The Provost’s Report: Do Student Voices Matter?

Bump! — sahar

In her response to the the Brandeis 2020 Committee proposals, Provost Marty Krauss lists the five groups tasked to work towards healing Brandeis’s long-term financial deficit.  They are:

  • The 23 member Brandeis 2020 Committee, which identified reductions in Arts and Sciences.
  • The professional school revenue committee, composed of 4 administrators and the Office of Budget and Planning.
  • The 18 member Bold Ideas Group, which identifies new revenue streams.
  • The 9 member Administrative Resource Review Committee, which identifies administrative efficiencies.
  • The 7 member ad hoc committee on increasing revenue from the Centers and Institutes.

The most striking thing to me is that of these 61 committee members, exactly one is an undergraduate student (Jason Gray of the Brandeis 2020 Committee).  That means undergraduate students, the university’s primary reason for existing, make up 1.64% of the voices currently working to solve our biggest problems.  We are just as invested in the future of our university as anyone else, and we have unique perspectives that will otherwise go completely unheeded.  Why are we being so thoroughly excluded from these processes?

Marty Krauss has two important questions to answer.  First, do the students deserve a substantial voice in the university’s future?, and second, how will our voices be incorporated as the committees move forward?  However, I’m not confident that she will actually address these questions, and I’m even less confident that her answers will be satisfactory in establishing the student voice as a vital part of the process.  Therefore, the student body is left with a significant question of its own: How do we overcome our lack of direct involvement to make sure we too can help Brandeis succeed?

It’s a tough question, and we should start considering answers now.


4 thoughts on “The Provost’s Report: Do Student Voices Matter?”

  1. not bad points alex, but you fail to account for conflict of interest-as students, we have very a idealized view of academia. we tend to view our institution as this lofty temple of social justice and higher learning. while this may be true, there is also a hard, undeniable money aspect. just as a company does not let minor shareholders make the decisions that influence that company, we ought expect little more out of brandeis

  2. Art:
    As for your first two rhetorical questions: No, I’m not and many, because we also attend one of America’s finest academic institutions. We’re not asking for much, just a voice in what gets cut and what doesn’t. That’s not rocket science, and the administrative officials obviously buy into the idea that people who are bearing the brunt of these cuts and who work with these programs every day (faculty, for example) should be able to dictate what is most important to them. That is the idea of CARS. They just have not fully realized that ideal when it comes to students. So far we’ve got one.

    The we’re-just-kids-let-the-big-smart-adults-make-the-decisions argument loses its viability after we are considered adults by the nation we reside in. Which brings me to your last rhetorical question. American voters DO have influence on fiscal policy. We vote for the people who make it. That’s a hell of a lot more influence then Brandeis allows us. You can disagree with the democratic ideal, but don’t use the US government to back it up.

    So yes, we do deserve a voice, and more of one than we’re getting now.

  3. Art, that would be a good argument to make if everyone else represented on these committees did have the kind of fiscal and administrative expertise you want them to have. But professors (although in many cases brilliant) tend not to be the best administrators or financial planners. Yet the university recognizes the important role they play in shaping the character and spirit of the university by giving them prominent placement and full representation on these committees. Students may not be the best administrators, but I do think that our role in shaping this university should not go almost-unacknowledged.

  4. Are you really surprised? How many our age have the sense and fiscal know-how to make truly high impact decisions regarding the future of one of America’s finest academic institutions?
    I am all for self-representation, ie. making more SU decisions referendums, but this is entirely the realm of administrators, and people who have a background in this, and have been doing it for as long as we’ve known our A, B, C’s. do you think American voters should have an influence on fiscal policy, for example?

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