Page 1


Observer the

Febuary 15, 2018 VOLUME XXXIV, ISSUE 2

RHA Proposes New Guest Policy

Not Just Vaginas: Production Strives for Inclusivity By ALEJANDRA GARCIA Staff Writer


(left to right) RHA Reps Umani, FCLC ‘21 Vacchiano, FCLC ‘20, Beecher, FCLC ‘21, Blackwood and Mendez, FCLCs ‘19 worked to draft proposal By KATHERINE KUHL Contributing Writer

On Sunday, Feb. 4, I met with Sam Blackwood, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ‘19, the Junior Class Representative of the Residence Hall Association (RHA). Over the past five months, RHA has worked tirelessly to amend Fordham’s guest pass policy. A poll sent out last year asking for student input on the issue received more than 400 responses. .Blackwood gave The Observer an exclusive first look at the proposed changes to the guest and visitation pass policy. Below you will find the proposal’s stated purpose, as well as input from Blackwood on why he believes the changes listed in the proposal are necessary. This proposal, which is coauthored by Sam Blackwood and Cristina Mendez, is a culmination of the time and effort of the RHA board, including Class

Representatives Lucia Vacchiano, Samantha Umani, Andrew Beecher, and former Advocacy Coordinator, Preston Ross. RHA looks forward to receiving student feedback on the proposal. Purpose of this Policy: To promote a more inclusive campus community that is welcoming and safe for individuals of all identities and background To maintain Fordham’s commitment to the safety of its students To alleviate financial stresses on students of low-income backgrounds Blackwood explained that RHA has found it difficult to move Fordham administration to implement language that recognizes the diverse gender identities of the student body. Only male and female cisgender students (a person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex the person had or was identified as having

at birth) are currently acknowledged in residence policies. RHA’s proposal states that, “it is necessary that there be an abolition of ‘same-sex’ and ‘opposite-sex’ language in this policy, as this not only arbitrarily enforces the sexual binary, but also invalidates the identity of trans and intersex students.” “There are individuals who have to force themselves into a binary to even get a guest pass. They don’t see their identities reflected in Fordham’s policies,” Blackwood said.“This community isn’t really safe for or welcoming to everyone. I would not want to send my child to a school if they identified like that, and I don’t think the administrators would want to send their children if their children were in fact transgender, to a school, to a community, that does not respect them and their identity.” Fordham often points to its

adherence of church policy as justification for maintenance of language that is restricted to the traditional gender binaries. At the RHA town hall last November, attendees were told that Dean of Students at Fordham Lincoln Center, Keith Eldredge, has cited the pope’s position, which recognizes only two genders, male and female, to justify why residence hall policy does not acknowledge other gender identities. In response, RHA conducted research in an effort to prove that changing Fordham’s policy would not compromise its Jesuit identity. Andrew Beecher, the RHA Representative for Freshmen, reached out to Canisius College, and asked Dr. Mangione, VP of Student Affairs, about their guest policy which allows students to have overnight guests regardless of gender or see GUEST PASS pg. 4

Black Students Alliance Takes Hiatus By JEFFREY UMBRELL Features Editor

Midway through Black History Month, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) finds itself without an active Black Student Alliance (BSA). BSA held an open meeting on Feb. 7 to discuss the club’s decision to take a semester-long hiatus and address the uncertainty surrounding its future. Club President Mikaela Berry (FCLC ’18) is stepping down from her position, but members were assured that the hiatus was only temporary, and that BSA activity would resume as soon as possible. Berry admitted to her fellow club members that the meeting

was being held under “not the best circumstances.” She cited communication issues, low meeting attendance and personal conflicts as the causes for her resignation. Berry has been on the Executive Board (EBoard) of BSA for two years, and said that, upon becoming President, she “really wanted to see the club flourish.” Despite her expectations, Berry found it difficult to promote BSA and attract new members. Last fall, meetings were generally poorly attended, which rendered it difficult for the club to operate to the extent that Berry had imagined. She became “frustrated” with the low attendance, and eventually decided that it would be best if the club took a break to

regroup and reassess its priorities. The decision weighed heavily on Berry. She expressed at the meeting that she felt like she “failed” BSA as a leader, but ultimately, “this was the decision that made the most sense for what we were given and the time that we were given.” Paige Bryan, FCLC ’19, BSA Secretary, said that she felt that the hiatus could have been avoided. “We could have had a lot more communication” among members, she explained. “There’s a lot of stuff that we wanted to do at the beginning of the semester that wasn’t put onto the table, and I feel like that affected a lot of what we were able to do.” Bryan also noticed a drop in

club attendance from previous years, but said it was “difficult” to effectively promote BSA and reach out to students who are hesitant to join. “I think it’s a matter of community involvement and realizing that it’s okay to go past your own borders,” she said. “I think there has been a drop [in attendance], but I feel people just need to find things that they feel really passionate about, like I’m passionate about BSA.” One of the largest obstacles BSA faces is vacant leadership positions. None of the current EBoard members are able to return after this semester, and the new leadership will likely face the see BSA LEADERSHIP pg. 13

Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” is a play composed of various monologues revolving around themes ranging from menstruation to new sexual experiences. It has long been acclaimed for its ability to call attention to feminist themes, such as normalizing female anatomy. However, since its inception in 1996, light has been shed on its limiting and exclusionary nature. This year, Fordham students are playing an active role in reshaping the production in order to craft a space for all voices — not only those belonging to white cisgendered women — to be heard. Historically, “The Vagina Monologues” has been critiqued for its exclusion of people of color, transgender, and non-gender conforming people. The name itself, implies that only those with vaginas should be able to tell their stories. Fordham’s production, subsequently, is shifting to calling the production “The Monologues.” Additionally, materials about the production place an asterisk next to the word vagina, and expand upon the formal title but specifying the inclusion of “any vaginas, all vaginas, and not just vaginas.” “The Vagina Monologues” has been annually amended through the regular addition of new monologues. These newer pieces have shed light on women facing oppression outside of the U.S., as well as trans issues. Furthermore, adaptations nationwide have sought to diversify their casts, in order to make space for the countsee VAGINA pg. 11

less different narratives that need

Inside NEWS

Fordham’s Finances How to find what you need around Rose Hill. PAGE 2 OPINIONS

The War on Roses

Everything wrong with Valentine’s Day. PAGE 10 ARTS & CULTURE

SAD movies

A single’s guide to what and what not to watch. PAGE 12 FEATURES

Politics and Piety

Kayla Wolf’s investigation into the New York Catholic community. PAGE 13 SPORTS & HEALTH

Fordham Olympian Gabelli Graduate Nicole Rajic goes for the gold. PAGE 16



February 15, 2018 THE OBSERVER

The State of Fordham’s Finances



The responsibilities of Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer Martha K. Hirst are as sundry as her many titles, but there is one mantra that contains each: balance. First and foremost, that applies to the university budget. At any given time, its finances, with which she is tasked to manage, encounter unpredictable threats. They arrive in the exigent forms of tuition dependency, US News and World Report rankings and congressional law, armed with the promise to topple, cripple and slash away at a financial plan where the money is already tight. Then there are the people–the faculty, the students, the staff, the trustees to which she is beholden, but nonetheless depend on her ability to balance. This year has perhaps been the most trying test of her ability since her appointment in 2015, yet she holds bright expectations for the school’s future. On Dec. 4, she sat down with reporters from The Observer and The Fordham Ram to discuss the state of the university’s finances. This is how she sees it. The Instability of Tuition Dependence Near the beginning of her Nov. 2 budget forum presentation, Hirst flipped to a slide that summed up the crux of Fordham’s income challenge, a reality that she believes comes as “no surprise” to most. “We are tuition dependent,” she said, lowering her head. A projection of a gold and crimson pie chart glowed softly over her shoulder. The pieces-three in all, including a thin, black sliver-represented the virtual entirety university’s sources of revenue. Undergraduate tuition: $446 million. Graduate tuition: $201 million. Fees: $17 million. Combined, tuition and fees make up more than 83 percent of Fordham’s budget. In other words, the university is running on a

single crop economy, and, like Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine, the institution’s finances hang in a precarious condition. “There’s always pressure to diversify those sources of revenue,” Hirst said. That Fordham’s graduate population “ebbs and flows” with enough historical flux to have at one point constituted a larger revenue source than undergraduate tuition is evidence of just that compulsion. But, Hirst said, nobody should have any illusions about what Fordham is. Yes, it is a research institution, but it does not rake in “gazillions of dollars” for that practice. Yes, it receives grants, but $2.6 million primarily made up of Bundy grants is in no way significant to a $790 million as to ease tuition dependence. Yes, it can and does pull from a respectable endowment, but it has never been an institution with “deep pockets.” For Hirst, it is about balancing “short-term” and “long-term,” it is about the students currently attending, and those attending “at their 350th anniversary.” The Financial Burden of a Less than Desirable Academic Reputation Such a heavy dependence opens the university up to the numerous hazards that can affect its number one source of income: enrollment. Poor freshman retention and a lack of adequate financial aid can undercut the population of an institution, rendering it financially paralyzed. Smaller private colleges are feeling these effects most acutely in the under enrollment of freshman classes.“For an undergraduate school, that is certainly a scary proposition,” Hirst said during the budget forum. She also said that combatting under enrollment demands two methods of persuasion: money and prestige. Both are duly earned, and while Fordham has recently suffered a blow to its reputation in the US News and World

Report rankings–albeit from 60 to 61–fundraising for financial aid has soared. As of Jan. 29, the university has raised $121,735,891 of it’s $175 million goal with well over a year before the campaign is scheduled to end on June 30, 2019. Some of the funds will feed directly into the endowment, while others are designated as “current use,” according to Assistant Vice President of Communications Bob Howe, contributing to the operating budget and financial aid. Hirst noted that Fordham’s academic reputation directly affects a portion of that awarded aid in terms of merit-based financial scholarships. As prestige grows, merit aid shrinks. As for now, Hirst admitted that “there’s still a very substantial number of Fordham’s students who come whose family incomes wouldn’t necessarily require them to receive on a needs-based financial aid, but are very scholarly and high achievers and students that the university wants here at Fordham.” At what time will merit aid decrease? Hirst pointed to a goal set by the university president, Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J. “You may have heard Father McShane talk before about this notion of achieving number 50 in the U.S. News rankings by 2020,” she said. “That’s the rubric. That’s the measure.” The litmus test for its success comes when the scales tip in favor of academic reputation, according to Hirst. When it is seen as an “investment more than a financial burden.” “Don’t fund him. Fund me.” In the meantime, Hirst has some “tough conversations” for members of Fordham’s faculty. These, she indicated, might entail a reevaluation of course loads for individual professors as well as a hard look at the sustainability of current healthcare costs. This is not about condemnation, said Hirst. This is about asking the questions that bite with the grit of reality.

“Should we have the top of line health benefits in the country and pass that cost through to students? Maybe,” Hirst said. “Or maybe not.” Health benefits account for a significant portion of the budget’s expenses, and proved to be a contentious focal point during salary negotiations had between faculty and administrators last spring. In the end, it is “really about balancing competing interests,” according to Hirst. Her sober approach to discussion, which “makes the faculty nervous,” is present too in the philosophical model she seeks to apply to several aspects of the budget: the model of competing interests. In this construction, academic as well as non-academic programs would compete over the finite amount of resources the university provides. “People should be–if it’s working right–should be banging on my door everyday. ‘I need money for this. I need money for this,’” Hirst said. Then she decides: “Do we want Fordham to be known for that? Will that make us famous?” In this framework of collegiate Darwinism, a department’s existence begins and ends with those questions. Such a model tracks with the incentive that drives the university to admit students with high standardized test scores. Every little decision contributes to the reputation of the school. Programs that can generate the repute will swell with financial support. Those that can’t will fall by the wayside. Hirst suggested that members of The Observer probably knew the feeling of budgetary competition. Administrators too. Hirst noted that last year, the university made millions of dollars in cuts to sections of the administration. By “maximizing the effectiveness and productivity of all aspects of our workforce,” Hirst said, Fordham can weather the storm of financial instability plaguing universities and colleges across the country.

The Strategy of Shoring Up Savings As it now stands, the university barely scrapes by with the revenue it collects. By the end of the 2018 fiscal year, Fordham expects to have spent all but $300,000 of its budget. These relatively small remains can do little to stave off disaster, according to Hirst. “You don’t make enrollment targets, and so your budget’s out of balance. You have to adjust for that. You have a boiler plant blow in a building. You have to adjust for that. You have further impacts on people’s available resources, that we have to spend more on financial aid potentially if we have it. We have to adjust for that,” she said. Adjustments, however, become increasingly difficult the less onhand capital an institution has. Fordham’s apparent vulnerability was reflected in negative review conducted by Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC. The lack of a contingency fund is “a measure of fiscal health,” according to Hirst, and poor health at that. If Fordham was operating at perfect financial stability, it would be “squirreling away” $17 million or more than 56 times the amount it currently does. Where that money would come from is unclear as of now, but nevertheless, this “belt-tightening” is nothing but prudent fiscal strategy, Hirst said. -Strategy is ultimately all Hirst can offer. In April, she will deliver a final assessment for the Board of Trustees to vote on the budget for the 2019 fiscal year. Any number of these issues could take precedence in her analysis, though it is also possible that each aspect dominates a different corner of the financial platform Hirst must balance. And while it is surely not a glamourous undertaking–to see every part of the university in its value and cost and risk and potential–it is surely a necessary one.

THE OBSERVER February 15, 2018


Grimes’ Sudden Leave Surprises Fordham By COLIN SHEELEY News Editor

As of Feb. 26, Dean Robert R. Grimes, S.J., has taken a leave of absence from his position as a university professor and Dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) citing “persistent problems” with his left foot. The university community was notified that day by a sudden email statement issued from the Office of the Provost that caught students, faculty and administrators alike off guard. The statement, signed by Provost Stephen J. Freedman PhD and Fordham University President Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., announced that Father Grimes, who has served at FCLC for 20 years would be replaced by Dr. Frederick J. Wertz of the Psychology Department. It did not mention a reason for Father Grimes’s leave, nor did it disclose that rather than opting for sick leave, Grimes was granted a faculty fellowship. As of Feb. 29, Dr. Wertz took office as the acting Dean of FCLC. The abrupt decision, made collectively by Dr. Freedman and Father McShane, surprised several members of the faculty and administration including Dean of Students at FCLC Keith Eldredge and Psychology Chairperson Barry Rosenfeld, who found out about it in the preceding email, the same way that students did. Nevertheless, Freedman maintained that “no academic duties and responsibilities that are related to students were in any way impacted.” Dr. Wertz, who taught several course in the fall, was not teaching any this semester as part of the phased retirement process he had just begun. That Dr. Wertz had no courses


Many administrators and faculty were unaware of Grimes’s leave until a schoolwide email notified them.

this semester was a “totally coincidental” circumstance according to Freedman. Father Grimes, who had never been awarded a fellowship in his time as Dean of FCLC, indicated that he wanted to at last take that opportunity which is normally available to tenure and non-tenure track faculty every four years. University statutes describe fellowships as “expressions of encouragement” for faculty to “carry out study and research required for academic development.” They are awarded for one or two terms during the academic year and for two months during a summer session. Indeed, Dr. Rosenfeld said that it was his understanding that Dr. Wertz would only hold the po-

sition through the summer and resume teaching upon Father Grimes’s presumed return. Dr. Wertz himself declared his commitment to the position of acting dean “for the remainder of this academic year.” Dr. Wertz has been a member of the Fordham community for more than 30 years and is respected among many of his colleagues and friends. “I have worked with Dr. Wertz in my years as Provost, and I’ve been highly impressed with his administrative skills and his ability to work with a wide number of constituents in a very caring and sensitive and appropriate way,” Dr. Freedman said. “He is an excellent administrator.” Associate Professor of Psychol-

Master of Science in

Humanitarian Studies Build a wide range of skills in core areas of relief and assistance

• Learn to engage in sustainable responses to humanitarian crises • Analyze the contemporary humanitarian sector through its political, economic, cultural, and legal foundations

• Develop practical field skills through unique hands-on learning opportunities in New York City and overseas

• Network with humanitarian professionals through Fordham’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs

Early admission is available for Fordham juniors with a GPA of 3.2 or higher.

Visit to learn more.

ogy Karen Siedlecki attested that “Dr. Wertz is a kind and generous colleague who is respected for his wisdom and who is an insightful leader. I have found his guidance and support to be invaluable on numerous occasions.” Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies of Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) Keith Cruise recalled that Dr. Wertz had chaired the Psychology Department when he started at Fordham. “I have directly witnessed his passion for educating both graduate and undergraduate students,” Cruise said. “He champions critical thinking skills in all of his students encouraging the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods to tackle important questions. To put it simply, Dr. Wertz is dedicated to the


Fordham community.” Dr. Wertz has previously served in several interim and official administrative positions. From 2002-2008, he chaired the Department of Psychology, moving to Department of Communication and Media Studies to sit as interim chair from 2011-2013. Before that, he worked under Father Grimes as Associate Dean of FCLC in 1997. Most recently, he again served as interim chair for the Department of Computer and Information Sciences. Assuming the role as acting dean, Dr. Wertz hopes to establish the foundation of position: “an open door policy” extended to all members of the Fordham community. “I aim to cultivate a collective enterprise where we work and thrive together,” he said. “I am attracted to and embrace diverse perspectives, including challenges and criticisms.” He hopes to keep in good communication with Father Grimes, the circumstances of his leave of absence permitting. “My main objectives are to extend my understanding of our community’s needs and aspirations, to coordinate fruitful collaborations and to advocate for our great college,” he added. Dr. Wertz has taken over all of Grimes’s responsibilities, administrative, programmatic and curricular, working closely with the Interim Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences Eva Badowska, the Dean of FCRH Maura Mast, and the Office of the Provost. As such, he is in charge of faculty, staff and students, addressing the “structural and administrative needs of Fordham College at Lincoln Center,” according to Dr. Freedman. “I devote myself entirely, heart and soul, to FCLC,” Dr. Wertz said.



February 15, 2018 THE OBSERVER

RHA Appeals: Safer, Fairer, Cheaper Policy Proposals: • Reduction of fines incurred upon violation of visitation and guest policy to $5.00. Upon continued violation of guest and visitation policy the fine will increase by $5.00. • If a student violates guest and visitation policy an email will be set to the student’s email notifying them of their violation and the amount that will be charged to their account. In the samenotification the student will be given the opportunity to appeal the fine. An appeal must be filedwithin 7-10 days of being notified of guest and visitation policy violation. • A list of guests permitted each night will be available online to the guards, to be used in the case that a student’s physical guest pass may be misplaced or stolen, in order to prevent a guest who is registered and approved as a guest from being placed in an unsafe circumstance without other accommodations. • Both undergraduate and graduate students are permitted to obtain guest passes for guests of any gender or sexual identity • Both undergraduate and graduate students are allowed to obtain same night guest passes • Mckeon and McMahon residents (who are freshman) can move freely between the two residencehalls without having to be signed in. • They will also be able to submit an online request 24 hours in advance, to be reviewed andapproved by the RA on duty, in recognition of the fact that many students are enrolled in nightclasses, evening classes at Rosehill, and/or have evening jobs. Rewritten Guest and Visitation Policy 1. Visitation Policy: With the exception of Mckeon residents, a Visitor is a person who gains access and leaves the Residence Hall with a resident as their host between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Mckeon and McMahon residents (who are freshman) are permitted to move freely between the the two residence halls without having to be signed in. Residents can only have two visitors at one time. All visitors, including Fordham commuters, must sign in and display a form of identification at the security desk. All visitors must leave McMahon by 3:30 am and it is the resident’s (host) responsibility to sign the visitor out. Hosts that sign their visitors out after 3:30am or not at all will be charged a fine. Please note, fines start at $5 and upon continued violation of visitation policy the fine will increase by $5.00 each time. Continuous violations will result in losing visitation and guest privileges determined in judicial meetings with the Resident Director for Law Students and/or the Assistant Director of Residential Life. Residents will be notified of violation via email and are given the opportunity to appeal their visitation violation, by emailing Resident Director for Law Students and/ or the Assistant Director of Residential Life, within 7 days of receipt of notification of violation. Upon emailing the administrators students will be given an opportunity to meet with the Resident Director for Law Students and/or the Assistant Director of Residential Life to appeal the fine. 2. Guest Policy: Undergraduate, Law, and Graduate residents may host no more than 2 overnight guests of any gender and sexual identity at a time for two nights within a seven-day period. Regardless of host, a guest cannot obtain a guest pass for more than nine nights within a thirty day period. Undergraduate, Law, and Graduate students are permitted to obtain same night guest passes. However, students are encouraged to obtain overnight guest passes 24 hours in advance. All guest passes can be acquired from the RA on Duty office from 7PM to 10PM each night with the exception of Tuesday’s (7PM to 8:45PM). They will also be able to submit an online request 24 hours in advance, to be reviewed and approved by the RA on duty, in recognition of the fact that many students are enrolled in night classes, evening classes at Rosehill, and/or have evening jobs. In order to obtain a guest pass, a resident must present their valid Fordham ID, must know their guest’s full name, home address, date of birth, and emergency contact number. The proposal petitions for fine reductions, gender inclusive language, and equality between graduate, undergraduate and law students.


sex. Dr. Magnione responded by saying, “All 28 of our Jesuit institutions are very different and we all make local policy decisions that work best for us as individual institutions. What works for Canisius may not work for Fordham and what works for Fordham may not work for BC, etc. because our campus communities, our local diocese, and external constituencies all help shape our policy decisions.” Canisius College is not the only Jesuit university that is more inclusive of diverse gender identities than Fordham in guest/visitation policies. University of San Francisco does not have a rule in place prohibiting students from hosting overnight guests on the basis of sex or gender. Neither does Georgetown.

In addition to the changes in language, RHA wants undergraduate, graduate, and law students to have equal privileges regarding overnight visitors. Right now, undergrads are the only group of students not allowed to have overnight guests of the ‘opposite sex’. School administration bars undergrads from having overnight guests of the opposite sex as a way of promoting abstinence before marriage. When Blackwood spoke with Jeffrey Gray, Senior VP for Students affairs he found that, “ The administration has a different relationship with graduate students than it does with undergraduate students. They think that graduate students who have gone through four years of college are going to be more mature than undergraduate students.” Additionally, the policy in its current form fails to acknowledge

the fact that sexual intimacy can, and does exist among lgbtq students and their partners. Eldredge has told Blackwood that parental input is a contributing force in support of keeping guest policies in their current form, though Blackwood wonders how parents gain access to key administrators. If parental input does in fact have considerable worth, the transparency of negotiations between administration and students could be called into question. Blackwood wonders, “whether or not they do outreach to parents on guest and visitation policy, to make sure that they are getting a wide representation of people’s views on the policy.” RHA’s proposal also seeks to reduce the cost of fines for violations. Currently, violations start at fifteen dollars, and increase by that amount with each sub-

sequent violation. Blackwood thinks the current system is inadequate, “You’re placing burden on students from low-income backgrounds. Because of extenuating circumstances, students might have to violate the current policy. In the event that that is the case they should not incur a $15 fine. Students already deal with financial stress, so the fine should be reduced. There should also be a transparent appeals process”. Blackwood knows students who disregard the 3:30 am rule repeatedly and without hesitation, because the fine’s cost is of little concern for them. On the other hand, students who cannot afford fines that increase with every violation kick their visitors out. In one case, a guest who had never been to New York had to navigate his way back to the Bronx at 3:30 am, which was

stressful for the Fordham host, as the guest had to do this on their own with no understanding of the subway system. The host was a member of the RHA board. Eldredge maintains that because students are aware of the time constraints, they should make sure that their guest leaves at an appropriate time. Ultimately, Blackwood says that, “What it really comes down to, this guest pass policy, is what kind of community do you want to have? Do you want to have this kind of division and divisiveness between students and administration? Do you want a community where people feel like they are in a safe space and feel that they are welcome, and feel that they are respected? Or, what we have right now, which isn’t the kind of community where every single individual feels like that.”

THE OBSERVER February 15, 2018



Speaking His Language; An Interview with Andrew Clark


Dr. Andrew H. Clark, Fordham professor of French and Comparative Literature and Vice President of the Faculty Senate, stands behind the collection of books in his office. By RUBY GARA News Editor

The moment you enter Dr. Clark’s office, you will presumably notice the amount of books surrounding his desk, almost reaching the ceiling of his office. French dictionaries, English novels, Hegel’s philosophical books ― his fascination for literature is visually obvious. Dr. Andrew H. Clark is among the most reputable professors in Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC). His interests in social justice and his significant advocacy for rights have led him to become the Vice President of the Faculty Senate on campus, as well as the Chair of Faculty Salary & Benefits Committee. In addition to those positions, Dr. Clark is also a professor of French and Comparative Literature at FCLC. He also received an award for participating in the “Racial Solidarity Network” in the Fall of 2017, signifying that he has completed the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ training program last semester at Fordham. This framed award further shows his commitment to social issues on campus. Although Dr. Clark speaks with a slight French accent that he picked up during his year studying abroad in Paris as an undergraduate student, he grew up in San Francisco, CA. He moved to Massachusetts for college, where he was an English and French major at Amherst College. He initially leaned towards studying medicine, as his father was a doctor, but he “loved literature and examining texts” in a different language as he deems it more special. He stated that he “thought it was so extraordinary that you could spend such a long period of time analyzing prose in French.” After completing his Bachelor’s Degree at Amherst College, he interned in the French Embassy of D.C. before deciding to pursue a PhD at Princeton University, where he mainly did research projects, as it was one of his passions. Dr. Clark wanted to primarily focus his studies on 17th-18th century French literature as he “worked with fantastic professors” at Amherst College who essentially sparked his

interest in this specialization. When asked about what had sparked his interest in wanting to become a French professor, he shared that at the age of 16, as he was on a train going from Italy to France, he found that “there’s something fascinating about being able to communicate with people” despite the lack of languages in common. Although he spoke minimal French and Italian, he had learned Spanish in high school, which ultimately allowed him to “figure out ways to communicate by piecing together whatever languages [he] could grab on to.” He also stated that intertwining languages with “an informal exchange of ideas in a very multilingual setting was eye opening.” When he was an undergraduate student at Amherst, he studied abroad in Paris for a year, and said that “the experience of living in another country, is a clichéd experience at this point, but I think it is a transformative one”, which further assured him of his decision of wanting to study and eventually teach the French language. Dr. Clark wrote “Diderot’s Part” in 2008. He was drawn to write a book about the philosopher as he had written part of his undergraduate thesis on him and the issue of involuntary memory. He stated that “I think what interested me about Diderot and the 18th century in particular was that it was at a time in which literature encompassed science, philosophy, theatre, and art.” As Dr. Clark spoke about Diderot, you could clearly see the fascination in his eyes, and the evident amount of knowledge he has on the philosopher. “Diderot’s Part” incorporates different areas of study, such as music, art and physiology. Dr. Clark also said that writing this book was a good basis to begin his future projects as all of the interests he has “wouldn’t have come about without the grounding I had from working on Diderot.” The first major project after publishing “Diderot’s Part”, that was in collaboration with a musicologist who used to be a professor at Fordham, was a book that mainly discussed how the different disciplines perceive music. He is currently working on another project, with

a colleague at NYU, that focuses on the representation of texts and paintings, and how Gutenberg’s printing press affected the meaning produced by the medium of paintings. Dr. Clark became the chair of the Salary and Benefits Committee in 2008 as a relatively new tenured professor. He also worked with the Faculty Senate where they “had to deal with complicated issues such as health care, and the fact that the University was changing health care options without the faculty’s permission”. He assumed leadership in the Faculty Senate and he stated that he “saw Salary and Benefits as a place where one could try to enhance the benefits we have and make them more in line with the understanding of what a modern University should look like.” As Chair, he implemented Legally Domiciled Adults rights (LDA) in order to provide healthcare for same sex couples at Fordham for the first time. He stated that their main purpose is trying to “bring this University in to the 21st century.” However, according to Dr. Clark, the reason why he became nominated Chair of the Salary and Benefits Committee was because of the “Course Load Relief” initiative, a project that focused on non-gendered, non-biologically specific child care. Although it was a process that took several years, the Salary and Benefits Committee eventually succeeded in providing women and other primary caregivers the right to take time off in order to take care of their children, whether they are foster, adopted or biological children. This initiative was launched in response to Fordham’s policy that theoretically outlined that only women who gave biological birth to children during the semester had access to maternity leave. The Salary and Benefits Committee strives to protect the rights of the Faculty and make their voices be heard as Dr. Clark stated that “for the University to function, you have to take care of its people.” Although he has held the position of Chair for nearly a decade, he will continue to actively fight for social justice on Fordham’s campus.

Join us!!

Meetings on Mondays. LL524. 5:30 p.m.


Opinions Editor Jordan Meltzer -

Observer the



he political climate of America is bleak. The actual climate is even bleaker. We are in the middle of the shortest and dreariest month of the year, and we need a pick-me-up. Lo and behold, we are met by Valentine’s Day. As the romantic holiday rears its head once again, we brace ourselves for the onslaught of emotions and opinions. There seems to be no middle ground between the extremities of plush bears and I-love-yousweethearts to the alleged capitalist conspiracies purported by sworn enemies of the holiday. But we need Valentine’s Day. We need a day of love. Forget the usual gamut of reasons to hate the holiday because at this point, it is the hiatus from our cold world that we so desperately crave. Valentine’s Day is back; and it is for everyone. Let us tell you why. It’s high time that single people take back this holiday. Galentine’s and Palentine’s

ON LOVE open up the day to love and appreciation for gals, pals, gal pals and everyone in between. Our friends and family are the most reliable people we have in our lives, so use this day to tell them you love them. Got a main homie? Great! Join the celebration. Heart emojis are for everyone you love—wheth-

“The arrow on the Dow Jones may be unreliable, but we can count on Cupid’s to lift us up this year.”

er they be steamy, playful or platonic. Save for allergies, there’s nothing stopping anyone from enjoying the sweetest part of the holiday. Whether you chalk it up to capitalism, corporate greed or American ingenuity, the bottom line is the same:

February 15, 2018 THE OBSERVER

Ghirardelli doesn’t discriminate. Both Valentine’s Day and the days following are perfect times to indulge, regardless of relationship status. In the end, one day out of the year being dedicated to compassion is not so bad. This holiday is about appreciating those who mean the most, and letting them know they’re loved. Valentine’s Day is so much more than sappy couples and bow-toting cherubs. This year, of all years, it’s time we realized it. The arrow on the Dow Jones may be unreliable, but we can count on Cupid’s to lift us up this year. So, in the true spirit of Valentine’s Day, the staff at The Observer would like to leave you, the faithful reader, a parting poem as a token of our love and appreciation. (We are journalists, not poets, so please be gentle.) These pages are read, The printing is black, Thank you for reading, We hope you come back!

Editor-in-Chief Morgan Steward Managing Editor Reese Ravner Business Manager Michael Veverka Layout Editor Loïc Khodarkovsky Asst. Layout Editor Esmé Bleecker-Adams News Editors Colin Sheeley Katherine Smith Asst. News Editor Ruby Gara Opinions Editor Jordan Meltzer Asst. Opinions Editor Owen Roche Arts & Culture Editor Sam DeAssis Asst. Arts & Culture Editors Kevin Christopher Robles Marielle Sarmiento Features Editor Jeffrey Umbrell Asst. Features Editors Izzi Duprey Lindsay Jorgensen Sports & Health Editor Artemis Tsagaris Asst. Sports & Health Editor Luke Osborn Photo Editor Jon Björnson Asst. Photo Editors Andrew Beecher Lena Rose Comma Coordinators Elodie Huston Erika Ortiz Copy Editors Erika Ortiz Gianna Smeraglia


Social Media Managers Angelika Menendez Andronika Zimmerman

Visual Advisor Molly Bedford Editorial Advisor Anthony Hazell PUBLIC NOTICE No part of The Observer may be reprinted or reproduced without the expressed written consent of The Observer board. The Observer is published on alternate Thursdays during the academic year. Printed by Five Star Printing Flushing, N.Y

To reach an editor by e-mail, visit


A date. Some ice skates. I double exposed my film. Do you believe in fate? Do you believe in love in luck in free will? Must the constilations allign for the creation of such an allure? Or do the things in life intersect like a spider’s web, and individual beauties unite to progress the cause?

• Letters to the Editor should be typed and sent to The Observer, Fordham University, 140 West 62nd Street, Room G32, New York, NY 10023, or e-mailed to Length should not exceed 200 words. All letters must be signed and include contact information, official titles, and year of graduation (if applicable) for verification. • If submitters fail to include this information, the editorial board will do so at its own discretion. • The Observer has the right to withhold any submissions from publication and will not consider more than two letters from the same individual on one topic. The Observer reserves the right to edit all letters and submissions for content, clarity and length. • Opinions articles and commentaries represent the view of their authors. These articles are in no way the views held by the editorial board of The Observer or Fordham University. • The Editorial is the opinion held by a majority of The Observer’s editorial board. The Editorial does not reflect the views held by Fordham University.

THE OBSERVER February 15, 2018

All Hail Disney?

KEVIN CHRISTOPHER ROBLES Asst. Arts & Culture Editor

On Dec. 14, 2017, the Walt Disney Company announced that they would be acquiring 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion. This was a move that has had— and will continue to have—repercussions in the greater industry landscape, especially as Disney continues its seemingly endless quest to absorb every aspect of media on the planet. As part of the deal, Disney will gain quite a few intellectual properties, including “X-Men,” “Deadpool,” “Alien,” “The Simpsons,” “Planet of the Apes” and “Avatar.” In addition, Disney now has control, for all intents and purposes, of Fox’s cable networks. This is in addition to Disney’s current cable stable of television entities in ABC and ESPN, both of which it has owned for several decades. Disney will also have a controlling stake in Hulu, Netflix’s biggest rival, as well as ownership of every show exclusive to the platform. Perhaps the largest and most enigmatic shift, however, reflects the unknown consequences this deal has for the film industry. Significantly, Disney and Fox used to be integral parts of the “Big Six” movie studios; however, the acquisition will transform the “Big Six” into the “Big Five.” Reactions to this news have been mixed. For many, this has been a source of joy, particularly for fans of certain media properties. Marvel fans are elated as the “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four” characters can now officially be incorporated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, about which Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has expressed eagerness. Lucasfilm is likewise enthused as distribution rights to certain “Star Wars” media, most notably the original 1977 film, now land


The Walt Disney Company owns a wide array of intellectual properties.

with Disney instead of hanging in copyright limbo; essentially, this allows Disney full rights to create new or restore old versions of every “Star Wars” movie. Still, others express their satisfaction that owning certain properties will allow Disney to diversify its lineups at the various Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, thus increasing its already massive success. However, some are not so keen on the deal, particularly those who view the deal as a potential incidence of antitrust violation. The Disney-Fox acquisition can be seen as parallel to the proposed T-Mobile and AT&T merger from several years ago; at the time,

the merger was almost guaranteed to happen. In a surprising twist, the Department of Justice declared that the merger removed too much competition from the market. For many, the Disney-Fox deal has shades of the merger, and there are certainly fears that Disney will have a monopoly as a result of its worrying strides in acquiring media properties. Others view the news in a negative light due to its effect on the movie industry. While it may seem like the transformation of the Big Six into the Big Five is a largely cosmetic issue, it poses serious concerns for the viability of smaller films. While one

can be assured that Disney will maintain its blockbuster slate, Fox Searchlight’s independent productions may dwindle in numbers if Disney judges them an unnecessary expense. This, in turn, will cause production crews to diminish, which means there will be fewer movies for people to work on, which ultimately means fewer jobs. There may be a risk of an employment runoff once the deal has been finalized and made effective. While all of this seems quite doom and gloom, this deal is altogether a positive thing for the media landscape. Though Disney is not exactly lacking in its content,



many view their stable as stale, predictable and sterile. From animated films to Marvel movies or even “Star Wars,” it can often feel like Disney specializes only in family-friendly action-packed entertainment. The Fox acquisition certainly affords Disney a greater diversity from horror in “Alien” to adult comedy in “The Simpsons” to contemplative Oscar productions in “Planet of the Apes.” Of course, a diversity in properties is not the only positive of this deal. In an era when American media is growing weaker due to the rising influence of China’s own burgeoning entertainment industry (which has already nabbed stars like Matt Damon for films like “The Great Wall”), it has become increasingly clear that the major forces in the industry are no longer domestic. Disney’s acquisition of Fox speaks to a clear intent of shoring up defenses against foreign media, strengthening and consolidating power into a centralized company. Most fears of monopoly are overblown, as it usually only views the issue through the lens of the United States when the entertainment industry has been globalized for many years now. Not to mention, the streaming boom is in full swing: Disney’s improved slate of television series and films makes sure that it can compete with the commercial and cultural juggernaut that is Netflix. Finally, there are historical precedents for major movie studios rising and falling; Disney was actually an addition to the “Big Six” after the fall of RKO Radio Pictures. The “Big Six” is seemingly a relatively fluid list, and Fox’s fate only reflects historical trends. The Disney-Fox deal has its share of well-worn concerns, but it is a testament to American media and a show of strength that Hollywood is just as strong as ever despite shifting tides in the global entertainment landscape.


Fordham’s War on Color OWEN ROCHE Asst. Opinions Editor

Ask anyone at Fordham: they’ll tell you they don’t see color. I do. There’s a problem at Fordham College at Lincoln Center. It’s stained into our very walls and confronts us no matter where we turn. It has painted our school as a place of confusion, turmoil and discord—and it’s a veritable rejection of our history. It’s time someone said something. Fordham has a color problem. Maroon, to be exact. A quick trip to Fordham’s website (or asking the nearest Jesuit) will quickly reveal that Fordham’s school color is indisputably, undeniably maroon. Not orange, not purple, not burgundy, not cordovan, not even claret. However, a quick trip through the Lincoln Center campus suggests otherwise, and the problem is only getting worse. Discordant color combos abound. We’re losing our identity shade by shade. It’s a difficult truth, but it must be said: we look like Bootleg Fordham. Take the front façade of the Leon Lowenstein Center, for example—and how it’s bafflingly, bewilderingly blue. Prospective students gathered for tours must be constantly confused: is this

Fordham, or some azure knockoff? Of course, the color dysphoria compounds as any comprehensive Fordham visit continues through our more updated underground passageways sporting the latest in inoffensive, wall-to-wall gray hues. The deafening assault on the senses is truly exhilarating; a visual representation of Fresh Air with Terry Gross played at full volume. Or perhaps consider Lincoln Center’s infamous stretch of barren hallway affectionately nicknamed the “Green Mile”: walls behind the Law School lobby painted a head-scratching pistachio. I misspeak—only one wall of the corridor bears the offending pigment. The other side, blindingly white, reflects the green in a way that gives the casual passerby an impression that he or she has entered a minty liminal space between two dimensions. I cannot paint this more heavy-handedly—the situation is bleak. The colors are careless. The last remaining stalwarts of maroon languish in the floors of Lowenstein, and cracking open a Sherwin Williams and vigilante-painting in the dead of night doesn’t seem so bad anymore. But mere weeks ago, a spark of hope emerged: a chance to turn the tide in the Fordham Color War. The renovated sixth floor reopened, undoubtedly redecorated and repainted that quintessential

Fordham maroon. Right? The sixth floor, styled in the sterile, office-building chic we’ve come to know and tolerate, was in fact smattered in green. Disgustingly verdant accent walls and upholstery stretch as far as the eye can see in this sparkling slap in the face to everything Fordham purports to stand for. Great risk accompanies falling asleep in the new classrooms; one may awake under the impression they’ve been teleported into a hospital waiting room. The powers that be have gifted us glittering classrooms, natural lighting and all the fancy Dyson hand dryers we could ever want. But they’re not fooling me. I stand against the Green Agenda. We’ve forgotten our school colors. It’s time we remembered them. Any semblance of cohesive identity (while bolstered by our single Ram statue) is gone the minute the last wall is graced in green. There are no intramural sports at this campus. We have no pool table. The school pastime is staying indoors. If all we have to cling to is paint swatches, so be it. The raucous cacophony of color must end. Fordham has what it takes to reconcile with maroon and make a full recovery. But if fears that maroon is too far gone—that an official color change is in order—we are equally lost. Do we retain the azure signage of the main entrance or the verdant


8.6-point on 9.8 Georgia Italic cutline goes right herey, with some more information about the photo running along gjlk;asj dg;.

walls and accents of our newer additions? The grimy beige of Lowenstein classroom walls or the vaguely white hues of cinder block tunnels? Only time will tell. We await the fate of the Fordham color palette with a fervor of college students with nothing better to

do. Until then, I beg of you: resist the Green Menace. Reject the deep blue scene. Pray the gray away. End the Fordham Color War. We are neither an office building—nor a waiting room—nor a minty interdimensional hallway. We’re a university—a maroon one, no less. Let’s act like it.



February 15, 2018 THE OBSERVER

THE OBSERVER February 15, 2018





Bannon Fodder: The Destructive Force of the American Right February 15, 2018 THE OBSERVER


Could one man single-handedly destroy the modern Republican Party as we know it? That is the question one might ask themselves after the impulsive and juvenile feuding between former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and President Trump. Despite the constant scandals and embarrassments from the Trump White House, Steve Bannon is the largest existential threat to the GOP as it is known today. Previously, Bannon served as an executive chair for Breitbart

Steve Bannon is the largest existential threat to the GOP as it is known today. News, a far-right internet news source. Breitbart has long been controversial for its commentary on a variety of sociocultural issues. It has been accused of running headlines and promoting viewpoints some believe serve as a descent into the gutter tactics of racism and ethnocentrism. Breitbart’s incendiary content should alarm concerned citizens. However, the primary cause of the GOP’s Steve Bannon problem is not Breitbart—despite its increased readership and visibility in the sphere of online media—it is Bannon’s plan to completely disrupt the party by supporting primary challengers to incumbent Republican senators. Bannon has pledged to endorse and fund GOP primary challengers to any incumbent


Steve Bannon has had an unexpectedly high amount of influence on establishment Republicans.

Republican in the U.S. Senate with the exception of Ted Cruz. These primary challengers are required to conform to Bannon’s standard of being “anti-establishment,” and they must be ideologically far to the right and staunchly supportive of President Trump’s agenda. The first Bannon-backed Senate candidate was Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for Alabama’s 2017 special election to the Senate. Moore’s main opponent in the Republican primary was Luther Strange, a more traditional Republican who was endorsed by Trump.

Bannon and Moore cast Strange as too connected to the political establishment despite his mere six months of service in the Senate. In a deeply embarrassing setback for the president, Moore was voted by primary voters to be the Republican nominee. About a month before the Dec. 12 special election, the Washington Post ran a bombshell story that accused Moore of several instances of sexual misconduct involving adolescent girls. The race started to get national attention, and the chorus against Moore grew louder and louder and

began to include many members of both major political parties, uniting both Democrats and Republicans. After the allegations of pedophilia, it should be noted that no Republican senator maintained their Roy Moore endorsement. Jeff Flake, a Republican senator from Arizona, even wrote a check for $100 to Doug Jones (Moore’s Democratic opponent in the general election) with “country over party” written on the check’s subject line. Rational individuals would clearly understand that Moore was undoubtedly a reprehensible can-

didate, a view that was affirmed by the majority of Alabama voters. Moore lost the election to Jones, who became the first Democratic senator from Alabama in over two decades. The moral of this miracle in Alabama is not simply that candidates with credible accusations of pedophilia against them should be wholly unfit to contribute to society, much less to public service. It is also that the Republican Party as we know it is at risk of completely falling apart due to the extremist agenda of Steve Bannon. After all, the only thing Steve Bannon has accomplished is that he led to the election of a Democrat in deep-red Alabama. While one would expect the next candidates endorsed by Bannon not to be as repugnant as Moore, the angst and nativism expected by Bannon in the candidates he publicly supports will not bring in any new voters to a party already with a poor long-term outlook. While an isolationist, anti-trade and anti-immigration platform for the GOP did lead them to victory in 2016, the road ahead for the party looks bleak if it continues on its current path. Trump is exceptionally unpopular, especially for a president serving under a generally optimistic U.S. economy. While much of his base (about 35 to 40 percent of the American electorate) will likely stay loyal to him for the duration of his presidency, he has completely repelled all other voters. As the United States gets younger, more clustered in urban and suburban areas and more diverse, a party that generally forms its base on older, rural whites is obviously going to have to significantly change after the Trump presidency to stay truly relevant in American politics.

The War on Roses: The Problems with Valentine’s Day AIZA BHUIYAN Staff Writer

Roses are red Violets are blue Valentine’s Day is a corporate scheme for revenue

What do Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas have in common? They are all holidays that allow Americans to satiate our inherent consumerist desires under the pretenses of love and unity. These holidays were not all created equal; they were all conceived with different purposes to fulfill. But somewhere along the way they began to act as a medium for American consumerism. Certain ideals have been imbued in our culture that allow us to shamelessly capitalize on different components of these holidays. One particular holiday in which we can find this trend is Valentine’s Day. Before we get into the good and the bad of the day celebrating sickly-sweet façades, let’s go through a quick crash course on the history of the holiday. Valentine’s Day is partially derived from the festivities of Lupercalia, a pagan holiday in which Roman men would beat women with the hides of sacrificial animals to “bless” them with fertility (and yes, this is precisely how the Romans put the “roman” in “romance”). Naturally, the holiday was christianized after the condemnation and death of St. Val-

entine as a way to honor him for combining persecuted Christians into Holy Matrimony. Chaucer then romanticized St. Valentine’s day by writing a poem about birds mating. The articulation of such an act evoked a romantic sentiment in Westerners and they were quick to start writing handwritten letters to their loved ones as a way to express their unwavering love for one another. In 1913, Hallmark revolutionized the holiday by facilitating the mass production of “valentines.” Profound (if tedious) handwritten letters then became superficial, quick and easy, the words having already been printed for them. The irony of the violent sub-context is also evident in Valentine’s Day’s many iconic symbols. One example is its designated flower, a rose. A rose is a flower so narcissistic that it harbors thorns to prick your skin just to release a pigment that resembles its own. The holiday mascot is an infant in diapers shooting random individuals with arrows so they might fall in love with absolute strangers. It’s also hard to overlook the February fetishization of diamonds, the wrongly immortalized gems that are actually quite common in comparison to other gemstones. The diamond market strengthened the divisive racial lines in apartheid South Africa: people of color were predominately laborers in the mines, while white people were more than likely owners of the mines. And let’s not forget chocolates. No, there is nothing particularly violent about chocolates, but they do give you cavities and contribute to a

myriad of health problems in the United States. Need I say more? It is almost a consumerist chore to make sure these archetypes of Valentine’s Day are preserved when it comes to buying gifts for one’s beloved. It becomes tiring. In simpler words, Valentine’s Day is a capitalistic scheme that creates an illusory scale in which we can quantify how we are loved based on the number of roses, diamonds and chocolates we receive. The more we give someone, the more we love them. Conversely, the less we receive, the less we are loved. Consumers will spend about $1.9 billion on flowers, $1.6 billion on candy and $4.4 billion on jewelry items, and each individual will spend an average of $130 to mundanely declare their love for someone. Not only does the holiday of sentimental semblances want us to believe material objects can quantify satisfaction in relationships, but also it enforces gender stereotypes. More than likely, men are expected to dish out more money to take control of the day plans. Women are supposed to sit back and wait for her dashing prince to take care of her and to prove his love for her. This is especially enforced in the media, as most Valentine’s Day commercials portray women as damsels in distress and men as the knights in shining armor to come rescue them with delicacies. I do not think we should completely say goodbye to grandiose gestures of unwavering love. Rather, I am questioning why we need one specific day to collectively appreciate and celebrate our love

for one another. Have we become so romantically unimaginative that we need to collectivize as a society on one single day in which we gift each other the same cards, flowers and heart-boxed chocolates? Are we happy with the fact that the declaration of our love for one another can be reduced to the exchange of material objects? We have become too familiar with the expectations of Valentine’s Day, and familiarity breeds contempt. Furthermore, if you’re sad about not having a valentine, just know that it may not be in the

cards for you right now. Valentine’s Day has nothing personal against you, it’s just a holiday known to single out certain individuals. As the romantic I undoubtedly am, I’ve taken the liberty to write a poem for those of you with or without a valentine:

Whether it’s love in the air Or just the flu Valentine’s Day is coming To a town near you


The reputation of Valentine’s Day as a “Hallmark Holiday” has left a stain on the annual occasion.

Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture Editor Samantha DeAssis -

February 15, 2018 THE OBSERVER

More Than Make Believe: Cosplay at BroadwayCon By JULIANNE HOLMQUIST Contributing Writer

“Coat check is right this way, Veronica!” Veronica? I was taken aback until I removed my heavy coat and looked down at my bright blue blazer and my oxford shoes. I realized that the moment I entered that door in the Veronica costume that my sister-in-law Jenny had made me, I was “the dead girl walking” from the musical “Heathers”. BroadwayCon is a stunningly new convention, which only got its start three years ago. Here, Broadway fans, stars and designers collide to celebrate and connect through theatre culture. Cosplay is a central experience to convention attendance. Looking around the con, I saw everything from a 60-year-old woman dressed as Glinda carrying a nearly identical “Avenue Q”-esque puppet to an eight year old boy dressed as Alexander Hamilton looking around with awe. The element of cosplay connected everyone and created an energetic and open environment, sparking conversation about people’s favorite shows, their influences and what they love about Broadway. Paloma Young, the costume designer for the Broadway shows “Peter and the Starcatcher,” “Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812” and “Band-

stand” led a panel on costume design. She looked out at the sea of talented young cosplayers and expressed how impressed she was with the work they had put into designing and constructing their costumes.Being in the midst of the legends gathered to speak at BroadwayCon is highly beneficial for Fordham students who love theatre. Mellie Way, a theatre major at Fordham College at Lin-

are.” There appears to be two schools of thought when it comes to theatrical cosplay, either the costume must be stunningly accurate to the Broadway production, or fresh and creative. For cosplayers, there are incredible designers to look up to as influences. However, just as each actor brings a piece of themself to a role, a cosplayer expresses their

“You get to slip out of the constraints of being a human. You can crawl around on the floor, you can be playful, you can be bold and more confident than you might be in real life, because that is how cats are!” coln Center (FCLC) ’21, attended Young’s panel. She learned that Young works on the costume design process, but not the construction of her pieces. Way, like Young, takes more of an interest in the design process than production and commented, “It was nice seeing a professional who does what I want to do. I definitely think you should be able to put in your own personal influence. That is the most important part, that [the design] reflects who you

own truth while emulating their favorite characters. For example, BroadwayCon cosplay panelist, Chris Calfa, likes to dress as genderbent Disney Princesses, as well as other strong Broadway ladies. He grew up with a desire to be like the Disney Princesses, but knew that doing drag was not his truth. “I want to show all the little boys who were like me that they can be a Disney Princess,” said Calfa. “It is also way more fun to figure out how to make [a princess] work as a male character.” Having personal costumes that borrow heavily from the original design while honoring his childhood dream, helped Chris gain success in the cosplay community. My sister-in-law, Jenny Holmquist, was also a cosplay panelist, known for her “Cats” cosplays. Holmquist embraces both stage accuracy and her own creative vision. She is influenced by John Napier, the original costume designer of “Cats”, who emphasized 80s fashion in his designs. While Holmquist is praised for the realistic look of her recreation of Jemima from “Cats”, she also garnered attention for her “Meowexander Hamilton” costume. She set out to create a character which crossed her two favorite musicals. The resulting product utilized a “Cats” style wig and Jellicle makeup paired with the outfit of Alexander Hamilton. A picture of her as “Meowexander Hamilton” was posted in the “Cats” Broadway dressing room, and the revival cast lovingly referred to her as “The Blankenbuehler Cat,” as Andy Blankenbuehler

choreographed both “Hamilton” and “Cats”. Nat DiMario, FCLC ‘20, loves the musical “Cats” and is an avid cosplayer. DiMario draws inspiration from original designs, as well as their fellow Jellicle fans, who passionately make their own “Cats” costumes. “I’m replicating the work of these incredible professionals!” exclaimed DiMario. DiMario’s love for the original designs is what inspires them to make costumes in the first place. They noted that their work needs to have the look of a “Cats” costume, but the tiny little details that DiMario adds make their work truly personal. The cosplay experience allows people to embrace themselves through a new lens. “You get to slip out of the constraints of being a human. You can crawl around on the floor, you

can be playful, you can be bold and more confident than you might be in real life, because that is how cats are!” said DiMario about “Cats” cosplay. Holmquist relayed that she had been in a production of “Cats” at age 14. “Now at the age of 31, when I am cosplaying as a Jellicle, I feel like I’m that 14-year-old again,” said Holmquist. “It’s enormously fun!” Cosplay is more than dressing up, or the recreation of original designs, it is an art form that allows people to step into the world of their favorite characters. For some, it is about becoming what they always wanted to be. For others, it becomes an escape from their current existence or a way to feel like a kid again. Regardless of what cosplay means for each specific person, at BroadwayCon, it helped bond people through their extreme collective love of theatre and creativity.

“The Monologues”: A Space for All Vaginas, Any Vaginas, and Not Just Vaginas VAGINA MONOLOGUES FROM PAGE 1

to be told. The push towards inclusion is one that has been widley echoed in recent years, but that the Fordham administration and, more specifically, the Office for Student Involvement, has refused to embrace through their desire to be unaffiliated with “The Monologues,” as well as their refusal to provide funding for the production. As a result of this, the production is student-run, but has the support of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department. Karina Hogan, the co-di-

rector of the department, says the “program supports the Vagina Monologues each year because of the important role this production plays in raising awareness of sexual assault and harassment and in raising funds for organizations that work on victim assistance and assault prevention. This year, we are especially happy to see an increased number of student-written monologues and a more gender-inclusive approach than in past years.” This year, “The Monologues” is being directed by Eliza Putnam, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’18 who began her

journey with the play as a freshman, under the direction of Chris Hennessy, FCLC ’15. “I think I was really lucky that my first experience with ‘The Monologues’ was an experience in which the original text was already being challenged, and questions were already being asked about whose stories were being told and who was telling those stories,” Putnam said. As a result of her experience in past productions, Putnam is determined to increase inclusivity and give life to a production that does not censor the experiences of the wide array of identities being portrayed.

A two-week period in which performers will participate in creative writing workshops will follow the audition process. During this time, the performers will contemplate their personal experiences and have the opportunity to create monologues unique to their identities. Maya Rama Tatikola, FCLC ’20, who is producing this year’s production, was one of the students that wrote and performed a personal monologue last year. She expressed how she felt about the possibility of another Fordham student performing her original piece in this year’s production.“The idea of someone else

interpreting something that I’ve written is super fascinating to me, and I would love to see somebody else do it,” said Tatikola. Performers for “The Monologues” have been cast, and the show is currently under production; it will be taking place April 13-15 in Franny’s Space. All of the funds raised will go towards various nonprofits. “The Monologues” invites audiences to celebrate the myriad identities that exist in the Fordham community, and who are not always given the recognition and support that they deserve.



February 15, 2018 THE OBSERVER

S.A.D. Movies for Singles

By KEVIN CHRISTOPHER ROBLES Asst. Arts & Culture Editor

As Singles Awareness Day (S.A.D.) approaches, it becomes important to remember the flip side of Valentine’s Day. There are many individuals out there who are sadly missing a partner or have no one to spend the day of romance with. More than likely, they will retreat into the darkness of their homes with nary a thing to do except curl up on their couches and turn on the television. In anticipation of that inevitability, the following list features a variety of films which rebuke the concept of traditional relationships. Who needs romance anyway?

(Orlando Bloom) in a tale that somehow manages to end much more tragically than “Romeo and Juliet” could ever hope to. Its tragic romance is only bolstered by spectacular action sequences and true expressions of dramatic weight. “Troy” is an epic that shows just what happens when romance is taken to its most extreme, and it does it with as much style as substance.

an also becomes smitten with Costigan, the dangerous and aggressive undercover cop. This is a world where violence reigns and where love goes to die. In other words, it is a perfect film for those lacking romantic companionship.

Marie Antoinette make for a very odd and uneven couple, so one can also take pleasure in witnessing their comically dysfunctional marriage.

“Lady Bird” (2017)

“Doctor Strange” (2016)

“Marie Antoinette” (2006)

“The Departed” (2006)

“Troy” (2004)

In “Troy,” Wolfgang Petersen weaves the definitive cinematic version of the tragedy of the Trojan War. Famously, it was jump started by an ill-fated romance between Helen of Troy (Diane Kruger) and the warrior Paris

Martin Scorsese’s crime thriller might at first seem like an odd choice for a list like this, but the Academy Award-winning film is filled to the brim with subtext about how traditional relationships should be. Its pair of main characters, Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), each embody American ideals in different ways. It is telling that Sullivan, the bad guy posing as a good guy, is the one to receive an idealized wife (Vera Farmiga) and an allegedly perfect life. Yet, that same wom-

Sofia Coppola’s 2006 take on the dangerous emotional and mental vacancy of the modern day as seen through the lens of 19th century French royalty is a near masterpiece. Featuring Kirsten Dunst as the eponymous French queen, the film features beautiful shots of the Palace of Versailles fit for any dramatic epic and costume design that absolutely deserved the Academy Award it won. However, it is the unusual combination of its historical setting with contemporary music and narrative techniques that creates a tapestry so beautiful in its contradictions that it becomes a perfect companion for any lonely day. As well, King Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman) and

Catch up or get ahead this summer! • Finish your language requirement. • Complete a lab science sequence. • Wrap up your core classes. Or choose from more than 200 available courses!

Register via after March 19. Session I: May 29–June 28 Session II: July 5–August 6


Marvel Studios has always produced high quality films, but rarely have they crafted a tale so dense in its thematic and interpersonal aspects. It also holds a dramatic heft carried admirably by its principle actors. To wit, world famous surgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) used to be in a relationship with fellow doctor Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), but his indifference and arrogance quickly put an end to it. Even when Strange has an accident and is placed on a path that leads to his discovery of magic, Palmer was never far out of reach. This is a film that does not have a forced romance. Being single is just fine for the two, even if one of them is the Sorcerer Supreme.

Watching “Lady Bird” can feel cathartic for anyone who has ever been trapped at home, where alleged friends and family can feel like they are suffocating you. The multidimensionality of this film is one that cannot be stated in mere words; it needs to be witnessed. Saoirse Ronan stars as Christine “Lady Bird” McPhearson, an oddball who desperately wants to be special. Her relationships, especially the ones she has with her two love interests fail to live up to her idealized worldview, leaving her crushed and despondent. Lady Bird is the very definition of a S.A.D. girl, but she never loses hope and never gives up on her dreams even if things don’t work out. Indeed, the one who stays by her side until the end is not a boy who she sought out due to her need for self-actualization, but her female best friend. This is a film which cannot be missed, the perfect pick me up for any solitary souls who feel that their lives are worth less than they are.

Features BSA Decides to Take a Break


noted that, at the very least, the hiatus gives the new leaders time to focus on and plan for the fall semester. Bryan optimistically said that “this is a good position for a lot of underclassmen to take up a mantle that’s pretty serious but also to show that they want to do something for our campus as well.” Dr. Dorothy Wenzel, director

“ This is a good posi-

tion for a lot of underclassmen...”

PAIGE BRYAN , BSA Secretary,

FCLC ’19

of the Office for Student Involvement, was present at the meeting, and offered her assistance and support. “I helped BSA get started five years ago,” she told club members. “I’m still eagerly excited to help whichever group wants to step forward to move forward to next year.” She emphasized that filling e-board positions was the first priority in moving towards the fall. Some members expressed frustration with the Office for Student Involvement and the Fordham Administration in general, and said they did not feel supported or valued by the university. Bryan emphasized that she wanted BSA to be more than a “figurehead,” and that it should “be able to have a say in how the university handles black issues.” Both she and Wenzel wanted better communication between BSA and the administration, and Wenzel pledged continual support from the Office for Student Involvement. “I certainly don’t think of this group as a token,” she said. “We don’t want, I don’t want, USG [United Student Government] doesn’t want you to go inactive.” The decision was ultimately made for BSA to become a “meetings-only” club. Meetings-only clubs still hold regular meetings and can make administrative decisions, but do not receive funding from the university until they resume an active status. Wenzel said that as soon as the vacant e-board positions were filled, BSA could become an active club again. “We could literally next week meet and you could be active again,” she said. The problems BSA faces are perhaps symptomatic of larger issues present in the Fordham community. Members observed a university culture in which “a lot of clubs do a lot of things that nobody comes to, because a lot of people just come to class and leave.” There are, certainly, times when Fordham does not feel like it has a particularly cohesive community. Consequently, it is especially important that clubs like BSA continue to provide spaces for students where they can feel valued and have their voices be heard. When asked where BSA would like to be by the end of the semester, Bryan said, simply, “Active!”

Features Editor Jeffrey Umbrell -

February 15, 2018 THE OBSERVER

Of Piety and Politics Reexamining the Relationship between Church and State


Attending a Jesuit college guarantees some degree of religion-oriented learning. For Kayla Wolf, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’19, this was not an especially appealing aspect of her undergraduate education. In fact, she found the idea of attending a Catholic school somewhat intimidating and was apprehensive about even considering a university with a religious affiliation. Fast forward three years to the spring of 2017 and Wolf ended up applying for a Fordham research grant to spend every day of her summer break studying what had initially made her doubtful about FCLC: The Catholic Church. Wolf and I met on a Tuesday evening at the Ram Café. Cheerful and passionate, she began by speaking about her transformational understanding of religion as a concept and a tool, and what led her to pursue a project that focused on the Catholic Church. She admitted to initially feeling uncomfortable with the idea of attending a Jesuit institution. “I feel like that’s a common thread with a lot of people [at Fordham],” Wolf explained, “I was

very intimidated by the theology courses, but when I realized that it wasn’t necessarily just Catholicism, I absolutely fell in love with learning about religion and how something so abstract can have such incredible power.” Combining this newfound understanding of religion with her initial passion for political science, Wolf began crafting an idea for a summer research project. “I went to a panel discussion at Fordham put on by the Theology Department led by Reverend Bryan Massingale, who is actually a professor of theology at Fordham,” she explained. “It was about Catholic social teaching during the Trump presidency, and it kind of got me thinking, because those are my two interests—theology and political science—and specifically the intersection.” In the wake of the 2 016 pres-

idential election, Wolf wanted to better understand the inevitable role that religion plays in the politics of both individuals and institutions. With this idea as her basis, she began putting together her own project. Using the presidential election as the guiding theme, Wolf came up with the idea to focus on those who led the Catholic churches that surrounded her geographically. “I created this entire research project where I spent the summer interviewing priests in New York City about their congregation and if they talked about the election before or after, then certain issues like immigration, climate change, the travel ban and healthcare.” She continued, “I interviewed 25 priests, five in every borough of New York City, to see if there was a geographic difference. I asked them basic demographic questions about the racial composition and class composition of their congregation and if they offered mass in languages other than English and then the year they were ordained so I could kind of get a sense of how old they were. I then asked if they discussed the presidential election before or if they encouraged their congregation to vote.” Her initial hypothesis focused on the location of specific churches throughout New York City, and whether the placement of those institutions affected the opinions of parishioners as well as the priests. “Going into this I had thought a lot about geography, wondering if the churches in Staten Island would be more conservative versus the churches in the Bronx, for example, or in areas that are mostly people of color,” Wolf explained. “To some extent it was true. I inter v iewed a couple of priests on Staten Island who were some of the most con se r v at ive thinkers that I interviewed. But I also— in Staten Isl a n d — i n t e rviewed a priest who was extremely liberal and was really struggling with how to preach to his congregation who only cares about the issue of abortion,” she recalled. Ultimately, this hypothesis led Wolf to a dead end. Instead, what seemed to be most interesting about her project (and most frustrating) was the vast range of opinions she found within the Catholic churches in New York. Months after she had completed the project, Wolf still found herself looking for common threads that helped her understand the Catholic Church and its effect on politics. While she went searching for commonalities in

these Catholic priests’ teachings that may have shed light on the 2016 election, Wolf instead found herself gaining a better understanding of the vast power that religion holds as a persuasive tool. When asked about Donald Trump’s promise to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico, “most of them said, ‘I think it’s despicable, it’s completely against our teaching, it’s heart wrenching and I hate it. It’s terrible rhetoric.’ But then a decent amount also said, ‘Well, Catholic social teaching says that countries have a right to defend their own borders.’ Both using Catholic social teaching.” She continued, “Priests are political animals too, they have their own opinions, regardless.” But perhaps the most interesting conclusion Wolf came to was that religious teachings can be used in extensive ways to justify an individual’s opinion. “I want to say 22 or 23 of the 25 brought up abortion, but I didn’t even touch on it,” she explained. “Some of them said, ‘Look you have to vote for the pro-life candidate,’ and others said, ‘You know what, I think abortion is an issue, but I think all the others are too and I’m so disheartened that Catholics are just seen as abortion voters.’” Wolf continued, “I think what was most interesting is that, of all the priests I interviewed, there were complete opposite opinions, but using the same texts and the same basis to support both of their arguments.” Taking this into account, it is easy to understand why the Catholic majority is not strictly Republican or Democratic, but rather has swayed from party to party depending on the candidate. Wolf finished her interviews by touching on a rather divisive issue: the relationship between church and state. “One of my questions was, ‘The separation between church and state has always been controversial in American democracy, what role do you believe the church should play, if any, in the American political system?’” Wolf continued, “A lot of them said, ‘I think the church has a really big role to play, I think we shape people morally, so we give them the tools of how to look at problems and things and they should use those values when going to the ballot box. It’s not necessarily that we’re telling them how to vote, just saying here are really important issues that are grounded in Catholicism, so take that and vote your conscience.’ That was the vast majority, ‘vote your conscience,’ I heard that phrase a lot.” Shaping people morally is a significant responsibility. Wolf’s project shed light on the fact that religion plays an incredibly important role in our lives as Americans, regardless of whether one identifies as a Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist or any denomination thereof. How we as people create our morals and choose to act on those morals is integral to our understanding of politics, and this became evident to Wolf throughout the summer of 2017. Projects like hers are increasingly important in an age when we claim to have a clear distinction between church and state, and, in fact, the core of our supposed morality is rooted in religious ideals.



February 15, 2018 THE OBSERVER

By ALEXIS CHAPIN Contributing Writer

In case you missed it, Valentine’s Day is over, but there are still ways to celebrate this holiday past Feb. 14. Even if you don’t have a significant other, everyone can participate in this chocolate-filled holiday. The best time to buy Valentine’s Day chocolate is Feb. 15, b e c a u s e it is all on sale at your local Duane Reade.

A Valentine’s Post-Mortem You can go buy a bunch of really great discounted candy and send out belated Valentine’s cards, give your partner an excessive amount of candy because you forgot the original holiday or sit alone in your room and watch John Mulaney with a bag of Reese’s peanut butter hearts. Even if Valentine’s Day is not your favorite hol-

iday, you still deserve to treat yourself with a lot of chocolatey goodness. You could also get inspired by “Parks and Recreation” and take a page from Leslie Knope’s book by hosting a “Galentine’s Day” party. This lkhodarkovsky@fordham.eduparty re-

moves the typical focus b y celebrating platonic love over romantic love. While the name “Galentine” implies that this holiday twist is exclusively for female friendships, guy friends can also let each other know that they care about one another. This party usually consists of having a brunch with your closest pals and just generally showing appreciation for your friends. You could make personalized Valentines for your friends, host a craft night, watch a movie to-

gether, hold a potluck or any other activity that you and your friends enjoy. There are also plenty of free activities you can do in New York to spend time with the people you care about. Many museums, like the Museum of Modern Art, have free admission nights. At the Whitney, free admission is offered to those 18 and under. Looking at beautiful art with someone you care about is a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day or pass the time any day of the year. If you find museums boring, you can enter to win the lotteries for a number of Broadway or Off-Broadway shows. Apps like TodayTix or the Hamilton lottery app allow you to easily enter the lottery for shows each day, and for new shows or shows that are not super popular, you can easily win two tickets after entering a few times. If you are impatient or don’t like to leave these things up to chance, you could also rush certain

shows depending on which day you want to see them. Rushing means that you pay a cheaper price when you buy the ticket the day you want to see the show. You can do this through the TodayTix app or go to the TKTS booth in Times Square and buy your tickets in person. If all else fails, you could start planning for Valentine’s Day 2019. If you feel like you’ve missed out on celebrating this year, you could make a Pinterest board of party ideas, heart-themed recipes and creative party f a v o r s that would make even the most talented Pinterest moms jealous. It is also important to remember that although this holiday is extremely commercialized and celebrates romantic love, both romantic and platonic love can and should be celebrated any day of the year. Making time for your loved ones and treating them with kindness and respect is a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day 365 days of the year.

Whole Foods Policy Trades Produce for Profits dividual store owners of their control over sourcing local foods unique to each location. Though the move to a unified system of purchasing promised to save the company money and has not yet significantly affected local producers, shoppers fear their neighborhood Whole Foods may discontinue niche favorites. “Our Whole Foods has a lot of food that’s local,” Ogden said, referring to a favorite brand of tomato sauce produced in a local New York kitchen. “If that changes, that would be disappointing.” Columbus Circle shoppers have yet to notice the effects of OTS on their Whole Foods, reporting fully-stocked aisles and

By CARMEN BORCA-CARRILLO Contributing Writer

Across the country, Whole Foods Market has experienced food shortages due to an inventory management system called order-to-shelf (OTS), a program implemented early last year that promised to slash prices and reduce food waste. The new policy left many stores throughout Manhattan with empty aisles and prolonged frustrations for both employees and customers, though our own Columbus Circle location has yet to feel its full effects. OTS sought to streamline the path of a product from shipment to shopping bag by avoiding stock rooms almost entirely, instructing stores to carry only enough product to stock a shelf with minimal overflow. While this method

“ Estimates for

company savings indicate little incentive to find a solution.”

“ The new policy

left stores throughout Manhattan with empty aisles and prolonged frustration for both employees and customers.” CARMEN BOCA-CARILLO,

Contributing Writer

reduced the risk of food spoilage, it left storefronts susceptible to surprise incidents of increased customer demands or delayed deliveries—any abnormalities could result in food shortages


Contributing Writer

Whole Foods at Columbus Circle is popular among Fordham residents.

and bare shelves. Since Amazon bought Whole Foods last August for $13.7 billion, the grocery chain has seen a dramatic drop in prices and a subsequent uptick in customer traffic. In combination with OTS, initiated by Whole Foods before Amazon’s acquisition, these recent changes have created an incompatibility between supply and demand: customers are greeted by stands emptied of essential products from potatoes to ready-made meals. A new manual prohibited “re-facing,” a common practice

of replacing sold-out products with different storeroom items to cover gaps in stock. With this new policy, sold-out shelf space remains empty, confronting customers with empty aisles and diminishing the amount of produce on display in the market. Whole Foods planned to save $300 million on produce by 2020 thanks to OTS’ cost-cutting—in the meantime, it is losing valuable customer sales. Many Fordham students frequent the Columbus Circle Whole Foods for its affordable prices, product variety and transpar-

ency surrounding its suppliers. Cici Ogden, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’20, said, “I need to know where my food comes from. At Whole Foods, there’s more information available.” Ogden found that the store’s clear labels regarding a product’s origins and ingredients help her manage her dietary restrictions in ways Trader Joe’s or other grocery chains cannot. Additionally, OTS’ grip on inventory shifted purchasing power from local buyers to Whole Foods’ headquarters in Austin, Texas, threatening to divest in-

displays teeming with produce. Customers and employees attributed the plentitude of products to the store’s central location and increasing popularity, which afford the location ample storage. Estimates for company savings from OTS projected into 2020, indicating little incentive from Whole Foods or Amazon to find a solution for customer frustration. While OTS remains in place, it will ultimately be Amazon’s decision whether to save on produce or rescue customer sales.

Fun & Games 1




























23 25















47 49 56




37 40


48 50















1. Buddy 4. Worm food 8. Dodge 13. Fermented firewater 14. Length x Width 15. Mimics or Stripey-shirt thespian 16. The first thing a zombie does 20. Every rose has these 21. Restaurant 22. Yemeni capital 23. 1987 Heart hit 25. Brothy rice 27. The Flame, for one 32. Fordham students come from every ____ 37. “Whip It” whippers 38. Popular heist movie franchise 39. Alexander Hamilton to Aaron Burr 41. Freud fixation 42. Initially 46. Man healed in this past Sunday’s Gospel reading 48. Gandhi to Hitler: “I anticipate your forgiveness if I have ___ in writing to you” 49. Scout’s brother, to her 51. Last month to Spanish-speakers 56. Signed, ____, delivered 59. Fries in fat

February 15, 2018 THE OBSERVER

60. Nickname for General Patton or his zombie, perhaps 63. Big spoon 64. Tilikum 65. Influential 80s crossover band 66. Andy of Parks and Rec 67. You ___ what you sow 68. If you take one, you lose yours DOWN: 1. NAFTA and the TPP, e.g. 2. What The Beatles’ “Hello Goodbye” could be in Hawaiian 3. Don of CNN 4. Swiftly puts head in elbow 5. Radio’s Glass 6. Red Nikon button 7. Boeing departure 8. Expressed dramatically 9. An anagram and a synonym of a homonym of 30-down 10. Kite Runner protagonist 11. Orwellian act directed toward a government 12. Opposite of WNW, that in Acapulco 19. Product of UV rays 23. These Supreme Court Justices ruled in favor of Brown in Brown v. Board 24. My __, Vietnam 26. Contingency clause 28. Lightbulb, metaphorically 29. 1994 Jodie Foster drama 30. Daredevil Knievel 31. Golfer McIlroy 32. Sheep export 33. Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred __ Woods 34. Jump, as a frog 35. Famous Instagram salad? 36. Warhol’s Sedgwick 40. Defining/quintessential characteristic of zombies 43. Portal to evil in Insidious 44. Anger 45. Zombie utterance 47. A confident gambler is a high this 50. Gilbert Grape actor, slangily 52. Slang for a type of chicken tender 53. Entirely solo piece 54. Disappointing arcade game instruction 55. Oswald or Oscar, slangily 56. Cole at a picnic 57. Member of Cartoon Network trio 58. Suffix with “un” or “dur” 59. Member of cereal trio 60. __ Navy (non-martial) 61. Unforgettable Doctor 62. Obamacare, abbr.

It was a(n) _____________[adjective] Valentine’s Day morning, and I woke up feeling positively ________________[adjective]: I had a date with the _________________[adjective ending in -est] person in school: ___________________[name]. I put on my best ________________[article of clothing], splashed some __________________[liquid] on my face, and headed out to pick them up. I felt ___________________[animal, plural] in my stomach as I ____________________[action verb, past tense] to the door and __________________[adverb] knocked. “One ___________________[unit of time]!” I heard someone yell. I began to _____________________[verb] nervously and felt more ________________[adjective] as time passed. Finally, my date appeared, looking as ________________[adjective] as ever. My heart ________________[verb, past tense] in my chest, and I dropped the ________________[noun] and ________________[noun] I had been holding. “________________[exclamation],” I shouted, and I ________________[adverb] ________________[verb, past tense] away from my would-be date, my face a deep ________________[color]. Later that night, just as I finished my ________________[number]th container of ________________ [food], my phone lit up with a(n) ________________[onomatopoeia]: a text from [same name]! “I’m disappointed you didn’t want to stay! My ________________[number] cats are my first valentines, but you could’ve been a close second.”

**THINK YOUR MAD LIBS IS THE BEST? Take a picture of it and share it with us on social media!** Tweet: @fordhamobserver // Instagram: @thefordhamobserver // Facebook: The Fordham Observer

Sports & Health

Sports & Health Editor Artemis Tsagaris -

February 15, 2018 THE OBSERVER

The Secret Life of a Student Olympian


Contributing Writer

Nicole Rajic is no stranger to both long hours on the ice and hitting the books. Officially becoming a Fordham alum in December 2017, Rajic is also no stranger to another prestigious institution: the Winter Olympics. As the 2018 Winter Olympic Games commence in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Rajic will head across the globe to compete on behalf of Slovakia for the second time. A two-time Olympian (she made her Olympic debut in the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia), Rajic has been able to do the impossible: balance school and skating, leading her to become both an Olympian and a college graduate. How does she have the ability to manage all of these things? With large amounts of hard work, determination and a little support along the way. Rajic’s journey to the Olympics started many years ago at the age of three, when she first hit the ice. Her parents put her into the sport to help with her balance, and her love of skating has not faltered since. By the age of 12, Rajic had become a competitive skater and had perfected her double axel—a jump where the skater must take off from a forward edge and complete 2.5 revolutions in the air before landing backwards back on the ice. Yes, it is as hard as it sounds. From then on, Rajic felt she had the capability to go on to learn harder elements and compete at higher levels. A year after perfecting her double axel, Rajic qualified for the U.S. Junior National Championships, one of her first major competitions. However, it wasn’t until the year before the Sochi Olympics Games that Rajic felt the Olympics were a

“realistic dream.” After working extremely hard all season, she was nominated to represent Slovakia at the Olympics and ended up placing in the top 25. Competing and training were not the only things on Rajic’s plate in 2014—she also had business classes to study and prepare for. Being both a student and a competitive skater requires an extreme amount of time and dedication. “At times it was very difficult to balance the two,” Rajic said. She attributes much of her success in both areas to her daily routine and discipline. “I’ve had to stay very organized with my time,” she said. “In general though, once I developed a routine, it was relatively easy to follow through and just go to school and skate.” Rajic’s coach, two-time Olympic Coach Igor Krokavec, had nothing but praise in regards to Rajic’s perseverance in both school and skating: “She realized this was, for her, the best—to be busy and keep her in a rhythm in life. She finds herself comfortable with this situation and she keeps improving every year, every season,” Krokavec said. In the figure skating world, it is common for a skater to be homeschooled once they are nearing or achieve a high level, or take a gap year, which Rajic did, after high school. However, though Rajic had more time on her hands for training during the gap year, she still felt something was missing without school in her weekly routine. “I took a gap year between high school and college, and it was the worst year of my life. I didn’t like just waking up, going to the rink, skating for a bit, seeing the same five people everyday and just going home. I was extremely unmotivated to skate, because


Nicole Rajic leaves Fordham as an Olympic athelete, competing in her second Olympics at Pyeongchange, South Korea.

it was constantly the only thing on my mind,” Rajic said. Though adding school on top of a rigorous skating schedule can be taxing at times, it does provide athletes, like Rajic, an opportunity to take their mind off the stress

of the sport. Keeping it simple, however, Rajic emphasized her love for learning—school has provided her the opportunity to embrace that. Like most people who are hardworking and ambitious

within their sport, support is an important element to Rajic’s success—a “crucial” component. “My parents are my biggest fans, and if I didn’t have their support I wouldn’t have gotten this far. If I have a rough day of training, my parents are the first ones, well, aside from my coach, to keep me up mentally and motivate me to keep going,” Rajic said. “The support I receive from my friends is also very important, because it shows me that they value what I do.” Rajic added that her support system would not be the same without figure skating fans. When describing how happy she is to be able to interact with fans, Rajic said, “It makes me feel like my skating means something to more than just myself, and I love that other people appreciate what I do!” Many of us witness the Olympics from the comfort of our own home, and few will experience them the way Rajic does. As she takes center ice before her performances, she will have a front row seat to the Games. “It’s super exciting to be able to exhibit our hard work in front of the biggest audience we’ll ever receive because the whole world, not just skating fans, are watching,” she said. Rajic’s hard work and exceptional skating abilities have brought her to one of figure skating’s largest stages, which only comes around once every four years. Becoming an Olympian at a young age is one thing. However, becoming an Olympian while being a Gabelli student is extremely commendable for Rajic. The first leg of Rajic’s Olympic journey will begin on Tuesday, February 20 from 8:00 p.m. - 12:30 a.m. on NBC with the Ladies short program.

The Controversies of This Football Season By ARTEMIS TSAGARIS Sports & Health Editor

The 2017–18 football season has been one filled with controversies: including further understanding of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and concussions, too many stars getting injured, players taking a knee during the National Anthem (started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick), the National Football League (NFL) garnering the attention of President Donald Trump and a declining number of viewers. In New York alone, both major teams completely crumbled this year, with the New York Giants going 3–13 and the New York Jets going 5–11. The 2017-18 season was complete chaos. This year, the understanding of concussions and its long term effects, like CTE, have increased. Out of 111 former NFL players whose brains were tested, 110 had CTE. Symptoms of CTE include early onset dementia, suicidal thoughts and memory loss. CTE is more commonly found in players with a history of concussions, and as a result, there have been major pushes to try and limit the violence in the sport, as it is often the head-butting and tumbling often that concussions. Kristian Nokaj, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’19 and a WFUV sports radio intern,

said, “I think they have definitely taken great strides, but there’s a lot more to be done, again people are still going to watch and play even with the fear of concussions, but eventually if they don’t figure it out the league might be in trouble. But the way technology is going who’s to say they won’t have a helmet that absorbs hits?” This season seemed to be the one in which every major player got hurt. Richard Sherman, cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver for the New York Giants, Aaron Rodgers, star quarterback of the Green Bay Packers,JJ Watt, Houston Texans defensive end (who also won the Walter Payton Man of the Year for the money he raised for the Hurricane Harvey relief), David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals running back, and Julian Edelman, wide receiver for the New England Patriots all spent time on the bench due to their injuries. Steve Howard, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’20, said, “[The referees] don’t call helmet to helmet anymore. Players are literally charging at each others heads and the refs aren’t calling it, so more players are getting hurt.” Back in 2016, a Colin Kaepernick started an argument by kneeling during the National Anthem. The disagreement continued into this year, and Kaepernick, who faced massive

backlash to his actions, remains unsigned this year. There are two sides in this war: Kaepernick’s supporters, who thought that NFL owners were trying to take away the players’ rights to free speech, and Kaepernick’s protesters, who argued that players not standing was disrespectful to U.S. military veterans. Nokaj defended the movement, saying he “thinks it’s their right to do it, if they feel that they can get the message out of equality then do it! But I wish that they did it with Kaepernick; I feel that they threw him under the bus because no one stood with him.” President Donald Trump also voiced his opinion on the issue, stating that players refusing to stand was disrespectful. He also threw a shot at Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, saying that Goodell lost control of the league. The President has also stated that any players who kneel on the night of the Super Bowl, if they win the game, will not be invited to the White House. This year, NFL viewership has been going down, but a decreasing number of views hasn’t been too traumatic to the franchise. In 2016, there were 16.5 million viewers per game, however, in this most recent season (2017), there have been an average of 14.9 million people tuning in to watch each game. While this is still a huge number, it is a nine percent drop. Some people think

BRIAN ALLAN COURTESY OF VOICE OF AMERICA The Philadelphia Eagles win their first Super Bowl in the midst of many controversies.

that there are certain aspects that need to be fixed. For example, the NFL needs to attract younger viewers. Additionally, the game could be considered too long, at approximately three hours a game, with multiple games per week. Football games are basically a full day affair; on an average Sunday, there are three time slots with usually a few games on at the same time.

Howard added, “I think that [the NFL] is losing viewers because the league is allowing players to express their political beliefs. It all started with Kaepernick as he promoted kneeling during the National Anthem. Many people see this as a sign of disrespect and just don’t want to support this behavior so they stop watching.”

Issue 2  

The Fordham Observer's second issue of the semester. Includes a Valentine's Day theme and a Fun and Games section!

Issue 2  

The Fordham Observer's second issue of the semester. Includes a Valentine's Day theme and a Fun and Games section!