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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Lessons from a presidency

Published: September 25, 2009
Section: Front Page

Embattled university president Jehuda Reinharz issued his resignation yesterday at midnight, agreeing to stay on until June 2011 or until a replacement is found.

Reinharz’s resignation comes as yet another unforeseen suprise in a what has been a long, tumultuous year for Brandeis. Through academic restructuring and financial woes, President Reinharz remained a central figure, the recognizable representative of a mostly faceless administration. For undergraduates, the image of Reinharz speaking to the new freshman class on Opening Sunday is a memorable one.

We have to recognize Reinharz’s years of service to this university. There’s no denying that under Reinharz, the university raised a substantial amount of money that has been absolutely essential for modernizing this campus, offering scholarships, and increasing both the profile of this university as well as quality of life for students. Reinharz has also helped oversee the university’s move towards sustainability. The growth and change in this university during Reinharz’s tenure is remarkable.

However, as the Rose Art Museum ordeal has dragged on and Reinharz has faced calls for resignation, the opportunity for Reinharz to move on is one that is perhaps the best for both him and the campus. In the wake of major restructuring, donor lawsuits, and student protests, new leadership has the opportunity to make a substantial change in students’ lives.

In searching for a replacement, we hope that the university looks for a leader responsive to the concerns of the student body, willing to be transparent about executive decisions, and eager to move Brandeis forward without compromising the university’s central mission.

Most importantly, we hope that the next president takes the opportunity to learn from the mistakes made in past years. Unlike “Voices of Palestine,” we hope that a new president is more cautious about removing exhibits from campus. We hope that the Rose Art Museum’s future is finally settled. We hope the university responds to donor concerns, and not just in court. We hope that the campus continues to host a wide variety of speakers with diverse viewpoints.

Finally, we thank President Reinharz for all he has done for the university. There’s no doubt that the next president has a great deal to do, and a substantial body of work to live up to.