Thoughts & Messages

Our hearts and prayers go out to Haiti and Florida, as well as other families that are victims of Hurricane Matthew.

A MESSAGE TO THE BRANDEIS COMMUNITY

Sept. 26, 2016

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Over the past two weeks we have been shaken, yet again, by acts of violence in our nation. It is vital for us to reflect on these tragic events and talk about how they affect each of us, all in the pursuit of a fuller understanding of the unfortunate divisions within our society.  Many of the divisions stem from our lack of understanding and acceptance of difference—in race, ethnicity, religion, sex, class, gender identity, and others.

Our academic community must always strive to invite discussion of the most difficult issues, to do better to create an environment that is respectful of difference, and to be inclusive.  We would like you to be aware of the many resources available to students, faculty, and staff that are dedicated to creating this kind of academic community, and which can be found at: http://www.brandeis.edu/diversity/campus-resources-offices.html.

As an institution founded just 68 years ago in order to provide access and a sense of community to talented individuals previously denied access by other colleges and universities on the basis of prejudice, we must continue to lift our voices in protest of discrimination and violence directed at particular groups within our society.  We cannot forget the singular reason for our founding and, in fact, must recognize and act upon how relevant and important the reason for that founding is today. A group of students have planned a march for today providing one such place to affirm our unity.

In addition to raising our voices together, we continue to seek understanding and change in our own community. We have begun these efforts, but there is much still to do. Examples of this call toward engagement include:

  • Last Monday, the ICC hosted a program with Professor Chad Williams entitled the "Summer of Violence," to provide a space for discussion of recent tragedies and their impact.

  • The Dean of Students Office, Student Life & Success, SSSP, the ICC, and Associate Provost Kim Godsoe have been engaged in increased outreach to students on these issues.

  • Last week saw the first meeting of the Brandeis Freedom Team, organized by Dean Adams. The Team seeks to strengthen our community through action and dialogue, to ensure that all feel welcome and heard. The Team meets every Thursday at 7 p.m. in the SCC MPR. All those interested are encouraged to join.

  • The Brandeis Counseling Center is implementing an additional program, the SWAWN Initiative. SWAWN is an acronym for SPOKEN WORD AND WELLNESS NOISE: The words you speak have great power. Please be in contact with Doctors Martin Pierre and Dennis Tyrell about this program.

Please remind and encourage each other to utilize the full extent of our resources at Brandeis, as we pursue our goals, effective activism, and healing.

Ron Liebowitz
President                    

Lisa Lynch
                            
Provost



Andrew Flagel 
Senior Vice President                    

Jamele Adams  
Dean of Students         

Sheryl Sousa
               
Senior Associate Vice President


The Dean of Students Office and The Division of Student Life and Success recognizes the fatal shootings of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma and  Keith Scott of Charlotte, North Carolina; as well as the emotional toll and impact of these traumatic events for members of our Brandeis University community.
Please know we are present and encourage you to contact us or any of our campus resources should you desire assistance during these difficult times.  
Sincerely,
From the Dean of Students Office:
Jamele Adams, Dean of Students
Stephanie Grimes, Assistant Dean of Students

Monique Pillow Gnanaratnam, Assistant Dean of Students


The horrendous loss of life in Dallas only strengthens our need for peace and unity. We send our love to all of those lost and continue to stand against violence.
 
My thanks to the many of you responded to my email in desire to work together in joined hands toward our betterment as a community. You all are encouraged again to contact me at deanadams@brandeis.edu to join our efforts toward healing, peace and love of one another.
 
Email sent to undergraduate students
As we grieve loss of life across the globe, in Orlando, Turkey, Israel, Bangladesh, Baghdad, and far too many places to count, and try to heal our hearts as a University from our own challenges, we receive horrific news of the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. We see more life lost in ways horrific to imagine and to watch; a painful repetitive cycle that has played out for far too many Black Lives. Our University family sends our love to all who grieve over these senseless and indefensible losses of life. As our community returns for the fall semester we will work with you to find supportive ways to come together as a human community and University family to stand in solidarity against injustice. To participate in that planning, please contact Jamele Adams.
 
Whether you are on or off campus, we remind everyone of the services of our Counseling Center. Now more than ever we need to console each other and consider methodologies of peace and recovery when we hurt due to tragedy, for ourselves and our communities. We can not become desensitized to death like this and must use our energy to uplift and improve conditions that lead to senseless and violent loss of life, while deconstructing systems of oppression. Let us stand together in love, progress, and social justice, for there is nothing violence can solve that communication won't solve better.
 
Jamele Adams
Dean of Students
 
Andrew Flagel
Senior VP for Students and Enrollment
 
Sheryl Sousa
Senior Associate VP for Student Affairs