All posts by Angela Fortuna

The War on Drugs Will Never Work; Decriminalization Will

by Kristina Vakhman

In 1971, President Richard Nixon waged a “war on drugs” in an effort to curtail drug use among American youth. Since then, the United States has resorted to prohibition, believing that aggressive drug bans will reduce and prevent drug-related crime, addiction, incarceration, death and disease. Yet, the opposite has occurred.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 46.3 percent of inmates are currently imprisoned because of drug offenses. The National Institute on Drug Abuse approximates that more than 50,000 individuals died from drug overdoses in 2015 alone, and states that diseases such as hepatitis and HIV continue to rage, spreading through unhygienic methods like unsterilized needles.

Michael Botticelli, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, told Scott Pelley on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that the United States’ war on drugs led to “failed policies and failed practices.” Considering the costly results of these efforts, the federal government should look for an alternative approach in combatting drug use.

That alternative is the decriminalization and legalization of all illicit drugs. This may seem like a disastrous choice. However, in Portugal, it has worked.

In 2001, Portugal’s government decriminalized and legalized all drugs, no matter the classification, in response to a growing heroin problem. Instead of a being criminally charged, those caught with less than a 10-day supply of hard drugs are taken before a special court of legal experts, psychologists and social workers. In the place of incarceration, a small fine or community service, as well as rehabilitation and treatment is provided.

Today, Portugal has one of the lowest drug-usage rates in all of Europe. The British Journal of Criminology found a significant reduction in the imprisonment of alleged drug dealers, from 14,000 in 2000 to 5,000 in 2010, as well as a decrease in the imprisonment of addicts, which fell from 41 percent in 1999 to 21 percent in 2008.

The Washington Post reported that “there are three drug overdose deaths for every 1,000,000 citizens” in Portugal; as a comparison, 44.6 per million die in the United Kingdom. Drug-related diseases, like HIV, have decreased, “while the dramatic rise in use feared by some has failed to materialize,” as stated by the Transform Drug Policy Institute.

By focusing on treatment rather than punishment, Portugal has given its citizens the opportunity to rehabilitate and contribute as functioning members of society. Consequently, the demand for drugs falls as the number of users declines.

In the U.S., certain states are moving towards reformation instead of incarceration. The New York Times reported Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to combat the wild opioid epidemic in New York City, where $38 million a year would go to programs including “expanded methadone and buprenorphine treatment for addicts” and “a focus at city hospitals on dealing with addiction and overdoses.”

That is what the U.S. needs. The current system is a complete failure; the concept of the war on drugs is ridiculously ineffective. It’s time to look for an alternative model, and Portugal has proven that its model works.

US and Syria Update

by Sarah Willson

The United States has dropped more bombs and killed more civilians in Iraq and Syria this March than any other month on record, according to an independent monitoring group. 

In Iraq 268 strikes were carried out, while 434 were carried out in Syria within the month of March, killing as many as 3,471 people.

This statistic involves data from the U.S. airstrike on Syria’s Shayrat airbase, launched on April 7, which destroyed 20 percent of the Syrian government’s operational aircraft and killed six people.

Although some may be satisfied with the fact that President Donald Trump is keeping his campaign promise to target ISIS, one Central Connecticut State University student is not so sure this is the best option.

“I’m for and against [the U.S. airstrike],” said Andrea Sanchez, a student majoring in international studies with a concentration in the Middle East. “I don’t agree with over-involvement by the United States because it seems that we always make things worse.”

“From a humanitarian standpoint, I think it’s a good thing not just because it was that the U.S. got involved, but because international intervention needs to happen in Syria because there is a huge humanitarian crisis on its civilians,” said Sanchez. 

Tensions between the U.S. and Russia have also been on the rise since the airstrike. In a recent statement, Trump said that U.S. relations with Russia may be at an “all-time low.”

“I think they already kind of did [impact the U.S. and Russia relationship],” said Sanchez about the airstrike. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin called off a meeting last week with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. 

“I think it’s kind of interesting that he didn’t meet with him,” said  Sanchez. ”I think that already speaks volumes.”

When asked about the Syrian people, Sanchez stated that the only way to bring them peace would be “if there was some international coalition to stop Bashar,” because “he will do anything to stay in power.”

Sanchez also believes that the U.S. should accept Syrian refugees. 

“We’re bombing a country for killing civilians but we don’t want to take the civilians from the country that’s being bombed,” said Sanchez. “It doesn’t make any sense why we would not accept them, especially if we’re bombing their airfield.”

“Taking in civilians would help the cause because it would send a message to the the whole world to join together instead of turning them away,” said Sanchez.

Along with this, the U.S. is also struggling to decide who to take out first— ISIS or Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

“I think the most imminent danger is Assad at the moment,” said Sanchez. “It’s not that one is less evil than the other, I think they’re both equally as bad; I just think that Assad has more means to create a more catastrophic effect on its people.”

For the U.S., this problem ultimately leads to the question of whether or not the U.S. should continue to enforce military actions against Syria.

“You’re almost one and done” said Sanchez, regarding the airstrike. “It didn’t really help anything.”

The U.S. has proposed no further military action on Syria, but Press Secretary Sean Spicer says it is not off the table. 

For now, the White House says its priority above all is defeating ISIS, contrasting the UN Ambassador to the U.S. Nikki Haley, who claims there cannot be peace in Syria until Assad is defeated. 

US Drops Most Powerful Non-Nuclear Bomb on ISIS

by Angela Fortuna

In an attempt to send a message, the United States military dropped the most powerful non-nuclear bomb on ISIS targets in Afghanistan on April 13.

Afghan officials originally reported 36 deaths near the Pakistani border, but later confirmed at least 94 Islamic State fighters were killed, including four commanders, according to CNN.

The U.S. military estimated that 600 to 800 active ISIS fighters were in the area at the time of the attack, at 7:32 p.m. local time.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, or MOAB, nicknamed the “mother of all bombs,” weighed 21,600 pounds and stretched 30 feet long, according to U.S. military officials. The GPS-guided bomb was dropped by an MC-130 aircraft controlled by the Air Force Special Operations Command.

The MOAB is capable of destroying an area equivalent to nine city blocks, according to CNN.

The MOAB proved to be successful in targeting an ISIS cave and tunnel complex, along with military personnel. The bomb destroyed three underground tunnels, weapons and ammunition, without civilian casualties, according to CNN. Intense surveillance had been conducted to prevent any civilian deaths before the dropping of the MOAB.

President Donald Trump described the attack as a “another very, very successful mission.”

This attack has caused many to contemplate the repercussions of the incident for the U.S. Tensions between the U.S. and other countries, particularly North Korea, have grown since the attack.

The North Korean military threatened the U.S. on April 14, stating plans to carry out an attack on a major American military base in South Korea, according to the New York Times.

Shortly after, North Korea launched a missile test that failed within seconds. This outcome means the U.S. has no reason to respond to the incident, according to Vice President Mike Pence. If the missile test in North Korea proved to be successful, there is no way of knowing what kind of damage it could have caused, or if the U.S. would have been directly affected.

Since the missile test in North Korea did not involve nuclear weapons, the U.S. felt no need to take notable action.

The dropping of the MOAB has certainly drawn attention to the rising conflict between the U.S. and ISIS. Potential retaliation by ISIS is currently unpredictable.

The Future of the Social Justice Committee

by Angela Fortuna

Whether the Social Justice Committee of the Student Government Association at Central Connecticut State University will exist next academic year has been debated after mistakes made with the Student Veterans Organization on campus.

“We’ve been looking into different options as far as whether we want this committee to exist on SGA, exist as a commission, kind of like CAN, or stay as it is right now,” said SJC Chair Christopher Marinelli.

The SJC was formed by current SGA President Jahmil Effend to act as a group predominately focused on social justice and related issues.

Senators Marinelli and Sawera Hussan were elected to chair the committee that has been involved in many events and has spread awareness of various social justice issues.

“I think our committee has genuinely made a difference this year. We’ve been active with so many groups, and have heard really good feedback from the students and faculty, such as ‘The Laramie Project,’” said Marinelli.

Director of “The Laramie Project” Thom Delventhal spoke on behalf of the SJC on April 5.

“I have to thank the SJC and I want to echo other people’s sentiments, they don’t want to see this committee go away,” said Delventhal.

“There’s a scene which calls for a march, and the play is all about [the] community coming together after a hate crime took place in which a gay college student was killed,” said Marinelli.

The SJC organized the event Tea Against Bigotry, rallies, diversity week, passed resolutions and held a veterans panel.

Tea Against Bigotry was an event “which brought a group of people together from different ideologies and beliefs and gave everyone an opportunity to share parts of their life,” said Marinelli.

The SJC also organized a rally to stand up for undocumented students and Muslim students “in light of the travel ban, in order to show solidarity with immigrants,” said Marinelli.

Two important resolutions were passed by the SJC in their first year as a committee — the Social Sciences Hall will have its name changed to Ebenezer Bassett Hall and students on campus protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals are now supported by the committee.

Bassett was “the first African-American to graduate from CCSU and was the first African-American diplomat,” said Marinelli.

Whatever the outcome of the SJC, Marinelli remains proud of all the committee has accomplished in such a short period of time.

“I’m honestly proud of all my committee members for everything we’ve accomplished this year together,” said Marinelli. “We’re a new committee and this was a learning opportunity for everyone involved, and it’s been a wonderful experience.”

SGA Confronts Communication Issues

by Angela Fortuna

A recent request made by the Student Veterans Organization sparked a debate in the Student Government Association at Central Connecticut State University over logical decision-making and open communication between clubs and the student government.

The SVO reached out to the SGA in hopes of receiving funds to purchase T-shirts and sweatshirts for the 2017-2018 school year.

The request was approved on April 5, but was later vetoed by SGA President Jahmil Effend because all the necessary information was not present to make a decision, he later explained.

“Senate is composed of about 39 members and many senators were not present to voice their opinions and concerns with the request. There were only 23 members present to make the vote,” said Effend. “We are a governing body, we cannot be emotional. I believe the senate has been making irresponsible decisions as far as taking into account the responsibility necessary to really represent the student body.”

Treasurer Brendan Kruh expressed his opposition to Effend in regards to the SVO contingency request.

“I’m going to vote yes to overturn the veto. A lot of you will be angry with me and that’s okay. I don’t answer to you, I answer to the student body and students,” said Kruh to the SGA. “I have to do what’s right for this senate, what’s right for the year [and] for future senates. At end of the day, this senate has changed since my time.”

On April 12, SVO Vice President Paul Small attended the SGA meeting for the third week in a row after the organization was not asked to participate in a veterans panel held on campus. Small spoke of the senators’ behavior and how he and other members of the SVO feel marginalized.

“SVO feels alienated by the student body, specifically the Social Justice Committee,” said Small. “It’s unnecessary for us to feel so alienated by a group on campus, it’s ridiculous.”

Some SGA members acknowledge the problem of communication between the SGA and clubs on campus.

“I am deeply disturbed with the direction of members of [the] SGA. We no longer seem to have the ability to use logic and reasoning for our decision making,” said Senator Danielle Plaskonka, addressing the SGA.

“We need to listen to what our clubs are saying to us; whether we agree or not, we cannot attack them continuously just because we disagree,” said Senator Eric Ott to the SGA.

During the meeting, discussion began over remarks on Facebook made by Senators Plaskonka and Sawera Hussan in regards to requesting money for clothing items, similar to what the SVO did.

“[Plaskonka and Hussan] prompted all CCSU groups to come to SGA and make a request similar to [SVO’s],” said Small.

Hussan posted, “let’s get sweatshirts fam” on Facebook, tagging the Muslim Student Association at CCSU.

“It didn’t happen on SGA time, people are people and they are allowed their own freedoms to do whatever they want to do in their personal time,” said Effend in response to the Facebook posts.

Small disagreed during the meeting, and felt the SGA should be held responsible for what they say and post on social media.

“It’s a damn shame. It’s a shame there isn’t a way to impeach senators. It makes no sense that senators are allowed to say and do whatever they want and not be held accountable,” said Small to the SGA.

The SGA believes the constructive criticism of outside clubs helps create discussion on the topic at hand.

“Any discussion is good. Having healthy discussion is important for [the SGA],” said Effend. “I think the fact that there are so many opinions in the room and so many voices being heard is a good thing.”

Former SGA Senator Josh Quintana spoke to the SGA as a whole at the senate meeting.

“You guys need to act like adults and take leadership seriously on campus. You are the student government. These arguments about Facebook, who wronged who, is childish and asinine,” said Quintana.

“As unnecessary as it was for the SVO, it was needed for the student government to really take the job seriously going forward,” said Effend. “The biggest role of the student government is to represent the people and [make sure] their voices are heard.”

Free College Tuition for New York Residents

Public colleges and universities in New York will grant free tuition to middle-class residents beginning in fall 2017; a significant step in the right direction to benefit upcoming generations.

In order to qualify for free tuition, students must be full-time and average 30 credits a year, or 15 a semester, which can include summer and winter-break classes.

Although there is no grade point average requirement set for eligibility, students need to ensure their grades are enough to pass each class and stay on track with the number of credits for graduation.

Under New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s new plan, families who make less than $100,000 per year are eligible for free tuition at state colleges, universities and two-year colleges for the fall 2017 semester.

Every year, the annual household income requirement to receive free tuition will increase. It will rise to $110,000 in fall of 2018 and to $125,000 in 2019.

Free tuition at state colleges and universities is every student’s dream. Higher education should not only be accessible to students who are fortunate enough to receive help from their family.

Cuomo is also trying to work with state colleges and universities in hopes of lowering tuition costs overall, which seems logical if they will see an influx of enrollment. Currently, tuition at New York’s state colleges and universities totals $6,470.

The plan proposed by Cuomo estimates that the plan will cost $163 million in its first year.

Cuomo proposed the plan in January, in hopes of setting an example to other states to decrease college costs.

It is estimated that when the plan is fully phased, 940,000 people would qualify for the program at New York’s 64 state colleges and universities. New York has the largest public college system in the U.S., totaling over 443,000 enrolled students, according to USA Today.

With so many students eligible to receive free college tuition, many may wonder how this is possible. However, when attending a university, there are many other expenses, such as room and board, that need to be taken into consideration.

The State University of New York said the costs on top of tuition total $20,700 a year. Also, students are responsible for paying for textbooks and providing transportation to and from school.

Free tuition could also be a plan in the near future for Connecticut students. As of April 4, Chris Murphy and Bernie Sanders backed the free tuition bill introduced by Senator Richard Blumenthal the day before at a Senate meeting, according to the Stamford Advocate.

“The $1.3 trillion in student debt is a disgrace and so is the fact that the U.S. government is profiting from student debt,” Blumenthal said at the Senate meeting.

“The legislation’s sponsors, which include 14 Democrats who introduced a version in the House of Representatives, estimate that $600 billion can be raised over a decade by a 0.5 percent tax on stock trades, a 0.1 percent fee on bonds and a 0.005 [percent] fee on derivatives,” according to the Stamford Advocate.

Although it may take Connecticut a while to put free tuition into action, it would clearly be beneficial to the state and a step in the right direction to make higher education accessible to the entire population.

The Parallels of Trump and Nixon

by Kristina Vakhman

In 1987, former President Richard Nixon sent President Donald Trump a letter, urging him to run for office and foreseeing that he would win should he do so.

“I did not see the program, but Mrs. Pat Nixon told me that you were great on the Donahue Show,” Nixon wrote, referring to Trump’s appearance on “The Phil Donahue Show,” where he insisted the United States should receive compensation from countries it protects militarily. “As you can imagine, she is an expert on politics and she predicts whenever you decide to run for office, you will be a winner!”

That would not be the last time Nixon entered the current commander in chief’s life. Remnants of the 37th’s presidency, like “the silent majority” slogan and his rash unpredictability, thus far echo in the 45th’s.

However, where Nixon lives in Trump the most is in the sitting president’s detestation for the mainstream media.

Dr. Paul Petterson, an associate professor of political science at Central Connecticut State University who experienced the Nixon era firsthand, sees the congruence in the two presidents’ relationships with the press and the damaging severity of Trump’s.

“If [Trump’s relationship] is similar to anyone’s, it would be similar to Richard Nixon’s,” said Petterson. “But I think it’s even worse than Nixon’s because, I think, Nixon’s, at least — when the media caught him, ultimately he would come around to admitting certain things, whereas President Trump seems to be intent on repeating his own position even if it’s been proven inaccurate or false.”

Petterson later went on to say that Trump has had the worst relationship with the American media thus far. Petterson also noted that, much like Trump denouncing the legitimacy of any news not aligning with his rhetoric, Nixon and his administration did not appreciate and fight journalism that contradicted his views or sought flaws in his actions.

“He [Nixon] and his first vice-president, Spiro Agnew, had a very conflicted relationship with the media,” said Petterson. “Agnew called them ‘nattering nabobs of negativism,’ and was very intent on talking down the media because he felt the media never gave them a fair hearing — a fair shake. They were quite deliberately trying to control the message of the media and simply turned to hostility and trying to talk down the media because the media wasn’t just parading their positions. They wanted the media to be compliant, it wasn’t, and so they became hostile.”

Possibly the most vocal resemblance in Trump’s and Nixon’s views on the press is blacklisting them to their enemy list. Back in February, Trump tweeted that adversarial media outlets like The New York Times and CBS were not his enemy, but “the enemy of the American people.”

A declassified 1971 conversation between Nixon and his then-Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Thomas H. Moorer, revealed the 37th president’s replicated sentiments.

“The press is your enemy,” Nixon told Moorer. “Enemies. Understand that? Now, never act that way… give them a drink, you know, treat them nice, you just love it, you’re trying to be helpful. But don’t help the bastards. Ever. Because they’re trying to stick the knife right in our groin.”

As reporters honed in on incriminating details of the Watergate scandal — details that would eventually force Nixon to resign as they exposed the president of having participated in a cover-up after the break-in at the Democratic National Convention — Nixon’s disdain grew, leading him to tap journalists’ phones and try to destroy the careers of the most outspoken ones. In a similar fashion, Trump’s crusade against the media exploded disproportionately since the publication of the dossier alleging his campaign’s treasonous relations with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

In spite of these claims and their repercussions, Petterson explained that, at this point, there is nothing that can link Trump to treason or to push his impeachment. There is nothing truly damaging. The real issue is Trump’s paranoia, which Petterson views as worse than Nixon’s, as it prevents him from taking responsibility and acknowledging the legitimacy of a free press. Additionally, Petterson said that those comparing the Trump’s administration current state to Nixon’s during the Watergate scandal, and those wishing for Trump’s downfall, have no leverage.

“You’d have to find things that were being investigated and where questions were asked and answers were given and it turns out that those answers were lies, but the simple fact that those things may have occurred, in and of themselves, aren’t necessarily the same thing as Watergate,” said Petterson. “It feels the same. People would like it to be the same. You know, there are some people hoping that, okay, they can find some sort of smoking gun that forces Trump to resign, but you can’t simply equate it to Watergate.”

However, if this was around the time of Nixon’s election, Petterson said just these allegations would have been enough to send Trump to “political death.”

“They’d be chanting ‘Lock Him Up!’” said Petterson.

Trump’s Healthcare Plan Shot Down Before the House Vote

by Angela Fortuna

President Donald Trump’s healthcare proposal was not ready to be implemented because it lacked support from both Democrats and Republicans, according to Central Connecticut State University associate professor of political science, Dr. Diana Cohen.

The House was prepared to vote on Trump’s healthcare plan, known as “Trumpcare,” or the American Health Care Act, on March 24, when it was cancelled before the voting could begin because of an insufficient number of votes.

“Instead of totally dismantling the Affordable Care Act, Trump should work across party lines to fix specific weaknesses of current legislation,” said Cohen. “The issue is that Trump has backed himself into a corner with his ‘repeal and replace’ campaign rhetoric, and a total repeal is not going to happen.”

“Obamacare was put in place to provide rules and regulations for insurance while providing for those too sick or too poor to afford insurance,” said CCSU sophomore Jessica Gojuk, who added that the ACA has certainly helped the economy.

The ACA will continue to act as the primary health insurance plan for many Americans. “The AHCA did not adequately address one of the largest issues with the ACA  — the dwindling number of health care plans in the commercial market,” said Cohen.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, from 2011 to 2016, the number of people in the U.S. under the age of 65 in families having difficulty paying medical bills and expenses decreased, dropping 22 percent, or nearly 13 million people.

However, the ACA has caused the U.S. national debt to rise dramatically. The Congressional Budget Office projects that the ACA will cost the federal government $1.34 trillion over the next decade, adding even more to the current national debt of roughly $20 trillion.

When Trump’s healthcare plan was discussed in the House of Representatives, many House members agreed that the plan had too many flaws and therefore would not vote to support it.

“Trumpcare isn’t about helping people or our economy,” said Gojuk. “It’s about company profit, which means free reign to insurance companies and hurting the American people.”

Even with a House and Senate full of Republicans, Trump’s healthcare plan did not satisfy the needs of a replacement for the ACA that will now stay intact.

“Trump will change course and focus on other issues. He already announced a pivot to focusing on tax reform. This pivot is because Trump has yet to figure out how to appeal to the Freedom Caucus wing of the GOP,” said Cohen.

“To use a sports analogy, Trump tried to hit a home run on the very first pitch. A patient batter would let some pitches go by to get a feel for what he or she is up against. Instead, Trump was impatient, swung and missed on three consecutive pitches, and struck out,” Cohen added.

To many, healthcare is a top priority that needs to be handled with the utmost attention.

“[The government] is obligated to provide an option to those unable to get insurance,” said Gojuk.

According to the New York Post, Trump is willing to turn his back on the Republican party in order to satisfy his beliefs and take action on what healthcare should be.

“President Trump said if resistant Republicans don’t come around on repealing and replacing Obamacare, he will work with Democrats,” said the New York Post in an article entitled “Trump Ready to Ditch Republicans on Health Care Reform.”

“The bill was not ready for prime time,” said Cohen. “Consequently, it lacked support from members of both parties.”

Effectiveness of Intervention in Syria Disputed

by Sarah Willson

Despite the military strike on April 4, where the Syrian regime took the lives of over 80 people, including 10 children, via chemical weapons, prompting the United Nations to declare an emergency meeting, Central Connecticut State University Middle Eastern studies professor Ghassan El-Eid believes it may be too late to fully involve the U.S. military in the war-torn Middle East.

“[The United States] should have helped the moderates in the beginning,” said El-Eid. “Now, the extremists dominate the opposition, which plays into the regime’s hands,” explaining that it would be too late for the U.S. to send advanced weapons and other military hardware to Syria and that the U.S. could not face the country alone.

“As for sending troops to Syria, I am opposed to that,” said El-Eid. “Unless it is part of a multi-lateral force sanctioned by the United Nations.”

“Defeating this entity remains a challenge,” said El-Eid. “We have made significant progress in combatting [the Islamic State] and degrading its military capability, but we have a long way to go in our attempt to defeat it.”

“In order to prevail, we must attack the conditions that led to its emergence in the first place. We have failed to address and alleviate the sources of discontent that lead people to resort to terror,” said El-Eid, adding that the best thing to do at the moment is to welcome refugees.

“I am fully aware of Trump’s opposition to admitting migrants from Syria. However, we have a very effective vetting process that will ensure that those who are ultimately admitted to the United States will pose no threat to our national security,” said El-Eid.

“We are a nation of immigrants and America has always been viewed as the land of the free people seeking to escape persecution and to secure a better future for their children,” said El-Eid. “People are fleeing their war-torn countries because they have no choice. Germany, a country of far fewer resources than our own, has taken in close to half a million refugees so far. We can surely do better in this regard.”

As of now, President Donald Trump claims there is no plan for further military action in Syria. However, current UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, stated in a report on Friday that the U.S. is “prepared to do more” in regards to the Syrian people.

There is nothing simple about the civil war in Syria, which has been ongoing since March 2011. The fight started off as a peaceful protest against a dictatorial regime and quickly spiraled into a full-blown war in which more than 250,000 people have died.

The recent attack in Syria on April 4 has a rising death toll, now surpassing 80 casualties.

Yet again, the battle between Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, the rebels and the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the loss of dozens of lives. President Assad of Syria, who is being blamed for the carnage, denied the use of chemical weapons on his people. Many victims of the attack showed signs of damage from chemicals in and on their body.

In a statement on Wednesday, Trump hardened his tone on Syria and expressed his concerns for the people, saying that the attacks “cannot be ignored by the civilized world,” and that he now has “responsibility” when it comes to “horrific” attacks in Syria.

Trump also made a statement on April 6, saying “something should happen” in regards to Assad, following through with his statement later in the evening.

Hours later, Trump fired 60 U.S. Tomahawk missiles into Syria, aiming at airbase runways, aircraft and fuel points. One missile misfired, the rest were direct hits and destroyed 20 Syrian aircrafts, aircraft shelters, fuel and weapon depots. Six people on the ground died in the strikes. Assad called the attacks “foolish and politically motivated.”

The decision came after what is being called a “72-hour evolution” from the White House. After being briefed on the chemical attacks on the morning of April 4, conducting 48 hours of “intense” meetings and “asking for options,” the White House decided to go forth and carry out the strikes.

However, some were upset by the fact that Trump did not seek approval from Congress before giving a green light to the strikes. Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton backed Trump’s decision, calling on the U.S. to “take out” Assad’s airfields the afternoon of April 6.

Fake News — Can You Spot It?

Another workshop regarding fake news will be held on Thursday, April 20th.

by Humera Gul

How fake news plays a daily role in people’s lives through modern media was the premise of a workshop organized by Central Connecticut State University librarians and the Department of Journalism on April 6, called “Fake news, can you spot it?”

They introduced four different literacy speakers: journalism professor Theodora Ruhs and librarians Martha Kruy, Briana McGuckin and Susan Slaga-Metivier.

Ruhs started off the workshop, speaking about fake news and how people can spot it and stop it.

Fake news is a new term that has been used not only to describe fabricated information, but also to refer to media outlets that report against their beliefs. This has led to a lot of well-known and credible newspapers and media outlets being labeled fake news.

Literacy speakers converse about fake news and how to spot it and stop it

“Fake news is intended to give you misinformation,” said Ruhs.

Fake news’ intention is to spread false information to motivate or demotivate a person or group, but it is common for news outlets to make mistakes and that is not to be classified as fake news.

“Credible news sources make mistakes. News sources that are not [as] credible sometimes have great information. When we are talking about fake news, that means the information is not true,” Ruhs said. “Biased news is generally based on factual information, but it is presenting a particular viewpoint.”

“All information is shared and created by people. Humans engage in things like logical fallacies [resulting in] a mistaken belief,” McGuckin said, explaining information literacy is when people define, evaluate and use information to spread an agenda, often times resulting in fake news.

The people that attended the workshops were divided in three groups.  Each group was given 10 minutes to read, watch and analyze news and determine if they felt the news sources were credible or not.  This exercise also helped them to realize how people react to fake news or information that is not true.

The information portrayed at this workshop is crucial to understanding and distinguishing fake news. The discussion was open to the public. A second workshop will be held Thursday, April 20.