Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
October 16, 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.



Too much pollution? Raise gas prices

One of the greatest contributing factors to pollution in America today is the persistent struggle of multiple parties to keep gas prices as low as possible. The United States and its citizens will not change until their hands are forced, until the struggle is to raise gas prices.


The pitfalls of talking about America in the Middle East

Discussing the U.S. government’s actions and policies in the Middle East is tough. People get uneasy, emotional and defensive. It becomes difficult to stand your ground and avoid coming across as either an American apologist or an anti-American zealot. Perhaps a conspiracy theory or a distasteful tirade gets thrown into the mix. Chances are someone is going to get angry.


Taking a fresh look at the Voice for Life debate

Last week, Voice For Life (VFL) was denied official group status by the Student Government Association (SGA). Despite the number of students who consider this a free speech issue, let us set the record straight. Hopkins is a private university and thus operates under a different set of rules from public universities. Even if this is not a free speech issue, I feel that there has been a lot of information being misunderstood on both sides of the pro-life and pro-choice debate. Therefore, let us dissect some of the arguments in favor of and against VFL.


Crisis of confidence: Time to listen to the faculty

During spring break, I spent time with two of my brothers and my father, all of whom graduated from New York University. The highly controversial issue revolving around the faculty’s disapproval of the university’s president, John Sexton, has thus been pressing on my mind. Naturally, I was curious about what would cause such infighting, so I set out to do some research.


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 chooses to endorse the candidates that best suit the position, provide the most relevant experience and demonstrate a plan for achieving success and enacting change.


Letter: SGA Exec Board Platforms Live in Hopkins Bubble

This Friday, students will start voting for next year's SGA Executive Board. Two major tickets are running for the four spots of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer: the ticket of Anovick, Bonsu, Gorman, and D'Annibale, and the ticket of Schupper, Paul, Whiteaker, & Toomre.


Letter: News-Letter was right two years ago regarding freedom of speech

 Last week, the editorial board of The Johns Hopkins News-Letter claimed that the protest plans of the proposed student group Voice for Life (VFL) are “not a matter of freedom of speech,” arguing that students “should not be forced to view images of fetuses on school property.” The editorial board asserted that allowing this activity would violate JHU’s anti-harassment policy because it is “so severe or pervasive that it … creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or academic environment.”


Letter: VFL is a Freedom of Speech issue

A recent News-Letter Editorial argued that the VFL case “is not a matter of freedom of speech,”because “the SGA is not forbidding group members from voicing their opinions.” Certainly, legal first amendment rights are not at stake. However, any school policy which selectively bans speech due to its perceived offensiveness is inherently a free speech issue. Furthermore, several clauses in the SGA constitution seem to preclude viewpoint discrimination within SGA affairs. By asserting that student group recognition decisions depend on the content or delivery of the applicant group’s opinions, both the SGA and the university are indeed contradicting their stated commitments to free speech.




Just compensation: Hopkins should aid victims of drones

With the recent confirmation of John Brennan as director of the CIA, the use of unmanned aerial drones has once again become the international relations topic du jour. Many Americans are expressing a belief that the unchecked application of drones is one that is not without its externalities at home and abroad.


It’s time to tackle human trafficking in Baltimore

I have always had a primal fear of being kidnapped or attacked. When I was in middle school, I could almost never fall asleep unless I felt the security of my sister or my mom’s resting body next to mine. I dreaded the inevitability of going to bed and lying still in darkness where, for hours, my mind would form horrifying, threatening thoughts about an intruder or a serial killer before my exhaustion finally overcame me.


Out of the dark: The quest for open government

In February of 2010, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks made history by releasing the largest set of restricted government documents to the public, leaking over 250,000 private U.S. diplomatic cables and 500,000 classified reports concerning covert military operations.


Ad project provides valuable experience

A Hopkins marketing class, Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communication, was selected to compete in the nationwide Honda Civic Marketing Challenge along with 20 other universities. Simulating the environment of an actual advertising agency and even assigning students to individual “departments,” the class is a full-service ad agency called “Global Blue Strategies.” The students as a class are responsible for a project entitled “Recreate a Classic,” which involves developing an effective advertising campaign for the 2013 Honda Civic Sedan.


It’s not a matter of Freedom of Speech

JHU Voice for Life (VFL), a group of students which pledges to “defend the inviolable right to life of every innocent human being from conception until natural death,” applied to the Student Government Association (SGA) earlier this month for approval as a University-recognized student group. An offshoot of an earlier student organization founded in 1995, the new group seeks to “help eliminate the root causes of abortion” by engaging in “sidewalk counseling, prayer and protest at clinic[s]” and by displaying “fetal models in [the] Breezeway.” In a majority vote, the SGA denied VFL student group status, citing these activities as potentially offensive and harassing. VFL appealed to the SGA Judiciary Committee, invoking the guarantee of freedom of speech. The Judiciary Committee will hear the case in April and decide whether to uphold the SGA’s denial.


After Chavez, a chance for democracy in Venezuela

The American media portrayed former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a totalitarian dictator who was staunchly opposed to U.S. policies. His crackdown on dissent and his drafting of a new constitution which granted him almost exclusive executive power led many to consider him an authoritarian leader who violated human rights.


Career Center needs to modernize its approach

For most seniors, myself included, the prospect of graduation carries a degree of uncertainty and fear. Since age five, we’ve had the certainty of school. But now that’s over. For many of us, this means moving “out into the world” and finding employment.


Why the public is wrong about narcolepsy and about me

I remember the day I realized that I needed to seek professional medical help. I woke up halfway through a scheduled organic chemistry exam, dazed and confused and still in bed wearing a nightgown that read, “Sleep All Day, Party All Night.” I panicked and ran to class, still dressed in my seemingly ironic garment, only to find the lecture hall full of staring, accusing eyes, and no empty seats. It was an infamous nightmare come true, and it happened to me more than once. I soon found out that narcolepsy was to blame.


Sequester myth: Drastic cuts or drop in the bucket?

If you’ve happened across the news in the past few weeks, chances are you’ve heard the word “sequester,” along with its description as “devastating,” “ruthless” and “draconian.” In 2011, President Obama and Congress agreed to enact a series of automatic budget cuts if Congress failed to cut $1.5 trillion from the federal budget over the next ten years. A bit less than half of the cuts target the discretionary side of the budget — funds which the federal government isn’t legally obligated to pay — while the rest target mainly non-defense discretionary spending, and a portion of Medicare.


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