Wed12132017

Last updateWed, 13 Dec 2017 8am

Editorial

Potential Problems of Pipelines

Pipelines connect us all. From the energy from natural gas heating our homes, or the polyester shirts you and your best friend both wear made from petroleum transported via pipeline to that manufacturer. It is estimated that approximately 2.6 million miles of pipeline crosses the United States delivering precious resources like crude oil, natural gas, water, biofuels, and sewage.

Despite the various purposes of pipelines at large, it is the harmful environmental effects associated with fossil fuels that left a bad taste in the mouth of our editors and quite literally for those whose clean water was contaminated. With oil spills and national protests in mind, our editorial board asked, ‘do the people have a say in the construction of these potentially hazardous modes of transport, and is the issue much larger than oil spills?’

“The benefits of a pipeline are: of course it’s efficiency in transporting fossil fuels; it’s much quicker and overall less expensive,” says one editor, “independence from other companies,” says another, and most importantly “creating jobs and strengthening our nation’s economy.” However, the editorial board agreed “investing in the long run is a bad idea,” and that it “needs stronger environmental regulation.”

Most of our editors were not originally familiar with the system of pipelines embedded beneath the ground of our nation, but considering the U.S. has the largest pipeline system in the world, being buried is something that pipeline businesses are good at. In order to build a pipeline, companies must obtain a Right of Way (ROW).

This is a permit that allows the company to construct and embed pipelines on areas of land. As hidden as the pipelines beneath the ground are, the regulations associated with their construction is equally mysterious to our editors. It has unanimously been determined that while the ROW can be obtained by buying and purchasing land, some pipeline companies strive to construct pipelines in preservation and environmentally protected land mutually owned by taxpayers. In this case, it is up to the government to manage the land with the voice of its citizens in mind.

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Editors Talk Vaccinations

Flu season is upon us, once again making vaccinations a hot topic for discussion. This debate has been present since the invention of vaccines but seems to have grown in recent years following the surge of media and celebrity fearmongering over their supposed ingredient toxicity, side effects, and alleged links to autism, among other factors. These claims have been put to rest by scientific data time and time again, but the debate seems to keep continuing regardless of the proven effectiveness of immunizations.

As far as the links to autism go, editors seemed unified in refuting the false claim about linking the MMR vaccine to autism. “I have learned from all my doctors/nurses/professors that they do not cause any problems like autism. I have learned the doctor who said that they caused autism was discredited,” said one editor. Skepticism, more often than not, seems to come from people being uncomfortable injecting foreign substances into their bodies. One editor expressed uneasiness about “the health effects from injecting thousands of complex microorganisms in an infant’s body.”

Another editor stated, “It’s important to understand that vaccines work not by the injection of active bacteria or viruses; instead only key molecules are used to allow our immune systems to recognize invaders and deal with them before we get sick.”

It’s also important to understand the work that goes into the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of vaccines, which consist of at least three phases of comprehensive testing for toxicity and efficacy, with subsequent testing in large patient populations. As one editor said, “I understand that there are extensive tests that the FDA run on all medications before it hits the shelves.”

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Daylight Savings Time: Is it Worth it?

Twice a year, we must remind ourselves to change the clocks and get used to a new schedule.

It’s Daylight Savings Time (DST): an annual obligation to adjust to brighter mornings in the summer or darker evenings in the winter, and more people question its relevance to our modern society.

In its conception, DST was useful for agricultural societies in which farmers utilized brighter mornings to work longer on their harvest and spend less time doing so in the evening.

Consequently, the hours in the winter were changed since the harvest had been completed. Now that we live in an industrialized country, is DST truly necessary?

Throughout the years, some believe that the intent of DST has changed in accordance to our society’s needs.

Now that our populations have grown significantly, technology has caught up with us and DST is only a part of that initial harvesting process. This extra hour could also provide more time for other individual activities.

In addition to being a part of agricultural practices, many of us at The Outlook associate DST with more daylight hours in the summer.

The clocks move one hour forward, providing extra daylight in the evening for different events. This seems to be a more preferred time change. One editor said, “It would be better for there to be more light at night to prolong the day for people who are at work/school all day.”

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Preventing Sexual Assault through Sexual Education

In recent years, the conversation surrounding sexual assault has become something that is more widely accepted. Victims are encouraged to come forward, forming a community of survivors with new stories coming out every day.

One statistic from Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, says that every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.

This number has left humanity alarmed, but also scratching their heads. How do we fix this? This question leaves us frustrated and constantly searching for a complex solution when in reality, the problem could be as simple as the sexual education kids receive in their schooling prior to college.

When asked about the quality of sexual education she received prior to Monmouth, one editor stated, “I think mine, frankly, was pretty terrible. We basically learned about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD), but didn’t learn how they were passed on or how they could be prevented, it was generally pretty awful, and some things were never covered. We did have a decent amount of time set aside for health, but it usually focused on drugs, alcohol, etc.”

This editor attended a public school; usually, people assume that the abstinence-preaching approach to sexual education is only in private Catholic high schools, but the reality is, it can happen anywhere.

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Tricks, Treats, and Misappropiation

Cultural appropriation is described as the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing understanding or respect of and for the culture. Halloween has been a special time of year for not just tricks and treats but also for the conversation of ethics and morals when it comes to culturally appreciative or misappropriating costumes.

“Cultural appropriation is when someone does not know the cultural significance of something (i.e. religious symbol, traditional clothing) and wears it just for the ‘look’ or seeming ‘exotic’ and/or mocking the culture. Cultural appreciation, however, is when members of another cultural background allow you to partake in practices that involve significant symbols, clothing, etc. in order to respect their cultural norms and values,” one editor explained.

 

Recently, the debate has been about children wearing Disney princess Moana costumes and whether this is cultural appropriation or not. While The Outlook editors agree that this is not the case, there is a consensus of understanding the fine line, or at times blurred line, where a costume can be cultural misappropriation and where it can be appreciated and valued.

 

One editor said, “Halloween costumes are one of the most significant and visible ways we partake in cultural appropriation. These costumes, such as cowboys and Indians, are normalized so that people don’t question how those who belong to that culture might be affected by seeing their culture misappropriated/sexualized.”

 

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A Knee’d for Answers

Over the past month, media outlets have been flooded with stories of players in the National Football League (NFL) kneeling for the national anthem. Although former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling for the national anthem last year, the topic continues to spark controversy. These players are peacefully protesting the racial and social injustice that is still present in the United States. Some politicians are distraught with the idea that players are not standing for the flag, furthering the divide of our nation.

What would happen if college athletes decided to ‘take a knee’ during the national anthem? What if it happened at Monmouth?

Editors at The Outlook agreed that Monmouth athletes have the right to peacefully protest, but their opinions varied on how the University and the community would or should react. They also commented on whether or not politics have a place in athletics.

One Outlook editor said that they fully support any athlete that decided to kneel for the national anthem in a form of peaceful protest. “I’ve never seen the act of kneeling during the national anthem as ‘disrespectful’ at all, since kneeling is usually a sign of respect,” said the editor.

“As a woman of color, and a minority in the world (as well as at Monmouth), I would 100 percent stand behind an athlete who decided to take a ‘stand’ by kneeling,” said another editor.

While student-athletes undoubtedly have the right to peacefully protest and voice their views, the University and the community may show some resistance.

“With the University – and West Long Branch – being a conservative area, I feel that there might be some negative thoughts about or said to the athletes and the athletics as a whole,” said an editor.

Another editor acknowledges that there would be backlash and said, “It is unfortunate that there would be a consequence for peaceful protesting, but I understand that with the university climate and our athletic hierarchy that something would happen.”

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The Outlook Editorial Board Discusses Gun Control in the Nation

Following the Las Vegas shooting on Oct. 1, gun control legislation has once again come into the spotlight.

The mass shooting, which took place during a Jason Aldean performance at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on the Las Vegas Strip, left 58 people dead and 489 injured. The devastation occurred in a period of less than ten minutes, according to police.

The shooter, Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, NV, had fired hundreds of rounds from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel, and allegedly had stockpiled 23 weapons, as well as attachments such as bump fire stocks which allowed him to increase the speed at which he fired.  Police also found that he had set up cameras in the hotel corridors near his room, presumably to monitor those who might be approaching.

The backlash after the shooting was immediate. However, as more details came out about the quantity of the weapons, and the types of guns – including AR-15 variants and Kalashnikov rifles – debate began to focus on the specific weaponry used, and the general broad parameters of gun laws.

“I definitely think gun control is too broad,” said one Outlook editor. “There is more that should be done, and I think that is evident in the recent tragedies in the past years that have involved guns. There should be stricter gun laws, making it difficult to obtain a gun, or at least a very extensive process to get one.”

“I think they should be stricter on the types of guns that one can purchase,” added another editor. “Sure, people have the right to have a gun for protection, but they shouldn’t need something unnecessarily powerful.”

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Has Parking Improved?

Over the years, commuter students have sometimes questioned what the University has done to improve parking, and what they have done to make sure all students are able to arrive to classes safely and in a timely manner.

While the efforts to do this have not gone unnoticed, students today are asking whether they have done enough, and some are finding it more difficult than ever to find a spot and make it to classes on time.

    “Parking has gotten worse from my first year at Monmouth to particularly this year,” said one editor. “It seems that even if you’re a half hour early to class you’re still stuck driving around the parking lot.”

 Another editor said, “This is my senior year and the parking is worse than I’ve ever seen it. I don’t know if it’s increasing class sizes or what, but its way more crowded.”

 One editor said, “In my first two years at Monmouth, the only time I had a problem finding a parking spot was on Mondays at Monmouth, but now it feels like every day is Mondays at Monmouth.”

Students who have never had any issue with attendance have now been late to their classes, despite arriving to the campus early. “For a night class last year, I was driving around the parking lot for a half hour and was a half hour late to class because of it,” said one editor.

Another said, “Several times I have been on campus half an hour before class and I ended up being half an hour late to class because of looking for a parking spot.”

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Editors Talk Title IX Changes

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has recently announced that the Department would be making significant changes to past Title IX guidelines and how schools investigate and process cases of sexual misconduct by removing the Obama-era 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter.

Editor’s at The Outlook had varying opinions on whether this change is necessary, talked of the importance of Title IX and what it means to current college students, both men and women alike, and also commented on whether the University is doing enough to protect their students from gender discrimination and sexual misconduct.

One editor spoke of the importance of Title IX in schools, and said “I think it’s important because Title IX covers more than just assault - it also assures that there will be no gender-based discrimination, which I think is really important.”

“I think that there is not enough done, generally, when it comes to sexual assault/misconduct, but that’s more than just a Title IX issue - that’s just a general part of the legal system that needs to be worked on. Overall, I think Title IX does what it is supposed to do,” the staffer continued.

Another editor felt that past Title IX guidelines should not be altered; however, it is possible that the current guidelines don’t do enough to protect the accused.

“In some cases, the accused may not be given fair trial, and while assault cases are often emotional and difficult, the accused also deserves a fair trial,” the editor said.

“Also, if the survivors can get an even better chance of being protected with new guidelines, then so be it. However, with past comments from the President himself on sexual assault and other statements from those in his administration, I don’t think that DeVos will do anything to protect survivors,” he/she continued.

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Technology in the Classroom

The use of electronics in classrooms seems to be an ever-evolving topic – whether laptops are helpful or distracting; whether students take notes better if they write or type them. If a student is distracted on their computer, is it their choice as to whether they want to waste class time, or does it distract other students?

Most professors seem to have banned phones easily enough, with almost all syllabi banning them from class use, but sometimes computers, laptops, and tablets are a more complicated matter, since they can be used both positively and negatively. Further difficulties arise when every professor seems to have their own policy on the matter.

“Most of my professors this semester have banned technology,” said one editor. “Four of them are communication professors, and I think that that’s a department that is a lot stricter with electronics lately.”

Lorna Schmidt, a professor in the communication department and director of advising at the University, offered up several possible reasons as to why electronic devices may be banned. “Most of the classes are interactive, really face-to-face interactive,” she explained. “We don’t want people distracted by technology. Facebook is always there, there’s the little notifications popping up – it can be distracting.”

Schmidt’s own policies mostly ban electronic devices, unless students have a specific need for them, such as researching a topic or doing group work. She also highlighted another issue – that even when students are using computers for academic use, some students who type slowly or can’t type without looking at the keyboard can be distracted by that, and in some cases, students are irritated by the sounds of keys clacking.

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Time for Change

There’s something unnerving yet exciting about starting a new school year.

For those who are just starting out, get ready for one of the most transformative experiences of your lives…no pressure.

A new school year brings new opportunities for involvement and growth.

It is a chance to be the person you’ve always hoped you’d be, and there is something nerve-wracking but ultimately beautiful in that.

Sure, there’s always the fear of letting yourself down and realizing that maybe you weren’t as good at something as you thought you were.

But the anticipation of new experiences and the idea that maybe this year will be your year, far outweighs the negative, at least, in my opinion.

This school year, there will be challenges for many, including myself.

 I have always been enchanted with the idea that I have another year of school to improve myself.

Having another year to face new challenges, accomplish new goals, and see the growth that I had hoped I would see has been one of the highlights of my time here.

But this year is different; it is different because it is my last one.

As a senior, I am seeing that no longer will I have the same opportunities that this University has given me in the past.

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