observer THE OFFICIAL STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE
THE STUDENT VOICE
ECC joins facebook By Mario McCalla Staff Writer
The Essex County College Department of Marketing and Electronic Media, performed a multi-day launch of Essex County College’s official Facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/EssexCountyCollege ) in February, marking ECC’s leap into the world of social media. Essex County College recently joined the masses of secondary education schools, businesses and individuals sharing information and distributing their product or promoting their cause through the new, explosive use of social media networking. Many students, who commute long distances or are confined by time at Essex County College, finally have a way of keeping up with the numerous events happening across two campuses. As technology continues to evolve, standard dot com school websites are no
OPERATION CODE RED
longer the only way to present information readily about an institution. There are about 845 million registered Facebook users and 500 million registered Twitter users. Colleges across the country are continuously reacting to the rise in the usership of the internet, mobile devices, and social media. Social networking, coupled with 44 percent of American adults owning smartphones, according to PC Magazine, has made Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare ubiquitous and mainstream among the public. Most institutions of higher education have already adapted to using networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to disseminate information, publicize events, and bring students regardless of location closer to the happenings on campus but there are more sure to come. Social media networks allow both continued on page 2
INSIDE: ECC asks for a “Like”, but still blocks social media sites on campus. - page 6
Whitney Houston - page 9
Missing alligator - page 10
Corporations are people? - page 7
Our Roving Photog meets Redd - page 4
Nearly 2.5 million people from 127 different countries are being trafficked into 137 countries around the world.
By Lev D. Zilbermints and Christie Avila
Essex County College hosted Operation Code Red, an event designed to bring attention to human trafficking. Held in Smith Hall, the three-day event sought to educate the ECC community about human trafficking and how to stop it. Lynn Wilson-Buchet, a representative of Homeland Security Blue Campaign, presented a video explaining what human trafficking is and who is involved in it. According to Wilson-Buchet, human trafficking is defined as, "sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery." According to the United Nations, 2.5 million men, women and children are trafficked and sold into forced labor and prostitution. Global profits for human trafficking exceed $31.6 billion. The U.N. estimates that human exploitation takes place in 127 countries around the world. “Human trafficking is exploitation-based, while human smuggling is transportation-based,” said Buchet-Wilson. However, there are laws which protect victims of human trafficking. These laws include the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, outlawing slavery and involuntary servitude; the Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000; and state criminal statutes. Some of the goals of TVPA legislation include public awareness and education about human trafficking; diplomatic measures to make countries obey international laws; new tools for law enforcement; stricter penalties for offenders; and protection for victims of human trafficking. Following Lynne Wilson-Buchet's presentation, a group of Jefferson Township Middle School students made their own initiative heard. “The initiative, called Project Gold, is a student movement to abolish modern-day slavery,” said Dan Papa, a Social Science teacher at Jefferson Township Middle School. In his remarks, Papa described how he and students from 6th, 7th and 8th
grades joined forces to, "awaken the spirit of the 19th century abolitionist movement in order to end modern-day slavery." The students gave a video presentation and spoke at some length about the project. They listed five things that young people could do to raise awareness about human trafficking. These included making pictures and videos; making posters, finding facts appalling and savage; creating a club; educating one's peers; and supporting the abolitionist movement. Sharon Ciliento, a Language Arts/English teacher, said after the event that the idea came to the students after reading the book Outsiders. "There is a letter to the book's main character to stay young, optimistic and to stay gold. The connection is that kids who are trafficked are no longer gold [innocent]. We are trying to educate others so that more kids can stay gold," said Ciliento. Currently, Project Gold is implemented by two high schools and one middle school in New Jersey. The students advocate for stricter laws and penalties. More information can be found on projectstaygold.org.
Essex County College 303 University Ave. Newark, NJ 07102
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ECC JOINS FACEBOOK
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took place across the three campuses. The three day launch began on February 13, 2012 on the West Essex Campus in West Caldwell, continued February 14 on the main campus in Newark, and wrapped up on February 16 at ECC’s police academy in Cedar Grove. The launch marketing featured fliers posted around campus, e-mails, as well as tables that offered long stem roses and chocolate treats for each “Like.” Keister also serves as the content manager, overseeing content that is publicized on the school’s Facebook page. Social Media Monitors (student interns) gather and fact-check posts ranging from athletics, fashion, committee meetings, Africana Institute events, seminars, entertainment, cultural events, and student accomplishments. Students and non-students alike are free to peruse the page and submit queries and comments. “The aim of ECC’s social media network initiative is to connect students with the college, engage students and allow exchange between not only the students themselves but also faculty. If there are questions that students are unaware of where to ask, we’ll be happy to help. We want to open a dialogue online students can use frequently,” explained McCarthy. “I think it’s a good idea because I’m a Facebook fiend,” said Communications student and Social Media Monior, Jeineken Ortiz. “I have no time to follow the calendars around the school [so] the school’s Facebook is very helpful.”
Photo credit: Christian Blair
students, faculty and even potential students to share not only information, pictures, dates but also individual opinions about events and issues around campus, something the regular website does not support. The initiative of ECC’s entrance into social media was the brainchild of the Board of Trustees. “Interest grew from students; faculty and the college community thought it would be a good idea to have social media so we can have [an]exchange with students and the community at large, the college community, and outside public. We would like to hear what students have to say and have the students’ voices heard through social media and social interaction,” explained Dr. Lekha Keister, Associate Director of Marketing & Electronic Media, who launched the site at the three ECC campuses. “Since the launch in February, the school’s Facebook site has seen positive response from the students,” said Director of Marketing and Electronic Media Marsha McCarthy. The number of “likes” (Facebook users’ instant positive response button) soared from about 100 to near 690 since its inception. “The initiative isn’t just to start a Facebook page, but to include Essex County College in the world of social networking,” McCarthy added. She expects ECC to have Twitter account by the end of the spring, LinkedIn by summer, and YouTube by spring or fall this year. The Facebook page was debuted in a series of launch events that
Jeineken Ortiz at Valentine’s Day Social Media Launch
Operation Code Red continued from page 1
On March 7, a movie, "The Taken", was shown at the Clara Dasher Center. The movie begins with a young female traveling to France to study abroad. While on vacation, she is abducted by three men. The three men repeatedly beat her and drug her until she is unconscious, unable to speak, and cannot fight back for her own protection. These men consider young girls a business and sell them to the highest bidder. Young girls who are virgins are auctioned at a higher price compared to girls who are not virgins. Throughout the movie, her father is on a mission to find his daughter. Therefore, he backtracks all of the locations she went to in Paris and tries to find the man who ran the sex trafficking business in France. At the end of the film, the father finds his daughter and she is safely returns home. Unfortunately, sex trafficking happens all around the world,
and in many cases, these young women do not return home safely. During the last day of the event, March 8, ECC President Edythe Abdullah gave a short speech to the audience in Smith Hall. The president said that she was very "distressed... by the fact that chattel slavery still exists." Math Club President Jason Gleason, substituted for Congressman Donald Payne Sr., the scheduled speaker. Respected by people around the world, Payne passed away March 6 after a monthslong battle with colon cancer. Gleason said that "tons and tons of planning" went into organizing the event, which was held March 6-8, 2012. Groundwork for organizing Operation Code Red began in September 2011. Other club presidents were informed via email of the proposed event, said Gleason.
Math Club co-President, Aisha Barry said that the idea of organizing Operation Code Red came to her when she was attending a Leadership Conference in June 2011. Barry credited Jason Gleason with contacting Jefferson Township Middle School and Homeland Security Investigations. The Math Club and Christian Fellowship Club provided the speakers, while the Short Film Club did short films especially for the presentation. Other clubs helped with advertising, flyers and handouts. According to Gleason, Essex County College administration supported the event. The event was presented by the Math Club in association with the Student Government Association; Student Life and Activities Office; the Christian Fellowship Club; Short Films Club; the Fashion Entertainment Board and seven other clubs.
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ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE OBSERVER
INSIDE OCCUPY NEWARK
“Tents down, crime up!”
Congressman Donald Payne Sr.
Essex County College mourns Congressman Donald Payne Sr. By Lev D. Zilbermints News Editor
Essex County College mourned Congressman Donald Payne Sr. who died on March 6, after a monthslong fight with colon cancer. Newark honored him with a horse-drawn carriage procession through city streets. Hundreds of people lined up to view the procession. Payne, 77, was in his tenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, was well-known in New Jersey and around the world. He was the only African-American representative in the New Jersey congressional delegation. Payne's body lay in state at the Old Court House on Springfield Avenue in Newark for two days, March 1213, 2012. With flags flying at half-staff around the state, a long line of mourners patiently waited to pay their final respects to Payne. College students, professionals, workers, rich and poor, politicians, ordinary people, all came to pay their respects. On Wednesday, March 14, Payne's body lay at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark. The mourners included former President Bill Clinton, Governor Chris Christie, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, and many other dignitaries. Payne was loved because of his ability to forge alliances. He had a quiet dignity that he projected to anyone he was dealing with. Those who knew Payne say that he rarely, if ever, raised his voice in anger. A champion of the poor and downtrodden, he helped many people get ahead in life by motivating them to do better. A speaker at many events, Payne served as a father figure and mentor to many students, including those at ECC.
Former ECC Student, Tobias Fox, Shares His Diary of the Evacuation of Military Park As of February 15, 2012, the encampment at Military Park has been officially evacuated. It just doesn’t look the same without tents. At least the monuments, symbolizing the park’s history, still remains. Sometime yesterday, a sanitation worker gave the few remaining occupiers at Military Park heads up that they (Dept. of Sanitation) were preparing to come to clean out the encampment with a police escort at 11:30pm. It was a final attempt at reclaiming the park, but wanting to do so in a peaceful manner. Me and others received word and decided to go down to Military Park to confirm what was floating around on Twitter and Facebook, but to also show standing support to those who refused to leave. Close to midnight, a cop on the payroll of Miles Berger, CEO of the Berger Organization, LLC, pulled up with a smile on his face asking if we planned to leave. The Berger Organization is a privately owned real estate company based in Newark. It is involved in the development and management of residential, commercial, and hospitality properties throughout Northern New Jersey and New York City. There have been about three confrontations with employees of the Robert Treat Hotel, a Berger Organization property. Berger himself had sent the city council a letter asking that we be evicted from Military Park and had been on a campaign with Mayor Cory Booker to push this eviction. Well, last night, shortly after midnight, 12:15am to be exact, just as we were giving up on the warning of a police raid, we piled up into an occupier’s vehicle and just as she put her vehicle in drive, creeping up on the side of us were fire vehicles, police wagons, sanitation vehicles, the works. A wave of fear and then an adrenaline rush came through my body. We all exited the vehicle and some occupiers came out of their tents to face the authorities. I truly have to give it to the remaining few. They showed no fear and held their ground to the very end. One occupier even demanded to law enforcement to not touch his tent and they complied, but stated that if he didn’t take his tent down they would have to follow their orders. There were about 3 fire vehicles, 3 police wagons, a special task force unit, about 7 unmarked cars, 13 firemen, a team of sanitation workers with 2 dumpsters, and a police force of about 40 or more. A New York Times journalist and a group of camera phones were documenting the event. We were expecting batons, mace, tear gas, the works, but instead we got a pretty peaceful group of enforcers. Not sure if there’s such a thing. Even occupiers originally from OWS stated that they felt they were in a Twilight zone. They just couldn’t understand why the cops didn’t come with aggression and why the majority of the occupiers that was once there quietly left. I guess every encampment has its own culture. As tents were being taken down and thrown into dumpsters we began chanting: “Tents down, crime up!”
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Gerald Holloway Prepares To Pull Out All The Stops with 30th Anniversary Show, “Empires” By Wintella Powell Photo Editor
ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE OBSERVER
Photo credit: Wintella Powell
Mr. Gerald Holloway is working on his annual fashion show for the 30th year and it is called “Empires”. Let’s take a step back into time for a moment. Mr. Gerald Holloway, also known as “G,” is a graduate of Essex County College. When he was a student, Mr. Holloway was the SGA's treasurer and senator. According to an alumnus, prior to there being any fashion shows, the college used to have a “Ball” where everyone came dressed in gowns and suits. The proof is in the 1970s year books. Now… the question is, how did Holloway get his start in the fashion show business? He stated that he remembered attending a show at the Terrace Ball Room in Symphony Hall and wasn’t very impressed, so he felt challenged to do a better job. Although he was nervous because he didn’t know how to produce or even host a fashion show, he knew a few important designers who helped him to make his first venture, which was held in the Mary Burch Theater, a success. Holloway advised that it was a tremendous amount of hard work, but he had so much fun he decided to make it a yearly event. His next show was held in the Multi-purpose Room (the workout room). After that show, he went on to utilize one third of the Gym for his show, but by the next year he had to use the entire Gym. The first show in the Multi-purpose room was titled “Now or Never,” where he paid tribute to Nelson Mandela, Sammie Davis Jr., and Alvin Ailey. According to Holloway, he is truly grateful because in the beginning he had only ten designers. Now he has access to over one hundred and twenty and continually reaches out for new talent. Holloway donates part of the proceeds from each fashion show towards scholarship funds and any student who maintains a grade point average of 2.5 or better and are involved in extracurricular activities, clubs, and community services such as feeding the homeless, assisting in nursing homes, Breast Cancer walks, etc. are eligible. Holloway informed me that any student with a real interest in the fashion business could complete their internship by working backstage with lighting, sound equipment, props, etc. He is a mentor to multiple students throughout the school and has daily interaction with those who work with him on the Fashion Entertainment Board. One such example is Chris Bryant who, as a result of
Holloway’s training, was able to produce a New York show on his own. I have observed over a period of time here at ECC that many students regard “G” as a father and he consistently encourages them to study hard, develop good character, and make responsible choices in life. One of Holloway’s joys is keeping in touch with alumni like Iris Bradley who has started his own Fashion Show in Texas and is doing very well. Another former student is Rosa Velez, former Miss New Jersey, who resides in Florida and is currently involved in fashion shows and has been cast in commercial ads for Tommy Hilfiger and The Gap. Holloway is pleased to note that many of the alumni he mentored throughout his 30 years Gerald Holloway at ECC have gladly given credit for their achievements to Essex County College and have even held workshops to assist and promote new entrepreneurs and businesses. The name of this year’s fashion show is “EMPIRE” and to Holloway it represents the number of years he has been hosting the production. He proclaimed that this year “he is going to pull out all the stops” and he is more excited about it than any previous event. The extravaganza will be held on Saturday, May 5, 2012. The doors will open at 6:30 pm and the show will begin at 7:30 pm. Ticket prices for students are $15.00 and for the general public $20.00 before the week of the show. You may purchase tickets from any Fashion Board student and if you have any questions, please contact Gerald Holloway in his office, which is directly across from the gymnasium.
The Renaissance Man and the Five Great Nobels The founding of Essex County College’s First Fraternity & Sorority
By Tsahai General Features Editor
at ECC need unity, a support system. Rather than cliques, we should bring them together as equals…and help them benefit from it,” replied the President of the Gamma’s, Miesha Alexander. In regards to Harney, the
Photo credit: Wintella Powell
What sets Essex County College apart from the variety of community colleges in the area? Well, thanks to the “Renaissance Man,” as Miesha Alexander likes to call him, Essex County College has not only a fraternity, but also a sorority. This Renaissance Man, the Founding Father, is Israel Harney; it was through his inspiration and ideas that the Brothers can call themselves Mu Beta Kappa, “The Gentleman’s Fraternity.” Harney sought help from Zeta Phi Beta and Phi Beta Sigma in order to form his first line of gentlemen. These gentlemen, by name, are Randolph Tucker Jr., Justin Shefton, Gray Legoute, Abdias Pichardo and Frankie Ventura, also known as The Five Great Nobles. It was then that Harney and the Five Great Nobles founded the sorority, Delta Gamma Psi, with the help of Zeta Phi Beta, Phi Beta Sigma, and Omega Psi Phi. Alexander also pointed out that a lot of faculty helped too because they too are of “Greek” background. When asked why the Fraternity was formed, current Vice President Marcel Dulcio answered, “There
aren’t many gentlemen remaining. We are here to establish something new…to form gentlemen at ECC.” The fraternity itself was established on September 16th 2010, and now they are more united than ever. “Right now we are building our culture,” stated
Left to right: Randolph Tucker Jr., Stefanie Davis, Miesha Alexander, and Elijah Colas
Michael Steele, Sergeant of Arms. “It’s a legacy in the making,” agrees Raymond Jackson, Secretary. Their Bond with the Gamma’s is also quite strong, “They’re our Sisters!” responded Elijah Colas and Marcel Dulcio, President and Vice President, in unison. Delta Gamma Psi was formed on December 17th, 2010. The sorority was formed because “the women
Brothers and Sisters speak quite passionately. “Everything is done through the orchestrator. God is who inspired Israel…now… we have a bond. There is no brotherhood, no bond in this school,” said Tucker. The Brothers and Sisters agree that in order to enjoy the full college experience, activities need to be provided that will aid people socially and academically. “Being in
this sorority will allow you to flourish and help you come out of your shell,” Alexander said passionately. Since their formation, the Brothers and Sisters have performed community service and hosted parties in order to bring the students together. Alexander actually communicated with Lawrence Hamm of the People’s Organization for Protest in order for the Sisters and Brothers to go out and protest along side Hamm. They have volunteered at the Second Mile Church, where they made sandwiches and handed them out at Penn Station. Every now and again, the Brothers set up the Beta Blog, where they pull out a white board with a topic written on it, and students passing by can voice their opinions on said topic. These Brothers and Sisters have worked hard these past two years to make themselves known and create a positive image for Essex County College. When asked how they plan to go about spreading the word and this feeling of unity among students, Steele answered that they would branch out via club drives in different schools and speaking with that school’s school board. “UCC will probably be the next step…” stated Steele.
The Roving Photographer By Wintella Powell
Redd has a unique story that students can identify with because it encourages them to not give up on their dreams. Redd started college in 2005, but later felt that it was not for him and therefore when his father became ill, he stopped taking classes to take care of him, and he put his education on hold. When Redd’s father recovered, Redd returned to school, but he still didn’t think that college was for him. When he realized that he was going to be a father, he stopped again to manage his responsibilities of his young son. When Redd returned to ECC as a student in 2007, he received a job working with Gerald Holloway, the Fashion Entertainment Board advisor at ECC. After working with Holloway for a short period, a designer advised him to try out modeling because he definitely has a certain "look.” He discussed the idea with his father who encouraged him to try it out. His first walk was in a small show, held in Washington D.C. He had done so well, that after the show, he appeared on the front of a flyer for the 25th Anniversary Fashion Show called Dynasty. It has been five years since Redd began working with Holloway, and he is now an assistant trainer for new models. Redd indicated that back then, he had thought that since he was from “The ‘hood,” modeling and the world of fashion was not for him. He now believes that “No matter who you are, and where you are from, do not think something is not for you; just say it is the perfect thing for you.”
New Rules For Clara Dasher Cyber-Lab By Lev D. Zilbermints News Editor
Students using the Clara Dasher Center Cyber-Lab will now find themselves bound by new rules. Copies of these rules are posted by every computer and on every table in the Cyber Lounge. Students are not allowed to open the lab door for anyone. Cell phone usage in the lab is not allowed. Earphones must be worn if the student wishes to use sound. No food or drink are allowed in the lab at any time. Anyone caught looking at inappropriate material online will be asked to leave indefinitely. Failure to sign-in will mean removal from the computer terminal. Lastly, once a student’s time limit is up, he or she cannot sign back in for two hours. According to Lewis Crawford, the attendant overseeing the Clara Dasher Center, new rules were made because by “more students use the [computer] lab.” Enforcing the new rules is done by work-study, part-time workers, said Lewis. Prior to using the lab, students have to sign-in and give their photo identification at the Student Life and Activities Office. After going through this procedure, students go to the Cyber Lounge. Lewis said that “if there is enough staff for the day, part-time workers monitor the Cyber-Lab.” In that case, the students go directly to the lab to sign-in and show their photo ID. A large banner on the wall in the Cyber-Lab warns students that the time limit is 30 minutes for Social Network use, one hour for typing papers. After the time limit is up, the students must log out and wait to sign-in for another two hours. This system allows other people to use the Cyber-Lounge in the meantime. An hourly rotation patrol makes sure the rules are followed. Asked about whether “viewing indecent material” meant pornography, Lewis said yes. The Student Center attendant said that for the first offense, the pornography viewer would be asked to leave for the day. For a second offense, the offender would be banned from using the computer lab indefinitely. When asked if there were any cases of anyone caught viewcontinued on page 5 ing pornography, Lewis answered, “Not yet.” ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE OBSERVER
THE LEARNING CENTER By Ben Potesky
Photo credit: Wintella Powell
When it comes to academics, we could all use a little help sometimes. All students, regardless of GPA, have found themselves overwhelmed by their school work at least a few times. So, where do you turn for help? Well as it so happens The Learning Center, right here at Essex County College, provides free tutoring service’s for all student’s. That’s right, free. “We provide tutorial services for all students. Math, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, English. You name the subject, we probably have the tutors to help you with it,” Dr. Leigh Bello – De Castro, the Asst. Dean of Academic Foundations, explained to me in her office, “We see about 2,000 students a month, which makes up for about 5000 hours of tutoring each month.” The Learning Center is designed to make tutoring easily accessible to students. It has maintained its accessibility by having a walk in policy, so no appointment is required. All a student has to do is walk into the Learning Center, show an ECC ID, and within a few short minutes he or she will be sitting down with a tutor. When it comes to the qualAngie Arias, Juan M. Gonzalez (Learning Associate) Elizabeth Pallazhco, Maurisa White. ity of the tutors, or learning associates, as they are referred to by the Learning Center staff, their ability is unmatched. Despite all of the impressive qualities of the Learning Center, the quality that stands out All learning associates are required to have at the very least a the most is the pride the Learning Center staff takes in their work. All of the Learning Center’s 3.25 GPA. The makeup of the Learning associates is diverse certifications are nothing compared to the amount of dedication Dr. De Castro and her staff have to say the least. ”We have peer learning associates, that for the students of ECC. This dedicaare students. We have tion can be seen in the long hours and graduates of ECC, who “We provide tutorial services for all students. meticulous work the Learning Center have now moved onto Math, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, English. staff deals with every day. It’s rare in MSU, Rutgers, and NJIT You name the subject, we probably have the tutors to help you with it.” this world to find people who are truly to name a few. Then we dedicated to your personal success and have our learning asso- Dr. Leigh Bello – De Castro in The Learning Center you can find the ciates who have Bachproud few who are. As Dr. De Castro elor’s degree’s, I have told me “Every student should be coma Master’s degrees, and even two learning associates who ing to the Learning Center to study. The key is to identify an academic problem before it occurs, have their PhD’s.” Dr. De Castro explained. In addition, the not right before finals come around.” Learning Center has been “College Reading and Learning There is no reason not to take ad vantage of this FREE resource; you have nothAssociation” certified since March, 2011. The CLRA is a naing to lose and all of the benefits to reap. While the Learning Center doesn’t require anything in tionally recognized and highly regarded organization whose return for its services, its staff does have one small request- that you like them on Facebook and purpose is to train educators and help them master their craft. follow them on twitter @ECCLearningCenter. The Learning Center is an invaluable resource with “It’s huge for us to be certified,” De Castro explained,“ the the sole purpose is to help you succeed, and it won’t cost you a dime. So stop struggling with your CLRA certifies educators in three levels, three being the best. classes, there are men and women in this very school that are happy to help you, they want to help Right off the bat they gave us a certification of three because you. If you’re in ECC right now and it’s between the hours of 9:00am and 7:00pm, odds are that of the amount of training we put our staff through,” Dr. De this elite group of men and women are here in the building right now waiting for you to ask for Castro said with a sense of pride. “We have a shadowing their help. But unfortunately, the Learning Center is only useful for those students who actually program, we have intensive training sessions, and a host of take the time to walk into it. So ask yourself, what are you waiting for? other requirements that all of our learning associates must complete,” She added.
COR RE C T IO N S
• • •
In the March issue “Your Friend Newt” article, there was a duplicated word error- “everything thing” Staff Writer Juniel Spruiel’s name was misspelled There was a grammatical error in the “I>clicker” story. It said, “Mathematics Instructor Ines Figueiras said…” it should have said, “Mathematics instructor, Ines Figueiras said…” Lastly, in the article “ECCO’s Roving Photographer” the word ‘class’ was misspelled as ‘clas’
eVOTE f Student Government Association H El e ctionsH When: 1st week of April (4/2/12 to 4/6/12) Vote for your candidates online 1. 2. 3. 4.
Visit ECC website (www.essex.edu) Log-in to Web Services Click on the SGA voting link Vote!
continued from page 4
Lewis made a clear distinction between popular dating sites and pornography. The former is okay, while the latter is a no-no, said Lewis. According to Lewis, not opening the Cyber-Lab door means “You must sign-in, then go in, open the door. Otherwise it is disrupting the person who is doing the work.” “Adults with children are not allowed in the Cyber-Lab. The children should go to the Essex Café, and sit down until the parent finishes work...We encourage students not to bring kids to school,” said Lewis. Asked about the reason for no food in the Cyber-Lab, Lewis explained in greater detail. According to Lewis, water or juice can get on the keyboard and short-circuit the electric appliances. Some students were unhappy with the new rules. One student, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “I feel that if no one is using it [the computer] they [staff] should not kick you out [after time limit passes].” Another student, a Social Science major, said, “It is ridiculous, but it is the rule.” The Clara Dasher Center Cyber-Lab hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. Mondays – Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Fridays. The Clara Dasher Center is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE OBSERVER
OBSERVER The Student Voice of Essex County College Essex County College 303 University Ave. Newark, NJ 07102 firstname.lastname@example.org Editor-in-Chief Christian Blair News Editor Lev D. Zilbermints Features Editor Tsahai General Copy Editor Salomao D. Becker Photo Editor Wintella Powell Photographer Daniel King Staff Writers Christie Marie Avila Elaina Garrett Collis Marrow Mario McCalla Ben Potesky Juniel Spruiel Patrice Wright Illustrator Sono Arima Layout Design Editor Christian Blair Humanities Faculty Co-Advisors Eileen DeFreece Jennifer Wager
Occupy Newark continued from page 3
“Tents down, homicide up!” “Tents down, burglaries up!” “Tents down, carjacking up!” “Tents down, schools down!” And then we gave the officers a round of applause for a job well done. An occupier informed members of the fire department that in Belgium firefighters were water hosing police officers because of austerity cuts and an increase in the retiring age. Others shouted that we will look like Greece a year from now. As things began to quiet down a city employee made arrangements for five of the willing occupiers to spend the night at a for-profit shelter in Newark. I’m not sure what arrangements were or will be made following the day. Then there were the few who insisted on displaying an act of civil disobedience by not leaving the park’s grounds found themselves outnumbered and heavily persuaded to leave. They reluctantly walked away, not looking back at was once their home for two months. The movement continues…. Some occupiers will venture on to find encampments in other parts of the country while others will move deeper into the city and Occupy the Hood. Some occupiers will continue working in working groups, focusing on specific social and environmental issues such as the Newark public school system, foreclosures, homelessness, alternative energy, and the prison industrial complex. Peace and solidarity, Tobias A. Fox
Letter to the Editor
I am writing to you as a proud student from Essex County College. I have had the pleasure of reading the ECCO many a times and I believe that there is something missing; the big accomplishments and successful events that this school’s clubs and organizations has had. It is important for your readers to be aware of the great things that take place in this school. I know for a fact that our Phi Theta Kappa chapter came back from their regional convention with three awards and regional recognition for the College Completion event. Their induction is taking/took place on the first of May adding to their academic family. The Math Club’s Code Red event is taking place on March 7 to 8th and I am sure it is bound to be a great success. I look forward to reading a lot more about what this school has to offer and its accomplishments. Yours truly, Anonymous
ECC, Why Are You Making It So Hard To "Like" You? By Christian Blair Editor-in-Chief
The other day I wanted to post a comment to the Essex County College Facebook page. Imagine my surprise when I sat down in the ECC lunchroom with my laptop and found that the school wireless (eccwireless) was blocking Facebook.
This was not always the case. Until that day, I was able to check my Facebook account using the school's wireless account so this is apparently a new development. It probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise, since the website blocking policy at ECC has always been strange and fickle. Sit down at any lab computer, and depending on the day or the hour, you'll either be faced with draconian blocking measures stopping you from accessing Facebook, Twitter, and any number of sites deemed "social media", or there's no blocking at all. The inconsistency in blocking is as incongruous as the reasoning behind the blocking. Let us assume that ECC blocks social media sites because they take our focus off of our educational pursuits. If that is the case, I'm surprised we're allowed to fritter away an hour or two on Amazon.com without a hassle. Perhaps, as I've overheard on a several occasions, that the blocking policy is in place to stop students from checking Facebook in the classroom. If so, this approach is meaningless. Anyone with a smartphone can travel anywhere on the web they would like, from wherever they would like. Smartphone carriers do not block Facebook. So what is ECC's problem with social media anyway? Maybe it is how we define it. Is social media a time waster -- an entertainment distracting us all from our studies, a research tool, or a communications tool? Of course, the answer is yes to all of these and more. Maybe it is the multi-edged sword nature of this technology that makes educational institutions unsure exactly how to handle it. I can only speak for myself. I use Facebook, Twitter, blogs, et al, as a communication medium, a research tool, and a colossal time waster. This often happens in the same sitting. I first encountered the dreaded blocking policy my first week at ECC. Back then I decided to find out more information about Media Democracy Day, an annual alternative media and citizen journalism advocacy conference. I found this out on my home computer because mediademocracy.org is blocked by ECC for being a social media site despite having a very minimal social media element. I think they have a little forum. By comparison, YouTube has a massive social media component and it is not blocked. How does YouTube escape the net in this filter? Then I was reading a story about some crazy policy the House Republicans were trying to pass. The story, appearing on the Huffingtonpost.com, ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE OBSERVER
wasn't blocked, however the supporting documents, the meat of this particular story, was being hosted on scribd.com, a document sharing service. Scribd is blocked by ECC. I might have disturbed a few people in the lab when I groaned out loud, "now they're blocking scribd? You've got to be kidding me!" Why on earth would ECC block students from researching public policy documents? Adults should be given the choice to decide to use these tools for research and not be faced with an arrogant policy that presupposes your motive for accessing any website as frivolous. Students aren't the only ones caught between reality and our blocking policy. This affects forward thinking professors as well. They hope to incorporate technology in their lesson plans by leveraging the power of social networks and other collaborative tools. My very informal survey of these progressive souls shows that they are unaware that students who rely on lab computers for such projects are out of luck under the current policy. Then comes the bottom line. There exists an unacceptable divide between those who can afford a smartphone or a home computer with internet access and those who cannot. In this regard, the blocking policy hampers the research options for the latter. If for only the economic reason, time has come for the blocks to be removed from the lab computers and the wireless so that uncensored research is not merely relegated to those who can afford it. Censorship on campus is difficult to accept as we watch a revolutionary wave of democracy spreading around the globe. Students in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, have forced despots from power in the Arab Spring, using social networks to communicate, raise awareness, and organize. A college is the last place one would expect to find chains on learning, communication, and research. Yet here we are, in the United States, in the year 2012, facing policies restricting the kind of freedoms the rest of the world is fighting for and embracing. In a remarkable demonstration of irony, last month ECC officially launched its Facebook page and asked students to log into their accounts and "Like" them. Since ECC blocks Facebook on lab computers, special terminals had to be set up temporarily in the main building allowing such a dangerous activity. Now that ECC has joined the Facebook party and doubling down with an official Twitter account, it's time to have a frank discussion about its blocking policy. And if the policy is not completely shredded -- as it should be -- students, staff, faculty, and other adults need to ask the next question: Exactly who is it that is deciding what I'm allowed to read and why? What's your opinion? We welcome your Letter to the Editor. You may also want to consider posting your questions and opinions directly to the ECC Facebook account: http://www.facebook.com/EssexCountyCollege or the ECC Twitter account: http://www.twitter.com/EssexCountyNWK You'll probably have to do this from home or your smartphone for now. Disclosure: Christian Blair is currently one of several Social Media Monitor interns for the Essex County College Office of Marketing and Communication.
Did You Know?
Q.E.D. is an initialism of the Latin phrase quod erat demonstrandum, which translates to “as was to be expected.”
By Ben Potesky Staff Writer
That’s right, as of January 21st 2010 corporations were officially considered people under the United States law. The Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission noted that the First Amendment prohibits government from regulating independent spending for political purposes by corporations and unions. What this basically means is that corporations are people, and since all people in the United States have the right to free speech, prohibiting corporate people from spending as much money as they want on political campaigns is a violation of their free speech. The controversial case came to the Supreme Court over a dispute regarding whether or not the not-for-profit corporation, Citizens United, could advertise and air a film critical of Hillary Clinton for the purpose of influencing the 2008 election. Citizens United planned on advertising the film ‘Hillary: The Movie’ and airing it on DirecTV close to the election to have the maximum influence on voters. The only problem with this plan is it directly violated The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, commonly known as The McCain–Feingold Act. The McCain–Feingold Act prohibited corporate entities from airing political ads within 60 days of an election. The thought behind this was that if corporations were allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns, they would be able to buy elections. In January 2008, United States District Court for the District of Columbia picked up on the ads for ‘Hillary: The Movie’ and ruled that they could not be aired because it was within 60 days of a primary. Citizens United argued that ‘Hillary: The Movie’ was fact-based and not aimed at
discrediting her candidacy for president, so it should remain within their right to air the ads. After passing through the lower courts, the case was brought before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court eventually came to the conclusion that these regulations that barred corporations such as Citizens United from airing political ads are unfair and discriminatory on the basis that corporations are made up of people, so therefore, corporations are people. And since people in the United States have the right to donate as much as they want to political campaigns, corporations do too -- by default. By allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns our elections will basically become NASCAR. Soon we’ll be seeing candidates sponsored by Exxon, Chevy, GEICO, Burger King and all of our other favorite corporate people. Sounds great, right? Well, not to some. The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement argues that this will hurt the 309 million Americans that make up 99% of our country’s population. According to OWS allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on politics will drown out the voice of most Americans. They believe this because of one small fact: politicians listen to us because we “The people” finance their campaigns by making small contributions to them. If corporations are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns, politicians will start working to get corporations to lend them money, instead of us, and therefore, politicians will cater to the needs of corporations and not us. I suppose this is a valid concern by OWS, but as long as corporations remain legally defined as people, they will retain the right to spend as much money as they want on politics. And since the law is the law, it would be downright wrong of us to discriminate against
corporate people just because they are different from you and me. Sure, corporations can’t get married, have children, walk around, fall in love, or do any of the other things most people can do, but under the law they are still people. The question you should be asking yourself, is, do you think that corporations should have the same rights as you and me? Presidential candidate Mitt Romney thinks so. When Mr. Romney was recently asked at a campaign rally if he thinks taxes should be raised on people, he gave a firm “No.” When asked if he believed taxes should be raised on corporations he stated, “Corporations are people my friend.” This is the growing attitude many politicians have towards corporations, that corporations are people and they deserve the same rights as all other people. The only way most in the OWS movement think this train of thought will be reversed is a reversal of the Citizens United decision. If Citizens United is not reversed, corporations will surely continue to dump billions of dollars into our politics, and these billions of dollars will most likely pay for the elections of candidates that reflect the values and beliefs of corporations. Values and beliefs that mainly consist of things such as less taxation of corporations, less regulation of Wall Street and banks and the reversal of many labor laws. If enough politicians are elected that share these beliefs, they will surely be able to put them into law. OWS believes that it is exactly this lack of government regulation that corporations want, and that lead to the Great Recession of 2008. The bottom line is that the Citizens United ruling has given corporations power that they haven’t had since 1928 (immediately before the Great Depression) and if history is any guide, giving corporations power over politics is bad for the economy and bad for the rest of us.
Van Sertima, for anyone who wanted to research this topic. He also noted the names of the Muslim slaves, Yarrow Mahmout, Job Ben Solomon, and Abdur Rahman who have been edited out of American history books. The next guest speaker was Minister Lawrence Muhammad, a representative of the Nation of Islam and minister of Mosque 25 in Newark, NJ. During his presentation the minister recalled how the history of the Nation of Islam is interwoven into American history. Minister Muhammad explained how in 1776, during the Revolutionary War, African Americans fought bravely and patriotically for their country and still didn’t receive freedom. Approximately 100 years later, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth amendment were written to only physically free slaves, but slaves were subject to racial institutionalization. Finally, in 1963, almost another century later, African Americans were still being dehumanized and segregated while the American government allowed state institutions to assault African Americans. At this time the Nation of Islam instilled self-reliance, self-respect and self-preservation in the minds of African American people. Minister Muhammad said that “The purpose of the Nation of Islam was to stir the consciousness of African Americans”. He also said, “During the 1960s our nation’s government attempted acts of genocide toward African Americans so much that God sent a messenger to resurrect the peoples’ minds and give them a sense of purpose.” Finally, Minister Muhammad noted that evil doers in the world will try to assassinate the character of Divine men like Jesus Christ, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, the Prophet Muhammad and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Another speaker was a young and fiery man by the name of Amin Nathari.
Nathari spoke about the importance of history and how the youth of the present should analyze it, so they won’t fall into the psychologically stagnant thinking of their ancestors. He commented about “how history can revolutionize your mind and help you become successful in the future.” Nathari paid homage to the Nation of Islam, which gave him a concrete foundation based on God, family and his culture. The presenters left their listeners in a state of bliss, and many were flabbergasted. Any individual who witness this panel gained a great amount of Fruit for thought. This was an excellent event to kick-off Black History Month.
Fruit for Thought By Collis Marrow Staff Writer
ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE OBSERVER
On the first day of Black History Month, Essex County College opened its doors to one of the greatest organizations to impact the African American community- The Nation of Islam. The forum included panelists who spoke to a high influx of listeners. Many of the attendees were locals from the Muslim community, Christians, ECC alumni, faculty, staff, and students. This was an epic event full of positive energy, with intellectual discussion. There were three presenters, including History Professor Mikaal Nash, Minister Lawrence Muhammad, Amin Nathari and the Master of Ceremony Africana Institute Director, Dr. Akil Kokayi Khalfani. Each panelist spoke with passion, wanting to uplift the social and economic status of African Americans. Dr. Khalfani opened the discussion with a libation or ash’e for the recently deceased Don Cornelius, who had been the host of one of the longest running syndicated shows in American history, Soul Train. He spread the movement of music from Black America to the mainstream. Don Cornelius gave worldwide exposure to musicians like Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson. After this brief moment of silence, Dr. Khalfani began to convey his ideology on the history of Africans and the social stratification of Africans in America. Dr. Khalfani emphasized how individuals of color should unite and embrace one another. Next, my mentor, Professor Michael Nash began to articulate to the listeners that Islam has existed in America since the 1600s and that Africans have been exploring this land through conventional trade with Native Americans, prior to Christopher Columbus’s expedition. Professor Nash suggested the book They Came Before Columbus by Dr. Ivan
Soul Train creator Don Cornelius
The Top 5 Pranks of the Last Century By Salomao D. Becker Copy Editor
An Ode to Humanity’s Intellect
When I was assigned this particular piece, I glowed a devilish little glow. This was the kind of glow one could only find in children's night lights. It was familiar and warm, but it was surrounded by the shadowy, monster filled hallways of your apartment, an apartment built in 2005, no less. This, of course, means that no one really has had time to die inside the building yet, and your childish nightmares of ghosts and goblins aren't really rational. Then again, nothing in life is really rational, and we human beings are pretty stupid, so we can forgive ourselves for our stupidity. In fact, we human beings embrace our stupidity. So, this April, in glorious celebration of human stupidity and ingenuity, we will examine the top pranks of the last century.
1906: Shoe Can't Do This Date: 1906, in Germany. The first most important prank of the century would occur in Germany. This is no coincidence, it is fate. You see, the German people are renowned for being industrious and organized, but they are not well known pranksters. This, in turn, makes the odd German prankster one of the most effective agents of chaos around. I, personally, attribute all of my prank skills to my German heritage. No one sees it coming. It's like a left hook from a right handed Buddhist monk. Peaceful guys. Right handed individual. Left punch? Mind blown. Sentence structure? Not important to me. Anyway, Mr. Wilhelm (von) Voigt (added the von myself, I think it's a better way to envision the character) was an out of work shoe fabricator who managed to get his hands on a military captain uniform. Using the leadership skills that only shoe making can bestow upon an individual, Mr. Von Wilhelm walks out into the streets and decides that if he can't make it, he'd fake it. He finds a troop of soldiers and starts just ordering them around town.
ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE
No problem. He manages to arrest the mayor and the secretary of the town on a count of embezzlement. He goes on to steal 4,000 bucks from the town before disappearing. He was found and arrested nine days later, but he used his immense verbal skills to lower his sentence from four years to less than two.
1920: Stamp of Good Faith In the early 1920's, Charles Ponzi would “discover money.” His legend is so massive that we still name a certain subset of scams after the guy. Ponzi schemes, anyone? Mr. Ponzi started up the most massive stamp collection in existence. I assume he did this because, in the booming 1920's, one really had nothing better to do than collect stamps. Forget the golden era. Stamps. That's what's happening. Ponzi's scheme (it almost feels dirty to make such an obnoxiously obvious pun) was to get people to give him cash so he could purchase European stamps and ship them to America. You could then sell these stamps at the post office for more money. The catch? You had to sell them one at a time. It was quite obvious that Mr. Ponzi had no real intention of actually redeeming them. There weren't even enough stamps around to cover the kind of dough he was being sent.
How did the American public fall for such a dumb gag? The first reason was that it was the 20's. Americans were excitedly throwing themselves at all kinds of shady money making ventures. These are the same people that caused the Great Depression. Good at investing they were not. Smug sarcasm aside, Ponzi actually made returns on the investments of early investors. Then, people jumped on board! Then, it crashed, much like the Titanic and the American middle and lower classes a decade before and after, respectively. Why? Newspapers investigated the guy. Said he was shady. Ponzi's final prank was to not run after people discovered him. The police found him, arrested him, and he was made to serve three and half years in prison. He pranked himself with that one. 1938: Me Alienating Many People The prank is not me doing anything. I used that title because it is a pun. Can you not see the theme that's been going on? I'm going to make fun of people. That's what the title means. Kids in the 10's, I tell you. One has to spell everything out for you. Wait, no, that's been people forever. On October 30, 1938, CBS managed to hardcore fool loads of rather dense individuals. They were dense enough to get led astray, if you catch my drift.
1987: Not Your Standard Ballpark Food Okay, this one isn't exactly about people being really stupid. This one is more about a guy being intelligent and awesome. This part is basically all the ingenuity of the article in one bite sized packet. In 1987, the Bills were playing the Phillies in a baseball game. The catcher, Dave Bresnahan, was ready to really get under the skin of the other players. You could say he was going to be a play so hot, it was boiling. He was really going to mash the other players. He pranked them with a potato. After getting passed the ball, he threw a peeled potato instead of a ball to left field, getting out one of the players on the other team. The guy on third base ran straight to home plate, only to find Bresnahan there with the ball. This would be known as the Great Potato Play. Bresnahan got fired over this. I don't see why. I think we need more vegetables in the American diet. We also need more sports. Putting the two together seems like a great way to get the boring stuff out of the way so we Americans can continue having bouts of unrelenting hedonism.
By Tsahai General
Dance Poetry, a new genre of poetry, is an interactive activity going “ back and forth like a tennis match or a ping pong game.” Dance Poetry is a book of poems by Mubaashir Adib Uqdah and is co-authored by Daphne Inara Benyard. The genre was coined by Uqdah after “a poetic exchange” with Benyard. Not only is Daphne Benyard a skilled poet, she is also a psychology professor and a coun-
Photo credit: Daniel King
1957: Europe Kooky, People Al Dente In 1957, a British news show decided to air an April Fools Day documentary. It was special. Really special. The show used its respected cast members and documentary people to create an air of dignity and honesty that only a British show could have. I, for one, believed that Monty Python's Life of Brian was the legitimate story of Christ for many, many, years. The British are just that credible. Either way, this documentary aired, and it totally talked about spaghetti plants. People in the late 1950's, only 15 years or so past the Depression had forgotten how food works. Apparently, men were more likely to be fooled. Questioning the spaghetti that was made by their own wives for decades, they would call the BBC to settle disputes. Surely, the BBC documentary knows more than the wife who has made spaghetti for years. People wanted to know how to grow the spaghetti tree. They were instructed to dip some in a can of tomato sauce and hope for the best.
God, I hope you catch my drift, these puns are about as funny as I can get. So, the leading astray was a mistake. It wasn't intentional, but it was definitely effective. Think bribing kids with candy—it just works. The BBC famously broadcast The War of the Worlds, a piece of literature that eventually became an okay Tom Cruise movie, and an absolutely terrible Scary Movie parody. The CBS broadcast was in a news style. A crater crashed or whatever, then a giant Martian death thing came out and killed people, and stuff. This freaked people out a whole bunch. What did people do? Hiding in cellars, driving miles at high speeds to save loved ones, buying tons of supplies. These are all things that are normal to do while incredibly drunk, but they're not normal sober, much less this early into the night. The site I did my research totally excuses the hysteria by saying people were afraid of Germans. I don't believe this. You shouldn't believe this. People fearing 2012 isn't because of the Iraq war. People just believe crazy things. They believe crazy things easily—candy from a baby easy. That, and Germans are terrible pranksters, and Americans knew this back then.
Daphne Inara Benyard
ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE OBSERVER
continued on page 9
Arts Returning Home
By Patrice Wright Staff Writer
We often cherish those near and far after death, not appreciating the value of their worth in our presence. With celebrities that we all look up to, we often forget that they are human – and as humans, they have flaws. Newark’s very own Whitney Houston was a celebrity and we disregarded her humanity overlooking her flaws as trivial. Gospel rooted, Whitney Houston started singing at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark as a young girl. Her soulful voice touched the hearts of everyone. Growing up with musical influences such as, Cissy Houston her mother, Dionne Warwick her cousin, and her god-mother Aretha Franklin. She was surrounded by so much talent. Whitney at the time did not realize that the little girl who once sang in-front of her congregation would one day become an electrifying icon that is idolized by those who wish to pursue the same dream she fulfilled. Her accomplishments exceeded the expectations of critics world-wide. She became the most awarded female of all time, winning 2 Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, and 30 Billboard Music Awards and 22 American Awards – in total over 415 career awards. With 140 million albums and 50 million singles sold, Houston reached her peak of stardom from the 1980s to the 1990s. In 1991, Whitney Houston performed the “Star Spangled Banner” in front of millions during Super Bowl XXV, she won the hearts of everyone nationwide. Her infamous “I Will Always Love You”, released in 1993 became one of the best-selling heart wrenching songs of all time, foreshadowing our love for the beloved icon. Whitney Houston showcased her talents and broke barriers when she starred in roles such as The Bodyguard (1992), Waiting to Exhale (1995), and The Preacher’s Wife (1996). Prior to her musical and theatrical dominance, Whitney Houston was also a model, an African-American woman defying the bias of racial discrimination. Whitney Houston did everything with grace and made sure that the constant reminder of the Lord and Savior was the reason for her success. To her fans she was invincible, to her family she was “Nippy”, and to herself, she was ‘just Whitney’. In literature everyone knows that, every tragic hero has a tragic flaw. When it comes to celebrities as fans we tend to forget that they are also humans. Whitney Houston, like many stars struggled with an addiction far greater than anyone truly knows but herself. “The biggest devil is me. I’m either my best friend or my worst enemy," Houston told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in a 2002 interview. Like
all, Whitney Houston dealt with her own personal problems, however her problems became the media's playground and her amazing accomplishments were overshadowed by her own private affairs. She married her former husband Bobby Brown in 1992. Whitney Houston stayed true to her vows and no matter what stood by her husband despite the rumors and the opinions of others. They ultimately divorced in 2007. Her voice became her, as well as the fame and on February 11, 2012 her premature death shocked the world. Not only did we lose an icon, we lost a voice, a family lost a loved one. For many her death opened old wounds and created new ones. The cause of death has been ruled an accident. Her fans, friends, family, and celebrities swarmed to Twitter to send their condolences and the trending topics #WeWillAlwaysLuvU , #DearWhitney, and #RIPWHITNEYInternational University of Nursing St. Kit tS HOUSTON. Whitney Houston was not only an idol, a celebrity, the media’s target, singer, actress and model. She was a daughter, niece, granddaughter, wife, friend and even more important, a • Direct Entry and Upper mother. Division BSN Program On February 18, 2012 a traditional homegoing service was held • State of the art campus on at New Hope Baptist Church, on her the exotic Caribbean Island of St. Kitts
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Dance Poetry continued from page 8
selor at Essex County College. Background wise, Professor Benyard has more than dabbled in the field of poetry. In fact, her poetry began at ECC and she now currently has three volumes of poetry published. Professor Benyard was in the first graduating class from Essex County College and it was at the commencement that she delivered her first spoken word poem. The Dean at that time had insisted that Benyard recite the poem for her classmates because of her powerfully commanding diction. “Let’s burn the land, please give a damn…” said she to her fellow classmates and they received her plea and returned with a standing ovation for the new poet. Later, during the closing ceremony for the Exchange Student Program at Oxford, which she attended, and she was chosen by her fellow students to recite a poem at that event also. Benyard has performed poetry for high school students, women at the Clinton Female Halfway house. Thanks to Benyard, some of those women were able to express their deepest feelings to their family members. She was also the coordinator for the Urban Voices, a group of 13 poets who performed poetry for the Newark Museum, Library, and other local venues. Their poetry reading was even televised on channel 9 during the 1980s. It was no wonder Benyard received the title of “City Poet.” Both Uqdah and Benyard started the book, Dance Poetry, in 2004 and it was published in 2005. When asked if she enjoyed
behalf. She was remembered her in good spirits in the intimate affair. R.Kelly, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, The Winans, Kim Burrell along with gospel singers paid their tributes through song. Her mentor Clive Davis, Tyler Perry, Dionne Warwick, and her Bodyguard co-star Kevin Costner all gave eulogies. Costner gave a moving speech that caused tears of joy. He said “So off you go, Whitney, off you go . . . escorted by an army of angels to your Heavenly Father. And when you sing before Him, don’t you worry — you’ll be good enough.” The emotional homegoing was aired nationwide and you could feel the emotion as if you were there. As the singers attempted to sing songs holding back tears, the speakers spoke their last words to their friend. Bobbi Kristina, Whitney's only daughter, looked at the casket holding her while Cissy Houston said her goodbyes. The gold casket rose above the heads of those carrying it, and her hit song “I Will Always Love You” played as they exited the church. Houston’s songs were made through heartbreak, sorrow, and pain. But who helped her through her own pain? What she represented as an African-American woman is far greater than she’ll ever know. Countless memories outpour as everyone mourns her death. Whitney Houston’s early departure is devastating , but more than just being everyone’s favorite singer/actress she was the image of excellence to striving singers, and a shadow of personal demise. Cameras showed her highs and lows conveying the ruthlessness of society’s pressures, but behind closed doors her battle was within. The loss of a parent overrules any negative thing a person can do. The loss is felt on a personal level because the guidance of a parent, more importantly a mother to a daughter is now lost and that can’t be replenished by any one. Let’s not overlook these icons as untouchable beings because they are still individuals, just with a unique gift.
working on the book, she answered, “You asked me if I had fun? It was a lot of fun!” It was a learning experience too because she had to come out of her free verse style of writing, dig back, and try to match Uqdah’s style of rhyming for the “formal style” of Dance Poetry. The book itself was well organized. There was sometimes a reoccurrence of the word “Deen.” The Deen, Benyard explained, is one’s lifestyle, the path that a person is taking. Dance Poetry is a fun style of writing; it comes off like a conversation between two poets using only their thoughts on a given subject. The Dance can occur formally and informally, where the poets can either follow a specific style of poetry, or they can write free verse. There is also the solo style where “sometimes you don’t have anyone to dance with, so you dance by yourself” (43 Dance Poetry). Professor Benyard prefers free verse poetry, spoken word, in which one can truly “let her words dictate the rhythm.” On the other hand, she appears to be quite skilled in writing other forms of poetry. Hearing this woman speak would be a pleasure to the ears of any willing listener. She has had her poem “No One’s Perfect” published in every edition of the psychology book Psychology and Personal Growth. It’s no wonder Uqdah chose her to help forward his project.
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ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE OBSERVER
APRIL FIRST 2012
observer THE OFFICIAL STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE
THE STUDENT VOICE
Project Roquefort is Looking for Heroes Secret Government Genetics Lab Offers $20,000.00 Reward for Missing Alligator
By Christian Blair Editor-in-Chief
Scientists in the Essex County College Department of Special Sciences and Humanities (SSH) are appealing to students at the Newark, NJ campus to assist in locating one of their prized, genetically modified test subjects. As part of “Project Roquefort,” named for Nobel Prize winning scientist Professor Dennis Roquefort, several alligators have been undergoing radio-biological experiments by SSH to alter their DNA for over a period of two decades. The reason for the experiments are not publicly available as per a special directive by Homeland Security, but ECCO has learned that the alligator roaming the halls of Essex County College is nicknamed “Happy Al” and has been genetically modified to whistle. “Happy is not at all dangerous. We cloned the very instinct of wanting to eat people out of his DNA...it was only a happy accident, if you’ll allow the pun, that we learned this would result in giving him the ability to whistle,” says Professor Roquefort. Many ECC students are unaware that the college hosts a government sponsored secret genetics laboratory and for good reason. Project Roquefort, along with the entire SSH department is located on sub-level B and guarded by a heavily armed, elite force of former national security and other para-military personnel. No one is allowed down there. Speaking under anonymity, a former member of Seal Team Six who was posted to the detail at ECC in 1997, tells ECCO, “it’s not like we have a shoot-to-kill policy, but let’s just say that no one who gets off on sub-level B is
A baby photo of “Happy Al,” the whistling alligator.
“His nickname is ‘Happy Al’, he’s harmless, and he can whistle!” - Professor Roquefort
FROM THE DESK OF PROFESSOR ROQUEFORT...
Tips that may assist you in catching the alligator: 1. People buying “Mutant Energy Drink,” may be harboring an alligator 2. He loves people. He has been sighted under the marketplace tables on the 2nd level 3. He enjoys music and is particularly attracted to ringtones 4. Remember our motto: Keep Calm. Carry Tranquilizers.
treated kindly or according to provisions for citizens in United States Constitution. It’s ‘Gitmo’ rules down there.” Just how Happy the alligator managed to get past this gauntlet of security is still unknown, although some are blaming ECC members of the hacker group “Anonymous.” The ECCO research department attempted to contact “Anonymous” for comment, but all emails were returned with the same suspicious answer: “I am not ‘Anonymous’ and I have no idea what you are talking about. What alligator?” What alligator, indeed. Alligators are mostly nocturnal so you may not see him during the day -- although you might hear him. Kerry Fisher, Director of Public Relations for SSH says Happy has been known to whistle in his sleep. “It’s adorable,” he laughed. As for where this whistling gator might be headed, Professor Roquefort says he’s noticed a lot of Mutant Energy Drink missing from the cafeteria and, “that’s Happy’s favorite drink... everyone else knows that stuff isn’t safe for human consumption.” As shocking as all this sounds to new students, incidents like this have become a common occurrence. Faculty and staff may recall the Spring
2011 semester when four kangaroos ravaged the Learning Center pummeling two beloved interns. “Fun fact, a baby kangaroo is called a Joey,” offered Professor Roquefort. In 1991, a shipment of radioactive mice were to be picked up in sub-level B intended to be transported to a mission post in Iraq as part of Operation Desert Storm. In what amounts to sad irony, this was
ting up a $20,000.00 reward. In a way, it’s very lucky that it’s Happy Al that escaped. Another alligator subject is nicknamed “Killer G.” He has been genetically modified to eat through metal and bred to behave like a serial killer. Strangely, he whistles as well. The two are identical in length, weight, and coloring. Professor Roquefort believes ‘Killer G’ taught himself to whistle just to confuse the scientists in the lab into thinking he was Happy Al and beams, “a remarkable feat for such a creature!”. Project Rouqufort lost an entire medical team this past September with such a ruse by the crafty Killer G. “We’re 55 to 65 percent sure the alligator roaming around ECC is Happy Al and not Killer G...At the very least, 35 percent sure,” reconsiders Professor Roquefort. With those odds and such a generous reward, should you see an alligator whistling on your way to class, you just might be in luck! To claim your reward, wrangle the alligator into an elevator and proceed directly to sub-level B by tapping the special code 3-5-4-6 into the elevator keypad. Good luck and happy April 1st.
“Fun fact, a baby kangaroo is called a ‘Joey’,” offered Professor Roquefort. also International Cheese day at ECC and it proved too enticing to the mice. They became over stimulated and bolted from their cages. To this day, night students report glow-in-the dark mice joyriding the elevators. Project Roquefort is asking for your help in locating Happy Al the Whistling Alligator and is put-
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