CARS meeting today, tomorrow

There’s a meeting today for students to respond to the CARS committee report. There’s another meeting tomorrow. Here’s the info:
April 22 5-6 p.m. Admissions Office in Bernstein Marcus (presentation room)
April 23 6-7 p.m. Admissions Office in Bernstein Marcus
April 27 5-6 p.m. Admissions Office in Bernstein Marcus

The UJ trial is happening at the same time today, but please show up at least tomorrow or something. Just a friendly reminder.

CARS Commitee Proposes Eliminating African-American Studies Department


Black students at the occupation of Ford Hall in 1969 lobbying for, among other things, the creation of an African-American Studies Department

As if black students didn’t have enough to be pissed off about at the moment (what with an all-white Union Judiciary deciding the fate of the racial minority senator position), the Cirruculum and Academic Restructuring Steering (CARS) Commitee recommended today that the African and Afro-American Studies department be eliminated and transformed into an “interdisciplinary program” instead. Current AAAS professors would be reassigned to other departments, although they could still focus in AAAS.

CARS cites the small number of AAAS majors (“just 7 in AY 2007-2008”), and the small size of the faculty (five) as justification for its recommendation. They point out that “This year… when three AAAS faculty members had the opportunity to go on research leave, there were only two department faculty members remaining at Brandeis.” Of course, neither of these reasons actually make a case for shutting down the department. CARS concedes that “although AAAS graduates relatively few majors… average enrollment in its courses is strong.” So the lack of faculty speaks more to a lack of commitment by the university to the department than to any weakness of the department itself. I’ve mentioned this problem before, the most obvious example being the University’s letting go of Prof. Wayne Marshall (you can still sign the petition at!).

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Social Justice != internships

I’m reading an article in the Hoot about the proposed Justice Brandeis Semesters.

I really wish we knew more about them.

I’m also really confused by this quote:

Despite its monetary origins, Jaffe said that the JBS is not motivated solely by the university’s financial crisis.

“What this is doing is giving us the opportunity to make Brandeis stand out and expand upon things we are already doing, like experiential learning,” he said. “The JBS resonates with the basic themes of the university like social justice.”

What exactly does Brandeis forcing me to give up a semester of academics for a semester interning for some liberal group have to do with Social Justice? Now, I’ve been in talks with some of the ideas originators, and they do have some good ideas on how to make this work. However, I’m very worried by the proposal as currently proposed. It’s vague, it could turn out really horribly (why should I pay 20,000$ for a semester’s unpaid labor at the SEIU, however glorified?).

The Justice Brandeis Semester has other facets than internships, of course, but that’s how its been most strongly described to me, and how the Social Justice angle is going to be done.

I don’t think the faculty senate should vote on the JBS proposal right now. As currently formulated, they have a lot of potential, but currently don’t sound so hot to me. This definitely needs more discussion.