An Initial Response to Concerned Students 2015
Nov. 20, 2015
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
Yesterday afternoon I received the following cover letter and list of demands from a group of Brandeis students. I understand the motivation for this letter and that the list of demands comes from a deep concern and growing frustration about the current state of our university. I agree with the letter writers that we must hold our university to its mission. This mission includes academic excellence, truth pursued wherever it may lead, and awareness of the power and responsibilities that come with knowledge.
But our mission statement recognizes that excellence and truth can only be achieved when we have an academic community whose members have diverse cultures, backgrounds and life experiences. As our mission statement makes clear, we must recognize the need to analyze and address the ways in which social, cultural and economic inequalities affect power and privilege in the larger society and at Brandeis itself. In order to do this, we must foster a just and inclusive campus culture that embraces the diversity of the larger society. In spite of having such a well-defined university mission statement, it is clear that we have not yet achieved the aspirations of that vision.
Before I respond with a more detailed statement to the letter from concerned students, I plan to attend today’s rally on the Rabb steps at 1:30 to hear directly from our community on their concerns. I will then follow up with a more detailed response that will focus on the systemic changes that we must make to achieve our mission.
We have significant work to do. But as I have said before, I know our community’s commitment to addressing these issues honestly and passionately will make a significant and positive change on our campus and in our society.
Lisa M. Lynch