Last updateWed, 12 Feb 2020 1pm


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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Same Sex Marriage Heading To Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court will take up same sex marriage on the docket for the next term. There will be two cases; one is based on California’s constitutional ban on same sex marriage through Proposition 8. Despite this, the public approved it via referendum. The other case will be based on a New York law that denies same sex couples federal benefits. This case will take center stage as the public attitude from same sex marriage has shifted.

The California case will decide whether California judges violated the federal Constitution when they voted to deny rights of same sex couples. A three judge panel for the Court of Appeals disagreed with the public, who believe same sex marriage should be allowed.

The Supreme Court will be dealing with a multitude of questions, the key one being: whether the Constitution requires states to allow same sex marriages. This case comes as nine states have legalized same sex marriage; Maryland, Washington and Maine passed it just this past election. Other states, including New Jersey, recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions, not same sex marriage.

The federal case based out of New York challenges the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 passed by President Bill Clinton. Section three of the Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman for purposes of federal law. This comes forward after same sex couples attempt to file for federal programs but do not recognize their marriage even if the state in which they marry does.

This case comes at a time where same sex marriage is looked upon favorably by a majority of the public. According to, out of 1,000 likely voters, 40 percent of respondents said they support marriage equality. Thirty percent said they supported civil unions and 24 percent said they didn’t think samesex couples should be able to enter any type of legal union. President Barack Obama announced in May of 2012 that he supports same sex marriage.

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Monmouth 2012-13 Mock Trial Team Competes

default article imageThe mock trial team competed in the 1st Annual Hooter Invitational hosted by Temple University this weekend. After receiving the fact pattern, case record and law from “the state of Midlands” in the case of Allen v. Neptune Underwater Expeditions in October, the team diligently prepared during intense practices and scrimmages leading up to the competition in Philadelphia. In a competitive field of schools, the mock trial team showed sharp skills of trial technique and strategy combined with a knowledge of evidence. Sophomore team member, Susie Pagano, who plays attorney roles for both the plaintiff and defendant reflects on the team’s first invitational.

"The attorney role in a round is so trying, but yet incredibly exhilarating! Considering that I want to be a lawyer in my future, this was the perfect practice... nothing beats actually being in the round, going up against other schools, and being put to the test by the opponents. Making objections can definitely be the most intimidating, but all it takes is giving it a shot. The first time I had an objection sustained in a round, I was absolutely thrilled,” Pagano said.

The team competed in four rounds, representing both Andy Allen, the spouse of the deceased plaintiff in two rounds as well as the defendant, Neptune Underwater Expeditions, in two rounds. All team members showed incredible preparation and professionalism, having positions as both attorneys and witnesses. The team won a ballot in its last round on Sunday after finishing the first day with a relatively high combined strength score. Team captain Kate Nawoyski met with team leaders from other schools and stated that the spirit of mock trial is competitive yet respectful and the level of competition encourages team members to bring their strongest performance each round.

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Model U.N. Team Attracts Students of All Majors

Students Use Skills of Bargaining and Negotiation to Set Resolutions in New York City Conference

model-unThe University’s Model United Nations (U.N.) team will spend the upcoming months researching and preparing for two of the largest international conferences where they will negotiate, bargain and propose resolutions for international conflicts.

Seven students will be traveling to represent the University in Rome from March 7-12. The remainder of the club will be attending the largest international conference in New York from March 24-28. They will be representing Belgium in the New York conference and are waiting for their country assignment from Rome.

“Fundraising for the conferences was okay, said Model U.N. President, Aziz Mama. “We received funds from Student Government, but it wasn’t enough to cover both conference expenses. We fundraised and received additional donations through the University, Provost Pearson’s office, deans and outside donations. The club is growing at an unexpected rate, and we’re going to need more funding to take delegations of a larger size,” said Mama.

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Middle East Tensions Rise: What Role will the US Play?

Eleven years after the United States first began its military campaign in Afghanistan and nearly one year after the official end of combat operations in Iraq, there is finally a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel for America’s decade of fighting in the Middle East.

After the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq in December of 2011, President Obama announced a similar drawdown of combat forces from Afghanistan to occur over the next two years, which will result in all American combat troops having been withdrawn from the country by the end of 2014. The departure of fighting forces from Afghanistan will signal the end of hostilities in the Middle East and will finally allow America the time to redouble its efforts domestically and address equally pressing concerns on the home front.

As anyone following the events concerning the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the State of Israel over the past two weeks will likely agree, the relative stability which now exists in Iraq and Afghanistan does little to ease tensions, in a region where civil, ideological, and territorial disputes occur side by side with multi-billion dollar business transactions.

The recent fighting largely centered in the disputed territory in and around the Gaza Strip, involved Hamas militants firing rockets into Israeli border towns as well as using improvised portable explosives to attack civilian targets such as commuter buses. After eight days of sporadic attacks by Hamas and largely defensive actions by Israeli forces, a cease-fire brokered in part by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has provided an end to fighting, but the deal is very fragile and may prove to only be a temporary solution. Even if the current cease-fire remains, it is likely that new conflicts will arise within the areas in and around the disputed Israeli and Palestinian territories given the long history of aggression between these two entities.

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Governor’s Race Chatter Starting Already

Now that the Presidential Campaign is through, New Jersey residents are turning their attention to the upcoming Governor Campaign. Current Governor Chris Christie has already applied his papers for re-election, but there has yet to be a definite for which Democrat hopeful is going to step up and run against him.

Christie’s recent popularity is stemming from his major success after Hurricane Sandy.

An article in The Star Ledger sourced a post Sandy poll from Quinnipiac University, showing the Governor’s high approval rating. According to the poll Christie’s approval rating up to 72 percent, the highest of any New Jersey Governor.

According the poll, he is even popular among the high amount of Democrats in NJ. Fifty two percent of Democrats approve of Chris Christie, something that Monmouth University sophomore political science major Saliha Younas would agree with.

According to Younas, “Even though I am a Democrat and my opinion of Chris Christie was not high in the beginning, after Hurricane Sandy it has changed. I liked the way he worked with the President and put aside party politics in order to handle the situation.”

Junior communication major, Daniel Gunderman says that his opinion of the Governor has not changed. “My opinion of him has only been solidified by Hurricane Sandy. Day in and day out, he battled illness and fatigue to be at all the majorly impacted areas from the storm. He even struck down reporters when they crossed the line, telling them that politics was second to his state’s recovery. He’s been unparalleled leader.”

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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