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

Editorial: The Justice editorial board stands in solidarity with Brandeis librarians

Situated in the middle of campus, the Goldfarb-Farber Library is an essential study and resource space. It was also one of the places on campus that got hit the hardest during the pandemic during the 2020-21 academic year. To allow for social distancing, the capacity and hours of the buildings were reduced to half of what they were before COVID-19. Enforcing COVID-19 rules presented another burden atop the responsibilities Brandeis librarians already have.  

Beyond Liberty University: How Brandeis students can further anti-violence initiatives

A recent report details countless instances of institutional retaliation and victim blaming by Liberty University against students impacted by sexual violence. This amalgamation of accounts exposes a clear pattern and a “chilling effect” that discourages students from reporting, let alone validating, their experiences with violence. It also provides insights that extend far beyond Liberty University.

On polarization: can we agree on anything anymore?

After months of unnecessarily painful-to-watch negotiation and infighting, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, commonly referred to as the Infrastructure Bill, passed the House and will be presented to President Joe Biden. On the surface, it seems as though most Americans, Republican and Democratic, should celebrate that $550 billion of much needed improvements to the country’s bridges, roads, public transportation, water and energy infrastructure are on the way. More surprisingly, 13 Republicans in the house joined the overwhelming Democratic majority in supporting it, an incredibly rare show of bipartisanship.  

Former Student Union Secretary James Feng ‘22, speaks out following Union impeachment

Over the past few weeks, several senior members of the Student Union executed a  scheme to remove me from office as Secretary of the Student Union. Under the constitutional guise of impeachment, President Krupa Sourirajan ‘23, Chief of Staff Jasmyne Jean-Remy ‘22 and Executive Sen. Joseph Coles ‘22 had insisted I was completely culpable and thus could not serve as Secretary. 

Views on the News: State politicians ban Critical Race Theory from schools across America

Originally coined by lawyer and professor Derrick Bell, Critical Race Theory is a legal framework that serves to analyze the relationship between race, racism and power. The five tenets of CRT highlight the ways in which racism shapes the world around us. This year, state politicians enacted wide-spread bans against teaching CRT in school districts across America. Is there a social responsibility to educate students about America’s relationship with racism? What issues arise when the topic of racism is avoided, especially in academic spaces? Is there a better alternative to teaching Critical Race Theory in schools?  

Editorial: Students’ mid semester burnout goes beyond the mounting exams and assignments

Midterm season at Brandeis is in full swing, and with that, students are experiencing increased stress levels and plummeting mental health. It would be easy to say that the stress of midterm season is the sole cause of students’ decline in mental health. However, that would be an oversimplification of a decline in mental health that is not only emerging at Brandeis but across other college campuses. According to Samantha Meltzer Body, chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “Campuses are a microcosm of the larger societal problem of worsening mental health during the pandemic.”  While the return of in-person classes has brought some return to normalcy, many students do not merely operate within a university setting—students are also employees and caretakers whose responsibilities span beyond their mounting midterm exams and assignments.  

A Black nation is rising: race and the uprisings of 2020

It has been over a year since the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police department and the subsequent uprisings in defiance of the system that led to his death. Acronyms and slogans such as “ACAB,” “BLM” and “defund the police”  that once saturated the world have seemed to disappear overnight. Day after day, month after month, year after year, the list of Black martyrs gets longer and little is done beyond the cosmetic utilization of their names within news headlines, Instagram bios and sadly, even Tinder profiles.  

Views on the News: Midterm season and students’ mental health

For college students across the nation, October marks the beginning of midterm season — a period marked by increased workload and a plummet in students’ mental health. During this time, students experience a range of emotions from high stress to anxiety. Is there a culture at Brandeis that promotes overworking and excessive studying?  How can students effectively manage midterm stressors, and are there adequate resources at Brandeis to support students during this time?  

Technological burnout: the dangers of obsessive innovation

I think that the term “fried brain” might be a real concept, even possibly an understatement, and I’m not so sure my workload is the sole culprit anymore. In the midst of a writer’s block-inspired-work-pause yesterday, I grew frustrated at the way my Kindle, laptop and phone screen all surrounded me in some seamless, almost sneering electronic bridge between me and my dream of a non-internet, anti-electronic reprieve. As if in laughter at my online academic bubble, my phone and computer both lit up on cue ten minutes before my next appointment. All I could do was put my head on the table, dreading the inevitable energy zap, my blood pressure rising. I have been sleep-deprived for days, and being relegated to Zoom meetings has yet again hastened my burnout. I am very aware that a significant amount of my stress stems from my habit of saying yes to almost every opportunity that comes my way— a habit I surely need to work on. 

Rest and resistance: sleeping as a revolutionary act

“Exhaustion is not okay,” my mentor said to me as I described another brutal week of struggling to balance all of my academic, social and work-related commitments. As midterm season descended upon Brandeis, I accepted that the level of exhaustion and stress I was experiencing prior was child’s play compared to the marathon of essays, exams, emails and books I would have to finish within two weeks. I was prepared to endure the late nights, long days and short break times until I met with my mentor a couple of weeks ago, where she told me, “exhaustion is not okay.” This was not the most remarkable piece of advice I ever received, but it was enough to snap me awake to the realization that the same metric I was using to measure my value—my productivity—only lowered me deeper into a stress-laden, sleep-deprived hole.  

Views on the News: Comedy and Social Responsibility

Critics and fans alike have much to say on Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix special, “The Closer.” Netflix is facing pushback, including a planned walkout organized by its own employees, one of whom Netflix suspended in the process. But Chappelle is far from the only performer in recent years to use language that is perceived as demeaning to a particular group of people in the name of comedy and to receive a platform to do so.  When and how does comedy toe the line between humor and violence or bullying? Do comics have any social responsibility to fulfill on the stage? Do media, television and streaming companies have any social responsibility in promoting and funding content? 

Experiencing autumn and college life post-pandemic

After a year of virtual college due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I, a sophomore, returned to the Brandeis campus feeling like a first-year. The freshness of real college life soon faded away with the academic and social stresses of a new environment striking me, and the depressing cold of New England approached at the same time. 

The inaccessibility of the ballot box for people of color

During the 2020 primary elections, my eyes were fixated on whatever electronic device was in front of me. I anxiously watched as news anchors mulled over the predictions while the nation’s map was checkered with an array of blue and red. When the time came, my parents headed to the polls to cast their votes. They made participating in this democratic process look easy, accessible and clean-cut. However, over the past few years as more and more voter suppression laws target vulnerable communities, it has become evident that our current voting system does not equally represent America’s population. What systematic practices encourage this discrimation and what can be done to stop it? 

Views on the News: National Domestic Abuse Awareness Month

Throughout the U.S., cases of domestic violence have increased across genders and sexual orientations, and within LGBTQIA+ communities they remain a particular threat. In addition to physical and verbal abuse, LGBTQIA+ survivors of domestic violence often face threats of being ‘outed,’ having increased economic and housing risks as a result of domestic violence and other unique challenges.  What can individuals, campuses, communities and/or policy leaders do to better support survivors of violence, or to foster healthier and more inclusive communities for all? Is there room at Brandeis for improvement of services and support systems, or a need for increased education to combat domestic and identity-based violence? 

Editorial: Acknowledging Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Content warning: this editorial discusses general mentions of  domestic violence and sexual assault. This October marks the 40th year of observing national Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Justice Editorial Board would like to recognize the importance of this issue by discussing recent abuse and sexual violence incidents on other college campuses, highlighting the work and support systems of on-campus organizations and providing a list of resources for Brandeis community members who have or are experiencing domestic violence or abuse of any kind. 

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