Last year in the headlines

To the incoming class of 2023, The Brandeis Hoot’s editorial board would like to welcome you to Brandeis! The Hoot is Brandeis’ community newspaper, written about, for and by the Brandeis community.

Our school has had its fair share of controversy and activism since its founding in 1948. We wanted to provide you, the incoming class, with some snapshots of big events that happened during the 2018-2019 school year. 

Ongoing: 

Brandeis University President Ron Liebowitz released results from the initial independent investigation into members of the faculty in the Brandeis athletic department in September of 2018, carrying over from the 2017-2018 school year. The investigations originated with accusations of discrimination against basketball Coach Brian Meehan, who was fired on April 5, 2018. Liebowitz released additional documents from the independent investigation in late November of 2018. The investigation resulted in resignations and demotions for a number of Brandeis faculty, and a virtual reconstruction of the Brandeis athletics lead faculty. 

The fallout from the investigation has led to an ongoing discrimination lawsuit and delays in Brandeis Athletics activities and sports, continuing through spring 2019 and this coming semester.

April 2019: Accompanying these events in spring 2019 was the introduction of classes for the upcoming Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) minor into the Brandeis curriculum. Brandeis Asian American Student Association (BAASA) and Brandeis Asian American Task Force (BAATF) have been advocating for an AAPI studies program since December 2015. Brandeis hired Professor Yuri Doolan (HIST/WGS) as the first professor on a tenure track for the program, and he aims to help ensure its success at the university and pave the way for future AAPI professors. The first classes that will count toward the upcoming AAPI minor are being offered this semester.

April brought an additional change for the student body in the form of a Student Union amendment, which mandates all secured clubs to register a “Club Consultant.” According to the Union, the intention is to eventually require a faculty advisor for all Brandeis clubs. The media-based clubs at Brandeis argued against this measure, claiming that this could cause censorship of Brandeis students.

January 2019: Accessibility was another hot button issue in the spring semester. A community forum was held on campus to express concerns about the lack of accessibility on Brandeis’ campus. Issues raised at the forum ranged from problems with transportation from housing to dining halls. Students expressed disappointment with these shortcomings, claiming that they felt sidelined in their own community. A letter from Liebowitz on Jan. 28, 2019 announced the formation of The Task Force on the Student Living/Learning Living Experience at Brandeis, co-chaired by Associate Provost Kim Godsoe and Professor Sara Shostak (SOC/HSSP), to address structural improvements on campus. More accessibility updates are expected soon. 

November 2018: The Board of Trustees announced that Brandeis would engage in fossil fuel divestment, namely restricting investments in companies whose “principal business is the mining of coal for use in energy generation,” according to a previous Hoot article. They also stated that they would pursue opportunities to invest in renewable energy technology. These changes do not mean full divestment from fossil fuels, but they are a big step toward this eventual goal.

October 2018: Liebowitz announced A Framework for our Future, claiming it to be a new vision for the university, which led to the establishment of three task forces: Student Learning and Living, Supporting Research Creativity and Collaboration and Honoring Brandeis’ Founding Values.

Many of these issues are ongoing, and this article is meant to keep you up-to-date so that you can both benefit from new opportunities and be aware of social justice issues, which have long been the priority of the Brandeis community.

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