VOL 96 : 01 APRIL 18, 2018 torchonline.com
The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. Johnâ€™s University
P.L.U.G. SWEEPS SGI eLECTIONS See The story on Page 3
TORCH PHOTO/ NICK BELLO
TORCH PHOTO/ EMILY FISHER
PRESIDENT GEMPESAW TALKS FOUR CORE PRIORITIES
AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE NEW DIVERSITY TASK FORCE story on page 3
TORCH PHOTO/ NICK BELLO
Story on pages 4 & 5
Relayers raise more than $160,000 for cancer research Members of the St. John’s family and Queens community, alongside representatives of the American Cancer Society (ACS), poured into Carnesecca Arena last Friday to stand united in the fight against a disease that has taken many lives. Every year, thousands of St. John’s students, staff, faculty and administrators participate in an all-night walkathon to raise money to be donated to the American Cancer Society. Relay for Life is a 12-hour long event in which local communities and universities raise funds and awareness for cancer research. They do this by remembering the lives of those lost to cancer and those who have survived. The St. John’s community has participated in Relay for Life for 13 years, raising over a million dollars since it began in 2005. “Last year we broke the million dollar mark and for the last 13 years St. John’s has now raised almost 1.2 million dollars to the American Cancer Society, and they’re the only college in the [New York Metropolitan Area] who has hit that milestone,” said Meaghen Neary, an American Cancer Society representative. She started relaying back in college as a volunteer to honor her aunt, a breast cancer survivor. In 2015, SJU raised $114,223 followed by
After the opening ceremony, the lights were cut off and the glow sticks were broken and dropped into small paper bags that were covered in inspirational drawings and quotes and filled with electronic candles and rocks to keep them in place. Giselle Rosario, chair of campus outreach on the Relay Committee, described the ceremony as “a time of remembering; we as a community to remember those fighting, those who won the fight, and those who unfortunately lost the fight to cancer.” The event concluded at 6 a.m. the following morning, and it was revealed that the University had raised more than $160,000. To help keep everyone awake, activities such as zumba and yoga were offered, as well as performances by Johnny on the Rocks, the dance team, Kickline and Live Dance Crew. Funds raised by Relay For Life have been Natalie Collura, a cancer survior, walked with the SJU community at Relay for Life Friday. a significant contributor in the 20 percent $140,341 in 2016. In 2017, the Relay team sickness as inspiration in her daily life. decline in cancer-related deaths since 1991. raised $137,214, and this year a record-break“The pain was indescribable,” Collura said. The money has also contributed to saving paing $160,214. “The committee set a goal at “After the surgery I had to re-learn how to sit tients more than $38 million in lodging costs the beginning of the year of [at] $150,000 up because the muscles in my abdomen were by providing a free place to stay through the and we were lucky enough to hit that before completely torn during the surgery. Hope Lodge program. the opening ceremony even started,” Neary But cancer has given so much more than it “Every year these students work so hard, said. took from me — cancer gave me my voice. harder than any community I have ever seen,” The opening ceremony began with a brief It gave me the ability to stand up for myself Neary said. “All the people I’ve met here and video followed by a speech from sophomore when kids would pick on me … it gave me all their stories, whether it’s a survivor or a Natalie Collura. Collura survived cancer after the strength to speak about my feelings, my caregiver, they have definitely inspired me to being diagnosed at age 10. Now, she uses her needs and my wants.” work harder at my own job.” TORCH PHOTO/AMANDA NEGRETTI
Dewayne Goforth & Amanda Negretti
Task Force Says It Aims to Work Toward Equity Angelica Acevedo For years, students have voiced concerns about a lack of diversity within St. John’s University’s faculty and administration, and said that institutional racism exists here. While the University has responded to these concerns in various ways, their most significant action has been creating the Task Force for Diversity and Inclusion, led by Chief Diversity Officer Nada Llewellyn. The Task Force was started by President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw in 2016 to address students’ concerns by implementing “institutional policy and practice changes needed to create an equitable and inclusive learning and working environment.” In an interview with the Torch last month, Llewellyn credited various student leaders of organizations such as Students of Consciousness (SOC), Haraya, Spectrum and Student Government, Inc. (SGI) for helping create the Task Force’s strategic goals and for updating their peers on their progress. Atem Tazi, the newly elected president of SGI, said that the Task Force is “a step in the right direction.” “The creation of it is already stating that the University acknowledges that there is a problem in regards to diversity and inclusion on campus,” Tazi said. “The committee itself is important because it creates room where there is no longer one year of continuous complaining and then people leave, and it starts all over again.” Since 2016, the Task Force has consisted of faculty, staff, administrators, one undergraduate student and one graduate student — all selected by Llewellyn and Provost Robert Mangione. This semester, they began accepting applications for a student subcommittee and are in the process of interviewing candidates for membership, which they will announce on April 30, according to an internal communication sent April 16. Llewellyn, who is also the Deputy General Counsel and the Associate Vice President of Human Resources at St. John’s, said there will also be faculty, staff and administrator subcommittees added to the Task Force soon. “Instead of trying to do it all at once we’re going to do it consecutively, so there will be other opportunities for other segments of the University community to participate directly,”
she said. According to the University’s website, the Task Force was charged by President Gempesaw with formulating recommendations to: 1. Ensure that all staff are trained in diversity, equity and inclusivity space; 2. Increase the number of faculty “from historically underrepresented groups;” 3. “Incorporate diversity, equity and inclusivity into the curricula;” 4. “Create a more inclusive campus climate.” Faculty Co-Chair of the Task Force Manouchkathe Cassagnol said there has been significant progress when it comes to implementing a “revitalized core curriculum,” which is waiting TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO on approval from the Board of Nada Llewellyn and Manouchkathe Cassagnol during Task Force meeting on March 5, 2018. Trustees. Another development underHowever, this event ended with many stuway is the Academic Center for Equity and In- of the class of 2018 have played a major role throughout our time at St. John’s through our dents walking out, followed by Gempesaw clusion (ACEI), which Cassagnol said will be activism, leadership and relentlessness. Curwalking out before addressing the crowd as open by fall of 2018. originally planned. “The ACEI will serve as a hub for leading rent students, do not give up!” Although these initiatives have been underThe sequence of events, Llewellyn said, led to research, scholarship and creative expression way for almost two years, Llewellyn acknowl“lessons learned” for the Task Force. to address issues of equity and inclusion, and edged that many people on campus were not “We understood that there was a need to to support faculty development in ensuring communicate more broadly so that more stuthe success of a diverse student population,” aware. “The awareness of students in particular dents, and really the University community as Cassagnol, who is also an associate professor at about the work of the Task Force is different, a whole, understood what we were doing,” she the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, I would say, now, than it was in February … a said. said. lot of people just didn’t know,” Llewellyn siad. Since then she said the Task Force has orMatthew Pucciarelli, associate provost of “I can see that there was just a lot of frustration ganized public meetings and presentations in Global Studies, is a member of the Task Force and pain.” March and periodically sent out internal comand said he is mostly involved in helping reIn February, more than 100 students munications. cruit and retain faculty and staff from undermarched toward the president’s office and then She said the Task Force’s main concern is represented backgrounds. gathered at the Little Theater to voice their racto keep the student body informed on their Although he emphasizes that there is still a ism-related grievances to administrators. progress, so that they can trace the change on long way to go, he said new faculty members The protest was initially sparked by outrage campus. hired this year were “substantially more diLlewellyn acknowledges that while most of verse, and a clear indication of the entire insti- over racist messages on social media by white female students from St. John’s and another their work is long term, there have also been tution’s efforts, and in particular, the work of school that were directed toward St. John’s feshort-term benefits, such as retaining an exterindividual academic departments.” male students who are black. nal consultant to review Public Safety’s poliMorgan Bell, who is graduating in a month Following this day-long event, which was cies, practices and procedures. and is a member of the Diversity Lecture Se“We’re trying to be responsive with what ries Committee, said she hopes the Task Force live-streamed on various social media accounts, Gempesaw organized a town hall where stuwe’re hearing and also being thoughtful holds the University accountable. dents vocalized their concerns directly to him of what’s going to create the most lasting “As a graduating senior, my main wish is that this is not something that will disappear once and other administrators, including Llewellyn, change,” she said. “Lasting change that really my class is gone,” Bell said. “Many members Vice President Joseph Oliva and Director of is transformational, that’s been our goal from Public Safety Denise Vencak. the beginning.”
Tazi Becomes SGI’s Second Female Black President Nick Bello
Student Government Inc.’s executive board elections came to a close April 6 with the PLUG ticket coming out on top with a sweep. PLUG, which stands for personality, legacy, unity and growth, was led by junior Atem Tazi who beat out Roderick Jackson 1,314 votes to 929. With the win, Tazi becomes the second black female president in SGI history. “I feel honored and humbled,” Tazi said following the announcement. “It’s been a year-long process and just to be here is so fulfilling.” Jackson, from the SEED ticket, declined to comment on the election results. Tazi will be accompanied by junior Christopher Stevens, who will serve as vice president after defeating current secretary Alissa Santolo 1,283 votes to 950 votes.
Stevens said the first thing he wants to accomplish in office is revamping the organization’s committees. “The committees are what make up SGI,” Stevens said. “Putting the right people in place to put them in a position to be successful and then overseeing them and holding them accountable is definitely my first initiative.” Tazi said she is excited to work with the same people she started her journey with. Over the past few months, the candidates on the PLUG ticket have formed a family-like relationship, she said. “We’re really just one big family,” Tazi said. “We have so many plans.” One plan that PLUG wants to implement is a way for students to use meal points at off-campus restaurants. The architect of this plan is Henry Stitzel, who will serve as treasurer after defeating Torrent Cannon 1,318 votes to 925 votes. “I’m excited,” Stitzel said. “We have a lot of good plans
and now it’s time to really act.” Clare Soria will take over as secretary after she defeated Stefanie Bassaragh 1,309 votes to 934 votes. Soria was overcome with happiness after the results were announced. “I’m elated,” Soria laughed. “We’ve really become such a tight knit group.” PLUG took all three senate seats as well. These positions represent the sophomore, junior and senior classes. Bell won the senior senator race over Anthony Romeo by 122 votes. Johnny Wiley defeated Kristen Labruna 1,066 votes to 721 in the race for junior senator, and Amel Viaud won the sophomore senator race after she defeated Carley Germain and Hannah Sesay. She received 813 votes. “I’m very proud of both tickets this year,” Frank Obermeyer, the now-former president of SGI, said. “I respect the work that these students put in and I can’t wait to see what the PLUG ticket will do once in office.”
Sitting Down with President Gempesaw S u z anne Ci e c hal s k i Edito r -i n -Ch i e f Eme r i t u s Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw is rounding out his fourth year as president of St. John’s University. His tenure has been marked by several things, from the hiring of men’s basketball coach Chris Mullin, to an increase in retention and enrollment. He’s worked to increase fundraising, address student concerns to change the campus culture in regard to diversity (a full story on this was published in the last edition of the Torch) and to promote his four strategic priorities that focus on improving the University in four different areas. Earlier this month, he sat down for an hour long, wide-ranging interview with the Torch to discuss some of these things. Here’s what he had to say:
Hiring One issue that’s been widely discussed on campus is the question of whether there’s a “hiring freeze.” According to Gempesaw, there is no such thing happening at St. John’s. “A hiring freeze means that we are not hiring across the board in all academic and administrative units at the University,” he said. “That’s not the case.” What they are doing, he said, is managing budgets conservatively. Currently, he said St. John’s colleges and schools are searching for or have completed searches for 40 faculty positions — 11 are new positions. Aside from hiring faculty, Gempesaw said the University is also working to hire additional mental health professionals and disability professionals — a move meant to address the requests of students. Students have previously said the counseling center’s services are not adequate. “So what we have done is what I call ‘selective and disciplined hiring,’” he said. Gempesaw said the University is 92 percent dependent on tuition and fee revenue, adding that St. John’s hasn’t totally recovered from a 12 percent decline in enrollment in 2014, meaning the school needs to budget conservatively. He also said the Excelsior Scholarship in New York State has affected the University’s ability to recruit students. “Many schools, when they face enrollment declines...They attempt to increase revenues by increasing tuition,” he said. “We have not done that here during my time as president.” During Gempesaw’s first year at St. John’s, tuition was frozen. He said that in the last few years, the rate of increase in tuition has been less than two percent. “So if we are unable to increase tuition as much, we have to be disciplined in containing our costs,” he said. Gempesaw said personnel and benefits are the University’s highest expenditures, so, “a selective hiring process is really consistent with our strategic priorities,” he said.
torch design/steven verdile
He also added that St. John’s has avoided laying off employees and cutting academic programs.
tience is also a virtue that we have to respect because we all know the process will take time.”
Additionally, he pointed to the various difficulties faced by the men’s basketball team this year.
Fundraising at St. John’s has increased from $16 million in 2013 to $22 million in the past year, according to statistics shared with the Torch by Gempesaw. “That is a good sign that our alumni and friends know that St. John’s is a good investment,” he said. A huge source of funding has been alumni — which should come as no surprise. Gempesaw said he regularly travels to meet with alumni, and pointed to the grand alumni homecoming weekend as one way the University has attracted alumni back to campus and shown them the value of investing in St. John’s. Another method through which the University has had success in fundraising is the Partners for Student Success initiative. The school’s goal is to reach $15 million in new scholarships through this initiative by 2020. “We have gotten [a] good response to that request,” he said. The way it works, Gempesaw said, is that alumni or others who hope to support scholarship will make a pledge. That money is then put into the University’s endowment. “Through the Partners for Student Success Scholarship Program, generous alumni and friends can establish a permanent endowment with an outright gift of $100,000 or more, or a pledge of $100,000 or greater,” according to the St. John’s website. Gempesaw himself and his wife have also made a personal investment in an endowed scholarship, according to Brian Browne, the director of University Relations. The amount was not disclosed. And while there’s been clear success in raising funds for the University, Gempesaw said he’d like for St. John’s to be more successful. “Especially in raising scholarships for our students, because it’s something that we have identified as critical to the success of many of our students,” he said.
Basketball Gempesaw made it clear that he’s a huge fan of the game of basketball, which is fitting, given St. John’s status as a Division I program. He said he played basketball throughout grade school, high school and college. During the interview, Gempesaw expressed immense praise for former St. John’s player and current men’s basketball coach Chris Mullin — arguably his biggest hire since taking on the role of president at St. John’s. He said Mullin was hired because he has the commitment, experience and talent to lead the team. He said he describes Mullin’s efforts as “The Three Ps.” They stand for process, patience and perseverance. “Competing at the highest level of athletic competition requires the building of a strong foundation and that process can take time depending on where you started your base,” Gempesaw said. “Pa-
“You can see that they never give up. They always play hard until the end,” he said. Gempesaw admitted that he wishes SJU won all of their games, but he was adamant that Mullin “cannot do it alone.” “He needs help from his coaching staff, the athletic department,” he said. “Coach Mullin needs help from the student body and alumni to cheer for our team so that our home games — either here at Carnesecca or Madison Square Garden — are sold out.” He stressed the importance of student and alumni support for the team as Mullin continues to work to build up the program. Additionally, he said he’s excited about the core players SJU will have on its roster next season, as well as new players and transfers.
Education When Gempesaw became president, he said he wanted to focus on four “strategic priorities.” They include: Ensuring student success; recruiting, recognizing and retaining faculty, staff and administrators; enhancing SJU’s teaching and learning environment and expanding global and community partnerships. “We have made strides in terms of increasing our retention rates,” he said. Under Gempesaw, student retention and graduation rates have risen. He said 2002 was the last time the University’s retention rates “started with an eight.” The 2016-17 retention rate was 83 percent. “I do not take credit for those accomplishments — I should give credit to our colleagues here at St. John’s who have taken ownership of that very important goal,” he said. “And my expectation is that if you retain your students, you’re halfway through to graduating them. And I know that our graduation rate will start moving three years from now, because we are now moving our retention rates.” Throughout the last four years, he also said he’s made hiring faculty a priority, despite having a tight budget. He said the school has hired more than 150 new faculty during that time. He also pointed to the University’s efforts to keep up with technological advances, saying it’s something he’s very proud of. “I’m really excited because when we have visitors who come here, they say, ‘Oh, we haven’t seen this anywhere, and that gives our students that edge,’” he said. The College of Professional Studies, for example, recently had five new labs built to supplement students’ learning experiences.Those labs include a cyber security lab, a homeland security/emergency management simulation lab, an innovation and design enhancing the arts lab, an innovation lab and a computer science lab.
A Christian Response to Racial Prejudice
Following tensions on campus, pastor takes a new approach Jillian Ortiz Students, faculty and other guests alike gathered on Thursday April 12 for a discussion on “A Christian Response to Racial Prejudice and Racism,” which was held by Student Government, Inc. in collaboration with the Department of Rhetoric, Communication and Theatre. The discussion was led by lead pastor of the New Life Fellowship Church in Elmhurst, New York, Rich Villodas. Villodas began the discussion on racial tension by speaking about the ZIP code, 11373, where his church is located, where the members of the church community come from more than 75 different countries. “Issues pertaining to race and racial hostility — [they hit] home,” he said, commenting on the diversity of his church community, where more than 123 languages are spoken. After speaking to the attendees about his own personal experiences with racial prejudice growing up as a Puerto Rican man in a diverse neighborhood, Villodas began to shift the conversation towards the “Christian response.” Villodas noted that division, even within the church, often occurs due to the simplest of differences. “Historically, folks divide over the smallest things, and if folks divide over the smallest things, how much more is there going to be a sense of hostility and division not just with-
in the life of a church, but our society as a whole?” Villodas said. SGI Research and Development Co-Chair and Rhetoric student, Brianna Holmes, helped organize and arrange for Villodas to attend the event. “We felt that it is important to integrate the Christian response to all of the racial issues that have been going on on campus in a broader aspect and to give another humbled perspective,” Holmes said. Villodas began to develop the Christian response by speaking on issues such as institutional and systemic racism, using scriptures and quotes to unpack the heavy topics. “When we talk about race and racial hostility, it’s important that we speak on it from at least two perspectives- maybe three perspectives,” Villodas said. “We have to speak of it individually, interpersonally and institutionally.” “Having a Christian perspective lets you kind of see where everything has already been spelled out for us in the Bible and a lot of people usually don’t put the two together,” Holmes said. Villodas ended the presentation portion of the discussion by offering a means on how to work for racial equality through the use of reconciliation. He spoke on nine ways of bringing this to fruition, such as a deep commitment to listening to others, an honest examination of the history of racial inequality, growing in
TORCH PHOTO/JILLIAN ORTIZ
Rich Villodas leads discussion on “A Christian Response to Racial Prejudice and Racism.”
awareness of our own implicit racial bias and several others. The discussion ended with a Q&A session, where audience members were able to touch upon subjects that Villodas had spoken about throughout his presentation. Junior Chloe Mok regularly attends New Life Fellowship Church and was able to see the conversation her pastor brought to her
own campus. “I think a lot of times we get…both sides of the story and we get told what we should think,” Mok said. “But at the same time, we need to have a discussion where people are willing to sit down and listen to each other, and I think that’s what I gained the most out of this.”
Red House Hosts 12th Annual Fashion Show: Seven Deadly Sins Alexis Gaskin The 12th annual Red House Fashion show was held this past Monday, in Carnesecca Arena. Dozens of students, staff and community members were in attendance to participate in the interactive fashion show, along with a traditional catwalk. At $7 a ticket, Red House offered a 17-minute window where people could get in for free. This resulted in a line out the door and many braving the cold just to attend. Freshman Nathalie Payen was one of the lucky few who got in for free. Payen was excited about the different structure of the show and the exciting theme. “They’re really playing on the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ theme with the different structure,” she said. This year’s theme was influenced by the Seven Deadly Sins. Latoya Nurse, vice president of Red House, said that the experience was meant to have an impact on the audience. “It’s supposed to inflict some inner feeling of sins that you don’t want to think about,” Nurse said. “Showing people their different vices.” This year’s show took the traditional fashion show to a more creative concept, according to Red House Secretary Wyett Woodbury. “The Seven Deadly sins are showed through interactive rooms, with standing models representing a different sin: lust, sloth, greed, wrath, vanity, gluttony and envy,” Woodbury said. With the late start, the exhibits and runway lasted two hours with a runway show featuring three local designers. According to Woodbury,
TORCH PHOTO/GABRIELLA CAMPOS
St. John’s students pose for photos during Monday night’s Red House Fashion Show held in Carnesecca Arena.
diversity and representation are very important to Red House. That was taken into consideration when choosing models and designers. “We want people to feel comfortable in their own skins,” Woodbury said. Many of the students and staff were excited about the show and thought the interactive rooms were a great addition. Students like Isaac Ebanks especially liked the booth representing Vanity. “I enjoyed that [Vanity] room because of the photo booth,” he said. “It’s really cool how they made it so interactive with the models
and theme.” Hosted by students Carl Fetiere and Tahmir Williams, the runway portion featured over a dozen models, including students Tope Ayo and Sophia White. The show featured designs from Laced Array and Jane Ifegwu of Ezinne Designs. The pieces from Laced Array featured lace and sequin dresses, pants and tops. Ifegwu embraced her Nigerian heritage by including designs featuring African prints in two-piece outfits and dress shirts worn by the male student models.
The show ended with the models from the interactive portion of the show taking their turn on the runway, embodying the Seven Deadly Sins. Sabyne Santiago was excited to participate in her first fashion show with Red House. The opportunity to a part of it was one thing for her, but the way she felt after was what made the night memorable. “I was so honored to be able to participate in the show and be a part of something like this,” Santiago said. “It was so much fun and made me feel fierce.”
Students guide to study abroad St. John’s students participating in study abroad programs wanted to show what it’s like to take advantage of St. John’s abroad opportunites. Here are some of their favorite photos from their excursions: Compiled by Amanda Negretti
Shelly Warren - Discover The World Program We stayed at Via Amsterdam, a hostel which I highly recommend. We did a lot in the day we were there. I highly recommend the Van Gogh Museum and the Moco Museum (which has a Banksy exhibit), be sure to buy your Van Gogh tickets online and bring your student ID for a discount at the Moco. If you’re looking for cheap and delicious food for breakfast, hit up
Spencer Clinton - Discover The World Program My friends and I wanted to visit somewhere in Italy that was less touristy, so we ventured down to Bari in southeast Italy. It took us one hour by plane, or alternatively, seven hours by train. When were here, we found that the seafood, albeit quite expensive, was incredible. Bari is also very small, so it was easy
Bagels and Beans on your way to the museums and the I Amsterdam sign! For transportation, Amsterdam is very pedestrian and public transit friendly, so I recommend a 24 hour transit pass which is € 7.50! Overall, Amsterdam was amazing and extremely affordable, and I can’t wait to go back.
to travel around. The main excursion we did was to Polignano a Mare, a coastal town about twenty minutes from the city center. This was a perfect trip, as we stayed for just two days, which was an ideal amount of time to see the town and make the trip to Polignano. I would highly recommend this trip to other students studying in Italy.
gorgeous and the view from up on the hill is breathtaking. As an artist, I especially loved seeing the David by Michelangelo. It was definitely a ‘pinch me’ moment. I literally just stared at it in awe for 20 minutes.
Jordan Fierek - Rome Semester Program Deciding to study in Rome for the spring semester of my sophomore year was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’ve seen so many places and have experienced more of the world in the last few months than I have in my entire life. One of my favorite places that I’ve traveled to was Budapest, Hungary. Besides explor-
ing this historical city, I had the thrilling opportunity to go on a 3-mile underground cave climb with my friends and the luxury to relax in one of Budapest’s famous thermal baths all within the same weekend! If you are on the fence about studying abroad, definitely take the leap of faith and go. It is an experience you will never forget.
Michelle Birman - Rome Semester Program Since I started studying abroad this past semester, I had the opportunity to travel to so many wonderful countries. My favorite place so far has been Switzerland because of the beautiful 360-degree view of the Swiss Alps and lakes, the kind locals and the great array of activities to choose from. There, I had the
Rachel Johnson - Global Passport Program I did the Global Passport Program Rome in January of last year. It was incredible! My favorite excursion outside of what we did for class was spending the day in Florence. The city is absolutely
opportunity to paraglide and sled down the Swiss Alps! I would definitely recommend visiting this amazing city if you are into nature and love to try new things. The only downside is you have to prepare yourself to spend a good amount of money because food, gifts and activities in general are expensive!
Dawnson Bielecki - Discover The World Program During our 5 weeks in Rome, we took a weekend trip north to Venice, or the “City on the Water.” This was a very affordable trip, especially split between 4 people. We took a scenic train ride that allowed us to stay Friday morning until Sunday morning. During this time, we experienced the grand opening of “Carnivale,” the historic
and unique city itself along with much more. Specifically, I would say to step outside your comfort zone and try the dish they are known for: squid ink pasta with cuttlefish. I would recommend this as a trip to future students going abroad or anyone taking a trip to Italy.
Curated Collections: Top 5 Podcasts That Will Give You Nightmares Alexis Gaskin Whether you have a long subway commute, or you want something else to listen to besides the same old playlist that Spotify recommends, check out these spooky and sinister podcasts on Spotify and iTunes. Be warned that some feature gore and explicit conversations. I wouldn’t listen to these podcasts at night; they will keep you up. #1: And That's Why We Drink Created by two friends, Em Schultz and Christine Schieffer, this weekly show discusses supernatural ghost stories, like the Haunted Winchester Mansion in San Jose and real-life murder/crime stories like the infamous Clown dressing killer, John Wayne Gacy. Each episode features the hilarious and informative hosts drinking milkshakes and wine while they discuss the gruesome and spine-tingling stories. Their energetic personalities and comments create a comedic relief for the serious and eerie stories. The reason it’s number one is that the intricate details these hosts go into will have you thinking about the stories for a long time. #2: The No Sleep Podcast This one is plain scary. This show hosted by David Cummings keeps its namesake true
— when listening, you won’t be getting any sleep because you’ll be too busy questioning every creak and noise you hear in the night. In the themes of stories found on Tumblr or scary story sites, this show tells realistic and inventive stories that will make you question every choice. If the very first episode featuring the infamous “Midnight Man” doesn’t leave you wanting to sleep with the lights on, then the other terrifying episodes will. A great listen for scary movie lovers and those who like a good thrill.
PHOTo/flickr creative commons kyuubiTamer
#3: Lore This podcast, which has now been turned into an Amazon Original television series, is a retelling of famous lores in a storybook narrative. The Lore podcast is a must-listen if you love all things creepy; the enchanting and sinister way the narrator Aaron Mahnke voices these lores will leave you entrapped in the story and sometimes scared to hear what’s next. The 15th episode featuring the infamous “Robert the Doll” will have you questioning every stuffed animal you ever slept with as a child. #4: Welcome to Night Vale A long-running podcast narrated by Cecil Gershwin Palmer is about the fictional town of Night Vale. This surreal radio show has
PHOTo/wikimedia commons aaron mahnke
the narrator bringing you into the world of Night Vale, making you think you accidentally tuned into some weird radio show. In this town, crazy things occur, from alien invasions to the listener questioning all pyramids. Best listened to in order, “Welcome to Night Vale” is a good listen for a storybook “sci-fi” feel with creepy twists and turns. #5: The Last Podcast on the Left This podcast features everything from true
crime, paranormal encounters, lores and even personal experiences. This gut-punching trio of hosts: Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks and Henry Zebrowski, do not hold back in their long-running show. The comedic telling of these stories will make you question why they’re laughing, and also joining in as they discuss Bigfoot and entrails. Similar to the antics of the first podcast on this list, the realness of the information will leave you chilled.
Chelsea Hotel Doors Open Up Opportunity to Buy History Nick Bello On April 12, memorabilia hunters had the opportunity to purchase the doors of Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley and even Mark Twain at the Ricco/Maresca Gallery located on West 20th Street in Manhattan. The gallery has partnered with Guernsey’s to auction off the doors from the famous Chelsea Hotel at the gallery as well as online. The doors up for auction were on display at the gallery from April 5 -12. A portion of the profit made from the auction will go to City Harvest, an organization dedicated to fighting hunger in New York City. According to Kylie Ryu, the manager of the Ricco/Maresca Gallery, the space was lent to Guernsey’s for the auction. Ryu also said that the gallery had not done an event like this before. The Chelsea, which closed in 2011 for renovation, was home to many famous celebrities. The doors up for auction were the gateways to the rooms of writers, musicians, artists and even some politicians. The Chelsea is also where an affair between Janis Joplin and Leonard Cohen is rumored to have taken place. That door is one of many up for auction this month. The doors were previously owned by Cigdum Tankut, who rescued the doors when the hotel closed for renovation. Tankut received a tip from a man she had met on her way home from her art booth in Manhattan. Tankut claims that the man came up to
her one day on her way home from her booth on 25th Street, Manhattan with a proposition to help save the doors which were going to be thrown out. Tankut brought the doors to her own storage space when they were removed from the hotel, although the doors eventually had to be moved shortly after when the storage building closed down. With the help of Jim Georgio and a few others, Tankut found another space for the doors to be stored. The doors changed storage locations multiple times until they found a suitable auction house for them. The process of finding a suitable home for the doors took five years, according to Tankut. These five years were challenging, as they were faced with many problems along the way. “It’s been five long, heavy, difficult, troubling, challenging, over-worked, over-labored years,” Tankut laughed. Over the past five years, Tankut developed an almost a parent-like relationship with the doors. “It’s like sending your child off to college,” Tankut said. “I want them to go, but I don’t want them to go.” Tankut wants the buyers to look beyond the fact that they are doors from a famous hotel. “This is not a door, it’s not an antique door, it’s not a door from a hotel,” she said. “They’re confidants of incredibly intense characters that gave us twentieth century pop culture.”
Zoe Golden-Johnson torch design/ tauhid dewan
On Influences, Nature and Emotion in Photography
Q: It’s amazing how art can guide you along a path about
The Poughkeepsie native wanders into the DAC Coffeehouse, holding a large portfolio of prints and the welcoming smile of someone who immensely enjoys what they do. Zoe Golden-Johnson, freshman photography major, gushes about her interests in the art field, bursting with an excitement for what’s to come. In our conversation, she discusses everything from her influences to creative stumps to her emotional connection to her art. View Zoe’s work at torchonline.com and @zoes.camera on Instagram
that. Do you have anything to say about the power of art?
“Art, to me, is so beautiful. It comes in all shapes and forms. There’s poems, there’s drawings, there’s paintings, there’s photography, there’s so many songs. And I’m inspired by all of it, I could be sitting there and realize this song makes me feel some type of way but so does this photo. I love how photographers can make each person feel a different way, so every single person has their own story for the same photograph and that’s one of my favorite things about photography.”
Q: It’s universal but personal at the same time. Is there anything you want to say to people going into the arts?
Q: How did you first get into photography? “I started when I was around 15. I got a camera from my grandpa and he was like ‘Oh just play around with it’ because he’s into photography as well. I would go out and just take, really, you know, not the best pictures; I would take pictures of my shoes in the park or clouds in the sky or like dogs or something silly like that...It started off as a hobby but then I took a class in high school and that’s when I was like ‘I want to do this forever, I want this to be my career and everything’ and so I’ve just done it ever since.”
“I would definitely say a lot of kids are scared of going into an art major, because, you know, it’s unreliable, as people say, or it’s not going to be a real career...When you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t even feel like you’re working. Anybody who is thinking of going into an art career, do it,
Q: What do you think you will do with it, if you’re thinking careers?
“Well see, I love everything; I do portraits, I do landscapes. My dream job is to be with National Geographic, but that’s like a longshot but it’s my dream job. I plan, getting out of St. John’s, to do wedding photography and landscapes. I think I’m going to do more of a freelance because I’m into like all of it...And if I got hired, I would be able to do anything they were asking for. So, that’s what I’m leaning towards.”
Are there any influences that you could say really shaped your work and what you want to do?
Q: If you are thinking advertisement, are you thinking fashion editorial?
“I would love to do fashion and also cosmetics. I would love to be how in movies they take pictures of people’s makeup, the really cool Hollywood makeup. I think it’s so beautiful; it’s another form of art...My favorite thing about photography is that you don’t have to stick with one thing. Like with any job, you can do all of these different things. I don’t just have to photograph people, I don’t have to just do landscapes. I don’t have to do just one thing.”
Q: In terms of motivation, how do you deal with creative ruts?
“There has been multiple times, even here while I’m at St. John’s, where I’m stuck, I don’t know what to do, I’ve run out of ideas. I would actually isolate myself, and I would just listen to music. I would just think of my life and everything. Then I would think about how this made me feel. And however I was feeling is however I would make my artwork into...After that I had more ideas, they just started flowing. Then I did a whole series on moods. I would try to portray how I felt with the weather; I didn’t always use people. If it was rainy outside and gloomy, I would go ‘Oh I kinda feel this way, let me take some landscapes with the clouds and bridges.’... It was cool that everyone would reach out to me with different meanings. ‘This makes me feel erie, I love it.’ ‘This makes me feel safe, I love it.’...” You live vicariously through your art. “I pretty much see through my camera lens.”
Do you believe you will ever find that balance between nature and people?
torch PHOTo/samanTHA DENINNO
“My grandpa was definitely one. Actually my teacher in high school, she really got me into it because I didn’t know you could make a career off of photography but she started showing me how there’s wedding photographers and there’s photographers in JCPenney and people who are just everyday photographers...she kinda gave me that motivation to go forward with it and really inspire me because she used to be a photographer but she retired from it to teach us. My mom and dad, they were always supportive of me and whenever I would feel down, ‘Oh this photo’s not good,’ ‘Am I going to do this?’ they would always help me out, ‘You’ve got this, it’s what you want to do!’ They always helped me out.”
Q: Any art influences? Like photographers, cinematographers…
“What started it all was, we kinda did reports on photographers and I was like ‘This is so boring, I don’t want to do this,’ but then I researched Ansel Adams, the father of photography. He started it all and I was just amazed at his landscapes and everything about that. That also pushed me to say this is what I want to do...I would really love to work in landscapes and trying to promote about the Earth and giving back and trying to show what we’ve done to it. That’s what he inspired me to do.”
“I used to, when I first got my camera, be a landscape person. I was never into photography with people because - oh my gosh - I have to know how to model them.”
“I think yes, but I think I just need to work to get there. I’ve done some photos - we’ve done environmental portraits which is with people and their environment outside. I don’t know - I was not so proud of them, a lot of other people liked them which is why self-motivation is a very good thing. A lot of people liked them but I wasn’t so happy with them. I’m still working to get there but I think it’s something to strive for.”
It’s much more intimate.
Q: If you had all the resources necessary, what would be
don’t second guess yourself ever, go with your gut and everything will work out. Everything happens for a reason.” Q: Is there any particular piece of work that you were incredibly passionate about?
“Yeah! And so, I was like ‘No way, no way I’m doing that.’ Then I started to get photography projects in class and they were like ‘Oh, try to bring people into it.’...I got my best friend and we were like let’s just fool around, do some random poses, put on some lipstick, just have fun with it...I was like ‘We were just having fun.’ That was the best part of it...I took a bunch of lipsticks and she tried on all but whatever lipstick she put on I was like, ‘Show me your mood with your lips.’ And so there’s a bunch of different positions she did. She did the kissy face, the duck face, all these weird things with her lips. The professor loved it. So I’m going to put it in the student show actually...Advertising, which I am also interested in, you have to work with people, to get people to want to buy these products...I really think that it’s cool that you can put other majors into the art major, like business, advertisement, all these tactics and stuff. That also amazes me because I’m like ‘Wow I never thought of that.’”
your dream project?
“I would go to Africa and I would just photograph elephants. Elephants have been my favorite animal since I can’t even remember when. I just fell in love with them...That would be my complete dream job to go to Africa and photograph the elephants. I would really love for a whole project to get people to stop poaching elephants and selling the ivory...”
Q: As you develop your skills, do you believe your medium of art will ever change?
“I think, I might as I grow change from it, but I always think it will be my forever hobby. Even if I grow out of it, it’s always going to stay with me...It’s always going to be there. I think it’s going to be my friend that never leaves. As I change as a person, my art might change, and what I go into that’s interesting; I can’t wait to see that in the future.”
Flames of the Torch
Introducing the 96th eboard’s goals
Angelica Acevedo, Editor-in-Chief Isabella Bruni, Managing Editor
Amanda negretti Creative Director Derrell Bouknight News Editor Brendan Myers Sports Editor Beverly Danquah Features Editor Samantha DeNinno Entertainment Editor Beatriz da Costa Opinion Editor
Erin Bola Chief Copy Editor Jillian Ortiz Assistant Copy Editor Spencer Clinton Photo Editor Nick Bello Social Media Manager Jim Baumbach Adviser
Byron Campbell Alexis Gaskin Dewayne Goforth
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The Torch, St. John’s University O’Connor Hall - B Level 8000 Utopia Parkway Queens, NY 11439
Staff and contributors Sean Okula Justin Boniello Rasheeda Campbell
Derek Klingel Gabriella Campos
About the Torch
Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of the Torch. Columns and other content are the opinions of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of the Torch. Opinions expressed in editorials, columns, letters or cartoons are not necessarily those of the student body, faculty or administration of St. John’s University. All contents are the sole responsibility of the editors and the editorial board and do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, faculty or students of St. John’s University unless specifically stated.
The Torch is the official, independent student newspaper of St. John’s University. The Torch is written, edited, designed and produced by students of the University. The Torch is published on most Wednesdays, with approximately 20 issues throughout the academic year. Copies are distributed for free on campus and through mail subscriptions.
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Syrian Airstrikes, A Mistake Ariana Ortiz In President George W. Bush’s speech preceding the March 20, 2003 invasion of Iraq, he told Americans that “the danger is clear,” and “the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.” He also invoked the horrors inflicted on the Iraqi people by its government, and directly addressed the Iraqi people, pledging that he would help them. Despite these reassuring words, the Iraq Body Count project says over 200,000 Iraqi civilians were killed, and much of the nation’s infrastructure and cultural heritage destroyed, as a direct result of the eight yearlong Iraq War and occupation. In Trump’s speech on the decision to conduct an airstrike in Syria on April 13, he similarly refers to the Syrian civilians whose lives have been devastated by the Syrian Civil War. “The evil and the despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children, thrashing in pain and gasping for air,” Trump said of the Assad regime’s usage of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians. Trump’s words about his concern for Syrian people ring false when, under his admin-
istration, a shocking number of 11 Syrian refugees have been accepted so far this year. According to the State Department, the U.S. under the Obama Administration admitted 15,479 Syrian refugees from Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016. This administration’s policies have also been heavily toned by xenophobia and racism (See: Executive Order 13769, also known as The Muslim Ban.) We can, and should, look to history when it comes to evaluating the actions our government takes in other countries for our supposed safety, the destruction and death it so frequently inflicts in our name, the “us against the world” narrative it perpetuates. As citizens of this country, we are complicit in its atrocities, and when we know its actions disregard human life, we must challenge them. We cannot plead ignorance, and we cannot pretend that everything our government does is above analysis and criticism. As the Chilcot Report — the UK government’s 2016 report on the Iraq War — puts it, “It is now clear that policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence and assessments. They were not challenged, and they should have been.”
TORCH PHOTO/AMANDA NEGRETTI
Photo of the Week
Managing Board XCVI
Last week the Torch elected its 96th editorial will publish them. board. As we reflect on our last e-board’s acMoreover, we wish to instill within our complishments in terms of the overall cover- members, both in the e-board and general age of the St. John’s University community, staff, the drive to constantly improve our we wish to continue to bring our readers the craft. news that they care about and, more imporWe are students after all, therefore we are tantly, the news that they need to know. here to learn from each other so that we can With this being said, we hope to increase be the change we wish to see in the journalour coverage even more. We want to elevate ism industry today. One way we want to our reach to more aspects of the University. encourage this is by creating workshops and We also want to continue to have the voices organizing more talks with professionals in of our student body the field throughout represented in this the 2018-19 academic newspaper. year. In order to accomWe also acknowlplish this, one of the edge that we are comWe wish to continue main goals that we to bring our readers ing in after a semester have as an e-board is the news that they care in which the Torch to grow our staff parwas boycotted by sevabout and, more ticipation and recruit importantly, the news eral multicultural orgamore writers of dithat they need to know. nizations on campus. verse backgrounds. We will not ignore We strive to encourage more students this. studying journalism, communications and Instead we will continue to address what other majors — because you do not have to happened if and when we are asked. Our be a journalism major to write for the Torch hope is that in the near future, the distrust — to become a member of St. John’s inde- that some students feel toward the paper will pendent student newspaper. be repaired. Whether you want to write, design, create And the only way we can do that is through videos or take photos, and would like to be- our work — which we will always hold to come aware of our journalistic standards and ethical and journalistic standards. We will be practices, there is a place for you here. held accountable, too. We also want to encourage students who The Torch has been around for almost 100 don’t wish to be a part of the Torch, but years now. This e-board wants to ensure that have something they’d like to address in the we are remembered for always keeping the paper, to send us letters to the editor. That students at St. John’s well-informed and repalso goes for faculty and administrators. We resented in our pages.
St. John’s students participated in the annual Relay for Life fundraiser last Friday in Carnesecca Arena, raising $160,214 for cancer research. See the story on page 2.
Female Rappers Hurt the Feminist Movement
Spitting bars about how other women do not compare, does not help Female rappers such as Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Azealia Banks and Remy Ma talking about how other women do not compare to them does not fit into the feminist idea of women uplifting other women. These rappers are role models to many young women; especially those who want to pursue being rappers themselves one day. Whether or not they may say that it is not their job to be role models, it is something that they cannot stop people from believing. It is powerful to see women in Hip-Hop, since this genre of music is known for being very male dominated. These current female rappers are following in the footsteps of the greats before them, such as MC Lyte and Queen Latifah. However, one of the few differences between some of the current female rappers and the ones who opened the doors for them is that now many are constantly putting down and belittling other women. Many of the current female rappers claim that they are feminists and that they are advo-
cates for uplifting other women, but the songs they release express otherwise. Nicki Minaj stated in an interview with Vogue she stated, “I think of myself as a woman who wants other women to be bosses and to be strong and to be go-getters.” If this were true then why is it that in many of her songs she talks about other women and other female rappers being beneath her? For example in her song ‘Make Love’, she says “I’m a yes and these b*****s is a bunch of nah’s.” In another verse of the song she says, “Everybody know you jealous, b**** it’s so clear/ Tell them bum a** b*****s to play their role.” In my opinion, these lyrics contradict what she told Vogue. Music can be very impressionable on people, and listening to lyrics like these can play a role in destroying the movement of women lifting each other up and supporting each other. Female rappers talking negatively about other women in their music and interviews not only plays up to the stereotype of women not being able to get along with each other, but it also goes against the true meaning of
being a feminist; which to me is supporting and fighting for all women. These figures should realize that because they have so much power and influence on the public, they should create content that is a little more positive and that praises all women instead of making comparisons like the way Cardi B does in her song ‘Foreva.’ In one of her verses she says “Some b*****s claim they with the s***s but they ain’t with a thing.” It’s easy for a young girl to look up to a cer-
tain female rapper and imitate her. If this specific rapper gets into feuds with other women and constantly belittles them, then the young girl could start doing the same because she wants to be just like her idol. I strongly believe that these female HipHop artists should think about the type of content they are creating before releasing it to the public, and think about how it will affect women and the feminist movement.
PHOTO COURTESY/FLICKR COMMONS GLOBAL PANORAMA
PHOTO COURTESY/FLICKR COMMONS DAN GARCIA
Nicki Minaj and Cardi B are two of the most popular female rappers currently in music, but the way they rap about other women doesn’t seem to fit the supportive, feminist agenda.
Michael Cohen Raid Pushes Trump Witch-Hunt Most recent president-related scandal pushes anti-Trump agenda Derek Klingel On Monday, April 9, Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen had his law firm office and his hotel room searched by the FBI. Many news organizations are reporting that the main reason for this raid was to find documents regarding payments Cohen made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the scandal broke loose. I feel that this raid was not necessary and represents just another attack to take down our sitting president. I think many Americans do not care about Trump’s affairs with Daniels, or any other woman for that matter. That they were consensual makes them even more irrelevant. Attorney-client communications are priv-
ileged, but not if a crime is committed in the process. This search through Cohen’s documents and records means that the investigators believe Trump used Cohen’s legal services to engage in a crime. This is a good example of bias within governmental organizations. The FBI also investigated Hillary Clinton’s deletion of 33,000 subpoenaed emails, and she was never charged for her unethical acts. I think that they will not be able to provide evidence that Trump committed treason or another crime. However, news corporations such as CNN and ABC seem to be using this raid to make Trump appear to be everything from anti-women to a possible criminal. On April 11, reporters were already claiming that the FBI found documents re-
garding the infamous Trump Access Hollywood tape on CNN. There is nothing new here. Meanwhile, let’s not forget Trump chose Kellyanne Conway to be in charge of his presidential campaign, showing he believes in women being in highly respected positions. She is the third to lead a presidential campaign and the first to win. This was something the daughter-in-law to the president, Lara Trump, was eager to share on International Women’s Day. Trump has made it very clear that he believes the FBI’s raid on his lawyer’s office is a part of the political witch-hunt going on right now. The Russia investigation has been a huge part of this, as media reports on the investigation have influenced public opinion on
Trump’s administration. There are people in this country who want the president to be impeached and this raid seems to be a step in that direction, since they are searching for “dirt” on Trump. In order for a president to be impeached, he would need to be convicted for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” according to Article 11, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, I do not believe he will be impeached. If there is a political witch-hunt going on, it is speeding up very quickly around a scandal that should not have as much importance over other governmental issues at this time. The president cannot look at the documents seized by the FBI just yet, so only time will tell if this raid really matters at all.
Men’ s Basketball 2018 -19 Roster Taking Shape John Cavanagh It’s been nothing short of a crazy offseason for St. John’s, and the storm might not be over yet for the Red Storm. At the conclusion of a season that saw the Johnnies have some highlights, but fail to meet expectations, thoughts of next season were filled with newfound optimism. A combination of recruits and transfers filled out the Red Storm roster, giving Head Coach Chris Mullin the most depth he’s ever had to work with. This was true even with the graduating class of Bashir Ahmed and Amar Alibegovic. However, that optimism was met with the harsh reality of today’s world in college basketball. One of the core players on the team, center Tariq Owens, recently announced he was transferring to Texas Tech to play for the Red Raiders. It was a big blow to lose the Big East leader in blocks on a team that struggled with size this past season. This followed the announcement a few weeks ago that guard Shamorie Ponds declared for the NBA Draft, but without an agent. This means he can still decide to return to campus for his junior year, but that final decision remains a question. The latest departure from the Red Storm roster was Kassoum Yakwe. The junior forward from Mali struggled to see significant minutes in 2017-18 and recently decided to transfer to the University of Connecticut, per Andrew Slater. The hope is that Ponds can return to a team that finally has a deeper roster even with the departure of Owens. The Red Storm will
TORCH PHOTO/MARIE BOGUE
BASEBALL Through its first 32 games, the St. John’s baseball team (22-10) is enjoying another successful campaign. The Johnnies got off to a scorching 8-0 start to the season before enduring a brief slump in mid-March, in which they dropped seven of eight. Since the team’s last loss on April 4, it has won eight straight contests. The red and white have been propelled by its stellar pitching staff, led by star right-hander Sean Mooney (2.39 ERA) and southpaw Kevin Magee (1.75 ERA). Much of the Johnnies’ 2018 success can be attributed to its potent lineup, which leads the Big East in batting average at .295.
Sean Mooney has a 7-1 record this season. SOFTBALL The 2017 season was one to remember for the St. John’s softball team. The Red Storm went 32-15 and advanced to its fourth-straight Big East Championship title game. However,
welcome incoming freshmen Greg Williams Jr., Josh Roberts and Marcellus Earlington. Roberts is a three-star recruit out of Troy, Alabama. He’s a 6’8 forward that will give the Johnnies some height and athleticism off the bench. Williams is a four-star guard out of Louisiana that will be a great fit in the Red Storm’s guard-oriented system. Earlington was a football and basketball player at the high school level, and weighs 250 pounds. The 6’5 forward possesses a lot of strength, and has the raw ability to dominate on the glass. Earlington had offers to play defensive end at major college football programs such as Georgia, Ohio State and Penn State. The incoming recruiting class is strong, but with rivals like Georgetown bringing in high-profile recruits, Mullin’s work is far from over. The biggest recruit on the Johnnies radar is five-star forward Jordan Brown from California. While Brown’s commitment to St. John’s once looked promising, he looks to be more of a pipe dream at this point. The belief is he’ll play close to home at Stanford or the University of California-Berkeley. St. John’s still has some visits left with other incoming freshman. Three-star forward Maurice Calloo out of West Virginia is visiting Queens on April 27. St. John’s and Illinois are believed to be the front-runners for his services. Where the Red Storm’s coaching staff has to be active is the transfer market, which is how they landed impact players like guard Mikey Dixon and center Sedee Keita, who
2018 has not been so kind to the Johnnies (15-21). The rotation (5.11 ERA) has struggled in 2018. However, the offense has not been a concern for St. John’s this season. The club features six batters who possess a batting average of .300 or higher. The star on offense this year has been Krystal Puga. The senior first baseman owns an impressive .432 batting average to go along with 14 homers and 35 RBI. Despite the sub-.500 record all in play, the team boasts a 6-3 record in Big East play. LACROSSE Through its first 12 games of the season, the St. John’s lacrosse team has a .500 record. Until its most recent 11-10 overtime home loss to Marquette, the Red Storm had been undefeated at home. Sophomore Joe Madsen (26 goals) has been a major bright spot for St. John’s this season. Coming off a 20-goal freshman campaign, the Locust Valley, New York, native has burst onto the scene in 2018 as one of the top attackmen in the Big East. The strong defense for the Red Storm has been anchored by goaltender Matt Hanley. In his first season at the Division I level after transferring from St. Michael’s College, his 10.45 saves-per game ranks second in the Big East. The team has an opportunity to get their first conference win since 2015-16 on Saturday against No. 15/16 Villanova. Men's Tennis It has been a successful season for the St.
TORCH PHOTO/AMANDA NEGRETTI
Shamorie Ponds is testing NBA waters. will play this year. On April 14, it was announced that David Caraher, a slashing sophomore wing from Houston Baptist, would transfer to St. John’s. Caraher averaged 16.2 points last season. Mullin’s next potential transfer target is sophomore guard Dachon Burke from Robert Morris. A meeting with Burke was scheduled for April 16. The upcoming season will be Mullin’s fourth at the helm, and perhaps his most pivotal. The pressure is on him to finally put the pieces together and succeed. Of course, this will all depend on who he can lure to Queens.
John’s men’s tennis squad. The Red Storm secured a 5-2 victory over Temple on April 7 in its final home match of the season. Much of the team’s success this year has come on the home court. In matches played at home, the Red Storm went 10-1. The Red Storm also saw a lot of success in doubles play this season. When taking a 1-0 lead in two-man play, St. John’s went 9-2. In singles play, St. John’s has been led by juniors Andrei Crapcenco (15-1) and Alan Nunez Aguilera (143). The 13-5 Red Storm were supposed to close out the regular season against Marist but the match was canceled. Women's Tennis Last season, the Red Storm were led by star freshman Jessica Livianu, who topped off an already impressive regular season by reaching the Round of 16 at the NCAA Division I Women’s Singles Championship. So far in 2018, the squad has been able to replicate their winning ways. The 12-5 Johnnies have played well in conference play this season (31). Kajsa Stegrell (10-4), Irina Preotescu (92) and Livianiu (12-1) have all been key players in the team’s success. Livianu, a Brooklyn native, is currently riding a 12-game winning streak in singles play. With the Big East tournament nearing, the Red Storm will head east to battle Stony Brook on April 18 to conclude the regular season. Track and Field The St. John’s Track and Field team is com-
April 18: Baseball at Hofstra, 3:00 p.m.
April 18: Softball vs. Wagner, 3:00 p.m.
April 18: Women’s Tennis at Stony Brook, 1:00 p.m.
April 20: Baseball vs. Georgetown, 3:00 p.m.
April 20-21: Track and Field at Georgia Tech Invitational
April 20-22: Women’s Golf at Big East Championships
April 21: Baseball vs. Georgetown, 1:00 p.m
April 21: Lacrosse vs. Villanova, 1:00 p.m.
April 21: Softball vs. DePaul, 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m.
April 22: Baseball vs Georgetown, 1:00 p.m.
April 22: Softball vs. DePaul, 12:00 p.m.
ing off its best all-around performance of the outdoor season. The Red Storm excelled last weekend, setting multiple career-best times at the Hurricane Alumni Invitational and the Wagner College Invitational. The team was led by senior Maya Stephens, who finished first in the 400-meter dash in Miami. That performance earned the Canadian Big East Women’s Track Athlete of the Week honors. Stephens’ 2018 campaign includes first-place finishes at the 2018 Metropolitan Indoor Championships and Big East Indoor Track and Field Championships. Next weekend, the team will compete in a pair of meets at the Georgia Tech Invitational in Atlanta, followed by the Wolfie Invitational at Stony Brook. Men's golf The St. John’s Men’s Golf team concluded its 2017 campaign on a high note with a fourthplace tie in the Lehigh Invitational. To begin the 2018 season, the Red Storm placed 15th at the Loyola Intercollegiate. Following that tournament, St. John’s went south to compete in the Fort Lauderdale Intercollegiate, where transfer Austin Briggs carded a first-round 75 followed by a pair of even-par 72s on the last day of play. The junior was named Big East Male Golfer of the Week for his performance. The team placed sixth at the Towson Spring Invitational on April 8 and recorded its best finish of the season (third place) at the Wildcat Invitational on April 10.
Delgado Drawing Rave Reviews
The California native is finding her rhythm on the east coast Sean Okula The average April high in Hesperia, California is a comfortable 75 degrees. Meanwhile, Queens finds itself a full season behind, with sweltering spring averages some 30 degrees lower. For any soul crazy enough to make the move to our dreary New York skies, a sense of culture shock may accompany. “I’m getting used to it. It’s hard though,” said St. John’s softball standout and Hesperia native, Laura Delgado. Whether it be in San Bernardino County, Queens County or in the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska, one thing’s for certain. Delgado will find a way to hit. The shortstop is fresh off her first career Big East Player of the Week Award after a standout performance against Villanova on April 6. The sophomore hit .556 and slugged a pair of homers over the three-game series, the first two of her collegiate career. A grand slam in the series finale was the cherry-on-top of a breakout weekend. “That whole weekend I just felt really comfortable going up to the plate,” Delgado said. “I was being really aggressive on first pitch strikes.” It’s selective aggression that has propelled Delgado to the next level. She’s hitting at a phenomenal .400 clip in Big East contests.
PHOTO COURTESY/ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS
Laura Delgado is in the midst of a breakout sophomore season for the softball team.
But in drawing three walks for an on-base percentage of .478, she’s also shown a keen knowledge of the strike zone, whether she consciously realizes it or not. “When I’m feeling good, I’m honestly not thinking at all,” she explained. “The more I think, the worse I do. I’m just thinking ‘first strike I get, swing at it.’” A natural hit tool at a premium position like shortstop is a highly-valued commodity. Delgado’s bat seems to be heating up at just the right time for a St. John’s team that currently sits one game behind DePaul, the
conference leaders. The Californian wasn’t handed her opportunity in Queens. After seeing action in just 10 games and picking up only six at-bats in her freshman year, there was a lot to be desired for both Delgado and Coach Amy Kvilhaug heading into her second campaign. Given a chance to earn a starting spot this season, the sophomore has solidified herself on a powerhouse Red Storm squad. “[Laura] has worked hard over the last few years and took full advantage of the chance she was given,” said Kvilhaug. “Those really
are the two characteristics that all athletes and really, all walks of life who succeed in an endeavor have – a solid work ethic and seizing an opportunity when it knocks. Laura is really bright, determined and positive so while her production has been a very welcome contribution, I am not surprised.” When opportunity wasn’t knocking last year, Delgado relied on the help of family, friends and faith to maintain her “positive attitude.” She also credits the veteran leadership on the team for advising her through her first season-and-a-half in Queens. But now, she finds herself as a key cog in a St. John’s lineup that leads the Big East in runs scored, home runs and slugging percentage. It is a relentless attack that can feature a new hero day-in and day-out (teammate Gretchen Bowie picked up her first conference player of the week award on Monday). A big matchup with the only team looking down at the Red Storm in the standings, those DePaul Blue Demons, looms this weekend. According to Delgado, all St. John’s has to do is what they do best: keep on mashing. “We definitely need to keep hitting the ball,” she said. “We need to come into it and take it just as any other team, don’t worry about the name on their jerseys. Just go out there like any other game. I think it’s important that we sweep.”
Double Threat on Attack Nick Bello Playing Division 1 college lacrosse is a rare opportunity that many players dream of. Having the opportunity to play Division 1 college lacrosse alongside your twin brother however is unheard of. For sophomore attackers Mike and Joe Madsen, lacrosse has been a huge part of both of their lives since they were very young. The twin brothers, who grew up on Long Island, have been playing the game since they were in elementary school. “At first, we were actually terrible,” Mike said. “After a while, we just kinda fell in love with it.” Their love for the game grew as the duo became high school standouts at Locust Valley High School leading their team to a county championship their sophomore year. The duo also lead their team to an undefeated regular season which resulted in a All-American nomination for Mike. They decided to continue their playing careers at St. John’s, their parents’ alma mater. However, the decision to come to St. John’s had little to do with their parents being alumni. “We really loved the coaches and the environment,” they said. “[The coaches] made it really feel like they wanted us.” St. John’s turned out to be a perfect fit for them as they succeeded both on and off the field in their freshman year. They combined for 29 goals in their freshman season and were also named to the Big East All-Academic team. Their success on the field is due to a chemistry that has been built throughout their whole lives.
They are able to find each other on the field with ease. “There’s this chemistry that I feel no one else could have,” Joe said. “It’s been built up for 20 years of our lives.” Despite being undersized for college lacrosse, they are still able to be successful on the field due to their quickness and other skills. “Being undersized is definitely a challenge but I think there are certain aspects helped us grow,” Joe said. “We’d always have to be faster to compensate.” However, the Madsen’s are thankful for Head Coach Jason Miller’s offensive gameplan. “The system that we play in benefits us,” Mike said. “Another team with huge guys probably plays a different system than us, it’s just really based on the system.” Their freshman season was disappointing as the Red Storm only won one game. This year however is very different as the team is 6-6 and has a chance at a Big East Tournament run with two games left in the regular season. “A lot of our core returned from last year,” is a reason for the new found success for the Red Storm, according to Mike. “We have grown as people and as players,” Joe said. “We have a great senior class and they really lead us.” With the team riding a four game losing streak, they look to turn things around this weekend as Villanova comes to Queens on Saturday. “We still have a shot to make the Big East Tournament,” Mike said. “We just gotta focus on one game at a time.”
SPORTS April 18, 2018 | VOLUME 96, ISSUE 1
TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO (PHOTO COURTESY/ESPN)
From St. John's to CBS Sports
TheGospelofNYCAccording to Mark
Brendan Myers For Mark Jackson, the choice was simple. When Lou Carnesecca made him and his family a promise that he would leave the Queens school a better man, the decision was made. The man, now simply known as “Lou,” didn’t need to sell basketball in the city that never sleeps. The quality spoke for itself. Jackson watched from his New York City home as his former high school conference foe, Chris Mullin, scored just over 19 points per game en route to becoming a Big East Player of the Year. He wanted to stay home. “Basketball in New York City will always be No. 1,” Jackson said in a recent interview with the Torch. “It breeds toughness; it starts from the playground where it’s win or sit.” Jackson associates three words with basketball in the five boroughs: passion, commitment and swag. Three attributes that no matter how much basketball changes will always be associated with The City Game. But the talent growing from the parks of New York City hasn’t been the problem. It’s been keeping the players in the five boroughs. The growth of private schools all around the country have contributed to the perceived decline. One of the more recent examples is Hamidou Diallo. A consensus five-star recruit, Diallo only played two seasons at John Bowne High School in Queens before transferring to play at Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut. Diallo announced Tuesday his plans to enter the NBA Draft in June. A few years prior, University of Arizona star Rawle Alkins traded in his uniform at Christ the King to play at the Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C. Playing around the country isn’t new, it’s just seen a growth in popularity in recent years.
“People have always been doing it, but when the numbers become overwhelming, that’s when it makes it sad,” Jackson said. “For me, it was never a factor.” Jackson starred at Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn. “You need success at the lower levels, specifically high school, but the success [of St. John’s and basketball in the City] goes hand in hand.” Even in the tough times of a so-called decline in New York City basketball, Jackson doesn’t think it’s a poor reflection of the city game. “The game has just become so global.” He believes other parts of the country and the world have closed the gap. To see that influence of basketball around the world, you have to look no further than the New York Knicks. The Knicks franchise player, Kristaps Porzingis, is from Latvia. Center Enes Kanter is from Turkey. The team’s most recent first round draft pick, Frank Ntilikina, grew up playing in France. New York City’s professional team is more global than city-made.
Going to St. John’s put me in a position that allowed me to do what I do today. Mark Jackson
St. John’s fans need no reminder that during the program’s heyday in the mid-1980’s, the team fielded three New York City stars. Jackson, current Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin and Walter Berry. In addition to those three, Bill Wennington (although originally from Canada) attended high school on
Long Island. Now, Mullin is aiming to follow the blueprint of his former coach: keep the New Yorkers in New York. “When I saw Coach [Carnesecca], I saw individual greatness,” Jackson said. The former St. John’s point guard still calls Carnesecca simply by “Coach” out of respect for someone that he describes as incredible. When talking about his recruiting, Jackson recalls that he would have felt leaving New York to play elsewhere would be a “crime.” The New York City battles were on full display during St. John’s practice. Mullin would guard the paint against Jackson to force him to become a better shooter. Jackson would run Mullin off the perimeter, forcing Mullin to finish in the paint. Carnesecca never told either player of his strategy. He let that New York City grit manifest itself in order to make each other better. Mullin’s first major breakthrough in the recruiting scene was when he nabbed current star Shamorie Ponds out of Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn. Since his arrival, Ponds has been in the middle of all the major breakthroughs in Mullin’s time as coach. As a freshman, there was the 26-point outburst at Carnesecca Arena to upset No. 13 Butler. Fast forward a year, he led the charge with 33 points in an upset win against Duke, and then he scored 26 points to spark a win on the road at Villanova. For Jackson, the impacts of those wins go beyond the win column. The same way Jackson watched Mullin garner national recognition in his home city, the players of this generation can dream of doing the same. “The proof is in the pudding now,” Jackson says about the signature wins of St. John’s this season. It took time to get those moments and while the program might not be as far along as some had hoped at this point, Jackson isn’t surprised.
The ex-Golden State Warriors Coach never reached out to Mullin to give coaching advice when he was appointed back in 2015. He didn’t think Mullin needed it. “Watching Chris is like watching Picasso, or Michael Jackson, he’s a true student of the game,” Jackson said. He considers Mullin “a brother for life.” “They’ve never been overmatched with heart, desire, passion, and enthusiasm.” Even through the tough times, Jackson, a spiritual man, never lost faith.Passion. One of the those words Jackson used to describe New York City. Mullin said after that win against the topranked and eventual National Champion Wildcats that he never walks out onto the court thinking the team has no chance, a mindset that likely comes back from his days playing at parks across the boroughs. “St. John’s is not the only avenue for a city kid but it certainly is one avenue,” Jackson said. That’s what Jackson argues is the most important thing for St. John’s in the recruiting game. Letting players know that they can stay home and still get exposure. As for a return to coaching himself, Jackson wouldn’t rule anything out, but firmly stated that he’s comfortable in the ESPN broadcast booth. Since the Knicks fired head coach Jeff Hornacek at the conclusion of this past season, Jackson has been linked with the Knicks job. The New York Post reported Jackson will interview for the job this week. Could one of the best guards to come off the playgrounds in the concrete jungle be the next to lead a success-starved franchise back to glory? Jackson wasn’t in position to say. But he knows this much. “Going to St. John’s put me in a position,” he said, “that allowed me to do what I do today.”