My personal experience at Brandeis was quite positive; I managed to obtain a BS in Neuroscience, make a few lifelong friends, and survive Y2K. Students eagerly debated each other, support for the State of Israel was vibrant and visible, and the school thrived under the leadership of Jeduda Reinharz.
Fast forward to today, Brandeis seems to find itself in the center of one scandal after another.
In 2014, the University announced it was awarding Somali born Muslim women-right’s activist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, with an Honorary Degree. Ali, for those that aren’t familiar with her, is known for championing the fight against female genital mutiliation and promoting educational rights for girls and women. A few months after Brandeis announced it would be awarding Ali with an honorary degree in recognition of her work, student protests erupted and the University rescinded the honor because “she makes Muslim students uneasy” stated Joseph Lumbard, a former Brandeis Professor. The school garnered global condemnation for their decision.
However in 2006, Brandeis did award Playwright Tony Kushner with the same Honorary Degree. Kushner is not only known for his artistic talents but is also notorious for his many anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli comments such as “the biggest supporters of Israel are the most repulsive members of the Jewish community”.
Many Jewish Organizations questioned the school’s decision relating to Kushner; Brandeis responded “the University does not select honorary degree recipients on the basis of their political beliefs”.
Let’s put that debacle aside and explore the school’s Listserv scandal in 2015. Undergrad student Daneil Mael tapped into the school’s server and published email exchanges between professors exposing massive anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli sentiments.
Professor Mary Baine Campbell applauded the University’s decision regarding Ali, stating she was a pawn of the Zionist media and was an “ignorant, ultra-right wing extremist”. Campbell continues to teach at Brandeis.
After 3 Israeli boys were kidnapped and brutally murdered (one of which was an American citizen) in 2014, Professor Donald Hindley’s response to the tragedy was to explore the “Zionist olive trees growing wondrously on Palestinian corpses”. After 52 years teaching at Brandeis, Hindley retired on his own accord in 2015.
These are just a few examples of what Mael exposed; when reporters asked the school about the controversial emails, spokeswoman Ellen de Graffenreid said “the statements were taken out of context”.
Brandeis University used to be the forefront leader connecting Judaism and Zionism; it has now turned into a cesspool of sharks swimming in Jew hatred. And until something drastically changes, the University will not be receiving a dime from alumni like myself.