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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

EVANS: A 'Farewell' to Stephen Heyman

Published: March 4, 2005
Section: Opinions

The word farewell must go in quotations because the column written by Justice Senior Editor Stephen Heyman 06 was far from an actual farewell and instead was used as a way to have a final bashing of the Brandeis Black Students Organization (BBSO), myself and former BBSO President Justin Moore04. The Justice Incident was not an imitation Ford Hall. It was an unfortunate occurrence that was sparked by an offensive and inflammatory article, which members of the Justice Editorial Board tried so rigorously to disown as theirs. The article was printed in their pages and despite what the editors would like you to believe, was indeed read over by at least one person responsible for editing and put through to be printed.

This op-ed might come over as extremely emotional, but I think thats more than appropriate seeing as how I was one of the major players in the Justice Incident, and was also specifically named in Heymans farewell. I want to address a lot of what he said in the farewell, as well as what happened in October. While Heynam wrote that he doesnt think it is important whether he phoned BBSO or we called him, I think it is. I find it hard to believe, and highly disturbing, that an editor-in-chief wouldnt even read the paper he produced prior to it printing. I will not accept the excuse that he did not see the article until we brought it to his attention. The truth is, it took for us to complain before he saw anything wrong with it.

Heyman showed the same amount of contrition about the article then as he did in his farewell. Also, though I dont think it necessary to mention that I am not the biggest fan of Dan Passner 06 (who wrote the sports column that sparked the whole incident) or former Justice Sports Editor Rob Siegel 04 (who failed to read the column and catch the racism contained within), I do think it necessary to point out that they are not entirely to blame for this incident. Passners article was ridiculous, out of line, inflammatory, racist and offensive. However, all of the incidents that followed his resignation were a result of Justice Editors, and specifically Heymans, resistance to cooperate and work with BBSO to prevent any major damage from occurring. So while Heyman refers to Moore as a key player in the controversy, I call him a key player in the solution. The key players in the controversy were all the Justice Editors who refused to work with the leaders of BBSO to remedy the situation and prevent things from spinning out of control.

My major issue with his farewell is the downplaying of Passners article itself. Heyman equates printing an allusion to a racial epithet with a bad mistake. Saying that Dusty Baker only has a Ph.D in being a nigger is not the same as misspelling a headline, quoting a wrong individual or saying that a photo was taken by someone named ALLCAPS. It is a serious issue. I resent the mockery in his farewell implying BBSO made a big deal out of nothing, making references that we thought we were in the civil rights movement when the situation at hand was not that serious. Well if his response to the chant were not niggers is duh then Heyman is exact in describing the Justice Editors as pre-schoolers on the night of the protest.

They were pre-schoolers in their handling of the situation, and they were preschoolers in their understanding of what was going on. The only growing that he shows is his racist attitude toward the situation, and the growth of his smugness even in his response to my writing a op-ed in response to his farewell. He wrote to me: I imagine youre eager to write a letter about my farewell column in the issue. Just a reminder: letters shouldnt exceed 400 words. The deadline is Friday by 5 p.m.

His farewell completely ripped apart all the meetings that I had with Alana Hamlett (my Co-President at the time), Justice Senior Editor Meredith Glansberg and Justice Associate Editor Andrew Meyerson (two representatives/editors from the Justice) to try and rebuild the relationship between the Justice and BBSO. It mocks all the effort that was put into repairing that relationship and is yet another stab in the back to BBSO. But this time I understand that it is Heymans incongruity, and only his, that goes behind this farewell.

How clear is Stephen Heymans regret? From reading his farewell what is clear to me is how he feels about everything that happened in Octoberand regret is the last feeling that comes to mind. I wonder what it would be like to be in Heymans shoes. I wonder what it feels like to regard racism as bad luck. It must be rather relieving. For all the people who were affected, and hurt by Passners column, it was not relieving and certainly not any type of luck. I do agree with Heyman on one thing. I also dont think that a few mistakes made in youth should follow you forever. I do, however, believe that people must take responsibility for their mistakes, because even mistakes may have ugly consequences for somebody. If Heyman believes that Passners article was a mistake that should be forgotten and simply glossed over, as it seems he believes from his behavior at the time of the incident and as it seems from his farewell now, then its good that he is no longer the editor-in-chief. So let me be the first to bid you a formal, public farewell Stephen.

And good riddance!

Editor's Note: The Justice refused to print this column when it was submitted as a Letter to the Editor two weeks ago.