The Tab: UF Law School Maintains Top-Tier Ranking

Note: This article was initially published on the news site The Tab on 4/26/16.

Link: http://thetab.com/us/florida/2016/04/25/uf-law-school-top-tier-3129

The University of Florida’s Levin College of Law maintained its top-tier ranking in U.S. News and World Report’s list of the best law schools in the nation. Out of the 205 competitors, Levin ranked 48.

“Our faculty is just fantastic,” said Silvia Menendez, a senior legal skills professor at Levin.

However, faculty wasn’t her only praise for the college. She said Levin places a major emphasis on writing skills and has one of the strongest legal writing programs in the nation.

Law student Britney Ladd, a senior at Levin, credited the college with having the best return on investment. This return is what she said drove her to leave her Chicago residence to study in Florida.

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“I already have a guaranteed job after I graduate, so I’m very happy,” she said.

While 48 is still considered to be top-tier by U.S. News and World Report’s standards, Menendez said she wishes the score could have been higher. Levin fell behind this year, ranking one point lower than its 2015 position.

“Because Florida is this little peninsula that just sits out there, I think we get forgotten by the rest of the country- unless something weird happens, of course,” she said.

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She credited the college’s semester in practice program with helping to combat this issue of obscurity. This program allows senior law students to work at a firm outside Florida, while still receiving course credit. “You get more of a national reputation when your lawyers are out there,” she said.

Both Menendez and Ladd credit the new dean, Laura Rosenbury, with improving their program.

Ladd said Rosenbury both increased the applicant pool, and decreased the acceptance rate. She said these changes will lead to an increase in rank for Levin.

According to Ladd, this rank increase isn’t a possibility. She said being ranked higher next year is a guarantee.

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The Tab: Why Marco Rubio is Losing in Florida- A UF Perspective

Note: This article was initially published on the news site The Tab on 3/15/16.

Link: http://thetab.com/us/florida/2016/03/15/marco-rubio-losing-florida-uf-perspective-2254

Floridian presidential candidate Marco Rubio has said that winning the Florida primary is a priority. Although he comes from the Sunshine State, the sun doesn’t seem to be shining on him.

Today, the day of the Florida primary, he is 25 percent behind his GOP rival Donald Trump in the polls.

According to Charles Shields, a Political Science instructor at the University of Florida, a fundamental component of political support is name recognition. He said while Rubio may be recognizable in Florida, Trump is still the most candidate recognized in the state.

“There isn’t a single American who doesn’t know who Trump is,” Shields said.

Political Science student Eric Schoen said Trump has a massive presence in Florida. From hotels to businesses, Trump has brought a plethora of economic benefits to the state.

However, both Shields and Schoen agree that name recognition alone isn’t the only reason Trump is more popular than Rubio in Florida.

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In Schoen’s opinion, Rubio is the least morally disreputable Republican candidate. However, he clarified that Rubio hasn’t been involved in big government for long.

“One of his negatives and positives is that he hasn’t done anything yet,” Schoen said. “Rubio is very inexperienced, so he shouldn’t be the most powerful person in the world.”

Shields attributes Trump’s success over Rubio as an issue of failure in both major political parties.

“The Democrats didn’t put enough effort into defeating Trump until it was too late,” he said.

He also attributed some of the blame to the Republican party. He said Trump has behaved very inappropriately, especially by Republican standards.

“It’s unfathomable that a party based around structure and effectiveness is failing at this time,” Shields said.

However, he said this is all just speculation, as it will be very hard to truly understand this presidential race until it is over. Shields also admitted his non-affiliation with the Republican party has probably led to his lack of ability to comprehend Trump’s success.

“I feel like I would have a better understanding of the thought process that goes into supporting Trump if I were a Republican,” he said.

Juliette Morgan, a Journalism major, has her own ideas regarding Trump’s success: “Donald Trump makes an ass of himself on TV, so people like how honest he is.”

She also said there is a large amount of elderly conservatives in Florida, as well as uneducated voters who will support Trump simply based on name and television presence alone.

Regardless of Morgan, Schoen, and Shields all saying they prefer Rubio to Trump, they agree Trump is going to win the Republican primary.

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“Losing the primary will clearly be the end of Rubio’s campaign,” said Shields.

Schoen, despite his lack of support for the candidate, said he believes Trump will not only win the Florida primary, but will most likely become the next president of the United States.

He said: “Rubio is a very small fish trying to swim with the big sharks.”

The Tab: We Asked Drunk UF Students How to Stop ISIS

Note: This article was initially published on the news site The Tab on 2/26/16.

Link: https://thetab.com/us/florida/2016/02/26/how-to-stop-isis-318

ISIS is one of the most dominant organizations in the current media sphere. Some disregard the terrorist organization, using its geographical distance from the United States as a safety blanket.

Others, however, believe that an understanding of the affairs of the group is important, supporting its heavy media presence. However, what is common ground is the organization needs to be stopped.

The question is clearly not if, but how.

The amount of young people passionate about the subject was surprising to me. I was especially surprised to receive such a lively response after midnight on a Saturday.

“I’ll use the biggest beam ever on them. Then I’ll give them some drugs and alcohol, stuff they don’t like,” said a heavily breathing partygoer.

“We get informants and espionage people to join ISIS and drug the leaders. We bomb the hell out of them if they come close to the U.S. though,” explained one shaking teen.

“We build a giant wall around them, call it the great wall of ISIS,” said a college student who stated he was sober. When asked what would happen if the wall was destroyed, he shouted “then we build two walls.”

One man in his mid 20s, lounging on a couch with a red solo cup in his right hand, and a female looking to be the same age wrapped in his left arm, was extremely passionate about the issue. He was adamant that I quoted him directly, but failed to provide my with a clear answer to the question of what his name was.

“Bomb the cities, bomb the whole fucking country. Fuck them, ISIS can take their tongues and stick them up my ass. ISIS is just a couple of guys in turbans with their cocks up each other’s asses. ISIS is not my fucking problem,” the man slurred.

As the party began to die down, one young man stumbled towards me. He had heard about my interviews, and was eager to be a subject.

As his breath reeked of alcohol, and he had to hold onto my shoulder to remain standing, I knew I was in for a great answer. However, what I got was the most interesting of response the night, but not for the reasons you would expect.

“Because of the very nature of ISIS, it’s not like you can just turn them off. There’s always gonna be anti-semitism and hate no matter what we do. If anything, we need drone strikes on major hideouts and the freezing of any funds supporting them.”

He continued saying, “But ISIS doesn’t really exist because of the west, so we need a fundamental change in the Arab world to truly stop them. They need to move past the past and move towards a more progressive future.”

“We need to change what those people learn as kids, and keep the hateful out of teaching positions and positions of power. Only then can we truly hope for a better future in the middle east.”