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When the student body votes each spring and fall for our student government, we acknowledge that we as students cannot all speak at once. We elect an assembly to represent and speak for us. We vote for the best and brightest men and women of our University and place them in a position of responsibility. First and foremost, these representatives serve as our link to the administration. Beyond dialoguing with the vast University bureaucracy, they also represent our university to the world. They release statements regarding important events in our University and the surrounding area, giving a voice to the student body.
We have come to a crossroads in our republic in which divisive public opinion has entrenched itself in American society. One believes that a government’s founding principle is to provide for the common defense while the other believes in the nullification of the social contract: that our ills should be ignored, and Americans should just go it alone.
What happens when a society creates a huge, growing underclass of unemployed or underemployed, powerless people who believe — and correctly so — that the powers in government and big business don’t care enough about them to act in their interests or even hear their voices?
State officials will investigate nine New Jersey schools in the coming weeks for possible cheating, nj.com reported earlier this week. The probe comes on the heels of a two-year examination, during which investigators discovered unusually high rates of erasure marks on standardized tests at 34 schools across the Garden State. Now, we’re not necessarily savvy on the relationship between the number of erasure marks on a test and instances of cheating, but we cannot imagine that there’s a definite correlation between the two. Preliminary investigations cleared 14 of the original 34 schools of possible cheating, according to Acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf — a strong indication that these erasure marks are leading investigators down a dead end. Education officials deserve a dart for going to these lengths. Students shouldn’t have to fear that they will be accused of cheating for making changes to their tests. Taking this kind of action seems not only strangely paranoid, but detrimental to a student’s test-taking experience.
As the world cautiously prepares for the possibility of war with Iran, it’s important to note the catastrophic threat of Israel’s nuclear weapons program. Israel is widely known to have amassed a stockpile of nuclear weapons since 1967, although they have continuously refused to acknowledge it. Israel’s possession of weapons of mass destruction poses an incredibly menacing threat to the security and stability of the Middle East and the world.
In the March 20 column in The Daily Targum, entitled “Surveillance benefits U.,” the author attempted to justify and stand up with the recent New York Police Department spying on the Muslim community across the Northeast. In fact, the author goes as far as to say that it is “both important and necessary to continue such surveillance programs” and the “NYPD’s largest mistake was their failure to monitor radical non-Muslims at the University as well.”
The author of the March 20 column in The Daily Targum, entitled “Surveillance benefits U,” has — typical to his writing style — written a blatantly offensive article. It seems like every time I read his column, I am greeted with another instance of moronic xenophobia which he attempts to gloss over with phrases such as “poses a threat to the Muslim and non-Muslim community alike.” First of all, let me assure the author that the “baseless accusations” shot at the New York Police Department over the last 11 years are based in its McCarthyist stigma against select minority groups. These happen to include Muslims, Arabs and Pakistanis — to name a few. One may argue that it has been successful, like in impeding the 14 terrorist attacks the author named, but one would be making a foolish argument, as it does not take into account how exactly these policies ferment terrorist sentiment. Indeed, I believe men and women, who are alienated by exactly the racist policies defended by the author, perpetrated many of the attacks that the NYPD has foiled.
I was involved in a “Justice Not Vengeance” campaign in fall 2010 for Dharun Ravi. A now defunct New Brunswick community direct action group I was involved in called “Queering the Air” organized the campaign to present a different narrative than the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community, as well as what had been circulating in the press and among mainstream LGBTQ organizations. I’m not attempting to speak for the organization, but I feel that the idea of “Justice Not Vengeance” ought to be reintroduced, and I feel compelled to share why I decided to join this campaign.
In the almost two months since Gov. Chris Christie first announced his support of a proposal to merge the Rutgers-Camden campus with Rowan University, more questions than answers have been raised about the impact this merger will have on not just the South Jersey region, but also on the state as a whole.
I was casually barefooting it down the boardwalk in Belmar, N.J., reading a book on a summer day in 2007 — which was now possible without the risk of a splinter making its way into my foot since they replaced the old, weather-worn, wooden boardwalk with a newer composite that was not designed to hurt people five years after installation. Belmar, as opposed to, say, Spring Lake (the beach next to Belmar), is made up of a younger and more energetic crowd, some of whom would be a significant part of New Jersey’s future. So I’m reading, peripherally sensing when to avoid plowing into people. The ocean was doing its usual thing in the background, as was the traffic on Ocean Avenue and the thousands of people preoccupied on the beach.
As a practicing member of the Baha’i faith, I spend 19 days in March fasting from sunrise to sunset. Baha’i, which lasts during the daylight hours, is when people of the faith between 15 and 70 years old refrain from eating and drinking. The fast is symbolic: It stands as a reminder of spirituality in favor of materialism and aims to humble us.
I want to address comments the Center for Science in the Public Interest Director Gregory Jaffe made in the article “Director busts myths behind biotechnology” published on March 1 in The Daily Targum. Genetically engineered (GE) foods are harmful to consumers. There has been a stream of new information showing the risks of GE foods to not only the health of consumers, but for the environment as well. France first banned GE corn in 2008, Peru put in place a 10-year ban on GE crops, and Hungary destroyed acres of genetically engineered corn that had been planted.
The Interfaith Chaplains Association at Rutgers University (TICARU) serves as a forum for positive and constructive dialogue among its members in order to advance the cause of religious life within the University community. The aim is not to proselytize, but rather to embrace a process by which each group might come to understand and appreciate both the differences and common ground between and among faith communities.
There is a wall in Israel, and I thank God every day for its existence. To be quite honest, much of this “wall” we hear so much about is actually a chain-link fence with motion sensors, but that’s just semantics. Whatever you want to call it, it is there — and yes, it prevents people from freely entering Israel. These are the facts. I’m sure by now you’ve written me off as some kind of monster, but if you bear with me I will explain.
There was an excellent editorial in The Daily Targum on Feb. 23 about a New York judge’s ruling to allow Dryden, a town in upstate New York, to ban fracking. But, in the last line of the editorial, there was a sentiment expressed that seemed senseless and out of place, stating, “fracking may be deemed appropriate for certain areas.” I wholeheartedly disagree — as a public-water activist, this is not true. The public health hazard of having carcinogenic and extremely toxic chemicals seep into the aquifers that hold our groundwater is not a risk worth taking. In many communities around the country and closer to home, such as in the state of Pennsylvania, fracking has proven to be a severe health risk that hurts the public and helps the greedy corporate.
Human-rights activists throughout the world are recognizing “Israeli Apartheid Week” as a time to spread awareness about the system of oppression faced by Palestinians and Arab-Israelis at the hands of the Israeli government. The assertion, of course, is that the conditions in Israel and the occupied territories are akin to those of apartheid South Africa, wherein the black population lived under a system of racial segregation and were subjected to separate systems of laws, rights, education, and agency designed for their suppression. This analogy is not bold or hyperbolic — rather, prominent activists of the South African anti-apartheid struggle attest to its validity. Activist Desmond Tutu, for example, has said, “If I change the names, the description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank would be a description of what is happening in South Africa.” Nor is the analogy somehow offensive to those who lived under South African apartheid. As Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, puts it, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
BAKA: Students United for Middle Eastern Justice will hold events this week for “Israeli Apartheid Week” on the University campus. “Israeli Apartheid Week” is closely related to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.
Gov. Chris Christie has endorsed the Barer Commission’s proposal to sever Rutgers-Camden from the rest of the University and hand it over to Rowan University — the so-called “merger” proposal. I write not just to comment on that fact, but to say that from my vantage point as someone with appointments in both the Camden and New Brunswick campuses, I perceive a mismatch between the real threat to the proposal poses to the University and the reaction to that threat in the parts of the University that are not Rutgers-Camden.
The Fair Labor Association is an organization that was created to uphold moral justice, but has unfortunately taken a turn toward corruption. The group was founded in 1999 in response to a boom of the awareness of sweatshops and the conditions they placed their workers in. This included low wages, sexual harassment, working long hours and unpaid forced overtime. Worst of all, though, was the fact that these sweatshop operations were created in order to manufacture the University apparel that adorns the fans in our stadium on game days and the students who occupy the libraries during exam week. Workers made efforts to attain unions that would help their cause — when they did, however, they were met with violent harassment and firings. The FLA was the answer to the heinous crimes committed toward these people — they were supposed to be the voice for those who were unable to speak for themselves. One would think that since the FLA was created, changes have been made for the better, but that would be mistaken.
With the recent outburst about the New York Police Department monitoring Muslim-American students around campus, it is safe to frankly and openly agree that Muslim-American college students are being violated. Muslim-Americans who have worked with us, studied with us, lived with us and even partied with us are not being treated like us. And by “us,” we speak as true Americans. The Central Intelligence Agency and other forms of government are prohibited from spying or monitoring the lives of American citizens, yet the NYPD has been discovered doing just that. Simply put, spying on American students simply because of their religion or Islamic lifestyle is unfair, unjust and should not be tolerated in a country that prides itself on being equal and being free.