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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Upcoming speakers bring added confidence to Brandeis

Published: January 19, 2007
Section: Opinions

For the past few weeks, Brandeis has been hit by waves of controversy, outrage, conflicting ideologies, agendas, and scathing media attention due to the upcoming speeches of former President Jimmy Carter and Alan Dershowitz. But we at The Hoot feel that, regardless of ones personal politics, the speeches have also given Brandeis a new lease on its intellectual and political life.

For the first time during our tenure at Brandeis, we have heard a full spectrum of the student bodyeven many of those who have professed to be apoliticaldebating the merits of President Carters visit, both in terms of his background, both during and after his presidency, as well as statements made inside and in promoting his recent book, Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid. This sort of debate will not have a final answer after Tuesdays speeches nor anytime soon. However, we at The Hoot feel that while answers may not be forthcoming, the fact that the Brandeis community has become so incensedeither for or against Carter or Dershowitzand continues to weigh the arguments of the situation, proves it has once again regained the intellectual and political spark that helped found this prestigious university.

Furthermore, we at The Hoot have noticed another trend based on these two speeches, which goes above and beyond the political backgrounds of the speakers. That trend is a subtle but profound rise in this schools confidence. As many long-time students who have previously complained about the seeming inability for things to get done at Brandeis, having unarguably prestigious and immensely successful speakers, such as Carter and Dershowitz, have reminded us that we too can strive for that level of success and expertise.

For many students who have felt doubted Brandeis status as a hidden gem amongst the Ivies, this sort of recognition and attention by nationally renowned figures only confirms the best ideals that we all heard when we looked at this school. The question is, what can we do with this new spark of activism and scholarship? What matters less is whether or not we change our minds, or those of others;

what is important, however, is that we continue to ask ourselves the difficult questions, regardless of whether or not they are precluded by visits by media celebrities. And now that we have seen that we at Brandeis are worthy of being the center of debate, of being a pinnacle of national attention, we must continue to build upon our activist foundations, and continue to make our presence knownboth on a local and national scalethrough the same kind of tenacious grass-roots efforts that have brought Carter and Dershowitz.

This is your time to make your mark. Behind the controversy, and the media spin, our university is at its bestindeed, we are not taking one side or the other, but instead hearing a debate from the most ardent and vocal practitioners of both sides. And we at The Hoot feel the student body should not stop there. Before this speech, it was half a century since Brandeis has seen a President of the United States. Lets make up for lost time.