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

Early school start times may be leaving students behind

 College has a funny way of making you forget about high school. Case in point: Recently, while looking at our spring semester schedules, a friend of mine complained about the prospect of waking up for a morning class at 9 a.m.. What followed was a few of us from various states and school districts remembering how excruciatingly early we had to drag ourselves out of bed in high school.  


The Student Union piano funding debacle was entirely avoidable

 It’s easy to miss the local news these days. With so much going on in the world and with finals rapidly approaching, students understandably have other things on their minds. Small wonder, then, that it was news to many of the first-years I spoke to last week that electric pianos were coming soon to a lounge near them. 


EDITORIAL: Commending trustees' fossil fuel decision

  On Wednesday, University President Ron Liebowitz shared an update from the Board of Trustees on the University’s policies and actions regarding fossil fuel divestment. This board commends the Trustees and President Liebowitz for this positive, prudent and practical approach to address the concerns of community members.


EDITORIAL: University must address serious fault lines

  The second portion of the independent investigators’ report, commissioned after Brian Meehan’s dismissal last spring, was released on Thursday. While the first half of the report, issued in September, focused on the specifics of the Meehan case, this half focused on the state of Brandeis’ campus culture. After reading the report, this board concludes that despite the University’s claims to being a school centered around social justice, Brandeis’ student body cares far more about diversity as an educational value than its faculty and trustees do. Until this discrepancy is addressed, Brandeis’ campus will continue to be a less-than-ideal environment for students of color. 


Views on the News: Border Migrant Crisis

   Over the past week, the Trump administration has made good on its promise to deter and punish anyone who attempts to cross the southern border illegally. Images of migrant families attempting to cross from Tijuana, Mexico into California facing hostile military personnel and tear gas have surfaced all over the internet. The President defends these actions by saying that the migrants are trying to enter the country illegally, and that many of them are criminals and pose a danger to the American people. Do these statements justify this use of force? Are there any alternatives to dealing with this number of migrants?    


Giving Tuesday should be part of everyone's holiday season

 Now that you have stuffed the last piece of turkey into your mouth, experienced the agony of waiting in endless lines for limited sales at odd hours of the morning and worn through your laptop’s trackpad searching for the hottest cyber deals, it’s time to relinquish the satisfying feeling of limitless indulgence.  


Stan Lee's long legacy extends even to the economic world

 On Nov. 12, 2018, the world mourned the loss of Stan Lee, a beloved comic book writer and one of Marvel Comics’ foremost creative leaders. In time, we may better understand the effect of his legacy as a pioneer of superhero comics and his personal journey from a poor immigrant household in New York to the figurehead of a massive multimedia corporation which dominates the comics industry. 


EDITORIAL: Senate should rethink draconian amendments

 Class of 2020 Senator Aaron Finkel has drafted two amendments to the Student Union Constitution that would strip the Allocations Board of final authority over all allocation decisions and policies and distribute it between the Senate and Union president. The justification for the amendments states that they would “ensure maximum accountability and fairness,” but this board believes the actual amendments do not effectively address either issue. To properly institute oversight of A-Board without adversely disrupting the balance of power in the Union, both amendments will need to be significantly altered. 


Views on the News: New Amazon HQ

 After considering more than 200 different cities for the location of its second headquarters, Amazon has decided on splitting its East Coast center of operations between Long Island City, New York, and Crystal City, Virginia. According to a Nov. 3 Wall Street Journal article, these new work spaces will create over 25,000 jobs for each city, in addition to marking a shift in large corporations having their main offices within urban areas as opposed to the suburbs. How will the arrival of Amazon affect the economies of both cities in the long term, and what are the costs and benefits of this monumental move?  


In the wake of tragic wildfire, how will Malibu rebuild itself?

 When the mythical phoenix first ventures its head above the smolder and ash, it is a little more than an ugly, soot-covered duckling. It waddles two steps forward, falls over, and gets back up. Such is life in the community of Malibu this week as spot fires float over blackened hills, looking for untarnished brush left to consume. The worst is over, and residents trickle back in over singed asphalt to check on homes and belongings, but they are hardly in the clear. By now, the national media has covered in detail the blaze that decimated 713 structures in total, including Miley Cyrus’ mansion and “Westworld” shooting location, Paramount Ranch, according to a Nov. 16 CBS report. The story they will not tell is of the gritty rebuilding of a town that, for thousands of Angelenos, represented a reprieve from the stresses of the everyday.  


YouTube's biggest stars keep turning to be massive racists

 In the swirling vortex of unhinged toxicity and rampant moronic behavior that was 2014-era YouTube, one content team stood out as being somewhat watchable and personable. That braintrust was h3h3 productions, comprised of  husband and wife team Ethan and Hila Klein. In the channel’s halcyon days, Ethan specialized in goofy reviews of bizzare internet videos, which he reacted to with a mix of disgust and outsized enthusiasm. If you desperately needed someone to make fun of DJ Khaled hitting on women in an abandoned pier on a jetski at 3 a.m., or laugh at a fake prank video involving a group of grown men calling themselves “The Salad Boys,” h3h3 was just the ticket. The combination of the overenthusiastic, loudmouthed Ethan and the shy, sardonic Hila was a winning one. 


What price do you pay to pursue what you are passionate about?

 How much is your life worth? It is an abstract concept to wrap your head around, because the gut reaction is to value your life above anything else. Currently, we are young students still deciding how to personalize a version of life that satisfies our ambitions and desires. Unlike older generations, we do not have children to worry about or the societal norms of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s breathing down our necks, feeding us the expected “right and wrong” way to go about life. We are Millennials and Generation Z: Young, passionate innovators who have brought about some of the most progressive strides in activism, technology, entertainment and sports through figures such as Malala Yousafzai, Evan Spiegel, Justin Bieber, Simone Biles and  countless others. As we contemplate what we want to be after the label of student wears away, we have endless possible titles ready to be substituted. Although the older generation’s definition of life differs from ours, their readiness to die for their passion is inspiring.  


China's oppression of Uyghurs remains hidden from view

 Many people in the West are comfortable with the thought that the People’s Republic of China is a benign communist state. Especially within its close geographical proximity to the tyrannical North Korea, as well as its history under Mao Zedong, the iron grip of Beijing has with time loosened to a bearable squeeze. One might be taken aback to hear China is still putting people into “reeducation camps” based upon their religion. In the case of Muslim Uyghurs, this is a harsh reality the public seems to turn a blind eye to. Recent unrest across the world has sown seeds of systematic Islamophobia, and China’s government is using this to their advantage. 


EDITORIAL: Accessibility issues on campus need to be adressed

 In Brandeis' mission statement, the University expresses hope that students graduate "deeply concerned about the welfare of others." Unfortunately, the University itself has failed to model that concern. A student-run advocacy group called Addressing Accessibility at Brandeis reached out to University President Ron Liebowitz in an open letter last Thursday, expressing that they are "baffled" at how Brandeis can be "so exclusive of those with disabilities." Addressing Advocacy at Brandeis requests that the University discuss accessibility at Brandeis through an open forum. This board commends these students' efforts, urges the University to hold the requested forum and has additional suggestions for improving accessibility on campus. 


Views on the News: Midterm Results

  After months of buildup, the dust has almost settled in the 2018 elections. Barring any major recounts, Democrats have taken back the House of Representatives, and Republicans have extended their majority in the Senate. Gubernatorial races were split down the middle, with Democrats picking up key victories in Wisconsin and Minnesota and Republicans holding onto Florida and Georgia. How has the national and local political situation changed after the elections, and which election outcome will have the biggest impact moving forward? 


Brandeis Confessions: anonymous honestly at a price

 In this regard, anonymity is extremely valuable. However, it comes at a cost. It largely removes the consequences of one’s speech, meaning one is as free to lie as to tell the truth. Worse still, it is possible for someone to say hurtful things, whether true or not, with the intention of offending someone and the expectation of not getting caught. I’ve never understood the appeal of offending others for laughs, but clearly some do. The existence of certain less-than-friendly online groups – 4chan comes to mind – is evidence enough of that 


Voting by mail the best option to cure sluggish voter turnout

 Last week’s midterm elections saw a historic level of voter turnout. With an estimated 113 million Americans casting a ballot, it was the highest midterm voter turnout in 50 years, per a CNBC article. 113 million may sound like a lot — but in the scheme of things, the United States still lags far behind other developed nations. In analyzing the 2016 presidential election, in which 138 million people voted, Pew Research Center ranked the U.S. 26th out of 32 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development nations in terms of voter turnout. When looking at countries like Belgium and Sweden, both with voter turnouts north of 80 percent, the U.S.’s 55 percent seems especially troubling.  


Conservative Democrats reach a new zenith of uselessness

  After a brutally long primary election cycle and a head-spinning run-up to the general election, the 2018 midterm elections are finally behind us. Sure, the heralded “blue wave” was more of a blue splash, but Democrats took back the House of Representatives and evened the score in governor’s mansions across the country. A new wave of exciting progressive politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) represent the likely future of the Democratic party, marking the first time the Democratic Party has bothered to actually care about people since 1967.   


Politics is spirituality, demonstrated

 We are living in a politically divided and polarized United States. Conservative-minded students often complain that their views are marginalized at our liberal campus. In conservative regions, I know liberals who are afraid to make their political views known for fear of pushback and retaliation.  


Synagogues faced with impossible choices after Tree of Life

 In the aftermath of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, safety is at the forefront of the American Jewish psyche. In the name of preventing attacks such as this from happening ever again, a number of proposals have been raised. Many of these proposals are practical and reasonable, others, not so much.  


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