Views on the News: #StillConcernedStudents
On May 1, the activist group #StillConcernedStudents voiced its concerns about persistent diversity, equity and inclusion issues at Brandeis despite Ford Hall 2015’s demands. Last week, University Provost Lisa Lynch sent out an email discussing numerous administrative efforts and reforms, such as to provide a holistic review of students’ mental health needs, improve the scheduling of room inspections, increase equitable access to transportation services, reform DCL and Public Safety policies and modify the regulation of protest banners on campus. What are your thoughts on these changes? Do you think that the administration is doing enough to address the demands of the #StillConcernedStudents? If you think more work needs to be done, what additional changes should be made?
Zosia Busé ’20
I, like many others, am frustrated that it took students having to demonstrate and put their physical and emotional labor on the line to get change underway, but I truly believe the University listened and hope that they continue to. As the Senior Representative to the Board of Trustees, I have a heightened understanding of administrative processes and the length of time it takes for changes to be implemented. I was shocked that the University was able to create an action plan and present tangible changes in three short months. I believe their efforts represent a dedication to the larger goals of the demonstration. From an internal perspective, I am confident that the changes do not stop here, but I do think that significant reform will take time. Raymond Lu-Ming Ou, our new VPSA, is acutely aware of the #StillConcernedStudents movement and is dedicated to continuing to support necessary changes to improve the physical and emotional well-being of students of color. Moreover, the President’s task forces are also engaged in producing proposals to take action with respect to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. I encourage the University to continue to engage in dialogue with the #StillConcernedStudents and to remain dedicated to honoring our founding values of social justice and embracing diversity.
Zosia Busé is a Senior Representative to the Board of Trustees, a Head Advisor to the Department of Community Living, and an Undergraduate Departmental Representative for the Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies major.
Noah Zeitlin ’22
The #StillConcernedStudents concerns have not been fully met by the University’s administrators. While those involved in the protests believe that they are making reasonable demands, the emails that were sent out to the Brandeis community do not show that an immediate change will happen in the near future. Some of the demands include a more sensitive transportation option than a police cruiser for non-emergent situations and clear announcements by DCL prior to room inspections. I believe that the University should have spent more attention and resources to these issues than marginally altering its already great logo. However, I do believe that the transportation that the University is offering during breaks will be beneficial to students who do not have the resources to go home.
Noah Zeitlin is a Photography Editor for the Justice and a prospective American Studies major.
Judah Weinerman ’20
On the one hand, the changes made by the University are worthwhile improvements: in particular, the reforms made to room inspection scheduling and conduct are an important step towards making campus a welcoming environment for students of all backgrounds. However, I feel that these are not so much changes as they are concessions, and the core complaint of #StillConcernedStudents—that Brandeis fails to fully live up to the social justice precepts upon which it stands—has yet to be fully addressed. In particular, I believe that the university continues to undermine the right of campus activist groups to protest, particularly those involved with issues of racial inequality and divestment at the University. More should be done before Brandeis can claim that all of its students, regardless of background, are having their needs met.
Judah Weinerman is an Associate Editor for the Justice majoring in History and Sociology.