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

The Disabled Students’ Network: Creating a community for all

The Disabled Students' Network, run by Luca Swinford ’22 and Zoe Pringle ’22, got its start in April 2021, a year after Swinford and Pringle met in the course “Disability Policy” taught by Prof. Monika Mitra (Heller) in spring 2020. It was during this class that they discovered that there wasn’t a space for the disabled community at Brandeis, and this inspired them to create one themselves. Unfortunately, these plans were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, it was during this time that Swinford and Pringle realized there needed to be a community more than ever 

Illuminating the problematic history of Louis D. Brandeis

Standing atop Fellows Garden with the sun to his back, a bronze Justice Louis D. Brandeis watches over the campus bearing his name. It is a heroic statue, triumphant even. The Justice withstands an adverse wind, his gaze fixed on the heavens like the statues of classical antiquity. It also resembles the numerous statues of the American South which depict Confederate icons in similarly honorific poses. Like them, Justice Brandeis helped advance caustic ideology tied to many of the 20th-century’s tragedies.  

Quarantined on campus

Five semesters ago, it likely would have been difficult for students at Brandeis to imagine quarantine ever being an integral part of college life. Since Brandeis reopened and welcomed students back to campus following the near-complete shutdown of campus in spring 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has had to devise plans and strategies for when students contract the virus. Over the past two years, terms like “contact tracing,” “quarantine,” and “isolation housing: have become a standard part of Brandeis students’ vocabulary. However, quarantine and isolation on campus due to exposures and positive tests have proved to be a struggle for many students who have faced difficulties concerning food, classes, and communication from the University. 

What the heck is in the woods behind ‘Grad’? An architectural mystery, solved

While looking at a map will tell you that the wooded area just beyond the southeast edge of campus is Fox Park, most Brandeis students probably know it as simply the woods by “Grad,” the colloquial name for Charles River Apartment student residences. The woods — a two-minute walk from “Grad” and a twenty-minute walk from central campus — contain about a half-mile worth of public trails. With swampy inlets surrounding the forest on one side and campus housing on the other, the forest is mostly contained to a small strip of land that extends out from Mt. Feake cemetery. The woods are small, but the mysteries within them are anything but.

Work-Study, but no work?

When she first arrived on campus after the break, Assia Hamana ’25 hoped to have employment in the new year. However, to her surprise, most employers had fulfilled their quota. “Everyone else was getting jobs and it felt like I was getting left behind,” she told the Justice on Feb. 11. Hamana explained that in high school, she wasn’t planning on working in college. She wanted to enjoy her time, especially as a first-year, exploring her interests in various activities. It was not until her senior year of high school that she learned about Work-Study.  

Brandeis professors explain the situation in Ukraine: “The people of Ukraine have a right to self-determination that doesn't get to simply be run over with Russian tanks”

According to the New York Times, senior Biden administration officials last week told Congress that Russian President Vladimir Putin “has assembled everything he would need to undertake … the largest military operation on land in Europe since 1945.” The Justice spoke with two Brandeis faculty members, Gary Samore (POL) via email and Steven Wilson (POL) in person, to provide some insight to this complex situation. 

Contamination without communication? University leaves students and staff out of the loop about high lead levels and water fountain closures

On Sept. 22, 2021, chemistry and biochemistry students and professors received an email with the subject line “IMPORTANT! Do NOT consume water from the faucets in Edison-Lecks” from Meghan Hennelly, a Chemistry department administrator and manager of space and buildings for the division of Science at the University. Sent via a listserv titled “chemall-group,” those on the email blast were some of the first students to receive official word about lead levels in various buildings around campus.

For queer students of color, community on campus is vital — and hard to find

When Nicholas Ong ’23 started his first year at Brandeis, it didn’t take long for him to find LGBTQ+ communities on campus and meet other queer students. But something was always missing. “I always found myself in white queer spaces,” he told the Justice in November 2021. Ong is Cambodian and grew up in a culturally diverse area in Providence, Rhode Island. At Brandeis, however, he struggled to find other students who were both queer and people of color.  

Despite progress towards equity in the sciences, there’s still a long way to go

This semester, Brandeis Pre-Health Advising launched several initiatives that incorporated student contributions and institutional collaboration in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work for the department. These initiatives included releasing an anti-racism statement in addition to an amendable Black Action Plan (both of which were based on student feedback) and forming a discussion group on social justice in healthcare in collaboration with the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students.

A Night of Remembrance and Resilience

Remember the Dearly Departed took place during Transgender Awareness Week on Nov. 16, four days before the National Transgender Day of Remembrance. Organized by the Gender and Sexuality Center and the Brandeis Latinx Student Organization, the event was held in honor of TDOR as well as Day of the Dead. 

From Zoom to the choir room

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. and the complete shutdown that followed, universities and their students have been forced to continuously adapt to a non-stop string of changes. Clubs and extracurriculars were hit especially hard and many were forced to find new ways to participate in their old activities. For choirs, it has been particularly difficult, as Alyssa Knudsen ’24 explained to the Justice over Zoom on Nov. 13.

Deis Affirmations: satirical posts made for your IG feed

The popular Instagram account @afffirmations, which currently has over 839,000 followers, took social media by storm in January of 2021. The account posts satirical self-affirmations, which they advertise as “global self hypnosis.” Parody accounts of this style became popular soon after the creation of the affirmations page, including Brandeis’ own affirmations account — @Deisaffirmations.  

Gillian Flynn on Thinking, Writing and Amorality

Like her infamous protagonist Amy Dunne, Gillian Flynn knows how to grip a crowd. Flynn, the journalist-turned-novelist of “Gone Girl,” “Sharp Objects” and “Dark Places,” visited Brandeis on Oct. 12 in conversation with Prof. Josh Wolk (JOUR). Wolk, like Flynn, has also worked as a journalist — he found success at Vulture, among other magazines and news sites.

Leadership with empathy, listening and a servant mindset

In the latest episode of Voyager Talks, my self-produced podcast sharing the journey, insight and wisdom of premier business and political leaders, I sat down with Kris Engskov. He has a fascinating career in the public and private sectors, including serving as the personal aide to President Bill Clinton for nearly four years and later as a top executive at Starbucks and Aegis Living. 

A sport from the wizarding world comes to campus

It may come as a surprise, but Brandeis has a Quidditch team. Yes, you heard that right — the sport is no longer reserved for the wizarding world of “Harry Potter.” While lacking in witchcraft and wizardry, the University’s team is very real and a welcoming space for anyone who wishes to join. Founded in 2010, The Judges’ Quidditch team is one of many club sports, which are independent and student-run at Brandeis. They play against other universities in the college division of US Quidditch and have previously gone to nationals. Brandeis Quidditch, however, is about more than just playing a sport. It’s about inclusivity, teamwork and — when it comes down to it — having a good time.  

For transgender student-athletes, new policy is more than just rules and guidelines

As captain of two varsity teams, track and cross country, and a double major at Brandeis, Jac Guerra ’22, who identifies as a man with transgender experience, is no stranger to taking on challenges that others might find daunting. But even for him, navigating the National Collegiate Athletic Association guidelines while taking steps in his personal transition was not a simple task.  

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