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The irony of being politically active in college is that once you get the hang of it, it’s time to graduate. I now know how to access the archives and notes of the Board of Trustees, how to navigate the Hydra head of bureaucracy that swallows student discontent, who is most effective to scream at and when, etc. Yet it is time for me to go, to take this useless knowledge and try to impart some to my younger fellow activists, to remember marching in Garland fondly years from now.
The University and President Daniels love to brag about the relationship that Hopkins has with Baltimore and about how Hopkins is an “anchor institution.” Yet the University’s track record — gentrification, low wages, wealth hoarding and the racist scientific experimentation that earned Hopkins the nickname “the plantation” — paint a very different picture of Baltimore-Hopkins relations than the anchor institution narrative does.
There’s a pretty good chance that you, the Hopkins student reading this article, consumes drugs on the weekend. Or if not you, your friend or your roommate and certainly your classmates.
About once a year, the fraternity debate is reignited at Hopkins, and the same arguments are trotted out. Fraternities are good, look at the brotherhood; fraternities are misguided, they need Bystander Intervention Training (BIT); fraternities are neutral parties, the problem is alcohol. People avoid condemning fraternities as a whole institution. The administration does not want to anger a large portion of the student body, and non-affiliated students don’t want to face the social consequences of criticizing fraternities. I think fraternities are misogynistic and cannot be reformed.
In 1993, peace activist Philip Berrigan and six other people from the Baltimore Emergency Response Network (BERN) protested the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory’s (APL) nuclear weapons program by spreading ashes on the ground to symbolize the victims of warfare, as well as handing out leaflets. Berrigan and his fellow activists were arrested. John Wilhelm, the APL spokesperson, responded to the events in The Baltimore Sun by saying, “We really don’t have a comment on today’s events. It’s a periodic occurrence.”
On September 15, the Public Interest Investment Advisory Committee (PIIAC) released their recommendations for fossil fuel divestment. Overall, the recommendation was a complete success for student activists (specifically the group Refuel Our Future), with PIIAC recommending full divestment of the University’s endowment from fossil fuel companies.
It is difficult to truly grasp the pathologically violent nature of our country when it is so overwhelming and present. There is violence all around us. We are an exceptional country, but not for the reasons we were taught in grade school.
The American war machine has been ratcheting up since the election of Trump. Missiles attacking a Syrian government air base, the “mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan and the expansion of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) on the Korean Peninsula. Underneath all these recent developments is the ever-present buzz of drones, flying under the radar.
Since the election, there have been numerous articles trying to get to the bottom of the motivation of Trump voters. Are Trump voters the result of racism and xenophobia, economic anxiety or a mixture of both (spoiler: According to exit polls, the answer is racism)? And, depending on your answer to the question, how best can liberals and leftists reach out to them?
The free speech debate is raging on campuses. Again. This time the think pieces stem from two events: the widely publicized canceled Milo Yiannopoulos event at UC Berkeley and conservative Charles Murray’s speech at Middlebury that was thrown into chaos by protesters.
The University’s new required “Think About It” online course about sexual assault, alcohol and sex on campus is one of the most inept, incompetent and downright insulting programs I have come across. I am honestly flabbergasted as to how this program was accepted and sent out to students after years of intelligent conversations about sexual assault.
This weekend, I watched a talk from Larry Holmes (not the boxer but the first secretary of the Workers World Party) about the current role of the Democratic Party. After the election, Holmes made the point that if the Democrats truly wanted to stop Trump, as they claim to in their rhetoric, they could do so easily.
The Women’s March on Washington was fraught with problems from the very start. It was originally called the Million Women March, but black feminists pointed out that the Million Woman March had already occurred in Philadelphia in 1997. The organizers changed it to the Women’s March on Washington, which was then accused of co-opting the name of the historically important 1963 march.
In March, I wrote an article about how I was disappointed in how liberals were treating Trump as a joke rather than a serious threat. And yet, up until the night of the election, I also did not believe that Trump would win. I had ideas in my head of what a Clinton presidency would look like, how to protest her various hawkish policies, ready to get angry at people lauding her as a feminist idol. And yet, here we are, egg dripping down my face.
On Sept. 26, the JHU College Republicans (JCR) announced their official endorsement of Donald Trump for president of the United States. On Oct. 19, the JCR posted a statement on their Facebook page explaining why they chose to endorse Trump. Bizarrely, in their statement, the JCR wrote “we... do not encourage people to vote for Donald Trump in this upcoming election,” yet they still stand by their endorsement, prompting the question: What the point of an endorsement is if not to encourage people to vote for a preferred candidate? Yet their most hypocritical and cowardly action is refusing to talk to The News-Letter or any press about their endorsement.
The Hopkins Board of Trustee notes are only available 25 years after they are written; therefore, only records before 1991 are available. From 1985 until 1987, Hopkins undergraduates, graduate students and a few faculty protested the University’s investment in apartheid South Africa by erecting mock shanty towns around campus under “the Coalition for a Free South Africa.”
After the 2005 recording of Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault surfaced this week, several top Republicans have been disavowing him or rescinding their endorsements (my future children will potentially read about the “pussy tapes” in their textbooks; Let us softly weep).
My obsession with reality TV started when I was about 10 years old. Occasionally during Sunday family lunches at my grandmother’s house I would sneak upstairs and watch VH1 reality shows, namely Flavor of Love, Rock of Love and Charm School.
Last week, the sports section of The News-Letter published an article criticizing San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem in a protest against the oppression of black Americans. Although I vehemently disagree with the article and applaud Kaepernick’s bravery to bring issues of white supremacy into discussion, the article did provoke thought about nationalistic imagery. Specifically, how myself (a twenty-year old) and the young-adult authors of anti-Kaepernick pieces, could grow up with the same nationalistic symbols in the fervently patriotic post-9/11 world, yet develop such different viewpoints.