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

Criticize oversimplification of campus free speech issues

The Google search “where is free speech under attack?” yields a page where virtually every article is about college campuses. Spurred by firebrands such as Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos, the right wing has converged on academia with indignation and ire. Their claim is that the liberal consensus at most universities is stifling and victimizing to conservative students. Not since the ‘War on Christmas’ has an ideological crusade been so pointless. 

Views on the News: Digital tracking in medication

According to a Nov. 13 New York Times article, Japanese-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company recently received Food and Drug Administration approval for a psychiatric drug featuring a digital tracking device. The pill is designed with a sensor that is activated upon contact with stomach fluids. A signal is then sent to a patch on the skin that records the time before it is transferred to a mobile application that allows users to enter mood, amount of sleep and other data. Some have already expressed concern about this technology, calling it a "Biomedical Big Brother." What do you think of this invention and does it seem beneficial? 

Implement change in current blood donation policies

Early in the 1980s, the United States faced an HIV/AIDS epidemic.  Not much was known about the emergent virus, except the misconception that it was a “gay plague.” The original disease was called Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, but soon, as cases outside of the gay community started to sprout, the disease was referred to as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. In 1983, the Food and Drug Administration issued the first blood donor deferral policy, which prohibited men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood if they have had a single sexual encounter with another man any time since 1977. According to the American Red Cross, the U.S. is in a constant shortage of blood; with someone requiring a blood transfusion about every two seconds, the ban could pose an obstacle to saving more lives, not to mention  that it is inherently prejudiced. 

Criticize the University for canceling ‘Buyer Beware’ production

When Brandeis is in the national news, the University has invariably succumbed to one of two extremes: either great pride, like Professors Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey Hall winning a Nobel Prize, or great shame, like the Ayaan Hirsi Ali fiasco a few years ago. So when my phone suddenly went berserk with news alerts, I knew I was in for an emotional afternoon. 

Discourage voters from supporting sexual assailants

As Moore’s campaign rolls on, defended by Alabama voters, we must question why we hold entertainers to moral standards but let politicians off the hook. If we find sexual assault and misconduct universally detestable, don’t these crimes deserve universal condemnation? 

Recognize the importance of critics

Critics are nobody’s favorite people in the arts community. Artists work hard for months or even years at a time only to be criticized in a few hundred words written by a third-party audience member with their own subjective preferences and interpretations. This, however, is what makes the critic’s circle so diverse. 

Address issues in acquisition of prescription medication

Anyone who is regularly prescribed controlled substances has probably experienced many frustrations in the process of obtaining the drugs. For example, under the Controlled Substances Act, no prescription for a controlled substance in Schedule II, a class of drugs that have a high potential for abuse, may be refilled, requiring a patient to visit their prescriber for a written prescription every time they run out.  

Views on the News: Paris climate agreement

 According to a Nov. 7 CNN article, Syria recently joined the Paris climate agreement, making the United States the only member of the United Nations to not have done so. President Donald Trump previously announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement, stating, "We're getting out." Former President Barack Obama weighed in, stating that the decision would negatively impact American workers. What do you think of this development and how should the U.S. proceed? 

Criticize actor Kevin Spacey’s response to recent allegations

According to an Oct. 19 Buzzfeed article, actor Anthony Rapp revealed that actor Kevin Spacey made sexual advances on him when Rapp was only 14 years old. With Spacey’s eventual coming out as a gay man, one wonders if the homophobic bigots will commence pressing the case that LGBTQ people are a threat to children. 

Views on the News: New Passports

According to a Nov. 2 New York Times article, Americans convicted of sex offenses against children will now have a passport to reflect their actions. Individuals in the Department of Homeland Security's database will be notified that their current passport will be revoked and replaced with the modified version. However, the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws is against the decision, calling it a "slippery slope." Do you agree with this policy or is it violating individuals' rights? 

Encourage students to remember the actual relevance of grades

 Exam season is underway and with this comes the influx of students stressed and studying ardently to earn a good grade. This is a commendable action, but intense studying, coupled with the pressure to do well and the high expectations imposed upon students, makes it easy to become discouraged or overwhelmed. School is competitive and right now, outperforming peers can feel like the only thing that matters. This stress can be detrimental, and in order to prevent any disastrous outcomes, it is vital that students keep the truly important things in mind. Grades matter, but they are not everything.  

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