Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
December 3, 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

In defense of girly coffee drinks

I don't think I've ever hugged my grandfather, for he has insisted on shaking my hand ever since I was toddler. I use the word "shake" loosely, in the way a Killer Whale might "shake" a seal before swallowing it.  Picture an eagle sinking its formidable talons into the soft, furry body of a confused and terrified field mouse. I vividly remember seeing his hand contort into a terrible claw like appendage, my hand feeling like a raw porterhouse steak between the steel-crunching jaws of a massive crocodile. This happened every time I saw him until I was in my late teens.

Self reflection is a valuable and necessary experience

I came to Hopkins as an undecided student — someone not only unsure about a particular major, but equally unsure about even the general subject or field of study I wanted to pursue. After speaking with so many Hopkins students who seemed to have things planned out so well, I realized that although I knew the general topics that I enjoyed and what subjects I liked in high school, I had never really considered what I would study - or even do - in college. Confronting these realities and decisions was a shock to my system and led to unanticipated stress. But it also led to significant personal growth during my first semester.

Gender testing in professional athletics: Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya should be known for her impressive running ability. What she is better known for is her gender ambiguity, a conflict that has affected her running career and her life in general. The South African has represented her country in track and field in various prestigious meets around the world, including the Olympics. Her participation in women’s track however has not gone without controversy, scrutiny and personal humiliation for the young athlete.

J Street U student Town Hall an important opportunity

This coming Saturday, the J Street U student Town Hall will be happening on our very own campus. Over 300 students from across the country will gather with experts, activists, and prominent political figures to stand united in support of U.S. leadership to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Supreme court should protect reproductive freedom

“The widespread use of contraceptives has indeed harmed women physically, emotionally, morally, and spiritually — and has, in many respects, reduced her to the ‘mere instrument for the satisfaction of [man’s] own desires.’” It’s hard to believe that anyone actually thinks this, let alone declares it as fact. But this is just one example pulled from the 59 amicus briefs filed in support of Hobby Lobby, a for-profit corporation arguing for exemption from the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act on the grounds that it is an unconstitutional violation of “its” sincerely held religious beliefs.

Johannes Vermeer - a genius, or a cheat?

In Teller’s latest film, Tim’s Vermeer, the Director/Producer explores Johannes Vermeer as the Master Dutch painter of reality. The question that many art historians and scholars alike have asked is: “How did Vermeer paint photo-realistic paintings so many years before the advent of the photograph?”

Crimean annexation cripples Russia’s re-Sovietization ambitions

The close of the twentieth century saw the rise of what Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called “neo-Soviet imperialism” in his op-ed last week. With the reanimation of the still-warm corpse of the Soviet Union as its ultimate goal, this ideology has been at the center of the Kremlin’sgeopoliticalagenda, and is the driving force behind nearly every action the Russian Federation has undertaken. Fueled by rapidly increasing global energy prices, the Russian Federation under Putin has become more aggressive in its pursuit of an empire of the former Soviet republics. Russia’s involvement in the domestic affairs of Ukraine, then, is only the most recent and most poignant result of a Kremlin that may have overplayed it’s hand. But a closer analysis of the developments in Ukraine in the context of the Kremlin’s long-term imperial aspirations indicates that Russian intervention in Crimea might be more than just miscalculated power projection. What started as civil unrest in a neighboring nation could prove fatal to the geopolitical goals of Russia’s elite in the long run.

Road work promising despite hassles

With construction enveloping the east side of campus, students can often be seen remarking on the effects such construction has upon their common routes to and from class. While the fences erected around these construction areas can be quite inconvenient, the Editorial Board is nevertheless encouraged by the prospects of the final outcome of this Charles Street Reconstruction Project.

Wage dispute should be public

On April 11, the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s service workers ended their three-day-long strike for living wages. Seventy percent of Hospital employees are paid less than $14.91 an hour, a rate that qualifies a family of four for food stamps. Bonnie Windsor, the Hospital’s Vice President of Human Resources, has maintained that the Hospital will not publicize its wage bargaining process out of respect for the workers.

Middle East gets deserved attention

This week at Hopkins has been marked by a number of events concerning Middle Eastern affairs. Over the course of a few days, Hopkins has hosted four Middle East-related events, which were sponsored by over half a dozen organizations and attended by hundreds of students and community members. J Street U, a national collegiate organization advocating a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hosted a Town Hall this weekend. The event was their largest yet and attracted hundreds of students from dozens of colleges as well as numerous experts and speakers. Hopkins Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), in conjunction with two other organizations, received guest speaker Patrick Bond, a political economist involved in global justice, who compared the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to South African apartheid in the latter half of the 20th century. Hopkins American Partnership for Israel (HAPI) partnered with the Foreign Affairs Symposium (FAS) to hold a dinner and presentation event where Middle East policy expert Aaron David Miller discussed US-Israeli relations in the broader context of the Middle East and US foreign policy. FAS, American Enterprise Institute Executive Council and the Department of Military Science sponsored a panel discussion on Iran and al-Qaida.

Housing talk educates students

On Wednesday, in an event hosted by the College Democrats, Peter Engel of the Housing Authority of Baltimore spoke to Hopkins students about the unique set of challenges he faces as Deputy Commissioner of Project Finance and Development. Our historic city is now home to over 16,000 vacant and unlivable homes. To make matters worse, most of these squatters’ havens are both privately owned and located deep in the heart of distressed neighborhoods. Engel suggests that these properties are beyond repair and that the only solution to this problem is a cohesive approach of acquiring, demolishing and repurposing these residences one by one.

SGA Election Endorsements

Every year, after reviewing the platforms and conducting interviews of each candidate running for SGA Executive Board, The News-Letter Editorial Board determines which candidates to endorse. The Editorial Board endorses the candidates that best suit the position, provide the most relevant experience and demonstrate a plan for successfully enacting meaningful improvement. This year, there are two groups running as tickets and one independent candidate running for treasurer, junior Maxwell Dickey. One tickets is composed of junior Janice Bonsu (president), sophomore Kyra Toomre (vice president), junior Will Szymanski (treasurer) and freshman Adelaide Morphette (secretary). The other ticket consists of juniors Justin Whalley (president), Jake Rogers (vice president), Mahzi Malcolm (treasurer) and freshman Ope Olukorede (secretary).

Calendar changes benefit students

Midway through last week, the Hopkins administration announced several changes to the academic calendar. Beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year, Thanksgiving Break will be extended to a full week, and to make up the days lost, classes will begin two days earlier at the start of the fall semester. Furthermore, during Thanksgiving and Spring Breaks, undergraduate residence halls will remain open. Previously, Thanksgiving Break began the Wednesday before the holiday, and all residence halls except for Homewood and Bradford shut down during the two mid-semester breaks. The Editorial Board would like to applaud the University for these decisions.

Commencement embraces equality

The commencement speaker for the Class of 2014 was revealed on Tuesday and will be YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. Wojcicki, in whose garage the company Google was founded, has been named one of the 50 most powerful women in business by Fortune magazine, and one of the 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes magazine. The announcement comes at the heels of controversy surrounding the commencement decisions in recent years, on topics ranging from speaker compensation, to prior Hopkins exposure to the speaker, to Dr. Ben Carson’s social conservatism. Wojcicki will not be compensated for her services (although we suspect that she, as CEO of YouTube and a founding member of Google, hardly needed the money anyway). Commencement will be held on May 22.

Class provides practical skill set

The Editorial Board commends the University and the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences for developing and promoting the course “U.S. Intelligence Community: Theory and Practice.” We feel that it is vitally important that students at Hopkins expose themselves to environments that are highly similar to actual workplace situations. This course achieves this critical characteristic by transcending the usual discussion based style of learning to reinforce critical thinking skills through impromptu exercises that require intense focus and teamwork.

Women’s Summit gives insight

This past Saturday, five successful female leaders affiliated with Hopkins came to Homewood to share their wisdom, insight and advice with Hopkins’ female student body. Organized by the newly founded, eight-member undergraduate group Women’s Initiative for Social Equity (WISE), the event featured lawyer-turned-broadcast-journalist and NBC 10 Philadelphia news anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah as the keynote speaker. Chenault-Fattah, a 1979 Hopkins graduate, was followed by Mindy Farber (Class of ‘74), Joanne Leedom-Ackerman (Board of Trustees member) and Sarah Hemminger (BME PhD from Whiting) at the speaking podium. Before lunch, the 60 or so attendees were partnered with alumnae, faculty and WISE board members and given the opportunity to discuss issues faced by working women in a one-on-one conversation. WISE plans to host similar events moving forward, including a speaker series this fall and an informational meet-and-greet on March 31.

Rational dialogue more effective at combating crazy ideas than derision

This past Wednesday, the Johns Hopkins Foreign Affairs Symposium kicked off their Spring 2014 series of speakers by hosting Governor Martin O’Malley, current two-time governor of Maryland, former mayor of Baltimore City, national political figure, and potential future presidential candidate. O’Malley addressed the overall FAS topic of “Idealism vs. Realism” by discussing an environmentally-informed economic vision for the future of the nation. After his speech, the Governor accepted several questions from the audience in an extended Q&A segment. It was during this period that the LaRouche PAC made its appearance.

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