The Wall of Hate

Published: The Good Men Project (March 29, 2016)

Let’s talk, for a moment, about the Wall of Hate.

It may not look like much, but it was enough to grab my attention as I walked home from the Fairchild-Martindale Library at Lehigh University. Various students were standing in front of it with markers, scribbling words that I could not as of yet discern, and several more were present to hand out pamphlets and talk to curious passersby. I asked one such student, Aleksandra Popova, and she agreed to email me more details about the movement (which she co-founded with Brishty Khossein, Arnie Diamond, and Sydney Bagley). Her response deserves to be republished in full: read more

Campus protests can go viral in no time–so can the backlash

Published: The Daily Dot (November 27, 2015)

It’s hard to follow the recent flurry of college protests without being reminded of President Harry S. Truman, who famously said that “there is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.”

As the media continues to fete attention on high-profile student demonstrations at Yale, Wesleyan, Princeton, and the University of Missouri, one could be forgiven for thinking there is something novel about the state of American universities today. read more

Campus PCness and the Price of Free Speech

Published: The Huffington Post (November 11, 2015), The Good Men Project (November 10, 2015)

This is an editorial for my fellow liberals.

Because progressive ideas on political and social issues often challenge conventional assumptions, liberalism as an ideology depends on freedom of speech for survival. It isn’t enough that the state be prohibited from suppressing dissenting political opinions; on a cultural level, left-wingers need the public sphere to accept dialogue on every conceivable subject. Survey the landscape of history and you will see that major civil rights movements – fighting for racial, gender, religious, economic, and other forms of social justice – moved forward because controversial ideas were allowed to flourish. People may have been angered by these concepts, but because they had logical and moral merit, the fact that they had a free space meant they could take root. read more

When College Liberalism Is Wrong

Published: The Good Men Project (September 24, 2015)

Once upon a time, I was a Republican.

It was only a few years after the September 11th terrorist attacks and, despite my reservations about the war in Iraq, I believed that maintaining a strong national security apparatus was America’s foremost priority. Because I bought the Bush administration’s line of bull that Democrats were isolationist and anti-military, I registered as a Republican on my 18th birthday. It wasn’t until I had a series of thought-provoking conversations with various professors and students at Bard College (my alma mater) – as well as conducted research that was both class-assigned and independent – that I gradually changed my tune. read more

Hillary Clinton, unpaid internships, and the culture of exploiting young workers

Published: Daily Dot (July 9, 2015)

Although Hillary Clinton has proposed a series of programs for reducing youth unemployment, she has also come under fire on the Internet for staffing her presidential campaign with unpaid interns. In response, Clinton announced on Tuesday that she was hiring 20 paid staffers in Iowa (the first state to hold a presidential primary or caucus next year). But, as Joanna Rothkopf of Jezebel noted, “the new hires don’t do anything to interrupt the trend of forcing even high-ranking staffers to work as unpaid ‘volunteers’ before being officially hired.” read more

7 times Bernie Sanders broke the Internet

Published: Daily Dot (May 19, 2015), Salon (May 23, 2015)

Say what you will about the presidential candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), but if nothing else, it has certainly introduced some interesting ideas into America’s political debate. Considering that the most recent polls show Hillary Clinton with a nearly five-to-one lead over her nearest rival, this can only be viewed as a positive thing.

As Reddit’s favorite politician, Bernie Sanders has enormous influence on our political discourse, and his recent policies have been making huge headlines on the Internet. Here are seven ways in which our national discussion on a wide range of issues could be transformed by the Sanders campaign. read more

5 ways to fix America’s crippling student debt problem

Published: Daily Dot (April 28, 2015)

Back in 2011, Occupy Wall Street swept America due in large part to its members’ savvy use of social media (one professor of journalism even referred to the movement as a “hashtag revolt”). While no catchy Twitter slogan has yet been created for the student loan reform movement, the Internet is warming up to the cause in a similar fashion.

“The federal student loan system has become predatory due to the Congressional removal of standard consumer protections and congressionally sanctioned collection powers that are stronger than those for all other loan instruments in our nation’s history,” argues StudentLoanJustice.org, a popular site founded by activist Alan Collinge (who OnlineCollege.org determined was the third most powerful leader of the student loan reform movement, following only President Obama and one of his advisers). read more

The University of Oklahoma shouldn’t have shut down its racist frat

Published: Daily Dot (March 16, 2015)
co-author Tillie Adelson

To understand why the University of Oklahoma was wrong to expel the students responsible for singing a racist chant (as well as disband the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter on their campus), it is first important to understand the legal arguments in favor and against the college’s decision, and only then can you fully realize why both positions entirely miss the deeper point. While the civil liberties of the Oklahoma students are important, they pale in significance to our society’s deeper need to find ways of educating our youth about the importance of racial tolerance, not imposing brutal punishments when they slip up. read more