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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Getting the most bang for our buck

Published: March 13, 2009
Section: Opinions

After the Union Judiciary overturned a Senate Money Resolution that would help finance a visit by Weatherman Bill Ayers, sponsoring groups Democracy for America and Students for a Democratic Society once again find themselves without sufficient funding for the event. With the cost of security and the fee for Ayers, the event would total $7,000, a sum neither DFA nor SDS can produce on their own.

A visit by Bill Ayers would be wonderful. His involvement with the Weathermen and his reluctant role in the most recent presidential campaign makes him not just a controversial figure, but a deeply interesting one as well. There is no doubt that a visit by Ayers would be beneficial for the entire community.

For this reason, it is heartening that other university stakeholders have come to the table to help DFA and SDS finance the event. Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine are considering contributing $500. The History department and the Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies Department are chipping in $100 each while the Program in Social Justice and Social Policy is prepared to donate $400. When every department and club’s belts have been tightened to the last notch, it is precisely this form of collaboration that will enable the community to continue to thrive.

But the spending of slim budgets on the Ayers event should be critically evaluated in light of Vice President for Campus Operations Mark Collins’ comment that the $4,500 DFA and SDS have promised for security was sufficient for an audience of 200 only.

Simply put, any money raised for an Ayers visit wouldn’t stretch very far. Times are tough and the university must learn to make a dollar out of fifteen cents. While an Ayers event would be immensely valuable, it seems the arrangement proposed will fail to get enough bang for the buck.