Published February 16, 2021
Photo by John Minchillo/AP Photo
Prosecutors continue to identify and charge suspects from the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Meanwhile, President Biden seeks to reverse some—but not all—of his predecessor’s foreign policies. Following these developments and many other issues, from QAnon’s growing footprint to COVID’s impact on the homeless, Rutgers experts offer their insight in news stories while the work of Rutgers creators and activists leads to compelling headlines.
Many criminal cases against Capitol rioters will probably be supported by images the offenders generated themselves, says Douglas Husak, a distinguished professor of the philosophy of law at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. He tells Newsweek, “Most of the evidence used against them will probably come from the pictures [rioters] took and the videos they posted. This is an increasingly common phenomenon: people incriminate themselves through social media. This is not the brightest strategy in the world.”
While President Joe Biden is taking some small steps to change some of the Trump administration’s anti-Palestinian policies, Noura Erakat, an assistant professor of Africana studies at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, writes in an op-ed for NBC News that Biden’s early Israel policies won’t be much better for Palestinians. “…none of these policies, welcome though they are, will challenge the oppressive status quo sustained by the United States,” she writes. “Worse still, the Biden administration will uphold several of the Trump administration’s most damning precedents.”
Mindful that New Jersey’s most vulnerable citizens have lacked basic protections during the pandemic, Rutgers sophomore Percy Tse decided to collect and distribute face masks to homeless populations in the state. Tse’s internship with nonprofit Four Oxen brought in 76,000 surgical masks, more than half of which have been sent to shelters and other organizations across the Garden State as well as in Philadelphia. “We are expanding the scope to other vulnerable populations,” says Tse, adding that the effort will continue in the communities already being served.
CBS Philly reports on Johnson & Johnson’s pursuit of FDA emergency approval for their one-dose COVID-19 vaccine, noting that the majority of the company’s clinical trials took place at Rutgers. “We all hope that after careful review of the trial results by the FDA that emergency use authorization is justified,” says principal investigator Jeffrey Carson, provost at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “This vaccine has the potential to reduce mortality [and] hospitalizations for serious infections, and vaccinate up to 100 million Americans by the summer.”
Some yoga practitioners are doing more than teaching their students the downward dog and child’s poses: they’re also espousing antivaccination rhetoric and QAnon falsehoods. “The antivax part of QAnon is deeply embedded in libertarian beliefs about the body/individual as self-property and the needle as invasion,” Jack Bratich, an associate professor of journalism at Rutgers University–New Brunswick and an expert on conspiracy theories, tells StarTribune.com. “It can connect to ‘body as temple’ [theories] in Western versions of yoga, where more ‘natural’ health beliefs also circulate.”
Compiling suggestions from the staff of Black-owned bookstores across the country, W magazine includes Erica Armstrong Dunbar’s She Came to Slay in its list of essential reading by Black authors. Jeannine Cook, co-owner of Harriet’s Bookshop in Philadelphia, cites Dunbar’s book for its significance as “a comprehensive narrative of the life of Harriet Tubman” (for whom, incidentally, the store is named). Dunbar is a distinguished professor of history in the School of Arts and Sciences.