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Last updateWed, 20 Nov 2019 12pm

Editorial

Volume 91 (Fall 2018 - Spring 2019)

Are Midterm Grades Necessary?

default article imageThere have been discussions amongst faculty members about the importance or relevance of posting midterm grades. Midterm grades are given by professors to allow students to access their work that has been complete in the first part of the semester. These grades appear on the Monmouth student portal and are email to all students. 

Midterm grades differ from midterm exams in that they take all the assignments of the first half of the semester into account. The editorial staff of The Outlook decided to weigh in on the topic of midterm exams and midterm grades that accompany them.

The majority of the editors said that they have professors that do not issue midterm exams. Some professors assign an essay, while others base the midterm grade on the completed assignments of the semester. 

“If not a midterm exam, all of my professors have given assignments of equal weight to base a midterm grade off of,” said an editor.

On the contrary, three editors said that they have had editors that have not even issued them midterm grades.

University policy states that for undergraduate students, midterm grades are only provided online. 

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First Years Seminars

default article imageLast week, The Outlook was made aware that Monmouth University faculty may be considering cutting the First Year Seminar requirement in the future.

This comes in light of the recent announcement that the University will be changing the 128-credit requirement for graduation to 120 credits effective fall semester of 2020.

Currently, all first-year students at Monmouth who are entering with 18 credits or less are required to take a First Year Seminar (FY101). The course fulfills a General Education requirement across all majors and must be taken during the student’s first semester at Monmouth. The course is taught on a variety of different topics by full-time professors across all fields. 

With First Year Seminars potentially on their way out, The Outlook editorial staff took the time to discuss their experiences within their own First Year Seminars and how they impacted their own college lives.

They also shared their thoughts on whether or not the University should cut the requirement.

The editors said they took First Year Seminars on a range of topics including: children’s books, Hollywood journalism, rock music in the 1960s, films about baseball, sustainable energy, and the Beatles.

When asked about their experiences in the courses, the editors all agreed that they were positive. One editor said, “Personally, I really enjoyed it. I think that because the University gives you the opportunity to choose your own First Year Seminar topic, it was easy to get engaged in the material.” 

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Editors on Administrative Growth

default article imageIn institutions of higher education across the nation, administrators have taken a larger role in determining how power is allocated, and what decisions are in the best interests of the students they serve. Although Monmouth is not the only university that has expanded levels of administration, it also is not an exception to the status quo.

In a critique of higher education, published in a 2017 issue of The Intercollegiate Studies Institute, John Seery, a professor of politics and government at Pomona College, writes:

“The real reason tuitions are skyrocketing and educational integrity has been compromised is because administrators, not educators, now run the show...They call the shots. They build the fancy buildings. They call for and approve the costly amenities. They fund what they want to fund. They hire the people they want to hire and pay them top dollar. They make the decisions about branding campaigns, and they set the agenda for student affairs staffs. They fund the kind of curriculum they want. They control the purse strings. They hold the power.” 

Over the course of a decade, the University’s own administration has made significant expansions. In 2008, numerous Vice President positions were created. Later in 2014, upon the enactment of the Strategic Plan, five new Vice Provost and two new Associate Vice Provost positions were created, and levels beneath them have only continued to expand. 

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Free Speech on College Campuses

default article imagePresident Donald Trump signed an executive order to cut federal funding for colleges or universities who attempt to limit their students’ freedom of speech on March 22.

In a press conference prior to signing the order, Trump said, “Many [universities] have become increasingly hostile to free speech and to the first amendment.”

Across the country, the responses have been mixed towards the order. Some say this is a reiteration of what’s already in place, while others see it as a strike towards safe spaces inhibited on campuses.

Most of the editors were supportive of the order. In favor of it, an editor said, “A university is a place where ideas and opinions should be promoted and shared. Research starts with basic fundamentals like these, so it is important that universities promote the idea of an open forum.”

While a majority of editors liked the idea of the executive order, some mentioned the fine line between freedom of speech and hurtful rhetoric. An editor stated, “I do understand the purpose of enforcing this idea because universities should be an open forum for discussion and collaboration.”

The editor continued, “However, if someone’s opinions can be harmful to others on the campus or incite violence or bigotry, then the university should have discretion over what speech should be allowed.”

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Celebrity College Scandal

default article imageRecently, the news has been filled with information on 50 individuals who were charged with being part of a $25 million college admissions scandal. The scandal was based on students allegedly being admitted to prestigious universities based on false athletic resumes, and individuals helping potential students cheat on standardize admissions exams. 

The Outlook editorial staff discussed the scandal and concluded that the actions taken by individuals in order to get their children into college and universities was wrong, frustrating, and that there needs to be repercussions.

It was known to the editors that these types of situations were not new. Throughout history, the elite have paid their way to the top. “Nepotism, favoritism, and bribery have always existed in colleges,” said one editor.

As hard-working students, many of the editors agreed that students should not be accepted into a school because they are a “legacy” or because of the public eye that their family is in. One editor vocalized the fact that they do not believe that “anyone should solely be accepted into a school based on status.”

“As a first-generation college student, I am very grateful for everything I’ve done to get this far. It is not taken for granted,” one editor stated.

Graduates of elite universities were being paid to take the standardized exams for perspective students. Many times, the student was allegedly unaware that their exam was being altered after they handed it to their proctor.

“I find it hard to believe that students’ don’t know their parents are doing this for them,” said one editor.

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Staff Discusses Freedom of Press

default article imageThe current political administration has targeted various media outlets, claiming that they are “the enemy of the people.” One example came on Feb. 20, when President Donald Trump tweeted, “The New York Times reporting is false. They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger deemed this statement as inaccurate and dangerous. Sulzberger admits that pasts presidents have complained about the media coverage of their administration, but always defended free speech.

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are included in the First Amendment of the Constitution. The editorial staff of The Outlook discusses our views on what roles journalists play for the people. Are journalists the enemy or are they a type of ‘guardian’ of the people? 

Most of the editors agreed that journalists have a duty to provide accurate and important information to the people, but that they are not responsible for guarding or protecting the people from the events of the world. The role of journalists and the media is to report on the events and information that is around them. Their job is not to produce rumors, or harbor information from the public.

“I firmly believe that the credible journalists provide essential information to the public, but they don’t ‘guard’ them. Ultimately, it’s up to the people to decide what information they are exposed to and how they are ‘guarded,’” said an editor. 

However, some editors did feel that when journalists provide information to the people they are in fact acting as their guardians, looking out for the good of the many. 

“I certainly feel that journalists are the guardians of the people, especially because they have always been the gatekeepers to pertinent information,” another editor said. “Though the media has been targeted in recent years, journalists still have an ethical responsibility to report to the public on important issues.”

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Analyzing the Cult Mentality

default article imageIn The Outlook this week, we covered a story about an alleged luring of students on campus by a religious group to an off-campus location. Previous members have even referred to this group as a “cult.” 

According to Merriam Webster, a cult is defined as a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous.

In res ponse to this, some of the editors responded to questions about religious cults and cult mentalities.

When asked what constitutes cult behavior, one editor said, “I think people who join cults are most likely vulnerable and therefore susceptible to something that they believe will give them acceptance or validation.

Group-think probably plays a big part in keeping people in line with the cult’s ideology, and fear is probably used to instill loyalty to the cult leader.”

Another editor said, “When I think of cults I think of brainwashing. There is one person in charge who persuades people to follow them and think the way they think.”

One editor noted, “I think that usually the people who get involved in these cults are broken in some aspect and they’ll cling to any belief, even a bad one, to find comfort and belonging.”

Some of the editors are familiar with the idea of cults but cannot list too many. However, a few cults were mentioned. “The only religious cult I can think of is Jonestown and the ‘Kool-Aid’ tragedy,” said one editor. 

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Editors Discuss Plagiarism

default article imageJill Abramson is most known for being the first female Executive Editor at the New York Times, one of the most 

Recently, Abramson has been accused of plagiarizing sections of her new book, Merchants of Truth. 

The editors of The Outlook were asked what this situation meant for journalists as well as college students who are constantly told not to plagiarize. Most editors agreed that this accusation will be unfavorable towards journalism.

“When such a notable person gets accused of plagiarism, it will have a negative effect on journalism regardless if it’s true or not,” said one editor.

“It’s ironic how The Merchants of Truth, discusses the ‘fight for facts,’ yet it has traces of plagiarism. This book adds fuel to the fire for those who dub mainstream media outlets as fake news,” said another editor. 

“Journalism is about writing the truth and the fact this situation has so many questions left unanswered, it definitely gives the industry a bad look,” an editor said. 

One editor did not feel that the accusation would have an immense impact on journalism, stating, “I don’t think her one incident speaks for all journalists.”

“I think those who subscribe to the idea of ‘fake news’ will certainly take this situation as confirmation to their own biases, but it certainly does not make journalism look any worse to the general public,” added the editor. 

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Outlook Honors Black Role Models

default article imageIn honor of Black History Month, The Outlook editors reflected on various public figures within the Black community have influenced their lives. Our choices span various eras and professions, demonstrating the profound impact that the Black community has had on our society as a whole.

Shirley Chisholm

One editor noted, “She was the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress in 1968, where she represented New York for more than a decade. She was also the first woman to ever seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 1971.”

“She’s inspiring to many women and people of color in the country, and she led the way for so many others to even consider entering politics—especially in an era where women and minorities were unwelcomed.  

In her presidential announcement, Chisholm described herself as representative of the people, famously saying: ‘I am not the candidate of Black America, although I am Black and proud. I am not the candidate of the woman’s movement of this country, although I am a woman and equally proud of that. I am the candidate of the people and my presence before you symbolizes a new era in American political history,’” the Editor continued. 

Jackie Robinson 

Another Editor said, “Jackie Robinson, one of the most legendary baseball players of all-time, played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s and 50s. He was the first black player to play in Major League Baseball. Despite abuse from people who disagreed with him playing, he remained calm, kind, and dedicated to the game.”

“He is an inspiration to me because he stopped at nothing to play the game that he loved and kicked open doors for the integration of African Americans into Major League Baseball,” the staffer added. 

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Opiate Epidemic In New Jersey

default article imageToday, all over the news you might see or read about another person tragically dying from an opiate related overdose. According to the National Safety Council, you are more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose, 1 in 96 deaths, than a motor vehicle accident, 1 in 103. This is the first time in recorded history that opioid overdose became the leading cause of death in the U.S.

In Monmouth County, we might see this more when compared to the rest of the country. In New Jersey, Monmouth County has three towns that have the top 30 most heroin overdoses in the state which include Middletown, Asbury Park, and Keansburg, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.

An opiate is a substance that acts on opioid receptors to produce morphine-like effects. Medically they are primarily used for pain relief, including Fentanyl and Vicodin. Heroin is a form of an opiate that most commonly used as a recreational drug for its euphoric effects. If a person takes too much of an opiate, they can overdose, which symptoms include slow, shallow breathing, unresponsiveness, and can lead to cardiac arrest and death if left untreated.

Some editors at The Outlook know people from their childhood who either are addicted to an opiate or have tragically died from an opiate related overdose.

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Welcome President Leahy

default article imageAs the spring semester begins, the University welcomes the announcement of our new president, Patrick Leahy, Ed.D. After more than a year of searching and selecting candidates, the Board of Trustees officially announced that Leahy has been chosen as President-elect on Dec. 14. 

As an integral part to the Monmouth community and as active members of this University, The Outlook and its editors both welcome Leahy and offer sincere wishes to President Grey Dimenna, Esq., as he approaches his retirement this July. Since 1933, our newspaper has served as a voice of and for the students and members of this University. As such, we understand the important tasks that each president will face in her or his tenure. 

For several years, many Presidents of Monmouth have brought with them experience and backgrounds in business. With background in English literature and education, the editors have agreed that Leahy will surely bring a new and fresh perspective to the well-being and advancement of this academic institution. 

“I feel that his credentials will make him a great fit for not only understanding how the world of academia works, but how Monmouth can thrive as an institution and improve upon different aspects of the university,” one staffer said.

Editors of The Outlook  believe that a good president is one who promotes transparency and dedication to student success. “Not that other presidents in the past have not done this, but it is definitely a paradigm quality to have,” one editor noted. The editors agreed that having a good rapport with students and faculty also helps to build a strong relationship, as it can provide insight as to what the students want from the university and what we can achieve. 

From attending basketball games or chatting with students in the dining hall, even playing guitar on an album for Blue Hawk Records, students have greatly appreciated the presence that Dimenna has had at Monmouth. Therefore, a president’s activity on campus is also an important aspect when evaluating the success and well-being of the Monmouth community, and the editors have faith that Leahy will live up to those expectations. 

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Contact Information

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

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

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu