Support Hannah Brown for president

March 16, 2018

The Brandeis Hoot would like to voice our support for Hannah Brown ’19 for Student Union president. We believe her platform addresses issues that deserve attention from all parties on campus and provides practical solutions for these issues.

Brown is running unopposed for the presidency. However, this does not mean we should treat the election with less rigor or interest. We support Brown’s platform because she has valuable ideas and specific plans to achieve her goals. Despite the lack of competition, Brown is clearly making an effort to promote her ideas and respond to student input by making a detailed website and holding office hours around campus.  We commend Brown for campaigning actively, but we want to be sure she continues these efforts and hold her accountable to her platform and to the student body. This will not only help raise awareness about key issues on campus, but will ensure students can put a face to a name to ideas.

While we support many of Brown’s proposals, we want to highlight her plans to address the affordability of Brandeis. She has discussed the university’s tendency to “nickel and dime” students with additional costs or fees on top of an already exorbitant tuition. Union members have also discussed this issue throughout the year. As a solution, Brown probes a decrease in punishment fines such as library fees, as well as free or subsidized prices for laundry and printing. While the cost of these necessary resources may seem negligible for a one time use, they add up quickly overtime. Brown’s financial platform is underscored by the idea that the administration should prioritize student’s financial needs and work to reduce the cost of tuition wherever possible. She also encourages professors to use more affordable academic resources, including textbooks available in the public domain. These ideas are tangible ways to help offset the ever-increasing costs of higher education. We support these goals for their practicality, and we also want to encourage administrators to do what they can to make these changes happen.

Another important facet of Brown’s financial platform involves student labor on campus, another ongoing Union initiative. This conversation includes a) Students who work many hours in part-time jobs to the extent that it impacts their academic ability and involvement in campus activities and b) unpaid student positions on campus, such as admissions tour guides. The two, of course, go hand-in-hand, where financial circumstances can be a barrier to students accepting unpaid positions. Brown explained that possible solutions to these issues include improving need-based financial aid and introducing an increase in stipends for students in leadership positions or services clubs. We support both of these initiatives, and want to express our support for current Union efforts surrounding these issues and to push Brown to keep focused on these plans as president. We also want encourage the administration to do their part in exploring the feasibility of such new programs.

Brown’s platform is promising, and we hope she stays true to her promises and that the student body and administration work together to improve affordability on the Brandeis campus.

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