Published July 10, 2020
News outlets turn to Rutgers faculty and researchers to help make sense of complicated topics and explain the work they’re doing to better the world. And Rutgers experts continue to offer key guidance to local officials, communities, and media outlets about moving forward through the COVID crisis safely. In these confusing, turbulent, and culturally critical times, it’s evident that Rutgers continues the important work of addressing racial and social inequalities, and to lead America as a model for university engagement within the public sphere. Here’s your weekly guide to Rutgers experts in the news.
On Monday, Rutgers announced that the university will operate in a hybrid mode during the fall 2020 semester, delivering courses predominantly via remote instruction with a limited number of in-person classes. On the same day, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced a new policy that would force international students to leave the country if all of their classes are held online this fall, which could affect 7,500 students across the Rutgers system. The ICE announcement has sparked outrage and at least one lawsuit from the higher education community. Rutgers was already set to experience a significant drop in first-year international students thanks to the COVID-19 crisis, which has already made a huge impact on the university. To put the effect of this new policy in perspective, international students contributed an estimated $45 billion to the U.S. economy 2018, according to the Institute of International Education. In response to the new policy, President Holloway issued a statement saying, “Rutgers University strenuously disagrees with this rule change and the spirit of the change, which appears to target our vibrant international student community… we will do everything in our power to defend their ability to remain in the United States.”
CBS Local Philadelphia | Local Colleges Scramble To Help International Students After ICE Policy Change
Addressing systemic injustice
As demonstrations after George Floyd’s killing in police custody unfolded across the nation last month, the chief justice of North Carolina weighed in with her own declaration. “In our courts, African-Americans are more harshly treated, more severely punished and more likely to be presumed guilty,” said Chief Justice and recent Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni inductee Cheri Beasley. “These protests are a resounding, national chorus of voices whose lived experiences reinforce the notion that black people are ostracized, cast out, and dehumanized. As chief justice, it is my responsibility to take ownership of the way our courts administer justice and acknowledge that we must do better.” Within days, state supreme courts and chief justices around the country began to echo Chief Justice Beasley’s call, issuing their own statements on what they said was the judiciary’s role in perpetuating injustices and pledging to root out racial bias.
The Wall Street Journal | Breaking With Tradition, Some Judges Speak Out on Racial Injustice
Sarah Esther Lageson, a professor at Rutgers University–Newark’s School of Criminal Justice, urges Google to allow individuals to request that their mug shot be delinked to searches for their name. “If the company is willing to admit the harm of mug shots for its own advertising business, why not extend this right to the millions of (disproportionately Black) people who must contend with Guilt-by-Google for their entire lives?” she writes in an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The San Francisco Chronicle | Mug shots don’t belong on search engines
Concerned about reinforcing racial biases, police departments and newsrooms across the U.S. are ending the practice of releasing mug shots. How did the practice begin and evolve over time? A New York Times story includes expertise on the subject from Rutgers art history professor Nicole Fleetwood, author of Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration. Recounting the origin of the mug shot in 19th-century France, Fleetwood draws a connection between publicizing mug shots and the promotion of a vigilante mentality.
The New York Times | The Mug Shot, a Crime Story Staple, Is Dropped by Some Newsrooms and Police
“While civic participation is celebrated as a pillar of American democracy, many sociopolitical systems were designed to exclude Black people from participating,” says a Star-Ledger op-ed by Laurent Reyes, Emily Greenfield, and Adrian Gale, scholars at the Rutgers School of Social Work. Public funds can empower community organizations to help end racial inequities, the coauthors assert, and “will help ensure that today’s historic moment becomes a sustainable effort to end white supremacy and the archaic foundations that uphold it.”
Jessica Methot, an associate professor at Rutgers’ School of Management and Labor Relations, writes in an op-ed in HR Dive about how companies can safely reopen offices without sacrificing productivity and social ties among employees. For organizations that have open plan workspaces, she suggests moving “individual workspaces to the perimeter and creat[ing] a main path through the middle of the room. This keeps foot traffic away from people who are working at their desk.”
Alan Hyde, a distinguished professor at Rutgers Law School in Newark, says coronavirus liability waivers, which some workers say they’ve been asked to sign upon returning to their jobs, are pointless. A waiver sends “a terrible message to employees, [and] as a legal matter it also doesn’t accomplish anything,” Hyde tells NJ101.5.
Reynold Panettieri, vice chancellor of the Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science, talks to Prevention about the serious COVID-19 complication of double pneumonia. The situation “can be life-threatening if it’s extensive,” says Panettieri, but “sometimes, double pneumonia is well tolerated.” He adds that “for viral pneumonia and COVID pneumonia, it’s really about supportive care—making sure the patient has enough fluids, giving them oxygen if they’re low, and having them do bed rest.”
Broadway World reports on the eMuseum experience launched by the Zimmerli Art Museum to enable online viewing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative will provide online visitors access to “more than 7,000 images of artwork in the institution’s collection. Text information for some 18,000 additional works is also available. Museum staff continue to upload images weekly to increase access for visitors.”
Broadway World | The Zimmerli Art Museum Launches eMuseum
A warm, dry June and climbing temperatures in early July could push New Jersey toward a drought, says David Robinson, a distinguished professor of geography and the state climatologist. “Every time we turn on the tap we have to think about the finite water supplies we have here,” Robinson tells NJ101.5 “With continuing warmth and if we stay on the dry side, the big concern is that reservoirs will begin to fall at an unusually rapid pace.”