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NYU Trend Report: Winter Edition

A Semester in Review: NYU Continues to Prioritize Itself Over Students


Tisch Fails to Connect Acting and Film Students


Women’s Basketball Enjoys Fruitful Start to Season



Artist, Who Was Tackled by WSP Officers, Charged With Assault and Resisting Arrest Oriel Ceballos, an artist who frequently sells his work in Washington Square Park, was arrested by park officers in October, but feels hopeful that he will be fully dismissed at his hearing in January. By RONNI HUSMANN Deputy News Editor Almost two months after artist Oriel Ceballos was tackled, pepper-sprayed and arrested by park off icers in Washington Square Park, Ceballos says he feels conf ident that his case will be dismissed at his next hearing on Jan. 5. Ceballos, who has been selling his art in Washington Square Park for almost three years, was taken into custody by three park off icers in October, an incident which led to outrage by some who felt the use of force was excessive and unnecessary. At the time, Ceballos was told his infraction was selling his art without a table, something for which he had received a ticket previously but never been arrested. After asking the off icers to give him a ticket, he was forcefully detained. The altercation was f ilmed and posted on Instagram by Tisch f irstyear Griff in Wood. Oriel Ceballos, who was tackled by officers in Washington Square Park in October, was recently charged with assault and resisting arrest.



Iranian Students Call For College Applications Extension Amid Protests By MINA MOHAMMADI Deputy News Editor Amid violent protests, a government crackdown and an internet blackout, Iranian students are not in a position to complete their college applications, leading some universities to extend their deadlines.

It is unclear whether NYU has done so. In a statement, an activist group at Princeton University listed NYU as one of the universities that has extended the deadline, calling on their university to do the same. However, university spokesperson Shonna Keogan was unable to confirm if this is the case, and referred WSN to NYU’s pre-existing

policy for Students Affected by Natural Disasters, Political and/or Governmental Decisions in an email. For two weeks, thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets in what began as protests denouncing a hike in fuel prices. The uprising has taken a drastic turn and has become a series of civil protests throughout Iran against the Irani-

an regime. In response to the protests, the Iranian government has jailed what is estimated to be thousands, with at least 161 killed in protest crackdowns. It also enacted an internet blackout that has since been partially lifted. While some have regained connectivity amid the blackout, many others have not. WhatsApp and Telegram, two

of the most popular means of communication in Iran, have been turned off. The blackout has made college applications difficult for aspiring graduate and undergraduate students in Iran, driving colleges like McGill University and Concordia University to extend their deadlines. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Washington Square News






Artist, Who Was Tackled by WSP Officers, Charged With Assault and Resisting Arrest CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

“They kept shouting ‘stop resisting, stop resisting,’ and I kept reiterating, ‘Why am I under arrest?’” Ceballos told WSN in October. “No one said yes, no one read me my Miranda Rights, I was disturbing the peace in no way. This is not an arrest, this is an assault.” Following his first hearing on Nov. 13, Ceballos told WSN he feels confident that his case will be fully dismissed at his next hearing on Jan. 5. He said, after the altercation, he later found out he was being charged with assault and resisting arrest. “The charges are pretty clear and strong — that I’m choking someone,” Ceballos said. “But the video, the evi-

dence shows that there’s none of that occurring. So I just feel like once they see the video [...] it’ll put the nail in the coffin, it’ll solidify the case. So I’m just super hopeful.” Part of Ceballos’ hope is because of the amount of support he’s received from visitors to Washington Square Park, members of the NYU community and others who have seen the video of his arrest online. “Oriel and all the other artists are amazing artists who deserve to be treated well,” Tisch first-year Amrut Ayyala said. “The only reason they’re being targeted is because they are minorities. I’m 100% behind them.” CAS sophomore Sara Zenko agreed that the force used against Ceballos

seemed unfair considering there are many other artists that promote their artwork without tables. “I felt like [the incident] was very targeted, like maybe it didn’t make sense because it was unequal treatment from many other artists that are still present in the park,” Zenko said. “So why exactly him? It just didn’t make sense to me.” Similarly, LS first-year Adelaide Miller saw a connection between Ceballos’ arrest and other instances of police brutality and law enforcement targeting people of color. One example is stop-and-frisk laws that disproportionately affected black and brown people and were deemed unconstitutional in 2013.

Iranian Students Call For College Applications Extension Amid Protests CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Iranian students at universities such as UCLA and Princeton have put out statements calling upon their universities to do the same. Iranian-American students at NYU expressed concern for the international Iranian students applying during the protests. “I had a really diff icult and stressful college application experience myself and I cannot imagine being

in the midst of protest and not having access to the internet,” LS f irstyear Armon Dadvand said. “Being Iranian-American makes me even more emotionally affected seeing the country in turmoil and seeing others my age struggling is saddening. Universities should be doing more to aid these students.” Tisch f irst-year Olivia Najaf i shared a similar sentiment. “I know it is super hard for Ira-

nian international students to apply to the United States,” Najaf i said. “Not only with the blackout and protests, but with the Trump administration’s travel ban, it seems like every day there is a new barrier for Iranians. It’s NYU’s job to make sure that they don’t add to those barriers.”

“I feel like it’s sort of part of the pattern of arrests that seem targeted toward people of color that seem random, and for crimes that aren’t really crimes,” Miller said. “They’re just petty things that you could get arrested for, but aren’t really hurting anybody.” The New York Civil Liberties Union recorded over 7,000 cases of stop-and-frisks in the first half of 2019. Of that number, 60% of those stoppdwere black, 29% were Latine and 10% were white. One of the most notorious New York cases of police brutality took place on Staten Island in 2014. Eric Garner was choked and killed during a police arrest, and his death became part of the national movement of protest-

ing police brutality with Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” immortalized as part of the movement’s rally cry. Ceballos said his artwork has become more political since his arrest. “For the past month, I’ve been painting images pertaining to my arrest, so I’ve been going back to more political subjects,” Ceballos said. “I feel like I’ve changed in the sense that I am trying to take the opportunity and I see the greater purpose, given that I almost died. I’m painting as if I have no time.” Additional reporting by Lisa Cochran. Email Ronni Husmann at

Upstein Improves to ‘A’ Final Health Inspection Grade

Email Mina Mohammadi at


After a recent health inspection, Upstein’s rating has improved to an A.



Some universities have extended application deadlines for all Iranian applicants because of a government-imposed internet blackout.



Upstein Food Court received an A grade in mid-November after failing an Oct. 21 health inspection, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Upstein’s initial failure was primarily the result of issues with the placement of structural elements such as doors and walls, although it was also cited for food being unprotected from potential contamination. The food court received 40 points — 13 more than needed to receive a C, the worst grade possible — due to these issues. In a comment sent to WSN on Oct. 31, NYU spokesperson John Beckman and Associate Vice President of Campus Services Owen Moore said the failure caught them off guard and that NYU would work to resolve the issue. “This was a bit of a surprise to us as these doors and walls have been there for some 20 years,

and Upstein has been inspected many times during that period,” Beckman and Moore said. “Nevertheless, we are working to make the adjustments the Health Department wants.” Based on a Nov. 14 inspection, efforts to address the problems cited were successful, with Upstein receiving a four-point A. Currently, the only violation mentioned has to do with plumbing. “We were very heartened to see that the issues in the f irst inspection were addressed and that the Department of Health saw f it to maintain Upstein’s ‘A’ rating,” Moore said in a statement to WSN. “Students should know that the food they’re being served in the dining halls is prepared with the utmost care. We’ll continue to partner with our new dining services provider, Chartwells, to ensure that the ratings we receive continue to reflect our high standards.” Email Victor Porcelli at

Washington Square News | News



Student Government’s Semester-in-Review


Missing Charger in Furman Hall By CRIME BOT Robot Reporter From Nov. 22 to 26, the NYU Department of Public Safety received one report of a drug law violation, three reports of harassment, three reports of larceny and 10 reports of liquor law violations. Drug Law Violation On Nov. 26 at 11:12 p.m., a Public Safety officer reported discovering a small amount of marijuana in 1 Washington Place. The case is open and under investigation.


All Student Senators Council meetings take place in the GCASL Colloquium room on the fifth floor.


On Nov. 26 at 8:46 p.m., a pedestrian reported being harassed at the bike racks outside 721 Broadway. Police notification was declined and the case is open and under investigation. On Nov. 26 at 12:47 p.m., a staff member reported being harassed in 370 Jay Street. A police report was filed and the case is open and under investigation. On Nov. 22 at 12:46 p.m., a student reported being harassed in Third North Residence Hall. Police were called but no report was filed and the case is open and under investigation.


Deputy News Editor and News Editor Besides letters of support, NYU’s Student Government Assembly did not pass — or even present — a single resolution this semester. Instead, it has focused efforts on enacting change through direct relations with administrators and bolstering relations with students through outreach efforts. From the start of the semester, SGA Chairperson Jakiyah Bradley said the group’s focus would be on leveraging relationships with administrators to improve students’ resources and better connect with its constituents. As the semester comes to a close, SGA succeeded in changing NYU’s policy on academic probation, raising awareness through letters of support and connecting with constituents through town halls. Expunged Academic Probation Records NYU agreed to expunge academic probation records from students’ external transcripts, which are seen by those outside of the university, including potential employers. The university also changed its policy so that moving forward it would be standard to only mention academic probation on a students’ internal transcript, which is only accessible by those within NYU. “This decision has thus far not only benef ited students formerly on Academic Probation, but will benef it all students as well,” CAS senior and Chair of the SGA Academic Affairs Committee Quentin Turner wrote in an email to WSN. “The decision to reverse policy on the matter shows that the university has decided to take

a stand in support of its students, as well as second chances.” Students are put on academic probation when their GPA falls below a 2.0. Turner said the goal of the policy change was so students who apply to graduate programs or jobs are not penalized due to past academic struggles, which can stem from personal issues outside a student’s control. Town Halls Senators representing various minority groups on campus held town halls this semester. At a town hall for undocumented, f irst-generation and low-income students and one for Latine students, students expressed similar sentiments: that NYU talks about supporting its minority students outwardly and often, but rarely acts to actually do so. One example brought up by students was NYU President Andrew Hamilton’s statement that DACA students should “not hesitate to ask for assistance; [NYU is] here for you,” after President Donald Trump rescinded support for Dreamers supported by the program. Students said — despite this strong statement — the university failed to meet demands for an undocumented student center and additional f inancial, housing and emergency resources for undocumented students. At a town hall for Jewish students, attendees and student senators voiced support for having Jewish high holidays Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah off as those who observe them are subject to restrictions that prevent working, or at least make working harder. At the town hall, CAS senior and Senator at-Large for Marginalized Jewish Students Michael Bearman also referenced his ef-

forts to make the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life more accessible to his constituents. In addition to town halls for minority groups, two subject-matter town halls were held: one on f inancial aid and one on sustainability, the latter being co-hosted by Hamilton and Bradley. Letters of Support More in line with past iterations of SGA, this semester’s group passed multiple letters of support in hopes of raising awareness and spurring change. A letter concerning the observance of Ramadan called on NYU to condemn Islamophobia and provide necessary support to students who observe Ramadan by altering exam schedules to allow for Muslim prayer services, among other measures. Another letter in support of the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle Eastern Studies condemned the U.S. Department of Education’s threat to revoke Title VI funding from the consortium. The education department wanted to withhold funding because the consortium did not mention historic discrimination against minority religions, such as Jews and Christians, in the Middle East. On World AIDS Day, a letter was released calling on NYU to hire an HIV/AIDS professional at the Wellness Center to aid HIV-positive students experiencing mental health issues. Student government also voiced support for the prison abolitionist group No New Jails and the closure of Rikers Island — criticized for its inhumane conditions — without building any new jails. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s current plan would build one large jail in each borough except Staten Island in order to

compensate for Riker’s closure. SGA also passed a letter supporting smaller language departments which struggle with f inding rooms, especially during the popular time slot of 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Increased Diversity Through Alternate Senator at-Large Positions Student government set a goal this year to diversify through its Alternate Senator at-Large positions. The Senator at-Large position was created to give minority groups a voice, and each Senator at-Large has an alternate with no voting power. Alternates can represent different communities than their senators. At the start of the semester, Student Senators Council Vice Chairperson and CAS senior Kosar Kosar said the group would seek to increase representation of groups not well-represented on SGA, such as Latine students or black women. Although no Alternate Senators at-Large were elected to represent Latine students, Gallatin junior Chynna Seck was elected to represent black womxn students and black students. Kosar also said the positions provide an opportunity to hyper-focus on specif ic groups within minority communities. For example, Quentin Turner is the Senator at-Large for Students with Disabilities, Students with Learning Differences and LGBTQ Students. However, there are Alternate Senators atLarge for Students Affected by Disabilities in the Residential Life Community, LGBTQ Students of Color and LGBTQ Female/Femme Students. Email the News Desk at

On Nov. 26 at 1:40 p.m., a student reported a missing charger in Furman Hall. Police notification was declined and the case is open and under investigation. On Nov. 25 at 2:30 p.m., a student reported a missing laptop in Bobst Library. Police notification was declined and the case is open and under investigation. On Nov. 25 at 2 p.m., a student reported a missing book bag in Weinstein Residence Hall. Police notification was declined and the case is open and under investigation.

Liquor Law Violation On Nov. 25 at 10:13 p.m., a resident assistant reported underage alcohol possession in Lipton Residence Hall. The case is open and under investigation. On Nov. 24 at 2:10 a.m., an RA reported underage alcohol possession in Third North. The case is closed and referred to the Office of Community Standards. On Nov. 23 at 10:46 p.m., an RA reported witnessing underage alcohol possession in Alumni Residence Hall. The case is closed and referred to the Office of Community Standards. On Nov. 23 at 8 p.m., an RA reported underage alcohol possession in Rubin Residence Hall. The case is closed and referred to the Office of Community Standards. On Nov. 23 at 6:40 a.m., an RA reported witnessing underage alcohol possession in Third North. The case is closed and referred to the Office of Community Standards. On Nov. 23 at 2:45 a.m., an RA reported underage alcohol possession in Third North. The case is closed and referred to the Office of Community Standards. On Nov. 23 at 1:18 a.m., an RA reported underage alcohol possession in Lipton Hall. The case is open and under investigation. On Nov. 23 at 12:44 a.m., an RA reported underage alcohol possession in Founders Residence Hall. The case is closed and referred to the Office of Community Standards. On Nov. 22 at 10 p.m., an RA reported underage alcohol possession in Third North. The case is closed and referred to the Office of Community Standards. On Nov. 22 at 4:39 p.m., an RA reported underage alcohol possession in Carlyle Court Residence Hall. The case is closed and referred to the Office of Community Standards Email Crime Bot at

Washington Square News





Edited by CAROL LEE

I Lived Like Instagram Trainwreck Caroline Calloway for a Week By DANIELA ORTIZ Staff Writer Caroline Calloway is a lot of things. Instagram personality. Former NYU student. Prone to oversharing. Self-proclaimed “manic pixie nightmare.” With over 700,000 Instagram followers, multiple prof iles in reputable publications and a loyal band of Reddit trolls, it might not be too far of a reach to call her a social media celebrity. After reading about her in her former friend and ghostwriter Natalie Beach’s much anticipated expose in The Cut this summer, I went down a Calloway-shaped rabbit hole. I became obsessed with how her life could be so chaotic yet simultaneously charmed. Her Instagram is a trainwreck you can’t seem to look away from, with captions the length of short stories. Her West Village apartment is littered with burning candles on a rug that looks like it could go up in flames at any moment. She is so self-obsessed that it’s almost endearing. Calloway is unhinged and deluded and yet I would still trade my own life for hers. And so, I did what any New Yorker with access to spin class would do: I emu-

lated Calloway for a week. I’m already a spin class regular, so that part was easy to nail. Sadly, I don’t have easy access to pilates or therapy, but I was sure to post every spin class on my Instagram story, as one Calloway always does. As this happened to be Thanksgiving week, I went home for the holidays (which, coincidentally, Calloway posted about a lot this week). My airport look was premeditated to emulate Calloway’s athleisure vibe. I decided to go with an Outdoor Voices workout set and a Pretties baby tee only because I was fairly certain she had worn that exact outf it to the airport on her way home from a vacation in Florida this summer. And, if not, she had def initely worn the combo to some sort of spin/pilates/ therapy/sauna outing. It should be noted that I am strictly a no leggings girl unless I’m working out. If Gossip Girl taught me anything, it’s that tights are not pants, so this was probably the hardest part of my experiment. That being said, I did notice a lot of people stopping to look at me (hopefully not for the wrong reasons), so maybe Calloway is onto something. Besides daily spin posts and out-

f it pictures that I deemed worthy of my story, I was sure to include some thought-provoking and quirky posts. If Calloway has taught me anything it’s that personal brand is of the utmost importance, so I did tweak a few of my normal posts to f it the Calloway-esque agenda. My faux-deep posts ranged from art to social issues. On the other hand, my funny content mainly consisted of cringe-worthy text messages that I felt people would appreciate on some level. But here’s the thing. To truly live like Calloway, you need to let go of all inhibitions and disregard reality. You post what you want to post because you think your opinion is important. You overshare because you think that using your regular Instagram as a diary is some new wave of quirky feminism that the rest of us plebeians have yet to achieve. And perhaps my favorite Calloway trademark of all: you create elementary school level watercolor paintings with boobs drawn on them and sell them from $120-$320 because yes, you believe your art is that important. To live like Calloway is to simply lose all sense of reality, and have a great time doing so. Unfortunately, I was not graced


Caroline Calloway is a polarizing Instagram personality. A WSN staff writer tried to live like her for a week.

with the conf idence nor comfortable f inancial situation of my favorite Instagram trainwreck, but living sort of like her for one week was one of the most freeing experiences of my life thus far. Please never stop posting, Caroline. Your stories

make me feel like I have my life together — even when I so obviously don’t — and what could be more rewarding than that? Email Daniela Ortiz at

A Guide to New York Holiday Markets By DIVYA NELAKONDA Staff Writer Holiday season is now officially in full swing, and so is the last stretch of the semester. Before you return to the tranquility of your hometown,

you may want to make a shopping trip to bring back a piece of holiday cheer that can only be found in New York City. Avoid the department store lines on Fifth Avenue and ditch the cliched postcards of the Statue of Liberty. Instead, turn to these small-

er, locally-supported markets for a crowd-pleasing gift. Fulton Stall Market — Deck the Stalls 91 South St. Located in the Seaport district,

Fulton Stall Market is an indoor and outdoor public market that sells foods from local farmers and specialty food producers that showcase the diverse tapestry of cultures and industries present in the Lower East Side. Deck the Stalls is the market’s holiday event which takes place on Dec. 8, and Dec. 13-15. Each day of the event will feature live music and cultural performances, as well as an array of food stalls for guests to graze. The activities vary from day to day, with food tours, cookie decorating and wreath-making, just to name a few.

Hester Street Fair’s Classic Holiday Market 389 Grand St. The indoor market will be open every weekend until Dec. 22 in Seward Park. The list of vendors changes by the weekend, but one can anticipate buying from local creators, grabbing snacks and sips from Round K cafe and even hunting for a Christmas tree, if your apartment has room for one. On Dec. 7 and 8, Hester Street Fair is also hosting a Holiday Market at Ace Hotel where you are sure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Between ceramic and porcelain pieces for your home, handcrafted jewelry, one-of-a-kind vintage garments and even CBD products for you and your pets, if you can’t find it anywhere else, you can surely find it here.

Art Students League’s Annual Holiday Art Sale

Here are five holiday markets to persue in New York City.


215 W. 57th St. Want to support your fellow college students? Or perhaps impress your relatives with how sophisticated your taste in gifts has become? From

Dec. 10 to 22, the League will exhibit a rotation of 500 works of art, from landscapes to portraits to sculptures, some sold at prices as low as $50. Whether you are on the hunt for a gift or just want to admire artwork produced by the newest generation, I would make a point to stop by the Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery.

ID Pop Shop at Chelsea Market 75 Ninth Ave. Chances are you’ve visited Chelsea Market for the seemingly endless food vendors. But three times a year, the ID Pop Shop makes an appearance at the food hall to sell goods from independent makers and designers. If you have a fashion-forward friend in your life who needs a piece that no one else will have, the ID Pop Shop holiday event from Dec. 16 to 22 is worth a stop. Nowhere else will you find as novel a selection of bags, jewelry, eyewear and apparel. Because the products are produced in small batches, you know you’re getting a high-quality piece.

Story Herald Square 151 W. 34th St. Story is a retail concept by Macy’s, currently implemented in 36 stores, that integrates small businesses’ products into activities, events and tutorials. Throughout December, Macy’s at Herald Square will be home to various holiday-themed Story sessions, including pop-up card creation, a Julie Mollo trunkshow, embroidered-ornament-making lessons and more. Email Divya Nelakonda at

Washington Square News | Culture



The Inside Scoop on Essex Market By DIVYA NELAKONDA Staff Writer The Essex Market lived on the corner of Essex and Delancey Street for 79 years. In May 2019, the market relocated across the street to Essex Crossing, a complex complete with residences, retail shops, a movie theater and the newly opened Market Line, which is a basement full of dining vendors. What began as an outdoor hub for pushcart peddlers has transformed into a vast network of vendors in an indoor marketplace. Initially populated predominantly by immigrants, Essex Market is a space enriched by a diverse community, existing as more than just a place of commerce. With 35 vendors selling everything from fish to coffee beans to sandwiches, there is no shortage of options. Below are seven vendors serving unique dishes that are hard to come by anywhere else. Shopsin’s General Store This diner, a staple at Essex Market since 2006, is known for its extensive menu — at one point reaching 900 items — and eccentric founder Kenny Shopsin, who passed away in 2018. Shopsin created unique rules for the restaurant, including prohibiting individual customers from ordering the same item more than once and later banning cell phone use. Breaking a rule could result in Kenny asking you to leave the diner. Shopsin’s General Store is now run by Shopsin’s children. Though no longer 900 items long, the menu remains expansive, with many outlandish options to choose from, including Slutty Stuffed Pancakes ($17), filled with s’mores or

mac’n cheddar, and Blisters On My Sisters ($15), broiled cheddar over eggs on vegetables, rice and corn tortillas. The space is small, seating only 12 diners at a time, but come with a big appetite and you’re guaranteed to be satisfied.

Lower East Side Ice Cream Factory If the run-of-the-mill vanilla or chocolate scoop is becoming tiresome, L.E.S. Ice Cream Factory’s menu just might be what you’re looking for. At this spin-off of the historic Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, you can find flavors from black sesame to baklava to squid ink. Grab a scoop ($5.75) or a pint ($9.75), or opt for a drink of either a milkshake ($7.50), soda float ($6.95) or egg cream ($3.50).

Riverdel Riverdel might seem like the average cheese shop to an unobservant passerby, but one thing stands out: all the cheeses are vegan. Made using nuts — mainly cashews — Riverdel features plant-based versions of all your favorite classics: brie and aged gouda, in addition to more unusual flavors such as rum, blueberry and champagne truffle. Curious cheese connoisseurs can try 3 cheeses in a Cheese Flight ($8). Riverdel also sells sandwiches and pastries, all prepared with both vegan cheeses and meats.

Arancini Bros. Served in little egg cartons, these golden, deep-fried risotto balls, or arancini, are worth the journey to the Lower East Side. The arancini are freshly fried, so you are guaranteed

a warm and comforting pocket each time. Arancini Bros. offers seven different flavors. The Classic Ragu is filled with saffron risotto, tomato meat sauce, peas and mozzarella. The vegan Sausage & Peppers arancini is stuffed with Beyond Sausage crumble, peppers and onions. There’s even a dessert flavor, Our Famous Nutella, which comes with chocolate hazelnut filling and coated in cinnamon and sugar. Everyone is sure to find their arancini match. It’ll be hard to try just one, so pick three for $7 or six for $12.

Eat’s Khao Man Gai Chicken fat rice, or Khao Man Gai as it is known in Thailand, originated in China’s Hainan province and was brought to Thailand by immigrants. Traditionally, the dish is composed of poached chicken, rice cooked in chicken broth and garlic served with dipping sauces. Eat’s Khao Man Gai serves this classic ($9.50) and a version with half of a chicken ($16), along with a variation known as Hat Yai, which features southern Thai fried chicken. The fried chicken wings options range from $5 to $9, and it also offers fried pineapple chicken ($11.50) and fried chicken rice ($9.50). The dish is seemingly simple, but the aromatic flavors and fresh farm-raised chicken leave no question as to why it became a fixture of East Asian cuisine.

many vegan options. This philosophy culminates in an ever-changing menu that rotates ingredients based on their seasonality. The menu consists of a variety of bento boxes ($14-$18), noodles ($11-$25), salads ($10-$18), donburi rice bowls ($12-$17) and sushi ($6-$8.25). If you’re short on time, there is also a grab-and-go section with small packaged dishes such as onigiri, inari and snacks that could only otherwise be found in a Japanese supermarket. It’s hard to find Ni Japanese Delicacies in the crowded market, but it’s even harder to walk away empty-handed.

Peasant Stock If you’ve fallen sick recently, Peas-

ant Stock is the vendor for you. The menu changes daily, but soup options have included chicken noodle, split pea & ham, cream of broccoli and spicy chickpea tomato ($5.75-$7). The storefront’s display case shows off an array of baked goods, notably the fresh-baked cornbread ($3), which is the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of piping hot broth.

These seven vendors are only a handful of the quirky shops that inhabit the market. If you make your way down to Essex Market, try a little bit of everything. Your tastebuds will thank you. Email Divya Nelakonda at

Ni Japanese Delicacies Tucked away in the corner of the market, those looking for something light and healthy but still flavorful will find it at Ni Japanese Delicacies. The menu aligns with a macrobiotic and allergy-free diet, complete with


The ground floor of Essex Market is a large workspace with plenty of natural light.

NYU Trend Report: Winter Edition By CAROL LEE Culture Editor Although chilly weather and chilling finals have most college students scrambling for their sweats, NYU students still strive for style. Below are some of the trends you’ll be sure to see while dashing through Washington Square Park on the way to class. Extra-Long Parkas Wear that upright sleeping bag and wear it proudly. What better way to keep out the wintry winds than an ankle-length parka? Paired with a nice beanie, gloves and some snow boots, you’re literally covered from head to toe. And if you slip on some sidewalk snow because the jaunty jacket limits mobility, no problem. As long as the parka’s nice and padded, you won’t feel a thing. Good luck getting back up on your own, though.

White Denim Yes, even after Labor Day. Haven’t you heard? White denim is what the cool kids are wearing now. Sure, it’s not as flattering as darker washes. And sure, you have to be on high alert for stains the entire time you choose to don it. But don’t worry — you’ll get so many envious glances from all of the hip people at that obscure-yet-happening coffee shop in Brooklyn, it’ll all be worth it in the end.

Super High-Waisted Pants If it doesn’t reach your nipples, it’s wrong. We’ve come a long way since the low-rise jeans of the early 2000s. About 6-9 inches, to be exact. Lately, the waists of the most popular pants have been so absurdly high they basically double as corsets. Maybe they’ll even give your boobs a little extra support. Okay, maybe not, but you can’t overlook how small your waist looks in them. Or how awe-inspiring your butt is when you squeeze into one of them. Nice. WSN’s Culture Editor introduces the trends of the season.


Email Carol Lee at

Washington Square News






The Weeknd Is Back and Badder Than Ever By LAUREN GRUBER Deputy Culture Editor

“Blinding Lights,” a new single from The Weeknd, was released on Nov. 29.


After months of teasing, an Instagram hiatus and making his fans wait with bated breath through a two-hour radio show, The Weeknd finally dropped two new singles last week. The elusive rhythm and blues artist, born Abel Tesfaye, is redefining the end of the fall season with new tracks “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights.” Produced by Metro Boomin’, “Heartless” has the pulsing bass and debaucherous lyrics of his 2014 release “King of the Fall.” Beginning with the line, “Never need a b-tch, I’m what a b-tch needs,” this track heralds the return of The Weeknd’s promiscuous ways, notably after his split from model Bella Hadid in August. “Heartless” describes how the money and pain that come with The Weeknd’s lifestyle render him unable to sustain a long-term relationship, a theme touched on throughout much of his discography, most descriptively in “The Birds Pt. 1.” In the bridge, Tesfaye croons in falsetto, questioning why his lover continues to see the good in him despite being clearly shown otherwise. The thumping bass is certainly party-friendly, but the lyrics leave much to be desired. Sure, bragging about bedding models and snorting copious amounts of cocaine is The Weeknd’s bread and butter, but “Heartless” lacks the depth to give it any real weight or meaning. Plenty of rap songs have great production and scandalous themes, but what sets The Weeknd apart are his poignant descriptions of loneliness and intimacy. While his old tracks paired the drugs and debauch-

ery with insightful musings on heartbreak, “Heartless” barely scratches the surface. “Blinding Lights,” on the other hand, sounds like the Stranger Things soundtrack crossed with the artist’s 2016 song “False Alarm.” A snippet of the song was premiered in a Mercedes-Benz advertisement before its official release at midnight on Black Friday. While it might sound like a “Starboy” album reject, the punchy ‘80s synth beats make this track the ideal radio-friendly single to kick off The Weeknd’s sixth chapter. He digs a bit deeper on this second release, which also alludes to stardom’s effects on his love life. While he’s blinded by the lights and fast life of fame, he feels lost until he is comforted by his lover’s presence. Although he keeps up the facade of a merciless player on “Heartless,” “Blinding Lights” is a rare glimpse at the singer’s soft side. He admits that fame is “cold and empty,” and he is not ready to give up on his lover. Hopefully The Weeknd’s new album incorporates more of his trademark bedroom-friendly jams and mournful, drug-addled ballads. “Blinding Lights” shows promise that he will finally give his fans the gut-wrenching lyrics they’ve been yearning for. While an official release date for the album has yet to be announced, Fans speculated that the album may drop on Dec. 20, the last day of fall, following a cryptic tweet by the artist. “We’re creating a beautiful new universe,” he tweeted on Saturday. “Haven’t been this excited in a very long time.” Email Lauren Gruber at

Tisch Fails to Connect Acting and Film Students By JULIE GOLDBERG Books & Theater Editor At the beginning of each semester, Tisch School of the Arts hosts a mixer for students in the undergraduate drama and Film & Television mixer to try and facilitate collaboration between the two departments. Students, however, feel that the school does not do enough in terms of facilitating cross-departmental connections. Calling the mixer “awkward,” “forced” and even “terrible,” they voiced their desire for real opportunities for collaboration. Tisch junior and film student Alex Sennett felt that these opportunities should be cultivated in class. “If they let you work with the actors in class so you could develop a relationship with them, that would be great,” he said. Tisch drama senior Emory Kemph similarly advocated for classes that combine majors. Her most recent on-screen work was for a film class for drama students, and while this gave drama students the opportunity to produce their own work, she regrets that the school does not offer courses which are set up to put film students behind the camera and acting students in front of it. While she has connected with some film students outside of class, exchanging contact information so that they could work together again, she definitely feels more could be done by the school to help foster these relationships. “There’s some encouragement from the professors to work with the film students, but from a practical perspective there’s no facilitation,” Tisch senior Jack

Petersen said. He mentioned the Tisch Talent Guild, an online portal “designed to help NYU Tisch Students find and collaborate with artists who can help bring their projects to life.” There are currently four listings on the site, calling for roles like a production assistant or a videographer. One listing is from the father of an NYU graduate, seeking a film student “in need of a class project.” Clearly, the site is not being used by Tisch students to seek collaborators. The other students interviewed had not heard of it or recognized the name but weren’t sure exactly what it was. “I’ve had way better luck getting work from Columbia MFA film students from their casting portal,” Peterson said. 2019 Tisch graduate Pao Malo noted that film students tend to draw from the same pool of actors for all of their projects. Tisch senior Braxton Fannin agreed. “Film students were often scared or even resentful of trained actors,” Fannin said. Sennet admitted that he finds most of his actors on Backstage, a popular platform for casting calls, or through friends of friends, and tends to default to the same handful of actors. “I have basically a pool of actors who I know I can go back to for anything and they’re all like good friends of mine besides just being actors,” he said. While Sennet said he is always looking to expand this pool, it can be difficult to make new connections. “There’s no real way to connect with actors that Tisch provides. You just have to meet them, outside of school,” he said.


The facade of the Tisch School of the Arts. Tisch Film & TV and drama students discussed their struggle to collaborate on projects.

“They post crew calls all over Tisch film, but they don’t do that for the actors.” This lack of facilitation reflects a greater deficiency of the school in preparing actors for real, on-set experiences. Peterson said that the preparation Tisch offers for on-set work tends to be more explanatory than experiential. “It’s definitely difficult to reproduce that experience at a super low budget in class and have it feel the same,” he said. Other drama students agreed that the

department often fails to provide students with these on-set experiences that could better prepare them for film acting, which offers far less rehearsal time and places different demands on the actor than a theater performance. “Knowing more than one aspect of the industry is crucial to be able to thrive in the professional world nowadays,” Malo said. While some were optimistic about opportunities for collaboration, others felt that, in such a large department, it is to

be expected that students have to seek out those opportunities themselves. “Sometimes I think it comes down to who you work well with, and that really can’t be facilitated by the department, nor would I want that,” Fannin said. “Just doing my own projects the way I wanted to do them, I eventually found my collaborators.” Email Julie Goldberg at

Washington Square News | Arts



Sameh Zoabi: The Palestinian Director With an Israeli Passport


Professor Sameh Zoabi digs deep into his roots as the director of “Tel Aviv on Fire.”

By FAREID EL GAFY Film & TV Editor Professor Sameh Zoabi has had to explain who he is since the day he was born. Born in a Palestinian village outside of Nazareth, Israel, Zoabi is a man stuck in the middle. When Israeli tanks rolled through Palestine in 1948, most Palestinians fled or were expelled to the West Bank, Gaza or the greater Arab world, but Zoabi’s family were among those who stayed behind. Though he is Palestinian, he holds Israeli citizenship. A minority in Israel and a foreigner to the State of Palestine, Zoabi says his family has simply remained in their home. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are affected by the occupation daily. Deaths resulting from the conflict with Israel are a constant news fixture. Earlier this year Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to annex the West Bank, threatening the very integrity of a Palestinian state. “I’m not coming from a place of privilege,” Zoabi told WSN. “My mom is a refugee.” As a boy, Zoabi’s exposure to film was minimal. With only two Arabic-language channels to choose from, his family would watch old Westerns, Egyptian soap operas and plays featuring superstar Adel Emam — who has graced Egypt’s silver screen since 1964 — broadcast by Israeli networks over and over. One such program, “Ra’fat Al Haggan” (1988-1991), is about

Egyptian spy Refaat Al-Gammal, whose efforts were instrumental to Egypt’s successes in the 1973 October War. It is also the basis for the eponymous soap opera, about a Palestinian spy who seduces an Israeli general, within Zoabi’s recent film, “Tel Aviv on Fire.” Zoabi recalls being star struck as a sixyear-old by his older sisters’ cutouts of James Bond performer Roger Moore, Egyptian singer and actor Abdel Halim Hafez and Spanish singer Julio Iglesias. He wanted to be a part of that world of stars and artists. Following the dawn of VHS in his teenage years, Zoabi and his friends would watch Chuck Norris and “Rambo” action flicks because they found the actresses on the covers attractive. A straight-A student with a penchant for cracking jokes, Zoabi saw formal education as a way to express his sense of humor through filmmaking. Zoabi and his brother were the only ones out of nine children in their family to go on to higher education. Zoabi attended Tel Aviv University because it was the only school in Israel that offered a degree in film, though he also majored in English literature, planning to become an English teacher if his artistic aspirations didn’t pan out. One of two Arab students in the entire program, Zoabi says he felt pressured to tell stories that confirmed biases about the Arab community in Israel. He rejected what he called an orientalist approach, wherein his films were somehow expected

to perpetuate erroneous narratives. When Zoabi came to the U.S. to attend Columbia University on a Fulbright scholarship for his MFA, things didn’t become any easier. Because his application said Israel, professors were surprised to see that he was Palestinian, and he had to constantly re-explain his identity. In “Tel Aviv on Fire,” Salam (Kais Nashef) is a Palestinian living in East Jerusalem who is promoted from production assistant to writer on his uncle’s show. The eponymous fictional soap opera is produced in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Through the film, Zoabi seeks to tell an authentic version of his own story as a Palestinian citizen of Israel. As Palestine is unable to provide national funds for filmmakers, Zoabi notes that the Palestinian narrative is often told via individuals. In the film, he tells his own, as Salam tangoes with Palestinian producers who want to see the spy in the show complete her PLO mission and an entitled IDF checkpoint guard who wants her to defect and find true love with the Israeli general, struggling to tell the story he wants to. Zoabi’s real-life struggle with Israeli producers throughout the production of the film who feared he would become “too Palestinian” is mirrored in the balancing act of the film. “Tel Aviv on Fire” is a Luxembourg-Israel-France-Belgium coproduction. As Zoabi is an Israeli citizen, Zoabi could not submit his film as Palestinian. He chose to submit the film as Luxembourgish instead of Israeli because he doesn’t feel he can represent a country that doesn’t always represent him. In 2013, Indian-American director Mira Nair chose to boycott Haifa International Film Festival, citing what she called the apartheid state in Israel. Zoabi refused to boycott the festival, though he was asked to by associates in the industry, because he said his conduct will determine the accessibility of other Palestinians to Israeli funding to tell their stories. At Haifa, Zoabi and “Tel Aviv on Fire” won Best Screenplay and Best Film respectively. “I’m not saying it’s an easy choice to take money or not, but at the end of the day … it’s a dilemma for any filmmaker. Doesn’t have to be Palestinian or Israeli or Arab – when someone gives you the

money, do you want to sell out your principles and tell any story just to please the funder?” Zoabi said. “Tel Aviv on Fire” is a comedy, a definite change of pace in the catalogue of Palestinian and Israeli filmmaking concerning the conflict. But comedy is as true-to-life as Zoabi can be. Checkpoints, death and destruction: Zoabi and his friends and family approach them all with a sense of humor. Zoabi says he follows the path of Billy Wilder, Ernst Lubitsch and Charlie Chaplin, who all countered the rising fascism, pervasive poverty and rapid industrialisation of the era with a laugh. “I’m not saying it’s the only way […] it’s authentic to me; it’s authentic to my experience; it’s authentic to my voice,” Zoabi said. “It’s easiest for me to write comedy, my films tend to be uplifting because I’m optimistic. Your films can’t not be a reflection of how you see the world in many ways.” In writing the script, Zoabi was conscious of the fact that he would be coproducing with European producers. Much of the film takes place in the Ramallah studio, nearly all of which is filmed on a set in Luxembourg. However, for the IDF checkpoint Zoabi’s crew constructed a facsimile in Israel. It was the largest checkpoint ever constructed for a film. European activists protested what they believed to be a checkpoint in earnest. “I love these moments because […] you know that the film is relevant. But it was sad for me in the moment when I saw the checkpoint being built […] in the design of it you start thinking [...] [about] the psychology of building something that is so humiliating. It was a very emotional moment actually because it’s sad that you know the feeling to go through this kind of experience,” Zoabi said. Eleven or so checkpoints dot the border between the States of Israel and Palestine. This does not include the more than 500 roadblocks that bar Palestinians from crossing into Israel. Those hoping to move through the checkpoints daily are subject to callous guards and temporary permits that place arbitrary constraints on their freedom to travel. For his next project, Zoabi plans to set his comedic stylings against the backdrop of the Blockade of the Gaza Strip.

In 2007, the Israeli government instigated a total blockade of the Gaza Strip that closed its borders, strangled imports and cut power. The blockade was partially eased in 2010, but it officially remains in place to this day. “We know that it’s miserable […] if you don’t have a punchline at the end of that story nobody wants to hear it,” Zoabi said. The difference, though, is that “Tel Aviv on Fire” draws on an experience that Zoabi himself has lived. To bring comedy to the Gaza Strip, from which he is removed, is a different ambition altogether. Zoabi matriculated to Columbia Univeristy in 2005 in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Second Intifada. Zoabi said nobody wanted to hear a Palestinian voice, and he hit a wall in attempting to secure funding for his thesis film “Be Quiet,” about a Palestinian father and son passing through Israeli checkpoints. After three fruitless years of searching for funding in the U.S., Zoabi finally found success in Europe. But times have changed, people watch “Tel Aviv on Fire” and they laugh. “If you’re telling a story […] that voice that called you to make that story from the beginning has to always be clear for you. I always say there’s no threat to anyone’s voice because your voice is unique,” Zoabi said. “I think we also have to work as a community to understand that we need the different perspectives, different views.” Zoabi believes that the cultural moment has whetted people’s appetite for the Palestinian story. His own is but one of many Palestinian experiences that need to be heard in order to build a fuller Palestinian narrative in the film industry and the public eye writ large. To Palestinian, Arab and other marginalized creators, Zoabi hopes his success will serve as a beacon. He encourages unheard voices to find one another and create a community to fund each other’s work. “Filmmaking is a process that takes a lot of patience and determination and because of where we come from it tends to be even harder. You have to believe in what you’re doing and keep going, because eventually you’ll find a crack through that wall to make [it],” Zoabi said. Email Fareid El Gafy at

‘Tel Aviv on Fire’ Channels Frustration Into Comedy By NICHOLAS WEID Contributing Writer “Tel Aviv on Fire” is reflective of the experience of writer-director Sameh Zoabi and his experiences as a Palestinian living in Israel. Protagonist Salam (Kais Nashef), is given a production assistant job on his uncle Bassam’s (Nadim Sawalha) TV show, where his initial responsibility as an assistant morphs into him becoming an ill-equipped fulltime writer. The show is a romantic soap opera focusing on the years before the 1967 Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, during which a Palestinian spy, Manal, played by French actress Tala (Lubna Azabal), is tasked with seducing an Israeli general. A Palestinian living in Israel, Tisch professor Zoabi has had to navigate his different identities, and that is reflected onscreen. Salam shares part of this conflicting identity in the film. He is a Palestinian who works in Palestine on a Palestinian show but passes twice a day through an Israeli checkpoint where he is often pushed around by surly guards in order to reach his home in Israel. His frustrations, even in the format of a comedy, simmer to the top in

ways that feel nearly autobiographical. Salam’s bumbling, deadpan navigation of his complicated situation is endearing.As Salam becomes increasingly invested in the show, he is continually stifled by the conflict of his environment. He has to please his Palestinian backers, his PLO veteran showrunner uncle, the Israeli audience, the Palestinian audience and even checkpoint guard Assi (Yaniv Biton), who pushes their initial relationship into a one-sided use of his literal gate-keeping power over Salam. His passage between Ramallah and Jerusalem becomes dependent upon the outcome of the show. Salam’s own gritty and confused reality, no doubt informed by Zoabi’s, is funnelled into a simple soap-drama — an exaggerated artificial warzone. Salam’s work, exponentially more subtle and meaningful than the scope of daytime television, is complicated by a seemingly never-ending conflict. Salam and Zoabi both try and shift the narrative away from this perspective binary to highlight the reality of the situation. Satirization abounds, such as when Salam passes off canned hummus as the “authentic Arab hummus”

It’s hard to overstate how vital the comedic aspect of the film is to effectively tackle the political reality of the region. Through the cheesy stylings of a soap opera and hammy deliveries, “Tel Aviv on Fire” pokes fun at the mutual love for certain things: a soap opera, a pot of hummus and romantic love. More seri-

ous events are alluded to as well, such as Salam’s traumatic memories as a child during the First Intifada, a nod to the trauma that has shaped the director. “Tel Aviv on Fire” and its nomination by Luxembourg at the Academy Awards bring texture to a confused identity and a raging conflict. Though the finale is a

bit too saccharine as Salam and the divided ensemble achieve a sweeping happy ending — not unlike the soaps the film snubs its nose at — above all else, it remains an uproarious experience. Email Nicholas Weid at

“Tel Aviv on Fire” is a film directed by Tisch professor Sameh Zoabi that satirizes the Israel-Palestine conflict.


Washington Square News







Good for Business Isn’t Good Enough

By COLE STALLONE Opinion Editor NYU’s Chief Sustainability Officer Cecil Scheib recently outlined the reality of achieving sustainability goals at NYU: in order for them to be accepted, they must be good for business. “NYU’s sustainability program, overwhelmingly, has a fantastic business case,” Scheib said, acknowledging that on the other hand, actions “that are just the right thing to do”

ultimately don’t happen often, even though he tries to push for them. At the same time, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C says “without societal transformation […] pathways to limiting warming to 1.5°C and achieving sustainable development will be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.” While the report was targeted toward countries and governments, the recommendations given should also be considered by all, including our university. NYU is an international institution with students, resources and investments all around the world. Its actions — or lack thereof — have a concrete impact on our environment, exacerbated by our global reach and sheer size. And while our university has made significant progress toward

a more sustainable future, it continues to evade pervasive problems and ignore important solutions, acting instead by its financial imperative. Scheib is right to be proud of what he’s accomplished so far, especially the effort to reduce the university’s emissions by more than one third. And even though his Climate Action Plan, most notably the goal of carbon neutrality by 2040, is commendable — albeit at a 10-year lag from the target date set by the IPCC — students have demanded more action. In April, the University Senate passed “The Resolution for Decarbonization” and is awaiting its implementation by the university. Some of the necessarily substantial proposals include complete divestment from fossil fuels and fracking, which would require the university to use 100% renewable

energy by 2040, as opposed to just achieving carbon neutrality. In a November interview, Scheib told WSN that the resoluion is “aspirational” but “reasonable.” While it’s reassuring to know that Scheib intends to use the resolution as a guide, the university has made no public statement as to whether or not all the goals of the resolution will actually be incorporated and its impact remains unclear. In 2016, a similar resolution was passed by student government but ultimately rejected by the Board of Trustees — President Andrew Hamilton and Board Chair William Berkeley publicly condemned the resolution. According to Scheib, it appears that the university’s position on this has changed, but the reality is that it was only forced to accept the this vision once New York state

made these targets law for the entire state by 2050. NYU was, and continues to be, evasive about its plans to implement the goals of the resolution. It’s worrisome that the university was forced to adopt its current position of acceptance by legislation, dragging its feet and openly attacking similar earlier proposals. Scheib separates his goals into three categories: cost reductions which save money, alternative spending which saves money and moral imperatives with no monetary benefit. If the university wants to be a leader in the fight for a more sustainable future, it must do a better job at meeting goals in all three areas, not just the ones that help its profit margin. Email Cole Stallone at


Sugarcoating White Supremacy in US History Needs to Stop

By GABBY LOZANO Staff Writer Growing up on the East Coast of the U.S., learning about Thanksgiving consisted of creating hand-turkeys, cutting out paper leaves in hues of red and orange and reenacting the famous story in which Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn. After the suc-

cessful harvest, they came together and celebrated, symbolizing the peaceful relationship between the British colonists and Native Americans. This is an ignorant understanding of the relationship between the New England colonists and Native Americans, which demonstrates one of the many flaws of the U.S. education system — its’ inability to properly educate students on the root of white supremacy in our country’s founding and development. Squanto was a slave captured by the Pilgrims whose tribe was later decimated by an unknown disease. Failing to tell the full story not only woefully miseducates children, it gives rise to the beliefs that promote systemic racial injustices faced by mar-

ginalized communities. Standardized testing in the fields of math and English are pushing history to the back burner in curricula. A 2012 survey found 88% of elementary school teachers considered history a low priority. To ignore history education implies that past injustices don’t affect our present. This opens the door for bigotry rooted in ignorance and intentional miseducation. The College Board has weakened already loose guidelines with the installation of American exceptionalism in the Advanced Placement U.S. History Exam after receiving pressure from conversative groups. This move is a manipulation of the subject altogether, as it minimizes the impact that the

white man had on the world: slavery, colonalism and imperialism. Further, the theft of indigenous land and pay discrepancies by race and gender stem from the manipulation of history and the promotion of American exceptionalism. While it’s one thing to be proud, it’s another to ignore the destructive actions of those that came before us. Teachers often rely solely on textbooks to teach their curricula, which unfortunately isn’t the best option either. McGraw-Hill, one of three major educational publishers, produced a textbook on U.S. history which stated, “The Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500s and 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultur-

al plantations.” Even subtle semantic choices like the use of the word “workers” drastically misrepresents how slaves in the United States were treated. It ignores the abuse, violence and inhumane treatment they faced. By sugarcoating this issue, textbook publishers also contribute to the erasure of history. Our educational system needs stricter guidelines for history textbooks and teachers. We need a reevaluation of our collective understanding of our history to acknowledge this country’s deeply unrighteous past, as much as we acknowledge its accomplishments. Email Gabby Lozano at


Letter to the Editor: ‘How NYU Wellness Sees Itself — and Why That Image Is Wrong’

By KEN COOPER In response to the editorial “How NY U Wellness Sees Itself — and Why That Image Is Wrong” published on Nov. 25, 2019, we com-

mend your efforts to hold news organizations accountable. However, the editorial makes several misstatements about the WGBH News feature “As Demand For Mental Health Services Rises, Colleges Scramble To Provide Resources To Students” that we feel are necessary to correct. As a news outlet, we’re not in a position to endorse or denounce NY U’s suicide prevention efforts, and we do neither in the article. We note that “some college leaders say NY U’s response stands as a model”

because of its anonymous hotline, and we provide space for detractors to note the program’s shortcomings. In the article, we shared that the school was not forthcoming about how many students had committed suicide since the plans were implemented, quoted students’ discontent about long wait times for counseling appointments and noted 27,000 calls to the Wellness Exchange during 2018 to demonstrate a high level of demand for these services, not to demonstrate the effectiveness of the hotline.

The WSN editorial also claimed our article “has only five sources.” The feature has five named sources. Dozens of sources were interviewed on the record and on background for this story and our series on mental health on campus, and all responses informed our reporting. None of the administrators we interviewed claimed to have solved the problem of anxiety and depression on campus. All of them said they could do better. The editorial also brings up that the fact that Zoe Ragouzeos, the ex-

ecutive director of NY U’s Counseling and Wellness Services, sits on the board of The Mary Christie Foundation. This is pertinent information to the article and our omission was not intentional; it should have been included in our story. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. We stand behind our reporting and continue to believe the online article and radio feature on Nov. 21 is balanced and fair. Ken Cooper is a senior editor at WGBH News.

Washington Square News | Opinion




NYU Puts Its Reputation Before Student Wellness

By ABBY HOFSTETTER Opinion Editor NYU has something of a reputation for being secretive with information — its f iscal 2020 budget, which was supposed to be released in June, has not yet been published; it has hidden health hazards from students; it has kept students in the dark on vital resources. In a 2018 investigation, WSN found that NYU follows this pattern to a fault: the university doesn’t track suicides. But what does it mean for NYU to not track suicides? What does it mean for the university to selectively release crucial information about students’ wellbeing? By now, we all know that two students died of suicide over the course of the last academic year. But these are only the conf irmed cases — because NYU does not track suicides, students are left to discover the information on their own. The two students who died last academic year could just be the tip of the iceberg. Maybe the number is signif icantly higher. When I ask other students, the number always changes — one student says that three students have died this semester, another says it’s four and yet another says there’s been one death each month. We have no way of getting reliable information unless the university decides to disclose it or a news outlet decides to report on it. No one knows for sure; no one will ever know for sure. NYU not tracking suicides also means that students also f ind out about their peers’ deaths from sources that are a lot less considerate than an email from the Wellness Exchange. Students found out about an October 2018 student suicide largely via a graphic New York Post article, which featured a photo of the student in a body bag. Students are then left to cope with these deaths on their own. NYU does contact and offer counseling to the families and roommates of all students who die by suicide, but these stu-

Submitting to

dents’ friends have no way to f ind out, let alone have a direct pathway to the SHC’s counseling resources, which are hard to gain access to in the f irst place. After the October suicide, students turned to “NYU Memes for Slightly Bankrupt Teens” for comfort, and the page rebranded to “NYU Memes for Wholesome Teens” for a day. But more than this, selectively releasing information on student suicides means that NYU can create its own reputation — one that isn’t tarnished by student deaths. That’s not to say that nominally tracking deaths would be a seamless solution. When schools begin to track suicides, an unsettling pattern often emerges: in an attempt to preserve its reputation, a school will begin to send any and all students with signs of suicidal ideation or potential self harm to psychiatric facilities so that if they die, they don’t die on school grounds. NYU has consistently shown that it prioritizes its reputation. It didn’t tell students about health hazards at Palladium Food Court and Upstein, and instead bragged about the dining halls that had passed their health inspections. President Andrew Hamilton loudly supported DACA recipients in the NYU community, but the university has yet to meet the concrete demands of UnDoc NYU, which has maintained that NYU’s support is “a facade.” After the October 2018 suicide, university spokesperson John Beckman denied that NYU could possibly be responsible. Based solely on this track record, I can’t conf idently say that NYU wouldn’t put its reputation f irst if it began tracking suicides. The solution to this is obvious: NYU needs to stop putting its reputation before its students’ wellbeing. But this is easier said than done. How can we change an entire institution’s priorities? What does NYU have to gain from reprioritizing its initiatives? The future seems bleak, and the past doesn’t inspire much optimism. I don’t know what to do but hope for a solution — or, more accurately, hope for NYU to stop putting its reputation before its students.


A Semester in Review: NYU Continues to Prioritize Itself Over Students Throughout the semester, we’ve been trying to understand NYU’s treatment of its students — more specifically, whether NYU is implicitly pro- or anti-student. A pro-student university acts in its students’ best interests as often as possible; an anti-student university puts its own interests ahead of all else. NYU’s problematic actions have continued to unfold since this semester’s outset. The university has protected sexual predators, hid dining hall health hazards and mistreated faculty members. These are just a few examples. Taking the semester’s controversies into consideration, one thing is clear: NYU is not pro-student. Perhaps the most blatant example of NYU putting its own interests before those of its students — or rather, before its students’ safety — is the presence and protection of sexual predators on campus. The semester began with the return of professor Avital Ronell, who’d been suspended for one year after an NYU investigation found her guilty of sexually harassing her graduate advisee. Her return was met with intense backlash — most prominently from NYUToo, a graduate student coalition formed in response to her return, but additionally from a large portion of the student body. But the university still brought her back to campus, and the only possible reason for doing so is Ronell’s prominent status in her field — a letter in her defense by fellow academics cited that she’s the chair of the European Graduate School’s department of philosophy and has received the Chevalier of Arts and Letters award from the French government. Shortly after the semester began, university trustee Michael Steinhardt was found to have made sexually inappropriate comments to several members of the NYU com-

munity. After Steinhardt was found guilty by a university investigation, NYU decided not only to keep his name on the school but to also keep Steinhardt himself on the Board of Trustees. University bylaws state that any board member is able to be removed “with or without cause at any time,” yet Steinhardt still holds his seat — despite being found guilty of sexual misconduct toward members of the NYU community. In October and November, respectively, WSN found that Palladium Food Court and Upstein had both failed health inspections. Both dining halls had violations concerning contamination of food — Upstein’s investigation reported that food was “not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service”; Palladium kept its food at too high a temperature, which could have caused a norovirus outbreak. However, NYU did not tell its students about the health hazards on campus. In one instance, the university sent a press release noting that many dining halls had passed inspection, but under further investigation, WSN found that Upstein — which was not mentioned in the press release — had failed. NYU’s 2017 tax returns were released at the beginning of October. This gave students insight on how the university spends its money — and how it could do a better job. While most of the university’s financial practices remain unclear, its lack of affordability persists and the financial burden weighs on many students. As we continue to look for ways to make NYU more affordable, transparency is key to gaining a clearer understanding of how NYU spends our money. In late October, WSN found that Liberal Studies professors are look-

ing to unionize due to unfair treatment by NYU. The professors cited a lack of job security, unequal pay to their Faculty of Arts and Science counterparts, inability to receive tenure and generally poor treatment by administrators, which made them seem “regarded as second class faculty.” LS is the second-largest undergraduate program; there is no valid reason for NYU not to treat LS professors equally to all other faculty. However, by treating LS faculty worse than their counterparts, NYU has indicated that the school and its faculty are somehow less important than all others. In November, students reported having their financial aid packages changed after using NYU’s Courtesy Meals Program. Although the situation was resolved and all aid was returned, this recent development hurt the reputation of the program and left students less likely to use it. This led many to question why this even happened in the first place — after all, the program was established to help students who couldn’t afford meals. After NYU began promoting the program, the number of participants rose from around 40 users to 1,933 users over the last two academic years. This speaks to NYU’s widespread problem of food insecurity, a problem which nearly half of all U.S. college students face. As the university continues to navigate this difficult issue, its focus should be on the needs of its most vulnerable students. Ultimately, all of these issues and many others are rooted in the lack of student participation in the affairs of our university. As students, it’s important to remember that we are the only ones who will look after our interests and advocate for ourselves. If a university fails to be pro-student, it is up to the students themselves to hold its feet to the fire.

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Washington Square News






How the NCAA Did Wrong by James Wiseman (And Every Other Student-Athlete) By ARVIND SRIRAM Staff Writer Last month, the NCAA announced that University of Memphis first-year basketball player James Wiseman will be suspended for 12 games. The No. 1 ranked prospect in the class of 2019 will not return until Jan. 12 to play against the University of South Florida and, on top of the suspension, Wiseman must also donate $11,500 to any charity of his choosing. This is all happening because, in 2017, Wiseman’s family received an $11,500 payment from former booster and current Memphis coach Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway to pay for a high school relocation from Nashville to Memphis. In the NCAA, recruiting inducement is taboo, as professional athletes O.J. Mayo, Cam Newton and Reggie Bush, among others, have been punished for receiving improper benefits. The NCAA is a billion-dollar corporation. NCAA executives earn upwards of $2 million per year, coaches of elite programs earn upward of $9 million per year and the student-athletes are compensated with full scholarships and meal stipends. As a result, NCAA teams bring in millions of dollars per year for their schools, yet the athletes see none of the profits. For Wiseman, it is clear that a full scholarship is not enough. The parents of the potential No. 1 NBA draft pick could not afford to relocate in hopes of providing


Collegiate sprinters at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The NCAA’s relationship with college athletes has transformed in the past three years.

their son with a better future. Even though Wiseman is not getting paid by the NCAA, as part of his punishment, he is required to donate $11,500, the amount his family needed for relocation fees. The athletes are not compensated for the risks presented in sports. For example, last season, former Duke basketball superstar and eventual No. 1 NBA draft pick Zion Williamson generated millions of dollars for the NCAA through ticket and

jersey sales. CBS even implemented a “Zion Cam,” which followed Williamson around during the March Madness Tournament. Per NCAA rules, athletes are not allowed to profit off their own image, therefore, Williamson couldn’t make a cent off his persona, but the NCAA could make millions. In a sold-out game against rival University of North Carolina in February, Williamson injured his foot, causing him to miss three games. Although he returned and

was selected first overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, Williamson would not have been compensated even if he had suffered a career-ending injury. However, change is coming — in California, at least. In 2023. Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill in September allowing student-athletes to promote products and companies, and ultimately profit off their own image. Both the NCAA and Pac-12 lobbied against the

bill, as its implementation could potentially alter top recruits’ decisions to attend universities in California. With the new age of player empowerment in professional sports today, it is time to allow this ideology in college sports so athletes like James Wiseman will not punished for trying to improve their lives. Email Arvind Sriram at

Women’s Basketball Enjoys Fruitful Start to Season By BIN CHO Staff Writer The women’s basketball team is enjoying a strong start to the 2019-20 season, with a 5-1 overall record. Averaging 92 points per game, the Violets have focused on their three-point shooting and scoring in transition.

Alongside this offensive firepower, the team has also emphasized lockdown defense, leading to huge scoring margins of 98-66, 91-47 and 99-18 across their first three games. “We talked about what we wanted our identity to be,” CAS senior and captain Annie Barrett said. “We decided that was our defense, scoring threes

and layups in transition.” Prior to the season, the team prioritized team chemistry in order to prepare, which Head Coach Meg Barber believes is playing a large role in their success. “We returned quite a few upperclassmen, and then, we had this influx of very talented freshmen as well,” Bar-

ber said. “But you’re always unsure of the chemistry, and certainly we put an emphasis on work ethic. Our team has brought that every day, and that has really raised the bar of what our expectations are going forward.” The players are in the process of adapting to the new system and style of play.

“It is very different from last year, we’re pushing the ball a lot more in transition,” Barber said. “We have a lot of capable scorers, so it’s just trusting the team to take the best shots.” “It was definitely a drastic change, at least from my freshman to sophomore year, because of how different the coaching styles were,” Steinhardt junior and guard Janean Cuffee said. “But after playing with her for a year, you start to understand the system wants to play in and how the pieces of our team fit into that system.” The team’s only loss came in a narrow 65-74 defeat against Cabrini University. “It was their home opener and I think we just let the nerves get the best of us,” Cuffee said. “We hadn’t had an important away game yet. So, that’s always a learning experience.” It was one of the few defensive lapses from the team this semester — something Barber hopes her players will learn to eliminate from their game. “The scoring will always be there for us,” Barber said. “It’s a matter of being able to stop the other team’s run. I think we’re always going to be able to answer that run, it’s just a matter of not letting the game get away before we have that opportunity.” The Violets’ next game is on Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. against St. John Fisher College. “Long term, we will have more goals for this program, but right now it’s about our upcoming games,” Barber said. “Ultimately, this year is to be competitive with the top of the UAA.”


Steinhardt first-year Jenny Walker (23) helped NYU women’s basketball to its highest point total since 2006 in a 103-50 victory over Baruch College on Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Email Bin Cho at

Washington Square News | Sports


Men’s and Women’s Basketball Undefeated Over Thanksgiving Break


Monday Musings: On Colin Kaepernick, Harden’s Heroics and the Internet’s Favorite NBA Player By BELA KIRPALANI Sports Editor


CAS senior Ethan Feldman scored a team-high 16 points in the Championship Game of the Hampton Inn Jim Beaudry Classic.

By BENJAMIN MICHAEL DAVIS Deputy Sports Editor Men’s Basketball NYU crossed the .500 mark on Sunday, beating Rosemont College 88-73 to move to 4-3 on the year. The Violets got off to a slow start to the game, trailing 16-11 with 13 minutes left in the first half, but a 19-0 NYU run to close the half gave the Violets a lead they never gave up. The biggest gap in the night’s scoring came with 13:47 left in the game, when NYU led 56-41. With 4:44 left, Rosemont was able to cut the deficit to four points, but an 11-0 NYU run closed out the game. Team leaders were Stern sophomore Cade Hoppe with 28 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks and CAS sophomore Nick Macarchuk with six assists. The Violets return to the court on Wednesday when they take on the College of Mount Saint Vincent on the road.

Women’s Basketball The Violets continued to destroy their competition on Wednesday with a 103-50 win against Baruch College. This was the most NYU had scored since 2006, when they put up 104 against Alfred State. Shooting 59.7% on the night and never trailing, the Violets started the game with a 17-4 run and never looked back. The biggest lead of the night came with a little more than a minute left, when Baruch trailed by 55 points. Team leaders included Steinhardt junior Janean Cuffee, who scored all 16 of her points in the first half, Steinhardt first-year Jenny Walker with 12 rebounds and CAS senior Annie Barrett with eight assists and four steals. The team continued to win on Sunday, taking down Wesleyan University 93-91 in overtime. The now 6-1 Violets grabbed a 10-4 lead to start the back and forth contest, but Wesleyan quickly tied it up. A 39-27 Wesleyan lead at the half crawled into a 62-54 Wesleyan

lead after three quarters, but an impressive fourth for the Violets was capped by Cuffee’s clutch free throws to tie the game at 81 heading into ot. NYU was able to jump out to an 86-81 lead in the last period, and ultimately, Wesleyan couldn’t battle back. Team leaders included Cuffee with 32 points and Barrett with 10 rebounds and seven assists. What to Watch This Weekend Following Thanksgiving break, many teams will be returning to action this weekend. The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will compete in the Bomber Invitational hosted by Ithaca College. The three day meet will last from Friday to Sunday. Wrestling will hit the matt on Friday as they take on Centenary University on the road, and both fencing teams will participate in the Sacred Heart Tradition tournament on Sunday. Email Benjamin Michael Davis at

Washington Square News

Don’t Forget About Colin Kaepernick In case you missed it, ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick had a 40-minute workout with eight NFL teams last month. Despite being out of the game for three years after being blackballed by the league, Kaepernick still managed to show signs that he is sharp and gameready. Despite the suspicious timing and motives of the NFL’s organization of the workout, Kaepernick did his job. He is only 32 years old and showed that he still has a few years left in the tank. However, teams across the league still inexplicably refuse to pick him up — even those that could certainly use him. There are multiple teams that could benefit from a player with Kaepernick’s experience and skill. But they won’t. The Detroit Lions, whose starting quarterback went on injury reserve, opted instead for someone from the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad. In the days after his workout, there were the usual news reports, Twitter arguments and Stephen A. Smith rants. But in the weeks since, it seems the world has forgotten about Colin Kaepernick — the man who led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013 and whose only crime was advocating for the rights of black Americans. James Harden Is Great. Why Is He Still Hated? On Saturday night, James Harden erupted for 60 points in a blowout win against the Atlanta Hawks, finishing just one point shy of tying his career high and Houston Rockets franchise record. He also joined Klay Thompson and Kobe Bryant as the only players in the past 25 seasons to score 60 points in only three quarters. It was also Harden’s fourth career 60-point game, making him tied with Michael Jordan for the third-most in history. This season, he is averaging 39 points per game. He is making messes of defenders on a nightly basis, scoring with so much ease and breaking records while he does it. When you watch him walk

the ball up to the three-point line, you know he’s going to step back and drain a jumper yet you just can’t help but be shocked every single time it happens. He’s. Just. So. Good. So why do people insist on bashing him? Because, despite being one of the greatest players in the league, he has failed to make the NBA Finals. And because his scoring and efficiency drop off in the playoffs, he has been dubbed a “choker.” I could go into the context of every season’s playoffs failure and defend Harden because Chris Paul got injured or because the Golden State Warriors were a generational team. But it doesn’t really matter. There are plenty of players who couldn’t get it done in crunch time but are still enshrined in the NBA history books and in fans’ memories (Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Patrick Ewing, anyone?). Harden has an MVP to his name, and may well have another when all is said and done this year. He is scoring at historic levels and playing insane basketball. We should appreciate him while we still have him. The Internet Loves Alex Caruso — As It Should How often is it that a balding white guy becomes as beloved in basketball as Lakers guard Alex Caruso? The 25-yearold has become somewhat of a hero to many on the internet — he may not be the most skillful player on the floor, but he always gives 100% and helps his team win. He has also proven to be a defensive stalwart for LA this season, posting a ridiculous 96.9 defensive rating. Some people may be sick of all the Caruso content, but I, for one, don’t mind one bit. If he’s dunking, throw it on my timeline! If he’s giving a funny post-game interview, let the people see it. He may be an anomaly in the league, but he knows it and he sure does own it. Also, no, the fact that accounts like Bleacher Report and SLAM are tweeting about Alex Caruso does not directly correlate to the NBA’s TV ratings being down. Let the Bald Mamba live. Email Bela Kirpalani at



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