Brandeis students and faculty lent additional support to their university’s growing reputation as an institution of the political left in a pre-election day poll. Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson defeated Republican nominee Dwight Eisenhower 406-57 among the students, while three-fourths of the faculty also declared their preference for the Illinois Democrat.
President Sachar’s announcement of plans for the construction of a Jewish chapel sparked the first real Brandeis brou-ha-ha. Working from an assumption that Catholic authorities would not approve of Catholic services held in an interfaith space, the administration had abandoned plans for a single structure with a revolving altar in favor of a structure explicitly dedicated to Jewish services.
The student council, The Justice and individual students, all committed to the ideal of a non-sectarian university, reacted strongly against the notion of a campus with only a Jewish chapel even if it were to be made available to students of other faiths. Some challenged the assumption that Catholic students would be forbidden to hold services in the chapel, but when contacted, diocese authorities confirmed President Sachar’s position. Nevertheless, students continued to press for a solution that would affirm Brandeis’ Jewish identity as well as its inclusive ideals. Eventually they brought President Sachar around to their position, and the following fall he announced plans for a three-chapel complex, with separate buildings for Jewish, Protestant and Catholic services.