Last Tuesday, the American Studies department, along with several other departments, aided by a donation from Kent Lawrence ’66, brought conservative legal scholar Robert George and democratic socialist political activist Cornel West together for an event titled “Liberal Learning: Open Minds and Open Debate.”
As the University’s librarians and their union continue to renegotiate their contract with the administration, this board would like to highlight the many essential services that the library offers students. According to the LTS website, the Brandeis Library “houses more than 2 million volumes, both electronic and physical, 45,000 journals and 4,000 films, with a growing collection in the sciences, creative arts, humanities, government documents, Judaica and social sciences — including rare and unique collections.” In addition to these resources, the library provides invaluable personal services to the Brandeis student body. All of those services exist because the librarians are present and available for research assistance, tech help and more.
In the wake of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court and the resulting protests across the nation, University President Ron Liebowitz emailed the Brandeis community last Tuesday. The email focused on the importance of creating a “supportive environment” while stressing that the University would remain “non-partisan.” While this board recognizes Liebowitz’s attempt to acknowledge the impact of recent events and commit to keeping the University officially non-partisan, we believe that Liebowitz should have used this opportunity to send a stronger message of support to sexual violence survivors on campus.
The University is evidently proud of Skyline, the new, environmentally-friendly replacement for Usen Castle. The Castle was no longer suitable for student living, and this Board supports the construction of additional on-campus housing. Unfortunately, the layout and cost of Skyline raise concerns about the University’s decision-making during the construction process, and this board cannot fully support the final product.
When students arrived on campus at the start of the fall 2018 semester and began flocking to the mail room, they found that a new system had been put in place for package distribution. This board applauds the University for crafting a more efficient system for distributing mail, one that saves students — and those who work in the mailroom — both time and energy.
Community members gathered on the Great Lawn on Wednesday night for the annual Break Fast — known as “Break the Fast” in the pastprevious years — where the University provided free food and drinks. As in previous years, people who had not fasted for Yom Kippur were invited as well, but this year, the event started earlier, around the time that the fast ended. This led to long lines and limited seating, as fasting students arrived around the same time as non-fasting students. This board urges the University to assess this year’s event and take steps to ensure that, in the future, the entire Brandeis community can participate in Break Fast without inconveniencing students who have been fasting for 25 hours.
On Sept. 4, University President Ron Liebowitz sent an email to the Brandeis community with an update on the independent investigation into the abusive environment created within the University’s basketball program. While the initiatives the University has set out on to curtail the behavior that allowed for such gross misconduct are a good start, more should be done to make sure that this kind of abuse is not repeated.
Because of the email’s timing, students intending to study in The Hague must now scramble to complete new applications while transitioning into the school year; on top of keeping up with their regular coursework, they must obtain new letters of recommendation and compose essays for their chosen replacement programs.
Responding to persistent student requests for an expansion to hours and resources, the Brandeis Counseling Center announced a number of changes and additions to their services for this upcoming semester. While this board has concerns about how the expanded program might affect future tuition and the cost of the Brandeis health care plan, we appreciate the necessary additions made to the BCC.
As the academic year comes to a close, it is time to say goodbye to the seniors who have graduated. All were essential parts of the office, and this board wants to take the time to appreciate their hard work and passionate personalities, both in and out of the office.