64, Beatrice Coleman ’25, Jeffrey Eugenides ’83, Arthur Horwich ’72 MD’75, Mary Lou Jepsen ’87 PhD’97, Debra Lee ’76, Lois Lowry ’58, Nadkarni and Thomas Perez ’83.
Undergraduate diplomas were awarded to the class of 2014 at separate ceremonies for each department following the Commencement ceremony.”
by Brown Daily HeraldMay 27, 2014
“Corporation members discussed the University’s sexual assault policies with students and reviewed ongoing efforts to implement President Christina Paxson’s strategic plan and revamp the Third World Center during their meeting Friday.
Academic planning, gift announcements and campus development also emerged as topics at the Corporation’s annual May meeting.
The University’s response to sexual assaults and recent calls for greater student input in University governance featured prominently in the meeting.
Paxson wrote in a community-wide email May 2 that administrators’ “goal is to move Brown to a position of national leadership for prevention, advocacy and response to issues of sexual assault.”
At the time of a community-wide email Paxson sent Friday that highlighted updates from the Corporation’s meeting, the body had discussed concerns raised this month about Brown’s sexual assault policies. Its Committee on Campus Life planned to meet with students directly to discuss their experiences.
The committee has since held a breakfast meeting with seniors invited by the Undergraduate Council of Students, wrote Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations, in an email to The Herald.
In addition to the issue of sexual assault on campus, the meeting covered the effectiveness of the open curriculum, advising and student involvement with the Corporation, said UCS President Maahika Srinivasan ’15.
UCS sought to invite campus leaders from a wide array of areas, including environmental groups and student government, Srinivasan said. Council members also strived to tap into groups of people who do not always participate in campus policy discussions, she added.
Melanie Fineman ’14, a student trustee of Brown/RISD Hillel and a varsity track and field runner, Sahil Luthra ’14, a former Herald science & research editor, and Kayla Rosen ’14, a Meiklejohn Leadership Committee member, were among the 30 students who attended the breakfast, Srinivasan said.
UCS members are responsible for selecting students to serve on the Sexual Assault Task Force that will convene this fall, Quinn wrote.
A formal application will go out the first or second week of the fall semester, and interviews with select students will be conducted shortly thereafter, Srinivasan said.
“We have four spots, so we have people who can really engage in this issue and bring different and diverse perspectives to policy-making,” she said.
Though UCS is not involved in the selection of two students who will work with administrators and outside consultants on studying Brown’s sexual assault policies this summer, Srinivasan said UCS did ask that the University “open the position up to students who couldn’t commit to a full-time job.”
“There are several students who are on campus this summer who would like to still be involved,” Srinivasan said, adding that UCS asked Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services and interim dean of the College, to “keep that in mind and to have them consulted.”
The Corporation’s Campus Life Committee also reviewed updates from the Third World Center, Quinn wrote.
Klawunn and Andrew Campbell, associate professor of medical science, serve as co-chairs of the TWC’s strategic planning committee. The group has been charged with establishing a mission statement centered on student empowerment, developing a comprehensive five-year plan and proposing a new name for the center.
According to a document on the TWC website, 16 open space dialogues involving 330 students, alums and staffers took place between March and last October. The dialogues focused on recurring themes, such as “Be a voice for students of color” and “Maintain (legacy of) activism and politicized space.”
As of April 28, Brown community members have suggested 34 new names for the center, including “Center for Racial Justice,” “Center for Vocalizing and Mobilizing Truth” and “Center of Learning, Organizing and Resistance (COLOR),” according to another document on the TWC’s website.
The Campus Life Committee had “a full and robust discussion” on the TWC strategic planning process, and committee members “look forward to receiving the report when it’s completed,” Quinn wrote.
The Corporation meeting’s agenda also focused on academic and campus expansion. The University received significant financial gifts designated to further graduate education, build additional facilities for the School of Engineering and support new professorships and ongoing research.
The University received $25 million — the largest announced gift from the meeting — from anonymous donors to establish a “Fellowship Fund” for 25 individual graduate fellowships. Paxson wrote in her Friday email that graduate education is a “key component of the strategic plan.”
A gift of about $2.2 million from Hugh Pearson ’58, added to previous gifts he has donated to Brown, established the Hugh W. Pearson ’58 Family Professorship in Technology and Entrepreneurship.
The University also received a cumulative $2 million to put toward hiring an architect, producing plans and ultimately constructing the new engineering building. At the Friday meeting, the Corporation formally accepted monetary gifts totaling over $4 million for engineering and entrepreneurship, according to the School of Engineering website.
The new engineering building will be located on Manning Walk next to Barus and Holley, the University announced in a press release Saturday. Corporation members’ formal approval of the new site came amid news that the University had reached its fundraising goal for the building, according to the release.
Corporation members adopted a faculty proposal to convert the Executive Master of Business Administration program, currently run through the University’s partnership with the IE Business School in Madrid, Spain, into a joint degree offered by both Brown and IE.
The Corporation also approved a number of chair appointments and departmental name changes. Twenty-six faculty members were appointed to named chair positions, effective July 1, according to Paxson’s letter.
Twelve of the 26 faculty members have been appointed to history or international studies professorships with an additional seven appointed to positions in other humanities subjects. Seven faculty members have been granted professorships in STEM-related fields.
The Corporation approved three department name changes. The Department of Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies will become the Department of Egyptology and Assyriology, and the Department of Slavic Languages and Department of Geological Sciences will be renamed to the Department of Slavic Studies and the Department of Earth, Environment and Planetary Sciences, respectively.”
by Brown Daily HeraldMay 27, 2014
“Former visiting mathematics graduate student Yongfei Ci pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of his ex-girlfriend, Mengchen Huang, last fall, reported the News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois. Ci faces a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison. Huang was found dead in her Urbana, Illinois, apartment Sept. 27.
Assistant State’s Attorney Steve Ziegler agreed to drop the other charges against Ci: home invasion and aggravated kidnapping, the latter filed because Ci held Huang’s roommate, Xue Yang, in a bathroom for several hours, binding her with duct tape, the News-Gazette reported. Ci assaulted Huang in another room, tying her hands and feet with a rope, beating her and cursing at her before ultimately stabbing Huang in the throat at least six times, according to accounts Yang and Ci provided police and medical examinations.
Both Chinese citizens studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ci and Huang dated until around Sept. 1, the News-Gazette reported. Ci left for Providence around Sept. 5. Huang entered into a new relationship in late September, and Ci would often attempt to contact Huang via phone or text, according to cellphone records, the News-Gazette reported.
A PhD student in mathematics, Ci was one of several grad students from the University of Illinois visiting last fall with Brown’s Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics, The Herald reported at the time .
Ci admitted to becoming angry with Huang for entering into another relationship and to subsequently buying a pellet gun, knives, rope and duct tape online and in Providence before he drove to Huang’s Illinois apartment, the News-Gazette reported.
“I was angry, disappointed and thought there would be no chance for us to get back together, so, so I decided to come here and, um, and to kill her,” Ci said in a statement to the police, according to the News-Gazette.
After freeing herself, Yang reported the murder to the police, who used cellphone technology to locate Ci at a nearby motel, the Huffington Post reported at the time. He surrendered without protest.
At Brown, Ci studied in a program called “low-dimensional topology, geometry and dynamics” comprising visiting professors, postdoctoral students and grad students, The Herald previously reported . Richard Schwartz, professor of mathematics and program organizer, told The Herald last fall that the crime seemed to be unrelated to Ci’s time at Brown.
“He appeared to be quite normal and did not seem to be such a terrible person,” wrote Hengnan Hu, Ci’s fellow visitor-in-residence, in an email to The Herald Oct. 3. Hu noticed that Ci had been missing for more than 36 hours, after calling him but receiving no reply.
Because of Ci’s guilty plea, Ziegler will cap his sentencing recommendation to 50 years in prison, the News-Gazette reported. Ci must serve the entirety of any sentence Judge Heidi Ladd imposes June 18.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Hengnan Hu was the first person to notice Yongfei Ci’s disappearance. The Herald regrets the error.”
by Brown Daily HeraldMay 24, 2014
“Increased resources for the Office of Institutional Diversity, new diversity benchmarks for undergraduate and graduate student support, and more targeted hiring practices were among the main recommendations released Wednesday by the Committee on the Events of October 29 in its second and final report.
The report, which President Christina Paxson announced in a community-wide email Thursday night, concludes that the University needs to reemphasize and widen discussions of “privilege, equity and inclusion.” In addition to supporting “expression of the widest range of ideas, we need to debate and challenge expression with which we profoundly disagree and which may be harmful to members of our community,” it continues.
Relying on interviews with a variety of Brown community members, the second report was created in a similar manner as the first, which was released in February . That report focused on outlining the events surrounding the controversial planning, protests and shutdown of a lecture by former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on campus in October.
In the second report, the committee examined the broader climate surrounding issues of free speech and diversity on campus, said Anthony Bogues, professor of Africana studies, director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice and the committee’s chair.
The recommendations echo those of the Visiting Committee on Minority Life and Education in 1986 and the Visiting Committee on Diversity in 2000, according to the report, as many of the prior proposals never came to fruition. In response, the report noted, the committee sought to craft an action plan “to identify a set of strategic priorities, appropriate benchmarks, and necessary resources and support, and address accountability at multiple levels.”
The report cites faculty interviews and anonymous posts on the Brown University Micro/Aggressions and Brown University Confessions Facebook pages that point to existing structural inequalities along axes of race and gender at Brown.
Citing the Kelly lecture and a controversial April talk at Brown/RISD Hillel by Israel Defense Forces Sgt. Benjamin Anthony, the committee promoted the idea of “collective responsibility” in order to provide both freedom of speech and freedom to challenge disagreeable expression in a manner acknowledging the “structural violence” that often frames debates over speech.
In its recommendations about freedom of expression, the committee also urged that dialogue about speech, diversity and privilege — like the discussions that dominated campus in the days after Kelly’s lecture — be placed at the heart of the University, rather than on its periphery. “There is a way to defend free speech. … Part of the responsibility is to extend the right to say, ‘We disagree and will protect your saying it,’” Bogues said.
While the report cites several attempts in Brown’s history at addressing issues of pluralism and inclusivity, it concludes that if the University does not take action in “reframing these issues, they will gnaw at the fabric of the institution, exploding now and again even within a climate that is superficially placid.”
Within the administration, the report recommends that the OID play a more central role in hosting conversations and stimulating action on issues of diversity at Brown. The report calls for majorly expanded resources and the significant involvement of at least one tenured faculty member at the office, as well as a renewed push to diversify the ranks of senior administrators.
The report cites a lack of data on benchmarks laid out in the 2006 Diversity Action Plan under then-President Ruth Simmons in areas of growth of faculty members and students of color.
Noting that the proportion of full professors of color has fallen in the past decade, the report suggests expanding several new and existing strategies to hire a more diverse faculty and adequately support faculty members of color. These include potentially ramping up “cluster hires,” increasing support in the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning and bolstering the “Diverse Perspectives in Liberal Learning” course designation.
The report also calls for the consideration of diversity and climate for faculty members and students of color in regular departmental reviews.
At the student level, the committee argues in the report that the University needs to expand difficult conversations about identity and privilege beyond specific spaces and self-selecting groups on campus, with appropriate support to facilitate dialogue without burdening students of color.
In order to sustain such discussions, the report calls for “a more comprehensive approach” at the institutional level, as well as the expansion of diversity perspectives courses to all disciplines and increased support for mentorship programs for underrepresented students.
The report also calls for the University to devote more resources to programs combatting the comparatively high attrition rates among graduate students from underrepresented racial and socioeconomic groups.
The report also focuses on community relations, given the involvement of local community members in the Kelly protest and some deeper underlying town-gown tensions. To improve the dynamic, the committee recommends having a standard process for “soliciting and responding to concerns about public events that occur on campus,” increased opportunities for off-campus work study, expanded community service programs and academic credit granted for community research work. The report also advocates the expansion of the pre-orientation University-Community Academic Advising Program, run through the Swearer Center for Public Service.
Though the committee has concluded its work, the report recommends that an ad hoc group be founded to follow up with the recommendations of the report.”
by Brown Daily HeraldMay 23, 2014
“Student activist campaign Imagine Rape Zero unveiled last week the Gift for a Sexual Assault-Free Campus in Honor of the Class of 2014, an alternative to the annually awarded senior class gift that aims to fund initiatives to prevent and respond to sexual assaults on Brown’s campus.
The target goal is $37,300, with a funding goal of $28,000 in the area of “prevention” and $9,300 for “counseling and advocacy,” according to the donation website. The gift, set up in conjunction with the University, creates an advisory board of three students and two University health education workers who will allot the money each year to initiatives they believe will best combat rape on campus, said Katherine Long ’14.5, a member of Imagine Rape Zero and one of the founders of the alternative class gift.
The selection of the advisory board is still under discussion with the University, but Justice Gaines ’16, an Imagine Rape Zero member, said it is likely that leaders of existing sexual assault prevention groups on campus will choose the three members, with the stipulation that none of these leaders can be chosen.
The alternative gift project was set in motion around a month ago, after Long brought the idea to members of Imagine Rape Zero who had already been considering such a course of action, she said.
“I know as a senior I really want to give back to Brown, but I’m really reluctant to do it because of how the University has handled sexual assault,” said Long, a former Herald senior staff writer, explaining her decision to abandon the century-old tradition of a senior class gift to the Brown Annual Fund in favor of creating a new option for students.
A central goal of Imagine Rape Zero is to get the University to provide additional resources for sexual assault, Gaines said, and the alternative gift is intended as a route to access those resources. Students are able to hold the University more responsible on the issue of sexual assault because lack of funding is no longer an excuse to ignore student demands, he said.
Though the administration was not initially connected to the project, President Christina Paxson reached out to Imagine Rape Zero with a pledge of $2,500, and administrators from the Advancement Office negotiated with students to draft a gift agreement that would create the account and allow it to be controlled in part by students, Long said.
“This campaign provides an opportunity for members of the community to contribute in a meaningful way to achieve our shared goal of preventing and responding to sexual assault on campus,” Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations, wrote in an email to The Herald explaining the University’s decision to back the project.
For those donating to the senior gift itself, the University will double donations made in honor of “A Sexual Assault-Free Campus” up to a total of $5,000 for a maximum matching gift of $10,000 to the Gift for a Sexual Assault-Free Campus.
Of the $37,300 total goal, $20,000 is set as a funding goal for sexual assault peer education groups on campus, with an $8,000 goal for additional resources for Residential Peer Leaders, such as prevention training sessions with residents, according to the group’s website. Another $8,000 would be tentatively set aside for trauma sensitivity training for staff, including Department of Public Safety officers, deans and Health Services staffers, Long said.
But the final disbursement of resources will lie in the hands of the students on the advisory board, a “revolutionary” action in the University’s history of dealing with sexual assault, Long said.
The alternative class gift comes after a period of widespread activism from some students directed toward the University’s policies on sexual assault.
Following an April 22 press conference held by Lena Sclove ’15.5, in which she announced that the University would be allowing her alleged rapist to return to Brown in the fall following a one-year suspension, Imagine Rape Zero formed and joined other students in speaking out against the University’s Code of Student Conduct, which is under review this summer and next year.
“Changes to reporting and the adjudication process for students who have been charged with sexual assault … is necessary, and Lena Sclove’s story demonstrated that beyond a shadow of a doubt,” Long said.
The alternative class gift aims to respond to this by confronting financial inadequacies within the existing bureaucratic system, Long said, adding that sexual assault educators are currently able to hold only one training session per year and that survivors may have to wait up to two weeks for a Counseling and Psychological Services appointment because of the existing workload.
“In terms of how much money the University raises on a whole every year — the goal for this year’s annual fund is $37 million — this is really a drop in the bucket,” she said. “This is something the University should have been doing already.”
Bureaucratic reform, including changes to the code of conduct, is only one path Imagine Rape Zero is pursuing. By promoting student advocacy groups, the fund also seeks to address the “root of the problem, which is that we live in a culture where rape can be implicitly condoned, where survivors are often blamed for the fact that sexual assault was perpetrated against them,” Long said.
Changes to the code of conduct will likely address the procedure when a sexual assault has occurred, while the initiatives funded by the alternative class gift target education on sexual assault prevention, Gaines said. While both implementations are necessary, he said, “it is upsetting to me that things such as (the fund) and the code of conduct changes have had to be pushed by students.” Worries about oversight of the fund persist, specifically in relation to the creation of conclusive policies aimed at supporting currently underrepresented groups such as students of color and queer students, Gaines said.
In interviews, several seniors expressed support for the alternative gift fund.
“I would support that,” said Max Gaspin ’14. “I think it’s obviously something that deserves more attention on campus. This semester at least, we’ve seen publicly the results of Brown’s current sexual assault policy playing out.”
Gavyn Ooi ’14 said he would favor the effort as long as the fund were not just symbolic. “Insofar as putting money behind that if it’s needed, I’m okay with it.”
“It’s pretty important symbolically, too,” added Conan Huang ’14.
The gift account will become permanent when the agreement is signed later this week, though it is already accepting donations from Brown seniors and others, Long said. The advisory board, which is scheduled to meet at least once a semester and will convene before the end of September, will oversee the allotment of its resources.
-With additional reporting by Maxine Joselow”
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