This is Our House

That is the message going up this week on Squire Bridge.  It is joined by banners on campus that also say, “#Youarewelcomehere”, and posters with those messages, along with, “Hate Has No Home Here,” “Love Inclusion Trust,” “Science is Real,” and “Love is Love.” 

These messages will be across campus because we are Brandeis.  While no message is enough, when images of neo-Nazis and White Supremacists marching and chanting their hate have filled our screens, and desecrated the campus of the University of Virginia, we must respond.  Brandeis was founded on principles of inclusion, respect, and social justice at a time when overt discrimination was commonplace in higher education, and these founding values are woven into our University to this day.

Two events that are the most powerful and meaningful manifestations of those values occur during each undergraduate orientation, the Light of Reason ceremony and the amazing This is Our House program led by our own Dean of Students extraordinaire, Jamele Adams. Space is very (very!) limited for This is Our House, so to give our incoming students the full experience, we ask that only they and our Orientation leaders attend this year to make sure everyone has a safe and meaningful experience. We will, however, stream the event live on Facebook.

For those of you already on campus, we hope that you will all join together with our incoming students this year at the Light of Reason celebration at 8:15 PM on Sunday, August 27th.  We will take the opportunity, as we will at other times this year, to reaffirm our space as inclusive and welcoming – as valuing freedom from bigotry, hatred, and oppression. We will also stream that event on the same Facebook site.  As Louis Brandeis said, “If we would be guided by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold.”

We will be bold.  We will not let hate win, whether on the streets of Charlottesville, in the Boston Commons, or any threat to our campus. Our values extend to all students, faculty, staff, and alumni regardless of race, religion, gender (and its expression), background, ability, sexual orientation, or immigration status.  Brandeis must and will continue to work towards being a more supportive environment for people of color, for our LGBTQ+ community, for our students from across the country and around the world, and for our students of all faiths and traditions. For all of you, This is Our House, and you are welcome here.  Welcome Home.

Mark Brimhall-Vargas
Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer 

Andrew Flagel
Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment

Sheryl Sousa
Vice President for Student Affairs

Madeleine Lopez
Director, Brandeis Intercultural Center