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VOL 96 : 13 February 20, 2019 The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. John’s University

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talking #surviving sju

• University responds to the Torch's queries regarding sexual assault reporting - Page 3 FACILITIES on townhouses leaks, outages | Story on Page 2

TORCH PHOTO/spencer clinton

• Faculty and students organize panel on sexual assault resources - Page 2


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Panel on Sexual Assault Held Following #SurvivingSJU Kenneth Carter A panel discussion organized by faculty and students regarding the resources available to St. John’s students who are and have been victims of sexual assault on Tuesday, Feb. 12 in the D’Angelo Center, making it the first public event for students after many current and previous members of the SJU community shared their experiences on the Twitter hashtag #SurvivingSJU in the beginning of January. Both Monique Jernigan, executive director for the Multicultural Affairs Office and director of the Inclusivity Resource Center, and Ebony Calvin, director of Campus Affairs, stepped in to help the group of students put together the event titled “Let’s Talk About It: Sexual Assault and Consent on Campus.” “The goal of this panel is to inform students about the steps they can take if they ever find themselves in a situation,” Calvin said before the discussion took place. This event was in response to the hashtag #SurvivingSJU, where current students and alumni shared their experiences of sexual assault at St. John’s. The panel consisted of six people, some of whom are directly involved with the university and others who were there to inform

students of the external resources available outside of campus. One of the St. John’s representatives included Keaton Wong, the Title IX coordinator at St. John’s, who explained the different steps that can be taken by students who are victims of sexual assault. She stressed that victims have a multitude of options here on campus in regard to reporting assault, and they should not feel pressured to go a certain route. One of the other representatives from campus was Dr. Juan Suarez, a member of the Counseling Department. He informed the crowd that the Counseling Department has implemented a new policy regarding victims of sexual assault. “The counseling service will now see students who experienced any type of sexual assault until they graduate,” Suarez said. The policy used to be set up in a way where victims would only be able to go to counseling for one semester throughout their four years as students. One of the representatives for external resources was Serena Curry, a policy and training coordinator at Mayor Bill de Blasio’ office. She informed the audience of Family Justice Centers, which help victims of gender based violence. There is a center in each of five boroughs, with the center in Queens being located in Kew Gardens.

TORCH PHOTO/SPENCER CLINTON

Dr. Schekeva Hall and Juan Suarez were among the panelists at last week’s talk.

She also told the crowd that if they are a student at any university and feel as if their school did not handle their case correctly, they could go through the Department of Education and contact the Office of Civil Rights to seek further action. Throughout the discussion the audience had the opportunity to text in any questions or concerns to an anonymous poll. Toward the end of the event, senior Wyett

Woodburry read these questions to the panelists. Depending on their field of expertise ,they would answer to the best of their ability. This was the first event to take place on campus in response to the hashtag that surfaced this past winter break, but it certainly will not be the last according to Monique Jernigan. “This is just the beginning not the end of this conversation.”

Facilities Explores Issues in the Townhouses Power outages, leaks and flooding among students concerns Andreina Rodriguez Within the first week of the Spring 2019 semester, students of the Residence Village and Townhouses experienced frustrating facility issues such as leaks in the laundry rooms, power outages and flooding toilets. According to Brian Baumer, the associate vice president of campus facilities and Services, records from the past three years have shown that issues such as the ones above aren’t unusual. In cases such as leaky laundry machines and clogged toilets, it appears that matters of the sort are likely to occur. “Overall, the number of Facilities related issues in the dorm buildings appear to be relatively consistent over a 3-year period with the exception of Townhouses I and G,” Baumer said. “These buildings showed an increase in clogged toilets in 2018 compared to previous years.” The main concern throughout the winter has been the heating units that resulted in the power outage and flooding on Jan. 22. During one of the coldest days of the year thus far, move-in day happened to fall during the weekend of Jan. 22, which featured one of the coldest days of the year in which temperatures were as low as four degrees. “The power issue in the Townhouses is a result of the heating units overloading the electrical system when temperatures fall below 15 degrees,” Baumer said. But Baumer told the Torch that the Facilities Department has taken measures of precaution in order to prevent this from occurring again during such low temperatures. “Some of these measures were to reduce

TORCH PHOTO/ALANA LOREN BETHEA

Facilities gifted students snacks and water bottles following a string of issues.

the electrical load by providing power via a generator and also not using the ovens in the suites,” he said. “New gas units will be installed during the Spring and Summer which will permanently resolve the issue. The Facilities Department has followed up with apologies to the students living in the Residence Village and Townhouses with a

complimentary gift basket filled with goodies such as candy, chips and water bottles. The gesture left some students unsatisfied. In terms of communicating with the students and being notified of updates, students have expressed that this has not been the case in their experience. “With the power outages, we kept calling to

get updates and they had no clue what was going on or what was being done to fix it or what was causing it,” junior Samantha Lehmann said. “We asked if they could call us back with updates and they agreed but never did.” Similarly, senior Victoria Charles expressed that she felt there’s been a lack of communication considering the laundry machines being inoperative wasn’t brought to her attention until she found out herself. “I personally think a cute little sign would have been nice,” Charles said. Working closely with the Office of Residence Life, the Facilities team states that they continue to do what they can to assure that the students remain updated on any renovations or fixings of these issues. “If a service ticket is received pertaining to a specific room, a building manager may contact the student(s) in that room to advise them of the issue and next steps,” Baumer said. “Most renovations and repairs are done during the summer months to minimize any disruption to students.” But with more urgent issues such as the power outage and flooding, the Facilities Department had to take immediate action by quickly informing students of the matter. “Residence Life sent out updates on a continuous basis informing the students of the issues and how they were being addressed,” Baumer said. Though this has been a major inconvenience Baumer states that he appreciates everyone’s patience as such renovations are soon to come. Students may contact the Facilities Service Desk at ext. 6254 to place a service ticket or inquire about repairs or work going on.


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St. John’s Says Sexual Violence Reports “Follow National Trend for Under-Reporting” Angelica Acevedo When #SurvivingSJU trended nationally last month, among the flurry of tweets were some students questioning the accuracy of the University’s reported number of sexual offenses. St. John’s Clery Report, a federally mandated crime report released every fall, said there were four accounts of rape on campus in 2016 and again in 2017, the last year on file. That figure seemed surprising to many, in comparison to the litany of unsubstantiated but powerful accounts of sexual violence that were being posted on the social media platform. In response, the Torch looked deeper into the reported statistics, analyzed recent anonymous student campus climate surveys and reached out to St. John’s spokesperson Brian Browne to gain an understanding of the University’s sexual assault reports. Executive Director of Student Wellness Luis Manzo and Director of Public Safety John Breheny provided explanations for the questions the Torch posed. Specifically, the Torch sought the University’s explanation as to why there were only four reports of rape in its two most recent Clery Reports yet in a campus climate survey 20 percent of 1,332 students surveyed “reported an incidence of sexual violence during the past academic year.” Manzo defended St. John’s reported figures by saying that “1 in 5 women experience violence in college” while noting how the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has termed sexual violence as one of the nation’s most underreported crimes. “The data that we have collected suggest that the St. John’s community follows the national trend for under-reporting,” Manzo said. It’s also important to understand the major differences between the Clery Report and the campus climate surveys. Specifically, the Clery Report — also known as Annual Security and Fire Safety Report — is a federally mandated report of categorized campus crimes that all universities must compile and publish annually. The campus climate surveys are voluntary questionnaires that are emailed to students to “estimate the incidence and prevalence of different forms of sexual assault and misconduct” that they may have experienced at St. John’s. The two reports, and the answers provided to the Torch by Manzo and Breheny, give insight behind one of the most pressing concerns of students today: The prevalence of sexual violence on college campuses nationwide and what St. John’s is doing about it. Here is the breakdown in their words, edited only for length: What is the difference between the Clery Report and the Campus Climate Survey? Luis Manzo: “The Clery Report reflects students who have experienced sexual violence on campus and reported this incident to the University, whereas the Climate Sur-

vey is a confidential and anonymous self-re- Clery Act. Thus, the trend associated with the university’s response is an increase of ported survey of student experience.” John Breheny: “Under Clery, colleges reportable incidents to approximately 4.2 and universities across the country, includ- per year.” ing St. John’s, report certain crimes occurOn the 2017 Campus Climate Survey, ring: 1) on campus, 2) adjacent to campus, or 3) in university owned buildings. The it states that: “Not thinking the incident Campus Climate Survey differs from the was serious enough to report (46%) and Clery report in that the campus climate concerns that situation would not be survey did not limit responses to incidents kept confidential (31%) were the top occurring “on-campus, adjacent to campus reasons students did not report incior in university owned buildings”. Inci- dences of sexual violence.” Although the dents occurring off campus or in a building Torch asked about these results, Manzo not owned by the university, do not meet gave comment for the 2018 data of the the reporting Campus Clicriteria of the mate Survey Clery Act. As instead. St. John’s University’s survia result, they Manzo: vor-centered approach to reare not in“The 2017 sponding to victims of sexual cluded in that and 2018 violence has become a team report.” Climate Surresponsibility. vey questions What warwere as folLuis Manzo, Executive Director of lows: “which rants a case Student Wellness of the followto be reported under the ing are reasons Clery Act? why you did Breheny: not contact “There are two primary factors considered administrators, faculty, or other officials at when disclosing incidents under the Clery St. John’s?” Act: 1) the type of offense, and 2) the locaAccording to our most recent data, in tion of the offense.” the 2018 Climate Survey, the top reasons women shared for not reporting an inciWhen reading the Clery Report, four dent of sexual battery are: • Not thinking the incident was serious cases of “rape” were reported in 2017, while the Campus Climate Survey of the enough to report - 58.5: We encourage all same year showcased 265 of the 1,332 students who have experienced any form of who took the survey “reported an inci- sexual violence regardless of location- on or dence of sexual violence during the past off campus, and no matter who the perpeacademic year.” How do you explain the trator is. stark difference between the two figures • 52.2% Did not want action taken [and] here. 24.4% did not want the perpetrator to get in Manzo: “According to national statis- trouble: These concerning numbers speak tics one in five women experience violence to how sexual violent behaviors have been while in college. As has been reported by normalized and tolerated and accepted research and the CDC sexual violence is within our society. Furthermore, these data one of the most under-reported crimes in demonstrate the challenge our community the United States. The data that we have and society as a whole faces in recognizing collected suggest that the St. John’s com- the harm and impact of sexual violence. In munity follows the national trend for un- response we continue to provide educader-reporting.” tional and awareness initiatives regarding appropriate sexual behavior to empower The Torch also found more data that students to change this cultural norm. An dates back to 2009 on campuscrime. example is the SOAR Offices, “Knowing ny.gov that showcased more results of Yes” affirmative consent education. sexual assault reporting. What does the • Did not need any assistance - 49.2%: We University think of that data? encourage all St. John’s students to learn Breheny: “The statistics listed on the about the reporting options, interim mea2009 [through] 2013 campuscrime.ny.gov sures and support we can provide. We enwebsite are for the criminal offense of “sex courage this by highlighting the benefit of offense-forcible” and reveal a total of 15 connecting with the confidential Campus reported incidents over five years for an av- Support Advisor (718-990-8484). erage of three incidents per year. The Clery • Concerns that situation would not be kept Act was amended after 2013 and the of- confidential - 15.0%: All disclosures and fence “sex offence-forcible” is now broken reports of sexual violence are kept private into two separate offenses; 1) Rape and 2) due to the nature of the incident. In adFondling. dition, we communicate this to students From 2015 [through] 2017, and in 2016, through various modalities the confidential two incidents of fondling were reported and non-confidential options as defined by for a total of 11 incidents or an average Federal mandated reporting requirements of 3.6 incidents per year. A review of the as per Title IX.” 2014 Clery report revealed an additional six incidents. From 2014 [through] 2017, For the Climate Survey report, why did a four year period the university disclosed 2,700 undergraduates in 2015 and 1,300 a total of 17 reportable incidents under the in 2017 take the survey (which is emailed

to students on their SJU emails)? Manzo: “In 2015, St. John’s was part of the Campus Climate Survey Validation Study (CCSVS), conducted by RTI International. This study was sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) and included 23,000 students at nine institutions of higher education. In 2015, the survey was sent to a random sample of over 5,500 St. John’s students as this is a common approach to survey large cohorts of individuals.” What initiatives is the University implementing as a result of these surveys? Manzo: “In an effort to increase student’s knowledge of the process and the expectations for faculty and staff to report incidents we created a Title IX Reporting Poster that outlines the process. We also developed a brochure for survivors of sexual violence entitled, “You Are Not Alone.” This brochure provides support, and important information about prohibited conduct, available resources on and off campus, and ways to file a complaint in order to assist survivors in the reporting process, recovery process, and in their efforts to heal. The student survivor will be contacted by the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy within 24 hours of the report to schedule an in person meeting. We [also] created “Be the Bridge,” a faculty toolkit for the prevention of, and response to, sexual violence in order to maximize campus community awareness and safety, and ensure a survivor-centered response to violence and access to community resources. In an effort to improve support services for students who have experienced sexual violence, we developed a protocol for using a private ambulance service (with costs covered by the University), when appropriate, to transport students to a designated SAFE Program hospital. Our Residence Directors, full time, on-call professionals, who have been trained by SAVI, will ride along to accompany the survivor and ensure the student is connected with an advocate at the hospital. This option is one of three transportation options offered to student survivors.” What do you hope to see as a result of the findings of these surveys? Manzo: “St. John’s University’s survivor-centered approach to responding to victims of sexual violence has become a team responsibility. Resident Advisors and on-call Residence Life professional staff have received training from SAVI, one of our community partners. Public Safety, along with our community partners NYPD-SVD, and the Queens DA-SVB have received training on a myriad of topics including trauma informed investigation and the 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.”


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Student Government Inc. Hosts Second Meeting of Semester Topics included potential changes to campus dining, budgets Alexis Gaskin The second general assembly meeting of the semester for Student Government Inc. was held on Monday, Feb. 11 in the Marillac Auditorium. The meeting featured conversations and committee reports on potential dining plans for the Queens Campus, declaration of the important dates for SGI elections and student issues with Residence Life. There was no report from President Atem Tazi, but a lengthy report from Vice President Christopher Stephens which received a lot of comments and questions from SGI members and representatives. In Stephens’ report, he discussed the importance of the continuation of the new Power to Organize regulations that were voted on last year, initiating the first large change in the SGI constitution. What caused the greatest disturbance during the meeting was the aftermath of Stephens’ meeting with dining services. He reiterated that during his meeting with dining services, representatives there stressed concern that Chartwells, the University’s catering company, is losing money due to students taking forks, plates, cups and other utensils. Chartwells has put up

signs in Montgoris reminding students to not take silverware and cups out of the dining hall. But according to Stephens, this has not stopped students from doing it. In another topic that was tabled later for further discussion, Chartwells discussed the possibilities of keeping Montgoris open until 1 am everyday, which would replace the Red Storm Diner on campus. Stephens discussed this and said, “Basically, they gave the idea of keeping [Monty’s] open later and getting rid of the diner all together.” Many members that were present were not keen on this, based on the shoutings and grumbles by the students who were worried about the diner workers losing their jobs and part of St. John’s culture being lost. Stephens discussed that he would take the feedback to his next meeting and discuss these concerns with Chartwells. Reports from Junior and Sophomore Senators Johnny Wiley and Hannah Sesay discussed the possibilities of bringing Diversity Peer Education on campus for organization members and having Public Safety Officers attend the training. Sesay spoke on this and said, “If we had at least a representative from Public Safety that people got along with to go to training to establish the connection between stu-

dents and Public safety.” Committee reports were given by the Academic Affairs, Budget, Elections, Philanthropy, Service, Student Services and Sustainability committee. The Academic Affairs Committee is working on a potential event that will help students bridge the gap from their majors to potential jobs. The Budget Committee presented budgets for the organization’s plan to hold events that were voted on. All events were approved, including the Jewish Students Association Passover event on April 16 for $1,175 and the Italian Culture Society’s Carnavale for just over $1,200. In collaboration with Treasurer Henry Stitzel, the Budget Committee decided that any organizations that request funds for an event that are more than $2,000 will be split in half between SGI and the Campus Activities Board. The Philanthropy Committee is pushing efforts toward Relay for Life. Meanwhile, the Research and Development committee is working on a survey to discuss the sexual harassment incidents that allegedly occured on campus with discussions of working with the NAACP, who released a survey a couple of weeks after the

#SuvivngSJU uproar on social media. The Service Committee addressed the Hunger Banquet that will be held on April 9 at 7 p.m. in DAC 128. Student Services spoke of the Residence Life issues that students have been having on campus. Brown water coming from faucets and showers, along with the power outages and pipe leaks in the Townhouses were also talked about. Committee Chair Torrent Cannon said that Facilities called the brown water a “NYC issue, not a St. John’s one.” The Sustainability Committee also urged members and organizations to utilize the sustainable cutlery that is available in the SGI office and announced that compost bins will soon be available on campus. Discussed with most importance was the tentative schedule for the SGI Elections. The dates are as follows: • Feb. 25/26: Mandatory Information Sessions • March 4: Application Launches • March 13/14: Application Deadline • March 18/19: Constitution Test (not confirmed) • March 25: Ticket Presentations to Floor • March 28: Debate

SJU NAACP Hosts Workshop Led By Community Activist Imani Crystal Simmons Students organizing is common to many college campuses across the nation, and that includes St. John’s. In light of students using their own platforms to share a message, the St. John’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held an organizing workshop for students that are passionate about addressing the issues impacting them and the campus at the Inclusivity and Resource Center on Thursday, Feb. 14. Led by activist and third grade educator Zellie Imani, students engaged in a dialogue to think critically about how to create change through the work of organizing. In addition to teaching elementary school students, he tries to travel nationally to empower people across the nation. “I take the time out to try to travel nationally to give workshops and speeches to young black and brown students to inspire them and give them the tools in order to empower themselves and change any of the issues that they have on campus,” Imani said. In a series of small groups and different exercises, various students were able to brainstorm and share possible ways to seek restorative justice. While many of the scenarios that students analyzed were derived from current real life events, they were able to bridge the conversations into issues affecting St. John’s students on campus. Like many students who are passionate about civic engagement, Baltimore native and the NAACP president Tamia Morris

has seen the triumphs and shortcomings of student led organizing efforts and explained why it is important to have these types of workshops on campus. “I thought that in the wake of everything that happened in the previous year with the protesting we had to try over and over again to find a successful plan of action,” Morris said. “I thought that it was a good idea to bring an outside source to help us do this and I think he did.” Throughout the presentation students raised concerns about how to negotiate their demands and the necessary elements for organizing around specific issues that are addressed in relation to the larger issues at hand. Imani also shared his own experience with demonstrations after being a witness of the climate at the front lines in Ferguson in the Summer of 2016. While students were captivated by the details he recounted from that day, they also got to hear about his experience as an organizer and learn how to build movement around an issue. “Some of the main things that stood out to me was that you have to start low and gain the momentum,” junior Jalisa Smith said. “Sometimes agitation is needed, and it takes making the smaller move to realize how we need to get to the bigger picture.” One of the many issues that student organizers are trying to address is the policy surrounding on-campus demonstrations. It is still unclear how this will affect future protests in response to injustices within the St. John’s community.


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Restorative Justice at St. Thomas More Church Students and guests filled the church to hear Amy Williams Cara Yesko Renowned speaker, gang interventionist and self-proclaimed “Hope Dealer to the Dope Dealer” Amy Williams led a lecture titled Hope Dealing: A Conversation on Restorative Justice on Thursday, Feb. 7 in the St. Thomas More Church. The event, hosted in part by St. John’s Black Student Union, began when student organizers of Students of Consciousness opened by “pouring libations,” a tradition in which ancestors are honored. The lecture that ensued was one Williams warned would leave the students and faculty present uncomfortable and hopefully mad. Williams’ lecture focused on the criminal in the American Justice System. The bright PowerPoint slides projected onto a screen in the center of the church portrayed statistics about the nature of America’s inmate population and how it correlates with high school dropout rates. First, Williams discussed the school to prison pipeline system in depth and how it targets black youth, in particular the black LGBTQ community which Williams noted is the “fastest growing group of incarcerated youth.” Williams stated that this is because “we criminalize what we fear” and prioritize “incarceration over education.” The lecture then moved in the direction of America’s political history and more specifically how some of the presidents of the last three decades, from Reagan to Clinton to George W. Bush, have shaped legislation around education, small crime and drug and gun possession to the detriment of targeted at-risk youth in particular. Alternative methods of justice such as classroom peace circles and family therapy were explained. Williams also tied in St. John’s Vincen-

TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO

Amy Williams’ lecture followed Rev. William J. Barber’s talk in St. Thomas More Church last month, both drawing large audiences.

tian mission and discussed the distinct ways religion could impact imprisoned youth. “Nineteen-hundred juvenile detention centers but guess what, only 30 percent of these facilities have a faith based organization going to visit these kids,” she said. “Kids that are in facilities that go to a bible study have a fifty percent chance of staying out and never coming back.” William’s lecture concluded with an

appeal to religion. She urged audience members to increase awareness about the imminent issues in our justice system and to help in ways they can through advocacy and by thinking twice before shopping at stores that profit from prison labor. The event then opened up to student discussion and became a safe space for members of the audience to share their impressions and opinions as well as to ask questions.

Sophomore Noah Bagdonas found the event informative. “It’s crazy to think about how our criminal justice system is rapidly changing each and every day,” Bagdonas said. “What was mind boggling for me was how so many kids who dropout of high school have a higher risk of going to jail,” he continued. “We can’t keep making assumptions anymore and have to think twice before acting.”

Local Politicians Respond to Amazon Announcement Beverly Danquah Three months after announcing a plan for a new headquarters in New York City, Amazon has abruptly canceled the project. The decision to back out of the plan that would have brought an estimated 25,000 jobs to the city has left some disappointed and others rejoicing. Amazon faced unwavering opposition from some local lawmakers who were unhappy with the almost $3 billion in tax incentives Amazon was guaranteed. In addition to the jobs they intended to bring, the webbased company planned to spend $2.5 billion building its new offices. They also planned to invest in the surrounding community with intentions of building a primary or intermediary public school. In response to the decision, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said “We all want jobs to come to Queens, and Amazon used the promise of job creation to extract major concessions for this project...They rejected our values of supporting working people and were unwilling to work with our local communities toward a mutually beneficial resolution. New York has the best tech work force in the nation, much of which is here in Queens, so if Amazon wants to take their jobs somewhere else with a lesser work force so they can undercut wages and workers’ rights, that’s their

choice.” Senate Deputy Leader, Michael Gianaris, echoed a similar sentiment in a statement. “Today’s behavior by Amazon shows why they would have been a bad partner for New York in any event,” he said. “Rather than seriously engage with the community they proposed to profoundly change, Amazon continued its effort to shakedown governments to get its way. It is time for a national dialogue about the perils of these types of corporate subsidies.” Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared victory after Amazon’s announcement. “Today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers and their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation and the power of the richest man in the world,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. On Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez told reporters on Capitol Hill, “If we were willing to give away away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest $3 billion in our district ourselves if we want to. We could hire more teachers, we can fix our subways, we can put a lot of people to work for that money if we wanted to… there was no guarantee those jobs for the New Yorkers that were here. We were looking at a deal that was not primarily putting the community first.” Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, expressed regret

You have to be tough to make it in New York City... If Amazon can’t recognize what that’s worth, its competition will. - Mayor Bill de Blasio

on Amazon’s decision via Twitter. “Disappointed that NYC won’t be home to 25K+ new jobs from HQ2 & that LIC will lose out on infrastructure improvements that would have accompanied this project,” she tweeted. “This is not the Valentine that NY needed.” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Amazon threw away an opportunity to work with the community. “You have to be tough to make it in New York City... If Amazon can’t recognize what that’s worth, its competitors will,” de Blasio said.


TORCH DESIGN/AMANDANEGRETTI JENNA WOO

Last spring, I partook in SJU’s Discover the World study abroad program. It was a perspective-broadening experience that took me beyond the bubble that is New York City. I expected to catch flights and expand my horizons in a global context —I didn’t think I’d cut all of my hair off a month in. Around this time last year, I woke up early one morning and did what I consider to be unthinkable as a Ghanaian-American woman who comes from a structured household . My hair had been relaxed for as long as I could remember; however, I’d been wanting to do the big chop for a while because every time my new growth would come in, I thought the texture was gorgeous. I was looking forward to putting my week’s worth of YouTube tutorial research to work. My natural hair journey spanned about six months. I realized that I didn’t know enough about my hair to really nurture it like it needed to be. I also realized that I didn’t have the time to invest in my natural hair that it deserved. I’d quickly learn that my natural hair would also require me to either sport a short fro, or stick to wigs and protective styles. I’d never considered being bound to either option when my hair was permed. I also quickly learned why my mother would always pop me on my arm with the comb while I was getting my hair done in my childhood — I am really tender-headed. During my journey, I had a friend who told me that she hadn’t messed with her natural hair in about two years because she would get box braids back-to-back-to-back. The thought of cutting my hair just to cover it up all the time because it was so high-maintenance made me want to get a perm again. My determination to remain natural was so real that I even endured a silk-press phase, where I was getting a silk press about twice a month just so I could preserve my curls while rocking my God-given hair, and shorten my morning routine. Since then, I reverted back to relaxers, NOT because I hate my curls or my hair, but because I don’t know enough about my curls yet to take care of them like I should, and presently, I don’t have the time to invest. I’ve limited my perm appointments to about four times a year. In order to care for my hair, I use Hair Bloom by Youma’s Beauty to massage my scalp. I’ve also put my hair in the trusted care of a black-owned salon near campus.

Growing up, I never really hated my curly hair, I just didn’t know how to take care of it. Since my hair is curly, it looks full when it’s cooperating, but my hair is very thin, which means it doesn’t hold shape very well. I would often get frustrated with my hair. It was frizzy all the time, but I thought that was just a part of having curly hair — which it is, if you don’t know how to combat it. My journey to loving my curly hair and learning how to take care of it taught me two very important lessons. My first ‘Aha!’ moment was when I chopped off eight inches of my hair to donate in tenth grade. My hair went from being at my waist to at my shoulders, and it changed everything. With how thin my hair is, all the length from before was weighing it down and making it flat, so when I cut it, I suddenly had tons of volume! I’ve kept my hair short ever since. The second lesson I learned was to use the right products! After my big chop, my cousin, a hairdresser, showed me what products I needed to be using. I started using a mix of Head & Shoulders (for dandruff), Paul Mitchell curl shampoo and Herbal Essences curl conditioner, as well as scrunching my hair after getting out of the shower. Doing this made my hair softer, have better shape and hold curls longer. But, my hair was still temperamental. Six months ago, I was in Ulta and saw the Paul Mitchell Full Circle Leave-In Treatment. I tried it out and it completely changed my hair. It gave my hair much-needed moisture, and I also started spritzing my hair with water every morning and scrunching it to revive the curls. My hair looks amazing now and I love my curls more than ever.

From frying my hair with a flat iron to destroying it with bleach and hair dye, it’s safe to say I have gone through just about every style and color phase there is to go through with my hair. Over time, however, my favorite hairstyle has slowly gone from pin straight locks to my natural curls. I’ve ditched my hair straightener almost entirely, although I do love a sleek blowout from time to time. It took a long time for my hair to get healthy after everything I put it through, and even longer to find a hair routine that worked for me. It’s been a journey, and I’ve got a long way to go. I still never know what to do with third-day curls and I don’t own a silk pillowcase. My go-to has become a simple wash and go, and I tend to use only one or two products in my hair to avoid weighing it down. Colder weather often leaves my hair dry and dull, so co-washing, conditioner-only washing, hair masks and argan oil have become my best friends. I always like to switch up my routine with new products every couple of months to bring some life back to my hair. The best part of my hair journey has been trying out new routines and styles periodically — nothing stays the same, so why should my hair?

For as long as I can remember, heat was the only medium my hair knew. Taming my 3C hair has never been an easy feat. It requires time and effort that my working parents never really had the time to give. My earliest memory of my hair care “routine” was sitting at the kitchen counter, towel around my neck to protect against the severe burns inflicted by the pressing comb my mother used to straighten my hair. Keeping my hair straight was the “easiest” way to tame it. As I grew older, I “treated” my hair to the harsh heat of blow dryers, straightening treatments, flat irons and more. After a while, I couldn’t stand to look in the mirror without my hair being straight. And then came the summer of 2014 when I went off to sleepaway camp: Acres upon acres of woods with no electricity (a place where blow dryers go to die). I had no choice; I had to wear my hair natural for three whole weeks. And although I had no idea what I was doing and my hair looked like a mess more often than not, it was then that I realized that my hair did not have to be straight in order to be considered beautiful. Today, I view my hair as a symbol of my external beauty, an element of my life that represents a rich history that is not only my own, but also that of my ancestors. Although it does whatever it wants most of the time, I recognize that my hair does not have to look one way for it to be beautiful. It is mine to cut, mine to style and mine to love. My hair, my choice.

I had a perm since I was around seven years old. My mother is of Indian descent, so her hair has a looser curl, while my dad has thick, brillo pad hair. I turned out to be the happy medium, in my opinion. But wow, was my hair hard to comb. I’m not sure why my mom decided to perm my hair. I think that’s just what people did. Every outing, my hair needed to be straightened or it wasn’t presentable enough for a wedding or school recital. For 2019’s standards, that sounds pretty toxic. But for my parent’s standards, it wasn’t. I don’t resent them for behaving according to their world view; especially since they have adapted so well to changes. They’ve been with me, watching all the Youtube videos of natural hair gurus talking about wash-n-go’s and protective styles. They learned about the processes of wig wearing and the positivity that comes from changing up a style every now and then. They saw big hair as beautiful in any setting and joined me on my journey. Maybe not wholeheartedly at first — they had to endure me having very short hair for the first time in my life — but the hair grew back. It grew into an interesting poof of fine strands that coiled up instantly in humidity, looking nothing like my dad’s afro or my grandmother’s stick-straight Indian hair. It was beautiful, jet black and bouncy. It was in my face — the bangs practically covering my eyes. It was radiant and beautiful. And I’m going to miss it. It’s been a year and six months since my big chop, and now I’m big chopping again. Because the natural hair journey doesn’t go in a straight line. It starts with love and is run by love and finishes with love. It does not always start with shaving your head, growing your hair to the ground and never stopping (although that would be pretty awesome). It goes however you want it to. It starts and stops and starts all over again. It’s about accepting yourself at every appearance when society has decided to stop. Men literally stopped looking at me when my hair was short and springy. And I’m willing to risk something as trivial as that all over again to enjoy one of my favorite looks on myself of all time. Either I can hesitate for another three months,or I can do it, cry about it and then have all the fun.

The last time I sat in the chair to receive a perm I was 13 years old. I had been getting them since I was around five years old, heading into Kindergarten. I never asked my mother for the perm but she was tired of chasing me with the comb. During the school year I would rock the Shirley Temple curls from a roller set and when I was of “appropriate age,” I was able to get my hair flat-ironed. Although my hair never went quite as planned and I spent many nights trying to get the bump out of my ends, it wasn’t until middle school that I began to see the negative effects that a perm had on my hair. I had excessive heat damage and my hair was shedding at an alarming rate. After confiding in my friend (who had been natural her whole life), she inspired me to let my hair grow naturally. Throughout high school, I periodically trimmed out my relaxer and was determined to rid my hair of any chemical straightness. The natural movement was just starting to pick back up and I had limited access to hair care products. In the summer, my hair was easier to maintain because I wore braids and I would only get my hair flat ironed (sans the chemicals) in the fall. I didn’t really see the shift in my curl pattern until freshman year of college. One thing that I have learned throughout this journey is that understanding how your hair retains moisture is key. Every time I think about my best hair days, it’s usually when my hair is properly hydrated. There will be times when you must switch up your products or regimen based on what your hair needs. Maintaining natural hair is a constant process of evolution and you have to be able to adapt.

I remember when I first relaxed my hair. I look back on my time in middle school when my hair was so heat damaged and wonder, “Why did my mom let me do that?” Before I relaxed my hair it was long and healthy, but peer pressure and seeing my non-Black friends with their long hair (I went to a predominantly white school) got to me, so the chemicals came and eventually my hair went. By the time I got to high school, I had sworn off all chemicals. I didn’t do the “big chop,” which is when you cut off most of your relaxed hair and start anew; instead I slowly trimmed my damaged ends and worked from there. I’ve been natural since my freshman year of high school and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If I could go back and not have relaxed my hair in middle school — if I had known better or if I had the patience to take care of my hair, I would have. As soon as I hit the natural route, my preferred protective hair style became braids — and it still is today — just because of its convenience, the benefits, the versatility and the look of it. Nowadays, however, I’ve been trying something different — weave. I’ve always said I’d never use a weave, mainly because my mom stressed to me that it’d weaken my hair just like a relaxer — I still don’t know the verdict on that — but I was desperate for something different and for me that something different is weave. The way I choose to wear my hair now isn’t based on what my peers around me are doing, or bless my mom’s heart, what she would rather I not do, but instead based on the research I’ve done about my natural hair and what makes me feel beautiful.


8 Opinion

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Flames of the Torch On the recent #SurvivingSJU talks, findings

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in the right direction on the University’s part. Since many students may not feel comfortable confiding in SJU counselors, there are other options, including contacting the Office of Civil Rights in the NYC Department of Education. As well as hosting the panel, SJU administrators put up signs around campus that outlined consent. Some read,“Drunk doesn’t mean consent.” While these signs are less of a grand move than the discussion panel, they are a telling indication that the administration is aware of the issue and wants students to know it. The University initially said in a statement to the Torch last month that they would be reaching out to students who posted about sexual violence incidents. While we realize that specific names and details cannot be distributed, our editorial board would like to urge University administrators to be as transparent as possible about what their investigations uncovered. The student body deserves to be informed about any and all direct conduct repercussions as a result of #SurvivingSJU. SJU has a ways to go to gain the trust of the student body. If these initial actions are any indicator, the road ahead is looking up.

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St. John’s has been under a fair amount of scrutiny since #SurvivingSJU trended nationally last month, leading students to criticize what they see as an ineffective sexual assault reporting system. This comes as several student groups on campus have held demonstrations to voice their displeasure with administrators in the past semester on this topic. In light of the events that transpired on Twitter last month, students have anticipated the University’s next move. Read Kenny Carter’s full story on page two. In an attempt to extend support to students, a panel of University administrators and external experts sat in front of an almost 50-student-audience in the D’Angelo Center on Thursday, Feb. 12. This discussion marks the first event put on by the University, responding to the #SurvivingSJU hashtag. The goal of this panel was to inform students of the options that are available to them, if an incident were to occur. Title IX coordinator, Keaton Wong, was one of the panelists. A representative from the Mayor’s Office, Serena Curry, was among the external representatives who were present to share relative information with students in attendance. The presence of external resources is a step

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What’s the Deal with the New ‘Period’ Emoji? Destinee Scott Ladies, we’re getting a period emoji! After the non-profit organization Plan International UK’s fight for an emoji symbolizing menstruation earlier this month, Unicode announced that a cartoon red blood droplet emoji used to signify “menstruation,” “blood donations,” and “medicine” will be available on smartphones later this year. Since finding out that 48 percent of girls and women in the UK between ages 14 and 21 were embarrassed by their periods in 2017, Plan International UK, which advocates for children’s rights and girls’ rights, has been pushing the need for a period emoji in an attempt to help normalize and reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation. “Ending the shame around periods begins with talking about it,” Lucy Russell, the head of girls’ rights and youth at the non-profit organization told the Guardian. For their campaign, which asked people to vote between different designs for the emoji, including a sanitary pad,

a monthly calendar, smiling blood droplets, a uterus, and a pair of “period panties” they received 54,600 signatures in total. Most of which voted for the underwear with the blood droplets, although Unicode Consortium, the body that maintains and regulates emojis, rejected the original period design. But last September after teaming up with NHS Blood and Transplant and submitting a new proposal for a blood drop design, Unicode gave the menstruation inspired emoji the green light and selected it to become an official emoji. Now, instead of resorting to using an erupting volcano emoji or a red rose emoji to represent their time of the month, women will have access to a period emoji specifically designed to symbolize menstruation before the year is up. Although an emoji may seem like a small change, it’s an important step in breaking the stigma and shame around periods and normalizing the conversation that surrounds it. “An emoji may seem minor to other people, but it started a conversation,” Lamanda Ballard, founder and executive director for Flo Code, a non-profit based in Austin, Texas,

that provides menstruation products to underserved communities, said. “Where you once would have been shunned for grabbing a box of tampons at a store, we’re now in a place where we can have this open conversation online,” she said. For centuries, women and girls have spent thousands of days of their lives experiencing the shame and embarrassment of being on their period, but menstruation is a natural bodily function that makes humankind a possibility. A period emoji can help people see this because of its direct use in opening the conversation around menstrual health and challenging the idea that there is a “problem” with menstruation. Whether we like it or not, emojis are a huge part of our everyday conversations. Having access to something as simple as a period emoji can begin to break down the well-played out stigmas surrounding periods. — I mean after all, we do have ridiculous and useless emojis like a floppy disc, a unicorn and smiling poop, so what’s a period emoji going to hurt?


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R.I.S.E. Implements the Sophomore Experience Positive response led to the second-year student program With headquarters tucked away from the often noise-filled scene of the D’Angelo Center’s main floor, the R.I.S.E. Network performs impactfully with a calm professionalism. R.I.S.E., or Reach, Inspire, Succeed, Empower, is a scholar’s empowerment network that provides freshmen, and more recently, sophomore Black and Latino students with skill-based development, support and opportunities to enhance their overall academic career at St. John’s. “This opportunity [to join R.I.S.E] would be offered to incoming freshmen,” said Sharod Tomlinson, Director, R.I.S.E Network. “In June, before their freshman year, they would receive an email and they would have to self-register.” The program is described by Tomlinson as necessary and advantageous. It has had a profound effect on the students that take part in it — so much so that scholars or mentees in their sophomore year will now have a chance to get back into the program and maintain their status as a mentee for another year. “It’s a very hands-on program,” explained Leonard Breton, Associate Director of Student Development and R.I.S.E. Mentorship. “Customer service brought the sophomore experience about — students wanted to come back to the program.” Promoting a culture of familiarity, honesty and accountability, as Tomlinson and Breton have, has resonated with students and encouraged them to excel. Mentees and mentors alike were chal-

PHOTO COURTESY/INSTAGRAM @SJU_RISE

Rakesh Singh

Left to Right: Bonam Om, Siddique Mohamed, Emem Essien and Amanda Belgrave at a R.I.S.E Networking Mixer.

lenged to achieve a 3.0 GPA. The average GPA of mentees is a 3.4, and that of the mentors is a 3.5. Retention rates among these students have gone up as well, currently at 88 percent (fall 2018 to fall 2019). “What made R.I.S.E. appealing to me when I first registered was having people to talk to about problems that I’m going through that they might be going through

also. The members in R.I.S.E get it. I didn’t even know what to expect but the experience was good,” Kaitha Agnant, sophomore mentee, said. “I think it’s good to have this program for sophomores also because sophomore year is harder than freshman year. You need that person that you can really ask for help and who could tell you what you need to be do-

ing because time will creep up on you and you don’t want to be behind,” she added. Kevin Wright, sophomore and fellow mentee, believes his attachment to the program was strong as well. “Coming back another year to R.I.S.E. was something that I had already known that I was going to do,” he said. “I really appreciated how much time and effort my mentor placed into making sure that I was comfortable within the college environment.” He agreed that the program is necessary for sophomores as well, saying, “The second year is so important because it shapes the rest of the college experience and brings everything together.” Andrew Peck, senior and mentor to Agnant and Wright, believes in the program and how much it helps students. “In each of my mentees, I have seen a lot of effort to improve and a great deal of focus on taking the next steps needed to get closer to success in their respective careers and fields of interest,” Peck said. “The relationships I have been able to create as a result of the program have been substantial, I feel that each and every member of the network can receive great mentors, advice and feel a sense of family as a part of the R.I.S.E. Network. This emphasis on relationships is important to the organization and its members. “The program has grown because everyone has become much more involved. It really feels like a family, and is a true network. Even though we are all different, we see the value in coming together and supporting one another in the pursuit of all our goals, professional and personal,” sophomore mentor and senior Keyla Payano said.

Student Runs Ghana-based Nonprofit Organization “Wekem” supports education for children in the West African country Alana Loren Bethea As the sun dipped below the horizon, the fleeting colors of orange began to fade and the congested roads of Stanbic Heights, Ghana quickly filled with African boys wiping down windshields of passing cars. Dressed in faded, slightly ripped clothing with their discolored, worn-out slippers, the boys noticed Winifred Edjeani, creator of the non-profit organization Wekem, roaming the streets with her filmmaking friends. Edjeani asked the boys if she could document them working and give them money in return. One of the boys, named Kojo, agreed but refused to take her money. Instead, he proposed that Edjeani should pay for him to receive an education. Kojo, like other African children, cannot receive any type of access to education, such as tuition, books, uniforms and other necessities. “He lives in a group home and works during school hours to make ends meet,” Edjeani said. Edjeani, a native of Accra, Ghana, cre-

ated Wekem to assist Ghanaian children in their education. Over five thousand miles away from Ghana, Edjeani is a sophomore at St. John’s University. She continues to raise funds by selling African clothing and bracelets for all Ghanaian children, because she believes education involves “inclusivity and equality.” “Most of the money in African countries, specifically in Ghana, allocated toward education doesn’t really go to help education,” Edjeani explained. “There’s a lot of corruption and bribery so the money does not really go to the children.” Initially, Wekem, which means “God’s making” in Kasem, was geared toward women’s education in Ghana. It mainly focused on the public school sector. Wekem also provided feminine products for school girls. “Those were immediate necessities for the girls,” Edjeani said. Last year Wekem partnered with Kasapreko, a water production company, and raised $3,000 with the help of contributions and donations to provide scholarships for 10 girls. (continued on page 10)

PHOTO COURTESY/DARRYL DECLUQE

“Our Day Party” event with Renegades Africa Advertising Agency Limited for the 1,200 students of the Kotobabi No. 2 Cluster of Schools to mark the end of their term.


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Student Reflects on NYFW Experience Anna McFillin The red carpet was rolled out, the seats were filled and the lights were shining on the runway. Music blasted through the speakers as the models assumed their positions on the side of the stage. I stood on the stairs behind them with both arms full — one with dresses and the other with heels. I had to be ready for the models coming off of the runway to do a quick outfit change and head right back out. What I was not prepared for though, was finding myself following the models down the runway at the end of the Journey Fashion Festival on Tuesday, Feb. 12. At the Journey Fashion Festival, hosted by Malena Belafonte, there was a segment of the show that included a video and a dance by children, showcasing their solidarity for ending gun violence. At the end of the show, the cast, crew and I got to walk the runway in solidarity with the youth. During this show, I was designer Minan Wong’s assistant. I aided her in dressing the models and with slight adjustments and alterations. I was in charge of orchestrating the models’ quick changes and had to know who was wearing what and when, by order of runway walk. This is my second season working New York Fashion Week (NYFW), and it has been a dream come true. I have learned and experienced all the contributing factors a fashion show has. I started working on NYFW as a volunteer and took as many in-between “fashion season” opportunities as I could. After working my first season in the fall, in the off-season I immersed myself in the fashion culture, keeping up with emerging models and designers and learning all I could about the industry. From the connections I made working the Journey Fashion Festival for two seasons, I was invited to work for pay as a venue assistant (VA) down at Spring Studios in Tribeca on the last day of fashion week. Spring Studios during NYFW is home to supermodels like Bella Hadid and Paris Hilton, who walked for designers such as Jeremy Scott and Anna Sui. Already feeling starstruck, I

(continued from pg 9) On July 26 of last year, Wekem organized an “Our Day Party” event with Renegades Africa Advertising Agency Limited for the 1,200 students of the Kotobabi No. 2 Cluster of Schools to mark the end of their academic term. The event took place at the school grounds and brought together students, faculty and staff. Activities for the day included face painting, musical chairs, dancing competitions, bouncy castle sessions, as well as food sponsored by Yummy Noodles and Equator Foods. “Education isn’t supposed to be for one gender — it’s supposed to be for all,” Edjeani said. “I have all these opportunities and

was committed to being the best VA I could be. The event I worked at Spring Studios was a fashion presentation, which is different from a typical fashion runway show. The models stand in place while the audience walks around them. Fashion for Peace was a fashion presentation on Feb. 13 where models stood on large white boxes with various designers names on each box. They were presenting sustainable fashion by sustainable designers, and were accompanied by famous Indian spiritual leader, Sadhguru. The presentation called for action to change the materials that designers in leading countries like America use to make their lines. During this presentation, I made sure that guests were getting the full experience and that any questions they had could be answered. I helped maintain the space and aided in the set up and clean up. My experiences during NYFW were eye-opening, exciting and stressful. The days were long and full of hard work, but so worth it in the end. These designers are artists, and they have a vision for their work and how they want to show it off to the world. Being a part of NYFW means you get to help fulfill the dreams and visions that these people have, while fulfilling your own dream of being a part of fashion week. Working at NYFW means you accept the “glam” and the “not-so-glam” work, and you do it all with focus and integrity. Whether you are a designer’s assistant, a venue assistant, a part of the set up, clean up, ticketing or check in, you are a part of the dream. No matter what the scale of the fashion show or presentation is, in this industry, you absolutely have to be on top of your game and willing to help the producers and fashion leaders in every way possible. Be ready for anything, such as unexpected weather changes, a model shortage, missing clothes, or a designer changing their whole mind on how they want the space to be set up. Flexibility and taking steps outside of your comfort zone to learn new things are key. And be ready to walk down the runway yourself, because you just never know.

privileges that I take for granted most of the time…when someone talks about giving, I see my dad. Even with the little that he had, he took care of everyone — even people in Ghana. He, too, paid for their tuition,” she said. Edjeani lost her father just a year ago, a day after her birthday. According to Edjeani, her father always had faith in God. “He believed the act of giving is more than the act of receiving,” she said. Edjeani plans to carry on her father’s torch to help children in her native land. Women in Edjeani’s family have also influenced her. Her mother, who works for Royal Crown Packaging Ltd. (Limited), is the factory manager for the company. Working in a male-dominated posi-

TORCH PHOTOS/MILLENA ALBUQUERQUE

Top: New York Fashion Week attendees show off their shoe game on the red carpet at the Journey Fashion Festival. Bottom: Models prepare to walk down the runway for the Journey Fashion Festival.

tion, Edjeani’s mother drives a forklift on a regular basis. “To take on the roles that are inscribed for men, she is basically breaking those barriers,” Edjeani said. Along with her mother, Edjeani’s aunt, Constance Afenu Edjeani, who is the first female Brigadier General in Ghana, has taught her that anything is possible. Aside from being a General, Edjeani’s aunt has her own nonprofit organization, JaniGre, which focuses on supplying sanitary pads and menstruation products to women. “Given her position in society, she utilizes it to inspire other girls,” Edjeani said. “That’s phenomenal because not only is she a trailblazer, she inspires to see and create more trailblazers.” Edjeani believes that everyone has a

purpose in life. Although she doesn’t know what hers may be just yet, she is in the process of discovering what it is and where it will lead her, while helping others find their own.

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‘Stan Culture’: Nicki Minaj vs. Former SJU Student We are obsessed. We want their perfect hair, blinding-white teeth and status. We want what they have, and we will stop at nothing to get it. With the emergence of different social media platforms, we now have the ability to keep up with all of our favorite celebrities without having to pry ourselves out of bed and or make a real effort. We can sit with our phone in one hand and the other stuffed deep into a bag of salty chips. Social media has not only given us the ability to be lazy while appearing like we are the next Kim K, but it has created a new beast; the superfan. These fans are everywhere, scribbling “I stan” in every corner of the internet and bathroom stall. This phrase is one that elevates us. You don’t just love a celebrity. Now, you “Stan” them. “Stan culture” is a product of a 2000’s Eminem single called “Stan,” which referred to a crazed fan. It has since developed into a subculture of fans. “Stans” are known for their extreme action and willingness to do anything for the celebrities they idolize. One former SJU student, Mya Abraham, felt the full force of “Stan culture” after she messed with the wrong A-list celebrity. Abraham attended SJU in 2016, and since then transferred out and landed an internship with BET (Black Entertainment Television). After her internship ended in August of 2016, Abraham was hired by BET as a music journalist, according to her LinkedIn. She wrote articles such as “I Could Have Been A Victim Of Men Like R. Kelly” and “Wait, is ‘Old Kanye’ Making A Return?” None of the articles were particularly problematic until Abraham wrote an article about the Grammys this year. It was then that Abraham wrote an article entitled “Cardi B Is The First Solo Female Rapper To Win Best Rap Album, And Fans Are Weeping” for BET. This article was post-

ed to the BET Twitter page with the caption, “Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj is being dragged by her lacefront,” and Nicki superfans, better known in pop culture as “Barbz,” erupted in anger. “You don’t deserve this disrespect,” wrote one fan to Minaj. Along with this tweet, the Twitter user posted a meme, which was directed at Abraham. The meme depicted a man holding a knife with the caption, “Had it not been for the laws of this land, I would have slaughtered you.” This is dangerous. This is a threat. “It [“Stan culture”] incites violence” 22-year-old Veronica Lee Tyson said. “That’s what the original Eminem song was referring [to].” The violence and comments did not stop there. The comments on the Twitter post were riddled with “Barbz”, many of whom were outraged with Abraham. One user called for the network to “...fire whoever wrote that and make them apologize.” BET was quick to respond. The Twitter account deleted the post and issued an apology. The apology, which came from an unnamed BET Spokesperson, stated that “BET loves Nicki Minaj,” and the network “... apologized to Nicki and her team.” BET also apologized to fans saying, “This never should have happened.” But it was too late. Minaj saw the post and she was furious. With all of her fans behind her, she took to Twitter. It was time for revenge. Her retaliation was simple. The superstar took to Twitter, posting, “Young Money will no longer be apart [a part] of the BET Experience or award show.” Young Money refers to Lil Wayne’s record label, Young Money Entertainment, which Minaj is signed to. One minute later, at 2:09 p.m., Minaj posted again. This time she posted no text, just four photos. Two of these pictures were BET’s Twitter post, one was of Abraham, taken from her personal Instagram, and the last was a pic-

ture of Minaj throwing up a peace sign. Some Barbz replied with photos of Abraham’s social media accounts, so that others could locate her personal information. They were completely and utterly enraged, but this isn’t the first time that Minaj’s Barbz have gone this far. In August of 2018, Minaj invoked a mob mentality when a Toronto journalist, Wanda Thompson, expressed her opinion about the artist. Other incidents with “Stans” include the recent Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson split. Here, Davidson wrote a note on Twitter, which hinted at a potential suicide, according to an article written in December of 2018. Grande “Stans” poked and prodded Davidson, wishing that he would “do it.” While not all Barbz or devoted fans may go as far as being violent, the question arises: When is it too far? “It’s toxic, and people don’t know when to stop,” SJU senior Allison Villa said. “I have heard of times where fans find someone’s house and show up at their door.” Is that true? Is it bad to be devout? Many of the Barbz were tweeting about the relationship between BET and Nicki Minaj. One fan wrote “BET stands for Black Entertainment Television, but you want to put down and disrespect Nicki Minaj, a black woman… [?]” Another wrote “What they tweeted was SO unnecessary and disgusting.” Some of the “Barbz” seemed to just want justice for Nicki. It seems to be about balance. Justice and courtesy. Maybe we don’t threaten someone with differing opinions, but instead we use our voice. “I don’t see an issue with standing up for a celebrity,” senior Matthew Sulewski said. “It’s one thing to be a fan, but then it’s also another thing to be almost stalk-like. I think there’s a happy medium somewhere.” So there it is. “Stan” that celebrity you’ve been crushing on since middle school. Be a fan. Be a person who has opinions and shares

them, but along the way, don’t forget to be kind. Abraham declined to comment on the incident, stating that she “legally can’t comment on the situation.” However, as of Feb. 19, Abraham’s LinkedIn indicates that she is still employed by BET. The network could not be reached for comment.

PHOTO COURTESY/ NODERIVS 2.0 GENERIC

Jennifer Hood

Pres. Trump’s Childhood Home Up for Sale Again PHOTO COURTESY/YOUTUBE INSIDE EDITION

The five bedroom home is located at 85-15 Wareham Place in Jamaica Estates.

Dayra Santana Hey St. John’s students, anyone on the hunt for fall housing? While it might be way outside of the budget, Presiden Donald Trump’s childhood home in Jamaica Estates has gone up for sale. The house was previously sold in 2016 for $1.35M and again in 2017 for $2.14M. The house is on the market again, this time for $2.9M. 85-15 Wareham Place was built by Trump’s parents, Fred and Mary, in 1940. Trump only lived there until he was four and it has since had several owners and even appeared on Airbnb for a nightly rental fee of nearly $800. Some might say it’s a small price to spend a night in the home that the president spent his years as a toddler. “Honestly, if I had the money why not,” sophomore global development and sustainability major and Chicago native, Olivia Grondy, said. “It’d be fun to fix up the inside of the house since it just looks really dated in there with all of the old furniture. I’d probably get rid of all the weird Trump memorabilia too.” Only a 15-minute walk from the St. John’s campus, this neatly manicured Tudor-style home could be the perfect catch

for some lucky buyers. The house itself is in a neighborhood of similarly-priced properties. Directly across the street, a nearly identical house is up for sale at $1.2M, however, it is missing the allure of having once housed President Trump. The house is fully equipped with five bedrooms, a library, a five-car driveway and Trump family photographs hanging on the walls. Buyers are in for a real surprise when they enter the home’s living room, as a life size cutout of President Trump himself comes with the place. It stands tall in the corner of the room. According to the Wall Street Journal, one of the bedrooms even comes with a sign that reads “In this bedroom, President Donald J. Trump was likely conceived, by his parents, Fred and Mary Trump.” Sophomore Anum Dar, from Saddle River, NJ is looking for housing near campus. This student doesn’t think Trump’s old residence is for her. “Honestly, I would not want to live there. I appreciate an old house, but the history of this place doesn’t appeal to me. The pictures of Trump hanging up inside are really creepy, I’d feel like he’s watching me… especially that cutout,” Dar said. “I wouldn’t step within a 50 mile radius of this house.”


12 Culture

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Kanopy’s Black History Month Picks Jewel Antoine

"Moonlight" (2016)

"Black is...Black Ain't" (1994)

Kanopy is an award-winning video streaming service that provides access to over 30,000 documentaries and films to subscribers — including St. John’s University students, provided through the university library. This February, in celebration of Black History Month, Kanopy has an entire category dedicated to African American films and documentaries. Here are some of the top picks, selected because each shed light on the many different perspectives of the African American experience:

Dir. by Barry Jenkins

Dir. by Marlon Riggs

This coming of age film focuses on protagonist Chiron Harris (Trevante Rhodes) as he goes through childhood, adolescence and adulthood as a black man in a violent Miami community. He faces various struggles, including coming to terms with his sexuality as a black gay man, as well as growing up without a positive male role model in his life. He also deals with his mother’s drug addiction and thus has to learn how to navigate the world himself. Along the way, he encounters compassionate people who make his transitions from each stage in life to the other slightly easier. This film exceptionally portrays the struggles that young black men face in America, while highlighting the good people left in the world.

This award-winning documentary follows the stories of several black people as they discuss their different experiences with their own identities as black men and women. Factors such as skin tone, hair type, sex, religion, geographical location and sexual orientation all dictate how different people view their own blackness. The relationship between black manhood and hypersexuality is also discussed throughout the documentary. The documentary hopes to give insight into the African American experience from all angles and does a good job gathering various experiences from black people across America.

"For Ahkeem" (2017) Dir. by Jeremy S. Levine & Landon Van Soest This award-winning documentary follows a teenage girl, Deja Shelton, who has recently been kicked out of public school and is required to attend an alternative school (the Innovative Concept Academy) in order to graduate with a GED. Whilst following Shelton, light is also shed on other individual stories of gang violence, police brutality and poverty. When Shelton becomes pregnant, she must learn how to navigate the world as a young black teenage mother and also learn how to shield her newborn son, Ahkeem, from the struggles and trials that face her community. This documentary serves as a coming-of-age film set against the backdrop of Ferguson, Missouri. It focuses on the resilience, strength and support that is necessary to survive as a young black person in America today.

"15 to life: Kenneth's Story" (2014) Dir. by Nadine Pequeneza Is it fair to sentence teenagers to life without parole? This documentary follows the story of Kenneth Young, a 15 year old boy who was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences. After a 10 year incarceration, Young fights for his release in a Supreme Court case (Graham v. Florida) that proclaimed sentencing juveniles to life sentences for crimes other than murder was unconstitutional. This law means that children, particularly children of color, will no longer be demonized by the courts and penalized more harshly than adults, resulting in 77 Florida inmates becoming eligible for early release.

PHOTO COURTESY/Youtube Movie Clips Indie

"White like me"(2013) Dir. by Tim Wise This documentary strives to explore racism and white privilege through the eyes of anti-racism educator, Tim Wise. He speaks about how his upbringing affected his view on white privilege and how ignoring this privilege is damaging to every institution in America. He evaluates how the election of President Obama caused many Americans to believe that there were no longer barriers holding the African American population back from success. The documentary strives to identify how racism still exists in America, as well as the role of the government and the media in racial inequality.

PHOTO COURTESY/Youtube PBS

PHOTO COURTESY/Flickr Creative Commons Shawn

(From left to right) “For Ahkeem,” “15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story” and “White Like Me.”

Food for Thought’s “A Dark Side of Love” Valentine’s Day themed poetry slam hosted in DAC Coffeehouse Sami Wanderer The DAC Coffeehouse was lit by a string of fairy lights and decorated with simple but elegant red and white balloons and paper hearts as St. John’s poetry club, Food For Thought, hosted “A Dark Side of Love,” a Valentine’s Daythemed open mic. The event, hosted annually by the organization, centered around love poems. Some poets chose to focus on romantic love or lost love while others talked about loving themselves. In between poets, student, DJ James Larkin “Cuddles” played a mix of current and past music, featuring hits from Bruno Mars and Cardi B. Performer and president of Food for Thought Tamara Garcia strayed from traditional form, instead reading some of her “lovey dovey” text messages from past relationships, while English major Eleanor Myers chose to write in Shakespeare’s traditional sonnet style. Myers wrote a sonnet instead of free verse as she usually does because she has been studying sonnets in her English class. Her poem, as she described, was about loving someone and feeling like they love you, something everyone could relate to at some point in their lives. Larkin shared a poem he wrote about his last girlfriend while they were dating. The feeling of the poem was con-

versational and he talked about how even a can of Chef Boyardee could remind him of her. “I liked the line about the wifi not working and the ‘buI-lo-you,” Myers said about Larkin’s poem. Larkin recently broke up with the girlfriend who he dated for three years, and he fought back tears as he described

It challenged me to write things that I felt would stir a reaction out of the audience... - Julia Betancourt

the times they were together when she would bring him food, because he viewed this as her showing that she cared about his well being. Poetry is a chance to release emotions for freshman Julia Betancourt, who writes poetry and music in her spare time. She competed in the poetry slam last semester and although

she didn’t make the team that will be traveling to Houston to compete nationally later in the spring, she learned how to write for her audience through the experience. “It challenged me to write things that I felt would stir a reaction out of the audience, things that would reach people and grab them and pull them into my orbit,” Betancourt said. Sylvia Plath’s way of giving life to her demons through her writing inspires Betancourt, who used repetition that evoked a feeling of oppression from the outside world in her poem. “She was able to give life to her demons, which is unlike anything I’ve seen,” Betancourt said about Plath. Some performers went on stage multiple times during the night, and students were able to sign up last minute to perform during the event. Twenty students performed and about 50 people were in the audience, Garcia said. The crowd didn’t participate by snapping as much during this open mic as they did last semester, though, according to Betancourt. “Hearing snaps after you say a line that may have been so clever, or so deep, or so emotional, or so impactful — whether happy or sad or anything else — feels amazing,” Betancourt said.


Culture 13

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torch design/jenna woo

Dr. Sue Ford - Professor of Toxicology Priyanka Gera Toxicology is often referred to as the “science of poisons,” but it is perhaps better defined as the science concerned with the safety of chemicals. From forensics to the Department of Energy to Apple, toxicologists have a crucial role in almost every field because humans keep creating ways to contaminate the environment and their own lives. Dr. Sue Ford, director of the Toxicology department at St. John’s University, has been a respectable member of the St. John’s family for the past 30 years. Although she was a nutrition major during her undergraduate and graduate years, she eventually found her way to Toxicology through a postdoctoral fellowship. She recommends the following pieces of accessible media that are not only interesting, but also engaging and informative works that delve into the unrecognized field of Toxicology.

(Book) "Dark Remedy: The Impact of Thalidomide and its revival as a vital medicine" By Rock Brynner and Trent Stephens “When I was about 10 years old, my mother would send me to the store to buy cigarettes for a quarter and I would pass the ‘National Enquirer’ with pictures of the babies affected by [thalidomide],” Dr. Ford said. “Dark Remedy: The Impact of Thalidomide and Its Revival as a Vital Medicine” details the history of the drug but puts a personal spin on the subject, as as one of the authors takes thalidomide to ease the symptoms of his skin condition. Thalidomide is a drug that was concocted in Germany and sold all over the world without real knowledge of its uses and side effects. Pregnant women who ingested this drug found relief with morning sickness but later learned of the birth defects their children suffered as a result. Thalidomide, despite its dangerous history, is still used today under extreme regulation to treat certain cancers and skin conditions.

(Video)"The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the birth of forensic medicine in Jazz Age New York" Based on a novel by Deborah Blum This interesting book-turned-video (available on Amazon Prime) looks into Bellevue hospital, a leading trauma center in NYC in 1918. A medical examiner hired a toxicologist “to make his office more professional,” explained Dr. Ford. These two individuals “revolutionized forensic medicine,” as they taught themselves how to accurately and effectively present such data in court to solve seemingly complex cases. This New York Times bestseller is a detailed examination of the journey and effect both Charles Norris (medical examiner) and Alexander Gettler (toxicologist) had on forensics and the legal system.

(Book)"Rowing the Eternal Sea: The Story of a Minamata Fisherman" By Oiwa Keibo This book describes the personal, poignant oral history of Masato, a fisherman who suffered the ill consequences of a Japanese company that contaminated the water in the early 1950s. For years, the company disposed of their mercury waste in the Minamata Sea, polluting the water and sickening the fish (the staple food for the coastal town). “They called it the cat-dancing disease,” explained Dr. Ford. The

catfish were, unfortunately, absorbing the mercury from the surrounding water — similar to Mad Hatter’s disease — and were poisoned. This book illustrates the long term effects of the company’s poor judgment and the importance of the safe elimination of chemicals, one of the principal goals of toxicology.

(Book)"The Poisoning of Michigan" By Joyce Egginton This work describes in depth the 1970s Flint, Michigan meat and milk contamination. Mistakenly, a chemical plant mixed PBB –– a fire retardant –– with the nutrition meant for cattle. Thus, for an entire year, everyone consumed contaminated food until “a farmer, who was previously a chemical engineer, recognized the problem,” Dr. Ford said. She explained the situation that shrouded Michigan at that time and described her personal encounter. She completed her graduate coursework in Michigan in1976, arriving into “the thick of it [the ongoing investigation and PBB studies]. PBB was never meant to be consumed so there was no toxicity report.” In other words, scientists and toxicologists had no clue what levels of PBB were safe to have in the body nor did they know of its long term effects. ~~~ The list of books is endless, but the few that Dr. Ford chose to examine are some of the wildest, yet understated events in history. These interesting reads will hopefully inspire a thorough understanding of the ever-developing field of toxicology and its prevalence in our lives.

(Book)"Exploring the Dangerous Trades: The AutoBiography of Alice Hamiliton, M.D." By Alice Hamilton, M.D. It is a shame that the name Alice Hamilton does not resonate in our society because she was the first woman to be hired as a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and University. She was the only applicant qualified enough (out of the other male applicants) to be able to conduct the research Harvard desired. Dr. Ford stated that “[Hamilton] wanted to travel the world, so she became a doctor,” a unique and intriguing reason to choose such a rigorous path. With such few opportunities and a great deal of discrimination against women, Hamilton, founder of industrial toxicology, was ahead of her time. Dr. Ford also mentioned that Hamilton wrote articles for the New York Times back in 1933, one of which was titled, “The Youth Who Are Hitler’s Strength.” Doctor, historian and world traveler, Hamilton was a very accomplished and noteworthy individual in our history and this book shines light on her path.

torch Photo/Spencer Clinton

Dr. Sue Ford, of the Toxicology department, speaks with Assistant Culture Editor, Priyanka Gera about her selections.


14 Sports

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Johnnies Swept by UCLA to Open Season The #3 team in the nation touted skill across the three games Sean Okula St. John’s Baseball took a trip to Los Angeles this weekend. They left seeing stars. No. 3 UCLA swept the Red Storm at Jackie Robinson Stadium over the weekend. St. John’s mustered three runs in the season-opening set, scoring just once after the sixth inning on Friday. The numbers don’t leave much to the imagination. Johnnie hitters had one extra-base hit and worked five walks in the three games. Bruins pitchers struck out 41 batters and the bullpen held the visitors to one hit in 9 ⅓ shutout innings. Small-ball worked sporadically in the series opener. Leadoff hitter Mike Antico, one of a few holdovers from the 2018 lineup, reached on catcher’s interference to start the fourth inning. He stole second before Carson Bartels looked at strike three and took third before Wyatt Mascarella swung at strike three. The season’s painstaking first run crossed the plate on a two-out single from transfer Mitchell Henshaw. The lone run was almost enough for junior ace Sean Mooney. The right-hander cruised through his first five innings, scattering three hits and striking out seven. The Red Storm added one more in the top half of the sixth, and Mooney worked around a leadoff single in the bottom of the frame to retire the next two Bruins before taking his exit. Coach Ed Blankmeyer turned to his bullpen with lefty Garrett Mitchell due up for the Bruins. Left-handed reliever Turner

TORCH PHOTO/MARIE BOGUE

Sean Mooney had a strong season debut, but the Johnnies ultimately fell to UCLA.

French was called upon, but UCLA Coach John Savage countered with right-handed pinch hitter Jake Pries. Savage won the battle of wits when Pries tripled, cutting the St. John’s lead to 2-1. UCLA manufactured runs of their own in the seventh. A bunt hit, a sacrifice, a walk, and (curiously, another) catcher’s interfer-

ence loaded the bases with one out. Red Storm reliever Nick Mondak struggled to find the zone, walking in both the tying and go-ahead runs before wiggling his way out of any further damage. St. John’s bats went down quietly in the eighth and ninth. UCLA held on for a 3-2 win, and the Red Storm rarely sniffed com-

petition for the rest of the weekend. Saturday’s starter Jeff Belge had all sorts of trouble commanding the zone. He allowed four runs on three extra-base hits in the second, and was yanked when he walked the first three batters in the fourth. The offense was held hitless for the final five innings and UCLA cruised to a 9-0 victory. The Johnnies hung around for most of Sunday afternoon’s finale. A momentarily revitalized offense scored in the third when shortstop Rudy Aguilar doubled home the game’s first run. Another St. John’s threat with a runner in scoring position was turned aside in the sixth. The bats stayed stagnant through the middle innings. Lefty Joe Lasorsa, used primarily as a multi-inning reliever in his first two collegiate seasons, was given the start. He struck out seven in five innings, but runners reached in each frame. He was removed with the Red Storm down 4-1. Little offensive support had the Johnnies wobbling through six. The wheels finally came off in the seventh. St. John’s committed their fourth and fifth errors of the ballgame, opening the door for seven more Bruins runs (six unearned). UCLA fended off the defending Big East champs with ease, 11-1 on Sunday for the clean sweep. Taste of the unpleasant start will only linger through the week. St. John’s is back in action this weekend. They travel down to Cullowhee, N.C. to visit Western Carolina starting on Friday.

Jasmine Sina Set to Participate in Coaching Clinic Brendan Murray Jasmine Sina continues to compile awards in her collegiate career, her latest being selected to the “So You Want to Be a Coach” class. Sina becomes one of 36 Division I women’s college basketball players to be selected to the 17th annual “So You Want to Be a Coach” program, a class that is voted on by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. In a collegiate career that has left nothing but memories and awards in the rear view mirror, this latest achievement leaves Sina feeling grateful. “When I was selected, I was really grateful because I think it is a great opportunity to meet other athletes that have the same aspirations as me and other coaches that I can learn a lot from,” Sina said. For Sina, this award is something she can take and use to help her in the next chapter of her life. “Basketball has been such a huge part of my life, this is something that I can carry with me after I’ve finished with basketball and graduated and use it to not only help me as a player but as a person,” Sina said. For Sina, the coaching trait isn’t too far behind her. Her father, Mergin Sina, has been the head coach for Gill St. Bernard in Gladstone, N.J. for the past 10 years. Jas-

mine spoke about the impact that her father has had on coaching for her. “Seeing him coach my whole life has really made me appreciate everything that goes into coaching, whether that is taking care of players outside of basketball and on the court,” she said. Jasmine’s older brother, Jaren, had an impact on her as she watched him play professionally in Austria. The success stories around Sina have undoubtedly influenced not only the basketball player that she is, but the person that she is today. When asked if she had coaching in her future, Sina says she has thought about it and it could be a real possibility for her. “I have a very big passion for it (coaching). I think I can do very well at that position,” Sina said. Sina has led a career that has been nothing short of remarkable, being the star player on the Binghamton Bearcats to start her collegiate career, and ending her career as a graduate student for the Red Storm. “My dream was to get to the NCAA one year and now that I am here have a chance to win the Big East Tournament,” Sina said. Sina is looking to help the Red Storm in any way that she can to give herself the best send-off possible, and at the end of the season, hang up her jersey for the last time. “I just want to win, and I think we have a

TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO

Jasmine Sina grew up in a basketball family which had a strong impact on her life.

great opportunity to win with the team that we have here,” Sina said. Sina will look to do just that as she is approaching the back nine of her collegiate career. After putting together award-winning seasons for the Binghamton Bearcats and now being selected to the “So You Want to Be a Coach” class as a member of the Red Storm,

Sina will look to put the icing on the cake for what has been nothing short of a memorable collegiate career. To have the opportunity to conclude her collegiate playing career while living her dream of playing Division I basketball is nothing short of inspirational to all fans and teammates of the Red Storm.


Sports 15

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Thrilling Comeback Leads Johnnies Past ‘Nova’ Some moans and groans began to mumble from the sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden. The visiting Villanova Wildcats had established a 19 point lead on St. John’s and the sea of red in the crowd began to voice their displeasures. But then, one basket at a time —slowly but surely —the Johnnies made their run. Sparked by the team’s quiet star LJ Figueroa’s 22 points and 12 rebounds, the Red Storm came all the way back to take down the defending national champions, #13 Villanova Wildcats, 71-65 on Sunday at the World’s Most Famous Arena. “Our defense came together in the second half and did whatever it took to get the win,” Figueroa said after the game. “I know my teammates have my back no matter what. Whether we’re down 10 or 20 or up 10 or 20.” Sunday’s victory proved to be one of the first times this season that St. John’s has won when Shamorie Ponds hasn’t been his typical offensive-juggernaut self. The junior guard from Brooklyn had 11 points on 2-14 shooting. When asked what this means for the team moving forward, being able to produce when Ponds has an off night, Mullin seemed impressed. “That’s not a game we win, maybe even a month ago,” Mullin said in the press conference. Figueroa and Mustapha Heron combined to score 41 of the team’s 71 points, including a series of three pointers in the second half to spark the MSG crowd. One of the main turning points of the game came as the buzzer sounded for the end of the first half as Justin Simon threw up a prayer from three-quarters court that crashed off the

TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO

Brendan Myers

Mustapha Heron chipped in 19 points on Sunday helping to lead St. John’s against rival Villanova at Madison Square Garden.

backboard and fell threw the nylon, cutting the deficit to only 11 heading into the second half. “We were screaming the whole time in the locker room that we could come back,” Heron said of the importance of the momentum swing that that shot gave the Johnnies. Heron noted in the press conference that the game was almost the exact opposite of the previous matchup between the two teams. St. John’s controlled proceedings for most of the game before a late flurry from the Wildcats allowed them to leave victorious by a score of 76-71 on Jan. 8. In addition to the offensive flurry, the team’s defense also picked up in final half. After giv-

ing up 37 points in the first half, St. John’s only surrendered 28 points in the final 20 minutes, allowing them to make their surge. After the Wildcats got off to their fast start, Mullin said the coaching staff stressed being able to run Villanova’s shooters off of the perimeter after they got some open looks early in the game. Collin Gillespie, Eric Paschall and Phil Booth shot a combined 2-20 from behind the arc. In the process of the game, Marvin Clark II scored his 1,000th career point across his time playing for Michigan State and St. John’s. The win for St. John’s is another résumé builder, as the team now owns two victories against Marquette and this one against Villa-

nova. With those three wins, St. John’s should control its own destiny regarding a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The team still has road games against DePaul and Providence, who bested the Johnnies at home, as well as Xavier. The team’s two remaining home contests are against Seton Hall, who’s controversial ending leading to a Shavar Reynolds Jr. game-winning three at the buzzer in December is something that few St. John’s fans have forgotten, and another matchup with Xavier. Assuming there are no slip-ups, many feel the Red Storm have locked down a position to return to the Big Dance for the first time since 2015, and the first time under Chris Mullin.

Women’s Basketball Stuns Marquette, Falls to DePaul Nick McCreven The St. John’s Women’s Basketball team entered Friday on a three-game winning streak as they began to climb back up the Big East ladder. St. John’s had been 2-8 in conference play before the trio of wins bounced them up to 5-8 but faced an incoming weekend with games against the top two Big East opponents, Marquette and DePaul. The Johnnies continued their winning ways on Friday night by handing then-#8 Marquette their first conference loss of the season by a final score of 81-74 in front of an energetic crowd at Carnesecca Arena. The Johnnies endured a first quarter dominated by Marquette but rallied in the second half, outscoring the Golden Eagles 49-34 to finish the game. The 81-74 victory was the St. John’s women’s first win over a top 10 ranked opponent since 2012. Tiana England finished with 20 points, three rebounds, and six assists to go along with a steal and a block. Alisha Kebbe scored 17 while Kayla Charles dominated the paint, blocking three shots and grabbing seven boards. The Red Storm hit seven three-pointers in the game. “I couldn’t be happier with our performance,” Head Coach Joe Tartamella said after the game. “This, in my head coaching career, is one of the biggest wins we’ve had at Carnesecca Arena.” He noted that he was most impressed by

TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO

Tiana England finished with 20 points to lead the Red Storm in their upset of Marquette.

the team’s resiliency, noting that with the way things went in the first quarter, the game could have gotten out of control quickly if not for the team’s refusal to quit. Tartamella described England’s performance as “fearless,” as England backed up her head coach’s words after the upset. “I feel like we can play with anyone,” England said. “Marquette is obviously a strong team, but so are we.” There was hardly any time to celebrate the key victory, however, as they had to turn

around and face a DePaul team that was second in the conference and on a three game winning streak of their own. Curteeona Brelove and Qadashah Hoppie came out strong for the Sunday afternoon affair at Madison Square Garden, but St. John’s fell to the Blue Demons, 70-62. Similar to the Marquette game, St. John’s started off slow on the offensive end, but continued to grow into the game as things progressed. Hoppie’s continued dribble penetration in the first half allowed her teammates

to find some space against DePaul’s stifling defense. Hoppie scored 16 while Brelove recorded her fifth double-double of the season, netting 12 points and securing 11 rebounds. The Johnnies held onto a one-point lead in the fourth during a comeback effort, but only for a short moment as DePaul regained the advantage and held it for the remainder of the contest. After the win against Marquette on Friday night, England said that the team’s biggest difference between the comeback win and the team’s other nail-biting losses was that “we got down, but we didn’t stay down.” For a team that’s been involved in a few close losses this season, seeing an impact result go their way could springboard a late season flurry. Despite the up and down season, this team is not short on confidence. They remember how well they played against perennial powerhouse UConn, and the win against Marquette proved that the record isn’t a proper reflection of the talent on this team. The Johnnies now sit at 13-13 overall and 6-9 in Big East play after the 1-1 weekend. They have just three games left before postseason play. The Johnnies currently sit at seventh in the Big East but could still vault up to third with a strong close to the season. The most likely scenario sees them between fourth and sixth if they can pull together two wins to finish the year. The team will head to Philadelphia to take on Villanova next Friday.


SPORTS February 20, 2019 | VOLUME 96, ISSUE 13

| TORCHONLINE.COM

A WEEKEND TO REMEMBER Men, Women Secure Wins Over Top 25 Teams

TORCH PHOTOS/NICK BELLO TORCH DESIGN/AMANDA NEGRETTI

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Volume 96, Issue 13  

Volume 96, Issue 13  

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