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As a professor of religion, I am, of course, thrilled at the idea of a religious literacy course being required for all Rutgers students. It is a stunningly important topic, and we in the department would love to expand students’ exposure to our field. I think, though, there is a better (and more immediately accessible) way to accomplish the goal of increased understanding across religious difference: a university-wide diversity requirement.
April 7 marked the birthday of the World Health Organization and this year’s theme is depression, the No. 1 cause of ill health. More than 300 million people experience it worldwide, and about 20 million in the United States alone. It’s surprising that there isn’t enough awareness on how ubiquitous it is as 1 in 4 people will suffer from depression before the age of 24. Increased investment is needed in many countries since many societies don’t acknowledge the gravity of the disease. There is little to no social support — even in well-developed countries — as 50 percent of those diagnosed do not seek treatment. There is so little support toward mental illnesses that even governments, on average, only invest 3 percent of their health budgets in mental health. There is now a greater need than ever for investment. Statistics show that for every U.S. $1 financed toward depression and anxiety treatment leads to a profit of $4 in better health.
PRIZES FOR PHILOSOPHY
The conservative woman is an enigma that radical feminists like to pretend does not exist — but when they do, many radical feminists make the same gender-based attacks against these women that they accuse the patriarchy of doing. With conservative women, we have a group that is considered a traitor to its sex because it wants to preserve the customs and institutions that society has while shrinking the size of a government due to recognition that superfluous investment in social services does not equate to a happier society. And because conservative women have these "horrid, oppressive beliefs," modern feminists find it acceptable to attack them in the sexist ways that they usually complain about, particularly by targeting them for being women and using their femininity against them.
I want to take this time to reflect on some recent news developments that have been particularly interesting to me as a political junkie but have wide-ranging effects for our country. Ever since the Russian influence in the 2016 election story released and dominated the news cycle, I have been relatively hesitant to write about it in The Daily Targum. My reasons were twofold: One, the facts are largely scattered and incomplete, and I feel a responsibility not to comment heavily on matters that are misunderstood. And two I want to give the benefit of the doubt to President Donald J. Trump and his administration who are presiding during a time of highly polarized political attitudes with the Democratic and Republican establishment wholly at odds with their normal governing style. However, the steady drip of allegations and revelations against specific members of the Trump entourage and the stories complete dominance in the news cycle has made it impossible for me to remain quiet on the subject.
This past week, Rutgers students, faculty, staff and alumni signed a letter of support with the students on strike at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). The UPR student body concerns echo a resistance to a larger series of austerity measures imposed by the United States Congress with the passage of the 2016 PROMESA Bill. The legislation codified the Fiscal Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) the authority to manage Puerto Rico’s $72 billion debt to the United States government. United States oversight of the debt has led to a $500 million cut to the UPR budget. Slashing roughly one-third of the public university’s budget not only causes a detriment to the foundation of education for Puerto Rico, but sets a precedent for further permeation of United States fiscal intervention.
This spring, Rutgers teaching assistants (TAs) and graduate assistants (GAs) will apply for the TA-GA Professional Development Fund (PDF), a “competition” developed by the Rutgers administration in 2013 in place of a raise. A closer look at the recent history of the PDF shows the extent of the administration’s negligence and duplicity toward graduate students, who teach the bulk of courses at Rutgers. This history demonstrates the administration’s larger project of educational inequality and its lack of regard for its employees and its tendency to shield itself from answering to our larger demands. In telling this story we seek to put the PDF to rest so that, moving into next year’s contract negotiations, we can concentrate on more pressing goals like equitable salaries, universal tuition remission and stronger protections against discrimination.
A cold, refreshing Pepsi is perfect for almost any occasion — barbecues, parties and mid-work lunch. But do you know where a Pepsi does not exactly fit in? A protest — especially one lead by model Kendall Jenner.
To the delight of his base, President Donald J. Trump signed a massive and immensely consequential series of executive orders last week aimed at deregulating the fossil fuel industry. In global terms, the most significant portion effectively scrapped former President Barack Obama’s “Clean Power Plan,” a set of regulations aimed at drastically reducing emissions from American power plants, particularly those powered by coal.
If you’ve ever been remotely involved in anything even semi-sports related here at Rutgers University, then you’ve heard of our Athletic Director Pat Hobbs. And if you’ve paid any attention to the buzz on campus lately, then you know that he’s in some pretty hot water right now.
Two years ago I had a job as a teaching assistant, working with children at a local daycare center ranging from a few weeks old to the age of 4. Not a single day went by where at least one parent didn't feel the need to profusely apologize for leaving their child in the care of others due to demanding work hours. I recall one particular mother who almost drove herself to tears when she’d be late to collect her 3-month-old. Is this the kind of life we want for our nation’s hardworking parents — to be forced to spend extensive hours parted from their infants at a time when that parental connection is essential for healthy development? In 2015, CNN reporters Kelly Wallace and Jen Christensen presented their research findings on over 20 studies regarding the positive effects of paid parental leave. Some of the benefits include a reduction of the “infant mortality rate by as much as 10 percent,” an increase in the likelihood that children will obtain proper immunizations and an overall improvement of the mother’s mental health. Moreover, researchers have concluded that paid leave also “benefits women economically because they tend to go back to work and stay with the same employer, which means their wages grow at a faster rate afterwards.”
Many of our friends are leaving this year. April, as it does each spring, comes in a sudden manner, bringing its blooming cherry blossoms seemingly overnight. These days I hear seniors, their eyes pensive and brows furrowed, speak about graduation day. Post-college life for some may hold concrete plans but there is nevertheless an uncertainty of the conditions and flavors of the near future. Listening, I find myself engulfed in a particular type of emotion, tinged with sadness and despondency, but also one that urges immediate contemplation. Just as last April has led to this April, this year will bring about the next year in a quick stride. My college years are flying by just as one’s youth is eventually seized away. Questions of time allocation for the following (unguaranteed) years arise in my head. The graduation of others reminds me that my own graduation is not too far away and forces me to consider how I shall invest in the remainder of my time.
There’s recently been a lot of outrage at Rutgers over the removal of chicken nuggets from takeout. Starting this week, Rutgers Dining Services will begin to phase out unhealthy foods like chicken nuggets, hash browns and other processed foods. Instead, we will be presented with healthier, plant-based options that will give Rutgers takeout a much-needed facelift. The change will initially take effect at Neilson Dining Hall, but will hopefully expand to Brower, Livingston and Busch by the end of the fall semester. Last week I wrote about how veganism is the future and why it is important for people to make this change. Dining Services is transitioning toward a healthier and more sustainable menu that not only benefits the health of students on campus but will also reduce the negative impact the University has on the environment. Rutgers will be participating in a movement called Menus of Change, which is led by Stanford University and the Culinary Institute of America. The new menu will have a greater focus on fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and beans, and will seek to significantly reduce the amount of red meat and processed foods in the dining halls. The fact that Rutgers is making these changes is a huge deal that should not go unnoticed by the student body.
While the prison systems in the United States are flawed in many ways, one of the most prevalent issues today is the treatment of women in prison. After a recent study in 2012 found that women made up only about 9 percent of the population of prisons, it was discovered that there are countless differences in the way correctional facilities treat their female inmates compared male prisoners. Because of the low proportion of female inmates in prisons, women tend not to get the specific attention they need. One major issue is the neglect of women’s physical and mental health.
Oftentimes, Rutgers University conducts research on topics that affect the student body and the surrounding community. And in a study that was published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, Rutgers University did exactly that.
Almost every Rutgers student has heard some kind of complaint against the choices for food that are offered at the University, and a lot of these criticisms revolve around the options provided at take-out. So, for those who are against some of Rutgers’ “grease-inclined” food choices such as chicken nuggets and hash browns, the University has some good news.
In 2010, shortly before she was elected president of National Front (FN), a political party in France, Marine Le Pen — scion of the infamous Le Pen dynasty — offered choice commentary to a crowd in Lyon. Referencing how Muslim people in the area would spill into the streets to pray when mosques reached full occupancy, Le Pen asserted: “That actually is the occupation of territory.”
The unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), colloquially known as Obamacare, propelled the Republican Party to make huge gains, from local representatives and governors all the way to Congress and the presidency. In 2010, 2014 and 2016, voters across the country chose the Republican Party as a referendum on the failing Obamacare. And now that the opportunity to repeal the ACA is here, they are squandering it. Divisions within the party are becoming apparent with the conservative portions of the party being flushed out by the more establishment wings spearheaded by Speaker of the House of Paul Ryan. They even went as far as to lock Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) out of the reading room designated for the Obamacare repeal.
GIVE AND TAKE
Language is important to communicate our thoughts, ideas, inspire actions and more. We have the responsibility to choose our words as we choose our actions, a lesson that President Donald J. Trump has yet to learn. Despite the freedoms bestowed upon us by the First Amendment, our words have consequences. The phrase "Language Matters" is something we have heard throughout our lives to remind ourselves that the words we use are important during our interactions. For this reason, it is crucial for us to learn languages other than English to communicate with different people in our globalized world. One such language is Arabic.