VOL 97 : 08 nov. 06, 2019 torchonline.com
The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. Johnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s University
SJU alum travels to every country
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Men's Soccer beats Depaul Page 14
Annual President’s Dinner Raises $3.4 Million Sophie Williams St. John’s held the 22nd annual President’s dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the New York Hilton Midtown on Nov. 1. There were over 800 people in attendance. The dinner is one of the top fundraising events for the University. This year they raised a record breaking $3.4 million for student scholarships — $210,800 donated at the dinner. The dinner also honored organizations, men and women on their great work in displaying the Vincentian mission of St. John’s with the Spirit of Service Award. The Spirit of Service Award is given every year at the dinner. The honorees of the night included: Susan Hendrick ’87, Chief Executive Officer of insurance company AXA XL, Gregory S. Hendrick ’87 Founding Partner and Chief Executive Officer Windham Capital Management LLC, Mark P. Kritzman ’73 (Founding Partner and), Managing Director Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P., Joan Lacagnina ’88 Virginia Nash Vetter ’90 (posthumously) and Richard C. Vetter, Sr. (posthumously). Throughout the night lots of exciting news were shared among the attendees. One of the most notable was recognizing the large donation to the renamed The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies (CCPS). The Collins donated $10 million dollars to CCPS which will go toward student scholarships and contribute to the creation of a Distinguished chair position, held by Dean Katia Passerini. CNBC Reporter Rahel Solomon ’10, who was the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, also announced that it was the 20th anniversary of the opening of the first residence halls at St. John’s. Having residence halls was noted as transforming the campus due to the ability of now having a global presence, which is now a St. John’s staple. All who spoke and were in attendance could feel the gratitude radiating in the room. Many of the honorees remarked on how outstanding St. John’s has been not only in their
PHOTO COURTESY/SJU MEDIA RELATIONS
St. John’s 22nd annual president’s dinner, held in the Grand Ballroom of the New York Hilton Midtown, raises $3.4 million
life, but their family’s life as well. Current Johnnies were also present at the dinner being personally invited by Dr. Gempesaw. Many students were overwhelmed with gratitude knowing that without the alumni’s generosity many of their scholarships would not be present. Pharmacy student Kenneth Austria said, “I am not sure how successful I could be working for six years and knowing how much debt I might be in when I’m finished.” Austria was thankful for his scholarship knowing he could complete the Pharmacy program without the looming
debt upon graduation. Overall, students in attendance were inspired by the community present at the dinner and hoped one day they could give back just the same. The grand night was full of excitement, but most of all awareness on the issue of student debt. The alum donate for the good of the community knowing students have the chance to graduate. Without their generosity, many Johnnies would not have the opportunity to be in the position they are now. Honoree Lacagnina discussed much about the statistics of student debt in our society
and why scholarships are so important. She continued by stating, “That is why what we raise here tonight is so important. These students depend on scholarships to accomplish their goals.” The night concluded with a definition of the alma mater performed by guest singer Tiffany Hendrix, recent graduate Kayla Knight ’19, and current doctoral student Remy Martin ’16, ’18.
St. John’s Lacrosse Player Stabs Former Teammate Nick Bello A St. John’s lacrosse player was arrested Wednesday and accused of stabbing a former teammate in the stomach inside the off-campus house they shared, police and court officials told the Torch. Matthew Stockfeder, a 21-year-old senior midfielder for the Red Storm, was charged with a felony assault with a weapon stemming from the alleged stabbing that occurred at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday at a house on 172nd Street, police said. The news was first reported by the New York Daily News. St. John’s University spokesperson Brian Browne said in a statement, “The University is aware of an incident involving a student and an alum that occured at an off-campus location, not owned by the University and is fully cooperating with the investigation by
law enforcement officials.” Stockfeder was charged with two counts of assault in the second degree, according to the criminal complaint obtained by the Torch from the Queens District Attorney’s office. He was arraigned Wednesday and his next court date is set for Dec. 5. According to the criminal complaint, Stockfeder and roommate Justin Corpolongo, 23, were involved in a verbal altercation that became physical. The complaint says Corpolongo allegedly held Stockfeder’s head down, leading Stockfeder to face Corpolongo’s stomach. Corpolongo “then felt a sharp pain to his abdomen, and looked down to see that he was bleeding profusely,” the complaint said. Corpolongo, 23, was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital where the complaint says he was “treated for a puncture wound
on the left side of his abdomen that penetrated his small intestine and continued approximately four to five inches deep into his abdomen.” Stockfeder’s attorney, Anthony Como, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment from The Torch. Stockfeder, a senior midfielder from Melville on Long Island, was named to the Big East All-Academic team in 2018 as a sophomore. Last season, Stockfeder recorded his first goal in the Red Storm’s home opener against Rutgers on Feb. 9. Corpolongo, who graduated last year, was named to the Big-East All-Academic team in his first three years at St. John’s. Both Stockfeder’s and Corpolongo’s name and bios are no longer listed on the Red Storm’s men’s lacrosse website as of 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
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SJU Stats on Sexual Violence, Drugs and Alcohol Administration introduces new measures with annual Clery Report Andreina Rodgiguez The number of reported rapes on campus was cut in half from a year ago while the recorded drug and alcohol violations have both increased in the past school year, according to the University’s annual security and fire safety report. The 159-page document, which was emailed to students on Sept. 30, is part of a federal reporting requirement under the Clery Act that mandates that institutions disclose the latest statistics for reported crimes that have occurred on or around campus. The report, which covers the last three school years, shows that the number of reported rapes dropped from four in 2017 to two last year. Those are only the incidents that are reported to Public Safety; according to the anti-sexual violence organization RAINN, only 20 percent of female college students ages 18-24 report sexual violence incidents to law enforcement. “St. John’s continues to work to reduce instances of sexual misconduct across our campus community by educating employees and students through our various prevention and awareness programs,” the university said in a statement. In addition, the report shows there were
127 “drug law violations,” up from 71 a year earlier, and 153 “liquor law violations,” up from 123. A drug law violation is defined as a “violation of laws prohibiting the production, distribution, and/or use of certain controlled substances and the equipment or devices utilized in their preparation and/or use.” A Liquor law violation is defined as “the violation of state or local laws or ordinances prohibiting the manufacture, sale, purchase, transportation, possession, or use of alcoholic beverages, not including driving under the influence and drunkenness.” There also was reported one hate crime last year which the document says was “classified as both simple assaults characterized by ethnicity bias and destruction/damage/vandalism of property characterized by Ethnicity bias.” The Torch sent questions about the latest fire and safety report to University spokesman Brian Browne, who gave answers that he said were provided in collaboration by the Office of Public Safety, Title IX Officers, the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of the General Counsel. Which department is answering each question is not specified. “We are prohibited from commenting on individual claims, but the University investi-
gates all reported allegations of misconduct,” the statement said. The Clery Act requires institutions to disclose statistics for reported crimes that have occurred on or around campus. Under federal guidelines, incidents that occur in other locations are not to be included in the Clery report but are investigated and adjudicated by the University. The report also show one incident of arson in the residence halls following two years without one. It is categorized as the intentional burning of paper at Henley Dorm, an off-campus residence hall about a mile south from campus. It caused no damage, the report said. In addition to the one report of arson, there were also two accidental fires in dorms, both occurring in St. Vincent. One was a cooking fire that caused no damage while the other came as a result of roof construction that the report said led to $850 in damage. Burglary also has increased on campus with five total incidences, up from three in 2017. In its statement, the university said it is proactively trying to reduce the number of incidents across the board through various methods.
What is the University doing to combat sexual misconduct on campus? The university said employees and students are required to complete awareness programs that serve as both educational and preventative measures. Mandatory programs for new students include Haven, Bystander Intervention Training and Tailored Title IX Training for student workers. During on-campus orientation, students also attend the Interactive Peer Theater Program (IPT) titled, “Friends: The College Years” which aims to educate incoming students on how to ethically handle situations around sexual violence on campus. “During IPT, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator introduces herself and reviews her role. IPT includes a playbill with information regarding reporting options, student’s rights, how to help a friend and Title IX Coordinator contact information,” the University said. St. John’s also noted how the school has been recognized as one of 95 schools to be fully compliant with New York Law Article 129-B, which aims to protect protect students from sexual assault. The New York State Office of Campus Safety audited all 244 colleges and universities in 2017 by examining the University’s policies and procedures on sexual assault as recorded on a statewide compliance review preliminary report on nyc.gov. The SOAR office — which is an acronym for the Sexual Violence Outreach, Awareness, and Response Office — also participates in on campus activities and wellness fairs by sharing information on bystander intervention workshops, “It’s On Us” campaign, resources for survivors and reporting options for students. Employees go through similar measures. They take Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Prevention, Title IX: Reporting and Responding to Sexual Assault on Campus,
Be the Bridge — a toolkit for faculty — and LinkedIn Learning courses. The Bystander Intervention Program has been widely adopted across campus. As the White House Sexual Assault Task Force published, the “It’s On Us” campaign was made to raise awareness and fight against sexual assault for men and women alike on campus. The University adopted its language and logo for the program. “Faculty members are including its language on their syllabi, videos created by students for students are screened at our NCAA basketball games and orientation leaders are wearing “It’s On Us” shirts during orientation,” the University said. “The bystander message has become a part of the university’s education for alcohol, mental health and diversity issues, further strengthening bystander behavior for sexual violence concerns. Sexual violence prevention has become a campus wide responsibility.” Other awareness events include Take Back the Night as organized by the Division of Student Affairs and in collaboration with students to speak up on gender-based violence on campus. Turn Off the Violence Week, also held by the Division of Student Affairs, collaborates with partners across campus to organize educational events throughout April during sexual violence awareness month. Survivors of violence participate in the clothesline project by decorating and hanging a t-shirt across campus to express their emotions. In response to the way the University handles sexual violence on campus, plenty of training is enacted in order to properly prepare. Resident Advisors and on-call Residence Life professional staff received training from SAVI, which is one one of the community partners. Public Safety, along with partners NYPDSVD and the Queens DA-SVB, receive training on trauma informed investigation and the Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI) technique, stalking perpetration tactics and the neurobiology of trauma. “Title IX Coordinators, Investigators, Public Safety, the Campus Support Advocate and the Dean of Students all work collaboratively to appropriately respond to each survivor’s unique circumstances.”
What is the University doing to strengthen the alcohol and drug policy? While liquor and drug law violations are predominant, the University requires online intervention for incoming students with Alcohol EDU which educates on issues associated with alcohol and drug use. The Department of Wellness also holds on-campus events throughout the year to educate students and reduce high risk alcohol and drug use. For more on this story, visit torchonline. com
MSA Leads Eventful Charity Week Shaolin Barid St. John’s University’s Muslim Student Association celebrated the end of an eventful marvel-themed annual charity week on Friday with a charity Venmo challenge and an all-girls volleyball game last Saturday. The campus-wide charity week was in action from Oct. 21 to Oct. 25, with one last charity basketball tournament to take place on Nov. 2, expecting to amass all MSA members and charity week participants to end the charity events on a strong note. The campus MSA is known to host one of the most prominent religious communities on campus and the purpose of the organization hones in on the act of charity and building a stable connection to God. This is denoted through monthly events spreading insightful Islamic knowledge, weekly Friday prayers ensemble-style and several dinners and meetings engaging all MSA members. Charity Week is a non-profit fundraiser raising donations for orphans and children in need, and it is operated in partnership with the organization. Islamic Relief USA. “The biggest idea behind charity week is the idea of working together to enjoin our powers as individual beings to becoming a collaborative force of united people,” Nusrat Nasir, Community Service Chair, explains. This correlates with their theme of their superhero-type alliance to serve people in need. They quote the practices of the Prophet Muhammad who was known as the ideal Muslim pupil who helped the poor despite being quite
impoverished himself. This idea is resonatTORCH PHOTO/SHAOLIN BARID ed throughout the entirety of charity week as both Muslim students and Non-Muslim students are encouraged to contribute to the cause. The week began with a fun bake sale during Monday’s common hour, serving delicious cupcakes, cookies and brownies all provided by their very own MSA members. The Art for Charity/Henna event was held Tuesday night in the D’Angelo Center with various artworks displayed and auctioned for and art supplies/materials being sold. There were henna stations and many tables full of unique artistry on display. Wednesday was the ‘Pie the E-Board’ event where participants had the chance of pieing the faces of the e-board of the MSA or any other participant of their choice. The Sugar Rush event was held on Thursday during common hour and presented a variety of sweet treats featuring donuts, candy, waffles and parfaits for all donors The MSA eboard got “pied” by participants during Charity Week. to enjoy. Lastly, Friday hosted an unforgettable Fuchka Friday, handing out the deliweek a little over a week. The MSA plans on announcing ciously savory South-Asian snack for everyone to enjoy total contributions at an event planned for later in Noand relax for the day. vember, the details of which are to be announced. The fundraiser was not over yet, as members awaited Not only has this week showcased an amazing field of the exciting basketball tournament taking place at Taffner unity across campus; it strengthened the value of charity Field House on Monday, technically making their service through impressively organized events.
Yos Apparel: Adding New Meaning to Fashion font, which was inspired by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. “I didn’t want to do another piece after that, but then someone else passed. So, I made another tee to symbolize that chapter of my life. Then, someone else passed…,” Carnegie-Salmon Jr. mentioned. “I wanted a name that embodies what I believe in and can be said in one syllable.” Hence, the name Yos – Your
Own Society. According to him, the brand is about breaking down the societal barriers that are placed on people. “It’s okay to think outside the box. You don’t have to be tied down to things that you believe are true,” Carnegie-Salmon Jr. said. The designer also envisions Yos Apparel as being more than a collection of garments on a theme. “Ultimately, the goal is to create a conglomerate where I’ll be positioning creatives to make the most out of their craft.” Carnegie-Salmon Jr. plans to make a label for all various artists, such as photographers, musicians and designers. With this initiative he hopes to “inspire the person that created the change that I wanted to see.” However, the designer asks the question: “How creative can you be when you have to make money?” When Carnegie-Salmon Jr. kick-started his business, he only had $200. “If I could do it over I would probably start with [it] at $1,000.” The designer believes in the vision for his business. “It’s me – nobody has lived the same life I have. I take everything I know that’s a part of my life and I put it in an art form.” To see a chapter of Carnegie-Salmon Jr.’s life incorporated in YOS Apparel, shop yosapparel.com.
“The R.I.P. tee was an accommodation of that event and me transitioning from how I viewed art … that tee was really big for me because it encompassed a lot of things at that time,” graduate student Donovan Carnegie-Salmon Jr. told the Torch in an interview. “The designs I put together are anecdotes of my life.” Now a student in the graduate marketing program at St. John’s, Carnegie-Salmon Jr. plans to “cultivate a movement” with his brand, Yos Apparel, which originated when he was a sophomore in high school. Drafted in January 2016 [prior to the death of his best friend] and later dropped in June of that same year, the R.I.P tee is inspired by the oil-on-canvas painting, Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus), Salvador Dalí. The painting depicts Jesus Christ in 3-D on the polyhedron net of a hypercube. Carnegie-Salmon Jr. recalls a pivotal moment in his life, one he later channeled into his creative process: The room has an undertone of bleach, its hues dull and grey. As he pulls back the curtain, there lay his best friend on a hospital bed, unresponsive. An allergic reaction is all it took. Though that friend kept an EpiPen on-hand for self-injection, this time it gave the freshman college student an incorrect dose which put him in a weeklong coma. Everyday Carnegie-Salmon Jr. visited, until he no longer could. “I wanted to view death differently – I didn’t want to see death as an end, but as a start,” Carnegie-Salmon Jr. explained. Set up in a rock-tee format, the words Donovan Carnegie-Salmon Jr., a graduate student at SJU, created his clothing line in 2016. ‘Rest In Peace’ are placed in a Metal Lord
PHOTO COURTESY/AMON OGYIRI
Alana Loren Bethea
M eet A lu m n a J essi ca N a b o n g o One of the only black women to visit all 195 countries Bre’Anna Grant For Jessica Nabongo, the title of “world traveler” suits her perfectly. Back in October of this year, Nabongo said she became one of the first black women to travel to all 195 countries in the world. Her non-stop journey, which started two-and-a-half years ago, is documented on her Instagram account and blog, thecatchmeifyoucan.com. Traveling has been a part of Nabongo’s DNA since she was 4 years old. By the time she graduated from high school, she had already visited seven countries. Nabongo, who graduated from SJU in 2005 with a degree in English literature, lived in Japan in her early 20s teaching English, then in England pursuing a masters degree, followed by Benin in West Africa and later Italy. Nabongo set her official goal of visiting every country in the world in February of 2017. Before her journey even began, she had already been to 60 countries. On October 6 she achieved her goal at the age of 35. Seychelles, an archipelago country off the coast of Africa, was country 195. Since achieving her goal last month, she’s gained a lot of attention on social media. She currently has 175,000 followers on Instagram and has appeared in publications such as CNN, VIBE, the New York Times, NBC and many more. Nabongo says she’s happy that people are inspired by her journey. “I’ve been public with my life for over two years now by sharing my travel experiences,” she said via phone interview with the Torch. “Going forward, I plan to be thoughtful in how I use social media.” The Detroit-native carries both an American and Ugandan passport and chooses which to use based on ease and cost of entry. She has a host of items that she brings with her on every trip. She doesn’t leave home without her compressions socks, noise-cancelling headphones, a scarf and a reusable cup and water bottle. Nabongo described in a previous interview with CNN that her travels have been funded by various initiatives, including selling branded merchandise and through her travel company, Jet Black, that organizes small group tours in Africa. With traveling to every country, there’s bound to be favorites and least favorites. “I don’t like to talk about the least favorites, but there are at least 30 that I don’t need to go back to,” she said. When it comes to naming favorites, Nabongo says she can’t. “The world is so vast and there are so many positives. Each country is so diverse and there’s no singular thing in the world to pinpoint as better.” However, she did say that the best food she had was in Georgia, Japan, Senegal, Italy and Thailand – in no particular order. In an Instagram post, she talked about the concept of traveling solo as a woman. At the time, she had traveled solo to 85 countries spanning six continents. Her first time traveling solo was in 2007 to London, Paris and Madrid. Her first full solo trip was to Costa Rica in 2009. “People often ask me the best countries for solo travel and I think that anywhere in the
world is fine for solo travel depending on your level of comfort with the culture,” said Nabongo in a post. “If you are American you may be comfortable in places that someone from the Middle East may not be and vice versa so to give a list would be doing a disservice to the huge diversity of my followers.” As a woman of color, she says she had no trouble when she was traveling. Issues with immigration were frequent in her travels, but she says overall, it’s a kindness perception. “The world is not a scary place. If I can do it, anyone should be able to go where they want to,” she said. “We hear these negative stories, but that’s one person’s story. You have to take negative stories with a grain of salt.” For women looking to travel solo, Nabongo gives this advice: just go. “Just go and have your own experience. Go somewhere you will feel comfortable because when you’re comfortable, you can be confident and when you’re confident you don’t look vulnerable,” she said in an Instagram post. Nabongo estimates that there are around 150 people who have reportedly been to every country, according to CNN – the majority being white European men. While this has been a dream come true, Nabongo advises to dig deep and ask yourself why you’d like to travel to certain places. “People tell me that I’m living their dream. People see what others are doing and want to go just because it looks nice,” she said in an interview with VIBE. “Ask yourself why you want to visit a certain place and how it will inform your trip. Don’t just copy others, do it because it motivates you.” Two-and-a half-years, 350 flights and three passports completely filled with stamps later, Nabongo is hoping to settle in for the time being. “I’m still processing it, but it feels monumental,” Nabongo said. “I’m really happy to be done, but I am exhausted and focused on resting.”
PHOTO COURTESY/ELTON ANDERSON
PHOTO COURTESY/ELTON ANDERSON
Jessica Nabongo graduated from SJU in 2005 with a degree in English Literature.
Orgs Collaborate on De-Stigmatizing Mental Health Pinching Pennies: How to Save as NYC College Students Alicia Venter
TORCH PHOTO/ANDRES GONZALEZ
My Voice, Our Story featured a panel on social media and mental health with various panelists.
Rachel Johnson Mental health has become a highly popular topic and a lot of progress has been made in making it more acceptable to talk about. However, there is still a lot of negative stigma surrounding mental illness. BLENDtw (aka. Blend The World) is aiming to do their part in starting a conversation on de-stigmatizing mental health. BLENDtw is a media and tech company “that empowers people to connect.” On Oct. 21 the company held a conference on the St. John’s campus to talk about mental health called “My Voice, Our Story.” This event allowed speakers and students alike to share personal life experiences and start a conversation on various topics including suicide prevention, mental health, body image, guns in America, the LGBTQ+ community and other topics. It was held in collaboration with several SJU organizations, including TESS, Students of Consciousness, African Students Association, Ioata Nu Delta Fraternity, LASO and Spectrum. The night began with an introduction from Maricielo J. Solis, CEO and Founder of BLENDtw. She discussed the goal of their MYVOS publication and conference series as giving people a platform to tell their stories. Tutu Shotonwa, Founder of TalkNaija, an organization created by and for Nigerians to help reduce the stigma of mental health in their community, also spoke before panels began. She discussed the history of portrayal of mental health in media, in which mentally ill people were depicted on television as disheveled, weak, unhinged and crazy. This portrayal had a large, negative influence on how society viewed mental illness. She noted that mental health is one’s emotional, psychological and social well-being, and everyone struggles with it — it does not make you crazy. During a Social Media Panel Q&A, Solis asked the diverse range of panelists about the relationship between mental health and social media. The panelists included Shotonwa, actor and writer Tristan Miller, photographer Ashley Jacklyn, and founder of “Schizophrenic.NYC,” Michelle Hammer. The panelists discussed the negative impact social media has on mental health, and how they have each taken steps to take care of their mental health while using social media, steps that every student can implement. This included posting a daily affirmation on social media, limiting his screen time on social media, and using social media as motivation to get up
every morning and feel good about oneself rather than a crutch. “The event was definitely helpful in terms of acknowledging that everyone can have something like anxiety or depression, and the best thing to do is to accept it and work to better yourself,” Junior TV and Film major Hannah Sesay said. “Mental health is something that is extremely important but not something many people pay attention to … Your mental health is just as important as your physical … and this mentality should definitely be pushed throughout society.” Solis also asked the Social Media panelists what they would say to someone struggling with mental health who isn’t sure what to do about it. Hammer responded that her message to anyone struggling with mental illness is, “You are not a burden,” and Jacklyn said, “Speak up even if your voice shakes.” The event closed with a Student Panel Q&A, where Solis asked a selection of SJU students about their relationship with mental health. The student panelists included Shaeleigh Severino, Andy Ma, Matthew Ventura, Phoenix Totesau-Johnson and Shakifur Bhuiyan. Between the panelists, an array of mental illnesses were represented including anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder, OCD and borderline personality disorder. The student panelists discussed their personal mental health journeys. Most of the panelists talked about how mental illness “doesn’t exist” in some communities of color and that they were expected to just get over it and be fine. “The second panel of students is what really stood out to me because of how open and real they were with their answers,” Junior Communications major Lexie Wingfield said. “As a person who struggles with mental health issues, mental health has a strong impact on my life, and conversations and action involving it are things I will always continue to be a part of. There are people with much worse fates of mental health than I, so I feel that it is my responsibility to help those who cannot help themselves by bringing light and change to mental health issues.” With a turnout of roughly 80 students and faculty, there was a positive reaction from students, but also a slightly somber and thoughtful mood from those present. Mental health is something that affects everyone, and it needs to become commonplace to talk about. No one should have to struggle with mental illness on their own, and through events such as these the issue is able to be front and center and discussed openly and vulnerably by the student body.
Broadway, world-renowned museums, beautiful coffee shops and delicious places to dine – these all have two things in common: New York is known for them, and they are known to be expensive. The Economist ranks New York as the seventh most expensive city in the world to live in. This gets even worse for college students, known for constantly being broke. Combining the Big Apple and bored, broke college students creates a complex question: how are students supposed to save money while still having a memorable college experience? Eating adds up financially, and while it is a necessary expense, there are multiple ways to cut costs. Commuters can spend lots of money going to the restaurants on campus, and many have turned to alternatives in order to save, such as freshman Sidorela Zefi. “I usually bring my own lunch so I can avoid spending money on food everyday,” she shared. “Also, student discounts wherever I can.” Don’t ever be afraid to ask a nearby restaurant if they have a student discount - the worst thing they can do is say no. Those who dorm have also turned to alternative plans. “Preparing food on your own is infinitely cheaper than eating out all the time, since you just have to pay for materials,” said freshman Brett Anderson. People who dorm also often have the option of using their meal plan, especially freshmen, who are forced to get the Carte Blanche plan, giving them unlimited swipes at the dining hall. A trick for these students is to use their meal exchange at a restaurant on campus and put it in their fridge for later, then go to Montgoris, because this doesn’t use a precious premium swipe. The same kinds of cuts can be made when buying what is often a staple of the college student’s diet – coffee. Just buying a $3 coffee a day adds up to almost $1100 a year. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to give it up entirely. For those who feel that caffeine is a necessity for survival, there are many cheaper alternatives than going to Starbucks or Dunkin’ every morning. Making coffee at home is the greatest saving solution. USA Today says that if the daily Starbucks trip was surrendered and someone instead bought a 2lb. bag of Starbucks Coffee grind for $10, they would save $277 (minus the cost of the coffee pot). There are many other strategies to keep in mind. When splurging on a trip to Manhattan, avoid using Uber and instead turn to public transportation. The E and F trains take you straight into midtown, and there are two nearby stations, the Kew Gardens and the 169th station. The former being reached using the Q46 bus that stops on Utopia Parkway and using a free transfer at the station, and the latter through a short walk. Try to find free events in the city using online calendars, such as the one on nyc.com or find coupons online when going out. When clothes shopping, try thrift shops throughout the city, such as Buffalo Exchange in Chelsea, to find hidden treasures. Being a college student doesn’t mean that you have to sit in your dorm all weekend in order to save money. Instead, just manage your money, keeping all of your purchases in mind, and find some tricks to save a couple dollars for the future.
Flames of the Torch 97TH MANAGING BOARD Morgan C. Mullings/ EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Amanda Negretti/ MANAGING EDITOR Andreina Rodriguez NEWS EDITOR Spencer Clinton CREATIVE DIRECTOR Nick Bello SPORTS EDITOR Dayra Santana FEATURES EDITOR Priyanka Gera CULTURE EDITOR Destinee Tyler Scott OPINION EDITOR
Patrick Loftus CHIEF COPY EDITOR Jenna Woo DESIGN EDITOR Amber Borden SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Shaolin Barid HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER Jim Baumbach ADVISER
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STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS Sophie Williams Francesca Fazio Brian Monahan Christa Calabretta Erin Sakalis Alicia Venter Bre’Anna Grant Gracie Greer Theresa Vogel
Rovena Grishaj Ivy Bourke Rachel Johnson Michael Yacik Nicholas DiMaria Alana Loren Bethea Nahndi Chiumya Sean Okula
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ABOUT THE TORCH The Torch is the official, independent student newspaper of St. John’s University. The Torch is written, edited, designed and produced by students of the University. The Torch is published on most Wednesdays, with approximately 20 issues throughout the academic year. Copies are distributed for free on campus and through mail subscriptions.
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Staff Editorial: On Letters to the Editor and SGI Coverage Last month we received a letter to the editor in our inbox, which we don’t get very often. In the past, readers sent them in more frequently, but with the emergence of our website (torchonline.com), most of our comments come through the comments section. While it wasn’t a physical letter in the mail, our editorial board was happy to see the trend return. Our Opinion Editor, Destinee Scott, made the decision not to publish the letter, sent by Prof. Marie George, as it contained mostly quotes from another entity. Scott made this decision along with our Editor-in-Chief, Morgan C. Mullings. To their understanding, as journalism students and avid consumers of news, a letter to the editor is written as an opinion or thought in response to an article seen in print. This was not the content of the letter. Unfortunately, we realized these guidelines are not clear in the “Contributions” and “Editorial Policy” section of our masthead (located to the left of Flames). Meanwhile, Prof. George met with Mullings to explain her intention for the letter and come to a compromise. They decided together that the letter works best as a paid advertisement, which was published in this issue on page two. Please note that our decision to not publish the letter had nothing to do with its specific contents; our issue was that the majority of the words were quotations from another source. Going forward, the Torch maintains the opinion that letters to the editor be (1) concerned with something the
Torch covered or something that happened within the St. John’s community, and (2) consist of original work and opinions of the sender. This is in addition to the guidelines listed on our masthead. We have updated this page to reflect that, and we hope this makes it clear for those interested in emailing us letters to the editor, and encourages them to do so. We feel it’s important to go through a step-by-step recap, for transparency purposes. This week, our editorial board met with the E-board of Student Government, Inc. This meeting was months in the making, and our board was prepared with the intention to educate the new SGI board on the Torch’s reporting processes and policies. We feel that with more understanding, SGI and the Torch will have a more positive working relationship. While we often cover things that may not make them happy, we are committed to fairness and accuracy and always have been. We’d like to thank SGI for taking the time to sit down with us and learn more about the history of the Torch and our intentions for covering more of what SGI does. We believe it is important that the student body is aware of the inner workings of one of the governing bodies of SJU, especially since they oversee many of the student organizations that we cover each week. With Power 2 Organize happening this past Monday (pg. 2), we are excited to cover more of that process than we have in the past, and give exclusive coverage that the SJU community can trust.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is Dead. Is ISIS? Sophie Williams President Donald Trump made a formal announcement regarding ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Oct. 27. Trump kept quiet on much of the information about how he was able to view the death but did not hold back with the description. Al-Baghdadi’s death was described very graphically and in as much detail as he could dispose. Overall, the announcement created high tension between the reporters and Trump. Most questions were asked to tie up any loose ends on the announcement, but Trump refused to disclose some information to protect the safety of people in his administration and the U.S. soldiers. My main issue of the announcement was the word and phrasing choices made by Trump. To describe al-Baghdadi, he used the word “thug,” and when describing Al Qaeda he used the phrase “savage monsters.” It was very unsophisticated for a formal announcement. He also used words to insinuate a very graphic description of al-Baghdadi’s death.
Trump said that “he died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way;” and when he reached a dead-end he ignited his vest, killing himself and three of his children who he had brought with him. Trump described al-Baghdadi’s last moments as being “in utter fear of the United States.” Trump went further and said, “he died like a dog, he was whimpering, screaming and crying” and died “as a coward, running and crying” in his final moments. He was the leader of ISIS, and to have him dead is a step in the right direction, yet the announcement was more bragging about Iraq’s technology, the U.S. soldiers, K-9 units and his graphic death. I feel as if the announcement lost focus due to certain comments made by Trump. Trump praises Iraq’s technology commenting that “they use the internet better than anyone else,” yet retracts from this praise by following with: “besides maybe Donald Trump.” Yes, that was our president referring to himself in third person.
Regardless of how this news was presented, I personally feel relieved that the U.S. was able to find al-Baghdadi. Because of this, we now have highly sensitive information regarding ISIS and their future plans which helps the good of not just our people, but other countries as well. Unfortunately, I do not think it is a turning point for ISIS moving forward because of the following it already has. This specific terrorist group branched from Al Qaeda and has been growing since 1999. The leader is gone, but that does not mean it will just go away. I think another leader will come forward soon, and the U.S. will then begin the search for him. If ISIS is aware that the U.S. took their classified information then I also feel that their plans will be altered. Al-Baghdadi had been changing locations since Trump began his search for him three years prior. For the future, I see a new leader and a new manhunt forming. Terroristic groups do not form overnight, and their fury does not go away just because their leaders die.
The Amazon Synod: The Elephant in the Room Brian Monahan On Oct. 26, the Catholic Church concluded the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region to discuss pressing issues facing the region. A synod is a collection of bishops, in this instance 181, that are assembled to discuss problems facing the Church. The Amazon is facing many hardships, including a shortage of priests, deforestation and extractivism. The church, rightfully so, is exploring options to alleviate these problems with a special emphasis on the shortage of priests. However, the elephant in the room with this synod is that it is happening in the background of indigenous spiritual practices, languages and theologies that are incompatible with Christian beliefs. As reported by the Vatican News Network, the synod itself started with a dance by indigenous shaman to pay homage to a fertility god. Intercultural dialogue and ecumenism are good things; but the explicit use of folk religion as a basis of knowledge for revelation and the use of condemned theological frameworks is antithetical to Church teaching and is not being discussed. Liberation and ecological theology seem to be the guiding force behind the working document used by the bishops. The working document discusses ‘ecological conversion,’ ‘buen vivir’ (a pan-theistic con-
cept), the ‘caresses of God,’ ‘ancestral wisdom,’ ‘cosmovision’ and other non-Christian beliefs as sources of theological knowledge. For some background, liberation theology is a movement originating in the mid-20th century that interpreted liberation in the context of social, economic and political liberation. The movement has associated itself both theologically and politically with Marxism. It has also earned condemnation from the Church because of its deviation from traditional beliefs. Some of these extreme
Liberation and ecological theology seem to be the guiding force behind the working document used by the bishops.
beliefs include that one must be open to future incarnations of God, in the use of Marxist analytics, that the Eucharist is symbolic of all people in struggle, that God is history and other unorthodox views. Essentially, it opens up the floodgates to beliefs that are alien from Sacred Scripture and tradition.
The primary fault with using the remnants of these theologies is that they both either divinize creation or view Christ in an ebionite perspective in a misguided attempt to protect something they see as valuable. That is not to say the Church should not pursue the protection of the rainforest or indigenous peoples; it should. That is also not to say that the Church should be deciding these issues without the indigenous population; they are a necessary component to solving the problems of their region. But, the Church should do so in a way that does not replace the center of Christianity. Instead, answers should be sought out with respect to our unique relationship with Christ. The questions raised by Christ are not easy. Sidestepping them or replacing them in an attempt at liberation or ecological harmony will only bring new oppression. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith notes that the Church has many times over-challenged popular opinion or oppression in various papal encyclicals, such as, “Mater et Magistra,” “Pacem in Terris,” “Populorum progressio,” “Evangelii nuntiandi” and so on. Ultimately, by using the previously mentioned beliefs as a guiding star, the synod will be alienating the greater Church from these worthwhile endeavors.
Appreciation not Appropriation: Navigating Native American Heritage Month Francesca Fazio In fourth grade, I learned about the Lenni-Lenape, the people who resided in my state long before there was a New Jersey. I remember learning about longhouses and wigwams in graphic detail before we quickly rushed over why Native Americans were no longer the main inhabitants of New Jersey. The suffering early Americans caused unknowingly with Western diseases and produce and knowingly with the Trail of Tears and boarding schools, is widely skipped over and rushed because it’s a painful and embarrassing part of our country’s past. The institution of Native American History Month is starting to work toward fixing these irreversible wrongs. Started in 1986 as “American Indian Week,” November was officially and consistently declared National American Indian Heritage Month in 1995 through annual presidential proclamations and Congressional approval, according to the Library of Congress. To honor the creation of this month, we should do our part to be educated on the traditions and culture of Native Americans. We should also learn how to appreciate their culture without crossing the line into appropriation. One of the best ways to learn is by watching documentaries that chronical Native Americans’ experience, either now or in
the past. Some films on my list and the International Documentary Association’s are “Lake of Betrayal” (Paul Lamont, 2017), “We Breathe Again” (Marsh Chamberlain, 2017) and “What Was Ours” (Mat Hames, 2016). Another way to learn about Native American History is to visit a museum and see it first hand. Manhattan houses the National Museum of the American Indian whose facilities are dedicated to the preservation and education of Native Amer-
To honor the creation of this month, we should do our part to be educated on the traditions and culture of Native Americans.
icans, the American Museum of Natural History who has a wing dedicated to their history and Children’s Cultural Center of Native America for people with younger siblings, children or those who are young at heart.
After immersing yourself visually in Native Americans’ past, you can try engaging your taste buds. Invite a few friends over and cook up a meal using traditional Native American recipes like the ones found on firstnations.org. You can also discuss your knowledge on the Native Ameican history, maybe even have a themed trivia night. Finally, you can appreciate Native Americans’ impact on society by researching and supporting famous activists, actors and artists who have influenced American culture. Some of my favorites are (activist) Wilma Mankiller, (actor) Will Sampson and (artist and politician) Enoch Kelly Haney. Cultural history months like this one are important reminders of traditions and people that can too often slip under the radar of public attention. These months or weeks dedicated to a specific culture give people the excuse they need to get curious and start Googling. It opens citizens up to learning about the cultures that surround them. After all, America is the great melting pot and it’s only natural for us to learn about and appreciate the cultures that blend with our own. I’m going to do my best to take advantage of November, so what are you going to watch, visit, taste or learn about this month?
Soon-To-Be December Graduates Talk SJU Experience Christa Calabretta I was always told that my college career would pass by in the blink of an eye, but I always thought that my time in college would be endless. However, now being just over a month away from becoming a college graduate, I realize that the last few years of my life have gone by faster than I can fathom. With graduation just around the corner, I have been experiencing so many emotions and have been spending a lot of time reflecting. Throughout my college career I have attended three colleges, had four different majors and have challenged myself to find what I am really passionate about in life. What I have learned is that there is no right or wrong way to be a student. Each step has taught me more and more about myself, and I am so proud of how my college career has shaped me into who I am today. Being a transfer student and commuter at St. John’s University during my sophomore year put me in an awkward position — everyone already had their friend groups, and
I felt like an outsider. The one thing that really changed my college experience was joining organizations. Only a few weeks after transferring to SJU, I decided to go through formal recruitment and join a sorority. Joining my sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, was the best thing that I did during my college career. This organization has taught me more about myself than anything else I have done in the last four years. My sisters have been the ones to push me to accomplish more than I ever thought I would be able to in two years. They encouraged me to join The Torch and supported me every step of the way. Because of Gamma Phi Beta, I will have a piece of college with me forever. When I reflect on what truly made the last four years memorable, Gamma Phi Beta will be at the forefront of those memories. If I had to give one piece of advice to a current freshman, it would be to take risks because they will shape you into the person you didn’t even know you wanted to be.
Erin Sakalis The scariest part of graduation for many students is not knowing what will come next — or worse, not feeling prepared for what will come next. I probably felt this way last year, when I was planning to plunge straight into a graduate program. Like many students, I became accustomed to the safety and routine that college provided. I didn’t feel ready to move on. My mindset has since changed drastically. I attribute this shift to the Collins College of Professional Studies’ vocational approach to education, as well as to my most recent internship. Since January, I’ve been working in marketing at a fintech company in Chelsea, Manhattan, where I explored many facets of marketing and advertising firsthand. I was able to flourish academically and professionally simultaneously, which enriched my learning experience and accelerated my collective growth. At school, nearly all of my major courses were taught by industry veterans who prioritized practical, “real world” applications of concepts and skills. My classmates and I were ac-
tively prepared for careers, rather than just for finals, which in itself is incredibly valuable. Furthermore, I became more proactive in utilizing career services to define my goals and pursue opportunities. When it comes to internships, SJU’s proximity to Manhattan opens doors to an extensive variety of industries, while allowing students to resume their normal class schedules. Out-of-state students can intern in New York without relocating for the summer, while native New Yorkers can gain experience year-round. This allows for a more diverse array of experience, or more experience overall by the time graduation rolls around. I remained with the same company for about a year, which allowed me to complete more involved projects with a level of focus and continuity that may not have been possible otherwise. Because of the consistency I cultivated in the office, I sometimes forget that I’m still a student. I’ve become very comfortable in professional environments. As a result, I anticipate a smooth transition into post-graduate life.
What’s Your Mental Health GPA? Rovena Grishaj and Shaolin Barid For many of you, it’s easy to associate a wholesome college experience with friendship, challenges, clubs, and campus activities, but how often do you associate your college experience with poor mental health, stress, depression, or anxiety? Unfortunately, many college students sacrifice their own mental well-being for good grades and maintaining a conscientious effort towards their future careers. A lot of students often relate mental health issues to major psychological disorders, and end up disregarding their own well-being due to this widely-spread mindset. Then they eventually equate mental health to a very Hollywood depiction of mentally-ill individuals. This stigma around mental health is exactly what pushes people away from acknowledging their own mental health state. The lack of mental health conversations on campus attests to how difficult it seems to solve this issue of establishing healthy habits pertaining to one’s mental health, especially considering how divisive the stigma is towards
people who need support. So here’s an important question to answer: what can students do to keep track of their mental well-being, and how can a college campus like St. John’s serve as a reliable support system to help students along the way? As for students, it is important to ask ourselves if we are paying attention to our own mental needs. The Princeton Review’s 2020 edition ranked St. John’s at a disappointing #5 on the list of “Least Happy College Students,” which tells us that improvement of mental health management on our campus is necessary. As for the support system on campus, St. John’s has several resourceful crisis intervention services for both sexual assault cases and self-harm/dangerous health conditions. These helpful resources include Student Health Services, as well as The Center for Counseling and Consultation, which is an on-campus health and wellness service, open to all students, offering free confidential support in Marillac Hall Room 130. The Campus Support Advisor is also available for all SJU students and can be reached at 718990-8484.
You might have seen the occasional SJUOK? posters around campus and inside most buildings, so it is safe to say that the idea of managing good mental health is present on campus. However, these resources are not advocated enough. We urge faculty and student support staff to expand their support through helpful events and daily exercises for students to attend and participate in. It’s important to make this process as engaging as possible. The community, as a whole, should work more on changing the misconceptions about mental health, sharing helpful tips, resources and educating all campus faculty and professors about the importance of mental health. Professors spend a lot of time with students, so it would be helpful if they can notice students who are struggling emotionally and direct them to the right resources. Taking care of our mental health and educating ourselves and the people around us about utilizing various tools and resources is a big step in living a healthy lifestyle.
Pete Buttigieg Makes Agenda to Include Women: Was It Good Enough? Ivy Bourke On Oct. 24, Democratic presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg, released a 26 page agenda stating his top priority as president: how he wants to alleviate women’s struggles in life and in the workplace. Buttigieg, a former U.S. Naval Officer and the present mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has been dominating the hearts and minds of many Democratic citizens, including mine. Buttigieg’s plan to help women in the workplace and life is truly phenomenal. In his agenda from his campaign website, Pete for America, he states how he can help the crisis of closing pay and wealth gaps, advancing women’s health and choice, securing women’s power and influence and building safe and inclusive communities across America. Other candidates are only saying that they will protect women’s rights to abortion, so Buttigieg is ahead of the game. The highlights of his agenda are a 10 billion dollar funding towards accountability and prevention of workplace sexual harassment, as well as other discrimination against women, affordable childcare, paid family and medical leave, safeguarding abortion rights and protecting and expanding Title IX. Also, a guaranteed 50 percent of his cabinet and judiciary will be women, legal rights regardless of sex under the Equal Rights Amendment will be protected, gender equity will be the core of every policy and the boyfriend loophole will vanish for good. Buttigieg’s agenda makes strides in what women need to hear, especially after who is in the White House
now. President Donald Trump has shattered hearts, especially the hearts of women. With the controversy of passing legislation to close Planned Parenthood centers across America and brushing aside the accusations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s ideologies and priorities need to be stopped. From seeing the comments of other countries regarding Trump’s presidency, many Americans believe that having an openly gay president will make us look extremely weak and that he is not ready to run the country because he is too young; I think it is the exact opposite. I believe that having an openly gay president, will show other countries that we will never let another Trump run our country again. Buttigieg and his fresh ideas show the exact strength, intelligence and courage that Americans need after Trump’s horrific presidency. Buttigieg is one of the best candidates running in the Democratic race. He has won my heart over with his drive for change, his care for citizens and military and his ideas to change America for the better. Though his campaign for the health insurance crisis in America is a bit shaky, I support him wholeheartedly, and I hope that he makes strides in the democratic race for president. Currently fourth in the polls for the most popular democratic candidate, Buttigieg is exceeding expectations and becoming more popular. Since he is one of the presidential candidates that I am rooting for, I encourage everyone to take a look at his agenda for women and his Pete for America 2020 campaign, and the promises he makes to Americans.
NASA Says A Woman Could Be The First Person On Mars! One Small Step for a Woman, One Giant Leap for Women’s History Rovena Grishaj Seeing that a woman might open a door into another planet makes me feel like things would be going in the right direction. This would definitely be a milestone in the history of women’s achievements. A women being the first person on Mars will not only be a big accomplishment in a culture, society or planet, but also be a great success across two planets. Being a supporter of women in every field, I am very excited to see that after so many years of the “first man” landing on the moon there might be a “first woman” landing on Mars. It is a delightful feeling to think that after NASA’s first all-female Spacewalk, this might be the event that follows. The importance of this possible step can be applied not only for women who are already a part of NASA, but also for women who might dream to be a part of it or simply might dream to achieve big milestones in their careers. Seeing more women succeeding in different fields gives a sense of security that society is learning to use the full human potential. During every meaningful change in history, there has always been a person who has had the courage to go out of what is expected from them and to bring new ideas to life. All the first women which published a book, painted, became a CEO, a doctor, a law-
yer, an engineer, etc., are the ones that changed history and became an inspiration for others to follow. Having a “first woman” in any field can also open doors for all other women who might feel like they don’t belong. As a society, we function a lot based on the psychology of examples, role models or influencers. This event could be one of those examples that will challenge the belief that women might not be as able as men in taking responsibility for such important steps in human history. I personally hope that this will happen even if it would take 10 years. I can’t imagine how society will be in a decade, but I hope women’s position in society will have improved, and we will see more women active in every aspect of society. I believe we as a society have evolved a lot in aspects of living conditions and style, but gender roles take a longer time. Challenging people’s beliefs and helping them to create new ones can also take time, an event like this one will be groundbreaking. It will change the old belief that women belong in other fields and that they are able to succeed in everything that they put their minds to. After writing about this possible event, all I can think is about a quote from Charles Malik: “the fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.”
Discovering the Diplomacy Art Exhibition Priyanka Gera The Dr. M.T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery has been an integral part of the St. John’s community since 1994. It is located in the traditional gem of a building known as Sun Yat Sen Hall, built in 1973. The recently renovated gallery houses interdisciplinary artwork –– incor-
porating history and design with art –– made by NYC artists to create a dynamic learning environment. This semester, the art displayed is inspired by the Sun Yat Sen building itself, whether it be its history or the architectural nuances engraved in the intricate ceramic roof. Here is a sneak peak of a few of the gallery’s pieces that I saw during my tour of the gallery:
1. Triangle At first glance, this giant sculpture resembles a life-size jenga game, but it has a deeper story than that. Artist Christopher K. Ho designed this site-specific wood piece model with previous President Nixon’s Christmas Tree in mind. Maybe the red and green painted logs give it away, or the 45º angled edges stacked upon each other giving me the impression of a lopsided Christmas tree. You might be thinking why Christmas? Well, Christopher researched the history of Sun Yat Sen, and in December of 1973, President Nixon met with Mao Ze Dong in China which changed China-US relations. Also, since Christmas is in December, Christopher built a wooden Christmas sculpture inspired by the 1973 White House Christmas tree. I bet you didn’t think of that when you saw the model!
3. Untitled Folding Object This stretch of 57 linked pieces of oak snakes from one wall of the gallery to another climbs up one wall and pokes its head out on the other side. Designed by Israeli artist Reuven Israel, this site-specific model features an architectural facet of the traditional Sun Yat Sen ceramic roof. If you take a moment to examine the roof beyond the aged brown tiles, you will notice a pipe-like structure running across the top from one edge to another. The artist literally recreated this distinctive feature inside the gallery with a twist, Israel added a loop in the center before continuing the sculpture up the wall. The oak pieces are painted white, which gradually turns to pink and then to white again, using automotive paint to retain the luster and pigment.
TORCH PHOTO/ AMANDA NEGRETTI
TORCH PHOTO/ AMANDA NEGRETTI
2. Slavic Dilemma I was confused when Duffy asked for the lights to be shut off before he presented the next ceramic display. All I could see in the dark was the top of the mini sculpture (in comparison to the wooden one above) glowing in a dim, extremely soothing color. Shahpour Pouyan, an Iranian artist, took inspiration from the Lighthouse of Alex, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, built around 250 B.C. in Egypt. The model incorporates a hybrid of architectural styles –– traditional and Brutalist (plain, block-like structures such as the Career Service Center Building) –– to reflect the traditional roof of Sun Yat Sen Hall and its modern and simple brick siding. The pedestal that raises the lighthouse-shaped model has a desk protruding from it, filled with blue cloth to symbolize water.
TORCH PHOTO/ AMANDA NEGRETTI
Diverse NYC artists are chosen for every exhibition showcased in the gallery. Their work guides students, art-enthusiasts and anyone who pauses to appreciate their intensity to view the world in a new light and engage in meaningful conversations.
“Jesus is King”: Kanye’s Failed Gospel Attempt Nicholas DiMaria Album: “Jesus is King” by Kanye West Rating: 6/10 Kanye West, the outspoken Chicago rapper and producer, is arguably the most influential artist of the past 20 years. For the first time in his career he released a full Gospel album, but despite his good intentions, there is not much of a sense of rebirth. After the brief introduction of Kanye’s Sunday service choir, the second track, “Selah” is the first full song on the album. The production was epic with church organs, thunderous drums and choir in the background. Kanye’s delivery and words match the intensity of the music. Despite a few lines as his overly confident self, he did a great job painting the picture of Heaven and his new relationship with God. It sounds like he took some ideas from the “Yeezus” era.
Unfortunately, the album takes a not-very-Christ-like turn for the worse. On the third track “Follow God,” where Kanye is yelling at his dad, trying to give him “Christ-like” advice, comes off as childish. Kanye’s lyrical shortcomings do not stop here, with some lazy bars and delivery on “Hands On.” “Said I’m finna do a Gospel album, what have you been hearin’ from the Christians? They’ll be the first one to judge me, make it feel like nobody love me.” First, why does he care? Second, whining like this sounds like he is losing focus on what he is trying to accomplish here. “Closed on Sunday” is no better. It starts with a dramatic guitar that creates a dark and mysterious atmosphere, that garners curiosity for the upcoming verse. However, any expectation is completely ruined by Kanye’s repetition of “Closed on Sunday, You My Chick-fil-A.” The verse continues to reek of cheese. Between this song and “On God” or “Everything We Need,” Kanye’s take on Gospel club music screams “Hey kids! It’s hip to be religious!”
Nevertheless, there are some high points on this project. “God Is” displays a raw and powerful energy –– from Kanye’s cracking voice to the moving chord progression –– and seems to be his best representation of Christianity in the album. “Use This Gospel” with Pusha T and his brother No Malice’s experience with faith was featured on this track which seems to be one of the most tasteful rap verses on the album, along with the classy production and saxophone solo. To be frank, the album is a bit of a mess. Although some points on the album are very high, Kanye’s lyrical input and performance wastes a lot of the great production ideas. It makes me nervous for his future projects. Despite this being his worst project to date, there are elements he can build upon for this new chapter in his career. Hopefully, next time he can capitalize on them and potentially understand what it’s actually like to be Christian.
Celebrating Family Shaolin Barid As we welcome November, we await cherishable time with family to capture new memories together. Every family shares a unique way of communication and struggle and that is meant to be celebrated through understanding each other. Through my following film picks, I can assure you that you will be encouraged to reflect on your own family dynamic and treasure the relationships built from within. As it comes time to go home for the holidays and reconnect with family and friends, it’s also time to remember your roots and acknowledge how your family has shaped your individuality. Here are some memorable, heartfelt films to enjoy with your family:
“Skeleton Twins” Dir. by Craig Johnson Indie filmmaker Craig Johnson introduces SNL alum Bill Hader (left) and Kristen Wiig as reunited twins (Milo and Maggie, respectively) in a fascinating story that portrays their dramatic and comedic range. Their reunion is an exemplary take on how family, despite bringing out the ugly truth within one another, can always serve as the strongest support system one can ever have in life. Viewers admire Hader and Wiig’s on-screen chemistry as siblings as it is unfolded that many of their scenes together are ad-libbed and magnified through their own comedic timing and complex character depth.
PHOTO COURTESY/ YOUTUBE FILMISNOW MOVIE TRAILERS
“Lilo and Stitch”
“Little Miss Sunshine” Dir. by Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton This widely recognized, multi-nominated and awarded film needs a revisitation considering how strongly it hones in on the sense of self in a family. Not only does this film relay the important message that success is not as important as happiness, but also it is the perfect film to enjoy while reminiscing with your family. As great as this is for a cozy movie night get together, it will make you bawl your eyes out, and be grateful that your family is there for you through all your self-discovery!
“Look at us now, Mother!” Dir. by Gayle Kirschenbaum This tremendously insightful documentary about a woman, Gayle (middle), and her complicated relationship with her mother shows viewers their interesting journey as they reminisce about past memories and family history. Gayle’s essayistic and participatory take on her childhood –– through videos, family photos and emotional stories –– allows viewers to be immersed in their family nature of witty remarks, strong personalities and their spirited direction toward new beginnings. This documentary encourages readers to think of their parents as human beings before anything else because it is never too late to rebuild a rocky relationship. Not only do viewers understand the need to commemorate and remember good memories, but also to learn from and appreciate the bad memories.
PHOTO COURTESY/YOUTUBE KIRSCHENBAUM PRODUCTIONS
Dir. by Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois This extraordinary Disney classic is worth revisiting as you travel back home to your childhood memories. It highlights the importance of supporting each other as a family –– no matter how broken it may seem. With Lilo’s (right) unconventionally adorable personality shining a bright light in the midst of lackluster social norms, it is undeniable how fun it is to watch this film. This all-time favorite animated film sends out a wholesome message: “Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind,” and is a great movie to watch anytime with anyone.
“Evelyn” Dir. by Orlando von Einsiedel This heartfelt documentary will take you on a breathtaking journey through Scotland along the hiking pathways in memory of Evelyn, the brother of documentary film director Orlando. Along the trip, Orlando is joined by his siblings, parents and Evelyn’s best friends who openly converse about the tragedy 13 years after Evelyn’s death. They remember Evelyn’s life and his death and open an important conversation about his mental illness and suicide. This particular family acknowledges the importance of communication and teaches viewers that family is meant to be a unit. Pain is shared and no one should ever go through something so tragic alone.
PHOTO COURTESY/ YOUTUBE PANDA TV
“Office Ladies,” the Ultimate “Office” Podcast Rachel Johnson Have you seen every episode of “The Office” eight times? Do you weave quotes from “The Office” into your conversations? Are you an “Office” superfan? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you must listen to this podcast. “The Office” stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey (Pam and Angela respectively) joined together to create a podcast called “Office Ladies.” Fischer and Kinsey call it “the ultimate Office rewatch podcast,” where they talk about what it was like working on the show and share behind the scenes stories and fun facts about the episodes. The podcast premiered on Oct. 16. A new episode is released every Wednesday. The episodes are approximately an hour long and can be found anywhere that podcasts are available. Each week, Fischer and Kinsey break down a different episode of “The Office,” starting with “The Pilot.” They begin with what Fischer likes to call “Fast Facts” about the episode, in which they go through an episode scene by scene to give exclusive behind the scenes stories. They discuss the cast dynamic, character development, deleted scenes and more. For example, Fischer and Kinsey revealed that there was a six-month gap between filming “The Pilot” and “Diversity Day” because they were waiting for the show to be picked up by a network. The ladies also plan to bring on other stars of “The Office” as guests and have already spoken with Rainn Wilson, who played Dwight, regarding the episode “Healthcare.” If “The Office” is your favorite television show of all time like mine, you won’t want to miss this podcast. I have been a huge “Office” fan for a long time and this podcast exceeds expectations. It made me fall even more in love with the show. It is hilarious, fun and interesting. You will learn a lot about the show that you can’t hear anywhere else.
PHOTO COURTESY/ YOUTUBE STRAHAN SARA AND KEKE
(Left to right) Fischer and Kinsey promote their new podcast, “Office Ladies,” on the “Strahan, Sara and Keke,” an ABC daytime talk show.
Amazon Prime’s “Modern Love”
The New York Times’ Column is Now Streaming Andreina Rodriguez
lantic said that the show demonstrates “love simply exists.” I agree that the message isn’t understood as something novel, but I didn’t take this as a negative. What intrigues me the most about the show is the telltale stories that take place in New York. There’s a fantasy built around the way life moves in the city, especially when it’s centered around stories in films and books about writers, journalists and others that are true and relatable. The show explores stories of mental health, homosexual relationships and their struggles, long term relationship fallouts and more. We’re taken around true stories of different experiences that all occurred in just one city that are likely to connect in cities around the world. Anne Hathaway stars as Lexi, a woman with bipolar disorder.
“Luigi’s Mansion 3:” Third Time’s the Charm Nintendo releases game adapted to the Switch Michael Yacik For the first time on a home console since 2001, prepare to endure ample Halloween horrors with Luigi, Mario’s beloved, perpetually frightened brother in “Luigi’s Mansion 3.” In search of a third haunted mansion premise, Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach decide to vacation at a totally normal and vacant hotel, with totally normal, floating, mask-wearing bellhops. In an unforeseeable twist, the group sans Luigi is kidnapped, leaving the clumsy brother and his ghost-devouring vacuum to rescue them from the phantoms and slapstick horrors that prowl about the resort. Well, “horror” is a strong word. The greatest scare of the game is undoubtedly the first ‘game over’ screen, which asks to “restart” from the last autosave, words that at first glance made my heart leap after hours of progress. The newest addition is Luigi’s sidekick/existential nightmare “Gooigi,” an equally emotionless and gelatinous clone of the moustached hero. The stoic,
squishy doppelgänger can be spawned at will to help solve puzzles (or for two-player co-op), without the boundaries of Luigi’s bulky, mortal frame weighing him down. His functionality isn’t groundbreaking, at best deepening the familiar gameplay and at worst slightly dragging the game out. In a world beleaguered by the corporatization of video games, it’s reassuring to see that Nintendo is still committed to modernizing gameplay while maintaining the spirit of their older work. Controls are smoothly adapted to the Switch and thankfully don’t tamper with one of the greatest additions of the second game: not just one button with which to aimlessly yell “Mario” in the dark, but three. Despite not charting any particularly new territory, “3” sets itself apart as the likely best in the “Luigi’s Mansion” series, improving on the shortness of the original and the segmentation of the second, with superior pacing and level design. Luigi asleep on the bus en route to “The Last Resort.”
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PHOTO COURTESY/ YOUTUBE AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
The storylines for rom coms are pretty much the same: the two main characters meet each other in an unusual scenario. Whether one of two characters places a bet on who can get the other to fall for them in a limited number of days or the two have to pretend to be a couple to save face in front of family, rom coms usually end with both being happy together. Written and directed by John Carney, “Modern Love” is an Amazon Prime original series that tells true love stories that have bloomed in New York City through a wide range of relationships that aren’t always platonic. The show is inspired by the New York Times column bearing the same name that has also been revived as a podcast and a book. “Modern Love” stars renowned actors such as Cristin Milioni, Dev Patel, Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey and others. All eight episodes of the first season tell a different story chosen from the 750 column-archive. The opening credits start off with a note stating that certain elements are fictionalized. The first episode, named “When the Doorman Is Your Main Man,” from the column written by Julie Margaret Hogben, tells the story of a young female named — in the show — Maggie who has a close, friendly relationship with her doorman, Guzmin. Oftentimes when she’s on a date, she experiences the father-figure disapproving response from Guzmin. In the end of the episode we get a glimpse as she returns from California for a visit. She and Sarah arrive in a cab to the apartment — with a surprise male friend. Soon as Maggie’s partner goes to meet Guzmin and ask about the test that he’s been told she needs to pass, Guzmin
says, “you passed it.” Guzmin whispers in Maggie’s ear, “I was never looking at the man, Maggie, I was looking at your eyes.” This tearjerker scene isn’t written in the column or featured on the podcast. One other aspect noticed in comparison to the column is that the doorman’s name is written as Guzim but is said as Guzmin throughout the episode, which is quite a strange decision for the episode, especially if the character is a real person. Nonetheless, the delivery by the actors was very effective and it was touching to see the relationship between Maggie and the doorman — a true friendly father figure. Other episodes explore love through friendship, self-love, loss and even through a strange narrative of a young woman conversing with an old man about her fatherless life that results in miscommunication. An episode featuring Anne Hathaway was the most striking. She strongly portrays the role of a woman with bipolar disorder as she wakes up in the morning with great positivity and exhilaration open to new experiences until the day is over and she sinks into her bed struck by depression with no way out. Her battle with her disorder keeps her from letting anybody in until she opens up to her friend for the first time. Another episode about the adventure of a male gay couple struggling to adopt a baby explores a riveting story about the couple adopting from a young rebellious homeless woman. The young woman, Karla, played by Olivia Cooke, strongly delivers her role as an independent woman unprepared to raise a child, bitter about the world, but changing her perspective as the couple opens her up to a world of love and opportunity. Many critics say the show lacks originality in expressing anything new to say of modern love. An article in the At-
Red Storm Say ‘Bye’ To First Round TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO
Sean Okula St. John’s soccer wrapped up the home portion of a banner regular season with the first of what could be a slew of postseason prizes: well-earned time off. The eighth-ranked Red Storm (13-2-1, 6-1-1 Big East) clinched the two-seed in a 4-2 win over DePaul to earn a first-round bye in next week’s Big East tournament. Providence will play a to-be-determined sixseed on Saturday to determine which team will visit Belson Stadium for the semifinal match next Wednesday. Only Georgetown stood between the Johnnies and the top spot. A loss to the Hoyas in October dashed hopes of that claim, but it’ll prove to be only consolation for the higher stakes to come. Both teams rank in the topten of the United Soccer Coaches poll and occupy two of the top-three spots in the RPI. The true test will come in a couple weeks, in the NCAA Tournament. In the meantime, St. John’s honored the seniors on Saturday that led them out from the doldrums of the conference. Among the honored was midfielder Brandon Duarte, who netted his second goal of the season early in the second half. Most of the action happened in the Johnnies’ attacking third.They outshot the Blue Demons 22-5, but couldn’t break the stalemate for much of the first half. Tani Oluwaseyi struck in the 36th minute. Skage Simonsen floated one up for the sophomore, who gathered it with two DePaul defenders guarding him near the net. Almost effortlessly, he found a crease and rocketed
With their 4-2 win over DePaul on Saturday night, St. John’s Men’s Soccer will have a first round bye in the Big East Tournament.
one over the keeper with his left foot. His conference-leading tenth goal of the year makes him the first Johnnie to crack the double digit mark since 2003. That’s all the Red Storm could manage in the first half, but the back line held steady. Goalkeeper Jan Hoffelner saved the only chance in goal. He handed a 1-0 lead to Luka Gavran for the second half. Duarte started a barrage with his score in the 47th minute. Jared Juleau placed a per-
fect corner kick that landed square on the head of the cutting midfielder. It was the first of 15 St. John’s shots in the half. DePaul trimmed the lead with a Jake Fuderer goal in the 53rd minute, but the Johnnies possession dominance meant they were not going to let this one slip away. Einar Lye landed a penalty kick just two minutes later for his fifth score of the year. Drew Rosen scored for the first time in his Red Storm career off an Oluwaseyi deflection that nearly
knocked the keeper on his heels. Even with another DePaul score off an unlucky bounce in the 79th minute, there was little doubt in the outcome for most of the second half. St. John’s closes out the regular season in Providence on Wednesday. With a win and a Georgetown loss to Creighton, they could share the Big East regular season title. Gratifying as that might be, there are loftier claims on the near horizon.
NCAA Starts Planning The Compensation Of Student-Athletes PHOTO COURTESY/WIKIMEDIACOMMONS
Sydney Denham The National Collegiate Athletic Association—NCAA—began the process of allowing college athletes to be compensated for their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the “collegiate model” on Oct. 29. The NCAA has an established philosophy that college athletes may not be paid. Although, after a unanimous vote by the top governing board Tuesday night, this philosophy seemed to change. This is the NCAA’s attempt to modernize their support of the 460,000 athletes among their three divisions. Michael V. Drake, chair of the NCAA governing board and president of The Ohio State University, said, “We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes.” “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.” In September 2019, California was the first state to sign a bill that will allow college athletes to get paid. This bill— which is supposed to take effect in 2023— will give college athletes the chance to hire agents and be compensated from endorsements. According to The New York Times, this bill was an at-
tempt at attacking the NCAA’s long-held rule that college athletes should not get paid and focus on earning a degree. California inspired other states to follow its trend. New York, Florida, Illinois and other states also looked into passing bills allowing college student-athletes to conduct endorsement deals with advertisers and to hire agents, according to National Public Radio. Under this process, the NCAA must begin to look at the fundamentals behind paying athletes. “The easy part is over,” USA Today said, “but now the NCAA must determine how much and under what circumstances athletes should get paid.” With recommendations from the NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group, the NCAA is ensuring many principles in this process. In these principles, the student-athletes must be treated similarly to non-athlete students, where education must maintain as the first priority to the student-athlete’s successes. Also, there must be a “clear distinction between collegiate and professional opportunities” for student-athletes, the NCAA said. Along with those, it must be made clear that the athletes are students of the universities, not employees. The NCAA said their plans will include equity to their student-athletes. “The board’s action today creates a path to enhance opportunities for student-athletes while ensuring they compete against students and not professionals,” NCAA Presi-
The NCAA took its first step in dealing with legislation that would allow student athlete’s to be compnesated last Tuesday.
dent Mark Emmert said. The Board of Governors of the NCAA plan on working together to gather information on how to respond to the legislation state-wide and federally. This is scheduled to be completed in April 2020.
Eventually, the NCAA plans to have finalized rules and regulations for this action across all three of their divisions no later than January 2021.
Anderson Gears Up For First Season As Head Coach Nick Bello There’s a lot to love about beginnings. Everything feels fresh and new, enough to make you jump out of bed at the crack of dawn with enthusiastic energy. Another positive is that you can’t dwell on the past Wednesday night’s home opener for the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team marks the beginning of the Mike Anderson era in Queens as the 21st head coach in program history will look to start the 2019-20 campaign on a high note against Mercer University. Although this would be a new and exciting experience for some, Anderson seemed to be calm on Tuesday afternoon while speaking to the media, as if it is just another day at the office. “I’m looking forwad to it,” Anderson said in a calm yet cheerful demeanor. “I’m looking forward to our guys going out and hopefully playing at a level that our fans can appreciate and enjoy.” Anderson’s demeanor is most likely due to the fact that this isn’t his first rodeo as he heads into season number 18 of his head coaching career. His career has taken him to the University of Alabama Birmingham, the University of Missouri and the University of
Arkansas, where he has made it to the NCAA Tournament nine times. Another factor is that his team showed a lot of promise in last week’s exhibition game against Queens College at Carnesecca Arena, which resulted in a resounding 94-59 win over the Knights.
I’m looking forward to our guys going out and hopefully playing at a level that our fans can appreciate. Mike Anderson
“Our guys played hard,” Anderson said reflecting on last Wednesday. “We didn’t execute all the time, I think we gotta get better in that department, being more efficient. Guys came off the bench and gave us some quality minutes and that’s what I’m looking for.” Looking back on last week’s exhibition game, there was a lot to like. The Red Storm
forced 22 turnovers while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field. L.J. Figueroa and Mustapha Heron led the Red Storm with a combined 59 points, which is something the duo is going to have to produce on a nightly basis in order for the Red Storm to have success this season. One of the brightest spots for the Red Storm was the help they received from the bench as Anderson made a flury of substitutions throughout the game. Sophomore Marcellus Earlington scored more than half of the team’s bench points, dropping 12 points while shooting 45 percent from the field. “We have an honest system where guys go out and leave everything on the floor,” Anderson said. “I want our guys to go out and have fun and do the things we’ve been working on in practice each and every day. Create havoc, create turnovers, but we want to take care of the basketball. I think that’s the biggest thing and not let people get comfortable, especially in Carnesecca Arena, Madison Square Garden, wherever it is.” Wednesday night’s matchup is the first between Mercer and St. John’s. Although this is the first time the two teams will meet, Anderson and his team don’t expect to take
their unfamiliar opponenets lightly. “Mercer is going to come in here and throw a punch, and we got to be able to throw our own punch,” Anderson said. Like St. John’s, Mercer is also in the midst of a new coaching era as Greg Gary was named the Bears head coach in March. Gary previously served under Matt Painter at Purdue University, helping the Boilermakers to seven NCAA Tournaments and two Big Ten regular season titles. “[They have a] new coach so that means they have new energy on their basketball team,” Anderson said. “Of course you’ve seen the success that Purdue has had, so I’m sure they’ll do some of those things … hardnosed defense, motion offense, multiple guys that can score, very versatile.” Although Mercer isn’t neccesarily a big opponent in comparison to the other matchups on the Red Storm’s schedule, Anderson understands the importance of Wednesday night, as well as every other game on the schedule. “I always think every game is a big game, no matter who we play,” Anderson said. “The next big game on our schedule obviously is Mercer.”
TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO
SPORTS November 6, 2019 | VOLUME 97, ISSUE 08
AND HERE WE Go!
TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO
From St. John's to CBS Sports
rED Storm Begin 2019-20 Season