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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Time to make a decision

Published: April 3, 2009
Section: Opinions

Yesterday, 29 members of the faculty signed a letter urging President Jehuda Reinharz to keep the Rose Art Museum open through June of 2010. The letter came in response to indications that the museum would be effectively shuttered at the end of this academic year.

Currently, there is a committee charged with determining the Rose’s future. Reinharz has deferred to the committee, refusing to respond to the faculty’s call.

If, as the administration initially explained when the decision to close the Rose was made, the operating costs of keeping the museum open would be detrimental to the university in a time of fiscal crisis, then Reinharz should say so, and call for the closing.

If, on the other hand, the operating costs of keeping the Rose open alone are not substantial, then there is no reason not to keep the museum open. The Hoot has previously reported that, if the university should ultimately choose to sell some of the artwork in the Rose, the review process required to do so would likely not be complete until after June 2010.

Given that constraint, there is no reason for Reinharz not to step up and keep the museum open for next year while the future of the Rose is still being determined.

By claiming deference to the Committee on the Future of the Rose Art Museum, Reinharz is merely stalling to avoid a controversial decision. It is even possible that his refusal to make a decision now indicates a de facto closing of the museum, since without a decision, no new exhibitions will be planned, and the Museum Director’s contract will not be renewed. There’s only two available options; Reinharz needs to pick one.