The Torch 102:03 — April 2024 Full Issue

Page 1 VOL. 102:03 The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. John’s University MAY 1, 2024 INSIDE THE ISSUE Speed Dating Your Prospective Professors Curated Collections: The Ultimate Summer Playlist Torch Design / Megan Chapman STORY ON PAGE 11 STORY ON PAGE 5 Swae Lee and Cash Cobain Rock the Great Lawn at Stormin’ Loud STORY ON PAGE 2 Chris Ledlum & Jordan Dingle File Lawsuit Against NCAA STORY ON PAGE 14
Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan Torch Photo / James Williams

Swae Lee and Cash Cobain Rock the Great Lawn at Stormin’ Loud 2024

The third annual “Last Best Day Ever” featured rides, food and games.

Williams | april 27, 2024

St. John’s University’s third annual “Stormin’ Loud” event graced the Great Lawn on April 26 with games, carnival rides and live music. Headliners for this year were rappers Cash Cobain and Swae Lee of “Rae Sremmurd.”

The festivities ran from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and were organized by the Resident Student Association, Student Programming, Student Government Inc., WSJU Radio and the Stormin’ Loud Planning Committee.

The event, only open to St. John’s students, offered three tiers of tickets: free general admission, an orange package worth $40 and a purple package worth $55. Anyone registered had the chance to bring a guest for an additional $30.

Students could ride the 75-ft Ferris Wheel that returned from last year’s event, along with the new, “Sizzler” thrill ride carousel.

In addition to the rides, students could purchase handmade jewelry and other trinkets from vendors and exclusive Stormin’ Loud merchandise. Friends could also compete against each other in games like a basketball shootout, foosball and ping pong.

Each attendee was given one free snack and food voucher upon entry. Starting at 5 p.m., food vouchers could be exchanged at the many food trucks around the Great Lawn, such as Island Empanadas, Uncle Gussy’s Greek Cuisine, The Halal Bistro (HUB), Stuf’d Gourmet Catering and BelFries.

Popcorn, cotton candy and a snowcone from Kona Ice of Long Island could also be purchased with snack vouchers.

Student dance organizations such as Live Dance Crew and Sensación returned for the preshow, along with other local singers. Student performers Nani, Loudeye and Panagiotis were also on stage during the opening hours.

After the opening acts, the first headliner, Cash Cobain, performed to a rowdy St. John’s crowd.

Following Cobain by about 40 minutes, headliner Swae Lee came out to an excited audience. The artist sang massive hits like “Black Beatles” and “Powerglide,” proving his performance to be the highlight of the night.

St. John’s Literary Magazine Launches First Post-COVID Edition

A publishing party marks the resurgence of Sequoya with a guest poet in attendance.

The Sequoya Literary and Arts Magazine hosted a publishing party today at the University Writing Center from 1:50-3:15 p.m., celebrating the release of their 2023-2024 edition. This event marked Sequoya’s first issue since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and featured guest poet Chia-Lun Chang.

Sequoya, the oldest creative publication at St. John’s University dating back to the 1920s, accepted many submissions of varying mediums for their most recent issue, all of which were celebrated at the event. Pizza and soda were provided to attendees as they listened to Chia-Lun Chang, winner of the Nightboat Poetry Prize and the author of “Prescribee,” read aloud some of her award-winning poems. After, contributors had the opportunity to read aloud works of their own, and others opened their magazine copies to follow along.

Arianna Puka, a freshman English major had her first two works published in the new edition and expressed her delight in seeing her creativity come to life in print.

“I think it’s so cool,” said Puka. “I appreciate how the journal can bring us together.”

Sequoya’s co-managing editor Ayah Cruzado knows very well how the journal can bring people together, as she was once inspired to contribute to the magazine because of her sister.

isabella athanasiou | april 22, 2024

“Honestly I am just really excited,” said Cruzado. “Sequoya has been on hiatus and we really didn’t know if we were going to get it back. I am a legacy, my sister

that this latest edition marks a fresh start for the publication, and how they managed to incorporate that into the theme.

went to St. John’s. I was like eleven years old and she was reading Sequoya and I was like ‘oh my god that’s so cool’ and I am just so honored to be a part of this.”

Cruzado adds that she hopes Sequoya can keep their legacy going for “years and years to come,” this new addition acting as a sort of new beginning.

Abby Grieco, the former Features Editor of The Torch and current editor-in-chief of Sequoya, emphasized

“I think a lot of it was about renewal, and rising from a seed because we really hadn’t published since before COVID-19. So I think we were taking something small and not really nurtured, and nurturing it back to health,” said Grieco.

“We were nurtured by faculty, advisors, by people who contributed, support was probably the biggest thing. So honestly even though we did not have a set theme for this year, I think a lot of it was about growth and rising from the ashes.” Grieco adds.

The Sequoya publishing party concluded with a sense of optimism and anticipation for the future of the magazine. Members of Sequoya urge students to submit their work and to help them keep the artistic legacy going.

“Just reach out,” said Grieco. “I would like to say we are very welcoming and we are looking for new people so even if you’re interested in the social media aspect, not so much the editing, we would be lucky to have people doing that. So I think my advice would be to reach out and have confidence in yourself.”

News 2
Torch Photo / Dea Hoxha Torch Photo / Isabella Athanasiou Torch Photo / James Williams

St. John’s Students and Faculty Rally In Solidarity With Palestine

Amid demonstrations across United States campuses, dozens protest throughout SJU.

About 50 students and faculty members joined a rally in support of Palestine on April 25 at 1:30 p.m. The St. John’s Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) organized the demonstration and began at the second floor of the D’Angelo Center (DAC) in front of Starbucks, where protestors called for a University-wide boycott of the on-campus Starbucks and Burger King.

The demonstration comes at a time when campuses across the country have experienced larger rallies and on-campus encampments surrounding the Israel-Gaza war, many of which are being met with mass arrests. These have been reported at a number of schools including New York, Yale and Columbia universities.

Protesters held up signs that included statements like “boycott for Palestine” and “your $ matters” in front of the DAC Starbucks.

The initial meet-up location at DAC served as a silent demonstration per a public safety request due to class sessions occurring on the floor.

Members of PSC went around tables asking students to sign a petition that advocates for the removal of Starbucks and Burger King on the St. John’s campus, which are believed to support Israeli entities.

Approximately 310 signatures in support of removing Starbucks and Burger King have been collected throughout the rally, according to PSC. Sabrina Sarwar, the co-founder and vice president of PSC told The Torch that students want to see action from the community and University that is built on Catholic values.

the Israel-Hamas war, which is a false narrative that American media put out.”

The group walked over to a lecture hall in DAC where they listened to a teach-in held by the Muslim Student Association (MSA), featuring Rohaan Gill, a nurse who worked in Gaza during the current

“St. Johns has repeatedly used band-aid cover-ups, which has shown their weak support for Palestine,” Sarwar said, referencing what she believes are neutral statements sent out by University deans “about

war. He described his experience in Gaza, such as treating patients with detrimental body burns, cancer patients with no access to medication and children who are experiencing life-threatening injuries because of airstrikes.

At around 2:30 p.m, demonstrators rallied to the Burger King on campus, in Marillac Hall, where they chanted “not another nickel, not another dime,

no more money for Israel’s crime,” “BK isn’t even that good, buy more from your neighborhood,” among other chants.

Following the stop at Burger King, marchers walked across campus to St. John’s Law School, where protestors were met with hostile reactions including from Joseph Haimov, a law student at the University.

“If you equivocate the intentional killing of civilians with the coincidental killing of civilians, what you really do is incentivize military targets to hide behind civilians because it’s illegal to kill civilians in any case,” Haimov said.

Several other students at St. John’s Law recorded the demonstration, pressing demonstrators on why they felt the need to cover their faces on camera “if you have nothing to hide,” they said.

The demonstration concluded in front of St. Augustine Hall, where PSC leaders left protestors with final statements.

“It’s important for St. John’s to stand with Palestine because St. John’s is founded on Vincentian love and ethics,” Amal Ahmad, an organizer with PSC, said.

“A boycott and ask[ing] to remove Burger King and Starbucks is only the start of standing and committing to Palestinian liberation on our campus and it’s time for our community to take a stand.”

In a statement to The Torch, University spokesperson Brian Browne said, “St. John’s University respects students’ right to free speech. The demonstration held at the Queens Campus was planned, scheduled when classes were not in progress, and adhered to internal University policies. “There were no reported incidents in connection with the event,” he said.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Facilitates Cybersecurity Roundtable at

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), attended St. John’s University for a discussion on cybersecurity on April 24 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sen. Gillibrand discussed growing cybersecurity threats and college programs designed to increase careers in the field. University president Rev. Brian Shanley, Collins College of Professional Studies (CCPS) Dean Luca Iandoli, SJU students, professors and cybersecurity professionals were in attendance. The event began with a tour of the second floor of St. Augustine Hall, where CCPS is located. Sen. Gillibrand was shown the Design Factory, Drs. E. Lawrence and Adele V. Deckinger Center for Integrated Advertising Communication and the Cybersecurity and Homeland Security labs.

The Senator — who serves on the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees — then facilitated a roundtable discussion on the importance of cybersecurity in New York City. She emphasized her federal cybersecurity scholarship project, which would provide substantial financial assistance to students from qualifying institutions in exchange their engagement in public service.

In an exclusive interview with The Torch, Gillibrand said the program “is essential for our families, our communities and our whole country.”

“We need this generation to be our best and brightest in this industry because they’re smarter than the rest of us. They know [the Internet and its capabilities], it’s native to them, it’s something they

understand instinctively and I think we need them defending the country.”

In the discussion, she also said that in the past 10 years, she’s been most concerned with the growing threat of cyber-attacks, and “everything that’s harming our economy and making our people less secure.”

“This school is important because it’s training the next generation of cyber-defenders that we desperately need, as well as our innovators and inventors of the future.”

After touring the labs, the senator said the cybersecurity lab was “very impressive.”

“Clearly, [the labs] inspire students to choose careers in cyber[security],” she said. “It has the capacity and state-of-the-art technology that allows people to imagine what these careers are actually like, and give them the training to succeed in those careers.”

The senator also spoke about the growing threat of TikTok and has been vocal about banning TikTok if not sold to a domestic company. She spoke of her belief that social media is being used to target users and “convinces you to see the world a different way.”

When asked how to navigate these concerns as college students, Gillibrand said, “It’s important to put social media into the context that ‘these are not your friends.’”

“I would tell young people that [TikTok] is just a tool. Use it for what’s good for you and don’t get consumed by it because they’re not your friends.”

News 3
Olivia Seaman | april 24, 2024
of cybersecurity careers and Internet safety.
John’s University The Senator spoke of the importance
malak kaSSem | april 26, 2024
Torch Photo / Malak Kassem Torch Photo/ Olivia Seaman Torch Photo / Oliviia Seaman

Asian and Pacific-American Heritage Month Celebration Concludes

with “The Debut”

The event celebrated the origins of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures at SJU.

The St. John’s University Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) hosted its final event of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APHM) on April 25 at Taffner Field House. “The Debut: Variety Show and Talent Showcase” started at 5:00 p.m. and lasted two hours. The event hosted traditional games, a spread of food to enjoy and performances from St. John’s University students and groups.

“The Debut” concluded the month-long recognition of APHM that cultivated six different events split between the Staten Island and Queens campus on the way to “the road to your debut.” In Filipino culture “the debut” is a traditional coming-of-age celebration at a person’s 18th birthday.

According to OMA, the APHM is nationally celebrated in May and “pays tribute to the rich and diverse cultures, legacies, traditions, and contributions made by Asian and Pacific Islander individuals and communities.”

During the opening statement of the event, a moment of silence was prompted for the ancestral lands of the Matinecock, Rockaway, Lenape and Canarsie Peoples that St. John’s University occupies.

The night’s festivities were in collaboration with Alpha Psi Omega, Chappell Players Theatre Group, Arab Students Organization, Indo-Caribbean Students Association and St. John’s K-Dance.

APHM began with a mental health panel on April 4 on the Queens campus and included a Ramadan Iftar, a creative workshop, a cooking class and a fiesta.

Isabella Cautero | aprIl 27, 2024

Elizabeth Ponce de Leon, the assistant director for culture and identity-based services at OMA, spoke to The Torch about the month leading up to “The Debut.”

“Our goal was to touch upon different aspects of what it takes to come into your own debut,” Ponce de Leon said. “I’m pretty happy with the turnout. Hopefully, everyone learned about the different cultures in Asia as well as the traditional games.”

Third-year psychology student Mahalee Dalisay is the student manager of the OMA and was the host of the evening. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she was not able to celebrate her debut on her 18th birthday.

“It’s your coming of age and coming to society, and that’s how you’re recognized,” Dalisay said. “I got my own one today.”

Dalisay introduced each evening performance, which was kicked off with a dance routine from SJU K-Dance, a performing group that dances to Korean Popular music (K-Pop).

For the rest of the night the multiple performances from other groups, such as a dance from Alpha Kappa Delta Phi, were broken up with interactive games such as Rock-Paper-Scissors involving an inflatable hammer toy to hit your opponent with. Each ended with the prize of a smiski, a collectible figurine toy originating from Japan. Lasya Boddu, the student coordinator for the Heritage Month council within the OMA and the producer of “The Debut” spoke to The Torch about the variety of student organizations that were in collaboration with them for the evening.

According to Boddu, the council wanted to seek performance-based groups that fit within their theme of the evening and tap into connections within the St. John’s community. Among those groups was St. John’s alumni DJ Zeke, who played music throughout the entire night.

Boddu was born in the United States but raised in India until she finished high school at 17 years old. Her heritage, combined with the passion she has for event management is what got her involved with the OMA and prompted her to set up events such as the APHM programming.

The OMA also hosted four local food vendors from around Queens, including Indian food from Tikka and Talk and Thai food from Chill D Taste Thai. The spread consisted of massaman curry with beef, rib tips, chicken biryani, vegetable kimbap and more traditional courses in Asian cuisine.The intimate audience ofabout 50 people was fully engaged throughout the night. Veronica Belgiovine, a sophomore business major, attended the event with two of her friends in support of the dancers and performers.

“The whole community was able to come together and show each and every culture, especially to people who aren’t really familiar with it,” Belgiovine said.

“The Debut” concluded the month of celebration for the OMA at St. John’s University.

Battle of the Buildings Unleashes Campus Rivalry in Epic Student Showdown

Resident and commuter students go head-to-head in a thrilling battle of teamwork, with DaSilva Hall emerging victorious.

Isabella athanasIou | aprIl 29, 2024

St. John’s University’s Office of Residence Life transformed the Residence Village Pathway into a battleground as it played host to the annual Battle of the Buildings competition on April 28. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., this year’s event marked a significant milestone with the inclusion of a commuter team, extending the opportunity for off-campus students to join in on the excitement and fellowship.

The Battle of the Buildings is a yearly tradition where resident and commuter students compete against each other in various activities, aiming to secure the trophy and year-long bragging rights. Participants preregistered for the event and upon arrival and received custom t-shirts reflecting their building affiliation or commuter status.

Team DaSilva member Niyo White, a freshman computer science major, shared his enthusiasm as he embarked on his first year at the event.

“I really see the vibe right now,” said White. “Since I am a freshman, this looks like fun. Everyone’s outside, it’s very colorful, it’s giving me a good sense of community.”

engage in an Esports Super Smash Bros. tournament, a volleyball competition, a pie-eating contest, relay races, trivia and tug-of-war. Points were allocated to buildings based on their performance in each activity, with scores displayed on a board positioned at the center of the pathway. These tallies would ultimately decide the overall winner.

White and others competed in the event’s basketball tournament where St. John’s Men’s Basketball player Brady Dunlap made an appearance. Team DaSilva member Valentina DeBiasi, a freshman biology major, was also in attendance for the tournament, acknowledging Dunlap’s arrival.

“We had a little guest appearance at the basketball court with Brady Dunlap, it was pretty cool,” said DeBiasi.

In addition to the basketball tournament, students had the opportunity to

There were more potential winners than usual at this year’s event, as this was the first year the Office of Residence Life had added a commuter team to the competitors list.

Carey Hall Resident Assistant Chelsea Roberts, a junior radiology major, gave positive feedback on the office’s decision to include commuters in the event. She emphasized the importance of inclusion and the sense of unity it fostered among all students, regardless of their residential status.

“I think it is amazing because oftentimes, commuters don’t get to participate in a lot of things. So it is good that they are including them,” said Roberts.

White had similar thoughts on the commuter team addition, acknowledging the Office of Residence Life’s inclusion efforts.

“I feel like it’s really good because they are able to branch out to other students,” said White. “That shows that the Office [of Residence Life] really cares about the students on and off campus.”

When the points were tallied, it was announced that DaSilva Hall claimed victory, showcasing impressive teamwork and commitment.

News 4
Montgoris’ Flame Station during a dinner period. Torch Photo / Olivia Rainson Torch Photo/ Isabella Athanasiou

Speed Dating Your Prospective Professors

SJU students discuss the matchmaking process of ensuring a secure relationship between themselves and their many professors.

Isabella acIerno | aprIl 29, 2024

As the semester draws to a close, college students have completed class registration — a tedious process that plays a pivotal role in the academic experience. When deciding on courses, seeking out the “right fit” often comes in the shape of a professor. No match is perfect, but learning about a prospective professor in a concise forum can make the pair more compatible.

Rate My Professors is a review-based website and mobile app that allows students to assign ratings and comments to professors and their respective courses. This feedback is reported to be posted by users who are currently or have previously taken a class with the instructor.

The website states that online reviews should be one of the many resources students use when making a decision that affects their academic future. The Torch spoke to St. John’s University students about their opinions on the website.

“I think that Rate My Professors accurately portrays teachers from a student’s point-of-view, which means a lot to me,” said sophomore and Psychology student Haley Nquyen.

Although reviews are anonymous, it’s implied that students who utilize the website put their trust in its user-generated feedback.

Freshman Marancia Hubberd was tasked with drafting a schedule for herself come the spring semester. However, this was unexpected for the incoming freshman with a built-in schedule.

“I used Rate My Professors to pick all of my professors for this semester,” she explained. “I find that students often leave very informative comments about a teacher and their teaching methods.”

For someone like Hubberd, student-teacher compatibility is imperative to academic achievement.

“Even if course material for a particular class is the same, professors who try to engage with their students, invite them to ask questions or go to them with extra credit opportunities can make or break student performance. So far, reviews have helped me find these professors.”

It has been noted that in speed dating, it often doesn’t take long to determine whether you’re “attracted” to someone or not.

In a matter of minutes, students can decide whether they wish to sign up with a prospective instructor or steer clear of them entirely with the backing of a surplus of reviews.

Bianca Foresta is a junior majoring in Health and Human Services. She uses Rate My Professors as many of her classmates do, but considers the subjectivity of the feedback.

“I almost always look up professors before I sign up for a class, but I have noticed that people sometimes will make a review based on one bad grade, which I feel is pretty misleading,” expressed Foresta.

Senior and Early Childhood Education student Matt Anderson has reevaluated his perspective of the site and what it reveals about a student’s classroom experience as he advanced in his college years.

“Early in my college career, I utilized Rate My Professors because I felt like it provided an accurate representation of how the teacher was within the classroom in terms of workload and difficulty,” said Anderson.

“I now feel like these reviews often don’t talk about if the teacher is challenging you within the classroom, instead, reviews and ratings are purely grade-based,” he concluded.

Overall, mixed emotions emerge from students regarding review-based websites such as Rate My Professors.

Since navigating the “perfect match” doesn’t come easily for most, learning about a prospective professor in any forum may increase the chances of student-professor compatibility, just as it can for a pair that engages in speed dating. No matter the style of matchmaking, the relationship outcome will depend on the people.

Untangling the Web of Mixed Emotions

Understanding and validating your feelings can help to sort out the complexity of mixed emotions.

Many aspects of the media focus on dealing with negative feelings — but what about mixed feelings?

Whether you are changing jobs, starting a new semester of school or have lost a close relationship, having mixed emotions is a common sensation. Mixed feelings refer to the partly positive and negative reactions to a situation or person. If you are having mixed emotions about someone or something, you feel both pleased and displeased at the same time. These feelings are generated by multiple things happening at once. Endings, for example, generate more than one meaning for us and thus more than one feeling: sadness and grief, but also excitement and relief.

If you have ever had mixed feelings about someone you love, whether it be a partner, family member or lifelong friend, you know the discomfort that comes with complex feelings.

Below are some strategies and tips on how to effectively navigate and cope with mixed emotions. One of the best first steps in any healing process is to acknowledge, accept and validate your feelings. It’s completely normal to experience a range of emotions, and denying or suppressing them can

lead to further distress.

By taking a moment — or even a few days — to identify and label your emotions, allows you to properly understand what you are feeling and how to move forward.

Once you’ve recognized your emotions, it’s important to validate them. Understand that your feelings are valid and that it’s okay to both love and be angry with someone at the same time. Avoid judging yourself for experiencing mixed emotions by practicing self-compassion and kindness. This way, you give yourself the same grace for your emotions that you give to others for theirs. The next step is arguably the most important: identify your triggers. Try to pinpoint the factors that contribute to your mixed emotions. Is it a particular situation, event, person, thought or even phrase that is causing these feelings?

Understanding the root cause can help you to address and manage your emotions moving forward. It’s crucial to note that a trigger may not be obvious, so ensure that you are patient with yourself. If your mixed emotions have not yet manifested, taking care of yourself can help them come to the

surface. Engage in activities that bring you comfort and joy, such as exercising, spending time with loved ones, practicing mindfulness or meditation, listening to music or reading; these will help nurture your emotional well-being.

Consider keeping a journal to express and reflect on your thoughts and emotions. Writing can be a therapeutic outlet for processing feelings, gaining insights and tracking patterns or triggers in your emotional experience.

When your emotions are deciphered, if certain situations or relationships consistently trigger mixed emotions, consider setting healthy boundaries to protect yourself. Communicate your needs and limits assertively to prioritize your mental health.

Dealing with mixed emotions is a normal part of being human. By acknowledging, validating and managing your feelings, you can navigate through mixed emotions and seek support when needed. Remember that it’s okay to not have it all figured out and to give yourself grace in times of emotional complexity.

Features 5
abIgaIl grIeco | aprIl 15, 2024 Torch Photo / Olivia Rainson

The Realities of Dating in College

Dating in college can look different for everyone. Here is how to navigate it.

College years are some of the most formative times in life for personal growth and development. As students, how can you independently grow alongside somebody else? Whether it be a long distance or inschool relationship, dating in college has its challenges — but that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it.

In a student’s college career, there is up to a 60 percent chance that they will have been in a relationship. Around 28 percent of those couples will marry post-graduation. With statistics like these, how are students making relationships work? What happened to the 72 percent of couples who break up?

Beating Long Distance

Being in a long-distance relationship can look different for everyone. Whether your partner is at another school hundreds of miles away or ten miles away, “distance” has no numerical rule. From issues pertaining to the lack of physical intimacy, jealousy and miscommunications, long-distance relationships pose potential problems — but not ones without solutions.

St. John’s University sophomore Joseph Stibich described his story of making distance work with his girlfriend who attends a different university.

“I don’t know if I’d call [from] Jamaica to the Lower East Side a long-distance relationship, but the hour on the F train doesn’t feel short,” he described. “This past semester we both went abroad and did actual long-distance.”

Many students struggle with sustaining their relationships when studying abroad, but according to Stibich, it’s not a hopeless cause.

“We are finally now in the same city, but when I was in Rome and Limerick, keeping in touch with each other and having a lot of trust in each other was super key. The truth about relationships, long distance or otherwise, is that if there isn’t a foundation of trust it won’t work.”

How can you build this foundation when not physically together?

Consistent and reliable communication is one of the most important solutions. Create time for each other based on your schedules for when you can call or speak with no distractions or interruptions. Be honest about your plans and check in with your partner if you are out to ease anxieties and feelings of jealousy.

Verbal affirmation and kindness go a long way when separated from the one you love. If you have said the “L” word, be sure to tell them.

Living Your Own Lives, Together

Being in a relationship while occupying the same space creates its fair share of issues. Scheduling conflicts, too little or too much time together and lack of communication are just a few problems that may arise in a relationship.

When asked how she maintains her relationship in school, junior Abigail O’Neill responded, “Communication and making sure you always know the next time you are going to see each other.”

She emphasized the importance of “making time for each other” and serving as a mutual support system.

Although school can become hectic and schedules may overlap, finding time for each other and understanding when your partner doesn’t have time is extremely important. Even though you are in the same space, it does not mean that you have to share it all the time.

Creating a plan of what days you can see each other during the week, and keeping these promises is an easy way to divide time between your partner and school or friends. Though it can be easy to spend every free moment with your partner, maintaining an active social life outside of them is crucial to a healthy relationship. When you and your partner have interests independent of each other, it allows you to develop as an individual.

The Two Pillars of Every Relationship

So, what do all relationships really come down to then? Trust and communication.

Establishing a system of communication between you and your partner assures that no matter the distance, you are both on the same page. Trust is another significant aspect of relationships, and if no trust is present, the relationship has no legs to stand on.

Some ways to increase or rebuild trust are through sharing positive experiences together, communicating honestly and acknowledging any past mistakes made that may have harmed the trust built in the relationship. Patience and dedication are a necessity when it comes to repairing trust between a couple. Without developing these skills, relationships can fall victim to miscommunication.

At the end of the day, if the relationship is fulfilling and brings you joy, it is worth fighting any situation that comes your way. The most important thing is that you fight it together.

Torch Photo / Olivia Rainson Torch Photo / Olivia Rainson Torch Photo / Kyler Fox

Discovering the Power of the Five Love Languages

Strengthen your personal, romantic and familial relationships.

AbigAil grieco | April 23, 2024

The five love languages — first developed and described by author Gary Chapman in 1992 — describe how people receive and express love in relationships. The five languages are words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service and receiving gifts. Expressing this feeling is not as simple as it may seem. Many people show it in ways that they need to feel love, as opposed to the ways that a partner needs to feel it. Being aware of your partner’s love language and expressing your own is a great way to build a strong foundation that allows both parties to feel loved and appreciated.

The Five Love Languages Defined

For those who speak the language of words of affirmation, verbal expressions hold immense power. Simple words or phrases like “I love you” or “this made me think of you” carry deeper meaning than one might think. Not only do these words express in-the-moment feelings, but they also underscore how the person saying them genuinely feels.

The most popular love language in the United States is quality time. Undivided attention is the cornerstone of this love language. This does not have to be spending every day of the week with one another; however, it does mean that the time spent together, even if it’s one hour, is full of fun and love. Meaningful conversation, shared experiences and dedicated time together nurture the connection between one another.

If your love language is physical touch, this means that you prefer physical expressions of love over verbal or gift-giving. Though physical touch may allude to something more, there are specific nuances like a hug or holding hands that are just as meaningful. Physical closeness communicates love, warmth and security for those who resonate with this language.

Actions, as they say, speak louder than words, especially for individuals who are fluent in the love language of acts of service. Whether it’s cooking a meal, running errands or even offering a helping hand, these acts demonstrate care and devotion. When it comes to receiving gifts, it’s not about materialism; it’s about the thought and effort behind the gift. From a handwritten note or a meaningful trinket to a favorite candy or a spontaneous bouquet, these are gestures that symbolize thoughtfulness.

The Importance of Knowing Your Love Language

Understanding your primary love language can transform how you navigate relationships. It’s not just about knowing your own but also recognizing and honoring your partner’s.

To identify your love language, you can ask yourself questions — such as “Do you feel more loved when your partner surprises you with flowers or when they do the laundry?” You can also take a quiz based on Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages;” here, you are prompted with various instances and situations in which you respond with what act or example of a love language is most meaningful.

Having such an awareness of your own and your partner’s personal love language fosters empathy, enhances communication and paves the way for a deeper emotional connection.

Applying Love Languages in Relationships

Communicating your needs is a crucial step in applying your love language to a relationship or in everyday life. Once you know your love language, share it with your partner patiently and honestly. Expressing how they can best communicate love to you and how you can do the same for them will create an open understanding of what each party requires.

By showing appreciation, you are actively acknowledging and valuing your partner’s efforts in their love language. It may not be easy for people to say what they need or want, so showing appreciation for their honesty will help emotional progress. If your partner thrives on acts of service, reciprocate by taking on tasks that lighten their load or brighten their day.

It is important to remain flexible when it comes to love languages because they can evolve over time. Stay attuned to your partner’s changing needs and be open to adapting your expressions of love accordingly. This way, your relationship can grow and evolve as a result of your love languages doing the same.

Knowing and understanding these five love languages offers a roadmap to a fulfilling relationship. By speaking each other’s love languages, couples can bridge emotional gaps, cultivate understanding and create a beneficial and lasting relationship.

Features 7
Torch Photo / Olivia Rainson

Op-Ed: Activist Unveils the Truth Behind America’s Cuba Policy

Where has our country gone wrong?

Albert A. Fox Jr. is an advocate for lifting the U.S. embargo with Cuba and has faced harassment, false arrests and fabricated FBI investigations due to his stance. Fox identifies himself as a capitalist. He has a conservative view on philosophy, a moderate view on economics and a liberal view on social issues. Despite his activism, Fox does not support the Cuban government, nor does he oppose it. That is for the Cuban people to decide.

He also happens to be my grandfather. Throughout my youth, I was never able to fully grasp what ‘Pop’ did. I knew he traveled to Cuba regularly, but my knowledge of the island 90 miles off the coast of Florida never extended past a small Cuban-made wooden car he gifted me at a young age. That was until I joined him on one of his ventures

The Cuban people treated me with nothing but respect, going as far as to welcome me into a game of stickball on the streets of Havana. Not once was I uncomfortable or feared for my safety.

Today, I am proud to say that I share the same view as him, having educated myself on the matter. The average American citizen only knows what the media wants them to, which has led to years of mistreatment being swept under the rug. This begs the question:

How can one learn of our country’s wrongdoings?

“Even a cursory study of U.S./ Cuba relations reveals an astonishing amount of ‘accurate’ information regarding the propaganda and falsehoods spread regarding the Bay of Pigs saga, the Cuban missile crisis, the Mariel Boatlift, the Elian Gonzalez kidnapping and the Havana Syndrome,” Fox said. The Gonzalez kidnapping Fox speaks of was a controversial country-wide phenomenon in 2000. Gonzalez was found floating in an inner tube off the coast of Florida following the death of his mother and others in an attempt to reach the United States from Cuba. After months of legal battles and diplomatic negotiations, federal authorities seized the six-year-old Gonzalez

in a relative’s home and returned him to his father in Cuba.

“The Elian Gonzalez saga demonstrated the strident and unreasonable attitudes of the self-appointed Cuban-American leadership, not to be confused with Cuban-Americans in general,” Fox continued. “The United States must deal with the Cuban government as it is, not how the United States wants it to be.”

If an American citizen were to research the issue, flaws in our government’s logic become glaring.

“From 1902 to 1959, Cuba was nothing

please. Fox referenced Dennis Rodman, the famous basketball hall-of-famer, who has developed a relationship with supreme leader Kim Jong Un through countless trips to North Korea.

“Cuba is the only country Dennis Rodman can’t visit,” he said.

While Congress is stuck arguing over TikTok, our relationship with Cuba continues to be covered up as the Cuban people are strangled by the United States’ denial of food and medication.

“If Cuba had gold reserves, we’d find a way to solve this problem,” Fox said.

more than a colony of the United States. We controlled everything on the island,” he said.

And control they did.

The primary telephone company in Cuba at the time? AT&T. The main supplier of fuel? The old Esso company, now Exxon and Texaco. Who controlled all agricultural products in Cuba? The United Fruit Company, headquartered in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

See what I’m getting at?

Among the hypocrisy is a denial of an American’s right to travel where they-

“American citizens can help by not believing the propaganda perpetuated by the ‘Batista fascist Cuban types’ in Miami and American politicians in Congress, whose sole motivation is political money and votes from the rich ‘Batista types.’”

If the average American were to take one look at the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, they may be frightened by Cuba solely based on their inclusion. There is not an ounce of evidence that suggests Cuba is a state sponsor of terrorism.

In fact, it is quite the contrary.

“A 2000 Pentagon report states Cuba is in no way a threat to the national security of the United States. The present policy is a relic of the Cold War and inconsistent with American values and interests,” Fox said.

“The embargo today denies American and Cuban-American citizens the ability to interact with the Cuban people. It further denies American companies the ability to compete in the Cuban market of 11.5 million consumers.”

By listening to individuals like my grandfather, who have amassed far more knowledge on the issue than those who are paid to discuss it, one can begin to truly understand the disservice we invoke on both Cubans and Americans alike.

“The American people need to understand the greatness of America is grossly diminished by the imposition of an immoral policy that states: “make the Cuban people suffer by denying them food and medicine and they will rise up and overthrow the Government of Cuba.’” Opinion 8
Photo Courtesy / Kyler Fox


Olivia Seaman/ EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


Nicholas DiagostiNo



carter KiziK


MalaK KasseM


isabella athaNasiou


EDITOR isabella cautero



Molly DoWNs





MegaN chapMaN DESIGN EDITOR olivia raiNsoN SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER isabella acierNo OUTREACH MANAGER suzaNNe ciechalsKi ADVISER


Abigail Grieco

Elizabeth Kaufmann


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.

Torch, St. John’s University O’Connor Hall - B Level 8000 Utopia Parkway Queens, NY 11439


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

ABoUT ThE Torch

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 througout the week at There is a weekly newsletter on Wednesday afternoon, as well as a full digital publication each month.


To advertise in The TOrch contact Advertisements can be purchased for placement on our website, in our newsletter and within our full digital publication. For more information, please see The TOrch Media Package located on our webisite.

Op-Ed: Arab American Heritage Month Is a Publicity


America could do more for Arab-Americans.

Malak kasseM | april 12, 2024

This April marks the fourth Arab American Heritage Month in the United States since President Joe Biden officially declared the commemoration in 2021. This year, The White House released a briefing stating, “This month, we honor the rich heritage, history, and hopes of the more than 3.5 million Arab Americans across our country.”

While Biden was the first president to recognize Arab American Heritage Month, he didn’t call for the initiative. Arab American and the Arab America Foundation first proposed the commemoration in 2017, slowly gaining recognition across the country.

The act of honoring is not accomplished by a press release published once a year. It’s not accomplished by government hosted iftar dinners, which were heavily boycotted this year. It’s not accomplished by a date on the calendar. Arabs don’t need a special month to know their value. This is an invitation for the press. It’s a plea for attention.

Honor is an act of appreciation and respect. It’s treating others with dignity and value. But The White House refuted its own efforts when it vetoed a United Nations resolution for a ceasefire three times in Gaza in February. Every time the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, raised her hand in opposition to the world’s plea, Arab-Americans dealt with guilt that their own country sentenced their people to death.

If The White House truly believed in the honor of Arab Heritage, then they would use their influence to preserve Arab life anywhere in the world. What

about the parents, grandparents and children that belong to the Arab Americans that “exemplify so much of what our country stands for: hard work, resilience, compassion, and generosity?”

This year’s continuous vetoes for a ceasefire is not the only example of Arab American abandonment. About 20 years ago, the U.S. invaded Iraq killing at least a quarter of a million Iraqi civilians.

Until today, the country is still recovering and is nowhere near the level of flourishment that was once a reality. The Bush Administration instilled so much fear into the American public, that not only did Americans justify an enormous civilian death toll, but 56% of Americans justified the prospect of thousands of fatalities among United States troops. However, 62% of Americans considered the war “not worth fighting for” in 2033, realizing the falsehoods that justified the invasion that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. In 2024, Palestine is under attack. Yemen is experiencing one of the worst humanitarian crises the world has ever seen. Syrians now account for one of the world’s largest numbers of refugees. Lebanon is being bombed. Sudan is in bloodshed. These are regions with beautiful landscapes, rich history and a population with enormous hospitality. But The White House expects its diaspora to accept a month of “honor.”

America is the world’s superpower. It doesn’t need to relabel the month of April to get its point across. It can honor Arab Americans by choosing peace in the next U.N. meeting. It can choose to learn from mistakes in wars past. It can choose sincerity over publicity.

9 Opinion @sju_torch @sjutorch @stjtorch sju torch productions

The Future is Calling, But Right Now Is Louder

Why being proud of what you already do is more important than what you have yet to do.

Finding joy in the mundanity. College life focuses heavily on the go, go, go of figuring out our future. While it’s incredibly important to make active decisions to ensure that future you is secure, try hitting the brakes and recognize that what you do now will help future you ten times more than any plan.

And sure that might look like establishing a bedtime or reading more books, but how about again, hitting the breaks? Look around.

It’s not always easy to relish in the now, and the littlest things are the ones we take for granted the most. Having socks to put on our feet in the morning before we head to school or work. Grabbing a snack before we go. Enjoying our hobbies when we get home. Sending funny TikToks to our friends. Loving the little things should be more than just someone wagging their finger saying ‘be grateful,’ because the emotions you feel, big and small, are valid all the same. The emotions we experience from overwhelm to excitement all add up to the story of our lives, allowing us to achieve a wider range of the human experience. It’s a scary world we live in, and always have lived in, but it’s also a beautiful world. Part of that is because you’re here, right now. Unfortunately, the current state of our world has made life for some seem pretty bleak. There’s something about the horrors we see all over social media and the news that might make it harder to celebrate a regular day. We all have our bouts of gloom and doom, and yet within that “we’re all gonna die” mentality, there’s room there for us to get back to our foundations. Allowing us to realize that we’re all just normal people living normal lives. And there’s beauty in that!

Going to class might not seem all that much like an accomplishment, but it’s a huge one! Taking a step back and remembering that there is happiness to be had in simply showing up. Or getting a cup of coffee before heading to the lesson. Or how you wore your favorite shoes today. The little things you do add up to how you feel about yourself and your life overall.

There are of course the positive effects of striving for

be this way. You should be proud of yourself because you’re doing a great job with all that you already do. Your simple, easy life of nobody-hood is incredibly admirable for all that it is because you are meant to love and be loved beyond accomplishments and aspirations. Your worth is not wrapped up in your morning routine or whether or not you have an internship secured.

our large goals, like a house or a good job, and we absolutely should work towards the best for ourselves, but we need to understand that the little goals are just as important. And not even the goals to be achieved at a later date, but all that we’ve done and do currently. It’s important to appreciate yourself for all that you’re already doing for your future.

Social media has placed on us this “be more” mindset. Constantly resetting and decluttering and routine-ing and whatever else to make it seem like what you have currently needs to be changed in some way. This isn’t always true. And luckily, it doesn’t have to

It can be incredibly hard in this uncomfortable political climate and fast-paced attitude of college to think that we are enough. But you are. Put away the grind and get back to reality — it’s scary, but you can do it.

Finding joy in the bottom of our cereal bowl, in people-watching on the train, in seeing how the clouds move or in our reflection in a window just might be what we all need to pull us out of that hole of inadequacy. To hone us back into not viewing our lives as something to be accomplished but rather as something to be experienced moment by moment. Understanding that each goal is something to be achieved in flux and that it’s impossible to be everything you want to be in one day. Allow yourself room to grow, not push yourself into a high-scoring box. Each accomplishment is punctuated by the journey, and the journey is what you’re doing right now, even if it feels like you’re just lying in bed.

Sometimes life is boring, and sometimes it’s exciting. There’s a lot to feel and see and do, and there’s also a lot to notice. Take notice — you’ll be surprised when you do.

Op-Ed: Ruby Franke is Not an Isolated Case

Former vlogger behind the YouTube channel “8 Passengers” Ruby Franke shocked the world when she and co-conspirator Jodi Hildebrandt were arrested for child abuse in August 2023. The extent of the abuse that Franke and Hildebrandt were forcing on Franke’s children, particularly the youngest Russell and Eve, would fuel the nightmares of any watcher. But the signs of abuse shown by Franke in her earliest vlogs show that this was something to be expected. More importantly, those keeping up with the case should expect more allegations against parents of family vlogging channels to follow.

Franke and Hildebrandt were sentenced to four one-to-15-year terms that could be carried out consecutively for up to 30 years.

The history of abuse extends to putting pepper and duct tape over her children’s open wounds, shaving her daughter’s head and forcing her daughter to do manual labor for hours without sufficient food and water. All of this occurred off-camera after Franke stopped vlogging when faced with backlash about her parenting style.

As cases of abuse within “child stars” keep appearing, society is coming to learn more about the dangers of exposing children to the limelight.

It begs the question of whether any parent who puts a camera in a child’s face for monetary gain truly cares about the well-being of their children. It’s blatantly clear that all that they want is to groom the vulnerable into making them money.

Think about Wren Eleanor, the famous four-year-old whose mother, Jacquelyn, is being accused of exposing her to predators for views. Or Machelle Hobson, who was charged with abusing five of her seven adopted children when they would not perform for her YouTube channel, the “Fantastic Adventures.” It appears as the years go on that these “kidfluencers” are showing that their fun-filled childhoods were more reminiscent of forced-labor.

According to the Washington Post, influencers and celebrities are now limiting their children’s screen times and blurring their faces to give them the chance at a “normal childhood.” They also want them to consent to being in videos when they are old enough to understand what having a social media platform means.

The first red flags came at the expense of the oldest son, Chad. Franke was sent to a wilderness camp and forced to sleep on a beanbag for seven months. His crime? Pranking his little brother by telling him they were going to Disneyland. Such a harsh punishment sent a slew of hate to Ruby and her husband Kevin.

One of the first times the family was “vulnerable” with fans invited abuse allegations and visits from CPS. This proves more than anything that no one knows what occurs in the homes of vloggers when the camera is put away and the kids no longer have dollar signs above their heads.

This is a step in the right direction for influencers and celebrities. Knowing what it means to have a child going through life in front of millions of viewers will stop any logical parent from putting their kid in the limelight. But for parents reminiscent of Franke, who stopped vlogging only when Child Protective Services (CPS) showed up at her house, considering their children’s feelings requires introspection and clarity that money tends to obscure.

Do not believe that another Ruby Franke will not come out of the woodwork in the next few years. More importantly, stop being fooled by the idea that your favorite family vloggers respect the well-being of their children. More happens behind the camera than in front of the camera. No child wants to play with toys in front of the entire world or recount their puberty horror stories for predators to react to. The parents hit “post” and their kids suffer for it and so much more.

The antics of family vlogging channels at the very least create a hostile environment for children to thrive in. At the most, it contains signs of something much more sinister happening when the camera is put away. Ruby Franke is not the only mother crossing the line between family fun and maltreatment. As these kids grow up, all we can do is watch what horror stories will come out about them next. Opinion 10
Carlyann Carey | april 25, 2024
Prepare to see more
elizabeth Kaufmann | april 22, 2024
histories of abuse within family vlogging channels.
Torch Illustration / Megan Chapman Photo Courtesy / Unsplash cytonn_photography Photo Courtesy / Olivia Seaman Photo Courtesy / YouTube Law&Crime Network

The Ultimate Summer Playlist

Here’s a selection of five albums to build the perfect playlist for summer.

Every season requires a new playlist that encompasses the feelings that accompany the series of months, and summer is certainly no exception. Whether you spend the warm days road-tripping with friends, sunbathing on a beach or simply enjoying the weather, it’s essential to have a collection of music as a backing track to any activity. From George Harrison to A$AP Rocky, below is a wide-ranging collection of albums to take from to keep cool this summer.

“All Things Must Pass” by George Harrison (1970)

George Harrison’s best-known solo album, “All Things Must Pass,” is filled with tracks that embody the warmth and relaxation of summer. While most people might be familiar with hits like “My Sweet Lord” and “If Not For You,” the magic of this album does not stop there.

Practically any song can make the cut of a summer playlist but tracks like “Wah-Wah” and “Run of the Mill” should take priority. The high-energy electric guitar riffs and repetitive lyrics of “Wah-Wah” make for a fun little song. A slightly more chilled choice like “Run of the Mill” balances the song nicely, with its acoustic guitars, piano and horns section, to make for a sweet, uplifting combination of tracks.

“The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” by Ms. Lauryn Hill (1998)

Any single song from Ms. Lauryn Hill’s debut solo album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” could be chosen for a summer playlist. Hill’s vocals are enchanting, especially when paired with the bassy instrumentals of tracks like “Superstar” and “Forgive Them Father.” The mixture of her voice and the music emanates a sense of smooth serenity, perfect for sunny days. Her lyrical genius is on display throughout the whole album, but especially in “I Used to Love Him (feat. Mary J. Blige).”

The combination of the two vocal powerhouses creates a dynamic song, detailing the recovery of a broken heart – perfect for rebuilding after a summer heartbreak. The subtle melodies of each song have been perfectly produced for laying by a pool, warming from both the sun and the soothing voice of Ms. Lauryn Hill.

“TESTING” by A$AP Rocky (2018)

A$AP Rocky’s 2018 album “Testing” is the quintessential summer rap album stacked with 15 tracks and full of incredible features, from FKA twigs to Frank Ocean. The album has a steady level of energy throughout each song, curating a laid-

back atmosphere without ever getting boring. With a song like “Kids Turned Out Fine,” its cyclical, acoustic-like beat makes for a track that’s simultaneously fun and relaxing, like a late-night summer party. In a similar vein, the closing track, “Purity (feat. Frank Ocean)” stays energetic in a subtle way. Ocean’s rapping over the enchantingly melodic guitar, accompanied by the sampled chorus of Lauryn Hill’s “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind,” emanates the ambiance of a warm day cooling down.

“Summer’s Over” by Jordana, TV Girl (2021)

The collaborative album “Summer’s Over” by Jordana and TV Girl is a modern classic when it comes to the sunny months, despite its namesake. The mixture of Jordana’s clear and light vocals with the eclectic, hypnotic backing instrumentals of TV Girl creates the ideal summer song. In a track like “Jump the Turnstile,” the repetitiveness of the instrumentals paired with Jordana’s soft voice is the perfect song to make you feel like you’ll float away into the blue skies of a summer day. For a slightly more upbeat choice, “Better in the Dark,” keeps all the classic elements of a TV Girl hit, making no exceptions when it comes to the playful nature of their sampling and melodies.

“Sunburn” by Dominic Fike (2023)

With all the fame Dominic Fike has acquired over the past few years, his most recent album “Sunburn” is criminally underrated. It was dropped in July of 2023, with the perfect tracklist for a summer soundtrack, but unfortunately seemed to be forgotten when the fall arrived. However, its 15 songs still play out as an ideal selection for a warm-weather playlist. The upbeat, alternative melodies of each track make it easy to choose any song as a favorite, but particularly the acoustic guitar and sweet lyricism of “Pasture Child” really stand out alongside the twangy playfulness of “Frisky.”

Culture 11
Molly Downs | April 29, 2024
Focus Features
Photo Courtesy / YouTube
Courtesy / YouTube George Harrison Photo Courtesy / YouTube Ms. Lauryn Hill Photo Courtesy / YouTube ASAPROCKYUPTOWN Photo Courtesy / YouTube Jordana Photo Courtesy / YouTube Dominic Fike Torch Graphic / Megan Chapman

“Fallout:” Welcome to the Wasteland

The popular video game series returns in Prime Video’s new excellent eight-part show.

JAMes williAMs | April 25, 2024

Off the heels of an influx in video game adaptations turned into prestigious television —HBO’s Emmy-winning “The Last of Us” or Netflix’s acclaimed “Arcane” — Amazon Prime released “Fallout” on April 10. The show is set in the same world of the beloved video game franchise and this series proves to be one of its finest installations yet.

Set in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles 219 years after nuclear war destroyed modern civilization, the plot follows three separate pro- tagonists attempting to cross this wasteland towards a common goal. The first is a “vault dweller,” Lucy (Ella Purnell) who has lived sheltered away from the wasteland her whole life. Next is Maximus (Aaron Moten), a devotee of the fanatical Brotherhood of Steel, and The Ghoul (Walton Goggins) a mysterious and deformed drifter.

The most important factor in adapting a nearly thirty-year-old franchise with millions of fans across the world was to capture the tone and similar themes in the games that came before it, which the writers absolutely did.

Creators Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Graham Wagner and Jon- athon Nolan have perfectly conveyed the ultra-violent gore and ridiculously wacky situations that make “Fallout” so great.

Through the key characters, constant themes of survival are ex- plored while the idea of maintaining humanity is the show’s central topic.

Lucy is by far one of the most charismatic and sympathetic leads a show has had recently, thanks mostly to Purnell’s phenomenal performance. She maintains an infectious chipper attitude through everything this wasteland throws at her, including an organ-harvest- ing robot, being used as bait to lure a mutated salamander and lots of radiation.

With this upbeat mood surviving through all this madness, she is impossible to not root for.

Since her character is just as new to this irradiated desert as the au- dience is, she must adapt to her surroundings which Purnell makes so convincing. This evolution is a joy to watch as she upholds her compassion throughout the worst experiences.

Purnell’s co-star Aaron Moten also shines in his first major role as Maximus. His performance is much more physical as he wields an

impressive suit of power armor that is fully practical. Outside of the suit, Moten is best when delivering deadpan and pretty absurd comedy.

The real suit of power armor isn’t even the best piece of practical effects in the show with most of the striking cinematography being completely practical. Not to mention the fantastic makeup and prosthetic work on all of the ghouls, including The Ghoul.

As the third lead, Walton Goggins ends up stealing any scene he’s in with two remarkable performances across two different timelines. In the second half of episodes, Goggins’ becomes the emotional an- chor of the show. The Ghoul’s backstory is one of the most brilliant aspects of the show and it’s clear to see why he has become a fan favorite.

It can be difficult for new viewers to jump into an already estab- lished world, but the writing staff takes most of the first episode delivering exposition on some of the more important points in the lore.

Aside from a riveting opening scene, the more devoted fans of the series may struggle to get through this first episode, but it’s easy to power through to the flawless subsequent episodes. There are also some awkward moments of the complete opposite with many instances of unnecessary fan service.

Most of these moments come in the first two episodes but there are some distracting musical strings or out-of-place objects in later episodes that fans will know from the games. The most egregious of these is an establishing shot lingering on a “Nuka Cola” soda bottle for an unnecessary 10 seconds.

As for the show’s future, each character goes through a complete transformation that leads to a tense conclusion in an action-packed finale. Despite there being some satisfying closure, a second season has been announced leaving the door open for expansion and more seasons to explore these characters and this world.

Despite the few flaws in earlier episodes and fan service, “Fallout” is another in a line of quality video game adaptations through its masterful branching storylines, exceptional cast and all-around nuclear fun.

Chappell Roan: The People’s Pop Princess

Roan has been reviving pop for the past seven years, now she’s getting recognized.

Molly Downs | April 18, 2024

For anyone who keeps up to date with the pop music scene, Chap- pell Roan is a name sure to be thrown around these days — and for goodKayleighreason.Asmutz — the 26-year-old singer/songwriter better known by her stage name, Chappell Roan — is making waves for her revival of pure pop music with her catchy hits, camp aesthetics and iconic voice.

Many people may have first heard the name on TikTok, from one of her numerous songs that have blown up on the app, such as “Casual,” “Femininom- enon” or “Red Wine Supernova.” Oth- ers may have discovered her while she opened for Olivia Rodrigo’s GUTS tour from the end of February up until her final show on April 2.

Fresh off this exciting growth in fame, the singer gave her first performance at Coachella on April 12 to a packed crowd full of eager fans, dying to see her on stage. Although it was her first ap- pearance at the festival, she was a huge hit with her magnetic stage presence, and even had the crowd mimicking her dance moves for the song, “HOT TO GO!” Despite this recent rise in popularity, many die- hard fans know that Roan is not new to the music industry. The artist has been releasing music for a solid seven years since her first EP “School Nights” came out in 2017.

This earlier music is much slower and more lowkey, showing a much different side to Roan’s vocals than her more current tracks. The upbeat sound she seems to be known for today can start to be heard in some later singles like “Love Me Anyway,” released in 2020, and “Pink Pony Club,” released in 2022. These tracks lead up to her first full album, “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess,” which was released on Sept. 22, 2023.

As she’s developed her sound over the past few years, Roan has garnered something of a cult following with her stunning vocals and unique fashion. She’s sure to draw in listeners with not only her voice but her iconic style, whether she’s wearing a hot pink prom dress with a towering wig filled with fake cigarettes for her NPR Tiny Desk performance or adorned in bows and lace like a reborn Marie Antoinette for a performance of “Red Wine Super- nova” on The Late Show with Steven Colbert.

Her music is reminiscent of pop-prin- cesses of the eighties, such as Cyndi Lauper and Madonna, which is what seems to make her music so addictive. As she continues to release more hit songs and be discovered by more fans, Chappell Roan is a natural star who deserves to stay in the spotlight for years to come.

Culture 12
Photo Courtesy / YouTube NPR Music

Taylor Swift’s


Tortured Poets Department” Shoots to Kill Swift

releases her 11th studio album, and with that, the truth.

When Taylor Swift announced her 11th studio album, “The Tortured Poets Department” on Feb. 4, she was on stage accepting her 14th Grammy. Met with backlash and the resuming of hate, “TTPD” came out just in time to silence the critics yet again.

The only difference about their voices this time? She doesn’t care about them anymore.

“The Tortured Poet’s Department” was released at midnight on April 19, with promises of a music video for the first track with Post Malone, “Fortnight,” debuting at 8 p.m. the next day.

In true Swift fashion, 15 extra songs — making this a “double album” with 31 tracks — were released two hours after the initial release. Incorporating sound from albums ranging from “Reputation” to “folklore,” Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner, alongside Swift, produced a sonically diverse album.

From western range in “Fresh Out The Slammer” and “I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)” to ominous instrumentals in “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?,” Swift samples the best parts of her previous album’s sounds.

Swift’s romantic life has been nothing but public for the last year, but before this, she lived in the shadows with her former partner, Joe Alwyn. After the news of their breakup, many assumed that the album would center around its shocking end. However, there appears to be more references on the album to Matty Healy, lead singer of The 1975, whom Swift dated for a mere few months in summer 2023.

Demonstrating that a short relationship can be just as crushing as a six year one, Swift doesn’t waver in exposing what really went down with Healy.

The most obvious tracks pointing to Healy are “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived” and “But Daddy I Love Him.” Poking fun at Healy’s concert uniform, calling it a “Jehovah’s Witness suit,” Swift is unafraid to expose the bratty nature of a pill-seeking poser.

“So Long London” is one of Swift’s most heartbreaking songs on the album, reaching the same level of devastation as her previous ballads “All Too Well,” “Dear John” and “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve.”

Alluding to her previous partner, Joe Alwyn, Swift offers some insight into how the relationship failed with the lines “I died on the altar waiting for the proof, you sacrificed us to the gods of your bluest days.” Referencing a previous bonus track, “You’re Losing Me,” from “Midnights,” Swift seems to admit that throughout her long relationship, marriage was never on the table.

In the track “Peter,” the artist references Peter Pan as a nod to her previous song “Cardigan.” Juxtaposing the lines “Peter losing Wendy” and “you’ll come back to me” from her previous work, she sings “Said you were gonna grow up, then you were gonna come find me.” Alas, these are just “Promises oceans deep, but never to keep.”

However, contrary to what many people may say, the singer doesn’t only excel by writing tales of her exes. Similarly to her previous albums “folklore” and “evermore,” Swift elicits story-telling as a mechanism for her prose in later tracks “Clara Bow,” “Cassandra” and “Robin.” Melodic and haunting, the second half of the album shifts from heartbreak and chaos to poetic prose of stories from long ago.

Songs like “So High School” are a breath of fresh youthful air in the drowning pool of sad prose. Along with “The Alchemy,” Swift may be referencing her relationship with Kansas City Chiefs football player Travis Kelce due to the on-thenose lyrics “You know how to ball, I know Aristotle.” Though not heavy with songs of him that listeners can interpret, the ones present are full of wide-eyed devotion.

Ending with “The Manuscript,” Swift is looking back on the years of heartbreak and ahead to what could have been, singing “Looking backwards might be the only way to move forward.” Detailing all of the songs on her album as a manuscript, she is releasing her pain to relish only the memories.

In her most raw and real album yet, the singer demonstrates the enormous strides she has made in all her years releasing music. Reminiscing only to march forcefully ahead, Taylor Swift is done hiding.

“Love Lies Bleeding:” A24’s Newest Thriller

The film creates a newfound representation with a female-centered story.

Celina Mullady | apRil 11, 2024

The independent film and television production company, A24, has returned with their newest thriller/romance, “Love Lies Bleeding.” Starring Kristen Stewart and Katy O’Brian, the film was released on March 8 exclusively in theaters. The film is gory, thrilling and — in some very odd ways – romantic.

The film follows Lou (Kristen Stewart), a distant gym manager wanting to escape her small-town life. Shortly into the beginning of the film, we meet Jackie (Katy O’Brian), an eccentric bodybuilder who has dreams of pursuing her body-building goals in Las Vegas. The two quickly form a romantic relationship after their first encounter and become extremely involved in one another’s lives. Without knowing, Jackie gets a job from Lou’s father, Lou Sr. (Ed Harris), whom Lou cut ties with years prior. Viewers soon find out that Lou Sr. is involved in a web of crimes that affects his whole family. The film focuses a large amount of time on the family dynamics and how Lou Sr.’s actions have affected his daughter.

Issues soon arise when Lou’s sister, Beth (Jena Malone), is in the hospital at the hands of her abusive husband, JJ (Dave Franco). Lou becomes conflicted about whether to put JJ to a stop herself or let the authorities handle it. Before Lou can decide, Jackie takes the issue into her own hands out of love for Lou. The film quickly becomes a highspeed, crime-filled murder-on-the-run scenario.

Viewers will find themselves unable to look away from the screen. Stewart and O’Brian have standout roles in this film with their fantas-

tic chemistry. While Lou and Jackie may not always be making good choices, viewers will find themselves rooting for the two. Despite the film’s crime-ridden plot, there were moments when the theater erupted with laughter in response to Stewart’s comedic timing and some of the peculiar events that occurred throughout the film.

The thriller drama genre has been seen in Hollywood more times than one can count. Viewers can see this genre in action in hit films like “NightCrawler” and “Infinity Pool.” The film’s plot and storyline aren’t necessarily a new thing, however, all of these films have been male-centered.

“Love Lies Bleeding” adds representation of women in general and goes even further to showcase a lesbian relationship. In an interview with Variety, director Rose Glass said, “I think we liked the idea of doing a romance that was an anti-romance, pushing against the idea that romantic love is this aspirational thing that brings out the best in people.”

The film makes viewers question what love is and to what extent love affects a person’s actions and grossed 2.5 million at the box office during its opening weekend. It also received a 7.3 rating on IMDB and rave reviews from fans on various social media platforms. “Love Lies Bleeding” is a captivating film with much-needed representation and standout roles for all actors. In regards to watching the film, it is still available in theaters. It will eventually be released to MAX, however there is no specific date yet.

Culture 13
Photo Photo Courtesy / YouTube Taylor Swift

SJU’s Chris Ledlum, Jordan Dingle File Lawsuit Against NCAA

The student-athletes are fighting for another year of eligibility.

Kyler Fox | aprIl 26, 2024

On April 26, St. John’s Men’s Basketball players Chris Ledlum and Jordan Dingle filed a lawsuit with the Queens Supreme Court against the NCAA in an attempt to regain the year of eligibility the two lost as a result of the Ivy League canceling their 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ledlum and Dingle both spent four years in the Ivy League, at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania, respectively, before transferring to St. John’s in the summer of 2023.

Per court documents obtained by The Torch, the two are suing for “injunctive relief against the NCAA for Violation of Section 1 of the Donnelly Act; Violation of the New York State Human Rights Law Executive Section 290; and Violation of the New York State Education Law Right to Pursue Higher Education and Name, Image and Likeness.”

Attorneys Joseph J. DiPalma and Nicholas R. Bonelli’s filing states: “There are dire consequences for student-athletes that the NCAA labels ineligible. Consequences include: loss of scholarship, inhibited professional prospects, and inability to leverage Name, Image, and Likeness (“NIL”) opportunities.”

Both student-athletes applied for eligibility waivers with the NCAA so the two could compete in the 2024-25 season which have since been denied. DiPalma and Bonelli argue the applications were denied “despite allowing [Ledlum and Dingle’s] peers that went to institutions that did complete the 2020-21 season the opportunity to do so.”

In addition to fighting for an extra year of eligibility, the attorneys accuse the NCAA of legal wrongdoing.

“The NCAA and the NCAA member institutions have agreed to unlawfully restrain the ability of Division I college athletes to compete despite facing circumstances beyond an athlete’s control or where the athlete is subject to extraordinary or extreme hardship.”

The lawsuit’s concluding argument affirms: “The actions of the Defendant [NCAA] threaten and constrain Plaintiffs’ [Ledlum, Dingle] ability to access their name, image, and likeness because [of] its arbitrary and capricious decisions denying their eligibility.”

Ledlum and Dingle are forced to act quickly in hopes of retaining their roster spots for the upcoming season. Both have until May 29th to withdraw from the 2024 NBA draft if they are to suit up for the Red Storm next year.

Remembering Torch Alumnus Howie Schwab

The ‘82 St. John’s University alumnus made a lasting impact on the sports community.

ESPN personality, producer and St. John’s University graduate Howie Schwab passed away on April 20 at the age of 63.

During his time at St. John’s, Schwab worked for The Torch and WSJU radio. In a 2017 interview, he discussed his early work for ESPN and how he became the “ruler of research” at the “Worldwide Leader in Sports.”

The Long Island native was the star of ESPN Network’s trivia show “Stump the Schwab.” He worked at the network from 1987-2013 where he started in the research department before capturing the sports world with his on-air presence and incredible sports knowledge.

Many media personalities sent their condolences online. College basketball analyst Dick Vitale shared the news through social media.

“A dear friend who was invaluable to my career. I will miss all the late-night phone calls over the years and recently all the text messages since my vocal cord cancer problems. Howie was a fanatical sports lover. May he RIP,” Vitale shared over X.

Isabella Cautero | aprIl 23, 2024

ESPN, until “Stump the Schwab” aired in 2004. The trivia show hosted contestants with the final challenge of stumping “The Schwab,” who quickly became known for his encyclopedia-like sports knowledge. Schwab left ESPN in 2013 when he

“Howie was sports google, before sports google,” Patrick said. “Google would have googled Howie Schwab. He’s the smartest guy I’ve ever met when it comes to sports knowledge, trivia and information”

landed a job at Fox Sports as a writer and consultant for “Sports Jeopardy!”

“SportsCenter” also aired a tribute to Schwab during their Saturday morning show. Most of Schwab’s career was spent behind the scenes for

Former “SportsCenter” host Dan Patrick began his April 22 “Dan Patrick Show” with a heartfelt tribute to his “lifelong friend.”

Over the weekend, many St. John’s community members sent their condolences through X as well.

“Very sorry to hear of the passing of [Howie Schwab]. He was a great friend and supporter. I will miss getting his messages after every game we play. Thank you for always caring,” Women’s Basketball head coach Joe Tartamella wrote on X.

The St. John’s Men’s Basketball official account also wrote about his passing.

“Going to miss those ‘Go SJU’ tweets. Rest in peace. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends,” the team wrote through X.

St. John’s Men’s Soccer also took to X to share their thoughts and prayers.

“No bigger supporter of St. John’s than [Howie Schwab]. Going to be dearly missed. RIP.”

Schwab encompassed a love for sports throughout his entire career and his knowledge will surely be missed.

Sports 14
Torch Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan Photo Courtesy / YouTube Big Ten Network Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

Peicheng Chen Looks Ahead To The Conference Tournament

The accolades and continue to pile up for the junior golfer.

Junior Peicheng Chen has been the face of the St. John’s Men’s Golf team since his first season in 2021 and his development has paved the way for consistent success for the whole team.

Chen and freshman standout Thomas Finn set the tone for the 2024 season, with the duo finishing within the top 15 at The Macdonald Cup, the second tournament of the season. Arguably the best showing for the team was a second place outing at Palm Beach, Florida which ended on April 2. The team shot five-under, the lowest score of the season, while Chen carded a ridiculous eight-under for the weekend.

The team’s most recent performance in the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate tournament at Ohio State from April 19 through April 21 is just another example of the winning culture Chen provides. His top-five finish out of all 99 golfers in the tournament with a superb four-over card helped the team’s top-three finish on the final day.

Following the tournament, Chen told The Torch that despite the difficult terrain of the course the team continued to fight.

“It was insane, but our team rallied,” Chen said. “We’re really proud of ourselves and how we did. I just tried to make a run as low as possible to keep my spot a little bit higher.”

Finishing strong has been the theme all year for Chen and the rest of the team. The work ethic and chemistry between the squad is a driving factor for this immunity to pressure.

“Everyone is passionate about golf and everybody is a great person. We just try to do the best we can do, just keep up the hard work and the good results will come,” Chen said. For his individual success, this season has been another one to remember as he was awarded Big East Golfer of the Week on April 4.

Awards like this are no stranger to Chen, having been named to the All Big East First Team last season and being the recipient of the John T. Gimmler Golf MVP Award.

Regarding his substantial trophy collection, Chen had a rather humble response.

“I’ll say it’s proof from the outside to show I’m actually not bad as a golfer,” Chen said. “But the thing is, no matter how other people judge my performance or how the whole community judges my performance, I just do the best I can do. If I don’t get it, it’s fine I just move on next week.”

As this season rounds out, the beginning of the end for Chen’s time at St. John’s does also. Chen shared some reflections on his time in Queens as an international student from Beijing, China.

“I treat this place as my home,” Chen said. “This place taught me stuff, protected me and gave me an opportunity to show who I am. And this means a lot to me.”

To end his junior season, Chen and the rest of the men’s golf team will head to South Carolina to compete in the Big East Championships.

Chen hopes to help the team land higher on the leaderboard and improve further from last year’s second-place finish.

“Everyone on our team has the ability to win the college golf tournament by themselves,” Chen said. “We are such a great team, we just have to not focus on the field, more focus on ourselves. That’s the only thing we have to do and the good results will come up, I’m sure.”

Chen finished two-under and clinched the individual Big East Tournament title on April 29. With the win he will compete in the NCAA Regionals from May 13-15.

St. John’s Lands First Two Transfers of 2024

As last year’s men’s basketball team captain Joel Soriano sets his sights on the NBA, head coach Rick Pitino and company may have found his replacement.

Following a dormant opening period in the transfer portal full of interest, rumors and visits, the Red Storm finally made a move. On April 23, USC seven-footer Vincent Iwuchukwu officially committed to St. John’s. In limited minutes last season, Iwuchukwu tallied 5.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and one block per game. Huge expectations surrounded the Texas-native heading into the 202223 campaign until tragedy struck. During a July workout, the former-five star recruit suffered cardiac arrest, preventing him from showing off his full potential in his freshman season.

Prior to the cardiac episode, members of the Southern California coaching staff were convinced Iwuchukwu was poised for a breakout. In the summer of 2023, he underwent back surgery, holding him out of play through the first two games of his sophomore season.

His massive frame and elite shot-blocking ability should prove to translate seamlessly to Pitino’s patented zone defense. Iwuchukwu’s size could also open up the possibility for Zuby Ejiofor to move from center to forward, providing the Red Storm with a front court who would be a matchup nightmare defensively.

With a full off-season of recovery and development under Pitino’s staff, the 25th ranked recruit in the 2022 class aims to showcase the talent scouts originally gawked over.

After landing Iwuchukwu, on April 24 St. John’s secured a commitment from North Texas forward Aaron Scott. He originally visited the university on April 15. The 6-foot-7 senior averaged 11 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season while shooting 41.9% from the field. All signs pointed to a commitment to Oklahoma for Scott, until a late night push from head coach Rick Pitino got the job done, per Trilly Donovan.

The hall-of-famer had the opportunity to see Scott’s ability up close on November 23 of last season in the Charleston Classic. During their 5352 victory over the Mean Green, St. John’s watched as Scott led the way for North Texas with 13 points and seven rebounds in the narrow victory. The versatile wing’s defensive talent jumps off the screen. His lanky frame and expertise in erasing shots around the rim will provide the Red Storm with a primary ball defender immediately. Sports
James Williams | april 25, 2024 Kyler Fox | april 24, 2024 Photo Courtesy / YouTube mgagolf


Life after The Storm:

Amy Mallah's Final Season

For infielder Amy Mallah, the game of softball has been a cornerstone of her life since she was six years old. Rounding out the end of her fifth and final season at St. John’s, the East Meadow, NY native spoke to The Torch about her career and what’s to come for her post-graduation when the cleats have to be put away and the bat stops swinging.

Mallah’s Journey to St. John’s: St. John’s was not Mallah’s first choice to continue her collegiate softball career. As a New York State Champion at East Meadow High School, Mallah committed to SUNY Oneonta in senior year in September 2019. While working through clinics, showcases and tournaments she realized that there were bigger opportunities available to her and committed to St. John’s because of the relationship she had with the coaching staff at the time.

With an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19, Mallah wanted to take full advantage of her ability to play in college for one more year after the 2023 season ended.

“I was going to do anything in my power to play another year of softball,” Mallah told The Torch. “I wanted to do it here really badly.”

When St. John’s hired new head coach Michelle Depolo in August, Mallah knew she was going to have to step into a different role as a leader. With only one returning coach in Marissa Rizzi as an assistant, the environment in the program completely changed.

“The biggest thing in the transition was figuring out what the new culture was going to be because we had established one on our past teams and every coach is different,” Mallah said.

On-The-Field Success:

At the plate, Mallah averages .231 in 157 games played through 390 at-bats. With a slugging percentage of .303, she has connected for four home runs and 37 RBIs. More impressively, the infielder has an onbase percentage of .315.

For five years, she has consistently helped the Red Storm behind the plate in clutch moments. Last year, when the Red Storm found themselves down by two in the sixth inning of the 2023 Big East tournament game against Butler, Mallah hit a timely double to tie the game. St. John’s ended up winning 9-6.

“That was a really memorable game for me,” Mallah said. “It was my first

time playing in a Big East Tournament game ever and I was able to come through for my team that game and get a big hit.”

“That’s something I’ll remember for a long time,” she continued.

The East Meadows native also excels on the field. Mallah has 126 total put-outs, 227 assists and only 25 errors throughout her career. Fieldwork is an aspect of her game she finds underrated.

“I’ve always considered the defensive aspect of my game to be the strongest asset in terms of [being] a softball player in general,” she said.

“Playing defense is something I’ve loved since I was a kid,” Mallah continued. “It’s my favorite aspect of the game.”

Those skills started when her dad, Alan Mallah, pushed her to join a team at her local softball complex in East Meadow. As an only child, Mallah said that it was just the two of them when it came to sports. Also a shy kid her dad pushed for her to pursue softball. Sixteen years later, Mallah’s life still centers around the sport her dad pushed her to get into.

Life After St. John’s:

Life after her five-year tenure at St. John’s won’t be too far away from the

diamond. As a sport management graduate student she plans on becoming an athletic director, in hopes of one day working at a power-five school in their athletics department. As a freshman she came to St. John’s wanting to be a teacher until she realized that path wasn’t best suited for her.

So, she turned to the one thing she has known since she was a tee-baller. Sports.

“I love being around it. I love playing it,” Mallah said. “I also know about myself that I am a very organized person. I like planning. I like being in charge.”

Athletic administration allowed her to pick a niche that combined two things she loved.

As a sport, softball has taught Mallah many things about life.

“Softball is a game of failure,” she said. “You can’t dwell on the past. You just have to focus on your next opportunity to succeed.”

At every base of her life, Mallah has excelled. In the classroom, on the field and post-graduation she will continue to have an impact on the world of sports.

Isabella Cautero | aprIl 28, 2024

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.