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Brandeis University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1949 | Waltham, MA

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Commend University for appointing new Muslim Chaplain

(01/30/18 11:00am)

Muhammad Xhemali has joined the University’s Multifaith Chaplaincy as the new Muslim chaplain, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Rabbi Elisabeth Stern and Chief Diversity Officer Mark Brimhall-Vargas wrote in an email to the University community. This board applauds the University on its appointment of Xhemali to the position, which marks a step toward a more inclusive Brandeis.

Recognize University’s response to flood in East Quad

(01/30/18 11:00am)

According to a Friday email from East Quad Department of Community Living staff, an “incident with a sprinkler head” on the fifth floor of Hassenfeld Hall led to water rushing into up to 72 rooms — the number of rooms on the fourth and fifth floors of Hassenfeld — and two hallways on Thursday evening. According to the same email, University Police are still investigating the cause of the incident and asked students to offer any information that they had on the matter. This board applauds the University’s efforts to quickly defuse the situation but urges it to conduct a thorough investigation into the root cause of the flooding and find a way to prevent similar incidents in the future. It is also imperative that the University remain transparent and communicative throughout this process.

Criticize the glorification of suicide in US television

(01/23/18 11:00am)

On the first day of 2018, popular YouTube blogger Logan Paul uploaded a video showing close-up footage of a deceased man in Aokigahara, in Japan. In a Jan. 19 interview with Seventeen Magazine, actor Dylan Minnette revealed that season two of popular Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” will delve deeper into the life of the character whose suicide is the focus of the show. The very next day, Paramount Studios dropped the red band trailer for their TV anthology remake of cult classic film “Heathers,” which features teenagers finding posthumous adoration when their murders are staged as suicides.

Reconsider Facebook’s poor attempt to combat fake news

(01/23/18 11:00am)

Facebook will begin implementing user surveys to determine the validity of news sources in the era of “fake news,” according to a Jan. 19 BBC article.  Founder Mark Zuckerberg chose this approach because allowing staff to decide what users see is “not something we're comfortable with,” according to the same article.  While this is an admirable approach to tackling the issue of false information, it may not be the best method for doing so. 

Condemn United States Gymnastics for their treatment of athletes

(01/23/18 11:00am)

In a powerful statement read in court on Jan. 18, 22-year-old McKayla Maroney shared the unfortunate story of her time with USA Gymnastics team. According to a Jan. 18 article in the Washington Post, Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis read a statement on Maroney’s behalf, saying, “I had flown all day and night with the team to get to Tokyo. He had given me a sleeping pill for the flight, and the next thing I know I was all alone with him in his hotel room getting a ‘treatment.’ I thought I was going to die that night.” 

Urge more conservatives to speak on climate change

(01/23/18 11:00am)

Bridging the partisan divide on global warming seems next to impossible at first glance — and understandably so. Global warming clearly ranks low on the U.S. government’s priority list, and the lack of any serious climate-related proposals from a Republican-controlled Congress speaks volumes. It is no secret that the U.S. has alienated the rest of the world by failing to act, and much of this is due to the bizarre politics surrounding climate change. 

Views on the News: DisposeRx

(01/23/18 11:00am)

According to a Jan. 17 NPR article, Walmart plans on offering DisposeRx to all individuals prescribed opioid drugs. The free product, when mixed with warm water and an opioid drug, creates a biodegradable gel that can safely be disposed of. Critics argue that while DisposeRx is useful, it will have little impact on the number of opioid-related deaths. What do you think of Walmart's decision, and do you believe this could help mitigate prescription opioid abuse?

Consider possible options for the future of health care

(01/16/18 11:00am)

The health care  debate is not a new one for Americans. This perennial thorn in the nation’s political side has been around since the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid during President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration in the 1960s. While Medicare and Medicaid have done a lot of work in ensuring access to health coverage for many of the most vulnerable Americans, they have not gone far enough toward giving every American access to health insurance.

Encourage University to recognize importance of divestment

(01/16/18 11:00am)

Divestment is the act of selling company shares, bonds or investment funds for a political or social reason. An investor may publicly and intentionally divest — rather than sell a stock because it is not performing well — in order to reprimand unethical or morally ambiguous corporations. Divestment movements are not only effective in ending fossil fuel sponsorship, but also for generating awareness for social issues at large. In the past, divestment movements have successfully publicized crises like the apartheid in South Africa, genocide in Sudan and repression in Burma. Removing investments from firms that do business with oppressive or apartheid regimes does not eradicate these regimes. However, it sends a strong message to companies that it is unacceptable to enable governments to infringe on human rights. 

Condemn President Trump’s recent remarks about immigrants

(01/16/18 11:00am)

It was the middle-school level insult heard around the world:  According to a Jan. 12 Washington Post article, last Thursday, President Donald Trump reportedly asked several lawmakers, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” after they suggested protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and several African countries. Managing to pour more gasoline on the fire, Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring in more immigrants from countries like Norway and proceeded to question why certain people were even allowed in the country to begin with.  Trump reportedly asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “Why do we need more Haitians?” and claimed that “they all have AIDS.” According to a Dec. 23, 2017 New York Times article, he then claimed that the nearly 40,000 Nigerians issued visas in 2017 would never want to “go back to their huts” in Africa. Although several Republicans in attendance claimed not to remember Trump using any profanity or saying anything demeaning, Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) confirmed that his profane rant went exactly as reported. Anyone can clearly see that the President of the United States did indeed call these non-white countries “shitholes” and all but implied that he fundamentally disagreed with the very idea of American immigration. The implications of this are beyond terrifying. 

Reconsider attitudes surrounding meat consumption

(01/16/18 11:00am)

In the light of the ongoing dialogue about climate change, the United States’ rate of meat consumption has been a point of contention. According to a Dec. 1, 2016 MarketWatch article, research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests that Americans are among the highest consumers of meat per capita in the world, consuming, on average, 193 pounds of beef, pork, chicken and lamb a year. For a decade or so, scientists have studied the effects of meat production and consumption on things ranging from climate change to human health. Regarding climate change, a July 2009 study by Dutch scientists concluded that the meat production industry accounts for 18 percent of greenhouse gases and 80 percent of total anthropogenic land use. Research from Harvard Medical School regarding the health benefits of reduced meat consumption shows that vegetarians tend to consume less saturated fats and cholesterol and consume more beneficial nutrients like vitamins C and E, dietary fiber, folic acid  and magnesium. Thus, the findings of such research tend to indicate that a general reduction in red meat consumption is better for not only the environment but for personal health as well.

Views on the News: White Racism Class

(01/16/18 11:00am)

On Jan. 10, Florida Gulf Coast University introduced a class titled "White Racism," with the goal to "interrogate the concept of race" by examining racist ideologies. However, according to a Jan. 10 CNN article, the class was met with so much opposition — including a series of threatening emails sent to the professor — that campus police officers were posted outside of the class. What do you think of this type of class, and how do you think the university should proceed?