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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Truth unto its innermost parts? I think not

Brandeis is not entirely truthful in its self-representation to prospective students.

Published: April 16, 2010
Section: Opinions

Brandeis’ motto is “truth, even unto its innermost parts,” but Brandeis is not entirely truthful in its self-representation to prospective students.

For instance, the web site for prospective students describes getting into Boston as a “breeze,” but fails to explain the frequency of the commuter rail and shuttle service. To a student not familiar with Massachusetts, the term Commuter Rail may seem synonymous with the L in Chicago, the Metro in DC or even the Light Rail in the Twin Cities.  People from outside the area may think the Commuter Rail runs as frequently as the New York Subway, but it is nothing like it. Getting to and from Boston is a daylong activity not attractive to someone who might want to just go out to dinner or stop at Best Buy. This is complicated by the fact that Brandeis only offers shuttles after 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Brandeis also misrepresents the state of student housing. When I applied and visited, everyone I spoke with, including students who were from my high school, told me nearly the same thing. They said that while housing is not guaranteed to upperclassmen, almost everyone who wants to live on campus can do so. While that may have been the case, it could only be said because the former condition of the Charles River Apartments led students to “choose” off campus rather than live there. If people were choosing to live off campus (granted I hardly would consider Charles river to be on campus) then everyone who wanted to live on campus did so.  That’s quite the farce–for some students it could hardly be considered a “choice.”

This issue is further exacerbated by the fact that Brandeis has committed itself to increasing enrollment over the next few years. While I do agree that this is a good thing, it’s causing a problem because buildings have been showing a need for repairs—Shapiro Hall for instance suffered major flooding in March. While these places could very well use improvements, if they ever are repaired it would likely require time during the academic year, displacing many students.

Now, although I agree that Brandeis should portray itself in the best light possible, it shouldn’t be done at the expense of the truth. No school is perfect and no school should pretend to be. It seems as though the Brandeis that I attend is quite different from the Brandeis I applied to.

Editor’s Note: The original version of this column stated that Brandeis only offered its Crystal Shuttle service before 3:30 p.m. on Sundays. The service is actually offered beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays.