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Last November, I published a commentary on the double standards and hypocrisy of the No Rice protests. I was then criticized for being too preemptive, and supposedly misrepresenting them, which are accusations that I believe are facetious and exemplify the double standards employed by No Rice. I debated waiting before penning this commentary — perhaps No Rice would act after all. However, I realized delay allows the inconsistency between their actions against Dr. Rice and inaction toward President Obama.
The past four years at Rutgers University have been enormously influential and have given me the opportunity to dedicate my time to an area of study that I am very passionate about. The Department of American Studies has provided me with invaluable mentors who taught me to pursue the things in life that I truly love. Many of the classes I have taken during my academic career allowed me to explore the possibility of seeking a career involving historic preservation. I have always been an eager student of history, and I want my future to consist of exploring and preserving sites, objects and information of great value to this country's history.
In response to “Is Obama really best Rutgers 250th commencement speaker?”:
Recently, Ms. Becky Ratero supplied the Targum with a fascinating intellectual exercise on the possibility of replacing global capitalism with communism. According to Ms. Ratero, the horrors of capitalism cannot be expunged intrinsically. A revolution — a complete, and total revolution — is required. Why? From Ms. Ratero herself: “The horrors of this system include the destruction and plunder of the environment, from drilling in the Arctic to deforestation in the Amazon, a pharmaceutical industry that only cares about profit, the mass production of consumer goods through sweatshop labor around the world, drone warfare that's directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and the list goes on.”
In response to “Socialism’s failures demonstrate capitalism’s superiority”:
I first became aware of tensions between graduating students from the three Rutgers campuses Wednesday morning when reading a post on the Rutgers Class of 2016 Facebook page that garnered around 650 "likes," explaining Newark and Camden students shouldn’t attend this year’s commencement featuring President Barack Obama as the primary speaker because they didn’t have the New Brunswick experience and can’t call this place home. After my initial euphoria that the High Point Solutions Stadium would be filled to capacity at least once in its life, allowing me to delude myself (if only for a moment) that the recent 10,000-seat expansion wasn’t a complete waste of $102 million, I was angered.
It is the evening on the Nov. 8, 2016, and the news finally hits. The “winner” of the presidential electoral vote is … Johnny Politician. Millions of Americans gasp. Thousands of Americans start crying. A good number projectile vomit onto their dinner plate. And even a couple drop dead from information overload. How could this be? How did that person win? How can I ever go on? Is life worth living anymore? Why can’t I ever get what I want?
Populists, politicians who attempt to appeal to the interests of average citizens, are dramatically weaker candidates for political office than they make themselves out to be. Without examining the nuances of contemporary issues, populists present themselves as "Washington Outsiders" who seek power in order to remedy the fears, desires and grievances of ordinary people. Unfortunately, the populist rhetoric by prominent members of the Democratic and Republican parties have permeated America’s national dialogue such that raw emotions alone dominate the open marketplace of ideas we all cherish.
When I was a sophomore, The Daily Targum sent me to cover a story — my first. It was a lecture given by an organization called Rutgers Community Action, and the story I wrote, running about 400 words, was published a couple of days later. I still have it. It reminds me how far I have come and of the early training Targum provided that continues to nourish my career. I now work as an editor at The New York Times, after a long career there reporting on New York, the southwestern United States and Latin America (and having worked at several other newspapers). None of this would have been possible without the Targum. I am truly grateful and hope the Rutgers community recognizes the vital institution that the Targum is, not only for holding the University accountable, but for training future generations to do the same in the outside world.
In Rutgers' 250 years of rich academic excellence, students of all walks of life have had the privilege of being a part of a historic research institution. Public state universities play a key role in society by creating opportunities for those who are under-privileged or those who took a little longer than expected to show their brilliance, and did not have the well-rounded attributes as early in life as the students who received Ivy League acceptances.
Six years out of college and I can say without hesitation, The Daily Targum was instrumental to jump-starting my journalism career and empowering me with the skills and knowledge I needed to succeed. I learned lessons while working at the nation’s second-oldest college newspaper that I use continually in my day-to-day job.
For any number of reasons, there are times when I wonder whether I made the right choice attending Rutgers University. But then I quickly remind myself that if I hadn’t gone to Rutgers, there is no way I’d be where, or who, I am today. The Daily Targum and the opportunities and experiences it provided me with don’t exist anywhere other than Rutgers. Sure, there are hundreds of other student newspapers on college campuses throughout the country, but there are none that even closely resemble the Targum. Operating as an entirely student-run and independent organization, Targum Publishing Company provides Rutgers students with more hands-on and real-world experience than any journalism course or undergraduate internship could ever provide.
The Daily Targum is where I found my voice. It’s where I fell in love with the craft of journalism and became enamored with the rhythm and energy of a newsroom. It's where I learned to believe that I could be Ida B. Wells, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and Maya Angelou all rolled into one. The Targum is where I found my people. And, in many ways, it’s where I found myself. I came to Rutgers University for the education, and I stayed because of Targum. I am the journalist, writer and storyteller I am today because of the long days and nights I spent there.
The Daily Targum received the gamut of criticisms that led some students to vote "no" for referendum when I worked there.
At the July meeting of the University Board of Governors, the Board will vote to set tuition for the 2016-2017 school year. This is the price advertised to students when they apply, but upon enrollment one quickly finds that Rutgers has plenty more brilliant ways of taking your money — campus fees, school fees, computer fees, new student fees (Welcome to Rutgers!) and so on. Old Queens takes in our money through the front door and through the back door.
"Rutgers has no money!" How many times have we heard that? When faculty demands a raise, when students demand affordable tuition, when we all want a robust curriculum … the Administration pleads poverty. For many years, Old Queens argued that rising wages would push tuition and fees up sky high. Then they boosted tuition while freezing salaries for five years. By last year — as faculty fought their way out of the salary freeze — we knew enough to suspect that Rutgers had money hidden somewhere. Unrestricted reserves had gone up from $631 million to $709 million in one year.(Now they stand at $771 million). This money lay outside the operating budget, available for research and other purposes but (obviously) not being spent down. Within the operating budget, the administration certainly wasn’t acting poor as it shelled out mega-salaries to coaches and a proliferating squad of vice presidents. When we scratched below the supposed scarcity, we in fact saw signs of fiscal abundance.
Without The Daily Targum, where would I be? I joined the paper as a freshman in 1981, and I immediately felt like I was part of something really important. Getting my very first story on the front page was one of the most gratifying moments of my early college life, and it was very motivating in my continuing of my career at Targum. I rose to become a staff writer, then associate news editor and finally news editor. What other organization could have given me the kind of real-life challenges and skills than Targum? You covered things at night, and boom, there they were, in the paper the very next day. My ability to write quickly and gracefully under deadline pressure, my interviewing skills, my people skills — I owe it all to The Daily Targum. We were teenagers, or hardly out of our teens, writing, editing and producing a daily newspaper. With the countless hours we devoted to putting out the paper, it was enough to make you feel like you were a professional. While I became a newspaper reporter after graduating and remain a journalist today now working for The Record of Bergen County, there are countless other fields where I could have applied the skills I learned at the Targum. Not to mention the fact that it's where I made some of the best friends of my life. The Targum is well worth your support. The paper is a valuable source of news and information for students. The organization is a priceless tool for students to learn what it feels like to work in the real world.
Vote "yes" for The Daily Targum. I could repeat the same line that is decades old. I am sure, if you are reading this, you are aware of the referendum. However, most students are unfamiliar with what it means. The referendum is the way the University and former editors decided to maintain an independent newspaper. It is the direct will of the students. It is important to understand that the University has no influence over the Targum — it is a creation of idealistic and bright-eyed students. Students with a passion for balanced editorial content. Students who take pride in bringing you information from the salaries of every employee to the changing of the buses. This is rare and valuable.
On Feb. 10, Milo Yiannopoulos began “The Dangerous Faggot Tour” at Rutgers University. The tour criticized the modern-day college campus as overly sensitive and censor-happy. During his speech, feminists and Black Lives Matter protestors stormed into the lecture hall and began chanting, “Black lives matter!” They were met with loud opposition, with the audience repeating, “Trump!” Most news coverage has criticized the protestors, citing disrespect to Milo’s freedom of speech.
While it has been more than 10 years since I worked for The Daily Targum, I cherish the opportunities, skills and friendships that it gave me and that I still hold dear.