Coming Out Week: Candlelight Vigil Honors LGBT Suicide Victims

About fifty people crowded into the peace circle outside Usdan Monday evening to light candles in honor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Suicide Prevention Day and the five known LGBT teen suicides reported in the past month.

“People think that Brandeis’ queer community ends at Triskelion, but as you can see today, there are so many people here,” said Tommy Arnott ‘11, who took part in the vigil. “There are people who never come to Trisk, there are graduate students, and there are so many allies here today to help show that solidarity in the face of this tragedy across the nation.”

Triskelion, Brandeis’s alliance for queer and allied students, organized the vigil with Alison Better, the Intercultural Center’s Program Coordinator for Sexual and Gender Diversity.

“We added it at the very last minute,” said Mary Dunn ‘12, Triskelion’s general coordinator, “because of an address that the Department of Education made to address the issue of bullying within schools, which was made last Friday.”

Before a moment of silence, Dunn read the names of September’s five LGBT suicide victims aloud:

Continue reading “Coming Out Week: Candlelight Vigil Honors LGBT Suicide Victims”

F-Board Regular Marathon Coverage Coming Soon!

The Finance Board has finished this semester’s regular marathon for allocating funds. You can view which student organizations got what on myBrandeis right now.

If you read the Justice today, you’d know the board granted only about 42% of whatever funds organizations requested this semester. Last year, F-Board was able to grant 85% of requests on average, according to F-Board member Gabriel Weingrod-Nemzow (in the same article).

F-Board representatives told the Justice more clubs requesting more money, a dearth of rollover funds, and other changes forced their hand.

Though some of the chosen few- Student Events and BTV, for example- received close to everything they asked for, most campus clubs are now struggling to bridge their funding gaps. The F-Board singlehandedly determined your tuition money’s final destination: which events to support, and which causes to bolster. The Brandeis community needs ready access to more information describing how these decisions will affect them.

That’s why Innermost Parts will be detailing who’s getting how much, and for what. We’ll be talking to club members about how they feel about their funding, and how they plan to work with their budget. We’ll also pose some ideas about alternative methods for obtaining money.

Keep reading and refreshing Innermost Parts for additional coverage!

Liveblogging Klionsky and McElhaney v. The Student Union

I’m waiting for another UJ trial to begin, only this time we’re in the Shapiro Art Gallery and have a magnificently grey view of the rain and the science complex. Nobody is here yet, but I have a feeling it’ll be way too crowded about ten minutes from now.

As we’ve done before, I’m doing the “official” liveblog in this post where I’m supposed to be accurate, and a group of snarky livebloggers will be hilarious in another post, specifically this one.

If you haven’t heard already, Gideon Klionsky and Ryan McElhaney are challenging the constitutionality of the Racial Minority Senator position; they claim that it is inherently discriminatory because, according to the order granting cert,  it “violates sections of both the Student Union Constitution and the University’s policies as laid out in the Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.” McElhaney will be the petitioners’ attourney. The opposing council consists of Jamie Ansorge, Nathan Robinson, and Matthew Kipnis.

Now for the trial.

Continue reading “Liveblogging Klionsky and McElhaney v. The Student Union”

Debate over the National Popular Vote Compact Today in Waltham

Looks interesting:

Today at 7-9 PM in the Lecture Room of the Waltham Public Library: should the popular vote determine the outcome of national elections? Pam Wilmot, Executive Director of Common Cause, and Dr. Alexander Belenky, a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals at MIT’s Engineering Systems Division, will be debating over whether Massachusetts should join the National Popular Vote Compact.

Student Senate in a Nutshell: Everything but the SMR Amendment and the Unificationist Club Recognition

Most notable occurrence behind the cut: the proposed amendment which would prevent candidates from providing political incentives to their supporters, and the five-minute Executive Session surrounding its discussion. Also included: SAF uncapped, Jason Gray defends his actions regarding the current election.

Continue reading “Student Senate in a Nutshell: Everything but the SMR Amendment and the Unificationist Club Recognition”

Student Senate in a Nutshell: A Smattering of SMRs

1. Changing Members, New Bylaw

Before Jason Gray’ announced his decision not to run for president next term, he swore newly elected East Quad senator Jenna Rubin ’11 and North Quad senator Alex Norris ’11 into office.

Senator for the Transitional Year Program, Terrence Johnson, is withdrawing from Brandeis University since he has recieved a full scholarship from Clark Atlanta University.

“My leadership skills have grown… it has been a great honor,” said Johnson of his experience in the Senate. Johnson worked with COWGEE, the Social Justice Committee, and DFA. “This is something that will impact my life.”

Giselle Casillas, a prominent member of the Pluralism Alliance, was confirmed as the non-senate chair of the Diversity Committee.

Andrew Brooks introduced a bylaw requiring the Chief of Elections to provide due notification to students for each election, in response to the belated press for the recent emergency election for North and East Quads.

2. Club stuff

The Academic Leadership Alliance was provisionally recognized after a brief debate over whether or not they had a duality of purpose.

The Senate also debated circumstances surrounding a standard procedure for dechartering inactive clubs.  This semester, clubs were added to the dechartering list due to failure to answer Senator for the Class of 2009 Sung Lo Yoon’s e-mail asking why their club did not need funds this semester.

“They didn’t respond to my fucking e-mail,” Yoon said, describing his decision to add the Turkish Student Association and other otherwise active clubs to the list of clubs to be dechartered. “Sorry for swearing, I’m tired.”

Throughout the debate, several senators said clubs can be re-chartered easily. Senator for Castle Quad Nathan Robinson expressed concern that certain clubs, who are active but have not responded to Yoon’s e-mails, will be de-chartered without their imput.

The motions surrounding this vote were indecipherable: Senators couldn’t determine whether they were voting for moving the previous question or actually moving the previous question or suspending the rules to de-charter all clubs at once or blah blah blah. The motion was tabled due to disagreement and, presumably, confusion.

3. SMRs

Four Senate Money Resolutions were significantly discussed this meeting, and three were passed:

A. A SMR granted $141.50 toward 1500 door hangers indented to inform undergraduate students about methods to increase their involvement with the Student Union. This was an Emergency SMR.

B. A SMR granted $205 toward food for a “Meet the Senators ‘DeisBikes Launch Event”. This was an Emergency SMR.

C. A SMR granted $136 toward a lockbox intended to store helmets for the ‘DeisBikes program. Senator for Village Quad Andrew Rhodes’s attempt to add $5 to the SMR failed. This was an Emergency SMR.

D.  Senator for the Class of 2010 Amanda Hecker proposed an SMR which would grant $720 toward a 5K Charity Run co-sponsored by the Student Union, Waltham Group, and the Running Club.  Hecker said each participant will pay two dollars, and the money will go to about three charities. Hecker said Waltham Group needed this money immediately. Several senators expressed their concern with the similarity of the event to the now unconstitutional Ayers/King SMR: Hecker is speaking alone for a club she was involved in before joining Senate, and she attempted to network through clubs and the Union since F-Board did not grant Waltham Group enough money for this event.  The Senate voted against giving the SMR Emergency status, before it was tabled until next meeting. Straw polls taken to measure the future vote were mostly undecided.

4. Reports

Treasurer Max Wallach said the $900 from the Ayers-King SMR is back in the discresionary account.

Director of Community Advocacy Andy Hogan says he’s working on the take your professor to lunch program, which will happen after break. He also said the improved cellphone reception in lower Usdan is “going to happen”, and that “the guy said sometime next week”. Hogan is also planning an outreach for disconnected freshmen in Polaris, to get freshmen’s voices heard.

Senator for the Class of 2012 Akash Vadalia reported that the Midnight Buffet should cost $3308.01.

Jason Gray Will Not Run Again

Current Student Union President Jason Gray is not running for re-election this term.

“My stomach is in a knot right now,” Gray said at this week’s Senate meeting, where he first announced his decision. “For me this year serving as the Union president has been an honor. I’ve been reminded this year how important it is for… all of us to be engaged in the process of this university.”

Gray said he felt the Union has moved toward meeting his campaign goals, which included increasing Union involvement and improving services on campus. “I’m confident in the future of this Student Union,” he said.

Several senators complimented Gray before moving on.

“It’s been an honor to serve with you, ” said the Senator for the Transitional Year Program, Terrence Johnson. “I couldn’t ask for a better president.”

Gray said he will continue to be a presence in the Union next year, as a mentor and source of advice. “We still have work to do,” he said.

Liveblogging Alterman v. Student Senate, Hirschhorn, and Melman

I (Emily) am sitting outside Shiffman 122 right now, waiting for the Union Judiciary to finish their pre-trial motions for today’s big lawsuit. If you haven’t heard, Class of 2009 Senator Eric Alterman has charged Class of 2011 Senators Lev Hirschhorn and Alex Melman for possibly violating an article of the Student Union bylaws that states that all Senate Money Resolutions must  be allocated towards Student Union projects with the SMR meant to bring Bill Ayers to campus. The SMR granted $900 for the event, which is sponsored by DFA and SDS.

Members of Alterman’s council are Senator for Massell Quad Nipun Marwaha and Union Director of Communications Jamie Ansorge. Hirschhorn and Melman’s council consists of Senator for Castle Quad Nathan Robinson and previous Director of Community Advocacy Ryan McElhaney.

Several members of Innermost Parts are debating at the moment whether to let Sahar have his own snarky liveblog, in addition to my “straight” post. I’m not sure whether that will happen or not. Hirschhorn is saying, “We have relationships to maintain.” UPDATE: It’s happening, in comment form. Check it out.

The following paragraph is very tentative: according to DFA member Carrie Mills, the security costs for the event are so excessive (over $3,000), Ayers will not be able to speak at campus, the event possibly relocating to Back Pages Books or another off-campus location. If this is the case, the Senate money will be used for renting transport to the off-campus location, according to Mills. Hopefully this will be cleared up during the trial. UPDATE: Carrie cleared this up in a comment to this post, which says “the exact costs are $8,560 for security and we won’t be moving the event off campus as we aren’t sure whether or not F-Board funds can go to off-campus events.”

Now for the trial.

Continue reading “Liveblogging Alterman v. Student Senate, Hirschhorn, and Melman”

Protesting Protesting Protesting

Jordan Rothman’s latest “Hoot” column protests protesting! I normally wouldn’t critique his columns since he’s already in the minority, but this week’s is worth addressing, given the amount of energy Brandeis students have put into activism in the past few months. I’ve supported many of the recent demonstrations on campus, and writers at Innermost Parts have publicly encouraged, organized, and covered protests.

I like to think Rothman and Innermost Parts happen to reserve public complaining for different things. Innermost Parts typically directs its frustration towards unnecessary wars, lack of financial transparency, and what its writers feel are questionable administrative decisions. Rothman prefers tackling the peace room, drunk environmentalists, and excessive protesting. We’re just different, right?

Rothman is too flippant about the impact of the administration’s decisions on Brandeis’s environment. Students are organizing for meaningful causes, including the preservation of the Rose Art Museum, an influential institution, and access to information concerning where our money is going and how administrative decisions will affect our lives. It’s not like we place “SEITAN NOW!” signs all around Usdan once we’ve realized fake meat options on campus have been reduced.

Rothman also binds protesting to the 1960’s as if activism is some tired anachronism. I’m pretty sure protesting has occurred in pretty much every decade. They serve a particular purpose petitions and meetings can’t imitate. Effective demonstrations help the administration match names on a petition with a mass of frustrated people. The “sexy photos” of protests published in the newspaper generate media attention and spread the word. Protests are publicity, and they’re effective. If they weren’t, Rothman wouldn’t have been bothered enough to write a word about them.

Lastly, Rothman made a factual mistake worth correcting: I know Lev Hirschhorn, Alex Melman, and Nathan Robinson all voted against the Executive Session last month. They were also the senators I remember organizing/attending the staff meeting protest. I doubt hypocrisy can be exposed with this protest and these senators, but something can definitely be said about the discourse between the entire Senate and the administration.

What you missed at the town hall

Members of the CARS committee Wednesday answered questions about three academic restructuring plans. Adam Jaffe, Dean of the Arts and Sciences and CARS chair, said the following changes are being planned: new general requirements starting for the class of 2014, a new Business Major, a new Media, Communications, and Society Major, and the “Justice Brandeis Semester”. Some highlights of the responses they gave for each program are after the cut.

Continue reading “What you missed at the town hall”

Student Senate in a Nutshell

This Sunday’s meeting has a brief summary:

Provost Marty Krauss mentioned possible Gerstenzang Library cuts, according to a report by Adam Ross, Chair of the Provost’s Advisory Committee. Ross recently spoke to Krauss about her goals for the CARS committee. Jenna Rubin, chair of the Dining Services Committee, also spoke, mentioning plans to purchase a 24-hour kosher vending machine.

Directly after President Jason Gray encouraged the Senate to embrace transparency since senators demand the same from the administration, the Senate voted 9-10 in favor of an executive session, which requires all press and non-senator observers to leave the room until the session is over. It was implied that impeachment charges were discussed during this session.

Outside of this private session, new senators were sworn in, the Senate recognized/chartered a few clubs, and individual senators gave their Senate reports for the week. Details after the cut. Continue reading “Student Senate in a Nutshell”

JuicyCampus to Shut Down, Will Not Matter

Today is the last day to access JuicyCampus, the controversial college gossip website created by greedy Duke alum Matt Ivester. In related news, today is also the last day of “JuicyCampus: to ban or not to ban?” debate at Brandeis. That’s killing two annoyances with one collapse. It’s a good day for everyone! Except Ivester!

Ivester explained his reasons for terminating the site on the JuicyCampus blog: “JuicyCampus’ exponential growth outpaced our ability to muster the resources needed to survive this economic downturn, and as a result, we are closing down the site as of Feb. 5, 2009,” he wrote. In the same post, Ivester pretended he doesn’t know anonymity and exposure cause people to start spouting normally unacceptable sentiments.

“While there are parts of JuicyCampus that none of us will miss – the mean-spirited posts and personal attacks – it has also been a place for the fun, lighthearted gossip of college life. I hope that is how it is remembered,” Ivester wrote.

All Juicy Campus posts will disappear once it shuts down, IPs will remain private, and Ivester is planning his “next big website”, according to a post in the JuicyCampus blog titled “Shutdown FAQs”. I wonder if this new website of his will include a virtual ruler, so visitors can actually measure their own egos as opposed to merely massaging them.

Inevitably, a small number of students will initially believe this occurrence is worse than the week we thought the Rose would die. I also predict these students won’t be too vocal about it. They will have one stupid, burning question: “Where can inquiring students gather what they must know about the world? Who is or isn’t gay, a dominatrix, ugly, or endowed with a spectacular ass? Come on, Ivester, think of the drunk freshmen. This weekend, thanks to you, they will add their salty tears to the vomit in their frat’s toilets. NOBODY wants to clean that shit up. ”

Their despair cannot last long, since there’s a JuicyCampus copy lurking around the corner. All traffic to JuicyCampus will be redirected to College ACB (Anonymous Confession Board), according to the “Shutdown FAQs”. College ACB does not currently have any posts on its Brandeis page. This is likely to change rapidly.

Senate Report: Department of Student Life Deans Explain Budget Deficit Decisions to Students

President Gray plans to invite more administrators next week, “perhaps Peter French”, but details aren’t clear who the Student Senate’s next guest will be. French is Brandeis’ Executive Vice President. For more recent news, check your e-mail and Loki’s post: Rose Art Museum to be shut down and auctioned off.

Students crammed into this week’s Senate meeting as Rick Sawyer, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life, and Maggie Balch, Associate Dean of Student Life, answered questions. Sawyer and Balch were invited by Student Union President Jason Gray to address student unrest concerning the 5 million dollar deficit in this year’s budget. Though Sawyer and Balch responded to questions about recent controversial decisions including the status of merit scholarship portability and allocation of Village living space, students seemed mostly concerned with continued budget cuts that will inevitably fall under the Department of Student Life’s jurisdiction.

Details behind the cut. Continue reading “Senate Report: Department of Student Life Deans Explain Budget Deficit Decisions to Students”

Student Senate in a Nutshell: Resignations, Elections, Administrative Clash

This weekly feature, which will essentially recount what happened during every Sunday’s Senate meeting, should make the Senate more accessible to their voters. I’ve decided that our student government could use more rapid transparency. Though the Student Union is open to its voters, there isn’t anything directly informing the student body of what their senators are doing  from week to week.

Continue reading “Student Senate in a Nutshell: Resignations, Elections, Administrative Clash”

You should vote today, but don’t stop there

If you read Innermost Parts, you already know that voting between Adam Hughes and Andrew Brooks for Student Union veep runs from now until 11:59 tonight. Vote now, if you haven’t already.

Checked that box? Submitted your vote? Great. Now spread the word. Though I unabashedly support Adam Hughes as much as the next writer here at Innermost Parts, I don’t care whether you support him or Andrew Brooks: guilt your friends. Notify your hall mates. Yell things at strangers. Go dorm storming if you can spare half an hour.

If you’re not good at guilting or yelling, then just bring it up in casual conversation. A lot of people on campus feel they had little time to choose between candidates they know close to nothing about. A lot of people today might forget about the final runoff. Gently remind those people that they have the opportunity to influence decision-making on campus in a matter of minutes. Tell them what you think of Brooks and Hughes, and point them in the right direction.

608 people voting is a lot, but we can get more. 195 people voting for Adam Hughes isn’t enough, but we should get more. Spread the word this very instant.

Largely Unattended 9/11 Forum Stifled Productive Discussion

Please welcome Emily, another new writer of ours

EDIT: Please read the recent Justice article on this event, which I found very enlightening, particularly the sophomore that was interviewed who was profoundly personally affected by the September 11th attacks. There is a particular reason for my- and other attendees at this discussion- ignorance to his experience, and I wish he was available to speak earlier in the discussion. I find that this new piece of information, along with my own shift of opinion, gives the forum ground to speak of a tragedy as a tragedy, and not a means for analysis and social productivity. However, I am greatly disappointed that there wasn’t, to my knowledge, any other forum on those latter issues that Thursday, and my argument still stands… just not for this particular forum. Thanks again to McElhaney, Grey, and Father Cuenin; new thanks to Michelle Liberman of the Justice.

Father Cuenin, empty chair, empty chair, McElhaney, empty chair, and President Grey.
From left to right: Father Cuenin, empty chair, empty chair, Director McElhaney, empty chair, and President Grey.

Student Union President Jason Grey and Director of Community Development Ryan McElhaney held a sparsely attended open commemorative forum for 9/11 Thursday in order to “commemorate, reflect, and remember the lives lost” seven years ago in New York City. Grey and McElhaney invited Father Walter Cuenin, Catholic chaplain at Brandeis, to moderate the discussion. We attendees sat in a small circle of chairs in the Shapiro art gallery, and many of those chairs were empty. Out of the seventeen people who were there at some point or another, four of us were press.

The lonely space and prolonged silences caused the forum to spend a good deal of time on its own importance. That people should be there. That 9/11 was significant. We talked about the way the attacks changed our perception of the world and the United States’ place in it. We talked about the emotional impact the sudden loss of life can have. We talked about how the attacks brought people together and wondered why the public had decided to stop remembering this year.

My thoughts after the cut. Continue reading “Largely Unattended 9/11 Forum Stifled Productive Discussion”