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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
My focus this year on the Student Union can be summarized by three key words: transparency, affordability and connectivity.
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.
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.”
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Last Thursday, Boston experienced nearly record-breaking freezing temperatures, according to CBS Boston. On such a cold day, the BranVan really had a chance to shine: extra vans could have been chartered to handle the mass of students who did not want to walk outdoors in a 14 degrees Fahrenheit windchill, the reservations system could have been streamlined to enable impromptu rides, and space heaters or designated indoor waiting areas could have been utilized. Unfortunately, in typical BranVan fashion, no emergency plan was put in place and the vans ran as inefficiently as usual.