This timeline is a living record and will be updated as the situation develops. The last update was on 15 August 2023.
Business as Usual (15–29 March)
15 March: Accommodations forms for housing due for continuing students. The accommodation forms ask for a student’s name, diagnoses, medical documentation, and the accommodations they’d need.
20 March: Housing lottery numbers are released. №125–1200 are reserved for rising sophomores, and №1202–2700 are reserved for upperclassmen. (We're unsure as to the purpose of №1–125.) Roommate groups start to form.
21 March: Students whose accommodations were approved receive confirmation and are told in email that "Students who received a housing selection number and completed a housing application request will receive an email on Thursday, March 30th, which will include 2 housing options that meet the student's approved accommodations and will take into consideration their class year and housing selection number." The full text can be found here.
29 March: DCL modifies wording on websites around accommodations housing for juniors/seniors, adding language on the lack of housing guarantee for Juniors and Seniors, including those with disabilities. This is confirmed via the Wayback machine. A comparison of the two texts can be found here.
All Hell Breaks Loose: Disability Housing Crisis (30 March–19 April)
30 March: DCL emails students previously approved for accommodations, either giving them the promised two options or sending them an email informing them that they would not be receiving housing at all. An example can be found here. Naturally, people begin to react to the prospect of not receiving housing necessary for them to attend classes.
30–31 March: Organization begins. Students write a petition to be sent out to the Brandeis University Discord server, meant to be signed and sent to the DCL emails.
At the same time, other students begin to gather data from those who were denied accommodations to determine the basis, if any, for denials of housing. Later that day, the "DCL Evidence" Discord server is created to facilitate data gathering/group response to DCL's abysmal management of accommodation housing.
Midday: Cara Streit, director of SAS (Student Accessibility Services) exchanges emails with a student regarding the housing debacle. Cara explains that disabled students not receiving housing will be put on the waitlist that everyone else with high numbers will be on. They would be contacted when spaces that meet their accommodations open up. She explains that the odd data around students’ accommodations not being provided based on their housing numbers is likely due to housing groups being formed.
While this is technically possible, it's unlikely due evidence collected by organizers indicating no correlation between housing group formation and whether students' housing was approved.
Cara is likely not at fault here, as communication between SAS (Student Accommodation Services) and DCL (Brandeis Department of Community Living) was reportedly quite lacking this semester. Cara was likely repeating what she has been told by DCL, which is false.
6:00pm: Brandeis DCL holds an informational zoom meeting regarding housing in 2023–2024. Multiple students ask about the circulating petition and the housing accommodations situation. None of these questions are addressed.
4 April: Article by The Justice (one of two on-campus newspapers) regarding the situation is released. You can read it here.
5 April: School is let out for Pesach. It will resume on April 14th, but many students will not return until April 16th.
6 April: DCL reaches out to a current sophomore whose housing had been denied, offering approved accommodated housing for the next academic year. This shows that at least some students were being reached out to.
7 April: The dunnowhocares Incident. DCL Evidence Discord Server is joined by someone whose account was made that day and who spends a grand total of 5 mins inside the server before insisting that the problems disabled students are facing are not problems actually. (Note that we are not anonymizing their account name because we have no idea who this person is.) For around an hour, they argue with members of the Discord server, ignoring evidence and insisting that noöne was denied housing. Most of what is said is parroted from earlier DCL emails which were already demonstrated to be misleading at best and false at worst.
They do not reference any of the evidence of wrongdoing already quite well displayed inside and outside the server, and do not back up any of their claims with any evidence besides unsubstantiated reports of conversations with University officials, the details of which will be lost to time in the grand tradition of oral history.
We're including this in the timeline because while we don't know who this person is, some have speculated that they were a representative of DCL there to demoralize organizers. Normally, this would be a stretch, but their account was created the day they joined the server, indicating a desire to evade identification or accountability. (This is a theory based on pure speculation, and we have no hard evidence to back it up.) Regardless, after a few hours, dunnowhocares is eventually kicked, with server admin providing the following explanation.
"Hey friends. We've decided to kick this person. Not because we disagree with what they're saying, but because this server is here for people who are here to make change, not debate whether we like DCL or to explain why what they're doing is deeply harmful and immoral. We have to justify our accommodations needs enough already. This person has provided no receipts, just claims that regurgitate what DCL's already said, DCL claims which just spread more doubt about what we're doing here. The effect of having to debate whether we need these changes at all is going to demoralize us, fracture us into pointless debates, frustrate organizing and activism, and prevent us from effectively protesting. We can have this debate and explain why we need this change, but we shouldn't have to platform it in this space. We should talk and debate in here about how to bring these changes (protests, petitions, etc.), but not justify whether we need them. We want change, not more excuses."
After this incident, security is increased on the server.
11 April: The Demands, which may be also be found here, are posted in the Discord server. They are soon after posted on the website, and can be found here. They are as follows:
Build more housing to accommodate the larger student body in the long-term, and create emergency housing, on campus, to accommodate any disabled students who still lack housing in the short-term.
Guarantee, in writing, adequate accommodations for disabled students in accordance with their pre-approved housing accommodations.
Full transparency of the DCL housing lottery system and additional student representative involvement during the planning stages.
It should be noted that creating emergency housing can be done via shipping-container emergency housing (see: College of Idaho, Fisk University, etc.), by partitioning and converting existing buildings into emergency housing while permanent dorms are built, by renting out rooms at local hotels, apartment complexes, nearby universities, etc. In fact, buying nearby apartment complexes is why we have the Charles River Apartments.
The First Protest (20–21 April)
20 April, around noon: The time, date, and location of the protest are announced on Instagram. The date of the protest (21 April) is chosen due to its being an admitted students' day, where tour groups abound.
7:00 PM: The Dean of Students’ office is emailed to alert them of the protest and the reasons behind it. They never respond.
April 21, 6:00 AM: Article from The Hoot (the other on-campus newspaper) regarding the situation is released. You can read it here.
12:50–2:45 PM: Students protest outside of Gosman, Brandeis' Athletic Center. We estimate that between 75 and 100 flyers are handed out, primarily to admitted students and their family. Students hold signs with slogans like "We Demand Equitable Housing", "Disability Justice Now", and "Ron Gets $1,000,000; We Don't Get a Roof".
2:00 PM: Brandeis employee meeting with tour group leaders outside Gosman tells the tour group leaders that students are protesting because Juniors and Seniors aren't guaranteed housing, and because students were not approved for accommodations. Organizers go over and inform the group that in fact, students were protesting due to accommodations being unfulfilled.
The protest is peaceful and nondisruptive; students do not shout slogans or make a commotion, and remain on the grass holding their signs, talking amongst themselves and to any prospective students or parents who approach them but otherwise remaining silent.
2:45–5:00 PM: Students move from Gosman to the Shapiro Campus Center (SCC) Lawn. More students show up to protest. Tour groups pass protestors and more flyers are handed out. Tour group leaders have mixed reactions, from encouraging people to take flyers and observe the protest, to no reaction at all, to encouraging the tour groups to keep walking. Conversations are held between protestors and prospective students. The protest remains nondisruptive.
5:00 PM: Student protestors leave the SCC Lawn and go home. We estimate over 100 flyers were handed out to prospective students and their families.
General Housing Crisis and Meetings with Administration (24 April)
9:00 AM: The housing lottery for upperclassmen opens with 665 beds available.
10:30 AM: The last 5-person apartment in the Charles River Apartments and the last 4-person apartment in Ridgewood Quad are taken.
11:00 AM: The last single in Skyline is taken.
12:00 PM: The last 3-person and 1-person apartments in the Charles River Apartments are taken.
12:30 PM: The last 6-person suite in Ziv Quad is taken by a student with the number 1440. (Source: friend of that student.)
1:00 PM: The last 2-person apartment in the Charles River Apartments is taken.
1:30 PM: The last 4-person apartment in the Foster Mods and the last double in Skyline are taken.
2:00 PM: The last 6-person apartment in the Foster Mods and the last double in Village are taken. These are the last beds available to upperclassmen.
9:30 PM: There is an emergency meeting in order to discuss what to do in the aftermath of the day's housing crisis.
25 April in the wee hours: The movement officially transitions from solely disability housing to the general Brandeis Housing Crisis.
6:00 AM: Article covering the April 21 protest is released by The Justice.
3:00 PM: The petition is closed after receiving a total of 368 Students (more than 1 in 10 current Brandeis students), 33 Alumni, 41 Relatives, 16 Faculty, and 19 Outside Supporters. After formatting and comments, it is a total of twelve pages long.
Afternoon: The petition is delivered to DCL. You may find the finished product here.
11:45pm: The second protest at Ron Liebowitz’s annual Presidential Address is announced on the @reformbrandeishousing Instagram.
26 April at 7:11 PM: Email from a staffer in the office of Andrea Dine is sent to firstname.lastname@example.org offering to set up a meeting with up to four student representatives. After some communication back and forth, we agree to have a meeting on April 28th at 10:00 AM. Due to unforseen last-minute circumstances, this meeting does not occur.
27 April at 11:43 AM: Email from Andrea Dine (she/her) is sent out to the student body with, kindly, misguided statements. Among others, the email states that "at no time did a student lose their accommodation(s) or have their accommodation(s) denied by Community Living." However, DCL does not approve or deny accommodations; Student Accessibility Services (SAS) does. The email was likely intended to calm things down, but instead became an instant target of mockery. The full text can be found here.
(Please note that we will not be commenting on the disparity between DCL's figure of 230 students on the housing waitlist and our figure of approximately 1200 students who were denied housing. Our figure doesn't account for a lot of things, such as students who do not want to live on campus or students studying abroad. Similarly, DCL's figure likely doesn't account for students who have removed themselves from the waitlist in order to find other options and to not get charged with the late housing cancellation fee. Both figures are likely wrong, and the actual figure is likely somewhere in the middle.)
28 April, 2:00–4:00 PM: An organizer attends Andrea’s office hours and has a conversation with her and Kim Goodsoe.
8:40 PM: We receive an email from Dean of Students Monique Gnanaratnam. She offers to “help you navigate the guidelines for demonstration; as well as the opportunity to provide space that accommodates the reasonable needs of both the University community and those engaged in acts of speech or protest”. We set up a meeting with her for Sunday at 1:00pm. For the rest of that night, we work on an email setting up a meeting with Andrea Dine on 2 May. We also make a deal saying that we'd cancel the protest if our demands were met. Note that this does not mean that noöne would protest, but does mean that no organizers would protest.
The Second Protest (28 April–2 May)
28 April: Provost Carol Fierke sends out an email to faculty alleging "misinformation" spread by students, and encouraging faculty to direct concerned students to admin's office hours. The full text can be found here.
30 April: An organizer meets with Monique. They are told to respect the Code of Conduct.
10:30 AM: Organizers and protesters arrive at Fellows Garden. We have the signs; the whole shabang.
1 May, 10:43 AM: Andrea Dine sends out a second email meeting as many student demands as she is allowed to put in writing. For instance, if the school is planning to build new buildings, they can't explicitly say so, as contractors would immediately hike their prices. However, she says that there will be student involvement in the DCL Housing process and redirects people to the SFS (Student Financial Services) website. In the FAQ section of this website, it is stated that students needing to live off campus may have their financial aid reassessed. The text of the email may be found here.
Due to the email and our prior agreement with the Office of Student Affairs, organizers cancel the protest and leave. However, many non-organizers enter Sherman Function Hall with signs, asking Liebowitz questions when appropriate, and eventually causing Ron to walk off stage.
Meeting with Andrea and Further Progress (2 May–Present)
2 May, 1:30 PM: Organizers meet with Andrea. She does everything she can in order to give us what we want, but unfortunately is unable to give any guarantees. However, she does reïterate that everyone has the right to protest.
2 May, 6:21 PM: Andrea attempts to connect organizers with Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Stewart Uretsky and Provost Carol Fierke to discuss emergency housing. They never respond.
3 May: Several organizers attend Ron’s listening session. One organizer speaks to him directly, but is readily dismissed.
13 June: Andrea sends out another email informing the student body that the university has secured housing at Holt Hall at Lasell College in Newton, with transportation to and from Brandeis. This gives the school around 50 more beds. Students will live in Holt Hall provided that at least 30 students commit by 15 July. She also mentions that more housing is opening up in East. The text of the email may be found here.
12 August: Organizers send an email to Andrea inquiring about updates to housing at Lasell.