My eleven-year-old brother, Sebastian, wakes up as soon as the sun’s light turns the sky pastel. When he bounces his way to the kitchen table, there is already a bowl of yogurt and a plate of freshly cut fruit arranged in a smiley face, mirroring his own energetic grin. The books that he had inevitably strewn around the house the night before have “magically” relocated to his backpack along with his lunch.
This past week, I took a break from my schoolwork to attend the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, DC.
In the discussion that occurs within the United States over the tragic humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, recent talk has been about whether the United States will intervene militarily and overthrow the dictator Nicolas Maduro, whose reign has contributed more than anything to the widespread starvation, thirst and disease being most Venezuelans are experiencing. When considering the plight of the Venezuelan people, who have been deprived of many things people in bordering countries deem commonplace, an interesting scenario arises. One can ask, what would happen if the people in another country, say the United States, were deprived of this vital infrastructure?
Modern-day voters may have trouble believing that a Republican president signed the suite of environmental regulations that we rely on today into law. “Clean air, clean water, open spaces. These should be the birthright of every American. If we act now, they can be,” declared President Richard Nixon in his January 1970 State of the Union address. And act he did, by approving and funding the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. President Nixon approved the implementation of more stringent emissions standards with the Clean Air Act that same year, as well as regulations concerning watershed pollution with the Clean Water Act in 1972. Finally, among other bills, he signed the Endangered Species Act in 1973, which has since protected not only threatened animals but also the habitats they occupy.
Law enforcement recovered a stockpile of 15 firearms and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition from Coast Guard Lieutenant Christopher Hanson’s home on Feb. 15. He was allegedly planning a terrorist attack. We shouldn’t worry, though. According to Hanson’s attorney, his collection is “modest at best” in a country with an estimated 363 million guns. His attorney's statements distract from the real issue — Handson’s firearm and ammunition stockpile was not the reason law enforcement found him. There is no way for law enforcement to know if someone’s firearm collection is growing from “modest” to whatever amount is big enough to be concerning.
Here are some interesting statistics: according to NPR, the regular admission rate to Harvard University is 5.9 percent. If one of your parents went to Harvard, it’s nearly 34 percent. In 2017, one-third of incoming class members were children of alumni.
On March 12, federal prosecutors released the names of dozens of celebrities and social media influencers who illegally arranged to have their children admitted to several elite colleges and universities. Many commentators have pointed to this scandal as evidence of a false meritocracy, and that college admissions is more of a pay-to-play system than one based on hard work. Do you think the college admissions system should be reformed, and how do you think this scandal reflects on college admissions as a whole?
One of the wonderful things about going to a university like Brandeis is being able to hear intellectual leaders, change-makers and industry powerhouses speak about their work. Clubs, organizations, institutes and departments all work to bring important individuals to campus so that members of the Brandeis community can learn directly from their personal experiences and scholarship. Recently, the University has hosted a wide range of influential speakers.
When the Department of Community Living posted housing lottery numbers, it advertised a plan to make laundry “free” starting next school year, based on the results of its SkyFactor survey. On March 13, each student enrolled in the housing lottery received an email informing them that their number had been posted and that use of the laundry facilities would be free from Fall 2019 on, an initiative this board commends.
In a March 11 interview with the Washington Post, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — currently the most powerful Democrat in office — stated that she would not support the impeachment of President Trump because it would be “too divisive” for the country,” while adding that she believes Trump is not “fit to be President of the United States.” Do you agree or disagree with Pelosi’s opposition to impeachment, and why? What effect do you think impeaching Trump would have on the country?
The 2019 Student Union presidential election has several well-qualified candidates, each of whom has a vision for creating a better Brandeis. Candidates Lizy Dabanka ’20, Oliver Price ’20 and Simran Tatuskar ’21 have similar ideas on how to improve campus life, such as working to improve the relationships between students and the University and ensuring that student needs are met. However, the candidate with the most concrete vision of how to improve the Union is Tatuskar. As such, this board endorses Simran Tatuskar for 2019-2020 Student Union president.
In response to “Task force should prioritize laundry room issues” (Tuesday, March 12): The problem of consistently out-of-order machines due to the practice of unplugging the card reader was recognized mid-fall semester. The most problematic locations were addressed over the Thanksgiving break and all remaining locations were corrected during the winter break. This was accomplished by preventing access to the card reader outlets. As a general rule, reports of out-of-order machines are addressed same day or within 24 business hours. Equipment concerns may be reported to the Campus Card Office.
One of the most striking moments of the midterm campaign season last year was when Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor of Florida, said of his opponent, “I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist. I’m simply saying that the racists believe he’s a racist.” I think what Gillum was pointing to — what we could term the “DeSantis relation”— is a helpful addition to our discourse around prejudice.
For more than two centuries, capital markets have provided a place for companies and governments to raise money to finance activities. It’s the largest game in the world: part strategy, part luck. Companies issue debt or equity to expand operations by opening new business lines, executing mergers or acquisitions, etc. Investors, in turn, pour their capital into businesses with attractive financial prospects based on the security’s price and risk. If the price is good, the risk is acceptable and the firm’s earnings are expected to increase at a rate higher than the rest of the market, then the company is a buy.
The Union has been improving, slowly but surely. A-board processes are being streamlined through new servers in the fall, the Treasury is deftly handling the budget and the Senate is re-evaluating the way it conducts itself through bylaw reforms. Simply put, the Union is headed in the right direction. The members of the E-board and A-board are working their hardest to think about long-term progress, a state of mind that Brandeis has not really embraced.
Early in the afternoon of Feb. 14, 2018, Jennifer Moll was running errands at the Walmart located behind Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where her son, Jake, was a senior. She picked up a call from him. “There’s an alarm going off, but I know it can’t be a fire drill because there is only five minutes left in school. They wouldn’t do that,” he whispered. He was confused, surrounded by chaos, and he was right; the information didn’t add up. A fire drill didn’t make sense so close to the end of the day. Students wouldn’t make it to their buses on time. Listening to her son, Moll abandoned her cart in the aisle and ran to her car. “Jake don’t hang up. If you can’t talk, don’t talk, but don’t hang up,” she implored him. They didn’t know what was happening, but the connection meant neither of them would be alone.
“How does the residential life system foster a feeling of belonging at Brandeis?” If your gut reaction to hearing this question was to burst into uncontrollable laughter — or uncontrollable tears — you’re probably not alone. The Department of Community Living is the least popular branch of the Brandeis administration; its name is often thrown around as shorthand for how out of touch the Brandeis administration is with the community. Of all the comments on Brandeis Confessions, usually a pretty good barometer of public opinion, I don’t think I’ve seen a single positive one about the job that DCL has been doing. Instead, there is a litany of complaints ranging from loud noise late at night and students smoking in residence halls to nonfunctioning showers and expensive laundry cycles, most of which fall under DCL’s authority.
Recently, Brandeis launched Duo Security's two-factor authentication system as a means of protecting students and their personally identifiable information, according to a Nov. 6, 2018 article in the Justice. This new security measure is a required part of the transition to Workday, the new human resources software that the University is currently adopting, per a Nov. 20, 2018, Justice article. Student employees are the first students required to enroll in Duo, with many students being required to enroll by March 7. After logging into a Brandeis website, students must confirm that log-in through a push notification, text or phone call, a step added by Duo. T. While this is a commendable first step to improve cybersecurity, the decision to implement such software has several oversights, and this two-factor system might not be accessible to all students.
One of Brandeis’ enduring infrastructural problems is the atrocious laundry system. In a Jan. 28 email to the Brandeis community, University President Ron Liebowitz announced the creation of a third task force to address campus infrastructure. This board urges the task force to consider improving laundry on campus.
For the second time in the history of the AIDS epidemic, a patient carrying HIV was successfully cured of the disease in London. While researchers have described this as a long-term remission of the disease instead of a cure, many are optimistic that the therapies the patient underwent could pave the way for the future of AIDS treatment, and might lead to an eradication of the disease altogether. However, this “cure” requires the use of a bone marrow transplant, a painful procedure for donors that can lead to long-term discomfort. Do you think that bone marrow transplants should continue to be used on a large scale in the search for a cure for AIDS? Should HIV research funding be directed to this method or to other experimental therapies?