Volume 95. Issue 13

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VOL 95 : 13 january 31, 2018 torchonline.com

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







News: The Torch sits down for a mid-year catch up with SGI

Entertainment: Student Sparks: Students share their favorite YouTube stars

Opinion: How to deal when a professor isn’t on your side

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“Fifteen Years After the Creation” of Homeland Security Dewayne Goforth St. John’s University’s School of Law and College of Professional Studies (CPS) invited Jeh Charles Johnson, J.D. and more than 400 members of the St. John’s community to the event “A Guardian’s Memoirs: Fifteen Years after the Creation of the Department of Homeland Security” on Thursday, Jan. 25 in Marillac Auditorium. The event was moderated by Dean Michael A. Simons, J.D. and Professor of Homeland Security and Criminal Justice and Vice Provost at the Staten Island campus, James O’Keefe, Ph.D.The discussion served to reflect on the nation’s past, present and future capabilities and goals to preserve freedom and overcome multi-dimensional threats. The world has changed a lot since 2001, and with that change has come a deeper understanding of our strengths and our vulnerabilities. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created in late 2002 as a formal government response to the terrorist attacks that took place on Sept. 11, 2001. The DHS is the youngest cabinet department of the U.S. federal government. Johnson, a New York City native and the fourth U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, opened up about his experience leading the department and discussed the many challenges the country still faces today. “The threat to our nation has evolved significantly since 9/11,” Johnson said. “September 11, 2001 was the most prominent example of what we referred to as terrorist-directed attacks.”

Before becoming secretary of Homeland Security, Johnson served as the General Counsel of the Department of Defense during President Obama’s first administration and General Counsel of the Air Force under President Clinton before that. Just last week Johnson rejoined the Litigation Department at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. “We now live with the environment of terrorist-inspired attacks, where someone is inspired by what they read on the internet—we have to build bridges to the communities in which ISIS and al-Qaeda seek to recruit to encourage the leaders of those communities to help us in our homeland security efforts and to help them to counter violent extremism in their communities,” he said. In relation to St. John’s, the University recently announced the Homeland Security, Doctorate of Professional Studies program, making it one of the first traditional, nonprofit educational institutions to offer a doctoral degree in this area. “I am extremely proud to share that we at the College of Professional Studies also play an important role in keeping America safe,” Dean of CPS, Katia Passerini, Ph.D., said in her welcome address. “How? By educating the current and the next generation of public servants and leaders in this field consistently through our Vincentian tradition of compassionate service.” Passerini also announced the recently unveiled Homeland Security/Emergency Management Simulation Lab and Cyber Security Lab that offer state-of-the-art laboratory simulations and cyber security exercises. Johnson made it a point to emphasize to stu-


Former secretary talks past, present and future of the department

Jeh Johnson served as the fourth U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security under Obama.

dents that the need for experts in the field of cyber security is increasing. “It’s going to get worse before it gets better, those on offense have the upper hand, those of us on defense whether in the private sector or the public sector struggle to keep up,” he said. “So first and foremost, I would think about a career in cyber security, or serving your country first—and then we can go work for Gold-

man-Sachs.” Johnson also encouraged students in every major to think about serving their country after graduation. “I think it’s human nature to want to make a difference and to help people,” he said. “We need smart young people who are interested in serving their country, their state, their city and serve their fellow citizens.”

Panelists Dissect the Second Amendment Samantha DeNinno Panelists gathered in the Little Theatre on Wednesday Jan. 24, under the moderation of St. John’s University School of Law’s Vice Dean, Larry Cunningham, and the Queens Tribune’s Michael Nussbaum, to discuss the Second Amendment. They particularly discussed the question: Is it relevant today in light of the proliferation of gun violence and greater capacity of guns to kill? Such panelists included an alumni of St. John’s, Hon. George A. Grasso, Supervising Judge of Criminal Court of the City of New York; Hon. Gene Lopez, Supervising Judge, Criminal Term, Queens County; Assistant District Attorney Francesco Catarisano, Chief, Kew Gardens Trial Bureau; Steve Wasserman, Esq., Legal Aid Society, Criminal Practice and another alumni of St. John’s, Oleg Chernyavsky, Esq., Director, Legislative Affairs, New York City Police Department. Panelists discussed how citizens find themselves turning on the TV only to be met with the latest mass shooting in the United States. They argued the biggest opponent to change is the Second Amendment, which is the right to bear arms. The backbone of the night’s discussion was the case of District of Columbia vs. Heller (2008), in which a 5-4 decision mandated that an individual had the right to keep and bear

arms, therefore eliminating the notion that the sis on mental illness which may affect gun viSecond Amendment only pertained to “mili- olence. tia.” “We are not doing nearly enough on mental Grasso called this decision a “cop out.” illness across the board,” he said. “The Second Amendment is still in search of He used Rikers Island inmates as such an exa meaning,” Wasserman said. ample of the phenomena; 40 percent of the inHe added that we are living in a time where mates have been diagnosed with mental illnesseverything, in particular advancements made es, 97 percent of which have substance abuse in gun control, could revert backwards. Was- problems. Grasso voiced his belief that people serman also mentioned New York’s strict gun with mental illnesses need not just medical atcontrol laws may change if President Donald tention, but supportive housing and care. Trump appoints a judge to the Supreme Court. Grasso also proposed the idea that gun ownChernyavsky turned the ership is not the main conversation to the new factor of gun violence in proposal for a national the U.S., and brought up carry and conceal law, that the possibility of it being was passed by the House because of glorificaI wish [the event] had partly of Representatives. tion of violence in popular been more well attended. media. The Concealed Carry This is a big deal... Reciprocity Act would alAll panelists agreed on low citizens in states with the relevance of the SecHon. George A. Grasso ond Amendment in tolooser permit laws to travel with firearms to other day’s society, saying that states with stricter laws, the problem is there and such as New York. needs to change. CatarisaThis residency issue could “turn New York no warned that it is not constructive to look at back to the battle days of the mid 1980s,” ac- changing the relevance of the amendments becording to Catarisano. Currently, 13 states have cause it raises the questions of the role of other constitutional carry laws that allow citizens to amendments in American lives. carry firearms with nothing more than a driver’s “I wish [the event] had been more well atlicense. tended. This is a big deal...” Grasso said directly The conversation also turned to the culture to the audience, stressing that it is time to stop that prevents any progress in decreasing gun debating about the past and decide on the fuviolence. Grasso called upon a greater empha- ture.

“I’m a little disappointed that more people didn’t show up,” junior Patrick Pardo said. “However, I’m very glad I learned a lot more ... about the stats and what real people in the field such as judges, attorneys [and the] district attorney’s office think about this important subject.” One student though it would have been better for the judges to give “their ideas of how to move forward with gun control and gun violence.” They were not allowed to give their opinions in regards to the Second Amendment. “I think it was advantageous to learn about all that stuff but I think there was a roadblock that they couldn’t really give their opinions on what they think could help gun violence and gun control,” junior Alexis Contreras said. “So I think that was the only bad part of it. Maybe for the next panel ... get people who can give their opinion.” However, Nussbaum was happy with the outcome of the event overall. Although he acknowledged attendance wasn’t very high, he did think it was an important issue to discuss. “On the issue of gun control, gun violence and the validity of the Second Amendment, I was happy because I was just impressed by the depth of discussion,” he said. “So if you had two judges, you have a senior district attorney, assistant district attorney, someone from the police department and someone on the other side whose the defense attorney — they all understood each other’s position. You didn’t have the diametric left or right so I was very happy with it.”




SJU Sued Over Bent Hall

Lawsuit says University did not deliver on promises Suzanne Ciechalski

The St. John’s alumnus behind the name Bent Hall accuses the University in a lawsuit of reneging on an oral agreement to keep his surname attached to the building forever. Bruce Bent, who graduated in 1961 and is a former Board of Trustees member, alleges in his lawsuit that St. John’s “agreed to convey the naming rights to the Building, including prominent signage reflecting the naming rights throughout the Building” to him in 1981 when the building was dedicated. The words “Bent Hall” had been written on an awning on the front of the building prior to its recent renovations. Since the building reopened in the fall, however, the front of the building’s signage was changed to read “The Peter J. Tobin College of Business.” Bent says in his lawsuit, filed Jan. 26 in Queens Supreme Court and obtained by the Torch, that he unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate a deal in which the University would reacquire the building’s naming rights for a undisclosed fee. The lawsuit seeks what it describes as “fair value” retribution of Bent’s original $500,000 contribution.

Mr. Bent honored his agreement with the University, but unfortunately, the University reneged. John Dellaportas

“At the University’s request, Mr. Bent made a significant payment to the University Endowment. In exchange, the University granted Mr. Bent naming rights to the building in perpetuity,” Bent’s lawyer, John Dellaportas, said in an email to the Torch. “Mr. Bent honored his agreement with the University, but unfortunately, the University has reneged.” The University, however, contends that Bent Hall is still, in fact, called Bent Hall. Signage reading “Bent Hall” remains affixed to the side of the building, and can also be seen on one of the nearby signs that directs people toward various buildings on campus. “Bent Hall has not changed its name,” Brian Browne, a spokesperson for St. John’s, said. “There is no formal, or informal plans or strategy to rename Bent Hall.” As to the front entrance of the building now reading “The Peter J. Tobin College of Business,” Browne noted how several buildings on campus have the name of one of SJU’s colleges affixed to them, despite also having a different commonly used name. Sullivan Hall, which also has “The School of Education” written on it, is one such structure. Bent’s lawsuit says that in exchange for a “substantial financial payment,” the naming rights to the building were given to him.

According to both Dellaportas and Browne, the payment in question was in the amount of $500,000. The lawsuit initially contends that the university “confirmed writing” that the naming rights belonged to Bent forever. Later, it says President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw sent Bent a letter in October stating the University was within rights “because the parties had no written agreement.” Dellaportas, Bent’s lawyer, confirmed to the Torch there is nothing in writing. “The agreement was oral, not written, as Mr. Bent trusted St. John’s to be true to its word,” Dellaportas said. Two years ago St. John’s received a $2.5 million grant to renovate Bent Hall. The grant came from the New York State Higher Education Capital Grant Matching Program, a grant-matching program created to “finance capital projects and equipment purchases by independent institutions of higher learning in New York State,” according to the Dorm Authority of the State of New York’s website. In a Feb. 26, 2016, news release, the University stated that the Tobin College of Business would be housed in Bent Hall once fully renovated — the building used to be the site of both Tobin and the College of Professional Studies, which is now located in St. Augustine Hall. “When construction is completed the Tobin College of Business will occupy four floors of completely remodeled Bent Hall featuring new classrooms, a large multi-purpose space, faculty offices, student study and collaboration areas, a technologically advanced financial information lab and a start-up incubator lab,” the University said. In an email, Bent’s spokesman, Richard Mahony, also contended that the name of the building was changed without consulting Bent. According to Browne, Bent was consulted. “Bent Hall, which, after 36 years had reached the end of its useful life, has been extensively renovated as a new, modern facility to exclusively house the University’s business school,” Browne said in a statement. “While Mr. Bent was presented with


Signs around the St. John’s University Queens campus still point to Bent Hall.

the opportunity to become involved with this new facility, he made the decision not to do so.” Bent filed the lawsuit after a failed attempt to negotiate a settlement. “More than 30 years later, without consulting Mr. Bent or offering to reacquire the naming rights - the standard practice in such circumstances - the University removed his name and replaced it with that of another donor,” Mahony said. “After his efforts to resolve this matter were rebuffed by the University, Mr. Bent filed this lawsuit.” Bent Hall’s renovations were completed at

the start of the fall 2017. An economics and management major at St. John’s, Bent became well-known on Wall Street and in the investment banking world. Bent, who is credited in a 2001 Newsday profile with creating the money market mutual fund, was CEO for 30 years of The Reserve Funds. In 2009 the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Bent and his son Bruce Bent II of securities fraud in a civil suit related to the 2008 market crash. The Bents were later cleared of all charges by a jury.


Brian Browne, a spokesperson for St. John’s, said there are no formal or informal plans or strategy to rename Bent Hall.




A Mid-Year Catch Up With SGI

Obermeyer talks ongoing initiatives, goals, upcoming election Ariana Ortiz The Torch recently sat down with SGI President Frank Obermeyer to catch up on what SGI’s current e-board has accomplished since it won its campaign in Spring 2017, as well as what goals SGI is still pursuing for students. Obermeyer said SGI will primarily place emphasis on continuing to improve existing processes, such as Power to Organize and SGI committee bylaws.

New budgeting system “The thing we were most proud of going into this year, and one of our biggest campaign promises, was moving our processes for budget management online,” Obermeyer said. “Right at the beginning of the summer, we bought a feature on StormSync that allows student leaders of organizations to submit budget requests online.” While the budget system still requires that student leaders go through the same channels of approval, they are no longer required to pick up the physical form, get it signed by an advisor and proceed to get it approved at SGI’s office. “For us as SGI, one of our biggest roles is working directly with student leaders and anything we can do to make their jobs easier and less of the runaround is better for them, so they can focus on the things that matter more,” Obermeyer said, adding that the initiative did not cost much more than the traditional system, since the cost of paper has no. Obermeyer credits SGI Treasurer Teresa Ehiogu with being the “guardian” of the program and ensuring that every organization fully understands the new process. “She’s been the overseer of that, which has been super helpful,” Obermeyer said. “It’s not something you can just set up and leave, it takes a little bit for more people to get onboard and understand the process.”

Campus dialogues, steps to advocacy “One of our bigger priorities as a ticket was to try our best to increase our advocacy,” Obermeyer said, referring to the fact that SGI has primarily served as a “very successful programming board,” putting on annual events such as Relay for Life and Winter Carnival. “We wanted to move more towards advocacy, not really away from programming, but see if we could step our game up in giving students a voice.” he added. SGI meetings have been reworked to include a designated time at each meeting’s beginning so students can voice any concerns to their elected representatives. “[Establishing campus dialogues] was more so just making time for advocacy at every single one of our meetings. Making time for any student who wishes to come to our meeting and voice a concern, giving them that opportunity and making that the first thing on our agenda,” Obermeyer said, going on to clarify that while these campus dialogues may not lead to an immediate and noticeable change, the opportunity for representatives to hear their constituents’ voices is a valuable one. “Ideally, representatives would be out talking to their constituents everyday, but we have to keep in mind that these are student leaders, they’ve got other roles and classes,” he said. “So I think making that time at our assembly meeting was a good step. We hit a couple bumps along the way, it’s harder to manage as I originally thought it would be. We’ve gotten better at it,....the guidelines are very clear. Hopefully as it continues, students will feel more comfortable with the process.”

Sustainability Obermeyer says that SGI’s newly established sustainability committee, formed this past fall semester and currently headed by Fiona Palmer, has also been making efforts


Frank Obermeyer at last year’s SGI Debate where he later won for president.

to make campus more sustainable. “Fiona’s been working hard, our goal to start the year was to make sure that as many as our SGI events were using sustainable products,” Obermeyer said. According to Obermeyer, a major goal of the sustainability committee was to require every organization on campus to use solely sustainable products for its events. “We originally went in there guns blazing,” Obermeyer said. “But that’s a leap. Hopefully, someday, St. John’s is using almost entirely sustainable utensils—that’s kind of where we’re starting, utensils, plates, cups—but at the moment we decided to take a step back and say, let’s see if we can do this just within SGI first, and then move to the rest of the campus.” Obermeyer says that while SGI wasn’t able to ensure that the products and utensils used during Winter Carnival were 100% sustainable because the event happened before the committee “had a chance to kind of get on its feet,” the group will strive to make Relay for Life as sustainable as possible. “SGI’s going to take on a little bit of an extra cost, but we think the greater gain for a big event like that is huge. That’s going to be something we plan to do...I think it sets a precedent for sustainability,” he said.

Upcoming elections Applications for SGI’s upcoming election have been live since Jan. 17 and will be open until Feb. 12 at noon. “Students still have ample opportunity to fill out the applications, they’re not long,” Obermeyer said. Campaigning will begin on March 5, an earlier date than usual. With this added campaign time, Obermeyer says he hopes that campaigning will be “less of a mad rush within one week and more of sustained outreach.” The SGI Debate is set for March 22 in the DAC living room, another change that Obermeyer says will make the event more open to all community members, rather than just student leaders. He added that this year’s elections are already looking to be more competitive. “In the past, I think SGI has had trouble with forming two tickets, but this year I’m confident that we will have a very competitive race,” Obermeyer said. “I think that speaks to the fact that more students are getting involved in SGI. It feels good to see more than one ticket forming, feels less like a formality and more of an actual decision-making process.” Voting will begin on April 5.

First Floor Meeting of the Spring Semester Jillian Ortiz The first Student Government, Inc. meeting of the spring semester on Monday, Jan. 29 covered an array of topics ranging from new innovations under the College of Professional Studies to diversity relations and upcoming events on campus. Assistant Dean and Associate Director of Operations for the College of Professional Studies Kevin James commenced the meeting by introducing new CPS initiatives that aim to encourage student entrepreneurs. One of these initiatives is the University’s partnership with the International Council for Small Business, through which St. John’s executes the Global Development Entrepreneurship Program. As part of the program, students have the opportunity to pitch a business venture at the International Council for Small Business World Congress in Taipei, Taiwan during the upcoming summer. Dean Katia Passerini, Ph.D. of the Col-

lege of Professional Studies also added that a scholarship opportunity will soon be available for students interested in entrepreneurship. More specifically, the scholarship will be awarded annually to two senior undergraduate students that meet the pending scholarship requirements. SGI President Frank Obermeyer announced that $20,000 has been invested for SGI and programming boards to have card swipers in order to enter the SGI office during normal operating hours, due to numerous instances where members have been locked out. Obermeyer noted that although it sounds like a large expense, the cost is being deducted from money that has been saved by previous negotiations with Public Safety. Junior Senator Atem Tazi spoke of the recent Resident Assistant training that occured over winter break, during which the RA staff underwent diversity training. The training was led by Robbye Kinkade, the project director for the Responding to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (R.E.D.I.)

Project. Tazi said that SGI is in the finalization process for a diversity training for all of the student leaders and students alike in order to better promote the aspect of diversity. Kinkade is expected to visit St. John’s on April 12. It was also announced that the Commuter Connection Committee has been revitalized on campus. The initiative began at the beginning of the year and saw success as it was represented at the Spring Activities fair yesterday.

Several upcoming events such as ISSO’s benefit formal, Chahaat, SJU Shruti’s ISSO benefit formal performance, the NAACP’s anniversary dinner and Women on Wall Street’s “Return on Gender Equity: A Fireside Chat Series” were allocated their respective funds by the Budget Committee as well. SGI representative and e-board elections for the 2018-2019 academic year are now live and are due by midnight on Feb. 12, 2018. Campaigns are set to begin on March 5. The meeting concluded following an announcement regarding the relocation of WEPA Printing Stations made by Alexander Cheung of the Research and Development Committee. Cheung proposed that there be one printing station per residence quad, which sparked a lengthy discussion. A proposal to relocate the WEPA station in the lobby of Donovan Hall just outside of the gate to make it accessible to all students, along with a proposal to move the WEPA station in Hollis Hall from the first floor lounge to the lobby of the hall were finally agreed upon.

Opinion 5


Flames of the Torch We need media literacy

Managing Board XCV


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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The Torch, St. John’s University O’Connor Hall - B Level 8000 Utopia Parkway

Staff and contributors Alexis Gaskin Yves Nguyen Arturo Enamorado Helga Golemi

Gabriella Campos Erin Sakalis Nithaelle Drouillard

Dewayne Goforth Marie Bogue Rachel Johnson

Correction: In the Jan. 24, 2018 issue of the Torch, Kendall Clark was incorrectly identified as Kyanna Johnson in a photo caption in the story titled “New Group on Campus: Black Student Union.” Additionally, she was listed as a sophomore, but is actually a junior.

Editorial policy

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.


About the Torch

In this ever-changing world of media, it’s become increasingly easier to get caught up in headlines without reading into a story, or to simply be blindsided by “fake news.” Social media has made it easier than ever to consume news — which means it’s more important than ever to focus on media literacy. There’s a situation most of us are likely familiar with: You get some free time, scroll through sites like Twitter and Facebook, see headlines, get caught up in what they say, and react to it without actually reading the story. We reported on a story this week about a former alumnus and Board of Trustees member who is suing the University over the naming rights to Bent Hall. The story was first reported by the New York Post on Friday, and when we first found it, we were instantly fascinated. But there was a lot more to it than just the lawsuit and money mentioned in the headline. Upon closer reading of the Post story, obtaining the actual lawsuit from the court, and through placing some phone calls and emails to representatives on both sides of the case, we uncovered that no written agreement existed between the plaintiff, Bruce Bent, and St. John’s. Another issue that’s commonly discussed

is fake news. No, it isn’t just rhetoric. We sometimes come across stories that are actually “fake news,” as in, they don’t present factual reporting. It’s a serious problem, and it degrades the work of reporters who seek to report the truth. The issue of fake news has been taken on by everyone from the President of the United States, to everyday Americans, to the media itself. To combat this issue, Facebook even went as far as working with fact-checking groups to help read through articles and identify whether they’re spreading misinformation or not. But there are things all of us can do, too, to help fight this issue. Finding reliable news sources is key, and while it may seem like a silly thing to say, so is reading. There’s a lot more to every story than its headline. Even while reading or listening to stories, it’s important to think critically, and even question the reporting, if it seems fitting. As journalists, we’re taught to question everything. Consumers of media should do that as well. There’s nothing wrong with questioning a story — it helps you think more critically about the news, assess its validity, and most importantly, to learn more. As long as you read the story, of course.

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


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Vincentian View: “I Feel Your Pain” Fr. Patrick Griffin, C.M.

We have just completed the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian charism. Jan. 25, 1617 was the day on which St. Vincent de Paul preached what he considered to be the first sermon of the mission. For the past year, in various ways, we have remembered and valued his insight and guidance at St. John’s University. One of the special gifts for me during the year was the opportunity to teach a course on de Paul in the Theology Department of St. John’s College. I had, of course, spoken about de Paul on numerous occasions, but this was the first time that I could offer a semester-long focused presentation. In the 3 1/2 years before my return to SJU in 2014, I lived and worked in Paris. What a privilege and a blessing. I came to experience

the Vincentian story through the streets and places where so much occurred. I told my SJU class that I would love to have them in Paris with me so that we could tell the story and service of de Paul in place, so that we could walk around and feel the spirit. Most people might think that I would like to begin that French journey in Southern France where de Paul was born. That would not be true. I would begin in the little park that now rests within the campus, and was the St. Lazare estate in Vincent’s time. Vincent had lived on this property through the latter years of his life (1632-1660). Much of his ministry had proceeded from there. In this little fenced park, there are benches and grass and paths and flowers. There are also (usually) a number of homeless people (I think that Vincent would have liked that). At one end of the park is a granite column about six feet tall. In the column is an engraved image of de Paul and his word: “J’ai peine de votre peine,” which loosely trans-

late to “I feel your pain.” For me, these words offer a proper and very human introduction to the heart of Vincent. He felt the afflictions of those who suffered and he gathered around him women and men who felt that same hurt. With his words and actions, he enabled all his supporters to come to some appreciation of the pain of the poor. That is the lesson which I would hope to convey in my Vincent course. For him, to open oneself to the service of those in need involves exposing oneself to their aches and torments. There can be no armor to protect one’s innermost and tender self. As I allow myself to look at our current world, I see the desire to shut ourselves off from the pain of others. To allow ourselves to feel that hurt would demand that we do something. It is easier to ignore or demonize the poor without medical care along with immigrants and others. These are the people whom Vincent would look in the eye with the assertion; “I feel your pain.”

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#TimesUp & #MeToo: What Happens Now?

The conversation shouldn’t start and end in Hollywood Arturo Enamorado On Jan. 24, Dr. Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison after decades of sexual assault on American female Olympians. Though this and the ground breaking speech by Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globes are in some ways measures of success of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, this is certainly not the end point from which we can say the matter is done with. The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund reached $15 million and award shows have now seen black dresses, black pins and white roses. It’s evident that this movement is more than a hashtag. But there is still a lot of work to be done before real change can occur. In a world that seems bleaker by the day, where stories of misogyny and questioning of victims seem commonplace, this move-

ment has slowly started the conversation. Males grow up in a world where hypermasculinity rules over the concerns of women. This makes the issue of what comes next very challenging. To help answer this, I reached out to some St. John’s students willing to speak on should happen next in our community. Junior Nicole Lawrence said that #MeToo was able to address the problems going on, but many victims did not have the means to speak out. She added that there needs to be a change in our dialogue about how we handle abuse conversations, issues of accountability and unfortunate victim shaming. Lawrence was in that position before, and could be that person again, but she said that self-love and support without question are required to heal. More needs to be done than just address not only hers, but other victims’ dehuman-

ization. We have to question why it is okay to vilify a victim for speaking out. Similarly, junior Sieta Leon added that the movement gave awareness, but that bigger conversations need to be held on how the media represents females and other victims regardless of gender or race. Still, Hollywood has played a role in amplifying, for better or worse, the way that we view sexual assault. The question now is not what comes next, but what more we should be doing; something that should be important in the Vincentian community of service here at St. John’s. So what comes next? As a history student here at SJU it is daunting to explain that history does not repeat itself, but echoes. As Black History Month approaches, I can’t help but think of the Civil Rights movement. There, we saw not just awareness but active


participation. I believe that active participation is the answer. Whether it is holding vigils here on campus, having open discussions or calling out everyday microaggressions, or simply supporting a victim, a friend. What does it mean to be aware if we do not act? That is what has to come next.

The Truth About Going “Offline” How does social media hurt your mental health? Erin Sakalis


When Your Professor Isn’t on Your Side Morgan Mullings As a student who came from a very challenging college prep school, I know the importance of testing your knowledge. We all should know, since most of us took a standardized test before coming to a university. And whether you’re a bad test-taker or you’re awful at essays, you came to school to learn. None of us should have to contemplate if our professors are on our side or not. There’s no purpose in bashing St. John’s University professors — they are intelligent, they work incredibly hard and they deal with hundreds of students every single day. However, the relationship between professor and student can never be perfect. That’s why it makes sense that many students feel like their professors are setting them up for failure, or trying to weed out the students who are “smart enough” for an A. Just listen to some of the comments on RateMyProfessors.com: “You will get a B no matter how hard you study.” “She never repeats herself.” “A vast difference between what she teaches and what she puts on the test.” These are all comments made about SJU professors, past and present. It’s not okay to give a professor a bad

rating just because the content is difficult or because attendance is always taken. It is okay to have a complaint when a teacher doesn’t give their students all the resources they need to succeed. That includes answering questions, taking feedback, filling in the informational gaps, teaching what is tested and grading within reason. Many students get frustrated when teachers do not specifically spell out expectations and then mark down their students on those invisible expectations. Professors, students just want to know that you want them to succeed. This is shown in how you teach, how you grade and how you interact with students—not by just saying “Good luck!” before handing out the final exam. And if the students don’t use the resources you gave them, then sure, hand out as many F’s as you like. It is unfair for students to ask you to hold their hand through a college course. But you have to make every effort to make sure that the students are actually learning something and seeing the results of their learning. If they have any reason to say otherwise, you need to address it. As for the students who want to learn, they deserve a professor who understands that everyone deserves an A if they worked for it.

industries such as advertising, journalism and public relations. For professional reaOne of the first things I learned about digital sons, many of my peers and I can’t afford to media in advertising class is that there are “go offline.” For us, “FOMO” doesn’t refer only to three reasons people use the internet: to find the “fear of missing out” on potential soinformation, to be entertained and to stay cial gatherings, but also to the fear of missconnected. From LinkedIn to Snapchat, there is an ing news about current events, releases and abundance of different media to fulfill each campaigns that affect our understanding and knowledge of the industries we hope to soon social need. However, despite the unprecedented sup- enter. It is virtually impossible to be subscribed ply and variety of ways to stay connected, many have recently committed to going to every issue of every publication or man“offline,” or avoiding platforms that have an ually check every official website on a daily basis. overall negative effect on mental health. In an age where the president himself comFor the first time in history, we are bommunicates frequently barded with informaover Twitter, there is tion from all angles. also some information Discussions are octhat is unattainable curring incessantly through means of traand the new data never There are ways to main- ditional media. seems to cease. tain a positive social Social media streamIndividuals can easilines the process of ly be overwhelmed just media presence while following relevant from the sheer volume companies, news orminimizing detrimental of information, whethganizations and puber it’s through internaeffects on mental health. lic figures, but it also tional news reports or contributes its share of YouTube videos. With distractions and nuiediting apps such as sances. FaceTune becoming Luckily, there are ways to maintain a posimore popular, people have more power than ever to mold themselves into unrealistic tive social media presence and stay connected while minimizing detrimental effects on forms. The ability to filter the aspects of ourselves mental health. Lower your level of interaction with every that are publicly displayed creates a global post you see. pool of negative comparison. Be cognizant of the fact that social media And of course, people are constantly reminded of what exactly they’re missing. is personally constructed and that people Some “go offline” in order to alleviate that make concentrated efforts to appear as they do. As for “FOMO,” if you’re not invited to extra stress. But is an online absence even plausible? a “friend’s” party, you’ll never find out why For a generation that has grown accustomed by being angry at an Instagram picture. Lastly, make sure to moderate your use of to renewing Snapchat “streaks” upon waking each morning, quitting cold turkey is social media and meet with friends in person when possible. Chances are, if you’re genuunrealistic. As a CPS student myself, I know how fun- inely havin fun, you won’t feel the pressure damental digital platforms have become to to post about it.

“My favorite YouTuber is Binging With Babish because his videos are really well produced, and I like seeing all these recipes from TV being made, and he puts a sophisticated spin on all of them.” Lily Ferguson

“4yallentertainment is my favorite because they are Jamaican, and they reference Jamaican culture a lot. It’s really funny.” Hujon Goulbourne Senior, Rhetoric

Sophomore, Government and Politics

“My favorite YouTube channel is Golazo TV; it’s a soccer channel, and they study the highlights. I like soccer, and I don’t have to watch the whole game.” Joseph De Leon Sophomore, Biology

“Seculartalk because I really respect his political views and the research he does on the topics he talks about.” Chrishnah Mills Senior, Psychology

“My favorite YouTuber is The Way with Anoa. I like it because she talks about politics in a good way and really brings light to a lot of topics not a lot of people talk about.” Kenneth Shelton Jr. Senior, Government and Politics

“My favorite YouTubers are Maangchi and Rian Phin. Maangchi because I like watching my Korean grandmother make really good Korean food, and it makes me happy when I’m stressed out. Rian Phin because they talk about interesting things in interesting ways.” Megan Solomon Senior, Philosophy

Student Sparks

YVES NGUYEN Staff Writer

Who is your favorite YouTuber?

“My favorite YouTuber is aneedledrop because he gives very high quality, well thought out music reviews, and he has very broad tastes in music and influences me to broaden my horizons in terms of the music I listen to.” Kenneth Theodore Senior, Government and Politics

“My favorite YouTuber is Catcreature because she inspires me.” Mikayla Doherty Junior, Environmental Studies

“I have been watching mukbang videos...Belovely, she’s amazing. Hearing them do it, it’s kind of like ASMR. Having it in the background is just soothing.” Zohar Tsoran Sophomore, Rhetoric

“My favorite YouTuber is probably Philip DeFranco because he’s very open about his bias and news that should be unbiased; he really reports on that.” Thelot Etienne Freshman, Math

“Joe Santagato is my favorite YouTuber because he’s funny and says what’s on his mind. He has no filter and says what everyone’s thinking.” Rebecca Katayeva Freshman, Pharmacy

NAOMI ARNOT Torch Design

8 Entertainment


The Anthology Culture

The newest addition: Amazon’s “Electric Dreams” Alexis Gaskin The well-known “Black Mirror” may have some competition in the world of anthology series, against new series “Electric Dreams.” Both series originated in the United Kingdom on Channel 4. These anthology series seem to be changing the way people watch television. The phenomenon of self-contained plot lines and characters in each episode has changed the way of directing, writing and producing. “Electric Dreams” originally aired in late 2017 but was presented to the United States earlier this year on another online streaming site, Amazon Prime Video. The series, which is inspired by the short stories of late science fiction writer Philip K. Dick (“The Majority Report,” “The Man in the High Castle”), is comprised of 10 different episodes, each containing an all-star cast, including Vera Farmiga, Terrence Howard and Bryan Cranston to name a few. The highly futuristic and dystopian background of the new Amazon series has storylines that include a crippling smog-infused earth where people mine for oxygen on other planets, a future where an Amazon-like company takes over the world and the popular trope of the dream-within-adream scenario. Dick’s world of alternate realities, science fiction and sometimes paranormal stories are revamped and have underlying mes-


Samantha DeNinno


sages about the harms of overproduction, racism and mental health issues. The stories keep you on the edge of your seat but often drag out the plot, leaving the viewer bored and unsatisfied. Meanwhile, “Black Mirror” was purchased by online streaming giant Netflix in 2014 and has continued its series on the site since, featuring actors such as Daniel Kaluuya, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jon Hamm. The cult-classic show is always highly anticipated at the beginning of each season with speculation of what futuristic technologies would cause a demise next. The anthology phenomenon has become a hot topic on social media and is being watched more than the regular season-long shows with lengthy plot lines and often predictable endings. Anthology series are set apart from regu-

lar shows because of their creative writing and shocking endings. They are becoming the new series for the new generation. Each series is unique in their own right but share a common thread: the episodes leave viewers uneasy as to what’s going to happen next. The much-anticipated, shocking and ambiguous endings leave the viewers wanting to re-watch in order to catch what they may have missed. The hype of anthology series is demonstrated through the creation of new shows like “Electric Dreams” and the continuation of the “Black Mirror” craze. One thing is for sure - no matter the anthology series, whether it be a newcomer like “Electric Dreams” or an oldie like “The Twilight Zone,” audiences will always be left thinking, “What did I just watch?”

FoB’s Manically New “M A N I A” Erin Bola Fall Out Boy’s road to releasing their seventh studio album “M A N I A” was a rocky one. The album’s lead single, “Young And Menace,” was released last April to a vast majority of unfavorable reviews. Longtime fans criticized the song for being a stark departure from the band’s pop-punk roots with its autotuned EDM sound. “M A N I A”’s original September release date was also postponed until Jan. 19 after lead singer Patrick Stump explained that the process “felt very rushed” in a Twitter statement. Now that the band’s long awaited follow-up to 2015’s “American Beauty/American Psycho” has finally arrived, it contains a wide range of both radio-ready pop synths and heavier rock anthems. The variety of sounds found on “M A N I A” proves that Fall Out Boy is no longer the poster child for the emo scene that they were ten years ago. Following “Young and Menace” as the album opener, “Champion” and “Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea” are standouts, with their heavy guitar riffs and fast pace being the album’s biggest similarities to the band’s early days. The two are also notable examples of Fall Out Boy’s famous lyrical style and pop

culture references, especially when Stump sings, “I’m about to Tonya Harding on the whole world’s knee.” Stump’s electric vocal range is in full effect on “M A N I A” as he hits a multitude of high notes in “Church” and during the slower ballad “Heaven’s Gate.” This showcase of Stump’s soulful voice might be the most impressive aspect of the entire album. While Fall Out Boy might have hit some high marks in “M A N I A,” the album as a whole is their biggest departure from

their pre-hiatus pop-punk sound to date. A diehard Fall Out Boy fan might be disappointed by the lack of heavy guitar and drums that were a staple in albums such as “From Under the Cork Tree” (2005), and the appearance of pop-heavy jams such as “HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T.” While “M A N I A” might not be the Fall Out Boy that people cherished during their middle school emo phases, their new work is a refreshing twist on the pop-punk roots that first escalated the band into the mainstream spotlight.


The column that will rewind time weekly (a minimum of 10 years) to bring you the best media you might have missed! “Memento” (2001) dir. Christopher Nolan - Available on Kanopy to stream! Many have most likely either heard of director/screenwriter Christopher Nolan before or at one point unknowingly seen one of his many highly acclaimed films such as the “Dark Knight Trilogy,” “Inception” or “Dunkirk.” “Dunkirk” has recently garnered Nolan directorial and best picture nominations for the 2018 Oscars this March. Lesser known are his early movies. “Memento,” the fifth film with Nolan at the helm, awarded him his first Oscar nomination for his screenplay. Despite this, the film has largely gone under the radar for viewers not a part of the arthouse or Sundance circuit. “Memento” exhibits early-on many of the key stylistic choices that make Nolan’s films so distinctive. Confusing, sometimes hard to track plotlines, non-chronological order and the iconic anti-hero to name a few. “Memento” follows Lenny (played incredibly by Guy Pearce), who as a result of an accident, loses the ability to form new memories. Specifically, he loses his memory every 15 minutes. This happens to make his main goal - to hunt down the man who raped and killed his wife - marginally more difficult. Extreme close ups of his many tattooed phrases and facts, polaroids with handwritten notes and packed file folders bound together with rubber-bands reveal Lenny’s meticulous system of keeping track. However, this paired with his memory problem leave him vulnerable to malintended “friends” and enemies. The film begins at the end of the story and works both backwards and forwards over the course of the film. Nolan plays with time throughout the film, leaving even this writer at times confused. But we are supposed to be. While Lenny’s problem isn’t time related, the non-chronological order of the film requires us to recall scenes that happened many scenes ago, and leave us wondering whose side everyone is on, much like the central character. Even more similar to Nolan’s other films are the plot twists. Nolan waits until the end to drop the bomb. And it is a bomb, indeed. This single plot twist flips the whole film on its head, leaving the audience to question every single choice that every single character has made and the motives behind them all. Is anybody really who they say they are?

Features 9


Introducing “Health Matters” A new student-run column about student health, wellness Helga Golemi

do you have a pitch for features? EMAIL US or send your pitches to: torchfeatures@gmail.com

We are our body’s own doctors and it is imperative that as youth, we understand them. There is a plethora of things to write about when it comes to health and medicine. Medicine has no set audience, and everyone needs to be educated when it comes to their health. The goal in launching this health column is to benefit the St. John’s community and all of its students. Whether the benefit lies in the genuine passion one gets to develop by participating in the column, or simply in the advice one can use to better their own health, we can all agree on one thing: medicine matters.

I look forward to helping every student achieve a happier and healthier 2018.


As a biology major, the majority of my time is spent either with my face buried inside my science textbook or at hospitals, attempting to gain as much exposure to the medical field as I can. While that passion to help others is what gets me out of bed every morning to my 7:30 a.m. lab, I think there is something just as thrilling about being able to do this through a how-to column. Through my experiences, I have noticed many discrepancies within the teaching of medical education and the way that information is relayed, not only to patients, but to students as well. Often, science majors are bombarded with sophisticated medical jargon that ends up sounding like a lot of gibberish. With time, we seem to lose interest in a career we were once so enthusiastic about because all of our years of education have consisted of strict memorization, barely giving us a platform to apply our knowledge until we are deemed proficient by a standardized test score. This column will be a collaborative, weekly column that I want to invite all science majors to take part in.

We need to show the world that the laboratory isn’t the only place where science majors belong, and the information we can help spread is vital to a great university experience. I want to encourage all science majors to participate in this column and write about things that truly interest them. Topics to be discussed can be broad and range anywhere from modern research on the human brain to the discussion of ethics in healthcare to health tips for students during the exam season. Having shadowed doctors and surgeons for a while now, I have gained knowledge from my experiences, and I’ve learned from some of the most successful surgeons, surgical residents and med students. I want to share this knowledge with students, as well as relay tips that could help others pursuing science majors, such as how a student can improve his or her chances at getting into medical school. Not only would there be benefits in helping science majors rediscover their passions and gain helpful information regarding their future endeavors, but the benefits would also be tremendous for the St. John’s community as a whole. It is important that even those who aren’t into the sciences know about advancements in science as well how to take care of themselves to prevent common illnesses and conditions.



UPCOMING EVENTS: Battles of the Voices 2018 Auditions



When: JAN. 31, 5 - 7 P.M.

When: FEB. 1, 7 - 9 P.M.

When: FEB. 5, 5 - 7 P.M.







When: FEB. 1, 4 - 6 P.M.

When: FEB. 2, 7 - 9 P.M.

When: FEB. 6, 5 P.M.







When: FEB. 1, 8 P.M. Where: DAC 306

When: FEB. 5, COMMON HOUR Where: DAC ROOM 212

When: FEB. 6, 7 - 8 P.M. Where: PRESIDENT'S ROOM




Tough Break from Conference Play As February nears and an 0-11 start to conference play the current reality St. John’s faces, the St. John’s men’s basketball team will get a break from Big East competition this coming Saturday. The Red Storm has not won a game since their 77-73 victory over St. Joseph’s five days before Christmas. Games against nationally ranked Villanova, Seton Hall, Creighton and Xavier were all decided by seven points or less, the closest being five-point losses to the Pirates on New Year’s Eve and to No. 6 Xavier Tuesday night. St. John’s has started conference play winless in its first 11 games for the second time in Chris Mullin’s three years as head coach. This Saturday, the Red Storm will face off against No. 4 Duke. It’s the first game of a home-and- home announced between the two teams last year. Nearly 20,000 fans packed into Madison Square Garden on Jan. 25, 2015 to watch the Blue Devils defeat St. John’s 77-68. Duke was No. 5 in the country at the time. Tyus Jones led the Blue Devils with 22 points, and Sir’Dominic Pointer paced St. John’s with 21 points and 10 rebounds. The last time the Johnnies defeated Duke was Jan. 30, 2011. Despite 32 points from point guard Nolan Smith and 20 from sharp-shooter Kyle Singler, St. John’s held the Blue Devils to just 41 percent shooting from the field and 19 percent from behind the arc. Dwight Hardy was one of five Red Storm players in double figures, leading the team with 26 points. Justin Brownlee recorded 20 points, nine

Nithaelle Drouillard JOHNNIES REMAIN WINLESS IN BIG EAST St. John’s hosted their first home game of the spring semester at Carnesecca Arena against Creighton last Tuesday night. The team had a very slow start, scoring only nine points in the first 10 minutes. At halftime, they trailed 36-25. With five minutes left in the game, the Johnnies pushed through and cut the deficit to four, but lost 68-63. Justin Simon led St. John’s with 17 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Sunday on the road against the Butler Bulldogs, the Red Storm fell 70-45. Tariq Owens led the team with 13 points and nine rebounds. With the losses, St. John’s dropped to 10-12 overall and 0-10 in the Big East. WOMEN'S BASKETBALL DROPS TWO The St John’s women’s basketball team faced the Creighton Bluejays in an away game on Friday night. Both teams struggled to score in the beginning until Akine Wellere got St. John’s on the board four minutes into the game. In the

rebounds and six assists. Paris Horne, D.J. Kennedy and Sean Evans combined for 35 points. As a team, St. John’s shot over 58 percent from the field and forced 17 Duke turnovers. Prior to the 2015 matchup, Duke had won 13 of their previous 14 at the Garden. They lead the all-time series against St. John’s 166. Saturday’s game will be the 23rd matchup between the two historic teams. Duke is fourth all-time in wins with 2,115. Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski has 12 ACC regular season titles, 14 ACC Tournament championships and five NCAA Championships wins at Duke since taking over the program in 1980. His 1,000th career victory came in the 2015 win over the Johnnies. St. John’s ranks ninth in college basketball history with 1,817 wins since playing their first game in 1908. This will be Head Coach Chris Mullin’s first time facing off against the Blue Devils in his illustrious career. He never played against the team as a four-year star at St. John’s, nor has he coached against them since taking the reigns as head coach prior to the 2015-2016 campaign. St. John’s enters Saturday’s game without star point guard Marcus LoVett, who is out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. As of Monday, tickets for the game were sold out. The Red Storm’s biggest margin of victory against Duke was a 44-28 win on Feb. 4, 1938. The only overtime matchup was a 9288 Blue Devils victory in 1999. Sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds leads

second half, the Johnnies held strong on defense, keeping the Bluejays scoreless for the first ten minutes of the half. The Johnnies fell short in the end, losing 53-39. Friday’s game marked the first time since 2011 that St. John’s failed to finish with at least 40 points in a game. Andrayah Adams led the Johnnies with nine points and five rebounds. Sunday against the Providence Friars, St. John’s comeback effort fell short. The two teams played a close first half. A late layup gave the Friars a 37-30 edge going into the locker room. The Red Storm trailed by 19 points in the last five minutes of the game but brought the game within one possession. The Johnnies fell short, losing 70-68. Qadashah Hoppie led the team with 19 points, four rebounds, and a pair of assists. Wellere followed close behind with 14 points. TRACK HAS GOOD SHOWING AT COLUMBIA Over the weekend, the St. John’s track and field team competed and finished in 13th place against some of the top teams in the Columbia Challenge. Senior Nyla Woods finished third in the weight throw with a best throw of 19.63 meters. In the 4x4 relay, the team of Maya Ste-

Justin Burrell blocks Nolan Smith during St. John’s 93-78 win over Duke in Jan. 2011.

St. John’s with 19.1 points per game. Justin Simon, Bashir Ahmed and Marvin Clark II each average over 11 points per contest. Duke’s starting five accounts for 76.8 points per contest, led by freshman forward Marvin Bagley’s 21.5 points and 11.4 rebounds. Senior guard Grayson Allen adds just under 15 points per game.

phens, Torisha LaForce, Kafi Ottley and Leah Anderson finished with a time of 3:46.91 to finish in eighth place. Teams that competed in the 18th annual Challenge included Duke, Georgetown, Missouri, UCLA and Villanova. St. John’s Head Coach Jim Hurt, who began his 29th year at St. John’s in December, said he was proud of his team’s showing over the weekend. “Our team competed well against the top teams in the country,” he said. “We made significant progress this past week with big performance improvements that will carry us into the Metropolitan Championships next week.” Day one of the Championships will take place on Thursday at Ocean Breeze Park in Staten Island. After day two on Friday, the team will participate in the NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday. TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO

Derrell Bouknight


St. John’s will face Duke for the first time since 2015 on Saturday

Red Storm split two matches over the weekend.

Despite the season not going according to plan for St. John’s, an upset win over one of the nation’s top teams could serve as a catalyst moving forward, especially when the Big East Tournament rolls around. With a month remaining in the regular season after Saturday’s matchup, momentum could be on the Red Storm’s side.

WOMEN'S TENNIS SPLITS MATCHES St. John’s women’s tennis team opened up the season against Harvard on Friday. The Red Storm was led by the doubles pairings of Jaide Collins and Zofia Stanisz and Olaya Inclan Solis and Irina Preotescu. Both pairings captured victories to earn the doubles point. Collins and Stanisz won their match against Annika Ringblom and Anna Li 7-5, while Solis and Preotescu won 7-6 in a tiebreaker over Isabel Jaspar and Jenna Moustafa. St. John’s fell 6-1 as the Crimson tallied six sweeps in singles play to earn their second victory of the season. The team hosted Fairfield on Sunday night for their first home match. The double pairs Solis and Preotescu won 6-3, while the freshman duo of Kajsa Stegrell and Nina Marjanovic clinched the doubles victory 6-2. The Red Storm swept Fairfield 7-0 in the end, drawing praise from their coach. “This weekend was a good test to see where we are at and what we need to improve on,” Head Coach Lauren Leo said. “Our objective is to continue to develop with hard work and discipline so we will be ready for conference play.”





Stormettes Kick To New Heights Isabella Bruni Remember that group of girls in sparkly red dresses who performed at the St. John’s New York Christmas Spectacular last month? Yeah, they were kicking their legs up way past their heads to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Well that’s the St. John’s club kickline team — the Stormettes — and yes, their legs can actually kick that high. “What I love most about it [kickline], when the beat drops it’s the kicklines way of knowing that’s when we kick and we have a big kick sequence— there are so many different types of things that you can do with kickline that make it special,” Stephanie DiPrima, a junior and captain of the team, said. DiPrima came from a high school kickline background and wanted to continue her passion in college. Her freshman year she walked in campus recreation, picked up an application to start the club sport and found of a group of others students who wanted to either get back to

their kickline roots or try it out for the first time. There was enough interest for it to get approved by campus recreation and the team was approved the summer of 2016. While St. John’s already had a dance team and a cheer squad, what DiPrima said makes kickline different is its intense focus on posture, lines and legs. “Kickline is more like the Rockettes, proper and perfect— we focus on standing in line and hooking,” DiPrima said. DiPrima added the dance team is more based on hip-hop moves and the cheer squad features mostly traditional cheer stunts. The team practices up to three times a week, making it not as large a time commitment as other sports at St. John’s, but during practice DiPrima said it’s time to focus. Some school-wide events the kickline team performs at includes Open Houses, Accepted Students Day, the New York Christmas Spectacular, Relay for Life, select soccer and basketball games and in April a special showcase event where all the dance troops on campus meet for performances.

Sophomore Nicole McGovern has been on kickline since her freshman year and became a co-captain last fall. She credits the team to gaining some of her best friends as well as growing as a performer.

Every practice, every routine, every performance is a chance to grow to become a better dancer and a better me Nicole McGovern

“Every practice, every routine, every performance is a chance to grow to become a better dancer and a better me,” McGovern said. “Being a new team on campus the pressure is on. But one thing is for sure it fuels us, more and more opportunities to show our talent are being given to us everyday.” Michelle Sciortino, a senior, couldn’t wait

to join a kickline team again. “When I saw that they were starting a team at St. John’s I knew I had to join,” she said. “The past two years on the team have been so amazing and I’m sad I have to leave since I’m graduating. I hope that kickline continues to grow even more after I graduate and that everyone at SJU gets to see how amazing it truly is.” Students interested in kickline can try out at the start of the school year and DiPrima ensured that prior kickline experience is not necessary. She said, “We’ll take anyone as long as they can kick high and have rhythm.” “As a new team I think we have a lot of talent and potential to grow over the years to share more about what a kickline is and what we do,” Danielle Gerbe, a sophomore, said. “I’m grateful for being on the Stormettes in that I was not only to pursue what I love but also make friends that share the same passion as me.” As the dancers like to say before a performance, “One, two, three — Stormettes!”