Brandeis Admissions stated high school students who chose to participate in peaceful protests will not be penalized when applying to Brandeis. The message posted on Brandeis’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, is in reference to protests and walkouts organized in solidarity with the 17 students killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday, Feb. 14, and to advocate for gun control. Brandeis published the message Feb. 23, at 3:32 p.m.
A nation-wide walk out, dubbed “#Enough” by the Women’s March Network, is planned for March 14, exactly one month after the shooting, at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes to honor the 17 students who died. Two Brandeis students, Renee Korgood ’20 and Sagie Tvizer ’19, are organizing student leaders and organizations to support the walk-out as well as “March for Our Lives,” a march planned for Mar 24 beginning at the Boston Commons.
The tweet Brandeis University released reads, “#Brandeis supports student’s right to stand up for their beliefs. Those who participate in peaceful protests will not jeopardize their admission to Brandeis. Speak up, speak out.”
According to Dean of Admissions Jennifer Walker, the tweet is “intended to reassure high school students, some of whom may be facing disciplinary action for expressing their views in upcoming protests that are being planned across the country.”
Walker stated that if a student were to face disciplinary action, the circumstances would be detailed on the application, allowing Brandeis to know whether or not a student was punished for participating in a protest. In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Walker is quoted saying that students who protested are “a good fit for our campus culture.”
During the admissions process, “Cases are reviewed individually and every university reviews them differently…Brandeis, like MIT, Dartmouth and other schools that released statements recently, supports student’ right to participate in peaceful protests without jeopardizing their admission,” stated Walker.
Brandeis students have also responded to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Tvizer and Korgood have begun organizing student leaders at Brandeis for two events: The walk-out on March 14, and “March for Our Lives,” a march planned for March 24 starting at the Boston Commons.
Tvizer has contacted the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School over Facebook, mentioning that he wanted to get involved and help centralize their voices. “Pretty much they just said ‘go for it,’” Tvizer said, relating the high school students’ response.
Korgood and Tvizer have contacted a variety of student groups, including the Brandeis Democrats, with which they hope to create a united response from the Brandeis community. When asked for the name of their organization, Korgood responded, “We’re not an organization. We’re students trying to cause change.”
Korgood and Tvizer discussed the walk out, saying that they had been in “cursory contact” with members of the administration. As of the date of publication of this edition, the Brandeis administration has not yet released a statement regarding the walk-out on March 14.
Tvizer described his position on the walk-out and the administration, saying, “If my professor says…I’m not going to move the midterm that day you’re faced with a decision. It’s your decision whether you chose to disrupt which is exactly the intention of that walk out, or, whether you’re pacified. Civil disobedience is about disobeying. I would love the greenlight from the administration but I don’t need it.”
Korgood and Tvizer plan on organizing extra shuttles so students can attend the March, as well as a shuttle service so students can also take the Greenline to Boston Commons. According to Korgood, they plan to also have a tabling session for the week leading up to the march where students can write to or call their congressmen.
Tvizer and Korgood also intend to raise awareness for the march through poster campaigns, and organize a collective time for Brandeis students to attend the march.
They also want to create a series of “action items” for students when they return to their local communities, and are working with the first year Media and Politics Leader-Scholar Community to do so. This way, they hope to create change on a national front, according to Korgood. Tvizer also made clear that they wanted the voices of the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to be centralized in this movement.
Through this action, Korgood and Tvizer want to create a united response from the Brandeis community, and mentioned that an infrastructure for activist organization doesn’t yet exist at Brandeis. Korgood hopes that the group they create, which is not organized by any partisan political group on campus, will be applied to future social justice events.
Tvizer continued to describe their goals, saying, “We want to be partisan, we want to advance policy change in favor of gun control,” said Tvizer. “But our advocacy for a specific policy stance doesn’t imply the kind of partisanship…where we’re saying the other side shouldn’t get to speak.”
Tvizer and Korgood have spoken with the Brandies Democrats, the Brandeis Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA), the Undergraduate Student Union, the Brandeis Academic Debate and Speech Society (BADASS), of which Korgood and Tvizer are both members, and other organizations and student leaders on campus.
Tvizer and Korgood are holding a meeting with Ruth Nemzoff of the Women’s Studies Research Center March 13 at 7 p.m, in the SCC multi-purpose room. Students interested in getting involved can email Brandeisneveragain@gmail.com.