Email to join today!


The juuling phenomenon

Adrian Acakios, Editor-in-Chief


The Juul, a smoking phenomena often referred to as “Juuling”, that’s affecting young people all over the world. The small, USB like device, that “heat[s] up a cartridge containing oils to create vapor, which quickly dissolves into the air” according the the True Initiative. Its original intentions were to provide a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, however this didn’t take into account the increasing adolescent and young adult nicotine use since the product’s release. The younger population of smokers are not realizing that the device like many other vaporizers on the market has nicotine, a highly addictive stimulant. 

Does this discredit their marketing campaign of creating a safer, and alternative way to smoking? In 2019, the U.S. tobacco market sold $100 billion worth of tobacco products, 84% of this was for cigarettes, while only 3% was accounted for by e-cigarettes and vaporizers. With increasing sales of vaporizers and e-cigarettes, it comes “at the expense of our nation’s public health” according to the Truth Initiative. They like many across the country are calling for stricter regulation of big tobacco companies in hopes of preventing young people, including teens, and young adolescents from becoming addicted to cigarettes and nicotine. Big tobacco makes their fortunes on the basis of depending on the addiction of their products by their customers, creating a new generation of who is addicted to tobacco.

With such a large factor of this product being the youth, the statement that the product was designed to replace smoking cigarettes with a safer alternative is discouraging to a large portion of the public, who sees this as a new attempt to create the nicotine addiction in yet another generation of people. According to the CDC, “All JUUL e-cigarettes have a high level of nicotine. According to the manufacturer, a single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes”. Even though it is ‘safer’ than a burning cigarette, it still can cause just as much harm long term, considering how “dangerous [cigarettes are, as they are] killing half of all people who smoke long-term.” These e-cigarettes are not “water vapor”, but rather include many of the chemicals that regular cigarettes do.

The society that we live in promotes this as the new norm, especially in teenage and college aged people. It has become a socially acceptable part of this age group, seeing it at schools, classrooms, restaurants, coffee shops, etc., they’re involved in so many parts of our social lives. According to Vox, “ The possibility of another generation hooked on nicotine is a nightmare scenario health regulators are scrambling to avoid.” Schools all over the country are trying to minimize the use of this product as students are being apprehended for the use; and are going to extreme measures to hide it and continue use. Meg Kenny, the assistant head of school at Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester, Vermont says that “Ninety-five percent of the disciplinary infractions we dealt with in the fall and continue to deal with into the spring are all connected to the Juul”. 

What does this mean for college students? They are everywhere, from our classrooms, dorms, parties, and more. The “epidemic” is affecting students all over the country. Colleges are now in the middle of the debate on these vaping products, especially campuses that have bans on tobacco and smoking. With the product promoting being a safer alternative and helpful to quitting cigarettes, it is hard to make a solid choice on the matter. Ultimately the decision comes down to, do we allow students to use this product, which may help them quit smoking cigarettes or do we ban it and they do it anyway? If it is banned, it is taking the possible means to allow someone to quit smoking, but it could also be saving many more.

On an open, community campus like Rutgers University - Newark, you will oftentimes see someone smoking outside, or inside with a vape. Even though it may be distasteful to some of the students on the campus, for many others it is the never ending question, “To Vape or Not to Vape”. This debate has been popularized in the last few years, with the increasing number of students smoking products like the Juul. In a study done by the Wall Street Journal in 2018, the number of college students who admitted to smoking a vape or e-cigarette in that past month, increased by 75% since a previous report in 2017. 

The student of Rutgers, and young people all across the country, need to realize the reality of the products they are inhaling and the potential dangers that come along with it. Even though the product may taste good, it still has many harmful chemicals inside each and every pod. Business Insider even calls the product, “the iPhone of vaporizers” due to its large popularity and the following of the product and its brand. This product has become a major part of American society, and will continue to do so, even though the company announced that they would stop releasing its flavored pods to stores, as a response to the increase in teenage and underage vaping. In a November 2018 news release, the company said that “we stopped accepting retail orders for our Mango, Fruit, Creme, and Cucumber Juul pods to the over 90,000 retail stores that sell our product, including traditional tobacco retailers and specialty vape shops”. Even with this change, Juuling, and vaping will stay a popular thing, at least for the time being. With sales increases of over 600% in a year, they will remain a force to be reckoned with and a big name on the market for a long time. In the meantime, just always remember to look into these products and what you are putting into your body.  


Female TV Show creator sues NBA for misconduct

Sarah Alaeddin, Business Editor

  The world of sports is filled with much more than just what happens on the court, on the field, or on TV. There’s always more than just the game involved. When it comes to watching sports and sports-related content, a lot goes on behind the scenes: there are writers, producers, and crew members who put everything together. And sometimes, despite not being athletes, these hardworking people lose.

One such person is Kimberly Bernice Brown, a 39-year-old writer who is suing the NBA.

It began after the completion of her first TV pilot in 2016. She presented a project, "Off the Court; Inside the WNBA,” about women in basketball to NBA Entertainment. The project excited her because according to her, it “highlighted a population of women whom I felt were underdogs in the sports industry”. However, filming did not go as planned. 

Brown alleges that one of the athletes on the project, Tamera Young, began stalking her. For months, Young watched her outside of her home, as well as followed her to relatives’ homes and stalked her in public spaces. Brown also alleges that one of Young’s former lovers falsely accused her of being in a relationship with Young, which tainted her image as a writer and producer of the show. Brown filed a "Stalking Ex Parte Temporary Protective Order" against Young in 2017 for protection against Young’s stalking behaviors.

When Brown reported the misconduct to the NBA, she was terminated without reason and was never paid for her work on "Off the Court; Inside the WNBA”. Prior to filing the lawsuit, she tried to settle the conflict privately, only to never reach a resolution. She has since struggled to find work, allegedly due to the defamation of her character, and has had to rely on family members for financial support.

Despite the nature of Ms. Brown’s case—sexual harassment, stalking, defamation of character centered around a large sports organization, lack of compensation for her work—her story has not been covered by any media outlet until now. Somehow, despite happening during the #MeToo era, it hasn’t gathered attention.

When asked for comment on the events that occurred, Brown spoke of her struggles: “Through personal experience I have personally observed how women who speak up about mistreatment in the workplace are routinely overlooked and not taken seriously. In addition to backlash we receive from our peers as well as the general public for speaking out.” 

She then added, “We live in a society that has normalized abusive and hateful behaviors, then expect women to suffer for the wrongdoing of others - it is unfair, it is unjust.”

Note: The information presented in this article was obtained through Ms. Brown and publicly available legal documents. To contact Ms. Brown, speak with Sarah Alaeddin or contact Brown directly on Twitter: @kbbrown80.

Edit 2/10/2020: Minor corrections made.


Rutgers' First african-american president

Sarah Alaeddin, Business Editor

Rutgers University has now obtained its first African American president. Starting in July, he will replace Robert Barchi, who, near the end of his 8 year term as president, almost sparked Rutgers’ first faculty strike last year due to unfair wages. Holloway is said to be a great replacement: “Jonathan Holloway is an extraordinarily distinguished scholar with an outstanding record as an academic administrator at Northwestern and Yale. He is thoughtful, visionary, inclusive and decisive. He leads with remarkable integrity and is just the right person to build upon Rutgers’ long tradition as an academic and research powerhouse,” said Rutgers Board of Governors Chair Mark Angelson, a chair of the presidential search committee.

Holloway was formerly the provost of Northwestern University and dean of Yale college. He received a bachelor’s degree with honors in American Studies from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in History from Yale University. At Northwestern, he also teaches History and African American studies, specializing in post-emancipation social and intellectual United States history. 

While Holloway will be president of all Rutgers campuses, his history shows that he will fit right into the inclusive atmosphere of Rutgers University. While at Yale in 2015, Holloway supported a request from the university's Intercultural Affairs Committee that asked students to avoid culturally insensitive Halloween costumes. The request sparked controversy among students at the time. At one impromptu protest, The New York Times reported, Holloway spent two hours listening to nearly 200 black students voice their concerns. "When I literally went out to be amongst them," he said, "they knew enough to trust that I would listen to them, that I will be honest with them, frankly to the point of saying I will do better."

After his appointment as president, Holloway said, “I was drawn to the opportunity at Rutgers University because of its amazing history, its foundation of excellence in teaching and its ambition to continue conducting life-changing research that improves our communities, our country and our world.”

Holloway was appointed at the end of January, shortly before the beginning of Black History Month.

“It’s about time,” says Saydi Wilson, a Rutgers senior. “Diversity is just what academia needs, especially higher up.”


JBJ Soul Kitchen is Now Open

Adrian Acakios, Editor-in-Chief

As of January 22nd, 2020, Rutgers University - Newark has officially opened its doors to one of the famous, Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen, in efforts to fight food insecurity. The New Jersey native, and his wife Dorothea have opened the first pay-it-forward restaurant on a college campus.

Rutgers food provider, Gourmet Dining has worked relentlessly to create the most efficient program for both Rutgers students and the community. Previously known as the University Club, it has now reopened its doors as a service to the community hoping to become a staple in the community as a part of the JBJ Soul Kitchen network. 

According to the Gourmet Dining’s website, “Essex County, New Jersey, where RU-N is located, 16.3 percent of residents struggle with food insecurity, the highest county in the state”. Rutgers is taking a step towards combating food insecurity as it works to “serve healthy, delicious meals to students, faculty and community members who have the ability to pay, in addition to students who are in need. No matter the individual’s socioeconomic situation, everyone who dines at the JBJ Soul Kitchen will enjoy the same chef-created, three course meal”. 

The Chancellor of RU-N, Nancy Cantor said, “Nothing happens by coincidence, this place where generations of people have come. Rutgers-Newark, Newark, New Jersey, trying to find opportunity and working as hard as they can.” Telling stories of local New Jersyians, new and old that play into the current students at RU-N. “My Rutgers - Newark students are the strivers, they are the change makers of the future, so it makes us feel so good, that change makers like [Jon and Dorothea Bon Jovi], are thinking of our students”. Not only have students passed through and requested help from the university, but students really incited change as RU-N has taken a stance on food insecurity for their students. Not only do they have the new JBJ Soul Kitchen, but access to a fully stocked food pantry that is available to assist all students.

Jon Bon Jovi himself and his wife have worked together to create the other two locations for the Soul Kitchen concept in Red Bank and Toms River, New Jersey where they have served over 100,000 meals in around ten years. “It has been a passion project for us”, according to Bon Jovi.

Dorothea’s pitch for the “JBJ Soul Kitchen Rutgers - Newark serves an in need paying customer. Those who can pay, pay for their meal; students in need who are unable to pay contribute by volunteering. All guests enjoy a three-course dining experience, where dignity, respect are always on the menu, regardless of socio-economic status.” 

You can join the Community Dining With Dignity at the RU-N, JBJ Soul Kitchen which is located in the Paul Robeson Campus Center, on the 2nd Floor, and is open Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. 


The new scarlet raider !

Adrian Acakios, Editor-in-Chief


Rutgers University - Newark has announced that there will now be a mascot to represent the Scarlet Raiders after the results of a two-year-long campaign, based on expressed student interest. Based on the desire from RU-N students and faculty who wanted a mascot, to showcase and push forth brand recognition, within athletics, and student life overall. 

The new mascot will be featured this upcoming Spirit Week at RU-N, at this year’s Raiderfest (November 6th, 2019) in the Golden Dome, during free period (2:30 pm-3:50 pm).

The overall goal with designing a mascot for RU-N started with trying to find animals or icons that resonated with the city of Newark itself, following the theme of “In Newark of Newark”. So those involved in the suggestion process began looking for animals indigenous to the local area. Coming up with a few suggestions including a raccoon, and a fox, who both fit the term of a “raider”, while also remaining neutral.

In the past, other local schools have had mascots, which have been changed over the years due to controversies, or due to changes in branding. Including Montclair State University’s recent change from the Red Indians, to the Red Hawks in 1989 as a part of a string of schools and major sports teams, name changes away from the indigenous culture. Other Universities, such as Syracuse University has also been known to change their mascot starting with Saltine Warriors and Big Chief Bill Orange and moved to a more friendly mascot, Otto the Orange.

One of the biggest obstacles of creating a college mascot for RU-N was trying to find a mascot that fits the name, while also managing to keep a family-friendly mascot as well. For example, the mascot at Rutgers University-New Brunswick has been noted to have been scary for kids, and sometimes disliked by the students. The goal was to create a mascot that didn’t portray overly masculine or feminine features, while also staying away from a mascot that may be deemed scary or intimidating. The new mascot is designed not to fit into any other character, other than as a ‘Scarlet Raider’.

The new Scarlet Raider will be featured wearing both a T-shirt and a hat, featuring the classic Rutgers - Newark “R”, with the word “NEWARK” featured down the left side. Following the traditional branding of RU-N. 

Both the RU-N Athletics Department and the Office of Student Life and Leadership, both want the mascot to spark student interest and be popular on campus. The new Scarlet Raider should be the new face of Rutgers - Newark and be showcased at many upcoming school events.

The goal of the mascot is to have a positive and fun experience at RU-N. The Scarlet Raider is there to dance around and boost the spirits of students, faculty, and all the people that are around.

As of now, the official name of the mascot is the Scarlet Raider, however, going forward, the Athletic Department said that they are open to future names of the mascot, via student votes. 

Are you ready to meet RU-N’s new mascot? Well come on out and support RU-N’s unveiling during this upcoming Spirit Week.

If any students are interested in becoming the mascot, please reach out to Mark Griffin.

But Why Don’t They Just Report It?

Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance (VPVA)

VPVA’s Turn The Campus Purple on October 9, 2019


The Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance (VPVA) is a confidential resource on the Rutgers University--Newark campus that provides counseling, support services and prevention education on the topics of  partner violence, sexual assault, harassment, stalking and other types of violence.  The services are for all students; those who have experienced violence firsthand, or those who wish to support a loved one who has.

One of VPVA’s proudest programs is its WeChat Warmline, which offers confidential text-based support to students.  Anyone struggling with relationship troubles, stress or anxiety, depressive symptoms, or who may be searching for a resource, can text HELP to 973-339-0734 and a trained Peer Advocate will respond.

One of the reasons for the warmline’s necessity and success, is the stigma that surrounds interpersonal violence, which keeps those affected from talking about it, and asking for help.  The warmline provides an anonymous platform for students to reach out for services, share their stories and seek help, without feeling judged.  October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and VPVA turned the campus purple in honor of the month.  We held a variety of events, programs and workshops for students to gain knowledge on partner violence, recognize signs and learn how to find help.  

In the U.S., 33% of adolescents report experiencing sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional abuse within their dating relationships.  During one year, more than 10 million Americans are affected by domestic violence.  Yet it is one of the most unreported crimes.  So why is that?

Domestic violence, also known as Intimate Partner Violence, does not discriminate.  It affects people of all races, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and age.  Domestic and partner violence is defined as “a  pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.”  It includes but is not limited to sexual violence, physical abuse, isolation, emotional/mental abuse, and control.  Domestic violence may be hard to recognize for the victim involved, especially if they grew up in a home where this dynamic was present, and they may see the behavior as normal, or even expected.  College students, in particular, are at risk for partner violence, as 57% of college students said they would be unable to recognize it, while 58% said they would not know how to help someone experiencing it.

It also may be difficult to recognize signs since some may mirror those of a new relationship.  Spending most of your time with a new partner, making the partner a priority, sharing passwords and locations may seem healthy and even normal.  But the underlying root of unhealthy relationships is control.  Does one partner have more control than another partner?  Is there fear of how the other partner will react, or does one partner need permission for things?  Often it will escalate from mental and emotional abuse, to physical and even sexual abuse.  Here are some signs of abuse in a relationship:

How do I know if I am in an unhealthy relationship? 

  • Physical abuse: your partner pushes you, hits you or destroy your things.
  • Control: your partner tells you what to do, what to wear or who to hang out with. They constantly check up on you or use threats (for example, to harm you or themselves) to make you do things.
  • Humiliation: your partner calls you names, puts you down or makes you feel bad in front of others, even if it’s made into a joke.
  • Unpredictability: your partner gets angry easily and you don’t know what will set them off. You feel like you’re walking on eggshells.
  • Pressure: your partner pushes you to do things you don’t want to do or aren’t ready for, including sex or using drugs and alcohol. They don’t take “no” for an answer and they use threats or ultimatums.

Usually, there’s shame, and embarrassment for the person who stays in the relationship in which they are treated this way.  So they say nothing to friends and family.  They may even defend their partner when loved ones express concern.  So how can you help?

There are resources available on campus to support those experiencing this type of violence.  Transitioning from high school to college and juggling college and work is already difficult to manage, along with emotional changes that come with young adulthood.  Young adults may not report because:

  • They do not have information on their choices, rights, and resources.  
  • They may feel that county services are not for them (they are!)  
  • Commuters, or those living at home with parents, may be harder to find a close and free resource to help.
  • Undocumented students may feel fearful of being deported if they report.
  • They may be fearful of their abusive partner and not know where to find safety and help.
  • Those that identify as LGBTQ may feel that they will not be believed, or know where to access support.  Lesbian and Gay domestic violence occurs at the same rate as heterosexual relationships but higher in the bisexual and transgender community.  

VPVA can connect students with the right resource for them.  

Only ⅓ of teens have confided in someone about being in an unhealthy relationship, so it's important to create more spaces to have conversations around these topics. VPVA is offering the first two sessions of their 4-part workshop on healthy relationship series in November!

Register for these upcoming workshops by emailing!

Ghosted by Your BOO (11/13)

The first in our series, this interactive 1 hour workshop focuses on the phenomenon of “ghosting”; why people do it, what it looks like, and how it affects the ghostee.  Wednesday November 13, 5:00pm-6:00pm, located in the Blumenthal Hall, Room 201.   Light refreshments will be provided. 

WYD for Cuffing Season (11/20)

The second in our series, this interactive 1 hour workshop discusses the pressures to be in a relationship during the holiday season, and the difference between being alone and feeling lonely.  Wednesday November 20, 5:00pm-6:00pm, located in the Blumenthal Hall, Room 201.  Light refreshments will be provided. 

RU-N values the diversity of all its members and strives for complete access and inclusion. For any potential concerns related to access for reason of disability, religion, sexuality, etc. or to request an accommodation, please contact VPVA at 973-353-1918 in advance of the program.

If you would like more information about our programming, or would like to request an appointment with a counselor, please contact us at 973-353-1918 or email us at  Feel free to follow our Instagram to see our upcoming programs @run_vpva

vsco girls: The new tumblr girls

Adrian Acakios, Editor-in-Chief


VSCO girls are taking the social media world by storm, with their eco-friendly living, hair scrunchies and the everyday use of Birkenstocks. In the world of social media, this subculture is thriving on the basis of support from millennial and Gen Zers allover the internet. 

Synonymous with baggy T-shirts, crocs, scrunchies like its the 1990s, and more. On social media, they’re shown skateboarding, drinking Starbucks, and oftentimes in outdoor scenic places such as beaches, or patches of grass.

You may be wondering where the name VSCO is coming from? Well, it stems from an editing app, that is popular for its photo aesthetic which can be used throughout their entire feed. The app is similar to Instagram, however it doesn’t show likes or comments, but rather allows for free expression without social pressure. Recently, it has become synonymous with this new trend, in its expression of accessories and lifestyle.

The funny part is that the most common place to see a VSCO girl, is on a different social media platform, TikTok, where there are many videos released mocking the trend, and the behaviors that follow it.

This trend is not only becoming very popular based on the brands represented, but it is starting to include its own vernacular. The most popular sayings of  VSCO right now include, “And I oop” which is supposed to reference surprise, stemming from a video of drag queen, Jasmine Masters. On the other hand, “sksksksksk” is a popular way of expressing one’s own excitement. 

To some people, this trend might be cringey, but to others it allows them to be the basic people they’ve always wanted to be. VSCO not only promotes eco-friendly living with their popular use of metal/reusable straws and Hydroflasks. While also, wearing oversized shirts, and scrunchies. The aesthetic seemingly resembles California, beach living.

According to CNBC, VSCO as a trend is a “representative of a larger shift in teen culture to strong brand associations”, commonly featuring “brands like Vans, Pura Vida, Fjallraven, and Crocs”.

In a world where status and money runs everything, being a VSCO girl is not the most reasonable fad for all people and economic groups. This trend follows several brands, many of which are very costly, meaning that there is now a price tag to the trend, and it is not cheap.

The VSCO trend is the new way of the younger generation finding their place, and who they want to be in the world, especially the identity they want to have in their fashion expressions.

rutgers recap: 2019

Sarah Alaeddin, Business Editor


Welcome back, Rutgers students! A new year of classes and events has begun. But before we bring you all of the latest news, the writers over at the Observer thought they would update you on what you might have missed over the summer. 

In July, Rutgers University president Robert Barchi announced that he would be stepping down in 2020. This follows a lot of controversy that was stirred up during the past spring semester, when the professors’ union, AAUP-AFT, threatened to go on strike if the university administration did not improve students’ learning conditions. The strike did not happen, and a compromise was reached, though Barchi was still criticized, in part because of comments referring to the Newark campus as a “diversity experiment”.

In other good news, this year, Rutgers has received another $2.5 million through the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) to provide sexual violence education activities and victim support services across Rutgers. Some of the goals are to use the funding to reach out to more students (such as LGBTQ+ students, international students, and graduate students) as well as victims of crime on campus. For more information about the Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance at Rutgers-Newark, visit

Over the summer, RUN received its first-ever grant to support underrepresented minority college graduates in pursuit of STEM Ph.D. degrees as part of its Bridges to Doctorate program. The $1 million grant comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which funds the Garden State–Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (GS-LSAMP) initiative. The award covers $32K annual stipend and tuition for 12 graduate students arriving in 2020 over the course of two years. The Bridges to Doctorate initiative will provide this cohort not only with financial support, but also with a community network and professional development workshops. “We’ve benefited greatly from students from our LSAMP succeeding elsewhere in the Bridges to Doctorate program,” says Alec Gates, the Executive Director of GS-LSAMP.  “To be able to get great students working together and changing the equation in our graduate school here is crucial. If we’re going to really change the culture in the U.S., we need underrepresented professors who can mentor the next generation. So, this is really exciting.”

Last week, Rutgers released the newest version of Safety Matters, the Annual Security & Fire Safety Report. The report states that no hate crimes were committed on the Newark campus in 2018. To see the full report, visit

For more news on what happens around campus, in Newark, and the world, look out for new editions of the Observer every week. We write the truth with no fear.