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Education is undeniably one of the most fundamental aspects of a developed society. It is recognized as a universal right and encompasses total accessibility for people of all beliefs, backgrounds, genders and races. Education is an achievement and an asset that promotes academic, social and cultural awareness because of its inclusivity. That being said, its state is the greatest harbinger of a corrupted society as it can be easily manipulated to fit harmful agendas. One can make a highly accurate judgment of a nation’s secularity, adherence to law, political and social values and treatment of its citizens simply by analyzing its education system.
The cost of ending the government shutdown this week was the shutting down of something else: a lot of hope. When 33 Democrats in Senate voted to end the recent government shutdown with a temporary spending bill to Feb. 8 instead of resisting the pressure, the hope for DACA beneficiaries plunged a little deeper into the ground.
The American economy is currently experiencing its longest stretch of continuous job growth in recorded history. For 87 months in a row, more jobs have been added than lost, with the unemployment rate plunging to just 4.1 percent. Long-term unemployment, once a symbol of the slow recovery, has finally normalized. In other words, the job market is strong.
In the eyes of many, 2017 has been defined by the roar of resistance. Reviving from post-election traumatics, critics of President Donald J. Trump gathered in the millions last year to voice their disapproval like clockwork. Those who wished to defy the new administration took to the streets with signs and dissent. The protests began in the first month with the Women’s March, then branched into oppositions against travel bans, immigration reform and climate change. Across the nation, there was a collective battle cry that yelled, “This Will Not Stand.”
As the opioid crisis becomes increasingly deadly, former Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) has made it his mission to fight back against the de-facto plague here in New Jersey. For Christie the crisis is one that hits home, as a friend of his was addicted to opioids and was ultimately killed by them in an overdose. Christie recently announced that New Jersey universities, including Rutgers, will receive $5 million to help combat the issue on college campuses. The grant was decided upon before Christie left office, and is meant to go towards funding education and rehabilitation with regard to drug addiction in young people — a group that badly needs it. In 2016, 40 percent of all treatment admissions reported to New Jersey’s Substance Abuse Monitoring System was comprised of people between the ages of 18 and 29.
On Monday, newly sworn in Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) signed an executive order calling for a full-scale audit of NJ Transit. The system is seen by many as failing and was one of the hot-button issues of November’s gubernatorial race, especially after Hoboken’s rail accident in 2016. From personnel to infrastructure, NJ Transit is in need of a serious revamping, and Murphy is right about that. At parts of the train station in Summit, for example, the concrete was found to be crumbling. But while a revolution is just what this transit system needs, change at the scale in question requires a large amount of one scarce and particular thing — money.
We stand at a crossroads. America is plagued by inequality. People feel stuck and trapped in their socioeconomic status, yet a wave of activism is crashing across the country. People are mobilized in an effort of progress and hope is present in many. Now is the time for the Democratic Party to assert itself as not just the anti-Donald J. Trump party, but also the party of the working class, of economic uplifting and of liberty and justice for all.
Right beside McCormick Residence Hall is the ongoing construction of the Richard Weeks Hall of Engineering. It is an architectural marvel. The exterior is sleek steel and large, open glass windows. A long metallic hall juts out the side of the main entrance in an eccentric tilt and a large, circular room bulges from beneath. Activity on the construction site had begun just before I enrolled at Rutgers as a first-year and is slated to end this fall. Once the structure is completed, it will rival the Business School on Livingston campus.
A significant burden to the students of Rutgers—New Brunswick is the transportation system. While students become increasingly frustrated with the buses, the University is seemingly frantically looking for ways to make them run more smoothly and efficiently. New bus lanes and bike lanes were implemented on College Avenue in the summer, but they are simply not enough to solve the problem. One of the main ideas behind this initiative with synchronous lecture halls is that by offering classes of this sort, the University will be able to cut out a good portion of student travel and hopefully alleviate traffic. So far the University has taken 10 large lecture courses and made them into synchronous lecture hall courses with the hope of reducing the number of students who need to take the bus. So for example — in a class of 300, rather than possibly more than 150 students traveling on the buses there may now only be 50 traveling for that class. This is an important goal because, in reality, the whole point of attending Rutgers is to go to class and learn. Without students actually being able to get to class efficiently, this is impossible. With that said, it is good to see the University coming up with innovative ways to solve the bus crisis.
Seven years after the Arab Spring, Tunisians have returned once again to the streets, demanding reform. Since the beginning of the month, small and medium-sized protests have erupted in multiple towns and cities all across the north African country demanding economic opportunity, development and job growth. As of the time of this writing, the protests have begun to die out. Despite this, the protests are significant because of the underlying issues that they reveal.
It was after one Hispanic and one Indian colleague left me to stand in the flight boarding queue in Durban International Airport that a man approached me. I am what most would consider white but let us use the term loosely as I was more of a light hue of salmon, as my sunburn entered the “peeling” phase. As I finished one last peel of skin, the man asked where I was from and what brought me to "the motherland." I explained that I was a member of a Rutgers delegation which traveled to South Africa to learn more about Nelson Mandela and perform social and economic justice research post-apartheid in partnership with South African students.
Saturday marked the one year anniversary of President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, so let us take a look at his presidency from a conservative perspective — though please note, I did not vote for Trump.
After accusations of sexual harassment were made against Aziz Ansari by "Grace," whose real name remains anonymous, a controversy sparked. People debated over issues involving victim-blaming, a lack of sex education and a misinterpretation of the #MeToo movement. Babe.net released an in-depth article describing Grace’s account of her night with Ansari, how she felt pressured into certain sexual interactions, how uncomfortable she felt and how she cried on the way home.
The overall number of reported rapes and sexual assaults at New Jersey’s four-year institutions of higher education has risen in recent years. The number of rapes reported increased a relatively hefty 24 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to NJ Advance Media. Additionally, cases of unwanted fondling and dating violence rose 46 percent and 13 percent respectively. At Rutgers—New Brunswick, though, such reports have actually slightly decreased.
EDUCATION AND ADVOCACY
The daily revelations of unmasked sexual deviants have left Hollywood tense and uneasy. For decades, the film industry has been rife with perverts and pedophiles, and it has been fueled by the complacent and avaricious nobility of Tinseltown. The 2018 Golden Globes, distinguished by women adorned in black who ignited the #TimesUp movement, demonstrates the prevalent, potent arrogance and hypocrisy of liberal Hollywood elites. In midst of a slew of sexual assault allegations, set off by accusations against famous producer Harvey Weinstein, the public has been rightfully outraged by the exposed dark underbelly of Hollywood. To those who are familiar with its culture, though, this open secret has always been ingrained within the entertainment empire.
Like all social revolutions, although the #MeToo movement has garnered great support, it still succumbs to great controversy. While this bold stance against sexual assault perpetrated by famous, untouchable figures is admirable, it also calls into question how to deal with sexual misconduct allegations when the most that can oftentimes be done is unfairly pit one person’s words against another's. The #MeToo story is one of female empowerment, but could it also be a story of a story that, in retrospect, can be compared to the Salem witch trials? With new allegations sufacing daily, the #MeToo movement is at the precipice of mutation, which can be detrimental to its legacy.
All Americans technically have the ability to take hold of the American Dream, but it is no secret that some are in a better position to do so than others. Juggling school, work and resume boosters with the aim of future success can be a struggle, especially given the cost of attaining a degree in this day and age, and the University knows this. This is why effective Jan. 1, the Rutgers administration raised the minimum wage for student workers from $8.44 to $11 an hour — an approximately 30 percent increase. University President Robert L. Barchi said in an email sent out before winter break that he has, “made it a goal to put as much of Rutgers’ revenues back into the academic mission as possible, and financial assistance in all forms for students is at the top of my list.” Rutgers has more than 13,000 student workers, many of whom have taken out student loans to pay for school on top of their other miscellaneous expenses, such as food, fuel for their cars and rent. “Please know that we will always be seeking new ways to support you on your journey toward a Rutgers degree," Barchi said. As students, knowing that the University administration has our back is important and comforting.
Earlier in the week, Aziz Ansari came under fire due to an article published in babe magazine. The story, documenting the date between Ansari and pseudonym “Grace,” quickly became popular, eventually even gleaning a response from Ansari himself. As the #MeToo movement continues to gain traction, and as sexual assault and harassment become increasingly scrutinized within our culture, it is important to think with nuance about allegations as they unfold, so as not to jeopardize the movement.
As we begin the Spring 2018 semester with our New Year’s resolutions in tow, our goals and desires will be challenged due to our increasingly busy schedules. Those who have decided to improve their health might start to feel like they no longer have time to exercise or cook healthier meals. In reality, there is time for whatever you want to make time for. Lack of time is no excuse for anything you actually want or need in your life.