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We have a castle? [Nov. 6th, 2015|04:39 pm]

Attention Brandeis Alumni (and others):

In recent news, it has come to my attention that the administration of Brandeis University is proposing to tear down Usen Castle. They say it is old, it is falling apart, it is unsafe, and it is inefficient. See http://www.thejustice.org/article/2015/11/trustees-to-decide-on-future-of-castle for a recent article on the debate. It is well known for its bizarre architectural elements (see http://allthetropes.wikia.com/wiki/Bizarrchitecture and http://www.brandeis.edu/studentlife/dcl/roomselection/images/UsenCastle.pdf)

That may be. But it is also historic (National Registry as of 1979), iconic, and emblematic. It is the one thing, other than the university seal, that appears most on paraphernalia and imagery. When the Post Office issued a stamp in honor of the school’s 50th anniversary, it was the thing pictured on the stamp. Still listed as a popular dorm, you can see more and read more at http://omeka.lts.brandeis.edu/exhibits/show/photographs-of-the-castle-from .

For those of you in the SCA, it should be no surprise that there was a tradition of using the castle in various ways – meetings, inspiration for arms, the odd strawberry war with another borough, etc.

For those of you with ties to the BSCF, this was more or less where the club started, where many many meetings and movie nights were held, and where many many larps took place over the years.

For those of you curious about academic history, this building predates Brandeis and was the main building of the old Middlesex University (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middlesex_University_(Massachusetts)) an old medical college, and the only veterinary college in New England, until Tufts in 1978.

For those of you with memories of 90’s television, the coffee shop there is widely considered the inspiration for Central Perk in the TV show Friends.

Abbie Hoffman and Angela Davis spent time there engaged in political discourse.

In short, if you have a relevant connection to the place, and if you have an opinion on its future, now is the time to make your opinions known to those who are making decisions about it.

Mirrored from The Black Horse of the Blog World.


[User Picture]From: chanaleh
2015-11-06 10:32 pm (UTC)
NOOOOO. Brandeis possesses so little in the way of architectural charm, how could they think of eliminating their one great asset??

I mean, yes, I'm sure it is all the things they say, but I bet a "SAVE THE CASTLE" capital campaign would garner a lot of alumni support. I will go weigh in.
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[User Picture]From: artan_eter
2015-11-07 03:22 am (UTC)
I am completely unsurprised by the Brandeis administration trying to destroy and/or failing to maintain things that actually provide some sense of character and interest.
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[User Picture]From: jducoeur
2015-11-07 06:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this...
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[User Picture]From: offside7
2015-11-08 06:52 am (UTC)
I played my first LARP there.

I sympathize with the desire to make it a more efficient use of space (and more safe) but if they absolutely have to change it, I wish they would find a way to keep as much of the exterior as possible and some of the cool elements of the interior as they are (like the lounge.)

I would hate to see it go, especially if they don't plan to replace it with something very similar.
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