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The quote used in the petition to cancel Lisa Daftari's speech is as follows, “Islamic terror takes its guidance and teachings from the Quran, which is Sharia law.” The proper quote is “What ISIS claims to be doing is to take the Quran and its teachings and Sharia Law.” The removal of the word claims changes the meaning of the entire sentence, self-evidently. The individual whom started the petition has taken a moral high ground on an issue denouncing ISIS and converted a group of people into a mob whom is afraid the denunciation of ISIS could snowball into violence against Muslims, as if this were not a conclusion of an out-of-control positive feedback loop, but a totally rational conclusion.
The fight over disinvitations, in which public figures are invited to speak on college campuses and then uninvited because of student backlash, is several years old now. There is nothing to be said about them that has not been said before, and that also goes for the recent disinvitation of journalist Lisa Daftari from Rutgers University. Andrea Vacchiano, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, wrote an op-ed for The Daily Targum entitled “Lisa Daftari is not Islamophobic, deserves to speak.” She has already explained how the Change.org petition that sparked the controversy misquoted Daftari and mischaracterized her beliefs. But more concerning than the fact that students apparently denounced Daftari without listening to the speech in question is the pervasive consumer mentality that their tactics revealed.
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.
As a result of a student-led petition produced last week, Rutgers Undergraduate Academic Affairs (UAA) has officially canceled the appearance of foreign policy journalist, Lisa Daftari, due to perceived Islamophobia in a speech she gave to The Heritage Foundation regarding Islamic terrorism. But, the perpetuation of deplatforming as a response to speakers with unpopular ideas not only runs contrary to the “cultural and religious diversity” that the petition purports to uphold, but also runs fundamentally in opposition to the liberal values and principles this nation was founded upon.
“That’s why people are speaking out, huh? Because it won’t change if we don’t say something.”
In this sink or swim environment being fostered in the STEM community at Rutgers, weed out classes are yet another trial students have to be put through. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, almost half of the incoming STEM majors end up switching majors or dropping out of college.
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 has more than 1,000 signatures.
American democracy has always persisted on the existence of political parties. They act like coalitions to better aid our legislation and make it easier for voters to align themselves with candidates. But partisanship, like ivy, isn’t welcomed everywhere and suffocates when uncontrolled.
A petition went live approximately 48 hours ago, calling for the cancellation of Lisa Daftari’s University-funded talk on “Radicalism on College Campuses” over concerns of her Islamophobic rhetoric. In such a short time, this petition has accumulated more than 1,300 signatures and widespread support.
Renowned Psychologist Steven Pinker brought a message of unrelenting optimism to Rutgers last week as he lectured from his new book, "Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress." In an age of pessimism in Western culture and politics, Pinker argues that by nearly every metric — from income, health and happiness to literacy, nutrition and violent conflict — the world is far better off than at any point in human history, particularly for the globe’s poorest people.
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.
Student activism has met a new low. On Monday night, a Change.org petition began circulating around Rutgers groups calling for journalist Lisa Daftari’s talk on Oct. 16 to be cancelled due to her perceived Islamophobia. By Tuesday afternoon, this dishonest petition had more than 1,000 signatures. Daftari, an accomplished foreign policy analyst who has spent her career covering ISIS and counter-terrorism, is far from an Islamophobe — her work is incredibly important to the lives of the countless Muslims who fall prey to ISIS. Student activists’ attempts to take her quotes out of context are shameful, dishonest and contrary to the purpose of a university, which is to educate and expose students to new ideas.
The era of indifference, of procrastination, of dense denial and soothing silence is coming to a close. We now find ourselves at the border of consequences, entering the era in which we reach the point of no return. We now find ourselves required to fight another world war, a war of survival, a war on climate change.
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.” Although King did not file a complaint at the time of the incident, she was inspired by the #MeToo movement and decided to come forward with her complaint this past February. Her experience was quickly invalidated by the University’s two-year limit on sexual misconduct investigations. In other words, Rutgers refused to look into the case, much less even inquire of Bronner anything about the accusation, according to Bronner himself.
For the first time in 55 years, and the third time in all of history, the Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to a woman, Donna Strickland.
What if we held men accountable for the disenfranchisement of women to the same degree we hold women?
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 rippling 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?
Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed 50-48 by the United States Senate to be an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court on Saturday. He was sworn in later that day by the man he clerked for, former Justice Anthony Kennedy. This ended what is widely considered to be the most contentious nomination fight in our nation’s history. After Justice Kavanaugh was accused of attempted sexual assault an already partisan battle imploded into a national disgrace. What lessons can we learn from this debacle?
On Saturday night, in a private ceremony, Brett Kavanaugh took his oath to become an associate justice of the Supreme Court.