Around Campus

Waltham Group surpasses goal, collects more than 3,000 canned goods on HalloweenPosted: Nov. 17, 2016

Students came together on Oct. 31, 2016 for Waltham Group’s annual Halloween for the Hungry event, going door-to-door in neighborhoods surrounding the Brandeis campus to trick-or-treat for canned goods.

Between student collections and faculty and staff donations, Brandeis gathered up 3,127 canned goods and food items. All that was collected was donated to the Middlesex Human Service Agency, which runs the Bristol Lodge Soup Kitchen and two local shelters.

More than 100 volunteers trick-or-treated from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Halloween. The Waltham Group’s goal was to collect at least 3,000 canned goods this year.

"The event is truly a hallmark of Brandeis. It combines the spirit of dressing up on Halloween and providing our community with an easy, accessible way to volunteer for local food pantries,” said Community Service Director Lucas Malo. “Together, Brandeis students and Waltham residents can achieve more, and our total collection count demonstrates the value of that cooperation."
Brandeis launches new carpooling program for faculty, staff and studentsPosted: Nov. 15, 2016

Brandeis has launched a new carpooling service called Commute Green.

The service — which is also available through a mobile application called CommuteTracker — will enable Brandeis community members to connect with one another to share rides to and from campus.

Using Commute Green can help a user save on fuel, open up more parking spaces on campus and minimize fossil fuel emissions.

Brandeis joins a number of other peer academic institutions, including MIT, Harvard University, American University, Stanford University, along with companies like Google, Hulu and Amazon, in taking this new approach to carpooling.

“Hundreds of faculty, staff and commuter students make several single-occupant vehicle trips to campus every week, complicated by varying schedules and responsibilities,” said Brandeis sustainability manager Mary Fischer. “Commute Green allows you to find a potential carpool, whatever your schedule.”

Community members will be able to share rides, find ways to campus via multiple routes like biking, walking and busing, and also see on an interactive map the locations of bike racks, bike pumps and bike repair stations.

In partnership with the Department of Public Safety, six carpool parking spaces will be designated on campus starting this week. Faculty, staff and commuter students who currently hold parking permits may apply for a carpool parking pass online. Details about how to obtain and use the carpool parking pass, as well as all other related details, are available online.

Faculty and staff will be able to connect only with faculty and staff for ridesharing, and students will connect only with other students. Only individuals with a brandeis.edu email address can use the site. Faculty and staff who participate are eligible for the MassRIDES Emergency Ride Home program.

The success of this program depends upon attracting a critical mass of users. The more people who sign up to “request a carpool," - a commitment-free way for commuters to indicate they are interested in occasionally sharing rides - the easier it will be to find other commuters in their area.

Two Brandeis professors named fellows of the American Mathematical SocietyPosted: Nov. 7, 2016

Brandeis professors of mathematics Daniel Ruberman and Dmitry Kleinbock have been named members of the 2017 class of the fellows of the American Mathematical Society.

The fellows program recognizes members of the American Mathematical Society who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication, and utilization of mathematics. Elections are held annually.

Kleinbock was named "for contributions to homogeneous dynamics and its applications to number theory, especially in metric Diophantine approximation," and Ruberman was named "for contributions to low-dimensional topology."

The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University and Baltimore Museum of Art announce collaboration on U.S. pavilion presentation of Mark Bradford at 2017 Venice BiennalePosted: Oct. 27, 2016

WALTHAM, MA and BALTIMORE, MD – October 27, 2016 – The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University and The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) today announced that they will collaborate on the presentation of Mark Bradford as representative for the United States for the 2017 Venice Biennale. The two institutions will work in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The U.S. Pavilion is being commissioned by BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director Christopher Bedford and co-curated by Bedford and Katy Siegel. Bedford served as director of Brandeis’ Rose Art Museum until August 1 and was appointed director of BMA effective August 15. Bedford, who is also Adjunct Professor of the Practice in Fine Arts at Brandeis, will oversee the Biennale collaboration for the Rose Art Museum and The Baltimore Museum of Art. Siegel was recently appointed Senior Programming and Research Curator at the BMA and also serves as a professor at Stony Brook University.

The new work being created by Bradford will be on view at the U.S. Pavilion of the Venice Biennale from May 13 to November 26, 2017.

“This wonderful collaboration enables us to dedicate the resources of two outstanding institutions in realizing Mark’s installation and all of the programming that will flow from it that is an essential part of his practice,” noted Bedford. “Mark’s focus on under-represented urban communities and social justice aligns with the interests of both Brandeis and The Baltimore Museum of Art, so our working together with him to advance these goals will enhance the impact of this major new work.”

Based in Los Angeles, Mark Bradford’s sweeping canvases recapture mid-century American art’s capacity to conjure the sublime and evoke deep feeling, while incorporating layers of social comment. In parallel with his work in the studio, Bradford maintains a social practice, anchored by his Los Angeles-based not-for-profit, Art + Practice, an educational platform that emphasizes practical skills for foster youth and stresses the cultural importance of art within a larger social context. These equivalent commitments to formal invention and social activism anchor Bradford’s contribution to culture at large, embodying his belief that contemporary artists can reinvent the world we share.

BMA has previously served as commissioner of the U.S. Pavilion. In 1960, the BMA was invited to organize the Pavilion by Porter A. McCray, Chairman of the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibition was co-curated by BMA Director Adelyn Breeskin and Chief Curator Dr. Gertrude Rosenthal, featuring four New York School abstract expressionist artists: Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, and Philip Guston, and the sculptor Theodore Roszak.

ABOUT MARK BRADFORD

Mark Bradford was born in 1961 in Los Angeles, where he lives and works. He received a BFA (1995) and MFA (1997) from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. Best known for his large-scale abstract paintings that examine the class-, race-, and gender-based economies that structure urban society in the United States, Bradford’s richly layered and collaged canvases represent a connection to the social world through materials. Bradford uses fragments of found posters, billboards, newsprint and custom printed paper to simultaneously engage with and advance the formal traditions of abstract painting. Solo exhibitions include Scorched Earth at the Hammer Museum (2015), Sea Monsters at the Rose Art Museum (2014), Aspen Art Museum (2011), Maps and Manifests at Cincinnati Art Museum (2008), and Neither New Nor Correct at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2007). In 2009, Mark Bradford was the recipient of the MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Award. In 2010, Mark Bradford, a large-scale survey of his work, was organized by Christopher Bedford and presented at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, before traveling to the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Dallas Museum of Art; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His work has been widely exhibited and has been included in group shows at LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2014), Whitney Museum of American Art (2013), the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011), Seoul Biennial (2010), the Carnegie International (2008), São Paulo Biennial (2006), and Whitney Biennial (2006).

THE BALTIMORE MUSEUM OF ART

The Baltimore Museum of Art is home to an internationally renowned collection of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Founded in 1914 with a single painting, the BMA today has 95,000 objects—including the largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse. Throughout the museum, visitors will find an outstanding selection of American and European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; works by established and emerging contemporary artists; significant artworks from China; stunning Antioch mosaics; and an exceptional collection of art from Africa. The BMA’s galleries also showcase examples from one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs and exquisite textiles from around the world. The 210,000-square-foot museum is distinguished by a grand historic building designed in the 1920s by renowned American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped sculpture gardens. As a major cultural destination for the region, the BMA hosts a dynamic program of exhibitions, events, and educational programs throughout the year. General admission to the BMA is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

THE ROSE ART MUSEUM AT BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY

Founded in 1961, the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University is an educational and cultural institution dedicated to collecting, preserving and exhibiting the finest of modern and contemporary art. The programs of the Rose adhere to the overall mission of the university, embracing its values of academic excellence, social justice and freedom of expression. The museum’s permanent collection of postwar and contemporary art is unequalled in New England and is among the best at any university art museum in the United States. For more information, visit www.brandeis.edu/rose/. Founded in 1948, Brandeis University is named for the late Louis D. Brandeis, the distinguished associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, and reflects his ideals of academic excellence and social justice. The only nonsectarian Jewish-founded institution of higher learning in the United States, Brandeis is one of the world’s youngest private research universities. Located west of Boston, Brandeis’ distinguished faculty are dedicated to the education and support of 3,600 undergraduates and more than 2,000 graduate students. It has been ranked among the top 35 national universities by U.S. News & World Report every year since the rankings’ inception. For more information, visit www.brandeis.edu.

How to give wisely for disaster relief after Hurricane Matthew: Five lessons and five questionsPosted: Oct. 13, 2016

Nearly seven years after the Haitian earthquake that killed more than 200,000, Hurricane Matthew has now claimed many hundreds more, caused immense devastation, crop loss and an urgent need for assistance in medical relief, potable water, food and shelter. While the hurricane is a tragic reminder of the need for long-term sustainable development to build resilience in local communities and guard against the onslaught of global climate change, our most immediate attention needs to focus on humanitarian relief.

Five Lessons for Donors

Following major disasters, American families contribute many millions of dollars to relief agencies. Here is a distillation of lessons learned which may serve as a guide for contributing.

  1. Send cash.  In disasters of this magnitude, every seaport and airport in the region will quickly be jammed with relief supplies, many of them of marginal value at best. The international airport in Haiti will soon be nearly paralyzed with incoming relief. Cash is needed by relief agencies to purchase supplies as locally as possible. They do this to bolster local economies rather than hurt them with imported goods. Where supplies are not available (e.g. medicines), they are purchased abroad and flown in by the military or at significant expense. Your sending clothing, baby bottles, food, water, building materials etc. at this time would not be useful. At worst, it will block critical supplies that cannot be procured locally.
  1. Contribute for reconstruction and development, not just relief.  The emergency period finding survivors and stabilizing water and food supplies, will be over in a matter of weeks. Many of these needs are being met by international organizations, donor countries, and by thousands of local volunteers. While the emergency needs are great, even greater, far greater, will be the need for funds with which to help rebuild communities and livelihoods. Unfortunately, many relief agencies that flood into countries after major disasters do not stay beyond the emergency period. This is why it is important to contribute to agencies that will be there for the long term and to earmark funds for reconstruction and development in the affected communities. Some of the largest relief agencies receive many millions of dollars more than their in-country emergency program can absorb. Surplus funds should be invested in long-term rehabilitation and development.
  1. Select agencies that know the countries. Many relief agencies that issue appeals to their constituencies or advertise for contributions have never set foot in Haiti. Unless they are very specialized agencies (e.g. Doctors Without Borders), many will waste time and money trying to figure out how to operate. The best chance to help is to support those organizations with local offices already operational or established ties to local and competent partner organizations.
  1. Consider local organizations in the affected country.  Most Americans will prefer to contribute to known US or European organizations, often within their faith communities or nationally recognized. That is fine. If you wish, you can contribute directly to local organizations in the countries affected. The difficulty is knowing which organizations are reliable and efficiently getting the money to them. Most do not have Internet sites set up for contributions like the major US and European agencies. Sending checks or wiring funds is unreliable at this time. When you can contribute directly to reputable local organizations, the money may be well utilized though you will not get a US tax deduction unless they have a US-based 501(c)(3) non-profit channel registered with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Also, I do not recommend contributing directly to the appeals of foreign governments. Even where there is no question as to their dedication to the relief of suffering in emergencies, non-governmental, non-political organizations will be better stewards of funds for long term development.
  1. Most importantly, contribute to organizations that aim to lessen vulnerability, not just helping to rebuild poverty. In most disasters in developing nations, those most affected and who have the longest and most difficult recovery are poor people living in marginal communities. It is not enough to help people rebuild shanties.  Every “natural” disaster is also an opportunity to help communities lessen their vulnerability. The most progressive international relief agencies (e.g. Oxfam, American Friends Service Committee, America Jewish World Service, Catholic Relief Services, Mennonite Central Committee, to name a few) know the conditions that bred such vulnerability and know that they must work with local government and communities to change those conditions.

At the end of this letter is a short list of agencies that I trust. This list is not meant to be exhaustive and represents but a few organizations whose work I have admired in the field of relief and development.

Five Questions to Ask Before you Give

The American public is searching for ways to help relieve the suffering of those affected by disasters. Unfortunately charitable organizations are often not prepared to make the most of your money. Here are Center for Global Development and Sustainability’s five simple questions to ask any aid organization before you give.

  1. Has the organization worked in the affected country before? Hundreds of organizations in the US collect funds after major disasters.  Many do not have the on-the-ground experience that is critical for timely and wise utilization of the funds.  Many show up in devastated nations and are not familiar with local organizations, customs, language or terrain.  They will flounder. The best organizations to contribute to are those which were operational in the country before the disaster. An exception to this rule should be allowed for specialized organizations like Doctors Without Borders that have vast global experience and capacity for immediate impact.
  1. Will the organization merely contribute your funds to another aid group? Constituencies often contribute funds through their own charities which collect and transfer the funds to operational organizations.  If you use such channels, be sure that no or very low overheads are deducted for such pass-through grants. Overheads are legitimate when an organization is directly involved in fielding staff or materials.
  1. Will the organization stay in the affected country after the emergency period?  Believe it or not, most private aid organizations leave about the same time the cameras do. The emergency period is short, but the period for reconstruction is very long and much more costly. It is often years before people made homeless by disasters are housed decently and their communities and livelihoods made whole again.
  2. What experience does your organization have in development?  Many organizations can provide building materials. But the aim is not to rebuild poverty, but to work with local communities to attain a higher standard of living. Expatriate organizations need to be able to work with local government and communities alike, speak their languages, understand their cultures, and patiently help them plan for sustainable development. The best organizations to which to contribute are those with an understanding of the causes of vulnerability and poverty.
  3. Will your organization permit you to earmark your contribution? No matter how small your contribution may be, it is important that you earmark it for long-term development in the affected country. Despite what they say now about the need, the capacity of local institutions to absorb all aid funds quickly is quite limited. Earmarking encourages the aid organization to begin now to make long-range plans. It also lets the organization know that you prefer that your funds are wisely spent over a longer period than hastily spent on efforts that may be duplicating those of others.
Brandeis recognizes Indigenous Peoples' DayPosted: Oct. 7, 2016

The University Advisory Council has adopted a student-led resolution to change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the academic calendar. The renaming was supported by faculty at the October 7 Faculty Meeting, after the Faculty Senate voted to recommend the resolution.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is celebrated by a growing number of municipalities and universities across the United States. Proponents of the holiday have urged its adoption to recognize the millions of Native Americans who already lived in the Americas when Columbus arrived, instead of celebrating the explorer, whose arrival led to centuries of oppression for native people.

Former Brandeis University Student Union Senator-at-Large Lorenzo Finamore ’18 submitted the resolution, which was passed by the Student Union on March 21, 2016.

“The legacy of Christopher Columbus is one of imperialism, genocide, torture, enslavement and long-term systematic injustices which conflict with Brandeis University’s core principles of social justice,” the resolution reads. “The Brandeis University campus would benefit from engaging in a celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ culture and history.”

The University Advisory Council unanimously approved the resolution on September 22, 2016 upon receiving the resolution from the Student Union. In the interest of enabling faculty to be heard on the proposal, the UAC made its vote contingent on the support of the faculty at the October 7 meeting.

According to the university registrar, the name change will be made immediately on the academic calendar.
Symposium with Christie Hefner, Kitty Bruce to open the Lenny Bruce archivePosted: Oct. 5, 2016

Brandeis will celebrate the opening of the collection of personal papers, recordings and photographs of late comedian and social critic Lenny Bruce with a symposium titled “Comedy and the Constitution: the Legacy of Lenny Bruce,” on Oct. 27 and 28.

The two-day symposium will include a keynote speech by Brandeis alumna and former trustee Christie Hefner '74, and a conversation with Lenny Bruce’s daughter, Kitty Bruce. Hefner is trustee of the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation, whose generous gift made it possible for Brandeis to acquire the papers, which Kitty Bruce had maintained for decades since her father’s death 50 years ago.

Lenny Bruce was a groundbreaking comedian and satirist in the late 1950s and early 1960s who eschewed the bland mainstream humor of the time to push the envelope on language and social issues. He was charged with obscenity in multiple cities and was convicted in New York. Having faced years of legal persecution around his act, he died of a drug overdose on Aug. 3, 1966, at age 40, shortly before the appeal of his conviction; he was pardoned posthumously in 2003. Numerous comedians who would follow him cite Lenny Bruce as an inspiration in their own work.

“I am very grateful and relieved that Brandeis University has the archive. With Brandeis’s emphasis on social justice, it is the right place to ensure my father’s documents and artifacts are protected and made available for everybody,” said Kitty Bruce. “Students, free speech advocates, law students, scholars, fans of Lenny Bruce old and young can now read and listen to these materials and remember his legacy for years to come.” 

The symposium features a number of panels about Lenny Bruce’s legacy in comedy, first amendment law, and Jewish humor. Sessions include “Censorship and the Law,” “Jewish Humor and the Holocaust,” and “The Language of Comedy.” Martin Garbus, one of the attorneys who represented Bruce in the New York trial, will speak as part of one panel. Key pieces of the collection – some of which have never been seen before by the general public will be on display in the exhibit area in the Archives & Special Collections Department in Goldfarb Library through mid-2017. Those wishing to attend the symposium should register on the conference website. Brandeis students may apply for free admission to the conference.

Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy, was a strong supporter of Lenny Bruce in his career and legal battles. Christie Hefner said her father’s history with Lenny Bruce made it fitting for the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation to sponsor the acquisition of his papers by Brandeis, enabling future generations to learn about Bruce’s legacy.

“Lenny Bruce’s legacy is so important, not only for his enduring contributions to American comedy, but because he endured persecution and prosecution for exercising his right to free expression,” said Christie Hefner, who is the former C.E.O. and Chairman of Playboy Enterprises. “My father was a strong supporter of Lenny Bruce’s talent and his first-amendment rights. I’m very proud that the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation is supporting this symposium, and making it possible for scholars and students to study Lenny Bruce’s history and its relevance and resonance today.”

“We are deeply grateful to the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation and to Kitty Bruce for entrusting Brandeis with this incredible collection, which will give researchers new insight into one of the most fascinating and controversial figures in American pop culture of the mid-20th century,” said Steve Whitfield, the Max Richter Professor of American Civilization. “We believe this symposium and the many scholars who will present their own work is a fitting way to open this never-before-seen collection to the world.”

Rape Crisis Center launches resource guide for studentsPosted: Sept. 29, 2016
Photo/Mike Lovett

Evelyn Milford (left) and Ava Blustein

The Brandeis University Rape Crisis Center (RCC) has developed a new tool for helping survivors of sexual assault connect with the right resources and receive the assistance they need.

Using the survey software Qualtrics, Ava Blustein ’15 and Evelyn Milford ’16, both of whom are former RCC peer advocates, created an online, step-by-step guide for survivors to get immediate help.

Milford said they created the Interactive Resources guide “so everyone would have more access to information that will connect them with reliable resources for reporting, counseling and receiving medical help.”

The Interactive Resource Guide is accessible via the RCC website and contains six parts: assessing immediate danger, medical attention, accompaniment, counseling, accommodations and reporting.

Within each section, the user answers multiple-choice questions regarding their health and safety. The guide then directs users to resources that are designed to help them based on their responses.

For example, the guide can instantly connect survivors with Brandeis Public Safety, the RCC or another local counseling center as well as give instruction on where to go to receive emergency contraception or testing for sexually transmitted infections.

Blustein and Milford also stressed that the guide is completely anonymous and does not store data or private information.

“We wanted to break down barriers to reporting and accessing counseling,” Blustein said. “This gives people more information to make the right decision.”

The two alumnae are hopeful that RCC will continue to improve the guide, particularly when it comes to translating their creation into other languages to help Brandeis’ international community.

“We often hear from students that they’re not necessarily aware of all the resources available to them,” said Sheila McMahon, the sexual assault services and prevention director. “This tool is brilliant because it allows them connect with these resources in private and come to us anytime for help.”
US News ranks Brandeis as a top national universityPosted: Sept. 13, 2016

brandeis university entrance

U.S. News & World Report has again named Brandeis University as one of the top national universities in the United States in its 2017 Best Colleges guide.

Brandeis ranks 34th nationally, remaining in the same spot as last year.

Brandeis also earned high national scores for being a best value school, 30th overall, and its first-year retention rate, 36th, which is up from 42nd last year.

The 2017 edition includes data on nearly 1,800 colleges and universities, including statistics on borrowing, costs and graduation rates. U.S. News developed the rankings to measure the strength of the academic programs at undergraduate institutions, with eligible schools ranked on up to 15 measures of academic excellence.

Brandeis has earned a ranking among the top 35 national universities since 1996.