Winter Weather Left its Mark

Daniel DeMatos, Editor-in-Chief

  

The average high temperature for the 10th day of April is 60 degrees, according to data running back 87 years from the National Weather Service. You would not be mistaken if you thought it has been a bit cooler than that so far this month. According to Weather.com, temperatures are only supposed to get well above 60 degrees later this week, on April 13th. 

The annual Newark Cherry Blossom Festival, running from April 7-15, kicked off with a series of bike races through Branch Brook Park. News 12 New Jersey reported that the cold temperatures “did not keep riders away.” But the weather did keep the cherry blossoms that give the festival its name from blooming. According to NJ.com, the cherry blossoms in Washington DC did not reach “peak bloom” until one week later than usual and those in Cherry Hill, NJ had not yet bloomed as of the Thursday before the festival kicked off; all this due to the colder weather. 

Temperatures were well below average in March as well. A monthly climatology report for Newark showed that the average daily maximum temperature for March was 47.5 degrees versus the usual 50.7 degrees for the month. March also saw 13.2 inches of snowfall as opposed to the 4.6 inches typical; with the early April snowstorm bringing another 5.0 inches on top of that. 

Regarding the cherry blossoms, NJ.com explained that “a burst of cold weather after the blossoms have bloomed can wreck, or at least shorten, the season” but also reported that according to the N.J. Department of Agriculture, "If the buds have not broken, then there will probably not be too much damage. However, high winds could damage flowers if they have already bloomed.”

The weather also affected the start of the trout fishing season. According to one fisherman at the Ramapo River quoted by NorthJersey.com, “the river was moving fast, which made it more difficult to find the pools of relatively calm water where the ever-elusive trout lurk.” Given the temperatures, those taking advantage of the start of trout season spent hours wading through the cold water. Though at least the cold air and water create conditions said to be better for trout fishing, according to NorthJersey.com. 

Jonathan Carr, a self-described “weather enthusiast” who has his own meteorology website, WeatherNJ.com, wrote earlier in the month that he expects that “sustainable warmer spring weather should set in from ~April 11-12.” So far, the forecast suggests that should be about right. Nonetheless, as the cherry blossom and trout fans can tell, winter has truly left its mark, even weeks into the spring. 

RU-N Students Petition Against ICE

Esder Chong, News Editor

Until recently, the Career Development Center (CDC) had planned to invite the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (I.C.E.) to table in the upcoming “Government and Public Service” Career Fair on Wednesday, February 21. In the past, the Rutgers - Newark administration instructed the CDC to take them off the invitation list for this semester and on. However, after a previous director’s resignation, the CDC nonetheless invited I.C.E. The administration set protocols and precautions for that day: I.C.E. vehicles cannot be parked on campus grounds, they can’t wear I.C.E. uniforms, and the tabling employees will be from their research unit. Enforcement agents will not be on campus or present in the career fair. Still, Rutgers-Newark students showed discontent and dissatisfaction for the CDC’s decision, prompting change. 

RU Dreamers, a student organization on RU-Newark campus that advocates for undocumented students’ rights to higher education and promotes safety on campus for undocumented students, started a petition against the presence of I.C.E. at an upcoming career fair. RU Dreamers’ secretary spoke out against the CDC, stating: “The increasingly hostile political and social environemnt regarding immigration has cultivated fear and anxiety amongst members of our society. The invitation to I.C.E. challenges the proactive and inclusive stance that RU-Newark has taken in fostering safety, support, and diversity in our community.”

In the online petition, RU Dreamers petitioned the CDC to uninvite I.C.E. to the “Government and Public Service” Career Fair and lists reasons against upholding the invitation to I.C.E. that would create an unsafe and exclusive environment for students:


- The invitation to provide a platform to I.C.E on school premises creates an intolerable and unsafe environment for students. 

- Career fairs are intended to promote an inclusive environment for all members of the Rutgers community; moving forward with this decision would alienate (undocumented) students from access to an incredible experience, hindering professional and academic opportunities. 

- Students with traumatic, personal experiences regarding I.C.E. would be emotionally distressed. 


Some RU-Newark students shared their reasons for signing: Andrea R., the Vice President for RU Dreamers shared that “In a school that is supposed to be supporting us and its students, inviting I.C.E. is contradicting that. We want to be able to feel safe from I.C.E at least on our school grounds.” 

The President of RU Dreamers states her concerns and comments: 

“We know that Dreamers have the support from our campus administration. Chancellor Cantor, Vice Chancellor Thomas, Dean Williams, and others have taken time to hear our concerns and prioritize our needs. Still, it is important to recognize this mistake and bad oversight.”

She continued, “It is the responsibility of the CDC to be aware of issues that impact the student body. This mistake can cause serious damage to undocumented students. While understanding that this is a serious mistake on CDC’s part, we do not feel safe with I.C.E being on campus. I’m thankful that this campus has somone like Yuriana Garcia-Tellez, the recently hired Senior Program Coordinator for Undocumented Student Services. She found out about the ICE tabling on Wednesday and warned undocumented, DACA, and other students who will be attending.”

Another member and Dreamer, Fernando R. shared his thoughts: 

“This is crazy. We have students who have lost their DACA status and I personally know a few students that are undocumented, without any legal protection. This is like a big blow to the backs of these students. I feel disrespected that the school even considered doing this in the first place.” 

After the petition and meetings with Yuriana Garcia-Tellez, the senior Program Coordinator for Undocumented Student Services, and the administration, the US Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has withdrawn and will not be in attendance at the Government and Public Services Career Fair that is taking place on Wednesday, February 21, 2018. 

Andrea R. responded to the news saying that, “We didn’t expect ICE to withdraw. But after Vice Chancellor Thomas told us in a meeting that ICE was not coming, it was a total relief. I know that our campus administration has our back. Still, this is an ongoing conversation. safety for immigrant students should always be a concern and the university’s priority.”


Queen Latifah coming to RU-N

Sarah Alaeddin, Associate News Editor

Rutgers has had many high-profile guests before, including former president Barack Obama. This year, RUN will be receiving another important guest. Queen Latifah is coming to Newark. Not very soon, but she will be attending the Commencement Ceremony on May 14, 2018 at the Prudential Center. Not only will she be giving the key note address, but she will also be receiving an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree. The humanitarian, philanthropist, award-winning actress, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, and cultural icon was chosen for the honor by a committee of students and faculty. 

Many students find Queen Latifah to be an important feminist role model. She has always promoted self-love and women supporting one another through her songs like U.N.I.T.Y. and Ladies First. "Queen Latifah is inspiring to us as students because she always projects herself through her work as a strong woman," said Rutgers Newark undergraduate Adebimpe Elegbeyele, who was one of the students on the commencement selection committee that chose Latifah. "She shows young women that we can do that too and young men that they need to respect that."

Despite being so successful, Queen Latifah has never forgotten her roots: she was born in the city of Newark, and has made many contributions to the city, including founding a scholarship foundation for low-income youth, helping people in disadvantaged neighborhoods to keep their homes, and supporting the Save the Music Foundation, among many others. "Queen Latifah has been a consistent supporter of Newark and a source of inspiration for creative people and entrepreneurs in our city and throughout the world,” said Lyneir Richardson, the Rutgers Newark Executive Director of The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. “She is an inspiring role model of excellence for Rutgers-Newark. I have seen, up close, her creative spirit, entrepreneurial drive and deep-rooted connection to inclusive urban community revitalization."

The Parkland Shooting

Last Wednesday, the United States witnessed the deadliest school shooting in the country’s history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The gunman, later identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. He killed seventeen people before fleeing the scene, fourteen of which were students. Fifteen others were injured, five of which had life-threatening wounds.

After fleeing the scene, Cruz is reported to have stopped at a Subway and a McDonald’s before being arrested by police. Officer Michael Leonard commented, “He looked like a typical high school student, and for a quick moment I thought, could this be the person who I need to stop?”

Nikolas Cruz is reported to have a history of mental illness. He was previously expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for “disciplinary issues” and had “disturbing” posts on social media. Cruz once stated in a group chat, “I think I am going to kill people.” 

He was charged for 17 counts of premeditated murder, and is now being held without bond at the Broward County jail. Melisa McNeil, his public defender, describes him as “sad” and “mournful,” “just a broken human being.” Unless he pleads guilty, he may be facing the death penalty.

But as much as we like to discuss the perpetrator, the victims’ voices are the ones that truly matter. Typically, Politicians insist on giving the victims’ families time to mourn before discussing gun control. But the survivors wanted just the opposite: they are trying to politicize what happened to them and are calling for action. One tweeted, “I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren’t there, you don’t know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This is about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns.” 

Student, Kaity, shared her thoughts on this issue, “What happened was saddening not only people in Florida but everyone in America. We need action. The future is what we do now, the future is us.” 

The Parkland shooting is the 18th school shooting of 2018, meaning that there have been roughly 3 per week since the year began. “If we’re constantly having our children worried about getting shot at, what are we telling our future?” said David Hogg, a senior, who reported that two of his younger sister’s friends were murdered. “And that’s what these people are killing, our future.”


DACA in the Hands of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will meet behind closed doors to decide the fate of DACA. DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an immigration program that temporarily blocks deportation for 800,000 undocumented  immigrant youth. Issued by a Judge from San Francisco, the Justice Department took an unusual step of asking for the Supreme Court’s opinion of this issue. Challengers to the recission of DACA argue that ending the program is “arbitrary and capricious” against the Administrative Procedure Act. 

This act is a continual phase of the immigration debate after Congress failed to pass a Dream Act. After the immigration debate on February 15th, Congressional Democrats and Republicans failed to pass any legislation that provided young undocumented immigrants a stay in this country while addressing border security and other immigration programs. 

Ultimately, the proposal in Congress failed to pass by six votes. When reporters asked whether Congress will address the issue of immigration any time soon, Senate majority whip, John Cornyn stated that he “[does not] see it.”

He shared to reporters that “We couldn’t get it together this week. We’ve got other things we have to do,  which are pressing. The Majority leader is the one who sets the agenda” (referring to Mitch McConnel). He continued, “We need to get some things done: Nominations, other bipartisan legislation. If I were him, I’d be reluctant to spend another week of wasted time.” 

While Congressman Cornryn might view spending time to debate on immigration a “wasted time,” RU-Newark student and Dreamers, Andrea R. shares her thoughts on this issue: 

“It might be a wasted time for him because it does not affect him. I’m not sure where his mental state was when he said that. This issue affects millions of lives in this country, including mine. It’s ridiculous how we have a government where people are calling an issue a “wasted time” when its a matter of life and death for millions of people.”

She continues that she is “tired of Congress, legislators, using Dreamers as a bargaining chip to pass their own radical agendas. We are only hostage to what they want accomplished. Legislators need to stop playing politics with our lives and see that this issue hold millions of lives at stake.

Especially as a student, the future is uncertain when my employment authorization or driver’s license will expire soon. My life and my family’s life are at stake. We’ve been fighting and fighting for a Clean Dream and we need it now. People like Congressman Cornyn are the reason why there’s no progress.”


Panel of Professionals

Sabrina Lombardi, Executive Editor

On Monday, Feb.12, the journalism department of Rutgers-Newark hosted “Panel of Professional” discussion in the theatre in Bradley Hall. Three professionals involved in the panel were Luis Mercato, digital producer for Hot 97 radio show, Ebro in the Morning, Barry Carter, a columnist from the Star Ledger newspaper and Gregory Hyatt, producer for Fox News Television channel.  Mercato and Hyatt are both graduates from Rutgers-Newark’s journalism and media studies department. 

Junior Jaylyn O’Keefe was in charge of executing the event along with journalism professors Robin Fisher and Bimpé Fageyinbo. O’Keefe planned the event to have journalism students network with real professional in the media world. 

“I wanted to host this panel because I realized the lack of networking events in the journalism department,” O’Keefe said. “There was no tangible, real world professionals and/or alumni making an appearance to answer questions about different fields of the media industry. 

I actually got the idea from the students at the business school. There is always events and workshops happening over there so I thought to myself, “If they can do it, why can’t we?”

The organization of the event started in October and O’Keefe reached out to each panelist through LinkedIn, but also faced some challenges along the way. 

“The easiest part was finding the professionals and reaching out to them because a lot of people are willing to help if you just ask! The hardest part was getting the room reservation in order because of all the minute details,” O’Keefe said. “Getting people as excited as I was is definitely the ultimate challenge. I was so nervous no one was going to show up to this great opportunity to ask questions and just learn about the real world,” 

Mercato spends a majority of his time online based and working on the social media platforms of Hot 97. He is a former member of Rutgers-Newark radio WRNU station and writer for the Observer newspaper. He started as an intern on the Angie Martinez Show doing social media and prep work and than starting working for Hot 97 Ebro in the Morning. 

“Start off small,” Mercato stated as advice to RU-N journalism students. “Work your way up.” 

Carter is a graduate from Howard University and spends most of his time in downtown Newark talking to different people to get a story. His work is mostly home based and starting off writing his first story in Flint, Michigan. 

Hyatt’s writing career began by writing about a Devil’s game for the Observer which then led to an internship with CNN television. Hyatt then had to make a difficult choice between CNN and Fox news, but that decision became evident. 

“It’s a state of mind,” Hyatt said. “The accuracy of news and the world,” 

O’Keefe states that student in journalism need and should network with professionals for their future career opportunities.

“People are always willing to help if you show an effort and get involved,” O’Keefe. “Anyone can create an event if you just have a little drive and an idea,

Murphy Promises Affordable College, Funding Concerns Remain

Daniel DeMatos, Editor-in-Chief

During the gubernatorial campaign, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy promised to lower the cost of university education. So far, the Governor has not ignored that pledge though there are concerns about the cost, especially given his other promises.


As recently as February 6th though, Murphy reiterated the goal following a panel discussion on the topic at Rowan College at Burlington County. In a video posted on his Twitter account after speaking to students there, Governor Murphy said "one of our strong passions and beliefs is if we can make community college and county colleges affordable and accessible, not just for some but for everybody, that is a game changer." He went on to say that in addition to helping students individually, it would help the state by "strengthening our economy" and "in particular the innovation economy." 


On his campaign's website, the issue was framed in comparison to other states. It stated that "New Jersey exports more high school seniors than any other state in the nation. Those students that do stay are forced to stomach some of the nation’s highest tuitions and fees, resulting in an average student debt burden of nearly $33,000."


The Institute for College Access and Success puts the estimate a little lower, according to their 2016 "Project on Student Debt" data. They said that the average Class of 2016 debt burden in New Jersey was $29,878, which placed the average at the 18th highest in the nation. According to their data, the proportion of 2016 graduates with any debt stood at 61% in the state. For Rutgers University - Newark, the numbers looked better, the average debt of 2016 graduates was $27,881, with 49% of students graduating with student loans. 


Specifically, according to his campaign website, Phil Murphy promised to: 


Increase state aid to institutions of higher education, including community colleges, to lower tuitions and fees.

Expand access to community colleges for high school students and create new vocational training programs to provide alternative pathways to success.

Provide loan forgiveness to STEM graduates working in STEM jobs in the state and create incentives for private sector employers to provide student loan relief as a core employee benefit.

Help New Jerseyans stuck with student loans at above-market rates by offering state-based refinancing at lower rates through a new public bank.

Some have questioned how the initiative will be paid for. State Senate Republican leader Tom Kean Jr said that the "taxpayer impact of this proposal will be significant," according to CBS New York. 


The cost of the commitment has been estimated to be $200 million by the Governor himself, which is half of what he said the proposal would cost while campaigning last year, NJ.com reported. The CBS article added that Kean proposed an alternative approach, saying that “there are ways to make sure loan programs are more efficient and effective, and make sure people graduate on time."


It is also not clear how much of a dent in the problem an extra $200 million will make. According to the state's Fiscal Year 2018 Budget, higher education spending will stand at $2.2 billion in 2018. 

Newark Regains Control of City’s Public Schools

Daniel DeMatos, Editor-in-Chief

Newark officially regained control of its public schools on Thursday, February 1st, when the Newark School Board assumed full authority of the school district, which had been under state control for over two decades. 


According to NJ.com, The change means that the School Board “will have final say over district matters and the power to hire and fire the schools' chief.” 


Prior to the change of control, Chris Cerf had served as the school system’s superintendent. Cerf served as Governor Chris Christie’s Commissioner for Education after working for four years as the Deputy Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education. 


As of now, A. Robert Gregory is serving as Interim Superintendent. Gregory previously served as Principal of American History High School, where he “increased the number of rigorous courses offered by 60%” and “has maintained an over 92% HSPA graduation rate for 5 years in a row,” according to his LinkedIn page. Information on the Newark Public Schools website says that “as Principal, Mr. Gregory maintained a 90% or above graduation rate of which at least 90% of his students gained admissions and attended 4 and 2-year colleges.” It also explained that American History High School was ranked among the nation’s best high schools under Gregory’s tenure. 


According to NJ.com, New Jersey “assumed authority of Jersey City schools in 1989,” marking the first time a state would take over a school district. Newark’s public schools were put under state control in 1995. Since then, graduation rates at city schools have improved significantly. 


In a profile of Robert Gregory, NJSpotlight said, “the city hosted a ‘Day One of Local Control’ event yesterday to mark the end of the state’s takeover.”


A Rutgers - Newark press release explained that, “at a press conference in an auditorium filled with NPS students, instead of taking questions from professional reporters, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka fielded queries from Newark's homegrown pool of ‘youth reporters.’”


At the event, the Mayor also “noted that RU-N had increased its enrollment of Newark students by more than 60 percent. Mayor Baraka credited the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC) for this achievement.”


Education in this Changing World

Kelvin Soadwa, Business Manager

The world is changing. Indeed, it has never stayed the same. Recently, however, it has been subjected to an incredible amount of drastic changes. In the transportation sector, the relatively new Uber Inc. is serving as a fierce disruptor. In the retail space, the unbreakable Amazon continues to change what shopping has come to mean for consumers in the 21st century. Similar advances have been made in the banking industry, where one gets to push a button to either activate or deactivate a debit or credit card. On the rise now are the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (Machine Learning more importantly) and the emergence of blockchain technology. The only constant variable in this ever-changing world we find ourselves in is our education system. On the issue of Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain, these two elements are changing the very nature of the accounting and finance industries, and with these changes will come a new wave of winners (those who choose to adapt), and losers (those who fail to recognize these changes and act accordingly). It is thus extremely important that students in our Rutgers-Newark community begin to ask questions of our Student Government and more importantly, the Rutgers administration, on the changes they are bringing to our education curricula to prepare us for these emerging changes that will surely affect our education and careers one way or another.


Leyvi M., an RBS student, shares her thoughts: “Technology has facilitated the way in which we, students, retrieve information and communicate. Because we are exposed to an infinite number of information,  students are prone to skim through information instead of fully reading or evaluating the literature. This technological age  definitely benefits big corporations but at least to the student, I think its negative impact outweighs the positive aspects of technology. ”


 In our subsequent issues we will endeavor to delve deeper into these matters with the aim of seeking to educate the Rutgers community on some of these new and emerging technological changes that are likely to have an educational impact and effect on our lives and ask questions as to how the University administration is preparing students towards these changes.



Rutgers Hires a Coordinator for RU Undocumented Students

By: Sarah Alaeddin

On January 24 2018, New Jersey admitted its first “Dreamer” lawyer to the state bar. His name is Parthiv Patel, a twenty-seven-year-old immigrant who came to New Jersey as a child. At the swearing in ceremony, Governor Phil Murphy announced that New Jersey is going to join a lawsuit against President Trump’s decision to abolish the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (or DACA). The program’s end was also what led to the recent federal government shutdown.

Patel, who could face deportation if the repeal persists, said “Today, I stand here with one message: Dreamers are Americans,” he continued, “We are fifth graders alongside your children in the school play. We are your friends and your colleagues. We are your doctors, your accountants, and now, in New Jersey, your lawyers.” Patel joined the New Jersey bar after being admitted into the Pennsylvania bar (which initially rejected him due to his immigration status).

The lawsuit that is intended to be filed against DACA’s demise spans fifteen states and the District of Columbia. It was started by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman back in September, who claims that the repeal was “driven by President Trump’s personal anti-Mexican bias”, and that the repeal would cause great economic harm to the United States of America. Democrats also claim that the repeal violates the rights of young immigrants by not giving them their “due process of law” and deporting them too quickly.

With all that is happening with our country’s immigration policies, many Dreamers are anxiously waiting for Congress to act. However, some universities, like our very own Rutgers, are stepping up to the plate. Recently, Rutgers opened up a new position: Senior Program Coordinator for Undocumented Student Services, filled in by Yuriana Garcia Tellez. Vice Chancellor Thomas shares this exciting news and explains that “the Senior Program Coordinator for Undocumented Student Services position is a collaboration across three Rutgers campuses, and Yuriana will share her time at Newark, New Brunswick, and Camden throughout her appointment. In her role, she will work closely with a variety of campus and community partners to build systems of support for undocumented students at Rutgers University.  Yuriana has worked for a number of years to support marginalized communities including undocumented and immigrant students, first-generation college-students, low-income and other underrepresented communities.  For the past 3 years, she has worked at the University of Washington in Seattle as the Coordinator for Leadership Without Borders in the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center.

During her time at Rutgers-Newark, Yuriana will be located in the Paul Robeson Campus Center (PRCC) inside of the Dean of Students Office on the 3rd floor (Suite 302).”

When asked for details about her role, Garcia Tellez said that she will be working across all three Rutgers campuses to provide a “centralized resource for undocumented students”. She will give students a private and safe space where they can have a trustworthy professional answer any questions that they may have, in addition to being their liaison.

And she is more than qualified for the job. In 2012, she was the founder of the Beyond HB 1079 Conference, which hosts an annual conference for undocumented high school and college students, immigrant parents, and educator allies. She helped to establish the first program in Washington State to directly offer support for undocumented students. She also worked as the Coordinator of Leadership Without Borders at the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center, helped build the curriculum for UndocuAlly Trainings & Workshops and the Undocu Workshops Series. Garcia Tellez does her work well because she cares about it.

“Growing up with the experience myself of being undocumented and seeing loved ones around me not be able to access higher education was heart breaking. Across the U.S. we are seeing how the unstable political climate is affecting undocumented students on college campuses academically and emotionally. This is a crucial time to come together as a university to support all students regardless of citizenship status.”

So, what can you do to help? Garcia Tellez says: listen to undocumented student narratives. You have to renew your awareness: being an ally is not an easy job. It means “having difficult conversations and using our voice and vote to get representation on a local, state, and federal level.” You have to keep pushing and fighting until you can make things right.

Victims Speak Out

Esder Chong, News Editor

   Numerous allegations on sexual assault and harassment in the music and entertainment industries have dominated the media. However, such pervasive culture is not limited to the field of entertainment. In state and federal politics, women and men are taking a stance on this prevalent issue of sexual assault and harassment in the government. Here is the major, recent list of accused politicians: 

   Roy Moore, Republican Alabama Senate Candidate: Since the initial four women who alleged that Moore made sexual advances against them when he was in his thirties, a number of other women have spoken out against Moore, publicly confirming similar accusations of sexual misconduct. One woman accused Moore of attempted rape.

   Many politicians pushed Moore to step down from the race. However, Moore continues to deny all the sexual accusations against him. He defended himself by saying that the accusations are part of a conspiracy to keep him from taking office. His campaign announced, “If you are a liberal and hated Judge Moore, apparently he groped you. If you are conservative and love Judge Moore, you know these allegations are a political farce.” 

   Raul Bocanegra, California Assemblyman: Seven women accused Bocanegra of groping and other sexual misconduct. As a result, Bocanegra resigned and is leaving his office as he received numerous calls for him to step down. 

   Yet, despite his resignation, Bocanegra failed to acknowledge the accusations against him. His only response to his wrongdoing is a statement on Facebook stating that he is “admittedly not perfect.” Instead of admitting his faults, he claimed he was, similar to Moore’s response, a victim of “political opportunism.” 

   Bocanegra stated, “I believed in our system of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and that the truth would come out clearing my name and reputation… it is my hope that in taking this action we can help clear the path so that women and men who have been truly victims of sexual assault and workplace harassment can step forward and get justice for any crimes committed against them. 

   Al Franken, Minnesota Senator: A recently published photo revealed Franken grabbing model and sports commentator Leeann Tweeden’s breasts while she was sleeping. Franken admitted his fault stating, “As for the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny, but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.” 

   Franken was also alleged to have kissed Leeann forcibly on another occasion. A second woman also came out to the media accusing Franken of “grabbing her buttocks during a photo op at a state fair.”  

   One Rutgers student, studying criminal justice, K.V.H., voiced her stance on this matter:  

   “I think that, as he has said, admitted he is guilty, he should think about leaving office and find another career. I don’t think it’s right for people sitting in the legislature to be involved in these issues. They should have a clean slate because they serve and should serve as role model.” 

   “This should not be a partisan issue,” she went on to say, “I hear Nancy Pelosi talk about Conyers stating that he is a titan in the political field and we should give him the benefit of the doubt and get this process adjudicated. My problem is this: when we heard about Roy Moore, Nancy Pelosi did not say let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. I have a problem with who says what, when.”  

   In elaborating, K.V.H. added that, “I won’t say which political side or position I prefer. However, at present, I’m not happy with this particular government that we have. And that’s an understatement. The problem is: the tendency for the left to be extremely left and right to be extremely right. We need to find a middle ground. If we continue this way, we will not have progress. Especially in regards to sexual assault, there should be a clear answer, not make it political. I’m wondering if this could be addressed in another way. It is time to sit down and have a serious, nonpartisan conversation about this pressing issue.” 

   Then there is Steve Lebsock, the Democratic Colorado State Representative. Fellow Colorado State Representative Faith Winter accused Lebsock of making sexual comments to her in May 2016. She also claimed he tried to grab her by the elbow, insisting she leave a bar with him. Lebsock responded, “I can honestly tell you that I do not remember saying anything like that to Faith, ever. But in fairness, in complete fairness, we were all drinking. I had had quite a bit to drink that evening, as did most of the folks there. I can’t say with certainty about every single word that was spoken. I just honestly do not remember saying anything close to that.” 

   However, on the same day he was accused by nine more people, from lobbyists to legislators, who accused Lebsock of sexual harassment and the speaker of the House of Representatives in Colorado pressed for Lebsock to resign. Lebsock has yet to resign. 

The Deadly Flu Season

David Clermont, Contributor

The flu season has been anything but forgiving, as it claimed a startling number of lives since last year in October. 

Many citizens have reasons to be concerned about their health and safety after reports of fatalities from the flu were documented by the Center for Disease Control. The flu itself was classified as an epidemic as the infection spread throughout the entire country, infecting many vulnerable people. As for who have succumbed to the flu season, the most telling information that has come from this epidemic was the age group of those who died from this virulent strain: children. 

In a recent coverage by CNN, around 84 children have been confirmed dead from the flu according to reports from the CDC, with “three out of four children who died had not gotten a flu vaccine,” said, Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the CDC. With this kind of information, it brings attention to how vulnerable children can be, but is not entirely limited to them as well. Pregnant women, elderly, and teenagers in some cases are susceptible to catching symptoms of the flu, and even getting aggravated cases that can lead to death. The threat of the virus has people going on the defensive, recommending that everyone must have their flu shots as a preventative or counteractive measure. And with the Winter season being a contributor to the spread of infection, it is up to everyone to remain vigilant and maintain proper hygiene.

For those that are unaware of the symptoms of the flu, it is important to be wary of any form of weakness in the body such as fatigue or dehydration. Other symptoms include, but not limited coughing, aching, headaches and sore throat, with fevers being the most inconsistent of the rest. Anyone can be infected by the flu despite how healthy a person initially was before coming in contact with it.