It is no secret that online learning is drastically different from the traditional classroom-based education we took for granted in a pre-COVID-19 world. Although lectures and discussion sections can be approximated with Zoom calls and breakout rooms, many have worried about how to recreate a classroom testing environment remotely, with many colleges and universities turning to online proctor services as the solution. However, these online proctor services — such as Proctorio, ProctorU and Honorlock — violate student privacy and exacerbate existing systems of oppression. This board is grateful that Brandeis has not instituted the use of these proctor services in response to the pandemic, and we call on all educational institutions, including our own, to take a bold stance against these services.
EDITORIAL: Transparency and oversight needed regarding consequences of violating COVID-19 regulations
Since the University announced its reopening plans on June 30, several on-campus offices and departments, including the Department of Community Living, the Office of Student Affairs, the COVID-19 Task Force and the Dean of Students Office, have collaborated to implement a number of mandatory policies to ensure the health and safety of Brandeis students, faculty and staff. The measures—which include social distancing, mask wearing outdoors and indoors, limitations on gatherings, completion of daily health assessments and frequent testing—apply to all members of the community engaging in any type of activity on-campus. While the University has emphasized that violations of these policies will “result in loss of on-campus privileges and may also result in disciplinary action,” it remains unclear what exactly this disciplinary action will entail. This board worries that such lack of specificity from both the administration and the various offices that will enforce the policies could lead to discriminatory practices against students of color in the Brandeis community.
EDITORIAL: Brandeis’ early success with curbing the spread of COVID-19 should be met with cautious optimism
Fall 2020 at Brandeis has been and will continue to be a semester like no other in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure the safety of community members while continuing day-to-day operations during this challenging time, the University has adopted a comprehensive list of safety measures. These protocols include but are not limited to hosting most classes and events remotely, building a large-scale, well-maintained frequent testing and daily online health assessment system for everyone on campus, mandatory mask-wearing and physical social distancing.
EDITORIAL: Standing with Brandeis’ Black and Brown communities amidst police violence and civil unrest
In recent weeks, people all over the United States and around the world have been using their voices in a renewed call for racial justice. This board condemns anti-Black racism, as highlighted by recent incidents of police brutality, and is implementing concrete ways that we can address systemic racial inequity in our own organization.
The end of this year has brought countless unexpected obstacles, making it especially difficult to say goodbye to our seniors. Each of them has brought something special to the Justice, and we know they will bring their same strengths and passions to whatever it is they choose to pursue. Thank you to our seniors for all of your creative and thoughtful contributions to the Justice over the years.
In the last few weeks, life for the Brandeis community has abruptly and significantly changed as the University responds to the developing COVID-19 pandemic. This board hopes that students, faculty, staff, administrators and their families are staying safe and healthy amid the chaos, and we commend the efforts that the entire community has devoted to protecting and supporting each other during this time.
Brandeis University hosted a series of four Request for Proposal forums between Wednesday, March 4 and Thursday, March 5 in search of a new dining vendor. The University invited Sodexo, Harvest Table, Chartwells and Bon Appetit to present at these forums.
As news headlines breed panic about the real but still somewhat distant threat of coronavirus (COVID-19), this board would like to examine how all of this new and constantly-changing information affects the Brandeis community.
On March 4, the Student Union and the Prevention, Advocacy and Resource Center will launch their new SipChip initiative. SipChips are drink-testing devices which, upon contact with a cold drink, will indicate whether it has been tainted with any common “date-rape” drugs. SipChips will be available in numerous locations around campus, and this test run will help determine future supplies. This board applauds the SipChip initiative and sees it as a positive step forward in sexual violence prevention.
Recently, Sodexo has begun supplying students with nutritional information through a series of “Mindful by Sodexo” pamphlets available near Sherman Dining Hall. On the surface, the initiative seems like a great idea, and this board appreciates the dining company’s attempt to connect with our community. However, many of these pamphlets promote unhealthy attitudes towards food and body image. This board calls on Sodexo to reevaluate the messaging they use to connect with students, as well as for other campus organizations to closely scrutinize the ideas they promote.