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Science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, are vitally important for the continuing progress of humanity. For American citizens, general success in STEM fields promotes economic growth and stability — creating the basis for innovation. In the face of resurging rival sovereign powers, such as China and Russia, innovation with regard to STEM may very well play a big part in determining the future of the United States on the world stage. Considering the aforementioned, it is safe to say that we need our best and brightest American students studying subjects in STEM fields. It is the case that STEM majors are becoming increasingly popular among college students, but while STEM fields become more and more widely studied each year, the opposite is the case for the humanities.
Like geological timescales, it is rarely the case that significant historical and societal changes are intelligible during the time they take place. But it seems as though it is no secret that we are presently riding the wake of a relatively new and consequential movement — #MeToo. The #MeToo movement was, at its foundation, created to ensure that survivors of sexual assault and harassment, especially involving figures of power, know they are not alone in their struggles. By shedding light on this subject — one which was previously largely ignored — society may be able to take steps toward at least significantly lessening the prevalence of sexual assault in our culture today, but this requires us to tread carefully.
As high school comes to an end for young adults, a vast amount of them apply to college almost thoughtlessly. Their older siblings went to college in many cases, their friends are applying, their parents expect it from them and it just seems like an implicit “next step” to take before truly reaching adulthood —at least that is what you have probably been told. But how often do high school students who decide to go to college take a step back and really contemplate what it means to attend an institution of higher education?
As midterms approach, the stress associated with college life begins to set in once again. Students who have jobs so as to give themselves a bit of extra financial support experience even higher levels of stress around this part of the semester, trying to balance their work schedules with the time necessary to be allocated toward studying. For some students, this can seem almost impossible. But seemingly invisible to much of Rutgers’ student body is a group that experiences the pressure of both school and work on top of an even more stressful feat — parenthood.
HELP STUDENT PARENTS
Last week, New Jersey Principal Deputy Commissioner of Health Jackie Cornell got her flu shot at Eric B. Chandler Health Center in New Brunswick, which she hoped would serve as a reminder to the community to do the same. Between September and this past Saturday, there have been more than 5,000 positive tests of influenza in New Jersey, according to the New Jersey Department of Health’s Respiratory Virus Surveillance Report. A significant spike in number of positive tests began in early January, and the H3N2 influenza virus, which is one of three common subsets of Influenza A, is particularly widespread this year.
A gift of $15 million has been granted to Rutgers Athletics by Rutgers alumni Gary and Barbara Rodkin. The money, which is the largest gift in Rutgers Athletics history, will be dedicated to the construction of The Gary and Barbara Rodkin Center for Academic Success. The Center will be located on Scarlet Knight Way on Busch campus, and will act as a consolidated academic support service facility for Rutgers’ student-athletes.
Slated to be fully implemented next fall, the University Department of Transportation Services (DOTS) will be switching transit tracking servers after more than a decade. Leaving NextBus behind, DOTS will now adopt TransLoc in hopes of significant improvement in services offered with regard to student transit. The improvement will include onboard Wi-Fi, a reliable bus tracking system and the ability to see how many students are packed onto a specific bus.
In 1965, more than 42 percent of people smoked cigarettes. In 2014, with ample available information about cigarette smoking’s link to cancer, that number has decreased to less than 17 percent. Emerging on a large scale in 2003, e-cigarettes and vaporizers have presumably helped some smokers wean off of their addiction to cigarettes by providing, to our current knowledge, a much less harmful alternative.
OUT WITH OPIOIDS
Last Friday, 20 public libraries in the U.S. received a $10,000 grant meant to help supply resources for adult English-language learners as part of the American Dream Literacy Initiative. The New Brunswick Free Public Library was one of the chosen institutions, and the money will go toward providing English as a second language (ESL) members of the community with education and workforce training. The money is distributed by the American Library Association (ALA) and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, and according to the ALA’s press release the grants give libraries the ability to increase their access to print and digital ESL collections, increase computer access and training, provide job training, hold English-language learning (ELL), general educational development (GED) and citizenship classes, among other things.
On Jan. 29, University President Robert L. Barchi sent an email to the student body reminding it of the approaching date of termination for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which as of right now is March 5, 2018. DACA is meant to protect young, undocumented students brought to this country at a young age from deportation and allow them to continue their education.
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.
RU READY FOR A JOB?
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 Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) 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. New bus lanes and bike lanes were implemented on College Avenue in the summer, but they are simply not enough to solve the problem. One of the main ideas behind this initiative with synchronous lecture halls is that by offering classes of this sort, the University will be able to cut out a good portion of student travel and hopefully alleviate traffic. So far the University has taken 10 large lecture courses and made them into synchronous lecture hall courses with the hope of reducing the number of students who need to take the bus. So for example — in a class of 300, rather than possibly more than 150 students traveling on the buses there may now only be 50 traveling for that class. This is an important goal because, in reality, the whole point of attending Rutgers is to go to class and learn. Without students actually being able to get to class efficiently, this is impossible. With that said, it is good to see the University coming up with innovative ways to solve the bus crisis.
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.