The Independent Student Newspaper Volume LXXI, Number 25
B r a n d e is U n i v e r sit y S i n c e 1 9 4 9
Monday, May 20, 2019
Students protest ‘racist’ policies
68TH COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES
■ A group of students rallied
to demand changes to DCL and Public Safety policing practices. By GILDA GEIST JUSTICE EDITOR
Brandeis students gathered on the Rabb Steps on May 1 to protest racialized policing practices on campus, marching from Rabb to the Department of Community Living office, the Department of Public Safety office, the Bernstein-Marcus Administration Center and the Shapiro Campus Center, reading their demands of the University at each location. The rally was coordinated by students who were part of Concerned Students 2015, the group that led the Ford Hall 2015 sit-in. Signs at the protest read, “DCL operates as a policing organization,” “The concerned students are still concerned,” “It’s our duty 2 fight for freedom” and more. Many of the participants wore all black to the demonstration, as the organizers had encouraged via Instagram and Facebook. Toward the end of the protest, students crowded into University President Ron Liebowitz’s office to read the demands again, before moving on to
THU LE/the Justice
CHALLENGING ANTI-SEMITISM: Holocaust scholar and author Deborah Lipstadt MA '72, PhD '76 addressed the Class of 2019 at Commencement. "No genocide of any kind, in any place, ever began with action. It begins with words," she said.
Deborah Lipstadt advises grads to combat prejudice ■ Lipstadt talked about the
importance of standing up to anti-Semitism and other forms of prejudice. By EMILY BLUMENTHAL and GILDA GEIST JUSTICE EDITORS
Deborah E. Lipstadt MA ’72, PhD ’76 took the stage at Brandeis’ 68th Commencement Exercises on May 19 to both congratulate the graduating Class of 2019 and warn them about the changing world around them. “I should send you on your way in a positive and upbeat passion. I should challenge you with the prophetic words, ‘may you dream dreams and see visions.’ And yet, I shall not do that … because the moment and the situation we are current facing demands much more than that,” she said. “Today I stand before you concerned, worried, and dare I say it, … truly frightened about the future.” As a Holocaust scholar and author, Lipstadt said, “I approach this topic from the perspective of a lifelong study of anti-Semitism and its terrific impact.” She explained that while certain hateful sentiments are not new, “the haters feel emboldened, free to express and celebrate their contempt for others.”
Lipstadt said that, like racism and homophobia, anti-Semitism is born out of prejudice. She discussed how prejudice affects racism and anti-Semitism, explaining that racism against Black and Brown people takes the form of white people seeing these groups as inferior and dangerous. “The racist punches down to prevent this assault from below,” Lipstadt said. She continued, “The anti-Semite punches up to prevent that assault from above,” Lipstadt continued. She explained that anti-Semitic people see Jews as the manipulative group behind the “white genocide,” describing anti-Semitism as a “conspiracy theory.” As an example, she highlighted the 2017 Charlottesville rally, where white supremacists chanted, “Jews will not replace us.” Lipstadt elaborated that the political left and right unite over anti-Semitism. She pointed out that David Irving, a Holocaust denier who sued her in 1996 for libel and who helped Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke write his memoir, said he was “impressed” with Jeremy Corbyn’s leftist Labour Party. According to Lipstadt, Irving and Corbyn have “nothing in common except for overt and unrelenting anti-Semitism.” Lipstadt said that while political leaders should be the ones standing against hate, those actually willing
Israel cube spray painting prompts backlash, investigation ■ IfNotNow Brandeis taped
a sign to a pro-Israel graffiti cube, leading to a debate about free speech on campus. By EMILY BLUMENTHAL JUSTICE EDITOR
In honor of Israel’s independence day, Brandeis Hillel hired Artists4Israel to create a graffiti cube expressing Israeli pride and highlighting the strong ties between Israel and many members of the Brandeis community. Artists4Israel, a coalition of artists who, according to their website, “prevent the spread of anti-Israel bigotry through art and help communities and people affected by terrorism and hate,” decorated three sides of the cube with commissioned murals. The final side was designated for student expression. Between the night of April 30 and the early hours of May 1, less than 24 hours after the cube was constructed, an unknown party spray-painted “Free Palestine” over one of the commissioned murals, which depicted the word “Israel” with letters in the shape of religious symbols. Soon after, Hillel
members turned the face of the affected side of the cube around to create a “blank canvas,” later painting “Coexist” on the panel, per a statement from the group. The last stage of the cube’s transformation came when members of the Jewish student group IfNotNow Brandeis affixed a sign reading “Stop Lying to Young Jews #FreePalestine” to the same panel with duct tape, which was promptly removed by University officials. The incident triggered a contentious debate over the rights of students and organizations to express pro-Palestine sentiments and prompted an exploration of the fine line between free expression and vandalism on campus.
As news of the incident spread around campus, several student groups made statements on social media. While some condemned the spray painting, others saw covering it up as censoring pro-Palestinian voices. The first statement came from IfNotNow on the day of the incident and explained the reasoning behind adding the sign to the cube. IfNotNow
For the inbetweeners
18 new Student Union members elected
Two students explore what it’s like being in between generations in their podcast.
The Adagio Dance Company presents its spring showcase.
By CHAIEL SCHAFFEL
By SHOSHANA FINKEL
By SAMMY PARK Photo Courtesy of ...AND SOMETIMES Y
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to do so are “few and far between.” As a result, she said, “We must fight from the bottom up.” Lipstadt emphasized the importance of standing against other prejudices in addition to anti-Semitism. “We cannot be against just one ‘-ism’ to the exclusion of all others. If we are going to fight prejudice, we must fight it across the board. We cannot be a fighter against anti-Semitism but be blind to racism, or even worse, engage with it ourselves.” She continued, “The Jew in the kippa, the Muslim in the hijab, the African American student walking across campus, the Latino kids gathered … in a park must feel as safe as anyone else.” Lipstadt encouraged the graduating class to use their Brandeis education to “repair the world.” She concluded, “We hope you will do well, but we pray you will do good.” Similarly, University President Ron Liebowitz’s remarks addressed themes of anti-Semitism and social justice. He recalled Brandeis’ founding by the American Jewish community in 1948 for the purpose of creating a place for marginalized communities in higher education. In addition to describing Brandeis’ history of social justice, Liebowitz emphasized the class of 2019’s commitment to addressing the world’s
See COMMENCEMENT, 8
their final destination in the SCC atrium. An organizer told the march participants, “This is the end of our long and grueling protest — but it’s not.” The leaders of the rally listed thefive demands at each stop of the march. The first called for “transparency and direct action on community living.” With this demand, protesters asked DCL to reveal whether there is a quota system for student conduct and punishment, to mandate informed consent for room inspections, to provide independent advocates to inform students of color of their rights if they are accused of violating the code of conduct and to compile a public, third-party report investigating racial bias in DCL code violation reports. The second demand urged the University to “fulfill mental health priorities established and approved” by the University during the 2015 Ford Hall protests. According to a Brandeis Magazine article, in response to the 2015 demands, the University released an implementation plan that said they would work on increasing the number of counselors of color at the Brandeis Counseling Center “to provide culturally relevant support to students.” In light of this demand, a group of BCC staff members marched on May
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A graduating senior looks back By ANDREW JACOBSON
Banshee’s strong season concludes
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