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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Once a student, always a stakeholder

Published: February 27, 2009
Section: Opinions

“Transparency, transparency, transparency now” read a sign posted in Olin-Sang during a protest of a closed faculty meeting held Jan. 22. The student protesters knew the faculty and the administration were discussing major issues affecting Brandeis and they wanted a voice in the process.

Four days later, university President Jehuda Reinharz sent an e-mail informing the campus community that the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to close the Rose Art Museum.

That same night, a group of students known as the Brandeis Budget Cut Coalition, the same group who organized the faculty meeting protest, met to discuss ways to push for greater transparency. Just two days after Reinharz’s announcement about the Rose, he and members of the senior administration answered questions at a student forum. Hundreds of students came to share their anger and their concerns.

The Rose Art Museum announcement clearly energized the campus. Students who had complained about an unresponsive and secretive administration were now taking their frustrations to the source.

And thanks to Student Union President Jason Gray’s ’10 efforts, students have seen a marked increase in opportunities for involvement and communication with the administration.

We have also seen a greater effort from senior administrators to reach out to students in forums and e-mails.

But the student fervor surrounding budget cuts and changes to the campus has died down. Recent forums on academic restructuring have been poorly attended. And while curricula changes will not affect current students, our resumes will always bear the Brandeis name.

Our ability to be actively engaged in the affairs of our university has substantially improved over the past six weeks. We have made strides for transparency but if we show disinterest after the Rose controversy has quieted, we will lose the advances we have made. We must remember that now and in the future, we are stakeholders in our university.