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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.
Something that may still be unknown by many members of the Rutgers community is how closely intertwined their University is with America’s shameful past of slavery and the displacement of Native Americans. Not only was Henry Rutgers himself a slave owner, but so were multiple other significant and well-known University founders, professors and trustees, such as Frederick Frelinghuysen, John Neilson and Philip French. Several founders, including Henry Rutgers, were also active members of the American Colonization Society, which was an organization that advocated for the resettlement of freed slaves in Africa instead of allowing them to live freely in this country alongside white people.
4D FOR RUTGERS
The Student Affairs Committee recently drafted a report on what action might be taken to effectively increase student-voter turnout in federal, state and local elections. The draft discusses ways to address the need for more students to have knowledge about how to register to vote, and how to actually go about voting once registration is complete. Suggestions are also made in the draft on how to increase student-voter turnout, such as making election days holidays. According to the report, voter registration rates among students at Rutgers—New Brunswick were a strong 76.6 percent in 2016, which is an increase of 3 percent from 2012. A little more than half of Rutgers students eligible to vote did so in the 2016 election.
At the bottom of every opinions piece published in The Daily Targum is the following truth: "Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff."
In recent years, there has been a decreasing amount of parking on the College Avenue campus, partially resulting from certain improvements and additions to campus buildings, such as the construction of Rutgers Hillel and the Sojourner Truth Apartments. Additionally, the creation of bus lanes on College Avenue pursuant to Rutgers’ Transportation Master Plan eliminated the option for meter parking on the street. These things resulted in displacement of parking spaces and has made it increasingly more difficult for students to park their cars conveniently near their place of residence, which has become a common and understandable complaint among students at Rutgers—New Brunswick.
To little avail, the Rutgers Students With Children (RSWC) organization has been working to advocate for what they see as necessary accommodations for student parents on campus since 2015. Despite numerous prior meetings with members of the University’s administration, their requests seem to continuously fail to be heard. Last Thursday, RSWC had another meeting with the administration with the expectation that this time would be different, considering their recent petition to University President Robert L. Barchi that had been signed by more than 400 people.
It is true — money technically cannot buy health. But what it can do is offer a person the option to eat healthily, which is largely the same thing.
RU Dreamers created a petition with the goal of disinviting the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) from Rutgers—Newark’s Government and Public Service Career Fair. After this petition was set forth, ICE withdrew from the fair, which is set to take place today. In their petition, the organization stated that, “The invitation to ICE challenges the proactive and inclusive stance (Rutgers—Newark) has taken in fostering safety, support and diversity in our community.” Additionally, it was stated that upholding ICE’s invitation to the event would create an “intolerable and unsafe environment for students.”
On Dec. 12, 2017, a Rutgers Board of Trustees meeting was severely interrupted when members of Rutgers United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), Rutgers Puerto Rican Student Union and Black Lives Matter Rutgers, among others, took the center of attention by rallying and chanting together, causing disruption and refusing to leave until University President Robert L. Barchi raised the student worker minimum wage to $15 an hour. Twelve of the students involved in the protest now face charges related to disorderly persons offenses, as well as disciplinary action by the University pursuant to the student code of conduct. Some believe that the administration’s behavior in this situation is uncalled for, and that students should be able to speak up for what they believe in without fear of retaliation. So, then, which side is in the right?
Last Wednesday’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 dead. No matter one’s political affiliation, it can be agreed upon that events like this are horrific and have no place in our country. Now, it seems as though everyone across the political spectrum is searching for answers to the same question — how do we ensure that nothing like this ever happens again?