Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 13, 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

Tragedy illuminates support system

This past week, heavily armed terrorists killed more than 60 innocent civilians at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Among the dead included 2004 SAIS alumna Elif Yavuz, her partner Ross Langdon and their unborn child. Langdon was an award-winning architect and humanitarian who designed buildings across Africa, specializing in human development and sustainability. Yavuz was a malaria specialist who had worked at the World Bank, conducted fieldwork with AIDS patients in Tanzania and Kenya and graduated from the Harvard School of Public Health last year. A member of the Clinton Foundation, she was visited by former President Clinton himself just a month before her death.

Feminist critics misinterpret meaning of hit song "Blurred Lines"

One of this summer’s biggest hits was the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams. A catchy tune, upbeat background vocals and dance-able beat combined to help Thicke’s song reach number one on the Billboard charts - and stay there for the next 12 weeks. But the song also brought its fair share of controversy. At first, a risque music video full of topless dancers brought accusations that Thicke was demeaning and objectifying women. More recently, prominent feminists have released a series of articles and parody videos accusing the lyrics to Blurred Lines of endorsing rape and sexual assault, with one going so far as to call it a “rape anthem...about male desire and male dominance over a woman’s personal sexual agency.”

Rouhani and the New U.S.-Iranian Detente

As is all too often the case, the Middle East is currently experiencing a streak of widespread violence and political extremism. In a region where moderate voices are often drowned out by the rhetoric of weapon-toting radicals, one bright spot may be emerging from an unlikely source, Tehran. President Hassan Rouhani, who was elected in June and assumed office in August, appears to be a sensible and open-minded politician. Compared to his predecessor, the ever-controversial Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rouhani seems to be making headlines for all the right reasons these days. As promised while on the campaign trail, he recently ordered the release of eleven political prisoners, including well-known human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.. Thatsame day, he conducted an interview with NBC in which he assured the world media that Iran has no intention of developing nuclear weapons. Furthermore, he said that he received a “positive and constructive” letter from American President Barack Obama.

Awarding 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar was a Mistake

As one of the most popular sporting events in the world, the World Cup plays an integral role in instilling a sense of patriotism and unity in millions across the globe. FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), the governing body of the World Cup, has recently made a series of unfortunate decisions that will severely degrade the integrity of the sport, and will ultimately tarnish the reputation of the World Cup and how it is organized. Most notably, FIFA’s decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar is a blatant mistake. Along with FIFA’s corruption and weather concerns, Qatar’s atrocious record regarding human rights makes it a country absolutely undeserving of such a respected global event.

Summer book promotes city relations

Over the summer, the Class of 2017 was required to read The Other Wes Moore, which depicts the socioeconomic topography of the Baltimore community. Wes Moore, the author of the book, spoke to Hopkins students earlier this week about the experiences that inspired him to write the book.

School spirit needs cultivating

This past Saturday, the Hopkins branch of Beta Theta Pi fraternity teamed up with the SGA to sponsor the Big Blue Jay Tailgate — an opportunity for Hopkins students to socialize over free food before attending the football team’s first home game of the season. In addition to welcoming new freshmen and fostering a feeling of community in the student body, a principle aim of the tailgate was to bolster Hopkins’ infamously lackluster school spirit.

Syria compromise a welcome departure from default US foreign policy

In American discourse, diplomacy has somehow been cast aside as a choice for political eunuchs. The warmongers who’ve gained a stronghold in our government and media demand brash military action. Their approach targets our reptilian brain, attuned to a Biblical sense of justice or retribution. Having taken the onerous role of moral arbiters on the global stage, our response to breaches of international law or American standards has consistently been violent, climaxing with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that enveloped the past decade and claimed the lives of well over 100,000 Iraqi and Afghani civilians. The 20th century was marked by extreme overreaction in the face of fear – legitimate or contrived – from Korea to Vietnam.

Environmental dangers demand a new conception of liberty

The United States of America was founded on the principle of individual freedom. Although this principle is noble and high, over the centuries it has often been abused and misinterpreted to fuel dangerous political positions. One of the major victims is the environment.

How to restore our reputation for free expression

Whether it’s punishing a professor for pro-war remarks, suspending a student for an allegedly “offensive” party invitation or defunding a conservative newspaper for criticizing a speaker, Hopkins has a long track record of free speech violations. Although the University retains the right to censor speech as a private institution, Hopkins has made an institutional commitment to protect and promote free speech in a broad sense. Yet even as the U.S. News & World Report recently moved Hopkins up to the number 12 spot in its national University rankings, the non-partisan Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) ranks Hopkins as the ninth worst college in the US for free speech. Given what has passed in the last six months at Hopkins, we could see the University rise even higher on this notorious free speech ranking.

Savor the freshman flavor

Two hours listening to a Russian author making jokes in German about how ugly his nose is. An involuntary nap in a shady Shriver Hall while a dreary old man reads poems that he swears aren’t poems. A meet and greet for a major I would fail at if even attempted. Pretending to be a flute virtuoso at an orchestra informational barbecue. These are just a few of the things I endured during my freshman year in order to obtain one of the greatest of rewards of collegiate life: free food.

Feed your inner troll - a challenge from the Editor

It stands to reason that the Opinions Editor would be an opinionated person. That I’m a Political Science major on the Hopkins debate council should only reinforce that expectation, and I certainly do fit the stereotype. In addition to holding strong beliefs, I’ve come to appreciate the art of defending those beliefs in a compelling and persuasive manner. I’ll admit that sometimes I practice that art a little more than I should — much to the chagrin of my beleaguered Facebook friends. Yes, I’m that guy.

Hopkins censors NSA post too hastily

Earlier this week, Whiting School of Engineering Dean Andrew Douglas instructed Hopkins cryptology professor Matthew Green to take down a blog post he’d written in criticism of NSA policies in his field of expertise. Later that day, the order was retracted; an apology was issued on Tuesday.

Rankings inspire improvement

Hopkins moved up from the 13th spot to the 12th spot in the U.S. News and World Report’s annual “2014 Best Colleges Rankings,” which was released on Tuesday. The University tied with Northwestern University, which Hopkins trailed in the 2013 rankings, and ranked one spot behind Dartmouth, which took the 10th spot. President Daniels’s Ten by 2020 plan seeks to attain the top ten rankings of universities by 2020 through efforts ranging from improving campus infrastructure to increasing  funding to its student aid department to implementing new and innovative teaching methods on campus.

Letter: Response to SGA Disqualification

Many students have been asking for the reason of my disqualification at the conclusion of the SGA election, it basically revolves around four individuals that sent out emails encouraging their friends and fellow students to vote for me. This occurred during a campaign time where candidates cannot request any of their supporters to campaign for them. In their sworn affidavits to the justices reviewing this appeal, these four admit they exercised their own freedom of speech and not through any request or encouragement from me

Step up week should thank faculty

The Office of Development and Alumni Relations kicked off Step Up Week on Sunday to thank donors for contributing to the University. The annual program celebrates charitable giving and those who “sustain the legacy of philanthropy established by Johns Hopkins himself.” This year’s events include various giveaways, including one in which students receive free Chipotle burritos after writing thank you letters to donors.

Students should be kept informed

Director of Student Activities Rob Turning released the Student Government Association (SGA) Executive Board election results yesterday. This announcement comes nearly a month after the elections were held, due to a lengthy appeals process concerning treasury candidate Schaefer Whiteaker’s disqualification. During that time, Hopkins students were not informed about the reason for this delay, much less the details of the appeals process. The SGA Committee on Student Elections (CSE) told The News-Letter two weeks ago that students weren’t informed about the process to “avoid confusion and clogging up students’ inboxes.”

Five things I’ve learned during my freshman year

My very first article for The News-Letter was about the things I had learned after my first week of college. It feels like just yesterday that I still needed my campus map to locate Mergenthaler Hall, or I enthusiastically headed over to the FFC thinking the food was actually adequate. I have become a more experienced Blue Jay since then, and the ins and outs of Hopkins life are finally starting to settle with me. It would be a stretch to say I have had life-changing revelations since this past September, but I have definitely learned quite a bit. As freshman year comes to a close, I would like to think I’ve become a little wiser and perhaps able to impart some knowledge to the incoming class of 2017. Here are five things I’ve learned during my freshman year at Hopkins:

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