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Minority populations must not let stigmas silence them

(09/08/14 3:00am)

It is the burden of abject identities to remain silent. Three years of college has taught me that courage is not gained through age or experience, but with the social amenities that one is allowed and that one takes. Too often do I hear stories about in-class anxiety, usually with the pretext that one is not smart enough, or would be embarrassed if she or he spoke up in class or that their professor would find their point so obscenely inept. In-class anxiety is a huge problem, but it is its prevalence among systematically oppressed populations that concerns me. If it was the case that all students felt discomfort upon speaking up, so that the thought of raising one’s hand would induce goosebumps and the act of speech itself would result in incredible distress, then our problem would be a much different one.

Bioethics promises a future far from Frankenstein

(09/03/14 3:24am)

Bioethics: Perhaps you have heard the term and know what it means, maybe you have heard it but are not exactly sure what it means, or perhaps you have never heard the phrase. Even though I have been interested in bioethics for quite some time, I have realized only recently that the majority of people fall into the latter two categories — and for a good reason. I first became interested in bioethics during the genetics unit of my biology class. The concept of manipulating the genetic makeup of organisms was fascinating to me, and when we briefly covered the Human Genome Project in class, I knew I wanted to know more. Only when I actually tried to search for information on my own did I realize how inaccessible it actually is. Not only were there not many articles about the ramifications of genetic manipulation, but the ones that did exist were written in a way that was not friendly for general audiences. My column, “Under the Microscope,” seeks to solve this problem by making the ethical issues that arise from scientific and medical advancement comprehensible and (hopefully) interesting to the average Joe. 

Reactions to protests reveal bigotry, lack of education

(05/05/14 4:00am)

While President Robert L. Barchi continues to stand by his and the Board of Governors’ decision to invite Condoleezza Rice to speak at this year’s commencement ceremony, ironically enough, Rice herself announced that she will be declining the invitation in light of student, faculty and community protests. The fact that Rice is capable of recognizing and responding to students’ adamant dissatisfaction and Barchi is not says a lot about how little the administration values its own students. Protests were expressed in the form of op-eds and open letters published in The Daily Targum and sent directly to the administration, a faculty petition and ultimately, direct action including a sit-in at Old Queens and other public protests. These were all peaceful actions that posed no harm to anyone and escalated only because of Barchi’s failure to even acknowledge protesters’ concerns.

Feminism is for men, too

(05/01/14 4:00am)

To the men of Rutgers — and by this, I don’t mean all men. I mean men who have a penis and for some reason feel that this simple fact, this chromosomal trick, imbues within them a superiority otherwise undeserved. Many of these men are referred to as “bros” by others, though in truth I feel they must be only children, orphans, or else have only male siblings as I cannot fathom someone with a sister or mother they care for acting this way. Let me give you some advice to begin. You know that “rule” about racist jokes? If you have to look around to see if someone of that race is around before you tell it, you shouldn’t tell it. That rule. I hope to help you understand that this rule applies to more than just racist jokes. It applies to speaking about women as well. 

Producing smart guns will not replace smart people

(04/25/14 4:00am)

In order to help mitigate the never-ending debate of gun control, manufactures have created the seemingly efficient way to keep firearms in the hands of their rightful owners. By installing a specialized chip inside of the gun that will only activate the weapon when the owner is close by in proximity, it figures to reduce the number of violent altercations that occur, including suicides and accidental shootings. The chip communicates with a certain type of watch that the user must have on to give the signal that it is okay to fire the gun. In essence, all this new technology really does is put an Elmo Band-Aid on an already-leaky faucet.

Commentary shows problem with education discourse

(04/25/14 4:00am)

When I wrote my commentary about liberal arts math education for the Targum last week, I didn’t really expect it to get much attention — which is why I was overjoyed to find that Kellen Myers, a math Ph.D candidate at Rutgers, had taken time to write a nice, long post of his own in response. My joy quickly faded, as nowhere in Myers’ retort did he actually address the issue at hand — namely, what kind of math should be taught to mathematically uninterested liberal arts majors. Let’s look at his three central claims, then go on to talk about the real issue.

Rice’s anti-democratic leadership cannot be condoned

(04/23/14 4:00am)

What is democracy? What does it mean to be democratic? Democracy is the form of government “of the people, by the people, for the people,” as Abraham Lincoln once said. A democratic government is one that hears and acts upon its people’s wishes and concerns. As such, “the principle of accountability holds that government officials — whether elected or appointed by those who have been elected — are responsible to the citizenry for their decisions and actions.” What role do honor and justice play in this ideology? These concepts help form the backbone of this ideology. Those who are chosen by the people to lead must ultimately answer to the people, and also have a duty to fulfill the obligations of the people. These principles were what former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, like much of the Busch administration responsible for the invasion of Iraq, desecrated when they agreed to send the United States military abroad under the false pretense of protecting our freedoms and the American way of life.

Honoring Rice as speaker is a dishonor to University

(04/21/14 4:00am)

As we head down the road toward this year’s commencement ceremony, the focal point of the event so far has been the debate surrounding Condoleezza Rice, namely, whether or not Rutgers should allow Rice to speak at the 2014 Commencement Ceremony. Not only will Rice be the commencement speaker, but she will also be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the institution. A great number of students, myself included, believe that Rice should not be our commencement speaker. Why?

Rutgers community must stand against Rice invitation

(04/17/14 4:00am)

Brandeis University reversed its decision to award Ayaan Hirsi Ali with an honorary degree last week because of her Islamophobic rhetoric. The argument for rescinding her honorary degree is hefty, but not nearly as formidable as the argument to rescind Condoleezza Rice’s invitation and honorary degree here at Rutgers. Unlike Rice, Ali is not considered by most of the world to be a war criminal. For a much lesser offense, the Brandeis administration moved forward anyway. At Rutgers, President Robert L. Barchi has confined the debate on Rice’s invitation to a question of free speech in America, instead of the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people who had families, dreams, friends and passions. This neglects the reality of the invitation and simplifies the issue to one that is incredibly narcissistic. Rutgers is one of the greatest universities in the world, and as such, it is imperative that we intellectually engage the question of our commencement speaker as an inclusive, thoughtful community. With this in mind, we must also remember that some of our own community members are deeply hurt and personally affected by the Iraq War. The invitation to Condoleezza Rice began on the foot of exclusivity and disregard for consciousness and justice on this campus.

Awareness, action needed on human trafficking issues

(04/17/14 4:00am)

On March 26, I attended the screening of “Tricked,” which was sponsored by the Rutgers School of Social Work Graduate Student Association, Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey and the Center on Violence Against Women and Children. It is a documentary about domestic sex trafficking of minors in the United States. The film was followed by a Q&A session with one of the survivors, guest speaker Danielle Douglas, who was featured in the film. The film immediately captured my attention, as it depicted the horrifying truth behind sex trafficking. It is disturbing that in this day and age, thousands of young girls and boys are coerced into a slavery that forces them into prostitution. Many naïve and innocent lives are ripped out of suburbia and thrown into a world filled with pimps, sex and slavery.

Changing face of journalism demands new media

(04/16/14 4:00am)

In last Wednesday’s editorial titled “AD Situation Overblown By Media,” — ironic, seeing as they ran an editorial the day before criticizing Hermann for “drag[ing] us all through the mud” — The Daily Targum’s editorial board quoted a section of Muckgers’ Mission & Disclosures page about objectivity and mused: “Yet this brings us to a larger issue of new media. Do we read the articles on websites like as we would a blog, or as an actual news outlet?”

The problem with mathematics education at Rutgers

(04/16/14 4:00am)

Introductory-level mathematics education is a festering wart on this country’s nose. More locally, Rutgers — a university that touts some of the best researchers in applied mathematics, as well as a top-twenty graduate program — is doing nothing to heal the deep intellectual wounds incoming liberal arts freshman have sustained as part of their mandatory mathematics education in public school. Recall that if you place into pre-calculus or higher on the Rutgers math placement entrance exam, you have the option of taking a course called “Math 103 — Topics in Mathematics for The Liberal Arts” to satisfy the “QQ” and “QR” School of Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum. Many liberal arts majors enroll in “Math 103” intending for it to be the last math class they ever take. Let’s look at some of the topics for that class and use them as a stepping-stone to briefly discuss the problems of math education today. But first, let’s inspect why so many people hate mathematics.

Internet communities breed misogyny

(04/14/14 4:00am)

If you go on YouTube and go to the discussion page of a user named Rebecca Watson, you’ll see a series of angry comments going on for about three years. The word “c---” appears 30 times. “B----” appears 31 times. Scrolling down, you’ll see the positive or even neutral comments are few and far between, while comments like, “You’re a piece of garbage. Please never have children, and die alone,” are never ending. That particular comment has more than 30 upvotes, by the way.

Time banking system promotes community building

(04/11/14 4:00am)

The launch of the Time Banking System in the New Brunswick area, by Julie Fagan, has provided many opportunities for individuals to get involved in the community. This system implements the theory of giving time in exchange for services. An individual can give an hour of their time doing a service for someone else, that hour will be stored in a bank, and when that individual needs a service done for them, they use their hour and exchange it for a service. These services may include babysitting, mowing the lawn, tutoring, a ride to an appointment, etc.

Oppose gentrification of Mine Street

(04/08/14 4:00am)

As reported in the Daily Targum (March 13, 2014: “Apartment Building to Replace Abandoned Lot”), a commercial real estate developer, Construction Management Associates, is seeking approval of variances from the New Brunswick Planning Board for the purpose of building a four-story apartment building at 17 Mine St., the former location of the Catholic Center, in the heart of the College Avenue Campus.

Be informed before voting on RUSA ballot

(04/08/14 4:00am)

As you may have noticed, the United States Student Association is on the ballot this year for referendum. However, what supporting USSA means for Rutgers has not been presented as a two-sided argument, and as an alumna of the program, I would like to state my views on the organization to help you decide how to vote on the ballot. I intend to give a multifaceted view on the situation. While there are good things about the organization, there are also elements of USSA that you should know about before deciding to support.