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Following a statement by University President Robert L. Barchi, at the start of January the minimum wage on campus increased to $11 an hour. Despite that fact, the fight continues on for higher wages. Yesterday, a banner could be seen hanging from the roof above the Brower Commons steps that advocated for a rise in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. A similar banner was seen hanging in the same spot approximately two months ago with a similar statement. In both cases, someone presumably broke onto the roof of the dining hall or Stonier Hall and proceeded to hang the banner without the University’s permission. Additionally, the banner was held up by loose cinder blocks, as seen in photographs of the incident — a blatant safety hazard.
The attempted invalidation of news sources, even the most prestigious and well-respected of them, has become rampant in this country despite the fact that the press is one of our nation’s most important institutions. The press is seen by many as the “fourth branch” of the government, with an unparalleled ability to check for wrongdoings and hold officials accountable for their actions. This is part of the reason blatant attacks on the media which aim for its collapse are somewhat puzzling, especially when these attacks come from advocates for a less powerful central government.
As the opioid crisis becomes increasingly deadly, former Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) has made it his mission to fight back against the de-facto plague here in New Jersey. For Christie the crisis is one that hits home, as a friend of his was addicted to opioids and was ultimately killed by them in an overdose. Christie recently announced that New Jersey universities, including Rutgers, will receive $5 million to help combat the issue on college campuses.The grant was decided upon before Christie left office, and is meant to go towards funding education and rehabilitation with regard to drug addiction in young people — a group that badly needs it. In 2016, 40 percent of all treatment admissions reported to New Jersey’s Substance Abuse Monitoring System was comprised of people between the ages of 18 and 29.
On Monday, newly sworn in Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order calling for a full-scale audit of NJ Transit. The system is seen by many as failing and was one of the hot button issues of November’s gubernatorial race, especially after Hoboken’s rail accident in 2016. From personnel to infrastructure, NJ Transit is in need of a serious revamping, and Murphy is right about that. At parts of the train station in Summit, for example, the concrete was found to be crumbling. But while a revolution is just what this transit system needs, change at the scale in question requires a large amount of one scarce and particular thing — money.
A significant burden to the students of Rutgers—New Brunswick is the transportation system. While students become increasingly frustrated with the buses, the University is seemingly frantically looking for ways to make them run more smoothly and efficiently.
The overall number of reported rapes and sexual assaults at New Jersey’s four-year institutions of higher education has risen in recent years. The number of rapes reported increased a relatively hefty 24 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to NJ Advance Media. Additionally, cases of unwanted fondling and dating violence rose 46 percent and 13 percent respectively. At Rutgers — New Brunswick, though, such reports have actually slightly decreased.
All Americans technically have the ability to take hold of the American Dream, but it is no secret that some are in a better position to do so than others. Juggling school, work and resume boosters with the aim of future success can be a struggle, especially given the cost of attaining a degree in this day and age, and the University knows this. That is why effective Jan. 1, the Rutgers administration raised the minimum wage for student workers from $8.44 to $11 an hour — about a 30 percent increase.
At the end of his term, Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) had a 15 percent approval rating — the worst in New Jersey gubernatorial history. Yesterday, Phil Murphy was sworn into office as the state’s 56th governor, which to many has come as a breath of fresh air. While the reasoning behind Christie’s atrocious ratings is probably a combination of multiple different things, a significant factor was likely his close affiliation with President Donald J. Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign. While the Republican party still has dominant representation with all three branches of the federal government, we can see that after the Democratic wins here in New Jersey as well as in Virginia and Alabama, other state and local governments may follow suit in their midterm elections.
The relatively recent ousting of Harvey Weinstein as a sexual abuser has been followed by an incredible movement, bringing up a new and important conversation about sexual harassment in the United States. Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, it seems that sexual misconduct is just as prevalent in academic settings as it is in every other field.
Last Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court — by the Trump Administration’s request — ordered the lifting of an injunction by a federal appeals court, which was previously preventing the third version of the “travel ban” executive order from going into full effect. Now the ban, which includes more extreme vetting capabilities of refugees and the barring of people coming from eight nations — Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, some groups from Venezuela and North Korea — can be fully implemented.
Last Wednesday, another round of white nationalistic flyers was found on George Street. The flyers were directed at white Americans and urged them to fulfill their "civic duty" by reporting all "illegal aliens" to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. While the suggestion to report people for being in this country illegally is in itself not necessarily racist, the last statement on the flyers read, “AMERICA IS A WHITE NATION,” and on the bottom left corner "bloodandsoil.org" was printed, which is a website for an organization called Patriot Front that advocates for today’s white nationalist movement.
After the leaking of the Paradise Papers last month, the Rutgers community was informed that in order to avoid paying domestic taxes on its endowment money, the University was utilizing an offshore “blocker” firm — EnCap Energy Capital Fund IX-C, that invests in oil and gas companies.
This news came as a shock to some, considering the University’s commitment to an environmentally friendly 2030 Master Plan and the administration’s pledge to support the “We Are Still In” campaign, which supports the implementation of the Paris Climate Accords on college campuses after President Donald J. Trump’s withdrawal from the international agreement. To some, these contradictions between how Rutgers appears outwardly and how it behaves behind closed doors is unsettling.
On May 4 of last year, a man severely beat and sexually assaulted a female Rutgers student after dragging her to a less visible area. When a group of people intervened in the heinous act, the perpetrator began to run, warning them that if they chased him, he would shoot them. On Dec. 4, that man, Michael P. Knight, admitted to the crime and was convicted of kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault. The original charges additionally included aggravated assault, aggravated sexual contact, making terroristic threats and endangering the injured victim. He will spend 22 years in prison. This incident sounds like something plucked straight from a horror film, but it happened in an area commonly occupied by students — Seminary Place, a direct offshoot of College Avenue next to Voorhees Mall.
In the past few months Americans have been forced to recognize the fact that sexual harassment and assault are significantly more prevalent than previously acknowledged. A slew of beloved public figures have been ousted as having committed unwanted sexual acts, some of whom admit truth to the accusations and apologize and others who fail to do so. As a result of this, our society has been confronted with the uncomfortable fact that sexual assault and harassment are normal, everyday occurrences.
President Donald J. Trump and the Republican Party have officially reeled in their first win — the hasty and flippant passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. While the bill largely espouses tax cuts to the immensely wealthy, it seems to many to be a blatant assault on the accessibility of higher education.
Net neutrality, the idea that all content on the internet should be equally accessible to all people and that Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) — which are few in number — should not be allowed to offer people more access at a higher speed based on how much they pay, has been a trending topic lately. This is because on Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on whether to curtail the net neutrality rules currently in place. Ajit Pai, the FCC’s chairman, is strongly against thorough rules regarding net neutrality, and if he succeeds in lifting the current regulations, there could be serious consequences for students.
In recent weeks, flyers have been pasted to the walls of buildings at Rutgers and other universities across the country that state the phrase, “IT’S OKAY TO BE WHITE.” These flyers appeared after a post on 4chan encouraged people with aligning views to go out on the night of Halloween and put up the flyers with the aim of provoking backlash from the “Leftist media.” In the end, the goal was to make it appear as if the media discriminates against white people to the point where they needed to defend themselves. By doing this, they assumed that people who are centrist politically would associate this assumed ideology of hatred toward white people with the Left, and therefore turn on them. All in all, it was a scheme conceived by internet trolls to rally support for far-Right activism.
As of right now, it looks as if Rutgers Football is stuck in an unfortunate paradox of failure. The football team, despite being on a clear trajectory upward, has not yet managed to garner a significant fan base, and this is likely contributing to the rut that they are in.
Thanksgiving in the United States has become a sort of deeply ingrained culture with specific symbols, images and memories that enter our minds as soon as we hear the word. Such include Native Americans, pilgrims and turkey. While these things are accurate to the holiday in the sense that there is some perceived connection between them and Thanksgiving, the historical accuracy of these associations is not necessarily acknowledged.
Universities have an incredible capacity to promote intellectual progress through research and discussion, which is why freedom of speech, as well as thought, are so important on college campuses. A University that seeks to promote academic freedom must be careful when making decisions about the extent of faculty’s right to free speech and their personal backgrounds, as censoring, banning or forbidding specific ideologies can lead us down a perilous road.