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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.
For Targum readers, I will shed some light on the unenlightened statements made by Rutgers Hillel Director, Andrew Getraer.
Assalamu alaikum — peace be upon you.
To Members of the Rutgers-New Brunswick Community:
I am writing in response to the dart you gave to meteorologists for mis-forecasting the recent snowstorm. The public is too quick to jump on meteorologists when their forecasts are off — without ever giving thought to how incredibly difficult it is to predict a storm. Meteorologists have taken years of calculus and physics courses equally as rigorous as an engineering degree to get to where they are today. Genius mathematicians have developed super computers to process copious amounts of climate data to model storms days advance. Even so, meteorologists can be wrong because there is very little margin for error. Just 100 miles can mean the difference between 2 feet of snow and 2 inches. There was still a strong storm this past Monday and still a ton of snow — the track was just slightly off. I am sure the residents of Boston wouldn’t tell you the meteorologists were wrong!
The Targum’s Jan. 26 editorial titled “Rutgers snapyak is demeaning, tasteless,” is offensive to a majority of Rutgers students. Yes, there are illegal drugs and nudity on it, but everything sent in is with the owners’ consent. I have yet to see a video of a girl saying, “Stop recording me.” Girls willingly lift their tops for the camera knowing that it’s being sent to snapyak for hundreds of others to see. The videos of guys groping their girlfriends are also clearly consented, and half the time their faces are not even shown.
I am deeply saddened by the libelous commentaries in last week’s Targum by Janna Aladdin and Muhammad Raza about Andrew Getraer, Executive Director of Rutgers Hillel. They characterize him numerous times as racist, bigoted, prejudiced and Islamophobic.
Before enrolling in Introduction to Education at Rutgers, I had many preconceived notions about the “broken” state of education in America but not a lot of ideas on how it could be fixed. I had hoped that the class would set the groundwork for a potential career in the realm of educational policy, and while I can’t say that this hope has entirely died out, it has certainly transformed throughout the semester. Before this class, my opinions when considering the problems that America’s educational system faces were coming from a very sheltered perspective. I only considered the divide between “academic students” and “vocational students” that existed in my largely Caucasian, southern New Hampshire school district.
The Targum published an opinion piece written by Janna Aladdin titled “Hate speech will not be tolerated on campus” several days ago. The letter’s intention is not to encourage students to stand up against hate speech, as the title might imply. Rather, it is an offensive and distasteful attack on Rutgers Hillel director, Andrew Getraer. The author’s basis is that conversations between Getraer and others were “leaked” on alternet.org, as if the content is shocking or offensive. In reality, all comments made by Getraer in the article are factual, and not even remotely Islamophobic. Since when are fact-based views stated on social media regarded as “hate speech?”
Earlier this week, alternet.org published a conversation between Ido Shapiro and Rutgers Hillel’s executive director, Andrew Getraer, of which the latter’s key points include rather shocking claims against Islam and Muslims both here at Rutgers and worldwide. The director’s particular remarks as well as his resulting statement in wake of the leaked conversation may be viewed online. The summary? The entire Islamic faith is “a problem,” 25 percent of Muslims (or 375 million) are terrorists, “Islamist” Palestine is an oppressive threat, most of Rutgers’ Muslims are terrorist sympathizers, etc. According to Getraer, he was merely advocating for our safety and well being against strains of radical belief, apparently championing himself as a defender of Islam and Muslims.
Reading Ms. Margarita Rosario’s column from Jan. 20 related to the recent events in France, I was reminded of the fact that many Americans, young and old, know little about other cultures than their own. The culture in question here being French, I feel it is almost my obligation, as a Rutgers Professor, to react to an article exhibiting ignorance made worse by fiery rhetoric.
I can’t say I’m shocked The Daily Targum ran a story about “sexiness,” not just on the front cover but above the fold, but I certainly am saddened. Rutgers University is a unique environment that has done a lot — more than most universities — to promote tolerance and celebrate diversity. But it feels like we’ve taken two solid steps back with the article titled, “U. alumnus named ‘Sexiest Teacher in America.’” Really, Targum staff? You couldn’t think of anything more pressing or newsworthy than furthering the objectification of a teacher and reminding your readers that worth is determined by your “sexiness?” How upsetting to think that a group of intelligent, and hopefully well-meaning students couldn’t think of anything more important to share with our student body. Surely, there is a lot going on both at the local university level and worldwide that deserves your, and subsequently, our attention (for example, the state of race relations as it relates to the Staten Island Supreme Court ruling yesterday, continued dealings with ISIS, the state of sexual assault both nationally and at a Rutgers level, etc.). As students who are trying to harness the knowledge and wisdom of those around us, we expect more — much more — from our school newspaper. Please bring us the news that matters, not filler stories embracing (and/or championing) archaic and sexist perspectives. Sexiness does not make a good teacher. Haven’t you learned this by now? Shame on you for letting this hit the presses.
My name is Aaron London, and I am the student featured in the original photo from the Students for Justice in Palestine’s “die-in” rally three weeks ago, in which an SJP activist is seen giving the middle finger to my face.
On Nov. 12, a space probe the size of a refrigerator landed on a 3-mile-wide comet hurtling through space over 320 million miles away, a landing that took 25 years to accomplish. On Sept. 24, a probe named Mangalyaan successfully made it into Mars’ orbit, joining several other envoys that had already been sent. On Aug. 6, a nuclear-powered rover the size of an SUV landed itself to survey the red planet.
The University libraries are dealing with the capacity issue the wrong way. Instead of limiting the number of people allowed to enter the libraries, Rutgers libraries should consider expanding to include more buildings to use as extensions to the libraries. Rutgers libraries are justifying the new policy (which only allows Rutgers students with IDs to be in the building after 10 p.m.) by stating that the general student body is happy with it. However, I feel that as a public institution, Rutgers libraries should not limit access to books and thus education from the public. We never know where and who our world’s next genius is and where he or she may come from. Limiting the public to the doors of education is just not the American way. The new policy goes against what America stands for: freedom and opportunity.
I am writing in response to Sergio Rojas’ Nov. 24 column in The Daily Targum. President Barack Obama has taken the right step in taking on the issue of a broken system albeit during his final few years in office. The job of fixing the broken immigration system was taken in all sincerity and earnestness by the former President George W. Bush in 2006 and failed in Congress. However, the immigration issue is radioactive and neither party is interested in fixing this broken system even with a ten-foot pole. By taking executive action and providing paperwork for undocumented immigrants of US citizens or Permanent residents would help bring forth millions out of shadow world of exploitation, reprisals of arrests and deportation.
The Women and Gender Studies Department at Rutgers University invited Steven Salaita to speak at an event called “Silencing Dissent.” Previously, the University of Illinois rescinded Steven Salaita’s invitation to be a professor at their school because of his anti-Semitic and bigoted Tweets, such as “Israel: transforming anti-Semitism from something horrible into something honorable since 1948.” I am appalled that someone who finds anti-Semitism honorable and blames victims of anti-Semitic verbal and physical attacks was allowed to speak at Rutgers. I believe that hateful speech should not be supported or promoted in a University that values diversity.
As the former co-president of a high school Co-Exist club, as a Jewish Individual who shared the responsibilities of president with a Muslim friend of mine, I am appalled at the display depicted in the photo of the “die-in”. I happened to walk by that area, and though I didn’t see this protest, I did end up signing the Hillel petition for peace. Peace is a wonderful word that’s so easily overlooked in a world filled with hatred. In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I have opinions, but the most basic of them is that both sides have things they are right about, and things they are wrong about. The problem comes when we jump so quickly to radical expressions of opinions and ideas. I am not offended by the photo of the “die-in” because it expresses an idea, free speech is important…I am offended by the “die-in” because it expresses a radical depiction of both sides of the conflict.
In this day and age, it is very clear that the focus of most college-aged adults are things like what the newest high-tech gadgets available are and what they plan to do with their friends this weekend. What they usually don’t take the time to step back and look at is the big picture that is the world, especially the natural world. Recently, I read that the black rhino was officially declared extinct and that the white rhino is very soon to follow. Another article said wild hedgehogs in the United Kingdom could go extinct within the next 10 to 20 years.
As a Rutgers alumna, I have grown very uncomfortable with the cozy and symbiotic relationship developing between the University and research facilities, pharmaceutical industries and the National Institutes of Health.