In light of a recent petition circulating with the hope that the University would begin compensating meal plans for Community Advisors, this board would like to bring attention to the importance of supporting said petition. While the University has already rejected the previous proposal, we would like to bring light to why it should be reconsidered.
As many students are trying to secure on-campus housing for the next academic year, this board would like to offer some suggestions for the Department of Community Living regarding the current student housing system to streamline the user experience and make it less stressful for students.
The importance of communication within the University community surrounding COVID-19 cases and hybrid classes
In particular, this board takes issue with the University’s closure of an entire testing site on upper campus, the current policies and practices surrounding contact tracing and isolation for infected students, and the general sense of confusion and difficulty that has accompanied these changes that have hampered experiences in classes and elsewhere.
Prioritizing safety is especially important for those who have experienced a potential exposure from a close contact or who are experiencing symptoms. Of course, we should all be following University guidelines and adhering to instructions provided by the Brandeis Community Tracing Program (BCTP) and the Health Center if placed in quarantine or isolation — this is the least we can do to slow the spread and respect our fellow community members. But the apparent delays and communication failures of the BCTP and Health Center in notifying students when they are identified as a close contact have made it clear that simply following instructions is not enough.
This board had previously questioned the sensibility of reducing testing frequency at the same time as lifting the campus-wide mask mandate. While we appreciate that community members have been able to continue to test at any chosen frequency, we believe that this campus-wide requirement is best-suited to keep everyone safe.
As students enter the 10th week of the semester, many are just coming out of the long and arduous midterm season. This board requests that the Brandeis administration require a wellness day in March and incorporate it within the academic calendar moving forward.
No matter where you are on campus, if you’re not sure how to navigate a particular aspect of in-person college, listening to, observing, and communicating with your fellow Brandeisians are all great ways to help foster a more cohesive and conscientious community.
Students, faculty, and staff have thus far made great progress in our fight against COVID-19. We are simply asking the administration to act with mindfulness and caution while we transition to a new normal in the age of COVID-19.
The board calls on Brandeis to continue facilitating conversations about Black and POC work at the University that often goes unrecognized. Pauli Murray’s crucial contributions, that have secured the protections of many, have almost been erased from our historical narrative. Many Black and POC faculty at Brandeis are putting forth valuable research which should be uplifted and celebrated before they leave this earth.
This board is also concerned with the pace at which these reforms are happening. “Next year, we will begin a comprehensive strategic planning process that entails community input toward achieving consensus on the role, mission, vision and values for campus safety,” Rushton wrote. This has already been a multi-year process. We believe that the University’s efforts to reform Public Safety and make students feel safer on campus have been insufficient. The pace at which reforms are taking place is not proportional to the urgency of the situation — student safety must be a priority.