This is part two of a series that aims to take a look at the fall 2002 state of the union address by then-president Ben Brandzel. Hopefully, by going through each section and comparing it to the situation today, we can have a more nuanced look at the present situation at Brandeis, as well as learn from the past hopefully.

What I’m trying to do is go through this speech and summarize each section, after which comes some analysis. We’re doing sections 6-10 now, and then going back to section 4 and concluding thoughts in the upcoming part three post.

To read part one, click here.
To read a copy of the speech, click here.

To read the annotation and analysis, click “read the rest…”

(VI)

Long story short, they had almost the same problem with SAF rollover funds as we did last year. Rather than spend the money on weight rooms, the Union response was to institute professional accounting practices on all clubs benefiting from the SAF and to have a complete audit of what had gone wrong. Yet we had the same problem again.

I think this points to a problem with our current financial system. No disrespect to the F-Board, but the process in which clubs rush the F-Board early in the year to ask for all the money they’ll need for the rest of the semester is really dumb. I know that the clubs I’m involved with can’t plan that far ahead – much of what they do is reactive to what happens on the ground, and many of their best ideas bubble up from the membership throughout the course of the semester.

(VII)

This section talks about clubs and club costs. Basically we’re seeing the early formulations for the current F-Board and chartered/recognized club system.

(VIII)

Talks about the creation of the office of judicial advocacy and the club liason system. I think the only thing remaining from this is some sort of “club help” system. I forgot the name sorry. I wonder what happened to the Judicial Advocacy thing..

(IX)

Talks about future initiatives. Two in particular are worth mentioning.

First off, the campaign to stop sweatshop labor from making Brandeis sweatshirts and so on:

Any of you were lucky enough to hear the presentation by the Bangladeshi sweatshop workers this semester surely feel as I do, that to have the Brandeis name sewn onto sweatshops by the hands of 14 year old girls who are forced to work 16 hour days, are regularly kicked and beaten and thrown against the wall until they are bloody and bruised, and find their life spans reduced by decades from the endless abuse and utter poverty in which they are forced to live.

The WRC actually inspects factories around the world to ensure this kind of abuse is not practiced there, and this information allows us to maintain a sweat-free supply chain. This may not be an easy decision for the University to make, so we must begin to generate the momentum for the change now.

Did this ever actually happen? I’m interested.

But here’s something really interesting. Looks like back then they were also thinking about the University Endowment.

Lastly the Endowment Committee, under the leadership of Social Justice Committee co-chair Estzer Lengyel, and Representative to the Board of Trustees, Jonathan Sclarsic, will continue its efforts to ensure that a portion of our endowment is invested in socially responsible mutual funds. This committee has been making steady progress all semester, and has scheduled a meeting with the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees for this Spring. This meeting will provide the best opportunity to see these changes come to pass.

OK so the proposal back then was to invest some of the Universities money in socially-concious mutual funds, while the Brandeis INVEST coalition (launched here at Innermost Parts by founding partner Alex Melman) tries to let the student body see exactly what our endowment is invested in.

Still, it’s interesting that this whole drama seems to have played out before recently. Maybe some of the people behind the socially-conscious endowment push in 2002 could get in touch with the INVEST people to leave their wisdom, share their experiences whatever? (You can contact us to get in touch with INVEST (the student group working for a transparent endowment)).

(X)

Standard conclusion. Nothing really interesting here.

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