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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Administration can offer more than just lip service

Published: November 6, 2014
Section: Editorials

University administrators and the Student Union recently hosted a roundtable discussion for the Brandeis community to address various issues, ranging from tuition to campus sustainability, in a free and open setting. While the event was an honest effort by the Student Union to alleviate student concerns, the answers provided by the administration were unfortunately vague and eerily similar to responses given in the past, while other answers were just confusing.

For example, one student brought up the use of paper products in Sherman. The reason administration gave for this centered around the broken dishwasher in Sherman and the determination that buying disposable paper products was more cost effective than buying a new dishwasher. The administration plans to replace the dishwasher over the summer. However, this is not the first time that the dishwasher has broken—paper and plastic products were used for extensive periods of time last year as well. As well, waiting until the summer to fix a problem that is causing considerable waste every day is not an effective solution.

It becomes increasingly difficult to hold faith in the claims made by administration when it seems that time and time again, these claims are not fulfilled. Students need more than a corporate promise to fix our problems; we need real action.

The administration is usually capable of giving a well-worded response when students voice their concerns. Yet it often takes a significant period of time for the Brandeis administration to follow up on its statements and to invoke some sort of action that could provide a meaningful change in the lives of students. Too many topics covered at the round table discussion are issues that have been rehashed multiple times on the Brandeis campus. From the need to create a sustainable campus to providing students the safety and security they deserve with more robust sexual violence prevention and services, the administration continues to fail in taking the necessary rapid action. While it is true that there have been improvements in terms of sexual violence services, in the form of the Rape Crisis Center, these changes only occurred after many repeated student requests, demonstrations and a petition.

These roundtable discussions have the potential to create a productive dialogue between students and administration. However, it needs to be a conversation between students and administration on how to make proactive decisions and more legitimate plans. For now, while democratic and admirable, the roundtable discussions are merely an accessory to help the administration brush off concerns for a later date.