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NYU’s Independent Student Newspaper | est. 1973

nyunews.com

Monday, April 30, 2018

Volume L, Issue 14

features

OPINION

SPORTS

Coverage of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival

Phillip Picardi: Giving ‘them’ a Seat at the Table

A Response to Your Letter in Support of Minority Students at NYU Stern

The Understated Importance of Team Managers

ON PAGE 4-5

ON PAGE 6

ON PAGE 13

ON PAGE 14

ARTS

Returning Puerto Rican Students Face Uncertainty

PHOTO BY JAMARIS MARTINEZ-LUGO

Left: A house is in front of Jamaris Martinez-Lugo’s grandparents’ house. Right: Martinez-Lugo’s family collects rainwater.

By YASMIN GULEC, NATALIE CHINN and PAMELA JEW Features Editor, Deputy Features Editor and Deputy Managing Editor

D

ispersed around Sophia and Alex’s room one night, Jamaris and her three friends belt out the lyrics to “Salimos de Aquí” by Fiel a la Vega. Mariana leads the group, dancing around the room taking each of the girls’ hands. The song comes to a close and Jamaris hits pause, turning to her friends. “Have you guys heard this song?” Jamaris asks, as she hits play on “Mi Duena” by Kany Garcia. It’s a unanimous ‘no.’ She gasps, runs to the light switch and the room goes dark — only illuminated by the city lights out-

side. A guitar greets Garcia’s words, and the girls’ energy dims as they melt to the floor. The somber lyrics flood their ears, and suddenly, there’s only one thing on their minds: home. It has been almost five months since Jamaris Martinez-Lugo, her three friends and 53 other students left Puerto Rico for the United States. Much of the island was ravished by the Category 5 Hurricane Maria after it struck on Sept. 20. Puerto Rico was left in ruins, with its government estimating that 200,000 residents will leave the U.S. territory by the end of 2018, causing the population to drop by 5 percent, according to The Washington Post. In November 2017, NYU announced that it would be offering admission to 50 students from Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria under the Hurricane Maria Assistance Program. After an influx of

400 applications, NYU extended its offer to an additional 13 students, bringing the total of accepted students to 63 — 57 of which decided to attend. NYU’s program covers the visiting students’ tuition, meal plans, healthcare and housing. Three other American universities — Tulane University, Brown University and Cornell University — offered similar programs. Now, as their semester at NYU draws to a close, students in the HMAP program are asking NYU to extend the program another semester. The HMAP Students Initiative, which has the support of 27 of the visiting students, penned a letter addressed to President Andrew Hamilton on April 27. In the letter, they cite the upcoming hurricane season and the time Puerto Rico still needs to rebuild. Growing up, many of the HMAP students dreamed

Looking at Alternative Food Providers to Aramark By SAKSHI VENKATRAMAN and KRISTINA HAYHURST News Editor and Deputy News Editor NYU’s food service provider, Aramark, has had a controversial year. Since November’s failed health inspection in Lipton Dining Hall and February’s stereotype-ridden Black History Month meal, there have been many appeals from campus activist groups for NYU to

divest from the Fortune 500 service provider when its contract goes up for bid in August. In a March meeting of the Dining Advisory Committee — a group comprised mostly of NYU undergraduates — Assistant Vice President for Campus Services Owen Moore and Senior Director of Campus Services Michael O’Brien presented a timeline for evaluating potential Aramark replacements in the coming year. “Quality (food, service, sanitation) variety, diversity of program (vegan, vegetarian, halal, kosher, food relat-

ed allergens, health and wellness) affordability and value, convenience and an exciting program are the primary qualifiers,” Moore said in an email to WSN. When asked if NYU would consider going independent like the University of California, Los Angeles or contracting with a smaller service provider, Moore said the idea was in consideration but most likely not sustainable for the university at this time. CONTINUED ON PAGE 3|

of attending NYU. But they never imagined they’d ever get the opportunity. “I’d always wanted to come to NYU, but it was never a possibility — it was just a mere dream of mine that I never thought would become a reality,” said Martinez-Lugo, a visiting sophomore studying Education at University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras. “The hurricane was a horrible thing, but this came out of it.” The HMAP students come from a number of different universities, both public and private, with majors ranging from Drama to Electrical Engineering. While many of the students came from the same Puerto Rican universities, most did not know anyone when they arrived in New York. CONTINUED ON PAGE 11|

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The Kite from wallkill correctional facility on Page 7 and nyunews.com/KITE-APRIL-30


Washington Square News | Monday, April 30, 2018

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NEWS

nyunews.com Edited by Sakshi Venkatraman and Mack DeGeurin news@nyunews.com

CRIME LOG

Student Falls Victim to Extortion in Residence Hall By CRIME BOT Deputy News Editor

From April 21 to April 25, the NYU Department of Public Safety received two reports of controlled substance violations, one report of disorderly conduct, one report of extortion, one report of harassment, three reports of larceny and three reports of trespassing.

CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE VIOLATION

STAFF PHOTO BY ALANA BEYER

NYU administrators take a tour of the clean room

NYU Tandon Welcomes Brooklyn’s First Cleanroom for Advancing Technology By SARAH JACKSON Deputy News Editor

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering opened Brooklyn’s first cleanroom — a laboratory designed to keep particulate matter out so that researchers can develop nanotechnology — on Friday afternoon. Located in Rogers Hall at 6 MetroTech Center, the incredibly sterile 2,300-square-foot laboratory will allow researchers to develop nanotechnology and other electronics so sensitive that even a dust particle could render them defective. The NanoFab CleanRoom, as it has been named, will be key in the development of solar cells, hackproof hardware and even devices that can identify cancer at the cellular level. To build the cleanroom, Tandon received a $2.5 million grant from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York in addition to $1 million in funding from the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President Eric. L Adams. “Any new young mind who’s trying to develop their skills want[s] to go to an environment that’s going to cover their development, and there’s no greater level of encouragement than showing that you are invested in the technology that is needed to grow,” Adams said to WSN. “We just upped the notch on Tandon, what Tandon has to offer, and we’re going to be like

a magnet. We’re going to draw some of those young scholars here to this school.” The space is three years in the making, and using it will cost between $20 and $200 per hour, depending on the equipment needed, according to News 12 Brooklyn. Adams, President Andrew Hamilton, Tandon Dean Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, Vice Chair of Tandon’s Board of Overseers Chandrika Tandon, DASNY President and CEO Gerrard P. Bushell and others gathered for the opening of the room on Friday, April 27. The room is rated Class 1000, meaning the number of particles larger than 0.5 microns must stay below 1000 for every 1 million particles in the room. Typical rooms, for perspective, usually fall under Class 1,000,000. To maintain this stringent level of cleanliness, the room utilizes high-efficiency particulate air filters. It also has higher air pressure than most rooms, pushing dust and floating particles near doors out of the room into surrounding areas of lower air pressure. Finally, visitors in the cleanroom must wear protective gear such as gloves, hair nets, shoe covers and body suits to reduce the amount of particulate matter they bring into the lab. James Burnette, Tandon’s manager of Cleanroom and Shared Instrumentation Facilities, stressed the importance of keeping even

the smallest, most seemingly harmless particulate matter away from the technology being developed in the room. “If you have a bunch of small particles floating around and you’re trying to make an electronic device, say a chip or something like that, those particles are very small, and they’re going to stick because of electrostatic interaction between the particles and the surface of whatever you’re trying to make,” Burnette said. “Once they stick, it’s impossible to remove them.” Adams hopes the cleanroom will be the first of many in Brooklyn. “The goal is to start out with one room and once people see the benefits of it, then you continue the evolution for more cleanrooms and you continue to grow,” he said. Dean Sreenivasan said the fact that Tandon was chosen to be the home of Brooklyn’s first cleanroom was only natural. “NYU is a research university, and a good research university always has cleanrooms,” Sreenivasan said. “Now, students and faculty can do things that they were previously unable to do.” The facility is expected to open for full operations by the end of June. Email Sarah Jackson at sjackson@nyunews.com.

On April 21 at 11:30 p.m., a resident assistant reported that during rounds, she recovered alcohol from one of the dormitories in Lipton Residence Hall. Police notification was declined and the case has been referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. On April 24, Public Safety recovered a small amount of controlled substances and alcohol from a dormitory in Lafayette Residence Hall. The case is closed and has been referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

DISORDERLY CONDUCT

On April 24 at 11:24 a.m., an NYU staff member reported disorderly conduct at the Student Health Center. Police notification was declined, and the case is closed and has been referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

EXTORTION

On April 23 at 3:10 p.m., an NYU student reported that he was a victim of extortion in University Residence Hall. A police report was filed and the case is open and under investigation.

HARASSMENT

On April 22 at 6:08 p.m., an NYU student reported that she

was a victim of harassment in Washington Square Park. Police notification was declined and the case is open and under investigation.

LARCENY

On April 24 at 11:10 a.m., an NYU staff member reported a wallet missing from a desk drawer in 5 MetroTech Center. The case is open and under investigation. On April 24 at 9:13 p.m., an NYU student reported that his running shoes were missing from a locker room in Palladium Athletic Facility. Police notification was declined and the case is open and under investigation. On April 25 at 10:15 a.m., an NYU student reported that items were missing from his book bag in the Basic Science building. Police notification was declined and the case is open and under investigation.

TRESPASSING

On April 21 at 11:10 p.m., a Public Safety officer reported a trespassing on the 11th and 12th floors of the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library. Police notification was declined and the case is open and under investigation. On April 22 at 11:38 p.m., a Public Safety officer reported a trespassing on the 11th and 12th floors of Elmer Holmes Bobst Library. Police notification was declined, and the case is open and under investigation. On April 23 at 10:23 a.m., an NYU Public Safety officer reported that a person was trespassing at the Tisch Hall bike racks. A police report was filed and the case was referred to the New York Police Department. Email Crime Bot at news@nyunews.com.

INFORMING YOU FIRST

NYUNEWS.COM


Washington Square News | Monday, April 30, 2018

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NEWS

Edited by Sakshi Venkatraman and Mack DeGeurin news@nyunews.com

College Early Admissions Practices Under Investigation

STAFF PHOTO BY TONY WU

NYU’s new Admissions Center.

By SARAH JACKSON Deputy News Editor

Universities and colleges suspected of exchanging information about applicants, a practice that violates antitrust laws, received letters earlier this month as part of the United States Department of Justice investigation into early admissions policies of several higher education institutions. NYU was not included in this investigation. The letter asked its recipients to pre-

serve communications with other schools regarding the exchange of accepted students’ personal information as well as subsequent decisions made in response to such received information. Students can apply to multiple schools through regular decision and even early action, which is non-binding, but the Common App does not allow them to apply early decision to more than one school. Those who are accepted through early decision are expected to withdraw their applications to other educational institutions. For NYU in particular, these students must do so within 25 days of receiving their offer of admission. The universities and colleges supposedly share information to cross-check that students really do cancel those other applications, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. “NYU is not among the schools contacted by the Justice Department,” NYU Director of Executive Communications Shonna Keogan wrote in an email to WSN. “In terms of financial aid, we use exactly the same policies for structuring packages for early decision acceptances as we do for those accepted in the regular decision process. And, while the early

decision program generally requires admitted students to withdraw applications to other universities and commit to NYU, the key exception to that rule is if a student feels his or her financial aid package is insufficient. Simply put, students admitted through Early Decision who believe they cannot afford NYU are not bound by Early Decision.” NYU’s admission rate was approximately 28 percent for the entire class of 2021, while its admission rate for Early Decision applicants of the class was approximately 38 percent. This 10 percent difference grew from just one percent in 2014, according to the NYU Admissions Blog. The blog also states that Early Decision applicants can turn down offers of admission to NYU if they were not accepted into the specific campus, program, school or college in which they expressed interest in their Common App. Students who apply early decision are required to have a parent and school counselor complete the Common App Early Decision Agreement. “If you are an Early Decision candidate and are seeking financial aid, you need not withdraw other applications until you have received notification about financial aid from the admitting Early Decision in-

stitution,” the agreement reads. Students cannot compare financial aid packages across universities if they apply through early decision. For Priya Tharwala, a current senior at Flower Mound High School in Texas, finding out that she was accepted to NYU under Early Decision II was a dream. But the financial aid package she received on the same day was a different story. “When I got the $1,000, there was no debate,” Tharwala said. “I was just not going to go to NYU.” Tharwala applied to NYU under Early Decision II and expected to receive between $25,000 and $30,000 in financial aid based on online financial aid calculators. NYU initially offered her a meager $1,000 per year in financial aid. After a persistent back and forth with the university, she was able to raise that number to $11,000 per year — and commit to attend the Stern School of Business in the fall. Ian Clements, another incoming Stern first-year and a current senior at Vista Murrieta High School in California, also applied Early Decision II to NYU and early action to other schools. Although he is happy with his financial aid package, he is glad the Justice Department is looking into finan-

cial aid offers. “I think that’s really unethical in the sense that, when you’re doing financial aid, it should be based off merit and need,” Clements said. “I think when a student applies early decision, it’s normally because that is their number one school, so I think to use that leverage and to have people have to pay more money than they really should’ve is pretty messed up.” The government’s concern over universities sharing applicants’ information in the admissions process may be new, but universities have long gained access to students’ information even before the application process. “NYU, like virtually all colleges and universities, purchases the names and contact information of all students (not just international) who have strong test scores and who ask to have colleges and universities contact them with more information,” Assistant Vice President and Dean of Admissions Shawn Abbott said in an email to WSN. The Common App did not respond to a request for comment.

Email Sarah Jackson at sjackson@nyunews.com.

Looking at Alternative Food Providers to Aramark |CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 “NYU is one of the larger and most complex dining programs in the country,” Moore said to WSN. “Understanding that, there are limited companies with the experience and resources that can provide a best-in-class dining program the NYU community deserves.”

There are three large-scale companies that could efficiently serve NYU’s campus — Aramark, Sodexo and Compass Group USA — as well as three regional providers — AVI, CulinArt and Parkhurst — who might also be interested, according to Moore. CulinArt, although mentioned separately by Moore, was acquired by Compass Group in 2016. Aramark, Sodexo and Compass Group are listed as the largest three providers on Food Management’s “Top 50 Contract Companies” list, and each has had problems similar to Aramark’s, particularly with the prisons they are contracted by.

SODEXO

Sodexo — a management services company headquartered in France — has experienced its fair share of scandals. In 2010, the group was accused of siphoning cash from schools and the military. The organization paid a $20 million settlement over claims they had overcharged for meals in New York school districts and the State University of New York between 2004 and 2009. In 2013, the company was also involved in the horse meat scandal that affected many service providers — including Compass Group USA — across the United Kingdom. The discovery of the contamination of products being served in schools, retirement homes and to military servicemen forced a massive recall of all Sodexo’s frozen beef products. As far as its services in the United

States, Sodexo has been boycotted by several institutions, including DePauw University and the University of Washington. As early as 2006, students at DePauw boycotted the food service provider, protesting the company’s low pay and investment in private prisons. In 2011, several University of Washington students were arrested for demanding the school to cut ties with Sodexo by sitting in at the UW administration offices. Sodexo’s presence in and management of private prisons has also been a point of controversy in the past. In an article published by the Independent, Sodexo Justice Services was slammed for “cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment” of a female prisoner at a U.K. prison run by the service provider. The treatment she faced being isolated in squalor for an extended period of was akin to torture, according to the report. Most recently, a 2016 report by the Daily Mail revealed the poor quality of food served by Sodexo to U.K. service members, including moldy and rotten eggs and meat, and dishes infested with maggots. In the last year, Sodexo has managed to avoid majorly negative press, even hosting a Future Chefs Challenge for elementary school students earlier this month. In March, the company was recognized by National Association for Female Executives as a Top Company for Executive Women.

COMPASS GROUP

Compass Group North America, the world’s largest catering group, has seen similar scandals — from multiple lawsuits to discrepancies over the quality of food. In 2005, Compass faced two lawsuits accusing the company of engaging in

criminal activity to win United Nations food service contracts. Compass did not admit liability but paid $40 million to settle the lawsuits “to avoid the uncertainties and costs associated with litigation.” Shortly after the settlement, two senior executives were suspended pending an internal investigation. In 2008, a $200 million lawsuit was filed against Compass Group alleging racial discrimination against employees at the Comcast Center in Philadelphia. The lawsuit, brought on by 11 former and current black employees, accused Compass managers of segregating black employees and calling them “monkey,” “gorilla” and “n-----.” In 2012, Compass settled an $18 million lawsuit for overcharging 39 New York schools and districts for their lunch. In 2008, food supplied to correctional facilities in Ontario by a division of Compass Group tested positive for Listeria Monocytogenes, which can be found in unpasteurized products and can cause serious illnesses such as brain and blood infections. In 2016, formal complaints were filed by 25 people over pre-packed meals served within the Southern District Health Board in New Zealand. In 2013, beef burgers sent to sites in Ireland catered by Compass tested positive for horse DNA.

AVI FOODSYSTEMS

Based out of Warren, Ohio, AVI is a smaller food service provider that mainly services businesses and campuses. It is also involved in serving K-12 schools and is the official provider for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. AVI also services a dining hall in Hunter College that was forced to shut down in 2016 after a Department of

STAFF PHOTO BY KATIE PEURRUNG

The Courtyard Cafe at Third North.

Health inspection discovered mice and flies. Greenpeace also labeled the provider as one of the worst performing in seafood sustainability. Parkhurst Dining Services, a division of Eat’n Park hospitality group, is another small-scale provider being considered. Founded in 1958, Eat’n Park is a four-time winner of the Best People Practices award, and was nationally recognized for its employee retention. Parkhurst has a focus on making food from scratch and supports over 200 local growers, family-owned farms and food producers within a 125-mile radius of its service areas. Parkhurst has faced minimal complaints but was replaced by Aramark as food provider at Capital University in 2015 because of a lack of vegan options and dietary restriction accommodations.

2019 with the two finalists. The committee in charge of the evaluation will present its recommendation to NYU administrators, who will make the final decision in June 2019. “It’s an NYU community process and we’re really doing a good job of being transparent on the process and seeking community feedback,” Moore said. Moore also had an informational meeting with NYU’s Incarceration to Education Coalition on April 20, as the IEC has been one of the groups on campus advocating for Aramark’s removal. “Originally, Owen Moore rejected the idea of self-providing, but agreed to look into it further,” the IEC said. “However, Moore refused to promise to use a provider not invested in mass incarceration, saying it was not a high priority for the university.”

SELECTING A PROVIDER

Additional reporting by Sayer Devlin.

PARKHURST

In March, Moore presented the DAC with a timeline for the potential shift. After bidders are evaluated in fall 2018, there will be a town hall in spring

Email Sakshi Venkatraman and Kristina Hayhurst at news@ nyunews.com.


Washington Square News | Monday, April 30, 2018

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ARTS

nyunews.com Edited by Ryan Mikel arts@nyunews.com

‘Maine’ Lacks a Main Event BY MATTHEW HOLMAN Entertainment Editor

“Maine” is a film lost in the wilderness. The second feature from director Matthew Brown attempts to shift his filmmaking from simple indie material to accessible art through a narrative recalling something not unlike Jean-Marc Vallée’s “Wild.” The film documents a woman named Bluebird (Laia Costa) and a man named Lake (Thomas Mann), both twentysomethings, traveling along the Appalachian Trail. They relish in their sentiments of solitude, with the winding but ostensibly endless trails of their venture reflective of the uncertainty and downright confusion of navigating adulthood. It should be noted post haste that this journey is a stunner: the cinematography by Donald R. Monroe is bound to take some breaths away, hyphenating the beauty of this trail and juxtaposing it with the sullen feelings of these characters. However, this beauty is ultimately hollow, as “Maine” proposes a poetic look at finding oneself through both the outside and through others, but falters in materializing its core. If “Maine” were evaluated solely on its aforementioned to be visuals, it would likely be considered a flat-out masterpiece. Monroe guides the behemoth of natural beauty with intense care: a number of the tracking shots can be described as being as smooth as silk. It wouldn’t be hyperbolic to say that these images look as though they could’ve been ripped straight from an Audubon magazine. It’s an especially staggering achievement for what is an undoubtedly lo-fi fare, and there’s more to the camerawork than documenting

overtly gorgeous nature. The shots when Lake and Bluebird interact are intimate and raw, too. These scenes define the overwhelming beauty of the film: they give it form. But where the film has visual spectacle in spades, it lacks in narrative intrigue. Figuratively –– and sometimes literally –– lost, Lake and Bluebird are characters perhaps searching to come of age when the period to come of age has passed them by. Both Costa and Mann are genuinely decent in these roles, with the former shining particularly in some emotional moments toward the film’s conclusion. However, their competency does not alleviate the occasional vapidness of the dialogue. It’s evident both of them are withholding deep personal secrets, but when these are unveiled it cannot help but feel overshadowed by the seemingly meaningless conversations that came prior. This lack of development hinders the short runtime of the film as well, with its 85-minute length crawling on to a conclusion that slaps the spectator out of nowhere. All this being said, “Maine” is a film that highlights exciting potential. Brown articulates intriguing thoughts about connectivity between humans and nature and ourselves. But perhaps highlighting the pangs of a sophomore cinematic session, it’s an uneven balancing act of awesome aesthetics meshed with narrative malnourishment. Not unlike the characters it portrays, it’s a film that could’ve used a map to guide its journey to a more cohesive, and simply satisfying, conclusion.

Email Matthew Holman at mholman@nyunews.com.

COURTESY OF TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

COURTESY OF NETFLIX

‘Bobby Kennedy for President:’ A Glossy Tribute BY LILY DOLIN Staff Writer

Charming. Young. Energetic. For many Americans in the 1960s, the Kennedy family embodied the idea of a newer, stronger country. Unfortunately, these hopes were cut short when John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy, were assassinated just years apart. This year at the Tribeca Film Festival, “Bobby Kennedy for President,” an episodic documentary from Netflix, follows the life and legacy of Bobby Kennedy and explores who he was before he died. Directed by Dawn Porter, this four-hour documentary begins by focusing not on Kennedy’s 1968 presidential candidacy, but on his life and political work before the campaign. The opening shots of the documentary detail just how loved Bobby Kennedy was by the American people. Porter utilizes footage of adoring crowds cheering on the politician and reaching out to shake his hand to emphasize the cultlike following he accumulated and that followed him. In his family life, Kennedy was just as charming and admired as he was in public. Porter uses never

before seen footage of the Kennedy family, including intimate home videos and interviews, to paint an idealized and sometimes excessively complimentary view of the family, who all appear young, attractive and vivacious. Still, there was another side to Kennedy, as the documentary attempts to show. Featuring interviews by Representative John Lewis and singer Harry Belafonte, the film traces Kennedy’s struggles to fully accept the civil rights movement and his ruthless political ambition that originally led him to distance himself from leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. And yet, he is absolved in the end, as the documentary shows his transformation from a cold attorney general to a warm supporter of equal rights. Following the screening of the film, there was a panel, featuring Porter, Ambassador William Vanden Heuvel, Robert Kennedy’s daughter Kerry Kennedy and Juan Romero, the busboy at the Ambassador hotel who was with Kennedy when he was assassinated. Each panelist told the audience about their own personal experiences with the politician and how his strong moral compass guided him toward a life of public service. Kerry Kennedy fondly re-

membered her father and explained how she tries to carry on his legacy, even today. But it was Romero who gave the most heartfelt tribute to the fallen candidate. He described meeting Kennedy in his hotel room, saying that, “when he’s looking at you, he’s not looking past you.” As Romero, Porter and the other panelists explained, part of Kennedy’s charm was his ability to make his audience feel as though they were the only ones in the room. At one point, Romero choked up while remembering his brief encounter with Kennedy, which he said has left a lasting impression on him. Overall, “Bobby Kennedy for President” made a successful Tribeca debut. The documentary is chock full of intimate and detailed footage that allows the audience to feel as though they are part of Kennedy’s inner circle. And while it may seem overly flattering at times, the film does counter that narrative, and provides an in depth look at the life of a young leader, who might have led the country if given the chance. “Bobby Kennedy for President” is available for streaming on Netflix. Email Lily Dolin at entertainment@nyunews.com.


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Washington Square News | Monday, April 30, 2018

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ARTS

Edited by Ryan Mikel arts@nyunews.com

Comedy and Trauma and ‘All About Nina’ By NATALIE WHALEN Film Editor

NYU alumna (Tisch ’98) Eva Vives’ newest film “All About Nina,” which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival on April 22, blends comedy, drama and romance, but if you are watching just for the laughs, be warned: there are much darker things to come, lurking dangerously close to the surface. Nina (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is a humorously crass female comic whose jokes cover topics from her frequent one night stands to men’s sexualization of her onstage. We first meet her at the mic and are truly introduced to her through her rough encounters with men later that night

— from a fellow dumpy comic who can’t help but hit on her, to the frat star she brings home from a bar, to her boyfriend, a married cop played by Chace Crawford, who hits her. Though the film starts slow, as we learn all about Nina, we come to be incredibly invested in her life. She is guarded, to be sure, and appears to be an independent, self-assured woman. But her bouts of anxiety — throwing up every time she gets off stage, having panic attacks after sex and being unable to share even basic vulnerability with others — show something deeper dwelling underneath. The film follows Nina as she moves

to Los Angeles to be cast on Comedy Prime, a fictional show that, though ambiguous, seems to bear similarity to Saturday Night Live. Nina moves in with her agent’s friend, Lake, a New Age-y lesbian, whose Californian absurdity contrasts with Nina’s hard exterior, as she focuses in on her goals of comedy stardom. Winstead isn’t your typical funny woman, but delivers the more humorous elements of the script — particularly, a scene with impressions of Bjork and Werner Herzog ordering smoothies — incredibly well. The dramatic moments, however, are her clear forte. Winstead portrays Nina’s guarded nature so well that it isn’t

until much later that the contrast between her humor and acute anxiety are enmeshed into a full, richly complex human being — but when they are, it hits hard. This is in part due to none other than Common, the rapper, who is incredible as Nina’s love interest, Rafe. Equally as complex, it’s through this relationship that we are able to see the never vulnerable Nina begin to tell the truth about her heavy past. He is a revelation as a leading man — it’s nearly frustrating that we haven’t seen him in more of these roles, though we surely will begin to. Before the film gets shockingly deep –– though not unwarrantedly so –– it builds, and we wonder about Nina and Rafe’s success as a couple.

But until things suddenly break down for Nina toward the end of the film, there’s slight uncertainty that the film will land in the way it needs to. Its pacing and tone, at times, can be off, and some audiences may take issue with the degree of darkness that this comedy decides to tackle. Yet with what Vives is going for — a realistic, complex exploration of a human being who uses comedy to deal with her issues — kept in mind, the film is a well-done and thought-provoking one, delving into how one deals with a specific, dark past to find career success and true intimacy with another person. Email Natalie Whalen at nwhalen@nyunews.com.

“ALL ABOUT NINA” | COURTESY OF TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

“TO DUST” | COURTESY OF TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

“JELLYFISH” | COURTESY OF TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

BY GURU RAMANATHAN Staff Writer

If one were to only judge James Gardner’s feature debut “Jellyfish” on its synopsis, their initial assumptions may betray them. The film’s dramatic elements overshadow its attempt to be comedic, but prove Gardner’s potential as a new voice in film. The British film, which had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 20, revolves around Sarah Taylor (Liv Hill), a teenager who has to maintain the stability of her family, often channelling her frustrations into crude humor against school bullies. Aimless in life, Sarah

‘Jellyfish’ Is a Valiant First Effort for James Gardner is encouraged by her teacher to take up stand-up comedy for an upcoming talent showcase. Although one would expect a balance of humor and drama, “Jellyfish” is a mostly engaging film that carries on depressingly, meditating on the need to balance one’s personal interests when carrying the weight of the world on one’s shoulders. Everyone depends on Sarah: her two young siblings and manic-depressive mother, her teacher, her boss at the arcade she works at, even the creepy arcade customers that pay her for handjobs. In full domino effect, once one aspect of Sarah’s life stumbles, everything else begins to topple, too.

“Jellyfish” hinges on the audience suspending its disbelief on the impeccable timing of Sarah’s life deteriorating all at once, but Gardner does a mostly good job navigating this treacherous balance. The narrative’s main faults are towards the end, punctuated by a sexual assault scene that is blatantly unnecessary and could have been removed entirely. Gardner’s insistence on making Sarah a budding comedian is overshadowed by everything else happening in her life. It seems reasonable that she would have little time writing a stand-up routine, so why have one at all? It is certainly not adding anything to the story since

Gardner only devotes a few forgettable scenes toward the stand-up, so the viewer is barely subjected to her comedic growth and the climax has no real catharsis. But, much like how Sarah is carrying her family on her shoulders, Hill bravely powers the film on her talent, overpowering the likes of Cyril Nri and Sinead Matthew. Hill had trouble with her jokes, partly due to the writing and hit-or-miss comedic timing. When she has to tell jokes, they often come across forced and gratuitously crude. But Hill sold everything else: the happy facade Sarah has to maintain in front of her siblings, the bullying, the frustration of dealing with her mother,

the trauma of working at the arcade. She has strong dramatic chops, and hopefully “Jellyfish” shows that she is an actress looking to stay — even if comedy isn’t her strong suit. 2017 was a year of incredible directorial debuts –– “Jellyfish” demonstrates the challenge of getting it perfectly right on the first try. Still, Gardner is a promising writer and director who made a competent film which worked well in most aspects, had good performances and was engaging until it sputtered in the last act. With “Jellyfish,” Gardner shows his potential to make a standout hit. Email Guru Ramanathan at film@nyunews.com.

A Complex Examination of Grief in ‘To Dust’ By ALEX CULLINA Staff Writer

A woman off-camera flatlines in her hospital bed. Shmuel’s wife is dead. This is how Shawn Snyder’s film, “To Dust,” which had its world premiere on April 23 and won the Tribeca Film Festival’s audience award, opens. Shmuel, in a Hasidic Jewish grieving custom, tries — and fails — to rip the lapel of his coat. This strange moment of grief and comedy mingled together is an early signal that the film isn’t going to be your typical film about death.

In the weeks after his wife’s death from cancer, Shmuel (Géza Röhrig), an Orthodox Jewish man living in upstate New York with his mother and his two preteen sons, finds he is unable to fulfill his duties as a cantor to sing in temple. When Shmuel is haunted by disturbing dreams of his wife’s body rotting, he consults his rabbi, but he finds the rabbi’s platitudes unconvincing. Becoming obsessed with trying to understand what is happening to his wife’s body as it decays, Shmuel enlists the help of a community college science teacher, Albert (Matthew Broderick).

Albert, after much prodding, reluctantly agrees to help Shmuel, and after a trip to the library, they embark on an absurd experiment that involves a dead pig, surreptitious nighttime visits to the woods and a lot of digging. The film’s exploration of loss and what it means to grieve a loved one is generally nuanced and heartfelt, and Shmuel’s channeling of his pain into his strange mission is genuinely compelling. But a subplot involving his two sons and their search for a whispered-about videotape is underdeveloped, and the ways Snyder tries to lighten the mood is occasionally jarring and unsubtle.

For a movie that generally treats its protagonist’s Orthodox Judaism with sensitivity and openness, much of the humor of the film is based on Shmuel’s outsider status relative to the other characters and by extension, the presumed audience. In a joke that quickly becomes stale, Albert repeatedly refers to Shmuel as a rabbi, even after Shmuel corrects him. When a woman tries to shake Shmuel’s hand, he declines; the film’s focus in the scene is on the woman’s bemused reaction to his strange behavior. Röhrig and Roderick avail themselves relatively well, although the

script doesn’t give them much range to explore their characters. Albert, in particular, comes off as especially flat, seemingly only able to express various shades of exasperation. The emotions and motivations “To Dust” tackles are complex, and the film’s approach to them is generally nuanced. However, the ostensibly cathartic release at the film’s close feels divorced from the preceding 80 minutes, so while the final scene packs a punch, it doesn’t feel earned. Email Alex Cullina at film@nyunews.com.


Washington Square News | Monday, April 30, 2018

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FEATURES

nyunews.com Edited by Yasmin Gulec features@nyunews.com

Phillip Picardi: Giving ‘them’ a Seat at the Table By AMANDA BURKETT Violet Vision Editor

Preparing to meet Phillip Picardi features a mix of fangirling, anxiety and stressing over the perfect outfit. Luckily (and unluckily) for me, I never met Picardi in person, due to his busy work schedule. After a series of emails and scheduling discussion, Picardi was able to devote some time to talk with a student from his alma mater over the phone. Although I could show up to our call in pajamas and Picardi would never know, his extensive resume and press coverage intimidated me. You may already be familiar with him if you’re an in-the-know millennial, or an average Gen Zer, maybe you are even one of his 42,300 Instagram followers or if you’re familiar with the products of his work — Teen Vogue, Allure, Refinery29 or them. Picardi has capitalized on his acute understanding of teenagers in a powerful way — he has even been referred to as a “mind reader” by Fast Company. Not only is he a friend of Anna Wintour, he’s made the Forbes’ 30 under 30 list and Out Magazine’s OUT100. At 27 years old Picardi’s stock is on the rise with nowhere to go but up. Picardi introduced himself to the firstyear class at the NYU Presidential Welcome this past August. His unforgettable speech made him a household name for Class of 2021 students — sharing his humble beginnings, which included hiding Teen Vogue under his bed. It may seem hard to believe, but only nine years ago Picardi was in our shoes. “I was fresh from Boston, with a very north-of-Boston bright orange tan and a blow out, that was very reminiscent of Pauly D but like a gay version,” Picardi said. Fake tan and all, Picardi lived out his aspirations, while living in Goddard Residence Hall — thriving on the hustle. Picardi attended the Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration in “Beauty,” all while working various internships and a part-time retail job at Saks Fifth Avenue. In his

COURTESY OF RICHARD GERST

Phillip Picardi (Gallatin ‘12) is the digital editorial director for Teen Vogue and Allure.

free time, he penciled in time to go clubbing with friends. “I spent most of my academic years off campus interning and working,” Picardi said. “On campus I did a lot of independent studies, and often, I was much more focused on my work and career rather than academics.” Picardi’s intrinsic confidence was swept out from under him when he found out that people had been bullying him online. While Picardi was at NYU, the now-defunct website CollegeACB hosted sections for hundreds of universities around the United States and users could post anonymously, which lead to students posting about other students. Picardi’s friends logged onto the NYU section on CollegeACB and discovered a thread devoted to his eyebrows. “People saying my eyebrows made me look like a pedophile, and that they thought I had gotten a facelift, or botox,” Picardi said. “I was so horrified, because I took, and take, so much pride in my appearance, but especially as a college kid.” That day, Picardi arrived at his Teen Vogue internship in tears. His boss at the

time, Eva Chen, assured him of himself — and of his thick brows — and asked him to write about the experience for Teen Vogue. Picardi calls the piece the most formative of his internship years. Once Chen saw his writing, he was promoted from web intern to beauty intern. Following that, he rose to assistant editor, then editor. After leaving briefly to “play with lipsticks” as senior beauty editor of Refinery29, he returned as the digital editorial director of Teen Vogue — at 23 years old. “I don’t think I would be as young as I am in my job had I not gone to NYU,” Picardi said. Picardi often speaks about seeing his age as an advantage, but he did not always feel that way. When he was appointed to digital editorial director, he knew he had a lot to prove. While people tried to undermine him, his network of industry mentors encouraged him to take the high road. “That taught me so much about leadership and how to lead with grace,” Picardi said. “And not to get caught up in petty nonsense and to lead by exam-

ple — to prove your worth.” Despite being proclaimed as a “fearless editor” by Anna Wintour, Picardi is still proving his worth in the office every day. He is aware that the publishing industry is changing at a rapid pace and the future is hard to predict. “I never feel 100 percent stable or secure,” Picardi said. “But, I thrive on that feeling.” Picardi identified a gap in Teen Vogue’s content — he had a vision of where the publication could go beyond just beauty. With confidence and clarity, Picardi navigated Teen Vogue through a shift that was deemed surprising — to everyone but him. “We wanted to cater to a young person’s whole existence, rather than what their appearance was,” Picardi said. After making this decision, Teen Vogue expanded from fashion, beauty and entertainment, to verticals devoted to wellness, lifestyle and most famously, news and politics. Picardi prides his rebrand on inclusivity, he halted content that discussed “dressing for your body type” and photoshoots began to prioritize diversity. With the glossy profiles also came judgement, especially because of his role at Teen Vogue as a cisgender, white man. He is uniquely aware of this and stands up to his critics – feeling that anyone in power should be criticized. Picardi has been receptive to young people’s discussion of gender and continues to engage in conversation. “Teen Vogue for me represents a generation of young people, not just one gender – especially when this generation is shifting views on gender and representation.” Picardi said. He filled a blank space in the Condé Nast company this past October, by releasing a new platform – them. Them is an LGBTQ-centric digital publication devoted to shifting discussion of gender among young people. Picardi wanted the platform to be in “true Condé Nast style” which he describes as beautiful, elevated and celebratory of people and their stories. He shared that he would’ve

liked something like them growing up, but its online presence in this political climate makes it accessible to teenagers in a way that print could not be. “Now, queer kids are growing up in a time where confidence in LGBTQ people is actually down, where Donald Trump is our president and is actively lobbying against the trans community,” Picardi said. One month after starting them, Picardi’s position at Teen Vogue became even more essential, as the magazine ended its print production. Picardi’s job title is now chief content officer at both Teen Vogue and them. In his vision of an empowered youth, Picardi has engineered Teen Vogue’s first New York summit with a bluntly political theme, #TurnUp. The focus is the importance of civic engagement and on rallying young people to “turn up” to the polls for the November midterm elections. “I do think that after a very exhausting year of fighting back, people need a moment to be with each other and to listen to each other and to hear different viewpoints,” Picardi said. Picardi speaks highly of the politically conscious environment at NYU. From it he learned how to navigate progressive conversations about identity and social justice. “I think if I didn’t go to NYU, with so many schools of thought and so many progressive, intelligent thinkers,” Picardi said. “I think my career would’ve been very different than it was today.” Despite being a success at Teen Vogue for almost 10 years, Picardi doesn’t see his lead as infinite. Picardi refers to them as his baby, as the light of his life, but still asserts that he will not be part of it forever. “Teen Vogue’s content necessarily shifts with each generational shift,” Picardi said. “I’m excited to take this brand in a new direction […] and I’m really excited to see what comes next.” Email Amanda Burkett at aburkett@nyunews.com.

Think of Coffee With a Cause By LAURA RUBIO Staff Writer

America runs on more than just Dunkin’ Donuts. It runs on all kinds of coffee. All over the country, but especially in New York City, there are independent coffee shops, small and major chains on every street corner. They aggressively compete for our business and we happily give it to them because, according to the National Coffee Association, 50 percent of college-aged consumers buy coffee regularly. Think Coffee, a New York Citybased chain, is making sure consumers are putting their money to good use. Think’s operation, Social Project Coffee, implores customers to pay a premium price for coffee in order to use the money to help local communities.

Noah Welch is the director of Coffee and International Projects for Think. He has been developing projects since 2011 and addresses a range of issues from clean water access to reforestation to feminine hygiene. Welch makes clear that every dollar counts. “If you [consume] a cup of coffee, a sandwich, a tea, a pastry from Think, you support every one of our projects,” Welch said. “Your consumption gives Think the purchasing power to continue.” What distinguishes Think’s SPC programs from other business models is the way Think helps farm workers gain access to basic human needs. Think refuses the direct trade model where the premium price is paid to the farmer growing the coffee rather than the community. “Under a direct trade model, there is no requirement — or evidence — that work-

ers or the community share in the benefits of the premium price,” Think explains on its website. Instead, after finding a coffee it approves and that shows demand, Think works with the farmer or producer to develop a project that, as Welch puts it, is both necessary and plausible for the community’s overall growth. Currently, Think has a housing reconstruction project in Colombia, a worker housing project and an adult literacy project in Nicaragua and a feminine hygiene project in Ethiopia. “It’s just about making a positive and effective social impact, building friendships with people whose needs are greater than ours, fighting with the dollar and being sure that the earth and workers are respected,” Welch said. Think Coffee isn’t the only chain interested in making a change. Starbucks

COURTESY OF NOAH WELCH

Director of Coffee and International Projects for Think Noah Welch distributing menstrual kits in Kellensoo, Ethiopia.

has an extensive page on its website that details how it leaves a social impact. Many of its initiatives and goals seem promising. Nonetheless, Welch hopes companies like Starbucks and others continue to grow in their efforts of supporting the communities they buy from.

“I don’t see any reason that Social Project Sugar, Corn, Salt, Oil, whatever, can’t exist,” Welch said. “The ultimate dream is for every industry that works in commodities to work this way.” Email Laura Rubio at dining@nyunews.com.


The

nyunews.com

Kite

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Thoughts from Wallkill Correctional Facility. Est. 2018.

From the Editors

Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Wallkill Kite, created and published by individuals incarcerated at the Wallkill Correctional Facility, in collaboration with the NYU Prison Education Program and Washington Square News. The accompanying pieces are the product of PEP’s Practical Journalism

When Prison Beats Life Outside

By GREGORY HEADLEY Contributing Writer

In less than four months, I will have served three years and three months of my latest sentence and will be eligible for what is called the “Limited Time Credit Available.” This program allows inmates convicted of violent felony offenses to shave up to six months from their sentences for good behavior, so long as they meet certain program criteria. I’m a good candidate. I have a “near spotless” institutional record, in the words of my offender rehabilitation counselor. I’ve earned more than 30 college credits through the NYU Prison Education Program, and my GPA currently stands at 4.0. I’ve trained puppies while in prison. I take yoga and meditation. I have been dreaming of this opportunity for years, going out of my way to avoid fights, watching my language and studying as hard as my mind has allowed in order to get out early and return to the world. However, I will not be submitting that application. That’s because, like many of my fellow inmates at Wallkill, I find myself facing a cruel irony. Taking advantage of the early release program would actually make my transition much harder. For one thing, it would mean returning to the city, with nowhere to stay, in the middle of winter. And to be quite honest, if the winter of 2019 is a repeat of this year, I would gladly pass on the time cut for that reason alone. It would mean leaving the NYU program 16 credits short of an associate’s degree, and having to bank on a scholarship and earn the remaining credits while simultaneously serving parole, finding a job and a home and reorienting myself to the outside world.

I feel like the character Garcin in Jean Paul Sartre’s play “No Exit,” who can’t quite bring himself to leave his prison cell even after the door swings open. Of course, I think I have a better reason. And remember the story of the ants and the grasshopper? The grasshopper played his fiddle instead of preparing for winter, while the ants got ready. It’s not a perfect analogy, but I can’t help thinking that getting released six months early would put me in the same shoes as the grasshopper. Better to be like the ants, prepare for the rough days ahead and further my education within one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It turns out I’m not the only one faced with this dilemma. “After 10 years in prison, an extra six months is nothing if it will benefit me in the long run,” said Omar Padilla, a 26-year-old student at Wallkill, who has also decided to forego a chance at early release. “I owe it to my family and to myself to come home with a degree.” Others find the idea of spending an extra day in prison when they don’t have to unthinkable. “Listen, I am not judging anybody who decides to stay longer,” Wayne Mosley, 28, told me. “I mean, to be honest, I was going to stay, but I am only going to need two more classes when I get out in order to get my degree.” I can’t say I blame him. Wallkill Correctional has been dubbed “a going home spot” — for many of us, a last stop before release — and that is what most prisoners dream about every day. Looks like some of my fellow inmates and I will be dreaming just a little bit longer. Email Gregory Headley at editor@nyunews.com.

ILLUSTRATION BY RACHEL BUIGAS-LOPEZ

course, taught by Adjunct Instructor Aaron Gell, and more stories are available online at nyunews. com/Kite-April-30. At Wallkill, a medium-security prison, we use the term “kite” to refer to a letter to a friend or loved one. At more restrictive facilities, the term can take on a more literal meaning:

incarcerated people use tightly rolled pages torn from magazines, attached to long strands of thread, to pass notes to one another — flinging them like paper planes from cell to cell. Think of this as a kite from us to you, a way of sharing our stories and connecting with the outside world. Thanks to Washington Square News

and PEP. Also thanks to the administration of Wallkill for clearing all the articles for publication. By the way, we’d love to hear what you think. Send us a kite via email at prison.education@nyu.edu. And thanks for reading! — Staff, The Wallkill Kite

Temptations Is Lit: A Night in Brooklyn By KEITH GOLDEN Contributing Writer

It was going to be a chill night. Just me and Chocolate, a bottle of Hennessy and some of the loudest, purplest Kush available. She and I we were smoking, drinking and watching some TV when Ron-g called. It was around 11 p.m. on a Friday night. Still early. He arrived about 20 minutes later. I rolled up another blunt, and thick smoke filled the room. He poured himself a cup, and I motioned for Chocolate to come sit on my lap. She is my friend with benefits. She obliged, and we made small talk and laughed a lot. The whole time I was thinking about the Twitter-stamped Ecstasy tablet in my pocket. I knew Chocolate would be feeling extra freaky later on, especially under the influence of Henny, weed and ecstasy — a combination she didn’t mind indulging in. She’d agreed to split it with me. But Ron-g was pushing a different plan. “Yo, Temptations is lit tonight bro. We gotta pull up,” he said about a nearby club. By the seductive look that Chocolate gave me, I could tell she was against the idea. She had come over to spend the night. When Ron-g wasn’t looking, she bit the pill in half and gave me the other portion. We both gulped them down with shots of Hennessy. A blunt or two later, and with almost the entire bottle gone, I was feeling nice. Ron-g was set on dragging me to the club, and I was warming up to the idea. Chocolate could spend the night anytime, I thought to myself, and maybe I could leave the club tonight with a new chick, especially given how euphoric I was feeling. “My nigga, you already dressed,” Ron-g said. “So come on, we out.” Chocolate gave me a look. “You serious?” she said. “Yeah,” I said. “You could stay here till I come back.” “Nigga, whatever,” she said. “I’m leaving. Call me a cab.” As the three of us headed out, the change in Chocolate’s demeanor was unmistakable. I was feeling on top of the world though and ready for more drinks and more girls. I told Ron-g to walk up ahead and meet me in front of the building where a girl named Honey lived. Honey was another friend with benefits. “I’mma meet in a minute, bro,” I told Ron-g, as I tried to flag down a cab for Chocolate. “Don’t ask me to come over no more,” she said. “You got me fucking tight.” Finally, a cab pulled over and she got in. Chocolate was a tough girl, so it took me by surprise when I saw a tear roll down her cheek. She gave the cab driver her address and stuck her hand out for me to pay. I gave her a $20 bill for the $7 ride. “Let me get some weed,” she de-

ILLUSTRATION BY RACHEL BUIGAS-LOPEZ

manded. I gave her a 20-gram bag, enough to hold her for the night, promised to call her tomorrow and shut the door. I nearly ran a block and a half to Honey’s building. Ron-g was in front with Fifty, Honey, Rakema and G. It was 12:20 a.m., which meant we only had 10 minutes to get to the liquor store. I wanted to pregame a little more before hitting the club. We made it just in time and shared a fifth of Hennessy. Meanwhile, I sold a couple bags for some extra spending money in the club. The block was flowing with customers, and a more disciplined businessman would have stuck around to serve them. But I was now hell-bent on going to the club and catching a new “vic.” Ron-g tried to persuade the others to come with us, but Fifty declined. “Nah bro, the block jinking tonight,” Fifty said. “I ain’t going nowhere.” It was around 2 a.m. when we approached Temptations. The line was halfway down the block — a good sign. Once we got inside, the ecstacy pill really kicked in. I instantly felt like a movie star. I was the best looking guy in the world. I felt certain no woman could resist me, and I had until about 6:30 a.m. to pick who I would be leaving with. I ordered a pint of Hennessy in the club, which went for $50. I smoked some more weed, grabbed a couple chicks and danced. The pint of liquor went down like a bottle of Poland Spring. This was my third bottle of the night, but I wasn’t drunk. I was just in superstar mode. A couple chicks were giving me play, but it was way too early to skip out with one. So what did I do? Ordered another bottle, of course. I was drinking like a fish but couldn’t seem to get drunk. It had to be the ecstacy. I spotted a chick I had taken home before, gave her a drink and smoked a blunt with her. For some reason, though, I wasn’t interested in her like that tonight. I needed something new, and the ecstasy told me I could pull it off. Before I knew it, it was going on 5:30

a.m. I had spent $150 on Hennessy but still wasn’t drunk. I was, however, feeling great, the driving beats and lyrics like a sweet siren to my ears. Still, I couldn’t help but notice that the club was slowly emptying out. Ron-g was probably somewhere chasing skirts. My options for companionship were decreasing by the minute. Getting anxious, I approached a few stragglers. One said she didn’t want to desert her friend. The other declined as well. Fuck. It was about to hit 6:30 a.m., and all the sexy chicks were gone, probably laying up with their dudes already. Before long, I found myself in a cab with Ron-g. I wasn’t giving up though. I decided to wake up Honey. The first time I called, her phone rang six times and disconnected. I instantly called back, and after about three rings, she picked up. “Yes, Deuce.” I could hear the crankiness in her tone. “Wake up, get dressed, I’m bout to come get you.,” I said. “Okay,” she said. Honey was my final resort, but I knew she would come through. When I walked into the lobby of her building, I was surprised to find Fifty and G still up hustling, so I kicked it with them for a while until they sold the last of their drugs. Meanwhile, Honey was texting me, getting aggravated, so I finally told her to come downstairs. We walked around the corner to my house. Once inside, I motioned her toward the bed and went to use the bathroom. As I emerged, anticipating some romance at last, I was startled by a loud snoring sound. Honey was asleep. Me — I still had energy. I called the breakfast spot nearby. “Let me get a turkey bacon egg and cheese on toast,” I said. Then I reconsidered “Make it two.” I ate them slowly, watching Honey sleep. Email Keith Golden at editor@nyunews.com.


Washington Square News | Monday, April 30, 2018 | THE KITE

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Tears of a Father: The Story of Keith Foxworth

ILLUSTRATION BY RACHEL BUIGAS-LOPEZ

By GREGORY HEADLEY Contributing Writer

It was approximately 2:36 p.m. on a sunny April day in 2017 when Zedias Mudzimba, a 56-year-old plumber, drove past a two-story house in Queens Village and witnessed a destructive force coming to life before his eyes — bringing darkness to what should have been a beautiful day. “I saw the smoke coming out of the second floor and thought, ‘Oh my God, I have to call 911,’” Muzimba told the Daily News. A fast-moving fire had broken out, trapping five people: Destiny Dones, age 20; her younger sister, Jada Foxworth, 16; and their cousins Rashawn Mathews, 10; and Chayce Lipford, 2, along with Jada’s best friend, Melody Edwards, 17. The families were interviewed. Their voices were heard. Their stories were told. But amid the chaos and confusion, one voice was forgotten. One story never made the headlines, a man forced to do his mourning quietly. Keith Foxworth, now 40 years old, was in prison at the time of this tragic event and is finally having his story told a year later. * * * A native of Queens, New York, Foxworth — often goes by Fox or, more regally, Black God due to his semidark brown complexion and his affiliation with a spiritual organization called the Nation of Gods and Earths, which promotes righteousness, selfstudy, research and fact finding. Fox was born in 1977 to a loving married couple, Timothy and Vivian Foxworth. “Vivian was the responsible one,” Fox recalls. “She was a supervisor at NYNEX. Pops, he was a functional alcoholic. We were well off, I guess.” When Fox was around 10 years old, his parents divorced, citing “irreconcilable differences,” and he went to stay with his mother. Like most children whose families suffer divorce, Fox blamed himself. “I wanted my parents to stay together,” he said. “I thought they had split ‘cause something that I did. That was hard on me.” He wound up getting in fights in school and was placed in special education. People in these classes often fall through the cracks and receive subpar education, and they rarely get help addressing the underlying issues — such as Fox’s parents’ divorce — that cause some of them to act out. Unsurprisingly, in Fox’s case,

the move to special ed only made his behavior worse. At 19, he landed on Rikers Island for selling drugs. The year was 1996. “Da Island,” as it is typically called, was filled with racial tension between the Black and Hispanic populations. There were stabbings, slashings and gang assaults — passed back and forth between the groups like they were playing a game of tag. Fox had gotten swept into the undercurrent of prison culture like many young men before him and countless more after him. “It’s about survival,” Fox said. “It’s either them or you.” Eventually, he found himself in the punitive segregation unit — “the box”— for slashing another prisoner who’d attacked him with a razor. While in the box, Fox made a few friends, including one named Steve and another named Sherm the Worm, who most likely got his name from his ability to navigate life in the jail. That time in the box was not as dark for Fox as it was for other prisoners. It was there that he was introduced to the light of his life, Tamara, Steve’s 16-year-old sister. “I was close with her brother, so he kind of hooked us up,” Fox recalls. “Sherm would always pass me the phone so I could call her, and she would always answer my calls.” Prisoners in the box are not normally allowed to make phone calls as a part of their punishment. I can only imagine that this phone privilege was “the worm” at work. They became best friends, he said. “I had a lot of respect for her,” he said. “Hell, it took me a year to get in her pants.” As we sit in a room at Wallkill Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison in which inmates live behind cherry-wood doors rather than bars, I can see the light in Fox’s eyes as he stares past me, seemingly transporting himself back to another time and place. * * * Tamara already had a child, Destiny Dones, whom Fox was helping to raise as his own, when on Jan. 11, 2001, they were blessed with their daughter, Jada. Fox was free at the time but wanted in connection with another crime. When he called his mother to tell her the good news, he hung up within seconds out of fear the call might be traced. “I was scared that people would get me knocked” — slang for arrested — “so I couldn’t really enjoy her com-

ing into this world,” Fox admitted reluctantly. “I wasn’t stable at the time.” * * * Eventually the law caught up to Fox and he served some more time. However, that did not stop him from being a father to his children and a husband to his wife. It was just a lot harder. Not only on Fox, or the girls who missed having their father around, but also on Tamara, who had to support their entire family, including Fox, by herself. After Fox was released again, he and Tamara finally tied the knot on Aug. 27, 2011. This was an unusual day for a wedding. The streets of New York were shut down due to Hurricane Irene. “Only a couple of people showed up,” he said. “The highways were closed. I wore a white tux and mint green tie. And Tamara, she wore a pretty white dress. I remember thinking, ‘Wow she is so beautiful.’” This time Fox managed to stay out of trouble. He got a job working at the Holiday Inn next to LaGuardia Airport as a security guard. He was paid $10 an hour, and after putting in countless hours of overtime, he would give his entire earnings to Tamara so that she could take care of the bills, rent, food shopping and transportation costs. After which, they were left with nothing. It wasn’t enough. Determined to support his family, Fox returned to selling drugs. “As they say in the streets, ‘I had a good run,’” he said. “I mean my clients loved me. I always did right by them. I made sure they was taken care of.” Some “hustlers” treat their clients with disrespect, assaulting or robbing them when without necessary funds. Meanwhile, Fox said, he treated his family well, too. Whereas some guys might have spent their earnings on a new pair of Jordans, a pair of Robins Jeans and a bottle of Hennessy, Fox brought it home.

up with Fox in April 2017, when Tamara left a message with the staff at the Wallkill Correctional Facility. Fox called back. “I’ll never forget her words,” he said. “‘I think our babies is dead, they got caught in a fire’ I thought that she [was] going to say something positive. Then to hear the hurt in her voice.” As tears began to flow, I could see, in that moment, everything that Fox had become so adept at hiding from the world. His love. His pain. His confusion. His anger. His humanity — something that the prison system attempts to strip away. But not on the day that two of Wallkill’s “Boldest” escorted him to his daughter’s funeral. Instead, they were understanding. That day, they were humane. * * * The ride to the funeral was the longest ride of Fox’s life. He stares off into the distance, taking slow, steady breaths in order to keep from breaking down. “I’ll never be able to take my daughters shopping the way I wanted to,” Fox told me with tears in his eyes. “I used to talk to them every day.” Fox found himself confiding in the officers who accompanied him to the funeral. “We had a nice talk,” he said. “I let them know my situation.” Fox was able to speak about his emotions, his past obstacles, problems with school. It was are rare moment — a chance to be seen, spoken to, empathized with and treated like a human being. However, on the ride there, Fox was quickly coming to grips with the fact that this trip, his loss, his pain, was real. * * * A car parked in between the Foxworth household and the one next door had caught fire about 2:36 p.m. on the day of the tragedy. Destiny,

All too often when you are locked away in a cell, people forget about you. Aside from the “usual suspects,” family, friends and significant others, Fox can add the media to the list of people who forgot about him during this time of crisis, simply because he was in prison.

* * * At this point in Fox’s life enters a woman named Christal. Fifteen years his junior, she was daring, young and ready to take over the world with Fox. Shortly after she gave birth to their daughter Ja’niya Foxworth. Although bringing Ja’niya into the world was — and still is — a blessing, Fox says, he is consumed with guilt over betraying Tamara. “I really messed up,” he said. “I took for granted such a beautiful, loving and caring woman. She is the greatest person I know. I’m lucky to still have her in my life.” * * * Life on the outside finally caught

Jada, Chayce, Rashawn and Melody, had been trapped in the attic by the flames. The fire spread quickly. As Lloyd Taylor, 31, who lived in the basement apartment, later told reporters. “I ran out the door. Then when I looked back there was no way of getting back in,” he said. “The baby was literally burned to a crisp,” another witness recounted to the New York Post. “The guy who was carrying the baby out, you could just see the stress on his face. I’m just so emotional about it because I’m a grandfather and I have kids too.” * * *

Fox carries himself with honor and respect. He is a humble man. He’s the type of person that would give you the clothes off his back or the food off of his plate if you were hungry. I know personally, because I’ve seen Fox offer food to people and give away sweaters and polo shirts to other prisoners who don’t have family looking out for them. He calls every man that he comes in contact with “good brother,” not because that’s what you are, but because that’s what he sees in them. Another time, Fox even brought me a bowl of food that he prepared without my knowledge — a bowl containing rice, mackerel, smoked oysters, baby clams and thinly sliced onions, all fried together, and made to look like an Asian delicacy. “Yeah, Fox is a good dude,” another prisoner tells me. “A true to heart brother.” Seeing him, sitting there in front of me, in tears — I could only imagine what he was thinking. I asked him if he’d like to take a break. “Nah, good brother,” he replied. “I need this. I need to start the healing process. Ain’t nobody come holla at me when my babies died.” All too often when you are locked away in a cell, people forget about you. Aside from the “usual suspects,” family, friends and significant others, Fox can add the media to the list of people who forgot about him during this time of crisis, simply because he was in prison. For the first time during the interview, I watch Fox’s face turn dark, not only with the hurt of feeling forgotten in prison but with the selfish longing for his daughters to be alive, to hear their voices once again. I picked up the industrial sized toilet paper, unraveled a huge wad and then passed it to him. “Thank you good brother,” he said, a sincere look of gratitude in his eyes. It had been a simple gesture, but in prison, the slightest act of kindness seems paramount. “I never blamed Tamara,” he goes on finally. “My wife is a great person. I blame myself. As a black man with a family, I should have been out there taking care of my cubs.” He reaches for a cigarette. “I’m thinking about getting a patch,” he says, “so I can quit.” * * * That’s not the only change he’s making. Fox recently decided to work at the Wallkill optics program to earn some money and lighten the financial burden on Tamara. He expects to be released from prison as early as June of this year, and he plans to reunite with Tamara, build a positive, working co-parenting strategy with Christal and help to raise his daughter Ja’niya. “There are three avenues that I am going to explore, when I get out, sanitation, optics and I’m thinking about going to school for real-estate,” Fox proclaims, smiling with a look of relief on his face and determination in his eyes. Fox’s healing has begun. He has finally shed the tears of a father. Email Gregory Headley at features@nyunews.com.


Washington Square News | Monday, April 30, 2018 | THE KITE

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Meet the Swag Gods By SHAQUAN HINDS Contributing Writer

Smoke fills the air like the exhaust of a Shelby GT. Black and Mild’s, Newports and rolling tobacco is being sparked in almost every direction. Amid all the smoke, one can smell a variety of different flavors of Muslim oils, the favored substitute for cologne around these parts. The yard at Wallkill Correctional Facility is filled to capacity, and despite the rules governing attire, the residents manage to sport an impressive variety of styles — in other words, swag. But few can compete with the Swag Gods, Tommy G’s and Cash, a duo known throughout the prison for their immaculate taste in fashion. I asked them how they do it. Shaquan Hinds: Where are y’all from and how has that played part in your style? Tommy: I come from a different type of culture, Harlem, where style was created. Cash: I’m from Northside, Jamaica, Queens aka QGTM: “Queens get the money.” Where I’m from, money plays a big part in your swag because if you ain’t got no money, you ain’t got no swag. SH: You seem to be doing pretty well in here. In this type of environment, how do you stay in tune with what’s trending? Tommy: Well, I stay in tune with myself because I’m the trendsetter. Let me say this again: I stay in tune with myself because I’m the trendsetter. But I do use TMZ as a way to stay in tune. And shout out to the GQ. Cash: Social media, exploring and reading magazines and giving these lame nigga’s some swag. SH: How do you define swag? Tommy: I feel it has a lot to do with your aura like hand gestures, the timing of your words and the way you dress, but more to do with your soul because you could have a horrible outfit on and pull it off with your self-confidence. Cash: My definition of swag is quality fashion, control and trendsetting. SH: Who are some of the people that influence your swag? Tommy: My family. They were wear-

ing minks, gators and driving Cadillacs. Oh yeah, shout out to Max B though. Cash: Future Hendrix, you know Swag God [gestures at Tommy] and myself. SH: What’s your thoughts on the trend of fitted blues and greens? [Editor’s note: These are prison-issued pants custom-tailored by skilled inmates.] Cash: You can’t just let yourself go because you’re in a bad predicament. Regardless of what pants you wear in jail, they must be properly tailored like as if you in the streets. Like Fab said, “Even if you’re hungry, never look like you’re starving.” Tommy: Well, I’m different. I’m the only one with different color blues and greens (Trendsetter!). I wear different from other people! I take the air out the ball … just so I could flex. SH: How does it make you feel that people come to you for fashion advice? Tommy: It’s a beautiful thing. It lets me know I’m not losing, no way,

Well, I stay in tune with myself because I’m the trendsetter. Let me say this again; I stay in tune with myself because I’m the trendsetter. TOMMY G

shape or form. Praise the lord! I got that Dapper Dan in me, so I influence these lost souls out here, and it’s helping me by helping them. Cash: I feel honored to be helping people in areas in which they lack. SH: Since there are no women in here why do you feel it’s important to keep your swag all the way up? Cash: My quote should answer that.

Tommy: It’s just a level-up thing for me, so I know when I come home, the law of attraction will come into play. SH: Do you plan to capitalize off of your fine taste in fashion after incarceration? Cash: Yes, Bien-Aimes is my future unisex collection. Tommy: Of course. I feel like I’m so swagged out that fashion designers are going to throw clothes my way to sport ‘em. SH: Describe to me the process of preparing and getting ready for a visit? Cash: First step is to have a good breakfast. Step two: Do a boss arm and chest workout. Step three: Take a boss shower. Step four: You should already have your clothes prepared from the night before. Step five: Ask your close friends how your outfit looks. Step six: Muslim oil. Step seven: make sure you have clean teeth and good smelling breath — don’t go down there with your mouth smelling like sardines. Tommy: First and foremost, make sure the designer hairline is straight; wake up in the morning, and get in at least 500 pushups, so your fitted shirt will be extra fitted; good deodorant; smell good and breath on fleek. SH: Is it true that swag isn’t just what you wear but also how you wear it? Cash: That’s true and false because you can’t swag out a dress. Tommy: Of course it’s all about how you wear it because you could have a red designer shirt with a blue logo, and you would want to match it to the blue in your jeans or sneakers. Everything has to correlate. You can’t just wear anything. You have to put it together right. SH: Any last words for your fans? Tommy: I want you to achieve, succeed and prosper in everything you put your energy into. Speak to the subconscious mind all the positive thoughts, and feed the good wolf. Be cool how you be cool. Cash: For my fans and my haters out there, stay fly and be humble. Email Shaquan Hinds at editor@nyunews.com.

ILLUSTRATION BY RACHEL BUIGAS-LOPEZ

ILLUSTRATION BY ECHO CHEN

The Gift of Gabby By SHAWN PETTAWAY Contributing Writer

One afternoon in November, 30 inmates of the Wallkill Correctional Facility and their family members assembled for the graduation of the first parenting class, a project of the Osborne Association. Despite the presence of their loved ones, the facility’s superintendent and the Osborne program manager, Laura Roan, attendees seemed to be most riveted by the commanding presence of Gabriella “Gab” Kenner, the program’s instructor, who had volunteered to cut the cake. Standing nearly 6 feet tall in low heels, dressed in business attire and little to no makeup, Kenner wears her hair Chaka Khan style, curly and flowing, accentuating her face as a plume does a peacock. She looks like a diva — but an unusually grounded one. Variously known as Gab, Ms. G or Ms. Kenner, she facilitates the 16-week class on parenting, which runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She also works at the Otisville and Shawangunk Correctional Facilities. Most classes begin with Gab standing at the rear of the classroom behind a conference table piled with paperwork, as well as a DVD player set to roll the lesson of the day. First, she asks the 18 men in attendance (the Department of Corrections calls them “offenders,” but she prefers the term “clients” or “participants”) if they’re keeping on top of any homework. Yes, there is homework. The program is voluntary, and you see the students’ passion when the video lesson has concluded and she asks for comments. This particular lesson was about the clients remembering when they were the age of their kids and trying to recall their thought processes in those days. “So imagine when you were the same age as your child or children,” she said as students nod in affirmation. “Imagine someone

your current age talking to you as though you are an adult, expecting you to understand like you are an adult. You’re worlds apart.” Gabby navigates each session easily and comfortably. She has been doing the job since 2014, beginning at an entry-level position and working her way up to become a family services specialist. Her duties include event planning, data entry and interacting with prison staff, as well as individual counseling one-on-ones, known as “I.C.” During one such session, I spoke with Gab about my 16-year-old son, who was only five weeks old when I came to prison in 2001. Our relationship is strained to say the least. Within 20 minutes of talking to Kenner, tears were streaming down my face. I felt like I was speaking to Dr. Phil and Oprah all at once. Kenner opened up to me about her mom raising her as a single parent, and the water welled in her eyes too, as the connection manifested itself right then and there. On her suggestion, I’d recently applied a strategy of compromise with my son, a major shift from the “my way or the highway” approach I’d taken, without success, for years. The result was a positive step — his reluctant decision to attend the graduation of a family member at my request. Still, the relationship had a ways to go. “How often do you write to him?” she asked. “Writing once a week shows that you never give up and is your evidence that you always are willing to try to communicate.” She was right. A new class began on April 12 with roughly 25 students. As the two-hour session came to an end, the attendees seemed to feel they may have a chance at a fresh start. Gab was doing her best Chaka Khan impression yet and changing the future for some very fortunate dads and kids. Email Shawn Pettaway at editor@nyunews.com.


Washington Square News | Monday, April 30, 2018 | THE KITE

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Family Reunion Program Offers a Pause in Prison Life By KEITH GOLDEN Contributing Writer

On April 7, Miles Lewis walked out the gates of Wallkill Correctional Facility, the medium-security prison where he’d resided for more than a year. He wasn’t a free man, but for a weekend, he could imagine the feeling. His destination was a trailer site at Shawangunk Correctional Facility, another prison located down the road. He’d earned what was called a Family Reunion Program scheduled visit, or an FRP, more commonly known as a conjugal visit. Lewis preferred the term “trailer visit,” but he didn’t really care what you called it. What mattered were the precious hours, Saturday at 12.30 p.m., until Monday morning at 8.30, unsupervised by correction officers, away from the noise and intensity of incarceration, alone with his wife, Jennifer Lewis. Arriving an hour before Jennifer gave Miles adequate time to shower and clean the trailer, a single-wide, with two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen and a living room.

ILLUSTRATION BY ECHO CHEN

“It feels like a small studio type of apartment,” Miles told The Kite. Waiting for Jennifer to arrive, he was overwhelmed with anxiety, constantly looking out the window for the van that would ferry her from the prison. By the time the blue Department of Corrections van pulled into the trailer park, Miles’ heart was pounding. He ran to the van to collect his wife’s

four bags and carry them to Trailer #2. Once they were both settled, his nerves were instantly calmed. The bags contained clothes and food, all of which had been carefully inspected by corrections officers in advance. No prison food this weekend — they’d be cooking their own meals. Lewis unpacked the items one by one: sirloin steak, broccoli, mac and cheese, ice cream, eggs, bacon,

bread, water and some cranberry juice. During the weekend, Miles took breakfast duty, while Jennifer handled the lunches and dinners. The kitchen was equipped with a new stove, refrigerator and utensils, which were of course carefully checked before leaving the trailer. Asked how he felt being unsupervised, Lewis said, “It felt like freedom.” Married inmates all over New York state are allowed to participate in the Family Reunion Program trailer visits, so long as they don’t have an expansive disciplinary issues or heinous crimes such as rape or murder on their prison records. Non-inmates tend to view such visits in sexual terms — as opportunities for physical intimacy. But the participants generally view the program in more emotional and psychological terms. “It was relationship altering,” said Rakeem Golson, another inmate at Wallkill, of his first FRP experience. “It felt like simulating being at home with my wife, stuck in the house on a rainy day.”

Keno, another Wallkill inmate agreed. “It’s great.” Keno said, noting that children are also allowed to visit. “It means you can be a part of your kid’s life growing up, even if it’s just three days a month.” Several inmates also pointed out that the program strengthens their family bonds and helps prepare them for the transition to life outside. From the perspective of prison administrators, it also reduces violence, as participants have a strong incentive to avoid fights or other serious infractions that might lead to canceled visits. But what about leaving the trailer, and coming back to prison? “It felt like getting rearrested,” Lewis said. “The first time, I cried,” Keno admitted. “But then it’s like, you know you’re going back out. I go out on a trailer every 60 days.” Additional reporting by Miles Lewis. Email Keith Golden at editor@nyunews.com.

Out of the Box: Meeting My Mentor By RAKEEM GOLSON Contributing Writer

In 2012, I was a resident in a maximum-security correctional facility in upstate New York. My home was known as “the box,” the area for the most difficult inmates. At that time, I was stressed to my maximum capacity, brewing in negative emotions. Day by day, I could feel myself becoming increasingly dark, possessed by something angry and evil. One day my stress levels exceeded my self-control, causing me to lash out in order to release some stress, anger, sadness and confusion. My unlucky target was Moshe Canty, my neighbor in the facility and a former Blood leader who still had plenty of influence throughout the prison system despite “dropping his flag.” At that moment, I couldn’t have cared less who he was. Moshe had a habit that really bothered me. He was constantly “on the gate,” as we called it, talking through the bars of his cell. He spoke about legal work and about books he read. He quizzed other inmates on their knowledge of history, philosophy and law. He never seemed to shut up. On that day, I had had enough. “Bruh,” I finally exploded, shouting through the bars of my cell. “People are dealing with their own issues. Nobody wants to hear you all day.” “Look, when I’m on the gate, I’m building,” he shot back. In other words, engaging in progressive conversation that builds the mind. “This is how we deal with our issues,” he went on. “Furthermore, young man, know who you’re speaking to and have some respect when addressing your elders.” “I don’t care who you are or how

old you are,” I said. “I don’t want to hear that shit all day. You talk like you know everything. You act like you can’t be alone. Like you’re scared of yourself. I respect militancy not politics.” “You stupid little ignorant boy!”

You’re young and more afraid than you believe. That’s why you’ve lied more than you’ve told the truth in this conversation. MOSHE CANTY

he said. “Do you know who I am? Militant?! I am that. We don’t politic. We send troops. You need to watch your mouth before I violate your dumb ass.” I kept at it. “Fuck you,” I said. “I fear no man. You bleed like I bleed.” We argued for three days after that. On the fourth day, Moshe called all of his associates and me to the gate. “I want to apologize to everyone for conducting myself like a child,” he said. He called me by my nickname, Flip (short for Feddy Flip, as in someone who moves or flips a lot of confetti or money). “Flip,” he said, “I’m old enough to be your father, and I don’t want any man talking to my son like I have been talking to you. I want to apologize to you for that. I will be

more considerate of people’s quiet time in the future.” That riled up his associates, who insisted he had no need to apologize. He quelled their fury, insisting, “That’s not who I am anymore.” Then he asked to speak to me face to face the following day. I felt triumphant. I’d made him back down. I didn’t yet understand the power of submission. The next day, during our daily hour of recreation, I was basically face to face with Moshe, yet separated by a wall of fencing. Five feet and 10 inches of compacted muscle mass, he was a bulky and defined 215 pounds. He didn’t approach me directly, instead moving to the back corner of his cage. “Flip, pull up,” he said. Instead, I also moved toward the back of my cage. ”What’s shaking, Mo?” I asked casually. “So, young brother with the Hulk syndrome, where you coming from?” he said. He wanted to know where I’d grown up, how I wound up in the box and more. I lied or exaggerated every answer that I gave him, wary of falling into a trap. When the corrections officers started to shackle people to return us to our cells, he turned to me one last time. “You’re young and more afraid than you believe,” he said. “That’s why you’ve lied more than you’ve told the truth in this conversation. I give you my word: we’re good.” “Why then, are we even talking?” I asked him. “You remind me of myself,” he said. “Young, angry and don’t give a fuck. I have a book for you when we get back. Read it.” The book was called “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Honestly, I couldn’t get through it. It was beyond my intellectual capacity at that time, and I returned it the same night. Moshe tried again, handing me another book, “Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party.” A couple of days later, I finished the book and returned it to him. “So what do you think?” he asked. “They were about their business,” I said of the radical group. We talked about the history of our struggle, about nationalism, racism, black militancy and activism. The conversation went on for hours, then started up again the next morning. From that day forth, Moshe and I were both on the gate, talking about everything, the past, present and future, about my life, his life, our goals and aspirations. These were deep, intimate conversations that I didn’t even have with my own father. He probed my mind, questioning everything. He taught me to think. At night, when the sun was down, we would sit facing the windows in front of our cells, the reflections on the glass allowing us to

see each other, and talk some more. One night, when everyone was asleep, Moshe became sentimental. “I came in when I was 19,” he said. “I’m 34 now. My mother’s getting old. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to see her again. If I could take back everything negative that I did, chasing behind a name that will be forgotten, I would. When I see you young brothers coming in here, young and misguided, I see myself. I want to break that cycle.” A few months later, I was released from the box. I haven’t seen Moshe since. At first, I thought that I had won the battle with him. It only began to dawn on me slowly — whenever a situation occurred and I found myself reacting differently, less aggressively, with more openness — that my one-time rival had changed my life. I hadn’t beaten him at all. In fact, by submitting, Moshe had actually prevailed. And in the end, by absorbing his wisdom, I had too. Email Rakeem Golson at editor@nyunews.com.

ILLUSTRATION BY RACHEL BUIGAS-LOPEZ


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Washington Square News | Monday, April 30, 2018

Page 11

FEATURES

Edited by Yasmin Gulec features@nyunews.com

Returning Puerto Rican Students Face Uncertainty |CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Through the mixers and events organized by NYU resources such as the Academic Achievement Program and the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs, the visiting students were able to familiarize themselves with people taking part in the program — and even meet people from their home colleges. Planned activities included Yankees games, Broadway shows and group dinners. In addition to these events, students were also matched with mentors through the Hurricane Maria Mentorship Program to help with the transition into NYU. “I think one of the biggest support systems were the people that I met here,” junior Salomé Ramirez, a visiting student from the University of the Sacred Heart, said. “We share the same story and we are here with the same purpose.” While the students have enjoyed their time at NYU, their hearts ache for their family and friends back in Puerto Rico, who continue to suffer from the hurricane’s damage. “I didn’t want to leave my family without electricity,” said Adriana Melendez, a sophomore at University of Turabo studying Communications. “I didn’t like the idea of me living in an apartment with a ton of stuff while my family was without power.” Mariana Cabiya, a visiting sophomore from the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras studying Drama, also found it difficult to leave her loved ones behind. “They’re like, ‘So we have to stay here while you’re in New York City?’” Cabiya said. “That kind of sucks, but it doesn’t suck that [we] get to do something for [our] future. That’s something we shouldn’t be ashamed of, or feel guilty about.” It is safe to say that being away from home these past months has been hard for all the visiting students. Like many of her peers, Sophia Rodriguez Rosado, a soph-

omore in the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras studying Communications, is ready to return home. “Being here is awesome, but I want to go back,” Rosado said. “I want to be living what they’re living right now. I want to go through the blackouts. I want to go through having no water for a day because those are my people. I want to be there, going through what they’re going through.” This feeling of powerlessness echos through the HMAP students, who yearn to be there for their families as they piece their lives and the island back together. Puerto Ricans are still struggling to rebuild, especially those living outside of the metropolitan areas. Many of these small communities have yet to regain running water and electricity. On April 12, the country suffered from an island-wide power outage, which has been categorized as the second-largest blackout in history, further proving how weak the electrical grid is. Carlos Matos, a sophomore at University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez studying Electrical Engineering, believes even the smallest of future hits could cause catastrophic damage. “One of the power outages was because of a tree fall,” Matos said. “We cannot predict the future, but it concerns us that this infrastructure was brought to its knees by a tree. A simple storm can therefore affect in massive ways.” For the past seven months, Puerto Ricans have been living in a constant state of uncertainty, never knowing when the power may go out or if school will be canceled. Uncertainty is the new normal for Puerto Rico. As a result, mental health is at an all time low. There has been an increase of depression, anxiety issues and post traumatic stress disorder among Puerto Ricans, according to a report done by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. “I have anxiety issues, I am deeply triggered by what happened in Hurricane Maria,” Matos said. “When you have that instability, that uncertainty regarding your

resources — access to power, access to water — it becomes all you think about.” According to Melendez, the hurricane was a defining moment for all Puerto Ricans. They realized where the government’s priorities were — and it wasn’t with the people. “The hurricane just made everything more clear,” Melendez said. “Last year was a learning opportunity for us. We know now that the government isn’t capable of taking care of the people in this crisis. We know that they won’t respond quickly; we already know what will happen.” For Cuevas and her friends, it seems that the Puerto Rican government values money more than its people. How the government handles its finances has been an issue for Puerto Ricans for years. Right now, the education system is facing major cutbacks, which has resulted in the doubling of University of Puerto Rico’s tuition, a decision that was made on Friday, April 20 by the federal board for the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act. The PROMESA board consists of seven members, appointed by former President Barack Obama, who oversee the restructuring of Puerto Rico’s debt. NYU Law Senior Fellow Arthur J. Gonzalez has been a member of the board since its implementation in 2016 and said the University of Puerto Rico’s tuition increased due to utility costs — something board members have wanted to privatize in the past. “Reliability has been an issue with the electrical system for years,” Gonzalez said. “With respect to the University of Puerto Rico, it’s a question as to how much funding can the central government afford to provide to the university. And in making that analysis — and that it can’t continue to proceed the way it was proceeding — it resulted in a tuition recommendation increase.” According to Gonzalez, the board’s efforts are focused on structural, fiscal

reforms to revitalize the economy. His priorities and the priorities of the board have been questioned by students like Matos and Cuevas. “They hire him to keep companies from bankruptcy,” Cuevas said, in reference to Gonzalez. “The thing is, they’re looking at Puerto Rico as a business. We’re not; we’re a country. We have people that are ill, people who need education, people who need their pension, and overall, we are people. We aren’t a company.” The visiting students who attend public universities back in Puerto Rico have expressed concerns about returning to higher tuitions — an added problem to the current instability of the island. “We are just stuck here in this sense of hopelessness, with this fear of what is to come because it is not in our hands to fix this,” Matos said. “In order to help my people, I need to educate myself, but my education is affected by the current state of my people.” Many of the students wish to stay longer, as neither the government nor the education system is fully-functioning yet. As a result, the HMAP Students initiative, which was created by a portion of the visiting students, posted a letter requesting an extension of the Hurricane Maria Assistance Program for one more semester. The initiative posted three versions of the letter on the morning of April 27, each garnering signatures from different groups of people — student groups, faculty and individuals. After reading drafts of the letter, HMAP students expressed mixed feelings. Many, like Cuevas, showed their support — despite being ready to return home to their families — because at the end of the day, education is their top priority. “In order for me, and for my family, to have a better tomorrow, I’m going to have to sacrifice a little bit of today,” Cuevas said. “And if NYU gives us the opportunity, I would really like to stay. I know once the opportunity comes, I will have to

PHOTO BY NATALIE CHINN

Mariana Cabiya hangs the Puerto Rican flag on her dorm room wall as she and her friends sing “Salimos de Aquí.”

jump at it, even though I do not want to.” Melendez feels conflicted about the letter. “I feel like the university has given us so much already,” Melendez said. “But I do understand that there are students who are not in the condition to actually go back.” When crafting the letter, members of the initiative emphasized how grateful they are to have received such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “I thought, ‘How am I supposed to ask these people for more?’” Cabiya said, referring to NYU’s HMAP. “They’ve granted me everything, I don’t want to sound ungrateful in any way.” As the song came to an end, tears started to trickle down the cheeks of the girls who were filled with the bittersweet feeling of being away. Lying under the string of photos taken back home and the Puerto Rico flag hung on their wall, they prayed for their island to heal. Email Natalie Chinn, Yasmin Gulec and Pamela Jew at features@nyunews.com.

Survivors Magazine Honors Survivors of Sexual Violence By NATALIE CHINN Deputy Features Editor

“ Before there was #MeToo, there was me.” Rehanna Almestica’s words ring with power as she addresses the attendees of Survivors Magazine’s release party. The room, filled with survivors of sexual violence and supporters, responds with a round of snaps and ‘mhmms.’ Surrounding them, photos of survivors cover the walls, radiating beauty and confidence. Near the entrance of the gallery, Almestica looks like royalty in her portrait. Almestica is one of 10 survivors featured in the second issue of Survivors Magazine, which was created in September 2016 by Gallatin junior Maria Polzin in partnership with NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault. The release party for the new issue took place Friday evening in the studio of Reflections Center for Conscious Living & Yoga. There was music by artists Fih and Easy Socks, as well as poetry and speeches from survivors. Survivors Magazine’s goal is to use fashion and photography to empower survivors of sexual violence and raise

awareness of sexual assault. The magazine, which prints once a year, is run by Polzin and her team composed of NYU students and New York City area survivor supporters. The survivors chosen for this issue come from diverse backgrounds — from sexuality to religion to age — each survivor has a unique backstory. For Polzin, continuing conversations about rape and assault is incredibly important right now, especially as these issues are receiving more attention in the media. “As a lot of people have been talking about #MeToo and Time’s Up; it has created a media attention around sexual violence that I didn’t know if I would see in my lifetime,” Polzin said. “That’s amazing because when I was speaking at this event one year ago, I was talking about how sexual assault is so taboo that the first step is just raising awareness that it’s happening.” While Polzin, along with the survivors, expressed how happy she is that movements like #MeToo are creating a dialogue across America. She also believes that society still needs to give survivors the space to share their own narratives, ones that aren’t retold by the media. “There’s not that many spaces, even as

the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements continue to rise, for survivors themselves to have control over their narrative and how they want to be represented to the public,” Polzin said. “What Survivors Magazine is all about is giving self-representation back to survivors of sexual violence because they lose so much power when they go through the experience.” Each participant in Survivors Magazine had the autonomy to choose how their spread portrayed them and their stories —

STAFF PHOTO BY SAM KLEIN

At the release party for Survivors Magazine, two attendees look over the new issue. The magazine uses photography as a way to increase awareness of sexual assault.

from the styling to the writing, they had full control. Some survivors chose to write narratives to accompany their pictures, while others chose poetry. For NYU alumna Olivia Johnson, who graduated in 2012, having the power to control her photoshoot meant everything. She chose to take photos on the block she used to live, the place she was assaulted. “It was an interesting opportunity to be able to go back there and reclaim some memories from that space,” Johnson said. Survivor Nelly Bess chose to show her sexy side in the photos. In the large-scale photo displayed in the gallery, Bess and her partner are shown intertwined in each others’ arms, sharing an intimate moment. “A lot of times, when you heal from sexual assault, you feel unattractive in your body and you deal with a lot of trauma in your body,” Bess said. “I chose to do a kink-inspired thing because my partner told me that my trauma wasn’t going to make me less desirable. I wanted to show that even as a survivor, you can be sexy, you can be intimate with your partner.” The same message echoed through the poetry Bess performed later in the evening. “When you go through sexual assault,

you become a stranger in your own body,” Bess said. “[My poem] is basically about my body not responding when I want to be intimate with somebody I love.” This is a problem that many of the survivors could relate to. As Bess passionately performed her poem, the crowd clapped and cheered in support. Later in the night, Polzin delivered a speech on how society could better handle sexual assault. “The key to prevention is consent,” Polzin said. “I feel like [talking about] consent is just as taboo as assault.” For Polzin, consent needs to be discussed more. In order to do this, she is in the process of creating a clothing line called ‘Consent,’ which she plans to drop in spring 2019. According to Polzin, those who purchase these clothes have a social responsibility to explain what consent is whenever someone asks where their clothes are from. “[People act] as if like, when you’re intimate with someone, you can’t ask them if they’re comfortable every step of the way,” Polzin said. “But that, to me, is sexy.” Email Natalie Chinn at nchinn@nyunews.com.


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OPINION

nyunews.com Edited by Tyler Crews opinion@nyunews.com

catergory

STAFF CARTOON BY VICTOR WU

WHAT DOES THE CLASS OF 2022 NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LIFE AT NYU?

On Figuring Out Fashion at NYU By ALISON ZIMMERMAN Deputy Opinion Editor

Fashion and I have a complicated and mostly contentious past, but before coming to NYU, I thought I had finally figured out to how dress myself somewhat well. However, it became very clear to me on my first day here that I’m still a lost cause in a cold and confusing world of designer brands, makeup fads and the long list of fashion do’s and don’ts (I’ve spent a lot more time in the don’t category than I would like to admit). I didn’t know Gucci even made

sneakers until I noticed that half of my Cultural Foundations class was wearing them on the first day of class. I thought Louis Vuitton and Louboutin were the same thing until I was laughed at and corrected by my new, fashion literate friends. I was told by the same friends that my Fjallraven backpack went out of style in 2016. I had never seen so many men wearing jewelry and chelsea boots. Of course, I had no idea what Glossier was. One of my good friends, a tell-it-likeit-is type who happens to be particularly style savvy has not minced words in giving me fashion feedback. She once

told me I looked like a Peanuts gang character when I wore a particularly boxy Brandy Melville T-shirt my mom had given me as a Hanukkah present. Another time she called me a “frat-boy” because of a certain sweatshirt and flannel combination. The year is almost over, and with the help of some properly fitting jeans, a real winter coat and some creativity I can say my fashion sense has slightly improved. But as I find myself caught in the trend and gravitating closer to the fashion orbit, I can’t help but ask myself, is NYU’s fashion culture extra or awesome?

While there are certainly some examples of true superfluousness (a certain, particularly expensive looking boy in my Social Foundations class comes to mind), I think NYU’s fashion forwardness speaks to the drive and creativity of the students. The friends I have made and people I have met here — particularly those with good style— are some of the most ambitious, interesting and just plain cool people I know. Sure, up-to-date style is a luxury — NYU students are, on average, richer than most — but style can also be a way to show personality and maturity. People who dress well seem to

really have their sh-t together. As for me, I’ll probably never own anything by Balenciaga, but my NYU peers have inspired me to want to up the ante on the wardrobe front. This summer, maybe I’ll actually take the time to find some nice tank tops — or, dare I say, dresses — and give the Peppermint Patty getup a rest. And who knows, maybe next winter I won’t wear the same pair of Doc Martens every single day. Maybe just every other. Email Alison Zimmerman at azimmerman@nyunews.com.

On Being a Student and Working By PAOLA NAGOVITCH Deputy Opinion Editor

I was not allowed to work during high school. My mom discouraged it, urging me to instead focus on my studies. I’m grateful for her decision because I am now a student at NYU, my dream school, and I know my excellent academic record contributed to my acceptance. However, throughout my time at NYU thus far, I have not experienced what it is like to be just a student. On top of being a full-time student, I have

worked part-time since my first year. If I’m not at class, I am most likely at one of my jobs. Even though working as a student entails sacrificing a significant amount of your free time and maybe having to say no to your friends every once in a while, it is worth it. I have sustained myself since I started college, providing for myself: groceries, vacations, textbooks, transportation — you name it. Every time the direct deposit hits my bank account every two weeks, I get the satisfaction of knowing that I earned that money,

and I don’t have to financially rely on anyone else. Don’t get me wrong, I still rely on my mom for some things, but I know that I don’t need her help because I can completely financially support myself if need be. The financial freedom is liberating. While working during college is a clear resume booster, it also teaches you valuable skills such as prioritization, time management and commitment. I work between 20 and 25 hours a week, but I designed my class schedule so that on Mondays,

Wednesdays and Fridays, I finish class and work by 2:30 p.m. That gives me three days where I have the entire afternoon and evening to do homework or something fun. Other weekdays, I am at class or work from 9 a.m. — sometimes earlier — until 6 p.m. or later, usually with a short 30-minute break during the day. Due to my strict schedule, I have to plan my weeks and prioritize assignments. My planner is my bible — I even plan when to meet with friends or go to the gym. While my time is usually accounted

for on my planner, I always leave time to have fun. And more importantly, I have learned to accept when I have to deviate from my schedule. Working as a student, even as a firstyear, is a sacrifice, but it is also rewarding. NYU and New York City have so many opportunities to offer — don’t be afraid to take advantage of them. A busy schedule and the accompanying stress is part of the NYU lifestyle. Email Paola Nagovitch at pnagovitch@nyunews.com.

On Dating at NYU By TYLER CREWS Opinion Editor

Swipe left. Swipe right. Swipe left. Swipe left. Swipe left. The mind-numbing, nightly routine that consumes many of us, until the pictures blur together — until I swipe without looking, knowing full well that in the end it won’t matter. I’m never going to meet up with anyone from the app, yet I continue to swipe my nights away. Each time I match with a decent guy, our future is obliterated by

their perverted opening line, or my mom’s voice in the back of my head, lecturing me on the perils of online dating. If the conversation manages to get far enough to reach the, “So, do you want to go out with me?” My responses vary — to be candid, sometimes I do say yes — however, the end result is the same: a lost connection, either because of my fear or Tinder’s magic escape button. Unmatch. Try as I might, I simply can’t buy into the dating app nor the hookup culture like so many

others do at NYU. In my first year at NYU, I feel like I have gotten a solid grasp on the dating options. You either stay in, swiping until you find yourself a match, get dolled up and go out, only to never see the same guys again, or cling onto the hope that you’ll meet someone the traditional way — perhaps in one of your classes or maybe in your favorite coffee shop. While the latter seems like the favorable option, the reality is, meeting your match organically is

rare in the big city and especially at NYU. This university mirrors New York City’s culture of isolation, of finding pockets of people and sticking to them. As a result, I’ve found myself running into the same faces, all great friends, but nothing more. At first, this dating culture put me off. I was used to high school relationships and knowing someone well far before your first date. I didn’t want to meet up with complete strangers nor go home with a guy who sidled up to me at the club. This is still my mind-

set. However, I have come to the realization I don’t have to buy into hookup culture, or even dating on its own. I love spending time with my friends, working at WSN and, yes, even the late night study sessions. I like not having to constantly text someone or worry over which boys liked my last Instagram post. Being single is exactly what I need at this time in my life; I am 18 years old and living in New York City — what better time to be single? Email Tyler Crews at opinion@nyunews.com.


Washington Square News | Monday, April 30, 2018

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OPINION

Edited by Tyler Crews opinion@nyunews.com

GUEST EDITORIAL

A Response to Your Letter in Support of Minority Students at NYU Stern PROGRESS SINCE 2016

By NYU STERN UNDERGRADUATE COLLEGE LEADERSHIP Guest Editorial

To the NYU Student Senators Council, Thank you for your letter from April 20. At the outset, we would like to take the opportunity to unequivocally state that the leadership, faculty, administrators and staff of NYU Stern care deeply about the welfare of our students, including their sense of self and belonging within our community. Building a culture that embraces inclusion, diversity, belonging and equity, abbreviated as IDBE, and that does not tolerate discrimination has been and will remain a top priority at NYU Stern. Therefore, we were especially disheartened and saddened to read the experiences of students described in the NYU Student Senators Council letter. Upon thoughtful and collective reflection, we have come to embrace the SSC letter as a critical moment to take stock of where we are, how far we have come and most importantly, where we want to be as a community. In doing so, it is clear that there is more work to be done to build a genuinely inclusive environment for students of all identities.

Before we outline immediate next steps, let’s briefly assess the actions taken already in the last couple of years. Since April 2016 when NYU Stern formed its own Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force comprised of students, faculty and administrators, we have taken extensive action on specific recommendations — most of them made by students through discussions and town halls — to better foster an environment that truly thrives on open dialogue and welcomes all identities, voices and views. As a result of these efforts, progress has been made, including launching eight new undergraduate programs in support of IDBE that have engaged every student in the first-year class since 2016. We are extremely grateful to the members of our community who have contributed — and continue to contribute — to these initiatives.

ACTIONS OVER THE LAST WEEK

After receiving the SSC letter, we organized a community dialogue for April 23, which was open to all NYU Stern undergraduates and co-hosted by the Stern Undergraduate Student Council. Facilitated by NYU’s Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Diversity Initiatives Monroe France, the

community dialogue was an opportunity for students to share their experiences and thoughts and an opportunity for us to listen and understand their experiences better. In the forum, there were a range of student emotions, along with varying opinions about what changes were needed and whose responsibility it was to make these changes. We were struck by the bravery of every student who not only shared their thoughts and feelings, but who also showed a commitment to our community by attending. After analyzing the SSC recommendations and community forum comments, in consultation with NYU’s Center for Multicultural Education and Programs and the Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity and Strategic Innovation, as well as the Office of Global Spiritual Life and the Islamic Center and in conversation with NYU Stern leadership and faculty, we reiterate our strong support for each and every student and their right to feel that they are welcome, respected and supported, by committing to immediate action across three key areas: (1) Education and Transparency, (2) Support and Representation (3) Process. Read the rest online at nyunews.com Email the Editorial Board at opinion@nyunews.com.

GUEST EDITORIAL

“All Muslims Are Terrorists” By RANEEN KHALIL Guest Editorial

I walked into class, excited. A new semester meant new friends. I presented a subtle smile, one to show others that I’m friendly but not creepy. After I entered the class, I felt something burning my skin — the looks. I heard students shift and stare as I made my way to the front row. Checked my watch — no, not late. Looked around — yes, the only hijabi. That must have been one of the first day’s rituals — to stare. But the staring continued. Every day I walked into class, people stared and others picked up their things and moved away from me. When I sat down, people clutched their bags. In my statistics class, every morning, the same girl, who I often left a seat for between her and myself, would have her things out on the table. As soon as I would walk past her, she would grab everything and stare at me as she moved away. Other days, she would sit in the seat next to mine and put her bookbag on my seat. That’s when I realized that many of these students went out of their

SUBMITTING TO

way to make me feel uncomfortable. I often get asked how it feels to be in the Stern School of Business, and nothing comes to mind except for the feeling of my hands sweating, throat tightening and heart dropping. As soon as I walk into the building, I’m immediately on high alert. Who’s going to stare? Check the time. Who’s going to say something? Check the time. Who’s going to run away? Check the time. Who’s going to attack? Time to go. Every time I walk into the building, I get flashbacks to my first semester. I remember a classmate who started up a conversation with me about study abroad. He then shifted the conversation to a political one. When he realized that we had differing political views, he became infuriated. He said to me, “all Arabs and all Muslims are terrorists.” On another occasion, an international classmate told me about her country of origin. She began to describe the Muslims in her country and how they are isolated, saying the places where they live are full of poverty and crime. I continued

to listen with the mindset that she was frustrated with the country’s Islamophobia or at least was attempting to make small talk. When I asked her stance on the government’s actions, she explained that “all Muslims are terrorists.” As she looked me in the eyes — the eyes of a hijabi, the eyes of a Muslim — she quickly said, “Don’t worry, I know you are not a terrorist.” I wanted to quit, to go home and never show up to class again. I didn’t know who or where to go to. I still feel frustrated, attacked and unsafe. That’s why I’m asking Stern to help build a better experience for minority students. There must be explicit disciplinary consequences against those who hate and discriminate. Minority students shouldn’t be expected to educate others or accept any discriminatory actions. We have had enough with the hate and are just as deserving of our seats in Stern as anyone else. There must be change. Email Raneen Khalil at opinion@nyunews.com.

STAFF EDITORIAL

NYU Failed Students of Color in Stern

With students coming forth and sharing stories of discomfort and discrimination at NYU’s Stern School of Business, we believe it is time for a change in thinking. Rather than reacting defensively to other students’ accusations, it is important to hear them out, recognize that there is a problem and do something about it. Faculty and staff certainly have a role to play in this, as they are responsible for setting an example for students and providing channels for those who don’t know where to go or feel uncomfortable voicing their complaints. However, if the culture at Stern is going to change, student perpetrators and bystanders must also listen to those victimized by their actions, and in turn, adopt their recommendations for improvement. The widespread instances of discrimination were finally publicly recognized at the April 19 town hall when racism at Stern was brought to President Andrew Hamilton’s attention. It’s important to note that students had reported these incidents to Stern administrators for years, seeing limited response from the university in terms of punishing discriminatory behavior. Black and Muslim students are not only targeted by their peers, but upsettingly, experience insensitivity and bigotry from faculty as well. In the past, NYU has acted in a reactionary fashion to tensions on campus. In 2015, it took increased pressure concerning the unwelcoming atmosphere of NYU for the university to respond by hosting Listening Sessions as an attempt to create dialogue. Similarly, it was only after public comments about Islamophobia at Hamilton’s town hall, as well as coverage of racist and Islamophobic instances in the past, that Stern took action. After these instances came to light, Stern leadership write a letter to the NYU Student Senators Council about the incidents and proposals to address these issues. However, much of their plan consists of actions taken in this past week, displaying the reactionary nature of NYU. One of such actions is optional workshops for faculty to improve inclusivity — however, these workshops should be mandatory. While the administration and faculty at Stern must create and enforce rules of conduct that hold students who discriminate against others accountable, the fault rests equally on the specific students who have not only allowed, but participated in cultivating a community of discomfort and discrimination. Administrative efforts will only go so far if the students are not receptive. The testimonials from students of color show an unnerving culture of racism, Islamophobia and discrimination among the students at Stern — students shuffling away from their peers who wear hijabs, or insinuating that all Muslims are terrorists — that aims to dehumanize and alienate members of the community. NYU prides itself on its accepting and progressive climate, yet we’ve continued to allow apparent micro and macro aggressions within our buildings. With students having to face great injustice and discrimination outside of campus, we should at least be able to provide a safe space to return to. It is our duty as teachers, classmates and administrators to take care of our community and ensure that nobody at NYU is made to feel like an outsider. Email the WSN Editorial Board at opinion@nyunews.com EDITORIAL BOARD: Tyler Crews (Chair), Paola Nagovitch (Co-chair), Alison Zimmerman (Co-chair) STAFF PHOTO BY ANNA LETSON

Send mail to: 75 Third Ave. #SB07, New York, N.Y. 10003 or email: opinion@nyunews.com WSN welcomes letters to the editor, opinion pieces and articles relevant to the NYU community, or in response to articles. Letters should be less than 450 words. All submissions must be typed or emailed and must include the author’s name, address and phone number. Members of the NYU community must include a year and school or job title. WSN does

not print unsigned letters or editorials. WSN reserves the right to reject any submission and edit accepted submissions in any and all ways. With the exception of the staff editorial, opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.


Washington Square News | Monday, April 30, 2018

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nyunews.com

SPORTS Keeping up with the

BOBCATS

Edited by Maddie Howard sports@nyunews.com

Softball May 4

Baseball May 7

Track and Field May 11

at Washington University in St. Louis

at Stevens Insitute of Technology

vs .IC4A/ECAC Championships Site: Princeton University

The Understated Importance of Team Managers

By BELA KIRPALANI Deputy Sports Editor

Long gone are the days of the stereotypical scrawny kid struggling to carry the heavy jug of water onto the field, making sure the players are hydrated and watching the game from the bleachers behind thick-rimmed glasses. In this day and age, a team manager is so much more. While making sure there is enough water for the team is still an important part of the job, there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes every day to keep the team operations running smoothly. CAS junior Vivian Lee has been the team manager of the men’s volleyball team for the past three seasons. Lee played volleyball in high school before a knee injury kept her from ever playing sports again. “I’ve always wanted to work in sports, and when I came here, I thought it would be most efficient to start with NYU athletics,” Lee said. “So I reached out to teams, and there were a couple of spots available with different teams and after going through the interview process, I chose the men’s volleyball team.” Lee’s responsibilities include, but aren’t limited to, controlling the team’s official social media pages, coordinating events and promotions with the NYU Athletics department, keeping track of equipment, attending every single practice session, travelling to road games with the team,

taking statistics of each player’s performances during matches. Head coach Jose Pina is appreciative of all the hard work Lee does for the team. “Vivian does so much for us,” Pina said. “She takes statistics on the iPad during the game. She takes videos during the game. She does social media. She gives the players advice. She’s always so supportive, sitting on the bench. For us, the manager position is a lot more than just taking care of the equipment and stuff like that. But it’s what you make of it, and it’s been pretty great to see Vivian grow into her role.” While Lee loves her role with the men’s volleyball team, she does run into some problems. With a lack of attendance at games and the struggle to keep up the team’s social media presence, Lee’s job is not a walk in the park. “My main struggle during the offseason is keeping our social media going,” Lee said. “As for during the season, our matches are played in Brooklyn, so sometimes getting people to come is a big struggle. Sometimes we’ll play a team like Hunter College, and more people from Hunter come to the game than people from NYU.” Lee has also faced stereotypes about her job when talking to people outside of the sports world. “There’s definitely a stereotype for managers and especially for me as a female in the industry,” Lee said. “If I’m in an interview

and I tell the interviewer that I’m a team manager, they’re like ‘OK, what do you really do as manager? All you do is probably be a waterboy’ type things. That’s honestly the stereotype, and it kind of sucks that that’s all people think of us, especially since the job is more than that now.” While others may not appreciate all of the work that Lee does for the team, the players on the men’s volleyball team love having her there. CAS sophomore Evan Lindley couldn’t imagine the team without Lee. “Vivi is a sister to each one of the guys on the team,” Lindley said. “She lives in the same apartment as one current and one former player; she is someone who we all joke around with as friends, and if anyone had beef with her, we’d immediately stand up for her. The coaches absolutely adore her; they will honestly do anything to help her because she does so much for us.” Lee is grateful for all of the support that the team gives her, and her bond with the team is what keeps her going. “Going back to me being the only girl on the team, I think they really respect that and make sure I don’t ever feel underappreciated or undermined,” Lee said. “That’s something that I really appreciate about the coaching staff and the whole team — they never make me feel left out.” Email Bela Kirpalani at at bkirpalani@nyunews.com.

VIA GONYUATHLETICS.COM

CAS junior Vivian Lee (right) has been the team manager of the men’s volleyball team for the past three seasons.

WEEKLY SPORTS UPDATE April 22 to April 29 By WARNER RADLIFF and BELA KIRPALANI Deputy Sports Editors

BASEBALL

On April 22, the NYU baseball team defeated Brandeis University 9-8. The win was the Violets’ third in the four-game series against the Judges and the first-ever University Athletic Association series victory for the program. On April 25, the Violets defeated Yeshiva University 13-3. SPS junior Colman Hendershot went 2-for-4 with a double, scored two runs and had two RBIs. Hendershot leads all NCAA Division III hitters with 59 RBIs, which is already a single-season program record. NYU lost to Emory University 5-2 on April 27, and then dropped both games of its doubleheader against Emory University on April 28, losing 11-4 and 10-2, respectively. On April 29, the Violets defeated Emory University 11-7. Stern junior Ryan McLaughlin went 4-for-4 and had 3 RBIs. It was also Family/Alumni day for the Violets, whose overall record is now 27-11.

SOFTBALL

On April 24, the NYU softball team swept Hunter College in a doubleheader on Randall’s Island. The Violets won the first game 5-3 in extra innings, with Gallatin junior and pitcher Cassi Parulis striking out eight batters. NYU won the second game 107, and Steinhardt junior Diana King went 4-for-4, scored four times, hit one home run and stole two bases. On April 27, the Violets played Emory University in a doubleheader. The Violets dropped both games, losing the first game 7-1 before losing the second 6-3. On April 28, NYU softball fell to Emory University in another doubleheader, losing the first game 5-1 and the second game 3-2. The Violets will conclude regular-season play next weekend with another UAA four-game series. They will face Washington University in St. Louis for doubleheaders on May 4 and May 5.

WOMEN’S TENNIS

On April 22, the NYU women’s tennis team defeated Skidmore

College 7-2. Stern first-year Anna Maria Buraya and CAS sophomore Coco Kulle won 8-2 in second seed doubles, while Stern sophomores Rupa Ganesh and Judy Kam came back to win 8-6 in its third seed doubles match. The Violets suffered their first loss of the season to the University of Chicago 6-3 on April 27, before falling to Brandeis University 6-3 on April 28. The NYU women’s tennis team ended their season with a win over the University of Rochester 7-2 in UAA Championships on April 29 in Altamonte Springs, Florida. The Violets (10-2) close out their highly successful season as the seventh overall team in the UAA and 17th best in the nation.

MEN’S TENNIS

The men’s tennis team competed at the UAA Championship in Altamonte Springs, Florida over April 26 to 28. The Violet’s began competition on April 26 with a 9-0 loss to the University of Chicago, with subsequent losses to Case Western Reserve University on April 27 and the University of Rochester on April 28 to round out the tournament. The Violets ended the season with a 5-10 record.

WOMEN’S GOLF

The women’s golf team travelled to Canton, New York over the April 28 to 29 weekend to compete in the Liberty League Championship at the Appleton Golf Course. With inclement weather leading to the cancelation of the second and final rounds of the tournament on Sunday April 29, the Violets’ first round performance on Saturday was enough to capture first place, and the team’s fourth straight Liberty League title. All five golfers on the roster were influential in securing the championship with all five finishing in the top 10. Of the leaders, three Violets landed in the top five with CAS senior Alyssa Poentis placing second, SPS junior Patty Treevichaphan placing third and CAS junior Jenni Bluetling placing fourth. The Violets will return to the links over April 8 to 11 to compete at the NCAA Championship in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. Email the Sports Desk at at sports@nyunews.com.


nyunews.com

Washington Square News | Monday, April 30, 2018

STAFF PHOTO BY WARNER RADLIFF

Panelists speak at an esports event at the Fifth Avenue flagship Microsoft Store.

Universities Invest in Growing Esports Industry Teams By WARNER RADLIFF Deputy Sports Editor

Student athletes know the pain of that last sprint, lap or rep at the end of a long and demanding practice. But what if instead of demanding physical exertion, your coach demanded the same appeal you made to your parents when playing video games late on a school night: one more level? Over the April 21 to 22 weekend, college coaches, professional gamers and industry leaders spoke to an intimate crowd of gaming enthusiasts at Microsoft’s flagship store in New York City about why that extra level may be more valuable in the college admissions process than expected. As global revenues from esports are expected to surpass $1 billion and with the esports fanbase expected to grow to 215 million by 2019, universities across the United States are investing heavily in the gaming world. To date, there are 78 universities that field competitive esports teams, 69 of which provide an average scholarship of $7,000 to whom Miami University of Ohio professor and esports head coach Glenn Platt described as “scholar gamers” in a panel discussion on collegiate competitive gaming. “We want to have academics woven throughout the entire experience that you have, that you don’t see varsity sports as something different or outside of academics but actually woven together with it,” Platt said. “What our students do is be more than actual players, but we start thinking about different roles: content creators, producers, editors. There is a whole world of roles that aren’t just playing esports but being actively involved in the business of esports.” Fellow panelist and SUNY Canton esports head coach Rob Snow further spoke to the relationship between esports and academics by emphasizing how esports has driven SUNY’s academic enhancement initiatives for online learners. “Because of the nature of esports where we can play online, we really worked hard to cater to online learners,” Snow said. “Today, I am proud to announce that we

have students from New York to Florida.” Steven Chen, a first-year at Hunter College and attendee at the Esports Academy, said that he was interested in transferring schools to pursue esports, particularly the online multiplayer game League of Legends, in addition to his academics after listening to representatives from Miami University of Ohio, Harrisburg University and SUNY Canton speak about the esports scene at their respective institutions. “It’s motivating to hear about these guys and what opportunities they have,” Chen said. “Right now, I’m hopefully looking into Harrisburg University and possibly joining their League [of Legends] scene. I noticed that they also have a sports psychology program specifically designed for esports, and that’ll be very exciting to make it into if I make it in.” When asked whether or not he believes NYU will invest in esports, Gallatin senior Josh Melnick said that he was unsure given the lack of knowledge of esports by many. “It’s hard to say,” Melnick said. “It seems at a bureaucratic level nobody really understands how esports work — they kind of think of it as one giant gaming conglomerate, and everybody is sort of involved in the same thing. I think there would have to be a pretty dramatic attitude change on the part of people who run that kind of thing. I can see it happening but there would have to be a pretty significant change.” In addressing the debate as to whether or not esports would fall under the category of athletics, Melnick said that structural support by the university is more important than the semantics. “I think it’s just about structural support and whether or not the athletics director or whatever is willing to support esports programmes,” Melinick said. “I think that’s definitely of the existing program at NYU. That’s definitely the infrastructure that’s most suitable to fitting esports, and even if it would be just intramural stuff, that’s still part of NYU Athletics. If people involved in the athletics department don’t want esports, then esports can be its own thing. I don’t feel really strongly; I just think there needs to be more support from wherever.” Email Warner Radliff at wradliff@nyunews.com.

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Washington Square News April 30, 2018  
Washington Square News April 30, 2018  
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