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Year in review

Published: April 25, 2014
Section: Editorials


To mark The Brandeis Hoot’s 10-year anniversary and to celebrate the closing of the 2013-2014 school year, The Hoot decided to take a look back on the events that have shaped the life of students over the past year. The following five articles all involve concerns that students have raised, and that in turn, have resulted in some action by the university. This has been a tumultuous year for Brandeis, but the students have been far from silent. From protesting former president Jehuda Reinharz’s executive compensation to calling for more services for victims of sexual assault, students at Brandeis have never forgotten that they have a voice. They have written articles, signed petitions, staged protests and taken to social media. They have demanded more of the Brandeis administration and promoted our ideal of social justice.

These five stories, all shared by The Brandeis Hoot over the course of this year, prove that Brandeis students will not be silenced.

“Students demand more resources for sexual violence”:
The article describes how Brandeis Students Against Sexual Violence hand-delivered copies of of a letter to President Fred Lawrence, asking for increased resources to combat sexual assault on campus. The group also wanted to increase awareness around the issue. Students began a similar petition on Change.org, which was spread through social media outlets such as Facebook. This year, Brandeis students have also created “SpeakOut! Brandeis,” an anonymous Tumblr blog dedicated to victims of sexual assault. Administration has responded over the past year by hiring Sheila McMahon as sexual assault prevention specialist. They have also promoted the Bystander Intervention Program on campus.

“Univ. to improve crosswalk safety, collaborating with Waltham”:
The article discusses the administration’s response to a collision that resulted in the hospitalization of three student pedestrians. The crosswalk by Lindsay Pool proved to be a hazard, as The Hoot reported, considering this was not the first accident to take place there in recent years. The administration responded by upping police security around the area and encouraging students to use the button to signify their crossing. They also promised future efforts and suggested a motion-sensored crosswalk precaution.

“MSA disrespected by vandalism”:
The article details how the Muslim Student Association suite has been targeted multiple times over the past few years, and recently someone removed part of a sign that promoted peace and security. After the article was released, the MSA received many letters of support, and more students became aware of the issue. The university also offered to install a video camera.

“FA dept. underfunded, endures poor facilities”:
The article highlights the Prospect St. art studio, a building in disrepair that senior fine arts majors and post baccalaureate students take classes at. The building is also a far distance away from campus, and students struggled with transportation to and from the studio. Some students also mentioned feeling harassed and unsafe around the building. In the wake of the article, administration members contact some of the distressed fine arts majors. Transportation problems with BranVan services were somewhat resolved, and Waltham police increased surveillance in the area.

“Students protest Reinharz’s executive compensation”:
The article profiles a group of students who banded together to brave a winter blizzard in order to protest the exorbitant executive compensation received by former university President Jehuda Reinharz. The group held signs and chanted outside of the administrative offices for hours, despite the extreme winds and snow. “It is completely ridiculous to give so much money to somebody who is barely here,” said Aaren Weiner ’16, co-organizer of the protest. The university supported the students’ right to protest. “Brandeis University encourages debate, discussion and frank exchange of conflicting views.”