Since I assumed this position in September, my goal for this year has been to learn the inner workings and nuances of the Board of Trustees. This is why the role was created to have two representatives, a junior and a senior. It takes an entire year to figure out the role and most importantly, establish relationships and mutual respect with Board members.
As a Brandeis alum whose career began in 2005 thanks to the rigorous journalism scene on campus, I was profoundly disappointed in the Justice's lukewarm editorial regarding the Student Union's recent proposal to decommission The Brandeis Hoot (Letter From the Editor: Proposal to de-charter The Hoot, April 8, 2019).
Dear Brandeis Students, Climate change presents a massive and growing threat to all humans alive today, projected to impact human health, the economy, and the environment. The efforts to mitigate the causes of climate change and adapt to its impacts do not approach the scales needed to solve the crisis. As Brandeis staff and faculty, we stand in support of all environmentally sustainable efforts at Brandeis and know we can all contribute.
“This is the future liberals want,” proclaims the cover photo of ‘Pete Buttigieg’s Dank Meme Stash.’ The image, bannering a Facebook group that’s reached about 1,000 members in just over two months, shows Mr. Buttigieg, the thirty-seven-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, sitting with his husband Chasten and their big brown dog on the porch of their house.
At this point in time, there are few places left to turn for a Democrat, none of them ideal. With the new accusations against Joe Biden and his subsequent response, the pool of candidates and potential candidates for the 2020 presidential election has by the day grown larger and more confusing. Often, I write articles because I am confused about the issue. I write about subjects I feel are important, but being able to write about something in length requires a lot of reading. On the issue of Joe Biden, my goal is not to push the reader toward any course of action. This article is just my attempt to educate myself with the resources I have, like any other college student. I was sure that I would vote for Joe Biden in the next election; I am less sure now, but he still has my vote. Here is why.
Last week, Brandeis University announced the 2019 commencement speaker and six honorary degree recipients. The six honorary degree recipients are as follows: Rivka Carmi, John Landau, Cixin Liu, Barbara Mandel, Perry Traquina and Susan Windham-Bannister. Rivka Carmi has contributed a vast amount of research to the field of medical genetics. Jon Landau is a music critic and Bruce Springsteen’s manager. Cixin Liu is a science fiction writer and the first Asian to receive the revered Hugo Award for best novel. I believe the achievements, professional and academic, of these individuals are wholly deserving of an honorary degree from Brandeis University. I take issue with the philosophy used to select latter three; Barbara Mandel, Perry Traquina and Susan Windham-Bannister.
On behalf of the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ODEI), we write to share our apologies to students, faculty and staff negatively impacted by the ‘deis IMPACT! Immigration Court: An Experiential Program proposal process. This program was originally included in the schedule of events for the week-long Social Justice Festival. The program was canceled by the host organization, the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA), before it was delivered, as it was clear that this event, as written, did not reflect the devastating realities of the migration crisis adequately. As this was the first year that the ODEI has managed ‘deis IMPACT!, we plan on engaging in a systematic review and evaluation of all ‘deis IMPACT! processes, including program and Impacter selection, development and support, this summer. Additional plans include a possible collaboration with the Student Union to develop a coalition-building workshop for student organizational leaders from across campus, which has the potential to offer an important development opportunity for many student groups. We are looking forward to including Brandeis community members as we engage in this process. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to be involved.
Trash, recycling and compost bins are all across campus. Like many others, I dutifully separate apple cores, bags of chips and bits of cardboard into their appropriate compartments. Recycling is inarguably better than not recycling — but recycling also isn’t an unmitigated good.
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 5–4 in Bucklew v. Precythe to allow the state of Missouri to execute a man whose rare medical condition will cause him excruciating pain when given a lethal injection. Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the opinion of the court, asserting that the defendant, Russell Bucklew, had taken too long to object to the method of execution. He argues that the Eighth Amendment’s clause barring cruel and unusual punishment does not guarantee a painless death, and that for a punishment to be cruel it must be intended to inflict pain and so be “more than the mere extinguishing of a life.” He also says that “courts should police carefully against attempts to use such challenges as tools to interpose unjustified delay.” Finally, he says that it is the defendant’s responsibility to find a proven alternative method which would substantially reduce the risk of pain as the court held in a previous case, Glossip v. Gross. Despite the precedent set by apparently similar decisions in Glossip and also in Baze v. Rees, Gorsuch’s arguments are not constitutionally sound and this execution violates the Eighth Amendment.
In an April 2 interview with Science News, Nobel laureate David Baltimore, Ph.D., argued that putting a temporary ban on human gene editing, meant to improve the technology and foster a better understanding of the science and its ethical questions, would not work. Baltimore argues that the ban would fail to adapt to new discoveries and would not allow for any continued discussions of the ethics of gene editing. He instead calls for a registry of all gene-related procedures and events. What are your thoughts on Baltimore’s view? Do you think there are any alternatives to a moratorium on gene editing that would take Baltimore’s concerns into account?
On March 31, the Student Union passed a bylaw requiring all secured clubs to select a club consultant from the University’s faculty or administration. According to the bylaw, the consultant, while not a voting member of the club, will be required to meet with the club’s treasurer at least twice a semester. The consultant can also be sought out for advice on other issues the club faces, such as “leadership or membership issues which arise.” The bylaw was passed despite the strong and clear objection of the University’s secured independent media organizations — the Justice, WBRS and BTV — and this board opposes both the content of the bylaw and the process by which the bylaw was passed.
I spent last weekend in Washington, D.C. at the much-maligned and mostly-misunderstood American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference, an annual convention in which legions of citizen lobbyists descend on the nation’s capital to hear from policy makers, discuss developments in Middle Eastern politics and meet with representatives to make the case for “pro-Israel” legislation. It was my first time at the policy conference — I was raised in a theoretically, but not aggressively, Zionist home, and the year I spent in Israel before transferring to Brandeis from my small liberal arts college in Minnesota involved more protesting of the current Israeli government than lobbying in support of its American policy agenda. But then, controversy ensued when my old object of admiration in Minnesota, now-Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, called out AIPAC by name as buying American politicians. This triggered a collective heart attack in the Jewish community, as well as a spate of purportedly philo-semitic Islamophobia from Omar’s political opponents, and then a problematic conflation of that bile with the good-faith criticism that preceded it. Obsessed with this story to the point of being unable to talk about much else, I felt compelled this year to see for myself what this “Israel lobby” thing was all about.
“We are not doing our children any favors when we borrow from their future in order to invest in systems and policies that are not yielding better results.” Now, your first thought upon reading this quote may be that someone is stealing candy from our children's hands to develop a machine to bring dinosaurs back from the dead, find the last number of pi or discover the Fountain of Youth. I wish that this was actually the case. Instead, this was said by Betsy DeVos, the head of the United States Department of Education, in a prepared testimony before a House subcommittee considering the Department of Education’s budget request for the next fiscal year in regards to the usefulness of special-needs programs. Her new plan entails creating a tax cut for individuals and companies to encourage them to donate to private school scholarships and adding an additional $60 million to charter school funding. Aside from the obscene elitism behind this addition, the real disgust is that she is eliminating $18 million of funding from the Special Olympics.
Another year, another month of students complaining about the University’s housing lottery. The limited amount of housing creates a situation by which many students are left without housing, and there will always be dissatisfaction until more housing is built — a priority this board urges the University to act on. Until then, we have to work within the system that currently exists. The Department of Community Living has made some improvements in the past few years, but there is still more that can be made.
Since January, the Student Union has pursued countless new campus-wide initiatives and has committed itself to reforming its internal policies to streamline governance and improve accountability procedures. The Union is poised to continue this semester’s success into the 2019-2020 academic year.
On Sunday, Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections, released his final report stating that no collusion between President Trump’s campaign and the Russian government had occurred, but did not reach a conclusion on the issue of obstruction of justice, instead allowing Attorney General William Barr to do so. Barr concluded that the President did not obstruct justice, and Democrats are calling for Muller’s full report to be released to the public. What do you think this means for the country, and how should the Democrats handle this situation?
My eleven-year-old brother, Sebastian, wakes up as soon as the sun’s light turns the sky pastel. When he bounces his way to the kitchen table, there is already a bowl of yogurt and a plate of freshly cut fruit arranged in a smiley face, mirroring his own energetic grin. The books that he had inevitably strewn around the house the night before have “magically” relocated to his backpack along with his lunch.
This past week, I took a break from my schoolwork to attend the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, DC.