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The partisan practice of manipulating district lines is an undemocratic crack in the foundation of America since the nation was first formed. From the rotten boroughs in England, to Patrick Henry attempting to gerrymander James Madison out of Virginia, to the cracking and packing of 2010, redistricting is one of the oldest continued abuses of power in our democratic experiment.
On the night of Jan. 23, 2018, networks of organizations and members of various communities took to the streets of New Jersey with Monarch Housing Associates to conduct the 2018 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count of homeless men, women and children across the state’s 21 counties. The 2018 report counted 9,303 homeless people on that night, which was a 9 percent increase from the 2017 report. This increase was smaller than the reported increase from 2016 to 2017, which was 20 percent, but still undeniably disheartening.
According to The Daily Targum reporting, Rutgers’ sustainability efforts have increased in recent years, culminating in 30 percent of all campus energy currently coming from renewable resources. As more reports and evidence are released, our environmental future appears increasingly dire. While the University must continue its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and working with the community to build a better, cleaner future, we laurel the progress made of Rutgers.
On January 1, 2019, New Jersey’s minimum wage will increase. While the increase is by no means the act of state legislators or Gov. Phil Murphy (D) upholding his campaign promise, it is the result of New Jersey’s constitution, which requires the state’s minimum wage to be adjusted to consumer price index data. The minimum wage ought to be raised as the prices of goods and services increase, but it must also be set at a livable rate that is reflective of the realities of the economy.
The Rutgers community is full of kind and caring people, and for specifically the past two years it has shown those qualities by donating for Giving Tuesday. Each year, Giving Tuesday takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and this year’s focus was on Rutgers’ student food pantries. On the New Brunswick campus, the student food pantry is located at 39 Union St. It opened in 2016, and is stocked by way of donations from organizations like Rutgers Against Hunger, Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services, as well as private donations.
Same usage rates, but different enforcement. The racial targeting in the policing of cannabis use has resulted in Black New Jerseyans being arrested at a rate three times higher than whites between 2000 and 2013, according to an ACLU-NJ report.
Many major complaints that Rutgers students have seem to stem from administrative insufficiencies, where attempting to solve problems with financial aid, parking, scheduling and other related issues are much more difficult than they ideally should be. Students often run around looking for the right office or the right person to help them.
Rutgers has found that James Livingston, a professor in the Department of History, did not violate the University's Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment, following University President Robert L. Barchi calling on the Office of Employment Equity (OEE) to re-examine its original findings, according to The Daily Targum.
America has seen a decrease in socioeconomic mobility. There has been a decline in lifetime earnings mobility and an increase in probability that one will end where they started for every income group. Rutgers is joining 130 public colleges in an effort to increase college access, close the achievement gap and award significantly more degrees by 2025. In this day and age, a college education is arguably more important than ever. We laurel Rutgers’ commitment to confront the pressing issue of mobility in America.
It can go without saying that the United States has a serious gun-violence issue. Every year more than 36,000 people are killed by gunshots in this country, which makes gun violence one of the leading causes of death.
A recent Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) Town Hall was focused on sexual violence and education. Four panelists, who are leaders in Rutgers’ sexual violence education and support community, were brought in to discuss the issues on how to mitigate the occurrence of sexual assault. Brady Root, the prevention education coordinator at the Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance, said in an interview with The Daily Targum that the ultimate goal of her office is to eradicate sexual violence before it occurs.
While countries around the globe have moved toward authoritarianism and the trend of democracy continues to decline, it would be naïve to neglect America’s role and the inches it has moved, as well. According to Freedom House, the suppression of journalists and independent news media is at its worst point in 13 years.
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.
One of the less immediately tangible but heartening things that came out of Tuesday’s midterm elections was the fact that more than 60 percent of Floridians voted “yes” on Amendment 4, which will restore voting rights to citizens that have been convicted of felonies other than murder or sexual offenses after having served their sentences.
If all people are granted the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by their “Creator,” then in having that right, all people should also have equal opportunity to access and enjoy it. But it is clear that in the United States today, let alone the world, that equal opportunity is far from universal. But thankfully, Rutgers is beginning to make that equal opportunity more of a reality.
Since his 2016 presidential campaign, President Donald J. Trump and his constituents have seemingly used fear as an effective tool to persuade voters. Anti-immigration rhetoric, and arguably propaganda, have been used to fabricate an irrational fear of a non-existent danger. The bolstering of the perceived danger of immigrants and foreigners has been preyed upon most recently in an advertisement put out late last week by the Trump campaign, which attempted to conflate a convicted murderer, the “caravan” of Central American migrants walking toward the United States and the Democratic Party.
Democratic representation is built on pillars of inclusion and the will, opinion and consent of the governed. For the representative structure to be stable and uphold foundational values, it requires harmony between substantive and descriptive representation in which the values and characteristics of the electorate are reflected in the government, broad citizen eligibility for public office, uncompromisable voting rights, accountable effectiveness and policy influence based in the people. The system in which democratic representation acts as an engine of prosperity and progress for all holds the overarching characteristic of high voter turnout.
Rutgers has begun the process of filling the Student Charter Trustee seat, taking an important step in including student voice in Board of Trustees deliberation. As student organizations continue to protest the Board of Trustee meetings, the student selected will have an increasingly crucial role. The Nomination Committee is now taking nominations. While some argue student perspective ought to be incorporated more in the administrative process, we laurel the continued commitment to including a degree of student voice
A main talking point of President Donald J. Trump’s since his 2016 campaign has been immigration and the perceived danger that undocumented immigrants pose to American citizens. As the midterm elections approach, the president has been returning to the topic, arguably with the aim of striking fear into the hearts of voters. A poll by the Pew Research Center showed that, nationally, 75 percent of Republican voters see illegal immigration as the country’s biggest problem right now.
As students, it is important to us that we enjoy the overall environment of our university. And the level of school spirit present can undoubtedly help or hurt the student experience as a whole. Our school spirit should not positively or negatively correlate with the success of our sports teams, but should be present regardless of how our sports teams do. If we bring our Scarlet Knight pride to sports games, the popular and unpopular alike, it is not far fetched to think that not only our teams will succeed, but that we will begin to realize that school spirit has a special ability to bind us more closely together as a community.