Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
August 14, 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.




Environmental dangers demand a new conception of liberty

The United States of America was founded on the principle of individual freedom. Although this principle is noble and high, over the centuries it has often been abused and misinterpreted to fuel dangerous political positions. One of the major victims is the environment.


How to restore our reputation for free expression

Whether it’s punishing a professor for pro-war remarks, suspending a student for an allegedly “offensive” party invitation or defunding a conservative newspaper for criticizing a speaker, Hopkins has a long track record of free speech violations. Although the University retains the right to censor speech as a private institution, Hopkins has made an institutional commitment to protect and promote free speech in a broad sense. Yet even as the U.S. News & World Report recently moved Hopkins up to the number 12 spot in its national University rankings, the non-partisan Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) ranks Hopkins as the ninth worst college in the US for free speech. Given what has passed in the last six months at Hopkins, we could see the University rise even higher on this notorious free speech ranking.


Savor the freshman flavor

Two hours listening to a Russian author making jokes in German about how ugly his nose is. An involuntary nap in a shady Shriver Hall while a dreary old man reads poems that he swears aren’t poems. A meet and greet for a major I would fail at if even attempted. Pretending to be a flute virtuoso at an orchestra informational barbecue. These are just a few of the things I endured during my freshman year in order to obtain one of the greatest of rewards of collegiate life: free food.


Feed your inner troll - a challenge from the Editor

It stands to reason that the Opinions Editor would be an opinionated person. That I’m a Political Science major on the Hopkins debate council should only reinforce that expectation, and I certainly do fit the stereotype. In addition to holding strong beliefs, I’ve come to appreciate the art of defending those beliefs in a compelling and persuasive manner. I’ll admit that sometimes I practice that art a little more than I should — much to the chagrin of my beleaguered Facebook friends. Yes, I’m that guy.


Hopkins censors NSA post too hastily

Earlier this week, Whiting School of Engineering Dean Andrew Douglas instructed Hopkins cryptology professor Matthew Green to take down a blog post he’d written in criticism of NSA policies in his field of expertise. Later that day, the order was retracted; an apology was issued on Tuesday.


Rankings inspire improvement

Hopkins moved up from the 13th spot to the 12th spot in the U.S. News and World Report’s annual “2014 Best Colleges Rankings,” which was released on Tuesday. The University tied with Northwestern University, which Hopkins trailed in the 2013 rankings, and ranked one spot behind Dartmouth, which took the 10th spot. President Daniels’s Ten by 2020 plan seeks to attain the top ten rankings of universities by 2020 through efforts ranging from improving campus infrastructure to increasing  funding to its student aid department to implementing new and innovative teaching methods on campus.


Letter: Response to SGA Disqualification

Many students have been asking for the reason of my disqualification at the conclusion of the SGA election, it basically revolves around four individuals that sent out emails encouraging their friends and fellow students to vote for me. This occurred during a campaign time where candidates cannot request any of their supporters to campaign for them. In their sworn affidavits to the justices reviewing this appeal, these four admit they exercised their own freedom of speech and not through any request or encouragement from me


Step up week should thank faculty

The Office of Development and Alumni Relations kicked off Step Up Week on Sunday to thank donors for contributing to the University. The annual program celebrates charitable giving and those who “sustain the legacy of philanthropy established by Johns Hopkins himself.” This year’s events include various giveaways, including one in which students receive free Chipotle burritos after writing thank you letters to donors.


Students should be kept informed

Director of Student Activities Rob Turning released the Student Government Association (SGA) Executive Board election results yesterday. This announcement comes nearly a month after the elections were held, due to a lengthy appeals process concerning treasury candidate Schaefer Whiteaker’s disqualification. During that time, Hopkins students were not informed about the reason for this delay, much less the details of the appeals process. The SGA Committee on Student Elections (CSE) told The News-Letter two weeks ago that students weren’t informed about the process to “avoid confusion and clogging up students’ inboxes.”


Five things I’ve learned during my freshman year

My very first article for The News-Letter was about the things I had learned after my first week of college. It feels like just yesterday that I still needed my campus map to locate Mergenthaler Hall, or I enthusiastically headed over to the FFC thinking the food was actually adequate. I have become a more experienced Blue Jay since then, and the ins and outs of Hopkins life are finally starting to settle with me. It would be a stretch to say I have had life-changing revelations since this past September, but I have definitely learned quite a bit. As freshman year comes to a close, I would like to think I’ve become a little wiser and perhaps able to impart some knowledge to the incoming class of 2017. Here are five things I’ve learned during my freshman year at Hopkins:


Keystone XL is not the key to healthy economic progress

Last year, oil companies such as TransCanada, Valero and others pushed for the completion of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The Keystone XL pipeline would carry heavy crude oil from the Alberta tar sands in Canada, through several Midwestern U.S. states, and down into the refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. A decision on the approval of the permit is expected by July. One of the main reasons for the pressure to approve the pipeline is the oil lobby’s marketing campaign that tries to convince Americans that increasing domestic oil production will decrease gas prices here in the U.S.


Misunderstood disease in dire need of funding and research

When I was in high school, I had a friend who was often mistakenly accused of being drunk. He stumbled around campus, hanging on to walls for support, and talked with a slow slur that was difficult to understand at times. The other students didn’t understood why he acted this way, and they shunned him for his abnormal behavior.


GOP generation: Can Millennials rebuild the party?

We are the Millennials, the generation born from 1980 through 2000 — born in the last century, come of age in the new millennium. Millennials voted for Obama 60 percent to 36 percent over former Governor Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. The president captured an even larger share, 66 percent to 31 percent, in his 2008 win over Senator John McCain. What, in that case, does the Millennial generation have to do with the rebirth of the Grand Old Party, the party of Lincoln?


Debate promotes necessary dialogue

Students and faculty came together on Monday to debate the merits of fossil fuel divestment. Refuel Our Future, a student group spearheading efforts to convince the University to divest its endowment in fossil fuels, and Alpha Kappa Psi, the business fraternity, co-hosted the debate. Divestment would entail the University getting rid of any stocks in fossil fuel companies. Professors Bruce Hamilton and Cindy Parker partnered with two members of the Woodrow Wilson Debate Council to argue their sides of the case.


Polls present opportunity for SGA

This year, when students logged on to vote in the SGA executive elections, they were also asked to voice their opinion on the proposed smoking ban on the Homewood campus. A total of 2,860 students participated, which was the “highest voter turnout in recent SGA memory,” according to Rob Turning, Director of Student Activities.




Tweeting after terror: The new role of social media

I was in second grade on September 11, 2001. It was only a couple of days into the new school year as we began to practice reading skills and math tables, finding relief within a classroom amidst the humid Washington, D.C. weather. I don’t remember much about the beginning of the day, only that I was getting more and more anxious as the day progressed. My 25 classmates were getting picked up one by one. Three left at recess, two during P.E. This cyclical shrinking even seemed strange to the fleeting attention span of a seven-year-old.


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