Last updateFri, 19 Jun 2020 7pm


Trump Administration Seeks to Redefine Gender, LGBTQ+ Community Responds

default article imageThe Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, according to a Department of Health and Human Services memo obtained by the New York Times on Sunday, Oct. 21.

The department argues in this memo that government agencies need to implement an explicit and coherent definition of gender as determined, “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”

The proposed redefinition would determine gender as unchangeable and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, indistinguishable from one’s biological sex.

If one were to dispute their gender, genetic testing would be required to prove that their claim corresponds to the newly defined term.

Some have criticized that these efforts to redefine gender conflates the classifications of sex and gender, and causes further confusion of the terms’ meaning.

Corey Wrenn, Ph.D., a lecturer of sociology and gender studies, explained, “Sex refers to one’s biological category. Gender refers to the social roles and cultural expectations that are assigned to people, often based on sex.”

The previous administration under then-President Barack Obama lessened the restrictions on the legal concept of gender in federal programs, including in education and health care, recognizing gender more as an individual’s choice, rather than as an absolute factor determined by one’s biological sex or genitalia.

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New Jersey Senators Booker and Menendez Speak at Wilson Hall Auditorium

NJ Senators Wilson Hall 1The Political Science Club hosted Senators of New Jersey, Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, on campus to speak about the midterm elections and the importance of voting at an event on Monday, Oct. 29.

The hour-long event was held in the Wilson Hall Auditorium, and was open to all those on campus who were interested in attending. 

“Our students did a terrific job this campaign season in raising awareness on campus and in organizing get out the vote events,” said Joseph Patten, Ph.D., an associate professor of political science and the adviser to the Political Science Club. “Landon Myers (a senior political science student and President of the Political Science Club) and the students in the Political Science Club did a fantastic job in organizing the event with NJ Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez and U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone.”

He continued and said, “Mike Manning (a senior political science student and President of the College Republicans) and the College Republicans did a terrific job in organizing an event with the Senate Republican challenger Bob Hugin two weeks back. For me the best thing is that political science students from both parties helped each other organize their events. We need that type of cooperative spirit in government.” 

Paul Dement, Director of Government and Community Relations for the University, explained that he sent an invitation to the Menendez campaign to come to the University after it was announced that his opponent in the Senatorial race, Bob Hugin, was scheduled to be on campus meeting with students a couple of weeks ago. “Monmouth University does not endorse any candidate but does provide equal opportunity for candidates to engage with students on campus,” he said.

“When the Menendez campaign contacted me last weekend to say they were interested in coming to Monmouth with Senator Booker, I put them in touch with Monmouth student Landon Myers to organize the logistics. I just think it’s terrific that the students were able to hear from both the Republican and Democratic candidates for a United States Senate seat,” said Dement. 

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Former White House Counsel Discusses Trump and Nixon

default article imageThe University hosted John Dean, the White House Counsel during the Watergate scandal, and James D. Robenalt, Esq., a presidential historian and attorney, for a discussion comparing Presidents Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, on Monday, Oct. 29.

The discussion was held in Wilson Hall Auditorium as part of the H.R. Young and Stephen B. Siegel Endowed Lecture Series. An estimated 225 alumni, community members, students, and professors were registered for attendance.

Peter Reinhart, Esq., Director of the Real Estate Institute, is responsible for bringing these two men to campus. “This event is a follow up event from December 2015 when John Dean and Jim Robenalt first spoke on campus,” Reinhart said.  “I had met them in summer 2015 when I attended their Continuing Legal Education program.  I was so fascinated by their presentation that I invited them to come to Monmouth.” 

“Their appearance is important to the Monmouth community for several reasons,” continued Reinhart.  “First, is the appearance of a living historical figure discussing very significant historic events in which he was a central figure. Second, the timing of the event is important given the fact that the midterm Congressional elections are just eight days away.”

In their discussion, Dean and Robenalt compared leadership styles of Trump and Nixon. Dean found their leadership styles to be “strikingly authoritarian” and considers them to be “social dominators.”  In U.S. history, he believes there have been four of these Commanders-in-Chief: Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Richard Nixon, and Donald Trump. He explained these leaders, “oppose equality, have intimidating/bullying personalities, amoral, and crave personal power.”

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Amid National Controversy, Kavanaugh Confirmed to the Supreme Court

Kavanaugh ConfirmedThe Senate voted 50-48 to send Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday, Oct. 6.

After an extensive confirmation process in the midst of allegations of sexual misconduct and a supplemental FBI investigation of the nominee, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court later Saturday evening.

Just 24 hours prior to the confirmation vote, there was confusion as to whether or not Senate Republicans had enough votes to confirm him to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh’s status was sealed when Senator Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine who supports reproductive rights, announced that she would vote to confirm him, expressing her confidence that he would not attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In an interview with 60 Minutes, Collins said that, while she felt one of Kavanaugh’s accusers Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony about the alleged sexual assault “very compelling,” she was also concerned about the lack of witnesses to support Ford’s accusations.

“I feel very comfortable that I’ve made the right decision,” Collins told 60 Minutes in their interview. “I could not come to another decision, based on the testimony and the evidence that I reviewed.”

Joseph Patten, Ph.D., an associate professor of political science, pointed to the Kavanaugh hearings as proof of the deep social divisions in American society.

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Democrat Ahead in Republican District

default article imageDemocratic candidate Mikie Sherrill holds a lead over Republican candidate Jay Webber in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District (NJ-11) race, according to a recent poll released by the University’s Polling Institute on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

According to the Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI), the district has a score of R+3, meaning it tends to vote Republican.

Currently, Sherrill has 50 percent of the vote in the race, and Webber has 43 percent.

President Donald Trump won the district by one point in the 2016 election, but according to the recent poll, only 43 percent of NJ-11 voters approve of his performance in office.

“Even though Republicans have the edge in party affiliation, many are not happy with the president or key GOP initiatives such as the tax reform plan,” Patrick Murray, Director of the University’s Polling Institute, says in the report.

The poll reported that the Republican tax reform plan passed in December is particularly unpopular in the district.

 Despite its largely wealthier demographic, due to the adverse impact of the plan’s cap placed on the deduction for state and local income, property, and sales taxes in New Jersey, many voters in NJ-11 disapprove of the GOP.

34 percent of voters in the district “strongly disapprove” and 25 percent “strongly approve” of the tax reform.

“This is a tough year for Republicans to run in Democratic states or in swing districts, particularly because the president’s party does not do well in the first midterm election,” said Joseph Patten, Ph.D., an associate professor of political science.

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Narrow Republican Lead in Pennsylvania Congressional Race

default article imageRepublican incumbent Brian Fitzpatrick has a four point advantage over Democratic challenger Scott Wallace in the race for Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District (PA-01), according to a recent poll released by the University’s Polling Institute on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

Stephen Chapman, Ph.D., an assistant professor of political science, explained that the most important aspect at play in the PA-01 race is that it will be one of the first general elections in which the state will be using its redrawn Congressional District maps, after the former maps were considered unconstitutionally gerrymandered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

 “Pennsylvania was seen as one of the most gerrymandered states in the country,” he said. “State-wide, this should offer Democrats an advantage in terms of vote share and seat distribution. Specifically for [PA-01], Fitzpatrick is the incumbent in [PA-08, from the previous map].”

 Fitzpatrick won his election with nearly 54 percent of the vote in 2016. At the time, his district included Philadelphia suburbs, which leaned more Republican.

But the new PA-01 district now includes parts of Lansdale, which tends to lean much more Democratic, Chapman explained.

The newly drawn districts create the potential for a close race on Election Day.

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White House Limits Kavanaugh Probe

default article imageThe Trump administration has prevented the FBI from investigating Julie Swetnick’s allegations of sexual assault against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, multiple White House officials briefed on the matter told NBC News on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Multiple White House officials, under anonymity, confirmed to NBC News that the White House counsel’s office has given the FBI a list of specific witnesses they are permitted to interview in the reopened background investigation into Kavanaugh, an unexpected method which deviates from Senator Jeff Flake’s (R-Arizona) request following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote for floor confirmation last Friday, Sept. 28.

Under the administration’s restrictions, FBI investigators are not permitted to obtain information about witness and co-conspirator Mark Judge’s employment at the supermarket where Dr. Blasey Ford testified she saw him working which, “would [otherwise] help better narrow the date of the assault she testified about to the Senate Judiciary Committee,” said Katherine Parkin, Ph.D., a professor of history and gender studies.

The FBI is also prohibited from investigating Kavanaugh’s multiple accounts of drinking in college, which Parkin said, “will of course have tremendous bearing on the testimony provided by his second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, and her account that he stuck his penis in her face, as they hung out in a group of friends at Yale.”

Because of the recent limitations on the FBI’s probe, Parkin said, “The sincere call for a FBI investigation, sparked by two women [Maria Gallagher and Anna Maria Archilla] who confronted Senator Flake about their experience having been sexually assaulted, has instead immediately devolved into a farce.”

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The “Trade-Off” of U.S. Tariff War with China

default article imagePresident Donald Trump issued new tariffs on approximately $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, on Monday, Sept. 17.

The first cycle of ten percent tariffs were already been in effect since Monday, Sept. 24.

The administration’s recent tariffs are set to reach a rate of 25 percent by Jan. 1, 2019, and come in addition to the $50 billion worth of goods that were already taxed earlier this year.

In response to the first round of tariffs, China countered by implementing tariff’s they import from the U.S.

As a result, the Trump administration enacted the new tariffs. Nearly half of all Chinese imports to the U.S. now have levies or tariffs on them.

The tariffs will only affect certain Chinese goods; selective products established or listed by the Trump administration.

The first round of tariffs focused primarily on industrial equipment, whereas these tariffs affect a range of products such as electronics, food, and clothing.

Kenneth Mitchell, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Political Science and Sociology, explained that it is important to keep in mind that China and the U.S. are two of the biggest economies in the world.

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University Hosts Senator Kyrillos as Public Servant-in-Residence Panelist

Senator Kyrillos Public ServantThe University hosted an open-forum panel discussion on pension and benefit reform with the Public Servant-in-Residence program in the Wilson Auditorium on Friday, Sept. 28.

The Office of the President and the Department of Political Science and Sociology coordinated the Public Servant-in-Residence program, and is featuring former New Jersey state-Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) as its 2018-2019 Public Servant-in-Residence.

Throughout the academic year, Kyrillos will be leading four panel discussions, focusing on pension and benefits reform, bridging the partisan divide, jobs and the economy, and oceans and shore protections, respectively.

In addition to Kyrillos, the first panel included New Jersey Senate President Sen. Stephen Sweeney (D-Glouster); Richard Keevey, a former-Budget Director and Comptroller for New Jersey; Tom Byrne, former-Chair of Senate Investment Council, and member of the New Jersey Pension and Health Benefits Study Commission; Peter Reinhart, Esq., Director of the University’s Kislak Real Estate Institute, and a member of the Fiscal Policy Working Group; and Gordon MacInnes, a former New Jersey state-Senator, and President and Chief Executive of New Jersey Policy Perspective.

“The program was created to provide a venue for public officials to share their expertise with students and the campus community at Monmouth University,” writes University President Grey Dimenna, Esq., in an email inviting students to attend the forum.

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Democratic Lean in NJ 7th District

default article imageDemocratic candidate Tom Malinowski narrowly leads incumbent Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District race, according to a recent poll released by the University’s Polling Institute on Thursday, Sept. 20.

This district includes all of Hunterdon County, and parts of Essex, Morris, Somerset, Union, and Warren counties; and it has been represented by Lance since 2008.

According to the Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI), the district has a score of R+3, meaning it tends to vote Republican.

Republican candidate, former-Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney won the district by six points in the 2012 presidential election.

However, the district swung by one point for Democratic candidate, former-Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

“It’s a brutal campaign season for moderate Republicans running in blue states like New Jersey,” said Joseph Patten, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Political Science and Sociology, and an associate professor of political science.

“Many pollsters are predicting a pink wave of women voters that could potentially tip the scales for Democrats against moderate Republicans, which the current controversy involving Supreme Court nominee Judge Kavanaugh makes worse,” he added. 

Patten also attributes the Democratic lean to the recent tax reform bill passed by the Republicans in Congress last December.

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Puerto Rico Struggles, A Year After Hurricane Maria

default article imagePeople gathered in San Juan, Puerto Rico to mourn the thousands who died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria last year, on Thursday, Sept. 20. Government officials denounced the inactive role which the U.S. federal government has played in recovering. 

Congress has invested billions of dollars in efforts to help reconstruct Puerto Rico after the Category-4 hurricane hit the island last year, but devastation continues to ensue.

Danica Coto, from The Associated Press, and based in Puerto Rico, said that eight months after the storm, “major power outages are still being reported, tens of thousands of insurance claims are pending, and nearly 60,000 homes have temporary roofs unable to withstand a Category-1 hurricane.”  

The mayor of San Juan expressed frustration with U.S. relief efforts through the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) and other federal assistance programs.

She told CNN in an interview, “The [Trump] Administration killed the Puerto Ricans with neglect. The Trump Administration led us to believe they were helping when they weren’t up to par, and they didn’t allow other countries to help us.”

According to Ralph Cuseligo, DSW., an assistant professor of social work, “the U.S. government could have done more to provide aid to Puerto Rico in the wake of Maria.”

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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

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