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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Braver should be commended for dedication to democratic process

Published: March 10, 2006
Section: Opinions

Union Secretary Aaron Braver 07 recently asked students on what they thought should be done with the space across from the Village Fitness Center. Its amazing that, as of publication, there were over 50 responses from community members in regards to what they prefer to be done. It demonstrates that students do have an active interest in what happens on campus and that given a forum to express their views they will seize it.

Braver didnt stop with the empty space across from the Village Gym. He also started several, less active but still very lively, threads on some of the vague proposals in regards to the redistribution of the Student Activities Fee (SAF). Here, students have a place to express their views on these crucial financial matters currently facing the Student Union.

Bravers actions have created an excellent template for how matters of significant importance to Brandeis should be addressed and discussed. By creating a public forum, he is giving an outlet to students who may not be as involved with the politics of the Student Union a chance to have their small voice heard within the cumbersome system of student government.

Not many students can or want to spend hours per week trying to figure which meeting of which committee or group to go to in order to effectively communicate their opinion to those who matter. Through the online bulletin board at, students are saved from this hassle. It doesnt require that students take hours out of their busy study schedule to attend some forum at some arbitrary time, in some arbitrary place only to listen to a bunch of student leaders force-feed their opinions. Instead, they can read the posts, get all of the information and express their opinion during a brief study break, on their own time.

Ultimately, some sort of consensus needs to be reached in regards to the Village space and student feedback from the forum needs to be visibly incorporated into the SAF discussions. In fact, more student leaders involved with a particular topic should be furnishing as much information as possible to these boards to ensure that students have a factual basis for their opinions. These leaders should engage their peers in the discussion on those boards and listen to what has to be said.

Hopefully, all of the wonderful proposals put forth in regards to how to use the Village space will ultimately make it into a referendum so that we can come to a consensus as to which of the suggestions is preferred, following a thorough discussion on the bulletin boards.

Bravers actions in creating these boards is a huge victory for the students who believe in open government. He should be commended and his example followed by future Union Secretaries.