Published March 30, 2021
As President Biden warns of Jim Crow laws reappearing in Georgia, other state legislatures are taking similar nefarious steps backward. Meanwhile, conspiracy theories have taken on a new degree of racist provocation. From politics to social justice to climate change, Rutgers experts weigh in as trusted sources of insight sought out by local and national news platforms.
Rutgers Law School lecturer Yael Bromberg DC’05, NLAW’11 pens an op-ed for The Hill on the rise of voter suppression bills across the United States. “Advocates for these restrictions have clear intentions: to rig the system to exclude specific types of voters from participating,” says Bromberg. “We must demand the passage of the For the People Act [voting-rights legislation recently passed by the House of Representatives] because it is crucial to our democracy. We must also recognize and harness the existing power of the 26th Amendment to protect voting rights.”
The Hill | Voting rights are under siege—the 26th Amendment could be their salvation
QAnon spreads new conspiracy theories aimed at China and Jewish people, claiming that these racial groups are attempting worldwide dominance. Joel Finkelstein, the director of Rutgers University’s Network Contagion Research Institute, warns that this shift in conspiracy theories can increase violence toward Asian and Jewish people. “They are unifying under a giant umbrella of a common enemy. Sometimes it’s the Jews. Occasionally it’s the Asians, usually it’s the government. What is happening is they are fishing for different issues to cause violence,” Finkelstein tells the Los Angeles Times.
Los Angeles Times | QAnon now pushes alarming conspiracy myths targeting China and Jewish people
The vast majority of CEOs in the United States say they will want to know if their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 before they return to the workplace, according to MarketWatch. Sahar Aziz, a professor at Rutgers Law School in Newark and an expert on employment discrimination, says, “Employers have the law on their side,” in mandating that their workers be vaccinated. The exception, Aziz adds, is workers with a “sincerely held religious belief” against vaccinations or workers who have disabilities preventing them from getting inoculated.
MarketWatch | 90% of CEOs say they’ll want to know if employees are vaccinated—before they return to the office
Solar geoengineering could help reduce the impacts of climate change but some scientists are concerned that just studying the technology is a slippery slope to deploying it, according to a story in Axios. “It is more of a sticky slope,” says Alan Robock, a distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. “Doing research doesn’t necessarily lead to deployment—it might lessen the chances of it happening.”
Axios | Warming up to solar geoengineering
Shifting ocean conditions caused by climate change pose a large threat to seafood availability. Malin Pinsky, an ecologist studying climate and fisheries at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, tells Eater that ocean species are moving at a shockingly fast rate as ocean temperatures increase. “The future of fisheries depends on our ability to adapt,” says Pinsky. “We won’t be able to insist on sticking with the fisheries from a half-century ago.”
Eater | We’re all learning to love jellyfish now, thanks to climate change
According to many experts, the United States has yet to catch up with the rest of the developed world in terms of a coherent, functioning childcare system. Rutgers University–Camden sociology professors Joan Maya Mazelis and Laura Napolitano share their insights into the problem in a Philadelphia Inquirer historical overview. Both scholars locate the discussion in the context of women’s issues. Mazelis describes the emergence of Civil War-era widows’ pensions as “the first recognition in America that some women would need assistance,” while Napolitano decries how, a century and half later, “women’s issues are just not given the gravitas they deserve.”
Philadelphia Inquirer | Why doesn’t the U.S. value child care? A historic look