The Brandeis University Board of Trustees in a closed meeting and without any community input decided to sell off the University's unique collection of modern art in order to meet a budget shortfall. But there are other ways to do this. The Rose Art Museum must be preserved.
We find unacceptable both the decision to close the Rose Art Museum and the manner in which the process was conducted. While we understand the dire circumstances the University is facing during this economic crisis, we deplore this utter lack of transparency and the auctioning off of Brandeis' cultural heritage. If the purpose of this sale is to position the University to exit the crisis stronger, we fear that the loss of prestige and morale it entails will have the opposite effect.
Frequent, informative communication builds constituent confidence, and there has been too little of both since the economic downturn began. Giving up the largest collection of modern art in New England belies the fact that the Brandeis community does indeed value the arts. It betrays the University's very mission and our collective responsibility to preserve this treasure.
As alumni, we cannot in good conscience support an institution that does not trust its constituents enough to keep them informed of such painful undertakings. An e-mail, no matter how regretful in tone, sent after the decision has already been made does little to alleviate our confusion, hurt, and resentment. As your actions in regards to the Rose demonstrate, your concern for the short-term trumps the long. Therefore, the undersigned pledge to withhold our support of Brandeis University until our concerns are addressed and the decision to shut the Rose Art Museum is reversed.
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