November 5, 2021

AF Community

Reads of the Week: The Student Housing Crisis, Hospital Tax Breaks, Social Media’s Effects on Humanity

By: AF Editors

Each week, we’ll be featuring opinion pieces from the alumni and current participants of AF’s Writing Fellows Program. A few highlights from the past week are below. Do you dream of having bylines like these? Learn more about how the Writing Fellows Program can help boost your writing career!

All Hail ‘Dormzilla’, the Monster Dorm the Internet Hates by Nolan Gray (Fall 2015) in Bloomberg CityLab

The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) has a plan to build a new dormitory, and the internet is not happy about it.

Last week, renderings and floor plans of an 11-story building called Munger Hall erupted across social media after the Santa Barbara Independent reported that consulting architect Dennis McFadden resigned from the university’s design review committee. In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, McFadden explained why, calling the building “a misguided experiment that will affect the health and safety of multiple generations of undergraduates who will be forced to negotiate the design’s gross miscalculations and unintended consequences”…

North Carolina hospitals profit from ‘charitable giving’ by Tanner Aliff (Summer 2021) in the Carolina Journal

When people think about non-profits, they tend to envision organizations like GoodWill, Habitat for Humanity, or the American Red Cross. Hardly anyone pictures a ritzy metropolitan hospital with granite fountains, marble floors, zen gardens, and huge medical bills. Yet in America, where many hospitals receive the tax benefits that come from 501(c)(3) non-profit designations, some hospitals’ actual business practices are far from what most would expect.

On the surface, it seems to make sense that hospitals can receive non-profit status. At times, doctors offer care free of charge to low-income individuals, so granting hospitals tax benefits may be a worthy cause. However, no health provider should benefit more from the tax exemption than the value of their supposed charitable care. The sad truth is that most of North Carolina’s non-profit hospitals are not living up to this standard…

Digital Man: Two new books show how modern technologies are reshaping humanity. by Elayne Allen (Spring 2018) in City Journal

We’ve all heard how the Internet age is destroying attention spans, lowering IQs, anti-socializing everyone, accelerating polarization, and exploiting privacy for profit. These trends prompt a troubling question: what is the Internet doing to our humanity?

Coming up with an answer requires a close look at the modern scientific project. In his 1943 book The Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis notes that, when we talk about “Man’s conquest of nature” (usually through technological advancement), it’s never actually nature we’re conquering—it’s other people. Lewis doesn’t mean by this that we should reject all technological advancement. Medicine, modern agricultural techniques, and other developments have benefited countless people…