Volume 97 Issue 1

Page 1

VOL 97 : 01 Sept 09, 2019 The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. John’s University


PRAY, PRAY, MARCH MARCH & & PROTEST PROTEST Campus Ministers stand in civil disobedience against ICE in Newark Photo Courtesy/ignatian solidarity network

INside this issue

SJU ranked number five for Women’s Volleyball sees “least happy students” via victory at Jack Kaiser Princeton Review, page 3 Tournament, Page 10




Renovations Sweep Campus

St. John’s Updates Several Facilities Over The Summer The residence village

Morgan C. Mullings For those who haven’t been on campus this summer, they may not have seen the facilities and construction workers filing in and out of several buildings. Over the last three months, walls have been repainted, furniture replaced, and new restaurants introduced. These improvements sweep across campus, and some of the smallest changes were immediately noticed by returning students. Here’s a comprehensive list of all the updates: MARILLAC HALL One of the oldest buildings on campus is sporting completely remodeled classrooms on the first and second floor — new flooring, lighting and seating, and flat screens or projectors on the wall. The hallways received a modern touch, possiblyt to be continued on the third and fourth floors in the future.

The Residence Village has been renovated in phases over the years, with drastic changes in the last month. O’Connor Hall’s lobby was completely renovated with new turnstiles, Century Hall has new furniture, and Donovan Hall has an exercise room on the ground floor. ST. aUGUSTINE HALL LIBRARY St. Augustine Hall Library’s Red Mango cafe is gone, replaced with an Einstein Bros. Bagels (top right), another popular chain. A divider was placed between the cafe and elevators, and the turnstiles removed from the front entrance. Other updates included repaved roadways, new windows in Newman and St. Augustine halls, new furniture in DAC living room (bottomr right) and new restaurants in Marillac cafeteria (below).


Carnesecca arena Carnesecca Arena sees new locker and restroom spaces for the women’s soccer, softball and tennis teams, while the men’s baseball, fencing and golf teams locker rooms received new fixtures. Over in the Athletic Department, new three-dimensional signage marks the entrance. taffner field house Taffner Field house is now well-lit with LED lights, and the men’s basketball locker room has a lounge with new furniture and a TV.



NEWS BRIEF: Announcements from SGI’s first meeting Senior Scholarship Applications

Men's Basketball Season Tickets

Activity fair

Are due Sep. 13th

Redzone is planning to help reduce season ticket prices for games in Madison Square Garden

Will be held Sep. 12 on the Great Lawn from 12-3 pm

St. John's Fest Formerly known as SJU Fest, will be held Sep. 13th from 4-7 pm Tipoff Will be held Oct. 18, musical guest to be announced soon free men's basketball tickets Redzone has announced free tickets to all home games for SJU students

This year's budget Will be voted on at SGI's next assembly meeting new student organizations Will be voted on for possible approval on Oct. 21

SGI Committee Fair Will be held Oct. 4 in DAC Living Room from 12-3 pm SGI Committee Applications Will open Sep. 30 and are due Oct. 7 New SGI Website Will be revealed Sep. 23




Campus Ministers Protest ICE in Newark Catholic-Led Organizations Held A Demonstration Against Child Detention Andreina Rodriguez Employees and students involved with St. John’s Campus Ministry traveled to Newark Sep. 4 to engage in a public demonstration — the Nonviolent Catholic Action for Immigrant children to call for the end of the detention of children and families.” Over 400 participants, consisting of priests, nuns, activists, students and others were all organized to stand in a civil disobedience, or non-violent protest in front of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office of Newark’s Federal Building. They were joined together to pray, march and protest as they filled the street, blocked traffic and laid in cross formation. A few of St. John’s campus ministers within the department were notified of the event through justice collaborators, grassroots organizers, religious communities and social media. They decided that it was an important opportunity for students to speak up on political injustice and act along with groups alike. “While all people should be concerned with unjust treatment towards migrants seeking safety and security, Catholics should particularly connect with the spiritual aspect of migration as part of their faith tradition,” said Victoria O’Keefe, residence campus minister for social justice. The nonviolent campaign was open to people around the country to join and was hosted by approximately 13 community, nonprofit and religious organizations. It was led by Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, an American Cardinal prelate and Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey.


Demonstrators lay in cross formation in front of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office.

“Images of immigrant children detained olic-led protest held in Washington D.C. in cages, separated from family members, in July where seventy people were arrested. and living in unsanitary, unhealthy con- This marked the beginning of the camditions have outraged the paign against Immigration nation in recent weeks,” and Customs Enforcement Cardinal Tobin shared raids that occurred in July, with O’Keefe. “The faith according to America Magcommunity has decried this azine. Images of immigrant chiltreatment of children not Earlier this summer in only as a violation of hu- dren detained in cages ... July, Trump confirmed man dignity and rights, but have outraged the nation in that many undocumented also as contrary to religious recent weeks. immigrants will be targeted teachings and the sacred by ICE in raids. As a result call to care for all people, - Cardinal Joseph Tobin of this, 35 people were arespecially those who are rested, according to The most at risk such as children.” New York Times. As many protesters were willing to beThis recent action was guided by the 25th arrested, the Newark police only issued Chapter of the Gospel, Matthew, which summonses to six people, according to claims to encourage the act of welcoming HuffPost. This event was following a Cath- strangers, feeding the hungry and caring for

the sick. To some, the acts of Trump presents are contrary to this parable. “The Holy Family sought refuge and there are countless calls and examples of welcoming the stranger in scripture,” O’Keefe said. “This mandate of welcome is also reinforced by our Vincentian Charism which aims to serve the poor and marginalized at all times.” Demonstrators chanted, “Stop the Inhumanity!” as was read on their signs. Also in attendance was Jeremy Cruz, assistant professor of theological ethics (pictured on the front page in a St. John’s cap). He was contacted by the event’s organizer, Eli McCarthy, a theology instructor at Georgetown and director of peace and justice for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men. “I was there to learn how our undergraduate minor, Social Justice: Theory and Practice in the Vincentian Tradition, can better collaborate with national Catholic organizations doing human rights and peacebuilding work,” Cruz shared as he teaches the capstone seminar for the minor. Cruz attended the event and completed the civil disobedience training. However, he was given a different role in the action. “I helped carry the icon titled “Mother of God: Protectress of the Oppressed,” which led the procession from the church to the action site and led those risking arrest into the street when it was time for them to occupy space in the street,” Cruz said. As stated in a press release from McCarthy,“with other coalition actions, this nonviolent action assisted in the release of over 2,500 children, emptying both Homestead, Florida and [Carrizzo] Springs, Texas influx facilities.”

“Are You Happy at St. John’s?”: Survey Results Priyanka Gera

In the recently released 2020 Princeton Review surveys, students were asked how strongly they agree with the following statement: “I am happy at my university.” St. John’s was ranked 5th place for Least Happy Students, with Xavier University of Louisiana ranked 1st. In response, the Torch conducted a survey around campus and asked 117 students whether or not they were happy at SJU and why. Although the majority of the students replied “yes,”many were quick to mention that they think St. John’s has much to improve. Some of the widely mentioned issues included: 1. Limited dining options on campus 2. Overwhelming course load 3. Not commuter-friendly

4. Underfunded Science department 5. Concerns with Public Safety 6. Lack of Regular-Student Job Opportunities 7. Dorm maintenance 8. Lack of guidance from faculty and administration Back in 2013, the Princeton Review ranked SJU 17th for Least Happy students on campus. There’s no telling what has contributed to the 12-place jump, but the concerns that students listed have partially been addressed in the many renovations that happened on the Queens campus in the last three months. If about 83% of students surveyed feel happy with St. John’s, the issue mainly lies in comparison to the happiness of students at other universities.


Anonymous Poll in response to Princeton Review’s Ranking of SJU in 5th place for Least Happy Students in the country.

4 Features


SJU Global Brigades Bring Aid Abroad Picture spending part of your summer working in the sweltering heat with 50 colleagues to provide healthcare to the underserved communities. Imagine holding a child in your arms who has never seen the doctor before and has travelled a great deal with his family for a simple checkup. Or comforting a child coming face-to-face with her greatest fear for the first time –– needles. While some might envision community service as a straightforward drive to the local soup kitchen to volunteer or a thoughtful donation to a noble charity, the members of St. John’s medical chapter of Global Brigades define community service on an international platform. This summer, on a seven day service trip in June, Global Brigades members provided medical services for young children in the mountains of Piedras Gordas, Cocle, Panama, in true Vincentian spirit. The members of SJU Global Brigade have a plethora of inspiring and emotive moments with the Panamanian locals. First-time member Erna Radoncic, a third year Pharmacy student, described her first Brigade trip to Panama as “inspiring.” “[The trip] really just puts things in perspective because we’re from the states where everything is basically given to us … we’re so blessed to be where we are,” Radoncic said. It takes the entire school year to be able to plan this trip. Beginning in September, applications for the summer program roll out and interviews are held later that month. The rest of the year is focused on raising money to supply the medications, eyeglasses and other equipment for the clinics. The club hosts smoothie sales throughout the year as well as a gala during the spring semester to raise money. These trips are usually for seven days, two of those days include travel. Members will spend three days at the clinic and 2 days providing Public Health services to the community. “To be a part of the process of empowering a community is priceless. We aren’t just donating supplies and money, we are also donating our time and energy as well,” James Thai, 2019 graduate and former Vice President of SJU Global Brigades, said. “Global Brigades is one of the few organizations that allows students to be proactive in the fight against poverty around the world.” The crew of approximately 50 volunteers visited Pierdas Gordas to work alongside local and volunteer doctors in a school-turned-clinic, to provide free healthcare –– including eye evaluations, checking blood pressure, pap smears and dental procedures. They also helped build water systems/latrines for the rural community.

From June 15 to June 21, SJU Global Brigade worked about 8 hours a day –– with a long commute to and from the lodging facility –– and learned a great deal about themselves and the local culture. “It’s so interesting how two different countries have such amazing connections ... I remember there was this one family that talked to me about how they traveled from the top of the mountain to see a doctor.” Christine Arago said. Arago, a third year Biology and Theology double major, is the current Treasurer of SJU Global Brigades. “Piedras Gordas is filled with beautiful people who value family and their culture so deeply,” Arago continued. “I’m so glad I get this opportunity every year because it gives me the strength and motivation to carry on.” The club has been growing exponentially the past few years, such that the E-board had to plan a second trip this summer to the Central Region of Ghana to accommodate all the qualified volunteers. Kate Sheldon, a fifth year pharmacy student, travelled to Ghana for the first time this summer to provide free healthcare to the community with her counterparts. “One moment that stood out to me [in Ghana] was when we were gathered as a group and learned the mission of the brigade,” Sheldon said. “We spoke of the ways that we can empower the community … seeing the passion in all of my fellow brigaders was one of the most heartwarming moments.” This club is a great opportunity for pre-medical students to explore their fu- Sasha Kandasammy, Global Brigades Chair of Donations, checking a ture field in a more hands-on experience patients blood pressure in Piedras Gordas, Panama. than what is offered in the United States. Although the brigades take place in a medical setting, SJU This summer, students got the chance to work directly with doctors, to take patient histories, to in- Global Brigades is a diverse organization of members from teract with patients, and most importantly, to make a dif- across all majors, from economics to TV and Film. All students who are “willing to serve in a very humble setting,” ference in someone’s life. Whether it be a child afraid of seeing the dentist, or an as Arago phrased it, are welcome to join the chapter’s miselderly man getting his first pair of glasses, being there with sion of supplying towns the resources needed to become the patient to witness and share in their every sentiment is sustainable. “A simple gesture can go a long way and it can really make what matters to these students. “I truly believe to be an amazing physician in the future is a difference,” Thai said. to have the passion, kindness, and the ability to touch lives through little things,” said Arago. PHOTO COURTESY/JAMES THAI

Priyanka Gera



Left: Gizem Osman aiding in a dental procedure. Right: Members Sasha Kandasammy, Joshua Doodnath, Anum Dar and Michelle Pham discuss clean water with school children.

Features 5


A Summer of Research In Paris

Senior Christopher Valdes on his overseas internship Sara Rodia This summer, Christopher Valdes, a senior physics major with a minor in Spanish, became one of only eight undergraduate junior level students across the country to become an intern for Optics in the City of Lights, a summer internship program in Paris, France. Optics is the scientific study of sight and the behavior of light, so the internship gave Valdes the opportunity to spend two months in a variety of laboratories in Paris performing research with a wide range of ultrafast lasers. Students in this program had the opportunity to experience strong collaborative science that is currently taking place among Universities all around the world. Valdes specifically worked at the Photophysique et Photochimie Supramoléculaires et Macromoléculaires Laboratory (PPSM) at ENS Paris-Saclay, where he worked on “Op-

timizing a Set-Up Coupling Electrochemical and Fluorescence Microscopies.” “My lab has a set-up that combines an electrochemical microscope with a fluorescence one so researchers can study a molecule’s fluorescent characteristics while simultaneously applying an electric field. However, recording data from this set-up was very inefficient, so my project focused on developing a more efficient data-acquisition system,” Valdes said about his internship project. In addition to learning about optics and the multitude of uses of it, Valdes claimed that his internship helped him become a stronger researcher and taught him how to better articulate his own ideas and implement them into a research project. “Being able to work independently and use my own ideas to try new things definitely boosted my confidence,” Valdes said. Valdes also explained how living in Paris for two months was an added bonus that

made his experience this summer that much better. “I lived only 20 minutes away from the Louvre, and I went to the Louvre every Friday night to explore the corridors. Having access to some of the world’s most famous museums was incredible, not to mention eating the 2018 world’s best croissant.” Valdes added. “There was always something to do in Paris, whether it’s go to a museum or walk around the city and be mesmerized by the architecture.” Valdes described the program as a life-changing experience. “I loved it so much to the point where I’m considering going back to France for graduate studies,” Valdes said, “Maybe I’ll end up living there for the rest of my life, but who knows?” Heading into his senior year, Valdes is the Vice President of the Student Ambassador

program, works as a receptionist in the Welcome Center, is a brother of the coed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, and is also in VITAL, under campus ministry. Valdes’ overall goal is to get his Masters/ PhD in Medical Physics, but preferably his doctorate, so that one day he can do cancer research in a hospital setting. “I want to use physics to find an alternative cancer treatment method and use it to help my patients.” While the program is highly selective, Valdes believes that others should apply, his advice being, “I would definitely recommend that you talk about how you’re heavily interested in learning about optics, and also the potential to be culturally immersed in a foreign country. It’s definitely a learning experience that you’ll want to gain from both inside and outside the laboratory.” “All I know is that this experience has changed my life.”

Prof William Murphy On Award Winning Teaching Methods Dayra Santana When professor William Murphy presented his Legal Shark Tank lesson to the audience at the annual Master Teacher Competition at the 2019 MBAA International Conference, he was up against competition that included a professor who taught business law using Harry Potter – tough competition indeed. Murphy’s teaching exercise proved to be a hit, as he received first place recognition in the competition for this creative classroom endeavor. Murphy, assistant professor in the Division of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies and Homeland Security, attends the annual conference each year. It is a gathering of multidisciplinary leaders from around the world in which innovative research and creative teaching methods are shared. Legal Shark Tank is one of those creative teaching methods. In this immersive exercise students spend the semester studying a case file in order to pitch the case to a panel of “sharks,” or in this case, attorneys. Legal Shark Tank was conceived after Murphy began teaching Legal Research and Writing II and was faced with the difficult task of figuring out how exactly to approach the course. How do you teach someone how to write? As Murphy put it, it would be like asking Lebron James to teach you how he shoots. Murphy was brainstorming different ways to go about teaching the course with his wife, who also practices law, while watching the hit ABC show, Shark Tank. It was then that he had his lightbulb moment. The project’s inception mirrors the show in its format, but instead of pitching ideas to venture capitalists, students will present a hypothetical personal injury case to a panel of practicing attorneys, who each represent their own law firms, to take their case.

Students are given the case file and spend the semester getting to know the case from front to back. They identify the legal issues that are relevant to the case, as well as learning to anticipate any obstacles they may face while attempting to pitch their cases. “The way it simulates the professional world is that in a law office there’s going to a lot of cases coming in… so what students will be tasked with a lot of times is conducting that research to evaluate the strength of a case, and then presenting that case to a senior partner or senior attorney,” Murphy said. As they go through the case, students are learning how to convey information in a precise manner, be quick on their toes and make legal predictions. “Attorneys don’t have two, three, four hours to sit around and discuss a potential case with a paralegal or with an intern or a young attorney,” he continued.“They need to know what they need to know, they need to know it now, and they need to make a decision really quick.” Law was not always in the cards for Murphy, who was the first person in what he calls his blue-collar family to attend college and graduate from law school. “Everyone was always telling me, ‘you’re really good at arguing, you’re really good at arguing, you should go to law school’ … I wanted to be an actor, interestingly enough,” Murphy, who received a dual degree in journalism and acting from New York University, said. Earning degrees in both journalism and acting felt like a perfect combination for Murphy, who was able to both hone his skills as a writer and as a public speaker. Upon graduating from college, Murphy received an offer from a friend to work as a speech writer at the Clinton Foundation. For several years, he wrote speeches for the former president. “It was a great experience, but at the end


Professor William Murphy (fourth) at the 2019 MBAA International Conference.

of the day I like the talking and performing parts of it —I felt like, I wrote this speech, I want to give it.” Law school at the Touro Law Center was the next step, followed by time as a litigator. Murphy knew he wanted to teach, and was inspired by other professors he had had in his educational journey. “I like to create a learning environment that’s fun, inviting, engaging, and almost distracts students from the fact that they are learning. I want students to be excited to come to my class, kind of on the edge of their seat, not knowing what to expect,” he said. Murphy knows exactly how dry it can sometimes be to both teach and learn about law. The Legal Shark Tank is a way for students to dive right into a case in a fun and memorable way that reading through a textbook can fail to be. Murphy is not someone who runs from failure. On the contrary, he fails openly, and

often, and hopes that students can see him do so and not shy away from their own failures. “There’s a lot of stuff I try that doesn’t work, and I want the students to be honest with me and tell me it doesn’t work,” he said. “Then they also see when I come back in the next week and try something new, or even a refined version of what I did, that I’m not scared to try again. When they see that I am a human, I make mistakes too and I won’t be deterred by them, I think it imparts a good message to them as well.” “I think some of the best feedback I’ve ever gotten from students in my class is that they never feel uncomfortable raising their hand because they’ll look stupid or they’ll have the wrong answer,” he continued. “That makes me really proud as a professor, because that’s how you learn –from making mistakes, by getting it wrong the first 99 times.”

6 Opinion


Flames of the Torch Staff Editorial 97TH MANAGING BOARD Morgan C. Mullings/ EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Amanda Negretti/ MANAGING EDITOR Andreina Rodriguez NEWS EDITOR Spencer Clinton CREATIVE DIRECTOR Nick Bello SPORTS EDITOR Dayra Santana FEATURES EDITOR Priyanka Gera CULTURE EDITOR Destinee Scott OPINION EDITOR


STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS Nick McCreven Sydney Denham Sean Okula Jewel Antoine Christsa Calabretta

Jeremy Mesias Rovena Grishaj Sara Rodia Theresa Vogel





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While the entire campus has gotten a issue. facelift over the summer, to the editors of Another space, this time neglected for the Torch, our section of the campus was some time by our editorial board, is our severely neglected. If you didn’t know, the website, torchonline.com. SNO Sites, our Torch office is located in the basement of website provider, did a complete overhaul O’Connor Hall (through a back entrance). of the home page and section pages, giving Back in the early 2000s, students could it a photo-focused look and making it easifind the editorial board on the second floor er to read by enlarging the text. of the University Center. But for almost We hope that this incurs more visits to six years, the staff has spent each produc- the site, where we post every article that’s tion night in the O’Connor basement. It featured in print and others throughout was dusty, there were a few wires hanging the entire year. One of our goals is to crefrom the ceiling, and ate video content that the ceiling tiles were complements our leaking. articles, and photo In recent years it galleries highlighting We were missing a events on campus, so survived a severe large portion of our we added pages dediflood and an infeseditorial board, but cated to that content. tation of mold. Our we didn’t view it as a When the summer Editor-in-Chief and setback.” started, we were missManaging Editor, Morgan C. Mulling a large portion of ings and Amanda our editorial board, Negretti, sat down but we didn’t view it with Associate Dean as a setback. Thanks for Student Services Jackie Lochrie, As- to the students who were eager to help us sistant Director of Engineering Anthony out by spreading the word, we now have a Konkowski, Director of Operations Peter Social Media Manager, Amber Borden, and Burke, Assistant Director of Environmen- a copyediting team led by our new Chief tal Health and Safety William R. Borgeson, Copy Editor, Patrick Loftus. Also new to Assistant Director of Engineering James C. the team is Shaolin Barid, our Human RePickel, and Director of Facilities Opera- sources Manager. tions Christopher Walsh. Overall, we feel fully prepared for the The directors, some of whom had never school year and all the news that’s about to been in our office, listened to our problems come with it. We’re very lucky to have such that never made it to their desk in the past. a wonderful team and a beautiful office — The office is now cleaner and safer than it’s and we’re working to get a sign with our ever been, and we’re thankful for the im- logo on it out front so that our readers can mediate attention the school gave to this finally find it.

The Torch’s Front and Back Pages after 9.11.01

Opinion 7


Presidential Candidates Sanders And Yang Demonstrate Why Political Outsiders Shouldn’t be Left Out Jeremy Mesias Coming from all different walks of life and highlighting ideas from across the political spectrum, this historically large class of Democrats running for president celebrates diversity. However, while each contender brings something new to the table, for years, voters assumed that conventional politicians say one thing and often do the other. This frustration against the “establishment” is what propelled President Donald Trump, then regarded as a fringe candidate and political outsider, to the presidency. This time around, Democrats have two very strong political outsiders, both hoping to ride the same wave of populism that carried Trump all the way to the top. One candidate that I’m particularly interested in is political newcomer, Andrew Yang. Self-described as “the opposite of Trump: an Asian guy who likes math,” Yang made his mark as an entrepreneur, creating Venture for America, a nonprofit that sends college graduates to work at startups in cities hit hard by the Great Recession. That job took him across the Midwest, where he met hundreds of unemployed blue collar Americans, victims of jobs that had been automated away, and thus began his political odyssey. Yang understands that economic anxiety is what drove these voters for Trump, but it’s also his willingness to go to these parts of the country and speak with everyday Americans that sets him apart from Trump and the majority of Democrats. It’s not everyday a presidential candidate takes a ride with an Iowan truck driver, meets other drivers, and goes out to a truck stop just to step into the shoes of the everyday man. Yang is not afraid to get his hands dirty to show the lengths he’d go for the little guy, I believe that makes him a formidable candidate going forward and will ultimately take him far. Another is an old favorite: the senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. Sanders wishes to minimize the divide between rich and poor to ensure that each and every American gets a fair shot at the American Dream. Poll after poll

finds that Americans are unanimous in agreeing that it’s incomprehensible that the top one-tenth of one percent own as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, and yet pay less in taxes than the average American. This has been an important, if not the central theme of Sanders’ entire political career, since getting elected to Congress in 1991. Sanders greatest strength is his devotion to principle, most notably that of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, explaining his ongoing fight for a progressive economic, environmental, and racial agenda in American politics, constantly fighting for policies, such as ensuring tuition-free public universities and expanding Medicare. His popular message energized thousands of voters in 2016, and with increasing support among younger generations, will now carry him all the way to the White House in 2020. Both Sanders and Yang appear to appeal to the values and beliefs of liberal and conservative voters, thus creating unity across party lines. These non-traditional candidates represent the real friction between the American people and the “establishment” political class. Should they continue to

fight on behalf of the “average joes,” we may very well be saluting a President Yang or Sanders come 2020. PHOTO COURTESY/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS


#hotgirlsummer to #hotgirlsemester Christa Calabretta Ladies, I hope you all had a true Hot Girl Summer. If you don’t know what Hot Girl Summer is… let me explain. It’s a song by Megan Thee Stallion that is meant to empower women. The song really enforces that women should live unapologetically, and it conveys the message that women should be bold and live for themselves, and not get hung up on men. Over the summer, women began to feel connected with Stallion’s “Hot Girl Summer” song. This connection spawned the hashtag #hotgirlsummer, and it rapidly took over Twitter and Instagram. #Hotgirlsummer became a mindset that women adopted. However, now that the summer is over, what do we do with #hotgirlsummer? The answer is simple; women are now transitioning to a Megan Thee Stallion approved #hotgirlsemester. This means that we will be conquering our semester the same way we did our summer. We will be bold and unapologetically successful in our classes this semester. We will not let boys get in the way of our success and studies, and we will accomplish all of our goals this fall! This mindset may look different for everyone because we all want to accomplish different goals. For me, this means keeping track of my planner and making sure I don’t slack on keeping my assignments in order. I usually get off track after the first week of classes — once the excitement of a fresh planner and new pens dies down, so does my motivation— but, not this semester. It is #hotgirlsemester, and that means keeping on top of my goals and pushing myself to be successful! As for being unapologetically bold, that mindset should absolutely persist into this semester. Too often women become timid in the classroom because they don’t want to be wrong, or they don’t ask questions or challenge ideas because they don’t want to be seen as aggressive. This semester, we are going to be bold in the classroom and challenge ourselves to be the most successful and accomplished versions of ourselves!


So, ladies, just because #hotgirlsummer is over that doesn’t mean that we have to get rid of the mindset that we associate with it because #hotgirlsemester is in full swing.




Wake-Up By The Noise Or Die By The Bullets? It’s time to ask more critical questions about gun control Rovena Grishaj Coming from Europe where mass shootings are not well-known has made me think and reflect on the reasons that would push someone to commit that kind of act. I am always trying to understand someone’s urge to kill as many people as possible without them feeling guilty for anything. One of the main explanations that we hear all the time is that the man was “mentally disturbed,” the man had “mental problems,” or the man was known for “problematic behavior.” I agree that going through psychological problems is overwhelming and can motivate people to commit all kinds of acts, but people have psychological disorders and mental problems all around the world, so why is this phenomenon so prevalent in the U.S? Could there be any other social or political influence? Is this an American “identity?” How does the easy access to guns correlate with the high number of mass shootings? What is the political background behind these mass shootings? Are mass shootings getting way more attention from the media because they are more unusual compared to other fatalities by firearms? Vox’s journalist, German Lopez, brings up some scary facts about guns in the U.S. In 2015 there was one mass shooting per day on average. There have been more than 2,000 mass shootings since 2012. America has more guns than people, and U.S population makes less than 5% of the world’s population, but has 45% of the world’s private gun owners. These facts invite us to reflect on the importance of gun control and the big question: Would gun control reduce the amount of mass shootings? According to him, it is proven by a strong correlation that states with more gun control have a lower number of deaths from guns. As mentioned before, mental health seems to be a very good logical explanation for this phenomenon. Anyhow, I don’t believe that by saying this, the author-


ities or the media is finding an explanation or something to blame. Many times, mental health sounds like an excuse for not doing anything about guns, as I believe the underlying reason is mental health problems; that we are in this problem, not the problem with too many guns are not the problem. We have a huge problem, and we need to wake up. I think that for a serious matter like this we need to be able to ask the right questions. We also must educate ourselves on not only

on how to notice mental health problems, but also to learn how to take care of it. In addition, we should have a deeper understanding of laws that would help bring changes on a structural level, and most importantly, read between the lines of what media is paying more attention to, and what is really going on in a more general picture. Maybe it is time to wake up by the noise of the bullets before being killed by them!

Let’s Talk Consent On Campus on college campuses across the country. According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network Due to media narratives, court case results, and (RAINN), 23.1% of women and 5.4% of men excultural stigmas, young people - especially those on perience sexual assault during their college career, college campuses - are left with differing defini- and while St. John’s makes an effort to provide adetions of rape and consent. These differences lead quate resources to sexual assault survivors, the issue to often devasting and troubling sexual encounters of sexual assault comes down to consent and our understanding of it. Even though in recent years PHOTO COURTESY/THE BLUE DIAMOND GALLERY since the start of the #MeToo movement, the topic of consent has been widely discussed, there seems to still be some confusion about what exactly consent is and what the components of a consensual sexual encounter are. RAINN defines consent as an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. While we’ve all grown up with the saying “no means no,” consent takes it further and asks us to look out for an enthusiastic and continuous “yes.” This means that consent is not just an absence of the word “no” or “stop.” Consent must be voluntary. This means that a person must say “yes” by their own free will and

Jewel Antoine

not through manipulation, intimidation, or threat of physical violence. Consent must be coherent and informed. This means that the person should be aware of all sexual activity and be able to make a decision based on facts. For example, if a person is incoherent due to the use of drugs or alcohol, or a condom is used and then taken off during sex without the other person knowing, these acts make a sexual encounter nonconsensual. Consent should be reversible. Either party should be free to say “no” at any point before or during a sexual encounter. If an initial “yes” becomes a “no,” and the other person does not stop the sexual activity, this would now be a non-consensual sexual encounter. Consent must be ongoing and specific. Throughout the sexual activity, both parties must give continuous consent, meaning that consent must be given as the sexual encounter escalates or continues. Yes to one sexual activity does not mean yes to all sexual activities! Consent must be given, regardless of relationship status. Partners must not assume that prior sexual encounters with someone is automatic consent for sexual activity in the future. Consent must be given, regardless of prior history or current relationship status.

Culture 9


Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw Priyanka Gera

The grief-stricken plot of “Fast & Furious 7” (F&F7) in 2015 was a beautiful tribute to the actor and father, Paul Walker. Without him, fans surmised that the decade old franchise had concluded. However, an eighth installment was released in 2017 and a ninth film is set to be released in 2020. “Fast & Furious” spin-off “Hobbs and Shaw,” released August 2019, was a risky decision given the series’ history; Would it live up to the franchise legend? Or, would it backfire and not stand a chance at the boxoffice? The previous 8 movies are not required viewing for this film, so is it really a part of the F&F franchise? The unanticipated duo, played by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, fueled quite the stir not only because the original F&F cast was nowhere to be seen, but also because their chemistry is unparalleled. The stand-alone film is dedicated to frenemies, Luke Hobbs (played by Johnson who joined in F&F6) and Deckard Shaw (played by Statham who joined in F&F7), who reluctantly reunite to stop the genetically enhanced terrorist Brixton (played by Idris Elba). Throughout the movie the frenemies bicker like an old married couple threatening to

Photo Courtesy/ Youtube Furious Trailer

Hobbs waits impatiently for Shaw to get access to the facial-recognition door. kill each other with chairs, guns, and the most dangerous weapon: verbal insults. Action-packed scenes were seamlessly weaved with amusing banter between both partners. One such scene had Hobbs and Shaw enter separate rooms –– filled with armed men –– to gain access to facial-recog-

Netflix Renews “Elite” for Season Two Dayra Santana

Lana Del Rey Releases Intimate Fifth Album thor known to reflect American culture in his work. Del Rey does the same in “The greatest” when she sings “L.A. is in flames… The month long anticipation for Lana Del Kanye West is blond… ‘Life on Mars’ ain’t Rey’s fifth studio album “Norman F******g just a song,” poking fun at today’s society. Rockwell” came to an end on Aug. 30. This “How to disappear” –– one of my favorite album was co-produced by Jack Antonoff tracks –– along with “Happiness is a butter–– known as the lead singer fly,” portray falling in in the band Bleachers –– unlove with someone who der Interscope and Polydor is hurt and incapable of Records. dealing with their emoHer music throughout the tions. However, she still years has always been melantries to pursue them. choly with downbeat tunes, Del Rey puts her own and this theme continues in old Hollywood twist NFR. Lyrically, she has imon her cover of “Doin’ proved and is portraying a Time” by Sublime, more confident persona. She which makes the track uses instruments like the pisound dreamy rather ano, guitar and synthesizer than rock influenced but just enough that they like the original . don’t overpower her voice. The melodies in This album comes to a close “Bartender” and “Love second, with her debut al- The “Norman F*****g Rockwell” Song” are simply backbum “Born to Die,” as one of album cover. ground music; there my favorite albums of hers. is nothing particularly Del Rey started in the music industry captivating about them, but this album is in 2012 when her music video for “Video definitely worth listening to if you’re searchGames” went viral. One of her most popuing for a “sad girl” fall soundtrack. Take the lar songs, “Summertime Sadness,” became a time to listen to the lyrics and appreciate the radio hit in 2012. emotions in her songs for a more intimate Norman Rockwell was a painter and auexperience.

Amanda Negretti

Photo Courtesy/ Youtube Lana Del Rey

student’s disappearance. The show comes with it’s fair share of embellishment, (what 16 year olds go out for “Elite,” the popular Spanish Netflix teen drinks after math class?) but this decadence drama series, is back with a second season and it has as many uninhibited twists and is what makes the show and its characters that you love to hate, so turns as its predecessor, if impossible to take your not more. eyes off of. This show chronicles the What makes “Elite” so messy lives of Las Encinas compelling is not only High’s most elite students the drama, the parties and in the midst of scandal after glamour, but also the harsh scandal. It seems as though realities of these flawed the showrunners have it characters. The viewer for the shows protagonists knows all of their secrets, this season and it will have and as characters such as you biting your nails as the conniving Lucrecia, you watch the shiny world short-fused Guzmàn or these attractive, wealthy pathological liar and new high school students have girl Cayetana, sit in front created start to crumble of an interrogator and run around them. Photo Courtesy/ Youtube Netflix laps around the truth of This season focuses Arón Piper stars in Netflix’s “Elite: the missing student, viewon the investigation of a Season Two as Ander Muñoz. ers know the reality behind missing student from upthe masks they wear. Afscale private school, Las Encinas. Episode names count the days this ter all, they’re all just kids playing at being student has been missing and scenes alter- adults. If you’re looking for a show to binge watch nate between the present day interrogations of students by the police and the past three in between classes, this is it. With English months of debauchery that preceded the subtitles and audio available, you have no excuse to not indulge.

nition doors on the other side. Hobbs gets to the other side of his room within seconds and yawns, taunting Shaw who is struggling to get past all the men to reach the door. Family is a deeply explored topic in this spin-off. The F&F franchise has always

emphasized family as a priority in its films, and this spin-off was no exception. Hobbs returns to his native land of Samoa after 25 years to ask his brother for help. Shaw reunites with his sister, and the two reminisce on their wild childhood days; one of their memories even comes to their aid to defeat the genetically enhanced terrorist Brixton in the end. Both Hobbs and Shaw initially left their families to protect them, but by the end of the film they both realize that their families are their strengths, not their weaknesses. The film hit home with much of the audience and has reaped more than $700 million at the worldwide box office, setting a unique milestone. It is risky producing a film that branches off of a major franchise, but this well-calculated risk paid off. The two hour 16 minute film does not have the same action-packed-car-racing-adrenaline moments as the previous F&F films, hence it’s a spin-off. It is purely to have a laugh at the dumb verbal skirmishes spiced with some action. Neither character (Hobbs or Shaw) plays a major role in the F&F franchise, and the movie would have done well without the “Fast and Furious Presents” attached to the name. However, a sequel is expected after this international success.

10 Sports


‘How Sweep It Is’ For Women’s Volleyball

Efrosini Alexacou leads with 35 kills; named MVP of tournament Nick Bello Following a gruelling weekend in Hawaii for the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic, where they faced off against two ranked opponents, and a brief road trip to NJIT where they picked up their first win of the season, the St. John’s Women’s Volleyball team was finally back home for the sixth-annual Jack Kaiser Classic at Carnesecca Arena. The two-day tournament featuring Columbia University, Canisius University and Howard University, began on Friday as all teams played two games in the afternoon and one game on Saturday. The Red Storm’s first test was against Canisius at noon on Friday for their home opener of the 2019 season, where they downed the Golden Griffins in three straight sets. In that game, they received strong performances from senior libero Amanda Sanabia, senior setter Erica Di Maulo, and sophomore outside hitter Efrosini Alexakou, who recorded six digs and a game-high 16 kills. The Red Storm were back in action later that day for a 5pm matchup against their Manhattan neighbors, Columbia. The Red Storm showed their dominance, winning in three-straight sets yet again. This time it was sophomore Rachelle Rastelli and junior Klara Mikelova who led the charge for the Red Storm, each recording 11 kills in the win. Di Maulo also came through once again, recording three kills and 34 assists. Heading into their final game of the tournament on Saturday, the Red Storm had not lost a set as they faced off against Howard


Efrosini Alexakou was named MVP of the Jack Kaiser Tournament this past weekend.

in hopes of winning the Jack Kaiser Classic for the fourth-straight year. As the game transpired, the Red Storm picked up right where they left off in the first game, winning again in straight sets to clinch their fourth straight tournament win in school history. In the win, the Red Storm benefited from solid performances by Alexakou and Mikelova, who each picked up 11 kills. Shortly following the Red Storm win, awards were given to the best players of the weekend. To no one’s surprise, the Red Storm had multiple award winners as Di Maulo, Rastelli and Ariadini Kathariou were

named to the All-Tournament team. The tournament MVP was given to Alexacou, who’s team-high 35 kills for the tournament was a major factor in the Red Storm’s tournament sweep. “Efrosini brings it day-in and day-out,” St. John’s head coach Joanne Persico said after the tournament. “Even last year, she was the Rookie of the Year of the Big East and she was a regional All-American, so we’re really proud of Efro.” When Alexacou was asked about winning the tournament MVP, the 6-foot-1 outside hitter from Greece was humble, saying, “I

got the MVP [award] because of the team.” “We were coming off of a long weekend away,” Perisco said about coming into the tournament after a tough stretch of games. “I like the fact that we were able to compete and win, even though we knew we had a long ten days.” The Red Storm were able to win the tournament in front of Jack Kaiser, who watched both days of the tournament that bears his name in the stands of Carnesecca Arena. “[Kaiser] epitomizes our St. John’s mission,” Perisco said when asked about Kaiser. “Whenever he’s in the building rooting for the Johnnies, we want to make him proud.” The Red Storm will only have a few days to celebrate their win as they will head to Hofstra University on Tuesday for a 7pm matchup against the Pride. They are 4-4 in program history against the Pride and lost last season at home in straight sets. “Winning brings people together, winning is why we show up, we show up to win,” Perisco said about picking up three wins heading into Hofstra on Tuesday. “We know we have a big match, we know that we’re the underdogs going into that match so we’re gonna try to upset them.” With Big East play looming on the horizon, the Red Storm are fully aware that their tough schedule early in the season will prepare them for what is yet to come. “We are practicing really hard,” Alexecou said. “We want to reach our goal this year, we want to bring that ring to Carnesecca Arena and New York City, and we really deserve that.”

A Storm’s Brewing At Belson Stadium Sean Okula There’s fun to be had with small sample sizes. Though the pool may be expanding, the St. John’s men’s soccer team hasn’t allowed a goal in a small sample of three games. In fact, they haven’t allowed a goal dating back through their exhibition schedule, totaling six games and a little over 500 minutes. This is remarkable, if not predictive. But, just to let the mind wander for a moment… Might they never allow a goal again? “I really don’t think about that,” Dr. David Masur, head coach and noted realist, said after the team’s 3-0 win over the Manhattan Jaspers on Friday. For now, there are still plenty of dreams that live on. The Johnnies are 3-0-0 for the first time since 2008, which not-so-coincidentally happens to be the last time St. John’s played itself into the College Cup. They’ve already beaten a 2018 NCAA Tournament team, N.C. State, and cruised past two mid-majors, outshooting Appalachian State and Manhattan by a combined margin of 37-12. It has Coach Masur seeing traits of St. John’s winners’ past. “We’ve got a lot of depth,” he said. “We’ve had guys not play and jump in [when others have gone down].” The Red Storm’s depth is most notable in the goal as Junior transfer Jan Hoffelner and redshirt freshman Luka Gavran have split goalkeeping duties right down the

middle. Hoffelner starts, Gavran comes in after the half. Forty-five minutes apiece, with Gavran benefitting from additional overtime minutes in the thriller over N.C. State. The platoon isn’t for indecisiveness on the part of the coaching staff or a lack of conviction on the part of the two keepers. The reason is simple: they’re too good to sit. Through three games, they’ve successfully contended with all seven of their shots on goal. “Jan’s a little more experienced, Luka’s got a great presence in the goal,” Masur said. “Luka really came on in the spring...and propelled himself into a position where he should be playing.” “Both guys deserve to play, so why not play them both?” he added. Prepared as they are to deal with them, injuries could have slowed down the surging Johnnies. An MCL twinge has limited midfielder Skage Simonsen to just 46 minutes through the first three games. Defender Johan Aquilon missed just 11 minutes of action in 2018, but didn’t make his season debut until Friday. Both midfielder Matt Forster and defender Luke Hansen “turned their ankle[s]” in the victory over Manhattan, according to Masur, and were forced to miss the entire second half. Although the injuries to both Forester and Hansen were a tough pill to swallow, some different faces got their opportunity to shine. Josiah Crawford netted his first


Tani Oluwaseyi scored his second goal of the season Friday night against Manhattan.

collegiate goal in the win over Appalachian State. Einar Lye has shown presence in the midfield. Brandon Duarte helped to set up Tani Oluwaseyi’s decisive golden goal in the N.C. State win. Even those nicked up have come back to contribute in big ways. Oluwaseyi, hampered in the pre-season, looked agile in scoring once and chasing down loose balls against Manhattan. Simonsen uncorked a seed from the top of the 18-yard box in the same game. He’s working himself back to form, and Masur thinks the reigning Big East Freshman of the Year is close.

“I thought [Friday] night was really good,” he said. “He went in, he found people behind the defense, he scored a great goal when he got in there. I thought he added a lot to the equation.” The Red Storm will need Simonsen and the bunch at their best once conference play opens on Sept. 20th. Unblemished as they may be now, any sort of path to destiny is a long one. “We need to concentrate on playing soccer for 90, 110 minutes,” Masur said. “We have to play hard and well all the time.”

Sports 11


Women’s Soccer Faces Tough Challenges Sydney Denham The St. John’s University Women’s Soccer team has had quite a challenging start to the 2019 season. They go into this upcoming week’s schedule with a record of 2-5. Starting off the season with two exhibition games, St. John’s went 1-1 with a loss to Rutgers University and a win over Rider University. They fell just one goal short of Rutgers with a score of 0-1, while advancing one goal over Rider with a score of 2-1. Even in these early games, the star players began to shine and truly show their potential for the games to come. Following these exhibition games, the Lady Johnnies took on the University of Cincinnati, leading them to another loss. Some key players just from this first game that show they will be a huge help this season are Zsani Kajan and Jessica Garziano. Both of these players showed their potential in the exhibition games as well. Kajan led four of the team’s eight shots on net, all of which were stopped by the Bearcats. Garziano took two shots on net which saw outcomes just as Kajan’s had. The beginning of September brought an upsetting loss versus their former Big East opponent, Notre Dame University. The Irish surpassed the Johnnies with 25 shots on net, leaving our team with none. Again, Kajan attempted a shot on net, yet this time the target was off. Brooke Boyd and Alex Madden also saw their attempts to take after what had happened to Kajan’s. The following game versus Stony Brook University was an upset, however for goalkeeper Naya Lipkens, it was a record-break-


Against Stony Brook, St. John’s goalkeeper Nia Lipkens saved a career high 11 shots on net.

ing night in the net. Again, Lipkens was another player who showed her talents during the early exhibition games. Lipkens put in immense effort to keep off the Seawolves’ offense. During the game, Lipkens saved 11 of Stony Brook’s 12 shots on net. This career-high goaltending also marked the first immense effort from a St. John’s player since their very own Lauren Ferris in October of 2011. Three of their five losses left the Johnnies

short just one or two goals of a win. Their loss with a score of 1-2 versus James Madison University occurred after playing in double overtime. The team seemed to fight harder during their following game versus Yale as that double overtime led to a win, 2-1. The James Madison game showed the Johnnies what it was they were missing and allowed them to fix their mistakes in the overtime with Yale. The Women’s Soccer Team seems to feel

most comfortable playing at their home stadium, as their two wins have occurred there. With their next three games at Belson Stadium, hopefully the Johnnies can find what it is that is keeping them from connecting on opponents’ turf. This week, the Johnnies will play three games at home, including a date with former Big East rival Syracuse on Thursday night.

A Preview of the Men’s Basketball Non-Conference Schedule SJU faces competition against Arizona State and West Virginia before Big East play Nick McCreven Each beginning of a fall semester brings with it a college basketball season tailing not far behind, and this year St. John’s men’s basketball enters with a new-look roster and coaching staff. Multi-year team veterans like Shamorie Ponds, Justin Simon, Bryan Trimble, Marvin Clark, and Eli Wright have been replaced with a new palette of freshmen and transfers to establish a refreshed team culture alongside continuing players like Mustapha Heron, LJ Figueroa, Greg Williams, and Josh Roberts. Head Coach Mike Anderson and his overhauled staff will look to apply the team’s new identity after months of building it in practice once the non-conference schedule takes off in late October. The Johnnies will have the luxury of home cooking playing at Carnesecca for nearly the entire non-conference schedule, with the only exceptions being the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in Connecticut and a trip to San Francisco in late December to take on Arizona. The preseason tips off on October 30 where neighboring Queens College will visit for an exhibition to get both teams warmed up. From there, the Red Storm will host Mercer on November 6, followed by a quartet of fellow northeast schools Central Connecticut State, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Co-

lumbia. All finished last season at well-below .500 records in smaller conferences with the exception of Vermont, who had themselves a stellar 27-7 season capped off by an America East Championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance. UVM brings back a similar (although not wholly identical), roster and will reasonably pose the biggest threat

out of the early season opponents. St. John’s will then travel to the HOF TipOff Tournament and will rematch with its most recent NCAA Tournament foe, Arizona State. A win there would result in a Tournament Championship versus either Massachusetts or Virginia. The Johnnies end November against WagTORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO

St. John’s will play Wagner on Saturday Nov. 30 at Carnesecca Arena

ner at Carnesecca Arena, whom they have not lost to since 1956, a 12-game winning streak that the Johnnies hope to make 13 against their neighbors from Staten Island. After that, they host St. Peter’s, West Virginia, Brown, and Albany respectively. St. Peter’s and Albany look to be very attainable victories. Meanwhile Brown, coming off a strong 20-12 season, and West Virginia, with a bolstered roster and opportunity to make a statement in the crowded Big 12, could be stronger opponents and a barometer for the Red Storm’s progress and growth heading into conference play. They finish the non-conference season with the match-up against Arizona. This will most likely be the most impressive roster they will face to this point, as the Wildcats are bringing in loaded freshman and transfer classes and will have their sights set on a Pac12 championship following a rocky season. The structure of St. John’s non-conference schedule is conducive to a newly acquainted team that will likely need time to learn about one another and ramp up progressively into the tough Big East conference play. A lot of time spent in Carnesecca, groupings of smaller conference teams that allow room for error, and a few opponents on equal or stronger footing than themselves will make a great mix for the Johnnies to grow and prove what the new roster can accomplish heading into Big East play.

SPORTS September 11, 2019 | VOLUME 97, ISSUE 3