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MARCH 2012



SINCE 1968

Hate Crime at Montclair State University Students Ignored at Board of Trustees Meeting “Our petitions have been dismissed as if they were postcards...” -Alan Akins, the president of SPECTRUMS, the LGBT organization at MSU By Christie Marie Avila

Source: MSU SDS

Staff Writer

Unity Rally against hate speech on February 7th at MSU

Montclair State University (MSU) authorities have been investigating several threatening messages targeting homosexuals. SPECTRUMS, the MSU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender student organization received a death threat note that was placed under their office door on January 30th stating, “On February 7 homosexuals will die”. A similar message was found on a womens’ restroom wall near the Rathskellar cafeteria days later. In October 2011, a note was left at one of SPECTRUMS’

meetings stating, “You will feel the wrath of Allah/Your thoughts are immoral/homosexuality is a sin/ Allah says you must pay.” The student organization sent numerous letters to the Board of Trustees voicing their concerns pertaining to the disturbing incidents and MSU students have sent petitions to the administration. Student leaders have criticized the administration for not allowing their students to speak during public meetings and feel their letters have been ignored. The MSU Students for a

Democratic Society (SDS) claim, “The one instance where their concerns were not ignored is when [MSU President] Cole wrote back to a student, dismissing her criticism as ‘hostile,’ yet ignoring her question.” At the February 2, 2012 MSU Board of Trustees meeting, Alan Akins, the president of SPECTRUMS, interrupted the proceedings to voice their concerns, stating, “Our petitions have been dismissed as if they were postcards. We are under the impression that the administrators are only continued on page 8

Safe Space Door Poster -page 8

The Fortress of Solitude -page 6

Newly Renovated Vision Care Technology Lab at Essex County College

Roving Photographer -page 3

Student Government Association Addresses Student Concerns By Lev D. Zilbermints, Tsahai General, and Wintella Powell

By Mario McCalla Staff Writer

A group of 40 juniors and seniors from Newark Technical High school were among the first to be invited to tour the bright and modern newly renovated Vision Care Technology lab at Essex County College on January 26. The high school students, studying health technology, one of the career oriented programs at Newark Tech, were given the opportunity to see Essex County College’s Vision Care labs. This could open a door of opportunity for interested students. The Vision Care Technology program at Essex County College is the only Allied Health Science without special admission requirements. As a result, any student can enter the program; sit for either NJ state board or national board for optician’s license. If the student passes the exam, he or she could earn a salary of $45,000 $55,000 a year. In a letter distributed to the guests of the tour, Director of Marketing and Communications, Wayne Yourstone wrote, “The facility includes five labs: an ophthalmic clinic, optical fabrication and contact lens labs, a refraction room and lecture room.” The labs officially opened in September of 2011. Vision Care students and their equipment were moved from their previous home in the biology department to the new modernized facilities. State-of the-art labs which now sit on the third floor of the ECC’s main campus replaced the previous rooms situated on the second floor. The older labs however, were cramped. With space for hardly a dozen students,

Marriage Redefined -page 5

the old labs offered little room for movement. Current Vision Care students who began in the older labs described them as “old, dark, hidden and compacted.” “The new labs are brighter and cleaner. They provide a better work environment and allow more space,” explained Vision Care student Jennifer Aquino. The program which offers both a degree program and a certificate program gears students to be become opticians. Vision Care Technology Coordinator Richard Palumbo describes opticians as the “pharmacists of eyeglasses.” Both opticians and optometrists instruct students. There has been a growth in interest since the introduction of the new facilities. According to Palumbo, “A dozen new students enrolled this winter, compared to about one or two I’ve seen in previous years.” Palumbo expects as many as 32 to enroll this fall. The program has already many motivated students such as

The Student Government Association (SGA) is busy addressing numerous student concerns, ECCO has learned. At a meeting held January 23, the SGA laid out its agenda for the Spring 2012 semester. These included addressing Disabled Student concerns; improving communications between clubs; addressing Cafeteria problems; evaluating professors mid-term; and organizing SGA elections. ECCO staff pointed out to the SGA that other schools (Rutgers, NJIT) have automatic doors for dis-

abled students while ECC does not. At Essex County College, frequently, someone has to actually hold the door for a wheelchair-bound student to pass through. Also, the stalls in the ECC bathrooms are too narrow to accommodate the wheelchairs. There is also no signage directing ECC disabled students to handicap-accessible restrooms. According to a December 2011 email from ECC President Edythe Abdullah, it would take months to resolve disabled students’ concerns. The reasons, said the ECC President, had continued on page 2

Bloomfield Township Issues Public Notice on Newark Water Supply Parents of infants, the elderly, and those with severely comprised immune systems are advised to seek advice from their healthcare providers By Christian Blair Editor-in-Chief

Bloomfield, N.J. residents received worrisome news about their drinking water in a public notice distributed by the township January 11th, 2012. According to the water department, recent routine monitoring of the water supply indicated that the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for trihalomethanes were beyond the accepted range. Bloomfield township purchases 100 percent of its water supply from the City of Newark. ECCO has

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Essex County College 303 University Ave. Newark, NJ 07102

not been able to confirm whether or not Newark residents have received similar notices. The notice explains that, while the allowable standard for trihalomethanes is 80 ug/l, samples averaged 83 ug/l in the third quarter of 2011, and 86 ug/l in the fourth quarter of 2011. While the water department does not consider this an emergency, they recommend that parents of infants, the elderly, and those with severely comprised immune systems, “should seek advice about drinking continued on page 2


MARCH 2012

NEWS Vision Lab

Newark Water Supply

Margret Price. After losing her previous job, Price desired a health-related career that avoided the hospitals, x-rays, diseases and drama. Another student, Hatim Saadi, chose to major in Vision Care after much encouragement from his wife. She heard about the job opportunities from a patient of hers who opened seven optical clinics. “The renovation began in fall of 2009 and was initiated by a grant from the school,” Palumbo explained. Science classrooms and Allied Health labs were also revamped throughout the campus. Machines with price tags ranging from $10,000 - $15,000 dollars were donated by Santinelli International, a corporation that manufactures eye glass equipment used in the field. “The new facilities, with the equipment identical to those being used outside in optical clinics will ensure a smooth transition from school into the field,” explained Vision Care student Jason Teran. “The facility operates exactly as a business outside in the streets”, Palumbo told the student visitors. He continued to describe the internship and externship opportunities offered by the program. The internship provides students with hands-on experience assessing clients’ needs, handling prescriptions, creating and adjusting eye glasses. The students are also evaluated and graded. Externships are done off campus in private clinics. The students’ work is evaluated, but not graded. Taking charge of the tour, Palumbo led the students from room to room showcasing the technology. Palumbo demonstrated refractors, lens grinders, and other state-of-the-art technology. First year student Fatimat Tanko, aspiring to become an optician and ultimately an ophthalmologist, said, “The new labs are nice.”

water from their healthcare providers.” Dr. Scott Mittman, Professor of Biology and Chemistry at Essex County College, says trihalomethanes are, “byproducts of the natural consequence of protecting water supplies...formed by the halogenations of organic matter,” and the data in the notice suggests that the organic matter content in the Newark water supply did experience an unusual spike. He adds, “As a practical matter, concern would not only be with ingesting the water but also showering and washing...where the trihalomethanes are inhaled.” But Dr. Mittman is careful to caution against excessive worry, noting that even this spike is better than the historical average, “in recent years the MCL was reduced from what had been 100ppb down to 80ppb.” Professor Vickie Ann Grosso in the Department of Nursing at Essex County College recommends a home water filtration system if you are in the high risk groups mentioned, saying they are, “usually beyond the recommendations for public water ensure that the members of the home are safe.” Dr. Mittman agrees, offering that “installation is not too involved and they sell systems like that at Home Depot or Lowes.” On a strictly academic level, this event may be of interest to Chemistry students. Trihalomethanes are essentially “methane compounds who have had the hydrogens replaced by a halogen (e.g., Cl),” explains Dr. Mittman.

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ACADEMIC COUNSELING If you need counseling or know of someone who does, please visit: services/counseling/ The department is staffed by an outstanding group of dedicated and deeply caring professionals. If you are aware of a crisis during a time the counseling department is not open, there are resources in the community that can help, such as the suicide help line that can be reached by calling

800-273-8255 CORRECTIONS •

For further information: • Bloomfield Township • Health Effects of Chlorine in Drinking Water

A few of the photographs in our last issue were processed for print a little darker than we’d hoped. We’re working on it! We ran a survey called “The Pulse” without realizing “The Pulse” is the name of a program hosted by Dr. Akil Khalfani. We’re re-tooling and changing the name of our survey to avoid confusion.

Student Government continued from page one

to do with logistics. Money needed to be allocated, contractors found, bids accepted, problems identified… According to the ECC website, the approximate number of disabled students is ten percent of the total college population. Since ECC has 11,000 students, this translates into 100+ students. Another concern raised was the communication between clubs and SGA. The SGA Secretary said that the clubs were not responding to her within a reasonable time. One of the SGA members volun-

teered to send the Secretary a hyper-link with all the club presidents. This would improve communication. The question of bike stands was raised. It was mentioned that there is a bike stand by the gym. The issue is relevant because students who ride bicycles to school have no place to put them. The SGA was made aware that the Cafeteria does not take credit cards. Mention was made of renegotiating the contract once it expired. According to SGA officials, work is being done on this. Changes will be made over time.

Finally, the SGA asked ECCO to cover the annual SGA elections. Tentatively, elections would begin from the last week of February and continuing to the first week of April. Campaigning would take two weeks, and the vote itself, one week. After that, there would be a transition from the old to the new student government. This would allow the new officers to better grow into their new roles. SGA President Alton Drummond promised more details regarding the elections later.

ECCO Celebrates Women’s History Month GREAT WOMEN IN HISTORY

1893 New Zealand becomes the first country to grant women suffrage

1903 Mary Anderson granted patent for the windshield wiper 1869 Wyoming becomes first territory to grant women the right to vote

August 26 1920

1921 Edith Wharton - first woman to win the Pultizer Prize for her 1920 novel, The Age of Innocence

The 19th Amendment passed granting women suffrage

President Jimmy Carter delivers the first ever presidential speech in recognition of National Women's History (3-8 March 1980) 2005 Condeleeza Rice first black woman to serve as Secretary of State

1969 Shirley Chisholm is the first African-American woman elected to Congress

2012 Harvard University names Drew Gilpin Faust as the first woman president in it's 371-year history

1991 Sharon Pratt Dixon the first black woman to serve as mayor of a major city (Washington, D.C.) 1997 Madeleine Albright becomes first female Secretary of State

1992 Mae Jemison becomes first black female astronaut

1960 Oveta Culp Hubby is the first woman to receive the U.S. Army Distinguised Service Medal

1989 Ilena Ros-Lehtinen(FL) first Hispanic woman in Congress


1977 Janet Guthrie, an aerospace engineer, becomes the first woman to drive in the Indy 500

1968 Alice Coachman, first black woman to win Olympic Gold in Berlin.

1987 National Women's History project petitioned Congress to expandthe celebration to the entire month of March

1981 Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Barbara Mikulski(D-MD) co-sponsored the first Joint Congressional Resolution proclaiming a "Women's History Week" 1981 Sandra Day O'Connor, first woman on the Supreme Court

1978 Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (CA) Commission on the Status of Women initiated a "Women's History Week” starting on March 9th.

Infographic: Juniel Spruniel

1933 Frances Perkins becomes first female member of the Presidential Cabinet as Secretary of Labor

1925 Nellie Tayloe Ross - first woman to serve as a governor

2009 Sonia Sotomayor confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court as the first Hispanic

2010 Kathryn Bigelow becomes first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director, 2010

2007 Nancy Pelosi(D-CA)- first woman speaker of the House of Representatives


MARCH 2012


Student Life Will ECC Students <3 The i>clicker?

ECC begins using small wireless devices to measure student participation By Mario McCalla Staff Writer

Hiding in the back of class in an attempt to catch up on sleep or other coursework has become a thing of the past. Professors are increasingly incorporating the use of devices known as the i>clicker (that’s the brand name) to make sure students participate in classroom discussions. The iclickers are small wireless devices using a radio signal to communicate with the professor. According to Yelena Lyudmilova, instructional designer at Essex County College, “The devices can be requested by instructors from the school’s Information Technology website. Students can also purchase their own iclickers or download an iclicker app for their iphones/ androids. The devices are then registered online by the student with their unique ID number. Each individually registered and numbered device ensures that both each student’s attendance as well as participation is taken by the instructor. According to the, the devices were first used in University of Illinois as professors experimented

with ways to “foster discussion among classmates.” Years later, the devices were changed and innovated leading to the updated models we use today. Essex County College began the use of the wireless responder in the Fall 2011 with sporadic use among professors. “The intent was not so much administrative purposes, but assessment purposes, to provide an immediate snapshot of students’ understanding of a lecture or presentation,” explained Yelena Lyudmilova instructional designer at Essex County College. Lyudmilova ordered and handles the distribution of the iclickers.

Free Income Tax Preparation For ECC Students Now Through April 16th

Photo credit: Wintella Powell

Buttons corresponding to letters allow the students to respond to multiple choice questions, as well as true/false questions. The professor is able to view the students’ responses, along with demographics. The professor immediately sees what percentage of the class responds correctly as well as which ones respond incorrectly. Some ECC faculty have already shown eagerness displayed in January’s edition of the Essex County College Campus Connection. Mathematics Instructor Ines Figueiras said, “The motivation is to

get people to try new things and encourage technology. There are so many different and new technologies out there now, so it is vital that people connect to their usages.” Theoretically, students could request a friend to hold their iclicker and fiddle around with it as they go about their business. Not that I’m intending to give ideas but, since the students are pretty much represented by an ID number on a small device, students in large classes could get away using the iclickers. The iclicker technology includes USB software which is compatible with both PC and macs. All the instructor has to do is connect the iclicker receiver along with the USB drive to their computer and responses show up before the instructor’s eyes. The use of interesting little innovative devices will surely turn some heads. It seems to have benefits as well as drawbacks. Instructors receiving input from students will certainly benefit, especially if students are shy to speak out. Maybe students won’t fall asleep in class anymore.

ECCO’s Roving Photographer

Office of Marketing & Communications

Meet Temi Oloko

ECC’s Single Stop USA student resource center is offering free income tax preparation services for students now through April 16. Those eligible must be current ECC students with incomes of less than $49,000 if married or with dependents, or less than $25,000 if single without dependents. Students must bring identification and Social Security cards for everyone listed on the return. Also required are W-2 forms for each job; documentation and provider’s tax identification if claiming childcare expenses, and any other tax-related documentation received, such as tuition receipts. The free service is offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays. The confidential sessions are held in the Green Area near the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) office. Call Kevin Kurdziel at 973-877-1856 for additional information. Taxes are due this year by April 17, as April 15 falls on a Sunday and April 16 is the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia.

At Cedar Crest College

Photo Credit: Wintella Powell

Keep Your Momentum Going!

Temi Oloko, ECC Student and Nurse By Wintella Powell Photo Editor

We offer a generous Transfer Credit Policy that recognizes the value of your associate’s degree from anywhere in the country. Financial Aid Available Classes Begin January 17, 2012

Apply at Or call 610-740-3770

I had the pleasure of meeting Temi Oloko in my African American History clas who is in her second semester here at Essex County College, and she only has three more classes until she has completed her prerequisites. Once she is done, Oloko would be able to apply for the Nursing program. Oloko said that her grandmother inspired her to become a nurse. According to Oloko, “my grandmother had a brain tumor.” Oloko had to watch as her grandmother fought and survived the brain tumor. Since that day, Temi Oloko was determined to be a nurse so she could take care of other people. Although she is not sure what type of nurse she wants to be, Temi is determined to get her degree in Nursing. I asked Temi how Essex County College has helped her since she enrolled. She explained that her experience has been a great one. The students and the professors have been very helpful by giving her information she needs. She is very comfortable here at ECC, and after her first few days here, she learned how to study for her classes.



MARCH 2012

OPINION OBSERVER The Student Voice of Essex County College Essex County College 303 University Ave. Newark, NJ 07102 Editor-in-Chief Christian Blair News Editor Lev D. Zilbermints Features Editor Tsahai General Photo Editor Wintella Powell Staff Writers Michael Araujo Christie Marie Avila Salomao Becker Elaina Garrett Collis Marrow Ben Potesky Juniel Spruiel Advertising Representative Chelsea Wegman Layout Design Editor Christian Blair Humanities Faculty Co-Advisors Eileen DeFreece Jennifer Wager

Did You Know?

When lightning strikes, it can reach up to 54,000 degrees fahrenheit!

Why aren’t you writing for us? Itʼs time to get your work published

Letter to the Editor Your latest issue had an article about the visit of Governor Chris Christie to Christian Love Baptist Church in Irvington, New Jersey. I could only imagine the pews were packed, but it was held on a Thursday at 10am. Why did the Governor’s Office plan a meeting with the “people” when they would most likely be working - or was this geared towards those not working. Those minute details can sometimes override the message our Governor was there to relay. Moving forward, as a New Jersey resident and a Democrat, I am surprisingly pleased with the current Republican Governor. Some may say he is crass but in today’s politics, a brazen fighter is what we need in our corner. He doesn’t seem to care about the cordial, muted rhetoric of most politicians today. Governor Christie seemed to be for rehabilitation vice imprisonment, particularly for non-violent offenders, most likely due to rehab being more fiscally conservative while being morally responsible to society. He’s also for improving education by holding teachers accountable although teacher’s unions are against it. Education reform strikes home because I’m currently a student and I’m sure we all can account for a teacher or teachers at ECC that could use a swift boot. Everyone in attendance did not leave pleased and some with unanswered questions. Thanks for highlighting his visit and bringing politics to the front page. -KS


For those who have to use Late Registration, the process of enrolling into a class can be a real nightmare. I know, because I went through this weird process myself. Now that I have your attention, let me explain... According to the Essex County College website, In-Person Registration and Late-Registration for matriculated students are January 4-6 and January 9-12, 2012 respectively. Late Registration was January 24 – 27, with the Add/Drop Period running January 27 – February 2. Typically, Late Registration begins more than a month after regular registration has ended. In my case, this was January 24 – 27. Since I am not going for a degree, I had to enroll as a non-matriculated student. Thus, while everyone else could register via computer, other students like me were forced to wait an entire month! This is where the weird part starts.

Next, the students seeking Late Registration frequently find out that their courses have closed. This means you have two options. One is taking one of the courses that are still open. The other is going to the Department Chairperson and the course’s professor for approval to enroll in the closed course. Since the line to see the Department Chair can be long, it can be a hassle. When I was in Enrollment Services on the fourth floor, I found that there was only one staff member serving late students! Meanwhile, two or three staffers were serving regular students. This sounds weird to me. Once you have the approval, it takes a couple of days for the ECC system to input the late registrants. This means that you cannot pay for the courses immediately, but have to wait until the system adds you. Then you have 24 hours to pay for the courses you are taking. If, for some unforeseen reason, you cannot do so, you are de-registered. In class, late students have to play catch-up, as they had already missed two weeks of classes. When I finally walked into my HIS 121 class last month, I found myself facing a quiz. Good thing I read two chapters in the textbook, otherwise it would not have been easy. I must say, if you want to learn about the history of Africa, take Professor Mikal Nash’s HIS 121 class. Real interesting, fascinating stuff. I love to read, but this class has stuff I myself never heard about. I would like to recommend a few ways to improve Late Registration. First, have more staffers serving Late Registration students. Second, allow those registering later to register via computers. Why not have Late Registration at the same time as InPerson Registration? Seems plausible to me. Thirdly, have some classes especially for late registering students. Finally, I ask the 2011-2012 Student Government Association, headed by the very active and visible President Alton Drummond to do something about improving Late Registration.

99% of Americans have seen combat on TV.




Pick up a staff application at the ECCO newsroom located in the Newark Campus Clara Dasher Student Center - Room G03

Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sandra M. Palumbo, U.S. Navy - Bahrain, November 6, 2007

1% of Americans have seen combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.


We know where you’re coming from. We’ve got your back. Join the online community at


MARCH 2012

OPINION Marriage reDefined

The Golden Ticket Lies With The Repeal of The Defense of Marriage Act By Juniel Spruniel Staff Writer

Some would have you believe that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman and God. Others believe it simply is a contract between two consenting adults. The rules of engagement for getting married vary from state to state and country to country. There is no universal passage to marriage. Defining marriage has been at the fore front of the national debate because of numerous attempts from the government to curtail the civil rights of nonhetero-


sexuals. Marriage today is a bond between two adults committed to their relationship. Marriage defined by Merriam-Webster includes same-sex marriage in their definition, as well as the term traditional marriage. Government officials today do not want to expand the definition of marriage to include homosexuals. One opposing viewpoint is that the institution of marriage would be irreparably corrupt if gays were allowed to marry. The opposition to this mindset points to the countless number of divorces that occur in society today. If the sanctity of marriage was at end, then heterosexuals were leading the charge in its demise. Procreation is another reason why marriage exists. Man and woman were put on this earth to spread their seed. If a woman or man was infertile, does that mean they are unworthy of marriage? The world has evolved so much and definitions, along with concepts, need to be adapted and evolved. Couples now have the ability to have a family even if they cannot bear children physically. The logical consensus would be that procreation today does not equal marriage today.

Your Friend Newt By Ben Potesky Staff Writer

Meet Newton Leroy “Newt” Gingrich, just your average Joe who one day found himself fed up. Fed up with our lackluster economy and fed up with the left trying to turn his beautiful country into a communist dictatorship. But mostly Newt was worried about the people. For far too long Newt had stood by and watched our weakest citizens, the richest Americans or 1%, pushed around. Our millionaires and billionaires were being threatened with the prospect of paying up to 35% income tax with the rest of us instead of the current 15% they pay. So if you are Newt what do you do? How do you right these wrongs? Simple: You run for president. On May 11, 2011, Newt officially announced his intention to seek the GOP nomination for president of the United States of America. From day one of Newt’s campaign he was the underdog. Not because he was unknown in the world of politics, but because Newt had already enjoyed a long and colorful career in politics. You see, Newt had served as the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. When he first took office, it was seen as a huge achievement. A Republican had not had the position of speaker for 40 years and Newt had just ended the Democratic control of Congress. This was the chance Republicans had been waiting for. Finally, they would have power that they hadn’t had since Ronald Reagan! Newt was even named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year. It seemed nothing could stand in the way of the Republican Party this time. Unfortunately, Newt’s honeymoon with America did not last. An investigation into Gingrich by the House Ethics Committee found evidence that Newt had committed several tax violations. He was soon charged with 84 ethics violations and fined $300,000. It was the first time in history that a sitting speaker had been fined anything. After intense pressure from Democrats and Republicans Newt was forced to resign from the position of speaker. Newt was down, but not out. Newt was somewhat active in politics after that. A TV appearance on Fox News here, an endorsement

of a candidate there. But it wasn’t until 2011 with his announcement to run for president that Newt truly emerged from his lair. Many in the media were initially confused by Newt’s announcement to run for president given his controversial history in politics. Newt has a tendency to say inflammatory things. For example, here is a statement he made on 31 March 2007 while speaking at the National Federation of Republican Women. When asked what he thought about Spanish being taught in American schools, he responded, “We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country. They learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto.” Initially this statement was received as wildly offensive to all Spanish-speaking people. When asked about the comment Newt calmly explained, “Ghetto was originally a term used for Jewish neighborhoods in the Middle Ages.” Of course! All Newt was trying to say is that Spanish was the language of Jewish neighborhoods in the 1500s. But even after clearing that up, still some in the media seem hell bent on destroying poor Newt’s image. They do this by pointing out insignificant things, like what he says and does. Cannot they see Newt just wants to help? Newt tried to demonstrate his good intentions for the American people when he offered to visit the NAACP. Newt said he would “talk about why the African American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.” Sure, this may sound like Newt is so unbelievably ignorant that he assumes all black people are on food stamps. According to the USDA, African Americans only make up for about 22% of the food stamp users in

“Newt is like a flaming bag of poop you can vote for.” - Stephen Colbert ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE OBSERVER

The term civil union has been a term coined by proponents against changing the definition of marriage. Civil unions supposedly offer to homosexuals the same legal ties the bonds heterosexuals in marriage. So why not just call it marriage - and that is what the fight is about. The highest courts in the lands are involved in interpreting the definition of marriage and many states have adopted favorable legislation, but the golden ticket lies with the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. This document legally defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Marriage is defined by many different institutions in a myriad of ways. It is two people who love each other, that are willing to commit and swear to God that their love is true and ready to be tested. Narrowly defining marriage makes it hard for love to be spread, and ultimately marriage is about spreading love. The union between these people is what marriage is, whether defined by a law or accepted by the majority.

this country as compared to Caucasians who make up 35% of the food stamp users. Absolutely astounding. There’s no way any presidential candidate could be that stupid, right? Guess again! During one debate, journalist Juan Williams asked Newt if he understood why his comment had offended the black community. Newt looked him square in the eyes and said “No.” A huge applause from the South Carolina audience soon followed. Newt’s greatest strength is his ability to say and do what would destroy any other candidate’s hopes of becoming president without any consequences. And most impressively, Newt doesn’t only stand by the controversial things he says and does, but he uses them against his enemies. At a presidential debate when rival Mitt Romney attacked Newt Gingrich on his record as Speaker of the House, Newt simply said that Mitt’s personal attacks were sad and desperate. At this point the crowd burst into applause for old Newt. At one of the South Carolina debates journalist John King asked Newt if the allegations that he had asked his second wife for an open marriage were true. Newt ruthlessly attacked John King and the “liberal media” for even thinking to ask such an appalling question. Again, the crowd roared. Newt is also a devout believer in Christian values. He protects the Christian faith by strongly opposing same sex marriage and defending what he calls “the sanctity of marriage”. It may seem strange and hypocritical to most that a man who has been married three times, and has admitted to cheating on two out of the three wives is claiming to defend “the sanctity of marriage.” But just think of Newt as a man who has three times more experience at marriage than most people. Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin agrees with Newt’s point of view. She recently came out and endorsed him. When asked why she endorsed Newt she said, “Vote for Newt, annoy a liberal.” This prompted host of the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert to say “Newt is like a flaming bag of poop you can vote for.” Despite the criticism of Newt that is coming from Republicans and Democrats alike, he is finally beginning to gain some momentum. Newt recently won the presidential primary in South Carolina and finished a close second behind Mitt Romney in Florida. Many thought it was impossible. Some have even called it an embarrassment to the country that this man is actually a viable competitor for president. But despite all the odds, Newt continues to claw his way to the Republican nomination for president. So if you find yourself looking in the mirror and see a white male who happens to be a millionaire, hates minorities and is homophobic, then get out there and support Newt! But if you happen to be someone who does not fit that criteria, then it would be in your best interest to immediately put down this newspaper and start doing everything thing in your power to stop this man from getting anywhere near the White House. Because if you do not, before you know it, we will all be watching Newton Leroy “Newt” Gingrich on TV as he is sworn in as president of the United States of America.



MARCH 2012

The Fortress of Solitude

Newark’s Doorway to over 10,000 Comic Books By Wintella Powell Photo Editor

Photos by Wintella Powell

Are you a Comic Book Fan? If so, then come on down to Fortress of Solitude, located at 53 University Street in Newark, NJ. They sell different varieties of comic books, such as Avengers, XMen, Spiderman, The Green Hornet, and Wonder Woman! They also provide older comic books, toys, cards, graphic novels and other memorabilia, and so much more! The store has over 10,000 comic books available. If you cannot find what you are looking for, you can check it out on the store’s Facebook page. We invite you to come on down and explore the universe of comics so you can go back in time to when you were a lad or maiden. Professor Jennifer Wager took her Television Production class over to meet with the owner’s brother, Willie Sanchez, who operates the store with the owner, Jose Robles. The purpose of the visit was to have her class participate in their assigned roles that make up a television production crew. The pro-

ducer was Irving Dundes, the co-producer, Joy Coles. Interviews were done by Lorena Candelario and Michael Turner. Tiana Andrews and Emel Yuksel operated the main camera. Ashley Valle, and Cindy Bernard operated the small camera. Tiana Andrews operated the audio. Each student seemed to be excited about what they were doing, and they carried themselves with professional attitudes. With the guidance of Professor Jennifer Wager, the interviews were successful. Willie Sanchez was asked how the owner came up with the name for their store. He explained that it named after Superman’s hideaway. Lorena asked Willie if there was a Bat-Cave. Since the store was getting busy, he had to attend to his customers. Later we got the answer about the Bat-Cave. As customers came into the store they were surprised to see their favorite store being interviewed by Essex County College Observer staff. Some of the store’s customers gladly agreed to be interviewed. Richard Cammarieri, Director of Special Projects, stopped in the store during ECC’s interview. Asked why this store was important, Cammarieri said, “This store has been in the Newark Community since the 1980s. The owners are Newark residents and business is stable. Young children as well as older people come here. Comic books have helped children to be interested in reading. You can learn about history and politics through comic books”. ECCO staff also interviewed Joseph Fajaroo, Rutgers University-Newark student. Fajaroo informed us that he used to come to the prior location at 599 Broad Street in Newark. The store moved to its current location because of flooding. Fajaroo likes to read the Transformers and 52. He has been coming here for about 3 years. Wintella Powell, photographer and staff writer for the Observer newspaper at Essex County College, interviewed Ed Daniels off camera. Asked what keeps him coming back to the store, Daniel said that it is the comic Professor Wager’s Communications class joins forces with ECCO at the Fortress of Solitude. books and his friends that he has made from the store. He and his friends network while talking and making more friends. Daniels considers the store a little café. Customers can purchase a small snack while visiting the store. Daniels finds himself talking to other friends about the characters and their moves. He knew the store when it was on 599 Broad Street. According to Daniels, this store is in a better location and it is much nicer. Itʼs time to get your work published Willie expressed that his store and his customers are like family. They love coming here and talking to each other and to Willie. He wants to welcome others to come and be a part of the family too. It is a safe environment and it is police controlled by Rutgers police. Teachers can have a class in the store to teach students about such things as story boarding and show them about graphic art. Please contact Willie Sanchez or Jose Robles @ 973-242-3725 to schedule a meeting when needed.

Break out your sketchbook

Lodestone Book One: The Sea of Storms by Mark Whiteway A Book Review By Michael Araujo Staff Writer


CAMPUS COMIC ILLUSTRATORS WANTED Submit your artwork to the ECCO newsroom located in the Newark Campus Clara Dasher Student Center - Room G03

When something is strange to you, your instinct makes you take caution. When entering a strange land, you automatically go into defense mode. A strange world can make you scared, excited, and anxious to learn all of its secrets. Sometimes that strange world disappoints you. Perhaps it is too strange. Perhaps the secrets it holds aren’t that exciting. Perhaps the strange world is intolerable. Perhaps this strange world just makes you want to shout out loud about how stupid it is. This strange world of Kelanni is the exact

opposite. It makes you want to explore the whole land. Learn the secrets that it holds. Devour every piece of information that is available and makes you want to beg for more. I dove into the book with extreme caution. From the synopsis only, I knew that it would be an interesting book but I didn’t know how the writing, characters and the world would be. When I began, my interest grew, but I must admit that I was a bit wary of reading it. I mean, I wasn’t going to stop reading it. I promised myself that I would finish it regardless of how bad it was. But, it wasn’t bad! As the pages went on, I began to understand more of this different land. I began feel for the characters and when the villains were introduced, I began to hate them just like our heroes did. The Sea of Storms holds many stories in one. It’s a book where five main lives get together. continued on page 7

Illustrator credit: ECC Alumni, Leonita Rexha


MARCH 2012



continued from page 6

Shann is a simple village girl working day in and day out with her “adoptive” parents. Keris is a Keltar working for the Prophet and is beginning to question what is right and what is wrong. Lyall is a man who is trying to fix what is in his past by changing the future. Alondo is a humble, yet dangerous man, who is a friend of Lyall and an ally in the future quest. Finally, a Chandara named Boxx, the only creature, who has powers to save them all. What exactly makes this odd group come together? The answer is the past. A strange technology allows a lady from the past to come into contact with the group, letting them know that the one who everyone thinks is right, is not what it seems. And so with this message, the five set off on a quest across dangerous lands, against vicious creatures and meeting questioning people. With a future that seems dubious, they must try to make everything better, hoping that the world they know can be saved and peaceful. Only telling a little bit of the story is possible. Giving any more information might make one’s

head explode with anxiousness to buy the book. What I can tell you is that every character, from major to minor, is so cleverly written and wisely interwoven, that you begin to think that if someone who was only mentioned once in the background may have a future story at all.

this… then what happens?” One example is Lodestones. Lodestones are these, rocks I guess it’s safe to say, that there are different kinds and they all do different things. And if you pair two up of different qualities, you get amazing results. But he doesn’t tell you all of the results. He will tell you what each rock does, and sometimes he’ll make you guess what the results would be if pairing two up. Sometimes when you guess it, it is when a character is about to experiment and it proves if you were right or wrong. Aside from Lodestones, which play an important part in the story, “Lodestone Book One: The Sea of Storms” is a rich and amazing story all in all. The love and passion for writing, all of his emotions, shows in every word of every sentence of every paragraph. I couldn’t help but fall in love with it in the end. It became an instant favorite with an ending that will make you want to buy the next installment, there’s only one thing I can say. You’re missing out if you haven’t read this book, and for a debut author, that’s pretty epic!

I began feel for the characters and when the villains were introduced, I began to hate them just like our heroes did. Mark Whiteway’s writing is almost indescribable. It’s simple for children and teens, yet complex so that an adult may love it. The way he writes his characters make you grow emotions for them. His lands makes you want to explore them. He never gives anything up too easily, leaving some of the things up to your imagination, one of the best parts. He doesn’t say, “this is this and only this!”. He says “this is this but can be this unless you add

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This is a safe and inclusive space for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and their allies.

All students deserve a safe and welcoming school environment. Yet, according to GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey:

• 9 out of 10 LGBT youth are harassed at school because of their sexual orientation. • Two-thirds of LGBT youth are harassed at school because of their gender expression. • Nearly a third of LGBT youth miss at least one full day of school a month because they feel unsafe.

MAKE YOUR SCHOOL A SAFE SPACE. For more information & free resources, visit continued from page 1

concerned about their reputations and not what the students have to say.” Akins continued while his peers repeated his words. The board members, along with Dr. Susan A. Cole, the President of MSU, ignored the students and continued their meeting. Some board members left the room. SDS mic-checking the Montclair State University Board of Trustees.

The MSU president later made a statement to the student body addressing the hate crimes that had occurred at MSU, saying, “These actions are grossly unacceptable in our community and a clear violation of university policies as well as the basic tenets of human decency,” but some students believe Cole took too long to respond to the ongoing incidents. Student organizations from schools across New Jersey have reached out in support of MSU students. The Rutgers University Student Assembly, based in New Brunswick, commemorated February 7th as AntiHarassment Day, the student newspaper, The Daily Targum reported. Here at Essex County College, Essex Pride, our school’s GayStraight Alliance (GSA) organization, is in the process of establishing multiple safe zones around our campus.

The following is a brief statement from the Essex County College Gay-Straight Alliance: “The recent hate crimes which occurred at Montclair State University weigh heavily on the hearts of each member of the LGBTQ community. To have the lives the LGBTQ students threatened on more than one occasion is absolutely horrifying. We live in a time that prides itself on equality, but the threats our community at MSU are receiving speak volumes of the distance we still have to bridge on our journey to equality and security. What happened at Montclair State’s Board of Trustees meeting was appalling. It is difficult to imagine being silenced as a student, especially when one’s well-being is at risk. Equally unconscionable was the fact that the board not only ignored the students and their pleas for help, but actually stood up and left the meeting. To have to attend an institution of learning where one feels unsafe is unfathomable. Essex Pride, the Gay-Straight Alliance of Essex County College, accepts and embodies the responsibility to make a difference and stand up for the security of the LGBTQ community. We urge all students to be advocates, to be the change we need.”


ECCO March 2012  

The Student Voice of Essex County College

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