Volume 94, Issue 19

Page 1

VOL 94 : 09 march 29, 2017 The independent student newspaper of St. John’s University


real ticket sweeps inside sgi elections THE ISSUE

SGI Denies junior senator candidates connected to negative campaigning

see the story on page 3 Photo/SGI




Powerful Women Paint BRE’ANNA GRANT

Contributing Writer

The Nu Mu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. hosted their Powerful Women Paint event on Wednesday, March 29 in Marillac Terrace. Around 30 students came to show support for women empowerment and paint what they felt. The purpose of the event was to have participants sip and paint to artistically express how they feel about the numerous contributions women have made in society. Proceeds made from the event are being donated to Relay for Life. “We have to stick together because people already look down on us, especially as black women. It’s hard to get support especially if you’re black, so it’s important for women to help each other out and empower one another,” junior Bryanna Chung, who painted a black girl with words of positivity around her head, said.

The ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. hosted a variety of events during Women’s History Month to show the student body how women have succeeded in and contributed to society. “We want people to paint what they feel. To envision, find meaning and inspiration and put that into their painting,” senior and vice president of the organization since spring 2015, Danisa Foote, said. She also explained how being in a sorority has changed her perception on women empowerment. “Events like this is what makes us as women understand each other’s struggle,” junior Angelica Iacono-Henderson said. The event included drinks, cookies and strawberries. Once students were finished painting, they had the opportunity to explain the meaning behind their painting and get their picture taken.



Contributing Writer

In a small conference room with three journalism classes, a crowd of students and professors at the University Center heard Fulbright Scholar and Associate Professor Dr. King-wa Fu speak about ‘How Millennials Use the Internet, Health and the Media’ on Wednesday, March 23. About 40 people sat in during Dr. Fu’s PowerPoint presentation, which was sponsored by the College of Professional Studies. During his week-long visit to St. John’s University, Dr. Fu’s 90-minute lecture highlighted how citizens in China do not have the freedoms of assembly, speech or press, while citizens in Hong Kong do. He also emphasized that millennials are using social media to be an advocate for issues that are important to them, as they’re allowed to use it to protest instead of physically doing so. “Children are not passive media consumers, but active media prosumers,” Dr. Fu said. “They are writing messages, taking photos of them, posting it online and passing it on.” Dr. Fu has been an associate professor at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre (JMSC) at the University of Hong Kong for 16 years where he wrote 60 scholarly articles and was a journalist at the Hong Kong Economic Journal before turning to academia. According to Dr. Fu, China’s online censorship makes it very difficult to organize protests. Yet, social media is more effective


Dr. King-wa FU talks millennials, social media

Dr. King-wa Fu gave students a presentation.

than formal organization when it comes to protesting. Dr. Fu showed research that he conducted on internet addiction and how mental health plays a role in that, as well as young people’s online political participation, early development and use of electronic devices. The studies used participants ranging from ages five to 18 and older. During the questions portion of the presentation, professor and head of the journalism department Michael Rizzo asked, “What do you think journalism’s role will be in five to 10 years?” Dr. Fu chuckled and said he is, “...unsure what role journalism will play, but it will continue to be an important aspect of society.” “As citizens, we have a right to be informed [and] give a voice to the voiceless,” Kyle Suta, a freshman journalism major, said.




SGI: No proof of negative campaigning News Editor

The election for Junior Senator, won last Thursday by Atem Tazi, was marred by accusations of negative campaigning on a student-run website and social media. However, Student Government Inc. (SGI) told the Torch they had no evidence “directly or indirectly” connecting the winning candidate to the posts. Screenshots of the website obtained by the Torch show that it featured an opinion-based article about losing candidate Anthony Savino’s use of derogatory language in years-old social media posts. Another screengrab of the website shows digital campaign posters of Tazi and Larissa Kukapa, the incoming Junior College of Professional Studies representative. Tazi and Savino declined to comment for this story and Kukapa did not return a message seeking comment. But SGI president Chiara Miuccio said both Tazi and Kukapa told them that they “did not sponsor any article or website.” SGI advisor Jack Flynn referred the Torch’s questions to SGI’s Elections Committee, which is responsible for ensuring candidates follow guidelines and can issue potential violations—including potential withdrawal from a position. That wasn’t warranted here, SGI said. SGI’s Elections Committee Chair Coo-

per Miqueli said they “did not have evidence to determine that Atem and Larissa were either directly or indirectly responsible for negative campaigning.” That puts to rest rumors of negative campaigning that swirled among the student body while voting was taking place. Posts circulated among dozens of students on Twitter regarding their comfort level voting for Savino in the wake of published screenshots of tweets from his pub-


“The Elections Committee did not have evidence to determine that Atem and Larissa were either directly or indirectly responsible for negative campaigning.” - Cooper Miqueli -

lic account three years ago. These tweets included derogatory language from three years ago and his support of President Donald J. Trump from the past year. Part of the problem for SGI was its inability to prove that the candidates whose digital posters appeared on the website had

anything to do with it. Miuccio, the current SGI president, said it’s possible that students who created the website post about Savino may have simply taken the posters in support of Tazi and Kukapa from their social media without their knowledge. Miuccio said SGI has previously never dealt with an outside website posting negative information about a candidate, making this an unprecedented example of possible negative campaigning. To illustrate the more common definition of negative campaign, she cited an incident from two years ago between the CORE and ICE tickets. According to Miuccio, the CORE ticket campaigned with the slogan, “Don’t slip on ICE.” Miuccio is confident that all the candidates played by the rules. “The Elections Committee did an exceptional job at ensuring that all candidates abided by our elections rules,” Miuccio said. “Candidates for both the executive board and representative positions campaigned in accordance with SGI policies.” One student on Twitter also expressed concern that his posts about Savino would lead to SGI reporting him to Student Conduct. But Miuccio said SGI didn’t report anyone because they “can’t control what students say on social media.” Miqueli, the Elections Committee chair, said they “can only issue violations to candidates who are running in the SGI election, not to people speaking about those

REAL ticket sweeps elections

Next comes transitioning, Obermeyer says SUZANNE CIECHALSKI


Excitement filled the student government office on Friday afternoon as the executive board results for the 2017-2018 school year were announced. The REAL ticket, headed by unopposed presidential candidate Frank Obermeyer, swept Student Government Inc.’s election, defeating three independent candidates. Now, Obermeyer said, the next step for his ticket is to start the transitioning process between e-boards. “Luckily we won as a ticket,” he said. “So there’s nothing involving getting back together. It’s just regrouping, getting ready for the first floor meeting on Monday that we’re going to be [at] officially in office.” E-board members don’t immediately take office following elections. Obermeyer said they go through a shadowing process with current members to learn the ropes of each position. “Chiara has done a great job of keeping us up to date with our transition binders,” he said, referring to SGI’s current president, Chiara Miuccio. Transition binders are something e-board members work on all year and they include information regarding each position, such as what happens during the different times of the year, along with advice on how to execute the position. Obermeyer said his team will start the


The REAL ticket’s campaign logo.

transition process, but conceded that first, they’re going to celebrate a bit. “A lot of these people are new to the e-board … and we look forward to starting a shadowing-type program,” he said. Vice-President-elect William Pugh said he was surprised by the results and gave a shout-out to his opponent, Tahmir Williams, who he said gave him a run for his money. Following the announcement, Pugh said he’s ready to get to work. “I’m excited, I’m happy to get ready to work, I couldn’t have done it without the support of the student body and friends, family, fraternity, all the people I know,” he said. Pugh beat out Williams 1,452 votes to 1,210.

Atem Tazi, the junior senator-elect said she was extremely proud of her opponent, Anthony Savino. “As an independent candidate, it’s 10 times harder to go against a ticket,” she said. “And I know for a fact that the numbers were tight and I plan on definitely working with him in the future, and I think he’s pretty awesome.” Savino following the announcement, said, “Congrats to the ticket, and best of luck for next year.” Savino received 1,271 votes, and Tazi received 1,351. Carl-Edward Fetiere, the independent candidate for treasurer said it was a tough election, and called his opponent, Teresa Ehiogu, qualified. “I’m still going to be heavily involved in SGI,” he said. Fetiere lost by 296 votes to Ehiogu. Some of the REAL ticket’s platform includes increasing SGI’s engagement with the student body, increasing St. John’s pride and improving budgetary operations, according to the group’s Facebook page. Candidates from the REAL ticket voiced increasing advocacy and accountability as two of its major tenets during last week’s debate. Voting took place online and in the D’Angelo Center on Thursday and Friday. More than 2,600 students voted in the election, according to SGI’s Elections Chair, Cooper Miqueli.

candidates.” Teresa McNamara, the associate director of the Office of Student Conduct, said the University “expects all of its students to use social media responsibly, and not to abuse or harass fellow students.” She added that students can file a complaint to the Office of Student Conduct and if a student is found in violation of the Student Code of Conduct, they would be sanctioned. Examples include formal warning, fines and disciplinary probations. McNamara declined to comment on any specific case, citing student privacy.

Spectrum teaches students what ‘cis-ters’ means KARLA REYES

Contributing Writer Spectrum hosted an event called ‘Support Your Sisters, Not Just Your Cis-ters’ in the Sullivan Cafe on Thursday, March 23. The purpose of the social event was to embrace femininity with games, manicures and, most importantly, food. Spectrum is an on-campus organization that represents gender and sexual minorities such as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. “I liked the format of it. I thought it was really cool that it wasn’t super, super structured. It was nice to have a conversation,” junior LJ Vogel said. The event began by explaining the term, ‘cis-ters.’ Cisgender is someone who identifies with the gender they were born as. Someone who is transgender identifies with the opposite gender they were born as. Therefore a ‘cis-ter’ is someone who was once male, but now identifies as a female. Unlike Spectrum’s previous events, this one was more social in a way that allowed people to engage in conversation, have fun and be themselves. “Our goal was to create a slumber party theme and celebrate everyone for who they are and I feel like the slumber parties game helped us all get to know each other a bit more,” senior Sean Sweeney, a Spectrum member, said. Another student added that she felt a “sense of community” at the event. “It was nice to to get to know people on a more personal level,” junior Morgan Popek said. “I feel like that’s something that’s lacking at events on campus so this was different.” Some students at the event, however, thought that the issues trans students face are not heavily discussed on campus. “As a transgender student, I don’t think they’re doing much of anything besides talking about the diversity of the student body but not doing too much to educate other students,” Vogel said. “I also think we’re eventually gonna have to have a conversation about trans and nonbinary students dealing with the rooming situation.” As of right now, there are only options for male and female under the gender category on the Fall 2017 Housing Intent Form.



CPS hosts first ever dodgeball fundraiser


Social Media Manager The College of Professional Studies (CPS) hosted its first-ever Freshman Dodgeball Fundraiser in Taffner Field House, with all proceeds donated to Momma’s House charity, on Thursday, March 23. A mix of students and faculty, including CPS Dean Katia Passerini, participated in the event by donating and signing up to compete in an elimination-style dodgeball tournament. After an hour of play, team four was crowned the champions of the inaugural event. The featured charity, Momma’s House, is an organization based on Long Island that focuses on providing housing and support services for single mothers between the ages of 18 and 23. Momma’s House also offers education assistance and job training so that young mothers can eventually independently support themselves and their children. “We’re hoping to raise both awareness and funding with this tournament,” Deirdre Trumpy, a St. John’s alum and the assistant director of Momma’s House, said. “We want these college students to be aware that there are young women their age, too, that are struggling in this way.” CPS partnered with Campus Recreation to host the event as a way for students to connect with professors and administra-


Lambda Kappa Sigma to host Pharmacy Wars BRYANT RODRIGUEZ

Opinion Editor


Students posing during the first-ever Freshman Dodgeball Fundraiser, organized by the College of Professional Studies.

tors in a unique, enjoyable way while still raising money for a charitable cause. “One of our goals to demystify getting together with your advising deans, which at times can be a scary experience,” Passerini said. “We just wanted to have another way to connect with our students.” Rosemary Hartofilis, an academic advisor and organizer for the dodgeball tournament, saw the event as a more exciting way for students to get involved.

“We’ve had meet the dean events with just casual chats in the past, but I wanted something that was more fun and interactive so they could see the human side of us,” Hartofilis said. After a lively and energetic afternoon of loud music and friendly competition, the College of Professional Studies raised a considerable amount of money for Momma’s House.

Lambda Kappa Sigma, a professional pharmacy sorority, is hosting their first ever Pharmacy Wars on April 6 to raise money for Project HOPE. HOPE stands for Health Opportunities for People Everywhere. The group sends medications, supplies and experts to respond to disasters, prevent disease and promote health internationally. “Project HOPE is an organization that is very important to our sisters,” Seerat Kapoor, fundraising chair for Lambda Kappa Sigma, said. “Being a pharmacy organization we wanted to create an annual event that pharmacy students could look forward to each year and of course it is for a good cause.” Pharmacy Wars is a pharmacy related relay themed competition. Teams of four will compete in several events such as glove toss and a syringe race to win a gift bag and certificate provided by the dean’s office. “I wanted to have an event where pharmacy students could have fun because we don’t usually have any events to look forward to,” Kapoor said. Pharmacy Wars will take place on April 6 at 6 p.m. in at Dasilva Field. Spectators can watch Pharmacy Wars for $3 and giveaways will be offered along with a concession stand.


Assistant News Editor For the Trump Administration, the past few weeks have been rife with controversy, policy change and the failure to deliver on a major campaign promise. Amidst tensions between the White House and the previous presidential administration, as well as a foreign intelligence agency, the Trump Administration continues to take action to deliver on its campaign promises. Updated Travel Ban On March 6, President Trump signed Executive Order 13780—a revised version of the controversial executive order mandating a travel ban for seven Muslim-majority countries, introduced and rescinded in February. According to The Washington Post, its main changes included added clarification that lawful permanent residents and greencard or visa holders are not affected by the ban; the removal of the exemption for religious minorities in those countries; the removal of Iraq from the list of banned nations; and the implementation of a waiver process for refugees in those nations.

Wiretapping Claims On Monday, March 13, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer addressed President Trump’s March 3 tweets, in which he accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping him during his presidential campaign. According to Business Insider, Spicer said President Trump does not believe Obama “personally” wiretapped him, and that Trump’s accusations were those of general surveillance; Spicer further stated that this misunderstanding was a result of the press’ reporting. To date, President Trump has not yet issued any information confirming his claims. On March 16, Spicer accused the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), a British intelligence agency, of assisting President Obama in wiretapping Trump Tower. GCHQ released a public statement asserting that these accusations are “utterly ridiculous and should be ignored,” Politico reports. The White House has reportedly not yet issued a formal apology for the incident. On March 20, FBI director James Comey said the F.B.I. has “no information” to confirm the wiretapping allegations, according to The New York Times.

Possible ties to Russia On March 1, the House Intelligence Committee began an investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. The New York Times reports that on March 20, FBI director James Comey confirmed that the investigation into these possible ties is ongoing. On Tuesday, March 28, chairman of the investigative committee Rep. Devin Nunes canceled all House Intelligence Committee meetings for the week. Jim Hines, a Democratic representative and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, accused Nunes of ceasing his duties as chairman of the committee and “running interference for the Trump White House” by cancelling the hearings in a recent interview with The New Yorker. The Affordable Care Act This past Friday, March 24, House Speaker Paul Ryan canceled a vote on the GOP after failing to get enough votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. Despite the lack of overall support for

the repeal, House Republicans are reportedly still working toward it. According to ABC News, House Speaker Paul Ryan told donors on Monday that efforts to repeal the ACA are still ongoing. "We're not going to just all of a sudden abandon healthcare and move on to the rest. We are going to move on with rest of our agenda, keep that on track, while we work the health care problem," Ryan said in a recording obtained by The Washington Post. Public education shake-up According to The Washington Post, President Trump rolled back two education regulations implemented under former President Obama. He did so using the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to review and overrule regulations in an expedited process. The regulations included K-12 teacher-training requirements and rules pertaining to the Every State Succeeds Act, a federal law meant to bolster student performance in schools. Republicans saw the regulations as executive overreach on the part of the Obama Administration, while groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposed the changes.




Flames of the Torch

A lack of transparency in SGI Managing Board XCIV Suzanne Ciechalski, Editor-in-Chief Gina Palermo, Managing Editor Michael Ambrosino, General Manager Angelica Acevedo News Editor Bryant Rodriguez Opinion Editor Steven Verdile Design Editor Gina Palermo Photo Editor Isabella Bruni Chief Copy Editor Troy Mauriello Co-Sports Editor Carmine Carcieri Co-Sports Editor Reza Moreno Features Editor Michael Ambrosino Entertainment Editor

Angela Kellett Yenny Ng Naomi Arnot Amanda Negretti





Ariana Ortiz Erin Bola Assistant News Editor Social Media Coordinator Sabrina Lau Alyssa Dugan Assistant Opinion Editor Social Media Coordinator Sahn Choi Jim Baumbach Assistant Editor Adviser Lauren Finegan Assistant Photo Editor Courtney Dixon Assistant Copy Editor Dylan Hornik Assistant Sports Editor Derrell Bouknight Assistant Sports Editor Carissa Herb Assistant Features Editor Yves Nguyen Assistant Entertainment Editor

Staff and contributors Shelley Warren Deanna London Sabba Manyara

Editorial policy

Bre’anna Grant John Cavanagh Karla Reyes

About the Torch

Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of the Torch. Columns are the opinions of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of the Torch.

The Torch is the official, independent student newspaper of St. John’s University. The Torch is written, edited, designed and produced by students of the University.

Opinions expressed in editorials, columns, letters or cartoons are not necessarily those of the student body, faculty or administrations 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.

To contact the Torch by mail:

The Torch, St. John’s University 8000 Utopia Parkway Queens, NY 11439

The Torch is typically published on Wednesdays and publishes approximately 20 issues throughout the academic year. Copies are distributed for free on campus and through mail subscriptions.

Last week in the midst of Student Government Inc.’s executive board elections, students were abuzz on social media over potential negative campaigning among candidates. Screen grabs obtained by the Torch show an opinion article featuring Junior Senator candidate Anthony Savino’s old tweets. Some used derogatory language. Another screen grab of purportedly the same website showed digital campaign posters of Junior-Senator elect Atem Tazi and the incoming representative for the College of Professional Studies, junior Larissa Kukapa. SGI President Chiara Miuccio told the Torch that Tazi and Kukapa told SGI that they did not sponsor any article or website. SGI’s Elections Committee Chair Cooper Miqueli also told the Torch they “did not have evidence to determine that Atem and Larissa were either directly or indirectly responsible for negative campaigning.” After hearing the buzz on campus, we moved quickly to get to the truth and put an end to any rumors on campus. Now, nearly one week later, students have the story straight. But where was SGI last week when there was confusion about the candidates circulating on campus during their elections? Through word of mouth and social media, students discussed what they heard, but not once did SGI attempt to put an end to the negative talk publicly.

Instead, the situation was taken care of quietly, and everyone was expected to return to business as usual. SGI should have issued a statement clarifying what was true and what wasn’t. The Torch contacted SGI about whether they planned on issuing a statement about the situation, and if the group has had to issue statements in the past on situations that caused confusion among the student body. Miuccio said she doesn’t recall a time during her years on the executive board in which a statement needed to be issued. She said it isn’t something that the executive board has considered, and that she doesn’t believe it’s been done before. We understand that SGI and the University are not always able to comment directly about situations involving students because of privacy laws. However, we think it’s irresponsible to allow easy-to-debunk rumors to fly about candidates and their campaigning--especially in an election as important as this. At the very least, a statement saying they were investigating the matter would have been better than nothing. Even if it hasn’t been done before, we at the Torch believe that it should have been considered, and that some effort to clarify the situation should have been put forth. When it comes to information like this, there needs to be more transparency between SGI and the student body.

GOP Healthcare reform needs to be humane Speaker of the House Paul Ryan pulled The American Health Care Act from the floor on Friday afternoon. This is after years of the Republicans preaching that they will repeal and replace Obamacare. The AHCA began to unravel, as many began to realize that Republicans may be better as the opposition party. The advocate of repeal and replace, Paul Ryan, looked defeated as he announced the news. The Trump campaign had made strong promises about the future of the United States’ healthcare system. Yet, as understanding for the bill grew, many understood that it was not what was promised. The estimate that 24 million Americans may become uninsured is appalling. Health care is the backbone of society. This complete disregard of the health care system is shocking.

Premiums have been a heavy discussion regarding health care reform. The discussion was that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) premiums were too high. The promise was to bring down the premiums, yet it is estimated that since the


The current view on healthcare is delusional

ACA will push out the healthy and the poor, premiums will rise. As someone who has spent quite some time in a hospital, this bill is terrifying. Hospital staff worries about how patients will be covered and the impact it will have on policies. The families of patients are worried about how they are

going to afford the expenses. As someone who has a loved one in the hospital, no one truly understands the cost of medical treatment until you begin receiving bills. The simple tasks that you do not think about in the hospital are even expensive. Medicine is expensive. Surgery will bankrupt you. Yet, this is not at the forefront of discussion regarding health insurance. We listen to the estimates and figures, but not about the people who rely on affordable coverage in order to survive. The medical treatment is not pleasant and they are in the hospital to get better, not for a vacation. The current view on healthcare and insurance is delusional. We have forgotten our humanity

because of partisan politics. The focus shifted from making lives better to removing a bill to repeal and replace. The removal of the bill was the right call. While Republicans do want to quickly get a bill out that will “repeal and replace” Obamacare this process cannot be rushed. If this process is rushed, we are risking the lives of millions of Americans.

If you're interested In contributing to the opinion section, send us an email! torchopinion@gmail.com

6 Entertainment


Drake’s exotic new album breaks records ANGELICA ACEVEDO

News Editor

It has been a week and a half since Drake’s “More Life” dropped and it’s already breaking records—which the rapper already previously held. It brims with “more” dance tunes, “more” self-boasting, “more” girl problems and “more” collaborations. If you streamed his latest album—whether it was via Apple Music or Spotify—you won’t be surprised to learn that you were not alone. “More Life” garnered 505,000 equivalent album units after less than a week of it’s debut on March 18, with over 250,000 of those coming from streaming services, according to Nielsen Music. These are all merely digital numbers, as the album still isn’t available in stores. Billboard reports that Drake now holds the record for the biggest album release since his own album, “VIEWS,” debuted last year with one million units. Now, Drizzy has scored his seventh consecutive number one album, according to Billboard. “More Life” overflows with enticingly exotic rhythms and terminology (he uses Patois in “Gyalchester”), to the likes of his past hit “One Dance.” Predictably, an abundance of his lyrics refer to relationship woes, his place in the rap game and living the lavish life. Unpredictably though, he also touches on the bittersweet aspect of his success and how it’s subsequently made him wary of who his real friends are. In “Lose You,” he refers to this by rapping, “Winnin’ is

problematic / People like you more when you workin’ towards somethin’, not when you have it.” Although Drake has undeniably made his mark in the entertainment industry, his efforts to humbly-brag about it doesn’t convince—him boasting, “I’ll probably self-destruct if I ever lose, but I never do,” on “Do Not Disturb,” is an example of this. Aside from the lyrics, what makes “More Life” stand out is the well-orchestrated features and voice overs. These range from big names, such as Young Thug, Travis Scott and Kanye West, to up-and-comers, such as Chicago-native 600 Breezy. Drake even collaborated with British producer Black Coffee and songstress Jorja Smith, on the up-tempo yet soulful track, “Get It Together.” “Passionfruit,” is arguably one of the first hits in the album, behind “Fake Love,” with its airy vibes accompanied by Drake’s signature rap-singing complementing the danceable song. A more subtle track on the album has to be “Teenage Fever,” in which he samples one of Jennifer Lopez’s singles, “If You Had My Love.” Could this be his way of revealing that he was able to fulfill a teenage dream? Who knows, Drake isn’t one to kiss and tell.


Graduate art students show prowess ISABELLA BRUNI

Chief Copy Editor

Graduate students of St. John’s newest master’s program, the Museum Administration Program, are showing off their skill in the Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery exhibition, “Selected Photographs From St. John’s University Library’s Special Collections.” The exhibition showcases the works of

Ralph Gibson (American b.1939) Girl Holding Glasses, 1971, Gelatin Silver Print St. John’s University Library Special Collections New York, Gift of Theodore L. Barba, (Law ‘65) 1983 © Ralph Gibson

four internationally recognized photographers, Manuel Àlvarez Bravo, Elliott Erwitt, Ralph Gibson and Garry Winogrand, along with mini-monochromatic exhibitions focused on works of a single photographer curated by six students. The students involved in this project include Laura Brownlie, Kristen Dorata, Michal Erdogan, Justine McEnerney, Suzanne Nelson and Jonquil Schaller-Harris. Encompassing examples of documentary photography, street photography, commercial photojournalism and fine art photography, the exhibition exemplifies the hard work of these six students and shows off their great understanding of the technique used in their field. Dorata, who graduated with a BFA in Photography from St. John’s, believes the exhibition “...provides a unique opportunity for students from other areas of study to admire what other members of the same community are accomplishing.” “We are fortunate to have pristine examples of gelatin silver prints by internationally recognized documentary and fine art photographers available at our fingerprints for study and use,” she added. Graduate assistant Dylan Hammond, who was responsible for many of the intricacies involving the exhibition, said, “I think students should go see the show because it is a beautiful example of black and white photography from four fantastic artists. This show also gives visitors a look into the types of things the St. John’s University Special Collection holds and a first hand look at the possibilities in the SJU M.A. in Museum Administration program.”

Elliot Erwitt’s photo on display in the Dr. M.T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery exhibition on campus. TORCH PHOTO/YENNY NG

Dr. Susan Rosenberg, Director of the M.A. Museum Administration program, told The Torch that she is extremely proud of the high level of professionalism demonstrated by her students in bringing this exhibition to fruition. “The show’s success is a tribute to their creativity, perseverance and dedication to collaborating on every aspect of the project – from the writing of the exhibition press release to the development of tools of exhibition assessment. I have no doubt that this experience has afforded them expertise necessary to succeed as they embark on their careers, pursuing jobs in a wide variety of museum positions,” Rosenberg said. According to Yulia Tikhonova, director the Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery, in

three months these students will take junior positions in major galleries and museums in New York City as exhibition coordinators and archivists. “They are ready to enter the exciting professional world of New York City’s high culture,” she added. Tikhonova also told the Torch that these photos came as a surprise to her and the photography department. “The intimacy and reality of these photographs are very impressive. The high regard these photographers enjoy allows us to claim a place among the leading universities in Queens,” she said. The six student curators will share their experiences in creating this exhibition in a roundtable discussion on April 4 at common hour in the art gallery. The exhibition will be open until May 3.

Entertainment 7


SJU students gather for HerStory ARIANA ORTIZ

Assistant News Editor Students gathered this past Friday evening at 5 p.m. in the DAC living room for Java Johnnies’ “Women’s Empowerment with a Guest Performance by Raquel Lily,” an official event for the University’s Women’s HerStory Month 2017 celebration. The student performances were preceded by an hour-and-a-half long performance by Alabama-based musician Raquel Lily, who performed a mixture of covers and original songs, including Amy Winehouse’s “Me and Mr. Jones.” The remaining half-hour consisted of four student poetry performances and one vocal performance. Teresa Ehiogu, who is a part of the Women’s History Month Committee and served as emcee of the event, coordinated the student performances. Danielle Rouse, an orientation leader and first of the student artists to perform, presented a piece she said was partly inspired by the recent string of missing girls in Washington, D.C. Rouse is also a member of Food for Thought, the University’s poetry club. “What makes women so significant, as if we have lived it all before?” Rouse intoned at the beginning of her poem, drawing an energetic reaction from the audience. Vanessa St. Louis, a member of E.D.E.N., a Christian fellowship group, performed her poem entitled “Who Houses My Soul.” Before her performance, St.

Louis explained that she wanted to convey what women’s empowerment means to her. “I took it from the standpoint of what it means to be empowered as a woman through my faith in God,” she said. Raven Jackson, a member of Haraya and resident assistant, took to the stage to perform “The Societal Rape of the Black Woman,” which drew on the unique struggles black women have historically endured in the United States. Vishel Ramsaywack, a Haraya and Food for Thought member, also performed an original piece centered on the experiences of black women. Kai Butler, president of E.D.E.N. and resident assistant, finished the event with an energizing rendition of Andra Day’s “Rise Up.” Throughout the evening, free treats such as fruit tarts and brownies were passed around, with a coffee and tea bar set up near the entrance.The event was initially advertised separately as an “Artist’s Night” headlined by Raquel Lily, and as “Java Johnnies: Poetry Night,” but soon turned into a collaboration between the Resident Student’s Association and the Women’s History Month Committee. “The event was to spark off a representation of women in the arts. We started off with a hired professional by the name of Raquel Lily,” Roderick Jackson, the coordinator for Java Johnnies, said in an email exchange with the Torch. “After Raquel finished, we moved on to the second portion of the event which was led by the Women’s History Month Committee.”

“The event was to spark off a representation of

women in the


- Roderick Jackson -

8 Features


Women’s Herstory Month Photographer captures the beauty of Bronx ISABELLA BRUNI

Chief Copy Editor

Snapping pictures to look at and frame is not what photography is to BFA Photography student Abigail Montes, it is capturing a moment that tells a story. This outlook on her craft since the age of 17 is what brings Montes to this current point in her career as one of five photographers, and the only one from St. John’s, featured of EnFoco’s “Next Generation of Bronx Photographers.” EnFoco is a non-profit organization with an honorable mission to promote the work of U.S.-based emerging photographers of African, Asian, Latino, Native American and Pacific Island heritage. “It means everything,” Montes said of being recognized by EnFoco. A Latina native of the Bronx, Montes’ black and white project called “My Beloved Bronx” features the community in and around Simpson Street where she grew up. Montes originally applied for a fellowship through EnFoco, but when it didn’t work out she later received the news that they wanted to recognize her as one of the Bronx’s next generation photographers. Her journey and inspiration to creating this project comes from the book “In The South Bronx of America” by Mel Rosenthal who shot a series of images in the 1970s to describe the abandonment of the borough. “I have no experience of this Bronx

and have only known from asking my mother what are these piles of rubble?” Montes said. The image that spoke to Montes was one of her neighbor’s son with his baseball team standing over a pile of rubble, which she explained to look like a “warzone.” “It was like a call of action for me to photograph what was happening and what remains in the neighborhood, how thing have changed and highlight what is great about it,” she said. And Montes’ photos definitely portray that. Young children running in front

of graffitied walls, teenage girls hanging out on the sidewalk and a woman hugging a child in front of a mural of the Virgin Mary depict just a few of the real human figures she thinks truly represent her Bronx. “Abigail’s photographic work on the Bronx is one of the most beautiful and sensitive documentations of a neighborhood that I have ever seen,” Belenna Lauto, professor and chairperson for the department of art and design said. “Her love of humanity is present in every image and her work makes us feel her pas-


Bronx teenage girls standing in front of a wall on a sidewalk in the streets of Bronx for Montes.

sion as well as the beauty of those she photographs.” Associate Professor of Photography William Morel said, “Abigail’s recognition has made us very proud but it also comes as no surprise. Her photographic work exemplifies the documentary tradition with arresting images and meaningful content. Her images speak of the heart of her community, portraying the closest of relationships and the experience of growing up in the Bronx, from the perspective of someone who understands that well,” he added. Montes wants to break the stigma that the South Bronx has been given and wants their story to be told by one of their own. “I don’t want anyone else telling our story, I want to do something that includes everybody like a collective photo album,” she said.“It means a lot to me because there I was trying to make this happen, putting in all my energy into this success and not getting anywhere and feeling tired. Then getting the sign that I’m on the right path here at St. John’s and having that opportunity to grow this project has been incredible,” Montes said. The opening reception for the project is March 1, 2017 from 6-8 p.m. at the Executive Ballroom, Andrew Freedman Home located at 1125 Grand Concourse in the Bronx. The exhibition dates are Feb. 24- April5, with a closing reception. “I’m just very grateful I am at this point because I have such big dreams,” Montes added.

Bushwick’s DJ Lady Shadow spinning tracks


Features Editor

Maia Edmond is senior at St. John’s who’s passionate about creating and performing music. Originally, from Los Angeles, CA, Edmond, 21, is pursuing a major in communications with a minor in fine arts. When she isn’t a full time student or working on her own radio show, “The Palace” for WSJU radio, you can see her spinning some tracks transitioning to an aspiring DJ. In honor of Women’s History Month, Edmond talked to the Torch about what it means to her to empower fellow females. Being a woman of a diverse background she is still learning what it means to empower women. “It’s something that I’m currently trying to strengthen, to build a support system,” Edmond said. “It’s a category that I’d like to dismiss sometimes, like I dismiss race because I feel like acknowledging that being a female means struggling will solidify the struggle, but, when females are underrepresented I am frustrated. It’s becoming more and more important to me as I grow older, as I am forming an identity for myself.” She now lives in Bushwick and has met many other female artists and DJs whom she looks up to. “I live with and am surrounded by the most amazing female artists in Bushwick,” Edmond said. “My friends from L.A. are the most rad

female artists.” Edmond picked the name “DJ Lady Shadow” because she wanted something “mystical.” She can be found making music with an MIDI keyboard, guitar, electronic drums or by learning to be ambidextrous. “I had been making playlists for house parties that my friends and I hosted throughout high school and early college,” she said. “My first professional gig I was the ‘music selector’ for an artist talk at Papillon Gallery in Los Angeles a few years ago.” Growing up she took guitar lessons and really enjoyed playing on the piano. This led to her love for instrumental and electronic music. She didn’t see herself as a DJ until her friend Rowan Katz asked her to DJ at her going away party last summer. From there, her current roommate asked her to DJ happy hour at an art bar called Flowers for all Occasions in Brooklyn. Now, she hopes to create music and DJ for as long as she is able to. Now she performs as much as two to three times per month at multiple venues and listens to some other talented female artists like Bjork, which she loves mixing from also for her setlists. Edmond feels she has a lot to learn, but really enjoys taking on new tasks. Upon graduation she hopes to travel by volunteering where people are asking help the most. “I hope to learn as much as I can about the ‘hidden figures’ of our world,” Edmond said.


Maia Edmond, 21, inside the WSJU radio studio in Marillac during her show “The Palace” live.

Features 9


Go Vegan with these yummy restaurants SABBA MANYARA

Contributing Writer Vegan options at mainstream restaurants are mostly non-existent and, if available, lack inspiration and flavor. A growing number of vegan restaurants have entered the New York City dining scene to close this gap, however, offering imaginative menus and great-tasting food for vegans and omnivores alike. After an initial vegetarian ‘trial period’ for three months, I committed to going vegan sometime in February of this year. Giving up meat, dairy and eggs was much easier than I expected. These restaurants made me overcome my vegan fear of eating out and all earn five stars for their innovative dishes and re-creations of traditional favorites.

let Basquaise). Expect to be blown away by their meat substitutes such as vegan squid, scallops, crab cake, shrimp, duck and even steak tartare. I’ve been back twice and will continue to return until I sample their entire menu. The only downside to this place would be the tiny portion sizes of their entrees – plan to order an appetizer and/ or dessert.


I stumbled upon this casual ‘Latin American Comfort Food’ spot at lunchtime after Friday classes on the SJU Astor place campus. The décor is effortless but tasteful, with plenty of natural light flooding into the space and a very ‘East Village’ personality. I had the kale caesar salad

Candle 79

Delice & Sarrasin

For fans of French cuisine (which is usually heavy on the dairy and eggs), this delightful spot in the West Village offers 100 percent vegan dishes in a traditional French style. Great for brunch or an intimate dinner, the more popular dishes offered are their savory and sweet crepes and vegan chicken leg dishes (Coq au vin, Pou-

with tempeh ‘bacon,’ which was probably the most amazing salad I’ve ever had. The creamy sauce and avocado balanced the crunchy kale and ‘bacon’ perfectly. I was so impressed I returned a week later for dinner. This time I sampled their empanadas, which were divine, tempeh tacos, which needed a little salt, and their California burger, which was satisfyingly flavorful. I will be back to try their arepas with vegan cheese, V-Spot burrito and their famous avocado fries.


Candle 79 restaurant dish entirely vegan, ceaser salad, located in Upper East Side in Manhattan.

This popular Upper East Side eatery is a little on the fancier side, but is an absolute must-try for vegans, vegetarians or adventurous eaters looking to experience culinary creativity at its best. The service, décor and ambiance are impressive and fit the caliber of their food. All ingredients are organic and 100 percent vegan. The Seitan Piccata, a fan favorite, almost made me bowl over in tears of joy. The dish features a flavorful seitan steak (seitan is simply wheat protein/ gluten), creamed spinach, garlic mashed potatoes and oyster mushrooms. We also tried the wild mushroom crepe which was artful, fresh and mouthwatering on the tongue.

10 Sports



JOHN CAVANAGH Contributing Writer NCAA Men’s Tennis 3/24 GEORGETOWN






St. John’s men’s tennis beat the Georgetown Hoyas 4-0 Friday morning at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. It was a big win for the Red Storm, snapping a four game losing streak coming into this pivotal Big East matchup. The Johnnies had a 1-0 advantage after doubles matches thanks to the pairings of Ognjen Trejgut and Luka Sucevic and then Alex Roszkowski and Roberto Livi. The momentum carried over into singles action, as Sucevic, Trejgut and Alan Nunez Aguilera took the first three matches to secure the victory. St. John’s improved to 8-12 this season, and is back in action against Yale in Queens after their match in Harvard this weekend was cancelled. Later this weekend, the Red Storm are scheduled to face off against NJIT and Temple on Saturday. These three matches on Friday and Saturday will be the Johnnies final tune-up before they head to Cayce, S.C. for the Big East Tournament, which is scheduled to run from April 27 through April 30.

NCAA Softball 3/25

NCAA Lacrosse 3/25











St. John’s men’s lacrosse met their local rivals Saturday night when they took on the fifth ranked Hofstra Pride. The Johnnies held Hofstra to their lowest output of the season, but still lost 9-6. Junior Jason DeBenedictis returned to form with a big game, and finished with two goals and two assists. Senior Nick Heller opened up the scoring and got the Johnnies on the board first, but Hofstra scored the next three goals and never looked back. Despite outshooting Hofstra 24-18, the Red Storm fell to 1-7 on the season. They will look to right the ship next Saturday vs. Providence, their first game in Big East play.

NCAA Baseball 3/25


Jason DeBenedictis had two goals in the loss.


NCAA Baseball 3/25

7 15

St. John’s softball had a successful weekend against Providence, taking both games in a Saturday afternoon double header. A five run third inning powered the Johnnies to an 8-3 victory in game one, their first game in conference play. Junior McKenzie Murray pitched six solid innings, and improved to 6-0 on the season. Freshman Gretchen Bowie led the way with four RBI’s. Game two saw a season high 16 hits guid the Red Storm to a 15-7 victory. Senior Grace Kramer went four innings for her fourth win of the season. Senior Monique Landini was the team’s biggest contributor, finishing with five RBI’s, and hitting her first career grand slam. With a win on Sunday to complete the sweep, the Johnnies improved to 15-10 on the season.





St. John’s baseball continued their historic season with a pair of wins against Maine in a Saturday afternoon doubleheader. It was the ninth-ranked Johnnies’ first two games at home, winning game one 3-0. Freshman Sean Mooney compiled a complete game shutout, and allowed only four hits. Seniors Michael Donadio and Robbie Knightes drove in the three runs. Game two was higher scoring, as the Red Storm beat Maine 9-3. Freshman Jeff Belge won his third game of the season. Outfielder Jamie Galazin had three RBI’s, and team hit leader John Valente saw his hit streak extend to 30 games over the weekend. The Red Storm saw four players have multi-hit games and improved to 18-2 on the season.

Loss in Ann Arbor ends SJU season in WNIT DERRELL BOUKNIGHT Assistant Sports Editor After leading Michigan by one at halftime of last Thursday night’s Sweet 16 game, the St. John’s women’s basketball team managed just 10 points in the second half of play en route to a 60-40 loss that ended their season. Playing in the WNIT Round of 16 for the fourth time in program history, the Red Storm took a quick 5-0 lead in the early stages of the opening quarter. After scoring their first bucket soon thereafter and trading baskets with St. John’s (22-12), Michigan trailed 14-10 heading into the second. The Wolverines took their first lead of the game, 24-23, midway through the second quarter following a 6-0 run. A layup from Aaliyah Lewis was countered by a Michigan jump shot. Junior forward Maya Singleton converted another layup that preceded Akina Wellere’s made three-pointer, giving St. John’s a 30-26 advantage. In the closing moments of the half, Michigan hit three free throws to cut the deficit to one, 30-29, going into the break. With the game tied at 34 several minutes into the third quarter, the Wolverines scored four quick points to go up 38-34. Following a layup from Lewis just over halfway into the quarter, Michigan again went to a run, scoring five consecutive points to close the quarter with a seven point lead, 43-36. The Wolverines saved their biggest run for the final 10 minutes of play. After a layup by Jade Walker cut the

Michigan lead to five, Michigan responded with a 12-0 run that eliminated nearly five minutes off the clock. A layup from Crystal Simmons ended the unanswered Michigan run with 4:10 remaining, but a 5-0 run to close out the final frame put the Wolverines ahead for good, ending St. John’s season with a 20-point loss in Ann Arbor. “I’m really proud of our players for the season they were able to put together and certainly happy that our seniors were able to go out playing in the postseason,” Head Coach Joe Tartamella said to RedStormSports.com. “I thought we did a terrific job throughout the first half and struggled mightily in the second. Certainly we are disappointed with the outcome, but we are proud of our team’s accomplishments this season.” Michigan (25-9) was led by center Hallie Thome, who led all scorers with 19 points. Guard Katelynn Flaherty followed with 17 points and four assists. For the game, the Wolverines shot 1519 from the charity stripe. The Red Storm shot 1-4. Lewis, who played in her final collegiate game, became the program’s leader in games played with 134 on Thursday, scored five points with four rebounds and four assists. Jade Walker, also playing in her final game at St. John’s, led St. John’s in scoring with 10 points in 33 minutes before fouling out. Singleton, who also fouled out after 26 minutes, collected 12 boards and blocked five shots to add to her six points. Alisha Kebbe added nine points, six rebounds and three assists.


Aaliyah Lewis became the St. John’s all-time leader in games played during the loss, appearing in her 134th and final game as a member of the Red Storm.

Best Interviews of the Year


Sports Editors

PHOTO/Eli Christman/Flickr

In a new column called ‘Where Are They Now,’ our sports editors spoke to St. John’s alumni who are thriving in the sports world. From World Series champions to legendary head coaches to media personalities, some of St. John’s most successful sports alumni were featured throughout the 2016-2017 academic year. As the editors close out their final issue of the Torch, we take a look back at some of their best interviews over the past year.

“Playing baseball in the northeast, you kind of get overlooked and people doubt you. I kind of learned at St. John’s to use that as fire and fuel to play hungry and play with some passion.”


“When you’re in the minor leagues there’s a lot of talented kids, so you kind of have to have that mental edge and a little fire and competitive nature. If you talk to any of the St. John’s boys, being competitive and that competitive nature and that fire, that’s something that all of those guys have.”

PHOTO/Joe Schad Facebook PHOTO/Athletic Communications

San Francisco Giants Second Baseman

C.J. Nitkowski

“I’m not afraid to work. You cannot be afraid to work. You got to grind, you got to hustle. And I think that’s a New York thing. Most people in that part of the country get it. That’s a St. John’s thing. You’re not going sit back and be lazy. You’re going to get after it. You do what you got to do. I worked my tail off and I enjoy doing it.”

Former MLB Pitcher and media personality

Joe Schad

“Don’t try to be a journalist if your goal is to make a lot of money. Don’t try to be a journalist if your goal is to become well known and famous. The only way you’re going to succeed in journalism is if you don’t care much about those things and what you care about is the journalism...Don’t give up and don’t listen to people who tell you that journalism is a dying industry and that you can’t make money working for news organizations.”

PHOTO/Wiki Commons

Former ESPN reporter and Miami Dolphins beat writer

Anthony Varvaro

“In today’s day and age, everyone knows that law enforcement isn’t exactly the safest job, so you’ve just got to make sure that you make it home safe every night, that’s the first thing. And then the second thing is just to do my job, and to try to go to work every day to do what I took this job for, which is to help people.”


Former MLB Pitcher and Port Authority Police Officer

Ron Naclerio

“The bad thing about now is that it’s such a ‘me’ generation instead of a ‘we’ generation…There’s money to be made in the game that was not around when I started as an assistant. I’m very demanding, when I see selfishness I hit it hard. The kids really don’t want to box with me, because I’m all about winning. Everything you want in life starts from winning.”

PHOTO/Hofstra University/Flickr

Benjamin N. Cardozo Boys Basketball Coach

“You can’t fool the audience, they know what’s real and what’s fake, they know the difference. And they’re the ones that count; in essence, they are the ones who decide. The best thing about what I do is, you get a report card, you get judged, you know if you’re doing a good job or not because your job is to get ratings… if you don’t get ratings, and you don’t provide revenue, you’re not gonna be there.”

Mike Francesa WFAN Sports Radio Personality

SPORTS March 29, 2017 | VOLUME 94, ISSUE 19 |


weather the storm


tori free returns strong from injury

NICK MCCREVEN Staff Writer Hailing from Luverne, Ala., St. John’s softball pitcher Tori Free entered her freshman season in 2013 and quickly turned heads around the Big East. She finished the season with a 2.65 ERA, earning her Third Team All-Big East honors. She followed up on an impressive rookie campaign with another strong season. In her sophomore year, Free was named to the Second Team All-Big East. In 2015, she continued to improve as a junior. Free went 7-1 on a 0.90 ERA in conference play and 11-8 on the season with a conference-low 2.33 ERA in 120 innings of work. She was given the honor of Big East Pitcher of the Year and earned a spot on the Big East All-Tournament Team. She was on the rise and primed for a stellar senior year in 2016, starting with 31 strikeouts in 35 innings, when in early March, she sustained a season ending injury to her arm. It was at first a crushing blow to the team and to Tori as the excitement for her senior year had grown. “It was very frustrating in the beginning. I should have been cleared for last season, but the weeks kept being pushed back due to pain,” Free said. “I was in the training room constantly trying to get myself back to where I needed.” But Free learned to push through the frustration of this hurdle she faced in her career. As she sat sidelined and watched her fellow teammates continue the remainder of

the season without her, she remained focused on her return to the mound. “Our pitching staff picked up my slack very quickly and I think they did a wonderful job [while I was injured],” she said. As the new 2017 softball season begins and Free returns to the active roster for her redshirt senior season, her confidence grows as the season progresses. Her pain has decreased with the help of the training staff and she is once again comfortable pitching. “More recently I have learned how to ignore that feeling, and push through,” she said. “My coaches and trainers have made sure to get me the appropriate gear to ensure that I have the least amount of discomfort possible.” This is not the first time Tori has had to make an adjustment to an intimidating challenge. Moving from Alabama to New York City was very hard for her at first. “I literally looked down at all the lights on my flight in and asked my mom if she was sure she wanted to leave me here,” she said. “Once softball season started it became easier. You become a family with all of the other girls.” Getting back on the field and acquainted to her new teammates, she was finally able to feel at home in Queens and overcame the daunting challenge. Free is now back in action for the Johnnies and is looking to carry her dominance on the mound into this season. “I have very high expectations for this team. I think that the team will go far, we just have to put all of the pieces together,” she said. Free has her sights set high and she wants to lead the Red Storm to another Big East Championship and finish off her career with a ring.

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