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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, December 3, 2023

Reya Kumar


Voting rights are under attack — they must be protected and strengthened

On Monday, a federal appeals court dealt a grievous blow to the Voting Rights Act, which has protected the voting rights of minorities since it was passed in 1965. The VRA has faced many challenges through the years and was considerably weakened in 2013. The Shelby County v. Holder decision ended the preclearance provision in Section 5 of the VRA — which required states to receive approval for new voting laws from the Department of Justice if they had a history of discriminatory voting practices. Preclearance was first upheld by the Supreme Court in 1966 and has been called the “heart” of the VRA.


Let’s give thanks without the history lesson

I can still recall my elementary school Thanksgiving celebrations. Using construction paper, we made “Indian” feather headdresses and Pilgrim hats to don at our Thanksgiving feast. We celebrated the voyage of the Mayflower (as we had those of the Niña, Pinta and Santa María a month before) and the friendship of two peoples. Considering that 90% of the Indigenous population of the Americas was killed by violence and disease following Christopher Columbus’ famed 1492 voyage, this story is false and deeply misleading.


Tufts’ financial quandary, Part 1: The reasons for and ramifications of high tuition

It is no secret that Tufts is expensive. Tufts is the fifth most expensive school in the country, with tuition for the 2023–24 school year being more than $66,000, well above the national average for private colleges, which is approximately $42,000. This astronomical price tag has numerous implications. For one, it limits the socioeconomic diversity of our student body. A 2017 study found that Tufts is ranked 10th in the nation for colleges with the highest median family income and 50% of Tufts students come from the top 5%. Only 44% of Tufts students are on financial aid, versus 55% at Harvard or 56% at Amherst. These stats are to be expected, with tuition as high as it is. There are certainly many qualified students who would love to attend Tufts, but aren’t here because they simply can’t afford it. Our campus is missing their perspectives and contributions.


Biden’s low polling isn’t the end of the story

President Joe Biden is currently polling lower than most of our last six presidents at this point in their first term. The only one who consistently matched these abysmally low numbers is his likely opponent in 2024, former President Donald Trump. The 2024 election is looking to be a rematch between two of the most deeply-disliked presidents in America’s recent past.


We must all be patriots to the cause of a just America

American patriotism is a fraught concept. It often evokes images of the stars and stripes, which, in recent years, have become tied to people such as the so-called “QAnon Shaman” who sported red, white and blue face paint while storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Meanwhile, “patriotic education,” which is in actuality a white-washing of American history, has been pushed by conservatives in response to the long overdue acknowledgment of the impact of slavery and systemic racism in public school education. As for what is considered unpatriotic, star quarterback Colin Kaepernick was effectively blacklisted from the NFL — a uniquely American institution — for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality against Black Americans.


Why do a comedian’s lies feel like a betrayal?

Last week, reporter Clare Malone published a New Yorker article that exposed the lies that litter comedian Hasan Minhaj’s popular Netflix specials. At first glance, this appears to be a nonissue. Why should we expect truth from comedians? In fact, comedy idol Jerry Seinfeld has said that all his jokes are made up. Comedians are not journalists, activists or educators. And yet, Minhaj has fashioned himself as all three.


The Class of 2021 deserves closure and celebration

This May, Tufts is holding an in-person ceremony celebrating the deserving students of the Class of 2022. We are also celebrating the students of the Class of 2020, whose college experience was unceremoniously cut short by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is undeniable that these students missed out on the communal rituals that signal the end of an undergraduate education, it is also important to acknowledge the similar experience of the Class of 2021.


The attack on reproductive rights continues

Roe v. Wade,the landmark Supreme Court case that has served as the primary protection for abortion rights since the 1970s, will likely be overturned this summer. Oral arguments were heard last December for the Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which asks the Supreme Court to re-evaluate Roe v. Wade. With the current 6–3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, a decision to overturn — or, at the very least, limit — Roe is expected.

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