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Friday, April 20, 2018

Criticize lax response to administrative racism at Brandeis

Last Monday, three members of the Brandeis administration stood before a town hall of students, professors, faculty, staff and alumni of Brandeis University to discuss the investigation of basketball coach Brian Meehan, in the wake of an April 5 Deadspin article that revealed numerous derogatory practices. This town hall’s efficacy was as dubious as any town hall, but it has opened the floor to a nuanced discussion about what Brandeis stands for and the value of diverse voices on campus.




Views on the News: Brian Meehan

 On April 5, Brandeis University fired men’s basketball coach Brian Meehan hours before the release of a Deadspin article detailing Meehan’s history of racist and unprofessional behavior and the University’s failure to address a formal complaint lodged by several players. University President Ron Liebowitz announced that the school has brought in an independent counsel to fully investigate the University’s process for handling complaints. How should the University handle the fallout from Meehan’s conduct, and what steps should be taken to ensure a fair and equal campus for all students?  


Shed no tears over the departure of Paul Ryan

 To the departing Ryan, I can only offer one piece of advice: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. While one would hope that Ryan would manage to summon the barest amount of a backbone now that he’s no longer reliant on voter appeal, I suspect that he’ll remain just as craven as ever and enable President Donald Trump’s worst behaviors right until the very end. 


Condemn intolerance and exclusivity on Brandeis campus

 Brandeis, for all its efforts to be a model of diversity, fails to reach its potential as a truly integrated community. Many people will tell you that Brandeis tends to be “cliquey,” with people staying close to their groups of friends and occasionally reaching out to others outside of those groups. In the last month, some of this insularity among groups has come into the spotlight in the form of Brandeis Confessions, a Facebook page where anonymous students can post their thoughts on anything. Two comments in particular have focused on this aspect of Brandeis social life. One states, “As a person of color, I am considering threating [sic] because the presence of Orthodox Jewish men makes me feel uncomfortable.” The other states, “If Brandeis really cared about diversity, then Bethel would be performing at Springfest instead of two frat boys.” Both comments, to be clear, are wrong and should be denounced. But what if the sentiment behind these comments, that Brandeis doesn’t care about diversity, is real? 


Consider market ramifications of US-North Korea tension

 Since Kim Jong-un took leadership of North Korea after his father, Kim Jong-il, died in 2011, North Korea has been conducting heavy research on nuclear tests and missiles. Some analysts argue that their fierce rhetoric on nuclear power is just to strengthen their international standing, but their motives remain in question. Whatever the purpose is, the ramp-up is creating anxieties. 


Condemn Facebook’s lax attitude toward user information theft

  If you want an example of how Facebook has failed its users, look no further than Cambridge Analytica. Founded in part by Steve Bannon, this conservative political consulting firm has found itself at the center of a recent debacle for Facebook. A March 17 New York Times article revealed that Cambridge Analytica had accessed the personal information of millions of American Facebook users without their permission. 


Criticize harmful national origin data collection bill

  For people with mental health needs, health care providers conduct background screenings, and always ask for a detailed family history and personal history. If someone is a refugee or child of a refugee either from mainland China, Cambodia, or Rwanda, health care providers will know. People tell their needs and personal stories to their healthcare providers because there is always a basic level of trust between doctor and patient. 


Views on the News: Tariffs

 President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are preparing to impose $60 billion in annual tariffs against Chinese products, according to a March 19 Washington Post article. Supporters say that imposing tariffs will benefit American producers and curtail China’s growing economic influence, while detractors warn that tariffs could set off a trade war with China and destabilize global trade. Do you think the U.S. should impose these tariffs, and what effects could they have on the economy if implemented?  

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