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VOL 95 : 16 March 14, 2018 The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. John’s University

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pedestrian peril accidents on union prompt safety study

see the story on page 3

vs. SGI ANNOUNCES ELECTION TICKETS FIRST SET OF OPPOSING TICKETS SINCE 2015 SEE THE STORY ON PAGE 5


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Women’s Herstory Distinction Dinner SJU celebration kicks off month of women empowerment Andreina Rodriguez Timed precisely to take place on International Women’s Day, the Office of Multicultural Affairs held their annual Women’s Herstory Month Distinction Dinner in the DAC Ballroom on March 8. Those who attended were encouraged to wear black attire in honor of women’s solidarity and to adhere to the future is femme theme. Upon entering, guests received a “Time’s Up” pin to wear throughout the night. Powerful statements like, “We don’t need to wait to get power. We don’t need to be given power. We already have that power,” were expressed to attendees. Donations of feminine products were also being collected — this drive will continue throughout the rest of the month in a box that can be found within the Office of Multicultural Affairs. A picture of notable women with a description of who they are and how they made a difference in women’s history were placed on each table. A slideshow was also presented to show several influential women such as Oprah Winfrey, Ava Duvernay, Susan Shown Harjo, Amanda Blackhorse and more. Jasmine Hinnant, assistant director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, helped de-

cide on these decorations to help every individual woman feel represented among the movement. “While putting this together, I wanted to make sure that all students felt welcome, supported and appreciated. I wanted to make sure that everyone felt reflected at this event regardless of who they are and their background,” she said. The overall theme of the dinner centered around the celebration of Women’s History Month, as well as the empowerment for today’s women entitled “Future is Femme.” The Vice President for the Division of Student Affairs, Dr. Kathryn Hutchinson, served to welcome guests by expressing and informing everyone about the awareness behind this theme. “In a year that has seen women from all walks of life rise up and speak out on issues of equality, it’s also an opportunity to join together and bring global attention towards accelerating gender parity and the gender parity timeline. Highlighted by the 2018 theme of International Women’s Day which is pressed for progress,” she voiced. She then continued by telling the audience facts about how women are entering the workforce at a faster rate than ever. “Women have five trillion dollars in investable assets, women direct 80 percent of all consumer spending, women make up

TORCH PHOTO/ANDREINA RODRIGUEZ

Notable women in history were placed on each table at the dinner last Thursday.

more than 50 percent of the workforce, right now women make up more than 58 percent of college students and college graduates,” she stated. Jasmine Hinnant then took the podium to thank the leadership team and everyone that helped put together the dinner. She expressed that, to her, feminism does not only include femme identifying people, but that it must also include those with different backgrounds, nationalities, abilities, classes, political views, ethnicities, genders and sexualities. “As this month continues, please remember that feminism is nothing without intersectionality and inclusion,” Hinnant said to listeners. Campus Ministry Residential Minister, Victoria O’Keefe, continued by leading and blessing everyone with a prayer. TORCH PHOTO/ANDREINA RODRIGUEZ This was followed by a special performance by Bre’Anna Grant recited her spoken word, “Was Beautiful.” Sinai’s Radiant Liturgical had gone through that allowed her to recDance to JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise’s ognize who she is and how capable she was single, “You Deserve It” featuring Bishop of being able to become a bilingual immiCortez Vaughn. gration attorney, despite her previous doubts Afterwards, a spoken word piece was perthat might have held her back. formed by sophomore Bre’Anna Grant entiSomething that she wanted the audience tled, “Was Beautiful.” to take away from her talk, was her breakThe last presenter of the night was the keydown of the 5 things that a woman stands note speaker and Staff Attorney, Jessica Lazo. for, “A is for aptitude, B is for bravery, C is As a first generation Ecuadorian-American for compassion, D is for decisiveness and E who was the first in her family to graduate is for empathy.” college, she took to appreciate the opportuTo finish off the night, dinner was served nities that St. John’s offered her to be able to as well as free giveaways for guests. Awards achieve her goals and continue on by going were then handed out to the women into law school. volved in organizing the night. She had the audience write down on an As Women’s History Month continues, index card who their heroes, supporters, mothere’s a schedule of events that will go on tivators, employers and mentors are in their throughout the month to celebrate and emlives. power women. She also talked about the experiences she


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Union/Utopia Accident Reports Increase

January fatality calls for Councilman, NYC DOT attention Isabella Bruni

MAIN CONCERNS St. John’s University is wedged between two major traffic roads that have been the site of several accidents throughout the last few years. Union Turnpike and Utopia Parkway, whose intersection is located between gates one and four on campus, are both four-lane roads. Drivers say the design of the roads lends itself to speeding. Complicating matters is that at times pedestrians who are crossing the road and cars that are making a right both have green lights at the same time. It’s a common concern for students.

PUBLIC SAFETY TORCH PHOTO/AMANDA NEGRETTI

The New York City Department of Transportation is looking at potential pedestrian safety enhancements along Union Turnpike, a local city councilman said this week, in the wake of several accidents in recent years outside the University’s gates. “At my request, the Department of Transportation has been conducting a study of potential safety enhancements along Union Turnpike,” Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) told The Torch on Tuesday, “and we are currently awaiting the results.” A 71-year-old Elmhurst resident was crossing Union after leaving a men’s basketball game on campus Jan. 23 when he was struck and killed by a car. The accident, which did not result in charges against the motorist, occurred right outside Gate 4 behind Carnesecca Arena. The victim was identified as Philip O’Reilly. According to Streetsblog, a website dedicated to inform the movement to improve walking, biking and transit, police filed no charges and said the motorist had a green light. Policy is to not release the name of a driver involved in a fatal collision unless charges are filed. Lancman called O’Reilly’s death “a tragedy for our community.” “The intersection of Union Turnpike and Utopia Parkway has long been one of the most dangerous in our neighborhood,” he said, “and in turn, we have made critical efforts in recent years to raise awareness and improve traffic safety.”

to study the area, added that he will continue to work with the 107th Precinct, the DOT and civic organizations to prevent traffic injuries and fatalities. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiatives for traffic safety seeks to reduce the number of fatalities through education, increased enforcement, street redesign and data collection.

Eight people were injured at the intersection of Union Tpke. and Utopia Pkwy. in 2017.

“When crossing streets, I always wait for the light to give me the right of way but almost every time drivers turning left cut me off and won’t stop to the point where I almost got hit once,” SJU senior Denisse Juliana Jimenez said. She said it’s a matter of watching out for one’s own safety when crossing the roads, but added that they can still be dangerous. “Drivers tend to get kind of aggressive and cut you off even when you follow all the rules so in that case, I do not feel that safe so I simply ride [her bike] in the sidewalk if there’s no people,” she said. ACCIDENTS Visionzeroview.nyc is a New York City-run website that details speed limits and pinpoints the number of accidents, including fatalities, at intersections and roads across the five boroughs on an interactive map. According to this site, the speed limit on both Union and Utopia is 25 mph; although signs on Union display the speed limit, it is not displayed anywhere near campus on Utopia. The map also shows just how dangerous the intersection of Union and Utopia has been

in recent years, the accidents are on the rise. Eight people were injured at the intersection in 2017, up from five in 2016 and six in 2015. The Queens Tribune even called it one of the most dangerous intersections in the 107th Precinct. Lalisa Wongchai, a senior, said that by living in New York she’s become accustomed to the risks. But she believes speeding on Union is a real issue. “I have faced situations where cars could have hit me (i.e. speeding up before the light turns red, not stopping at the stop sign, etc.),” Wongchai said in a text message. “Even if I bike or walk, New York drivers are careless regardless.” She added she doesn’t feel safe riding her bike on the roads. As for nearby intersection, two injuries were recorded at Union and Parsons Boulevard and one injury reported at Union and 170th Street, Utopia and 80th Drive and where Utopia turns into Homelawn Street as of Jan. 31, 2018. About 4,000 New Yorkers are injured and 250 are killed every year in vehicle crashes, according to the Queens Tribune. Lancman, the local city councilman who has asked the Department of Transportation

St. John’s officials say they keep tabs of traffic concerns, and pass on information as they deem necessary. “While it was a very tragic traffic accident that occurred back in January, Public Safety does issue a timely warning when a crime is reported, either on or off campus, that constitutes a continuing threat to students and employees,” Executive Director of Public Safety Denise Vencak said in a statement to the Torch. No email was sent to students regarding O’Reilly’s death in January. Jimenez, the senior who said she’s almost been hit crossing Union over the years, said she was not aware of the 71-year-old’s death while crossing Union after a January basketball game. She felt she should have been informed. “Regardless of whether he was a student or not, it still happened within our area and we have the right to know what happens,” she said. A surprised Wongchai said, “Wow I had no idea. Of course they should have informed regardless.” Vencak added in her statement: “We monitor the lights and signage around the perimeter of campus, and notify the local NYPD precinct and 311 when we notice any areas of concern.” Jimenez and Wongchai both said reckless driving on Union and Utopia is a concern, and that there is not much Public Safety — or anyone else — can do besides proceeding with caution. “It would be nice to have some bike lanes here and there,” Wongchai said, “but other than that I think it’s the mentality of these drivers that are so ingrained to them that change is not really possible in my opinion.”

SGI Meeting: Upcoming Elections to New SJU App Jillian Ortiz SGI’s first floor meeting since spring break was held last week on Monday, March 5 and it covered many topics ranging from upcoming elections, to a new St. John’s University app. Frank Obermeyer, president of SGI, began the meeting by announcing his plan to create a new SGI committee to oversee by-laws and the SGI constitution. A few tasks of this committee would be to oversee representative hour changes, look over the power to organize by-laws and academic forum by-laws. An update on the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion was briefed after its first meeting was held on Wednesday Feb. 28, which had a total of eight attendees. Those in attendance discussed the definition of diversity and what diversity should

look like at SJU. At the next meeting the committee plans to discuss its goals for the upcoming year. As the spring semester begins to pick up, organizations are at the peak of their planning season. SGI Treasurer Teresa Ehiogu announced that 45 percent of this year’s academic budget has gone into use. The SGI Senior Scholarship is now live, according to Senior Senator Brian Wagner. The scholarship will serve as a fundraising effort for the class of 2019. Wagner also announced that SJU ties and bowties will soon be available in the Campus Bookstore. Bowties will be sold for $24.99 and regular ties will be sold for $29.99 each. The budget committee announced one recent approved allocation for the Coptic Society Paint night, which requested $770 for catered Qdoba. The discount program event that the

committee had intended to hold, although canceled, is currently in the process of “being planned out for next year.” With SGI elections just around the corner, $4,500 was spent on voting software for elections, which are set to take place on April 5 and 6. SGI election campaigns began on March 5 and candidates are expected to present to attendees of the next SGI floor meeting on March 19. The candidate debate will be held on March 22 and voting will take place two weeks later on April 5 and 6. This is the first year that SGI elections will see two full tickets and an independent since Obermeyer’s freshman year, according to SGI Secretary Alissa Santolo. Alexander Cheung of the Research and Development Committee introduced the creation of a new SJU app that is expected to serve as a replacement for StormSync

and SJUMobile. It will feature a social media interface as well as other customizable features and can be accessed from a mobile device or desktop. Although developed, no official launch date has been announced. Obermeyer stated that the SGI eboard was to meet with Public Safety on Thursday, March 8 to discuss “any procedures or processes within their department,” as well as how Public Safety’s recent meetings with other organizations went. Obermeyer then opened the floor to attendees to voice any questions or concerns that they would like the e-board to present at the meeting. Among the concerns raised was the creation of a subcommittee to meet regularly with Public Safety, the diversity of the Public Safety faculty and a sense of disconnect between Public Safety and students. The next SGI floor meeting will be held on Monday, March 19.


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Caribbean Writers Lecture Series: Yolanda Arroyo-Pizarro Award-winning Puerto Rican author talks Afro-Latinidad and lesbianism “Buenas tardes [Good afternoon],” Yolanda Arroyo-Pizarro, the keynote speaker for the Caribbean Writers Lecture Series at St. John’s University, said as she began her speech for the students, faculty, administration and other visitors from the New York City area. On Monday, March 12, an intimate group gathered in the Marillac Theater during common hour to hear the award-winning Puerto Rican author speak. She was introduced by Raj Chetty, an assistant professor in the English Department who specializes in Caribbean studies; Sieta Leon, president of the Latin Students Association Organization (LASO) and Anelis Acevedo, treasurer of LASO. The event was sponsored by the M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Gallery, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Division of Student Affairs, Caribbean Students Association and LASO, among others. Arroyo-Pizarro began her lecture with a brief excerpt from “Citizen,” a critically-acclaimed book by Jamaican-born author Claudia Rankine, while translating some of the words to Spanish as she read. “Citizen, ci-ti-zen-sa. Empress citizen, emperadora citizensa, of my empire. Ciudadana, cuidadania. Negra ciudadana, female black citizen,” Arroyo-Pizarro said. “Negra. I am not your negra. I am not your lesbian, or your Afro-lesbian … I am not a man, capital letters, I am a woman, capital letters. I am,” she continued. She then read her own piece, where she reflected on the police brutality, racism and discrimination that Afro-Latinos and black people still endure — in Puerto Rico and in the United States alike.

TORCH PHOTO/AMANDA NEGRETTI

Angelica Acevedo

Yolanda Arroyo-Pizarro read her some of her pieces to students on Monday in Marillac.

She repeated several names throughout her discourse, such as Sandra Bland’s, who in 2015 was reportedly found hanged in a jail cell after being arrested during a traffic stop in Texas. When talking about this, she briefly put her black hoodie on. She also mentioned Alma Yarida Cruz, a Puerto Rican girl who was arrested at school and had several charges brought against her by fellow classmates who claimed she was violent to them. “Is Alma Yarida a citizen? Is this 11-yearold Afro-Puerto Rican girl that the Puerto Rican justice department wanted to put in jail because she defended herself of racial bullying a citizen?” Arroyo-Pizarro said. Following her speech, Vanessa Valdés, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the City College of New York, had a conversation with her on the stage.

Valdes’ began the conversation with a question about the image on the cover of her book. It is a black and white image of Arroyo-Pizarro, which accentuates her thighs. Arroyo-Pizarro explained that the photo was taken by her wife, Zulma Oliveras Vega, while they were in a congress of “lesbo, trans and feminista in Chiapas Mexico.” She felt as though that experience was more than a learning process, it was as though she’d “been born again.” “It was so powerful because not only were we there with sisters that fight for our rights, but we were also there with new sisters, that we usually marginalize — trans-women and Afro-feminist women,” she said. “We talked about feminism and Afro-feminism, which is not the same thing.” Valdés explained that she asked because in

“negrista poetry” — which is poetry written on Afro-Cuban themes, usually by white males, according to an article by Miguel Arnedo in the Afro-Hispanic Review — they tend to highlight Afro-women’s bodies and physicality. “If you read negrista poetry or if you hear about black women at all … often times, you know it’s [about] hair, lips, hips and thighs,” Valdés said. One of the main themes in her the talk was about growing up in Puerto Rico to constant “harassment” by her classmates and subtle jabs by teachers in regards to her appearance. With time, she learned to accept herself and, most importantly, love herself. Valdés also asked why it was important for her to emphasize the names of those who have suffered due to the color of their skin. Arroyo-Pizarro then answered, “I teach a class and it goes back to the slave period, so we realized how the masters re-baptize the slaves and it’s incredible … with the explicit desire to dehumanize you, taking your soul.” “I know how powerful it is to go back to those names and those names that I used,” she said. Students then had the chance to ask her several questions. Those who asked questions did so in Spanish and the conversation, as they often do, became bilingual. Dominican student Ashley Reyes said she appreciated the talk. She said, “It was great seeing someone talk about the unique experience of Afro-Latinidad, not only because it was educational for those who don’t have that experience, but also because it shows the people who do that we aren’t alone.” Read the full story online at torchonline.com

“A More Beautiful and Terrible History” Dr. Jeanne Theoharis discusses the untold story of the civil rights movement Alexis Gaskin Distinguished professor and author Dr. Jeanne Theoharis discussed her new book “A More Beautiful and Terrible History: How The Truth About the Civil Rights Movement Informs Action for Racial Justice Today” in Marillac Auditorium last Monday, March 5. This event was held by the Academic Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity, the Department of History, the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Africana Studies Program, the newly formed Taskforce for Diversity and Inclusion and Academic Center for Equity and Inclusion. Theoharis led the conversation about the untold history of the civil rights movement facilitated by Dr. Robert Bland, assistant professor of history at St. John’s, and Dr. Natalie Byfield, journalist, author and associate professor of sociology at St. John’s. The event was organized by Jennifer Nival, the assistant director for Multicultural Affairs, and professor of law and director of the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Eco. Dev Elaine Chiu. Theoharis, who is a professor of political science at Brooklyn College, gave an inspiring and important conversational discussion on the unspoken history of the Civil Rights movement. Sophomore Kayla Hanson called it inspiring “because we aren’t often told about the whole ordeal, we are only told

one image.” The discussion began with Bland and Byfield asking Theoharis to discuss the reasoning behind the creation of the book and who the specific audience was for this book. “I noticed how many teachers were hungry for this, how the young people wanted to know these things too,” Theoharis said. Theoharis noted that the inspiration for her book title came from a speech by James Baldwin where he said, “American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.” The main conversation was targeted around the “redneckiffication of racism” and the ideas of “polite racism,” as Theoharis phrased. Bland brought up the conversation of “polite racism” when asking Theoharis, “What happens when the ‘villains’ of the civil rights movement are no longer Bull Connor or the KKK, but principals in public schools in New York or people who are polite and nice.” “They [Bull Connor and the KKK], may not even be our biggest problem, it’s our middle-class white parents who don’t want to integrate,” Theoharis said. She continued by discussing how those who were not in the south, saw the issues and looked down on the injustice in the south, but when it came to desegregation in their own town, they would “rise up in masses and make it clear that they didn’t want it, and politicians would listen.”

Sophomore Communications major Kaylie Meedum thought this concept of “polite racism” was thought-provoking and interesting. “I found it really interesting how she [Theoharis] introduces the whole ‘polite racism’ think and how our worst enemies are those who just let it [racism] happen,” Meedum said. “The myth that I try to overturn is the idea that the civil rights movement is only in the south. That’s the idea that is taught to us, presented and memorialized,” added Theoharis, in relation to the “redneckiffication” of racism. This theory of how the only danger was in the south where African Americans were being beaten, taken off buses and brutalized by police officers is only part of the history of the Civil Rights Movement. “The biggest civil rights demonstration occurred a year after the Million Man March right here in New York when nearly half a million students and teachers stayed out of New York City schools to protest the desegregation of schools,” Theoharis said. Theoharis discussed further how the New York Times, which usually covered in comprehensive condemning of the south and the events happening there, but when people wanted integration in their “backyard,” “The New York Times calls it [the one-day boycott of New York city schools] irresponsible, reckless and violent.” The discussion was based on her new book and the “whitewashed” history of the civil rights movement.


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Opposing Tickets for SGI Elections

PLUG, SEED are the first set of rival tickets in nearly three years Suzanne Ciechalski

For the first time since 2015-16 school year, Student Government Inc. has two full tickets running against each other for executive board elections. “SGI is very happy to have two tickets and one independent running this year,” SGI President Frank Obermeyer said in an email to the Torch. “It shows us that there is a greater interest in how SGI is run moving forward, and it means that there is more pressure on candidates to earn the support of students.” SGI Elections Chair Julie Vu said putting together two tickets for this year’s election has been the committee’s goal since the start of the school year. She said the group is thrilled that it finally happened. “This shows that students are engaged and looking to make a difference on campus at the highest level,” Vu said. “Students understand the importance of an active Student Government, Inc and the impact SGI has on the community.” The two tickets running are the P.L.U.G. ticket and the S.E.E.D. ticket. P.L.U.G., headed by current Junior Senator Atemkeng Tazi, stands for “Personality. Legacy. Unity. Growth.” Some of their main goals include: •Improving SGI’s accessibility and trans-

parency within the SJU community •Realigning SGI’s responsibilities to focus more •Establishing constant and reliable relationships with SJU staff and faculty Other members of the ticket include Christopher Stevens, the candidate for vice president, Henry Stitzel, the candidate for treasurer, Clare Soria, the candidate for secretary, Noel Ball, the candidate for senior senator, Johnny Wiley, the candidate for junior senator and Amel Viaud, the candidate for sophomore senator. Won Han, a freshman, said he would like to see more water stations around campus, and also notes the issue of smoking on campus. “I hate how I come out of a class and someone 10 feet from the building is smoking and I have to breathe that in,” he said. He said that smoking shouldn’t be allowed on campus, or there should be designated smoking areas in spots not populated by a lot of students. The S.E.E.D. ticket, headed by junior Roderick Jackson stands for “Students Engaged in Education and Diversity.” It is comprised of Jackson, Alissa Santolo, the candidate for vice president, Stefanie Bassaragh, the candidate for secretary, Torrent Cannon, the candidate for treasurer, Anthony Romeo, the candidate for senior senator, Kristen Labruna, the candidate for

junior senator and Carley Germain, the candidate for sophomore senator. Santolo is currently on the SGI executive board serving as secretary. Sophomore Sol Rey said the diversity aspect of the S.E.E.D. ticket stuck out to her. Additionally, she said she would like to see candidates pushing students to do better, encourage education and encouraging students to want to be at St. John’s. Some of the S.E.E.D. ticket’s main goals include: •Strengthening and empowering student organizations •Bettering the student experience •Expanding opportunities for students and focusing on education •Advancing diversity and inclusion within the campus culture “This year having two full tickets running for the 2018-2019 Executive Board means that the student leaders of this University are determined to embark on change,” Jackson told the Torch through email. “Throughout the semesters, we have heard the cry of many students that have made an impact on our community.” He said the S.E.E.D. ticket will help facilitate that change. Tazi said her ticket, P.L.U.G., is honored to participate in an election with two full tickets. “To me, this means that more students see

areas for amelioration and are confident that they have what it takes to begin fixing,” she said. Aside from the two tickets, there is also an independent candidate in the running for the executive board. Hannah Sesay, a freshman, is running for the sophomore senator position. While she admits that running against two full tickets can be a bit intimidating, it’s making her work even harder “to get my name out there and let people know that I’m just as qualified to serve on the E-board as an independent.” Some things Sesay hopes to tackle include: •Improving communication between SGI and student organizations and the student body •Advocacy on campus •Campus activities for the student body Stephen Lew, a sophomore, also said he would like to see the candidates work on things like getting more water bottle stations on campus. “I also think a bigger club budget could do. It’s very hard for some of these clubs to get advertisements [and] activities going simply because they don’t have the funds,” he added. The candidates for the SGI executive board will face off in a DAC living room debate next Thursday, March 22 during common hour. Voting will take place on April 5 and 6.

Admins Address Student Concerns at Org Congress

Faculty diversity and evaluation at head of concerns

Student Government, Inc. held its third annual Org Congress, the Academic Forum, last Thursday, March 1. Each seat in the D’Angelo Center Ballroom quickly filled with at least one representative from the executive board of each SGI Recognized Organization. Students were allotted one hour to pose questions to present members of administration. Students had the opportunity to pose questions during the event at the microphone and students that were not able to attend were able to submit questions beforehand online. That included Dean Norean Sharpe of the Tobin College of Business, Dean Jeffrey Fagen of St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dean Michael Sampson of the School of Education, Dean Katia Passerini of the College of Professional Studies, Dean Russell DiGate of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Dean Valeda Dent of the University Libraries. Other members of administration were also in attendance. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Robert Mangione moderated the event. The forum served as “an opportunity for students to engage in constructive dialogue with administration,” according to SGI President Frank Obermeyer. The recent approval of a new core curriculum was the first topic of conversation at the

forum, which Mangione said is expected to be enacted soon at the University. “If [the new curriculum] is approved, we will then work towards implementation with a likely start date of either fall of 2019 or fall of 2020,” Mangione said. Mangione added that students enrolled at the University prior to its implementation will be held to the current core standards. The first question posed at the microphone shifted the conversation towards the absence of an Africana Studies major. “This came up a few years ago and we investigated with some students who have long since graduated, and there just wasn’t enough student interest,” Dean Fagen said. “That may have changed [now]. We are always looking to develop new majors,” he added. Mangione responded to the issue of faculty diversity and stated that the University is working to improve the current status of the issue. “We have made some progress, last year was a fairly successful year, but we are not satisfied with that progress,” Mangione said. Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice President for Human Resources Nada Llewellyn stated that the University is taking a “two pronged approach” with the issue, partnering with an external consultant in order to achieve maximum success. “We’re having a reach that we haven’t had historically with the hopes of yielding more candidates,” Llewellyn said. Llewellyn added that the University launched a training and development series

for current faculty members involved in the hiring process in order to support the approach to diversifying faculty. “I think it would have been good to hear a little more detail on how, specifically, they’re working to develop the training program,” Freshman Representative for the College of Professional Studies Hannah Sesay said. The conversation shifted towards curDr. Mangione addressed students on March 1 at the meeting. rent faculty and how other avenue is to our office if you have an their academic performance is reviewed, along with review of issue that hasn’t been resolved.” Students also voiced concerns about the student concerns. “Unfortunately sometimes people do not resources available for those on the Prelive up to our expectations and do not do Health track and opportunities for them to what they’re supposed to do,” Mangione pursue a major not directly correlated with their track, but no immediate solution was said. Mangione stated that the manner in which offered. Questions that were not able to be ancomplaints concerning faculty are handled are generally case-specific. Although profes- swered within the hour-long forum were to sor evaluations are reviewed by their respec- be collected and answered at a later date. “A lot of the concerns that were raised tive department chair, the department chair today are just long term issues, they need does not see the open-ended responses at the minor corrections now that will stop them end of the evaluations. “I do not follow up with the department from going down the same path,” senior chairs, maybe I should,” Fagen said. “The Robert Sluka said. TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO

Jillian Ortiz


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On the power of student activism

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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.

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In the aftermath of the February 14 shoot- our university has pledged to not let puning at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High ishments for walkouts to affect applicants’ School, students have taken the lead on gun status. violence awareness. “We support students who who engage Seventeen students and faculty were killed in meaningful, informed and civil discourse that day, with several more injured. In the regarding difficult and important issues inweeks since, students from MSD, and oth- cluding protest on gun violence,” Vice-Proers across the nation, have stood up to poli- vost and Chief Enrollment Officer Jorge ticians, the gun lobby and manufacturers to Rodriguez wrote in a statement last week. say that they won’t accept anything besides “Disciplinary action associated with particchange. ipation in peaceful and respectful protest at Today, those same students participated your high school will not affect the evaluin a nationwide student walkout. At 10 ation of student applications to attend St. a.m., students planned to walk out of their John’s University.” classes for 17 minutes to honor the lives of And it shouldn’t. High school students the students who died at MSD in February. nowadays—as well as many college stuTheir actions, their words and their fight dents who walk the same hallways as we is brave. These students—especially those do—have been marked forever by school from MSD— are shootings. proving that stuStudents have been dents’ voices matter. conditioned to think Not only are they about what to do in standing up to some an active shooter situThese students are of the most powerful ation—as if it’s somepeople in the United thing normal. This is the leaders we need States, but they’re wrong, and it’s not doing so in the afterjust detrimental to to push us forward. math of a major tragtheir everyday experiedy, and in the face ence, but it’s bad for of adversity. These their education, too. students are the leaders that we need to Time has been up for a while on this ispush us forward. sue, and it shouldn’t take a nationwide stuBut while their fight is worthwhile, it dent walkout for people to realize this. And hasn’t been without pushback. From poli- yet it has. But as history shows, students ticians who disagree, to people who believe have the power to effect change with their that students are too emotional, or un- words and actions. qualified to speak, to high schools that say The students across the country particithey will punish students for participating pating in this activism know this, and they in walk outs, this fight has not been easy. haven’t stopped working toward their goals But thankfully, people are standing behind throughout the last few weeks. them. We applaud their efforts to stand up for We were pleased last week to read that these issues, and we’re glad St. John’s is St. John’s issued a statement regarding stu- standing behind them. The only way for us dents participating in walk outs. to move forward is to do so in unity. Like many colleges across the country,

Vincentian View: The True Power of Gentleness Fr. Patrick Griffin,C.M.

Do you remember Aesop’s fable about the contest between the sun and the wind? They were arguing about who was stronger. They saw a man walking along the road and agreed that whoever could get the coat off his back was strongest. The wind blew hard and long and cold, but this did not move the coat off the man. In fact, it made him draw the garment even tighter around his body. Then, it was the sun’s turn. It shone so brightly and warmly that the man soaked in its rays and was inspired to remove his coat. The moral of the story has to do with gentleness as a force in change. The weather of this past weekend brought this parable to mind. The wind and rain

were very strong on Friday, and particularly so in the open spaces. When I needed to travel across the campus, I pulled the collar of my coat up around my neck, plunged my hands deeply into the pockets, and tried to bury myself in my covering as I made myself a smaller target for the wind. And so, I thought of the parable and wondered about the sun. On these cold and windy days, there are few people outside. Those who are outside are traveling from some sheltered place to another. No groups are standing around talking; no one is sitting on the benches; no students are throwing a Frisbee on the Great Lawn. The campus is barren and—almost literally—lifeless. With the addition of a few extra degrees, however, and a lessening of the blustery forces, everything changes. T-shirt and shorts make a quick comeback, benches get filled and games erupt on the fields. With a little sun, life returns.

As I said, my experience revived the fable in my thinking. I have been reflecting on how potent gentleness can be and needs to be in relationships and decision-making. It promotes collaboration and conversion; it makes room for dialogue and disagreement. In the current time, I recognize the need for gentleness in my life. I see the benefits in opening up my mind and heart to other ideas and persons. That which had seemed so distant and distasteful becomes, at least, understandable. Taking an aggressive and unyielding position on subjects only places roadblocks in the way of cooperation and progress. Gentleness is one of the ways in which I would ordinarily interpret the Vincentian virtue of “meekness.” I find it easier to encourage myself to be gentler rather than meeker. As Paul finishes up his letter to the Philippians, he tells them: “Your gentleness should be known to all” (Phil 4:5). Amen.

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Millennial Think: The Oscars Are Still Valid Steven Verdile

During 2015 and 2016 Academy Award season, two nominee ballots consisting almost exclusively of straight white males led the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite to spread like wildfire on social media. In 2017, the Academy made efforts to diversify the voter group, and it led to success for the films “Moonlight,” “Hidden Figures,” “Lion” and more, which were each considered unconventional nominees for Best Picture. Even more unconventionally diverse films earned Best Picture considerations this year, including “Get Out,” “Shape of Water,” “Call Me By Your Name”, and “Ladybird.” This is a step in the right direction. For many people, the Oscars represent a ridiculous and unnecessary ritual — a group of rich and privileged people who gather annually in fancy clothes to congratulate themselves on their own talent and success. And while that is all certainly true, the Academy Awards and similar award cere-

monies actually serve a bigger purpose. The awards are designed to recognize entire teams, not just individuals, for their hard work and for their commitment to using their skills and resources to create art. The awards provide value quite literally through resulting ticket sales and profits, but also through their reputation and significance. Regardless of how we feel about them, the value is real, which is why it is important that these shiny trophies are going to the right people. To support your favorite films, buy a ticket, spread the buzz, and tune-in to watch the awards. It may sound like I’m simply advertising for Hollywood, but those simple actions are what drive the economic forces that support the awards. Personally, I’d love to see the increase in diversity to continue, both in the people behind the selected films and within the selected films themselves.

PHOTO/BLUMHOUSE PRODUCTIONS

I hope to see more new faces holding statuettes, more alternative platforms seeing success (are we ready for a Netflix original to see the stage?) and more effort to diversify the group of voters. “Shape of Water,” a film that could reasonably be classified as a political fantasy romance, along with “Get Out,” a social thriller, have paved an optimistic road for more

genre films to be recognized. While they may not be perfected yet, I do believe that the Academy is taking steps in the right direction. With support from viewers and fans, I think they can craft a new breed of ceremony that will bring much needed excitement, improvement and validity to what seems to be an aging, dying event.

Eating Disorders Aren’t Exclusive to Skinny Girls We can’t keep dealing with eating disorders the same way Alexis Gaskin Let’s get real about the discussion of eating disorders and the stigma against who can and can’t develop one. People who are obese and overweight CAN get eating disorders. The reason I know that is because I, an overweight and obese person, have suffered from an eating disorder since I was 12. The week of Feb. 26 through March 4 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The weeklong event held by the National Eating Disorder Association was a time for people to reflect and educate themselves on the dangers and stories of eating disorders with the theme, “Let’s Get Real.” The stigma against large people and eating disorders is something that has followed me through my whole life. I’ve always been large and made to feel ashamed about it, so when I started “dieting” and forcing myself to not eat so I could be skinny, I didn’t know that I was developing an eating disorder. As I grew older and went through school-

ing I only grew larger and so did the ridicule and name calling about my size. I’d only eat one meal a day and when I did, I’d eat everything in sight. On every birthday, broken wishbone and four leaf clover I’d wish for the same thing. It wasn’t until I was 16 that I realized I had an eating disorder. Until I read about someone with a similar situation as mine, that this toxic relationship I had with my weight was a disorder. In school they didn’t really talk about them much, and when they did it was always the same stereotypical white female model type. It’s true that these types of people are suffering, but those who don’t fit in this niche are made to feel as though they can’t have a disorder, and that’s dangerous in its own right. I was never taught otherwise, so I thought my way of “dieting” was helping. I would go through diets and trends, reading articles from magazines with titles like, “How to lose weight quick!” and “This detox water to make you skinny.” When I’d force myself to not eat, I’d think

of the magazines underneath my bed--The latest issue of Seventeen and Teen Vogue where they praised actresses for overcoming similar eating disorders but would feature articles about diets to try on the next page.

I was never taught otherwise, so I thought my way of ‘dieting’ was helping.

Being overweight, I was made to feel ashamed and as though I deserved the ridicule. So, when I was told by other about “how proud they were” that I was eating less, how could I not love my disorder. It took me years of self love and ignoring the ridicule to understand my disorder.

But let’s get real. I still can’t eat food in public without feeling ashamed and I still automatically count calories in my head. Everyday I’m recovering. I talk to my roommates about my disorder and they listen. I try to not hate myself for eating a Slice of Pizza and eat meals with my friends. Eating disorders effect over eight million people in the United States and I’m one of them. I am trying to recover from the years of ingrained guilt for my size and to realize that I’m beautiful the way I am. This past new years, for the first time in forever, my new years resolution wasn’t to lose weight, but to love myself more. All 200 plus pounds. If you or a person you know also struggles with an eating disorder or you think you may talk to a doctor and get educated on the signs that their is a problem. Eating disorders can affect anyone, no matter the background, ethnicity, or size.

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Wakanda Forever: The “Black Panther” Effect Don’t underestimate the off-screen impact of representation Dewayne Goforth

tion,” captured the beauty and elegance of Africa in a way that felt like a breath of fresh Over the weekend “Black Panther” crossed air. On-screen representation is something that the $1 billon mark worldwide, smashing countless box office records and cultural minorities have struggled for years to obtain. But mixed within the struggle for representamilestones along the way. Though its impact on the big screen can tion is the additional challenge for minitories clearly be seen through the numbers it con- to be portrayed in a more positive light. It can be very damaging growing up in tinues to produce, what cannot easily be a world that consistently casts members of seen is its cultural significance, specifically in your race as second class citizens with no African and African American communities power, no running water and little to no around the world. The film’s screenplay, costume design, di- food to eat. Afrocentric clothing and natural hair were rection, production merits and soundtrack prevalent throughout were mostly designed the film and it has left a and curated by profeslasting effect on it’s audisionals of African deence. cent, making this movie It’s amazing to see more than just another It can be very damaging how fast attitudes have addition to the Marvel universe, but a turning growing up in a wold changed towards dashikis, boubous, head point in the history of that consistently casts wraps and other African a people who have been members of your race as fabrics, which only attest consistently overlooked second class citizens... to the power of positive and underrepresented representation. in mainstream media. These are just some of The first time I saw a black superhero on the big screen was in the the many reason why “Black Panther” was movie “Blade,” starring Wesley Snipes as the so significant. Not only did it challenge institutional bivampire slaying lead character. ases and stereotypes, but it also managed to Words can’t explain how empowered I felt after seeing someone of the same color as me reconnect African Americans to Africa, and that’s something worth going to theaters for. in a position to save the world. Films like these make me wonder someOn-screen representation is important betimes whether or not the lack of minorities cause it enriches our lives, builds self-esteem, and gives us a way to escape our daily rou- in mainstream media is a deliberate act or not. tines. The very existence of “Black Panther,” from Black Panther was Marvel’s first predomiits all black cast down to its title, feels like a nantly black film and it depicted Africa as a country rich with minerals and its citizens as resistance to whatever system Hollywood has been operating on for all these years. descendants of kings and queens. Finally we are presented with a film that Cinematographer Rachel Morrison, who shows the perspective of black life and tradiwas also the director of photography for Ryan Coogler’s 2013 drama, “Fruitvale Sta- tion in a positive light.

PHOTO COURTESY/KAYLA WHITE

Sophomore Kayla White wore her dashiki to see the premier of the movie “Black Panther.” She saw it two more times after that.

“Call Me by Your Name” Isn’t Helping LGBT Relationships Films should not be depicting or celebrating a dangerous power imbalance Ariana Ortiz Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me by Your Name,” is a visually rich movie about a fraught, delicate romance between two men. The film unfolds in the northern Italian countryside throughout the summer of 1983, and has garnered many awards, including three Oscars, as well as mainstream praise. That initial summary is not exactly correct, though. Elio (Timothée Chalamet) is 17 years old, while Oliver (Armie Hammer) is a 24-year-old graduate student who comes to stay with Elio’s family to help his father, a respected professor of archaeology, with academic work. There has been some discussion about the age gap between the two, with many saying that the film is not a portrayal of an unhealthy relationship because Oliver is never abusive or cruel toward Elio. This is a completely healthy relationship where age is just a number, the argument goes, especially because of Elio’s advanced

intellect, far beyond that of an average teenager. Others even argue that the 1980s were “a different time” where age gaps were more accepted. Some people believe it’s ridiculous to “inject” politics or social commentary into a movie that is simply a beautiful and heartrending portrayal of a relationship. The thing is, nothing exists in a vacuum devoid of politics and social meaning, and this is particularly so for media such as celebrated, Oscar award-winning films; the politics are already there. What and who we choose to praise and award as a society speaks to what kind of society we are; just look at the “Time’s Up” movement within Hollywood, and the greater international movement of exposing predators. I believe “Call Me by Your Name” further desensitizes us to pedophilic age-gap relationships rife with power imbalances and perpetuates the fetishization of youth itself (which I’ll add, film as an artistic medium has been guilty of since its inception.)

While Elio is well-versed in literature and music, he is still a 17-year-old boy. Despite Elio’s precociousness, 22-year-old Chalamet plays Elio with the immature, awkward air and mannerisms characteristic of a teenage boy. So what draws a 24-year-old man like Oliver (who looks significantly older than 24, as Hammer is 31) to a 17 year-old boy? I’d ask this of any person over the age of 18 who scoffs at the idea that this movie’s message is actively harmful: When you interact with a 17-year-old, who do you see? This has less to do with purity politics or even the legal boundaries imposed in the U.S. (or any country, for that matter) about adulthood, and more about why a 20-something adult would pursue a romantic and/or sexual relationship with a younger teenager, and why we would be so uncritically celebratory of a film that portrays this. It calls into question many things, a chief one being the inherent power imbalance present in such a relationship. -For example, an age gap of seven years means little between two people who are al-

ready in their 30s. But seven years between a 17-year-old and a 24-year-old makes a world of difference; just ask your average college student about what they think of high school students. Most will shudder at the thought of viewing them as anything more than children. I’ve even seen people who argue that criticizing “Call Me by Your Name” is homophobic; I won’t even dignify that with an analysis. There is a very small pool of films that LGBT people can draw from, and most of them are (to put it bluntly) trash, with a few stunning exceptions such as “Moonlight” and “Mosquita y Mari.” There are already so many confusing messages that same gender-attracted people receive as children and adolescents, that we are wrong and much better off pretending to be straight. The last thing LGBT youth need are more films that fetishize their youth and naivete, and perpetuate a toxic message of seeking out significantly older partners and idealizing these kinds of relationships.


10 Entertainment

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“This is Me” at the Oscars Carolina Rodriguez “The Greatest Showman” brought with it what some are beginning to consider to be “The Greatest Song.” On Oscar Sunday, Keala Settle, Hawaii native and star of FOX’s “The Greatest Showman,” filled the Dolby Theatre and the nation with emotion through her awe-inspiring performance of “This is Me.” The powerful and prideful “This is Me” was written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, known together as Pasek and Paul. The two have become a powerhouse in the world of American songwriting and are also credited with writing the music behind “La La Land,” “Trolls,” and the award-winning Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen.”

...its impact will be kept alive far beyond Oscar season...

“This is Me,” which is shaped by verses like, “I won’t let them break me down to dust, I know that there’s a place for us, for

PHOTo COURTESY/youtube Clevver news

Michael Ambrosino

we are glorious,” and, “I make no apologies, this is me,” spent two weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 chart—only the fifth soundtrack in the last 10 years to spend more than one week at number one. The song serves as affirmation for anyone who has ever felt as though he or she does not belong. Lettie Lutz, the character that Settle plays in “The Greatest Showman” and that sings “This Is Me,” is a large, bearded woman — by no means someone who would “fit in” by conventional standards. The song’s message has reverberated

throughout the nation. Kids and adults of all ages, races, and places have been posting their own renditions of it online. It has turned into so much more than a track off of a feature film’s album. It is now the soundtrack for everyone’s story. Unfortunately, “This Is Me,” did not take home the Oscar for Best Original Song, losing to Robert Lopez’s “Remember Me,” from Disney’s “Coco.” However, its impact will be kept alive far beyond Oscar season and in the hearts of all of those who listened to it and who felt the words.

“Black Panther” Takes the Box Office by Storm Annastacia Griffith-Gladston Marvel blew up the box office with this one. It is the movie that we’ve all been waiting for. The Marvel Cinematic, “Black Panther,” is a $235 million dollar debut which sold out of all pre-sale tickets, and is cur-

PHOTo/flickr commons Mike Gotting

Performance means more than an award

rently sold out for weeks in theaters across the country. “Black Panther” was such a thrilling experience. The movie brings you along the journey of the first African superhero and king, T’Challa. Alongside his witty younger sister Shuri, T’Challa takes on the responsiTORCH DESIGN/TAUHID M. DEWAN

bility of the African nation of Wakanda by bringing all of the tribes together, protecting the fictional nation’s vibranium technology, and keeping his nation’s powers a secret from the rest of the world. While fighting for Wakanda, T’Challa also fights for his relationship with the beautiful Wakandan spy Nakia. “Black Panther” takes you all over from wooing over the romance between T’Challa and Nakia, to being at the edge of your seat laughing at Shuri’s jokes. The most exciting parts of the movie were the crazy technological advancements, the insane superpowers, the action-packed fighting scenes and the exposure to the African culture. Besides the movie itself, another exciting part of going to see “Black Panther” was the people in the theatres. People of all ages were dressed in beautiful African clothes and there were kids dressed as superheroes taking pictures all over. The movie also delivered a great message for people all over the world, especially during this time in which tensions are at an all-time high. The theme of the movie was to help bring people together no matter what nation or race they are from. Whether you are a fan of superhero comics or not, you should definitely go see “Black Panther!” Now you must be thinking, “How is this different from any other superhero movie?” Well, “Black Panther” has quite a few unusual shocking twists but you’ll have to watch the movie to find out.

Of the many amazing British comedies cinema has given us through the years, three of the best—all of which are directed by the brilliant Edgar Wright, who stepped into American territory last year with “Baby Driver”—are the films that make up the “Cornetto Trilogy.” These films are “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “The World’s End,” three remarkable pieces of filmmaking that are equal parts hilarious and heartfelt. Wright’s style of comedy is very visual. The “Cornetto” films are completely devoid of improvisation—he delivers thunderstorms of laughs through creative editing, high-energy directing, strong performances from his actors and phenomenal writing. “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “The World’s End” don’t have any narrative connections; it’s not technically a proper trilogy. What connects the films are their themes of perpetual adolescence, the fact that they feature the same actors (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) and that they all have a joke about the UK ice cream treat the cornetto. “Shaun of the Dead” is a zombie romcom with the energy of a six-year-old kid hyped up on sugar. It’s a horror/comedy hybrid that’s more funny than it is horrifying, but you’ll be surprised how much Wright manages to move you. As fun and eccentric as “Shaun” is, it’ll sneak up on you and punch you in the stomach. “Hot Fuzz” is a masterpiece. Easily favorite of the three, and arguably the silliest yet most violent of the three, “Hot Fuzz” is a brilliant spoof on the buddy-cop film set in a small, quiet town in West Country of England. The film is genuinely hysterically funny. It’s one of the best screenplays ever written, featuring a third-act reveal you simply will not believe until you see it. I’m laughing right now thinking about it. As great a comedy as “The World’s End” is, it’s definitely the darkest and most emotional of the three. It’s a science-fiction film set in the home town of its three main characters, and the longer they stick around, the more they realize things aren’t quite what they seem. Underneath the explosions of wild laughs and brutal mayhem, this is really a film about nostalgia, and how staying trapped in the past can nearly destroy you. While this isn’t a trilogy connected by one linear story, “The World’s End” feels like a satisfying closure. It’s the most adult story in a series of films about perpetual adolescence. Wright’s movies will simultaneously move you and make you laugh in hysterics, while also admiring remarkable work of filmmaking on display.


Entertainment 11

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“A Wrinkle in Time”: Mixed Reviews Samantha DeNinno Tip #1 for those wishing to see “A Wrinkle in Time”: know that it is an abashed children’s film. Its themes are simple and easy to digest and it dazzles in its colors and technical tricks. It was adorable to watch the little girl next to me reach up to touch the color-changing flowers when they floated across the 3D screen. It is fair to say that “A Wrinkle in Time,” an adaptation of the famous children’s book by Madeleine L’Engle, has had a lot of pre-release hype. Director Ava DuVernay (“Selma,” “13th”) became the first black woman to receive a budget of over $10 million for a live-action film. The cast includes stars Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Gugu MbathaRaw, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Pena, Bellamy Young and David Oyelowo with the stunning newcomers, Storm Reid, Levi Miller and Deric McCabe. It was seemingly destined for greatness. However, since its release, it has received many mixed reviews. And I can see where they are coming from. The film is rushed and abundant with plot holes. Personally, I have never read the book but I could almost sense that there were a lot of things missing from the screen adaptation. Inclusion of Bellamy Young’s and

Michael Pena’s characters were blink-and-you-may-miss scenes and coupled with a sense that they were once bigger presences on the pages. The plot moves through different planets and scenes very quickly, creating the illusion that the film itself is shorter than its 109 minute runtime, and perhaps too short for certain emotional arcs. There was potential, but it might have gotten lost in the fantastical worlds, big budget and multiple possible storylines left untied — understandable when the book they set out to adapt was largely deemed unfilmable. This is not to say that the film should be written off. “A Wrinkle in Time,” despite its faults, is a culturally powerful film with strong young actors. To watch Storm Reid’s Meg Murry, a young biracial girl with glasses and natural hair, learn to love herself and accept love from others was tear-jerking to watch. You could feel the cultural importance in the room. While for some, the messages could have been too obvious and prevalent, I argue differently for the sake of absorption in the subconscious minds of children. I will forever remember the goosebumps-inducing moment when she

PHOTo COURTESY/youtube Disney movie trailers

Film begs the question of importance over quality

screamed, “I deserve to be loved!” The diversity of the cast and the message of abundant power within yourself perhaps makes up for the film’s faults. Which brings me to this point: maybe it did not have to be a perfect film. Sitting in a room full of young children watching this film, watching the messages and diversity play across the screen, I knew that this would be important to these kids. They would pick something up from this.

There is a confidence in this film that despite everything makes it irresistibly enjoyable and sparks your own curiosity. It has succeeded with children as evidenced by the little girl that sat next to me exclaiming, “That was the best movie ever!” Across the board, opinions differ. Depending on your age, viewpoint or experience with books, your opinions on the film will be different. It’s up to you to decide.

A Whole New World for “Aladdin” Campus Concierge’s Latest Offering Keyah James All of us know the story of Aladdin: a boy finds a magical lamp, the genie grants him three wishes and he falls in love with a princess. But “Aladdin The Musical” on Broadway brings the story that we all know and love to life with added musical numbers, new characters, and enough sequined harem pants to last a lifetime. Although it officially opened on March 20, 2014 at the New Amsterdam Theater, every seat in the house was full on Valentine’s Day with couples both old and young. So, what is it about this story that keeps bringing us back?

...the themes that run through the story are timeles, and fit into our country’s climate...

For starters, most people already know this story, which has the potential to make this two-hour production predictable and repetitive. But instead of focusing solely on Aladdin and Jasmine, the Genie’s character was really brought to life. Played by Major Attaway, the Genie’s first musical number was “Friend in Me,” for which the biggest applause of the night was given.

Between his charisma, bigger than life stage presence and jokes that were actually funny, he added something special that the musical really needed. In addition, the themes that run through the story are timeless, and fit into our country’s climate even in 2018. Portrayed by Telly Leung, there’s the struggle of Aladdin, a boy who wants nothing more than to become someone better, beat the odds and make his late mother proud, sentiments expressed in the number “Proud of Your Boy.” Then there’s Jasmine, who’s seemingly trapped by tradition and sexism in her nation, unable to make her own choices or see the world around her. Isabelle McCalla truly captures how it feels to not have a voice. These aspects of the story made “A Whole New World” that much more magical. It was the feeling of a first love and the wonder of mystery and exploration all in one. While the magic carpet lifted the two up into the air with hundreds of lights creating the illusion of a starry night, the audience fell silent in awe. It’s easy to see why this production was nominated for five Tony Awards. The elaborate and colorful costumes, sets and songs touched the hearts of everyone in the theater, and made me especially nostalgic. Its success even inspired the idea for the new live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated film, which will star Will Smith as Genie and will be in theaters in May 2019. So, if you’re looking to revisit your childhood and see the film through a different lens, the musical won’t disappoint.


12 Features

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Otaku Brigade: Not Just for Anime Fans Club talks its beginnings and the future of virtual reality at St. John’s Consisting of TVs and game consoles (and attracting many gaming aficionados), the unofficial gaming station at the long tables on DAC’s second floor has become a familiar sight to the University community. You might be asking yourself: who are these guys? With over 300 active members, Otaku Brigade stands strong with its family of manga, anime, cosplay and video game enthusiasts. At their Feb. 8 general body meeting, Academic Technology Director Eric Alvarado came and discussed getting school funding for gaming, particularly in an educational and competitive aspect through the use of virtual reality (VR) devices and games such as Super Smash Bros; Otaku Brigade will be taking a front row seat in this innovation exploration. The Torch sat down with Otaku Brigade’s executive board members including its president, Amanda Carlson; vice-president, Nafis Mukut; secretary, Jonella Wong; and treasurer, Armando Cendali on this unique organization’s growth throughout the years and its plans for the future.

Q:

What is Otaku Brigade? What’s the mission behind it? Carlson: Otaku Brigade is an organization that supports any and all nerdy hobbies, mainly anime, video games, comics, manga, sci-fi, cosplay. It’s also a special organization dealing with inclusion since those kind of hobbies are kind of isolated and there’s a lot of stigma around them. Cendali: It’s a place for nerds to be nerds and not be judged. It’s nice, it’s fun, it’s relaxing, it’s great break to relieve stress at the end of the day and make friends in college.”

Q:

Where does the name “Otaku Brigade” come from and how did it all begin? Carlson: Otaku is kind of a derogatory word in Japan. It’s supposed to mean someone who sits in their room all day and doesn’t have any social interaction and is obsessed with one thing. Cendali: And brigade sounded better off the tongue than Otaku Organization. Carlson: Otaku Brigade has been around for eight years — it was established in 2010. It started because of the people at the DAC tables. They were just playing video games and liked anime, and then a bunch of friends were just like “Hey, we should make a club.” Then it got to be bigger where it wasn’t just a group of friends and it was really a professional club that’s trying to erase the stigma that nerdiness is just for weird kids.

Q:

What past events stand out for you guys? Which ones have been your favorite? Carlson: We’ve done service events— Mukut: Like when our Event Coordinators did a Christmas Twitch stream to raise money. Carlson: But my favorite event is the Maid Cafe. I think it is stigmatized a bit because members are dressed up as maids and serve other members. Occasionally, some of our male members also dress in maid outfits, which creates a backlash. Mukut: They’re just jealous we look good in it. Ota-Fest and Aki-Fest both fill the same role as the end-of-semester events for hardcore members. It’s a great way to celebrate how far the club has gone each semester, and it really gauges member interest.

Carlson: Aki-Fest and Ota-Fest are like our mini-Comic Cons where we have a theme, members create booths for those themes, they serve food, and we just have a good old nerdy time! Wong: I am mixed between Ota-Fest, Aki-Fest, and our game nights. During game nights, it’s a bunch of people gaming together, getting together, getting to know each other over these games, and it’s just really nice to see. Carlson: It’s a huge community effort. Everyone brings their own TVs and games and systems and we all experience different games: individual, RPG, multiplayer, party, card, board — Mukut: Any game. And I don’t think we’ve ever hard any reports of thefts. Cendali: We do have safeguards, but nobody has ever done anything. Carlson: There’s just an incredible amount of respect and care between people.

Q:

How have you dealt with negative stereotypes concerning the org’s “nerdy hobbies”? Wong: Yes, we have been cast with it. Like, at the Activities Fair. Amanda and I were in cosplay and people would just, like, pass by and be like “What kind of club is this? Who does this?” We did embrace it in a professional manner — it’s something we all enjoy, something that we do, and if we get judged for it, it’s fine as long as it makes us happy. And we all have each other’s backs.

Q: The school has reportedly been testing

VR to become a part of its curriculum, like giving Forensic Science majors a chance to simulate crime scenes in real time. Have you dabbled with VR technology like the Oculus Rift for your organization? Mukut: It’s all brand new. We are planning to. Eric Alvarado extended a hand out and invited our organization for a tour of the future VR set he’s hoping to get in soon. The thing is he’s creating an academic reason for it. We can’t just use technology for entertainment purposes. It’s going to be within this semester or next semester. Wong: We could definitely use it as a real life simulator. I know people are actually using it, like doctors-in-training, so St. John’s could actually benefit from it. Mukut: Yeah, it’s not just for art. Once this program is in for STEM majors, it will definitely help them out.

From left to right: Nafis Mukut, Armando Cendali, Amanda Carlson, Jonella Wong.

Carlson: And we don’t have that… yet. Mukut: In the future, if St. John’s has more of a focus on gaming, then we as an organization could reach out and offer to support people through it, but right now, it’s hard to say. Carlson: I can’t even imagine if e-sports worked at St. John’s that they would be attached to the Athletics Department just because of how niche it is. Mukut: Universities anywhere, they have a dedicated department to gaming and e-sports. It isn’t just student-driven: It’s administration-driven. Carlson: I think it’s possible, but not in the next year or two. (laughs) Probably five years from now.

Q:

Would you guys be open to having your own “Otaku Circuit” for gaming? Cendali: In our gaming committee, we tried toying with that idea for a little bit, but it’s still in its early stages. Carlson: Short answer is maybe, but we’d need student and administration involvement.

Q:

How do you feel about the ongoing debate concerning e-sports are a “real sport”? Do you consider e-sports a sport? Mukut: Of course. The idea that sports is something that has to be physical isn’t really applicable anymore with things like VR. It’s being considered for Japan’s Olympics. You may not agree with it, but you have to recognize where it’s due. Cendali: Yes, like chess is a sport, but it’s not physical: it’s mental. Videogames are a mental sport, too, and people in e-sports agree that it’s a mental gymnastics throughout the entire thing.

Carlson: But, as of now, Otaku Brigade has not yet used it for educational and recreational purposes.

Q:

Q: Going forward, what are Otaku Bri-

Carlson: I think by society’s standards, sports is a very physical action. Nationally and wordly, it’s there, but I don’t think SJU is there yet. Getting e-sports here and with Otaku Brigade will take a while, but the motivation is there. We just need marketing and help from administration.

gade’s plans with e-sports (competitive, multiplayer video games), particularly when it comes to possibly making it a part of the Athletic Department?

TORCH PHOTO/JOERENZ TABANDA-BOLINA

PHOTO COURTESY/OTAKU BRIGADE

Joerenz Tabanda-Bolina

Mukut: A lot of universities have e-sports because they have a game-centric education, a game-centered program.

What about getting that idea across here at SJU?


Features 13

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Mental Health 101 Tackling the stigma around mental health Gabrielle Ciminera When mental health comes up in conversation, the usual reaction is to lighten the mood with a joke or dance around the topic until the moment passes. This polite detachment when talking about mental health only furthers the stigma surrounding it and sends the message that it’s not okay to talk about. The truth is you don’t need to be diagnosed with a mental disorder to be affected by mental health; from the burst of anxiety you feel when you are drowning in assignments to the overwhelming pressure placed on you by bosses and parents, mental health is something everyone struggles with. This week, Health Matters will focus on how everyone can not only improve their own mental health, but also help friends who may be struggling with it or just need a boost.

Get some sleep We all know that sleep is vital in our ability to function in daily life and maintain our physical health. However, sleep also affects our mental health. According to new research, lack of sleep may even leave people more vulnerable to developing a mental disorder. On the other hand, trouble with sleeping is also a sign or symptom of an already existing disorder, such as anxiety or depression. With the overwhelming demands of work and school, it may seem like the last thing you are able to make time for is sleep. Even if you can’t achieve the recommended eight hours of sleep each night, there are some steps you can take to improve your

sleeping habits: avoid caffeine at night or within a few hours of your bedtime, exercise, reserve sleep as the only activity you do in bed (that means avoid looking at your laptop or cell phone in bed!), and remember you can’t achieve anything to your full potential without recharging your body first.

dealing with panic attacks Panic attacks can either be a chronic condition or something that the average person experiences during particularly distressing times. It seems cliché, but truly the first step in getting through a panic attack is to breathe. The rapid breathing caused by anxiety can actually make the mental and physical effects of a panic attack worse. Therefore, taking the time to slow down your breathing and focus your chaotic thoughts is an essential — yet often overlooked — first step in overcoming a panic attack. Relaxing your tensed muscles and reframing your negative thoughts into positive mantras are also measures that can be taken to halt the onset of a panic attack.

Make a safety plan Writing, reading, listening to music, counting backwards from 100, squeezing an object until the wave of anxiety passes and petting an animal: these coping skills are examples of what you can include in a safety plan for yourself. Even if you don’t intend on harming yourself, safety plans are there as backup strategies to help calm down a stressful moment. Visit crisistextline.org/referrals for a full list of re-

INTERESTED IN writing for features? EMAIL US AT: torchfeatures@gmail.com

sources such as specialized hotline numbers, coping skills lists and downloadable apps.

Talk to someone If your mental health seems to be weighing on you more than usual, it is never embarrassing nor beneath anyone to seek professional help. However, professional help is not always easily accessible for everyone, especially for young people who have to run appointments through parents’ health insurance and cannot afford the out of pocket fees. The University’s Counseling Center is a good short-term solution and a great, free place to start. While you can’t rely on it for long-term treatment, the mental health experts there can refer you to a care provider who suits your long-term needs. You can call to make an appointment or do so in-person. Reaching out to a trusted friend for support and a shoulder to lean on also works. However, if telling someone you know this

type of intimate information about yourself is too difficult, there are various online sources, such as helplines or online chat rooms. In crisis? Text HELP to 741741 to text with a crisis counselor.

Resources Center for Counseling and Consultation Location: Queens campus, Marillac Hall, Room 130 Tel: 718-990-6384 Suicide Prevention Lifeline Tel: 1-800-273-8255; 1-800-799-4889 for deaf and hard-of-hearing or Text HELP to 741741


14 Sports

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How One Man Changed St. John’s Derrell Bouknight After the buzzer sounds and the clock runs out on his life on earth, Mel Davis hopes to reunite with his old friend. By then, he may have an answer to a question he has asked himself for years. “Why” is a word that crosses his mind nearly every day. He hopes to learn one day. The questions are always rhetorical, a replay of the decades of hardship he has dealt with. Maybe the answers to what he ponders will come around some day. For now, he’ll keep waiting. Worries often alleviate themselves and minds are put at ease--at least that’s what is hoped for--as time carries on. The ability to search and speak for the voiceless becomes a race against the clock, the excavation for truth an unrehearsed ritual that never ceases to let up. For years to come, Davis will continue to dig and press and reiterate the meaning of his friend’s life, the one that combated 85 years of hatred and blackness with dignity and reverence that he hopes will one day reach the rafters of basketball heaven. And hopefully, that time will come sooner rather than later.

Solly Walker was the first African-American against the Kentucky Wildcats.

Mel Davis occupies a window seat toward the back corner of a restaurant in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the black and white checkered flooring complementing the painful and grainy memories he prepares to relive. He’s mellow and unfazed, his white dress shirt and grey suit pants unraveling off his 6-6 frame as he lifts himself out of his fancy red chair. It’s a few minutes after 12:30 p.m. on an unseasonably warm Thursday in mid-February. Davis had just come from Midtown, making his way towards the evergreens of Central Park just off Columbus Ave. Soft-spoken but direct and unafraid to say what’s on his mind, Davis reflects on the time he spent in Queens as a three-year student-athlete. He hasn’t the slightest interest in reminiscing about his outstanding basketball career. At St. John’s he averaged 20.9 points and 17.4 rebounds per game in two years of varsity ball. His tenacity on the boards places him eighth on the school’s rebounding list. Nor does he wish to discuss being drafted 14th overall by the Knicks in 1973. “What I’m going to talk about today means a lot to me,” he said as leaned forward in his seat.What Davis revealed was the untold story of a man that changed St. John’s University. A man who dedicated himself to the youth and his community, risking his life in the process to play the sport he admired. A man who changed St. John’s forever, but also one you may have forgotten about after many years. If you have, you are not alone. Davis has a significant story to tell, and he wants everyone to know about it. An older black man by the name of Solly Walker sat in the living room of his brownstone house in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, collecting his thoughts and commemorating the old days when St. John’s campus inhabited his borough. He’s a handsome, dark-skinned gentleman with rounded glasses and the same smile he boasted when he first stepped on the hardwood as a member of Coach Frank McGuire’s Redmen.

The difficulties Walker experienced as St. John’s first black basketball player and one of its few black students in the early 1950s are hard to talk about. They’re even harder to forget. In 2008, he addressed a large crowd at the 10th Annual Frank McGuire Awards Dinner. Walker revisited one of those moments, detailing some of the most unfathomable parts of his life. Before he officially stepped foot on campus, McGuire informed Walker and his parents that the Redmen would travel to Kentucky to play Adolph Rupp’s Wildcats. Walker, who grew up in the south before moving to New York as a kid, was just as hesitant as his parents. “Mr. McGuire assured them that wherever the team went, I would go,” Walker recalled. The day came with the unexpected standing ahead of him. It was Dec. 17, 1951. A Monday. St. John’s was set to play Kentucky in front of thousands of fans. Hours ahead of the contest, Rupp called McGuire with a harsh warning. “You can’t bring that boy down here to Lexington,” Rupp said on the phone. McGuire responded. “Then cancel the game,” he said. “Cancel the game.” Rupp refused, and the game went on as scheduled. The Redmen traveled by train, arriving in Lexington around 2 a.m. Having not eaten for eight hours, the team found a diner. “Of course, they said ‘Sorry. I don’t care who you are. You can’t come in here and eat,’” Walker said. McGuire, along with coaches Buck Freeman and Dusty DeStefano, accompanied Walker to dinner so he wouldn’t be by himself. To the kitchen they went. On game day, Walker admitted to starting off too fast. He hit his first three shots and six of his first seven. “Then I ended up in the tenth row,” he joked. “That’s one thing you look out for. They bang you up and you retaliate. Now, you’re out of the game.” He was forced to leave the game--an 81-40 loss--with an injury. More slurs and insults were thrown his way as he exited Kentucky’s

Photo courtesy/the walker family

Memorial Coliseum. By all accounts, Walker was the first black player to play against the Wildcats in Kentucky. That game wasn’t the end of Walker’s daily reminders that he was a black man in segregated America. When asked about the most chilling story Walker told him about what he experienced over the course of his lifetime, Davis thought for a minute and simply shook his head. “I can’t tell you that,” he said. “In 1950, it was different. The world was different back then. A lot of things were just okay to do.” As tough as life was for him, Walker never let his emotions show. According to Davis, Walker had one standard, and one standard only: excellence. Walker enrolled at St. John’s in 1950 and led the freshman team to a 17-2 record, averaging 15.1 points per game before a career-best 14.0 points and 12.2 rebounds per game as a senior. After graduating with a degree in business, Walker was taken in the seventh round of the 1954 NBA Draft by the Knicks. Instead of continuing his basketball career, Walker returned to St. John’s and received his Master’s degree in Education. “I started teaching in one of those schoolsthose special schools--where the young men who were not wanted by the principal would be sent,” Walker said. “This was a challenge, which we accepted.” From the moment he entered college to when he graduated, Walker always reminded Davis to keep his head high. Nobody could ever tell him anything if he lived life with no regrets. “Plan A will have many obstacles, peaks and valleys,” he remembers Walker, the man he calls a prince, telling him. “Always have a Plan B.” He taught and eventually served as principal at P.S. 58 (now P.S. 35) Manhattan High School on W 52nd St. Lou Carnesecca, the winningest coach in program history, noted how great of a player Walker was. More than that, he said, he lived an exemplary life. “Solly was really well-respected and a man

of quality,” Carnesecca said in an interview. “He was a great addition to our basketball tradition. More importantly, he was a great person, a sweetheart of a person.” As he increased in age and health problems arose, Walker suddenly found himself in need of medical care. Hospital visits were hard on both him and Davis. Walker eventually told him not to come anymore. “Solly was always grateful for the phone calls from Coach Carnesecca,” Davis said. One conversation with Walker in particular about his storied life captured how much both men cared about an honor from the University. “I used to go to his house and just sit with him,” Davis said. “He couldn’t walk very well. He was in a wheelchair. He would reminisce all the trials and tribulations he had to go through. He just wanted to vent. He wanted me to know.” The tears falling from Davis’ eyes depicted the longstanding years of pain that surrounded him and the Walker family. His canvas of answers still remains bleak and his heart still wrenches when he thinks of Walker feeling lost and alone. “Mel,” Walker once said to him. “I thought they forgot about me.” Constantly surrounded by a cyclone of isolation, Walker often overheard the whispers from guys he shared the court with. “He heard comments like, ‘Well, we can eat there,’ or ‘why don’t you go over there? Find a YMCA where you could sit,’” Davis said. “Those kinds of things I’ll never forget.” Several years ago, Davis began to notice that a lot of people believed Walker was dead. “That’s when I really wanted to enlighten the St. John’s family and fans of Dr. Walker’s presence and his meaningful contributions to St. John’s,” he said. Ever since, he has advocated for more awareness about Walker’s life. Next season, the University will retire his No. 20, the same number Head Coach Chris Mullin wore during his four playing years. Read the full story at torchonline.com.


Sports 15

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Red Storm Set to Play Marist in NIT on Thursday Brendan Myers “This is a new feeling for us.” Those were Joe Tartamella’s words after losing in the first round of the Big East Tournament for the first time since 2010. Despite strong double digit scoring from three St. John’s players, it wasn’t enough to best Jaylyn Agnew’s 23 points for Creighton en route to a 66-58 win for the Blue Jays. The game came down to offensive efficiency. St. John’s was struggling to score, only shooting 38 percent from the field during the game, including an underwhelming 1-6 shooting performance from beyond the arc. On the other side, Creighton’s offense was clicking. The Blue Jays shot over 47 percent and converted half of their three-pointers. “We didn’t do a good enough job, I thought, throughout the game, especially in the first half, of executing the things we had gone over throughout the week,” Tartamella said after the loss. An eight-point halftime deficit was quickly erased after the Johnnies opened up the third quarter on a 9-0 run, anchored by Qadashah Hoppie, Maya Singleton, and Alisha Kebbe. In Maya Singleton’s last regular season game in a Red Storm uniform, she finished with 18 points and nine rebounds, one rebound shy of what would have been her 17th double-double of the season. “I know what I’ve been through, I appreciate everything that I’ve been through to get to this point, so when I go out there, I just

give it my all,” Singleton said. After averaging 11 points and 11 rebounds throughout the season, Singleton earned a place on the All-Big East Second Team. “Maya has brought energy, intensity, heart. She’s like the glue to all of us,” Redshirt freshman guard Tiana England said after the game. In addition to Singleton’s 18 points, England finished with 16 and Akina Wellere scored 11 points in her hometown of Chicago. With this loss, St. John’s finishes play with a 16-14 (9-9 Big East) record. Much like the game of basketball itself, it was a season filled with runs and momentum swings. The Red Storm finished non-conference play with 7-5 record, which included tough losses to top programs South Carolina and South Florida, they stumbled out of the gate in Big East play, losing their first three games before rattling off five wins in a row. They would go 4-6 throughout the duration of conference play. A key trend for the Red Storm this year proved to be that they were much more comfortable playing at Carnesecca Arena. They amassed a 10-5 home record, including back-to-back home victories in early February against Xavier and Butler that were both won by more than 30 points. Heading into next year without the dynamic frontcourt of Singleton and Imani Littleton, the Johnnies could possibly rely on the backcourt for 2018-2019. With Hoppie and and England both set to

Torch photo/marie bogue

Qadashah Hoppie and Maya Singleton check out after a win against Seton Hall on Feb. 16.

return after strong freshman campaigns, they will be major factors next season. Hoppie was recently named Big East Freshman of the Year and England was a unanimous selection to the Big East All-Freshman team. The strong backcourt for next season will be aided by the return of three key contrib-

utors in Alisha Kebbe, Akina Wellere, and Andrayah Adams. All three are players who aren’t necessarily volume scorers but can easily put up anywhere from 10 to 15 points a night to help balance the offensive attack. “I think we’ve come a long way. So I’m pretty happy with effort we give,” Tartamella said.


SPORTS March 14, 2018 | VOLUME 95, ISSUE 16

| TORCHONLINE.COM

Photo courtesy/joyce Boland-DeVito

FromSt. St. John's to From To CBS Sports Sports Alexis Gaskin For St. John's alumnus Vincent DeVito, sports has always been a vital part of his schooling, career and life in general. "I've always had a love of sports and playing it, but behind the scenes was more practical,” he said. “As a kid I'd watch football on Sunday and just sit there and watch all the games." A summa cum laude graduate of St. John's University in 1982, DeVito remarks his time at the school as memorable and beneficial to his career and life. He exclaimed in hearty chuckles about all that St. John's offered him as a student and how it helped him in his desire to work in the sports industry. This seven-time Emmy award winner has worked hard and come a long way to obtain such high caliber achievements. DeVito chuckled as he reminisced on his past 40 years in the sports industry. A Hicksville, Long Island native, DeVito has always had a deep passion for everything sports, evident in his sport playing years throughout school, many hours as a sport watcher and times working in the sports booth at games in high school. "If you were to check my batting average, you'd see that I wasn't getting into school for sports anytime soon," DeVito joked when discussing his baseball career in high school. Before he was a Johnnie, DeVito, like many current college students, was struggling to discover his path as to what exactly he wanted to do. "I was really good at math and science and did well on my tests,” DeVito said. So my high school teachers said that I should become an engineer." DeVito attended the University initially for engineering. "It wasn't for me," he said. DeVito discussed how he was going to class and realized that he wasn’t interested in what he was learning. "Sometimes you realize that what you're doing at the moment, isn't what you want to do for the rest of your life,” he said. With

the decision to change career paths, DeVito decided to drop out of school and entered the work field.” While DeVito was out of college, he still kept his love for sports, and his obsession with college sports also amplified. He discussed how he remembered watching a college basketball game and saw famed sportscaster Marv Albert talking about the St. John's Basketball team. "Marv Albert was the reason I went to St. John's,” DeVito said. “He kept talking about how great St. John's was and I was so interested that I decided to go there." He continued by adding that Albert's raving about the basketball program is what got him interested in attending St. John's. After some much-needed thinking and searching for what he wanted to do, DeVito decided to attend St. John's as a communications major at St. Vincent's College, presently known as the College of Professional Studies. DeVito's time at St. John's set him on a path that led to his career in sports with CBS Sports and his success as an award-winning producer. "I've always been interested in sports and things like that,” he said. “I played baseball and worked the sports booth at games in high school, but never imagined I could do things like that as a job and in the future. It was all a dream of sorts. I always liked the possibility of being a broadcaster." He wasn't always so sure about doing communications because of the busy career field. "You had so many people who were in industries like film and television, print journalism and other media,” DeVito said. “But they didn't know what to do." An active participant in student life at St. John's, DeVito worked at the Sports Informational Desk and at WSJU, the university’s radio station, as the sports director. He was also a sports writer for the Torch under the guidance of Sports Editor Howie Schwab. "I loved working with Howie," DeVito said. "We're still very good friends and still talk to this day."

DeVito got his start in sports media with notable companies like ABC and CBS through what he calls "total happenstance." "I was in the right place at the right time,” he said. DeVito discussed how he was working for the sports informational desk at St. John's when his boss got a call from ABC asking if anyone wanted to be a sports runner. "My boss looks to me and asks, ‘Hey, do you know anyone who wants to work for ABC Sports?’" DeVito recalled. "This started my journey working with CBS Sports." Reminiscing about his time at St. John's, DeVito said that the school opened doors for him in his professional career. "St. John's has so many great opportunities for me,” he said. “It taught [students] a lot about what we needed to know for the world outside." He added that the education at St. John's seems to be even more influential in how it helps to build connections. "St. John's has great resources,” he said. “You just have to use them to your ability." He stated that one of his most memorable moments at St. John’s was meeting his wife. DeVito met Joyce Boland-DeVito, now a St. John's Professor, during orientation. "We were in the same orientation group, we also worked together at WSJU." DeVito’s career with CBS Sports has been a long and remarkable one. He reiterated how he got his start with the company as a sports runner and would collect information, stats and data to give to producers about college sports. "It was the start of a real interest in college sports and the networks were scrambling to find people as well informed on them," he said. When asked what he did as a producer for CBS Sports, he explained the intricacies of his role, which may be seen by many viewers on television. "I have to gear up the ad space and revenue and things like that,” DeVito said. “So when you see ad time and wonder how that moves so smoothly, that's me." DeVito's impressive resume with CBS has

included him working several fields, including baseball, March Madness, broadcasting and even the Olympics. Sitting proudly in his home, DeVito has seven Emmy awards for his career producing at CBS. Each has had an impact on his career, but he doesn’t celebrate the same if he wins more. While the second, third, fourth or subsequent Emmy's may not have been as impactful, DeVito praised on how his first Emmy is the most spectacular. "The first one is always the most spectacular, I think it had to do with what I won it for." DeVito and his team won an Emmy for Special Programming in 1990 for a program where they took 12 young adults from ages 16 through 19 up Mt. Kilimanjaro. "We took these kids, with special disabilities and had them climb Mt. Kilimanjaro,” he said. “The effort and work that these young teens achieved made it worthwhile as they began the climb." DeVito remarked that through all his time with CBS Sports and his stepping stones at St. John's, he was most thankful for his wife. "I love my wife,” he said. “She keeps me on my toes no matter what I achieve. Keeps me humble." Still a Johnnie at heart, DeVito watches Red Storm basketball any chance he gets. He too was very excited after the huge wins against Duke and Villanova in February. A big fan of Head Coach Chris Mullin, DeVito added that he wants to see the team get back to its glory days. "I have hope that Mullin will get St. John's to a higher tier with our basketball team,” he said. I know Chris can do it." Throughout the years in sports and media, DeVito notes how hard it is to get in the field. His final piece of advice was simple, something he has carried with him for many years. "You know once you get your foot in the door, it's up to you to get the rest of your body through."

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