Spring is here, which means Brandesians are taking to the outdoors to … continue studying. Ever-industrious laptop and textbook-toters are settling in the two library-adjacent outdoor study spaces, as well as Mandel’s patios en masse. However, cigarette smoke dissuades many students from working outside.
Modern-day voters may have trouble believing that a Republican president signed the suite of environmental regulations that we rely on today into law. “Clean air, clean water, open spaces. These should be the birthright of every American. If we act now, they can be,” declared President Richard Nixon in his January 1970 State of the Union address. And act he did, by approving and funding the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. President Nixon approved the implementation of more stringent emissions standards with the Clean Air Act that same year, as well as regulations concerning watershed pollution with the Clean Water Act in 1972. Finally, among other bills, he signed the Endangered Species Act in 1973, which has since protected not only threatened animals but also the habitats they occupy.
“You’ve really put a big investment in our country. We appreciate it very much, Tim Apple,” Donald Trump said as he commended Apple CEO Tim Cook at an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board on Wednesday. This hilarious slip of the tongue caused Tim Cook to change his Twitter name to “Tim” with the Apple logo next to his name, according to a Thursday CNBC report, as well as his official profile. The meme volcano erupted with references to well-known entrepreneurs ‘Bill Microsoft’ and ‘Elon Tesla,’ as well as colonial forebears ‘George America’ and ‘Ben Electricity.’ Technically, Elon’s surname should be a hyphenated PayPal-Tesla-SpaceX, but let us not get too pedantic. This is not the first time Trump has flubbed a CEO’s name in a corporate Freudian slip; last March he introduced Marilyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin as “Marilyn Lockheed.”
Brandeis University’s closure of the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism leaves a blind spot in the school’s commitment to social justice. For the past 14 years, the Institute has given students and professional researchers alike a structured avenue to practice what Brandeis preaches in terms of social change — allowing them to learn directly from professional researchers how to use their knowledge and skill sets for the good of others. According to its mission statement, Brandeis “affirms the importance of a broad and critical education in enriching the lives of students and preparing them for full participation in a changing society, capable of promoting their own welfare, yet remaining deeply concerned about the welfare of others.” The Schuster Institute, and specifically the Justice Brandeis Law Project, embodied this philosophy better perhaps than any other university. In their absence, Brandeis must create new opportunities for students to apply the rule of law to real-world cases.
When the mythical phoenix first ventures its head above the smolder and ash, it is a little more than an ugly, soot-covered duckling. It waddles two steps forward, falls over, and gets back up. Such is life in the community of Malibu this week as spot fires float over blackened hills, looking for untarnished brush left to consume. The worst is over, and residents trickle back in over singed asphalt to check on homes and belongings, but they are hardly in the clear. By now, the national media has covered in detail the blaze that decimated 713 structures in total, including Miley Cyrus’ mansion and “Westworld” shooting location, Paramount Ranch, according to a Nov. 16 CBS report. The story they will not tell is of the gritty rebuilding of a town that, for thousands of Angelenos, represented a reprieve from the stresses of the everyday.
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.
Fraternities aren’t for me, I thought, as bundles of blankets spilled out of my overstuffed Samsonite onto my first-year double. One orientation week and four perspiration-filled basement parties later, I sang a different tune and signed my bid, hands shaking. Through “brotherhood,” I have met some of my closest friends and grown into my own college skin, but I have also sometimes felt like I did not belong to the identity that it promulgated. First-years come to college seeking a group with which they can form a common identity. Fraternity life connects sociable people with high aspirations, and sparks fly. But sometimes, instead of sparking the creation of Facebook, what the New York Times called aggressive, hypersexualized “bro culture,” sexually attacks and harasses women, as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter at Yale infamously did. Fraternities offer lessons in leadership and teamwork, but they limit themselves by not using their resources for nobler goals such as philanthropy and diversity. If fraternities want a house to live in, they need to stand for more than crushing beer cans and upholding the patriarchy.
In an open forum held this past March, students demanded better communication and shorter appointment wait times at the BCC, as reported in a March 6 article in the Justice. The BCC recognized the demands of students from diverse backgrounds by publishing its resource guide in several languages, including Mandarin. Brandeis students have been demanding longer hours, more accessible counselors and better recognition and outreach to international students. Are these changes substantial and thoughtful enough to celebrate, or are they facelifts that fail to meet students’ needs?
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?
According to an Oct. 27 New York Times opinion piece, we do. Ruth Whippman asserts that “good social relationships are the strongest, most consistent predictor there is of a happy life,” and also that “the average American spends barely more than half an hour a day on social communication.” So where’s the disconnect? The problem with happiness is that we simply don’t value it. We say we do, of course, because saying we don’t care would be blasphemous. But by the numbers, happiness is far down the societal priority list as income inequality and a competitive, numbers-driven society pressures us economically.