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My name is Christopher, and I’m a proud Rutgers alumnus. I was an esteemed member of the Glee Club, a dedicated student employee and football fanatic. In recent years, it has pained me to see constant controversy circling the institution I love. Initially, they were events that coincidentally happened at Rutgers, such as the circumstances surrounding Tyler Clementi’s tragic death. But lately, I feel Rutgers has handled all the tough decisions poorly. There were the Grease Trucks, national scandals in our athletic department, the wrongfully forced resignation of Tim Pernetti and the sullied past of his replacement that was divulged after she was hired. Now, there’s our alma mater.
It’s been said time and time again that America was founded as a nation of outcasts and immigrants. The 13 colonies became a conglomeration of men and women who were considered 16th and 17th century radicals. They left behind their familiar surroundings in search of something better, a freer more virtuous way of life. As time went on and migration spread from the East to the West, the United States began to take on a different persona. African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and other racial groups immigrated to the U.S. and contributed to the melting pot — or mixed salad — that is America today.
As we approach the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, many Americans will revisit life-changing moments and remembrances from the superstorm, especially those in New York and New Jersey.
Over the last several weeks, I have read point and counterpoint regarding the mock eviction notices distributed in residence halls by Students for Justice in Palestine. The notices were meant to call attention to the destruction of Palestinian homes by Israel in territory that, by all accounts, is claimed by both sides. Given that I am neither Jewish nor Palestinian, I have been impartial on this issue and continue to remain so. But as the clashes between both student populations have made their way through these pages, I wanted to offer some thoughts as a young alumnus outsider.
I am a dreamer. I believe in the values our founding fathers put forth — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe in equality for all citizens and noncitizens, regardless of identity.
About 2,120 years ago, travelers, warriors, pilgrims, monks and soldiers from Europe, Egypt, India, the Philippines, China and Vietnam would cross mountain ranges, vast deserts and wide seas comprising the Silk Road. The route was given its name because of the fruitful silk business, since silk was a precious material in China. The road also allowed for exchange of other precious goods, ideas and religions. In modern day Afghanistan, the largest Buddhist statue to exist was found along the route. However, despite all of the benefits the road offered society, it also helped spread the bubonic plague.
Last Sunday night, Oct. 6, Students for Justice in Palestine board members printed mock eviction notices and distributed them in residence halls at Rutgers-New Brunswick. This action was intended to call attention to the systematic demolition of the homes of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and Israel. Since 1967, approximately 27,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel, as estimated by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. The facts about Palestinian home demolitions included on the mock eviction notices are all true and substantiated by human rights organizations, as well as international bodies such as the United Nations and International Court of Justice.
Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi finally broke his silence when reached for comment for an article that was published on Oct. 4.
"You know you go to an all women’s college when you feel like you have to constantly defend the existence of women’s colleges,” the pop culture website Buzzfeed accurately explained in a recent article entitled “29 Signs You Go to a Women’s College.”
After reading “EZPass tracking is unacceptable,” I decided to quickly search for similar articles on the Internet and was not surprised to find dozens of blogs written in the same vein. I have a big problem with that. Here’s the thing, that hacker did not discover anything new. In fact, what he “discovered” is a system that has been public knowledge since July 18, 2011, when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a press release stating, “the system, called Midtown in Motion, includes 100 microwave sensors, 32 traffic video cameras and E-ZPass readers at 23 intersections to measure traffic volumes, congestion and record vehicle travel times in the approximately 110-square block area bound by Second to Sixth Avenues and 42nd to 57th streets.” On June 5, 2012, a second press release came out, revealing that “preliminary results of the first phase showed an overall 10% improvement in travel times on the avenues in the 110-block service area, as measured by E-ZPass readers, and taxi GPS data showed similar results.” The program was so promising that an expansion was planned, which would cover more than 270 square blocks and include an additional 110 microwave sensors, 24 traffic video cameras and 36 E-ZPass readers, according to the press release.
Twenty-six-year-old Eyricka Morgan died earlier this week at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital after a man living in the same boarding house on Baldwin Street stabbed her to death.
Rutgers University’s disciplinary policy, or lack thereof, affecting their police officers violates several state and federal laws, not to mention Supreme Court decisions, affording all employees certain rights under the Department of Labor and State Statute. Over the past several years, Rutgers police officers have come to work not knowing if actions they take as police officers will result in immediate disciplinary charges against them. These charges may result in reprimands, suspensions or terminations without officers having the opportunity to defend themselves or receive the proper representation afforded to them under such Court decisions as Garrity v. New Jersey or NLRB v. J. Weingarten. Rutgers University violates these on a daily basis. For several years, the Rutgers administration, including their vice president, responsible for public safety and the police department, has refused to negotiate a fair and equitable disciplinary policy with the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents Rutgers police officers. As a result, these officers work under constant fear of reprisals and disciplinary charges as they go about their assignments, which can greatly affect their ability to perform their duties. These situations can have an adverse effect not only on the officers, but the student body, faculty, administrators and residents living in and around Rutgers’ facilities. Also, due to the Governor’s consolidation of Rutgers, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Rowan University, these policies will definitely have an affect on these other officers due to the fact they will all come under the administration of Rutgers. Rutgers’ mentality is that an officer is guilty before even having an opportunity to defend him or herself. They are given what the university calls a “pre-determination” hearing, which amounts to nothing more than a kangaroo court, after which the officer receives whatever discipline the administration deems necessary. This is all without being given the opportunity to have proper representation or bring in defense witnesses. The only way for these officers to get a somewhat proper hearing is to file a grievance through their collective bargaining agreement, which, during the first three steps, the administration denies, causing the FOP to file for grievance arbitration — a time-consuming and expensive process. Over the past three years, there have been 31 Rutgers police officers who have resigned due to the stress they experienced from disciplinary procedures that this administration has forced on them. There have been two lawsuits filed by two Rutgers officers who were illegally fired, as well as the numerous arbitrations filed by the FOP on behalf of these officers. They have been overturned or amended almost every reprimand, suspension and firing of those officers that were not afforded the proper protections given them by the aforementioned laws and court decisions. Parents of Rutgers students — and all taxpayers — should be aware that this administration is spending tens of thousands of dollars in tuition money and tax dollars defending themselves for these frivolous charges. They should also be aware that the existing conditions affecting these officers also poses a public safety risk to the students and others in and around the three campuses, and could considerably affect those at Rowan University and UMDMJ campuses. All the officers of Rutgers University and the FOP ask for is to be able to sit down with the respective administrators and negotiate the implementation of a system that affords all police officers the rights under the aforementioned statutes and court decisions. The officers who protect and serve the communities of our state colleges deserve these protections.
Where is our sense of history? Has it died, or is it being slowly bled from our collegiate experience? With a new system is in place and a corporate-style administration, the University has worked diligently to remove nonessentials from university life and eliminate redundancies through merged departments. This, although difficult, may be a necessary pill to swallow in our current economic climate. What is not prescribed is elimination of the historical essence of our university. Once a struggling and undersized men’s college, Rutgers has not only served the New Jersey — even before its designation as a state university — but has also gone above and beyond in assisting the country in its times of need.
Just as the author of “U. students should not be overloaded with homework” is worried about the value of homework in American universities, I too was once confused about the point of “busywork.” However, I now realize homework is essential in a student’s education. Whether it feels like one is doing pointless problem sets or reading boring textbook passages, homework always reinforces learning subconsciously. The author is a bit naive and hyperbolic in her perspective on homework. Toward the end of her opinion piece, she worries that she will forget everything and feel as if she did not learn anything. That only occurs if one studies the night before, halfheartedly does his or her homework and does not really understand the material.
Not long ago, President Barack Obama stated in a speech to the nation that we Americans are different from the rest of the world, that in some way we are exceptional.
There were definitely times when I wanted to stop riding for the day. There was the day we left Havre De Grace, Md. for 85 continuous miles of hills that twisted and turned all the way to Washington, D.C. There was the time we spent in the Outer Banks riding on the same road for 40-mile stretches fighting dueling headwinds from the ocean — winds that would shake my bike from side to side as I tucked my head in and tried not to count every single mile marker we slowly passed. There was the ride to Charleston when it rained nonstop from the time we left Myrtle Beach to the time we finished. I wanted to stop every time the heat slapped me in the face. I wanted to stop every time we had to go back out into the rain after drying off. I wanted to stop every time I took a nice nap on a ferry and woke up remembering we still had another 50 miles to go for the day.
Yesterday morning, I woke up and grabbed my iPhone to check Facebook just like any other day. As I looked at my news feed, I noticed that 10 of my friends posted a link to a Buzzfeed post that had compiled several racist and Islamophobic tweets regarding Nina Davuluri, the first Indian-American winner of the Miss America beauty pageant, which happened Sunday in Atlantic City, N.J.
New York’s Spring Fashion week splashed across the streets this past week attracting only those who have appreciation for wearable art. Here’s my breakdown of the hottest designers at this year’s show.
Last Friday, a 10-year-old boy in Philadelphia was the victim of a murder-suicide. His father shot him, his mother and then himself, though the mother was wounded. The day before, a 12-year-old was accidentally shot by his 15-year-old cousin while the two were playing with guns. The cousin did not know the gun was loaded. Neither event is unique. Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, there have been over 7,900 reported gun deaths. Almost 400 of those were teens and another 150 were children 12 and under. These are only reported shooting deaths — suicides committed with firearms are not always reported. This raises a question: When are we going to start talking seriously about gun violence in this country?
From the promiscuous brigade of “Slutwalkers” to Femen, the topless white saviors of womankind, sexual liberation is resurging as a means for women to have authority over their sexualities, thus wresting control from men who have long possessed female sexuality for their own self-serving purposes. Unfortunately in an attempt to make feminism sexy and accessible — transforming the movement from stereotypical hair-legged hippie lesbians to high-heeled powerful sex goddesses — sex-positive feminism ends up missing the point.