Worth it

Congratulations to Brandeis for purchasing the Lenny Bruce papers. His searing, critical commentary on societal repression was pioneering and influential. Many in my generation memorized his comic routines and took his taboo breaking to heart. Indeed, during my Brandeis years some classmates and I drove to Manhattan for a Bruce performance, then drove back to campus early the next morning. He was worth it. He got me to laugh, and cry, and think.

Edward Friedman ’59
Madison, Wisconsin

Voices on campus, past and present

Reading “Voices of #FordHall2015” in the Summer issue took me back 50 years to the heady atmosphere at Brandeis in the 1960s, when discussion of issues was characterized by empty mantras and a near unanimity of opinion.

In those days, you were expected to be against the Vietnam War and the “military-industrial complex,” to view the United States as the world’s most imperialist country, and to adulate Karl Marx and Herbert Marcuse. Pity the poor student who dared suggest that 18th-century conservative thinker Edmund Burke might teach us something about freedom or that communist societies seemed to be more oppressive than America. Capitalism was evil, and freedom of speech was merely a form of “repressive tolerance.”

The range of opinions expressed by the students and faculty in “Voices of #FordHall2015” is similarly narrow. All but one is convinced Brandeis is insufficiently inclusive and welcoming to students of color. Only Andrew Jacobson ’19 argues for genuine diversity — a diversity of opinion. And he was told that merely asking the question “Do you really experience racism?” is a form of violence.

This alum is disappointed Brandeis hasn’t changed all that much in the past half-century.

Marjorie Gann ’68
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I want to compliment you on the student activism piece in the Summer issue. It was timely, and I liked how the writer covered multiple perspectives on this topic.

At lunch today, several of my colleagues and I were discussing the article and how it’s important that everyone has a voice and feels heard.

M’Lissa Brennan
Director of Strategy and Development
Brandeis National Committee

Summer love

Congratulations on a terrific Summer issue. It is so impressive — great art and layout, and really compelling stories.

Susan L. Parish
Nancy Lurie Marks Professor of Disability Policy
Heller School for Social Policy and Management