Student Union passes Unpaid Internships Policy Bill, promotes Black History Month events
At its Feb. 4 meeting, the Student Union Senate met to discuss and vote on an Unpaid Internships Policy Bill. Following a presentation on this policy the week prior, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Rani Balakrishna ’25 recapped the policy guidelines, acting as a delegate for the Boston Intercollegiate Government.
BIG is a network of colleges and universities in the Greater Boston Area; this policy was drafted by Paul Irvine, the director of public policy for BIG, and is intended for different schools to sign on to bring to the State House. Key components of the endorsed policy encompass minimum wage safeguards and provisions addressing sexual harassment and discrimination for all public-sector and non-profit personnel. Additionally, it advocates for a paid internship framework ensuring government-sponsored internships meet minimum wage standards and are publicly advertised, thereby circumventing exclusive reliance on university or organizational networks for recruitment. Following a Senate vote, the motion was passed and the Student Union officially pledged support for the policy amendments.
The Senate also deliberated briefly on the efforts of Grace Toscano ’27, director of first-year experience, regarding collaboration with Branda, a mobile app for Brandeis, to develop a comprehensive resource guide. Recognizing the absence of such a guide currently, Toscano plans to engage with Laura Flynn, Brandeis’ director of orientation and first-year experience, in forming focus groups for incoming first-year students commencing in September. Moreover, collaborative efforts with Undergraduate Admissions aim to enhance campus tours by rectifying misinformation.
Roee Maor ’24, director of outreach, introduced the "Wellness Window Initiative," proposing a designated period during the week devoid of academic commitments to allow students to prioritize their well-being. Maor suggested this time could be utilized for consultations with professors and relaxation.
The Senate also discussed the Brandeis Marathon; in the past years, it has evolved into an annual event from its original occurrence of once every semester. Marathon funding requests are intended to close at the end of the month, so all clubs should look to finalize and submit any requests by that point in time. Furthermore, probationary clubs should look to gain Club Support Committee approval by late February to participate in the upcoming marathon; failure to do so would mean that these clubs will be unable to request marathon funding again until spring of 2025.
Students can look forward to upcoming initiatives from the Social Justice Committee in the coming few weeks as they work to promote initiatives for Black History Month this February, including the Brandeis Black Student Organization’s Black Out Party on Feb. 9, Masquerade Ball on Feb. 10 and Homecoming Showcase on Feb. 11. SOJO is also looking forward to upcoming Women’s History Month in March and hopes to have a well-defined social media presence as soon as possible.
Regarding Committee Chair Appointments, Senator Eamonn Golden ’24 proposed a vote and speeches, with subsequent affirmations from incumbent chairs expressing their commitment to continue in their roles. The Senate passed a motion by acclamation to confirm these appointments. Additionally, the Senate discussed the establishment of the CORE Committee to review the efficacy of the Brandeis Academic Core, gathering input from members regarding the current system.
Lastly, attention was drawn to a DEIS Impact Event organized by the Brandeis University Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Education and Learning Initiatives, titled "Embracing Difference: Racism, Antisemitism, and Jewish Identity," scheduled for March 25 to March 27, requiring a Mobile eTicket obtainable via Eventbrite.
— Editor’s Note: Justice Editor Rani Balakrishna ’25 is the Student Union’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion and did not contribute to this article.