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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Self-aggrandizing extremists destroy the campus community

Published: January 20, 2006
Section: Opinions

Brandeis University was once a hotbed of meaningful political activity. But since the takeover of Ford Hall and the era of Eleanor Roosevelt, Brandeis has now been poisoned by ravenous self-promotion and overall political hackery. Brandeis today is a campus of divisive political tactics and increasingly trivial, or even harmful, platforms and manifestos. We now live in a community where our political champions work ceaselessly to put their names in articles, to further their own agendas and to bolster their future careers by padding their resums.

The current curse under which we live is that our most outspoken political demagogues succeed only in raising controversy rather than fostering beneficial political discussion that would broaden the spectrum of ideas held by the Brandeis community. One of the most powerful examples of this rampant media-driven self-promotion was the controversy surrounding the Brandeis Hillels Nashim Talent Show. Several students took it upon themselves to attempt to decharter the all-woman talent show on the basis of being politically correct. What these students failed to mention in their arguments against the talent show stems from the basic tenets of Orthodox Judaism: the reason the show was exclusively performed by women in front of a female audience was because unmarried men are not allowed to hear women sing or watch women dance. The result of their crusade was the effective dechartering of a minority group which posed no threat to the Brandeis community.

Last Spring, another group of ideological radicals decided to derail TRISKs coming out week by playing the abused political minority card. The Brandeis University Republicans intentionally dovetailed their Conservative Coming-Out Week events with national gay pride events, claiming that it would be nice to have a campus that is truly tolerant of a diverse set of ideas. However, the deliberate sabotage of a gay-pride week does nothing to promote tolerance: it only succeeds in antagonizing gay-rights supporters. On the opposite end of the political spectrum, some Democrats actively worked to undermine the Republicans' effort to bring political pundit Ann Coulter to campus. Their reasoning was rooted in infantile competition with their conservative counterparts, primarily opposing her presence because she is an extremist.

What is most troubling about this trend at Brandeis is that these individual are representative of the future leaders of our country. Modern politicians are obsessed with the media sound bite and spend more time insulting and undermining their political rivals rather than addressing the needs of the American people. Should Brandeis really be a microcosm of a political system that works only to disenfranchise citizens? Or should we actively represent our Universitys ideals of tolerance and social justice? Any club should be allowed to put on any show or bring any speaker to campus they want without having to justify themselves. In the community's interest, these nefarious individuals should be voted out of their elected positions and stripped of their microphone.