Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 12, 2024

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.



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:


The Krieger School of Arts and Crafts vs. The Whining School of Engineering

There seem to be two distinct groups of students at Hopkins: the BMEs, and the rest. From the moment we freshmen go around the room and introduce ourselves at orientation, everyone knows who the BMEs are. It only takes a few months on the Homewood campus for this unspoken, self-imposed undergraduate hierarchy to solidify. From superior to inferior, the ranking on campus goes as follows: BMEs, other engineers, pre-meds in the Krieger School, and then everyone else. We are judged based on our majors and what we choose to study. People make empty assumptions about workload and degree of difficulty of classes. Not everyone thinks this way, but enough do to create a strata that bounds the students in both the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering.


Hopkins school spirit is about embracing our weirdness

I saw a beautiful thing Saturday night at 8pm. A crammed auditorium full of Hopkins students, all getting loud and proud for our very own acappella group, the JHU Mental Notes. The Mental Notes absolutely killed it Saturday, as they sang across a wide range of genres, mixing in everything from Jay-Z to Ed Sheeran. But without a doubt my favorite songs were the ones written by the Mental Notes themselves. These songs melded the key features of being a student at Hopkins into poetic lyrics, accompanied the entire time by the vocal talent of the Mental Notes. To see a packed audience wildly cheering and laughing to the soaring notes of “F*** this Final” practically brought tears to my eyes.


Although addicting, BuzzFeed is not real news

I had an interesting experience in the Brody Reading Room the other day. From the position of my seat, I was able to see the laptop screens of about seven other people (and I know I’m not the only one who spies). Out of the seven, four of them had their internet browser open to BuzzFeed.com. At first I didn’t think there was anything wrong with that; we all need a quick study break to just roam the internet for a bit. Then thirty minutes went by, and all four people were still on BuzzFeed. At this point I just assumed they were organic chemistry students, absolutely dreading going back to their textbook. But when an hour eventually passed, and the same four people had BuzzFeed ever present on their computers, it became clear that rummaging through old BuzzFeed articles was no longer just a study break for these people. It was a genuine source of entertainment.


Students must continue activism

Last week, the Editorial Board lamented a new fee that had been imposed on Intersession classes. The fee was discreetly created and poorly advertised, which made for a nasty surprise when many students first saw it on the Intersession website. Worse still, at $250 it would have priced some students out of taking courses they were otherwise excited and eager to explore. Even those who could afford it might have felt guilty paying for classes outside their major requirements, spoiling their curiosity and defeating the worry free, no-strings-attached learning atmosphere that makes Intersession such an enjoyable experience.


Collaborative effort not enough

Earlier this week, Hopkins signed onto the Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems, an initiative of the state’s higher education institutions to curb university drinking and its residual effects. Though the Collaborative’s initiative to reduce unsafe undergraduate drinking practices is commendable, the Editorial Board believes that the university has a long way to go to truly curtail drinking on the Hopkins campus. While the Maryland Collaborative ambitiously seeks to change the drinking environment at college campuses, according to the NIH, four in five college students drink alcohol. The News-Letter feels that the creation of the Maryland Collaborative alone won’t change anything anytime soon.


Letter: Response to Opinion Article

The 10/31/2013 opinion piece in the JHU News-Letter by Brian Yuen is deeply flawed and contains several factual errors which are indisputable and easily verified. First, Yuen claims that, “...Edward Snowden leaked classified NSA proceedings via Wikileaks...”. Perhaps he is confusing Snowden with Pvt. Chelsea Manning who was involved with document leaks from the DoD and DoS to Wikileaks? Snowden leaked to Glen Greenwald formerly with The Guardian and filmmaker Laura Poitras, but never to Wikileaks. Secondly, Yuen claims that the NSA “cracked down” on the Silk Road website.  Actually, it was primarily the FBI with no evidence of involvement by the NSA.  Thirdly, Yuen claims that the NSA invented Onion routing and the Tor anonymity network.  This was actually work done by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, not the NSA. Mr. Yuen’s opinion piece and its conclusions eviscerating the need for citizens’ privacy are simply not credible. As the saying goes, “three strikes, and you’re out”.


New Blue Jay mascot name unoriginal

The Editorial Board has long lamented Hopkins’ lackluster school spirit. With the exception of lacrosse in the spring, it seems Hopkins’ sporting events are sparsely attended and are almost never discussed among the student body. Hampered by a persistent lack of enthusiasm, the administrators finally decided to do something about it this last week by running a vote to name the Hopkins mascot.


Why nobody likes Facebook anymore

Facebook has become one of the largest sites on the web, and by far the largest online community. It has been praised for it’s usefulness, it’s networking capabilities, it’s relevance to the new age of technology. But to what extent is Facebook actually useful now? Does it really help us connect with our friends? Does it really help our productivity? Is it even fun to be on just to waste time anymore?


Intersession fee limits exploration

Fall tuition for 2013 was $22,735, up from the $21,965 from last fall. Together those numbers represent a 3.5 percent increase in the total cost of tuition, compared with an inflation rate of  around 1.2 percent from 2012-2013. While Hopkins students have become used to accepting this yearly increase — as have students at other universities around the country — another additional fee was tacked on to the cost of education this year. The University recently added a $250 Intersession fee for Academic Exploration courses. While some classes do not charge this fee, the overwhelming majority do.


US should use diplomacy, eschew sanctions in Iran

With the election of Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s new president, the foreign relations between Iran and the United States have thawed slightly. The new government under Rouhani has undertaken multiple diplomatic measures, including the release of several political prisoners, conciliatory statements from Iranian leaders, and even an exchange of letters and a phone call between President Obama and President Rouhani. Rouhani is a political moderate, which is a stark contrast from his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. After Rouhani’s election, there is now hope that Iran can take a different path, not only by entering negotiations over its nuclear program but also by seizing what appears to be a genuine opportunity for change.



The world is your whiteboard: a modest proposal

The residents of Adams House in AMR II have introduced a revolutionary method of studying and doing their homework. Be it Biology, Chemistry, Calculus I, II, or III, Adams residents have decided to write it on the hallway walls. Visitors to the first floor hallway of Adams House have become accustomed to finding equations, explanations, diagrams, or step-by-step work done by and for roommates and friends, either left over from some earlier session or presently in use by a study group.


Give soccer a chance! Guiding Americans to the beautiful game

At the 2014 FIFA World Cup next summer, soccer fans around the globe will rejoice in their love for the sport. But while the world celebrates the gathering of the most talented soccer players in the world, there is no doubt that the United States will show a striking lack of enthusiasm. It has always surprised me that the most influential nation on Earth is unable to share the rest of the world’s love for soccer. Of course there are plenty of soccer fans in the United States, but unlike other nations we have prevented the sport from becoming a part of our cultural identity. In fact, we don’t even care to refer to it by its proper name. For some reason, Americans insist on calling the sport “soccer,” even though the internationally common “football” is the most straightforward name for the game.


Is Sochi Russia's Beijing?

Hosting the Olympics is a matter of national pride. Every two years the nations of the world descend upon the International Olympic Committee to vie for the honor . Often, hosting the Olympics becomes an opportunity for a country to redefine itself, to make a dramatic statement to the world as it attempts to come to the forefront of international politics. The 2008 Beijing games represented China’s grand entrance onto the world stage as a global power, after decades of extraordinary economic growth. In the eyes of Russia’s elite, Sochi bears the same potential as Beijing. It comes as no surprise, then, that since winning the bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, Russia has invested a tremendous amount of resources into creating what it believes will be, according to the official website, “the world’s greatest sporting event”. As well as heralding the return of Russian prestige, Putin doubtlessly hopes to use the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi as a crowning symbol for his fourteen year rule as Russia’s undisputed strongman.


Incognito mode: Why internet anonymity is dangerous and unnecessary

Public opinion on internet anonymity has been fickle and inconsistent in recent months. Ever since Edward Snowden leaked classified NSA proceedings via Wikileaks, nervous blogs and news sites have been campaigning for a return to internet privacy. But in this day and age, true and total privacy is an undesirable ideal. Undeniably, society has developed an unhealthy dependence for social networking as a means of facilitating daily life. Before the smart device era, people were able to walk the streets without reaching for their phones every few steps. Nowadays, we’ve become so obsessed that the slight muscle twitches in our legs begin to register as vibrating phone notifications (don’t deny it, its happened to all of us.)


Day of Service requires expansion

Last Saturday’s President’s Day of Service (PDOS) was, for the fifth consecutive year, a great step in the right direction. However, it was still just a step.


VFL demonstrations are confrontational

For the past two days, Hopkins’ controversial pro-life advocacy group Voice for Life (VFL) has staged a “Cemetery of the Innocents” demonstration near the freshman quad. The group placed rows of white cross grave markers in a makeshift cemetery, symbolizing the deaths of fetuses resulting from abortions, and posted group members at a booth to engage with interested passersby. VFL has drawn significant controversy in the past, particularly last spring during the debate over its recognition as an official student group on campus. It was no surprise, therefore, that this week’s display garnered significant attention, debate and consternation.


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