Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
September 23, 2020

Opinion

The opinions presented below are solely the views of the author and do not represent the views of The News-Letter. If you are a member of the Hopkins community looking to submit a piece or a letter to the editor, please email opinions@jhunewsletter.com.



We may be number nine, but our priorities are wrong

Hopkins was named the nation’s ninth best university by U.S. News & World Report on Monday, moving up a spot from last year. The announcement of this arbitrary ranking was met with quite the fanfare in the Hopkins community. The University’s social media pages celebrated the news. Students and alumni flooded our feeds, delighted about the University’s new status.


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Without an in-person network, radical virtual collaboration is the key to student support.

Adapting to a virtual semester will require radical collaboration

Do you feel like you are in class? It’s the second week of Fall 2020, but the semester still feels as though it hasn’t started. For most of us, learning from home, online classes and student gatherings don't feel the same as in-person interactions. Sitting in front of a screen all day is hardly different from time spent during the summer. The question remains: How should we best adapt to a virtual Hopkins?


COURTESY OF RUDY MALCOM
Hopkins needs to improve its contact tracing resources to help at-risk individuals stay safe.

Prodensity is not enough to track COVID-19 in the Hopkins community

Prodensity — an app originally developed to facilitate the record tracking of in-lab researchers during Phase One of the University’s reopening plan — has now improved to allow Hopkins affiliates in Baltimore to access resources and report their health status, as well as seek help if they have symptoms. 


PUBLIC DOMAIN
The susceptibility of predictive artificial intelligence to racial biases makes its use dangerous in the criminal justice system.

Artificial intelligence poses serious risks in the criminal justice system

Whenever I tell people that I’m interested in artificial intelligence (AI), most of them bring up their favorite movie that features an evil AI assembling an army of killer robots that threaten to wipe out humankind. I have to admit that I used to be right there with them, but as entertaining and enjoyable as they are, they lead to a lot of misconceptions about what AI truly is and the very real ways that it impacts our lives.


PUBLIC EDITOR: Defining the Public Editor and setting priorities

For those of you readers who watch this space, you may have noticed the handover that took place over the summer. After ably serving as The News-Letter’s first Public Editor, Jacob Took graduated and has now joined the staff of The Cecil Whig and The Newark Post. For the next nine months, I will be your Public Editor.


Where the University is failing us, SGA has set its own example

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. 


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While Biden would likely be a centrist president if elected, there is hope for progressive action.

How Biden’s message of unity would work as a governing strategy

Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden has adopted a promise to unite America as his central message. This could not have been more evident at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) where not only was “uniting America” the theme of all four nights, but the speaker line-up featured an array of different ideologies, from Senator Bernie Sanders to former Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich. 


COURTESY OF RUDY MALCOM
Students gather on the Beach on August 30, the day before fall classes started.

Students back in Baltimore need to take social distancing more seriously

Last Thursday, I arrived in Baltimore for the first time since May. I was thrilled to move back into my apartment for the year, see a select number of people who would be accepted into my “quarantine pod” and enjoy a semester of Zoom university. It had been a long summer and an even longer five months of quarantine, so I was looking forward to a big change. 



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Students, faculty and staff deserve a seat at the table when it comes to University decision-making. 

Clear communication and comprehensive support are more important than a tuition cut

As an international student, I have been disappointed by the Hopkins administration numerous times for how it treats its students, staff and faculty. That is why, when an online teaching format with reduced tuition was announced, I was genuinely happy. The tough decision is ultimately the safest way to resume school and reduce financial stress from the pandemic.


Why I resigned from the Johns Hopkins Police Accountability Board

On August 25, I tendered my resignation from the Johns Hopkins Police Accountability Board (JHPAB). A day later, University officials sent a letter to the remaining Board members informing them that their tenure had been “paused” in keeping with University President Ronald J. Daniels’ June announcement regarding a similar “pause” to the Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD).




PUBLIC DOMAIN
The president meets with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who Tie argues has long facilitated Trump's agenda.

From Trump to Zuckerberg: How profit, not ideology, guided the attack on TikTok

One surprising ally in Facebook’s war against TikTok is U.S. President Donald Trump, who has a long history of oppressing Chinese tech companies like Huawei. Some may joke that Trump’s rage stems from when K-pop fans and TikTok users pranked his Tulsa rally in June. But the real reason for his hostility may be the hawkish stance this administration has long taken on China. 


Five weeks of radio silence during a pandemic is unacceptable

“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.” 


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Reopening the Rec Center will disproportionately affect the University's Black staff and students.

Gyms have no business opening during a pandemic, even at Hopkins

With a hybrid fall semester closing in, Hopkins has taken important precautions to ensure the health and safety of its staff and students such as mandatory masking on campus and the suspension of all in-person events. The University’s commitment to “equity and fairness,” however, appears hollow when we examine the plans to reopen the Recreation Center.  


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Announcing an online-only fall this close to the first day of classes will endanger students, not protect them. 

The case for a safe return to campus

There is no denying that the situation across the country has changed dramatically since the end of June when Hopkins announced its initial plan for returning to campus this fall. With the exception of the Northeast, coronavirus (COVID-19) numbers have been trending in the wrong direction.  


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Due to the health and safety risks of returning to campus, Hopkins should revise its hybrid plan in favor of online-only.

Hopkins needs to go completely virtual this fall

I want to begin by saying that there is nothing I want more than for Hopkins to open up this fall so that I can experience the senior year that I have been looking forward to for the last three years. Regardless of this, based on the current circumstances, if Hopkins continues with their current plan of opening for a hybrid semester, I am afraid that a major coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on campus is inevitable. 



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