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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.
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.
Notes and Tutors is a service founded by Rutgers alumni meant to allow students to help create a more interconnected network of student collaboration. The organization is specifically tailored to Rutgers students, which makes it unique relative to other organizations like Course Hero and StudyBlue. For free, it gives students the ability to share notes for a class they have taken in exchange for notes for a class they are in. Additionally, the service offers student-tutors that have been screened and bear the necessary credentials to teach other students. Notes and Tutors has garnered more than 2,000 student subscriptions and has more than 10,000 pages of notes available to students, despite the fact that it exists alongside other free and University-sponsored tutoring services.
Americans are an undoubtedly wasteful people, and much of this wastefulness has manifested itself in what has seemingly become an era of disposability and convenience. Food is cheaper in the United States than it is in most other places in the world, which may seemingly contribute to an ungrateful attitude with regard to it. Considering how easy it is to get, it is reasonable to say that Americans are rather picky about what they eat and the way it looks. For example, if an apple has a small bruise on it, most Americans might just throw it away rather than suffer discomfort from consuming it. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that supermarkets dispose of approximately $15 billion worth of unsold fruits and vegetables each year. Additionally, between 30 and 40 percent of the food supply in the U.S. per year is wasted — or approximately $160 billion worth. To boot, food waste is the largest contributor to America’s landfills and the third largest source of methane in the United States — which is important to note because of methane’s harsh impact on the atmosphere. Combined with all of the other things so conveniently disposed of, such as paper, plastic plates and utensils, the amount of garbage the United States generates is alarming.
LOVE NOT HATE
Cardi B, the artist well-known for the incredibly popular song “Bodak Yellow,” has taken part in initiating engagement in a competition between colleges nationwide. The competition is in partnership with Tinder, a dating application, and involves a “swipe off” where the school with the most right swipes will get a free concert. The 32 schools still alive after the second round of the competition were announced Monday, and Rutgers made the cut. Today we found out if we are still in the running, as the 16 schools with the least right swipes will be cut from the list. While this competition is all in good fun and is a light-hearted, and frankly funny, way to go about scoring a concert by one of the country’s most famous artists, winning might actually hold more weight for Rutgers than some would think.
About a month ago, letters began flurrying into communities in the United Kingdom encouraging people to scare and commit violence against Muslims, which eventually spread into the United States. “Punish a Muslim Day” was essentially a game intended to be carried out yesterday, according to the letter, and people would receive “points” for harming Muslims. For example, a person would get 10 points for “verbally abusing a Muslim," 100 points for “beating up a Muslim," 500 points for “murdering a Muslim” and 1,000 for “bombing a mosque." These are only a few of the hateful and horrible suggestions in the letter.
Klansman robes were notably lacking at last August’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, V.A. — instead, many of the white supremacists marching sported oddly presentable outfits, such as khakis and polos. Swastikas, other hate symbols, shaved heads and belligerent behavior are now seemingly relics of white supremacy’s past in the United States. These groups are beginning to rebrand themselves, focusing on education and appearance so as to be taken more seriously in the public eye. The de-robing of hate displays a rather interesting progression in the evolution of white supremacy in this nation. While white supremacists used to keep their identities hidden under hoods, they are now markedly outspoken.
In 2014, an invitation extended to former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Conodoleezza Rice to speak at the University’s commencement was met with zealous backlash. Students and faculty protested the invitation for a month before Rice finally pulled out of the ceremony, at points staging a sit-in outside of University President Robert L. Barchi’s office demanding Rice’s disinvitation and interrupting a senate meeting to question Barchi’s passivity with regard to their demands. The main line of reasoning behind their doing so was embedded in Rice’s involvement in what they deemed as former President George W. Bush’s administration’s war crimes and the devastating invasion of Iraq.
LOVE FOR MEN’S LAX
As many have assumed in the past, it is becoming more apparent that the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey is inevitable. With Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) as governor, there are new changes to come with regard to the public’s use of the drug. The Bill S830 — one that would make the use and possession of low amounts of marijuana legal for those who are 21 and over — has been introduced by lawmakers. Murphy has also already announced that doctors in New Jersey can now recommend the use of medical marijuana to their patients, which could help people struggling with various issues — and considering the state’s opioid issue, we could use something less harmful to help with things like chronic pain. With the legalization of marijuana, especially for recreational use, will no doubt bring some worries, and the negative and positive consequences of marijuana’s legalization in this state are worth pondering.
Anyone who lives in New Brunswick sees its rapid development firsthand. Mom-and-pop shops that once served the community have since been replaced by large and wealthy corporations and new buildings. The gentrification of cities does well to improve their aesthetic and infrastructure, but there are other consequences that go along with it. It may very well be worthwhile to examine the effect that the continued gentrification of New Brunswick will have on its community, including the Rutgers community.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, people have more freely and openly discussed the issue of sexual assault and harassment and the effect it has on so many people. These issues are deeply rooted in society, and public discussion of them is necessary to mitigate the problem. Nevertheless, it can go without saying that much more work is still needed. This fact was made obvious after recent happenings on American Idol, where one of the judges, Katy Perry, seemed to ignore the fact that women are not infallible with regard to committing unwarranted sexual advances.
The people of Austin, Texas were instilled with a deep fear for their lives as a string of package-bomb attacks occurred over the span of 19 days. The perpetrator, a 23-year-old white male, is now deceased after blowing himself up inside of his vehicle while authorities approached. His actions left two people dead, both of which were the sons of prominent Black community members, and multiple others injured. Before committing suicide, the perpetrator recorded a 25-minute confession video, which Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said indicates no link to terrorism, but that the bomber was "a very troubled young man who was talking about challenges in his life that led him to this point." That caused many to be frustrated by the fact that despite the terror experienced by the residents of Austin, the perpetrator has not been deemed a terrorist.
HIGH-FIVES FOR HULT
Last Wednesday, students across the country took part in the national walkout in symbolic support of stricter gun laws. Naturally and reasonably, some people disagreed with the walkout for varying reasons. Instead of a walkout, some suggested, students should take part in a "walk up." Instead of a protest, the idea is that students would go up to kids who seem left out or alone and do something nice for them to make them feel welcome. In many respects, this is a good and necessary idea which should happen more often — but it is questionable with regard to the purpose at hand, which is to help solve the issue of gun violence in schools. Truthfully, neither demonstration will likely have a significant or direct impact on the issue.
Built in 1915 and one of Rutgers’ oldest landmarks, Ford Hall on the College Avenue campus is slated by the administration to be demolished. The building, which once acted as a dormitory, was constructed with a donation of $110,000 by former Board of Trustees member John Howard Ford and was designed by Bertram Goodhue, a historically renowned architect. Located across the street from the new Hillel House and not far from The Yard @ College Avenue, Ford Hall does well to bring the old feel of Voorhees Mall to the increasingly modernized College Avenue. In response to word of its intended destruction, a Change.org petition has been created to preserve the building, which has already garnered more than 300 signatures.
At 5 p.m. on Monday, members of multiple University-affiliated groups took to the streets of New Brunswick to march in support of a “clean” Dream Act for undocumented students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients that does not criminalize communities and separate families. The activists marched on the street from the Brower Commons steps all the way to the Douglass Student Center, holding banners that said things like, “#HERETOSTAY” and “NODREAMDEFERRED.” Considering the fact that this demonstration took place around rush hour, it resulted in a certain degree of traffic delays — which were likely frustrating to some. As with any demonstration, the point these protesters were making was meant to be heard, and as we have seen throughout history, being heard often times entails making somewhat of a ruckus. Regardless of if these protesters were in the right or wrong, what is not clear at first glance is if their march was in accordance with University policy.
Rutgers students will get to experience a little preemptive taste of spring break today as a result of the snow storm. To many students this may come as somewhat of a surprise, as this snow day is a rare occasion — something the University takes a lot of backlash for. The closing of all offices and cancellation of classes is in accordance with Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D-N.J.) declaration of a state of emergency, which is interesting because it seems it takes an extremely high standard of danger and inclement weather, such as the one we are presented with, for the administration to make the decision to close.
New Brunswick and Rutgers police utilized a search warrant to raid an off-campus house on the College Avenue campus this past Saturday, in response to information that led them to believe the residents were in possession of assault weapons. The situation turned out to be a false alarm, as police found two imitation firearms — one resembling an assault rifle and the other a hand gun. At this time, no charges have been filed against the residents of the house. The information, according to the press release, came from people who had attended a party at the house in question earlier that day. Presumably, these individuals had noticed the weapons and then notified the police out of concern for the safety of the community. And after what happened in Parkland, Florida last month, in addition to the many other horrendous cases of that sort, it is reasonable for people to be on-edge about the real possibility of gun violence happening to them. With that said, the situation that unfolded here at Rutgers sparks some important questions.