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Christie can’t be trusted anymore

(03/12/14 4:00am)

The Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics released the results of a new poll yesterday, and surprise, surprise — everyone’s favorite New Jersey Governor is still dropping in the approval ratings. Gov. Chris Christie’s reputation has spiraled downward over the last few months, and this statewide poll of New Jersey voters confirms that his public image is already ruined. In the unfortunate revelation that Christie was using money for Hurricane Sandy by coercing endorsements from government officials in exchange for money — in what cannot be called anything else but bullying — he revealed himself to be just as much of a bully behind the scenes, as he appeared to be in the public political arena. Every since he was voted into office in 2009, the public has recognized his strong presence and his confidence. The ratings among voters had a lot to do with his assertive and blunt personality. Frankly, people appreciate that kind of honesty in a politician.

SAT not the problem — it’s education

(03/11/14 4:00am)

Many have argued that the concept of standardized testing in the college admissions process should be abolished altogether. As it currently stands, the SAT tests students on some concepts that are so far removed from a normal high school curriculum that there are entire preparatory courses offered on the side — for those who can afford them. Last year, Bard College famously announced that in lieu of the usual application process — including high school transcripts, recommendation letters and SAT scores — applicants could choose to write a series of research-based essays that tested analytical reasoning. In similar efforts to move toward a more holistic approach to the admissions process, many colleges have offered alternative options to the SAT.

Greek life misrepresented by hazing

(03/10/14 4:00am)

Despite the admirable goals and values that are supposed to be upheld by fraternities and sororities, greek life gets a terrible reputation. Sigma Alpha Epsilon, considered the “deadliest frat in America,” recently announced that it will ban the pledging process that is often criticized because of its degrading and oftentimes dangerous hazing rituals. Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s mission is to “strive to mold our members into gentlemen so they can set an example in today’s society,” and yet this mission is almost completely eclipsed by the heavy drinking and party culture that fraternities are stereotypically known for.

Rutgers gets burned in allocation of funds

(03/05/14 5:00am)

Higher education funding seems to be a third-rail political issue for Gov. Chris Christie, especially in light of his annual budget address last week. The budget address included plans for significant increases in spending for preschool through high school, but not much was said about the need for an increase in spending on higher education. One of New Jersey’s biggest weaknesses is its ranking compared to other states in funding for higher education, and yet Christie has done little to significantly improve it in his four years as governor. Tuition at Rutgers and at other state colleges and universities in New Jersey has only increased — at Rutgers, we experience tuition hikes that get higher every year.

American Muslims have rights, too

(03/04/14 5:00am)

Immediately after 9/11, the New York Police Department launched an undercover investigation of dozens of mosques and Muslim organizations in New York City and surrounding states, including New Jersey. They spied on hundreds of mosques, Muslim-run businesses, and student organizations on college campuses around the area without any reasonable cause or even a shred of incriminating evidence. In 2011, this program was exposed by the Associated Press in a series of investigative reports, and a lawsuit was immediately filed against the NYPD for its blatantly unconstitutional violations of American Muslims’ basic rights and civil liberties.

Intervention not an option in Ukraine

(03/03/14 5:00am)

Ukraine has become the center of international attention as tensions have risen over the last few weeks from ongoing protests over the country’s sovereignty and its possible integration into the European Union. After Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country, it seemed that all that was left to do was find a new government to begin the long process of recovery. The rapid chain of events in Ukraine has been dramatic and at times hard to keep up with, and now, there is more conflict unfolding in the southern part of Ukraine — Crimea.

Ukraine needs more than a revolution

(02/24/14 5:00am)

About three months ago, Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych agreed to sign a free-trade deal with the European Union that would strengthen political and economic ties between them and push Ukraine further away from Russia. Russia, threatened by its potential loss of influence and one of its main trading partners, threatened economic sanctions on Ukraine if it followed through with this deal. Yanukovych decided to drop the deal, claiming that the potential risks of these sanctions from Russia outweighed the benefits of joining the EU.

Politicians aren’t that bad after all

(02/19/14 5:00am)

Our perception of politics, generally speaking, is extremely skewed. Pop culture portrays it as a field that is apparently intertwined with corruption, scandal and lies no matter how well intentioned a politician may seem to be. Sure, a number of politicians really are corrupt, and it’s frustrating that many of them seem to be so easily swayed to further their own personal agendas. But as tempting as it is to believe all politicians are depraved agents of corruption and evil, it really isn’t the case at all. A prime example of an exceptional politician is Rep. Rush Holt, D-12th Dist.