Op/Ed

Op/Ed

Conflicted student seeks internship solutions

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“Middle-market. Leveraged capital buyout. T­–M–T.”

My friend is wearing a pink striped tie and a blazer. He has a video interview tonight, his eleventh recently, and recites contrived phrases as he paces the room.

“Enterprise software solutions. Accretion.”

I am lounging on a bed wearing a loose-fitting kurta and sipping iced coffee. I do not have an interview tonight, nor have I had one this month or the month before.

“This isn’t for lack of trying,” I would like to write. But, except for a few consulting applications, I haven’t embarked on my Junior Year Internship Search, that all-important third-year rite. Until now, I’ve hurdled through my college years like one of those Spartan racers. Having overcome classes and clubs and jobs, I feel like a mud-streaked champion, successful if not graceful. Now, an unexpected roadblock. I can’t bring myself to upload my resume and click submit.

Multi-level marketing: One student’s experience

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Multi-level marketing is a business model that often gets criticized as a get-rich-quick or pyramid scheme. Companies such as Vector Marketing, Vemma, Avon, Wake Up Now, and others utilize this structure in order to simplify training and increase the reach of their direct selling by tapping into the networks of their sales representatives. Personally, I only have experience with one company, Vector Marketing.

I began work at Vector the summer before my senior year of high school. I had been looking for a summer job and found a sales opportunity available off Craigslist that promised a base pay of at least minimum wage, and the possibility of making commission. I didn’t know anything about Vector; I just knew they were offering me an opportunity to make money, so I scheduled an interview. After being hired to join the team I began my career as a sales representative. The first step was a three-day training to educate new representatives on the product and the sales pitch used by the company. I was given a demonstration kit with a sample of the products Vector marketed, Cutco cutlery. This allowed me to perform in-home demonstrations, which are the key to the Vector sales pitch. The success of the direct sales method lies in the strength of the product itself. Cutco knives are exceptional quality and I can honestly say there was not a single home I visited which had better knives than the Cutco blades. The knives are priced to compete on the high end of the market, with some sets running into the thousands of dollars.

At first, you are tasked to visit friends and family to give a demo and refine your pitch, but an even bigger part of the marketing strategy is that after every demo you are expected to get the names of ten or more recommendations of people you can call to schedule another demo. By doing this, your list of potential customers grows exponentially. This is an effective system of selling. By getting college age students to tap into their family and friend network, Vector is breaking down the barrier to the customer right off the bat. People are far more likely to trust a friend of a friend than a salesperson at Macy’s. The potential customers do not even have to be in the market for cutlery because the sales reps will get paid whether or not they make a sale.

We have to remember that customers have a choice to buy or not to buy and that people have a choice to go into sales or not.”

Now that I have described a little more about Vector, I will talk about why they can sometimes get flack. One major factor is that some offices force new representatives to buy their demonstration kit. People feel that this is just a quick way for Vector to make a buck, without any regard for the success of the sales rep. Luckily, in many offices Vector has begun to offer you free kits for your entire tenure as a sales rep. The kit is a necessary part of the job and by making one small sale a person can offset the cost of the kit.

Another common criticism is that profits trickle up the ladder in a pyramid scheme-like flow. While it is true that office, district, and regional managers get a percentage of the sales in their area, it is all part of the motivation to strive for success across the board. Sales reps benefit from commissions when they do well, and managers benefit from a percentage when they have trained a sales force to do well. This is part of the allure of Vector—there is no limit to your potential to earn or advance. Vector is a great example of a “get what you give” arrangement. For this reason, a lot of people end up making very little money. Vector is not like a typical retail position where you are essentially guaranteed pay whether or not you excel at your tasks. Some people come into Vector expecting a big paycheck, but don’t put in the effort or the hours in order to learn the system and get in front of enough people to make a sale. Sales is a tough job, even for those who are good at it. It can be a long time between sales and nothing is guaranteed. This is not the right job for everyone.

Babson Professor and Chair of the Marketing Division Victoria Crittenden is on the Academic Advisory board of Vector. Her first experience with the company came when she was putting together a case on Cutco, Vectors manufacturing and product lines. She met with the startup team to review their efforts to expand internationally and toured the manufacturing facility in Olean, New York. She was able to get a grant from the Direct Selling Association to write a case on Cutco. She joined the Academic Advisory Board in 2000.

“We have to remember that customers have a choice to buy or not buy and that people have a choice to go into sales or not. Setting that aspect of selling aside, working in sales always involves a salesperson who is attempting to sell something. When the salespeople are doing their jobs well, everyone in the organization thrives. That’s not a pyramid scheme or a scam—as long as the legitimate practices are in place to make sure all are compensated legally and that customers are receiving the quality products they thought they were purchasing,” Professor Crittenden said.

While I personally believe that working in a structured environment like Vector may not allow an entrepreneur to thrive, Professor Crittenden made a good point that no matter what business you are in, you are always selling something. I can definitely support her view that Vector allows its reps and managers to hone skills that are applicable to other business situations, but also in daily life. Being a sales rep teaches you skills in sales, marketing, organization, and communication. You learn to have an interaction with a customer in order to make a sale based on their needs. Vector is a rarity in that it allows people the chance to dive into the sales and management experience.

Vector may not be a long-term fit for some, but after spending 8 months as a sales rep and assistant manager, I believe that Vector has something to offer everyone, and can be an ideal platform to thrive. Professor voiced to me what she thought were the greatest strengths of Vector, and I completely agree. She mentions that the system “enables a young person to expand his/her people skillset in a nurturing environment.” A young person can be proud of the product and the company itself. Cutco is a premium product, no question. Possibly most important is the “investment that the company makes in creating and delivering sales training for students.” Vector is not going to be perfect for everyone, but it is a system that puts the power in the hands of the sales representatives. If you commit to the training and listen to your manager, you will be able to sell. Not everyone is going to have a six-figure sales campaign, but the life skills that I learned at Vector are more valuable than the money I made.

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.

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.

 

Our Presidential Candidates: What You NEED to Know

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Our Presidential Candidates: What you NEED to know

Hillary Clinton

         Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton is the democratic party nominee who also happens to be the first major female candidate in history. Her candidacy marks an era where gender no longer bars political ambition, where one can campaign on a message of inclusion and diversity. On policy, the Secretary has been unapologetically centrist on issues, an accusation to which she pleads “guilty.” Her personal center-left politics are moderate to say the least, as she is not extreme at all. Notwithstanding the occasional tug of a primary race, or a flip flop to address a new age, her positions are roughly the same: centrist policy that hardly anyone can agree or disagree with.

What you need to know

After the primary, Hillary Clinton took a very hard, and uncharacteristic, turn to leftist ideology in order to appease Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ supporters. She favors more government intervention, or “investment” as she refers to it, in the economy. Entitlement growth, government subsidies, and public sector expansion are all to be expected under a Clinton administration. Clinton has also explicitly expressed a potent sense of fiscal responsibility. Being quoted for claiming to pay for everything she proposes, and “not adding a penny to the national debt,” one can also expect to see high tax spikes under her term. These taxes are meant to come from the wealthiest persons and corporations in the United States.

On foreign policy, Clinton has a very hawkish attitude. In Syria, she proposes a “no fly zone” over Aleppo that would prohibit any nation from flying into the area; an action that Generals in the United States military say would cause war with the Russian Federation.

Beyond policy, Clinton has an impressive array of personal qualifications, yielding experience that undoubtedly equals what is asked of the President of the United States. She has been a successful attorney, the First Lady of Arkansas, the First Lady of the United States, a New York Senator, the Secretary of State, and now a premiere presidential candidate. Her political experience is unparalleled, unrivaled, and beyond comparison to Trump. Her experience is so overwhelming that some consider it to be a fault.

On a more personal level, Clinton has a few problems. Firstly, both President Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders have said that Hillary Clinton has poor judgment. Clinton also lied about Benghazi, her state department emails, and even in the third presidential debate, she was caught in a lie over her desire for “open borders.”

She is also on the record for having “a public and private” political position on issues, suggesting that her real intentions are not as transparent as previously thought. She has repeatedly refused to release her transcripts from speeches made to big banking donors behind closed doors.

Additionally, Clinton has been accused of operating a “pay to play” system at the State Department during her tenure as Secretary of State. The accusation includes giving her donors special favors after a monetary exchange, or donation, to the Clinton Foundation. Her charity foundation took in millions of dollars from foreign governments- the same she dealt with in the State Department. Clinton represents the status quo. She is an establishment candidate who has been in politics for 40+ years. Her policies would largely represent an extension of the laws and processes that Obama has been pushing forward for the last 8 years.

Donald Trump

          Donald John Trump is a billionaire business mogul who is the Republican presidential nominee. Rather than pursuing politics, he has spent his life crafting a personal brand of opulence and success that is self evident from any of his real estate ventures. Donald Trump’s landmark candidacy is particularly surprising because of his ability to, well, win. As a total and complete political outsider, he beat a well-qualified group of 16 candidates in a primary that he was never, ever supposed to win. He is unapologetically brash and uncensored, preferring to speak his mind than use a politician’s filter.

Using plain and imprecise language, Trump has often landed himself in controversy, perhaps purposefully. Through a clever use of the media cycle, and a belief that bad publicity is better than none, Mr. Trump prefers the media to do his advertising for him through name recognition, as he is now known to be “the Loudest Man on the Planet”.

What you need to know

                    Donald Trump’s political background is murky to say the least. By “playing off both sides” Trump has built up a very convoluted political past. He has supported and critiqued both democratic and republican presidents, showing his unconventional political stances. Beyond his support for varying policies, Trump is very outspoken.

He does not care whether his comments are misunderstood, offensive, misleading, or purposefully unclear. Since Trump so clearly represents a populist surge in American politics, he has faced hurdles at every step of his campaign. No party establishment wants an outsider- someone who will completely break apart their status quo, and yet he managed to pull off a landslide victory.

Trump answers to an extraordinarily angry and distraught electorate, the kind of people who lost their jobs as they watched their communities fall apart. These people feel betrayed by the political class, by everyone who has had the power to help them out, so it’s not surprising that they are so willing to overlook Trump’s comments and faults.

Trump’s policies are not what one would expect from the typical Republican playbook. He is not for free trade as others, but would rather have “fair” trade. He wants a system that allows workers in America to pursue good jobs. Trump’s greatest appeal lies in his proposition to help fix the broken trade deals that America is currently engaged in.

             Another position is his hardline stance on immigration. Just as the Republican party was about to concede the immigration debate, Trump exploded the conversation. He wants to fully overhaul the immigration process, as he says “there is none; they’re pouring over our border!” Building a wall, deportations, and strict adherence to immigration laws would be expected from a Trump administration.

Trump would also like to lessen the tax burden on American families, individuals, and companies. The Trump tax cuts would slash the federal budget, and in the short run blow up the yearly deficit. At the same time, however, Trump believes the plan to spur the economy into robust growth (of about 3-4% GDP as opposed to 1-2%) and massive reinvestment due to the low corporate tax rate.

Trump has also expressed concern over our National Debt, however, he considers fixing the economy a primary concern. On foreign policy Trump is less hawkish than Mrs. Clinton. He proposes working together with Russia, and pulling out of the Middle east; an action that would avoid large conflicts with other countries in the area.

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

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?

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.

Community Unity Educators: From “salad bowl” to “melting pot”

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On its website, Babson proudly boasts of having as many as 80 countries represented in its student population. In front of the Horn Library, international flags wave in unison as another remind of the diversity on campus. Babson even dedicates an entire residence hall, the Pride tower, towards LGBT awareness.

Yet as much as Babson strives to cater to the needs of its multicultural community, it still has a long way to go. Babson is like a salad bowl, where students of different backgrounds are tossed together, as opposed to a melting pot, where everyone contributes to the development and wellbeing of the community.

As a CUE, or Community Unity Educator, my mission is to make the melting pot a reality. I, along with four other CUES, want to start the conversation around inclusion.

One of our initiatives was a question box that asked people to explain what the phrase “BISO” means to them. Since it was anonymous, we received many frank responses. Someone wrote in that he couldn’t stand to be called a BISO, because of all the negative connotations that come with the label.

Despite the stereotype, not all international students are wealthy or exclusive. Evidentially, there is a lot of potential for a more unified community here at Babson.

To promote this vision, the CUES are hosting office hours, where students are encouraged to stop by and share your thoughts and experiences. Whether it is an offensive comment or ideas about new initiatives and events, we are here to listen. CUE can be reached on Twitter: @BabsonCUES.