First and foremost, I send my sincere thanks to Jason Gray for encouraging President Reinharz to hold the forum for undergraduate students. Jason has proven himself to be a very valuable resource by advocating for the needs of the students. Simply put, he continues to impress me. In addition, I must extend a warm thank you to President Reinharz, as well as Peter French and Marty Krauss, for agreeing to hold this forum.The presentation which Peter French carefully explained gave the students in attendance a clear glimpse into the intricacies of the financial situation. For the first time during these deliberations, I felt as though I was finally getting the real story, free from the shroud of rumors. The drive for transparency became even clearer as I sat there, desperate to know more and to understand the difficulties that face this administration. In truth, today was the first time that I felt sympathy for those who carry the burden of making the decisions on Brandeis University’s future as an institution.
The visual impact of the sheer number of students in attendance shows me that apathy no longer exists. It was liberating to hear student after student ask the questions that rattled through my mind throughout these past months, as though I wasn’t alone in this epic sadness, but surrounded with people who held the same fears and the same concerns. Today, the students were united in both stance and voice.
Still, a forum set-up does not fully answer our calls to transparency, democracy, and student input. It was not the proper time or location to suggest new avenues for attracting perspective students or to allow every individual to express themselves towards the administration. In its essence, a forum will always be nothing more than an extensive question-and-answer segment. This is certainly a step in the right direction, but students and faculty much be heard before the March 1st budget cut deadlines.
No matter how significant it was to know I was just one within a sea of students, I continue to carry the fear that the strength in our number is not powerful enough to break through to a place where students ideas are not merely collected, but implemented. Regardless, we must push forward as a unified force. We must assert ourselves as a valuable resource for generating program ideas and innovative solutions. The administration seems ready to listen as long as we are willing to stick to our values and help create a better Brandeis for tomorrow.