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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Univ needs to communicate on recent spate of resignations

Published: November 1, 2013
Section: Editorials

An interesting theme has come to characterize the 2013-2014 school year. Many familiar faces in Brandeis Administration, some with decades of past experience on this campus, are disappearing. A procession of the most seasoned education professionals Brandeis has to offer have turned in their resignations. Common to all of these departures is the air of mystery which has obscured their circumstances. Students may only speculate that political differences between newly recruited talent and more established figures have resulted in the suspiciously timed departures of administrative talent.

So far, Dean of Student Life Rick Sawyer, a Brandeis veteran of 32 years, Dean of Admissions Mark Spencer, who had over two decades of admissions experience, and now, Senior Vice President for Administration Mark Collins, with 26 years of Brandeis experience under his belt, have thrown in the towel. Over a half-century worth of talent has exited this campus in less than six months.

As is common in resignations, we are often told that private reasons informed the ultimate decisions of these individuals to leave. But when these “private” decisions may have been incited by administrative conflicts concerning the fundamental direction of the university, students deserve to know what is going on behind closed doors. Students and their families make massive sacrifices, in both time and money, to attend this university. We need to be certain that internal turbulence does not pose a threat to that investment.

Further, all three of these individuals were valued members of the Brandeis community, with deep roots and student relationships. If for no other reason, students and members of the community deserve closure which can only come from understanding the circumstances which led to the events of the past semester.

There now exists a deficit of communication between administrators and the rest of the Brandeis community. We hope that the university will take appropriate action to rectify the situation.