VOL 96 : 08 NOVEMBER 7, 2018 The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. John’s University
TORCH PHOTO/CECELIA GERMAIN
SJU SHOWS SOLIDARITY WITH PITTSBURGH see the story on page 3
•law school hosts night of remembrance •Jewish student assocIATION: ‘WE WILL CONTINUE TO RISE ABOVE’
student fundraises for disaster in trinidad see the story on page 8 PHOTO COURTESY/SERAIAH ROMERO
SGI ADdRESSES FOOD INSECURITY ISSUE ON CAMPUS | Story on Page 4
Home Depot CEO Kenneth Langone Speaks at SJU Cara Yesko Esteemed billionaire, business magnate and philanthropist Kenneth Gerard Langone visited St. John’s on Oct. 17 as part of the Peter J. Tobin College of Business CEO Lecture Series. During this question and answer event, Langone and Tobin Dean Norean R. Sharpe discussed Langone’s unique career journey from his beginnings to his benevolent philanthropic acts and his advice to aspiring business people in the audience. The personal stories and words of wisdom shared throughout the night are largely referenced in greater detail in Langone’s biography “I Love Capitalism! An American Story,” which has garnered critic approval and an esteemed New York Times Best-Seller title since its publication in May. Students and faculty received complimentary copies of the book as they entered Marillac Auditorium at the start of the event. Within the first few minutes of the moderated discussion, Langone credited his family and positive childhood experiences growing up in Roslyn Heights, N.Y., as part of his success. Though his family had little financially, Langone stated that it was in his youth that he experienced a strong foundation
and support system that motivated his sense of perseverance. It was also when he witnessed true charity through his father’s small, but meaningful, donations to the Catholic Church. While Langone is considered by many to be a self-made man, he claimed that he could fill Yankee Stadium with the people who helped him in his development throughout his career and lifetime. The list ranges from his family to Bucknell University professors, Jack Cullen and Maurice Hart, the two businessmen who gave Langone his first shot at the business world and beyond. Also discussed were the origins and business standards of The Home Depot, the American home improvement supplies retailing company founded by Langone and business partners Bernard Marcus and Arthur Blank in Atlanta in 1978. Through personal narratives, it became evident that The Home Depot has prioritized employee satisfaction and growth from its conception. Langone stated that it was most logical to “give a person a raise before they ask” if an employee demonstrated a higher standard of work than their compensation accounted for. According to Langone, having to ask for a raise would lead an employee to feel unappreciated in the workplace. This fiercely loyal and ethical mentality
became obvious in the backbone of The Home Depot’s procedurres, where every new employee receives stocks in the company, health and security benefits, along with ample room for growth within the company.
Don’t tell people you care about them, and then be indifferent. - Kenneth Langone
Langone shared the story of one particular Home Depot employee who lived this mission: Anne-Marie Campbell, who started out as a cashier in Florida and now manages thousands of stores as the Executive Vice President of U.S. stores. “Don’t tell people you care about them, and then be indifferent,” Langone said. Particularly evident in the answers that Langone provided were his genuineness, hard working mentality and charitable nature, as witnessed by the many philanthropic donations which Langone and his wife have made to both Bucknell University, Langone’s alma-mater, and New York University, as well as other associa-
tions. In August, Mr. and Mrs. Langone endowed current and future NYU Medical Students with free tuition regardless of merit or need. Freshman Lizabeth Edwards agreed with Langone’s aforementioned traits. “The way that he treats his employees is really impressive,” Edwards said. “He came from poverty and worked hard for his grades and success throughout college and hearing that was very motivating.” St. John’s professors were equally impressed. Economics and finance professor Igor Tomic shared his approving thoughts on the lecture. “[Langone] said he wasn’t the brightest candle in the room. This is a good message to students…” Tomic said. “We oftentimes under-think the effort that management must put in [to a business’s success]. Langone came from a generation of men who didn’t retire..” Professor of law in a business environment, John P. Clarke, also commented on the outcome of the lecture. He said what most impressed him about Langone was his demeanor and the way he relayed his message to students in an engaging way. “He was very entrepreneurial and an overall savvy guy,” he said. “I was very impressed to find that he hired St. John’s alumni because they were so hard working.”
President’s Dinner Raises $2.7 Million Angelica Acevedo Nearly 1,000 members of the St. John’s University community raised more than $2.7 million in donations at the 21st Annual President’s Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown on Nov. 4. According to the University’s website, 800 pre-registered guests gathered at the Hilton’s Grand Ballroom. The President’s Dinner is meant to bring together all generations of St. John’s alumni, trustees, employees, supporters and students in order to raise funds for scholarships. It also honors members of the St. John’s community who “embody the University’s Catholic and Vincentian values in their life and work” with the Spirit of Service Award. This year, the honorees were former Provost and current faculty member Robert A. Mangione ’77P, ’79GP, ’93PD, ’99Ed.D.; alumnus Pascal Desroches, M.B.A., C.P.A. ’86CBA and his wife, Yvette E. DeGannes ’86CBA; alumnus James E. Galowski ’85CBA and his wife, Anmarie; and Global Loan Opportunities for Budding Entrepreneurs (GLOBE). Each honoree had a video introduction before they gave heartfelt speeches thanking the University for the recognition.
After being introduced by the Master of Ceremonies Tarik S. Turner ’98C, President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw took the stage to thank the honorees, members of the Board of Trustees, donors, alumni and current students. “Tonight, we have many students here with us whose passion for learning and serving others inspire all of us to support the President’s Dinner,” Gempesaw said. “To our students, thank you for reminding us why we are a university. Hopefully in 20 or 30 years from now, you will also have the opportunity to be honored with the Spirit of Service Award.” PHOTO COURTESY/JAD NAMMOUR To close the night, alumnus Carvens Marcel Lissaint President Gempesaw, third from left, along with the night’s honorees. ’14CPS, who currently guests to clap and sing along to Marvin It was a great evening,” she said. “It was stars in Broadway’s award winning play Gaye’s classic “What’s Going On.” good to see the alumni contribute, the “Hamilton,” performed three songs to Sophomore Jackie Alvarez said she was alumni honored, the alumni who rethe delight of attendees. glad to have the opportunity to network ceived the Service Awards, they’re giving Accompanied by two other students for with alumni at the dinner. us something to live up to and it’s good the first song (President’s Society mem“That’s what St. John’s is all about — to see the St. John’s legacy out there in ber Kayla L. Knight and Remy A. Mar- it’s all about the opportunities they give the real world.” tin ’16P, ’18GEd), Lissaint encouraged us, the networking with all our alumni.
SJU Reflects on the Pittsburgh Shooting Isabella Bruni Members of the St. John’s community have spent the last week and a half speaking out against anti-Semitic violence following the shooting that killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue. “Anti-Semitism exists everywhere, in forms that I cannot recognize sometimes,” said junior Natalie Eshaghian, president of the Jewish Student Association. “It hurts that we have to live in such a world where such hatred exists.” A man armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle and at least three handguns shouted anti-Semitic slurs when he killed 11 congregants, injured two congregants and injured two police officers at the Tree of Life Synagogue Oct. 27. The mass shooting occurred within the quiet Squirrel Hill neighborhood of the steel city, a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. A spokesman for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an international Jewish NGO, called the massacre the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in the U.S. since 1985 when a man killed a family of four in Seattle, which he had mistakenly thought were Jewish. “I’ll tell you now that living my everyday life as a Jew can feel scary at times. You know that anti-Semitism exists and you can run into it at any point,” Eshaghian said. “However, it doesn’t mean that we as Jewish people should let them step on us and let them win. We will continue to rise above and stop these acts of hatred towards our people.” A Pittsburgh remembrance event was held in the Law School on Nov. 6 where Dean Mike Simon reflected on the events
of the shooting and Rabbi Richard Weiss read a prayer in Hebrew. The Rabbi also read the names of the victims: Joyce Fienberg, 75, Richard Gottfried, 65, Rose Mallinger, 97, Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, Cecil Rosenthal, 59, David Rosenthal, 54, (brother of Cecil), Bernice Simon, 86, Sylvan Simon, 86, (husband of Bernice), Daniel Stein, 71, Melvin Wax, 88, and Irving Younger, 69. Dean Simon discussed how, although St. John’s is a Catholic university, its origins in Brooklyn go back to giving an education to the children of immigrants — and many of them were Jewish. He said that even today, “We are very much a Jewish law school.”
I’ll tell you now that living my everyday life as a Jew can feel scary at times. - Natalie Eshaghian
St. John’s University President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw released a statement via internal communication on Monday, Oct. 29, expressing his solidarity with the victims and the families of the event. “As a Catholic and Vincentian University, St. John’s strongly condemns all acts of anti-Semitism, violence, hate, intolerance, bigotry, and racism,” he said. “We must reject the hate and violence that serves to divide us and resolve to root out ideologies
of intolerance wherever they exist.” Despite St. John’s Catholic and Vincentian reputation, the Jewish Student Association on campus currently has a roster of more than 200 students. Eshaghian believes the Jewish community is strong on campus, it’s just a matter of finding each other. “Being the president of the JSA, I truly devote my time and energy into finding a safe space for the Jewish students on campus for reasons like these,” she said. “After reading the internal communications statement given by the President of the University, I can see that the school tries their best in stopping any acts of anti-Semitism or any act of violence towards students. We appreciate that the school takes such actions and helps our students to make this campus a more comfortable and safer campus.” Fr. Patrick Griffin spoke on the Pittsburgh event from a Catholic standpoint, saying that Jewish students at St. John’s require little reminder that prejudice against the Jewish community is still powerfully alive. “Violence of any kind is horrid, but one spurred on by hatred of another because of religion has a particular odium: the God of love is made a participant in the battle,” he said. “As companion believers in the one God, the community at St. John’s — Catholic and other followers — joins our Jewish brothers and sisters in mourning and in a fervent prayer for an end to this kind of militant enmity.” The shooting in Pittsburgh was at least the third mass shooting in a house of worship in three years. Last November 26 people were killed at a church in Sutherland
Springs, Texas, and before that in 2015, a white supremacist killed nine people in a church in Charleston, S.C. Michelle Birman, a Jewish student and junior, was shocked to hear about the news of the shooting. “Through all the rallies, protests and political changes, it seemed like we were heading in the right direction but due to this incident, it is evident that more actions and attention need to take place towards this anti-Semitic issue,” she said. Benjamin Klein, also a Jewish student and junior, said he felt a sense of attachment to the tragedy because it directly touched his religious community. “This could have happened at any synagogue around the country which makes me have to be more aware that there are people in this world who have a strong sense of animosity and hatred towards me for who I am,” Klein said. On Gempesaw’s statement to the St. John’s community, Klein said, “It has a nice message but I feel that very few students and faculty in all actuality read the statement and therefore has very little purpose. It isn’t going to change the way people act and live their daily lives.” Eshaghian said that one of the Rabbis for the JSA, Rabbi Mordechai Kraft, spoke at their general body meeting the Monday after the shooting. Eshaghian said the rabbi stressed to students that, “We as Jews do not stay quiet during times like these. Instead of having a moment of silence to remember these individuals, we will have a moment to think about what we, as the Jewish nation, can do in our own lives to uplift these Jewish souls.”
SGI Addresses Issue of Food Insecurity Among Students Derrell J. Bouknight Students struggling financially to buy nutritious food consistently now have options to address the challenges they are facing. In October’s final Student Government Inc. meeting, President Atemkeng Tazi, along with other members, addressed the issue and how it impacts students on campus. According to the Service Committee, students can fill out a questionnaire on the homepage of the MySJU website, providing a more confidential approach to seeking out help in person or over the phone. According to Service Chair Katie Sheldon, an unidentified alumnus of the school has donated money to specifically alleviate issues of “food insecurity” and food emergencies that students experience. Because of that, the committee elected to do away with the food pantry it planned to introduce in the near future. “In the last two years, 12 students have identified as being ‘food insecure,’ so technically on paper, there isn’t a true need for [the food pantry],” Sheldon said during the meeting. “However, we’re not going to say there isn’t a need in general, because obviously there is some type of discrepancy happening. Our main priority now is going to be, ‘how are we getting the available resources out?’” Sheldon added that the process of reporting food insecurity is now similar to the general reporting system for bias and other other troubles that a student may experience. The new online initiative was created
after she and Vice President Christopher Stephens met with Lucy Pesce, executive director for Mission, and Associate Dean for Student Services Jackie Lochrie. Now, instead of emailing representatives about their struggles with food, a student can just fill out a form with their name, email address and phone number to get more information. “It sounds very simple, but it makes it a very different process,” Sheldon said. “The ambiguity is a little easier, so that way the administration is reaching out to the student and vice versa.” According to Pesce, students seek assistance for many reasons. Some come without warning, while others are a product of personal issues. “Some of these reasons include unexpected, short-term changes in their financial situation or resources,” she said. “For other students, even though they may be working or have financial assistance, they are simply unable to make ends meet.” Pesce said that the number of students who have requested assistance since the University intensified its awareness around available resources has increased. She said that exact numbers are difficult to keep track of because some students who face food insecurity could be juggling financial issues at the same time, while others may request confidentiality. One of the telling factors of food insecurity deals with education. While it may not be surprising to hear of students who live on campus struggling to obtain food or the funds for it, Pesce says
Nobel Prize Winner Speaks of Life Lessons to Students Rakesh Singh Dr. Martin Chalfie delivered the 2018 Dr. Jaya Haldar Memorial Seminar, “GFP: Lighting Up Life,” in the D’Angelo Center, encouraging those in attendance to “ignore the people who say ‘this cannot be done.’” “Many discoveries are purely accidental,” said Chalfie, who is also a professor of biological sciences at Columbia University. “If you want to make discoveries, you have to do much experimenting, because strange stuff is going to come up. And once it comes up, if you are lucky enough, you notice it, and you pursue it.” Chalfie was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008 for his discovery of green fluorescent protein (GFP). GFP can be found in the bioluminescent jellyfish Aequoreavictoria, and its discovery has allowed researchers to visualize organelles and proteins in living cells, tissues and organisms, effectively changing the way science is studied. Throughout his lecture, he stressed the importance of tackling obstacles using unconventional methods. During his early days of researching GFP, Chalfie’s lab was held back because
his microscope was what he called “a piece of junk.” Chalfie noted that luck plays a very important role in science, explaining that in 1992 there were at least four other labs performing similar research on GFP. “Why did they fail and we succeed?” he asked. “I think it was because they were careful, and we were sloppy.” He further refined this assessment by explaining that in the early nineties, there were two ways of acquiring DNA for experiments. “If you wanted to be careful you used e-coli,” he said. Instead, his group obtained DNA by implementing a method they were unsure of. “Our thought was that even if it was 99 percent bad, we had that one percent chance that it could work.” Luckily, Chalfie and his group were able to beat those odds. “Ultimately, what made GFP something that the Nobel committee noticed, were the thousands of people who used it and did things that we would never have imagined,” he said. “They made it important simply by adding their own ideas.”
it’s those who do not live in a residence building that are greatly impacted. “National research shows that a lack of consistent, nutritious food can negatively impact a student’s ability to succeed academically, in addition to increasing the amount of both physical and emotional stress experienced by the student,” Pesce said. “Though this is an issue with some of our resident students, it can actually be of greater concern for our commuter students, who do not have a meal plan on which they can rely.” Those who believe they are lacking the resources for food can reach out to two primary contacts: Campus Ministry and Student Affairs. Students who are studying abroad can reach out to the administration at the University’s global locations. But food insecurity is not just an issue at St. John’s. Defined by Pesce as “a lack of resources to obtain nutritional food on a consistent basis,” the issue has grown on campuses around the country. Many students help their parents with tuition or other necessities, such as books and rent. Oftentimes, that means choosing between expenses and food. “In an effort to address this issue, St. John’s University has taken steps to respond to the immediate nutritional needs of current students, while seeking to better understand the extent of these concerns, in order to establish and maintain a viable, long-term solution,” Pesce said. “Though the University has supported students struggling with
food insecurity in various ways throughout the years, a more formalized process was established in Spring 2016 that allows for a more efficient, timely response, particularly in unexpected, emergency situations.” The effort to mitigate the problem is a collaborative effort among several University groups, including the Office of University Mission, Student Affairs, Campus Ministry and Student Financial Services. Upon meeting with a student to discuss the issue, the next step is to determine whether it is a short-term or long-term problem. Short-term issues can be the result of recent and unexpected financial changes in a student’s life, according to Pesce. “We then work with Student Financial Services to ensure that the student is receiving all available funding, and what additional resources might be useful based on the individual situation,” she said. Although it varies, there are warning signs of food insecurity. Taking each situation case-by-case is important when evaluating its severity, as some may be more urgent than others. “Students struggling with food insecurity often exhibit signs consistent with inadequate nutrition, which can impact concentration, sleep, and overall emotional and physical well-being,” Pesce said. “Though changes in a financial situation or other resources may be involved, we work with each student individually so that we can best support them and develop a plan to move forward. Our hope is to remove the stigma of food insecurity so that we can support our students.”
Ocasio-Cortez Beats Pappas
Angelica Acevedo Democratic candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made history on Nov. 6, becoming the youngest member ever elected to Congress in U.S. history. Ocasio-Cortez, 29, beat out Republican candidate and St. John’s University professor Anthony Pappas
by 78 percent, according to the New York Times. She is one of the few Congressional candidates who identifies as a democratic socialist. She will represent New York's 14th Congressional District. Governor Andrew Cuomo was also elected to a third term, defeating Republican challenger Marc Molinaro.
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On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Americans were given the opportunity to change the way that their country is governed. This year’s Midterm Elections were crucial, as key issues such as the funding of Planned Parenthood and immigration restrictions were at stake. The results of Tuesday’s elections decides how the country will function for the next 730 days. If you want to see a change, then you are responsible for making that change. As college students, we hold a greater amount of power than we think.We sit through hours of lectures and soak in as much information as possible as we tediously jot-down notes. We are educated enough to know what we truly value. We are the educated young minds that have the ability to create the America that we want to see. To neglect the power that you are given as a registered voter is to neglect your civic duty. There was no excuse to sit and let the opportunity slip from your fingers. It takes a matter of minutes to register to vote, and with proper research, it takes even less time to fill out a ballot. If you did not have access to a vehicle, numerous ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber ran special promotions to help get voters to the poll. Those that did not intentionally venture to the polls on Tuesday do not reserve the right to complain about the outcome of an election that they had the opportunity to change. How can you say that there are problems within our nation when you chose not to take part in fixing those very
problems? This midterm cycle, more than any other in years past, did not come up quietly. Countless hours of political ads, TV news coverage and constant messages from current politicians showed the importance of
To neglect the power that you are given as a registered voter is to neglect your civic duty.
this election. Several celebrities advocated for people to vote in this year’s Midterm Elections such as Oprah, Beyoncé, Will Ferrell, Rihanna and Reese Witherspoon among others. One of the main reasons people say they didn’t vote is because they don’t feel like a single vote matters. The notion that a single vote doesn’t matter is simply not true. A single vote is a way to make your voice heard. To sit-in and not vote is to sit in silence. If you sympathize or believe in various economic, social or ethical causes, voting is a chance to make your beliefs known. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority that participate.”
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Did Hate Speech Fuel Pittsburgh Massacre? No. Natalie Borukhov Following the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting on Oct. 27 — which is now known as the deadliest attack on the Jewish population in United States history — President Donald Trump came to visit the mourning town on Tuesday. Many accused President Trump’s hateful rhetoric that fueled the anti-Semitic massacre inside the Tree of Life congregation. Due to this, mourning family members of the victims spoke out against Trump’s visit to express his condolences. This sentiment was also expressed by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, who felt that Trump should not visit “while we are burying the dead.” Even Rabbi Jeffrey Myers blamed politicians for a rise in hateful rhetoric, saying that this is what led to the tragic event of 11 slain Jewish people. “Mr. President, hate speech leads to hateful actions. Hate speech leads to what happened in my sanctuary, where seven of my congregants were slaughtered. I witnessed it with my eyes.” Rabbi Myers said. Although I do agree that politicians and government offi-
cials have larger platforms than most people and can easily impact others’ opinions, Trump’s rhetoric is not what caused the horrible incident.
Although I do agree that politicians and government officials have larger platforms than most people and can easily impact others’ opinions, Trump’s rhetoric is not what caused the horrible incident.
There are many factors that are involved, including the type of environment one is raised in, the morals one grows up with and one’s values. Rabbi Myers is correct in calling out politicians for igniting hateful rhetoric within the United
States, however. Myers emphasized that he does not “foist blame” on Trump or “any one person” for the mass shooting. Many individuals in Pittsburgh and throughout the country were very angry that President Trump came to visit the community. Rabbi Myers specifically received a lot of backlash for meeting with the President. I disagree with the belief that the President should have stayed away from this entirely. President Trump is the leader of the country and has the right to visit vulnerable people in his nation. I do not see a problem with the president trying to console people who need comfort the most. Like many others, I am outraged and angered by the event that happened to this Jewish community, but Trump and other politicians are not the ones to blame. “This was an anti-Semitic attack at its worst,” Trump said in response to the attack. “The scourge of anti-Semitism cannot be ignored, cannot be tolerated, and it cannot be allowed to continue … It must be confronted and condemned everywhere it rears its very ugly head.”
The Chaos of President Trump Trump’s first two years as president have been a bumpy ride Shabib Afzal A border wall, several staff changes, an admission of hush money given to pornstars, Russian election meddling, fake news, the separation of families at the border and a tiresome amount of protesting. This only scratches the surface with all that has happened during President Donald Trump’s administration. But have we learned anything? At first, nobody took Trump’s candidacy seriously. The only reason he was a household name was because of his status within reality television. This very idea was the subject of one of Obama’s punchlines at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner. I can only imagine how silly Obama must have felt after Trump’s inauguration. Who is to say that Trump does not deserve the last laugh? Hillary Clinton could not have been a worse candidate if she tried. Being out of touch with middle America, and generalizing Trump supporters as “deplorables” was enough to warrant a Trump win. This rhetoric has not changed for the Democrats. The resistance continues to demonize Trump and his supporters, further energizing them in the most ironic manner possible. The debacle involving Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination proves this. That’s not to say Kavanaugh is free of guilt; his affection for beer and what was written in his high school yearbook are troubling signs. But neither side truly wanted to find out what happened. Instead, everyone wanted to further their own narrative. What about Trump’s accomplishments? He ran his campaign on building a wall, which still has not been built. The economy is doing well, but many factors could attribute to that besides Trump’s deregulations. Obamacare is no more, and instead we’ve had four different reforms. With all of its flaws, the compromises made with Obamacare to ensure a healthcare for all have been undone.
PHOTO COURTESY/FLICKR COMMONS/THE WHITE HOUSE
President Trump in the Oval Office signing the S. 3021-America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, this past October.
This has resulted in healthcare devolving into a mess that no American struggling to pay for healthcare wanted. Although Trump’s election, and all that has unfolded since, makes it seem as if we are more polarized than ever, there is still hope. The initiative authored by Stephen Hawkins and colleagues, “More in Common,” conducted an extensive study on this, finding that 86 percent of people are in the “exhausted majority.” These are people who are “ideologically flexible” and “feel forgotten in political debate.” Of this group, 65 percent of them were for the idea of compromise. Even 51 percent of both extremes presented in the study believe this too. It may seem as if Trump’s election and his presidency have
polarized us all. However, we are still capable of coming together as the great nation we are. The constant barrage of scandals, mainstream media’s unwillingness to cover other issues with the similar passion and the Democrats’ failure to learn from their mistakes do not help. Trump being himself doesn’t help either; when tweeting haphazardly and being spineless on his own issues (his hesitation on commenting on Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death comes to mind). There is no way to tell how much Trump’s presidency is truly going to impact our future. But the chaos that has ensued is not promising.
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The “Unfiltered Politician” That Won Over Brazil Erin Sakalis It would have been inadequate to open this article with an inflammatory Jair Bolsonaro quote. There are too many aimed in several directions. Whether it’s his self-proclaimed homophobic pride or his assertion that some women are simply not worth raping because they are too ugly, the newly elected president of Brazil has quite the track record. Somehow, he won the presidential race against Fernando Haddad with 55 percent of the popular vote. Bolsonaro, who belongs to a right-wing party called the Social Liberal Party, is one of the most radical candidates to have been elected in Brazil’s history. He is openly racist, misogynistic and homophobic. He speaks blatantly and abruptly to convey fear tactics, he also gives extreme solutions to an audience of despondent Brazilians, all while claiming to be a political outsider. In a country with 14 million unemployed and homicide rates at record highs, it seems that Bolsonaro is popular enough despite his abhorrent biases. As a result, he has been dubbed by many, “the Donald Trump of Brazil.” Whether the voters agreed with their sentiments wholeheartedly or simply glossed over their deficiencies, they ultimately deemed both Trump and Bolsonaro to be appropriate leaders of two of the world’s largest democracies. When politicians voice common biases and bash opponents unapologetically, compliant voters tend to look past their flaws. This unfiltered approach, combined with the constant manufacturing of echo chambers and the relentless attacks on the media, have allowed voters to laud Bolsonaro and Trump as bastions of change in their respective nations. Furthermore, both claim to be in favor of conservative Christianity and family values, while implying otherwise. Each candidate likely took those positions to appeal to their target audiences. The promise of a country centered on Christian values is appealing enough to some voters to allow them to dismiss everything else. Meanwhile, Bolsonaro has said that he would rather his son die in an accident than be gay, and Trump openly and frequently disparages people for the amusement of his supporters. While Bolsonaro is certainly more radical with his speech, that doesn’t negate the fact that Trump’s speeches are frequently peppered with casual bigotry. However, it continues a trend of voters willing to look past a glaring lack of funda-
mental human decency and tact when it comes to electing leaders. Voters allow individuals who should not have been considered for public office to have a deep impact on American culture. Not only do voters enable the leaders; the leaders inspire voters. The fact that white supremacy is alive and well in the United States is incredibly disconcerting. Since Trump’s 2016 campaign, a slew of hate crimes, including the recent synagogue massacre and the fifteen attempted bombings by Cesar Sayoc, have been committed by white supremacists that many believe were directly emboldened by Trump. Similarly in Brazil, homophobic violence reached a record
high in 2017, despite the immense progress made in the past ten years regarding LGBT rights. It’s tragic, but no longer surprising in a country where the president-elect says he would physically beat gay couples who kiss in the street. It has become increasingly common that when a public figure with a platform and following as large as a president has something negative to say about a group of people, it emboldens those who manifest their hatred violently. Neither Trump nor Bolsonaro have held themselves accountable for spreading hatred and inciting violence. Neither one acknowledges the negative consequences of his words, but in the end, it seems that enough people neglected to care.
PHOTO COURTESY/FLICKR COMMONS/AGENCIA BRASIL FOTOGRAFICA
Newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro speaking during his prosecution with the Counsel of Ethics of Brazil.
There Is No Room For Threats In Politics Eduardo Alfonzo The end of October proved to be very hectic when it came to politics. Several homemade pipe-bombs were sent to various, prominent members of the Democratic Party. The targeted victims included former Vice President Joe Biden and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t just the members of the Democratic Party that received these packages. John Brennan former Director of CIA had the packages addressed to him, as well as famous actor Robert De Niro and CNN. When this story first came out, I was honestly nervous because as the packages were repeatedly discovered, another package would be found in a different location. At that point, I was afraid that these packages would injure or even kill multiple people throughout the United States. Day by day, new reports of these packages kept appearing until law enforcement finally captured a suspect, who they believe is responsible for these bombs. Cesar Sayoc, was captured in Plantation, Fla. on Oct. 26. According to USA Today, when Sayoc was caught, law enforcement searched his van and discovered that he had stickers celebrating President Donald Trump and images of people who had been very vocal against President
Trump. When that piece of information was shared, everything became very clear. Before his arrest, Sayoc’s coworkers and family said that he was a very quiet person, who wasn’t interested in politics until Trump showed up. It seems to me that Sayoc took offense to anyone who has criticized Trump during his presidency. He felt that sending these dangerous packages would be the best solution for them to stop. Many people, like Attorney General Jeff Sessions and CIA Director Christopher Wray, have praised law enforcement for handling the situation. President Trump, however, gave a very hollow and hypocritical response about the situation. When Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, “these cowardly actions are despicable and have no place in this country,” Trump retweeted and responded with, “I agree wholeheartedly.” This has got to be the most unacceptable response to a potentially deadly incident, period. In addition to the tweet, when Trump was in North Carolina for a rally, he called for everyone to come together and unite. Minutes after he said that, he started attacking the Democrats and the media again, which prompted his supporters to chant “Lock her up” and “CNN sucks.” I’m at a loss for words. Not only has Trump complete-
ly ignored his own message but he seems to continue to speak the same words that potentially inspired Sayoc to carry out his plan. According to The New York Times, Sayoc has been
I’m at a loss for words. Not only has Trump completely ignored his own message. He seems to continue to speak the same words that inspired Sayoc to carry out his plan.
planning this attack for nearly three months. He has taken every word that Trump has said to heart and decided to take action against his critics. In the world that we live in today, anyone can be easily influenced by the people they admire. If the people you follow villainize their opponents, then they are potentially endangering the world that we are trying to heal. We have to be careful with our words. if our words are used recklessly, there could be grave consequences.
Student Raises $1,460 After Trinidad Flood Residents call it the worst flood they’ve seen in decades Beverly Danquah When graduate student Seraiah Romero received word that a three-day long rainfall had devastated Trinidad and Tobago, she instantly thought of her cousins, aunts, uncles who live in a town she was raised in called Sangre Grande. Born and raised in Trinidad, Romero is an international student who made her way to the states for college and remained here to pursue a graduate degree. After receiving videos from her cousins in Sangre Grande and phone calls from her parents, who live in a town called Arima, Romero knew she had to do something. She started a GoFundMe. “No one was prepared for the rainfall, the rain just started falling and because there isn’t infrastructure to receive the rain, all of the dams overflowed,” she said. “A lot of the communities flooded out.” On Oct. 17-19, Trinidad and Tobago experienced intermittent periods of rainfall and thunderstorms. The persistent rainfall caused flooding in a large portion of the country. According to government officials, Trinidad alone received a full month’s worth of rain during the two days. It was estimated 80 percent of the country was affected by flooding; communities, main roads and public services were affected. There are reports from Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management and Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency’s Situation Report that the flooding has impacted 100,000 to 150,000 people. “It took almost three days for the flood levels to go down because rain was still falling,” Romero recalled. “ Water got up to five feet — beds, mattress, clothing, wallets and a lot of animals from the lagoons started to surface, including alligators, snakes.”
On the day after the flooding, Romero said many people’s houses were underwater. Romero recalls hearing the story of one of her aunts who couldn’t escape on her own. “She lived in a two-layer house with her son and daughter in law, [who were at work during the rainfall]. When the flood levels started rising, she was trapped in the lower level and she had to wait for hours until my uncle was able to rescue her,” she said. “One of my uncles who lives in the area had to rescue a lot of people in the area using a boat. He likes to fish and he used his fishing boat to save people in the area.” Within 15 days, Romero raised $1,460 on GoFundMe, and said she is grateful for the students, professors and faculty members who donated to the cause. “Being in the U.S. and starting this drive showed people in Trinidad how much support there is in the U.S.,” she said, “They now know that the support is there. I think I will reiterate a sense of strength and community and togetherness.” Romero recalls a phone call from her mom where she asked her to send clothes that she didn’t wear anymore. She said that people were really struggling. That’s when Romero started a clothing drive. She posted a flyer on Instagram encouraging people with extra clothing they didn’t wear or who have a donation to connect with her so that she could ship it to Trinidad and Tobago. “One of my cousins in New Jersey partnered with me, she was our collection point there,” Romero said. “Through Facebook and Instagram, people were calling to meet up to drop stuff off.” Romero collaborated with the university to establish on-campus collection points. “OMA was a drop-off center and the VISA (Vincentian Institute for Social Action) Office in Lourdes Hall was a drop
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY/SERAIAH ROMERO
Seraiah Romero and volunteers from Eden and CSA sort clothes for easy distribution.
Bagged clothing preparing for shipment.
off center.” The Caribbean Students Association (CSA) partnered with Romero to have a table in DAC, where they collected food items, stationery and clothes. “Members from Eden and CSA partnered with us to sort out sizes so it would be an easier distribution process,” she said. “We’ll be filling up six barrels 55 gallon sized (brown cardboard barrels)” In all, Romero says she was able to collect about 50 parcels of clothing from about 50 St. John’s students and people
Floodwaters in Sangre Grande.
from the Caribbean diaspora who saw the post on social media. Romero credits her younger sister, Steffi Romero, for the success of her fundraiser. “I believe that the basis of our work is that knowing that service onto people is service onto God,” Steffi Romero said. Moving forward, Seraiah Romero said the local government is giving victims grants to help them rebuild. “It’s going to take a long time because people won’t have the documentation because it was destroyed in the storm.”
Multicultural Orgs Host “Her Right, Her Vote” Event Nelly Ghansah
Young people today are occupied with so much, so for a lot of them, voting is the least of their worries especially when it comes to midterm elections. Many think midterm elections are not as crucial or that they don’t affect us because, after all, we are not selecting a new president, right? However, the NAACP, Lambda Theta Alpha, and Alpha Kappa Alpha branches of St. John’s University beg to
differ, and are in fact here to stress the importance of voting, especially for women and people of color. On Monday, October 29, these chapters hosted an event called “Her Right, Her Vote” in order to educate fellow peers about the history of women’s suffrage, voting legislation, and how important their votes are. Many points and topics were touched upon and there was an abundance of information to learn from throughout the presentation. One of the major points that became a recurring theme throughout the presentation was how not too long ago, voting rights for women and most people of color did not not exist. Therefore, if there is an opportunity to vote now, it should be practiced. “It’s important to hold this event before election day because this new generation of people don’t understand what it truly feels like to not have the right to vote,” Tamia Morris, President of the NAACP
said. “I believe that understanding what our ancestors had to go through to get us to the point we’re in right now will inspire people to vote for those who couldn’t.” Morris was also one of the speakers at the event. The gathering was a reminder that in many ways, the midterm elections can be more crucial than the presidential election. One person not voting, could be the end of someone’s election, who could have possibly brought about the change we all needed. “[Some people] just don’t comprehend the importance. This is not something that is taught to them,” Morris said in response to why some young people don’t vote in the midterm elections. “Honestly, everything I know about midterms, I had to research myself because neither my parents nor teachers informed me,” Morris said. “If we educate [young people who don’t want to vote], they will think twice about not voting.”
The event stressed that history should remind us not to make the same mistakes, by not voting you may be risking that possibility. These ideas and principles were beautifully emphasized at the “Her Right, Her Vote” presentation, and should be taken well into consideration.
KNOW ANY ST. JOHN'S STUDENTS THAT WE SHOULD HIGHLIGHT? EMAIL US AT: TORCHFEATURES@gmail.com
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Students Respond to the Pittsburgh Synagogue Tragedy
Sara Rodia Over the course of one week, the U.S. experienced three hate attacks. On Wednesday, Oct. 24 Gregory Bush, a white man, shot and killed two African Americans at a Kroger store. Bush first attempted to gain access into a church in Jeffersontown, KY. After failure to get into the church, he entered the Kroger store and shot and killed Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vickie Jones, 67. On Friday, Oct. 26 Cesar Sayoc was arrested for mailing bombs to people who had been criticized by the president. Sayoc mailed a total of 14 packages containing pipe bombs, including two sent to CNN. Luckily, none of these detonated. On Saturday, Oct. 27 Robert Bowers opened fire at The Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, killing 11 people, and injuring six attending Jewish services. The attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday morning is the worst on worshiping Jewish people in American history, according to a Cincinnati professor and director of the American Jewish Archives. These crimes are the result of three hate-filled people. The Torch spoke to students during common hour about their reaction and thoughts on these recent hate attacks.
Matt Panchyk, Sophomore “It’s just really terrible… the fact that a shooting like that (Pittsburgh synagogue shooting) would happen in 2018.”
Sabrina Zuniga, Junior “I was more taken aback and surprised… I watched as the death count raised and followed the story… when the guy got caught I was so relieved.”
Edward Lora, Sophomore “I felt extremely horrible, I heard there was a Holocaust survivor… horrible that so many people lost their lives.”
Katelyn Mancheno, Freshman “A lot of people are saying that these actions have nothing to do with Trump… there’s a problem with our gun control, there should be more regulations.”
Rebecca Englert, Junior “It’s just another hate crime that happened and it’s kind of so common now that it’s hard to have a real reaction.”
Jalen Coleman, Senior “I felt that it shows the need to have more policies around guns, that’s the first thing that needs to be addressed… hate is the product of ignorance, you don’t understand someone so you hate them.”
Simran Bahtia, Freshman “I just think it’s another act that shows problems in the world that need to be fixed.”
TORCH PHOTOS/SPENCER CLINTON TORCH DESIGN/AMANDA NEGRETTI
PARE Celebrates Annual Halloween Mumufest Students enjoy live music, game booths and performances Eduardo Alfonzo Halloween is that time of year where anyone can dress up as anything they want and spend the day having fun. Some people get so excited for Halloween that they celebrate it in more ways than one. The Philippine-Americans Reaching Everyone (P.A.R.E.) organization celebrated the holiday early by holding the annual “Mumufest” this last Tuesday. Held at the D’Angelo Center, Mumufest, or ‘monsterfest’ in Tagalog, the language of the Philippines, is a celebration of everything fun and scary about Halloween. Students were able to dress up in costumes and spent time with their friends and classmates. “A lot of cultures have specific traditions of Halloween. So, what we are trying to do is like having a Halloween party to signify the monsters and spirits coming out for the night; but also bring other cultures and orgs together,” said Brittany Tunac, a senior and one of the members of P.A.R.E. who helped organized the event. Many student organizations, fraternities and sororities joined the festivities. From Pi Lambda Phi and Harayato the Caribbean Students Association, numerous organizations chipped in to
bring the fun and joy of the day before Halloween. “They are such a great club and when they invited us to come, we just couldn’t say no,” said Johnny Nguyen, a sophomore from the Art of Random Kindness organization. “We just hope that people have a good time tonight; Halloween’s a time to have fun and be safe.” Aside from helping out P.A.R.E., many of these organizations also provided entertainment for those attending the event. Organizations set up many different activities such as game booths, live music and even some dance performances for everyone to enjoy. One of the highlights of the event was the American Chemical Society homemade ice cream demo that used virtual reality for everyone to try out and a raffle contest for students to enter to win some prizes. One moment that stood out was the costume contest. Throughout the night, students were fully committed to the entire event by going in full costume. A select few were chosen to compete for the best costume of the night. By the time the event ended, many students felt nothing but joy and satisfaction as they left the D’Angelo Center; awaiting next year’s event.
Left: Student dresses up as Spongebob Squarepants’ ‘DoodleBob’ Right: Student sings on stage as part of the festivities Bottom: Students dress up as the ‘Three Blind Mice’
Senior Student Juggles Two Internships in Media Alana Loren Bethea “Why not do both?” On a typical Monday and Thursday, senior Destinee Clowe wakes up before dawn to say her daily devotionals. “Meditation and praying in the morning… reading, journaling, whatever you need to do that will get you in the right mindset, and hav[ing] that moment of stillness really impacts my day because my performance is 1,000 times better.” Clowe said. At 10:30 a.m., Clowe hears commotion inside a pitch meeting where broadcast assistants (B.A.’s), interns, producers, the booking team, anchors and correspondents/reporters go over the “CBS this Morning” show, which airs from 7-9 a.m.. She listens in as the professional business men and women are on a conference with the CBS D.C. and London bureaus. “We’re all talking, pitching story ideas from every segment to see what could be a package, a reader, and what story-time-segment each story can go on,” Clowe said. After the meeting, Clowe gives books sent in by various authors and publishers for “CBS this Morning’s” feature book segment, to the producer in charge. Clowe sorts each book by genre. Once finished, she goes back downstairs and asks the producers if they need help. “If not, I am on the web searching for any stories I can possibly pitch in the next meeting,” she said. The day is slow until 2 p.m., when the B.A.’s, who Clowe works under, arrive. “It’s very different every day,” Clowe said. Switching gears to “The Wendy Williams Show,” it’s a different line of work, where Clowe interns on
Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Clowe’s responsibilities include helping the “Hot Topics” team print photos for the show and placing the photos in order by segment. Sometimes, she’s assigned to go outside to prep the audience. This is where she gives an audience member in the line a release form to sign, allowing them to be seen on television. If she’s not enduring the cold fall air, Clowe is helping with a segment called ‘Ask Wendy’. She hands out forms to audience members so that they can ask the most craziest questions to Wendy during that segment. Clowe briefs the audience members Student Destinee Clowe interns in news and entertainment. that the producers choose; she calls it a nerve-wracking task because she has to get noring in journalism, and is currently taking online them from the audience, brief them, seat them back in classes this semester. To her, the workload is not that the audience and then throughout the show, go over hard anymore. their questions so that the audience member does not Though Clowe has a busy schedule of juggling two make a mistake on camera. internships, she believes she can persevere. “When you Clowe also works for the talent department director have a lot going on it is important to have time to where she assists any celebrities with anything they yourself or else you’re going to burnout,” she said. may need. Working at these internships have validated what Clowe said she sometimes uses skills acquired in one Clowe wanted to do within the journalism industry. internship to help her excel in the other. “I knew I didn’t want to do hard news and I wanted “If my means of communicating and my confidence to do entertainment. I thank God that I’m working at rises in one position, it definitely helps me in the oth- such different spectrums of the industry because the environments are completely different,” she said. er.” she said. To students interested in taking on 2 internships, The PG County native said that at CBS, she does a lot of research and fact-checking. “In entertainment, Clowe says: “Incorporate self-care into your routine. if you get something wrong, people are more likely to Your [internship] isn’t your life, your job is an aspect come back, hard news is more focused and serious.” of your life. Definitely have time for you. You have The senior is majoring in communications and mi- the same 24 hours as Beyonce and Oprah.”
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“The Future of Sports:” A Modern Way to Play Crystal Simmons The world of sports fosters relationships amongst various types of people around the globe. Athletics forges a camaraderie between fellow sports lovers and has an unspoken language all its own. But what happens when art is thrown into the mix, and how could this affect the way various people interact? Just off the corner of North 9th Street in Brooklyn, sits a humble neon green building that displays in bold white lettering: “The Future of Sports.” Within these walls sits a space designed to cultivate interactions that blur the lines between culture and sports. Creatives, sports enthusiasts and everyone in between can connect with one another through the various activities and events held in this intimate space. This event is the brainchild of Nicole Pinedo, the founder of the online publication and marketing firm “Made in the District.” As a former athlete herself, who spent a lot of time in and out of soccer stadiums watching her father play professionally, she wanted to create an immersive experience
Each activation included a different physthat combined the world of sports with an ical activity. One room featured an array of artistic twist. boxing bags with colorful neon lights, On Nov. 1, attendees were able to where many attendees were experience the activations capturing boomerangs for and test out this immersive experience at the their Instagram stopremiere. Hosted ries. Just across the by social media way, people also personality had the opporand dance tunity to try sensation, out the new Shiggy, the spin bikes in event feaa room with tured inlighting that fluencers, changes colcreative ors every few professionseconds. In als and many addition to an others that open bar, peowere able to get ple enjoyed the an exclusive pass booming notes to venture inside ringing from the Torch Photo/Cecelia Germain and explore the interspeakers of DJ Amrit active gallery. Other taland DJ Austin Millz. Guests ented artists were also surveying were able to gather a sense of how the scene, such as actor and singer-songwrit- people could potentially enjoy the taste of er Mack Wilds and singer Avery Wilson. art intertwined with a sport setting. And if
spin or boxing is not their thing, the exhibit features a basketball court, two tennis stations and a soccer pad all for the experience goers to enjoy. “The Future of Sports” is all about utilizing movement to create a sense of community and change. In addition to the activations, the exhibit is also hosting a variety of group exercise classes, such as spin and yoga, throughout its time here in Brooklyn. If someone is not the least bit interested in sports, the space is open for those who want to capture content or be in an inviting space to interact and mingle with friends. This one-hour experience will be in Brooklyn from Nov. 2 to Dec. 26. At a cost of around 35 dollars, it welcomes people of all ages, abilities and color to witness the area’s fascinating aesthetic. Children ages two and under are granted free admission into the immersive experience. While there is no crystal ball to know exactly what the future of sports will look like, this is the beginning of a movement to cultivate those conversations and understand the commonality of people through this enveloping social experiment.
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Recent Study Supports Female Representation Destinee Scott
girls in the study also claimed that female characters with strong leadership roles help them to self-identify with being “strong,” “brave,” “confident” and “motivated.” Parents of both boys and girls also expressed their desire to see more female characters in leadership roles on-screen. “There’s something sort of elemental to sci-fi [and] fantasy, magic storytelling that just feels really resonant as girls and boys are forming their ideas of who they can be,” Sarah Barnett, general manager and president of BBC America, told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think ultimately the
role of a superhero is an expression of power that is very important in shaping boys’ and girls’ ideas of who gets to When girls see themselves reflected on-screen in superheinhabit the power situation.” ro films and television shows, they are more likely to gain There have only been a few women in recent lead suconfidence and envision themselves in leadership roles, a perhero roles, including Gal Gadot, who became the first new study by the Women’s Media Center and BBC Amerwoman to take on a Hollywood superhero franchise in DC ica confirms. Comics’ “Wonder Woman.” Also, director Ava DuVerThe study “Superpowering Girls,” which has been studynay’s recent Disney adaptation of the classic “A Wrinkle ing female representation in media and culture for years, in Time” featured a young black actress, Storm Reid, as released their findings on Oct. 8, finding that young girls the lead role. are more likely to face a confiBBC America, who supported the WomPHOTO COURTESY/Youtube scopian01 dence gap than boys in early deen’s Media Center study, also recently development. Better on-screen repbuted its newest iteration of “Doctor Who,” resentation, however, can help which for the first time in its 55 years features close that gap inspiring girls to see an actress, Jodie Whittaker, as its lead star. In themselves as leaders and heroes. March, Marvel Studios is also set to release its According to the survey that was first female-led solo movie “Captain Marvel,” taken by 2,431 male and female which will star Brie Larson in the titular role. participants between ages five and “If you can’t see her, you can’t be her. It’s 19 last summer, teenage girls are time to expand what gets seen,” Barnett said less likely than boys to describe in a statement. themselves as “confident,” “brave” The minds behind the “Superpowering and “listened to.” Nearly twoGirls” study are pushing the need for more thirds of girls between the ages on-screen representation because they beof 10 and 19 said that they don’t lieve that these films and shows can inspire see enough “female role models,” girls who are struggling with confidence to “strong female characters” or “refeel that they can do anything they put their latable female characters” in film minds to — just as the women do on their Gal Gadot in 2017’s “Wonder Woman” is an example of on-screen female representation. and television. A majority of the screens.
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Dr. Robert Bland: History & African American Studies Maggie Moore A study of history provides background and perspective for current events, allowing us to better determine our own politics and make us better citizens. Dr. Robert Bland is a proponent of this theory. As a history professor at St. John’s University, Bland’s work focuses on African American studies with an emphasis on the Civil War and Reconstruction. He calls the Reconstruction era “one of the least understood moments in American history,” which he hopes to help students further comprehend through his classes. In an effort to share the truth about our past, Bland recommended a series of books, movies and podcasts that will inspire a better understanding of history. The first work Bland mentioned was W.E.B. Dubois’ “BLACK RECONSTRUCTION.” Dubois, one of the most well-known African American civil rights activists of the early 20th century, has a common theme of illustrating the agency of African Americans in shaping the United States. “Black Reconstruction” achieves this point by stating that the mainstream narrative of the Reconstruction era did not give enough credit to the African Americans who were at the center of it. Published in 1935, the essay challenged the popular view of the time that Reconstruction was a complete failure for both the South and the country as a whole. The film “DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST,” written and directed by Julie Dash, draws on the experiences of Gullah women living in the Sea Islands off the
Torch Photo/Cecelia Germain
Dr. Robert Bland teaches history with a focus on African American studies.
South Carolina coast at the turn of the century and who were faced with moving north during the Great Migration. The narrative is nonlinear and features vignettes of the individual family members, noting the different experiences of each and how they fit into the larger narrative. The imagery of the film was influential in Beyonce’s “Lemonade,” her visual album that used their color scheme, setting and dress of the women in both pieces. “BAYOU” is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Jeremy Love that tells
the story of young girls in the Jim Crow South. The main character is a young African American girl, Lee Wagstaff, who grapples with the aftermath of her white friend being kidnapped and the implications it has for her own family. She enters into an alternate universe of the Bayou. Bland called this work “visually stunning, interesting and powerful,” and explained that it has an “Alice in Wonderland’ feel to it.” Bland also recommended the novel “WHITE BOY SHUFFLE” by Paul
Beatty. It is a satirical novel that tells the coming-of-age story of Gunnar Kaufman, who moves from a mostly white suburban town into a predominantly African American urban neighborhood. Kaufman realizes that what he thought he knew about being cool was no longer useful, and grapples with the differences in white and black society. The historical aspects shine through as the author brings in the legacy of the past into the narrative of the story. Finally, for anyone simply looking to learn more about the Civil War, Bland suggests listening to American history professor, DAVID BLIGHT, Ph.D, the Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, who teaches at Yale University and has lectures available through the Yale Open Courses program. Bland calls Blight a “great lecturer” and refers to his style as “very poetic.” Bland’s interest in this subject grew during his time as a teacher on Lynch Street in Jackson, Miss. The street, as it turns out, was named for an African-American politician, John R. Lynch, who served in the Mississippi State Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives in the years following the Civil War. Lynch is one of many forgotten figures from history, and an example from history that can be passed down and taught today. Bland strives to tell the stories of figures like Lynch who are forgotten in the mainstream narrative of American history. By seeking out these stories, we can avoid what Bland calls “historical amnesia,” and learn more about our past and our present.
“Writing Under the Influence” Brings Writers Together Megan McCarthy Hidden away between a local deli and a tiny Chinese food restaurant lies the mysterious, unique and quaint bar called “The Keep” in Ridgewood, Queens. It is at this antique-themed bar that the writing meetup group “Writing Under the Influence” congregates every Tuesday evening at 7:30 pm for a night of creative writing, good company and funky beers and cocktails. Upon entering the tall, rustic doorways, I was amazed at all of the incredible antiques standing and hanging along the walls of the bar. The saloon is filled with ancient paintings, statues, mirrors, lamps, tables, chairs and couches of all different shapes and sizes in a room covered in a warm, golden light. It was easy to identify where the writing group resided once I noticed all the notebooks, pens, papers and laptops huddled nearby one another in one section of the bar. I soon met “Writing Under the Influence” host Jonathan Rose, who kindly welcomed me to the meet-up and handed me a paper filled with interesting writing prompts.
Rose explained that each writing prompt is given 20 minutes until it is time to switch to the next one, although it is really up to your own desire and discretion to choose what you’d like to work on and write about.
So I took the paper, joined a table of other members and began writing using the first prompt offered to help spark some ideas. Toward the end of the night, I had the opportunity to ask Rose a little bit more
Torch Photo/Megan McCarthy
“Writing Under the Influence” meets at “The Keep” bar in Ridgewood, Queens.
about the origin of this welcoming and laid-back writing meet-up. He told me that the group was founded in the summer of 2017 by couple Tian and Guy Vincent, until their U.S. Visas expired and they had to return home to Australia. “So, I took over hosting with a couple others,” Rose said. “...We loved it because it offered a low-pressure place for people to make sure they get at least a little writing done each week, meet fellow writers of all types and persuasions and have a few drinks to let the ideas and talk flow,” he said. “It was too much fun to let it dissolve. You get to meet people you wouldn’t normally meet, have a drink with them and be productive at the same time,” co-host and loyal group member John Bowen said. “Writing Under the Influence” has gained consistent members who love the energy and environment of the group and choose to come back every week. This group is also extremely welcoming to new writers of all ages and writing backgrounds. It’s a safe space to let your creativity flow, meet others with a passion for writing and make new friends.
“The Hate U Give” Gives Power Beyond The Page Amber Borden “THUG LIFE.” Rapper Tupac Shakur explained this acronym as, “The Hate U Give Little Infants F---- Everybody,” compartmentalizing the cyclical sins of societal violence. This is something we, especially in America, know all too well. “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas took this philosophy and wove it into a 464-page young adult novel. “The Hate U Give” is told through the perspective of 16-year-old Starr Carter. The story follows her life as a black teenager and how she is suddenly drawn to activism after she witnesses the police shooting of her childhood friend. Thomas masterfully sews aspects of the black experience into each line of the novel, especially that of the young black woman. The four elements: code-switching, interracial dating, police brutality and activism make up Carter’s experience. Although this may not be what every black person in America goes through, there is a 100 percent guarantee that a black person has knowledge of these things indirectly. The genesis of “The Hate U Give” stemmed from Thomas’ emotional response to indirectly witnessing police brutality. As a creative writing student at Belhaven University, Thomas took from her own personal experiences and those of the wider black experience, to write a short story called “The Hate U Give,” inspired by the murder of
Oscar Grant in 2009. On Oct. 19, the novel “The Hate U Give” was brought to life on the big screen, adding further weight and power to its words. Words on a page leave imagery to the imagination, but when those words are brought to the third dimension it makes the characters’ reality your reality. Cutting the fat of black trauma off of “The Hate U Give” and revealing the meat of it, the audience sees a regular girl become a warrior for change;
they see a strong black family and they see the power of the black community. Director George Tillman Jr. and Thomas serve as anchors of representation that showcase how impactful storytelling can be when it comes from those who directly relate to it. This allows for a more authentic comprehension of the art and reality that is not littered with stereotypes. On May 22, 1962, Malcolm X gave a speech stating, “The most disrespected perPHOTO COURTESY/Youtube 20th Century Fox
Amandla Stenberg stars in the new film “The Hate U Give” as 16-year-old Starr Carter.
son in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” In “The Hate U Give,” the world is finally hearing a voice that has always been faint in media: The young black woman. Carter represents a young black woman using her voice to speak out against injustice. She shines a light for other young black girls — and boys — to feel inspired. Of course, the concept of using your voice can cross racial differences, but when it comes to matters of race and systemic violence, specifically against black people, it is important for a young black woman to know the power of her voice and see it in action. When the woman who has been disrespected, unprotected and neglected uses her voice as a form of resistance in a world that does not want to hear her, she will roar. Change is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Thomas and Tillman Jr. use art as a form of activism and through “The Hate U Give,” this art has the power to inspire young people to do the same. That is the ironic thing about cycles, they represent both stagnation and change, and it is up to the person and how they use their voice to break that cycle or enhance it. Shakur once said, “I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world,” and that is what “The Hate U Give” does.
A Fresh Take on Horror Classic The Trip of the Century Asia Cureton Despite its runtime of two hours and 32 minutes, “SUSPIRIA” managed to hold my attention throughout its entire duration. The film’s director, Luca Guadagnino, known for his recent film, “Call Me By Your Name,” which garnered critical acclaim last year. In “Suspiria,” Guadagnino successfully directed a film that not only pays homage to the original 1977 film directed but moves it in a fresh, new direction. Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson), an
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American dancer from a small Mennonite community in Ohio, arrives at the Markos Dance Academy to find herself in the midst of Cold War tensions in a divided Berlin and entangled in the controversy surrounding the disappearance of a fellow dancer. Early on in the film, you discover that something more sinister is at play in this seemingly auspicious German dance academy. Though this film is a remake, it is similar to the original in name and plot only. Essentially, this movie took the original film’s plot and expanded on it enormously. After watching the original film myself, I have to say that I enjoyed the remake a lot more. Without divulging too much of the plot, I felt like the original was too short and ended very abruptly. The length of Guadagnino’s remake allows it to not only expand on themes, but to examine the ominous history of the Markos Dance Academy. The film is also beautifully scored by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and features some impressive cinematography by DP Sayombhu Mukdeeprom. That being said, the film lacks character development and the Holocaust subplot feels shoehorned in. If a long runtime, gore and disturbing images do not bother you, “Suspiria” is certainly worth the watch. Despite its flaws, it is sure to be a film that invokes fear, disgust, amusement and astonishment from audiences.
Sofia Altamura An American man walking on the moon in 1969 was a tremendously pivotal moment in the history of the United States. This event is also the theme of the new film “FIRST MAN,” which brings Ryan Gosling and director Damien Chazelle together again after their success on 2016’s “La La Land.” In the film, Gosling plays the famed astronaut, Neil Armstrong. Throughout its duration, the audience witnesses the struggles Armstrong faced as he transitioned from a NASA test pilot to an astronaut who would eventually become the first American person to walk on the moon. What makes Armstrong’s story especially moving is not just how courageous he was to risk his life for this mission, but what was happening in his life at home. His two-year-old daughter Karen is diagnosed with a brain tumor, which Armstrong diligently stays on top of by writing down different possible treatments and their symptoms in the beginning of the film. When she passes away, the audience sees how this affects him and how he must push on, even though at times it seems like he just wants to mourn his beloved daughter. The film also depicts the strong desire of Americans to land on the moon before the Soviets. While the film excellently portrays how much sacrifice goes into a successful
space mission, it makes the viewer think about whether these human lives and billions of dollars from citizens were worth the mission. I personally didn’t appreciate a film that glorifies both the loss of life and people’s hard-earned money for the purpose of “beating” the Soviets. Children grew up without dads, wives lived without husbands and millions of hungry and homeless people were not given aid because federal money went toward space exploration. While the story is inspiring, a film that tells the story of helping millions of marginalized, suffering people would be even more inspiring.
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Immortalizing St. John’s Legends Derrell Bouknight
At his base, Joe Lapchick stands just 3 feet tall. The words inscribed below his feet commemorate his lifetime journey of changing basketball and the world both on and off the court. Above that is a 7-foot-five-5 figure, a dominant man pointing toward the arena that now houses the St. John’s basketball teams. He weighs 4,000 pounds, a basketball in his right hand and a whistle hanging from his neck. A slight, detailed grin is sketched on his face as he glares into the distance. Many people know about the man who towers over the walkway between Carnesecca Arena and Taffner Fieldhouse, but not many know about the one man who sculpted this statue and hundreds of others around the world. About 90 miles away in Toms River, N.J., Brian Hanlon carefully sculpts his masterpieces in his studio, which sits on a chicken farm. He has about 300 around the world, ranging from Jackie Robinson at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. to Our Lady of the Rosary in Puerto Rico. But when former St. John’s Athletic Director Chris Monasch approached Hanlon about creating a statue of Lapchick, he could not pass on the opportunity. “Joe was more than a coach,” Hanlon said. “He’s a pioneer in basketball in many ways, and that is as important as his basketball coaching.” The history that Lapchick embodied presented itself at a time when racial tensions were high. He coached Solly Walker, who played for St. John’s and was the first black basketball player to play on the road at the University of Kentucky. Lapchick, who also played for the Original Celtics and coached the New York Knicks. He drafted Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, the first African American to play for the Knicks and one of the first to play in the NBA. “The story really is a labor of love,” Hanlon said. “I love stories like Joe’s because they’re educational and inspirational. Both in the same breath.” Lapchick’s statue took Hanlon about eight months to create. He typically tries to work on about 15 per year, but the numbers vary. The team at his studio in New Jersey — which he refers to as his “mean machine” — ranges from six to 20, depending on the project and the complexity of the design. The process is difficult, especially when working on several statues at once, as Hanlon does. They create an image to scale from clay. Their work starts from the depths of the earth – literally. With dirt as the foundation, the team assembles each intricate area with a series of steps. “We use mud like clay from the earth and we make an image,” Hanlon said. “From that image, we make a mold. From that mold, you can make waxes that you use to make a shell cast of bronze, which is poured at 2300 degrees. It’s forever, and the granite underneath it is forever too.” It’s a very complicated process, but it’s one that Hanlon
can handle. TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO Sculpting has been what Hanlon has done his whole life. He started out doing liturgical statues in churches for about 10 years. An 8-foot bonded bronze statue of Jesus on the cross sits in Jackson, N.J. Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J. kneels on a six-and-ahalf foot statue in Massachusetts at the College of the Holy Cross and Dorothy Day at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Colts Neck, N.J. “I have over 200 statues in churches around the nation,” Hanlon said. “Then I turned to sports and found a spiritual connection. It’s tough to deny the pop culture influence on us in sport. It’s part of the fabric of who we are. I did Jackie Robinson as a football player at the Rose Bowl. That’s a spiritual piece. It reeks of humanity.” Hanlon said that he refocused his efforts, and that the world of sports has given him an avenue to show his love for them. He went to Monmouth University and earned his degree in art education in 1988, but he always dreamed of becoming a track coach. His daughter, one of his five children with his wife Michele, is now a successful track and cross-country coach. “I think I was a good coach to her,” he said. In Hanlon’s eyes, every piece he works on is art education. “I am in fact a walking art history,” he said. Hanlon’s resume of notable lifelike rendering is long. Aside from Lapchick and Robinson, he has sculpted statues of Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Evander Holyfield, Yogi Berra and Bob Cousy. He has emulated the likeness of Susan B. Anthony and first responders, and will have a statue of Harriet Tubman installed in Auburn, N.Y., the city where the abolitionist died and now rests. The work that stands out to him the most is one he did of his best friend in college. It’s called the “In- Brian Hanlon sculpted this to honor Joe Lapchick at Taffner. volved Student.” A girl lies her head on a bag while He wants it done as soon as possible. reading a book and propping her leg on a soccer ball. “Can you imagine having a Lou Carnesecca dedication The reason? without him there?” he asked. “The statue is made. The “I married her and have five kids with her.” school needs to pay for the bronze casting, and I will put it Hanlon hopes to have a statue of former St. John’s coach up. It looks exactly like him.” and legend Lou Carnesecca on campus by the end of this While his career has taken him all over the world, Hanlon year. He said he did the sculpting of Carnesecca on his own is grateful that St. John’s and the program has accepted his because he admires him more than most of the other coaches work and that it gives those who walk the campus a sense of he has met. history behind the man who now oversees Taffner and Car“He has a beautiful presence about him,” Hanlon said. “He nesecca Arena. He jokingly apologized for the statue he just is one of a kind.” finished of the Georgetown bulldog, but said that St. John’s The goal is to eventually create a plaza where Lapchick, will always be special to him. Carnesecca and former baseball coach and Athletic Director “I’ve been really lucky,” Hanlon said. “Go Johnnies.” Emeritus Jack Kaiser are all next to each other.
Men’s Soccer Falls in Quarterfinals Brendan Murray The St. John’s men’s soccer team saw their 2018 season end with a 1-0 loss to Providence in the Big East Quarterfinal. The Johnnies had an up-and-down year this year, finishing with a record of seven wins, eight losses and three draws. While the Johnnies didn’t have their desired season, they showed they have an exciting young core. Their young star Skage Simonsen, who captured three awards including the Big East Freshman of the Year award, was the first Johnnie to achieve the award in more than 20 years. He was selected to the All-Big East Second team, and unanimously selected to the Big East All-Freshman team. Simonsen gives the Johnnies a strong presence in their midfield for the next three years after such a strong rookie campaign. Simon-
sen was tied for the team lead in goals with six, along with four assists and 16 points. Another freshman, Tani Oluwaseyi, received recognition for his play in 2018, along with Simonsen was selected to the Big East All-Freshmen team. Oluwaseyi demonstrated his potential, not only to players and coaches on his own team, but to players and coaches across the Big East. Tallying four goals, two assists and 10 points on the season, Oluwaseyi was one of the Johnnies’ best players and will only get better with more experience. The Johnnies overall did not stand out as a complete squad over the course of the season. Their biggest issue was their inability to score goals, averaging only one goal a game. The Red Storm’s defense and goalkeeping were able to support them in games this season with the opponent averaging only 1.17 goals per game against the Johnnies.
The biggest issue for the team in the 2018 campaign was their lack of experience. This is a young squad who had four seniors and 18 freshmen, hardly what you would call a team with much experience. With a year under their belts and the Red Storm’s top three-point getters Matt Forster, Simonsen and Oluwaseyi set to return for the 2019 campaign, the Red Storm have an opportunity to improve their trouble on the offensive end of the pitch. However, they are going to need to find more comparable pieces to help on the offensive end of the pitch. Head Coach Dave Masur will have an intriguing offseason ahead, with two of the best freshmen in the Big East going into their sophomore season. The Red Storm have the building blocks on the offense. Masur will look to improve the offense of the Red Storm knowing full well
that his defensive core is strong. Simonsen and Forster are midfielders while Oluwaseyi is a forward, the Johnnies will need to add an impact player to their forward core if they want to improve for next season. Looking back on this finished 2018 campaign Red Storm fans and the players for sure have to be disappointed at the result of their regular season and their play in the Big East Tournament. On the other hand, the team set themselve up for future success. Assuming the team doesn’t bring in close to a completely new roster for next season, the 2018 season was important to ensure the team’s future success. The pieces for the Red Storm are there to build around, now the question is: Can they improve next season to take the Red Storm to the promise land?
Sedee Keita and Mikey Dixon Ready To Go Annie Drouillard Sedee Keita and Mikey Dixon are not only two new additions to the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team’s starting lineup but two big factors to the team’s success plan this year. Keita is a Philadelphia native who played at South Carolina, includidng in their run to the NCAA’s Final Four his freshman year, and Dixon is a Delaware native who played at Quinnipiac his freshman year and had to redshirt last year due to transfer eligibility rules. Keita is seen as a huge contributing factor to the Johnnies’ defense, recording 11 blocks his freshman year even though he only averaged 10 minutes a game. On the other hand, Dixon comes to help the back court immensely this year, averaging 16.5 points per game his freshman year. Keita says he sees himself being a great communicator for the team. Dixon believes he will be able to contribute to the play making. Both Keita and Dixon share the individual goal that they want to help the team carry the Big East Tournament Trophy in March. Some challenges that they both believe they will encounter is being able to shake the rust off from sitting out a year, especially Keita, who won’t be used to playing as many minutes as he is expected to play this season. However, the year off has helped both of them to see the plays of other teams from another point of view. Of course, they’re set and inspired to play due to the support of their family, which helps them get through everything.
“It’s all about time management. My mother always told me that you can always handle anything in any situation as long as you have time management skills,” Dixon said. When asked how they got over their pre-game jitters, Keita answered, “I don’t get game jitters. I believe preparation helps you get through everything.” Chris Mullin had a few comments during the press conference at St. John’s Media Day in October about these two players. “Sedee is going to be big offensiveTORCH PHOTO/SPENCER CLINTON TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO ly and defensively. He knows how to Mikey Dixon (left) and Sedee Keita (right) are ready to have big impacts in their first year of eligibility. contain the ball. He helps make the team When looking through the schedule, want to play all the schools that recruitoverall better defensively. And Mikey, he’s Keita sees a few teams that he wants to ed me because I have something against a good scorer. He will help a lot offensive- show off his talent and skillset. Keita al- them. I want them to see what they missed ly,” he said. ways plays with a chip on his shoulder, but out,” Keita said. Both are excited to start the season and a few of his hometown schools will have Overall, this should be an interesting show off their skills. Among the teams him playing with a little bit of extram mo- season with these two joining the line-up. they’re expected to play against this season, tivation. told to expect big plays between Keita and Dixon is excited to play every and anybody “I’m excited to play Villanova and hope- Ponds, many high scoring games and lots because of the lack of play last year. fully Temple because I’m from Philly. I just of dunks and tricks.
Long Island Native Leading Men’s Golf Nick McCreven Looking back as the St. John’s men’s golf team wraps up their fall season, Long Island native Gerald Mackedon’s play shined the brightest. The junior placed in the top-20 four times in their seven events, including an emphatic first place performance at the Patriot Intercollegiate in Virginia. Mackedon also finished fifth at the Villanova Wildcat Fall Invitational and led the team at the Musketeer Classic. One of his most notable outings came in the SJU-hosted Doc Gimmler tournament, at which he shot for the lowest round in event history for a Johnny and his career-low with a 64, to help him reach second place. Mackedon attributes his success in the autumn to, “Growth and maturity and hard work.” “I put in a good amount of work this summer to be ready for this fall season so I think that paid off.” After playing in a few tournaments on Long Island over the summer, he says he’s come into the year with a greater ability to get past a bad drive and finish every hole strong. “Mainly this season what I’ve been bet-
ter at is just getting the ball into the hole. So if my drive isn’t well and my play isn’t well I just find a way to get the ball into the hole,” Mackedon said Now Mackedon and the rest of the Red Storm golf team will enter the dog days of the golf year where they’ll be Car-
It’s cool representing the school and going home and people knowing as well being from St. John’s. It feels special. - Gerald Mackedon
nesecca-bound, working in the weight room and practice golf room. Over the winter, there may not be events to set goals for but Mackedon looks to set smaller, steady goals for practice along
the way in order to continuously improve and keep the momentum going heading into the arduous spring season. “There’s stuff I want to achieve in the spring. I’ll set miniature goals for practice over the winter. That’ll hopefully help me achieve my goals in the spring. Hopefully we can win tournaments, not just individually but as a team, in the spring. Hopefully all of us have good form going into the Big East because that’s obviously the goal at the beginning of the season for everyone,” Mackedon told the Torch. As the junior continues his stellar collegiate career close to home, his success at St. John’s allows him to represent his Long Island roots on a grander scale. “It’s definitely nice. Obviously, being from Port Jeff a lot of the people when I go back home I’ll see who went to St. John’s, who go to St. John’s. So it’s cool representing the school and going home and people knowing as well as being from St. John’s. It feels special,” he said. Mackedon looks forward to the spring to take on the rest of the Big East as a veteran leader of the Red Storm golf squad. With hard work over the winter, a Big East conference victory is the team’s target and Mackedon’s continual improvement will be a major factor in that feat.
Nov. 9-12: Fencing at November North American Cup, Kansas City, Mo.
Nov. 9: Cross Country at NCAA Northeast Regional, Buffalo, N.Y.
Nov. 9: Women’s Basketball at Iona, 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 9: Men’s Basketball vs. Bowling Green, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 9: Volleyball at Seton Hall, 8:00 p.m.
Nov. 16: Volleyball at DePaul, 8:00 p.m.
Nov. 16: Men’s Basketball at Rutgers, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 16: Women’s Basketball at Army-West Point, 5:00 p.m.
Nov. 17: Volleyball at Marquette, 2:00 p.m.
Nov. 17: Cross Country at ECAC Championships, Bronx, N.Y.
SPORTS November 7, 2018 | VOLUME 96, ISSUE 8
Red Storm Roll Past Loyola
From St. John's to CBS Sports
TORCH PHOTOS/ALEX YEM
Brendan Myers After months of waiting and letting the hype build, the St. John’s men’s basketball team delivered with a strong season opening performance to defeat Loyola (Md.), 76-55 on Tuesday night at Carnesecca Arena. With a combination of efficient performances from returnees such as Shamorie Ponds, who scored 20 points, and debutants, such as Mustapha Heron with 15 points and LJ Figueroa who rocked Carnesecca Arena with multiple dunks from the run of play, the Johnnies never trailed against the Greyhounds. From inside of the arc, Ponds only missed one shot. After a sluggish performance last Thursday against Division II opponent Maryville, Head Coach Chris Mullin was pleased with the team’s outing on Tuesday. “The effort was a lot better,” Mullin told
reporters after the game. “Playing defense without fouling is something we have to get better at, but I rather be more aggressive and tone it down a little bit.” Mullin’s statement on the team’s defensive mentality certainly rang true on Tuesday night. The Red Storm made every pass that Loyola tried to make a difficult one, proven by Loyola’s 24 combined turnovers. Many of the fouls called against the Red Storm resulted after the team was working relentlessly to either fight over screens or deny passes into the post. The game struggled to find any flow in the first half due to the accumulation of fouls. Sedee Keita barely had been on the court in his St. John’s debut before being sent back to the bench after accumulating two quick personal fouls. Keita ended up fouling out of the game with just under 10 minutes left in the second half. Heron, a transfer from Auburn Universi-
ty, enjoyed a warm welcome to the confines of Carnesecca Arena. He impressed with his wide variety of abilities to score. He shot 50 percent overall from the field while hitting both three point attempts that he took and shot 75 percent from the free throw line. “It’s a blessing [to have Heron],” Ponds said after the game. “He can score inside and out, defend, rebound. He’s a great added piece that was definitely needed.” Figueroa’s nine points in his debut at Carnesecca Arena were more about the quality over the quantity. After a missed floater, Figueroa soared in from outside the paint to rise higher than the other nine players on the court to electrify the crowd. As if that wasn’t enough, Figueroa followed up his put-back dunk with a thunderous alley-oop finish coming off a pass from Heron. “I heard LJ calling from behind, so I knew to throw it off the backboard,” Heron said. “I knew that wherever I put it off the back-
board, he was going to get it.” Redshirt junior Justin Simon was relatively quiet, but showcased a newly renovated jump shot. Simon looked comfortable backing opponents down in the midrange and then converting on the ensuing fadeaway jump shot. Simon’s improved jump shot will add a new element to an offense with a diverse skillset. Mikey Dixon, another player making his debut for the Red Storm, was one of four St. John’s players to reach double figure with his 13 points. As a team, the Red Storm shot 44 percent from the field. It’s important not to read to much into the first games of a season, but there were positive takeways for Coach Mullin. The Red Storm will be back at Carnesecca on Friday night when they play host to Bowling Green. Tip off for that game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.