Volume 94, Issue 12

Page 1

VOL 94 : 12 November 30th, 2016 torchonline.com

The independent student newspaper of St. John’s University

SEEKING SANCTUARY faculty petition seeks to protect undocumented students

University outlines immigration policies in campus-wide email Panels planned to address student, faculty concerns SUZANNE CIECHALSKI Editor-in-Chief In an effort to calm deportation concerns sparked by President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed immigration policies, St. John’s sent an university-wide email Monday, Nov. 28 that detailed three key points of its “current practices concerning immigration:” The university does not track a student’s immigration status. The university does not factor immigration status into housing, registration or other university processes. Public safety officers “are not law enforcement officers and are not directed by immigration or other enforcement agencies.” “The University will continue to support all our students—both documented and not—as full members of the St. John’s community,” the email said. The email, from Kathryn Hutchinson of Student Affairs and Nada Llewellyn of Human Resources, arrived in inboxes at 5:56 p.m. Monday, hours after the University received a faculty-driven petition that implored St. John’s to protect university members who could face deportation if Trump’s stated policies come to fruition. The petition, which is available online through a Google form, calls “on the University administration to make explicit our commitment to creating a campus that is supportive, welcoming, and respectful of students of different religious backgrounds, racial identities, sexual orientations, gender identifications, and immigration statuses.”

As of Tuesday night, the petition had 428 signatures from students, faculty and alumni, most of whom posted their names and connections to the University. The petition was delivered to the office of the president on Monday during common hour. English professor Gabriel Brownstein, one of the three professors who delivered it, said they were “very gracious in receiving us.” “The petition is part of a national movement - universities across the country are standing up for the members of their communities,” Brownstein said in an email to the Torch. “So it’s not really about any one person, or even a group of people, who started it - hundreds of people have signed it.” There is a nationwide movement that urges protection for undocumented and immigrant students on college campuses, especially those who have been protected since 2012 by the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Commonly referred to as DACA, the program protects students who were brought to the country illegally, are under the age of 31 and do not have a criminal record. University President Dr. Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw is one of about 400 college and university presidents who have signed a statement urging civic, religious, business and nonprofit leaders to join in supporting DACA students. Continued on page 3

INSIDE THE ISSUE Keeping up with the professors Professors show off their outfits and share what they wear Pages 6 & 7




President Gempesaw, a Queens Power 50 honoree SJU’s president was recently ranked number six among some of Queens’ finest


Chief Copy Editor

Students and faculty aren’t the only ones who shine in varying aspects at St. John’s University - the University’s president Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D. was given his own moment to shine as he was named to the Queens Power 50 list at number six. The Queens Power 50 list is an annual series, published by a government, politics and business publication called City and State New York, that highlights organizers, activists, business and higher education leaders who positively impact the neighborhoods and borough in which they live and work. The list acknowledges St. John’s as the third-largest Catholic institution in the nation with more than 20,000 students and an impact far exceeding the University’s Vincentian mission, now driven by Gempesaw. “The hiring of Conrado ‘Bobby’ Gempesaw in 2014 signaled a shift in the history of the university. He is the first professional educator and layperson to run the institution, focusing heavily on improving the educational environment for students as well as expanding on partnerships with the community and abroad,” City and State wrote. “The campus is an anchor of economic development in the heart of the borough, and Gempesaw has made integration of the campus and the community a key part of his vision for the school.” Dr. Gempesaw came in on the list close behind Dennis Walcott, CEO and Presi-


President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, was named one of City and State New York Queens Power 50.

dent of the Queens Library; Hector Figeroa, President of 32BJ; Lysa Scully, General Manager of LaGuardia Airport; Anne Marie Anzalone, Chief of Staff at Rep. Joe Crowley’s Office and Carl Mattone, President of the Mattone Group, according to City and State. In a statement to the Torch, Dr. Gempesaw said, “Being named to the City and State Queens Power 50 list is an honor and recognition, not of any single individual, but of the impact and significant role of

St. John’s University in our borough and beyond. The true measure of the impact of St. John’s is found in what we all do to ensure student success and to expand our community and global partnerships.” Some students expressed their support for Dr. Gempesaw’s recognition. “I think that’s awesome that our school has someone we can recognize as a leader for Queens,” Caroline Stoughton, a freshman fine arts major, said. Sophomore History and Italian major,

Annamaria Basile, believes this is a great achievement but there is still work to be done, “I haven’t heard of this award before but it is very cool for President Gempesaw.” At the “Power Panel” breakfast event held at the Raven Hotel in Long Island City on Tuesday, Nov. 1, Dr. Gempesaw was able to participate in a discussion along with Figeroa, Walcott, Carol Conslato, the Director of Regional and Community Affairs for Con Edison and Patrick Jenkins, the President of Patrick B. Jenkins & Associates, with remarks from Congressman Joseph Crowley, according to the City and State article. He shared his thoughts on how “Strategic Priority 4: Expand global and community partnerships,” is related to the ongoing Vincentian mission St. John’s prides itself on, in order to make a difference outside of the campus gates. Brian Browne, Executive Director University Relations & Assistant Vice President for Government Relations, attended the breakfast event and stated, “Since arriving at St. John’s, Dr. Gempesaw has advocated for and cultivated the expansion of community and global partnerships as part of the University’s Strategic Priorities. Dr. Gempesaw being recognized by City and State is testimony that the successes of our Strategic Priorities are moving beyond the confines of the campus gates.” Sophomore accounting major Lissy Licata feels Gempesaw’s honor was very much earned, “I’m very proud of Bobby I think he’s one of the greatest presidents St. John’s has ever had, he’s fun and very interactive and I’m proud he represents our school.”

SJU becomes one of ten Global CRS Campuses

Assistant News Editor On Nov. 28, Carolyn Woo, Ph.D. gave a lecture entitled “Cry of the Earth and Cry of the Poor” at St. Thomas More Church to an audience of over fifty members of the St. John’s community, including President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw. The event, a part of the University’s Academic Lecture Series, marks the recognition of the University as one of ten CRS Global Campuses, solidifying its status as a campus that “promotes global solidarity through an institutional partnership with CRS,” according to CRS’ official website. “Thank you for the work that you and CRS have accomplished. At SJU, we are very grateful for the partnership,” said Gempesaw following the lecture. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is the national humanitarian agency of the Catholic community, founded by American Catholic Bishops during World War II. Its mission is to “assist impoverished and disadvantaged people overseas, working in the spirit of Catholic social teaching to promote the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person,” according to its official website. The organization has an active chapter of campus ambassadors at the University, established in 2014. “This type of relationship [between the University and CRS], we are involved at every level; student, faculty … It only happens because people work at it, people are passionate about it,” Woo said.


Carolyn Woo, Ph.D. came to speak to the St. John’s community on Nov. 28.

Alexandra Willard, sophomore and vice-president of the University’s CRS chapter, expressed why she thinks that this is a big step for St. John’s. “Now the campus as a whole is affiliated with CRS, it’s not just our club, it’s the whole campus,” Willard said. “We feel like [CRS] is fully behind us now, they support us and they recognize everything we’re doing,” Woo, who is president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), served

from 1997-2011 as dean of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Education. She began her work at CRS in 2004, serving on its board of directors until 2012. She was recently listed among Foreign Policy Magazine’s 500 most powerful people on the planet in 2013. Woo began the lecture by speaking about CRS’ mission and its worldwide operations, noting that it has helped those in nations such as Afghanistan, Greece, Myanmar and Iraq. “We work at individual, family, community levels. We try to build up their assets, healthcare, and financial capital,” Woo said, adding that every community’s situation calls for a unique approach in aid. Woo covered two main issues in relation to poor communities: refugees and climate change. To introduce each topic, Woo screened two short CRS-produced videos. She spoke about the importance of providing homes for refugees, emphasizing that half of the 65 million currently displaced people are children. “If we handle this problem well, we will have the largest generation of peacebuilders,” Woo said. “If we just write them off, we will have the largest generation of displaced people.” Woo said that while many are under the impression that educating these displaced children is not a priority, education is as important as providing shelter, food and water. Woo then discussed the adverse effects of climate change, stating that those who

suffer the most from changed weather patterns and dying crops are poor and vulnerable communities. “In CRS, we have no debates about climate change, because we encounter it,”


If we handle this problem well, we will have the largest generation of peacebuilders.

- Carolyn Woo, Ph.D. -

Woo said. “The cry of the earth and poor are generated by the same thing - human action.” Matthew Callaghan, sophomore and business major, spoke about the impact Woo’s presentation had on him. “I’ve been studying a lot of Catholic social teaching, and trying to get a better understanding of how we can see that in action actually in the real world,” Callaghan said. He continued, “Catholic Relief Services is an organization that lives that out in its mission, and I liked being able to see how they achieve that and how they go about systemic justice instead of just treating the need.”




SJU nationally recognized for community service again

“Only few universities receive this, so to be recognized is an honor,” said Fr. Tri Duong, C.M., Campus Minister for Vincentian Service. “Thank you to all of the students who Contributing Writer are going out, sacrificing their time, and serving other people. We need to continue to be the unity of not only the students, but the people in our area.” St. John’s was honored with the President’s Community Service Honor Roll CNCS cited St. John’s for its “exemplary community service programs” and this year for fostering exemplary community service programs and raisits efforts to “raise the visibility of effective practices in campus coming awareness of practices in campus community partnerships, acmunity partnerships.” cording to the University’s website. “As a member of the Catholic Scholars Program, I’m realThis marks the ninth-consecutive year that the University ly proud that St. John’s continues to be recognized for our has been part of the President’s Higher Education Comc o m -mitment to community service learning and civic munity Service Honor Roll. The honor, recently engagement,” junior Rebecca Fowler said. “It’s one announced by the Corporation for National and of our responsibilities as Catholic leaders to lead Community Service (CNCS), is the highest honor effective service and here at St. John’s, we do so in educational institutions and their students can rethe mindset of a Vincentian.” ceive for their commitment to volunteer service. Fowler has been an active participant of service This year, SJU was featured in three Honor Roll opportunities on campus. Ever since she was a categories: General Community Service (with freshman, she has dedicated her time to oppordistinction), Economic Opportunity and Edutunities such as the Freshman Plunge, which she cation. now leads, the Ronald McDonald House, the “We are honored that once again the extraorLA Plunge, Midnight Runs and St. John’s Bread dinary efforts of our University community and Life. She says she is planning to go on the have been recognized by the President’s Honor Panama Plunge this year and continue to serve Roll,” said Deanne A. Southwell, Ed.D, Execher community. utive Director of St. John’s Vincentian Institute “We have a wide range of service that we offer for Social Action. “As a Catholic and Vincentian students and people in the campus ministry ofinstitution, St. John’s is committed to addressing fice are very enthusiastic and passionate about their the needs of the poor and marginalized. This acjobs,” sophomore Jennie Lynn Martino said. “They knowledgement reflects our dedication to our mismake the service feel welcome to everyone even if sion, and the impact our students continue to have you’re not Catholic. Students find that helping other on the community.” people can be essential, but also a fun time.” Three St. John’s entities received honors “with distincMartino, a student who has led Midnight Runs since the tion” in the General Community Service segment. They spring semester of last year, says the school should continue were Academic Service-Learning, the Ozanam Scholars Proto “advertise service in as many areas as possible.” gram and Campus Ministry. Martino continued, “I know the school requires students to do serLast year, according to the University’s website, St. John’s students vice, which everyone isn’t too crazy about at first, but it’s a good way to performed 139,710 hours of service. open people’s eyes to it.” TORCH PHOTO/STJOHNS.EDU BEVERLY DANQUAH

Students, faculty seek protections through petition Continued from page one


“This is both a moral imperative and a national necessity,” the statement said. “America needs talent – and these students, who have been raised and educated in the United States, are already part of our national community. They represent what is best about America, and as scholars and leaders they are essential to the future.” The professors who spearheaded the St. John’s petition say they are comforted by the similarities they see in their petition and the statement Gempesaw signed. “We see our petition as acting in solidarity with our university president and his position on sanctuary as an institutional commitment to protect these students,” said Dr. Elda Tsou, an English professor. The petition requests that the University take action on 10 points, such as: • Ensure that the identities of undocumented members of the community are protected. • Make all St. John’s University campuses Sanctuary Campuses that protect undocumented students from deportation or detention. • Invest in faculty and staff training to support undocumented students, among other things. A list of the requests is online. In the email sent Monday by the University, the offices of Human Resources and Student Affairs announced the creation of two panels. One is designed for faculty and staff “that provides strategies on how to address immigration-related concerns raised by students.” The other is a panel for students “addressing immigration-related concerns.” In the weeks following the presidential election, faculty have been instrumental in aiding students who have voiced concern. Some of these actions include

attending discussions and joining the on-campus “Love March” two weeks ago. According to Tsou, the petition was put together by two faculty groups: faculty of color, and allied factory from departments spanning the campus. “In the wake of the election and in light of the campaign promises made by the incoming administration...both faculty groups are extremely concerned about how these changes will affect the most vulnerable students in the St. John’s community,” Tsou said in an email. The language of the petition reflects this sentiment. “As an immigrant-serving institution deeply committed to social justice, St. John’s has historically admitted both undocumented and DACA students,” the petition states. “What will happen to them when DACA is canceled and they fall out of status?” According to Dr. Kathleen Lubey, another professor who assisted with forming the petition, this is a fear that some students have. Lubey said she devoted her classes to discussing the outcome of the election, and the potential effect it could have on students, as well as their families. “My students were openly emotional, distressed, and extremely worried about themselves, their peers and their loved ones - they were in no state to focus on academic work,” she told the Torch. Lubey added that they saw the petition as “an opportunity to convey to administration and to students that faculty will do all we can to restore a sense of safety to their educational environment.” She said that the group believes the requests in the petition are in line with the mission statement of the university. And the email from the university began by referencing how St. John’s was founded in 1870 “to provide an intellectual and moral education to immigrant

Following the election, students voice concerns through events such as the Love March on Nov. 16th.

populations.” Some faculty behind the petition were satisfied by the email. “I can’t speak for everyone, but I was delighted by Dr. Hutchinson’s communication,” Brownstein said. “I want to protect my students from a sudden change in law that would ruin their lives. I am so glad that the University seems to share this view.” Others, however, were not as happy with the response, specifically because it didn’t acknowledge the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) agency. Student Marilyn Alexander was disappointed that, in her view, the email did not address the “most important demand,” which was to “Refuse I.C.E. physical access to all land owned or controlled by the University.” “All 428, at this point, people that have signed the petition and our part of the St. John’s community are calling on the University to definitively become a sanctuary

and prevent I.C.E. from accessing the campus - which has not happened yet,” Alexander said in an email to the Torch. “I am glad the University is creating a panel discussion about immigration concerns, however I am, like many, waiting for this plan to be solidified,” she said. “I am glad that some action is taking place but I also see them as baby steps toward a much bigger action.” Alexander said she wrote her own petition and emailed the text to professors for guidance, but was informed that they had already drafted one. Hers is the second name listed on the petition. She believes that if St. John’s isn’t working to protect undocumented people within the University, it “risks losing its status as one of the most diverse universities within in the U.S.; it is immigrants and the children of immigrants that have made St. John’s the vibrant multicultural community that it is.”

4 Features


Winter Village at Bryant Park has it all

Fill up your bellies with these delicious dishes now


We live in a huge city where grabbing a bite to eat may seem a little bit hectic. Lucky for you, Bryant Park’s Winter Village has some of New York’s finest food condensed into one single location. Not only do they have your favorite sweets, complemented with a side of cider, they also have food to satisfy your taste buds when you are looking for something spicy to munch on. Italian, Mexican and Korean…they really do have a variety of different foods. With the abundant amount of foods to choose from it’s so hard to just pick one. Each booth holds a completely different taste than the one directly next to it. But nonetheless we are going to highlight some of Bryant Park’s best.

Of course you cannot go anywhere without having a sweet taste of Woops! If you have a sweet tooth make sure you stop there first as they are known for their macarons and cookies. Since it's right around the holidays, a lot of customers are feeling festive, and maybe you are too, which is why Mrs. Claus Café is one you do not want to miss. Hot chocolate, apple cider, pastries, candy, need I say more? This is like stepping right onto the North Pole; sweet tooth lovers will go crazy for this particular stop on the list of flavorsome foods. Talking more about sweets, everybody loves doughnuts and that is why the Doughnut Project is a crowd pleaser. You can get anything from a plain glazed doughnut to the everything doughnut, which has a cream cheese glaze with sesame, poppy, pepita, garlic and sea salt.

Next we have a Mexican lovers dream starring Frida’s Favorites. They have tacos, burritos, rice bowls and more. These are definitely on anyone’s list of favorite foods. With prices that aren’t too expensive either, $14 is the most you’re going to spend at this stop. Then there is the delicious Korean Ramen, which may be a little more on the pricey side, but displays anything from spicy ramen to vegetable ramen. A little bit of savory to spicy ramen to choose from if you are feeling up for noodles. The Baked Cheese Haus was catching a lot of heat so I decided to swing by and take a look at what they were cooking up. All I can say is I saw a lot of cheese. If you’re lactose intolerant this isn’t the place for you. They have cheese that is literally scraped off the wheel and onto your sandwich. It’s really cool to see as well.

They also are serving honeycrisp apple cider. Check them out if your stomach is craving something cheesy. Let's take it back to Italy with Casa Toscana. Panini’s and flatbreads are sold here and we cannot forget the espresso bar that comes with it. If you want a taste of Tuscany then be sure to stop for a hot flatbread or panini with a side of hot cocoa or an espresso. With so much variety and different cultures, all given to you at once, it is truly difficult to pinpoint all of the best foods that are on display at Bryant Park, but you can always find something that you and your stomach can enjoy. The Winter Village at Bryant Park is open from now until early 2017. So be sure to grab a plate, some napkins and take a tour through all of the mouthwatering vendors that are on display right now. This is definitely a food lover's dream.


Stay busy with these winter activities Don’t be stopped by the cold these last two weeks CRYSTAL GRANT Staff Writer

No Pants Subway Ride - Pants. Name one person who genuinely enjoys this cruel domain over their lower half. On Jan. 10 at 3 p.m. you don’t have to wait until you come home to free yourself from the evils. Like-minded subway commuters decked out in full winter clothes (minus their pants) unite over their mutual disdain towards the constrictions of pants. Ice Skating in Queens - In case you don’t want to rub elbows with tourists looking to skate on the overcrowded rinks of Bryant Park and Rockefeller Center, you can head over to the World Ice Arena at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Admission is $6 on weekdays and $9 on weekends. Le Parker Meridien Gingerbread Extravaganza – With the low cost of this mouthwatering event, combined with raising money for a wonderful cause, the

only downside to this event is that you can’t sample the creations. This prestigious French styled hotel hosts their annual gingerbread contest with free admission and only charges $1 to vote for your favorite gingerbread house. All proceeds goes to City Harvest, a nonprofit working to combat hunger in New York. The date has not yet been released, but the event usually takes place from December through January. Free Nutcracker- Though heading out to see the Nutcracker is one of our most quintessential holiday traditions, there aren’t many opportunities to see this beloved performance for free. Brookfield Place New York is hosting a free one-hour version of the ballet on Friday Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. Guests are advised to arrive early to guarantee a seat. Fifth Avenue window displays- Although I doubt that many of us can afford a single item in the display windows, taking a stroll down the world famous Fifth Avenue holiday window displays is an ex-

perience not to be missed. Many of New York’s most iconic department stores from Fifth Avenue and 59th Street to Macy’s on 34th dazzle the nation with their yearly holiday window displays proving high fashion is an art of its own. Sledding in Queens –If it was acceptable for grown adults to go trick or treating on Halloween this year, it is perfectly fine for us to compete with the kiddies gushing down the slopes and hills in the parks in Queens this winter. The best parks to head out sledding in Queens when the snow begins to fall are Forest Park, Crocheron Park and Lower Highland Park. Astoria Market Holiday- Beer + your wallet normally do not mix well, but on the three Sundays before Christmas, Dec. 4, 11 and 18, the Bohemian Hall Beer Garden will revamp itself into a shunning Christmas market with handcrafted items from local vendors. And if you aren’t keen on chugging alcohol while you’re there, you can still enjoy the hot apple cider and eggnog that will be sold through the day.

New York Restaurant Week Feb. 17March 7- This will be the one time of year that the food posts flooding your Instagram aren’t your friends’ dried up, unseasoned chicken and microwaved veggies. During New York Restaurant Week, you have the opportunity to eat at some of New York’s fine dining establishments for just $25 for lunch and $38 for dinner. Lunar New Year’s Parade and FestivalDuring the Chinese New Year, the streets of Chinatown are decked out in brilliant colors, dancing dragons and sensational floats. Chinese New Year begins on Jan. 28 celebrating the year of the Rooster and the Parade travels through Mott Street from Canal Street, continues onto East Broadway. Drink Apple Cider- What is the holiday season without a warm, crisp glass of apple cider? Find your way down to The Queens Kickshaw on 4017 Broadway in Astoria for one of the best glasses of apple cider Queens has to offer.



“My style is classic. I follow the classic style of Italians.”

ISABELLA BRUNI Chief Copy Editor

“Every pattern and color goes with every other pattern and color.”

“It can get quite boring for guys.”


“Fashion is more than just an outfit... it’s hair, makeup, attitude, full package. Confidence pulls it through.”

Everyday you see hundreds of students while walking, sitting and studying around St. John’s, and you cannot deny that some Johnnies are finessing the most unique pieces and outfits. For example, Red House, the fashion club on campus, club members are among some of the most stylish around campus, but did you ever stop to mentally applaud the way some of the St. John’s staff hold their own? This week five faculty are hit with the spotlight to prove to you that style has many contexts and that individual expression is the most important factor to pulling off any look. The complexity of one’s style is multifaceted; fashion extends beyond a garment, and stems more from lifestyle and values. When asked to speak about personal lifestyle, artistic backgrounds and childhood style, each staff member reflected on their lives and painted a full picture connecting their unique experiences to their wardrobe decisions. Continue reading if you want to know more about how the five strut their stuff in class, in office and around campus.



Dr. Annalisa Sacca is an Italian professor and the head of the Italian department in the St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Just like Dr. Sacca’s larger than life personality, her fashion sense is something that never disappoints or has a “bummy” day.



James Salnave is an Associate Dean of Student Development.

Her entrance into classrooms turns every head as she glides in with her heeled booties and always with her spiky short black hair and dark eyeliner. Her blazers nearly always tie her outfit of the day together and it is obvious her confidence radiates partly from her fashion.


Elizabeth DeLuna is an Art and Design professor in St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Science. Upon meeting DeLuna, her blue hair might strike you as eclectic and carefree, then you realize that it is not just her hair, but her whole being fits the energetic and life-loving aesthetic as well. To her fashion is a cool form of self expression and Sort of like a collage and way to convey moods. According to DeLuna shoes completely makes an outfit, and through a series of online retail searching she once found a pair of silver clogs from another country that she and her coworker both adore.

You may have seen James Salnave walking around the D’Angelo Center where his office is located, or at an event for one of the organizations he advises. As a double alumni and faculty member of 18 years, he knows his way around campus and surely holds up St. John’s University style reputation. In order to spice things up, he likes to play around with patterns. With funky ties and suit separates, he adds his own personality when styling. He dresses in accordance with his mood, audience he will be attracting, comfort and environment he will be in.


Ebony J. Calvin is the Associate Director of Campus Activities in the Division of Student Affairs. Aside from helping plan events at St. John’s University, Calvin also plans events outside of school. She points out that in event planning you are not selling a product but your own capabilities, and the way you present yourself plays a huge role in your credibility. Just as one must sell their own work in event planning, Calvin believes that fashion is the same way. Every day you may feel like you have to prove yourself to colleagues, pupils or your boss.

8 Entertainment


Disney’s “Moana” is fresh and fun MEGAN SOLOMAN Staff Writer

Prior to the production of “Moana,” it was rare for me as a young person of Polynesian descent to be able to find any movies that featured my culture, and even rarer to find one that handles it with as much respect. “Moana” takes the tried and true Disney “princess” model and still manages to make it fresh and engaging. Moana (newcomer Auli’i Cravalho) is the Chief ’s daughter – not a princess, she emphasizes – on an island called Motunui. From a young age she is conflicted by her responsibilities to her community and her desire to explore and sail the ocean she is named after. When a mysterious plague falls upon Motunui’s food supply, drying crops and driving away fish, Moana is tasked with tracking down the tattooed demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) and reversing the problems he caused generations before to save her home. Almost every character in “Moana” is multi-faceted. Moana herself is able to overcome her insecurities and doubts without the help of a romantic plotline, and is never a damsel in distress to be saved by Maui. Maui is also more than the boasting, confident front he puts out from his first appearance. The appearance of the characters is also a welcome diversion from some Disney movies, like Frozen, which was criticized for having waiflike main characters that looked nearly identical. The body types of the characters in “Moana” authentically resemble people that I know or have met. “Moana” has every element that viewers come to expect from Disney animated films. The plotline is filled with adventure, the animation is beautiful and

the soundtrack from Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton” fame is catchy enough that you’ll still be singing “We Know the Way” on the subway ride home. The amount of detail the animation is able to portray with every shot is astounding – seeing this film on a big screen, a viewer can even see the slight texture of characters’ tattoos on their skin. The heartwarming moments are genuine, and paced well with comic relief so the viewer never dwells on negativity. At times the comic relief can feel banal, but there were few times that my screening, full of adults, did not laugh with genuine enthusiasm after wiping away their tears. Directors Ron Clements and John Musker, who also directed “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin” and “Hercules,” are experienced in using their films to tell stories that have backgrounds in storytelling and legend. In production, they made a point of researching Polynesian cultures heavily, and the original screenplay was written by Maori filmmaker Taika Waititi. “Moana” weaves together commonalities of Polynesian folklore and language like Hawaiian, Maori and Samoan. That being said, viewers definitely do not need to be well-versed in Polynesian cultures to enjoy the movie. Some people who are will have a little bit of extra background knowledge and may be familiar with the literal meanings of names or of parts of the songs, and some people will leave having learned something new. “Moana” shows that movies can tell diverse, multi-faceted stories while still being widely appealing and genuine. 10-year-old me would be so proud of this movie, and so excited to be able to see someone so similar to myself and my family represented with strength and independence. 10-year-old me would look up to Moana. 20-year-old me does too.

Winter Concert YVES NGUYEN Staff Writer

On a campus that is known for sports, the arts may fall by the wayside. But last week, the Performing Arts Division of Student Affairs and the Department of Art and Design reminded us of how much they provide to our community with the Fine Arts and Performing Arts Winter Concert. “A lot of the focus at St. John’s is that we’re a D1 school,” Elisa Bono, a sophomore vocal studio performer, said. “The arts also have a lot of crazy talented people… it’s really cool for all of us to come together and show our talents.” Held in the Little Theatre on Nov. 22, the concert brought together six student groups with numerous performers: the Chamber Music Society, Vocal Studio students, the Jazz Band, the Mixed Chorus, the Chappell Players and Voices of Victory. The entire night was emceed by Associate Professor of Art and Design, Ross Barbera. The showcase opened with “Ave Maria” sang by a member of the Chamber Music Society. They were followed by the Vocal Studio students singing “For the First Time in Forever” from Disney’s “Frozen” and “Don’t Rain On My Parade” from Funny Girl. The Jazz Band followed up with classics; including “Route 66,” featuring a solo performance by sophomore vocalist Kayla Knight. They were followed by the Mixed Chorus, singing “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway play Rent, and The Chappell Players sang a rendition of “Burn” and “The Next Ten Minutes” with leading

roles portrayed by seniors Chelsea Guerra and Brandon Lisama. Lastly, Voices of Victory performed three songs to round out the night. The Winter Concert showcased great talent here at St. John’s with a mix of classic and contemporary pieces, giving everyone a little something to enjoy. “There were definitely a lot of good song choices. My favorite was the Frozen piece, I like when they pick songs that we all know,” Anna Kamuda, junior audience member, said. The Winter Concert not only provides a place to watch and hear performances of different genres, but also provides a place to foster the arts and help performers grow. “I think it’s great that St. John’s has a program like this where we get to experience all the different genres of music and genres of the arts,” William “Bill” Powell, senior in Voices of Victory, said. “Not just vocalists but also musicians and even some of the theatre arts are expressed here.” Dylan Defeo, graduate assistant of the Jazz Band, echoed similar thoughts. “There’s so many talented people here and there are hardly any outlets around in everyday life, so it’s nice to have events where everyone is under one roof,” he said. At the end of the night, all the performances were met with applause and cheer, and the concert brought awareness to the thriving performing arts here on campus. Chelsea Guerra, senior vocalist of the Chappell Players, noted, “In the past and even still, we’re not valued as much as other orgs on campus, so something like this to showcase our talent and to show the University how talented and thriving we are as performing arts groups is really important.”



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Flames of the Torch We support students’ rights to petition for change This week, we reported on a petition to make St. John’s a sanctuary campus. The petition asks the University to take steps to protect undocumented students, faculty and staff in light of president-elect Donald Trump’s proposal to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, established by the Obama administration. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the program allows individuals who came to the U.S. as children who meet certain criteria to “request consideration of deferred action for...a period of two years, subject to renewal” and allows eligibility for employment authorization. In 2016 alone, the University saw several petitions circulate throughout campus. In January, a petition was started to keep foreign language requirements within the University’s new proposed core curriculum. In April, the removal of a ceremony for physician assistant students was the subject of a new petition which garnered over 2,000 signatures. Students of Consciousness also presented a list of demands to the University at the beginning of the 2016 spring semester. We’ve had the privilege of reporting on all of these situations. And now, the sanctuary petition exists. Throughout the past few months, we’ve seen thousands of students come together to support various causes through petitioning the school. We at the Torch respect and support the

spirit, drive and passion that made these petitions possible. Although we will not take a stance on the goals of any of them, we do support the students’ right to call for change they believe should occur. There is always room for improvement, and movements like these call attention to that. The Torch’s editorial board strongly believes that these movements are a valuable part of our institution, and encourage our fellow students to follow suit to express their beliefs in concise, respectful ways. In the past, we have written editorials supporting free speech, freedom of the press and the right to protest. Petitions fall under this category. At St. John’s, numerous students and faculty have taken part in these appeals for change--which is something we’re happy to see. On college campuses, free speech is vital. Whether one is expressing views verbally or through writing, students need to make their voices heard. Having faculty encouragement only enhances this. Through the use of petitions, we have seen several valuable conversations and reforms begin on campus; from racial tensions to the importance of language, the topics have been diverse. These petitions have also led to education, on the part of both faculty and students. On top of this, we at the Torch have had the opportunity to report on these petitions, and shine light on various occurrences at St. John’s.

Letters to the Editor Dear Editor, It appears that there are some (very few I hope) at your school who have demonstrated their lack of understanding (ignorance?) of the basics of American standards for the free speech rights of their political opponents. They exposed themselves by objecting to a small “Trump-Pence” flag displayed in the window of your Century Hall. Those fascists claim that display of political free speech “constitutes harassment.” They then attempted to smear those citizens with every crime against the policies and anti-civilization beliefs of the far left. Please educate those students as to “free speech,” “academic freedom” and their inferior causes. Respectfully and hopefully yours, James Pawlak West Allis, Wisconsin

These letters are in response to “The Trump Window” which was published in the Nov. 16 issue of the Torch.

Dear Editor, I am a 56-year-old white retired police officer. My grandparents and parents told me to always respect other people. They always taught me the value of hard work. At 15 years old I knew I wanted to be a police officer. When I got older I wanted to give something back to this great nation. Being a police officer, I had a great job and a way to protect people who could not protect themselves. The reason I am writing you is a story I saw on the internet about a “Trump” sign in a window. I would like to write the student who is living in the Century Hall dorm. If I could write a letter to him, I don’t know his name because he would not use it, I would want to ask him, “what the hell is wrong with your generation?” In the 40s there were 15 & 16-year-old boys at Normandy. They died so you could be free! Eight years ago Obama took the White House. It has been a long eight years. I have not seen the GOP burning down stores and blocking streets. Your generation has “cry-ins.” A college has called in people you can talk to. There are universities that brought crayons and Play-Doh to help calm students. What is a “cry-in?” What do you need to talk about? And crayons & PlayDoh? A female at a college saw “Trump” written on a sidewalk. She went to the President and told him

she did not feel safe. Maybe you need to pick-up your ball and go home. I don’t think you and your friends are ready for the real world. How can the greatest nation on the face of the earth raise a whole generation of “cry-babies?” Last week a police officer made a traffic stop. The driver walked back to the squad car and pulled the officer out and was beating him. A man stopped to help the officer. Thank God he was armed. The man told that man to stop. The subject was trying to get the officer’s sidearm out. The officer was yelling “shoot him.” The man did and saved the officer. If I was still a officer and that was happening to me, I bet you would drive by and not even help! Thank-you so much for your time in this matter for me. I hope you passed my letter on to that kid. Or you put it into your newspaper. I’m sorry this letter is in long hand but being a retired officer I can’t afford a copy/printer to write my letters. I’m sure he will not write me back but I hope you do. You being on a college campus maybe you can somehow tell me how the greatest nation ever has lost a whole generation. It is so sad! Thank you so much, Mitch Fraser Horn Lake, Mississippi

10 Sports


SJU stymied by youth in Battle 4 Atlantis CARMINE CARCIERI Co-Sports Editor NASSAU, Bahamas — After a 2-1 start to the 2016-2017 regular season, the St. John’s Red Storm men’s basketball team took a step up in competition as they made their way to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. As one of the premiere preseason tournaments in college basketball, the Battle 4 Atlantis consisted of three top25 teams, two of the best mid-major programs in the nation, another major conference program in LSU and a feisty Old Dominion team. Despite a talented young backcourt duo and a team that features plenty of improvements from last year, the Johnnies had their work cut out for them this past week. While the overall performance was a solid experience and is promising for the future, the Johnnies went 0-3 and finished in last place in the eight-team field. St. John’s tipped-off the tournament with their toughest task of this young season: A tussle with the 24-ranked Michigan State Spartans. The Red Storm jumped out to a quick 17-9 lead thanks to an early burst of energy from Bashir Ahmed and Marcus LoVett. But the Spartans went into the break with a three-point lead and veteran-laden talent on their side for the final 20 minutes. Despite missing their top two big men, the Spartans demolished the Johnnies in the paint in the second half. They out-rebounded Chris Mullin’s team by 10 and held Yankuba Sima and Kassoum Yakwe in check (the two scored a combined seven points). Overall, the Spartans beat the Johnnies on the glass by 21 and received a combined 31 points from Nick Ward

and Miles Bridges. The Johnnies couldn’t muster enough offense to keep up with Sparty, falling 73-62. “For the whole game it was our offense,” Mullin said when asked about the difference in the game. “I thought our defense was pretty solid. We got killed on the boards, but statistically when you shoot 30 percent, there are a lot of defensive boards. They had 14 offensive rebounds, which is probably more key for us.” Also, Bahamas native Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn Jr. had a monster second half. He scored 11 of his 13 points over the course of the final 20 minutes, including three three-pointers and a dunk that sent Imperial Arena into an uproar. After the tough opening loss, the Johnnies had a quick turnaround against another quality opponent in the VCU Rams. Once again, the Red Storm jumped out to an early lead but were unable to sustain their level of production. “There’s going to be different runs throughout the game so you always want to have a good start but you got to also play 40 minutes,” Mullin said postgame. LoVett (18 points) and Shamorie Ponds (10 points) were poised and aggressive against VCU’s vaunted pressure defense. However, Rams point guard Jonathan Williams was the best player on the floor for both teams. Williams scored 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting, while also dishing out six assists, grabbing four rebounds and turning the ball over just a single time. The junior changed the momentum of the game right before the half, as he swiped the ball away from Marcus LoVett and finished a layup on the other end to cut the Johnnies’ lead down to two. The Rams opened the second half with an 11-2 run and went on to defeat

the Red Storm, 75-69. “We basically played our fifth game together,” Mullin said. “Some of that takes time. We just got to keep working at it and break through it. I thought we played well enough to win.” The Johnnies lost the first two games of the tournament, but Michigan State and VCU are excusable loses given their national success level. However, their final loss to Old Dominion, 63-55, is viewed as a step in the wrong direction. “We probably took a step back,” Mullin said. “To develop team chemistry and trust, it takes going through this stuff, flushing it out and working through it. As frustrating as it is that’s usually what makes a team.”

Showing fatigue after expending a lot of energy over the first two days of the tournament, the Johnnies were beat to 50-50 balls, were crushed on the glass (54-34) and gave up 26 offensive rebounds. Their late rally against the Monarchs created some uneasiness, but the Johnnies dug themselves into too big of a hole early in the second half. St. John’s still has multiple tests during their non-conference schedule, including a road game at Tulane, a trip to the Carrier Dome to play Syracuse and a home battle against Penn State. There are still plenty of chances to improve and impress before Big East play tips-off at the end of December.


Chris Mullin and the Johnnies lost to Michigan State, VCU and Old Dominion on Paradise Island.

Sluggish SJU falls at home to Delaware State


Marcus LoVett scored 13 points for St. John’s.

DERRELL BOUKNIGHT Staff Writer Tuesday night at Carnesecca Arena marked the first game for St. John’s after a Thanksgiving voyage to the Bahamas, where they lost three consecutive games. In a welcome-back game against Delaware State, the Johnnies were supposed to put the Hornets away with the ease to snap their four-game losing streak. In a matchup against a 1-5 team ranked 341 out of KenPom.com’s 351 listed Division I college basketball teams, the Red Storm failed to get back to their winning ways, losing to Delaware State (2-5) 79-72 in front of a large, antsy home crowd. Delaware State’s lone win prior to Tuesday was against Division III team Summit. The Hornets led for all but 46 seconds of the game, when St. John’s (2-5) held a 2119 advantage with just over nine minutes left in the first half. Sophomore guard Federico Mussini, who tallied 11 points on the night, admitted that St. John’s looked past Delaware State following close games against Michigan State and VCU this past weekend. “I think that was our problem too,” Mussini said. “When we play big teams,

everybody is high, everybody is ready from the beginning. So we’ve got to respect everybody and they played a great game.” The score did not indicate how much the Hornets took advantage from the start. Delaware State combated the Red Storm’s use of its perimeter players with an aggressive zone defense that forced St. John’s to connect on just 12 of their 37 three-point attempts. In the second half, St. John’s did not attempt a free throw. “I guess we thought we had open looks,” Bashir Ahmed, who led the team in scoring with 19 points, said. “But some of the shots we took weren’t good shots. We just have to do a better job moving the ball around.” St. John’s finished with as many turnovers (14) as assists. In the first half, Mullin’s team failed to find a rhythm, trailing by as much as seven before narrowing the deficit to four, 38-34, at halftime. The freshman, Ponds, who led the team in rebounding with nine, took on the scoring duties, finishing with 15 for the game. LoVett followed with 13. Lackluster defense, however, was the story of the night. The 64% shooting for Delaware State carried over into the second

half, where they shot 53%. “Our defense was horrible,” Mullin said after the game. “One-on-one and as a team. I thought we lost trust in each other a bit.” Down 67-54 with 7:17 remaining, Ahmed returned for the Red Storm after sitting due to foul trouble. He hit a layup in traffic followed by a three-pointer that cut the deficit to eight. For the first time all game, St. John’s forced turnovers with their full court press. Delaware State committed three turnovers that led to two Red Storm layups, reenergizing a crowd that saw a margin as big as 13 narrowed to six with 3:16 remaining. St. John’s reverted back to shooting the three with plenty of time remaining, solidifying a win for Delaware State that not many anticipated. It was a reminder that the program has a way to go, a loss that brought back gut-wrenching thoughts of last year’s exhibition 90-58 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas, a Division II college. “I think their confidence grew [as the game carried on],” Mullin said. “You see that in sports. It goes both ways, and a lot of times, you makes your breaks and you make your confidence. So we have to give them credit for that.”

Sports 11


Red Storm rebound at tournament in Vegas TROY MAURIELLO Co-Sports Editor

For better or for worse, it was going to be a very telling trip to Vegas for the St. John’s women’s basketball team last weekend. The Red Storm (2-3) came into the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout in Las Vegas, Nev. as losers of two straight, and they would face two imposing matchups over the weekend against Virginia and nationally-ranked Arizona State. However the St. John’s women were able to hold their own in their pair of games, first knocking off Virginia to hand the Cavaliers their first loss of the season before losing a tough game to 23rd-ranked Arizona State.

offense to an impressive victory. Also notable for St. John’s on the afternoon was Aaliyah Lewis. As expected, Lewis was the focal point of the Red Storm offense, setting her teammates up with a season-high nine assists. Although she shot just 2-9 from the field, the senior guard added 14 points after she hit nine of her 12 free throws. After trailing 29-26 at the half, the Red Storm utilized a dominant 19-9 third quarter to take control of the game for good. St. John’s shot over 57 percent (1221) in the second half and held Virginia to just 26 percent (8-31) shooting in the half. Following their impressive victory on Friday, St. John’s was unable to keep the good times rolling as their upset attempt was thwarted by 23rd-ranked Arizona State.

NCAA Women's Basketball 11/25

NCAA Women's Basketball 11/26




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St. John’s kicked off its weekend in the Silver State with an impressive 11-point victory over previously unbeaten Virginia behind a game-high 20 points from sophomore Akina Wellere. The 5-11 forward from Chicago, Ill. was in the holiday spirit the day after Thanksgiving as she feasted on the Virginia defense throughout the afternoon. She shot 7-9 from the field, including 4-6 from three-point range as she led the Red Storm


added 11 points and grabbed six rebounds, both career-highs. Wellere, who led the Red Storm in scoring over the past two games, did not play due to an ankle injury. “I thought we had a pretty good first half,” Head Coach Joe Tartamella said. “Their pressure really bothered us and they took us out of a lot of the things that we were trying to do throughout the game, but I thought we held our own.” Tartamella has to be happy with his

team’s performance in Vegas. After backto-back home losses in the week leading up to the South Point Shootout, the Red Storm showed this weekend that they are able to hold their own against Power Five opponents on a neutral court. The Red Storm continues their tough non-conference slate with matchups against Albany and Lafayette at Carnesecca Arena this week.

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The Red Storm were able to keep pace with the Sun Devils through the first quarter, trailing just 14-12, however Arizona State began to impose their will with a 16-7 second quarter that gave them an 11-point lead going into the half. St. John’s was unable to cut the lead within single-digits in the final frame as they suffered the 13-point loss. Lewis led the way for St. John’s with 12 points, while freshman Alisha Kebbe


Akina Wellere has had a stellar season so far for the Red Storm. She leads the team in points per game with 13.3 per game through the first four games.

SPORTS ROCK BOTTOM November 30, 2016 | VOLUME 94, ISSUE 12 |


red storm drop five straight TORCH PHOTO/BRITTANY GARCIA

Story on page 10

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