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Campus wide intellectual oppression regarding newspaper

Published: October 21, 2005
Section: Opinions


According to the Brandeis Admissions website, Brandeis is a school of freethinking intellectuals. However, this statement is inconsistent with the events that took place last Wednesday. Midday, Mark Brier was kicked off campus and threatened with arrest for doing nothing more than handing out Revolution News, the newspaper of the Revolutionary Communist Party.

This event is the result of a cumulation of years of ideological oppression that Brandeis has become especially prone too. Ever since the 2000 Presidential election and the subsequent Supreme Court case, partisans on both sides of the fence have been leading an attack against freethinkers, especially on our Waltham campus, in an attempt to maintain the status quo and win elections.

My first encounter with this issue came only six weeks after arriving at Brandeis for the first time in the fall of 2004. I had formerly been a rabid Kerry supporter, and had interned for his campaign the previous spring semester. However, I became increasingly disillusioned with his candidacy after the arrest of David Cobb and Michael Badnarik in October, who were arrested for merely wanting to debate Kerry and Bush (and these two gentlemen were legitimate candidates too, running on the Green and Libertarian ticket respectively). I eventually abandoned my support for Kerry, and became increasingly vocal in my displeasure of his political antics. Shockingly, one of my professors actually had the nerve to inform me that he had lost all respect for my opinions once he found out what my new political allegiances were.

Now fast forward a year, Brandeis has gone from professors bullying their students to kicking people off campus who do not fit the standard Democratic Party mold. How is this process conducive to a good education? The foundations of an education are based in different experiences, both culturally and ideologically, and fusing the best aspects of each to form your own opinions that are founded in fact and reason. Instead, Brandeis has been assuring that their students are sheltered from ideas that may challenge their traditional thinking.

I may not be a Communist, but one does not need to be red to know this sort of McCarthy-era censorship is bad for Brandeis. Mr. Brier says that students at Brandeis have been interested in the newspaper, especially in its dialog about Hurricane Katrina. Yet on Monday, the University Police sent Mr. Brier a certified letter saying that if he was on campus again, even if invited by the students, he would be immediately arrested.
Brandeis ought be an outpost of constant ideological exploration rather than just another academic center of the Democratic left. Clearly, there is significant student interest in the newspaper, so shouldnt that be reason enough to allow it to be distributed? As Mr. Brier pointed out, it does not make sense that the police dictate who gets to be on campus, rather than the students themselves. Mr. Brier should receive a sincere apology from both the administration and campus police and be invited back to campus to distribute his partys newspaper, thus affirming its commitment to its students and their education.