Last updateFri, 05 Jun 2020 10am


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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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 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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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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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