Thoughts & Messages
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.
Senior Vice President
Dean of Students
Senior Associate Vice President
Monique Pillow Gnanaratnam, Assistant Dean of Students