Volume 95, Issue 7

Page 1

VOL 95 : 07 October 18, 2017 torchonline.com

The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. John’s University


Undergraduate international student enrollment dropped significantly for the fall 2017 semester after years of a steady rise, but the University says it’s working to change that. The university said there were 114 first-year international students enrolled this fall, down 70 compared to last year’s incoming class — a 38-percent decline. The school said the number of applications from international students also declined for the second straight year to 2,275, down 23 percent from 2015. Other notable changes from first-year international enrollment include: International enrollment and applications for this school year were the lowest in the last five years. Enrollment peaked at 184 in 2016 even though the university admitted a lower number of international applicants (1,103) than each of the previous four years. The percentage of international applicants that were admitted from 2012to-2016 ranged from 50.1 percent in 2012 to 61.1-percent in 2015. The numbers come from a six-year look at international first-year student enrollment, admittance and application figures provided to The Torch from Media Relations. In a statement, Vice Provost and Chief Enrollment Officer Jorge Rodriguez said the university took “immediate” steps to reverse the stark downward turn in international enrollment -- from 184 to a six-year low of 114 -- once it was noticed.

inside THE ISSUE


“When this decrease was initially identified and predicted, we took immediate steps to regain market share,” Rodriguez said. “St. John’s increased its recruitment efforts around the world by hiring additional recruiters and enhancing site visits.”Rodriguez said international student enrollment had been on the rise until this year’s drop. Story continued on page 3

SJU holds its tenth annual basketball tip-off

Students argue St. John’s shouldn’t celebrate Columbus Day

Opinion: School dropped the ball on DTW switch

see the story on page 13

see the story on page 4

see the story on page 6




“Not Just Spicy and Sexy”: A Discussion

Students Talk Latina, Afro-Latina Stereotypes Angelica acevedo Opinion Editor Co-Social Media Manager As part of Latino Heritage Month, “Not Just Spicy and Sexy,” an educational discussion about the misrepresentation of Latinas and Afro-Latinas in the U.S., was presented by the Delta Kappa Chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. on Oct. 12. “I spearheaded this event because this is something that has always bothered me. People think it’s a compliment to tell me, ‘Wow, you’re so beautiful, I love Spanish girls,’ but I’m not even Spanish, I’m Puerto Rican,” Nadine Rivera, the secretary of the sorority, said. “Even though I’m a Latina woman, I’m my own person too.” About 15 students, who were mainly Latina and Afro-Latina women with the exception of two men, gathered in an intimate space in the D’Angelo Center. Three members of the Delta Kappa Chapter, Maryann Rodas, Andrea Sifuentes and Nadine Rivera led the discussion. They began by posing the question: What does it mean to be “spicy”? To this, some of the students answered with variations of having high self-esteem, being confident, possessing an attitude and having a curvaceous body. Then, the conversation deepened as the pre-


Maryann Rodas, Andrea Sifunentes and Nadine Rivera represented their sorority for the discussion in the D’Angelo Center.

senters spoke about the marginalizing term that has been used to describe Latina and Afro-Latina women in this country for decades. One aspect of the event that caught many of the students’ attention was when the present-

ers informed them of the 1920s embargo on Hollywood movies due to the over-sexualized nature of the Latina characters. Although they discussed the media’s indisputable role in perpetuating the stereotypical

Latina — such as the maid and the friend with an attitude in the background — they also mentioned some of what they say is recent progress. For instance, they spoke about Gina Rodriguez’s breakout role in the award-winning show “Jane the Virgin” and a comic book with a Latina super hero called “La Borinqueña” created in 2016 by Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, a graphic novelist. Andrea Sifuentes, the treasurer of the sorority, said she was surprised by how well the event went. “A lot more people came than expected and I like that everyone participated,” Sifuentes said. “It’s something that needs to be talked about because I think it’s just been glossed over.” Leading up to the event, the Delta Kappa Chapter organized a social media campaign on Instagram with the hashtag #NotJustSpicyandSexy. This garnered over 40 posts on Instagram with students and alumni of St. John’s sharing their stories of dealing with the stereotypes frequently applied to Latina and Afro-Latinas. “Being that it is Latin Heritage Month, we found that this was an important topic to bring to St. John’s, not only through our community but also through social media,” Maryann Rodas, president of the sorority said. “People that follow us on social media and sisters around the nation participated, bringing awareness to many others.”




Angelica acevedo Co-Social Media Manager Five solar-powered tables will be installed in different locations on the Queens campus this week. This is a result of the newest initiative to bring solar energy to the St. John’s community from the Office of Sustainability in collaboration with Carissa Herb, president of the Earth Club. These tables are called the EnerFusion Solar Dok and were supplied by EnerFusion Inc., a company that provides “green” solutions for charging portable devices, according to Thomas Goldsmith, director of the Environmental and Energy Conservation Office at St. John’s. On a daily basis, each table can charge up to 250 phones for one hour each, as it features eight USB ports and four electrical outlets. It can also charge the Samsung Galaxy 8 phone wirelessly. “This is one way of reducing the University’s base load energy consumption and help meet SJU’s recent commitment for deeper carbon emissions reductions to the NYC Carbon Challenge,” Goldsmith said. Tables will be located at the St. Albert Hall Auditorium, Lourdes Hall and Marillac Terrace, as well as on the Great Lawn. Herb has advocated for more solar energy on campus for two years now, using her position in the Earth Club to build awareness and gain support from students and faculty — from which

she said she has gotten “nothing but positive feedback.” Last year, however, she brought back an ongoing topic of debate at the University regarding the installation of solar panels on buildings like St. Augustine and the Taffner Field House. Due to the sustainability projects that the University was already implementing, they did not see the need for the installation of these panels any time soon, according to Goldsmith. Herb credited Goldsmith for helping them find a way to bring solar panels to campus in the form of the Solar Dok tables. “With his support and knowledge we decided that the tables were the best option for students to be able to see the sustainable initiatives taking place to reduce non-renewable energy use on campus,” Herb said. “We wanted to make sure that the solar panels had a presence and influence on the students and faculty.” Brian Baumer, associate vice president of Campus Facilities and Services, said that the University is “thrilled to be able to partner with Earth Club and bring these charging stations to Campus. These stations are environmentally friendly and will help meet the increasing need to provide the community with mobile device charging locations.”



The solar-powered tables will help reduce the University’s energy consumption.

First-year international enrollment falls by 70 Story continued from front page

“We cannot speculate as to why the drop in enrollment occurred,” he said, “other than to see the market changes and understand that the political climate potentially had an impact.” According to the university, here’s the number of first-year international students who enrolled for the past six years: • 2012: 128 • 2013: 138 • 2014: 138 • 2015: 158 • 2016: 184 • 2017: 114 However, while the drop may seem stark, St. John’s is not the only school in New York City to experience a decline in international enrollment. According to the New York University Factbook, the number of first-year international students enrolled dropped this year to 392, down from 400 in 2016. Similarly to St. John’s, this is the first time in years NYU has experienced a drop in recent years, even if it is a slight one. According to the NYU website, it has the largest number of international students in America. Fordham, Pace and Columbia have not yet publicly published their factbooks. None of those schools had previously experienced a decline in international student enrollment, according to their 2016 factbooks. The most recent factbook available for St. John’s on its website is from 2015. International students from three different countries spoke with the Torch and cited three reasons they believe are responsible for this year’s decline in enrollment: • The charged political climate in the United States. • The significant cost of attending college here • The often complicated process of obtaining a visa. Kayla Virgil-Darrell, a junior from Bermuda, believes the tenor of Donald Trump’s presiden-


Data provided by the University shows a six-year low in foreign student enrollment.

cy toward non-residents could be a reason for the sudden change in enrollment numbers. “I definitely think that Trump and his administration has had a huge influence on individuals from other countries deciding to come to the United States to study,” Virgil-Darrell said. “People don’t want to leave their family to move to a country whose president doesn’t want them there.” In January of 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order on Immigration which temporarily suspended the issuance of visas and placed a ban on entry into the U.S. by citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Students here responded by expressing their opposition with protests, marches and petitions. President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw said in a University-wide statement at the time, “As a Catholic and Vincentian University with a 147-year history, St. John’s has—and will always be—a place that welcomes immigrants and the children of immigrants...We support all members of the University community, regardless of their country of origin or their cho-

sen faith. We are committed to continuing this tradition.” Junior Daniel Haynes, who comes to St. John’s from Guyana, said, “Studying in the U.S. is expensive, especially when you don’t have any family in the U.S. Added to the fact that the political climate in the U.S. is what it is.” In some cases, if students want to gain a bachelor’s degree they have no choice but to leave their home country. “Bermuda only has one college [Bermuda College] where the highest degree you can get is an associate’s degree. This is why most students travel outside of Bermuda to pursue further education,” Virgil-Darrell said. Camilla Biscarini, a graduate student who was also once an undergraduate student at St. John’s from Italy, thinks money could be a concern, at least for Italian students. She explained that in Italy, and some other European countries as well, college tuition comes at nearly no cost. “Italy’s tuition for college is way cheaper and almost for free. I could have gone to one of the biggest universities in Rome called Sapienza

[Università di Roma] for not too much money,” Biscarini said. Biscarini explained that tuition for Sapienza is not fixed and is determined based on the financial situation of the student and student’s family. She said her sister pays less than €2,000 per year at Sapienza which converts to about $2,350. She said she chose to still come to school in the U.S., and St. John’s specifically, because of the pride that comes with an American diploma, on top of her love for New York City. “I’d love not to have loans when I get out of college but there will be the issue of loans,” Biscarini added. She then mentioned the hassle that comes with obtaining an American visa for study. “It’s a complicated process especially when it comes to a student visa,” she said. “Once you apply and are approved it means you’ll be able to keep it forever, but there are always requirements.” Haynes, the student who comes from Guyana, added that there’s a lot of steps -- and stress -- that comes with obtaining a visa before coming to school here. “It is a bit difficult to obtain a student visa,” he said. “First of all you must be able to prove you can sustain yourself in the U.S. in order to get an I-20. If you can’t there goes your hopes of studying. However, let’s say that you get past that stage and get your I-20. The next step is the interview at the U.S. embassy and if that does not go well despite having an I-20 you could be denied your visa.” Getting a visa from Bermuda however wasn’t as difficult for Virgil-Darrell as she said the U.S. has very strong ties with its island neighbor. And this trend doesn’t appear to be going away. According to a March story published by Inside Higher Ed, a digital industry publication, nearly 40 percent of the more than 250 schools nationwide surveyed reported experiencing declines in applications from international students.




Should SJU Celebrate Columbus Day?

angelica acevedo

Opinion Editor Co-Social Media Manager A series of Instagram posts by the student activist organization Social Justice Exchange (SJE) called for the University to stop celebrating Columbus Day and recognize Indigenous People’s Day instead. These seven posts garnered a total of more than 300 likes from various students and organizations on campus, including Global Goals SJU, Feminists Unite and the St. John’s Office of Global Studies. LJ Vogel, the leader of SJE, said that the conversation sparked by the posts is not just about Columbus Day, but also about a larger issue in the University’s history. “Our university has a really questionable history when it comes to Native American students,” Vogel said, referring to the school prior nickname of Redmen. That was changed to Red Storm in 1994. “Our University’s mission explicitly points out truth, love and respect,” Vogel said. “In line with these values, [it] should recognize that the truth of Columbus is that he was no one to revere. He is a symbol of pain, of loss and of oppression for Natives.” Even though many U.S. cities and universities have stopped celebrating Columbus Day, such as Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Austin, Texas, St. John’s still recognizes it as a national holiday. “Columbus Day is a federal holiday that recalls Christopher Columbus’ landing in ‘the new world,’” Brian Browne, executive director University Relations, said. “For many who celebrate this annual holiday, it is a day that commemorates this event and celebrates Italian-American heritage.”


Some students say St. John’s should not recognize Columbus Day as a holiday.

In addition to sending an internal email encouraging students to participate in the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan, the University also shared a post on its official Instagram page (@stjohnsu), wishing students a happy day off. Browne added that, “The parade in New York City that St. John’s has long been a part of is organized by the Columbus Citizens Foundation and is the largest annual celebration of Italian-American heritage in the world.” In the University’s Instagram post, some students expressed dissatisfaction with the University for celebrating this day. One comment read, “I know St. John’s [has a] strong Italian connection, but can we stop celebrating this man. The things. Evidence of his atrocities are overwhelming.” Student Kimberly Balderas, who is one of the leaders of Students of Consciousness, also commented on the University’s Instagram

post. She said Columbus’ arrival is responsible for bringing “slavery, diseases and murderers who terrorized a multitude of Indigenous tribes.” Similarly, the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) condemned the holiday. “The school is still celebrating Columbus Day even after all these years and the recent massive calling out of its celebration,” LASO said in a statement. “We don’t believe the school’s mission aligns with the celebration of genocide. That’s why as an organization that honors the heritage and diverse cultures, we celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day by posting on Instagram and sharing with our general body ways to celebrate it.” SJE has not formally reached out to the University about this issue. However, Vogel invites administrators and faculty members to their roundtable discussion on Friday, Oct. 20. “We are hoping that they show up to our

discussion on Friday and talk to students about why recognizing Indigenous people instead of Columbus would be an important and welcome change,” Vogel said. “That being said, if they do not show up, we will make sure we are heard one way or another, though I can’t say yet in what form we will reach out.” Global Goals SJU (GGS), a student organization dedicated to bringing awareness to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development that 193 worldwide leaders committed to, expressed their support of SJE’s efforts on a national scale. “Our government needs to recognize its longstanding history of human rights violations” GGS said. “We should be working to combat the long perceived heroics of a tyrannical murderer and instead recognize his invasion for what it actually is.” Not everyone feels as strongly as SJE and its supporters. Senior Kristen Rozycki, who is of Italian descent, believes that there could be a compromise. “I don’t think Italians should lose their chance to celebrate their traditions,” Rozycki said, “but I also think that Native Americans deserve recognition and celebration of their culture as well.” Frank Obermeyer, president of Student Government Inc., said that the issue of celebrating Columbus Day was brought up by a representative during their Campus Dialogue meeting on Monday and promised to investigate the issue among the greater student body. “Members of the SGI Assembly were sympathetic to how the celebration of Columbus Day may affect members of the St. John’s community,” he said. “The Assembly is willing to raise these concerns to administration once we are able to further investigate student opinion.”

Take Back the Night ‘SOARs’ Through SJU christopher viola

Staff Writer

“Take Back the Night,” an event meant to promote awareness for sexual assault prevention, was held Tuesday, Oct. 10 by the St. John’s office of Sexual Violence Outreach Awareness and Response (SOAR). As part of the event, students gathered at Donovan Hall and began a silent walk to the D’Angelo Center in the spirit of solidarity with victims of sexual violence. In addition, a set of performances were presented, beginning with a choir expressing a message of solidarity. It was followed by a silent dance routine performed by the Step Ya Game Up step team, emphasizing the emotions of the aftermath of sexual assault and the subsequent silencing of it. The feelings of tragedy from sexual assault was demonstrated through a rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Til It Happens to You.” Betsy Rose Green, a representative of Womankind, a nonprofit serving victims of domestic and sexual violence, discussed accountability at the event. “Not only believing survivors but speaking up for those that can’t and giving courage to people that need it,” she said, mentioning that she believes it is important to keep an open mind that anyone can be a victim or a perpetrator and reminding the audience of affirmative consent. Recent federal changes regarding the rights of those accused of sexual assault on college

campuses enacted by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos bothered Matthew Sulewski, a member of Take Back the Night’s planning committee. “I don’t think the accused should be so entitled. Why should they be given more rights? The accused try to put themselves in the light where they are the victim. They should be help more culpable for their actions,” he said. “I’ve been a part of Take Back the Night since freshman year and stand against rape. I want to empower bystanders and victims to take action with others and make sure that people feel safe.” Several tables were set up by student groups with information to educate students on the effects and statistics of sexual assault. Lambda Pi Chi Sorority Inc. focused on the specific struggles of the Latinx community, such as heightened statistics of sexual assault most commonly caused by social prejudices that affect the community. Student Cristina Villon said, “Latinx typically don’t report out of fear of being deported or attacked by their current partner. They do not speak about because they fear they will not be believed,” she said. “The media sexualizes Latin woman and makes people believe that Latinx women are asking for it,” Jennifer Bruh, a student, said. Itzel Hurtado set up a trivia table to quiz students on their knowledge of sexual assault to better educate them about the facts of sexual assault in general and to dispel common misconceptions regarding sexual assault.


Students walked through campus in solidarity with victims of sexual violence.

Hurtado believes the voices of sexual assault victims should never be silenced and that people have a strong responsibility to tell the truth. When asked about what her response would be to men’s rights groups who may believe they are being attacked, Hurtado said she would tell them, “I see the need for your protection but understand it is a serious topic. We understand that there are some women that will lie because they want revenge or are upset.” Delta Phi Epsilon encouraged students to

remain bold with their statements and open with their complaints. Student Alexandra Kvapil commented on the current political climate regarding accusations the Trump administration is contributing to “rape culture.” “Delta Phi Epsilon is here to raise awareness for sexual assault and show support for those affected. It’s disgusting to see how some officials are talking about sexual assault,” she said. “I don’t believe that Trump respects women and that his comments are disgusting.”

Opinion 5


Flames of the Torch

Reflecting on Successful Latino Heritage Month

Managing Board XCV Suzanne Ciechalski, Editor-in-Chief Bryant Rodriguez, Managing Editor Ariana Ortiz News Editor Isabella Bruni News Editor Derrell Bouknight Sports Editor Dylan Hornik Sports Editor Beverly Danquah Features Editor Michael Ambrosino Entertainment Editor Angelica Acevedo Opinion Editor

Steven Verdile Design Editor Lauren Finegan Photo Editor Courtney Dixon Chief Copy Editor Amanda Negretti Assistant Photo Editor Erin Bola Social Media Manager Angelica Acevedo Social Media Manager Jim Baumbach Adviser





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torcheic@gmail.com torchads@gmail.com The Torch, St. John’s University O’Connor Hall - B Level 8000 Utopia Parkway Queens, NY 11439

Staff and contributors Nick Bello Sieta Leon Brendan Myers John Cavanagh

Keisha Raymond Nick McCreven Christopher Viola Yves Nguyen

Nia Douglas Joseph de Rege Beatriz da Costa

Editorial policy

About the Torch

Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of the Torch. Columns and other content are the opinions of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of the Torch. Opinions expressed in editorials, columns, letters or cartoons are not necessarily those of the student body, faculty or administration of St. John’s University. All contents are the sole responsibility of the editors and the editorial board and do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, faculty or students of St. John’s University unless specifically stated.

The Torch is the official, independent student newspaper of St. John’s University. The Torch is written, edited, designed and produced by students of the University. The Torch is published on on most Wednesdays, with approximately 20 issues throughout the academic year. Copies are distributed for free on campus and through mail subscriptions.

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As Latino Heritage Month draws to a close, we want to commend the various groups on campus who held a wide range of events centered on it throughout the month. Many of these events aimed to celebrate the diversity of Latin American cultures and people, while others sought to further educate the University community on them. Throughout the Torch’s coverage of these events, we have seen our fellow students steadily attend and participate in them. While event participation and attendance rates can be a concern for the organizations who hold them, students have shown that they can be mobilized to uphold the work of their peers. As students, we are part of a community that is dependent on itself in many ways; we thrive off of each other’s support. This was evident throughout the events held this month, and we’d like to think that other student groups will follow suit as they aim to bring students together through the means of things like education and celebration. Seeing students come together to learn more about other cultures, politics and

social issues was extremely heartening. It drove home the point that students not only care about what goes on around them, but they also care about the people affected by what goes on. As we reflect on our coverage of the month’s festivities, we feel immense pride for our campus organizations and the way they came together to commemorate this month’s celebration of Latino heritage. Some among the Torch staff have even said that this is the first year where they have felt that the celebration of Latino Heritage Month was really visible around campus — and that’s definitely a good thing. Anytime there’s an opportunity for organizations to educate their fellow students and help foster a more understanding, informed community, they should take it. It’s obvious this month that groups did just that, and students responded enthusiastically. As the year goes on, we hope to see other student organizations strive to make their presence and their mission known throughout the University community, and we hope to see the University community respond in kind.


How Much are Your RAs Worth? YVES NGUYEN

Staff Writer

St. John’s considers its residence life to be a cornerstone of student life and well-being, especially as we continue to become a largely national university versus regional. Indeed, many students find support systems and close friends in their residence halls, which are predominantly supported and cultivated through Resident Assistants (RAs). However, RAs are consistently undervalued by the University, based on the policies set in place. Granted, many other universities of similar standing (i.e. nonprofit and private) have the same problems with undervaluing RA labor — which they use as an excuse for their treatment of RAs. According to a survey conducted by Reslife. Net and the Association of College and University Housing Officers, “40 percent of RAs

receive no cash stipend” and 30 percent do not receive a meal plan or meal stipends. While St. John’s does provide dorming and a limited meal plan, so we are better than 30 percent of schools, we need improvements. If we take a step back and look at the current reality of being a college student, being an RA can pose many difficulties, which is why I advocate for paying our RAs. Simply and plainly, RAs deserve more than housing and a limited meal plan. Whether it’s a salaried position similar to the University of Kansas or a stipend similar to Kent State, that’s what we and many other universities ought to be providing them. Ask any RA if their job ends when they are off duty, and the response is a resounding “no.” RAs are on call 24/7, and anyone who has lived in campus housing would know this as they have probably bothered an RA at ungodly hours or knows someone who has. This becomes burdensome, especially considering that RAs are expected to be active members in other organizations around cam-

pus. The Student Life page on the University website even highlights this saying, “Involvement in organizations across the University is important as a campus leader. Resident Assistants must be available to provide adequate support for their residents and therefore co-curricular activities cannot exceed 10 hours per week.” Note the caveat attached limiting hours for other activities. Residence Life similarly limits hours on work, internships and credit hours as well. Today, seven in 10 students work in order to pay for college nationwide. For the past few years, tuition has steadily risen and living expenses have become unaffordable and immense financial burdens have shifted onto the shoulders of students. Universities exploit students by employing cheap, precarious student labor to run campus facilities while exempting them from labor protections enjoyed by official employees. The RA agreement on St. John’s website says that “academic credit hours and outside employment or internships will be limited to

no more than 30 combined hours per week,” which poses real problems given today’s circumstances. With 76 RAs on campus, at least one is bound to have financial needs that necessitate outside employment for income. Beyond that, RAs miss out on a variety of internships and opportunities because of the limitations of their free hours. Although RAs still do activities and internships, their options are limited and they can miss out on certain time intensive ones. It’s a miracle how RAs manage to be student leaders with limitations like these. Given how much RAs actually do i.e. arrange community events, serve as touchstones and deal with hundreds if not thousands of residents through mediation, drills, etc. and how much they miss out on, we should at least pay them for it.

6 Opinion


The Holiday We Do Not Want “One must think about the message being sent to the Native American, Indigenous communities” Staff Writer

“Hey @stjohnsu Columbus Day is not something we should be celebrating. Official request to recognize Indigenous People’s Day instead,” the student organization Social Justice Exchange posted on Instagram. The appeal to the University to recognize Indigenous People’s Day gets right to the point. Yet it doesn’t seem to give any reasoning behind the demand besides, “Columbus Day is not something we should be celebrating,” assuming that their followers and our own University already know the reason why. It’s a reason that should be obvious to any person with an average understanding of history and some sort of moral compass. The call for the renaming of Columbus Day and the reasoning behind the plea is a well-known controversy. Supporters of the movement argue that celebrating Columbus’ arrival to the “New World” is celebrating the beginning of colonization and the forced migration of Indigenous people. It should be easy to see why celebrating this is a bad idea. Yet many see this protest as merely a manifestation of liberal “sensitivity” and “politi-

cally correct” culture. The argument has been made that Columbus Day does not celebrate the killing, raping, enslavement and colonization that Columbus’ arrival was responsible for, rather it celebrates the discovery of our home. Although it’s true that no one is parading around on Columbus Day rejoicing the acts of violence and oppression that ensued after Columbus’ “discovery,” it does not change the fact that someone responsible for and

nia douglas

It should be easy to see why celebrating this is a bad idea.

associated with all of those atrocities has a day named in his honor. In addition, one must think about the message being sent to the Native American and Indigenous communities. It’s as if they are saying, “Columbus is responsible for all the injustices that we have endured,” and the response from some Americans is a resounding, “That’s all right with us, what’s more important is that we’re

here thanks to him.” This dichotomy between a history of oppression and tradition tends to be an avid debate in American society. This should come as no surprise as American history, from the beginning, excluded people of color and women. With centuries of racism and oppression, how can celebrating American history not be synonymous with celebrating slavery, discrimination, hate crimes and the forced migration of Native Americans? This shapes the basis of one of the major arguments against the renaming of Columbus Day. If we stop celebrating Columbus Day, what about President’s Day? Approximately 12 U.S. Presidents owned slaves, including George Washington whose list of monuments and places named in his honor is extensive and includes the country’s capital. People against the renaming of Columbus Day contend that should we acknowledge Indigenous People’s Day on a federal level, it will open up a can of worms in which many American traditions and memorials will be at risk of being removed or changed. Although I can see how this may be an unsettling thought to some Americans, the bottom line is that if they are okay with keeping monuments of figures who represented and took part in the oppression of their fellow Americans, that is indeed the most unsettling thing about this country.


Staff Writer

Harvey Weinstein was terminated from The Weinstein Company on Sunday, Oct. 8 over allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. Throughout the following week, more than 30 women have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and assault. The allegations from the alleged victims show a 30-year pattern of a man using his power and status to sexually prey on young women in Hollywood. These patterns have been other men in the media, such as Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes. But why does it take so many years for these alleged sexual predators to be stopped? Sexual assault and harassment on college campuses often go unnoticed too. Many times, women feel that they may be retaliated against if they report the attacks. St. John’s University, like other college campuses across the country, attempts to educate students on improper sexual behavior. Incoming freshman watch “skits” of what to do if their friend is drunk and may possibly be taken advantage of. They also go over the steps to report to an assault. There still is this stigma of sexual harassment and assault. Young women are asked what they were

wearing or if they gave the wrong impression. Was it really sexual harassment or did you misinterpret their “compliment”? The discussions about sexual assault become more prevalent when cases like Weinstein’s come out. But why does it take such extreme instances to showcase that, as a society, we have a problem addressing “rape culture”? In 2015, model and actress Ambra Battilana Gutierrez met with Weinstein to discuss a possible role. She alleged to police that he groped her and the following day she wore a wire during another meeting with him, according to the New York Times. The Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., did not press charges after a two-week investigation. The sad truth is that it happens too often. Women across the country go through the process of rape kits just to have them sit in evidence logs. We need to continue this conversation and spotlight sexual assault. Instances like Weinstein’s made it a national conversation. But eventually people find something else to discuss. All of these instances bring attention to the issue but we tend to overlook why it keeps occurring. We are not educating young people about proper behavior nor do we hold those responsible for their actions accountable.


Sexual Predators Are Not Just in Hollywood

Harvey Weinstein, former film studio exceutive, was accused of sexual assault.

We are constantly told the issues with our generation, but we can be the generation that teaches those that come after us that sexual assault is not acceptable. That is, if someone commits any sort of sexual assault, they will be held responsible. Otherwise what are we teaching them? The cycle of assault needs to stop, and we need to take on that task of stopping it. We need to make a change, so 30 years in the future we are not reading about prolonged cases of sexual assault and harassments.

Uncalled for Study Abroad Changes Beatriz da costa

Staff Writer

Seville, Rome and Paris. since my freshman year, these were the countries that have been promoted and sold to me for study abroad. Therefore, when I finally decided to spend a semester outside of the United States, I already had an idea of what I was going to wear, where I was going to visit and which cities outside out of the program I would travel to via the ones mentioned. So imagine my shock when I received the email from Global Studies saying that the study abroad program for Spring 2018 had changed one of the locations from Seville to Limerick, Ireland. My reactions ranged from “why did this change?” to “Limerick is completely random compared to Rome and Paris.” I have spoken to other study abroad participants about the change, such as sophomore Cassidy Seagren, and we both concluded that this change was sloppy – for lack of a better term. “I was initially upset because I had dreamt of going to Spain for years,” Seagren said. “Limerick will be cool but Spain was what we had prepared for, dreamt up and signed up for.” The fact that the school had students sign up for the program expecting to go to Spain, Italy and France to suddenly change it is unprofessional. In my opinion, it would make more sense to make the Limerick substitution in Fall 2018 rather than blindside students and their families just weeks before the Spring program submission deadline. Of course, the opportunity to study abroad is a great one regardless of the situation, however, the school dropped the ball on this one. There could be students who are currently dropping the program because of this change but there also could be students who have not signed up yet and prefer Limerick over Seville and feel that they may have little time left to get all the paperwork in. Had I known that Discover the World was being changed to replace Seville with Limerick, I may not have done the progrsm at all, since I truly have little interest to go to Ireland. I would have settled for studying abroad in only Rome or Paris. An even better idea would be if students could do both without the third option. I am not sure if I am the only study abroad student who feels this way, but I would not be surprised if I’m not. As I previously wrote, however, studying abroad really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so the fact that St. John’s gives students an opportunity, in which they can live in completely different places over three months, is good enough for me. With or without Spain. All is not completely doomed, however, for students who wish to study in Spain. Although the change was disappointing, with our first semester slowly but surely coming to an end, I am more than excited to study abroad.













Monday, October 23, 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 24, 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 25, 10:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday, October 20, 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in Marillac Cafeteria herffjones.com/college/sjuny 34-4483

Get to Know SGI’s Committees Beverly Danquah Features Editor

Research & Development

Each school year, students have the opportunity to vote to elect a new SGI e-board, new class representatives, and they can even run to fill these positions. But, did you know that SGI has 13 committees that spearhead some of the most important components of student life at St. John’s? The e-board-appointed committee chairs of SGI work with their members to provide the students of the University with a number of programs and services. This week, the chair of each committee gave the Torch insight as to what each one is doing to improve the St. John’s experience, respectively.

The School Spirit Committee of SGI, more commonly known as “RedZone,” enables students to be actively engaged in St. John’s Athletics and University traditions. Our main goal is to promote the spirit and traditions that lie so deeply in our University’s roots. Since the University’s founding in 1870, St. John’s has developed a strong portfolio of traditions and a rich history in college athletics. School Spirit Committee actively promotes all sporting events to all of our fellow Johnnies. To enhance the fan experience, we often host pre-game receptions as well as give out a wide variety of giveaways. Getting involved in the School Spirit Committee allows students to live out the pride, spirit and traditions that St. John’s holds.


Cooper Miqueli

Alexander Cheung

The Research and Development Committee (R&D) of SGI works closely with the Student Services Committee to identify areas of improvement for the student experience, whether it be academic or social concerns. R&D collects and assesses any information that we can find, whether it be looking into available resources on campus, comparing ourselves to other benchmark universities, or generating surveys to gauge student opinions. During our meetings, we gather all the data that we collect in order to come up with potential solutions to address the concerns of students. We then present our findings to administrators, and work with them to determine the next steps in alleviating these areas that require improvement or innovation.

The Service Committee serves as the liaison between SGI and the University’s Vincentian mission. The committee has two chairs, one that oversees Relay for Life and its committee, and one that oversees any other service initiatives and events that occur. The Relay for Life sector has the main focus of the organization and operation of the largest University fundraising event of the year. The more general service committee has a focus of connecting students, organizations, SGI, and the greater community to our Vincentian mission. This committee supports various University events such as University Service Day and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Additionally, the committee may take on new initiatives across the University in which there is a visible need.

Academic Affairs Jennie-Lynn Martino

The Academic Affairs Committee of SGI is responsible for addressing the academic concerns and furthering the academic experience of our student body. This includes advocating on behalf of students to faculty and administrators, utilizing the feedback of the Academic Forum to create change, and hosting the Academic Lecture Series. Our focus is to enrich and improve our students’ academic career at St. John’s.

Sustainability Fiona Palmer

The Events Review Committee of SGI ensures that the purposes and goals of SGI events and SGI recognized organizations are being reached. Additionally, the Events Review Committee works to collect and provide feedback from students to better existing events and spark ideas for future events that will benefit the student body. This year, the Events Review Committee is working on increasing transparency to the student body and quantifying feedback to ensure the success of all events and efficient use of budgets.


Katherine Sheldon


Events Review Noel Ball

The Sustainability Committee allows more sustainable and environmentally conscientious choices to be available at St. John’s. We are working to make sure that all students are heard for their concerns about how St. John’s University affects our local and global environments. This is to better improve the environmental health of students and faculty. We assess students’ opinions through surveys and open meetings. Students are able to contact us at any time. Our focus is acknowledge that environmental preservation should be a priority. The importance of our committee is to not only represent the best interest of the environment, but also the best interests of students at St. John’s.

The Public Relations Committee handles all of SGI’s social media accounts and posts event flyers around campus. We are working to increase our social media presence by having giveaways and interacting more with the student body. A common misconception about public relations is that it only deals with social media, but a big part of it is helping to maintain SGI’s positive image. In the near future, we hope

jescenia hasan

School Spirit Andrew Pappadia

The Elections Committee of SGI is in charge of the freshmen representative elections in the fall and the upperclassmen representative and executive board elections in the spring. The main focus of the committee is to find enthusiastic and able students to represent their colleges and, in the case of the executive board, the university as a whole. One of the most important responsibilities of the Elections Committee is to organize the freshman elections; our hope is to get them involved early so that they will continue in SGI throughout their time here at St. John’s and become active leaders on campus.

Student services Christian Mercado

The Student Services Committee of SGI’s primary responsibility is to identify and address student grievances. This is accomplished through the completion of three roles: researcher, messenger, and advocate. Our roles as researchers come from our collection of student grievances, a role that is completed in conjunction with SGI’s Research and Development (R&D) Committee. After receiving such information, it is then our job to act as messengers and disseminate that information to the respective departments or administrators. In order to reach solutions or formal responses, we must advocate for students. We represent and argue for students and their concerns to the administration, whether it be dining services, I.T., Public Safety, Residence Life or any other authority on campus.

The Budget Committee of SGI stands to serve the needs of student organizations that require financial assistance for their respective programs. Through special financial allocations, the committee ensures organizations are not limited in regards to the requisite funds they need to make their events successful as well as beneficial for the St. John’s community. In addition, the committee is working on bringing discounts to the entire student body for businesses including restaurants and salons near campus.

Student Affairs Jessica DiBugno

Relay for Life Lillian Black


Henry Stitzel

The Student Affairs Committee of SGI helps plan major student body events on campus. One of our big events for the fall semester is the two-week long Winter Carnival. We plan everything from horse and carriage rides on campus to the fireworks finale on the Great Lawn. For the spring semester, we are working on back-to-campus events as well as mid-semester events.

The Relay for Life Committee of SGI is in charge of organizing and planning the largest fundraising event on campus. Relay for Life, which is partnered with the American Cancer Society, takes place in April. It’s an overnight event where students spend 12 hours celebrating those that have won the battle against cancer, remembering the ones we have lost, and fighting back against a disease that has claimed the lives of too many. We inform the St. John’s community on how they can further get involved, including attending the night of, and joining the planning committee!

Organizations Neelesh Rastogi

10 Features


Student Takes a Modern Twist on a Bookstore Favorite BEVERLY DANQUAH

Features Editor

The start of a new school year is a great opportunity to play up your style with new looks and splashes of color. Trends today include moving away from traditional styles and opting for lighter, fresher hues like pastels, adding an edge to almost any look. One St. John’s student took something as basic as your everyday red crewneck tee, bearing the St. John’s logo, and decided to take a modern twist on the design. Junior student, Melissa Rocco’s t-shirt customizations started to garner popularity when friends and strangers alike would compliment her tops in class and around campus. She then took to Instagram and Facebook to showcase her designs and received even more feedback. Something that started out as a leisure activity has now turned into a part-time business for Rocco, who already juggles two part-time jobs. She now receives more shirt orders than she ever imagined she would only after about two weeks in business. “I would go to class and my friends would put me on Snapchat and they’d say ‘tell Snap you made the shirt’ and people wouldn’t believe me,” Rocco said. “And I

would say, I literally sat at home on my bed and like, I made it myself.” With the help of some bleach and scissors, the Flushing native customizes each t-shirt to create designs including: a basic tie-dye wash, a tie dye wash with a plunged V-neck featuring a laced-up design, and a tie-dye wash with plunged V-neck. The Communication Arts major says that she had about two dozen orders for tip-off alone. “I wanted to take something that’s already popular, like St. John’s t-shirts, everyone has one,” she said. “But I wanted to make it more modern and more trendy.” In the spring of 2017, Rocco did the Discover the World: Europe Program. During her time in Rome, she took a weekend trip to Milan, where she discovered her interest in taking fashion risks. “After walking around and seeing how people were dressed in one of the fashion capitals of the world, it just made me like I appreciate the risks that people take in Europe,” Rocco said. “In America, everyone’s so worried about standing out and everyone just wants to be part of what’s popular.” Rocco’s business isn’t limited to St. John’s campus. Despite its early age, she says she’s been hearing from a number of sports teams and groups.



Melissa Rocco (left) pairs her a customized tie-dyed top with reflective aviator-framed shades and black jeans, while Samuel Thompson (right) wears his with dark aviator-framed shades and ripped denim jeans.

“I’ve heard from little league teams, dance teams,” she said. “I’m also offering to customize people’s t-shirts that they provide from elsewhere.” Excited at the direction that her business is heading in, Rocco says she is now looking to debut new designs closer to the holiday season. “If you have a little sister or friend that you want to get a present for, I think my t-shirt would be the perfect gift,” she said. “I would also love to make shirts for frat and sorority recruitment.”

Know anyone with a cool story? Let us know! torchfeatures@ gmail.com

Calling all talented designers

We need SOCKS! Not just any socks, we need cool socks that scream St. John’s!

The St. John’s Office of Annual Campaigns will be accepting designs until Tuesday, 10/31. These socks will be given to donors who have consistently supported your education. Help us thank them. The grand prize (St. John’s apparel) along with a pair of your socks will go to the best designer. We look forward to seeing your designs. Be creative!

D e s i g n s p e cs a n d r e q u i r e m e n ts 2 separate designs – for men and women’s socks, respectively. All submissions must be in jpeg format and must include your name, email address and cell number, so we can reach the designer of the victorious sock.

Please upload all designs here: stjohns.edu/socks

Features 11


Introducing the Mujeristas Collective

Group gives Latinx, Afro-Latinx communities a voice through art, community events ANGELICA ACEVEDO

Opinion Editor Co-Social Media Manager For those who are not familiar with Spanish — and even for those who are — the word “mujerista” may be new. A group of St. John’s students called the Mujeristas Collective aim to bring the term and the ideology behind it to light. Six Latina and Afro-Latina students — founder Stephanie Aliaga, Yovanna Roa-Reyes, Sieta Leon, Denisse Jimenez, Reza Moreno and Torch editor, Ariana Ortiz — began the Mujeristas Collective earlier in the year. They are all undergraduate students at the University. According to the Mujeristas website, their name was created by Ada Maria Isasi-Díaz, a Cuban activist and theologian who was inspired by womanism to construct her own experiences and perspectives that allow Hispanic women to relate and feel recognized. “For me, womanism gives room and a voice for women of color to be heard and represented,” Aliaga explained. “I never PHOTO COURTESY/MUJERISTAS COLLECTIVE really saw myself in the feminist movement and the feminist readings by white women.” The founding sisters of Mujeristas Collective from upper left to right: Reza Moreno, Yovanna Roa-Reyes, Denisse Aliaga credits her theology professor, Erin Kidd, for introducing Jimenez, Stephanie Aliaga, Sieta Leon, Ariana Ortiz PHOTO COURTESY/MUJERISTAS COLLECTIVE her to Isasi-Díaz’s book. “We read ‘Mujerista Theology,’ and I was just amazed that nas, we’ll talk about it occasionally but it’s a very casual thing,” her work isn’t well-known,” Aliaga said. “Our work is based off Aliaga said. hers, her mission too was to provide a platform for all kinds of “I want to hear people’s experiences, that I’m not the only one Latinas, not speaking for them, but allowing them to speak for going through that, how they feel about certain situations and themselves.” their identity — maybe theirs is more complex than mine.” Professor Kidd explained that she assigns “Mujerista Theology” “These are important conversations to have,” she added. readings in her Women and Theology class because in her writThe Mujeristas Collective, like many others, give those who ing, she connects religion and social justice, as she writes that “to they see as underrepresented a platform where they can have their struggle for justice is to pray.” work published and appreciated. “Isasi-Díaz engaged in this struggle her whole life — through They create “zines,” — which are self-published works of art her activism in the women’s ordination movement [a movement — that span from artistic booklets which include original poems, within the Catholic community that advocates women to become drawings and pictures, to pins and stickers with common phrases priests, deacons and bishops], her fight to make that movement and symbols. more inclusive of women of color, her development of a theoloZines are used to collaborate with artists within the group as gy distinctively for Latinas in the U.S. and in her ministry and well as outside of it, in order to showcase and support those who preaching in East Harlem,” Kidd said. “I wanted to invite my otherwise don’t receive any. For Mujeristas, the artists they like to students to think about the focus on are those of color. sources of theology as not “There are really no rules when it comes to only including texts, but zines, you can do everything,” Aliaga said. also the lives of the poor They also participate in Zine Festivals, where I feel like there aren’t many events and those in solidarity with collectives throughout New York City gather with Latinos and Latinas coming them.” together and having a discussion, compared to sell theirs and put on a show for guests. “I found out about a whole zine communiKidd finds Aliaga’s inspito what’s going on in LA where they’re ration from Isasi-Díaz “wonty in Brooklyn like two years ago,” Aliaga said. just booming with events and a huge derful,” and commended “It was The Bettys Zine festival and I vended Mujeristas Collective’s first zine, a compilation of arts community — why isn’t that happening her for taking action. mine there — and I was just amazed at how and writings, “Nosotras” here? “In founding this collecbig the community was which was mainly tive, Stephanie is responding women of color.” ing on in LA where they’re just booming with events and a huge - Stephanie Aliaga directly to Isasi-Díaz’s call The Bettys is another New York City-based community — why isn’t that happening here?” Aliaga said. “We to struggle for justice, and I collective that Aliaga credits for offering her can do it here too.” think it is fitting that she is advice on how to run business and grow their Yovanna Roa-Reyes, a member of the collective, echoed Aliahonoring Isasi-Díaz in the platform. ga’s previous points when asked why the collective is meaningful. name of the group,” she said. The Mujeristas’ first festival, which they called “Nosotras” “Being able to talk about your experiences as a Latino-AmeriThe Mujeristas Collective is just one of many collectives in the (meaning “us”), took place on Sept. 15 in an intimate space in can, because it can be conflicting and difficult to share these feelNew York City area. Collectives can be described as groups of Bushwick with about five collectives joining them to vend. ings with our peers and family members,” she said. people coming together for a common purpose. They range from Not only did they host and sell their own original zines, but Although they are a new group, Aliaga said she is overwhelmed common art forms (poetry, photography, painting) to what can they also conducted poetry readings, comic readings and other with how much it’s flourished. be described as activist art forms. performances. “I’m curious to see how much it can grow; these past few Mujeristas falls under the former, as they strive to create politMost of the performers spoke about what it meant to be Latina months have been pretty amazing,” Aliaga said. “I didn’t think ically and socially aware art, organize workshops and discussions or Latino, and Afro-Latina or Afro-Latino in America, their cul- we could have our own zine fest … Now we’re working on the about topics that affect their everyday lives as well as take on activ- tures, family dynamics and breakups. next issue and our follower base is growing with people reaching ist roles in their communities. Mujeristas is a non-profit organization, therefore, whenever they out to us and knowing who we are.” Some of the topics Mujeristas pays special attention to are: fem- turn a profit, it goes back into making more zines and organizing The Mujeristas Collective will be joining forces with the Latiinism, being of dual heritage, sexual identity and “white passing- festivals. Aliaga wants to see these happen more often in NYC. no American Student Organization (LASO) on Oct. 19 during a ness,” among many others. “I feel like there aren’t many events with Latinos and Latinas Mercado (or Street Fair) event in DAC 128. The fair will include “There’s just a lot of conversations I can’t really have with my coming together and having a discussion, compared to what’s go- “other local Latinx artists and craftsmen to share and vend some family because of my identity; and with my friends who are Latiof their work.”

12 Entertainment


“The Addams Family” spooks up SJU The Chappell Players’ latest production is tons of fun Staff Writer

away from home, learning to stand on their own two feet. The cast kept the show moving seamlessly with intermittent skits performed by the undead Addams ancestors that upholstered the whimsical stylings of the show’s comic relief, Fester Addams, played by actor Jacob LaChappelle. Matt Agoursalidis did an exceptional job playing the whimsical and demented Gomez Addams. Although he seemed to lose the Latin accent Gomez normally wears distinctly, Agoursalidis gave a powerful and emotional performance most noticeably in “Happy/Sad,” a song that exemplifies the duality of the emotions associated with a parent losing a child to the world beyond their control but for reasons that will make their child happy. Having seen the original Broadway cast perform the musical, it was a bit disheartening to watch the performance and have it miss some songs that deepened connections between characters. It may very well be out-

photo courtesy/joseph de rege

Thursday, Oct. 5, was opening night for the Chappell Players Theater Group’s production of “The Addams Family” in the Little Theater. The lighting and sound effects filled the theater sending the audience to Central Park, the location of the Addams Family home. The show was packed with passionate performances, talented vocalists and light-hearted comedians that brought the characters to life on the stage. Aria Laucella was astounding as Morticia Addams, capturing her grace, tenacity and sullen disposition, especially in her performance of “Just Around the Corner” where she sang about the sweet release of death that would save her from dealing with her worldly troubles. She carried herself with elegance while Amanda Scialabba as Wednesday Addams bore a gri-

mace that was a cross between discomfort and pure malice; It was perfect. Scialabba reintroduces us to Wednesday Addams as a young adult with an array of feelings. No emotion was ever able to permeate Wednesday’s steely façade in any of the portrayals of Wednesday Addams in movie and television adaptations we grew up with. In this section of the Addams’ timeline, Wednesday faces a massive identity crisis and a jarring obstacle to remaining her typical maleficent self: Lucas, a boy from Ohio. The show challenges orthodox definitions of what a perfect relationship is, whether it be between partners, between parent and child, or between siblings. It centers around how a formidable time in a child’s life changes a family’s dynamic. The show was perfect for family weekend as it focused on Wednesday becoming her own person and wanting to get married. Many parents are only now dealing with what it means to have a child that lives

side of the control of any of the Chappell players, but it was certainly something that was in mind. The quality of the work left the audience wanting more. Freshman Norma Valenzuela said, “The show made me realize how love can exist with darkness. The Addams Family reminds us that no family is perfect and is really honest about that.” The Addams Family has always been known for being deeply loving through their fancy for the demure and demented. Valenzuela added, “I think it would have been nice if the actress that played Alice had another song because she was really talented and I really liked the one song that she had.” The Chappell Players received a standing ovation after their opening night performance. The Addams Family continues to teach us the importance of family, the beauty of darkness, that there’s nothing wrong with crazy and that normal is an illusion. photo courtesy/joseph de rege

christopher viola

Bad Astronauts kick off the new year with a bang yves nguyen

Staff Writer

A slight departure from their usual performances in the DAC Coffeehouse, the Bad Astronauts performed in a small, dimly lit room in Marillac, but their improv show impressed, leading to roaring laughter, as per usual. On Thursday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. the Bad Astronauts, St. John’s Improv Club, hosted their first improv show of the year in Marillac 427 or what member Adam Rudy called “a utility closet.” People lined up outside the door and patiently waited as the Bad Astronauts finished rehearsing and getting pumped before the start. The room quickly filled with laughter as the show began. “They’re funny, and I like funny things, and I need that right now because midterms,” Trey Wallace, junior Psychology major, said about why the room was packed on a rainy Thursday night. The Bad Astronauts played five improv games including; “Freeze,” “Half-life,” “Sentences,” “Four Square” and “Backspace,”

which emphasized audience interaction. In “Freeze,” two actors start an improvised scene in random positions, and at any point in time another player can yell freeze. This player then tags out one of the actors, and takes their place. Both players then start a new scene, justifying their positions. The Bad Astronauts asked for audience suggestions for body positions, and they chose “starfish” and “swinging a golf club” as the starting positions. Ridiculousness ensued leading to quotes such as, “I don’t need twenty honey glazed hams, but you do” and “Just give me a eucharist real quick” from members. The Bad Astronauts flexed their ability to include the audience in “Half-life” by basing the entire scene off of the tweet “Let’s get

this exam over with” from audience member, Crystal Simmons. In “Half-life” the actors create a scene in two minutes and then perform that same scene over and over again in one minute, thirty seconds, fifteen seconds and lastly five seconds. This game kind of blows up towards the end, but makes for a hilarious experience. San Diego, Sunset Cliffs and Earth Day were the basis for the game “Sentences” where two actors randomly include pieces of dialogue written by audience members on little strips of paper. This was particularly messy given its unpredictable nature, but nonetheless funny. The fourth game, “Four Square,” was an audience favorite. Wilbert Turner III, junior Journalism


major, specifically pointed out this game. “I really enjoy their Four Square act, which is where they have four different scenes going on simultaneously. It’s pretty dynamic,” he said. The fifth and last game, “Backspace,” ended the show with a bang, and was also an audience favorite. In “Backspace,” the actors start with a scene and the other players can tag them out at any time with the caveat that each new scene must take place further in the past than the previous scene. At this show, the Bad Astronauts ended in the Paleolithic and Biblical eras. “My favorite scene… I probably have to say the last one because I really appreciated the biblical humor,” Jeremiah Smith, junior Toxicology major, said. Smith also noted that he “always enjoys coming out to the improv show.” Crystal Simmons, junior Enterprise Regulation major, positively promoted Bad Astronauts’ shows saying that “It’s just a really interesting way to spend your weeknights, especially during this stressful midterm season.” So if you concur this is only the first show of the year, and there will be many more to come.

Sports 13


Tip-Off Brings Start of Red Storm Basketball Season BRendan Myers

Redshirt sophomore guard Marcus LoVett, wearing Head Coach Chris MulStaff Writer lin’s famed No. 20 jersey, stole the show Heading into the season with plenty of with a flashy introduction. LoVett entered hype surrounding St. John’s basketball, from the crowd dressed as a king, complete fans got their first glimpse of what to ex- with a robe, crown and a scepter. LoVett, pect from the men’s and women’s hoops along with sophomore and Brooklyn nateams Friday night at Carnesecca Arena, tive Shamorie Ponds, emerged as one of the during the University’s 10th annual Tip- nation’s best young backcourts last season, finishing the campaign as the second-highOff Event. The evening opened with the program’s est scoring freshman duo in the country. Following the introductions and perfirst Alumni Game, with former Johnnies formances by the St. John’s Dance Team such as Anthony Mason Jr., and Boo Harand Cheer Squad, the men’s team played a vey playing to warm receptions from the lighthearted intrasquad scrimmage, which crowd. Then, fans were introduced to all of revealed a lot about some of the newcomers the players from this year’s men’s and womand how the team will operate this season. en’s teams that will be representing the Red The first thing is that Justin Simon is Storm on the hardwood this winter. freakishly athletic. Although there was lit“This is the best event of the year,” setle defensive competition, Simon glided up nior forward Amar Alibegovic said after the and down the court, showing off his bounce event. Women’s guard Tamesha Alexander echoed that sentiment, saying that fan sup- and throwing down some very impressive alley-oops and put-back dunks. port means a lot to the women’s team. Freshman Bryan Trimble and returning starter Bashir Ahmed both looked very smooth from behind the arc. Ahmed was very streaky last year, shooting around 35 percent from deep, but he appears to have removed the hitch from his jumper and produced consistently positive results. Trimble, a player who has gone under the radar this preseason also looks to TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO be very comfortable and could be a key secondary option for St. John’s. Freshman Qadashah Hoppie is introduced at In addition to all of this, a star was Tip-Off on Friday at Carnesecca Arena.

born Friday night: “Hoodie Ponds.” After playing pickup basketball in Manhattan during the summer with NBA star and former New York Knicks forward, Carmelo Anthony, Ponds took notes on his fellow Brooklyn native, wearing a hooded undershirt akin to what the 10-time All-Star wore in many of his offseason workouts. Twitter exploded when Anthony wore a hoodie during workouts and looked unstoppable, spawning an alter ego, “Hoodie Melo.” When Ponds donned the hoodie during the scrimmage, he pulled up from the St. John’s logo at Carnesecca Arena, well beyond the 3-point line on the court, and drained it without hesitation. Harlem native Dave East ended the night with a mixture of songs off his new album, “Paranoia: A True Story,” and some from his older albums like “Kairi Chanel.” After Desiigner’s raucous performance at Tip-Off last year, when he told students to rush the court against Public Safety’s will, East’s performance proved to be relatively calm. However, in the middle of his 25-minute performance, East urged students and fans to join him in a moment of protest against President Donald Trump. He asked students to hold an obscene gesture in the air, a request to which many obliged. The two Red Storm basketball teams open up their seasons on Nov. 10 at home. The women play at 4:30 P.M. against St. Francis of Brooklyn, while the men tip off at 7:00 P.M, against New Orleans.

Men’s Soccer Impresses When It Counts Derrell Bouknight

Co-Sports Editor

Nearly one month ago, in their eighth game of the regular season, the St. John’s men’s soccer team walked onto the field at Belson Stadium under a night sky and bright lights shining from the heavens. The team was 4-2-1. A three game winning streak was on the line with Big East rival and No. 19 Xavier coming to Queens in search of their sixth win in eight tries. In the way of the Musketeers was Andrew Withers, the Red Storm goalkeeper who had just earned Big East Goalkeeper of the Week honors after registering consecutive shutouts against Hofstra and Temple. After having scored 15 goals in their first eight games of the season, Xavier managed to net zero against the Johnnies. Freshman Jack Shearer scored two goals on the night, while Filippo Ricupati added another. St. John’s beat Xavier 3-0, an upset win for Dr. Dave Masur’s team that not many predicted. “We have a great leadership group that’s really been pushing the team forward,” Coach Masur said postgame. The game marked the fourth straight win for St. John’s and an unbeaten streak of five, both of which were the team’s longest streaks since the 2013 season. As of October 15, the Red Storm went into their road contest against DePaul with a 5-6-2 overall mark, a 2-2-1 conference record placing them fourth out of 10 teams in the Big East.

In their second ranked matchup of the sea- of the season after a one-goal, two-assist son, two games after the win against Xavier, performance against Drexel. Cooksley, also the team traveled to Indiana to take on No. a 2017 unanimous Preseason All-Big East 22/16 Butler. A hard-fought match ended selection, earned another Honor Roll selecwith the Bulldogs winning 1-0 in double tion last week after scoring both of the Red overtime, the game-winning goal coming Storm’s goals in a weather-shortened 2-2 in the 105th minute on a penalty kick from draw against Creighton. Lewis Suddick. St. John’s has four contests remaining in The loss was the Red Storm’s first in Big the regular season, all of which will be Big East play. Their record, however, doesn’t East battles split between Queens and the equate to what the team has done on the road. The team will take on DePaul in Chifield. cago this Sunday, followed by back-to-back Withers has allowed just 11 goals through home contests with Villanova and George13 matches, an aspect of the game he at- town before ending the season at Providence tributed to the defense during a streak in on the first day of November. September, in which he did not allow a goal After their 1-0 double overtime loss to in over 200 minutes. Marquette, Coach Masur said that he was According to NCAA.com, Withers leads proud of his team, and that the effort must the Big East in save percentage (.833) and continue into the last part of the season. shutouts with five. The redshirt junior from “Sometimes soccer can be a bit of a cruel and New Zealand earned his second Big East tough game,” he said. Weekly Honor Roll award in three weeks earlier this month. Xavier was never shut out until their match with the Johnnies. Dave Enstrom, a senior midfielder, was honored for his effort in limiting the Musketeers to just three shots. According to redstormsports.com, Enstrom was recognized by TopDrawerSoccer on its National Team of the Week, alongside Shearer, who became the first freshman to win Big East Offensive Player of the TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO week this season. Senior Harry Cooksley was named to Andrew Withers has played well all season the conference’s first Weekly Honor Roll long for the Red Storm.

The Doubleheader Dylan HORNIK

Co-Sports Editor

Last Friday, the St. John’s community officially kicked off its most well-represented and best-known sport season with the Red Storm Tip-Off, a three-hour event meant to serve as a pep rally for the University’s two basketball teams. It was, undoubtedly, an evening full of fun. The goofy introductions, the lighthearted scrimmage, the burritos fired into the crowd in place of t-shirts and even rapper Dave East’s 25-minute performance all hit their goal, to some extent, of getting Red Storm students and alumni excited about the prospects of a clean slate on the hardwood. After all, who wouldn’t want an escape from the headaches of the real world? Beyond the obvious, though, the Tip-Off event served an even greater purpose for St. John’s fans who have just about had their fill of uncertainty and underperformance. The night, as a whole, was a fair representation of how the next five-plus months will transpire in the friendly confines of Carnesecca Arena and beyond. There were certainly thrills on Friday. We heard words of encouragement from Head Coach Chris Mullin, who finally seems ready to turn the corner as the leader of the program. We saw Marcus LoVett emerge from the shadows, replete with a crown and king’s robe draped over the iconic No. 20 jersey, signaling that he’s ready to take the reigns on the court. Of course, we saw some spills, as well, which we will definitely see again this season as Mullin continues to draw the most out of an imperfect roster. The team gave up on defense rather quickly, which is expected in an exhibition, but wide-open shots clanged off the rim and the team’s desire for flashiness pushed past the boundaries of their skill. They need to play within themselves if they want to succeed. What would Tip-Off be without some unexpected actions? In the middle of his performance, East implored students to make an obscene gesture, which he claimed was directed at President Donald Trump. Just like the Red Storm will have to do this winter, the crowd adjusted to the situation and the night moved forward, unlike last year’s debacle, when students happily fulfilled Desiigner’s request to bum-rush the performance area and ignore Public Safety officials. And above the brash boasts of rim-rocking dunks and crowd-pleasing tunes, we felt the quiet confidence that women’s Head Coach Joe Tartamella exudes on a nightly basis during the season, showing a determination to lead his squad to yet another 20-win season and its sixth consecutive playoff performance. His team, as they always do, followed his example, gladly taking part in the merriment of the introductions, then sitting silently on the sideline with workmanlike focus as the men attempted to show that they can hang with the big boys in the Big East. Expect to see more of that from Tartamella’s team this season.

14 Sports


Double Duty: Leo in Total Control John Cavanagh

Staff Writer

When St. John’s tennis Coach Lauren Leo arrives on campus, there is little time to rest. Upon checking in, her day begins with checking on the women’s strength and conditioning schedule, some paperwork in the office and stringing rackets … all before going to practice. “[I’m] just managing everything so everything runs as smooth as possible,” Leo said. “So all the kids have to worry about is coming in and playing tennis.” This year, she’ll oversee many more athletes. Coming into the season, Leo was named the interim men’s tennis coach after longtime leader, Eric Rebhuhn, left the University last spring, all while she continues to be the active coach for the women’s squad. As if managing one successful Division I team wasn’t enough, Leo’s days just got a little longer. “Long hours,” she said. “But they are rewarding hours.” With so much to do in seemingly so little time, coaching two teams presents a brand new challenge for Leo. She believes that she is the right person for the job, already boasting a strong, if short, resume that includes a 14-5 record in her first season as a coach at St. John’s back in 2015. She credits the University with providing her the help to make sure both teams get the attention they deserve. “It is a juggling act, but it’s doable,” she said. “I have to prioritize and manage my

Keisha Raymond

Staff Writer

Men's Golf Competes in Two-Day Event

The Red Storm's men’s golf team finished in an 11th-place tie in the Connecticut Cup. The two-day event took place October 9 and 10. Junior Andrew Baek shot a combined score of 74 in the first and second round. He finished with a score of 75 in the final round, which featured consecutive birdies on par four and five. Sophomore Gerald Mackedon posted a 71 (team-low) on day two and finished with an overall score of 224. The sophomore was one of three out of 90 golfers to make an eagle in the final round, which he did on the par-five 13th hole. Junior Matthew Sweeney tallied a 76 followed by an 81.


Eric Di Maulo reached 2,000 career kills.

time well.” The men’s tennis team started the season with a perfect weekend at the Army West Point Shootout, a great way to start Coach Leo’s tenure with the team. However, Leo attributed the success to the group of guys that are already there, and the assistants who oversee most of the on-court responsibilities. “The group of guys that we have are hungry to get better and compete,” she said. “They have the right attitude, which is important.” The women’s team has already had success as well, picking up right where they left off after a stellar 18-4 season last spring. Star sophomore Jessica Livianu reached the quarterfinals of the Oracle/ITA Masters last month, and the team picked up the Doubles B Flight title at the Cissie Leary Memorial Invitational on Sept. 24 in Philadelphia. Leo is a St. John’s alum, playing for the women’s tennis team from 2003–07. She posted an impressive 48-29 record in both singles and doubles play during her playing career before beginning her collegiate coching career at Hunter College. Leo knows what it’s like to have success on the tennis court, and tries to get the same from her players. She said it all starts with working hard in practice. “I like to keep it simple,” she said. “Success doesn’t just happen, you have to work towards it. You have to put in the work in order to be successful.” The men’s tennis team picked up 14 singles wins over the three-day Farnsworth Invitational from Oct. 6–8, while the women’s

The duo of sophomore James Smoot and Ross Moore had an overall combined final day score of 154 and 155. Jonathan Spicci had an overall score of 158 in individual competition. The Red Storm concluded play with a team score of 900 (+36). The host team, the University of Connecticut, finished first out of 15 teams. St. John’s will close out fall play in the Lehigh Invitational beginning October 20th. Women's Golf Shines in Invitational

Day one of the Brown Bear Invitational saw great results for St. John's women’s golfer Alejandra Sanchez. The junior finished one-under 70, good enough for a first-place tie. Sanchez had four birdies on the second, while sophomore Kaitleen Shee was oneover 72 entering day two. Junior Lydia Kim managed a 77 (+6) on day one, and sophomore Sofie Huseby was one eight-over 79. The second and final day of the Brown Bear Invitational ended with the Red Storm finishing in second place overall. For the Johnnies, Kim had a score of 78, with both Sanchez and Huesby posting 83. “I was very pleased with our play this weekend,” Head Coach Ambry Bishop said. “Even though we had a break in our schedule, we worked really hard and continued creating competitive environments during practice over the last few weeks to help make us even stronger at the Brown event.”


Lauren Leo is leading both tennis teams this fall after her success last spring.

tennis team doesn’t travel to Philadelphia for the ITA Regional Championships until Oct. 18. As the season goes on, Leo looks forward to how the two teams progress, but most importantly, how they fare in Big East play. “The men had success over the years in the Big East conference, and the women were gaining success each year,” she said. “So I’m kind of curious to see if we’re putting in the work now, and we continue to put in the work, where we’re going to end up at the end of the year.”

Volleyball Splits Big East Matchups

The St. John's women’s volleyball team (11-12, 3-5 Big East) was victorious over Georgetown (7-12, 1-6 Big East) on Wednesday at Carnesecca area. The Johnnies swept the Hoyas, 3-0 (2516, 25-15, 25-15) and sophomore Erica Di Maulo achieved a huge milestone by reaching the 2,000 career assists mark. Danisha Moss had eight blocks, Kayley Wood had a match-high attacking percentage of .444, Julia Cast collected eight kills, and Amanda Sanabia had a game-high 16 digs, seven aces, and four assists for St. John's. The duo of Hanna Wagner and Jordan McCalla combined for 12 kills and four blocks. The Johnnies saw their two-game winning streak come to an end as they fell to Seton Hall in straight sets, 28-26, 25-18, 25-18. Senior Julia Cast became the 10th St. John's player in program history to collect 1,000 career kills. Teammate Erica Di Maulo had a team-high 14 kills, 39 assists, and 11 digs, her 10th double-double of the season. Hanna Wagner had nine kills and a hitting percentage .571 to go along with two blocks. Danisha Moss tallied six kills and two blocks. St. John's next match is against Creighton on October 20, followed by Providence two days later. They have nine matches left until the Big East Tournament, which begins Nov. 24 in Milwaukee.

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Looking Ahead •

October 20: Volleyball at No. 16 Creighton

October 22: Volleyball at Providence

October 21: Men’s Soccer at DePaul

October 25: Men’s Soccer vs. Villanova, 7 p.m., Belson Stadium

October 19: Women’s Soccer at Villanova

October 22: Women’s Soccer vs. Xavier, 1 p.m., Belson Stadium

• •

October 20–21: Men’s Golf at Lehigh Invitational

October 23–24: Women’s Golf hosts St. John’s Women’s Intercollegiate, Hastings-On-Hudson, N.Y.

October 18–23: Men’s Tennis at ITA Northeast Regional

October 18–23: Women’s Tennis at ITARegional Championships

Sports 15


Soccer Teams Split Doubleheader Nick McCreven

Staff Writer

Both the men’s and women’s St. John’s soccer teams played a home doubleheader at Belson Stadium Saturday night. The men hosted Marquette at 5:30 pm and the women faced off against Seton Hall at 8:00 pm. The men played a highly physical match with Marquette, with both teams collecting three total yellow cards and only three and five shots on goal, respectively. Both teams put up a gritty fight for the first 90 minutes that resulted in a tie at the end of the first two periods. St. John’s just barely missed a chip shot that almost grazed the back of the net. Marquette goalkeeper Luis Barraza managed to grab the ball just before it went over the line. In the 77th minute, Marquette almost nabbed a header goal that just bumped into the crossbar. The overtime period passed and the score remained even, requiring a double overtime period. In the 103rd minute, St. John’s missed a goal off of a corner kick, with Barraza making a crucial save. The match came down to the final minute when, with 26 seconds remaining, Marquette’s Matt Alba knocked in his first goal of the year, a game-winner that cost the Red Storm in a heartbreaker. After the game, Head Coach Dave Masur applauded his team’s effort. “I thought we played really well after the first 10 minutes,

which I thought were a little shaky, but really the next 100 minutes of the game I thought we were fairly solid throughout,” he said. “Marquette has played really well in the Big East. They’ve played everybody tight and they’re a good side. “It was a little unfortunate we didn’t get a goal tonight and we lost with 26 seconds to go, but it was a really good effort and we have to keep pushing forward. Sometimes soccer can be a bit of a cruel and tough game.” Following the men’s game, the women took the field against fellow Big East rival Seton Hall, a team that has yet to capture its first victory of the season. At halftime of that game, the team honored former St. John’s standout Diana Poulin as 2016 Big East Goalkeeper of the Year. The Red Storm grabbed a 1-0 win on the Pirates, as Christina Bellero knocked in her sixth goal of the season during the 68th minute of play. Despite the one-goal difference in score, the Johnnies dominated throughout. St. John’s attempted 18 shots to Seton Hall’s five. Goalkeeper Jordan Kamp only had to make one save throughout the whole contest, paying homage to the legendary Poulin with a clean sheet. Just before Bellero made the match’s lone goal, Zsani Kajan and Lucy Whipp fired shots in the previous consecutive minutes that the defense had stopped. “She’s always been great in front of goal


Christina Bellero zeroes in on her go-ahead goal in the 68th minute against Seton Hall.

and she has the instinct to be in the right place at the right time and the composure to be able to finish, which is rare,” Coach Ian Stone said of Bellero following the match. “She’s very, very consistent at scoring goals and she’s having a great season in that regard.” The team’s effort against the Pirates landed three Red Storm players on the Big East Weekly Honor roll. Bellero, Kamp and senior defender Jesse Schaefer were all recognized by the conference for their excellent play over the last


week. The men will head to Chicago to face off against DePaul on Oct. 21 while the women will travel to Philadelphia to take on Villanova on Oct. 19. The women will host their annual Senior Day, honoring the graduating Red Storm players, this Sunday, Oct. 22 at Belson Stadium, the squad’s final home game of the year. The Big East Tournament begins on Nov. 4 for the men, while the women’s competition kicks off on Oct. 29.

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Pub/Issue Date: St John’s U Torch 10/18/2017

SPORTS October 18, 2017 | VOLUME 95, ISSUE 7 |

CAMPUS Chaos at Tip Off Once Again R E A D THE REACTIO N S


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