Issue No. 13 Spring '24

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The Signal

LIONS interlibrary loan fee proposal sparks backlash

The working group has ideas for the LIONS Plan, like costs for interlibrary loans.

After Interim President Michael Bernstein reported that patrons could soon bear the brunt of interlibrary loan costs, students across campus voiced their concerns over the issue and expressed their discontent. The suggestion that costs could be passed on to patrons came in an April 9 email that updated the College community on the progress of the LIONS Plan.

“The Library Operations Working Group has identified salary savings as a means of

realizing over 30% of its budgetary goal,” he wrote. “Other options being explored include a reduction in acquisitions spending, and possibly having users be responsible for the cost of interlibrary loans.”

While one reason for this potential plan is to decrease the College’s expenses, Zoe Talbot, an English graduate student, suggested a more specific rationale as to why ILLs have been chosen as a target of the proposed cutbacks.

“The Library Operations Working Group was given the impossible task of identifying potential cuts within this specific part of

Nyle DiMarco on finding your purpose

Nyle DiMarco spoke to students about growing up in a four-generation deaf family, his Hollywood career and his college years on Thursday night in Brower Student Center. DiMarco won both “America’s Next Top Model” and “Dancing with the Stars.” He has since made a career as an actor, producer and advocate for the deaf.

The event was organized by the College Union Board and sponsored by the College’s Deaf Hearing Connection and

PRISM, the College’s gender and sexuality alliance.

CUB Live Event Coordinator and junior communication studies major Destinie Nodarse collaborated with leaders of the Deaf Hearing Connection to make the event accessible to both deaf and hearing individuals. DiMarco signed his speech to the crowd while an interpreter translated his words to spoken English. A camera also projected DiMarco onto a large screen to help make his signing visible to all of the audience members.

our campus life,” she said. “Interlibrary loans may have been identified as the least harrowing of potential cuts.”

Whatever their reasons may be, many students, including Talbot, were outraged by this proposed change.

“ILL is essential and should not be barred to people who cannot afford it,” junior English major Emma Weniger said in the group chat of Sigma Tau Delta, an English honors society.

ILLs have been a free resource for any student to access materials that are not offered by the College’s library. This research tool is especially helpful for students exploring a research paper topic or writing a thesis or dissertation.

Gitenstein Library archivist Kat Jorgenson, a senior English major, argued that making ILLs a cost to students would be an “unethical and inane” decision, as this resource is already paid for by tuition.

“If our student fees are in part funding library services, then students should not have to pay twice for a service our work requires access to,” she said.

Taking a closer look at the numbers, instate undergraduate students will be required to pay close to $4,000 in student fees on top of an around $15,000 tuition charge for the following academic year, according to the College’s financial aid site. Out-of-state tuition will be almost $6,000 more than the in-state figure. With these existing high costs of tuition that increase between 2-4% each year, low-income students could bear most of the financial burden if this change is implemented.

The College’s men’s and women’s tennis teams had two meetings each this past weekend. The Lions faced Salisbury University on Saturday and then faced Drew University on Sunday for their Senior Days.

The men’s matchup with Salisbury was highly anticipated, as the Sea Gulls came into the weekend ranked No. 41 nationally. The No. 22 ranked Lions hosted Salisbury in Ewing on April 13, and dropped their first match of the season, 6-3. The Lions were undefeated prior to this and fell to 11-1 following the loss.

Sixth-year Matthew Michibata and sophomore Harrison Maitland-Carter won their doubles match 8-5, which was the only doubles match the Lions would win against Salisbury. Michibata and Maitland-Carter won their singles matches as well. The other four singles matches were extremely competitive, with each decided in a third set and there being four tiebreaker sets in total. The College was not able to come out on top in any of these, though.

The following day was Senior Day, and Michibata, along with fifth-year Adrian Tsui, were celebrated for their career achievements and accomplishments. After their recognition, Michibata and Tsui proceeded to win all of their matches in the afternoon. The duo of Michibata and Maitland-Carter worked to another victory, winning 8-2.

The untold story of John Fiocco Jr.

The start of the spring semester is generally a happy time at the College. With warmer weather approaching and commencement around the corner, the mood of students is generally happy and contained — but not in the spring semester of 2006.

It was late March, and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office was holding a press conference to discuss what they’d found — the mysterious liquid in and around the dumpster of Wolfe Hall was confirmed to be the blood of student John Fiocco, Jr.

The conference was four days after Fiocco was reported missing at the College. He was a freshman graphic design major and a resident of Wolfe Hall. But after this conference, Fiocco’s story would begin to shift. Once the prosecutor made this confirmation, the student’s disappearance became more mysterious and eventually became the tagline of Fiocco: The student that ‘went down the trash chute,’ the ‘dumpster kid’ from Wolfe Hall.

But that’s not all he was.

The press conference was the beginning of the end for this investigation. This detail is one of the only sure-fire facts on Fiocco’s case — one that remains open today, 18 years later.

From March 25 to April 25 of 2006, a search for Fiocco spread through campus and the surrounding areas until his remains were found in a waste disposal site in Tullytown,

Pennsylvania. The blood in the dumpster and the disposal site provided answers about where the student was, but there was nothing to assure anyone of the logistics of how he got there. This left the door open for plenty of speculation from the media. Rumors would fly about Fiocco and the College, guesses about whether the student could fit down a trash chute, if he had access to the freshmen dorm’s trash compactor rooms or if there was anyone else with access, either. Eventually, it was determined there was no way he went down the trash chute, but he quickly began to be remembered as a mystery.

see FIOCCO page 5

Vol. LIII, No. 13 Serving The College of New Jersey since 1885 April 19, 2024
Photo by Matthew Kaufman
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Follow us! @tcnjsignal FEATURES page 6 Carribean Student Org. TCNJ EMS offers four courses for students and community members to learn life saving skills. OPINIONS page 7 Traditions is low quality Students are settling for less than deserved at the well known on-campus establishnent. SPORTS page 16 Softball walk-off win The softball team defeats nationally raked No. 14 Rowan University. ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT page 13 P. Diddy charges ensue Rapper and producer faces sixth sexual assault lawsuit since November 2023. Men’s, women’s tennis
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wins on Senior
Photo by Brooke Zevon The College Union Board organized a Colllege visit from “America’s Next Top Model” and “Dancing with the Stars” winner Nyle DiMarco. see DIMARCO page 12 The memory of John Fiocco Jr., a student at the College in 2006, is more than an unsolved missing persons case. Photo by John Fiocco Sr.

Continued from page 1

“These obstacles to library users will only further discourage usage [of ILLs] and negatively impact low-income students at a disproportionate rate,” Jorgenson said.

For these reasons, Jorgenson has already taken a stand to push back against the proposal by creating an email template for students to send to the president’s office. Erica Altamura, the College’s Deputy Chief of Staff, responded to these emails on behalf of the president.

“Thank you for taking the time to review my recent update on the progress of the LIONS Plan Working Groups and reach out with your thoughtful comments,” Altamura wrote. “I want to assure you, all feedback, including of course your own, will be closely considered by the Working Groups as their work continues and final recommendations are made.”

While this reply leaves the fate of interlibrary loans undecided, Jorgenson

argue against proposal

suggested that the College’s student government could have more of an impact on this matter by getting involved in this situation.

“If these representatives have been looking for a way to stand up for their student body, then now is the time to speak out against financial barriers to information for our students and faculty,” she said.

Talbot also points out a pattern in the current administration’s decisions by mentioning that they should be more focused on how their choices will affect students.

“I believe that faculty and resources for students should be a priority, and certainly not where we decide to start cutting corners,” she said.

At the moment, there is no release date set for this suggested change within the LIONS plan as the Library Operations Working Group is still evaluating the feasible options before them. However, Bernstein does plan to send out a final report on working group recommendations next month.

Physics Club hosts solar eclipse watch party

A solar eclipse passed over New Jersey on April 8, casting the campus into an early dusk for several minutes. While many colleges chose to close down to keep students safe, the Physics Club decided to celebrate the event by hosting a watch party at 2 p.m. outside the Brower Student Center.

“I was excited that there would be a chance to see the eclipse in the first place,” said Kayla Wason, president of the Physics Club and a junior physics and secondary education major. “To be able to watch [it] and share that with the rest of campus was really exciting.”

According to NASA, a solar eclipse occurs when the moon blocks the Earth’s view of the sun. The location of where the eclipse is viewed determines its totality, or how much the sun is blocked.

In the case of this eclipse, New Jersey was able to experience about 90% totality. Another solar eclipse will not be visible from the United States until 2044, while New Jersey itself will not experience an eclipse with this much coverage for another 200-300 years, according to Wason.

“The eclipse is such a rarity,” said Wason. “I was honored to see it.”

The Physics Club wanted to share the resources of the physics department to help other students enjoy the eclipse. They passed out solar glasses and set up a telescope and two “sunspot” viewers so students could get a closer look at the sun.

“We have so many awesome resources here at the [College] physics department,” said Wason. “It kind of felt like our obligation and responsibility to be able to share this with the rest of campus…this is our way of giving back.”

The College implements gender-inclusive bathroom signs

The College implemented new bathroom signs in four academic buildings last month in an effort to promote inclusivity. The initiative came to fruition through efforts of a working group of faculty, staff, students and student representatives from PRISM, the College’s gender and sexuality alliance.

The new restroom signs have pictogram images of the facilities inside that particular restroom, instead of a woman or man, along with another sign which directs people to use the restroom that most closely aligns with their gender identity. The Art and Interactive Multimedia Building, Music Building, Kendall Hall and some of Roscoe West all have new signs.

“Gender neutral bathrooms aren’t always available, so the main goal is to make sure that there’s a comfortable environment for whatever bathroom you choose,” said Liv Kelly, a junior biology major and representative of PRISM who was a part of the restroom signs working group. “One advantage of having gender neutral bathrooms is some privacy and comfort.”

For restrooms that are not singleuse, separate facilities must be provided for each sex in order to be in compliance with policy 7.21.4 of the National Standard Plumbing Code. There is, however, an exception that would allow more than one sex in a non-single use restroom.

“Separate facilities shall not be required when rooms have separate fixtures designed for use by both sexes and the water closets are installed in privacy compartments,” exception five of policy 7.21.4 states. “Urinals shall be located in an area that is visually separated from the remainder of the room or each urinal shall be installed

in a privacy compartment.”

With the necessary requirements to make a non-single use restroom gender-neutral, many bathrooms that already exist at the College cannot bear the label “gender-neutral.” Additions would need to be installed to them, which could be expensive and time consuming. Because building new bathrooms can be difficult, the College’s goal is to make the bathrooms that already exist more inclusive by changing the signs, according to Kelly.

“I think that this change for the bathrooms is good for students who previously might have been unsure of which bathroom they were allowed to enter,” said Inbar Strauss-Kirshner, a sophomore sociology major.

When traditional women’s and men’s bathrooms do not fully align with a person’s gender identity, ostracization is a possibility.

“A thing that happens for a lot of trans people is they’re not comfortable using the bathroom with the gender that they were assigned at birth because that’s not who you

are, but they’re also not comfortable using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender because they’re not comfortable with the alienation,” said Kelly.

Hate crimes in public restrooms against transgender and gender nonconforming individuals are an ongoing issue. In February, Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old non-binary high school student, died by suicide the day after being attacked by a group of their classmates in a girls’ restroom.

Using non-gender-neutral bathrooms can be risky and nervewracking for people who are not cisgender because of potential threats.

“[The bathroom signs initiative] is good,” Kelly said. “I’m not sure how much it does in terms of safety, because ultimately when it comes down to it, the main thing is the social environment is the most important part.”

With the exception of Roscoe West, all of the buildings with new bathroom signs primarily house classes under the School of Arts and Communication. Those taking classes under the schools

of Business, Humanities and Social Sciences, Education, Engineering, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Science have less access to inclusive restrooms.

“It isn’t really fair if an arts major student has more inclusive bathrooms than a STEM major student,” said Kelly.

Some students pointed out some issues that they have with the bathroom signs initiative.

“It feels kind of performative,” said Joshua Gorman, a senior marketing major. “What is it actually doing?”

The restroom sign group, which was organized by Campus Planning, began meeting in November 2022, according to Head Media Relations Officer Luke Sacks. Some students believe that the College should be channeling its energy and resources into other initiatives.

“I wish the same level of effort was put into providing women’s sanitary products, but unfortunately that initiative was shut down,” said sophomore chemistry major Hannah Fuschetto.

In December 2023, the College’s administration chose not to move forward with a pilot program that would have placed menstrual products in bathrooms around campus. The administration’s reasoning for rejecting the program was budget cuts.

“If they want to make a real difference, bathroom signs are not the way to go,” Fuschetto said.

The working group is no longer meeting to discuss replacing bathroom signs around campus, according to Kelly. However, “signs will be replaced around campus as needed,” said Sacks.

“The small change is able to help students feel more comfortable at TCNJ and makes it easier to find bathrooms for everyone who needs one,” said Strauss-Kirshner.

page 2 The Signal April 19, 2024 LIBRARY /
Photo by Elizabeth Gladsone A group organized by College Planning collaborated to bring more inclusive bathroom signs to some academic buildings.
Read more on our website!
Photo by Matthew Kaufman Interim President Michael Bernstein reported that patrons could soon bear the brunt of interlibrary loan costs. Photo by Anthony DiPrimo Students gather in front of the Brower Student Center to view the solar eclipse.

LIONS working groups considering charging for ILL, new ‘spirit shop’

LIONS Plan working groups are considering charging patrons for the cost of interlibrary loan services, implementing library “salary savings” and potentially opening a “spirit shop” in the library, according to the latest update sent to the campus from Interim President Michael Bernstein on April 9.

The working groups, which comprise faculty, staff and students, will report their final recommendations next month. Though the ideas outlined in the email are not finalized, Bernstein wrote that the content provides a “good preview of what will be reported in May.”

The suggestion that interlibrary loan

services, which allow students, faculty and staff to request materials from other libraries, could no longer be free alarmed some students, including Kat Jorgensen, a senior English major who, along with David Roberts ‘23, brought the campus its two little libraries.

“Attending college already poses a significant financial barrier to low-income students,” Jorgensen told The Signal, “and to suggest that we should charge students for a service they require to succeed and have already funded through their tuition dollars is both unethical and inane.”

Further cuts to the library could come from a “reduction in acquisitions spending,” which Jorgensen said could reduce the amount of materials available in the College’s own library, thus increasing

Former President Kathryn Foster to teach three courses in the fall semester

Former President Kathryn Foster will soon join the faculty at the College at the end of her year-long sabbatical, returning as a professor of political science and will be teaching two undergraduate classes and one for the Masters of Public Policy program.

Foster joined the College in 2018 after serving as president of the University of Maine at Farmington. She led the College through the COVID-19 pandemic, helped build the Division of Inclusive Excellence and attempted to get ahead of the coming college enrollment cliff through various initiatives.

In April 2023, Foster surprised the campus community and announced her resignation as president at the end of the academic year, citing her desire to return to a teaching position.

Foster’s resignation soon raised questions, however, as the benefits provided to her were reflective of a termination without cause rather than a voluntary resignation, per her presidential contract. The full circumstances surrounding her resignation are still unknown.

“After nearly 40 years in higher education, the last 11 of them as a president, I am motivated to return to the classroom and rejoin the ranks of faculty,” Foster said in her 2023 campus-wide email.

In the same email, Foster wrote that she would be taking a year sabbatical, after which she would return to join the faculty. Foster received a masters in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley and a doctorate in public and international affairs from Princeton University.

With her sabbatical soon coming to a close, her name can be found on PAWS as a professor for three classes running in the fall. According to PAWS, Foster

the need for interlibrary loans.

“If you claim to care about creating equal footing for students of all backgrounds, introducing monetary roadblocks will do us no good,” said Jorgensen. “These obstacles to library users will only further discourage usage and will negatively impact lowincome students at a disproportionate rate.”

Two other cost-saving initiatives from the Faculty Responsibilities and Core Curriculum working group have been approved by the College Steering Committee, which makes them one step closer to final implementation. These include a reduction in the number of units required for graduation from 32 to 30 and eliminating the First-Year Writing program, instead incorporating its curriculum into First-Year Seminar classes. First-year language requirements will likely be altered, but it is still not clear what those changes could look like.

The group is also continuing to consider a reduction of adjunct professors, along with a suspension of the Support of Scholarly Activities program, which allows faculty members to have a reduced teaching load while participating in research or other professional activities.

Changes are also being considered to student life, including the implementation of differential housing, alternative health services and cuts to cable television offerings.

Bernstein noted that the LIONS plan does not exclude administrative offices, with these divisions also being examined for cost-saving opportunities.

“In my conversations with various

members of the faculty, I have also heard of a desire to have the administrative side of our operations reviewed as part of the LIONS Plan process,” Bernstein said in the email. “It is, of course, entirely necessary and appropriate that the ‘non-academic side of the house’ be rigorously managed and efficiently deployed.”

The email also provided updates on the revenue-generating initiatives that are under consideration. The interim president said that the School of Continuing, Extended and Professional Studies working group has “completed a draft business plan for the school that outlines how it will achieve planned net revenue growth from $550,000 in FY26 to $4 million in FY28.”

Bernstein also said that a robust “TCNJ Online” platform will be developed in the first year to enable online education for graduate and continuing education courses, along with nontraditional undergraduates.

The Three-Year Bachelor’s Programs working group is developing two models for three-year degrees: one that would include summer, winter and transfer credits, and another that would include three years of classes and one year in a coop experience, according to the email.

Finally, the Community College Partnerships working group is examining ways to strengthen relationships with both in-state and out-of-state community colleges, with possible initiatives including dual admissions policies, transfer credit agreements, housing community college students in College-owned facilities and hosting community college classes on campus.

Cop Shop: The students can’t park and the professors can’t drive

will be teaching FYS 161: Anatomy of Great Places, POL 316: Politics of Community Change and PUBG 670: Urban Planning and Governance.

Each of her courses will focus on politics and a sense of place within local and urban communities, something the department has been lacking.

“While political science majors have expressed interest in realms such as community development and urban planning, until this upcoming semester when Dr. Foster begins teaching in the department, we didn’t have the expertise to offer classes in those topics,” Dr. Sarah Chartock, chair of the political science department, told The Signal via email. “We’re happy to have her expertise and enthusiasm.”

Foster declined to comment on her return.

“I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, but I have a feeling the dynamic might be atypical, especially when compared to the other political science courses I’ve taken so far,” said Amelia Laubsch, a junior political science major who is taking Foster’s Politics of Community Change class. “I’m looking forward to the content and the different perspective that I anticipate she will bring to the classroom.”

Presidents returning as faculty members is not a novel idea; former President Harold Eickhoff continued to teach at the College after his resignation. Similarly, Dr. Jeffrey Osborn, the former provost, will be returning to the College after a year-long sabbatical as a professor of biology.

With years of experience, Foster’s return to a non-administrative position will raise questions about any prospective role in governance at the College. What is certain is the expansion of classes that will be available to students with Foster’s expertise. Future students will benefit from not only an expanded area of study, but with the former president as their professor.

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 of careless driving, negligent parking and thieving have been reported to Campus Police within the last three weeks. The incidents are listed below chronologically, not in order of relevance.

March 27: Parking lot hit-and-run at fault of faculty

Shortly before 8:30 p.m., a student parked in Lot 18 made a report to Campus Police citing substantial body damage to their vehicle, specifically on the driver’s side headlight and bumper, and an instance of white paint transfer near the damage. The student’s vehicle was driveable, but appeared to be the victim of a hit-and-run car accident.

Campus Police reviewed the parking garage’s security footage and found the student’s car backed in its spot at approximately 7:22 a.m. Later, at approximately 1:07 p.m., a large white pickup truck backed into the neighboring parking spot. The footage then captures the truck attempting to leave the parking spot at 8:09 p.m., but strikes the vehicle during the attempt. The truck then straightened itself out and drove away, leaving the student’s vehicle damaged and unaccounted for.

Campus Police was unable to identify the license plate of the pickup truck from the parking garage security footage, but a plate reader on Green Lane captured the vehicle’s license plate number and confirmed the registration to be to a faculty member. Campus Police called the person connected to the vehicle to advise her that she would be receiving a citation for careless driving in the mail.

April 1: Social Sciences fire alarm

Campus Police was dispatched to the Social Sciences building at approximately 3:16 p.m. after the fire alarm’s strobes and audible alarms were activated. The panel for the building’s fire alarm read the alarms were set off on the second floor men’s restroom. Upon entering, Campus Police and Ewing fire squad recognized a faint smell of marijuana but no sign of fire or smoke. The officials confirmed the building was safe and let the students back in.

April 1: Campus Town gym theft

A student arrived at Campus Police headquarters at approximately 4:50 p.m. to file a personal theft report. According to the student, he arrived at the Campus Town gym earlier that day at approximately 3 p.m. and put his belongings, including a wallet and backpack, in an unlocked locker in the gym’s locker room. The student returned to his residence at 4:30 p.m. to find cash and a gift card stolen from his wallet.

While the student’s other belongings were untouched, a $100 bill, two $20 bills, and three $10 bills were stolen from his wallet, equating to a total of $170 stolen. The missing gift card was issued to Starbucks, but the student did not believe there were any funds remaining on the card. Campus Police issued the student a case number for the incident.

April 4: Lot 3 gets two of the same boots

In a routine 3:00 a.m. parking check, Campus Police officials issued two parking boots on two different vehicles for outstanding parking tickets in Lot 3. Both vehicles had three unpaid tickets for parking without a permit, resulting in a fine of $150, and were thereby eligible to be issued a fourth ticket and a parking boot. Along with the fourth ticket and the parking boot, both vehicles were issued boot removal tickets, bringing both vehicle’s outstanding ticket count to five and a new total of $250.

April 19, 2024 The Signal page 3
Photo by Shane Gillespie Interlibrary loan services, which allow students, faculty and staff to request materials from other libraries, could no longer be free.

Civil engineers present research, bridge and concrete canoe

From April 12 to 14, students from the College’s civil engineering department competed against other schools at the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Metropolitan Student Symposium. The event, hosted by Stony Brook University, included paper presentations and competitions for steel bridge and concrete canoe teams.

Jill Stanton, a senior civil engineering major, presented her paper “Evaluating the ethical dilemmas of utilizing AI as a tool in engineering” in front of two ASCE judges. Stanton competed against 11 other colleges, giving a five minute presentation to two judges followed by a session of questions.

“I think I did my best during the competition,” Stanton told The Signal. “Public speaking is a weakness of mine, so I was definitely nervous at the beginning. I think I calmed down about halfway through and delivered a good presentation and answered the questions to the best of my ability.”

It is not clear how Stanton placed, however, since the judges at the symposium only announced the top three competitors.

Students on the steel bridge and canoe teams spent the whole academic year researching, designing and building their projects for their respective competition.

The steel bridge team, made up of senior civil engineering majors Matt Mentonis, Jack Davis, Josh Romero, Dora Krstic and Stanton, started researching and designing the parts of the bridge last semester.

“Me and other people in my group were really interested in structural engineering

working with steel,” Davis told The Signal. “We learned a lot about it in classes and I kind of wanted to translate it to the real world.”

The group eventually moved on to assembling the parts to construct the 21-feetlong bridge with the help of Joe Zanetti, a professional services specialist who oversees the Manufacturing Lab at the College. Each part could only be 42 inches long and 6 inches tall.

The rest of the spring semester was spent practicing assembling the bridge, which was timed during the actual competition.

According to the 2024 rule book, each team is awarded points based on construction time, stiffness, structural efficiency, cost estimation, lightness, construction economy and aesthetics.

The steel bridge team went on to place third overall in the competition against eight other schools and first in the aesthetic category.

Similar to the steel bridge team, the concrete canoe team spent the fall semester designing and testing concrete mixes. After multiple attempts of creating too heavy or too sandy concrete mixes, civil engineers Johnny Lombardelli, John McElroy, Matthew Palermo, MacKenzie Bosland and Jamie Paddock decided on a lightweight mix to create a floating boat.

Even though the canoe successfully cured and was removed from the mold, the transportation from the College to Stony Brook damaged the boat. While on the beach, judges told the team that they could repair the damages with tape in order to compete, although they would take points off the group’s score.

After some quick repairs, Gamble passed the swamp test, which evaluated whether the boat would float or not. The canoe was filled with water and if it did not rise after being pushed under the water line, it would be disqualified.

The team got to then race their canoe against five other schools in a race course on the lake. The College competed last after the other schools in the first race, the women’s slalom.

About halfway through the race, Bosland and Paddock yelled to their teammates on the shore that water was flooding into the canoe. McElroy quickly ran into the lake with a bucket for the rowers to bail the water out, but to no avail as Gamble started to dramatically sink as it turned around to finish the course.

As the canoe started to break up in the water, the ASCE judges told the group that Gamble was no longer safe to take part in the competition.

“We were disappointed,” Palermo told The Signal. “But we thought the canoe was still an overall success.”

Despite not being able to race in any of the other competitions the College came in fifth, beating the Rutgers team by nine points.

While only the steel bridge team walked away with a top three placement, the students that attended the symposium left with real life experience through creative and unique projects. As the academic year comes to an end, current junior civil engineers will be looking towards the fall when they will restart these projects hoping to improve next year.

The College holds second planting event to increase biodiversity on campus

The College’s new native wildflower meadow initiative marked its beginning stages on April 10 as environmental enthusiasts came together to take part in the Planting Party.

The meadow site is located behind the soccer field and Decker Hall. There is a bridge crossing the creek near Decker Hall and Lot 13. From here, a gravel path leads up to the hill’s summit where two tilled plots reside.

There was a baby planting event on March 29 held by Lions Composting and TCNJ RoundOut, which are two groups stemming from Professor Miriam Shakow’s Climate Justice & Social Action course. First Year Community Engaged Learning students also partook in baby planting.

“The College mostly has landscapes with shrubs near the center of campus, so we want to try native varieties, organically managed, and spaced a little closer than is conventional, as a demonstration of how the landscaped areas of campus might be maintained organically,” said Shakow, a professor in the department of sociology & anthropology.

For the second planting event on April

10, the majority of students participating originated from Shakow’s course. Other students were volunteers who heard about the policy change campaign from campus outreach.

As part of an assignment, students in the course select a campaign related to environmental sustainability and push it out onto campus. The most consistent campaign since its inception in 2017 has been related to native plants landscaping and organic landscaping.

“The course has two requirements,” said Logan Fenton, sophomore anthropology major and student in Shakow’s course. “The first is a time log of hours put into the campaign and the second is to present our demands to the College faculty.”

According to Fenton, there is a presentation students give at the end of the campaign to showcase the effort invested, along with support gained throughout the process.

The majority of students at the Planting Party were fulfilling their required hours for their campaign as well as growing support for their campaign by welcoming volunteers.

Students worked together to plant six native plants; Clethra Alnifolia, Liatris Spicata, Penstemon hirsutus, Viburnum Trilobum, Ilex verticillata and Viburnum


According to Shakow, Hanna Stutzman, the current graduate assistant for the Campus as Living Lab, was a student in her course and kept the group going after the semester ended. She and Bryan Wood, president of the Environmental Club, successfully petitioned the associate vice president for facilities, Shawn Capellano Sarver, to launch a three-year pilot organic landscaping program at the plant site.

Many of the College’s plants are not native and are just lawn, which presents a challenge to organisms in the area like pollinating insects, native bees and birds who depend on particular native plants to survive.

“By planting the native plants we will provide habitat for native species,” Shakow said. According to Shakow, students have been demanding for years for the campus to shift towards completely native plants to teach the College and surrounding community about its importance to human life.

“One of our demands is that the College is going to focus on making 50% of campus greenery native plants by 2026,” Fenton said. “We believe hitting this percentage shows environmental betterment and provides more opportunity for environmental education initiatives through our campus.”

According to Fenton, a second demand is to create a summer position for students to maintain the garden. This will also involve removing invasive species like mugwort.

Native plants are very crucial for decomposition in which insects break down organic matter and contribute to energy cycling. Without this phenomenon, humans wouldn’t be able to survive.

“Decomposition requires thousands of different kinds of microorganisms and those can’t survive unless they have enough plant matter to decompose,” Shakow said.

The two planting plots are currently situated in a hidden area on campus that will serve as testing grounds before they can be mimicked on more seen areas of campus.

“The expectation on part of many members of the campus community is a very tidy look with a lot of lawn,” Shakow said. “This is our process to try things out and then bring them to the center of campus.”

Shakow noted that you can have a manicured look with native plants, but there are different soil management practices to minimize the use of harmful herbicides and pesticides.

The difference between the two plots is simple. One plot is a meadow, which will consist of herbaceous perennials. These plants die back completely in winter and resprout in the Spring.

The other plot, which was started on March 29 is a pilot organic landscaped plot with mostly native shrubs that maintain their branches throughout the year but resprout their leaves in Spring.

“Both plots will be maintained organically,” Shakow said. “The third area, which is grass marked out with string and flags, will also be maintained organically as a pilot turf-grass organic management program.”

The major challenge in getting to this point has been changing the narrative that campuses cannot achieve a manicured look with native plants.

“Shifting the campus practices to native plants, a greater variety of plants, and organic practices, will take a commitment from the College to pay for ongoing training, consultation with organic and native plants experts, and potentially hiring more grounds and landscaping staff for a few years to maintain the landscape in a new way,” Shakow said.

Introducing the concept of native plants to the College campus presents an opportunity to foster environmental awareness among students and faculty alike.

“The meadow helps provide environmental awareness by being both a healthy home for needed pollinators and by being a show of the natural biodiversity that is important in the health of our planet,” Fenton said.

page 4 The Signal April 19, 2024
Photo courtesy of Vedrana Krstic The group of civil engineers from the College along with Professor Nabil Al-Omaishi. Photo by Parisa Burton Students planting in one of two tilled plots located behind the soccer field and Decker Hall.


FIOCCO / Rewriting the ‘trash chute’ narrative: The untold story

Continued from page 1

Intrigue is an easy thing to attach to, especially for students who were not at the College at the same time as Fiocco. But there are more things to remember about our fellow student than just the circumstances of his death.

In interviews with The Signal, the father, brother, two sisters and a floormate of John Fiocco Jr. spoke on the things about John they don’t have to wonder about.

John was the oldest of four, followed by brother Nick Fiocco and sisters Kelly Bast and Brooke Bonilla, respectively. Born in 1987, he grew up as a ’90s kid and loved things like Green Day, Batman and WWE. But above all, John loved his family.

“He was the definition of an older brother where he was very much like the glue for our family,” Bonilla said. “We all looked up to Johnny.”

Bonilla, 30, was the youngest of the Fiocco family at the time of her brother’s death. At only 12 years old, she remembered him as naturally funny, humble and sweet. In her interview, she shared some memories with John that she felt showed a lot about his personality.

“I had a friend come over once, and [John] answered the door and was like, ‘Oh, hey sweetheart’ and, and my friend ran over to me and was like ‘Johnny just called me sweetheart!’ It was so cute, he was like an old soul,” said Bonilla.

Bonilla’s 12-year-old friend was not the only person in Bonilla’s memory that admired and liked John. There were so many other people that felt this way, in fact, that she remembers a nickname for her brother as ‘CPJ.’

“They called him CPJ, ‘cool, popular John’,” she said. “It was like a joke, but it was true, everybody loved him.”

The second sister and second youngest sibling to Fiocco was Bast. She was just going on 15 at the time of Fiocco’s death, and shares similar memories to her sister Bonilla. She agreed with how important family was to John and that he was the definition of an older brother.

Bast, 32, talked with The Signal about how she looked up to her brother as a role model. She followed in his footsteps with a lot of things, like the sports he played in high school and the personal morale he followed.

“I always looked up to him. I ran track because he ran track,” Bast said. “I do think all those things we just talked about really did affect me in a positive way in a sense where I’m like, ‘wow, what a short life lived and impacted me [so much].’”

The two sisters had a close relationship with their older brother John, but the second oldest of the Fiocco family children, Nick, held him even closer. The brothers share memories from attending sports games, playing video games and playing their own versions of WWE wrestling. Nick talked about these memories in a joint interview with Bast while divulging John’s personality traits.

“Pretty much all before his senior year, his weekends were just kind of hanging out at home. I feel blessed being able to have spent all that time with him,” said Nick. “He always found time to prioritize his family and friends. He was very goal oriented and really wanted to do what was the best for his future. He was always trying to do the

best thing for college and things like that, and trying to do the best he could to move forward, thinking about the future.”

The memories the Fioccos have of growing up with John provide a vivid image of the type of brother he was. But as members of the College, we can also look at the kind of person he was and his reflection on this community. As a freshman at the time of his disappearance, John was a student at the College for less than two semesters.

This short period of time did not stop John’s personality from reaching those around him. Students who lived with John in Wolfe wrote letters to The Signal a year after his disappearance, sharing details of what they learned from their time with him and the friendships they developed.

One of the students on John’s floor, Ray Lodato, came back to speak with The Signal about the kind of person and student John was in this community.

In an email, Lodato, 2009 alum, described John with some of the most amazing adjectives and characteristics we wish to see in a friend.

“John was truly the best of us — genuine, kind, compassionate, thoughtful and unafraid to stay true to his character when tested, even if it was difficult,” he said. “At the same time, he was down to earth, witty, funny and never took himself too seriously. Just tremendous all around.”

The facts of John’s case are not fully established to anyone as of writing. There isn’t anything factual to reflect on, nothing written to tell us the specifics of what happened on the night of March 25, 2006. Presented through John’s friends and family are the things people can speak on and prove.

Prior to beginning any specific interview questions with the Fiocco family, The Signal wanted to give those participating the ability to expand on what they would like to see in the story. Along with the characteristics of John they were willing to share, we asked the Fioccos what they would have liked to have seen in 2006 when John’s story was spread across the media. Even though this piece is being written 18 years later,

the family was happy to share their thoughts.

“He didn’t get his story written the way that I think he should,” Bast said. “I’d much rather have the memory of him being all that he was instead of being the 95 possibilities of how he was killed.”

With this in mind, The Signal carried out the interviews, gathering information about who John was and the specifics of what the family and friends would like to be remembered. Along with this conversation, the Fiocco family had additional information they would like to share about their methods of coping and their faith.

“I had 19 years with this wonderful, beautiful human being. He was a perfect child. And when I say perfect, I mean perfect,” said John Fiocco Sr., John’s father. “And there’s a reason these things happen, and it’s not circumstance. It will allow you to get closer to [God]. You know, because our weaknesses make us strong.”

John Sr., as well as the rest of the family, do not hold any antipathy toward the College or any of the investigators on John’s case. They did, however, express speculation that John’s death is the fault of another individual, but there is no animosity toward this individual either.

“I have no problem with [the College], it is what it is,” John Sr. said. “If this person came out today and said ‘Okay, I did it,’ it would close some doors for other people, but I don’t need to know. If I meet this person, I hope I meet them in heaven.”

All members of the Fiocco family have expressed strong ties to their religion and their faith. John’s mother, Susan Fiocco, died last February, and the family spoke of their peace of mind knowing the two are together again in heaven.

Since the tragedy, there were things that were done to honor John’s legacy as an individual rather than an incident. In 2006, a Hope Tree was planted in commemoration of the student, which still stands today. The tree can be found behind the R. Barbara Gitenstein Library, facing the science buildings. While the

plaque dedicated to John is no longer present with the tree, the department of facilities is currently working on its replacement.

John Sr. and Bonilla visited campus to see the tree’s growth, and while they did express disappointment in the missing plaque, members from the campus community have shown strong feelings about it as well.

“On behalf of those who knew and loved John, I kindly request the College replace the plaque that was laid down at the base of John’s memorial tree,” Lodato wrote. “John was exactly the kind of person the College wants in a student - and his memory needs to be kept alive on campus.”

Along with the memoriam of the tree, the Fiocco family developed a scholarship fund in John’s name for graduating seniors at his old high school, Clearview High School, in Mantua, New Jersey.

The scholarship is awarded to a student with similar traits to John, an artistic student athlete with strong integrity who has maintained a GPA above 3.0.

The scholarship has been awarded to a new student every year since 2007, maintaining John’s memory within the Clearview community.

The Fiocco family also has a P.O. box for this award, listed below, where people can freely send donation checks to the scholarship, along with photos or any written memories with John they would like to share with the family.

John Anthony Fiocco Jr Memorial Scholarship Award PO Box 130. Richwood NJ 08074

John Fiocco Jr.’s memory as ‘the dumpster kid’ or ‘the boy that died in the towers’ can fade. While this might seem like the easiest way for the College to remember the student from the early 2000s as the years go on, he was much more than that to the Fiocco family and those around him.

“Every day I’ll pray and I’ll talk to Johnny,” Nick said. “I’m always going to him for advice, because he is still my big brother, and that will never change.”

Photos courtesy of John Fiocco Sr., grapic by Shane Gillespie John Fiocco Jr.’s memory as ‘the dumpster kid’ or ‘the boy that died in the towers’ can fade.

Alumni Adventures: Doreen Marshall’s journey to nonprofit leadership

It is no secret that many alumni of the College go on to have successful careers, but one that stands out is that of Doreen Marshall. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in 1994 and master’s in 1996, Marshall has an incredibly impactful and impressive career doing work in nonprofit organizations for both suicide prevention and eating disorders.

Marshall recounted her experience at the College, outlining the connections and experiences she gained in her years here.

“My years at TSC were pivotal for me in so many ways. In addition to receiving a great education that has served me well in the years that followed, I met lifelong friends while living on Wolfe 10, Travers 8 and Community Commons [now Eickhoff Hall] as an undergrad and in Norsworthy as a graduate assistant,” Marshall told The Signal. “I also learned the importance of community and taking what you learned to make the world a better place, a value that I feel was embodied in many of the mentors and colleagues I met at TSC/ TCNJ.”

Marshall expressed her gratitude

Caribbean Student Association: A new student organziation

Joining the 230-plus student organizations at the College, the Caribbean Student Association held its first meeting on March 27. The Caribbean Student Association, known as CaribSA, is a newly formed organization that educates and embraces different cultures, countries and cuisines in the Caribbean.

On Feb. 3, freshman nursing major Keenyah Reid pitched the idea to start the Caribbean Student Association. Originally, the organization was going to be called the Jamaican Student Association. However, members of the club decided it would be more inclusive to involve all countries in the Caribbean since there is a large diaspora of students of Caribbean descent at the College.

During the first interest meeting, the executive board members introduced themselves as well as the club by giving a brief presentation welcoming students, explaining what exactly the organization is about and why students should join. Following the brief introduction to the club, the students played Kahoot!, answering some questions about different countries of the Caribbean. The students who ended up in the top three places at the end of the game won a bag full of prizes.

Reid said her favorite part of being a member of the CaribSA is seeing how such a small idea can reach such a broad audience.

for the education and community she gained at the College. “I landed at TSC in 1990 not knowing what the years ahead would hold, and they have been amazing, due in large part to the foundation that TSC provided,” she said.

Serving as a founding member and president of Delta Phi Epsilon, as well as student government president for her class, Marshall left her mark on the College long before her career began.

As an undergraduate student, Marshall majored in philosophy and English. However, her career path was shifted in 1995 as she was completing her master’s degree.

“While I was completing my MA degree in 1995, I experienced the suicide death of a loved one,” Marshall recounted, “and that refocused my career trajectory on serving those most impacted by mental health concerns and ensuring that those who were working with those with mental health concerns had the resources, training and information needed to best serve them.”

Marshall then dedicated her time to gaining her doctorate in counseling psychology at Georgia State University, specializing in suicide prevention, intervention, aftercare, trauma and co-occurring mental health concerns.

Rather than letting the weight of an unthinkable tragedy take her down, Marshall took that experience and

proceeded to make a positive impact on many other lives.

Following her graduation, Marshall began her work in suicide prevention, both volunteer and paid. She worked for several years in the Trenton area as a mental health clinician at SERV Behavioral Health Services. It was in 2014 when her nonprofit journey began, as she joined the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention as the senior director of education and prevention, vice president of programs and vice president of mission engagement.

In 2023, Marshall shifted her career, taking the role of chief executive officer of the National Eating Disorder Association. The association is a nonprofit dedicated to providing information and resources, raising awareness, advancing science and research, and advocating for change to help those impacted by eating disorders, which impact 30 million people in the United States.

“I hope that TSC alumni around the country can support our work to help those among us that are impacted (or supports someone impacted) by eating disorders,” Marshall said.

Marshall has taken the unthinkable and transformed it into a career that may have helped thousands. From her time at the College to now, Marshall has succeeded at displaying just how impactful an alumnus of the College can be, leading the path of success for those to come.

An explanation for the steam-filled pathways on campus

“From the interest meeting, we realized how many people were really interested in having this organization on campus,” said Reid, “and it really warms my and the rest of the members’ hearts that people are finding this to be their community as well.”

The Caribbean Student Association is an organization where students of Caribbean descent can feel more at home.

“I was not really as involved with my Caribbean culture,” said Tariah Pitts, a freshman public health major. “So, being part of this organization has given me a sense of belonging on this campus that I did not have before.”

Pitts said her favorite part of being a member of CaribSA is the community. “Just being able to share, hear other people’s experiences and learn more about the cultures is what makes being part of this community amazing,” Pitts said.

In future meetings, several topics regarding Caribbean culture will be covered, such as the traditions and cuisines in each Caribbean country.

“One meeting we might be focusing on Haitian culture, which would result in our collaboration with the Haitian Student Association,” Reid explained. “We would have a brief educational session where we are teaching about the history of Haiti and then inform members of the cuisine there.”

Joining CaribSA also exposes members to various opportunities. In addition to learning more about Caribbean culture, there will be leadership opportunities in the future for those who develop a strong interest in running for the executive board.

CaribSA’s mission affects not only those who identify with Caribbean culture but also those in broader communities. “CaribSA is just not about us,” said Pitt. “We care about the community beyond us. Every time we fundraise, we are going to put it in our bylaw that 20% goes to a cause that we have yet to decide. We want to encourage TCNJ students and other organizations that it is not just about TCNJ but broader communities as well.”

If you are interested in learning about Caribbean culture, you can follow CaribSA on Instagram at @tcnj_caribsa.

Emily Bielksi was walking back from class on a foggy night when she had even more difficulty navigating her way because a small plume of steam obscured her view.

“I haven’t really had any issues with them, but sometimes they can make it hard to see, especially when it’s already foggy out,” said the freshman music and psychology major.

Underground steam pipe systems are used to transport hot water that brings heating and cool air to building units on campus, with the exception of Campus Town. On campus, there are a variety of structures, including manholes, sewer grates and machines with prominent pipes that release visible steam into the air, especially during winter when the temperature is cold. Many are located next to pathways alongside campus buildings.

The steam has caused some confusion among students, and some are curious as to why the steam is being released in this manner.

The Central Steam Plant is a part of the Department of Sustainability & Energy. The department produces the campus’s fuel, electricity, power and steam, as well as directing construction projects that are made to sustain and use energy sparingly.

There are a few reasons to explain why the pipes on campus release steam. One of them is that when small amounts of steam are released, they’re controlled through steam traps underground. Groundwater comes into contact with hot pipes, which escape through small holes in the smaller pipes, manholes and sewer grates.

“Typically, when we see small whiffs of steam from the yellow mushroom shaped vents, these are controlled releases from steam traps in the vaults below the ground,” said Paul Romano, senior director of sustainability and energy management. “When we see larger releases of steam, this is more likely groundwater coming into contact with our very high temperature pipes, which produces steam upon contact.”

In addition, when kinks in the trap system cause defects in the pipes, large amounts

of steam are released. This is especially common in the larger machines that were made to release steam in a controlled manner. Two of these machines are located near Green Hall and another is located behind the library. These machines most likely have defective components that have failed and allow big plumes of steam to be released, such as one near the left side of Green Hall.

Jess Hausman, a freshman psychology major, said she is more concerned with the danger of the steam and its possible toxicity.

“I have no idea what kind of toxic fumes could be in there if there are any,” she said.

However, Romano said the steam is not hazardous, and measures are taken to contain the heat that large amounts of steam contain.

“The release of steam in large volumes presents a safety hazard if someone were to come into contact, which is why we install the large steel funnels on campus so that the energy may dissipate to the environment and erect wooden barriers so that no one may come into contact with the funnel,” he said.

Surveys are taken of the components in the steam system to expand reasonably, but when defects occur, they are difficult to predict. The hardest issue lies in replacing and rebuilding the pipe system. This is a lengthy process that is expensive and time consuming. It requires more time because the steam system must be turned off, but this may cause disruptions to those living on campus.

The steam system is eighty years old and has been expanded upon for almost a dozen years to be more efficient. “To date, we have replaced nearly two-thirds of the piping, but as this is both a very disruptive and expensive effort, this work is being performed in phases,” said Romano.

page 6 The Signal April 19, 2024
Photo courtesy of Doreen Marshall Doreen Marshall speaking at the NEDA Gala. Photo courtesy of Tariah Pitts The CaribSA e-board for 2024-2025. Photo by Shane Gillespie The steam system is 80 years old.

TCNJ students are settling for poor quality food and bad service at Traditions

Traditions is one of the most well-known and respected dining establishments at the College. Located in the Brower Student Center, students often go to Traditions to enjoy a sitdown meal, chosen from a menu with many options. Although the reputation of this establishment is quite high among students, I believe that our community is settling for less than we deserve, and recently, Traditions has been one of the worst places to dine.

Many students rave about how great Traditions is, but upon stepping through the restaurant’s doors, it is apparent that this could not be further from the truth. More times than not, I have been greeted by long lines, extremely slow service and half of the menu being unavailable to order. It is a very common occurrence to wait in line at Traditions, only to order and be told that the kitchen is out of chicken, lettuce, desserts and pretty much anything you could want.

There have been multiple occasions where they present a sticky note that features more items that they do not

The College must fix leaking water in the Towers

It’s almost 5 p.m. on a Wednesday. I just came back to my dorm room after a day of being in and out of meetings and am looking forward to some time to myself before my next one online. I sit at my desk and catch up on some work before then.

Well, only until I am greeted with a faint tapping noise coming from behind me.

It was pouring rain on campus that day, with winds so strong that my umbrella turned inside out multiple times as I was walking from building to building. A small amount of water had dripped into my room once before when it had rained, but I was not prepared for what I was about to find.

The first time water leaked into my room from the rain, I filed a work order. Maintenance came on the Monday after that weekend and looked at the spot with their flashlight. The worker looked outside, returned hours later and said that the issue “could not be fixed.”

Although it was annoying, I moved the side table that was under where the water was leaking, cleaned it up and moved my bed over to the right, away from the water.

This time, I was not greeted with a small drip of water in the same spot, but one directly behind my bed and another dripping directly onto my pillows.

Clearly, this issue had been occurring all day. Both of my pillowcases were soaked and stained yellow. One of my pillows was dry under the pillowcase, but the other was stained and needed to be washed. The water coming into my room this time was light brown, and although it didn’t have an odor, I was still very concerned.

After I called my mom for

have, than items that they do. This creates an environment where the customer is already unsatisfied with their options, but feels compelled to order one of the limited options since they have already spent a lot of time waiting in line.

Once you have ordered the food that you did not necessarily want, you are directed to a table where you will be spending the next few hours of your day. After waiting for a bit, you’ll likely have to remind one of the workers of what you ordered to drink since there is a very high chance that it has been forgotten. When you are lucky enough to have your beverage at the table, try and savor it as long as possible because it may run out before your food comes.

In the dozens of times I have sat down in the dining room of Traditions, I can only count out a few in which my food arrived at my table in less than 30 minutes. In some instances, food has even taken over an hour to be brought to the table.

During my last dining experience with one of my friends, we waited an hour for our food, only to be told that they were all out of what she had ordered. As compensation, my friend was graciously offered a free meal voucher, which is very kind — until you realize that it is only good for just over a week. This disappointing experience left her having to settle for an item that she did not want, which was brought to the table much later and therefore caused her to be late to scheduled plans.

I had a similar experience just days prior after ordering at Traditions’ togo window. I reluctantly decided to order from this window, where I was unsurprisingly told that they did not have the chicken fingers I wanted. I settled for a spinach wrap and was handed my pager to wait for my food.

When I ordered, I expected the process to take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, but I ended up waiting over 55 minutes, which was extremely frustrating. I sat in the student center while other students’ pagers buzzed around me, signaling that their food was ready, even though they had ordered well after me. Right before I was about to ask if my pager was broken, it finally went off, and I was handed my lukewarm spinach wrap which turned cold by the time I made it back to my room.

To make things clear, the problem with Traditions is not with the workers themselves, but rather the system of service that they are working in. Dining at the College is already heavily criticized at places like Eickhoff Hall and the Lion’s Den in the Student Center, and it is a shame to see respected places like Traditions following in their footsteps.

If Traditions implements some changes, it could live up to the hype that it receives. Simple additions like a more diverse menu or possibly more people in the kitchen would solve a lot of the problems and put traditions back in good grace within the campus community.

Traveling is the perfect remedy

reassurance, I washed the pillow and pillowcases and placed rags in the places where it was still leaking, and after doing so, hopped onto my virtual meeting.

I took several pictures of the damage, but I did not file another work order. I felt helpless and didn’t think it was worth it because I assumed that I would get the same answer. My floor’s GroupMe even had messages with another room having the same issue.

That night, I placed my clean pillows on the other side of my bed and went to sleep with my head away from the dripping water.

When I woke up the next morning, I saw that the water stains dried a shade of darker brown on the wall and brown stains on some of the rags. I assumed that it would be raining on this day, too, since it had been raining all week, but I was greeted with the pleasant surprise of no rain nor any more leaking water into my room.

That being said, I think that this is still a large issue that needs to be addressed. My room is in the corner of the hallway on the ninth floor of Travers Hall, but I cannot imagine how many of the floors under me may be facing the same dilemma. The fact that the maintenance worker said that this was unfixable makes me beyond frustrated since the situation has worsened.

I am lucky that I can write about this for The Signal and hopefully bring more awareness to an issue that is occurring in the freshman dorms.

I do not know what the solution is to this problem, but I know that it needs to be addressed. Since the towers are the largest freshman dorm on campus, authorities need to ensure that it is in a habitable condition.

Dorms do not need to be luxurious — but they should at least keep their residents dry.

As we grow up, we lose sight of what is and isn’t truly important. It is so easy to throw ourselves into a mental rabbit hole as we climb the ladders of our professional and personal lives. Whether it’s school, extracurriculars or career development, maintaining a balance among all of our interests is important for our overall health.

Traveling offers us the opportunity to leave our comfort zone. In doing so, we have the chance to learn more about ourselves. This endeavor requires a leap of faith and some wishful thinking. It’s normal to worry about the uncertainty of a longdistance trip; but just remember, traveling is not about the location, it’s all about how one interacts with their surroundings.

Traveling is an essential remedy that allows us to turn our minds off and just be. It removes us from our materialistic lifestyles and offers new visual perspectives that allow us to expand our mindset and imagine a life that’s different from the ones we’ve created for ourselves — good or bad. There is a whole world out there waiting for us and that can expand our perspective. According to the Harvard Business Review, taking time off from work can make us happier, healthier and more productive. When we are experiencing less stress, we are more likely to return from our travels with more enthusiasm and a newfound sense of purpose. Even the most fleeting

excursions can reconstruct a crumbling mindset.

A notable text that epitomizes both mental health and travel is Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir “Eat Pray Love.” This book is the pinnacle of mindfulness. When Gibert found herself lacking balance in her life, she embarked on a year-long expedition across Italy, India and Indonesia to discover her true purpose.

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort,” Gilbert wrote in the book. “You fight for it, strive for it and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it.”

Gilbert’s story illustrates the cosmic power of self-discovery through platefuls of food, silent meditation and finding true peace in the most unexpected places. The novel’s candid portrayal of mental health struggles serves as a beacon of hope for anyone seeking balance.

It’s hard to argue that exploring isn’t fun. Even simple things like sitting in a cozy café or joining a walking tour can encourage a more positive outlook. It creates an opportunity for us to experience things we never knew we needed. This is why when people are reminiscing about pleasant memories, they instantly become much happier. As we grow up, this phenomenon only grows more apparent. The will of action boosts overall satisfaction and joy.

Traveling, without a shadow of a doubt, unlocks opportunities for growth. It is not just a hobby, it’s an essential ingredient for our mind, body and soul. It improves our mental health by helping us feel calm and grounded. At first, it may feel nervewracking to go to an unfamiliar destination, but that’s the fun part. Discovering something unexpected is good. We’ll never find our purpose by staying in our comfort zones.

Photo by Shane Gillespie Traditions offers a sub-par dining experience. Photo courtesy of Flickr Traveling boosts satisfaction and joy.

Reality TV shows and networks are a far cry from reality

In a world of scripted theatrics, reality TV has dominated the entertainment industry since the 1940s. Before channels like MTV, TLC or Bravo became popular reality TV channel lineups, PBS was the first to give America a taste of this genre.

Since 1970, PBS has maintained a well-renowned reputation for broadcasting innovative material that does not pressure advertisers or eliminate important sponsors. A show called “An American Family” aired on the channel from January to March 1973, and featured the Loud family. Interestingly, this show had the country divided due to its transparency about many household issues and inclusion of topics such as sexuality, divorce and financial struggles.

In the 70s, it was very uncommon and frowned upon to speak about these matters aloud. For some time, this show revolutionized how real people should

be represented on-screen. But as the years progressed, reality TV made many controversial changes.

Reality TV took the mainstream by storm in the late 1990s and early 2000s with shows like “The Real World,” “Survivor,” “The Bachelor,” “American Idol” and “Desperate Housewives.” Whether it’s enduring crude social experiments or aspiring to become famous, these types of shows provide a riveting escape for viewers seeking an adrenaline buzz.

Although reality TV isn’t fully unpredictable, every show’s weekly cliffhanger leaves their respective audiences on the edge of their seats with goosebumps. The genre is so diversified that it caters to almost every walk of life. No one person has the same preference or sense of whim. Viewers are captivated and even inspired by the “genuine” display of vulnerability exposed by real people on screen.

The harsh reality, however, is that it

Billie Eilish doesn’t deserve backlash about vinyls and sustainability

Following criticism, Billie Eilish is offering clarity regarding her comments in a Billboard interview about sustainability in the production of vinyl variations by well-known artists.

In an interview with Billboard on March 28, Eilish expressed her passion for sustainability and bringing these efforts to fix some things within the music industry.

As soon as people noticed Eilish criticizing larger artists for releasing numerous vinyl variants of their albums for fans to collect, they swiftly overlooked her accomplishments and efforts towards sustainability.

“I find it really frustrating as somebody who really goes out of my way to be sustainable and do the best that I can and try to involve everybody in my team in being sustainable — and then it’s some of the biggest artists in the world making f–king 40 different vinyl packages that have a different unique thing just to get you to keep buying more,” said Eilish.

People began expressing their opinions on the issue through TikTok and other platforms, leading to Eilish facing backlash for revealing that her upcoming album “HIT ME HARD AND SOFT” will have seven different vinyl variants, with a release date of May 17.

The public also noted that Taylor Swift is facing criticism for releasing numerous variants of her recent albums. Eilish is now being targeted by Swift’s fanbase, accusing her of being “rude” and “a bully” toward Swift. Fans of both artists are engaging in heated debates in the comments section of certain TikToks to express their opinions on the issue.

The puzzling aspect of this situation

is all a facade that crosses most ethical boundaries. Drama is the lifeblood of reality TV. Whether it’s jealousy, betrayal or heated rivalries, the television industry thrives from the chaos.

Almost every scene is partially scripted to cause more tension, and even a subtle comment can be edited into something offensive. What draws viewers in the first place is the promise of excitement.

But, reality TV has been around long enough for one to realize that every performance is hollow and fabricated.

Using “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” as examples, these shows come off as scripted because of their heavy editing. Some contestants are even deliberately hired to fulfill the role of each particular season’s villain. This year, the villain of Joey’s season was Jess Edwards. However, the most notable villain that stands out in Bachelor and Bachelorette history is Luke Parker.

This contestant was so toxic that he seemed almost inhumane. It was as if he was prompted to say certain things to Hannah, that season’s Bachelorette, or to react in ways that fit the narrative the producers wanted him to play out. Almost everything he did rendered Bachelor Nation speechless.

“I didn’t know I was being portrayed as the villain,” Parker claimed in a podcast interview.

What happens behind the scenes of reality TV is only known to the contestants and the showrunners. It’s important to keep in mind that there is always more than one side to a story, but in this case, nearly all of the season’s 33 contestants characterized Parker as the villain.

Many media personalities have had their right to privacy violated and their personal lives exploited for the sake

of ratings. There is not enough talk in the press about how far-fetched and emotionally damaging these types of shows can be. Viewers are set up for failure from the start. For example, they may believe that a contestant’s sexist behavior and emotional abuse are typical attributes in reality game shows and dating shows because it’s all part of the competition.

The popularity of reality TV has been hard to ignore; especially for wellestablished shows that have been around since the early 2000s. The norm of reality TV is to witness tears, jealousy and physical rage, emotions which are then exploited and heavily edited.

Every TV show’s success depends on what piques their viewer’s interests. When push comes to shove, reality shows will replace comedic bits with vulgar content just to keep their audiences on their toes.

With this, inflexible casting makes many people feel unseen and insecure. From the jump, reality TV has been notorious for promoting thinness as the normal image of a captivating star. There have been studies done about how this affects the general public, and the results are very upsetting. Viewers of these cult shows are prone to eating disorders and body dysmorphia.

People come in many different forms, and reality TV showrunners should be more compassionate about this matter.

Reality television is an insincere business that inspires a more selfish society. Although it has no real value to human society, reality shows lead viewers to project what they see on-screen to their real lives. Reality TV can make life look very easy or hard; but in reality, it’s all about balancing all aspects of your life to be a well-rounded individual.

‘Deadpool and Wolverine’ will be the MCU’s last chance at success

is how Swift’s fans often jump to the conclusion that when another artist mentions “bigger artists,” they must be referring exclusively to her.

While it makes sense to connect the two due to Swift’s history of releasing multiple album versions, such as the eight variants of “Folklore” in 2020 and the six versions of “Midnights” in 2022, many other artists like Olivia Rodrigo, Harry Styles and Beyoncé have also done this. Therefore, fans of Swift assuming Eilish was specifically referring to Swift isn’t credible.

As stated in an article by Today, Eilish posted a response to the negative comments on her Instagram story, where she talked about her frustrations.

“Okay, so it would be awesome if people would stop putting words into my mouth and actually read what I said in that Billboard article,” said Eilish.

She continued by explaining that she hadn’t targeted any specific individual and pointed out that many artists release multiple variants, so it’s unclear who she was specifically referring to.

Similarly to other artists, Eilish admits that she releases these variants and holds herself accountable, adding that “the climate crisis is urgent, and it’s up to all of us to be mindful of our impact and strive to do better, sheesh.”

In the Billboard interview, she stated how some well-liked artists only care about profit and increasing their popularity. Eilish then proceeded to express her desire for vinyl restrictions.

“I would love to see limits, like no more than four colors. Or some kind of rules, because you can’t fault an artist for playing the No. 1 game,” said Eilish.

Diving into the murky depths of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), recent years reveal a landscape far removed from its golden era of the Infinity Saga. Once hailed as the pinnacle of Hollywood superhero storytelling, the MCU now struggles beneath the weight of its ambition, drowning in a sea of disinterest and oversaturation.

Throughout its first three phases, coined as the Infinity Saga, the MCU was the epitome of Hollywood and superhero movies, releasing fan favorites like “Iron Man” (2008) and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (2019). Over time, it has become a generally disinteresting and over-saturated concoction of content. They often tell stories fans do not want, sacrifice writing for the sake of sending messages to viewers, flood Disney+ with shows that, more or less, connect with the films or over-complicate their multiverse.

Even though all of the above fits the context of the MCU’s situation, the multiverse aspect is an important point of discussion. The convoluted interpretation of the concept has hindered the stories leading to “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” and “Secret Wars.”

Despite “Endgame” establishing the multiverse as a central narrative focus for the future, the subsequent phases have failed to deliver clear definitions, consistent terminology, coherent stories or unified visual designs for this concept. Some notable examples include treating alternate timelines and universes as interchangeable. Therefore, the return of Deadpool to the big screen may be the last chance for the MCU to repair that mistake.

“Deadpool & Wolverine,” the longawaited third entry in the Deadpool film franchise, exploded online during Super Bowl LVIII, with Ryan Reynolds reprising his beloved portrayal of the “merc with a mouth,” Wade Wilson, alongside Hugh Jackman returning to the X-Men as Logan. More originally, Foxlicensed heroes entered the MCU as per Disney’s 2019 acquisition of Fox.

However, the implementation of Marvel heroes originally under Fox instilled fear among fans that Disney would reduce the writing, dialogue and various other aspects that kept those heroes more adult and not as familyfriendly as Disney.

This is exemplified through the shortlived and relatively underwhelming returns of “Mr. Fantastic” portrayed by John Krasinski, Evan Peters’s “Quicksilver,” Charlie Cox’s “Daredevil” and Wilson Fisk’s “Kingpin” due to lackluster writing from the productions they returned for. People fear that Deadpool and Wolverine characters would also be watered-down as their iconism in the films can be attributed to their homicidal action that carries emotional significance further into their stories.

Disney has dipped their toes into the bloodbath, attempting to demonstrate maturity by incorporating bloodshed into MCU productions that can be likened to splattering paint on a wall. Despite their efforts to showcase “brutal” fight scenes in films like “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” and “Echo,” they ultimately fall short of acclaim due to their exaggerated approach and lack of genuine depth.

page 8 The Signal April 19, 2024
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Photo courtesy of IMDB Reality TV is an insincere business that inspires a more selfish society.

The LIONS Plan must aim to preserve our student experience

Shouldering a level of unsustainable debt is a problem faced by many institutions of higher education. That being said, it is no secret that the College is faced with a level of debt that if not managed, has the potential to affect the future of the institution. No matter how you look at the situation, action must be taken to combat the threat of bankruptcy — hence Interim President Bernstein’s somewhat controversial LIONS plan.

Following the introduction of this multi-faceted plan in December 2023, six working groups were charged to evaluate the practicality and sustainability of the College’s current practices. Included in the plan are both aggressive cost-cutting and revenue-generating measures. The administration hopes that by implementing some painful and ambitious plans, the College can remediate its current deficits and be on stronger financial footing in the future.

Change is rarely easy and oftentimes unwelcome, especially when that change

threatens to impact the services and amenities that we as students enjoy and have become accustomed to. Wondering how the LIONS Plan will affect our academic and social experience at the College has created a very real sense of unease among the student community.

In many conversations about the LIONS Plan, I have heard students express that its changes will render the College an undesirable place. While I agree that some of the changes being proposed are undesirable, one question remains: Would we rather undergo these alterations or not have a school to attend at all?

Reading through this plan, I was in support of many of its key proposals; namely, the expansion of the three-year bachelor’s programs and undergraduate opportunities for non-traditional students. While much of the plan makes sense, I strongly believe that two key elements of the College should not and can not be changed: the proposed changes to the R. Barbara Gitenstein Library and to the academic standards to which we hold ourselves.

Altering these two elements of student

life — our sense of community and education — will create significant negative and lasting effects on the overall student experience. A majority of students rely on the library as a key component of their academic success.

Because we have a small campus, the library also acts as a hub for students to come together in an environment that allows for socialization and academic collaboration. A valuable quality of this space is the resources that it provides including physical books, databases and interlibrary loans.

Currently, there are conversations surrounding the responsibility of students to cover the costs of interlibrary loans. If this proposal comes to fruition, this change will counter the College’s core value of academic engagement and oppose its mission of inclusivity. When monetary restrictions are placed on students, we cannot expect them to complete their assignments with the excellence that can be achieved by having open access to these materials.

Speaking of excellence, our college is known for its academic rigor that entails writing and language proficiency, intimate classroom settings and an above-average unit requirement — all of which are being jeopardized by this plan.

Yes, it can be burdensome to take a firstyear writing or language course, especially when it does not pertain to your major. Despite this, it is undeniable that these classes instill in us the necessary skills to be successful throughout our academic and professional careers. Writing is a window through which we express our thoughts, feelings and stances on important issues, and second-language proficiency allows us to communicate and interact with a wider and more culturally diverse population.

The College prides itself on its small class sizes that promote individualized learning. This is in large part due to the adjunct professors who generate open spaces in courses that are popular among students. Eliminating these adjunct positions

will not only affect the livelihoods of these professors but significantly limit options for students during course registration.

In addition, the course load currently held by adjunct professors will have to be absorbed by tenured professors, many of whom already carry a full class load and act as academic advisors.

Lastly, what sets our college apart from other institutions is the 32-unit requirement that students must meet before graduation. Although lowering this requirement to 30 would align the College with the standard practice of peer institutions, I believe that we would see a decline in qualified applicants who are seeking to distinguish themselves when competing for graduate programs and jobs.

The fact remains that these proposed changes would likely increase revenue and student enrollment. By no means do I disagree that we must adapt our current practices to alleviate the College’s current financial crisis; however, consideration must be given to whether the potential payoff from the above-mentioned changes to its academic and social infrastructure is worth compromising the student experience.

At the end of the day, all parties should strive for one thing, keeping the College’s doors open while maintaining its integrity and reputation for excellence. The College that we know and love will remain as long as we can look at the LIONS Plan with an open mind while still advocating to preserve the qualities that make our institution special.

The truth is that tackling hundreds of millions of dollars of debt is no easy feat and it will require compromise and sacrifice to ensure future growth and stability. What is also true, is that as stakeholders and paying customers, we can all use our voices and advocate for what are willing and unwilling to accept. By not advocating for our student experience, we do ourselves a great disservice as investors in our education and our future.

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 The Signal Email: Business Email: Editorial Staff Victoria Gladstone Editor-in-Chief Matthew Kaufman Tristan Weisenbach Managing Editors Rebecca Heath Liz Ciocher News Editors Isabella Darcy Ally Uhlendorf Arts & Entertainment Editors Kate Zydor Opinions Editor
Photo by Shane Gillespie The Lions Plan includes agressive cost-cutting and revenue-generating measures.

Congressional leaders at odds over recent Ukraine aid bill

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is pushing action to advance a long-sought foreign aid package while also facing threats of being ousted from his position if he does so. He unveiled a proposal on April 15 to separate the package into four votes for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, with the last vote addressing other Republican foreign policy demands, according to Reuters.

Johnson has also weighed bringing to the floor a $95 billion foreign aid bill passed by the Senate in February that will support Ukraine, Israel and other allies, but later indicated that it will not

be voted on in its current form. The four new House bills would provide roughly the same amount of aid as the previous Senate bill, according to Reuters. In an interview with Fox News, Johnson stated that the House is expected to move forward with the new package, but it will have “important innovations.” Those innovations may include structuring a part of the funding for Kyiv as loans and provisions to redirect Russian sovereign assets that have been frozen, known as the Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity Act. It may also include tying the passage of the aid package to legislation ending a hold on new liquefied natural gas export permits, according to The New York Times.

Johnson is facing divided support within the Republican party as ultraconservatives remain staunchly opposed to providing aid to Kyiv, such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). She introduced a motion last month to vacate Johnson’s position as speaker in protest of the passage of a large government funding package. While Greene has not taken steps to force a vote on the matter, she suggested that she will bring the motion up for a vote if Johnson advances the aid package, according to The Associated Press.

Although Johnson faces challenges from the hard right members of his party, other Republicans have expressed support for the aid package, insisting that the chamber must take action to support the U.S.’s allies. Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) told CNN that he remains hopeful that the bill will reach the floor of the House.

“We are the leader of the free world, and we cannot shirk on our responsibility to uphold and defend democracies across the globe,” Lawler, one of the package’s cosponsors, said. “I am hopeful that the speaker will put the bill on the floor or an amended version of the bill on the floor so that we can once and for all ensure that our allies have the aid and support that they need.”

However, many Republican and Democrat lawmakers who support the aid package have grown frustrated over the months-long wait to bring the previous Senate bill up for a vote given the urgency for aid in Ukraine. According to Reuters, some lawmakers believe the Senate bill would have passed in the House despite

opposition from hard-right Republicans and also some Democrats, who believe funding for Israel would further deteriorate humanitarian conditions in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has been facing manpower and ammunition shortages amid escalating Russian attacks, such as the missile and drone attacks on Trypilska thermal power plant, the largest powergenerating facility in Kyiv. Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the violence, with casualties mounting as Russian attacks target populated areas such as Mykolaiv and Odesa, according to The Associated Press. The situation is further complicated by the lack of trained soldiers capable of fighting, raising concerns about the country’s ability to sustain its defense efforts, particularly as exhausted troops have no means of rotation for rest.

The U.S. aid proposal is not the only one that has been proposed. In February, the European Council approved a new financial assistance package for Ukraine for 2024 to 2027 which would include 53 billion euros in aid via grants and loans. Earlier this month, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg proposed a fiveyear, 100 billion euro package of military aid to Ukraine, which has drawn mixed responses. Hungary, the most pro-Russian country that is part of the alliance, has already voiced opposition to the plan, according to Reuters.

The new House bills could be voted on as soon as April 19, though discussions are ongoing about whether to merge the bills into one package to be sent to the Senate for approval.

NBC fires former RNC chair Ronna McDaniel days after her hire

NBC announced the hiring of former Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel on March 22, but by the end of the week, the network had parted ways with her.

McDaniel made her first paid NBC appearance as a guest on “Meet the Press.” Host Kristen Welker questioned McDaniel about her departure from the RNC, her thoughts about voting for Trump and her previous statements and actions questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.

After some back and forth, McDaniel said that she believed Joe Biden won the election “fair and square,” with the caveat that there were major problems, including the “integrity” of mail in ballots.

Following McDaniel’s appearance, former “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd told Welker on air that their bosses “owed her an apology” for placing her in the position of interviewing McDaniel.

“She has credibility issues that she still has to deal with. Is she speaking for herself, or is she speaking on behalf of who is paying her?” said Todd.

NBC’s decision to hire McDaniel quickly received backlash from other longtime NBC and MSNBC journalists.

Hosts Nicolle Wallace and Rachel Maddow expressed deep concerns about what message NBC sends by hiring Mcdaniel.

“NBC News, either wittingly or unwittingly, is teaching election deniers that what they can do stretches well beyond appearing on our air and interviews to peddle lies about the sanctity and integrity of our elections,”

said Nicolle Wallace, host of “Deadline: White House.”

Rachel Maddow spent more than ten minutes of her show criticizing McDaniel’s role in Trump’s fake electors scheme, including McDaniel repeatedly instructing Michigan state officials not to certify the results of the election.

“As long as you can keep up the antielection mythology, then you are priming your people, you’re priming the American public, to not accept the results of the next election,” said Maddow.

MSNBC hosts like Lawrence O’Donnell, Joe Scarburough and Mika Brezezinski made it clear that McDaniel would not be welcome on their shows.

“I stopped inviting Trump liars like her on this program in 2016,” O’Donnell told his audience on “The Last Word.”

“We believe NBC News should seek out conservative republican voices to provide balance in their election coverage, but it should be conservative republicans, not a person who used her position of power to be an anti-democracy election denier, and we hope NBC will reconsider its decision,” said Brzezinski on “Morning Joe.”

Scarborough and Brezezinski said they learned of McDaniel’s hire from the press.

Internally, a staff memo announced the decision to hire McDaniel and asked employees to welcome her to the network.

“It couldn’t be a more important moment to have a voice like Ronna’s on the team,” wrote Politics Senior Vice President Carrie Budoff Brown. “As we gear up for the longest general election season in recent memory, she will support our leading coverage by providing an insider’s perspective on national politics

and on the future of the Republican Party.”

The decision to hire McDaniel was unanimous among NBC executives, including Budoff Brown, Editorial President Rebecca Blumenstein and MSNBC President Rashida Jones.

Another former RNC chair turned news contributor, Reince Priebus, told ABC’s “This Week” about the unusual process through which McDaniel was hired. Priebus relayed that, in his experience, landing a job as a contributor included meeting with management, interviewing and getting acquainted with future coworkers and materials.

“The root of the problem is that the management never brought her in before the contract was signed so that all of this stuff could get worked out. And that was a

huge failure, in my opinion,” said Priebus.

After days of backlash, NBC Executive Cesar Conde wrote a note to news staffers apologizing and announcing that the decision to hire McDaniel had been reversed.

“No organization, particularly a newsroom, can succeed unless it is cohesive and aligned. Over the last few days, it has become clear that this appointment undermines that goal,” wrote Cesar. McDaniel could still receive the whole of her $600,000 contract. So far, she has not made any public statements since NBC’s decision. However, according to a source that spoke with Politico, McDaniel has met with a lawyer to discuss her options.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Johnson has also weighed bringing to the floor a $95 billion for eign aid bill. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons McDaniel made her first paid NBC appearance as a guest on “Meet the Press.”

Supreme Court to rule on access to common abortion drug

The Supreme Court is in the process of hearing its next major abortion rights case, pertaining to the prescription of mifepristone, a widely used abortion pill.

The case has been raised on the grounds that a group of anti-abortion doctors and organizations were harmed by the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to approve the use of the drug. The agency expanded access to the drug in 2016, and notably permitted doctors to prescribe it through telemedicine and send the pills by mail in 2021, according to the New York Times. This has created a major loophole for states seeking to ban abortion access, allowing women to access abortion medications through out-of-state providers.

The implications of the case, which began in November 2022, reach beyond mifepristone access itself, endangering the authority of the FDA in approving and distributing drugs, as per NPR.

Approved by the FDA nearly two decades ago, mifepristone is used in two-thirds of drug-induced abortions across the country. It has been used by over 6 million people since 2000. The drug acts to block production of the hormone progesterone, and prepares the uterus to respond to the contractioninducing effects of a second drug, misoprostol. According to AP News, misoprostol can be used independently to end pregnancies, but has been shown to be markedly less effective working alone and the cause for more intense side effects. Using misoprostol alone typically results in a longer duration of cramping and bleeding during the

abortion process, and is typically the second-choice regimen when offered by health care providers. The two-drug regimen can end pregnancies up to 10 weeks in gestation.

The Biden administration asked the Supreme Court to step in on the case after a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court ruled to curb distribution of the drug. Access to mifepristone will not change until the justices have made their decision, according to the NYT.

If the court rules to protect access to mifepristone, it will not change the illegality of the pill in the dozen states that have put into place near-total abortion bans.

Anti-abortion doctors claim they have suffered moral injuries due to the widespread availability of the pill, as they have been required to treat women who come to emergency rooms suffering from complications related to the pill. Erin M. Hawley, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, claims her clients were forced to act against their conscience as a result of the prescription of the pill, according to the NYT.

To successfully argue their case, the plaintiffs must prove that they have been and will continue to suffer harm if the pill continues to be available. This is known in the law as “requirement standing.”

A number of the justices on the court seemed skeptical as to whether the antiabortion group had grounds for a case, coming to a consensus early on in the deliberation process that there was a lack of proof of ‘harm,’ according to the NYT.

The justices were pointed in their questioning of whether the doctors involved in the lawsuit could demonstrate that a viable harm had been done: “You need a person,” said Justice Kagan. “So who’s your person?”

Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar, arguing on behalf of the

U.S. government, emphasized the consequences of the case for the pharmaceutical industry in her court arguments: “It harms the pharmaceutical industry, which is sounding alarm bells in this case and saying that this would destabilize the system for approving and regulating drugs. And it harms women who need access to medication abortion under the conditions that F.D.A determined were safe and effective.”

Other justices expressed concern with the idea of a case limited to an abortion issue having potentially long-ranging consequences for the activity of federal institutions as a whole, such as the FDA.

Justice Neil Gorsuch described the case as an effort by “a handful of individuals,” and questioned whether it would be “a prime example of turning what could be a small lawsuit into a nationwide legislative assembly on an F.D.A. rule or any other federal government action.”

According to NPR, The line of questioning taken by the justices suggests that a ruling in favor of the federal government may be made due to the lack of cause on the claimant’s parts, which would not address the ethicality or harm associated with the abortion pills themselves.

Abortion rights in America have been in jeopardy since the Court’s Dobbs vs Jackson’s Women’s Health decision, which effectively ended the nation-wide right to an abortion in place since Roe v. Wade. Abortion rights cases have been increasingly circulated in front of the Supreme Court, even after it stated in its Dobbs ruling that it would leave the question “to the people and their elected representatives,” according to the NYT.

The case’s outcome is dependent on the ability of the plaintiffs to demonstrate harm, and hinged also on how the court responds to its implications for the regulatory powers and authority of federal agencies such as the FDA.

New Jersey passes new legislation to increase funding for state transportation

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed new legislation aimed at bolstering funding for the state’s transportation trust fund for an additional five years.

The legislation seeks to annually allocate about $2 billion dollars towards the modernization and upkeep of New Jersey’s comprehensive transportation infrastructure. For instance, the policy will increase capital funding for NJ Transit, assist local taxpayers’ for local and county projects, and generate 20,000 union jobs yearly.

New Jersey will commence funding for the transportation trust fund from July 2024 through June 2029, ensuring a consistent revenue flow to sustain statewide transportation initiatives.

Additionally, there will be ongoing adjustments to taxes on petroleum products through modifications to the highway fuel cap, aimed at discouraging excessive petroleum consumption over five years.

Furthermore, in 2025, the program will distribute approximately $10.37 billion to the state’s Annual Transportation Capital Program to be invested over a four-year period, with $2.3 billion earmarked to assist counties and municipalities with transportation projects.

The state will also allocate $91.75 million to NJ Transit over three years, supplementing the agency’s current annual government funding of $767 million in order to support new capital


For instance, NJ Transit is using current funds to design an artificial intelligence program that would improve light rail grade crossings by collecting data to provide vital information, helping to decrease pedestrian and vehicle accidents. The agency hopes to use the additional funding to help expand new artificial intelligence programs in order to improve the public transportation system in the state.

Upon signing the bill, Murphy stated, “This legislation will ensure we deliver for them by enabling us to rebuild and maintain our entire transportation system, while creating thousands of good-paying jobs in the years to come and easing the burden of property taxes by offsetting these costs for local governments.”

Moreover, the legislation would institute an annual electric vehicle fee of $250, with a yearly increase of $10 over a five-year period, aiming to distribute the responsibility among all motorists to maintain road conditions.

New Jersey’s expanded transportation funding has prompted numerous political and local leaders to voice their reaction to the legislation.

Regarding the bill’s expansion on the petroleum tax, New Jersey Republican State Sen. Anthony Bucco remarked, “If Republicans had been consulted regarding the Democrats’ proposal, we would have had the chance to present an alternative plan which we believe is a better and smarter approach – one that honors our commitment to providing safe infrastructure, builds upon previous

program success, and gives voters an option for better governance without the ‘tax first’ approach we see across the aisle”

Praising the legislation, Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora highlighted various benefits the legislation can bring to the state.

“I applaud the Governor’s work ensuring Infrastructure remains the lifeblood of our economy. The bill signed by the Governor ensures the continuation of vital projects that

drive prosperity and enhance the lives of our residents,” Gusciora stated. “It is imperative that the State continues to invest in our transportation infrastructure and we should celebrate that our Governor’s commitment will safeguard the future of our state’s infrastructure.”

While there are still a few months before the new legislation goes into effect, there is no doubt that the bill will have a significant impact on the future of transportation in New Jersey.

April 19, 2024 The Signal page 11
Photo courtesy of Flickr The implications of the case reach beyond mifepristone access itself. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Murphy signed legislation to bolster funding for the state’s transportation fund.

DIMARCO / Advocate speaks about deaf community, pursuing your passions

Continued from page 1

“This year, CUB has been really focused on improving our diversity and inclusion,” said Nodarse. “I think that is something that we really hit the nail on this year, just trying to do that for our students and have more meaningful cosponsorships and events that really say something to the student body.”

DiMarco told the audience that after graduating from Gallaudet, the world’s only liberal arts university for the deaf and hard of hearing, he first planned to be a math teacher for deaf children, then a recruiter for his alma mater. After some freelance modeling landed him offers from “America’s Next Top Model” and ABC drama “Switched at Birth,” he saw an opportunity to bring more deaf representation to television.

Even after winning two reality shows, DiMarco struggled to find a place for himself in Hollywood.

“I saw that there was a gap in the industry,” said DiMarco. “We were really lacking support and representation. There were zero deaf writers, zero deaf producers and zero deaf directors.”

This led DiMarco to create his own production company, Clerc Studio, to empower those living with deafness and disability. Two of DiMarco’s Clerc projects include “DeafU,” a reality show about a group of friends at Gallaudet University, and “Audible,” a documentary following a deaf high school football player.

to experience what it is like to need an accommodation to communicate.

of hearing audience members.

“I think that as a hearing individual it was really important for me to be in a space that is not centered around my experience,” said Hart. “Seeing the prioritization of things like signing and having to use an interpreter was something that felt very crucial to me that I didn’t expect coming into this but was really appreciative of leaving.”

The Deaf Hearing Connection partnered with the Marie H. Katzenbach School for the Deaf to bring local members of the deaf community to the event.

The Deaf Hearing Connection’s Treasurer, Alyssa Genao, a junior Deaf and Hard of Hearing education and iSTEM education double major, said that her group brought in 30 students aged 12 to 20.

“We really pushed to have as much of the deaf community as we could come to this event,” said Genao. “We think it’s a great opportunity for young deaf students to have this experience and meet Nyle DiMarco, who is such a big mentor in the community.”

after college.

“Your identity is what allows you to lead and oftentimes will drive you to a place where you will be most successful,” said DiMarco. “Are there a lot of detours on the journey? Yeah, no one’s journey is straight, but in loving who you are, that’s how you’re most successful.”

When DiMarco took audience questions, hearing students were able

After multiple signing students asked DiMarco questions, one audience member, Jenna Hart, a senior sociology and Spanish double major, said she felt “anxiety asking a question as a hearing individual,” knowing that DiMarco couldn’t hear her. Once Hart raised her hand, though, interpreters at the front of the room quickly jumped in to relay her question to DiMarco and the deaf and hard

Whether he is talking to students or producing films about the deaf community, DiMarco still sees himself as the teacher he planned to become back in college.

“The folks who tune into Netflix, those are my students,” said DiMarco. “The world has learned more about our community because we have that platform to be able to teach about the language, the community and the culture.”

Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market hosts a spring pop-up

Trenton hosted the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market, which is held several times a year, on April 7. The market features over 450 small businesses, artists and vendors across the United States. This month, the market was affectionately dubbed “Spring Fling.” Guests were offered a unique, community-like shopping experience and a safe space to show their creativity.

Whether you were looking for something specific or nothing, the market had something for everyone. Booths varied from selling handmade jewelry and vintage clothing to more uncanny items such as leather collars

and vintage medical tools. Each artist and vendor brought their creative flare. Some memorable booths included Black Alligator Curiosity, which sold antique jewelry, gothic relics and taxidermied squirrels. Based in the Collectors Bazaar of Quakertown, Pennsylvania, the booth prides itself on being a “mecca of marvelous miscellany,” allowing shoppers to glimpse the more unconventional side of antiques.

Another popular booth was former U.S. Marine-turned-author William J. Lewis, a registered historian in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. His most famous book, “Adventure with Piney Joe: Exploring the New Jersey Pine Barrens,” offers an easy-to-follow guide of the Pine Barrens and 30 driveable parks

within the Pine Barrens National Forest you can visit.

“This book is good for everyone because it’s different than a normal guide. Instead, readers are introduced to Piney Joe, a character I created that allows everyone of all ages to enjoy. I always recommend putting it in your car; that way, you can have a spontaneous adventure,” said Lewis in an interview.

Other booths included queer and trans artist Chris Scarlett, who specializes in jewelry, charms and handmade prints. Made entirely of resin, the jewelry featured dead beetles, moths and scorpions inside, still in the same shape as when they were found. Scarlett noted that the creatures were ethically found and sourced. The prints featured handmade drawings with motivational quotes, LGBTQ+ advocacy and original characters in fantastical settings.

“I try to focus my art on advocating for self-expression and also my experience being queer. I’m very inspired by fantasy elements such as Dungeons and Dragons and ‘Lord of the Rings,’” said Scarlett. “I also take into account perception and how individuals view the world through my art as well,” said Scarlett at their booth.

In addition, this year, “Spring Fling” featured celebrity guests Jean Beauvier, Richie Stotts from punk rock band Plasmatics and actress Michelle Santiago. Guests were also treated to live performances from circus clowns and a photo op with a performer dubbed “The Crummy Easter Bunny.”

The flea market showed off the talents of many vendors while giving the community a great opportunity to support local artists and small businesses. Although the flea market has not announced its next pop-up, the Trenton community is more than ready to host again.

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DiMarco spoke about his journey and gave advice to students. The Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market featured over 450 vendors and celebrity guests. Photo by Brooke Zevon Photo by Olivia Harrison

Diddy lawsuits continue to pile on as federal charges loom

Following March Homeland Security raids on Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Los Angeles and Miami residences, the rapper and producer faces his sixth sexual abuse lawsuit since November.

On April 11, Combs was named in a lawsuit accusing his son, Christian “King” Combs, of sexually assaulting a woman in 2022. Grace O’Marcaigh worked as a crew member on the Combs family’s leased yacht, where she says the assault took place after Christian Combs gave her a laced tequila shot.

While Sean Combs is not named as perpetrating the assault, he is accused of aiding and abetting his son’s actions. The

five previous lawsuits go further, accusing Sean Combs of substantial physical and sexual abuse.

Federal agents told TheWrap that during the raids, they confiscated Combs’ electronic devices and footage from his extensive home security system, hoping to prevent the destruction of evidence in a trafficking and racketeering investigation. Along with video evidence, law enforcement obtained warrants to confiscate any weapons on the premises.

Aerial footage of the raids show law enforcement arriving with armored vehicles, tactical gear and rifles. Combs’ sons, Justin and Christian, were briefly detained while the Los Angeles home was searched. Combs was not in either of his homes

when the raids took place, but he was later stopped at the Miami-Opa Airport, where federal agents confiscated more electronic devices and arrested his associate, Brendan Paul, for drug possession.

Combs’ lawyer, Aaron Dyer, released a statement calling the raids “a gross overuse of military-level force” and “nothing more than a witch hunt based on meritless accusations.”

“Mr. Combs was never detained but spoke to and cooperated with authorities. Despite media speculation, neither Mr. Combs nor any of his family members have been arrested, nor has their ability to travel been restricted in any way,” said Dyer.

Combs’ recent legal troubles began in November of last year when Cassandra Ventura, also known as Cassie, filed a lawsuit alleging years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, including sex trafficking. Despite denying the allegations outlined in the lawsuit, Combs settled out of court only a day after the case became public.

The following week, on Nov. 23, two more lawsuits were filed against Combs.

One of the plaintiffs, Lisa Gardener, alleged that Combs and singer Aaron Hall committed a 1990 battery and sexual assault against her when she was just 16 years old.

The plaintiff in the third lawsuit, Joi Dickerson-Neal, alleged that in 1991, Combs committed a drug-facilitated sexual assault, which he recorded and shared with others.

In December, a fourth lawsuit was filed by an anonymous plaintiff, who accused Combs, former Bad Boy Records

President Harve Pierre and a third unnamed individual of sex trafficking and gang rape perpetrated against her in 2003, when she was 17 years old.

In February, Rodney Jones, or Lil Rodney, filed a lawsuit naming Combs along with many of his associates. The accusations against Combs include groping, sexual harassment, forced drug use and unpaid labor.

Jones worked with Combs on “The Love Album” during 2022 and 2023. Jones says that while making the album, he would stay at Combs’ house for long stretches of time, where he claims to have been both victim and witness to a variety of crimes, including a 2022 shooting, after which Combs instructed Jones to lie to the police.

“Mr. Jones secured hundreds of hours of footage and audio recordings of Mr. Combs, his staff, and his guests engaging in serious illegal activity,” the lawsuit claims.

One of Jones’ allegations characterized Brendan Paul as Combs’ “drug mule.”

Findings from the raids on Combs’ properties have not yet been released. Federal agents told Rolling Stone that four Jane Does and one John Doe have been interviewed as part of the ongoing investigation.

Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told Us Weekly that the investigation is looking like another “Jeffrey Epstien, R. Kelly type of case,” saying he “wouldn’t be surprised if Diddy is arrested in the coming days or weeks.”

If charged with just one count of sex trafficking, Combs could face a minimum of 10 to 15 years in prison.

Sleek yet tonally ambiguous: Exploring ‘Road House’

Jake Gyllenhaal’s Dalton is the character to which a nebulous conflict of self-destruction, anxiety and focused determination belongs in this reinterpretation of the cult classic from 1989. Released almost exclusively on Prime Video on March 21, “Road House” was directed by Doug Liman and tells a similarly themed yet excessively selfconscious form of that narrative.

The 2024 adaptation of “Road House” examines a former UFC Middleweight champion whose abhorrent impulses as a physical and mental fighter for sport brought him to a point in life where his urges needed to be put to better use. Thus, he takes advantage of his bruised and controversial reputation to gain monetary funds by winning in underground fights he never even has to partake in.

Once the character of Frankie approaches Dalton to act as the bouncer for her bar down in the Florida Keys — ironically named “The Road House” — he feels a certain rejuvenation of physical and mental spirit at first.

Dalton’s occupation at the bar causes disruptions for the local crime lord and causes strife between not just him and the crime lord’s goons but between his past and future identity. Having the name of the imagined town be called Glass Key invites no shortage of self-evident metaphors for both the plot of the film and its implied self-awareness. It makes for a film whose plot significance is transparent as much as it is sleek, similar to that of an actual glass key.

Based upon a screenplay by Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry, the tone which Liman seemed to want to make pop was the crazed exhaustion yet effortless suave evident within the actions of every character within this world. It is an ingredient within this style of action cinema which is not as mainstream as it was in the Reagan Era of American

culture. The creed and dogma of all characters main and side were presented straight-forwardly, seldom any cracks within the film’s veneer of dignity.

The 1989 version starring Patrick Swayze and directed by Rowdy Herrington stuck to its guns by having a series of events arrive one after the other in ways more ridiculous than the next. There might very well have been a recognition of its purpose as a bombardment of ornate images sewn together by a manageable thematic undercurrent of escaping the past. Still, no one in that film’s diegesis ever breaks the spell and calls attention to its pastiche as a Western. The camerawork barely, if ever, underscores through its technical wizardry the full-on wackiness of such a concept to the point of partial parody. That film’s charm was engraved within its DNA not just through its acting and studied fight choreography but also through its earnestness of emotion.

The 2024 adaptation of “Road House,” while attempting to hold onto all of these elements, lets go of much of that tonal confidence. It is understandable that Liman and the writers might not have been able to envision a film made currently which reflected the original’s

campiness to such an extent. It is admirable for them to discover a way to surround this story and these characters within a contemporary backdrop. Notable as well is the illustrious representation of the Florida Keys and the backstory for Dalton being instilled with the bestial ferocity lacking in the original.

Additionally, one of the film’s technical breakthroughs in its depiction of high-octane action is the use of the Red V-Raptor Digital Camera. It uses a technique known as speed-ramping which can shift the momentum of a piece of film for dramatic effect. This supplied at the very least a sense of character to the way it was shot.

What all these elements failed to provide was a distinction of voice. Its story seemed to exist so much within the shadow of what the prior film had done that its cinematic hand-waving appeared rather empty. Removing the camerawork, one is left with a film in which a little girl literally calls attention to how Dalton is the Western archetype with a shady past whose story will not end well. Excluding the decent production value, one is given the remnants of a previous film’s go-for-broke outlandishness which

can never resolve the tension between being genuinely serious or winkingly self-serious. The physical and mental trek Gyllenhaal’s Dalton goes through therefore never wholly commits to the bit.

This is not to imply that films have never succeeded in balancing that form of cinematic storytelling in which tonal mixtures are presented as an intentional artistic choice. This might just be a case of the writing and directing either not being of the highest caliber or not subsisting on the same wavelength.

It was known for a few good months from Liman himself before the premiere of the film at the South-by-Southwest Film Festival that he would not be attending the premiere of his own film.

A heated debate oscillated back and forth between himself and the film’s distributor, Amazon MGM Studios, as a result of an apparent failure to sustain a partial theatrical run. An exclusive streaming run on their platform, Prime Video, was the end result which prompted the boycotting of his own film.

According to Liman, the company’s expenditure of funds for theatrical runs of their films was unfulfilled because of Amazon buying up MGM. Having appeared after all at the premiere on March 8, he clearly reevaluated his previous declaration. Akin to the main character in this film, it might’ve been possible that Liman felt trepidatious at the beginning towards arriving at his premiere out of dismay that he would acknowledge the person he aimed to never become.

Liman thankfully remained earnest and stuck to his guns regarding how he felt the film should have been experienced. At the very least this proves that in spite of the misfire, a voice of some kind was existent.

It is regrettable that this voice which spearheaded “Road House” could not have been channeled towards a more tangible and concentrated vision than the one audiences got.

April 19, 2024 The Signal page 13
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Combs was named in a lawsuit on April 11. Jake Gyllenhaal commits to fight choreography, but it is not enough to save the film. Photo courtesy of IMDb

Broken hearts & the 80s: How Conan Gray ‘Found Heaven’

At the end of an intimate connection, there is little to find comfort in, other than that fickle misery. You know it’s impermanent, so maybe that’s why you cling to it. Or, in the case of Conan Gray on his third studio album, you write songs about it.

“Found Heaven,” Gray’s most recent studio effort, is a drastic pivot away from the ballad-driven songwriting of his last two albums into bright, 80s-influenced synthpop. Acoustics are traded for disco-beats and hushed vocals become belting choruses. It’s a development of sound so jarring that even his previous skeptics were unable to deny their curiosity.

Lyrically speaking, the record dabbles in charting the course of a passionate kind

of love–the kind that burns bright fast, and surely doesn’t last. It makes sense then, why the sonic palette of the 80s had such a heavy influence on this project.

The 80s was a time of glossy loves and quiet burn-outs. It’s a lifecycle replicated in the narrative quietly perched beneath the pop aspirations of the tracks. Even the love songs are punctuated by a foreboding undercurrent as to how the story ends.

The album begins with the title track, as we are welcomed into this world of neon-lovers and crowded dancefloors. Sonically speaking, it’s on the slower side, with most of its mileage being simply the mood it sets. It reminds me of the opening to an 80s horror or sci-fi movie, as Gray sings about how someone isn’t sinful for falling in love, and how they’ve “Found Heaven” in a lover.

Immediately following is the first single

off the record, “Never Ending Song.” Interestingly, the perspective this song adopts is of a lover scorned–someone who has already lost whatever connection they may have had. It’s more of a fun track, with some insanely catchy hooks, despite the bitter annoyance depicted in the lyrics.

Track three is the album highlight, “Fainted Love.” It’s a lyrically simple track about a one-sided love, but the production is sublime, as the chorus blooms then retracts in that 80s style.

“Lonely Dancers” was another of the pre-released singles, and is notable for its copious amounts of David Bowie influence. Everything from the plucking synths to the deep cadence of his vocals all harken back to the glam rockstar in a tasteful manner.

The fifth track, and album centerpiece, is “Alley Rose.” This is the breakup song that the album has been hinting at the whole time, as Gray indulges in a crashing chorus that’s more than a little inspired by Elton John. It’s a stellar piece, with the ad-libs in the final chorus really cementing it as a highlight on the record.

“The Final Fight” and “Miss You” continue the story with a more mellow and atmospheric production, as Gray sorts through all the emotions common in the immediate fallout of a relationship. Toxic thoughts, last pleas, and quiet lamenting allows these two to stand out among the more high-energy tracks.

“Bourgeoisieses” is the only real outlier on the record. Purposely misspelled, this song is a satirical takedown of the stuffy upper-class, as Gray jokingly declares he wishes to be a part of them. It’s a bit too silly and detached to really deserve a spot on the otherwise concise tracklist, but admittedly the production work is still excellent.

“Forever With Me” is another lull on the record as, despite still being good, it takes a

Sabrina Carpenter sweetens up Coachella with new single

Social media has found their newest “pop princess” and latest musical sensation: Sabrina Carpenter. The singer has been in the well-deserved spotlight this year after gaining tons of fame from her beloved Eras Tour opening performances. Before performing at Coachella 2024, which kicked off this past weekend, the singer dropped a single titled “Espresso” to celebrate her first time performing at the festival. “Espresso” was served to us on April 11, and it’s already made its way to the top of the charts. The new hit is a retropop style single, surrounding the idea of an exciting, new love and having her partner, “Saltburn” star Barry Keoghan, wrapped around her finger. Carpenter relates her ability to keep her partner awake thinking about her to espresso, calling it “me espresso.”

“And now he’s thinkin’ ‘bout me every night, oh. Is it that sweet? I guess so,” she sings. “Say you can’t sleep, baby, I know. That’s that me, espresso.”

Carpenter is known for her witty humor and makes that known during her live performances. Her comedic flair is presented through her hit single “Nonsense” outros, where she rhymes innuendoes to match whichever city or venue she is playing for. The artist references this in “Espresso,” singing, “My twisted humor makes him laugh so often.”

In the accompanying music video to the single, directed by Dave Meyers, viewers are transported to a retro beach setting straight out of the 50s. Carpenter and her friends are seen wearing 50s-inspired swimsuits and accessories, surrounded by adoring admirers who fan them with palm branches and pamper them while tanning. The video encapsulates a playful energy, with hints of newfound love and luxury — that is until Carpenter is seen getting arrested by the police, yet still wearing a

smile on her face, due to stealing her ex’s jet ski.

The single was released the night before Coachella kicked off, where she then held her debut performance of it on the festival’s stage. Along with “Espresso,” Carpenter also performed twelve of her other hit songs, such as “because i liked a boy” and “Feather.”

In the days leading up to the release and Coachella set, Carpenter used various creative marketing techniques and teased the new song more uniquely.

The singer started to tease the single after she concluded the Eras Tour, sending her newsletter including a photo of her drinking an espresso martini and telling her fans to “stay hydrated/caffeinated” in preparation for Coachella. Soon after, Spotify created a playlist titled “Espresso Martini,” featuring said photo of Carpenter as the main cover. Then, Team Sabrina on Instagram, the singer’s official team page, sent a message to their followers once they signed up to receive alerts saying “Sabrina’s on vacation until April 11” — the release date of the song. Lastly, Carpenter ended her “emails i can’t send” era by adding a message to her website that says “message

bit too long to really get going. Gray finally admits that he’ll forever love his ex, and the final chorus almost reaches a sort of Queen sound. But if that was the attempted influence, it fails due to the production being a bit too glossy to authentically achieve that kind of a sound.

The loud and thumping production returns full force on “Eye of the Night,” as Gray protests how despite his lover long being gone, their influence and presence is still haunting him everywhere. It’s a simple song lyrically, but the chorus is catchy enough to get away with the otherwise tired concept.

“Boys & Girls,” “Killing Me” and the final track “Winner” cap off the record with more of those high-octane songs seen in the first half. There’s some retreaded ground lyrically, but they leave the album on a high note, which redeems most of the mediocre middle.

While most artists today will imitate the 80s, Gray innovates that sound when reinventing his own. He pays tribute to the many artists who pioneered the genre long before him, and uses that previous foundation to launch him into this new sound.

But between the TV static and chromatic synths of Gray’s newest record, there lies a genuine heartbreak — hidden from view, and only revealing itself to those who interrogate the work.

It’s the question that Gray grapples with, while prancing around in his 80s wonderland.

Is falling in love worthwhile, when all it does is teach you what you are without?

Little salvation is offered in the text itself, and perhaps that is what is most compelling to me. The only resolution given is that of Gray’s own internal strife. That existential question remains underpinned, yet unanswered.

If falling in love is how he “Found Heaven,” just how holy is that paradise?

undeliverable” in her inbox.

The artist officially announced the release of “Espresso” by tweeting a pre-save link with the word “brewing” above it and then finally posting the announcement on Instagram on April 8.

Needless to say, the song was an instant hit. By Saturday, one day after the release, the song was ranked seventh on Spotify’s Top 50 with nearly 1.5 million listeners. Once again, Carpenter has acclaimed her fame in the world of pop.

The Signal’s Coachella Playlist

page 14 The Signal April 19, 2024
Photo courtesy of Apple Music The album cover reflects the vibrant sounds Gray’s newest record. Carpenter is the newest “pop princess” of this generation. Photo courtesy of Apple Music
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Feather Sabrina Carpenter Red Wine Supernova
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Track and field puts together impressive performances while hosting

The College hosted its first track and field event of the season on campus this weekend. Both the men’s and women’s teams showed out in the event that spanned three days from April 1113.

The men started off their charge with great performances in the 100 meter dash. Seniors Ray Schmitt and Justin Gomez took the top two podium spots in this event, with Schmitt coming in

first with a time of 10.68 seconds and Gomez in second with 11.02 seconds.

Another first place finisher was freshman hurdler Nate Adams. He won the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 16.08 seconds. This was Adams’ first individual victory of his career.

“It feels great to earn my first collegiate win,” said Adams, an undeclared business major. “The whole team has been working very hard so it is nice to see the hard work paying off.”

Adams also put together an impressive performance in the 400

meter hurdles. He just barely finished in second, earning a time of 56.70 seconds.

The College’s 4x400 meter relay team also earned first place in their event. The team, consisting of sophomore Jeffrey Heineman, sophomore P.J. Fragomeni, freshman Aidan Ferraez and freshman Lucas Lattimer, finished with a time of 3:30.72 — a little more than two seconds ahead of the second place Rutgers-Newark team.

The Lions also dominated the 800 meter event. While the top spot was taken by Finn Morley from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, the next three finishers were all Lions, and they all had times within sixhundredths of a second. Sophomore Kevin Matthews ran the race in 2:00.37 and took second place. Sophomore Roman Fabbricatore came in right behind Matthew, earning a time of 2:00.38 and a third place finish. Junior Michael Rodriguez came in fourth, finishing in 2:00.43.

On the field side of things, the men for the Lions earned two third place finishes. Freshman Christian Farhat earned third in the shot put with a furthest throw of 14.16 meters, and sophomore Jayvee Dumas placed third in the pole vault with a high mark of 4.30 meters.

The women’s track and field team also put together an amazing weekend. On the track, sophomore Cameron Ruffini took home a first place finish in the 100 meter dash timed final. She

Baseball splits matchups with Stockton, NJCU

The Lions went 2-2 in their four games against Stockton University and New Jersey City University that spanned April 11 to April 14. They won one and lost one against each team.

The College’s baseball team was looking to continue their winning as of late, having bounced back with four wins in their previous six games after a costly four-game losing streak earlier in the season. With four conference games on their agenda, the Lions were looking to regain their early season swagger and climb back atop the New Jersey Athletic Conference standings.

On Thursday, they hosted the Ospreys of Stockton, who entered the game at an impressive 5-1 in conference play this season. This was the first of two meetings with the Ospreys, as the Lions would look to take advantage of the matchup being on their home field.

It was a good start for the College, jumping out to an early 2-0 lead in the second inning. RBIs from sophomore outfielder Jack O’Donnell and junior

infielder Zach Hochheiser accounted for the only Lion runs on the day.

With a shortage of offense, senior starting pitcher Jordan Gray needed to step up. He did, delivering 7.2 innings of shutout ball while striking out six. Gray locked up his fourth victory of the year, now standing 4-0. He handed the ball off to senior relief pitcher Joe Ferreri who picked up his second save of the season, as the Lions shut out Stockton 2-0.

It was Military Appreciation Day at George Ackerman Park on Saturday, as the College welcomed the Gothic Knights of New Jersey City. Sitting at just 8-15, the Lions would try to capitalize on the struggling Gothic Knights to string together a pair of wins in the doubleheader.

It was a roaring start for the Lions, who quickly jumped out to a seven-run lead after three innings. Hochheiser had another nice outing, getting a teamhigh three RBIs. Senior Ryan Goodall also had a good day, going 3-5 with two RBIs of his own.

On the mound, it was a nearly perfect show for fifth-year pitcher Ben

ran the event in 13.14 seconds.

The Lions also showed out the 1500 meter event. Senior Cassidy Quinn earned a victory with a time of 5:00.69. Senior Emily Hoegler also did great in the event, finishing in third with a time of 5:05.04.

Senior Katherine Rice also put together a great showing during the weekend. She finished in second in the 800 meter with a time of 2:21.87, just one second behind the first place finisher.

The hammer throw was dominated by the College, with four Lions finishing inside the top six. Junior Jessica Reilly won the event with a long throw of 47.62 meters. Junior Kerri McCarthy finished right behind her teammate in second place with a 45.48 meter throw. Senior Edith Gonzalez came in third with a throw of 43.62 meters. Junior Emily Diszler finished in sixth with a 40.99 meter throw, rounding out the dominance in this event from the Lions.

The College also did well in the discus throw, earning two top five finishers. Freshman Kaydence Fischer came in second in the event with a long throw of 36.75 meters, while Reilly added onto her hammer victory with a fifth place finish in discus, throwing it 34.42 meters.

After this great weekend in Ewing, the Lions will now look to carry this momentum ahead to next weekend, when they will compete in the Widener Invitational at Widener University on April 19 and 20.

TCNJ Athletics Schedule

Amon. Looking to stay undefeated, Amon threw a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits while striking out eight. He received his fourth victory of the year and brought his earned run average down to a season-best 2.45 as the Lions grabbed a 12-0 victory.

Looking for more of the same in the latter half of the doubleheader, the College struck first, with an RBI single from senior Jack Haynes, giving them a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, this would be the only time the Lions held a lead in the game, as the Gothic Knights came back with three runs of their own in the top of the third.

Junior pitcher Jackson Malouf was the starter, and despite giving up six runs, none of them were earned. The defense was the story of this game, as the Lions handed this game away with a season-high four errors committed, leading to all six runs they conceded being unearned. The woes in the field were too much to overcome, as the College dropped the second game 6-4.

Looking to bounce back after the disappointing end to the doubleheader, the Lions traveled to Stockton to take on the Ospreys for the second time in three days. A victory never seemed to be in the cards for the Lions, however, as Stockton carried a five-run lead into the eighth. The Lions did not quit, as they contributed two runs in their own right to make it 5-2 going into the ninth inning.

Junior pitcher Dan Merkel had a solid day, going six innings allowing one earned run in another quality start. The Lions defensive struggles seemed to linger, as they conceded multiple unearned runs for the second straight game. That would be too much to overcome, as they fell to Stockton 5-2.

Now sitting at 18-9 and fifth in the conference, it is now or never for the Lions with less than 10 games remaining in the season. Their next matchup is at home against No. 20 Rowan on April 18.

Track and Field

Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20

Away at Widener University for Paul Donahue Invitational


Friday, April 19, 3:30 p.m. Away at No. 20 Rowan University

Women’s Tennis

Saturday, April 20, 11 a.m. Away at Kean University


Saturday, April 20, 11:30 a.m. Home doubleheader against Kean University

Men’s Tennis

Saturday, April 20, 12 p.m. Home against SUNY Oneonta


Saturday, April 20, 1 p.m. Away doubleheader at New Jersey City University

Women’s Lacrosse

Saturday, April 20, 2 p.m.

Senior Day Home against Montclair State

April 19, 2024 The Signal page 15
Photo courtesy of Shane Gillespie The Lions’ track and field had an impressive weekend at home. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone The Lions won two and lost two in their games.

Women’s lacrosse wins both NJAC opening games

Continued from page 1

Freshman Aayush Kishore and sophomore Asa Wong were the other doubles pairing who were victorious, winning 8-5. Tsui ended up outplaying his opponent in two sets, 6-0, 6-2. The Lions went undefeated in their singles play, winning each match convincingly in two sets.

The College’s women’s team entered the weekend as the No. 41 ranked team in the nation. They hosted Salisbury on Saturday as well and were able to coast to a 7-2 victory. The Lions were able to win two of the three doubles matches in the afternoon. Junior Aira Abalos and freshman Marcella Warner breezed to an 8-2 win, while freshmen Prisha Priyadarshini and Gabriella Robinson also came out on top 8-5.

The Lions won five of their six singles matches, with Warner, Priyadarshini and Robinson each being victorious. Warner remained undefeated while Priyadarshini and Robinson improved to 13-1. Freshman Zoey Albert and senior Chase Eisenberg each won in singles as well.

Eisenberg was the lone Lion celebrated for Senior Day against Drew University. She had totaled 109 career wins during her time at the College before this matchup. On Sunday, she added to her total, winning both of her matches. She and Albert were able to win 8-3 in their doubles match.

Abalos and Warner, along with Priyadarshini and Robinson, won comfortably 8-1, 8-2. Abalos and Warner are an astounding 15-0 when playing together in doubles this year. Every Lion won their singles match, meaning Eisenberg got to 111 career wins. Abalos was able to pick up her 100th career victory with her singles win.

The Lions opened up their New Jersey Athletic Conference play against Ramapo College and Stockton University April 6th and 9th. The College came into these games at 6-3 and looked to improve on their record after three tough losses in March. The Lions are a combined 26-0 against the Ospreys and the Roadrunners, dominating most matchups. Ramapo College was 3-5 coming in while Stockton was an impressive 12-0, looking to make a run at the Lions.

Against the Roadrunners, the Lions came out swinging, scoring three in the first five minutes of the game with

senior English and secondary education major Ally Tobler opening the scoring. Junior nursing major Marissa Lucca and fifth-year nursing major Katherine Nailburg also hopped on the scoring train to start the first. The Lions had eight goals in the first quarter with six different scorers, including freshman mechanical engineering major CJ Kole and senior nursing major Natalie Berry. Throughout the rest of the game, it was pure domination on both ends. Ramapo did not score again and the Lions put up 20 goals. The clearing game for the Lions was impressive, going nine for nine while the ride was equally as impressive, only letting up five successful clears on 18 attempts. Defender and senior nursing major

Madison Wernick had an all-around game with two goals, one assist and two caused turnovers. Senior special education major Kira Sides stole the show with three goals and two assists, having a powerhouse offensive day.

Another NJAC test for the Lions came against the undefeated Stockton Ospreys. The Lions opened the scoring again with Tobler, Nailburg and Kole each having a hand in the first four goals for the Lions. Stockton stuck around for much of the first quarter, halting the Lions offense for five minutes, only down two with four minutes to play in the quarter. Tobler, Lucca and Cole each scored in a two minute stretch giving the Lions the lead 7-2 after the first quarter.

Much of the second quarter was scrappy with both teams not scoring for about eight minutes. Senior nursing major Morgan Vaccaro jumped on the scoreboard early along with Sides, who put the Lions up by six with 10 minutes to play. No goals were scored until a minute left, when Lucca finally stopped the drought and scored a late goal.

The Lions then rattled six straight goals in the third quarter and put the game away, winning 19-4 with the fourth quarter not playing a huge factor. Lucca had a standout game scoring six goals, with Tobler and Nailburg adding six points each. Kole and Wernick each contributed three caused turnovers to end the game.

The Lions are picking up huge wins in the NJAC while looking to get ready for the NCAA Tournament and finding their stride in the middle of the season. With the emergence of Lucca and the constant great play from Tobler, this team has the ability to put it all together and make a run when it counts.

Softball has successful weekend including walk-off thriller

The Lions put together an impressive weekend, winning two games against Montclair State University and splitting a doubleheader with a talented Rowan University squad.

The College entered the weekend at a respectable 16-8, but after having dropped five of their last eight games, they looked to make a statement in their upcoming doubleheaders against Montclair State and the nationally ranked Rowan Profs.

The Redhawks of Montclair limped into the games at 12-14, desperately trying to string together enough wins

to get over the .500 mark, but it would be a tough task going against ace sophomore pitcher Elizabeth Gosse, who had only allowed more than one earned run in just one start going into the game. That is a more than impressive stat, considering this would mark her 13th start of the year.

The story of the early game was the Lion offense, who put up four runs in the opening three innings, including RBIs from fifth-year Kaci Neveling and sophomore Camryn Kitchin. The College finished with seven hits and had a stout defensive effort, committing zero errors in comparison to the mistake-ridden Redhawks, who committed three. Two of those three errors led to Lion runs.

As for Gosse, it was another masterclass, going all seven innings and allowing just one earned run and four baserunners, bringing her earned run average down to just 1.83 on the season. She got the victory, her sixth of the year, as the Lions took game one 4-2.

The latter half of the doubleheader did not seem to come as easy for the College, as the game was a 0-0 stalemate through the first three innings.

Freshman pitcher Maya Knasiak one-upped Gosse, having the best performance of her season in a complete game shutout that included nine strikeouts and just two hits. Her stellar performance brought her ERA down to just 2.54.

In the fourth and fifth innings, the Lions finally broke through, scoring four runs. Funny enough, it was Knasiak who decided she was done waiting for run support, so she got the scoring started with a two-run single to put the Lions ahead. Senior catcher Julia Mayernik chipped in with an RBI double to put the finishing touches on as the College swept the doubleheader, winning 5-0 in the second game.

On Tuesday, there was a much more formidable foe for the College. The Rowan Profs were traveling to Ewing, having won a ridiculous 18 of their last 19 games. They entered the contest at 24-6, with a staggering 9-1 conference record. Deservedly

so, they were ranked No. 14 in the country heading into the matchup.

In a low-scoring affair, the Lions got on the board first in the bottom of the fourth inning. A solo homerun from Kitchin gave the College a onerun lead they would need to hold against the scary Rowan offense, who average over 6.5 runs per game.

The Lions called upon Gosse again, and she delivered, going the first six innings without allowing a single run. However, in the seventh and final inning, the College committed a costly error that allowed two runs to score and surrendered the lead.

Now trailing 2-1 with just three outs left, the Lions needed at least one run to keep the game going. After a hit by pitch followed by a walk, Mayernik stepped to the plate and ripped a double into left field, delivering a walk-off hit as the Lions bested the Profs, 3-2.

The College would look for more magic in the second game, but Rowan had no interest in keeping things close. The Lions kept things respectable in the first four innings, trailing by just three runs, but imploded in the fifth and final inning, as the Profs put up seven runs to win the game 10-0.

Regardless, the Rowan win was a big-time win for the Lions, who now stand at 19-9 with six games remaining in the regular season. Their next matchup has them traveling to Jersey City to face New Jersey City University on April 20.

Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone Senior attacker Morgan Vaccaro in one of the games. Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone Sophomore first baseman Camryn Kitchin at the plate.
TENNIS / Senior day
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