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Volume 84 (Fall 2012 - Spring 2013)

LSAT Prep Classes: What Advantages Do They Offer?

As a prequisite for all law school applications, the LSAT is important in evaluating a student’s ability to place in the best legal program possible.

Many people believe that the LSAT is a test on the law; this is not the case. The LSAT is an exam that primarily tests one’s skills in logical thinking and critical analysis.

With “Logic games,” logical reasoning, and reading comprehension, the test focuses on three main sections in addition to a writing sample and an experimental section, and is scored from 130 (lowest) to 180 (perfect). As the test draws closer, many students have a myriad of questions regarding how anyone should prepare for the LSAT. Generally, there is no specific time one should begin preparation. Many students begin their training at different times before test-day.

The most popular test dates are in June and October, according to Dr. Gregroy Bordelon, lecturer of the political science department and the pre-law advisor for students at the University. Bordelon explains there are several reasons he pushes for students to take the LSAT in June.

“First, the June test will allow a reportable score to come back before the fall semester of the student’s senior year starts and that way, the student has more time to realistically research law schools, look at historical LSAT scores of those schools prior admitting classes, speak often with their pre-law advisor, and really do their homework on whether law is for them.”

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New SGA President and Vice President Hope to Tackle: Priority Registration, Perspectives Courses and Others

Kelly Craig and Alexandra Tuyahow have been elected President and Vice President of the Student Government Association for the 2013-2014 school year and are looking to take their prior experiences and apply them to their new positions.

Craig is a 21-year-old junior political science major from Monroe Township. She is currently a residential assistant and a member of the Political Science Club on campus. Next year, in addition to being SGA President, she will be co-captain of the University Debate Team and will serve as President of the political science honor society, Pi Sigma Alpha. She also works for human resources on campus.

When Craig joined SGA in her freshman year, she was involved in the “Giving Tree” Campaign. During her sophomore year, she was chairperson of Spring Fest and named historian, which is an executive position for SGA. This year she served as Vice President with Oscar Sanchez, senior communication major.

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Tsarnaev Charged as American Citizen: MU Reaction

As alleged suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, lies in a hospital bed awaiting police interrogation just two weeks after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and several days after the manhunt that resulted in his capture and the death of his brother Tamerlan, 26, questions have turned to motive.

As the investigation commences, a new question arises as to whether the surviving Tsarnaev brother, a naturalized American citizen, should be tried as a U.S. citizen under the American legal system, or as an “enemy combatant.”

Dr. Michele Grillo of the Criminal Justice Department explained that the term “enemy combatant” is a general category that includes two sub-categories: lawful and unlawful combatants.

She described that while lawful combatants receive prisoner of war (POW) status and the protections of the Third Geneva Convention, a treaty that defined humanitarian protections for prisoners of war, unlawful combatants do not receive POW status or the full protections of the Third Geneva Convention.

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Christie Tax Cuts Could Affect Students’ Housing Rentals

tax_cuts_affect_student_housing_rentalsNew Jersey Governor Chris Christie is proposing a new tax plan for all residents, which will be the focus for his upcoming campaign. The plan proposed is a compromise from the last tax cut he proposed in order to settle the plan with the state Democrats and Republicans.

Last year, the Governor proposed a plan that would cut 10 percent across the board on income taxes. The state’s lawmakers informed him they would prefer tax cuts that link to property instead, to which he agreed. However, the deal did not pass because lawmakers and econo­mists were fearful of the revenue’s projections being too optimistic.

His new plan is based off of the one from last year, to which Christie put the tax cuts into property taxes. The major difference in the plan, however, is the benefit it will be to higher-income households. The old plan called for household’s making $250,000, the new plan raised up to $400,000.

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Political Journalism Around the World

What are Some of the Risks and Rewards in Political Reporting in America and Abroad?

political_journalism_around_the_worldPolitical journalism around the world offers unique challenges for journalists to reveal the truth to people when, in some countries, the government will do anything, including harming the journalist, in order to keep their control over the press.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in 2013 alone, 13 journalists were killed around the world and 62 percent of the 13 journalists were covering politics. In 2012, 232 journalists were im­prisoned around the world, accord­ing to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In the past decade, the most dangerous place for journalists has been Iraq. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, around 89 media people were mur­dered and another 50 died in cross­fire or other acts of war between the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and 2010.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in 2011, during the turmoil of the Arab Spring, at least 33 journalists and media per­sonnel were killed: One in Algeria, one in Bahrain, two in Egypt, one in Iran, 11 in Iraq, six in Libya, one in Syria, one in Tunisia, five in Ye­men, and four in Somalia.

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Seton Hall Law Professor Visits Campus

Mock Law Class Gives Students a Glimpse into a Law School Learning Environment

Seton_Hall_professor_visits_campusSeton Hall Law School Profes­sor John “Kip” Cornwell taught a mock 1L class to the University students in Young Auditorium on Thursday, April 18. About 20 stu­dents interested in applying to law school attended the event.

Prior to attending, students had to read a criminal law case regard­ing pre-meditated murder. Pro­fessor Cornwell simulated a law school class by using the Socratic Method. This method, used pri­marily in law school, was created in order to effectively teach large groups of students.

In the Socratic Method, the pro­fessor will randomly call on stu­dents and ask questions. By doing this, the professor is able to keep the entire class engaged, as no one knows who will be called on next.

The students who went to the mock 1L class read the case of United States V. Watson. This was a murder trial in which the defendant was found guilty of first degree murder of a police officer.

The defendant appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals, because he claimed that he did commit murder, however, it was in self-defense and not pre-meditated. The case then revolved around how a judge can decide whether or not a murder had been planned out.

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MU Student Highlights Involvement at the U.N.

gucAlexandria Fitzgerald, a senior communication major and U.N. Student Ambassador for the Uni­versity, presented a session entitled, “Bringing the U.N. to MU” as part of the 12th Annual Global Under­standing Convention on April 9, 2013.

Fitzgerald explained how her presentation sought to reach out to the campus community in hopes of inspiring students to get involved with the United Nations, the world’s largest, most prominent and leading international organization.

She explained that the Uni­versity’s Institute for Global Un­derstanding (IGU), formerly the Global Understanding Project, is committed to promoting the United Nations and carrying out their mis­sion by focusing on human rights, economic development, equality and peace.

“From annual trips to the U.N. Headquarters in New York City; bringing students to U.N. events, conferences and briefings; par­ticipating in the Model U.N.; and sponsoring U.N. speakers on cam­pus, both the IGU and the Univer­sity are fully committed to their in­volvement with the organization,” Fitzgerald said.

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“House of Cards” is the Ace in the Deck on Netflix

Kevin-Spacey-House-of-Cards-NetflixNetflix’s hit series, “House of Cards,” is set to start shooting their second season. The first season of the show was released on February 1, 2013, with all 13 episodes put up for access at once.

Based off of the popular British series, “House of Cards,”the Ameri­can verison is directed by David Fincher, the director of “The Social Network,” and stars Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, and Kate Mara. With the amount of deception, corruption, sex, and lust for power portrayed in the show, the true questions come to be how realistic is it to the political world of DC?

“House of Cards” follows the po­litical career of Francis Underwood (Spacey), the South Carolina Major­ity Whip, who cleverly takes down the presidential administration that he helped to elect.

Underwood’s need for revenge is a result of the newly elected President Garrett Walker (Michael Gill) break­ing his promise of moving Under­wood up to Secretary of State if he helped him win the election.

Power is a big theme of the show, something that is stated to be the most desired thing in DC over and over again.

The character, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) has no desire for fame or money; the only thing he cares about is the amount of power he can obtain. The despicable actions that he takes in order to climb the ranks, and the reactions portrayed by the media and public give an inside look into what the political scandal­ous world is like.

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Revolution in Egypt Up Close: A GUC Presentation

An event that encompassed both imperative world problems and promoting global understand­ing was the presentation titled, “Studying Abroad in a Revolu­tion: My Experience in Cairo from 2010-2012,” where Geoffrey Cloepfil enlightened the audience on his first-hand account of the Arab Spring uprising in Cairo, Egypt. This presentation took place on Tuesday April 9 at 7:25 in Turrell Boardroom.

Cloepfil is now a graduate stu­dent studying Public Policy at the University. He had previously at­tended the University of Califor­nia in Santa Barbara, where he studied Arabic. The combination of studying Arabic and the study abroad opportunities, the allure of Cairo, Egypt was a “no brainer” for Cleopfil.

Originally, the study abroad program that Cleopfil was partici­pating in was scheduled for a year. However, six months into the pro­gram, the revolution started.

Cleopfil stated, “January 25, 2011 is a date I will never forget.” He had previously been traveling for the winter break holiday, when the revolution started. Ironically, he was “in the air” when the up­rising took place. The Cairo Air­port was shut down and he was literally stuck. During this confu­sion, everyone believed he was a reporter because he was the only “white guy” in Cairo.

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Model U.N. Participates in New York City Conference and Wins Honorable Mention

Monmouth’s Model United Nations delegation once again soared, this time as the team participated in the world’s larg­est Model U.N. simulation. The delegation attended the National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference in New York City from March 24-28 under the leadership of Head Delegates An­drew Bell and Matthew-Donald Sangster and advisor Dr. Thom­as Lamatsch. Representing the Kingdom of Belgium, the team received an “Honorable Mention” for their performance at the con­ference.

In addition to the Head Del­egates, Monmouth was repre­sented by Rezwan Ahmed, Liz Anderson, Geoffrey Cloepfil, Jacquie Corsentino, Rafael Gon­zalez, Kyle Hasslinger, Alan Jean, Chris Lojek, Chris Miller, Alex Nanchanatt, Adit Patel, Myles Pe­terson, Emily Smith, and Saliha Younas.

Delegates represented Belgium on ten committees. Senior Head delegate Andrew Bell was not part of a committee to support all teams which was particularly im­portant given that the majority of the delegates had never attended a Model U.N. Simulation before.

Bell said commenting on his experience, “The delegates im­pressed me tremendously. It is hard to believe that so many first timers could learn as quickly as this group did, and that their ef­forts had resulted in the reception of honorable mention for MU.”

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North Korea Threatens Nuclear Attack on America: Is a Bombing Imminent?

kim-jong-un-north-korea-1The nation of North Korea is flexing its muscles and trying to scare the international community by threatening to attack the Unit­ed States. Last week, North Kore­an leader Kim Jung Un authorized the use of weapons against Amer­ica. A U.S. official also told CNN that the North Koreans currently have two medium range missiles loaded and ready to attack the U.S. The missile components, ac­cording to American and South Korean officials, have a range of 2,500 miles.

They also claim to have nuclear weapons ready to be launched. Many observers say that they do not have the capability right now.

China, who North Koreans seem to view as an ally, have rebuked the actions of the North Koreans. New Chinese President Xi Jinping said at an international conference Sunday that “Countries, whether big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, should all contribute their share in maintaining and enhanc­ing peace.”

Dr. Charles Cotton, professor of political science, and interna­tional relations agrees, “They do not have the capabilities to launch a nuclear strike against the U.S.”

He continued, “Even China has told them not to attack the United States.” Not only has the supposed allies of North Korea told them not to attack the U.S., Fidel Castro, the longtime leader of Cuba, has said in a rare written commentary that “North Korea should not risk starting a war that could affect 70 percent of the Earth’s popula­tion.” He also called the situation on the Korean peninsula “absurd” and “incredible.” Castro, who was at the middle of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, says this poses the greatest risk to the world since the Cold War.

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U.N. Agrees to Arms Treaty to Help Regulate Weapons Trade

The United Nations General As­sembly voted on Tuesday, April 2 to approve a treaty aimed at regulating the trade of conventional weapons across the globe.

The 193 members voted 154 to 3 to approve the Arms Trade Treaty, a contract that seeks to regulate the $70 billion conventional arms business and keep weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers.

The United States, the world’s pri­mary arms exporter, co-sponsored the treaty despite opposition from the National Rifle Association (NRA), a U.S. pro-gun lobbying group who has openly opposed the treaty and has vowed to fight to prevent its ratifica­tion by the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement following the vote that the United Nations adopted, “a strong, effective and implementable Arms Trade Treaty that can strength­en global security while protecting the sovereign right of states to con­duct legitimate arms trade.”

Kerry continued, “Nothing in this treaty could ever infringe on the rights of American citizens under our domestic law or the Constitution, in­cluding the Second Amendment.”

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Employees Could Be Granted Social Media Privacy

17549827-privacy-concept-red-closed-padlock-on-digital-background-3d-renderGovernor Chris Christie is considering a bill that would prohibit New Jersey employers from asking employees and ap­plicants for their social media usernames and passwords. Fines and lawsuits against NJ employ­ers would become possible under this bill.

According to William Hill, Assistant Dean of Career Servic­es, this is not the first time the issue of internet pri­vacy has come into question. Hill ex­plained that Christie signed a bill into legislation last Decem­ber that banned institutions of higher education from asking for such information.

Vice President and General Counsel, Grey Dimenna, said that the University is not prohib­ited by law from asking for all in­ternet passwords, but only those defined as social media. Howev­er, Dimenna does not think it is necessary information. “I would have to say that I am not aware of the University asking applicants for such information and certainly not requiring applicants to give us that information,” said Dimenna. “If so, I would be per­sonally opposed to such a practice.”

Hill agrees, stating that asking for person­al information such as Facebook passwords would be an invasion of privacy and cannot find a legitimate reason for ei­ther universities or employ­ers to request that informa­tion.

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Chris Christie: The Man, The Myth, The Governor

christieGovernor Chris Christie has become famous for his town hall style meetings. I was able to attend one on Tuesday, March 19, along with 1,500 other residents of Manasquan. Now being a political science major, this was a must-attend event. I am not a fan of any politician in general but my thoughts were, “If he may run for president one day, it would be cool to say I saw him when he was New Jersey Governor.”

Being from an area severely affected by Superstorm Sandy, I was curious about the types of questions that would be asked and how the Governor would respond. As a student journalist, I wanted to ask a question of the Governor yet did not receive the opportunity.

What surprised me most about this event was how humorous the Governor was. He was cracking jokes about himself, government and his family, particularly his mother-in-law.

Most of the time you see a clip of the Governor at a town hall meeting, he is yelling at someone or being defensive. However, he was very calm and even warned the crowd beforehand to “disagree respectfully.”

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Political Sex Scandals: Why Do They Happen?

Power Could be Major Reason for Infidelities

Political sex scandals have been occurring for so long that it is imbedded into our cultural norms. They are so imbedded that we have learned to accept and even praise leaders who have been unfaithful. For example, the continuously growing population of such Presidents as John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton show the public’s acceptance of sex scandals.

New Jersey Assemblyman Joe Cryan has recently been accused  of sending sexually explicit e-mails to former lobbyist Karen Golding. The e-mails are estimated to be nine to ten years old and sent during a time when both Cryan and Golding were single adults. These charges are coming only months after Senator Robert Menendez weas falsely accused of paying for underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. However, this trend of sexual affairs is nothing new to the world of politics.

When you think about the young, charming, handsome President John F. Kennedy, the thought of his affairs comes to mind. Perhaps the most famous affair is the one that was never proven, but rumored to occur between the President and actress Marilyn Monroe. The rumors of the affair sparked fire after the young actress famously sang to the President on his birthday.  While it is the most famous affair President Kennedy was involved in, it certainly was not his only one. 

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Pre-Law Club Listens to Supreme Court DOMA and Prop 8 Oral Arguments

The Pre-law club held a listening party about the oral arguments before the Supreme Court regarding Proposition Eight and the Defense of Marriage Act on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 26 and 27 in Young Auditorium.

Club advisor Dr. Gregory Bordelon said that the showing for the Proposition Eight arguments had about 10 to 15 students, but the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) arguments led to a full room of students and faculty.

Bordelon said the most interesting part of the arguments was the mixture of law and policy. “Often times, when political forces clash with the courts, you see the latter frame the issues in very different terms - terms that are addressed in a legal framework.  It’s what courts do and we saw that clearly in the substantial amount of time spent on each oral argument on matters of jurisdiction, standing and procedural matters,” said Bordelon.

Bordelon said that students are not exposed to the working of the judiciary enough. “The President is covered by the media the most, Congress is covered by the positions of party leadership in that branch, but rarely are we exposed to the ins and outs of the judiciary,” said Bordelon.

With same-sex marriage being a high profile topic, Bordelon believes that it will lead to more media coverage similar to the Affordable Health Care Act which news outlets, at first, incorrectly reported the results.

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Students Go to U.N. About International Rights

The University was represented at the United Nations at the first ever youth-led briefing on international women’s rights and violence against children on Monday, March 25. 

The briefing, which was organized by the U.N.’s Department of Public Information and Non-Governmental Organizations, was attended by five University students under the auspices of the Department of Political Science and Sociology as well as the Institute for Global Understanding, Monmouth University’s NGO.

During the two-hour conference, which was presided over by the United Nations’ Secretary General’s Youth Envoy, Ahmad Alhendawi, issues such as domestic and sexual violence and gender-based discrimination were discussed by a panel of U.N. experts as well as by community leaders from the greater New York City area. The panelists later led an interactive group discussion which posed a series of yes-no questions to those in attendance with regard to the audience’s perceptions of race and gender-based inequalities, discrimination, and violence in everyday society.

Senior communication major Alexandria Fitzgerald was one of the students who attended the conference as well as played a role in organizing Monmouth’s participation in the event. She felt that this event presented a valuable opportunity to reach out to her fellow students and encourage their involvement in community outreached.

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Growing Trend in Political Blockbusters

Movies Such as “Lincoln” and “Olympus Has Fallen” are Spotlighting Political and Historical Issues

Lincoln-Movie-PosterHistory and politics seem to be finding their way onto the big screen of late in blockbusters such as Lincoln and Argo, but what does that mean for education in those fields?

Politics has often been a topic in multiple movies. Specialist pro­fessor of communication, Robert Scott, said while recently there has been multiple films with political or historical backgrounds, it is not a new concept. Scott said that stories with passion, fear, turmoil, drama, suspense and a wide range of emo­tions help make for effective story­telling.

He continued by saying that his­tory and politics tends to be topics in the movies because it appeals to a mass audience. “Since film is an art form, and perhaps our most power­ful storytelling medium to date, it generally reflects life experiences and relies upon universal themes that appeal to mass audiences.”

Scott believes that with movies being a median to the masses, it could lead to movie-goers to look further into the events depicted on the big screen. He mentioned that movies such as All The President’s Men, led him to read the book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and other books by Woodward.

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Will the New Pope Change International Relations?

Will the New Pope Change International Relations?

The white smoke has risen and Roman Catholics around the world have a new spiritual leader, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, former archbishop of Buenos Aires and now dubbed Pope Francis I. He has a political history that is closely associated with his homeland of Argentina. The New Pope’s connection to Argentine history dates back to the era known as the Dirty War and continue right up to the current president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Some of the more recent episodes of Francis’s entanglement with Argentine politics took place dur­ing the regime governments of the Kirchners, including Nestor Kirch­ner and his presidential successor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. During this time, Francis I was then Archbishop of Argentina’s biggest and most powerful providence, Bue­nos Aires.

The relationship first became rocky when Bergoglio gave a hom­ily, on a national holiday, with a message that indirectly criticized Nestor’s government for his han­dling of the financial crisis. The fol­lowing year Nestor did not attend the same homily, which was can­celled. Hence forth Nestor Kirchner and Bergoglio were considered po­litical rivals.

Senior political science major Lexi Todd views the politically tur­bulent episode, “The Kirchner’s felt that the Catholic Church did not pay them enough credit for lifting Argentina out of one of the worst economic crisis that the country had ever faced. In 2007, Cristina became President and she clashed with Ber­goglio over social issues such as gay marriage and abortion.”

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Medical Marijuana Has High Expectations

marijuana-tourismThe New Jersey Senate was hand­ed a bill last week that would pro­tect the state’s medical marijuana patients from being denied medical care, including organ transplants. Sponsored by state Senators Joseph F. Vitale (D) and Nicholas P. Scutari (D), the bill was approved by New Jersey’s Senate Health, Human Ser­vices and Senior Citizens Commit­tee and is now headed to floor vote in the NJ Senate.

The bill, Senate Bill 1220, re­quires that “any registered, qualify­ing patient’s authorized use of med­ical marijuana is to be considered by medical providers equivalent to the use of any other prescribed medi­cation, rather than an illicit sub­stance.” It is designed to ensure that a patient’s use of medical marijuana would not prohibit them from re­ceiving much needed medical care, the bill explains.

Advocates of medical marijuana recognize the treatment as a com­passionate and humane way to man­age pain and provide relief from side effects that often accompany chronic and terminal conditions.

“The thought that someone would be denied treatment that could help cure their condition or greatly re­duce their suffering because of their legal use of this prescribed drug is abhorrent. We must address this is­sue,” said Scutari in a press release regarding the recent bill.

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Peace Be With You: Vatican and U.S. Diplomacy

The news of the first Papal resigna­tion in 598 years has focused the at­tentions of nearly the entire Western world upon a tiny, yet world-famous, enclave within the city of Rome, Italy.

Many states around the world maintain diplomatic ties with the Holy See, and the United States is no different. From the earliest years of American independence, the United States maintained consular ties with, what were at that time, the Papal States, which were territories in cen­tral and northern Italy over which the Pope exercised control. After Italian unification in 1861, the Papal States were incorporated into the State of Italy and the Pope was sent retreating into within the Vatican walls.

The Vatican, or Holy See, is the world’s smallest sovereign state. With its territorial claims consisting of a mere 109 acres, a population of less than 850, and the distinction of being the only state on Earth where the Latin Language is still spoken in a day-to-day context, the Vatican is dwarfed by the sizes of most Ameri­can municipalities. Its leader and sov­ereign, the Pope, is also the shepherd of the world’s estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics and is one of the most recognized and influential indi­viduals on the planet.

In 1929, the Lateran Treaty, an agreement between the Holy See and the State of Italy, established the Vatican as a sovereign and indepen­dent state, and secured the Pope’s independence from national obliga­tions in his leadership of the Catholic Church.

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New Jersey Taking on Gun Control; 22 New Laws Passed

New Jersey lawmakers passed 22 new gun laws on February 28 that focus on gun and am­munition sales, improving men­tal health services, gun safety, stopping illegal gun trafficking, school security, and stopping gang violence.

Gun control has always been a “hot button” topic, with some saying the Second Amendment allows them the right to own fire­arms, and some saying that the Second Amendment has been misinterpreted all these years and that it simply allows us the right to form a militia, which we already have in the form of the United States Armed Forces.

In the past two years alone, there have been multiple shoot­ings: the shooting in Arizona at a grocery store where former Rep­resentative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head. Eleven oth­ers were wounded and six people died that January day in 2011 be­cause the shooter was able to get his hands on a high powered rifle.

When The Dark Night Rises came out in July of last year, James Holmes entered the movie theater and killed 12 people, in­juring 70 others.

The most recent mass shoot­ing was Newtown, Connecti­cut, where Adam Lanza shot his mother, killed 20 first grade stu­dents and six teachers at an el­ementary school, before killing himself. These are just the shoot­ings that were awful enough to make the evening news.

It is precisely these shootings that have people asking for some­thing to be done. It is precisely these shootings; especially the Newtown shooting that has some lawmakers in New Jersey paying attention.

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Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer Visits University

kurtzerFormer United States Ambas­sador David Kurtzer paid a visit to the University on March 5 in Wilson Auditorium to discuss political situations in the Middle East and his experiences as a United States Ambassador. The event was attended by approxi­mately 50 people including com­munity members and students.

Kurtzer served as United States Ambassdor to Egypt from 1997 to 2001 then served as the ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005 before becoming a pro­fessor at Princeton University and co-authoring the book, “Ne­gotiating Arab Peace.”

Before Kurtzer spoke, Presi­dent Paul Gaffney II was given the Jewish Heritage Award for his significant contributions to Jewish culture and life. Gaffney said, “I was honored. We started the program and received outside funding for it because there are several Jewish communities in our neighborhood. We took the initiative to be good neighbors.”

The event started with open­ing comments from Professor Amy Handlin, associate profes­sor of marketing and interna­tional business who also works with the Jewish Cultural Studies program.

A theme throughout the event was how Arabs and Jewish peo­ple could co-exist in the Middle East. Kurtzer believes it is up to the United States to help in di­plomacy but that everyone needs to be willing to work together.

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A World-Wide View of Politics: MU International Relations Concentration

un_headquarters_2The University Political Science Department offers a number of pro­grams to create unique opportunities such as the International Relations concentration which focuses on inter­national problems, in hopes to com­pete in a globally connected world.

The concentration, which is an additional area of study within the standard political science curricu­lum, aims to provide students with an understanding of more than just the Western-centric perspective on international concerns. Political sci­ence majors who add the nine-credit concentration to their academic rep­ertoire are required to take one class on comparative politics as well as two courses devoted to the study of both international relations theory as well as studies of ethics of international relations or American foreign policy.

Dr. Saliba Sarsar, professor of po­litical science and Associate Vice President for Global Initiatives, be­lieves that it is of utmost importance that students of political science have strong foundations in international relations given the increasingly glo­balized and interdependent nature of the modern world.

Sarsar states, “Students of interna­tional relations become more aware and better immersed in the historical background and basic information of a variety of issues and by whom any how they can be addressed.”

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Public Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage May Sway Supreme Court Decision

ObamaQuoteCalifornia’s ban on gay marriage is likely to fall soon, due to a pair of developments in the past week. What remains uncertain is whether same-sex marriage will become lawful in just a score of “blue states,” or the norm throughout the nation.

Public opinion on marriage for gay and lesbian couples has shifted with almost unprecedented speed for a major issue. Even without a court ruling, that shift could doom restrictive marriage laws in liberal states such as California. It is also likely to have an effect on the court itself, in particular with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and possibly Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

Throughout his long career, Kennedy has been willing to make major changes in the law on issues including the death penalty, gun rights and gay rights. Kennedy has been a strong, steady proponent of constitutional principles such as free speech, individual liberty and limits on government power. But before signing on to major changes such as abolishing the death pen­alty for young murderers, for ex­ample he has wanted to feel com­fortable that the change was in line with public opinion and the trend in the law.

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Online Gambling Now Legal in New Jersey

internet-pokerGovernor Chris Christie signed a bill that will allow casinos in Atlantic City to set up online gaming and gambling websites on Tuesday February 26. The state legislature has been dis­cussing the possibilities of online gambling for at least two years. Christie vetoed the bill back in 2011 when it was newer and more risky. He signed the bill last week after sending a revised version back with some suggestions and requirements that he felt would make the bill more successful.

So what does this new bill mean for New Jersey? Or more importantly, what does it mean for Atlantic City?

New Jersey, according to an article by CBC News, is the third state to legalize online gambling. Only Nevada and Delaware have passed a similar bill.

“I believe that [the gambling law] is an opportunity to bring additional revenue to New Jer­sey,” said Professor Amy Hand­lin, who teaches Marketing and International Business and also serves as an Assemblywoman for District 13. “Many people enjoy the Atlantic City gaming experi­ence, the excitement of playing at the tables and the slot machines. Other people prefer not to drive the 90 miles or so, and may pre­fer to play from the confines of their home,” Handlin said.

As of right now, the online gaming sites pertain only to resi­dents in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. Meaning that in order to place a bet online and partake in the game, you have to be in New Jersey.

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Students Visit U.N. and Meet Secretary General

Better-6-students-Dr.-DSeven University students were invited to attend an event at the Unit­ed Nations in New York City to meet Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on February 20. The event was held at the Economic and Social Council Conference Room at the United Na­tion’s Headquarters in New York.

In attendance were seven Univer­sity students of varying degrees and majors as well as Dr. Rekha Datta from the Political Science and So­ciology Department. The event was sponsored by the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) program which serves to get students more involved and educated in the work­ings of the U.N. Since his appoint­ment in 2007, Ki-Moon has been very concerned with the education of the younger generation and the UNAI has sponsored many events such as the one this past Wednesday.

Students arrived at the U.N. and were able to spend a few hours ex­ploring the various exhibits. There were five other universities in atten­dance including some individuals from Kenya and Japan.

The purpose of the event was to allow students to ask Ki-Moon ques­tions about his work at the United Nations and the publication of the U.N.’s book: “Building a Better Fu­ture for All: Selected Speeches of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.”

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Lautenberg Not Seeking Re-Election in 2014

Frank_Lautenberg,_official_portrait,_112th_portraitNew Jersey Senator Frank Laut­enberg has officially announced he will not be running for re-election in the 2014 Senatorial election. Lautenberg has served in his New Jersey Senator seat for nearly thir­ty years, and at 89 years old, is the oldest member of Congress.

Lautenberg was born in Pat­erson, New Jersey in 1924. His parents were Polish and Russian immigrants who came to America through Ellis Island. His father took many jobs throughout Laut­enberg’s life, causing the family to move around frequently. He lost his father when he was 19 years old to cancer, and took the responsibil­ity of helping support his family by working nights and weekends until he graduated high school.

After graduating high school, he enlisted in the military, and served in the Army Signal Corps in Eu­rope. When he returned home he was able to attend Columbia Uni­versity on the G.I. Bill, graduating with a degree in economics.

Following Columbia, Lauten­berg and two childhood friends started the nation’s first payroll service, Automatic Data Process­ing. He acted as chairman and CEO of the company helping it to become one of the largest comput­ing services company in the world.

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Demander in Chief: Obama Changes Tone in Second Term

obamaAs America treks out of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and moves beyond the 2012 election cycle, the country finds itself with a reelected and empowered ex­ecutive in his last term. Barack Obama has matured into his post and has now changed his politi­cal tone from one of a negotiator-in-chief to a demander-in-chief.

The power struggle in Wash­ington D.C. was not made any more clear after the 2012 elec­tions. The Republican Party re­mained in control of the House of Representatives and the Dem­ocratic Party controlled both the Senate and the White House. With the country dealing with significant issues like taxes, im­migration, Medicare, Social Se­curity, gun control, and energy reforms unresolved, Obama has struck a more forceful tone in his rhetoric and in his dealings to­wards Congress that has proved incapable of bipartisanship.

Since Obama’s re-election, he has been endowed with an en­hanced approval rating that may provide him with the ability to push some of his second term agenda through Congress.

According to RealClearPoli­tics’ RCP Poll Average (2013), 51 percent approve of Obama’s work while only 42.6 percent disapprove. This compares to the RCP Poll Average approval rating of Congress of just 15.6 percent and a disapproval rate of 78.7 percent.

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Legal Studies Concentration May Come to Campus in Fall 2013

gavelPending the Board of Trustee’s approval and recognition from the state of New Jersey, there could be a legal studies concen­tration added to the political sci­ence department. This course of study will be offered in a similar fashion to the international rela­tions concentration offered.

Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Political Science Department, said, “Our department had an external evaluator a few years back and she, at the time, recom­mended giving more attention to the area of legal studies.”

According to Dr. Gregory Bor­delon, lecturer for the Political Science Department, there are approximately 15 to 20 students minoring in legal studies. He also said that each year since he became the legal advisor, 10 to 15 students from the University apply to law schools around the country.

Next year, however, there will be between 35 and 40 students applying to law schools, which is why the concentration was added.

Bordelon said, “We found a siz­able amount of students gravitat­ing towards the minor and wanted to service them best as possible.”

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Drunk Driving Crackdown

drunk-driving-Bipartisan support approved legislation that would ultimately increase the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol in New Jersey last week. Monmouth County Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande from District  11 and John F. Amodeo, a member of the New Jersey General Assembly from District 2, each co-sponsored the bill, A-3057, which would increase the penalties of serial DUI offenders. The bill was introduced last summer due to a Vineland man getting charged for the offense six times in the span of three months.

The bill’s conditions stipulate an imposition of additional penalties for multiple drunken driving offenses within 60 days and a maximum of $10,000 fine and/or 18 months in prison with an imposed bail of up to $10,000 for repeat offenses. It requires courts to immediately suspend the driver’s license on a second offense without the possibility of applying for a new license at a later date, and it sends subsequent offenses to Superior Court, which mainly deal with serious criminal offenses, rather than municipal courts.

This new bill contrasts the existing legislation for repeat offenses in that the current laws do not address the possibility of a repeat DUI offense within such a small window of time, but due to the recent circumstances, a supplement to the current legislation is needed.

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“Roman Empire” Is Taking Over the Air Waves

dan-pictureLet’s talk politics! Hawk Radio WMCX introduces their new political radio show that takes place every Monday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

After a few weeks of taking suggestions as to what to name the show, the winner was “Roman Empire,” named after the host Daniel Roman, a sophomore policital science major. 

“I have a passion for politics and love to talk about it; once I start I can’t stop,” Roman said.

 Roman continued, “The goal of the show is to really try to get people at Monmouth more politically involved and create a dialogue. As a political science major it’s hard to see low levels of political engagement on campus.”

Every week Roman and his various guests focus on the current political events that they feel need to be highlighted, varying from Pope Benedict XVI resigning to the President’s performance that week. The main focus on Monday was the State of the Union address and the President’s promises for the next four years to come. It’s been discussed a few times on his show, that the President may be more centered politically than believed to be, a view that Roman and his guests usually agree on. 

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State of the Union: A Work in Progress

Communication Department Runs a "State of the Union" Party to Analyze Speech

Dr. Michael Phillips-Anderson of the Communication Depart­ment organized the University’s annual screening of the State of the Union address on the eve­ning of Tuesday, February 12. With just over a dozen students in attendance, the event received fewer turnout compared to last year, but still proved itself to be equally as informative.

Throughout the first State of the Union address of his second term, President Obama provided Congress and the American pub­lic with a framework of his leg­islative agenda: a comprehensive list of his priorities and objectives for the remainder of his term.

He reminded Americans that while it is the President’s task to report the state of the union, it is the task of all U.S. citizens to im­prove it. Admiring a laundry list of accomplishments, Obama said, “Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger.”

The President explained that al­though improving the state of our union is a difficult task, there has been much progress to report, in­cluding six million new jobs, less dependence on foreign oil within 20 years, an improved housing market, a rebounding stock mar­ket, and a greater sense of protec­tion for consumers, patients, and homeowners than ever before.

However, in order to restore our union we must first accomplish unfinished tasks, the President explained. While the economy has been adding jobs, too many Americans still can’t find full-time employment to support their families. While corporate profits have skyrocketed, wages and in­comes have barely budged.

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Buono Begins Bout For Governor

State Senator from Metuchen Hopes to Win Democratic Nomination for November

buonoBarbara Buono, a New Jersey State Senator from Metuchen, may become the Democratic nominee for governor this No­vember.

Buono was the first Democrat­ic elected official to announce her candidacy in December 2012.

The 59-year-old Buono has been in the New Jersey Senate since 2002. She was New Jer­sey’s first female Senate Major­ity leader.

Buono has worked on many bills during her tenure in the Senate. She was the prime spon­sor of New Jersey’s Anti-Bully­ing Bill of Rights.

In December 2011, the Depart­ment of Education ranked New Jersey’s anti-bullying law as number 1 in the nation.

Also, as the budget chair, she fought to cut $4.7 billion from the state budget, while increas­ing investments in education, and health care.

On February 2, Buono held her first campaign rally at New Brunswick High School. In her speech she promised to help the middle and working class fami­lies of New Jersey.

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“Gang of Eight” May Help Make American Dream a Reality

gangofeightDemocrats and Republicans are coming together to resolve one of the major issues discussed throughout the election year: Immigration. A group of eight senators; four Demo­crats and four Republicans came up with an immigration proposal that they hope Congress will pass by spring or summer.

The Immigration Reform that is going to be proposed by March calls for undocumented citizens to go through a process in order to become a part of the United States. Immi­grants already living in the country will be permitted to stay and work while undergoing the process to be­come legal citizens. The bill requires them to go through the procedure of background checks, paying fines, back taxes, and English and Ameri­can Civics courses that they must take over a couple of years.

According to ABC News, the en­tire process will take up to 15 years, and that is for them to be eligible for citizenship, for which they will have to “get in the back of the line.”

For students, there is a different story. Any foreign student who grad­uates from an American University with a Ph.D. or Master Degree in sci­ence, technology, engineering and mathematics will be offered their green card to stay in the country.

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Debate Hawks Mentor Asbury Park High School Students

Student Coaches Offer Skills For Debate Tournaments and Beyond


Every Tuesday afternoon, the University Debate Hawks, along with their head coach Dr. Joseph Patten, meet at Asbury Park High School and run an hour-long debate workshop.

The Asbury Park students learn about argument construc­tion and are educated on the general rules of debate. This year, the efforts put forth in the weekly workshops were brought to full realization in the form of The 2013 Newark Invitational, a debate tournament headed by the Jersey Urban Debate League, an organization devoted to sup­porting the practice of debate for “predominantly African-Ameri­can and Latino students.”

The program is going into its third year with success going beyond the debate tournaments. One hundred percent of the par­ticipants over the past three years have gone to colleges such as: College of New Jersey, Fairleigh Dickenson, Brookdale Com­munity College, Rutgers and Monmouth University.

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Legislature Juggling Jug Handles

jughandlesThere is a bill in the New Jer­sey State Senate, Senate bill 207 that will “…prohibit the plan­ning, designing, or construction of any additional jug handles on the public roads or highways in the State.” The bill has been pro­posed by State Senator James Holzapfel of District 10.

State Senator James Holzapfel said the three main reasons for proposing this bill is for safety, pollution and cutting down trav­el time. He also believes that jug handles have outlived their pur­pose.

“Jug handles were a wonder­ful thing 30 to 40 years ago but roads were also less crowded then,” said Holzapfel.

According to Bloomberg. com, “New Jersey has at least 600 jug handles, more than any other U.S. state, according to Tim Greeley, a spokesman for the state Transportation Department. The article also said, “The turns were engineered to remove left-turn­ing vehicles from higher-speed lanes and control the congestion approaching a traffic light. They send drivers on a right-hand exit, then onto a U-shaped stretch that ends at the intersection with the original road. Cars go straight across the road and continue on their way - a three-step left turn.”

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Women Hope to Fight Alongside Men in Armed Services

Untitled-3Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced last Thursday that the U.S. military is lifting their official ban on women in combat, opening up thousands of combat positions to female soldiers.

The lift will allow women, who currently make up about 15 percent of the overall force, to engage in combat on the front lines and is also expected to open an estimated 230,000 jobs, the Pentagon’s website explains.

The decision overturns a 1994 Department of Defense policy that previously barred women from direct ground combat and from being assigned to units below the brigade level in all branches.

After receiving a letter from Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff last month, Panetta quickly moved into action in his last few weeks in office by giving military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women.

Dempsey’s letter explained that he and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are united in their belief that “The time has come to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule for women and to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service.”

Dr. Christopher DeRosa of the History and Anthropology Department also believes that the Pentagon’s recent announcement willprove beneficial. “Having a large number of women in the military who are treated as second-class soldiers is a detriment to the health of the whole organization, as well as being, ultimately, against the nation’s values,” DeRosa said.

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Mock Trial Hawks Compete in Two Day Tournament

The weekend of January 19- 20 was a busy one for several Monmouth University students, as the Mock Trial team headed up to the Bronx, NY to participate in Fordham University’s Fifth Annual Sapientia et Doctrina Invitational tournament. Monmouth sent seven team members and their faculty advisor, Professor Gregory Bordelon, to compete in the two-day tournament.

Team members included Kate Nawoyski (captain), Alexandria Todd, Susan Pagano, Joseph Dellera, Michael Lucia, Cara Turcich, and Miriam Peguero. In competing in only their second invitational, the team won two ballots, taking one round in the competition.

The tournament included four rounds. Each team took on the role of plaintiff in two rounds and defendant in two rounds.

Fordham’s tournament included participants from over 20 colleges, including previous American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) National Champions, New York University.

This is only the first year the Mock Trial team at Monmouth is in existence and only their second tournament as a team.

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Those Earning Minimum Wage Know That Money Does Not Grow on Trees

politics-treeGovernor Chris Christie’s vetoed the minimum wage bill that came from the Democrats in the Assembly and Senate. Minimum wage in New Jersey was set at $7.25 in July 2009. The bill that Governor Christie vetoed would have raised minimum wage to $8.50 and would have allowed raises as the inflation in the state went up. Governor Christie vetoed this proposition and suggested that the dollar raise be implemented over the course of three years according to “Christie vetoes Minimum-Wage Hike” in The Star Ledger.

For the past four years, politicians and media outlets have not been shy about telling society that the United States is in a financial crisis. College students, who sometimes work seasonal or weekends only, who pay college tuition all on their own, and earn minimum wage, do not need to be told that we are in financial crisis. One needs only to check the online bank statement to know that.

So, here’s the question that we need to asked ourselves: would raising the minimum wage in this state really hurt the economy? And the answer is: it depends on who you ask.

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Cyber Bullying Versus Freedom of Speech

Untitled-1Where is the line between freedom of speech and prevention of online bullying for college students? This is one of the toughest lines to toe as universities want to create a safe environment for students but encourage students to express views on often controversial subjects.

Montclair University graduate student Joseph Aziz made a comment regarding another student’s appearance on YouTube and then was told by the university to have no further contact with the other student. He then posted about the incident on Facebook and the school suspended him. He challenged the suspension and last week the university reinstated Aziz. This brings the question: Do universities have the right to regulate student behavior on social networking sites?

Dr. Michele Grillo, assistant professor in criminal justice, thinks that the University went too far in this matter. Grillos said, “It is contrary to the encouragement of free thought and academic growth of individuals. Students speak out all the time about their likes and dislikes of college professors and administration on a daily basis in various ways. We do not restrict this speech.”

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Students Take a Trip to Argentina Over Winter Break

argentinaTwelve students, including myself, had an experience of a lifetime traveling to and living in the federal capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires.

All participating students took a class taught by Dr. Kenneth Mitchell about Argentine politics and culture. Many students were enticed to take the course and go on the trip not just because of the destination, but because of Dr. Mitchell himself.

As senior Lexi Todd explained, “After taking a Latin American Politics course with Dr. Mitchell I soon became fascinated with the politics and government of these countries as well. This class became the most significant factor in my decision to go. When I found out that Dr. Mitchell was taking a group of students to Argentina I was sold. My deep respect for his knowledge and enthusiasm when studying Latin America soon became contagious.”

 Students gained an in-depth view on the country from the class, beginning with the Spanish colonization of the area to the political antics of current president, Cristina Fernandez de Krichner. Learning so much about a country gave the students a whole new perspective, one that would have been impossible to grasp if not for the class. After studying the mechanisms of Argentine culture and then seeing those mechanisms in action, it was like poetry in motion.

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Christie Making a Big Splash for New Jersey

christieGovernor Chris Christie is officially up for reelection, for which many believe him to be the front runner. Christie’s popularity has only been expanding post-Sandy, and many believe that it will only continue to grow through the campaign season.

The Sandy relief effort shown by the Governor is said likely to  win him his second term, and recently his popularity is growing larger with New Jersey residents through his criticism of not only President Obama but his own party as well.

Christie has been speaking out against a few things that have made the GOP rethink their pride in his “blunt” personality.

The Governor sharply criticized the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, for Congress delaying voting on the Sandy relief package.

The relief package that Christie is calling for will give a $60 billion federal aid package to New Jersey to help with storm relief. Christie first condemned the Speaker of the House on January 2 in a press conference stating that the relief package should have been voted on in the fiscal cliff deal voted on January 1.

Governor Christie was quoted saying, “We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans, or at least we did until last night. Last night politics was placed before hosts to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch.”

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Students Debate on What Can Be Done About Gun Control

The horrific events which transpired on December 14, 2012 tragically ended the lives of 26 students and faculty members of the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. These heroes were indiscriminately shot by a lone gunman, armed with several semi-automatic handguns and rifles, while they innocently went about their daily business. Words fail to convey how deeply America as whole was affected by this senseless violence, or how heinous this act was.

This piece is a simple exercise in political discourse. It does not have as, its intent, to diminish the significance of the Newtown Shooting in any way, nor does it seek to defend its perpetrator.

Nearly two months subsequent of the Newtown shooting, President Obama has enacted 23 executive orders which begin to address specific enforcement and implementation practices within the Executive Branch with regard to regulating the issue of gun permits, to implementing more stringent background checks on gun owners, and to beginning a national dialogue to increase public awareness of mental health issues and neurological differences.

In addition to these orders, the President has also asked the Congress to consider legislation, which would ban military-style weapons similar to the weapon used in the Newtown shooting, as well as enacting laws limiting magazine capacities to ten rounds.  These orders and proposals raise questions as to the validity of the President’s executive actions as well as the application of the Second Amendment in the 21st Century.

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Supporting the President’s Plan for Gun Control will Help Limit Gun Violence

On December 24, 2012, 26 people-including 20 innocent children-were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut. After this horrific event occurred, we as a society must take action to ensure it never happens again. President Obama recently laid out a plan to stop these very things from happening. His proposal should be taken very seriously. These simple ideas could go a long way to saving lives in this country. Congress should pass President Obamas proposals to ban assault weapons, require universal background checks when buying guns, and ban high capacity magazines.

The assault rifle used in the Sandy Hook shootings was capable of firing 45 round of ammunition per minute. This military- style weapon can be purchased legally in the U.S. As a debater, I try to think about each side of the issue; however, I cannot fathom why someone would need a weapon that could cause so much destruction. Hunters argue that they need them, but they could easily kill any animal with a handgun or a shotgun. They do not need an assault rifle. Anyone who says they need an assault rifle to hunt must have terrible aim if they need to shoot 45 rounds a minute to kill an animal. We had an assault weapons ban from 1994 until 2004. A Department of Justice study on the ban found a 6.7 percent decrease in total gun murders following the ban. This should not be a debatable issue.

 Dr. Michael Phillips-Anderson of the communication department believes that this will not be able to get passed, “The assault weapons ban is different, Congress will not vote on it.” He also believes that there are ways around the ban even if it will be passed, “Gun manufacturers will be able to get around the law and still make guns. They will change the handle or the barrel so that technically it is not an assault weapon. A law banning assault weapons will need to make sure companies don’t find loopholes in it.”

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Physican-Assisted Suicide May Become Legal in N.J.

jackPhysician assisted suicide may become legal in the state of New Jersey. The bill, A3328, or “Death with Dignity Act” was proposed by Assemblyman John Burzichelli but if passed will need the voters to approve it.

And it would seem that the public might follow suit with such a decision, in light of recent history of the bill, says Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Department of Political Science and Sociology

“A few years back the United States Supreme Court upheld a physician assisted suicide bill in Oregon, known as the Death with Dignity Act, on the grounds that the doctor patient relationship links to privacy rights and that the state of Oregon was within its rights to allow terminally ill patients some say in the manner and timing of their passing. Some public polling also reveals that most Americans support this as a privacy right as well,” says Patten.

Dr. Gregory Bordelon, a lecturer of political science, agrees with Patten’s statement of a primarily supportive American consensus with the act.

“New Jersey is treading cautiously on the matter as committee hearings begin [very] shortly since the bill will ultimately be approved by the voters. This mechanism could give the bill some democratic legitimacy if a court challenge is brought,” said Bordelon.

He continues on to remark that “Coupled with the decision six years ago in Gonzales v. Oregon, would solidify the law in constitutional terms, and it appears that [the] courts are cognizant of an autonomous, process privacy right in one’s decision to terminate one’s life.”

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Mayor Cory Booker Takes On Food Stamp Life

cory-booker-dnc-embedNewark Mayor Cory Booker has taken on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) challenge, during which he will live off the food stamp program for a full week. The challenge requires him to have a budget of only $30 for the entire week, which rounds to about $4.32 a day for food. He is not actually enrolled in the program, but rather living off the budget for that week in order to get a better understanding of what it is like to live off of food assistance and have a better understanding of the SNAP program.

The SNAP program is designed to help low-income households alleviate the burden of not having enough to purchase a necessary to meet their basic food needs at all times.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) between the years of 2008-2010 there was a record amount of 14.5 percent of American households who were food insecure, and required the assistance of programs such as SNAP. It also states that virtually half of SNAP partakers are children, with about 47 percent of them being under the age of 18 years old. The households that have children in them add up to about 71 percent of the participants in the SNAP program, with 51 percent of that being single parent households. The program is designed to help those who are living below the poverty line, and have wages too low to lift them above it. According to Booker’s blog, on which he has been posting his results each day; the idea of taking on the SNAP challenge came from a Twitter conversation. Someone tweeted to him, “Nutrition is not the responsibility of the government”, which, according to Booker, made him think about the many people of his community who are in need of the SNAP program and benefit from it in their everyday lives. After considering his followers’ opinion, Booker suggested that they both live off of the SNAP program budget for a week in order to gain a better personal understanding of the program and the people who live off it.

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NJ Legislature Passes Minimum Wage Bill

The New Jersey Legislature handed Governor Chris Christie a bill last week that plans to raise the state’s minimum wage to $8.50 per hour – a $1.25 increase from the current minimum. The bill is a sign of hope for some New Jersey residents, but many are questioning the wisdom of raising the minimum wage, especially when the state’s economy and local businesses are still struggling to recover from Sandy.

New Jersey is one of 23 states whose minimum wage is $7.25, the same as the federal minimum. However, an increase to $8.50 would put the state third highest, behind Washington and Oregon.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS), New Jersey has approximately 41,000 minimum wage earners. Another 58,000 make even less than that because they have jobs where they rely heavily on tips in order to make ends meet.

While there are many advocates of the bill that believe an increase in minimum wage will benefit the people of New Jersey, opponents counter that with New Jersey’s economy still recovering, the timing is far from appropriate.

The bill, A2612, comes more than six months after the Assembly first passed the measure, and 11 months after Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver announced that she would make the wage increase a legislative priority at the Assembly reorganization ceremony in January.

In a press release from the Assembly Democrats dated December 5, Oliver, a supporter of the proposed legislation, explained that as the cost of living in New Jersey continues to rise, it is important for the state legislature to take action to elevate the minimum wage in order to accommodate the cost.

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Same Sex Marriage Heading To Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court will take up same sex marriage on the docket for the next term. There will be two cases; one is based on California’s constitutional ban on same sex marriage through Proposition 8. Despite this, the public approved it via referendum. The other case will be based on a New York law that denies same sex couples federal benefits. This case will take center stage as the public attitude from same sex marriage has shifted.

The California case will decide whether California judges violated the federal Constitution when they voted to deny rights of same sex couples. A three judge panel for the Court of Appeals disagreed with the public, who believe same sex marriage should be allowed.

The Supreme Court will be dealing with a multitude of questions, the key one being: whether the Constitution requires states to allow same sex marriages. This case comes as nine states have legalized same sex marriage; Maryland, Washington and Maine passed it just this past election. Other states, including New Jersey, recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions, not same sex marriage.

The federal case based out of New York challenges the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 passed by President Bill Clinton. Section three of the Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman for purposes of federal law. This comes forward after same sex couples attempt to file for federal programs but do not recognize their marriage even if the state in which they marry does.

This case comes at a time where same sex marriage is looked upon favorably by a majority of the public. According to, out of 1,000 likely voters, 40 percent of respondents said they support marriage equality. Thirty percent said they supported civil unions and 24 percent said they didn’t think samesex couples should be able to enter any type of legal union. President Barack Obama announced in May of 2012 that he supports same sex marriage.

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Monmouth 2012-13 Mock Trial Team Competes

mock-trial-teamThe mock trial team competed in the 1st Annual Hooter Invitational hosted by Temple University this weekend. After receiving the fact pattern, case record and law from “the state of Midlands” in the case of Allen v. Neptune Underwater Expeditions in October, the team diligently prepared during intense practices and scrimmages leading up to the competition in Philadelphia. In a competitive field of schools, the mock trial team showed sharp skills of trial technique and strategy combined with a knowledge of evidence. Sophomore team member, Susie Pagano, who plays attorney roles for both the plaintiff and defendant reflects on the team’s first invitational.

The attorney role in a round is so trying, but yet incredibly exhilarating! Considering that I want to be an lawyer in my future, this was the perfect practice... nothing beats actually being in the round, going up against other schools, and being put to the test by the opponents. Making objections can definitely be the most intimidating, but all it takes is giving it a shot. The first time I had an objection sustained in a round, I was absolutely thrilled,” Pagano said.

The team competed in four rounds, representing both Andy Allen, the spouse of the deceased plaintiff in two rounds as well as the defendant, Neptune Underwater Expeditions, in two rounds. All team members showed incredible preparation and professionalism, having positions as both attorneys and witnesses. The team won a ballot in its last round on Sunday after finishing the first day with a relatively high combined strength score. Team captain Kate Nawoyski met with team leaders from other schools and stated that the spirit of mock trial is competitive yet respectful and the level of competition encourages team members to bring their strongest performance each round.

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Model U.N. Team Attracts Students of All Majors

Students Use Skills of Bargaining and Negotiation to Set Resolutions in New York City Conference

model-unThe University’s Model United Nations (U.N.) team will spend the upcoming months researching and preparing for two of the largest international conferences where they will negotiate, bargain and propose resolutions for international conflicts.

Seven students will be traveling to represent the University in Rome from March 7-12. The remainder of the club will be attending the largest international conference in New York from March 24-28. They will be representing Belgium in the New York conference and are waiting for their country assignment from Rome.

“Fundraising for the conferences was okay, said Model U.N. President, Aziz Mama. “We received funds from Student Government, but it wasn’t enough to cover both conference expenses. We fundraised and received additional donations through the University, Provost Pearson’s office, deans and outside donations. The club is growing at an unexpected rate, and we’re going to need more funding to take delegations of a larger size,” said Mama.

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Middle East Tensions Rise: What Role will the US Play?

Eleven years after the United States first began its military campaign in Afghanistan and nearly one year after the official end of combat operations in Iraq, there is finally a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel for America’s decade of fighting in the Middle East.

After the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq in December of 2011, President Obama announced a similar drawdown of combat forces from Afghanistan to occur over the next two years, which will result in all American combat troops having been withdrawn from the country by the end of 2014. The departure of fighting forces from Afghanistan will signal the end of hostilities in the Middle East and will finally allow America the time to redouble its efforts domestically and address equally pressing concerns on the home front.

As anyone following the events concerning the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the State of Israel over the past two weeks will likely agree, the relative stability which now exists in Iraq and Afghanistan does little to ease tensions, in a region where civil, ideological, and territorial disputes occur side by side with multi-billion dollar business transactions.

The recent fighting largely centered in the disputed territory in and around the Gaza Strip, involved Hamas militants firing rockets into Israeli border towns as well as using improvised portable explosives to attack civilian targets such as commuter buses. After eight days of sporadic attacks by Hamas and largely defensive actions by Israeli forces, a cease-fire brokered in part by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has provided an end to fighting, but the deal is very fragile and may prove to only be a temporary solution. Even if the current cease-fire remains, it is likely that new conflicts will arise within the areas in and around the disputed Israeli and Palestinian territories given the long history of aggression between these two entities.

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Governor’s Race Chatter Starting Already

Now that the Presidential Campaign is through, New Jersey residents are turning their attention to the upcoming Governor Campaign. Current Governor Chris Christie has already applied his papers for re-election, but there has yet to be a definite for which Democrat hopeful is going to step up and run against him.

Christie’s recent popularity is stemming from his major success after Hurricane Sandy.

An article in The Star Ledger sourced a post Sandy poll from Quinnipiac University, showing the Governor’s high approval rating. According to the poll Christie’s approval rating up to 72 percent, the highest of any New Jersey Governor.

According the poll, he is even popular among the high amount of Democrats in NJ. Fifty two percent of Democrats approve of Chris Christie, something that Monmouth University sophomore political science major Saliha Younas would agree with.

According to Younas, “Even though I am a Democrat and my opinion of Chris Christie was not high in the beginning, after Hurricane Sandy it has changed. I liked the way he worked with the President and put aside party politics in order to handle the situation.”

Junior communication major, Daniel Gunderman says that his opinion of the Governor has not changed. “My opinion of him has only been solidified by Hurricane Sandy. Day in and day out, he battled illness and fatigue to be at all the majorly impacted areas from the storm. He even struck down reporters when they crossed the line, telling them that politics was second to his state’s recovery. He’s been unparalleled leader.”

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The Debt Clock is Ticking

debt-clock2Aside from the impending December 21, 2012 doomsday, Americans of all socioeconomic backgrounds should become well aware of the fiscal Armageddon that will take place on January 1, 2013 should Congress fail to act.

Beginning in January, the selfimposed crisis known as the “fiscal cliff” will take effect and cause $7 trillion worth of spending cuts and tax hikes over 10 years.

In the summer of 2011, Congress found itself in what seemed to be unending gridlock over the issue of raising the limit placed on borrowing through the selling of United States Government Bonds. The congressional impasse on raising the maximum limit on borrowing, known as the debt ceiling, put the United States on track to default on its financial obligations to creditors from all over the world.

Finally in August 2012, Congress reached a deal that temporarily raised the borrowing limit and allowed members of Congress the opportunity to avoid difficult, permanent decisions until after the 2012 election. In exchange for more time and to pressure Congress to work together, members of both parties agreed to cuts in military and domestic program spending.

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Gridlock: Where No One Wins

Republicans and Democrats are Digging in and not Budging on Crucial Issues

gridlock“Gridlock.” It is something that has become a familiar term in political news lately. It happened twice in 2011 according to CNN, nearly shut down the government and some businesses, and it seems like it is on the verge of happening again.

But what is “gridlock” anyway? Is it a traffic jam? Is it a power failure? Gridlock, in relation to politics, is the stalemate between Democrats and Republicans when they disagree about how to proceed. Assistant Communication Professor Michael Phillips-Anderson says, “Gridlock refers to the two parties not finding a way to compromise on legislation.”

According to a CNN article, in 2011 the gridlocks were due to budget talks.

According to an article in The Star Ledger, “Now, as the year 2012 comes to a close, and tax hikes and spending cuts are slated to kick in, Congressional leaders and White House officials find themselves dangerously close to that stalemate again.”

Dr. Charles Cotton of the Political Science Department says that as long as we have a two party system in Washington, there will always be a focus on opposition. “Will there always be gridlock? Yes, because the parties (Republican and Democrat) are so similar, yet they try to be different,” said Cotton. “They’re never going to be friends, but they do respect each other more than people think. Politicians do their job because they care about people. They just go about it in very different ways.” Gridlock in Washington often creates fatigue in Americans. In fact, at the end of 2011, Congress’s approval rating amongst the American people was the lowest it had ever been recorded. The year 2011 also happened to be Congress’s least efficient year in getting legislature passed and bills signed.

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The College Democrats Club Comes to the University

The College Democrats of Monmouth University Hope to get Campus Talking about Politics

University students are joining together to bring a College Democrats club to campus. The College Democrats of Monmouth University is an organization that will focus on spreading and promoting the beliefs of the Democratic Party and getting students more involved in the political process.

The College Democrats of America (CDOA) was founded in 1932 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt was running for office. President Roosevelt’s campaign recognized the importance of the youth vote and used that to their advantage by getting college students involved in the campaign.

It was not until 1980 that the organization became an official branch of the Democratic National Committee. Ever since then, the College Democrats of America have worked extensively on campaigns, making a huge difference in the youth vote turnout, most notably President Barack Obama’s.

Elizabeth Anderson, an upper classman at the University and one of the founders of CDMU stated, “The goals of our club are to further the Democratic cause and political activism among students who are apathetic to politics. We want to get involved in local campaigns, and are excited for the upcoming Governor’s Race.”

According to the College Democrats website, College Democrats support the views of the Democratic Party which spread from social issues to economic ones as well.

The Democratic Party has mainly advocated this year for civil rights, the environment, health insurance reform, and energy independence. Their belief is to have equal rights and opportunities under civil rights for everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or disability.

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Romney/Ryan Fall Short of Presidency

republican-conventionThe debates are complete, the polls are now closed, and the announcements have been made in regards to 2012 presidential victor Barack Obama. To some this victory is not a surprise and is something to be celebrated, especially for the democratic party; for others though this win comes either as a surprise or as a pivotal letdown in the course the majority of the country has decided to take a look back to the Romney/Ryan campaign and wonder how this end result came about.

There has been discussion about what the Republican team did wrong in their running for the presidency as noted by sophomore Jessica David, a political science major. “I’ve noticed on most of the main media coverage’s of the election results how they criticized Romney’s campaign, but I don’t think that he really did as bad as they [the media] made it out to be,” says David who mentions that it was Romney’s campaign that had driven her to vote for the first time this year as a registered member of the Republican party.

When asked about the outcome she contends that “I was disappointed for sure when I saw Obama won primarily because I don’t think that he is going to deliver all of these promises about building up the economy and making jobs. I think that we are just going to see a repeat of what happened four years ago, all of this talk about big change and absolutely nothing done about it.”

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Democrats Delighted with Presidential Results

politics-democrats“Yes we did!” Is what Democrats around the nation are all chanting and cheering as they celebrate another four years of President Obama and his administration, while gaining two seats and keeping control over the Senate. Democrats captured the Presidency for another four years with 332 electoral votes and 62,186,573 popular votes.

After a long battle, the Obama campaign was able to win eleven of the 14 swing states, including states that were thought to go to Romney such as Virginia and Florida.

However all eyes were on Ohio, which was the state that was believed to be the deciding one in this election year, which apparently was true. It was Ohio’s 18 Electoral College votes that got the President his second term in office.

The Obama team has been given lots of praise for their hard work and dedication to the campaign with their success in getting people out to vote. Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Political Science Department at the University, credited them with for being “Miles ahead of the Romney team as far as being able to pin point supporters and getting out the vote.”

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President Obama Wins Re-Election

President Barack Obama defeated Republican nominee Mitt Romney to earn a second term as President of the United States by an Electoral College count of 332 to 206 on November 6.

Obama won 26 states and the D.C district while Romney won 24 states. Obama won major swing states such as Ohio, Colorado and Florida. Obama also won the popular vote by approximately three million votes.

Susan Pagano, political science major and first time voter, felt this was an exciting race. “It was the first time that I was able to vote, and I am glad that it was in such a thrilling election. I, personally, was ecstatic with the outcome because I think President Obama has the superior plans for the direction of our nation,” said Pagano.

Nicole Bizzoco, political science professor, was surprised about aspects of this race. “I think the campaign leading up to was unprecedentedly expensive, negative and plagued by small-issue debates on both sides. That being said, I did feel there were real differences between the candidates on a number of issues, social issues such as women’s rights and marriage equality in particular. I was surprised by the president’s margin of victory; I was expecting a much closer race.”

The age group of 18 to 24 accounted for 19 percent of the electorate. This has forced both parties to now deal with issues important to this age group.

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Sandy “Rocks the Vote” Like a Hurricane

In an election filled with new obstacles, such as mandatory photo identification, New Jersey and the surrounding areas were inundated with their own unforeseen trials. While many voters around the nation battled long lines to cast their ballots in the 2012 presidential election, citizens in areas heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy struggled to get their voices heard and their votes cast.

More than 1 million New Jersey residents and businesses were still without power on Election Day, eight days after Sandy made landfall. With polling stations among the thousands of buildings damaged, voting in storm-ravaged states involved unparalleled challenges.

Voters in the tri-state area faced confusion as temporary polling places and alternative voting methods were being established in the wake of the storm. While some poll sites lacked power to run voting machines, others were flooded, damaged, or were located in buildings being used as refuge for displaced storm victims.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took his normal down-to-business approach and ordered election authorities to offer displaced residents the option of requesting a ballot electronically ; the same procedure followed by the state’s overseas and military residents. This directive is also intended to come to the aid of displaced first responders, whose tireless recovery efforts away from home have made voting a challenge.

“Listen, go vote tomorrow,” Christie said on the Monday before Election Day. “There’s only 100 polling places across the state that had to be moved or changed. For most people in New Jersey who are watching or listening, you go to your normal polling place.”

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Campus Posts Low Scores on Judiciary, Higher on Presidency in Outlook Poll

Outlook Conducts First Political Knowledge Poll

The Outlook ran an informal political knowledge poll where University students scored an average of four to seven correct answers. It contained questions regarding the presidency, legislature, judiciary and United States history.

The question that students got incorrect the most was: “Who is the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court?”

Dr. Gregroy Bordelon, lecturer of law, said this falls in line with other facts. “It is in line with current research track I’m studying now. It’s not just Monmouth students, or even all college students for that matter, it’s the public in general. As the ‘Federalist Papers’ indicated, the judiciary is the ‘Weakest department’; others have called it, ‘The Least Dangerous Branch.’ I think Americans’ knowledge about the courts is situational, only when big events (spurned from the political branches) are being considered by the Supreme Court.

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Round Two Rumble Review; Round Three Next Week

politics-debate-picsAfter a lackluster first debate performance, President Barack Obama had a difficult task ahead of him for the second debate.

On Tuesday, October 16, Americans saw President Obama bring back the energy sought by worried members of the Democratic Party, definitely winning him the award for “Most-improved” from the first debate in Denver on October 3.

While the President appearedmore animated and his performance had improved enormously from the first debate, both President Obama and Romney’s arguments seemed overshadowed by the confrontational and argumentative nature of this debate. With a third and final debate to go, both candidates appeared likely to stand their ground and ensure their standing in an already tight race just two weeks before Election Day.

The event was sponsored by the Departments of Communication and Political Science and organized by Dr. Michael Phillips-Anderson, associate professor of communication; Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Political Science and Sociology Department, and students from a variety of majors came out to attend the University’s second debate screening last Tuesday.

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Every Four Years a Presidental Communication Course Comes to the University

Every four years there is a special class offered at the University and a presidential election to go with it. The Communication Department offers a special course that focuses solely on the election, originally, back in 2008, the class was cross-listed by the Communication Department and Political Science. The course gives students a chance to discuss the issues and have a bipartisan explanation of what each candidate has said or done.

The class mainly focuses on the role of communication in the presidential campaign through dissecting a number of things that occur as the election goes on. According to the course description, there is a strong focus on the “rhetoric, advertising, mass communication, debates, and the Internet” aspects of the campaign and how each candidate using all of these techniques.

Dr. Michael Phillips-Anderson, associate professor of communication, is the instructor for the course this year and explains that the idea of having this class started in order to give a deeper look into the communication that occurs during a presidential campaign. “Presidential rhetoric is a focus of my scholarship and a large part of other courses I teach (Political Communication, Rhetoric & Persuasion), but those classes don’t provide an opportunity to get into as much depth about presidential campaigns as a special topics course,” said Phillips-Anderson

The class takes a very bipartisan look at both President Obama and Governor Romney. Everyone is able to speak openly about his or her beliefs, and disagree as he or she chose. It is a comfortable environment to learn and discuss politics honestly. It gives you both sides of the argument, which is definitely beneficial to undecided voters and students who have already made up their minds.

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Under the Washington D.C. White Lights: Interning in the Capitol

The political science department provides its students with experiences and opportunities that put MU students at a great advantage. One of those is a chance to live, study, and work in the heart of the United States, Washington D.C.,through the Washington Center Internships and Seminars program.

Each semester, the University sends a group of students to D.C. After applying and qualifying for the program, students have an opportunity to pursue their career path by being placed in a site relevant to their desired career field, and are given a chance to experience what it is really like to be in the work force. Students are put to higher levels of business professionalism, leadership, and involvement.

As a senior, this program is the perfect transition from learning theories in the classroom to actually implementing and using what hasbeen taught at the University in our prospective career fields. I discovered what I want to do postgraduation, and started building a network that will hopefully enable me to reach this goal.

By taking part in this program you meet, work, and live with students from different countries around the world that share the same ambitions and are motivated to achieve their professional, academic, and personal goals just as you are.

Regardless of where each student is from, everyone here is tied together by this common goal and motivational force to succeed. Being put in a real work environment teaches you a lot about yourself and how you react or deal with different situations and different personality types, while getting hands on experience in the office. You learn that communication is key, and that assertiveness is a must to succeed. Aside to learning how to live in a city, the work experience that students get here has become a determining factor when employers are considering a candidate.

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Vote at 7/11... Kinda

Coffee Franchise Runs Cup Campaign

seven-eleven-cupsObama or Romney? This question that is not only going through all voters minds, but coffee drinkers as well. As campaign season heats up, so do coffee sales at 7/11 where they offer you the chance to “cast your vote” for President.

This will be the fourth “7-Election” held by 7/11’s in 35 states throughout the country. Customers can “cast their vote” by purchasing either a blue Obama or red Romney coffee cup. Votes are tallied by a barcode that is placed on each cup, which is scanned when you check out and pay. Results are then tallied and posted at the end of each day on the 7/11 website. Currently, according to 7/11’s website, President Obama is leading the polls with 60 percent over Governor Romney’s 40 percent. Which leaves the question; will coffee drinkers yet again predict the winner of the presidential race?

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Debate Debacle for Candidates

October sparks the height of election season with three debates. The first contentious domestic presidential debate left Governor Mitt Romney with leads in the polls, and left Democrats scrambling for President Obama’s performance, or lack thereof. After Vice President Joe Biden’s aggressive strategy against Governor Paul Ryan in the vice presidential debate last week, the third debate on foreign policy will present challenges for Obama on key issues.

Romney took advantage of his early lead, directing questions and responses at Obama, rather than at the moderator. Obama’s lack of decisive direction during the first debate gave Romney an edge on a host of issues.

"There has been a decided shift to Mitt Romney in every poll, both nationally and in key swing states. I expected that the polls will remain volatile through the debates, and possibly all the way to election day,” said Patrick Murray, Director of the University Polling Institute.

Pew Research Center released a poll after the first debate, explaining how Romney’s strong debate performance erased Obama’s lead. The study concluded that “about three-to-one, voters say Romney did a better job than Obama in the October 3 debate, and the Republican is now better regarded on most personal dimensions and on most issues than he was in September.”

The hour and twenty minute debate surveyed the change in jobs, war savings, middle class taxes, household incomes, oil production, tax cuts, number of Americans without jobs, rise in food stamps, the federal debt, Medicare cuts and plans, Dodd-Frank, the Massachusetts ranking and green companies.

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State to Even Playing Field for Private Colleges

Planning Additions and Renovations May Get Easier for University

new_art_buildingA bill in the New Jersey General Assembly could affect the University with regard to zoning laws. Assembly bill 2586/ Senate bill 1534 would give private universities such as Monmouth the same status under the Municipal Land Use Law as public universities. Right now public universities are exempt from local zoning jurisdiction, while private universities are not. This bill will give private universities an even playing field. The bill has passed the New Jersey State Senate with a 26-8 vote and is now waiting in the Assembly Higher Education Committee.

According to Peter Reinhart, Esq. Director, Kislak Real Estate Institute, “The difference is that Monmouth has to go through the planning and zoning board of adjustments in the town while public universities such as Rutgers are exempt.” Reinhart does mention, however, that the University will still have to open up the plan for public comment; it can choose to ignore such provisions.

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Trophy Wives? Not Quite

Women to Play an Important Role in Election

obama-dncChange seems to be on the horizon in terms of female representation and involvement in the political spectrum, primarily stemming from the ultimate need for the female vote in this upcoming election.

Such was clearly displayed at both the Republican National Convention (RNC) and the Democratic National Convention (DNC) during their respective times. It was here at these conventions that women’s rights in the form of health care, contraception, and equal pay were discussed in the hopes to obtain the female voters attention and female speakers’ approval alike.

Micah Reilly, a junior communication student, advocates that these are the right motions to be going through in order to draw in the female voter. “Chances are that the only thing that is going to make someone pay attention is when there is a problem or a cause that directly speaks to that person, or in this case that demographic. By talking about the issues, like contraception I know is a big one, the female voters are going to listen and then hopefully go with the side that offers the best solution in their eyes,” says Reilly.

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Third Party Candidates Looking to Inspire College Students

gary johnson politicsAs the country now finds itself in the thick of yet another presidential election cycle, the names of candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are indelibly seared into the subconscious sentience of just about anyone who has turned on a television or logged into a computer over the past 12 months.

These candidates, for better or worse, have risen to the top of the American political sphere and have reduced the competition for the most powerful office on earth to simply one man pitted against the other.

The nature of a two-candidate race dictates that there be total focus devoted to the two men vying for the White House, but throughout this election season, there have been other candidates outside the mainstream who have thrown their hats into the ring that have not garnered the attention of the 24-hour media frenzy.

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The Debt Debacle That No One is Talking About

Federal Debt Could Affect College Students Sooner Rather Than Later

Since the beginning of the economic crisis that has plagued the United States’ economy for the past several years, the discussion of ballooning federal deficits and the overall federal government debt has really gained importance.

The federal debt is a measure of the accumulation of all federal deficits in the past since America’s constitution went into effect. These deficits occur when the government spends more than what they are collecting in revenue or taxes. The government finances the extra money they need by selling treasury notes (essentially loans) to investors and countries from all over the world. The government then pays interest on those treasury notes just as a college student pays interest on college loans until they can pay it back entirely.

The “Debt Crisis” is an issue that transcends partisanship because presidents and congressional members of both parties have had ample opportunities to address the issue, but none have risen to the occasion.

Today, the government finds itself in a difficult position where it must find a strategy that can ease the concerns of businesses, investors, and everyday Americans without interrupting the already frail economic recovery.

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The Ins and Outs of Interning in Politics

University Student Interns with Congressman; Encourages Others to do the Same

politics-dan-romanWhen I heard those words, “Come in on Monday” I was ecstatic. I wasn’t certain I would get the internship I applied for with Congressman Bill Pascrell, from the 8th district in New Jersey, I just applied thinking the worst they could say is no. So when I heard I had gotten it , I was beyond happy. I never thought that they would take a freshman, especially with so many juniors and seniors looking for experience in politics before they graduate. I gratefully accepted and started one of the most exciting summers of my life.

I went to the Paterson office at the perfect time. Starting in May, I was thrown into a contentious campaign. Pascrell was battling fellow incumbent Congressman Steve Rothman for the Democratic nomination for the newly drawn 9th Congressional district in New Jersey. Rothman and Pascrell had been forced to battle because of redistricting in the state. Rothman had a choice to go after Republican Congressman Scott Garrett, but thought Pascrell would be easier to pick off. Congressman Pascrell said it best when he quipped “With friends like these, who needs enemies”.

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Mock Trial is Now in Session

New Mock Trial Team Started at the University

politics-mock-trial-groupThe University is proud to announce the formation of a mock trial team. The team will be coached by Dr. Gregory Boredelon, lecturer of law.

The purpose of the mock trial team is to simulate court room proceedings so that students can understand the pressures of performing in a court room. The tournaments are sponsored by the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA).

Boredelon believes students will learn many skills that are necessary to become an effective attorney. Boredelon said,“The most focused skill learned is the science of trial advocacy, obviously. More importantly, it can show team members the ins-and-outs of daily litigation work for many newly-minted lawyers.” “However, having to learn rules of evidence and some trial procedure also is a bit like a college course because the team members will have to not only know these rules cold but also be able to apply them in a very quick manner when raising objections. Public speaking skills and acting are in there as well.”

The team is made up of six students: Katelyn Nawoyski (Team Captain), Alexandria Todd, Jenna Ferraro, Susan Pagano, Cara Turcich and Michael Lucia.

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U.N. General Meeting Arrives Amid Video Controversey

Human Rights Problems at the Top of the Agenda

The annual U.N. General Assembly meeting, which is intended to celebrate the world’s common values, this year is exposing instead the gulf between Western and Islamic perspectives on freedom of expression, posing an unexpected challenge for President Barack Obama when he speaks in New York City Tuesday.

Prompted by the anti-Muslim video produced in California that has stirred deadly riots around the world, delegations from major Muslim nations have arrived at the U.N. prepared to demand international curbs on speech or media that they believe defame their religion or the Prophet Muhammad.

Western leaders say they won’t give ground on free speech, but the clash is souring the mood at a gathering that diplomats had hoped would yield new collaboration on Syria, the dispute over Iran’s nuclear development and the challenges newly elected governments face a year after the “Arab Spring” toppled authoritarian rulers in the Middle East and North Africa.

The demand for limits on anti- Islamic expression is coming from leading Islamic groups such as the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, and leaders as diverse as Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Erdogan, who Obama views as a key ally, has declared that all 57 Islamic nations “should speak forcefully with one voice,” and has called for “international legal regulations against attacks on what people deem sacred.”

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Tweet Tweet #Victory

Social Media Becomes a New Battleground for Obama and Romney

Nearly two-thirds of all Americans are using social networking websites, a study from the Pew Research Center revealed in May 2012. As the amount of social media users continues to grow, so does the question of whether or not social media will play a crucial role in this presidential election.

In order to express their message and to gain support from the American public, presidential candidates in recent years have chosen to not only use, but to embrace social media as their method of engaging voters in the election process.

Former presidents such as Franklin D. Roosevelt mastered the radio; John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon made use of the television; President Barack Obama put the spotlight on social media in his 2008 presidential victory, establishing Facebook and Twitter’s status in the political election process.

After President Obama’s victory, the 2008 presidential election came to be known as “the social media election,” because of the Obama team’s use of the Internet to both raise money and engage in grassroots networking.

Since that time there has been an explosion in the variety and reach of the digital tools made available to voters, campaigns, and the candidates themselves, providing powerful and significant new ways to lobby for both finances and votes. Today, Republicans and Democrats alike are engaging in all-out social media war over the attention of the American public.

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American Presidency Class Comes to Campus

Political Science Class that Comes Every Four Years is Getting Rave Reviews

patten picture
The 2012 Presidential election is only two and a half months away which means it’s time for the University political science department to again offer a class that runs every four years. The American Presidency, being taught this semester by Dr. Joseph Patten. Chair of political science department.

The class is now underway and is discussing not only this year’s election but also what the presidency means in a broader context. To try to begin to understand what the presidency does to someone, just look at before and after pictures of most presidents. President Barack Obama, not yet done with his first term, has more than a few gray hairs. No one can truly understand being the President unless they have the job.

But this class will be able to show how the commanderin- chief has evolved from the very first person to hold the job, General George Washington, to 223 years later President Barack Obama.

Everyone knows the president and what he stands for. However does the president really have many powers? What kind of chief executive did the founding fathers envision?

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Life After College: Jobs in Political Science

Degree Offers Opportunities to Graduates

Amid the current economic uncertainties plaguing the job market, it is hopeful that students enjoy clear advantages over much of their competition. For students majoring in political science, the broad scope and varied nature of the discipline readies them for a multitude of diverse career paths which are not strictly limited to the realm of politics or government.

The obvious job choices for many political science majors certainly include office-holding positions such as becoming elected officials, city managers, committeemen, or federal employees, but the broad focus of the discipline also readies students for careers in many other areas.

William Hill, Assistant Dean of Career Services spoke about some of the more popular career choices of political science graduates. “The fields political science graduates have gone into include law, government, higher education, financial services, and non-profit organizations. Examples of jobs they have gotten include paralegal, media specialist, admission counselor, research interviewer and policy assistant to name a few.

According to literature available from the Department of Political Science and Sociology, other career options available to political science majors include business, marketing, the military, public relations, education, law enforcement, lobbying, systems analysis, journalism, and international diplomacy.

Today’s employers seek to hire motivated, skillful, and dedicated personnel irrespective of specific areas of expertise and this fact is at the very forefront of efforts made by University to instill these traits in its students.

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Booker Bouts for Obama at DNC

New Jersey Mayor Becomes Rising Democratic Star at Convention

Newark Mayor Cory Booker took the Democratic National Convention stage on Tuesday, September 2. Booker was selected by the Democratic Committee in an attempt to energize the party’s base. Booker was one of two New Jersey politicians to take the national stage at a political convention. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spoke at the Republican National Convention last week.

He spoke about the Democrats’ platform and explained why incumbent President Barack Obama was the best person to lead the country.

The main point of Booker’s speech was differentiating President Obama’s economic vision and Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s. “We choose American economic might and muscle, standing strong on the bedrock of the American ideal: a strong, empowered and ever-growing middle class,” said Booker. Booker also advocated for small businesses. “It is our most fundamental national aspiration— that no matter who you are, no matter what your color, creed, how you choose to pray or who you choose to love, that if you are an American— first generation or fifth—one who is willing to work hard, play by the rules and apply your God-given talents— that you should be able to find a job that pays the bills,” said Booker.

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Christie Brings New Jersey Attitude to Florida GOP Convention

chrisNew Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered the keynote address for the 2012 Republican National Convention on Tuesday, August 28. While the overall convention theme was “A Better Future,” Christie focused on leadership, choosing respect over love, giving Americans the unvarnished truth, and why Mitt Romney is the right man for the job and for America.

Standing in front of the backdrop of a New Jersey postcard, the same one used on Bruce Springsteen’s album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J, Christie began his speech explaining how unbelievable it was for him to be on the stage of the Republican National Convention in the first place, as he is “from a state with 700,000 more Democrats than Republicans.”

Expressing his pride in his party, his state, and his country, Christie explained how the lessons his family taught him throughout the course of his life have impacted his everyday life.

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How Far Have We Come in 11 Years?

Arab/Muslim Relations With the United States Continue to Be a Struggle

9.11The United States continues to find itself at crossroads with Arab and Muslim relations 11 years after the September 11 attacks and leaves the better majority of individuals thinking: can this all be just a dream?

Dazed and startled at the dizzying height of its power, the United States responded to the attacks by changing itself.

Policy changes continued throughout the past decade and singled out Arab and Muslim communities as groups of interest. There is always a group that suffers as consequence where emotional strife negates a standard for human etiquette, as in any period of war.

Dr. Frances Trotman, professor of psychology at the University, discussed his take on the relationship between the United States and Arab and Muslim communities.

“Many have begun to get past it, while others hold on to the animosity, often reflecting some ignorance and some scapegoating because of other difficulties. A complete answer that is more than just a generalization would require volumes to try to attempt a comprehensive explanation.”

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Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication 
and Instructional Technology (CCIT) Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey 07764

Phone:(732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151