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About two weeks ago, I saw a line of people waiting to get $13 tattoos from Revolver Tattoo, a tattoo parlor fairly close to the College Avenue campus. Most of the people in line were probably attracted by the low cost, not thinking much about the impact the tattoo may have on their health. Figuring that the tattoo parlor has a license to operate, most would conclude that it must be safe. What many of these people may not know is that many inks regularly used today contain heavy metals that may include, among others: lead, arsenic and mercury. Many of the pigments used in tattoo inks are industrial-grade colors suitable for printer ink or automobile paint, none of which have been approved for injection by the FDA. Unless this tattoo parlor uses specific inks that do not contain dangerous compounds (there are some), they will be injecting heavy metals and pigments (which customers may have an allergic reaction to) into their skin. All of these metals are associated with a slew of health problems, ranging from allergic reactions to more serious complications.
Great empires like Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, the Mayans, the Romans and the Ottomans eventually fell after feeling the limits of growth and indulgence available to man. After each one fell, another one quickly grew from the ashes of the last and transitions were mostly regional. The problem today is that human growth encompasses the entire globe, not just a region or continent, and we are all simultaneously making the same mistake.
My entire four years at the University have been a struggle, because I was not receiving proper health care: I didn't tell my doctor all my mental illness symptoms out of embarrassment. But when I finally opened up, my psychiatrist realized what I had. I have rapid cycling bipolar disorder with psychotic features, not depression, which is what I was previously diagnosed with, as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which we've known since I was 18.
In an economy increasingly built upon innovation, the most important skill you can sell is your knowledge. That’s why higher education is, more than ever, the surest ticket to the middle class. But just when it’s never been more important, it’s also never been more expensive. The average undergrad who borrows to pay for college ends up graduating with about $28,000 in student loan debt.
The University is saying their goodbyes to Cheryl Wilson, a staff member who has forever changed student life and student involvement on campus. Her professional accolades go on and on, from serving as the Director of Student Involvement and Leadership since 1999 to being published in ESSCENCE Magazine. In between she has led legendary organizations and initiatives, such as the Black Alumnae Network, and created a one-of-a kind Jazz and Java Multicultural Poetry Night. However, this is only a small dose of what she has accomplished and created at the University. To me, her highest accomplishment is the impact she has left on the students, faculty and staff whom she has encountered during her many years at the University (she graduated from Douglass College in 1990, so that already gives you an idea of what kind of person she is).
One week ago, a Change.org petition titled “Keep The Rutgers Rock Wall Open” surfaced. The petition states that the Rutgers rock climbing wall is in danger of being taken down by Rutgers Recreation and the Athletic Department. The wall currently sits on the ground level of the College Avenue Gym, and a recent Daily Targum article, written by Copy Editor Chris Roney, said that the wall could be taken down in favor of a larger practice room for the wrestling team.
On March 3, the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, addressed a joint session of Congress on Iran’s nuclear program. The United States has been attempting to negotiate an end to Iran’s nuclear program for over a decade, and a deal has never been reached. The U.S. wants to ensure that Iran will not be able to develop nuclear weaponry, and Iran wants the removal of international sanctions that suspend its uranium enrichment program. To the fury of the Obama administration, Netanyahu delivered a strong message that expressed the major threat of nuclear Iran, revealed the downfalls of the current deal and presented an alternate solution.
March 3 is International Sex Worker Rights Day, an important day to honor the legacy of sex worker activists past and remember how much further we as a community must go to secure our rights. The tradition first began in 2001 when over fifty thousand sex workers in a union in Calcutta, India organized a festival to celebrate each other’s struggles and achievements made in the community. Since then, sex workers and allies have come together on a global scale on March 3 to celebrate sex worker rights and to demand an end to our community’s marginalization.
Students at Rutgers University are fortunate to have numerous opportunities to travel abroad, whether for extended periods of study, or shorter service-learning based trips. As leaders of such trips, we have seen firsthand how interactions with people of different cultures and ethnicities allows our students the opportunity to see the world and its contents, while enabling them to develop additional sets of values and views they can use throughout their lives. These positive effects, however, can be lessened, and miscommunication and conflict can arise, when students are not adequately prepared. With spring break travel around the corner, we offer this five-point list based on our own experiences that we hope will help students be better equipped for the challenges and opportunities offered through international travel.
When Fifty Shades of Grey was first released, so many people were excited by the idea of an erotic novel tailored for women. Many found the novel extremely sexually appealing without recognizing that there is a serious problem with Christian and Ana's sexual relationship. Christian Grey and Ana seem to fall in “love” in the novel, but Christian’s feelings are unclear. What is clear is that he loves violent sex. There is absolutely nothing wrong with bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism by nature –– it is a sexual fetish built upon trust where the “dominant partner” typically possesses the majority of the control and the “submissive partner” obeys them. This always includes safe words to indicate when a partner crosses a line that makes the other one uncomfortable, abruptly ending the action. After BDSM sex, there is also what is known as “after care,” where the two (or more) partners console each other, reestablishing that they care for and think of each other as equals. None of this is present in Fifty Shades of Grey.
When I read of three-parent in vitro fertilization (“IVF”), or any other form of reproductive technology, I shake my head. Initially, I wonder why, in a catastrophically warming world of 7 billion people, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent annually to manufacture more lives. Why isn’t this money used to develop sustainable energy and water treatment? What about preserving our remaining soil? How about dealing with malaria and other diseases that afflict millions? The answer is simple but unacceptable: more profit is made turning life into a commodity on behalf of the wealthy than is made serving the poor.
What’s the point of Black History Month? What’s the point of a whole month to make the token black kids squirm through “I Have A Dream?” What’s the point of learning about the same roughly twenty abolitionists and civil rights leaders year, after year, after year. Why save it all for a specific month, making it essentially separate, but equal? The emphasis on specific black education and empowerment during Black History Month not only perpetuates the racial divide, but subliminally implies that this month is for blacks only. At the end of the day, we need it the least.
Over winter break, I embarked on a trip that changed my entire perspective on life. For ten days, I travelled through Israel with a student organization called the David Project. We went from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. This was my first time traveling to the Middle East and I had no idea what to expect –– would everyone be riding on camels? Would there be bombs going off left and right? It turns out that my idea of what Israel would be like was completely wrong. Everyone had the latest cellphones and almost everyone spoke English and wore clothes just like mine. In Tel Aviv, I felt like I was in New York City, aside from the fact that all of the street signs and store banners were in Hebrew. Most importantly, I never felt afraid or unsafe. What I did feel was foolish for thinking that Israel would be a scary place.
In his recent op-ed “America Desperately Needs Constitutional Convention,” columnist Jose Sanchez makes some very questionable assertions about our founding document, the Constitution and our American system of governance. In disparaging the fact that our Constitution was written in 1787, calling it a “neo-medievalist” document, Sanchez cites Japan and France as other industrialized nations that have more recently written constitutions. Japan’s current 1947 constitution, left in place a hereditary monarchy dating back centuries before ours was even conceived. An Emperor, not elected by the people, being head of state simply because some distant ancestor claimed he had divine right seems exponentially more archaic than anything in our “neo-medievalist” Constitution. Furthermore, the Japanese constitution was a term of surrender imposed by the U.S. when Japan’s previous constitution had failed them and led to a military dictatorship. In the case of France, their most recent constitution dates back to 1958. Notice I say “most recent,” because they have had too many to even name in this newspaper! Since 1791, just four years after ours was written, the French have had over ten constitutions. French governments have collapsed, been taken over by both leftist and militarist coups, re-established and dis-established monarchies, and have even been controlled by a foreign power — Nazi Germany from 1940-1944. It’s hardly an example to follow. Meanwhile, our Constitution has provided for stability since 1789, the year it went into effect, with the only real threat of disunion and collapse being the illegal secession of eleven Southern states and the Civil War. Yet, even our bloody Civil War, which cost the lives of over 600,000 Americans, did not result in any collapse or decay. While Sanchez believes our Constitution dating back to 1787 isn’t “something to be proud of,” I think it’s a testament to political stability and indeed something all Americans should take pride in.
Do we, as Americans, hold the truths, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to be self-evident? These notions were presented by the founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence, and ideally, they are the principles that this country was built on. But are these principles still relevant in the modern age –– Can they be transferred? And if they are relevant, are they values that modern day politicians strive to adhere to and support?
In December 2014, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority announced its plan to launch a University Pass (U-PASS) pilot program for Northeastern, Harvard and Tufts University. The U-PASS pilot would require a complete buy-in from one or more area universities to purchase monthly transit passes at a 50 percent discount for all of their students.
Almost exactly one year ago, The Daily Targum ran an op-ed by a student named Colleen Jolly that contained vulgar anti-Semitic statements. The mistake was rightly condemned and the Targum forthwith issued an apology and retraction. Shortly after, the president of Rutgers Hillel, Andrew Getraer, wrote an op-ed, which went further than condemning the Targum’s mistake. Getraer did not accept their apology. “It is hard to believe,” he wrote, “[that] you could only discern the bigotry of the piece in retrospect.” Instead, he wrote a list of demands on behalf of Rutgers Hillel, which included an overhaul of the Targum’s policies.
What was your New Year’s resolution? Was it to improve your grades? Maybe to lose weight? Or are you finally going to finish that book you were working on? Regardless, I’m sure those of you who haven’t given up already have been hard at work since day one. Well, so has our Republican-controlled Congress, and unfortunately, while you were focusing (or giving up) on your individual goals, they were working on their goals and have thus far succeeded. And at the top of their to-do list was the undermining of Social Security.
In his element, Robert L. Barchi, University president of Rutgers, has the cool demeanor of a business executive. He greeted me warmly, extending his hand to take mine, “Bob Barchi, and who are you?”
"Get involved” is one of the most universal pieces of advice a first-year student hears upon arriving on the banks of the old Raritan. Encouraged by peer mentors, academic advisers, and so on, students are called to “get involved” and invest their time and efforts into something, anything, along with the pursuit of a degree. Many of our peers strive for excellence in service and leadership not merely for the rewards of recognition, but also to challenge themselves and to contribute to a community or cause in which they passionately believe.