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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.
REMEMBER OUR CLASSMATES
Spanning five campuses and consisting of tens of thousands of students, Rutgers is enormous. The sheer size of the University entails issues, but there is one issue that seems to captivate much of the student body: the bus system. Students complain — and arguably rightly so — about the state of our bus system and all of its problems. Many of these complaints are valid, but with any large transportation system there are bound to be complications. With that said, there are ways that the individuals within the student body can work together to help mitigate the issues that are of such an annoyance to them and their classmates. But still, the problems with the system are complicated and call for complicated solutions — solutions that may not suit everybody.
The importance of knowledge in relation to power is a recurring theme in the history of our world. Considering the increasingly digital and technologically-dominated age we live in, knowledge of a people is seemingly becoming easier and easier for those in power to acquire. With knowledge of a people’s actions, an authority or elite not only has an increased influence over them, but can learn how they might effectively stay in power and stamp out uprisings of sorts.
Notes and Tutors is a service founded by Rutgers alumni meant to allow students to help create a more interconnected network of student collaboration. The organization is specifically tailored to Rutgers students, which makes it unique relative to other organizations like Course Hero and StudyBlue. For free, it gives students the ability to share notes for a class they have taken in exchange for notes for a class they are in. Additionally, the service offers student-tutors that have been screened and bear the necessary credentials to teach other students. Notes and Tutors has garnered more than 2,000 student subscriptions and has more than 10,000 pages of notes available to students, despite the fact that it exists alongside other free and University-sponsored tutoring services.
Americans are an undoubtedly wasteful people, and much of this wastefulness has manifested itself in what has seemingly become an era of disposability and convenience. Food is cheaper in the United States than it is in most other places in the world, which may seemingly contribute to an ungrateful attitude with regard to it. Considering how easy it is to get, it is reasonable to say that Americans are rather picky about what they eat and the way it looks. For example, if an apple has a small bruise on it, most Americans might just throw it away rather than suffer discomfort from consuming it. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that supermarkets dispose of approximately $15 billion worth of unsold fruits and vegetables each year. Additionally, between 30 and 40 percent of the food supply in the U.S. per year is wasted — or approximately $160 billion worth. To boot, food waste is the largest contributor to America’s landfills and the third largest source of methane in the United States — which is important to note because of methane’s harsh impact on the atmosphere. Combined with all of the other things so conveniently disposed of, such as paper, plastic plates and utensils, the amount of garbage the United States generates is alarming.
LOVE NOT HATE
Cardi B, the artist well-known for the incredibly popular song “Bodak Yellow,” has taken part in initiating engagement in a competition between colleges nationwide. The competition is in partnership with Tinder, a dating application, and involves a “swipe off” where the school with the most right swipes will get a free concert. The 32 schools still alive after the second round of the competition were announced Monday, and Rutgers made the cut. Today we found out if we are still in the running, as the 16 schools with the least right swipes will be cut from the list. While this competition is all in good fun and is a light-hearted, and frankly funny, way to go about scoring a concert by one of the country’s most famous artists, winning might actually hold more weight for Rutgers than some would think.
About a month ago, letters began flurrying into communities in the United Kingdom encouraging people to scare and commit violence against Muslims, which eventually spread into the United States. “Punish a Muslim Day” was essentially a game intended to be carried out yesterday, according to the letter, and people would receive “points” for harming Muslims. For example, a person would get 10 points for “verbally abusing a Muslim," 100 points for “beating up a Muslim," 500 points for “murdering a Muslim” and 1,000 for “bombing a mosque." These are only a few of the hateful and horrible suggestions in the letter.
Klansman robes were notably lacking at last August’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, V.A. — instead, many of the white supremacists marching sported oddly presentable outfits, such as khakis and polos. Swastikas, other hate symbols, shaved heads and belligerent behavior are now seemingly relics of white supremacy’s past in the United States. These groups are beginning to rebrand themselves, focusing on education and appearance so as to be taken more seriously in the public eye. The de-robing of hate displays a rather interesting progression in the evolution of white supremacy in this nation. While white supremacists used to keep their identities hidden under hoods, they are now markedly outspoken.
In 2014, an invitation extended to former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Conodoleezza Rice to speak at the University’s commencement was met with zealous backlash. Students and faculty protested the invitation for a month before Rice finally pulled out of the ceremony, at points staging a sit-in outside of University President Robert L. Barchi’s office demanding Rice’s disinvitation and interrupting a senate meeting to question Barchi’s passivity with regard to their demands. The main line of reasoning behind their doing so was embedded in Rice’s involvement in what they deemed as former President George W. Bush’s administration’s war crimes and the devastating invasion of Iraq.
LOVE FOR MEN’S LAX
As many have assumed in the past, it is becoming more apparent that the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey is inevitable. With Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) as governor, there are new changes to come with regard to the public’s use of the drug. The Bill S830 — one that would make the use and possession of low amounts of marijuana legal for those who are 21 and over — has been introduced by lawmakers. Murphy has also already announced that doctors in New Jersey can now recommend the use of medical marijuana to their patients, which could help people struggling with various issues — and considering the state’s opioid issue, we could use something less harmful to help with things like chronic pain. With the legalization of marijuana, especially for recreational use, will no doubt bring some worries, and the negative and positive consequences of marijuana’s legalization in this state are worth pondering.