This board appreciates all that Brandeis has been doing to keep students safe with the surge of Omicron. However, we also ask that Brandeis take into consideration students’ concerns about keeping themselves and others safe.
What can change things, however, is the recognition of this fact: that freedom, while it might mean different things to different people in different places at different times, is very much a matter of degree and also one of privilege. These struggles are not even remotely of the same degree of importance and vary immensely on scales of gravity. In a time where the world seems to be trending more and more in the direction of authoritarianism, quantifying the meaning of freedom directly, as it applies to conflicts where thousands, if not millions of lives and livelihoods hang in the balance, as opposed to minor inconvenience, is a matter of prudent necessity.
As Ketanji Brown Jackson stands as the front runner for the SCOTUS post, how does that impact the future of the Supreme Court? Will her decision making in the future empower those who are marginalized? What is gained when there is diversity amongst our politicians and judges?
The question, of course, is if students can manage to balance all the activities they may have on their plates, while still making sure to relax and recharge — most Brandeisians seem unable to turn down an opportunity.
Black people deserve to have their mental health taken seriously not only after they have passed, but while they are still here with us.
We recognize that the University and its staff are certainly committed to creating a safe and enjoyable environment for students to live, work, and learn. However, issues with the Bite app have been ongoing since we started using it in fall 2020, and this board hopes to see a solution soon.
When I was originally crafting this piece, I set out to create a piece that covered the re-entry journey of formerly incarcerated people, but that all changed when I met Ethan Clark. Clark is a Black man from Detroit in his twenties, who up until last week had been in a maximum-security prison for the past five years. I waited in anticipation as the phone rang, I had a slew of questions for him: What was he looking forward to now that he was free? What does he intend to do with the rest of his life? How does it feel to finally be able to see his loved ones?
Last Saturday, a powerful winter storm hit the east coast, leaving Boston with its seventh highest snowfall in recorded history. Blizzard warnings, power outages, and dangerous travel conditions were widespread throughout the area, and the Brandeis campus was closed, with all classes and public activities cancelled for the day. This board would like to commend the University for its handling of the storm and thank all of the staff who worked hard to keep us safe.
The United States is diplomatically boycotting the Beijing 2022 Olympics due to concerns of human rights violations in Xinjiang China. Other countries such as India, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom have followed suit as well. How does this impact international and foreign relations? Will this lead to more division in our global community? What can we do as a Brandeis community to bridge that gap going forward?
Brandeis’s diversity statement begins with: “Established in 1948 as a model of ethnic and religious pluralism, Brandeis University considers social justice central to its mission…”, and a page on the University’s website entitled “Our Jewish Roots” states, “At its core, Brandeis is animated by a set of values that are rooted in Jewish history and experience …The third is the Jewish ideal of making the world a better place through one’s actions and talents.” If we are to take these statements seriously, we as Brandeis students cannot stay quiet on this issue. One biographer of Justice Brandeis, of which of course this school is named, has said that “Brandeis believed freedom of speech is inextricably linked to each citizen’s duty to participate in the democratic process — to debate the ideas of the day and make one’s voice known to policymakers, and to vote.” These are the reasons that we are uniquely qualified to raise this as an issue and do something about it.
Seven school districts in Virginia have sued Gov. Glenn Youngkin following his executive order banning mask mandates in the state. The school districts argue that this act endangers the lives of students and teachers alike. Over the past two years there has been strife amongst our education and governmental systems as both parties attempt to find a balance between high quality education and safety. How is the recent surge in COVID-19 cases impacting educators and students? What is at stake when teachers don’t feel safe in the workplace? What actions does our own University administration need to take in order to make sure that faculty feel heard and seen?
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.
“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.
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.
Editorial: As students return back to campus, the University must be more proactive towards its operations
A new year and a new semester have begun, and already we are facing questions about how the University will function under yet another COVID-19 surge. What seems like the inescapable grasp of COVID-19 has altered another semester, and students are forced to once again navigate changes to dining.
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.
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.
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?
Though Waltham has not identified cases of the Omicron variant, it is only a matter of time before cases are reported. This board urges all eligible members of the Brandeis community to get vaccinated or receive the booster shot.
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.