Spring '24 Issue No. 12

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The Signal

Impractically Hilarious: Joe Gatto performs CUB comedy show

Former Impractical Joker Joe Gatto came to campus on March 26 to deliver a hilariously relatable comedy show, along with opener and comedian Chris Johnston.

Hosted by the College Union Board, the event started at 8:30 p.m. and filled every seat in Kendall Hall. Many students who were waiting in line were turned away after the auditorium reached maximum capacity.

Freshman finance major Ivanna Viznovych said she waited in the STEM building’s café in the early afternoon to see when students started lining up for the show. She ended up waiting around four and a half hours in line until the doors opened at 7:30 p.m.

“CUB has not seen a turn out like this for this type of event for a couple of years now,” said junior communications major Jennifer Kelly, one of the lead coordinators of the event. “We are overwhelmed with joy to have had so much student support.”

Prior to the event, CUB held a scavenger hunt to give away free front row tickets to the lucky winners. Freshman early childhood education and sociology

major Emma Williams was one of the few who won the tickets through the scavenger hunt and sat in the second row for the show. During Gatto’s performance, Williams was able to interact with the comedian after he asked the crowd who the school’s mascot was.

“I think [I yelled] a lion and [held] up my hands as if they were paws. He then

Mayo Business Plan Competition winner

The College’s Mayo Business Plan Competition completed its final round on March 27, with Golden Connections taking home the grand prize of $30,000.

The competition began with over 25 teams. Six teams were invited to advance to the semi-finals in February. From this, three teams were selected to advance to the finals in March.

The Golden Connections team comprised Lauren Cunningham, a senior marketing major, Emma Route, a junior chemistry major and Sangam Shivaprasad, a senior biology major.

Former business school dean William Keep and emeritus finance faculty member Herbert ‘Buddy’ Mayo launched the business plan competition in 2011, funded by an endowment initiated by Dr. Mayo. With ongoing enhancements driven by feedback from judges and alumni, the competition ensures students have the resources needed to refine their plans each year.

“They recognized the valuable opportunity that could be afforded to students to develop their business ideas, underscoring the need and value of entrepreneurs, and helping students develop confidence in the process,” said Tammy Dieterich, Interim Dean of the School of Business.

The ladies of Golden Connections are all College ambassadors and were inspired to participate by two previous ambassadors and the 2023 winners of the competition, Katie Olsen and Molly O’Brien.

Golden Connections is an AIpowered health and wellness digital platform tailored to the needs of senior caregivers to offer peace of mind through an intuitive AI concierge named Grace.

“The platform incorporates speech and language biomarkers, community and calendar functions, and AI all into one seamless platform that is easily accessible because it is a really fragmented market,” Shivaprasad said.

One of their goals is to bridge the gap in current applications that use speech and language biomarkers but are clinically focused.

“Currently there are no applications or platforms in the market that have a consumer facing initiative and use the same feature suite as Golden Connections,” Route said.

Their passion extends past the competition as they are currently working with individuals in the industry on the next steps of taking Golden Connections to market. 2nd Chance is a prospective enterprise that will give the College community a thrift store on campus. The idea stemmed from Cortezano, who had always dreamed of opening up a thrift store, reflecting her core beliefs of sustainability and serving her community.

“We wanted to be located in Campus Town so our thrift store would be easily accessible to students without a car,” Cortezano said. “We also wanted to address the material waste that is produced after the academic school year by taking these items in and keeping them out of landfills.”

proceeded to laugh, and then I asked if he wanted to see a picture of Roscoe,” said Williams, who then gave her phone to Gatto to see a picture of Roscoe the lion. Gatto’s comedy show consisted of many retellings of funny memories shared with his co-stars from “Impractical Jokers.” Some of these stories include the time Gatto and James “Murr” Murray

snuck into a party during Comic Con and when Gatto tricked Sal Vulcano into getting a very questionable massage. In addition, he also spoke candidly to the student audience about living life to the fullest in college and Gatto’s love of making others feel uplifted.

“This is a really good time in your life right now,” said Gatto as he was making his final sentiments. “And I heard from a lot of you guys through Instagram messages or whenever I meet you guys about how I’ve been there for you through tough times. That’s why I do what I do.”

After the show, members of CUB’s live board were able to spend time with Gatto, including Kelly.

“He was a genuinely kind person who went out of his way to interact with us. He still made us smile off stage, as he is just as funny in everyday life,” said Kelly. “He even applauded the CUB members who starred in our Impractical Jokersstyled TikTok.”

Gatto’s comedy special was one of the large scale shows CUB puts on each semester, with Swae Lee being last semester’s performance. For those who wish to keep with the organization’s upcoming events, follow their instagram @tcnjcub.

‘Overcrowded’ classes are hard to prevent

As course enrollment for next semester starts, students are tasked with enrolling in courses before they fill up — a task that can sometimes be challenging. In recent semesters, enrollment caps have gone up and the number of courses being offered has decreased, leading to a greater number of students in each class.

This semester, adjunct professor of mathematics Kellie McKinney is teaching two courses, both of which are more full than usual, she said. McKinney said her classes have typically run between 20 to 30 students in the past, but have 34 this semester.

While McKinney said she has not yet noticed the increased number of students causing any negative impacts on their ability

to learn, she believes some may have trouble seeing the front board.

“The only thing that seems to be a little tough in the one classroom is the positioning of the projector screen,” McKinney said in a Feb. 8 email. “It makes it hard for some of the students on the left side of the classroom to see it easily without obstruction from someone else’s head or my computer system.”

This semester, a total of 2,115 courses were scheduled across all academic departments — the least number of courses since at least the fall 2021 semester, according to data provided to The Signal by Head Media Relations Officer Luke Sacks. This count is comprised of all course types, ranging from lecture discussions and seminars to independent studies and internships.

Gatto spoke of funny memories shared with his co-stars from “Impractical Jokers.”
Vol. LIII, No. 12 Serving The College of New Jersey since 1885 April 5, 2024 https://www.tcnjsignalnews.com/
Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone
Follow us! @tcnjsignal FEATURES page 5 April 8 solar eclipse: Everything you need to know A total solar eclipse is scheduled to pass over North America, covering different parts of Mexico, Canada and the U.S. OPINIONS page 7 MCs in music Rappers produce songs with lyrics lacking substance, whereas MCs produce more complex content. SPORTS page 15 March Madness Predictions The Signal sports section makes predictions on the upcoming men’s college basketball Final Four. ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT page 12 ArtsComm Summer Camp The College’s School of the Arts and Communication will host a Design and Creative Technology Academy and a Future Music Educators Institute.
see MAYO page 2
This semester, a total of 2,115 courses were scheduled across all academic departments.
Photo by Shane Gillespie

OVERCROWDING / Keeping track of room ‘capacities’

This may be one contributing factor as to why several courses this semester are overcrowded, in which McKinney’s class is just one example. But what “overcrowded” really means can vary.

The College has at least four maximum capacity numbers for each class. First, the “class capacity” represents the maximum number of students that can enroll in a given course, which is shown in PAWS, and is set based on the course type. Second, the BookIt system lists a “max capacity” number for each room as well.

Records and Registration also sets a “capacity” for each classroom, which takes into consideration things such as furniture and recommendations from deans and academic departments, according to Sacks.

Finally, the “egress” capacity is set by Maggie Greco, the campus architect calculated by allocating capacities to classrooms derived from floor-wide capacity limits in accordance with the New Jersey Construction Code.

Each of these capacity numbers can, and often do, differ from one another. For example, in Social Sciences Room 323 — a classroom that has four classes scheduled in it with enrollments above the Records and Registration “capacity” limit — the “max capacity” in the BookIt system is set at 32, the Records and Registration “capacity” is set at 33 and the “egress” capacity is set at 40.

Across all academic departments, at least 71 classes have been scheduled this semester that have an enrollment above the Records & Registration “capacity” number of their respective classrooms, based on classroom capacity data provided to The Signal. One of McKinney’s classes is two students above this “capacity.”

According to the data, MUS 13101/MUS 171-01, the Treble Ensemble course, has the greatest number of students above “capacity.” This course has 22 students, but Music Building room 123, where the course is scheduled according to PAWS, only has a “capacity” of 11. However, Heather Mitchell, assistant director of choral activities and the instructor of the course, said in an email that the ensemble meets in both room 123 and room 027 in the Music Building.

Additionally, at least 18 classes have a total enrollment that exceeds the “egress” capacity.

When it comes to scheduling classes each semester, faculty and staff in each department utilize PAWS and BookIt to determine how many students can fit in each classroom without exceeding capacity. Most departments are given “priority rooms,” or classrooms that can be reserved by specific departments to help ensure they can schedule the classes they need and properly accommodate the number of students in each room.

However, some faculty and staff that The Signal spoke with said they found it difficult to keep track of what the maximum occupancy of classrooms is when scheduling classes because there are multiple maximum capacity numbers. In addition, Sacks said that academic department staff do not have access to “egress” capacity numbers.

Karen Dubrule, the program assistant for the department of sociology and anthropology, has multiple “priority rooms” that she schedules classes in. One of these rooms, Social Sciences 323, has a “capacity” of 33. However, she says she regularly schedules classes with an enrollment cap of 34 in this room, because her department has no other rooms available to accommodate the “class capacity” determined by the type of the course.

“My classes are almost 100% full, so we have very few seats,” Dubrule said. “I know it was definitely a scramble for students, even to the very evening of the last day of add/ drop [period], just trying to find a class to get into.”

Dubrule and another academic

department staff member who requested to remain anonymous stated that within the last few years, there has been an initiative pushed by members of the College’s administration to raise the enrollment caps of many class types.

“I definitely think it’s becoming a problem,” Dubrule said. “And I know that on the table of all the changes that they’re trying to think of, [one of them] is to raise the caps even further, but I don’t actually know that our classrooms would allow for that.”

Diane Steinberg, assistant professor of English, said she feels it may be difficult for the College to continue increasing the enrollment caps of classes, especially if the College wants to maintain the smaller class sizes it’s known for.

“The College in general has a long history of small classes, and so we have a big array of small classrooms,” Steinberg said. “So as the College is starting to think about experimenting with lecture classes, we have to say, ‘But where are they going to meet?’”

Jason Dahling, chair of the department of psychology, told the Signal that one of the challenges his department faces is finding a room for their larger advising courses. He said the department doesn’t have a large enough “priority room” to accommodate these classes, so the department often has to request to use the Mayo Concert Hall or library instead.

Olivia Burton, the program assistant for the department of art and art history, said she thinks there are numerous ways in which the College can go about addressing the issue of

overcrowded classes. One solution she shared is the reconfiguration of older academic buildings to better accommodate larger groups of students.

“The facilities of 40 years ago could be adapted and the classrooms reshaped, reconfigured, reimagined or even, you know, a new building put in place,” Burton said. She also suggested that the College continue looking into whether certain courses can be hybridized to incorporate online instruction if classroom capacity would limit students’ ability to register. However, she expressed the importance of this idea being looked at with scrutiny, as she believes it could do more harm than good in some cases depending on the subject area.

“I think it’s still important to remember that certain curricula have certain physical standards of safety, and some of that just can’t be hybridized and receive the same instruction,” she said.

Dubrule suggested the College reexamine the scheduling grid to open up more time slots to offer a greater number of classes each day. The 12:30 p.m. block on Tuesdays and Fridays is currently reserved for colloquium, or academic conferences and meetings. However, according to Dubrule, it is not well used for this. She also suggested adjusting the start time for 8 a.m. classes.

“Nobody wants to teach the 8 a.m.’s and no one wants to take the 8 a.m.’s, but I think if you started at 8:30, that changes a lot for a lot of people,” Dubrule said.

Dahling said that the current financial situation may make it difficult to prevent overcrowded classes, as increasing class sizes is one potential way to reduce budget deficits.

“What is the best way to close that financial gap while also preserving the quality of education at the college?” Dahling said. “Larger class sizes is one answer to that question, but not necessarily the one we’re going to go with.”

Overall, overcrowded classes have shown to be a growing worry for academic faculty. Without implementing a solution, students’ learning experience may be impacted.

“Something’s gonna have to happen,” Dubrule said. “There’s just not enough places to put courses.”

MAYO / Golden Connections wins competition and $30,000

Continued from page 1

2nd Chance took home the second prize of $20,000, consisting of Caley Faith Cortezano, a junior public health major, Alex Fabiano, an interdisciplinary business major, and Dylan Romanski, a senior finance major

2nd Chance is a prospective enterprise that will give the College community a thrift store on campus. The idea stemmed from Cortezano, who had always dreamed of opening up a thrift store, reflecting her core beliefs of sustainability and serving her community.

“We wanted to be located in Campus Town so our thrift store would be easily accessible to students without a car,” Cortezano said. “We also wanted to address the material waste that is produced after the academic school year by taking these items in and keeping them out of landfills.”

According to Cortezano, 2nd Chance has a competitive advantage over similar stores like Goodwill for their

organizational standards. They aim to create a welcoming environment that is aesthetically pleasing and organized. They would also have the advantage of being located on a college campus for leveraging high foot traffic.

In third place, taking home $10,000, is Girls Got Your Back. The team featured Olivia Chiarella, a junior communication studies major, Victoria Dasilva, a junior finance major, Tatiana Sawka, a junior marketing major, and Madilynne Silfer, a senior marketing major.

Girls Got Your Back is a dynamic app in development that aspires to create a network of solidarity for college women facing “mini emergencies” in their daily lives by facilitating mutual assistance during times of need and offering immediate access to essential products and relief.

“Girls Got Your Back has a bright future and we’re all subscribed to it,” Chiarella said. “We know that college students across the nation need our app

and we hope to reach every single one of them.”

The Mayo Business Plan competition offers students of all majors the opportunity to bring their ideas to life and learn valuable skills in the process.

Golden Connections was able to effectively leverage each other’s strengths to bolster their business plan.

“We incorporated all three of our backgrounds to create what Golden Connections is,” Shivaprasad said.

Route’s background in speech and language biomarkers, stemming from her internship with Johnson & Johnson, helped to drive the business plan.

Ryan Chiu, winner of the 2018 Mayo Business Plan Competition, said he believes the key to succeeding in this competition is starting early and leveraging the College’s assets, as well as leaning on your mentors.

“Our mentor Dr. Becker has guided us through this competition,” Cunningham said. “She has truly been so dedicated

to Golden Connections and seeing that solution within it.”

According to Chiu, the competition helps with presentational skills, thinking on your feet and selling a project with passion.

In 2018, Chiu and his partner built a prototype robot, dubbed MARCo, that was their “third” presenter. This initiative wowed judges, helping them secure the victory.

While Chiu has stepped back from MARCo, he believes that this competition is helpful for developing soft skills and has provided him with the foundation to succeed in his current role.

The winners all recognize the hard work that goes into the competition, but also the greater reward that comes out of it.

“It is an excellent experience and the prize is large enough to generate real interest,” Mayo said. “Even if many drop out, they begin to realize how much is required to start a business.

page 2 The Signal April 5, 2024
number of classes scheduled each semester
since fall 2021.
Chart by Tristan Weisenbach

RSOs will no longer be charged for security at events

As of March 1, recognized student organizations will no longer be charged for campus police services. The College has decided to start covering these costs to ensure safety of the campus community.

Funds from RSOs who have already paid for these services this semester will be reallocated to a general pool to be used for other events this semester.

RSO’s still have access to the same quality services; the only difference is that the College is now covering the cost by providing a budget to Campus Police, with the cost depending on factors such as attendance, location and length of event.

Campus Police Chief Timothy Grant said that event security itself depends on various factors, including the size of the event, use of parking lots, traffic, potential security threats, and the duration and location of the event. The fee, which

the College will now pay, also changes depending on the rank of the officer on duty.

“The average hourly rate of $60 was added through the booking process to the organization’s event so event planners had an idea of how much to expect prior to their event, and the exact amount was billed after,” said Jennifer Simon, assistant director of student life. “Prior to this decision, RSOs could request funding from SFB to cover Campus Police costs or could use their fundraising dollars.”

However, these rates are now being covered by the College. Even though the fees are no longer the RSOs’ responsibility, student organizations still need to provide proper notice and planning.

“As part of an overall plan to increase administrative and fiscal efficiency, rather than billing organizations for individual events, the College will provide Campus Police with the budget line to cover costs,” said Chief Grant.

This decision will allow student organizations to freely plan their events without having to worry about the costs

for security. Simon said that a committee met and discussed the plan thoroughly during the fall semester. This is where they decided that removing the fee would ensure the safety of students and the overall campus community.

Events that were taking place after March 1 were not charged a fee. If the event took place prior to the announcement, these fees were removed and placed into a general pool. According to Simon, any money that SFB had allocated for campus police services went back into a general pool to be used by RSOs that need funding for events the rest of this semester.

“This change provides RSOs with the ability to plan and host events in a way that puts safety at the forefront of their planning process, without having to stress about costs,” said Simon. “Student Life, Campus Police and College administration will continue to work together to be as transparent as possible in this process. We are excited about the possibilities that this decision has opened for RSOs and appreciate the support of campus partners including Campus Police.”

Presumptive Democratic Senate nominee Andy Kim makes TCNJ campaign stop

Democratic Rep. Andy Kim, the presumed Democratic nominee for one of New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seats, made a stop at the College last week for his campaign. At the event organized by the TCNJ College Democrats, Kim answered questions about his career in government as well as his own political beliefs.

The progressive Democrat currently represents New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District, but declared his candidacy for the coming Senate election after Menendez and his wife were charged with bribery.

“I feel compelled to run against him,” Kim wrote in a post on X in September of last year. “Not something I expected to do, but NJ deserves better.”

Despite multiple charges of bribery and corruption, Menendez has remained in office and had declared that he would be seeking re-election. Tammy Murphy, wife of Democratic Governor Phil Murphy, soon after declared that she would also be seeking to oust Menendez, making it a hotly contested Democratic field.

The race has been heated so far, with more charges against Menendez, accusations of nepotism against Murphy, a young Democratic organization being possibly threatened by the Murphy campaign and Kim’s war against — and recent victory over — the county party line.

Days before the scheduled TCNJ College Democrats event, Menendez announced he would not seek reelection as a Democrat, but possibly as an independent. Murphy dropped out of the race entirely to avoid “[wasting] resources tearing down a fellow Democrat.”

Within just days, candidate Kim became presumed Democratic nominee Kim.

“We’re looking forward to no longer calling him Congressman Andy Kim,” said Jared Williams, co-president of TCNJ College Democrats and junior political science major, while introducing the candidate. “But to calling him the Honorable Senator Andy Kim for the great state of New Jersey.”

At the event, Kim discussed his political beliefs as well as his journey

into politics. Attendees listened intently to the congressman and were even able to have brief one-on-one conversations with him, where they were also able to take a quick photo.

The congressman told the group he found his calling for public service following the 9/11 terrorist attacks while he was in college. He then went on to work for the U.S. State Department in Iraq and Afghanistan, and later for the National Security Council during a time when ISIS was expanding in the Middle East. Kim frequently aided thenPresident Barack Obama, but told The New Yorker that the work made him a “shell of a human being,” encouraging him to leave the White House job.

“I was a career guy, I swore my oath to the Constitution,” Kim told the group. “I was not affiliated with any [political] party in a formal way. I served whoever was the president and the executive branch.”

Kim told the group that he found himself worrying about healthcare, education and other problems as well as the election of President Donald Trump, whom he described as being “dangerous on all of these issues.”

“I just happened to be from a district that had a Republican Congressman. No Democrats were stepping up against him because, you know, he won by 20 points in his previous race,” said Kim. “I think that people thought he was unbeatable or that it would be exceedingly difficult.”

Kim went on to win his 2018 Congressional campaign and then reelection in 2020.

The congressman was also asked about a moment that gained him national attention: the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the Capitol. After the violence of the attacks subsided, Kim made national headlines when he was spotted in the rotunda of the Capitol Building cleaning up garbage that the rioters had left.

“Part of me was hoping that what had just happened would be some like defibrillator moment that shocks our country back into some normal rhythm,” Kim said at the event. “Then just a few minutes later, people started speaking, and then [were] literally just pulling their speech out of their pocket. And it’s the same speech that they were going to give denying the election results, the same speech that they were going to give as if the insurrection hadn’t happened.”

Kim has a history of advocating for “good government,” which he is continuing in his current campaign. The congressman has used his platform and context of his campaign against Menendez to fight against policies which he believes are undemocratic in New Jersey. Even since the beginning of the race, media outlets have described his campaign as being for Senate as well as against the New Jersey political machine.

“I think just in general people don’t want the same old same old politics here in New Jersey,” Kim told The Signal. “And I hope that we can see a lot more energy and participation in the Democratic Party, I think we can make it stronger in that way. So we’re going to keep at it and try to do so through this election.”

Overall, the event provided a chance for students to hear from an elected official, something that is rare for members of the College community.

“I thought the event was a wonderful opportunity for students on campus to engage civically and learn to be responsible citizens,” said Meera Bhatt, a sophomore special education and psychology major. “While I appreciate TCNJ Democrats putting this event together, I wish there was more outreach done so Andy Kim’s talk could have

reached a wider audience. But overall, it was a great opportunity to learn from [him] and hear more about his values and his campaign.”

For the College Democrats, the event was a great opportunity to bring an elected official to campus, something they hope to do more of in the future.

“We all felt like this event was a huge success, both for TCNJ Democrats and for [the College] as a whole,” said Enzo Whetton, vice president of the organization and sophomore political science major. “We were very happy with the turnout and engagement from students who chose to attend and submit questions to ask the congressman and Senate candidate.”

The event served as a way for the campus community to be civically engaged while meeting one of the candidates for the upcoming primary at a time when Americans are becoming more apathetic about the political system.

“This is so important right now, you know, politics is not just like a hobby,” Kim told the audience. “It’s not just like an interest that you have. It is about shaping the moment, about shaping the future. My kids are going to grow up and you all will be taking leadership as my kids get older, so like, don’t screw it up.”

April 5, 2024 The Signal page 3
This decision allows RSOs to plan events without worrying about security costs. Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone Rep. Andy Kim at the event speaking to members of the College community about his experience in politics Photo by Brooke Zevon

The College implements new academic building access hours

The College updated its academic building access hours on Mar. 13 in an effort to make the campus more secure. Academic buildings are now unlocked for a shorter period of time — from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday — according to an email sent to the campus community by Chief of Police Timothy Grant.

Academic buildings are now locked, but accessible with swipe access, from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight on Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to midnight on Sunday. The only people who are able to gain access to academic buildings during these hours are students and employees of the College who use their TCNJ ID card or TCNJ Mobile ID.

“This change is one of several steps the College has taken to ensure the safety of our campus community,” said Head Media Relations Officer Luke Sacks. “Locking the academic buildings during these hours provides an extra layer of security.”

This security update comes after the College implemented mandatory safety training for all students and employees. Increasing campus security has been a focal point of discussion among the campus community this academic year.

Last month, Chris Nitti, associate director of Campus Police services, told The Signal, “Everybody has been used to the open campus concept and everybody

enjoys that, but the reality of it is, it’s a safety and security concern for the campus.”

Residential buildings are already locked at all times and are only accessible to those with swipe access.

Some students said they were unaware that open access to academic buildings was revised, while those who are informed have mixed feelings about it.

“I think it’s going to be a bit of a hassle,” said junior elementary education and psychology major Emily Attanasio.

Academic buildings are not just used for classes. Many clubs and organizations hold meetings and events in them — especially at night. Junior sociology and anthropology major Dana Laissle said the new swipe access could be a hurdle to club members.

“I think it makes it harder to be in student organizations because you have to swipe in, and most organizations start after six,” Laissle said.

Events taking place in academic buildings after 6 p.m. will be automatically accommodated to allow guests entry, provided that they are scheduled through Conference and Event Services, according to Grant.

Those hosting events should be mindful of security risks and adhere to the safety advice provided by Campus Police, such as keeping doors properly closed and avoiding propping them open.

While acknowledging that the College has its reasons for implementing safety procedures, Attanasio suggested a later locking-up time.

“I do see where the school is coming

from,” said Attanasio. “I think the time might be a little bit too early, though. I think at 8:30 p.m. they should start locking things up.”

Being required to swipe into buildings at an earlier hour is a transition that may take some getting used to. To make it easier for students, faculty and staff to swipe into buildings, the College introduced TCNJ Mobile ID last semester.

“The College specifically waited to implement this new schedule until after the mobile credentials were deployed for students during the fall semester,” Sacks said. “We wanted to allow plenty of time for students to get used to using the mobile credentials before making the change.”

Kaitlyn Verney, a senior speechlanguage pathology and audiology major, uses the mobile ID to conveniently swipe into buildings. She said that still having

the ability to swipe into locked buildings is good.

“I do worry though, if people for some reason lost their ID or something, and they’re just trying to go in,” Verney said.

If a person loses their ID, they must purchase a new one from the Office of Student Accounts in Green Hall 119 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

In his email, Grant acknowledged that mobile credentials and ID cards sometimes malfunction. If an ID card malfunctions, email lockhelp@tcnj.edu for assistance. If a mobile credential malfunctions, submit a ticket through the IT HelpDesk.

Keeping the campus safe and secure requires effort from everyone in the community. “Thank you for your cooperation and commitment to keeping our TCNJ community safe,” Grant said.

Cop Shop: Fire alarms, email scams and strange parking lot incidents

The Signal and Campus Police work together on a weekly basis to inform the campus community about crime on and around campus. All records given to The Signal are public records and do not contain personal information. Some information provided may be triggering for some students.

The following incidents involve both students and individuals of the Ewing community, but have all occurred on campus. They are listed in chronological order.

March 2: Stairwell fire alarm and abandonment

Campus Police arrived at the fifth stairwell on the fourth floor of Lot 7 around 10 p.m. after the emergency strobe lights and a fire alarm was activated. Upon their arrival, there were no students or people present in the stairwell, but the smell of burnt cannabis was apparent to the officers.

Tobacco leaves and tobacco packaging were found scattered along the stairwell’s floor, but there was no cannabis among the litter. After the area was cleared and secured, Campus Police reset the alarm and strobe lights.

March 2: Burnt Food in Norsworthy

Campus Police was dispatched to Norsworthy after the building’s fire alarm and strobe lights were activated. The residents were evacuated, and Norsworthy’s fire panel pointed the alarm to a resident’s room. Upon entering the room, officers observed an open microwave and a trash can with burnt food in it.

Residents were allowed back in after the Ewing Fire Department reset the alarm and determined its activation to be due to ‘careless cooking.’

March 14: Pretend Professor and Research Email Scam

The College’s Chief Security Officer Matthew Cesari sent out a campus-wide email advising students of a possible scam alert. Around 7:30 p.m. on March 14, a student reported to Campus Police his interaction with the scammer.

The scammer was pretending to be an economics professor at the College and had a College logo in the header of their email. The student noticed multiple grammatical errors in the email, as well as questions asked by the “professor” as suspicious and did not provide a response.

The student did not suffer any monetary losses, and the case of the scammer remains open.

March 20: Pretend Professor Scores

A student made a report to Campus Police after she had a similar interaction with the scammers listed in the previous report — this time facing monetary losses.

The scammers sent two images of checks to the student and asked her to deposit them. The first check was written for $870.09 and the second for $432.85. After she began the depositing process, the scammer instructed her to quickly purchase two $500 prepaid Walmart mastercards and send them the card number, expiration date and security code.

The checks the student received were still pending at the time of the Walmart card purchase, resulting in the student using her own funds for the cards. The student’s father provided the funds for the second gift card, as there was not yet enough money in her account.

The checks were proven to be fraudulent by the bank and the student

was not reimbursed for the transaction. The scammers requested additional Walmart cards, but the student denied the request.

With a total of $1,004 stolen from the student, Campus Police provided her with a victim notification form and was told to contact her bank’s fraud department. The scammer has been blocked from the student’s contact.

March 21: Travers elevators criminal mischief

At around 9 a.m., elevator maintenance representatives contacted Campus Police to report a damaged cable connecting to the door of Elevator 1, which would need to be replaced for the doors to open and close properly. The repair cost approximately $40.

The representative also reported to Campus Police footprints observed on the interior door of Elevator 3, which did not cause damage but did express concern from the representatives. They said if kicking and stepping on the doors continued, the elevator could get stuck and it would cost the College a lot of money.

Elevator 1 was under repair for over an hour to replace the faulty cable.

March 25: Three tire vehicle

At 11:35 a.m., a member of Building Services called Campus Police to report a car parked in lot 13 with only three tires.

Upon inspection, Campus Police noticed the passenger side tire missing from the vehicle, with remnants of the sidewalls still on the rim of the wheel. There were also marks on the ground consistent with the width of the wheel’s rim, which trailed back to the main roadway, indicating the vehicle was driven into the garage with the tire missing.

Campus Police notified the student

who was the owner of the vehicle with a safety concern.

Surveillance footage showed the vehicle arriving at the parking garage on March 19 at approximately 3:05 a.m., with its hazard lights on and the tire missing.

Since the incident, Campus Police has not seen the vehicle in the lot.

March 27: Criminal basketball players

A Campus Police officer was doing his regular patrolling when he noticed a Dodge Charger parked in Lot 12 at 1:10 a.m., an unusual hour for vehicles in the faculty parking lot. The officer recognized the vehicle from previous run ins of trespassing on the school’s basketball court and ran the license plate to confirm the person’s identity.

After making the confirmation in the Mobile Data Terminal, the officer was notified the individual had an active extraditable warrant out of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

In search of the individual, the officer and backup entered the basketball court in Packer Hall. Inside, multiple individuals, who were not students, were on the court playing basketball. The officer was able to identify the owner of the Dodge Charger from the identification photo of the Mobile Data Terminal and asked for his name. The individual provided a contorted version of his legal name and headed for the exit. He also denied being the vehicle’s owner before the officer announced he was under arrest.

The other individuals evacuated after the officers told them they were trespassing on campus property, and the owner of the Dodge Charger was brought into custody. He was fingerprinted and brought to the Mercer County Correctional Center.

page 4 The Signal April 5, 2024
Academic buildings are now unlocked for less hours. Photo by Shane Gillespie


The April 8 solar eclipse: Everything you need to know

A solar phenomenon is headed in our direction. On April 8, a total solar eclipse is scheduled to pass over North America, covering different parts of Mexico, Canada and the United States. Each area will see a different level of darkness depending on the location in accordance to the path of the eclipse.

An eclipse occurs when the moon’s path overlaps with the Earth’s view of the sun, creating a tie of darkness that can be either

partial or total, depending on the path and the location from where you view it, according to NASA.

According to the American Astronomical Society, the moon’s dark shadow, spanning 115 miles wide, will cross America in a path starting down in Texas and working its way up to Maine. The path of totality coverage spans 70 miles wide, covering several places in America with total darkness.

People viewing the eclipse from the College can expect a 90% partial eclipse, according to NorthJersey. com, with the eclipse entering its

partial stage at around 2:08 p.m., reaching its peak at 3:24 p.m. and ending at 4:35 p.m.

According to Architectural Digest, the eclipse will be best seen in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and small areas of Tennessee and Michigan.

The last time that the United States saw a total solar eclipse was Aug. 21, 2017, the first one since 1979, according to the American Astronomical Society.

During the eclipse, the physics department has organized an event to provide information and viewing for students who are interested.

“The physics department will have a table with information about eclipses as well as tools to look at the partial eclipse (90% at the maximum) near the Brower Student Center,” said Professor Lauranne Lanz, a physics professor at the College. “They will likely be there from 2-4:30 pm, which is essentially the entire duration of the partial eclipse here.”

Although the sun will be covered, viewing the eclipse with eye safety

is still advisable. Eclipse glasses or secondary viewing methods are recommended by NASA when the eclipse is in partial coverage stages, as looking directly at the sun can be damaging to the eyes. If you are in a location where the eclipse will have total coverage, it can be viewed directly, but only while the sun is completely covered, according to NASA.

“90% blocked of a massive forest fire is still dangerous, just as 90% of the Sun blocked is still dangerous,” said physics Professor Mariah MacDonald in email.

Since the information of the orbit of the sun, moon and Earth are all known, the timing and paths of eclipses can be easily calculated, and have been up to the year 3000.

“We know the orbits perfectly well and can just calculate when things will happen (the calculation is similar to a common denominator calculation that you do in elementary school),” MacDonald said.

According to NASA, the next total solar eclipse visible from the United States will take place on Aug. 23, 2044. So make sure to carve out some time to stop by the Stud, get some glasses and take a look!

The success story of Eric Van Eck and the Collegiate Recovery Program

As mental health issues continue to be prevalent among college students, it is important for students to understand the services their college provides. On campus, the Collegiate Recovery Program promotes the wellness of students who are struggling with addictions or are in the recovery process. Eric Van Eck, a peer recovery specialist at the College, has an incredibly inspiring story in his journey against substance use and towards the priority of mental health.

Van Eck is no stranger to the community at the College. Initially attending in 2006 as a nursing major, he, like many other college students, started experimenting with substance use. Over time, his initial sources of stress relief began to take control of his mind, creating the early signs of an addiction.

By his junior year, the onset of a breakup, as well as joining a fraternity, accelerated the progression of his addiction to the point that it became an illness. He began to show signs of an addiction, such as losing motivation in both school and his family.

“It was getting worse and worse, and it really was without my permission,” said Van Eck. “The addiction almost felt like it snuck up on me. I wasn’t getting any of the benefits anymore like I used to get. It was only causing me problems.”

In 2012, by the end of his junior year, his illness took over so much of his life that the College academically dismissed him.

But this was not the end of his story. The pivotal moment in Van Eck’s life came five years after his dismissal.

After being dismissed, he began

treatment, which consisted of both setbacks and advances, like all recovery processes. As he continued his treatments, his withdrawals continued to get worse and worse, “The kicker was that I wound up being in a hospital due to severe withdrawal,” Van Eck said. “I had a moment of clarity… it all happened in a blink of an eye.” This moment sparked a new chapter in his life.

During treatment Van Eck’s undiagnosed substance use disorder was treated, and with the help of friends and family, he had a new mission: to come back to the College. “I wanted to finish what I started,” he said.

Through volunteering at a local hospital and proving that he could live a sober lifestyle, he was accepted back into the College in 2017. Van Eck completed a bachelor’s degree in public health.

After graduating in 2018, Van Eck was given the opportunity to apply for a vacant role within the Recovery and Prevention program. Having credentials as a certified peer recovery specialist, he was hired and is still employed at the College today.

Once Van Eck returned to the College, he utilized a new program for substance free housing called Lion’s House, which was the result of a 2015 Collegiate Recovery Program grant from the state government.

Through Lion’s House, college students struggling with substance abuse or on their way to recovery have the right housing environment to do so. In addition to substance free housing, the program provides counseling services.

Now, the recovery and prevention program has changed to become even more impactful in the lives of college students.

“Since I have been working here,

our collegiate recovery program has expanded in many ways…” said Van Eck. “We have our community of students, the collegiate recovery community, that is a group of really inspiring students who in some way or another identify with the recovery process.”

This recovery program is no longer only for people who struggle with substances, it now includes many different types of issues. Van Eck stated, “We have substance use recovery, we have members in mental health recovery, self injury concerns, eating or body image issues, gambling or gaming addiction, problematic pornography use, PTSD recovery… and then there are members of our community who identify with recovery through the problematic use of their loved ones.”

Both allies and people in recovery may be treated through structured recovery meetings, which are peer-

led support groups that occur twice a week in the recovery lounge in the Recreation Center. There are general body meetings in which events are planned as a student organization.

“We do tabling activities, overdose reversal training, we have a spiritual retreat we go on every summer, we go karting, ice skating…we do a lot of community stuff together,” Van Eck explained.

The most important part is for people not to feel alone.

“Anybody is welcome, if you’re a TCNJ student, we want you to come out, we want you to experience our community, they can always reach out to me, and I’ll connect them to students,” Van Eck said. “I meet one on one with students who are in or are seeking recovery, and we have a couple of other coaches that do that as well. That’s part of our program.”

You an find the Collegiate Recovery program on Instagram @tcnjcrc.

Photo courtesy of Flickr A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes over the sun, which we will see again on April 8. Photo courtesy of Eric Van Eck Van Eck has an inspiring story of how he overcame substance abuse.

TCNJ Organic Land Management: A mission to eradicate Roundup

TCNJ Organic Land Management is a campus campaign group on a mission to eliminate Roundup, a chemical weed killer that has been found to cause cancer, and switch to more sustainable and organic alternatives. They aim to prevent the usage of these chemical weed killers as they are a threat to human health and the environment.

Roundup is a glyphosate-based herbicide that was known to be “probably carcinogenic,” according to WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. Glyphosate has been associated with the cause of respiratory concerns. Furthermore, “Roundup can trigger loss of biodiversity, making ecosystems more vulnerable to pollution and climate change,” according to researchers from McGill University.

TCNJ Organic Land Management is led by senior biology and secondary education major Bryan Wood and graduate public health major and graduate assistant for Campus as a Living Lab Hanna Sutzman. Through their campaign known as RoundOut, has three demands in order to eliminate the use of Roundup and other chemical weed killers, which include:

Start the three-year pilot program and begin facilities education by April 2024, including circulating baseline chemical usage to students and the Environmental Sustainability Council.

Reach 10% organically managed campus land by August of 2028 (one year after the three year pilot).

Attain bronze certification for the

Re:wild green ground by 2030 (50% of the campus being organically managed).

Re:wild Your Campus has created a certification that recognizes a school’s transition to more organic and sustainable methods when dealing with the land they use. It uses the green grounds certification, which ranges from bronze to silver to gold and platinum. It involves reducing pesticide use, increasing biodiversity, reducing water use, improving soil health and more.

TCNJ Organic Land Management is currently trying to reach bronze certification for the campus, which means that 50% of campus managed areas on campus do not use pesticides

and also follow the following criteria: “Campus has an integrated pest management plan or policy that indicates that synthetic pesticides should be used only as a last resort, and implements this policy.”

Jenna Needham, a freshman sociology major and researcher for TCNJ Organic Land Management, said she joined the group to make a difference.

“I felt that I could help the community eliminate Roundup and also take a stand in my community, which I felt I would be able to do in our course, Climate Justice and Social Action,” said Needham. “Without the course and Bryan Wood and Hanna Sutzman’s

actions and words, I never would’ve become more involved.”

On March 25, TCNJ Organic Land Management held a tabling event in the lobby of the Social Sciences Building, receiving 20 signatures for its campaign.

Through tabling, they garnered some students interested in their baby planting event, held on March 29 past the bridge behind Decker. While planting baby plants, students were educated on the importance of native plants and the dangers of Roundup on campus. The organization was not only able to educate students but also leave a mark on them by making them aware of the potential dangers present in the environment.

Maria Hourihan, another freshman sociology major and researcher for TCNJ Organic Land Management, said she joined the campaign to continue the work of its founders.

“I joined this group because I was passionate about eliminating the use of harmful herbicides, and I wanted to continue Bryan Wood and Hanna Sutzman’s efforts,” said Hourihan. “I did not want to allow their hard work to die in vain and not be continued after the great things they accomplished.”

TCNJ Organic Land Management still has a long way to go, working hard on eradicating the use of Roundup on campus and continuing to leave a mark on students by educating them on how relevant and important this issue is.

You can follow TCNJ Organic Land Management’s Instagram page, @tcnjorganicland, to learn more about their campaign.

Dealing with Loss: How the Artivism Project strives to bring the community together

Here at the College, students are able to connect and share their experiences relating to various social issues. One way they can do this is through the Artivism Project, which connects social justice and environmental issues with the fields of art and artmaking and serves as a collaboration between students, faculty and student organizations.

The Artivism Project was first created in 2014 and is currently led by Dr. Colleen Sears, department chair and professor of music, and Dr. Eric Laprade, the director of bands at the College. The Artivism Project has previously done three major projects, the first involving the Katrina Ballads, which were created by composer Ted Hearne. This theme explored the connection between this album and the issues of race and class around the time of Hurricane Katrina.

The second project was concerned with environmental justice, with the driver

being an art gallery at the College called Springs Eternal. This piece was mainly about water-related issues.

The third project was about Weather, a poem by Claudia Rankine that served as a critique of racial injustice during the pandemic.

The current project being covered is Life After Loss, which is quite different from the previous ones. “For this iteration of the project, we are kind of going for a broad theme instead of a specific issue,” said Sears.

She added, “The purpose of this particular iteration is to connect people over what is essentially a universal human experience.” Everyone has experienced loss at some point in their lives, whether it be losing a loved one or drifting apart from old friends after moving to college.

The theme of Life After Loss was partly inspired by the fact that the music department has lost four students and one faculty member, Dr. Gary Fienberg, in the past five years. “To lose any student is just a tragic experience, and losing four from

the same department, on top of a faculty member, has really left an impact on us. We needed a space for us to process these losses that just would not let up,” said Sears.

In this iteration, the Artivism Project plans to focus on how students can overcome their differences and connect as a society over the shared experience of loss. “We want to do something showing what happens to the people who are still here and how we show up each day despite all the things that have happened,” said Sears.

The project is accepting submissions on this theme from anyone, including students, faculty, and their friends and families. The submissions will essentially represent the things or methods that students have turned to as a way to continue on after a devastating loss. Since life after loss can be expressed in different forms, the Artivism Project is taking submissions through multiple types of media.

The available art submissions include songs that will be made into a playlist, inspiring quotes, photos, short stories or poems, and soundscapes. Sears and Laprade plan to create a website or platform to serve as a digital exhibition where people can see the various submissions for each topic.

“Our hope for these submissions is for students and faculty alike to express themselves and their feelings as they navigate loss, which is usually an isolating experience, and to connect people who have never even met before on the topic of loss,” said Sears. “We also hope that anyone involved in this project will find a sense of catharsis in submitting their form of creative expression.”

Sears and Laprade also have many international collaborators from Australia, the Netherlands and Germany who are interested in the Artivism Project’s work. “We are also using these submissions as a structure by which other people who are interested in doing this type of work can pin their own projects to and then create

their own programs on the theme of life after loss,” said Sears.

On April 27, Laprade will conduct a wind ensemble concert in Kendall Hall about the theme of Life After Loss. Viet Cuong, a composer, is writing an original piece for this theme, and its world premiere will be given at the concert. There will also be a visual display of the Artivism Project submissions.

“The work that goes into bringing a new piece of art into the world is really personal and rewarding,” said Sears. “My goal with these projects is to create experiences that will last in our memories.

Anyone interested in participating in the Artivism Project can find more information on the Department of Music website.

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page 6 The Signal April 5, 2024
Photo courtesy of Jenna Needham and Maria Hourihan TCNJ Organic Land Management students are taught by Richard McCoy, principal owner of Richard A. McCoy Horticultural Services Inc., to take soil samples off the ground at the pilot location. Photo courtesy of Aaron Watson On April 27, the TCNJ wind ensemble will perform a concert about the Artivism Project’s theme of Life After Loss.

There are too many rappers, but not enough MCs

Recently, I was scrolling through TikTok when I came across a video of a street interview in New York City by the creator @subwayoracle. In the video, the interviewer asks a man walking through the subway, “What’s one thing that’s wrong with hip-hop today?” to which the man replies, “Too many rappers, not enough MCs.”

When asked the difference between an MC and a rapper, the interviewee said, “A rapper speaks for the money. An MC speaks for the culture.”

Whether an artist is a rapper or an MC is determined by the content of their songs. Rappers produce songs with lyrics lacking substance, whereas MCs produce more complex content.

Examples of popular modern rappers include Ice Spice, Drake and NLE Choppa. While these artists make amazing music, their lyrics do not promote thought among listeners.

Examples of MCs include Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller and Childish Gambino. These artists’ songs speak to current issues and promote thought beyond superficial subjects like women, drugs and alcohol.

Musicals are misunderstood and unfairly judged

It can be argued that one’s taste in media is a sacred thing. Among the many genres and mediums of storytelling, what a person happens to like is simply something you don’t interrogate or argue against.

Why people like what they like, while interesting, ultimately does little to contribute to the discourse surrounding the perceived quality of a work. It doesn’t get anyone anywhere to point fingers and claim that someone misunderstands a piece of art simply on the basis that they do not like it.

In recent years, I’ve felt a growing annoyance at a particular type of critique: the crowd who claims to hate musicals. Now, I’ll concede that there are certainly some who genuinely hate musicals. The act of singing annoys them, and any occurrence of it instantly kills their enjoyment. Again, one’s media preferences are just one of those things you don’t question.

Despite this, the majority of those voices, those who insist that singing to convey a story is inherently awful, contain a very interesting hypocrisy.

What interests me about the holistic hate of musicals is how these people don’t understand musicals to begin with, and not in the sense that they don’t get the point of them. For example, a common critique is that musicals take too long to get to the point of their story. This is a valid criticism. What I’m talking about is more related to what detractors even consider a musical to be.

In many recent conversations, where the topic of musicals is brought up and discussed, I notice there seems to be a very deliberate and narrow view of what a musical actually is: that the entirety of the genre exists within the slew of shows currently playing on Broadway — of which there are many reasons, financial or otherwise, not to love.

People will usually take this time to

MCs are more important now than ever. In a world plagued with war, terrorism and social injustice, we need people with a platform to speak out. While celebrities speak on important issues, there is no better way to convey a message than through art.

Speaking through songs reaches countless people. After all, everyone listens to music. Songs promote ideas, and ideas promote change. Gen-Z cares more about change than any other living generation, and famous artists miss the opportunity to communicate relative and valuable information.

In the past, music reflected the times. Artists spoke freely about current events and expressed important stances. Songs like “Where Is the Love?” by the Black-Eyed Peas, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel, “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and “Children’s Story” by Slick Rick spoke about current events and issues. These songs were all popular when they came out and made an impact on the people who listened to them.

Young, impressionable kids are also listening to current music. The mindset of many contemporary rappers can damage young minds, making them think that it is acceptable to participate in the activities being rapped about. As adults, we can listen to music and know that what we listen

to is separate from who we are and our actions.

I know that not all of these artists’ songs contain important messages and vice versa, and don’t get me wrong, my favorite genre is rap, and I love all of the artists who have been mentioned. And hip-hop is not the only genre of music facing this issue; we need more outspoken artists in all genres.

I am not saying you should not listen to rappers or that their songs are bad. What I am saying, however, is that in addition to these contemporary rap artists, we need artists that speak for the people.

Spring is undoubtedly the worst season

express why they dislike the act of traveling and purchasing expensive tickets just to watch a stage production. In their minds, the experience, the commute, the money — it is all a part of what a musical is. To them, the genre is colored by this very spontaneous and random series of circumstances.

When gently probed, however, more often than not people will express joy over films like “La La Land” and “West Side Story.” Without fail, they will go on to clarify that they view those films as different. There’s always this subtle implication that, to them, those films aren’t fully musicals.

This is the crux of my confusion with this line of thinking. Musicals, the concept of them at least, are such a broad and diverse thing. They aren’t one defined experience, and claiming to hate the genre, based on a pretense of disliking Broadway productions, seems ill-informed to me.

Why are these beloved films considered exceptions to the rule, simply on the basis that they are musicals executed in a more commercial and palatable way? I’m left to wonder if there is a perceived level of credibility and authenticity forfeited simply by being good films even outside of their musical aspects.

I don’t consider myself to be an avid musical lover, far from it. I too have had moments where I’ve rolled my eyes at a musical number that seems to go on forever. There is, however, a difference between not preferring a genre, and denying outright that it has merit to it. Especially when there are many recent examples of musical films being enjoyed by a mainstream audience while still being, at their core, a cast singing to tell a story.

So maybe you do hate musicals. I wouldn’t question that in and of itself. However, there needs to be a push to view musicals more accurately, at least for the sake of avoiding the discourse surrounding this perennial debate.

With the arrival of spring, I began thinking about this season compared to others. Spring is thought of as a beautiful, peaceful time, but this perception of the season is rarely, if ever, true. When stacked against each other, I believe spring to be the worst season for many reasons.

The weather is an important part of what makes every season unique, and I believe that is a category in which spring is sorely lacking. While some people find the summer too hot or the winter too cold, spring tends to be a middle-ground with an extreme amount of rain. This kills the mood of the environment and makes days seem gloomier than usual.

Winter is understandably an unpopular time because it’s cold and the days feel shorter. However, there is a sense of coziness and warmth that you feel indoors, keeping you in a relaxed and tranquil mood. This is something I do not feel whenever there is rainy weather in the spring.

Compared to spring, the summer has warmer days and less rain to boot, which makes it more enjoyable than the spring. Not to mention, there are still very cold days in the spring that are off-putting.

Autumn has this majestic, whimsical

feel to it that is difficult to explain. The leaves falling out of the trees and changing colors, the nice, cool breeze in the air and the notable seasonal holidays make this season better than spring.

Spring also exacerbates seasonal allergies due to the high counts of pollen in the trees. For anyone who does not have allergies, they are the worst. Dealing with constant stuffy noses and always needing tissues makes you feel much more ill and uncomfortable than you should be during this time of year.

The beginning of spring is also when college classes get more hectic for most people. Students are met with excessive workloads from the beginning of March to the end of April, often leading to burnout. This associates early spring with the negativity of overwork and the difficulties of college classes. Also, due to the constant rainy and gloomy weather, many people experience seasonal depression that makes this time of year challenging for them.

Spring is very unremarkable in terms of notable events and holidays. While winter has major holidays like Christmas and New Year, and the fall has Thanksgiving and Halloween, spring only has Easter as a big event. Summer is also lacking in this department, but I feel that the overall contributions it brings to the table in terms of the environment and enjoyment make it better than spring. With only Easter being a major holiday, there is not much to look forward to once it is over — besides the end of classes, of course.

When stacked against each other, spring just feels like it has fewer unique elements compared to the other seasons. What it does do well, other seasons do it better. Spring is undoubtedly the weakest of the four seasons and unfortunately the least enjoyable one.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Music by MCs such as Kendrick Lamar include complex and relevant content. Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone Spring brings extreme wind and rain. Photo courtesy of Flickr MC Mac Miller performing live in 2018.

OpenAI’s Sora will dimish the essence of human creativity

OpenAI’s Sora has emerged as a groundbreaking text-to-video generative model, showcasing impressive capabilities and sparking excitement across various industries.

However, as I delve into the depths of this technology, I find myself increasingly skeptical of its existence, primarily due to its potential to diminish the essence of human creativity in content creation.

Like DALL·E and Lumiere’s textto-diffusion video functionality, Sora converts text prompts into videos with advanced models. It maintains consistency in timing and enhances quality throughout. Yet, despite the

impressive technological prowess, its implications raise concerns, particularly regarding the future of content creation.

One of my primary reservations stems from the potential of Sora to erode the fundamental role of human content creation. Through video creation automation, Sora threatens to replace human ingenuity with algorithmic efficiency.

The temptation of immediate success in social media, advertising and prototyping may lead to a reliance on AI-generated content, sidelining the creative contributions of artists, filmmakers and designers.

Sora’s potential risks, as highlighted by experts and safety measures, must

AI threatens journalism, art and photography

The artificial intelligence revolution has been a hot topic of conversation since the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022. This platform is best known for substituting human tasks using automation to generate responses to human queries. As the AI revolution gains momentum, platforms like ChatGPT are becoming widely embraced as powerful tools to expedite tasks through automation, but their widespread use raises questions about reliability and authenticity. ChatGPT and similar artificial intelligence platforms should be taken with a grain of salt because they lack credibility. In 2023, lawyer Steven A. Schwartz used ChatGPT to conduct legal research for a filing. The issue arose when the court found that the six cases cited for precedent did not actually exist. The lawyer defended himself by explaining how he mistook the platform for a search engine and not a generative language tool.

This incident emphasizes the risks associated with complete trust in artificial intelligence, as Schwartz didn’t bother to verify the information fed to him by doing his own research. ChatGPT creates laziness in people, even those in prestigious fields like law, which is worrying.

But what happens when creative fields like journalism, art and photography are so heavily mimicked using artificial intelligence that human creativity becomes overshadowed?

AI has become so undetectable that people are mimicking authentic work, like Schwartz by letting artificial intelligence do all the work. Imposters profit off of deception while talented creatives go unnoticed for their authentic work.

The future of journalism is at high risk as artificial intelligence becomes more advanced. Automated systems can perform human tasks such as content generation and basic reporting. There might no longer be a

be addressed. The looming threat of misinformation, copyright infringement and perpetuation of biases underscores the need for cautious integration of such technology into the creative landscape.

ABC spoke with Sam Gregory, executive director of WITNESS (a human rights non-profit organization) and Kristian Hammond, a computer science professor at Northwestern University, emphasizing the potential of these realistically generated images deceiving audiences.

Instances of fake, sexually inappropriate imagery of Taylor Swift and a fake robocall impersonating President Joe Biden have sparked widespread apprehension. Experts cautioned against its potential for creating deep fakes and the challenges in their prevention. The blurred lines between AI-generated and humancreated content may exacerbate these challenges, posing ethical dilemmas and regulatory hurdles.

OpenAI has issued statements on its official site regarding Sora’s safety concerns among policymakers, educators and artists. The company attempts to articulate this technology’s positive utilization, but claims they cannot anticipate all methods through which the public will use or abuse the service. Although they argue that learning from its usage will influence a more improved service for the future, why run the risk if the results already prove that ambiguous?

As I reflect on the implications of Sora’s release, I remember the struggles of artists in an increasingly AI-driven world. The rapid evolution of

AI-powered tools presents problematic competition, increasing financial instability and raising questions about the relevance of traditional artistic skills.

Students and professionals grapple with their future in an industry where machines rival human creativity. It becomes an ongoing conversation when underperforming films present a colloquial question: “Was this generated by AI?” Regardless of this tiring question, it becomes evident that most audiences develop heavy disinclinations for gullibility and quickly detect when something possesses little consideration.

While I acknowledge the potential collaboration between AI and humans, I remain cautious of the overshadowing effect that AI may exert on genuine creative expression. The notion of AI as a tool to accompany human capabilities is novel but should not overshadow the intrinsic value of human imagination and emotion in art.

Sora undoubtedly represents a remarkable feat of technological advancement, but its propagation agitates the future of content creation. As we tread into this new era of AIdriven creativity, we must prioritize the preservation of human ingenuity and artistic integrity, lest we risk sacrificing the soul of art.

Various instances exist where AI technology proves beneficial for humans. I am open to a digital future; however, I firmly believe AI should supplement the human touch to avoid renouncing what makes art so beloved: that it originates from time and passion.

It’s time to break up with fast fashion

need for journalists to perform traditional tasks like going into the field to collect information.

Research conducted by Neil Patel, co-founder of NP Digital, a global digital marketing agency, revealed that AI-written content is surprisingly less effective at driving website traffic than human-written content. In his experiment, Patel published 744 articles on 68 websites – half written by humans and half written by AI. Each group used keyword research, had similar keyword difficulty and produced content of similar lengths.

Over five months, the websites were analyzed for the organic search traffic each article produced. Human content increasingly outperformed AI each month. By month five, an AI article generated 52 visitors each month and human-written articles generated 283 visitors per month on average.

This research emphasizes how there will always be a need for human touch in content creation.

While it may be tempting to resort to AI for its time efficiency, it should always be supplemented with heavy human modification.

Looking at other creative fields like digital art and photography, countless AI platforms can be used to generate false photographs and art imitations. DALL-E by OpenAI is one of many AI systems that enable you to type a prompt and, within seconds, receive a generated image. You are even able to tailor it to your liking by giving it feedback.

It is important to learn the skills and tools to decipher AI in photography. One helpful tip is to carefully analyze skin. AI is not advanced enough to accurately mimic pores and imperfections. Skin often appears perfectly airbrushed. It’s also important to check for consistency, like matching earrings and limb count.

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In recent decades, sustainable fashion has emerged to combat the depletion of organic resources and as a substitution for conventional mass production. With this, ethical labor practices, the elimination of microplastics and dyes, and innovative supply chains have been topics of conversation surrounding the fashion industry.

Sustainable fashion is rooted in practices like using specific fabrics, creating clothing that pairs well with every body shape and keeping comfort in style.

Many consumers seek out eco-friendly products to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Even as people become increasingly aware of how their clothing choices affect the environment, it is important to note that the days of overrated trends and “glamor” are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Although sustainable fashion is a notable category in the fashion industry, so is “fast” fashion. Fast fashion occurs when trends and cheap materials clash, with the resulting products hitting and exiting the marketplace rapidly. Popular fast fashion brands like H&M, Forever 21, Uniqlo and Shein are constantly working to meet the latest social trends. As a result, their clothes tend to be cheap and flimsy and wear out sooner than expected.

The trick of fast fashion is to make knockoff products inspired by designer brands. Fast fashion brands’ marketing strategy is to make customers feel rich without having to pay for luxury products. There’s nothing wrong with that—it’s every shopper’s dream. However, there are many unanswered questions and controversies surrounding such practices.

When a product is cheap, its price is reflective of its quality. Thus, it becomes disposable. It is time to rethink certain fast fashion choices.

A common question that proponents

of sustainable fashion ask is whether these products are ethically manufactured. The more fast fashion there is, the more exacerbated the environment becomes. The production of this clothing releases methane, a powerful gas, in landfills and depletes vast amounts of valuable water and energy.

“Fast fashion is not free. Someone, somewhere is paying the price,” said British journalist and environmentalist Lucy Siegle.

Fast fashion promotes a culture of greed and labor exploitation. There are workers all across the world who have put their literal blood, sweat and tears into producing these cheap and disposable garments, and to make matters worse, they are exposed to dangerous chemicals and paid next to nothing.

A sad reality is the commonality for these types of workers to die in their respective facilities. In 2013, over a thousand employees lost their lives when a clothing factory, Rana Plaza, collapsed on them in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The collapse was caused by diesel generators going haywire, following a power outage. The infrastructure was falling apart for several years—many audits were dismissed without proper oversight.

Many fast fashion brands barely pay their workers an ethical living wage, and as a result, employees suffer for the means of their survival: basic living, food and related amenities. Their demise is due to the lack of a designated minimum wage. After the factory collapse caused a media frenzy, thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers quit their jobs and took to the streets in protest demanding fair wages.

By supporting brands that prioritize sustainability and ethical practice, we are one step closer to saving the environment before there’s no coming back. Embracing sustainability isn’t just about driving change in the fashion industry, it’s about making every thread count. Let’s choose a path of mindful consumption and redefine the meaning of fashion one garment at a time.

page 8 The Signal April 5, 2024
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Sora converts text prompts into videos with advanced models.

Celebrities and public figures deserve the basic human right to privacy

As consumers of social media and news outlets, it is no secret that our generation idolizes celebrities and public figures. The details of these people’s lives are frequently the subject of headlines, making it easy to forget that they are just that — people.

Because they choose to place themselves within the public sphere, society has grown accustomed to having the personal lives of celebrities within their reach. In fact, I would argue that people feel entitled to such information, justifying this mindset by claiming that these figures would not have a platform without their fans’ support.

While it is true that with fame comes notoriety, it has gotten to a point where celebrities are

being harassed 24/7, in public and online, fearing for their safety and the safety of their loved ones. The media is largely responsible for creating a culture that lacks boundaries, as they work tirelessly to expose celebrities’ family dynamics, dating history, relationship status, past mistakes and even medical issues.

To make matters worse, when a celebrity finally has a nervous breakdown after being made to feel powerless by the world, people call them crazy or say that by choosing their lifestyle, they got what they had coming to them.

As “ordinary” people, we have the luxury of coming home after a busy day to the security that our homes provide. Now, just imagine how it would feel to never be able to escape the demands and opinions of others, not even in the place where you are supposed to

feel comfortable.

Take the British royal family as an example. Princess Diana, a kind-hearted and beloved member of this monarchy, died in a car accident for the sake of a few good paparazzi shots. Judging from what Kate Middleton has experienced lately, it is evident that people have not learned from the consequences of this tragedy.

After having abdominal surgery in January, the Princess decided to keep her diagnosis from becoming public knowledge, and rightfully so. In a statement from Kensington Palace, her “desire to maintain as much normality for her children as possible” and her “wish that her personal medical information remains private” were clearly articulated to the media.

However, she made few public appearances in the months postsurgery, prompting the Internet to conjure false allegations, scrutinize every photo published of her and attempt to access her medical records. Scrolling on TikTok in March, all I saw on my For You Page were claims that Kate Middleton had run away from the Royal family, Prince William cheated on her and that she gained weight.

On March 22, Middleton addressed this media frenzy, revealing a cancer diagnosis and stating that she and her family are doing the best “we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family.”

Looking at this situation objectively, I am left with one question: What is wrong with our society that we have forced a scared and sick woman to reveal

her medical history to hundreds of millions of people amidst treatment? I can not even begin to tackle the question of why people feel it’s their right to access her private medical documents.

With all the emphasis on mental health awareness today, it stands to reason that harassing and slandering people, no matter their status, would be frowned upon; but unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead, we dehumanize celebrities under the guise of having a vested interest in their well-being.

While I acknowledge it is unrealistic for celebrities to be left alone entirely — after all, they are celebrities — clear boundaries must be set to combat this badgering that has become so normalized.

Following the most recent breakup of our favorite celebrities is one thing, but it’s another to seek out the most intimate details of their lives. To strip someone of their basic human right to privacy is cruel and robs them of their ability to process their emotions in healthy ways. I know first-hand how easy it is to get wrapped up in every scandal publicized in the media; however, at the end of the day, we are only entitled to the information that a person chooses to share, celebrity or not.

These people who seem largerthan-life are only human beings, many of whom have families and problems unbeknownst to us. Celebrities are worthy of dignity and must be granted the room to grow as someone experiencing life for the first time — just as every one of us is.

Alena Bitonti Features Editor Eddie Young Sports Editor Aliyah Siddiqui Nation & World Editor Administrative Staff Elizabeth Gladstone Multimedia Coordinator Shane Gillespie Photo Editor Ela Kirimca Social Media Coordinator Jenna Weldon Web Editor Liam Simonelli Editorial Cartoonist Kathleen Webber Faculty Advisor
POLICIES The Signal is published bi-weekly during the academic year and not financed by the Student Activity Fund but solely by advertisement revenue. Any student may submit articles to The Signal. Publication of submitted articles is at the discretion of the editors. All materials submitted become the sole property of The Signal. The Letters section is an open forum for opinions. Submissions that announce events or advertise in any way will not be printed. The Signal willingly corrects mistakes. If you think we have made a mistake, contact us at signal@tcnj.edu. The Signal https://www.tcnjsignalnews.com/ Email: signal@tcnj.edu Business Email: thesignalbusiness@gmail.com Editorial Staff Victoria Gladstone Editor-in-Chief Matthew Kaufman Tristan Weisenbach Managing Editors Liz Ciocher Rebecca Heath News Editors Isabella Darcy Ally Uhlendorf Arts & Entertainment Editors Kate Zydor Opinions Editor
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Kate Middleton’s supposed disappearance sparked an international media frenzy.

Francis Scott Key Bridge collapses after cargo ship crash

The Francis Scott Key Bridge, located in Baltimore, Maryland, collapsed on March 26 due to a collision with a cargo ship, causing a loss of structural stability in the bridge.

Following the collapse, authorities rescued two construction workers from the debris and recovered the bodies of two workers in their initial rescue operation. Furthermore, officials believe that another four construction workers who were on the bridge are dead. The rescue operation to locate the

workers, however, has transitioned into a salvage effort, as officials suspect the four still missing may be trapped in vehicles buried within the bridge debris, inaccessible to divers.

The ship involved in the accident was a Singapore-flagged container named Dali, en route to Sri Lanka from the Port of Baltimore. However, the cargo ship lost power in the Patapsco River, which caused the collision with the bridge.

This is not the first time Dali was implicated in a distinct accident. In 2016, the ship’s bow purportedly swung around, resulting in the stern scraping against the quay

in Antwerp, Belgium. As a result, there was significant damage spanning several meters of the hull, and subsequently, the ship’s master and onboard pilot were held accountable.

The incident at the bridge has resulted in substantial economic impacts for Baltimore, as the bridge’s debris prevents the usage of the primary U.S. port for both imports and exports of “roll-on, roll-off” vehicles, as well as farm and construction equipment. Additionally, the lack of port operations has impacted the employment of 15,000 port workers, putting their jobs on hold until the removal of debris.

Government agencies have been communicating with companies to reroute maritime traffic to surrounding ports, aiming to minimize logistical issues and prevent cargo ships from interfering with the debris removal process.

In a statement to CNBC, editorin-chief of the shipping journal Lloyd’s List, Richard Meade, commented, “This will have an impact for trade all along the East Coast and it will continue until we know how quickly.”

Maryland has declared a state of emergency to secure funds to aid in the cleanup efforts of the bridge. The federal government has also approved emergency low-interest loans of up to $2 million through the end of 2024 to assist local businesses affected by the incident.

Moreover, the federal government

has awarded Maryland an initial $60 million in emergency funds to clear debris and commence the rebuilding of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The Biden administration has committed to covering all expenses related to debris removal and bridge reconstruction.

The Francis Scott Key’s collapse prompted multiple government and local leaders to voice their reaction.

“It’s going to take time to clear this section of the collapse. It’s not going to take hours. It’s not going to take days. But once we complete this phase of the work, we can move more tugs and more barges into the area to accelerate our recovery,” stated Maryland

Gov. Wes Moore on X. “Maryland’s economy and Maryland’s workers rely on us to move quickly. But it’s not just Maryland being impacted. The nation’s economy and the nation’s workers rely on us to move quickly.”

To the people of Baltimore, President Joe Biden, during a presidential briefing on March 26, stated, “We’re with you. We’re going to stay with you as long as takes. And like the governor said, you’re Maryland tough, you’re Baltimore strong, and we’re going to get through this together. And I promise: We’re not leaving.”

While debris cleanup efforts are ongoing, the state of Maryland intends to swifty start the reconstruction operation of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in order to prevent further economic hurdles.

Judge dismisses six counts of election interference in Trump Georgia election case

In another addition to the number of headlines surrounding the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald J. Trump, an Atlanta judge ruled on March 13 to dismiss six of the charges brought forth in the case. Scott McAfee of Fulton County Superior court ruled that six of the counts, amongst the total of 41, were non-specific in alleging that Trump and his allies pressured public officials to break the law, according to the New York Times.

The case centers around alleged illegal actions committed by Trump and his campaign officials during and after the 2020 election. The prosecution alleges that Trump and key allies applied political pressure to public officials in Georgia, in efforts to commit election fraud and falsify the results of the Georgia vote.

The Georgia case is built around a racketeering indictment, which McAfee has left intact. There are still 36 counts standing in the case, with Trump and his former lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, facing the most charges at 10 each.

According to NPR, a nine-page ruling was issued in critique of six charges claiming that Trump and other defendants had asked public officials to violate their oaths of office. The judge concluded that prosecutors had not sufficiently

specified which violations the defendants had encouraged these officials to commit.

“These six counts contain all the essential elements of the crimes but fail to allege sufficient detail regarding the nature of their commission,” McAfee wrote in his ruling. “They do not give the Defendants enough information to prepare their defenses intelligently, as the Defendants could have violated the Constitution and thus the statute in dozens, if not hundreds, of distinct ways.”

Among the charges quashed is Count 28, which relates to a phone call Trump made to Georgia’s then Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021. AP News reports that he pressured Raffensperger on this phone call to “find” the votes necessary to overturn the results of the election. Count 38 is related to a letter sent by Trump to Raffensperger in September 2021, in which he asked the presidential election to be decertified.

Counts 2, 6, and 23 allege that defendants broke the law in encouraging Georgia public officials to appoint pro-Trump electors following Biden’s election victory in the state. Count 5 centers around a call that Trump made to David Ralston, then Georgia’s Speaker of the House, in which he pressured Ralston to call a special legislative session and appoint new electors, according to the NYT.

Trump’s legal team has taken the ruling as a sign of success for the defense, and proof of the illegitimacy of the charges levied against Trump.

“The ruling is a correct application of the law, as the prosecution failed to make specific allegations of any alleged wrongdoing on those counts.

The entire prosecution of President Trump is political, constitutes election interference, and should be dismissed.”, said Steven H. Shadow, a lawyer for Trump in a statement:

Prosecutors now have the option to appeal the judge’s ruling or to

change the language of the dismissed counts to meet the standards of specificity requested by the court, according to NPR.

The Georgia case has been plagued by attention unrelated to the facts of the case in recent weeks, owing to charges of improper professional conduct by prosecutor Fani Willis. It was recently ruled that Willis is permitted to continue on with her work in the case. Whether the prosecution will move to defend the dismissed charges or continue with the remaining racketeering counts is yet to be seen.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed due to a cargo ship collision. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons An Atlanta judge ruled on to dismiss six of the charges brought forth in the case.

60 killed and 145 wounded in Moscow concert attack

A group of gunmen opened fire at a concert venue near Moscow, killing at least 60 people and injuring 145, on March 22. The assailants stormed into the Crocus City Hall with automatic weapons, explosives and incendiary devices, leaving the venue in flames with parts of its roof collapsed, according to The Associated Press.

The attack happened just before the Soviet-era rock band, Picnic, was about to perform to a full house of 6,200 people. Videos verified by Reuters captured the panic and

chaos of the attack, showing people rushing to the exits of the hall as gunfire and screams echoed around them. Other footage shows the Crocus City Hall, home to both the music hall and a shopping center, on fire with clouds of smoke billowing into the air.

A survivor of the attack, Dave Primov, spoke to The Associated Press about what he witnessed. He described how the attackers were “shooting directly into the crowd” and detailed the chaos as people scrambled to leave the burning building.

“We all got up and tried to move toward the aisles. People began to

panic, started to run and collided with each other,” Primov said. “Some fell down and others trampled on them.”

An affiliate of the ISIS militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the group’s Amaq news agency. According to Reuters, the statement said the group’s fighters attacked a large gathering on the outskirts of Moscow, “killing and wounding hundreds and causing great destruction to the place before they withdrew to their bases safely.” This claim was later verified by United States intelligence officials.

Russian media suggest that the gunmen fled the scene before authorities arrived, escaping in several vehicles. According to The Associated Press, nine people have been detained in Tajikistan over suspected links to the mass shooting, including four of whom were suspected to be directly involved in the attack. Those four suspects, identified as Tajik nationals, faced formal terrorism charges in a Moscow court and showed signs of severe beatings during the hearing. The remaining suspects have faced court and are being remanded in pretrial detention.

Russian officials, along with Russian President Vladamir Putin, persistently attempt to link the assault to Ukraine, with whom Russia has been at war for over two years. Although no evidence has been presented, investigators claim the attackers had obtained cash and cryptocurrency from Ukraine and

also took a man into custody who had supposedly been involved in the transfers of money. Putin has also claimed that the attackers fled to Ukraine following the attack, according to The Associated Press.

“Ukraine has never resorted to the use of terrorist methods,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, posted on X. “Everything in this war will be decided only on the battlefield.” He added that Moscow is using the accusation as a pretext to escalate its military operations in Ukraine.

The assault in Moscow came two weeks after the U.S. warned Russia of a potential attack targeting large gatherings in the capital under the intelligence community’s “duty to warn” rule that obliges officials to share knowledge of a threat, even with adversaries. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued a public notice on March 7, advising Americans to avoid large gatherings for the next 48 hours, due to the potential for a terrorist attack.

According to NPR, three days before the attack, Putin dismissed the warnings as propaganda designed to scare Russian citizens, saying the warnings “[resemble] outright blackmail and an intention to intimidate and destabilize our society.”

Rescue teams are still working to locate victims under the rubble, as up to 100 victims have been reported as missing, and the damaged concert hall has been partially dismantled to aid in the search effort.

New national security law passed in Hong Kong draws global criticism

Lawmakers in Hong Kong unanimously passed a new national security bill on March 19 that expands the government’s powers to crack down on dissent. Critics warn that the legislation, known as the Safeguarding National Security Bill, would further threaten civil liberties in Hong Kong and overseas, according to Reuters.

The bill introduces 39 new laws that broaden the definitions of crimes that authorities consider threats to national security and their penalties, including treason, espionage, insurrection, sabotage and external interference in Hong Kong’s affairs. The crimes vary in degree, from offenses leading to maximum life imprisonment, such as joining an armed force at war with China, to smaller offenses resulting in several years in jail, like the possession of state secrets, according to Reuters.

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, consisting of a majority of pro-Beijing loyalists, fast-tracked the legislation at the request of the city’s leader, John Lee, who called for it to be enacted at “full speed.” According to The Associated Press, it was passed within two weeks of it being presented, and committee meetings were held daily for a week.

The legislation comes on top of a previous Beijing-imposed national security law passed in 2020 aimed at restoring stability after prodemocracy protests a year earlier, which sometimes turned violent. The Hong Kong government said the 2020 security law was successful

at restoring stability, and the new law is necessary to fill loopholes and prevent a recurrence of the protests, according to NPR.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, was guaranteed the preservation of its civil liberties by Beijing for 50 years when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997. Critics, including the United States, argue that the new law would result in a further crackdown on society by narrowing those civil liberties, such as freedom of speech, and deterring dissent through fear of punishment. Some provisions of the new law will impact foreign citizens and companies operating in the city, in addition to those outside Hong Kong who violate the law.

Journalists have expressed fear that the broad definitions of “state secrets” and “sedition” will impact their day-to-day work by making it challenging to determine what constitutes a threat to national security and what can be published. In 2021, many pro-democracy media outlets, such as Apple Daily, were forced to cease operations after facing charges of distributing seditious publications. The Apple Daily’s offices were raided by police and its funds were frozen. The newspaper’s founder and senior editors were also arrested, according to NPR.

Many of the city’s companies are also concerned about the implications of the state secret and espionage offenses in the law, particularly involving the handling of sensitive economic data and research.

Despite these concerns, officials insist that the legislation only

impacts a small minority of residents who endanger national security and that focus could instead be shifted towards advancing economic development and improving people’s livelihoods.

The new law drew criticism from global leaders, including the United States, the European Union and Japan. Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement criticizing the vague language of the bill regarding sedition and state secrets, in addition to the transnational implications of certain clauses.

“We [the United States] share concerns expressed by other nations that Hong Kong authorities could seek to apply the new legislation extraterritorially in their ongoing campaign of transnational

repression, and condemn efforts to intimidate, harass, and limit the free speech of U.S. citizens and residents,” Blinken wrote in a press release.

The U.S. CongressionalExecutive Commission on China published a letter addressing Blinken in which they said that the legislation will “further erode the rule of law and fundamental freedoms of people of Hong Kong and U.S. interests in the city” and urged the U.S. to take concrete action to hold the Hong Kong officials responsible.

Advocacy groups have called for nations to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and Chinese officials involved in the legislation’s passage, though no actions have been announced yet.

April 5, 2024 The Signal page 11
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons A group of assailants stormed into the hall, killing at least 60 people and injuring 145. Photo courtesy of Flickr The new bill introduces 39 new laws that broaden the definitions of crimes.

‘The Minutes’ fly by in this knockout production of historical proportions

A play which succeeds in provoking an audience the way “The Minutes” did could only have been written by the great American playwright Tracy Letts. Having started its run here at the College on March 20 and closing shop on March 24, audiences for five evenings straight were given an exuberant and well-mannered display of confined and claustrophobic acting tour-de-forces.

The theater company responsible for such a production is none other than Shakespeare 70, which produces plays from across all time periods beyond Shakespeare himself. One particularly esteemed member of this company is the director of this production, Jim Bloss. Bloss has been an active member of Shakespeare 70 since 2013 with a number of roles, and made his directorial debut with this show.

As previously espoused, the

maximalist performances from this brilliant set of actors seemed to have been carefully attuned by Bloss to highlight the emotional highs and lows these characters go through. Poignancy is quite the understatement in regards to a story about a fictional town named Cherry Hill whose typical city council meeting is upended by historical revelations, the likes of which have never been reckoned with before.

The town appears to have been built upon the blood of those who had fallen during one of many hostile conflicts between settlers and Native-Americans within that time period. The 1876 Great Sioux War between the Midwestern native Lakota and Cheyenne tribes and the U.S. military comes to mind as inspiration. It was a conflict which got its foot off the ground with the violation of pre-established land treaties and came to its tragic conclusion with the use of sheer brute force at the hands of the U.S. in placing the natives into carefully allotted reservations.

Letts’ story wants most of these truths to be made apparent to the viewer by the story’s end, yet at the same time has framed a story of self-deception around it. There are simply too many characters in this “12 Angry Men”-inspired work to keep track of in a single review. Yet it is important to make note of a certain character who has unearthed a hidden truth about who really provoked the conflict within these Native-American lands. As a result, this character quite unsubtly becomes silenced on the grounds of providing their offspring with “optimism.”

Letts is a writer who earlier dabbled in Postmodern works — most notable of all being his Tony Award-winning play, “August: Osage County.” In that play, regret and familial guilt rested out in the open inconspicuously atop a firm table whose legs were weakened until the entire foundation collapsed. In a similar

vein, “The Minutes” leverages much of its staying power on account of the fact that there’s always the foreboding feeling that something either literally or figuratively is about to collapse.

The context of what this routine meeting exactly entails is not revealed immediately to the audience, but is rather expressed through lengthy back-and-forth monologues and rapid exchanges between characters. Several interpretations concerning how this play could be expressing with its words the collapse of language itself came to mind. Two notable characters quarrel on the true difference between semantics and linguistics, one being the study of meaning in language and the other being the study of structure in language.

A series of both trite and prickly comments are either disputed or left to be chuckled off at by the viewer for its complete lack of conviction or purpose. One of the issues brought up at the meeting concerns a new event at the town’s upcoming festival called the Lincoln Brawl, whereby anyone can have the chance to have a violent tussle with the former president. This recalled those freak shows in which violence and power were brought to the surface for a cathartic release. Within this specific instance, acts of machismo are thrusted upon a leader whose words and proclamations would continually be reinterpreted to favor the “winner” of history.

Beyond the figurative, the constant power outages of the building in which they are residing in, coupled with the rainstorm regularly brewing on the periphery, make it seem as if a literal collapse of the stage itself is a potentiality. Bloss indescribably discovers so many minute avenues within the construction of the set design with which to have every part of the set feel useful and lived in. It truly makes the audience feel the ordinariness of

such proceedings.

The words of Letts and the direction of Bloss might seem to want the viewer to feel uncomfortable in that regard. Without giving it away, the ending goes past any form of rational narrative conclusion and instead becomes a bestial display of synergistic, blood-totting rage more in line with experimental or avant-garde theater.

Whether it simply represents a cult mentality, the appropriation of past blood or even the exorcizing of the audience’s anger, it does paint an unnerving portrait of the nation. It is an ending which is figuratively at a loss for words just like those in the show are, playing nicely into the theme of language.

“History is a verb” is the line which shook me the most, not just because it is really a noun but because the implication surrounding who stated it calls to mind how most of history was at points written by the winners. It also reminded me of how, coming straight from the title, this play is not just about meeting minutes but also about the concept of time.

Within the pantheon of theatrical plays written and performed for a mass audience, rarely has one of such distinctions made its minutes go by so rapidly. Yet for how fast those 90 minutes fly by, an unsettling notion regarding time slipping away may begin to simmer towards the surface for the viewer.

The lost time which I refer to concerns a certain conflux of historical consolidation amongst the American population which might never find its just impartiality. Time, on the other hand, has chugged forward for however long humans have existed on this planet. With those additional minutes in mind, there could be a chance time might continue to remain on our side so that history might finally become a noun.

ArtsComm welcomes pre-college students for summer camps at their facilities

The College’s School of the Arts and Communication will host two inperson camps this summer, a Design and Creative Technology Academy and a Future Music Educators Institute.

Open to incoming high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors for the 2024-2025 academic year, these camps will provide students with professional advice and training from faculty members at the College as well as seasoned guest artists.

The DCT Academy will offer four different paths including game design, graphic design, digital fabrication or music technology.

“It’s difficult for students to find places where they can learn these creative disciplines and train on industry-standard hardware and software,” Chair and Professor of the Department of DCT Teresa Nakra said. “Our facilities in the AIMM Building at TCNJ are competitive with the best design schools in New York and Philadelphia.”

Nakra will be teaching the Music Technology section, Associate Professor of DCT Josh Fishburn will be teaching game design, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Jason Alejandro will be teaching graphic design and Director

These camps will provide professional advice and

of the Makerspace and Creative Technology Specialist Brett Ratner will be teaching digital fabrication.

The Future Music Educators Institute will offer various daily classes, electives and masterclasses to help students prepare for their futures as conductors or music teachers. Institute Director Nicholas McBride, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Bands Eric Laprade, and Professor and Department Chair of Music Colleen Sears will be instructing students throughout the days on a variety of related topics.

This specific program was made possible, in part, thanks to a donation from Senior Vice President of Jacobs Music Bob Rinaldi, a “proud TCNJ parent,” according to Assistant to the Dean and Operations Coordinator Kate


The overarching goal of the Future Music Educators Institute is to prepare students for their future careers, but it is also to help them gain a number of experiences.

At FMEI, we try to provide the high school participants with a wide variety of perspectives and experiences on music making, performing and learning,” McBride said. “We’re lucky this year to feature so many world-class artists.”

The guest artists include Emmyaward winning and Grammy-nominated composer Jake Runestad, nationally recognized composer and conductor Rollo Dilworth and Broadway and YouTube star Natalie Weiss, according to McBride.

Another version of the Future Music Educators Institute ran virtually in summer 2021, according to McBride. Additionally, a previous rendition of the DCT Academy has also taken place. This year, both DCT and the Music Department were interested in organizing a “pre-college experience,” McGonigle said. Thus, she and Dean of the School of the Arts and Communication Pamela Barnett started brainstorming.

“Since they were enthusiastic, we decided to start with those departments and run them concurrently so we could pool our resources, and also create a robust experience on campus where campers from different disciplines would be able to interact with each other during meals and other free time,” McGonigle said.

The summer camps will be running from June 23-28 and will offer housing or commuter options for students. Click here to register for the Design and Creative Technology Academy or here for the Future Music Educators Institute. For information on the summer camps, click here.

“For me, the best part is getting students past the initial steep learning curve to where they can function creatively in the environment,” Nakra said. “I look forward to welcoming in a new cohort of students into our creative spaces this summer.”

Photo courtesy of Shakespeare 70 Inventiveness is put on in “The Minutes.” Photo courtesy of Meaghan Resta training to students.

The resurgence of emo: Fall Out Boy’s 2ourdust

Over the past two decades, Fall Out Boy has been the epitome of what many consider to be pop-punk. They are titans in the genre, and while many — myself included — expected that style of music to die down in tandem with the 2000s, there is a recent phenomenon I’ve begun to notice.

With the growing usage of TikTok and other short-form content, hyperindividualistic niches and subcultures are suddenly now able to survive even when the overarching culture deems them no longer relevant. You can find a community for anything nowadays — even more so than in the days of forums.

This, combined with the constant nostalgia craze which doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, perfectly prepared the public to receive Fall Out Boy’s newest album – which was

a self-proclaimed return to their older, nostalgic, sound. Bleeding guitars, pounding drums, and searing vocals decorate Fall Out Boy’s blazing return to their pop-punk roots.

This brings us to 2ourdust, the second leg of the tour in support of that record, “So Much (For) Stardust.” The tour recently resulted in a soldout show at Madison Square Garden on March 22 that I was thankfully able to attend.

The night began with my arrival at the venue, and the competence of their security protocols were immediately apparent. It was one of the smoother entrances to a concert I’ve had in recent memory, and it was nice to not have my mood slightly soured before the show.

A sense of solidarity instantly settled, as I found myself within a sea of leather jackets and smudged eyeliner. Fans eagerly chattered about the potential setlist, and many

complimented each other’s outfits. It was a wholesome thing to witness, even if only briefly.

Upon entering the actual stadium itself, it wasn’t long before the first of the three openers began their set. The show was precoursed by three separate bands: Hot Mulligan, Games We Play and Jimmy Eat World. Each gave an energetic performance. Their gratitude was noticeable, and I found myself smiling at their eagerness and crowd work.

Jimmy Eat World’s set was particularly fun due to the numerous hits they were able to whip out whenever the energy reached a lull.

Before long, the show truly began, and Fall Out Boy graced the stage with the opening track off their newest project, “Love from the Other Side.” It was a bombastic performance, and instantly set the mood for the night.

As they continued their set, pyrotechnics became more and more relevant throughout the show. Flames highlighted the silhouettes of the band, and were perfectly timed in tandem with the beat of whichever song was being played. At one point, Pete Wentz, the bassist, started spewing flames from the neck of his bass.

The stage was also decorated with a gigantic animatronic dog head, which would jerk forwards at random intervals. This was a clear reference to the album artwork, which features the same Doberman.

Beyond the visual spectacle, the music itself was unsurprisingly sublime. This late into their career, the band plays so tightly that even I, with no understanding of live playing,

Drake Bell comes forward as a victim of abuse

Drake Bell spoke out in the recently released documentary, “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV,” to share his story about the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of Nickelodeon vocal coach Brian Peck. The four part documentary series by Investigation Discovery scrutinizes Nickelodeon’s production and programming from the ‘90s to the late 2010s under Dan Schneider’s leadership.

“Quiet On Set” interviewed former Nickelodeon writers, crew members, child actors and parents of child actors in order to illustrate pervasive allegations of racism, sexism, and inappropriate relationships between adult crew members and underage stars.

On top of the inappropriate and misogynistic environment created

under Schneider’s leadership, three crew members faced charges of sexual abuse of children. One of those crew members is the former vocal coach, Peck, who was arrested in 2003 on 11 counts of lewd acts with a minor between the ages of 14 and 15. In court proceedings, the victim was named only as “John Doe.”

An LAPD press release from that year states that “the minor’s family reported that Peck had molested the child over a six-month period.”

Peck worked on multiple Nickelodeon shows, including “The Amanda Show” and “Drake and Josh.” Bell appeared on “The Amanda Show” from 1999 to 2002, where he met and worked with Peck.

Bell and his father, Joe Bell, explained how Peck created a wedge between father and son. Bell’s father was suspicious of Peck’s touchy and obsessive behavior with his son, but Peck convinced Bell and his mother that Joe was bad for the young star’s career.

Despite warnings from Joe, Bell’s mother allowed Peck to step into a manager role for her son. Bell would spend increasing hours with Peck, even sleeping over at his house after long work days.

The abuse was finally revealed after the mother of Bell’s girlfriend noticed Peck’s concerning behavior, calling Bell nonstop and insisting that Bell see him.

Bell struggled to find the words to explain the abuse, saying to “think of the worst stuff that someone can do to somebody as a sexual assault.”

The investigation was “brutal” for Bell. After informing the police, Bell was told he must call Peck in an effort to get a recorded confession.

was able to notice a stark contrast between them and previous bands I’ve seen.

“Heaven Iowa” was a memorable performance due to the sheer intensity of the belting in its chorus, and their hit “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” was one of the overall highlights of the night.

The setlist was able to cater to both casual and die-hard fans, with there being enough hits played to keep the energy high, while also finding time for fan-favorite deep-cuts which may have not been played live since the tour for their album.

The acoustic set was a needed change of tempo, which came at around the halfway point of the show. The main highlight was the piano cover of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” There was a palpable adrenaline rush as the stadium slowly recognized the opening chords and rushed to sing-along to the bonafide classic.

The band finished the show with a string of their biggest hits: “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up), “Thnks fr th Mmrs” and “Centuries.” This then led into the true show closer, “Saturday,” which is a fan-favorite off their very first album. The high this stretch of the show gave is impossible to overstate.

2ourdust felt like the culmination of Fall Out Boy’s long career of fusing pop-melodies with rock instrumentals. They are at the top of their game as performers, and their discography is stacked to an extent reflected only by that of their longtime peers in the scene.

Peck pleaded no contest to two counts, and was sentenced to 16 months in prison, and ordered to register as a sex offender. At the sentencing, Bell recounted how Peck’s side of the courtroom was full. Many of Peck’s supporters were members of the entertainment industry like James Marsden, Alan Thicke and Tom DeSanto.

Bell himself has faced charges stemming from sexually inappropriate behavior with a minor. In 2021, Bell pleaded guilty to charges of endangerment and disseminating lewd materials to a minor. He was sentenced to two years probation and 200 hours of community service.

In her statement to the court, the victim told the judge and jury that Bell groomed her from the ages of 12 to 15, sending her inappropriate messages, including explicit images and sexually assaulting her on multiple occasions. Bell was never charged for the alleged incidents of sexual assault.

Bell addressed the charges, saying that he “took responsibility” and claiming that “the media took hold of so much misinformation.” Bell also suggested that drug and alcohol abuse played a role in his behavior and says he has since undergone treatment for substance abuse.

The documentary never addresses other allegations of abuse from Bell’s ex-girlfriend Melissa Lingafelt, who accused him in a now deleted series of TikTok videos of abuse and preying on minors during their relationship that began when Lingafelt was just 16. Bell denied all allegations of abuse against Lingafelt.

All four episodes of “Quiet on Set” can be streamed on Max.

I need friends

April 5, 2024 The Signal page 13
Photo by Lake DiStefano Fall Out Boy maintained a constant and blaring stage presence throughout the show. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Drake Bell spoke out recently.
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Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘GUTS (spilled)’: Songs from heartbreak to healing

One thing you should know about Olivia Rodrigo is that she is really good at keeping secrets. However, she spilled those secrets for anyone daring to listen as she revealed and released a deluxe edition of her latest album, titled “GUTS (spilled).”

During the second night of her GUTS World Tour in Chicago, the 21-year-old pop star revealed the much anticipated deluxe version of “GUTS” on March 20, according to People Magazine. Fans at the show could be heard screaming with excitement as Rodrigo unfolded a piece of paper that read, “GUTS DELUXE OUT FRIDAY,” accompanied by her backup dancers holding signs of the names of the anticipated tracks.

Rodrigo also posted the announcement on her Instagram for those who missed the news in person.

The deluxe album, “GUTS (spilled),” offers five additional tracks: “obsessed,” “girl i’ve always been,” “scared of my guitar,” “stranger” and “so american.” Rodrigo also released an exclusive music video for her track “obsessed.” The deluxe tracks further explore the original themes of the album, which dive into the concepts of angsty young adulthood, heartbreak, living in American society and womanhood.

“obsessed” expresses the irritating and envious emotions that arise when becoming a guy’s next girl. The lyrics discuss the comparisons that someone might naturally start to make between themselves and their significant other’s past partners. Slowly they can see how their partner’s ex has dominated their mind, causing them to overthink and analyze every little detail.

The second track, “girl I’ve always been,” offers a refreshing break from Rodrigo’s usual grungy pop-rock style. This song takes on a livelier pop-folk vibe by transitioning from electric guitar and drum kits to acoustic guitar and light percussion. Rodrigo discusses her decision to break away from being conventional and simply just be authentically

herself without hiding behind a facade. The phrase, “What you see is what you get,” captures the essence of this track.

The next track, “scared of my guitar,” is a raw and sincere acoustic ballad that resonates with me from the very first chord. For many musicians, writing music serves as a way to explore their emotions, and for Rodrigo, it has brought forth a range of complex feelings about her romantic experiences. It’s a song about fighting the insecurities, doubts and mistrust that linger in your mind and learning to push past them so that you can fully experience the genuine happiness and positive aspects within a current relationship.

“stranger” is an upbeat and reassuring melody that

celebrates finally getting over a past relationship. Rodrigo’s lyrics,“’Cause I was half myself without you and now I feel so complete / And I can’t even remember what made me lose all that sleep / I criеd a million rivers for you, but that’s over now / You’re just a strangеr I know everything about,” warm the heart and make anyone who is going through heartbreak feel a little bit whole again.

Rodrigo throws us a curveball with the joyous theme of “so american.” The song captures the enchanting honeymoon phase of a love story between a European and an American. The energetic electric bass and heavy drums evoke feelings of excitement and liveliness that are backed by so much kinetic energy. I envision someone wearing rose-colored glasses while feeling butterflies and giddiness that make you want to leap for joy.

In essence, Rodrigo presents a varied range of themes and melodies in her deluxe tracks, complementing the existing 12 tracks in the original album “GUTS” seamlessly. It’s refreshing to see Rodrigo’s evolution when it comes to her views on romance, transitioning from heartbreak to healing and triumph. This collection is definitely worth listening to for fans of Rodrigo or anyone who enjoys catchy pop-rock tunes that will linger in your mind and have you listening to them on repeat.

Sydney Sweeney stars in the new horror movie ‘Immaculate’

The American psychological horror film “Immaculate” released earlier this month on March 22 and has received mixed reviews from critics. The film has received an average rating of 6.4/10, and the critics consensus reads “Immaculate in conception if not always in execution, this religiously themed horror outing is saved by a divine performance from Sydney Sweeney.”

This movie follows Cecilia, a young woman of devout faith, as she moves to Italy to reside at a covenant that tends to dying nuns. The covenant appears to look perfect from the outside, but once Cecilia starts to live there and interacts with some of the residents, she starts to discover the covenant’s terrifying secrets. She comes across some strange occurrences while residing there, such as

finding scars on a nun’s feet in the shape of crosses and a nail taken from the cross where Jesus was crucified. After having a nightmare, Cecilia wakes up to discover that she is pregnant, even though she is a virgin. When the others in the covenant find out, they start to treat her as the next Virgin Mary, and are hopeful that her baby will save the world.

“Immaculate” features performances by actors and actresses such as Sydney Sweeney from the TV shows “Everything Sucks!,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Euphoria,” Álvaro Morte from the TV show “Money Heist” and Benedetta Porcaroli from the TV show “Baby.”

While I think all the actors and actresses in this film did a great job, Sweeney definitely sold the show as her character Cecilia. I feel like she truly delved into her role as Cecilia.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sweeney had originally auditioned for

“Immaculate” in 2014, but the project never fully developed. Eventually, after having a few more acting gigs under her belt, she acquired the rights to the movie and redeveloped it. She helped produce the movie alongside the director Michael Mohan.

It was quite refreshing to see Sweeney in a horror film. I feel like we haven’t really gotten to see her act in a horror role before, and I have to say that she absolutely killed it, especially in the ending. She has that perfect scream that’s just meant for horror films, and I hope to see her in more horror movies after this.

The first two acts of the film were filled with predictable jumpscares, but it was in the final act and the third trimester

of Cecilia’s pregnancy where the movie truly started to shine. In this act, Cecilia is desperately trying to escape the covenant, and ends up in the catacombs underneath the building while running away from Father Sal Tedeschi. The tension throughout this act is very thick, especially with how dark the catacombs are.

Overall, I enjoyed this film even though some of the jumpscares were predictable. I found myself fascinated with Sweeney’s performance throughout the entirety of the film. The last act had me on the edge of my seat as I was watching. I would recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of anything horror related.

The Signal’s Rainy Day Playlist

Funeral Cry i love you

Phoebe Bridgers

Cigarettes After Sex

Billie Eilish

Our Editorial Board put together a mix of our favorite songs to listen to on a rainy day in honor of April showers.

page 14 The Signal April 5, 2024
Photo courtesy of Apple Music Olivia Rodrigo has released a deluxe version of “GUTS,” featuring five new tracks. Photo courtesy of IMDb The film features jumpscares, an underlying eerienes and a gruesome ending.

The Signal’s sports section’s Final Four predictions

After four rounds of March Madness, the Final Four is finally upon us. Purdue University will take on North Carolina State University in the first matchup in Phoenix on Saturday night, and the University of Connecticut will battle the University of Alabama afterwards. The two winners will face off the night of April 8. Our sports staff has predicted what they believe will happen in the Final Four.

Eddie’s predictions:

Championship: Alabama beats NC State

Alabama and NC State is a championship

matchup that no one would have predicted entering this tournament. Both teams have made amazing runs in March, and a meeting in the final would see two high powered offenses facing off. While NC State has looked amazing, their Cinderella run will end in the championship. Alabama guard Mark Sears has had an amazing tournament, and he will be able to lead this offense in the championship. Senior forward Grant Nelson has been playing well all tournament, and he will be able to cement his status as an NBA Draft pick in this game. His defensive prowess will help his team handle Burns, along with other NC State bigs in Will Middlebrooks and Mohamed Diarra. NC State will keep it close, but Alabama will win 85-78, proving they are more than a football school.

Most Outstanding Player: Mark Sears, senior guard, Alabama

Tyler’s predictions:

Championship: UConn beats Purdue

These two teams match up very well with one another. They each have 7-footplus centers that they can give the ball to to get a bucket and protect the rim at an elite level. Purdue will go to Edey, and they will go to him early and often. If Clingan can stay out of foul trouble for the first half, UConn should be able to hang with them. If Clingan can somehow shut down Edey, UConn should coast to a win. This will not happen though, because Edey is too good. However, UConn is the more complete team. They have the experience that this Purdue team does not have, and they have a championship winning coach that has put on a coaching masterclass throughout the tournament. This game should be back and forth the entire game, but UConn will prevail 80-77.

Most Outstanding Player: Tristen Newton, senior guard, UConn

Joseph’s predictions:

Championship: UConn beats Purdue In a matchup of two No. 1 seeds, Purdue seems to have the best chance to be able to dethrone the Huskies and prevent the first back-to-back champions since the University of Florida nearly 20 years ago. Unfortunately for Purdue, Clingan has proven to be potentially the best defensive player in the country this March, racking up multiple games with more than five blocks, including eight against Northwestern. For the Boilermakers, it is going to come down to the production outside of Edey to match the firepower of the Huskies. Guys like Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith will have to have great shooting days from outside the arc, and

Baseball moves into top 25 after doubleheader split

The College’s baseball team was coming off a difficult week in which they dropped back-to-back games to extend their losing streak to three, after winning 12 straight games to open the season. The College traveled to Wayne, New Jersey in order to face off against the Pioneers of William Paterson University on March 30.

To break this losing streak, it would be ideal for the Lions to rekindle some of their early inning success that contributed to their previous win streak, and that is exactly what they did in the opening game. The College scored one run in each of the first two innings, thanks to junior infielders Andrew Fernandez and Mike LaGravenis, who both singled to give the team an early 2-0 lead.

An early lead was especially important, as they were counting on one of their leading pitchers, fifth-year Ben Amon, to

have a successful day on the mound and hold the lead. He delivered, as through the first four innings, Amon did not allow any runs while striking out 10 of the 12 batters he retired.

Unfortunately, he stuttered in the bottom of the fourth, allowing a gametying two run home run to junior catcher Austin Jack of the Pioneers, who finished with four RBIs for the game. Amon was not shaken, as he ended up tossing seven innings, punching out 16 batters in the opening game. This gave him over 200 career strikeouts, and he became just the fourth player in school history to accomplish this feat.

The Lions’ offense could not offer Amon the support for the victory, and the two runs they scored in the opening two innings would be the last time they would cross home plate in the opening game. After junior reliever Matt Santos surrendered four runs in the bottom of the eighth, it was too much for the College

Lance Jones and Mason Gillis will need to come through as well. In the end, the UConn is machine-like and has looked almost like professionals playing against amateurs for nearly two seasons now. UConn will repeat as national champions, defeating Purdue 77-68.

Most Outstanding Player: Cam Spencer, senior guard, UConn

Aidan’s predictions:

Championship: Purdue beats UConn

Purdue and Connecticut have been the two best teams for most of the year, so it is fitting that they play in the last game of the season. Edey against Clingan will be a battle that Edey will win, so it will come down to guard play. UConn has tremendous guards that will make it difficult on Purdue. However, the Purdue supporting cast has improved drastically from last year’s March Madness embarrassment. Ultimately, Edey will score 30 or more and the role players will hit timely shots to give Purdue the edge in a legendary game, 74-70.

Most Outstanding Player: Zach Edey, senior center, Purdue

Joey’s predictions:

Championship: UConn beats NC State

It’s hard to pick against the Huskies. All season, they have dominated and recently they’ve looked unbreakable. Alabama plays fast and the tempo of their game is high, so expect a close game, but UConn to still win. NC State is good, but they need to stop Edey and just be relentless on offense in going right at him. In the final, UConn is just going to straight up dominate and win.

For our staff’s further predictions on the two seminfinal matchups of the men’s NCAA Tournament, read more on our website!

to overcome, as they dropped this one 6-2, extending their losing streak to four games.

Luckily, the Lions did not have much time to sulk, and turned their attention to the second game of the doubleheader, desperately needing a victory to break their losing streak. It was junior lefthander Jackson Malouf who would get the call in this one, hoping to have a similar outing to his teammate Amon, but looking for a win this time.

Similarly to the first game, the Lions struck first, scoring in the top of the first and then adding three more runs in the top of the second to go up 4-1 early in the contest. Junior infielder Justin Marcario hit a two-run triple to extend the Lions lead in the second inning. Over the next seven innings, the College would score seven more runs, led by seniors Ryan Goodall and Jack Haynes, who each had multiple RBIs to pad the lead.

Despite the offense breaking out of a slump, the story of this game was the starting pitcher. Malouf had a day to remember on the mound, matching Amon’s strikeout number with 16, and allowing just three runs while pitching all nine innings in the victory. It was much needed length for the Lions, as Malouf pitched his second complete game of the season, with this being the first time he has gone nine innings. Malouf got the win and moved to 3-0 as a starter, as the College got back in the win column with an 11-3 win over William Paterson University.

For the first season since 2019, the College is inside the top 25 D3baseball. com rankings, coming in at No. 21. A combination of stellar starting pitching and a deep lineup has gotten them to this point, and there is no reason to believe that veteran manager Dean Glus cannot keep them within the top 25. As for the next game, the Lions will go to Camden to take on Rutgers-Camden on April 4.

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April 5, 2024 The Signal page 15
Photo courtesy of Flickr UConn has a chance to be the first champion to repeat since 2007.
Write for The Signal.
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone The Lions now have a record of 13-4.

Women’s lacrosse takes two losses at the hands of top ten teams

The Lions headed into this difficult two game stretch sitting at 5-1 after a loss to the top team in the nation, Middlebury College. In back-to-back games, the Lions played against No. 6 Gettysburg College and No. 7 Washington and Lee University. These were two important games to stack up, with Gettysburg being the nation’s runner up last season and Washington and Lee entering the game at 8-3 with a ton of experience.

The first game against Gettysburg was contested at the start. Freshman mechanical engineering major CJ Kole got the Lions on

the board in the first quarter to tie the game at one a piece. The Bullets dominated the rest of the quarter, scoring four unanswered goals in two minutes. The Lions tried to battle back with two goals from senior english and secondary education major Ally Tobler, who willed the team back in the game. The quarter ended with two more goals from the Bullets, putting them up 7-3 over the Lions.

The second quarter followed suit with a stretch of early quick goals. Four goals in four minutes for Gettysburg really hurt the Lions’ chances of a comeback. The defense tightened up a bit, allowing one goal in ten minutes to end the quarter. Halftime saw the Lions down 12-4.

The rest of the game was not great from the Lions all around, losing the second half battle 7-2 with the defense looking a little better than they had earlier in the game. The College fell to 5-2 and had two bad losses to higher end opponents. The Lions were outshot 30-12 and only had successful clears half the time. That has been a recurring issue for the team; when getting a clean save or turnover, they cannot get the ball from defense to offense efficiently. Gettysburg went nine for 10 from their clears, meaning the Lions did not create enough turnovers in the midfield.

Game two of the week saw the Lions play Washington and Lee University, who is ranked No. 7 in the country. The game started off as bad as it could, with the Generals going on a five to nothing run to start the game. Turnovers, free position shots and bad clears all came up rearing their ugly head early for the Lions. The College did not score until there were four minutes left in the first quarter, with Tobler being the light again on the offensive end, scoring two in those four minutes.

The second quarter started just as bad as the first with an onslaught of goals from the Generals, going up 10-2. The Lions did not score until there was a minute left in the quarter, with senior nursing major Morgan Vaccaro scoring the goal while on the powerplay. The Lions had a game high eight turnovers in the second quarter alone, which does not lend itself to winning lacrosse.

The second half was more positive for the Lions, winning the third quarter with two goals coming from senior education

Men’s and women’s tennis continue their impressive seasons

The College’s tennis teams each continue to have a strong season. The men’s team had matches against New York University, Rutgers-Camden, and No. 46 ranked Haverford College dating back to March 23. The women’s team played New Paltz as well as New York University and Rutgers-Camden.

The men’s team first hosted New York University on March 23 and won their tightest match of the year, 5-4. They dropped in doubles 2-1, with sophomores Alberto Thomas and Brett Schuester securing the one win.

The Lions were able to make the comeback thanks to some stellar singles play. Freshman Aayush Kishore was the first to be victorious with a 6-3, 6-3 win. Sixth-year Matthew Michibata won in

three sets after storming back from losing the first set and going down 2-0 in the second. This was Michibata’s 70th career singles victory.

The Lions had a quick turnaround and played Rutgers-Camden the very next day in Ewing. The College won in commanding fashion 9-0 and only lost 2 games all day.

For doubles, Michibata and sophomore Harrison Maitland-Carter dominated their match 8-1. The duos of Schuster and Thomas, and junior Dorian Makarski and Kishore won 8-0 each. Michibata, Maitland-Carter, Schuster, Thomas and Kishore each won their singles matches, with fifth-year Adrian Tsui adding to the Lions win total.

On March 30, the men’s team traveled to Haverford, Pennsylvania to face No. 46 Haverford College. While the College did prevail 7-2, it was not nearly as clean as

major Kira Sides and Tobler scoring the third. The defense tightened up and only let up two goals, with five saves from senior education major Juila Charest, who helped the Lions win the quarter, but were still down 12-6.

The Lions lost the fourth quarter 4-3 due to three goals scored in two minutes from Washington and Lee to put the nail in the coffin. The Lions again had bad clearing stats, going 19-27 with 23 turnovers for the game. The game was sloppy from both teams, but Washington and Lee were amazing on the clear, going 19-20 along with winning the ground ball battle 27-15.

The last three games have been brutal for the Lions, losing a combined 4921 to ranked opponents. The game plan when playing these high end teams needs to change, as the Lions do not seem to adapt quick enough on either side of the ball when things are not going well. This team is on the younger side and has a ton of talent, but stretches of five goals in three minutes are not going to be a recipe for success when playing these high-end teams. This team needs to change their clearing strategy along with not giving up so many free possession shots. The Lions have given up 21 free possession shots in two games while only getting 10.

The Lions now have an easier schedule coming up playing no ranked opponents until April 13 against No. 4 Salisbury. The Lions should test out some new sets and strategy against the next three unranked opponents because what they are doing now is not working against these ranked teams.

TCNJ Athletics Schedule

they would have liked.

They got out to an early lead after winning all of their doubles matches. Michibata and Mainland-Carter won 8-6, Makarski and Kishore won 8-3 and Schuster and Thomas also won 8-3.

The first two singles matches to finish were won by Haverford, as they cut the deficit 3-2. The final four matches all ended up going to three sets. The Lions were able to pull through in all four of the matches.

The College’s women’s team suffered their first loss of the year during their weekend set of matches. They first faced New Paltz and won comfortably 9-0.

Freshman Zoey Albert and senior Chase Eisenberg coasted to an 8-1 win, followed quickly by an 8-2 win from freshmen Prisha Priyadarshini and Gabriella Robinson. Junior Aira Abalos and freshman Marcella Warner were able to pull out an 8-6 nail-biter to finish the doubles. Eisenberg’s singles victory in two sets marked her 100th career victory.

The women then picked up their first loss of the season to No. 24 New York University, losing 6-3. They were able to get off to a solid start by winning two of the three doubles matches. Abalos and Warner succeeded in an 8-5 win, followed by Priyadarshini and Robinson teaming up to win 8-4.

The Lions were not able to keep up with the Violets in the singles game, though. Warner was the only player to come out with a singles win with scores 6-4, 4-6 and 10-8.

The Lions wrapped up their weekend with a victory over Rutgers-Camden 9-0, only losing five games in the process.

The College’s men’s team is currently ranked No. 17 in the nation, the highest it’s been in 15 years, while the women’s team is currently ranked No. 35.

Track and Field

Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6

Away at George Mason for Ebanks Invitational


Friday, April 5, 2 p.m. Away doubleheader at Stockton


Friday, April 5, 3:30 p.m.

Home against RutgersCamden

Men’s and Women’s Tennis

Friday, April 5, 4 p.m. Home against Ramapo


Saturday, April 6, 11:30 a.m. Home doubleheader against Rutgers-Newark

Women’s Tennis

Saturday, April 6, 12 p.m. Away at Stockton


Saturday, April 6, 12 p.m. Home doubleheader against Kean

Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone Senior midfielder Kira Sides with the ball. Photo by Brooke Zevon Senior captain Chase Eisenberg during her match.
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