Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
December 3, 2021

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.



Politicized Olympics reflect poorly on Russian hosts

The political undertones of the Olympic games occupy a spectrum, taking center stage in some years and a back seat in others. Famous examples of the former were 1936, when Nazi Germany used the event as a stage for their propaganda, or 1972, when Black September took 11 Israeli athletes hostage, resulting in all of their deaths. The Olympics cannot be expected to be a two week pause in international hostilities, where the olive wreath bestowed on the victors from ancient times is fully realized in all of its symbolism. Every two years, the course of current events is interrupted as a city, perhaps unknown before they were selected by the committee to host the games, scrambles to wash the dishes and make up the guest bedrooms before the world arrives. But in a flash, they are over, and the world picks up where it had left off with no competition to distract from the turmoil that was momentarily quieted.


Wear your pride on your sleeve! In defense of patriotic belligerence

I am an extraordinarily patriotic guy. I own American flag shirts, shorts, socks, shorter shorts, sweat bands, swimsuits, and even boxers. Occasionally, I will wear Ol' Glory on every part of my body at the same time. At major sporting events, you would need Seal Team Six to keep me from joining in on the National Anthem.


Hopkins should offer speaker series' for class credit

As students here at Hopkins, we have an embarrassment of riches — but we don’t seem to know it. There are too many fascinating symposiums, speaker series, seminars, colloquia, presenters, and speakers that go largely unnoticed and unattended by people disconnected from the subject matter, or just unlucky enough to not get word.


Commemoration Ball boosts spirit

This week Hopkins will celebrate the 138th anniversary of Daniel Colt Gilman’s inauguration as the University’s first president in 1876 with Commemoration Day activities and the revival of the Commemoration Ball.


Employees deserve better treatment

Last semester, Hopkins switched the company it contracts to operate on campus undergraduate dining facilities. The old provider, Aramark, was replaced by Bon Appétit, but because the employees at these facilities are unionized and contracted with Hopkins directly, they are mostly the same workers who used to work for Aramark. Bon Appétit prides itself on its fresh food, and so far student reviews of the new dining options have been mostly positive. Unfortunately, the employees who work at these facilities are not so pleased. Multiple anonymous sources have come forward to The News-Letter reporting sizable lay-offs, slashed paychecks resulting from unpredictable hours reductions, overworked employees, mismanagement of guaranteed off-days, rude and inconsiderate treatment of subordinates, uncomfortable working conditions, explicit contract violations, inefficient refusal to specialize labor, angry and unprofessional employee interactions and unfairly delayed compensation.


US and allies must rethink Syria policy as Assad’s war marches on

As the Syrian crisis nears the three year mark, hope for a resolution in the near future appears extremely low. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition group, says that the period since the "Geneva 2" peace talks has been the bloodiest in the conflict’s history. When negotiations in Geneva concluded most recently, on February 15th, United Nations mediator Lakhdar Brahimi apologized to the Syrian people for another futile conversation. The final session of the conference, in fact, lasted a measly 27 minutes. When all sides left a neutral and pleasant Switzerland to return to their respectful home-bases, the sense of frustration was very palpable.



Rub some dirt on it! In defense of violence in sports

Way back in the day, (~10,000 BC) the only sport on Earth was killing stuff. There really wasn't much to do besides killing people...and making people. Sometimes for better and most of the time for worst, violence is an integral part of what makes us human. I'm here to talk about "the better".


Religious hierarchy is the biggest impediment to a more equitable America

In his critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Karl Marx emphatically claims, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless world.” Going further, Marx remarks religion is nothing but an opiate that provides an illusory sense of happiness, which impedes their ability to realize that real happiness lies not in an abstract illusion but rather in their concrete material relations. Almost 200 years after this insightful expose, religion today, more than any other factor, continues to play the most integral role in how a large majority of our country sees both itself and others’ position within the intricate global web.


Olympic observers must not be passive in the face of intolerance

With the Winter Olympics in full swing, all eyes are on Russia. The Games at Sochi are attracting a surplus of media attention, ranging from reports on the unfinished hotel rooms to the invasive surveillance program implemented to avoid terrorist attacks. Earlier this month, however, exposé writer Jeff Sharlet reported an even more somber Russian reality in an article in GQ Magazine, titled “Inside the Iron Closet: What it’s like to be gay in Putin’s Russia.” For those looking for a worthwhile read (or even just procrastinators bored of BuzzFeed), I highly recommend this short report on a world far away from our own.


Baltimore must rectify pervasive homelessness

On the first Monday night of intersession, I walked into “Healthcare, Housing, and Homelessness in Baltimore,” with literally no idea what to expect; I had not even enrolled in the class. The friend I had just eaten an early dinner with told me that she was taking this class from six in the evening until eight thirty. Immediately, my adolescent mind recoiled: who wants to be in class that late? But as it turned out, dragging myself there through the cold Baltimore air was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Little did I realize, with the wind whipping my face as we walked to class, just how many people in Baltimore that evening were going to be sleeping in these extreme temperatures.


Invest your hope in something eternal

The other day, as I headed towards some unimportant engagement, I noticed a classmate (let’s call her “Jane”) walking by and offered her my usual enthusiastic greeting. She looked up with puffy eyes and an utterly exhausted sigh, and I could tell that this was not the afternoon for joyful gusto.


Facebook breeds social prejudice

We college students are often referred to as “Generation Y,” underwhelmingly defined as technology-frenzied, over-parented, high-spirited, and entitled. The last generation of young adults in our country were associated with technological advancements and praised for their innovation. But in Generation Y, these innovations have transformed into an invasion so pervasive that it distorts the expectations and understanding of social interactions in today’s society.


Hopkins should buy The Baltimore Sun

Last year two major American newspapers were sold — the Boston Globe and the Washington Post. Each sale was important for the news industry as a whole, but also carried a local significance for the Baltimore area: there are rumors that the Baltimore Sun may follow suit. Studying these two examples, I would like to propose that Johns Hopkins purchase the Baltimore Sun.


US should emulate Sweden, not Germany, on prostitution decriminalization

In the wake of a benign but humbling online quiz attempting to ascertain if stereotypical behaviors could pinpoint your political allegiances, in which I scored 76 percent conservative, I’ve been taking some time to reevaluate my belief system. I jest, but in all seriousness, living abroad this year while studying at Oxford and traveling around central and Eastern Europe during my holiday has given me time to test run ideologies. Each new place I awoke to resembled a parodied version of Odysseus’ arrival in a sequence of strange lands. “Odysseus woke, sat up, and thought: ‘Oh what mortal place have I reached this time? Are they cruel and merciless savages, or god-fearing people, generous to strangers? Am I near creatures with human speech? Let me look, and see.’” Again, I jest. Odysseus was nothing if not a walking hyperbole of man, but his trepidation at setting out without Google maps or his Zagat’s Guide rings true in the mind of every traveler: star struck with the locale but a bit shaky on the gory logistics. But novelty in the course of one’s travels does lie on a spectrum, and for the purposes of this article I speak primarily of the normalcy of legalized prostitution in many European countries.


Hopkins must end unethical involvement in drone research

For many young Americans like myself, the shocking reality that our country is still at war has sadly devolved into a second nature realization. With the United States entering its 13th year of active conflict in Afghanistan, war and all its associated horrors have become a defining aspect of life in a nation that has yet to fully recover from the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. Like most, I believe the immediate military actions taken by President Bush after the attacks to invade Afghanistan and dismantle the terrorist safe havens were certainly, in retrospect, a correct decision. Welcomed by the people of Afghanistan and supported by much of the international community, the United States’ firm initiative to combat a global threat seemed only a step in the right direction. Yet, more than a decade on, the path that our national leaders continue to ardently follow in the attempt to protect our cherished liberties from both external and internal threats has, ironically, further deteriorated those same values.


Consumers deserve the right to choose on trans fats

Every day of my life, I am granted the privilege of choice. I choose who I speak with, how to engage with my classes, and where I go. Most importantly, I choose how I treat my body. This includes what I eat and how I exercise. I have the knowledge available to me to make informed and educated choices on these matters. But this past November, the FDA took it upon themselves to ban trans fats in American food products. If this ban succeeds, I will lose the ability to choose what I will and will not eat. Someone will have already chosen for me.


Students must resist the corporatization of Hopkins

As many students in the Hopkins community might be aware of by now, President Daniels and the University administration have been busily engaged in an extensive fundraising campaign called Rising to the Challenge. Begun in early 2010, the initiative aims to raise over 4.5 billion dollars to help fund numerous educational and scholarship programs across the several schools and campuses in the university system. By far the largest fundraising operation in our school’s history, Rising to Challenge recently passed the half way mark to its ultimate goal; with over 160,000 donors contributing thus far, it seems very likely that school officials will reach the 4.5 billion figure by their stated date of Spring 2017.


SGA Semester Review: Student input yields results

The Johns Hopkins Student Government Association is committed to improving each student’s experience at Hopkins. This semester our Committees, Class Councils and Executive Board has created many new initiatives and events in an effort to increase transparency and continue to improve student life. We have been hard at work meeting with administrators, completing projects and executing events to make your lives at Hopkins students more enjoyable. Here is a recap of what we’ve been up to:


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