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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

JBS cancellations not surprising

Published: April 9, 2010
Section: Editorials

The news that the administration cancelled half of the planned Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS) programs did not come as a surprise to this editorial board.

JBS coordinators extended the deadline and worked hard to sell their program, but in the end, the few students who actually knew the JBS programs existed could not justify the cost of the program in money and time as compared with a real semester at Brandeis.

JBS was supposed to be a way to fulfill academic requirements while working one-on-one with professors and gaining real-world experience.

For the students enrolled in the JBS programs that were not canceled, this will certainly be the case.

The negatives outweighed these benefits, though.

Many of the JBS programs guaranteed 12 credits as opposed to 16, meaning if JBS ever gets beyond a pilot program students would have to make up the remaining credits at some point in their Brandeis career in order to graduate.

Also, many students chose Brandeis not only for its academics but for the interaction with a diverse group of students on-campus.

JBS takes place during the summer, removing students from college life and keeping them from friends.

Although taking a semester off has its benefits, this editoral board recommends –and most students still prefer–study abroad, which is a more attractive way to leave Brandeis for a semester.

Plus, while study abroad takes place during a typical semester, JBS occurs during the summer when students faced with financial constraints prefer to work for pay.

Were the JBS programs offered as an alternative course load during a typical semester, they would have been more reasonable.

In such a case, students would be able to live on-campus with their friends while also making close connections with professors.

And they would still have the summer to find a paid job to help pay for their education.