Volume 96, Issue 7

Page 1

VOL 96 : 07 OCTOBER 24, 2018 torchonline.com

The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. John’s University

love march for change students demand title ix changes for lgbtq+ community

see the story on page 3 TORCH PHOTO/cecelia germain

we asked students:

are you happy? see the story on page 8 & 9 TORCH PHOTO/alex yem





Love March Calls for Changes to University Protocol, Faculty Derrell J. Bouknight A group of about 50 students marched through campus on Monday afternoon calling for changes to the Title IX process. They said the demonstration was sparked by how the University handled an alleged incident of a sexual nature involving a transgender student. The student in the case spoke at the protest about her experience; the Torch is not identifying her or the specifics of her allegations because she has not spoken directly with the newspaper as of Tuesday night. The “Love March,” an annual event, was promoted by several student groups such as Spectrum, Latin American Student Organization and the Pan-African Student Organization. It started in the D’Angelo Center before moving to Marillac Hall and then Newman Hall, where President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw and other admisistrators have offices. In addition to seeking reforms to the Title IX complaint process, the group of students also distributed lists of demands on Spectrum letterhead, including gender-neutral bathrooms in buildings “based on the precedent set by the Inclusivity Resource Center.” Spectrum is the student organization representing gender and sexual minorities on campus. In a social media post, Spectrum wrote, “One of our own, a trans woman who was sexually victimized, has not seen justice even after her title 9 hearing… Title 9 must be centered around and driven by the victim or replaced by a different process if it cannot be reformed.” Students who were approached by a Torch reporter at the march declined to speak on the record. Those who participated in the


Students gathered in Marillac Hall Monday to demonstrate and read a list of demands.

march first occupied the staircase in the middle of the D’Angelo Center. Some held posters advocating for transgender rights while others applauded. Atemkeng Tazi, president of Student Government Inc., said that she will comment on the march on Wednesday after speaking with her executive board. As the group moved to the food court area in Marillac Hall, they chanted “trans’ rights are human rights.” Once in the building, the list of demands was expanded upon. Reforms that were read off included changes to the counseling center to hire counselors specifically for victims of sexual assault as well as an LGBTQ+ student services department. The department, it was listed in the written outline of demands, would be for “promoting a supportive campus environment for the gender and sexual minority community.” University spokesperson Brian Browne, when asked for comment on demands such

as gender-neutral bathrooms, said, “The University has not had an opportunity to review and evaluate the issues raised by students who joined in the demonstration.” When the march reached Newman Hall, students attempted to enter the administrative building, but were unable to because the doors were locked. A public safety officer stood inside. When asked about the locked doors, Browne said, “For the safety of students and the campus community, the University has adopted several safety protocols for these situations. In addition, while the University embraces the right of students to engage in protest activities, under University policies and procedures, students may not engage in protest activities that are disruptive to the learning or work environment.” Despite not being able to get into Newman to hand the demands to Gempesaw and General Counsel Joseph Oliva, groups split up to walk to the University Center and Bent Hall in an effort to hand the forms

out to other administrators. At Newman, chants to have Title IX Deputy Coordinator Jackie Lochrie removed from her position broke out. “Fire Jackie Lochrie,” the students said in protest. When asked about those chants, Browne said, “Ms. Lochrie is a valued member of the University community who has worked closely with students throughout her career assisting them in receiving the proper support services. She has a demonstrated record of being a strong advocate for students in cases involving claims covered under Title IX and uses her expertise and knowledge of Title IX requirements to ensure fair and equitable treatment of students.” After gathering at Newman, many students headed to the new Inclusivity Resource Center, where a safe space was provided for students who wanted to share personal stories. The IRC officially opened last month. Other reforms mentioned by Spectrum asked for housing accommodations for “transgender and non-binary students to dorm in gender-affirming housing” and to “allocate funds to [Center for Counseling and Consultation] and make necessary policy changes, space expansions, and staff expansions and raises.” Browne added that students who are in need of support can speak confidentially to a Campus Support Advisor at (718) 9908484 or The Center for Counseling and Consultation at (718) 990-6384. Non-confidential reports can be made by calling the Title IX Coordinator at (718) 990-2660 or titleix@stjohns.edu or through Public Safety at (718) 990-5252. More information about resources and filing a report are at www.stjohns.edu/sexual assault.

Professor Pappas Runs for Congress Isabella Bruni Anthony Pappas, a St. John’s economics professor, will be seen on voting ballots come Election Day on Nov. 6. Pappas is running on the Republican line in New York’s 14th Congressional District to represent parts of Queens and the Bronx in Congress. His Democratic opponent is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who beat out U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Sunnyside, Astoria, College Point, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Woodside, The Bronx) in an unexpected victory in June. He is also running against Crowley representing the Working Families Party and Elizabeth Perri from the Conservative Party. A Republican hasn’t won in this area since 1920, and registered Democrats outnumber Republicans roughly 6-to1 in the district, according to the Associated Press. The Torch reached out for an interview request with Pappas through his campaign website, but did not hear back. The 72-year-old from Astoria got his Bachelor’s at MIT and his Master’s and PhD from Yale University and he now teaches two courses at St. John’s, Economic History of the West and Money and Banking, according to the school’s online directory. Pappas supports progressive taxation and lower government spending, while his opponent Ocasio-Cortez favors universal health care, tuition-free college and federal jobs for the unemployed, according to the New York Public Radio. “We are a union of diverse people but above all, we are an American nation committed to the ideals that made us so great. Socialism has never been one of those ideals,” Pappas’ website states. “Yet it has been enthusiastically embraced by Tony’s opponent [Ocasio-Cortez] despite profound rejec-

tion by free thinking people in Europe and both North and South America. Tony is committed to the same rejection of socialistic ideology. And that makes him a union of both Democrats and Republicans this November.” In a recent Associated Press story, Pappas spent much of his interview criticizing the judicial system for, as he described it, failing him in a 10-year divorce battle. He said in the story that his wife called him abusive and she was granted a divorce on grounds of cruel and inhumane treatment, which he denied and said she made up. Pappas is seen as an unusual candidate, and not everyone associated with him is backing the party line. Joann Ariola, chairwoman of the Queens County GOP, said in a September interview with New York Public Radio “we could have won this election and now we have a candidate who we honestly cannot be proud of.” “He had a very good pedigree on paper,” she said. “He’s obviously very intelligent.” Jen Tucholski, a University spokesperson, said that the University “is flatly prohibited from participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. Political intervention includes not only making financial contributions but also the publication or distribution of written or oral statements on behalf of or in opposition to a particular candidate.” “St. John’s University is always non-partisan and does not support any particular political party or organization or candidate for elected office,” Tucholski said. Election Day is Tuesday Nov. 6. More information on Pappas can be found on his website www.anthonypappasforcongress.com.


Anthony Pappas is representing the Republican Party.




New Sustainability Initiatives to Eliminate Plastic Usage Alexis Gaskin In its first year as an official committee under the Student Govenment Inc. constitution, the Sustainability Committee is working towards new initiatives, with an emphasis on reducing the use of plastic on campus. The chair of the newly-formed committee is third-year student Irene Gorosave. Studying environmental science and government and politics, Gorosave works with three student assistant chairs; Gabrielle Fehter, Michelle Chin and Angela Abbatiello. The committee is currently working on initiatives to eliminate plastic bottles and plastic bags on the St. John’s campus. “We don’t just want to remove it,” Gorosave said. “We want to offer a solution, to offer an alternative.” Working with the committee members and assistant chairs, Gorosave described the plan as a “work in progress.” “Essentially what we need to do first is to collect data,” Gorosave said. “Thankfully, the wonderful people from the Research and Development committee of SGI are going to help us create surveys to see where the students stand on this issue.” Per the committee, the idea is to increase the use of reusable bottles and potentially switch from plastic to boxed water bottles. Often purchased by students or through meal exchanges during dining hours, the Dasani Water bottle is seen all over campus. Dasani, owned by the Coca-Cola Company, will have its relationship with the university reviewed, the committee acknowledges. Contracts with Coca-Cola, as well as any partnerships they may have with St. John’s catering company Chart-

wells, will also be evaluated. “We are waiting on the Committee of Student Services and we’re waiting on a meeting with Chartwells,” Gorosave said. “It’s all interconnected.” Including Dasani, The Coca-Cola Company owns Vitamin Water, Smart Water and Ciel mineralized water. Coca-Cola markets Dasani bottles as being made from 30 percent plants and is 100 percent recyclable.

We want to offer a solution, to offer an alternative. - Irene Gorosave, Sustainability Chair

Students in the committee hope that by offering more sustainable alternatives, students won’t be as reliant on the plastic water bottles. “Even if we’re not able to move forward as far as removing the plastic bottles, we’re fine with giving out more of these reusable water bottles and perhaps offer more of these fillable water fountains on campus,” Gorosave said. “We think students are more inclined to use these options than just the plastic water bottles. Senior Tamara Garcia was excited about the committee’s initiative and wants to see more water refill stations on campus. “Definitely no plastic water bottles. They

should work on having more water bottle stations.” Garcia said Assistant Chair Fehter wants students to know that there are more options than plastic water bottles. “There are other options available and we hope every student has a chance to use them,” Fehter said. Gorosave and the committee were inspired by the Sustainability Committee at Virginia Tech University. In 2013, they offered reusable water bottles to all their students as a way to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles on their campus. This past Monday, the collected plastic water bottles were put to use at the “Planting a Sustainable Future” program sponsored by SGI and the Sustainability Committee. During the event, students planted herb seeds in old Dasani water bottles to take home while giving out reusable water bottles as well. Freshman Lila Taher didn’t know about the new SGI committee, but is excited to see more programs like this one on campus. “I think it’s very smart and helpful to the community,” Taher said. “I’m definitely more used to the reusable water bottle than plastic ones.” Garcia was excited to reuse the water bottles in a beneficial way and thinks St. John’s is behind on the initiative to eliminate plastic waste. “I think it’s amazing that SGI and the sustainability committee are working on this, I know that other schools do that. I think we’re behind and it’s great that they’re getting it started.” Over 300 water bottles were given away and thirty plus personal plants were made.

Supported by SGI members and its executive board, the Sustainability Committee is hoping to get the support from senior members and groups on campus. “It’s all about talking to the higher-ups and not giving up when they tell us no,” Gorosave said, explaining the meetings the committee had with Student Affairs. According to Gorosave, director of environmental & energy conservation Tom Goldsmith has been very helpful in the committee’s other initiatives. Those include programs such as Recycle-A-Thon, the long-term recycling competition between universities. Still in the planning and research stages, the committee urges any interested student to join. “Anyone is welcome to join,” Gorosave said. “And we want to hear more voices.”


St. John’s Participates in Breast Cancer Awareness Walk The University surpassed its goal and raised $14,532 Sara Rodia The annual American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk was held this past Sunday, Oct. 21. St. John’s students and faculty joined thousands of people from across New York City to participate in the walk and raise money to find a cure for breast cancer. The walk occured at two locations: Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, NY and Midland Beach in Staten Island, NY. St. John’s provided transportation to the walk at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk is meant to unite communities, honor breast cancer survivors and raise money in the fight against breast cancer. Money raised at the event goes to the American Cancer Society to help the ongoing search for a cure. According to the St. John’s section of the Making Strides website, there were 498 student and faculty participants. St. John’s also raised $14,532, surpassing their goal of $10,000. The team that raised the most money for the event was the Inter-Fraternity Council, which raised $3,260. The team was able to

raise the money through the use of solicit donations from family, friends and other supporters and through fundraising. “We’ve formed a team because this cause is important to us,” the group’s section on the Making Strides website said. “We want to help. And walking and raising money in our local American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event is the best way we can do that. We all have different reasons for participating but we share a determination to help save lives from breast cancer.” Many students attending the walk came in support of family, friends, coworkers and others who have been impacted by breast cancer. “I came for my mom’s best friends who had breast cancer and girlfriend…” said junior Jessica Morales. “I want to support them to find cures for cancer.” Walking was not the only way to participate in the day. There was also the option of being a volunteer at the walk. Freshman Greta Jaye volunteered for the walk at a different location. “My favorite part was watching the pink T-rex complete the entire walk,” Jaye said. “The American Cancer Society is an im-


Students walked in support of breast cancer awareness at Flushing Meadows Park.

portant resource for women who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer,” the St. John’s section of the Making Strides website says. “We owe it to those women to support

the organization that does more than any other for them by funding innovative research and providing free information and services.”




CPS Celebrates New Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiatives Scholarship and new lab presentation highlighted event Beverly Danquah On Friday, College of Professional Studies administration, advisors, faculty, graduate assistants and students gathered to celebrate the naming of the Steve Farella Innovation Lab and the Joseph and Ellen Tufano Lab. There was also the presentation of the Prof. Sumitra Janokar Shah Memoir Scholarship. The innovation lab was dedicated in the name of Steve Farella, a ‘77 St. John’s alum and an influential entrepreneur in the media agency space. Principal of VFL Investment & Advisory, Chair of the CPS Advisory Board and CPS Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award recipient, Farella was the founding CEO of MPG Media, now known as Havas Media. “Innovation is the key to many things. It will differentiate you, not just your business, and differentiate your team,” Farella said upon receipt of the honor. “[Innovation] will give you a sense of ownership and pride, it will help you make a mark in the world and can help you succeed.” The St. John’s University CPS Lab Control Office was dedicated to SJU alum Ellen Tufano, a CPS Faculty member since 1998, and her husband Joseph Tufano, who joined the University in 2012 as Vice President and CIO. Dr. Ellen Tufano is a former associate dean and associate professor in the Division of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science. She is currently an adjunct professor of computer science. During Joseph Tufano’s tenure, St. John’s was ranked in Intel’s Top 10 Unwired colleges. “These spaces are such a wonderful addition to the college and provide outstanding learning opportunities for our students,” Ellen Tufano said. “My personal bonds with the college remain strong and I intend to


Dean Katia Passerini, middle, said entrepreneurship is an important part of St. John’s.

Innovation is the key to many things. It will differentiate you, not just your business, and differentiate your team. - Steve Farella, St. John’s ‘77

keep them that way. I hope to find ways to give back to the University.” Father Michael Cummings blessed the centers before the ribbon cutting ceremony led by Dean Passerini.

“These innovation labs are showing that the university is really investing in innovation and entrepreneurship,” Dean Passerini said. “With the Tobin College of Business, we are also working on a masters program for entrepreneurship and innovation. It’s the start really of a focus on creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship at St. John’s” Dean Passerini said the new labs will serve as a space for collaboration for students and that some courses which focus on design thinking and innovation can use the space for research purposes and to assemble. “[This space] is for many different majors from sports management to entrepreneurship and mass communications,” she said. “We have an opportunity to integrate design thinking and innovation inside the curricu-

lum to different majors.” Dean Passerini said she’s looking forward to seeing students make use of the space and to seeing all of the ideas that are produced as a result of the new resources available. “At the end of the day, innovation and entrepreneurship are about generating new ideas and solving new problems,” she said. Late Prof. Sumitra Janorkar Shah’s husband, Shashi K. Shah, presented the eponymous scholarship to senior student Chelsea Coote. A Communication Arts major with a concentration in Advertising and a minor in Business Administration, Coote was a finalist of last year’s Pitch Johnny contest. Her pitch, a subscription box called Unibox, has placed her on an entrepreneurial quest to make a positive social impact. “Unibox is a subscription box for college students, personalized for each student,” Coote said. “There are subscription boxes for cooking, clothing, perfume, accessories, but none geared toward college students and their needs.” Coote is looking forward to participating in this year’s Pitch Johnny contest.


Steve Farella speaks at the new CPS lab.

Highlighting the Latinx Heritage Month Formal Awards and dinner ceremony recapped the month of events


A Sensacion Dance Team member celebrates with friends on the dance floor.

TORCH PHOTO/DAINIEL PEREZ PHOTOS/DANIEL ASA president Toby Chukwara and LASO president Sieta LeonTORCH at Friday’s formal.PEREZ

6 Opinion


Flames of the Torch On the importance of transgender rights

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Angelica Acevedo, Editor-in-Chief Isabella Bruni, Managing Editor


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Staff and contributors Alana Loren Bethea Cecelia Germain Dayra Santana Jenna Woo Darren Marchesani Anika Seoparson Margaret Moore Rakesh Singh Alexis Gaskin

Sara Rodia Olivia Mathon Nick McCreven Sean Okula Nia Douglas Destinee Scott Arturo Enamorado Rasheeda Campbell Shabib Afzal

Devorah Satcher Laura Rapp Daniel Perez Alex Yem Olivia Grondy Kenny Carter

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Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of the Torch. Columns and other content are the opinions of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of the Torch. Opinions expressed in editorials, columns, letters or cartoons are not necessarily those of the student body, faculty or administration of St. John’s

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The freedom of self-identity should be prioritized and protected at all costs, for all individuals. As a nation, we cannot keep ignoring the infringement of human rights that is happening to people on such an unprecedented scale. This issue resonates on our campus right now, as we saw at this week’s Love March. The student-led demonstration highlighted the injustices faced by certain students on this campus, and demand change for the way that Title IX cases are handled by university administration. St. John’s officials should be held accountable, especially when students openly voice their grievances with their peers. They want to be heard. They also deserve to see effective change. Spectrum’s list of demands include initiatives that would foster a more welcoming environment for all students, regardless of their identity. For instance, introducing gender-neutral restrooms in all buildings on campus and allowing students to reside in housing that correlates with their gender identity would create a more comfortable environment for LGBTQ+ students. Hopefully, the recent implementation of the Inclusivity Resource Center and Academic Center for Equity and Inclusion can help create a better system when it comes to issues that the LGBTQ+ community at St. John’s faces.

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This week, the Trump administration announced that they are “seriously considering changing” the government’s official definition of gender to one’s biological sex determined at birth. Under this new definition, the recognition of transgender individuals under the law would be jeopardized if they can no longer use their preferred gender identities. Under the Obama administration, the legal concept of gender was loosened in federal programs, with a definition that recognized the gender identity chosen by the individual. However, President Trump is finding another way to erase the work of his predecessor. The progress of transgender recognition has sparked conversation across the country and “prompted fights over bathrooms, dormitories, [and] single-sex programs,” according to The New York Times. So what could this decision mean for people who identify as transgender in the United States? According to the Department of Education, “Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity…” The erasure of transgender identities within the government view could remove them from the umbrella of Title IX protections in the future.


Jamal Khashoggi’s Death is An Attack on Free Speech Shabib Afzal On Oct. 2, Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Turkey. As reported by The New York Times, he was drugged, killed, beheaded and dismembered, then his body was allegedly disposed of outside the consulate. No exceptions should be given to the Saudi government for this. Regardless of whether or not Saudi Arabia takes responsibility for this, it was a planned execution of a journalist. President Donald Trump should not be tolerating this type of behavior, considering what he has said in the past about Saudi Arabia, such as saying the country treated “women like slaves” and wanting to “kill gays.” Unfortunately, this is not the case. Our nation has had a long history as allies with Saudi Arabia. It’s ironic, considering the complete contradiction of values between the two nations. Our trade deals, as well as the need for a strategic alliance with someone in the region, are the reasons behind this relationship with the nation. It’s a toxic one, but it could be argued as necessary. Some would also argue that the president’s biggest strength lies within his rhetoric. His “not caring about what others

think” attitude is what led him to the position he is currently in. While in some cases he has been consistent with this attitude, the situation with Khashoggi is not an example of that. Before he was elected to office, Trump’s rhetoric towards Islamic extremism and the government of Saudi Arabia was blunt.

If the United States is supposed to be the most powerful nation in the world and the nation who set the precedent for free speech, then why is our president acting spineless on this issue?

Much of it could be viewed as bigotry. However, there was some truth in what was said. His comments about the Clinton foundation taking money from the Saudi government were true as was confirmed by The New York Times journalists, Amy Chozick and Steve Eder, in 2016. The fact that Saudi Arabia has treated women, LGBTQ peo-

ple and pretty much everyone except for royalty and the rich awfully, is true as well. Much has changed since then. Now, Trump would rather suggest that this disappearance was committed by a group of “rogue killers.” He says this instead of pointing to Saudi Arabia’s notorious human rights record. This apparent execution is an example of this record on display, which leads to the biggest reason why the president’s reaction should anger us all. The death of Khashoggi is an attack on free speech. He previously was close to Saudi royalty and was unabashed in his criticism of the theocracy. If the United States is supposed to be the most powerful nation in world and the nation who set the precedent for free speech, then why is our president acting spineless on this issue? What happened to the previously critical rhetoric laid out during the 2016 election cycle? The United States needs to rethink our alliance with one of the most heinous offenders of human rights. Completely ridding ourselves of our alliance with them may not be the smartest idea, considering the political implications. But we have the technology to make our energy policies less reliant on oil, and the power to stand up for what is right. So why not take advantage of that?

Opinion 7


Cultures Are Not Halloween Costumes Devorah Satcher With Oct. 31 approaching, I’d say it’s about that time, the time that Americans need to be reminded of what constitutes as an inappropriate Halloween costume. A costume is an outfit that is funny, expressive, imaginary or completely outlandish. Some examples of appropriate Halloween costumes are a character from a horror film, a ghost, a Transformer or a 90s cartoon character. Even the promiscuous angels and demons would be fine. A costume is not anything that relates to a specific demographic’s culture whether it be race or religion. Suppose someone wanted to dress as a princess for Halloween, that would be acceptable in theory. I believe that Disney princess costumes are fair game, but when certain elements infiltrate, that’s when issues arise. If your Pocahontas costume does not include the clothes she wore in the Disney movie, but includes a traditional native headdress that was not worn in the film, that’s a problem. If you’re dressed as Princess Tiana, and I have to ask, “is that blackface?” that’s a problem. Before Tiana, black girls such as myself didn’t have a princess whom we could effortlessly portray. Now imagine if we painted our flesh white whenever we wanted to dress as Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and the many other white Disney princesses. Although it wouldn’t be considered appropriation or “whiteface,” we would feel that it was unnatural and unnecessary. Why is it that so many people across the country do not feel these convictions? Outside of the number of culturally insensitive costumes, the ones involving blackface are the most prominent and reoccurring. The most pressing thing about it is the insistence on wearing blackface despite seeing so many non-black people fired or suspended over of it.


Anika Seoparson

New Yorkers in costumes during Greenwich Village’s Halloween Parade of 2015 in NYC.

These stories that appear in newspapers and on social media every October do not even slightly deter the use of such costumes. The constant reminders that appear on college campuses, urging students to be respectful in their costume choices, only seem to serve as motivation for “culture vultures.” People who steal the characteristics of another ethnic culture. There are too many people determined to cross clearly set boundaries of cultural appropriation under the guise of creative expression. I would like to know exactly what these problematic individuals are expressing by dressing up as the people, who in everyday life, are oppressed by people who look just

like you. What creativity lies in painting your face the color of charcoal, wearing buck teeth, speaking with absurd and unheard dialect? The audacity to wear these costumes as if it’s their God-given right, requires insurmountable privilege and blatant prejudice. The people being mocked and degraded by these outfits have spoken and made clear our feelings about the costumes in question, as well as which ones are acceptable and which ones aren’t. So there shouldn’t be anything further to debate or discuss. At this point, refusal to give up these offensive costumes is not a result of ignorance or not seeing eye to eye, but of willful insolence.

Guess Who’s Coming to Lunch: Kanye West Meets with Trump Rasheeda Campbell Warning: the following content will most likely be “Saturday Night Live” approved and Kanye West disapproved. It seems as though the once influential rapper Kanye West has been “team Donald Trump” ever since Trump wanted to run for president. I’m not criticizing West for being a republican and being so besotted with Trump because it is everyone’s human right (assuming that West is human) to think how they want and to believe in whatever they want. I am a little confused, however, with West’s current political views, since in 2005 he claimed that former president George W. Bush didn’t care about black people. On Oct. 11, West did something that I really disagreed with: he had lunch with Trump at the White House. Apparently, his unwanted speech during “Saturday Night Live” a few weeks ago wasn’t enough for him to prove to the public that he is Trump’s butt kissing righthand man, so having a live broadcast of a lunch meeting with the president was the

St. John’s Could Have More Sexual Assault Awareness

riously. I can’t help but think this is an way to do so. From my point of view, the conversa- ingenious way for West to get attention. tion he had with Trump consisted of bad The next incredibly annoying comment he mouthing democrats and liberal while made was referring to the ‘Make America whining over the negative comments peo- Great Again’ hat. ple have made about Trump and West. “There was something about when I put Although almost everything West said this hat on; it made me feel like Superman. during the meeting irYou made a Superman. ritated me, there were That’s my favorite sutwo specific comments perhero. You made he stated that truly left a Superman cape for To me, the entire me exasperated. me,” West said. meeting was The first comment Cue my eye roll. I unsettling and the he made that really do not support or conworst moment was got to me was when done West’s love for near the end when he brought up what Trump. He is so head West got up to hug he said about Bush in over heels for this obTrump. 2005. viously sexist, racially “I was very emotional discriminating, unsymand I was programmed to think from a vic- pathetic man, that it’s as though he was timized mentality. Of a welfare mentality,” kidnapped by some right-wingers and brain West said. washed for five years straight. First, I would like to point out that he To me, the entire meeting was unsettling uses the word ‘programmed,’ which leads and the worst moment was near the end me to believe he might not actually be hu- when West got up to hug Trump. man. This is a bromance that I wish did not Second, it’s hard for me to take this se- exist.

With Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation and the #MeToo Movement, sexual assault is a consistent topic in the news today. The dialogue for sexual assault on college campuses, however, does not seem as prevalent. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted on college campuses with only 1twelve percent of these assaults being reported. I think St. John’s University is doing a great job educating students on sexual assault and providing victims with a safe space to come forward but there are still ways the school could shed more light on this topic. St. John’s stated that the campus is, “committed to providing confidential, nonjudgmental and appropriate support services for all sexual assault survivors.” St. John’s provides students with ample on-campus resources for victims of sexual assault, but I think the University should do more to emphasize the presence of these resources. St. John’s University has the SOAR (Sexual Violence Outreach, Awareness and Response) Office, which “works to prevent and reduce the traumatic impact of sexual assault, dating and relationship violence, and stalking at St. John’s University.” SOAR provides students with training sessions to bring awareness to sexual assault and prevent these incidents. SOAR administers an online sexual assault education course for all incoming students called Haven. There is also a required sexual assault prevention course for all students on MySJU. While these measures are imperative in an academic environment, I think most students forget about these courses after their first year at St. John’s. St. John’s has Title IX coordinators who work to prevent sex discrimination. However, while every student has likely heard of Title IX, many students are unaware of what the specific policies are. If a student chooses not to share their assault with Title IX coordinators, St. John’s also participates in Callisto, a third-party college sexual assault system. Callisto is helpful for those reluctant to speak up. Many sexual assaults go unreported for reasons varying from distrust of authorities and feelings of fear and shame, so St. John’s should make this option known to students. While St. John’s has undoubtedly created a safe, comfortable space, sexual assault is not easy to deal with. I think it is crucial that the University continues to emphasize that sexual assault is unacceptable and that students can seek help here. If St. John’s held more events regarding sexual assault, and brought awareness to the on-campus services and school policies, I am certain they would help students even more.


Are St. John’s Students Happy? Beverly Danquah What does it mean to be happy? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines happiness as well-being and contentment. Some Johnnies define happiness as the Henley-bound shuttle bus arriving on time or Angela coming back from her lunch break to make omelettes, while others view it as watching the tree lighting ceremony at the University’s annual winter carnival. Whether you live for a free water bottle during common hour or a random ice cream truck near Carnesecca Arena, according to a recent study, it seems that overall, many St. John’s students aren’t happy. A recent study by the Princeton Review analyzed how strongly students disagree with the statement, “I am happy at my school.” St. John’s is ranked #9 “least happy” on the list, preceding the United States Merchant Marine Academy and succeeding the United States Coast Guard Academy. When you think about it, it speaks volumes that our University was placed in between two of the five United States service academies, one which trains officers for branches of the military and the other which provides education to future Coast Guard officers. This survey question is essentially looking to find the school where students don’t feel fulfilled. Last year, the school ranked #17 for “least happy” students, and the year before, it ranked #11. In response to the ranking, Jen Tucholski, a University Spokesperson said, “The Princeton Review surveyed approximately 500 of our 11,000-plus undergraduate students in 2015. The group of students polled represented only four percent of the student population—rendering the survey statistically insignificant. With a sampling that does not meet statistical significance, it is impossible to capture accurate data. A single question posed in a statistically insignificant survey cannot measure quality of life, least of all, something as subjective and broad in scope as happiness.” The Torch spoke to a few students during common hour on Monday to determine whether or not they would consider themselves happy, and why they think so many Johnnies feel negatively about their St. John’s experience.

Andrea Hincapie Bendeck Freshman Bogota, Colombia 17 Bio Medical Sciences

Soannie Maldonado Senior Miami, FL 21 English

Udita Tonnee Senior Queens, NY 21 Chemistry and Biology

“It’s more on you to make sure you graduate on time because there are multiple cases where students think they’re on track, then it’s like J.K., you have to do two core classes and you can’t walk because you didn’t take that core class... I know too many kids including me who are taking the GRE [grad school admissions exam] and taking it way too late in our senior year when we probably should’ve taken it our junior year, and then had the option to take it again if we wanted.”

“In terms of happiness, I feel like it’s a mix because there are some things that make me happy and some that don’t. Administration doesn’t address some issues that we feel are important... Being a double major, I wish I could’ve taken chemistry electives, which I would’ve had time for if I didn’t have to take like three philosophies and three theologies. The only reason I can finish on time is because I came in with AP credit... When we come into St. John’s the first thing we get is a semester chosen for us, I didn’t realize it, but most of my friends chose their first semester in college. I didn’t get to... I constantly track my credits to make sure I graduate on time.”

“As a freshman, St. John’s is living up to my expectations. The food could be worse, my dorm doesn’t have any roaches, there are a lot of events on campus with free things. There are a lot of things to do here.”

Dallas Livingston Junior Philadelphia, PA 20 Toxicology Eric Sarpong Junior South Orange, NJ 21 Biology

“If St. John’s is going to be so strict on housing and make it so that you have to sign in someone of the opposite sex, then you clearly should just have single sex buildings. At this point, we’re in college and we’re all legal adults. We should honestly be able to make our own decisions. I do love that I found my best friends, the ones that are going to be the bridesmaids at my wedding; they’re a support system for me. Where St. John’s lacks, I found that support in my friends.”

“I don’t love the food... Freshman year was my best experience... I didn’t really care for theology, it shouldn’t be a required course. It was a waste of time because I’m not going to use it for my profession. I don’t even remember most of the things I learned. I just wrote the papers. The people make the experience for me, not the school.”

Gabrielle Fechter Junior Portland, OR 21 Government and Politics “There’s a lot of good faculty, but there’s disorganization within our administration. Besides that I feel like it’s a good school. We have really good financial aid and scholarships... I think some students aren’t happy because we don’t have a fun campus, it’s not as ‘lit’ as other schools. For an example, during Tip-Off, one of my friends complained that there was only one party and that at other schools, it would be a weekend long celebration. It’s hard to compare to other schools because we don’t have a football team, but we could make it more extravagant. The team could be better.”

Ramani Williams Senior Fort Lauderdale, FL 21 Psychology

Morgan Nedwetzky Junior Rochester, NY 20 Public Relations

Mariana Diaz Junior San Diego, CA 20 Theology

“In order to be happy at St. John’s, you have to put yourself out there. A lot of us come here and don’t know anyone. I joined clubs and attended parties and that’s when I became accustomed to everything on campus. My freshman year I was a bit depressed because I didn’t know anyone, but once I started to get involved, I became happier... Despite being a commuter, I find ways to get involved, it’s all about time management. If students branch out of campus and also go to Manhattan, they’ll value their St. John’s experience more.”

“My biggest pet peeve about St. John’s is facilities. They are the worst here. If I call you for an emergency and you show up four days later, I probably already died. Also, there was mold in DaSilva on the air conditioners and they called facilities. They said they’d be there soon, they didn’t show up until later... The people are the reason why I stayed here, academic wise, I would’ve transferred.”

“If you don’t double check the classes that [your advisors] are telling you to take, you might not graduate on time. I go to my advisors just to get my priority number, I check my credits myself... The hours for food are terrible. They close Marillac and DAC at 7, I want food at 8 for dinner. So then I have to go to the diner which isn’t the best food.”

Features 11


Tobin Celebrates Women in Entrepreneurship Local businesswoman speaks in commemoration Dayra Santana This past week was Women Entrepreneurship Week (WEW), a celebration of women entrepreneurs across the U.S. and the rest of the world. Events across college campuses featured female guest speakers to inspire young women and students to create their own businesses. The emphasis on the importance of women in entrepreneurship stems from statistics discussed in a U.S. Senate report entitled, “Tackling the Gender Gap: What Women Entrepreneurs Need to Thrive.” The obstacles facing businesswomen include unequal access to funding and venture capital, a gender pay gap and a lack of female role models and mentors. These WEW events are geared towards encouraging students to triumph against the odds. St. John’s held one such event featuring Wendy Lombardo, a businesswoman from Long Island. The owner of high-end fashion boutique, Reign, Lombardo spoke to the audience about building a business from the ground up. Students were able to discuss their own business goals and ask her for advice. In the spirit of WEW, Lombardo was open about some of the struggles she faced as a woman at the beginning of her career. “When I started, I looked young… I found that people didn’t take me as seriously,” Lombardo said. “It was really just about forming that tough skin to be able to be confident in what I knew was right, and have that same type of aura as somebody older or that men have in business. It’s a little bit harder for women because there’s a stigma… where a man can say the same thing a women does and it’s fine, he’s just considered a strong personality.” No stigma has gotten in the way of Lombardo, who has expanded her original Merrick location three times and has opened a second location in Long Beach.

Jenna Morace, co-owner of the Reign boutique location in Long Beach, was also in attendance. She spoke on the experience of being underestimated as a woman. “I’m 24, so people always say, ‘you’re in charge?’ and I’m like, ‘yes I am,’” Morace, a recent Hofstra University graduate, said. “I also think it’s important to take women seriously. People see Wendy, and they’re like ‘you’ve done all this?’ It’s really inspiring that she did.” Sophomore business management student Diana Picarella attended the event. She was interested in hearing firsthand about what it’s like to create and own a business firsthand from a businesswoman. “To hear from someone in business, someone who’s actually doing it, puts things into perspective,” Picarella said. “And to have it come from a woman is important, because women have to go out there and show that anything’s possible.” Ingrid Fray, associate professor of management, organized the event. “I think women… they don’t have as much representation in business as men do.” Fray said on the importance of Women Entrepreneurship Week. Fray teaches entrepreneurship classes at St. John’s that teach students the foundations of what it means to be an entrepreneur. Fray loves seeing student ideas come to life in a classroom setting. Fray also founded an organization on Long Island called Dress for Success Nassau County, which provides business attire for women seeking employment at a low cost. It was primarily founded by women and currently run by women. “The most challenging [part] was making the low-income women… believe that they can become an active part of society, just like I am,” Fray said. “The most rewarding for me is helping women believe in themselves and seeing them make the change from welfare to work.”


Wendy Lombardo, owner of high-end fashion boutique “Reign” speaks to students.

Students listen and take notes as Lombardo discusses building a business.

The University is working to have more guest speakers visit campus to discuss owning a business with aspiring student entrepreneurs. Being a woman entrepreneur can be incredibly rewarding. Lombardo told the audience how far confidence, passion and determination can take you in the business

world. “The most important thing is to absolutely love your business, and when you do you could be working 100 hours a week and you’re not gonna feel it,” Lombardo said, and she did just that. “I absolutely loved it, and still do. There’s nothing else I’d rather do.”

Do’s and Don’ts When Applying for Law School Ways to set yourself apart in your personal statement Cecelia Germain Does writing your personal statement for law school stress you out? Well then, you have come to the right place. According to abovethelaw.com, a news site about law, legal news and the legal profession, law school applications become available between the end of August and the beginning of October. Most schools state deadlines somewhere between February 1 and June 1, and most law schools start admitting people shortly after applications become available (in October and November). Last Thursday, Professor Joseph Kenny, St. John’s Pre-Law advisor and economics professor, hosted a workshop called “Applying to Law School — Personal Statements and Letters of Recommendation.” If you weren’t able to make it, don’t worry, because the Torch was present and we are here to tell you

what to do and what not to do when writing your personal statement. Keep in mind that your law school application is simply an interview on paper to give the admissions committee a sense of who you are — you have complete power over what is written. This is your moment to show them your growth and why you are deserving of being admitted. A couple of do's: Your personal statement should be a maximum of two pages, double spaced, depending on the school. It is recommended that you have an introduction and conclusion in order for the admissions officer to consider your personal statement. Always establish your purpose early on with something that’s engaging. Be creative, but stay relevant to your theme.

Some don'ts: Avoid clichés and do not use contractions. You shouldn’t linger on any deaths in the family or any other tragic events. You should submit something that you are comfortable with, because not only will the admissions office read these, but so will the Bar examiner upon passing the exam. Lastly, do not submit your statement with a childish email address, because they won’t take your application seriously. A few tips: Having a central theme is important in your personal statement. You don’t want to distract the reader. Think about this: have you overcome an obstacle, has a specific person brought you to this decision to apply to law school? This should express the most you can say about yourself. Your law school application should reflect who

you are and who you plan to be. There are many applicants, so make sure that you make yourself stand out; do you bring something to this school that others wouldn’t? Show them that you really want to attend their school. Talk about your academic experiences: did you study abroad, do you have any relevant work experience? What’s your motivation for applying, why do you want to apply to this specific law school, what are your long-term goals? The last piece of advice from this workshop is to have someone read it over, preferably someone who knows you personally or academically. Consider making an appointment with the writing center. This is going to take time, and I can guarantee that you will have multiple drafts before you perfect your personal statement. Good luck, and make sure you plan ahead if you haven’t already.

12 Features


Addicted to Strength: Ashton Meertins Student Personal Trainer Inspires Through Fitness Alana Loren Bethea St. John’s senior Ashton Meertins is a certified personal trainer who has inspired many through fitness and his story of overcoming bullying in high school. As a skinny high school freshman, Meertins entered Holy Innocents Episcopal in Atlanta, GA not knowing what to expect. “I was one of only eight African Americans in my class,” Meertins said. As a result, he was subject to discrimination and stereotyping. Meertins started playing for the junior varsity basketball team, where he was teased by his peers and coaches because of his stature. “I used to get picked on a lot for being skinny. Being that young you take it all in, especially being introverted like I was. Sometimes you just sit there with your thoughts and think about the same negative things,” Meertins said. As he entered his sophomore year in high school, Meertins made the varsity basketball team. The coaches made it mandatory for all players to weight train. Meertins did not enjoy the weightroom and favored time on the basketball court. “I trained here and there because

it was what we were required to do,” he TORCH PHOTOS/ALANA LOREN BETHEA said. Meertins later became the captain of his school’s varsity basketball team. His head coach, Terry Kelly, was determined to help bring out the best in Meertins. As the captain, he learned how to become more vocal, understanding and take responsibility. “I began to break out of my shell,” he said. As he continued to experience bullying in high school, Meertins desired to be surrounded by open-minded individuals. “I wanted to be able to feel not only accepted but like I didn’t have to walk around with a chip on my shoulder because of my skin color.” This led to his decision to go to St. John’s University, a diverse college, to further his educational career. Meertins started down the path of weightlifting during his first year at St. John’s. As a freshman, Meertins Ashton Meertins trains student Katarina Guerrero on how to do standing rows. was randomly assigned to dorm with During his freshman year, however, Sports & Fitness Association (ASFA). current personal trainer and close the St. John’s basketball team did not He now trains three clients a week, friend, John Pohopin. Pohopin dreamt allow walk-ons. Unable to play the sport each of them having twelve prepaid of becoming a competitive bodybuilder he loved, Meertins felt a void.. He was sessions. He not only wants to help and frequently weight trained. Meertins people achieve their physical goals in the had another dream, however: to walk on left alone in his room for the most part, merely attending class and sleeping, gym, but also assist those who have low for the St. John’s basketball team. while his roommate continued to go to self-esteem. the gym consistently. Fast-forward four years later in his fitEventually, Pohopin influenced Meerness journey, Meertins is a senior at St. tins to work out with him. “By the end John’s majoring in psychology. He plans of the first semester my freshmen year I to pursue neuroscience and neuropsyput on 25 pounds of muscle,” Meertins chology. “I want to be a doctor and help said. children and adolescents with mental Consistency at the gym made him disorders.” realize improvements in all aspects of his life. Whether it was stress levels or filling the void left by not playing basketball, working out was the answer. “It became addicting,” he said. Meertins began to fall in love with exercise. He started to go on a ‘lean bulk’ by eating a variation of vegetables and protein six times a day, with the goal to become muscular and lean. To him, “the healthier you eat the better you’ll feel.” According to Meertins, the nutrients you consume go back to your muscles, therefore, it is important to eat healthy to improve your body. “Protein is not only a source of energy, it also helps your muscles grow and develop,” he said. Such dishes may include fish, chicken and/or vegetables. In terms of cardio, Meertins still loves to play basketball. “It’s like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), but it’s fun and entertaining.” After gaining confidence, self-esteem and friends both in and outside of the weightroom, Meertins was able to share his love for fitness with other people. During his second semester of sophomore year, Meertins became a certified personal trainer for St. John’s Campus Recreation. The process to become a personal trainer depends on certification. “I had a mentor who was in bodybuilding competitions,” Meertins said. Learning from his mentor, Raied Salegh, as well as doing his own research, MeerMeertins setting up to do a 400lb deadlift. tins earned a certification for American

Culture 13


Entertainment to Culture: What’s Next?

On the Torch’s recent decision to change the formal name of the section Samantha DeNinno The entertainment sections of newspapers have always functioned as a break from the hard news and politics found throughout its meticulously crafted pages, while offering insights to the world around them. The Torch’s Entertainment section was no different. However, readers may have noticed the small difference in the corners of the section’s pages for the last two issues. We are proud to formally announce the change from the Torch’s Entertainment section to the Torch’s Culture section. After discussions between myself, the Culture Editor, and our Editor-in-Chief, Angelica Acevedo, we decided to start the section on a wider path, one where a larger view of the world can be seen and heard. At its core, the section will remain a place where film and TV reviews will flourish, as they have in the past, but we also want to open the doors even wider and start asking broader questions. What exactly does a piece of media mean for culture? For the students

on our campus? In the past, I have always described the section as a mix of features, news and opinion. As a creative blend of these areas, this section has always thrived on pitches from the writers themselves on topics they want to speak about. As the Culture section, we set out to reflect the culture both on and off of campus, offering insight into the world around us and the correlation between our entertainment and our culture. Features on student artists, film reviews and think pieces, first-person experiences on events happening off campus, think pieces on movements within our culture and continued coverage of events under the entertainment field on campus will be featured in our pages in an attempt to do just that. This change will grant us the opportunity to expand our range and cover topics and events that will not risk being trivialized under entertainment. The Torch’s Culture section is some of the old and some of the new, continuously changing and shared by the individuals who decide to write for it — a mimicry of culture as a whole.

torch design/ jenna woo

torch photos/ Zoe Golden-Johnson, Spencer Clinton, Nia Douglas, Dawson Bieleck PhOTO COURTESY/ Youtube Great Big Story Photo Courtesy/ Flickr Creative Commons Jack

Fall Down and Get Back Netflix’s “Big Mouth” Has Up With “Mid90s” Actually Gotten Better Dayra Santana

After a 15 year-long acting career, Jonah Hill has stepped behind the camera with his directorial debut, “MID90S” If audiences are expecting the goofiness of Hill’s fan-favorite comedic roles in “Superbad” or “21 Jump Street,” they are in for a surprise, albeit a pleasant one. The film is a heartfelt snapshot of just how painful it can feel to grow up. Audiences are taken back to a time of baggy pants and cassette tapes in 1990s Los Angeles as they follow 13-year-old Stevie (Sunny Suljic) as he becomes a part of a ragtag PHOTO COURTESY/Youtube A24

group of teenage skateboarders. Stevie’s skateboard and his new friends become an escape from his turbulent home life with single mother Dabney (Katherine Waterson) and ill-tempered older brother Ian (Lucas Hedges). The cast includes a refreshing mix of amateur and professional skaters such as NaKel Smith, Olan Prenatt, Ryder McLaughlin and Gio Galicia. This makes the film a oneof-a-kind glimpse into the skate community, a community that is often portrayed but perhaps has never truly done justice in film before. None of the members of this skate crew have had any previous acting experience. Despite this, the young men give powerful performances and make the film as funny as it is sentimental. Smith shines through as Ray, who is considered the most talented of the skate crew and becomes something of a mentor to Stevie. While the film is characterized by common coming-of-age themes including loneliness, trauma, first-times, friendship and family, it still manages to resonate among the rest. Audiences feel every intense emotion of growing up alongside Stevie. They wince at every fall and triumph with the completion of every skateboard trick. Hill is able to capture one of the most vulnerable times in a human’s life authentically, creating a film that is both hilarious and heartbreaking.

Nia Douglas

“BIG MOUTH’S” SECOND SEASON has propelled the show into the ranks of adult cartoon classics such as “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons.” “Big Mouth,” created by comedians Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg, is a fictional portrayal of the creators’ early teen years. The protagonists deal with the plights of puberty during middle school, where “hormone monsters” encourage them to act upon their hormonal urges. Season two, which was released on Oct. 5, continued its somewhat disturbing yet hilarious portrayal of puberty. Kroll and Goldberg comment on the double standards between men and women concerning promiscuity, and self-proclaimed feminist Jessi’s angsty spiral emphasizes that women can perpetuate those double standards as well. By overtly stating that Matthew, a character who felt he was only seen as an embodiment of his sexuality, is not just “mean and gay” and by revealing Jay’s bisexuality, after he begins to have sexual dreams about male pillows, Kroll and Goldberg’s LGBTQ+ characters are not just symbols of their sexuality, but rather function like other protagonists as a satire on puberty. This is a big deal in respect to the history of satirical cartoons. Similar series poke fun at minorities by exasperating stereotypes to

emphasize the mediocrity of them. “Big Mouth” takes a different approach. Rather than setting up their minority characters to bear the brunt of racist, sexist and homophobic jokes, the show embraces representation and doesn’t allow only white male characters to be funny, but makes all characters equally funny outside of stereotypes. The newest season affirms “Big Mouth’s” effective approach of providing meaningful coming of age stories dressed in raunchy cartoon craziness and promises viewers even more laughs and thought-provoking commentary. To view the full review, visit torchonline.com PHOTO COURTESY/Youtube netflix

14 Culture


torch design/ jenna woo

Celebrities’ Influence on Voter Registration Destinee Scott

Taylor Swift, known for being reluctant to voice her political opinions, recently broke her silence and encouraged fans to register to vote, resulting in a huge voter registration turnout. On Oct. 7, the singer-songwriter announced that she would be voting for Tennessee’s Democratic Senate candidate, Phil Bredesen. “I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives,” Swift wrote in an Instagram post. “Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote. org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting!” Within 24 hours of Swift’s Instagram post, Kamari Guthrie, director of communications for the nonprofit Vote.org, told Buzzfeed that voter registration numbers had dramatically spiked both nationally and in Swift’s home state of Tennessee.

“We are up to 65,000 registrations in a single 24-hour period since T. Swift’s post,” Guthrie said. Guthrie also revealed that traffic to her organization had increased after Swift’s post, bringing in 155,940 unique visitors to Vote. org in the 24 hours following, compared to the average number of daily users of 14,078. During her Artist of the Year acceptance speech at the 2018 American Music Awards (AMA) in Los Angeles, Swift also told fans

to go out and vote. “This award and every single award given out tonight were voted on by the people, and you know what else is voted on by the people?” Swift asked the audience. “It is the midterm elections on November 6. Get out and vote. I love you guys.” AMA Host and Golden Globe-winning actress Tracee Ellis Ross and comedian-actor Billy Eichner also encouraged voter registration during the AMAs.

PHOTO COURTESY/Instagram TaylorSwift

Taylor Swift is supporting Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper in the upcoming elections.

Many other celebrities have also spoken up about voting on their social media, including Billy Ray Cyrus, who tweeted an acoustic version of his song “Goddess of Democracy” and wrote, “This is your chance to make your voice heard.” Rihanna also posted the deadlines for registration in an Instagram post. “We don’t have time, no procrastinating, don’t let the discouragement take you off course, that’s not how my people or my generation will go down...this is the loudest way to make your voice heard!” the singer wrote. It doesn’t stop there. Kim Kardashian West, Chance The Rapper, John Legend, Janelle Monáe, Eva Longoria and Tom Hanks, among many other celebrities, have also urged their fans to register and vote. Even Beyoncé gave her fans the opportunity to register at her “On The Run II” tour. Twitter has also shown efforts by creating their “#BeAVoter” campaign, which includes a special emoji and shows up on user’s timelines, encouraging them to register. MTV has also launched “+1thevote” campaign, which encourages people to bring their plus one to vote with them. Celebrities and organizations have been trying to push young people to register and vote. This year, the campaigns and encouragement of celebrities aimed to turn the process of voter registration and voting into a cultural event to remind them that voting is important and can even be liberating.

torch design/ jenna woo

News Podcasts: A New Way To Stay Updated Alexis Gaskin

"Call Your Girlfriend"

"Pod Save America"

"Pantsuit Politics"

There’s a lot going on in the world today, so when you’re not reading the Torch, it’s good to keep track of the news in other ways. Whether you’re a news buff or you’re just trying to keep up with what’s happening in the world, these news-oriented podcasts are a perfect way to start your morning or end your day. All of these shows are available on Spotify and iTunes.

Beginning as a podcast between long-distance BFFs, Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow, “Call Your Girlfriend” brings you pop culture, fun discussion and, of course, the news in a chill way. These two gals sound like those really smart and educated friends who are trying to get you to vote. The fun and charisma from Friedman and Sow focus on women in politics, news and overall women empowerment.

Aides to former President Barack Obama during his administration — Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor — bring you a recap on the news twice a week, usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Although it is a little lengthy at just over an hour, the time will fly by as these hosts describe clearly what’s happening in the news with their own charismatic wit.

Hosted by Sarah Stewart Holland “from the left” and Beth Silvers “from the right,” these two women represent the more conservative and liberal side of politics as they discuss what’s happening in the news. With different guests, each episode features more reflective and discussion-based news. Lasting from 30 minutes to an hour, it’s a quick reflection on the different perspectives and opinions regarding today’s news.

"T h e D a i l y " Journalist Michael Barbaro brings you the news of what’s happening today and what’s usually found in the pages of The New York Times in “The Daily.” With regular guest appearances from NYT writers and editors, Barbaro offers a recap of the most pressing news in under 30 minutes, five days a week at 6 a.m. The short episodes leave you wanting more, but still feeling well-informed. Sticking to his journalistic roots, Barbaro discusses the news and gives interviews in an ethical and strictly factual manner. It’s a perfect way to catch up on the news in a short amount of time.

Michael Barbaro hosts the New York Times’s podcast “The Daily” five days a week. PHOTO COURTESY/Youtube timestalks

"The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Ears Edition" The ears edition of the “Daily Show” is like the regular Comedy Central show, but with no visuals. It’s a great alternative to the show if you don’t have cable or just want to listen to the news humorously read by Trevor Noah. At only 25 minutes each show, you’ll get the humorous side of the news while staying informed. Whether you’re trying to get into podcasts or are trying to get your news in a better way, these podcasts are a perfect way to stay informed and get your mind rolling.

Sports 15


Nick McCreven The St. John’s Women’s Golf team is halfway through their fall play and thus far, the spotlight has fallen on juniors Kaitleen Shee and Linda Wang. Neither of the two have placed outside of the top-15 through two tournaments and a tri-match, bringing the Red Storm to victory over Hofstra and LIU Brooklyn at the Hofstra Invitational, 10th at the Boston College Intercollegiate and 11th at the Yale Women’s Fall Intercollegiate. At Hofstra, Wang and Shee claimed first and second place, respectively to begin the season. Wang shot for a four-under 68, with Shee right behind her at 73. Wang fired off four birdies in the back nine to finish the day off strongly. “My putts were really good at Hofstra. I mean, there’s always putts that you wish were better but that round they were mostly good,” Wang said about her hot streak at East Meadow that day. In Massachusetts at the Boston College Intercollegiate, Wang earned herself 4th place with a finish of 224 (8-over) while Shee ranked 11th with a 227. Shee went for 77, 73 and 77 in her three rounds while Wang shot for 76, 72 and 76. “So for the Boston Invitational, I felt more comfortable because we had been there before last season so I knew the course and knew what each hole was like,” Wang said. In the first weekend of October at Yale, Shee showed out for second place with a 212 (one-under) finish while Wang grabbed

14th with a 224. Shee shot for a stunning 67 on her second round, and went for 75 and 70 on her other two. “Everything at Yale just kind of fell into place. I had a lot of lucky shots. I had a few unlucky shots too, but my drives were better, my approaches were better, and my putts were better so it all worked out well,” Shee said of her performance. The duo is growing and maturing as they reach their third year at St. John’s. As they become the veterans of the team, the experience motivates them to take on greater responsibilities and more of a leadership role. “When we each play, I feel like we all count on one another to play well. I feel like the rest of my team is counting on me when I’m out there, so we always try to play the best we can,” Shee said of her growth and responsibility to her teammates. “We want to improve every time out there, every season, every round, every shot,” Wang added. Despite Wang claiming an individual title at the Brown Invitational and Shee claiming one at the Lehigh Invitational, the two hope to bring home a team title before the fall season ends. As for the winter, they aim to work as hard as they can during the months in which they’ll have to remain in Carnesecca for practice. Shee and Wang want to come into the spring season stronger than ever to push towards the team’s ultimate goal of the year: winning a Big East conference title. If this veteran duo can continue to improve and support one another, it’s an objective that is certainly achievable.


Two Juniors Leading the Way for Women’s Golf

Kaitleen Shee and Linda Wang hope to bring home a collective title for Women’s Golf.

St. John’s Can Be NYC’s Pride Brendan Myers

The other teams in New York, quite frankly, aren’t even close. Just to name a few, the Ask any New York City sports fan on the Jets may have their franchise quarterback in street about the state of sports in the New Sam Darnold, but they’re very much still in York/New Jersey area and any logical fan the rebuilding phase. The Knicks and Nets should say that they are in a state of dis- are young and exciting, but also rebuilding. The Mets are coming off another sub -.500 array. Sure, there are the New York Yankees, season filled with drama that included batcoming off back-to-back playoff appear- ting out of order. The Giants? Yikes. Enter St. John’s Basketball. ances while featuring an exciting young There’s been a lot of hype about the talent core of elite-level talent. But, they were just eliminated from the playoffs and fans have on the roster, but looking only at that is neto wait until April for the quest for a 28th glecting a major piece of the puzzle. With a winning season, St. John’s has an World Series championship. opportunity to really increase its brand exposure on a local and national level. New York City needs a winner this winter. As the football season continues, the New York City fans will have grown tired over the latest installment of the New York Giants soap opera or roster rebuilds. They’ll need something else to turn to, something to boast to their Boston and Philadelphia counterparts. If the Red Storm gets off to a strong start to the season, it’s not going to be an afterthought for the media outlets in New York City. After a city that has seen a rough patch for their sports, a team led by New York City legend Chris Mullin, should resonate and gain a following that St. John’s has been lacking. There’s no excuse for Mullin this year. He’s got his guys. The only two players not TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO active this season are David Caraher and Eli Wright. Mullin has a legitimate front-court, Chris Mullin is on track for a strong season. a star-studded back court and a more than

capable bench. The attention from the media market will be there, if St. John’s steps up. What will be more newsworthy? Another negative story about one of the professional teams in NYC, or a left-handed player from Brooklyn leading St. John’s to prominent victories? Sound familiar? The Red Storm landed votes in the AP’s first Top 25 poll released earlier this week. NBC New York’s Bruce Beck was on campus interviewing the players and tweeting about the excitement. ESPN’s Dick Vitale tweeted out that things were in line for a big year in Queens. The media is beginning to take notice. The few games scheduled for Madison Square Garden suddenly become all the more important. When the lights are the brightest this season, that’s when the Red Storm needs to shine the most. There’s absolutely no question about it, this team has the talent to leave their mark on New York City. With strong upperclassmen such as Marvin Clark II, Justin Simon and Shamorie Ponds this team has the leadership to avoid falling into the pressures of New York City. In one of the most crowded media markets in the country filled with professional teams in all of the major leagues, a college basketball team might struggle to find the media attention they need. Not this year. The stage is set. To paraphrase the legendary St. John’s Basketball Coach Lou Carnesecca said, all there’s left to do now is perform.

Oct. 24: Men’s Soccer at Villanova, 3:00 p.m.

Oct. 24: Women’s Soccer vs. DePaul, 7:00 p.m.

Oct. 26-28: Men’s Tennis at Army Shootout Tournament, All Day

Oct. 26-28: Women’s Tennis at Buffalo Indoor Invite, All Day

Oct. 26: Volleyball at Butler, 6:00 p.m.

Oct. 27: Cross Country at Big East Championships, All Day

Oct. 27: Men’s Soccer at Georgetown, 1:00 p.m.

Oct. 27: Volleyball at Xavier, 6:00 p.m.

Oct. 28: Women’s Soccer, Big East Tournament, Opponent/Location TBD

Oct. 28-29: Men’s Golf at Metropolitan Intercollegiate Championship, Clifton, N.J.


leading from the front From St. John's to CBS Sports midfielder matt forster making up for lost time TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO

Sean Okula Coming and going as the world pleases, happiness is fleeting. A sunny day, a good book, true love, no dice. Ask 10 psychologists its true definition and you’re likely to get 10 different answers. For some, however, the answer is hidden in plain sight. Plain as a grassy clearing with two nets at either end. “When I’m on the pitch, to be honest, I’m at my happiest,” Matt Forster said. The Johnnies sure are happy to have him. In his junior year, the midfielder has come into his own. Losing their top two scorers from a year ago, opportunities were abound on the men’s soccer team. While deferring some credit to his teammates, Forster acknowledges that he’s played a lead role in picking up the slack. “It just kinda happened,” he said of his five early-season scores. Forster has added a sixth goal on the season and leads the Red Storm in that category. “Opportunities are falling all over the place. I’m just lucky enough that I’m getting some good ones and I’m putting them away.”

Three scores in late August, plus the lone goal in a Big East-opening win and a game-winner against Mount St. Mary’s, and the England native already eclipsed his career-high in shots buried. Forster has put his best foot forward. In fact, he’s learning to put both feet forward. “I’ve worked on my weak foot, my right foot,” he said. “It’s something I’ve needed to work on my whole life. I haven’t got a goal with my right foot yet. But if I can get one, that would be something really to be proud of, even more than the other goals.” The smiles have come in bunches for the curly-haired assassin. But with a record hovering around the .500 mark, both overall and in-conference, frustration can mount. Such was the case in early October. The high-flying Creighton Blue Jays came to Belson Stadium, leading the Big East. Knotted at ones in the second half, Red Storm goalkeeper Lenny Wilson was victimized by a Creighton shove. Forster answered with a shove right back, was assessed a red card and suspended for St. John’s next match. “Looking back on it, I think we should’ve been more disciplined and let Creighton do

the pushing,” he said. “It’s something that I regret personally. But I think everyone on the team can see that we’re sticking together.” It was a moment of mental weakness, for sure yet such defensive maneuvers emanate a sense of team over self. If New York is a melting pot, then the Red Storm locker room is a melting coffee mug. Players from all over the world, including Scotland, Switzerland, France, Canada, Norway, Italy, Zimbabwe, Portugal, England and the United States all mesh perfectly, Forster said. They all share a common love and a common tongue. They all speak soccer, a universal language that they understood from a young age. As with any language, soccer has its cultural dialects. For example, Forster grew up with a European game that permitted only three substitutions per match. In the American collegiate ranks, limitless substitutions are made on the fly. The American style allows for a fast-paced blitz, and it took a little getting used to. “In England, when you were in the final third you would get a lot of pressure, but

until then it was more tactical,” Forster said. “Now, it’s all 100 miles per hour, all the time.” “There’s no break. The intensity’s much higher,” he added. The same can be said for his new home. The countryside of Bedford, England is a far cry from the bustle of New York City. More “peaceful,” as Forster described his hometown, would lead a list of understatements. But he knew solace wouldn’t be difficult to find. The popularity of Major League Soccer has taken off in the States. While he cites the collegiate draft and lack of a relegation system as the main differences, it certainly is worldclass soccer. “You’re looking up to the MLS players,” Forster said. “It’s getting bigger and bigger every year.” Most importantly, the game he loves is always a short subway ride away. “I’ve been to a few [NYCFC MLS games],” he said. “It’s very different. It’s competitive, but it’s different, especially at a baseball stadium. But it’s a good atmosphere, it’s a good day out. I’d recommend anyone to go.”

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