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

Editorial: Self care during the month of December

 The Justice editorial board commends the University community for persevering through another challenging semester characterized by the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate the work that staff and faculty have put into helping the community transition to mostly normal operations, and congratulate students — many of whom came to campus for the first time this August — on their perseverance. With finals season rapidly approaching, we wanted to take a moment to share some of our tips for navigating this particularly stressful few weeks and the break that follows. 

Editorial: The University’s lack of transparency during Spring registration is harmful for students

After much anticipation, the Office of the University Registrar released the spring 2022 course schedule on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 18, also announcing that course registration will begin on Dec. 1. The release, weeks later than is typical, came largely without warning, as the Registrar’s website up until this week listed the beginning of registration as “TBA.” This board expresses its disappointment in the Registrar’s office in giving students just under two weeks — one of which constitutes the Thanksgiving break — to create their course schedules for the spring.

Deconstructing kindness in relation to social justice issues

Brandeis University celebrated Kindness Week from Nov. 8 to 13. The purpose of this week-long event is to encourage and celebrate the kindness that exists within the community. No matter where you are on campus, their message is clear and pervasive. You will be continually prompted to love yourself and to treat others kindly, whether it is through one of their many events, posters and even reminders chalked onto the pavement. 

Views on the News: The COVID-19 pandemic and the growing teacher shortage

Throughout the past decade the growing teacher shortage has become a persistent problem across the country. Now, as we continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, this issue has only worsened. Many educators are leaving the academic workforce in hopes of better mental and financial stability. What does this shortage say about America’s demanding work culture? Should there be institutional or governmental changes to further accommodate teachers during this time? 

Editorial: Amplifying marginalized voices: Jamie Black’s REDress Project comes to campus

With red dresses hanging all throughout campus, it’s hard to bypass the ongoing “REDress Project.” Students in “Introduction to the Creativity, Arts, and Social Transformation,” led by Prof. Toni Shapiro-Phim (CAST), have partnered up with artist Jaime Black in order to set up this art exhibit. Commenting on the “more than 1000 missing and murdered aboriginal women” in North America, CAST has worked to recreate Black’s project to help illustrate this ongoing tragedy. 

Editorial: The Justice editorial board stands in solidarity with Brandeis librarians

Situated in the middle of campus, the Goldfarb-Farber Library is an essential study and resource space. It was also one of the places on campus that got hit the hardest during the pandemic during the 2020-21 academic year. To allow for social distancing, the capacity and hours of the buildings were reduced to half of what they were before COVID-19. Enforcing COVID-19 rules presented another burden atop the responsibilities Brandeis librarians already have.  

Beyond Liberty University: How Brandeis students can further anti-violence initiatives

A recent report details countless instances of institutional retaliation and victim blaming by Liberty University against students impacted by sexual violence. This amalgamation of accounts exposes a clear pattern and a “chilling effect” that discourages students from reporting, let alone validating, their experiences with violence. It also provides insights that extend far beyond Liberty University.

On polarization: can we agree on anything anymore?

After months of unnecessarily painful-to-watch negotiation and infighting, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, commonly referred to as the Infrastructure Bill, passed the House and will be presented to President Joe Biden. On the surface, it seems as though most Americans, Republican and Democratic, should celebrate that $550 billion of much needed improvements to the country’s bridges, roads, public transportation, water and energy infrastructure are on the way. More surprisingly, 13 Republicans in the house joined the overwhelming Democratic majority in supporting it, an incredibly rare show of bipartisanship.  

Former Student Union Secretary James Feng ‘22, speaks out following Union impeachment

Over the past few weeks, several senior members of the Student Union executed a  scheme to remove me from office as Secretary of the Student Union. Under the constitutional guise of impeachment, President Krupa Sourirajan ‘23, Chief of Staff Jasmyne Jean-Remy ‘22 and Executive Sen. Joseph Coles ‘22 had insisted I was completely culpable and thus could not serve as Secretary. 

Views on the News: State politicians ban Critical Race Theory from schools across America

Originally coined by lawyer and professor Derrick Bell, Critical Race Theory is a legal framework that serves to analyze the relationship between race, racism and power. The five tenets of CRT highlight the ways in which racism shapes the world around us. This year, state politicians enacted wide-spread bans against teaching CRT in school districts across America. Is there a social responsibility to educate students about America’s relationship with racism? What issues arise when the topic of racism is avoided, especially in academic spaces? Is there a better alternative to teaching Critical Race Theory in schools?  

Editorial: Students’ mid semester burnout goes beyond the mounting exams and assignments

Midterm season at Brandeis is in full swing, and with that, students are experiencing increased stress levels and plummeting mental health. It would be easy to say that the stress of midterm season is the sole cause of students’ decline in mental health. However, that would be an oversimplification of a decline in mental health that is not only emerging at Brandeis but across other college campuses. According to Samantha Meltzer Body, chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “Campuses are a microcosm of the larger societal problem of worsening mental health during the pandemic.”  While the return of in-person classes has brought some return to normalcy, many students do not merely operate within a university setting—students are also employees and caretakers whose responsibilities span beyond their mounting midterm exams and assignments.  

A Black nation is rising: race and the uprisings of 2020

It has been over a year since the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police department and the subsequent uprisings in defiance of the system that led to his death. Acronyms and slogans such as “ACAB,” “BLM” and “defund the police”  that once saturated the world have seemed to disappear overnight. Day after day, month after month, year after year, the list of Black martyrs gets longer and little is done beyond the cosmetic utilization of their names within news headlines, Instagram bios and sadly, even Tinder profiles.  

Views on the News: Midterm season and students’ mental health

For college students across the nation, October marks the beginning of midterm season — a period marked by increased workload and a plummet in students’ mental health. During this time, students experience a range of emotions from high stress to anxiety. Is there a culture at Brandeis that promotes overworking and excessive studying?  How can students effectively manage midterm stressors, and are there adequate resources at Brandeis to support students during this time?  

Technological burnout: the dangers of obsessive innovation

I think that the term “fried brain” might be a real concept, even possibly an understatement, and I’m not so sure my workload is the sole culprit anymore. In the midst of a writer’s block-inspired-work-pause yesterday, I grew frustrated at the way my Kindle, laptop and phone screen all surrounded me in some seamless, almost sneering electronic bridge between me and my dream of a non-internet, anti-electronic reprieve. As if in laughter at my online academic bubble, my phone and computer both lit up on cue ten minutes before my next appointment. All I could do was put my head on the table, dreading the inevitable energy zap, my blood pressure rising. I have been sleep-deprived for days, and being relegated to Zoom meetings has yet again hastened my burnout. I am very aware that a significant amount of my stress stems from my habit of saying yes to almost every opportunity that comes my way— a habit I surely need to work on. 

Rest and resistance: sleeping as a revolutionary act

“Exhaustion is not okay,” my mentor said to me as I described another brutal week of struggling to balance all of my academic, social and work-related commitments. As midterm season descended upon Brandeis, I accepted that the level of exhaustion and stress I was experiencing prior was child’s play compared to the marathon of essays, exams, emails and books I would have to finish within two weeks. I was prepared to endure the late nights, long days and short break times until I met with my mentor a couple of weeks ago, where she told me, “exhaustion is not okay.” This was not the most remarkable piece of advice I ever received, but it was enough to snap me awake to the realization that the same metric I was using to measure my value—my productivity—only lowered me deeper into a stress-laden, sleep-deprived hole.  

Views on the News: Comedy and Social Responsibility

Critics and fans alike have much to say on Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix special, “The Closer.” Netflix is facing pushback, including a planned walkout organized by its own employees, one of whom Netflix suspended in the process. But Chappelle is far from the only performer in recent years to use language that is perceived as demeaning to a particular group of people in the name of comedy and to receive a platform to do so.  When and how does comedy toe the line between humor and violence or bullying? Do comics have any social responsibility to fulfill on the stage? Do media, television and streaming companies have any social responsibility in promoting and funding content? 

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