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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.
Two weeks ago, the University announced plans to demolish Charles Village rowhomes. Community members and civic organizations were frustrated that, instead of seeking community input, Hopkins left the buildings to sit vacant for years — allowing them to deteriorate to a nearly irreparable state.
We hate to beat a dead horse, but 2020 has been full of tragedy and crises. Perhaps the single thing that hasn’t gone horribly wrong this year is the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
On Tuesday, The News-Letter published an article in which seven students alleged that they had been drugged at parties held by Delta Phi (St. Elmo’s). While the fraternity denied the allegations, witnesses corroborated five of the students’ stories.
We don’t know for sure what direction the country is headed. Despite the uncertainty regarding the presidential election, we do know that Hopkins has a (tentative) plan for this spring.
Election Day is less than a week away. The stakes couldn’t be higher. As Democratic nominee Joe Biden has repeatedly said this year, the very character of our nation is on the ballot.
Last week, the University issued a public safety advisory reporting an uptick in carjackings in the Northern Police District, which includes Homewood Campus. In the report, Campus Safety and Security advised students to be aware of their surroundings, and if they are the victim of a carjacking they should surrender any requested property and report the crime as soon as possible.
Hopkins celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday, marking the third time that the University has recognized the holiday. The Office of Multicultural Affairs and Indigenous Students at Hopkins (ISH) led the celebrations, including a virtual pow wow. ISH shared dances by Indigenous peoples from all over the Americas on social media.
There are 26 days until the presidential election. Voter registration deadlines have already passed in 10 states, and the stakes have never been higher — American voters are being asked to choose who will implement the nation’s long-term response to COVID-19.
This week, the New York Times reported that President Donald Trump had paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017. The report further shows that Trump did not pay federal income taxes at all for 10 out of 15 years since 2000. In Tuesday’s presidential debate, Trump called the story fake news, claiming that he had actually paid “millions of dollars” in taxes.
Yesterday, a grand jury in Louisville, Ky. failed to bring justice for Breonna Taylor. Only one of the three officers involved in her death was indicted for first-degree wanton endangerment charges. Not a single officer was actually charged for her death.
It’s been an exhausting year and election cycle, and it’s not even close to over. Last week, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — a pioneer for gender equality and symbol of perseverance — passed away after a long fight against cancer.
Hopkins was named the nation’s ninth best university by U.S. News & World Report on Monday, moving up a spot from last year.
To say that the University has a history of poor communication is an understatement. This has been particularly evident over the course of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. For example, amid a nationwide reckoning with structural racism, Hopkins has yet to take any meaningful action to address its contributions to these issues. While we were signing leases and booking flights, Hopkins failed to update us on its plans for the fall semester. And now that we have inevitably returned to Baltimore, Hopkins has failed to offer us adequate support.
Eight days before classes even started, the University announced that a small cluster of off-campus students in Baltimore had tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). In the same email, administrators urged students to stay at home, as they did in their delayed decision to switch from hybrid learning to online-only.
“Maybe what we have to be doing is communicating more effectively why we haven’t made a decision, what the factors are that are going to go into that decision,” University President Ronald J. Daniels said in an interview with The News-Letter at the end of April. “Maybe that’s a way to deal with this new normal of pretty profound uncertainty across a number of our operations.”
Three days ago, top University officials announced that they would be halting their plans to create a private police force (JHPD) for at least two years. This was the second communication sent to the student body in response to the protests that began when George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. It took almost an entire week after Floyd’s death for the University to release a statement.
Five years ago, Baltimore residents took to the streets to protest the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man from Sandtown-Winchester. Gray died on April 19 from a severe spinal cord injury sustained while in police custody, yet no officer was convicted.
Twenty-five years ago, Hopkins students buried a time capsule outside of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library to be opened on Earth Day 2020. In 1995, a student involved with the project hoped that those opening the vessel would reflect on how much progress had been made since 1970 and be inspired for the next 25 years of environmental action.