Volume 94, Issue 14

Page 1

VOL 94 : 14 January 25th, 2017 The independent student newspaper of St. John’s University


HISTORIC WEEKEND See the story on page 3


INSIDE THE ISSUE INAUGURATION Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the

United States on Friday. Read reactions from students inside4





School launches new sustainability efforts

RecycleMania will raise awareness of students’ post consumer waste ANGELICA ACEVEDO

News Editor


(Above) Brandon Hickey, a student worker, and Thomas Goldsmith, director of the Environmental and Energy Conservation department, emptying the post consumer bins onto the pulper outside of Montgoris. (Below) An employee behind the conveyer belt, scraping off leftover food from students’ plates.

green bins -- a job that the back-of-thehouse does every day. Goldsmith said this is a part of the process so that the students see for themselves what they’re wasting. “We want to change habits,” Goldsmith said. Costa added that they will also be able to observe “in real time, if it’ll reduce the [waste] bins.” The students may also participate in a raffle and have the chance to win a bike, which will be on display. A storyboard, which was created by students, will appear above the conveyer belt, showcasing the University’s “Full Service Organics.”


Thomas Goldsmith, director of the Environmental and Energy Conservation department, and Joe Costa, a student worker under Goldsmith, met with the Torch to discuss updates in St. John’s environmental conservation work. Goldsmith announced that the University has completed the LED Lighting project, and received a reimbursement check from Con Edison for 50 percent of what it cost, on Dec. 22. Therefore, the University will be saving nine percent of its electrical bill, with its electrical consumption cut in half. Due to this project’s completion, the University completed the New York City Carbon Challenge. The challenge was issued by Mayor Bill de Blasio, and is a part of New York City’s commitment to become a greener city and “reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050,” according to the city’s Office of Sustainability website. According to Goldsmith, St. John’s joined the challenge in 2007, committing to the reduction of its greenhouse gas and carbon emissions by 30 percent by the year 2017. “We met this goal a year early,” Goldsmith said. Next in the agenda for the Environmental and Energy Conservation department is to raise awareness about the post consumer food waste among the student body with the ninth annual RecycleMania Tournament. RecycleMania began on Monday, Jan. 23 and will last until April. According to

the University’s website, the Tournament’s goals are to: • Motivate students and faculty to be more conscious of recycling habits; • Encourage a dialogue and understanding of food waste on campus (mainly in Montgoris Dining Hall); • Get students more active and aware of St. John’s Sustainability; • Reach a campus-wide 50 percent diversion rate Costa, who is a senior Environmental Science major, said that their biggest goal is to “reduce the amount of food that [students] waste.” Goldsmith said that the Environmental and Energy Conservation department has collected pre consumer waste from Montgoris since 2012, with bins that amount to 350 pounds a day. This waste has since then been composted right on campus. On Nov. 28, 2016, they began to gather post consumer food waste and found that they collect about nine to 10 bins of it a day -- which amounts to 780 pounds of postconsumer food waste. They now have a pulper which helps speed up the composting process. However, they want to reduce the food waste that they pulp every night by 50 percent. This is why RecycleMania’s main target will be the students who eat at Montgoris every day. Goldsmith and his team will set up a table beside the conveyer belt where they’ll ask students to fill out a survey, to find out why they didn’t finish the food on their plate. They’ll also ask students to scrape off their own food from their plates onto the

Feminists Unite gets New offers in the recognized by SGI Campus Bookstore ARIANA ORTIZ

Assistant News Editor


Editor-in-Chief A new semester means new courses, new books and new classmates. At St. John’s, the Campus Bookstore has a new initiative to bring all three together, as well as some reminders for students as they begin shopping for class materials.


This past semester, Student Government, Inc. (SGI) approved Feminists Unite (F.U.) as an official organization. The group underwent the application process, called Power to Organize, and was ultimately approved by the SGI Organizations Committee after two rounds of presentations. Feminists Unite, founded by its current president Stephanie Aliaga, has been in operation for over one year with the aim of establishing a space to discuss issues and provide education pertaining to gender equality. The group previously held meetings and events by using empty classrooms and booking spaces through the Women’s and Gender Studies department. F.U.’s newfound status means they will have access to booking rooms for events and will be able to advertise upcoming activities around campus. Thus far, the organization has done the bulk of its advertisement through social media and word of mouth. “Being approved has made it easier to publicize our club,” F.U.’s secretary Yovanna Roa-Reyes said. “Before that our posters were always getting taken down, but it never stopped us from having meetings … Now we can do the same thing as before

except freely and without having to worry that someone is going to report us or stop our meeting.” Aliaga believes that F.U.’s previous status as an unofficial organization prevented both potential and existing members from feeling fully comfortable with attending meetings. “People who didn’t know about F.U. will feel more welcome to join since we’re official,” Aliaga said. “Also [this recognition] gives F.U. a chance to grow in the future when our e-board graduates and is passed on to our new members.” The recognition of the organization does not entail a budget. According to RoaReyes, F.U. is planning on fundraising through sales of F.U. merchandise as well as baked goods. F.U.’s plans as an official organization entail expanding their original mission of promoting gender equality on campus. “I want to bring awareness to women’s struggles outside of the U.S. I also want to diversify the topics that we do. We are a feminist organization, but there are other minorities that we can bring awareness to,” Roa-Reyes said. Other organizations that became officially recognized include TEDx, UNICEF Campus Initiative, Women on Wall Street and the Physician Assistant Association.

The Campus Bookstore will have new features for students to take advantage of.

Follet Discover Follet Discover is a new feature on Blackboard that essentially puts everything students need in one place. Located on the left hand side of Blackboard, students can click on the feature to

access a list of required books for purchase, as well as other course materials that can be posted by professors. The selection of books includes new, used, rental and digital materials. Books can either be shipped to students, or picked up at the mail room. It also allows students to interact with their classmates and professors online. Price Match Though not brand new, Price Match is an advantage that all students should know about. When it comes to purchasing textbooks, the bookstore will match lower prices for the same book found on either Amazon or at Barnes and Noble. Students are able to purchase the book from the bookstore, and receive a gift card for the store that makes up the price difference. Rentals also qualify for Price Match, however, they must be six-month rentals. Discounts As always, this is one of the most important parts of purchasing textbooks. Students can rent new, used or digital materials from the campus bookstore, and save up to 80 percent. About half of the titles offered by the store are rentable.




Global turnout for historic Women’s March WANDY ORTIZ

Staff Writer Washington D.C. -- “The People United Will Never Be Defeated” was the message spread by hundreds of thousands of people last weekend, including some St. John’s students and groups, as Women’s Marches took place across the globe. Dozens of St. John’s University students participated in the New York City sister march, which Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office said more than 400,000 people attended, as well as the Washington D.C. march. A group of students from College Democrats went to the Washington D.C. march, while students representing Feminists Unite, one of the University’s newest organizations, attended New York City’s march. Students unaffiliated with groups on campus also attended. Paige Shatola, the treasurer of College Democrats, said she attended the D.C. march because she didn’t like waking up after Election Day feeling “hated and alone.” “Before the election of 2016 I thought that America’s progress towards equal rights for all may be slow and hard won but would be the destined result of a fair democracy. I had faith that progress made over centuries of compromise and loss could not be reversed,” Shatola said. “Yet I woke up on Nov. 9 feeling hated and alone in a world I never wanted to believe existed. That’s why I needed to attend.” The mission of the Women’s March on Washington D.C. and sister marches on New York City and Los Angeles was to “stand together in solidarity... for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families - recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country,” according to the march’s official website. The marches were held simultaneously

on Saturday, Jan. 21, following the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Sieta Leon, a Spanish and International Business major, said she marched in the New York City march because of the “dangers that people of color, women, undocumented immigrants, LGBTQ and I face under this new president.” “It felt amazing to see so many women showing their emotions without censoring themselves,” Leon said. “I feel like now it’s important that we reassure that we will not let ourselves be oppressed or anyone else for that matter.” Feminists Unite (F.U.) also marched in the New York City march. “The original intent of the march, as organized in resistance to a racist and misogynistic government, is aligned with the beliefs of F.U.,” Stephanie Aliaga, president of the organization, said. “The women’s march was one of the largest international days of protest in modern history and it was important for us to participate and be able to share that experience with SJU students and F.U. members.” Shatola, the treasurer of College Democrats, said she views the march as an affirmation that “progress towards equality does not give up in the face of adversity and ‘alternative facts.’” She said that while many feel that their securities have been voted away, she and other marchers shared a belief that their convictions had not. The Women’s March began with a Facebook post by Rebecca Shook, a retired lawyer living in Hawaii, according to the Boston Globe. On Nov. 9 Shook expressed frustration online towards the presidential election, as well as a desire to march on Washington against its results. The suggestion to protest the presidential election results went viral overnight, and


SJU students, groups participate in the New York City branch of the Women’s March

(From left to right) F.U. members Awura Ama Barnie-Duah, Alex Gaskin, Sydney Potter, (Bottom) Maquela Aguilar, Aria Hall, Madison Hunt and Stephanie Aliaga at the New York City Women’s March.

more than 10,000 women pledged their commitment to march at the capital. And it didn’t end there. From Mexico City to Paris, people of all genders, cultures and socio-political concerns came together on Saturday in numbers too large to obtain official counts. There were more than 600 sister marches held across the country and worldwide, according to USA Today, comprising of an estimated 2.6 million people. The Washington Post reported the Women’s March on Washington D.C. represented the metro’s second busiest day ever, behind only the January 2009 inauguration of former president, Barack Obama. Signs and banners reading “Love Trumps Hate,” “Equal Rights For All,” “Nasty Women Are The Future” and “Get Your Tiny Hands Away From My Uterus” were displayed amid a sea of pink knit hats resembling cat ears. The dense numbers of the march on Washington D.C. made the protest route

so difficult to navigate that some participants were physically unable to continue the march path toward the National Mall. In response to the demonstrations, President Trump tweeted the next morning, “Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.” Despite the President’s criticism that celebrity appearances -- such as Alicia Keys, Gloria Steinheim and America Ferrera -diminished the efforts of the march, in the day following the protest womensmarch. com launched a new campaign. Called “10 Actions, 100 Days,” it aims to offer 10 positive actions people can take during the first 100 days of the new presidency. The website urges those moved by the protest to continue their activism by writing to their senators and local legislation about political and social topics of concern to them personally.

Trump begins his presidency BRYANT RODRIGUEZ

Opinion Editor


Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States Friday, Jan. 20, finalizing his path into the Oval Office. The businessman made history as the only president elected without having previously held public office. During his inaugural speech, Trump stated, “We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.” He reiterated his campaign message of handing back power to the American people, blaming Washington’s establishment politics for issues the nation faces. “January 20, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again,” Trump said. The inaugural crowd numbered in the hundreds of thousands, while TV viewership was around 30 million, according to Politico. While admonishing politicians “who are all talk and no action,” Trump said, “We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper

again.” Despite Trump’s statements that he will work for all Americans, protests against his presidency erupted in downtown Washington which led to over 200 arrests and injured six police officers, according to CNN. “This election was an intense one and although I did not support either candidate, I hope Donald Trump limits the role of government in the social and economic lives of individuals,” junior Government and Politics major, Rumman Rafsan said. Trump promised Americans that they will “never be ignored again” and ended his speech on the message that led to his victory. “Together, we will make America great again.” “I think this is one of the biggest wake up calls ever. This inauguration is only the first page of what is sure to be one of the most controversial chapters in our country’s history,” junior Risk Management & Insurance major, Gabriela Staniszewski said. “I only hope that instead of letting Trump’s presidency further divide us,” Staniszewski said. “The American people will come together to fight for what’s right.”

4 Entertainment


“A Series of “Barry” tells a Unfortunate Events” beautiful story ALYSSA DUGAN Social Media Coordinator Netflix has done it again. “A Series of Unfortunate Events” captures the dark, dismal tone of the book series it is based on, while still putting a unique twist on it. The first season consists of eight episodes, based on the first four books. The show centers around the three Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus and Sunny, who were recently orphaned and left with a large fortune-only accessible once Violet comes of age. They are left under the care of banker Mr. Poe, who is responsible for finding them a new guardian. The children’s first guardian is Count Olaf, the bad guy who will stop at nothing to get their fortune. The children are

moved around from guardian to guardian, with Count Olaf always following close behind.The show is narrated by Lemony Snicket, played expertly by Patrick Warburton. He frequently interrupts the series to fill in parts of the story and constantly encourage the viewer to watch something else. The theme song too tells you to “look away.” Neil Patrick Harris, who plays Count Olaf, brings a more humorous and theatrical side to the villain, while still maintaining the necessary darkness. The author, Daniel Handler, better known by his pen name Lemony Snicket, serves as executive producer, ensuring it remains faithful to the book series. With its excellent guest stars and dark wit, the series appeals to both the younger generation and the ones who grew up reading the books. I can’t wait to see what they do with the next two seasons.

YVES NGUYEN Assistant Entertainment Editor

with a heartbroken John and grieving Sherlock who had resorted to drugs. While in his horrendous state, Sherlock uncovers one of his biggest cases ever involving a serial killer- public figure Culverton Smith. While high, Sherlock attempts to expose Smith which leads him to his death bed, literally. In a hospital room where Sherlock is recovering from a well-deserved beating from John, Smith reveals to Sherlock that he is in fact a serial killer. Smith begins suf-

focating Sherlock, which John stops just in time by barging in and catching Smith. We find out at the end that the late Mary had ordered Sherlock to “save John Watson,” which Sherlock attempted to do by throwing himself into drug use, and succeeded in doing so by forcing John to save him from Smith. The most intense episode, however, was the finale, which revealed that Sherlock and his brother, Mycroft, have a secret sister.

Before he was Barack, he was just “Barry.” Director Vikram Gandhi presents a prologue to the now former President Barack Obama, which speaks less about Obama as a person but more as a vessel for discussing issues of race and identity. “Barry” has a few shining moments, but it gets clouded with a narrative clout that leaves viewers with mere thoughts about heavy topics rather than gaining any insight on them. However, certain scenes, such as PJ (Jason Mitchell) giving Barry (Devon Terrell) a tour of the projects, rise to the occasion with nuance and depth. When Barry leaves the projects saying, “This ain’t my scene,” it means so much more than him simply not fitting in at a party. Terrell’s performance as Barry is heart-

warming, but the character of Barry is written in such a way that he almost loses his humanity and his relatability. He barely has any flaws in the film besides being angsty and smoking cigarettes. Every supporting character has heart-filled performances, but also lack depth and development. Though they provide different perspectives outside of Barry’s own mind, they fade into the background as they move along with him. The problem with “Barry” is that you never forget that this is a movie about President Barack Obama. Gandhi tries to ground Obama as “just another guy,” who may do something great, but there is no way to watch the film without thinking that this man will one day become president. There is no way to forget how the story ends, even if you are just watching a young, college student named Barry onscreen.

Review: “Sherlock” season four RACHEL JOHNSON Contributing Writer

Every episode of “Sherlock” has been full of tense storylines and plot twists, and the most recent season is no exception. On New Year’s day, season four of “Sherlock,” a popular show on the BBC, premiered. “Sherlock” is an adaptation of the classic Doyle tales set in modern-day London where ex-army doctor John Watson, played by Martin Freeman, meets consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, and gets sucked into the crazy life of crime-solving. (Warning!!! Spoilers ahead!!!) Episode one of season four opens to a group of government officials discussing with Sherlock what he’s planning for their latest threat, the apparent return of the late consulting criminal Jim Moriarty. The episode takes a turn, however, when Mary, John’s wife, comes under threat from her former assassin-for-hire group member. It was devastating when the culprit behind the exposure of Mary’s assassin group years before shot Mary, killing her. John’s finally comfortable life came crashing down in seconds, which he blamed Sherlock for as Mary had jumped in front of Sherlock and taken the bullet for him. This severed the deep friendship between Sherlock and John. This led into episode two which dealt

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in “Sherlock”


The episode had fans on the edge of their seats as Sherlock attempted to remember the sister he had forgotten, while at the same time their sister, Euros, executed her plan to test and torture her brothers. Sherlock, John and Mycroft were pushed mentally and emotionally in these tests, and the stakes were high for the characters. Ultimately, the season ended happily with Euros back in her cell, everyone alive and Sherlock and John, and his daughter Rosie, back in 221 Baker Street. This season was very emotional for “Sherlock” fans, not only because of the intense storyline and jaw-dropping plot twists, but also because this is possibly the last season of the show. Although the writers have not confirmed either way, it seems as though this is the end of “Sherlock,” especially with the final episode concluding with no loose ends. The main theory why this may be the end of the show, which so many fans have loved for years, is that Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are becoming too big of stars. When the show started they were barely known, but recently they have become two of the biggest actors in Hollywood. It is doubtful the writers would be able to pull the actors away from their full schedules to film another season. Could this be the end of our Baker Street boys? Only time will tell but, as a long-time fan, I can say that if it has to end here, they did a brilliant job of wrapping it up.


“La La Land” is a wonderful movie – a musical masterpiece by writer/director Damien Chazelle that’s destined to light up and delight anyone who watches it for as long as humans exist on earth. It’s a beautiful story about dreamers, passion, love and the arts, told brilliantly with zealous energy and relentless charm. The colors will dazzle you, the rousing finale will stick with you and the music will sweep you off your feet and take you on an emotional thrill ride. The heart of “La La Land,” though – the relationship between Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s characters and their romantic journey – is what will make you fall in love with it. This is, without question, my favorite movie of 2016.

2. Here is a haunting, unforgettable film that elegantly and ingeniously explores themes of revenge, regret, fear and desire. Written and directed by Tom Ford, “Nocturnal Animals” is an exceptionally well-acted and crafted film that both cautions viewers and captivates them as its three plot threads evolve to what is, ultimately, a stellar ending. It’s a taut, endlessly engaging film that takes viewers to some interesting and brutal places. Moral of the story: Be nice – and if you have something great, hang onto it.

5. Easily the funniest and most flat-out entertaining film of 2016, “The Nice Guys” is Shane Black’s best film ever and one of the better “buddy movies” around right now. The dialogue is sharp and funny, the chemistry between Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling and Angourie Rice’s characters is very well conceived and the mystery at the heart of this film is genuinely engaging. From the dark humor and well-realized detective story to the amazing 70s LA setting, there are a lot of reasons to enjoy “The Nice Guys.” It’s an easy film to love.

8. Jeremy Saulnier’s “Green Room,” about a punk band who witness a murder in the green room of a neo-Nazi venue, is visceral and nerve-shatteringly suspenseful. Patrick Stewart’s villainous club owner who holds them captive will blow your socks off. You’ll be squirming, you’ll be on edge and you’ll be loving every minute of it.

3. “Arrival” is a high-concept, suspense-fueled sci-fi thriller with a genuine, more emotional story at its core. Brilliant directing, an outstanding lead performance by Amy Adams, a beautiful story, stunning visuals and a jaw-dropping ending make “Arrival” a must-see experience for fans of all kinds of movies, and a highlight in director Denis Villeneuve’s impressive filmography.

6. The Daniels’ “Swiss Army Man” is crass, inane, immature and as weird as the term “weird” can get. However, there’s a beauty to it. It’s packed with so much depth and so many visual delights, it’s difficult not to give into its sheer oddity. Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe co-star as a lonely, suicidal guy and a corpse who happens to talk and fart, respectively. It’s a weird relationship in a film that’s ridiculously nutty, but it’s that relationship that makes for a surprisingly involving, heartfelt, emotional and very, very funny little movie.

9. The performances in “Manchester by the Sea” are some of the best and most captivating you’ll ever see in your life. Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges, especially, are outstanding and it’s their work – along with Kenneth Lonergan’s exceptional directing and writing – that makes the movie look and feel so real. There’s an authenticity to “Manchester by the Sea,” a down-to-earth realism that makes viewing it so powerful and relatable. It’s truly a hard-hitting film, with a flashback sequence that’s one of the more intense moments in film last year.

4. “The Wailing” is nuts! This Korean-language horror film directed by Hong-jin Na is scary as hell, weird as hell, at times darkly humorous and presents a finale that’s difficult to get off your mind. Among all of 2016’s great horror movies – “Don’t Breathe,” “The Conjuring 2,” “Lights Out,” to name a fair few – “The Wailing” tops all of them as the scariest film to creep its way into the cinema.

7. Barry Jenkins’ outstanding new film, “Moonlight,” is an absolute powerhouse. It’s an amazing display of talent and artistry, with a visual aesthetic that pulls you into the head and behind the eyes of the lead character, Chiron. From the movie’s cinematography and directing to the unsettling music and outstanding acting, we see the world as Chiron sees it: cold, sad and hopeless. The movie is split into three acts – each of which explore a different part of Chiron’s life as he ages – and all three manage to resonate with palpable emotion.

10. Chan-wook Park’s vision for this fun, absorbing erotic thriller is extraordinary. “The Handmaiden” is mysterious and bizarre yet stylish and exuberant, with visuals and a twisty-turny story that are both marvelous to disappear into. It is a vivid, absolutely hypnotic house of wonders, reminiscent of Park’s 2003 masterpiece “Oldboy,” though not nearly as violent.




Saying goodbye is the hardest Top 5 thoughts after winter break from a senior

WANDY ORTIZ Staff Writer

How? This will be your first and last thought about everything. How has it already been four years? How did I manage to survive? How do I look for a real job?

I miss Monty's Let’s be real- it’s always about food. Do you remember at orientation when OLs would say, “Where there’s glass, there’s food?”

This is the last time I'll ever_______ Go to the Winter Carnival, attend Tip- Off, use Blackboard, swipe my Storm Card, Relay, pretend to go to the gym but don’t…

I CAN DO THIS This semester will either feel like it’s going to be the fastest, easiest one you’ve ever had, or the longest hardest semester of your academic career. The anticipation for graduation day will have you saying “FINALLY,” or reminding yourself that all good things come to an end.

Thank you ester, you’ll be thanksem t las This professor ing everyone from thetest grade who drops the lowest o lets you to the guy at Sullivan wh use his printing money.




Freshman tells all about self published book “Her Naked Mind”


Julia Kotaev sitting down in D’Angelo Center reading her book “Her Naked Mind.”

Features Editor After sitting down and meeting with freshman Julia Kotaev for the first time, I couldtell from the way she spoke exactly how passionate she is about writing. For being 19-years-old, and living in New York City for the first time, Kotaev has a lot of experience in the writing field. From New Jersey native, she found herself all the way in New York to live her dreams out. One of her main accomplishments is her book, “Her Naked Mind.” The self-published book is a collection of poems that Kotaev has kept and wrote throughout the years. The book includes poems about love, adventure and other life experiences. “It’s just my bare mind, it’s real and that is why I chose ‘Her Naked Mind,’” Kotaev said. It took her about one year to get the book ready for publishing so by the time she was 19, she would have her first book published. When she first started out, Kotaev actually did not read much poetry. She didn’t want to feel like she was taking on other poet’s writing styles. She wanted to find her own. The book was not edited by anyone, she did most of the work, she said. However, her older twin brother helped her with

the cover which shows a hand writing on a thought bubble with rain drops falling on them to show her thoughts. “I’ve been writing since I was very young,” Kotaev said. “I wrote my first story when I was eightyears-old.” She would come home from school and write everything she could think about down onto Microsoft Word. “I would just always write stories so one day I just printed them all out and gave them to my teacher from elementary, who is now the councilwoman of my town now,” said Kotaev. The teacher told her that her work was beautiful and that she should keep writing, and that stuck with Kotaev ever since. Kotaev is a writer currently for the Torch, but that is not all. She doesn’t have writers that inspire her, instead it is the people and things that surround her that do. “I have a poem in here when I was eating a granola bar,” said Kotaev. “It was a chocolate pretzel granola bar, so I made a comparison about how love is sweet and salty.” Since the book is about poems from her own experiences throughout high school, she received a lot of attention on her poems. But that didn’t stop her. People such as friends from school would try to connect the dots between people in her life and the poems. “I just really wanted to share my writing

with the world,” Kotaev said. On the second day of the book being published, it sold in multiple countries, such as France, Mexico, Australia and Germany. Her book is available across international online bookstores and Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Walmart. She even had a few celebrities that said they would buy the book such as one actor, Raymond Ablack, from Degrassi who


It is so great to see someone’s writing, you get to see a part of them. - Julia Kotaev-

plays Sav. It was all about marketing for Kotaev, she was able to market her book really well. By interacting with people. Kotaev gets inspired quickly; each poem is about people or what they said. Her favorite poem in it is called “Ironic,” which is about falling in love with a writer. As of right now she wants to focus on writing and loves to plan things. Her planner is her life. On top of writing her other passion is marketing, which works well with her major, public relations. It has

helped her decide that she wants to be a PR specialist. Kotaev takes her writing capabilities to the max by joining groups such as The Odyssey, Her Campus, Food for Thought and LinkedIn. She received 2,000 views for her article about social media marketing on LinkedIn Pulse. For Kotaev, her book is not about the money, it is for herself and to get her name out there. She believes anything is possible. She loves living in New York City, because people here are not afraid to express themselves. She loves how she can be creative and express herself the way she wants through words. “My roommate, she reads some of my love poems and she could relate them to her life, and that is so amazing that people can find a connection with my words,” she said. Now she is currently writing a chapter book based on real life experiences that will be more for the romantics. Kotaev, as of now, sees herself with her chapter book finished before she is 20. Her dream is to be a New York Times Best-Seller. And she’s on the right path just for that. She encourages others to not be afraid and just share their writings with others and believes self-publishing is an easy way to express oneself. “It is so great to see someone’s writing, you get to see a part of them,” she said.


Split MICHAEL AMBROSINO General Manager Following the holidays and a couple months of great and awards-y films, studios typically release their crummier products with little expectation in January. Not only does this January’s “Split” turn that on its head, it also makes for a stimulating opening to what’s highly anticipated to be a great year for cinema. “Split” is filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan’s latest effort and easily his best, most accomplished film since his 1999 masterwork “The Sixth Sense.” It’s a stunning return-to-form for the director, having been through a decade of awfully negative reviews and laughter among many audience members. Films like “The Happening,” “Lady in the Water,” “The Last Airbender” and “After Earth” found the director in a rough state. Now, as Shyamalan goes smaller and leaner in his storytelling, we audience members – as if we’re proud mothers of the filmmaker – are happy to have been brought back to his better days of “Signs” and “The Sixth Sense.” Even though I felt this way when Shyamalan released “The Visit” in 2015, “Split” is a better movie that proves he’s still a strong presence in the industry. He is a director of great skill with an irresistible passion for storytelling. “Split” is a creepy, enigmatic little thriller. It follows three teenaged girls who are held in captivity by Kevin, played by James McAvoy, a man who suffers from a severe case of dissociative identity disorder. Two of his 24 personalities, Dennis and Patricia, warn the girls that they are sacred food for “the beast,” who is soon ready to rise from the darkness and feed on them. As the girls attempt to make their escape and some of Kevin’s other personalities reveal themselves, the film’s intensity heightens enormously and builds to a scary, suspense-fueled, emotionally involving finale. I loved every minute of “Split.” It’s a taut, punch-to-the-gut thriller with a mesmerizing lead performance (err, performances) by James McAvoy. He is absolutely astounding here, giving each personality the life and creepy-funny ambience they need to keep the audience both gripping their seats and laughing uncomfortably. When the last couple of minutes come rolling around, you’ll be surprised by how caught up you are in the film’s dramatic current. There’s a very intense, very powerful scene in which Kevin’s character switches personalities again and again in the matter of seconds. It’s a beautifully directed sequence that resonates with intense emotion. There’s an element of tragedy involving Kevin’s character that works in the film’s favor. “Split” is a wonderful thriller worth seeing while it’s in theaters. It’s shot beautifully, suspense is built confidently and McAvoy’s performance is something to experience. If you’ve been following Shyamalan’s career, “Split” has some big surprises for you.


Representation in film matters


In the movie “Hidden Figures,” directed by Pharrell Williams, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe star as Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. The three brilliant and courageous African-American women worked at NASA, who aided in launching the program’s first successful space missions. Katherine Johnson calculated the trajectory for the first moon landing, as well as for the Alan Shepard and John Glenn orbital missions. She also constructed a backup plan in order for astronauts to use the stars if a spacecraft’s computer went down. The Apollo 13 astronauts used this method to safely get home. Mary Jackson was one of the first women of color to become an engineer and helped other women succeed in STEM careers. Dorothy Vaughan was a mathematician who calculated how to use the first IBM Data Processing Machines in the space program. She also was the first African American manager at NASA. Based on a true story, this movie portrays the importance of represen-

tation of minorities and women in white, male dominated fields. Based on the historical background of the time, mass media in the 1950s and 1960s created false imagery to portray minorities and women as inferior, in all aspects, to white males. Johnson, Vaughan and Jackson were brave enough to break those stereotypes and pave the way for others, like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Christine Darden. It bothers me that I did not hear about these three extraordinary women until this movie. It is important that we incorporate more diverse historic events into our primary and secondary school education and that we support these movies that make a difference. Spencer and schools across the country are buying out showings of this movie for those who cannot afford to see it. They understand that this movie is so important for minority little girls, because it gives them a visual picture that they can obtain so much more.


It evokes what Hillary Clinton said during her concession speech, “To all the little girls watching...never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.”

The effects of Meryl Streep’s speech SHABIB AFZAL Staff Writer

cerning third-world debt relief and the plight of Africa for almost two decades. All of these are examples how celebrity activism can be beneficial. To overAt the Golden Globe Awards this look the good that Streep’s speech had year, Meryl Streep was given the Ce- would be wrong as well. The Commitcil B. DeMille award. She used her tee to Protect Journalists, the non-profacceptance speech to criticize Donald it that Streep mentioned, saw a spike Trump, mentioning the incident where in donations after the Golden Globes. he mocked a disabled reporter and It is also worth noting that Trump has called on “the principled press to hold had a very messy relationship with the media. That is not to say that it is all power to account.” To say that Streep doesn’t have the Trump’s fault though, as much of the right to criticize Trump like this is mainstream media’s coverage of this just wrong. Of course she can criticize election has been mediocre at best. The main probthe president-elect lem with Streep’s however she chooses. But is this really speech is the polarizing nature an effective means The more Hollywood, or any- of it. Our politof activism, or is it just another case of one in power, attacks Trump, ical climate is alHollywood elitism the more popular he becomes. ready incredibly damaged, and a bestowed upon everyday people? speech like this It is nothing new seems incredibly for Americans to see condescending, celebrities use their fame to promote as it’s just another Hollywood elite tellcauses that they feel passionate about. ing people how they should think. This In fact, many of these causes actually is problematic because of the fact that it adds legitimacy to Trump’s message. do some real good in the world. Take for example Harry Belafon- It validates that the establishment and te, who used his fame to help rid this elites are out to get Trump and his supcountry of segregation and also bailed porters. It makes it seem as if the press out Martin Luther King Jr. or Bono, is in with the elites, although Courtney who may be incredibly arrogant, but Radsch, the current advocacy director has been involved with causes con- for the CPJ, said that she was not ex-


pecting such an endorsement. More importantly, this speech only adds more fuel to the fire that is Trump. The more Hollywood, or anyone in power, attacks Trump, the more popular he becomes. One would think that those in these positions would h a v e came to this realization by now. Their constant onslaught PHOTO/FLICKR COMMONS against BOBBY MCDOBBIN Tr u m p , whether it be Lena Dunham promising to move to Canada if Trump won, or even someone who isn’t thought of as that arrogant, like Louis C.K., who compared Trump to Hitler, has only made his message resonate with more everyday Americans. Streep has the right to say whatever she wants and criticize Trump however she may, as there can be legitimate good done with such activism. But I question whether if the condescending nature of this speech can really help with our broken political discourse and if it will do any good in the long run.




Flames of the Torch Managing Board XCIV Suzanne Ciechalski, Editor-in-Chief Gina Palermo, Managing Editor Michael Ambrosino, General Manager Angelica Acevedo News Editor Bryant Rodriguez Opinion Editor Steven Verdile Design Editor Gina Palermo Photo Editor Isabella Bruni Chief Copy Editor Troy Mauriello Co-Sports Editor Carmine Carcieri Co-Sports Editor Reza Moreno Features Editor Michael Ambrosino Entertainment Editor Erin Bola Social Media Coordinator

Alyssa Dugan Social Media Coordinator Ariana Ortiz Assistant News Editor Sabrina Lau Assistant Opinion Editor Courtney Dixon Assistant Copy Editor Sahn Choi Assistant Editor Lauren Finegan Assistant Photo Editor Dylan Hornik Assistant Sports Editor Derrell Bouknight Assistant Sports Editor Yves Nguyen Assistant Entertainment Editor Carissa Herb Assistant Features Editor





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Look at the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, the Dakota Access Pipeline protests from a few months ago, or even the People’s Climate March from 2014. These are all prime examples that things can be changed when enough people come together and speak their mind. Especially as college students, we have a very unique voice. We are all furthering our educations to get jobs, live productive lives and make our society a better place to live. We all want to leave college and enter a better world to live in, where we can find employment, accept and help each other and coexist. This is why voicing our opinions is crucial to living this life. We saw an example of this just last year, when college students at the University of Missouri protested racial tensions for months, leading to the resignation of the university’s president and chancellor. There is great power in our voices, when we choose to use it. Whatever opinions you may have about any current issue, whether it be political, environmental, social, or anything else, there are bound to be other people who feel the same way you do. The beauty about the United States, in all its glories and faults, is that speaking out about these things can actually provoke changes.

Rachel Johnson Saeta Leon

Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of the Torch. Columns are the opinions of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of the Torch.

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This past weekend, the American people experienced two historic events back-to-back: the inauguration of President Donald Trump as well as the Women’s March, which is being called one of the biggest demonstrations in U.S. history. Trump’s election win stunned voters in November, following months of polling and media reports counting him out. A political outsider, Trump won the votes of many by being just that, an outsider. Now the nation is as divided politically as it’s ever been in our lifetimes. Between extremist and apathetic views, it is hard for many people to come to a middle ground. But regardless of political views, either far left or far right, or even dead center, the Torch believes that every person has the right to share and voice their opinions. The United States is no perfect nation, but one of the beautiful things about being here is that everyone can say what they want without persecution. All Americans have the right to protest peacefully, and should exercise those rights when it comes to issues they care about. When people voice their opinions and spread these messages to others, things can really change and differences can be made.

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

2017: the 400th year of the Vincentian Tradition FR. PATRICK GRIFFIN, C.M. Special to the Torch On Jan. 25 of each year, Christian churches celebrate the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Remembering the great missionary of the first century is indeed a worthy undertaking. On this day, we call to mind Paul’s personal experience which leads to his total commitment to the resurrected Lord. It was a life-changing event. Each Jan. 25, the followers of St. Vincent de Paul celebrate something in addition to the memory of Paul, we recall what Vincent termed “the first sermon of the mission.” It, too, was a life-changing event. The current year is special in that regard because on Jan. 25, 1617, he preached the original homily and so we honor its 400th anniversary. We do not have the actual words which Vincent spoke on that day, but he tell us what he did:

“In the month of January 1617, on the twenty-fifth, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, that lady [Madame de Gondi] asked me to preach a sermon in the church of Folleville to urge the people to make a general confession, which I did, pointing out to them its importance and usefulness. Then I taught them how to make it properly; and God . . . blessed what I said. . . . That was the first sermon of the Mission and the success that God gave it on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.” (CCD 11 #2, pp. 3-4) Only later did Vincent look back upon this event as “the beginning.” He saw in it the emphasis upon the spiritual needs of the poor which characterized his ministry and the mission of his followers. Later in the same year of 1617, in the parish of Chatillon, Vincent joined this emphasis upon the spiritual with that of the corporal, always in the service of the poor and always in collaboration with like-minded men and women. Can you guess the name of the Church in Folleville? St. John the Baptist! As our St. John’s University community celebrates the 400th anniversary of Vincent’s ministry

in that country church, we also revere our own heritage. Perhaps we can imagine St. Vincent coming among us and offering his challenge. How is it that we as a University community need to hear the summons to conversion and change? Where have we wandered away from our original resolution as a Vincentian and Catholic University, and how can we reform? Where have we been especially faithful to our charism and students, and how can we build on that effort? Vincent offers a great encouragement which we can adapt as we reflect on our story: “And that brothers and sisters, was the beginning of your [University]. As it wasn’t then what it is now, there’s reason to believe that it is still not what it will be when God has perfected it as he wants it. . . . Since your institution is not the work of human persons, you may therefore boldly declare, sisters and brothers, that it’s the work of God. Surely a [University] ordained for a ministry so pleasing to God, so excellent in itself, and so useful to the neighbor can have no other author than God himself.” (SVdP, Feb 13, 1646, CCD 9. p. 194)

Walker’s milestone highlights break DYLAN HORNIK Assistant Sports Editor

Just over a month ago, the St. John’s student body left the anonymity of their dorms, put their MetroCards down and tossed their car keys away, content to spend the next five weeks resting at home after an arduous fall semester. For the women’s basketball team, though, the work had just begun. A 5-3 stretch while the University closed shop culminated last week with senior forward Jake Walker registering her 1,000th career point, a figure that only 22 other women have reached in school history. The milestone came in the first quarter of the Red Storm’s 55-50 loss to Villanova on Jan. 15. Walker finished that game with 13 points, but the Red Storm couldn’t finish with the win. They let the back-and-forth affair slip away in the fourth quarter after being up by two with less than two minutes left in the third. Their off-putting effort was a far cry from some of the other efforts that the Red Storm put forth over the break. They handled Xavier, 65-48, in their first game of 2017, on the back of highlight-reel performances from their senior leaders. Walker, the team’s leading scorer at 14.2 points per game, poured what was a career-high 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting. She was open all game long thanks to some brilliant passing from senior guard Aaliyah Lewis. She dished out a career high 13 assists, the largest total for a Red Storm player since 2013.

Walker shattered her career high the next week in a 70-64 victory over Marquette. She dropped 32 points and grabbed a season-high nine rebounds in the friendly confines of Carnesecca Arena. Not to be outdone, Lewis poured in 21 points and 10 assists, and junior forward Imani Littleton had a career-high six blocks in the same contest. The Red Storm held Marquette to 29.7 percent shooting. “Jade did a great job of being a factor inside and I thought Aaliyah controlled the game from the point,” said Head Coach Joe Tartamella. “Every game is kind of interesting to watch and see how we play. When you have depth and have the ability to go to other players, where maybe in the past we haven’t, you really see who is going to step up that day.” Despite breakout performances like these, the Red Storm could not separate themselves from the pack in the Big East over this eight-game stretch. Big wins were negated by crushing losses, like one to DePaul that cut that three-game win streak short. They also lost to Seton Hall, who has since fallen below-.500 and just won their second conference game last Friday. They shot just below 36 percent from the field. As of Friday night, St. John’s sits at fifth in the Big East (4-4 in conference, 12-7 overall), and still have to play all four teams in front of them again. With school back in session in Queens, it is time for the Red Storm to turn it up a notch with an eye towards the postseason.


Jade Walker scored her 1000th career point in St. John’s loss to Villanova on January 15.

Big East Standings As of Jan. 24

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Sports 11

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Naclerio’s unique path to basketball history TROY MAURIELLO Co-Sports Editor

St. John’s alum Ron Naclerio knows a thing or two about winning. In fact, he probably knows around 758 things about winning. Naclerio, a graduate of St. John’s in 1979, has coached basketball at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Bayside, NY for 36 years and counting. In that time, he’s become the winningest public school head coach in New York state history. He achieved the record win, number 755, back in December, and since then he has tacked on three more wins to that legendary total. But Naclerio didn’t always have his sights set on coaching. In fact, at St. John’s he was actually a baseball player, who also spent time playing under legendary head coach Lou Carnesecca on the Johnnies “sub-varsity” team. “My senior year, I was hoping Carnesecca would put me on the team as like a lastman walk-on,” Naclerio said. “But I was a really good baseball player…so Carnesecca said, ‘If you’re a baseball player with a chance to be great, you gotta do that.’”

I’m ver y demanding, when I see selfishness I hit it hard. - Ron Naclerio -

Following his college career, Naclerio was selected in the 1979 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox, where he would spend two years in the minor leagues before his career came to an end. However as his baseball career ended, his basketball coaching days were just starting. Naclerio had started as an assistant with the Manhattan College basketball pro-

gram to fulfill a requirement for his athletic administration major at St. John’s, but when the commute became too difficult, he instead began working with his alma mater at Cardozo. “I lived right near Cardozo, because Cardozo is only a few miles from St. John’s,” he said. “So the next three years I was the assistant coach there even though I was still playing basketball and baseball at St. John’s.” So when his baseball career came to an end, Naclerio continued coaching at Cardozo, a place where he’s been ever since. In that time, Naclerio has seen a great deal of success. He’s won a pair of New York City championships and coached a number of future NBA players. He was also given a prestigious “Guardian of the Game Award” by the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 2002. The annual award is given out to coaches around the country who exhibit strengths in leadership, service, education and advocacy. “The year I got it, John Wooden got the education award. The leadership award was Dave Gavitt, who started the Big East and coached at Providence…and Ron Naclerio got the service award,” he said. “And I was the only high school coach to ever get the Guardians of the Game Award.” Aside from those achievements, Naclerio has become a fixture in the New York City basketball scene. “With basketball, whether it be Coney Island or Bed Stuy or Harlem, in the 1980s, 90s and 2000s I was probably the most recognizable face in the inner city,” he said. “And everybody got to know me, and I got to know every player.” But in 36 years of coaching, Naclerio has seen quite a few changes to the game that he loves. Not only that, but he has seen the culture surrounding high school basketball change dramatically. With social media becoming more and more prevalent in the world of sports, some would say high school basketball has turned into more of an individual sport but Naclerio’s coaching techniques to eliminate those issues have stood the test of time.

“The bad thing about now is that it’s such a ‘me’ generation instead of a ‘we’ generation…There’s money to be made in the game that was not around when I started as an assistant,” he said. “I’m very demanding, when I see selfishness I hit it hard. The kids really don’t want to box with me, because I’m all about winning. Everything you want in life starts from winning.” Naclerio offers his players life lessons like that on a regular basis. Many of them were probably instilled in him decades ago when he played under Carnesecca, his former coach who he still remains in regular contact with today.

And now it is his job to pass those lessons onto the younger coaches of today. Some of those coaches regularly reach out to Naclerio regarding his coaching techniques, which he is always eager to talk about. Naclerio will be honored at City Hall next month for his record-breaking win total, but as of right now, it seem as though he’ll be slowing down any time shortly. “Am I in the fourth quarter [of my coaching career]? Maybe. Am I in overtime? I don’t know,” he said. “Because 36 years is a long, long time. But I still love it. I’m still healthy, I’m still young enough to do it.”


SPORTS January 25, 2016 | VOLUME 94, ISSUE 14 |




DERRELL BOUKNIGHT Assistant Sports Editor

More than a year after St. John’s upset former Big East rival Syracuse in front of a full capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden, Chris Mullin’s team once again found themselves as the underdog four days before Christmas. For 40 minutes, the Red Storm dominated the Orange, playing some of their best basketball of the season en route to a 93-60 blowout win, the worst loss in program history for Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. Johnnies freshman guard Shamorie Ponds scored a game-high 21 points, while Malik Ellison and Marcus LoVett flirted with triple doubles. “We all just got together this week in practice and we made it a big emphasis to come out and play hard and play with a lot of energy,” Mullin said postgame. “And it benefited us.”

The team’s next game came in Queens against then-No.13 Butler. Ponds once again led the Red Storm in scoring with 26, with junior Bashir Ahmed adding 19. For the second consecutive game, St. John’s won in dramatic fashion. A free throw by Ellison gave them 72-71 lead with 14.1 seconds remaining. “It means a lot,” said Ponds, who hit four free throws in the final 9.1 seconds to seal the game. “That was a big win, especially at home. They’re a good team and in the second half we just cut down on our mistakes and got the win.” PHOTO/ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

Looking to win a season-high four games in a row, the Red Storm fell behind by 24 in the second half against then-No. 10 Creighton in front of nearly 5,000 fans at Carnesecca Arena. The freshman backcourt of Ponds and LoVett combined for 40 points. A furious comeback effort from St. John’s cut the Bluejays lead to single digits, but was not enough as the Johnnies fell 85-72. Freshman Justin Patton scored 25 points for Creighton, while Maurice Watson Jr. added 19 points and five assists. St. John’s shot 39.4 percent from the field, while the Bluejays shot 52.3 percent.

10 days after their loss to Creighton, St. John’s hosted defending national champion Villanova at Madison Square Garden. Despite forcing 20 turnovers, a season-high for the Wildcats, the Red Storm lost the rebounding battle 41-23, only collecting three offensive boards to Villanova’s 13. “Statistically, the rebounds are what killed us,” Mullin said. “But more importantly a lot of times we played good defense and they took away opportunities for us to get a little free flow in the open court.” The Wildcats had four players finish in double figures, leading by as much as 17 with three minutes left in the second half. St. John’s soon cut the deficit to 10 late, eventually falling 70-57. PHOTO/ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

Jan. 16 marked a career day for Malik Ellison. The sophomore from Voorhees, N.J. connected on seven of his 10 shots from the field, including five three-pointers, to finish with a career-high 23 points in a 78-68 win against DePaul. Ellison was one of four Johnnies in double figures that day, and the win helped the Red Storm surpass the team’s season total from the 2015-2016 campaign. Ponds and Ahmed scored 14 points apiece, and Owens was a rebound shy of a double double. “I had a good warm-up,” said Ellison after the game. “I have to give credit to my teammates because they found me. I had a lot of open looks and I knocked them down.”

Taking on Seton Hall in Newark, St. John’s met the Pirates in the 96th all-time meeting between the two programs. Sunday’s game wasn’t as close as Seton Hall’s one-point win last year, as the defending Big East Tournament champions led by as many as 27 en route to an 86-73 win. LoVett scored a team-best 22 points, tallying his seventh 20-point game this season. Seton Hall hit 52 percent of their shots from the floor in the contest. A 15-5 run in the first half put them up 24-15 with eight minutes remaining. Another 22-9 run soon thereafter put St. John’s behind 46-26 at halftime. Despite cutting the lead to 12 on several occasions in the second half, St. John’s (9-12, 3-5 Big East) could not hold on, as Seton Hall snapped their streak of three straight conference losses. PHOTO/ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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