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What is democracy? What does it mean to be democratic? Democracy is the form of government “of the people, by the people, for the people,” as Abraham Lincoln once said. A democratic government is one that hears and acts upon its people’s wishes and concerns. As such, “the principle of accountability holds that government officials — whether elected or appointed by those who have been elected — are responsible to the citizenry for their decisions and actions.” What role do honor and justice play in this ideology? These concepts help form the backbone of this ideology. Those who are chosen by the people to lead must ultimately answer to the people, and also have a duty to fulfill the obligations of the people. These principles were what former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, like much of the Busch administration responsible for the invasion of Iraq, desecrated when they agreed to send the United States military abroad under the false pretense of protecting our freedoms and the American way of life.
As we head down the road toward this year’s commencement ceremony, the focal point of the event so far has been the debate surrounding Condoleezza Rice, namely, whether or not Rutgers should allow Rice to speak at the 2014 Commencement Ceremony. Not only will Rice be the commencement speaker, but she will also be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the institution. A great number of students, myself included, believe that Rice should not be our commencement speaker. Why?
In a commentary in The Daily Targum on Wednesday, Leo Kozachkov expresses some misguided sentiments regarding mathematics education at Rutgers. While I appreciate the author’s love of the Elements, I believe the entirety of the commentary displays some serious, and perhaps deliberate, misunderstandings of the facts in question.
Brandeis University reversed its decision to award Ayaan Hirsi Ali with an honorary degree last week because of her Islamophobic rhetoric. The argument for rescinding her honorary degree is hefty, but not nearly as formidable as the argument to rescind Condoleezza Rice’s invitation and honorary degree here at Rutgers. Unlike Rice, Ali is not considered by most of the world to be a war criminal. For a much lesser offense, the Brandeis administration moved forward anyway. At Rutgers, President Robert L. Barchi has confined the debate on Rice’s invitation to a question of free speech in America, instead of the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people who had families, dreams, friends and passions. This neglects the reality of the invitation and simplifies the issue to one that is incredibly narcissistic. Rutgers is one of the greatest universities in the world, and as such, it is imperative that we intellectually engage the question of our commencement speaker as an inclusive, thoughtful community. With this in mind, we must also remember that some of our own community members are deeply hurt and personally affected by the Iraq War. The invitation to Condoleezza Rice began on the foot of exclusivity and disregard for consciousness and justice on this campus.
On March 26, I attended the screening of “Tricked,” which was sponsored by the Rutgers School of Social Work Graduate Student Association, Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey and the Center on Violence Against Women and Children. It is a documentary about domestic sex trafficking of minors in the United States. The film was followed by a Q&A session with one of the survivors, guest speaker Danielle Douglas, who was featured in the film. The film immediately captured my attention, as it depicted the horrifying truth behind sex trafficking. It is disturbing that in this day and age, thousands of young girls and boys are coerced into a slavery that forces them into prostitution. Many naïve and innocent lives are ripped out of suburbia and thrown into a world filled with pimps, sex and slavery.
In last Wednesday’s editorial titled “AD Situation Overblown By Media,” — ironic, seeing as they ran an editorial the day before criticizing Hermann for “drag[ing] us all through the mud” — The Daily Targum’s editorial board quoted a section of Muckgers’ Mission & Disclosures page about objectivity and mused: “Yet this brings us to a larger issue of new media. Do we read the articles on websites like Muckgers.com as we would a blog, or as an actual news outlet?”
Introductory-level mathematics education is a festering wart on this country’s nose. More locally, Rutgers — a university that touts some of the best researchers in applied mathematics, as well as a top-twenty graduate program — is doing nothing to heal the deep intellectual wounds incoming liberal arts freshman have sustained as part of their mandatory mathematics education in public school. Recall that if you place into pre-calculus or higher on the Rutgers math placement entrance exam, you have the option of taking a course called “Math 103 — Topics in Mathematics for The Liberal Arts” to satisfy the “QQ” and “QR” School of Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum. Many liberal arts majors enroll in “Math 103” intending for it to be the last math class they ever take. Let’s look at some of the topics for that class and use them as a stepping-stone to briefly discuss the problems of math education today. But first, let’s inspect why so many people hate mathematics.
If you go on YouTube and go to the discussion page of a user named Rebecca Watson, you’ll see a series of angry comments going on for about three years. The word “c---” appears 30 times. “B----” appears 31 times. Scrolling down, you’ll see the positive or even neutral comments are few and far between, while comments like, “You’re a piece of garbage. Please never have children, and die alone,” are never ending. That particular comment has more than 30 upvotes, by the way.
The launch of the Time Banking System in the New Brunswick area, by Julie Fagan, has provided many opportunities for individuals to get involved in the community. This system implements the theory of giving time in exchange for services. An individual can give an hour of their time doing a service for someone else, that hour will be stored in a bank, and when that individual needs a service done for them, they use their hour and exchange it for a service. These services may include babysitting, mowing the lawn, tutoring, a ride to an appointment, etc.
Athletic Director Julie Hermann’s comments about The Star-Ledger are as ironic as a university neglecting to do a background check on an alleged abuser after the fallout from an abusive coach. Or as ironic as a student journalist with no ethics in a media ethics class.
As reported in the Daily Targum (March 13, 2014: “Apartment Building to Replace Abandoned Lot”), a commercial real estate developer, Construction Management Associates, is seeking approval of variances from the New Brunswick Planning Board for the purpose of building a four-story apartment building at 17 Mine St., the former location of the Catholic Center, in the heart of the College Avenue Campus.
As you may have noticed, the United States Student Association is on the ballot this year for referendum. However, what supporting USSA means for Rutgers has not been presented as a two-sided argument, and as an alumna of the program, I would like to state my views on the organization to help you decide how to vote on the ballot. I intend to give a multifaceted view on the situation. While there are good things about the organization, there are also elements of USSA that you should know about before deciding to support.
Hello Scarlet Knights, my name is Ian Wolf, and I am your elections chair for the Rutgers University Student Assembly, the undergraduate student government for Rutgers University.
On March 7, 2014, University President Robert L. Barchi sent a letter by email to the entire Rutgers community responding to the controversy over inviting Condoleezza Rice to speak at our commencement.
Since 2009, Rutgers has been issuing the Survey of Student Experiences at the Research University (SERU). The university has joined the Universities of California, Minnesota, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Oregon, Southern California, Virginia, Iowa, Indiana, and Washington as well as Texas A&M and Purdue University in a combined effort to improve the educational experiences of students. The survey allows students to provide their opinions on what they are or are not satisfied with. The SERU, as well as other surveys, does however lack an emphasis on attitude. It is believed that simply asking about satisfaction of various aspects of the student experience is not enough, and that more emphasis on attitude should be placed when evaluating the college experience.
Trigger warning: This column contains references to sexual abuse.
The world-class faculty of Rutgers Business School – Newark and New Brunswick serves a diverse, ambitious and growing student body. Our faculty and staff are immensely proud that we maintain academic excellence while providing business education to more and more Rutgers students. Having increased our enrollment by 60 percent since 2008, we are now the largest business school in the Big Ten, with nearly 5,000 undergraduate students and more than 2,000 graduate students. The Rutgers brand and our location in the New York metropolitan area enables us to attract highly qualified faculty, deliver innovative education and attractive employment opportunities to our students, and make exceptional connections with local, regional, and multinational businesses. Our splendid new buildings at 100 Rockafeller Road in Piscataway — or “100 Rock” — and at 1 Washington Park in Newark are major symbols of the recent growth and increasing stature of our comprehensive, two-campus Rutgers Business School. Our increased focus on undergraduates is especially noteworthy. In 1990, Rutgers decided that separate undergraduate programs in Newark and New Brunswick were impractical and insufficient and merged them with the Graduate School of Management headquartered in Newark, with its larger research faculty and greater connections with New Jersey business. During the 1990s, our two undergraduate programs remained small and selective, with fewer than 400 graduates on each campus each year. But in the past five-to-ten years, the University has asked us to more than double both these undergraduate programs.
After the Board of Governors unilaterally decided to extend an invitation to Condoleezza Rice for this year’s commencement address, Rutgers University faculty responded. First, Rutgers New Brunswick’s Faculty Council, which is “the principal faculty body from which the administration will seek advice and to which the administration will be accountable on campus wide academic policy issues,” passed a resolution calling on the administration to rescind its invitation to Rice. Second, several faculty members vocally protested the decision in the Daily Targum. Most recently, a petition opposing the Board’s decision has surfaced with more than 350 faculty signatories. In response to the resolution passed by the Faculty Council, University President Robert L. Barchi sent out an email championing the Board’s unilateral decision to honor Rice with a law degree and a $35,000 honorarium by: 1) suggesting, without evidence, that as many members of the Rutgers community are in favor as are opposed to the decision ?2) supplying wonderful reasons about why he thinks she is a worthy honoree 3) affirming Rice’s right to “the free exchange of ideas in an environment of civil discourse.” Number three is particularly interesting in light of the fact that, recently, when faculty leaders emailed the Board requesting that they be able to explain their opposition at the next Board meeting, they received a response denying them on the grounds that “The bylaws of the Rutgers University Board of Governors set forth a process for speaking at meetings. Speakers are welcome to address any action items that are listed on the BOG agenda. The selection of Condoleezza Rice was on a previous (Feb. 4, 2014) agenda and approved by the Board of Governors.” There is one problem with this excuse. Many faculty members were unaware of the agenda of the Feb. 4 meeting due to the Board’s negligence in fulfilling their contractual obligation to send the agenda of the meeting to the AAUP-AFT, the main faculty union, beforehand. As their agreement states: “Agenda materials for the regular monthly public meeting of the Board of Governors will be forwarded to the AAUP-AFT at the time they are distributed to the members of the Board of Governors.” Therefore, they chose to silence the faculty by selecting one part of the rules, and neglecting the other.
After reading the March 11 column, “Do universities need to reconsider value of greek life?” I felt the need to respond to its blatant butchering of every statistic presented. Please bear with me as I, the completely sober fraternity brother (hard to believe right?), systematically dissect the column.
The Rutgers Business School has just initiated its third dean search in eight years. Ever since the merger of the New Brunswick and Newark business schools in the years 1996 to 1997, three of the four deans have been forced out, ranking and reputation of the combined school has deteriorated and morale among the faculty has been in steady decline, and as a result of this, business students on both campuses have been shortchanged.