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VOLUME 67 NO. 27





UB Art Galleries’ ‘Restoration Stories’ takes visual journeys through mental health

Underrated holiday hits

Holly jolly cocktails

Playing on your own time and dime

UB football player sues school, claims due process rights were violated The student was suspended for two years for allegedly pointing an airsoft gun at his teammates SARAH CROWLEY SENIOR NEWS EDITOR

A UB football player is suing the university after an administrative panel found him guilty of harassment and possession of a weapon for allegedly pointing an airsoft gun at his teammates on July 6. The panel suspended the student for two years. The sanctions included the revocation of his free dormitory housing, which was provided as part of his football scholarship. The student, who does not wish to be identified or speak with The Spectrum, alleges his Fifth Amendment right to due process was violated during the disciplinary process, and that the administrative panel did not

Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to celebrate opening of downtown location Tuesday

follow its own rules of procedure. The lawsuit is a public document, but The Spectrum is not currently naming the student because he requested privacy. Joshua Lippes, lead attorney for the student-run nonprofit Sub-Board I, filed a petition in New York State Supreme Court on the student’s behalf on Nov. 3. Lippes asked the court to reverse UB’s decision and issue an injunction against any further action taken against the student without providing him rights to due process. A court hearing is set for Dec. 18. Lippes said his client was denied his constitutional right to representation, to provide witnesses, to cross-examine his accuser and was not made aware of his charges

in order to prepare a proper defense. He argued further that the panel did not explain the reasoning behind its decision, and weighed one student’s opinion over other evidence which pointed to his client’s innocence. At issue is whether or not UB has to follow rules of due process or rules of evidence when it suspends or expels students. The Student-Wide Judiciary’s current bylaws don’t require these laws be followed, but rather consider them a “guide to fair play,” said director of Student Conduct and Advocacy, Elizabeth Lidano, in a previous interview with The Spectrum. Lidano sat for the administrative panel and declined to comment on this story. UB officials have argued the StudentWide Judicial proceedings are not legal proceedings and therefore are not subject to the same due process requirements. Lippes disagrees. UB is an extension of the state government as a public, state institution, he said. The consequences of a suspension or expulsion are life-altering, and the process should be subject to the same laws and expectations of fairness as a regular court proceeding, Lippes said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

UB Living Stipend movement stages sit-in outside administrative offices Demonstrators demand ‘living stipend,’ share personal stories of hardship

Preparations underway for long anticipated move MADDY FOWLER EDITORIAL EDITOR

After more than six years of planning and construction, the new home of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences will celebrate its grand opening Tuesday morning. The opening ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m. in the new downtown campus location at 955 Main Street. The $375 million project is the largest medical education building currently under construction in the U.S., according to Michael Cain, dean of the medical school. The move started in early November when more than 50 administrative offices began the first phase of the re-location. The building will be ready to welcome students to classes on Jan. 8 and the moving process will be complete in April. HOK, the architectural firm that designed the building, was the finalist in a lengthy selection process that spanned five countries. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4


Demonstrators from the Living Stipend Movement marched through the Academic Spine to Capen Hall on Monday afternoon. This is the group’s third protest this semester to demand a “living stipend.


In the third Living Stipend Movement protest this semester, demonstrators shared vulnerable, personal stories about what they characterize as a struggle to survive on unfair stipends as part of an hour long sit-in. Roughly 50 demonstrators participated in a sit-in outside of administrative offices on the fifth floor of Capen Hall Monday evening. The protest began in the Student Union Lobby, and from there participants marched to Capen Hall. Protesters chanted “Here is how, fair wage now” and “UB works because we do.” Demonstrators


carried banners and signs; one read “President Tripathi Raise Our Wages,” another read “Excellence in research, not survival.” When protesters, who were assembling peacefully, reached the administrative offices, they were met with five armed police officers clad in bullet proof vests. Four more police officers could be seen inside the offices. The officers would not permit demonstrators to enter the administrative offices, so participants staged a sit-in in the lobby. Members of the Living Stipend Movement have been calling on administrators to raise TA and GA stipends to a minimum of $21,310 per year.




Andrea Costantino pays back stolen funds, avoids jail sentence Former UB administrator receives three-year conditional probation


Andrea Costantino pleaded guilty to grand larceny in September after stealing more than $14,000 from a university account for personal use. She was sentenced to three years of probation Wednesday.


Former UB Director of Campus Living, Andrea Costantino, has been sentenced to three-year conditional discharge. Costantino pleaded guilty to stealing more than $14,000 from university accounts for personal use in October. She has paid back her $14,664 in restitution. In lieu of jail time, Judge John Michalski sentenced Costantino to a three-year conditional probation. If she breaks the law during the period, she will go to jail. She must also complete 250 hours of community service. “Today’s sentencing closed one chapter of a sordid scheme against taxpayers and required the defendant pay back every penny she stole,” Inspector General Leahy Scott said in a statement. “Both of these former top administrators selfishly violated the trust of the public and the students they served.” Former UB Vice President Dennis Black pleaded guilty to two felony charges on Sept. 7 after stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a university bank account. He will pay back $320,000 in restitution to UB. Black is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 10 and could face five to 15 years in prison. “Throughout these legal proceedings, we have had confidence in the judicial process,” a university statement read. “We are pleased that the judicial process has come to a resolution in this case and that restitution to New York State has been made as part of the defendant’s guilty plea.” email:

Page 2 | The Spectrum

Thursday, December 7, 2017

UB football player sues school, claims due process rights were violated CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1




Lippes’ client was not originally arrested for pointing the airsoft gun, according to court documents attached to the petition. On July 6, he was riding in the passenger seat of his teammate’s truck, coming back from eating lunch off campus, according to the lawsuit. University police received a call about a “white male in a red pickup truck” who appeared to be pointing a gun at a group of students. Lippes’ client is African-American. His teammate, who was driving the red pickup truck, is a white male, according to the complaint. When UPD arrived on the scene, officers arrested the white, male student who fit the description. The student in custody told UPD later that day that he had not touched the gun, but instead his teammate –– Lippes’ client –– had. Lippes’ client was summoned days later to meet with Lidano and David Wright, senior staff assistant for Campus Living, according to the suit. After questioning the student about the incident several times, the panel made its decision. On Sept. 13, Mike Hilburger, assistant director of Student Conduct and Advocacy, sent Lippes’ client an email notifying him he had been found responsible and would be suspended from UB for two years, effective immediately. The student appealed the decision Sept. 27, on the grounds of numerous policy violations, the lawsuit says. His appeal included a statement from a teammate who was present on the day of the alleged incident and said they never saw the student hold the gun. Lidano responded to the appeal Oct. 20,

stating that the decision would not be reversed, but sanctions would be modified. The student who UPD originally arrested is still at UB and started on the football team this year. “The only evidence that we were provided, which directly alleges my client was involved in the incident, was the alleged statement of the other UB student originally charged, who told police that my client was the perpetrator,” Lippes said. “We do not know how the administrative hearing or appeals officers weighed this evidence versus the evidence that directly exonerated my client because they did not explain their decisions as required by law.” Lippes said the panel also included extraneous information in the hearing, which prejudiced the panel’s opinion against his client. This included a photo of a gun, which was not the actual airsoft weapon in question. “There are so many due process violations in this case … it is difficult to choose just one as the determinative factor,” Lippes said. In September, students from UB’s Civil Liberties Union asked President Satish Tripathi to allow students a defender or representative to speak on their behalf during administrative hearings. They argued that students facing consequences as serious as suspension or expulsion could not be expected to adequately speak for themselves. This is one of the reasons Lippes feels his client was denied a fair hearing. His client tends to be shy and provide very brief answers to questions, he said. Lippes thinks he would have benefited from a lawyer or defender to speak on his behalf.

Winter Wonderland

Students passing through the Student Union had the opportunity to participate in various holiday activities as part of the Student Association’s Winter Wonderland, Monday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities included taking pictures with Santa Claus, build gingerbread houses, drink hot cocoa, decorate cookies, cards and ornaments and participate in a toy drive. The event catered to students from all religious backgrounds, and offered a chance for students to destress during the final week of classes.

Start your week off right and go to Mass!

The Newman Center 495 Skinnersville Road Amherst, NY 14228 Saturdays: 5PM Sundays: 9AM, 10:30AM Student Mass: 6:30PM Daily Mass: Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays at 12PM

Free Dinners: Wednesday Night’s beginning at 6PM (Check the UB Newman Center Facebook for more information)

St. Joseph University Parish 3269 Main St. Buffalo, NY 14214 Saturdays: 4:30PM Sundays: 8:30AM, 10AM, 11:30AM Student Mass: 8PM


Daily Mass: 8:30AM (Parish Center Chapel)

Proud Supporter of UB Basketball

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Editorial Board EDITOR IN CHIEF

Hannah Stein


David Tunis-Garcia Maggie Wilhelm EDITORIAL EDITOR


Dan McKeon, Chief Saqib Hossain Emma Medina NEWS EDITOR

Sarah Crowley, Senior FEATURES EDITOR

Max Kalnitz, Senior ARTS EDITORS

Benjamin Blanchet, Senior Brenton Blanchet SPORTS EDITORS

Thomas Zafonte, Senior Danny Petruccelli Jeremy Torres, Asst. MULTIMEDIA EDITORS

Troy Wachala, Senior Allison Staebell, Senior CREATIVE DIRECTORS

Pierce Strudler Arielle Channin, Asst. Alyssa Brouillet, Asst. CARTOONIST

Ardi Digap


Helene Polley



Stephen Jean-Pierre Shawn Zhang, Asst.

THE SPECTRUM Thursday, December 7, 2017 Volume 67 Number 27 Circulation 4,000

The views expressed – both written and graphic – in the Feedback, Opinion and Perspectives sections of The Spectrum do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board. Submit contributions for these pages to The Spectrum office at Suite 132 Student Union or The Spectrum reserves the right to edit these pieces for style and length. If a letter is not meant for publication, please mark it as such. All submissions must include the author’s name, daytime phone number, and email address.

Is secrecy and corruption UB’s new normal? A reflection on the semester’s troubling trend toward opacity For our final paper of 2017, we at The Spectrum want to reflect on our stories –– the stories we kept thinking about weeks after they left the stands. As student journalists, we look for trends. We try to understand the way the university works. And we cannot ignore the recent trend of obfuscation and unanswered questions. Over the course of the semester, UB has answered to a string of scandals, including the felony convictions of two former administrators, leaked documents showing fossil-fuel investments, the arrest of a major donor for leading a nationwide opioid conspiracy and a proposed censure of one of its most prominent deans. We are deeply concerned that UB is on the path to a new norm –– one in which we cannot trust the word of our administrators. One in which we do not know if the thousands of dollars we spend on tuition will be handled appropriately. In our second week of the semester, we reported that former vice president Dennis Black and former Campus Living Director Andrea Costantino pleaded guilty to stealing more than $300,000 in state funds from the Faculty-Student Association. We trust administrators to lead by example and demonstrate how to be an ethical, upstanding citizen. We lose this trust when administrators –– the same people who oversee millions of dollars

It’s hard to be a Jew on Christmas Growing up as one of the only Jewish kids in my school

For information on adverstising with The Spectrum, visit or call us directly at 716-645-2152 The Spectrum offices are located in 132 Student Union, UB North Campus, Buffalo, NY 142602100

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and make decisions with our futures at stake –– then turn around and steal from us. On Oct. 23, we reported that John Lipsitz, a UB alum, was suing the Faculty-Student Housing Corp., a UB Foundation affiliated organization, after it denied his requests for records. Black and Costantino formerly managed the Faculty-Student Housing Corporation. UBF is a tax-exempt non-profit that handles the university’s billion-dollar endowment. Because UBF is a private entity, the organization is not subject to open government laws. Last fall, UBF denied a request to add one student, one faculty member and one professional staff member to its board of directors. UBF Chairman Frank Letro told the Faculty Senate the foundation was already transparent enough. On Nov. 30, we reported that leaked documents showed the foundation had fracking investments in offshore accounts. The foundation misled students who voiced concerns over its investment in fossil fuels, and director Ed Schneider has ignored repeated requests for comment. The fracking situation reflects the foundation’s glaring lack of transparency and honesty. And for a school that claims to be environmentally sustainable, it is hypocritical for the university’s foundation to donate to one of the sin-

gle greatest contributors to global climate change. The rapidly changing climate is one of the biggest threats to our future, and to pay tuition at a university that actively invests in the fossil fuel industry is incredibly disconcerting. On the same day, we reported that the SUNY Buffalo State College Foundation had made an illegal campaign contribution to a local political action committee. This is not the first time a SUNY foundation made such a donation. The Spectrum reported UBF made a similar donation in 2011. Both foundations said the contributions were made in error and were refunded. What mechanisms are in place to stop SUNY foundations from donating our money to political candidates? The Spectrum recently learned there are not many. For the first time in its 55-year history, SUNY auditors began an official review of the UBF in May 2016. The SUNY Board of Trustees has yet to announce a report on the audit, which is now six months overdue. But the foundation is not the only source of anxiety when it comes to secrecy. Another story we wrote this semester involved a non-tenured professor who was fired without explanation. Although she is severely ill and lost health insurance coverage as a result of the dismissal, the university would not offer her a single explanation. We reported on Nov. 2 that Dr. Kushal Bhardwaj, known as “Dr. B,” beloved, award-winning professor at the start of his career,


Growing up, the holiday season awkwardly revolved around Christianity. My siblings and I were some of the only Jewish kids in our school, while the majority of my fellow students celebrated Christmas. During the holiday season, there were Christmas concerts, photos with Santa Claus, Christmasthemed activities and movies in class. It made sense that my classes emphasized having holiday spirit, but it always bothered me that I never really had a voice to share my own holiday celebrations. While I enjoyed learning about my fellow students’ traditions, where were the lessons about my heritage? Sure, in high school there was a history lesson or two about the religious crusades in Israel or the Torah, but where was our lesson about Hanukkah or Passover? Even though I’m not a very religious person, I’ve always felt like the

token Jewish student. If my teacher wanted to have a lesson about Jewish holidays, it was my responsibility to bring in matzah, dreidels, yamakas or a menorah and give the class a lecture about my traditions. I distinctively remember one year in elementary school when my teacher allowed me to bring in a dreidel and chocolate coins for all my classmates during our Christmas party. I exuberantly picked out some colorful spinning tops with my parents and couldn’t wait to share them with my classmates. But when I got to school, after listening to scores of Christmas music and watching a slew of movies, my teacher gave me half an hour to “teach my class how to gamble.” I’m sure he meant it in good humor, but the underlying meaning has stuck with me ever since. The problem is evident: if our nation’s educators aren’t knowledgeable about their students’ cultural backgrounds, how can they possibly offer a welcoming environment for each and every student to express themselves? I can understand why there is such an emphasis placed on Christian holidays. As of 2016, there are 7,160,000 Jews in America, according to the American Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. Roughly 291 million people, or 92 percent, in the U.S. celebrate Christmas, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center Survey. Since most Americans celebrate

Christmas, I understand the excitement and anticipation during the weeks leading up to the holiday. But that doesn’t mean we can completely forget about other students that may have different traditions, even if they’re scarcer than their other classmates. Schools have begun to be more inclusive to students celebrating different holidays. Similar to the change of “Easter” vacation to “spring” vacation, at some point, my school district changed from “Christmas” to “holiday” vacation. Our school’s Christmas concert also changed its name to be more inclusive to students who practice other religions soon after. But that’s not good enough. As student populations are becoming more diverse, schools need to take it upon themselves to educate our nation’s youth about every holiday, not just Christmas. I can’t tell you the number of times that friends have asked me “So what do you do during Hanukkah?” Everyone knows a general synopsis of the holiday: we give presents over eight days instead of one morning. But what about the rest? People are generally clueless about what happens during a typical night of Hanukkah. Every year I can expect to be asked the following; “Are there special Hanukkah foods? What time do you celebrate every night? What’s the story behind Hanukkah? What’s that special candle holder called?”

was removed for alleged inappropriate behavior, with no explanation offered to the students. When the students complained that the class was then radically different with their new professor, administrators told them to either resign the class or suck it up. We reported on Oct. 16 that students are forced to defend themselves against risk of expulsion or suspension in front of panels of administrators. International students, non-native speakers, students with anxiety and speech impediments all must prepare their own defenses. There’s no way around it –– the above stories demonstrate A lack of transparency and a lack of fairness from our university. We hope that in the new year UB officials will champion transparency and hold up values of fair play and decency. President Tripathi has taken steps to this end; he has agreed to meet with The Spectrum monthly. We’d like to see a similar level of openness and commitment throughout the administration. We know UB is undergoing some exciting developments, and we want to share in that excitement. We feel the same pride when we watch our school continue to rise in national rankings, or when we drive by the new medical school downtown. But when the truth is less pretty than a $375 million terra cotta building, we hope they are just as forthcoming. Journalists across the country are facing hostility. The First Amendment and the very concept of truth are under attack. The university should seize this opportunity to support its student journalists and all who seek the truth, rather than following these troubling national trends. email:

And the list goes on and on and on. Christmas has it all: a feast with turkey, ham or goose; its own category of cookies, eggnog and all sorts of culturally normalized festivities that have become an integral part of American culture. Hanukkah has its celebrations too, and they’re not that different from those of its Christian counterpart. But the responsibility shouldn’t be placed on students to educate others about their religion. Simply taking one day out of the year to showcase different cultures and religions around the world can give students a glimpse into the lives of students celebrating a minority religion. Some schools have taken steps to incorporate events like these into their classes. I worked as a counselor for the YMCA at a local high school for three years. During the holiday season, some of my students were overjoyed when they had a day learning about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Muslim celebrations. Locals from the Jewish, Muslim and African American community came in to give a fun, interactive lesson about how they celebrate their holidays. This is a great start and hopefully more schools can look at this model and find a way to incorporate it. I take pride in my heritage. Nobody has to be an expert on other religions, but during this time of year, I’ve always felt left out of the normal holiday festivities. Being educated can brighten someone’s day and make them feel included during the most wonderful time of the year. email:

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Splitting Christmas Dividing holiday time is my norm


Everyone has heard the old adage that divorced parents mean twice as many presents come Christmas time. It’s a funny way to try and make what could be a tough situation

more lighthearted. But for me, having divorced parents has been my reality for almost my entire life and I don’t find it to be a tough situation. My parents split when I was about six years old. So for me, splitting Christmas between two families is the norm. I would say it was tough at first, but I don’t even remember what it was like. I don’t remember a holiday where my parents were together. I’ve seen it in pictures, but all of my holiday memories involve being with either my mom or my dad. I have friends whose parents have split more recently and their holidays are strange to them now. When I think of holidays, I don’t feel left out because I don’t see my parents together for parties. If anything, I feel lucky because I get to do two different holiday parties and see more family members. Obviously that has its downside as a college student who doesn’t feel like explaining the constant ex-

Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to celebrate opening of downtown location Tuesday


will take place on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.



Space dedicated to education is


GREATER THAN the current South Campus location


Move taking place over a fivemonth period that started in November


Largest medical education under construction in the United States

($206,250,000) 30 year mortgage through the state

($168,750,000) is from state grants

istential crisis that is being at a university twice, but I still appreciate it. I think of how I spend Christmas Eve, eating dinner with my dad and that side of the family. I think of my loud uncle who weighs more than me, breaking my chops about my weight every year and debating whether UB or St. Bonaventure is the top athletic university in Western New York. I think of taking shots with my step-siblings and playing stupid games like Guesstures. Then I remember going home after dinner to my mom’s. My mom, my sister and I –– and now my brother-in-law and their soon to be born baby –– gather around the tree and open pajamas to wear for the night while we watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” It makes me remember all of the Christmas mornings waking up and playing charades to be able to open a gift. I think of my aunt, uncle and cousin coming over on Christmas day and all of us enjoying dinner together. Or when my biker uncle comes in yelling or brings one of his


“From the start, we have been committed to creating a building that supports medical education for the 21st century and enriches the people who will live, learn and work within and around,” Cain said. More than 27,000 locally made terra cotta panels give the building a distinctive appearance. Another key design component is the 15,000 square foot atrium. The atrium will invite “collaboration” and a “sense of community” among faculty, students and staff as they navigate around their new home, according to the medical school’s website. The research laboratories, which are located on the third, fourth and fifth floors will feature “abundant natural light,” according to UB Now. The sixth floor houses the Behling Simulation Center, where students from all the health sciences at UB will participate together in “interprofessional” patient simulations using the newest technologies. It

buddies with great names like “Crazy” and “Psycho” and they live up to those names. I think of the time my cousin and I get away from the rest of the family and play video games. Don’t get me wrong, it has its downside. No one likes having to leave one parent behind in order to go see the other. It sometimes can feel like you’re abandoning the one whose house you’re leaving. But that also makes you value the time with them and be in that moment rather than distracted with phones or other things. You grow to love and appreciate the nonsensical. It’s easy to think that not spending holidays as a “normal” family is a sad thing, but for the people living it, that’s just not the case. To be quite frank, I have no desire for that. As a questionable comedian once said, “No happy marriage has ever ended in divorce.” My family exists the way it does and I’m fine with that. I love my weird family and everything about it. My holiday isn’t “normal,” but I wouldn’t change a thing. email:

also houses the Clinical Competency Center, where medical students can prepare for national competency exams with interactive scenarios featuring standardized patients. The Gross Anatomy Lab, which uses advanced digital resources to analyze the human body, along with the traditional gross anatomy approach, is located on the seventh floor. The seventh floor also houses a new robotics suite, a surgical skills suite, the Structural Sciences Learning Center, which combines pathology and imaging to create “better predictive models” and a biomedical engineering collaborative space. Kelly Hayes McAlonie, director of campus planning, said the new location has a “student-oriented atmosphere.” “The students will have a sense of home,” McAlonie said. “The campus celebrates UB and the city of Buffalo. The students are excited. I’m excited. Dean Cain is excited.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 7

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

UB Living Stipend movement stages sit-in outside administrative offices CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Ph.D. students receive a total funding package of about $38,000, which includes tuition scholarship, stipend and health benefits, according to a statement from UB spokesperson John Della Contrada. The statement also said the university is in the process of determining if departments whose stipends fall below the national average can increase their stipends to meet national benchmarks. Protesters, however, say their stipends average less than $14,000 per year. This discrepancy exists because the university includes research assistants when calculating the median stipend for TAs and GAs. If RAs are not included in the equation, the average stipend for TAs and GAs is $13,100, according to Juhi Roy, an officer for the Graduate Students Employee Union. Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Barb Ricotta briefly addressed the crowd. She said President Satish Tripathi was not in his office, but assured protesters they could stay as long as they like. “You can stay and sit as long as you’d like, as is your privilege,” she said. The crowd responded that protesting is not a privilege, but rather their right as workers. Alyssa Schwendener, a visual studies Ph.D. student expressed discomfort about the police officers guarding the administrative offices being armed. “The fact that I’m in a room with at least four guns right now is painful,” she said. “I don’t know why there need to be guns in this stairwell. I don’t know why there need to be guns anywhere. And the fact that I’m here means that even though it is painful, this needs to be done. And I think the fact that it’s not understood as painful but necessary by people who apparently don’t want to be here listening to us blows my mind.” The sit-in lasted for over an hour. Graduate students shared stories of the struggles they have faced with their low stipends.

Leslie Nickerson, a former Ph.D. student in the English department, had to drop out of her program and get a full-time job because she could not afford childcare for her daughter, Zoe, with her low stipend. “It just wasn’t doable anymore,” Nickerson said, breaking down in tears with Zoe on her hip. “And while I’m on a leave of absence, I don’t think I’m going to be able to come back and finish my degree. I’m here because while it may be too late for me, I don’t want anyone else to be in my situation.” Bridget Daria O’Neill, a former Ph.D. student in the comparative literature department, also ended up leaving her program. She said she received very little support when she was transitioning and ended up being let go after her second semester of teaching. “I was then let go after my second semester of teaching, I was six months into hormones at the time. I was in a very vulnerable position,” O’Neill said. “It’s not very easy to get a job when you’re in my situation. And I was basically just thrown away.” She believes marginalized students are most heavily impacted by low stipends. “Students of color, queer and trans students are the ones hardest hit by that and the effect winds up being that demographically you’re not allowing the people who most need to be heard to participate in what’s supposed to be a symposium of ideas,” O’Neill said. A Ph.D. student in the American Studies department explained that the issues graduate students face extend beyond just low wages. She makes a $13,000 per year stipend, which amounts to roughly $11,000 per year after student fees. She is leaving her program and said her decision to drop out is not just about wages, but also the “extreme exploitation” she feels she has faced as a TA. She said her TA assignment was tripled during the fourth week of classes, and she was not given adequate time to prepare for


Demonstrators from UB Living Stipend Movement staged a sit-in outside of administrative offices on Monday. Participants asked to meet with President Tripathi, but he was not in his office at the time.

the courses she taught. The longest notice she’s gotten about needing to teach a class was the night before classes started. “I feel like that’s not uncommon for a lot of people,” she said. “Especially those of us that are passionate about our job and those of us that are good at our job. We get exploited more because they think we’ll just do the work because we care. So that’s why I decided to stop. I’m not going to be pimped out just because I am able to do this work for you.” The student started crying, saying “I cannot do this anymore.” She said she was “severely” sexually harassed by a professor in her department and felt “no confidence” in going to the leadership of her department. “We are absolutely not taken seriously. And the work we do is beyond what most of the professors on this campus do,” she said. “And I know there are professors who have issues with sexual harassment, but they have more security when that happens to them. When it happens to us as TAs, I don’t have anywhere to go.” Anne Marie Butler, a global studies Ph.D. student pointed out that graduate students could have chosen to go a different career path and make more money. But she said academia would look “very different” if

that were the case. “We’re soon going to see what the people who can afford higher education look like— and it’s going to look very different,” Butler said. “And none of their voices are going to contribute to any conversations about class, race, gender, ethnicity and religion. It’s going to become a very one note dialogue and a very slippery slope.” Ariana Nash, an English Ph.D. student said while she was “shocked” that the university stationed armed guards outside of the administrative offices, she was generally pleased with how the protest went. “The group continues to grow stronger,” Nash said. “It started six months ago largely in the English department, and today there were so many different departments here. So I think it’s a diverse group of people and that diversity is important. That’s what this event was about—it’s about making sure that voices are heard.” email:

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Page 6 | The Spectrum

Thursday, December 7, 2017


“Restoration Stories,” a collage exhibit from Buffalo’s Restoration Society, Inc. Community, will be on display starting next Monday at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus’ Connect Gallery. The exhibit, which began this August, makes use of some members’ personal documents like journals and photographs, transforming their life stories into works of arts.

UB Art Galleries’ ‘Restoration Stories’ takes visual journeys through mental health Exhibition brings community to collage works BENJAMIN BLANCHET SENIOR ARTS EDITOR

Mixed media is taking the form of powerful expressionism through a new community collaboration downtown. “Restoration Stories,” an exhibit featuring collage works from Buffalo’s Restoration Society, Inc., will be on display starting next Monday at the Medical Campus’ Connect Gallery. The work is an effort between the galleries, local artist Terri Katz Kasimov and Restoration Society, a mental health support and resource center. Restoration Society members, who began taking workshops with Kasimov this past August, worked with the artist to impart

their life stories through a series of collages. Some members never considered themselves artists and others had some creative experience. The workshop helped bring color and newly imagined creations to members’ items like journals and pictures. If workshop participants didn’t want to destroy their personal documents for the collages, the galleries would help them replicate or better represent their items for artistic use. Hannah Quaintance, a Ph.D. student in the anthropology department, curated the exhibit through her assistantship with the Art Galleries’ Cravens Collection. After noticing the distance between the Restoration Society’s location and UB’s Anderson Gal-

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lery, separated by one block, she hoped to use the spatiality as a way to build a relationship with the organization. “It’s a community that doesn’t often have inclusive activities offered to them, especially for their opportunity to exhibit their work,” Quaintance said. “So it’s really exciting to give the participants a sense of value in their works and show it to a larger public audience.” Aside from artistic experiences, many of the members’ life experiences vary as well. A lot of the work featured in the gallery comes from reflection, with some works tackling themes of loss while others tackle homelessness through visualization. “So it was a lot of working with different people and for Terri [Katz Kasimov], she was really great at conducting the conversations,” Quaintance said. “Her whole idea is

there are no mistakes in art so she was really encouraging of everyone, no matter what sort of marks they were making on a paper. It was meaningful and significant.” Robert Scalise, acting director and deputy director of the UB Art Galleries, said the galleries like to bring in artists such as Kasimov as they stimulate creativity on projects like “Restoration Stories.” “From working with Terri in the past, she has done a series on the Holocaust. She’s also done something on 9/11, when her son was working down there at the time,” Scalise said. “So I know her work itself is personal but it is also very narrative. I thought the people in Restoration would really be keen on Terri’s journey as an artist.” Three years ago, Scalise helped bring the Connect Gallery to fruition when working on a project at the Conventus Center. Scalise initially viewed the gallery, guided by Ciminelli and Conventus partners, as an opportunity to put together a space where art could be used as an educational tool, especially for students looking to utilize offcampus galleries. The gallery will now host the curatorial effort of a student for the first time. “Sometimes there is a stigma that museums are not so approachable, but projects like this, tying in community members like Restoration Society, really strengthens what we do and links us with different constituents in the area,” Scalise said. “Restoration Stories: Collage Works by the Restoration Society, Inc. Community” opens next Monday and will be on view until next fall at the Conventus Center, located at 1001 Main St. email:

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Page 7 | The Spectrum

Thursday, December 7, 2017

TRANSPORTATION TROUBLES UB students dread upcoming holiday travel


Winter break is rapidly approaching and students are actively searching for the easiest and cheapest way to get back home. Many UB students opt to take the UB Express Bus Home because it’s the most convenient and least expensive ride for those that live in the state of New York. Roundtrip tickets to Syracuse cost $75, $105 to Binghamton, $130 to Albany and $140 New York City. Tickets for the Express Bus service can be purchased online up to 48 hours before the bus’s departure. While the Express Bus is students’ cheapest option, many are unhappy with the accommodations that coincide with its cheap ticket price. Rion Codrington, a junior architecture major, lives in Elmont, NY, roughly 11 hours away from North Campus by bus. Cordington doesn’t appreciate how messy the bus can be and wishes it were cleaner. “I’ve been using the bus to go home since I was a freshman because it’s the easiest way to travel back to Long Island,” Cordington said. “But every time I get on the bus, there’s always trash everywhere from the seats to the floor. On a plane, everything is usually really neat and clean.” Other students who don’t have access


Winter break means thousands of students travelling home to their families. No matter what means of transportation students use, traveling during the holiday season can be stressful. This is especially true for international students who pay large amounts of money for long distance plane tickets.

to a car feel the bus is a cheap, convenient option to flying. But, in their opinion, this doesn’t make up for the long ride and uncomfortable accommodations on the bus. Emmanuel Torres, a senior mechanical engineering student, is an international student from Costa Rica. Torres rides the bus to Rochester to spend winter break with his grandparents. “Rochester isn’t too far away from campus, so the bus makes the most sense,” Torres said. “But the trip would normally only take around an hour by car. Between riding the Stampede, taking the subway downtown and the bus’s occasional stops, it adds on a lot of additional time.” Some students have no choice for transportation besides the bus, but others who are tired of cramped seats and long rides are opting to fly this winter. Aliyaa Reeves, a junior political science major, used to take the nine-hour UB Express Bus ride home to Queens, but she has

decided to switch to taking an airplane. “The bus just takes way too long,” Reeves said. “I wish my hometown was closer to UB, so I could just drive myself. Even though it’s cheaper, the flight is more stressful for me because of the price and process. I have to plan so far in advanced so that I can buy a cheaper ticket. Waiting until the last-minute means paying more money.” International students arguably have the toughest decision during winter break; buying an expensive ticket and spend numerous hours traveling home versus spending break in Buffalo. For international students who choose to travel home, this decision often entails paying hundreds, or even thousands of dollars for transportation costs. On top of this, multiple layovers, busy airports and winter weather can cause unwanted stress during what is supposed to be a relaxing break. Rachel Lim, an international junior psy-

chology major from Calgary, Canada, pays roughly $600 for her round-trip ticket back home. With no other practical way to travel home, she reluctantly pays the fee each break. “Traveling during break is really tough for students who live outside of the country,” Lim said. “I wish that there was a cheaper alternative, but realistically, flying is my only option. The jet lag also sets me back because after changing time zones, I’m absolutely exhausted.” Other international students aren’t traveling home for the holidays because of high ticket prices. Courtney Wilkins, an international junior communication major from Melbourne, Australia, explains how strenuous it is to get home. Flying back home costs her $1,500 round-trip. Wilkins is also on the basketball team and has practices and games during winter break. Due to the expensive ticket and team requirements, it’s not worth it for her to travel home. “Because I’m on the basketball team, the only time I can go home is in the summer,” Wilkins said. “There’s no point in paying so much money and going through all the stress of holiday travel. It’s really just not worth it for me.” When Wilkins does travel home, she spends at least 24 hours traversing different parts of the globe before finally arriving at her final destination. “If I take the fastest route, I’ll take a one and a half hour flight to Chicago, then five and a half hours to L.A., and about 15 and a half hours back home to Melbourne,” Wilkins said. “It really sucks because I love seeing my family and being so far away from them for so long can be tough.” email:

Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to celebrate opening of downtown location Tuesday CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Derek Spath, a second year medical student is “very excited” to start next semester downtown in the new school. “A benefit is I will be close to the medical community,” Spath said. “It will all be easier, all in one place. I won’t have to go anywhere.” Cain also emphasized the positive impact he feels the new location will have on the Buffalo economy.

“Many graduates will stay here [because] we will be training more physicians. A new building, a new school will entice people to come here. This major transformation downtown will give us a competitive edge,” Cain said. In September, The Spectrum reported some faculty members were concerned about parking at the new location. They felt they weren’t given enough information about how and where they would park.

More than 1,000 spaces were added to the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus parking garage ahead of the move to meet increased demand for parking. The campus was also intentionally placed close to the subway in order to make commuting easier. “We collaborate with most to all of the schools on North Campus,” Cain said. “To be one train ride away from them will be beneficial to the students and faculty.”

Cain feels the new centralized location will bring a sense of unity to the medical school community. “We are making the Medical School whole again,” Cain said. “We are very excited for the students and the moving process.” Brandon Borzillire contributed reporting. email:

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Page 8 | The Spectrum

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Oren Sadeh, a senior exercise science major, confidently strolls over beats as rapper Sade Cinco. Sadeh, alongside rappers Sammy K and BNLVY, released “Markelle Fultz” in mid-October — a feel good cut with an infectious hook from Sadeh.


Sade Cinco brings no restraints to the rap game Senior Oren Sadeh mends songs with melodious bars and hooks BENJAMIN BLANCHET SENIOR ARTS EDITOR

Oren Sadeh took the stage in front of a crowd of 800 people over the summer. It was his first time performing for a crowd. The senior exercise science major and SoundCloud rapper wasn’t nervous. He barely broke a sweat. Sadeh embraces spontaneity. His carefree attitude is reflected in his infectious hooks and untroubled persona. “I felt confident doing it,” Sadeh said. “I had the energy and I was not scared when I stepped on stage. I told myself I had to do it. You don’t have a choice and you’ve got to kill it.”

Sadeh has a untroubled flow and cadence on the mic. He delivers a multitude of laidback, enjoyable tracks that often celebrate life’s pleasures. He has released over five tracks on SoundCloud while attending UB. Sadeh enjoys improvisation. He often begins his recording sessions with a freestyle over the beat and fills in the gaps later on. He takes inspiration from a variety of producers, mainly those he finds on YouTube. He initially started commenting on YouTube videos, rap battling other users through back and forths. He then began freestyling under the name EDWARD, his middle name. EDWARD didn’t work out, but after one of his summer shows in New Jersey, Sadeh met a manager for one of the show’s artists. Without a name set in stone, he had to think on his feet. “I didn’t want to hit [the manager] up with a random name, so I made up my own name and began thinking of how Childish Gambino, Post Malone, Lil Uzi Vert came



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up with their names,” Sadeh said. “They went on a rap generator and made their names. I wanted to make my own brand, so when people hear [my name], they’re going to have to think of me.” Aside from his more fun tracks, Sadeh has tracks like “Her Pain” which shine with personal narratives of family and love. He penned the song for his mother and performed it in one of his first rap showcases at Harriman Hall during his freshman year. “It’s talking about all the struggles of being a single mother, how much she sacrifices for everything and letting her know I was proud of her,” Sadeh said. “The people at the [showcase] liked the song because it was real.” Artists like Frank Pierce, whose real name is Oluwafemi “Femi” Popoola, is a recent UB grad and met Sadeh during his freshman year in Wilkeson Hall. After Popoola heard “Her Pain,” Sadeh’s vocals left a mark on the musician. “A lot of time, technique is there and so is lyricism but if someone doesn’t sound good

then it’s a waste, Popoola said. “One of my favorite qualities [of his] is his tone.” Popoola believes Sadeh’s catchiness and comfortability is apparent and hopes Sadeh stays honest with his craft. Popoola and Sadeh look to release an upcoming track together, “Love Hate,” featuring UB psychology student Alexa “Lex” Feiner, before the summer. In addition to his collaborative work with Frank Pierce, Sadeh landed a feature with Atlanta-based rapper Sammy K on his song “Markelle Fultz.” The song, produced by Fishman! and named after the Philadelphia 76ers’ #1 NBA draft pick, is a flex-centric tune which boasts swagger and fine living. Sadeh, alongside his friend and rapper BNLVY, assist Sammy by providing catchy hooks and bars. The song, similar to his performance in New Jersey, came up on a whim after he met Sammy at BNLVY’s house. “We’re all together like ‘we should make a song, like right now,’” Sadeh said. “We had the beat and we just started cooking right then and there. We didn’t have any plan to do the track, we just knocked it out in like three or four hours, we were bouncing off 8-bars and 8-bars so it was mad fun.” Sam Kalnitz, better known as “Sammy K,” said his new song is all about having a good time, to get listeners hyped and in the zone – attempting to get Fultz himself to hear the song. Upon hearing Sadeh, Kalnitz took away the distinct sound he provides and overall is impressed by his music. “His writing skills are great, his delivery is, too. He’s got what it takes,” Kalnitz said. “He meshes really well with my style and in the track, we go back and forth with our verses. It doesn’t really seem like anything can really discourage him. I can’t tell him not to give up because I know he’s not going to give up.” email:

Page 9 | The Spectrum

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Underrated holiday hits The Spectrum’s playlist of the best neglected Christmas cuts SPECTRUM EDITORIAL STAFF

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, unless your family insists on forcing “White Christmas” and “The Christmas Song” down your throat. We at The Spectrum believe that holiday music is a sacred art that shouldn’t be soiled by repetition or unavoidable air-play. Here are our picks for the season’s best underrated classics. Brent: *NSYNC - “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” The noodle hair, the choreography and the pop-goodness; it’s all there, but we don’t hear enough about it this time of year. Back in the late ’90s and early ’00s, *NSYNC was on top of the charts. The boyband released an entire Christmas album, “Home for Christmas,” in 1998, to commemorate their almost immediate success. The leading single of that record may just be the corniest yet most beautiful Christmas track to grace the holiday season. With some pretty vocal runs from Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez, “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” encompasses holiday cheer while still incorporating some of the pop perfection that made *NSYNC the biggest group in the world. It’s catchy, delightful and it brings the family together. Chasez, the band’s underrated king, says it best in the song –– singing that no matter what holiday you celebrate, it’s “the time to celebrate.” Well JC, you can always celebrate with us here at The Spectrum. Brent: Boyz II Men - “Let it Snow (feat. Brian McKnight)” In 1993, Boyz II Men released “Let it Snow,” arguably the greatest R&B Christmas song in existence. It features some of the hottest and jazziest keyboard chords on a Christmas song, and is completed by the group’s vocal excellency. But Boyz II Men isn’t alone in this holiday classic. One of the greatest living male vocalists, Buffalonian Brian McKnight, who clearly knows a lot about snow, joins the

guys on the track’s second verse. Imagine playing a pickup basketball game with Lebron and Kobe, and suddenly Michael Jordan joins your team. Brian McKnight is the Michael Jordan of R&B voices, and makes this classic so much more memorable. Some of us are too young to experience Christmas in the ’90s, but one listening to this classic is the next best thing. Tom: Paul McCartney - “Wonderful Christmastime” This song is a treasure simply for whatever effect McCartney used on the keyboard. It sounds like different octaves of the same laser beam and it works surprisingly well for a Christmas song. Lyrically, the song is just about the Christmas season. McCartney spends the song listing all his favorite season activities –– from ringing bells to choirs –– he seemed to been having a grand time in December of 1980. The song is rather straightforward with the only line in the chorus being, “Simply having a wonderful Christmas time.” But simplicity is king in and with an added bell jingle in the background, the song works as a catchy whimsical tune. It does a great job of capturing the best parts of the season with not a single word on the shopping that comes with it. Compared to songs that get far more play like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” this Christmas tune is far more enjoyable and doesn’t get old after the first listen. The song remains a must for the season and a highlight of McCartney’s solo work. Tom: John Lennon - “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” Unlike most Christmas songs, Lennon barely discusses the holiday spirit. Instead, he focuses on the suffering in the world around him and how it will continue after the day is over. He creates an appreciation for the holiday by showing how just a specific day in the year can bring joy into a world that seems full of suffering. The song doesn’t sound like the usual Christmas song even with a children’s choir in the chorus. Lennon himself makes the

HOLIDAY BLUES A playlist for coping with sadness around the holidays I know I am not the only one who struggles with feelings of sadness during the holiday season. So, I made this playlist to say it is OK to be sad at Christmas time. I hope these songs can help to soothe your holiday blues.


I love the holiday season, but it also brings about unavoidable feelings of sadness and loneliness. Memories of Christmas spent with the person I thought I would spend every holiday with for the rest of my life. A friend stolen away from me in her youth. The death of a grandmother who practically raised me. An aunt and godmother lost to early-onset Alzheimer’s. The ever-present absence of a father who didn’t know how to love me. I carry this pain with me always, but the holidays bring it into sharp, unavoidable focus –– and I think the sadness I feel at this time of year is often exacerbated by the idea that we’re supposed to be cheerful.

A Fine Frenzy - “Red Ribbon Foxes” This hauntingly beautiful ballad by indie singer-songwriter A Fine Frenzy examines some of the deeper, existential questions and feelings we have at this time of year. From a critique of the empty consumerism that seems to be everywhere during the holidays to questions of faith, “Red Ribbon Foxes” is a refreshingly introspective holiday tune that feels like a walk through a cold, snowy evening. Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson - “Winter Song” An evocative, melancholy piano tune, “Winter Song” is a bittersweet yet ultimately hopeful lamentation on the steady change of seasons and circumstances. Bareilles and Michaelson mourn the loss of a lover, crooning that “December never felt so wrong/Because you’re not where you belong/Inside my arms,” an all too fa-


Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” is a must for the holiday season and a highlight of McCartney’s solo work. Other holiday tracks may triumph over it, but McCartney’s christmas will never feel over-played.

song sound more like a plea then a celebration with the desperate tone in his voice. It is a rare Christmas song that has nothing to do with Santa, snow, gifts, love or Jesus but fits the season beautifully. I am stunned with how many people don’t know either this song’s name or who made it. I have spent many holiday seasons talking to a friend or family member and they were surprised to learn it was made by the famed musician. The important part is that the song has become a cornerstone of many holiday CDs and radio stations. If only college students stilled listened to those. Ben: Jim Jones - “Dipset Xmas Time (feat. Mel Matrix and Stack Bundles)” If McCartney’s classic is underrated, this cover version is criminally so. The song, by Harlemite rapper Jim Jones, is to the tune of “Wonderful Christmastime.” On “Dipset Xmas Time,” all the pleasures of living life in the fast lane are aired out over a bop of East Coast 808s. In the song, the holiday trio of rappers are very blunt in their street dealings. Jones

miliar feeling for anyone experiencing the loss of a relationship during the holiday season. The pair sing of a storm coming soon, rolling in from the sea, alluding to struggles approaching in the future, yet tinged with a bittersweet acceptance of the pain to come. Taylor Swift - “Christmases When You Were Mine” “Christmases When You Were Mine” highlights how Christmas can be perhaps the worse time to be nursing a broken heart. “Please take down the mistletoe/‘Cause I don’t wanna think about that right now,” she sings, echoing how loneliness feels magnified when you’re surrounded by couples falling in love and cheerful tunes about spending Christmas with that special someone. And how that feeling is made even worse when you feel like it’s not OK to feel sad and lonely, “I know this shouldn’t be a lonely time/But there were Christmases when you were mine.” Coldplay - “Christmas Lights” Chris Martin opens this modern, plaintive Christmas carol by reflecting that “Oh, when you’re still waiting for the snow to fall/ It doesn’t really feel like Christmas at all.” Snow in this case can mean more than just frozen precipitation, but rather the buoyant happiness we’re expected to feel. In other words, when you’re broken-hearted or processing grief, it’s hard to get in the holiday spirit. But the chorus takes a more hopeful turn. “Those Christmas lights/Light up the street/Down where the sea and city meet/ May all your troubles soon be gone/Oh

raps on the record, inferring that late December isn’t as heavenly for him as it is on a London block for McCartney. Max: Bruce Springsteen - “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” Springsteen and the E Street Band’s energetic twist on this classic earns a spot as one of my all-time favorite holiday songs. Growing up in a Jewish household, I didn’t listen to a lot of Christmas music. But the combination of Clarence Clemons’ Santa imitation and intense sax solo, Springsteen’s Jersey-boy voice and the band’s swingin’ rhythm section are the perfect musical mix. Springsteen’s energetic approach to the song gives it some extra “oomph” that older versions lacked. With every recording, the Boss has a genuinely fun time singing the song and can always be heard laughing in the middle of the band’s performance. His genuine love for the track has won me over as a long lasting fan. Anyone looking to rock this holiday season needs this song on their playlist email:

Christmas lights keep shining on.” Martin doesn’t insist you put on a happy face, but rather gently wishes your troubles away. Judy Garland - “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” This often-misunderstood Christmas classic is my favorite holiday tune. It originated in the 1944 film “Meet Me in St. Louis” when Judy Garland’s character is trying to comfort her little sister, who is devastated to learn she will be moving from St. Louis to New York, separating her from her friends, family and everything she has ever known. Both Garland and the young actress are in tears throughout the scene. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was never meant to be a happy Christmas song — and that’s why I love it. Newer covers of the track change the lyrics of the bridge from “Someday soon, we all will be together/If the fates allow/Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow” to “Through the years we all will be together/If the fates allow/Hang a shining star upon the highest bough,” which completely changes the meaning of the song and disregards its original context. Sometimes we’re not all together. There will be Christmases where you notice one less pair of hands while hanging up the lights. Where December never felt so wrong. But what I love about the original “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is it validates those feelings, while still acknowledging the possibility of hope that someday soon things will get better. Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow — and that’s OK. email:

Page 10 | The Spectrum

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A discussion with Snoh Aalegra R&B singer talks Toronto shows, “Feels” and unfinished project with Prince BRENTON J. BLANCHET ARTS EDITOR

Leaving a major label is a risky task, but R&B singer Snoh Aalegra isn’t scared of change. Aalegra dropped her debut and second independent project “Feels” on Oct. 20. Her self-described “romantic soul record,” executively produced by Grammy-nominated producer No I.D., is already making waves. Aalegra will open for rising R&B star Daniel Caesar from Dec. 16 through Dec. 20 at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall. The soul singer spoke with The Spectrum about her upcoming shows, her debut album and her friendship with the late, great Prince. Q: Your recent album, “Feels,” is gaining a lot of traction. After you left your label, did you anticipate seeing such a rise in popularity? A: I wanted to be an artist since I was a kid, so the goal has always been to reach as many people as possible. The funny thing is that I’ve reached more people being indie than when I was with a major label. I did one EP with them called “There Will Be Sunshine.” Then I did “Don’t Explain” and “Feels” independently with my team. The goal is still to reach as many people as possible, obviously. Q: Ever since you decided to take an independent route musically, your project covers are illustrations of you rather than photos. What’s your reasoning for this? A: When I was at my major label, there was so much talk about what I looked like and how it was something negative. People would always judge me about my style or whatever. People would be judging me off my looks which is really stupid. It was a thing everyone was talking about at that label and I was really sick of it. Naturally, I had a single cover made by this guy before and I love his work. His

name is Joe McDermott and he’s from New York. It’s more about the music [now]. It’s not like I’m trying to hide myself, but with my new music you can just press play first then maybe you can go discover who I am or what I look like. Q: One of your more emotional tracks, “Time,” was written about your late father. Drake sampled it as the outro to his “More Life” project, which was made in dedication to his own father. Knowing the similarities, are you glad that a song so dear to you made it on Drake’s project? A: I’m such a big fan of Drake’s so I’m just happy it happened. I love that it was his outro and it was a serious song because my song is serious. I just appreciate the fact that it happened. You can never plan who’s going to sample what. I just thought it was a cool thing and [“Time”] is really personal to me. It touches me that people can relate to it so much and that it helped them go through something difficult as well. I get a lot of people telling me that they listened to it and they also lost somebody. Q: Do you think there’s one characteristic about you specifically that helps you mesh with people who are all over the map musically? A: I think every artist is super sensitive and emotional, just like I am. For me, what would make me want to collaborate with somebody is if it makes me feel something. With John Mayer, we literally met outside of the studio. I was talking to his manager and No I.D. and I just walked up to them and I was like “oh s**t it’s John Mayer.” And then John just curiously was like “can I hear your music?” Then I just played him my music and I think the second song I played for him was “Under the Influence.” He loved it and was like “can I play on this?” He did his thing. I saw him record this whole thing and I couldn’t cut it out so I let him have his own track with “Under the Influence Pt. II.”

With Vic [Mensa] it was the same thing. We were in the studio and we saw each other a lot and talked about working with each other. I was in a meeting playing “You Keep Me Waiting” and Vic knocked on the door and was like “I love this song.” With Vince [Staples], I’ve been on his album before. When I was doing “Nothing Burns Like the Cold,” I was like “Vince is perfect for this.” I sent it to him since we already approved of each other musically. Q: You were close with Prince. Is there anything you took from your friendship with him that translates in your music? A: I was very mesmerized by him and he’s one of my biggest heroes of all time. I listen to him almost daily. Just to see him in person performing, being around him, seeing how hard he worked. He would always practice two or three hours a day with his band. Until the day he passed away, he was still working that hard. A lot of people in this generation –– they’re kind of lazy. They hide behind their computers. They put out their music. They don’t really work on anything else but the songs. …I was going to do a whole project with Prince. He was going to produce a whole album for me. He just wanted me to get out of my deal and I did and then unfortunately he got sick. But now there’s stuff I don’t have access to because his vault is secret. All I really have access to myself is all of our conversations and a jam that I have on my phone that he allowed me to record. You were not allowed to have your phone around him. There was one time I was jamming with him and he was like “record this.” All the other stuff is his stuff so you can never access it because they’re Prince’s. I really respected him and I know he wouldn’t want me to put anything out unfinished. But maybe for my own usage. But I have so many emails from him because he didn’t have a phone. I have so many emails back and forth from him and they’re so amazing. At some point I’m going to print all of them and just make a little book for myself. They’re funny. They make me smile. Q: You open for Daniel Caesar for five days at the Danforth in Toronto, starting next Saturday. Do you think crowds like his –– where there are marriage


R&B singer Snoh Aalegra (above) opens for Daniel Caesar at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto for five straight nights starting Dec. 16. Aalegra talked to The Spectrum about these shows and the vision behind her new album “Feels.”

proposals in the crowd –– are meant for someone who’s as emotionally invested into their music as you? A: I’ve noticed his crowd appreciates my music. I’ve gained a lot of fans from his crowd. I definitely think we have a similar audience. There’s a lot of couples going to his shows so that’s a cool thing and three couples have gotten engaged to “Blessed.” But I think we have a similar audience. I will never know until I do my own tour actually. Q: What’s up next for Snoh Aalegra? A: I want to work on new music. I’m going to work a lot with Boy Wonder, No I.D and some of the Toronto people. I just want to put out a lot of music next year. I was going to do the three EPs this year, but then it became an album. But now I’m more clear with my vision. I just want to do more projects. I want to be in Europe a lot and I haven’t performed in Sweden for many, many years. You could say I haven’t in 10 years. So I want to go back to Sweden and try to build myself there. email:

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Page 11 | The Spectrum

Thursday, December 7, 2017

December movie guide Your monthly collection of cinematic selections… DAVID TUNIS-GARCIA MANAGING EDITOR

The holidays are a time to stay home and spend time with family and friends. It’s also a time to trek to the nearest movie theater and pay to sit in silence with a bunch of strangers for a few hours. At first glance, December appears to be a light month for releases but a closer look reveals a few gems hidden among whatever dad-movie Steven Spielberg is putting out these days. Oh, and the biggest movie of the year. “The Shape of Water” Dec. 1 (limited release), Dec. 8 (wide release) Guillermo del Toro has taken a break from hanging out with Hideo Kojima and making guest appearances in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” to give us his first film since 2015’s “Crimson Peak.” “The Shape of Water” stars Sally Hawkins as a mute custodian in a government lab who befriends a captured sea creature played by frequent del Toro collaborator Doug Jones in 1962 Baltimore. Michael Shannon plays the villain, an abusive colonel tasked with studying the creature. If there is one thing del Toro excels at, it’s heartfelt tales featuring fantastic creatures realized through practical effects. It is when he overreaches with a CGI slugfest like “Pacific Rim” that he becomes anything less than visionary. “The Shape of Water” looks to be more in line with 2006’s “Pan’s Labyrinth,” which told the tale of a young girl’s descent into a dark world of magic and adolescence during the Spanish Civil War. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Dec. 8 Rian Johnson tries his hand at helming the biggest film franchise of all time, after J.J. Abrams won back the audience’s good will

with “The Force Awakens.” No pressure. Episode VIII picks up where VII left off with Rey training with the recently rediscovered and all-around disgraced Jedi Luke Skywalker. Kylo Ren is regrouping after getting his emo butt kicked and killing his own father. “The Force Awakens” was the boost “Star Wars” needed after the almost universally derided prequel trilogy, introducing fresh likeable characters and reuniting us with cast of the original trilogy. “The Last Jedi” should maintain the same level of quality, though the specter of the death of Carrie Fisher looms large over the production. “Bright” Dec. 22 Director David Ayer and screenwriter Max Landis may be two of the most divisive names in Hollywood today. Ayer won nobody over after the massive misfire that was “Suicide Squad” and Landis’ grating Twitter presence often overshadows any merit his scripts would earn him. But the two joining forces for a Netflix original film starring Will Smith as a cop with an orc for a partner played by Joel Edgerton is too interesting to ignore. Ayer’s gritty style is perfect for a cop thriller and he has shown he understands the world in films like “Training Day” and “End of Watch.” Landis understands storytelling more than he is often given credit for as evidenced by his YouTube pitches for the perfect Superman film and Twitter analysis of WWE characters. He has a way with dialogue that seems like it may clash with Ayer’s tough guy sensibilities but should be at home in a film with such a ridiculous premise, coming out of Smith’s mouth. “Phantom Thread” Dec. 25 While it is doubtful Paul Thomas Anderson will provide you with the feel-good


Star Wars: The Last Jedi” will be the biggest film of the year, despite losing Carrie Fisher before the release. December also brings us a few gems along with Spielberg’s latest dad-fare.

Christmas feelings you may want, there is no doubt he will deliver a film that is both visually beautiful and interesting. Whether it will be enjoyable remains to be seen. The film stars Daniel Day-Lewis as a dressmaker and lifelong bachelor who spends his life on flings with his clients until he meets a strong-willed woman played by Vicky Krieps who disrupts his perfectly tailored life. Anderson’s recent films have been spotty.

“Inherent Vice,” was a meditation on the end of the Free Love era that felt as stoned as the main character. Before that, “The Master” featured beautiful performances from a brilliant cast in one of the most dully infuriating movies ever committed to film. But he is still the man who gave us “Boogie Nights” and showed us Adam Sandler could act in “Punch-Drunk Love.” email:

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Page 12 | The Spectrum

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Festive cocktails are the perfect way to unwind during the holiday season. Try the Peppermint White Mocha White Russian for a festive twist on the classic drink.



must-have this holiday season. To prepare the spiked eggnog, you will need three cups of eggnog, one and half cups of hazelnut liqueur, one and a half cups vodka and ground nutmeg. In a pitcher, combine eggnog, hazelnut liqueur and vodka, then refrigerate until chilled. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add half a cup of the mixture and a dash of nutmeg. Shake for roughly 20 seconds. Poor into a martini glass, sprinkle nutmeg on top and you’re ready to enjoy this scrumptious holiday treat.

cocktails Festive drinks to get you in the holiday spirit


Let’s face it: as exciting as the holiday season is, even the best of us need a drink after spending time with family. So after getting incessantly questioned about your personal life, future plans and GPA, you might need to slip into the kitchen and sip on a festive fermentation. Peppermint Mocha White Russian

This dessert-like confection is a perfect post-Christmas dinner treat. Peppermint coffee liquor adds holiday flare to the traditional white Russian. To add that extra kick for when your grandpa starts instigating political debates, add a one to one ratio of vodka to liquor. Fill the glass to the brim with cream or

Mistletoe Moscow Mule

milk. No ice is needed, so you can prepare this beverage ahead of time — that way all you have to do is open your refrigerator to make your stressful family dinner a little more merry and bright. Garnish with whipped cream and crushed candy canes for that extra touch of holiday spirit. Cranberry Ginger Sparkling Mimosa

For a classier take on holiday drinking, indulge in this wintery version of the classic mimosa. This blood red bubbly is not only aesthetically pleasing and the perfect addition to your holiday dinner table, it’s also the ideal balance of sweet and satisfying. To enjoy this merry mimosa, you will need one and a half cups of sugar, one and a half cups of cranberry juice, two cups of cranberries, four fresh rosemary sprigs and

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two tablespoons of sliced ginger. In a small pot, combine the sugar, juice, rosemary and ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer for roughly 30 minutes or until the cranberries soften and pop open. Remove the rosemary sprigs and mash the cranberries. Simmer for a 15-20 more minutes until the liquid gets thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool. Place two tablespoons of the cranberry mixture in each glass. Top with chilled sparkling wine, give it stir and enjoy. Eggnog Martini

You adored the non-alcoholic version of this classic holiday beverage as a kid; now it’s time to graduate to the grown-up version. For all of the eggnog aficionados out there, this creamy and sweet martini is a

When you remember that you have no one to kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas, pucker up to this mistletoe-themed cocktail instead. To make a scrumptious mistletoe Moscow mule, you’ll need one quarter tablespoon of lime juice, one half teaspoon of honey, three mint leaves, one ounce of vodka, ginger beer, five cranberries (plus three more for a garnish) and a sprig of rosemary. Place the mint leaves, two cranberries, honey and lime juice in a dish. Mash the ingredients together and set aside. Next, squeeze the lime juice into a small dish and sugar into another. Dip the rim of the glass in the lime then in the sugar to rim the glass. Place the mashed mixture in bottom of the glass, fill three quarters of the glass with ice, then add the vodka and ginger beer to just below rim of the glass. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and three cranberries for a drink that looks just like the traditional holiday decoration. email:

Page 13 | The Spectrum

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Page 14 | The Spectrum

Thursday, December 7, 2017


The NBA season is in full effect and after opening day the next slate of games comes on Dec. 25. As NFL football is to Thanksgiving, NBA basketball is to Christmas. This year is no different. Here are the best Christmas games. Appetizer – 76ers vs. Knicks To start things off, at noon on ESPN we have a tasty appetizer in the Philadelphia 76ers traveling to the Big Apple to take on the New York Knicks. Both teams are in huge markets and in seasons prior have underperformed. However, this season seems fresh for them both. In the past, the 76ers have been condemned for tanking. That is no longer the case. Behind success from previous drafts, the 76ers organization has put together a team that has everyone in the NBA scared and excited. Behind rookie sensation Ben Simmons, who has a LeBron James-esque style of play, sophomore phenom Joel Embiid and savvy veterans such as J.J. Redick, the 76ers have produced on the court. The Knicks have a young roster, with less upside. With the subtraction of Carmelo Anthony and the addition of players such as Tim Hardaway Jr. and Michael Beasley, the Knicks are putting together a sneaky good team. Kristaps Porzingis is dominating in his third season and without the burden of Anthony being the primary focus on offense, Porzingis has thrived. He averages 25.8 points per game – fifth in the league – and is blocking 2.1 shots a game – first in the league. It is going to be a treat to watch Embiid and Porzingis go at it.

Main Course – Cavaliers vs. Warriors Heading over to ABC at 3 p.m., things really get started with the main meal. The Golden State Warriors host the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rematch of the previous three NBA finals. Stephen Curry recently rolled his ankle on Dec. 4, but he should be good to go by Christmas. Regardless if he can play or not, having Kevin Durant as a second option is better than every first option besides James in the league. With Draymond Green playing on primetime television, there is always a chance for drama, especially going up against a team with so much history. The Cavaliers have a very different roster than the previous two seasons. With the loss of Kyrie Irving in an offseason trade to the Boston Celtics, the Cavaliers gained all-star point guard Isaiah Thomas and strong wing defender Jae Crowder as well as the free agent acquisition of veteran Dwyane Wade. Thomas has been injured for the entire season thus far, but hopefully will be able to return to action by Christmas. Watch out for a huge game from J.R. Smith or Wade. Seconds – Wizards vs. Celtics If you’re not full yet, the Washington Wizards will take a quick flight north to take on the Boston Celtics. Starting at 5:30 p.m. on ABC, this battle between Eastern Conference foes will feature two of the best point guards in the league. Starting with the Wizards, John Wall has been absent due to discomfort in his shoulder, but should be back come Christmas. Wall is a born leader and facilitator as well as one of the best defenders in the league. His running mate, Bradley Beal has a stroke very few in the world can emulate.

The Celtics have been on fire this season despite losing all-star Gordon Hayward in the first game of the season. Irving thrives in the spotlight and a nationally televised game should bring about the best in him. Don’t be surprised if he drops 40 points and puts on a ball-handling clinic. Thirds – Rockets vs. Thunder The last game on ABC is at 8 p.m. and will feature the Oklahoma City Thunder playing host to the Houston Rockets. This matchup, much like mashed potatoes and gravy should top off the festive meal. Every time these foes face-off, there is always the reminder that the Thunder originally broke up the big-three of Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden when they traded Harden away to avoid financial problems. In the offseason, the Rockets acquired a top-three-point guard of all time in Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers. Paul has missed a portion of the season but every game he has played, the Rockets have looked impervious. The Thunder has been underwhelming this season. With the acquisition of Paul George from the Indiana Pacers and Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks, the Thunder was expected to rival both the Warriors and Rockets in offensive pedigree. Their offense has featured way too much isolation ball. Both teams are trying to cement themselves as top contenders against the Warriors come playoff times. This game will have a very game-seven vibe. For the sake of the Thunder, let’s hope they treat it like one. COURTESY / KEITH ALLISON

Dessert – Timberwolves vs. Lakers For dessert –– the game that didn’t make the cut –– the Minnesota Timberwolves travel to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers.

John Wall (top) and Terry Rozier (bottom) both finishing strong at the rim. NBA Christmas is the biggest day of regular season basketball.



Junior center and team captain Richard Ledyard moves the puck down the ice. The team deals with multiple challenges being a club sport.

Playing on your own time and dime

Dedication goes beyond club level for hockey team CHRISTOPHER SMITH STAFF WRITER

UB hasn’t had a Division I hockey team since 1987, but the club hockey team is still going strong. UB financially supports only Division I teams, but that doesn’t stop many club teams from thriving. Club athletics provides a healthy balance for student athletes who wish to continue playing the sport they love, while also having time to experience college. The club hockey program successfully creates this balance. “I think our guys are just as committed as most other college athletes,” said head coach Jeremy Kersten. “We travel just as far as certain Division III SUNY teams like

Buffalo State, Fredonia. … We’re on the ice four to five times a week, including usually two games on the weekend.” When the team has to travel, they take turns driving their own vehicles to places like Pittsburgh and Delaware, stuffing as much equipment in cars as possible. A trip to Delaware can cost up to $80 in gas alone. Road games that start later than 9 p.m. mean the team will be driving home past midnight and arriving back in Buffalo well into the morning. Club sports aren’t affiliated with the university budget, so practice ice is paid for and scheduled by the players and coaches. To acquire cheap and available ice time, the team schedules practice at 6 a.m. at the Northtown Center. For just an hour of practice ice time, the team is charged $145 by Northtown Center. This rate is increased to $210 for weekend games. If the team has three 90-minute practices and two home games scheduled, they will have to dispense over $1,000 for that week. Other expenditures include

equipment costs –– new hockey sticks being sold for upwards of $300 –– traveling costs and any other extracurricular events that the team holds. None of this spending is supported by the university. “The only difference between us and the NCAA athletes is really just that we’re in the weight room less and that we don’t have the same support from the university,” Kersten said. Players like junior center and team captain Richard Ledyard, dedicated much of their childhood to playing competitive hockey hoping to get to the NCAA level. “I’d be traveling hours each weekend to play in tournaments,” Ledyard said. “Hockey commitment is so extreme for parents and players trying to develop at a high level and is very different compared to other sports.” To get looks from college programs, a player needs to quit their high school team and join junior hockey programs. These junior leagues are designed to get players ages

17-21 exposure to college coaches and sign a letter of commitment. “Lots of players on our team could have easily played Division-III hockey but decided this route instead,” Kersten said. “Some of our freshman players are as old as 21 because they were off playing junior hockey.” Many aspiring players give up their hopes of playing in the NCAA and get burnt out having spent time and money over the years. These players make up a majority of the club hockey team. “The idea that school comes first lines up with the club hockey mindset we have here at UB,” said junior defensemen RJ Miller. “The reason our team is so competitive is because some players had opportunities to play at divisional colleges, but came to Buffalo for their academics instead of being subject to going to school because of athletics.” Other players simply cannot afford, or are unwilling, to pay to keep up with their collegiate efforts. Division III schools cannot give out athletic scholarships, so players like Ledyard end up with the burden of paying to go to school and pressure of being on a Division I or Division III team. At UB, he can play hockey in a more comfortable environment that is a lot more affordable. “For me it was the cost that really turned me off from playing Division III,” Ledyard said. “I’d be getting offers from schools that would make me pay a ridiculous amount of money.” Club sports are designed exactly for players to continue playing competitive hockey, build incredible relationships, make memories and earn a college education all at the same time. “I love being around the guys. You can really approach them like adults while teaching them,” Kersten said. “Our team goes through highs and lows together. We can bond so well because we all love hockey.” email:

The Spectrum Vol. 67 No. 27  

The Spectrum, an independent student publication of the University at Buffalo