VOL 96 : 04 september 26, 2018 torchonline.com
The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. Johnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s University
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ICE NOT WELCOME INSIDE THE ISSUE
SJU to remain open on Columbus Day page 4
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NEWS story page 3 sTUDENT REACTIONS PAGE 10
GOV'T AGENCY SKIPS CAREER FAIR AMID TALK OF PROTEST Dribble for the Cure raises thousands for pediatric cancer research
SGI Hosts General Assembly Meeting, Votes on Budget Students also addressed concerns about residence halls, health Alexis Gaskin SGI Inc. held its general assembly meeting on Monday. THe second gathering of the school year featured the swearing in of the new Sophomore Senator and another votes submitted by the representatives on budgets and new representatives. The meeting was conducted by SGI President Atem Tazi and the other members of the Executive Board, who all ran on the P.L.U.G ticket last year. At the start of the meeting, a Century Hall student discussed what she described as a “mold issue” in the residence building. After the unidentified student asked what was being done, Frank Pepe, Chair of the Research and Development Committee and Chair of Student Services Torrent Cannon said a meeting was in the works at the request of Facilities to discuss the situation. Tazi then discussed the decision to form a new committee for Student Member of of the Board.
The SMOB committee would consider have a student member on the student affairs committee. This Ad Hoc committee is still in the works according to Tazi and they are looking for SGI members to join. In terms of upcoming events for students, the first Organization congress is being planned for Oct. 11. The Organization Congress features executive board members from each organization on campus to discuss different plans for the year. Hannah Sesay was sworn in as the new Sophomore Senator, completing the Executive Board. Sesay previously ran for the position on her own ticket last year and is replacing the P.L.U.G. ticket candidate Amel Viaud, who resigned from her position. A new addition to the calendar of events for SGI this year is the Common Social Hour, where students will have a chance to talk to SGI members in a “social manner” according
PHOTO OF THE WEEK TORCH PHOTO/ZOE GOLDEN-JOHNSON
to Senior Senator Noel Ball. The first social hour will be this Thursday and will be held monthly. The budgets for all organizations for upcoming events were approved by the voting members of SGI. Budgets that were approved included the African Student Association’s annual “Rep Ya Flag BBQ” and The Entrepreneur Society of St. John’s “Grow and Glow Vision Board Party” for $97. New student representatives were voted in by the current SGI representatives. Voting members consist of two individuals from each college from each year. Representatives voted in included Senior Kendall Clark of St. John’s College and Sophomore Nitin Basra of the Tobin College of Business. Other members who could have been voted in as representatives did not show up to the meeting. The Sustainability Committee had new initiatives that were shared with the members.
Catholic Scholars Program Fund Breaks $1 Million Jillian Ortiz
Edward T. Chukwura, member of the African Students Association, during Tuesday night’s Latin America Roots from the Motherland event in Marillac Terrace.
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Ideas from the committee included alternatives for plastic bags and Dasani water bottles on campus. The committee is also in the works to get Bent Hall LEED certified since it is currently not a sustainable building. Two new committees have been formed under SGI, the Equity and Organizations Review Committees. SGI also voted on a new structure to the Power to Organize section of the constitution, implementing different levels of support from SGI. Anyone interested in starting an organization must attend one of the three informational meetings. They will all be held on Oct. 1 in DAC 206 at common hour, Oct. 3 in DAC 306 at 10 AM or Oct. 4 in DAC 206 at 5 PM. Applications open Oct. 5 and close two weeks later. SGI holds its meetings every other Monday. The next meeting will take place next month on Oct. 8 at 5 pm in DAC 128.
At a recent fundraiser for the Pamela Shea-Byrnes Catholic Scholars Endowed Scholarship Fund, a milestone was reached. The dinner that followed the mass portion of the event helped push the total amount of funds past the $1 million mark, bringing the total amount of the scholarship fund to $1,052,000, according to the University website. More than $222,000 was raised for the program, made possible by the more than 200 attendees who gathered in Taffner Field House on Saturday, Sept. 8. The purpose of the dinner was to honor the late Dr. Shea-Byrnes, who played an integral role in the execution of the Catholic Scholars program at St. John’s. “We just welcomed our seventh cohort with the incoming freshmen this year and so the fact that the program was able to garner this much support and expand in the way it has is truly amazing,” sophomore Renate Kurth said. The program has welcomed numerous first-time freshmen at the onset of each school year, allotting each scholar a scholarship of $5,000 for each of their four years of schooling. According to the University website, applicants, “[must] demonstrate a commitment to living the Catholic Tradition through leadership and excellence.” Dr. Shea-Byrnes was renowned in the St. John’s community as having been an embodiment of Vincentian values. Aside from being a professor, she was actively involved in Campus Ministry, President’s Society, St. John’s Bread and Life and obviously the
creation of the Catholic Scholars program. She passed away on Dec. 24, 2013 due to complications from pneumonia, according to the University website. The success of this year’s fundraiser allows for even more students to not only attend St. John’s, but to partake in a program devoted to “[translating] faith into action.” “The contributions will allow more students the opportunity to be a part of a program dedicated to not only helping students grow as Catholic leaders, but also inspiring them to take their faith into action through service and in their careers in life,” Kurth said. The Catholic Scholars program aims to create leaders that transcend beyond the St. John’s community. ‘St. John’s continues to develop students to be lifelong leaders in the Church and their communities,’ James R. Walters, Ed.D., director of the Catholic Scholars program and Residence Ministry said. “Our motto is ‘we are the light of the world,’ and to know that even after we all graduate other students will be afforded the opportunity to shine their own light is truly heartwarming,” sophomore Grace Pigott said. The Pamela Shea-Byrnes Catholic Scholars Fund had accumulated $500,364 by 2016, according to a Letter from the University President, Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw in January of that year. Within a two-year time span, the fund has nearly doubled it’s cumulative total. “I’m so grateful to everyone who donated to the program and I hope they know how many lives they’ve changed through their generosity,” Pigott said.
ICE A No-Show At Annual Career Fair Last Week Derrell J. Bouknight Amid an uproar on social media by some students and faculty about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s involvement in the annual Career Fair last week, the University announced moments before the fair that ICE would no longer be present. ICE decided not to come to campus due to “unforeseen circumstances,” according to a St. John’s spokesperson. ICE did not respond to a request for comment. On social media student organizations had begun discussing plans for a protest at the Career Fair the night before the Sept. 20 event. A handful of students appeared at Taffner Field House with signs, even after it was learned ICE was not coming after all. Brian Browne, a spokesperson for the school, said St. John’s understands the seriousness of the political rhetoric surrounding immigration. He said it was important to involve ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection — which did show — for the benefit of students looking for work in those fields. “As we have for 148 years, St. John’s continues to embrace our founding mission to be a place for immigrants and their children to attain a quality education,” Browne said in the statement. “This mission helps to shape our values and strategic priorities.” The announcement regarding ICE’s decision to not appear came following a night of concern and debate among multicultural student organizations over ICE’s participation in the Career Fair, which hosted more than 100 employers from around the country. Campus organizations such as Students of Consciousness were against ICE coming to St. John’s. “This is a clear contradiction of St. John’s ‘values,” SOC said on Twitter. “On 9/6/17 St. John’s created a program for DACA students to assist them in their particular needs. A week before the ‘Inclusivity’ Resource Center opens, this same institution plans to have ICE at its Career Fair tomorrow.” Only a few students protested and held signs, that said, “St. John’s is complicit in the abuse of and family separation at the border,”
and “St. John’s profits off diversity then invites ICE and [Border Patrol] to campus.” While the University acknowledged the worries that many students had regarding ICE’s presence on campus, they also encouraged a dialogue to discern ways in which better consideration can be paid to issues pertaining to immigration. “We understand the concerns expressed by some students with regard to ICE, and the request by some students not to allow their participation in the University’s Career Fair,” Browne said in the statement. “These concerns are important to us and we consider them as we move towards our commitment to the strategic priority to ensure student success.” Tensions grew over the summer when ICE — a group that focuses on enforcing border patrol, customs, trade and immigration laws to promote public safety — and President Trump’s administration enforced tougher rules on immigrant families. Images of families with children being separated at the border and domestically created a stir. A recent case from Queens involved Pablo Villavicencio, a pizza delivery man who was detained by ICE after delivering food to an Army base in Brooklyn. According to the Queens Chronicle, Villavicencio, an undocumented Ecuadorian immigrant who worked at a College Point pizzeria, was unable to present a valid driver’s license, and a background check revealed an active deportation warrant. Villavicencio was separated from his wife and two young daughters while being held by ICE at a detention center in New Jersey. He was eventually granted a stay by a judge and reunited with his family. One student who attended the Career Fair, who spoke to the Torch on the condition of anonymity due to fear of retribution, said she understood the concern that students had regarding ICE coming to campus. But she thought ICE coming to campus could have been a positive development. Perhaps, she said, students from a diverse campus could have landed employment with ICE, giving them a potential platform to change
TORCH PHOTO/SPENCER CLINTON
ICE did not attend the Career Fair, but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement did.
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The announcement came after student and faculty backlash
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St. John’s students protest ICE and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
the agency. “I’m not in their shoes where they’re coming after me,” she said, referring to minority students’ fear of ICE. “So I understand why people would be upset. But at the same time, they’re coming here to recruit people who are from a diverse campus who want the same thing as the people who are so upset right now. “I don’t think that they are going to abolish [ICE],” the student continued. “I think the best way to enact change is for them to go ahead and get jobs with ICE and try to change it from the inside, because that’s the best way to go about it.” The student, a junior, said that one of her friends is a homeland security major who was disappointed that ICE did not show up to the Career Fair, and that many other students probably lost an opportunity to build connections. In its statement, the University attempted to relate to students who found themselves in similar situations, especially those whose studies focus in areas of criminal justice. “For students in these majors, this may involve employment by several federal agencies including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” the statement read. “It would not serve our priority of ensuring student success if we inhibit the ability of these students to pursue relevant career opportunities. Students studying at St. John’s today may someday become a force for meaningful and comprehensive immigration reform within ICE.” Hunter Seldon, a sophomore who also attended the event, emerged from the crowd at Taffner Field House wearing all black. Her wardrobe choice was one she purposefully chose in order to protest, which some students did in front of the building. Seldon said that the University’s decision to invite ICE to campus in the first place goes against what it stands for, especially one that promotes diversity and is open to students of a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. “When I heard they were coming, I was upset,” Seldon said. “For a school that promotes diversity and being open to everybody…it was just like a slap in the face. What do we really stand for at this school? I didn’t like it.” When asked if St. John’s should continue to invite groups such as ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to campus for
further events, she responded sharply and disapproved of the idea. “Not at all,” she said. In speaking of the global and culturally diverse mission that the school prides itself and was founded on, the statement released by the University mentioned how it strives to achieve academic excellence from students of all backgrounds. “Our commitment to student success embraces our students across all majors and includes ensuring professional opportunities in their respective fields of study,” the University said. “We support efforts to voice concerns about ICE policies and practices, and we are willing to discuss ways that we may partner with our students to be able to bring greater attention and education to these issues.” Jeremy V. Cruz, an assistant professor of theology and religious studies, posted on Twitter that he was “praying over our obligations to one another…as humans, U.S. co-residents” and members of the St. John’s community. He also linked a statement from Leaders in Catholic Higher Education, one that St. John’s President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw signed onto. It opens with how students from diverse economic and ethnic backgrounds and those “on society’s margins” are welcomed, while restating that the legacy will carry on for years to come. “These students have met the criteria of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, issued in 2012,” the letter said. “We, the undersigned presidents of Catholic colleges and universities, express hope that the students in our communities who have qualified for DACA are able to continue their studies without interruption and that many more students in their situation will be welcome to contribute their talents to our campuses.” The anonymous student, who said that she understood why students were upset but wished that ICE could have attended the Career Fair, ended by saying that there is more that can be done to bring about positive change to ICE and its priorities. “I just think that’s the best way to do it, try to change it from the inside,” she said. “I don’t think trying to get rid of it or stop them from coming to school is going to get the changes they want.”
SJU Won’t Close On Columbus Day This Year University says Academic Center for Equity and Inclusion opening is just a coincidence Angelica Acevedo When St. John’s University released the calendar for the 2018-19 academic year, a slight change in the holiday schedule was easy to miss. For the first time in recent memory, the University will be open on Columbus Day and closed on Veteran’s Day. Not only will the school be business as usual, it also will be a historic day. The new Academic Center for Equity and Inclusion (ACEI) will open on Columbus Day, chief diversity officer Nada Llewellyn announced before hundreds at the State of the University Address this month. Although some may assume that this was St. John’s way of choosing to no longer recognize Columbus Day as a holiday, University spokesperson Brian Browne said this is not the case. For example, he said the University will still participate in the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan. Most universities in the metropolitan area are closed on Columbus Day. But several schools, cities and even states across the country no longer celebrate the holiday, citing evidence that questions Christopher Columbus’ place in history. Last year, various student organizations — including Social Justice Exchange, Feministe Unite, Students of Consciousness and the Latin American Student Organization — called for the University to instead recognize Indigenous People’s Day. This year, the sentiment continues, especially among student organizations that represent the Latin and Indigenous communities. In a statement to the Torch, the Latino fraternity, Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Inc., said that, “The University should use the day to observe and pay respects to the growing movement for replacing Columbus Day with a day that celebrates the Indigenous people of the Americas.” Columbus is most aligned with Italian heritage in America. But Annamaria Basile, the president of the Italian Club, feels a holiday in his name is wrong.
“I disagree wholeheartedly with the Italian-American community about why we should celebrate it,” Basile said. “Just on the basis that Columbus didn’t do anything for the Italian community, he [was] just Italian, but he did this all in the name of Spain.” Basile refers to the growing list of historical evidence that shows that Columbus and the men he brought with him when he accidentally discovered the Caribbean were violent and exploitative. She also is not comfortable with the traditional Columbus Day parade in Manhattan, which PHOTO COURTESY/ST. JOHN’S UNIVERSITY the Italian Club and other members of the St. John’s University students and faculty participating in last year’s Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan. St. John’s community of the world and we all have been given the from weighing in on the debate. He said the have participated in during previous years. same opportunities to succeed.” decision to keep the school open was strictly Basille said that this year, she wasn’t enSacca, who is from Italy, said that although a calendar issue. couraging her members to go and miss class“it would have been easy” to complain about “With a limited number of days on the Aces. the school not honoring Columbus Day, she ademic Calendar that may be taken as hol“We do things with other orgs whose … cited the controversial history surrounding idays, the University will observe Veterans communities [were] harmed by Columbus, the figure as the reason that she doesn’t see Day on Monday, November 12 this year,” so what kind of message does that send from an issue with this new change. Browne said. us?” she said. “Like are we really an ally if “If we look at what the British and French He encouraged people to visit the acawe’re allowing ourselves to continue particidid to the American Indians, I see no differ- demic calendar on the University’s website, pating in this harmful figure?” ence with what happened to the Indigenous which was set by the Calendar Committee Annalisa Sacca, professor of Italian and the people of Hispaniola,” she said. “The world comprised of administrators, faculty, and advisor for the Italian Club, said in a statehas always had its wars and violence, and students. ment to the Torch that she is fine with the what is history if not a long list of conquests A 2019 holiday schedule posted on the University remaining open on Columbus and defeats. We cannot judge if he was better university’s human resources website says Day. or worse than others, but certainly power is the school’s administrative offices will also “I believe we should make this day ‘the a very tempting lady and Columbus was a remain open on Columbus Day next year, Migrant’s day.’ This is a land of migrants,” human being like everyone else.” as well. she said, “We all came from some other part A University spokesperson steered clear
Law School Hosts Discussion on U.S. Immigration Policy Maher S. Maher In an effort to examine executive immigration policy, dozens of St. John’s Law students gathered for an event sponsored by the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and the Coalition for Social Justice. The Thursday evening at the Mattone Family Atrium at St. John’s Law School began with a traditional set of speakers. Dean Michael Simmons, associate professors Jennifer Baum and Sheldon A. Evans all spoke, followed by a unique speech from 2L student Barbara Irala detailing her work with immigration attorneys. Some faculty members, administrators and alumni were present but the attending group mostly consisted of law students. After speeches, students were designated to certain meeting rooms to welcome, share and consider what the program described as “diverse perspectives on family separation, and related government and citizen action.” These break-out group discussions includ-
ed insight by present “discussion facilitators” as well as law professors. Students also discussed experiences with immigration, both within their families and from those they’ve met. Simons described the idea for a law dialogue regarding social justice emerging immediately after the nationwide reaction to a late-2014 grand jury’s decision to not indict the white Ferguson, Missouri officer Darren Wilson, who had shot unarmed black man, Michael Brown. According to Simons, the idea had “bubbled up in the law school,” resulting in a dialogue meeting in early 2015. The Coalition had formed after that meeting and has been a part of the law school community since then. All three faculty speakers explored the legal policy of the Trump administration’s immigration policy. Baum highlighted that the separation and detention of children in sub-par detention centers while separated from their families
comes from the administration and Justice Department leaving a huge break in procedure. She went on to explain that the law only dictates that children are to be held for 20 days under certain conditions while they are waiting to reunite with their family at the border for deportation. Most immigration cases take months or even years with children being stuck in limbo. Professor Evans goes on to describe what the mentality of migrants are, along with the international community’s criticism of the United States, “this one is intended to sting a little bit: even the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that this policy was complete maliciousness.” Evans indicated that the appointment of a new Attorney General (who had immense discretion on US immigration policy) was also largely to blame for the detention of thousands of migrant children. Irala gave horrific accounts of being an im-
migration law attorney working in horrific settings because they kept seeing the kids in pain, repeated emphasising that every case they dealt with was extremely similar. “I’ve watched seasoned attorneys choke back tears when they talk to these kids. I saw newer attorneys break down,” Irala said. Irala subsequently explained that many of these children are not told where their parents are and vice versa. In a case that she had worked on, she detailed how a government-issued caseworker had told a child that their parent had been deported but that child’s attorney later found her at a detention center awaiting a deportation hearing. This event was also co-sponsored by the Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution, the Latin American Law Students Association, the Public Interest Center, the Immigration Law Society, the International Law Students Association, the Women's Law Society, the Children's Law Society, and the Journal of Civil Rights & Economic Development.
JOHNNIES AROUND CAMPUS
TORCH Photos/SPENCER CLINTON, GABRIELLA CAMPOS, RACHEL JOHNSON, CECELIA GERMAN, nina procopio
UPCOMING EVENTS: interview workshop
the serious side of food
When: sept 26., 2-3 P.M.
When: sept .26, 6-7 P.M.
When: sept. 26, 7-10 P.M.
Where: tobin 223
Where: st. augustine hall 150
Where: marillac auditorium
seasonal flu shot season
Stories from muslim women
When: sept, 27, 9 a.M.-3 p.m.
When: sept. 27, 12 P.M.
When: sept. 27, 1:50-3:15 P.M.
Where: St. albert hall
Where: great lawn
Where: dac 128
free 3d printing working
haraya 50th a nniversary dinner
men's soccer vs. butler
When: sept. 27, 1:50-3:15 P.M.
When: sept. 29, 6:00 p.m.
When: sept. 29 7:00 P.M.
Where: Marillac 240/241
Where: taffner field house
Where: belson stadium
Flames of the Torch Our Stance on Reporting, ICE & Border Patrol, Columbus Day Managing Board XCVI
Angelica Acevedo, Editor-in-Chief Isabella Bruni, Managing Editor
Amanda Negretti Creative Director Derrell Bouknight News Editor Brendan Myers Sports Editor Beverly Danquah Features Editor Samantha DeNinno Entertainment Editor Beatriz da Costa Opinion Editor Erin Bola Chief Copy Editor
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Cecelia Germain Maher S. Maher Rachel Johnson Dayra Santana Olivia Grondey Nina Procopio Margaret Moore Zoe Golden-Johnson
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About the Torch
Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of the Torch. Columns and other content are the opinions of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of the Torch. Opinions expressed in editorials, columns, letters or cartoons are not necessarily those of the student body, faculty or administration of St. John’s University. All contents are the sole responsibility of the editors and the editorial board and do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, faculty or students of St. John’s University unless specifically stated.
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. The Torch is published on most Wednesdays, with approximately 20 issues throughout the academic year. Copies are distributed for free on campus and through mail subscriptions.
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Every school year, the Torch sends out reporters and photographers to cover breaking news and planned events organized by St. John’s University’s students, administration, faculty and alumni. This can range from but is not limited to talks, presentations, performances and protests. When it comes to private events, Torch reporters and photographers will ask permission to cover them. An event in which students need permission to attend, such as being a member of a group, is private. An event being run by an organization in a reserved, private room in which they can choose who can and cannot attend is private. In both of these cases, the Torch sees it as necessary, transparent and respectful to seek permission to attend. However, events such as protests and demonstrations held in open settings, are not a private event. The nature of a protest is public. Torch reporters will identify themselves when and if they need a comment from a particular person. But they are mostly there to document what happens. This holds true for any protest anywhere in the United States — not just St. John’s. When it comes to photographs at a public event — such as a protest or demonstration — we as student journalists do not need your permission to use the photos on print or online. The photographer will identify themselves after taking photos (if it’s a close up), in order to ask for your full name for a caption. These guidelines are a part of the ethical journalistic standards provided by the Student Press Law Center, Society of Professional Journalists, and many others. We also learn them from our journalism classes at St. John’s. Journalism acts as a snapshot of history that is happening now. If it weren’t for jour-
nalists, events that will matter a week from now, a year from now and 10 years from now, may not be remembered. At the Torch, we do our jobs to the best of our ability in order to represent every side of any issue or event on our pages and in our stories. Should there be any questions regarding our protocol please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions about our photography policy came up after students protested ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Career Fair last week. Many students felt it was inappropriate for the University to invite these organizations to campus after more than once expressing concern and promising safety for undocumented students. St. John’s needs to keep its word in protecting some of our most vulnerable students. Yes, there are students who study subjects like homeland security and criminal justice who may benefit from these organization’s attendance, the school must take all students’ backgrounds into consideration. However, many organizations and activists are looking into possible corruption happening in these organizations, and their treatment of undocumented immigrants. Such a polarizing issue should be handled with better care at SJU. They have taken some actions. SJU will not be closed on Columbus Day Oct. 8, even though they used to recognize it as a holiday. It may be a positive if only in appearance’s sake, as the University says the decision was based solely on calendar machinations. But it still counts for something. Instead, the school will celebrate Veterans Day with a day off, which is a more relevant choice for our ROTC students and veteran students, faculty and alumni.
Trump’s Temper Tantrums Threaten Trade Arturo Enamorado The recent economic tirades by Donald Trump on China are a part of a long list of temper tantrums the President has had regarding the growing Eastern superpower. Starting September 24, the United States will impose a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion Chinese goods before raising the tariff to 25 percent beginning on Jan. 1. In response, China has also imposed another set of tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods. So what does this mean for us? For one, this is certainly a bad move made by an already unstable President. Like him or hate him, the evidence is showing that these outbursts of rage, followed by elementary bullying tactics to gain superiority are not working to his advantage. The recent critiques he received from inside his own cabinet that were exposed in the book, “Fear,” by journalist Bob Woodward. Though, the President has continued to make rally appearances in order to shore up his allies during a heated election year, his grasp of power in the international community is shrinking. This means good news for China, a nation that has been posturing itself to become the dominant Eastern power and
has been muscling its way further into global politics. Spe- by the cheaper production of Chinese goods. While Trump exclaims at rallies that he is going to “Make cifically as Trump’s nationalist rhetoric has killed deals like America Great” by moving industries back to the United the Trans-Pacific Partnership, (TPP), which would have States and painting China as the evil “McCarthy-ian” threat, economically hindered China, as it was not included in this the reality is stark. deal. It becomes a lot more expensive and China being able to make more harmful to the economy to disengage one-sided deals on weaker Asian markets in the globalized market. More so, makes the trade war with the U.S. one Like him or hate him, the the longer the trade war goes on, the of attrition. The Trump administration evidence is showing that more the entire image of the United has also seemed to have miscalculated these outbursts of rage States as a global power looks like the China’s reaction. followed by elementary dying strikes of an old wolf. As in prior weeks, China tried to arbullying tactics to gain It’s clear that Trump knows this range meeting with Secretary of Treasuperiority are not worksury Steven Mnuchin to end the escabut is doubling down due to fear of ing to his advantage. admitting defeat. He’s unlike China lating trade war. However, earlier this in that they don’t have to weather this week China suspended all efforts to seek storm. Due to President Xi Jinping’s constitutional changes a resolution. Normally, the United States could economically shift its to remain in power as long as he likes. In an election year, lost markets to Europe or other Asian markets. However, many GOP supports have started to splinter, as more tax that was only until Trump engaged in trade wars with the dollars are being diverted to aid those affected by the trade E.U., as well as other nations. The result is that American war. Only time can confirm that this might be the biggest farmers and small businesses now face the pressures caused economic disaster in the President’s legacy.
St. John’s Is Skating on Thin ICE
Career fair invitation to controversial agencies sends wrong message to students Beatriz da Costa Following the 2016 Presidential election of Donald Trump, the St. John’s Division of Student Affairs and the Office of Human Resources released a statement that displayed the school’s support for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (DACA) and any undocumented students that are part of the University community. “As a Catholic university, we respect the rights and dignity of every person, including those living without authorization in the United States and students covered by the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy,” the statement said. University president Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw released his own statement in September of last year in response to the White House rescinding DACA. “As a proud immigrant to this country, I am disheartened by some of the political rhetoric and discourse that persists around the ongoing debate for meaningful and comprehensive immigration reform,” he said. President Gempesaw said that he was “disheartened” by the actions of the Trump administration. I think it is fair to say that many individuals that comprise St. John’s student body were “disheartened” last week by the school’s decision to invite (ICE), Immigration Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to the 2018 Career Fair. A school that loves to flaunt, advertise and profit off of its diversity decided to invite agencies, specifically, ICE, that have become notorious for its heartless, dehumanizing and aggressive tactics regarding undocumented citizens of the United States.
TORCH ILLUSTRATION/TAUHID DEWAN
St. John’s University campus depicted on the day ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection were scheduled to appear.
Is St. John’s really a school that appreciates and protects its minority students or is it just benefitting from them and then willing to toss them aside? With this recent action, it certainly seems to me to be the latter. Following the email advertising both ICE’s and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s planned appearance to the career fair, a protest was almost immediately formed by student organizations that felt threatened, and rightfully so, by the agencies. Students were encouraged to wear black clothing as a statement against the agencies’
presence on campus. St. John’s argues that the agencies were invited in order to speak with students whose majors are related to their field. However, given the political climate and the reputation ICE has of ruining the lives of innocent people, it was at best tone-deaf and at worst heartless of the university to invite them. While St. John’s said all the right things following Trump’s election, their actions last week damaged the trust that many students — especially minority students — have in the school. You’re either for us or against us.
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Letter to the Editor: Why ICE on Campus Resonates Professor David Farley
I am writing in response to the University’s recent decision to invite Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to table at the St John’s Career Fair, an invitation that was maintained despite student and faculty objections and demonstrations. Although I am glad to hear that ICE has decided not to attend the fair, I think it is worth reflecting on why this decision has resonated so strongly with so many. As a teacher of First Year Writing at the Institute for Core Studies, I always center my classes around travel and travel writing. It is often that first travel experience that stays with students. It’s a wonderful entry point into larger questions of identity and culture. I ask that students focus particularly on the passport — that government-issued document — as a way of reflecting critically on this sense of identity and the larger structural issues of travel that it reveals. There is always a point during the semester, though, where differences emerge regarding these travel experiences. And it is always students of color (especially Muslim students) who recount instances at checkpoints when they were pulled out of line by TSA or when their luggage was more closely
scrutinized, and so forth. It never fails. We can say that border security is apolitical, that it is colorblind, but this does not change the consistency of these stories or who these security measures impact most directly. Hearing these stories — actually listening to students — you can understand the legitimate complaints they have when they hear that an organization like ICE, which operates with a similar mandate, will be tabling on campus. This issue is personal to me as well. Down where I live, in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, we have had several well-publicized instances where ICE has tried to deport members of our community. One was the story of Joe Chen, a long-time resident of Bay Ridge, congregant of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. He was a husband and father to two small children, and an undocumented immigrant, who was being threatened with deportation during his regular ICE check-in (an absurd ritual that he has dutifully performed for years). The other story, which gained national attention, was that of Pablo Villavicencio, the pizza delivery man who was detained at the Fort Hamilton Army base because he did not have the proper documents. He was turned over to ICE by the Military Police, detained for over a month — a month apart from his
wife and children — and threatened with deportation. The Bay Ridge community came out each time in support of these men. We worked with local churches, social justice organizations, as well as the New Sanctuary Coalition
In these days of walls and bans, what message are we sending students — how are we living up to our mission..?
(NSC) in order to bring attention to these cases. Community members accompanied Joe to his ICE check-in, participated in the “Jericho Walk,” and organized rallies in support of Pablo, working alongside the Legal Aid Society and other organizations. In both cases they were granted a stay and, in Pablo’s case, ordered released from detention. These stories had happy endings. So many more do not. Without such organizing and without the kind of moral leadership that we saw from local residents, churches, religious or-
ganizations and political leaders there would have been two more families separated for reasons that remain difficult to defend. The conversations in my community have now turned to the difficult work of building sanctuaries, even as ICE continues to expand its operations and push its’ mandate. In this light, the student response to the events on campus were heartening to say the least. The freedom and benefits of travel and mobility are key to the St John’s mission and to its identity as a global institution as we see with the premium that we put on Study Abroad, for example. This is because travel brings with it a change in perspective and an increase of knowledge about the world that cannot be obtained through books alone. But as we send students across the globe, we need also to be mindful (and make them mindful if they are not already), of how we are treating and talking about those who come across our borders, whether for opportunity or for refuge. In these days of walls and bans, what message are we sending students? How are we living up to our mission when we point them not towards careers which benefit from travel but careers in which they are being asked to curtail the mobility and freedoms of others?
The Unfair Attack on Julie Chen Why is it that women take the blame for the actions of men? Alexandra Fitzpatrick
Brett Kavanaugh’s Nomination Should Never Have Happened Eduardo Alfonzo
With the rise of the #MeToo movement, stories about men in power harassing and abusing women have been pouring out one after the other. One of the more recent examples are the accusations against former CBS CEO and chairman, Leslie Moonves. In public, Moonves appeared to be in favor of the #MeToo movement—in December of 2017, he helped to create the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace. However, his alleged actions proved to come in direct conflict with his words. Six women have come forward saying that Moonves sexually harassed or assaulted them, within a time period ranging from the late 1980s to the early 2000s. As a result, Moonves was ousted from his position at CBS. Predictably, Moonves has denied the allegations. But he has what many consider to be a most repulsive ally—his wife, Julie Chen. Chen, a former co-host of The Talk and current host of Big Brother (in which she once used her married name), caught a great deal of heat for standing by her husband. The sentiment behind this is somewhat understandable—there’s an idea that if a woman is willing to stand behind a man accused of abusing or harassing other women, then she’s something of a traitor to
PHOTO COURTESY/FLICKR COMMONS USC ANNENBERG
Leslie Moonves and Julie Chen are both in the midst of an intense media circus.
her fellow women. By doing so, the theory goes that she’s choosing to embrace copious amounts of internalized misogyny and ignoring her husband’s ill deeds. When one looks at it this way, it becomes understandable why people are angry at Chen. However, that doesn’t make them right. There’s an unfortunate side effect to condemning women for standing by repulsive, abusive men—we become too caught up in condemning the women and begin to forget that the real abusers are the men. By shifting our focus onto Chen, we forget that it is Moonves who is the alleged abuser, that it is Moonves who supposedly used his power to sexually harass and subsequently derail womens’ careers over a peri-
od upwards of 20 years. It is very easy to forget this when everyone is too busy being angry at Chen for using her married name on Big Brother. Of course, it is incredibly disappointing that Chen, by remaining silent, appears to be excuseing the deplorable actions her husband has allegedly committed. It’s disheartening to think that a woman would choose to stand by a man, even if he is her husband, over standing against the ill treatment of women. However, none of these things are even close to as immoral and disgusting as sexually harassing or assaulting others. It is important that society remembers that before they become so eager to point fingers at Chen over Moonves.
The United States of Abuse Ajifanta Marenah United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 14. “(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries’ asylum from persecution. Human beings have the right to move freely within borders, especially when their lives are threatened.” The United States, under the Trump administration, made it clear not to acknowledge those fundamental rights guaranteed to all humans by introducing a “zero tolerance” policy which allows for the criminal prosecution of families caught crossing the United States-Mexico border. Most of the people that crossed the borders reportedly came with their families. Once they reached the U.S border, border control agents imprisoned the parents under harsh conditions while the children were dehumanized, some placed inside of cages in detention facilities, or scattered around in camps and foster homes located in different states, including New York. Previously, individuals caught crossing the borders are sent back or vetted to see if they qualify for asylum status. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, backing up Trump on the “zero tolerance” policy, declared that they will now prosecute anyone caught crossing the Southwest border. This policy is problematic because the individuals crossing the borders come with their families to escape the overloaded gang violence, domestic abuse, prosecutions,
murders, and drug epidemics that are flooding their countries. They walk miles with hopes that once they set foot across the border, their children can grow up safely. They envision a better situation where they can work hard and earn money to feed their children. Most importantly, they want their kids to receive a good education so they can be successful. After they have completed the long and dreadful journey to reach the border, all those goals of attaining the so called “American dream” are shattered, and locked in shackles.
Human beings have the right to move freely within borders, especially when their lives are threatened.
Personally, it is devastating to read the individual stories of families. As an immigrant who came to this country through political asylum, I understand that there are factors beyond our control that lead to taking such risk in order to feel safe in another country. If these families did not feel threatened in their homelands, then they would not go through all the difficulty to leave everyone they know and have back home to come to a foreign land. The stories of children sep-
arated from their parents for months with no idea if they are alive or dead flooded my timelines and each one I clicked reminded me of my own story. One of the stories that portrays the entirety of this policy as evil, gross, and senseless is the separation of Marco Antonio Muñoz from his family, which ultimately ended in his death. Muñoz crossed the border with his wife and their 3-year-old child. Border patrol agents separated them and took him into custody. Muñoz was later found dead in his cell, and it was ruled a suicide according to the New York Times. It is devastating and I cannot imagine how traumatizing it was for his wife to walk miles looking for protection, just to end up having her sole protector and provider taken away and later find out that he died in a jail cell. The decision to separate families is insensitive to children’s mental and emotional health. Kids as young as four years old are moved away from their families and deprived of the care, love and presence of a parent. There are other ways to secure borders than to put innocent babies through such sufferings and traumatizing them for the rest of their lives. Overall, there is a clear lack of decency and respect for human dignity in this cruel act of tearing families apart. If there is one thing we should value as a nation, it should be family. Donate to provide legal defense funds @raicestexas and @aclu_nationwide.
When Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement earlier this year, President Trump immediately nominated Brett Kavanaugh to fill the seat. “There is no one in America more qualified for this position and no one more deserving,” Trump said about his nomination. There’s just one problem: Kavanaugh isn’t worthy of becoming a Supreme Court justice. While there are no specific qualifications to become a Supreme Court judge, there has to be a line drawn when it comes to filling one of the most important positions in the U.S. government, and Kavanaugh has stepped over that line a couple of times. When he was asked a series of questions by the Senate, he refused to answer some of them, even though they were important and required answers. He was asked if the Constitution would allow Trump the presidential power to stop the Russian collusion and obstruction investigations. He refused to answer the question. Any other Supreme Court nominee would in my opinion, answer the question with a simple no. However, Kavanaugh acted like the question was the most difficult question of his life. Neil Gorsuch, a Supreme Court justice that was chosen by Trump last year, dodged a few questions as well. He did, however, answer some very important questions. For example, if Trump asked him to overturn the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. “No…I would have walked out the door.” Gorsuch said. “That’s not what judges do.” Yet Kavanaugh can’t answer a question about whether he would disqualify himself from cases that involve Trump. This is really frustrating because I believe that a Supreme Court nominee should be honest when it comes to serious questions before filling the seat. Trump probably picked Kavanaugh to do what he wants him to do. Although Gorsuch was also picked by Trump, he at least stands up for himself and calls out Trump when he disagrees with him on matters. Another reason why Kavanaugh shouldn’t be a Supreme Court justice is because the Trump administration and the GOP refuse to release thousands of Kavanaugh related documents to the public. That alone is a warning because the public has the right to see those documents. When a political party decides not to release them before the hearings, you better believe that they know something that they don’t want the public to see. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker knew that this action wasn’t right. So, during the hearing, he released some of the confidential documents, despite being threatened by the GOP for possibly violating Senate rules. Booker didn’t care because he knew that this process was a sham. I believe that the GOP wants to nominate people that only benefit their interests. Kavanaugh is definitely not for the American people.
Meet Anastasia Cunningham, she’s selling sweets in Astoria Anastasia Cunningham is one of St. John’s very own who earned a communication arts degree in an untraditional way and went on to start a specialty business of delicious, sweet treats. Opening Aloria Cakes and Gourmet Sweets Inc. in June of 2015, Cunningham has been featured across various websites including The Knot, HuffPost and weheartastoria.com. She remains a specialty bake shop, as she is a one woman show who bakes, decorates and delivers each cake herself. “Part of what I love about my business is that it is small, there is great attention to detail and everything is baked to order. I would never want to lose that,” she said. Her passion for cake decorating drives her to create anything and everything specialty for weddings, birthdays or any special occasion. Not only can she create delicate art with her icing skills, it also tastes delicious. “I have always loved crafting, making things by hand, and I honestly never thought I would be able to express myself artistically through sugar, but here I am!” According to the testimonies on her website, (http://www.aloriacakesnyc. com), everything she creates is outstanding. “The cake was not only beautiful, but also delicious,” said Maria, a former client who ordered a birthday cake. Starting with Greek cooking and baking at the young age of seven, Cunningham’s then interest in baking that blossomed into a career. “I have always loved to cook and bake, and for years, I baked every Greek confection you can imagine and gave it out to neighbors, friends and family. Once I had
PHOTOS COURTESY/INSTAGRAM ALORIACAKESNYC
The Little Mermaid inspired three-tier cake.
A two-tier ombre rosette birthday cake with a flower.
children, I started making cakes for their birthdays, which got more and more elaborate as time went on,” she said. Her biggest inspiration for all of her baked goods, Cunningham said is her children. “In fact, my business name, ‘Aloria’, is a combination of letters from all of their names.” One could assume that the passion of a baker would be desserts and pastries. For Cunningham, desserts are not her only passion. “My passion is creativity and giving people something that is not only beautiful to look at, but delicious as well.” Whether it’s making a sculpture out of sugar, a figure out of fondant, or any other
creative design made out of sugar, Cunningham will figure it out. “I love what I do, and I hope that comes across,” she said. She is the “Cake Boss” of Astoria, Queens. Cunningham’s communications arts degree helped her to hone her writing skills and taught her about marketing, which continues to help her with the business aspect of running a bakery. “I did find that I was able to use a lot of the information I received while in college to help with the marketing aspect of my business,” she said. Talking about her journey at SJU helps people understand Cunningham’s preserverance when it comes to accomplish-
Cunningham with a cake that she entered into a taste & cake art competition.
ing what she wants. “My journey, [at SJU], was longer than average. I attended SJU for five years, and then left just short of graduating. Years later, I decided to finish what I started.” After earning a degree, Cunningham has marked it as one of her biggest milestones. “Any time I talk about my career and life path, I tell people that I am proof that it is never too late to follow your dream.” Cunningham added that current students should “always do your best, make the most out of what your given and don’t give up, when you find your passion, you have to go for it.”
FDA Approves the First “Spray-on-Skin” Helga Golemi Alright you ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ fans, rejoice in this. Jackson Avery may or may not have unintentionally predicted the future of surgical medicine. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recently approved a new product, called ReCell, designed to treat severe burns to the body all with a single spray. Confused? Let’s start from the beginning. Today, doctors typically treat a severe burn to the body through a skin graft. Skin grafting is a surgical technique that involves transplantation of the skin. The skin can be retrieved either by cutting away one’s own healthy skin to cover the burns or using skin from a donor. Through skin grafting, we oftentimes run the risk of our bodies rejecting the new skin. If we use our own skin, that would simply result in more skin that
needs time to heal. With this new product, we would no longer have to worry about this. So, how does it exactly work? The makers of ReCell, AVITA Medical, describe the process as fairly simple. “ReCell uses a unique combination of enzymes to break down the layers of skin from a piece of tissue, then mix them into a liquid that can be applied to the skin using a low-tech spray syringe,” they said. The solution also contains keratinocytes, fibroblasts and melanocytes, which are all types of cells that are involved in wound healing. Once the burns are coated with the solution, cell replication begins and a new layer of skin forms. The product has been shown to start treating burns in as little as 30 minutes. Because the patient’s own skin is used for this procedure, the risk of rejection is removed by the body and it speeds up
patient recovery time. According to an NBC News article, Dylan Melancon, a 26-year old nursing student, was one of the few patients that tried the experimental ReCell procedure after suffering from serious burns to 34 percent of his body after a motorcycle accident. Generally, if Melancon were to undergo a skin graft transplantation, he would have spent at least two months in the hospital recovering and taking strong narcotics (which are highly addictive painkillers) for the pain. With ReCell, Melancon’s total recovery time was just three and a half weeks, with accounts of extremely minimal pain. Why is this such a breakthrough in medicine? Well, for one, not only does it provide obvious advantages to limit patient pain and speed up recovery time, but utilizing the product would allow doctors to treat
more patients in emergency rooms after mass casualties. “These products are mostly going to be used by hospitals and by physicians to treat patients who are injured in a house fire, or a gas explosion, or a car accident,” says Chris Houchens of the federal government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, which sponsored the development of the product. The product is recommended for use on patients 18 years or older and has not been tested with younger subjects. It has yet to be officially released on the market, but representatives from AVITA Medical anticipate it to be sometime around the end of 2018. Costs are believed to range from $5,000 to $10,000 per unit, with each unit enough to treat 10 percent of a patient’s body.
Students Disagree with ICE’s Career Fair Invite Beverly Danquah When finance student Sam Gonzalez arrived on campus Thursday, he was ready to hit the career fair in hopes of landing an internship and networking to find prospective job opportunities. The commuter student was initially unaware of the uproar over the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) being represented at the fair. He wasn’t surprised to see that students were upset. “I’m an immigrant myself, and I do feel that it may be the university’s intentions weren’t to harm, but they didn’t think about the potential outcome of their actions,” Gonzalez said. “I feel like they did it because there are certain students with certain majors that would like to visit ICE and CBP’s table at the career fair.” A University spokesperson said the invitations weren’t politically motivated, but rather an attempt to expose students to as many potential employers as possible. But students interviewed at the career fair by the Torch expressed concern over the controversy. A few hours prior to the fair, students were notified that ICE would not be in attendance. But the invitation alone stung for some students. Gonzalez called it “wrong school, wrong time.” “This is such a diverse school,” Gonzalez said. “There are immigrants from so many different countries, so I don’t feel like that was right for them to do.” Government and politics student, Clyde Drayton, said he was happy to see that ICE wasn’t in attendance. A university spokesperson said ICE decided not to attend “due to unforeseen circumstances,” and ICE did not respond to a request for comment. “If ICE came, we would definitely be hold-
TORCH DESIGN/AMANDA NEGRETTI TORCH PHOTOS/SPENCER CLINTON
ing a demonstration outside of the building just to let people know what this university has done time and time again,” Drayton said. “For ICE to come and start recruiting at one of the most diverse schools in the country, it’s just inconsiderate and we’ve been through it time and time again. We just want to hold the university accountable at this point.” St. John’s prides itself on the diversity of the student body, but Drayton said: “there was a lot of racial tension on campus last year, and ICE almost coming to the career fair was just incredibly offensive and also considering the things that happened over the summer with ICE detaining and separating families, people dying in ICE custody, all tragic things.” Drayton said he thought it’d be a better idea for the school to provide homeland security majors direct access to ICE recruiters as opposed to exposing the entire student body to the controversial government agency. “In my major, there are Republican and Democratic offices besides the career fair here,” he said. “It’s more direct and we know what they’re getting at instead of having it outside in the open, which could potentially
offend somebody. This could’ve went a different way.” Xenia Diaz, Vice President of Lambda Theta Alpha Sorority Inc., was a part of a number of cultural organizations and their representatives who confronted career services about ICE’s invitation to the fair. “My organization and I voiced our opinions,” Diaz said. “I told them my whole organization and a whole lot of other students felt disrespected, it was good to see so many other organizations come together for a good cause and for a cause we all have something in common with.” Diaz said she thought that ICE’s presence would be contradictory to the school’s Inclusion and Diversity Resource initiative. The office is set to officially open on Friday. “I understand that ICE has been coming for years, but these checkpoints in the news with ICE is recent so they should’ve revoked the invitation,” she said. “I feel like they didn’t think of their student body.” Diaz thought that ICE’s presence would’ve hindered many students from attending the fair.
Jennifer Mora-Amaya, President of the Association of Latino Professionals For America St. John’s chapter, said she couldn’t imagine how freshmen would feel walking into the career fair if ICE was in attendance. “I revived the ALPFA chapter on campus to, as our mission states, empower Latinx leaders,” she said. “Latinx students are already working three times harder to get a foot in the door and ICE is that reminder that we are continuously at a disadvantage.” To those who didn’t understand the significance of ICE’s possible presence at the fair, Mora-Amaya said “educate yourself.” “I think in most protests it really comes down to how the topic affects you,” she said. “I had people in the Latinx community tell me that they didn’t understand our outrage and that’s because they never dealt with this.” Moving forward, Mora-Amaya hopes that the Inclusivity Resource Center can bring about change. She said, “I think the center can help the University make more culturally conscious decisions as these communities that it was created for will be a part of the conversation.”
Art and Design Dept. Hosts Student Exhibition Alumnus Alexander Arpag’s service photos capture Senegalese lifestyle Megan McCarthy The theme of this year’s Founders Week is “Called to Action.” Echoing the teachings of our founder, St. Vincent De Paul, having charity in our hearts and words means nothing if it’s not put into action. Throughout this week, students and faculty are called to reflect on the missions and values that St. John’s University holds so dearly and take action in their own unique ways. So, what are some of the ways that the St. John’s University student body utilizes their gifts to take action? The student art exhibition on display on the fourth floor of St. Augustine Hall showcases one particular alumnus, Alexander Arpag and his incredible photographs taken throughout his undergraduate years here at SJU. The majority of Arpag’s displayed work took place during a service trip to Senegal. His photographs focus on the people he encountered during this trip and the raw beauty they each convey despite unfortunate circumstances taking place in their lives.
Belenna Lauto, professor of photography and Chairperson for the Department of Art and Design at St. John’s University organized this exhibition to showcase how powerful photography can be. “I believe the lens can spark contemplation and inspire those who view the photographs to see humanity as God intended,” Professor Lauto said. As a photography professor for 32 years, Professor Lauto’s passion for this art cannot be denied. Lauto’s words are reflected strongly within Arpag’s work on display in this exhibition. Just like St. Vincent De Paul, Arpag, Professor Lauto and all other students and faculty members, we each have the power to take action in the best ways we know how. This exhibition reminds us just how simple and impactful the combination of exercising one’s passions and serving humanity can be. She said, “as a photography professor, I hope to inspire my students ‘to action’, to use their camera as a voice for the voiceless, or to inspire the world to work towards goodness.”
TORCH PHOTOS/RACHEL JOHNSON
An exhibition photo of a young boy in Senegal posing at a gathering.
An exhibition photo of a young girl in Senegal helping her elders prepare to cook.
“Nappily Ever After” and the Connection Between Hair and Identity Destinee Scott The wait is finally over. On Sept. 21, Netflix released the much-anticipated new Sanaa Lathan movie, “Nappily Ever After,” based on the book of the same name by Trisha Thomas published in 2000. In the romantic comedy, Lathan, who plays the main character Violet Jones, appears to be the perfect woman. She has a good job, a good man and most of all good hair — until things go completely south. The film is broken up into stages: “Straight,” “Weave,” “Blonde,” “Bald,” “New Growth” and “Nappily,” which coincide with the hair phase and mindset of Jones at that point in time. On the morning of Jones’ birthday and believed engagement, her worst fear comes true: she had been completely drenched by a water hose. She paced back and forth with her wet and curly hair, frantically trying to find a last-minute hair appointment, eventually leading her to a salon ran by natural-hair stylist, Will Wright (Lyriq Bent). Then begins the second stage of the film, “Weave,” where Jones gets a weave installed to uphold the taught value of straight hair
ant to please others than to please herself. Many black girls across the globe can directly relate to this. Whether it is changing the way they talk and wear their hair to be accepted by colleagues or not speaking up about something they believe in because it might be an unpopular opinion. “Nappily Ever After” taps into what it’s like to finally “let your hair down” and see and accept yourself as who you are and show people the real you. It’s about falling in love with your true self and Sanaa Lathan is Violet Jones, whose hair and confidence evolve in parallel in “Nappily Ever After.” recognizing that self-love is the equaling perfection. “perfect” world was going to completely wfirst love that you need. Upon realizing that her boyfriend was change. Black children and women around the not proposing, Jones goes out with her two As a black woman, “Nappily Ever After” world need to see themselves on the screen friends and gets drunk. This leads to the changes your perspective on many things and be reminded of their natural beauty. turning point of the movie, where Jones that black women go through. For me, it “Nappily Ever After” gives them the courage reaches for the clippers and emotionally be- went all the way back to the beginning of to just be themselves instead of conforming gins to shave off all her hair. the movie, when Jones’ mother instilled the to the standards of beauty. So whether your The morning after, she screams at her re- significance of having straight hair. Jones hair is curly, kinky or even just nappy, it truflection in the mirror, knowing that her grew up believing that it was more import- ly is beautiful. PHOTO COURTESY/Youtube Netflix
“Peppermint:” A Not So Sweet Revenge Priyanka Gera If you have ever had a peppermint, you would know it has a pretty intense, but fresh flavor. However, despite the gender twist in “Peppermint,” directed by Pierre Morel, the plot is cliche. Films with a family member taking revenge have been common over the years with films like “Death Wish” and “Taken,” and Jennifer Garner gave an outstanding performance, but the story did not feel complete. Riley North (Jennifer Garner) is happy with her life; she has a beautiful daughter, Carly (Cailey Fleming) and a dedicated husband, Chris (Jeff Hephner), until one day her life is shot down before her eyes. In a senseless crime of violence, gangsters brutally shoot Chris and Carly. Devastated by the injustice served by the corrupt court, Riley takes matters into her own hands. She falls off the grid, until the five year anniversary of her family’s death, when
she returns to seek revenge against those who wronged her. Although it was interesting to see Garner return to her action-star roots, as a girl scout mother turned hard core avenging “angel,” critics claim that the director glossed over the heroine’s more interesting five year journey in which she trained herself to the brink. The New York Times went so far to say that, despite Garner’s performance, the film is a “lazily constructed déjà vu.” I have to admit that watching a soft-hearted woman turned deadly assassin was quite entertaining. However, it would have made for a better story if Riley’s five year struggle to change her identity was included. It was also disappointing how none of her gangster opponents put up an effective fight, considering that they do this for a living. Nonetheless, “Peppermint” is still a worthwhile one-time watch.
PHOTO COURTESY/Youtube movieclips trailers
Netflix’s “Maniac:” A Hard Pill to Swallow Alexis Gaskin If you found the trailer for Netflix’s new limited series “Maniac” confusing, you’re going to find the show equally as confusing. Based on the Norwegian television show of the same name, the show’s premise is that of a drug trial meant to fix all internal and mental pains of a person in three rounds: Pill A, Pill B and Pill C. The two main characters, Annie Landsberg (Emma Stone) and Owen Milgrim (Jonah Hill), each have their own twisted reasons for joining the trial. Hill’s character is a mentally ill man who belongs to a wealthy family where he is the obvious black sheep. Stone’s character is a grief-stricken woman who becomes addicted to Pill A of the trial. Both characters cross paths as they try to make it through the three-day drug trial that results in more deaths than successes. While PHOTO COURTESY/Youtube Netflix
PHOTO COURTESY/Youtube Netflix
the plot may be confusing, even halfway into the show, the acting from both Hill and Stone is to be praised. Hill’s frantic yet quiet behaviors are a nice juxtaposition to Stone’s abrasive and rude behaviors. As they continue with the trial, problems arise and it will truly make you second guess signing up for those paid trials you see advertised around campus. Director Cary Fukunaga (“True Detective,” “Jane Eyre”) uses the multifaceted talents of Hill and Stone as they travel through the different pills of the trial. An obscure story from the start, it takes a while to get into the show and the 45-minute episodes tend to drag on. The slow-pace is at times boring and uninteresting, but the performances by the cast and the pleasing visuals make it entertaining to watch to see what happens next.
torch design/ jenna woo
A Food Lover’s Haven in Brooklyn Destinee Scott You may remember scrolling through your Instagram or Twitter feeds and seeing pictures of half-carved out pineapples with food inside or burgers with buns made of ramen. Smorgasburg, or as The New York Times describes it, “The Woodstock of Eating,” is the place where all those aesthetically pleasing photos of food come from. Every Saturday and Sunday, thousands of people from around the world gather at Smorgasburg, one of the largest food markets in America, which hosts more than 100 unique local vendors in Brooklyn’s very own East River State Park. The Smorgasburg experience is like no other. While enjoying the amazing food, you can mix and mingle with other visitors, sit and admire the beautiful skyline across the river or take a walk around the Williamsburg area and explore some of the best thrift stores. Smorgasburg originally launched in May 2011 as a spinoff of the Brooklyn Flea, founded in 2008. Since then, the open-air food market has featured hundreds of small businesses and has attracted millions of visitors, bringing in 20,000-30,000 people each weekend, according to the Smorgasburg website.
Whether you like fries, duck, exotic fruits, frozen hot chocolate or even ramen burgers, there’s always a place for you at Smorgasburg. This year the outdoor food festival added 14 new vendors to their lineup, including Big Mozz x Dō, whose Smorgasburg-exclusive fried cookie dough balls were said to be the hottest collaboration of the summer. Other vendors include Bonsai Kakigor, specializing in traditional Japanese shaved ice, Mr. Frico’s, specializing in traditional Italian frico (described as being a cheesy potato pancake) and Lobsterdamus, specializing in anything from whole lobsters to nachos and fries. Entry into the food festival is free, but food and drinks can range from anywhere from $1 to $20. As college students, most of us are balling on a budget, but with more than 100 vendors to choose from it is definitely possible to spend under $20. If you decide to visit Smorgasburg, it is recommended that you bring cash because many of the vendors do not accept cards. There are ATMs available on site, however, they do charge a $2.50 transaction fee. The best way to get to Smorgasburg is by public transportation. It does tend to get crowded so if you don’t like eating while standing, it’s also recom-
mended that you bring a picnic blanket to sit anywhere along the State Park. Smorgasburg is open every Saturday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. in East River State Park in Williamsburg. They are also found every Sunday in Prospect Park from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
torch photos/destinee scott
Eleanor Oliphant is More Than Fine, She’s Great Isabella Bruni She’s a little kooky and generally awkward, but she’s Eleanor making her way through her maze of a life and she’s been doing fine, so far. “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman tells an endearing, and often relatable story of a routine-oriented woman whose life shifts tremendously when she and the scruffy IT guy at work get jumbled into the life of an elderly man who essentially shapes the way they continue to live their lives. Though fictional, their realizations greatly reflect the struggles of acceptance and normalcy many of us face within our own lives. Eleanor seems like she has it together, but going home every night to an empty apartment and a kitchen stocked with just tortellini and vodka slowly loses its comfort amid weekly phone conversations with her jailbird mother. “Mummy” we learn is far from Eleanor’s comfort, and clearly the force behind her troubled and dark past. It’s never directly focused on, but within this part of the story there is an unspoken sadness based around their tense relationship. When Eleanor meets the big-hearted Raymond at work and they aid an elderly
gentleman, Sammy, after his fall in front of She falls back into isolation and unhapa grocery store, their friendship grows or- piness, but this time she has someone who ganically. cares enough torch photo/SUZANNE CIECHALSKI This new, unexfor her to get pected bond prether back on ty much saves this track - Rayatypical woman mond. from a life her These charmother aims to acters feel like scare her into. real people. With this Their mofriendship, Eleaments of kindnor sees herself ness, silence progressing as she and unsure diexpands her social alogue reflect life, beats her rounatural human tine and moves interaction. up the ladder at Not to menwork. tion, Eleanor However, all is just hilarithis change, no ous when she matter how good examines new it may be, does concepts in her not come easily mind. for Miss Eleanor “Was this Oliphant. how it worked, Depression and then, sucself-doubt concessful social tinuously hit the integration? quirky 30-someWas it really thing-year-old, causing blips in her positive that simple? Wear some lipstick, go to the character development. hairdressers and alternate the clothes you
wear?” Eleanor ponders after she gets some newfound attention in the office. Author Gail Honeyman perfects this tale of subtle heartache with giggly rhetoric led by a socially awkward, out-of-the-ordinary heroine. The book also carefully examines how moments from our childhood may later affect us in our adult lives and the way we curate relationships with people. It explores how adults may also exhibit tendencies that are harmful in ways that many would think they should outgrow past the age of 16, such as when Eleanor develops an immense crush on a local Glasgow pop-star who is simply out of reach. Eleanor’s loneliness turned happiness, and then depression to stability speaks for the lives of many and proves that with the right people behind you there is always room for growth and self-betterment. In many ways, we can all see a bit of ourselves in Eleanor Oliphant. Soon to be made into a major motion picture, the emotions of these warm characters should translate to the big screen beautifully. Life may have been fine for Eleanor, but by the end of the novel she learns to start living.
torch design/ tauhid dewan
Samantha DeNinno Madeline Mancini, sophomore and one of two recipients of St. John’s University’s Visual Art Scholarship, believes in the power of art to tell stories. Hailing from the suburbs of Las Vegas, Nevada, her photography has been influenced by travel and the desire to challenge norms, from a gender-role reversal photo series to a growing appreciation for abstract photography. She sat down for a quick conversation with the Torch to speak about her creative process and what she hopes to do with her photography in the future. How did you first get into photography? “In high school, I went to a magnet school, and my major was graphic design and with each major, you kinda had to have a minor. When I was a freshman, I had put down animation. I was the only freshman. It was really embarrassing, everyone’s older than me and is understanding this way better than I am. So I asked my counselor to switch and she was like ‘Well the only thing that’s open is photography. Long story short; I got into it because you know I just felt like I was good at it. I think having it as a class also helped. But I think the fact that I had to produce work — homework, assignments and all that. It made me want to follow through with everything and also being the youngest. It was intimidating, I wanted to stand out a little bit, I didn’t want to be the stupid freshman that didn’t know what they were doing. The most pivotal time, where I knew this is what I wanted to do, was sophomore year — spring break — and my family went to D.C. I remember — I still have the pictures — I was really proud of what I was taking. I was like excited and so from then on I told my parents ‘I think I want to do this, this is a lot of fun,’ my parents were like ‘You have an eye.’ In school, we had to submit our work in a contest around the school district. I remember one of my pieces from D.C. won something and I was like ‘I can totally do this.’” Have you noticed the change in space, from out west to over here on the East Coast, make a change in your art as well? “Living in Las Vegas was. You can only take so many pics of red rock, mountains, pretty flowers. I just couldn’t find any sort of inspiration there and I just hated it. There’s nothing to do. So yeah, definitely. That’s why I think going to D.C. that essentially really opened my third eye, that’s where I was like there’s so many things to take pictures of. It was such an interesting place, it was different. It was a completely different culture on both sides. Definitely think that being in these big cities, where there’s’ a bajillion unique people,
Photographer Madeline Mancini on the Intersection of Travel, Storytelling and Art
unique spaces. That’s definitely influenced what I’m interested in now and what I’m learning and what I’m taking pictures of.” On that note, do you think travel, or the constant changing of space, is almost necessary for art? “Yeah, I think it is kinda necessary. I think, and for any medium, eventually your source of inspiration, I believe it can be tapped out. You can spend years and years in this one city and eventually you’re just gonna realize I’ve seen all these places, I’ve looked down all these alleyways, I’ve ate at all these restaurants. There’s such a huge world out there that you could be missing out on so much that could improve not just your art but yourself and your mindset. So, I think
travel is necessary, obviously that’s not available for a lot of people but it can be little things. It can be going down to a small town or the town next door.here are little steps to take…” What do you think the constant of your art is then? “I think the heart for me and other artists maybe is their mindset, their emotional state. I know a lot of people that use art as a sort of therapy. And that fuels a lot of their work. Honestly, stress. To have this deadline, this pressure it makes me look out for things more. It makes me have these different ‘Maybe I should do this instead of this.’ It drives me to create more and do more. I think people’s emotional state, even though is not constant, that’s a constant drive in art.” Do you think there is a core piece to your art in particular? “...I have a specific assignment called a portrait of a place — and it taking a place you’ve never been before and kind of giving it a little bit of a story. I always kind of look
isolation in these pictures. Whether it be framing or an empty street a house in a weird placement, I always try to look for things like that. That alone starts to build a story around that image. I tap into that, into Gregory Crewdson, who’s a photographer I’m obsessed with. That’s his main thing. He takes these moviesque landscapes where you just don’t know what is going on but you can create your own thing…” It’s kind of like Edward Hooper and his paintings...
I would love to go into fine art because it’s fun. It’s just hard. Fine arts, getting into museums that takes a lot, you have to build a huge network for that. Maybe it’ll be something I do on the side. But right now I just sorta wanna settle into something kinda freelance, kinda with one sort of company. I would love to work for Paper Magazine. They always have really trending, interesting covers and photoshoots and I’d love to be a part of that process.” What’s your creative process?
“Like I said my creative process is fueled on stress and also this feeling of wanting to stand out, even in mediums I am so beginner in. No matter how hard I torch photo/Spencer Clinton try there will be at least five people way better because that’s what they’re best at. For my creative process, I get the assignment and I think about it for a little bit and I hesitate to start anything because just in case something better comes up but usually like my first idea is what I stick with. Which is also a problem. The day of the shoot, I’ll see that picture in my head and I won’t go any further. Which is terrible because what if there’s something better I could have done because I’m not pushing myself. I always just have one set picture in my mind and I won’t be satisfied until that is it.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s what I try to look for in certain projects, in certain pictures is that feeling of isolation and that kinda eerie creepiness to it.”
What aspect of that isolation drew you? “...Isolation can be a pretty. I like to think of it like an open concept and do different things with it. I think it’s an easy emotion for people to relate to.” It’s revealing... “Exactly. It makes them think ‘Huh, I remember this time.’ It’s not like I want people to remember these dark, sad memories but at the same time it’s important to accept that of yourself and grow from it.” Changing lanes, what do you think you want to do career wise? “The complete opposite [laughs] — I want to go into advertising and editorial stuff. A sorts of fun, bright pictures. I want to do stuff like that. Which is really weird because I’m not the best at directing people. I don’t know what to tell you to do. It’s something I need to fix. If I want to go into this career, I’m gonna have to do that.
I was once told by a professor to save your best ideas until your talent matches. Do you believe in this mentality? “No, with art it’s subjective, and I don’t know how to measure talent and ability. So if I have this image in my head I just assume that I can do it. You know, practice makes perfect. If you don’t think you can achieve what you see in your head, you have to figure out how to build up to it. But I think sometimes you gotta just do it which I’m sure is the the hardest part. Finally being able to sit down and take that first step that will eventually help me become a better artist in the future.” What do you think the next step is? “I want to post more on Instagram. Part of what I love to do is make controversial work that people can disagree with. I want to start conversations like that.” This interview has been edited for length. Madeline’s work can be viewed at torchonline.com and manciniphotography.com
St. John’s Volleyball Off to Strong Start
The Red Storm are surging as Big East Conference play begins Nick McCreven The St. John’s volleyball team has charged their way through September thus far all the way to a 12-5 start. The Red Storm opened their season with the Jack Kaiser Classic in Carnesecca Arena. The team defeated Manhattan College and Central Connecticut State on the first day of the tournament, with a convincing performance from freshman Rachele Rastelli as she tallied nine kills, four aces and three blocks versus the Jaspers. The first-year player from Italy followed up that strong performance with 23 kills and two blocks against the Blue Devils. They continued their success throughout the tournament, eventually going undefeated and being crowned victorious as they took down Fordham and Eastern Michigan on the second day of play. Rastelli had another huge match in the finale, finishing with 17 kills, four aces and four blocks. It was the Johnnies’ third straight Kaiser Classic tournament victory. By the end of the tournament, Rastelli was named Big East Freshman of the Week. The team then traveled to Ithaca, N.Y. for the Cornell Invitational, in which they faced off against Siena, Buffalo and Cornell. They went 2-1 at the Big Red’s home arena, only losing in five sets to the Buffalo Bulls. Heading to Stony Brook the following week, the Red Storm held a 5-1 record. They brought their success with them, grabbing their sixth win against the Seawolves in four sets behind strong play from redshirt junior Nia Diaz and sophomore Kayley Wood. The Johnnies’ next stop was Texas for the Fredonia Hotel Holiday Inn Express SFA Invitational where they faced off against Stetson, Stephen F. Austin and Tennessee State.
TORCH PHOTO/AMANDA NEGRETTI
Kayley Wood has been a vital part of the volleyball team’s early season success at SJU.
They had their first dip of the season, going 0-2 in their first two matches against Stetson and SFA, only to recover and finish off the tournament with a victory over TSU. Amanda Sanabia and Jordan McCalla shined in Texas, despite the losses.
The following week, the team made a pitstop home for a match against Hofstra, in which they dropped in three close sets. This dropped their record to 8-4, but the Red Storm didn’t let it bring them down as they headed to Storrs, Conn., for the UCONN
Dog Pound Challenge. They swept the competition in their final matches before conference play as they defeated Rutgers, Holy Cross and UCONN, ultimately winning the tournament. Freshman Efrosini Alexakou took home the title of tournament MVP. After the team’s tournament in Connecticut, more Big East honors were given out to Red Storm players. The conference named Alexakou the Big East Freshman of the Week, becoming the second St. John’s player to earn that award this season. In addition to Alexakou’s honor, Amanda Sanabia was named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll for her performance at the Dog Pound Challenge. Sanabia’s 60 digs during the tournament led the team. This past week, St. John’s began conference play opening up with a 2-1 in the Big East. Their first three conference games have gone the full five sets. They were taken down by Georgetown 3-2 in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, then bounced back against Xavier in Carnesecca on Friday. It was a thrilling victory on Friday night against the Musketeers, as St. John’s found themselves quickly down 2-0 after Xavier won the first two sets. The comeback was anchored by sophomore Kayley Wood, who led the team with 16 kills in that game. On Saturday, they went set for set with Butler, until finishing the Bulldogs off in the fifth set for their second straight win. The Red Storm will continue Big East play this coming week with matches versus Villanova and Seton Hall. While sitting at just 8-6, Villanova is coming off a recent win over nationally ranked Utah. Seton Hall, on the other hand, sits with a 5-12 record and has lost all three of their conference games.
Men’s Tennis Begins New Era With Dillon Pottish Annie Drouillard As the St. John’s Men’s Tennis team makes their way through the beginning of their new season, they are also adjusting to the new leadership of Head Coach Dillon Pottish. On Aug. 10, St. John’s announced the new addition to the coaching staff. Coach Pottish has been a NCAA tournament champion twice and has played professionally. He previously assisted in coaching at Georgetown and Columbia University. Pottish, who grew up in Suffolk County, Long Island native shared his admiration for St. John’s athletics and believes the tennis program has a lot of potential in the Big East. “The end goal is of course to win the conference, to win the Big East, but it really is every day getting these guys better,” Pottish said in a recent interview with the Torch. “Every single day. Making sure the culture of the team is on point. That is what I care about.” His focus for the season is to make sure that the culture is great, the players are disciplined and focused, so the Big East will win itself. He wants to make sure the players develop within themselves every day. Of course, every coach goes through challenges whether they may be new or old. However, Coach Pottish has decided to attack
these challenges head on by working on stability and trust because he understands the effects of consistent change and how it can be a culture shock. “As much as I want it for them, I want to make sure everyone is on the same page and bring the focus of stability to them every day,” Pottish said. He emphasizes the importance of helping the members who were already on PHOTO COURTESY/ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS the team before to be able to trust him and his coaching skills. He wants them to know he cares more about their growth than winning the conference. He advises his team members to remember that it is an individual sport, but it does affect the team in the end.
“You go out and play tennis, you play individual, but you’re playing for a team and you have to look at the bigger picture,” he said. “We win and lose as a team, not an individual.” The tennis team and Coach Pottish are excited for the upcoming season. He is looking forward to the Big East matchups but more so on how they play against opponents. He says that he knows how they play during practice, but he wants to see what changes when they are in a competitive environment. He has faith that it will be a great season and one to look forward to.
• Sept. 27: Women’s Soccer at Creighton 8:00 p.m. • Sept. 28: Women’s Tennis at West Point Invite • Sept. 29: Volleyball vs. Seton Hall 5:00 p.m. • Sept. 29: Men’s Soccer vs. Butler 7:00 p.m. • Sept. 29-Oct. 1: Men’s Tennis at ITA Men’s All-American Championships • Sept. 30: Women’s Soccer at Marquette 2:00 p.m. • Oct. 4: Women’s Soccer vs. Butler 1:00 p.m. • Oct. 5: Volleyball at Providence 6:00 p.m.
St. John’s Hosts Eighth Annual Dribble for the Cure T h ou sands we re raise d f or p e d i a t r i c c a n c e r a w a re ne s s , re s e a rc h Derrell Bouknight The St. John’s Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams hosted the eighth annual Dribble for the Cure event on Saturday to raise funds and awareness for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. Since its inception in 2011, the event has raised more than $500,000 to contribute to the work of Dr. Mitchell Cairo, chief of pediatric hematology, oncology and stem cell transplantation at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Each player of both teams was on hand to interact with fans and participants. The event started with a speech by Cairo in front of Carnesecca Arena before a countdown commenced the day. Those in attendance dribbled basketballs around campus before settling in the arena to take pictures and meet the players during an autograph session. “This event for me is just about being able to come out and do the little things,” Marvin Clark II said. “There are a lot of people who don’t have what we have, what we take for granted. That’s really what it’s all about for me.” Clark, whose little sister is partially deaf, said that he knows what events like Saturday’s can have on young kids. Having participants come up to him and say that he is their favorite player means a lot to him, he said. The importance of having someone to look up to is something he is familiar with. “Coming where I come from, I looked up to guys who are in similar shoes that I am,” he said. It means a lot to be someone’s favor-
ite player. Just saying that means a lot.” Women’s Head Coach Joe Tartamella was in attendance for the event, as well as St. John’s coaching legends Lou Carnesecca and Jack Kaiser. Tartamella said that the event is for a great cause, and he was grateful to be in the presence of kids and to see the smiles on their faces. “What Dr. Cairo has done-and everybody who has raised money for the foundation to fight pediatric cancer-is such a cause we have gotten behind as a university and as a program, and we’re really pleased that all of you are here.” Two young attendees, Danny and Hanif, are both cancer survivors. According to his mother, Hanif only had a 20 percent chance of surviving sickle cell disease. He was critically ill and on a ventilator. With his mother as the bone marrow donor, a successful transplant was completed. Four years later, his health has greatly improved. “We are forever indebted to Dr. Cairo,” his mother said. “We actually call him our hero. We love him and all of the doctors of Maria Fareri Hospital. We are so grateful.” Justin Simon, a junior forward who has participated in the event three times, said that it’s important to raise awareness for a cause such as cancer research. He praised the school for hosting the event and was excited to meet all the kids in attendance. “Just to have an effect and to participate in the event with the kids and represent St. John’s is big,” Simon said. “It’s always fun to connect with kids and show them you’re a regular person just like them.”
TORCH PHOTOS/SPENCER CLINTON
Fans of St. John’s got a chance to meet some of their favorite athletes at the event.
Women’s Basketball Releases 2018-19 Schedule Brendan Myers
With college basketball season opening up official practice on Tuesday, St. John’s Women’s Basketball Head Coach Joe Tartamella can officially start preparing his team for what appears to be a loaded 2018-19 schedule. Taking a different path than last year’s opening two games being within the confines of Carnesecca Arena, Coach Tartamella’s squad is looking at five straight games to open up the season away from Queens. St. John’s opens up their season on Nov. 9 in a Friday showdown against local foe Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. The Gaels struggled immensely last season, finishing 2-28 on the season. However, the Gaels feature a roster with 10 underclassmen looking to make their mark on the program in Head Coach Billi Chambers’ fourth season. From there, the Red Storm wait exactly one week to head further upstate to take on Army, a program that finished 17-14 a season ago. After playing those two road games, the team then heads down to the U.S. Virgin Islands for a set of three games at the Paradise Jam. It is here where Tartamella’s squad will learn a lot about themselves. They open up on Thanksgiving night with a showdown against Big 10 opponent Purdue. The Boilermakers have a rich history of success in basketball. Purdue Head Coach Sharon Versyp has led the school to four Big Ten Tournament titles and a school record
TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO
Head Coach Joe Tartamella will look to guide his team to another 20 win season.
nine NCAA Tournament appearances. After playing Purdue, St. John’s has one of the biggest games of their season just one day later. It’s a matchup with the dynastic women’s basketball program of UCONN. However, don’t expect St. John’s to back down from the Huskies. The last time the two teams met, when UCONN was still a member of the Big East, current Assistant Coach and former Red Storm player, Shenneika Smith, hit a game-winning three to end UCONN’s 99-game home winning streak. The Johnnies then close out the Paradise Jam with a game against another Power-5 opponent, Ole Miss. The Rebels have had an up-and-down record over the past few sea-
sons, finishing 12-19 in the 2017-18 campaign. The Red Storm then play their first home game of the season on Nov. 29 against Delaware State. The next three games for the Johnnies see them play two ACC schools, at Wake Forest and Florida State, a team that made last year’s NCAA Tournament. In between those two games, the Red Storm will host Yale. The Bulldogs are coming off a strong campaign, finishing 19-13. Yale is the defending Women’s Basketball Invitational Champions. Road games against La Salle and James Madison close out the team’s non-conference schedule. Similar to the way that the non-conference
season begins, the Johnnies open up Big East play with three consecutive games on the road. They play at Seton Hall, Xavier and Butler before returning to Carnesecca to take on Providence, who the Red Storm failed to muster up a win against last season. After hosting Creighton, the Johnnies head out to the Midwest for what could be their toughest two-game stretch during the conference season. The Johnnies have a weekend trip in mid-January against DePaul and Marquette, the two other teams the Johnnies failed to register wins against last season. The team then closes out the month of January and opens up February with a pivotal four-game home stand with games against Georgetown, Villanova, Butler and Xavier. The Johnnies swept Butler, Xavier and Georgetown last year and split against Villanova. After road trips to Creighton and Providence, the Johnnies then host Marquette again at home before playing their lone game of the season at Madison Square Garden against DePaul. The Red Storm did not play a game at MSG last season, but beat Xavier at the Garden two seasons ago. The team then closes out the season with two road games against Villanova and Georgetown, before closing out the season against Seton Hall on March 3 at Carnesecca. It’ll be tough this season, but if Coach Tartamella has proven anything during his tenure in Queens, it is that his teams will battle and end up in a position to contend
SPORTS September 26, 2018 | VOLUME 96, ISSUE 4
Torch Photo/Nick Bello
From St. John's to CBS Sports Budapest native Leads Big East In Goals, Points Nick Bello Determined. That is the most fitting way to describe redshirt sophomore Zsani Kajan of the St. John’s Women’s Soccer team. Her overall goal for her soccer career at St. John’s is simple. Kajan wants to be named the Big East Player of the year, for her team to win the Big East Championship and to move onto the NCAA Tournament. Her philosophy for setting the bar so high for herself is all part of the reason why she has been so successful throughout her career. “I think you need to raise your goals,” the red shirt sophomore from Budapest, Hungary said. “Because if you raise them, then you can reach them.” For Kajan, coming to America to play college soccer had always been a goal of hers. “I had always wanted to come to America to study and play [soccer] here,” Kajan said. Kajan received an offer to play for St. John’s while playing for Hungary’s U-19 team in a tournament in Russia. There, she played against a team coached by Ian Stone and was eventually contacted by his staff shortly after. The process of getting clearance
to come to St. John’s however, took longer than expected. “It was a long process,” Kajan said. “After three or four years, everything had gone through and I could come.” When Kajan arrived on campus in 2016, she was not nervous at all, despite being so far from home. In fact, she was more excited to showcase her skills in America. “I wanted to bring my best,” Kajan said. “I was pretty excited.” However, Kajan’s excitement turned into disappointment as she went down with a torn ACL, preventing her from playing in her first season at St. John’s. “I had never had an injury before I came here,” Kajan said. “It’s a long process and it’s a really dangerous injury, also because some players don’t come back to the field the same as they were [before the injury].” ACL tears normally have a timetable of six to nine months in recovery time, depending on how bad the tear is. Rehabilitation after a tear can be challenging. For Kajan, however, her rehab process went better than expected. “I knew so many good people who could help me,” Kajan said. “I had an amazing rehabilitation.”
Kajan eventually returned to the pitch for her redshirt freshman year last season and made a big impact early on. In the season opener against La Salle, Kajan connected on a shot from 20 yards out for her first career goal in a St. John’s uniform and was named to the Big East Honor Roll later that week. “It was a good sign that I had comeback,” Kajan said. Kajan would go on to score one more goal that came in the 67th minute against Villanova in October to help the Johnnies to a 2-1 victory over the Wildcats. Over the summer, Kajan worked on different facets of her game in order to have a successful 2018 campaign. Although the team did not play in any matches over the summer, Kajan was still working to better herself for the upcoming season. “I tried to focus on my strength, conditioning and skills [over the summer],” Kajan said. This season, Kajan got off to a hot start as she racked up four goals in her first five games. The best game she has played so far in her collegiate career came on Sept. 2 when Stony Brook came to Queens. Kajan went off against the Seawolves, becoming the first
female player to score a hat trick since Rachel Daly in October of 2014. “That was a game where everything was successful,” Kajan said. As of right now, Kajan currently leads the Big East in both points and goals, and looks to maintain that status going forward. Staying atop the Big East, however, is not a simple task and requires a lot of help from her teammates. “Soccer is not an individual sport,” Kajan said. As Kajan looks to continue to set the Big East on fire, she also wants her team to do well and hopefully win the Big East, earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The reasoning for her high aspirations is simple. If you don’t set out for your goals, she said, “There is no point in playing soccer.”
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