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Mock evictions demonstrate Palestinians’ life experience

(10/15/13 4:00am)

Last Sunday night, Oct. 6, Students for Justice in Palestine board members printed mock eviction notices and distributed them in residence halls at Rutgers-New Brunswick. This action was intended to call attention to the systematic demolition of the homes of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and Israel. Since 1967, approximately 27,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel, as estimated by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. The facts about Palestinian home demolitions included on the mock eviction notices are all true and substantiated by human rights organizations, as well as international bodies such as the United Nations and International Court of Justice.

E-ZPass tracking revelations not completely surprising

(10/03/13 4:00am)

After reading “EZPass tracking is unacceptable,” I decided to quickly search for similar articles on the Internet and was not surprised to find dozens of blogs written in the same vein. I have a big problem with that. Here’s the thing, that hacker did not discover anything new. In fact, what he “discovered” is a system that has been public knowledge since July 18, 2011, when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a press release stating, “the system, called Midtown in Motion, includes 100 microwave sensors, 32 traffic video cameras and E-ZPass readers at 23 intersections to measure traffic volumes, congestion and record vehicle travel times in the approximately 110-square block area bound by Second to Sixth Avenues and 42nd to 57th streets.” On June 5, 2012, a second press release came out, revealing that “preliminary results of the first phase showed an overall 10% improvement in travel times on the avenues in the 110-block service area, as measured by E-ZPass readers, and taxi GPS data showed similar results.” The program was so promising that an expansion was planned, which would cover more than 270 square blocks and include an additional 110 microwave sensors, 24 traffic video cameras and 36 E-ZPass readers, according to the press release.

Rutgers disciplinary policy violates state and federal law

(09/30/13 4:00am)

Rutgers University’s disciplinary policy, or lack thereof, affecting their police officers violates several state and federal laws, not to mention Supreme Court decisions, affording all employees certain rights under the Department of Labor and State Statute. Over the past several years, Rutgers police officers have come to work not knowing if actions they take as police officers will result in immediate disciplinary charges against them. These charges may result in reprimands, suspensions or terminations without officers having the opportunity to defend themselves or receive the proper representation afforded to them under such Court decisions as Garrity v. New Jersey or NLRB v. J. Weingarten. Rutgers University violates these on a daily basis. For several years, the Rutgers administration, including their vice president, responsible for public safety and the police department, has refused to negotiate a fair and equitable disciplinary policy with the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents Rutgers police officers. As a result, these officers work under constant fear of reprisals and disciplinary charges as they go about their assignments, which can greatly affect their ability to perform their duties. These situations can have an adverse effect not only on the officers, but the student body, faculty, administrators and residents living in and around Rutgers’ facilities. Also, due to the Governor’s consolidation of Rutgers, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Rowan University, these policies will definitely have an affect on these other officers due to the fact they will all come under the administration of Rutgers. Rutgers’ mentality is that an officer is guilty before even having an opportunity to defend him or herself. They are given what the university calls a “pre-determination” hearing, which amounts to nothing more than a kangaroo court, after which the officer receives whatever discipline the administration deems necessary. This is all without being given the opportunity to have proper representation or bring in defense witnesses. The only way for these officers to get a somewhat proper hearing is to file a grievance through their collective bargaining agreement, which, during the first three steps, the administration denies, causing the FOP to file for grievance arbitration — a time-consuming and expensive process. Over the past three years, there have been 31 Rutgers police officers who have resigned due to the stress they experienced from disciplinary procedures that this administration has forced on them. There have been two lawsuits filed by two Rutgers officers who were illegally fired, as well as the numerous arbitrations filed by the FOP on behalf of these officers. They have been overturned or amended almost every reprimand, suspension and firing of those officers that were not afforded the proper protections given them by the aforementioned laws and court decisions. Parents of Rutgers students — and all taxpayers — should be aware that this administration is spending tens of thousands of dollars in tuition money and tax dollars defending themselves for these frivolous charges. They should also be aware that the existing conditions affecting these officers also poses a public safety risk to the students and others in and around the three campuses, and could considerably affect those at Rowan University and UMDMJ campuses. All the officers of Rutgers University and the FOP ask for is to be able to sit down with the respective administrators and negotiate the implementation of a system that affords all police officers the rights under the aforementioned statutes and court decisions. The officers who protect and serve the communities of our state colleges deserve these protections.

University must not compromise its history and character

(09/27/13 4:00am)

Where is our sense of history? Has it died, or is it being slowly bled from our collegiate experience? With a new system is in place and a corporate-style administration, the University has worked diligently to remove nonessentials from university life and eliminate redundancies through merged departments. This, although difficult, may be a necessary pill to swallow in our current economic climate. What is not prescribed is elimination of the historical essence of our university. Once a struggling and undersized men’s college, Rutgers has not only served the New Jersey — even before its designation as a state university — but has also gone above and beyond in assisting the country in its times of need.

Educators know what’s best when it comes to homework

(09/25/13 4:00am)

Just as the author of “U. students should not be overloaded with homework” is worried about the value of homework in American universities, I too was once confused about the point of “busywork.” However, I now realize homework is essential in a student’s education. Whether it feels like one is doing pointless problem sets or reading boring textbook passages, homework always reinforces learning subconsciously. The author is a bit naive and hyperbolic in her perspective on homework. Toward the end of her opinion piece, she worries that she will forget everything and feel as if she did not learn anything. That only occurs if one studies the night before, halfheartedly does his or her homework and does not really understand the material.

Bike ride for charity became journey of fulfillment

(09/18/13 4:00am)

There were definitely times when I wanted to stop riding for the day. There was the day we left Havre De Grace, Md. for 85 continuous miles of hills that twisted and turned all the way to Washington, D.C. There was the time we spent in the Outer Banks riding on the same road for 40-mile stretches fighting dueling headwinds from the ocean — winds that would shake my bike from side to side as I tucked my head in and tried not to count every single mile marker we slowly passed. There was the ride to Charleston when it rained nonstop from the time we left Myrtle Beach to the time we finished. I wanted to stop every time the heat slapped me in the face. I wanted to stop every time we had to go back out into the rain after drying off. I wanted to stop every time I took a nice nap on a ferry and woke up remembering we still had another 50 miles to go for the day.

Miss America proves we don’t live in post-racial society

(09/17/13 4:00am)

Yesterday morning, I woke up and grabbed my iPhone to check Facebook just like any other day. As I looked at my news feed, I noticed that 10 of my friends posted a link to a Buzzfeed post that had compiled several racist and Islamophobic tweets regarding Nina Davuluri, the first Indian-American winner of the Miss America beauty pageant, which happened Sunday in Atlantic City, N.J.

Founders’ intentions on gun control often miscontrued

(09/13/13 4:00am)

Last Friday, a 10-year-old boy in Philadelphia was the victim of a murder-suicide. His father shot him, his mother and then himself, though the mother was wounded. The day before, a 12-year-old was accidentally shot by his 15-year-old cousin while the two were playing with guns. The cousin did not know the gun was loaded. Neither event is unique. Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, there have been over 7,900 reported gun deaths. Almost 400 of those were teens and another 150 were children 12 and under. These are only reported shooting deaths — suicides committed with firearms are not always reported. This raises a question: When are we going to start talking seriously about gun violence in this country?

Sex-positive feminism cloaks patriarchal notions

(09/11/13 4:00am)

From the promiscuous brigade of “Slutwalkers” to Femen, the topless white saviors of womankind, sexual liberation is resurging as a means for women to have authority over their sexualities, thus wresting control from men who have long possessed female sexuality for their own self-serving purposes. Unfortunately in an attempt to make feminism sexy and accessible — transforming the movement from stereotypical hair-legged hippie lesbians to high-heeled powerful sex goddesses — sex-positive feminism ends up missing the point.

Mandatory social events are well-intentioned but suck

(09/10/13 4:00am)

This past week, I moved from living amidst the whims and naiveté of youth to the great frontier of adulthood: entering college. I am ready to live on my own, make vital life decisions with little or no advice from my elders and face both academic and personal trials and tribulations. But before I begin, I have to put on my Superman costume. We’re having s’mores and ice-breaker activities outside. I think there might be pizza.

Remember our third parties in elections

(09/09/13 4:00am)

Hunting down a Rutgers bus from a distance of fifty feet, just to have it close its doors on you the moment you arrive has become a University pastime. The countless laughs you share when you retell your fateful tale of how you were late to class are always a great joy. These everyday occurrences become second nature, and soon, they become mundane, unavoidable facts of life.

Syrian intervention will reassert American failure abroad

(09/06/13 4:00am)

Yesterday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by New Jersey’s own Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, passed a resolution for military action in Syria by a 10-7 vote. The success of this call for action comes in light of news from the Obama administration that the Assad Regime in Syria killed at least 1,400 of their own people as the country continues to struggle through its two-year long civil war. In June, President Barack Obama pledged support for the rebels who have been known to have Al Qaeda influence. Next week the Senate will vote on the resolution, which is a “compromise” after the president could not accumulate enough support for his more open-ended military proposal. Today, America is looking at jumping into another bloodbath in the Middle East.

Social networking gives false sense of privacy

(03/14/13 4:00am)

While I was browsing the Internet this morning, a pop-up on my Facebook page informed me that my privacy settings were not very high. So, while I looked for a way to adjust them, I found this little icon in that corner that read Privacy Settings. I was just about to click it when I suddenly stopped and chuckled. I thought to myself: Is it really worthwhile, setting privacy on a social networking site? Isn’t it almost ironic?