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.



Bike Party shows Baltimore spirit

Last Friday night, while most Hopkins students were undoubtedly busy studying or preparing for a sound night’s sleep, they were momentarily interrupted by hundreds of raucous voices yelling “Bike Party!” from the streets outside. This was due to the Baltimore Halloween Brew-Ha-Ha Bike Party, an event in which approximately 1500 bikers braved the cold to bike around Baltimore and yell things while wearing exotic costumes. After the bike ride, the participants gathered to celebrate the occasion with a DJ’d dance party and Halloween catwalk competition, along with an abundance of discounted beer on tap from the Union Craft Brewery. The event was the latest in a series of themed bike parties periodically organized over the past 18 months, growing from a mere 70 participants in April of 2012 to a peak of 1700 this past June. Celebrity participants have included Miss Maryland and the Mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.


University embraces complete history

Professor Stuart W. Leslie has been commissioned to write the first scholarly history of Hopkins by the University itself. The Editorial Board would like to commend not only the University for sponsoring the book but also Professor Leslie for undertaking the effort to uncover and compile the long history of the institution. The News-Letter has been devoted to recording the history of Hopkins as it has happened for more than 115 years, but an in-depth retrospective look at events can reveal a wealth of information and interpretation that is not accessible in the fleeting world of journalism. It is also a brave choice by Hopkins to hand over the reins of an official history and face the possibility of unsavory details coming to light.


Rescuing Romance on College Campuses

Reading last week’s editorial, “Nothing wrong with Hopkins’ hook-up culture,” I found it curious that, while the author would surely denounce the culture of rape and sexual violence, she praises a view of casual sex, which can foster that very mindset. The fact is that the culture of use endemic in the hookup culture underlies the culture of abuse. If sex becomes all about “getting some” it is not difficult to see how this mindset could be exploited for abusive ends. Going back to my own freshman year, I’ve seen too many tears shed and too many hearts torn apart by the so-called “hookup” culture. Hopkins students must recover the joy of true romance and reject its cheap mockeries. The fact is that sex does have powerful consequences, and, like fire, has the power to either warm and to illuminate our lives or to burn them to the ground.


Reading is worth the time investment

At Hopkins, students are often pressed for time, busy with schoolwork, activities, clubs and trips. Many students struggle to find free time to relax and release the stress associated with hard classes, difficult material and pressing tests or essays. When they do have free time, many choose to spend it at evening social events and weekend gatherings, perhaps enjoying alternative beverages with friends. I propose reading as a superior stress relief solution.


Republicans need creative compromise - not moderate ideas

In the wake of the government shut down and debt-ceiling political brinksmanship, the Tea Party has never been less popular. Pundits from across the political spectrum are calling on the Republican party to reject the “radicals,” “extremists” and “reactionaries” in their midst and turn the party over to the moderates and centrists.


The Dangers of Mainstream Islamophobia

Several weeks ago, my political science professor asked the class, “What is the biggest problem the U.S. government has with Indonesia?” One student replied, “The Muslim majority.”



The Case for “Real” Food on Campus

Ecologically sound. Socially just. Economically viable. These are the key characteristics of a food system that’s sustainable on all levels—locally, regionally, and globally. In such a system, our agricultural practices would mitigate, instead of contribute to, the effects of global climate change. Our diets would contain foods that prevent the diseases we currently spend billions to cure. The welfare of workers and animals would be protected, while a creative re-distribution of resources and avoidance of food waste would limit hunger and food shortages. And the people participating in this system could afford the very food they grow, prepare, serve, and consume.


Nothing wrong with Hopkins' hook-up culture

After a long week of midterms and papers, Friday night finally rolls around. The last of the problem sets are turned in, Brody slowly empties out, and power naps are acquired in anticipation for the weekend ahead. As the street lights flicker on and the sun sets behind Gilman Hall, the mood on campus begins to change.


Baltimore Marathon provides outlet

Despite (or perhaps because of) their busy academic work weeks, many Hopkins students get restless without some sort of physical outlet. The O’Connor Rec Center provides one avenue for exercise, but the larger Baltimore area offers a plethora of opportunities for athletes in search of a greater challenge. Among the most formidable of these challenges is the marathon.


Condoms in Library promote safe sex

Earlier this week, the SGA placed condom dispensers in the restrooms on all floors of the Brody Learning Commons and on the M and Q levels of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library. The Editorial Board commends the SGA in its endeavor to promote safe sexual practices among the student body.


Hillel promotes productive dialogue

Last Friday, the Smokler Center for Jewish Life hosted a presentation by Avner Gvaryahu, a former Israeli soldier and the co-director of an organization called Breaking the Silence. Breaking the Silence is a group of former Israeli defense and military servicemen who became disillusioned with the tactics and perceived injustices of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. The group claims to love Israel and remains deeply patriotic; however, it advocates for a two-state solution as a means of making both Israel and the world a more peaceful and tolerant place.


Hopkins should continue safety efforts

Negative public perception — perpetuated by television shows, such as The Wire — has earned Baltimore a reputation as a dangerous, crime-ridden city. What is less clear, however, is the extent to which the dangers and risks of the city extend into the “Hopkins bubble.”


Shutdown signals the end of the GOP as we know it

Tuesday was the first day of the government shutdown, a term that simply means funding to government agencies expired, and no replacement appropriations bill was passed. Much finger pointing, tweeting and name-calling ensued. I could use this space to lay out who I feel is to blame, but that would require more of a full volume rather than a single page, so I will have to settle for a different narrative. Instead I will focus on how the Republican Party came to this impasse over the last five years, and what the new Republican Party means for the future of conservatives.


The Pros and Cons of Instagram

In the developed economies of the 21st century, it is nigh unthinkable to leave home without a smartphone, the metallic extension of the human body. They are one of the most pervasive and disruptive technologies of the past hundred years, and have already invaded our minds. Recent data from New Relic, a company that monitors application performance, shows that four times more Android phones and tablets are activated each day than are babies born. We check those devices every six and a half minutes.


Are antidepressants really no better than sugar pills?

My grandma had an on-again, off-again relationship with antidepressants for her whole life. The cycle would begin with her lying in bed in the dark, crying and moaning. After months of persuasion the family would convince her that the level of sadness she was experiencing wasn’t normal and she’d start taking medication. After six weeks or so, she’d be out of bed, running errands, and even smiling. Once she reached that point, though, she’d stop taking her antidepressants, thinking that she didn’t need them anymore because she was happy. Then the cycle would begin again.


Tech age questions the definition of writing

Blogging, tweeting, texting, status updating – the list goes on. Whatever happened to long, handwritten notes to friends just because they were on your mind? And what about printed publications? Where are the stacks of magazines that once cluttered the coffee-tables all across America, or the poorly refolded Sunday paper that would still be on the kitchen table come Monday morning?


Religion shouldn’t be a taboo topic

For many young people, going to college inspires a sense of independence and self-discovery. Finally freed from parental control and oversight, students feel compelled to strike out on their own, forge their own identities and form their own opinions. Inherent in this feeling is a growing skepticism of the customs they’ve practiced since they were young and a growing willingness to challenge what their parents have always told them to be true. Nowhere is this more evident than in the tendency for college students to drift away from religion.


Hopkins strives to be more art-friendly

With the installation of Willem de Kooning’s Reclining Figure, the Hopkins public arts initiative has taken a major step toward making art a vital part of life at Hopkins.


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