VOL 96 : 17 april 3, 2019 torchonline.com
The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. Johnâ€™s University
TORCH PHOTOS/SPENCER CLINTON
CANDIDATES FACE-OFF Story on page 2
THEY talk Accountability, Budgeting & CAMPUS Tensions Student leader talks life post cancer journey
SJU CHANGES CAMPUS DEMONSTRATION POLICIES
story on page 10
story on page 3
SGI’s 2019-20 Candidates Debate Morgan Mullings
TORCH PHOTOS/SPENCER CLINTON
The DAC 206 lecture room quickly became standing room only as students waited for the Student Government Inc. (SGI) debate to start on Monday, April 1. It was time for students and the rest of the St. John’s community to hear directly from the 2019-20 SGI Executive Board candidates — The P.R.I.D.E. ticket, the L.I.T. Ticket, and one independent candidate, Christopher Viola for senior senator. The candidates sat across from current SGI President Atemkeng Tazi and Torch Editor-In-Chief Angélica Acevedo, who moderated the debate with questions from themselves and from the audience through SGI’s Instagram direct messages. In seven minutes, each ticket and candidate verbalized their views, to either minimal or strong applause afterward. They each covered issues from #SurivingSJU to the SGI website to Senior Week. Before students cast their votes on Thursday, April 4 and Friday, April 5 — and the results are displayed in the DAC coffeehouse on Friday at 3 p.m. — see some of the most important points of every ticket’s plans for next year’s policies and procedures. Main goals P.R.I.D.E. — Inclusivity for more organizations on campus, accountability through formal resolutions and a committee dedicated to wellness. L.I.T. — Improving the student experience through advocacy, constant communication and revitalizing SGI with more transparency. Christopher Viola — Making partnerships with the surrounding communities, giving students more control of activities like Senior Week, and developing programs to help new executive boards. How they will handle the aftermath of #SurvivingSJU P.R.I.D.E. — Vice President candidate Clyde Drayton says they will be publishing formal resolutions that act as the unanimous stance of SGI, so students feel more supported. They want to form a wellness committee and teach students about conducting mental health first-aid for these situations. L.I.T. — Secretary candidate Hannah Sesay says more outlets are needed to hear students out before problems. They want to create a clinic where graduate psychology students can act as counselors. “There is not enough manpower in the counseling center to handle all the students,” she said. She also stressed rebuilding the relationship between students and Public Safety.
L.I.T., P.R.I.D.E. and Christopher Viola showed up to the SGI debate focusing on accountability and inclusivity.
Viola — Viola wants to focus on removing the stigmas of rape culture on campus. In reference to a transgender student who many marched with in October, he says, “Advocacy is only necessary when there is a problem and removing the problem is the first step.” He wants to reevaluate SJU’s sexual assault and mental health training to make it more inclusive. How they're going to hold SGI accountable P.R.I.D.E. — Secretary candidate Nnaemeka Ifeajekwu says he wants to break the stigma that students can’t come talk to SGI. “We are not above you in any way,” he says. He wants students to come into the office at “any time.” L.I.T. — Sophomore Senator candidate Austin Bovino says they are forming a system of checks and balances similar to the the U.S. Government. They want to be proactive rather than reactive when people have a problem with SGI. Viola — If he doesn’t support his promises, Viola asks that students come directly to him. And that in general when they have complaints, “It’s more often that you are going to be heard in numbers.” How they'll update SGI's online presence P.R.I.D.E. — Ifeajekwu believes the SGI website needs
some updating. He said his ticket is pushing an initiative called “Get to know Involvio,” where organization leaders can learn how to use the new online services since StormSync is going out of business. L.I.T. — Sesay wants to find someone outside of SGI to work directly on the site, reach out to students to find out what they want to see and add an FAQ section. “Most people didn’t even know a website existed,” she said. The problem, she added, was that the coding of the website is difficult. Viola — While Viola did not comment on the SGI website, he did touch on the issues surrounding the promotion of campus events. He’d like a calendar just for student organizations where they can present their events. How they'll improve the budget system P.R.I.D.E. — Since StormSync is going out of business, Treasurer candidate Nia Gumbs says the future executive board will decide whether to just use Involvio or a combination of Involvio and the company that is buying StormSync. She said when that happens, “we will make sure you know the whole process and resources.” L.I.T. — This ticket is focused on rebuilding; that is, rebuilding the process through Involvio so that students feel like their budget concerns are being heard, and so that people are not being denied the money they request. How they'll remedy the tensions with the LGBTQ+ community P.R.I.D.E. — Drayton says he wants to bring Spectrum’s SafeZone Training (which is required for Resident Assistants) to SGI, and make sure students have the accessibility when it comes to these trainings. L.I.T. — Bovino says that as a member of the community, he sees the difficulties Spectrum has had as an organization, and says that they hope to promote more collaborations with other student orgs in order to be more successful. Viola — Viola also says he is a member of that community and wants to focus on understanding the specific biases and health risks the community faces — for example, gay men’s health issues, the stigmas on transgender people — because “sexuality has been introduced into our education very recently.”
Angelica Acevedo, editor-in-chief of the Torch, moderated the debate along with current SGI president Atem Tazi.
SJU’s Demonstration Policy Receives Updates The revisions come 50 years after the policy’s initial approval in 1969 Beverly Danquah
TORCH PHOTO/CECELIA GERMAIN
In 1969, the St. John’s Demonstration Policy was approved by the University Senate, adopted by the Board of Trustees and subsequently filed with the New York State Department of Education. Almost 50 years later, the University says that policy has been revised and updated for the first time to reflect modern standards. Demonstrations have become a vital facet of student expression on campus, occurring somewhat regularly. Most recently, in October, a number of organizations, including Spectrum, the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) and the Pan-African Student Coalition, held a demonstration calling for changes to the Title IX process. They said it was sparked by how the University handled an alleged incident of a sexual nature involving a transgender student. The Torch first learned that changes were coming to the demonstration policy last month when Junior Senator Johnny Wiley revealed the University’s plans at a Student Government meeting. “So basically, Jackie Lochrie along with the university has created a new demonstration policy and I along with members of Spectrum have been asked to give feedback,” Wiley said. A University spokesperson confirmed that the demonstration policy has already undergone the planned facelift. “The University reviewed the Demonstration Policy as it appeared in the Student Handbook. The prior policy was drafted and adopted in 1969. This review led to recommended updates that are consistent with the University’s commitment to a free exchange of ideas and differences of opinion while ensuring these exchanges are carried out in a respectful manner,” Brian Browne, University spokesperson said. “The recommendations were reviewed and approved by the Office of the General Counsel before being implemented earlier in the academic year.” The revised version of the demonstration policy says that: • All students who take part in on-campus demonstrations must be enrolled at St. John’s University. • Demonstrations may only occur at the time and place that the Dean of Students has signed off on. Students are discouraged to extend the time and spatial width of their demonstrations. • Demonstrations may only occur in regards to the top-
Students gathered for a Love March in October to protest the University’s response on a student’s alleged sexual assault.
ics/issue that the Dean of Students has signed off on. Students are discouraged to pursue otherwise unrelated topics. • Students should not threaten or endanger anyone or damage any property during an on campus demonstration. • Students should not occupy University property (buildings) without proper authorization from Dean of Students. • Students are prohibited from “Disorderly conduct or lewd, indecent, or obscene conduct, language, or expression on university property or at University sponsored or supervised functions.” • Students must comply with directives of University officials acting in the performance of their duties. • Members of the St. John’s community and other persons occupying property of the university should not disrupt the University community or infringe upon the rights of others.
• “Faculty and non-faculty staff shall conduct themselves in a manner not inconsistent with the duties and responsibilities of their positions.” “In addition, the Office of Student Conduct created an online Demonstration Request Form that summarizes the University’s philosophy and explains the current policy and procedure for conducting demonstrations. The online form includes links to the complete Demonstration Policy and our Student Code of Conduct,” Browne said. The Torch reached out to some of the more active organizations on campus -- including Feminists Unite, Residents Students Association, Spectrum, LASO, the NAACP, African Students Association, SGI, Black Student Union, Muslim Students Association, Greek Life and Students of Consciousness — for comment on the policy changes, but none responded.
Students Encounter Issues With University Website Angelica Acevedo The recent launch of the new website has caused some of the links to redirect to a “page not found.” Some of the links affected by the launch are the “Report a Bias-Related Incident” and “Public Safety” when clicking from MySJU and when clicking on stjohns.edu links from Google — then another “page not found” appears. In response to the Torch’s inquiry about whether the University is aware of the issue, University Spokesperson Brian Browne sent a statement explaining that these issues are a byproduct of the new look. “With the launch of any new website, and especially one that hosts approximately 9,000 pages, comes a period of adjustment and the need to address issues that arise post-launch,” he said. “A byproduct of a website redesign includes changes to link structure, which subsequently causes previously functioning pages to be redirected.”
He further stated that anyone who finds broken links can email the Office of Marketing and Communications directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and added that the Digital Team is working to correct the links that are failing to redirect. “We are aware of this redirect issue and the University’s Digital Team continues to ensure that the redirects are working and that the number of non-functioning links are eliminated,” Browne said. Although Browne said that this is only the first version of the site and more changes will be made based on user feedback, many students are having trouble navigating the website during one of the most important times in the school year. “I really count on Google to help me navigate through the St. John’s website since the new layout is taking me time to adjust to,” graduate student Nancy Rabbat said. “The issue with doing that is that a lot of the web pages don’t exist anymore which is
a bit frustrating when you are looking for a quick link.” Sophomore Jenna Hope said that she enjoys that the website looks “more professional.” However, she thinks the website could be more user-friendly. “It is difficult
With the launch of any new website comes a period of adjustment and the need to address issues that arise post-launch. - University Spokesperon, Brian Browne
to navigate — and considering this is coming from a student who was comfortable
using the prior website, I can only imagine how impossible navigation may be for future Johnnies and their families,” Hope said. As a student worker, she mentioned how she’s watched her supervisors struggle to update their pages. She added that she hasn’t been able pick where she’d like to dorm next year. “I am unsure of where I would like to dorm next year because unlike prior years, I can’t google residence halls without clicking on a link that leads me to a page that says ‘Page Not Found,’” she said. Browne added that the University is “closely monitoring the progress of the search optimization process.” He added, “We are familiar with and have followed the steps necessary to ensure that all major search engines crawl our new site map and index our new pages so that we can retain our search engine optimization rankings.”
Dorm Guest Policy Petition Circles Social Media A change.org link has gained 480 signatures in one week Isabella Bruni A change.org petition regarding the visitation rules and guidelines for dorm dwellers has been circling social media for one week, calling for more lenient procedures. As of Tuesday, April 2 at 8 p.m., the petition has 480 signatures from purported members of the St. John’s community. The petition brings up the topics of outside visitation hours during finals week, no entry into other residence buildings after 2 a.m. and the 11 p.m. cut off time to register an overnight SJU guest. The petition also brings up the issue of student safety during the late night hours. It states, “A big problem with this is that after going out with friends, or working late with studying and projects, many people fall asleep, or have no way to get home, and must rely on public transportation that late at night.” According to the Residence Life Handbook, visitation hours for St. John’s students are 7 a.m.–3 a.m. seven days a week and for non-St. John’s individuals 7 a.m.–midnight. Hours differ during University breaks and finals weeks. The rules follow as: Hosts are allowed up to two daytime visitors, St. John’s students must be signed in by 2 a.m. and non-University individuals must be signed in by 11 p.m. For overnight guests, all SJU overnight guests must be registered with the Office of Public Safety by 11 p.m. on the night the guest wishes to stay. All non-SJU guests must be registered with the Office of Public Safety by 9 p.m. on the night the guest wishes to stay. Non-St.John’s guests will receive an overnight guest pass which must be retrieved from Public Safety by the host and guest together, no later than 11 p.m. The host will be charged $20 for any lost overnight guest pass. “Students should have a safe and reliable transportation provided by the college to as-
An online change.org petition has garnered the attention of nearly 500 students in an effort to change the dorms guest policies.
sist their students back to their dorms. We as parents pay far too much in tuition to not have this service provided for our children,” Jacqueline AminSmith said in the petition’s comments. “The policy needs to be changed,” Maniya Smith said in the comments. The petition concludes that the rules are affecting students’ choices as to whether
they will live on campus again another year. “These problems are causing 100s of students from different classes, to move off campus every semester, struggling to find homes at ages 17, 18 and 19 and putting pressure on their parents, and friends, because of the hefty fines, and sanctions,” it says. Brian Browne, a university spokesperson,
said in a statement to the Torch, “The Office of Residence Life was made aware of the online petition today and is reviewing the concerns raised.” The petition can be found at www.change. org/p/sju-res-life-st-john-s-univ-guest-policy and the full residence life handbook can be found at www.stjohns.edu/life-st-johns/ residence-life/residence-life-handbook.
Mary Cascio Gives A Few Words On Fifth Annual SHinE Awards
TORCH PHOTO/ALEX YEM
“Today [Tuesday, April 2] we hosted the Fifth annual ‘Students Honored in Employment’ SHinE recognition event. We were impressed by the nominations we received. This year the contributions and accomplishments of all 56 student nominees demonstrated a high level of work ethic and drive; and made the Selection Committee’s job very difficult. As a result, we have five award recipients this year! We are also pleased to announce and recognize 21 very deserving semifinalists! We were honored to have the interim Provost, Simon Moller and some college deans present. Especially Yvonne Pratt Johnson, Diana Morgan and Kandy Rich. Also in attendance was Jorge Rodriquez, Vice Provost & Chief Enrollment Officer, Enrollment Management and Kathryn Hutchinson, Vice President of Student Affairs, Student Life – Queens. The SHinE program began because of an award St. John’s received in 2013
from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPAHR). The award was given in recognition of our student centered initiatives around student employment and internships. Through shared efforts across the University, we have worked to shift the culture of student employment to provide student workers with workplace experiences that better prepare them for a career upon graduation. The SHinE Award Program grew from an idea to give supervisors a way to motivate, recognize and reward their student workers who go above and beyond in their campus job. The Program aims to motivate student workers to take initiative and strive for excellence while honing skills that are important for success in any career.” - Mary Cascio, Student Employment Manager
JOHNNIES AROUND CAMPUS
TORCH Photos/spencer clinton
Photos from the Torchâ€™s third annual alumni panel on Friday, March 29.
UPCOMING EVENTS: spring health fair
25th anniversary piano benefit concert
When: april 4, 1 - 3:30 p.m.
When: april 8, 1:30 - 3:30 P.M.
When: april 9, 8 - 9:30 P.M.
Where: dac foyer
Where: residence village
Where: marillac auditorium
"in 'post-racial' america, where does race come from?"
USING GRAPHIC NOVELS TO RAISE SOCIAL JUSTICE AWARENESS
graphic humor, community and migrant well being: a bilingual workshop
When: april 4, 5 - 6:30 p.m.
When: APRIL 8, 12:45 - 1:40 p.m.
When: april 11, 6:30 - 9 P.M.
Where: st. albert hall, rm b70
Where: OZANAM LOUNGE ST. VINCENT'S
Where: st. john hall rm 112
sinai's RADIANT LDM - call to action
labors of love
relay for life
When: april 7, 5 - 7 P.M.
When: april 8 , 1:50 - 3:15 p.m.
When: april 12, all day
Where: LITTLE THEATER
Where: sullivan hall b14
Where: carnesecca arena/taffner
Flames of the Torch A few words of advice for the 97th Torch editorial board, from the 96th Managing Board XCVI
Angelica Acevedo, Editor-in-Chief Isabella Bruni, Managing Editor
Amanda Negretti Creative Director Brendan Myers Sports Editor Beverly Danquah Features Editor Dayra Santana Assistant Features Editor Samantha DeNinno Culture Editor Priyanka Gera Assistant Culture Editor Beatriz da Costa Opinion Editor Dara Burke Assistant Opinion Editor
Jillian Ortiz Chief Copy Editor Spencer Clinton Photo Editor Alex Yem Assistant Photo Editor Jenna Woo Assistant Design Editor Nick Bello Social Media Manager Morgan Mullings Outreach Manager Dana Livingston Assistant Outreach Manager Jim Baumbach Adviser
Dear new Torchies,
The time has come to pass on the Torch to a brand new editorial board. A good number of current e-board members have been a part of the newspaper since their freshman year of college. We have played an important role in creating not only a base for growth in terms of learning the craft of journalism outside of classrooms, but also established a sense of community within our staff. As we prepare to elect a new e-board for St. John’s independent student newspaper, we can’t help but think about the many long Tuesday nights we spent in the basement of O’Connor Hall. Having lengthy conversations about whether we should publish an article at the moment or wait for more information, discussing comma placements and headline options. Perhaps one of the most important pieces of advice that we can offer the next e-board is to always question what comes your way. Question why and how a piece of news is important to the St. John’s community. Question why it’s important to you and how you should go about covering it for the paper. The second most important thing we can pass along is to fearlessly hold those in power accountable. However, being in charge of what appears on the pages of this publication requires you to be driven and responsible. If the last years have taught us anything, it’s that people do care what we write and how we write it. Use your best judgement, and never forget that we must represent
sju torch productions email@example.com
The Torch, St. John’s University O’Connor Hall - B Level 8000 Utopia Parkway Queens, NY 11439
Staff and contributors Anthony Villacreses Shaolin Barid Jennifer Hood Anna McFillin
Sydney Denham Alexis Gaskin J.P. Devetori Destinee Scott
Sean Okula Brendan Murray John Cavanagh
About the Torch
Columns and other content are the opinions of the author(s) and
of St. John’s University. The Torch is written, edited,
Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of the Torch. 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.
The Torch is the official, independent student newspaper
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the diverse student body and culture of St. John’s. With the help of our College Media Project from the Poynter Institute, we have learned that accountability journalism is the best way to perfect our craft. This means that we must push for media literacy within our communities, and that an open dialogue with readers is a constant goal. We hope that members of the St. John’s community give the newly elected e-board the chance to create their own legacy. We hope that the Torch can continue to build up the trust with students, faculty and administrators. We also hope that the paper continues to be seen as a reliable source of all things SJU. But most importantly, new Torch editors, be passionate. It’s important that everything you do in life — whether it’s journalism or not — you do with passion. You must care about every single story you pitch, publish and edit. You must care about the people you are interviewing and your readers. This job can be frustrating and tedious at times. It can cause you to question all of your beliefs and why you should even bother, since you have classes, jobs and internships, family and loved ones to worry about as well. But once the interviews are over, once the stories are edited and once the paper is printed, it will be one of the most fulfilling aspects of your SJU experience. We promise. Best wishes, and good luck. Angélica and Isabella
The Subtle Power of Pete Buttigieg Dara Burke Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, recently announced his candidacy for the Democratic primary nomination. The field is becoming progressively more crowded, and Buttigieg is not yet a household name like Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren. Serving as the mayor of a nondescript Midwestern city does not quite carry the same weight as being the former vice president of the United States or the senator of Massachusetts. But as an Afghanistan War veteran and Rhodes scholar, Buttigieg is a subtle, powerful force. A series of well-received TV appearances culminated in his surprisingly well-attended debut campaign event in South Carolina last weekend. This boost in visibility has paid off: A recent Iowa poll showed Buttigieg’s launch to third place in the race, behind only Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. In a party facing increased pressure to move left, the 37-year-old’s policies hold up as genuinely progressive, true to his millennial label. Buttigieg supports DACA and the gradual implementation
of a single-payer healthcare system. Beyond the standard policy issues, he has called for measures as radical as expanding the Supreme Court and eliminating the Electoral College. Buttigieg stands out as being from a true Republican stronghold, and he wants to win over the voters that others have written off as a lost cause. As a result, he is immune
Time will tell if the mayor of an Indiana city can withstand a race against the likes of Joe Biden - the prospect may not be as outlandish as it seems.
to portrayals as an out-of-touch politician ignorant to affairs outside of major coastal cities. Buttigieg is a white man from the Rust Belt, which are not characteristics that would usually grant someone the “diverse” label, but in 2015, he came out as gay to his con-
stituents through an article in the South Bend Tribune. Buttigieg’s raw honesty is refreshing and turns the “lying politician” stereotype on its head. The fact that Buttigieg is a married, Christian veteran from a conservative state while being openly gay is incredibly subversive and challenges the preconceived notions of many across the country. Personally, I could never have imagined an openly gay candidate running for president a few years ago; the issue was simply too controversial. I see Buttigieg as a living sign of profound societal progress. Despite Buttigieg’s recent spike in popularity, he is undoubtedly the underdog in this race. At the same time, I can see his youth and progressive qualities appealing to young voters who must make some hard decisions during the primaries. I can also see Buttigieg’s pragmatic approach to the implementation of progressive ideas mitigating the criticism that these policies are impractical. Time will tell if the mayor of an Indiana city can withstand a race against the likes of Joe Biden - the prospect may not be as outlandish as it seems.
Students: It’s Okay to Take a Break
College can be hard, so make sure to put your mental health first Alexis Gaskin The pressure to be perfect and to be the best of the best is somewhat ingrained into the minds of this young Millennial/Generation Z era. In a society and generation that has such a large fear of missing out and the need to always be number one, the margin of error is non-existent. In college, it’s hard to not constantly compare yourself, and for me, it feels like I’m never doing enough. At the beginning of my junior year, I started out with a full course load of 18 credits, was a new RA on campus, was working on two shows with my theatre group and trying to tackle three internships. Yeah, three. I would look on Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin and see my peers with amazing internships and succeeding in such immense ways that I felt inadequate. It didn’t matter that I already had, at that time, two internships under my belt and on my resume; I wanted more. Honestly, I wanted to be better than them, and I thought that my resume and experience was the way to do that. I was trying to juggle all of my responsibilities and commitments and kept adding more, but eventually I got caught up. I kept missing deadlines and my work suffered because of it and in return, I ended up getting fired from one of my intern-
ships. The thought of me not constantly being busy made it seem like I wasn’t trying hard enough. I felt like my world was slowly crumbling and then all at once, it did. As the semester continued, things only got worse. I stopped going to classes, turned in sloppy work and did the bare minimum to keep my GPA up. I was too busy being angry at myself and punishing myself for not trying harder that
I have to remind myself that it’s okay to not be okay all the time and that I shouldn’t compare myself with others, because I am enough.
I didn’t realize my actions were all signs of depression. It wasn’t just getting out of bed that was difficult, but other simple things like brushing my teeth, washing my clothes, and eating meals. I didn’t want to do it anymore. According to the American Psychology Association, 41.6 percent of college students present as having anxiety while 36.4
percent present as having depression. Trying to get a handle on my depression while juggling my workload seemed impossible. I was embarrassed by how badly I messed up that I let my work bury me and when friends, managers and professors asked what was wrong, the thought of telling them about my depression made me feel weak. Accepting my depression and my pressing need to compare myself with others is something I still struggle with. I never allowed myself to take a break or to have a place to prioritize my emotions. Now I’m in my second semester, I’m still depressed and I still compare my work with others, but I talk about it. I discuss these feelings with my friends and speak to a counselor on campus. Self-care is tossed around a lot on social media, but I think true self-care is acknowledging your problems, taking a look at what is troubling you and just taking a break. I’m not saying ignore your problems and just light a candle, but processing and giving yourself that time and space to just observe and respond. This whole college thing is hard and I know I’m not the only one who thinks that, but often times I have to remind myself that it’s okay to not be okay all the time and that I shouldn’t compare myself with others, because I am enough.
It Won’t Be Easy To Say Goodbye To New England’s Beloved Gronkowski Sydney Denham Robert Gronkowski — New England Patriots tight end — announced his retirement this past Sunday via an Instagram post. As an avid Patriots fan hailing from Boston, this news was quite upsetting for me. In spite of my personal disappointment, I believe this is the best decision for him. He has retired at 29 without any serious injuries, although the few he had during his time playing could still affect him later on. He has his whole life ahead of him with his nine years on the Patriots and three Super Bowl wins to always look back on. Reminiscing on the moments we needed him most makes me realize all that we will be missing in the upcoming seasons. Now, I am not saying that he was the reason for the Patriots’ victories, but he did play a huge role during those times when we really needed an extra push. Even in the most recent Super Bowl game, the Patriots would find themselves in third and longs. With the Super Bowl on the line, Patriots fans would know they needed a first down. downs with just about ten yards to go. Before we knew it, Tom Brady’s pass would be completed to Gronk, and we had the first down. According to Pro Football Focus, there hasn’t been a better quarterback-to-receiver duo when it comes
PHOTO COURTESY/FLICKR COMMONS/CHAIRMAN OF THE CHIEFS OF STAFF
The New England Patriots were the only team Gronkowski played for during his career.
to passer rating since 2006 — Brady and Gronk showed success with a stunning 129.6 passer rating. Not only do his statistics show how much of an impact he had on the team, but so did his humor. He even said it himself that Bill Belichick drafted “his silliness” in 2010. Everyone knows him for his light-hearted personality, and this will be missed at Gillette Stadium. New Englanders are particularly affected by Gronkowski’s retirement – his cardboard cutouts welcome them when
they walk into their local Dunkin’ Donuts. However, it is evident that even those who root against the Patriots will miss watching him just as much as fans will. He is simply likeable, and the Patriots surely will not be the same without him. Gronkowski will forever be the face of the number 87, and he will forever be known to us Patriots fans as the tight end who did it best. He will go down as possibly the greatest tight end the NFL has ever seen, and we will definitely see him as a future hall-of-famer.
Who to trust: Avenatti or Nike? J.P. Devetori On March 25, prominent lawyer Michael Avenatti was arrested in New York City for trying to extort up to $25 million from Nike and threatening to make damaging charges against the company. According to Avenatti, Nike made payments to families of high school basketball players, which is against NCAA rules. This illicit activity has the potential to damage the future of the athletes involved and can even result in the loss of scholarships. Schools involved with this act may also face dire consequences, such as having playoff berths and championships vacated by the NCAA. Any coaches or athletic directors involved could be terminated or suspended. Avenatti was on the verge of holding a press conference to claim that Nike paid both high school and college basketball players and also tweeted that the company paid current NBA and college players like DeAndre Ayton and Bol Bol. On the afternoon of his arrest, Avenatti and an unnamed co-conspirator (later revealed to be Mark Geragos, Jussie Smollett’s lawyer) met with Nike to discuss Avenatti’s demands to keep his claims quiet. Avenatti was released on a $300,000 bond that evening. In a separate case in Los Angeles, Avenatti was charged for embezzling money from a client and defrauding a bank in Mississippi. If convicted on both cases, he can face 100 years in prison. So many things are going downhill for Avenatti that I just wonder why he is trying to embezzle millions from Nike. It seems that he is desperate for money because he is coming off a divorce that forced him to pay thousands of dollars in child support and give away personal assets such as his luxury watches, artwork and a Ferrari to his second exwife, Lisa Avenatti. Avenatti has been on a roller coaster of events this past year. He represented Stormy Daniels in her case against President Trump about their alleged affair in 2006. He was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence but the charges were later dropped due to false complaints. He also announced a presidential run for 2020 but later backed down. Avenatti is a conspicuous figure and works hard to represent important and high profile people. At the same time, he has done illegal things out of desperation. What if Avenatti is right about Nike paying elite high school basketball players? Maybe he wants some compensation from Nike for keeping his mouth shut. If his claims are accurate, then Nike and the athletes, officials and schools involved will face severe consequences. There is so much at stake for Avenatti. It is difficult to believe him because I see someone who is desperate for financial gain.
TORCH DESIGN/ALEX YEM
’Jane the Virgin’s’ Take On Adult Female Virginity Was Revolutionary Destinee Scott TV shows and movies like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and the most recent season of “The Bachelor” that have made adult virgins a punchline can’t touch the revolutionary CW series “Jane the Virgin.” Although the average age that Americans have sex for the first time is 17, women in their twenties and who have never had sex are actually more common than you would think, according to a Center for Disease Control (CDC) report conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the Fertility, Family Planning, and Reproductive Health of U.S. Another CDC report showed that 12.3 percent of straight women between 20 and 24 years old and 3.4 percent of straight women between 25 to 29-years-old have had zero sexual partners. New research suggests that twenty-something year-old virgins are becoming more common. A 2018 study conducted by the University College London as part their “Next Steps” project found that out of 16,000 millennials, almost 13 percent of 26-year-olds have never had sex, yet movies and TV shows have continued to portray adult virginity as something uncommon when in fact, it isn’t. But “Jane the Virgin,” which aired back in October 2014, has not only shed light on adult female virginity in a fresh and real way from the very first episode, but it has also upended stereotypes surrounding adult virginity and has given a voice to virgin characters in popular culture.This is seen in the pilot episode, which flashes back to the origin of Jane’s virginity — when she was 13 and her Catholic grandmother told
TORCH DESIGN/KELLY KWOK
her she needed to wait to have sex until marriage. As you get to know her character and she becomes accidentally artificially inseminated during a routine Pap smear, Jane’s virginity is the least interesting thing about her, whereas other shows make twenty-something year-old women’s virginity a character trait, like the HBO show, “Girls,” where the character Shoshanna’s storyline centers around her virginity as a problem to overcome. One love interest even tells Shoshanna he won’t have sex with her because she’s a virgin — despite being only 20 an age at which almost a quarter of American women are virgins. While Jane’s virginity is brought up frequently throughout the show, it was never the center of it all — and neither was her virginity loss. In most shows, virginity loss is often saved for a special episode or season-finale moment, but Jane’s first time having sex happened on the third episode of season 3. She loses her virginity after getting married, just as she intended to, and the sex scene stayed true to the show’s combination of relatability and telenovela-inspired drama — no gimmicks, just an awkward first-time involving a faked orgasm and an accidental sex tape sent to her college advisor. Now, as the show begins its fifth season, it continues to treat Jane’s sex life with the same nuance that it did to both her virginity and her virginity loss. Portraying adult characters on screen who are also virgins should always be as easy as it was for the creators of Jane the Virgin. And as the show leaves our TV screens, other shows and movies need to take notes and get in on it.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Green New Deal’ and the Fight for Our Climate Shaolin Barid As a native New Yorker, witnessing the odd weather and fluctuating temperatures, the highest so far being 61 degrees Celsius and the lowest being 3 degrees Celsius, I’m bewildered by the confusing changes we have seen between winter and spring. And as summer approaches in June, many New Yorkers may have to prepare for alarming, heat-stricken weather. Human activity (which includes energy production, agriculture, transportation and many other factors) has contributed to dangerously high, unprecedented levels of carbon dioxide and other gases in our atmosphere. The trapping of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere is responsible for 91 percent of global warming within the past five years, making the hottest years between 2014-2018 the hottest years reccorded so far according to the Global Climate Change’s report, “2018 Fourth Warmest Year in Continued Warming Trend.” It’s crucial that we take action to limit our own destructive habits. Through the Green New Deal that New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has presented to Congress, we may be able to reach a goal of net-zero gas emissions in the United States. The Green New Deal consists of a 10-year generated plan for improving the environment by leveraging funding to support community-based projects. These projects aim to bolster efforts to combat climate-change related disasters, eradicate as much pollution and gas emission as possible, provide clean water universally, make sure Congress-approved bills involving infrastructure are climate-friendly and generally support the development of a clean and healthy environment. Ocasio-Cortez continues to describe in-depth plans to meet 100 percent
of the power demand in America by using clean and zero-emission energy sources. Some ways to achieve this goal include expanding and improving renewable energy sources and upgrading infrastructure with clean renewable energy sources. Ocasio-Cortez also addresses the integration of sustainability with transportation, healthcare, poverty and communities that face systematic disadvantages, such as indigenous groups and communities of color. With such an intensive outline created to meet goals for a better future, with details that target issues not all directly related to climate change, many politicians and members of Congress have voiced their concerns on how this plan may be too expensive to be effective. A Republican group led by the former congressional budget office director has asserted that Ocasio-Cortez’s plan may require $50 to $100 trillion dollars to execute. Democratic senator Ed Markey, who supports the plan, has fired back by noting that the expense generated by the effects of climate change in the future would be even more costly for the government to handle. Despite the notability of the Green New Deal, it will only be considered as a suggestion on fighting climate change to the Select Committee on Climate Crisis. As Ocasio-Cortez continues to campaign for her proposal to fight climate change, republican politicians continue to speak out and the discussion becomes increasingly heated (no pun intended). However, as the government continues to find a final resolution in the fight to save the Earth, it’s important for us to raise awareness and advocate for a better climate and sustainable living.
Student Runs One Stop Sneaker Shop VNDS Shoe Spa is changing the footwear scene During the interview, Jared Galoimore disclosed that due to alleged drizzling rain, he didn’t wear his current favorite pair of sneakers, the OFF-WHITE x Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG ‘UNC’. He opted for the OFF-WHITE x Air VaporMax ‘Part 2’s instead. I told Jared that I didn’t see a spec of water in the air, to which he responded “Go outside, look at the ground, it’s wet.” I rested my case. In 2011, one of the most popular Air Jordan sneakers of all time relaunched — the White Cement 3s. The sneakers feature a Jumpman logo in place of the 1988 OG Nike Air branding at the heel and tongue. A high school student at the time, Galoimore detailed three cars at the shop where he worked so that he could purchase the highly-acclaimed sneakers. While most people his age purchased the sneakers for the aesthetic, Galoimore was more interested in the history behind the sneaker. “It was just a classic shoe. People nowadays, they’re all up in the hype, the Offwhites, the Travis Scotts, all of that. I like it, I wear it, but at the end of the day, I like the history behind it,” he said. “I like the old stuff that people don’t wear anymore.” In July 2017 as a college junior, Galoimore finally decided to take his passion for sneakers and launch a shoe cleaning service, VNDS Shoe Spa. VNDS is a sneaker term that stands for Very Near Deadstock. According to Complex Magazine’s “A Beginner’s Guide to Sneaker Terminology,” this term began popping up on for sale postings throughout sneaker forums many years ago to describe a sneaker’s condition. In recent years, increasing the number of “very” in your near deadstock kicks for sale has become a trend. “We bring sneakers to very near deadstock condition,” Galoimore said. “I’ve always been into sneakers from before I knew what sneakers were. Growing up, my dad always had sneakers and he was always buying me Air Forces, Jordans. The older I got, the more I got into it.” The company started off as a sneaker cleaning service. As time progressed, Galoimore said prospective clients would approach him inquiring about the possibility of a sneaker restoration service. “I just kept telling people no I don’t do that, and then I asked myself, why am I telling people no?’” Galoimore then expanded the company to offer restoration services as well, which includes repainting, regluing and un-yellowing discolored sneakers. “After that, people started asking me, ‘Oh you don’t sell shoes? You just restore it?’” Galoimore recalled, laughing. “I got back into resell stuff after doing some research,” Galoimore said. “I mean it’s hard, but once you get over that hump, you can really make something out of it.” Thus far, Galoimore has sold over 250 pairs of sneakers. The Caldwell, NJ resident didn’t originally intend on making VNDS a brand,
but ended up with an umbrella of different services — VNDS Shoe Spa became a cleaning, restoration and sneaker reselling brand before Galoimore knew it. “I didn’t really see anything else that was offering all of these services in one source,” he said. “You can get almost anything related to shoes — if your shoes are dirty from a party, they’re old and worn out or you have scuffs on them, or you just want some new shoes that are hard to get, I’m going to have them,” he said. VNDS Shoe Spa now also features a news blog. Galoimore’s childhood friend, Angel Morales, writes fashion-opinion pieces and features sneaker release information. Galoimore also relies on Morales for a second opinion on certain business moves. “He’s (Morales) also in the process of developing our app,” Galoimore said. “We’re trying to make it stand out. We’ve been tweaking it for a while now.” Galoimore said he hasn’t seen any other sneaker stores that mirror the bundled services VNDS Shoe Spa offers. Every time he adds a new service to his brand, customers request more or the industry introduces new opportunities for him to expand. “Resell encompasses a lot more than just it’s clothing, it’s shoes, it’s streetwear, it’s music, it’s a whole culture,” he said. “It seems like when I reach a hump, that’s when something new starts.” Due to an expanding fashion-forward sneaker culture, Galoimore decided to launch his own line of sneaker-inspired clothing under the VNDS brand. “It’s really for people who like shoes,” Galoimore said. One of the many keys to Galoimore’s success thus far is networking. The senior said he attends events all over the city where he connects with and learns from other sneaker entrepreneurs. “It’s mostly about who you have in your network. Over time as you build your network, you can grow your inventory,” he said. “There are a lot of places that tell you when a shoe will be releasing, but in terms of actually getting the shoe from a seller’s perspective? That’s all hustling.” Because of the mentoring he’s received from others in the industry, Galoimore is open to teaching people with a genuine interest in the ins and outs of sneaker reselling. “When people ask me for advice, I help them,” he said. When it comes to the most iconic pair of sneakers, Galoimore opts for the Bred 1s. “They’re the first shoe Michael Jordan played in,” he said, referencing the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG ‘Bred. “That’s when all the sneaker culture really started.” For students with entrepreneurial interests, Galoimore advises you to remain consistent and take risks. “When I first started, I was losing a lot of money,” he said. “You gotta keep taking different routes to achieving your goals. If you feel really anxious about doing something, but you know that on the other side of it, you’re going to be ten times better, you just gotta do it.”
PHOTO COURTESY/JARED GALOIMORE
Top to bottom: Jared Galoimore sports Adidas Yeezy Boost 700 Wave Runner Solid Grey, Galoimore lays in a bed of sneakers, Galoimore sports OFF-WHITE x Air VaporMax ‘Part 2’s
TORCH PHOTO/PSPENCER CLINTON
Student Leader Reflects on Journey Pre-Relay for Life This year’s festivities will feature new activities, including silent disco inspire others. He will get a chance to live out that dream on April 12 in Carnesecca Arena. Guerrero is this year’s keynote speaker at St. John’s annual Relay for Life event. Last year, participants raised over $160,000 for the American Cancer Society. This was the second-highest amount raised in New York state and the tenth-highest in the country by universities. This year’s committee has a lot to live up to. “We are really changing it up,” Melanie Sheehan, Co-Executive Chair of the Relay Committee said when describing this year’s New York City theme. “Honestly, this theme is vague because the night shouldn’t be about the theme. It should be about the event. We want this to be the theme that ends all themes.” In the past, the 12-hour event has kicked off at 6:00 p.m., when students pack into the gym. Dotted with Greek Life, community members and survivors, the evening centers around a walk around the gym, as many or as few of laps as one may please. “We are really switching it up this year,” Joseph Hustins, the other half of the Co-Executive Chair for the Committee said. “We’ve added new activities. We’ve added a silent disco, which we are really excited about and have tried really hard to shift the focus away from the event itself. It should be about those affected by cancer.” Relay, though it occurs overnight, does not happen all within one night. Fundraisers are held throughout the semesters
PHOTO COURTESY/JONATHAN GURRERO
You come screaming out of the womb. Slowly as you are nurtured, you grow. You grow hair, a sense of humor and the lucky ones grow a few muscles. This is life, but what if it wasn’t? What if you woke up tomorrow and had to start over? “I had to get vaccinated again. I had to learn how to walk, talk and eat at the age of 23,” Jonathan Guerrero, 26-year-old undergraduate Health and Human Services major said. “It’s like I was a baby again.” In early 2015, Guerrero was living. He had a good job that paid him well, a jetblack Honda with a red interior and a beautiful girlfriend to sit in his passenger seat. His life was set. He didn’t need anything other than what he had. He was in a blissful cycle that consisted of work and parties. Work and party. Work and party. Work and… “I started to feel dizzy so a friend took me to the E.R.,” Guerrero said with wide, glossy eyes. “That is when everything changed.” According to Guerrero, the doctors poked and prodded him. They examined every bit of him, but everything came back inconclusive. Eventually, Guerrero was subject to a brain biopsy. Brain biopsies aren’t exactly routine. This is a procedure where doctors take an instrument called a stereotactic
frame and drill into the skull to extract a tissue sample. They removed part of his brain. Not once, but twice. This test yielded results, but not the kind Guerrero or his family welcomed. Cancer. “The chemotherapy was the worst part,” said Guerrero. “Every two weeks for months my dad took me to the hospital for treatment.” “It kills the good cells as much as it kills the bad cells,” he continued. “I wouldn’t stand for days. I was restricted to 15 degrees of movement. I couldn’t eat solid foods. At times, I couldn’t even turn my head in bed without feeling nauseated.” He had cancer in his brain and lungs. The cause unknown, he had no one to blame. No one to be mad at. So he wasn’t. Guerrero joked with his nurses and doctors while being wheeled into surgery after surgery, an attitude that Guerrero attributes his survival to. Positivity, along with a strong support system is what got him through it. No more tubes being forced into his arms. No more weight loss. No more cancer. “I can finally eat hamburgers again,” Guerrero said, cracking a smile over his thin beard. “And as bad as it was, I am thankful for it. My life was on a bad path. I didn’t care about anything, and now I have new life goals.” One of those life goals is to help spread awareness for cancer. As a survivor, Guerrero wants to use his story to educate and
TORCH PHOTO/JENNIFER HOOD
Jonathan Guerrero is this year’s keynote speaker at Relay for Life.
to prepare for the event. With a goal of $150,000, it takes a lot of time. “We have a lot of goals this year like being the biggest collegiate fundraiser in New York state, but it is really about fundraising,” Hustins said. “The American Cancer Society does a lot of great things like providing treatment for patients. It gives housing to cancer patients who are coming from out-of-state. It provides transportation and rides to hospitals, but it needs us. It needs people to fundraise.”
Let’s Get Thrifty: Jamaica, Queens Edition Walking down the streets of Queens in my cheetah print faux fur coat, people often ask, “Where did you get your coat?”, to which I happily respond, “I thrifted it!” For a mere $20, my cheetah faux fur has been a successful head turner, while it was originally set at a retail price of $200. The best pieces are not found in retail, but in the midst of racks and racks of clothing in the dingiest thrift stores. At a point, thrifting becomes addicting. The suspense of the search, the thrill of the find and the pride of the buy is what keeps people going back, and for people who are living on a budget or don’t want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on clothes, it is a great option. A huge percent of the population that live on a budget are college students, especially students here at St. John’s. “Keeping up with trends can be really difficult and expensive, especially being a fashion student. Thrifting is a good way to find
new things and start your own trends, even if you spent one dollar on it,” sophomore Communications and Fashion student at St. John’s, Vanessa Clark said. So where can St. John’s students thrift and find the best affordable looks? Outside of thrifting hubs Manhattan and Brooklyn, there are great places here in Queens, not far from campus. The Salvation Army Family Store can be found in many areas and there is one near Jamaica Ave. The employees at the Salvation Army in Jamaica are kind, helpful and want customers to find what they are looking for. There are many hidden treasures, and though it can be overwhelming, it is helpful to go through the store by sections such as: Denim, coats, accessories, shoes and tops. Going by sections is helpful in any thrift store. Pro tip: Every Wednesday, all items are half priced. There is another place about a block away from the Salvation Army called Dressed for Less, which has piles of den-
im from Express and many other pieces from brands such as Puma x Fenty. When searching, keep in mind the condition of the clothes and the tag. The tag gives information on how to care for the item and can also add value to the item. A popular thing to do once a valuable thrifted item is scored, is to either rework it, sell it or do both. Reworking thrifted pieces does not involve the skills of a fashion student or a seamstress, but rather anyone with a vision. It can be as simple as cutting and fraying, or adding a button or two. There are videos tutorials, Pinterest is available for inspiration and catalogues for big name stores to check the trends. One thing to remember about thrifting, whether it is for fun or you’re on a mission to find a particular item, it is okay to walk out empty handed if you’re not truly satisfied. It can be a hit or miss sometimes, but once something worth it is found, the cycle of suspense, Jeans on Display in Dressed for Less in thrill and pride repeats. Jamaica, Queens. TORCH PHOTO/ANNA MCFILLIN
Meet Student ‘Boss’ Jaylin Bolden Dayra Santana
PHOTO COURTESY/JAYLIN BOLDEN ered that her passion for photography could be What does a normal week look like for a something she could build college student with two businesses, eight a business around. When her older sister email accounts, frequent business trips to different cities, a student organization became a makeup artist to run and a full academic course load? at 17, Bolden was always asked to take photographs Busy, to say the least. This is an average week for sophomore of the clients who visited Jaylin Bolden. With a jam-packed calen- their home. After investing in a camdar, Bolden has had to sacrifice free time and sleep in the process of establishing era, some studio lights herself as a serious entrepreneur at the and backdrops, Bolden and her sister created a age of 19. Bolden, a Washington D.C. native, has makeover and photoshoot been supporting herself financially since business in their basement the age of 16 and has since accumulated and at one point had 20 an impressive list of business ventures in- girls streaming in weekcluding a photography studio, a graphic ly,paying to get pampered and photographed. The design business and event planning. As the president of The Entrepreneur two soon outgrew their Society SJU, or TESS, Bolden also shares basement and invested her experiences with fellow student entre- in a studio space in D.C. preneurs and gives them a space to discuss where their business was their personal strategies and struggles. able to expand. Upon moving to Queens Prior to this interview she held an event with TESS and was preparing to head to to attend St. John’s University and study cyber seAtlanta for business. “I’m not gonna say it’s an easy task, I curity, Bolden hired three do struggle with having a lot with a lot assistants to handle her on my plate. So, my advice to another photography studio back student entrepreneur who has 2 business- home. This has allowed es and is running an org… well, I don’t Bolden to craft her second know if anyone else does that,” Bolden business in online graphic design. laughed. Jaylin Graphics, which Jaylin Bolden started her first business, a photography studio, at age 16. ”But, I always tell people you can’t do Bolden registered as an it by yourself.” current project because, “every day is a I don’t have a drive for it,’ so I think it’s Bolden has a strong support system of LLC, is Bolden’s endeavor as a self-taught very important that we just push each graphics day.” mentors, advisors and assistants behind graphic designer. other,” Bolden said. Every day is indeed a graphics day – “A lot of my clients always ask me, her, a manager who keeps her organized, “Uplifting the next woman, you never with 173 current orders in the past two ‘what classes did you take in college?’ I’m a mother and sister who act as role models know how they can help you in the fumonths, Bolden typically goes to bed and a pastor who she goes to for guidance. like, cyber security is my major, it has ture, you never know how supportive late, wakes up at dawn and blocks off Another key to keeping sane amidst a nothing to do with my businesses, so I they can be,” Bolden continued. “At the time in between classes and on weekends heavy workload and busy professional learned everything off of YouTube. I nevto work on people’s logos, flyers and web- end of the day we’re all females and we er took a photoshop class, never took an and personal life is keeping everything orsites. Business is booming, and Bolden’s are often underestimated. I’ve been unganized, whether that means keeping an illustrator class. YouTube is like my best books are closed for projects until later derestimated by so many people being a agenda book or setting reminders on your friend,” she said. woman of color and just being a woman Bolden offers various services, from this month. phone. According to Bolden, “It’s all “Word of mouth is everything,” Bold- in general, so I always say we have to enevent flyers to a “social media revamp,” about the resources you use around you.” en said, as she is consistently reaching courage each other.” Bolden leaped into creating her own which includes custom Instagram story Bolden has no plans of slowing down. out to small businesses on social media to brand at the age of 16 when she discov- covers, or the “MUA package” which inWith prom season fast approaching, she’ll promote her brand. cludes graph“There’s not many graphic design- be in high demand and picking her camPHOTO COURTESY/INSTAGRAM JAYLINGRAPHICS ics specifically designed ers who are 19 and are charging what I era up again soon. She has plans to raise prices on her graphic design packages, is for makeup charge.” in the midst of planning a Boss Brunch Having been surrounded by other artists and their small young entrepreneurs for years, Bolden week-long retreat and is also in the pronoticed that with so many similar entre- cess of organizing a gala for student entrebusinesses. Building up preneurs in the DMV area, they all look preneurs on campus. With the latter event, Bolden wants to her graphic at each other as competition. “I thought, ‘How can we unite all these make sure that fellow student entrepredesign business has taken females in one environment, so we can neurs are acknowledged and celebrated what Bolden know we’re here to support each other, at St. John’s. “If you want to do something, as long as believes to we’re not here to be competitive and we you have the mindset for it you can do it. be some of have to uplift one another?” From this brainstorm came Bolden’s People always tell me, ‘Jaylin you’re the the most imsold-out “Boss Brunch” events, a stu- jack of all trades, you’re so versatile,’ and portant chardent-entrepreneur networking event for I am — but because I have the mindset acteristics of being a boss young women in the DMV area that en- for it.” For Bolden, there is nothing too far out – passion, courages female empowerment and estabof reach. lishing connections. practice and “If I wanted to go out here and make a These young women are given a space self-sufficiency. Her lap- to market themselves and their businesses cupcake business I could, because I have top accom- through activities such as elevator pitch the mindset to do it, the drive to do it. A panies her challenges that push them out of their lot of people are doing it for money, and e v e r y w h e r e comfort zones and help them to find you really can’t do stuff just for the money,” Bolden said. she goes and common ground with one another. “It comes from your heart as well — if “I’ve met so many girls, even at my Photoshop you don’t have the passion to do it then events, who will say ‘I’m ready to give is typicalJaylin Bolden designed this flyer for her annual “Boss Brunch” event. you shouldn’t be doing it.” up, I don’t have a passion for it anymore, ly open to a
Honoring Powerful Women During Women’s History Month Film festival hosted by UNICEF & Campus Activities in Little Theater Priyanka Gera This past March was Women’s History Month, highlighting the contributions women have made in our society, past and present. On Tuesday, March 26, UNICEF, in collaboration with Campus Activities, organized a film festival to celebrate powerful women. The event lasted from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and featured the films “Mona Lisa Smile” starring Julia Roberts, “Freedom Writers” starring Hilary Swank and “Hidden Figures” starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe. The Pixar short-film “Purl,” directed by Kristen Lester, also made an appearance on the screens in the Little Theatre. The female leaders in these movies truly embodied the spirit of Women’s History Month and proved to be an excellent selection. When I stopped by the Little Theatre, I was greeted at the door by Alex Kaiser, a Graduate Assistant with Campus Activities. She briefed me on the day’s events and offered me popcorn, cupcakes and refreshments. There were Baked By Melissa cupcakes out on the table all day as it is a “certified women’s owned business,” and this event was meant to support and promote successful women, according to Kaiser. There were also posters of Malala Yousafzai, Oprah Winfrey, Emma
Torch Photo/ spencer clinton Torch Photo/ Alex Yem
(Left to right) Amenkha Sembenu, Ariel Metayer and Aminah Usman shared their stories at UNICEF’s Women’s Panel in the Little Theater.
“We wanted the [SJU] community to feel empowered and to gain knowledge in how to become women in entrepreneurship and on how to lift up other women.” Watson and Ellen Degeneres lined along the wall. These women use their platform to fight for what they believe in and to educate people on
current issues that affect women. When asked by the Torch on who the most influential woman in her life is, Kaiser replied, “Ellen [Degeneres] because there
is something about the positivity that she spreads in the world.” On the other hand, Joey Hustins, a student coordinator for Campus Activities, commented “Definitely my mother, she’s taught me everything I know. Also definitely the three amazing women that I work for in Campus Activities — Ebony, Lizzy and Ashli inspire me everyday and I’m so lucky to work with them.” UNICEF also hosted a Q&A panel aimed toward women empowerment moderated by Jade Truehart, UNICEF vice president, and Helga Golemi, UNICEF secretary. In a statement to the Torch, UNICEF said, “We still live in a world where women are not the majority in power and in order to change that narrative, we need to change the social norms that are holding us back by uplifting each other. We wanted the [SJU] community to feel empowered and to gain knowledge in how to become women in entrepreneurship and on how to lift up other women.” This was followed by part two of the “No! Rape Documentary.” The goal was to encourage a discussion around sexual violence and educate students. “I was very happy with the reactions our staff was getting from the students,” Hustins said. “Hopefully that will allow us to put on similar events in the future and we will be able to promote even more for a larger audience altogether.”
Google Announces New Streaming Platform Stadia sparks conversation about a console agnostic world in gaming Anthony Villacreses On Tuesday March 19, Google announced a new product at the Gamers Developers Conference, “Stadia,” that would compete closely with Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. Their recent approach to entering the gaming market is to allow gamers to be able to seamlessly switch between a smartphone, tablet, computer and television screen with just a remote controller — no console needed. Google Stadia is a streaming platform that provides many of the qualities that are important to consumers — the feeling of being connected to other players and having an enjoyable gaming experience. When I watched Google’s presentation of Stadia, I can say that I was very psyched to see Google’s push for this “console agnostic” future in the world of gaming. Seeing “Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey” maintain the graphics and frame rates across different devices so fluidly and intuitively only made me excited as a consumer to finally see such a product close to being released to the public. The talks of pushing for cloud gaming has been a topic for some time now in the gaming community, especially with Microsoft said to be developing their own gaming cloud service, “XCloud.” However, it is one thing to hear of such projects being a work-in-progress and another thing to see a functioning game streaming service.
What is also fascinating about this “NetPhoto Courtesy/ Youtube GameSpot Trailers flix-like” streaming of games is that Stadia will allow gamers to have instant access to games that come out by allowing a “play” feature on YouTube to instantly enter the gaming experience. Gamers will no longer have to wait for a game to finish downloading –– in comparison to consoles –– which only makes playing more enjoyable and convenient. This is a major asset for the future of gaming, given that games will only get more graphically intensive and will need the performance to deliver high-quality games which Stadia can provide, while consoles, not so much. There is a lot to enjoy with what Google is introducing in the gaming market and time will tell just how immersed this new mode of gaming will become. Though the pricing of Stadia wasn’t mentioned, that there is no longer a console purchase necessary, the price can be expected to be lower than previously seen for higher-end consoles. A console agnostic future is in our midst, and I think that this can certain- Google launched its newest product, “Stadia,” a streaming platform withly be a step in the right direction for the out a console. future of gaming.
Now Streaming: “The Legend of Cocaine Island” Shaolin Barid The Netflix original documentary, “The Legend of Cocaine Island,” which aired last Friday, March 29, tells of a true wild west story that emerged in a 15-20 year old tale of buried treasure in the island of Culebra in Puerto Rico, estimated to be worth about two million dollars. With a fascinating edit to recreate the entire story, director Theo Love made sure to bring the bizarre events to his viewers with unique angles and film-like sequences. Rodney Hyden, one of the many American citizens who suffered from the effects of the 2008 recession and the protagonist of this documentary, had no previous drug-dealing experience, or even barely any drug-taking experience. His determination to regain his previous lavish lifestyle caused him to organize a group of young men, who are familiar to the drug-dealing scene — resulting in two failed missions to find the buried treasure. However, the third mission was then ex-
ecuted by a drug-lord, who was actually an undercover investigator and made a deal with Hyden, later having him arrested for the intention of distributing cocaine. Hyden, being a näive factor in the heist and a first time offender, was luckily left off with only 60 days in prison, 20 years probation and mandatory community service with Habitat for Humanity for five years. This documentary had just the right amount of everything: Film-like produced visuals, impeccable storytelling with multiple point of views and a suspenseful soundtrack to tie the whole story together. Hyden’s story perfectly captures the American desire for wealth and using risky measures just to cross the bridge over to a higher economic bracket in America. Looking past Love’s riveting shots of bar scenes, marching band routines, aesthetically pleasing overhead shots of the state and even an explicit turtle sex scene, viewers are left wondering if they would make similar irrational decisions as this ordinary man in cases of desperate times.
Rodney Hyden stars in the Netflix original documentary, “The Legend of Cocaine Island,” which highlights his journey to find buried treasure in Puerto Rico. Photos Courtesy/ Youtube Netflix
“Broad City:” Goodbye to One of TV’s Best Friendships Samantha DeNinno
seasons that aired on Comedy Central, there is an undeniable magnetic grassroots quality and confidence to the series that had to have originated with the web series. Despite a roster of guest stars that include Hillary Clinton, RuPaul, Tracee Ellis Ross, Amy Sedaris, Seth Rogen, Kelly Ripa, Shania Twain and many many more, “Broad City” appears as if it’s shot and edited personally and authentically –– aside from some psychedelic drug-induced animation sprinkled in of course. This authentic allure is the co-dependent-to-a-fault friendship of Abbi and Ilana. Both Jewish millennial women –– one native to Philadelphia and one native to Long Island –– they are unapologetic, loud, caring, uplifting and brass.
Weird and wonderful, they are intimate and platonic soulmates, always there before, during and after any romantic flings that may occur on the side. “Broad City,” reflective of “I also have some business with the bank. I’d like to cash the relationship between creators Jacobson and Glazer, is at these nickels and I’ll have them in quarters, please. Thank its heart a love letter to finding your person –– and repeatedyou so much,” smiled Ilana Wexler, maniacally played by ly complimenting them on their butt. Ilana Glazer, in season one, episode nine of Comedy CenThe final episode saw the end of a season that reckoned tral’s “Broad City.” with the endless cycle of “juvenile” shenanigans and the Ilana Wexler and Abbi Abrams (played by Abbi Jacobson) beginning of Abbi’s thirties. With Abbi deciding to leave first bounded onto audience’s screens in the 2009-2011 web the city to attend an artist’s residency in Boulder, Colorado series of the same name, produced independently by Jacoband Ilana committed to attend graduate school to become son and Glazer. The show was eventually picked up for its a therapist in NYC, they begin to understand that in order first season on Comedy Central in 2014 and ran for five to grow, they must separate. As they spend their last day toseasons until its final episode aired this March 28. Throughgether lugging a very expensive luxury toilet out its many-yeared run, the series focused Ilana had found on the side of the street, its loving attention on the forever young and Photo Courtesy/ Youtube Rotten Tomatoes TV across the Brooklyn Bridge, they are conrambling duo, Abbi and Ilana, as they attempt fronted with an existence without the other to find their place in New York City as twenand in a rare moment of somberness, the ty-something year old women. show shines. After Jacobson and Glazer decided on their “...This is still going to be the most beauown terms to end the series, you would be tiful, deep, real, cool and hot, meaningful, hard-pressed to look back and not remember important relationship of my life. Really. certain scenes from the series. For a native I’ve never felt so cool –– not as cool as when Long Islander like myself, the New York exI’m with you,” cried Ilana. periences –– and the unabashed look at city As the series closed in its final moments, experiences –– including the utter disgust at the camera tracks away from a separate, yet the idea of going into Penn Station and Ilastill together Abbi and Ilana, and follows na’s very Long Island-esque mother (Susie Esthe conversations of many different duos of sman) who teaches her how to shop for fake every race, gender and creed on the street. bags and bras were highlights. Even when they With this, “Broad City” crafts a beautifully move out of New York, they shine as humid, continuous love letter to all friendships. frizz-endued and pastel-clad potential condo Even the ones where we babble about owners in a senior living community. Musical our co-dependencies and fears while twerknumbers are brilliantly incorporated throughing to Lil Wayne and tripping on molly in out –– including Abbi’s blackout drunk peran alley after you got kicked out because sona Val, a lounge singer and a bank musical you bought your tickets on CraigsList. number found in the episode mentioned at the But that’s the hyperbolic power of “Broad beginning of this piece. City.” As someone who has only watched the four Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer star in season five of Comedy Central’s “Broad City.”
Shamorie Ponds Enters NBA Draft Brendan Myers For the second time in as many years, Shamorie Ponds is putting his name into the NBA Draft. Only this time, the southpaw from Brooklyn made a definitive declaration that his homecoming at St. John’s is over after three years as the face of St. John’s Basketball. Ponds, who announced his decision in a lengthy Instagram post on March 28, will leave St. John’s as the fifth leading scorer in program history, only trailing some of the programs most iconic players such as Chris Mullin, Malik Sealy, D’Angelo Harrison and Felipe Lopez. Compared to those players, Ponds is tied for the highest points per game average with Chris Mullin, with 19.5. “Playing for St. John’s has been nothing less than amazing for me,” Ponds said in the Instagram post. “To RedStorm Nation, I thank y’all each & every night for giving me the confidence to be myself and accept me for who I am thru my highs & lows.” When Ponds talks about the highs and lows, he’s not exaggerating. He was the main architect of the Johnnies, ending an 11-game losing streak last season to begin conference play with an emphatic three-game wining streak to salvage a lost season. Ponds started his week of magic with a 33 point performance at Madison Square Garden to upset then-#5 Duke, only to follow it up with 26 points in a road upset of the top
ranked Villanova Wildcats. As if that wasn’t enough, Ponds also set the Carnesecca Arena single game scoring record with a 44 point outburst against Marquette to give the Johnnies a third straight win. Forget the rest of his strong Red Storm career, that stretch would have probably been enough to have etched his name into St. John’s folklore. The remarkable stretch he put together also moved his name onto a national scale, with the online sports site SB Nation writing an article entitled “How Shamorie Ponds Became the King Of New York.” He saw his draft stock slowly rising, but decided to come back to Queens for his junior season after receiving feedback from scouts. Ponds always had a knack for the big game, as evidenced by a 26 point performance against then-#13 Butler at Carnesecca Arena, which gave Mullin his first signature win. Mullin and his coaching staff didn’t have to wait very long to figure out the fate of their star, but Ponds’ departure leaves a lot more questions than answers. Between Ponds and graduating senior Marvin Clark II, that’s 30 points per game that St. John’s is going to have to make up for. The team is also still unaware of Mustapha Heron’s plans for next season. If Heron leaves, there will be another 15 points to be replaced. This, combined with the departure
TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO
Shamorie Ponds will aim to be the first St. John’s player drafted since 2015.
of the staff’s main recruiter, Matt Abdelmassih leave many questions to be answered: Who will replace Ponds as the team’s main scorer? Will Heron return? What type of assistant do they bring in to replace Abdelmassih —a recruiter or an experienced assistant coach? Ponds became an easy player for St. John’s fans to root for. A hometown kid that seemed hellbent on performing under the bright lights in New York City. A player with
a propensity to come through when the team needed it most. If Ponds were to hear his name called on draft night, he would be the first Red Storm player under Mullin to be drafted, and the first for the program since the Cleveland Cavaliers took Sir’Dominic Pointer in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft. St. John’s hasn’t seen a first round pick since Moe Harkless was taken 15th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2011.
Abdelmassih Takes Nebraska Job John Cavanagh As if losing star point guard Shamorie Ponds wasn’t enough, St. John’s has been dealt another blow since their off-season began just two weeks ago. Assistant Coach Matt Abdelmassih has left Chris Mullin’s staff to join new Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Fred Hoiberg. Hoiberg, the former head coach of the Chicago Bulls, is a known friend of Abdelmassih. The two were previously paired for five years when Hoiberg was the head coach for Iowa State from 2010 to 2015. Abdelmassih’s absence will be a huge role to fill. He was the main recruiter for St. John’s over the past four years and was crucial in landing key transfers and recruits that propelled the Red Storm to the NCAA Tournament this past season. The Johnnies increased their win total under Mullin every season, in part to the influx of talent recruited by Abdelmassih. The most notable transfers he landed were Marvin Clark II, Justin Simon and Mustapha Heron. His strategy of recruiting transfers helped build St. John’s and bring in players from big time programs such as Michigan State (Clark II) and the University of Arizona (Simon) that helped establish a strong culture at St. John’s. Abdelmassih is looking forward to being paired with Hoiberg again, and said that he also looks forward to moving with his wife closer to home. But, he also reminisced about his time in Queens in a statement he released on Twitter Monday afternoon.
“St. John’s has been in my life since I was a kid as a fan,” he said. “I am a proud graduate of 2007 and a proud former manager. To be able to get that call from Chris Mullin four years ago was a dream come true and one that I’ll forever be grateful for and indebted to him for trusting and believing in me.” Abdelmassih told the Torch in 2017 that he was a proud St. John’s alumnus who took the job of trying to rebuild St. John’s very seriously. Mike Cragg just finished his first basketball season as athletic director, and will already have his hands full. The former Duke Athletics senior administrator will be tasked with improving a program that has been largely underwhelming for many years, and adding a new recruiter should be atop his list. The good news is, he is likely prepared to do so. According to the New York Post, the move didn’t catch St. John’s off guard and there is already a short list of replacements. Former Fordham and Hofstra coach Tom Pecora, San Francisco Associate Head Coach Derrick Phelps, Western Kentucky Assistant Coach Mark Hsu and Minnesota Timberwolves Assistant Coach Ed Pinckney have all been noted as potential replacements. With spring already approaching, the sooner Abdelmassih’s role is filled, the better. The Big East is expected to make a big jump, and it could leave St. John’s behind. Also, a tougher non-conference schedule is likely, and the Red Storm can ill afford to take a step back.
Karolina Cieslar Captures National Championship Sean Okula Athletes, human as they are, tend to deflect credit. It’s friends or faith or instruction or intangible persistence, but if anything, assigning it is an imperfect science. Karolina Cieslar, a national champion, says she got lucky. She won the women’s saber title narrowly but convincingly, never trailing in the decisive match. Twenty nationally-qualifying competitors failed to post better round robin victory and touch totals, missing out on a final four bracket she’d eventually claim. This, all after finishing first out of forty at the regional competition two weeks earlier. Luck, with a dash of remarkable talent, remains undefeated. Cieslar stood tall at the NCAA Fencing Championships in Cleveland, the first ever from St. John’s to stand at the top of the podium for women’s saber. Thirteen years and 4,500 miles from where she started, the Polish native avenged the disappointment of a year ago, when she missed the semifinal bout by one win. The Torch caught up with her after she returned to Queens. She talked about the trials of the competition, the thrill of victory, and some good fortune along the way. TORCH: When you’re standing there, trophy in hand with the other competitors around you, does that feel like the culmination of [13 years] of work? CIESLAR: Yeah, I think so. Because, there aren’t a lot of moments where you can actually win, like be a champion. I mean, I’ve been on [the podium] a lot of times, but not many times as the winner. So, yeah, it was amazing. T: Did you realize what had happened in the moment?
PHOTO COURTESY/ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS
Karolina Cieslar brought home a National Championship for the Women’s Fencing team.
C: No (laughs). I think I’m just realizing. Honestly, I realized when we were on the bus going back, and I had, like, a hundred messages from everyone congratulating me. People who I don’t even know, knowing that I won the competition. That was when I realized that I made a little history. T: Was your family at the competition? C: No, no. T: Did you contact them immediately after, or were they watching? C: They actually knew. I honestly didn’t even tell them I was going to the competition, so I didn’t know if they knew I was in the competition. But then after they all sent me congratulations, so I think they were watching.
T: Right. What do you think put you over the edge this year? C: Luck. Honestly. This competition is all about luck. I won seven bouts [by a score of ] 5-4. By one touch. If I lost any of those bouts, I wouldn’t make it to the top four. I think it’s just luck. T: At what point did you have a moment of realization, like “I can beat anyone here, I’m right on par with them.” Did you have a moment like that? C: Yeah, each of those years I felt like I could be on top. But it’s just luck. Sometimes you have luck, sometimes not. The first [year], I wasn’t ready for it, I don’t think. It’s crazy. This competition is different from every other competition. It’s a mental game.
T: What makes it different? C: It’s only five-touch bouts. Before the top four, it’s only five-touch. You can beat anyone, and you can lose to anyone. It’s a lottery. You can’t get upset at any point. Like, I lost four bouts in my first round. I lost four and won three. I was really upset, like “oh my god, I probably won’t make it [out of round-robin play].” But then I just kept going. [Coach] Yury was telling me, “at this point, you fence for the team. Don’t fence for yourself, fence for the team. Don’t try to make it to the top four, just do your best to win as many bouts as you can to get points for the team.” T: Your last bout against Zara Moss from Penn State was back-and-forth, it was 15-13. Are you noticing your opponents tendencies and adjusting in a bout like that or do you just keep attacking? C: You just keep going. I think I was in control of that bout. It was very close, but I don’t think there was any point where I was down. Either I was leading or it was [tied]. I think I was in control the whole time. T: Have you thought about any international competitions, or even the Olympics? What’s the process for qualifying? C: I mean, I always wanted it...it’s mostly financial, and also I wouldn’t really have time. World [competitions] are, first of all, very expensive, and they take a lot of time. It’s very hard to do it and go to school and get good grades and have the financial ability to travel all over the world so many times per year. T: But it’s been a dream of yours? C: Yeah, obviously. I feel like everyone who goes into sports and does it for such a long time dreams about the Olympics. But at this point, I think I have to be more rational.
Baseball Continues Hot Streak With 10 Wins in Last 11 Sydney Denham The St. John’s University Baseball team’s seven-game win streak came to an end on March 27 with a loss at Alumni Baseball Diamond in Connecticut versus Fairfield University. Although they had the one setback, the Johnnies took three wins following that loss. Wednesday’s game against Fairfield was a close one for the Red Storm. They held the lead throughout the game, yet allowed the Stags to get ahead in the bottom of the ninth. Sean McGeehan continued his stellar batting performance when he reached a career-high four hits during this game en route to a 4-3 victoroy for Fairfield. Junior Mike Antico and freshman Colin Wetterau also showed their strong offense. Both players recorded multi-hit outings. Antico went 2-for-4 with a run score while Wetterau also advanced 2-for-4, one-RBI performance. Led by an outstanding performance fromjunior pitcher Joe LaSorsa’s, St. John’s rebounded with a win against Saint Louis the following Friday. LaSorsa carried St. John’s to the seventh inning, letting up just two runs and four hits. He struck out eight players, a new career high, and let up one walk from the mound.
The left-handed pitcher has only let up one earned run in his past four appearances, a period of 26.2 innings. Joe Kelly took over the mound after LaSorsa and retired the six Billiken batters he faced. The Red Storm saw 11 hits during this game against St. Louis — many players had multi-hit outings. Markey went 2-for-4 with two RBIs while Carson Bartels 2-for-5 with one RBI and a scored run. Brandon Miller pushed in a run during his 2-for-3 performance, while Peter Abinanti displayed two sacrifices. Mascarella and Ryan Hogan also doubled and scored runs against the Billikens. Although the Billikens took advantage of the Johnnie’s two errors, St. John’s still came out of this game with a win with a final score of 6-2. St. John’s last game in the series against Saint Louis led to another win of 16-3. With a pitch count of 87, Mooney let up just one run and five hits for the Billikens. Gavin Hollowell recovered his place on the mound and allowed only two runners to cross home during his performance in the seventh inning. The Johnnies came out of this game with 16 hits. Mascarella went 3-for-5 with one RBI, while Hogan went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. As the top offensive performers, each
TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO
Rudy Aguilar (left) has only committed one error in 22 starts so far this season.
scored runs — Mascarella with two and Hogan with one. The fourth inning brought four Johnnies home which allowed them to secure a lead of 5-0. The eighth inning was a strong one for St. John’s offense. The players scored runs eight times during the frame. During this inning the Johnnies had seven hits, which included stellar performances by Chris Stefl, Bartels, Mascarella, Markey, Andrew Dupont, Hogan and Abinanti. Chris Stefl had a double, two-run RBI during his only at-bat.
After a strong inning at bat, the Johnnies found them with this 16-3 lead at the end of the game, securing a sweep over Saint Louis. Wiith another victory today against the St. Peter’s Peacocks, the Johnnies now sit with an overall record of 13-10. The Johnnies face Columbia tomorrow at Jack Kasier Stadium and then open up Big East play with a trip out to Indiana to play Butler, who currently own a 16-10 record. The Red Storm have now won 10 of their last 11 games.
SPORTS April 3, 2019 | VOLUME 96, ISSUE 17
TORCH PHOTO&DESIGN/AMANDA NEGRETTI
SEE the STORY ON PAGE 14
Shamorie Ponds declares for NBA Draft