VOL 95 : 14 february 7, 2018 The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. Johnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s University
CALL FOR ACTION
students hold demonstration in response to racist messages OLIVA: GEMPESAW TO MEET WITH STUDENTS THURSDAY STAFF EDITORIAL PAGE 6
Highlighting Women in Hip-Hop Joerenz Tabanda-Bolina Feb. 1 brought Black History Month celebrations at the University. To kick things off, students were treated to “Women in Hip Hop,” a panel discussion made possible by Haraya, Women and Gender Studies Interdisciplinary Minor, Spectrum, Tess Digital and Turane. Hosted by alumna Destiny Ross, the night began with a video performance from three female Cypher student rappers who showcased their talents and lyrics. Following the performances came the mainstay of the event: a panel discussion featuring four black women working in the music and entertainment industries. The panel included Patricia Robinson, director of operations at HOT97; Margaret Ntim, former G-Unit executive and Coca-Cola marketing agent; Venus Rose, SJU alumnus and creative director/journalist for the Source Magazine; and Camille Evans, vice president of strategic operations at Roc Nation. All the panelists have made an impact of their own in the world of hip-hop — Robinson has had a leading voice in talent recruitment for radio stations; Ntim has worked with artists like Nas; Rose pioneered a company branch in New York City that was focused on combining fashion with music and has worked with Kendrick Lamar; and Evans is one of the voters for the Grammy Awards.
The panelists went one by one describing successes and tribulations in their journeys, and highlighting what approach they thought students should take in their endeavors. Robinson reminded students that there are many paths to success; she got pregnant and dropped out of college, rose from her adversities and worked diligently to finish her degree. Ntim and Rose, being the younger panelists, emphasized networking and getting internships when possible, repeatedly reminding students to take advantage of NYC’s nearness and resources like Career Services. Finally, Evans advised students to always have a “side hustle” and to remember that “when you go on that ground and they start throwing that dirt, ain’t nobody on that ground with you” and “don’t be afraid.” The panelists reminded black females in particular to always stay strong, recognizing that their industries and the world of hiphop are “boys’ clubs” heavy with racial expectations. They also pushed for students to create original content; for example, if a student actively engages in rapping or A&R activity, they should be sure to have a Soundcloud and vlogs/blogs. Students around the room engaged with the professionals during the question and answer portion where they sought career advice. The session was short, but the room ran high with emotions, with one anxious student going in tears as the panelists galvanized
TORCH PHOTO/JOERENZ TABANDA-BOLINA
The panelists focused the discussion on their experiences in the hip hop world.
her with advice. “It gave a lot of hope to the young students who are more confused or unsure of what their path is,” junior Paige Seymour said. The panel discussion ended with an opportunity to network with the women, as well as chow down on catering provided by the
event organizers. Senior Sheridan March said, “The event was very insightful as we were able to hear about women in hip-hop, but I feel that it’s important that we hear African American women in hip-hop and that we hear their voices so we can make a change as well.”
Gempesaw to Meet With Students Thursday Harassment incident prompts students to push talks on race relations Suzanne Ciechalski Angelica Acevedo The hundred-plus students who have already publicly voiced their disappointment, frustration and anger with the state of race relations on campus will have the opportunity Thursday to bring their concerns directly to University President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw. The session, expected to be announced to the University community on Wednesday, comes three months after students entered Newman Hall to speak with Gempesaw, and a week after a demonstration on campus in which students aired their grievances regarding how the University handles race relations. The event will be held during common hour in Taffner Field House, Joseph Oliva, general counsel for the University, told the Torch Tuesday. Oliva said he expects the format of the meeting with the president will be similar to last Thursday’s demonstration in the Little Theatre in which students took turns expressing their frustrations, criticisms and experiences on campus into a microphone. “As I had heard the students, [they] wanted an opportunity to present their concerns directly to the University president,” Oliva said, “so he’ll be there to listen to those concerns.” Oliva, who also serves as the vice-president for administration, was among the administrators who were present at last week’s student-run demonstration. It began with a gathering on the Marillac Terrace around 2 p.m. and ended some six hours later inside the Little Theatre. That impromptu day-long event was sparked by students’ outrage over social media posts and text messages that involved racially charged words and harassment by white female students from St. John’s and another school directed toward St. John’s students who are black. In an interview, Oliva said St. John’s became aware of that situation early Thursday. He said an investigation by the Division of Student Affairs revealed that more than one student received similar messages “over the course of the last year.” Oliva revealed — without being asked — that the St. John’s student who they identified as the one who sent the messages is “not a student here anymore.” He did not identify that student. The Torch has learned that the other student who sent these messages attended Nassau Community College. “The conduct of the individuals involved in sending these messages is disgraceful and hurtful,” Oliva said. “Their behavior stands in opposition to all that St. John’s stands for as a Catholic and Vincentian University.” Oliva declined further comment on the specific situation, citing student privacy laws. The Demonstration The racially charged messages were posted to social media on Wednesday by one of the St. John’s students who had received them. Within 24 hours, students here organized an on-campus demonstration for Thursday. Several organizations — including the African Students Association (ASA), Haraya, Social Justice Exchange, Feminists Unite and Students of Consciousness — announced the protest via social media, using hashtags such as #IStandWithKumba and #IStandWithAdenike. Kumba Koroma and Princess Adenike are St. John’s students who spoke out at the demonstration and identified themselves as having
TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO
Students shared experiences of racism at SJU in the Little Theatre as administrators and other students listened from the audience.
received the offensive messages. They both declined to comment when reached by the Torch. ASA posted the screenshots on Instagram of the messages that were sent to Koroma, who is a member of their e-board. The group said the messages were seen as “not only ... an attack on one of our own, but as an attack on Africans as a whole.” Koroma’s post on Twitter that included
the situation. Through a spokeswoman, Oliva said “the first time the University learned of any racist messages or racist social media postings was Thursday morning.” Following the students’ accounts of the harassment, various students took the stage and the conversation shifted toward other concerns regarding race relations on campus — namely students’ experiences with Public Safety, administration and faculty.
TORCH PHOTO/AMANDA NEGRETTI
screenshots of the messages has more than 1,600 retweets and 1,500 likes. At the demonstration inside the Little Theatre, Adenike tried to provide some background to her relationship with the student who she later learned had been sending her these offensive messages all semester. She said she had a class with the student in the fall. At the same time, the phone calls and messages grew to the point that she said she felt as if someone was following her. She said she and her mother brought screenshots of some messages to the attention of Public Safety in November. The Torch reached out late Tuesday to Oliva asking for comment on Adenike’s account of
University Response Gempesaw addressed the situation through a university-wide internal communication Thursday night. The 278-word note was sent at 10:23 p.m., mere hours after the demonstration had ended. Citing the University’s code of conduct, which prohibits any actions motivated by bias, Gempesaw said, “I condemn in the strongest possible terms any action that is hurtful to another person or group.” Adding that he’s committed to creating a supportive and inclusive community, he said, “I understand the feelings of pain and frustra-
tion this incident evoked in members of our student body. I have been told by individual students that our campus climate has not always been welcoming and affirming to them. This saddens me very much.” Oliva echoed these sentiments in an interview with the Torch on Tuesday. This was the second time in the last few months where he has cleared his schedule on no-notice to listen to students’ concerns regarding race on campus. The first was in November, when students walked into Newman demanding to speak with Gempesaw about issues such as the University’s celebration of Columbus Day, the conduct of Public Safety, and a lack of diverse faculty hires. On Tuesday, Oliva said the University is actively working to remedy some of students’ concerns. He pointed to initiatives that already exist such as the SJU Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion and an online reporting system and new programs such as department-specific training — which he said will begin with Public Safety — and a campus climate survey that will come out this spring. Student Government Inc. President Frank Obermeyer also issued a statement online Thursday in response to the situation, highlighting some of the ways in which students can report incidents, and encouraging students to join last week’s demonstration. “It is on all of us to maintain a campus that is respectful of the dignity of each individual, and we hope you’ll join us in keeping our campus safe,” he wrote. And a spokesperson for Nassau Community College confirmed an investigation is underway there into the messages sent by one of its students. “As an institution, we condemn in the strongest terms acts of uncivil behavior, including racist expressions and bullying or threatening remarks made in person or over social media,” NCC resident W. Hubert Keen wrote. “We have zero tolerance for conduct or hate speech that is detrimental to another person or group.” The school declined to identify the student accused of sending the messages or comment on her status there.
Dinner Honors Martin Luther King Jr. Office of Multicultural Affairs throws annual celebration means “and so it is.” Names like Nat Turner, Harriet TubThe University’s celebration of Black His- man, Ella Baker and tory Month launched last Monday, Jan. 29, King were called as with the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ an- the room chanted nual MLK Dinner. “ashe” to show respect The event, hosted in the D’Angelo Center to the ancestors who ballroom, permitted students and staff to re- sacrificed their lives to flect on the events upcoming in the month resist slavery and deand also on the impact that Martin Luther mand change. King Jr.’s legacy has had on their lives and Moderator of the work. night, Associate ProThe packed room had representatives from fessor Manouchkathe many multicultural clubs on campus in at- Cassagnol introduced tendance including the NAACP, African the discussion panel Student Association (ASA), Caribbean Stu- that discussed King dent Association (CSA) and more. and the impact he had The event began with Dr. Ansel Augustine, on their work. the DaSilva Hall Residence Minister, openPanelists included ing with a brief dialogue about the strength Augustine, George of the black community and the impact the Mason University Aschurch has had on the continuance of the sociate Professor Dr. endurance of the community. Mark Hopson and St. He called the community “a strong peo- John’s University Asple, a people of faith,” especially in terms sociate Professor Dr. of civil rights activists like King, Thurgood Natalie Byfield. Marshall and Rosa Parks. Each discussed difTORCH PHOTO/AMANDA NEGRETTI After Augustine’s words, Josiah Berell, a ferent topics of King Students packed the D’Angelo Center ballroom to listen, discuss and celebrate the legacy of MLK. member of Voices of Victory, sang the Black and the black commuNational Anthem. Union (BSU) and the NAACP. was this [Black Lives Matter] movement.” nity. The student influence continued with a “Even though we all have different misAugustine gave a personal anecdote about Hopson stressed the importance of the special presentation current generation and growing up in Louisiana and the effect that sions, we still have the same goal to uplift of Libation by stuthe future leaders of to- Katrina had on his home, his faith and his the minority demographic that we repredents Kenneth Shelmorrow, asking “How relationship with the community. Like the sent,” Bell said. ton and Claire RobSeveral students from these organizations are the children? How other panelists, he discussed the famous Birinson. The time is always right are you? How is our next mingham Letter that King wrote to fellow were present at the dinner including Presi“It’s a way to honor to do what is right. generation? Have we clergymen while in a Birmingham jail for dent of ASA Atem Tazi and Vice President the ancestors of the equipped you with the one of his many protests against the unfair of LASO Sieta Leon. Pan African diaspoBell, a senior and the president of the St. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. resources for your surviv- treatment of blacks in Birmingham. Augusra,” Robinson said. tine quoted King saying, “The time is always John’s chapter of NAACP, enjoyed the dinal, for your success?” The ceremony conner and discussion. Byfield discussed how right to do what is right.” sisted of both Shelton “This conversation is only a piece of everyAfter each panelist spoke individually the each of the movements of civil rights, from and Robinson pouring water into a plant af- the Montgomery movement to the Black floor was open for questions and many stu- thing, with each event that we do we need ter the names of ancestors were read aloud. Lives Matter movement, was started by dents had them. Students, including Mor- to continue the momentum that was started “Call the name and pour water in the women, “And just like how the Montgom- gan Bell, asked questions along the lines of, here,” she said. plant, then say ‘ashe,’” Shelton said. While enjoyable, Bell would have liked to ery movement was initiated by women so “How can we as a campus stay united, espe“Ashe,” pronounced “ah-shay,” which cially in these times and with see more diversity of age in the panelists. “To not have students on the panel was a all the different multicultural organizations, how can we little confusing to me,” Bell said. “The panel should have been a mix of students and adfind common ground?” Byfield answered by saying, ministration.” Another student in attendance was fresh“Every social movement has man Tiana Hall, had to deal who was glad with this and that there were when they events like this can’t face their differI can walk the same on campus. ences they street and have the “I think it’s turn into same career in the future great,” Hall said. factions. You as any other person. [He] “MLK has done have to realput his foot in the door everything, I can walk the same ize that we so we could do that. street and have are all united the same career for one comTiana Hall in the future as mon goal and any other permust work son. I believe together.” Bell’s question was based that he brought that for us and put his foot on the different minority in the door so we could do that.” This event was only the beginning of a organizations on campus such as Haraya, Caribbean month-long calendar of celebrations and Students Association (CSA), discussions hosted by many multicultural African Student Association organizations and the Office of Multicultur(ASA), Latin American Stu- al Affairs on campus. TORCH PHOTO/AMANDA NEGRETTI A complete list of events can be found on dent Organization (LASO), the St. John’s website. the newfound Black Student Shelton and Robinson poured water into a plant to honor respected ancestors.
DACA and Daring to Dream Joerenz Tabanda-Bolina On the second day of Black History Month, Haraya and LASO gave an informational session on Feb. 2 on DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Students Darrell Bratcher and Melissa Lozano led the talk in the Little Theatre and they held a quiet, serious tone as the event moved through facts, statistics and Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address. The meeting sought to correct misinformation spread by President Trump, his administration and its relationship with media outlets such as Fox, NBC and CNN. In an interactive discussion with the audience, Bratcher and Lozano went through the motions of DACA’s history, eligibility, challenges and benefits. DACA’s original intention was to provide a “grace period” for immigrant children to apply for U.S. citizenship, but it has since evolved, alongside the Dream Act, as a short term solution being used for long term application. To qualify for DACA, a person must have immigrated to the U.S. at or prior to the age of 16, been a continuous resident of the U.S. since June 15, 2007, have a high school diploma or be enrolled in college and not have had any major offenses according to U.S. laws. With approximately 11.7 million immigrants moving into the country, Bratcher
and Lozano said that it is important to provide support for both legal and illegal immigrants because they make up as much as three percent of the total U.S. GDP. The two speakers said that while Trump introduced a new merit-based system, it severely limits the pool of immigrants able to enter the country by having strict and vague requirements. After watching a portion of President Trump’s address, many audience members sprang to life in opposition to Trump’s claims about immigration, such as his decision to reframe family reunification, where
We’re not talking about DACA the way it should be talked about. Sieta Leon
immigrants can sponsor immediate family members to come to the U.S. Some students even went so far as to publicly reveal their immigrant statuses and relay their personal stories. Junior and LASO Vice President Sieta Leon was perhaps one of the night’s most outspoken individuals, and eventually joined
TORCH PHOTO/JOERENZ TABANDA-BOLINA
Vice President of LASO, Sieta Leon, joined Bratcher and Lozano to talk DACA.
the two hosts at the front. “I feel like a lot of us are talking about DACA, but we’re not talking about DACA the way it should be talked about,” she said after the event. “I feel like it’s being very whitewashed.” The event also sought to reset stereotypes such as DACA comprising solely of Mexicans, Latin Americans, Hispanics and South
Americans, since there are also immigrants from Africa, Europe, Asia and Canada who fall under DACA. “I really like this event, learning that DACA is not just that people from Mexico and Southern America,” freshman Angie Fashamu said. “There are multiple groups of people around the world that go under DACA.”
Criminal Justice Rank Reaches 19 Isabella Bruni St. John’s criminal justice program has been ranked nationally at number 19 by bestvalueschools.com as one of the best value colleges to obtain a criminal justice degree. The list was compiled in December 2017 and the rankings are based off of criminal justice program popularity, the total number of criminal justice programs, acceptance rate, graduation rate, retention rate and net price, according to the website. The website states that, like the website’s name, they focus on affordability, and they write “we also limited consideration to schools with an average annual net price below $30,000. Lastly, we created a minimum threshold for quality by only researching schools with retention and graduation rates greater than 50% and admission rates below 85%.” Marissa Fenn, a junior criminal justice student, agrees that the ranking is deserved and believes the program’s alumni have contributed to its success. “I think that the reason why this program is so successful is in part due to its connections,” Fenn said. “We have an unparalleled alumni network in the field, which gives us unique access to a diversity of internship opportunities that other schools would not have such easy access to.” St. John’s ranked before schools in the Northeast like York College of Pennsylvania, Kean University and St. Thomas Aquinas College. Some other local schools who ranked before St. John’s included St. Joseph’s College, The College of New Jersey, Penns State and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Bestvalueschools.com mentions the opportunities the program offers to students is
top of the line. Aspiring police officers can join the NYPD Cadet Program but if practicing law is a student’s focus they can join the Legal Society to meet and network with legal luminaries. Katia Passerini, dean of the College of Professional Studies, where the criminal justice program lives, said she is glad this rank recognizes the multiple factors that go into presenting students with a distinguished criminal justice program. “This ranking reflects St. John’s enduring mission to provide quality, affordable education to all,” Passerini said. She also noted that the University is committed to the expansion of essential degree programs as evidenced by a Master Program in Homeland Security and Criminal Justice Leadership, and the recent opening of the new Doctor of Professional Studies in Homeland Security. Senior and Criminal Justice major Nate Woodcock said that although he’ll be commissioning as an Infantry Officer in the Army after graduating this May, he believes his degree in criminal justice from St. John’s will set him up for success following his time in the Army. “The professors have vast amounts of knowledge to share from their experiences on the job, which only better prepares the students for their futures,” he said. “With all the successful professors from the criminal justice field teaching at St. John’s it is no surprise that it was ranked as a top program.” Fenn added about the faculty they “aren’t just teaching from a book, they’re teaching from 10, 15, 20 years in the exact jobs that these college students will soon fulfill, and that gives the educational value of this program an incredible edge on other school’s programs.”
Flames of the Torch It’s time for Gempesaw to listen 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
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Staff and contributors Madelyn Starks Janan Razzaq-Premdas Arturo Enamorado Dewayne Goforth Tiana Brownie
John Cavanagh Joerenz Tabanda-Bolina Richard D’Orazi Helga Golemi Alexis Gaskin
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.
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This week President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw will do what is arguably the most important thing he’s tackled since arriving at St. John’s. On Thursday students will be given the opportunity to meet with him at Taffner Field House to air their concerns regarding race relations on campus directly to him. This is a great step forward. Last week the University community bore witness to a vile situation in which students were harassed through racially charged messages by two other students — one from St. John’s and one from another local college. This sparked an impromptu gathering of more than 100 students that led to an hours-long airing of grievances, for which several University personnel were present. But the most important player — Gempesaw — was not. We’re glad he’s finally listening. At the demonstration inside the Little Theatre, St. John’s Vice President for Administration and General Counsel Joseph Oliva told the students that their concerns would be dealt with swiftly and immediately. In response, students repeatedly asked Oliva, “How do you define swiftly and immediately?” Students want to know if their concerns are going to be pushed aside or treated as the first priority of administrators. And that’s why it’s important for Gempesaw to actually hear from students in person. His email that night was timely and included supportive wording and references to the code of student conduct, but it also was predictable. At this point words alone don’t make the community as a whole feel as if they are being taken care of. And while none of the problems discussed on the Little Theatre stage has an
immediate solution, clear steps have to be discussed, announced and then taken. That’s already begun. Oliva told the Torch on Tuesday that department-specific training will start soon, beginning with Public Safety. This tells us administrators have heard some of the students’ concerns. However, it’s important that once Gempesaw hears from students himself on Thursday, he works with his staff to come up with a plan of action and communicates that to the University community. Regardless of how big or small the programs that are spurred from this are, it’s important that all processes are transparent for all parties involved. That way, students will know if the school is hearing them — and fighting for them. It’s easy for administrators to say that they are continuously working on finding answers to the concerns raised by students. But students want to see a roadmap of where this moment is going to take the University community, and they deserve to know every detail. In many ways, what happens now becomes the foundation for how harassment and racism will be dealt with on campus for years to come. It is our hope that Gempesaw makes a point of taking students along with him on every step of this process — not just in Thursday’s meeting. There should be more face-to-face meetings between the president and student body as we move forward from this. It may sound like a tall order, but it’s what a diverse university community requires, and what every student who identifies as disenfranchised demands. By setting up Thursday’s session, Gempesaw is giving these same students a seat at the table. Now, he not only has to listen, but he also has to act.
Stop Encouraging Kim K’s Cultural Appropriation Shouldn’t the Kardashian family know the effect it has on the black community? Madelyn Starks Last week, Kim Kardashian posted a snapchat to show off her new braided hairstyle. In the snapchat, she referred to the braids as “Bo Derek Braids,” in reference to Bo Derek’s beach hairstyle in the movie, “10.” It’s understandable if Kim got her inspiration from Derek for the hairstyle, however, white women constantly publicize fashion trends without giving credit where credit is due. The individual and beaded cornrows are called Fulani braids from the Fulani tribe of Sahel and West Africa. Braids represent a long history of culture and heritage, not just for African tribes but for black and African American people living in this country as well. There is a good chance Kim knows this and if she didn’t she most definitely has the monetary means to research it and educate herself.
In season 12 of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” Kim actually went to a black hairstylist to learn more about how she can maintain her daughter’s hair and the history behind black hair culture. Based off this event, she doesn’t have any excuse to act uninformed. Black women have been fired, bullied and stereotyped for wearing Fulani braids and it’s insulting when someone as famous as Kim gives credit to a white person for the style. Kim knows she is appropriating a culture. However, she refuses to take responsibility for her wrongdoing. She must know that reactions from black Twitter (a virtual community within the app of black people who discuss specific topics relating to the black community) make her money and keep her relevant. Kris Jenner has built an empire off of her daughters and it’s because they are constantly causing a media frenzy from their posts on social media. Kylie Jenner herself stated
in her E! hit show, “Life of Kylie,” that she pays no money to market her makeup brand. All her marketing is based off of posts from social media. Black Twitter needs to stop giving Kim Kardashian and the rest of the Kardashian/ Jenner family free promo, especially since Kim knows that her controversial acts will become a trending topic. In the last couple of months, making racist or controversial campaigns on social media seems to be the hot marketing trend for companies and brands. From H&M to Wycon Cosmetics, brands know that attention from black Twitter increases market sales and keeps them in recent media. Do you would think it was just a coincidence that, the day after her hair controversy on Jan. 31, Kim’s Kimoji fragrance and the Yeezy Season 6 campaign were introduced? Kim was also accused of blackface when marketing her contour cream sticks last
summer. She uses controversy as a marketing tool to up her product sales. Based off this controversy, this is the last time I am giving Kim the attention she’s asking for. I’ve caught on to her marketing tactics and at this point, she has become boring and predictable.
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Black History Month Should Matter to You Now is the time to support all black students on campus Arturo Enamorado After word broke out about an SJU student deliberately harassing and stalking two other students of color, there was certainly a need for a conversation. Often I hear people saying, “Why is Black History Month important? Does it accomplish anything?” But Black History Month is more than just remembering black achievements. This time, if any, is the most opportune to have discussions to clear misconceptions about what it is to live with dark skin, with a known history of being displaced, where people cannot trace their ancestry because there is no record or DNA test they can take. On Feb. 1, black students and their allies banded together against racism and demanded immediate action for this blatant act of hate. The first day of Black History Month saw a movement for solidarity and change. Several SJU students made history when they stood on the stage of the Little Theatre to voice their traumas. This is not a time to shame those students who put on that display. It’s 2018. Hate has no place here at St. John’s. Black History Month is important even if you are not black. As a Latino I understand the odious scent of racism in my community.
I stand proud with my black brothers and sisters calling for more dialogue and immediate action. What is the purpose of SJU’s high diversity scores on multiple websites if they don’t treat us equally? Put yourself in the shoes of those students being ridiculed. Whether you are a person of color or not racism is a disease that must be extinguished, not swept under the rug. Now more than ever, Black History Month is important to SJU. Hate is defeated with love, and ignorance with knowledge. These are the principles set forth by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who we honored on Jan. 29. The Civil Rights Movement gave us what should have been equality decades ago. Today we fight a new fight for equity, so that black students can go a day without fear. I implore you SJU students to see that this is not a month to alienate you if you are not black. This road is not easy, but come to the numerous events around campus this month. Come showing respect and love and you will be gladly welcomed at our tables. Learn and ask questions. St. John’s holds the values of “truth, love, respect, opportunity, excellence, and service.” Black History Month seems like no better time to bring back these values and end hate on this campus.
Going Against Your Parent’s Dreams Janan Razzaq-Premdas
your children but at some point that has to stop. I strongly believe that if you have a genThere is a long history of students being forced into majors and careers because of uine passion for something, then pursue it. their parents. Parents see it as a way for their You will love the idea of getting up every children to succeed and get somewhere in day to do what you love and care about, not life. However, this is not a decision for par- something someone chose for you. With that in mind, if you feel that it is ents to make. necessary for you to do something in regards Growing up, I always said that I wanted to be a doctor and my parents were always ex- to your life and your career, then go ahead cited by the idea. They bought me play pre- and do it. Parents get upset in the moment tend doctor kits and books about medicine. but eventually, they all come around because If I ever contemplated another career, they do want what is best for you. In terms of getting financial support from they’d steer me back in the direction of medicine probably thinking that it would be your parents, if you feel passionate enough about a path that your parents are not a better for me. fan of, then you need Coming into college, to make sure that you I initially majored in are willing to go the biology and I absolutely lengths to succeed in hated it. It was not at all it is you are what I expected and I I strongly believe that if you whatever trying to do. again began to question have a genuine passion for If my parents did if this was something not support me in I really wanted to do something, pursue it. my switch from biolwith my life. ogy to government, I I decided that I would would have done what switch to another inI believe is necessary to terest of mine: governmake sure I get the dement. When I brought the decision up to my parents, I would defi- gree that will satisfy me. Whether it’s applynitely say that it was not something they ing for more scholarships or taking on more hours at work, I would have done that. were too keen on. My parents did not have the same opporAfter several long discussions, they came around to see my side of it. I’m thankful tunities that I do coming to America from a that my parents were able to see my side of third world country and they both weren’t things, however, others may not be as lucky. able to finish college. They now use that to What parents do not understand is that it push my sister and me to do the best we can won’t be them stuck in a career they don’t in school and make sure we get college delike for the rest of their lives, it’s their chil- grees. While their intentions are good, their exedren. cution in getting us to that point is not. You can pick and choose everything for
TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO
Students gathered at the Little Theatre last week to discuss their experiences.
Millennial Think: Alternate Internet Egos Steven Verdile
The internet exists almost as its own separate world. It seems like an independent society, a group of people and interactions that don’t ever overlap with our daily in-person activities. This fake sense of separation gives individuals a feeling that on the internet, they can be someone different—a more true version of themselves. Having the ability to create an alternate internet identity is both a wonderful and dangerous thing. Often for individuals with anxiety or social difficulties, the internet is a platform where communication is less stressful and judgmental. The shield of the glowing screen gives us a feeling that it is safe to express our strange, unpopular, or embarrassing personal thoughts, and we do so without the same risks or consequences as a real conversation. It’s a pretty cool situation. For example, imagine a young teen who is confronted with a difficult emotional conflict. Serious conversations are often uncomfortable in person, and not everyone has the right person to talk to. The internet provides easy access to professional advice, but also to dozens of people who are going through the same situation and can offer
advice on how to handle it. Sometimes it can come from a friend through social media or messaging, and other times it can come from a total stranger. It’s never been easier to find another kid in your same weird situation than it is right now. Like most impactful technologies, the internet can also suck sometimes. Having an alternate online identity discourages actual human communication, which also may be contributing to a generation that can’t express their feelings without emojis. To make matters worse, having a virtual alter ego creates a situation where it is far too easy to be cruel. The internet is a place full of hatred, harassment and attacks that do nothing but dishearten those who are the most vulnerable. Rather than being a safe haven for those who need it, it can become an angrier replica of our society, an expletive filled pool of ignorance and cruelty. To avoid these unfortunate side effects, my suggestion for those reading this is to carefully evaluate the differences between your actual self and your internet self. It’s easy to act just a bit more provocative or a tad more controversial when your biggest risk is losing one of your several hundred Instagram followers. After you find the differences between your two selves, combine the best features of each, and you’ll become a much more unified and true version of your awesome self.
JOHNNIES AROUND CAMPUS
Photos by AMANDA NEGRETTI AND NICK BELLO
UPCOMING EVENTS: QUEER BLACK FEMMES: unheard pioneers
you don't look black
black creatives career panel
When: feb. 8, 5 - 7 P.M.
When: FEB. 8, 1:50-3:15 P.M.
When: FEB. 9, 7 P.M.
Where: marillac 106
Where: president's room
Where: marillac hall room a/b
men's basketball vs. marquette
blessing of the couples
seasonal flu vaccines
When: FEB. 10, 12 P.M.
When: FEB. 10, 4 P.M.
When: FEB. 12, 1-5 P.M.
Where: carnesecca arena
Where: st. thomas more church
Where: dac 311
knowing yes! consent program
109th naacp anniversary dinner
chappell players: boeing boeing play
When: FEB. 12, 1:50-3:15 P.M.
When: FEB. 13, 8-10 p.m.
When: FEB. 15-17, 8 P.M.
Where: DAC 311
Where: marillac terrace
Where: little theater
“Citizen” Exhibit Open to Public Dewayne Goforth Sharp white paint covered the walls of Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery on Thursday, Feb. 1, as the soul-stirring stories of African American outrage, sacrifice and pain filled the air and leveled the room in this year’s Big Read Kick-Off exhibition of “Citizen: An American Lyric.” This was the canvas for Yulia Tikhonova, director of St. John’s University Art Gallery, upon which she handpicked 21 racially diverse artists to capture and immolate the genre-bending work of Claudia Rankine’s book-length poem of the same title. St. John’s is one of 75 institutions awarded a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read grant, 12 of whom chose to build on top of Rankine’s unique integration of text and visual art to tell the story of America’s past and present racial disparities. The exhibit opened with the work of participating artist Sonia Adams who contributed multiple works of arts including collages, and several historical texts of heart-rending slave narratives and inspirational movements advocating the right to protect African Americans and other people of color across the world. “Some people think that activism is just physical,” Adams said. “Activism can come in the form of writing, it’s also the little things we do in life, meeting someone, talking to them, encouraging them.” The event was also accompanied by a musical performance from SJU’s own instructor of fine art, Tyreek Jackson, who said, “I’m
glad this is taking place on this campus, it’s Hurston wrote. This excerpt comes from her an opportunity for everyone to have deep 1928 autobiographical short story “How It conversations about what it means to be Feels to Be a Colored Me,” and these subtle a person of color in this country, what it yet powerful words cover the event’s many means to be a person of color at an institu- pamphlets and flyers. tion of higher education, because that is even Hurston’s words go hand in hand with the a more unique position to be in.” exhibitions overall theme by revealing the Since its first season in 1994, the Yeh Art absurdity of seeing life through one’s “asGallery has been dedicated to the exhibition signed cultural identity.” of all forms of contemporary art. University SJU’s “Citizen” is a multi-disciplinary Chaplain Rev. John J. Holliday, C.M. who collaboration that serves as a safe space for just arrived to the St. John’s in September stopped by to support the gallery’s opening reception and shared a few of his thoughts. “It’s a sobering exhibit,” he said. “A lot of connections from slavery to experiences of people today, to incidents of so many young men being arrested by the police or killed by the police, there’s this connection of racism throughout the history of our country, it’s sad, and [it] prompts us to move forward.” “I do not always feel colored. [. . . ] I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background. [. . . ] Among the thousand white persons, I am a dark rock surged upon, and overswept, but through it all, I remain myTorch Photo/Nick Bello self,” novelist Zora Neale
faculty and students to analyze and contest racial biases and stereotypes. It will remain on display until March 14, with a full calendar of events and programs across the three SJU campuses. This aligns perfectly with the University’s Vincentian mission to “foster a world view and to further efforts toward global harmony and development by creating an atmosphere in which all may imbibe and embody the spirit of compassionate concern for others.”
HQ Trivia App Attracts All with Promise of Big Wins Morgan Mullings The HQ App is a celebrity all by itself, and on the St. John’s campus, students are watching its every move. What other app gives thousands of students the same notification at the exact same time every day? HQ is the game show in your phone that happens at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. everyday. There are only 12 questions. Get one wrong and you’re out. Make it to the end with your friends and you can share a prize of $2,000 or more with the others who answered all the questions correct too. The questions start off deceptively easy: “Which of these is a U.S. State?” With two out of three answer choices being names of fruits. By the third question however, over 500,000 of the usual million that tune in are eliminated. They only had 10 seconds to answer anyway. When asked, students immediately show if they love or hate the concept. The money is real, but you are lucky if you even know someone who got to question 11. “Once I started I got hooked pretty fast. There seems to be no reason not to play,” junior Justin McGriff said. He teams up with his friends all the time so that they can help each other answer the
tougher questions. If you see a group of students huddling around their phones at 3 p.m., now you know why. The original live HQ host, Scott Rogowsky, hooks players in with non-stop conversation and puns, never warning you of the next question. While there are other hosts, his popularity got him all the way to Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve special on TV, where he announced an even larger prize if people played that night—and they
did. “We always lose together but possibly one day we’ll win together,” McGriff said. That’s the appeal. When you make it far and watch hundreds of thousands of others get eliminated, that might even feel better than winning, since you know you probably would lose at question 12 anyway. “I like the live aspect. It’s great to sit around the TV with everyone and try to answer the questions together,” sophomore Najee Adams says.
Some of the hardest questions being: “How many times does the word ‘sex’ appear in the U.S. Constitution?” “Which of these is a common material used in 3D printers?” “Which one of these songs does not feature whistling?” Even after so many losses, many students don’t plan on quitting HQ. “Of course not,” Adams said. But many have deleted the app to keep themselves from getting angry or anxious. Others are boycotting it because $15 million of the app’s funding comes from Peter Thiel, who gave PHOTo/flickr commons Take news $1.25 million to President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. “I always forget to download it. As soon as I remember it’s 3 p.m., I realize that I still don’t have the app,” says junior Luana Bowers. HQ seems to be haunting in that way. But the most haunting aspect is playing for $10,000 and winning $20 because 500 other people made it to the end. “One day we were out to eat and we realized about 6 other tables in the restaurant got the same notification about HQ,” McGriff added. Those tables all played together that night, with no winners. Despite the seemingly annoying popularity, scandal and being called “dystopian Jeopardy,” the HQties community is still thriving.
“HAZE”: From Campus to Screen Andreina Rodriguez
Written and directed by David Burkman, “HAZE” is a fictional film about the barbarity and cruelty of fraternity and sorority hazing that must be undergone in order to be accepted into a brotherhood or sisterhood. Inspired by his own collegiate experience in a fraternity, Burkman decided to explore all that is hazing in a different and more serious light, compared to other films in which Hollywood demonstrates it in a comedic light. This inspiring and intense film takes us into the journey of Nick Forest, a college freshman who does all he can to join a fraternity. However, due to the hazing-related death of a fellow student on campus, Forest also deals with protests and the opposition of the Greek system by his own brother, Pete. This film touches upon the issues that can occur when hazing is taken to the extreme. It also demonstrates how far someone will go to be accepted and find their sense of belonging. Throughout the hazing process, the men face circumstances of torture, including being blindfolded and forced to swallow live fish as a test of trust. We also see them face instances that expose racism, homophobia, sexism and misogyny which Burkman describes as being “very deplorable.” Though the film focuses more on the physical torture that the men go through,
we also discover the emotional torture that women go through by constantly belittling each other. Though fraternities are based on brotherhood, Burkman presents an irony between the connection of biological brothers and fraternity brothers and looks into the unjustified reason as to why people tolerate the hazing. “What’s fascinating about Greek life is that maybe for some who don’t have family relationships, it will fill a gap of void that’s missing. Does the fact that you grew up with someone mean that you’re more connected?” Burkman asks. Though Burkman believes that brotherhood is built on trust, loyalty and respect, he also realizes the more overt values that seem to be presented throughout the film: partying, drinking and having sex. “Those
values on paper that the fraternity establishes get completely perverted by the hazing process that gradually escalates through hell week and gives people the adrenaline rush and human nature thrills that feel safe. On paper and in theory, brotherhood is real, and if they did work towards trust, loyalty and respect, they may achieve that,” Burkman states. Burkman created this film on the foundation of asking questions and receiving no answers. As he explained, “It brings to bear the audience’s own experience. Through the experience that Forest has, everybody feels different about what they would do and it makes the audience become active participants. “What would you do? That is a part of the film’s message that makes us question who we are and how we’ll act in the world.”
PHOTo Courtesy/Shadywoods road production
Improv Group Blasts Off into 2018 Rachel Johnson If you were on the third floor of DAC on Thursday, Feb. 1, you might’ve heard laughter coming from a classroom and wondered what was going on. The source of the noise was none other than the Bad Astronauts Improv Show! The Bad Astronauts, SJU’s Improv Club, started the Spring semester with a show filled with short form and long form skits. The show started with a short form called “The Dating Game.” An actress, picking a “date,” asked each contestant questions in order to figure out who they were. One of the questions was, “If you took me on a date, where would we go?” “North West” answered that they’d just hang out at her
Torch photo/Isaac Morales
house, she’d watch her suckle some milk and then put her to sleep early, “If you don’t mind.” “Kermit” said he’d take her to a nice restaurant, “preferably somewhere they don’t serve pig… or frog.” “The door” replied that it would take her somewhere with lots of entrances and exits. All of their answers were incredibly clever, and I could not stop laughing through the whole skit! “Pennywise” prompted one actor to tell a story about how when he was a kid, his sister took him to Spencer’s and had him wait outside while she went in. When he went inside, he found himself face to face with a display of Chucky dolls and ran out screaming. A series of skits followed, each drawing inspiration from the previous. These includ-
ed two guys finding Phil Collins and Billy Joel in the Amazon, two guys traveling the country with the “noble sword of piercing” on a mission to pierce anyone who wanted to be pierced and an HP Store worker who never takes a sick day because he loves his job so much. My favorite, however, was a father and mother waking up to find that all their milk was gone. The father started screaming that someone must’ve broken in at night, drank it and tried to murder them. He called the children in and the mother screamed that she drank all the milk! The parents continued screaming at each other about milk and all the other empty drinks in the fridge. The scene ended with the father saying that their son had weak bones and broke them all because of her! Then the son started saying, “Every morning I wake up with paper skin and glass bones…,” and the scene ended. I was laughing so hard, I couldn’t breathe! They ended the show with a skit called “Do Rap.” One student, freshman TV and Film major, Isaac Morales, who saw the performance said, “My favorite part was the ending when they were rapping and coming up with funny lines that rhyme with the names given from the audience. That was entertaining and a good way to end the show!” The Bad Astronauts are all talented, clever, hilarious students that never fail to make me laugh at every show I see. Their next show is Thursday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. in Marillac 427. If you haven’t seen them perform, you have to go check them out!
PHOTo/flickr commons Roadsidepictures
Michael ambrosino Long before today’s addictive programming — shows like “Game of Thrones,” “Black Mirror” and “The Walking Dead” that have captivated millions — there was “The Twilight Zone,” one of the first-ever legitimately addicting, binge-worthy television series made up of chilling storylines and shocking twists. Now, 59 years since the release of the very first episode, and soon to be remade by Jordan Peele, “The Twilight Zone” remains challenging, compelling and scary. Each episode opens with a creepy voiceover narration, accompanied by its eerie, spine-tingling theme music, that effortlessly reels viewers into the surreal dimension that is “The Twilight Zone.” This piece of music went on to become an icon in the world of media and directly inspired many musical scores in television and film that followed, just as many episodes of the classic anthology series have inspired concepts for countless films and TV series. It’s difficult to find a single boring “Twilight Zone” episode. Each chapter is rich with great ideas, engaging storylines and lessons that still ring true today. While most of the episodes fall under the science-fiction and fantasy genres, there are some that are legitimately creepy (and hold up very well, I must add), such as “Eye of the Beholder,” “The Dummy” and “Living Doll.” Of the many tremendous “Twilight Zone” episodes, one of the best, most genuinely unnerving is “Eye of the Beholder,” an amazing commentary on societal standards and a masterclass of suspense-fueled storytelling. The episode tells the story of a woman named Janet, who lays in a hospital bed after undergoing tons of plastic surgery. She inflicts all of the medical procedures upon herself in an effort to look “normal,” to not be ugly, to be beautiful just like everybody else. The plot twist in “Eye of the Beholder” is as thematically rich as it is shocking, and good lord… it’s shocking. Another terrific episode is “The Hitch-Hiker,” about a woman named Nan, driving from point A to point B, who keeps running into a creepy hitchhiker dressed in a button-down, blazer and hat. As if he possesses supernatural powers, the hitchhiker constantly pops up after Nan passes him, which forces her to think that he’s out to get her. Taut, gripping and tons of creepy fun, “The Hitch-Hiker” is classic “Twilight Zone,” a chapter that will linger hours after it ends. “To Serve Man,” “The Masks,” “Twenty Two,” and “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street” are just a few more great entries in a series full of crazy-good stories. Luckily, the entire series is available to stream on Netflix. If you haven’t seen “The Twilight Zone,” make viewing it a priority.
Timberlake’s Halftime: Enjoyable But Forgettable Richard D’Orazi From watching Justin Timberlake performing at the Super Bowl LII Halftime Show, I can say this was easily the most enjoyable halftime show I’ve seen but it was also the most forgettable. Much like everything else with the Super Bowl from the commercials to the game itself, it felt very safe this year in that it avoided more riskier and political topics. Unlike previous halftime shows, there weren’t any noteworthy or memorable moments to talk about with Timberlake’s show aside from a few. What the show did get right for me was that it was what I expected a halftime show to be like: a single act performing a medley of their greatest hits. He opened the show up with “Filthy,” the lead off single from his latest album, “Man of the Woods,” that came out two days before, and ended it perfectly with “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” going into the crowd. If there was one memorable moment it was what didn’t have to do with JT’s music but with his virtual duet with the late Prince in honor of the Super Bowl being held in Minneapolis, Prince’s hometown. With Prince on a projection screen, Justin sang his “I Would Die 4 U” from the “Pur-
ple Rain” soundtrack while showing the area around the stadium lighting up in purple to form the symbol Prince used as his name for a while in the 90s. While I understand why many felt the tribute was disrespectful given Prince’s comments on virtual duets along with Timberlake’s questionable moments from mocking Prince’s short height at the 2007 Golden Globes to dissing him in his verse on the collab diss track “Give It To Me” after Prince proclaimed sexy never left after Timberlake’s “SexyBack” became a big hit, I thought it was a nice hometown tribute to one of their own and also glad he didn’t bring out a Prince hologram as they had originally planned to. I honestly think a lot of the backlash to the Halftime Show is due to the larger backlash Timberlake is facing from his latest album and singles which has led many to re-examine his past behavior including his last halftime performance in 2004 that resulted in the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” with Janet Jackson in which he largely skated by without consequences as Janet dealt with all the backlash with Justin not doing much to stand by her. In the end, while the show was enjoyable to watch I don’t see many people remembering it when they look back at halftime shows.
PHOTo Courtesy/youtube nfl
Justin Timberlake performing for the crowds at the Super Bowl LII Halftime Show.
Worst Flu Season in a Decade How students can protect themselves Helga Golemi Tis’ the season... for getting sick. Now that the holiday season is behind us, we have another season to look forward to: Flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that this year’s flu has reached a peak not seen since the Swine Flu Pandemic in 2009. What makes this year’s flu so dangerous is the increased proliferation of the Influenza A-H3N2 strain. Typically we have a multitude of strains of the flu circulating at a time, but whenever we have one strain that is more prevalent than others, we can generally predict that that strain is going to be far more fatal than usual. More alarming is the virus’ widespread expansion into 49 out of the 50 U.S. states, including our very own New York. Not only has the rate of hospitalization increased profoundly over the past two months, but CDC officials say that we still have several weeks to go before flu season officially comes to an end.
That being said, it is imperative that we know how to protect ourselves and our families from getting sick. On a crowded college campus, students remain easy targets for the tiny microorganisms looking to invade their immune systems. Ensure that you remain protected from this virus by not forgetting to maintain simple acts of hygiene like washing your hands and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, as germs can easily enter through those openings. Sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow and make sure you use a tissue and wash your hands right away. Additionally, carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer every day, for moments when you’re not near to a sink. It is also extremely important that we limit the spread of disease in our homes and campuses. To prevent this from happening, it remains crucial that we don’t share anything that our mouth touches. This includes anything from cups, to utensils to toothbrushes. It is also important that we clean and dis-
infect things we touch and use everyday, such as laptops and cell phones—disinfectant wipes are perfect for this. One of the most essential and preventive methods for not getting sick is one of the most obvious, yet easily forgotten: Getting the flu shot. The flu shot is one of the most efficient precautionary measures to avoid the flu. But less than half of all Americans are actually vaccinated; college students make up a large group of those who remain unvaccinated. If you are already sick, you should still go get vaccinated to prevent yourself from other strains of the virus. With almost any insurance, pharmacies like Walgreens or Duane Read offer free instore vaccinations. Your doctor’s office should also offer this shot for free, granted you have insurance. If you don’t have insurance, here is a list of clinics offering low-cost vaccinations for students with a college ID: • Costco: $19.99 for a quadrivalent
(protecting against four strains of Influenza) vaccine • CVS: $41 for quadrivalent • Walgreens: $31.99 for trivalent (protecting against three strains of Influenza), $39.99 for quadrivalent • Rite Aid: $35 for trivalent. $40 for quadrivalent • Walmart: $27.88 for trivalent, $39.88 for quadrivalent • Sam’s Club: $30 for quadrivalent • Target: $39.99 for quadrivalent Call 311 for more information on more clinics near you offering free vaccinations, and remember to contact your physician if you are sick or displaying any flu-like symptoms to get properly assessed and treated. Take advantage of all these opportunities and protect yourself! Remember, your health matters.
‘Tans By Natalie’ Takes Over Mobile, student-run spray tan business expanding
TORCH PHOTO/AMANDA NEGRETTI
Since the completion of the new-and-improved Bent Hall, students seem to be nurturing their entrepreneurial spirits both on and off campus. Natalie Vitello is a senior marketing major, minoring in fashion studies. Her entrepreneurial spirit grew outside of the classroom after developing her spray tan skills this past October. Shortly after completing an esthetician program at Norvell University — an NYCbased school that specializes in sunless tanning — she decided to start her business. Vitello had a friend who started doing spray tans in Connecticut; this piqued Vitello’s interest since she’s always had a love for self-care and makeup. “I’ve always been interested in makeup and airbrush spray tans ever since I was probably around six,” Vitello said, adding that she used to dance competitively and later got involved with cheerleading. “Makeup and spray tanning was always a part of my routine prior to competitions. I think it’s so cool how something so small can impact a person’s confidence. “Having glowing skin for any occasion instantly makes you more confident because when you look good, you feel good.” Thinking it would be a good way to express herself through a business, she started a mobile beauty business, ‘Tans by Natalie,’ for which she travels to her customers.
“I am available in all five boroughs, and I drive to my clients,” Vitello said. “The actual spray tanning is done is a portable pop-up tent, and I have my own spray tan gun with the whole process lasting about 15 minutes.” Vitello says that she doesn’t need a huge space to work, but there should be some ceiling height for the tent setup. The spray tans last one week and every day it gradually fades on its own. The day after is especially important to moisturize, which keeps the skin smooth and extends how long the tan lasts.
I think it’s so cool how something so small can impact a person’s confidence. Natalie Vitello
Vitello has already started building a clientele of her peers who love the idea of receiving a beauty treatment in the comfort of their own homes; she says she’s received positive feedback from clients. “Sororities always have formal and semi-formal events, where girls want to have a nice tanned glow,” Vitello said. “I also get a lot of girls right before vacations; Ideally, they will do it the day before and wash it off next day.” Although most of her clients are from Queens, she has recently been booking jobs in Manhattan. Vitello says she would reach out to potential clients and offer a discount for them to test the service; if they are pleased, she offers the service again at a discounted rate. “I started out at a really affordable price point of $20, but when I started getting more customers, I raised it to $25.” Vitello said. “After the process, I always let my clients know if they need a touch-up or any concerns, they can always reach out to me.” On Instagram, her handle is @TansByNatalie; Vitello says that social media has been a great help in getting her business off the ground. “It’s been such a useful tool for me!” She said. “I am always looking for inspiration and I try to emulate business Vitello’s tanning setup consists of a portable pop-up models of successful entrepretent and spray tan gun. neurs who’ve built a following
Natalie Vitello began her spray tan business this past October.
from Instagram and through beauty posts.” ments that she says can help make them “When I first started out, I went to popu- feel beautiful. lar spray tan technician Instagram’s to follow “I always knew I wanted to start my own their clients for networking. When I look up business, I knew I was born to be an entrea hashtag, I usually search for key phrases preneur,” Vitello said. like #beautyblogger, #nycfashionblogger or “I’ had tried so many paths in the past. #nycmua, which stands for makeup artists.” And one day I just had this idea to make Vitello said, adding that her work has led to my own mobile spray tan business; two immense business growth. weeks later I bought all of the equip“It is so rewarding when people reach out ment, got certified, and now here I am.” to me. I just started in October and it’s already taking off through word of mouth,” Vitello said. “My friends from St. John’s will tell their friends, then they will tell their friends, and so on.” Vitello is looking to the future, where she hopes to open her own full-service aesthetics spa complete with facilities so customers can get spray tans, facials and other Vitello says social media has been key in establishing her business. skin care treatPHOTO COURTESY/NATALIE VITELLO
Weekend Sweep for SJU Women Nick Bello Coming into this weekend, the St. John’s women’s basketball team rode a three-game losing streak. The skid, which featured road losses to Seton Hall, Creighton and Providence, was broken with two resounding wins against Butler and Xavier this weekend. The Red Storm started their weekend series with a game against the Bulldogs Friday night. They defeated Butler (13-12, 5-8 Big East) 76-38 thanks to a lot of help from the bench, which combined for 38 total points. “Off the bench they were energized today,” Head Coach Joe Tartamella said postgame. “All around I think it was just a great day.” The win on Friday night was the Red Storm’s second-largest conference win since 2005. Aside from praising his team’s performance, Tartamella said the game was “a much needed one.” The Red Storm were led by freshman Qadashah Hoppie, who continues to put up big numbers. She had 16 points Friday night and shot an impressive 50 percent from beyond the arc. With a day of recovery, St. John’s was back in action Sunday afternoon against a rebuilding Xavier team. The game started off just like Friday’s game. With a big Akina Wellere three and a dazzling behind-the-back layup from guard Tiana England, the Red Storm rolled, ending the first quarter on a 13-0 run. St. John’s pulled away in the second quarter with multiple points coming from both Wellere and sophomore guard Alisha Kebbe. Both Kebbe and Wellere had eight points a piece heading into halftime, giving St. John’s a 35-14 lead. The team ended the half shooting an 51 percent from the floor. The Red Storm continued to dominate in the third quarter. England found Kebbe in
Derrell Bouknight When the bitterness of winter finally leaves the and the crisp spring air makes its way into the March sky, many things around campus will be different than they are now. The Big East basketball tournaments will come and go, and winter sports will make room for their spring counterparts. The baseball team will begin the season ranked No. 25 in the country. The pellets from their new turf field will fly up from and bounce off the turf that Josh Shaw will field grounders on, spitting distance from the mound Sean Mooney looks to dominate once again. It's around the time of year that screams and cheers from DaSilva Field can be heard from the living rooms of the D'Angelo Center on early afternoons. Jason Miller looks to build his team and get revenge on tough competition in rematches from last season.
the corner for a three to increase the St.John’s lead to 26 with 5:57 to go in the quarter. The team went into the final frame with a 50-26 advantage. St. John’s (14-10, 7-6 Big East) continued to dominate in the fourth quarter, eventually building their lead to 34 points. They would go on to defeat the Musketeers (9-15, 2-11 Big East) 70-36. Three players finished in double figures. Senior forward Maya Singleton recorded 12 points and seven rebounds. Wellere had 11, and a near double-double from Kebbe. “It was a great performance from start-toend again,” Tartamella said after the game. “We controlled a lot of aspects of the game and were able to turn [Xavier] over and keep them to a low assist rate.” The 36 total points for Xavier was the lowest they had scored all season. When asked about keeping Xavier to 36 points, Tartamella praised his team’s ability to take Xavier away from their gameplan. “I thought we did a good job of coming out and taking them out of things that maybe they are used to getting,” he said. “ I am pleased with our effort and communication.” The Red Storm was led by Kebbe’s 15 points and nine rebounds. When asked about her performance she said that her goal was to help her team in any way possible. “I felt like I was just an energizer for my team,” Kebbe said. “I just played my game with defensive stops and rebounds.” The two big wins this weekend create a lot of momentum for St. John’s, who will play Friday on the road against 18-5 Villanova. The Wildcats are 8-4 in the Big East. When asked about the confidence the two victories will give his team, Tartamella talked about how his team is aware of how good they can be.
As the track team runs around the field he calls home and Amy Kvilhaug prepares her team for another strong season, there will be more than just warmer weather to embrace as the months go by. The baseball, softball, tennis and lacrosse teams went combined 105-61 last season. Along with the strong records to show for last year’s performances, several members of teams have made headlines for offseason and preseason accomplishments. Ed Blankmeyer, who will begin his 36th season as head coach of the Red Storm baseball team, was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame this January. His team was picked as the preseason Big East favorite by the conference’s coaches. Mooney earned Preseason Pitcher of the Year honors, while outfielder Anthony Brocato was chosen as Preseason Co-Player of the Year. John Valente, Josh Shaw Joe Larosa all earned spots on the Preseason All-Big East team. Men’s tennis star Luka Sucevic was named Big East Men’s Tennis Player of the Week last week, while the softball team was picked to finish first in the conference’s coaches poll following a record-breaking campaign that saw them reach their fourth consecutive Big East championship game. This time of year is one that many have long awaited. For St. John’s fans, this only means one thing. Spring sports will finally be here. And there's a lot to look forward to.
TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO
Point guard Tiana England is averaging 9.8 points and 5.4 assists per game this year.
“It gives them momentum,” he said. “And we know what we are capable of.” After Villanova, the Red Storm will take on Georgetown in D.C., following a three-game homestand to close out the regular season against Seton Hall, DePaul and Marquette. The Women’s Big East Tournament will take
place March 3-6 at DePaul’s Wintrust Arena in Chicago. Tartamella hopes to lead the Johhnies to their eleventh-and his sixth as head coachconsecutive postseason appearance after posting a 22-12 overall record last year. The Red Storm will play Georgetown on Sunday.
Right on “Q”: Making a Big Im pact Brendan Myers With just under a minute left in the third quarter ofw St. John’s Friday night clash against Butler, the Red Storm scored a basket to make it 59-27 in their favor. Four players trotted back to go play defense on the other end of the floor. Qadashah Hoppie stays down the court, and gives Butler’s Whitney Jennings nowhere to go. Hoppie making an inbound pass difficult with the team up 32 is a very minor detail that didn’t have an impact on the game. But it speaks volumes about her mindset on the court. “The confidence that everyone has coming from New York when they step on the court, I guess I got that growing up in New York,” Hoppie said about her days growing up in Staten Island. Once Hoppie checks into the game, whoever she’s guarding is in for a stern test. She runs her opponents off the three-point line, and uses a balance of lateral quickness and strength to prevent guards from getting into the paint. Butler’s Jennings went into Friday night’s game averaging 18 points per game. She finished with seven on 3-13 shooting. No one in Butler’s backcourt that night made more than three field goals. In 16 of the 23 games so far, St. John’s has scored more points off turnovers than their opponents--in large part due to Hoppie. She presses opponent’s guards into making rushed decisions. Surrounded by stout defenders like senior Maya Singleton, Hoppie’s pressure often leads to a disrupted offense. Here in her freshman season, she’s scored in double-digits in 14 of the team’s 23 games, while only starting 10 of those contests. Hoppie leads all Big East freshman in scoring, with a season average of just over 11 points per game. As conference play has gotten underway, she has only added to those
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Qadashah Hoppie has had an immediate impact in her freshman season in Queens.
numbers, rising her total to just shy of 13 per game. Hoppie’s New York toughness has also shown in her ability to rebound off slower performances. When St. John’s faced off against defending National Champion South Carolina, the Gamecocks held her to four points on 1-of-6 shooting. The next game against No. #17/16 South Florida, Hoppie reached double figures, scoring 12 points in just 18 minutes of action. Head Coach Joe Tartamella has devised a unique role for Hoppie. She usually starts the game on the bench. But from the first quarter on, Hoppie is a mainstay in the Red Storm lineup. Only redshirt freshman Tiana England averages more minutes than Hoppie.
After the Butler game, Tartamella said that the team usually wants around 20 points a game from the bench. “We have the depth, and if we can figure it out and get it rolling, we could be pretty scary towards the finish,” Tartamella said. On Friday, Hoppie almost got to 20 on her own. She finished with 16, a game-high, almost half of the team’s 38 bench points that were scored that night. Hoppie’s also formed a strong on court partnership with England, a backcourt tandem that could be destined for big things over the next four years. “We are learning together how to be better at this game and at this level,” Hoppie said. “We have a good relationship in terms of what we could have done better in different situations.”
Immediately when either of the two guards gets on outlet pass, they are looking to find each other in transition for easy baskets. On one occasion in the Butler game, England made a break to intercept a pass on the wing. Before she even had her hand on the ball, Hoppie was already on the other end of the floor, waiting for the outlet for an easy lay-up. England couldn’t save the ball, but the two shared a head nod as Hoppie jogged back down the court, acknowledging the pass was there. The former McDonald’s All-American out of The Patrick School in New Jersey is growing into a larger role in Queens, and could be poised for a key role as the St. John’s women’s basketball team heads down the stretch towards the postseason.
Men’s Tennis Off to Tough Start John Cavanagh The St. John’s Red Storm tennis team came into this season with a new coach and new hope. Head Coach Craig Schwartz was hired by the University in December of last year after being an assistant coach for the Appalachian State men’s and women’s programs. While there, the teams earned numerous Sun-Belt All-Conference selections. Schwartz was a former NYCAC Player of the Year and ITA East Region Senior Player of the Year, and his goal was to hit the ground running by helping his players on and off the court. “I’m looking forward to creating a culture based off of hard work, discipline and respect at St. John’s,” Schwartz told Red Storm Sports. Well, hit the ground running they did. The team season started the season with much promise. The Johnnies cruised to a 7-0 victory over Sacred Heart in their season opener at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows. It all started in doubles play when Luka
Sucevic and Andrei Crapcenco won their match 6-1 from the number two position. Dusan Vukicevic and Ognjen Trejgut also picked up a 6-1 win from the number three position. Singles play saw similar success thanks to Alan Nunez Aguilera dominating his match from the number two position with a pair of 6-1 sets. It all culminated into a picture-perfect debut for Schwartz. Since the hot start, much hasn’t gotten better from there. The Red Storm have since lost three straight matches, and lost their first match at home this past weekend to Middle Tennessee State after being on the road for two straight matches in Hanover, New Hampshire. Their second loss came against Dartmouth with a drubbing 4-0 defeat, highlighted by the pairing of Ognjen Trejgut and Alex Roszkowski rallying back for a 7-5 victory from the number two position. The match against Buffalo to close out the trip was much closer, but showed the same result. Trejgut gave the Johnnies a 2-0 lead after sweeping his opponent from the five position, but the Red Storm couldn’t hold on
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Luka Sucevic was named Big East Men’s Tennis Player of the Week last Wednesday.
and lost 4-3 to the Bulls. Despite their recent struggles, the Red Storm will turn to junior Luka Sucevic to guide them back in the win column. Sucevic was named the Big East Men’s Tennis Athlete of the Week after their defeat of Sacred Heart, and earned the team’s first weekly award of the year. Sucevic, a junior from Serbia, attended Mississippi State pri-
or to coming to Queens. He represented the Big East at the Oracle ITA Masters this past fall, playing the top seed to three sets. St. John’s will have a chance to redeem themselves against Wagner on Feb. 9 at the National Tennis Center. The Seahawks come into Queens with only one loss on the season, and a 3-1 record overall.
Johnnies Upset No. 4 Duke at MSG Behind 33 points from Ponds, St. John’s shocked the Blue Devils Derrell Bouknight Back in August, Shamorie Ponds sent out a tweet-or maybe a business memo-regarding the third day in February. He talked about the first of a 2018/2019 home-and-home matchup against Duke, which was confirmed during the offseason. He gave the location, Madison Square Garden. The time was noon, his team set to face the No. 4 Blue Devils in front of a sold-out crowd. His final words, a hashtag, were “shock the city.” As 19,000 spectators held their collective breath with 40 seconds to go, the southpaw from Brooklyn did just that. He rose into the air, ignored Gary Trent Jr.’s outstretched hand, and buried a triple just in front of his coaching staff. “I was confident in taking that shot, and it went in,” he said postgame. The bucket put St. John’s up 77-73, and Duke never led again. Ponds scored 33 points to lead all scorers. Senior Bashir Ahmed followed with 19 and Tariq Owens 17 in an 81-77 upset win over Duke. The victory snapped an 11-game losing streak for the Red Storm, who came into Saturday’s game having lost all of their conference games before a brief interruption to play the Blue Devils. It was the first time St. John’s played Duke since 2015, the first win against the program since a 93-78 victory at the Garden back in 2011. The pace of the game was intense from the start. Trent continued his streak of hot shooting from the outside, nailing three three-pointers to give Duke (19-4) a 12-9 lead less than four minutes into the game. Despite losing Marvin Clark II to two early fouls, St. John’s hung with the Blue Devils and never trailed by more than eight in the opening half. Owens led the way at halftime with 10 and was praised for his defense on forward Marvin Bagley III, who finished the game with 19 points and seven rebounds. Two crucial shots from Ahmed and Ponds brought St. John’s (11-13) within seven at the half, 39-32. The final 20 minutes of action were highlighted by St. John’s aggression on offense and attention to detail on the defensive side. Ponds scored seven of his 24 second half points in the opening minutes, including a long triple that gave St. John’s its first lead of the game, a 42-41 edge that forced Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski to call a timeout. Minutes later, Ahmed converted on a three-point play to extend the lead to seven. Bagley, projected to be a top pick in this year’s NBA Draft, picked up his fourth foul with 12:24 remaining and was forced to sit on the bench. From there, the Red Storm took advantage of his absence. “We just had to come out and make a statement and set the tone, which we did,” Owens said of the second half. “As a team, we came in and hit them in the mouth and knocked them off balance.” With 8:36 to play, a three-point play from Ponds gave St. John’s an 11-point lead, their largest of the game. With Bagley out, Duke turned to their backcourt.
Looking Ahead • February 7: Men’s Basketball at Villanova • February 9: Women’s Basketball at Villanova • February 9: Track & Field, Fast Track Invite at Ocean Breeze Park, Staten Island • February 9,10: Softball scrimmages vs. East Carolina and Florida International (Miami) • February 9: Men’s Tennis vs. Wagner at National Tennis Center • February 9: Women’s Tennis vs. Buffalo at National Tennis Center • February 10: Men’s Lacrosse at Rutgers • February 10: Men’s Basketball vs. Marquette TORCH PHOTO/NICK BELLO
Nearly 20,000 spectators watched St. John’s defeat Duke at Madison Square Garden.
Freshman guard Trevon Duval scored eight points in four minutes to cut the lead to 7268 with 2:45 to go. A three from Trent cut the deficit to one before he connected on two free throws to reclaim the lead for Duke. After Ponds’ shot sent the Garden into a frenzy, Duke senior Grayson Allen responded with his own three to bring the lead to within a point with 33.4 seconds left. Owens hit two foul shots to increase the lead to 79-76 before Bagley missed one of two from the line. Two more put the Red Storm up 81-77 with two seconds left. Those who donned red and white let out a harmonious cheer as the buzzer sounded in the most-anticipated game of the season for St. John’s fans. After the game, Red Storm Head Coach Chris Mullin talked about his team’s win and was grateful for finally getting a victory. “To turn it around against one of the most storied teams in college basketball-it’s great,” he said. “Probably more importantly for our players to get that taste back in their mouth…They needed it more than anything.” Krzyzewski spoke highly of St. John’s while criticizing his team’s performance. He said the guard is as good a guard on the offensive end as they have faced this year, and that he caused many problems for Duke. “Ponds was terrific, but also, they played with an enthusiasm and a togetherness that I’m sure they liked,” he said after the game. “It was tough for us to defend them. I thought they made us look bad, but we made ourselves look bad.” While Ponds said his team avoided the mental mistakes that plagued them in close games and Owens talked about the team never doubting itself, it was Mullin who summed it up best.
After a winless start to the year and questions surrounding a team that had so much preseason promise, he seemed relaxed, almost breaking a smile when talking about how excited he was for his guys. “It’s just good for those guys to get that feeling,” Mullin said. “Nothing like a win to just make you feel better and to understand how close you are and what you need to do to win.” With a deep breath and a sigh of relief emulating that of the Red Storm faithful in the crowd, Mullin echoed the thoughts of many that surrounded the team for what seemed like an eternity. “Thank God January is over.”
• February 11: Softball scrimmage vs. South Carolina (Miami) • February 11: Women’s Basketball at Georgetown • February 14: Men’s Basketball at DePaul • February 16: Women’s Basketball vs. Seton Hall • February 16: Women’s Tennis at Fordham • February 16: Men’s Tennis vs Hofstra at National Tennis Center
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Shamorie Ponds scored 33 points in a stunner Saturday against fourth-ranked Duke.
SPORTS FEBRUARY 7, 2018 | VOLUME 95, ISSUE 14
STORY ON PAGE 15
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