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VOL 96 : 14 february 27, 2019 torchonline.com

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

'a miracle happened' TORCH PHOTO/SPENCER CLINTON

holocaust survivor shares empowering story with jewish student association see the story on page 7

INSIDE THE ISSUE

Rev. Barber Discussion Recap page 2

TORCH PHOTO/cecelia germain

Lena Goren celebrates her 89th birthday with members of JSA.

Students Receive Mental Health Training page 2


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News

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Rev. Barber Delivers Second Lecture to Students, Faculty Crystal Simmons “The right to vote is non-negotiable.” These were some of the words that echoed throughout St. Thomas More Church on Tues. Feb. 5, spoken by Rev. Dr. William Barber. Students, faculty members and people of the community gathered in the surrounding pews to witness the second part of his Lecture series entitled, “Reading the Signs of the Times: What Does the November Election Say about America?” The Fall 2018 midterm elections generated a wide array of historical wins at the federal, state and local levels. According to TIME magazine, nearly 800,000 people registered to vote this past September. While voters carried this enthusiasm to polls on Election Day, many Americans were not able to exercise their right to vote due to voter suppression laws in the country. Attendees were welcomed with musical selections from the Voices of Victory Gospel Choir under the direction of Nigel W. Gretton and Assistant Musical Director Perth A. Phillip. As the audience was welcomed by Dr. Jeremy Cruz, an assistant professor of the St. John’s Theology department, and Kendall Clark, president of the Black Student Union, a pressing and attentive silence had fallen over the diverse congregation. Following the theme of the series, “It’s About Right and Wrong,” Barber touched upon the blatant role that lawmakers past and present have played in suppressing Americans’ voting rights, especially those of vulnerable groups living in poverty. From beginning to end, the lecture focused on the effects of voter suppression in these communities and emphasized the rich history behind the morality used to justify their oppression. Throughout the night, he emphasized the importance of coalition building to counteract the injustice waged on the rights of voters. While reciting the words from Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1957 address on the

National Mall and Fannie Lou Hamer’s 1964 speech to the Democratic National Convention, Barber contrasted the past and present parallels of the discriminating practices and legislation used to keep Americans from casting their ballots. “In the 21st century, voter suppression laws have become an increasingly popular strategy for restricting voting blocks that feature large numbers of voters of colors and the poor creating barriers to vote along race and class lines,” Barber said. “It is not about left versus right, it’s about right versus wrong.” He went on to explain how the division of people along these lines are detrimental to collectively fighting against the establishment and connecting the experiences that contribute to a collective struggle with voter suppression. “We all share in some form similar stories,” Yara Allen, Director of Cultural Arts and Theo-Musicologist at Repairers of the Breach, said. “That struggle, poverty, pain doesn’t have a color. If we look at it story-by-story instead of color-by-color, the intersectionality will be easy because we have connected on a more human level.” The perspective on intersectional activism has garnered support from various organizations and was greatly noted in Barber’s lecture. “Making those types of connections between voting rights, poverty, oppression, and environmental inequality are really important,” Dr. Natalie Byfield, associate professor of Sociology and Anthropology, said. “People sometimes think that their decision to vote or not vote, or to support legislation that promotes voting rights are isolated. But in fact, it’s tied to every element that allows us to function in this country. He seamlessly made the case. I don’t know how you hear this and not want to do something about this.” While stressing the importance of coalition and a united front within the struggle, this lecture series came with an urgent call to

TORCH PHOTO/ALEX YEM

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber recently announced a tour aimed at helping the nation’s poor.

action. “We must demand the immediate full restoration and expansion of the Voting Rights Act and end racist gerrymandering and redistricting,” Barber said as he closed his lecture. Many students took the Reverend’s words as an opportunity to learn and understand the depth of voter suppression in the United States. “I never really put together the connection between the other political implications that I knew,” senior Christine Nakagawa said. “It’s a very nuanced issue and this was very fulfilling. It’s really great that we have somebody of such high esteem come to our campus, especially to talk about issues that are considered controversial.” Voices of Victory member Fahim Nousad added, “I completely agree that it is up to the youth of today and the generation to come to help shape this country and impact the next decade and the next century from now ... History has been repeating itself as he said and it’s up to us even if it’s one or two peo-

ple, or one or two percent of the country.” Other students shared similar sentiments about acting to end voter suppression. “The most impactful part of his lecture was the call and response portion during which we sang and chanted ‘we won’t be silent anymore,’” senior Toby Chukwura said about the song that was led by Allen. “That reminded me of how I need to do more and use my own privilege and opportunity and opportunity for advocacy within my own community.” After a brief question and answer period, students and faculty members were able to have their books autographed by Barber while further interacting with him. Barber’s appearance comes at a time where many movements continue to organize around injustices that tie into voter suppression. The next lecture of this four-part series is set for Thurs. March 21. The title for this lecture has not been announced, but more information will be made available closer to the date.

Gregg Payne Brings Mental Health Training to SJU Sami Wanderer Mental Health First Aid trainer Gregg Payne donned a vibrant neck scarf, called on the estimated 75 people in Marillac’s auditorium to introduce themselves with a royal name, like prince or duchess. “I’m king Gregg,” he said. The activity was the start of an eight hour Mental Health First Aid training, a program founded by Betty Kitchener and Anthony Jorm in Australia in 2001. It was implemented by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and wife Chirlane McCray in 2015 and has since trained over 100,000 New Yorkers in how to help people with mental illnesses. Payne asked the crowd if anyone had ever felt stressed or sad before, saying he would like to meet the college student who hadn’t. Two minutes into his presentation, Payne repeated a question he had previously asked. Payne broke down and began to cry over his mistake, continuing among laughter and confused looks from participants until a student asked if he was okay. “Mental Health First Aid is instead of

walking by it, ignoring it, or laughing at it, you’re going to stop in the name of love and check on somebody,” Payne said after he regained his composure. Payne explained that he suffers from anxiety himself and asked participants to count with him and instruct him to breathe, as he has been learning to do in his own therapy, whenever he encountered small anxiety attacks throughout the day. Payne made it an opportunity for participants to practice the skills they were learning in the program. Payne has an arts background and used his theatrical training in his teachings. This sometimes made it difficult to perceive whether Payne was suffering from actual anxiety attacks or acting. “With Gregg I think it was real, his reactions were constant and he explained how his anxiety attacks work with us,” participant Emoshioke Nash-Haruna said. Payne and the other instructors taught that Mental Health First Aid is not treated the same as physical aid. If someone broke their leg, people would have empathy, but if someone suffered from a psychotic episode and believed they were Beyonce, people would ignore it or make fun of them,

Payne explained. Mental Health First Aid is meant to destigmatize mental illness. “To provide information and resources for people who need services and to help people identify signs and symptoms of mental illness,” trainer Deborah Kuo said. Kuo taught the group about some of the most prevalent mental illnesses like depression, psychosis, panic attacks and substance use disorders. The instructors taught students ALGEE, the mental health first action plan, to help them address mental illness. The group in attendance included students who had family or friends who suffered from from mental illness. Brianna Diaz is a Wellness Peer Educator and Mental Health Advocate on campus because her grandfather suffered severe depression her whole life and she has anxiety. The groups she is a part of help members live healthy lives as college students. Diaz’s boyfriend, Eric Quinn said he wanted to take the course because he thought it would be useful to learn the information. Allegra Mingo heard about the program

through Watson, the society for pre-health students, and attended out of interest and the opportunity gain service hours. At the end of the program, all students received a certification of completion of the program.

TORCH PHOTO/CECELIA GERMAIN

Gregg Payne, left, speaks to a student.


News

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Spectrum Hosts Asexuality Event, Talks About Activism Garrett Downs Claire Robinson pushed open the door to room 305 in St. John Hall and moved through the desks of the half-full room with a graceful familiarity. This was not her first time leading a discussion, and she wasted no time introducing herself as a leader of Students of Consciousness (SOC) and firing up her presentation. Robinson is also a master of clickbait. Spectrum and SOC, organizations that seek to represent marginalized students on campus — from the LGBTQ+ community and students of color, respectively — co-hosted an event entitled “Is Asexuality Real?” This turned out not to be the case. “Asexuality is real, we’re not talking about or tolerating the idea that it is not today, I am asexual myself,” Robinson said in her opening remarks. “The flyer was clickbait,” she continued with a smile and some laughs from the audience. “This event is really about mental health.” Usually portrayed as strong and unwavering, some student activists on St. John’s campus have a hidden struggle; that is, the struggle to be happy and confident when the mission of your life has been to stand up and borrow everyone else’s burdens. Andres Hernandez, the vice president of the Latin American Student Organization, more commonly known as L.A.S.O., spoke about the pain of his voice falling

TORCH PHOTO/ALEX YEM

Spectrum President Sam Scala (left), said her tenure has been “the worst time of my life.”

on deaf ears. “University leadership didn’t care about this work that I put in,” Hernandez said. “I wanted to go to grad school, but now this has put me in a place where I don’t feel like I can. I’m too exhausted.” He was not alone in being exhausted. “I quit being president of Spectrum because it was no longer fulfilling me,” Amber Reese, former president of Spectrum, said. “I was doing all the work, and I got tired. And this is an organization that I still want to succeed.” The current president, Sam Scala, is not much better off. “This has been the worst year of my life,” Scala said, shrugging before continuing. “I’m at a loss for words, there’s

not a lot left in me.” For Scala and the other organizers in the room, much of the last year has consisted of disappointment after disappointment. After racially charged incidents happened on campus last year, SOC made a list of demands and presented them to administration in an open event. Spectrum has faced a similar struggle. Following an alleged incident of a sexual nature involving a transexual student on campus last year, Spectrum representatives said they were hopeful when the Title IX office took the case. But they too ended up dissatisfied. They, like SOC, responded by making demands at a public demonstration in October in which students marched from

the D’Angelo Center before attempting to enter Newman Hall, where University President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw’s office sits. The doors to the building were locked by public safety. Despite their rejections, most in the room said they didn’t have any intentions of stepping back. Spectrum is finding hope in their new advisor. “Matt Pucciarelli has been the best,” Scala said about her organization. “He’s one of the only open administrators on campus and has been so helpful, but the University works slow.” Robinson, despite her exhaustion and depression, hopes to continue working before she graduates in the spring so that her work will have a takeaway. “I hope people know that this environment makes marginalized people sick and we must take care of each other and that St. John’s must prepare to respond to the demands of its most marginalized communities,” she said.

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UPCOMING EVENTS: Dept. of biological sciences Seminar

networking with linkedin

29th annual black and white ball

When: feb. 26, 1:50-3:15 p.m.

When: feb. 28, 2 - 3:15 p.m.

When: march 2, 7 - 9 P.M.

Where: Sullivan hall, b 14

Where: DAC 309

Where: dAC 416

Global realities of human trafficking

conversation with frank kurre

dissertation deep dive

When: feb. 27, 5 - 6:30 p.m.

When: feb. 28, 5:30 - 7:30 P.M.

When: march 4, 8 a.m. - 4 P.M.

Where: Ozanam lounge

Where: DAC 206

Where: st. augustine 305 & 307

The black travel movement

family reunion

lent mass - ash wednesday

When: feb. 27, 7 - 8 P.M.

When: march 1 , 6 - 7 p.m.

When: march 6, 8 - 8:25 a.M.

Where: dAC 416AB

Where: DAC 128

Where: st. thomas more church


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News

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University Professor Honored at Media Industry Conference Alexis Gaskin Dr. Anthony Palomba is a newly-tenured assistant professor at St. John’s University, having clinched that tenure spot this past fall after two years of teaching at the college-level. Before St. John’s, Palomba taught as an assistant professor of Communications Studies at the City University of New York. Recently, Palomba was given the honor of being a recognized as a faculty fellow at the 2019 National Association for Television Programming Executives in Miami, Fla. As a faculty fellow, Palomba attended the prestigious conference this past January, where he was able to meet and network with executives and professionals from Nielsen, NBC Universal, TBS, A&E, CBS and many more. Palomba is excited to be able to attend these industry conferences because it helps him bring things back to the classroom. “If I can do a research project for my video gaming class, for example,” Palomba said, “then we can create that content and get feedback and actually work with these companies.” During the conference, Palomba de-

scribed how he spoke with creatives and industry workers extending his experience in research and media analytics. He keeps his classes interesting by implementing subject matter that is engaging and meaningful. “I’ve taken him twice now and each time is more enjoyable,” said Naomi Arnot, a third year communications major. “Even when he teaches something that may be intensive he makes it easy to understand.” Palomba teaches courses surrounding mass communications, media management and research falling under the College of Professional Studies (CPS). Under CPS, Palomba teaches Intro to Mass Communications, Multimedia Communications, Seminar Communications and a class on video games. Next spring Palomba will be teaching a course on media analytics. “I’m very excited to be teaching this class in the spring on media analytics,” he said. “It’s going to be focused on lectures and real life application.” With a Ph.D from the University of Florida, Palomba is a Doctor of Philosophy in Mass Communications — specifically entertainment marketing. He has had several research papers published surrounding his work in the media and entertainment

PHOTO COURTESY/ANTHONY PALOMBA industry, the most recent being his study entitled, “First-Party Success or First-Party Failure? A Case Study on Audience Perceptions of the Nintendo Brand During the Wii U’s Product Life Cycle.” His study focused on brand loyalty and more extensive research on video games and its consumers. On two different grants, Palomba is currently working on studies that focus on streaming devices such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, Dr. Anthony Palomba hopes to inspire students through classas well as a series of room engagement and meaningful subject matter. studies on movie marketing. to-day, Palomba advises his students to not Constantly connecting his expereinces focus on a single career. back to St. John’s, he shares them with “The best advice I can give,” Palomba hopes that his students can learn from him. said, “is don’t envision the career you want, Urging his students to focus on the daythink about what you want to do everyday.”

Update on Nine St. John’s Fraternity Brothers’ Arrests Isabella Bruni The nine St. John’s students who were arrested in the fall stemming from an off-campus fraternity home invasion and theft incident have either had their records cleared or are in the process of doing so, a spokeswoman for Queens district attorney’s office said. Three of them no longer appear in the New York State Unified Court System online database, meaning their records have been expunged. The spokeswoman said information regarding the defendants Derek Chiesa, Brandon Wong and Matthew Cerniglia “is no longer public record.” The remaining six defendants — Nicholas Crocco, Anthony Vithayathil, Sebastian Williams, Jefferson Espinal, Patrick Brown and Paul Holze — are going through a legal process called an adjourn-

ment in contemplation of dismissal following their burglary charges. An ACD is a deal that will lead to their charges being dropped as long as they remain out of legal trouble for a set period of time. Some of them return to court March 15 and some others June 6. The arrests occurred following what New York City Police said in the fall was a Sept. 26 off-campus home invasion incident that occurred at the unofficial fraternity house for the now terminated Kappa Sigma. All but one of the nine students who were arrested have ties to the also terminated Tau Kappa Epsilon. More information on the remaining defendants’ cases can be found through the New York State Unified Court System online database.

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Opinion

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Flames of the Torch

On optimism, unity, mental health Managing Board XCVI

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Eduardo Alfonzo Erin Sakalis Jewel Antoine Angela Abbatiello Rasheeda Campbell Jennifer Hood Alana Loren-Bethea

Editorial policy

Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of the Torch. Columns and other content are the opinions of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of the Torch. Opinions expressed in editorials, columns, letters or cartoons are not necessarily those of the student body, faculty or administration of St. John’s University. All contents are the sole responsibility of the editors and the editorial board and do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, faculty or students of St. John’s University unless specifically stated.

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countable. And the University has responded in various ways, such as appointing Rev. William Barber to be this year’s Vincentian Chair. Barber is a progressive Protestant minister and political activist. Some students were moved by Barber’s recent discussion on voter rights and suppression and his points on the importance of coalition building and unity in the face of injustice, further emphasizing the push for an inclusive community on campus as opposed to a divided one. The University recently hosted an eighthour Mental Health First Aid training program in which students were able to learn how to support their peers that live with mental illnesses and how to identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness. This includes depression, psychosis, panic attacks and substance abuse disorders. This program was intended to help destigmatize these issues on college campuses. Mental health is a prominent issue on college campuses, as an extensive New York Times article released this past week described. Cited in the article, a 2018 report from the American College Health Association found that more than 40 percent of college students felt so depressed in the past year that they had difficulty functioning. It falls on St. John’s to continue to offer students the necessary resources for healthy lives on and off of campus.

of St. John’s University. The Torch is written, edited, designed and produced by students of the University. The Torch is published on most Wednesdays, with approximately 20 issues throughout the academic year. Copies are distributed for free on campus and through mail subscriptions.

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Contributions

The Jewish Students Association (JSA) invited keynote speaker and Holocaust survivor Lena Goren to speak to the St. John’s community about her experience that dates back nearly eight decades. One of our contributors, Alana Loren Bethea, covered the story for the Torch. Goren discussed jumping from shelter to shelter in Greece during WWII to escape the Germans, gave insight to listeners on how she looks at life following her experiences and expressed her gratitude for moving to a place where she could live free from persecution — the United States. Bethea’s story displays Goren’s lasting optimism and faith in humanity, even after experiencing what was arguably one of the lowest points in history. Following the event, JSA told the Torch that their long-awaited prayer room would open on Thursday, Feb. 28 on the ground floor of Tobin — almost in a symbolic way, proving Goren’s infectious way of looking at the bright side. St. John’s Catholic and Vincentian values make service an important aspect of what we represent as an institution. However, the University’s obligation to inclusivity does not end with the Catholic community. More and more, we have seen that students, administration and faculty from all walks of life are holding the University ac-

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What Black History Month Means to Me Jewel Antoine Black History Month, or African-American History Month, is an annual celebration in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany. This observance was created with the purpose of recognizing and celebrating the remarkable individuals and events in the history of the African diaspora and was declared an annual national observance by President Gerald Ford on Feb. 10, 1976. From the perspective of someone who is not originally from America, this month is representative of a history that was previously unfamiliar to me. I am a product of the African diaspora, and although I am not American, I still feel connected to the successes, struggles and resiliencies that are celebrated during this month. My grandparents did not live through the Civil Rights movement, so the significance of this major historical event is not passed along by word of mouth from generation to generation within my family.

However, since moving to America, Black History Month has helped me learn so much more about the exceptional individuals who were able to fuel this movement, from Ralph Abernathy to Elaine Brown. I have been able to learn from and connect with many of the influential women who were part of the movement, such as Fannie Lou Hamer, who was willing to withstand racial violence in order to fight for the rights of our community – rights that we continue to benefit from today. This month also highlights major themes that need to be discussed within the African American community, with the theme for 2019 being “Black Migration,” which focuses on the movement of African Americans to new destinations – and subsequently to new social realities. These themes allow individuals of all races to be educated on the issues that this community faces, as well as attempt to come up with plausible solutions. One major migration pattern that changed African American culture was the migration of people from the Caribbean to the US. The theme of migration is important to me because it

links my Trinidadian culture to American culture and shows that we are all connected. It also deepens my connection to Black History Month because migration is such a huge part of the African diaspora. Therefore, having roots in other places shows that there is no singular Black culture, just a culmination of different customs and cultures, which all come together to form the black experience. To me, Black History Month is a celebration of every single person who is a part of the African diaspora. It is representative of our struggles, our resilience and our triumphs. It shows that we are all connected, that we all share the same problems and that we can all work together to find solutions. It represents our unity and our continued effort to do better and be better. It celebrates our will to push through adversity and also highlights how far we have come. It represents my connection to a part of my identity and also emphasizes the responsibility I have to both myself and my community to continue to strive for greatness.


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Opinion

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NYC Fights Hair-Based Discrimination With New Laws A much deserved and needed win for Black people has arrived Rasheeda Campbell Targeting someone based on their hair is – and to me has always been – a form of racial discrimination. Someone’s hairstyle and hair color has nothing to do with their intelligence or work ethic. That is why when certain hairstyles and colors are deemed as “more professional” than others, it is completely absurd to me. I am proud of New York City for finally addressing this problem and changing its laws to ban hair-based discrimination. According to the New York Times, “The change in law applies to anyone in New York City, but is aimed at remedying the disparate treatment of black people.” The article further states that the “guidelines specifically mention the right of New Yorkers to maintain their ‘natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state’.” The changing of these specific laws are better late than never, but it should be emphasized how serious hair-based discrimination is and has been for certain people. Black women especially have had to deal with this type of discrimination the most in the United States. The many upsetting examples that have presented themselves over recent years in which people of color are forced to alter their hair texture, shave their heads or have been fired over their hair provides that this is most likely a way to discriminate against a targeted group of people. I have a tendency to conclude that claiming that an individual’s hair is unprofessional has always been a way to cover up racism and to prevent possible race-based lawsuits. It’s not fair or, in my opinion, just for people to feel pressured to change something as personal as their hair because

PHOTO COURTESY/ GOOGLE IMAGES/PEXELS

This law will allow Black women to feel secure in their hair without fear of losing their job for not conforming to racism.

of some ridiculous standard of society. Deeming certain hairstyles as unprofessional not only has the ability to damage the self-confidence of the targeted individual, but it also discourages people from being themselves and expressing their creativity. I have personally been told during certain situations that my hair was “wild” or not ‘’professional” at the moment. When I wear my hair in an afro, it’s not always to make a fashion statement or a political statement.

This is just the way my hair grows out of my head. Again, hair-based discrimination has always been so asinine in my book. The only way professionalism should be determined is by the way one does their job and how they carry themselves. The rest of the United States should follow in New York City’s footsteps and work on banning hair based discrimination.

Amazon’s HQ2 Would Have Been an Injustice The American workplace would have suffered had the deal been cleared Angela Abbatiello What would NYC look like if Amazon went through with its HQ2 plans? Honestly, worse off. The way that Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to the canceled plans was infuriating. He saw this as “an abuse of corporate

power.” However, this situation should be approached from a pragmatic standpoint. If HQ2 were to be built in NYC, we would be abusing the overall wellbeing of our civilians. An additional HQ would infringe upon the strong employment outlook in NYC. According to Bloomberg, New York tech jobs have grown 30 percent in the last 10 years,

PHOTO COURTESY/GOOGLE IMAGES/AMAZON GO

Amazon’s HQ2 was expected to be in Queens, New York City, however after the backlash the company backed out.

which is twice the rate of overall economic growth in the city. However, if NYC went through with HQ2, this could have worsened the current employment trend. Companies, like Amazon, seek a diverse workforce, and that means that they won’t be hiring just local New Yorkers. Amazon would be bringing high paid, white-collar workers into NYC, which would affect the quality of life and make life more expensive for the working class. For Amazon to remain a top innovator after this fallout, they need to re-imagine how they run their operations. Would building another headquarters have made economic sense for Amazon within the digital economy? With Millennials occupying a great amount of the current workforce, they certainly are transitioning the workplace. The traditional workplace is no longer desirable, as Millennials favor flexibility and a work-life balance. In this digital era, there is an increased desire for a remote workplace. According to Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” survey, 39 percent of employees in 2012 worked remotely, and that number grew to 43 percent in 2016. Big corporations no longer need to invest in headquarters, as the way we do business is transforming. Tech giants, like Amazon, would benefit more from a remote model as they could save money by not having to relocate their employees to their future HQ2. I have to say, the cancelation of this deal benefited both sides. This prevented further injustice for the middle class in NYC and for Amazon, this was a wake up call. As we see more advancements in society, it is time to re-imagine how corporations, such as Amazon play a role within it. In this digital economy, it is time to focus on the wellbeing and the value of the U.S. workforce.


Features 7

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Lena Goren Shares Harrowing Journey at JSA Event Alana Loren Bethea On Dec. 21, 1941, German planes flew over a region of Thessaly, where a capital city lies surrounded by lush valleys and imposing mountains in Greece. As Lena Casuto Goren walked the streets of Larissa with her sister and her friend, she tilted her head toward the matte black canvas covered with red lights flickering in the distance. She could hear engines roaring, and suddenly an intense light engulfed the night sky. “We thought they were Greek planes until they open the little doors in their bellies and began dropping bombs like candy,” Goren said. Nearly eight decades later, Goren shared her experience as a Holocaust survivor with students at St. John’s on Feb. 21. The event was held by the Jewish Student Association (JSA). They later told the Torch that their new prayer room on the ground floor of Tobin will open on Thursday, Feb. 28. Students got the opportunity to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Goren, as they celebrated her 89th birthday with a strawberry cake. President of JSA and junior at St. John’s, Natalie Eshaghian, was in attendance and has heard a few Holocaust survivors speak over the years. “Each and every time, I am amazed at how these strong individuals take something so horrendous and find the beauty in it. Lena gave such a compelling speech to a room filled with college students,” said Eshaghian. From Lena’s speech, Eshaghian says what stuck with her most is: “...whatever dreams we have in the world, we should always pursue it. And whatever the circumstances, we should never forget about our true identity and to always continue to pursue the things we are passionate about.” Reminiscing about her life, Goren told students about how her family moved to Larissa the year after she was born. Goren said that her father became the chief rabbi of a local temple, as well as a Hebrew teacher. “He was well respected, both in the Jewish community and outside it. We had a good life — we had a home. We had our health. All was well with our world,” said Goren. When Goren was 10 years old, World War II was declared and Italians occupied Greece. “We knew they were the enemy, but they actually treated everybody well, even the Jews,” she said. “On the surface, it didn’t seem so bad. But we had heard what was happening in Salonika. We knew about the deportations. My mother’s whole family was lost to us. We didn’t know if we would ever see any of them again, and we feared that we would be the next to go...to disappear from the world into the camps … and be lost as well.” Goren and her family began hiding — leaving Larissa many times. During the week of Passover in 1941, they hid in a stable with horses. Over the course of a year, they hid in many different places far from their home in Larissa. “We believed we would come back to Larissa when the emergency was over,” Goren said. In late 1941, Goren and her family arrived back in Larissa. However, the Ger-

mans did too. According to Goren, German bombings became more frequent. Sirens would sound and people would rush to the bomb shelter, which was under a building owned by the president of her father’s congregation. The shelter soon became “a second home” to Goren. The shelter was not always safe. “One morning, at 6:00 a.m., we had an earthquake. Common sense said that we should get out of the building before we were buried under it,” said Goren. “But the same day, the Germans were bombing the streets. If we went out and exposed ourselves to the bombs, we would be just as dead.” According to Goren, people from outside the shelter came pouring in. “It was then that I learned that it was still possible to think of ourselves as lucky in spite of all the terrible things that were happening. Because of the earthquake, the building above us had fallen backwards!” If the building were to fall forward, the entrance to the shelter would have been blocked and no one would have been able to get in or out. As it turned out, everyone survived that day. “In a world where everything is turbulent and uncertain, even small blessings must be appreciated,” Goren said. For the next several months, running, hiding, fearing death and deportation were constantly on Goren’s mind. Goren’s worst fear soon became her reality. The Germans arrested her father, demanding that he reveal the names of all the Jews of Larissa and where they were hiding. However, he never told them. “We thanked God that they released him…but we didn’t know that his release was only supposed to be temporary. That very afternoon, the mayor of Larissa asked my father to come to his office. Risking his own life and the safety of his family, the mayor revealed to my father that the Germans would be rounding up all the Jews very soon— perhaps even the next day— and deporting them to the camps,” Goren explained. Goren and her family left in the middle of the night, not knowing where to hide. After walking all night, carrying what little they could take, they ended up in a monastery far away from Larissa. The monastery was located in a valley near the town of Tzouma and was occupied by five monks. “They did not want us there. They asked us to leave,” saod Goren. “Then a miracle happened. One of the andartes (the underground) came to our rescue and it was the monks who ended up leaving, and us who moved in.” For the next 18 months, Goren and her family lived in the monastery along with 83 other people. “We had a roof over our heads, and walls to hide behind. It was hardly luxurious. All of us had to live in one room, like a barn. There were no beds or bathrooms there at all. We slept on the floor — dozens of us — men, women and children,” she said. Unfortunately, although they had shelter, there was no way for Goren and her family to purchase food. Goren’s mother took matters in her own hands, and decided to go to the nearest village to work as a seamstress. “She risked her life to be able to bring us food,” said Goren. “My father and I also

TORCH PHOTOS/SPENCER CLINTON

The Jewish Student Association (JSA) hosted Holocaust survivor Lena Goren to share her life altering memories with St. John’s students.

Svetlana Bachayev hands Lena Goren a birthday cake to celebrate her 89th birthday.

came out of hiding to help feed our family. We would go to the wheat fields and pick up remnants of the plowed wheat so we could have additional food.” Soon after, everyone was diagnosed with malaria. “Everyone got it, but thanks to the medicine brought by the underground, everyone survived,” she said. According to Goren, the events always reminded her that she was not yet safe — even in the hiding place. Goren was 13 years old when a local shepard tried to rape her. “I hit him on the head with a bottle of milk I had with my lunch, and I ran,” Goren said. Despite all the hardships, Goren’s faith remained. Finally, the need to keep watch ended, and so did the exile from their homes. They ended back in Larissa, where Goren became a beautician. Soon after, Goren’s family received a letter

from her father’s sister to come to America. “I made a life here,” said Goren. “I married … raised children … had a career … remarried … and generally lived an American dream. Yet I have never forgotten those few years from age ten to age fifteen that shaped who I am … what I want … what I fear … and what I value.” As an American citizen, Goren has worked in the Supreme Court and in local courts in NYC as an interpreter in Greek and Spanish. Goren even entered a pageant for “Miss Senior America” in 1999. She is currently an active member of The Melodians, a musical group which performs throughout Queens. Goren can sing in five languages: Hebrew, Spanish, Italian, English and Greek. Goren gives the advice, “don’t die before you’re dead,” as an empowering message to live each day with purpose and passion.


8 Features

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The End of an Era: Payless Shoesource Dayra Santana Whether it was a pair of slip-on sneakers for your first job at a restaurant or cheap dress shoes for your Sunday best, at its peak, Payless Shoesource was the go-to destination for a reliable discount shoe purchase. With three locations within a two-mile distance from St. John’s campus, Payless has been an affordable footwear option for students for many years. The glory days of Payless have come and gone, as stores across the country have begun to close their doors. “I was a kid who shopped at Payless for emergency purposes — last minute needs for birthday parties, Easter,” said senior Chanel Burgess, a public relations major with a minor in event management and fashion studies. “I remember having this pair of black patent leather shoes with a little heel on them that I loved and I wore them until I outgrew them because they made me feel cute with my uniform. Like, you couldn’t tell me [anything], those shoes were fly, ” she said. Students may remember when Payless released an advertisement last year in which they opened a fake luxury shoe store called Palessi, where they sold what people thought were high-end shoes. This was in an effort to attract customers to the dying stores, as the company filed for bankruptcy the year prior in 2017. This attempt does not seem to have worked, as the store filed for bankruptcy again just last week on Feb. 18. By pursuing the same course of action, Payless now follows other once popular brick-andmortar shops such as Toys ‘R’ Us, Gymbo-

ree and Charlotte Russe. “I haven’t gone there since I was a kid. When it comes to Payless... you remember going there when you were younger with your mom,” said sophomore Liana Driscoll, a communications major. “Every school year, since I went to catholic school, I would go with my mom to buy new shoes.” Driscoll has since traded her velcro Mary Janes from Payless for the likes of thrifted Versace heels; a sign of the changing trends in her personal style and broader trends in fashion, such as a rising movement towards sustainable options, thrift shop fashion and an anti-fast fashion sentiment. “I think people aren’t interested in buying a bunch of cheap shoes anymore, or even in the whole fast fashion aspect of a lot of mall stores. I think people are looking for quality and longevity, both in shoes and clothing,” said Driscoll. Vice President of Red House, Dana DeRiso, has also come a long way from her favorite Payless shoes — a pair of silver sandals she remembers having as a preteen. DeRiso now gravitates towards higher -end shoes that will last longer than those of Payless. “I don’t want a pair of shoes to only last me one season, I want to be able to revisit them down the line. I also don’t mind investing a bit more money on better shoes,” said DeRiso, a communication arts major and fashion studies minor. “I’m currently saving up for this pair of Jeffrey Campbell’s that have a dozen different colors, a floral pattern, and some silver hardware on them. They’re kind of insane and obnoxious, but I adore them.” Students who are still looking for an affordable pair of shoes may not even think

TORCH PHOTO/DAYRA SANTANA

A Payless Shoesource located at 162-11 Jamaica Avenue.

about leaving their bedrooms to get a pair. With the rise of online shopping and lightning fast shipping, it is no wonder that stores like Payless have taken a hit. “When you have the ability to find affordable shoes on Amazon and get them delivered to your door in a matter of days, people are much less likely to go out to a store like Payless. I think that the convenience, efficiency, and instant gratification

of sites like Amazon are definitely taking a toll on brick and mortar stores like Payless,” said DeRiso. The signs on the storefront of the Payless Shoesource location closest to campus at 162-11 Jamaica Avenue announced its plans to close and boast of “everything must go” deals that no college student can deny — if they can be persuaded to choose Payless over online shopping one last time.

Black and White Ball Style Guide: What to Wear Jennifer Hood Cigarettes, lace, fur and ferocity. This is your last-minute guide to nail that perfect outfit for Haraya’s Black and White Ball while staying true to this year’s theme: “The Haraya Playhouse: Welcome to the Harlem Renaissance.” First, consider history. The Harlem Renaissance was an era of artistic and social advancements within the black community. It was a time in which black excellence was first recognized for its intellectual contributions to society. “I think the theme pays tribute to the people before us,” said Dionté Williams, Haraya’s vice president of activities.“They brought us here, and today it feels like we mirror that. We are in our own Renaissance. We are really still fighting for change.” In an effort to reflect these advancements, changes have been made to the ball. Traditionally, the Black and White Ball has had a strict dress code: Black or white. With this year’s theme paying tribute to the black excellence of the 1920s, the dress code has been altered to any color, any accessory — as long as attendees dress accordingly.

“Go for the twenties or vintage [look],” said Williams between mascara-riddled blinks. “Know the era that you’re embodying, and don’t show up not in theme.” With time running out, it may be too late to go for that all-out outfit; however, there are a few things you absolutely need to consider if you really want to make a statement. Normally, women would be thinking of a flapper-like outfit. Sequins, lace and details. More is more when it comes to your dress. The intricate details are a must-have. This is the time to ditch the flats and pull out the heels. Sacrifice yourself and get the blisters — this night of absolute glam would not be complete without accessories. “Gloves, headbands… and fur,” said Phoenix Totesau-Johnson, a Haraya member who helped put on “Finesse Your Fit,” a program co-hosted by Redhouse, St. John’s fashion organization. The program discussed the “do’s and don’ts” of outfits for the Ball. According to “Finesse Your Fit,” it has to be one or the other. A simple dress with all-out accessories or an over-thetop dress with sleek accessories; howev-

er, because of the March 2 deadline, it might be more realistic for women to go a different route. If you choose not to wear the flapper-esque dress and want to go for the more cost-effective option, feel free to pull that a-line, black dress from your closet and dress it up with the accessories. This look may be more time-friendly, with the Ball less than a week away. The plain black dress is a totally acceptable option, but to keep to theme, you will have to really step up the accessories. “A long pearl necklace, feathers, furs, headbands or red lipstick is a good way to go,” said Raven Jackson, a senior Haraya member. Men. We haven’t forgot about you and you’re in luck. Tuxedos and suits are timeless. With little changes in men’s fashion over the decades, you don’t have much to worry about. To really stick with the trends of the 1920s, you could go with a slightly oversized suit, a vest or even a suit with stripes. Otherwise, a normal suit is fine, as long as you add details. “Men are really going to have to rely on the accessories,” said Williams.“The hats,

the canes, the handkerchiefs are really what’s going to help bring your look to the 20s.” So, you have the ideas, but where can you find these hidden gems that are really going to take your outfit to the next level without sacrificing too much of your Saturday night funds? Amazon has a number of flapper costumes, but if you’re hoping to create your own, personal look, you will have to go elsewhere. “Local thrift stores, ASOS, H&M, Forever21, vintage sites and D.I.Y.s are places where you can definitely find pieces,” said Totesau-Johnson. “You can even go to Party City and get accessories in bulk with your friends.” Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where you get it, or whether you choose to wear a costume or your own personally curated look. What matters most is how you wear it. “The clothes cannot wear you. You have to wear the clothes,” said Williams. “You have to wear the clothes. You have to wear the fabrics. You have to wear the jewelry. You have to wear all of that. Then you have to have the confidence and commit to the look. That’s the real 1920s.”


Culture 9

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Java Johnnies “Black Rhapsody” A celebration of black culture in DAC Living Room Eduardo Alfonzo There are many ways to celebrate Black History Month. Some celebrate it through art; such as reading a poem or drawing some paintings. Others celebrate through musical performances such as hip-hop or dancing. But for this special occasion, many students from St. John’s University decided to celebrate Black History Month by performing during Java Johnnies on Friday afternoon in the D’Angelo Center. In collaboration with the Caribbean Students Association (CSA) and EDEN, “Java Johnnies: Black Rhapsody” was an event where students could display their talents in celebration of black culture. “This is a way to showcase the artist through dance, singing, rapping, spoken-word poetry; we just want to enhance that black is beautiful,” Marvelous Abraham, a junior and co-host of the event, said. “What we want is to encourage more black and brown students to showcase their talents and their works; we want them to shine.” From rap to singing to a few dance performances, students showcased their talents in front of their friends and peers. Attendees were served food and drinks to enjoy throughout the night as well. But, it wasn’t just black students that performed during the event. Some students of various racial backgrounds got involved and helped to honor and cele-

brate black culture. Mario Birch, a member of Sensación, the Latin dance team at St. John’s, participated in the Black Rhapsody event to express his passion for dance and culture by combining black and Latin dance styles in their group performance. “We provide some entertainment and bring some light to the [Latinx] community as well as some other dance community and styles that people may not be aware of,” Birch said. “In every dance, we expect to have dedication to make sure our dances are clean and to make sure our team work together are clean as well.” Some students brought up several issues that affect the black community, such as police brutality and segregation. Raven Jackson, a sophomore English major, read an original poem which talked about the struggles that the black community has faced, such as the treatment of black youth by the Chicago Police Department. “When I write, my poetry is always coming from an emotion; so, I kind-of relive what I went through when I create the poem in an initial stage. I get choked up,” Jackson said. Not only were many students able to showcase their talents to the students and staff in attendance, but they were also able to highlight the beauty and cultural significance of Black History Month, leaving a lasting impression on the audience.

Avril Lavigne’s “Head Above Water” Album Review Anna Boylan You may know Avril Lavigne for her iconic 2008 bop, “Girlfriend.” This Canadian singer made headlines again with the release of her sixth studio album, “Head Above Water,” on Feb. 15, 2019, a whopping six years after her self-titled fifth alPhoto Courtesy/ Youtube Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne in her music video for “Head Above Water.”

bum, “Avril Lavigne.” Lavigne took a break from the spotlight for a few years due to her battle with Lyme disease. She shares this battle with us through songs such as “Head Above Water” and “Warrior.” Lavigne actually started writing the album after a near-death experience due to the disease. She has had Lyme disease since 2014. In songs such as “Birdie” and “Tell Me It’s Over,” Lavigne discusses her battles with being in a toxic relationship and wanting to be freed from it. Her album also focuses on themes such as finding who you really are and not being afraid to love again. In “Dumb Blonde,” which interestingly includes a feature from rapper Nicki Minaj, Lavigne proves her worth and that she is not a part of the stereotype that surrounds blondes. In the songs “Love Me Insane” and “Goddess,” she shows that, despite the toxic relationships mentioned in earlier songs, she is ready for love and will gladly take it. Overall, Lavigne’s new album is great. Even though her style has changed, her songs still somewhat reflect the punk/pop style she was known for in the early 2000s. Her songs, imbued with raw, amazing vocals, have meaningful lyrics, which we don’t see a lot in popular songs nowadays. While almost every song is reminiscent of her past songs, it’s exciting to see the direction she is taking with her music and what she will do in the future.

Torch Photo/ Andrew Okinyi

Chevon Guthrie, a senior journalism major, performs spoken word poetry.

Kygo’s “Think About You” Single Review Caroline Wang Superstar DJ and producer Kyrre GørvellDahll – better known as Kygo – dropped his first single of 2019 on Valentine’s Day, just in time to inspire lovers and single people alike. On the track, titled “Think About You,” Kygo joins forces with American singer and songwriter Valerie Broussard to deliver a bittersweet amalgamation of romanticism and exuberance that will make anyone want to dance through a heartbreak. The track starts off with a slow beat, accompanied by Broussard crooning, “We’ve been quiet / Said we’d try it for a while / But that was years ago.” But the track swiftly thrusts into a surging melody with Broussard belting, “Still I can’t go back to the places we knew / Cause they ask me if I still think about you / Only all the time.” The lyrics encapsulate a tale of unrequited love, and you can feel her heartache through her vivacious vocal performance as well as the producer’s distinctive, playful melody. The single follows the same formula as his previous hits: A hazy mid-tempo pulse, a rousing piano playing, and fleeting synths. Even after three albums and a legion of singles, his repetitive technique – using the key elements of a house beat – is still

successful. In 2015, Kygo became the first artist in history to reach one billion streams on Spotify, with his mega hits “Stole the Show” and “Firestone.” “Think About You” may be formulaic, but it’s instantly infectious and sure to get everyone’s heart pumping. Photo Courtesy/ Youtube kygomusic

Dylan Sprouse stars in the music video for Kygo’s “Think About You.”


10 Culture

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Dr. William Murphy - Legal Studies Erin Sakalis Courtroom dramas and true crime have been some of the most popular genres over the past few decades because of the passion they ignite in the viewers. While these works have become mainstays of the American media’s depiction of the legal field, not all of them provide the most diversified or realistic look into the world of law, according to Professor William Murphy of the Legal Studies department. Originally an acting and journalism double-major at NYU Tisch, Murphy went from once portraying a lawyer in the theater to practicing law himself in a number of arenas. From fighting against workplace discrimination to running his own criminal defense practice to assisting those who lost their homes during Hurricane Sandy, he has had an extensive and multifarious career in law, despite his relative youth. Having practiced both criminal law and civil law — in federal court as well as the state court — Murphy used his unique frame of reference to curate a collection of stories that observe multiple facets of the legal system.

Edelman, it chronicles O.J. Simpson’s life and career, focusing on his infamous fall from grace. When “O.J.: Made in America” first aired in 2016, Murphy recalled that his students were enthralled by the series. The reason, Murphy said, that this particular case has remained “captivating to the American consciousness” is because “it deals with everything that’s important to us as Americans.” “It ties so many fabrics of American culture and American history together, with the legal system as its focal point,” Murphy said. The case combines the concepts of guilt and innocence seamlessly with the themes of tragedy, celebrity, politics and respective social epoch. The civil unrest and racial divide in 1990s Los Angeles was not a mere backdrop, but a fundamental element of the narrative. Murphy also pointed out the significance of a female prosecutor and a black defense attorney in such a high profile trial. “Not only are you seeing a legal drama play out; you’re seeing it with new players, in a way that I think has been positive for the practice of law,” he said.

(Film) "civil action" Dir. by Steve Zaillian

known as jury service, and the play serves to change people’s perceptions of it. Murphy says that beyond “inspiring service and pride,” the plot delivers an important lesson: “Accepting people beyond their appearances; accepting people for who they are beyond stereotypes and mindsets, which I think is an important message for society today.”

(film) "My cousin vinny" Dir. by Jonathan Lynn

“My Cousin Vinny” follows a recently barred lawyer played by Joe Pesci, who, after numerous failed bar exams, is comically navigating a murder case in an unfamiliar jurisdiction. Through humor, the law is made more accessible to the average person and “inspires an autonomy for interacting with a legal system that might intimidate them.” torch Photo/alex yem In his own lectures, Murphy tells his students, “Learning the law is like learning a foreign language.” He emphasizes that lawyers are not magicians, but people fluent in a language that the majority of the population does not speak. He believes that “My Cousin Vinny” illustrates that notion so well that it allowed the film to become a “piece of the culture.”

Each semester, Murphy requires his students to watch this 1998 legal drama directed by Steve Zaillian. Based on a real case, “A Civil Action” stars John Travolta as a plaintiff’s attorney, who represents a small Massachusetts town (novel) victimized by a big compa"One L" ny’s hazardous waste. The film weaves the idiosyncrasies of By Scott Turow civil law through an emotionally-charged trial to produce Published in 1977, “One a comprehensive example of L” has prevailed as a recurrent how the United States civil litbestseller among potential igation system works. first-year law students; howMurphy shows this film to ever, Murphy believes that its his students because the overTorch Photo/ Alex Yem readership should be extendwhelming majority of law coned beyond those interested in cepts portrayed in the media are criminal, while in reality Prof. William Murphy, of the Legal Studies department, speaks with Staff Writer, Erin Sakalis, about his selections. pursuing law. The book is an autobi“over 90 percent of litigation ographical narrative about the [are] civil.” It shows “the ups, first-year law school experience, which Murphy describes as the downs, the different obstacles you could encounter as a “one of a kind.” It gives the reader a newfound understandplaintiff, the different strategies a defendant might use, and (Play) ing of a lawyer’s journey and why various individuals choose of course, the outcome.” to practice in different areas of law. This process is important for everybody to understand, as "12 angry men" “It’ll set people’s expectations [of lawyers] appropriately we each stand a much greater chance of ending up in civil and this will avoid the negative connotations that come with cases than criminal ones — something Murphy says is for Teleplay by Reginald Rose being a lawyer.” the better.

(Documentary) "O.J.: Made in America" Dir. by Ezra Edelman If you’re interested in American history, Murphy believes that the ESPN documentary series, “O.J.: Made in America” depicts an indispensable part of it. Directed by Ezra

Originally a 1954 teleplay by Reginald Rose, this work focuses on 12 jurors deliberating over a criminal case in the juror’s chamber after a trial. A power struggle ensues between two jurors with opposing convictions who each try to influence the others over the span of one afternoon, and it shifts the focus entirely to an underrepresented — yet paramount — component of criminal law. “It shows people the power of a jury, the power of society serving its role, and the power of upholding a civic duty that I think most people neglect now,” Murphy said. “12 Angry Men” is a window into “this mysterious process”

~~~

With the goal of recommending accurate but entertaining depictions of law, Murphy shared a shelf as diverse as his illustrious career. The stories all come from distinct perspectives in the context of wildly different scenarios, but there is something extremely valuable to be learned from each one.


Sports 11

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Men’s Lacrosse Upsets No. 11/13 High Point Sydney Denham The St. John’s Men’s Lacrosse team took on the No. 11/13 High Point University Panthers this past Saturday at Vert Stadium down in North Carolina. Going into this game 1-1 and having received votes for the Top 25 last weekend, this was a big one for the Red Storm. Despite a game filled with runs, the Red Storm were able to pick up the upset on the road after defeating the Panthers 10-9 in North Carolina on Saturday. “We hung in there all day and ground it out until the end,” Head Coach Jason Miller told RedStormSports.com after the game. Just one minute into the game, senior Chris Buscemi found the back of the net. He was one of the eight Johnnies who found the scoreboard during this game. After the Panthers scored to tie the game, Declan Swartwood, unassisted, put the Red Storm back in the lead. The second quarter was a shaky time for St. John’s both offensively and defensively. They couldn’t seem to stop High Point, while at the same time, the back of the net seemed distant. High Point stormed all the way back with one minute left to take a 6-4 lead. Redshirt freshman Jonathan Huber and junior Joe Madsen, both scored in the second quarter in order to limit the damage heading into halftime. The first half brought sophomore faceoff specialist Joseph Fitzpatrick and freshman Matt Duncan to earn their first career assists here at St. John’s. During this time, Fitzpat-

rick and Colin Bosak shared time taking the faceoffs. This led the Red Storm to find the back of the net three times during the third quarter, while the Panthers were only able to find it twice. In this quarter alone, junior attackman Mike Madsen got his hat trick. The Johnnies struggled to hold the lead throughout the game, leaving them down by two with 13:23 left in play. Mike Madsen, Huber and Joe Madsen stormed through to each score, allowing St. John’s to take the win with a score of 10-9. This win marked the Red Storm’s second-consecutive road victory of this season. The second half allowed Luke Roediger to step in at the X, locking down their win against the Panthers. He was a great help behind the net, containing the Panthers at their score of nine during the entire fourth quarter. The Red Storm was successful in keeping High Point’s leading scorer, Asher Nolting, from finding the net. He scored just one point during the whole game. St. John’s kept the pressure on High Point’s players and never gave up. The Madsen brothers have had themselves a successful season thus far. Against High Point and Hartford, both Joe and Mike scored three goals. Huber has been listed as a leading player during the game against High Point and against Hartford as well. The goals he scored ensured St. John’s victory over their opponents. Along with Huber, Swartwood assisted St. John’s in scoring three goals against Rutgers and one more against High Point.

TORCH PHOTO/MARIE BOGUE

The St. John’s Men’s Lacrosse team is averaging over 14 goals per game this season.

The Men’s Lacrosse team will be taking on their next game here at DaSilva Memorial Field, hoping to carry on their winning record as they host the Michigan Wolverines on March 2 at noon. Michigan is a team that’s been hovering around the Top 25 and gives the Red Storm another opportunity for a big win, this time on their home field. With the win on the road Saturday giving them their second away from Queens in as many tries, St. John’s has already eclipsed their road record from a year ago. The Red Storm finished 1-5 away from Queens in 2018 and now has a 2-0 record. St. John’s received 11 votes for the Top 25 poll after the result, but was still unable to squeak into it.

In addition to the team recognition, three members of the Red Storm lacrosse team were give weekly awards by the conference. Freshman goalie Brody Agres won Big East Freshman of the Week after he stopped 12 shots in Saturday’s win which helped keep High Point scoreless throughout most of the fourth quarter. Coach Miller was especially happy for Agres because he saw the win as a major stepping stone for the freshman goalie. Senior defender Aidan Marron and Joe Madsen found themselves on the Big East Weekly Honor roll. Marron was largely responsible for the quiet day for Nolting, one of the nation’s premier attackmen in the early periods of the college lacrosse season.

Baseball Splits Weather-Impacted Double Header Sean Okula The storm made its way to North Carolina this weekend, in more ways than one. Inclement weather forced postponements of the St. John’s-Western Carolina showdowns scheduled for Friday and Saturday afternoon. The skies finally cleared on Sunday, and the Red Storm rode a rollercoaster to a doubleheader split. With the forecast still murky, the front portion of the twin-bill was shortened to seven innings. Coach Ed Blankmeyer called on Sean Mooney to start, eager to get some innings out of his horse in case the skies didn’t hold for the full-length second game. Memories of the offensive futility that plagued the Johnnies in their season-opening sweep quickly subsided in the first. Third baseman Carson Bartels singled and came around to score on a Mitchell Henshaw single to right—the first of his three RBI over the two games. Sean McGeehan later added the Red Storm’s first home run of the season with a solo shot in the third. Just as they had in the opener against UCLA, the bats staked their ace with a pair of runs. Mooney was money in the early going. After stranding a couple of runners in the first, he struck out four of his next seven batters. He finished the afternoon with seven punchouts to one walk. The Catamounts dinked and dunked their way back into the game in the fourth.

Catcher Luke Robinson doubled with one out in the inning, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on an Andrew Bullock base hit. Western Carolina strung together two more singles after that to chase Bullock home, and the game reset at 2-2. St. John’s only had to stay out of the way to regain the lead in the fifth. Western Carolina starter Chase Walter walked McGeehan and Mike Antico to load the bases with one out. He handed the ball to reliever Zach Franklin, who allowed all three inherited runners to score. A walk sandwiched between fielding miscues and an RBI groundout invigoratingly gave the Johnnies a 5-2 lead. Nine outs separated them from their first trip to the win column. Joe LaSorsa was asked to secure the final six. The lefty started in Los Angeles for the first time in his collegiate career, but was much more effective in his usual multi-inning bullpen role. He shut down the Catamounts in the sixth and seventh, racking up three strikeouts and his ninth career save. More importantly, he saved the rest of the bullpen from exhaustion with nine more innings still on the agenda. Game two started innocently enough. It was a classic back-and-forth affair for the first seven frames. McGeehan blasted another homer in the second, and one more for good measure in the sixth. The JUCO transfer, moved from eighth in the order to fourth for the nightcap, finished

the day with four hits, three of which cleared the fences. Junior left-hander Jeff Belge had the ball to start. Sunday wasn’t any kinder than his rocky season debut. Justice Bigbie beat him with a longball to give Western Carolina the lead in the third, but Belge’s problems were mostly of his own creation. He walked three and threw a pair of wild pitches, one of which plated a run. Blankmeyer let him surrender a single before pulling him with nobody out in the fourth. His early-season ERA sits at an unsightly 12.00. Fordham transfer Ben Greenberg was fine in relief after a homer to the first batter he faced. He allowed just the one hit over three innings. Righty Joe Kelly and lefty Turner French played the matchups to piece together the seventh inning. The Catamounts clung to a 5-4 lead headed to the fateful eighth. A late game meltdown did a number for the second straight Sunday. Western Carolina sent 14 men to the plate in the penultimate frame. Eight of them made it back around to score. The Johnnies needed four pitchers to record three outs. The small sample size ERAs are ugly. The Catamounts took the second game, 13-4. St. John’s is 1-4, their worst start since a six-game February losing streak in 2014. Sunnier San Diego awaits next weekend. The Johnnies head west for seven games, starting at 9pm on Friday night.

Feb. 27: Men’s Tennis vs. Fairleigh Dickinson.

Feb. 28: Men’s Basketball vs. Xavier, 6:30 p.m.

March 1-2: Track & Field at ECAC Championship.

March 1: Softball vs. Boston College, 11:00 a.m.

March 1: Softball vs. Central Michigan, 1:30 p.m.

March 1: Baseball at University of San Diego, 9:00 p.m.

March 2: Lacrosse vs. University of Michigan, 12:00 p.m.

March 2: Softball vs. University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, 4:00 p.m.

March 2: Softball vs. Georgia Southern, 6:30 p.m.

March 2: Baseball at University of San Diego, 7:30 p.m.


SPORTS February 27, 2019 | VOLUME 96, ISSUE 14

| TORCHONLINE.COM

Torch photo/Nick Bello

From St. John's to CBS Sports Making an Off the court Impact Brendan Myers As Mustapha Heron stands in Taffner Fieldhouse at St. John’s-—87 miles from Waterbury, Conn. home—and around nine months since he committed to St. John’s, he casually describes the two places where many of his counterparts have ended up in his hometown. The county jailhouse and the graveyard. “Inner city things, losing friends, jail, death. I want to make sure the next generation doesn’t have to deal with the same things that I had to deal with,” Heron said. Heron has used his closer proximity to Connecticut in order to get further involved in his community in a way that can’t be measured in any number of points, rebounds or assists. “Basketball ends at some point for everybody. Some sooner than later,” Heron said. “Whatever you got outside of sports is who you really are as a person.” Now playing as a redshirt junior for St. John’s, Heron began his career at Auburn University before transferring to Queens in order to be closer to his ailing mother, who has been dealing with severe complications from a concussion. Along his side from the start has been Heron’s father, Bryan. Building up the presence of Heron’s community programs wasn’t difficult. As Mustapha notes, Bryan Heron is more than just a name in Waterbury.

“Since I’ve been two years old I’ve been seeing him in the community,” Heron said. “If you don’t know who he is, then you’re probably not from Waterbury.” Before Mustapha Heron was even born, Bryan Heron, a former college basketball player himself at Central Connecticut State, found ways to make an impact himself. Mustapha Heron describes his dad as a “mentor” who looked after kids coming out of jails, in foster homes and residential centers. “Seeing him and the impact that he brings the kid, it made me want to do it,” Heron said. But just setting up the tournaments and throwing his “MH” logo on t-shirts won’t get the job done for Heron. Transferring to St. John’s allows him to make the quick trip up the Hutchinson Parkway to make appearances at the basketball tournaments he organizes. “I had two tournaments, that were back to school tournaments, eighth grade and then a high school tournament. I was able to go to both of them and show my face,” Heron said. Heron called his most recent tournament “Shoot Hoops Not Guns,” and filled up a slate with 12 different teams. But Heron’s activist plans aren’t just revolved around gun violence. In the city of Waterbury, where the graduation rate is 69 percent according to Connecticut’s state database, the city struggles to

remain on par with the statewide graduation rate of 88 percent, according to the same database. Heron sponsors programs where children receive bookbags when they turn in book reports that are deemed quality by Heron and his father. What happens if they continue to submit more book reports? Mustapha and Bryan Heron give them pairs of sneakers. “Everybody pretty much buys in,” Heron said. “I was a pretty big high school player in Waterbury so I think people buy into it because they used to go to the games and there’s never been a problem getting people to buy into it.” Even though Heron and St. John’s are currently in the middle of their own season, his father continues to make sure the Heron’s name is a fixture in Waterbury. At the same time as St. John’s opened up their Big East season at Seton Hall on Dec. 29, at Heron’s alma mater, Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury, the Mustapha Heron Skills Academy hosted the “Education + Community + Wellness = Positivity Connecticut vs. New York Showcase.” Across two different locations, Heron’s events sometimes take up three or four different venues. He uses his name to promote community strength. When LeBron James opened his “I Promise” school for at-risk youths earlier this year, it struck a chord with Heron. Right now, Heron might not have to the resources to build a school, but he won’t let that stop him.

Heron has fit right in with the values of the program at St. John’s, with the team’s goals to get active in the community. The team hosts a “Dribble for the Cure” event for cancer research every year, where Heron can be seen in pictures flashing his bright smile — of course while wearing his backwards, navy blue Yankees hat. Earlier this month Heron and the Red Storm signed seven-year-old Long Island City native Harlem Beal, who is currently battling sarcoma, a type of cancer, to the St. John’s Basketball family. While not for the causes that Heron is fighting in Waterbury, he knows how important it is to get involved in as many ways possible. “I think that as college athletes at a high level, people look up to us and we just have that platform that people are going to follow what we say,” Heron said. His work after his first two seasons at Auburn earned him a spot on the All-SEC Community Service team. But he’s not interested in stopping now. For Heron, some of his friends’ lives were cut short. Regardless of whether his basketball career is cut short or not, he knows when the final buzzer rings it’s not about what happens within the 94 feet of the hardwood at Carnesecca Arena, Madison Square Garden or any school playground. Heron’s Twitter biography is “203 made, 203 raised, and 203 paid.” Heron’s area code means much more than three digits used to make a phone call.

Profile for The Torch

Volume 96, Issue 14  

Volume 96, Issue 14  

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