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Politics

Volume 85 (Fall 2013 - Spring 2014)

New Jersey State Superior Court Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage Starting Oct. 21

The Superior Court of New Jersey, located in Mercer County, made a “historic” decision in the case, Garden State Equality v. Dow where Head Judge Mary Jacobson ordered state officials to begin officiating same-sex marriages as of Oct. 21, 2013.

This decision was 10 years in the making. Lamda Legal and Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization, represented six same-sex couples and their children. Lamda Legal and Garden State Equality claimed that their clients were harmed because of the unequal civil union system. They claimed that civil unions violate both the NJ Constitution and the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

After the landmark decision this past summer in U.S. v. Windsor, the Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional. DOMA, a federal law, defined marriage as a union strictly between one man and one woman.

Judge Jacobson declared that the state government is violating New Jersey’s Constitution by denying federal benefits to the couples by not allowing them marry.

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Booker in the Lead of New Jersey Special Election

Only one week remains until the people of New Jersey head to the polls on Wednesday, Oct. 16 for a special election, to select the state's next U.S. Senator, filling the seat left vacant by the death of former Senator Frank Lautenberg.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker is representing the Democratic Party and former Gubernatorial Candidate Steve Lonegan is the Republican candidate.

As of October 1, a Monmouth University poll showed Booker maintaining a 13 percentage point lead over Lonegan.

Booker’s presence on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook has increased. He also entered a burning home to rescue a woman who had been trapped amid flames and acrid smoke have gained him popularity over the last few years.

If elected to the Senate,  Booker vows to fight for continued improvements to the healthcare system, to bolster education, to continue advancing the causes of women's rights, to ensure marriage equality for same-sex couples, and to safeguard the long term health of the environment.

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“Essential” Government Employees Being Paid During Government Shutdown

As the shutdown of our government continues, now on its ninth day since congress failed to pass a budget on September 1st, 2013. Eight-hundred thousand federal workers have been furloughed, and the economic repercussions are still unknown, mostly depending on how long this shutdown lasts.

During the shutdown what our government calls, “non-essential” services are no longer funded. There are also “essential” government jobs that will be affected, like active duty servicemen, Department of Labor mine inspectors, and Secret Service agents but most will not receive pay. The constitution dictates that certain people must be paid, even during a shutdown.

As it stands our president and our legislators in the house and senate will still be receiving their paychecks. Congress’s salaries fall under what is called “mandatory funds”. Their paychecks do not fall under the umbrella of discretionary spending that is affected by an un-passed budget.

It has raised some eyebrows and created a few headlines as to why the Congress and President are paid when they are the ones who have resulted in the government shutdown.

As of Friday, September 27, one hundred and forty-four members of Congress have decided to give or refuse to take their earnings during the shutdown.

Questions of motive and ingenuousness followed congressional announcements of what they would do with their pay. Are they just making a political move or is this an honest decision that congress feels will relieve the burden of the government shutdown off the American people.

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What Are the Effects of the Government Shutdown?

Many Services Offered by the Federal Government Will Not Be Reinstated Until Deal is Made

On Tuesday October 1, 2013 at 12:01, the federal government could not reach an agreement on a budget and as a result, led to a government shutdown.

This is not a new thing the US Federal Government shut down in 1995 and 1996. It lasted 28 days and included putting non-essential government workers on furlough and the suspension of non-essential services. We should expect a similar result this time.

Professor of economics and finance, Dr. Steven Pressman, said that a shutdown could result in slower economic growth, “but it should not lead to any major economic catastrophe (assuming that the situation ends shortly after Oct. 1 because people are so upset with Congress).”

When the day came for the shutdown, there was not one major event but a chain of events. Most essential federally funded operations will remain untouched, like post offices, military personnel and coastal services. National Parks, Museums, and monuments will close, along with major delays the acquiring of federal loans, permits, and passports due to the shutdown.

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Dr. Aditi Dey Visits University from India

Dey Will be Guest Lecturer in Politics in India Classes at Undergraduate and Graduate Level

This month, the University welcomed a visiting international scholar, Dr. Aditi Dey, from Calcutta, India. Dey will be guest lecturing in the undergraduate course Politics in India, and the graduate course Public Policy in India.  She will be at the University until October 9.

Dr. Rekha Datta, professor of political science was the one to nominate to have Dr Dey come to campus. “I have known Dr. Aditi Dey for over three decades. I always knew that she loves teaching and has a wonderful rapport with her students. When I nominated Dr. Dey for the position of Visiting International Scholar, my hope was that she would interact with students, faculty, and campus constituents in such a way that there is a vibrant exchange of ideas and thoughts,” Datta said.

Dey received her Ph.D on Indira Gandhi’s leadership in India’s Democracy at Calcutta University. She has been teaching Politics in India, Public Administration, and Political Theory for 29 years at Shri Shikshyatan College.

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How Will Obamacare Affect Students?

The Affordable Health Care law, better known as Obamacare, will require everyone in America to have health care coverage or be faced with a fine by Jan. 1, 2014. The enrollment process for Obamacare will be provided on Oct. 2 until Mar. 31, 2014.

Kathy Maloney, Director of Health Services, said that 80 to 85 percent of the student population has health insurance through their parents or employment so this law will only affect “15 to 20 percent of the student population tops.”

Maloney said having access to health insurance is important for many reasons. According to Maloney, it allows access to care without paying out of pocket. “Young adults never think they are going to get sick. They are at that age and stuff happens and it can be catastrophic and it can quickly bankrupt you.”

Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President of Student and Community Services, said that healthier students lead to an overall better college experience. “The healthier students are and the healthier they stay, they are more likely to be successful in the classroom and anything else they do and if they are sick and can’t afford to pay out of pocket because they don’t have insurance, it forces them to miss class or miss work or involvement because they are sick; it’s not good.”

Nagy continued, “Whereas, if they are healthy, they can go to class, get their work done, do internships, and get involved, which is important for them being successful.”

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Sarin Gas Attack on Syrian Citizens Sparks Debate on How World Should React

The United Nations Security Council reported an attack on a suburb of Damascus, the capital of Syria on August 21. According to the UN, the victims of the violence experienced “shortness of breath, disorientation, extreme eye irritation, blurred vision, vomiting, weakness and loss of consciousness.”

Thirty-five days later, the whole world’s attention has been focused on Syria and its President, Omar Assad. The words “nerve gas” and “chemical weapons” have grabbed the attention of everyone from United Nation officials to citizens in the United States.

It was suspected that the chemical weapon used was sarin gas, a dangerous nerve agent that usually leads to fatalities when it comes into contact with humans.

According to the Center for Disease Control, nerve gas is a man-made substance that once inhaled, or ingested, causes overstimulation of neurons, leading to bodily functions slowing or stoping. With sarin, it can take seconds for the body to start reacting, typically with the victim having trouble moving, breathing and dying.

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President Obama Talks About the Rising Costs of Colleges Around the East Coast

President Barack Obama went on a two day college bus tour in August to promote his new plans on how to make college more affordable. The tour went through the states of Pennsylvania and New York, stopping at the University of Buffalo, Henninger High School, Bingham University, and ending in at Lackawanna College.

The President spoke about the rising cost of higher education. The President spoke about how the cost of higher education has raised 260 percent whereas the income of families has only gone up about 18. He claimed this to be the reason that college has “become out of reach for too many people, or young people are being loaded up with more and more debt.”

Kim Shepherd, a senior communication major, agreed that affordability is an issue. Shepherd said, “Someone like me who has taken a little longer throughout college to figure out what I like and want to pursue and am now looking graduation in the face. I want to pursue this further but the one and only thing that’s stopping me is the money. You can’t put a price on happiness but I don’t want to be paying loans and never be able to get ahead because of the debt it would put me in.”

This is not the first time the administration has addressed the need for college tuition to be reformed. They have previously made it so that the student loan program was no longer run through the banks (who the President claimed were making “billions of dollars on”) and instead the money is now given straight to the students. This system has been able to provide assistance for more students to have a chance to get grants and loans.

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9/11 Memorial Located in Front of Edison Hall Honors Heroes

Students were able to pay their respect at the new memorial, a piece of the World Trade Center that is placed in front of Edison Hall in honor of the victims of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. The memorial was donated two years ago but was put on display at the beginning of the school year.

The University came together to commemorate the tragic loss that occurred 12 years ago, which began with the scheduled ringing of the bells that called for a moment of silence throughout the University in honor of the lives lost.

The University’s September 11 Veteran Memorial is created from a piece of steel that was pulled directly from the World Trade Center wreckage site. On the podium, the message “Here stands once more a symbol to 9/11 Heroes and America’s Military Veterans” is engraved.

Luis and Judith Eisenberg donated the memorial two years ago as the current trustees of the University’s Student Veterans Association. During the time of Sept. 11, Luis Eisenberg was the Chairman to the Port Authorities of New Jersey and New York, which owned part of the World Trade Center. The  Port Authority had an office within one of the Twin Towers, and according to a New York 1 story, lost 84 employees in the attack, 34 of them being Authority Police.

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University Student Elected to Young Democrats of America College Caucus Executive Board

Junior political science major Daniel Roman was elected as the Vice Chair of Political Affairs at the Young Democrats of America College Caucus, a nationwide organization that engages young people throughout the country in the political process last month.

This new position includes Roman’s membership in YDA’s College Caucus Executive Board which he shares with five young Democrats and students from Missouri, Arizona, Minnesota, and New Jersey.

According to their website, Young Democrats of America is the largest youth-led partisan political organization in the country and has since its creation mobilized young people under the age of 36 to participate in the electoral process.

Influenced by the ideals and values of the Democratic Party, the organization continues to help develop the skills of the youth generation to serve as leaders at local and national levels, their website explains.

Since 2002, YDA has operated independently of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as a non-federal 527 political organization. The programs and campaigns are aimed at building sustainable youth movement by providing training, hands-on campaign experience and leadership opportunities, according to the YDA website.

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“Leaders Look Forward” at the Eagleton Institute of Women in Politics

The Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers hosted a program called “The Center for Woman in Politics” where students Jacquielyn Corsentino and Leonor Torres represented the University from June 6 to June 11.

Corsentino, a junior political science major, was selected by Dr. Joseph Patten, chair of the Political Science and Sociology Department. Torres, a senior political science major, was selected by Counselor Christopher McKittrick of the Psychology Department.

Corsentino and Torres both said how they were honored to be picked for a program with over 2000 applicants and only 37 were chosen to attend.

The program itself started in 1991 when Debbie Walsh, the founder, and Sasha Petterson, the program liaison, both realized that New Jersey needed to have more women involved with the government in the Garden State.

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Contact Information

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