Why Everyone is Deleting Uber

by Catherine (Ching-Yuan) W’17

The #deleteuber campaign trends as netizens around the world scramble to delete their accounts from the popular taxi app, Uber.

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On Saturday night, Jan 28, 2017, between 6 and 7 p.m., the New York Taxi Workers Alliance went on strike, halting taxi rides from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The protest was prompted by the recent executive order signed by U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday, which called for a temporary travel ban from seven majorly Muslim countries and the suspension of refugee admissions.

The alliance went on Twitter to inform U.S. citizens about the strike. Around two and a half hours after the alliance released the statement, Uber tweeted that the surge pricing (the increase of price when an increase in demand occurs) at the airport would be disabled.

The tweet caused an uproar among users. Customers accused Uber of advocating President Trump’s ban, and others disapproved of Uber’s ignorance, ultimately leading to the boycott against the app. Many users tweeted screenshots of themselves deleting their accounts and signing up for other ride-hailing companies with the caption “#deleteuber.”

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Five hours after the initial tweet, Uber posted another tweet, stating that they oppose the travel ban and did not mean to undermine the taxi driver’s strike. However, the tweet did not prevent Uber from sustaining a significant loss. According to the Times, over 200,000 customers deleted their accounts.

Following the campaign, Lyft, a lead competitor of Uber, announced that they would donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union over the course of four years.

On their official blog, Lyft co-founders stated that “banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values. We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.”

Since the pledge, Lyft has undergone a sharp increase in customers and, for the first time, surpassed Uber in app downloads.

A Recap of Golden Globes 2017: A Night of New Records, Mixup Titles, and Meryl Streep

By: Valerie F’18

On Sunday, January 8th, Jimmy Fallon hosted the 74th annual Golden Globe Award Show. The dazzling award ceremony was held at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Los Angeles. Fallon was greeted by a room full of famous faces from well known T.V. shows and the latest popular films.  The Golden Globes, though known as the more lively and relaxed brother to the more prestigious and serious award shows, was a lively and enjoyable way to kick off the award show season.

The award ceremony had a number of memorable moments, from Jimmy Fallon’s flamboyant opening musical number to director Damien Chazelle’s domination of the night with his latest jazz-infused film. Chazelle’s critically acclaimed film ‘La La Land’ triumphed with a record breaking seven awards, defeating the previous tied records holders “Midnight Express” (1798) and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975) who each obtained six awards.

While making his acceptance speech after winning the award for Best Director of a Motion Picture, Damien Chazelle expressed his content and appreciation: “I’m in a daze now officially…”

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Damien Chazelle’s La La Land made Golden Globe history by winning a record breaking seven awards.

Along with La La Land’s success, another notable occurrence was Meryl Streep’s politically charged speech. Meryl Streep, a thirty time nominee and eight time winner, was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. Though spoken in a scratchy whisper, for she had lost her voice in “screaming and lamentation,” Streep’s acceptance speech spoke volumes. She seized the moment to comment on the recent presidential election. While she never mentioned Donald Trump by name, Streep’s stirring speech was an apparent statement on the political climate that Trump has fostered.

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Meryl Streep delivered a fiery speech that condemned President Donald J. Trump – without mentioning his name.

“Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose,” said Streep, condemning Trump for acceding bullying.

Streep continued by highlighting the importance of foreigners to American culture, the role of the press in “safeguarding the truth,” and the privilege of being an actress.

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President Trump’s response to Streep’s Golden Globes speech.

Ending her speech on a powerful note, Streep paid a touching tribute to her close friend, the late Carrie Fisher: “My dear, departed friend Princess Leia once told me, take your broken heart, make it into art.”

Streep’s speech was undoubtedly a memorable moment; however, one of the more unnoticed moments of the Golden Globes was the kiss that Ryan Reynolds and Andrew Garfield shared as Ryan Gosling walked to the stage to give his acceptance speech for winning the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture. Reynolds and Garfield, who were seated adjacent to each other at the ceremony, were nominated for their roles in Deadpool and Hacksaw Ridge, respectively. Once viewers noticed the charming moment shared by the two respected actors, social media was ablaze with excited and hilarious responses. In a later interview with metro.co.uk, Gosling joked: “ I’m happy for them. I’m happy they found each other.”

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Ryan Reynolds and Andrew Garfield share a kiss, a moment that was largely unnoticed by Golden Globe viewers. 

Charming moments, such as that shared by Reynold’s and Garfield, are common finds in popular award shows. Similarly, award shows often contain flubs made by presenters or performers. Throughout the night, the prominent blunder that kept coming up was the confusion of the titles of the two films Hidden Figures and Fences, films that both feature largely African-American casts.

The mistake first arose when NBC’s pre-show host Jenna Bush asked producer and composer Pharrell Williams about the musical score of Hidden Figures, mistakenly calling it Hidden Fences. Later on, during the award show,  actor Michael Keaton echoed Bush’s mistake when he referred to Hidden Figures as Hidden Fences when presenting the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture. Viewers quickly realized Bush and Keaton’s blunders and seized the opportunity to make the gaffe a popular joke on social media.

The morning following the Golden Globes, Bush apologized for her blunder, saying “I had an error in the night which I have to apologize for; when I was interviewing the incomparable Pharrell, who I adore, I accidentally in the electricity of the red carpet, which I had never done, called Hidden Figures, Hidden Fences.”

Keaton also apologized for his mistake when speaking to reporters before the Los Angeles premiere of his new film, The Founder, saying “I screwed the line up. I was nonchalant about it. I actually, now, I totally understand … It makes me feel so badly that people feel badly. If somebody feels badly, that’s all that matters.”

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Jenna Bush and Michael Keaton’s “Hidden Fences” flub prompted many to poke fun at the mistake.   

This year’s Golden Globes celebrated 2016’s achievements in cinemas, in both a light and serious atmosphere. With 2017 ahead of us, we should look forward to new and exciting feats the movie industry will bring, along with next year’s Golden Globes ceremony.    

New York to Move Towards Free College Tuition

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaking to students at LaGuardia Community College.

By: Kevin Megnath

On January 3, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced a plan to fully cover the cost of tuition for college students in low to middle income households. New Yorkers who are accepted to state or city universities, and whose household earns less than $125,000 per year are qualified to receive this government aid.

This plan resembles the proposed policies of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who appeared with Mr. Cuomo at LaGuardia Community College to discuss the plan. If the plan passes the state legislature, New York will join Tennessee and Oregon as the only states in the country to offer free tuition to students of community colleges. Not only that, New York will be the first state in the union to offer this program to four-year colleges. Senator Sanders also hopes to expand the idea of tuition-free colleges to middle-class families nationwide and believes that New York’s adoption of the plan will convince other states to get onboard.

Current tuition costs average roughly $6,470 (and $16,320 for students on campus) per year for SUNY schools, and $6,330 per year for CUNYs. According to Cuomo’s administration, the proposal is estimated to cost the state $163 million per year. Governor Cuomo expects this plan to roll out as soon as this fall, and hopes that every qualifying family will be able to receive this benefit by 2019. He projects that 80% of New York families are entitled to free college tuition.

However, there is some opposition towards Governor Cuomo’s proposed system. Opponents argue that free college tuition has little to no effect on New York households. While families would be entitled to free tuition, students will still need to pay approximately $14,500 in other fees. The costs of commuting to school, boarding, food, and other expenditures are not covered by Cuomo’s plan. Additionally, tuition-free college is limited to only full-time students, meaning many students who attend college part-time are not entitled to this benefit.

Nonetheless, Governor Cuomo still intends to roll out his plan as soon as possible. Stated as a “revolutionary idea for higher education” by Bernie Sanders, the establishment of tuition-free college in New York and across the United States would be groundbreaking.