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WEEK IN REVIEW: Laurels and Darts | November 9, 2018



During Tuesday’s midterm elections, Florida voted “yes” on Amendment 4. The amendment will restore the right to vote to the vast majority of the state’s approximately 1.5 million felons. Prior to this change, Floridian citizens convicted of felonies had to apply by petition to vote again after serving their sentences or otherwise receive a pardon by the governor. These felony disenfranchisement laws in Florida have disproportionately affected people of color, and for that reason we laurel the Floridian electorate for taking a big step in making our country a fairer place. 


According to Freedom House, the suppression of journalists and independent news media is at its worst point in 13 years. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the number of journalists imprisoned for their work is at its highest level since the 1990s. Reporters Without Borders released its annual World Press Freedom Index in April, which ranks 180 countries from highest to lowest levels of press freedom. The United States fell in the ranking, as it did last year to President Donald J. Trump’s unhinged press conference a day after the midterm elections, showed once again that this nation’s leader is an adversary to the fundamental value of freedom of press and the dignity of journalism. We dart Trump’s unequivocally dangerous rhetoric toward journalists, which emboldens the threats to reporters across the globe. 


Through a new partnership with a privately funded non-profit organization called TheDream.US, Rutgers will now begin offering financial aid to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students. We feel as though DACA students have as much of a right to education access and opportunity as U.S. citizens, being that they are Americans in all but documentation. We laurel the University and TheDream.Us for making the lives of DACA students a bit less stressful in the face of the White House’s action against them and their families. 


For some time, adjunct professors and part-time lecturers have been trying to negotiate fair pay, health insurance and job security in to their contracts. Even though part-time professors and contingent faculty at Rutgers University make up 70 percent of the teaching staff, many are paid less than a single student’s tuition. We dart the lack of meaningful visible progress in negotiations and the University’s reluctance to foster a healthier campus environment. 


The Department of Energy recently awarded a Rutgers team $1.5 million to use in studying optical tweezing, which is a Nobel Prize winning technique in studying how plants’ cell walls are created. Sang-Hyuk Lee is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and leader of the team. We laurel Rutgers’ Department of Physics and Astronomy for this research, which can help us understand more about the natural world — arguably the foundation for all that we know. 


The midterm results are in and the biggest takeaway from Tuesday is that our nation is in dire need of a restoration of voting rights. From broken down machines to outrageously long lines, voter-roll purges, abrupt changes and state voting laws, the federal government needs to step in. The right to vote is fundamental to our democratic experiment and there are apparent antagonists to our nation’s grand story. There are those who make blunt and blatant efforts to disenfranchise and minimize the voter turnout in order to suppress opposition. We dart these suppression tactics and the inactivity of legislators to protect fundamental, inalienable rights. 


The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority  of the 150th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not  necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its  staff.

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