Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 30, 2024


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

The wonderful truth about the Hopkins Inn

Whenever I tell people I’m from HopInn, I brace myself for a barrage of questions: “Where is it? Is it like a hotel? Is it really isolated? Is it depressing over there?” I'll get to these questions soon enough, but the truth is we are an amazingly close-knit community for the weird and the awesome.

Why I'm going to wait before buying an Apple smartwatch

As mobile computing technologies continue to develop, we've reached the point where stylish, wearable technology has actually become a reality. Apple and Motorola have both released their own “smartwatches” that run on batteries that need to be charged daily. Both watches have their own distinct styles; the Moto 360 mimics the circular style of actual timepieces, while the Apple iWatch has a square shape with rounded corners. Much more than simple timepieces, these devices include a variety of features such as heart rate monitors, wireless charging, barometers and built-in pedometers. The fact that these devices can maintain a charge throughout an entire day's use and are completely contained in waterproof housing captures just how far modern mobile technology has come.

It's going down, I'm yelling Tinder - unraveling a phenomenon

Tinder, defined by its official website as “a fun way to connect with new and interesting people around you,” has racked up quite a reputation these days. Known as a sort of a “hookup” app, Tinder is not quite percieved as intended. Originally intended to facilitate connections with mutual friends, Tinder is instead understood as a source of easy, no-strings-attached booty calls.

Rape prevention must focus on education

The Editorial Board engaged in a healthy discussion in regards to the incipience of a whole new industry: rape prevention technology. Young engineers around the country are throwing their hats into the ring with creative inventions like Undercover Colors’ nail polish, which changes color when directly exposed to dissolved rohypnol (“roofies”), and LifeShel’s phone case, which has a panic button that can generate an alarm at decibel levels you would never find outside of a rock concert. These inventions are undeniably arresting — and dare we say it, pretty cool. Exciting technology along these lines generates awareness and sparks conversation about this sensitive issue. Publicity is certainly not detrimental to this cause; yet, the Editorial Board believes that the newfound attention has the potential to bring along its own set of complications.

LGBT Center is step in the right direction

The University recently announced its plans to relocate the LGBT Resource Center, which will now be housed on the first floor of the Homewood Apartments. This new space will serve as the centralized hub for all the LGBT groups on campus, including the Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance (DSAGA); Out in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (oSTEM); the Peabody Gay-Straight Alliance and Gertrude Stein Society. With such a large domain of student groups, we assume that this new space will host many events, group discussions and even simple study sessions.

Blue Jay Rewards will help school spirit

For the first time ever, enthusiastic Blue Jays will be rewarded for coming to athletic competitions with more than just an exciting sporting event; through the Blue Jay Rewards program, students have a new incentive to attend varsity athletic games. The program allows them to accrue JPoints that can earn them prizes with a simple swipe of their JCards when they go to specified home games. Blue Jay Rewards is orchestrated by the Athletics Department and launched Sept. 3 with the intent of increasing attendance at athletic events. Students accumulate points throughout the year and receive certain prizes as they reach specified point levels. Prizes consist of free admission to NCAA championship games, vouchers for Eddie’s Market, jerseys sported during games, Barnes & Noble gift cards and an autographed men’s lacrosse helmet. The student who has garnered the most JPoints by Nov. 15 will win two sideline tickets to the first Big Ten Men’s lacrosse game that Hopkins will host this season, where the Jays will be vying against Rutgers. The student that is loaded with the most points by Feb. 21 will gain two sideline tickets to the Homecoming game against the University of Maryland.

National days of prayer violate Bill of Rights

The separation of church and state was one of the most ingenious inclusions in the Bill of Rights (it was a relatively novel idea at the time). So, why, over 200 years after the ratification of the First Amendment, does our government still sometimes err in keeping its affairs distinct from religious ones? One would think that ample time has passed to eliminate the overlaps between church and state.  Nevertheless, a common overlap was exhibited this past weekend. President Obama designated three National Days of Prayer and Remembrance to honor the victims of Sept. 11, 2001. Obama’s proclamation encouraged Americans to remember 9/11 through “prayer, contemplation, memorial services, the visiting of memorials, the ringing of bells, evening candlelight remembrance vigils, and other appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

In defense of McCoy Hall

In the student body of Johns Hopkins University, no building is more derided, hated and scorned than McCoy Hall, the residential high-rise across from the Beach and MSE Library on Charles Street. As the latter half of the year approaches, an entire freshman class anxiously waits for a random lottery number that will decide their order in room selection for university housing the following year. There are several options: McCoy, Homewood, Rogers, Bradford and of course, the “crème-de-la-crème,” the crown jewel of university housing, Charles Commons.

Sex Signals fails to capture gravity of rape

Though I sometimes laughed with the rest of the audience and first thought the performance to be helpful and instructive, I’ve come to re-evaluate orientation week’s Sex Signals show. The aim of this performance is certainly noble; it aimed at educating college students about consent and how to recognize and prevent rape. Because of this group’s intentions, I have no desire to write anything so damaging as to impede them from speaking at other universities. However, they should reconsider the means by which they convey their “good word.” It seems an almost delirious oversight to tour nationwide performing a rape prevention talk without ever once mentioning what sort of damaging effect rape has on a victim and to go off on lengthy comedic tangents about a topic so grave as rape.

Orientation changes are appreciated

The Editorial Board would like to commend the fall 2014 Orientation staff for the new changes to this year’s program. These changes include eliminating the Peer Ambassador (PA) program and replacing it with the First Year Mentor (FYM) program, as well as building a new organizational structure to address the traditional chaos of past move-in days. These adaptations, among many others, have vastly improved the Orientation program.

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.

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