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College students can effect change through election participation

(11/03/14 3:49am)

You may have seen several on-campus organizations such as RU Voting offering to help you register to vote these past few weeks. The registration period is now over, but there is still one important step to attend to: actually voting. It’s that time of the year, with elections on the horizon, but not everyone is focused on the upcoming races. Various challenges keep college students from paying attention to politics. We all have incredibly busy schedules built around grueling classes and extracurricular activities. This is the understandable reality of our hectic lives. But the importance of participating in the political process cannot be understated, and students need to make time for being politically aware and informed. Making the effort to vote is essential to ensuring our democracy represents the values of its citizens. Politicians base their actions on the way people cast their ballots. If people feel strongly about a particular policy but don’t show it at the polls, then the issue won’t be addressed.

Equine therapy useful for children and adults

(10/31/14 1:31am)

Throughout my time at Rutgers, I have learned so much about horses and how they are more than just farm animals. Many people, including myself, know or care for someone deemed “disable.” This term is so broad and can include a multitude of situations, such as autism, learning disabilities, physical disabilities (cerebral palsy) or disability from traumatic events. Today, there are many different forms of therapy used to help these individuals. One that was particularly interesting to me was equine assisted therapy. To further explore this interest, Dr. Julie Fagan, an associate professor of animal science at Rutgers University, and I, along with another group member, are researching the benefits of equine assisted therapy in children and young adults suffering from disabilities.

Strategies to deal with water contamination should be addressed

(10/31/14 1:34am)

Although the effects of water supply contamination from aquaculture are increasingly recognized, they are point sources for just a small proportion to land-based pollutants. The nutrient-rich waste may cause eutrophication, a condition that occurs when a high concentration of nitrogen or phosphorus is in the waterway and causes an excessive growth of algae. The toxic algae blooms would reduce the water clarity and deplete dissolved oxygen, which is called the hypoxia environment or the “dead” zone. This environmental condition kills fish and other aerobic species in water. The wastewater discharged with a high concentration of N or P could flow around and cause problems both locally and downstream. The aquaculture waste dramatically changes the environment, and the environment degradation lasts for a long time, which makes the pollution issue more complex. 

Explore alternative method for research

(10/31/14 1:35am)

I would like to discuss an alternative method for cancer research. When we hear about research related to diseases like cancer, we tend to imagine the study being done in a laboratory setting where little rodents are the cancer models. Although scientists have learned many things about cancer by using rodent cancer models like rat and mice, they have not unlocked the full potential of cancer research because they rely too often on these models.

Rutgers should maintain its commitment to faculty, students and education

(10/30/14 1:59am)

University President Robert L. Barchi has called students the “heart and soul” of the University, but as Rutgers management moves the University into the major leagues of college football, members of the University community — students, staff and faculty — are left questioning the veracity of this claim when academics suffer. There may be no more telling example than the University libraries, where massive budgets cuts are coupled with Big Ten fees and additional resource demands.

Students must step up to protect animals from inhumane testing

(10/27/14 3:11am)

Ever wonder what that must-have berry shade of lipstick for fall cost an animal? It possibly cost its life. Animals such as rabbits, mice, rats and guinea pigs unwillingly give their lives just so you can have the latest waterproof mascara. When people think of animal testing in the cosmetics industry, they think slapping some blush on some bunnies and calling it a day. However, the tests these animals go through are far less than glamorous. Tests like skin sensitivity and lethal dose 50 tests are done to ensure the safety of the ingredients and formulations of makeup despite their questionable results. Animal testing in the cosmetic industry is unnecessary and outdated with the introduction of newer, alternative methods that produce more reliable and safe results without causing harm to any animals.

Student government projects student voice

(10/17/14 1:11am)

Throughout history, there has been a struggle for a voice to be heard, for feedback to be taken into consideration. Calls to action were made to make those two things happen. At Rutgers University, we have many systems in place that are trying to further the shared governance principle and administrators who are in place to take feedback into consideration and to hear the student voice. The Rutgers University Student Assembly — your student government — has representatives for every class year, from every school and campus and even student senate representation. RUSA meets every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Activities Center on the College Avenue campus, and this is one of the best locomotives to have your concerns heard and addressed. Anyone is welcome to attend and give feedback. Furthermore, there are student senators who can bring your concerns even further to the University senate. At the University senate, students have representation, and so do faculty, staff members, professors and all members of the Rutgers community. Each committee in RUSA and the University senate has certain charges or tasks that they are working on, and student feedback is critical. For instance, the committee I sit on, the University Structure and Governance Committee, is currently looking at charges that examine the senate election procedure, the mergers procedure and the commencement speaker procedures for future cycles. I would love to have student feedback to bring to the committee meetings. Beyond these meetings, we also understand that students may be busy on Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. or may not be able to attend senate meetings — but RUSA holds office hours on Thursdays and Fridays and is very responsive to phone calls and e-mails. Contact information for RUSA and the University senate can be found at and, respectively. Make your voice heard and make sure your feedback is taken into consideration. At Rutgers University, the struggle begins when your voices are heard, the student empowerment continues when you get more involved, and the student body is seldom ignored when the students united begin to participate in shared governance on the “Banks of the Old Raritan.”

Column misrepresents 'New Atheist' movement

(10/17/14 1:11am)

In his recent column titled “‘New Atheist’ liberals justify Islamophobia with rhetoric,” José Sanchez attempts to smear the leaders of the New Atheist movement. His commentary falsely states, “The New Atheists’ bludgeoning of religion seems to focus only on Islam.” Sanchez is apparently unfamiliar with the work of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, et al. All three men and others like Bill Maher criticize all religions and their holy texts with equal fervor and profess to do as much. They are as swift to denounce Christianity as they are to denounce Islam. A quick search of the Internet will confirm this. However, Sam Harris does note that radical Islamists present a distinct threat to the Western way of life: “Religions differ, and their specific differences matter. And the truth is that Islam has doctrines regarding jihad, martyrdom, apostasy, etc., that pose a special problem to the civilized world at this moment in history.” This is quite a reasonable assertion considering the numerous violent and evil acts perpetrated by Islamists in the West (e.g. 9/11, the 2004/2005 bombings in Madrid and London, the Lockerbie Bombing, the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, etc.). 

Calling all millennials: Last day to register to vote

(10/14/14 1:14am)

Few labels conjure a more diverse reaction than the word “millennial.” This is a generation graduating with an average $30,000 of college debt in a job market that’s leaving 40 percent of us unemployed. This is the first generation raised on computers and cell phones. This is the only generation with nearly half its cohort choosing access to the Internet over owning cars. And more than half of us are choosing to live at home to save on college costs — that’s up 10 percent from just four years ago. We’re the targets of a slew of accusations from older generations. Time Magazine calls us “informed but inactive,” The New York Times calls us “The Self(ie) Generation” and countless others have called us social media obsessed.

Rutgers should celebrate win against Michigan

(10/10/14 2:10am)

My congratulations to the Rutgers team, students and band for an all-around high-class showing at their first Big 10 conference win Oct. 4, and against Michigan at that. The whole school has evolved its A-game — school shirts, cheers, band performance and a great team effort — compared to the ho-hum reaction when I was present for Illinois’ defeat at Rutgers several years ago. 

Misinformed column contains inaccuracies about Hamas

(10/10/14 2:09am)

In her recent column “Hamas is not ISIS, ISIS is not Hamas: UN speech misleading,” Margarita Rosario attempts to take Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to task over what she calls “fallacious rhetoric” before the United Nations General Assembly, where he delivered the line “Hamas is ISIS, and ISIS is Hamas.” Her piece goes on to become apologia for Hamas, a group designated by the U.S. State Department and the European Union as a terrorist organization.

Debunk problematic stereotypes of sexual assault on campus

(10/09/14 1:26am)

On behalf of the School of Social Work’s Center on Violence Against Women and Children, I am writing in response to the Targum article from Sept. 29th, “Rutgers urges students to take sexual assault survey.” Although I commend the Targum for covering this issue and making students aware of the iSPEAK project, I am deeply concerned by the cover image used for this article. Echoing the point that Kaila Boulware made in her Oct. 2 letter to the editor entitled, “Photo representations send strong messages about sexual assault,” the vast majority (somewhere between 85 and 92 percent) of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone familiar to the victim. However, the image accompanying the Targum article suggests otherwise. 

ISIS hostage situation hits close to home

(10/08/14 3:14am)

On Oct. 1, 2013, the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria took my cousin Peter Kassig captive. He was on his way to Deir Ezzor in Eastern Syria with Special Emergency Response and Assistance, the humanitarian organization he founded. His parents, Paula and Edward Kassig, kept silent about this for a year until a video of the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning was released on Oct. 3, 2014 because they proclaimed Peter would be next. As far as I knew, he was in the Middle East working with people who gave him medical attention, training and food. He lives to do the most good he can because all he wants to do is help, not harm anyone.

Militarization of police antithetical to concept of public service

(10/02/14 8:58pm)

According to a commentary published in the Daily Targum on Sept. 28 titled, “Police militarization necessary for law enforcement,” the events in Ferguson somehow indicate a need for more police empowerment. The writer fails to prove why protecting the police is more important than the safety of the citizens. While it may seem that the protection of the police would be conducive to the protection of the people, it becomes questionable in relation to the legal immunity many officers find themselves granted after committing acts of unjustifiable brutality.

Photo representations send strong messages about sexual assault

(10/02/14 8:56pm)

The White House’s United States Department of Justice’s survey of sexual assault at Rutgers is a big deal for the school, and as a reader, I appreciate the coverage on these types of issues. The recent article published in the Daily Targum on Sept. 29, titled “U. urges students to take sexual assault survey,” was very informative and updated me on what is going on, which is exactly what I was looking for. The only piece that seemed problematic to me was the photo that was chosen for the article. The photo showed a person in a dress walking up the stairs and the back of a hooded bandit lurking close by. Most times, in sexual assault cases, the victim knows the attacker, especially in the context of college campuses. The White House Task Force Against Sexual Assault reports that on college campuses “85 percent of victims were assaulted by someone they knew, usually a fellow student.”

Rutgers standards and priorities must be re-evaluated

(10/01/14 10:05pm)

According to the Targum’s Sept. 29 editorial “Big Ten, big bucks and big outrage,” Rutgers plans to spend $64.1 million over the next year on the Athletic Department in hopes of significant revenue. However, with this drastic action that is estimated to cost $183 million over the next nine years, according to economics professor Mark Killingsworth, it has shown its students and the watching world around it that it has lost sight of its priorities. Rutgers has shamelessly been using the façade of collective progression while clearly singling out athletics as far more important than any other department.

Rutgers community needs unity, not division

(09/28/14 8:33pm)

As a current Rutgers graduate student in the Department of Religious Studies, it is rather upsetting to see a group claiming to represent the honorable Jewish students on campus — the Rutgers Hillel — is hosting an event this Tuesday, Sept. 30, that could lead to the spewing of much hate and negativity. The event Hillel is hosting is titled “Examining Human Rights Violations Against Minorities in the Islamist World,” and the guest speaker for the event, Brooke Goldstein, is a known Islamophobe.

Rutgers community must work together to address issues of abuse

(09/25/14 8:39pm)

In the Tuesday, Sept. 23 issue of The Daily Targum, a column was published entitled, “U. must address issues of abuse in residence halls.” I strongly agree with the author’s sentiment that action must be taken to reduce and eliminate incidents of harassment, assault and abuse within our communities. Privacy laws and internal policies prevent me from discussing any details pertaining to individual student complaints, reports or conduct information. I wanted to take a moment and share some information with you regarding the various and multiple layers of support available to our students.