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On December 20, 2013, former Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) signed into law the Tuition Equality Act, a bill that allowed for thousands of undocumented students to pay in-state tuition to attend public colleges and universities in New Jersey — but now the next step toward educational equity is being taken. Having already passed through the state Senate and Assembly, a bill to offer financial aid to DREAMers now sits on the desk of Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.). As early as the Fall 2018 semester, students who lack citizenship but meet the necessary requirements will be able to apply for and participate in all student financial aid programs. Potential undocumented recipients must meet the requirements for the Tuition Equality Act, which for example, include the student having attended high school for three or more years, graduated high school or received a GED and filed an affidavit with the college or university stating that they have (or soon will) filed an application to validate their legal status.
Strongly-opinionated people have always clashed over what they believed was best for society. Yet, there always seemed to be a code of common decency and respect for those with opposing views. In contrast, this day and age has felt especially polarizing and divisive with it being compared to the likes of the Civil War. Some have attributed this divide to the rise of social media, which allows for the formation of echo-chambers consisting of like-minded people. Case in point, the rise of the alt-Right, which was seen as a product of the citizens' festering belief that the government no longer had its best interests in mind. In fact, it was this sense of mistrust in the bureaucratic process that ended up being a large factor in the election of President Donald J. Trump, who was viewed as the “outsider” or “people’s president.” Although, radically-conservative beliefs do not instill themselves overnight, or even over the course of the year-and-a-half 2016 presidential campaign. They are passed down from generation to generation and/or shaped by one’s life experiences as well as by who one surrounds oneself with.
With graduation quickly approaching, I have been preparing my last words for Rutgers University students, faculty and staff about my views on health and wellness. Throughout my time at Rutgers, I hunted endlessly for a peaceful balance in my health — a task hundreds of students are facing every day. Over the years, I have altered my diet and exercise habits to achieve three different goals: losing weight, gaining weight and gaining muscle. Contrary to popular belief, all three goals are equally exhausting, mentally trying and require pure dedication. My advice to anyone interested in falling in love with living a healthy lifestyle every day is to find your own personal balance, do your research and aim for overall wellness.
Despite being a natural and necessary part of life, menstruation has been considered by many to be somewhat taboo and dirty. Possibly for that reason, among others, until recently public accommodations with regard to it have been seemingly non-existent in the United States. The Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) did well in joining the several other U.S. colleges and universities that have been successfully pushing for readily accessible and affordable menstrual hygiene products on campus.
In 2012, the Rutgers/Princeton Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Program was established to help develop future officers for the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The program here is one of the newest, but in just the span of a few years Rutgers/Princeton NROTC has shown that determination and hard work truly do pay off.
Niccolò Machiavelli was a Renaissance writer, an Italian politician, humanist and philosopher among many other things. He is seen as the father of modern political science and wrote the famous work known as "The Prince" in which he discusses how to obtain and preserve political power by outlining some characteristics rulers should have. Machiavelli wrote "The Prince" during his exile from Italy. During this time, Italy was split into independent city states which led to constant unrest with neighboring states. Many people have a bad connotation of Machiavelli and they see him as the teacher of evil and sin. Machiavelli states that he would much rather choose the balance to be both loved and feared, but if he could only pick one, being feared would be in his best interest to consolidate and protect his power.
University President Robert L. Barchi commended the University for its ongoing growth at the Board of Governors meeting last week. In recent years there has been a marked increase in new student applications — since last year we are up 7.3 percent at New Brunswick and 9.3 percent for all three campuses together. The number of out-of-state students coming to Rutgers is also continuing to steadily increase. To boot, Rutgers has an extremely high retention rate of more than 90 percent. This progress is likely at least a partial result of the work Rutgers has been putting into spreading and marketing the school’s brand across the country. Of course cross-country marketing requires the allocation of a most likely hefty sum of money — which many members of the Rutgers community probably believe should be spent elsewhere. That being said, it seems the benefits that likely entail the spending of that money make it worthwhile.
In most editions of this column, I have taken extensive lengths to highlight some problem regarding the public health and show readers why both policy and leadership are failing to properly address the needs of the people affected by the problem. For this edition, I would like to take the time to discuss a new frontier that may actually be a policy move in the right direction and highlights how the changing of the guard in the United States’ two-party system can create net benefits to the public health and the needs of the vulnerable.
Picture this. The year is 2018. Barack Obama, a Black man, was our last president. The Black Lives Matter movement is bigger than before. And the simple idea of racism is deemed antiquated and socially inappropriate. And yet it still exists. In fact, you do not need to close your eyes to imagine this. Simply open your eyes and observe the everyday interactions around you, because racial prejudice is still very much alive regardless of the progressive steps taken to attempt its abolishment.
While ramen noodles and mac and cheese seem to be the typical college student’s meal of choice, it has become apparent that many students may not have many other options. Food insecurity among college students is a significant issue across the country, but when we come to realize its prominence at Rutgers, the problem becomes more personal.
In the wake of his most recent military strikes against the high value targets of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons program, President Donald J. Trump was celebratory in his tone and demeanor, commending U.S. allies Great Britain and France for their assistance in, what he coined, a “perfectly executed strike.” Further illustrating his lack of historical consciousness, Trump bookended that tweet with the infamous words: “Mission Accomplished!" But while certainly not done with intent, the harkening back to the banner, which was prominently displayed behind former President George W. Bush onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln as he declared that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended” could not be more fitting. In many respects, the situation the United States finds itself in concerning the Syrian Civil War parallels its involvement in Iraq and Libya over the past couple decades, and much like his predecessors, Trump seems determined to follow in the same mistakes.
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Today, both India and Pakistan remain crippled by the narratives built around the memories of the crimes of the partition.
On March 29, five Turkish teachers and a Turkish doctor in Kosovo were secretly deported against their will by order of the Turkish government. The teachers were working at the Mehmet Akif College, an institution affiliated with the Fethullah Gülen movement, which is a group that has been the target of constant ostracization and scapegoating by the Turkish administration and media. Their arrest is being justified simply by their affiliation with the movement. These six innocent men are just one case of an expansive and hostile manhunt that has been enabled by the Turkish administration since the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt in Turkey, whose motives rest on capturing individuals involved with the Gülen movement. Students of the abducted teachers led protests in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, defending the teachers' innocence and seeking justice for an illegal and unfounded deportation.
After a long year under President Donald J. Trump's administration, prosecutors are closing in on Trump and his alleged involvement with Stormy Daniels. MSNBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos highlighted the F.B.I. raid on Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. Cevallos’s take on the raid includes implications regarding why prosecutors chose to raid Cohen’s office instead of serving him a subpoena. While a subpoena requires an individual to provide evidence of documentation, Cevallos speculates that prosecutors chose to obtain a search warrant in order to seize everything from Cohen’s office, residence and hotel room to ensure that certain documents will not go missing. Instead, Cevallos firmly believes that while the F.B.I. considered serving Cohen a subpoena, it was eventually decided that Cohen was not trustworthy enough to deliver the documents himself. In fact, “to obtain a search warrant, prosecutors must convince a federal judge that agents are likely to discover evidence of criminal activity.”
Spanning five campuses and consisting of tens of thousands of students, Rutgers is enormous. The sheer size of the University entails issues, but there is one issue that seems to captivate much of the student body: the bus system. Students complain — and arguably rightly so — about the state of our bus system and all of its problems. Many of these complaints are valid, but with any large transportation system there are bound to be complications. With that said, there are ways that the individuals within the student body can work together to help mitigate the issues that are of such an annoyance to them and their classmates. But still, the problems with the system are complicated and call for complicated solutions — solutions that may not suit everybody.
There is no single government program more wrongly maligned or misunderstood than foreign aid. In fact, Americans are infamous for their wildly inaccurate perceptions of its scope. The Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed Americans on the issue and found they estimated foreign aid to be 26 percent of the federal budget, when it actually makes up a mere 1 percent. This perception makes cuts to these programs wildly popular, and both of President Donald J. Trump’s budget outlines included deep cuts. Although, for the well-being of humanity, it is unquestionably the greatest undertaking of the American government. Even today as the federal government deals with a relatively large budget deficit, foreign aid should be one of the last, not first, programs on the chopping block.
"It's an attack on our country in a true sense,” a seething President Donald J. Trump said. “It's an attack on what we all stand for.”
The importance of knowledge in relation to power is a recurring theme in the history of our world. Considering the increasingly digital and technologically-dominated age we live in, knowledge of a people is seemingly becoming easier and easier for those in power to acquire. With knowledge of a people’s actions, an authority or elite not only has an increased influence over them, but can learn how they might effectively stay in power and stamp out uprisings of sorts.
We have time and again taken two steps forward and one step back in regard to civil liberties and voting rights, and we must recognize that we are currently in a phase of regression. As a nation we must dig in our heels, assert our values, resist the forces of hate and bigotry and push forward.