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Brandeis University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1949 | Waltham, MA

CEOs' personal identities are inseparable from their companies

 “You’ve really put a big investment in our country. We appreciate it very much, Tim Apple,” Donald Trump said as he commended Apple CEO Tim Cook at an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board on Wednesday. This hilarious slip of the tongue caused Tim Cook to change his Twitter name to “Tim” with the Apple logo next to his name, according to a Thursday CNBC report, as well as his official profile. The meme volcano erupted with references to well-known entrepreneurs ‘Bill Microsoft’ and  ‘Elon Tesla,’ as well as colonial forebears ‘George America’ and ‘Ben Electricity.’ Technically, Elon’s surname should be a hyphenated PayPal-Tesla-SpaceX, but let us not get too pedantic. This is not the first time Trump has flubbed a CEO’s name in a corporate Freudian slip; last March he introduced Marilyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin as “Marilyn Lockheed.” 


Gendered world languages reveal discrimination

 In light of the recent sexual abuse scandals that have arisen from the political, athletic and entertainment sectors, this year’s International Women’s day could not have come at a better time. This staple of the women’s rights movement was memorialized in 1909 and has been going strong every year since. From strikes and sit-ins to ‘women in business’ panels and concerts, the varied activities that commemorate this day are centered around women’s empowerment, love and appreciation. Internationally, both women and men have banded together on a unified front to show  support for their sisters.  


Ranked choice voting should be the future of elections

 2020 might seem like the distant future, but the Democratic presidential primary is already underway. While several potentially major candidates have yet to announce and pundits should probably cool it for at least a little longer, one thing’s clear: the Democratic field is going to be a crowded and ideologically diverse battleground. Candidates span from moderates, like Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker, to progressive stalwarts like Elizabeth Warren and, of course, Bernie Sanders. With such a large and fractured field, there’s a particularly compelling argument to be made for ranked choice voting. 


The Student Union has made progress but still needs work

 If you told me in high school that I’d be the student body vice president at Brandeis, I certainly wouldn’t have believed you. And yet, a few months ago, you put your faith in me to serve alongside our amazing President Hannah Brown as the “face” of the student body. Now, halfway through my tenure, I’d like to share some thoughts on what we’ve accomplished as a team, what I’ve learned, and what suggestions I have for the future.  


Views on the News: Venezuela Media Suppression

 Following an interview with Venezuela’s de facto dictator Nicolas Maduro, Univision anchor and news host Jorge Ramos and his crew were detained in Caracas. Ramos had questioned Maduro about the lack of democracy and humanitarian famine crisis in Venezuela, in addition to the torture of political prisoners who oppose his regime. When Maduro was shown a video of Venezuelans eating garbage, the interview was promptly cut short. Ramos and his production team were detained, and their equipment was confiscated. Although they were promptly set free, many have seen this action as a direct attempt to stifle the truth and journalism in Venezuela, where citizens are experiencing one of the worst humanitarian crises this century. How do you view this detainment in the context of the plight of the Venezuelan people? 


EDITORIAL: Brandeis Counseling Center needs more resources

  Although the BCC has hired more counselors in the past few years — and this board acknowledges that this is difficult — some students go off campus or to group therapy sessions for their specific needs. Von Steiger said that in order to accommodate the many students who seek therapy sessions, the BCC cannot offer students more than one appointment per week. To accommodate students that need to see a therapist more than once a week, the BCC offers the option of going off campus. This board appreciates that the BCC helps students find these opportunities, but recommends that with the approval of the administration, the BCC should help to make sure students who go off campus have the means to do so. Providing additional transportation to the location the individual is referred to can help students financially and make the experience even more positive. Off campus therapists can be in Newton, Cambridge or Boston, according to Von Steiger, so subsidizing commuter rail expenses — which the Student Union already plans to offer for students pursuing internships in Boston, according to Union President Hannah Brown ’19 — is a possibility. 


Substance trumps style in North Korean nuclear diplomacy

 After much fanfare, well-publicized negotiation efforts and one of the strangest love stories in modern diplomacy, President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un met earlier this week in Hanoi for a summit on North Korean denuclearization. While all parties present tried to avoid counting the result in negative terms, the summit is widely regarded as a failure; no new agreements were signed, and President Trump walked out after only half a day of deliberation. Speaking to the press afterwards, he cited irreconcilable differences in what the two sides offered that had made it impossible to come to an agreement. 


Racial tokenism goes against diversity

 As of 2016, Brandeis’ undergraduate student body was 5.4 percent African American. While this number is bound to have increased with diversity efforts implemented by the University, to call the campus truly diverse is inaccurate. There have been several instances where, personally, I have been one of few Black students in the room. The same can be said for other students of color at predominantly white universities. This in turn creates stressors for students that impede their learning and overall ability to thrive in the university setting.  


In choosing a career path, pursue what you enjoy the most

 What are some of the biggest misconceptions undergraduate students have about working in the real world? I asked this question to several business professors, to which they frequently responded with things along the lines of, “they’re unprepared for the drudgery,” “unprepared for the difficult feedback,” “unprepared to just put their head down and work.”  


Bias reporting threatens free speech in colleges

 Why does our university matter? Here, we ignite our inner fire for knowledge and seek, as free thinkers, “truth even unto its innermost parts.” We desire to exchange, question and argue among ourselves, search and find, contradict each other and move together. This free speech we enjoy within our community fuels every day. Would our enthusiasm not somehow vanish, if we stopped speaking our minds and exchanged fire for fear? 


EDITORIAL: University is falling down on its social justice mission

 This year’s ’DEIS Impact, Brandeis University’s annual social justice festival, featured 52 events. Unfortunately, this is the most impressive thing one can say about ’DEIS Impact. Though the festival’s name suggests that attendees should walk away with some sense of how Brandeis students can make an impact — either on the University itself or on society as a whole — the majority of its events provide little guidance to that end. This shortcoming, however, is only one of the reasons the festival as a whole is so poorly attended. 


Views on the News: Virginia Governor Controversy

 This past week, a photo from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s page in his medical school yearbook emerged depicting an unidentified student wearing blackface makeup and another wearing the garb of a Ku Klux Klan member during what appeared to be a costume party. Governor Northam initially apologized for being in the photo, only to backtrack the next day and claim he was not in it. Instead, he referenced another “mistake” from his past: wearing blackface for a Michael Jackson impression at a dance competition. Many politicians are calling for Governor Northam to resign. Do you think he should resign, and why or why not? 


Yemen famine crisis is an untold, preventable tragedy

 Reading the news gives me a feeling of being stuck. I feel stuck being a college student, especially in a world that has so many problems. Often I sit on the floor and feel powerless. I want to save the world, but I have classes and the T runs to Boston, not Yemen. Thus, too often my solution to big problems is to not think about them at all. How Brandesian. There is a famine in Yemen right now. Millions of pounds of grain earmarked to relieve the widespread famine are rotting in storehouses, according to the New York Times. Doctors Without Borders says the medical health system has effectively collapsed and the country is a hairbreadth away from an outbreak of measles, cholera and diphtheria.  


Enacting social justice requires personal responsibility

 As part of the University’s festival of social justice, DEIS Impact, the Brandeis chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine invited Phyllis Bennis to discuss the complex situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Bennis, a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace’s Board of Trustees, has spent decades discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She has served on various United Nations committees, spoken at universities across the nation and written nine books. Most of the pro-Israel community at Brandeis lament the rise of Students for Justice in Palestine, along with figures such as Bennis, simply because the opposition and ideas that run contrary to those at a historically Zionist university seems uncomfortable. Undoubtedly, Bennis’ visit brings a new discussion of Israel to the Brandeis campus. However, the most consequential impact of this new movement is the abandonment of personal responsibility.  


The BranVan’s problems are unacceptable and easily fixable

 There’s a lot to dislike about Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Aside from generally being an unpleasant person, he invented modern fascism, killed thousands of dissidents in horrible ways and fought on Hitler’s side in World War II. Nonetheless, it’s widely stated that he made the trains in Italy run on time, which apparently makes up for all of that. 


Superbowl ads are emotionally manipulative

 The Super Bowl is a celebration of all things American: snack foods, big crowds, boundless passion, nefariously concealed concussion scandals and colossal amounts of money. Perhaps its most American feature is the widespread concept of “watching for the ads.” Across this great nation of ours, countless individuals — myself included — passively watch a sports game they’re not terribly invested in, in order to enjoy being marketed to.  


Views on the News: China's social credit system

 As part of its developing “social credit” system, the People’s Republic of China has created software capable of detecting people nearby who are in debt. This system is one of several tactics designed to publicly shame debtors into paying off the money they owe. In addition to having one’s financial struggles on public display, an individual can also be barred from flying or purchasing train tickets due to this low “social credit score.” How do you view this system in terms of China’s politics and treatment of its citizens? Do you think there are any alternatives to encouraging Chinese citizens to pay off their debts in a timely manner? 


EDITORIAL: Students gain nothing from Union's Judiciary case

 Any club that spends an entire semester bickering, obsessing over minute projects and abandoning mature communication in favor of publicly shaming and defenestrating its leadership could be expected to try operating humbly and productively the following semester. But the Student Union is no club — a point it’s attempting to impress upon the Judiciary, which is poised to decide whether the Senate and Executive Board will be rewarded for last semester’s shenanigans with more funding and no oversight.  


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