In light of the Nov. 10 release of the University’s Draft Anti-Racism Plan, the Justice’s editorial board will be reviewing and providing feedback on each section of the plan. We hope that these forthcoming editorials will serve as a resource for students to provide feedback to the administration. We also recognize, however, that our editorial board is predominantly white, and we will work to ensure that we are not taking space or attention away from the voices of the BIPOC students who are most directly affected by racism on campus. In line with this goal, we have grounded our analysis of the appendices in the demands put forward in the Black Action Plan. This editorial will focus on the "Re-imagining Public Safety" section of Appendix D, Department of Campus Operations and Office of Human Resources; Appendix N, Department of Community Living; Appendix F, the School of Arts and Sciences; and Appendix P, the Brandeis Counseling Center.
In his recent email about the Draft University Anti-Racism Plan, President Ron Liebowitz linked to a list of appendices that go into detail about the plan. Appendix B, “Our History of Anti-Racism Initiatives,” touches on several initiatives that the University has spearheaded, including the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. scholarships, the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program and the Brandeis Posse program. However, it largely focuses on the history of protests and occupations led by Black students and other students of color at the University. This board feels that the emphasis on these protests in a section titled “Our History of Anti-Racism Initiatives” incorrectly focuses on examples of the University’s commitment to social justice, rather than examples of the University’s racist systems and history.
Editorial: The University needs to reevaluate its communication strategies surrounding the anti-racism plan
In June, during the resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests after police killed George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, University President Ron Liebowitz announced the administration’s intention to create an action plan to address systemic racism on campus. After six months of work, Liebowitz and Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Mark Brimhall-Vargas unveiled the University’s Draft Anti-Racism Action Plan in a Nov. 10 email to the Brandeis community. This board commends this critical step to address long-standing issues of racism on the Brandeis campus and encourages the student body to review and critique the administration’s plans, while also highlighting concerns we have about the way the University presented the action plan to the campus community.
The transition to virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many new challenges for students and professors. This board would like to take the time to identify and address some issues we have noticed after several months of online classes.
As COVID-19 cases increase across the United States, many of us are no strangers to social isolation. With social distancing guidelines expected to continue throughout the winter, feelings of sadness, depression and anxiety can creep in as one thinks of another few months stuck indoors. For individuals who suffer from seasonal depression, the COVID-19 pandemic can feel like an added layer of stress to the winter months ahead. However, this board hopes that proper preparation and these self-care tips can ease the transition into the pandemic winter.
As the weather becomes colder and more dangerous, this board would like to bring attention to some of the issues that may arise at Brandeis as we experience winter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an unprecedented semester, the University has implemented a number of policies both to provide students with necessary campus services and to contain the spread of COVID-19. One such policy is the University’s use of a Campus Passport Portal system, where, in order to access certain services on campus, students must fill out a daily health assessment and confirm their COVID-19 biweekly testing status. Students receive a color and status through the passport system, which corresponds to their eligibility for navigating the campus and accessing dining halls, classrooms, the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center gym and testing sites. This board commends the University for its efforts to ensure the safest possible campus at this time. The passport system is a well-intentioned attempt to deliver a safe yet effective means of both ensuring the best possible campus experience, and making sure students, staff and faculty alike can navigate the campus safely. However, key issues remain with the passport service’s accessibility and ease of use.
Editorial: As Election Day approaches, professors should adjust their expectations so students can exercise their civic duty
With the 2020 presidential election exactly a week away, tension is mounting, and voters are flooding to the polls. As this board wrote last week, it is incredibly important that Brandeis students vote up and down the ballot this election cycle. We now turn to professors and ask that they accommodate students on and around Election Day to ensure that everyone who is eligible can vote without it interfering with their academics.
Editorial: The Justice endorses former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. for President of the United States
As Election Day approaches on Nov. 3, this board has unanimously decided to endorse former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Sen. Kamala D. Harris for President and Vice President of the United States. This ticket’s stance on key issues is preferable to that of the incumbent administration, and we urge readers to cast their ballots early for the Democratic ticket.
As the 2020 presidential election approaches, questions about registration deadlines, mail-in voting requirements and other available forms of voting participation have become prevalent. With the number of COVID-19 cases rising, these concerns have been magnified as individuals around the country search for the safest way to participate in the voting process. This board would like to encourage all eligible individuals, particularly Brandeis students, to use available resources to facilitate their participation in this year’s presidential, state and local elections. Links to these resources can be found at the bottom of this article.