Volume 94, Issue 5

Page 1

VOL 94 : 05 September 14th, 2016 torchonline.com

The independent student newspaper of St. John’s University

"Light of our lives"

Students react to recent deaths Page 4 & 5

Arshell Dennis Jr., (right) is shown following the on-campus memorial for his son Arhsell Dennis III (above), who was killed in an act of gun violence last month in Chicago.


State of the University Address With the start of a new academic year, President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw emphasized the importance of student success by introducing his strategic plans to recruit, retain and support Johnnies during the State of the University Address. On Aug. 7, President Gempesaw conducted his second annual address at Taffner Field House. Joining him during the hour long event where students, faculty and administrators on the Queens Campus - as well as livestreaming to the Staten Island, Paris, Rome and Seville campuses. Historically, St. John’s has played a role in offering young men and women who might not be able to afford the cost of college the chance to obtain a higher education. “But it is not enough to provide student access,” Gempesaw said. “We must also focus on student success.” He said the three steps to ensure student success are to recruit and enroll the right

students, to retain students by providing quality education and helping them graduate and to support them with career advisement in order to find jobs or pursue graduate education.


“It is not enough to provide student access... We must also focus on student success.” - President Gempesaw -

According to Gempesaw, the 2016-17 freshman class is at 3,200 students, only a 1.6 percent decrease from last year’s class of 3,253. However, the total undergraduates enrolled for this school year rose to 11,737 compared to last year’s 11,327, an increase of 3.6 percent. He also said that the average SAT score for this freshman class is higher than last year’s by 13 points. He acknowledged, however, that the “better predictor” of a student’s success in

college is their high school GPA - which continues to be an average of 90, the same as last year’s entering class. “St. John’s continues to have the distinction of having the largest entering freshman core of any Catholic university or college in America,” Gempesaw said. He mentioned that graduate enrollment has also shown a steady growth since 2013. Gempesaw then stated that last year the University’s faculty presented 10 new graduate programs to the Board of Trustees, with hopes of even more programs added in the future. He then stated that freshman retention rates have been flat for the past 12 years. However, this year’s retention rate reached 83 percent compared to last year’s 80 percent, the highest it’s ever been since 1998. He went on to talk about sophomore retention and how increasingly difficult it is for many students to continue their studies for reasons such as financial instabilities. Continued on page 3

INSIDE THE ISSUE GET TO KNOW YOUR BOROUGH: Editor-in-Chief Suzanne Ciechalski highlights the best Queens has to offer. Pages 10 & 11



Managing Board XCIV

Suzanne Ciechalski, Editor-in-Chief

Gina Palermo, Managing Editor Michael Ambrosino, General Manager


Troy Mauriello Co-Sports Editor Carmine Carcieri Co-Sports Editor Michael Ambrosino Entertainment Editor Erin Bola Social Media Coordinator

Angelica Acevedo News Editor Bryant Rodriguez Opinion Editor Steven Verdile Design Editor Gina Palermo Photo Editor Isabella Bruni Chief Copy Editor

Advertising (718)-9906756 Business 990-6756 Editorial Board 990-5652

Features 990-6444 News 990-6756 Opinion 990-6445 Sports 990-6445

Alyssa Dugan Social Media Coordinator

Reza Moreno Features Editor

jim baumbach


Staff and contributors Chyna Davis Arianna Pintado Breandan South Shabib Afzal Nayab Khan Katherine Acquavella Nick McCreven Dylan Hornik Derrell Bouknight Param Yonzon Kaylee Herndon

Keisha Raymond David Rosario Jon Manarang Kamila Pawelec Ariana Ortiz Angela Kellett Mia Strizzi Naomi Arnot Yenny Ng Alex Brewington Carlos Ortiz

Rebecca McFadden Raven Haynes Cammi Roberts Courtney Dixon Brittani Wright Elijah Angulo Michael Anthony Jackson Ray Benjamin Achilles Kailey Licata Rahul Lal

The Torch is the official student newspaper of St. John’s University. The Torch is written, edited, designed and produced by students of the University. All contents are the sole responsibility of the editors and the editorial board and do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, faculty or students of St. John’s University unless specifically stated.

To contact the Torch by mail:

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

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

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President Gempesaw’s State of the University SJU president talks new initiatives in his second annual address Continued from page one


A student captured looking enthralled by the president’s presentation.


President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw gave his second annual State of the University Address on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at Taffner Field House.

He went on to state that there is a decentralized budget incentive plan to generate funds that can be used for faculty professional development and academic initiatives. Gempesaw also announced the three new deans: Dr. Katia Passerini, Dean of College of Professional Studies; Dr. Norean Sharpe, Dean of the Tobin College of Business; and Dr. Valeda Dent, Dean of the University Libraries. St. John’s has now hired over 71 new faculty members, creating 30 new positions since last year. The president also discussed the many renovations the University has undergone while discussing his third priority. This includes the completion of Montgoris Hall and the completion of the first phase of St. Augustine Hall. The University has replaced 54,000 light bulbs with LEDs in various buildings, as part of the sustainability efforts. St. John’s has also installed more charging stations for smartphones in Marillac Hall, St. Albert’s Hall and Sullivan Hall. He also discussed discussed current construction of Tobin. Because there is so much competition between universities, St. John’s decided to technologically upgrade 74 classrooms, based on the Learning Space Advisory Group. Moving to the fourth strategic priority, Gempesaw stated that in this fiscal year, gifts to the University totaled over $20.6 million dollars, an increase of over $1.6 million over the last fiscal year. The University continues to be in partnership with Kingsborough, Borough of Manhattan and Nassau Community Colleges and is in the process of working out agreements with four other community colleges and two other universities. He also mentioned that in June, St. John’s hosted Accepted Student Day in Beijing and Shanghai, meeting with 20 high school principals and guidance counselors in order to learn more about their

international programs and partnerships. “We are pursuing the possibility of offering our hospitality management and other programs in partnership with Sanya University in China,” Gempesaw said.

“Our largest source of annual revenue is student tuition dollars, many of these student tuition dollars come to us from the labor of hard working and financially struck families that our Vincentian founders challenged us to serve,” Gempesaw said. He added that last year St. John’s provided $213 million in financial aid to more than 90 percent of its undergraduate and graduate students. However, Gempesaw stated that there are limits to the financial aid the University can offer because for every dollar given to a student more must be generated by another one. In order to support students as part of the strategic planning, Gempesaw stated that a survey conducted by the University last year found that 95 percent of graduate students obtained a job compared to 80 percent five years ago. According to Gempesaw, the National Association of College and Employers recently recognized St. John’s University with a 2015 Member Choice Award and a Diversity and Inclusion Excellence Award. He offered a review of the University’s strategic planning efforts, which focus on four main factors: Student success; faculty, staff and administrators; teaching and learning environment and partnerships. The first factor discussed was student success, in which he offered his three strategic priorities. Discussing one of the strategic priorities, Gempesaw stated that he is very committed to “doing more with less” and “right sizing” the administrative structure. To do so, he reduced salaries, personnel and other expenses by $2.5 million dollars.

“St. John’s continues to have the distinction of having the largest entering freshman core of any Catholic university ... in America.” - President Gempesaw -

Gempesaw then moved on to talk about the success of Athletics this past year, mentioning several of last year’s championship teams. Gempesaw also discussed how this past April, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education came to visit the University for the Accreditation Review. “Our enrollment has fluctuated over time and budgets are tight, however, steps are being pursued to address these issues and strengthen the University’s overall position,” he said. “They concluded that encouraging results are emerging and positive momentum is building at St. John’s.” St. John’s was commended for its Academic Service Learning programs; the institution’s commitment to service, social justice and the enrichment of students from all social backgrounds. In the University’s Academic Points of Pride, Gempesaw kept it short and only mentioned 14 out of the 55 submissions by faculty. One of these included Andre McKenzie, of Academic Achievement, and Anna Donnelly, of Student Support Services, receiving $220,000 grants as a part of a

five-year $1.1 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support nearly 200 low-income and first generation college students to enhance college completion. He then referenced a letter he wrote to the University community in March 2016 which said, “An inclusive learning community based on mutual respect is the foundation that will honor our diversity and enhance access, equity, and success.” Gempesaw then announced that he and Dr. Mangione, the Provost, as recommended by the Middle States Accreditation Review Team, will be introducing a new working group, directed by Nada Llewellyn, Chief Diversity Officer, in order to make this a major strategic action step. Gempesaw concluded the State of the University Address by saying, “As an immigrant and a person of color, I can honestly tell you that I know how it feels to be different. And I am not immune to what is happening on our campus and our nation today.” “So while the debate of diversity rages, while this debate rages on our nation at this time, we here at St. John’s, let us seize this opportunity to let the nation know that at St. John’s we celebrate our diversity because this is part of the mission started by our Vincentian founders 146 years ago: To educate the children of immigrants and especially to help those most in need,” continued Gempesaw. Two freshmen at the event offered their views on what impacted them the most. Tim Sullivan said, “I thought it was very interesting about the diversity and how they said that they were already talking about a partnership with another University in China.” “It was really interesting to hear the changes that are going to be made in the future and find out how far the University has come over the many years that it’s been around,” said Mary Kenny, “It makes me proud to be a part of St. John’s.”

Students react What is your school doing about it? *All information provided by Dr. Luis G. Manzo, Executive Director, Student Wellness and Assessment, Division of Student Affairs

Resources offered to Students Grief Counseling Support for help through a traumatic experience

Alcohol EDU and Haven (for sexual assault) programs to educate incoming students on alcohol safety and sexual safety

A completely new program called SJUOK? which is geared towards suicide prevention, which is currently building momentum. Resident Assistants (RAs), Resident Directors (RDs), Orientation Leaders (OLs), various student leaders, faculty, and administrators are all trained on how to recognize students that are distressed or anxious, and to help guide them to appropriate resources, especially in light of traumatic situations involving the SJU community. Another popular program supported by Student Wellness is Stressbusters. Stressbusters are students who help reduce stress in their fellow students by providing free backrubs. They are often at events such as the Wellness fair and Java Johnnies.

As per state law, if there is concern for possible selfharm, harm to others, especially elderly or children then the Center for Counseling and Consultation (CCC) can break confidentiality. The center can also assist with referrals to mental health professionals off campus, and also guides students to outside institutions if needed. The counseling center offers different counsel groups within the center, such as how to manage stress, anxiety, as well as teach mindfulness. There is “always a counselor on call for crisis situations only. It is not a hotline, and therefore is not published. It’s accessed through an RD or public safety for students in need of it.” The Center also has additional resources including access to hotlines such as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

*All information from the Center for American Progress. Illustrated by Steven Verdile

to gun violence Though gun violence related deaths decrease in the city, students still feel uneasy ARIANA ORTIZ

Staff Writer

Students and faculty alike are mourning the recent deaths of St. John’s students Tiarah Poyau and Arshell Dennis, as well as alumna Karina Vetrano. Poyau, 22, a graduate student of the Peter J. Tobin College of Business, was shot and killed in the early hours of Sept. 5 in the midst of the J’ouvert celebration in Brooklyn, according to the NYPD. On Aug. 14, 19-year-old Dennis, a journalism major and rising junior, was fatally shot while visiting his family in Chicago only hours before his flight back to New York City. According to the Chicago Police Department, the shooting was most likely a case of mistaken identity or in connection to gang activity in the area. According to the NYPD, Vetrano, 30, was sexually assaulted and murdered shortly after going for a jog near her home of Howard Beach, Queens, on Aug. 2. In the wake of these tragedies, students’ feelings of shock and grief have become entangled with feelings of unease. Gabrielle Cudjoe, a junior and regular attendee of J’ouvert, was present the same night Poyau was killed. She says that the festival’s sole purpose is to celebrate Caribbean culture, not to give people an opportunity to air their grievances through violence. “No one’s just walking around with a gun hanging out,” Cudjoe said. “Everyone’s just trying to dance and have fun and celebrate the culture.” Cudjoe was participating in the parade when Poyau was fatally shot. “People were sprinting down the parade runway, trying to get away… I didn’t know what was going on at the time,” she said. “I think I was just running, unsure.” Cudjoe was not aware of the identity of the slain woman until a few days later. “It’s just shocking, because I’ve been here for three years and it had never been quite this bad,” she said of violence against St. John’s students. “On top of the amount of deaths, it was this close to campus. It’s nerve-racking, I can’t be sure of my safety anymore. In general, a gun doesn’t fire itself—there should be more regulation on the kind of people who can get guns,” she added. Timica Sinclair, a junior, was also present at J’ouvert during the shooting. “Unfortunately, due to outsiders who are not accustomed to the festivities that take place every Labor Day weekend, every year someone gets hurt,” she said. “Those who attend the events who are not raised in the culture tend to ruin the events for others.” Sinclair believes St. John’s should put more effort into heightening students’ awareness of potentially unsafe situations. “I think there should be some kind of awareness speech given to the school because these are not the only issues that have occurred,” she said. “Every weekend we get emails stating someone was robbed or flashed or any other number of things.” St. John’s Division of Student Affairs sent out an email Monday night advising all students to take precautions when off campus, including “traveling in groups, remaining alert, and minimizing high-risk behavior.” She added, “I honestly feel safe… I’m a native New Yorker, so I know my city well. I know where and where not to be and I have a strong security system.” According to data released by the NYPD this past June, incidences of gun violence have sharply decreased from 2015, which saw a 19.5% increase in homicides within its first five months. “As of this moment, New York City finds itself experiencing a significant decline in shooting incidents. Unlike other large cities across the country, New York has seen a decrease in both shootings and homicides for the current year-to-date period,” said First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker during the June 6 press conference.

Despite this drop in overall crime, and new security guidelines from Public Safety, the loss of life the St. John’s community has experienced this year is devastating. Following a shooting incident in a residence hall last year, new guidelines introduced by Public Safety include “Active Shooter Training” “I have no sense of security anymore,” said Leanne Palisoc, a sophomore. “Since people have weapons, other people feel inclined to have weapons… Why aren’t there more policies to help control ownership of weapons? I definitely think it’s a nationwide problem,” continued Palisoc. “I always bring a friend and constantly look over my shoulder. It’s very unsettling, and I don’t want to be living this way for the rest of my life.” New York City has one of the most restrictive gun policies in the nation, requiring NYC handgun licenses for all handguns and permits for rifles and shotguns. According to data released from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in 2014, many illegal guns that have been recovered were trafficked from other states with less prohibitive gun policies.

4 The NYPD reported this past June that cases of gun violence have decreased significantly from 2015. Many students find this hard to believe in the wake of two recent deaths due to gun violence.




President Obama cancels visit to Philippines

Obama reconsiders his trip to the Philippines after its president’s remark ELIJAH ANGULO

Staff Writer

After President Rodrigo Duterte went on a fierce rant during a speech in which he appeared to call him a “Son of a whore,” President Barack Obama canceled their meeting in Laos last Tuesday, according to ABC News. The Filipino leader became outraged in response to a reporter who had mentioned that Obama would ask about the drug violence and human rights issues in the Philippines. Since Duterte came into office in June, there have been approximately 1,900 reported deaths, according to the Washington Post. “I do not have any master except the Filipino people,” Duerte declared, “Son of a whore, I’ll curse you in front of everybody.” According to CNN, after the G20 Summit President Obama held a press conference in which he referred to Duterte as a, “colorful guy.” “I have seen some of those colorful statements in the past,” Obama explains. He additionally stated that the reason for the cancellation was to assure that a meeting between them would occur strictly for the purpose of productivity. Officials announced on Duterte’s be-

half that the statements made were aimed at the media and not Obama. Aggathi Argyrou, a sophomore and sports management major expressed her disappointment with President Duterte’s comments. “I am very surprised that a president would ever talk to another President like that,” said Argyrou. Argyrou said, “Even if there are different opinions…he should have found a way to say it in a politically correct manner.” Usman Ali, a freshman and public administration major didn’t think that Filipino leader was necessarily at fault. “I think Duterte did the right thing” he explained. “We get too involved in regime change. The U.S. criticizes other nations for their human rights issues yet we have so many issues here,” said Ali. Obama is the first U.S. President who has visited the country. In addition to the meeting with Duterte, the president landed in Laos to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit. Despite the outburst, the two leaders met the day after and the tension was relieved. Duterte expressed regret in released statements and President Obama showed no animosity during his news conference.


President Obama cancels his trip to the Philippines, which was scheduled for last Tuesday, after President Rodrigo Duerte calls him a ‘son of a whore.’

Presidential Face Off General Elections

46 43 LA Times/USC Tracking

44 48 NBC News/SM

Virginia 42 50 Public Policy Polling




SGI implements plans for new year BRYANT RODRIGUEZ

Opinion Editor


Chiara Miuccio, President of SGI, said she wanted to help implement a new constitution to “leave a lasting mark on St. Johns.”

Peace Week advocates unity REZA MORENO

Features Editor

Yearly, International Day of Peace is celebrated worldwide, and this year it lands on Sept. 21. Declared by the United Nations, this year’s International Day of Peace advocates the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as stated on the International Day of Peace website. During the week of Sept. 19-23, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will present a campus wide, fun-filled week to promote this sustainability project in collaboration with other school organizations. On the first day of Peace week, many will come together to debut their talents for CRS’s Peace Concert. This includes singing, spoken word, dancing and even playing an instrument. It will be held on the Great Lawn from 12-4 p.m. By being there, you may also catch a reading from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The next day, Sept. 20, Habitat for Humanity will be advocating affordable housing by shining a light on homelessness called ShantyTown, all day in front of D’Angelo Center, on the Great Lawn and by Montgoris Dining Hall. In the afternoon, CRS members will ask students to buy a footlong sandwich at the Subway in Marillac in order to donate half of it to the homeless. That night, students are also welcomed to join the annual “Red Sleeps Out” event. Students will be able to experience homelessness, by sleeping outside from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Then on Wednesday, Sept. 21, CRS organized stress-reliever meditations in front of the Sun Yat Sen building at 10 a.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. That following night Stress Busters will be giving free massages in the DAC coffee house from 5-7 p.m. CRS also has an event during common hour on Thursday, Sept. 22. In Marillac Terrace, students can show their creativeness by writing letters to Veterans and postcards to refugees. Lastly, there will be a ‘Peace Vigil’ on Friday, Sept. 23, at the St. Thomas Moore Church at 2 p.m. There will be a ceremonial planting of lavender during the vigil, as CRS hopes to have the St. John’s community, “pray that peace takes root right on our campus and spreads throughout our community and world!”

Student Government Inc. (SGI) held its first meeting of the 2016-17 school year to review goals and initiatives they hope to accomplish throughout the academic year. Four new members of SGI were also voted in. President Chiara Miuccio said an important goal of hers is to create a new constitution to “leave a lasting mark on St. John’s.” Miuccio also said she will be reviewing SGI’s budget and reimbursement policies to aid in fundraising and money allocation for the various organizations on campus. Vice-President Richard Cantoral promoted his “Getting Involved” program,

which is aimed at freshmen. Its purpose is to encourage freshmen, specifically those who live on campus, to immerse themselves in campus life and organizations. Similarly, Senior SGI Senator Julia Mackey aims to set up a Transfer Student Mentorship Program. This plan is aimed at helping transfer students “come in and get involved in our large community.” She also would like to establish a bilingual advisement program to help give students a “one-up” by becoming certified in another language. The new members of SGI are St. John’s College Senior Representative Aaron Gallagher, St. John’s College Junior Representative Brittney Slowden, and College of Pharmacy

and Health Science Senior Representative Christine Bebawy. SGI also discussed the annual Relay for Life and their goal to raise $150,000 this year, raising the bar from last year’s amount of $140,000. Other upcoming events include University Service Day scheduled for Sept. 24 and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Oct. 16. Freshmen wishing to participate in SGI are encouraged to attend the freshman BBQ on Sept. 15 at St. Vincent’s lawn during common hour. There will also be committee informationals to discuss various new initiatives during common hour Sept. 22 at DAC 407 and Sept. 29 at DAC 206.

Haraya hosts Peace Vigil ISABELLA BRUNI

Chief Copy Editor

Discussion of racial discrimination, gun violence, police brutality and the St. John’s students made victims of these causes were the reason for the melancholy energy on Sept. 8 during Haraya’s Peace Vigil. The vigil, hosted by Haraya, was broken up into three sections: opening thoughts, keynote speaker and candlelight ceremony. “It never gets easier doing these vigils because it’s too much,” admitted Black Lives Matter advocate Kenneth Shelton Jr. “Change takes place from us. It’s in the little things, like a smile.” Posters sitting behind Shelton read, “We were all humans until: Race classified us, wealth divided us and religion separated us,” “Our lives warrant more than a #hashtag’”and “We’re still here.” Others then began mentioning the students who were killed this summer from gun violence, Tiarah Poyau and Arshell Dennis. Poyau’s friend since freshman year, Bianca Borgella, described her as beautiful, driven, smart, amazing and young. “It could have been anyone,” said Borgella, “She’s looking down. Do what you have to do, graduate and follow your dreams.” Graham Burke-Green, an accounting major along with Poyau, said, “She motivated me. You can’t control some things, surround yourself with good people. Don’t waste an opportunity to be great- she would have been so great.” Roberto Benoit put into words the confusion he felt, “Not too sure what to say or also why I’m up here - but something needs to be said. They didn’t deserve this. It breaks my heart. I’m still trying to make sense of everything.” The keynote speaker of the night, SJU alum Rebecca Hippolyte, dedicated her speech to making listeners feel united and looking to God for peace, hope and love. She taught the crowd the Nguni Bantu term “ubuntu” roughly translating to “human kindness” and as Nelson Mandela famously said, “I am because we are.” Hippolyte explained how Mandela was able to picture a better South Africa while using this term, just as she said she is able to see a better world for the black community. While continuously calling her audience, “My queens” and “My kings,” Hippolyte preached what their purpose is


5 (Above) Students come together during a candlelight ceremony.  (Right) Rebecca Hippolyte dedicates her speech to unity, peace, hope and love.

and analyzed readings from Paul 8:28 and Ephesians 3. With references ranging from the Civil Rights Movement to Flava Flav, Hippolyte’s speech was empowering as she ended it saying, “Your uniqueness is what the community needs.” The candlelight ceremony was undoubtedly the most emotional part of the program where tears, anger and silence were palpable. The song “Bread of Heaven” was sung while listeners held their candles in a large circle on the Great Lawn. A choked up Shania Louis-Byron, secretary of the NAACP, reassured everyone, “It’s okay to be vulnerable.” While an angry Junior Doh, Haraya Vice President of Services, shouted. “We are brothers and sisters,” he continued. “How can you hurt your sister? Black women have no reason to submit themselves to the needs of men.” As the program came to a close, sophomore Todd Davison admitted that although it was not a joyous occasion, it’s a time to all come together. “The vigil is a great time to reflect in all the madness that society has occurring on a daily basis. We remember those with deep admiration and love as well true gratefulness for how they touched the lives of oth-


ers, even if for a brief moment,” said Davison, “It’s a reminder that life comes slow but can leave us at any moment in time.” Committee member of LASO, sophomore Sieta Leon, stated, “The peace vigil made me recognize how short life is and how it can be taken from anybody. Tonight’s vigil is not something I will forget.” In a night brought together by heartbreak, loss and unanswered questions, those who attended left the Great Lawn remembering the simple but powerful words spoken by Haraya president Ricardine Laventure: “You are loved.”

8 Features


A father ’s fight for health and justice

Daughter of first responder talks effects of 9/11 CAITLYN MCALOON Staff Writer

Fifteen years ago on Sept. 11, many people were going about their day as if it were any other. But it was on that September morning that everything changed when the United States came under attack. Sophomore Emily Thomas had just started preschool. Her father dropped her off, as was their daily morning routine. Her father was an NYPD officer. It was his day off, but he came back to her school with his badge on. “He told me something’s wrong,” she said. “Something along the lines of ‘there’s bad guys and they are really bad in the city and I have to go. If I don’t come back for a while just take care of Francis.” Her younger brother, Francis, was an infant at this time. Thomas did not like his reply and as a preschooler she just wanted to go home. “I remember he gave me a huge hug and then he told me he loved me and he left,” she said. They closed the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel as her father and fellow cops were traveling into the city. “I always say I thank God that he got stuck in the tunnel because while he was in the tunnel, the second tower went down,” she said. Late that night Thomas remembers her father coming home covered in dust. “I remember him telling my mom it was an office building, there should be like couches, desks, computers and it was just dust,” she said. “Everything was gone. He couldn’t even believe it.” At this time Thomas’ father was a detective with the Brooklyn South Narcotics Division. From Sept. 11, 2001 and many months forward, he was doing body recovery on site. “It was so traumatic for him because these people weren’t even people anymore,” Thomas said. “They were like pieces.”

She explained how there are so many people that have died from a post-9/11 illness. Her father was one of the many first responders who suffered from cancer related to 9/11. “He had angiosarcoma. When he went in with it, he had a horrible cough and they found a tumor in his chest. It was ten years later. It had just been growing in his chest,” she said. The doctors questioned whether he was a mechanic or worked with planes until they found out he was a cop and was there that September morning in 2001. He was the first person from Sept. 11 to be diagnosed with that type of cancer, she said. He had chemotherapy and is now five years cancer free. He retired out of the Terrorism Task Force that he joined after 9/11. Her father didn’t speak many words about what he witnessed that day and for months after. Thomas visited the National 9/11 Museum as a part of her Discover New York course last year. She was scared to go and was overwhelmed once inside. “You walk around and you just hear feet. No one talks. You walk in and you just feel it,” she said. She appreciates the new addition of the Freedom Tower to the New York City skyline. “We built back up better than we were and we have the museum, that’s important,” she said. “There’s going to be kids who don’t remember or who weren’t even alive. I think it’s important that we have that because I remember for the longest time looking and not seeing the towers and it just being blank. It was the worst thing.” As the country remembers the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Thomas recognizes that in New York, it is painful every single year. That day will always hurt for Americans and especiallyNew York City natives like herself. “These people come in so hateful and they don’t even know you and they just want to hurt you and want to kill you. And then there’s people who are running inside buildings because they don’t know you and they want to save you. It’s the craziest paradox and I can’t understand it. I’ve never been able to understand it honestly,” Thomas said.

St. John’s very own up and coming jewelry designer, Hannah Axmacher KAILEY LICATA Contributing Writer As the years progress, different styles and fashions make a full circle and become trendy again. Hannah Axmacher, a sophomore at St. Johns, caught onto the jewelry craze among women fast. Axmacher started to make her own jewelry about a month and a half ago. Since then, she has designed around 130 pieces of handcrafted necklaces and rings. “There’s a place in Long Island called Hannah Happiness,” Axmacher said. “They sell healing stones and also make necklaces with them. As I was there, I realized that I could do this by myself instead of buying them.” A girl in Axmacher’s town also made jewelry similar to hers. She used unique stones and crafted necklaces. Axmacher

used this inspiration, along with many others to start her own hobby. “I’ve been searching for a passion and something to do with my free time, and that is what made me the happiest,” Axmacher said. Axmacher orders healing stones and beads from hypnotic gems, then purchases wires and cords from Michaels. “My favorite stones are the purple amethyst, rose quartz, clear quartz, lapis lazuli, and green garnet,” she said. “I love what they stand for and also the way they complete a piece of jewelry.” “Sometimes I mess up and want to redo the necklace. I like them to be high quality and my clients to know I put a lot of work into each and every accessory,” Axmacher said. “I think the jewelry is really different and unique. Not a lot of people have gems like these. I enjoy making new pieces. It releases my stress and it is some-

thing I look forward to after class.” Each piece of jewelry comes with a card. Every card has the name of the person with a personalized note. On the back is the meaning of the healing stone. The size of the necklaces can range from a long wire to a choker. Each piece sells for about eight to ten dollars. Axmacher hopes the business will take off and spread more around campus. Students can follow the Instagram @jewelrybyhanz and find all the new pieces she makes. “What means the most to me are the messages the healing stones provide. Some are to draw off negative energy, some are to draw good fortune,” said Axmacher, “It is so humbling and rewarding seeing people around campus wearing my jewelry. So much goes into each individual piece, and all of them are made with love.”

Photo/ Axmacher’s instagram @jewelrybyhanz

Hannah Axmacher’s designs pictured above are made mostly of stones

Features 9


A tell all from NYFW experience JACKSON RAY Contributing Writer

Styling backstage at shows BENJAMIN ACHILLES Contributing Writer

I started shooting street style when I got my camera in January of 2016. I always admired street style photography on Instagram and in fashion publications. So naturally I wanted it for my own website that I run called fashionmovesforward. com. At first it was definitely rough because I wasn’t experienced, but each week I saw improvement in my photos. I decided that photography was going to be one of the most important parts about my blog, because who doesn’t like to look at nice images? I started shooting look books for my friends, which I would feature on the site, and then eventually I started shooting runway photos at the shows I was invited to. So I have been exposed to a variety of different styles of photography, but my eye for it hasn’t changed. So because of this, I believe I have a certain style that is continuing to get better. Fashion week is always busy between street style photos and runway photos because of the constant photo editing and write ups that follow. Lots of memory cards and batteries are used for sure. This fashion week I have been shooting street style outside of the shows, which is always fun because you get to see influential people in the fashion industry and what they are wearing. You get a chance to capture exciting moments in time, which is what fashion week is all about. I was even lucky enough to be invited to Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 4. A year ago, I remember standing outside of Yeezy Season 2 shooting street style, and now it has come full circle because I was actually invited to Season 4. It was a crazy experience being surrounded by every celebrity you could imagine, and even crazier sitting next to 2 Chainz and Pusha T. As soon as the show started I began to take pictures of each look, and then after the show was over I had a chance to chat with Pusha T, and even captured a picture of Kanye, which was pretty insane to be completely honest. It was a humbling experience for me because all of the hard work I had done within one year was starting to pay off with experiences like this. I love having the opportunity to take pictures of events and of what people are wearing, because I think it is important to share experiences that hopefully inspire people to dress better, or to work harder at what they aspire to do in life. So if you find yourself in Soho wearing a #firefit you will probably be on my website the following Monday. PHOTOS/JACKSON RAY

The backstage of Fashion Week is like working in a factory. Hot air from cigarette-breathing models; loud noise from hangers sliding along clothing racks, a hectic setting lit by the flashes of cameras. A place where everyone gets paid very little to no money, yet loves to run the show. I’ve worked as a wardrobe assistant for the past two NYFW seasons and I have the inside scoop about slaving backstage. I’ve worked for free with the promise of it being a “resume booster.” I have stuck this experience on my styling resume, and no, it hasn’t landed me any internships. Most of the dressers backstage at shows I’ve worked are FIT students. Myself and other students get to work at shows by working through PR companies which run backstage shows for low budget fashion companies like Leanne Marshal or Marcel Ostertag. The models, depending on the show, are usually signed to agencies. The make up artists usually work under an umbrella company. And everyone gathers towardsthe head designer, stylist or company running the backstage arena. They obey every order to make magic happen for the audience outside. This fashion week I will have worked two shows, but the last one I worked was the V Files show. There were five designers, more than 50 models, a dresser for each, a makeup artist for half, 20 dancers, musicians and performers and everyone else from the company cramped into a photo studio, which is about the size of a Marillac classroom. There were so many dressers, the people who ran the backstage (the company mystyleunleashed), couldn’t organize everyone. Because of that, after I dressed everyone, I left to watch the show in the audience. Besides the frustrations, I’ve enjoyed getting the chance to be side by-side with other students. Touching the clothes before they are in stores, meeting some models I could work with for styling and getting to see what a show is like behind the scenes has given me a small window into the life of a fashion company. Maybe if I get to work backstage for a larger company like Tommy Hilfiger instead of Concept Korea, it could be less of a mess. For now, I know the fashion world is bloody, and no one wants to know your name unless you truly have something to offer.

12 Entertainment


“Sully” does justice to a NYC miracle


As the nation remembers those who lost their lives during the attacks on the World Trade Center 15 years ago, it is the perfect time to revisit one of the more optimistic New York stories in recent memory. During times such as these, people need to be reminded of all the good that still exists in this world, and “The Miracle on the Hudson” is one such story that inspires so many to this day. “Sully” is directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Tom Hanks as Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the man who famously landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River. At first glance, this seems like a film that could easily be done in half an hour. Some

geese fly into plane engines, the captain responds accordingly and lands the plane in the river, the passengers evacuate, everybody makes it out alive and Captain Sully is hailed as a national hero. The end, right? Not quite. Clint Eastwood wasn’t content with simply retelling the story of a flight gone wrong. “Sully” is an extremely personal story of a man who was just trying to do his job, and the toll that a near-death experience can have on a human being. The film explores the investigation of Captain Sully’s decision to land in the Hudson instead of attempting a return to LaGuardia Airport. These events are presented in a nonlinear fashion, showing both the praise and criticism that Captain Sully dealt with in the days following the incident before showing the audience exactly what happened on that day. With this format, the filmmakers risked

this film coming off as too “Hollywood,” or trying to overdramatize a cut-and-dry affair, but luckily that’s not the case with “Sully.” As frustrating as it is to watch this man undergo so much scrutiny when every soul on that plane made it out alive, the film does a good job of not vilifying those conducting the investigation who were also just doing their jobs. Many films based off of true events sacrifice telling what really happened in favor of making certain people look good, but this film prioritizes the truth above all. Everything in this film feels genuine, from the dialogue to the impressive visual effects. However, the biggest reason to see this movie is for Hanks’ performance. With a career like his that’s already filled with exceptional performances, it can be easy to take his greatness for granted. But make no mistake, Hanks still has “it” and makes a strong case for another Academy Award

nomination. He does an incredible job conveying Sully’s discomfort with his overnight celebrity status, as well as the self-doubt that begins to creep in after constantly hearing that he could have done more to ensure the safety of the 155 passengers. This film takes a figure that many of us have elevated to hero status and also successfully supports those expectations without forgetting to make him a compelling and relatable character. More than six years after the real “Miracle on the Hudson,” the film version finally hits the big screen and does not disappoint in the least. With the combined talents of Eastwood behind the camera and Hanks in the front of it, “Sully” will not only resonate in the hearts of New Yorkers, but it will remind us all to appreciate the real heroism of those who put the lives of others before themselves.

“Don’t Breathe” will leave you breathless “Don’t Breathe” is a thriller /horror film that has three thieves in Detroit plotting their biggest heist of an old blind man’s fortune. Rocky (Jane Levy) the female thief is the most desperate for this score, she has dreams of escaping the reality of her life and going far away to California with her younger sister. Her boyfriend Money (Daniel Zovatto) is simply in it for the cash. Alex (Dylan Minette) is doing all of this thievery for the love of Rocky. This isn’t their first heist but it may be their last. This old blind man played by Stephen Lang, had some tricks up his sleeve that I was not prepared for and neither were Rocky, Money and Alex. This thriller felt slightly predictable with the basic plot but as the film went on it drew me in. Throughout the

RAVEN HAYNES Contributing Writer

movie, scenes jumped quickly starting with the dog barking at the window of the thieves car to seeing their target for the first time whom underestimated the old blind man.

This movie was filled with many moments of being on my toes, catching my breath, and squeezing my eyes shut

One of the biggest plot changing scenes was the dark and twisted secret that the old blind man was hiding in his basement. It took this movie from breath catching thriller to creepy psycho-infused thriller. The movie picked up and got more intense after they found out what was in the basement. Classic chase scenes

in this not-so-classic thriller continued on with the addition of a new character. Her purpose in the movie propelled the old man’s motives further than what was originally in store for the intruders. It was towards the end of “Don’t Breathe” where everything seemed to come to a simple end. This was the most suspenseful and eye opening part of the movie, happening in the basement. This part had me grabbing the person next to me burying my face and peeking only one eye out to see what happened next. This movie was filled with many moments of being on my toes, catching my breath and squeezing my eyes shut. Fede Alvarez knew what he was doing when he directed this movie. There was the perfect mix of violence and intensity with eerie silence that complimented the plot. Everything was aligned perfectly, it had everyone in the audience thinking, don’t breathe.

Entertainment 13


Lady Gaga switches it up with “Perfect Illusion”

MICHAEL ANTHONY Contributing Writer

It’s been three years since Lady Gaga last released any new music. In 2013, the singer released her single “Applause” and highly anticipated album “Artpop.” It was supposed to begin a new era for Gaga, one that was meant to solidify her status as the Queen of Pop. Artpop cost nearly 25 million dollars in promotion, some of which included more ridiculous costumes, as well as a twoday ArtRave event in Brooklyn. With Lady Gaga having one of the largest and most passionate fan base in the world and coming huge success from the past with Born This Way, Artpop seemed destined for similar success. However, lead single “Applause,” still a huge radio hit, didn’t seem to take off the way others had expected. The single reached number six on Billboard charts, and while that would have been a huge success for any other artist, it seemed as a failure for an album as heavily promoted as Artpop. Follow up single, “Do What You Want” ft. R. Kelly, didn’t fair as well either, peaking just below the

top 10. With none of the singles having the same impact as her previous hits, the potential for the album’s success faded away. With 2016 leading the way for musical comebacks (Britney Spears, Rihanna, Beyonce and Frank Ocean to name a few), it seemed like the perfect time for the singer to take another shot at music glory. Taking time off of her own music and collaborating on a classical album with Tony Bennett during that time, she sent her fans into a frenzy in early August when she announced her musical return with a lead single. On Friday, she released her long awaited single to the world. Ditching her famous EDM-club-ready sound for a more rock star vibe, “Perfect Illusion,” the lead single for Gaga’s yet-to-be-titled album is the comeback that her fans have been waiting for, and may be one of her best singles yet. The single is a complete 180 from previous lead singles, with “Perfect Illusion” instead takes on a more stadium rock star-pop sound to it. Produced by an unexpected but talented team consisting of Mark Ronson (Uptown Funk), Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and BloodPop, who helped formed Justin Bieber’s smash hit “Sorry,” the song had hit written all over it. From the opening guitar riffs and the heavy drum kicks that can be heard throughout, to the foot tapping funky-groove vibe, courtesy of Ronson, “Perfect Illusion” showcases the rock star Gaga teased about in August when asked to describe the new sound of the single. Despite the new sound change, “Perfect Illusion” is still a classic Lady Gaga pop song nonetheless. The single only clocks in at 3:02, but it manages to captivate listeners instantly.

Perhaps taking a page from pop superstar, Taylor Swift, Illusion is rumored to be about Gaga’s breakup with fiancé, Taylor Kinney. Lyrics like “I don’t need eyes to see. I felt you touchin me/ high like amphetamine/ Maybe you’re just a dream” suggest that her love with Taylor was just an illusion. As with previous songs written about one’s ex, they usually end up being huge hits, and this song is sure to continue that trend. Just 30 seconds into the song, we get the insanely catchy chorus “it wasn’t love (beautifully pronounced Lav)/It Was a Perfect Illusion” that takes up most of the song’s running time. After the first listen, it is guaranteed that this will be hooked into the listener’s brain and have them chanting along for weeks to come. The highlight of this song, however, is the epic key change in the chorus at the 1:50 mark that is sure to shock every person listening. Here, the track goes from disco rock song into an all out classic Lady Gaga dance party. This part alone is sure make listeners jump up and down in full out rock star mode but make you dance at the time. If the song didn’t stick with you before this moment, it is guaranteed to stick with you after, and don’t be surprised if you see yourself stomping your feet to this song as it goes on. “Perfect Illusion” is a song that doesn’t necessarily hit you right away but gets so much better as it goes on. By the time you start getting into this song is when it ends unfortunately, but in its little run time, it manages to instantly catch listeners ears and guarantees multiple replays. Perfect Illusion is another classic in Gaga’s dance-ready discography and a perfect way of saying, she’s back.

A greater meaning behind “The Greatest”

Sia makes ode to nightclub massacre, inspires listeners Sia’s music videos are always visually stunning, intriguing and hold a deeper meaning in her process of storytelling. Along with her haunting vocals, powerful lyrics and unique choreography, her lyricism is strongest in new single and music video “The Greatest.” The music video is an ode to the massacre in Pulse Nightclub on June 12 that resulted in the death of 49 people and wounds of 53 others, making it both the deadliest single gunman mass shooting and deadliest incident of violence against the LGBT community in US history. Sia brought back her muse, Maddie Ziegler, but this time in a black wig rather than her blonde one to represent mourning. Ziegler is shown smearing her cheeks with a rainbow directly after a black background with the hashtag #weareyourchildren. Ziegler’s tears commence the song and awakes her other 49 dancers. The setting of the video is similar to the house of “Chandelier” as well as the cage from “Elastic Heart” from which Ziegler

breaks the dancers free. The other dancers wear paint on their faces to identify themselves as those deceased from shooting and often pursue movements of defeat, such as throwing themselves onto the wall and dropping to the ground.

ISABELLA BRUNI Chief Copy Editor

...when a piece of artwork is able to recognize and remember those taken by hate...it makes the healing and growing process just a little bit easier.

Choreographer Ryan Heffington chose to reuse certain moves from “Chandelier” such as overdone facial expressions, hands in front of the face and the harsh pointing of the finger. Tight formations and sharp, quick movements were his chosen style for this story. The lyrics, “I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive, I’m free to be the greatest here tonight” from the chorus tell what the victims

were. They were great, alive and proud to be who they were, celebrating the fact that they were allowed to live and be the people they want to be before someone, unable to do so himself, ended that for them. The final chorus of the video shows the dancers in a new location, a large room with strobe lights like a dance floor; the nightclub. As the song ends, the dancers jump up and down making their infamous, wild Sia faces and fall to floor, symbolizing those shot and killed at Pulse. Ziegler is shown one last time with the rainbow covering her cheeks and tears falling over the colors. Although Sia has not given a statement about the video, some of her dancers have stated their gratitude to be a part of a piece of artwork so meaningful, therefore somewhat verifying its obvious correlation to the Pulse Nightclub massacre. This devastating event created from hate is a tragic loss for the LGBT community and their allies, but it is when a piece of artwork is able to recognize and remember those taken by hate that it makes the healing and growing process just a little bit easier. While Sia is not a woman of many words, her “The Greatest” music video is able to say all it needs through love and art.

A still from “The Greatest” pays homage to the Orlando night club massacre in June and showcases Sia’s storytelling abilities.

14 Entertainment


SJU screens “The Tough Guise”

Engaging 1999 documentary discusses issues with male gender stereotypes KAILEY LICATA Contributing Writer The Tough Guise: Violence, Media and Crisis in Masculinity, an hour and a half long documentary, discusses how society portrays “tough men.” Jackson Katz depicts the ways in which men are represented in the media and how it affects young men’s actions. Released in 1999, the documentary mainly scrutinized movies from the 60s to the 90s. The first defining scene taken from “The Wizard of Oz” shows the wizard putting on a mask to hide his vulnerability and humanism. This represents how society as whole expects men to remain strong and tough at all times. Young adult men describe “real men” as physically strong, independent, powerful and tough, among many other descriptive words. If they fail to match these stereotypes they are seen as a wuss, sissy or wimp. These labels stem mainly from the media. Masculine characters in movies make violence in men seem normal instead of an outbreak in the 21st century. Statistics show that murder, assault, domestic violence and dating violence average to a ratio of 95:5, men to women.

Because of these statistics, provided by Katz in the film, it seems that headlines avoid mentioning when boys kill, rape or abuse others, and instead only use phrases along the lines of kids killing kids. It makes one wonder why the percent of violence is much higher in males than females? The world went through many revolutionary changes from the 50s to the 90s, such as women beginning to challenge men in the working world in the 70s. In order to fight back and remain superior, men started overcompensating in the build of their bodies and increased sexualization of women in movies. During the presidency of Ronald Reagan, the Vietnam War broke out. America seemed to experience a downfall in the war. The weakened America was blamed on the decrease in masculinity of younger men. Reagan began looking at the America from previous years where men ran the country. Many movies were produced portraying men as big, tough soldiers with big guns and women in the kitchen and at home with

their children. Movies such as “John Wayne” displayed the greatest features in men such as power and violence. This influence caused many teens to see violence as a way of dominance. Katz related multiple school shootings to the need to prove them as powerful despite not being bulky. As the years progress, videos games and sports become the main focus of how men should act. Males constantly killing enemies in videogames and sports culture displaying fights between players became the norm. Boys started acting the way they viewed their role models. In order to be respected, they felt like they needed to disrespect their peers and


ponents. Although most of the film rates the portrayal of men in the media as negative, the ending takes a positive spin. Katz talks about new music, country in particular, and believes that the vulnerability shown toward women tares away the “tough guise” and allows men to feel emotion. Katz uses other examples like the movie “Saving Private Ryan” to illustrate the positive turn in emotions the media has started to adapt. Muhammad Ali also offers a peaceful side to masculinity. The Tough Guise film tries to depict why men are uncharacteristically violent, and comes to the conclusion that media influences them from a young age. The “tough guise” is only an act to seem strong and fit in. It is easier to put on a front than search internally and stand up for what is right. The film hits home with the examples from media and proposes to stop bashing men for working with women and start praising them for doing

“Atlanta” proves to be a great hit

CHYNA DAVIS Assistant News Editor

Donald Glover has finally released his new project “Atlanta.” The lyrical genius, also known as Childish Gambino, plays a character named Earn Marks, a Princeton dropout struggling to make ends meet as he gets involved with his cousin Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry), an upcoming rapper. Glover not only stars as an actor but also creator, executive processor, writer and director. Like “Community,” a sitcom and comedy which Glover starred in, emphasised his role as a promising actor. Instead of playing a quirky, cocky college student, he is portraying a single parent in Atlanta who struggles to make ends meet with racial and economic issues in between. “Atlanta’s” first two episodes, which aired Tues., Sept. 6 at 10 p.m., provoked conversation among many St. John’s students. “Donald Glover puts an interesting comedic twist on the black culture that


Brian Tyree Henry, Keith Stanfield and Donald Glover (left to right) in official still from “Atlanta.”

has largely impacted our society today,” says Kayla Williams. “Yes, he accurately addresses the struggles and hardships that come along with being a rap artist, however he addresses it from different viewpoints: the artist, the manager, the family...” Williams continues. “He is also at an advantage because

he is an artist and a comedian himself; he allows us to see rappers as a jack of all trades, not just as lyrical geniuses.” Unlike Alfred, who is known as “Paper Boi” the new hip-hop artist in the streets, he is reserved, ambitious and crafty when he needs to be. “What happened to Princeton?” said Alfred, who was trying to decide if Earn

should be manager. His father responded bluntly with, “Earn trained like the rest of us, but when he wants to do something he does it. On his terms.” Not having a stable family dynamic drives him to creating a better life for his daughter. His gig as a credit card advertiser was short-lived when he realized he could finally submerge himself in the music industry. There is much more to learn about Earn and his family in upcoming episodes. The scenes in “Atlanta” can be violent, symbolic and powerful. “The show highlights racism, homophobia, mental health and police brutality,” adds Amber Kenya. “Most of these problems are still sensitive topics.” The second episode primarily focuses on mental health, low-income neighborhoods, jail systems and the full on struggle of life in Atlanta like Kenya mentioned. As mentioned in the New York Times: “[Atlanta is] a capital of hip-hop, but distinctively regional.” Earn will stop at nothing to manage and promote Alfred’s work.




“Thanks for the memories, St. John’s” Senior reflects on growth that began with a leap from California to New York

RAHUL LAL Contributing Writer Everyone always told me “college is the best time of your life.” It’s been three years now since a kid from Los Angeles packed up his closet, rolled up his Ice Cube and Tupac posters and moved to a city where he knew absolutely nobody. He had no idea of the wild ride this new home called St. John’s would give him. In these last 36 months, I went from an 18 year-old trying find his passions in life and hiding pieces of himself to an honors student graduating a semester early, feeling open enough to broadcast his life to the rest of the University. The biggest thing that spurned this personal growth over the years had nothing to do with the academics of the school or even the events that the school organized. Instead, it was a direct result of the people the school hosted. People of all backgrounds, faiths and walks of life have influenced me in my time at St. John’s whether it be sitting with a stranger at Montgoris Dining Hall late at night, or a teacher giving me a life lesson about hard work and putting my best foot forward at all times. The people are the chains that open and close the campus gates. I’ve always been a little bit shy when it comes to meeting and interacting with new people. As a freshman, I quickly got homesick to the point of thinking about transfer options. Little did I know the experiences around the corner. I have always gravitated toward adventure. As a sophomore, I decided to study abroad. This study abroad experi-

very few people when going abroad, but within a single week I had met my best friends. Friends I would live with, make life decisions with and create memorable experiences with. These friends gave me the motivation to create my own media brand while I was abroad. Fast forward to junior year where I was consistently stressing myself out. I was working to enhance the brand, drawing plans to launch a second one, taking 18 credits a semester and completing three internships throughout the academic year. My saving grace? You guessed it: the people of St. John’s. Currently, I’m only three months away from my last day of college. I’ve been able to accumulate enough momentum to put myself in a great position moving forward with my journalism career. I have gotten the opportunity to network with some of the largest hip-hop and sports stars because of the confidence of talking with the outgoing, caring and giving students and teachers of this university. While my time as a student may be wrapping up, my relationships with those classmates and professors are blossoming to new levels. I was always told that college would be the best time of my life; I know that the people who helped me get to this point will only continue to make each day better than the last. No matter how far away you are from graduating college, this is a reminder to make sure that you do the crazy, adventurous PHOTO PROVIDED BY/RAHUL LAL things that you never saw yourself doing. Rahul Lal pauses to reflect on his study abroad experiences with Athens, Greece in the background. Nothing risked means nothing gained. Good luck this year ence was one that I never imagined could with locals in both Seville and Rome. happen. I went from sipping tea with BedWhile my character was a factor, the Johnnies. Thanks for the memories, St. ouins in Morocco to reading slam poetry real driving force to make these experiin Notre Dame and even making friends ences happen was my classmates. I knew John’s.

Flames of the Torch

Here at St. John’s, our opportunities are endless. The infinite amount of possibilities come in the form of interesting classes, a diverse student population, a solid career center and so much more. But one of the most important facets of student life here are the organizations. From Greek life to the performing arts, St. John’s has an extremely wide range of choices for all students to feed their interests. With 114 different organizations and 35 fraternities and sororities on campus, the lost of options are long, and continue to grow. We at The Torch encourage all of our fellow students, whether you’re a new freshman or a second semester senior to give organizations that pique your interest a try. College is the perfect opportunity to try something new that one might have not ever been involved in before.

Someone who has never once stepped foot on a stage could try out for the Chappell Players musical. A person who has not had the chance to voice their opinions could argue with the Debate Team. There’s something for everyone. It’s important to take advantage of all of these different organizations on campus, as being apart of them may help you grow as an individual as well as grow in whatever career you choose to pursue. Organizations are a great place to meet new people from various majors that end up coming together based on similar interests. For freshmen especially, clubs can open the doors to new friendships as well as new networking strategies. There are then more opportunities to participate in special events on campus with organizations. This eventually leads to feeling a part

of the St. John’s community, a feeling that is very special once it comes to be. Along with this, there are many professional benefits to joining organizations on campus. Many organizations host networking sessions, as well as panels with alumni where you can learn more about fields you may be interested in. Being part of an organization can also be a resume booster. Not only can you get hands-on experience through an organization, but you’ll also get plenty of advice and tips to strengthen your skills. St. John’s cares about making sure students gain learning experience in their field outside of the classroom, and so do its organizations. It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and get involved. Who knows what can happen? You may even find yourself a home here at The Torch!

EDITORIAL POLICY Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of the TORCH. Columns are the opinions of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of the TORCH. Opinions expressed in editorials, columns, letters or cartoons are not necessarily those of the student body, faculty or administrations of St. John’s University.


Mail letters to: The TORCH, St. John’s University 8000 Utopia Parkway, Jamaica, NY 11439 Submit letters via email to: torcheic@gmail.com

All are welcome to contribute to the Torch. Please include your full name, year and college (or department). Letters have a limit of 500 words and may be edited for content, grammar or space. Unverifiable or anonymous letters will not be published. All letters are subject to the approval of the Editorial Board of the TORCH.

16 Opinion


Was justice served at Fox News? Advice from Gretchen Carlson settles lawsuit against former CEO


Q: “Hi Mama Raven, I’ve been paired up with a slacker in a group project. How do you think I should handle this?” A: So you’ve been paired up with a slacker? I know the feeling, I think every single person on this planet has been in your situation. First thing that I would do is check the syllabus and see how much this project is worth and how it can impact your grade. If it isn’t that much then let the slacker slack but make sure you do your part. The second thing is to let the professor know that you have a slacker in your group and let them know who’s doing what part so you won’t be penalized for it. Unless you have a heartless professor then they should hear you out and take what you say into consideration. The third thing that I would do is confront the slacker head on. Let them know that you are taking this project serious and they should too. The key to this is the approach, you can’t go up to them demanding that they do the work. You must have an actual conversation with them about why they decide to slack off knowing other people are depending on them. I feel that if you show them the actual reality of what they are doing then they might change their perspective on slacking off, at least for this project they’re doing with you. If talking directly to them in a calm and understanding manner doesn’t work and they still have a problem with doing their share of the project then let the professor know that you talked to them and they still won’t do their share of the work. Now, if the project has been done, you’ve done your share, the slacker didn’t do their share and you receive a horrible grade that kills your overall grade and damages your grade point average. Go to your dean. A.S.A.P. If it looks like you were going to lose out in the end in this situation you should be e-mailing your dean as you were going through this process so they know you have taken steps before bringing the situation to them. Let your dean know everything that happened and they should be able to sort everything out. I hope it doesn’t get to this point but if it does I wish you luck. Wishing you tons of luck, Mama Raven

SABRINA LAU Staff Writer Imagine a work setting where you have sexual relations with one of your bosses in order to gain a promotion or receive better, more equal pay doing an already-exceptional job, and where your contributions to a company aren’t valid unless you have these sexual relations. To which, you would probably say, “That’s completely unfair and unjust.” Gretchen Carlson, a former news anchor at Fox News, received a $20 million settlement in a suit against Roger Ailes, former chairman of Fox News, for allegations of sexual harassment, according to the Washington Post. Carlson also received a rare, public apology from 21st Century Fox, parent company of Fox News “[They] sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve.” Carlson compiled a significant amount of evidence against Ailes, with recordings of remarks such as, “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago, and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better.” She claims that he frequently ogled at her, telling her to turn around so that he could see her rear. It was most likely because of this damning mountain of evidence that Carlson received such a swift and huge settlement from 21st Century Fox. The biggest win was not the large, unprecedented settlement amount, but the fact that Carlson emerged with an


News Corporation headquarters in New York City. News Corporation is the parent company of Fox News.

untarnished reputation. Many sexual harassment victims are often painted as sluts and liars, labeled as the victim who “cried rape.” The settlement with Carlson, as well as the much smaller payments of 20 other women who stepped forward during an internal investigation of Ailes, represents the acknowledgement of the severity of sexual harassment within Fox News. While the lawsuit was against Ailes, 21st Century Fox was the one that footed the bill. Since the settlement, Ailes has been removed from his position. However, Aile’s most loyal deputies remained, of whom were alleged to have abetted his

harassment of the women working for the company. Upon his departure from Fox News, a report from USA Today said that Ailes left with a severance package of $40 million and a continuing consulting role. With essentially no repercussions of his actions towards the women of Fox News, Ailes basically received little to no punishment. Like many things in life, this sort of justice seems bittersweet. While Carlson’s settlement displays corporate America bettering its work environment for women, it also shows that too often, no real punishment comes to those who wish to exploit others.

Clinton won’t follow Trump Why Hillary told Mexico’s president: “Thanks, but I’ll pass” NAYAB KHAN Contributing Writer Donald Trump made headlines again—surprise, surprise—two weeks ago for his high-profile visit to Mexico. The visit came as a result of Mexican prime minister Pena Nieto’s invitation to both Trump and Hillary Clinton on diplomatic grounds. Trump took the trip as an opportunity to further his so-called polls with minority groups, specifically Hispanics and Latinos. He publicized it widely and for a second, even I thought that some good could come from the visit. Maybe Trump was about to move toward the center. But, alas, one can never truly put their faith in someone as tied to his beliefs as Trump. As soon as he returned, he tweeted, “Mexico will pay for the wall!” Nieto responded with a tweet that said he agreed to no such thing. Seriously, why would Clinton pass up an opportunity to witness this all firsthand?

Clinton, in response to Nieto’s invitation, said that she wants to, “focus on what we’re doing to create jobs here at home, what we’re doing to make sure Americans have the best possible opportunities in the future.” And in many experts’ opinion, Clinton made the right decision. From Mexican political scientists to promi-

Mama Raven’s desk

Clinton’s choice...was strategic. It showed that she cared little of what Trump chose to do.

nent media figures, all agreed that the person at fault for the whole fiasco was indeed Pena Nieto. Clinton’s decision allowed many Americans, including myself, to look into this Nieto character a little more.

Why wasn’t he worth meeting? Nieto is actually very unpopular in Mexico and his poll numbers plummeted even more after Trump’s visit. Why? Because he let Trump make a fool out of him, a man supposed to be representing Mexico and its people in the greatest possible way. Clinton’s choice not to take up Nieto’s offer was strategic. It showed that she cared little of what Trump chose to do and how he chose to spend his campaign time. It also reflected Clinton’s understanding of the Mexican-American relationship. As put by Tony Payan, the director of the Mexico Center at Rice University, Clinton understands that Mexico and America have a complex and unique tie that will outlive the presidencies of both Clinton and Nieto. As untrustworthy as she may appear, Clinton seems to be pulling the smarter moves in this race. Her decision to not visit Mexico has little bearing on her campaign, and will mean even less when/if she wins office this November.


Making St. John’s your new home VICTORIA LOHWASSER Staff Writer

Everyone knows that college is a new and challenging experience. You leave behind the ease of high school and take your first steps into adulthood the minute you walk onto your new college campus. Freshman year is hard, but imagine transferring to a new school. I began my college experience at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood, New York. My time at Suffolk was great, but I was looking forward to graduation day and starting at a new school. However, I was not sure of where I wanted to continue my education. The minute I read about the Public Relations program at St. John’s University, I knew—without a doubt—that this was the school for me. I was so excited to become a Johnnie and all I talked about was

that I was getting to come here. The day I made my schedule was the first time I ever stepped foot on the St. John’s campus. My first thought was that I am no longer in Queens. I swear, once you pass those gates you’re in a different place. It looked like a real-life Hogwarts! The atmosphere was completely different than at Suffolk and everyone was so nice and helpful. A student, whose name I wish I remembered, walked me over to the transfer office and gave me a mini tour along the way, instead of just pointing me in the right direction. Later on, I found that a lot of the students went out of their way to help. This was unusual to me, the willingness to help, but I find it’s the norm around here. Getting involved around campus was fairly easy because there are so many clubs and organizations to join. It’s actually very hard to choose! In addition to The Torch, I joined Student Government, Inc. (SGI). SGI was just an experience in itself.

Honestly, the whole lot was quite intimidating! Everyone was so polished and mature—I could tell right away that these students took their positions seriously. SGI is run as an actual business and I appreciated the environment that they created. As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. So, even though the SGI members looked unapproachable, they were the complete opposite. They’re super fun to be around and there’s always tons of laughs. It’s certainly difficult to be an unhappy student here at St. John’s. My first impression of SJU was definitely a great one and my expectations have been met consistently throughout my time here. Johnnies really do take care of their own and being a transfer student didn’t make a difference. In fact, I believe it makes you appreciate the environment you’re in that much more.

Opinion 17


Victoria (far right) and friends pose with Johnny Thunderbird.

The Vincentian View: Come now, Holy Spirit FR. PATRICK GRIFFIN, C.M. Special to the Torch

On Sept. 7, our St. John’s community was invited to gather in St. Thomas More Church for the Opening Mass, “The Mass of the Holy Spirit.” I had the opportunity to preach at that mass, and I spoke about when I was a seminarian. One of my summer assignments was to a parish at Auburn University, which was run by the Vincentian Community. I was young and self-confident. At the end of the summer, I received my evaluation. One of the priests met with me and he told me of some of the good things and gifts which I brought to the ministry. At the end, however, he said, “Here are three things which you really need to work on.” He then added, “There are others, but you are not ready to hear them yet.”

They were important words for a student who needed to grow. That experience reminds me of the situation that the early disciples of Jesus had. They had been with him for three years—following him, watching him and listening to his words. But they did not understand everything. Some aspects and teachings of Jesus remained beyond their grasp. They were not yet prepared to listen and learn and change in the ways in which he demanded of them. As Jesus prepares to depart from them, he offers this as encouragement: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always. . . . The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything

and remind you of all that I told you.” This is the role of the Holy Spirit.

It isn’t to start the disciples over with new ideas and actions, but to help them remember what Jesus had taught and to begin to see the way in which these directions applied to their lives. When Jesus was among them, they were not yet ready to hear these instructions, but after he departs, the Holy Spirit slowly helps with that discipline and desire to change. The Spirit becomes their tutor. It is a good image for our community. Oftentimes, the Old Testament portrays the Holy Spirit as being the bearer of wisdom. St. Paul reminds the Church that the gifts of the Spirit are varied and given for the benefit of the whole community—the body, the university. Jesus insists that the role of the Spirit is to give guidance, to open up new possibilities;

she invites us to think deeper, to consider more broadly, to see things in a different, better way, to ask new questions and accept new answers. Thus, we pray for her presence at the beginnings of a school year. This hope brought our community together for a “Mass of the Holy Spirit.” We can pray these words which have been part of the Christian treasury for more than a thousand years: “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and set us on fire with the gift of your love. Come, Holy Spirit.”

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18 Sports


Men’s soccer scores emotional victory at Belson DYLAN HORNIK

Staff Writer It was a poignant night at Belson Stadium for the St. John’s University men’s soccer team. On the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, “New York’s Team,” draped in their red, white, and blue kits, took on the Holy Cross Crusaders. A solemn pre-game ceremony honoring the country kept the importance of the date in the back of everyone’s minds. The significance was not lost on the Red Storm. Paced by Filippo Ricupati’s first two goals of the season, they beat the Crusaders 2-0 for their third win of the season. St. John’s dominated statistically from the get-go with a different lineup than their previous game. Andrew Withers started in goal, and Ricupati earned his first start of the season. Withers recorded his first solo shutout of 2016. It was another starter, freshman midfielder Ludvik Benco, that controlled the game early on. He facilitated the team’s chances on the right side of the pitch, executing smart crosses and using finding open spaces for himself and his teammates. “I think there was some opportunity there [on the right side],” Dr. Dave Masur, the head coach, said. “I thought Tommy [Mickoski] had a good match, stepped in well and played some really good balls and I think Ludvik was able to hold balls up and get them back across so in the first half we had a lot of joy down the right side.” Despite early efforts, St. John’s could not find the back of the net in the first half. They tallied 13 shots on target, seven of which were saved by Holy Cross goalie Henry Stutz. The

Red Storm used pressure and a high tempo to keep the ball in their offensive half for a large majority of the first 45 minutes. Harry Cooksley, who came in for Previati in the 23rd minute, kept the chances flowing with his aggressive creation. He put multiple chances on net that were corralled by Stutz but kept the pressure on the Crusaders. Withers did not have to make a save in the first half thanks to the Red Storm back line. Wilhelm Nilsson, Thomas Mickoski and Simon Tchoukriel all registered full-game efforts and kept Holy Cross out of the 18-yard box for most of the game. It was more of the same in the second, until Ricupati broke through in the 66th minute. The Milan, Italy native caught just enough of sophomore forward Mike Prosuk’s header to redirect it into the lower right corner of the net. The Red Storm defense was similarly solid in the second half. Holy Cross did not register a shot on goal until the 59th minute, and their first shot was the only one that Withers needed to save. St. John’s outshot the Crusaders 25-4. Ricupati, who was just named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll, added one more goal for good measure in the final minute of the game. Cooksley came on an aggressive run off the right and slipped the ball to Ricupati, who coolly tapped it home, completing his brace. “This is an important day for New York, and I’m happy that there were so many fans in the stands,” Ricupati said postgame. “We’re undefeated at Belson right now, and we have to keep working hard and have a great Big East season.” The Johnnies’ next game will be their Big East opener against Marquette on Saturday.


Fillipo Ricupati scored his first two goals of the young season in a 2-0 win over Holy Cross on September 11.

Daly called up by England Poulin leads SJU out west KATHERINE ACQUAVELLA in 2013 and 2015. During her final 2015 Staff Writer

St. John’s women’s soccer all-time scoring leader Rachel Daly has been called up to the English National Team. Despite just graduating one year ago, Daly is already making a name for herself at the professional and international levels. Daly will have a spot on the English national team’s roster in time for the next round of UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 qualifying matches. The Lionesses will begin the qualifiers against Estonia on September 15 at 2:05 p.m. at Meadow Lane Stadium in Nottingham, England. On September 20, the team will travel to Leuven, Belgium for a match-up against the Belgian side at 1 p.m. England secured a spot in next summer’s final back in June with consecutive 7-0 victories over Serbia. Daly scored in the first game, her full English team debut. The Houston Dash took Daly as the sixth pick in the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League draft; she already ranks second on the team with four goals and three assists through 14 matches. During her three-year career with the Red Storm, Daly completely rewrote the St. John’s record book and led the program to the NCAA Tournament in both her sophomore and senior seasons. Daly broke the all-time scoring record set from 1988-92 by Adriana Viola in half the time. The Harrogate, England native recorded 50 goals and 111 points, becoming the school’s first ever NSCAA All-American

campaign, Daly was named a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, finished third in the nation in scoring with 19 goals and helped the Red Storm take home the first Big East regular season championship in school history with a program-record 15 wins.


The St. John’s women’s soccer team suffered its first loss in the final game of the Nike Portland Invitational on September 11, losing to the Portland Pilots (4-1-2) 2-1. This ended the second-longest undefeated streak in school history at seven games. The seven-game winning streak to open the season for the Red Storm (4-1-3) is only behind the ECAC Championship squads of 2002 and 2007 (eight). Diana Poulin, two-time Big East Goalkeeper of the Year, picked up her first loss of the season despite matching a season-high five saves. Poulin maintains a goals against average of 0.35, top in the conference. Portland had an advantage in both shots, 13-9, and corner kicks, 6-4. In the 29th minute, Mikhaila Martinov scored her first career goal for the Johnnies after Samie Scaffidi sent a corner kick from the left side. Martinov got a touch on the ball as she was falling to the ground, sending it past the goalkeeper. Portland’s Devlyn Jeter scored with just 40 seconds left before intermission, bringing the score to 1-1. The Pilots scored again in the 64th minute, when Allison Wetherington sent the ball directly into the goal on a corner kick. On September 9, the Red Storm played Washington to a scoreless tie in the opening match of the Nike Portland Invitational. Washington held the advantage outshooting the Red Storm 14-6 and had 16 corner kicks to the Johnnies’ three. Three of the six shots for the Red Storm were on

target, but they couldn’t muster a goal. Poulin registered five saves. This leaves her with five shutouts this season, tying her for the national lead in that category. Christina Bellero led offense with two of the six shots for the Red Storm. Shea Connors, Morgan Tinari, Allie Moar and Claudia Cagnina also registered tries against the Huskies. “We battled hard against a perennial NCAA Tournament caliber team today,” head coach Ian Stone said in a press release. “I was proud of our team’s effort.” Friday marked the fourth time in seven games this season that the Red Storm has seen overtime. No St. John’s team has dealt with this much overtime since the ECAC Championship season of 2002. The Johnnies’ next game will come against La Salle at Belson Stadium on September 18.


Diana Poulin had a season high five saves on September 11.

Sports 19


Additions have Mullin’s Red Storm rising rapidly


We are less than two months away from the start of year two of the Chris Mullin era at St. John’s. The rebuilding process began in 2015-16 with an 8-24 overall record and a last place finish in the Big East Conference. The Red Storm were competitive throughout the season, but didn’t have the experience, consistency or continuity to earn victories in one of college basketball’s top conferences. On the surface, the 2016-17 season seems to be a whole different ball game. While the Johnnies still lack true college basketball veterans, the talent overflowing on the roster is impressive and promising. Four-star guard Shamorie Ponds will join now-eligible Marcus LoVett in the backcourt, alongside Federico Mussini and Malik Ellison. Yankuba Sima and Kassoum Yakwe are expected to make leaps this season, while Mullin and his staff added one of the top junior college prospects in the nation Bashir Ahmed. Add in Tennessee transfer Tariq Owens, who is now eligible, German forward Richard Freudenberg, and returnees Amar Alibegovic and Darien Williams, and the Johnnies possess a deep, versatile and athletic roster. Regardless of the increased talent level, the Johnnies are still in the midst of rebuilding a program that was a perennial NCAA Tournament team in the 80s and a team that hasn’t won a game in the Big Dance since 2000. In other words, St. John’s expectations

need to be tempered in 2016-17. The Johnnies are unlikely to reach the NCAA Tournament this season, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t moving in the right direction. The Red Storm don’t have a single senior on their roster. They have Michigan State transfer Marvin Clark Jr. and Arizona transfer Justin Simon waiting in the wings. Also, the Johnnies had a remarkable summer on the recruiting circuit. Mullin and company landed a fourstar, ESPN top 100 center from Miami, FL, Zach Brown. The 7’0” has had offcourt issues, but this is an excellent risk-reward pick up. Brown had offers from Florida, Kansas, Miami and UCLA, amongst others, and probably would have had even more high major offers if it wasn’t for a couple of incidents. The Red Storm also hosted an Elite Camp for numerous high school prospects who are serious about playing competitive basketball at the next level. 2018 top-10 prospect Naz Reid, 2018 forward Sidney Wilson, 2017 big man Nick Richards and 2017 point guard Isaiah Washington were just some of the top prospects who were in attendance. The combination of talent already on the roster and hard work on the recruiting trail bodes well for the St. John’s program. They may not break out into the national conversation in 2016-17, but with improvements and developments of their current core pieces, the experience of potentially competing for a postseason tournament bid (NIT) this year and more summers like they had in 2016, the Johnnies will be a legitimate force in the Big East in no time.


Chris Mullin and the St. John’s men’s basketball coaching staff have their program headed in the right direction.

Johnnies down Princeton SJU wins two in California


Alistair Johnston netted his team-high third goal of season in St. John’s win at Princeton.


After falling to No. 6 Syracuse 3-2 in double overtime last Sunday, St. John’s head coach Dr. Dave Masur elected to start his youngest lineup to date on Thursday on the road against Princeton. The lineup included seven freshmen, two sophomores, one junior college transfer and one graduate student. With the team trailing 1-0 65 minutes into the game, freshman Alistair Johnston netted his team-high third goal of the season to tie the game and jumpstart the Johnnies’ 3-1 comeback victory over the Tigers at

Roberts Stadium on September 8. Princeton junior Harry Heffernen scored the match’s first goal just 65 seconds into play. Red Storm freshman midfielder Ludvik Benco nearly tied the game six minutes later with a point blank shot that was saved by the Princeton goalkeeper. At the 22 minute mark, the Tigers nearly went up by two goals before Red Storm freshman Matt Forster stopped the ball before it had a chance of finding the back of the net. It wasn’t until Johnston’s goal and subsequent goals from sophomores Mauricio Rivas and Mike Prosuk that the team took a commanding 3-1 lead. Andrea Previati, Filippo Ricupati, Ben Roth and Harry Cooksley all recorded assists on the night for St. John’s. “We had a lot of good character from guys off the bench which really helped out,” said Coach Masur postgame to RedStormSports. com. “I think it was a little bit of a choppy first half where we had to be more consistent, more connected and more focused as a team. We were better in the second half, wore them down and got the result. The second half was one filled with a renewed sense of energy and intensity, which translated into overpowering Princeton in the possession game and keeping the Tigers on their heels with numerous shots on goal. Johnston’s goal came in the 66th minute, followed by Rivas’ score less than 10 minutes later on an assist from Previati. An insurance goal was added with under seven minutes remaining, when Cooksley found Prosuk, who finished on the ground to give St. John’s a two-score lead and their second win of the season.


The St. John’s women’s volleyball team went on the road to play three matches in two days at the San Francisco Challenge. On Friday, they faced off against San Francisco in their opening match and pulled in an impressive sweep victory (2514, 25-17, 25-10). They came out strong by setting their season-high hitting percentage at .429, keeping San Francisco at a -.034 attacking percentage, recording 40 digs, and forcing their opponent to 23 attacking errors. Erica Di Maulo recorded a match-high 28 assists as she continues to lead all freshmen in the country in assists per set. Melissa Chin logged a career-high 11 digs, while Julia Cast and Gaia Traballi each went for 11 kills. The team remained undefeated for the night, enhancing their record to 7-0. On Saturday afternoon, the Red Storm went up against UC Santa Barbara and lost their first match of the season (25-16, 2225, 22-25, 23-25). Di Maulo performed spectacularly again, recording 38 assists to go along with 11 digs. Margherita Bianchin, Gaia Traballi and Julia Cast all logged double-digit kill matches with 14, 12 and 11 respectively. The game was very close; St. John’s won in attacking percentage with a .222, compared to the Gauchos’ .211. It came down to the wire as the fourth and final set began to come to a close. The Johnnies led 22-20, only to allow five of the next six points and suffer a tough loss. The Red Storm women did not let this

get to them, however, as they took on Brown later that night in their final match of the Challenge and came away with a rebound win (25-7, 25-23, 25-23). This was a dominant victory as they kept Brown to a .094 hitting percentage, while beating them out in digs (37 to 24) and blocks (12 to 4) and notching an impressive .329 attacking percentage. Julia Cast had a great match, recording 15 kills, .542 attacking percentage, four blocks and 17.5 points produced. Freshman Di Maulo once again stuffed the stat sheet in the assists category with 33 to go along with eight digs. Danisha Moss and Mona Karkkainen also produced solid outings as Moss recorded six kills and six blocks and Karkkeinen racked up five kills at a .714 rate. All in all, the Johnnies came out of the Bay Area with a season record of 8-1. They will remain on the road for their next match as they move to the neighboring state of Connecticut to take on Fairfield.


Erica Di Maulo led St. John’s in the Bay Arena.

SPORTS September 14, 2016 | VOLUME 94, ISSUE 05 |


Red Storm runs through Rio TROY MAURIELLO Sports Editor

While there was no shortage of red, white and blue on display at the 2016 Rio Olympics last month, St. John’s fans may have noticed an extra dose of former Red Storm talent succeeding in Brazil. Fencers Daryl Homer and Dagmara Wozniak, who graduated from St. John’s in 2013, both returned home from Rio with their first Olympic medals. Homer captured silver in the men’s individual saber competition on Aug. 10, while Wozniak earned a bronze three days later in the women’s team saber. “You flash back to all the work you put in,” Homer said. “You just sit back and you kind of look at things from a broader perspective and realize how big it is and how many people you’ve inspired. You realize the whole world is watching, so it’s a really great experience and great feeling.” Homer and Wozniak both won medals last month after failing to do so in the 2012 London Olympics, as they finished sixth and eighth, respectively, in their events during that year’s games. However a good part of the former

Johnnies’ success in Rio had to be attributed to their coach, current St. John’s head coach and a U.S. Fencing hall of famer, Yury Gelman. The 60-year-old native of Kiev, Ukraine made his fifth Olympic coaching appearance this year, providing an immense amount of experience and chemistry for his pair of former Red Storm standouts. “I think that my experience definitely helped both of them in some area,” Gelman said. “Even at times if they did not agree with me and what I told them…I know a little better what to do and how to do it.” Homer, 26, came into Rio as the second-ranked fencer in the United States. However the four-time All-American at St. John’s was actually going through some struggles as he headed overseas. After making history by becoming the first American man to win a medal in the saber competition at the Senior World Championships in July 2015, Homer went into a “deep decline,” as he put it. However he was able to recover from the funk to give himself a legitimate shot at gold in Rio. “It was just me struggling with my

confidence and me arguing with people who I shouldn’t be,” Homer said. “It was a very hard situation. When you start struggling with the games so close, you get really freaked out.” Wozniak also went through a shaky period heading into the games, as an injury in February kept her out of action for three and a half months and caused her to drop in the United States rankings. Even with the injury concerns, the 28 year-old Wozniak was named a part of the United States team back in April. Although she fell in the second round in the individual saber competition, Wozniak and her Team USA counterparts secured a bronze medal just five days later. Gelman expressed his concerns regarding Wozniak heading into the games, as he did not believe that she was fully recovered from her injury. But nonetheless he was proud of her performance in the team competition. “Dagmara has always been a very strong team player, she makes her team much better” Gelman said. “I was worried, but she did extremely well.” The Red Storm trio of Homer, Wozniak and Gelman still stay in constant contact, even after the games.

Wozniak and Homer actually train together five days each week as they continue to prepare for further international competition. “It’s been a little tougher for me to stay in contact with guys from the [St. John’s] team, but we communicate via text and hang out when we can,” Homer said. “Generally Dagmara and I see each other a lot, we travel around the world together.” The experience that the Olympians received at St. John’s just a few short years ago certainly appeared to assist them last month at Rio as well. “In terms of high level training and just being exposed to strength work, nutrition and recovery, St. John’s did an amazing job of that for me,” Homer said. “I had never been around that.” After their success in Rio last month, the focus for the Red Storm trio now turns toward qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “If they will continue, we will go for this 100 percent,” Gelman said. “If I can help and support, I will definitely do it. It all depends.”

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