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COMMENTARY: One learns to appreciate perspective as he grows

(09/22/17 12:50am)

After changing my mind about my major in computer science during my first semester at Rutgers, I entered the Rutgers Business School. I was high on hope and low on any sort of idea of what to expect. What ensued was an interesting period in my life where I changed majors again, from business, analytics and information technology (BAIT) to finance. I ultimately transferred back to the School of Arts and Sciences.

COMMENTARY: DACA may die, but hope does not have to

(09/21/17 12:55am)

By now we have all heard of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and President Donald J. Trump’s decision to discontinue the policy. For the unaware, DACA is an Obama-era protection for undocumented persons who arrived in the United States as children. The purported moral basis for it is that the children had no choice in the matter at the time and are thus not legally culpable for their actions. The program undoubtedly has great support on the Rutgers campus and administration. Even our chancellor, Debasish Dutta, spoke out in an email on his support for DACA, as well as his and the administration's’ pledge to fight for undocumented students here at Rutgers.

COMMENTARY: Generation Z is not as bad as parents think

(09/20/17 1:31am)

“Nine-year-olds should not have iPhones.” “Back in my day we’d talk to people, not screens.” “Kids are growing up too fast these days.” These comments represent just a few of the copious qualms people harbor about the upcoming generation and its addiction to technology. For the sake of context, the “upcoming generation” includes people who were born after 2003. I will refer to this group of young pre-teens and teens as “Generation Z.” Technological outlets, primarily social media, have unquestionably impacted the standards and perspectives that members of Generation Z live by in negative ways. Recent statistics highlight technology’s harrowing effects as cyber-bullying and cyber-presence-induced suicides have become very real concerns for every individual with access to the internet. Furthermore, many opponents to Generations Z’s technological dependence argue that children lack the social qualities their parents and grandparents were equipped with during their youth, as many are more comfortable texting than having a face-to-face conversation. Although these are sound concerns, the doors our technological founding fathers have opened for this generation are engendering a paradigm shift in the mentality and capacity they possess.

COMMENTARY: Zimmerli art exhibit could not be more timely

(04/30/17 9:22pm)

A collaborative art exhibition has recently been installed in the Focus Gallery at the Zimmerli Art Museum (the small room adjacent PaparazZi Cafe), on heritage and memory in the American South. A bundle of Mason Gross visual art students, led by Daonne Huff and Kara Walker, trekked to Atlanta, Georgia, where they experienced the following things: Ebenezer Baptist Church (former church of Martin Luther King Jr.), remnants of the Klan, Stone Mountain, and, of course, Piggly Wiggly. The result of their travels is the Atlanta Ladies Memorial Association — an intimately curated, archival exhibition, frank in presentation, at once jarring and/or moving, depending on who you are.

COMMENTARY: Columnist should use more humanist ideals

(04/23/17 10:21pm)

On April 16, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, took the first major leap in the direction of establishing an authoritarian dictatorship. The change was brought about as a result of a historic referendum that, having been passed with a “majority of public support,” will eliminate the position of prime minister and put almost complete power in the hands of the executive branch. The vote has been criticized by governments and human rights organizations across the globe as having possibly been rigged in Erdogan’s favor. This article will not focus on such accusations. Instead, I would like to respond to an opinion article posted in the April 20 issue of The Daily Targum. The piece, which was part of Meryem Uzumcu’s bi-weekly column, elaborates on the aforementioned subject and reaches some bizarre, ahistorical conclusions.

COMMENTARY: Phil Murphy has most progressive platform ever seen in N.J.

(04/19/17 12:41am)

Earlier this year, on Feb. 14, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-N.J.), one of the Democratic candidates for governor, released his campaign platform after nearly five months of his campaign website consisting mainly of a donation button. One would think that after five months of careful deliberation, Wisniewski’s team would have crafted a detailed and comprehensive platform. Instead, the campaign platform is only three pages long, each of which lists a series of alarming facts and opinions and then spends only a few sentences detailing his proposed policies.

COMMENTARY: New Jersey politics needs Jim Johnson

(04/13/17 1:12am)

New Jersey, perhaps more than anywhere else in the country, has been gripped in an especially brutal season of political scandal, upheaval and disappointment. As the circus that was the 2016 presidential election finally begins to root its bedlam behind the (admittedly fragile) opacity of our iconic sandstone capital, people around the country are hesitantly, yet surely, catching their breaths and turning their attention back towards issues slightly closer to home. If you are a resident of New Jersey, however, you will find no reprieve from the political chaos. Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) bears one of the lowest gubernatorial approval ratings in New Jersey’s history. Despite public disillusionment with the operations of Trenton, political efficacy is actually seeing a marked resurgence. Following the election of President Donald J. Trump to the presidency, the constituency has once again been galvanized into affecting change through the political system, in an effort both to resist Trump’s policies and to restore decency and rationality to American politics.

COMMENTARY: TA/GA Union intends to fight in negotiations

(04/21/17 12:24am)

This spring, Rutgers teaching assistants (TAs) and graduate assistants (GAs) will apply for the TA-GA Professional Development Fund (PDF), a “competition” developed by the Rutgers administration in 2013 in place of a raise. A closer look at the recent history of the PDF shows the extent of the administration’s negligence and duplicity toward graduate students, who teach the bulk of courses at Rutgers. This history demonstrates the administration’s larger project of educational inequality and its lack of regard for its employees and its tendency to shield itself from answering to our larger demands. In telling this story we seek to put the PDF to rest so that, moving into next year’s contract negotiations, we can concentrate on more pressing goals like equitable salaries, universal tuition remission and stronger protections against discrimination.

COMMENTARY: Arabic can help create better communication

(03/30/17 11:52pm)

Language is important to communicate our thoughts, ideas, inspire actions and more. We have the responsibility to choose our words as we choose our actions, a lesson that President Donald J. Trump has yet to learn. Despite the freedoms bestowed upon us by the First Amendment, our words have consequences. The phrase "Language Matters" is something we have heard throughout our lives to remind ourselves that the words we use are important during our interactions. For this reason, it is crucial for us to learn languages other than English to communicate with different people in our globalized world. One such language is Arabic.

COMMENTARY: 2016 Democratic Party antics must end now

(03/30/17 1:47am)

If the voting public learned one thing from the 2016 Democratic Primary, it was that the Democrats are rarely ever neutral when it comes to selecting who will be at the top of their ticket. The 2017 race for governor of New Jersey is turning out to be no exception. Unlike in the Democratic National Committee, the New Jersey State Democratic Party Chair John Currie — the local equivalent of former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz — is allowed to endorse a candidate, and he has. Along with all of New Jersey's chairs of 21 Democratic county parties, New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chair John Currie fell in line several months ago behind former Goldman Sachs Executive and DNC Finance Chair Philip D. Murphy: He is a multi-millionaire from Boston who has given more money to state Democrats (including Currie) than any other individual for several years running. Last summer, he declared his candidacy and loaned his campaign $10 million from his own personal fortune. This influx of easy cash has translated to a formidable campaign, and he has quickly become the establishment pick for governor.

COMMENTARY: U. organizations are against marginalization of Muslims

(03/07/17 2:47am)

On March 1, the front page of The Daily Targum featured an article pointing out the similarities between a Rutgers Conservative Union flyer and one circulated by the American Vanguard, a white supremacy group. Two weeks ago, American Vanguard posted a flyer that read “Imagine A Muslim Free America” on the front of the Paul Robeson Cultural Center on Busch campus. The article features a quote from Dylan Marek, a constituent of the RCU, who claims that the writing on the flyer was his own, despite the fact that American Vanguard posted an almost identical version more than two months prior to Marek’s own advocacy.

COMMENTARY: Philip Murphy is man of real policies with no grandstanding

(02/17/17 5:56pm)

In his most recent and final State of the State Address on Jan. 10, Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) focused on the opioid epidemic that plagues our state and many others. The issue is very close to Christie’s heart, as he personally has lost friends to opioid addiction and seen many others struggle through addiction and survive. He has decided as of Feb. 8 that during his last year in office,  he will launch a $1 million anti-addiction public awareness campaign targeting New Jersey’s youth through the use of advertisements in television and other media. While combating opioid abuse is an issue for which Christie definitely deserves bipartisan support, it is questionable whether his prescribed course of action is enough to deal with the extremely complicated issue of opioid abuse. Public awareness by itself is not going to prevent drug addiction or to treat those who are already addicted.

COMMENTARY: New party attempts to uproot corrupt politics

(01/27/17 2:13am)

The infamous presidential election of 2016 is finally over but opposition, pushback and acts of civil disobedience toward President Donald J. Trump’s policies from progressives and liberals will continue to be relentless. Many of the looming implications and feelings of uncertainty have worsened in communities across America. Millions of average working-class Americans, immigrants, women, environmentalists, social justice activists and members of marginalized groups are ready and willing to stand up in opposition to Trump all while members of the corporate Democratic Party establishment have been telling everyone that it was Russian interference, fake news and lack of campaigning in certain states that caused Trump's securement of the presidency. Yes, these factors did play minor roles in assuring Trump’s victory, but they are primarily just scapegoats to avoid talking about why Democrats really were defeated in House, Senate and gubernatorial elections across the country. Corporate Democrats refuse to fight for real progressive economic change and continue to listen to their campaign donors instead of the people. Justice Democrats seek to replace them.

COMMENTARY: Despite Trump’s own views, he incited hate

(12/04/16 11:58pm)

I have taken a lot of time to think about the results of this election and the implications that it has for me, my family, many of my friends and the members of this nation. In the wake of most elections, it has been the norm to accept the winner of the election and move on. Despite all the rallying, protests, campaigning, etc., people are typically able to accept the defeat of their candidate and put their support behind the newly elected president. Is it hard? For sure, but there is usually a mutual understanding that the newly elected president will do good (or at least no harm) for the country.

COMMENTARY: Current political climate necessitates meaningful discourse

(11/30/16 11:59pm)

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was a junior living on Morrell Street and working at The Daily Targum. I awoke to my find my roommate staring at the Twin Towers imploding on television. Outside, roars from F-15 fighter jets screamed across the perfectly blue sky. Television was my salvation. For weeks on end I obsessed over al-Qaeda, Islamic extremism and the perfect military response. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was changing. My belief system and worldview began to calcify. To disagree with me no longer meant you had an opinion that differed from mine, but simply that you were wrong and you were stupid for not knowing you were wrong. Why didn’t you know that invading Iraq made perfect sense? That no one could ever get intelligence gathering wrong? Fifteen years later, 9/11 taught me that we’re wrong about what we think we “know” and that we should operate on that assumption. The experts who could have never imagined it were wrong. The experts who said they knew how to respond were wrong. The experts who said they knew just how to fight this were wrong. All of them, including me, wrong. Which brings me to Donald Trump.

COMMENTARY: Expecting political ‘center’ to hold will not win elections

(11/22/16 1:02am)

I am shocked, but not surprised, that Donald J. Trump is now our President-elect. It was my neighbors and friends who put him there, though I am sure many people here at Rutgers who didn’t grow up in a dying, rural, majority white town are indeed shocked to discover that a majority of their fellow citizens could possibly think he could be a good president.

COMMENTARY: Ignorance of privilege leads to dismissal of others’ rights

(11/18/16 1:35am)

My stomach was churning watching the polls with some of my friends — Christians, Jews and a Muslim. We all came in with our homework and sugary, caffeinated beverages so that we could be academically productive whilst awaiting the fate of our nation. The general consensus was that Hillary was going to win the electoral vote, but we all had that subconscious fear, that “if” factor. Votes were slowly coming in … I had this light-headedness about me as the minutes went by. It only got worse. We left the room at about 1 a.m. with our heads low and our hearts heavy.