Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
December 2, 2021


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

Insomnia Cookies: bad for a healthy lifestyle

July 22 marked the Homewood Campus debut of Insomnia Cookies, a national bakery chain with late-night hours and delivery service. The idea for Insomnia Cookies originated at the University of Pennsylvania in the dorm room of then-student Seth Berkowitz. Since its founding in 2003, the popular chain has been selling and delivering freshly-baked cookies to individuals and companies at over 50 locations.

The necessity of student journalism

This is somewhere around the 100th opinion column I have written, though it is my first for The News-Letter.  And, in moving from one paper (The University of Virginia’s The Cavalier Daily) to another, I have been thinking about the importance of independent student journalism for a well-functioning student body. This sentiment, I hope, is a timely one, as new students are becoming acclimated to Hopkins.  With any luck, they will also come to appreciate the benefits created by a college newspaper.

Orientation nation: a new JHU undergrad experience

I envy the individuals who claim to have had butterflies fluttering in their stomachs before their first day of college. From what I remember about my experience a little over a year ago, my body was staging a coup against itself. I was borderline paralyzed with fear of the unknown as I was pulled from my car outside of Wolman last fall. In all honesty, I barely can remember my orientation experience; it was all a blur of confusion and disorganization. I remember wandering the back side of the Rec Center trying to find Bloomberg for my first Peer Ambassador (PA) meeting; upon finding the room, my PA that was nowhere to be found. I gave up on the orientation process after that. I guess I was on my own, along with a thousand other new kids.

iCloud hacker exposes dangers of digital age

The technological progression that affects our day-to-day lives is a double-edged sword. One side of it bestows us with unprecedented convenience, while the other side makes the chinks in our armor ever more apparent. In other words, technologies that simplify our lives do so at the cost of privacy. These "chinks in our armor" can best be described as all the stupid stuff we do that we'd never tell Grandma about. These are the same stupid things that our parents did. I hate to say it, but these are also probably the same stupid things that your grandma did too. Your parents didn't have Facebook profiles when they were our age; heck, they didn't even have digital cameras. Your grandma's "Instagram" is the current logo of our Instagram. The older generations were no better or worse than we are; they just didn’t have the means to document their youthful sense of adventure.

Letter to the Editor: Resources for sexual assault victims

In light of the recent Huffington Post article, we (Rebecca Grenham and Ella Rogers-Fett, co-directors of Sexual Assault Resource Unit), feel that it is necessary to alert the Hopkins community of the resources available to them. We understand that this is an upsetting and emotional time for many people, and we want to assure everyone that any emotional reaction to this incident is natural. You are not alone. Sexual Assault Resource Unit (SARU), runs a confidential 24/7 hotline operated by students trained in empathetic listening and crisis intervention. The hotline number is 410-516-7887. For non-emergency related questions, thoughts, or concerns, please contact us at Aside from our services, we have also listed other resources available:

President’s Reading Series excels

This Monday, former child soldier-turned-human rights activist Ishmael Beah came to Hopkins to tell the story of his remarkable journey. He was the final speaker of The President’s Reading Series, a joint effort between the Writing Seminars Department and President Daniels to invite acclaimed playwrights, novelists and journalists to bring their unique ideas and perspectives right to the doorsteps of Hopkins students. Colum McCann, Colm Tóibín, Isabel Wilkerson and Ishmael Beah all accepted that invitation this year. Each is a literary heavyweight that has won Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Critic Circle Awards and National Book Awards. 

Editorial Observer: Focus on Humanities

 If you’re anything like me, as finals roll around, readings that you haven’t finished over the semester start to catch up with you and spots in the Brody Reading Room get harder and harder to come by, sometimes you start to ask yourself: is all the stress of a Hopkins education worth it? As a graduating Writing Seminars/Italian double major, I’m not entirely sure.

The Common Core’s war on fiction

September: The month when the trees button up their autumn coats, when students scramble to finish their summer assignments, and when teachers dot the last i’s and cross the last t’s on their lesson plans — but four years ago, New York State had something different in mind. On July 19, 2010, the Board of Regents formally adopted the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. On Jan. 10, 2011, the Board approved New York State’s unique additions to the program.

Generation Y, please sit down and listen to yourselves

Generation Y strikes again with loud voices and confidant aims as they strive to build momentum in issues of social change. There is nothing innately wrong or distasteful with activism, but lately, it has reached a dead end. Activists are pulling a push-door, expecting to get through it somehow. Here is a list of the top five activist issues that we all should put to rest; they are overdone, overused and very much past their primes. These issues are already out in the world, and it is up to individuals to make the change for themselves; no amount of protests or info-pamphlets will change their minds. This is not to say that I disagree with their purpose, but I certainly see room for improvement in their means of creating the changes they desire.

Your career isn’t as important as you think

You’ve been asked this question since freshman year, and if you happen to be a junior or a senior, variations of this question have probably come up more and more frequently. For some of us, that question may seem infinitely far away, while for others, this question is forced upon us daily, and maybe we still don’t have an answer. Regardless of where we stand in relation to it, we have to be honest — at some point, we will enter the workforce. We will enter the ‘real world,’ as they say. So what are we to do? How do you decide, right now, what you intend on doing for the rest of your life? It’s almost insane to think about. How are you (at, say, 22 years old) supposed to make a decision of what job will satisfy you for the next 30+ years? That involves thinking about whether you’d like to travel or not, if you intend on marrying someone or not, if you plan on having kids or not. Do you really think that any of us can make such a big decision at this age with any sort of wisdom?

Sexual Assault Petition Necessary

Sexual assault is an alarming, under-reported reality among many universities and colleges. Recently, Hopkins student groups have advocated for our administration to take additional steps to combat these tragic incidents. On April 23, the College Democrats released a petition in conjunction with the Sexual Assault Resource Unit (SARU) and several other organizations requesting that the University take five actions: provide a website that specifies students’ legal rights, revise the freshman orientation program on rape and sexual assault prevention and make it mandatory, print SARU’s hotline number on all new J-Cards, provide honest email updates detailing the frequency and location of sexual assault incidents and introduce a compulsory anti-sexual assault component to all fraternity and sorority new-member programs.

Apathetic non-voters forfeit right to complain about the SGA

The Student Government Association (SGA) is viewed with disdain by what seems to be a majority of the student body. People complain that their representatives don’t do enough for them while others lament that they’re not given any practical capacity to do so. Regardless of why, it seems we’re not satisfied with our SGA. And it’s our own fault.

Liberal intolerance, hypocrisy threatens religious liberty

The American tradition of religious liberty, which is enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, predates the American republic itself. Charles Carroll of Carrolton, a signee of the Declaration of Independence, wrote of his immigrant grandfather that “being a Roman Catholic, he pitched on Maryland, where the free exercise of that religion & equal privileges were granted.” Many Americans today, however, take our precious freedom of religion so for granted that they would forfeit it to save a few dollars on their birth control pills. For faithful Catholics and other Christian employers and institutions, the Obama administration’s HHS contraception mandate does not threaten their money, as much as their right to live out their deeply held convictions in the public square.

Brutal Bahrain protest crackdown reveals character of US ally

A tiny (only 3.5 times the size of Washington DC) island off the coast of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain lies in the heart of the Persian Gulf. Although it was the first state to strike oil in the region, it has a relatively small amount remaining. Within the American context, it is probably best known for hosting the massively important Fifth Fleet of the United States Navy.


“The sun never sets on the British Empire” remained a true statement for centuries thanks mostly to the use of brute force. Each conventional colonization since then has employed the same tactic. However, a new modus operandi has been adopted that is far more subtle, yet permeates boundaries that canons and swords could only dream of. No representatives from the invading nation need even be present to ensure the efficacy of the agenda. In fact, the citizens of the colonizing nation tend to be entirely oblivious of the magnitude of the invasion, and those under the proverbial fire are either painfully aware or peacefully ignorant of the changes. This situation is not some faraway dream or unwritten Ray Bradbury novel - on the contrary, it is the reality today. After finally having the opportunity to really immerse myself in a number of different cultures (albeit all European), I have found that America has become the everyman’s culture.

Private firms stimulate U.S. economy while fighting global poverty

Since 1990, nearly 1 billion people have been released from the chains of extreme poverty. The poverty rate among developing countries has fallen to 20.6% in 2010, from 43.1% in 1990.  This remarkable achievement is being applauded around the globe as a major accomplishment for the governments and international agencies which developed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 1990.

Physician assisted suicide should be legalized

What would you do if you only had a month to live? This hypothetical question for most healthy individuals is the unfortunate reality for many terminally ill patients. Death is as inevitable for those who are healthy as a horse as it is for those battling incurable diseases; the only uncertainty in this matter is time. We do not know when we are going to die, but in the back of our minds, we know that at some point the blood will stop pumping through our veins and the world will continue without us. Most of us view death as an unfortunate occurrence, a painful loss. This is certainly true in many and perhaps most instances. However, we sometimes forget that death can also mean the end of suffering, or the ultimate source of closure. As complicated as death is, it is dichotomously simple. Because of its complicated consequences, physician-assisted suicide is a popular topic of debate in America’s changing health care policies. The American Medical Association (AMA) formally rejects the validity of physician-assisted suicide. However, it has already been legalized in 4 states. In appropriate times, physician-assisted suicide can serve as a solution, and should be a legal and viable option for Americans.

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