In an open forum on Monday, Oct. 29, University President, Ron Liebowitz shared his proposal for a “framework for Brandeis’ future.” These goals, reiterated in an email to the community sent out on Friday, Nov. 2, include a plan to revamp the housing system in order to promote a more positive social environment among members of the University community. This board agrees that much can be done to improve residence life on campus and urges the president to consider the following options.
The current healthcare system could see a major shakeup after Nov. 6. Several Democrats running for governor in states that rejected the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, like Stacey Abrams (D-Ga.) and Andrew Gillum (D-Fla.), have made healthcare access a major issue in their campaigns. Additionally, five states have Medicaid expansion as a direct ballot issue. How you feel about expanding Medicaid, and how could proposed expansions affect the upcoming elections?
In the grand scheme of the vast American media landscape, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, while an undeniably vicious hate crime that claimed the lives of 11 congregants and injured several others, has already become old news. Naturally, nearly every individual of some prominence in the United States has spoken about not only the genuinely evil violence associated with this crime, but also the underlying bigotry and anti-Semitism expressed by the perpetrator.
In an op-ed last week, editor Judah Weinerman excoriated the YouTube series Prager University, abbreviated as PragerU, which features conservative and libertarian speakers providing alternative viewpoints on controversial topics such as immigration, race relations and the proper role of the government within society.
On Wednesday and Thursday, at least nine crudely made pipe bombs were sent to prominent individuals and organizations across the U.S., according to an Oct. 25 New York Times article. The targets span from politicians — former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton among them — to actor Robert de Niro, investor George Soros, former CIA director John Brennan and CNN’s New York offices. The connecting factor between these targets was quickly evident: they are all critics of President Donald Trump, and have been repeatedly verbally attacked by him.
For those of you lucky enough not to know, the term incel is a contracted version of the phrase “involuntary celibate” and describes a person who defines themselves as unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one. In its current use, self-described incels are overwhelmingly white and male, and their behavior centers around a seething resentment towards women, girls and conventionally successful men.
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.