Involve Alumni too!

I saw the headline of a Hoot editorial: “Once a Student, Always a Stakeholder”, and I was kinda excited.

It’s only an accident of history that I get to be on the Brandeis campus during this inflection point in its history. But will I be any less attached to Brandeis the day after graduation? Will I not still believe in its ideals, and push for the fulfillment of its potential? Then why should my voice count any less?

There is a shameful lack of Alumni participation in Brandeis affairs. Alumni were once students. Like it or not, they are tied once to Brandeis’ success or failure through their degrees, and many times over through the heart. Not all alumni feel way, of course, but many do. These people are Brandeis citizens as much as I am, and deserve to have the same power to influence decisions as I do.

Ideally, Alumni should have just as much access as students do. They should have seats on CARS subcommittees and be able to access forums and propose ideas to the Board of Trustees. I thought the Hoot editorial was responding to that situation. Instead they wrote some vague tract on how students should be more involved, etc. Which is correct, but something else entirely.


2 thoughts on “Involve Alumni too!”

  1. Benjamin, I agree with your positive view (as opposed to normative view) that Bernstein-Marcus has made some dumb mistakes in the past.

    However, I think your ideas for how to respond to that are
    1. wrong
    2. selfish

    If you truly cared about Brandeis, you’d try to make it better, not throw up your hands in defeat.

    If you truly cared about current students, you’d try to help, and not leave us to our fate.

    You’re saying “oh, Brandeis sucks, so the hell with it.”

    You know what? Brandeis does not equal whomever happens to be sitting in the President’s chair at the moment, or deans or provost or whatever.

    The Brandeis community is defined by its students, faculty, and staff. By turning your face aside, you’re spurning us, you’re spurning me.

    How could you?

  2. If Brandeis didn’t wipe out respected academic programs; evict multicultural art exhibits; insult former presidents; threaten its own professors; suggest that it wants to charge students for performing their own community service; commit to shutting down a regionally beloved art museum home to an internationally admired collection; and stand firmly behind a president who has long overextended his stay with a pattern of backtracking, obfuscation and downright clumsiness, then I might become a more active alumnus.

    You’re fighting the good fight on this blog, but until there’s some change in Bernstein-Marcus, Brandeis will be hard-pressed to gain my participation, and I hope that I am not the only recent graduate who feels that way. After all, most of us are not so entrenched in the small circle of mega-donors who serve as the current administration’s backbone.

    It’s hard to gin up the motivation to help out a university you no longer respect. Brandeis is slipping from being a treasured alma mater toward becoming an embarrassment for its alumni.

    In recent memory, Brandeis has dragged its own intellectual carcass through the mud, proposed selling off one of its most valued assets and seen its biggest donors swindled by an Upper East Side hustler. Its alumni have endured enough, and it’s long past due to find new leadership for this broken university.

    Maybe then, Brandeis will be worth a damn.

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