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On the first day of class each semester, I write my first name on the board: Tadzio. Then, because it’s unusual, I explain how it's pronounced, and drill my students in saying it out loud. I use their first names when addressing them, and I expect they’ll use mine when addressing me.
Hillary Rodham Clinton may be gearing up for a presidential run in 2016, but despite all the media buzz surrounding her candidacy, even the most politically active students do not actually know much about her career. In December, we conducted an unscientific survey on awareness of and youth attitudes toward Secretary Clinton as part of an Aresty project conducted under the supervision of Ruth B. Mandel. Sixty-six Rutgers students, selected at random, completed questionnaires distributed at tables in the Busch and Douglass Student Centers. Survey results unsurprisingly revealed that college students know relatively little about Secretary Clinton’s career. For example, almost two-thirds of 29 female and 37 male respondents believed that she served as the president of the Women’s Political Caucus. Only half knew that she was once the first lady of Arkansas. Ten percent believed she was the governor of New York. One-third thought she was the speaker of the House of Representatives. She may be popular, but for many students, her qualifications are unknown.
As faculty, including teaching assistants and graduate assistants, have been negotiating their contract, which expired in August, they have begun to raise the question that the Union of Rutgers Administrators brought up after the 2010 salary freeze: has the administration “got ethics?” You may have seen “Reclaim Rutgers” signs hanging up on faculty doors. Maybe you have seen the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers rallying or tabling at the campus center.
Start looking through your closets, because the Godmother is back this year and needs your dresses. For the last three years, Our Fairy Godmother has provided numerous financially struggling girls the opportunity to attend the prom by collecting gently used gowns and selling them at affordable prices. The average price of a prom dress can run up to $170, but girls can find high quality dresses for just $20 at Our Fairy Godmother events set to begin this month.
Rutgers is getting more selective! I wonder if I would be accepted now? I graduated from Livingston College in 1976 after serving in the U.S. Navy from 1969 to 1975. I wonder how many students are aware of the Vietnam War Memorial outside Scott Hall? I wonder how many of that group stop and view the names on the Memorial? Do we know how many Rutgers alumni have served in Afghanistan and Iraq? If I'm correct, at least one has died serving their country. I am deeply proud of being a Rutgers graduate and regularly wear a Rutgers hoodie.
After listening to Rutgers University Student Assembly Parliamentarian Samuel Clark present on the bill that would grant RUSA executive board members a stipend for their dedication, I would like to apologize for the offense I caused and correct my misconceptions. Last Thursday, I wrote an article falsely accusing RUSA members of neglecting their responsibilities and trying to take funds intended to help students.
When advocating for his bill that would pay certain members of Rutgers University Student Assembly, Sam Clark, who serves as RUSA's parliamentarian, argued that money for his proposal would not come from student fees and would not negatively affect other student organizations. That is simply not true.
Rutgers requires that I install spyware on my personal computer that will allow an outside company to watch me through my webcam, record my knuckles, photograph my student ID including my RUID number and view my files as I use my computer to take an online exam. If I refuse, I will not graduate in May as scheduled. Believe it or not, I have to pay $32 to the company for this terrible threat to privacy in addition to Rutgers tuition and fees.
This past Sunday, the Islamic State issued a video showing its militants beheading 21 Coptic Christians in Libya. This attack is only the latest by Islamic State militants against Christians, Jews and other religious communities in the Middle East. Since their rise to power, Islamic State rebels have persecuted and killed countless Christians within Iraq, Syria and Libya. The Rutgers Catholic Student Association joins with our fellow Christian organizations in mourning the lives lost in Libya and Iraq. These victims were not killed for any reason, except for their faith. The victims are rightfully honored as martyrs, those who did not give up their beliefs even when faced with death. People of all faiths and beliefs would do well to follow their example and not yield core beliefs when faced with severe rejection and adversity.
This Thursday, Rutgers University Student Assembly is
voting on a bill to provide salaries to the RUSA e-board, and of course, the
people who actually can vote are the people hoping to receive the money. The
executive board of RUSA would like to ensure that RUSA money is spent on
themselves. If you oppose this, come to the RUSA meeting Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Student Activities Center on the College Avenue campus.
In response to the finely reported article, “Class Divide Exacerbates Strain among Students,” written in The Daily Targum last week, I would like to offer observations after working at Rutgers as an advisor, teacher and dean for many years.
In elementary school, Valentine’s Day week was synonymous with red cutout hearts made from construction paper, taped up with candy that my then-7-year-old classmates would distribute. It was all innocent fun until our teacher would say: “Take out your gifts and count them, kids.” Unspoken rules demanded that the person with the most “gifts” earned bragging rights and took a step up on the social ladder. Evidently America hasn’t matured since elementary school at all — instead, candy hearts have been replaced with flowers and gift counting with social media posts. Because at the end of the day, Valentine’s Day is still about public display, bragging rights and social ladders. If you have a Facebook — photo caption: “dinner with the most special girl I could ask for
Margarita Rosario wrote an opinion piece this week entitled “Feminizing porn: voyeurism, sexuality as seen in erotica,” and I’m very glad she did. It’s important to open up this conversation and not shove it under the rug or treat it as a taboo. In her piece, she mentions that there is a growing demand for feminist porn that fosters consent, better working conditions and showcases different types of people than whom are typically seen in mainstream porn. Margarita will be happy to know that there are production companies that focus solely on this and are growing in popularity, as written about in the Journal of Porn Studies online.
I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. Actually, scratch that. I am both angry and disappointed, as well as extremely frustrated. As an executive board member of the Rutgers University Association of International Relations, Rutgers University's traveling Model United Nations team, it is my responsibility to plan and coordinate the logistics for attending Model UN conferences around the United States and abroad. A large portion of our funding comes from our budget allocated by the RUSA Allocations board before each semester begins. We depend upon the aforementioned RUSA Allocations board to bring a respectable amount of people to these conferences and adequately transport ourselves to the conferences' designated locations. Quite frankly, I am insulted. You gave us zero dollars. Zero, to attend the most important conference of the year at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. Your zero dollars will certainly contribute to our conference experience, as it will place a financial burden on students wishing to attend this conference and restrict the amount of people we are able to take to Boston. Originally we planned to take 15 students, but unfortunately for us and for the University, we can now only afford to take eight. Our members hoping to go to Boston this weekend are dismayed that they will now have to pay much more than we previously required, and some may have to drop from the conference altogether.
I write to thank the Department of French for the roundtable “Charlie Hebdo: Facts and Questions” it organized on Thursday, Feb. 6 in Brower Commons. It is rare that we at Rutgers come together as a community of scholars, students and global citizens to address matters of great moment. We did so on Thursday.
Should established scientific and journalistic practices be ignored in favor of emotionalism and moral panic? The Targum apparently believes they should, evident by the front page news story, “Alumna conducts city “manslamming” test.”
It’s no secret that many members of the Rutgers community are rightfully upset over Andrew Getraer’s baseless and offensive comments, but the fact that he has supporters who not only defend his statements, but mimic his ignorant stereotyping without any repercussions is ridiculous. Talia Friedman wrote, “So soon after the physical attacks on Charlie Hebdo came this verbal attack on Getraer. The insidious efforts at character assassination in the accusatory articles against him turned the truth upside down.” Charlie Hebdo? Verbal attack? Insidious? Comments like that are exactly what evoked a response from the Muslim community. To equate the attackers with students standing against Islamophobia is about as ignorant as it can get. Just as Getraer called out the Targum for publishing an anti-Semitic op-ed last year, we too reserve our right to call him and his supporters out for making divisive and bigoted remarks. I, along with others who have voiced their grievances, are still waiting for the administration to explicitly acknowledge these statements and take action to ensure that Muslims on campus are respected, considering that this is not the first time an issue like this has occurred.
The article that was run in the Targum on Feb. 5 concerning “manslamming” might as well have been called “manbashing.” The article seeks to portray men as entitled and careless of others in an experiment that was clearly agenda driven. The name “manslamming” leaves little doubt to the goal of the “experimenter” in this case. She seems to believe that men are entitled because they did not get out of her way on the sidewalk as often as women did. This apparently shows that men are aggressive beasts who feel entitled over women. The woman who decided to perform this experiment had no numbers to report, and only studied the interaction of people with herself. Before you go making these kinds of offensive claims about how men are bad, one should examine the interactions of men with other men and women with other women on the street instead of focusing so wholeheartedly on men vs. women. Perhaps, men bump into each other just as much as they bump into women? Are they still putting women down in that case? Instead of going out to see if you can make men look bad, maybe you should conduct an experiment with an open mind?
Andrew Getraer’s agreement with the proposal of sending Palestinians to Jordan because “it is not their homeland anyway” is both deeply offensive and historically inaccurate. However, it’s not surprising that the Rutgers Hillel director would make such racist and “Islamophobic” statements about the Palestinian people while representing an organization whose “policies have been used to shut down dialogue” between Hillel and other organizations and students on campus, as criticized by Open Hillel. We Palestinians are exhausted of constantly having to prove to people that our grandparents did in fact live and grow up as Palestinians before 1948 and that our ethnicity has a real history. Making such grossly inaccurate statements without legitimate evidence in this colonialist mindset justifies the illegal occupation of Palestine and trivializes the countless lives that have been destroyed as a result. There’s a serious difference between freedom of speech and hate speech being presented as fact. Why are we being told by non-Muslims and non-Arabs whether we should or shouldn’t be offended by statements that directly attack us? As an open and accepting University, we expect and demand zero tolerance for racism in any dialogue and for consistent accountability. For a Rutgers leader to accuse a community of thousands at this university of being terrorist “sympathizers” who “cheer” for those who kill is beyond insulting. I’m disgraced our administration has yet to address the issue directly and legitimately.
This week, Chancellor Richard Edwards wrote a letter to the editor to The Daily Targum condemning hate speech and reiterating that the Rutgers community must respect and value the diversity of the campus. While I agree with his sentiments, I’m concerned as to why the Muslim community still hasn’t heard directly from Andrew Getraer. He has defended himself in the Targum, but we’ve heard nothing from him since, although multiple op-eds have been written decrying his published comments as hate speech. Is Getraer truly interested in interfaith dialogue as he says? Moreover, many people have been calling for conversation, but conversation is a two-way street and his convenient silence on the issue reflects a total disregard for our safety and comfort at Rutgers. Once again, we call on Getraer to directly address us and apologize for sabotaging interfaith efforts and disseminating misinformation.