With as rich a selection of potential candidates as we have right now, it is a shame that the school has chosen such a politically loaded commencement speaker. There is a time and place for (much welcome) debate, but by choosing this speaker the school gives the impression that it officially supports a singular position on what is a very emotionally charged topic for both sides of the discussion.
It’s a day later, and the “other side” has their response: “a letter of support for President Reinharz and Ambassador Michael Oren” An excerpt:
We look forward to hearing Ambassador Oren address the Brandeis community at commencement based on his achievements and contributions to academia as a former professor at several prestigious universities in America and his work in Israel to promote the creation of the country’s first liberal arts college. Your selection of Ambassador Oren to address this year’s Commencement reflects Brandeis University’s historic ties to the American Jewish community and timeless dedication to academic excellence as well as Justice Louis Brandeis’ own commitment to Zionism and Social Justice, a legacy on which this university was founded.
Editorial note: and here we see the inevitable fracturing of campus. Battle lines are being drawn, divisiveness is increasing, etc. This is why I think choosing Michael Oren as commencement speaker was a bad choice. Especially when we’re this close to getting Paul Farmer! Paul Farmer! Why couldn’t it have been him?