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I am not going to waste space recounting what a good friend Matt
Cordeiro has been over the years, even if I do have enough
circumstantial evidence to last a lifetime. Matt has always been
someone I could count on to lend an ear to listen, a hand to help,
and, from time to time, a couch to sleep on. But we do not elect
our leaders based on what they do for the people they are close to.
We elect them based upon what they will do for us as voters. As a
friend, Matt has proven himself worthy of my support, but more
importantly, as vice president of RUSA, he has shown himself worthy
of the support of every student at the University. I am proud to
run on Cordeiro's ticket not because of the conversations he and I
have shared, but because the shared vision Rutgers United has for
the future of this University.
University President Richard L. McCormick sent a campus-wide
email on Tuesday which effectively killed a 30-year tradition.
The undergraduate population at the University received
devastating news Tuesday from President Richard L. McCormick
announcing that because of security issues, Rutgersfest, a
University tradition, will be cancelled indefinitely. This spurred
University students to immediately post protest statuses and create
Facebook pages like "Ragefest 2012" and "Save Rutgersfest," where
thousands of students are planning to party the same way but
without the concert portion.
While voting in Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA)
elections, we should remember that these elections actually do have
consequences. Last year, we elected to nearly every RUSA seat a
surrogate of the political machine Rutgers United. What did we
Rutgersfest is no more. A scattering of violent thugs and
violent drunks took their destructive behavior so far last Friday
that President Richard L. McCormick had no choice but to cancel the
event for future University students. Current students are a
special bunch to say that they were at the last Rutgersfest. Alas,
never shall there be another concert/carnival of such a scale at
There were two pieces in The Daily Targum yesterday that I
respectfully disagree with. The first piece, a column titled
"Rutgersfest further damages U.," stated that the University needs
to change its image in the wake of Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi's
appearance and Rutgersfest. The second piece, a letter titled
"Students deserve control over own money," argues that students
should not be forced to pay for events that they do not want —
especially ones that have no educational value.
While reading yesterday's issue of The Daily Targum, I came
across an editorial that got my attention. The piece, titled "Keep
student fees mandatory for all," spoke of how the Rutgers
University Programming Association (RUPA) and the University have
been vilified in the wake of Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi coming to the
University. The editorial argues that the school should continue to
enforce the tuition fees so that the school may continue to provide
students with entertainment, clubs and activities. While this is a
noble stance to take, I respectfully disagree.
I am someone who does not believe in sugarcoating. When I was a
first-year student, I was told that Rutgersfest was a day for
University students to let loose, to be entertained by some
half-decent music and of course wake up early and start drinking
until you can't stand anymore — and that's what it was. But it has
evolved into something bigger and much worse. It has become an
event for outsiders to crash, a day for non-University students to
destroy and impose fear on those students who call the New
Brunswick area home.
A large, spirited crowd gathered on the Voorhees Mall yesterday
at 2 p.m. to protest tuition hikes. Caught up in the chants,
applause and occasional boos — particularly whenever a speaker
mentioned Gov. Chris Christie — I felt quite proud to be a
I attended a talk by Judge Robert Bork some years ago at
Princeton. He was a pivotal figure in former President Richard
Nixon administration's post-Watergate collapse. In an attempt to
prevent Nixon's office tape recordings from being subpoenaed, Bork
acted as Nixon's hatchetman in the "Saturday Night Massacre," the
firing of the special prosecutor in charge of investigating the
Watergate burglary. The Supreme Court intervened, ordering Nixon to
turn over the tapes.
The "Walk into Action" on Wednesday united interests throughout
the University. Representatives from the New Jersey University
Students demonstrated that they are committed to working in the
best interests of students. Minority-student groups organized and
represented themselves in large numbers, cognizant of the fact that
when funding is cut, minorities will be hit harder and faster by
the cuts. Union representatives waved signs exclaiming, "power" and
"dignity," demonstrating the fact that when students unite with
workers, our power multiplies.
Dear University, I write to you as both an undergraduate alumnus
(class of '05) and current graduate student in the University MBA
program. I cannot express to you how disappointed I was upon
hearing the news of Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi's paid appearance at
I would like to issue an apology to those who were offended by
some of the statements I made in yesterday's column "Improve The
Daily Targum." I chose my words poorly and did not mean to
denigrate columnists, writers and editors who work diligently to
bring a large paper to the student population on a regular basis.
It was only my hope that more diversity would be pursued in the
opinions section, particularly by way of female and minority
columnists, and I was merely attempting to encourage this. I am
sorry if that was not made clear to all audiences and hope that
those involved with the Targum were not offended.
Yesterday's column, "Improve The Daily Targum," has once again
proven that Democrats look to arguments and childish bickering
rather than proposing solutions or consensual argument on
controversial issues. Founded in 1869, the Targum is the
second-oldest collegiate newspaper in the United States. It is one
of the least biased types of media on campus, and I have seen
plenty of large influxes of democratic biases. We do not need to
improve the opinion pages in the Targum. What we need is a solid
student voice and agreement on campus.
Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi was brought to the University on March
31 to, in essence, make fun of the way she and the rest of these
pop-culture "stars" make their money. What I find rather
interesting is there is such extreme push back from other students,
members of the University's administration and now absurdly from
members of the N.J. legislature. I wonder what right any of these
groups have to investigate bringing this comedy group to see fans.
If anything should be blamed, it isn't and shouldn't be Rutgers
University Programming Association, but rather the sheer demand for
having these stars. I've never watched an episode of "Jersey
Shore," but I certainly know what it's about. I've heard
professors, colleagues, co-workers and other students reference
such things as "fist pumping" and the "hair blowout." As much as we
might decry the fact these people are famous, they penetrated the
essence of popular culture and have now become part of the
vernacular of daily life.
What makes you, me or any of our fellow University students get
out of bed in the morning? Why do we leave the warmth of our beds
to face our professors, the papers and the ever-encroaching final
exam? Many students would respond with the excuse that although
they would love to stay in bed all day, they must go to class so
that they do not fail. Is this what our experience of higher
learning boils down to? With an increasingly competitive job
market, a bachelor's degree has become more of a necessity to
survive rather than an opportunity for self-betterment. Is the
University, the eighth oldest in the nation, merely a place where
corporate monkeys are trained for the dog-eat-dog job market? This
is the sad reality for a large portion of the student body who do
not see their potential for a truly fulfilling educational
experience, one where students take pride in their work and the
privilege it is to be a member of such a vibrant student body here
at the University.
Following the controversy surrounding Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi's
visit to the University, a group of students have undertaken a
project to bring Bruce Springsteen to campus. The leader of this
effort gave his reasoning in Thursday's brief in The Daily Targum
titled "Facebook group hopes to draw Springsteen to campus": "[Our]
image is tarnished, and bringing someone like Bruce here will help
people refresh their thoughts about Rutgers." While I am a longtime
fan of Springsteen's music, this effort is completely misplaced.
Replacing one N.J. celebrity with another misses the point
entirely. The University should not judge the strength of its
reputation on the names of the celebrities it can bring to campus.
The effort to improve the school by bringing Springsteen
trivializes the lessons we can learn from the controversy about
Snooki into a shallow argument about which celebrities are "better"
for the school.
The editorial published in The Daily Targum on April 4, "Do not
compare Snooki, Morrison," defending the $32,000 paid to Nicole
"Snooki" Polizzi as not comparable to the $30,000 paid to
commencement speaker Toni Morrison is full of flaws in logic and
makes the editors look defensive and, frankly, juvenile.
Dear students, University parents, alumni and University
Having just transferred to the University, this is my first
semester at the State University of New Jersey. I thought the
University was a good choice as it is rated pretty high on most
ranking lists. Apparently the school does not think that way of
itself. With the Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi story came some revealing
information. The University actually had to pay for a commencement
speaker this year. Is the school not good enough to attract
comedians, intellectuals or entrepreneurs without having to pay
them? Does the school not have any successful or famous alumni that
want to be honored by speaking at their alma mater?s commencement?
The big story this past weekend was that Snooki was paid more than
the commencement speaker. The University released a statement
explaining that the money spent on Snooki was from student fees.
The Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) hired her,
and there was admittedly no educational purpose to having her. What
really bothered me though was that a commencement speaker at a good
state school was getting paid at all. The fact that Snooki was paid
$32,000 dollars for doing nothing bothered me too. I don't agree
with paying celebrities to come to the University, especially if
they have nothing insightful to share. I wish my fees were spent