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TEDxRutgers, a local subset of the larger TED organization, which in short aims to promote “ideas worth spreading,” holds multiple events each year that allow students and faculty to convey to the Rutgers community and beyond their brilliant ideas — which, as a university community, we experience no shortage of. We laurel TEDxRutgers for giving the Rutgers community a platform to spread its own influential ideas and experiences, as well as listen to those of others.
The organization known as TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, is a nonprofit devoted to ideas worth spreading. Twice a year, the organization holds TED Conferences, where they invite some of the world’s most profound thinkers and creators. As a subset of the overarching organization, there are TEDx programs, including one here at Rutgers, which too aims to promote ideas worth spreading in more of a local and self-organized community setting. On Oct. 15, TEDxRutgers held their annual "Speechcraft" event, where 10 students gave talks about their own ideas and experiences.
In November, Republican Bob Hugin will challenge Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) for his office, and all 12 of the House seats will be on the ballot. All 12 seats being open means that, depending on who gets out and votes, there could be some important changes to the state’s legislature. On the ballot, New Jersey voters will be asked about their approval of things like protecting students from lead exposure, expanding county and vocational college programs and the state borrowing $500 million to ramp up security in public schools.
New Jersey lawmakers are confident that a final bill proposing the legalization of marijuana will be passed before Halloween. Legislators have their eye on Oct. 29 as the day this big step will be taken. Though there may still be some issues to iron out regarding things like the level of taxation that should be attributed to the substance, it seems we are quickly approaching a big and positive change.
Some of Rutgers’ main values are diversity and inclusion, and the encouragement of communal support no matter one’s creed or color — we want to protect members of our community against hate and prejudice. As an institution of higher education and advanced research, though, our community also seeks to promote academic freedom and serious intellectual discourse. At this point in time, it seems clear that those two values are clashing.
This week is the annual Turn the Campus Purple week, which is a campaign organized by the Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance (VPVA) to spread awareness about interpersonal violence. Turn the Campus Purple is part of the larger Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Multiple events were scheduled to be held during the past few days that addressed these issues, such as the Clothesline Project held at Voorhees Mall on the College Avenue campus, and a human trafficking presentation by a FBI victim specialist. We laurel the VPVA and the other organizers of this campaign for their extremely important work.
Lisa Daftari, an investigative journalist and political analyst, is scheduled to speak at Rutgers on Oct. 16. at an event called “Radicalism on College Campuses." Daftari is a first generation American from Iran whose work focuses on Middle Eastern foreign affairs and counter-terrorism. Though by no means unqualified, her views are undoubtedly controversial and are interpreted by some as being hateful toward people of Muslim faith. As a result of this view, a Rutgers student recently started a petition to prevent Daftari from coming to the University to speak. By now, the petition now has more than 1,000 signatures.
The University is currently attempting to deal with issues arising from a persistent infestation of mold in the Psychology Department building on Busch campus. The issue, which some professors say has been going on for years, has forced professors to relocate from their offices, teaching spaces and labs and into new buildings. Included in the affected spaces, which are numerous, is the administrative office for Rutgers’ recently established New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence. This current issue is just one example of the consequences of seemingly neglectful and ineffective practices by the University to curb problems with infrastructure.
Less than 8 hours following NJ Advance Media publishing an article exposing Rutgers’ lack of action on certain sexual assault cases, University President Robert L. Barchi sent out a statement condemning the University’s policies. An investigative article written by Susan K. Livio and Kelly Heyboer recounted the experiences of several different victims of sexual harassment and assault that have come forward recently. One of these victims is Kristy King, a former graduate student at Rutgers, who claimed that Professor Stephen Eric Bronner, “sat across from me in a chair, too close. As we talked, he ran his hand all the way up the inside of my thigh.”
Though it may appear as though we have an unlimited supply of it, the world is arguably quickly approaching a global water crisis. As has been examined with regard to individual regions of the world, a water crisis can have ripple effects that are severely detrimental to all facets of a society. It has become apparent that climate change plays a sizable role in the prominence of water issues, and could lead to humanitarian crises of unsettling proportions. But what really is the extent of the issue, and is there anything a community like Rutgers’ can do to help?
On Wednesday night, activists from various Rutgers organizations gathered on the steps at Brower Commons to discuss experiences with sexual assault in the wake of last week’s Senate hearings of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Among those at the rally were survivors of sexual assault and harassment, as well as advocates aiming to spread awareness of sexual violence. We laurel those who took part in this gathering for speaking the truth that needs to be heard with regard to this issue, and working toward real change.
For 50 years, Rutgers has been offering students financial help through the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF), and this week the University is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the program by hosting a commemoration ceremony, TED talks from EOF alumni and a celebration dinner. The fund exists to provide financial aid and other forms of support, such as counseling, tutoring and developmental coursework to students who come from backgrounds with educational or economic disadvantages.
The University’s Strategic Plan for “the new Rutgers” calls for an incremental increase in international and out-of-state students. As of right now, the University has the lowest number of out-of-state students in the Big Ten at approximately 18 percent. The plan is to gradually increase this number in the next few years until we reach the goal of 25 percent out-of-state students.
The Center for American Progress conducted a study regarding sex education in America's public schools. Said study found that the majority of students enrolled in these schools do not know how to effectively discern between healthy and unhealthy behaviors in relationships. The study found that only 24 states and the District of Columbia actually mandate sexual education, and only eight of those states, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia, require discussion of sexual assault and the idea of consent within those classes.
In 2017, the Paradise Papers revealed that Rutgers has issued an irredeemable check to its students, a check that has come back marked insufficient funds. Rutgers was listed among the universities investing in EnCap Energy Capital Fund IX-C, a hedge fund based in the Cayman Islands that primarily invests in oil and gas companies, The Guardian reported.
Last Friday, University President Robert L. Barchi announced the formation of a Free Speech panel at Rutgers in light of constitutional protections that allow for speech that some find “offensive or morally repugnant.” This standing panel will consist of First Amendment experts and legal scholars and it will advise the Office of the General Counsel and, in turn, the Office of Employment Equity in assessing all matters that involve questions of free speech. While the line between offensive or morally reprehensible speech and hate speech is very thin, we laurel the formation of this panel as an important step to ensure that inalienable rights are protected.
If you use the internet, it is overwhelmingly likely that you have at some point encountered a meme. Memes have become an extremely common way for internet users to easily transfer information, most of the time with humorous undertones, to one another. The popularity of memes is somewhat of an enigma even to those who are familiar with them. The term meme was apparently first brought about in 1976 by Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins to describe a spread of cultural information.
As of November 2016, approximately 62 million millennials were of voting-age in the United States, surpassing the 57 million members of Generation X and quickly approaching the 70 million Baby Boomers. The peak of eligible voters from the Baby Boomer generation was 73 million in 2004, but since then the group’s size has been declining. At the same time, the millennial electorate keeps growing and will predictably be the largest voting-eligible group soon. But simply being eligible to vote is one thing — actually getting out to vote is another. Millennials are known to be less likely to actually vote than older groups. But if mobilized, young people obviously have the ability to become a seriously powerful electoral force.
Technically, at this point in the month, there has been an average of more than one crime alert per week — which does not necessarily give us an accurate idea of how many crimes are actually occurring, being that some additional crimes may simply not be reported or may not appear in Rutgers crime alerts. Either way, it is clear that the crime experienced by students stems from both people affiliated with the University and those not affiliated. Because the seemingly constant rate of crime involves both Rutgers affiliates and New Brunswick residents, there is no simple fix on either end.