Issue No. 14 Spring '24

Page 1

Signal

A breakdown of Bernstein’s expenses

His total expenses for his term up to April 25 are $14,438.07.

Using documentation provided through an Open Public Records Act request, The Signal compiled a comprehensive list of Interim President Bernstein’s expenses — separate from his contracted salary — that are covered by the College. His total expenses for his term up to April 25, when The Signal received the most recent information, are $14,438.07.

The Signal reported last September that, according to Bernstein’s contract, the College pays for two round-trip flights to San Diego, including ground transportation.

Flights to and from California

Since his term as interim president began last summer, Bernstein has consistently traveled to and from his permanent home in San Diego, California to visit his family while he works in New Jersey.

The president’s office has set aside $27,000 within the budget for this fiscal year for Bernstein’s travel expenses, according to Luke Sacks, the College’s head of media relations. This is a slight decrease from last fiscal year’s budget that allotted $30,000 for travel expenses.

Bernstein has taken at least 11 roundtrip flights using American Airlines from Philadelphia International Airport to San Diego International Airport, totalling

In memory: Chief John Collins’s lasting legacy of service and dedication

John Collins, who served as the College’s Chief of Police from January 2008 through December 2016, died on April 26. Chief Collins fought a valiant battle with health challenges that stemmed back to his selfless efforts during the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Chief Collins brought a deep commitment to community policing. He came to understand our community; he was trusted,” said former College President R. Barbara Gitenstein. “His principles, his work ethic, his care for TCNJ all made him someone I could trust in some of the most difficult times on a college campus — times of crisis.”

Collins’ expertise was rooted in leadership and community safety, stemming from his experience serving as commanding officer of the Lincoln Tunnel for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the months after the 9/11 attacks. As a member of the Emergency Services Unit, he played a pivotal role in the rescue and recovery operations at Ground Zero. He was also part of the rescue crew that saved victims after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center,

where six civilians were killed. His heroic actions highlighted his passion for service and sacrifice.

“John was an American hero — a member of the elite Emergency Services Unit who volunteered at Ground Zero, assisting for months with the rescue and recovery operation,” said Associate Vice President for College Advancement and Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Dave Muha.

around $6,000.

Travel expenses

Along with flying across the country, there are other expenses that are associated with traveling, including car services, in-flight WiFi, E-Z Pass fees and multi-day parking.

Bernstein often takes taxi services to commute between the airport and where he lives, whether to his home in California or to his place of residence in a College-owned home near campus. If he drives to the airport, he parks his car at the Philadelphia Parking Authority while he is away.

Each flight Berstein takes, he purchases in-flight Wifi, which costs $29.

see EXPENSES page 2

Faculty members and librarians over the age of 60 or who have been employed by the College for at least 20 years were presented with a voluntary separation offer in an email from Interim Provost Suzanne McCotter on March 21. The proposition provided these faculty with the option of a one year alternate assignment beginning this upcoming fall before they would be fully relieved of their job — a benefit that regular retirees do not receive.

Interim President Michael Bernstein, called the offer a “voluntary separation incentive plan” in an April 16 interview with The Signal. Those accepting the proposal needed to sign the agreement and alert their department by April 17.

“We want to emphasize the establishment of the [voluntary separation plan] was based on operational need and is not intended to convey any disrespect for the many contributions and value of our tenured faculty members and librarians at TCNJ,” the email said.

According to multiple sources, at least 31 faculty members have accepted the offer. This amounts to about 10% of all full-time faculty at the College, according to Matthew Wund, professor of biology and president of the College’s American Federation of Teachers faculty union.

Air conditioning slated to be installed in Norsworthy Hall for fall semester

There will be one less hot residence hall at the College next semester, as Norsworthy Hall will be receiving window air conditioning units in every dorm room.

The upgrades to the freshman residence hall will be completed over the summer and will cost $65,000, according to Luke Sacks, the College’s head of media relations, which will come from the Facilities budget. The cost covers the AC units (including spares), window sealing materials and the installation.

The window units will be controllable by residents and will remain in the rooms all year. Though the College will likely begin charging an extra $500 per semester for single rooms across campus next year, Sacks said that air conditioned rooms will cost the same as non-air-conditioned ones. Final housing costs will be determined at the July Board of Trustees meeting.

No other freshman residence hall has air conditioning across all rooms, though some buildings contain window units for students with disability accommodations.

“Norsworthy was chosen because it has the electrical capacity to handle AC units and the windows would fairly easily

accommodate them,” Sacks said in an email.

Norsworthy will continue to be used as a freshman residence hall, housing about 150 students, according to the College’s housing site. Though originally built in 1932, the building underwent an extensive renovation in 2014 that included new flooring, walls, bathrooms, social areas, laundry room upgrades and furniture. The basement contains a game room and a full kitchen, while the first floor holds another lounge and kitchenette.

Several residents of Norsworthy who spoke to The Signal complained of the high temperatures experienced in the building last semester.

“Last semester my room was 100 degrees,” said Lynn Beerchie, a freshman special education and sociology major. “I had to sleep in my brother’s room, that’s how hot it was.” Beerchie said she tried to receive accommodations to be placed in a room with air conditioning, but “it was not really working out.”

Jessica Peterman, an undeclared freshman, said that she had trouble sleeping in the beginning of the fall semester and was looking forward to moving out before the high temperatures returned.

Read more on our website!

May 3, 2024 https://www.tcnjsignalnews.com/
The
Vol. LIII, No. 14 Serving The College of New Jersey since 1885
Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone
Follow us! @tcnjsignal FEATURES page 5 Safety training Students at the College express mixed feelings regarding the effectiveness of the recently implemented mandatory online safety training program. OPINIONS page 11 Menstrual products Purchasing menstrual products is one of the many financial burdens college studets face, along with meeting other essential needs. SPORTS page 16 Women’s tennis wins 41st straight NJAC title The women’s tennis team dominated their way through the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament. ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT page 12 ‘Life After Loss’ concert The Wind Ensemble held its last performance of the semester on April 27 in collaboration with the Artivism Project. Faculty offered voluntary separation agreement see RETIREMENT page 3
see COLLINS page 4
Photo courtesy of Luke Sacks Collins served the College from January 2008 to December 2016.

TCNJ hosts Best Buddies Friendship Walk to promote inclusion

Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization on campus aimed at fostering meaningful friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities, joined 50,000 people worldwide in the Friendship Walk on April 28.

The Friendship Walk is the leading event in the country to foster inclusion and empowerment among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, taking place at schools, workplaces and communities.

The College raised over $31,000 this year through the help of their team members and supporters. Anyone can make a general donation to the College’s

chapter through the Team page or donate under specific members, contributing to their standing. The top five individuals received a prize basket at the Friendship Walk for their contribution.

“We exceeded our $25,000 fundraising goal this year,” said Jess Lazer, senior secondary special education and English major and Best Buddies vice president. “I believe we were successful because of our hardworking e-board and close working relationship with Best Buddies staff.”

Cameron Price, co-chair of the College’s Best Buddies chapter and Career and Community Studies Program student, was this year’s top walker, raising $10,400.

“This money will support chapters all over the state to create ones as passionate and strong as ours is,” said Elizabeth Mancini, Best Buddies president and

EXPENSES / Bernstein’s frequent flying

Continued from page 1

Moving Costs

When Bernstein first moved to the president’s house in Pennington, New Jersey, he purchased moving boxes from Amazon in July totalling $190.65. Those boxes were then shipped through UPS with a fee of $993.21. Additionally, there was a charge of $235.23 for the rental of a moving truck.

Dining

The president’s office also pays for some dinners Bernstein attends, most notably in the Ewing and Princeton areas, for College business.

Some of the restaurant receipts have handwritten names labeled on them, which may be the person whom Bernstein shared a meal with. The people mentioned include the names of many leading figures of the College, past and present, such as:

“Gitenstein” and “K Foster”: R. Barbara Gitenstein and Kathryn Foster, two former presidents of the College

“S. Stallings”: Sean Stallings, vice president of student affairs,

“T. Tibbetts”: Tammy Tibbetts, a member of the Board of Trustees,

“S. McCotter”: Suzanne McCotter, interim provost

“J. Osborn”: Jeffrey Osbron, former

senior English and elementary and special education major. “It will also help start new chapters in high schools and colleges across the state.”

The walk began outside the Brower Student Center and included things like a bouncy house, DJ, dunk tank, food, a silent auction, volleyball and other activities.

“I’m most excited about the dunk tank and seeing all my friends come out and talking to new people,” said Douglas Mitchell, junior sports management major and Best Buddies member.

People enjoyed the beautiful weather as they followed the 15-minute, wheelchair accessible route around campus. The walk was open to the public, allowing diverse groups to come together to support the organization’s mission of ending the social, physical and economic isolation of people with IDD. According to Mancini, there were nearly 500 people in attendance this year.

“Opening this event to the public allowed us to highlight the TCNJ chapter and promote inclusion beyond the TCNJ community,” Mancini said. “A goal of ours this year was to include local businesses, Best Buddies Chapters and other organizations passionate about our mission.”

According to Mancini, the money raised will not only help to create more chapters, but also support people with IDD in getting jobs, making New Jersey a more inclusive and embracing state.

The College’s Deaf Hearing Connection Club was a co-sponsor for this year’s event and was invited to come out and walk.

“Our club also preaches about diversity and inclusion, so we thought

why not support [Best Buddies] and see what awareness this event can bring?” said Alyssa Genao, a deaf education and iSTEM major.

Inviting people from far and wide was integral to the success of this year’s walk as it promoted greater support for people with IDD on campus and beyond.

“Opening the event up to the public allows for people to learn about the school and organization which is great awareness for people with disabilities,” said Daniela Rodriguez, senior deaf education and Spanish major.

There are two types of Best Buddy members; buddy pairs and associate members. The first involves matching students with and without disabilities together to foster genuine friendships that extend beyond organized events. The second type of member is not paired with any student but still attends events to build relationships and support its mission.

Best Buddies holds bi-weekly social events on Wednesdays at 12:30 in the Education Building. They hold larger events throughout the year including parties, a ball dance and talent show. You can learn more about the College’s chapter on their Instagram page.

The Friendship Walk is their biggest event, as it aims to create worldwide inclusiveness for the 200 million people with IDD through its donation initiative which creates real and measurable change.

“It invites friends from in and outside of the school, and families to come together to see what we all have in common,” said Ryan Lavelle, a junior arts and music major and Career Community Studies Program student

Bernstein considered for permenant president

Former and current

The Board of Trustees is exploring the permanent appointment of Interim President Michael Bernstein, according to an email sent to the campus community on Monday from Board Chair Rebecca Ostrov.

be excluded by nature of being interim.”

The interim president added that presidential searches can take anywhere from nine to 12 months, though this lengthy process could be avoided if the Board chooses to appoint Bernstein first. The board plans to meet in early June to make their final decision on an appointment.

provost

“S. Blanton”: Sharon Blanton, vice president of operations

A receipt from a dinner with the last names of President Bernstein and former President Foster.

Miscellaneous Expenses

In August 2023, the interim president traveled to a workshop held by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges in Boston. To attend this event, his entry fee was $825. He also took the train up to Boston, which cost $335.

The College also covered Bernstein’s $139 print and digital subscription to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Student Thoughts

Members of the campus community have questioned whether or not the College should be funding Bernstein’s travel expenses, or if he should be responsible for his trips to California.

Senior biology major Alex Fuzaylov thinks that Bernstein should be paying for his expenses if they do not benefit the College overall.

“His expenses don’t benefit the school,” said Fuzaylov. “They should cover things that benefit the school. Say for like, if he’s going to a conference that might benefit the school, then I would understand.”

Roderick McDavis, principal manager and CEO of AGB Search, has been hired by the Board as a consultant to complete a performance assessment of Bernstein. McDavis will be conducting interviews with “key stakeholders” of the College in small groups on May 1 to hear their thoughts.

“Critical to this process is your engagement and input,” Ostrov wrote in the email.

Members of the campus community who wish to provide further feedback to McDavis can email him at mcdavisr@tcnj.edu. All feedback is confidential.

“It will be particularly useful to hear your views on Dr. Bernstein’s leadership as it relates to the challenges facing our campus and the skills you believe necessary for the next permanent president,” said Ostrov.

In an interview with The Signal on April 16, Bernstein said that while some schools prevent interim officeholders from seeking permanent positions, his agreement with the College does not preclude him from consideration.

“When I was hired as interim president last July, the Board made clear to me that if I wished, at the appropriate time, I would be eligible for consideration for a permanent appointment,” Bernstein said. “In other words, I wouldn’t

Bernstein was originally hired to serve a two-year term following the sudden departure of former President Kathryn Foster, whose resignation raised questions after The Signal found she had been awarded benefits that would normally be given to a president who was terminated without cause, as opposed to one who voluntarily stepped down. Foster will be returning in the fall as a professor of political science.

Foster served as president for five years, while the two presidents before her, R. Barbara Gitenstein and Harold W. Eickhoff, both served for 19 years, according to the College’s website.

The College has seen a large amount of turnover in recent years, with the positions of president, provost, treasurer and several academic deans all being served by interims, so a quick appointment of a permanent president could bring more stability to the institution.

“I’m delighted to be part of the College,” Bernstein said during the April interview. “You know, I enjoy my job. All of the things I knew about the College before I joined the College, and all the things I’ve heard about the College since I joined the College, are all accurate and they have to do with the quality of this place and the effectiveness with which it executes its mission.”

page 2 The Signal May 3, 2024
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Mancini Best Buddies President Elizabeth Mancini and two Best Buddy members. Chart by Victoria Gladstone President Bernstein’s expenses are funded by the President’s Office.

Continued from page 1

Bernstein said during the interview that the retirement of faculty in the fall would have no impacts on the fall scheduling grid. “Any decisions being made would have lagged effects by at least a year,” he said.

According to Bernstein, the administration has the right to request any faculty member who has agreed to the incentive to wait longer before leaving if there is a strong need for them to continue teaching to avoid detrimental impacts on departments. It is in fact true that some academic departments have avoided any impacts from upcoming retirements. According to Andrea Salgian, department chair of computer science, there are no professors in her department taking the voluntary separation offer, and therefore no changes to the fall schedule have been made. In the English Department, there is only one professor taking the offer, but this has made no impacts on the fall schedule, according to the department’s program assistant, Michelle Ordini.

However, other academic departments, such as public health, have seen impacts. Brenda Seals, chair of the department, is the only faculty member from her department who is taking the incentive. However, because Seals is an advisor for 70 to 90 students, her departure will require these students to be reallocated to her fellow faculty.

Additionally, Seals said public health classes will become more crowded now that there are less faculty in her department. She expects incoming transfer students to have a difficult time enrolling in classes because of it.

“We’ve been getting more and more transfers every year and the school has supported that, but we don’t necessarily have the class space to deal with it, so that’s going to take a hit,” Seals said. “There’s nothing worse than transferring to another college because you feel like they’ve made promises or it’s going to be a better place and then being shut out.”

Wund told The Signal that the biology department has two professors who have taken the voluntary separation agreement, in addition to five or six other biology faculty who have left in the past few semesters. Their positions have not yet been filled, meaning the department has relied heavily on adjunct faculty and overloading full-time faculty.

“I’ve got colleagues who are teaching 50% more of their annual teaching for the year,” Wund said. “They’re just vastly overloaded with students, which means that the more we’re teaching, the less time we have to devote to mentoring individual students, and time is a finite resource.”

The Journalism & Professional Writing department canceled one course for the upcoming fall semester after one professor indicated they would be taking the voluntary separation, according to department chair and The Signal advisor Kathleen Webber.

The Department of World Languages and Culture has two faculty members who have now taken the voluntary separation agreement, in addition to three faculty who have left in recent semesters, according to Department Chair Marimar Huguet Jerez. The two faculty members taking the offer were set to teach multiple courses in the fall,

Final Cop Shop: Glitter, theft and fire

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.

March 22: Panera bread wallet theft

A student was eating lunch at Panera Bread at approximately 2:50 p.m., but on her way back to her residence, she received a phone call from her brother about an unusual charge to their shared credit card. After this phone call, the student realized her wallet was missing from her jacket pocket.

At Panera, she recalled putting her jacket on the back of her chair, and an unidentified man sat closely behind her. The security footage did not capture the student or the suspected man, but Campus Police suspects he took the wallet from her jacket while it was hanging on the student’s chair while she was still sitting in it.

There was a $2,000 Lululemon charge, along with $1,704.93 Apple charge. The student was able to cancel the charges, but her wallet was not returned. Along with two cards, the wallet contained her driver’s license, 1-2 health insurance cards, her College ID card and $40 in mixed bills.

April 20: Sodexo employee catches fire

During a barbeque event on Alumni Weekend at the Green Hall lawn, some patrolling officers observed a Sodexo employee drop to the ground and remove his pants from his body. They soon realized he was putting out a small fire that caught on his pant leg. The employee had moved a sterno he did not realize was still lit, dropped it and spilled some of the fuel on his leg.

The employee put out the fire on his pants when he dropped to the ground and

most of which have now been reassigned to adjuncts.

“I’m going to give [one adjunct] these two heavy courses — that normally professors teach because they are 200 level 300 level — for the pay of an adjunct, so that’s very unfair. I feel terrible,” Huguet Jerez said. “I mean, he’s excited, but normally our adjuncts tend to teach the basic language sequence because it’s easier and they are paid nothing.”

Huguet Jerez has immense respect for her departing colleagues who she said “more than deserve to be retired,” but she explained that the timing of the retirement incentive offer “made a mess of [their] schedule in the fall.” One of their classes had to be completely canceled, while others needed to be switched to different days and times.

“The schedules were already done and set and students were enrolled there already,” Huguet Jerez said. “It was in the middle of registration, so to change everything, it definitely was not a wise decision.”

The voluntary separation agreement was negotiated between the College’s administration and the faculty union, the American Federation of Teachers. Wund said the union wanted the agreement to be rolled out quickly, as the administration agreed to allow savings earned from the separation to count towards savings in the LIONS plan faculty working group, therefore avoiding more budget cuts in other areas.

“Faculty had to let the administration know by April 17 if they were interested just so we can put those savings on the books to incorporate them into the reports we send to President Bernstein,”

Wund said. “So if it seemed very rushed, it’s because it was.”

According to Bernstein, there is no immediate plan to replace any of the full-time faculty who are taking the voluntary separation agreement, unless a specific department has a “huge need.” He said in the interview certain positions may remain vacant permanently if there is no student need in that particular department, whereas others will be refilled in the coming years when the budget allows for it.

“Nine times out of 10, we would probably refill with early career stage faculty, newly obtained PhDs, newly obtained degree recipients who are starting their careers. So there’s still some savings there,” Bernstein said. “They’re not starting at the top of the pay scale, they’re starting at the entry level.”

Wund said that despite the inevitable impacts that the retirement incentive — along with other budget-cutting changes involved in the LIONS plan — will have on the College, students should have confidence in the process.

“I think the students should really pay attention to what’s happening and they should stay engaged. They should read The Signal, they should read their emails from President Bernstein and any other emails from administrators,” Wund said. “They should know that everyone involved is really trying to do their best to save money and have the lowest impacts on students, but it’s unavoidable that you guys are going to feel it. TCNJ is not a wasteful, bloated institution. We are already operating efficiently and trying to do a lot with a little.”

MENAA’s Bazaar brings campus cultural awareness

did not sustain any injuries. The area of the ground was grass, which began smoking slightly and lit a small flame. An officer used a fire extinguisher that was found next to a grill to put out the fire. There were no injuries or damages reported.

April 22: Wolfe disorderly conduct

At approximately 10:20 p.m., a Wolfe Hall resident reported that she saw an unidentified male taking nametags off of other resident’s doors. A second resident confronted the male, asking him to return the nametags, to which he became aggressive.

He told the resident he would “knock him out” and began banging on the resident’s door. He was calling his name and demanding he come out into the hallway to fight. The resident managed to take a photo of the male through his peephole and could see the male entering and leaving another resident’s room.

Campus Police approached the room and the male identified himself as the boyfriend of another Wolfe resident, but not a resident or a student of the College.

The responding officers escorted the male to his vehicle in Lot 13 and instructed him to leave for the night. The male told the officers he was too angry to be in a stable mindset to drive, so they waited with him in the parking lot for him to gain his composure. They remained in the parking lot for 25 minutes before the male got in his vehicle to drive home.

April 24: Ex-girlfriend leaves dirt and glitter package at doorstep

Campus police spoke with a resident of Centennial Hall who was reporting an incident of harassment after he received a box filled with glitter, rotten food, dirt and rocks outside his door. The resident reported seeing his former girlfriend, who is also a student at the College, leave the box at his doorstep, along with a card with no writing but filled with glitter.

Read more on our website!

The College’s Middle Eastern and North African Association (MENAA), which was officially recognized on Feb. 22 of last year, held its first ever Bazaar event on April 16.

The executive board presented the definition of a Bazaar on a big screen, which read, “A Bazaar or souk is a marketplace consisting of multiple small stalls or shops, especially in the Middle East, the Balkans, North Africa and South Asia. ‘Bazaar’ is originally a Persian word, and means ‘marketplace’ all over the Middle East.”

Vendors were selected to represent the culture by presenting unique offerings to students, spanning from jewelry and artwork to culinary delights.

The event not only offered students the chance to explore Middle Eastern and North African culture, which many students were unfamiliar with, but also encouraged active engagement through an interactive belly dance performance. There were various vendors selling their

products and a complimentary food station serving gyros, french fries, rice and tea.

Khadijah Tosun, president of MENAA, said that the e-board reached out to local vendors they believed the students at College would enjoy.

“We wanted to bring not only Middle Eastern vendors but multicultural vendors as well,” said Tosun, a junior psychology major. “It was important for us to give them an opportunity to sell their products as they all work extremely hard to run their business.”

Sonia Tepas, a Salvadorian multimedia artist whose artist name is SONZ, tabled at the Bazaar, showcasing her unique artistic creations. Her products included original artwork and prints, and over half were handmade.

“A lot of my artwork portrays bright colors and energy that my culture embodies, so I like to reflect this in my artwork,” Tepas said. “I am inspired by mother nature and my own spiritual journey as well as colors.”

Read more on our website!

May 3, 2024 The Signal page 3
RETIREMENT
Agreement leaves some departments scrambling, others largely untouched
/
Students participating in interactive belly dance performance. Photo by Parisa Burton

Features

Living with Lions and Broncs: Life near college party houses

The College, as a medium-sized school, isn’t exactly known for its raging parties. With only about 7,000 undergraduate students enrolled, the student body’s social events can’t even come close to those at larger schools.

Off-campus house parties do happen in Ewing residential areas, sometimes leading to college renters clashing with full-time residents. A tense relationship between the two can become strenuous as complaints pile up.

Ewing residents have three major complaints about living near houses that throw parties: trash, noise and poor parking.

“It was really variable, it just really depended on the students you got,” said Stefan Michael, who grew up in Ewing. “[Some] people had no respect, they’d be carrying on super late into the night, and be super loud.”

Michael lived around college students his whole life, eventually enrolling at the College and living in an off-campus house himself. Michael was a brother of Alpha Chi Rho and graduated in 2016 with a degree in physics.

Throughout his childhood, college students interacted with Michael’s family, often respectfully. Michael recalled students baking cookies for and

introducing themselves to his family and even inviting his parents to a party. While students were generally fine to live near, according to Michael, one incident involving his family and a loud college party stood out.

Michael’s father once asked a batch of students, who were throwing a party late at night, to quiet down multiple times.

“They didn’t answer so he went over and knocked on the door, he did this two or three times and they didn’t quiet down,” Michael said. “So he ended up calling the cops on them.”

Many Ewing residents have experienced at least one stand-out partyrelated incident.

34-year-old Matt Hasbrouck lives close to a college party house in Ewing and is used to common partying antics, such as noise. Hasbrouck said that noise doesn’t particularly bother him and is expected in any neighborhood — unlike one behavior that partying students in his neighborhood participated in.

“They had a very big party and men were urinating all over outside of the house and it encroached into my yard,” said Hasbrouck.

The Ewing resident then said that since that incident, things have been “pretty tame” in his neighborhood.

Similar to Michael, Emily Friel, 23, who also lives near college party houses in Ewing, said those living in the college

party houses near her home don’t tend to cause a lot of issues. Her main complaint about parties held near her residence is the abundance of cars that larger parties attract. There are often many cars parked in the streets and in front of her house when a party is going on in the vicinity of her home.

Along with car-related issues, noise is a large concern for Ewing residents.

When late night parties get too noisy, Ewing residents occasionally make noise complaints to the Ewing Police Department. Officers dispatched to partyrelated noise complaints break them up and issue warnings to house residents along with a magnet with information on Ewing noise ordinances. When officers are sent to repeat offenders, especially rowdy parties, students are given a summons and must appear in court.

According to police reports obtained by The Signal related to college parties from August 2023 to April 2024, many of the noise complaints are affiliated with Greek Life organizations and sports teams from both the College and Rider University. The obtained reports include those given just warnings as well as those who received summons.

Noise complaints responded to by police included students from the College affiliated with the football team, wrestling team, women’s soccer team, Sigma Pi, Phi Kappa Psi and Delta Zeta.

Other noise complaints included students from Rider involved with the wrestling team, track team, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Sigma Phi Epsilon, men’s tennis and men’s soccer.

Police have also responded to other noise complaints, however, including those of students not affiliated with athletic teams or Greek Life organizations.

One Ewing resident and former landlord, who asked to be referred to only as Jessie, once rented a house to a group of Rider students who held parties that disturbed their neighborhood. Jessie included a line in the lease that the tenants could not host any parties.

After a warning and another subsequent party, Jessie asked the tenants to move out. When the students protested, Jessie complained to their athletic coach and they soon moved out.

Not all residents living near college students have experiences like that, however, with some even welcoming it.

“I don’t mind it as much as I think older adults might,” said Khristopher Brooks, 39, a Ewing resident. “I know there’s a lot of noise and a lot of activity that comes with living closer to college students.”

Even some older residents see little problem with college houses.

“Once in a while, it would annoy me to see them out there drinking, but that’s normal — my kids drink, so what can I say,” said Pat Wesner, a 76-year-old Ewing resident. “We’re all a little loud every now and then.”

With the College being in Ewing since the 1930s, it’s obvious to any new residents who move into Ewing that there will be college students.

“You know that going in,” Brooks told The Signal. “You don’t move somewhere and then magically college kids just pop up.”

Even if the extent of off-campus housing in Ewing is not obvious, some residents believe that the number of students is still manageable.

“I’ve lived here for five years and I didn’t really know how big the student body was,” Hasbrouck said. “And it’s not like an alarming amount.”

Community posts in Facebook groups like “Ewing, NJ — Our Town, Our Neighbors, Our Voice and Ewing Community Update,” however, reflect many residents’ negative views on college houses.

“There’s always gonna be some people who have raised complaints that are loud and fierce, and they have valid reasons,” Brooks said. “Some of them have valid points and they should be considered too.”

Some students, like some of those who lived near Michael, do what many Ewing residents wish all students would do — give a heads up before throwing a party.

Along with a heads up, Michael suggests that college students keep parties within reasonable hours and minimize noise.

“It always helps to knock on your neighbors’ doors,” Michael said. “Introduce yourself, give them your phone number and tell them to call you before they call the cops.”

JOHN / Dedicated former campus police chief served the College for eight years

Continued from page 1

“John is the latest of more than 2,000 first responders to have died from a 9/11-related illness.”

Working for the College for eight years, Chief Collins left a legacy on the campus community and the safety of the College. Collins began his career as chief of police at the College in 2008, under the leadership of Gitenstein.

Collins embarked on a transformative journey that left an indelible mark on the campus. While serving in this position, he championed the principles of community policing, fostering trust and communication between students, faculty and staff. Collins also developed the College’s critical incident team, which laid a strong foundation for its crisis response.

“The most notable occurred in the fall of 2012 when he helped lead the college’s local response to Superstorm Sandy,” Muha said. “He was a trusted advisor to campus leadership, a respected mentor to new officers and senior colleagues alike, and a valued resource to the campus

community.”

Collins was responsible for the implementation of the emergency texts that students receive, keeping everyone on campus informed of any alerts. He was known for always staying composed during emergency situations, as well as for his strong communication skills. Muha recalled a situation when Campus Town was in the process of being built and the construction crew hit a gas main, requiring the evacuation of the front half of campus, but Collins was “unflappable,” Muha said.

Tim Grant, Collins’ successor, remembers the chief as his strongest mentor who had a profound influence on his career. Grant said that without the mentorship of Collins, he would not have been ready to take on the position of chief.

“He had the ability to connect with everyone on a human level and reduced police work to its simplest terms,” Grant said. “‘We are here to help,’ he would always say.”

Collins held dedication in his heart to the traditions of police work and saving lives throughout his entire life, giving a commencement speech for Kean

University to provide a voice to those who lost their lives. For the past 50 years, he and his father, who was also a Port Authority Police Officer, marched in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade — a tradition that Collins passed on to his sons. Each year on Sept. 11, he reunited with a group of fellow first responders who were part of the search and recovery effort at Ground Zero.

Collins will be remembered as a consummate professional who was highly respected by virtually everyone, as well as a friendly face among students, faculty and staff.

“I always addressed him as ‘chief’ out of respect for him and his position, which comes with incredible responsibility,” Muha said. “He pulled me aside one day and said, ‘Dave, you have to stop calling me that.’ He never wanted to be put on a pedestal. He was the most unassuming person you could know.”

There will be two celebrations in honor of Chief Collins’ life. The first will take place in Florida on May 8 from 2-5 p.m. at Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, 3975 Wedgewood Lane, The Villages. The

held in

on

from 2-4

Photo by Shane Gillespie Parties occur in many neighborhoods around the College. second will be New York May 30 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at Colonial Funeral Home, 2819 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island. A funeral mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. on May 31 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, 101 Cromwell Avenue, Staten Island. Photo courtesy of CJ Gutch Collins began his career as chief of police in 2008.

A talk with Jared Williams and Trish Le: Your new executive

Political science major Jared Williams and history secondary and special education major Trish Le came to the College as freshmen in 2021 and eventually took up roles as the freshman class president and vice president, respectively.

Now, for their senior year, the two friends are coming full circle in their political roles.

In the April 18 student government election for the upcoming fall semester, Williams was elected executive president and Le executive vice president of Student Government. Together, the two talked with The Signal about how they are both prepared and excited to serve the student body.

“I think it’s very nostalgic because we started together freshman year in student gov, and now this is our last election cycle in senior year, so what if we were like, ‘What if we just run it back to

freshman year?’” Le said. “We were like, ‘Why don’t we just do it?’”

While this is their first election season working alongside each other since their freshman year, Williams and Le have been consistently serving notable roles in student government for many semesters. Previous to the most recent election, Williams served as executive vice president and Le as vice president for campus operations and relations.

“I’m definitely excited to advocate for students, especially in our new roles, and we have a record of working together, so I’m excited for the future,” Williams said. “When I was coming to TCNJ, I knew I wanted to leave some sort of impact on the institution, and I wanted it to leave an impact that would outlast my time [here]. I think through student government, I am really able to advocate for things that will be here long after my time at TCNJ and being able to leave a long lasting legacy.”

The two executives have a lot planned for their senior year, including advocating the return of tailgating back to campus, supporting student organizations and introducing a third-party dining location to campus. Among these ambitions, Williams and Le anticipate a lot of due diligence but are most excited about being representatives for the student body.

As executive president and vice president, Williams and Le will be given the opportunity to meet with Sean Stallings, vice president for student affairs, on a biweekly basis to discuss student life on behalf of all students at the College. Under similar pretenses, the pair will also meet with Interim President Bernstein in monthly meetings.

“The meetings with the president and the vice president for student affairs are definitely what I’m most looking forward to,” Williams said. “Those meetings are definitely the best opportunity to advocate for student interests to the two highest officials who make a lot of the changes that especially affect students, so I’m very excited that as president and

vice president, you get to meet with those individuals.”

In addition to their personal meetings with Stallings and Bernstein, it is important to the two student government officials that students outside of the office get the opportunity to hear directly from the administrative officials as well. Especially in relation to Bernstein’s LIONS Plan, they anticipate that communicating with the College president will be important to the student body.

“We’ve been trying to make sure that the president has a platform in our meetings, and students can come to one room and be able to see that,” Le said. “I feel like with the LIONS plan happening, we see students directly speaking to him and asking these questions happening more in the future.”

The LIONS Plan is in an attempt to make the College more fiscally sustainable. The plan may lead to significant changes to various elements of the College, including reduced library offerings and changes to course requirements, something Williams and Le have been making preparations for in their previous roles. Both students went to the New Jersey State House in April to advocate for increased state funding.

“It sucks to see our school go through these changes, but I think our students really care about this college and I think our administration cares too,” said Le. Dylan Nguyen, a senior communication studies major and current student government executive president, has worked alongside Williams over the course of the school year and said he has high hopes for the incoming leaders.

“I think [Jared and Trish] are going to do really well,” said Nguyen. “Next year is going to be a major year for them, student government and TCNJ in general because there’s a lot of things happening, but there’s no one else I’d rather have at the help than them.”

While facing these administrative changes and advocating for things like a third-party dining location are high

on their list of priorities, Williams and Le are said they will put students before anything else.

“I think the biggest challenge that we will encounter is just finding and advocating for issues in a way that we can promote [solutions] to be revenue generating or cost neutral so we can make it happen,” Williams said. “We’re going to stay innovative, we’re going to stay creative to try and make those solutions because even though TCNJ is going through a difficult period, we can’t let that reflect on the student experience. Students still deserve the best experience possible. They’re only here for four years, so regardless of what TCNJ is going through, we want to make sure that they have the best four years possible.”

In order to prioritize and advocate for students as best they can, Williams and Le plan to be very open to student communication. They encourage students to approach them in any way they feel comfortable, whether that be through other student government representatives, social media or faceto-face communication. There is also a feedback form available in the bio of Williams’ Instagram account.

“If students have any concerns whatsoever, please bring it to us,” Williams said. “We would be more than happy to take a look into it, to try and make the best change for students because we really want to be as receptive as possible to the student body. They gave us their trust to serve them, so we want to serve them well and the best way to do that is through hearing their concerns.”

The pair also expressed great gratitude to have been elected to these positions.

“I’m very thankful because in my culture and in my family, it is not usual to see people who look like me in these positions or for a woman to feel heard,” Le said. “Getting the privilege to work at this executive level with Jared has meant a lot to me and has made me feel very seen in the work that I’ve done in the past four years. I’m very thankful to the student body and this experience.”

Students say mandatory safety training is important, but could have been done differently

Students at the College were tasked with completing a mandatory online safety training program, covering topics including active shooter situations, fire safety and health awareness, by March 29. It was the first ever mandatory safety training for all students.

The online modules consisted of videos followed by a series of questions related to the information. In total, the training took nearly two hours to complete.

Gabbi Nucci, a sophomore elementary special education and psychology major, said that she liked the educational aspect of the training, but thought it was “redundant.”

“It was long videos with questions, and I felt the questions were pretty similar,” Nucci said. Junior secondary education and math major Megan Lail agreed and said she felt like she “already knew all of it.”

Senior special elementary education and psychology major Alyssa Molnar said she thought the training was “well rounded in terms of safety” and appreciated learning statistical information.

But some students highlighted the fact that they already completed similar safety training as a requirement of their involvements on campus.

“I’m a [Community Advisor] so I’ve

had three years of training in that stuff,” said James Chiriboga, a senior special elementary education and women’s, gender and sexuality studies major. “I feel like there are some student groups on campus who should’ve been exempt from this training because a lot of it was common sense or stuff we’ve already been trained on in the past.”

Amrutha Swaminathan, a senior biology major, said she did not understand why she had to complete the training because she, along with other seniors, is graduating in a few weeks.

“It felt time consuming,” Swaminathan said. “Full transparency, I didn’t actually read anything through. It was playing in the background while I did my other tasks.”

During interviews, multiple students shared rumors they heard about the repercussions of not completing the mandatory training. Molnar said she heard “through the grapevine” that seniors who did not complete the training would not graduate. Lail said she did her training because she heard that she would not be able to schedule for classes for the fall if she didn’t.

“I know a lot of my friends were very confused,” said Molnar. “Like alright, this is mandatory, but what happens if you don’t do it?”

One student who opted not to complete the training was junior secondary education and history major Rebecca McGorry.

“I just didn’t feel like it,” McGorry said. “Also, I just have so many missing

assignments.”

In total, 6,485 students completed at least one course, and 5,236 completed the entire training, according to Head Media Relations Officer Luke Sacks. He stated there are no repercussions at this time for students who do not complete the training, saying the College is “focused on continuing to remind and encourage students” to complete it.

For future safety training, students expressed many ideas they feel would improve the teaching of campus safety knowledge. Swaminathan said she thinks the online instruction mode wasn’t beneficial for students.

“If they really cared, I think inperson training for such things, like

welcome week activities for the freshmen, could include a safety training module,” Swaminathan said. “But online wasn’t super effective.” Other students suggested giving more time to complete the training and including more information that is specific to the College, such as highlighting Campus Police’s 24-Hour Safe Walk Service. Overall, students said the mandatory training program did little to impact their feelings of campus safety.

“With or without this, I feel pretty safe on campus,” Swaminathan said. “Even at night time, I see Campus Police stationed throughout campus and it’s nice to know they’re there in case something happens.”

May 3, 2024 The Signal page 5
leaders
Photo courtesy of Jared Williams Jared Williams and Trish Le. Photo by Shane Gillespie Students expressed ideas they feel would improve the teaching of campus safety.

Sigma Tau Delta achieves greatness at St. Louis Convention

Members of the College’s Sigma Tau Delta chapter recently attended the 2024 Centennial Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, to present their work and gain leadership experience. Of the 40 students who attended the convention, six won awards for their outstanding work.

The chapter was founded at the College in 1995.

Dr. Felicia Steele, an associate professor of English and the advisor of the College’s chapter, is also the eastern regent of Sigma Tau Delta national, serving on the board of directors.

“They were, by far, the largest delegation of the convention, presenting critical papers and creative works, leading roundtables, and participating in opportunities for leadership development and anti-racist pedagogical training,” said Steele.

The students who won awards for their work are Matthew Chinique,

Alexandria Card, Claire Kim, Kat Jorgensen, Megan Finan and Maggie Machado.

Chinique, a junior English and secondary education major, won first prize for his work, “Fun Home: Fluency in Gender Performance,” in the LGBT& Category. When taking an American literature class with Professor David Blake, Chinique was loaned the book “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel. Reading this book led to his inspiration to write about it for his final paper and then submit his work for the convention.

“Prior to that class, I had done a lot of work with queer theory, and after reading Alison Bechdel’s (arguably) most famous work, I decided I needed to apply what I had learned to what I was seeing in the book,” Chinique said.

Chinique also shared his thoughts on winning first prize.

“That prize would not have been possible without all of the support from my professors and peers, and to me, that award is symbolic of

the support I have at my chapter,” Chinique said. “I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention what this award means to me as a queer person: throughout my college career, I’ve read and written more and more about queer experiences, so it’s a real honor to have my writing about queer literature be recognized.”

Jorgensen, a senior English major, won second prize for her work in the Judson Q. Owen Convention Theme Category, “In Flux,” for her work titled “Beowulf & The Mere Wife: Legacy of Monstrous Women.” The paper came out of her undergraduate capstone on literary adaptations with Dr. Jo Carney, who inspired her to submit her work to the convention.

The work examined the novel and Maria Dahvana Headley’s translation, which identifies the linguistic techniques used in building her new story and defending the work she does for feminist revisions in the literary field.

“It was an honor and a joy to be recognized by Sigma Tau Delta for a paper I was so passionate about writing,” said Jorgensen. “Our student cohort is so lucky to have the support of our incredible English faculty, especially that of Dr. Steele and Professor Steinberg.”

Four students from the College received honorable mentions at the convention.

In the Critical Paper (American & World Category), Card, a senior English major, received an honorable mention for her essay “Demon Slayer: Gender Construction in Shonen.”

Claire Kim, a senior English and secondary education major, received an honorable mention for her essay, “Time in This is How You [Lose] the Time War.”

Machado, a senior English and secondary education major, received an honorable mention for “Matelda:

A Feminist Deconstruction” in a prize category for critical papers about poetry.

Finan, a senior English and elementary education major, received an honorable mention in the Stemmler/ Dennis LGBT& Category for her work, “Transgender Protagonists in Middle-Grade Novels.”

“Reading my paper and answering questions about it is incredible because the questions get me thinking beyond just what I wrote about,” Finan stated. “This convention fosters such a friendly community of literature lovers, and I learn so much from the speakers and fellow convention-goers every year.”

Other notable highlights include Zoe Talbot’s concluding two years of service representing the eastern region of Sigma Tau Delta. Talbot is currently a graduate student at the College in the English master’s program.

Diane Steinberg, assistant professor of English at the College, also completed a decade on the national board, which concludes her term as “immediate past president.” Steinberg began her presidency during the COVID-19 pandemic when colleges and universities throughout the nation closed. Her leadership remains critical, establishing the direction of the organization, beginning its second century.

“This convention fosters such a friendly community of literature lovers, and I learn so much from the speakers and fellow conventiongoers every year,” said Finan. Besides being a learning experience, the entire community of Sigma Tau Delta students from the United States and beyond gathered together to share experiences and expertise, received recognition for their achievements and tackled opportunities to discover new ideas in English through engagement with other speakers and presenters.

The Rathskeller: A long-lasting legacy of community at the College

It’s a typical Friday night at the Rathskeller. Tables fill with groups of friends enjoying bar food and live music, unwinding after a long week of classes. The room echoes with laughter and conversation, the venue emerging as more than just an on campus dining spot.

The Rathskeller, fondly known as “The Rat,” was a pub-like establishment and casual hangout spot widely regarded by students as the best place to eat on campus. Before closing in 2015 to make way for a $38 million renovation of the Brower Student Center, the Rat was a social hub for students at the College.

Even in the years post-graduation, the Rat is remembered by alumni as an iconic spot on the College’s old campus. The casual, social atmosphere provided students with a break from classes and academic pressures.

“It was a centralized place to grab a drink or bite with friends or alumni,” said Jennifer Randolph ‘11. “I loved a Friday post-class beer with a friend after a long week and it did not require re-grouping elsewhere off campus.”

A quick place to meet friends and grab the unanimous fan favorite meal, a buffalo chicken wrap, the Rat was culturally significant to the student experience.

In reminiscing on their times at the Rat, enjoying a beer with friends

stood out to alumni as a cherished ritual for students of legal drinking age.

“The best thing about the Rat was the Shock Top, it just tasted better,” said Kristen Branham ‘11.

The lively environment and unparalleled menu at the Rat made many students feel like they did not need to go off-campus for entertainment. The sense of community emanating from the venue represented the quintessential college experience.

“Every week, there was a tradition for the seniors of my sorority to meet at 7 p.m. for a beer before our weekly 8 p.m. chapter meeting,” said Sarah Stefanelli ‘13. “When I think of the Rat, I think of these nights, particularly that spring when our college responsibilities were winding down and our real-life responsibilities didn’t yet begin.”

This experience of camaraderie was enhanced by the musical acts and comedy shows put on in the venue. According to a welcome week edition of The Signal from 2012, a section of the College Union Board coordinated performances of lesser-known artists at the Rat every Friday and the first Tuesday of every month, free of charge for students.

Live music was a crucial part of the Rat’s ambiance. Entertainment included performances by the College’s jazz ensemble during the week and local bands on the weekends.

Scott Randolph ‘82 went to the Rat

“for a beer and a conversation,” but his favorite memory of the venue was playing there with his band, Dash Weaver.

Beyond its live music scene, the Rat held a multitude of events. From student-led stand-up comedy nights to student organization fundraising events and celebrations for special occasions, the venue was home to an array of experiences.

For generations of students, the Rat served as more than just a place to eat: It represented a loved tradition that encompassed the heart and

community of the College as a whole.

“It was the only spot of its kind on campus,” said Stefanelli. “There wasn’t another place to grab a beer or curly fries quite as good. It was subtly in the corner of the student center, yet in the center of it all.”

After the student center renovation, the Rat was replaced by what is now Traditions. While the buffalo chicken wrap is still a popular menu item and the venue hosts occasional events, the environment of the Rat remains unparalleled and lives on as a notable part of the College’s history.

page 6 The Signal May 3, 2024
Photo courtesy of Felicia Steele The six winners at the 2024 Sigma Tau Delta Convention in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Shane Gillespie The Rathskeller was replaced by what is now Traditions.

In TCNJ’s Forcina Hall renovations, sustainability is key

This story was produced in collaboration with CivicStory and the New Jersey Sustainability Reporting Hub as part of the Ecology-Justice Reporting Fellowship.

In line with the College’s long-term sustainability goals, Forcina Hall is tentatively set to undergo renovations this fall that will reduce its energy consumption and provide a better learning and working environment for students and faculty. The academic building currently houses classes for computer science and nursing, among other programs and offices.

Funded by a $33 million grant from the state’s Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the renovations will align some aspects of the building with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification program, which sets sustainability and energy-saving standards for buildings. Planned initiatives include switching to LED lighting, reducing water usage, upgrading indoor

Foreign

climate control tools and improving indoor air quality.

Improving the building’s energy efficiency is paramount to the project — part of the College’s goal to become carbon-neutral by 2040. A key to that goal is the on-campus power plant and solar power system, which save costs and produce energy more sustainably.

“We’re doing a lot of what we do in terms of the supply end of the equation, which is done in the powerhouse,” said Paul Romano, the College’s senior director of sustainability and energy management. “Those who are on campus are largely unaware, although we hope to raise the profile of those efforts.”

Though implementing a new lighting system promises to be one of the project’s larger components, the College believes that it’s worth the effort — so much so that it has already begun replacing lights in other campus buildings.

“Not only do they consume less power to produce an equivalent amount of lumens or illumination, but they also produce less heat and

have much longer service lives,” said Romano.

According to Campus Architect Maggie Greco, the building is also scheduled to receive new restrooms with fixtures that limit water usage. During the construction process, the College will also require the selected contractor to divert at least 50% of demolition waste away from incineration plants and landfills.

Another component of the renovation involves creating an academic space to house the entirety of the nursing department, which is currently split between Forcina Hall and Trenton Hall on opposite sides of campus. Once completed, the new space will add an additional nursing simulation lab next to one that already exists in Forcina.

“We’re bringing the lab over from the basement of Trenton Hall, and we’re pretty much stamping it, making a secondary one directly beside it,” said Chelsea Lebo, the nursing department’s simulation coordinator. “So that’s big because, with increased enrollment, we need more space. But we can also have two labs running at the same time; we can close the doors to create separate spaces or we can open them for one fluid space.”

In addition to the new lab space, the nursing department is also upgrading their simulation mannequins, including adding one that gives birth — something the department currently does not have. According to Lebo, the nursing department chose two companies to provide the new mannequins: Laerdal and CAE. She said one reason these companies were chosen is because they both have their own sustainability reports.

In addition to their many ecological benefits, sustainable building practices serve the College’s interests, according to Dr. Katie Hooven, associate professor of nursing. Hooven believes that updated facilities and nursing technology will

make the College’s program more attractive to prospective students.

“I feel like we’re trying to market our program as innovative, and nursing is an in-demand program,” Hooven said. “And so when you bring students, or even potential parents and prospective students, into the old outdated classrooms, it doesn’t scream that we are up with cuttingedge technology or that we are advanced or innovative.”

At least some of the new nursing classrooms in Forcina will be smart classrooms fit with new computer and projector systems, according to Hooven. She says the department currently does not have any smart classrooms of its own.

The College’s Department of Computer Science will also be getting an upgraded fourth floor, according to Department Chair Andrea Salgian. In addition to new classroom space, the existing computer labs will be upgraded to accommodate new student needs while saving energy. Salgian added that many students now opt to use their own laptops during class, so there is less of a need for energyconsuming computer stations.

“If we don’t need them, they’re literally just sitting there, and half the time they’re actually turned on,” Salgian said.

The renovations are tentatively scheduled to begin in September 2024 and be completed in December 2025, according to Greco. However, the timeline may change once a contractor has been selected for the project.

Despite the wear and tear visible throughout Forcina Hall today, the building has a bright, sustainable future ahead.

“It’s almost hard to imagine that it’s going to be a space that we’re going to like,” Salgian said. “But from what I saw in the designs, it looks like it’s going to be something that we will all like, and we’re going to love hanging out there.”

language faculty discuss reducing budget while preserving academic excellence

One cost-saving initiative touted by Interim President Michael Bernstein as part of his LIONS plan involves seeking ways to modify the foreign language requirement for students. Bernstein has addressed this re-evaluation multiple times in his monthly email updates about the plan.

While there is currently no specific plan in place for what the new requirements could look like — or any publicized formal recommendation from the LIONS plan core curriculum working group — The Signal has obtained a potential plan that is supported by the College’s World Languages and Cultures Department that would save about $110,000 by standardizing world language requirements for all departments that require it.

The measure, developed by Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Lisa Grimm, includes matching foreign language requirements for students of all majors that require it — 45% of students and 38% of programs — with the current requirements of the Departments of Math, Computer Science and Chemistry: “Two semesters of language beyond where [a] student places on the placement test (not to exceed the 103 level — or 152 level for intensive languages).”

This proposal has not yet been made public or been approved by the Committee on Academic Policies or the Steering Committee, according to Marimar Huguet Jerez, department chair of World Languages and Culture, so it is not guaranteed to be implemented.

Huguet Jerez said that faculty in her department feel “horrible,” “angry” and “in despair” that the College’s grim financial situation has forced the need for any budget-reducing changes to the foreign language program to be taken.

“By cutting the language requirement, we are not doing our students a good service at all,” Huguet Jerez said. “That is a prestige that this institution is going to lose and good classes that our students are going to need — needed material, needed academics that the students are going to lose.”

Ann Warner-Ault, associate professor of Spanish, said she is concerned about the implications of cutting too much from their department. She explained that New Jersey is one of the most diverse states in the nation, which makes the department so crucial for cultural representation.”

“We don’t have a Latino studies program,” Warner-Ault said. “We don’t have an Asian studies program. So our department is doing the job of those types of programs that don’t exist otherwise, and so I am worried

about what would happen if we were to be cut further back.”

Because Huguet Jerez feels that some academic departments have largely felt the brunt of the budget cuts so far, she believes there are other areas of the College’s budget that can be reduced instead — in particular, administration.

“I have three articles from three universities where the president’s salary was cut by 10%, and that helped pay a lot of the debt,” Huguet Jerez said. “Why don’t we do that here?”

Bernstein, however, wrote in his most recent LIONS plan email update that, “Of our permanent budget reductions this past academic year, 75% were implemented in nonacademic units and operations.”

Final recommendations from the

LIONS plan working groups should be announced in the coming weeks, as final recommendations were due to Interim President Bernstein by May 2. So while there is not yet a set plan regarding what to do about the foreign language requirement, professors in the World Languages and Cultures Department believe that their proposal is the best way forward.

“I think that all the kids that want to take language would still be able to and it wouldn’t kill any of the languages,” said Warner-Ault. “We’d still be able to offer all the languages that we offer, so I think we’re all on board with that idea. I understand that kids want flexibility and I don’t want them to feel like they’re being forced to take classes that they don’t want to take.”

May 3, 2024 The Signal page 7
Photo by Brielle Zemer Forcina Hall is tentatively set to undergo renovations this fall. Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone Part of the LIONS plan involves seeking ways to modify the language requirement.

Letter from the editor: Time to say goodbye

It’s time for me to say goodbye to the organization I have loved so dearly for the past three years. While I can accept it’s time for me to move on, this is one of my hardest farewells.

Upon my arrival to the College, my first few semesters were overshadowed by a global pandemic, and I was limited to the little knowledge I had about TCNJ. In Travers Hall during my freshman year, I was taking completely virtual classes and quite literally had four friends.

It was only on a whim during the spring of my sophomore year that I decided to write for my school’s newspaper. I did this only because I was an English major and I assumed that made sense.

Looking back now, I am extremely grateful for that decision, and I can’t believe how far that “happy accident” took me. And it really has taken me far.

As a secondary education major, I felt a little out of place at first and was very confused at first, but eventually got the hang of it and promptly started my role as news editor. I would then go on to become managing editor, with editor-in-chief being my final role during my last semester at the College.

The Signal, ever since I wrote my first article, has been a consistent part of my life and a place where I knew I could spend time

with a group of people who genuinely cared about the work they did. In every way, I am inspired and uplifted by the people I got the pleasure to work with, and it has always kept me motivated during production nights that creep into the late hours of Wednesday nights.

Being a part of the newspaper has also made me feel extremely connected to campus, as I have learned a lot about this institution and have created lasting memories covering stories. From interviewing two

different college presidents to touring the co-generation plant and standing front row for Yung Gravy’s concert, I feel like I’ve seen many sides of the College.

I have also had the opportunity to watch The Signal grow into the organization it is today. This would include having to switch offices, which also meant moving and redecorating everything, and returning to print newspapers. While this transition period was one of the most stressful and demanding times of my college career (I had

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Business Email: thesignalbusiness@gmail.com Editorial Staff

Victoria Gladstone Former Editor-in-Chief

Matthew Kaufman Editor-in-Chief

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Rebecca Heath Liz Ciocher News Editors

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CORRECTION

dreams about The Signal), I would not trade it for the world because the newsroom I am leaving behind is truly amazing to witness.

I can very easily say the thing I am most proud of in college was my position and the work I did as editor-in-chief. I truly loved every minute of it — putting together the print pages at the end of a long production night, running the editorial meetings every week, searching for every possible story to uncover and even the constant editing of stories of all sections.

And with that, adding the word “former” to my byline stings a little. Actually a lot, but mostly because I had to leave the entire organization. However, as I look to graduate in only a few weeks, I leave my quite literally full-time job at The Signal to some of the most hard working and intelligent journalists I’ve come to know and love. These are the people that I know will continue to grow The Signal into the news organization we have always dreamed of.

To my mentors Webber and Louns, I cannot understate how grateful I am for your unwavering support and professional guidance. You both have shown me what it means to do what you love and love what you do.

Four years can really change a person. I came to the College thinking teaching would be a good path for me, but now I know I am much more passionate about journalism and writing. Thank you to The Signal for helping me uncover that.

Alena Bitonti Features Editor

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Correction to Issue 13: The story “LIONS interlibrary loan fee proposal sparks backlash” stated that Kat Jorgensen was the Gitenstein library archivist. She is actually a student worker in the archive. The Signal regrets the error.

POLICIES

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The Signal willingly corrects mistakes. If you think we have made a mistake, contact us signal@tcnj.edu.

Editorials
Graphic by Sky Stewart My time at The Signal shaped me into the person I am today.

Congrats Class of ‘24!

I cannotbe moreproudofyou andyouraccomplishments! I’ve seen your passion for writing evolve so much and become something amazing.Congratulationsbestie!

LizTo: Ciocher From: Adriana

Iamsoproudof callingyou,sis!You’vefoundyour andhaveworkedsohardthepastfouryears.Iloveyou always!

To:RileyEisenbeilFrom:Emma

Oh how I love this beinglifewithyou!Thankyoufor anamazingsister,Iwouldn’t want my life or college experienceanyotherway!Congratulations<3

To:ToriGladstoneFrom:EliabethGladstone

Congratulations Emma!! So proud of you and all the hard work you’ve done atTCNJ!! TCNJ won’t be the same without you! Love you! OliviaFrom: Huegi EmmaTo: Huegi

WooofirstShepkosky college grad!! Very proudofyoubigbro!!

From: HannahShepkoskyTo: IsaiahShepkosky

LIZ!You’reamazing and I’m so excited to see all thegreatthingsyouwilldoinlife! Can’twaitforthissummer! To:LizCiocher From: Honey Stukes

Soproudofyoumy bestfriend,youaregoingtodo amazingthings.Iloveyou!

May 3, 2024 The Signal page 9
To:LizCiocher From: Brooke Olsen
Congratulations!
To: Liz
From: Corinne Walker Liz!HappygraduationI’msoproudofyou yourandloveseeingyoudisplay passionforjournalingwithTheSignal.Loveyoubestie! To:LizCiocher From: Gabby Balkius Congratulations to the lovely graduate! Intelligent, hardworking, funny, & inspiring are only a few of many words used to describe you. Celebrating your immense accomplishment!!! To: CiocherLiz From: Melanie Yetman Riley, your smile has filled our hearts with joy since day one. We are beyond proud of you, go change the world! Love you more. To: EisenbeilRiley From: Mama and Dad Congratulations! We’re so incredibly proud of you! To: MichaelSherr From: Mom and Dad Achievement unlocked! We are so proud of you Isaiah!! From: ShepkoskyFam To: IsaiahShepkosky So so proud of you, Kimmy!! Happy graduation and congratulations!! <3 To: KimmyTorres From: Emma Congrats Shreya!!! I’m so proud of you and am so excited to see everything you will accomplish post-grad!!! And a special congrats on NYU :) To: Shreya From: Roshni
So proud of you and all you’ve accomplished. Grateful to have you as a best friend, keep it up girly!
Ciocher

My college experience is nothing like I imagined it to be

As my freshman year is coming to a close, I have found myself reflecting on my college experience as a whole, but more specifically, the lessons I have learned since stepping foot onto campus. I won’t lie and say that this past year has been nothing but blissful. Like everyone else, I’ve had many ups and downs both academically and socially.

With that being said, I love our school and its campus, professors, student life and sense of community. However, coming to the College as a freshman, I carried with me a set of expectations from years of watching TV and listening to stories from family

members, friends and random TikTok influencers. Over these past eight months, I can confidently say that the majority of these expectations were proven wrong.

One of the biggest misconceptions that incoming freshmen have is that partying and joining Greek Life is the only way to achieve a fulfilling social life. This notion is partly reinforced by popular TV shows and movies that convey to young people that college is the time to let loose and find the group of people that will become their forever friends.

While I acknowledge that by being a part of Greek Life, students are able to put themselves out there and meet new people, the same results can be achieved by joining student organizations that cater

There are many unique challenges to creating a Bob Dylan biopic

Hollywood’s infatuation with biopics, specifically those of famous, yet agedout musicians, has been a long-standing tradition. Between the “Elvis” film, and the recently announced, four-part Beatles biopic, it seems that this impulse has been making a comeback in the many films slated to release in the coming years.

Still, despite these films being extremely easy to market in a very lucrative way, many studios are famous for not considering the lengths needed to make both a commercially and artistically compelling biopic. Such examples of this tension include the well-selling yet critically panned “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Stardust.”

The most recent of these films is the new Bob Dylan biopic — starring Hollywood obsession Timothée Chalamet. As with all major blockbusters of this ilk, photos and videos from the production have begun to be released, and I have some concerns, to say the least.

Allow me to start by clarifying that I don’t actually dislike the casting of Chalamet, at least not for the reason I see many others expressing. I have little issue with his acting ability; his singing ability, ironically, is where most of my concern stems from.

As seen in his recent performance in “Wonka,” despite the film’s music being so far removed from the folk traditions of Bob Dylan, Chalamet can sing quite well in fact. Famously, Bob Dylan cannot sing.

Now that’s not to say his songs sound

to their specific interests. After careful consideration, this is the path that I chose for myself and I could not be happier with my decision.

I have many friends in fraternities and sororities who have nothing but positive things to say about Greek Life. For me, I was able to find fulfillment through my roles in the Student Government and The Signal, both of which have provided me with a healthy social life and outlets through which to funnel my passions.

I also started college with the idea that, like high school, it would consist of cliques and traditional social hierarchy. Looking back, I feel silly that I ever thought this way, as those I now count as friends are from a wide array of social circles, student organizations, majors and class years.

College affords you the opportunity to interact with so many amazing people of different backgrounds and perspectives. Because I made an effort to befriend those in my classes and organizations, I am certain that I have become a more wellrounded, understanding individual.

Going back to high school for a moment, I truly believe that it conditions us to adopt a herd mentality. Now, I can’t speak for everyone else, but I left behind those four years with the idea that I had to look and act a certain way to fit in. I wish I could travel back in time and tell myself that nobody cares, and who I was at 16 or 17 years old will not define the rest of my life.

College is the place to discover who you are outside of the confines of the limited perspective that is all you have known. It’s a time to discover who you really are —

your personal style, ideal friendships and most importantly, long-term goals. During this time of our lives, we are all finally growing into the people we are meant to become. We cannot waste valuable energy harping on the superficial or the opinions of others.

Lastly, I had the misconception that in college, people care about the academic success of their peers. While I find most people I have met are highly motivated by academic success, it is for their own edification and not to compete with the success of others. What you got on your SAT or ACT in high school doesn’t mean anything in college. It’s all about achieving the goals in front of you.

With that all being said, the greatest lesson I have learned from my freshman year is that who I was before coming to the College doesn’t matter. What matters is who I am now and the things I am doing to better myself and the people around me. My firstyear experience is nothing like I imagined it would be, but in the best possible ways.

The freshman year experience will mean something different for everyone. I would not trade any of this year’s highs or lows for the world because I know that they led me to this moment, writing my final article as The Signal’s opinions editor.

Transitioning into my sophomore year, I am excited for what the future holds, but I’ve learned to let go of many of my expectations and take life as it comes. At the end of the day, what once felt like an impossible switch from high school to college doesn’t feel so scary anymore, and that is a beautiful thing.

Women deserve to take up space in the

gym

bad — far from it. Dylan’s songs are about acute analysis, literary excellence and cultural commentary. The melody is merely a medium for his message. All of his most famous songs — “The Times They Are A-Changin’” comes to mind — are excellent examples of his unique form of songwriting.

I worry that Chalamet may taint the purpose of these tunes by overdoing it in the vocal department. Even if Dylan’s nasally drawl is faithfully recreated, Chalamet’s vocally impressive moments could distract from the raw beauty his songs have in their most basic forms.

Another concern I have, which is one most biopics struggle with at some point, is historical accuracy — specifically concerning the moment in which Dylan’s songs met. Most of Bob Dylan’s most famous work was made in response to larger cultural influences and events such as military conflict and political unrest.

Given the run-time constraints of a big-budget film such as this, I worry that the filmmakers will be forced to leave out this crucial cultural context, leaving the story of Dylan’s discography in a timeless limbo of sorts.

This brings me to my biggest concern surrounding a project like this: the entire point and interest of Dylan as a public figure is his elusiveness. Throughout his long career, Dylan has been shrouded in a veil of mystery and intrigue, utilizing the intrinsic human desire for knowledge to his advantage.

The question is always more interesting than the answer. Therefore, telling a straight story about his life strips it of almost all of its soul.

Read more on our website!

As a woman, it can be hard to walk into a building full of testosterone and muscular men, especially when you are trying to better your physical health. It is intimidating to be the only female in a room of males in any situation, let alone in the gym. Although you might not believe so, as a woman, you deserve to take up space in the gym.

I remember walking into Planet Fitness for the first time and being scared that people were watching my every move, judging my form. Walking into the free weight section and being the only female was extremely scary, but I became more comfortable every time I went. As a girl who has been lifting for years, there are many things I have done in the past to make the gym seem less scary that you can do too.

Open TikTok and search for “shy girl workouts.” This will lead you to videos by women who have experienced the same anxiety, and show you workouts you can easily do off to the side with minimal equipment. This is a great place to start, especially for beginners in the gym. Not only do these videos aid anxiety, but they also show you different exercises and what

muscles they work.

Go to the gym with a friend or get a membership that allows you to bring a guest. Having someone with you who has any kind of experience can be a great benefit. If your friend is a beginner like you, trying to figure out equipment and form with another person will feel less awkward. If your friend is experienced in the gym, they can show you the proper form and how to use the equipment. Wear what you feel most comfortable and confident in. Believe it or not, clothing greatly affects a person’s workout. If you wear something uncomfortable or do not feel confident in what you are wearing, you are going to be less motivated while working out. Some people feel most comfortable in baggy t-shirts and sweatpants, while others feel more comfortable in a matching set from Lululemon. It does not matter what you wear; it matters how you feel about what you wear.

My last piece of advice would be to join Girl Gains. Girl Gains, which has a chapter at the College, is a nationwide club that supports women in the gym. Their mission statement is, “A global movement, inspiring women to dominate in and out of the weight room.” This organization is a great resource for women looking to build their confidence and ability in the gym.

Remember, everybody is at the gym to improve themselves. Nobody is watching you. I promise. Every person who you see at the gym is so focused on their own workouts that they do not even notice you are there. The most important thing is that you are at the gym for yourself — to improve your own mind and body.

Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone The freshman year experience will mean something different for everyone. Photo courtesy of Flickr The gym is often an intimidating place.

TCNJ’s rejection of menstrual products initiative is unacceptable

The College administration sent a letter to the campus community in December responding to the Student Government resolution requesting a pilot program to place menstrual products in bathrooms across campus.

The letter announced that the administration was unwilling to proceed with the proposal due to budget cuts stemming from an overestimation in the College’s revenue for tuition, fees and housing, and an underestimation in the state’s reimbursement for employee fringe benefits. Although there are already locations on campus that distribute free menstrual products, the decision sends a clear message: menstrual health, particularly the needs of menstruating students, is a low priority for the administration.

Purchasing menstrual products is one

of many financial burdens college students face, along with meeting other essential needs like paying bills and buying food. This is further highlighted by a 2023 survey of college or university students in the U.S. conducted by Intimina, which found that “nearly one in five menstruating college or university students in the U.S. has faced period poverty.”

Period poverty, which refers to the lack of access to or affordability of menstrual products, creates an additional challenge for menstruating people. This burden goes beyond pads and tampons, including pain medication and period underwear. The National Organization of Women estimates that “the average woman spends about $20 on feminine hygiene products per cycle, adding up to about $18,000 over her lifetime.”

At the College, where 57.2% of undergraduate students and 81.1% of graduate students are female, according

Environmental politics needs more intersectionality

I’m sure most have seen the onslaught of videos all over Instagram and TikTok that poke fun at Taylor Swift’s private jet usage.

I’ve found myself laughing at a few, and the comments usually range from genuine outrage to more comedic protesting. This, as many know, is a response to the infamous list of the top celebrity private jet emissions, which was published last year and is just another chart that Swift has claimed the top spot on.

Her fans are, as usual, defensive, and her detractors, often just as unreasonable, relish in the blemish within the singer’s perfect image. I’ll concede, it’s an interesting dent in the near-impenetrable reputation of the singer — yet I’ve begun to notice some unforeseen consequences in making her the face of carbon emissions.

Online discourse, especially related to that of the climate, is usually more about political mudslinging than it is genuine progress attainment. Still, it is disheartening to see how this very important and revealing list has been shaped to fit the far less important narrative of Swift’s character.

When I’ve felt particularly bold, I’ve probed those who engage with these videos — which are clearly meant for comedy — about how they feel about the rest of the artists on the list, and by proxy how one should go

to College Factual, period poverty can be a significant issue for a large portion of the student body. Considering the already substantial cost of attending TCNJ, ranging from $39,562 to $46,488 per year in 2024-2025, the added pressure to afford menstrual products — a necessity people who menstruate face but others do not — can force students to make difficult choices about their essential needs.

Despite the College administration’s unwillingness to proceed with the Student Government proposal for free menstrual products in bathrooms, accessing existing resources is equally frustrating. While Student Health Services offers free menstrual products, their email subject lines prioritize STI and HIV testing, neglecting to effectively communicate this vital service to students. The other locations on campus do not even send out emails about their resources (or lack thereof).

While I appreciate the accessibility students have to resources like condoms and pregnancy tests, it raises a question of fairness. Since New Jersey mandates sex education, most students likely understand the risks of unprotected sex, except for “a little over 6%” of out-of-state students whose curriculums could vary. Menstruation, unlike sex, is a biological necessity, yet there is a lack of clear communication and easy access to menstrual products on campus.

This prioritization not only creates an unfair burden, but can also lead to significant physical health risks. When students are forced to use items like rags, paper towels, toilet paper or cardboard due to a lack of menstrual products, they are at an increased risk of developing reproductive and urinary tract infections, as reported by the University of Washington.

The sole source on campus where students can buy menstrual products is the C-Store. They sell a pack of six mini pads

for light flow intensities and tampons. However, the Shop in Campus Town provides tampons and a pack of 16 pads for free once a week for medium intensities. This does not accommodate all flow types, especially when a student does not have the time or capability to walk from any location to one of these places. If someone is already missing class due to a menstrual emergency, why would they want to go all the way across campus to Campus Town for pads that do not accommodate their flow intensity?

In 2023, Gov. Phil Murphy signed S-1221, mandating that all New Jersey public schools serving grades 6-12 provide free menstrual products. California, however, passed the Menstrual Equity for All Act, which includes California State Universities and community colleges, “to have products available to students in at least one central location on campus and post a sign in all women’s and gender-neutral restrooms and at least one men’s restroom, explaining where products can be found on campus,” according to Mustang News.

Whether or not the College decides to reconsider the Student Government proposal, I propose there should be free dispensers in all first-floor women’s and gender-neutral bathrooms on campus for students’ convenience. Until this is implemented, however, emails should be sent every semester updating students on where menstrual products are located on campus. Furthermore, there should be signs in all women’s and gender-neutral restrooms listing all locations that currently have menstrual products.

If the College initiates change, then it will pave the way for menstrual equity across the state. This will allow state colleges and universities to pursue a similar course of action, ultimately leading to state actions to increase access to menstrual products.

One can never have too many books

about delivering the pushback necessary for them to reconsider their jet usage.

Overwhelmingly, the response is either that of dismissal for the list as a whole, or an authentic ignorance as to its contents. For anyone not well aware, the list also contains other musical acts like Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Blake Shelton, and Travis Scott.

As I attempt to foster genuine discussion around these individuals, I’m often met with either pushback or downright attacks. See Swift, despite all her success, has a very specific kind of fanbase. One which certainly has little overlap with that of Jay-Z or Travis Scott.

There seems to be this false equivalency where huge pop stars, such as Swift, are at fault for the brunt of the emissions, their vanity-oriented dispositions falling neatly into this preconstructed narrative. Yet, in reality, hip-hop and country artists also exist within that list. With the names tied to those genres barely being better than Swift in terms of emissions.

This, of course, shouldn’t matter. These are all schematics in the face of the mutual crime that ties these various artists together. However, it does seem to matter to people. It matters a lot, actually.

Every time I’ve tried to have this discussion, without fail, someone immediately gets defensive when the topic shifts to whomever on the list they seem to favor. While many clamor for Swift’s comeuppance, they love to mimic the childlike denial her fans exhibit when one dares to critique their para-socially beloved singer.

Hypocrisy lives within immaturity. Still, how can someone, who so eloquently speaks about the negative environmental impact of Swift’s jet usage, lose critical thought when the lens is pointed at one of their favorite artists?

In society, there is an irrational perception that owning a substantial amount of books is crazy, as many assume that introverts or loners are mostly likely to have such a collection. However, nothing can be further from the truth.

Collecting books is an obsession of a lifelong learner. While books may be educational, they are also sources of comfort. Whether it’s a tasteful romance or a robust thriller, readers can leave behind the woes of everyday life. Each book offers a unique experience that effortlessly captures one’s imagination.

Books may be prone to wear and tear, but their importance is priceless.

A bookshelf filled to the brim is not a display of wealth or pompous brags; it holds memories and moments of selfreflection. Discussing books with others can also help create social connections, leaving a positive impact on one’s mental health and overall well-being.

Each book owned is a part of readers’ personal history, shaping their identity through time. It’s an expansion of their knowledge and imaginative way of thinking. A wide collection also enables readers to share their books with their loved ones, allowing them to understand the symbolism of each story.

English author Neil Gaiman wrote in The Guardian, “Books are the way that we communicate with the dead. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over. There are tales that are older than most countries, tales that have long

outlasted the cultures and the buildings in which they were first told.”

Sometimes, book collectors may be at the cusp of hoarding, but they couldn’t care less. If there’s a genuine intent behind each book purchase, let them be!

James Haughton, a volunteer for Gladstone’s Library in the U.K, wrote, “There is a permanence to books that is comforting in what can often be a fairly sterile world. For this reason, it surely makes sense to collect a huge number of books…To collect is to understand the importance of something within not just your own life, but within society itself.”

Collecting books is an art that cannot be explained. It’s also a skillful labor of love and individuality. Every annotation and dog-eared page preserves the memory of reading something that stands out. Some may purchase books for specific genres, franchises, authors or physical materials, whether hardcover, clothbound or paperback.

Every person is different, thus their collection will be different. Some may own thousands, while others may own mere hundreds. Some people may organize their books on pristine shelves and decorative lights, while others may have them scattered in every personal area. These people have invested their time and money in curating a collection that speaks to their personality. They are not just sharing their books for the heck of it. They are sharing the emotions felt while reading.

The idea of having a vast amount of books is rather ingenious. People don’t collect books for show. If that were the case, it’s a shame to think about the overwhelming amount of money wasted when it could’ve been saved up for a rainy day.

May 3, 2024 The Signal page 11
Photo by Brielle Zemer Purchasing menstrual products is a financial burden college students face.
Read more on our website!
Photo courtesy of Flickr Private jet usgage is controversial.

Biden signs foreign aid and TikTok ban package

The Senate passed a $95 billion foreign aid package on April 23, delivering billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel. After months of delay, the bill secured passage with a vote of 79-18, following the House’s approval of the package three days prior, according to Reuters. President Joe Biden promptly signed it into law soon after.

The aid package, which garnered bipartisan support in the Senate, aims to provide assistance in separate bills to the United States’ allies. It combines four bills, allocating nearly $61 billion to Ukraine for defense against Russian aggression, over $26 billion in aid to Israel and humanitarian relief in Gaza and more than $8 billion to “counter

communist China” in the Indo-Pacific region, according to Reuters.

The package includes a fourth bill, added by the House in a move to bolster Republican support, that includes provisions that could lead to a ban on the Chinese-controlled social media app TikTok in the U.S. It gives the app’s parent company, ByteDance, roughly nine months to sell TikTok or risk being banned from U.S. app stores.

TikTok has vowed legal action to challenge the legislation, with CEO Shou Chew telling users in a video posted to the app, “Rest assured: we aren’t going anywhere. We are confident and we will keep fighting for your rights in the courts. The facts and the Constitution are on our side and we expect to prevail.”

Much of the foreign aid package largely resembles the previous measure

passed by the Senate in February, in which leaders of the Republicancontrolled House would not allow a vote over opposition to sending aid to Ukraine. The vote had been stalled after House Republicans demanded action on border security first, leading to months of negotiations.

The addition of the bill that could lead to the potential ban of TikTok in the U.S. was one of the changes made to the original package. Other additions included structuring a part of the funding for Kyiv as loans, provisions to allow the U.S. to seize Russian sovereign assets that have been frozen to rebuild Ukraine and new sanctions on Iran, according to NPR.

The legislation was then brought to the House floor for a vote after Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) made the decision to advance the package with the added changes, despite Republican opposition and threats to oust him from his position by hardline conservatives.

Congressional leaders who support the aid package have faced opposition from many Republicans in the House and Senate, who are increasingly skeptical of U.S. involvement in foreign issues and argue that there should instead be a focus on the migration issues at the U.S.-Mexico border. Opposition has also stemmed from those closely aligned with former President Donald Trump, who supports an “America First” approach to foreign policy and does not support aid for Ukraine.

According to NPR, many Republican senators reversed course from their prior opposition to the package and have voted to advance it. Among them was Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who originally voted against the package in

February over the belief that Congress should prioritize addressing illegal immigration at the southern border. Graham emphasized the importance of supporting the U.S.’s close allies and argued that failing to provide aid would give an advantage Iran, Russia and China, which pose threats to U.S. interests.

“If we don’t help Ukraine now, this war will spread, and Americans who are not involved will be involved,” Graham said, according to NPR.

After previously expressing his support for the aid package, Biden, who is expected to face likely Republican nominee Trump in the November election, signed the legislation into law soon after the Senate passed it. He also signed the bill leading to the potential ban of TikTok, despite his campaign utilizing the app to reach voters.

Biden has pressed lawmakers for six months to approve more funding for Ukraine and had spent months lobbying Johnson to move forward with the aid package. In remarks, he acknowledged the challenges to get the package passed while thanking Congressional leaders for their bipartisan support. He added that he had approved an initial $1 billion in military supplies to Ukraine to be sent within hours, including air defense equipment, munitions and armored vehicles.

“I’m grateful to all those in Congress, Democrats, Republicans, independents, who voted for this bill. To my desk, it was a difficult path. It should have been easier, and it should have gotten there sooner,” Biden said. “But in the end, we did what America always does. We rose to the moment, we came together, and we got it done.”

Department of Justice to pay $138.7 million to victims of Larry Nassar

The Department of Justice has reached a $138.7 million settlement with victims of former USA Gymnastics doctor and convicted sex offender Larry Nassar. The athletes say that the Federal Bureau of Investigation failed to protect them after receiving several “credible complaints” and “corroborating evidence” of his crimes.

The settlement stems from a 2022 lawsuit in which 13 women came together to file a claim against the Department of Justice for alleged negligence in investigating allegations against Nassar. Later that year, 90 more women filed suit, including Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney.

“The FBI fundamentally failed to protect hundreds of women and girls from sexual abuse through inaction and total mishandling of their Larry Nassar investigation,” said lawyers Megan Bonanni and Michael Pitt in a statement.

The lawsuits came after an Office of the Inspector General report that looked into how the FBI handled its investigation of Nassar.

In 2015, the FBI received complaints that three young athletes had been sexually abused by Nassar, but the case did not advance for more than a year.

The Inspector General report concluded that the FBI Indianapolis Field Office failed to respond to allegations against Nassar, including failing to

act with the “utmost seriousness and urgency,” making “numerous and fundamental errors” and failing “to notify state or local authorities of the allegations or take other steps to mitigate the ongoing threat posed by Nassar.”

The head of the Indianapolis Field Office, W. Jay Abbott, was also accused of making false statements in an effort to cover up his office’s failure to report and investigate Nassar’s crimes.

USA Gymnastics stars Biles, Raisman, Maroney and Maggie Nichols testified before Congress during a 2021 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about the FBI’s failure to put a stop to Nassar’s abuse.

Maroney laid out her experience as one of the first victims to tell FBI agents about the abuse she endured.

“My story is one in which Special Agent in Charge Jay Abbott and his subordinates did not want you to hear, and it’s time that I tell you,” said Maroney.

She told the committee that in 2015 she spent hours on the phone with the FBI, detailing the many times Nassar molested her.

“After telling my entire story of abuse to the FBI in the summer of 2015, not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said,” Maroney told senators.

Gymnasts have previously sued Nassar’s former employers, Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics.

In 2018, Michigan State University agreed to pay a $500 million settlement to more than 300 women and girls abused by Nassar between the 1990s and 2010s. The deal also set aside a portion of the settlement in the event that more claimants come forward in the future.

USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee also reached a $380 million settlement with more than 500 gymnasts in 2021. Under the terms of the settlement, USA Gymnastics also agreed to create a restorative justice program and to place a survivor of abuse on the board of directors.

In total, the three settlements will pay out close to $1 billion to hundreds of victims.

Following the recent settlement, the Department of Justice published a press release in which Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer expressed regret for the decades that Nassar “skirt[ed] accountability.”

“These allegations should have been taken seriously from the outset,” said Mizer. “While these settlements won’t undo the harm Nassar inflicted, our hope is that they will help give the victims of his crimes some of the critical support they need to continue healing.”

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Biden signed the aid package after the Senate voted for its passage. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons The settlement stems from a lawsuit against the DOJ for negligence.

TCNJ Wind Ensemble collaborates with The Artivism Project for ‘Life After Loss’ concert

The Wind Ensemble held its last performance of the semester on April 27. Conducted by music professor Eric Laprade, they performed a variety of pieces that all correlate with life after loss, which was the theme for the concert.

This concert in particular collaborated with The Artivism Project. TAP is a collective of faculty, staff and students originating from the College’s School of the Arts and Communication, which was founded by Colleen Sears, the chair for the department of music. This project aims to raise awareness about social justice issues and use the arts to help amplify marginalized, invisible and silenced voices in our communities and more.

“[This project] holds a very special meaning

for us, as our department has lost four students and one faculty member,” she said before the concert began.

The concert started off with the piece “Remembering” by Baljinder Sekohn. This piece begins in complete darkness and, at first, sounds eerie but then becomes calm after a few moments as the darkness turns into a yellow hue. This work deals with concepts of memory and how memories play a role in consciousness. It contains fragments of sounds and melodies that sound out of place, but they begin to mold together like a person’s consciousness evolves over time. A slideshow of happy memories was shown behind the ensemble near the end of the piece.

Interludes played after the second and third pieces. These were submitted by students, faculty, staff, family and friends. The first interlude was called “Always With You” and

TCNJ Choirs break conventions with TCNJ Rocks On! 2.0

The Kendall Hall stage was fully occupied on April 20 by both a choir and rock band, which graced the platform with a smattering of smoke to mimic the atmosphere of a rock concert. The College’s Choirs collaborated with classic rock band Vintage Feedback and 11 other student instrumental performers in its performance of TCNJ Rocks On! 2.0.

The ensemble clued us in for a wild ride by starting with their rendition of The Who’s “Who Are You.” The stage came to life with a pair of singers bursting from the doors on either side of the stage. Dancers busted it out in the aisles of the auditorium as well, while the chorus sang the main line of the track, “Who are you?”

It was professor and Director of Choral Activities John Leonard’s idea to have the College’s Choirs go rock.

“[TCNJ Rocks On!] started out as an idea I had to have the Choirs sing a set of three Van Halen Charts — ‘Jump,’ ‘Why Can’t This Be Love?’ and their amazing cover of ‘Dancing in the Street,’” Leonard told The Signal in an email. “Our goal was to create an authentic ‘Rock Concert’ experience and arrange the charts in a way that honored the original versions and artists.”

Since choirs typically stay on the choral side of things, Leonard saw this show as an opportunity to be different.

“No where that I know of does anything like this — combining choirs with a live rock band on stage,” Leonard wrote.

With a demanding set in terms of choreography and verse, the most difficult bit to master, especially when you’re on the clock, was “getting the choir to memorize all the music in such a short

contained sounds such as a piano playing, sounds of people talking and nature. The second interlude was called “Where Love Goes,” and featured a piano playing in the background while people talked over it.

The next piece, “O Magnum Mysterium” by Morten Lauridsen, continued the calm portion of the concert. This piece was very soothing as a backdrop of nature played in the background behind the ensemble.

After their calm start to the concert, the wind ensemble transitioned to a more energetic piece called “Traveler” by David Maslanka. The piece began with a string quartet playing in the background where the audience could not see them. The percussion section was very prominent in this piece.

Laprade introduced the next piece himself, which was “Shared Spaces” by Viet Cuong. He mentioned that this was the world premiere of this piece, and was commissioned by Laprade, Sears and the Wind Ensemble.

“We have been so fortunate to be working with Viet Cuong for the past few days,” he said. “I’m really proud of TCNJ and proud for TCNJ to commission this work.”

Larpade invited Cuong up on stage to say a few words about the piece.

“This piece is called Shared Spaces for a couple of reasons,” he said. “A couple of years ago I lost my father. The focus of all of my music the past few years have been healing and dealing with peace.”

Cuong described this piece as a “chorale that has been broken apart into pieces and brought back together.” He emphasized that the piece is demanding because it asks people to come together. It was inspired by the poem “I Want to Write Something So Simply” by Mary Oliver.

Like Cuong described, the piece sounded like a chorale and was very soothing to listen to.

All the instruments blended well together. Sears then walked onto the stage to present the recipient of an award, which is presented annually to a student at the end of their junior year who has shown extraordinary academic and musical accomplishments, and demonstrates leadership and citizen qualities. This is called the 2024 Presser Scholar Award. This award was presented to senior music education major and percussionist and violinist Josh Laude. Laprade then took a moment to reflect on how this is the final concert for graduating seniors. He shared how they all started their college experience on Zoom and asked each to stand as he introduced what each student will be doing after graduation.

Gianna Marrrano, a senior music education flutist with a minor in music technology, reflected on how this was her last concert with the wind ensemble.

“[It’s] bittersweet!” she said. “I’m really proud of what I have accomplished in my last three years in wind ensemble, but I will miss it very much!”

The concert ended with the piece “AMEN!” by Carlos Simon, which Laprade dedicated to Gary Fienberg, an assistant professor of music and coordinator of brass studies, who died in July 2023. This piece consisted of three movements and was lively throughout each one. It was easy to see the jazz elements scattered throughout the piece. There were many solos from the trombone section, along with a few solos from the trumpet and clarinet section.

“I think the concert went really well!” Marrano said. “This is the most involved one of our concerts has ever been and I think it went very well!”

While this was the last wind ensemble concert for the semester, the musicians will make their return in the fall.

Lyric Theatre performs ‘A Jason Robert Brown Celebration’

rehearsal time,” as Assistant Director Heather Mitchell put it.

On top of that, Leonard and the other rock band members decided to put a more inclusive spin on this year’s performance, which made the show that much more complex.

For this year’s rock concert, Vintage Feedback members Steve Thompson, Jason Thompson, music arranger Terence Odonkor, Leonard and keyboardist José Beviá “planned out a set of music that intentionally had better representation — more female artists, LGBTQ+ artists, gender-non-binary artists, Latin, Motown, rock n’ roll, and even country,” Leonard wrote. “We also wanted to honor musicians that had passed away in the last 2 years — Tina Turner, for example.”

As planned, the ensemble’s renditions of Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High,” the playful Latin Icon Medley, which went from “Latin 1-2-3” to “Rhythm is Gonna Get You” to “Conga,” and Dolly Parton’s haunting smash hit, “Jolene,” were just a few demonstrations of this inclusivity.

Each song’s performance resembled a game of karaoke as the lead singer changed hands between verses. “Jolene” was an exception with only one female singer bearing the responsibility of recapturing the emotion of Parton in this track, with a lone guitar as her companion.

“I wasn’t sure about the rock n’ roll theme at first, but I ended up really liking it,” sophomore music education major Amelia Phillips said. “It wasn’t something I expected to be doing in a choir, but it was great to see how people embraced the theme and I was able to hear people that I’ve only ever heard in a choral context performing in a completely different style.”

Lyric Theatre and Broadway’s Solea Pfeiffer celebrated the works of Jason Robert Brown on April 17 in Kendall Hall. Brown is a Tony award-winning playwright, composer and lyricist. Pfeiffer is known for playing Eliza in the first “Hamilton” national tour. She also starred in a 2018 OffBroadway concert of Brown’s “Songs for a New World.”

Pfeiffer and the company performed songs from six of Brown’s musicals, including “Parade,” “The Last Five Years” and “Mr. Saturday Night.”

Lyric Theatre is one of the College’s vocal ensembles. For the third year in a row, students had the opportunity to attend a weekly course where they spent the semester learning the work of a living Broadway composer. In previous years, Lyric Theatre has honored the works of composers like Andrew Lippa and Jeanine Tesori.

At the end of the semester, students are joined by a Broadway star like Pfeiffer to perform what they have learned.

In January, Lyric Theatre students also attended a masterclass with Brown, where he gave students notes on performing his songs and told them about his writing process.

“It was so cool to learn about his song structure and how he writes music and composes music. It was an awesome experience,” said Ella Osbeck, a sophomore elementary special education major.

Osbeck said that Lyric Theatre allowed her to continue her love of musical theater, despite the College not having a specific musical theater degree.

“Now I’m a theater minor because I just love being incorporated with theater here even though we don’t have a musical theater major,” said Osbeck.

Lyric Theatre Director Nathan Brewer said the program is a unique opportunity for college students.

“I don’t know of another program like this anywhere in the world, even musical theater conservatories that I know of,” said Brewer. “I also teach at New York University and my musical theater students are so jealous of what the TCNJ Lyric Theatre students get to do because this type of access to a composer and to stars like Solea is unparalleled.”

Anthony Masefield, a freshman finance major, said that the Lyric theater program was one of the reasons he decided to attend the College.

“A lot of the students in our class are not pursuing arts in the future, this is just a passion for them,” said Masefield. “A lot of our people just have a great voice and they want to express that talent.”

Parents and students alike came to see their family and friends perform with Pfeiffer. Kit Weedon, a senior biology major, and Oliver Eloe, a junior history secondary education major, were excited to see their peers perform.

“We are in one of the theater organizations on campus so a lot of our friends were in the show,” said Weedon. “It was a lot of fun to get to see them, especially seeing the seniors one last time before graduation.”

Some crowd favorites included “I Love Betsy,” a humorous song in which character Jack Singer works up the courage to ask his girlfriend to get married, sung by Aidan Hulse, and “I’m Not Afraid of Anything,” about a brave young woman who feels held back by the fears of those around her, performed by Amelia Zakroff.

“You can tell they worked really hard on the show and it’s obvious from the production,” said Eloe.

Brewer plans to announce next year’s featured composer before the end of the semester. He told the audience that of the four composers he has asked to collaborate with TCNJ, all of them have said yes.

“We’re four for four already, and I can’t wait for you to find out who we’re studying and working with next year,” said Brewer.”

Photo by Jenna Rittman The April 27 performance was held in Kendall Hall.

‘The Tortured Poets Department’: Director of heartbreak and poetic reflection

Taylor Swift’s talent lies in her ability to deeply touch her fans’ hearts with her poetic tongue and themes of heartbreak and resilience. Currently, she has paused re-recording her previous albums to bring us a new release titled “The Tortured Poets Department.”

Swift’s latest album, her 11th original work, features 16 tracks and was released on April 19. Since the age of 14, Swift has been carving her path in the music industry as both a singer and songwriter, leaving a significant mark on pop culture.

In contrast to Swift’s earlier albums that delved into teenage relationships and idealized love, this new album speaks directly to those who have matured alongside her and are navigating adult romance and heartbreak in its unfiltered reality. The songs serve as a tribute to adults who believed they had mastered the intricacies of love, only to realize they still have much to learn.

As reported by The New Yorker, Swift’s latest album captures her raw emotions as she navigates the stages of grief following the end of her six-year relationship with actor Joe Alwyn and her short fling with The 1975’s Matty Healy.

Selecting my favorite tracks from this album was a challenge, but among the standout ones that I find myself replaying frequently are “The Tortured Poets Department,” “Down Bad,” “But Daddy I Love Him,” “Florida!!!,” “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?” and “Clara Bow.”

“The

In the title track, the lyrics explore the concept of broken individuals clinging to one another out of fear of not finding someone else who truly understands them at their core. Lines like “You’re not Dylan Thomas / I’m not Patti Smith / This ain’t the Chelsea Hotel / We’re modern idiots” reveal a sense of self-awareness regarding the potential harm that their codependency could inflict on both of them.

In the fourth track, “Down Bad,” Swift reflects on her journey from feeling ecstatic and believing she was “the chosen one” in love, to encountering the turmoil and disappointment of heartbreak when the relationship was expected to last forever. She refers to “teenage petulance,” a clever term capturing the initial post-breakup

emotions of wanting to appear unaffected, scrutinizing everything that used to bother you about the person, yet still feeling love and longing for them in the end.

The track “But Daddy I Love Him” evokes a sense of nostalgia reminiscent of Swift’s earlier albums, where she delves into the idea of discovering and experiencing a fairytale-like love. The lively acoustic guitar melody enhances the whimsical fantasies portrayed in the song about loving someone despite societal judgments. I’ve personally related to the theme of being drawn to someone without heeding anyone’s warnings and ignoring their rational input.

“Florida!!!,” a collaboration with Florence + The Machine, has quickly

When you’re too big to succeed: Taylor

In our modern age, confessional songwriting is seen by many as the highest standard of musicianship. Focus-grouped pop hits ring hollow to many, and the authenticity of autobiographical songwriting seems to have risen in favor due to this.

It can be argued that art is inherently self-centered, and yet to make it in the music industry, one must be widely appealing. Your emotional declarations must be deemed authentic for an audience to buy into your personal narrative. Your life is a product to be bought and sold.

So how does a creative reckon with this capitalistic reality, while still trying to retain their ability to create art that resonates? What happens when the artist becomes aware of what part of them sells? These are the questions that Taylor Swift grapples with throughout the 15 extra songs on her surprise double album “The Anthology.”

As the title suggests, “The Anthology” is a series of scattered musings and ruminations on different aspects of Swift’s life and career, obscured through either a fictional or metaphorical lens.

Musically speaking, “The Anthology” sets a starkly different

tone from its very first track, “The Black Dog.” The track begins with a soft piano, with booming synths only highlighting very key lyrics throughout the song.

“The Black Dog” exhibits a style of writing in which one minor detail is expanded out to expose a much larger feeling. In this case, it’s the experience of tracking an ex’s location, and in Swift’s case, watching as they walk into the bar that the song is named after.

Swift continues to lament her lost lover, before surrendering that longing to the rage most break-ups inevitably lead to. The narrative is classic, but the execution is fresh – especially in the simplicity with which Swift writes this tale.

It’s almost cocky in its selfassuredness. It carries itself knowing full well the investment listeners will already have in its misery — even going so far as to boldly name drop a very real bar in London.

The front-half of this second album is, admittedly, very strong.

“Chloe or Sam or Sophia or Marcus” is another stunner that uses soft piano and strings to depict the fatalistic narrative of two lovers who never got closure, and are forced to watch each other move on with other people. The song plays with time in a really interesting way, asking the question if the version of Swift this person first met is more interesting than the version they are just coming around back to now.

“The Albatross” plays with a gorgeous acoustic guitar to aid its mythical narrative. In this song, Swift reflects upon her reputation of being the perpetually heartbroken girl, through a myth of a fiction “Albatross,” who both saves and destroys men who seek her out.

This is where the problems start, however. While all the songs on

become a standout track for me on this album. The chorus is characterized by dynamic drum beats, and the combination of Florence Welch’s ethereal indie vocals blending with Swift’s voice lifts my spirits to a brighter place. The song’s poignant lyrics illustrate a journey of escaping from life’s challenges and seeking solace and mental freedom in the Sunshine State.

“Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me” brings back memories of Swift’s earlier albums like “evermore” and “folklore.” The lyrics revolve around themes of revenge and Swift’s assertion and acceptance of the rumors and accusations associated with her. This song is empowering for anyone who has faced gossip and is finding the strength to transform pain into resilience and strength.

Swift chose to conclude the album with the touching narrative of “Clara Bow.” The song portrays the life of actress Clara Bow, who faced challenges in her career despite her moments of brilliance in the spotlight. As reported by AP News, Bow endured harsh misogyny and gossip, which ultimately contributed to her downfall. I find striking parallels between Bow’s experiences and Swift’s journey, deepening the emotional impact of this song for me.

The anticipation for this new album was truly rewarding as it delivers refreshing tracks with unique sounds while also evoking a sense of nostalgia reminiscent of Swift’s earlier works. Despite the heartbreak she endured, Swift’s artistry shines through, creating an album that resonates with those who have faced similar experiences, offering both relatability and enjoyment.

Swift’s ‘The Anthology’

“The Anthology” are interesting in either lyrics or sound, only a few truly excel in all aspects of being a good song.

For example, “How Did It End?” is a compelling meta-commentary on the inevitable media frenzy which surrounds the demise of her relationships, and how she almost doesn’t want to leave a relationship in fear of it. The piano and haunting vocals are subtle, yet compelling enough to grip the listener.

On the other hand, take a track like “The Prophecy,” in which Swift is reflecting upon this same doomed fate her romances find themselves in, by referring to it as this unchanging prophecy. The track explores how her relationships suffer simply because Swift is almost a mythical figure in our culture, who is known for reporting on her failed loves.

Where the track fails, however, is in the sound. The track is almost too pared down to be engaging. It is poetry in the sense that the melody is almost embarrassingly tacked on. It is unable to maintain the form of a song, by being too caught up in its poetic aspirations. It also suffers from simply being a line of thought

that is hammered throughout most of these tracks.

It is in my opinion that the fiction is what saves most of these songs from narcissism. After all, who wants to hear the plights of a now billionaire? How else is she to retain that crucial empathy needed to resonate with her work?

Were the 15 extra songs warranted? The answer depends on your position on her. While there are a few highlights here, the production slowly meshes into a giant mass of ballads towards the end of the tracklist.

The issue also seems to be that most of these tracks demand that the listener have empathy for Swift as a person and cultural figure. The context of herself almost smothers some of these tracks, making it impossible to relate them to anything except the struggles of being the biggest pop star on the planet.

It’s more Taylor Swift music. If you’re a fan you’ll enjoy them, but in terms of artistic excellence? There is certainly a case to be made here, about not putting a song on a project just because you can, but because you should.

The Signal’s Summer Playlist

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The Signal May
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Photo courtesy of Apple Music Tortured Poets Department” features 16 songs. Photo courtesy of Apple Music Swift created a second surprise album.
Cruel Summer Somebdy Else Summer Taylor Swift The 1975 Calvin Harris

Baseball ends season on win streak, sneaks into NJAC Tournament

The College’s baseball team finished their regular season on a three-game win streak. They first split two games with Ramapo College, losing at home and winning on the road, and then winning two games at Montclair State University to get themselves into the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament.

The four game stretch began with the final home game of the season for the Lions, played at Trenton Thunder Ballpark. They went there on April 25 to take on a talented Ramapo squad who entered the game 22-12. The Lions entered this game on an eight-game losing streak, and were looking to return to their winning ways from the beginning of the season.

The game started off fairly slow,

with both starting pitchers putting in an impressive performance. Ramapo was the first team to get on the board, doing so with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. That was the only run that senior starting pitcher Jordan Gray gave up in his outing, as he worked the first six innings for the Lions.

Things started to unravel for the College in the seventh inning. Freshman reliever Evan Frank came in for Gray, and Ramapo was able to get to him quickly. Frank only faced four batters, but three of them got hits. All three of those runners scored in the seventh, and Ramapo took a 4-0 lead.

The Lions were able to get a run in the bottom of the ninth off of a double from junior second baseman Mike LaGravenis, but they would ultimately lose the matchup in Trenton to Ramapo, 5-1.

The College had to clear their memory

of that game quickly, though, as the next day they traveled to Ramapo to take them on again. This time, they were able to score first and hold onto that lead.

They were able to put six runs up in the second inning, thanks in large part to two crucial errors made by the Ramapo defense. They scored three more in the third, giving them an early 9-0 lead that they were able to keep for the rest of the game. They ended up winning 13-5, giving junior starting pitcher Dan Merkel his fourth win of the season. LaGravenis had a stellar day from the leadoff spot in the lineup, going 3-7 with four RBIs.

The College then traveled to Montclair State for a doubleheader on April 27. Montclair State entered the day as the sixth team in the NJAC standings with a conference record of 8-8, and the Lions were seventh in the conference with a record of 7-9. The NJAC Tournament only takes the top six teams, so that final spot was going to be decided by this doubleheader. The Lions would need to win both games, or else their season would end.

Montclair State got out to an early lead against the Lions, taking a 7-0 lead after the first three innings. All hope of a playoff berth seemed to be lost for the College, as Montclair looked like they were going to run away with this one.

However, the Lions did not back down, and they were able to score seven unanswered runs in the next three innings to tie the game up. Montclair State was able to immediately respond, though, and put up three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 10-7 lead.

The Lions were able to earn back two runs in the seventh, and they eventually entered the top of the ninth down one run with their playoff hopes on the

Softball takes three in a row in conference play

The College’s softball team defeated William Paterson twice in a doubleheader and then followed those victories up with an impressive victory over Stockton in the first round of the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament.

The Lions have had a dominant season so far, entering this stretch with a record of 23-9, including 9-6 in the NJAC. However, despite their winning season thus far, they sat just fifth in the loaded NJAC, with just two regular season games remaining. With a doubleheader against a struggling William Paterson squad, and then a playoff matchup with the fourth place Stockton Ospreys, it was now or never for the Lions.

On April 27, the College traveled to Wayne to face off against the Pioneers of William Paterson University for two games. WPU had been having an abysmal season, entering this doubleheader with five wins to 25 losses on the year.

The Lions had a much-needed roaring start in the opening game, scoring eight

runs in the first three innings. Fifth-year center fielder Kaci Neveling had a day to remember at the plate, collecting a hit in all four of her plate appearances and totaling three RBIs in the first game.

On the mound, standout sophomore pitcher Elizabeth Gosse tossed a complete game shutout, allowing just one baserunner all day to continue her stellar season. Gosse won NJAC Pitcher of the Week for her performances last week and is gunning for the honor for the second time this season. She has been flustering opposing offenses all year, now with an earned run average of just 1.68 on the season.

After another run scored by the Lions, the game was called after five innings, as the College took the first matchup in blowout fashion, 9-0.

In the latter half of the doubleheader, the Lion offense cooled off, being held to just eight hits on the day. However, they made plays when it mattered and held a 6-0 lead heading into the final two innings. It was another active game for Neveling, this time getting on base three times and finishing with a game-wrecking five stolen bases.

line. However, after two walks, junior designated hitter Justin Marcario was able to get an RBI single to tie the game at 10 and keep the season alive for the Lions.

No one was able to score in the first two extra innings, but the Lions finally were able to break through in the top of the 12th, scoring three runs on the back of the sacrifice flies and and RBI single.

Senior reliever Joe Ferrari shut the Red Hawks down in the bottom half of the inning, and the Lions took home a 13-10 win in a thriller to keep their season alive. In a game filled with scoring, Ferrari played a huge part in the win on the mound. He pitched the final four innings of the game, giving up one hit and no runs. His clutch pitching gave the Lions the chance to make the NJAC Tournament with a win in the second game of the doubleheader.

In the second game, the Lions were able to quickly come down from the high of their previous victory. They scored seven runs in the second inning, and this time, there was no seven-run comeback from the opposing team. The Lions built onto their lead throughout the game, and were able to cruise to an easy 14-3 victory, clinching the sixth spot in the NJAC Tournament.

Junior starting pitcher Jackson Malouf held it down on the mound, pitching all nine innings and throwing 142 pitches on the day in his team’s playoff-clinching performance.

The Lions will now travel to Galloway, New Jersey, on April 30 to take on the NJAC’s top seed, Stockton University, in the start of the conference’s double elimination tournament. The College is guaranteed a second game, which will take place at Rutgers-Camden on May 3.

TCNJ Athletics Schedule

That is the most stolen bases anyone in the NJAC has had in a single game, breaking her own record of four. Neveling now leads the conference in stolen bases with 40, which is 11 ahead of second place.

Freshman pitcher Maya Knasiak got the call to pitch and was nearly perfect through the first five innings. Due to some poor defense in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Pioneers cashed in their first three runs, all unearned. Knasiak held on for the win while striking out 11 hitters, her highest number to date. The College took down William Paterson 6-3 and improved to 259.

After taking care of the Pioneers, the Lions traveled to Galloway, New Jersey, to take on a much more formidable opponent in Stockton University in the first round of the NJAC Tournament. With an NJAC record of 13-5, the Osprey’s conference play has resulted in them sitting above the College for fourth place.

In a pivotal matchup, the Lions struck first, with an RBI from junior Mckayla Yard, scoring Neveling. Neveling had another big day, scoring three runs and stealing a pair of bases to go along with two hits. The College kept piling on, scoring one run in the third, sixth and seventh innings.

Just four days after her shutout, the Lions relied on Gosse again to navigate the high-powered Osprey offense. She delivered, tossing five scoreless innings and allowing just three hits. She now holds the third best earned run average in the conference, at just 1.23 after this matchup. Knasiak entered the game and earned the save, her second of the season as the Lions defeated the Ospreys 4-0.

The College now sits at 26-9 and is still fifth in the conference with a 12-6 record. They travel to Glassboro, New Jersey, to take on No. 1 Rowan University in the second round of the NJAC Tournament on May 4.

Baseball

Friday, May 3, 3:30 p.m. Away at Rutgers-Camden NJAC Tournament

Track and Field

Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5 Neutral Site at Stockton University NJAC Outdoor Championships

Women’s Lacrosse

Saturday, May 4, 1 p.m. Home against Rowan University NJAC Tournament Final

Men’s Tennis

Saturday, May 4, 2 p.m.

Away at No. 16 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater WIAC Championship

Softball

Saturday, May 4, 3:30 p.m. Away at Rowan University NJAC Tournment

Baseball

Saturday, May 4, TBD Neutral site at RutgersCamden Opponent TBD

May 3, 2024 The Signal page 15
Photo by Derick Zelaya The Lions’ student athletes at Trenton Thunder Ballpark. Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone The Lions celebrating one of their victories.

Women’s lacrosse wins out to end the season

The women’s lacrosse team season came to an end with wins against two of the tougher New Jersey Athletic Conference opponents away from home. The heated rivalry between the Lions and Rowan University always produces a fast high flying game on Wednesday. Kean University has had a revival season, doubling their win total from last year and was looking for an upset to land into the

NJAC Tournament at home on Saturday.

The Lions first faced off against Rowan University on April 24 and with a win against their cross state rivals, they would clinch the NJAC title. The Profs did not roll the red carpet out for the Lions as they scored five goals, while only senior nursing major Madison Wernick scored to keep the Lions close to Rowan early. Sophomore nursing major Marissa Lucca and senior nursing major Natalie Berry both got on the board late, but it was not enough to stop the onslaught that

Rowan had in the first quarter, going up a shocking 7-3.

The second quarter was more of a battle of the defense as senior goalie and special education major Julia Charest had four saves in the quarter. Wernick and Lucca each scored again early in the quarter, but then saw a long drought of scoring from both teams. Freshman mechanical engineering major CJ Kole finally broke the five minute goal drought and the Lions ended the half down 9-6 after a late goal from Rowan.

The third quarter started a great defensive half for the Lions after a tough first half. Senior nursing major Morgan Vaccaro scored early, and it got the Lions rolling, with another goal by fifthyear nursing major Katherine Naiburg getting the Lions within one. Rowan had a goal that was answered right back by Naiburg with her second goal in under three minutes. Both teams then again hit a drought for six minutes without a goal. Berry and Kole then went back-to-back to take the lead for the first time all game, going up 11-10 at the end of the half.

The fourth quarter was started off by Rowan, who scored early to tie the game. The Lions then dominated the rest of the quarter, scoring the next four goals and finally putting the game to bed. Senior secondary education major Ally Tobler finally got on the board to put the Lions up by three less than 20 seconds after Vaccaro put them up by two. The Lions finished the game winning 15-11 and clinched the NJAC title.

Women’s tennis wins 41st straight NJAC title

The College’s women’s tennis team dominated their way through the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament to claim their inevitable 41st consecutive conference title. This is the longest conference championship streak in all of collegiate sports, including all divisions, conferences and sports.

The Lions first hosted four seeded Rutgers-Camden on April 24. When these two schools met earlier in the regular season, the Lions were too much to handle, winning 9-0. This matchup was déjà vu for the teams, as the Lions were able to sweep the Scarlet Raptors before the hour mark even hit.

The doubles matches were a breeze for the Lions as they did

not drop a single game in any of them. Junior Aira Abalos and freshman Marcella Warner were the first to finish, improving to 17-0 as a duo on the year. Freshmen Prisha Priyadarshini and Gabriella Robinson finished shortly after this, while senior Chase Eisenberg and freshman Zoey Albert won their match minutes later.

For singles, Warner and Priyadarshini were the first two to win, giving the Lions the necessary five wins to take home a team victory on the day. However, the other four Lions were on track to comfortably win each of their matches as well. This win for the Lions marked the third straight year of knocking the Scarlet Raptors out of the semifinals.

The championship was played days later on April 27, when the

The Lions then traveled to Kean University to finish the regular season off with a matchup against the Cougars. Kean has been having a really good year after their down 4-12 season in 2023.

Kean came out firing against the Lions, putting up two goals in two minutes early on. Lucca and Naiburg scored early as well to keep the game tied. The Lions then went on a 15-0 run and put the game to bed right before halftime. The rest of the game at that point was out of reach and the Lions cruised into the NJAC tournament off of a four-game win streak. Tobler and Lucca both had a staggering nine points with Vaccaro, Berry, Kole, Naiburg and Wernick also having multipoint games.

The Lions now look to the NJAC Tournament where they play Montclair State. If they win, the winner of Rowan against Stockton. Stockton with their new staff and Rowan with their tough way of play should be the best game of the tournament. The final should include the Lions barring a major upset and Rowan again for a rematch of the past couple of finals. Stockton has had a great season and should give Rowan a tough game.

Looking forward to the NCAA Tournament, the Lions need some things to break their way to get back to the Final Four. While this team has shown growth and ability to beat ranked teams, the highend opponents have stumped the Lions. If they can break through and beat a top 10 team in the tournament, this team has the potential to make a run deep into May.

Lions hosted three seeded Stockton University. Stockton came off a win in the semifinals against the second seeded Ramapo College. The Lions had won 9-0 when they faced off with the Ospreys back in early April.

Doubles play started off with Eisenberg and Albert coasting to a controlling win, 8-1, followed by Priyadarshini and Robinson. Abalos and Warner wrapped up their match easily with the third 8-1 victory for the Lions in doubles matches.

The Lions could sense another conference championship was near, and they came out firing in singles play. Priyadarshini finished her game first, qualifying for the win again just like in the semifinals, 6-0, 6-0. Albert was the other Lion who got it done to secure the conference championship, winning 6-0, 6-2. Each of the other four players for the College were on track to win their matches as well.

The Lions added to their spectacular season with a 16-2 record, while Stockton finished their season 7-4. The Lions also finished ranked at No. 40 nationally in Division III.

The NCAA Tournament is next for the Lions, as this has been the big picture all season.

The College will soon find out who they play in the NCAA Tournament, but they have proven to be able to compete with any school in the country. They will be attempting to break their streak of 12 straight second round losses in the tournament. They are looking to bring back the Division III National Championship for the first time since 1986.

Track and field hosts Lions Outdoor Invitational

The College hosted the Lions Outdoor Invitational, the second outdoor track and field meet of the season, last weekend on April 26 and 27. The women’s and men’s programs both had many top finishers in the event.

The women’s side was highlighted by junior Jessica Reilly. After breaking the school record in the hammer throw earlier this season, she proceeded to beat her own record on April 26 with a throw of 52.35 meters.

Junior Lily Lorio was able to post her personal best in the javelin, finishing fifth in the event with a throw of 35.22 meters.

On the men’s side, senior Ray Schmitt took home second place in the 100 meter dash for the Lions with a time of 10.82 seconds.

“It felt great having a good race under my belt with the support of the home crowd,” Schmitt, a finance major, said.

Freshman Tyler Demarco was able to place third in the high jump with a 4.30 meter jump.

The Lions used this event as a tune up for the NJAC Outdoor Championships. The College will head to Stockton on May 4, looking to take home some hardware.

“We’re more of a unit now than ever, and we’ll all be supporting each other and having each other’s backs throughout the weekend,” said Schmitt.

Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone Sophomore midfielder Sydney Vieja with the ball. Photo by Brooke Zevon Senior Chase Eisenberg in one of her matches.
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