Published August 10, 2021

An ultimatum for the planet, a new strategy for regulating firearms, and an alarming development in public education. Rutgers experts and community members explore the issues.

A major new United Nations report finds that we can no longer prevent further global warming over the next 30 years, although there is a small window in which we can forestall the worst outcomes, reports the New York Times. Robert Kopp, an associate professor in Rutgers’ Department of Early and Planetary Sciences and a co-author of the report, tells the Times, “It’s not like we can draw a sharp line where, if we stay at 1.5 degrees, we’re safe, and at 2 degrees or 3 degrees it’s game over. But every extra bit of warming increases the risks.”

New York Times | A hotter future is certain, climate panel warns. But how hot is up to us.

NPR affiliate WBGO reports that Michael Anestis, Rutgers School of Health professor and director of the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center, supports the Biden administration’s data-driven approach to gun control. “The focus on tracing the sources of crime guns offers a lot of potential to better equip states and law enforcement agencies to…shut down the pipelines that cause firearms to go across state lines and then be trafficked into cities,” says Anestis. His comments also touch on a link between communal experiences and lower suicide rates.

WBGO | Rutgers professor approves of Biden approach to reducing gun violence

EdSource examines data from 2020 showing a steep decline in public school enrollment for kindergartners and quotes W. Steven Barnett, a Rutgers Graduate School of Education distinguished professor. “Missing kindergarten will be a problem for many children,” says Barnett, including “children with disabilities [who] missed important services” and those from “lower-income families…less likely to be able to provide substitutes for missed kindergarten experiences.” Barnett suggests intensive one-on-one tutoring as the best way for public schools to help students catch up.

EdSource | How going remote led to dramatic drops in public school students

Healthline reports on new research showing Americans who get their COVID-19 news and information solely from Facebook have much lower vaccination rates than the general population. Katherine Ognyanova, an assistant professor at Rutgers’ School of Communication and Information who helped conduct the survey, says, “This could be because they encounter more bad information on those platforms. False stories can spread fast and reach large groups of people online. It could also be because Americans who do not trust traditional institutions (mainstream media, the government, health experts) rely primarily on social media for their news.”

Healthline | How going remote led to dramatic drops in public school students

Patch profiles Rose Cuison-Villazor, the first Filipina-American and Asian-American woman dean of a U.S. law school. Cuison-Villazor, who will serve as interim co-dean at Rutgers Law School in Newark while the university conducts a national search, is the founding director of the Center for Immigration Law, Policy, and Justice. “I’m looking forward to working with the law school faculty and administration to provide an academically robust legal education program while continuing Rutgers University–Newark’s role as an anchor institution and meeting the needs of the Newark community,” says Cuison-Villazor.

Patch | Rutgers law school dean trailblazes for Asian-American women

WHYY reports on a study conducted by Sheila Linz and Kathy Jackson GSNB’08, SN’11, professors at Rutgers University–Camden’s School of Nursing, focusing on the benefits of mindfulness and yoga in improving mental health. During the study, Camden residents used mindfulness techniques and “photovoice” methods to destress. “Mindfulness is a tool that would be useful in a situation where people are prone to reacting without necessarily thinking everything through,” says Linz.

WHYY | Rutgers-Camden study helps some Camden residents cope with pandemic

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