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The University offers a phenomenal class through the Department
of Political Science, "Religion and Politics," that I would
recommend to everyone with political opinions. The main point of
the class is that because of the very personal nature of both
religion and politics, the two cannot truly be separated. They are
simply too similar to be independent.
Almost every living thing on this planet needs water, including
the more than six and a half billion humans. The only problem is
that we use and waste water at such a high rate that our surface
and groundwater sources can't replenish themselves. Out of all the
water on Earth only 2.5 percent is fresh potable water. And less
than 1 percent of the world's fresh water is accessible, leaving a
mere 0.5 percent as fresh water we can use. This leaves us with a
resource that is perceived as unlimited but is quickly decreasing
by greed and misuse.
The Daily Targum's lead editorial on Wednesday, "State cuts
viable method of reform," endorses Gov. Chris Christie's continuing
policy of layoffs and cuts to employee pay and benefits.
The only thing remarkable about my story is how truly
unremarkable it is. Like all Educational Opportunity Fund students,
I am the first member of my family to attend a university. Like all
EOF students, I come from an economically disadvantaged home and
would not be able to attend the University without the aid and
support of the EOF program. Like most EOF students, I am in good
academic standing, and like most EOF students, my grade point
average is higher than that of the average University undergraduate
student. Like many of us, I have to balance my grades with my two
jobs, and like far, far too many of us, I find myself performing a
juggling act, doing everything I can to make ends meet every
You've seen them out on campus registering students to vote.
You've heard their class announcements about internship and
volunteer opportunities. Maybe you've volunteered with a river
clean up, helped to weatherize a house or participated in one of
their service projects to address hunger. New Jersey Public
Interest Research Group is one of the major components of student
involvement at University, and right now they need you all to stop
at one of their referendum polling stations and vote "yes" so that
they can continue doing good for the University community.
Tenure reform is an absolute necessity. But tenure removal would
turn educational careers into a temporary stint. Teaching would
become a two-year phase, especially in high-need areas like the
Bronx. I would not be teaching today without the promise of tenure.
Allow me to clarify a few things that have been said about tenure
I am writing this in response to the column written on last
Thursday titled "Tenure damages education." While I would agree
that tenure is outdated, and it possibly allows certain teachers to
"slack off," the complete removal and implementation of a
merit-based system is not the answer and can be quite detrimental
to the educational process. Let me first address the columnist's
point, "Tenure eliminates the incentive to perform well … if
teachers, their job guaranteed, slack off then the quality of
education wilts and students suffer." Yes, tenure allows for the
possibility for a teacher to slack off and sadly some do, but this
is not the case for the majority. A majority of teachers in New
Jersey are wonderful and many have received awards for excellence
and proficiency in their subject. There are the few teachers that
care little for the student and do hurt the educational system, but
I stress to anyone reading this that those teachers are the
minority. Taking away tenure because of what few teachers do is not
only inconsiderate, but in a way selfish as well. Find these
teachers and punish them, fire them, do whatever one can to get
them out of the school, but to remove tenure entirely is — as I
said before — unnecessary. Rather, I would argue that we need to
revise tenure and re-look at how, and in what time frame, teachers
get tenure. Tenure works to protect the teacher, more so than you
know. Tenure helps to protect the teacher from the ever-present
supervisor or administrator that is trigger happy in firing
teachers that do not agree with certain views. Now I do feel sorry
for people in those jobs who do not have tenure, but getting rid of
a teacher halfway through the year because a supervisor does not
agree with the teacher's style of education and getting rid of a
salesperson in the middle of the year because of whatever issues
are two completely different realms of important.
We are writing in protest against The Daily Targum editorial
last Tuesday, "College curricula need concentration," inspired by
the State University of New York at Albany's recent decision to
close its programs in French, Italian, Russian, classics and
Every three years University students participate in a
referendum to decide whether to fund New Jersey Public Interest
Research Group Student Chapters Student Chapters through a
voluntary fee on their term bill. This triennial vote will occur at
polling places across all campuses beginning this week.
As I was walking out of the Loree Building on the Cook/Douglass
campus Wednesday, I stumbled upon a crowd circled around a man with
a Bible. He was citing passages from the Bible condemning
homosexuality as sin. I was horrified at his insensitivity, given
former University student Tyler Clementi's recent death. I
confronted him and demanded that he tell me Jesus's position on
homosexuality. He knew his bible: Jesus never mentioned
homosexuality. Rather, the man stated that "Pedophilia wasn't
mentioned by Jesus either, but we know that to be immoral."
The ninth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and
the beginning of its 10th year was marked on Oct. 7. Many did not
acknowledge that. This is distressing as it indicates indifference
or ignorance among the student population of a war that has been
tragic for the Afghan people and carries serious moral and economic
consequences for our country. The student population must
acknowledge the importance of the moral and economic consequences
of this conflict if it is ever to give birth to a substantive
When one fills out a personal questionnaire and reaches the
section that pertains to color, he is usually asked his race,
whether he is white, black, Asian, etc. He is then usually asked
his ethnicity, and there almost always is a binary choice for that.
Is he Hispanic or not? What is the definition of Hispanic?
President Barack Obama implemented an economic stimulus package
of $787 billion in February 2009, which was supposed to create five
million new jobs by the end of 2010. This estimate was subsequently
lowered to three million new jobs. The Obama administration then
said they would create and save jobs. They said unemployment would
peak at 8.0 percent by the end of 2010 and then recede.
In the letter yesterday in The Daily Targum, titled
"Individuality must prevail over social titles," the author implied
that identification based on social titles such as ethnicity and
orientation is deterring people from seeing the point of equality
and tainting the memory of University first-year student Tyler
Clementi, whose tragic death has been on the mind of students,
faculty and various communities outside of the University. It seems
almost ironic that this letter was published the same day as
National Coming Out Day. Much like the name implies, National
Coming Out Day is a day in which people that don't identify with
the hetero-normal labels can announce it to remind the people in
their lives that they're here, they're queer and they're human
The narrative about University first-year student Tyler
Clementi's suicide is so compelling that it must be true. Many
questions, though, are raised by his death: What led to it? Was it
preventable? Did the University somehow fail him? There are also
larger issues of youth suicide, bullying of virtual and real nature
and how to counter what is all too often a chilly climate for
sexual-minority youth. Clementi's suicide is just one among a spate
of gay young people who took their own lives recently.
If I asked "Who are you?" most likely you would begin with an
introduction. But what's in a name? Next you might mention
University and perhaps your place of employment. But those are just
temporary social conditions. Exasperated, you may turn to the
abstract, mentioning your gender, race, background, sexual
orientation, friends and family, etc. In the end, all of these
things and more make up our essence. The danger comes when we begin
perceiving ourselves, or others, as being mainly part of a single
label. Historically this has been common among persecuted factions:
Those in the Holocaust perceive themselves as primarily "Jewish,"
those in the civil rights movement become primarily "Black,"
The members of the Latino Student Council and its allies were
surprised at the recent outcry over our efforts to get University
President Richard L. McCormick to state clearly his position in
regard to in-state tuition for the children of undocumented
immigrants. McCormick has bobbed and weaved in regard to this issue
for too long.
This letter is, in principle, a response to the recent dialogue
spurred by the column, "Tea party hides behind patriotism," in
Tuesday's issue of The Daily Targum. More broadly though, it is a
commentary on politics and opinions in general.
I am astounded by the ignorance displayed in The Daily Targum
editorial on Tuesday, "Media exploits University tragedy."
The Daily Targum's Opinions section is a fountain of political
opinions where all sides are well covered, but my growing concern
is that lately these opposing sides have lost respect and
tolerance. Almost daily now, I open the Opinions section to find an
emotional piece scathing a person's different view with skewed
assertions and outright attacks. Show some reserve and respect.
Opinions is a wonderful section when contributors express opinion
with facts and logic and disagree respectfully.