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Neil Chaudhary

Who should you vote for?

The primary elections for California will be June 7, 2016, so the time is coming for citizens associated with the Democratic Party to choose between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Many Democratic voters in California are still undecided, so it is becoming increasingly important to question our values and the values we wish to be…

Beyond divestment!

The Fossil Free Divestment movement at Stanford has gained traction in national media this week. Student protesters pledge to occupy the main administration building until Stanford divests not only from coal, but also all fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas as well. However, the real power of divestment lies not in its ability to curb emissions, but rather in encouraging broad engagement to create a more inclusive climate change dialogue.

The illusion of choice: Ethical implications

The idea that an individual is responsible for his or her actions is something that we accept everyday without questioning. Indeed, the notion of individual responsibility is what underpins our legal and law enforcement systems, what drives our notions of fairness, and what justifies our criticisms of individuals who we believe have failed. However, if we instead believe that, as humans, we actually have little to no individual control over the actions we “choose” to make, then the basis of our belief in individual responsibility becomes null.

Petition to Student Activities and Leadership to end open membership

Ask almost any student group on campus and they will tell you the same thing: “SAL [Student Activities & Leadership] is suffocating us.” SAL has been enforcing recent changes to the guidelines for student organizations that have been diluting the value of the Stanford student life experience and contributing to a decline in program quality.

The problem with Stanford activism

Activism and activist groups have an important role to play at universities: they push the envelope on important and contentious issues, from sexual assault to racial equality, when institutions and cultures are slow to change. By the very nature of challenging the status quo, activism is bound to create critics, skeptics, and reactionaries.

Cultural domination in language: Why you talk like that?

Ebonics is an instance of how cultural norms and beliefs have been shaped in America to devalue black bodies and black lives. Shedding light on this topic is crucial because, as the nation continues to mobilize around racial politics, it should also acknowledge and support black and minority cultural pride efforts to resist this colonial mindset.

Taking control of Palo Alto’s future: Buena Vista

It is time for the residents of Palo Alto to take ownership of the future development of their community. We should no longer cower behind the idea that gentrification is a “natural” and “inevitable” market force. Doing so denies our collective agency in changing the situation.

Crisis in Greek life

Something needs to be done to correct the harmful gender relations ongoing in Greek organizations. The very fact that Greek life, by definition, is based on a system of segregation of the sexes creates an us-them mentality that allows for sexual objectification, violence, and acceptance of set gendered roles. As a result, a dismantling or, at least, integration of the Greek system may be necessary to overcome the problems in gender relations.

Student debt: Perverting higher education

Student debt is transforming higher education from an avenue of self-exploration and academic inquiry to a vocational school designed to increase employability. To rectify this situation, we need to restore the affordability and equalize the quality of universities in America.

Can we trust our doctors?

It would be naïve to believe that doctors and professional groups are not motivated by self-interest. If we truly want care that produces the best outcomes for patients and society, we need to restructure the incentive systems that doctors and professional organizations face.

Ethics and efficacy of Israel divestment

The importance of resisting Israel’s discriminatory and oppressive policies against its Palestinian citizens should not be understated. However, when discussing plans to address this problem at Stanford, we should carefully consider an approach that would be the most feasible in creating change.

Who are the Terrorists?

Whenever an Islamist executes an attack, the media describe him as an Islamic fundamentalist. The connection between religion and violence is clearly drawn. However, when any other religiously-affiliated group executes an act of similar violence, they are characterized only as terrorists. It is easy and comfortable to think that the world is divided into “good guys” and “bad guys” and that we are fighting the good fight. But to criticize others without looking at one’s own moral standing is to be blind and ignorant.

Don’t forget the drought

Despite its potentially catastrophic consequences, we often forget that we are in a drought. Our situation is analogous to sitting in the garage with the car engine on. Because we are busy in our day-to-day lives, we do not realize that the danger we are in. We are lulled into a false sense of security. We believe that our rivers won’t dry, our lakes won’t empty, and our rains will eventually come back. But, the threat we face is real and it is affecting every single part of California.

Dismantling the “Model Minority” myth

The importance of dismantling the “model minority” Asian stereotype is clear. Convenient and unrepresentative aspects of the Asian identity are exalted to demean other minority groups and justify racially oppressive structures. Moreover, the “model minority” myth renders the discrimination and struggle within Asian American communities invisible. As the Stanford campus continues to organize around Ferguson, it is crucial that we reject an ideology designed to pit minorities against each other and immobilize a movement for racial equality.

Realigning universities’ paralegal sexual assault systems

Stanford is required to investigate, determine guilt on the “preponderance of evidence” standard, and take appropriate action. Title IX, in essence, forces universities like Stanford to become paralegal systems; something a university is ill-equipped to handle and results in inappropriate responses to sexual assault cases.

The TV binge: A sickness

Binge watching is quickly becoming the new mode of TV consumption, but we should be wary of the future it beckons. Binge watching not only harms our psychological and physical health, but also reveals a disturbing modern desire to escape from our realities.

Technological encroachment

Modern information technology has connected us, but also has opened our lives up in a way that makes us more vulnerable to coercion and more susceptible to the commercialization of our personal lives. However, the power that external agents (like Facebook, identity thieves, or the market) have over us is only the power that we give them.

Liberty and justice for all?

If we agree that financial outcomes should only be a function of what we control – that is, the effort and choices we make – then we have to eradicate systems of inherited advantage and disadvantage. Doing so requires those with privilege to renounce it and support the greater good by ending inheritance.

The fight for East Palo Alto: Where does Stanford lie?

We must extend our commitment to EPA. EPA as we know it will completely change in the near future if we do not act in solidarity with tenants fighting for their homes. Organizations like Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto (CLSEPA), Tenants Together, and Nuestra Casa are already organizing in EPA to fight evictions and preserve the community, but they are strapped for resources and labor. Stanford, a center for innovation, learning, and progress, has not only the resources, but also the service commitment to support these organizations fighting for EPA in its time of need.

SuperPACked: The race for Silicon Valley

The race for representation over booming San Jose and Silicon Valley between incumbent Mike Honda (a labor-backed Democrat) and challenger Ro Khanna (a tech-backed Democrat) demonstrates that, in addition to silencing citizens’ voices, Super PACs distort the planning and execution of political campaigns by candidates as well.
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