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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Opinion

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Guest

Op-ed: Tufts graduate workers need a just contract

On April 10, over 100 graduate workers filed into the Alumnae Lounge to meet with Tufts administrators and lawyers. As members of the SEIU 509 Tufts University Graduate Workers Union, it is our right to negotiate with Tufts Management over a new collective bargaining agreement — the contract that sets the terms of our working conditions. Our proposal is grounded in essential principles: We deserve fair compensation and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. We need a just contract with wages, benefits and workplace protections that meet our basic needs.




The Setonian
Column

Around the Corner: The Case for an AI Ban

2023 is the year of AI. Tools like Chat-GPT, Midjourney and others have become ubiquitous in our society and popular culture; from South Park to Snapchat, AI has captured discourse like never before. The rapid advancement of technology has opened the door to possibilities that were once restricted to science fiction. AI’s recent developments have also suggested that it may overtake us sooner than was previously thought. A survey of 356 AI experts in 2022 found that half of those experts believed that a human-level AI would be developed before 2061. The vast majority — 90% — thought it would be developed within the century. While the same experts also caution against fear-mongering, there is a possibility we will confront artificial life with equivalent or greater intelligence than us within our (for my readers in college) lifetime. 


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Guest

Op-ed: It's time democratic governments fight for all political prisoners

Last week, Russian authorities unlawfully sentenced dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza to 25 years in prison. Kara-Murza has been incredibly brave in the name of freedom, and his arbitrary detainment should be widely condemned. The news of his arrest made it to the front page of the Financial Times and several other well-respected news sources. Considering this media spotlight on Kara-Murza, I think it’s time we bring attention to the millions of other political prisoners around the world. 


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Viewpoint

Why politics and policy are important

For many Americans, politics aren’t that interesting. A 2021 poll found that only 36% of Americans aged 18–29 consider themselves politically engaged, while only around 45% of eligible voters voted in the 2022 midterm elections. It’s understandable that this is the case: With politics as divided as they are today, many might see politics as an unproductive screaming match. Others might be disillusioned at the amount of lying that occurs in politics. In many cases, politics are simply sidelined in comparison to other responsibilities. All of these are sensible reasons, so much so that even I myself didn’t follow politics until a few years ago. Now, however, I would like to make the case that unfashionable as it may be, we should care about politics, at least a little bit.



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Guest

Op-ed: Dear EPA, keep your paws off Americans’ cars

In 2022, electric cars made up 7% of all new car sales in the United States. Furthermore, the average new electric vehicle costs nearly $59,000 in March 2023, about $11,000 more than the industry average, according to Kelley Blue Book. Yet, despite these low numbers, the Environmental Protection Agency wants to tell you and your family what type of car to buy — and it’s not one from the 93%. Just a few days ago, the EPA announced new regulations for a massive reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks sold after 2027, effectively mandating that over half of all new vehicles in 2032 be electric. The announcement has leading automakers putting pedal to the metal to shift their vehicle portfolios to electric. What does all of this show? Just how radical Biden’s environmental, social and governance agenda really is.


The Setonian
Column

The End of the World Has Just Begun: Western Europe goes under

President Donald Trump’s actions towards the United States’ Western European allies, such as his mocking of German energy policy at the U.N., left relations strained, with a lasting impact even under President Joe Biden, but this may have been because of a structural reason that no one saw. Namely, Western Europe’s place and significance in the international system has declined since the beginning of the 20th century, leaving not only its future relationship with America, but also its future as a whole, ambiguous.


The Setonian
Viewpoint

US college rankings: Do they measure what matters?

If you’ve been through a college application cycle, then you’ve surely heard of the U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings report, which prides itself on having “expert advice, rankings and data to help you navigate your education journey and find the best college for you.” But how accurate is this ranking? How heavily should we rely on its advice? The U.S. News ranking uses 17 “measures of academic quality” such as class size, faculty salary and graduation rate, which are then weighted on a 100-point scale. These factors do impact a student’s college experience. However, the report's focus misses critical aspects of what makes a school a good fit for its students, such as successful job placement in a field relevant to a student’s major, student happiness and a feeling of belonging on campus.


The Setonian
Guest

Letter to the Editor: Data can help us talk about gun violence

I applaud The Tufts Daily Editorial Board for calling on the university to establish a Center for the Study of Gun Violence in its April 6 editorial, “Tufts should step up to fill the gun violence research gap.” The board raises excellent questions detailing our lack of understanding about gun ownership and our culture, as well as mental health and access to firearms, and how we can collectively work toward gun safety that can’t fall prey to the trappings of politics — by looking at data.



The Setonian
Column

The Strike Zone: Brasilia — a modernist utopia?

Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, completed its construction in 1960 with the intent of using modernist architecture as a tool to forge a futuristic utopian society. The city was designed around urban planner Lucio Costa’s airplane-shaped “Plano Piloto.” A series of residential “superquadras” along the plane’s wings contained dwellings, hospitals and schools and were connected to government buildings in the airplane’s cockpit through central highways. Brasilia’s designers hoped to create an egalitarian city which could be inhabited by government ministers and blue-collar workers alike. 


The Setonian
Column

Ukraine at War: Ukrainian women rescued 31 children kidnapped by Russia, many more still cannot return home

This spring, a team of Ukrainian women took a dangerous trip to Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea to bring home some of the Ukrainian children who were illegally kidnapped from the other regions occupied by the Kremlin. Although around three dozen rescued kids are now able to reunite with their families, thousands or even hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian children and teenagers still cannot return to Ukraine.



The Setonian
Editorial

Dissent: The case for living uphill

Fundamentally, we disagree with the Editorial Board’s decision to endorse downhill living but respect the deliberative process which led five of our seven board members to argue in favor of lower campus life. As such, we have decided to write a dissenting opinion in response to the Board, with whom we could not reach an agreement.



The Setonian
Viewpoint

How to make the most of campus life at Tufts

For most Tufts students, the Medford/Somerville campus is a central part of life. I have compiled a list of some great places, buildings and businesses around campus which you may not know about, and which hopefully can help you get the most out of your time on campus. 


The Setonian
Viewpoint

The sinister side of Spring Fling

“Low” (2007), “Right Round” (2009), “Good Feeling” (2011). Most people can recognize the melody or lyrics of these songs even if they may not attribute them to Flo Rida. At first glance, Flo Rida being selected for Spring Fling seems like an ideal choice: easily recognizable songs that match the energy and spectacle that Tufts tries to achieve at Spring Fling — a day filled with live music and energetic Tufts students celebrating in order to forget the looming threat of finals season. However, underneath the seemingly harmless surface of Flo Rida lies a more ominous truth.


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Editorial

Editorial: Tufts community can help Kamile Wayit, other minority groups in Asia facing state persecution

In the past few decades, reports detailing systemic oppression of minority populations in Asia have come into focus. From the genocide of the Rohingya people in Myanmar to China’s decimation of Tibetan and Uyghur communities, the magnitude of persistent human rights violations calls for increased attention and political advocacy from the international community. 


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Viewpoint

Ron DeSantis is no better than Donald Trump

As Ron DeSantis has risen to fame as the governor of Florida, many moderates and centrists have urged “Never Trumpers” and Democrats to support him in his bid to win the Republican nomination. Some Never Trumpers are indeed backing Ron DeSantis, including prominent ones like David French. Conor Friedersdorf, another moderate conservative, summed up the reasoning behind this well in an Atlanticarticle:he believes Ron DeSantis is not immoral or authoritarian, unlike Trump. The reasoning goes that while DeSantis might do objectionable things or he might support bad policies, he isn’t a bad person or anti-democracy like Donald Trump is. However, the Lincoln Project, a prominent group of anti-Trumpers, doesn’t support DeSantis. They’re right to do so and other Never Trumpers should follow their lead. While DeSantis has a more respectable veneer, a close examination of his record shows he is just as authoritarian and immoral as Donald Trump is.