Yet Another Prisoner Proven Innocent!

"Today [January 4th] in Dallas, Texas, Rickey Dale Wyatt was cleared after spending 31 years in prison for a crime that he didn’t commit."

I love getting these kinds of e-mails from the Innocence Project.

They tell me about their clients, prisoners serving time, who they have helped exonerate through the use of DNA evidence.

Oh, our criminal justice system….

Read the full text of the Innocence Project's e-mail below:

Continue reading “Yet Another Prisoner Proven Innocent!”

10 Years at Guantanamo Bay

Amnesty International reminded me about something today.

That our country has a secret prison where we 'detain' people for indefinite amounts of time without trials.

It's called Guanatanamo Bay, and it's been open for 10 years.

According to the New York Times, in January of 2009, Obama issued an executive order instructing the CIA to close down Guanatanamo within the year, calling the secret prison camp "a damaging symbol to the world."

Three years later, the New York Times reports that 171 prisoners remain there now. You can read a docket listing the prisoners' full names. Many of them have been held since 2002, when the prison opened.

Help put an end to this unfair treatment by signing Amnesty's petition to Obama, participating in Amnesty's National Day of Action Against Guantanamo on January 11th in D.C., or simply becoming better education on the situation, for instance by reading Poems from Guantanamo Bay, poems written directly by the prisoners and edited by Marc Falkoff.

The full text of Amnesty's e-mail is included below:

Continue reading “10 Years at Guantanamo Bay”

Influence the Princeton Review College Rankings!

The Princeton Review is compiling updated information on undergraduate universities for its College Rankings.

Whether you agree with the Princeton Review's school rankings or not, this is a good opportunitity to influence this institution which informs so much of our education system.

So, take the SURVEY and tell the Princeton Review what you think of your school.

And post pro/con arguments for the ranking system to begin with, if you feel so empassioned.

“Not once have I ever been confronted by an individual who realized…that I was raised by a gay couple.”

Neil Patrick Harris tweeted a link to this video not too long ago. Kudos.

This video is a really nice example of an "average American" sharing his voice in government.

I think he does a good job.


Zach Wahls Speaks About Family

Description on Youtube.

"Zach Wahls, a 19-year-old University of Iowa student spoke about the strength of his family during a public forum on House Joint Resolution 6 in the Iowa House of Representatives. Wahls has two mothers, and came to oppose House Joint Resolution 6 which would end civil unions in Iowa.

The fight to to keep marriage equality in Iowa continues, help us support Iowans like Zach."


The resolution passed in the House but did not make it to a vote in the Senate.

Take a Quiz, Feed a Child


The World Food Programme has a new quiz on the famine ravaging Ethiopia. Just by taking it, you are helping to end it.

How is that?

For every person who takes the quiz, or shares it with their friends on facbeook or twitter, a meal will be donated to one child in Ethiopia.

From WFP:

"WFP is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. By taking our quiz, you've just joined hundreds of thousands of people across the globe who, like you, are committed to feeding the world's hungriest people!"

WFP has developed an innovative way to use social media and technology in order to raise awareness of international hunger crises, and generate charity. The Ethiopia quiz is just one quiz you can take. The WFP's other social justice donation games include Free Rice, a vocabulary game, and Food Force, a Facebook application strategy game.

Social media can be harnessed in powerful ways to create productive change or provide temporary relief.

Do you think these quizzes and games are effective?


Former Brandeis President Evelyn Handler Dies


Read President Lawrence and Chairman Sherman's e-mail below regarding the recent death of former Brandeis President Evelyn E. Handler. We at Innermostparts send her family our regards and sympathies as well.


Dear Members of the Brandeis Community:

It is with great sadness, particularly during this holiday season, that we write to let you know that former Brandeis President Evelyn E. Handler died Friday night after being struck by a car in Bedford, N.H.

Evelyn Handler served as Brandeis president from 1983 to 1991. She was the first and only woman to lead the University. During her tenure as president, Brandeis was admitted to the Association of American Universities, a significant distinction for such a young institution.  Her other notable achievements included strengthening the University’s life sciences programs, initiating the Volen Center for Complex Systems, and the University’s membership in the University Athletic Association.

On behalf of the entire Brandeis community, we extend our deepest sympathies to the Handler family.


Frederick M. Lawrence, President

Malcolm L. Sherman, Chairman of the Board

Top 10 Wrongful Convictions Movies

David Protess, president of the Chicago Innocence Project, wrote a list of the top ten movies about wrongful convictions in the Huffington Post

The Chicago Innocent Project, similar to Brandeis' own Schuster Institute Brandeis Innocence Project, investigates criminal cases in which prisoners may have been wrongfully convicted. According to the nationwide Innocence Project's site, there have been 281 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States, including 17 who served time on Death Row. If ever there were a strong argument against the death penalty, there it is.

This holiday season, why not watch some movies which explore the merits and flaws of our criminal justice system? Having only watched #s 10, 9, and 3, I can't vouch for the majority of the movies on this list, but all of them raise good questions and promote awareness of the flaws in our criminal justice system, regardless of their cinematic worth.

For extended synopses and commentary, read Protess' full article.

10. Conviction

9. My Cousin Vinny

8. In the Name of the Father 

7. Murder on a Sunday Morning

6. The Fugitive 

5. The Hurricane (a movie about the life of Ruben Carter, the Vice President of the Chicago Innocence Project)

4. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

3. Shawshank Redemption 

2. The Thin Blue Line

1. The Wrong Man 



Vice Provost for LTS and Chief Information Officer Selected!

New Vice Provost for Library and Technology Services and Chief Information Officer at Brandeis announced: John Unsworth!

To the Brandeis Community:

I am delighted to announce that John Unsworth, dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will be the new Vice Provost for Library and Technology Services and Chief Information Officer at Brandeis. John will start his position in mid-February.

Our library is a treasured resource and our use of technology and the innovation we bring to it are critically important factors in the university's future. I am confident that John will help lead us in the right direction in both these arenas. John impressed the search committee and the Brandeis community with his intelligence, deep expertise, collaborative approach and easy manner.

I want to thank those of you who served on the search committee. I know how much time and effort went into this search and its successful outcome. In addition, I want to thank students, staff and faculty from across the Brandeis community who met with the candidates, attended their presentations and offered feedback.

I am delighted that the process has led us to today's announcement. A story on the appointment has been posted on BrandeisNow.



Steve A. N. Goldstein '78, M.A., M.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.P.
Provost and Professor of Biochemistry

Brandeis University
Office of the Provost
415 South Street, M/S 134
Waltham, MA 02453

Student Union State of the Union and Updates


Below is a summary of the highlights of the latest Student Union e-mail, along with my commentary underneath each point.

I am in Chicago and so could not go to the State of the Union. Did anyone attend? Thoughts/reactions?

Attached to this post is "most of what was said at the State of the Union," e-mailed by the Student Union. I like the town hall forum initiative. Rosen covered a lot of  issues and changes Brandeis has been making, and for the most part they sound like steps in a positive, more student-friendly and involved path.


  • The Usdan C-Store (P.O.D.) will be open from Midnight – 2am on Saturdays for all of next Semester! Thank you to everyone for supporting the Senate's Ad-Hoc Dining Committee, Senator Ricky Rosen and the Student Union in this initiative. Make good use of those hours!
    • ?YES! Responding to students' needs! Now if only we could negotiate with Aramark…
  • In response to PULSE Feedback, we've been trying to secure more study space for the student body. In the future, we are trying to get the Mandel Center & Science Complex, but we need to see how this new option goes. Please understand that you need to keep your study space clean and neat. If this first extension of study spaces goes well, then we will be able to get the nicer areas like the Science Center!
    • ?GREAT! Listening to feedback! Yay!
  • Student Union, Student Events, Student Activities and WBRS are proud to bring you… MAKING WAVES! – The Brandeis Pool Party! Saturday, January 21. Keep your eyes open for more information, but get your swim-suits ready!
    • ?Does this mean the pool will be opening Jan. 21st?????!
  • Attached is most of what was said at the State of the Union. Please feel free to read it over, and let me know if you have any questions, comments, concerns, etc.
    • Highlight: From now on, Rosen hopes S.o.t.U.'s will be Town Hall Forum-style
    • State of the Union

“Brandeis Pedal Power: Amping Up Campus Events” Proposal

Biking to blast music. Sounds like a spinning class. Or an OK Go video. In fact, it's a sustainability project.

Harrison Goldspiel, Carrie Watkins and Amira Mintz-Morgenthau submitted "Brandeis Pedal Power: Amping Up Campus Events" as a proposal to the Brandeis Sustainability Fund last month, and are waiting to hear back about whether their project was picked up or not. If funded, it would enable volunteers to generate energy simply by bicycle-riding. The energy could be used for a multitude of campus events, including as a "sustainable sound system," which is what the band Melodeego does, explained Harrison.

This is an awesome idea, promoting bike-riding, concert-attending and sustainability all at once. It's pretty crazy to think that we have such amazing technology these days, which enables us to generate our own energy in such a simple manner.

Read Harrison's description of the project, below, and take their survey too!

The project is "Brandeis Pedal Power: Amping Up Campus Events." I am working with Carrie Watkins '12 and Amira Mintz-Morgenthau '12. I became inspired to work on this project after seeing various concerts powered by bicycle energy. There was a water/hydrofracking festival this summer in NYC that featured a big concert completely powered by bicycle energy generators and "natural ass" power. I also knew of a Massachusetts band called Melodeego that has their own bicycle powered sustainable sound system for all their shows. After going to's Moving Planet: Boston event on 9/24 and riding the bikes myself, I decided we need this at Brandeis. So I rallied together Carrie and Amira and we applied for a BSF grant to construct three bicycle energy units. We are working very closely with Melodeego and their side project, Sustainable Sound to design and eventually construct the units. The second component to our project involves creating a student group called the Pedal Patrol which will manage the bicycle units. We are collaborating with Student Production Services and will incorporate the completely bicycle units and the Pedal Patrol into their organization.

The goals of our project are to: (1) create a new, carbon-free mechanism to power events on campus, thus reducing total energy use and carbon emissions, (2) get students, faculty, and the administration educated and excited about energy and climate change issues in a visually innovative fashion, and (3) set a precedent for university departments and student organizations, such as the Student Union, Student Events, Student Activities, WBRS, Chums, and the Punk Rock and Roll Club to constantly think about the environmental impact of their decisions.

Liveblogging the Hiatt Shadowing Predepature Webinar

I applied to Hiatt's Winter Break Shadowing program and was unable to make it to the first 2 dates of the mandatory pre-departure meetings. 

Currently, I'm virtually attending the "last chance" one.

I thought I would liveblog it and post any interesting/entertaining/surprising tips.

Andrea Dine, Associate Director of Career Development at Brandeis' Hiatt Career Center, is currently walking us through how to research our alumni matches, in terms of them personally, their field of work, and their specific position.

Interesting Points

  • The number one thing alumni matches complain about is students not knowing anything about what they do.  I can see how this is irresponsible on the students' behalf, but really…why is that so wrong? Why are these alumni getting offended by our ignorance?
  • Number one thing NOT to do: directly ask if they will give you a job or internship. I totally agree with this. That makes ANYONE uncomfortable, especially someone you're meeting for the first time, and who's doing you a favor!
  • Facebook is a social networking site good for keeping in touch with friends and family, especially long distance.
  • Brandeis has a lot of comedian alumni, who have won competitions and appeared on TV! I know of Myq Kaplan, the people behind friends, and perhaps a few others, but I'm excited to e-mail Andrea after and find out who these people are.
  • Whether to e-mail or to handwrite thank you letters is a contraversial question. As a gross generlization, older alumni are more likely to expect hand-written notes. I'm surprised to hear that people still handwrite anything. I only ever write e-mails. That's a nice idea, though, to handwrite.

Much like my Intro to Psych class, throughout the Webinar we are being polled to check that we are paying attention. Some of the questions are in regards to our emotions, while others are more like Millionaire $100 questions. Easy and silly.

  • One polling question involved the word "definately". 

This is the first time Hiatt is matching students and alumni on an individualized, one-at-a-time basis. Despite the time it takes, they are hoping this will produce better matches!

And that's the end. Thanks Hiatt! That was fun!

Cross-Disciplinary Courses: A Good Idea

I'm an English major, but I've taken a whole JBS semester in sociology, 2 theater classes, 2 creative writing classes, 2 legal studies classes, a math class…the list goes on. 

My point is, a liberal arts education involves lots of different subject areas all kind of mixing together. And that's the way it should be. Especially at Brandeis, students are encouraged to study in multiple disciplines. So why not combine disciplines within a course, exposing students to multiple perspectives on the same issue?

The latest BrandeisNow features an article concerning two of my favorite teachers, Jane Kamensky and Sue Lanser, for winning the the Innovative Course Design award from the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Kamesky, a History and Women's and Gender Studies professor, and Lanser, who teaches English, Women’s and Gender Studies and Comparative Literature, and is currently on sabatical, teamed up in the fall of 2010 to teach Brandeis' first course in English and History.

ENG/HIST 118b London from Restoration to Regency: People, Culture, City

As BrandeisNow reports, the course focused on London's history, geography (with special attention paid to maps), and culture, delving into its art, music, architecture, theater and more. 

By combining these disciplines, the course offered a more complete look at London than analysis through one specific, more in-depth lens, could offer. What is the worth of being an expert on London's literature from the 1800's if you have no sense of who wrote it or what they were responding to?

I think this course (which will be offered again during the 2013-14 school year) is a great initiative, and would like to take an English-History course in the future. 

In fact, the class I took with Kamesky, SYS 1c, was a sophomore seminar for my Lerman-Neubauer Fellowship, which asked the question "How Do We Know What We Know?" from a variety of perspectives. In class, we analyzed the concept of the self, and how it pertains to different disciplines and methodologies, from the lenses of: Economics (former Dean Jaffe), Art History (Prof. Kalb), History (Prof. Kamensky) and Neuroscience (Prof. Katz). 

Each sections lasted about 8 weeks (half a semester), and consisted of in-depth analyses and class discussions. I had never taken college classes in any of these areas before, and they truly opened my mind. This opportunity is not available to all students, but I think more interdisciplinary seminar courses should be offered.


I'm looking for summer internships on the Career and Internship Connections (CIC) site right now, thanks to Hiatt, and I just stumbled across the coolest-sounding job ever.

Too bad they stopped accepting applications on Nov. 28th. It's still a fun read though.

***PLEASE NOTE: U.S. Secret Service representatives will be attending the morning career fair only. They look forward to meeting with you and discussing employment/internship opportunities on the day of the event.

The United States Secret Service is mandated by statue and executive order to carry out two significant missions: protection and criminal investigations. During the course of their careers, special agents carry out assignments in both of these areas an must be available to be assigned to duty stations anywhere around the world.

The Secret Service protects:

-The president, the vice president (or other individuals next in order of succession to the Office of the President), the president-elect

-the immediate families of the above individuals

-former presidents, their spouses for their lifetimes, except when the spouse remarries.  In 1997, Congressional legislation became effective limiting Secret Service protection to former presidents for a period of not more than 10 years from the date the former president leaves office

-children of former presidents until age 16

-visiting heads of foreign states or governments and their spouses traveling with them, other distinguished foreign visitors to the United States, and official representatives of the United States performing special missions abroad

-major presidential and vice presidential candidates, and their spouses within 120 days of a general presidential election

-other individuals as designated per Executive Order of the President

-National Special Security Events, when designated as such by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

The Secret Service investigates:

-violations of laws relating to counterfeiting of obligations and securities of the United States

-financial crimes that include, but are not limited to, financial information fraud, false identification documents, access device fraud, advance fee fraud, computer and telecommunications fraud, electronic funds transfers and money laundering as it relates to the agency's core violations

-computer-based attacks on the nation's financial, banking and telecommunications infrastructure

For additional information and qualifications, please visit 

Application Qualifications:
Desired Attributes: The following attributes are desired for this position.
Desired Work Authorization Status: Authorized to work in the U.S.
Sponsorship: Only include candidates that do not require sponsorship


This raises so many questions for me, not the least of which is…those are the ONLY desired attributes/qualifications?

State of the Union Press Release: Open to Student Input

The Student Union just sent out an official press release concerning the State of the Union, which will be this Thursday from 5:30-7:30 in the Mandel Atrium. 

The State of the Union, which has typically consisted of the SU President, and sometimes members of the President's Executive Board, delivering speeches, including reflections on the past term and predictions or unveiling of plans for the upcoming semester.

However, in an effort to make the event "more transparent and interactive," this year the State of the Union will consist of a short speech from SU President Rosen and then an open floor for questions from anyone in the audience, and featuring a "panel of Student Union representatives."

In a reception to follow the address, Rosen, Provost Steve Goldstein and Senior Vice President of Students and Enrollment Andrew Flagel will jointly "lead one of the first student Strategic Planning sessions."

This sounds like a great initiative. Rosen's administration has talked a lot about reforming the Student Union to place more focus on open communication, transparency, and increase student input, but events like these are necessary to put those lofty ideals into practice. 

Having attended the past 2 spring State of the Unions, I can say that the crowd is usually made up of more "adults" than students. Hopefully, this effort will increase student participation and attendance.

Anyone want to liveblog the event for us here at IMP?



The full text of the press release follows below: 

Continue reading “State of the Union Press Release: Open to Student Input”

iPhone 4 Limits Access to Information

*Thanks to the Brandeis Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance chapter for these articles. Check them out at:

I don't and never have had an iPhone, but I still know who Siri is. Friends love showing off that they can talk to a phone and get a response from it, although that's what phones were invented for in the first place. It goes back to some primal urge to control other humans, which is why scientists are developing human-like robots.

Anyway, Siri is pretty impressive. She can look things up, answer jokes with witty retorts, and more. But, people are discovering that she is still limited by what her designers want her to say, and some of these pre-programmed responses seem to have a specific, anti-choice agenda behind them.

"The recent illustrations of Siri, the iPhone 4S voice-recognition based assistant, failing to provide information to users about abortion, birth control, help after rape and help with domestic violence has gotten a lot of notice."

As the above site demonstrates via screenshots, ask Siri  about birth control, where you can get an abortion, or even type in the address of a specific abortion agency, and Siri will not have any answers.

Apple's defense, according to a BBC News article, is that Siri is still in her developing stages, and does not have all the information yet to answer everyone's questions. However, Siri's lack of knowledge on specific, controversial subject matters has led to speculation that this is more than just the beta stage. Is it right for Apple to push a moralist, anti-choice agenda on iPhone users if this is true?

Since I don't have an iPhone I can't run a test myself, but I urge you all to ask Siri questions relating to pro-choice options and see what she says.

And if you think Siri should be updated to include information for pro-choice resources, go to Apple's website and fill out a user feedback review saying exactly what Siri is missing.

We Apologize for the Hiatus

Hello, Loyal and Dedicated Innermostparts Readers,

We, the staff here at Innermostparts, would like to apologize for our recent hiatus from reporting.

We know that people like you depend upon us for something, whether it be entertainment, news, or child support, and we feel badly when we deprive you of these essentials.

We believe it is a blog's job to update frequently and consistently, and to provide its readership base with thoughtful and relavent material on a regular basis.

With that said, it is difficult to live up to these standards without a big editorial and writing staff. As you can see from recent posts, although we have several one-time contributors, our writing staff has grown very small and disorganized.

This is a call to action.

Whether you often find cool social justice articles on huffingtonpost and want to do more than like them on your facebook, or you find yourself writing theses on women's rights that you have nowhere to send; whether you want to write a post an hour or copyedit others' grammar once a month, if you are interested in joining the ranks of Esther Brandon, Sahar Massachi, Elly Kalfus, Rocky Reichman and others, please let us know! We are happy to talk with you about the possibility of joining Innermostparts, Brandeis' only social activism blog!

E-mail us at, subject line: Writing for Innermostparts, and we will be in touch, or track one of us down in person and express your interest.

There's a lot going on in the world and we want you to help us cover it.

We value your feedback.

Thank you!


Student Advisory Committee and Constitutional Review: E-mail by NOV 25th!

The Student Advisory Committee for the Strategic Planning Process and the Student Union Consitutional Review Task Force.

Two awesome opportunities for any undergraduates to make decisions about our school.

No application necessary- simply e-mail Herbie about your interest in either of these groups by Nov. 25th!

Read below for more information:

Currently there are two initiatives taking off this week, but neither can be successful without the input and cooperation of the student body.

The first is the Strategic Planning Process. As Provost Goldstein mentioned in his email last week, a committee has been formed to assess the trajectory of Brandeis, and recommend strategies that will shape the framework, goals and priorities of the University for the future. This is a big deal.

Until May, I will be your undergraduate representative on the Committee, but I cannot possibly be your only spokesman. A Student Advisory Committee is needed to engage the student body, gather student input and make sure that the undergraduate community has a say in this major-decision-making process. This committee will be responsible for gathering and organizing the input and opinions of all students. 

I need your help! If you are interested in being a member of the Student Advisory Committee, then please email me with your name, class year and resume at by midnight, Friday, November 25. The Committee will be meeting at least once a week for two hours. An additional two to four hours of work will be required per month. This Committee is open to all students, except for those going abroad next semester. It will be a diverse group of students from all years and all aspects of the undergraduate community. Interested and want to learn more? EMAIL ME!

We cannot let a major planning exercise lack student voice. We cannot let the Strategic Planning Process just become another shelved University Proposal. Join me in making sure that the Strategic Planning Process has a profound positive impact upon future Brandeis students. This is a special moment in Brandeis history – make sure you have a say.

The second initiative is the Student Union Constitutional Review. Every four years, the Student Union is mandated to review its Constitution. While the last review was in 2009 – 2010, I believe we can benefit from changing some of the Constitution's rhetoric. 

This process requires the participation of a great deal many students, all of whom are expected to reach out to the greater student body. Attached is the Constitution Article on Constitutional Review. Please read through it, and if you are interested in serving on the Review Task Force, please email me at by midnight, Friday, November 25, and mention which constituency you want to represent.

While not a University initiative, this Constitutional Review will hopefully benefit the undergraduate student body in the future, and I welcome any student input on the matter. Our Constitution can be found at by clicking on the About Section.

This is a chance for us to impact Brandeis and the way of life for our undergraduates. If you are interested, please don't let this run by you.

Thanks so much, and have a terrific break!

Giving Thanks- 1. The ACLU

In honor of Thanksgiving, I would like to express support for organizations or people that make a positive difference in the world.

First up, the ACLU.

The ACLU, comprised of the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation, has been working since 1920 to protect the rights of American citizens.

ACLU Victories of 2011
  • "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" finally came to an end.
  • The extreme Mississippi Personhood Amendment was defeated.
  • Congressional attempts to defund Planned Parenthood failed.
  • An outrageous provision that would have granted this and all future presidents a blank check to involve the U.S. in a worldwide war without end was halted.
  • Free speech rights of Occupy Wall Street protestors have been defended.
  • New York state passed a landmark marriage equality law.
  • Illinois banned the death penalty.
  • ACLU lawsuits stalled enactment of every "show me your papers" racial profiling law passed across the country.
  • We blocked enactment of South Dakota's draconian anti-abortion law.
  • The Obama administration decided to stop defending the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act against an ACLU legal challenge.


Thank you, ACLU.


What groups are you guys thankful for?

What do you do when you see a drunk girl pushing a guy?

I just came home to my loft, suite-style building across from DePaul's campus, located on busy Fullerton Street, and was confronted by the scene desribed in the headline.

Sure, 1 a.m. near a college campus there are bound to be drunk people fighting. But, what do you do when you think it might be serious?

As my friend and I neared the guy and girl, I heard her yell "Why would you do this to me?" and grab his shirt and push him.

He tried to pull away and said "I'm calling the police. I'm going to call the police." 

She seemed drunk and he seemed sober.

What do you do?

I keep repeating that because I honestly don't know.

Maybe they were a couple and had just had a trivial fight. Maybe she was taking things way out of line. Maybe he was going to call the cops and it would all be fine. But how do I know?

As we walked by, I turned and said to them "Are you guys alright? Do you need help?"

The guy responded with something along the lines of "She's drunk. She won't let go of me…We're okay."

I can't remember what he said, but it sounded like he was dismissing me.

So I left.

When I entered my lobby, next door, I told the security guards that a guy and girl were yelling at each other on the sidewalk, in front of the restaurant next door. 

The security guard's response?

"If it's past the black pillar, it's not our problem."

Continue reading “What do you do when you see a drunk girl pushing a guy?”

Brandeis: The 5-Year Plan


As Provost Steve Goldstein sent out in an e-mail earlier today, President Lawrence is soliciting input from the faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students in order to devise a 5-year plan to put Brandeis on the right track.

For faculty and staff, this will take the form of planning sessions group meetings.

Undergraduate students, on the other hand, will "convene a Student Advisory Committee to engage the student body through a series of town hall meetings, forums and online surveys," and the Graduate Student Association will likewise organize events for graduate students to contribute their input.

In addition, Goldstein announced the members of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. It is comprised of: Gannit Ankori, Ben Gomes-Casseres, Karen Hansen, Tim Hickey, Anita Hill, Fernando Rosenberg, Susan Birren, Lisa M. Lynch, Bruce Magid, Michaele Whelan, Malcolm Watson, Herbie Rosen, Michael Singer, Jonathan Davis, Barbara Mandel, Bart Winokur, David Bunis, Andrew Flagel, Elaine Kuttner and Dan Feldman.

Soliciting input as to the future of our University is a good initiative, and would be even better if the news was accompanied by concrete plans for how this will play out, as it was for the faculty and staff, who were sent Doodle polls to fill out to organize their meeting. We will see how this process plays out, but until then, students can still follow up on the initiative by e-mailing Student Union President Herbie Rosen or others involved to suggest how it should be conducted.

The most promise opportunity was Goldstein's mention of a website that will go up in December to document all of the ideas these groups come up with. This is a good way for the whole Brandeis community to be involved in the decision-making process if they choose.

I'm also confused as to why graduate students' input will be gathered in a different way than undergraduates:

With Andrew Flagel, Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment, undergraduates will convene a Student Advisory Committee to engage the student body through a series of town hall meetings, forums and online surveys. Similarly, the Graduate Student Association will solicit input via a series of events and online opportunities. 

Is there a significance to this distinction? I'd like to know how graduate students feel about the text of the e-mail and their role in the process.


Read the full text of the e-mail below, and share your views on this news.

Continue reading “Brandeis: The 5-Year Plan”

Occupy Boston Free Classes this Weekend!


There are a series of "Free School University" classes taking place this weekend at Dewey Square. Read their descriptions.
Friday, Nov. 18th
1. Political Policing in the United States: Historical Perspectives on the Challenges Confronting the Occupy Movement (FSU) – 1PM
This teach in will briefly review the history of political policing in the United States before giving an analysis of the four principal approaches security forces use to subvert movements. From here, I will cover the contemporary organization of domestic intelligence gathering under Homeland Security and close with pressing questions for the occupy movement derived from a comparison of the differing outcomes of the confrontations between various occupations and the police.
Teacher: Brendan McQuade, PhD student in sociology at SUNY-Binghamton.
2. Power & Visibility: “The Means of Correct Training” from Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish – 2PM
Philosopher Michel Foucault believed that we live in a vast network of surveillance. We go to school, punch a clock, pay our bills – each of these actions make us visible as orderly citizens, as, in Foucault’s words, “docile bodies.” Small disorders are allowed, but they bring greater scrutiny: the truant is watched by the principal; the late worker by the boss; the person behind on their mortgage by the banks and courts. Greater degrees of disorder sentence one to greater visibility, all the way to the prison cell fitted with surveillance cameras. The Occupy movement represents a disorderly form of visibility. Are we making our dissent easier to see, and thus easier to control? Or are we powerfully refusing the docility we’ve been taught? Let’s talk about it as we discuss this chapter from Foucault.
Teacher: SUSAN GORMAN, Ph.D. in English from Tufts University. She teaches at several sites in the Boston area and is committed to the idea of empowering communities through the classroom.
3. Paul Le Blanc Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture  – 5PM

Teacher: Paul Le Blanc is Associate Professor of History at La Roche College in Pittsburgh, PA. He has written widely on history and social issues, edited the “Revolutionary Studies” series published by Humanities Press and Humanity Books, and is an Associate Editor of the Encyclopedia of Protests, Uprisings and Revolutions to be published by Facts-on-File.
Saturday, Nov. 19th
1. Globalization and How it Affects Us – 1PM
Corporate globalization has brought the whole world into one economic system, dominated by multinational corporations. It is the biggest change since the Industrial Revolution. This interactive presentation will include a brief description of the development of corporate globalization and an explanation of how it results in soaring corporate profits, the loss of millions of jobs in the United States, increased hunger and poverty in developing countries, the environmental crisis, and the inability of our country to recover from the present recession.
Teacher: Madeleine Cousineau is a Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Human Services Program at Mount Ida College. She has also taught in the Boston University Prison Education Program. She is the author of books and articles on radical religion and social activism in Brazil and a longtime activist on global issues.
2. Occupy The Economy, with Kerry Power, followed by Q&A – 2PM
An overview of the twelve steps of the Economic Revolution as a process to create a new, sustainable economy and society that more equitably enriches all who contribute to it.
Teacher: Mr. Kerry Power has been a successful entrepreneur and social activist for over thirty years. In addition to his extensive experience in the Alternative Energy and Internet Technology industries, Kerry has also worked with many of the nation’s largest grassroots organizations, from both liberal and conservative camps, to provide a variety of non-partisan voter education publications to dedicated activists across the nation. “Economic Revolution” takes Kerry’s commitment to social and economic improvement to the next level, launching his new trilogy of solution-oriented instruction manuals for restoring America’s famed standard of living, and celebrated way of life.
3. How “Free” Trade Kills Jobs, Reduces Wages, Wrecks the Environment & Destroys Democracy – 4PM
President Obama recently signed into law new trade agreements Korea, Colombia and Panama, but like NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and a host of other bad trade deals that came before them, these free trade agreements have nothing to do with growing our economy or supporting the middle class with good jobs. What they are really about is exporting jobs, weakening the democratic process and putting more power in the hands of multinational corporations and their Wall Street Bankers. This teach-in is an introduction to the costs and threats posed by “free” trade.
Teacher: Steve D’Amico is a coordinator with, a non profit 501c(4) fighting against unfair trade agreements and for American jobs. As a community organizer in the 70s and 80s he fought against discriminatory lending practices by banks and helped win passage of the Community Reinvestment Act. He is a former Massachusetts State Representative from the Fourth Bristol District.
The full Occupy Boston schedule can be found here:
*Thanks to Shea Riester for this information.


Occupy Chicago Negotiates with the Mayor’s Office

Good news from OccupyChicago.

A delegation of Occupiers submitted a petition with 13,409 signatures supporting "the rights of Occupy Chicago to peaceable assemble," [sic] today.

Nancy Wade, of the delagation, reported that they "had a productive conversation" with the First Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of the Mayor, and are currently in negotiations with the city as to what "a possible stable outdoor location for Occupy Chicago might look like."

I think that negotiations is a good place to be, and I'm happy the city is listening to the Occupiers.

More updates to come. In addition, check out Occupy Wall Street or its affiliates' Wikipedia pages. It's a rare opportunity to watch Wikipedia articles be constantly updated with new information!


For the full text of Wade's e-mail regarding the petition, the meeting, and how you can help, read below:

Continue reading “Occupy Chicago Negotiates with the Mayor’s Office”

Health Center $20 Shots

The Brandeis Health Center is now serving alcohol, and even taking reservations for drinking appointments, in part of their new initiative to discourage binge drinking by underage students.

Excerpts from Health Center e-mail:

Walk in shots available Monday through Friday 9:00am – 11:00am and 1:30pm – 3:30pm. Shots are available by appointment if neccessary.  Please call             781-736-3677       to schedule. 

Cost is $20 cash only please, receipts for insurance reimbursement available upon request.

$20 is pretty good for a shot these days, although we'd like to know more about which kinds they'll be serving. In addition, cash bars are somewhat inconvenient, especially on Brandeis' campus, with its scarcity of neighboring banks and ATM's.


Brought to you by: Truthtoitsonionmostparts



Feminism or Firearms: What Empowers Women More?

"So, maybe the true feminist icon shouldn't be Gloria Steinem but Annie Oakley."

This is a particularly anti-feminist clip from "The Five," a show on FoxNews. It was aired November 1st, 2011.

The Five- Feminism or Firearms: What Empowers Women More?

I found the clip, aired November 1st, this week while looking for material for my  modern conservative feminist character for a comedic, satirical newscast we had to create for my Comedic Writing class here at Second City- Comedy Studies.

I do think there is a way to be a conservative and a feminist, but I do not think that most people who claim to be both truly are, according to my own definition of feminism, which is equality of the genders.




Investigative Reporting: What Entrepeneurs and Novelists Can Learn from Journalists


Running your own company can be hectic. Especially in the quickly-changing world of technology and   the Web, entrepreneurs lead fast-paced lives. Problems can arise from nowhere that need solutions immediately. Decisions must be made. Customers need to be taken care of. Resources need to allocated–and re-distributed. Life can be an unorganized mess, or a well-run efficient machine.

Unless you are participating in a contest like NaNoWriMo, Writing fiction is usually not so fast-paced. For anyone who has ever written or tried to write a novel, they know that patience is one of the key traits needed to persist. Novels need to build up, and will not be complete until the author has typed out every single word and finished the story. Even then, authors usually do not reap any benefits from their labor until much later on, after their book has been published and started to sell.

But entrepreneurs are not the only ones who live fast-paced lives. And patience is beneficial in other areas of work other than writing. In reality, entrepreneurs and novelists both need the ability to adapt and respond to problems quickly as well as patience.

I am not a professional novelist, but I do write. I cannot speak for all entrepreneurs, even fellow college students who run their own web business, but I have had similar experience running Literary Magic. There is little doubt in my mind of the important role these traits play for both entrepreneurs and novelists as well as those who aspire to be.

Why do I bring this up now?

This summer I’m interning for an organization called the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. It’s a big switch from my days at McGraw-Hill, but has so far complimented if not enhanced the skills I learned at my four years interning in corporate America.

From what I have seen working as a Research Assistant for investigative journalists is that this profession, too, requires a mastery of both adaptability and patience. Whether it is breaking a major article, fact-checking a source or preparing for an event, investigative journalism bears similar traits to entrepreneurship and novel writing. Like entrepreneurs, the workplace is fast-paced. Issues pop up at every corner, and you need to work hard to not only solve these would-be obstacles but continue to progress forward (was that an oxymoron?). And like novelists, creating and preparing a piece of work in investigative journalism takes time. Takes patience. And if you do eventually see the fruits of your labor in investigative journalism, the results can be long in coming.

I think interning at a center dedicated to investigative journalism, like the Schuster Institute is, is helping me improve in these areas. That, and my work for The Justice, has helped me improve my writing and business ventures, not distracted me from it. My advice? If you get the opportunity to try your hand at writing news, go for it. That patience and adaptability will serve you well in the future, as it is already serving me.

Until next time!

Yours literally,



Turkish Relief Efforts


Please check out this e-mail to support the Turkish relief effort.

To whom it may concern,

I am contacting you to inform you of a new campus initiative. This student- run initiative is a group of concerned students with the goal of helping with Turkish relief efforts for the recent, devastating earthquake through raising funds and general campus awareness of the situation. They are doing this in conjunction with Project Nur and help from the Department of Community Service and this semester are beginning to sell bracelets and Turkish food. Additionally, they hope to continue through next semester with fundraising and the following years with cultural awareness through reinvigorating and renewing a currently obsolete club, Turkish Students Association. This could be a really great news story about how to make obsolete clubs worthwhile and about the discussion of clubs on Brandeis in general. It could also be a great way for this club and their efforts to be publicized and hopefully grow. Rozi Levi is spearheading this effort and would love to be able to provide interviews for any op-ed or news story that you would like to publish. I really hope that you consider writing about this new initiative, and if you have any questions or comments please just email me back or contact Rozi.

Thanks again for your consideration and please let me know if you’re interested in pursuing this,
Tamar Schneck

Charlie Radin + Gershom Gorenberg => J Street

I read Gershom Gorenberg every day. Well, every day I check my RSS reader, and if Gershom has written something, then I make sure to take the time to read it.  (His blog is called South Jerusalem. It's on our blogroll, I think).



He's an interesting guy – an Orthodox Jew and member of the Israeli left, and a thoughtful and kind man. 

He's teaming up with J-Street (the American Jewish Pro-Israel Pro-Peace group) and giving a talk about his great new book, The Unmaking of Israel.

  • Where: 384 Harvard Street, in Brookline.
  • When: Tomorrow (Wednesday)
  • Time: 7:30pm

I like Charlie Radin. He works at the Office of Communications at Brandeis (I think he's in charge of Brandeis NOW) and was an award-winning foreign correspondent for the Boston Globe.

Charlie is moderating the event! Our Charlie! How cool is that?

Want to go?

Seriously. Want to take a bus with me or something? Let me know.


PULSE Surveys: Do Em

Yesterday marked the first Pulse survey from the Student Union, in what is to be a series on all aspects of campus life.

We forgot to post the link yesterday, so now it becomes an experiment: only you can test it out: does the link still work even though it is now Tuesday?

1. Link to the first Pulse survey, on dining:

2. Two videos explaining the surveys.
Intro to the Pulse (funny Herbie video)
Intro to Today's Section (more funny Ricky Rosen video):
3. All questions related to the Pulse can be directed to
Didn't see something you wanted on the Pulse? Email Ari Tretin ( the head of the University Dining Committee, and Ricky Rosen (, the head of the Senate Dining Committee.
4. Continue to check your e-mail so that you can take the rest of the surveys this week.
  • Tuesday, November 8 – HOUSING (facilities, services, your personal space) 
  • Wednesday, November 9 – STUDENT LIFE (clubs, transportation, social life, etc.)
  •  Thursday, November 10 – STUDENT UNION (How can we help/represent you?!)
  •  Friday, November 11 – WHAT ELSE?! (What else matters to you? SOUND OFF ON ANYTHING!)


As I said before, I think this is a great initiative, and the Dining Survey really addressed key issues, such as the Justice League's Dollar-Point Parity campaign, SEA's Real Food campaign, and the availability of Gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options, to name a few.

Now the question remains to be answered what kind of impact the survey feedback will actually HAVE, and how it will manifest.

  • If you run out of ideas for what to put in the comments box, refer to Innemostparts suggestions and critiques, and see if you agree or disagree. For instance, for improvements on housing (the topic of today's survey), was covered last semester by yours truly,


Open Student Union Committee Positions

Yet another opportunity to be involved in decision-making on the student level: the Student Union wants non-senators to serve as committee chairs for the Diversity, Services, and Club Support committees.

Below are a list of the committees' descriptions.


Diversity Committee: Coordinate events, work to encourage diverse interaction amongst the Brandeis community, and collaborate with the ICC and underrepresented groups on campus to increase community engagement.

Services Committee: Plans Midnight Buffet, shuttle buses for Thanksgiving and Spring breaks; oversees the Deisbike program.

Club Support Committee: Guides new clubs through Union processes such as club recognition and charter, helps new clubs after receiving recognition/charter, and provides services to clubs and club leaders.

E-mail Gloria Park, Student Union Vice President, at for more information.

Move Your Money: Bank Transfer Day


Are you a fan of It's a Wonderful Life? Interested in how this classic Christmas movie is inspiring social justice movements nowadays?

Watch a great, 6-minute clip explaining what the day is all about, courtesy of Nation of Change.


This is a short post because it is serving as a forum for people to share their views on whether or not they are going to be moving their money out of big, corporate banks and into small locally-owned banks and credit unions.

Internship Exchange Proves Informative

I've been considering writing about Brandeis' Internship Exchange for a while, but I wanted to test it out first.

Having played around on the site, I can now say that it is in fact helpful. 

Basically, Hiatt wants to offer students more opportunities to network, because the more successful Brandeis students and alumni are, the more Brandeis benefits. 

The way this program facilitates success is by allowing students to anonymously "review" internships they have had, including a description of their duties, how it matched up with their expectations, and more. Then, other students can search through this database of internships Brandeis students have held, and find applicable ones.

At first I was annoyed because of the limited search options on the homepage.

However, then I dsicovered that underneath lay a tab for "Advcanced Search options," which includes a wide range of criteria (interests, majors and minors, location, compensation etc.). Just so you're aware.

Looking through users' reviews is informative and entertaining. Since they're anonymous, but users write their major/minor and year of graduation, it's fun trying to guess who's are whose.

Continue reading “Internship Exchange Proves Informative”

U.S. On Its Way to Becoming Friends with the Environment

Most encouraging article I have read in a while:  U.S. Carbon Emissions Down Seven Percent in Four Years

Due to a combination of the economic recession, EPA regulations, businesses embracing environmentally-friendly innovation, and more,

"We are now looking at a situation where the seven percent decline in carbon emissions since the 2007 peak could expand to 20 percent by 2020, and possibly even to 30 percent. If so, the United States could become a world leader in cutting carbon emissions and stabilising climate."

This article's, from Nation of Change, strength is in its analysis of the social and economic trends which have led to America's environmental progress.


Escort Safety Service Pilots Shuttle Program

"Pilots shuttle program" hopefully piqued your interest.

The Brandeis Escort Safety Service sent out a press release for immediate release, announcing it will be implementing a trial shuttle on Saturday the 12th and Sunday the 29th, running from campus to Riverside Station shuttle. 

Although I am not familiar with what Riverside Station has to offer or why that specific location was chosen, I think it's great that the Escort Safety Service and Department of Public Safety are running trials and listening to student/user feedback.

This comes on the heels (the e-mail was sent an hour after) of the Student Union's announcement that the C-Store will be open extended hours, until 2 a.m., on November 5th, 12th and 19th, and that Dining Services will decide whether or not to extend hours permanently based on C-Store activity on those days.

So the question remains: what's making Brandeis so responsive to student feedback these days, and how can we use this to our advantage as members of the Brandeis community?

Read the full text of the press release below for details on the shuttle service.

Continue reading “Escort Safety Service Pilots Shuttle Program”

AVODAH: To Israel or Not To Israel?


AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps whose primary focus is "the Jewish community's fight against the causes and effects of poverty in the United States," is coming under fire for sponsoring a trip to Israel. 

"We do this by engaging participants in service and community building that inspire them to become lifelong agents for social change whose work for justice is rooted in and nourished by Jewish values."

AVODAH, which has a close relationship with Brandeis, and currently has 6 Brandeis alumni participating in work across the nation, had stayed out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict until now, keeping its focus on problems in the U.S.

However, the organization's recent decision to sponsor a service-learning trip to Israel, run by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, is provoking a response from many involved who view the trip as a pro-Israel, anti-Palestine statement.

People against the trip have created an open letter and petition to AVODAH asking it to alter the trip's focus to include Palestinian points of view, reject grants which would necessitate a similarly one-sided trip again, and open a public discussion on what AVODAH's stance on the issue should be.

One excerpt from the letter:

"It is grossly irresponsible for AVODAH to whitewash Israeli policies while still claiming to stand for social justice."

Although I do not have a great understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli politics at the moment, and know this is contentious ground, I agree with many of the points expressed in the letter, especially that of a call for a community discussion concerning AVODAH's stance on the topic, and mandating that trips be as objective and inclusive as possible to all interested participants.

To form your own opinion, read the full text of the letter below and sign the petition if you so choose.


Continue reading “AVODAH: To Israel or Not To Israel?”

Social Justice Opportunities on Campus…Deadlines Approaching

Last Student Union e-mail we will directly copy and paste for a while, hopefully.

The Student Union just keeps telling us about such good  opportunities that I feel bad not re-promoting them in the name of social justice, though…
The deadlines to apply for:
  1. DEIS IMPACT is Nov. 4th
  2. Stanley Family Night is Nov. 8th
  3. Office of Communications job is Nov. 9th.

Read below for details on these events/opportunities:


Continue reading “Social Justice Opportunities on Campus…Deadlines Approaching”

Student Union: A Chance to Speak Up!

Remember when Innermostparts conducted two surveys this summer?

Well, not that many people participated, so we didn't gather that much information. This was due to a combination of lack of advertisement/buildup and it being summer, so I'm not pointing any fingers.

But, I do think surveys are a great way to gauge what needs to be changed, so I'm excited that the Student Union will be conducting a series of surveys starting Monday on food, shelter, quality of existence, government, and anything else. It's called the Union Pulse.

Also, theirs sound more enticing, since they're offering (non-partisan) prizes.

Give them some feedback. Help THEM help YOU.

Help Me Help You

So I know you all get a lot of surveys from a lot of different people…
but how often do you get to see what people really said in those surveys? 
      How often do you get to see your voice and your opinion making a difference?
With that in mind, the Student Union introduces the…
Monday, November 7 – Friday, November 11
Each day you will receive an email. And each day all of you will have a chance to sound off on the following topics. The schedule is as follows:
1. Monday, November 7 – DINING 
(hours, kosher/vegan options, meals, convenience)
2. Tuesday, November 8 – HOUSING
(facilities, services, your personal space)
3. Wednesday, November 9 – STUDENT LIFE 
(clubs, transportation, social life, etc.)
4. Thursday, November 10 – STUDENT UNION 
(How can we help/represent you?!)
5. Friday, November 11 – WHAT ELSE?!
(What else matters to you? SOUND OFF ON ANYTHING!)
Check your email every morning, and please take a moment to share your thoughts on the daily topic. It is anonymous, but then you'll have another form where you can… WIN PRIZES! 


HPA Club at Brandeis

People have been trying to start up a Brandeis chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance for a while now.

Here is an e-mail from Adam Ossip regarding the newest incarnation of this movement and how you can get involved!

Hello, everyone! 

I would like to announce the formation of a new Brandeis club, the Brandeis Chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance.

The Harry Potter Alliance is a national organization formed by Andrew Slack, a Brandeis alum. It's a social justice group that seeks to improve the world inspired by the lessons of love and friendship learned from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Just last February, they raised $125,000 to help those hurt by the earthquake in Haiti.

We hope to soon add our efforts to the good done by this group. And we would love to have your help as well. If you would like to join our listserv, please email

Thank you.