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

Editorial: COVID-19 and Return to Campus

Especially since some students did not return to campus until the weekend before in-person classes began, this board is concerned that students’ option to delay their return to campus might cause a surge in COVID-19 rates just as we all return to in-person activities. To avoid the increased risk of COVID-19 spreading after many students travel back to campus for in -person classes, the University should have required students to return with enough time to isolate if need be. The rationale behind this system that allowed a delayed return is unclear, and this board requests better communication from Brandeis administration about why certain COVID-19 policies such as this are adopted moving forward.  


Take Caution Before Watching ‘Don't Look Up’

“Don’t Look Up,” directed by Adam McKay, came out in December 2021. It’s a disaster film about an impending comet approaching Earth and the two scientists that discovered the danger. The entirety of the film criticizes and satirizes the irresponsible decisions of the government, celebrities, and the mass public as they try to figure out how to save the planet.  


The Classic College versus COVID-19 College Experience

Everyone has a similar picture of the “classic college experience.” We all tend to imagine getting into various shenanigans with friends, having late-night study groups in the campus library, and maybe engaging in a form of romantic endeavour. Unfortunately, the one thing just about every aspect of the ideal classic college experience tends to share is being in close proximity to other people.  


Pursuing independence abroad in a pandemic

 I wasn't completely sure of my sanity, to be fair. Studying abroad, during a pandemic, for my first ever semester, sounded like a recipe for either a brilliant coming-of-age film or an apocalyptic nightmare thriller. Spoiler alert: the whole experience was amazing, and luckily it felt much more like the former cinematic option than the latter. I made friends and roamed the city and its surroundings, which were reachable by train. Additionally, I got the chance to visit the world's largest botanical gardens, various museums, Stonehenge, and even spent a whirlwind 48 hours or so in Paris during our reading week break. Put simply, I had a great time adventuring through a couple countries I had never visited before.


A reflection on justice and education: Legal Studies Practicum

This fall, through the Legal Studies Practicum (LGLS-145A) with Prof. and Chair of the Legal Studies Department Rosalind Kabrhel, my classmates and I were able to get involved with a diverse array of hands-on experiential learning opportunities. Through this practicum, we were able to experience the importance of educational interventions in the communities we worked with, as a way to marginally counteract systemic disadvantages. The hands-on approach to experiential learning allowed us to synthesize and apply the themes of this course’s readings through a critical and concrete lens. 


Views on the News: Kyle Rittenhouse and the criminal justice system

Kyle Rittenhouse, a man who shot and killed two protestors and wounded another, was sent to trial in early November of this year. Throughout the case his attorneys argued self-defense, making his slaying of two innocent people permissible. He was found not guilty on all six charges in court. What does this say about how our current criminal justice system operates? Are there biases that impact marginalized communities? What can we do going forward to mitigate social injustice within the legal and judicial system? 


Editorial: Self care during the month of December

 The Justice editorial board commends the University community for persevering through another challenging semester characterized by the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate the work that staff and faculty have put into helping the community transition to mostly normal operations, and congratulate students — many of whom came to campus for the first time this August — on their perseverance. With finals season rapidly approaching, we wanted to take a moment to share some of our tips for navigating this particularly stressful few weeks and the break that follows. 


Editorial: The University’s lack of transparency during Spring registration is harmful for students

After much anticipation, the Office of the University Registrar released the spring 2022 course schedule on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 18, also announcing that course registration will begin on Dec. 1. The release, weeks later than is typical, came largely without warning, as the Registrar’s website up until this week listed the beginning of registration as “TBA.” This board expresses its disappointment in the Registrar’s office in giving students just under two weeks — one of which constitutes the Thanksgiving break — to create their course schedules for the spring.


Deconstructing kindness in relation to social justice issues

Brandeis University celebrated Kindness Week from Nov. 8 to 13. The purpose of this week-long event is to encourage and celebrate the kindness that exists within the community. No matter where you are on campus, their message is clear and pervasive. You will be continually prompted to love yourself and to treat others kindly, whether it is through one of their many events, posters and even reminders chalked onto the pavement. 


Views on the News: The COVID-19 pandemic and the growing teacher shortage

Throughout the past decade the growing teacher shortage has become a persistent problem across the country. Now, as we continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, this issue has only worsened. Many educators are leaving the academic workforce in hopes of better mental and financial stability. What does this shortage say about America’s demanding work culture? Should there be institutional or governmental changes to further accommodate teachers during this time? 


Editorial: Amplifying marginalized voices: Jamie Black’s REDress Project comes to campus

With red dresses hanging all throughout campus, it’s hard to bypass the ongoing “REDress Project.” Students in “Introduction to the Creativity, Arts, and Social Transformation,” led by Prof. Toni Shapiro-Phim (CAST), have partnered up with artist Jaime Black in order to set up this art exhibit. Commenting on the “more than 1000 missing and murdered aboriginal women” in North America, CAST has worked to recreate Black’s project to help illustrate this ongoing tragedy. 


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.  


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