VOL 94 : 04 September 7th, 2016 torchonline.com
The independent student newspaper of St. John’s University
St. John’s Student killed at Carnival
ANGELICA ACEVEDO News Editor
On Monday morning, Tiarah Poyau, a student at St. John’s University, was fatally shot in the face during the J’Ouvert Carnival, according to the New York Police Department. Several news outlets reported that Poyau and her friends were at the carnival celebrating West Indian and Caribbean heritage when the celebration took a turn for the worse. According to police, the shooting took place at 4:15 a.m. on Franklin Ave. and Empire Blvd in Brooklyn. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responded to the incident and immediately transported her to the Kings County Hospital where police say she was pronounced dead. On Tuesday, NYPD arrested the suspected gunman, Regenald Moise. Moise, 20 years old, was arrested at 15 Westminster Road in Brooklyn Avenue. Moise is now facing charges for second degree murder, criminal possession of weapon to the second degree and reckless endangerment. However, NYPD Chief Patrick Conrey said investigators suspect Poyau was not the intended target. A Brooklyn resident, Poyau was an aspiring Certified Public Accountant, pursuing a dual degree B.S./M.S. in The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, according to a statement released by the University on Monday night. “She had a bright future ahead of her and was taken much too soon,” said the statement from President Gempesaw, “The entire University community sends our thoughts and prayers to the Poyau family during this difficult time.” The University released another statement Tuesday morning regarding Grief Counseling for those who’ve been affected by Poyau’s untimely passing. According to the University’s statement, Grief Counseling was offered yesterday at the Center for Counseling and Consultation at the D’Angelo Center. You may also visit stjohns.edu/sjuresponds in order to get more resources for students, faculty and families who need help grieving. On LinkedIn, Poyau expressed that studying abroad in Paris, Rome and Seville was one of her greatest achievements. She wrote, “Apart from being able to get away for a while, I was given the opportunity to push my limits and be responsible for my personal growth and development.” Poyau was a member of Beta Alpha Psi and served as the Fundraising Chair in 2014-15 and as Secretary for Fall 2015, according to a statement released by them. “She was a classmate and a friend for many of us,” said the statement from Beta Alpha Psi , “Our hearts and prayers are with her family and loved ones during this difficult time.” In the same night, a 17-year-old boy was shot and murdered, a 72-year-old woman was shot in the arm, four other people were injured in three different shootings and someone was stabbed, according to Pix11 News. In a press conference held Monday afternoon about the violence-stricken night, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “We never accept violence in our midst. Last night there was violence that was fundamentally unacceptable and that we will continue to assess more forcefully.”
New Developments from Public Safety TORCH PHOTO/ BRYANT RODRIGUEZ
SUZANNE CIECHALSKI Editor-in-Chief Ramping up security: Public Safety introduces new tactics to keep students safe in the aftermath of last semester’s shooting incident in Hollis Hall, an on-campus residence building. At St. John’s public safety is of utmost importance. But even with a highly trained staff, low crime statistics and stringent regulations, incidents can occur. Returning students might remember how last May the University community was shaken when a shot was fired inside of Hollis as three men attempted to burglarize students in their dorm room. A prompt response by the Office of Public Safety and the New York Police Department quickly led to the arrest of the perpetrators. But now, Vice President of Public Safety, Tom Lawrence, says his staff has revamped many of its safety guidelines and procedures to prevent similar incidents from occurring. “We think we’re top-notch to begin with, but we’re always reviewing our policies and procedures continually,” Lawrence said in an interview with the Torch last week. According to him, Public Safety, along with several departments and administrators within St. John’s, from Student Affairs to President Gempesaw, have been working to improve security measures since last semester’s incident. One of the newest sets of guidelines for students includes “Active Shooter Training,” something that SJU employees already undergo.
“This was something that we thought was very important; that our students get it, our customers, our biggest population, receive it, and working closely with Dr. [Kathryn] Hutchinson, we were able to make it happen,” Lawrence said. According to him, all resident students are now required to undergo this training, along with the regularly scheduled fire safety seminar at the beginning of the fall semester. He said freshmen have already undergone the training and that upperclassmen will begin to receive the training at floor meetings, which began this week. Active Shooter Training encompasses knowing escape routes, where and how to hide, and how to be prepared to fight if an active shooter is on campus. Students also learn the meaning behind terms used during emergency correspondences such as “Shelter in Place” and “Hide and Fight.” During this training, students are informed about whom they should notify in the case of an emergency, such as 911 and Public Safety. They are then shown how to make the call and told how students themselves are notified. According to Lawrence, the University worked this past summer to upgrade its communication system, speeding up the time it takes for students to receive notifications regarding emergencies. “We’ve upgraded [the notification] system so that the calls now come in half the time that they used to come in,” he said Continued on page 3
Electrifying displays at EZOO
Friends remember deceased student
Mother Teresa reaches Sainthood
Tearing down the Wall of Prejudice
Managing Board XCIV
Suzanne Ciechalski, Editor-in-Chief
Gina Palermo, Managing Editor Michael Ambrosino, General Manager
Troy Mauriello Co-Sports Editor Carmine Carcieri Co-Sports Editor Michael Ambrosino Entertainment Editor Erin Bola Social Media Coordinator
Angelica Acevedo News Editor Bryant Rodriguez Opinion Editor Steven Verdile Design Editor Gina Palermo Photo Editor Isabella Bruni Chief Copy Editor
Advertising (718)-9906756 Business 990-6756 Editorial Board 990-5652
Alyssa Dugan Social Media Coordinator
Reza Moreno Features Editor
Features 990-6444 News 990-6756 Opinion 990-6445 Sports 990-6445
Staff Chyna Davis Arianna Pintado Breandan South Shabib Afzal Nayab Khan Katherine Acquavella Nick McCreven Dylan Hornik Derrell Bouknight
Param Yonzon Kaylee Herndon Keisha Raymond David Rosario Jon Manarang Kamila Pawelec Ariana Ortiz Agela Kellett Mia Strizzi
Naomi Arnot Yenny Ng Alex Brewington Carlos Ortiz Rebecca McFadden Raven Haynes Cammi Roberts Courtney Dixon Brittani Wright
The Torch is the official student newspaper of St. John’s University. The Torch is written, edited, designed and produced by students of the 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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Employment Fair offers student jobs KAYLEE HERNDON
The lobby of Carnesecca Arena was filled with students and their soon-to-be employers this past Thursday as St. John’s held its fifth annual Employment Fair. The students were swiped into the event and navigated the area full of tables, stopping to talk with an employer from a department that appealed to them. Some may have noticed that the event was held earlier than normal this year. “We moved the event up to the first week of class instead of the second so students could get employed and working faster,” said Joni O’Hagan, Director of Career Development. Over 40 departments and local business partners were present at the fair, on the hunt for new student employees. A new addition to the list was the University Writing Center. The center, according to student employee Danielle Rouse, previously obtained many of its employees through professors who made their good writers apply. Another department present was Printing and Distribution. “At the beginning of the year we get really busy,” said department student employee Walter Astudillo about the influx of packages they receive. “It helps get people started at the beginning of the year and is a help with that rush of packages.” Employees from both the Writing Center and Printing and Distribution agreed that the fair was a good way to branch out and find new students to employ. New freshmen, on the other hand, seem to share a collective opinion regarding the amount of jobs available. “I thought that the employment fair
TORCH PHOTO/LAUREN FINEGAN
Students attended the annual Employment Fair in Carnesecca Arena on Thursday in order to find out what job oportunities the school had to offer.
was okay. There were not many opportunities for people who do not have workstudy,” said freshman Julianna Rivera. “I do not have [work-study] and because of that I do not think I will be able to find a job.” “Overall it was good but I think that they need to gear it towards more than just work-study. There are students without work-study that need to make money,” said freshman Catherine Vitale. Despite the seemingly overwhelming opinion that the fair was too focused on work-study, O’Hagan said that “There
seems to be less jobs available for non work-study students, but in reality it is roughly 50-50.” Local business partners that participated in the employment fair included Chartwells, New York Community Bank, the SJU Bookstore, State Farm, and the Laura A. Browne Insurance Agency Inc. A few departments involved in the fair include America Reads, School of Risk Management, College of Professional Studies Dean’s Office, Gear Up, and International Student Services.
emergency. sibility,” Lawrence said. “Poor decisions Lawrence noted that the NYPD can result in people getting hurt, so we works closely with the University to ask that everybody believes in the Public keep the campus safe. Safety policy and the procedures that we They are subscribed to the same have in place and adheres to them.” messaging system that alerts students of Regarding last semester’s incident, emergencies. Lawrence expressed tremendous pride He added that toward his staff. Public Safety is Within minutes of working with the receiving a phone call IT department at “... We ask that everybody regarding the incident the University to believes in the Public Safe- in Hollis, he said Pubinstitute an identi- ty policy and the procedures lic Safety officers were fication scanner for that we have in place and ad- on the case following licenses and passthe perpetrators off heres to them.” ports when noncampus. - Tom Lawrence SJU visitors check He said he is into dorms. “Proud of our officers “Now we type and the way they rein your name, and sponded.” sometimes there’s human error, there’s Between Public Safety and the misspellings,” he said. “We usually catch NYPD, who works closely with the Unithat back at Public Safety the next day, versity, officers quickly apprehended the but this way everything that’s on your culprits, identified, and charged them. license, including a picture, would be When it comes to move-out week captured, so we’re reviewing that.” this year, Lawrence said uniformed ofHe said the University is hoping to ficers will be stationed in each residence implement it by the end of this semes- hall to aid in the normally chaotic proter. cess. A family assistance center off campus “It’s a tough job for our student has also been identified at the Bartilucci workers, especially during move-in and Center, along with staff, to respond in move-out” he said. the event of emergencies on campus. “So we want to provide them with “Public safety is everyone’s respon- some assistance.”
With roughly 20,000 students signed up to receive emergency notifications via text and voice messages on their cell phones, Lawrence said that text messages were generally sent out and received quickly but phone calls took longer. Along with halving the time it takes for voice messages to be delivered, messages will also appear on television screens throughout campus. “The exact message will show up on that screen, in addition to any updates,” he said. Notifications will appear on St. John’s’ homepage and MySJU as well. Links will be provided to see previous messages, allowing people to follow along with what’s happening if they don’t have their phone close by. Lawrence also said the University has contracted with a call center in an effort to properly handle the amount of phone calls received by the Office of Public Safety during emergencies. “Normally in these types of situations, not in this situation, but we normally get inundated with calls,” he said. “We have a couple of officers and just can’t keep up with the volume.” The outsourced call center will act on Public Safety’s behalf to answer questions and take calls during times of
Mother Teresa, a Saint CHYNA DAVIS
Public Safety implements new security guidelines Continued from page one
Mother Teresa’s canonization in the Catholic Church is marked as a historic moment for thousands of nuns, more than one thousand of the poverty-stricken people brought in for the ceremony and others praising her years of selfless actions. This past Sunday Sept. 4, Pope Francis declared Mother Teresa as a “Saint” and “Model of Mercy” at the Vatican. For most, it has been the highlight of Pope Francis’ declaration of Jubilee Year, which is focused on the themes of mercy and forgiveness. Mother Teresa was a Roman Catholic nun from Macedonia who dedicated her life to helping poverty-stricken people on a global scale, especially in India. As reported from sources such as CNN and The New York Times, Pope Francis said Mother Teresa is a “figure of womanhood” and “...a genuine dispenser of divine mercy...” to anyone in need. While Mother Teresa’s Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to her in 1979 after founding the Missionaries of Charity based upon nursing and guidance, is a grand achievement in its own right, her commemoration is especially honorable and holy. As mentioned by the New York Times, there were critiques following the canonization. Many have been critical about the cleanliness of her medical practices and the quality of care she provided. Statements have also been made that patients taken in by Mother Teresa and fellow nuns suffered in the homes, as her order was found to place curable and incurable patients in the same spaces, further spreading disease, according to the Huffington Post. A couple of SJU students from the St. John’s community had something to say. “I’m happy Mother Teresa has become a Saint,” says Prabhjit Kuar. “Saint isn’t too strong of a title based on all her contributions. She dedicated her life to helping others,” Kuar continues. Not only has Mother Teresa been recognized by Kuar, but she has also been honored by the St. John’s community. “A few years ago I started my journey in the RCIA program and before that we had to choose a person of influence,” says Stephanie Gopaul. “I chose Mother Teresa because I wanted to be as giving as she was.” According to a St. John’s press release on May 9, 1976, Mother Teresa received an “honorary degree” from the University. During the Commencement she was handed her Doctorate of Laws. Mother Teresa continues to be celebrated. The iconic woman enriched the St. John’s community with her Vincentian commitments, and touched the lives of many.
torchonline.com 4 Politics Clinton: The unfavorable-favorable presidential candidate Contributing Writer Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump after the Democratic convention looked promising, but polls are now showing the race is narrower than previously reported. According to a recent poll by the Wall Street Journal, Clinton is leading with a 4-5 point lead. Many may attribute the 4 point drop to her ever growing unfavorable ratings among voters. Her unfavorable ratings are soon to match her opponent, with Clinton’s ratings at 59 percent of registered voters, and Donald Trump’s unfavorable ratings at 60 percent of registered voters.
The drastic rise of Hillary Clinton’s un-favorability can be attributed to the media coverage of her email scandal. Media coverage of the scandal surged after reports of tax dollars and millions of dollars from donors being funneled into the Clinton Foundation were released. According to a recent Politico article, the Clinton Foundation apparently allocated Bill Clinton’s GSA pension to the foundation’s funds. Jake White, a St. John’s University student stated, “She’s being forced down our throats; she’s the candidate we have, not the one we deserve.” When asked what she could do to win his vote, he simply stated: “Tell the truth.” These sentiments showcase the persistent argument against Clinton, with many saying that she is not trustworthy.
Her recent endorsement from two seats. New Hampshire, North Carolina, four-star generals may aid in her plan to and Pennsylvania races have incredibly win over Republican voters who are against small margins between the two candidates Trump. The for the Senate seat. generals statClinton may have similar ed that they unfavorable poll numbers, “She’s being forced but she is appealing to the misaw “one viable leader,” down our throats; she’s nority voters. discrediting St. John’s University stuTrump with the candidate we have, dent Naomi Charles stated, their support “As a black woman, I believe towards Clin- not the one we deserve.” she will serve my needs way ton. more than Trump will. I’m - Jake White Her prevoting for her.” vious expeStudents across the St. riences with John’s University campus statforeign and domestic policy are her selling ed that they want our nation to flourish points to voters. Her allure for Republican and have significant changes made. Their voters who may switch their votes during votes in November will ultimately come this election parallels the race for Senate down to who can make the best change.
Absentee Ballot 101 Trump visits Mexico Chief Copy Editor
As the number of days until Election Day dwindle down, out-of-state students at St. John’s University are beginning to think about their options to vote. Election day is on Tuesday, Nov. 8, the middle of the fall semester. While 61% of students are residents of New York, according to colleges.niche. com, out-of-state students begin to face the logistics of voting from outside their home state. California resident, Cameron Mack says, “I am not too sure if I’m going to vote yet, and I do know the options for absentee voting, but not the specifics.” New Jersey native Sieta Leon, backs up Mack, “I don’t know how it works from out of state.” According to colleges.niche.com, 39% of our student body is from out-of-state with the most common states of residency being California, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland. In order to be a registered voter, one must first fill out a registration form and state their permanent place of residence; if not voting at home an absentee ballot is needed to vote on Election Day. Some states require reasoning for why one would be unable to vote in their home state.
The absentee ballot registration can be found on your state government’s website and must then be faxed, mailed or submitted online before its intended deadline. Not all state deadlines are the same; therefore, you must check when your ballot has to be sent in to your respective state’s voting offices. “I really do want to vote, I just don’t know how or where to register,” admits Floridian, Haydee Diaz. Diaz brings up a valid point that many other first time voters might be struggling with too. Registering can be done on www.vote. usa.gov or even by simply typing “register to vote” into Google. An absentee ballot is the next step, which can be done similarly to regular registering. Maryland native Ana Melchior says, “I want to vote I just need to figure out exactly how to do it from here [New York].” Melchior adds, “I think it’s really important for out-of-state students to figure it out because everyone has an opinion and a say in who would be a good leader for the country.” “Regardless of where you are, I think every vote counts,” states Leon. Only two months remain before it’s time to hit the polls or, for others, sending in their absentee ballots. For more information on the logistics of voting absentee, visit your state government’s website.
Absentee Ballot Deadlines
TORCH GRAPHICS/MIA STRIZZI
immigrants. Last Thursday, Peña Nieto replied: “I will repeat what I said personally, Mr. On Aug. 31, Republican presidential Trump: Mexico will never pay for a wall.” According to Reuters, Peña Nieto had candidate Donald Trump and Mexican extended the invitation for dialogue to President Enrique Peña Nieto met in Mexico City to discuss relations between the both Trump and Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, on Aug. United States and Mexico. The meeting took place in the Mexican 26. Following Trump’s acceptance of the presidential residence, Los Pinos, and last- invitation, Peña Nieto indicated via Twited about an hour, according to Reuters. ter that the purpose of the meeting was to However, there are conflicting accounts discuss bilateral relations between the U.S. as to what Trump and Peña Nieto actually and Mexico with both candidates. Clinton responded to the invitation on discussed. At a joint press conference President Monday in an interview with ABC News, Peña Nieto expressed that while “Mexi- stating that she would not visit Mexico can people have been hurt” by Trump’s before election day, reports The New York previous comments about Mexican im- Times. In the interview, which migrants, he aired Tuesday morning, believed Trump Clinton simply responded would be recep“No,” when journalist Dative to solutions “I will repeat what I said vid Muir posed the quesbenefitting tion, stating that she would both countries. personally, Mr. Trump: continue to focus on the “We did economic situation in the Mexico will never pay for discuss the wall; U.S. we didn’t disa wall. ” Trump’s decision to cuss payment visit Mexico was met with Peña Nieto of the wall,” controversy and derision. Trump told reFormer Mexican Presiporters at the dent Vicente Fox weighed press conferin on the matter, stating ence, then said that Trump is “not welcome that it was an in Mexico” by him “nor the issue to be discussed later. Peña Nieto did 130 million (sic) Mexicans”. not respond to this immediately, but later “He’s contradicting himself,” said St. clarified what had happened via Twitter. John’s freshman Blerin Bardhi, “If you’re “At the beginning of the conversation with Donald Trump, I made it clear that talking badly about a country and you’re Mexico will not pay for the wall.” Peña not even president yet, you shouldn’t be Nieto tweeted shortly after the press con- visiting it.” “I don’t believe Mexico will directly ference. Just hours after the meeting in Mexico, pay for the wall,” said St. John’s junior Trump addressed an audience in Phoenix Christopher Tarulli. “However, if Trump gets elected I to put forth a definitive immigration polfeel he will do anything in his power to icy contradicting his previous comments. “Mexico will pay for the wall. One make sure it affects Mexico, and attempt hundred percent. They don’t know it yet, to restructure the trade deficits the United but they’re going to pay for the wall,” States has with Mexico, which will pay for the wall in a year.” Trump said. The conflicting accounts of the meetTrump’s speech in Phoenix served to reaffirm his harsh immigration policy pro- ing have resulted in uncertainty for Mexposals. Much of it rang familiar: the idea ican and American citizens alike. The fuof a great wall securing U.S. borders, end- ture relations between both countries is ing “catch and release” practices, and an a vital issue, and both presidential candiextreme vetting process for all potential dates must address it during the remainder of their campaign season.
Tearing down prejudice one wall at a time BRENDAN SOUTH Contributing Writer “A melting pot of different cultures,” is the most succinct way to describe the student body at St. John’s University. You couldn’t point a finger at a single type or race of person and proclaim that that individual typifies the students at our large Queens campus. The diversity inevitably leads to young millennials who’ve grown up on different advice and cultures over the same stretch of time, molding each individual into their own character with their own idiosyncrasies. The only downside to the aforementioned statement is the reduction of one’s individual character in order to make them fit a certain mold or stereotype that was created with hate as the primary objective. Prejudice is a predominant issue in our world, and the political and social climates help perpetuate it. Pi Lambda Phi fraternity was alert at the pervasive injustice around the globe. Coupled with the diverse campus, the fraternity decided to spark a movement that has been its philanthropy since its conception: the “Elimination of Prejudice.” Students and faculty gathered around the “Wall of Prejudice,” an ostentatious display of different profanities and derogatory phrases written in different colored ink on a large, white background. Racist, sexist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and ageist words littered the board and brought a semblance of solidarity to our community. “I feel like a lot of people have pent up anger within them, and this is a good wav to get it out your body anonymously,” said Jarrel Tonge, a student here at St. John’s University. Emily Trinidad, a feminist, was angered when she was donning a shirt declaring her beliefs and a passerbyer said, “Don’t call yourself a feminist.” Thus,
Member of Pi Lambda Phi takes a hammer to the Wall of Prejudice.
she took to the wall to express her distaste for such a heinous command. Joe Armiento, the social chair for Pi Lambda Phi, said “I feel like the timing of this event signifies the importance of certain current events. College kids are the future here. They’re the ones who’re gonna make the most change, so it’s good to get everyone to start thinking about these important situations.” The “Wall of Prejudice” is held annually, and typically kicks off the school year as one of the first Greek Life events on campus, giving incoming Freshman and transfer students an opportunity to see what Pi Lambda Phi and St. John’s is all about. As Donte Codrington said, “Prejudice isn’t cool, man.”
Members of Pi Lambda Phi fraternity pose in front of the Wall of Prejudice. Photos taken by Brittany Garcia.
Flames of the Torch: Continuing the legacies of Karina, Arshell and Tiarah
While the beginning of the school year is generally an exciting time for St. John’s students, the start of this year has been a somber one. In the last month, tragedy has struck the St. John’s community three times. Alumna Karina Vetrano, and students Arshell Dennis III and Tiarah Poyau, each killed in acts of senseless violence. Poyau and Dennis were both victims of gun violence and Vetrano was a victim of sexual assault and murder. Each was loved and admired both inside and outside of the University community, which has become evident through the memorials dedicated to them. Last Friday, the University held a mass honoring Vetrano, and is set to hold mass on Friday honoring Dennis. We hope to see an announcement regarding a mass honoring Poyau soon. All of their lives were cut far too short, but we believe their memory and legacy will carry on for years to come. We at the Torch would like to extend our prayers, thoughts and hearts out to the families and friends of these three
students. We were all shocked to hear what happened. Through tough times like these, we believe that as students and active members of this University, it is our duty to uphold the legacy of these students. We should all try to embody the compassion, drive, and kindness of each of these people. Kindness starts right on campus. Whether it is holding the door for someone, giving directions, or letting someone cut in front of you in the Starbucks line, the deaths of Karina, Arshell, and Tiarah should serve as a reminder to always be compassionate toward others. Let their legacy strengthen the community in this way. As individuals we are all different, but as members of the St. John’s community we are one. Now, more than ever, it is important to keep this in mind. We are all members of the family that makes up the St. John’s community. It is our duty to care for and respect one another.
Along with this, we believe that now is a time to reflect. The cliche that life is short has never rang more true. We urge our fellow students to live each day to the fullest; to never take anything for granted, and to cherish every single moment. By living this way, as a community, we can honor those who lost their lives. While the community mourns the deaths of Karina, Arshell and Tiarah, we must always look forward, act with compassion, and live life like there is no tomorrow. Even though we can look to the future, life can be cut short at any moment. With this in mind, we wish our fellow students a warm welcome to the new year. We hope that all of you start the school year off with positive energy. We ask that you keep these students in your thoughts, and uphold their legacies by embodying the traits that they have been so lovingly remembered for.
Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of the TORCH. Columns 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 administrations of St. John’s University.
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Trump’s unexpected Mexican getaway
ARIANNA PINTADO Staff Writer
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year or so, you should be familiar with the name Donald Trump. He is the presidential candidate who’s led a campaign that has caused more controversy than Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” video. From the disabled to reporters, women and people of color, Trump has offended almost everyone. One group that has definitely taken more than a few blows is the Mexican people. As if he hadn’t berated them enough, he decided to have a surprise visit to their country this past Wednesday. He started off carefully reading from a pre-written statement before speaking loosely, which was where the trouble started. He began by referring to Mexico’s current president, Enrique Peño Nieto, as a friend, seeming to think that being kind would impress the citizens of Mexico. Obviously Trump did not do his research, because anyone who has even the slightest knowledge of Mexican politics would know that the majority of citizens seriously dislike Nieto and his corrupt antics. Not only that, but Trump’s visit was quite a surprise to Mexicans, as they already felt as if their own president sold them out. Can you blame them? It’s like having two Donalds in one room--truly a nightmare. In almost all of his speeches, Trump
CARTOON BY CARLOS ORTIZ
never fails to mention that he plans on building “The Wall” and that he will also “make Mexico pay for it.” To be honest, it’s surprising that he hasn’t gotten a tattoo of the phrase yet. So in true Trump fashion, he brought up that topic during the speech.
I’m (sort of) with her
SHABIB AFZAL Contributing Writer
Every negative stereotype you can think of regarding politicians can be applied to Hillary Clinton. She can be criticized for her inconsistencies regarding many issues, including her flip-flopping on gay rights, NAFTA, TPP, climate change, fracking, the Keystone XL pipeline and many other issues. She has also built a reputation for being beholden to special interests. Whether it be her friendliness with foreign leaders of countries known for their human rights violations (Saudi Arabia’s royalty, the Duvalier family of Haiti, among others) or all of her ties to Wall Street, it seems that she is merely a puppet for all of these different people. Her pandering to minority voters, while it may seem to be a positive in this election cycle, can very easily be looked at as ingenuine and as a way to counter Trump’s strict stance on immigration. Clinton’s position on foreign policy is also drawing criticism from people on both sides of the spectrum. Her originally fervent support for the invasion of Iraq and, while she was first lady, refusal to intervene in the Rwandan genocide and the late-intervention in Bosnia, are all deserving of criticism. With that being said, none of that should matter in this election cycle. Despite the fact that Hillary Clinton is untrustworthy, she must be trusted for this election if we actually want to be taken seriously by the rest of the world. Donald Trump may be an outsider and not a career politician, but how, in any way, is that good? Maybe if he had some semblance of coherence and professionalism to the way in which he conducts himself, but
Gage Skidmore/Flickr Commons
I have yet to see any evidence of this. His demagoguery isn’t much help either. For example, calling for a ban of all Muslims is not only bigoted, but counter-intuitive since Islamic terrorists use Trump’s rhetoric to justify recruitment and further attacks. Trump’s rather warm relationship with Russia is not something that should be taken lightly either, due to common political disputes with Russia. Is it an over-exaggeration to compare Trump to Hitler, or to say that our country is doomed if we have a Trump presidency? Very much so. But to act as if his credentials, or lack thereof, are even comparable to Clinton’s is absurd. When endorsing Clinton, P.J. O’Rourke said, “She’s wrong about absolutely everything, but she’s wrong within normal parameters.” She may not be great, good, or even decent, but if we want to prevent a fool from entering office, Clinton is our only option.
He said, “We did discuss the wall. We didn’t discuss payment of the wall. That’ll be for a later date.” This was later followed by a tweet from President Nieto claiming, “At the start of the conversation with Donald Trump, I made it very clear that Mexico will not pay
for the wall.” Even after this whole drama-saturated fest, one question still stands, who is going to pay for “The Wall”? While Trump didn’t speak much about immigration while in Mexico, he did have plenty to during his speech in Phoenix just before his trip. In this speech, he stated that on his first day in office he will deport nearly two million illegal immigrants. He also plans on strengthening the border by adding cameras both above and below ground, and adding 5,000 more border patrol agents. In other words, he is going to make the border resemble a prison. Whether or not this is intentional, Trump is making Mexicans seem as though they are a people who are taking “American jobs” and bringing rapists and criminals. Last year, the Washington Post reported that Trump used undocumented workers to construct his latest luxury hotel in Washington D.C.’s former Old Post Office Pavilion building. The Post’s Antonio Olivo wrote, “Interviews with about 15 laborers helping renovate the Old Post Office Pavilion revealed that many of them had crossed the U.S-Mexico border illegally.” So, Donald Trump, we ask you, what is the nationality of the people who have built your towers? What is the nationality of the people who have cleaned your huge houses? What is the nationality of the immigrants who deserve to have a chance at a better life and not be separated from their families?
by Alex Brewington
Movie review: “Hell or High Water”
Oscar season officially begins with this captivating new modern-western DAVID ROSARIO Staff Writer Who would have thought that at a time when originality in Hollywood seems to be at an all-time low, a film about a sheriff trying to hunt down two brothers on the wrong side of the law would be the breath of fresh air that the industry desperately needed? It’s not a remake or connected to an older franchise in the same way that most of this past summer’s releases have been, but “Hell or High Water” wins major originality points despite having such a basic premise. Execution is everything, and with this film, director David Mackenzie beautifully crafts a multi-layered tale that challenges the viewer’s basic notions of right versus wrong by offering up several candidates for the real protagonist. “Hell or High Water” begins with a tried and true way to kick off a crime drama: a bank robbery. Brothers Toby and Tanner Howard, played by Chris Pine and Ben Foster, respectively, decide to rob a string of Texas banks for reasons that go beyond the two of them wanting rich and comfortable lifestyles for themselves. Jeff Bridges plays Marcus, a Texas Ranger tasked with investigating the nature of these robberies and bringing the two bandits to justice. Just mere weeks away from retirement, Marcus is relentless in his pursuit and determined to close this case for himself before stepping away for good. Bridges effortlessly conveys the subdued inten-
sity of a man who’s been in situations like these before, playing a character whose bad side you wouldn’t want to be on and someone who is exactly right for this line of work. Though this might be Jeff Bridges’ movie, that’s not to say that other characters don’t get a chance to shine. Pine and Foster do some exceptional work in creating a sense of history between the two brothers, one that is dysfunctional and filled with tragedy, but also very genuine and affectionate all at the same time. Foster’s character comes off as a bit of a loose cannon with a questionable moral code, while Pine’s character seems inherently good-natured and yet constantly at war with his own self. He feels a duty to help his brother commit to these crimes, but refuses to let himself become comfortable with the idea of harming innocents along the way. At a running time of approximately 140 minutes, there’s not a single wasted moment in “Hell or High Water.” Every scene is either progressing the narrative or demonstrating to the audience who these characters really are through their actions and the choices that they make. It’s fascinating to watch how each of these characters progress throughout the course of the film, and the vastly different set of circumstances that they face by the film’s end compared to where they started. Nowadays, films as tense and gripping as this one are too few and far between. It’s not a box-office hit with mass appeal, but
“Hell or High Water” should definitely be seen by anyone who enjoys great performances as well as thought-provoking storytelling.
Electrifying displays at E-Zoo ‘16 JON MANARANG Staff Writer
In its eighth year on Randall’s Island, Electric Zoo returned to New York City for three days of pulsating EDM. Taking place during Labor Day weekend, the festival holds its own as summer’s last stand. Throughout the weekend, the acts were divided into five stages; the Main Stage, resembling a looming, massive cobra, the Hilltop Stage adorned with large crystal prisms, the Riverside Stage with the glowing eyes and stripes of a towering tree frog and the two smaller stages, Sunday School and the neon cube of Treehouse.
With headliners like The Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki, Hardwell and Tiesto, the fest brought out big crossover names in both EDM and pop. While heavy on DJ acts, this year brought out more true live performances than in previous lineups with artists such as the horn-equipped Big Gigantic and Hermitude. The diversity of up-and-comers with rising acts saw everything from Drake mixed into The White Stripes. Also boasting more rap acts than in years past, Lil Dicky’s persona of near self-awareness and immaculate technique culminated in his performance of radio hit “Save Dat Money.” 3SixMafia member Juicy J ripped through solo tracks and in-
escapable bangers like his Katy Perry cosign “Dark Horse” and “Bandz A Make Her Dance.” The theme of this year’s festivities was “Wild Island,” with the island decorated in jungle themed art installations. Almost serendipitously, a neon colored gorilla was prevalent among the multitude of Harambe paraphernalia worn by meme-loving teens, as if the untimely death of the Cincinnati Zoo animal is somehow the peak of comedy. Yet, in a year where David Bowie is dead and Donald Trump is running for president anything is possible. Surprisingly the derision of a gorilla’s gruesome demise was not the worst thing,
given that cultural appropriation was rampant among attendees. Yes, the end of festival season means the last time in months for these kids to break out their Native American war bonnets, forehead jewelry and of course dreadlocks/cornrows. Although not to give an entirely disparaging impression of this festival, Electric Zoo truly captured the essence of millennial culture with both gym rats alongside gender-defying people straddling the line of femme and masc aesthetics. At the end of the day, the great equalizer was the music and the bright, neon adornments among a sea of iPhones revelling in three days of uninhibited festivities.
STUDENT SPARKS Presents:
...I went to Coney Island for my friend’s birthday. Everything was going great until we got stuck on top of the Soarin’ Eagle! I thought it was part of the ride until I saw a bunch of staff members run towards us... that’s when I started to panic... after a good minute we got down, and continued to have a good time...
I went to the Drake and Future concert, and A boogie with a hoodie was one of the opening acts. I really enjoyed his performance and started to really get into his music. I like him as an artist because he talks about his personal experience. He is also very clever and humanistic about it...
Favorites in Entertainment of Summer 2016 To show my cousin Adahila Morgan support, I went to see her perform at the Lincoln Park Music Festival in Newark, New Jersey. She is a very talented pop singer and it was awesome to see her perform in front of such a huge crowd.
I was the producer’s assistant this summer, so I was fortunate enough to see the [Now You See Me 2] premiere along with so many other celebrities. I walked the red carpet and got my pictures taken. I was also fortunate enough to meet Morgan Freeman and Dave Franco, and go to the after party at TAO with them.
I’m a 3-D movie-lover, so Suicide Squad was right up my alley. The movie itself was extremely exhilarating... there was so much action going on that regardless of it being a long movie, I did not get bored at all. There were so many different characters with so many personalities. In one word, I was amazed.
Shadi Mehraban Kamila Pawelec Contributing Writer
I was able to experience the VMA’s, but from the outside! I took pictures of the red carpet and saw one of my favorite artists, Jidenna. Although I wasn’t really at the VMA’s it was still amazing to see it.
SJU loses a talented writer and student
Friends remember SJU journalism student killed this summer SUZANNE CIECHALSKI REZA MORENO Editor in Chief Features Editor A St. John’s student lost his life roughly three weeks ago. Arshell “Trey” Dennis III was shot while sitting on a front porch with a friend in his native Chicago, according to news reports. Following the shooting, officers said that they believe it was a case of mistaken identity. As the University community mourns, several of his friends remembered him for his talent, his kindness and his dreams. “He always had something to say whether it was funny, witty, or philosophical,” said Selina Scott, who worked with Dennis as a Resident Safety Monitor at St. John’s. “He just knew all the right words to say and that always kept me on my toes with him,” she said. Scott added, “We hung out a lot during the fall semester, pulling all nighters and ordering pizza, talking all night, and sometimes watching The Lion King just so he could lip-sync every song.” Even while Scott studied abroad last spring, the two kept in touch and reunited warmly upon her arrival back in the U.S. She said that they quickly went back to hanging out regularly during the summer while he took classes at the Audio Research Institute, doing everything from furnishing his apartment to watching Orange is the New Black. “He had watched every season in a week around his classes and texted me every two seconds with questions and expressed how much he loved Samira Wiley’s character, Poussey, and the way she lived and how she loved and respected others,” Scott said. But his favorite character came as no surprise to her. “I knew he would like her though because I saw them as the same person,” she said. “They were both passionate about words, cared about people like family, and kept high spirits in hard times because they knew that was the best thing to do.” “It’s crazy how sudden this was,” said Miracle Bright, one of his co-workers. “The second I heard, all I could think was there’s no way, who would ever want to hurt him?” Bright only met Dennis this past year working as an RSM, and she said she wished she had more time to know him. But despite their time being cut short, his spirit and his friendship have touched her heart for a lifetime. “I knew him from work, but in those small shifts, I got to know his character,” Bright said. “He was such an influential person, full of light and dreams.” She added, “He was kind and drifted easily with his goals. It was intoxicating, his vibe. This loss is a great one.” Dennis was a rising junior at St. John’s studying journalism. According to his friends, his love for writing was evident. In a YouTube video made by his roommate, Dennis explains his love for poetry, along with his second place victory in Chicago’s “Louder Than A Bomb” competition during his senior year of high school. “I think that, if you don’t know me you’re going to know me,” he says in the
video. “And if you don’t ever know about me or see me, just know that I’m real vocal about the things I believe in, but don’t ever hold me up to a standard or image. Because I guarantee you I will not live up to it just because you set it for me.” Not only was Dennis an aspiring writer, but he was also very creative in terms of music. “I remember he was extremely excited about it, even just showing my friend Matt and I his school ID,” said Maria Salazar Vera, a friend of Dennis’. Along with being an overall wonderful student, Dennis was passionate about making a difference. He served as a member of the SJU NAACP chapter’s executive board. His suitemate and friend, Andre Marrero Jr. said, “Trey wanted to change the whole world. Whether it be through movements, music, or anything he could to make it better for the up and coming generation.” “He was a visionary with aspirations and goals and nothing was going to get in his way,” Marrero said. And while education was of great importance for Dennis, his family was most important. Close friend and fellow NAACP e-board member, Alexis Harris, said, “I think Trey’s biggest passion was his mom. He spoke to her every single day.” Following his death, several news outlets confirmed that Dennis was home in Chicago visiting his mother when he was killed.
Harris talked about how much he spoke about his love for Chicago, but left in order to get away from the dangers of the city. She said his return showed how much he loved his mother. Dennis’ father is also a member of the Chicago police force. Addressing the media following his death, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson rejected the idea that he was targeted because of his father’s status as a police officer. “He’s a good man, who’s raising a good kid,” Johnson said, speaking about Officer Dennis. “I’m sure the people in his neighborhood knew he was a police officer. But, there’s absolutely no credibility that he was targeted because he was a police officer.” “We think it’s simply a case of mistaken identity,” Johnson said. “You got a kid going to St. John’s University, doing what he should’ve been doing.” In an interview, Harris explained how his positivity and his acting as the mediator in tough situations caused the rest of his fellow e-board members to gravitate toward him. Dennis wanted to be an example for others that also came from dangerous areas. According to his friends, he created his own movement - that anyone can make something great out of any situation and become somebody. And that is something people from all over can take with them as a lesson. His love for writing went hand in hand with his passion for poetry and music.
In an interview with Daily Hip Hop Jamz you can find his first EP, which really started his push for music. “He had an amazing mind, always came with new ideas to NAACP. He was definitely the person to go to if you ever had problems, and he would always give great advice,” said close friend Shania Louis-Byron. Because of his love and passion for music, Dennis wanted to learn more and even went to school for it. His friends said wanted to make an impact through writing and music in the black community. They talked about how he knew music could change lives. Louis-Byron said if he wasn’t just being an aspiring journalist, he would have been “a self-conscious rapper like his favorite artist J. Cole is.” According to his friends, it’s clear that Dennis was not only compassionate, but also hardworking; an unstoppable combination. “He made sure to live his life so that he could make a difference and have people remember his name for the things he did,” Scott said. “Luckily he was doing this at 19, so you knew he was headed for something grea. There was no question about that.” A mass honoring the life of Dennis will be held on Friday at 12:15 pm in St. Thomas More Church. All members of the University are encouraged to attend.
Your first taste of our weekly dose of SJU fashion VACHON OSBY
Special To The Torch Fashion is one of the greatest sources of self-expression and pure artistry that is able to convey any message to onlookers. Most major fashion brands remain at the forefront of design by continuously challenging the status quo and sticking to their profound aesthetics that were discovered long ago. But new brands have begun to emerge with the potential to become bigger and better by challenging societal norms, giving a larger rise to self-expression and picking up where earlier designers left off. Capitalizing on the influence carried into the new century, the Red House and the Torch have begun The Fashion Digest which will be a stepping stone in relaying valuable information to our St. John’s family. We will be bringing to you articles discussing the latest trends, student successes, important industry news and much more that is sure to captivate the minds of our many creative and business savvy students. “I dream to raise the taste level of our entire generation,” are the words from Kanye West who believes that it is both
foolish and ignorant to become complacent at the slight taste of success. Continuously striving to be your best self each day is the only way to gradually get ahead and accomplish more than you thought possible yesterday. Vogue was founded in 1892 by Arthur Turnure, who succeeded at creating a timeless publication that capitalizes on the labors and fruits of life. Taken over by Condé Montrose Nast, the publication grew to greater heights and continues to operate as one of the top news sources of our time by creatively conveying fashion and style to the entire world. With the same beliefs, the Red House and the Torch plan on implementing a similar sense of self-expression by both encouragement and capitalizing on the talents of our peers and colleagues through our new section, The Fashion Digest. Collaborating and combining ideas has proven to enhance innovations that keeps major companies such as the LVMH conglomerate, the parent company for Louis Vuitton, operating as one of the most influential groups within the fashion industry. We have formed an alliance that we hope will continue to expand and infinitely grow as new generations of St. John’s
students take over where we leave off. As leaders of our university we aspire to raise the bar and motivate others to reach higher in accomplishing their dreams through hard work and unwavering dedication. Great leaders are always able to bring their ideas together and form something completely new that is sure to wow the minds of onlookers. Kanye West was able to break boundaries in the fashion world throughout the past few months by implementing his personal style and aesthetic into one of the top brands most of us love -Adidas. Just as Kanye has partnered with Adidas and brought his vision to the very top of news and social media, the beginning of The Fashion Digest will continue to bring students together by relaying important information and news while also granting exposure to individuals who stand out. Whether you would like to write for the Torch, join the Red House and/or any other org on campus, we strive to create a community where students continuously motivate one another and collaborate on inventive feats that are aimed at bringing each student closer to their goals. PHOTO/INSTAGRAM
- Osby is the President of Red House. -
Melanie Butron, Red House PR Chair looking fashionable in the city.
Lacrosse field undergoes groundbreaking changes DERRELL BOUKNIGHT Staff Writer
The St. John’s University lacrosse team won’t begin their 2017 campaign for another four months, but the excitement over a new addition to DaSilva Memorial Field already has the team and athletic personnel eager to begin the season. In August, the St. John’s Athletic Department announced and broke ground for a new, state-of-the-art turf field for the Red Storm lacrosse team. LandTek, a New York-based and on-site general contractor specializing in sports facility design, completed installation of the field, designed by FieldTurf, in mid-August. “We are excited about the renovation of DaSilva Memorial Field, and the installation of a brand new state-of-the-art FieldTurf surface,” Senior Associate Athletics Director John Diffley said in a statement to RedStormSports.com. “This project will result in a top-quality field that will greatly benefit our student-athletes for practice and competition.” LandTek installed Multi40 turf, described as a turf system designed to provide performance where a separate underpad or shield is desired. The turf also features ballast layers of sand topped with layers of performance infill for “proven playability,” according to their website. The turf system also boasts material that promotes player safety and dimensionally stable backing to complement. “Each pellet has built-in memory and rebounds back to its original shape after
compression,” their website says. “This infill is resistant to UV degradation and delivers a durable and fully recyclable infill alternative for a wide variety of sport applications.” The new FieldTurf surface has both St. John’s and Big East conference logos and brandings. The new playing surface and its implementation did not interfere with the modernized six-lane track that was installed at DaSilva Memorial Field two years ago. DaSilva is just one of the several St. John’s University Athletic Facilities received a facelift, in a series of upgrades that were completed during the summer. FieldTurf ’s infilled artificial turf systems have hosted two Super Bowls, the World Series, the World Baseball Classic, a Major League Soccer Cup Final and College Bowl games on several regions of the country. Today, the company is known as the leader in synthetic sports fields, installing more than 7,000 in total. By choosing FieldTurf, schools and organizations at all levels around the country are bound to save money and perform at the very best value in both the short and long term. Originally opened in 1978 as St. John’s Stadium, DaSilva Memorial Field was rededicated 20 years later in memory of school hockey star John DaSilva, who was tragically killed in a car accident. The field is now home to the men’s lacrosse team and women’s track and field teams, both of which will see competition on the newly-designed field beginning in early 2017.
LandTek installed Multi40 turf over the summer in advance of the St. John’s lacrosse season in 2017.
SJU crushes Fairfield, 5-1
Double OT defeat at ‘Cuse
The St. John’s women’s soccer team won their second straight game to kick off the 2016 campaign, defeating Fairfield 5-1 on Sunday at Belson Stadium. Five different players scored for the still undefeated Red Storm (4-0-2) in the team’s best offensive performance of the season. “We worked really hard this week because we were frustrated with the couple of results last weekend where we dominated possession but we could not get the ball in the back of the net,” head coach Ian Stone said after the game. “There are a lot of times when we will play really well on Belson, but to score five goals is always a special night.” Junior Shea Connors got things going for the Red Storm with two goals in the first 15 minutes. Samie Scaffidi and Claudia Cagnina recorded assists on the opening goal in the 11th minute.
Shea Connors tallied two goals in the first half.
Morgan Tinari assisted on Connors’ second goal four minutes later. St. John’s third goal came in the 36th minute on a header from sophomore Alexa Dolgos with an assist from Tinari to give the team a 3-0 lead entering the half. The Red Storm dominance continued into the second half. Goals from sophomore Lucy Whipp and junior Maria Gonzalez Bullon extended the St. John’s lead to 5-0. Senior goaltender Diana Poulin recorded 74 minutes of shutout action before being replaced by redshirt junior Sarah Chaides in the second half. It was the first time in her career that Chaides has seen game action for the Red Storm. Poulin, St. John’s all-time wins leader with 36, now has a goals against average of just 0.16 on the season. The Red Storm’s win over the Stags tied the second-longest unbeaten streak to start a season in school history. The program record for the longest unbeaten streak to begin a campaign is eight, achieved twice in 2002 and 2007. St. John’s will travel to the west coast this weekend for the Nike Portland Invitational. The Red Storm will take on the University of Washington on Friday before playing the University of Portland on Sunday. “Going out to the University of Portland, who have actually won a national championship in the past (2002 and 2005) and the University of Washington who is pretty much always in the NCAA Tournament is the kind of the challenge we need right now,” Stone said. “They don’t really need me to motivate them; they are such a driven group of players. They’re ready for the next challenge and we’ll learn from it and move on.”
With a young sports team, the hope is always for the future. For the St. John’s University men’s soccer team, though, the future might come sooner than expected. In a tightly contested match, the Johnnies were edged by 6th-ranked Syracuse, 3-2, in double overtime. Jonathan Hagman scored in the 105th minute for the Orange to send the Red Storm home un-defeated, but with a promising outlook for the rest of the season. The match began as a defensive struggle. The two teams combined for just six shots on goal through the first 45 minutes. The Orange could not connect on multiple crosses into the 18-yard box in the first 15 minutes, including an excellent punch-out by redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Withers to deny a cross off a gathered clearance. St. John’s let one up just before the end of the first half. A corner kick from Oyvind Alseth glanced off Kamal Miller and Miles Robinson redirected it home to put the Orange up 1-0. Withers made two saves in the first half to keep the young Johnnies close to the reigning ACC Champions. The Red Storm went on the offensive to start the second half. They took three shots in the first 10 minutes, the latter two on free kicks. They finally broke through in the 55th minute, when junior midfielder Harry
Cooksley, who came on as a sub at the beginning of the second half, sent a curling corner into the box. Freshman midfielder Alistair Johnston leaped through traffic to flick the ball into the lower left-hand corner of the goal to tie the game. Cooksley, who was named to the Big East Honor Roll on Monday, put the Red Storm ahead just 10 minutes later with a highlight-reel goal past Hendrik Hilpert. Cooksley pulled left outside of the box and took a rip that curled around the goalie and in. The ball hit the back of the net just as Cooksley regained his footing and just like that, the Red Storm had a 2-1 advantage. The Orange never lost their focus, however, and after a couple of near misses, including a header that hit the bar, they got even. Robinson put up his second goal of the game off a corner kick in the 82nd minute. A tense but uneventful final eight minutes sent the teams into overtime. St. John’s did not get a shot off in either overtime period, but strong defense held Syracuse to just a pair themselves. The Orange were efficient, however, as their second shot won the match. Hagman sent home a volley from Robinson at the top of the box to give them the lead in the closing minutes. It is a tough loss to swallow, but things are looking up for the Red Storm; they are off to their best start in the last three seasons. They look to continue their uptick on Thursday at Princeton.
SPORTS September 7, 2016 | VOLUME 94, ISSUE 04 |
Don’t Panik, Joe’s Home CARMINE CARCIERI TROY MAURIELLO Sports Editor
Despite playing nearly 3,000 miles away from home, San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik has never lost touch with his roots. The former St. John’s baseball star has achieved great success in only two plus MLB seasons, winning a World Series in 2014 and being named an All-Star reserve in 2015. Even with all his accomplishments out west, Panik, 25, gets the most joy out of coming home to play in front of his family, friends and former teammates in Queens. A half decade after his departure from St. John’s those connections still hold firm to this day. “I keep in contact with [Ed] Blankmeyer, the head coach, Mike Hampton, the hitting coach, and a lot of guys that I played with,” Panik told The Torch in April. “A lot of guys from my graduating class and years around me that I played with, we had a pretty tight relationship and a special bond.” Panik, a native of Hopewell Junction, NY, spent three years at St. John’s under
the tutelage of Blankmeyer and Hampton. During his junior season in 2011, he earned numerous All-American honors, was a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, given to the nation’s top shortstop, and was named First Team All-Big East. After leading the Johnnies to the 2011 NCAA Tournament, Panik was selected 29th overall in the 2011 MLB Draft by San Francisco. After being drafted, the second baseman spent nearly four years in San Francisco’s minor league system. His travels continued as he progressed through the minors, playing in Salem, Ore., San Jose, Calif., Richmond, VA and finally, Fresno, Calif. before his call up to the big leagues in 2014. The experience he received playing high school baseball in upstate New York and at the NCAA’s Division I level helped prepare Panik for his three plus year grind through the development leagues. “It [St. John’s baseball program] helped me turn into a man and be mentally tough,” Panik said, “Playing baseball in the Northeast, you kind of get overlooked and people doubt you. I kind of learned at St. John’s to use that as fire and fuel to play hungry and play with some passion.”
“So, that’s probably the biggest thing that I learned from them. Because when you’re in the minor leagues there’s a lot of talented kids, so you kind of have to have that mental edge and a little fire and competitive nature. If you talk to any of the St. John’s boys, being competitive and that competitive nature and that fire, that’s something that all of those guys have.” As one of the few St. John’s products currently playing the MLB, Panik holds a significant voice for present-day Johnnies and those that are just beginning their professional careers. Thomas Hackimer (Minnesota Twins), Ty Blankmeyer (Cincinnati Reds), Joey Graziano (Tampa Bay Rays) and Joe Napolitano (New York Mets) all signed minor league contracts this summer, while Matt Carasiti began his big league career in mid-August with the Colorado Rockies. Panik had no shortage of advice for these aspiring former Red Storm. “It doesn’t matter where you get drafted, what round, just keep working and put in the work every day,” Panik said. “There’s so much up and down, teams and organizations want to see guys that can handle failure and bounce back and put in the
work to get better.” Following his own words of wisdom, Panik’s career has reached levels that are dreamlike even by his standards. “These past couple years to be a World Series champion and then to be an All-Star last year; it’s surreal when I think about how quickly everything has taken off. Honestly it just keeps me hungry and keeps the drive in me to keep getting better and better.” Even though his Giants dropped two of three in that April series against the Mets, the team may have history on its side. San Francisco has won three World Series in the past six years, with each of them coming in an even year. That keeps the hopes alive for another possible postseason run in 2016. And with the Mets still in the playoff hunt, Panik’s forecast of the two teams back in April could hold true in October. “Hopefully this can be an NLDS or NLCS,” he said. “You just look at the two teams and what they’ve got, and it seems like we’ll be battling it out.”