"Peter Singer" by Mal Vickers is licensed under CC0 Public Domain (via Flickr)

Recently, students at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, gathered to protest a talk given by Princeton University bioethicist Peter Singer. First and foremost, Singer is a utilitarian who believes that the rightness of actions depends on their maximizing pleasure for sentient creatures. He is well known for his provocative utilitarian views on infanticide, animal welfare, and charitable obligations.

The UVic protestors claimed that “giving Singer a platform was implicitly supporting the murder of disabled people, and that his views supported eugenics.” Their complaint is only the most recent in a long history of protests to the work of Singer. Though questions about academic freedom and freedom of speech more generally are relevant, let’s set them aside for a moment and consider the charge head-on: what is eugenics? Who counts as a eugenicist?

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"Classroom" by Taken is licensed under CC0 Public Domain (via Pixabay)

Betsy DeVos’ controversial nomination to the Secretary of Education position has left many folks on both sides of the aisle wondering where exactly the future of our schools lie. DeVos, a staunch believer in school choice, is hoping to fix the public school system in the United States by forcing schools to compete with each other. Critics were appalled when DeVos “called traditional public schools a ‘dead end,’” leading them to launch a hashtag on social media, #publicschoolproud, to show that public schools are still making an impact on the lives of them and their children.

"National Progress Party flag" by National Progress Party is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)NPP National Progress Party Flag" by National Progress Party is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)"

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is known for advocating an understanding of feminist values that is inclusive and diverse. Race and gender play important roles in her largely personal works. Best-selling author of “Americanah” and “We Should All be Feminists,” she emphasizes that fundamental to feminism is that “’because you are a girl’ is never a reason for anything,” and that, “I matter. I matter equally.” Her focus in much of her writing, especially in her latest project, “Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions,” is how to raise a daughter and that feminism is a project that binds mothers and daughters (she discusses the shaming dialog with her mother surrounding her first period, for instance).

"DSC_7662" by United Nations Development Programme is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (via Flickr)

This past week, members of the first Qassim Girl’s Council, a provincial group in Saudi Arabia that discusses issues regarding women’s rights within the Qassim region, met publicly to begin discussions on how they can meet certain goals laid out as part of their Vision 2030 program. Despite the seemingly good intentions of a council like this, the photographs from this conference present a different narrative. The dark reality of this meeting can be seen through the photographs of strictly men sitting in on the conferences. The women that were part of the Qassim Girl’s Council were reportedly in another room being connected via video stream, adhering to the strict laws of gender separation outside of familiar ties that is practiced in Saudi Arabia. Photographs of this meeting garnered significantly more attention in the United States after being compared with the photographs of President Donald Trump signing abortion legislation while being surrounded by powerful, white, conservative males. The moral issues presented here cover a host of topics, but the main focus of this issue is whether or not men have the right and/or autonomy to govern the rights of women.

"Mercator 1569" is licensed under CC0 Public Domain (via Wikimedia Commons)

Schools in Boston recently decided to make the switch from the Mercator projection of world maps to the Gall-Peters projection, becoming the first American school system to do so. While seemingly uninteresting, making the switch from the Mercator projection is a step toward inclusivity and one that other schools should consider making.

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"Harvard Law School Library in Langdell Hall at night" by Chensiyuan is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Since 1947, the LSAT has been a dark cloud hanging over pre-law students. A student’s LSAT score and GPA have been the main considerations in the law school admissions process for almost 70 years. Law schools have become more and more focused on the mean of their LSAT acceptance scores because it determines their national ranking. Thus, students with low LSAT scores but other qualities may not be admitted to prestigious programs.

"A registered nurse from the Antigua and Barbuda Nurses Association checks the blood sugar level of a patient" by Brian Finney is licensed under CC0 Public Domain (via Wikimedia Commons)

Jamaica’s healthcare system has a critical problem: there are not enough specialist nurses in the country. Jamaica produces plenty of specialist nurses. However, nurses trained in Jamaica are leaving the country to work in places in the developed world, like the United States or the United Kingdom. According to a recent NPR article, “the exodus has forced Jamaican hospitals to reschedule some complex surgeries because of a lack of nursing staff on their wards.” James Moss-Solomon, the chairman of the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, accused richer countries like the U.S. of “poaching” nurses from Jamaica. The use of the verb “to poach” —which can mean “to take something in an unfair way”—implies a moral condemnation of the practice.

"Sarah Toscano discusses an exhibition at PAAM with children participating in Children's Art Adventures" by Grace Ryder O'Malley is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Editor’s note: The Prindle Institute for Ethics, which hosts The Prindle Post, has recently been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the institute’s director has engaged in advocacy work for the National Humanities Alliance.

The logic of President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget has left even some of his supporters scratching their heads. First, there are the cuts to programs including the New York Police Department and airport security programs – proposals that are especially perplexing, given Trump’s longstanding emphasis on keeping America safe. Then there are cuts targeting programs widely seen as both uncontroversial and beneficial. Such programs include Meals on Wheels, an organization that delivers food to the elderly and the poor. While many expected Trump’s budget to reflect a hard-line conservative approach to federal spending, cutting programs like Meals on Wheels has taken even some GOP members of Congress aback.

"Crowd" by James Cridland is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (via Flickr)

As the human population continues to grow, questions arise concerning how to deal with problems that are human in origin: problems like pollution and environmental degradation, resource depletion, and global food shortages.  The global population, which currently sits at over 7 billion, is expected to reach 10.9 billion by the end of the century.  

As populations increase, the rate of greenhouse gas emissions also increases.  Topsoil depletion that took place between the years 1900 and 2000 was equal to the depletion that took place in the 1000 years that preceded it.  As a result, land that is suitable for agriculture becomes more and more scarce and our ability to produce enough food for climbing populations is threatened.  

"Leaning tower of sugar" by tamdotcom is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (via Flickr)

Despite small-scale efforts from restaurants in metropolitan areas to display calorie counts on menus and make smaller soda cups, the obesity rates in America haven’t changed much. Although obesity trends in most states have stagnated, the results of a food-obsessed culture are alarming. Since 1980, childhood obesity has tripled, and obesity rates among young teenagers aged 12 to 19 have quadrupled from five to 20 percent.

The average American gets 16% of their calories from added sugar. This startling statistic is 6% more than the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation, and 11% percent higher than the World Health Organization’s maximum recommendation. Since sugar is known to contribute to the obesity epidemic, cities such as New York and Philadelphia are taking measures to help discourage excess sugar intake in consumers. However, a nationwide tax is likely needed to seriously fight obesity. What are the benefits and potential consequences of having a federal excise tax on sugar?