CHANG DEAD PG. 15
Sandy and the election SUPERSTORM DEVASTATED AREA AND CANCELLED SCHOOL FOR A WEEK.
TORCH PHOTO/ KIERAN LYNCH
JARROD JENKINS Staff Writer The lasting effects of Hurricane Sandy have inconveniently affected the 2012 presidential voting process for University students throughout the tristate region. Although the states have offered voting alternatives, students who are affected with issues concerning electricity and gas have caused many students to not vote. As a result of Hurricane Sandy, 60 poll sites have been closed or relocated in the city alone. Although executive orders were placed to allow New York residents to vote at any polling place in the state, resident students in New York still had problems getting to a booth to vote. Junior Micheal Maddaloni, a resident of Deer Park in Long Island, said he was planning to vote with his family at his old high school but could not due to the widespread closing of public schools. “Everyone usually votes at my old high school but the voting stations got shut down as a result of Sandy.” Maddaloni continued to say how it is troublesome for his family to relocate to vote due to the limited resources available to them. “It’s definitely going to be
more difficult because of the shortage of gas throughout the entire New York state,” he said. “I’m not sure of how serious people are of voting but the process is not as easy as I thought it would be.” Fourth-year physicist, Gabrielle Pezzula said how one of her classmates from Staten Island had her house destroyed on account of hurricane Sandy and she hasn’t seen her since then. “I could only imagine what she would be going through at this point,” she said. “I’m pretty sure voting is the last thing on her mind.” Sandy had a profound effect on students who are residents of New Jersey as well. Some students took advantage of the email and fax voting system implemented by the state for displaced residents. However, many residents were still without electricity and could not utilize the given alternative. Junior Jena Daya a resident of central Jersey said her voting process was unaffected by having the option to vote early, but her friends and family towns away from her who did not have electricity were unable to vote. “The aftermath of the hurricane really ruined some people’s voting plans,” she said. “A lot of our high schools were flooded and those still without electricity couldn’t use the email voting and
I’m unsure of how everyone is now planning to vote.” Sophomore Yves Gashema, a registered voter in New Jersey, thought this year’s election was too meaningless and complex. “I know my dad took the day off to vote but his voting center was closed so he just mailed
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but some of them who were registered didn’t vote because they had more important things to worry about such as their house and gas,” He said. “If it was a more meaningful election than this could have been a major problem for the future of America.”
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Letter from the Editor
MICHAEL E. CUNNIFF, Editor-in-Chief NICOLE VALENTE, Managing Editor JESSICA LISE, General Manager
it, and it made the process more complicated,” he said. Yves continued to say how the duty to vote in this year’s election may be compromised due to other people’s personal obligations and well being. “I know a lot of people back home who had to vote via email
Reporters: Christopher Brito Jarrod Jenkins Shannon Luibrand Anthony Parelli Alexa Vagaletos Kori Williams Matthew Wolfson Copy Editors: Marion Gendron Natalie Hallak Alyssa Neilson COVER PHOTO BY GETTY
The past nine days have been tumultuous, to say the least. All set to run the special, allelection issue you are about to read, Superstorm Sandy devastated New York, becoming just as newsworthy — if not more so — than the once-every-fouryear presidential election. With several editors balancing their time with tending to their homes in New Jersey or Long Island, and with two huge news events to be covered, our decision was whether to dedicate this issue to the election,
Sandy or both. We decided to run the special election issue, for several reasons. First, the presidential election is one of the few events that draws everybody to their television sets, and secondly, the ramifications of Sandy are still unfolding. We’ll know much more about the damage that Sandy really did at this time next week, meaning that our Sandy coverage will be much more thorough and informative in our next issue than it would have been in this. All of that was taken into consideration before the suicide
of Cecilia Chang threw a wrench into everything. The former University dean has thrust St. John’s back into the spotlight of the city’s tabloids, and not for the best reasons. Unlike Sandy, we determined that news would be ill-served by waiting, which is why we dedicated a page to her. It’s a great dilemma to have — too much news to report. We’re proud of this issue, and feel that by next week, we’ll have dedicated enough attention to all three of these pressing news events. -Michael E. Cunniff, Editor-in-Chief
Election 2012 Hope and change, part II DESPITE UNDECIDED FLORIDA, OBAMA CRUISES TO VICTORY, WINNING BOTH THE ELECTORAL AND THE POPULAR VOTE.
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SHANNON LUIBRAND Staff Writer The cheers of Democrats exploded across the nation at 11:12 p.m. last night when multiple media outlets declared President Barack Obama had won over the state of Ohio, securing his reelection. NBC, CBS and Fox News all reported that Obama had won the pivotal state of Ohio, and with it the 19 electoral votes necessary to boost him over the magic number of 270, sparking scenes of jubilation at Obama headquarters in Chicago, among other places. In the moments after Obama secured Ohio, however, some Republicans insisted the race to the White House was not yet over. Outspoken radical Republican Donald Trump tweeting, “This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!” Nearly an hour later, though, it was clear — President Obama will serve as the leader of the free world for another four years.
After a 17-month, multi-billion dollar campaign that turned nasty at times, Obama used his acceptance speech to try to begin healing the partisan divide between a polarized electorate. “Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated,” he said, addressing a throng of supporters in Chicago shortly before 2 a.m. “We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won’t change after tonight, and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty.” Obama earned reelection from an electorate weary from a weak economic recovery, with unemployment still hovering near 8 percent. Obama took an optimistic tone in his speech, while noting the problems many have gone through. “Tonight, in this election,” he said. “You, the American people,
reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.” His acceptance came after a hastily prepared concession speech from Romney, who publicly said earlier in the day that he had only prepared an acceptance speech. After passing a litany of signature legislation in his first two years, the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives led to partisan gridlock over the past two years on Capitol Hill, and leaving voters frustrated with elected officials, driving their approval ratings to record lows. Republicans and Democrats blamed each other during the campaign, but Obama expressed hope that the two sides could reach common ground. “By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or sub-
stitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward,” Obama said. “But that common bond is where we must begin. Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over.” About an hour and a half after Obama secured Ohio, Romney delivered his concession at Romney headquarters in Boston. He thanked his wife, sons and daughter-in-laws for standing by him through this process. Romney concluded his speech with, “I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead your country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader, so Ann and I join you in praying for his success.” The defining moments of the 2012 campaign and election are moments that many Americans will have engrained in their minds for years to come. - Continued on pg. 5
Gillibrand sent back to DC
SHANNON LUIBRAND Staff Writer Democratic Senator Kristen Gillibrand cruised to reelection to New York’s national Senate seat, defeating Republican challenger Wendy Long in a landslide “I can’t thank you enough for the honor and privilege of continuing to serve this state and to fight for New York families in the United States Senate,” Gillibrand said in her victory speech at the Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan. Gillibrand, a former member of the United States House of Representatives, was appointed to the vacant Hilary Clinton Senate Seat in 2009. She ran for special election just two years later, wining by a landslide. This year Gillibrand ran for reelection for a six-year term for the first time, but to no surprise easily claimed the Senate seat for New York once again. Senator Gillibrand ran her reelection campaign on the idea of improving life for the middle class and working families across New York, according to her campaign website. Gillibrand is known for her support of same-sex marriage, equal pay for women, creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants as a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, and being a supporter of Obamacare.
What’s next in Congress MITCH PETIT-FRERE Sports Editor As citizens of the United States arose from a short nights sleep on the morning after Election Day, none could point to a great deal of change in Washington — the House of Representatives remains in the control of Republicans, Democrats continue to hold the majority in the Senate and Barack Obama secured another four years as President. After the past two years with split leadership in the House, Senate and White House have led to historic gridlock, many believe that there will have to be some sort of bipartisanship formed between the House of Representatives and President Obama for positive reform to ensue. “Divided government is not an impediment to passing a legislative agenda; it just requires compromise,” said St John’s Associate Professor and Chair of
the Department of Government and Politics Diane Heith. “If the House remains controlled by Republicans unwilling to compromise, passing the presidential agenda will be difficult.” Even though a Democratic majority rules over the Senate, they will also have to stray away from the current Congressional inclination to combat against opposing party’s principles. “Compromise is typically easier to achieve in the Senate, as longer terms insulate Senators from payback at the polls for six years,” Heith said. “However, if the same uncompromising ideology exists in the Senate as in the House, it’s difficult to legislate.” One of the compromises they may have to make concerns immigration reform. “I think the Republicans in Congress will have to go along with some of his [Obama’s immigration] agendas,” said St. John’s College Democrats advisor Brian Browne. “He might be able to get something done, but he had Dem-
ocrats in the House and Senate for two years and he didn’t do anything, so I’m not sure if the will is there.” Republicans in Congress will also face a battle with Obama on the issue of tax reform, a centerpiece of Mitt Romney’s economic plan and an issue that the GOP and Democrats consistently disagree on. “I don’t know how much reform you’ll see because I don’t know how much movement there will be in Congress,” Browne said. One of the most significant issues that Congress will have to resolve is the looming fiscal cliff, which, if not solved by the new year, will mark $500 billion in automatic tax hikes. “I really think that Congress kicked the can down the road and didn’t want to do anything [about the fiscal cliff] until after the election,” Browne said. “So I think now that the dust settles, they’ll have to sit down and compromise and negotiate.”
Note: Numbers are accurate as of 2 a.m. EST.
Meeks gets 8th term
CHRISTOPHER BRITO Staff Writer As part of the newly restructured Congressional District 5, the University and southeast Queens will be represented by a familiar face as Democrat Gregory Meeks won his eighth term in the U.S. House of Representatives in a landslide, according to Newsday. With 79 percent of the vote, Meeks, defeated Republican Alan Jennings and in neighborhoods primarily of Democratic affiliation including the St. John’s campus. Meeks won reelection handily despite a Congressional ethics investigation that has been ongoing for more than a year. He was accused of not reporting a $40,000 “loan” from Edul Ahmad, a real estate agent that was convicted of fraud in an unrelated case. Since 1998, Meeks has been the congressman for New York’s sixth district until the 2010 U.S. Census results prompted redistricting changes and switched most neighborhoods of both Districts 5 & 6. Meeks has been an advocate for lowering interest-rates for college loans and voted in favor of the College Cost Reduction Act in 2007, which raised the maximum Pell Grant by almost $500
Johnson: outside the two-party system PETER LONG Entertainment Editor Most Americans went to the polls yesterday and voted for the candidates who represented the two largest political parties in the nation. What most voters didn’t see were the names of the third party candidates at the bottom of the ballot with the exception of Libertarian party candidate Gary Johnson, who had been making headlines all year on the campaign trail with his radical ideas and his appeal to American voters frustrated with the current two party system. Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s team was worried about Johnson taking away votes from the former governor of Massachusetts even before Election Day.
When polls from this past Friday came back from Ohio saying that Johnson was projected to garner 5 percent of the vote, the Romney campaign and political pundits alike were calling him a potential spoiler in this year’s election. Justin Alick, the president of the St. John’s College Libertarians, believes that Johnson is the right choice for America and that he is more than a spoiler. “I met Gary Johnson a few months ago and he is one of the most relaxed people I have ever met in my life,” said Alick. “He is confident in winning votes from both of the mainstream sides of politics; the liberals and conservatives. Johnson is an outlet for people upset with both Romney and Obama.” Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, who proclaimed himself as more fiscally con-
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Fmr. Gov. Gary Johnson servative than Romney and yet more socially viable than Obama, had been urging voters to “be the 5% of the vote,” referring to the percentage of the popular vote that the Libertarian party needed to gain more campaign funds and have a pres-
ence on the ballot for the 2016 election. If Johnson’s goal of garnering 5 percent of the popular vote was accomplished, he would have been the first candidate from the Libertarian party to go above 1 percent of the popular vote. He was hovering near the 1 percent mark as of 2 a.m Tuesday morning with a little more than 1 million votes. Max White, a senior anthropology major, voted for Johnson and felt that it was an easy choice. “It comes down to the fact that I agree with him on the issues that are important to me,” said White. “I mostly support his ideas concerning foreign policy; seriously re-evaluating the presence our military has abroad. We’re spending a lot of money keeping troops in countries that don’t want us there and I feel like that money
could be directed to improving education.” The last time a third party candidate made a big splash was when Ralph Nader of the Green Party prevented Democratic candidate Al Gore from winning Florida in the controversial presidential election of 2000. In 1992, third party candidate Ross Perot attained 19% of the popular vote which helped to unseat George H.W. Bush and lead Bill Clinton to the presidency. Fellow Green Party member Jill Stein took in .3 percent of the total vote after running on a platform of jobs in sustainable energy, worker’s rights and free education from kindergarten through college. Stein decided to put her name into the race after receiving 27% of the vote in the Western Illinois University Mock Election, the largest mock election in the country.
Obama win caps grueling campaign season CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3
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The Obama campaign photo retweeted over 400,000 times on Twitter, setting a record for the social media outlet. Moments such as Clint Eastwood speaking to a chair at the Republican National Convention, Obama’s poor performance in the Oct. 3 debate against Romney and Romney’s comments about the 47 percent of Americans that were secretly recorded are a few. Key phrases used by liberals such as; “Binders Full of Women”, Big Bird, the war on women and “Horses and Bayonets” engulfed the election for weeks. Romney supporters, for their part, taunted the president with his own words, “you didn’t build that,” reprised their accusations of Obama’s secret socialism and criticized the president’s handling of the terrorist attack in Libya that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens. A close race through most of October, many pundits believe that the response of Obama to the devastation of Superstorm Sandy helped tip the balance in his favor. The storm, and Obama’s strong response in the aftermath led to the endorsement of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and praise from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, one of Romney’s top surrogates. The last defining moment took place yesterday. America decided and they decided to reelect President Obama. The woman and Latino vote may have made all the difference this election, with the Latino vote providing a critical boost to Obama in swing states like Florida., and 55 percent of women voted for Obama and 44 percent for Romney, according to CNN exit polls. Social media played a significant role in both the campaign and final election results. The statement, “Four More Years” made by President Obama’s official Twitter account late last night, was re-tweeted more than 400,000 times, setting a Twitter record. To coincide with social media, the youth vote, which
was essential to Obama’s victory in 2008, played a major role in this election. CNN exit polls revealed 60 percent of 18-29 year olds voted for Obama while 37 percent voted for Romney. Additional reporting by: Christopher Brito, Michael E. Cunniff
Now what? OBAMA’S PLATE IS ALREADY FULL FOR HIS SECOND TERM Now that the nearly two-year long campaign slog is over, the focus for President Obama turns again to governing, and working with a divided Congress that has stymied many of his initiatives during the past two years. It will be a short honeymoon for Obama. Even before he’s sworn in for his second term, he’ll have to attempt to strike a bargain with a lame-duck Congress to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” the combination of tax increases and spending cuts that are set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013. These policies, which include the expiration of all of the Bush tax cuts, including the middle-class tax cuts, cuts to Medicare, an increase in the Alternative Minimum Tax and acrossthe-board spending cuts that most economists say will harm the already fragile economic recovery. Some political pundits have speculated Obama and the Democrats may decide to simply go over the cliff, as the ramifications give them leverage in negotiations with Republicans “On the morning of November
7, a reelected President Obama will do … nothing,” political columnist Jonathan Chait wrote in New York Magazine. “For the next 53 days, nothing. And then, on January 1, 2013, we will all awake to a different, substantially more liberal country. The Bush tax cuts will have disappeared, restoring Clintonera tax rates and flooding government coffers with revenue to fund its current operations for years to come.” Another looming policy expiration date is Obama’s executive order that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children to be exempt from deportation for up to two years. The executive order took effect on Aug. 15, and is set to expire on Feb. 28, 2013. Comprehensive immigration reform never got off the ground in Congress under Obama, even
when both houses were dominated by Democrats. But now, despite the split in the House and Senate, Obama believes that the changing demographics of the country (the white share of the vote has decreased in every election since 1992 as the number of Latinos has increased) will force the GOP to abandon its opposition to immigration reform. “Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community,” Obama told the editorial board of the Des Moines Register in a conversation that was originally offthe-record. “George Bush and Karl Rove were smart enough to understand the changing nature of America. And so I am fairly confident that they’re going to have a deep interest in getting that done. And I want to get it done because it’s the right thing to do and I’ve cared about this ever since I ran back in 2008.” (Torch Staff, Illustrations by Diamond Watts-Walker)
TORCH PHOTO/ KIERAN LYNCH
Gov. Andrew Cuomo lands at a polling place in Long Beach, N.Y., one of the towns most affected by Superstorm Sandy late Tuesday afternoon. The storm wreaked havoc on voting plans for many in the city and on Long Island.
TORCH ILLUSTRATION/ DIAMOND WATTS-WALKER
Election Sparks STJ TALKS ABOUT THEIR VOTES: WHO, WHAT, WHY AND HOW? Amy Rio, Senior, New York, College of Professional Studies - I don’t think those social issues matter in this election, I think what matters now is the economy and I think Mitt Romney is the one to fix it, I hope. - Whoever wins I don’t think that all of our problems will be fixed in four years. - I sent in an absentee ballot. I don’t donate money and this is the first time I’ve told anyone who I voted for, besides my mom.
Josue Paul, Senior, New York, St. John’s College - I was looking into the education standpoints, what they wanted to do as far as employment and post graduate stuff, like helping people find jobs. - I expect somebody attempting to make things better, I know not everything’s going to be completed but I want to see progress. - I’m voting in person. The most I did was watch the debates.
Lateasha Powell, Senior, Connecticut, College of Professional Studies - I personally like his economic policies and quite frankly I think that Obama has had four years in the office and ... I don’t see that he’s made much progress - The most important issue to me is the economic growth of our country. I want taxes to go down and be more level regardless of how much you make per year, and to hopefully see him repeal Obamacare. - I did an absentee ballot.
Zulma Osorio, Public Safety Officer, New York - Because I couldn’t identify with the other gentleman and I figured I’ll stick to the devil I know [Obama]. I don’t like politicians. - Voting is a right that you cannot give up, we’re losing rights slowly but surely in this country. - I voted in person in Queens Village.
Alexis Osbourne, Senior, New York, College of Professional Studies -The main reason would be the economy because Romney has been successful in the private sector, and he’s known to turn around failing business and if he can do that then I don’t see why he can’t turn the economy around. - Job growth, a change in the economy, [increased] national security - I voted by absentee ballot.
Adrian Tovar, Junior, California, St. John’s College - The most important issue, I’d have to say I came from a family of immigrants, my father immigrated here, Obama and his whole DREAM act goes with my whole family, it’s because of him that my family is able to stay. - I hope that those policies are more modernized, the process of the immigration act isn’t so long, like waiting ten years.
Mike Sconiers, Junior, New York, St. John’s College - I didn’t vote because I didn’t support either candidate’s platform. Some of the things Obama did in office I was impressed with, I think he did exceptionally well in foreign affairs. - If I had to choose one it would have been him, but overall I am not a big fan of either.
Amy Rubio, Senior, New Jersey, College of Professional Studies - I’m voting for [Obama] because he represents what I believe in. - The most important values to me are women’s rights, education, healthcare and I think immigration is very important too. - I took a bus back to Jersey to vote.
Opinion Editorial Board XC MICHAEL E. CUNNIFF Editor-in-Chief
NICOLE VALENTE Managing Editor JESSICA LISE General Manager ANTHONY O’REILLY News Editor
FLAMES OF THE TORCH
The real change we need Now that the election is finally over, we can start to move on from the petty partisan politics of the past of the last 17 months. Now is time to move on from what’s in Mitt Romney’s binders, or if President Obama thinks you built that. Now is the time for action, for work to be done to continue to boost our fragile economic recovery, while at the same time promoting fairness and equality in the U.S. With that in mind, here are four issues we at the Torch are looking for President Obama and Congress to tackle in the next four years. Climate Change: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy endorsed President Barack Obama for his record on climate change. But all things considered, he hasn’t done anything too drastic to change the status quo. Obama has been mum on the issue of climate change while on the campaign trail. On top of that, he’s chosen to ignore anything about climate change, putting matters such as cap and trade on the back burner in favor of other issues. After Hurricane Sandy, we now have an example of how real climate change is. We no longer have to look to the distant melting ice caps in the arctic to show the effects it’s had on the planet, just look in your own backyard, or if you’re one of the fortunate ones turn on the Weather Channel (if you still have power). Although it’s impossible to reverse the effects of climate change in his next four years, Obama needs to set the trend of politicians taking the matter seriously. Immigration: St. John’s is the second most diverse school in the nation and, as such, students are more often connected to the issue of immigration than not. President Obama began the process of immigration reform this year by starting an amnesty program that allows young illegal immigrants to apply for work visas, allowing them to stay in the U.S. for two years. Last night, the President was propelled to a victory, in part, due to overwhelming support from the Latino community. This shows that people have confidence that he will follow through on promised major immigration reform for the long-term. This solution must include a plan for the immigrants already in the country that doesn’t de-
monize them and a straightforward idea for an efficient and fair immigration process. This country was built on immigrants and continues to see the benefits of having them, but we must figure out a fair way to handle people seeking a better life humanely and equally. If the President manages to do that, he will receive praise from most corners of the country. If he doesn’t, there will be many disappointed voters who trusted him not to back down from the hope of four years ago. Rising Prices of Higher Education: As college students, this is our main concern. By the time our junior and senior years roll around and we look at the landscape of jobs in our country, we start to wonder whether or not the investment we made was worth it. For students who are about to apply for college, they also look at the same landscape that we are, instead they ask themselves whether or not the investment will be worth it. What we need from the president is to continue the pivotal funding for federal loans and grants, keep the interest rates of loans down and to extend the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which would give a $10,000 tax credit for individuals and families paying for college. With so many families, predominantly in the middle class, paying out of pocket for their children’s college tuition, if these issues are tackled, we will once again be on top in world of higher education and we will be a better country because of it. But first, we need to properly invest in it. Women’s rights: What pushed the president over the edge in his bid for reelection is his popularity with women, spurred in no small part by the GOP’s backward thinking. Romney was unable to divorce himself from party crazies like Todd Akin and his infamous “legitimate rape” comments, and looked silly when he dodged a question about whether he supported the legislation guaranteeing equal pay for equal work for women. The Republicans look like they are on the wrong side of history on women’s issues like contraception and fair pay, and they don’t look like they’re switching sides anytime soon. The president was reelected because he was a champion of women’s rights. There’s no reason for him not to continue fighting for true gender equality in the U.S.
TORCH ILLUSTRATION/ DIAMOND WATTS-WALKER
Obama’s signature achievements - 32 Consecutive Months of Economic Growth Obama’s passing of a multi-billion dollar bailout prevented another Great Depression and prevented a complete financial collapse in 2009. After the economy collapsed in the closing months of President George W. Bush’s last year in office, Obama added 5.4 million private sector jobs.
- Killing Osama Bin Laden... ...and has ending the war in Iraq and stuck to his promise to bring troops home from Afghanistan by 2014.
- Obamacare Obama established a landmark law on national health care providing affordable health care for all American citizens. Once used as a derogatory term toward his ambitious plan, the president embraced the term “Obamacare” when describing the Affordable Care Act. Obama’s health care plan reforms and expands Medicaid and protects citizens against insurance company abuse.
- Saving the Auto Industry It was one of the centerpieces of his campaign, and it’s true. Obama arguably saved the auto industry, which many political pundits and economists call the core of the U.S. manufacturing,, although it was not popular with the American people at the time. He prevented the collapse of the Big Three auto companies: GM, Chrysler and Ford, saving more than one million jobs in the process. As a result, in 2011, GM once again became the top selling automaker in the world.
- Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Obama was also successful in repealing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, despite a Republican controlled House of Representatives which tried to block the repeal of a policy that silenced gay and lesbian service members. “Service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country,” said President Obama said at the time. - Shannon Luibrand, Staff Writer
Voters validate Obama’s vision It’s finally over. The nastiest, most bitter and most partisan presidential campaign in recent memory has finally concluded after two straight years of “I approve this message” and super PAC ads dominating our television airwaves. Now, the majority of us will forget all about presidential politics until the next nasty campaign begins after the 2014 midterm elections. But for the new Congress, and the newly reelected President Obama, the job of nurturing our fragile economic recovery is just beginning. The president’s agenda was stalled in the past two years by an obstinate Congress determined to block him at every turn. He’ll still have to deal with virtually the same party dynamics in the House (solid Republican majority). “This is not hope and change,” “Meet the Press” host David Gregory said on NBC last night. “He’s been battered by the last
four years.” Now, he looks to four more years of the same. So why is it going to be any different? Well, first off, he won’t have to spend all of his political capital on saving a cratering economy and passing health care reform aimed at guaranteeing universal coverage. In other words, the foundation has already been set. Even on autopilot, the economy will get better simply because of reforms like Dodd-Frank, the financial reform legislation that’s been the bête noir of the Tea Party. Secondly, the looming fiscal cliff will offer Obama a unique advantage to tilt the playing field without having to do anything. The scheduled tax hikes will raise the tax baseline, thus allowing Obama and the Democrats to deal with antitax Republicans with leverage on their side. In other words, Democrats can potentially dictate terms of fiscal policy even with split houses of Congress. But that’s small potatoes compared to the overarching narrative of the election — Obama’s reelection is an
affirmation that Americans believe government can play a role for good, and do not want, as conservative bellwether Grover Norquist like to say, to shrink it
Imagine if no government aid was forthcoming for people who’d lost everything. That’s Mitt Romney’s vision of America, and that’s the vision that the people rejected.
stunted the former Massachusetts governor’s “momentum,” whatever that even means in electoral politics. And that very well may be true. But what Sandy, and the president’s cool and competent response to the disaster, showed is that there are things that only the government can do. It showed how ridiculous Romney’s old plan to privatize FEMA was practically, and further demonstrated why many elected Obama in the first place — to provide steady and even-handed leadership in times of crisis. The bump that he got from his response to Sandy was due in no small part to the tacit realization that the radical GOP agenda would make disasters even harder to recover from. Imagine if no government aid was forthcoming for people who’d lost everything. That’s Mitt Romney’s vision of America, and that’s the vision that the people rejected. One of the toughest battles the president will face, and one
so small that it can drown in a bathtub. And it might have taken an act of God to get that across. Romney supporters have moaned about how Sandy
in which he hasn’t shown enough political fortitude, is climate change. At this time in 2008, climate change was a relatively nonpartisan issue. But in the past four years, the GOP has been hijacked by climate change deniers, and Democrats decided to pursue health care reform over cap-and-trade legislation when they had a supermajority in the Senate. Sandy is a sobering realization that climate change is indeed real, and an issue that must be tackled head-on. Obama showed that he has the leadership to lead us through a disaster. He has the next four years to show the same leadership in aiming to curb the disastrous trend of global warming. But that’s a battle for another day. Obama’s win serves as validation for the sweeping reforms he put in place in his first term. We’re now set up to reap the rewards in his second. Michael E. Cunniff is a senior journalism major who tips his hat to Chuck Valente for correctly predicting the number of electoral votes for President Obama. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Supreme Court key to Obama legacy KIERAN LYNCH Features Editor
Over the course of the last year, President Obama and Mitt Romney have battled over every issue under the umbrella of American politics. They turned attention to the economy, foreign affairs and human rights. Basically, anything that could show some sort of short-term impact that could play up to an electorate that wants to see immediate results. Out of all of these important issues, one thing that was talked about very little during the campaign and has arguably the largest long-term consequence. Over the course of the next four years, there will be two Supreme Court Justice appointments. There are more than a few misconceptions regarding the office of the President of the United States. Citizens tend to believe that the office controls the rest of the government around it. While the exact balance of power between the executive and legislative branches tips back and forth depending on recent legislation of the time, the judicial branch is a mainstay in the government’s system that rarely waivers. See, while a President stays in office for either four or eight years, any court appointments he makes during his tenure have a ripple effect far beyond his immediate successors. These
justices are there for the duration of their careers and as such become pillars of the judicial system for better or for worse. The Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission case is a perfect example of the effects that appointments have. In 2009, the Supreme Court upheld the decision that corporations and unions have the same political speech rights as an individual under the first amendment, striking down a law banning the practice. It was upheld 5-4, along ideological lines of conservative and liberal. The reason it passed, during the first year of President Obama’s first term, was because of the appointees President Bush chose during his eight years in office. Even though he was no longer around, his choices had ramifications that have lasted beyond his presidency to this day. People need to see beyond the instant statistics. They need to look beyond the latest job report or the latest economic numbers that fluctuate on a monthly basis. They need to look at the difference that Presidential decisions make over the long haul and that can truly effect the direction the country takes. What we saw last night was a country that chose to stick with a President for that long haul, a country that saw progress being made and a country that realized there are some things that extend beyond a simple four years of 100 percent success or failure. Sure, plenty of people thought maybe
giving Governor Romney a shot at the economy could make a difference, but the reality is that it takes longer than four years to solve a financial mess completely and taking that risk of switching directions means the possibility of putting two justices in the court who could literally throw out decades of progressive legislation. This can include things such as marriage equality and women’s rights. During the President’s second term, he will need to look at issues including immigration, climate change and economic regulation. These are issues that can come down to the courts, much like the health care law did recently. It is important, not only through
a liberal perspective, but through the perspective of moderate America. A leader needs to be in place that will not bend to a crazy extreme, but rather understand that he needs to represent the country as a whole. President Obama has proven that he is willing to do that through his past Supreme Court Appointments. The first justice he appointed was Sonia Sotomayor and the second was Elena Kagan. In his appointments, the President made it clear that he was appointing judges who were had a record of upholding the constitution and also using their hearts on tough decisions to defend people who otherwise would not be defended. More than
conservative or liberal leaning, Obama shows that he is willing to appoint people who will rule in the best interest of the entire American public. That is why last night’s re-election means so much. The people elected a man who has a track record of putting the country before partisan politics in such an important situation, while it would have be doubtful at best that his challenger would have done the same. Whatever the outcome is after the next four years of a Barack Obama presidency, it is a good sign that there is someone in the office who has a clear idea of the importance of long-term decisions and doesn’t bend to short-term solutions for political points.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ZIMBIO.COM
The Supreme Court Justices
Local Students vote from afar ALEXA VAGALETOS Staff Writer
While most St. John’s students are from the five boroughs and Long Island, a growing number have a longer distance to their local polling station, making it more difficult to cast a ballot on Election Day. So what do these students do when it comes to voting? For the people who feel most strongly about it, submitting their vote and representing their state through an absentee ballot has been their way of making their voice heard. The increased access to absentee ballots and early voting options in some states has made it easier on students here at St. John’s to cast their ballot, and made voting easier for everybody. Though absentee ballots count the same as a traditional vote, how and when absentee ballots are counted depends on
Mail-in ballots are counted beginning seven business days before Election Day. No results are released until Election Day. Applications for absentee ballots had to have been received on or before October 30th, 2012 by mail. There is no deadline in person.
In Connecticut the counting of absentee ballots begins between 10 am and 12pm on Election Day. There is no specific deadline for an absentee ballot application. They recommend requesting your ballot at least a month in advance.
each states individual laws and regulations. Some states start counting their ballots after the polls close on Election Day; some start when polls open on Election Day; some have specific times that they start and end on Election Day and others might even start days before hand. For example, New York begins
In Maryland, In Pennsylvania, the counting of absentee ballots absentee ballots are counted after begins at 10:00am polls on Election on the Thursday Day. Applications after the Election. for absentee ballots Absentee Ballot had to have been application had to received by 5:00 be received on or pm on October before October 30 30th, 2012. th, 2012 by 8 pm if it was requested in person or by mail or by 11:59 pm if requested by fax or mail.
counting its absentee ballots on Election Day, but Florida starts counting its absentee ballots at 7 a.m. on the 15th day before the election. Melissa Brazilia, a sophomore who is currently studying abroad on the St. John’s Rome campus shared her excitement about representing our country all the
Texas Absentee ballot counting in Texas begins after the polls open on Election Day. Applications for absentee ballots in Texas had to be received by close of business on October 30th, 2012.
way from across the world. “It feels amazing to vote. I feel like I took a stance in my opinion,” Brazilia, a registered Democrat, said. “I made it my obligation to send a ballot from abroad. It was a lot of work to do so but the Democrat[s] Abroad program made it very easy for us Democrat students to still
be involved.” She added that being able to vote at all was what mattered most to her, regardless of how it was submitted. Another sophomore, Karen Johnson, who is from North Carolina, shared the same feelings of excitement about being able to vote for the very first time. Although Ms. Johnson wished she could have voted in her hometown, she is happy that she even voted at all. “It is definitely important for people to do absentee ballots. Even if you are away from home you should still want to represent your state and do what you think is right to help it move forward.” She said that she was glad she made a difference, especially being from a swing state. “For the first time in many years my county voted Democratic [in 2008] after being a Republican county. So it proved the point that young people really do have a say.”
College Dems volunteer LOCAL LIBERALS CANVASS FOR OBAMA IN OHIO AND PENNSYLVANIA KORI WILLIAMS Staff Writer
The St. John’s University chapter of College Democrats canvassed for President Obama’s campaign in Pennsylvania and Ohio yesterday, the latter being a key battleground state that eventually decided the election. College Democrats returned from Pennsylvania on Tuesday after numerous trips to take residents to polling places. On previous trips, the group rallied support and registered residents from all over Pennsylvania to vote. “It was awesome,” said College Democrats President Erin Kennedy about the organization’s visits to Pennsylvania. “Some polling places saw record turnouts and it was cool to see people encouraging other people to go out and vote, it was a great environment.” While the House of Representatives remained under control of the Republican Party, College Democrats Treasurer Luis Quinones hoped that the Senate remained in the hands of the Democrats. “The Senate is probably going to stay blue thanks to Republicans not being able to stay away from controversy, specifically comments on rape and women’s rights,” said Quinones. “As far as a Republican House affecting
Obama goes, I think it depends on what conservatives want to do. If they can keep the anger going against Obama by voting no on everything he keeps putting forward it will.” On a trip to Pennsylvania on Sept. 22, the Obama campaign office was so impressed with the efforts put forth by St. John’s College Democrats that they invited them to go to Pennsylvania with them for all future events, an organization official said. The College Democrats’ hard work on the road was motivated mainly by the importance of this year’s presidential election. “This election is everything,” said Kennedy. “The decision that will be made is going to be the decision that will be felt throughout the country for decades to come.” “Before we were in two wars, we had an economy that was collapsing rapidly, and there seemed to be no recovery in sight,” added Quinones. “President Obama has fixed all of that, has shown an extraordinary amount of leadership over the past four years and he has shown that he is the person we need leading this country.” Flyers promoting the organization are visible all over campus and they hold multiple events every week, including debates with St. John’s College Republicans and Libertarians. Students are always urged to join and updates on meetings are continuously posted on the group’s Facebook
PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIN KENNEDY
The College Democrats with Obama supporters while canvassing in Pennsylvania. and Twitter page, @stjdems. A spokesperson for College Democrats stated, “College Democrats is a place where students who think the same way and are passionate can meet and discuss issues.”
Quinones added that even though the regular college student usually leans left and that New York is a historically liberal state, College Democrats would always like new members to join. “I definitely think that the
voices of liberal students should be heard around campus and I would encourage any student who wishes to do that to join College Democrats,” said Quinones Additional reporting by Peter Long, Entertainment Editor
Liberals not the only ones getting out vote MATTHEW WOLFSON Staff Writer While the College Democrats canvassed nationally for President Obama in Ohio and Pennsylvania, the College Republicans focused their efforts more locally, campaigning two Queens locals: Dan Halloran in his failed bid for Congress, and Eric Ulrich, the Republican candidate for state Senate. Greg Mitchell, president of the College Republicans of St. John’s, has been working to get these candidates elected, leading the club and listening to members on important decisions. “As a club we are trying to both help build the Republican Party as a whole as well as build the club on campus, educate students on the issues and to promote conservatism,” said Mitchell. Mitchell, who works for elected officials in Queens, has used his connections to help bring Republican speakers to St. John’s, including two members of Congress who are slated to come this
year. The College Republicans also supported Mitt Romney in yesterday’s presidential election. While Romney didn’t endear himself to some conservatives — who blamed him for President Obama’s reelection — in his campaign, Mitchell was not among them. “I absolutely feel that Mitt Romney is the best candidate,” said Mitchell. “Even back to the beginning of the race when there were several Republican candidates, Mitt was always my choice. He is the one who is best for our country.” Patrick Oberlies, a senior at St. John’s and a registered Republican in his home state of New Hampshire, is one of 212 people to “Like” the College Republicans of St. John’s University page on Facebook, and voted for Romney yesterday. “I voted for Mitt Romney based on economic issues and foreign policy issues,” said Oberlies. “I feel like he’s definitely stronger on the economy and I don’t like what I see from coun-
tries overseas and how they look at America.” While many universities throughout the nation lean to the left, politically, Mitchell feels that St. John’s is different. “St. John’s isn’t a liberal institution like many other universities in our state and country are,” Mitchell stated. “It is our job as the College Republicans to help educate students on the issues. If they knew the sides to the issues I am confident they will realize they are more conservative.” But it wasn’t just the College Republicans who campaigned for conservative candidates. Led by Justin Alick, the College Libertarians of St. John’s were out getting their message across yesterday, although the average student might not know exactly what that message is. “Because we have such a devotion to the principles of liberty, the College Libertarians believe in social tolerance and fiscal responsibility,” Alick said. “Libertarians believe in small government, minimizing coercion, maximizing voluntary decision-
making and voluntary charity.” The College Libertarians spent their day yesterday campaigning for their presidential candidate, Gary Johnson in his quixotic quest to get to 5 percent of the national popular vote. “Political activism doesn’t escape us,” Alick said. “Today was Election Day and we campaigned our final conversation with a stranger and gave out our last palm card and now we are hoping for the best and watch the results.” Some might be wondering why the Libertarians don’t simply choose one of the two more popular candidates, as they seem to be the only ones who stand a chance of winning. But Caroline Zottl, a student at St. John’s and a member of the Libertarian party, doesn’t feel that either major candidate has earned her vote. “I believe that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are incredibly similar,” explained Zottl. “Both support deficit spending, the Federal Reserve, the National Defense Authorization Act and
Patriot Act, the war on drugs, unnecessary wars, and both support the Department of Education. I do not support either of the major candidates.” Alick, a freshman, decided to get right to business upon matriculating at St. John’s, and started to College Libertarians of St. John’s right away. “I knew starting a group was going to be difficult,” said Alick. “But I learned that St. John’s has many libertarians that are afraid to speak in fear of being criticized for their ‘supposedly insensitive views.’” Alick pushed for Dan Halloran, a Republican who ran an unsuccessful bid for Congress, but explained that members of his group are split between the mainstream parties. “The College Libertarians and I invited them and anyone else who wanted to share their views, regardless of their political views,” Alick said of his group. “I just want to get people talking to each other about their philosophies and maybe come to a decision.”
Ex-dean found dead CECILIA CHANG FOUND DEAD IN APPARENT SUICIDE AMIDST FEDERAL TRIAL
Chang took stand day before death
TORCH PHOTO/ ANTHONY O’REILLY
ANTHONY O’REILLY News Editor Cecilia Chang, the former dean of the Asian Studies Center on trial for allegedly embezzling $1.1 million from the University and forcing international students to work as personal servants, died in an apparent suicide in the early hours of Nov. 6. She was 59. An NYPD spokesperson confirmed only that a person was found dead at Chang’s residence and referred calls to the Medical Examiner’s Office; a call there was not returned. According to a person familiar with the investigation, Chang attempted multiple methods of suicide that morning. Chang appeared to leave a note at the scene, according to a source, but it was written in Chinese and officers at the scene could not immediately translate it. There was a strong smell of gas around the neighborhood early Tuesday morning and fire trucks surrounded the block at about 7:30 a.m., according to Chang’s neighbors, who wished not to be identified. ConEd trucks also responded to the scene.
The neighbors said personnel from FDNY had trouble getting into the home, saying someone or something inside the house appeared to be blocking the entrance. Calls to the FDNY were not returned by the time the TORCH went to print. An official with the medical examiner’s office was seen leaving the house at about 11:15 a.m. allowing ConEd workers to go inside the house. Chang’s neighbors said they did not notice anything unusual during Chang’s last days, adding that for the most part she, “kept to herself” during the 30 years she lived there. Her death comes a day after Chang took the stand at her trial, and her testimony was at times incoherent and rambling, according to the New York Daily News. At one point Chang reportedly yelled at U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson, to which the judge responded, “Don’t be yelling at me or you’re going to be sorry.” The trial was set to resume Nov. 6. But instead, Johnson reportedly told those present in the court, where Chang was supposed to continue her trial that Chang
was “no longer with us.” He later called it a “Shakespearean tragedy,” and suggested that her apparent suicide was the reason she took the stand on Monday. “Sayonara. Get it off her chest,” the judge said, according to reports. “We never know how an individual handles the pressure.” Calls to the federal prosecutors in Chang’s trial were not returned. Stephen Mahler, Chang’s defense attorney, told the TORCH that Chang’s death was a “terrible tragedy.” “She loved St. John’s more than anything else,” he said. “In the end St. John’s wasn’t very kind to her.” Associate vice president for external relations Dominic Scianna said in a statement from the University, “St. John’s University was saddened to learn this morning of the death of Cecilia Chang. We ask the entire St. John’s University community to pray for her and her family.” Chang faced 20 years in federal prison if convicted of the charges.
On what proved to be the final day of Cecilia Chang’s embezzlement trial, she took the witness stand against the advice of her attorneys, according to a report in the New York Daily News. Chang reportedly yelled in court that her inflated expense reports were retribution for what she felt the University owed her. “I laid out so much money over the years,” she said. “I raised $20 million for St. John’s.” On the stand, Chang admitted to lying to an FBI agent about charging personal expenses to her University issued credit card and using international students as personal workers, saying she was drunk during the interview. Chang said she felt she was owed money for business-related gifts that she paid for on her own. Chang also used her time on the stand to lambaste both the current University President Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M. and former president Rev. Joseph Cahill. Chang said she paid for Cahill’s gambling habit, saying he took weekly trips to racetracks and Atlantic City.
About Harrington, she said she gave him about $400,000 in cash to “help the poor,” and that Harrington received 40-to-50 custom-made suits from a tailor in Hong Kong. Her death also comes a day after the Daily News reported that, according to sources, Chang’s husband on his deathbed pointed her as a prime suspect in the 1990 execution style shooting that took his life. Earlier in the trial, Fr. Harrington testified as a prosecution witness that, according to a transcript obtained by The Torch, he “trusted Cecilia” and that her gift giving was frequent and spanned all the way back to the first time they met each other. Chang faced up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted on all charges. In the wake of her death, U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson declared a mistrial. The federal prosecutors in the case objected to the mistrial, according to reports. The prosecutors did not respond to calls seeking comment. - Anthony O’Reilly, News Editor
PHOTO COURTESY OF NEW YORK DALY NEWS/ KEN MURRAY
A look at Chang’s ‘Shakespearean Tragedy’ 1975- Started working at St. John’s University.
1989- First met University President Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M.
1992- Made first trip to Asia with Fr. Harrington
2007- Fr. Harrington discusses Chang’s financial documents with her, questioning their accuracy, according to testimony.
1995- Asian Center and Institute of Asian Studies become two separate entities. No longer officially the “Dean of Asian Studies,” but asked to keep title because she said the title “Dean” carried significance in Asian culture.
2010- Anonymous letter, written in Chinese, sent to Board of Trustees alerting them of Chang’s forcing international students to work as her personal servants.
2007-08- Fr. Harrington talks to Chang about possibly terminating her position, bringing up questions about her fundraising efforts, according to testimony.
Nov. 5 2012 - Chang takes the stand against attorney’s advice, reports that she seemed incoherent and at times belligerent; New York Daily News reports that Chang was “prime subject” in husband’s murder investigation.
Sept. 15, 2010 - Arrested on more than 200 charges of first-degree grand larceny, second-degree forgery, first-degree falsification of business records.
Nov. 6 2012- Chang apparently commits suicide in her Jamaica, Queens home.