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Rutgers' Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling has recently conducted two polls regarding the opioid issue, one of which rather strongly indicated that many people who are prescribed opioids by doctors may not have been sufficiently advised regarding their dangers or effective alternatives. In 2015, New Jersey opioid providers wrote prescriptions for more than half of every 100 patients they saw, and in 2016 New Jersey’s opioid-overdose rate exceeded the national average at 16 fatal opioid overdoses per 100,000 people. Today, the Garden State still struggles with this deadly epidemic — and New Brunswick is no exception.
The American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT) has planned a demonstration for this coming Friday, Sept. 21 to continue to push for better working conditions, which includes the fight for a $15 minimum wage. The #FightFor15 movement has been a hot point of controversy on campus between student-activists and the University in recent years, and this year is expected to be no different. Last December, members of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) pushed past a line of police officers blockading a Board of Governors meeting chanting, “We work, we sweat, put that 15 on our set.” There were multiple other protests for this cause in New Brunswick last year, which were presumably at least partially the impetus for the University’s decision to raise the minimum wage on campus from $8.44 to $11 an hour.
The contracts agreed upon between the University and Rutgers’ faculty union, the American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT), expired this past July, but a number of faculty members still remain without a new contract. That is not to say that our professors are not getting paid — they are — but negotiations are ongoing, and faculty members have not received raises or adjustments in salary based on cost of living.
In 2011, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights investigated a complaint issued by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) that alleged the University violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and discriminated on the basis of national origin against students of Jewish ancestry by failing to adequately respond to multiple allegations of unequal treatment and harassment. One of the main allegations came with regard to a pro-Palestinian organization called Belief Awareness Knowledge and Action (BAKA), which ZOA said treated Jewish students differently by imposing an entrance fee only on Jewish students at an on-campus event. The case was originally dropped under former President Barack Obama’s administration due to an apparent lack of evidence of such discrimination, but Kenneth Marcus, the new assistant secretary of education for civil rights, is reopening the case.
Yesterday, a student posted the following message in the Rutgers University Class of 2020 Facebook group:
On Sept. 5, The New York Times published an anonymous op-ed entitled, “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.” The piece was written by a senior official in President Donald J. Trump’s administration — senior official being a term used in Washington, D.C. to refer to people who hold positions in the upper echelons of the government, like a member of the cabinet. The op-ed, in an odd way, both praised the successes of the nation since Trump took office, while at the same time discrediting and casting doubt on the president’s competence, assuring its readers that there are people in the administration working to steer the country away from otherwise imminent danger.
Many Rutgers students were unpleasantly surprised to find out at the start of the school year that there were no longer any convenience stores in any University campus centers. The convenience stores used to be owned and operated by Barnes & Noble, but over the summer the company turned those spaces over to the University. Now, Rutgers is working to turn the spots where the convenience stores were into new places for students to congregate and hang out. It is not quite clear yet what the true reason for the stores closing down is, but the choice is seemingly rather unpopular among students.
The Rutgers University Department of Transportation Services (DOTS) implemented a brand new system for granting parking permits and issuing parking tickets this year. Basically, the new system has done away with physical parking passes, or hang tags, as well as physical parking tickets. It now relies on an electronic system that recognizes vehicles registered by scanning their license plates.
A successful football team can mean a lot for a university, and this past Saturday was a great day for Rutgers football team. The squad triumphed over Texas State with a great student section turnout — which hopefully set the pace for the rest of the season. Last season, crowd attendance at Rutgers football games decreased 11.3 percent from 2016. Being that Rutgers football is far from being the most lively or well-attended football program in the Big Ten to begin with, a further decrease would be painful. With that said, it is not unreasonable to think that a strong fan base, especially a strong student fan-base, can significantly improve a team’s motivation and morale during a game. A lively and loud student section could conceivably influence its team in a positive way. For example, it can motivate the team to give a little extra on an important fourth down play. But enthusiastic game attendance — if it is true that a strong fan-base can help a team — can indirectly influence much more than just football.
Colin Kaepernick is now the face of Nike’s new “Just Do It” 30th anniversary ad campaign. A black and white image of Kaepernick’s face is the backdrop for an objectively inspiring statement — “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” But, as was likely foreseen, Nike has received backlash by many who disapprove of Kaepernick’s kneeling for the national anthem. A #NikeBoycott Twitter movement was sparked in the wake of the ad, and Nike’s stock has gone down since its release.
In late May, James Livingston, a professor in the Department of History, made a post on Facebook that resulted in a considerable amount of negative publicity:
On April 16, NASA launched its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The satellite’s aim is to search for and find extensive numbers of planets outside of Earth’s solar system. Utilizing new and more advanced technology with very sensitive cameras, the satellite will provide a wider and clearer view of space to our researchers. To many, investing time and money into space exploration and research is a waste, especially considering the fact that we seem to know more about our solar system than our own planet’s oceans. With that said, research and discoveries regarding space and exoplanets can be extraordinarily valuable for multiple reasons.
In December, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in favor of curtailing the net neutrality rules set forth by 2015’s Open Internet Order. Those regulations worked to restrict Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Verizon, Comcast and a few others from blocking certain content or slowing down services — also known as throttling — to those who are not able to pay as much as others. When President Donald J. Trump entered office, he appointed Ajit Pai, who is adamantly against net neutrality, as head of the FCC. Any day now, the former President Barack Obama-era net neutrality rules preventing a tiered system of internet access will be lifted. Puzzlingly, though, the internet’s users are considerably more silent on the issue today than they were back in December.
On Saturday, New Brunswick High School hosted the fourth-annual Trans Youth Forum with the aim of discussing the experiences and issues within the transgender community, as well as the importance of education with regard to it. A transgender person, or someone with gender dysphoria, experiences a conflict between their physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he, she or they identify. Included in the event held Saturday were workshops and panels to help inform the community on this subject. The transgender community itself is growing in visibility and gaining a strong voice, but there are many who still fail to see the necessity for acceptance and understanding.
During his campaign for governor, Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) made multiple promises with regard to properly investing in and funding education in the Garden State, which are reflected in the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget. Among the points of discussion around education was the idea of working toward providing free tuition at New Jersey’s community colleges on the basis that education is a right, not a privilege. A proposal like this is heartening on the face, as equal opportunity for education across the board is important. That being said, it comes with multiple questions — the first of which for many will be: How much will this cost?
On December 20, 2013, former Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) signed into law the Tuition Equality Act, a bill that allowed for thousands of undocumented students to pay in-state tuition to attend public colleges and universities in New Jersey — but now the next step toward educational equity is being taken. Having already passed through the state Senate and Assembly, a bill to offer financial aid to DREAMers now sits on the desk of Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.). As early as the Fall 2018 semester, students who lack citizenship but meet the necessary requirements will be able to apply for and participate in all student financial aid programs. Potential undocumented recipients must meet the requirements for the Tuition Equality Act, which for example, include the student having attended high school for three or more years, graduated high school or received a GED and filed an affidavit with the college or university stating that they have (or soon will) filed an application to validate their legal status.
Despite being a natural and necessary part of life, menstruation has been considered by many to be somewhat taboo and dirty. Possibly for that reason, among others, until recently public accommodations with regard to it have been seemingly non-existent in the United States. The Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) did well in joining the several other U.S. colleges and universities that have been successfully pushing for readily accessible and affordable menstrual hygiene products on campus.
University President Robert L. Barchi commended the University for its ongoing growth at the Board of Governors meeting last week. In recent years there has been a marked increase in new student applications — since last year we are up 7.3 percent at New Brunswick and 9.3 percent for all three campuses together. The number of out-of-state students coming to Rutgers is also continuing to steadily increase. To boot, Rutgers has an extremely high retention rate of more than 90 percent. This progress is likely at least a partial result of the work Rutgers has been putting into spreading and marketing the school’s brand across the country. Of course cross-country marketing requires the allocation of a most likely hefty sum of money — which many members of the Rutgers community probably believe should be spent elsewhere. That being said, it seems the benefits that likely entail the spending of that money make it worthwhile.
While ramen noodles and mac and cheese seem to be the typical college student’s meal of choice, it has become apparent that many students may not have many other options. Food insecurity among college students is a significant issue across the country, but when we come to realize its prominence at Rutgers, the problem becomes more personal.