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A large, spirited crowd gathered on the Voorhees Mall yesterday
at 2 p.m. to protest tuition hikes. Caught up in the chants,
applause and occasional boos — particularly whenever a speaker
mentioned Gov. Chris Christie — I felt quite proud to be a
I attended a talk by Judge Robert Bork some years ago at
Princeton. He was a pivotal figure in former President Richard
Nixon administration's post-Watergate collapse. In an attempt to
prevent Nixon's office tape recordings from being subpoenaed, Bork
acted as Nixon's hatchetman in the "Saturday Night Massacre," the
firing of the special prosecutor in charge of investigating the
Watergate burglary. The Supreme Court intervened, ordering Nixon to
turn over the tapes.
The "Walk into Action" on Wednesday united interests throughout
the University. Representatives from the New Jersey University
Students demonstrated that they are committed to working in the
best interests of students. Minority-student groups organized and
represented themselves in large numbers, cognizant of the fact that
when funding is cut, minorities will be hit harder and faster by
the cuts. Union representatives waved signs exclaiming, "power" and
"dignity," demonstrating the fact that when students unite with
workers, our power multiplies.
Dear University, I write to you as both an undergraduate alumnus
(class of '05) and current graduate student in the University MBA
program. I cannot express to you how disappointed I was upon
hearing the news of Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi's paid appearance at
I would like to issue an apology to those who were offended by
some of the statements I made in yesterday's column "Improve The
Daily Targum." I chose my words poorly and did not mean to
denigrate columnists, writers and editors who work diligently to
bring a large paper to the student population on a regular basis.
It was only my hope that more diversity would be pursued in the
opinions section, particularly by way of female and minority
columnists, and I was merely attempting to encourage this. I am
sorry if that was not made clear to all audiences and hope that
those involved with the Targum were not offended.
Yesterday's column, "Improve The Daily Targum," has once again
proven that Democrats look to arguments and childish bickering
rather than proposing solutions or consensual argument on
controversial issues. Founded in 1869, the Targum is the
second-oldest collegiate newspaper in the United States. It is one
of the least biased types of media on campus, and I have seen
plenty of large influxes of democratic biases. We do not need to
improve the opinion pages in the Targum. What we need is a solid
student voice and agreement on campus.
Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi was brought to the University on March
31 to, in essence, make fun of the way she and the rest of these
pop-culture "stars" make their money. What I find rather
interesting is there is such extreme push back from other students,
members of the University's administration and now absurdly from
members of the N.J. legislature. I wonder what right any of these
groups have to investigate bringing this comedy group to see fans.
If anything should be blamed, it isn't and shouldn't be Rutgers
University Programming Association, but rather the sheer demand for
having these stars. I've never watched an episode of "Jersey
Shore," but I certainly know what it's about. I've heard
professors, colleagues, co-workers and other students reference
such things as "fist pumping" and the "hair blowout." As much as we
might decry the fact these people are famous, they penetrated the
essence of popular culture and have now become part of the
vernacular of daily life.
What makes you, me or any of our fellow University students get
out of bed in the morning? Why do we leave the warmth of our beds
to face our professors, the papers and the ever-encroaching final
exam? Many students would respond with the excuse that although
they would love to stay in bed all day, they must go to class so
that they do not fail. Is this what our experience of higher
learning boils down to? With an increasingly competitive job
market, a bachelor's degree has become more of a necessity to
survive rather than an opportunity for self-betterment. Is the
University, the eighth oldest in the nation, merely a place where
corporate monkeys are trained for the dog-eat-dog job market? This
is the sad reality for a large portion of the student body who do
not see their potential for a truly fulfilling educational
experience, one where students take pride in their work and the
privilege it is to be a member of such a vibrant student body here
at the University.
Following the controversy surrounding Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi's
visit to the University, a group of students have undertaken a
project to bring Bruce Springsteen to campus. The leader of this
effort gave his reasoning in Thursday's brief in The Daily Targum
titled "Facebook group hopes to draw Springsteen to campus": "[Our]
image is tarnished, and bringing someone like Bruce here will help
people refresh their thoughts about Rutgers." While I am a longtime
fan of Springsteen's music, this effort is completely misplaced.
Replacing one N.J. celebrity with another misses the point
entirely. The University should not judge the strength of its
reputation on the names of the celebrities it can bring to campus.
The effort to improve the school by bringing Springsteen
trivializes the lessons we can learn from the controversy about
Snooki into a shallow argument about which celebrities are "better"
for the school.
The editorial published in The Daily Targum on April 4, "Do not
compare Snooki, Morrison," defending the $32,000 paid to Nicole
"Snooki" Polizzi as not comparable to the $30,000 paid to
commencement speaker Toni Morrison is full of flaws in logic and
makes the editors look defensive and, frankly, juvenile.
Dear students, University parents, alumni and University
Having just transferred to the University, this is my first
semester at the State University of New Jersey. I thought the
University was a good choice as it is rated pretty high on most
ranking lists. Apparently the school does not think that way of
itself. With the Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi story came some revealing
information. The University actually had to pay for a commencement
speaker this year. Is the school not good enough to attract
comedians, intellectuals or entrepreneurs without having to pay
them? Does the school not have any successful or famous alumni that
want to be honored by speaking at their alma mater?s commencement?
The big story this past weekend was that Snooki was paid more than
the commencement speaker. The University released a statement
explaining that the money spent on Snooki was from student fees.
The Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) hired her,
and there was admittedly no educational purpose to having her. What
really bothered me though was that a commencement speaker at a good
state school was getting paid at all. The fact that Snooki was paid
$32,000 dollars for doing nothing bothered me too. I don't agree
with paying celebrities to come to the University, especially if
they have nothing insightful to share. I wish my fees were spent
In these uncertain times, it is great to know exactly where the
priorities of an institution lie. Our own University, which in its
rich history has traditionally made top-notch affordable education
its priority, has made it clear that its current top priority is
providing top-notch college entertainment. Students entering the
University will now know that not only is our school the eighth
oldest university in United States, but it also stands tall as the
first university where the iconic Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi of
"Jersey Shore" fame spoke. At a sold-out forum, 500 lucky
University undergraduates received invaluable advice on dance
moves, a demonstration on hair styling and her general wisdom on
life, culminating in the mantra "Study hard, but party harder!"
With the horrific event of the Itamar massacre two weeks ago,
one would reasonably think that such a crime of immense brutality
and cold ruthlessness would be treated with humanity and the utmost
consideration. Perhaps the biggest outrage is the media's lack of
outrage and compassion for the untimely deaths of an innocent
Jewish family. On the contrary, what little coverage the media has
given this tragedy has been within the context of the debate over
Jewish settlements and the alleged problems they cause in the
Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The New York Times reported on
the tragedy under the headline, "Suspecting Palestinians, Israeli
Military Hunts for Killers of Five West Bank Settlers."
The topic of affirmative action is visceral and arouses
emotional debates. This letter is written in response to two pieces
published in The Daily Targum — the March 24 column "Remove all
bias from academia" and Tuesday's letter "Affirmative action
provides level playing field." I appreciate the opinions of both
authors and the fact they expressed them civilly. Often, we can let
our emotions get the better of us. I would like to take a moment to
amiably disagree with both authors' presentations of the critical
issue of affirmative action.
Our individual education is not based on memorization of facts
but learning a logical and analytical process of solving problems.
Each major, whether it be physics, biology, history, philosophy,
etc., has its own school of thought that makes their alumni solve
problems differently when they actually go out into the real world.
Engineers think differently when solving a thermodynamics problem
than physics majors do. Philosophers think differently about our
universe than astronomers do. These are just a couple examples.
The author of the column "Separate Libya from Iraq," published
in The Daily Targum on March 28, thoughtfully draws distinctions
between Iraq and Libya. Yet it is surprising that his analysis of
the run-up to the Iraq war is sketchy. The author claims "[former
President George W.] Bush at least attempted to maintain a
semblance of democracy by lubricating the months leading up to the
beginning of the conflict with a public relations campaign
concerning the necessity of the conflict." Unfortunately, this
public-relations campaign relied on fabricated or inaccurate
evidence indicating the existence of weapons of mass destruction in
Iraq, as well as false suggestions that Iraq supported the 9/11
terrorists. Bush therefore committed our troops to war without
proper justification and alienated many American allies such as
France and Germany in the process.
I read the diatribe-like March 24 column in The Daily Targum
titled "Republicans divide nation in time of need," with
bemusement. I was certain I had stumbled upon the latest Mugrat
issue. It is based on so many distortions, falsehoods and
misconceptions that deconstructing it is near impossible. Instead,
I will offer the alternative viewpoint born of adherence to the
founding principles established by our Constitution's framers.
I am attending the Walk into Action on April 13 because I am
angry. I am angry because I don't have any more money to put toward
my education. I have been forced to mortgage my future in order to
attend a public University. I have friends who have been forced out
of school because of the fee increases. My loans will stay with me
forever. But our state sees us, students, as the people who can
afford to pay more for school.
According to the column "Remove all bias from academia,"
published in The Daily Targum on March 24, "the color of a
student's skin does not reflect the thoughts in his brain" — yet we
live in a society where one's skin color or race can prevent them
from gaining employment with the same or higher qualifications than
others. An article in the New York Times published on Nov. 30,
2009, discusses how black males graduating from high-profile
universities like Yale University are not hired for jobs they
qualify for because of racial obstacles in the job market.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "the unemployment rate
for black male college graduates 25 and older in 2009 has been
nearly twice that of white male college graduates — 8.4 percent
compared with 4.4 percent."