This post has been updated.

Earlier this week, Brandeis University became the latest in a long line of academic institutions to receive a “list of demands” from its allegedly beleaguered student body. Saying that “we [Brandeis has] failed our black students,” “Concerned Students 2015” released a laundry list of demands to the administration that included a minimum wage increase for student employees, and the appointment of a VP of “Diversity and Inclusion.”

Students have since marched on various buildings, and are currently occupying (at some level) the public areas of the administration building. Since this is college, I feel free to assume that this has caused a certain amount of uproar when it comes to attendance policies.

Never fear—Brandeis has the situation under control. Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Irving R. Epstein sent an email to the faculty last night giving them “discretion in regard to class attendance and completion of academic work.”

Here’s a screenshot of the email (I’ve blacked out email addresses):

(This screenshot has been updated to show the sender, recipient, subject line, etc.)

(This screenshot has been updated to show the sender, recipient, subject line, etc.)

Who needs class when there’s a narrative to fight for?


Let’s keep in mind that this is coming from the university whose student body rose up in protest against a…microaggressive?…protest against…microaggressions.

I think I got that right. Essentially, one group of students protested another group of students’ free speech installation highlighting “microaggressions” commonly heard used in conjunction with Asian and Asian-American students. Apparently, the examples of microaggressions were far too microaggressive to be allowed.

Yes, really. Students were “triggered,” complaints were wailed, and apologies were handed out in turn. I repeat this story here not to make everyone really confused about who microaggressed who, but to emphasize that we’re not dealing with a rational community.

That label applies to both the student body, and apparently, the administration. I support liberal speech policies, but the actions of these students coupled with the response from the administration tells me we’ve gone beyond the boundaries of “expression” and into territory that negates entirely the point and purpose of higher education—that is, to actually be educated.

At Brandeis, indulgence reigns supreme. What a way to waste four years.

Follow Amy on Twitter @ThatAmyMiller


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