BREAKING: Pres. Reinharz not to resign!

According to multiple unsubstantiated ethereal sources, Pres. Reinharz, after a long and storied tenure at Brandeis University, will be announcing his decision to remain at Brandeis, at midnight. The announcement will be made by the Justice and the Hoot at midnight. Innermost Parts, which (like you) was not given access by the administration to this information, is telling you now.

This is possibly in response to a recent, renewed faculty push for Pres. Reinharz’ reclamation of his post after his superb handling of the Muslim Student Lounge vandalization incident. We’ll publish more details as they come in. Analysis to come shortly.

Long live President Reinharz!

Freedom of Speech Injustice in Texas

A university in Texas is being prevented from performing a show that has been deemed too racy by both the lieutenant governor and the school’s president. What century are we living in again?

In Monday’s NYT Arts section, it was reported that a Tartleton State University class production of “Corpus Christi,” a play written by Terrence McNally in 1988, which portrays Jesus as gay, which was set to be performed this past weekend, was canceled due to the controversy it stirred up.  Initially, the school’s president defended the students’ right to put on the show, despite it being “offensive, crude and irreverent,” but the Austin Star-Ledger reported that the administration changed its mind after the school received multiple threatening messages. The school’s official reasons for its decision was because of  “safety and security concerns for the students as well as the need to maintain an orderly academic encironment”, according to the Austin Chronicle. 

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst did not believe the production should be allowed to go up, saying “no one should have the right to use government funds or institutions to portray acts that are morally reprehensible to the vast majority of Americans,” speaking towards the play’s so-called sacreligious portrayal of Jesus as a homosexual.

The state government dictating what is morally acceptable for a directing class to perform at a university? School administration caving in because of adverse reactions to the staging of a controversial play? And who says that the majority of Americans find homosexuality “morally reprehensible”? This is a scary day for our nation indeed.

Read more:

CARS2020 report

Just in case you guys ignore most of the e-mails you get from the Student Union and Provost, here’s a link to the short, 8-page report made by the Brandeis 2020 Curricular and Academic Restructuring Steering (CARS) Committee:

Oh, and the even more succinct summary:

To oversimplify, the report was designed to suggest feasible changes Brandeis could implement over the next decade in order to save money. Many of the 18 suggestions proposed involve immediately, or within the next year, terminating masters and PhD programs. Also, a large portion of money would come from limiting arts programs, particularly the MFA program in theater design, and greatly reducing the Brandeis Theater Company’s budget.

Another point of interest is the proposal that the Hebrew Language and Literature major should no longer be offered, nor the undergraduate minor in Yiddish and East European Jewish Culture. Might this speak to the new direction the University is taking, in terms of our Jewish scholarship?

Budget cuts have to be made, but of course any of us who came to this school hoping to pursure a specific degree are going to be upset to see our department, major, or even passion cut down. I’m not sure yet what I think of the report, what do you all think?

what YOU guys want to hear about

An Anecdote:
On February 5, 1946, Albert Einstein agreed to the establishment of the Albert Einstein Foundation for Higher Learning, Inc., but on June 22, 1947, he ended his association with the institute, and refused the board’s offer to name it after him. Instead, the university was named after Justice Louis D. Brandeis.
In 1953 Brandeis University offered Einstein an honorary degree, but he declined.

….Does anyone know what made Einstein decide to cut his ties with what would later become our near and dear Brandeis University?

Hi readers,
Going to today’s Activist (Dis)Orientation hosted by ARC made me think about why I participate in activist groups, and what I hope to get out of them. There were so many tables, each for a club with a noble cause, that it was hard to choose where to commit, and which ones need your help the most. Beyond that, I realized that the purpose behind activism is to engage people in activities, ideas, fights they feel passionate about, with the goal in mind of making a change. I’m still struggling with the question myself, that’s why I want to know, what causes are important to YOU? If YOU could change one thing at Brandeis, what would it be?
Forget that, if you could change ANYTHING and EVERYTHING about Brandeis, where would you start? I want to write about problems YOU have, tidbits YOU want to hear about, solutions YOU would suggest. So please, let me know what it is you care about.

Obama’s White House “Open Government Initiative”

Okay, I know that Obama gets complimented a lot, some way say too much, but I just want to stand up and applaud him right now. What am I referring to?  The new “Open Government Iniative” which he promised to come out with from Day 1 of his inauguration.  Sure, sure, it took him a bit longer than we all would’ve liked, but how wonderful is it that we have a president who is committed to transparency and collaborative governance?


I took a class in political sociology this semester, so maybe that’s why when I looked at the above video I was so happy to say that I understood what they were talking about.  The people in charge even took questions from “regular” people who posted them on Twitter- how can you GET more open and interactive? Our federal government now has blogs too!

I want Brandeis to do something like this.  A lot of schools have students blogs, online open forums et al, so why not us? Transparency, openness and engaging students in decision-making all seem like they feed into our great pillar of social-justice, don’t they?  Let’s see some more student-involvement, without having to go through the bureaucratic system of Student Union rep’s. If the fed. gov. can find a way to engage the whole nation, surely we can find an effective way to engage our mere student body of 5000 people.

Presidential Selection Committee

With S.U. President Andy Hogan’s State of the Union Address having been delivered a mere few hours ago (ok…8), one question is on the minds of all connected to the Brandeis community: how will Hogan lead the university in our search for a new president?  More importantly, will he follow through on his promises to involve students in this search?

Well, he already has– to an extent.  Hogan announced today that after much negotiation, the Presidential Selection Committee has agreed to accept a student on the board, that student being Hogan himself.  This announcement came amidst uproar by students in reaction to the news that there would be no students on the Presidential Search Committee.  But isn’t Andy Hogan, the SU president, too bogged down in in-school politics and the administration to advocate for us effectively in such a role?  In addition, Hogan has been assigned the role of a “substantive representative”– he has no vote, only a limited say.   I personally think this is a good start, but is not near enough. I hope that the SU will still make room for students to make an impact. Can’t we have a say in determining its future? After all, we’re greatly affected by this selection.

To start the process, we should figure out what qualities are most important to us in the selection of our next president.

Qualities almost everyone can agree on:

Accessibility:whether or not you consider Reinharz a good president, he did have regularly scheduled open office hours during which students could contact him; I’d like to see an expansion of this policy. A president who is a good communicator, and understands the needs of students. Perhaps someone who has served as a head of communication at another institution.

Ability to handle financial crisis: there has already been great outcry over the cutting of scholarships, and let’s not even mention the Rose Art Museum…our next president has to be able to deal with the ever-looming financial crisis Brandeis is in, and hopefully bring the Rose controversy to an end.  Some ideas: hire a rich, self-made president who will wave his/her salary, say, like, Mayor Bloomberg of NYC, who receives only $1 a year from the government.  Someone who has already helped other universities recuperate from similar dire financial straits.  Someone who values the arts here at Brandeis, and so will not take rash, cost-cutting actions such as closing down POSSE and other scholarship programs/groups.

-Maintain the balance between secularism and Jewish sponsorship: I don’t think anything about the relationship Brandeis has with its Jewish sponsors, and its principles of secularism and non-sectarianism has to change. it would be enough for our future president to be someone who understands the importance of this shaky relationship. The next president must stand up to those who believe that Brandeis must reflect the views of its Jewish sponsors, at the expense of maintaining its objectivity.  The next president must find new and better ways to focus Brandeis on social justice and action, based upon the principles of secular Judaism.

Keep the Pillars:When Reinharz became president of Brandeis, he brought with him the Four Pillars, focusing Brandeis’ attention on social action, and identifying the university’s principles and goals. Just because he is leaving doesn’t mean Brandeis should abandon or lose track of these principles.  The next Reinharz must be able to expand the university’s ability to achieve its goals of social justice, and find a way to make his/her personal visions for the university mesh with the path we have already been going down for some time now.

We need a new University president who will lift Brandeis up from the crises it has fallen into in recent years. One who will address the problems Hogan brought up, such as overcrowding, and who has a clear vision for the school.   And the only way we can find one who shares our outlook is by having students give their input.  Although Andy Hogan is certainly a student, because of his position in the SU he automatically comes into the selection process with a certain bias.  And with no vote, to top it off. Please, Brandeis, remedy the situation, live up to the democratic principles you stand for, and allow a student who is unaffiliated with the SU to represent the opinions of other like students, to the committee.