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"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.
On Nov. 10, a group of Rutgers-New Brunswick doctoral students went for a scheduled meeting with Peter March, the newly appointed executive dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, intending to discuss the SAS’s executive decision to cut the number of teaching and graduate assistant lines assigned to departments for the 2014-2015 academic year. The meeting was to be between Dean March, SAS Executive Vice Dean James Masschaele, Dean of Humanities James Swenson, Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences Rosanne Altshuler and three doctoral graduates — all of them international students and women.
On Monday, President Barack Obama proposed a new funding plan that would require police officers to wear body cameras and undergo special training in order to better help them interact with the minority communities they serve. The plan, for which the White House is requesting $263 million, comes in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old from Ferguson, Missouri. Although this call for action seems like a sensible thing to do, the complexity of the issue surrounding police activities raises important questions as to the applicability of this new, proposed law. Why do we need police body cameras? Is this an appropriate response? What can we do to support or oppose it?
I am writing in response to the Dec. 3 opinion article in The Daily Targum titled, “US not doing enough to address issue of gun control.” It may surprise people to learn gun violence is not on the rise. According to the Justice Department, the rate of firearm violence in the United States was, in 2011, about a quarter of what it was 1990. You wouldn’t know it watching the news. Immediately in the wake of every new mass shooting, there is always a call for stricter gun control. Recently, there was the Marysville shooting in which one was killed and four wounded. This shooting actually resulted in the passing of legislation requiring universal background checks, due to which a person must submit to background checks every time he or she buys a gun as opposed to only the first. There are plenty of voices demanding even stricter legislation ranging from official registration of every firearm to complete bans. I believe these policies are ill-informed, reactionary and even dangerous. There is no sense or justice in restricting the gun rights of the average law-abiding citizen. What needs to change is our approach to mental health.
On Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, 28 lives were lost, including the lives of 20 children all under the age of 8 years old. On this infamous and terrible day, 20-year-old Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School with four guns on his person and proceeded to take the lives of 26 people, after already taking his mother’s life, before firing and killing himself. Across the country, people mourned the tragic loss of those innocent citizens, and as more details were released about the massacre, many people found themselves asking two questions: First, how was someone with the medical history of Lanza able to possess and use such dangerous firearms, and second, how can we prevent this from happening again?
Historically, the public has seen American college campuses as places of social activism and involvement. Whatever apathy exists outside university walls, students are expected to lead the way by being proactive in addressing the social and political ills of the day. With the invention of social media, the very definition of what it means to be “involved” has become muddied. While it has been useful in heralding the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, the use of social media in the United States as a means of activism, I believe, has had the opposite effect. Rather than being a change agent, social media has been a tool for maintaining the status quo.
Last Sunday, a friend and I entered Alexander Library to catch up on work due the following week. When the clock struck 10 and library staff began to enforce the new policy requiring students to show identification, we refused to be identified, protesting a policy we saw as classist, exclusionary and unnecessary. More than an hour later, Rutgers University Police Department officers escorted us out of the library.
Recently, the Students for Shared Governance coalition began the Where RU Barchi campaign to protest that the administration, and specifically University President Robert L. Barchi, who is denying meetings with student groups. These groups are interested in addressing issues that affect the University across all three of its campuses — such as divestment or apparel sourcing — over which only Barchi can make decisions, as opposed to Chancellor Richard L. Edwards, who only deals with the New Brunswick campus. Both groups and the coalition were denied the ability to schedule meetings in person, by phone or through email, even after meeting with other administrators. So we took to the streets, because although the term “shared governance” is stated as part of Rutgers’ policy, it is not practiced. Students, faculty and staff are deliberately cut out of the changes made at this school. We would like to address some of the concerns prompting such an outspoken response by students.
Last Tuesday, Students for Justice in Palestine held a “die-In” at Brower Commons to commemorate 140 of the 501 Palestinian children killed by the Israeli military during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge. While this event was meant to shed light on Israeli human rights abuses and honor the dead, students from Hillel and AEPi, who knew about the event in advance, set up a table in counter protest. Mid-ceremony, these students began to accuse these dead children, many of whom were under two years of age, of being “terrorists” or that “they were probably throwing rocks” (as if that justifies the murder of children). After these accusations, several Zionist students proceeded to dance in celebration over the dead children these activists were emulating. One Zionist student, according to several witnesses, even began to attempt to move a “dead” activist and proceeded to wave his foot in his face, provoking the activist to give him the middle finger. Following this incident, the Rutgers chapter of Rabbinical College of America propagandized this story, stating “Jewish students stood proud in support of Israel and peace, while Muslim students from SJP spread hate toward Israel and the local Jewish students.” For an organization affiliated with Hillel’s “Anti-Hate” campaign, there is an indescribable amount of hate being propagated from their membership. First and foremost, the people participating in the die-in were not all Muslim. I, a Puerto Rican atheist, was in attendance. But in addition, there were others of all creeds and religions — even several Jews came in solidarity to oppose the abhorrent murder of children carried out by the state of Israel. For RCA Rutgers to claim it represents all Jewish students and that SJP represents all Muslim students is not just ignorant, but anti-Semitic. Whether the Zionist counter protesters retained such diversity, as we did, on that day is unknown to me, since I never made the assumption that one must be Jewish to support a neo-colonial military occupation. These hateful stereotypes are unfounded because the struggle for national liberation is not a religious one — it is a social, political and economic struggle. It saddens me to think that I attend a university where one group of people’s ignorance toward another people is so prevalent that they not only wish death upon their youngest generations, but also celebrate it and dance to its thought.
In Monday’s opinions piece entitled “Photo published of ‘die-in’ shows inappropriate bias,” Abeerah Wasti writes that during a recent anti-Israel demonstration put on by the Rutgers-New Brunswick chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine at Brower Commons, “Zionist organizers made fun of people lying on the ground, placing pamphlets on their bodies and placing their feet near their faces.” As someone who was present at the event from the beginning to the end, I can tell you first-hand that this is a blatant lie and never occurred. Furthermore, Wasti writes that pro-Israel students were dancing to celebrate the death of Palestinians. This is a gross misinterpretation of their intentions, which were merely to celebrate their love for Israel, not the death of anyone. You would be hard-pressed to find a single pro-Israel student who does not find the death of innocents on either side tragic.
When I received an email about the Global Renewable Energy Education Network Program from Dean Fred Bernath, I took a moment to consider the possibilities. Here I was, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering without the faintest idea of what I wanted to do going forward. I knew I was interested in renewable energy but didn’t have much exposure to the subject. After doing a little research on the program, I found it to be a perfect match. Hiking excursions, exclusive access to power plants and the location where Viking legends were recorded? All that more or less hits the jackpot for my ideal study abroad. All in all, I hoped the many opportunities offered by GREEN would help fuel my curiosity about renewable energy and point me on my way to find what I want to pursue. Suffice to say, it did. And needless to say, I applied and got accepted.
Last week was Palestinian Awareness Week, a three-day long event organized by the Rutgers chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine meant to celebrate and educate people about Palestine and its people. On Tuesday, SJP held a “die-in,” a demonstration in which people simulate being dead. For SJP’s die-in, the participants who were lying down wore white T-shirts with red stains on them, holding in their hands a white rose with the name, age and location of a child killed in Gaza this past summer during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. At the same time, the names and ages of the children who had been killed in Gaza by Operation Defensive Edge were read aloud and a balloon released for each name. The event was planned out weeks in advance and was not meant to incite any type of altercation. The purpose of the die-in was to commemorate the hundreds of children killed this past summer, as well as call attention to the fact that they were among thousands of other civilians who were targeted and killed by the Israeli military. In response to the die-in, Rutgers AEPi, an international Jewish fraternity, sponsored an “Israel Solidarity Table,” and tabled on the steps along with Rutgers Hillel, the campus Jewish student organization that has a long-standing record of promoting Zionism to the point of excluding anti-Zionist Jewish students.
Upon entering Alexander Library on Monday, Nov. 10, I was taken aback by a sign proclaiming Rutgers ID cards would be required by patrons in order to remain in the library after 10 p.m., beginning on Sunday Nov. 16. Until that moment, I had celebrated Alexander and other libraries as the last places in New Brunswick in which people could read or gather without having to buy anything — the last truly public places. Requiring someone to buy something before spending time in a place, like a coffee shop, makes it inherently exclusive and creates a barrier for the most disenfranchised. While this might be part of the purpose of various businesses designed to cater to specific economic classes, doing so, in this case, would contradict the stated purpose of a library. It is clear to me that this policy has come in the wake of serious budget cuts to the libraries and is partly motivated by the limited resources now allotted by the higher administration.
She confidently voted for the war in Iraq, joked about the murder of Muammar Qaddafi, organized a fascist coup in Honduras and led a racist campaign against Obama in 2008. She is responsible for destroying the lives of families around the world. Frighteningly, Hillary Clinton may very soon be on her way to becoming the first female war hawk president of the United States in 2016, and students have already begun to voice their opposition.
She was a very successful lawyer, First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, Senator of New York, and U.S Secretary of State. She is wonderful humanitarian advocate for women and children around the world and a loving mother and grandmother. Hillary Clinton may very soon be on her way to becoming the first female President of the United States in 2016 and her campaign has already begun with grassroots organizations and donors paving the way for her throughout the country.
By now, almost everyone has heard of the controversy over Lena Dunham’s book “Not That Kind of Girl.” She describes a few instances in her life between ages 7 to 17 that are criticized as being sexual abusive against her sister, and this has sparked a large debate that is mostly taking place on the Internet.
The Daily Targum published an article yesterday titled “Northwestern professor sues student for damages,” and I want to thank the Targum for keeping Rutgers students informed about this important issue. Rutgers University actually plays a role in this case because Peter Ludlow had been offered a prominent position in our Philosophy Department before this case came to light, and Rutgers rightfully withdrew the offer. This reaction is part of what sparked his recent lawsuit.
The “Carrying the Weight” campaign was a huge success at Rutgers. I appreciate the coverage from The Daily Targum in the action — however, there are some things that needed to be mentioned, but were not included in the article. The article only covered the march aspect of the day-long action. Thank you so much to the Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance for all of your help with making the campaign successful in such a short period of time. The march was a great part of the action, but it was not the only part.
During the last round of contract negotiations, Rutgers management sent a clear message to faculty and staff: Abandon all hope of a better future.
The state laws of New Jersey are established for the people and by the people. Therefore, it’s natural to feel cheated when a dean enforces policies contrary to them. Case in point: the method used by Rutgers University to deal with underage student drinking on its New Brunswick and Piscataway campuses.