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VOL 95 : 15 FEBRUARY 14, 2018 The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. John’s University

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WALK OUTS students, admins abruptly exit emotional town hall

see the story on page 3

UPSET!

ST. JOHN'S TOPPLES NO. 1 VILLANOVA DAYS AFTER DEFEATING DUKE see the story on page 11

ADDRESSING #BOYCOTTTHETORCH | Staff Editorial PAGE 7

PHOTO COURTESY/ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO


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Authenticity Matters: Being Black in Corporate America Panelists give students tips on how to tackle the business world Bre’Anna Grant Nearly 30 students had the opportunity to network with professionals from JPMorgan Chase, Protiviti and Ernst & Young last Wednesday, Feb. 7 at the “Being Black in Corporate America” event hosted by Alpha Kappa Psi co-ed fraternity and the National Association of Black Accountants. Panelists included Roberta Esther, Carlito Utlett, Ismael Sangare and Yanique Williams. The event kicked off with the panelists introducing themselves and their line of work before the moderator followed with questions about inclusion, diversity and being authentic in the workplace. “A part of inclusion is learning to include yourself,” Utlett, a senior consultant at Protiviti said. “Speak up for yourself.” Sangare, a manager at EY, gave students advice on how to thrive in the corporate climate. “You have to pick up on the behaviors. If everyone is wearing a suit, you wear a suit. If everyone is dressed casual, you should still dress nice,” Sangare said. “Don’t be afraid of ‘no’s’ and work to learn, not just earn.” “There will be times when you are the only person of color or minority in the room. And you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Williams, a senior consultant at EY, said. “Understand that you have the ability and confidence to achieve anything because you are a boss.”

TORCH PHOTO/BRE’ANNA GRANT

Alpha Kappa Psi and the National Association of Black Accountants put together the event which featured four established panelists.

At the end of the event, students were able to ask panelists for more advice and to share their stories. Two students shared how they think St. John’s and the organizations for this event have been doing hosting events that focus on helping black students advance after college. “This is the first event that I have been to that was heavily promoted to students of all

majors,” senior Simone Edwards said. “If there are more events similar to this, they are hard to find and no properly marketed. There needs to be way more networking events besides the Career Fair. I feel like it’s the only real opportunity I get to actually connect with an employer and give them my resume.” “We have clubs and organizations, but it

depends on the students to really come out and get active,” freshman William Casimir, a new member of AK Psi, said. “St. John’s tries its best to give black students resources but we need to remember that this isn’t a HBCU [Historically Black College/University]. Certain events won’t be as publicized as much as others, that’s why black organizations push more events in February.”

How Africa Connects Us: The Caribbean Diaspora Dewayne Goforth The second of a three-part series called, “How Africa Connects Us” focused on “The Caribbean Diaspora: The Effects of the African Slave Trade” on Wednesday, Feb. 7. The event was sponsored by the Caribbean Student Association (CSA), Latin American Student Organization (LASO), African Students Association (ASA) and the Haitian Society. Their goal was to analyze the African footprints that have been indented in the Americas and how these footprints have sparked new societies, cultures and revolutions. “There were over ten million slaves sold through hundreds of years, forced to start a new life, they were forced to start fresh, they were forced to represent themselves in a new world,” Amenkha Sembenu, president of CSA, said in her opening address to students and staff members of the St. John’s community. “Through these times Africans lost not only their knowledge, their culture [and] their religion but also their family and also themselves,” she said. Sembenu’s heartfelt words kicked off the lecture on exploring the migration of slaves from Africa to the Caribbean region, and how this sacred group of people maintained their identity and culture. SJU’s very own Raj Chetty, Ph.D., and Philip Misevich, Ph.D., read passages from

personal projects as part of the event. Misevich, an SJU history professor who specializes in the study of the slave trade and the development of the Atlantic world, introduced the audience to a database-based project called “Origins.”

Identity is not as transparent or unproblematic as we think... Stuart Hall

The website is a scholar-public collaborative endeavor to trace the geographic origins of Africans transported in the transatlantic slave trade. “What this website tries to do is collect primary source material that documents every transatlantic slave ship that operated in the entire era of the slave trade,” Misevich, who operates as Co-Principal Investigator of the “Origins” database project, said. “Some vessels are really well documented, some are not, but as a whole the website now includes in it information on more than 35,000 separate slave ships,” he added. Misevich stressed that this was the largest

forced migration in human history and called the slave trade was “one big graveyard.” However, he talked about how people persisted to form new cultures and their own vibrant societies. “Enslaved people brought all sorts of background dimensions of their cultures, that sometimes survived in total in the diaspora and in other cases were adapted in really creative ways,” Misevich said. Chetty teaches world literatures in English and postcolonial literature and theory, with a particular focus on Caribbean literature across English, Spanish and French-language regions. Chetty selected members from the audience to read excerpts from Stuart Hall’s groundbreaking essay, “Cultural Identity and Diaspora.” Sembenu, who said she has connections to the Caribbean in Antigua and Trinidad, read this aloud: “Identity is not as transparent or

unproblematic as we think, perhaps instead of thinking of identity as an already accomplished fact, which the new cultural practices then represent, we should think instead of identity as a production.” “Which is never complete, always in process, and always constituted within, not outside representation,” she finished. This specific essay examines representation in the emerging market of Caribbean cinema. “His point is there is no identity, except through the way we represent ourselves,” Chetty said. How I’m choosing to represent myself, even if when I say ‘I am black, I am Indian, I am brown.’ Even that assertion of ‘I am’ already enters into this representation.” After the readings, there was a question and answer session where students and faculty asked questions regarding identity and culture.

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Gempesaw’s Town Hall Goes Awry Student calls for impromptu exit, felt faculty not engaged Nick Bello First, half of the students walked out. Then, so did the president. The 85-minute town hall meeting last Thursday in which students spoke directly to administration — including University president Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw — about race relations and diversity issues at St. John’s was filled with raw emotions. This event was the result of an impromptu demonstration by a hundred-plus students Feb. 1 at the Little Theatre in which they voiced their disappointment, frustration and anger with the state of race relations on campus and demanded to address Gempesaw directly. They were granted that meeting a week later. But it didn’t necessarily go as planned. Gempesaw planned to make closing remarks, according to a schedule of events provided at the start of the meeting, but those never occurred because of a series of chaotic events. Toward the end of the packed house meeting at Taffner Field House, a student involved in the event accused some of the St. John’s staffers present of not being engaged with the student speakers and then asked all students to leave because they were not taken seriously. “I challenge you to actually walk out with me,” she said, “because they don’t deserve our time.” The Torch is not naming the student because it does not know the spelling of her name.

I challenge you to actually walk out with me because they don’t deserve our time. Student

In a statement that was released by Students of Consciousness on its Instagram and Twitter accounts on Saturday, the group announced that the decision to walk out, “was not the decision of solely one person, but instead the decision of S.O.C. as a whole.” The statement also said that S.O.C. had occupied the remaining speaking slots after they planned on staging the walk-out. S.O.C. also said in the statement, “We in no way meant to disrespect or antagonize anyone, but to make a statement towards the administration.” As a majority of the crowd left with the student in protest, some students who stayed pleaded for them not to leave, saying they were abandoning their platform to address issues with administration. Some students returned to their seats or stood in the back of the field house to listen to the remainder of the student speakers. Once the crowd settled down, four students addressed the panel of administrators, which included Gempesaw, Vice President Joseph Oliva and Director of Public Safety Denise Vencak. But suddenly a string of indecipherable chants erupted from the back of the crowd,

TORCH PHOTOS/NICK BELLO

As students began to exit Taffner, one student pleaded for all to stay and voice concerns to the administration present.

and a scene of mass yelling ensued. That’s when Gempesaw, Oliva and Vencak decided to stand up and exit through a side door. The town hall was then called off by one of the faculty facilitators. The University did not respond to a request for comment. At the start of the Taffner town hall meeting, students were reminded that the event was considered a “mindful space” and not a “safe space,” the difference being that a mindful space is in a controlled environment. It was also announced that additional meetings with administration would take place in the future. The dates of those meetings were not announced. Oliva, Vencak and Gempesaw watched as some students chose to leave the town hall on Thursday. Students who wanted to speak had to sign up beforethe field house. Students raised many issues Students’ Day. hand to secure a spot, and they were asked to which ranged from problems with Public Benoit declined to comment to the Torch. speak for no longer than three minutes due Safety to the oppression certain populations The Torch also reached out for comment to time constraints. on campus feel from faculty and administra- to nine student groups who were involved One by one students spoke about differtion. with publicizing the event on social media. ent issues at a small podium in the middle of One student, Roberto Benoit, president The Black Student Union declined to comof EDEN, a Christian fellowship group on ment and Spectrum sent the Torch a copy of campus, used his three minutes to apologize its Instagram post in which it lambasted the on behalf of the organization to administra- Torch for covering the impromptu demonWe in no way meant tion for any discomfort that may have been stration inside the Little Theatre on Feb. 1 to disrespect or antag- caused by the demonstration and the use of against some students’ wishes. Following the release of the Torch’s Feb. 7 issue, which onize anyone, but to vulgar language the week prior. This remark was not well-received by the featured a story on the demonstration at make a statment tothe Little Theatre on its front page, several wards the administra- crowd, which yelled back at him. He also gave a list of requests intended groups posted statements to Instagram calltion. to improve relations on campus, and said ing for a boycott of the Torch. The rest of S.O.C. if they were not granted the group would the groups did not respond to the request for “peacefully” protest events such as Accepted comment.


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“Knowing Yes!” Understanding Consent S.O.A.R. holds ‘informative’ training workshop for students Alexis Gaskin This past Monday Feb. 12, Hannah Artiles-Stravers, the director of S.O.A.R., Sexual Violence Outreach, Awareness and Response, held a training workshop on affirmative consent with the program “Knowing Yes!” This particular training consisted of St. John’s students and members of Greek life organizations on campus. The number of Greek life students who were required to be there by state law outnumbered the non-Greek life students there who were not required to attend. The Greek life presidents were required to attend this training due to a New York State law that was recently implemented in 2018. Other organizations on campus outside of Greek life are required to take this affirmative consent training as well. Artiles-Stravers explained why this event consisted of mainly Greek life leaders, “Article 129-B is a New York State law that requires organizations to be trained. And what happened today is that we had an open workshop which people register for, and then we had fraternity sorority life that we were going to train.” Members from Panhellenic, Interfraternal and multicultural organizations were pres-

ent, including Sigma Pi’s Tim Palladino, Lambda Pi Upsilon’s Cristina Villon and Pi Kappa Phi’s Christian Medley. The training, which lasted an hour, consisted of presentations and videos created by St. John’s students for St. John’s students, to show examples and scenarios of what affirmative consent is.

I don’t think it stops just at the partying and the drinking, it goes further than that. Bianca Suchdeve

The New York Law 129-B states in Section 6441: “Every institution shall adopt the following definition of affirmative consent as part of its code of conduct: ‘Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. “Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity.

TORCH PHOTO/ALEXIS GASKIN

Greek Life presidents are required to attend this consent training by New York State law.

“Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. “The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.’” In compliance with this, the training allowed students to have an open conversation about when to ask for verbal consent vs. non-verbal consent. Bianca Suchdeve, president of Alpha Sigma Alpha, was in attendance and described the training as informative, but not beneficial unless everyone is required to attend. “I think it was informative, I don’t know how beneficial it was for just the presidents to attend, I think that maybe as a chapter

or even as Greek life as a whole,” Suchdeve said. She continued by calling this conversation “important” because the topic of consent affects students campus-wide and not just Greek life. “I don’t think that it’s just Greek life, but the college campus setting in general. I don’t think it stops just at the partying and the drinking, it goes further than that,” she said. St. John’s University, the S.O.A.R. office and the It’s On Us campaign host several other trainings like this one and students can sign up for them through St. John’s website. Rules and regulations on this new law and on the affirmative consent definition can be found in the Student Code of Conduct and on highered.nysed.gov.

Tobin Business Plan Competition Features $5,000 First Prize Isabella Bruni The submission deadline for the 2018 James and Eileen Christmas Business Plan Competition has been extended to Friday, March 2. The business plan, which will be held on April 6 from 6-9 p.m. in Tobin 201, is a competition that allows students to write-up their own business plans for projected endeavors. The competition offers six prizes in total — three cash prizes for the top three business plans and three cash prizes for the top three-minute business plan pitches. The top prize is $5,000. This year the competition is seeking for-profit business plans of 15 pages or less. Dr. William Reisel, professor of management, is directing the competition and believes students should look into taking advantage of this opportunity. “At the end of the day, writing a

business plan is a key takeaway for all St. John’s students,” Reisel said. “Being [the] boss of your own company doesn’t go out of fashion.” He encourages students to set up a 30-minute time slot to meet with him to discuss their proposed plans if they choose. Students can reach Reisel at reiselw@ stjohns.edu. The competition will feature a panel of executive judges led by James Christmas whose gift endowed the competition. Gregg Bishop, commissioner of NYC SBS, will also sit on the judges panel and will provide the keynote speech on the state of entrepreneurial activity in New York City. A business plan not selected to be one of five finalists in the competition may still be selected to take part in the Pitch Event. All submissions require a business plan written by up to five St. John’s students.


Features 5

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Top Valentine’s Day Hangouts Alexis Gaskin It’s Valentine’s Day! Whether you’ve been planning for weeks, or only remembered yesterday and need ideas, check out these places in Queens for a fun and affordable time. Since this year Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday — specifically Ash Wednesday — you may not have a lot of time to do long dinners or walks in the park. It’s too cold for that, so check out these options for a quick and fun Valentine’s Day outing for you and a significant other, or even with friends.

1. Shake Shack TORCH PHOTOS/ALEXIS GASKIN

2. Martha’s Country Bakery

Address: 71-26 Austin St, Forest Hills, NY 11375 and Queens Center 90-15 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11373 Price range: $-$$

Address: 70-28 Austin Street Forest Hills, NY 11375 Price range: $$-$$$ Located in Forest Hills, this bakery is only a short train ride away and features decadent sweets and drinks with a seating area available for customers to sit and enjoy their treats. Martha’s currently has a Valentine’s display and special treats from chocolate-covered strawberries to cupcakes.While Lulu’s is a great place to pick up something sweet, Martha’s Country Bakery has seating available for a fun relaxed time. Although it’s often very busy, Martha’s is still worth the wait.

Yes, I’m telling you to go to Shake Shack for Valentine’s Day. With a menu that offers something for everyone, it’s a nice place to have an inexpensive and tasty date. Shake Shack is also going with the Valentine’s Day vibe and is offering a special Valentine’s Day-inspired milkshake. This strawberry shake is topped with whipped cream and edible glitter. They also offer a Red Velvet Chocolate Chip shake that would pair well with any meal. Buy one to share, but I promise you’ll want your own once you try it.

3. T-Swirl Crepe

4. Lulu’s Bakery

Ariana Ortiz

Address: 70-23 Austin St. Forest Hills, NY 11375 Price range: $-$$ Address: 185-26 Union Tpke, Fresh Meadows, NY 11366 Price range: $-$$ Located on Union Turnpike, this bakery has been serving Fresh Meadows with Italian-style treats like cannolis, biscuits, cakes and so much more for almost 10 years. The shop currently has Valentine’s Day-themed sweets and treats at inexpensive prices.

If you don’t have the biggest sweet tooth, T-Swirl Crepes should satisfy your cravings. This crepe shop does offer a menu of sweet crepes like Banana Chocolate ($6.95) and Caramel Fuji ($6.95), but they also offer savory crepes made with eggs, meats and vegetables. This Forest Hills location offers a relaxed and quiet environment that is very welcoming for a quick Valentine’s day date between classes. T-Swirl Crepe is very inexpensive, and they also offer a variety of teas, slushes and coffees.


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You’re So Hot, You Make My Heart Tachycardic Heart disease prevention for college students Helga Golemi On Valentine’s Day , the only thing on many of our minds is just how we are going to spend the day with that special someone. But while we indulge in that fancy fourcourse meal, loaded with unhealthy carbohydrates, fats and sugars, it is crucial we stop and think about all the adverse effects and consequences that these types of foods can have on our hearts. The American Heart Association recognizes February as National Heart Awareness month. Although those at risk are typically people who are older than college students, students remain a group of overlooked individuals when it comes to developing heart disease.

Heart disease can be caused by a variety of factors that are termed as environmentally controlled, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The main perpetrators seem to be a poor diet and stress.

Watch Your diet Let’s dissect the first problem: the food. Here at St. John’s, just about 30 percent of all undergraduate and graduate students live on campus, and the rest commute. While commuters have a bit more choice when it comes to the types of foods they can eat, residents don’t necessarily have as much freedom. If we look at the types of vendors on campus, we can see that it is difficult to achieve a healthier diet.

From Burger King to Taco Bell, the University isn’t necessarily promoting a healthy lifestyle. Sure, we have options such as Green Street where we can pick up a healthy wrap or a salad, but is it worth spending what you earn during an hour’s shift on lunch? I encourage students, both residents and commuters, to make their own food prior to coming to school. For those that do not have this time, I recommend preparing food for the entire week over the weekend. Each meal should have a type of protein, a healthy carbohydrate, a vegetable, a fruit and dairy if preferable. You want to include several healthy fats (such as olive oil and avocados) and fibrous carbohydrates (whole grain breads and wraps), because they will keep you fuller longer throughout the day. You should also limit your sugar intake. If you must have something sweet, I recommend eating some fruit or yogurt. For those who have an intense sweet tooth like I do, go for the dark chocolate! There have been studies, including one by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, proving that dark chocolate can have positive effects on your heart. So this Valentine’s Day, tell your significant other to get you dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate candy. This is not to say that we can’t satisfy our cravings every once in a while. We can and we should, but in subtle moderation.

Avoid binge drinking A hangover isn’t the only thing that can happen when you decide to chug too many shots of vodka. Studies done by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology have shown that college students who partake in binge drinking are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease later in their lives, as consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time can impede circulation to the heart. If you do choose to have a few drinks, remember to do it safely and be around people you trust to go home with you.

Learn to relax The final cause for heart disease in college students is stress. Stress can lead to high blood pressure, causing your blood vessels to become hypertensive, increasing your risk for tachycardia — a condition in which your heart rhythms become very rapid. It’s crucial that this stress remains under control. Take deep breaths, drink water and focus on things you can do to better a situation — it can make you less anxious and, may reduce the risk of putting a strain on your heart. We have a role in preventing many diseases that affect health. Let’s start by changing our lifestyle habits and becoming our body’s own doctors.

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Opinion 7

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Flames of the Torch In response to #BoycottTheTorch Managing Board XCV

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Suzanne Ciechalski, Editor-in-Chief Angelica Acevedo, Managing Editor Ariana Ortiz News Editor Isabella Bruni News Editor Derrell Bouknight Sports Editor Ariana Ortiz Features Editor Michael Ambrosino Entertainment Editor Morgan Mullings Opinion Editor Steven Verdile Design Editor Courtney Dixon Chief Copy Editor

Amanda Negretti Photo Editor Nick Bello Photo Editor Erin Bola Social Media Manager Jillian Ortiz Asst. News Editor Brendan Myers Asst. Sports Editor Samantha DeNinno Asst. Entertainment Editor Jim Baumbach Adviser

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About the Torch

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

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

Contributions All letters submitted for publication must include the author’s name, email and affliliation to St. John’s. Limit letters to 350 words. Submissions may be edited for clarity. Please submit letters to torchopinion@gmail.com

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Within hours of the Torch being distrib- streams — with their words aired alongside uted last Wednesday, several student orga- them. nizations posted a statement to Instagram Many students have incorrectly suggestannouncing a boycott of the Torch in re- ed that the Torch works for the University. sponse to our front page story. The Torch is an independent student newsThe story, entitled “Call For Action: paper. We receive no compensation from Gempesaw to Meet With Students Thurs- St. John’s. day” covered the demonstration that took The only thing we get from the Univerplace on campus in the Little Theatre. sity is our office, heat, running water and In the Little Theatre that day, there was electricity to produce the newspaper. We six hours of raw emotion expressed by stu- don’t work for — or against — anyone. dents unhappy with the state of race relaFinally, it is our job to cover news that is tions on campus. During one exchange, important to students. This qualifies. some students said the Torch wasn’t welMore than 150 people gathered that day come, and someone said there would be to hold an impromptu demonstration on a protest if the Torch covered the day’s campus — that’s no small number, and events. We covit shows that there ered it anyway are issues unfold— more on our ing on campus that reasoning later — students are deeply We don’t work for and after the papassionate about. per was printed, It’s our job to re— or against — some backlash port that fairly and anyone. ensued online. accurately to the People argued student body, as that the Torch well as the staff and didn’t have permission to cover the event; administration who may read our newspathat it was nothing but a juicy story for us. per. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The day we agree to ignore a breaking First and foremost, we were within our news event on this campus is the day that rights to cover Thursday’s event because our role as journalists ceases to matter. That it was public, open to any student who would be a disservice to the student body. walked in, and also live streamed online. We aim to be a trusted source for students Had the event been private we would have and employees alike, and we want students left if that was what people wanted. to come to us. We don’t want to exploit the Another concern we heard was about experiences of our peers; instead, we aim the photos of students that we published. to report on the experiences and issues at This is not something we take lightly. We hand, because students need to know about chose the photos because they were power- them. ful images that displayed the emotion that So while we respect every student’s right defined the demonstration. to be upset with us, and even “boycott” us, Some have argued that we needed these we remain singularly focused on our role students’ permission, but because of the here on campus. Our job is to report the public nature of the event, that’s not true. facts, and to tell both sides of the story. Besides, those same images were on live That is what we will always do.

Vincentian View: The Many Marked Women and Men The 12:15 p.m. mass should have many

Fr. Patrick Griffin, C.M. more people; the Church could be filled.

For the past few years, I have celebrated the 8:00 a.m. mass on Wednesdays in St. Thomas More Church which is here on the Queens campus of SJU. It is one of my ordinary responsibilities. Usually, I am joined by 25-30 regular members of the University community. Wednesday of this week is, of course, Ash Wednesday and the number of worshippers at the mass could be considerably larger. This increase in attendance comes as no surprise. Ash Wednesday typically attracts people who recognize their need for repentance and who want to symbolize it with the cross mark of ashes on their forehead.

During the day, numerous other settings provide the chance to receive the ashes in various parts of the campus. All these opportunities seem to guarantee that many people will be signed. Wherever I turn, I expect to see people branded with this mark of penance and the call for renewal. All these confreres, colleagues, students, staff and faculty will “hold my feet to the fire” in terms of an awareness of my need to change my life. A regular insight on this day is that some of these very people who brandish this sign for me are the very ones who challenge me the most. My weaknesses do not come to the forefront as often with strangers or visitors, but with those whom I see every day.

The ashes on some faces summon me to mindfulness and conversion. It seems funny. Words which would never arrive on a person’s lips become eloquently expressed by the ashes on their forehead. They can define and describe for me the extent and direction of my Lenten renewal. “Giving something up” for Lent does not seem to carry the same force, unless I mean “giving up” some ways of thinking and acting and speaking around select individuals. “Doing something” for Lent would involve making time and finding creative ways to relate to some others. Soon the ashes will be washed away, but the recognition of whom I need to include in my Lenten resolve remains clear. I do not expect to get the whole list of those peopl managed, but making some progress with one or two would justify Easter joy.

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8 Opinion

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Family: Where Do We Go From Here? What started out as unity has quickly been forgotten Morgan Mullings The impromptu demonstration on Feb. 1 was the first time I have felt like I was part of the black community at St. John’s. What happened to the victims of racial harassment, and what happens to black and brown students on this campus every day, also happens to me, a black woman. I felt compelled to speak on the stage in front of administrators and students and express my experience. I was applauded by my St. John’s family, my peers, my fellow student leaders. I was truly marked by that day and I will be forever. One week later, that comfortable feeling was promptly destroyed. Instead of feeling united with my peers, I felt betrayed by the events that proceeded. The Torch was boycotted by nine organizations on campus who participated in the demonstration, because we were allegedly “not welcome” at the events that transpired in the Little Theatre. The Torch has confirmed that we were legally and ethically allowed to report on the

protest because of its public nature; I record- speak. ed audio to help with the reporting of the EDEN President Roberto Benoit exstory that was published Feb 7. pressed an apology to the administration on While it’s not clear to me why some stu- behalf of EDEN that other students seemed dents didn’t want the demonstration cov- angry with. ered, many students who were there told me They booed him, spoke over him, and personally that they did not want this story even yelled. Since EDEN has considered me to go unnoticed. part of their family Some even asked me on many occasions, if I was going to cover which I am incrediit because they were exbly grateful for, I felt cited to raise awareness. their pain during this In our fight against Seeing some of those injustice, it seems as if time. same people support There was no reawe were not prepared son for students to the #BoycottTheTorch for our emotions to movement on social meyell over each other reveal the divisiveness in a mindful space, dia was devastating — in our own community. expressing anger tothey called me family a week ago. ward someone else Then, the student sharing their story body was granted a town hall meeting with and honorably representing their organizaPresident Conrado Gempesaw last Thurs- tion. day, along with many of his associates. At the untimely end of the town hall, stuI once again felt betrayed by my fellow dents got up and walked out — but it wasn’t black and brown students when the Presi- all of them. dent of EDEN, a Christian fellowship group Students of Consciousness released a stateon campus, was booed during his time to ment Feb. 10 stating that the walk-out was

the decision of S.O.C. as a whole. “We in no way meant to disrespect or antagonize anyone,” the statement says. However, the students who remained seated were ridiculed and screamed at, and some were left in tears. I was one of those students. I am an SJU sophomore, a black woman, a member of Sinai’s Radiant Liturgical Dance Ministry and the Opinion Editor of the official independent student newspaper of St. John’s University. But I cannot say at this moment that I am also part of the family that had my back at the impromptu demonstration in the Little Theatre on Feb. 1. In our fight against injustice, it seems as if we were not prepared for our emotions to reveal the divisiveness in our own community. But after these events, I know that we cannot fight just with our emotions. Without hearing each other out, we hurt each other. And I am in disbelief that it has gotten this aggressive. If you’re a black student and you have a question for your brother, or me, your sister, just go ahead and ask. It’s the conversations between us that matter the most.

Millenial Think: The Dangers of Dating Online Steven Verdile

Swipe left, swipe right, swipe left, swipe left, double tap, swipe left, swipe right, swipe left… it sounds like the cheat code to a 90s video game. In actuality, the repetitive finger gesture might just lead you to your future valentine. College students across the country have been using mobile dating apps for years to find casual sex, brief flings and sometimes even serious relationships, revolutionizing how dating exists on a university campus. Apps like Tinder and Bumble turn the complex process of finding a compatible mate into what is essentially a calculator mini-game. In a matter of minutes, a student can reject or accept hundreds of potential matches. To make it even more convenient, the apps use your GPS location to show you matches that are never more than a short bike ride away.

While there is a lot of appeal to the instantly gratifying and stress-free carnival of mobile dating, there are a few hazards to be aware of. The repetitive appearance-based “yes and no” decisions can easily distort the users’ personal values, and force them into a relatively superficial mindset. It’s also often an activity that favors the photogenic, and can leave some users with a substantial blow to their self-esteem. In addition, it can lead to unwanted outcomes, including cyber bullying, sexual health risks and potentially dangerous private encounters. If students are aware of what they’re getting into, mobile dating may be a great option for them. If you prefer meeting new people while you’re lying in bed in your pajamas—or in any other stress-free environment—dating apps offer possibilities that the “real world” can’t mimic. If you’re a numbers person, you’ll also realize that these apps are incredibly time-efficient, and offer a near unlimited count of

TORCH ILLUSTRATION/ANNASTASIA R. MARBURGER

potential local matches within seconds, and for free. If the opportunity seems enticing, I encourage you to go for it. There is no shame in trying, and these apps would not be so

popular if they didn’t work. Once you’re mindful of the gambles, go on a swiping spree and decide if the fast-pace-digital dating world is right for you. Love could be right at your fingertips.

Have a story in mind for our opinion section? Want To write your own column? email torchopinion@gmail.com


Entertainment 9

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PHOTo/flickr commons sunnyside high school library

Meet the New “Queer Eye” Netflix reboots the hit Bravo show Ariana Ortiz “Queer Eye,” a new Netflix original series which became available to stream Feb. 7, is a reboot of Bravo’s hit show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” which premiered in 2003. The premise of the show is fairly simple: a group of five gay men — each with an area of expertise such as decor, fashion, grooming, culture and food — makeover the lives of several straight men who are in dire need of the five hosts’ help. While the show’s premise is one that heavily relies on the idea that gay men are inherently stylish or cultured (a stereotype that feels years past its prime by today’s more socially aware standards), its contrived moments are outweighed by its genuine, and even heartwarming, ones. Episode three, in which the crew visits a NASCAR-loving police officer named Cory in Georgia, touches on police brutality. As they drive to their next location, they get pulled over with black host Karamo Brown at the wheel; it turns out to be a joke and the police officer is a friend of Cory’s. But the setup feels particularly cruel, especially toward Brown, who visibly tenses up and gets out of the car with a palpable dread. Later, Brown engages in a conversation with Cory about the everyday reality of police brutality that black people face. These moments, while potentially scripted, felt real in a very unexpected way. In episode four, the team meets a closeted

gay man named AJ in Atlanta who keeps his family and social life completely separate. While it feels voyeuristic to see AJ privately come out to his step-mother, you can’t help but root for him and be touched by his decision to live openly. There is one message that ties the episodes together: the more cosmetic improvements

that the five hosts implement are only a means to help along with a more spiritual transformation. While it’s up to viewers to determine the truth of that, it’s certainly uplifting to see everyone’s improved living situations and newfound confidence at the end of each episode. PHOTo COURTESY/youtube netflix

Samantha DeNinno

Explosive Premiere Fails to Spark Netflix launches film three of the “Cloverfield” franchise Michael Ambrosino J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Paramount Pictures’ “Cloverfield” franchise, also known as the “Cloververse” among fans, is undoubtedly one of the most unique film franchises currently saturating the movie franchise market. The first two films — 2008’s “Cloverfield” and 2016’s “10 Cloverfield Lane”

— were both wildly intense and effective thrillers while being totally, tonally different from one another. This year’s Super Bowl Sunday, Paramount Pictures, Bad Robot and Netflix made the surprising announcement of the third “Cloverfield” chapter, titled “The Cloverfield Paradox,” in a clever marketing effort that has never been done before. The companies ran a TV spot during the

PHOTo courtesy/flickr commons franzeekool

big game that both announced the film and its release, which was that night. Talk about cutting it short. This promotional move was a good one as it was guaranteed to hit millions of households and garner millions of impressions. The social reactions were through the roof as the spot communicated a “Find Out Why” message, which fans thought promised an explanation for the events in the first “Cloverfield” film. Does “The Cloverfield Paradox” live up to its cool marketing and tremendous hype? Truthfully, it does and it does not. Sprinkled throughout the film are noteworthy moments of genuine thrills and intensity. It’s directed confidently and shot beautifully. As a stand-alone science fiction adventure story, it’s perfectly servicable. As a “Cloverfield” piece, it’ll leave viewers scratching their heads in surprising disappointment. Similar to “10 Cloverfield Lane,” which is a terrific film, “The Cloverfield Paradox” would have potentially benefitted more from sticking to its original guns (“God Particle,” the original script) than attempting to tie into an exisiting franchise. Some viewers will feel as though this third entry raises even more questions than it answers, which the marketing promised. “The Cloverfield Paradox” is currently available to stream on Netflix.

How many dog-eared, highlighted, splitting at the binds novels do we have piling up on our bookshelves? As professional students, it is easy to say we’ve built up a collection throughout high school and college. So much so that many titles get lost in the jumble of assignments and tests and we forget why these books are known as “classics.” One such book is a small 358-page book titled “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. Published in 1953, the novel depicts a future America in which books are banned and firemen burn any known traces of them. Readers follow Montag, a fireman, under the direction of Captain Beatty, who learns to question the system that he has participated in his entire life. We follow him as he meets the inquisitive Clarisse, his with-the-system wife Mildred and an old retired English professor named Faber, while learning the true power of books and the words within. Why is this important and relevant now? One reason is the message the novel wishes to gift its readers. Beatty explains at one point why books were banned in the first place. Differing opinions and ideas and the wish to not offend anyone led to the standardization of all books. However, it was decided that this was not enough and so all books were banned and burned in order to prevent conflicting opinions. Books conflict each other; even Captain Beatty at one point begins to quote famous books in an effort to show how dangerously contradictory they are. But they are meant to be. In a time in which we should be questioning the status quo, there should be books and words that offer differing perspectives. How else are we meant to form our own opinions on the world around us? In a time where reading has become scarce, let us revive this art form. Also, in an almost ironic twist, “Fahrenheit 451” is set to become a television series on HBO. The teaser trailer was released Jan. 12 with the release date set as a vague spring 2018. Michael B. Jordan (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station” and “Black Panther”) has been cast as Montag and Michael Shannon (“Man of Steel,” “Nocturnal Animals” and “Revolutionary Road”) has been cast as Captain Beatty. Take the opportunity to read this quick read before the show explodes across our television screens this spring.


10 Entertainment

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2018 Olympics’ Electrifying Kickoff Isabella Bruni

The Olympics are a time to highlight the uniting of all nations under one roof, and that specific roof is that of the Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang, South Korea for the Olympics Opening Ceremony. This year’s Olympic Opening Ceremony in Pyeongchang on Friday, Feb. 9 was definitely not as dramatic as Queen Elizabeth II jumping out of a helicopter during the London Summer Games back in 2012, but this year’s ceremony was meaningful and electric. The theme was “Peace in Motion” and the entire set was made to look like a winter wonderland. The entire production was overseen by executive producer Yang Jung-woong and actor-producer Song Seung-whan. It kicked off with five Korean school children exploring an ice cave where they discovered animals that have a special connection to Korea. The white tiger, which represents strength and trust, brought them to the Olympic Stadium where they saw the tiger emerge upon the world stage operated by black-clad dancers. Phoenixes, elk, bears and horses then frolicked onto the stage with Inmyeonjo, or “human-faced bird” and dancers gracefully illuminating the stadium and putting on a beautiful, memorable show. The special effects really made the performance unlike past ceremonies as synchronized patterns, amplified by the camerawork, stressed dynamic diagonal lines and circular or rippling motions. Viewers also got to learn the story of the yin-yang symbol and how it made its way onto the South Korean flag. The Parade of Nations is always a highlight of the ceremony as all of the delegations for every country represented in the Olympics walks in sporting their nation’s colors and gear.

Although the USA has the largest delegation, the country who stole the show was the small Pacific island-nation, Tonga, who had the dubbed “shirtless Tongan flag bearer” lathered in oil. He appeared in the Rio 2016 Olympics but it was more shocking to see him this time around shirtless in the cold Korea weather.

Another person sitting in some of the spotlight was Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong who sat in for her brother as the representative for North Korea since the North and South united as one Korea for the games. This years’ opening ceremony was a memorable one and was an electric kickoff to the games. The Summer Games in Tokyo have a lot to live up to.

PHOTo courtesy/flickr commons euronews


Sports 11

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Storm Tracker: St. John’s Has Turned a Corner A three-game winning streak has St. John’s primed for strong finish Derrell Bouknight Chris Mullin has reiterated the same thing time and time again, never losing sight, or hope, of a win. Even when his team started Big East play winless in 11 games after a 10-2 start, the third-year head coach refused to lose faith and always believed there was a light at the end of the tunnel. “I’ve been telling you guys, you think I’m crazy, but we’ve been right there in all of these games,” Mullin said after St. John’s snapped their skid in a stunning win over then-No. 4 Duke. “There’s nothing like a win to make you feel better.” The matchup with the Blue Devils was the second of three consecutive games against top-10 opponents. The Red Storm lost to Xavier four days earlier by five points, and hadn’t lost to a ranked team by more than seven points all year. After the game against the Musketeers, a 73-68 defeat, Mullin said that the team was in the right position to win. A corner just had to be turned. “[The team] knows that they’re right there,” he said. “There’s no disputing that.” 15 days later and the team is on a threegame winning streak. The team followed up their win over Duke with another upset against conference foe Villanova last Wednesday in Philadelphia. Not only was it the team’s first Big East win of the season, but a turning point indicating that St. John’s was playing with hunger and determination that was absent for much of the conference schedule. By early January, things seemed to be heading in the wrong direction. Marcus LoVett was injured and the school announced he’d miss the rest of the year. For the second time in three years, St. John’s started 0-11 in the Big East. But Mullin and his players never lost faith. But

maybe the most significant change has been the big-game performances of sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds. Marvin Clark II called him one of the best players he’s ever played with, praising him as a great playmaker and an unselfish teammate. Mullin admitted that Ponds is much better than he was in college, saying that it’s “not even close,” and Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski said he was the best offensive guard his team had faced all season. Over his last four games, Ponds has averaged 33.5 points. In Saturday’s sold out game against Marquette, Ponds continued his dynamic scoring, netting a career-high 44 on 16-23 shooting. “It felt good to see the ball go in, trying to mix it up,” Ponds said. “I was confident the entire game. I just try to keep the foot on the gas.” After the game against the Golden Eagles, the Big East named Ponds its Player of the Torch Photo/Nick bello Week for the second straight week. St. John’s celebrates a win over No. 4 Duke at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 3. NCAA.com also awarded needed was one, and we’re going to keep it dence. him with National Player of going.” Mullin won’t change anything, and he’ll the Week honors. St. John’s has five games remaining in the keep doing what he’s stuck to all season. Justin Simon, who recorded two dou“No matter what goes on you have your ble-doubles last week, said the Red Storm regular season, starting with Wednesday’s are coming around at the right point in time. game against DePaul. They’ll meet Mar- core values and you stick to them,” Mul“Like I said, it’s about time,” Simon said quette again in Wisconsin before a Garden lin said. “When you stick to your routine, assuming you have a good routine that is, after Saturday’s game. “We were getting that matchup with Seton Hall. The team will close out the season at home that’s how you gain respect. feeling that it’s about time. We had a tough Now, the whole country is on notice. stretch starting conference play 0-11. All we with Butler and on the road against Provi-

Red Storm Rolling Toward Conference Tournament Brendan Myers Head Coach Chris Mullin kept stressing to his team during their 11-game losing streak that all they needed was one game to go their way. That one game happened to be a win over then-No. 4 Duke, and the Red Storm kept rolling this past week, taking down top ranked Villanova on the road, 79-75, and then returning to a sellout at Carnesecca Arena to beat Marquette, 88-76. On Wednesday in Philadelphia, St. John’s controlled the tempo of the game, only trailing for under two minutes. Instead of relying too heavily on the threeball, as the team has done at times this season, they looked to attack the Villanova bigs and get to the free throw line. St. John’s only took 15 three-pointers during the game. “I never walk into a game thinking that we have no chance,” Mullin said after the win. He also said that while the wins are important, he also admired the perseverance that his players have shown this season. St. John’s went 19-24 from the charity stripe on the day, compared to Villanova,

who only attempted 12 free throws. Despite morning by about 250 St. John’s students, a 26-point showing from sophomore guard they had two days of rest before taking on Shamorie Ponds, it was far from a one-man an explosive Marquette team in front of a show. packed Carnesecca crowd. Bashir Ahmed (10 points), Marvin Clark After a slow start filled with turnovers, St. II (15 points), and Justin Simon (16 points) John’s got going in the second half behind 44 were all in double digits. points from Ponds, 27 of which came in the Clark converted a pivotal three-point play final 20 minutes to take down Marquette. with 1:20 left to play to make it a four-pointPonds set the record for most points scored game as time winded in Carnesecca Arena/ down. Prior to Clark Alumni Hall. lay in, Villanova guard In the process, he Jalen Brunson had became the first St. engineered a 6-0 run John’s player to eclipse I never walk into a the 40-point mark in by himself that had game thinking that we a game since Marcus cut the St. John’s lead have no chance. down to one. Hatten didagainst RutSimon also contribgers back in 2003. Chris Mullin “It’s a blessing,” uted 10 rebounds, giving him his sixth Ponds said of his perdouble-double on the formance after the season. game. “All the great Villanova was led by Wooden Award can- players who came through this University, didate Jalen Brunson, who finished with for my name to be up there, it is a dream 28. Collin Gillespie also had one of his best come true. games as a Wildcat, finishing with 12 points Ponds’ 44 points came on 16-23 from the on 4-6 shooting. field. After the team was greeted early Thursday “He’s been playing amazing basketball

these past couple of games. I’m just like you. I get caught up watching sometimes,” Simon, who registered another double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, joked after the game. The margin of victory for the game finished at eight, but the game was contested until the very end. Every time St. John’s looked as if they were about to pull away, a string of Marquette three-pointers kept the Golden Eagles very much alive. In the second half, the game within the game quickly turned into Ponds vs. Andrew Rowsey, who went toe to toe in scoring. Rowsey finished the game with 26 points, while Sam Hauser and Markus Howard each finished with 18. In addition to Ponds’ career day, Clark and Tariq Owens each contributed nine points, and Ahmed finished with eight. St. John’s will look to make it four straight wins overall when they travel to the Windy City on Wednesday night for a must-win tilt against DePaul. The Blue Demons came into Carnsecca Arena and dominated the Red Storm on Jan. 6, 91-74.


SPORTS February 14, 2018 | VOLUME 95, ISSUE 15

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Torch photo/ Marie Bogue

LACROSSE LOOKS TO REBOUND Sean Okula Pick your metaphor of choice. A clean slate; a blank page; an empty canvas; they all lead back to one blissful concept: a new season. And yet, the doubters rage on against Coach Jason Miller and the men’s lacrosse team. Six wins since 2014, just one last season and Miller’s fellow Big East coaches have the Johnnies pegged to finish dead last in the conference. The underdog narrative might fit. And the Red Storm locker room is ready to take it in stride. “We believe we can do things that nobody else thinks we are capable of doing,” said sophomore defenseman Pat Smyth. Smyth, a preseason all-Big East selection, leads a collection of young talent that has impressed Coach Miller in offseason workouts. But he wants them to keep pushing. “All these young guys that came out and played for us last year, they don’t have to do something superhuman,” Miller said on the eve of the Red Storm season opener. “They just need to come out and be better.” Sophomores Smyth, fellow defenseman

Tim Kiel, and twin attackmen Joe and Mike Madsen lead the group of youngsters that Miller hopes can lead the Johnnies back to the top of the Big East heap. Joe Madsen, who cashed in his first goal of the year in Saturday’s loss at 12-8 loss at No. 8 Rutgers, burst onto the scene as a freshman

We believe we can do things that nobody else thinks we’re capable of doing. Pat Smyth

in 2017. The Locust Valley native led the Red Storm in goals (20) and points (25), but remains hungry as a new campaign dawns. “My shot and my stick skills are the two main things I work on during the off season,” he told The Torch. “There's always

room to improve in those areas.” Madsen credits veteran leadership on the club as a key component of his banner freshman season, specifically citing senior attackman Jason DeBenedictis as a motivator in bringing the sophomore’s game “to the next level.” When a squad struggles as recent Red Storm teams have, it is that leadership that can keep a team grinding on a daily basis, keeping a downtrodden attitude far away from the locker room. Miller further sung the praises of what he called a “really good, hard-working” group of incoming seniors, aiming to carry the torch of Johnnie mentorship. “The one guy that gets so overlooked because he doesn’t score a ton of goals for us is [senior midfielder] T.J. Marron,” Miller explained. “He’s our leader, he’s our energy guy, he’s our glue guy.” It’ll be with players of Marron’s ilk that a St. John’s resurgence will come to fruition. It’s the little things that need to be honed in on, the toughness, the transitions, and maybe most importantly, the defense. The Red Storm surrendered a nation-high 14.07 goals per game last season. The lead

man down on defense, Smyth, expects that number to significantly dip. “As a unit this year we've put a huge emphasis on communication,” he said. “It is impossible to be successful as a defensive unit if everybody isn't on the same page. Some of that comes with experience playing with one another, but most of it comes simply by on-field communication.” “If we can continue to grow in the communication department, our defense will put our team in a lot more favorable position,” Smyth added. The road back to prominence will not be an easy one. High-profile match-ups with the likes of Denver, North Carolina and Hofstra lie ahead for the Red Storm. But Miller thinks the group is ready for the challenge. “I wouldn’t want to do it any other way,” he confidently proclaimed. Yes, they might be branded as the “underdogs.” But they’re not just ready to roll over. The Johnnies are looking for some Red Storm redemption in 2018. “If we just stick to our principles, continue to play for each other with a huge a chip on our shoulders,” Smyth concluded, “I think we will prove a lot of people wrong.”

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Volume 95. Issue 15  

Volume 95. Issue 15  

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