EDITORIAL: March for Science to stand up for reason
U.’s support of demonstration is good for everyone
You’ve seen the Women’s March, the "No Ban, No Wall” protests and several other public demonstrations fighting the current presidential administration and some of its attitudes towards certain groups or situations in the United States. But one of the most recent public protests is somewhat of an unexpected one. On April 22, Washington, D.C. is having a March for Science, and Rutgers is publicly endorsing it.
More specifically, the Rutgers American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT) backing up these efforts with a satellite march in Trenton, New Jersey. Students and staff who want to attend will even be provided with transportation.
One may wonder why something as broad as science would merit a march. But this is not just about recognizing the importance of the subject. The reason that the University is supporting the March for Science is because science itself is being threatened by the current administration, and the faculty endorsing this march is aware of this. In fact, they have broken their concerns down into three different aspects of President Donald J. Trump’s administration.
The first complaint is that the Trump administration is too rash and acts “imprecisely and impartially.” By this, the faculty means that the Trump administration is run with an agenda to benefit those who benefit the administration.
The second complaint from the faculty is the entirety of Trump’s budget and spending plans. Anyone who has listened to any news regarding Trump and science knows of his extreme dislike of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and he does not fail to display this contempt in his budget plan. According to his spending plan, the EPA is the agency that will lose the most funding with a 31 percent decrease. To go hand in hand with this, the administration is also decreasing funding for education by 14 percent. It is no question as to why our University, especially one that is a nationally renowned research university, would be affected by these changes. It is even possible that the administration is making these cuts in order to stifle the voice of students, especially those interested in research that could rebuke the beliefs of the administration.
Lastly, the faculty has complained that the second travel ban implemented by the Trump administration, which banned travel of citizens from six Muslim-majority countries, is extremely detrimental to the status of science in the United States. Global scientific research can be greatly affected by this. Coming together to protest these ideas is necessarily now more than ever.
The most significant part of the March for Science is that it is not only for those who are scientists, just as supporting liberal arts is not just the job of those in liberal arts fields. The March for Science is for anyone who believes in the significance of science and scientific evidence in decision-making. It is for anyone who wants to ensure that research is continued, that we can continue to collaborate globally and that research is allowed to be accessed by the public.
In a political climate where the existence of climate change is actually debated and the future state of the planet is listed at the bottom of priorities, any support for the scientific method is not only important — it is necessary. And this is especially the case for a university as esteemed as Rutgers.
Rutgers is right to join in with the March for Science in its fight to advocate for the scientific world. Perhaps if the world sees how dedicated the future of America is to science, it will be inspired to follow suit.