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A School without a band

Najah Davenport: Contributor

It is no surprise to Rutgers-Newark students that our school is considered Division II and some cases Division III,  though does that give the school the right to jip the students out of a band? I think not. Not only does our school lack a band but our school lacks instrumental education classes as well. Our students should be granted the right to be apart of music education just as much as art, or any other subject for that matter. I already know there are those ready to ask but where would this fit ? This course could even fulfill the the arts requirement for those who need it to graduate. It has also been proven that students who were in Music courses typically scored higher on tests than others, increased their sociability , and promoted self-discipline. The students who are not interested of course do not have to take the course but I do maintain the belief that students should at least be presented with the opportunity to play or learn to play instrument if their heart desires. Why not learn a new skill or speciality?


cringe culture is dead

Sarah Alaeddin, Business Editor


Do you remember how you looked in middle school? Maybe you had braces or fingerless gloves or jeans that did not fit right. Maybe you made awkward poses in photos and gave them even stranger captions, thinking that they were super deep and philosophical. Whatever the case, you probably look back on your middle school self and think, why was I like that? And then try to forget about it so that you can go to sleep, because this always happens when it’s late at night and you’re supposed to wake up early the next morning.

It’s normal to cringe at younger versions of yourself because you’ve changed as a person. But I can’t help but wonder, at what age do your interests become “guilty pleasures”? Why do we feel embarrassed about liking things? And why can’t we just go back to that one aspect of our childhood, where we were open about how we liked Naruto or weird aesthetic photos or rollerskating even though you were bad at it?

I’m here to announce that cringe culture is dead. I’ve just killed it for you.

Don’t be afraid of liking things because your interests, your obsessions—they’re what make life bearable. How many times has the highlight of your weekend been sitting down to watch a good show (whether “good” means of substance or “so bad that it’s good”)? There’s nothing wrong with taking that enjoyment and cranking it up to 100.

As growing adults, college students are often concerned with seeming grown-up. But how can I be taken seriously, you might wonder, if people know how much I’m into Harry Potter? Well, I’ve got news for you: everyone is into something “childish”. Do you know anyone who wouldn’t belt out to the Mulan soundtrack in the right setting? Probably not.

I’m not saying that you should necessarily walk around in costume every day or limit your conversation topics to just Spongebob Squarepants. But maybe the next time you’re hesitant about wearing that band T-shirt or those statement earrings, you’ll take a deep breath and go for it. And be glad that you did.

Photo above: Me, in 2012, posing awkwardly after being asked to take off my glasses for the picture while wearing my older brother’s Hollister sweater

Letter to the editor: textbook cost

To the editor:

As a current college student at Rutgers University-Newark, it is crucial that I bring awareness to the detrimental effects of textbook prices on student consumers and the retail market. 

Students already have a great deal of debt associated with their classes before they even begin. Students are billed with at least $14,000 every year prior to textbook costs. Some students have extra costs associated with their majors including lab fees, computer fees, and mandatory access codes. It is disheartening to many students to continue higher education when something as crucial as a textbook is a significant financial burden.

The textbook market is also being affected by the price of textbooks. Students are resorting to renting their textbooks or finding downloaded versions regardless of the edition instead of paying the price for a new textbook. Financing a textbook has become such a burden that even some professors on campus are no longer requiring textbooks but rather using more available articles and videos in their curriculum because of opposition to textbooks. 

I write to you to present these rising notions among the student population for the need to rethink the costs of textbooks. The financial burden of college is a lot to take on without it being compounded by the cost of textbooks and lack of affordable alternatives. This needs to change!

To the editor:

I am a graduating senior expressing my concerns with Rutgers and its high cost of textbooks for students. As an arts and science student, I have had several courses across the curriculum, which none of those came without a high price tag for textbooks, novels, access codes, etc. This has affected my participation in courses, and in two cases in particular, I even had to drop a class due to the extreme height of textbook costs. More professors need to be made aware of the Open Resource program, as too many students are spending large amounts of money on their textbooks and class resources this semester. Taking only four classes this semester, three of which require textbooks. When going to the on campus bookstore, and using my book fund (provided by over crediting my term bill from my private student loans), I still spent almost $400 out of the allotted $500 for only three classes. This is ridiculous. I can only imagine students who are taking six or seven classes, and science and other similar disciplined courses as well. Many of my friends in STEM courses are currently paying anywhere from $500-$1,000+ on books and access codes every semester. This is a concern that needs to be addressed, and as a graduating senior in May 2020, I want to make my other students and Rutgers admin aware that this is an issue for students. Not only are we paying high in-state tuition but also the rising cost of living in the state of New Jersey, it is not feasible for many students to afford this and textbooks and class resources. Students should not go further into debt for their textbooks. I challenge you to do better for your students, stand up for your students and their finances.

Letter to the Editor:

Hello, I am a graduating senior at Rutgers University – Newark. I was hoping you could highlight the issue of the high cost of textbooks that university students have to deal with. On average, university students have to spend about $1000 per semester on textbooks – the equivalent of about two 3-credit community college courses. The high cost is compounded by the absolute stranglehold the textbooks companies are exerting on the textbook market – many textbook companies are pushing universities to update to textbooks that require online access codes to view course or homework material, access codes that are often only usable for one semester. This is crippling the used textbook market, as students who buy a used textbook still need an access code, so many just buy the new book. This is essentially adding insult to injury, as the average student leaves college with about $30,000 in student loan debt, and this is only adding to that. 

I’ve been personally affected by this – while I was attending community college, I had to pay my way through, and the high cost of textbooks negatively affected my education. Some of my classes had textbooks with access codes, which meant I had to buy them new, and some of the courses didn’t need access codes. In my first semester, I spent about $1100 on my first semester of books, and that was only on the 3 books that needed codes. I didn’t have enough money left to purchase even used copies of the 2 other books I needed, and I had to struggle through the class without constant access to the textbook material. If it wasn’t for my friends who had the book that I studied with, I may have failed the courses. Once I came to Rutgers, I had access to financial aid that helped to cover the cost of books, however, it often takes a week or two into the semester before the financial aid is available for me to purchase the books as I have to wait for the scholarships to be approved. This leads to the work I complete in the beginning of the semester being subpar and causes me to have to play “catch-up” for the following weeks to improve my grade. 

Rutgers, thankfully, uses an OAR (Open Access Resource) program; this is essentially a database of free textbooks that can be made available to students electronically, and allows for faculty to share the books and even create their own. Some of my courses had no textbook cost because of this program, and if more universities were to adopt this idea, then the overall burden of student loan debt would lessened in an impactful manner. 

Letter to the editor:

Hello, my name is Cindy Guzman and I am a 5th year student at Rutgers University Newark. Being a college student myself, I have firsthand seen the vast amount of money that fluctuates through our bank accounts. Every semester, students face financial insecurities that come with the cost of trying to get an education. For example, many have to decide on the choice to either eat lunch or save money for textbooks. Studies have found that almost two thirds of students have skipped buying a textbook because of the price. If our campus can acknowledge the severity of food insecurity amongst the students, then they can acknowledge and help lower the cost of our textbooks. These textbook prices are not only high, but some come along with an additional fee towards an access code. Other choices that students must make include dropping the class or working two to three jobs in order to afford it. In an article on Lead Winds, one student wrote: “The cost of books has led me to have to choose from paying for bills, buying food or racking up more credit card debt.” A financial headache has high stress rates and having to buy $600 textbooks while already being disadvantaged adds more stress to the college experience. If a student then doesn’t have it, then they miss out on learning. If finishing a college level education is important to Rutgers University, then together we should work to alleviate the financial burden that comes from textbooks. 


Cindy Guzman