The Spring 2021 semester has continued with many restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic implemented in the Fall 2020 semester. As classes continue in both a remote or hybrid learning modality, this board is concerned with the lack of 10-minute breaks in some classes.
On Feb. 1, the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, deposed the democratically elected parliament and arrested a prominent leader of the majority party, Aung San Suu Kyi of the National League of Democracy. The Tatmadaw also declared a one year state of emergency and took control of Myanmar’s government.
If you hand a cranky toddler a hammer, chances are they attempt a good hashing at whatever is in front of them. If you give a patterned fraudster unchecked executive authority, is it fair to say he will use that power to pardon his co-conspirators?
In light of the Nov. 10 release of the University’s Draft Anti-Racism Plan, the Justice’s editorial board will be reviewing and providing feedback on prominent sections. We hope that these forthcoming editorials will serve as a resource for students to provide feedback to the administration. We also recognize, however, that our editorial board is predominantly composed of white students, and we will work to ensure that we are not taking space or attention away from the voices of the BIPOC students who are most directly affected by racism on campus. In line with this goal, we have grounded our analysis of the appendices in the demands put forward by the Black Action Plan. This editorial will focus on Appendix O: Dean of Students Office. Appendix O is organized into four subheadings — Student Activities, Student Rights & Community Standards, Care Team and Department of Community Service — along with an introductory section explaining the DOSO’s “actions steps in response to the Black Action Plan.”
As another semester on campus dominated by COVID-19-related restrictions kicks into gear, this board would like to offer an appraisal of some of the recent changes to dining on campus.
Recently an article was published by your team reflecting on the services provided by Escort Safety Service, specifically that of the Accessibility Transport van service that is offered. We, the current management team and the appropriate campus partners, came together to review the concerns raised in the article and the policies currently in place. We would like to use this platform to address some of the concerns raised in the article, as well as how we are looking forward to the future.
In an open letter to the Division of Science published in the Justice on August 27, 2020, a challenge was leveled against what was dubbed the “meritocratic extreme” in science education, arguing that its ethos has been used to rationalize outmoded, non-inclusive teaching practices and a generally unsupportive culture. The letter also argued that the Division’s failure to address this and to prioritize matters of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has produced a litany of inequitable experiences for many of our underrepresented minority students (URM).
The events of Jan. 6, 2021 need no introduction. A month ago, the nation and the rest of the free world watched in horror as the Capitol building was breached by a fanatical Trump-supporting mob that sought to overturn an election and execute several elected officials. In the aftermath, five people, including a Capitol police officer, died, and hundreds more were injured. Several high-ranking cabinet members resigned, and representatives and senators both Republican and Democrat strongly condemned the riots, explicitly placing the blame for the incitement of the irate horde on the shoulders of former President Donald Trump himself. Trump and his repeated, unsubstantiated claims of election fraud stoked the fear, anger and prejudice of millions. Unfortunately, this is where the unity ended. In order to both prevent the spread of dangerous election-related conspiracy theories and the future planning of violent terror, nearly every social media platform, from Twitter to TikTok, banned former President Trump and suspended the accounts of thousands of his supporters. One platform in particular, the right-leaning, “free speech”-supporting Parler, was deplatformed entirely, with the App Store and Google Play Store banning its presence, and Amazon Web Services refusing to host its servers.
On Wednesday, Jan. 27, President Biden signed a series of executive orders addressing the climate crisis. These executive orders ranged from pausing federal oil leases to increasing the use of electric cars, with a specific goal of making the United States carbon neutral by 2050. Some have praised Biden for his ambitious policies in addressing the climate crisis, while others believe it is not ambitious enough. Over this century, the world is on track for a temperature rise of three degrees Celsius, making this coming decade critical for slowing carbon dioxide emissions. Another common critique of Biden’s climate plan is the potential economic impact it will have on middle-class families who depend on fossil fuel jobs for income. Is Biden’s 2050 goal too ambitious considering the years it will take to reverse the Trump-era policies on climate change, or not ambitious enough? What else should Biden do to fight climate change?
Editorial: Feedback on Athletics and Academic Services sections of University’s Draft Anti-Racism Plan
In light of the Nov. 10 release of the University’s Draft Anti-Racism Plan, the Justice’s editorial board will be reviewing and providing feedback on prominent sections. We hope that these forthcoming editorials will serve as a resource for students to provide feedback to the administration. We also recognize, however, that our editorial board is predominantly composed of white students, and we will work to ensure that we are not taking space or attention away from the voices of the BIPOC students who are most directly affected by racism on campus. In line with this goal, we have grounded our analysis of the appendices in the demands put forward by the Black Action Plan.
During the extended break, I went back home to Mountain View, California. For the past few years, I’ve been an avid walker, and I love taking pictures of cats, homes and landscaping that have curb appeal. I’ve recently also started listening to books as a way of using my walking time more productively. One day, while walking around my neighborhood, I was listening to “Rise of the Warrior Cop,” by Radley Balko. Suddenly, I was stopped by a lady in a gray late model Toyota Camry.
The vexing issue of anonymous campus confessions pages, where students can anonymously submit posts for viewing by anyone who follows them on social media arose again over winter break. The confessions group associated with Brandeis is well known for being a forum for both anti-Jewish and racist sentiments. I’d share some examples, but I’d prefer not to share expletives.
On Saturday Nov. 7, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. was elected the 46th president of the United States. After a tumultuous election season, Biden beat lame-duck President Donald J. Trump with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 electoral votes. Biden’s win is largely attributed to support in swing states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Biden’s win also marks a historical moment for California Sen. Kamala Harris, who is the first Black and South Asian woman to be elected vice president of the United States. What was your reaction to the Biden-Harris win? What do you think should be the top priorities for the new administration? Also, what do you anticipate as the biggest resistance to the new administration?
Editorial: The University needs to reevaluate its communication strategies surrounding the anti-racism plan
In June, during the resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests after police killed George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, University President Ron Liebowitz announced the administration’s intention to create an action plan to address systemic racism on campus. After six months of work, Liebowitz and Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Mark Brimhall-Vargas unveiled the University’s Draft Anti-Racism Action Plan in a Nov. 10 email to the Brandeis community. This board commends this critical step to address long-standing issues of racism on the Brandeis campus and encourages the student body to review and critique the administration’s plans, while also highlighting concerns we have about the way the University presented the action plan to the campus community.
In his recent email about the Draft University Anti-Racism Plan, President Ron Liebowitz linked to a list of appendices that go into detail about the plan. Appendix B, “Our History of Anti-Racism Initiatives,” touches on several initiatives that the University has spearheaded, including the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. scholarships, the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program and the Brandeis Posse program. However, it largely focuses on the history of protests and occupations led by Black students and other students of color at the University. This board feels that the emphasis on these protests in a section titled “Our History of Anti-Racism Initiatives” incorrectly focuses on examples of the University’s commitment to social justice, rather than examples of the University’s racist systems and history.
I’m still a Republican, but I voted for Joe Biden. It’s not my first vote across party lines, and it won’t be my last. I’ve been receiving a lot of remarks inquiring about why I’m still a Republican, and that’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot in recent years. You see, I’ve been a Republican since the Carter administration. I was quite young and upset with how Carter was handling the economy back then, and since I was all of nine-13 years old during his administration, I obviously thought I knew better. As soon as I could, I registered as a Republican, despite being in a very liberal state, Massachusetts, and again when I later moved to California.
At 11:24 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7, approximately 87 hours after polls closed in Massachusetts, CNN declared former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to be the winner of the presidential election, thus making Biden the president-elect and California Senator Kamala Harris the vice president-elect. During that time, the Democratic ticket had 273 electoral votes, and soon after the state of Nevada was called, bringing their total to 279. Now that all the states have been called by numerous prominent media outlets, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris have a total of 306 electoral votes, the same number President Trump had when he won in 2016.
President-elect Joe Biden and the Democratic Party support a $15 minimum wage. President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are completely against the idea. Yet, in the election Trump won with over 51% of the vote in Florida while a ballot initiative for a $15 minimum wage passed with 60.8% of the vote. To many, this would seem completely contradictory, but as someone who has grown up in Florida, it makes complete sense. Bill Clinton, the last Southern president from the Democratic Party, encapsulated this perfectly with a sign he hung in his Little Rock Campaign Headquarters that listed three messages: “The economy stupid,” “Don’t forget Healthcare” and “Change vs More of the Same.” People from the South may overwhelmingly vote Republican, but they are not against progessive ideas. Southerners want higher wages, better healthcare and socioeconomic change. This does not only apply to the South, but also for those living in the Rust Belt, a region in the midwest and any rural areas. It is the reason why Trump was so successful in the first place; he promised real change to people who felt as if they had been left behind. So, the question is, why was Biden and the rest of the Democratic Party’s performance in Florida and other Southern states so lackluster? The answer is how Democrats ran their campaigns.
The transition to virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many new challenges for students and professors. This board would like to take the time to identify and address some issues we have noticed after several months of online classes.
I am writing to you to provide more information related to a Justice article describing a pilot dialogue initiative in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.