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

Views on the News: Biden-Harris victory

On Saturday Nov. 7, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. was elected the 46th president of the United States. After a tumultuous election season, Biden beat lame-duck President Donald J. Trump with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 electoral votes. Biden’s win is largely attributed to support in swing states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Biden’s win also marks a historical moment for California Sen. Kamala Harris, who is the first Black and South Asian woman to be elected vice president of the United States. What was your reaction to the Biden-Harris win? What do you think should be the top priorities for the new administration? Also, what do you anticipate as the biggest resistance to the new administration?  


Editorial: The University needs to reevaluate its communication strategies surrounding the anti-racism plan

In June, during the resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests after police killed George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, University President Ron Liebowitz announced the administration’s intention to create an action plan to address systemic racism on campus. After six months of work, Liebowitz and Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Mark Brimhall-Vargas unveiled the University’s Draft Anti-Racism Action Plan in a Nov. 10 email to the Brandeis community. This board commends this critical step to address long-standing issues of racism on the Brandeis campus and encourages the student body to review and critique the administration’s plans, while also highlighting concerns we have about the way the University presented the action plan to the campus community. 


Editorial: The University must reckon with its racist history and systems that harm BIPOC students

In his recent email about the Draft University Anti-Racism Plan, President Ron Liebowitz linked to a list of appendices that go into detail about the plan. Appendix B, “Our History of Anti-Racism Initiatives,” touches on several initiatives that the University has spearheaded, including the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. scholarships, the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program and the Brandeis Posse program. However, it largely focuses on the history of protests and occupations led by Black students and other students of color at the University. This board feels that the emphasis on these protests in a section titled “Our History of Anti-Racism Initiatives” incorrectly focuses on examples of the University’s commitment to social justice, rather than examples of the University’s racist systems and history.


I’m still a Republican

I’m still a Republican, but I voted for Joe Biden. It’s not my first vote across party lines, and it won’t be my last. I’ve been receiving a lot of remarks inquiring about why I’m still a Republican, and that’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot in recent years. You see, I’ve been a Republican since the Carter administration. I was quite young and upset with how Carter was handling the economy back then, and since I was all of nine-13 years old during his administration, I obviously thought I knew better. As soon as I could, I registered as a Republican, despite being in a very liberal state, Massachusetts, and again when I later moved to California.


President Trump's refusal to concede is putting the country at risk

At 11:24 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7, approximately 87 hours after polls closed in Massachusetts, CNN declared former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to be the winner of the presidential election, thus making Biden the president-elect and California Senator Kamala Harris the vice president-elect. During that time, the Democratic ticket had 273 electoral votes, and soon after the state of Nevada was called, bringing their total to 279. Now that all the states have been called by numerous prominent media outlets, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris have a total of 306 electoral votes, the same number President Trump had when he won in 2016.  


Want to win over moderates? Be progressive

President-elect Joe Biden and the Democratic Party support a $15 minimum wage. President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are completely against the idea. Yet, in the election Trump won with over 51% of the vote in Florida while a ballot initiative for a $15 minimum wage passed with 60.8% of the vote. To many, this would seem completely contradictory, but as someone who has grown up in Florida, it makes complete sense. Bill Clinton, the last Southern president from the Democratic Party, encapsulated this perfectly with a sign he hung in his Little Rock Campaign Headquarters that listed three messages: “The economy stupid,” “Don’t forget Healthcare” and “Change vs More of the Same.” People from the South may overwhelmingly vote Republican, but they are not against progessive ideas. Southerners want higher wages, better healthcare and socioeconomic change. This does not only apply to the South, but also for those living in the Rust Belt, a region in the midwest and any rural areas. It is the reason why Trump was so successful in the first place; he promised real change to people who felt as if they had been left behind. So, the question is, why was Biden and the rest of the Democratic Party’s performance in Florida and other Southern states so lackluster? The answer is how Democrats ran their campaigns. 


The cracks in American democracy

Last week, citizens of “the free world” cast their ballots for the 46th President of the United States. The world watched, not only because the United States has an important role in global politics, but also due to widespread recognition of the United States as one of the world’s most well-known democracies. This observation came with the realization that the world’s first draft of democracy needs major revision. In some regard, U.S. elections are conducted differently than in other democracies. These differences reveal weaknesses in American democracy.  


2020 On the issues

During the election cycle, both race in the United States and the COVID-19 pandemic have been controversial topics. The Justice asked students of the Brandeis community about these issues and more. The participants include columnists for the Justice Reena Zuckerman ’23 and Vandita Malviya Wilson M.P.P. ’22, as well as Clay Napurano ’24 and a member of the Brandeis Democrats, Noah Risley ’24. 


Editorial: Self-care tips to help you cope during the pandemic winter

As COVID-19 cases increase across the United States, many of us are no strangers to social isolation. With social distancing guidelines expected to continue throughout the winter, feelings of sadness, depression and anxiety can creep in as one thinks of another few months stuck indoors. For individuals who suffer from seasonal depression, the COVID-19 pandemic can feel like an added layer of stress to the winter months ahead. However, this board hopes that proper preparation and these self-care tips can ease the transition into the pandemic winter. 


Halloween is too much

I miss Halloween. Not the monstrous holiday/adult-themed party. Not the “it’s all about the children” tropes of recent years. I just miss the crappy Halloweens of my long-lost childhood. Some time ago, Halloween was a time to load up on some extra candy, which my immigrant parents would never buy for me. It was a time to see movies before I knew they were formulaic and to never ever turn my back on the door, or anything, because the frightening thing was always going to be right behind me. 


A vote for Trump in America is a vote for China in Africa

Today, Nov. 3, Americans will decide how much more power China can gain in Africa. Very few Americans have thought about the impact of their vote on the lives of over 1.3 billion Africans, even though Americans’ choice of president will definitely affect African lives. It may be inappropriate for Africans to attempt to tell Americans how to vote in their presidential election, yet Americans must know that four more years of Trump in Washington, D.C. could result in China gaining decades worth of power in Africa. 


Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings and the balance of power

Judicial confirmation hearings are not very entertaining TV. Nominees usually pledge allegiance to the “law” while avoiding statements about what the “law” is, or even how to define it. Yet Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett and her supporters claim that she is an “originalist”: they say she interprets statutes (including the Constitution) according to the evinced intent of their “drafters” — those people who wrote, amended or merely signed off on the law. 


Editorial: As Election Day approaches, professors should adjust their expectations so students can exercise their civic duty

With the 2020 presidential election exactly a week away, tension is mounting, and voters are flooding to the polls. As this board wrote last week, it is incredibly important that Brandeis students vote up and down the ballot this election cycle. We now turn to professors and ask that they accommodate students on and around Election Day to ensure that everyone who is eligible can vote without it interfering with their academics. 


Editorial: The Campus Passport Portal system is necessary but also inconvenient

In an unprecedented semester, the University has implemented a number of policies both to provide students with necessary campus services and to contain the spread of COVID-19. One such policy is the University’s use of a Campus Passport Portal system, where, in order to access certain services on campus, students must fill out a daily health assessment and confirm their COVID-19 biweekly testing status. Students receive a color and status through the passport system, which corresponds to their eligibility for navigating the campus and accessing dining halls, classrooms, the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center gym and testing sites. This board commends the University for its efforts to ensure the safest possible campus at this time. The passport system is a well-intentioned attempt to deliver a safe yet effective means of both ensuring the best possible campus experience, and making sure students, staff and faculty alike can navigate the campus safely. However, key issues remain with the passport service’s accessibility and ease of use. 


Stand back and stand by

One phrase stood out to me during the first presidential debate. In a night filled with constant interruptions, I had almost given up on listening to it, but one question made my focus sharpen. The moderator, Chris Wallace, asked President Donald Trump to denounce right-wing extremist groups like the Proud Boys, a white supremacist group. As I intently listened to his response, I heard Trump utter the words, almost as if he was issuing a command, “Stand back and stand by.” I was more worried than surprised. This statement was not out of the ordinary for President Trump. In fact, the president has been given countless opportunities to condemn right-wing extremists and has failed to do so. The problem is that a major catalyst for right-wing violence is quickly approaching. 


Ex-Felons deserve the right to vote

Two weeks ago, I cast my first mail-in ballot for President of the United States. I have been waiting to vote since I was 10, especially for president. When I filled in the bubbles, I felt proud to have reached this milestone and proud to be an American. I could never imagine having my right to vote be taken away. However, this is the case for millions of ex-felons across the United States.  


Eliminating the federal government’s greed for public defenders’ needs

The Bill of Rights guarantees the civil rights of the American people. It symbolizes individuals’ freedoms from higher institutions, particularly from the federal government.  Each amendment in the Bill of Rights speaks of its own freedoms. For example, the Fourth Amendment protects Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures. However, this amendment has been challenged through the process of civil forfeiture. This process allows law enforcement officials to seize assets from those suspected of being involved in illegal activity without charging them with wrongdoing. Law enforcement officials must prove that there is probable cause before they seize an individual's property. The concern with civil forfeiture is that state actors will take advantage of the public by seizing property for their monetary benefit. Instead of feeding the wallets of greedy law enforcement officials, the money can be used to create a more equitable legal system by funding the Public Defender's Office. 


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