Even after recent changes to the Branvan reservation system, significant issues remain with both the campus and Waltham Branvan service. This board has highlighted several problems with the program in the past, but few of these suggestions were implemented. Given how many students are reliant on the Waltham and campus BranVans on a daily basis, the continual issues with the BranVan services are hard to ignore.
Brandeis students can now be spotted riding bright green bikes around campus thanks to DeisBikesLimeBike, a bike-sharing program newly launched on campus by the Student Union and Director of Sustainability Programs Mary Fischer. According to an Oct. 27 email to the Justice from Senate Chief Strategist Aaron Finkel, bringing a bike-sharing program to campus has been a priority for “well over a year.” This board applauds the Union and sustainability groups on campus for their initiative and encourages students who are interested to utilize the new service.
On Oct. 21, The New York Times reported that the Trump administration is considering defining gender as a biological condition determined by genitalia at birth. This would essentially make “transgender” a legally nonexistent category and make all Title IX cases involving transgender people impossible to bring forward. If the Justice Department approves this change, it will take effect at the end of this year. What changes could this new gender definition bring, and how should institutions such as Brandeis react to it?
It is too late to slow climate change with just windmills, solar panels and Teslas. On Oct. 24, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report asserting that “negative emission technologies” that scrub carbon dioxide from the air will be essential if we plan to contain climate change. This news comes on the heels of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that the nations of the world have a decade to shrink emissions drastically enough to restrain global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. If we fail to meet this goal, “tens of millions more people could be exposed to life-threatening heat waves and water shortages, and the world’s coral reefs could disappear almost entirely,” according to an Oct. 24 New York Times article. The methods scientists have proposed of chemically scrubbing carbon from the air are unproven and still in their infancy. As we sink resources into them, we must adapt to what will inevitably become our reality: using less of everything.
As the University’s librarians and their union continue to renegotiate their contract with the administration, this board would like to highlight the many essential services that the library offers students. According to the LTS website, the Brandeis Library “houses more than 2 million volumes, both electronic and physical, 45,000 journals and 4,000 films, with a growing collection in the sciences, creative arts, humanities, government documents, Judaica and social sciences — including rare and unique collections.” In addition to these resources, the library provides invaluable personal services to the Brandeis student body. All of those services exist because the librarians are present and available for research assistance, tech help and more.
Over the course of the past year or so, we’ve seen the meteoric ascent of the political and cultural phenomenon known as #MeToo, where survivors of sexual assault have come forward with details concerning their experiences with said crime. The allegations put forth have gone far and wide, involving celebrities like Bill Cosby and Kevin Spacey, political figures like Roy Moore and Al Franken, and, most recently, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. While most believe and support the survivors of such a heinous crime, there is a mostly male group of individuals claiming to be vulnerable to false accusations of sexual assault, which in turn is impeding their ability to pursue and remain in committed relationships.
Between the untold amount of Fortnite streamers that secretly love Hitler and “Top 10 Drops of Sweat That Rolled Down LeBron’s Face” YouTube videos, you might encounter advertisements put out by a group called Prager University. Calling them ads is a bit of a stretch, because most of them run in the four minute range. In fact, these ads are the channel’s uncut content, stuck in front of the actual video you were trying to watch. These videos are slickly produced lectures that claim to be short, information-dense overviews of contemporary historical and political issues. As their slogan goes, “Short Videos: Big Ideas.” What’s so terrible about that, you may ask?
While the president and the students are all trying to survive the midterms, the ongoing trade war between China and the United States has just added a touch of pessimism to the national outlook. On Sept. 24, $200 billion worth of United States tariffs on Chinese aircrafts, textiles and computers took effect, and the Chinese reaction was $60 billion worth of tariffs of their own in retaliation.
On Oct. 15, the Supreme Court began to hear arguments in a case filed by advocacy group Students for Fair Admissions against Harvard University, in which SFFA alleges that Harvard’s current affirmative action practices discriminate against Asian and Asian American applicants. Supporters of SFFA’s case claim that Harvard’s “holistic” approach to admissions, which takes an applicant’s race and ethnicity into account, is designed to limit the number of Asian and Asian American students on campus. Opponents claim that SFFA’s case wrongly centers on affirmative action and ignores other discriminatory admissions practices such as legacy admissions and athletic scholarships. Does SFFA’s case have merit, and how could the court’s decision impact admissions policies in the future?
Last Tuesday, the American Studies department, along with several other departments, aided by a donation from Kent Lawrence ’66, brought conservative legal scholar Robert George and democratic socialist political activist Cornel West together for an event titled “Liberal Learning: Open Minds and Open Debate.”
Like Breen’s previous feature efforts, “Twisted Pair” is completely incomprehensible. I equate it to a child’s journal written in crayon; filled with poor sentence structure and sloppy handwriting page after page, but it is art nonetheless. The film has a convoluted plot. It has, by far, the worst visual effects I have ever seen. Its egregious actors don’t deserve any other acting roles. At the center of all of this is Neil Breen. He is the writer, director, cinematographer, producer, editor, visual effects artist, sound effects artist, casting head and even craft services provider.
While speaking on the phone with what seems to be the police, both the accused nine-year-old boy and another child are shown crying and clinging to their mother. After hanging up the phone, she instructed Jason Littlejohn, the man recording the interaction, to “upload that to Worldstar” and told another woman, “You are a child. You are young enough to be my daughter,” when that woman confronted Klein for calling the police.
Since June, the University’s librarians and their union, Service Employees International Union 888, have been negotiating for a new contract. The administration is not budging, they never do. The Brandeis administration and Human Resources department are notorious for not cooperating with on-campus unions, and often try to reduce benefits and pay, while covering it up from the students. The administration and their lawyers are banking on the students not paying attention to the negotiations and the idea that students don’t care about the workers on campus. Brandeis Labor Coalition is here to change that!
Last spring, Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia commonly known as MBS, came to visit the city of Palo Alto, California, where I grew up. During his six-day stay, which coincided with Brandeis’ spring break, he rented out East Palo Alto’s entire Four Seasons hotel for himself and his entourage. Naturally, curiosity got the better of me, and I passed by the Four Seasons several times, hoping to get a glimpse of him. I wasn’t the only one. Whenever I was there, there were groups of demonstrators at the gates — sometimes few, sometimes many, but all protesting MBS and his connection to war crimes in Yemen and human rights abuses at home.
If you believe the federal government, the Monday respite that we receive in early October is known as Columbus Day, named for the Italian explorer and inexplicable American cultural icon. According to old horrible textbooks written by dead white people, brave hero Christopher Columbus risked everything and discovered America. Leaving a decrepit Europe where simpletons thought the Earth was flat and that the edge of the world was hanging out somewhere in the Atlantic, Columbus and his steadfast crew found the New World and ushered in a new era of history.
In the wake of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court and the resulting protests across the nation, University President Ron Liebowitz emailed the Brandeis community last Tuesday. The email focused on the importance of creating a “supportive environment” while stressing that the University would remain “non-partisan.” While this board recognizes Liebowitz’s attempt to acknowledge the impact of recent events and commit to keeping the University officially non-partisan, we believe that Liebowitz should have used this opportunity to send a stronger message of support to sexual violence survivors on campus.
After a 25-year lifespan in which is helped define the economic relationship between the United States, Canada and Mexico for the start of the 21st century, the North American Free Trade Agreement, better known as NAFTA, has finally been replaced. Its successor, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, contains most of NAFTA’s provisions, with a few updates that help bridge its shortcomings. President Donald Trump, who was sharply critical of the old agreement, helped to negotiate the USMCA, alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Throughout nearly all of U.S. history, the state of Texas has generated its fair share of controversy. Recently, the state has come under a great degree of scrutiny due to numerous and significant changes implemented by the Texas Board of Education regarding the curriculum arrangement and standards of elementary, middle and high school U.S. history classes.
The University is evidently proud of Skyline, the new, environmentally-friendly replacement for Usen Castle. The Castle was no longer suitable for student living, and this Board supports the construction of additional on-campus housing. Unfortunately, the layout and cost of Skyline raise concerns about the University’s decision-making during the construction process, and this board cannot fully support the final product.
This past semester, my third as a Brandeis chaplain, I have had the honor of teaching “First Year Experience: Spirit, Mind, and Body,” a class that supports first-year students as they begin their first semesters of college. In our second class session, this group of driven and thoughtful first-years shared with one another their experiences of transitioning to college. They talked about learning to share space with roommates, missing home, balancing their and their families’ expectations, the pressure to perform and, of course, how to do all this while getting their homework done! I was reminded during our conversation that this fall season, a season of endings and beginnings, is a chaotic one, not only for first-years, but for all students, and for staff and faculty as well.