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

Backpacks play an important, yet controversial role

Backpacks are everywhere. Everywhere except on the actual back of the person carrying said backpack. On and off campus I see the latest trends of how not to wear a backpack. By now we all know that one-strapping (i.e. carrying the backpack using one strap on only one shoulder) the backpack is the wrong way to go, if you want to keep both your balance and your posture. But two-strapping the backpack and then wearing it low on the back is also the wrong way to go. 


Greta Thunberg: moral exemplar

 If you have been paying attention to the news recently, you’ve likely seen numerous headlines from numerous major news outlet regarding 16-year-old Greta Thunberg and her international protest movement, which is centered around combating climate change and its effects on a global scale. Thunberg, who hails from Stockholm, Sweden, rose to international prominence in 2018. Then, she spent her days outside of the Swedish Parliament demanding stronger action on global warming, holding a sign which declared, “School strike for climate.” Depictions of Thunberg’s valiant protests went viral, and her address to the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference sparked worldwide protests against inaction on the part of world leaders in the face of an unprecedented existential threat. Those protests were primarily led by students seeking to emulate Thunberg’s actions —  many walked out of school in a similar fashion.  


Views on the News: Ukraine Scandal

 Last week, an anonymous member of the Trump administration alleged that the President, in a phone call with Ukranian President Vlodymyr Zelensky, asked Zelensky to investigate the business dealings of 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Many historians and politicians have called this action an apparent abuse of power warranting President Trump’s impeachment. On Sept. 24, the House of Representatives announced that it was moving forward with impeachment proceedings. Given how complicated this issue is and how quickly the story is developing, do you think that the American public can keep track of all of the facets of this issue and form their own opinions? How should Democrats and Republicans frame this story to try to convince Americans of their party’s interpretation? 


EDITORIAL: Progress made on campus sustainability efforts

 On Sept. 26, the Office of Sustainability, the Senate Sustainability Committee and the Brandeis Sustainability Ambassadors sponsored the State of Sustainability presentation. At this event, various new environmental initiatives were announced. Upcoming campus sustainability initiatives include the elimination of approximately 10,000 plastic bottles annually from many on-campus vendors, the addition of about 40 more compost bins around campus and the investment in renewable energy efforts around the country to compensate for Brandeis’ carbon footprint. These are outstanding steps toward making the University more sustainable. 


EDITORIAL: Advising improvements for President’s office hours

 On Oct. 2, University President Ron Liebowitz emailed the Brandeis community inviting students, faculty and staff to his open office hours on Oct. 10, Nov. 6 and Nov. 14. The President’s availability lasts for two hours on each day, and each individual can sign up for one 15 minute slot. More office hours will be available in the future, though specific dates are not mentioned in the email. As of press time, one time slot dedicated to students was available, and two slots for faculty are still available.  


Letter to the Editor: Local Election Involvement

 I am a class of 1991 alum who student-taught at Waltham High, and became engaged in Waltham civic life through the Waltham Group and other university-community partnerships. Through Brandeis, Waltham became my new hometown, and then Brandeis became a second home for my daughter, Marisa Diamond, whose childhood as a Waltham Public School student was enhanced greatly by her regular visits to Brandeis for cultural events. 


Union representative reports on Trustees’ Sept. meeting

 The board is both excited and engaged for the new school year. Prominent topics for this year’s opening meeting included improving student life, enhancing campus culture and advancing the institution. In his “Framework for Our Future” report, President Liebowitz highlights three main strategic areas that Brandeis’ senior team will be working on this fall. These strategies include creating a more inclusive and vibrant on-campus community, fostering a culture of intellectual rigor and advancing both national and worldly knowledge of community. The trustees have expressed interest in engaging more actively with students on campus. Both Trustees and Senior Administration expressed commitment to the continued efforts to bridge the gap between academic and on-campus life for students. 


A love letter to affirmative action

 When I read the takeaways from Students for Fair Admission v. Harvard, I stepped out onto the top of the Rabb Steps the next day and took a good hard look at a 2:00 p.m. rush, a hundred strong. I felt two things. The first was immediate relief. Affirmative action is safe for now, and the diversity I saw only stands to grow from here. The second feeling I had, however, was more malignant. Would this campus be better with less people like me? 


Loughlin admissions scandal reveals double standard

 We’re living in a time when obtaining a college degree has never been more valuable, and has also never been more expensive. The act of being admitted to the nation’s top universities has turned into a bloodbath between high school students from all across the nation. Millions of students nationwide are asking themselves the same question, “How can I make myself standout from my peers?” Being a recent high school graduate myself, I am fully aware of the competitive nature of my generation. Just a few months ago I was one of those students vying for a spot at one of the many elite institutions.  


EDITORIAL: Transparency required in room inspections

 In a Sept. 17 email, the Department of Community Living announced that fire drills would be occurring over the two-week period following the email. During these drills, the City of Waltham’s Fire Marshall will be asking DCL staff to enable them to “enter rooms at random,” and if any prohibited items are found, the items “will be confiscated at that time and a member of [DCL] staff will follow up,” the emails stated. But what does “random” mean? Will DCL staff also be entering rooms, or only accompany the Fire Marshall to the door? This board  recommends that DCL make this process as transparent as possible — especially given recent controversy over DCL Health and Safety Inspections. 


Views on the News: New York Times Kavanaugh Coverage

 Last Sunday, The New York Times published an essay based on an upcoming book written by two of its writers that includes a new allegation of sexual assault against United States Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The piece details alleged misconduct by Kavanaugh during a residence hall party at Yale University — though the alleged victim declined to comment and later said that she did not remember the incident, which The Times did not report. Some Democratic representatives are calling for Kavanaugh to be impeached, while other senior Democrats have pushed back against the idea. Do you think the Times was right to publish this allegation in the way it did? How should the government respond to these allegations?  


Kamala Harris’ campaign failures resemble Rubio in 2016

 Unless you’re perennial front-runners Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders or the ascendent Elizabeth Warren, it’s tough to be a Democratic candidate for president. With the troika of the former vice president, the left-wing folk hero and the plan-touting senator eating up almost all available political and media oxygen, the other 20-odd candidates looking in are shut out in the cold. No one has felt this deprivation quite like California Senator Kamala Harris, once pegged by many as the odds-on favorite of the race. 


Democrats’ swing to the far left is cause for serious concern

 The traditional logic surrounding presidential runs is that one should campaign as a moderate, because the American electorate is understood to be a bell curve with small wings and a large center. This strategy remained fairly consistent until 2016, when Hillary Clinton, by most accounts a pragmatic centrist, was defeated by Donald Trump, who pandered almost exclusively to the far right. 


Is Universal Basic Income poverty’s silver bullet?

 I was trying my best to work off the box of cookies I had eaten earlier in the day when a surprising video popped up on my newsfeed — a clip about universal basic income. As someone who was trying to bike their way out of caloric purgatory, I of course was interested in anything that could keep my mind off of the pain I was feeling. What ensued was a barrage of information explaining how a universal basic income would be the solution to the country’s poverty problem. So, if the claims about it are to be believed, why is there so little buzz around this idea? 


Thinking for oneself counters campus indoctrination

 This particular submitter sent me a rather lengthy article on — what they perceived to be — the worthlessness of a liberal arts degree from most universities due to subjects in the humanities being “bathed in political leftism.” The individual claimed that anyone who majors in these subjects is a fool and not worth hiring. The article went on at length regarding how young college students have been brainwashed into hating America and “American values,” and that this mass persuasion is begetting a generation of college graduates wholly unaware of the many facets of American civil and intellectual life.  


Third Democratic primary debate recap and rankings

 The third Democratic debate was scheduled for after Labor Day, a time many consider to be an inflection point in attention paid to the race. It was the first single-night debate, with all the candidates congregating on stage to dance to the tune of the moderators’ questions and crowd reactions. 


EDITORIAL: Book forums can attract a larger audience

 Every summer, the University selects a book for incoming students to read and then participate in a discussion with the author(s) of that book. In past years, this conversation was only open to the first-year students arriving on campus in the fall, because the event was held before upperclassmen arrived on campus for the fall semester. As a result, the author would only come during what is now known as ’Deis Week.  


A personal perspective on Jordan B. Peterson’s psychology

 In  late  2017, I developed a very serious mental health problem: after encountering crushing catastrophes in multiple facets of life, I became an angry, bitter, resentful, purposeless and vengeful person. As a self-proclaimed radical liberal who believed in moral relativism and subjectivity, my intellectual composition only helped exacerbate my worsening situation. In short, I had fallen into a chaotic abyss that was myself, and my long-standing personal philosophies only rendered prospects of recovery even dimmer. 


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