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Once again, Hopkins is tied for ninth place in the U.S. News and World Report’s “Best National Universities” category. While we are grateful to attend a University that affords us so many incredible resources, one very basic resource doesn’t live up to this standard: transportation.
After a year and a half of logging onto Zoom meetings, most of us had our first in-person class last week. With students lounging on the Beach, studying at Brody and indulging in the grilled cheese at the FFC, it’s clear: we have achieved some sense of pre-Pandemic normalcy.
It truly was another unprecedented summer. As vaccines became more readily available and COVID-19 cases in Baltimore declined this past June, Hopkins relaxed its indoor mask mandate and weekly testing policies. Many students felt optimistic that the fall would represent as close a return to normal as possible.
Under the pseudonym Zhang, a master’s student at Hopkins recounted the mishandling of her sexual assault case by the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) to The News-Letter. Unfortunately, OIE has failed yet another complainant in its Title IX procedures.
Today, we celebrate the 51st annual Earth Day. Since President Joe Biden’s inauguration, the U.S. has made some progress in the fight against climate change. The country rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement in one of Biden’s first executive orders. With the new administration’s recently unveiled $2 trillion infrastructure plan promoting cleaner energy sources and racial equity, there is reason to be optimistic.
During Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial regarding the murder of George Floyd, the city was brought to the forefront of national news once again. Last Sunday, Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by a white police officer.
As of Tuesday, all Maryland residents over the age of 16 are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at mass vaccination sites. While some students have already qualified for vaccinations through clinical work, now everyone has access.
Only one candidate in this year’s Student Government Association’s (SGA) Executive Board elections is running opposed. We suspect that this is because, for the second year, elections for the SGA class councils and executive board are being held at the same time in an effort to increase voter turnout and streamline the voting process.
Last Saturday, the Northwestern University Community Not Cops (NUCNC) held a protest against the university’s police force. Within 10 minutes, 150 student protesters were threatened with chemical munition by the Evanston Police Department and met with riot shields and batons by Northern Illinois Police Alarm System officers.
We all remember where we were a year ago. The week started normally; students studied for tests, sports teams went to games and performing arts groups practiced for their spring showcases.
In recent months, anti-Asian hate crimes have skyrocketed. Throughout the pandemic, Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities have faced verbal and physical assaults fueled by fear of the virus and former President Donald Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric. Trump repeatedly called COVID-19 the “kung flu” and the “China virus.” Although he may be out of office, his presidency and the pandemic in particular have unmasked America’s racism and sinophobia.
The Maryland General Assembly held a hearing this week on House Bill 336, which aims to prohibit private universities from establishing police departments. Titled “Private Institutions of Higher Education - Police Departments - Repeal and Prohibition,” the bill would repeal several previously-approved articles permitting Hopkins to implement a police force and would more generally amend articles concerning forces at other private universities in Maryland.
Last July, the University launched several initiatives following the nationwide protests that took place after the deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others. To address the University’s own role in structural racism, Hopkins created the Committee to Establish Principles on Naming, given the lives and legacies of many of our buildings’ namesakes.
Barely a week after the semester began, the University detected a spike in COVID-19 cases on Homewood Campus. The cluster was connected to a large party hosted off campus by the North Charles Social Club (WAWA), as well as other smaller events.
For years, members of the Teachers and Researchers United (TRU), a graduate student organization, have called on the University to recognize them as an official union. Since the start of the pandemic, the need for this has become increasingly clear. Over the past 11 months, the University has failed to adequately support its graduate students, despite their crucial role in our institution’s functioning.
Yesterday the University announced that a cluster of students tested positive for COVID-19 in relation to off-campus social gatherings. Until this point, there were relatively few cases among undergraduates. The day after some students had their first day of in-person classes in nearly a year, they were forced back online.
Welcome back to another semester and, for many, welcome to Homewood. Though a hybrid semester isn’t the experience we would normally hope for, we are cautiously optimistic to be on campus for the first time since March.
On Tuesday, University President Ronald J. Daniels and Provost Sunil Kumar emailed the Hopkins community that swastika graffiti had been found in a dormitory elevator at the Peabody Institute. The University condemned this act of antisemitism, which has been officially labeled as a hate crime. It is being investigated by the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) and federal law enforcement.
As a student body, we have endured a lot this year. The University’s sudden announcement in August that the semester would be entirely virtual was far from ideal. Students had already booked flights, signed leases and made plans to return to Baltimore before the University urged students to stay home.
Last week, The News-Letter published, deleted and retracted an article about a Hopkins faculty member’s presentation on COVID-19 data.