Op/Ed

Op/Ed

A Binary Choice

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When Americans cast their vote for president on November 8th, they will be deciding between two and only two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  While many voters, particularly millennials, are justifiably angry and frustrated with a political system that divides Americans in a way not seen since the Civil War, there is no room for a protest vote or for staying home — not this time.

If you are not convinced that a protest vote can have severe unintended consequences, we need look no further than 2000 when Al Gore lost Florida by 537 votes, throwing the election to George W. Bush, who started the Iraq War under false pretenses, ballooned the deficit, and drove our economy over a cliff.  The protest candidate that year was Ralph Nader, whose 97,488 Florida votes were directly responsible for the Bush victory.

We face a choice between two candidates with very different visions for America.  Trump proposes mass deportation, building a wall to stop Mexican “rapists,” and banning Muslims from entering our country.  He believes that climate change is a Chinese hoax and that massive tax cuts for the rich will somehow trickle down to the middle class without ballooning our deficit.  He admires Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin and encourages Russia to conduct Internet espionage on Trump’s political opponents.  

Trump’s birther movement has falsely challenged the legitimacy of our first black president.  He promotes violence at his rallies to the point of encouraging “Second Amendment people” to take matters into their own hands should he lose the election.  He would pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and start a war with Iran when they make “gestures” at our sailors.  He would walk away from the Paris climate agreement signed by over 100 countries and appoint conservative Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe vs. Wade while limiting a woman’s health care options.  

Alternatively, Hillary Clinton would carry forward the President Obama agenda that has focused on addressing climate change, expanded healthcare coverage, largely ended two wars, cut our deficit in half, and produced a record 78 consecutive months of job growth.  Clinton would also push forward an agenda of debt-free tuition for students whose families make under $125,000/year, a $15/hour minimum wage, gun safety initiatives, and increased taxes on the wealthy to pay for a needed infrastructure jobs program.  She has more experience than any previous presidential candidate having served as first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, U.S. senator from New York, and secretary of state.

When we go to the polls on November 8th, we should heed the advice of Senator Bernie Sanders, whose extraordinary campaign brought millions of millennials into the election process.  

“I’m the longest-serving independent in the history of the United States Congress. I know more about third-party politics than anyone else in the Congress, okay? And if people want to run as third-party candidates, God bless them! Run for Congress. Run for governor. Run for state legislature. When we’re talking about president of the United States, in my own personal view, this is not time for a protest vote. This is time to elect Hillary Clinton.”

Sen. Sanders has it right.

America Is Not A Democracy, And Why That’s Good

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If I say “democracy,” you will probably say “America.” When founded, the United States was one of the first modern nations to give power to the people and, consequently, the two words have become forever married.  However, even at its inception, the United States was never intended to be a democracy. The Founding Fathers knew this, and you should too.

Technically, the United States is considered a Constitutional Republic. This entails several aspects that differ from a democracy. To understand how they differ, let us first look at what a democracy is. In its truest form, a direct democracy means that citizens convene together to create and set policy based on majority rule (>50% must approve). There are no elected officials and each person gets one, equally weighted vote.

Off the bat, you can easily see that America is different, and that’s where the “Constitutional Republic” part comes in. Those two words outline where power is derived from and how the government is governed.

The Constitution, as I briefly touched upon in my last article “Protecting Rights vs. People,” is a document in which the government must adhere to. It is the Supreme Law of the Land that dictates in which way people are protected from the government and in which way the government is ruled by the people.

The Constitution specifically outlines that a Congress shall be set up and “shall be composed of Members chosen… by the People of the several States.” This essentially says that (1) there are a few people in governing positions and (2) those few people are voted in by people who share similar beliefs. A Representative.

Let’s tackle point one first. Having just a few people in government is monumentally more efficient than having each citizen vote and decided on every single issue. Simply in terms of allocation of time and resources, this makes far more sense, especially when you consider that having 330 million individuals vote on each piece of legislation would be virtually impossible.

Next is the actual representation part. Some believe that the Representative should be a “delegate” of the people and accurately reflect their desires, while others believe that they should be a “trustee” and vote in their best judgement while also considering their constituents’ needs. Again, the “delegate” role is somewhat unrealistic, so many elected officials assume the “trustee” role.

Now let me describe why this is good. The individual is (usually) ignorant, uncompromising, and uninformed. The trustee in theory is more informed and also has to work with opposing views to pass legislation. He is therefore more willing to compromise and consider the viewpoints of others as well as his constituents. He also considers the theory of Tyranny of the Majority, in which he understands that the majority cannot completely disregard the minority for eventually he will become the minority.

Let’s put this into Layman’s terms:  Congress is majority Republican right now, however they cannot completely disregard the Democratic party’s wants. The Republicans understand that their majority privilege will not last forever, and eventually they will become the minority again (such as when the Democrats where majority in 111th Congress and are now the minority). The power shifts force neither party to over-utilize their power in fear that they’ll be trampled when they are the minority.

A lot of people do complain, however, the the Representatives do not listen to them enough. This is reflected in the fact that Congress has had an approval rating that hovers between 10-20% in recent years. I blame not Congress (fully), though, but rather the electorate. If you don’t like the people in power, vote.

More specifically, don’t vote for the incumbent. Too many people are not civically engaged and do not utilize their rights fully. Not only that, but people also need to vote on more positions. Most people only vote for Presidents and Congress, which is such a shame.

Your vote compared to millions of other of people does not hold much weight (which is why people feel as their vote doesn’t matter), but if you vote locally your vote will go further. If I vote for my local Board of Education, my vote is being considered against, say, 500 other electorates in my county. When I voted for President this year, however, my vote is being considered against potentially 6.8 million voters in North Carolina. Coming back from that small tangent; there is power in the people, just not too much to be disruptive to the process.

Babson Boulders: The Inside Scoop

What might a man who accused gravity of murder think is a good idea? Carve a bunch of boulders in the middle of the woods with inspirational phrases! Most Babson students know of the famed Babson Boulders, but very few actually make the 45-minute trek to Gloucester to go see these interesting creations. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Babson Boulders were commissioned by Roger Babson during the Great Depression to help unemployed stonecutters. What a guy; he was surely thinking about SEERS when he set up this venture. 80 years later the boulders still stand, and carry with them some aspects that highlight the genius of Roger Babson. For example, a lot of the boulders are pretty inspirational with things like “Be True” and “Integrity” (shoutout to class of 2020). However, as touching as all of that is, Roger did not make it easy to get to his stone etched legacy. There are a lot of things that the sensible Babson student would have done that the people who planned the trails did not; they must have been done by a Bentley student. This is so profound that FREEP has compiled a list of things that you should NOT do when you go on your rock hunt:

  1. DO NOT follow the entire “Babson Boulder Loop,” there are surprisingly few boulders on that trail: go figure. Get yourself a map, put on your big college kid pants, and go find them yourself.
  2. DO NOT be fooled, there are a million boulders in the area. You will probably need to be institutionalized if you seriously try to check each one. There will be tiny paths to most of them, but there is a fair chance that you’ll get disoriented. Utilize the buddy system!
  3. DO NOT miss the Babson Reservoir. It is far more majestic than some boulders. Be sure to take a picture on the cliff that overlooks the water; a guaranteed PR for likes when you put it on Instagram.
  4. DO NOT wear uncomfortable shoes. A lot of the trails are made up of uneven rocks and you will be hiking a fair amount. God forbid you roll an ankle and your fellow beavers have to drag you out of there.
  5. DO NOT miss your class boulder; you are paying 65 grand a year for it.

Overall, the Babson Boulder hunt can really be something special. It will provide time to relax, be more in tune with nature, and see what all the fuss is about with these boulders. Too many people just write them off as just some rocks, when really they symbolize so much more than just that. They are the values that all of us, no matter our background, should hold dear and follow to become better Babson community members as well as members of the global community. babson-boulder-photo-by-jacob-allread

We may never get this chance again, so please make the right vote on election day

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In one of the most publicized election years in recent memory, it seems everyone has an opinion on the US election. However, the only plausible choice for president has never been more clear. For students reading this article, this is the most important presidential election in our lifetimes, and I–as a middle eastern American and registered Independent–am pleading you, it is vital we do not make a catastrophic error by electing Hillary Clinton, in which the consequences would simply be destructive for generations. In order to protect our constitutional values, basic freedoms, and classical liberal Western ideologies, we must vote Donald Trump.

To many readers, my plea for the presidential candidate may come as a surprise to you. The mainstream media has of course indoctrinated us to believe Donald Trump is “racist”, “sexist”, and “xenophobic” among other names. For a long time, these trigger words utilized by the media worked effectively to influence the opinions of the masses. However, as the electoral process continues to develop, Donald Trump has now taken the lead over Hillary Clinton in many polls in several key states as well as nationally. Regardless, many voters (especially younger ones) are still not sold on Donald Trump. This article will explain while he is simply the only option.

The most common argument against Trump is that he is “racist”, and many point to his comments regarding illegal immigration. Mr. Trump “stereotyped” all Mexicans, calling them “rapists” and “drug dealers”. Truthfully, Donald Trump has said countless times he is in favor of legal immigration from Mexico and has expressed a level of great respect for the millions of Mexican Americans living in the United States:

I happen to have a tremendous feeling for Mexican Americans not only in terms of friendships, but in terms of the tremendous numbers that I employ in the United States and they are amazing people, amazing people. I have many friends, so many friends and so many friends coming to Mexico and in Mexico. I am proud to say how many people I employ.

And the United States first, second and third generation Mexicans are just beyond reproach. Spectacular, spectacular hard-working people. I have such great respect for them and their strong values of family, faith and community.”-Donald Trump on August 31, 2016

Clearly, these are not the words of a man who has deep hatred for the people of Mexico.

In reality, Trump was referring to an influx of crime coming in from illegal immigrants across the southern border. The statistics show Trump is not incorrect. Between 2008 and 2014, 40% of all murder convictions in Florida were criminal aliens. In New York it was 34% and Arizona 17.8%. During those years, criminal aliens accounted for 38% of all murder convictions in the five states of California, Texas, Arizona, Florida and New York, while illegal aliens constitute only 5.6% of the total population in those states. These numbers were compiled by the Government Accountability Office using official Department of Justice data on criminal aliens in the nation’s correctional system. The term “criminal aliens” refers to non-U.S. citizens who have been convicted and incarcerated, and about 90% of criminal aliens happen to be illegal aliens. Furthermore, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, between 2008 and 2014, 35% of the all murder convictions were illegal aliens.

According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, while illegal immigrants accounted for about just 3.5% of the U.S population, they represented 36.7% of federal sentences in the fiscal year of 2014. Taking a closer look at the numbers, illegal immigrants represented 16.8% of drug trafficking cases, 20.0% of kidnapping/hostage taking, 74.1% of drug possession, 12.3% of money laundering, and 12.0% of murder convictions. What is most frightening, is the fact that the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border is increasing majorly this year, according to data provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Donald Trump’s concerns of illegal immigration are seemingly valid, and to argue that being against illegal immigration is equivalent to being racist is pure lunacy. Proving this point, African-American civil rights activist Clarence Henderson, one of the men who helped stage the 1960 sit-in at a North Carolina Woolworth’s lunch counter to protest segregation, endorsed Donald Trump and touched on the meritless accusations of him being a racist, “I come from a time known as Jim Crow — and I know what racism is and isn’t.” Clarence Henderson made a fantastic point that it is Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump who has ties with racism. Hillary Clinton has been open about her relationship with former democratic congressmen and Ku Klux Klan leader/recruiter Robert Byrd, whom she considered a friend and mentor. Donald Trump meanwhile has no affiliation with white supremacy groups, and has said along with his running mate Mike Pence that he disavows and does not want the support of white supremacists.

Clarence Henderson is not the only civil rights activist who is in favor of a Donald Trump presidency. African-American civil rights leader and former mayor of Mississippi Charles Evers has also endorsed Trump and stated he has not “seen any proof of [Trump] being a racist.” Both Henderson and Evers agreed that Trump would be the best president for jobs and the economy in general. Evidentially, those that are wise enough to look past the mainstream media’s attempts of demonizing Donald Trump, realize he is not racist. This can be seen through the fact that Lynne Patton, a female African American executive of the Trump Organization, released a powerful video slamming those who try to align Donald Trump with racism, and revealed the Trump Organization has hired more minority and female workers than any other company she has ever worked at. Patton states, “to equate racism with my boss’s call for a temporary moratorium on a flawed immigration system that radical Islamic terrorists continue to exploit, or the construction of an impassable wall to protect our borders from the influx of illegal drugs, is not only incendiary, it is wholly irresponsible.”

“Sexist” is another term used to attack Trump. However, an article published in the Washington Post on November 25, 2016 reports: “many women who have worked closely with Trump say he was a corporate executive ahead of his time in providing career advancement for women…his companies nurtured and pro­moted women in an otherwise male-dominated industry.” Taking all the aforementioned information into account, the primary cases against Donald Trump have been debunked.

With that being said, the case against Hillary Clinton becomes much more alarming. I already mentioned some of Hillary Clinton’s ties to racism, an area where Hillary Clinton has gotten off the hook is sexism. Firstly, we know Hillary Clinton remained married to Bill Clinton, who committed adultery in the Oval Office, solely for political clout. On top of this, Bill Clinton has a long history of sexual assault. As a matter of fact, Bill Clinton has been accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault by at least 10 women. One victim, Juanita Broaddrick, spoke out: “I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me and Hillary tried to silence me. I am now 73….it never goes away.” Knowing her husband was doing such horrific acts, and not doing anything about it (or worse, silencing the victims), makes Clinton a clear enabler of sexual harassment and assault.

It does not make much sense to call Hillary Clinton a feminist when she supports and arms Saudi Arabia, as the International Business Times reported. Saudi Arabia is quite possibly the worst country in the world when it comes to civil rights. Women in Saudi Arabia are second class citizens, atheism and homosexuality are punishable by death, and citizens are still beheaded. With the weapons given to them by Hillary Clinton, Saudi Arabia massacres innocent women and children in Yemen, confirmed by the United Nations. Even more appalling, Hillary Clinton has happily accepted tens of millions of dollars from oppressive regimes, according to the Wall Street Journal. This includes Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, and Morocco (reported by politico). In the United Arab Emirates, laws exist that allow husbands to assault their wives and children. In Qatar, women again have no rights and are second class citizens, atheists and gays are sentenced to death, marital rape is permitted, and having sex out of wedlock is also punishable by death. In Oman, women particularly face discrimination pertaining to domestic issues such as child custody and rape. In Morocco, authorities restricted the rights to peaceful expression, association and assembly through several laws and continue to prosecute print and online media when they criticize the government, and the king. All of this information comes from the Human Rights Watch. For someone to say Hillary Clinton will fight for civil rights, when she supports, arms, and is affiliated with regimes that completely disregard basic human rights, is laughable.

Donald Trump has smartly called out Clinton for supporting these corrupt governments, and ordered she returns the money, which she has not done. A Hillary Clinton presidency would see the further empowerment of these oppressive Islamic countries that strictly enforce violent, outdated scripture in the Quran that states “men are a degree above women” and “If you fear highhandedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them.” We simply cannot let this disgusting ideology continue to remain in great power and spread throughout the global world. The ideologies directly threaten our values of basic human rights, the constitution, free market capitalism, civil liberties, political freedom, and democratic representation. There is no free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, or freedom of individual thought in these corrupt countries Hillary Clinton loves to empower. Citizens in these nations have no right to bear arms, and thus are defenseless against the terrorizing authorities. Again, we simply cannot afford to elect a candidate who enables these horrendous ideals.

Hillary Clinton’s disregard for constitutional rights can also be seen in the policy she has imposed on America. Hillary Clinton voted in favor of the patriot act, which completely disregards the fourth amendment, stripping away our protection of unreasonable search and seizure. She proposes an agenda that seemingly diminishes our second amendment right to bear arms which would leave us defenseless against a corrupt government. She supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that allows large corporations to bypass regulations and standards by going overseas, diminishing the environment and costing our country significant jobs while incentivizing the continuation of unethical labor practice overseas, where workers get slaved for insignificant pay.

Hillary Clinton has an infinite list of blunders. She has armed and trained Syrian rebels that have given the weapons to ISIS to use against us, according to Amnesty International. She destroyed Libya by ousting Muammar Gaddafi, whom under him the country was thriving both in terms of the economy (Africa’s richest democracy under his power, per Centre for Research on Globalization) and civil liberties (women had immense rights and privileges), and left the nation completely destabilized. She opted to intervene in Syria, further fueling fire to the radical Islamic terrorism movement. She voted in favor of the Iraq war, which cost our nation over $6 trillion (according to Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University) and led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and led to the foundation of ISIS in the first place. She claimed she had suffered a brain injury so severe she could not answer FBI questions. She directly lied to the American people on what she did and did not send and receive on her private email server. In Benghazi, she personally felt it was not worthwhile to attempt to rescue our ambassador, staff and military personnel due to possible diplomatic complications. The list of inexcusable detriments to our country and to the world goes on and on, and goes to show Hillary Clinton has no business being President of the United States of America.

It goes back to my original point, in order to protect our constitutional values, basic freedoms, and classical liberal Western ideologies, we must vote Donald Trump. I understand Trump is not a perfect candidate. While I agree with the majority of his policies (strengthening the border, increase vetting from Islamic immigrants, upholding the second amendment, cut and simplify taxes, end ties with oppressive regimes, etc.), I understand he can be crude and obnoxious at times. However, there is no such thing as a flawless candidate. As an 11-year-old Trump supporter intelligently said on CNN, “listening to a few bad words coming out of Donald Trump’s mouth is a lot better than people blown up by terrorists, people getting burned alive, people’s heads being chopped off, and people being drowned.” An 11-year-old can understand it, so should you.

Accomplished retired neurosurgeon and politician Ben Carson said it best: “Although Donald Trump, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have their flaws as well, to argue that they even come close to the level of corruption displayed by someone who lied about sniper fire in Bosnia, lied about a videotape in Benghazi to help secure an election result, lied about what was sent and received on a forbidden private server, attacked women who were taken advantage of by her husband, defended the brutal rapist of a 12-year-old girl and laughed about it, admired and befriended Saul Alinsky, the community organizer who hated America and wanted to change it, used a charitable organization and her political position and power to enrich herself and her family and largely avoids press conferences because she might have to answer questions about all of these things, requires the suspension of rational thought processing.” We may never get this chance again, so please vote Donald Trump on November 8, 2016.

Babson student life: Ranked #1 in bureaucracy

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The Babson website proudly compares starting a club at Babson to “starting a new venture,”- even alluding to the notion that participating in student life functions as entrepreneurial practice. However, every club’s events must be approved by SGA, every piece of marketing material must include an SGA logo, and every dollar raised during these events must be returned to SGA. In reality, students who start and run clubs look less like entrepreneurs and more like bureaucrats. It is quite ironic that a school ranked #1 in entrepreneurship forces students to create the collegiate equivalent of government agencies in order to have a registered organization on campus.

While the structure of the system might be slightly ironic, the plethora of issues that stem from it are no laughing matter. The current incentive structure creates an environment where club leaders can ask for a large amount of money as many times as they can. Since the money they are spending is not “their” money, there is no organic incentive against requesting funding for pizza for every meeting, even if such spending is relatively frivolous.

Since the government decides which events can go through, and at times choose to not fund or partially fund events, club leaders are incentivized to submit as many budgets as possible, in the hope that some get approved. This system leads to an enormous amount of proposals and creates an environment that wastes the time of both club leaders and SGA members. On top of that, the need to request funding for each event creates a massive amount of uncertainty regarding whether the event will be able to be financed per the specifications of the club.

A good example of the issues with the current system can be found with the experience of the Babson Political Association. Caleb Wursten, founder of the BPA, expressed to me how difficult it is to plan events with such “immense levels of uncertainty.” He says that club leaders are essentially forced to “shotgun budgets and hope some get approved.” As someone incredibly passionate about politics who founded the very first political association on campus, Wursten (‘19) is exactly the type of student that the system should encourage. Instead, he finds himself in an environment that constantly inhibits his club’s flexibility and holds his passion bureaucratically hostage to the extent that running the club at times creates more stress than enjoyment. It comes as no surprise then that the government weights put on the back of organization leaders lead to high club turnover and lack of club longevity.

Clubs on campus should operate to fulfill the needs of their members and students who are interested in that particular club. The college should finance those organizations, not because every little function they perform benefits the whole campus, but because they provide value to the students who are interested in that activity.

Isaiah M. Williams, Co-President of Babson TV, explained to me how his club has had “a very difficult time pitching a budget” because SGA doesn’t exactly see the projects and events of Babson TV translating well to “the greater student body.” So much for the “diversity” of clubs that Babson advertises on their clubs page. Williams (’19) goes on to explain how in his presentation to SGA, many members seemed disinterested, on their phones, and generally seemed to lack care about a subject that he and the many members of his club are passionate about. His description of the immense difficulty in navigating the SGA “red tape” contrasts almost comically with Babson’s claim on their club page that “Red tape is kept to a minimum.” People who love media and film should be the ones deciding what projects can be completed, but in the centralized economy that is Babson student life, the government is the one who decides whether a a club’s function adds value, and they do that by questioning whether it adds value to the whole community. In the real world, instead of attempting to add a little value to the entire population, companies fill specific niches and add a lot of value to specific segments of the population. If we start emulating real world venture creation, maybe our student life can finally live up to our #1 entrepreneurship ranking.

Aside from the minutiae and specifics of the funding process, the entire mindset behind student life is misguided. Marketing materials must have an SGA logo because the events are funded by SGA. Any money raised with the assistance of SGA funds must be returned immediately to SGA. The message is clear: it is SGA’s money and they are graciously giving it to you. If the SGA is truly a government for the people, then it is not their money at all. They should merely perform the job of fairly allocating it among the various student groups (and get paid the same $1000 they already get paid). As students and sources of tuition money, we, the broader student population of Babson, should have access to funds given for the purposes of student life without the restrictions (such as having an SGA logo on all flyers) levied on us by what is essentially a financial middleman.  

I propose that Babson migrate to a different system of financing student life in order to make it more vibrant and efficient. Rather than having organizations apply for funding for every little thing they do, they should instead apply for funding for every semester. They would submit a general outline of why they need the amount they are asking for and then SGA will allocate money to be spent by that organization for the semester. How large the funding an organization can receive should be based on past performance (how long they’ve been active, how much value they added last year, etc). Tying funds to past performance would also help reduce club turnover because clubs would be incentivized to be active and add value every year. A faculty advisor for each organization would have to approve each time funds are disbursed by a club in order to regulate spending.

Any perceived mismanagement of funds can be dealt with by the SGA in the form of asset freezes, lack of future funding, etc. This system would create an incentive structure that promotes conservation of funds because any dollar spent by an org would mean they couldn’t spend that dollar on an event later in the semester. Williams (’19) and Wursten (’19) both expressed extreme enthusiasm for the idea as they claimed it would allow their respective clubs to be more efficient and add more value to the student body by removing many of the incredibly restrictive regulations placed upon them by the SGA. This idea isn’t new either; many colleges use a similar system to fund their student life.

At Columbia University clubs put in funding requests to their student government at the end of the academic year and then receive a lump sum for the next year. When club leaders come back to campus in the fall they already know their resources for the year and can plan their club accordingly. Adopting a system like Columbia’s or some version of the one I proposed would make both clubs and the government more efficient.

The Babson website on their clubs page proclaims, “as in any entrepreneurial venture, at Babson anything is possible.” Well at the moment that should be modified to say that at Babson when the government supports your idea, anything is possible.

Protecting rights vs. people

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The Bill of Rights came into effect in 1791, some 225 years ago. It is considered the most prominent document in American law and still affects policy to this day. However, as time has passed, many believe that the document has become somewhat archaic in today’s world of changing technology and attitudes.

The 1st Amendment is perhaps the most recognizable amendment in the Bill of Rights (along with the 2nd). It separates Church and State, grants the freedom of religion, allows people to peacefully protest the government, and permits the Freedom of Speech and Press. For this piece, we will focus solely on the Freedom of Speech provision.

When written in 1789, it was abundantly clear why this provision was put in: to criticize the government without reprimands. However, while people still reserve the right to protest the government, the chief concern with the amendment today is that it enables and grants individuals the freedom to criticize others.  The same freedom that I have to verbally attack the government also allows me to attack an individual.  As one can imagine, this is cause for quite a bit of pain, as it opens up avenues of harassment. Even the Supreme Court has tackled the issue of “hate speech,” arguing that as long as it does not promote immediate violence (such as that outlined in Brandenburg v. Ohio), you can say whatever offensive words you want about anyone, so long as they are not considered libel (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan).

This has been particularly controversial on college campuses. Many people, especially minorities, feel as though vitriolic speech is unproductive and damaging, so speech codes are needed to protect individuals’ sanctity. Babson College itself has policies in place to protect people from acts or words that “demean, degrade, threaten, or harass” people based on their identities. This includes sexual orientation, gender, race, nationality, age, and disability, to name a few. It is argued that speech codes that protect these identities actually promote a collaborative, positive environment in which people feel safe to express themselves. This allows the success of students because they can pursue their passions without being discriminated against.

However, critics of the speech codes argue that that rationale is inherently wrong: the real world doesn’t have any censorship policies and that people will be inevitably offended by someone. Speech codes are seen by many as a way of coddling and sheltering students from reality, therefore not expanding their horizons to challenging beliefs. It is argued that because certain ideas and words are not allowed to be even mentioned, then academic pursuits and advancements get choked. Furthermore, what is considered offensive is extremely arbitrary. What is deemed offensive to some may be menial to others, thus creating a shady grey area that can in essence turn into “thought control” by a few (most likely bureaucratic) governors. Additionally, simply enacting speech codes on campus won’t stop the hate either, since it is not necessarily the words that hurt but rather the intent behind words that can ultimately do the harm.

America, race, and prospects of harmony

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At lunchtime on September 8th, I attended a faculty meeting for a dialogue and presentation discussing the causes and effects of racism in America- specifically in reference to the African American community. Headed by Professor Elizabeth
Swanson, who teaches African American Literature, the faculty diversity meeting began by listening to Professor Swanson’s presentation on what she refers to as “The Changing Same”. It describes the constant oppression that the collective African American people have endured since the very foundation of colonial America. The presentation touched on topics such as Claudia Rankine’s “Citizen”, the triangular trade, slave
codes, lynching, and the red-lining of specific neighborhoods. The discussion
laid the foundation for why organizations like Black Lives Matter are entirely justified for protesting the systematic oppression of African Americans in the United States.

America has a long and ugly past with race relations, and yet American history is black history. It is important to note that at every chance, American culture and
government has consistently and overwhelmingly oppressed it’s African
American population. Ghettos, Jim Crow, and a history of racially
inspired killings have only served to cut a deep, bloody, and painful gash
in the abdomen of racial harmony. Beyond racism is oppression, the
step before subjugation. America has always had at least two of these
awful traits, as Professor Swanson’s “Diversity Matters” made clear.

This is why she asserts the justification of Black Lives Matter.
There are two issues I take with BLM, however, I find their approach
unproductive, shortcoming, and needlessly attention seeking. I am
fully aware that their cause is just, and their goals are right, but their means? I can not support it. The atmosphere bred by the violence and outright hatred of members of this
group only serve to evoke equally passionate emotions from the reverse
side of the conflict. It was hatred that bred segregation, hatred
that built the yoke of slavery. Yet, here we are, ignorantly hating another
only to create more contempt. Looking at the news, it’s clear to see a
possible backwards turn in the cycle of racial harmony. By embarking on the path of hatred and division, by both BLM and others, I can only see
one result that will follow; one everyone can see unfolding before our
eyes: the obvious breakdown of race relations in the United States.

I start to wonder though, how can we salvage this wrong? What can be done? Are we beyond righting racial injustices? Many, even in the faculty meeting, say yes. Beyond the shortsightedness of that assertion, I find it offensive and wholly ignorant.

There is absolutely no reasonwhy the African American community should stay neglected and patronized as it is currently. This is the community that endured, at every
turn, America’s darkest realities. To suggest that economic and social redemption for these Americans would be unattainable, truly betrays one of a revolting order of racism.

In principle, solving the issue of racial tension and inequality is not a complicated one. It would require a strong and simultaneous reformation of three crucial areas of American
culture.

Primarily, inner cities need an effective and influential education system. In today’s market, not graduating high school is, quite literally, economic suicide. Time and
time again, African Americans have shown strength in the face of systematic
adversity. There is no reason to think that our most neglected population is not capable nor willing to learn and strive for a quality education.

Secondly, the business community must be assured that investment in the inner cities and poorer areas of America will be respected and rewarded. African American
youths desperately need jobs. This is a fact beyond any measure of refute. Riots and looting must be stopped, as they only hurt our poorest communities beyond what the accumulation of decades of negligence has
brought. Once investors see the inner cities as a viable and profitable market, they will flock to the inner cities to not only turn a profit but help our nation’s neediest communities as the moral social entrepreneur ought.

Lastly, this society that propagates racism must be brought to an end. Period. Everyone with any sense of reality agrees that the entire premise that one race is superior
is false, offensive, and bigoted. Why then, must we make race such a defining feature of societal identity? Morgan Freeman eloquently answered
this problem is a resounding manner. When asked, “How are we
going to get rid of racism?” Freeman replied “Stop talking about it!
I’m going to stop calling you a white man, and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.” We are humans. There shouldn’t be a separation. There isn’t a separation.
To see a difference, good or bad, between two men purely because of the difference of the concentration of melatonin in their skin would be the literal Oxford definition of racism.

Professor Swanson’s discussion on Diversity and race was enlightening and opened my eyes to the real need for justification in the black community. That is, justification though inclusion and brotherhood.Only once we learn to act as one, not two, can we then begin to walk together the path towards harmony and peace.

The volume of words

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A rose may rise solemnly in solitude, but if it grows in unison with its brothers and sisters, it creates a beautiful scene, a backdrop, art. Words are of the same mold; when alone, their connotation is underwhelming, however, when strung together to form sentences, their essence is multiplied. An innumerable combination of phrases, arguments and statements may stem from the simple formation of words. It may be as plain as a command, or as intricate as scholarly text. Words are flavours, each with their own dynamic personality.

The words ‘interesting’ and ‘electrifying’ may be cousins in terms of similarity, but their demeanors are polar opposites. They are both incredibly valuable when trying to express a conjecture, but are used differently, at different times, and with different intent. Words also may appear ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly’. For example, the word ‘plethora’ is an efficient and imposing word, but it reads and looks unappealing. The opposite is true for the words ‘embellish’, and ‘patronage’, which sound as good as they look.

This is the very lure of writing; it is vast and perhaps, endless. There are infinite ways to reshape a sentence and still retain its meaning. This is how authors make a living, how students set themselves apart from their peers, and how different forms of writing are conceived.

Words allow for us to personalize our plays, poems and essays. One can create a piece with a professional, serious impression, or, at the simple exchange of words, breath a radically different life into it. Our writing, just like the condition of our room and the clothes we wear, is representative of who we are. It adds an element of style and flair to our writing personas, or in certain cases, eliminates such sophistication.

This is due to the flexibility of languages; we can contort words to convey messages or to provide descriptions under any given context. For example, authors often push words to the extreme extent of their meanings and usage, in favor of creating literary illusion, or to cleverly annunciate a point. The word’s definition may not directly align with its usage, yet it is manipulated in such a fashion so that the reader still understands what is being expressed.

Beyond decorating our papers with layers of ingenuity and slick phrases, words come together for another purpose, for the very reason they were breed. Writing was, and still is, the industrious and immune foe of time. Used primarily as a method of ancient communication, its resilience allows it to stand alongside its contemporaries (the telephone, Facebook, Snapchat).

The human race, like it or not, still reads and writes,which can take the form of billboards and signs, or texts, emails and letters. We write for fun; we write songs; or we write to transmit meaning. This mutualism between writing and reading is eternally significant, for you need one to do the other. Writing possess a multitude of faces; it can be used to provide entertainment, to inform, or to teach. Writing is permeable; it disregards the bounds of languages, and passes through them all.

And writing is universal: it exists in even the most remote of civilizations, and its ubiquitous characteristics make it a necessary and very basic human right. A foundational aspect of our lives is robbed of us if the skills of writing and reading are not well, or even at all, versed.

In this regard, books are essentially the harvest of writing. Books provoke one’s desire to obtain information and intelligence. When reading, you are reading the words of another man or woman, just as you are reading this.

Significantly, this means as we read, we delve into the mind of the author’s words, their perspective on any given subject matter, and their ideas. In turn, we may borrow elements of their themes, words, and concepts. The primitive composition, or the complex amalgamation of words, is responsible for the texts we read every day.

Books, as a product of writing, are necessary in documenting our thoughts, the inner-workings of our imagination, and our intellect. It then acts as a platform to share and obtain knowledge from those around us. There is a simplicity in the book that revives and beckons the words of millenniums ago, but dually, it bears a variable element of purity that allows it to prosper yet in the modern world.

New student orientation: Disrespectful to introverts?

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The Free Press apologizes for using the photo of CWEL scholars with this article in the October print issue. The direction of the article was not communicated to the photo owner and the students in the photo had no association with the article.

 

It has been a month since the semester started, though the first week of school is still vivid in my mind. Tons of social events, either for peer mentor groups or for residence halls, stacked together and I hardly found much time to be alone. Music, dancing, icebreaker games… everything was new to me, and learning and being exposed to new stuff make me feel fulfilled, but I also found myself feeling tired and weary. In one of the social events, I saw a girl standing alone and looking awkward, so I went up to her and asked if she was having a good time. “No…not really,” she responded.We exchanged some ideas and found we both agreed on the fact those events are overwhelming.

Therefore, I went to interview some people who didn’t like the orientation and asked them what the problem was: “I wish they could make the social activities optional instead of mandatory because I felt it was useless. I could remember neither the face nor the name of people I met. I didn’t get to know them, and I didn’t make any friends from speed-dating.”

“Social events like speed-dating were too superficial. School kept forcing us to participate in that kind of activities and left us no time to get to know people who we truly wanted to know. They should have thought more about introverts, because not everyone’s personality was well-suited for the situation.”

“Those events were too loud and noisy, and I didn’t enjoy hanging out with a bunch of strangers. If I wanted to know somebody, I had my own ways.”

Now I look back and think about how I met my friends: living in a same dorm, eating dinner together, having class together, getting to know them through other friends. There are countless ways to make new friends, but social events in new student orientation is definitely not on my list. I neither enjoyed those activities nor learned anything from it.

To an extent, the second comment hit the nail on the head: Not everyone prefers social events to make friends, and generally introverts tend to dislike them. Because they are introverts, they are quieter and easily neglected, but that does not mean their feelings could be ignored. I am not asking the school to cancel the events, simply to make those events optional. Freeing them from those events will leave them more time to be alone, meet and get to know people through the channels that make sense to them.

 

Suite selection process spurns seniors

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Mandell Family Hall has four-person suites.

Sunday morning, 11:30 a.m.: figures straggle into the common room one by one. “What a night, huh?” “Trim in a bit?” “I’ll give you my One Card if you get me a coffee from Dunks.”—all common phrases heard throughout a Babson suite on a Sunday morning after a long night spent studying. All participating in a scene that is as traditional as Woody at Dunks, Midnight Breakfast, or stooping.

Having the opportunity to live in a suite at Babson is a privilege. However, that privilege is currently being taken away from those who have earned it the most: seniors. After this year’s suite selection process was completed, it was clear something was awry. Instantly, large numbers of seniors took to social media to display their dismay at how quickly the suites ran out. Numbers that were previously considered locks for a suite did not even come close. One common theme was prevalent: there are currently a large number of senior students without suites.

Numbers have been thrown out, such as 65% of suites being composed of juniors. Furthermore, examples of suites being occupied by a majority of juniors are being cited left and right. Over 85 seniors without suites are currently a part of a Facebook group message. Amongst all this speculation, one thing remains clear: something went wrong.

The housing system is supposed to be designed to ensure fairness. However, there are rising juniors with better housing numbers than rising seniors. As the current housing code is written, rising juniors with enough credits to be considered rising seniors are entered into the same lottery as all rising seniors. This provision was designed considering that these rising juniors would be graduating early with rising seniors. However, there is no stipulation that these rising juniors must declare their intention to actually graduate early. This leaves a large number of rising juniors with the same opportunity to live in a suite as a rising senior.

The grievance is not with juniors living in suites. The grievance lies in the fact that certain juniors were given the same opportunity to live in a suite as seniors. It is understood that it is common practice for seniors to pull in one or two juniors to complete their suite, but the fact that there are suites composed mainly of juniors is simply not right.

Seniority is a term that has never been more applicable. Seniors who have contributed to the Babson community for three years are now being hung out to dry by the very community they helped to build. No senior wants to spend their final year living in a single in Putney while the suites are occupied by a large percentage of juniors.

Senior year is supposed to be a year spent making memories and cultivating relationships that have been formed over the first three years of college. The current housing system seriously compromises that opportunity, and something must be done.

Four- and six-person housing must be redrawn. Juniors should not be placed in the same pool as seniors unless they declare their intent to graduate early. Occupancy of suites should also be reconsidered. Suites should be forced to be occupied by a majority of seniors. Therefore, two juniors could live in a Mcullough or Pietz suite, or one junior could live in Map Hill.

As a rising senior, I want to look back on my Babson experience positively. I want a fair opportunity to have that Sunday morning in a suite comprised of my closest friends. I want the same opportunity for rising juniors when they become rising seniors. I want a housing system that rewards seniority instead of deeming it insignificant.

I am not alone in these sentiments, and we urge Babson to hear our concerns. As future graduates going out into the real world, we will certainly be asked about our college experience. Will we say that we had an amazing four years fostered by a supportive administration, or will we say #ThisIsNotOurBabson?