Since the publication of the last issue of Rutgers Magazine, several subjects in the national conversation have grown more contentious. As the 2018 midterm elections approach, record numbers of women are running for elective office. Emboldened by the Women’s Marches of 2017 and 2018 as well as the #MeToo and Time’sUp movements, women want power in order to address neglected issues ranging from sexual assault to workplace injustice. These concerns and many others have been a priority for women scholars and experts at Rutgers who have dedicated their careers to increasing understanding of women’s issues (“#WeToo”).

Daniel Hart, a psychology professor at Rutgers University–Camden, has devoted his academic life to understanding what could motivate young people to participate in the democratic process. Who could have imagined that as his new book, Renewing Democracy in Young America, was being published, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School would mount a national campaign for effective gun control to honor 17 of their fellow students who were murdered (“A Call to Action”)?

The debates over gun control and other contested issues have led to an alarming corrosion in national civility. Where before people could respectfully agree to disagree, more and more people are now often reacting to opposing opinions with anger—even hatred—unwilling, or unable, to tolerate differing points of view that are intrinsically part of a society that is increasingly diverse. Upholding freedom of expression in a climate of hate was the topic of a daylong symposium in March, initiated by Rutgers president Robert Barchi (“Learning to Live Together”).

Amid these developments, yet another African-American man was killed with overwhelming force, this time by California police officers who had overreacted in an encounter. Portraying black men in a humanistic light informs the art of Jordan Casteel, an assistant professor of fine arts at Rutgers University–Newark, who is a rising star in the art world for her portraits of African-American men (“Visible Men”).

It’s all part of the effort at Rutgers to make the world a better place.