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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Letters to the Editor:

Published: November 30, 2007
Section: Opinions

(In response to “Student Senate resolution”)

Dear Editor,

Last week’s Hoot featured an article about the failed Student Senate resolution demanding more transparency and inclusivity of students from the Brandeis administration, especially when dealing with sensitive topics.

In said article, senator Justin Sulsky is quoted as saying that the resolution was really about guns. This statement is not a potentially valid subjective interpretation; rather, it is completely false. Anyone who actually read the resolution and is also capable of understanding the language contained in the document would see that the “open process resolution,” as it has been named, is exactly that. It is true that the concerns that led myself and several other students here to request that such a resolution be drafted grew out of a response to the administration’s handling of the gun issue, but the message of the resolution is much larger, and, in truth, totally unobjectionable to anyone who believes in giving the community a voice, regardless of where they stand on the decision to arm campus police.

What troubles me about last week’s article is that The Hoot reporter made no reference to the fact that Sulsky was just plain wrong. While it is important that journalists be objective and seek out the views of parties on all sides of a matter, they also have a responsibility to report the facts. This means that when someone makes a comment that is blatantly false or misleading, the job of the reporter is to refer to the facts. Otherwise, the reader is led to believe in the accuracy of false statements.

Regrettably, the Hoot reporter in question failed to do this, and she thereby indirectly gave credence to a view that is, quite simply, factually wrong. Clearly, The Hoot has far to go before it can claim to meet basic journalistic standards.

– Ben Serby ’10

Editor’s note: Ben Serby is

an organizer of SODA


(In response to “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being”)

Dear Editor,

Noah Klinger’s op-ed in the November 16 issue of the Hoot, “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being”, was full of inaccuracy and completely misrepresented the situation at hand. Calling me a racist, as the op-ed implied, because I “couldn’t or wouldn’t discern between Africans and African-Americans…” is absolutely unmerited considering that I merely copied and pasted two clubs’ purposes for senators to examine.

Apparently, doing such an action makes me a racist because I dared to compare two clubs, BBSO and the African Club, both of which cater to students of African descent. To call my comments on the issue “fatuous” obviously shows that Mr. Klinger did not actually read the emails which sparked this issue. How is asking senators to compare two purposes a “narrow viewpoint” on my part? Further, I would like Mr. Klinger to show me exactly where in my comments I said that the two clubs are “identical and redundant.” I merely said the purposes in their constitutions had “potential dualities of purpose.” I know very well the differences between Africans and African-Americans, and to assume that I lack basic knowledge about blacks because of my upbringing is absurd. Mr. Klinger’s insinuations are not only insulting, but are slanderous as well.

One of my tasks as Ways and Means Committee Chairman is to notify Senators of potential dualities of purpose between a new club coming before us and an already existing club. It is specifically outlined in the bylaws that a new club “not duplicate the purpose or goals of a currently Chartered Organization,” which in the estimation of the Committee and based entirely on their purposes, was an issue with these two clubs. All they would need to do is change specific language within each purpose to alleviate this concern, as was done last year with the clubs HELP and PERC, which also had similar purposes before they were modified.

I fail to see how anything I ever said or wrote on the issue can be taken to be ignorant, uninformed or racist. I have been the recipient of numerous attacks regarding this issue that are wholly without grounds. Those launching attacks on me are themselves truly ignorant of the issue that I was addressing and are willfully screaming racism where there is none to be found. I will not sit idly by while I am being called a racist for actions or words I never spoke, wrote, or implied. This whole debate should have been about the clubs themselves, not about the messenger bringing concerns – yet I have been the one targeted and not those making malicious personal attacks. I have absolutely nothing to apologize for, unlike what Mr. Klinger and others may perversely think.

– Asher Tanenbaum ‘08

Senator for the Class of 2008