- The Brandeis Sustainability Fund releases the content of grant proposals.
- The Justice on Chomsky
- Student opposition to Israeli Occupation Awareness Week
This comes to mind when thinking about last week’s election and some of the conversations that I had about the election with some of my less politically minded friends.
When questioned about how they were voting, many simply replied with sentiments such as “oh, I’m a democrat, I’m just voting for whoever the democrat is.”
There is something about that mentality that rubs me the wrong way.
While I understand the idea of identifying heavily with a party, I cannot imagine having so much faith in an institution that I let it decide my vote, which I have always been taught is my most direct and effective tool to affect national politics.
I feel like in theory, parties are intuitive.
They give us the ability to associate and identify with likeminded people who share common values and opinions with ourselves.
But, at some point, human nature kicks in and our desire to define ourselves by the group that we are associated with takes over.
What once might have given a forum to conversation and learning among likeminded people now serves as an excuse for people to throw their political weight around without exerting any intellectual effort.
This is, of course, a generalization, but I have had enough of the aforementioned conversations to convince me that if this phenomenon is not common among voters now, it will increase as current young voters take the political reigns.
This is the original blog post that inspired me to think about this topic and eventually write this post.
This article makes an analogy that political parties are like ice cream carts.
It argues that the party system currently functions by pressuring its consumers to subscribe solely to one party (or brand of ice cream, think Ben and Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs). When, in reality,
It’s a model which is meant to predict which ice cream cart you choose out of two, not one that’s meant to persuade you to buy an ice cream if you don’t want one.
Yo. This makes so much sense.
Both types of ice cream are there if I want them.
Generally I prefer Ben and Jerry’s but if there is a day where Haagen Dazs is what I need, then you can bet that I am going to get Haagen Dazs.
I am sick of people telling me that I have to choose what type of ice cream I want and then stick to it for the rest of my life or else I risk earning such career ruining nicknames as flip flopper.
The moral of the story is that party loyalty isn’t always all that it’s cracked up to be and that-in my eyes-it’s better to make your own decisions based on the issues as opposed to party lines.
Hope that your weekend is going well!
- Two students were jumped in Waltham. One never reported it to Public Safety.
- The University has a whole buncha repairs to do. The board of trustees just published a request that administration perform these 170 million dollars of repairs. The Hoot investigates Brandeis’ plans to make crucial improvements to The Castle and the pool as well as a number of the other 54 buildings that are projected to need improvements.
- New block schedule has been approved.
- The Supreme Court has decided to hear a case that will potentially impact 1.6 million dollars of The University’s operating budget.
- Not news but some interesting opinion pieces: Mine, about the Chomsky walk out and Bret Matthew’s about campus activism and the rise of Greek life (really interesting!)
For more stories, check out The Hoot Website!
Letter writing is often considered to be a lost art in a world of emails and text messages. However, the ability to write a competent letter is another skill that will be useful in all aspects of life, not just in activism.
AND, it’s a tried and true way to let elected representatives know what you’re thinking.
So, lets get to the good stuff.
Make it Immediately Clear to the Official Who You are Writing to That You are a Constituent of Their District
- This is why they care about what you have to say!
Keep Your Letter Focused One Issue
- This puts maximum emphasis on the message that you’re trying to project.
- If you have more to say then write another letter!!!
Focus on Facts and Figures
- Although emotional arguments are legitimate, facts generally make a more convincing argument.
- Try to incorporate technical terms and bills and pieces of legislation.
Be Aware of Pre-Existing Positions
- If you know that your congressperson has a view that opposes yours, incorporate it into your letter and use it to drive your points.
- Request a reply!
- If you receive a reply telling you that your legislator is supportive of your view, write back and thank them!
- If you receive a reply telling you that your legislator is voting against your view, write again. Be persistent! Don’t give up!
- If you don’t get a response or get a form letter that has nothing to do with the issue that you are concerned, write again!!
Remember, a well-written letter is one of the best tools to let legislators know what you’re thinking!
Know how to do it right.
Peace, Love and Active Activism
- The faculty senate likes the proposed schedule change. It’s now up to the provost to make a decision as to whether it will go into effect next year.
- Merit aid is on the decline as a part of the university’s effort to meet 100% of need.
- Alumni giving has also dropped.
- The 2011 Thomas Hunt Morgan medal is being presented to Professor James Haber.
For more stories, check out The Justice Website.
Sorry it’s a bit late.
- The Brandeis Haiti Initiative is having a celebration to honor the efforts of an alum. awesome!
- Student Halloween service projects
- A schedule of and comments about Israeli Occupation Awareness Week. I feel like calling the opposing weeks an example of the “turf war” between Israel-minded groups on campus plays into the trend of arguments instead of discussions on campus, and devalues the important conversations that will be stirred up by this week’s events.
- The budget is looking good!
- Elections happened.
For more news, check out The Hoot website!
So much news.
- The Justice takes a closer look at the Pachanga police violence incident. Students deny claims of violence and state that the police officer was aggressive. Both sides give their stories.
- Drug and alcohol misuse will be examined by a new Brandeis committee.
- The Board of Trustees meets to discuss potential improvements to student life and safety.
- Another cage free article. The second Student Union poll is still up and the Union wants to make sure that students are actually supportive before any change is initiated. Super.
- The Union will no longer be providing shuttles to Long Island. They will still be busing to Penn Station and Logan. They’re also considering adding another Bran Van.
For more stories, check out The Justice website!
All the news that’s fit to print.
So this is going to be a new series featuring a collection of tips on activism to help readers become more effective and knowledgeable activists.
Pretty cool, right?
This series will be a compilation of real-world experience and ideas taken from interesting/relevant articles that I — and other contributors — come across to make activism more attainable!
It’s about time management and will be super applicable, not only for those of us who are active activists, but also for those of us who are busy college students or human beings in general.
Their advice goes a little something like this:
In order to get anything done, it is important to sort through all possible tasks and pick out a few major goals or “big rocks” that you want to accomplish in a given day or week.
The next step necessitates breaking these “big rocks” down into more manageable pebbles that are clearly attainable. Staring huge issues in the face can be overwhelming and ultimately lead to inaction (every activist’s worst nightmare) so by breaking big tasks down into smaller, more achievable tasks, you better your chances at getting the larger task done!
The final step is simply putting these smaller tasks into action and scheduling time to get the work done.
The article suggests that we try to schedule “work blocks” that consolidate all planning/meeting activities to leave the maximum possible number of consecutive hours open in order to save time on transitions between tasks and facilitate getting real work done!
The article also warns readers that “work expands to fill the time you allow it”. Meaning that if you tell yourself that you have all day to complete a given task, it will take all day. However, if you set a deadline for yourself by which you HAVE to get the task done, the task will magically be achievable in a much shorter period of time.
The rest of the neworganizing.com article features more advice about staying organized in the organizing process.
It’s all good stuff, so check it out!!
If you’re a regular reader of Innermost Parts then you’ll know that we’ve never actually formally said on here that we’re looking for writers.
With this fact taken into consideration, it seemed like a good idea to do just that.
WE ARE LOOKING FOR WRITERS!
So if you share some of our progressive opinions, represent an advocacy club on campus and would like to get the word out or just want to hang out with some cool people come be a part of the Innermost Parts team!
Email email@example.com for more info!
Highlights from the October 22nd Hoot:
- Thomas’ wife demands Hill apologize for confirmation charge
Details on Ginny Thomas’ bizarre phone call to Brandeis Professor Anita Hill, asking Hill to apologize for accusing Thomas’ husband, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, of sexually harassing Hill 19 years ago.
- Financial crisis forced university to take more loans
Brandeis has increased in debt by forty-two million dollars this year, in part due to the financial crisis.
- Horowitz blasts liberal nature of universities
A summary of a speaker on Israel, David Horowitz, hosted by the Brandeis Libertarian-Conservative Union. “He said the MSA is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist political group, and that the group Students for Justice in Palestine was a “fraternal jihadist organization.”” WTF?
- Visiting teacher fears education is ‘losing its soul’
Professor Ellen Schrecker from Yeshiva University spoke about her fear of the effect of politics on American education and universities.
- Town hall discusses admissions changes
Details on the 10/21 Town Hall meeting held by Student Union and Administration to discuss the admissions policy.
- (and, just for fun) Bret Matthew’s and my opinion articles about cage free eggs.
For these articles and more, check out The Hoot website.
My name is Morgan Gross, I’m a freshman at Brandeis, and I’m one of your newest writers for Innermost Parts. Whaddup.
Now, I know that I’m doing this whole introduction thing kind of backwards; I’ve already posted a few times on Innermost Parts, and you may have seen my name in your inbox attached to an email encouraging you to take the survey on cage free eggs (great job on that, guys!).
In any case, I still thought that it would be a worthwhile endeavor to introduce myself to you and let you know a little bit about me, what I’m interested in and where I’m coming from as far as activism goes.
As previously stated, I’m a freshman here. I hail from Philadelphia—not really, but saying Philadelphia is easier than saying Holland, Pennsylvania. I enjoy writing, drinking tea, listening to/making music, and reading Questionable Content.
I am passionate about too many things—one of my major personality flaws—but the short list includes ethical eating and preserving free press, as well as general human rights stuff.
As far as my history in activism, I’ve always been a long time listener, first time caller type of activist. What I mean by this is that I’ve always had liberal/progressive opinions—much to the dismay of my grandparents—and have been more than happy to share and debate my thoughts, but less inclined to do anything about them.
This brings me back to Innermost Parts.
I am SO excited to be here, doing work, getting the word out and doing something positive and productive with my many opinions.
Peace, Love, and Active Activism
While I agree with Bret Matthew’s assertion in his Hoot Op-Ed, that calling Brandeis’ transition to need-sensitive an “affront to social justice” is somewhat sensational, it feels distinctly un-Brandesian to have anything other than achievement go into consideration when determining admission.
In the current admissions system, students are listed based on their “desirability” — a combination of academic achievement, extracurricular involvement and legacy standing. The list is cut off at a certain line and all financial aid money is distributed based on need; financial need is not considered in admissions.
The new policy draws a second line. Above this new line, everything will be the same as the current system with admission granted regardless of need. However, in-between this new line and the bottom line, students’ ability to pay for tuition will go into consideration.
With discomfort at ranking students based on “desirability” put aside, I have a major issue with this newly proposed idea of allowing finances to be considered in the admissions process introducing a factor which prospective students have no control over. The last time that I checked, a student’s acceptance to Brandeis was contingent upon their academic standing and not their financial standing.
Some supporters of this change in policy are praising the fact that it isn’t an act of penny pinching, but rather a re-allocation of money. The school won’t be saving any money on this proposal, rather spending it differently and — in my opinion — less noble way.
In my opinion, this isn’t a cause for praise but rather a cause of disappointment in those calling the shots. Shortages in funding are a legitimate reason for re-assessing an equitable system. The fact that we are changing our system to something blatantly unfair and not saving any money in the process is absurd.
As disappointing as all of these things are, the aspect of this issue that has me the most upset is the complete lack of reaction from Brandeis students about the change. Whether this lack of reaction is due to true apathy or — more likely — a lack of awareness about the change, it’s time now, for us to show that we are paying attention and that we care about the future of Brandeis by raising our voices and making it known that this change to need sensitive admission is unethical and unacceptable.
We have the ability to make our voices heard at the town hall meeting that has been scheduled for Today, 10/21 at 5:30 in Upper Sherman. It will be a chance for us, as a student body to hear some of the facts on the change and show administration that we are against it!
Here are a few of the highlights of The Hoot and Justice from the past two weeks with a short summary of each article.
Check them out!
The Justice, 10/12
Students for a Just and Stable Future organizes sleep out to promote clean electricity
The Justice re-caps a sleep-out held last week by Students for a Just and Stable Future to promote clean electricity.
Brandeis and Harvard chair Middle Eastern talk series
Professor Shai Feldman, the director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies, and a board member from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University are working jointly on series of lectures regarding the Middle East entitled the “Crown-Belfer Middle East Seminar series.” This act of cooperation is in the interest of creating “a long-term forum and “permanent meeting place” where experts on the Middle East in the Boston area can join and provide information to each other.”
The Hoot 10/15
Brandeis in the running for top vegan-friendly school, PETA2 polling students
Brandeis has been put on a short list of the most vegan-friendly schools in the country!
The Justice 10/19
University endowment returns rise 13.8 percent
After significant fundraising efforts, the University endowment has increased significantly!
Sustainability fund receives eight proposals
The Brandeis Sustainability fund, in its first year of existence, has garnered eight applications for their sustainability grants which will fund a number of student generated initiatives over the course of this year. Very cool!
Please welcome our newest member, Morgan Gross – Sahar
Would you like to take part in Brandeis’ move towards more ethical eating?
You have until noon.
Earlier this week, the Union sent out a survey to all students asking if we want to make a switch in University dining halls from eggs produced by hens in battery cages to cage free eggs.
It is a four-question survey and it will take less than a minute to complete, can you do that right now?
Over 600 Brandeis students have already taken this survey and success is looking good; the higher the number of students that take this survey and show their support for the movement to cage free eggs, the clearer it will be to Brandeis Administration that we, as a student body, are serious about making a move towards more humane, just, and healthy food.
Polls close at noon, so please take a minute and show your support right now.
You can find the link here: http://my.brandeis.edu/survsimp/one?survey_id=5729.