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As many students probably know due to its extensive endorsement at Rutgers, yesterday was National Voter Registration Day. By setting up numerous voter registration drives around campus, Rutgers’ Center for Youth Political Participation (CYPP) continues to play an important role in getting students registered to vote. Yesterday’s drives came in time for the New Jersey midterm elections, participation in which necessitates being registered by Oct. 16. Last school year, the Student Affairs Committee released a report on what action can be taken to increase student-voter turnout in all levels of elections. The report showed that voter registration rates among Rutgers—New Brunswick students were 76.6 percent in 2016 — a 3 percent increase from 2012 — and that a little more than half of the Rutgers students eligible to vote did so in the 2016 election. The more students who are registered to vote (and who actually get out and vote) the better, that seems obvious — but why? Well, there are many reasons, but one in particular may hit home for many young people: We are the future.
On Sept. 24, rags-to-riches K-pop superstars BTS made history. They became the first K-pop band to speak at a United Nations summit, in front of an audience that included the United Nations secretary general and the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
When the candied myths sour, we will be forced to reckon with our poisoned misdirection. We are not the land of the select few, but rather we are the land of the united many, E pluribus unum. A nation of nations. A nation of immigrants. An imperfect nation that must confront the racism and hate that divides us. When we realize that we have been hollowed as a populace, that there has been a theft of our patriotism and perversion of our democratic values, then we will understand the deception.
This fall I am teaching an American Studies course on the role of museums and monuments in American culture and history. I planned a three-week unit around the history of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and the controversies that surrounded the construction of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and WWII Memorial. We are also examining the National Museum of the American Indian and the recently opened National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the struggle that went into seeing these institutions realized as part of the landscape that is referred to as “America’s front yard.” All of this was to be accompanied by a two-day trip to the capital to engage these sites in person.
To probably no one's surprise, two more crime alerts were issued this past weekend. The first was a robbery which occurred the morning of Sept. 21 on Senior Street between Sicard and Wyckoff streets, and the second was an aggravated assault that happened the morning of Sept. 23 on Easton Avenue. Additionally, at around 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, a robbery occurred at an off-campus residence on Harvey Street, and on Sept. 4 at approximately 1 a.m. an aggravated assault occurred on Easton Avenue near Courtland Street. A member of the Rutgers wrestling team has been charged with being the perpetrator of the Sept. 4 assault.
Brett Kavanaugh — who is days away from being appointed to Supreme Court Justice — has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, when he was 17. Although I was horrified to hear this news, it is sad to say I was not shocked.
Ford Motor Company of Detroit, Mich., which developed the black Model T, would not only survive the Great Depression, but become one of the most successful American companies to date.
As is a well established fact by now, with approximately 2.3 million people locked up, the United States has more people in prison per capita than any other nation in the world. One in five of those people are incarcerated for a non-violent drug offense. New Jersey itself, though, has taken meaningful steps to cut down on the number of people incarcerated. The Garden State’s incarceration rate has been steadily decreasing in recent years, and since its peak inmate population in the 1990s, New Jersey’s prison population has dropped more than any other state in the nation. Though Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has ordered N.J. district attorneys to resume prosecuting even minor marijuana cases after having put a pause to such prosecution over the summer, he essentially noted that prosecutors may use lenient discretion in convicting a person, especially when such convictions would jeopardize a person’s access to public housing, immigration status or parenting rights. These incremental changes are important in working to fix the criminal justice system, but one Rutgers program is taking it to the next level.
Nearly three decades after the Anita Hill testimony, and a year since the beginning of the #MeToo reckoning, the Senate is not prepared to deal with yet another sexual allegation of its own. Especially when doing so would put a seat on the Supreme Court at risk — the seat that it is well aware will decide the fate of women’s rights for a generation.
What if I told you one of the greatest economists of the 20th century, a Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, a Nobel Laurette went to Rutgers. I imagine you, dear reader, would be a little surprised because surely Rutgers University the hallowed institution of higher learning that it is, would advertise this to its incoming students. Perhaps, dare I say, the administration would see it fit to honor this mystery man. Well as you have probably guessed, there is such a man who graduated from our fair University. This man was the noted economist Milton Friedman. I believe it is high time Rutgers does more to honor the legacy of Friedman.
The past two years have seen a considerable increase in polarization on the tail ends of the political spectrum. While in certain cases the most recent presidential election brought unlikely allies together, the aftermath left both parties scattered and confused. Major reorganization and re-evaluation of both parties' platforms — particularly Democrats — was in order if they were to continue to be a positive and considerable influence on the political stage. On the Left, groups such as Antifa and the Women’s March sprouted up and embraced more socialistic ideas, such as free healthcare and college tuition. The tactics that these groups use, specifically Antifa, are aggressive, provocative and often violent. The purpose of these protests does not seem to change minds and convince those in the center, but to resist the current administration and its policies, whatever they may be. These emerging groups dominate conservative media segments, and rightfully so. Yet, many forget — or ignore — the Right's little monster, Turning Point USA (TPUSA).
Hasan Minhaj’s 2017 comedy special, "Homecoming King," has made me tear up on multiple occasions.
Rutgers' Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling has recently conducted two polls regarding the opioid issue, one of which rather strongly indicated that many people who are prescribed opioids by doctors may not have been sufficiently advised regarding their dangers or effective alternatives. In 2015, New Jersey opioid providers wrote prescriptions for more than half of every 100 patients they saw, and in 2016 New Jersey’s opioid-overdose rate exceeded the national average at 16 fatal opioid overdoses per 100,000 people. Today, the Garden State still struggles with this deadly epidemic — and New Brunswick is no exception.
It seems fair to assume that almost every woman has been called a slut at some point in her life. In my own life, an acute awareness of the term came in middle school, when my best friend was called a slut after she had her first kiss in seventh grade. In the weirdly charged environment that is early pubescence, where everything is new and everyone compares “firsts” — when you had your first kiss, when you first “hung out” with someone romantically, the list goes on — it felt like the word slut was thrown out a lot more. There was constant judgement and jealousy, a need to equate one’s lack of sexual experience or prowess (often by choice) with a character default in someone who perhaps was sexually active or more romantically interested. I had thought that the use of this language had subsided, but I am not sure that that is true, and lately I have heard the word slut used by women to describe other women more than I have heard it from men. Do women feel more entitled to use a term that has likely been used on them? When a woman calls another woman a slut, is it more okay? What are the implications?
Obviously, longevity is one element, but there are other factors that make a great traditional rivalry. When Princeton dropped Rutgers from its football schedule, it made sense for both schools because there was no reason to believe the game would be competitive in the future and Princeton had not had much interest in the game for a long time. But, the end of the rivalry caused enormous anguish on Rutgers side. The Princeton game was the high point of the social calendar for Rutgers organizations that had nothing to do with football, and for undergraduates and alumni who had never been to the game. The Rutgers vs. Princeton game had been the real homecoming weekend regardless of what was designated each year.
The American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT) has planned a demonstration for this coming Friday, Sept. 21 to continue to push for better working conditions, which includes the fight for a $15 minimum wage. The #FightFor15 movement has been a hot point of controversy on campus between student-activists and the University in recent years, and this year is expected to be no different. Last December, members of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) pushed past a line of police officers blockading a Board of Governors meeting chanting, “We work, we sweat, put that 15 on our set.” There were multiple other protests for this cause in New Brunswick last year, which were presumably at least partially the impetus for the University’s decision to raise the minimum wage on campus from $8.44 to $11 an hour.
This past weekend I had the privilege of being able to try out the open beta test for Call of Duty Blackout on PC. In case you do not know, Call of Duty Blackout is a new battle-royale-style game mode releasing with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 in October. The concepts and tactics for the game mode mirror those used for Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). Eighty-five players in the beta (100 players in the full version of the game) parachute out of a helicopter while it is flying over a large map. Once you have landed, you have to collect equipment to use for survival, such as ammunition, medical-kits and weapons. The map shrinks over time, and the goal of the game is to be the final one alive. Call of Duty Blackout has identical gunplay to all of the other Call of Duty games and modes that have been released. Tight, accurate and smooth gameplay are the hallmarks of any Call of Duty game, and the new Blackout mode is no exception. This comes as a breath of fresh air, as no other battle-royale-style game to date has had balanced, quality gameplay out of the gate.
The American prison system is analogous to what happens when a teenager says they will clean their room when really, they are just stuffing their closet and hoping nothing falls out. It is an utter mess that is continuing to pile up with no end solution in thought. There are currently more than 2.2 million people that are currently in U.S. jails or prisons, the highest prison population in the entire world, and according to the Prison Policy Initiative/U.S Census Bureau, the population of those in prison and jail would result in the fourth largest city in America. That statistic leaves out those who are under correctional control, probation or parole meaning that the number could realistically be millions more. There are more jails than colleges in the U.S., which are paid for by the taxpayer, so today I would like to discuss just how severely populated the prisons are, as well as what this means for the average citizen and what steps need to be taken to fix this.
The contracts agreed upon between the University and Rutgers’ faculty union, the American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT), expired this past July, but a number of faculty members still remain without a new contract. That is not to say that our professors are not getting paid — they are — but negotiations are ongoing, and faculty members have not received raises or adjustments in salary based on cost of living.