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The event opened my eyes to the depth of these issues going on around campus and helped me further empathize with the needs of our faculty. Cassandra Anderson, acted as one of the coordinators of this rally. Student support was incredibly important for this rally. “If Brandeis only saw the workers advocating for themselves, they would do nothing. Student involvement was critical,” she said.
No matter where you are on campus, if you’re not sure how to navigate a particular aspect of in-person college, listening to, observing, and communicating with your fellow Brandeisians are all great ways to help foster a more cohesive and conscientious community.
Students, faculty, and staff have thus far made great progress in our fight against COVID-19. We are simply asking the administration to act with mindfulness and caution while we transition to a new normal in the age of COVID-19.
While my experience in quarantine was unremarkable, it is still unnatural to have been forced not to see anyone for five days. I urge the University, despite its recent email, to reconsider the quarantine policy, based both on scientific and mental health grounds.
Black immigrants face race-based discrimination in the United States, at a disproportionate rate. As more Black immigrants come to the United States, Louijeune voiced a central question: “Is this an opportunity for America to undergo a positive shift in reforms and political ideologies, or will people stay complacent and stagnant against racial discrimination and xenophobia?”
The board calls on Brandeis to continue facilitating conversations about Black and POC work at the University that often goes unrecognized. Pauli Murray’s crucial contributions, that have secured the protections of many, have almost been erased from our historical narrative. Many Black and POC faculty at Brandeis are putting forth valuable research which should be uplifted and celebrated before they leave this earth.
This board is also concerned with the pace at which these reforms are happening. “Next year, we will begin a comprehensive strategic planning process that entails community input toward achieving consensus on the role, mission, vision and values for campus safety,” Rushton wrote. This has already been a multi-year process. We believe that the University’s efforts to reform Public Safety and make students feel safer on campus have been insufficient. The pace at which reforms are taking place is not proportional to the urgency of the situation — student safety must be a priority.
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.