Students anxiously awaited the appearance of novelist (and recent Nobel Prize winner) Saul Bellow, who came to campus as a visiting professor during the fall semester. After several weeks, however, there had been no reliable sightings of the famed writer, and some began to wonder if he really existed at all. He gave the lie to the speculation late in the semester, offering two public appearances. For the first, he read his new short story, “The Silver Dish;” for the second, he gave a lecture reflecting on the role of the artist in society. “It often appears,” he said, “that what we Americans want from our artists is suggestions for a way to be and, if possible, a beautiful way to be.”
After an article in The Justice disclosed that the University held stock in 15 companies with commercial ties to South Africa, students brought pressure to divest on the administration. (Brandeis held no stock in South African corporations, but in American firms that did a small portion of their business there.) President Bernstein, though skeptical that divestment would bring any change to South Africa, agreed to bring the matter before the Board of Trustees. The Board agreed with the president, opting instead to use the University’s leverage as a stockholder to urge for improvement.
The Union-Leader of Manchester, New Hampshire took note of Brandeis students’ interest in South Africa in a particularly obtuse editorial. According to the Union-Leader, if Brandeis students had their way and succeeded in hurting South African business, Israeli business would suffer. Editors of The Justice responded that the protest was about the immorality of apartheid, not about the diamond industry, and wondered why the Union Leader had not found similar student movements at such places as Dartmouth, Harvard or Wellesley as “stupid” as Brandeis’.
One of my fondest memories was attending a reception at the Sachars’ home for second generation students. My mother (Elsbeth Zabin) graduated in 1956 (which was 25 years before my graduation). During parents’ weekend, all the second generation students and their parents were invited to the Sachars’ home. My mother had attended many functions at the Sachars during her years, and wound up serving tea at the behest of Mrs. Sachar. It was a wonderful sense of connection that you could only get at Brandeis.
The National Women’s Committee combined financial support for the libraries and for students working there through its new Library Work Scholar program. Approximately 150 students work in the libraries each year as part of their financial aid packages. Library Work Scholar has become one of the Women’s Committee’s most popular programs, raising as much as $250,000 per year.
The snowstorm that socked the Northeast in January shut the campus down for four days at the beginning of the second semester. Despite the pleasures afforded by sledding on South Street or jumping from rooftops into snowdrifts several feet high, Brandeis students paid a price for their unanticipated holiday; several dorms endured an extended power outage, and a flu-bug affected several hundred.