Spring '24 Issue No. 9

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The Signal

Vol. LIII, No. 9


February 16, 2024

Serving The College of New Jersey since 1885

Blueberry Kitchen + Tap celebrates its grand opening College implements mandatory safety training for students By Rebecca Heath News Editor Tristan Weisenbach Managing Editor

Photo by Parisa Burton

The restaurant’s Tacos of the Town and Signature Cheeseburger. By Parisa Burton Staff Writer Blueberry Kitchen + Tap celebrated its long-awaited grand opening on Feb. 12. The restaurant experienced an influx of visitors from open to close, echoing the campus’s eagerness to try this new spot and receive the generous 40% off promotion. “The name ‘Blueberry’ actually comes from the state fruit,” said A.K. Patel, one of the restaurant owners. The grand opening has been in the works for quite some time now, as preparations have taken longer than anticipated for everyone. “Preparations for the opening have been insane,” said Brenna O’Leary, frontof-house shift manager. “The owners have been working on opening this place for six

months or so at least.” A lot of students were frustrated with long wait times, and others were denied service due to the large turnout. “​I always feel it’s better to give no service than bad service,” Patel said. Patel emphasized that he wants the customers to have the best possible experience, which is why the restaurant could not accommodate every single customer on opening day. Unfortunately for some, the grand opening was disappointing and did not meet their expectations. According to Maddy Smith, senior interactive multimedia major, the soda machines weren’t up and running yet when she went. “Some of our food was cold and it was clear they were short staffed,” Smith said.

As a new restaurant, it’s going to take some time before everything is up to par, and before everyone is completely satisfied with the service. Sabrina Farrell, a senior criminology major, said she would like to give the restaurant more time to work out the kinks before recommending it to others. According to O’Leary, it’s not so much an understaffing issue as it is a training deficiency. “We’re all brand new and learning how to work together, how to work in this building, use the computers and other general stuff,” O’Leary said. The restaurant is currently hiring for bartenders, servers, line cooks, kitchen help and an assistant manager.

The College released its first mandatory online safety training for students on Feb. 12 after it received requests from students and faculty for additional safety resources. Vice President of Operations Sharon Blanton announced the training, which is also mandatory for all College employees, in an email to the campus community on Feb. 7. The safety program consists of four courses for students and employees to complete by March 29. “This training initiative is a crucial step towards equipping each member of our community with the knowledge and skills necessary to respond effectively to potential emergencies and maintain a secure campus environment,” Blanton wrote in the Feb. 7 email. Awareness of campus safety protocols was called into question last semester after both students and faculty told The Signal that they largely lacked knowledge of what to do in various threatening situations, such as an active shooter or extreme weather event.

see TRAINING page 2

see BLUEBERRY page 3

Civil liberties group critical ‘TWO YEARS GONE’: Amplifying Ukrainian voices through art of TCNJ speech policies By Matthew Kaufman Managing Editor

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a civil rights organization that advocates for free speech on college campuses, gave the College a “yellow light” rating in its 2024 Spotlight on Speech Codes and said that some of its policies might be unconstitutional. FIRE, as the organization is better known, places schools in one of three categories based on their protection of free speech. “Yellow light” schools, where the College ranked, “maintain policies that could too easily be applied to su ppress prote cted speech or maintain policies that, while clearly restricting freedom of speech, restrict relatively narrow categories of speech,” according to the report. “Red light” schools, the most severe category, “maintain at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech” or do not have publicly

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accessible speech codes. “Green light” schools do not have any policies that threaten free expression. The College originally received a red light rating, but FIRE changed the classification to a yellow light after The Signal requested more clarification on the reasoning behind the rating. In an email to The Signal, Laura Beltz, FIRE’s director of policy reform, said that a yellow light classification is still concerning, because the College is a public school that must abide by the First Amendment. “While these are more vague or narrow restrictions than the red light policies,” Beltz said, “yellow light policies are unconstitutional at a public institution like TCNJ and could too easily be applied to restrict speech.”


Menstral products

TCNJ rejects an SG proposal to implement menstral products in bathrooms on campus.

see FIRE page 3 page 2


Dating apps

By Riley Eisenbeil Staff Writer

The College’s Art Gallery recently unveiled its newest installation entitled “TWO YEARS GONE.” The group exhibition, curated by Dylan Siegel, features pieces from five contemporary Ukrainian artists who, through a variety of mediums, reflect on the psychological and physical stress of the ongoing war in Ukraine as it reaches its two-year mark. The hope is that it will start conversations, raise awareness and overall commemorate the war, explained Art Director Margaret Pezalla-Granlund while introducing a panel discussion on opening day. The collection, featuring artists Katerina Ganchak, Maya Hayuk, Maria Kulikovska, Sasha Kurmaz and Anton Varga, has been in the works for about a year, Siegel shared. “[This collection] is about a feeling and it’s about asking people to keep paying attention,” Siegel said in an interview during the reception. “As is the nature of the news cycle, with anything, things fall out of the public consciousness — it page 5

Finding a romantic partner isn’t always as easy as it looks. Enter social media apps. The solution for all your dating woes – or so we thought.


Signals of love

doesn’t actually matter how important they are, it just happens.” Siegel and Jack Chase, a photographer currently dedicated to providing direct humanitarian aid relief in Ukraine, established the pop-up gallery “Sonya Gallery: A Sunflower Network Project” in October 2022. Since its start, they have curated exhibitions to raise funds for Ukraine, resulting in the direct delivery of $3.5 million in crucial humanitarian aid to date. This installation is a continuation of their work. To choose which artists would be highlighted, Siegel explained that it involved a blend of personal connections and thematic considerations related to the war. Kurmaz’s pieces capture emotions from within Ukraine, while Kulikovska and Ganchak’s works offer feelings from abroad. Additionally, Varga, Hayuk and some of Kulikovska’s contributions provide historical reflections on the past decade of conflict.

see GALLERY page 12 page 9

Valentine’s Day messages submitted by members of hte campus community!


Coach Goldsmith

page 16

Head coach Matthew Goldsmith and the Lions will head into the NJAC tournament looking to bring the title back to Ewing for the first time since 2020.

page 2 The Signal February 16, 2024

TRAINING / Strengthening campus safety with new policies

Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone

Mandetory safety training is just one new initiative the College is implementing. Continued from page 1 According to Blanton, a team extensively researched available online training platforms before selecting Vector Solutions. The College’s Emergency Response Team then spent months

examining and testing the materials to ensure the training effectively covered the topics requested by the campus community, which include active shooter preparedness, campus fire safety, emergency and disaster preparedness, and health and safety awareness.

“They’re just general information for what the CERT team is going to do or may do during an emergency, so these are some of the things we’re looking at in the general terms of what you can do to assist that,” said Emergency Preparedness Manager Dan Posluszny in an interview. After students and staff complete the training, Blanton said a feedback form will be sent out to evaluate whether it “hit the mark.” “This isn’t a one and done kind of thing,” Blanton said. “This is really about, you know, a more continuous process of increasing the knowledge and awareness throughout the campus community.” The mandatory training is one of several new initiatives aimed at strengthening campus safety. Last semester, the College introduced mobile ID cards, which can be added to a digital wallet and allow students and employees to easily control their access into spaces, Blanton said. Within the next few weeks, the College will alter the hours that academic buildings are unlocked. Chris Nitti, associate director of Campus Police services, said one tentative plan would

keep buildings unlocked from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and would require swipe access to enter outside of these hours. However, buildings would remain unlocked after hours for events and performances. “Everybody has been used to the open campus concept and everybody enjoys that,” said Nitti. “But the reality of it is, it’s a safety and security concern for the campus.” Campus Police will also continue providing in-person, on-site safety training customized to a specific building or department upon request, according to Nitti. Blanton said it is unclear whether students and employees will be required to complete mandatory safety training every year. Administration emphasized that addressing campus safety concerns will be an ongoing, collaborative process. “We’re confident that because faculty, staff and students requested this, that they’re going to be participating and really joining us as a community to try to figure out what other ways we can move forward in helping people feel safe on campus,” Blanton said.

Cop Shop returns / Breaking and entering, excessive intoxication and the campus ‘banned’ list By Liz Ciocher Features Editor 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. Campus Police has recorded a few incidents of campus mischief and unlawful acts during and since winter break. Below are the write-ups that have come in since the new year, listed chronologically. Jan. 5: Repeat Trespasser A staff member at the library called Campus Police after recognizing a man from a list of individuals that were banned from campus in the facility. He was carrying a backpack, wearing multiple coats and using a library computer. When the officers spoke to the trespasser, he spoke broken English. His demeanor was calm at the beginning of their conversation, but he began to

raise his voice and his eye began to twitch as they asked who he was. He provided Campus Police with his name but no identification. Campus police notified the man he was placed on the ‘banned’ list on Dec. 11. The man reached for his backpack after he was told he was under arrest. The officers told him to stop, but he did not comply. They immediately cuffed the man and brought him to the squad car. There were no dangerous contents in the backpack. The man was given a summons for defiant trespassing, contact information for Mercer County social services and another copy of the campus banned letter. The responding officers gave him a ride to another location in Ewing. Jan. 10: Stolen Keuring A student living in Travers Hall reported her one-cup Keurig coffee

maker had been stolen out of her room while she was away for winter break. The coffee maker was present in her room when she left on Dec. 18, but was missing upon her arrival on Jan. 2. There is no sign of forced entry into the student’s room, and she reported the doors were locked. The missing Keurig is black, single cup and worth around $70. Jan. 26: Breaking and entering and playing the piano At around 1:30 a.m., a student called Campus Police to report a person climbing through a window in the Music Building. Upon entering the building, responding officers heard a piano being played. They asked the player how he had entered the building, to which he responded, “the window.” The trespasser provided the officers with a valid student ID and told them he was not a music major, but he wanted

to practice playing the piano. Officers told the student the building was only accessible during working hours. The student left the building without incident and the responding officers placed work orders for all window latches on the first floor to be secured. Jan. 27: Too drunk for your own party Shortly after 4:00 a.m., a student called Campus Police from Townhouses East with concern of a fellow student’s alcohol consumption. Upon arrival, responding officers found the intoxicated student conscious and breathing with their head over a garbage can. The reporting student claimed they were vomiting periodically and had irregular breathing. They reported the student had an unknown number of people in his room and consumed an unknown number of mixed drinks while they were visiting. Campus EMS arrived on the scene to evaluate the student. Ewing EMS arrived on the scene to transport them to Capital Health Regional.

College rejects SG proposal to have menstrual products in campus bathrooms By Rachel Lea Correspondent

Student Government passed a resolution in November asking the College administration to consider a pilot program that would place menstrual products in bathrooms across campus. Although the administration commended the student organization for spearheading such an initiative, they announced in a letter sent a month later that they were unwilling to proceed with the proposal due to budget cuts. “I was tremendously disappointed that the College decided to reject our proposal,” said Jared Williams, executive vice president of SG and junior political science major. “A menstrual product program would indubitably have a positive impact on all students and improve the quality of life.” Currently, menstrual products are distributed in the Office of Inclusive Excellence, Student Health Services, The Shop in Campus Town and various offices in the Student Center. The Education Building is the only academic building to have such a program and the products are paid for by the Dean’s Office. Gabriela Rivera-Peña,

a fifth-year elementary special education and women’s and gender studies major, helped to initiate the program after she emailed one of their previous professors about the lack of access. “Menstrual products are just as important as toilet paper,” said Rivera. “If I am in the Education Building, going to Student Health Services [for menstrual products] while I am in class is not really ideal. It is just like in a regular public bathroom [with] dispensers, except that these are free.” With Rivera’s assistance, SG hoped to expand this program to include the bathrooms in the Student Center and the library, but the College administration would pay for it instead. Catherine Lillja, an SG delegate and sophomore mathematics major, introduced the bill after a lack of access to menstrual products began to interfere with her school work. “New Jersey public school districts are required to provide menstrual products free to their students,” said Lillja, “and I see no reason why higher education should not be held to these same standards.” Joe Woods, vice president of governmental affairs and senior computer engineering major, hoped that SG’s program

would have made the College an example to other schools by demonstrating the initiative’s sustainability and low cost to students. He, Lillja and the rest of Student Government also hoped that this program would encourage conversations on menstrual health and make the College a more inclusive environment. “What motivates me more is the recent step back in reproductive rights and education across the nation,” said Lillja. “If we cannot do something as simple as talking about menstrual health, it is hard for me to believe that we can have a productive conversation about other pressing issues too.” Many students – both in and out of SG – are surprised that this menstrual product proposal was not approved. “I would say that [the program] is overdue,” said Elizabeth Klein, a junior English major. “I do not really see what is to be gained from rejecting it.” Other students, however, are not surprised that such a proposal was not given proper attention. “Menstruation is still a very taboo topic,” said junior English and women and gender studies double major Roshni Dave. “But [the College] is an institution; they

should get over that.” Yuliia Sul, vice president of inclusive excellence and senior political science major, stressed that the main concerns the administration had were maintenance costs and supply management. “I know the College is trying to lessen how much money [it] is spending,” said Dave. “[But] all of it kinda adds up to make college more inaccessible and less equitable.” Students like Klein also cannot help but suspect that the topic of menstruation itself played a significant role in the administration’s decision to reject it. “I never want to rule that out,” said Klein. “Because it makes people uncomfortable, and it is not deemed as super important, even though it is.” SG members plan to take a similar approach to Rivera and implement it into each of the academic schools by persuading the deans, who may be more receptive. Williams said that SG will continue to advocate for menstrual health, regardless of the outcome. “I hope to use this as motivation to work even harder at bringing about this program that students want to see,” said Williams.

February 16, 2024 The Signal page 3

FIRE / Speech policies under ‘FIRE’ by civil rights group Continued from page 1 Dr. Tao Dumas, a professor of political science who teaches courses on constitutional law, said in an interview that while public schools must abide by the First Amendment, there is still some latitude to restrict certain speech. “TCNJ does have an educational mission,” Dumas said, “and so we do have some ability to limit some speech a bit more than perhaps in some other settings, because the college has a mission to ensure that students are receiving an education.” FIRE took issue with four of the College’s policies regarding harassment, on-campus postings, use of public space and student conduct. Beltz said that the harassment policy was too broad and could be utilized to silence protected speech. The harassment policy “does not sufficiently track the Supreme Court’s substantive standard for peer harassment in the educational setting,” said Beltz. “Instead, it should be revised to track that legal standard.” Dumas said the College’s Sexual Harassment, Misconduct & Discrimination Policy allowed for one incident of misconduct to qualify as harassment, whereas the Supreme Court’s standard requires conduct to be “pervasive and extreme.” “If somebody were accused of harassing another individual for, let’s say, one comment, that would be a more extreme interpretation of harassment than what the Supreme Court or other levels of courts would typically find enforceable in a court,” Dumas said. However, Dumas added, the College may have more latitude to expand the definition of harassment because of its educational mission. FIRE also criticized the College’s Posting Policy, which requires flyers posted on

official bulletin boards to be approved and list the name of the author. “This places an unreasonable prior restraint on all posting of materials, and essentially prohibits anonymous expression on posters,” said Beltz. “Anonymous speech is typically protected under First Amendment standards, and can be a powerful tool for those who may feel they can only express their views anonymously or through the use of a pseudonym.” Dumas said this policy could be considered unconstitutional, depending on how the College has enforced it and if the administration has denied content from being posted based on its content. “Once you create a bulletin board, for example, you’ve created either a public forum or a limited public forum,” said the professor. “Once you open up those spaces for discussion, you’re not supposed to be able to discriminate based on the content of those messages in that location, because you’ve already designated that as a location [where] speech is permitted.” FIRE then targeted the College’s Use of Campus Property Policy, which states that unapproved protests may only occur in four “public use areas” around campus. “The college can put in place reasonable regulations on the ‘time, place and manner’ of expressive activities, in order to limit disruptions to classes and other campus functions,” Beltz said. “However, limiting all spontaneous protest to those areas appears unreasonably restrictive of students’ free speech rights.” Dumas said that this criticism was fair but more difficult to prove. “I think that one’s probably the least obvious to me that that’s problematic,” said Dumas. “But I would agree that we’re not designating very much space on our campus for [spontaneous protests] to happen.” FIRE’s final complaint was with a sec-

tion of the Student Conduct Code, which states that students should “conduct [themselves] professionally and with civility in all pursuits of knowledge in and outside the classroom.” “Speech cannot be limited merely because it has been found to be unprofessional or incivil,” Beltz said. Dumas said this issue hinges on whether or not there’s a penalty for acting disrespectful. “If there’s nothing in our policies that says, ‘X, Y and Z happens if you’re incivil,’ I don’t think it’s particularly problematic,” Dumas said, “but I get her point that it’s bordering on censorship.” Sacks, the College’s spokesman, said that while the administration disagrees with

FIRE’s recent findings, it continually reviews and revises its policies. “The College will take into account FIRE’s comments when the identified policies are next reviewed,” said Sacks. FIRE often works with colleges and universities to develop policies that address misconduct while protecting free speech, and Beltz said the organization would be happy to work with the College. “Now is a time on college campuses where so many students are looking to get out and express themselves on important issues,” Beltz said, “so colleges need to respond by ensuring their policies on speech allow for students to share their viewpoints and that their policies on misconduct are applied properly and evenhandedly.”

Photo by Shane Gillespie

While the College disagrees with FIRE’s recent findings, it continually reviews and revises its policies.

BLUEBERRY / Campus Town restaurant hosts grand opening

Photo by Matthew Kaufman

The owners and staff are very excited about the future of Blueberry Kitchen + Tap and engaging the campus community. Continued from page 1 “If people have experience that’s definitely a plus because we want to have enough people as it gets busier,” O’Leary said. After getting everything settled and having everyone trained, the restaurant has larger plans to engage the campus community. “I feel like as of more recently the only

thing people want to do is drink and it’s boring,” O’Leary said. “I want to implement events like karaoke, trivia and other fun stuff that will get everyone moving and doing a bit more.” This restaurant is unlike any other one on campus, for its large size and bar service. “I did my best to bring on a staff with a personality and I think that’s like the big-

gest thing, making it an experience instead of just sitting here and getting something to eat,” O’Leary said. “Anywhere can be cute and the food can be good but the service has to match that.” The campus community has been yearning for a place like this after the closing of Arooga’s a little over a year ago. “We needed a bar on campus for those who want a fun night, but don’t want to

leave campus,” Smith said. “When Arooga’s left, I was upset that I didn’t have a spot to watch sports games and have a drink or two. Now that Blueberry has opened, we have a spot again.” Farrell and Smith agreed that the food options presented to be more diverse than Arooga’s were. “There were options like octopus and duck legs, which is just not at all what I expected,” Farrell said. “I definitely like the appetizers like the boom boom shrimp, the giant pretzel, the blueberry sliders and all the burgers,” O’Leary said. As far as other differences in the restaurant, the overall look has been revamped but the layout remains virtually identical. “It was nice inside, but it just looked extremely similar to Aroogas but with different colored walls,” Farrell said. Smith added that it was very dark inside, but it fit the vibe. The owners and staff are very excited about the future of Blueberry Kitchen + Tap and engaging the campus community. “It’s a great place and a great community,” Patel said. “We want to make sure that every customer comes in and has fun.”

page 4 The Signal February 16, 2024

Bonner Scholars partner with NIA to fight illegal dumping

There were a total of 16 volunteers present at the cleanup. By Myara Gomez Staff Writer With illegal dumping becoming a large issue in the Trenton community, Bonner Scholars came out to support the cleanup of two heavily impacted sites on Feb. 3. TCNJ Bonner Scholars and the Neighborhood Improvement Association partnered together for this cleanup, along with co-sponsors from the Environmental Club and the Collegiate Recovery Community. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, illegal dumping refers to when waste is left in “unpermitted areas,” which could be either public or private property. There were a total of 16 volunteers present at the cleanup, allowing it to go fairly quickly. The original plan was to clean up one site, located in Morton Alley (between Monmouth and Chambers Streets). However, after finishing early, the volunteers decided to go to another site, which was located in Agnes Alley. “This was just spontaneous, one of the guys said they had another site for us to do and sometimes we do get done early and we have another site that we can do, but if it’s not too big we can do it in one

Photo by Myara Gomez

it, versus paying three dollars per tire to dispose of them, makes no sense.” While the City of Trenton initially did not assist the NIA, they have been helping significantly in recent years. The founder of the NIA, Octavia Sutphin, believes it is due to the new administration. The NIA first started their illegal dumping campaign through the Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP wanted three cities to imitate the state’s “Don’t Waste My Open Space” campaign. Sutphin said the City of Trenton seemed excited at first, however, the city decided in the end that they wanted this project to be “community driven.” The NIA decided to take this issue into their own hands and start the campaign. Sutphin went on to say that the new administration under Mayor Reed Gusciora has provided a lot of essential materials for them to do these cleanups. The NIA has cleaned over 200 sites since the start of this campaign. These same sites have been worked on since the NIA began their focus on illegal dumping around 2010. “Some of these streets we have done ten, twenty times, you know, repeatedly,” Sutphin said. The NIA has a lot of support from outside volunteers, including McMullan, Naeem Muse, a staff member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community School, and Marwan Malloy, a devoted community member that was aware of the dumping issue and wanted to help out. Even the East Ward City Councilman,

Joseph Harrison, was present to assist with the cleanup on Saturday. Students were able to learn from these volunteers about the illegal dumping issue. The waste issue is concerning and can even be discouraging for families. The purpose of the cleanups is to instill hope into the Trenton community by picking up the large garbage that is left behind. Sutphin also mentioned that the NIA takes care of larger-scale items that are dumped, not smaller trash like litter. “People need to know how different illegal dumping is from litter,” said Environmental Club President Bryan Wood, a senior biology and secondary education major. “Tires, trucks, mountains of trash and debris are left in someone’s backyard because some company didn’t want to pay a landfill fee…My fear is that people would assume the dumps are a character statement for these neighborhoods, but it’s not. It’s a crime being purposefully perpetrated against low income communities and communities of color.” Illegal dumping can be combated if everyone is made aware of this issue and gets involved. TCNJ Bonner Scholars and the NIA have a long-standing relationship because of Bonner alumnus and current business administrator of the NIA Lauren Wasserman. This was a part of her legacy project when she was a student at the College. If a student is interested in volunteering with Bonner, they can contact bonner@tcnj.edu.

day,” said NIA Vice President Aziz Bey. This is not an easy task due to the amount of items that volunteers have to pick up and put into a dumpster. Students were warned to be cautious. If they came across syringes or anything sharp, they were instructed to call over a member of the NIA. The director of the Bonner Institute, Althia Muse, said that volunteers came across various items like tires, doors, glass, rugs, plaster, toilets and even appliances. “The majority and the bulk of this waste comes from small business owners or individuals who are doing construction work out of town and looking for a cheap and illegal way to get rid of their waste,” Muse said. Instead of paying a fee and leaving unwanted materials in a landfill, they avoid this through dumping illegally. It has been a challenge to combat this issue in Trenton, but recently law enforcement have begun installing cameras to help deter people from doing this. “The economy of this makes no sense to me,” said Bernard McMullan, the president of Trenton Council of Civic Associations. “The amount of money, for example those tires, the amount of money you had to pay to put them into a Photo by Myara Gomez truck, then to bring them out here, and put them against the risk of seeing you doing The purpose of the cleanup was to instill hope in the Trenton community.

Bernstein updates LIONS timetable in email of upcoming initiatives By Briana Keenan News Editor Interim President Michael Bernstein followed up on the LIONS budget that was introduced in December in an email sent to the campus community, outlining the timetable that working groups will follow as they begin researching the new initiatives. Bernstein said in the email that after meeting with members of the Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and Student Government, he selected members for six groups that have different roles in the plan. “I have tried to ensure these working groups are representative of various campus schools and perspectives, while trying to keep them small enough to be effective,” Bernstein said. The six initiatives that received working groups are the School of Continuing, Extended and Professional Studies, three-year bachelor’s programs, community college partnerships, faculty responsibilities and the core curriculum, library operations, and student program and auxiliaries. Each group has a team lead and different students, faculty and staff. While Bernstein appointed these select people, he encouraged people to come

forward with ideas to the respective team. “I want to emphasize these efforts are all meant to be transparent, inclusive and open-minded,” he said. According to the email, these are the initiatives of each group: The School of Continuing, Extended and Professional Studies: Create a business plan for new programs to achieve target revenue in FY2026 ($550,000) and recommend marketing strategies and online program management to reach their FY2028 budget goal of $4 million. Three-Year Bachelor’s Programs: Find programs that would allow for a

three-year degree and work with the necessary people to create requirements. Community College Partnerships: Socialize with local community colleges and prioritize programs for collaboration. Faculty Responsibilities and the Core Curriculum: Recommend new guidelines of faculty responsibilities, specifically reducing adjuncts. Reduce the number of units required for the undergraduate core curriculum, adjusting writing and foreign language requirements. Library Operations: Examine trends in library use and the College’s personal data to see how to meet the needs of the students and faculty.

Interim President Bernstein selected six working groups to begin researching initiatives.

Student Programming and Auxiliaries: Develop a business plan that modifies student affairs programs and housing initiatives. Bernstein said groups are encouraged to submit their plans by April 29 to allow budget planners to implement their effects in the budget for FY2025. They do not need to determine when and how to assess the initiatives, and monthly updates will be sent by the first Mondays of March and April. “I would like to extend my profound thanks to all who have agreed to serve on a working group and to those of you who will assist them in this effort this spring,” Bernstein said.

Photo by Shane Gillespie

Technology cannot determine chemistry By Kate Zydor Opinions Editor

Finding a romantic partner isn’t always as easy as it looks. While some people seem to literally bump into their soul mate, others have trouble making that “stars-aligned” connection. Once you decide you are ready to find that certain someone, it requires not only an investment of time but an emotional investment as well. Working to “put yourself out there” while managing classes and other commitments can be overwhelming. Enter social media apps. The solution for all your dating woes – or so we thought. With just one swipe, friend request or direct message on apps such as Tinder, Snapchat and Instagram, we can connect to and communicate with potential partners. Although convenient, these platforms have at best weakened our interpersonal skills and, at worst, rendered us vulnerable to people with undesirable intentions. In theory, you can be a perfect match with someone on paper but have no chemistry with them in person. Using Tinder as an example, users are asked to input information including their dating goals, hobbies and lifestyle choices. We swipe on Tinder and

make a quick judgment about someone – left or right – based on a few photos and fun facts. Say that you swipe right on a person’s profile who has similar interests, attends your college and is looking for the same type of relationship. You match with one another and you start to think that the universe has conspired for you to find your soulmate; but, when you make plans to meet in person, the conversation is dull and your energies don’t match. You end up texting your best friend to call you with a fake illness that requires your immediate attention. Situations like this occur all the time; which is not to say that there aren’t dating app success stories, but such stories are greatly outnumbered. Now you might question how it’s possible to find a genuine relationship in our society without the use of dating apps. I have grappled with the same question myself. What I’ve come to believe is that there has to be a hybrid approach. There must be a happy medium where we can take advantage of the positives of social media while not ignoring opportunities to connect with others organically. Getting involved in student organizations and activities provides an opportunity to connect in person with people who share your

interests. You never know when you’ll meet the right person. It could be at a club meeting, a paint night at the Recreation Center or during a random afternoon studying at the Library Café. As college students, we are all going through the same confusion that surrounds the dating world. However, we all crave the same thing - human connection and finding our person. By putting yourself out there and meeting new people face-to-face, you are likely to come across individuals with goals parallel to your own. Utilizing these social skills frequently makes building up the confidence to approach people who you are interested in much easier. When we consistently use social media as our only form of contact with the group of people we are interested in dating, it becomes exponentially more difficult for us to have such in-person conversations. Whether you’re looking for a long or short-term relationship doesn’t matter, but it will play a significant role when choosing with whom to spend your time. It’s crucial to acknowledge that many people do not make their dating intentions clear in conversations that take place online, which is an unfortunate consequence of using social media apps as

dating platforms. I have heard many stories from people who have “met” someone through Snapchat and entered into a talking stage, believing that an official relationship was on the horizon. However, after meeting in person, they realized that this potential partner was looking for nothing more than a casual fling. Often, these kinds of experiences negatively impact college students’ perception of relationships and reinforce the notion that college-aged individuals simply want to play the field. For some, this may be true, but by meeting people in person, there is a better chance to gauge whether or not someone checks off all the boxes on the list of what you want from a partner. With that being said, surviving the college dating pool is no easy feat. Try to remember that there is someone out there for you, but you may not find them on social media. On these apps, there is no way to filter out the qualities that are not a good fit for your personality or aspirations. By taking the time to understand yourself and your needs, you also give yourself the time to attract the right people.

Desk assistants are no longer in the apartments: Here’s why residents should care

Photo by Lilly Ward

DAs are no longer present at Hausdoerffer and Phelps Halls, compromising student safety. By Lilly Ward Staff Writer Students returning to their residence halls after 8 p.m. are used to a familiar ritual: They produce their IDs from bags or pockets, quickly flashing the small plastic cards at the desk attendants (DAs) as proof that they live in the building. This semester, however, the chairs behind the desks in the lobbies of the apartments, Hausdoerffer and Phelps Halls, remain empty at night. Just as some residents may have concerns about the security of the buildings without DAs, other students remain unfazed by this new change implemented by Residential Education and Housing. The department decided to remove DAs in an attempt to reduce costs at a time when the College is facing budget shortfalls. This decision raises the question: should security in residential halls be compromised to cut down on costs? As a Community Advisor (CA) in the apartments, I recognize the significance of the people who used to sit behind

those desks. Although their role may have seemed small, the importance of ensuring that only residents can enter the building should not be dismissed. In Hausdoerffer, the doors open automatically after residents scan their IDs, allowing the building to be accessible to all residents. Unfortunately, this accessibility extends to anyone who happens to be in close proximity to the apartments. The doors remain open for approximately 30 seconds. This is enough time for someone walking in the crosswalk across from the apartments to enter without the doors closing. I have often seen students who are not residents enter Hausdoerffer Hall by waiting for someone who is a resident to swipe in and follow them into the building. This is how an intruder gained access to Phelps Hall last semester. One night while I was on duty, I was alerted by the DAs that a man was trespassing in Phelps. The DAs quickly realized that the man wasn’t a resident or a guest when he refused to present his ID and

ran past the desk and into the communal lounge. The DAs immediately called me on my duty phone, and I called Campus Police. The officers arrested the collegeaged man, as he had trespassed in other residence halls on campus that semester. I later spoke to two residents of Phelps who said that the man had spoken to them while they were in the lounge. They did not say what he had said to them, but they stated that they were frightened by the encounter. One of the responsibilities of a CA on duty in the apartments is walking through each of the three floors, three times a night in both Phelps and Hausdoerffer to monitor what is happening at night. If the DAs hadn’t alerted me that someone was trespassing in Phelps Hall, I may have accidentally encountered this individual alone. When I walk through the apartments while on duty now, I cannot help but think of the vulnerable position I am in, not knowing if there is someone in the building who should not be there. I also think about my residents who may also find themselves in this situation. As a solution to the precariousness of doors that automatically open, Res Ed has proposed fixing the doors in Hausdoerffer so that they don’t automatically open, while still giving individuals who need access to automated doors a card that activates them. They also are looking into having campus police walk through both buildings at least once during the night. However, it is four weeks into the semester and this change has yet to be implemented. Living on a small campus often has the effect of feeling as if you are existing within an impenetrable bubble. The Campus Police Department is just a short distance away from the apartments, and throughout campus, there are emergency blue light boxes. It only takes one incident to be reminded of the frailty of this safety bubble. For the most part, the public can come and go as they please on campus. Sometimes these individuals walk their dogs with their families on campus. Sometimes these individuals are men who peep into bedroom windows. Once such an

incident was reported to campus police last October. In 2022, a 26-year-old Ewing Township man was charged with criminal trespasspeering and harassment after allegedly following two Rider University female students into their residence hall. Without DAs, we must be concerned about similar incidents in the apartments. Threats to resident’s safety also originate from within the College. Each year, the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct Student Affairs conducts an annual end-of-year report. During the last academic year, the office received 103 reports from the campus community. Among the data were 27 cases of sexual assault (including rape and sexual contact), 29 cases of sexual harassment and 13 cases related to stalking. Having desk assistants check the IDs of each person who enters the buildings may not always prevent an incident from occurring. However, by monitoring who is in the building, the DAs can track down guests who may have been involved in or witnessed an incident. While on duty, I always felt secure knowing that I could ask a DA for a record of who was in the building if I needed to access this information. The removal of the DAs in the apartments appears at first to be a small change as the College attempts to find its footing financially; however, this decision may foreshadow more significant changes. Will the DAs be cut in other residential halls by fall 2024? Will other student-staff positions within Residential Education be eliminated? The decision to remove DAs calls into question the value that the College places on the safety and wellbeing of students. When I learned that Residential Education intended to remove DAs from the apartments, I sent an email to staff members within the department listing my concerns based on my experiences as a CA. I hope that residents will reflect on what this small change represents and how it may impact their experience at the College.

page 6 The Signal February 16, 2024

There must be more non-stereotypical Black characters in TV and film

Greater Black representation in Hollywood is much needed. By Keasia Jenkins Correspondent When you hear the phrase “Black TV and film,” what’s the first movie or show that pops into your head? “Boyz In The Hood?” “Friday?” “Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air?” “Roots?” “12 Years a Slave?” “Madea?” Not to diminish the greatness of those shows and films, but I believe that Black Hollywood is overly saturated with shows and films that center around harmful Black stereotypes or slave period pieces. The 90s was an amazing time for Black

Photo courtesy of Flickr

TV, as there were many shows without the typical Black stereotypes, allowing people to see the Black experience through a completely different lens. Shows like “Fresh Prince Of Bel Air,” “Martin,” “Living Single,” “A Different World” and “Girlfriends” showcased all different kinds of Black people and allowed for much-needed Black representation. Black people were able to see themselves portrayed in different ways and had appropriate people to look up to on the screen. The box office, however, pushed forward many harmful stereotypes through films depicting gangs and slave

period pieces. Movies such as “Poetic Justice,” “Crooklyn” and “Love Jones” showcased Black love, but that was mostly where the positive representation stopped. I believe we’re in a drought regarding Black television and film. I can’t tell you the last time I saw a show with an allBlack leading cast like in the 90s. If a Black character is in a show, they are the sidekick, a funny best friend who only pops in to support the leading character— who is likely not Black—and is very disposable and underdeveloped. These Black characters often fall victim to other harmful stereotypes such as “the Black best friend” who doesn’t have much going on in their own life but is quick to guide and help the non-Black main character improve theirs. They’re often loud, sassy and handle the difficult situations the non-Black character refuses to deal with. They can be written out in just a blink of an eye and no one will miss them. There are shows like “Abbot Elementary,” “Insecure,” “All American” and “Black-Ish” that have leading Black casts and are phenomenally written, but most positive Black shows are often canceled in their prime or ended to make room for another. It’s as if networks feel

there can’t be too many of these shows on, or even that they won’t sell. The same is true for our film industry. I’ve seen many Black biographies and even more period pieces come out in the last few years, and as important as those are, there should be space for new representation in Black film. Movies such as “Moonlight,” “Get Out,” “US,” “Black Panther” and “Who Cloned Tyrone” broke away from stereotypes and allowed Black people to be queer, to be heroes, to be investigators. This representation is extremely important. I want the film and TV industries to start valuing and keeping positive Black shows and movies on air and in our theaters. There is no reason why there shouldn’t be a plethora of current non-stereotypical Black characters. They shouldn’t be sidekicks or underdeveloped. They should be leading. There have only been two Black-leading casts that won Best Picture at the Oscars in its 92-year history, with only one not being a stereotypical film under the Black genre. All Black TV and film is important. So shouldn’t Black people be allowed the same luxury of being everything on the screen the way white people are? I believe so.

Warner Bros. must return to its roots ‘Midnights’ didn’t deserve AOTY By Donovan Crumpton Correspondent In the rugged years spanning from 2020 to 2023, Warner Bros. grappled with a series of challenges that shook the very foundation of its operations. From financial woes to creative missteps, the studio faced a perfect storm of obstacles that tested its resilience and adaptability. As we reflect on this rough period, it becomes increasingly apparent that Warner Bros. must urgently embrace new leadership philosophies grounded in a deep understanding of its audience to chart a course toward redemption. One of the fundamental issues plaguing Warner Bros. during this time was its apparent disconnect from the audience it sought to entertain. Despite boasting a famous legacy of beloved franchises and iconic characters, the studio struggled to resonate with audiences today, resulting in consistently lackluster releases and missed opportunities. From underperformances within the DC Extended Universe to lukewarm responses to long-awaited sequels to franchises outside of their superhero division, Warner Bros. seemed out of touch with the tastes and expectations of audiences. At the heart of this disconnect lies a failure to recognize the shifting landscape of the entertainment industry. The rise of streaming platforms, alongside the proliferation of digital media and the growing influence of social media have fundamentally altered how audiences consume and engage with content. Studios must be willing to adapt, evolve and understand their audience acutely to thrive today. Central to the argument for new leadership philosophies at Warner Bros. is recognizing that success in the modern entertainment landscape requires more than just creative vision. It demands a holistic understanding of the audience and production team ecosystem, meaning going beyond surface-level market research and demographic analysis to truly grasp viewers’ desires, preferences and aspirations. It requires studios to cultivate a culture of empathy, curiosity and openness to feedback, allowing them to anticipate

trends and shifts and deliver content that hits deeply, whether emotionally, humorously, or both. It is also imperative to scrutinize the challenges facing Cartoon Network, a once-celebrated pillar of the animation industry. Despite its rich history of diverse and innovative programming, Cartoon Network has faltered in recent years, grappling with allegations of mistreatment and harassment within its ranks, criticism over its polarizing programming lineup and entertainment companies like WB withholding many rights from its staff, who pour their passion into these iconic projects. Rights denied to employees include a lack of improved job security, fair treatment to the medium and lifeimproving benefits. These issues highlight the need for a renewed focus on rebuilding trust. They must embrace diversity and inclusion within Cartoon Network’s operations. Only by addressing these challenges head-on can Cartoon Network reclaim its position as a leading force in the animation industry and contribute to Warner Bros.’s journey toward renewal and revitalization. Moreover, Warner Bros.’s challenges extend beyond creative considerations to encompass broader structural and strategic issues. The merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc., under the leadership of CEO and president David Zaslav, brought a host of challenges including staggering debt and declining stock value. Zaslav’s controversial decisions, including a tremendous reduction in (HBO) Max’s catalog, emphasized the need for leadership philosophies grounded in audience-centric principles rather than short-term financial gains. Warner Bros. stands at a critical crossroads in its journey toward relevance and resonance in the modern entertainment landscape. To bypass these obstacles they bestowed upon themselves, the studio must prioritize new leadership philosophies that prioritize audience understanding above all else. By embracing curiosity, acknowledging the fans’ wishes and opening to feedback, Warner Bros. can reclaim its status as a beacon of creativity, innovation and storytelling excellence in the entertainment industry.

Photo courtesy of Apple Music

‘Midnights’ makes Swift’s fourth AOTY win. By Lake DiStefano Staff Writer The Grammys this year pleasantly surprised me. The performances ranged from good to great, the award winners were mostly deserving and the categories were fairly stacked in terms of worthy nominees. However, despite the many successes of the night, I couldn’t help but scowl at my TV when they awarded Taylor Swift her fourth Album of the Year win for her tenth studio album, “Midnights.” While many share this opinion, most seem to view it from the perspective of which album deserved the award more. This is not something I am concerned with. What I am worried about, however, is awarding her art for merit that it doesn’t have. “Midnights,” despite all its sales and chart success, is only good in a commercial sense. Comparing it to her previous three AOTY wins, it seems silly that it exists in the same category. So let’s look at her past successes. What came before to make this particular win feel undeserving in comparison? Swift first won AOTY at the 2009 Grammys for her sophomore record, “Fearless.” It’s arguably Swift’s first great album and has multiple dimensions to its quality. Of course, there’s the music itself, which was undeniable country-pop, spawning such smash hits like “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me.” Despite this, it was huge in what it did for country music as a whole. In a world post-Kelsea Ballerini and Kacey Musgraves, female-oriented, emotive country-pop seems almost like a staple of the genre. Yet back in the mid 2000s, Taylor defied expectations when she

made her debut on the scene. “Fearless” was not only an album but a statement. It was a declaration that the emotions of young women not only matter but can resonate widely. All you need, Swift argues in “Fearless,” is a dream and a guitar. This album chronicles the romantic struggles of girlhood, all while sounding effortlessly catchy. This led to Swift’s next win in 2015 for her first full pop album, “1989.” A record that can only be described as the pop album of a generation. With hits such as “Shake it Off” and “Wildest Dreams,” everyone knows the songs on this record. No matter how overplayed they are, there’s at least one song on this record that even Swift’s biggest detractors find themselves nodding along to. In “1989,” Swift set out to craft a pop album that was not only timeless but would also evolve her public image from that of a youthful country star into a worlddominating pop star. It succeeded on both fronts, with the optimistic nature of its choruses blending perfectly with the mid-2010s’ play-hard culture. “1989” cemented Swift’s place in pop culture and began an era in which escaping her was simply impossible. She was on every talk show, on every radio station and certainly on your mind. As someone whose childhood aligned with this album’s domination of the radio, these songs have become the soundtrack to my life. It’s hard to imagine a time when “Blank Space,” in all its satirical glory, or the electric-guitar-driven “Style,” wasn’t in my music rotation. Swift’s third and final deserving win came in 2020, for the first of her quarantine records, “Folklore.” In “Folklore,” she toyed with more indie and folk sounds, to make songs that centered around her storytelling lyrical style. Given the circumstances of the pandemic, its minimal and down-tempo production made it a comfort in that difficult time. The natural and escapist aesthetics of the record were greatly appreciated. In terms of its writing, this album is easily Swift’s best work, with practically every song featuring lyrics that not only tell a fictional story outside of herself but also function as poetry. There are many lines from this record you could pick out as instances of great literary work. Read more on our website!

Features Student employment: More than just a job

By Nicholas Steinhauser Staff Writer

Across the College, there are many undergraduate students on campus who work jobs in between classes that are important to both themselves and the campus community. There are several different types of jobs offered exclusively to students, giving a wide range of possibilities available to those who want to get more out of the college experience. While getting a job may seem difficult for many students, there are several resources on campus, such as bulletins or emails, that notify students about potential job opportunities. The College’s student employment website is another resource for students to learn more about applying to certain on-campus jobs. “This Week at TCNJ emails and the approved posting bulletin boards on campus made it easy to know that applications for being an ambassador were available,” said Chelsea Berwick, a sophomore history major, who currently works as an ambassador on campus. Ambassadors serve as tour guides for prospective students and promote the public image of the College. But departments across campus have cut student worker hours and positions in recent months, as the College continues to cut costs, leaving fewer opportunities for students to make money while at school. Jobs may also differ on their availability. “Some of the jobs are more competitive than others, but I believe that there is something for everyone if you want to get a job on campus,” said Berwick. Student employment is a great way for students to get more involved in

Photo by Chelsea Berwick

Photo by Chelsea Berwick

Ambassadors keep students in touch with the exciting parts of campus life. campus life as well. Since these campus jobs mainly consist of undergraduates, it is likely that students will work together consistently and get to know each other better. Ambassadors in particular are a very cooperative position that keeps students in touch with the exciting parts of campus life. “I think a key piece of the ambassadors program that I love is that you get exposed to so many new people in different areas of campus. The program is very well run, and we work well together and get to be heavily involved in the campus community,” said Berwick. In terms of undergraduate working conditions, the interests of the undergraduates as students comes first.

“Employers are definitely cognisant of the fact that you are a student first,” said Zoe Talbot, a graduate English student. “They understand that being a student worker isn’t supposed to be something that one lives off of, as it’s more of a supplemental position in a student’s campus life. In her undergraduate years at the College, Talbot worked as a tutor and a theater technician. Campus jobs are also quite available to off-campus undergraduates. “On-campus jobs are only a short distance from your residence, and they tend to offer schedules that are student-friendly,” said Kaitlyn Bireta, a sophomore undeclared business student. Bireta works as a peer tutor, which she believes is very accessible for students. “I feel that peer tutoring is a good job for a student because you set your own

schedule and even have the choice as to whether you tutor in-person or online,” Bireta said. Undergraduate employment can also be essential for a student’s long-term goals. Depending on the job and the prospective career, students can find jobs that fit into their interests and gain more experience in a field they want to pursue. Talbot commented on how her undergraduate employment has affected her career aspirations. “One of the biggest reasons I became a tutor is because I want to be a teacher. Now, I’m actually teaching a first-year writing course and helping tutors learn the things that I used to do,” she said. However, one of the most important aspects of undergraduate employment is how a student worker can make an impact on the community as a whole. There are many jobs on campus that serve to help others and enhance the overall college experience and success of the students. Peer tutoring in particular is an extremely rewarding job that enables students to assist others in their academic success. “Working as a tutor is definitely a job that will leave you feeling good on a regular basis,” said Bireta. “I enjoy being able to see students grasp concepts that they were feeling overwhelmed by and seeing their confidence increase.” Student employment is a very rewarding experience that allows students from many different fields to find professional experience in a field they are passionate about. For anyone interested in an on-campus job, the student employment site is a great place to start learning about potential positions and applications.

Club Highlight: BSU president speaks on inclusivity

BSU office is located in Brower Student Center Room 203. By Emma Ferschweiler Staff Writer Black Student Union launched at San Francisco State University during the Black Campus Movement. Since the 1960s, unions have popped up nationwide including the College’s own institution in 1972. Diamond Urey, president of the College’s Black Student Union, is a senior history major who joined the union her freshman year. She said BSU aims to provide a sense of community and belonging for Black students who attend a predominantly white college. “Having a Black Student Union is literally like a haven, a place where you can be with other people who—even if they don’t look like you if they’re not Black—they at least understand what

Photo by Matthew Kaufman

you’re going through, or at least are willing to understand and empathize with you,” Urey said. Along with representing Black students, BSU educates others about the history and culture of the Black diaspora. Dr. Piper Kendrix Williams recently held a lecture on Afrofuturism at a general body meeting, the theme BSU chose for Black History Month. Educational opportunities like this one and a recent trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture are highlights of the organization. Urey said the Afrofuturism lecture had a good reception, but it is difficult to get students interested in lecture-style events. To combat this, Urey said they incorporate entertainment into the educational aspect. For the upcoming “Evening in New Orleans” event, there will be a teaching

on the history of New Orleans and student performances. BSU’s newly formed Lionettes is making its debut on this occasion. BSU represents not only African American culture but other nationalities as well. Urey said, as president, she wants to include the different groups that make up Black culture, from the Caribbean to the different parts of Africa. However, she said the union tries to focus on Black American experiences. “It’s very needed at every college just to uplift Black students, specifically let them know you can get your degree, you can succeed here and we’re here to support you socially and emotionally,” Urey said. BSU frequently collaborates with other organizations that represent people of color, such as the Association of Students for Africa, the Vietnamese Student Association, Union Latina and the College’s Intercultural Affairs. Urey said BSU also hopes to coordinate with Princeton University’s BSU and other local unions. The College’s BSU office is located in Brower Student Center in Room 203, and Urey said the door is always open. She said it is important for the union to act as a resource for students of color, even if they are not Black, because of the added challenges they face in college. “When you’re the only Black person in class, which was my entire experience as a history major, it feels like you have to represent all Black when you speak,” Urey said. Urey said she wants people to know that BSU is not just for one group of people but is open to everyone.

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page 8 The Signal February 16, 2024

New doula course hopes to strengthen maternal health By Liz Ciocher Features Editor

With the combined efforts of Dr. Natasha Patterson and Professor Ria Rodney, the College has launched its first doula training course. The course, officially listed as “Foundations in Community Birth Work, The Doula Method,” will provide students with official doula certification upon passing completion. Doulas are emotional support professionals who help people through all stages of pregnancy, including early stage pregnancy, delivery and postpartum birth. While they are not clinically trained, they serve a strong role in the maternal process. “A doula is a ‘help mate,’” said Rodney, one of the course instructors. “They’re there to help the mom; they’re just providing emotional support and comfort for that person. People can get very sick with their pregnancies, and doulas have been proven to reduce the rate of morbidity and mortality surrounding pregnancy.” The sickness and ailments of people undergoing pregnancy have contributed to a maternal health crisis in the United States, with New Jersey having one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the country. The rise of this conflict is what got our professors thinking about how the College can make a difference. “Four/five years ago we started working with Tammy Murphy’s office to work with them on developing a strategic plan to deal with the maternal health crisis in New Jersey,” Patterson said. “A lot of [Murphy’s plan] said to train doulas and midwives and things like that, so, Ria Rodney, who is a WGSS adjunct here, approached our chair and she asked if we would want to do a course on it.” According to the instructors, the entire process of creating the upper-level seminar course took nearly four years, with the process including a proposal, public health department approval, curriculum development and student application approval.

Photo by Ria Rodney

In addition to their Wednesday class time, the syllabus details 16 hours of hands-on skills training, which every student completed earlier this month. Rodney is previously doula certified, while Patterson will be receiving her certification alongside the students enrolled in the course. Applying students wrote essays and participated in interviews with the instructors explaining why they were interested in taking the course. “I actually wasn’t expecting to get into it,” said Camille Clemente, a junior public health major. “But I’m really grateful to be one of the first ones to experience this. They definitely planned it really well. I already see the work they put in is really showing.” The 16-student course meets every Wednesday and fulfills requirements for both Public Health and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. It is an upper level seminar, but it is not confined to a certain major or department. “We have nursing students in the course, psychology, biology, education–a number of different majors,” Patterson said. “Anybody can take the course. They just have to have the prerequisites – foundations of behavioral science and things like that.” Over the semester, the students will

finish four books to prepare them for their doula training. The books teach the students about topics that are not always accessible during hands-on training, such as advocacy, mental health, trauma and domestic violence. In addition to their Wednesday class time, the syllabus details 16 hours of hands-on skills training, which every student completed earlier this month. Nikia Lawson, a certified doula trainer, worked with the students and instructors for two days from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Lawson’s instruction included lectures as well as hands-on practices. In addition to learning about the physical practices with their assigned families, they learned about the occupational side of the trade. “It was a long but really great training, the person we worked with had a wealth of knowledge,” said senior biology major Samielle Taylor. “She had such great energy, and she really showed us the ropes as far as not only what it means to be a doula but also the business aspect of things and how to get ourselves off the ground in the doula business.” Now that the students have completed

their hands-on training, the process of assigning them to real-life families has begun. Here, they will work directly with the families, shadowing a certified doula before they are assigned to a family of their own. The spread of information about doulas and how they can help families is a small step in resolving the maternal mortality crisis affecting New Jersey. “I thought, ‘How can I expand doula resources?’” Rodney said, “and I think college students are great to get involved in this work. They are very passionate about healthcare. I wish I had this opportunity as a student. Doulas are just one part of solving this [maternal health crisis].” For some students, making this difference is personal. “I myself am a mother, and I didn’t know what a doula was, how to get one, the support or the number of resources they had to offer,” said Taylor. “I feel like the more people in the community that know about this resource, the better.” According to the Office of the Governor, New Jersey has one of the widest racial imbalances when it comes to both maternal and infant care. Patterson and Rodney hope this course will help to combat these issues. “My driving force is knowing there are a lot of people in the birthing space, especially OBGYN, who are white males who will never know what giving birth is like,” Taylor said. “We’re putting our birthing process in their hands, and having someone there for support who has lived experiences and firsthand knowledge to know what it’s like to be a woman and woman of color while navigating some of these systems is important.” Based on the progress of the course’s first run this semester, both Patterson and Rodney hope to continue the course’s run for years to come. “I’m really impressed with our students, and I’m really proud of them,” Rodney said. “I know they are going to provide excellent care to our families in Trenton and can’t wait to see how much they accomplish this semester.”

Greek Life at the College: A creation of family By Aimee Bulger Staff Writer

The idea of rushing a sorority or fraternity can be a daunting idea. The anticipation, process and waiting can be anxiety inducing. However, all of this pays off in the long run, as Greek Life offers the deep connections and friendships that every human craves. Over the years, the College’s Greek Life program has produced lasting friendships, connections, networks and opportunities for those who join. Alumni from some of the first chapters of Greek Life on campus are still deeply connected today. By simply joining an organization offered by the College, these women were able to not only create friendships, but extend their families who remain close and in contact to this day. “Deciding to pledge was one of the best decisions I ever made,” said Christine Nicholson, alumna of the College and Delta Phi Epsilon. “I took a chance and went to some rushes with the loud girl across the hall from me. Now she is the godmother of my son…they are my people. The ones I seek out in good times and bad. I consider them my family.” By joining Greek Life, these

Photo by Sally Bulger

Denise Hallinan, Sally Bulger, Kris-Anne Kinney and Christine Nicholson years ago at a sorority formal. women, like many others, have forged can open up opportunities for jobs, a bond that has withstood the test of internships or even simply more time and distance. These connections friendships. have provided the support and love “Most sorority and fraternity that people are constantly searching members knew each other,” said Lori for. Koch, alumna of Delta Phi Epsilon. Those involved in Greek Life are “Our social life was hanging out and opened up to a network of not only participating in mixers, activities people attending the College at the [and] Adopt-a-Highway…” same time as them, but alumni who Through these activities, many of are still active today. This network which are still common in Greek Life

today, lasting connections and bonds are created, with some resulting in job opportunities and even marriages. While Greek Life can provide its members with a thorough network of people, it can also provide real world preparation and experiences. Denise Hallinan, another alumna of Delta Phi Epsilon, offered her perspective on how being a part of Greek Life helped her prepare for the real world. “Being in a sorority gave me a social purpose,” said Hallinan. “It helped me learn to work with all different personalities and learn to love people even if we didn’t have the same opinion about things. It prepared me for being an elementary school teacher. Working with others isn’t always easy but the sorority was like a practice run for real life.” While Greek Life may be an unexpected experience for some, like alumna Kris-Anne Kinney, it seems to be extremely worth the risk. “Trying something I never thought I would do, like Greek life, landed me the best friends I could ever ask for,” said Kinney. Taking that jump into a pool of something new and unfamiliar may be terrifying, but that terror slowly fades away when replaced with a new beautiful bond of sister or brotherhood.

Signals of Love

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you are a god amongst men and also your hair is really nice

Happy Valentine’s Day Amanda !!! Enjoy the day! Love, Mom, Dad and Peter

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From Ally

My dearest Izzy, co-editing with you is my favorite thing on the planet. I can’t wait for what’s to come! Love ya!

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From Lori

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We’ve been friends for so long give it a chance

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From Vincent Meglio

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From Stefan


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From E Let me take you to dinner <3

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Hi pearl pal! You’re doing AMAZING as EIC! Your hard work does not go unnoticed. Love you lots! Happy Valentine’s Day <3 LISK!

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From Izzy

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From Lori

i love you all so much, thanks for being my best friends <3

From Mom and Dad

My dearest Ally-you are the light of my life! Keep shining brightly! Love you with all my heart Love, Mom

Happy Valentine’s Day to our beautiful girl. Keep giving the love you deserve to get.

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Dear Cristina, you are a wonderful young woman! Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Lori

Happy Valentine’s Day Matt! Miss you!

To A

From Claire

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From Lisa

To Matthew

Brianne you are my other half. My life is infinitely better becase of you and the love I have for you is deeper than I can explain. Happy Valentine’s Day

From Rosie Pilla

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My forever galentine, I’m so proud of everything that you do! Love you always!

To the best org on campus, I absolutely love you all. Keep killing it with all that you do!

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happy valentine’s day lil mama <3 love u so bad xoxo

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To 91.3 WTSR FM

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Elon Musk’s first steps for building a brain-computer interface begin

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Elon Musk’s latest project that can read neural activity was recently placed in people. By Rajika Chauhan Staff Writer Elon Musk has made a prolific name for himself in the past decade, not only through the accumulation of wealth, but also as through his innovative and often divisive technological endeavors to which he has pledged his backing and resources. One such endeavor is Neuralink, a company co-founded by Musk in 2016, which aspires to produce significant advances in the realm of what neuroscientists and engineers term “the braincomputer interface.” According to Nature, the BCI movement intends to develop technology that will be able to read neural activity and translate it to actions on a computer or other machines, without the need for physical activity as an intermediary. While the aims and scope of the various efforts being undertaken under the BCI umbrella

are variable, proponents speak of a future where individuals who are paraplegic may be able to control devices , wheelchairs or prosthetics through mere thought. In a recent post on X, Musk described Neuralink’s promise as “if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist o r auctioneer.” While much of Neuralink’s activity has been kept discreet, Musk made a bold reveal on Jan. 29, stating in a tweet, “The first human received an implant from @Neuralink yesterday and is recovering well. Initial results show promising neuron spike detection.” Neuralink’s flagship product is a chip purported to be inserted into the brain, consisting of a small coin-like disk attached to an array of flexible wire threads. According to a brochure released by the company, the chip contains 64 flexible plumber threads, with

1024 sites to detect brain activity. These electrodes will record averages of electrical activity, or neuronal signaling, for collections of neurons, and transmit that information to a device to produce the intended action. The company has also said that it is developing a surgical robot to assist with insertion of the device into the brain. Neuralink’s approach to the BCI is markedly different from other companies in the field, which have designed systems that must be physically tethered to a computer via an entry port in the skull. Neuralink intends to have its device operate wirelessly, creating complications not faced by previous iterations of the BCI, such as an increased risk for infections, according to Nature. Researchers that have been leading progress in the BCI field have expressed excitement at the prospect of Neuralink’s ongoing work, but continue to issue notes of caution. “What I hope to see is that they can demonstrate that it is safe. And that it is effective at measuring brain signals — short term, but, most importantly, long term,” said Mariska Vansteensel, a neuroscientist at University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands, in an interview with Nature. Many scientists have also expressed frustrat ion over Neuralink’s lack of transparency in its research and design process, according to Nature. Its recent clinical trial has bee n conducted under secrecy with little information made available to the public. The trial has also not been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov,

an online register governed by the NIH on which most universities and medical institutions require that clinical trials be published. Registration is a regulatory step that ensures research trials are meeting established ethical standards when it comes to the treatment of volunteers. The little information that is known about the current clinical trial comes from a study brochure released when the company began recruiting volunteers after receiving FDA approval last September, according to The New York Times. The brochure states that the trial is selecting for individuals with quadriplegia, who will have the device surgically implanted and will be followed for five years afterwards to assess device durability and success, using the implant at least twice a week to control a computer. “This study involves placing a small, cosmetically invisible implant in a part of the brain that plans movements,” according to Neuralink’s website. “The device is designed to interpret a person’s neural activity, so they can operate a computer or smartphone by simply intending to move — no wires or physical movement are required. The ultimate directions of this latest experiment on Musk’s part are yet to be determined, and some of his more audacious claims of restoring sight and curing paralysis seem to be yet well out of reach. Regardless, Neuralink has set its sights and considerable resources on the effort to transform the dream of a BCI into reality, and this latest development is the start of what may be a promising journey.

Deadly attack on Jordan leads to U.S. launching strikes in Iraq and Syria By Janjabill Tahsin Staff Writer Three U.S. soldiers were killed and more than 50 others were injured, including some Arizona National Guard service members, in an overnight attack on Jan. 28 in northeast Jordan, near the Syrian border. At least one service member is in critical condition after a drone bypassed the American base Tower 22’s defenses and struck while soldiers were sleeping, according to the Washington Post. The drone attack was not only the f irst targeting of American troops in Jordan during the IsraelHamas war, but is the first to result in the loss of American lives. Spc. Kennedy L. Sanders, 24, Sgt. William J. Rivers, 46, and Spc. Breonna A. Moffett, 23, all of whom were from Georgia, were killed. A statement from President Joe Biden said that U.S. officials are still gathering the facts of this attack, but state that it was carried out by Iran -backed militias operating under the umbrella organization the Islamic Resistance in Iraq. It was this group that claimed responsibility for the

attack on Tower 22, according to the Washington Post. Since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out in October, the Iranian-backed militias have struck American bases at least 166 times — over 60 times in Iraq and over 90 times in Syria — with a mix of rockets, missiles and oneway attack drones in retaliation for the U.S.’s support for Israel in the Israel-Hamas war. AP News reported that their aim is to push U.S. forces out of the Middle East. In response to the fatal drone attack, the U.S. launched its first retaliatory airstrikes on Feb. 2, flying in B-1 long-range bombers and hitting a total of 85 targets at seven sites: four in Syria and three in Iraq. The U.S. targeted command centers, intelligence hubs and drone facilities of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds Force and the local militia groups it supports, according to the BBC. “The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhe re else in the world,” Biden said in a statement announcing the strikes. “But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we

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Aftter three U.S. soldiers were killed, the U.S. sent drone attacks to Irani forces. will respond.” While U.S. officials have stressed that they wanted to avoid a wider conflict in the Middle East, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the strikes on Feb. 2 were “the start of our response.” “We do not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else, but the President and I will not tolerate attacks on American forces,” he said in a separate statement. “We will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our forces… and our interests.” The U.S. strikes reportedly killed nearly 40 people, including 23 militia members guarding targeted locations in Syria, according to

the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, as well as resulting in injuries at multiple sites in desert areas. While offering no specific threats, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi warned of potential retaliation for any U.S. strikes targeting its interests on Feb. 2, stating, “[We] will not start a war, but if a country, if a cruel force wants to bully us, the Islamic Republic of Iran will give a strong response.” This sentiment was echoed by Harakat al-Nujaba, a major Iranbacked militia, which vowed to continue its military operations against U.S. forces the same day.

February 16, 2024 The Signal page 11

Social media CEOs testify in Senate hearing on child safety

CEOs of Meta, TikTok, Snap, Discord and X were questioned by the Senate. By Gauri Patel Staff Writer The CEOs of top social media companies testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about child safety on their platforms on Jan. 31, marking the latest effort of lawmakers to address concerns that these platforms prioritize profits over the well-being of their users, according to The Associated Press. The high-profile hearing comes at a time of increasing concern from parents, lawmakers and online safety advocates over the harmful effects of social media on children. The chief executives, consisting of Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, TikTok’s Shou Zi Chew, Snap’s Evan Spiegel, Discord’s Jason Citron and X’s Linda Yaccarino, were questioned by the Senate committee about the mental health risks their platforms pose for young people, as well as accusations that their companies have failed to protect kids from exploitation and abuse.

Critics say social media platforms’ tools for protection fall short and hope the hearing will push lawmakers to take decisive action. The hearing began with a video in which parents and teenagers raised concerns about how children were exploited and affected by the addictive nature of social media, the unregulated presence of sexual predators and the promotion of unrealistic beauty standards that have given rise to mental health issues, such as eating disorders and even suicide. The video also presented recorded testimony from kids and parents who said they or their children were exploited on Fac ebook, Instagram and X, according to The Associated Press. In a show of unity, Republican and Democratic senators grilled the CEOs together, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) telling Zuckerberg he had “blood on his hands,” according to Reuters. “Mr. Zuckerberg, you and the companies before us, I know you

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don’t mean it to be so, but you have blood on your hands,” said Graham, drawing applause and cheers from many affected families attending the hearing. “You have a product that’s killing people.” Many parents who attended held pictures of their child ren they had lost to suicide after b eing harmed due to social media. Some parents jeered at Zuckerberg during his opening statement and shouted comments at other times during the hearing. In a question and answer session with Zuckerberg, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) asked the Meta CEO if he had personally compensated any of the exploitation victims and their families for what they have been through, to which Zuckerberg replied that he “did not think so,” according to The Associated Press. Hawley then challenged Zuckerberg to apologize to them directly, and Zuckerberg turned towards the parents in the gallery and said his apology. He pledged to work to prevent what they

experienced from happening to others but stopped short of taking responsibility for facilitating the abuse, as Hawley suggested he should. During the hearing, the social media executives touted existing safety tools on their platforms and the steps they have taken to ensure the protection of minors. Chew said TikTok is vigilant about enforcing its policy that bars children under 13 from using the app, and under questioning by Graham, said TikTok would spend more than $2 billion on trust and safety efforts. Yaccarino said X does not cater to children, adding that the company will support the Stop CSAM Act. This federal bill makes it easier for victims of child exploitation to sue tech companies and app stores, according to Reuters. Snap, the company behind the instant messaging app Snapchat, and X also came out in support of the Kids Online Safety Act, proposed in 2022 by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). This bipartisan bill establishes provisions to protect children under 17 on social media platforms, such as mandating platforms to provide more reporting tools for parents. The social media executives reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to enhancing the safety and well-being of young users across their platforms, acknowledging the challenges they face in the digital landscape. “Just like with all technology and tools, there are people who exploit and abuse our platforms for immoral and illegal purposes,” Citron said during the hearing. “All of us here on the panel today and throughout the tech industry have a solemn and urgent responsibility to ensure that everyone who uses our platforms is protected from these criminals, both online and off.”

Scientists propose adding a sixth hurricane category as temperatures increase By Aneri Upadhyay Staff Writer

With the climate always changing, hurricanes have gotten stronger over time. Scientists have proposed a new category for hurricanes to account for this, according to a new study. According to the Guardian, there have been five storms in the past decade that could be classified as hurricanes with “category 6 strength,” defined as winds of 192 mph or more. Michael Wehner, a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who proposed the new category with James Kossin of the University of WisconsinMadison, spoke on how fast these hurricanes really are. “192 mph is probably faster than most Ferraris, it’s hard to even imagine,” said Wehner to the Guardian. “Being caught in that sort of hurricane would be bad. Very bad.” The current Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale was made in the 1970s. The strongest category includes storms that are 157 mph or more. A new category was proposed by Wehner and Kossin due to the rising intensity of storms. Some examples include

Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013 and Hurricane Patricia in Mexico in 2015. Haiyan killed more than 6,000 people and Patricia reached 215 mph, according to the Guardian. Wehner spoke to CBS News about the importance of having a new category and raising awareness of how destructive hurricanes can be. “A s ingle number is really not very descriptive of the entire risk of an impending hurricane if you’re in the path,” he said. “You really need to know what are the kinds of dangers that you’re being exposed to.” Some people argue that Category 6 hurricanes would be too rare. According to NPR, some of the most destructive hurricanes that re cently occurred, such as Hurricane Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2018, would still be considered a Category 5 storm. Hurricane Dorian, which hit the Bahamas in 2019 with wind speeds of 185 mph, would also still be considered a Category 5 storm. According to NPR, the National Hurricane Center has not offered an opinion on whether this new category is needed. In response to the intensity of storms, however,

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Due to climate change, some scientists propose making a category 6 hurricane. it has developed new forecasting tools that allow forecasters to predict how intense storms will be and where they will precisely be to allow for more time in case of evacuation. Experts told AP News that a new category could actually confuse the public instead of providing clarification, as the category is based on wind speed and does not account for how deadly the water a hurricane brings is. Kristen Corbosiero, an atmospheric sciences professor

at the University of Albany who disagreed with the formation of a new category, stated in an email to AP News that her opinion may change when there is “a rapidly intensifying storm in the Gulf” with a Category 6 wind speed. According to AP News, storms in the Pacific are stronger due to less land, so there is more room for storms to grow. No storms in the Atlantic have reached above 192 mph thus far, but as temperatures increase, so does the possibility of one happening.

GALLERY / Showcasing Ukrainian art

The group collectively conveys themes of mourning and solidarity. Continued from page 1 One of the works in the gallery, Kurmaz’s “Target,” is a slideshow of 50 photographs that were taken in Kyiv, Ukraine through a sniper rifle scope. The video, which is projected onto the wall, plays on a loop in one of the corners of the room. “I tried to convey the sense of fear and threat that I lived with all this time and tried to cope with,” he wrote on his website. Ganchak, who immigrated to New York prior to the war, spoke of similar fear in an interview during the reception, discussing how difficult it was watching her family and friends suffer from afar. Though she has a background in painting and sculptural art, she started using watercolors as a quicker and easier way to express her feelings

Photo by Riley Eisenbeil

amidst the chaos — some can be seen in the gallery. Kulikovska also worked with watercolors in her art, as shown in “My Beautiful. Wife?” and “The Saga About Pregnant Me and About My Pregnant Husband,” both of which were done on Soviet-era architectural paper. “The paintings from the series ‘My Beautiful. Wife?’ demonstrate the deformed, exhausted and injured body of a woman,” Kulikovska wrote on her website. “…so loud in the context of internal conflict, and so quiet in the context of patriarchy and war.” Aside from those mentioned, there are numerous other works displayed throughout the gallery. While the works of each artist vary in their portrayal of the theme, the

group collectively conveys themes of mourning and solidarity. Expressing her profound gratitude during the reception, Ganchak acknowledged the overwhelming support for Ukraine evident at the opening. “The posters, the turnout, the students who are interested, it means the world to us that you guys are here,” Ganchak said. “It’s been two years, it’s a very, very heavy subject and you can check out, but you are here and supporting on the campus and it’s very important to us.” This sentiment echoes the gallery’s commitment to fostering meaningful dialogue, as highlighted by PezallaGranlund’s acknowledgement of the impactful Carrie Mae Weems exhibition from the fall of 2022, which she noted inspired, at least in part, this collection. “With that exhibition, we learned that students are really eager to engage with important issues, and that the campus gallery could be a center for conversations about things that really matter,” PezallaGranlund said. In tandem with the collection, and to further prove the idea that art can act as a catalyst for social change, the College’s Art Gallery has planned a series of roundtable discussions and lectures around the issues raised by the gallery in the coming weeks. “TWO YEARS GONE” will be displayed on the first floor of the Art and Interactive Multimedia Building in room 115 until March 7. The gallery is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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Faculty Artist Series recital celebrates diverse music By Isabella Darcy Arts & Entertainment Editor

Assistant professor of voice Brandi Diggs shined in Mayo Concert Hall on Friday, Feb. 2, delivering a remarkable opera performance in the third recital of the College’s Faculty Artist Series. Diggs was joined by internationally acclaimed pianist Soojin Kim and saxophonist Tyrone Page for the recital. “The performance was absolutely amazing,” said audience member and sophomore music education major Regina Ciampoli. The recital took place notably during Black History Month and featured repertoire by eight different composers, many of whom were people of color. Some pieces on the program were “Canciones Clasicás Españolas” by Fernando Obradors, “You Can Tell the World” by Margaret Bonds and “Love Let the Wind Cry… How I Adore Thee” by Undine Smith Moore. Diggs captivated the audience, which frequently erupted in applause throughout the program — their excitement a testament to her exceptional rendition. Diggs’s execution of the repertoire was mesmerizing, with her soprano vocals moving effortlessly from piece to piece, beautifully constructing a mix of emotion and exhilaration. “It was really great,” said

Photo by John Bonacci

The series allows musicians from the College’s faculty to showcase their talents. sophomore music education major Christian Rodriguez. “To see her do what she does in performance, having people of color on stage at a predominately white institution and just having that representation is fantastic.” Diggs, Kim and Page intentionally chose repertoire composed by people of color for the performance. “As far as choosing the repertoire, we really wanted to showcase diverse composers and amplify diverse voices,” said Page. The recital ended with a piece by Moore, titled “Watch n’ Pray.” Diggs said that she chose to close with this piece to honor Black composers and pay homage to Black history during Black History Month. Moore, sometimes known as the “Dean of Black Women Composers,” was a successful composer and music

instructor in the 1900’s. Experiencing racism herself, she worked to support and uplift Black artists. According to the National Public Radio, the list of Black female

composers in the United States is very short. Moore, however, was not the only Black female composer whose work was featured during the recital. Bonds is another Black female composer whose composition was performed on Friday. She was one of the first Black female composers to gain recognition in the United States. Amidst her own success, Bonds was an advocate for promoting Black composers. The repertoire intentionally chosen for the recital, combined with exceptional performances by Diggs, Kim and Page, made for a great show. Throughout the entirety of February, the College will host a variety of events to celebrate Black History Month.

The Signal’s Valentine’s Playlist Lovesong beabadoobee

Lovers Rock

TV Girl

Friday I’m in Love

The Cure

February 16, 2024 The Signal page 13

Universal Music Group initiates removal of artists’ content

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By the end of the month, all UMG owned music will be erased from the platform. By Ally Uhlendorf Arts & Entertainment Editor After a prolonged and public battle between Universal Music Group and TikTok, multiple artists’ sounds have been muted on the app. Songs by top artists such as Ariana Grande, Bad Bunny, Taylor Swift and many more have been removed from the platform. UMG, the world’s largest music company, is home to some of the most

well-known record labels and brands. The global giant owns labels such as Capitol Music Group, Republic Records and Virgin Music Group, which host some of the most iconic singers and songwriters. At the end of January, UMG published an open letter to TikTok addressing the end of its contract with the app, which ended on Jan. 31. The group claimed that the social media platform did not address concerns regarding AI-generated music that was spread on the app, and that it violated

UMG’s agreement with the platform. “In our contract renewal discussions, we have been pressing them on three critical issues — appropriate compensation for our artists and songwriters, protecting human artists from the harmful effects of AI, and online safety for TikTok’s users,” UMG said in the letter. On Jan. 30, UMG began removing sounds on TikTok that included its recorded music. The company stated that it will now require the app to take down any song that UMG has rights over. Any material that features samples from UMG artists will now be completely removed from the platform. According to Billboard, that may end up accounting for around half of the music provided on TikTok. For years, many artists, especially new and upcoming artists, have relied on TikTok to promote their material and get recognized. The app transformed the industry, and created a myriad of opportunities for music marketing. According to TikTok, “globally, TikTok users are significantly more likely to discover AND share new music content on social or short-form video (SFV) platforms than the average user of social or SFV platforms.” Multiple mainstream artists, such as Tate Mcrae and Olivia Rodrigo, create TikToks to tease snippets and promote their new music. This allows users to get

a first listen to the artists’ new sound, and inevitably makes them more likely to listen once the music is released. “67% of TikTok users are more likely to search for a song on music streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music after hearing it on TikTok,” according to Demand Sage. Without the ability to get their music recognized through TikTok, the artists as well as the record labels may suffer. Until UMG and TikTok reach a new conclusive deal, they will not be earning any revenue on music to which UMG has any rights. On the other hand, if the two companies were able to reach a deal that pushes TikTok to pay more for the rights to UMG’s music, it can advance the industry as a whole. This situation is a lengthy and intricate one, but could potentially be groundbreaking for the industry. For years, negotiations between media and technology companies typically featured a few dominant rights holders controlling substantial content and a platform with a larger market share. Smaller indie artists who are not working with UMG may gain an advantage from this, and it may be their time to shine. For now, it is hard to guess what will happen from this point on. Even though mainstream artists can live without the income they make through TikTok, they are losing a source of promotion and the reach to a greater audience.

96th Oscars predictions: Snubs, triumphs and flops Usher’s superbowl half-time show disappoints By Maia Venuti Staff Writer

The nominees for the 96th Oscars awards were released at the end of January, with a myriad of incredible and deserving films being put up for nomination. Every film and person nominated for an award this year is extremely deserving of such an achievement, and their hard work is worthy of praise. Here are my predictions for five of my favorite categories: Best Actor in a Lead Role – Cillian Murphy, “Oppenheimer” Almost all of the actors nominated for Outstanding Actor did a phenomenal job in their performances, but the impact of Cillian Murphy’s performance as J. Robert Oppenheimer in Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” cannot be topped. Cillian Murphy has a long history of working with Nolan, with this being their seventh film working together. This role felt so perfectly tailored to exemplify Murphy’s strengths as an actor, allowing him to disappear into the role and authentically embody the genius nuclear physicist. Murphy was an excellent guide on the three hour journey of this film, and did an incredible job at bringing this story to life. Best Actress in a Leading Role – Lily Gladstone, “Killers of the Flower Moon” When it comes to the actresses nominated this year for Outstanding Actress, it feels much harder to predict who will win, considering Emma Stone and Sandra Huller’s incredible performances in “Poor Things” and “Anatomy of a Fall,” respectively. However, Lily Gladstone knocks all of the nominees out of the park with her performance as Molly Burkhart in the historical crime film “Killers of the Flower Moon.” The film tells the true story of the murders of members of the Osage Nation throughout the 1920s, with Molly and her family being real victims of the murders. Gladstone perfectly encapsulated the pain and devastation of this story and her performance illuminated the fact that this really happened in American history. Her performance was so raw and real, and brought me to tears multiple times throughout the film’s nearly three and a half hour runtime. Best Cinematography – Rodrigo Prieto, “Killers of the Flower Moon” Cinematography is often one of the

most important aspects of a movie. A film can have good writing, acting and directing, but can fall completely flat if the visual storytelling element is not up to par. This past year has been nothing short of a triumph in cinematography, with the greatest example of that being the work of Rodrigo Prieto on “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Prieto, who was also the cinematographer for “Barbie,” did some of the best work I have ever seen in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” There are shots in that film that were nothing short of mindblowing — even thinking about it now gives me chills. For a story as heavy and as long as this one, the film would be nothing without stellar cinematography meant to enhance and immerse the viewer. Best Director – Martin Scorsese, “Killers of the Flower Moon” It was extremely disappointing to see only one woman nominated for Best Director this year despite the many deserving female directors out there, but those nominated this year for the award all created masterpieces that are wonderful contributions to the film world. With that being said, no one is more deserving of this award than Martin Scorsese for “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Of all the films that Scorsese has been nominated and won awards for, “Killers of the Flower Moon” can be argued as being his magnum opus. The amount of care, time and effort that Scorsese put into this film — the years of researching and the close work he did with members of the Osage Nation — all shows the passion he had for telling this story the right way. Scorsese’s commitment to accuracy in telling a generally unknown and very dark chapter in American history through his unique and brilliant storytelling style is commendable. Best Picture – “Barbie” Best Picture is arguably the most coveted award for a film to win at the Oscars — it defines the year. No other film can define the year 2023 the way that “Barbie” can. Beyond the utter masterpiece that “Barbie” is in all cinematic aspects, the impact it had on pop culture in the past year was a feat in itself. “Barbie” had millions of men and women of all ages from across the globe flocking to the theaters in droves donned in Barbie pink. The unity that this film has brought about for women is unprecedented, and no other film encapsulates 2023 the way that “Barbie” has.

Usher performed at Super Bowl LVIII during halftime. By Chiara Piacentini Staff Writer Usher may not have been a top pick for Feb. 11’s superbowl halftime show at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium, but he wanted to prove his haters wrong. Unfortunately, they may have been right even if some flaws weren’t his fault. From the second Usher appeared on screen, some technical issues popped up. According to critics, the music appeared to drown out his own voice and his microphone was making unnecessary sounds. It wasn’t until halfway into the show that the sound crew was able to fix the sound problems. But besides these technical hiccups, there were other disappointments that came up. Some fans complained that he wasn’t in tune with his guest stars. While Alicia Keys’ surprise appearance may have been one of the only saving graces of the show, fans were also upset that Justin Bieber didn’t join Usher on stage as well since they were a duet for “Somebody to Love.” As it turns out, Usher offered Bieber to perform with him, but Beiber turned him down because, according to a source from a music industry, “he just wasn’t feeling it.” H.E.R., Lil Jon, Ludacris, will.i.am and Jermaine Dupri were the other guest stars to make an appearance. It seems like the music

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bigwigs took a back seat this time as Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and of course, Taylor Swift, were shown sitting in the stands. It wasn’t enough that Usher played some of his greatest hits either, which included starting off with “Caught Up,” “U Don’t Have to Call” and “Superstar.” His decision to end off the night with “Peace Up, A-Town Down” still wasn’t enough to turn the tide either. While his song presentation may not have been well-received, his costume changes apparently were. Usher made three costume changes throughout the show, with the first being to remove his white suit top to reveal a sleeveless silver shirt before going completely shirtless. The third change happened during H.E.R.’s 40-second segment where he reappeared on roller skates in a glittery blue ensemble. Bottom line, while there were a couple good moments during the show, at best, it couldn’t make up for the overall dull performance. The main problem was that this wasn’t a show that had the power to tug at your heart strings. The choreography had a disappointingly basic approach and Usher ’s singing lacked the emotion it needed to make the performance unique. At the end of the day, those good couple of moments couldn’t change the fact that Usher ’s performance was about as normal as you could get.

page 14 The Signal February 16, 2024

Mitski’s first night performing at The Met in Philadelphia By Jenna Rittman C o r re s p o n d e n t

Around a month after Mitski released her recent album, “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We , ” s h e a n n o u n c e d t h a t s h e w a s going on tour in the United States and Europe. She made two stops to The Met in Philadelphia for h e r t o u r. M y f r i e n d a n d I w e r e lucky enough to score tickets for the first night on Feb. 6. The concert opened up with a performance by the indie rock a r t i s t Ta m i n o . H e h a d a n a n g e l i c , yet powerful voice that went well with his guitar playing. He performed songs such as “The Longing,” “Indigo Night” and “Habibi.” A f t e r a p r o m i s i n g o p e n e r, Mitski and her band made their way onto the stage. She started the concert off with the song “Everybody” from her 2022 “Laurel Hell” album. This is a s i m p l e s o n g w i t h j u s t M i t s k i ’s vocals, a synthesizer and beat in the background. In this song, Mitski speaks about her music career and her rise to fame. The lyrics “Everyone, all of them / Everyone said, “Don’t go that w a y, ” r e f e r t o h o w s h e w a s n ’ t supported in her decision to b e c o m e a s i n g e r, b u t s h e d i d n ’ t let that deter her from chasing her dreams.

Mitski performed fan favorites at The Met.

Photo by Jenna Rittman

Mitski expressed how happy she was to be in Philadelphia again after playing a few more songs. She mentioned that the first time she thought to herself that she loves Philadelphia was when the Eagles won against the Patriots in the 2018 Super Bowl. “Just like people were climbing down telephone poles,” she said. “It was a beautiful night. It really was, and something within me was like, ‘let it burn!’” Alongside playing her songs, she also played folk versions of some of her songs, such as “Pink in the Night” and “I Don’t Smoke.” The audience seemed

to greatly enjoy the folk version of these songs. I appreciate how she experiments with different genres in her music, as it gives her listeners something fresh to listen to. At some points in the concert, some people started shouting things at Mitski while she was performing. One person in the c r o w d y e l l e d “ Ya s q u e e n ! M o t h e r is mothering!” and multiple people in the audience groaned in unison and yelled “Shut the f— up!” Later on in the concert, Mitski addressed the people shouting things from the crowd by saying,

‘Percy Jackson’: TV’s newest hero

‘Stick Season (Forever)’: The end of an era By Jasmine Lee Staff Writer

Percy Jackson, the daughter of Athena and Satyr. By Jasmine Lee Staff Writer The first season of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” has now made its debut on Disney+. Developed by Rick Riordan and Jonathan E. Steinberg, this revitalized series is adapted from Riordan’s 2005 novel “The Lightning Thief.” The series centers on Percy Jackson, portrayed by Walker Scobell, a demigod and the son of Poseidon. He embarked on a quest to recover Zeus’s master bolt, which had been stolen, to prevent a war among the gods. Assisting him are Grover Underwood, a satyr played by Aryan Simhadri, and Annabeth Chase, the demigod daughter of Athena, played by Leah Jeffries. In 2010, director Chris Columbus was the initial filmmaker to tackle the challenge of bringing these beloved books to the silver screen. These films notably cast Logan Lerman as Jackson. However, following dissatisfaction among fans with the previous adaptations, there has been a persistent demand for another attempt to capture the essence of these books on screen. Thus, it was deemed necessary for a fresh take on the series, offering a renewed portrayal of the mystical demi-god adventures. Right from the start, numerous aspects of this series were executed impeccably. Scobell’s portrayal of Jackson was particularly remarkable, capturing the character’s innate sense of wonder

Photo courtesy of IMDb

and humor with astounding accuracy, staying true to the essence of the original character. It felt like Jackson’s character hopped right off the page and truly went from inkwritten words to an actual character that fans had envisioned. Scobell portrayed a character that young kids, who might not know where they fit into the world yet, could relate to. The casting for this film was flawless, not only for Jackson but also for Chase and Underwood. The actors truly embodied their characters through their acting. Jeffries portrayed Chase as a fierce warrior, radiating courage and intensity, while Simhadri perfectly captured Underwood’s gentle and wise nature. The fast-paced series was jam-packed with action as well as pure moments between adolescents, whether you see the characters sharing a heart-to-heart along their journey to the Underworld or battling their fellow demi-gods while playing capture the flag at Camp HalfBlood. The series depicted Jackson’s journey, portraying him initially as a reluctant young individual unwilling to accept assistance from the gods. However, over time, he is gradually molded into a hero through his interactions with them. Opting to begin the series with young actors provides an opportunity for it to evolve alongside the characters as the books unfold, offering fans something to anticipate as the characters age.

“I have an in ear in both my ears, s o I c a n ’ t e v e n h e a r y o u . Yo u ’ r e only really screaming to the people next to you.” S h o r t l y a f t e r, s h e b r o u g h t up people using flash on their cameras while recording. “Pro tip, having flash on on your phones does nothing for your pictures and videos,” she said. One act of hers that stuck out to me is when she performed “Heaven” from her latest album. In the final post-chorus of this song, she slow danced with a spotlight shining on the stage. I found that moment to be beautiful, especially regarding how romantic the nature of the song is. Seeing her slow dancing with a spotlight made me emotional, and I was fighting back happy t e a r s w h i l e w a t c h i n g h e r. She ended the concert off with two of her most well known songs, “ N o b o d y ” a n d “ Wa s h i n g M a c h i n e Heart.” As the concert was ending, I realized how flawlessly crafted all of her performances were. Overall, I really enjoyed the concert. I thought the crowd was m o s t l y r e s p e c t f u l o f h e r, b e s i d e s some people yelling at her and having phone flashes on. I hope the rest of her tour goes well and I truly look forward to what she has planned in the future.

Noah Kahan wrapped up his latest album, which is packed with collaborations and fresh tracks, with the addition of “Stick Season (Forever),” which featured duets alongside Brandi Carlile and Gregory Alan Isakov. This concluding segment showcases Kahan’s newest single, “Forever,” along with “You’re Gonna Go Far” featuring Carlile and “Paul Revere” featuring Isakov. Originally hailing from a quaint Vermont town nestled in New England, Kahan grew up surrounded by his family, including his parents and beloved dogs. Despite his humble beginnings, Kahan carved out his niche in the music industry, crafting pop-folk melodies that resonated with audiences. It was through the platform TikTok that his music first started to gain traction, propelling him toward greater recognition and success. Following the release of his third album, “Stick Season,” Kahan has teamed up with numerous renowned artists, each lending their unique style and creativity to elevate the album to new heights. Collaborators such as Post Malone, Lizzy McAlpine, Kacey Musgraves, Hozier, Gracie Abrams, Sam Fender, Brandi Carlile and Gregory Alan Isakov all contribute their talents as featured artists on this exceptional record. “Forever is a long time. This album cycle has felt like forever, and I’ve loved every second of it. I have loved living in this world. I have never felt more comfortable in my own skin, more proud of what I was representing in my songwriting and more vindicated by the response to a record that was really an extension of my soul,” Kahan said in a Rolling Stones interview. “Forever” was a track Kahan previewed on TikTok for several months before its official inclusion in the final version of “Stick Season.” Alongside

fellow fans, I found myself eagerly anticipating its release, unable to get enough of the snippet. Now, the moment we’ve been waiting for has arrived and we can finally immerse ourselves in the complete song. The track’s lyrics explore the transformations inherent in life, delving into how memories of certain moments or places can evolve or feel different upon revisiting them due to personal growth and change over time. In addition to addressing challenges, the song offers hope for brighter times ahead. Kahan, sharing on Instagram, revealed that while “forever” once symbolized finality and limitations, he now sees it as a beacon of endless possibilities. In addition to “Forever,” Kahan enlisted the talents of Carlile and Isakov for the closing tracks on the album. Carlile’s addition to “You’re Gonna Go Far” is a stroke of genius; her ethereal vocals blend seamlessly with Kahan’s, creating breathtaking harmonies. The stripped-back, acoustic instrumentals perfectly complement their voices. Carlile’s country-infused twang adds depth to the emotional verses, resonating deeply with listeners and evoking tears. Kahan’s collaboration with Isakov on “Paul Revere” is nothing short of exceptional. Isakov’s soft, sultry voice complements Kahan’s higher pitch, lending the track an almost haunting aspect. The harmonies between them are soul-stirring, captivating listeners from the first note. Kahan is set to embark on a summer tour, where he’ll achieve new heights by performing at renowned venues such as the O2, holding two consecutive nights at Madison Square Garden and wrapping up the tour with two nights at Fenway Park in his native New England. Kahan has encountered remarkable success from the beginning of his career to the current moment, and I eagerly look forward to observing his future pursuits, confident that he will continue to soar.

February 16, 2024 The Signal page 15

Lions’ wrestling defeated at home against top ten Stevens

The College in their loss against Stevens. By Cameron Burns Correspondent The College wrestled tough in a gritty effort, but the No. 10 Ducks proved they belonged in the top ten Division III dual meet rankings. The Stevens Institute of Technology was victorious by a fairly decisive final score of 26-11. The No. 13 Lions came into this matchup with an 11-4 overall dual meet record and were riding high. They won their previous three contests at a quad meet and their last five dual meets overall. However, this was not the Lions’ best showing, as they won three out of the ten matches. The Lions were looking to build off their recent success and win their sixth dual

Photo by Shane Gillespie

match in a row. To start off the night, the Lions did exactly that. Junior 165-pound wrestler Nick Sacco, who has been the College’s most reliable wrestler all season, improved his perfect dual meet record to 15-0 on the season. Sacco won 4-1 against the Ducks’ wrestler Chris Stathopoulos and controlled the match from the beginning. Sacco scored three with a very swift singleleg takedown in the first period and never gave his lead back. Sacco’s victory put the Lions up three to nothing and that would be the last lead they had all night. The College struggled to capitalize on the early lead and would drop the next three matches of the night. The 174-pound matchup was between the Lions’ freshman Jimmy Dolan and

Stefan Major for Stevens. Dolan fought hard, but ultimately lost via Major 111. Stevens got their first lead here and remained determined all night to keep it. Next up was the 184-pound matchup. The College’s 184 weight division representative, senior Reid Colella, lost in a narrow decision against the Ducks’ wrestler Joel Martsiovsky, 8-4. This match was the most physical of the night. Even the crowd could audibly hear some of the intense action. It almost resembled the sound of punches being thrown when they clinched up in the collar tie. The match was a lot closer than the score showed, but regardless, the Ducks were victorious and increased their lead to four. The 197-pound bout between the Lions’ freshman D.J. Henry and the Ducks’ Blaise Wagner ended similarly to the two previous. Wagner was victorious by major decision with a score of 15-7 in a fairly competitive matchup. In the heavyweight match up, the Lions bounced back from the three consecutive losses. The College’s Peter Wersinger was victorious 11-1 against Steven’s Maximo Ruiz. The senior awarded the team four points with a big major decision win and cut the Ducks’ lead to a slim margin of four. Wersinger was dominant in this match. He managed to get his opponent with a single-leg takedown, and a front-headlock snapdown for his two takedowns. This was nothing new for the fifth-year heavyweight. He is the No. 17 Division III 285-pound wrestler in the nation. The Lions failed to stack back-to-back wins all night and went on another threematch losing streak. In the 125-pound matchup, the Lions’ freshman Matthew Griffin barely lost in an extremely

competitive matchup against the Ducks’ wrestler Akhil Vega. The score was tied 7-7 after regulation, but Vega ended up winning because of his advantage in riding time. However, there was a controversial call in the middle of the first period that ended up being reviewed. The Lions almost scored a takedown, which would have won the match, but it was ruled out of bounds even after a review. After that was the 133-pound match between the College’s junior Kyle Nase and Stevens’ wrestler Luke Hoerle. This was a battle all the way through. Nase was down 4-1 with about a minute and a half left in regulation and managed to tie it up with a clutch takedown. Despite the late success, Nase was unable to hold on to the lead. The Ducks’ wrestler escaped for one and ended up victorious, 5-4. The third to last match of the night featured the Lions’ freshman 141-pound wrestler J.J. Giordano and the Ducks’ Nico Diaz. Giordano would lose this matchup 7-2. This extended the Ducks’ lead to 13, and with two matches left, the Lions did not have any hope of mounting a comeback. Next up was the Lions’ third victory of the day. This was a 141-pound match between the College’s junior Mike Conklin and Stevens’ Carmen Cortese. Conklin dominated most of the match and won by a major decision with a score of 11-3. Conklin had three takedowns and did not get taken down a single time. The final match of the night was the 157-pound matchup, and it featured the only pin of the night. Lions freshman Ryan Datz lost to Stevens’ Ryan Smith in the middle of the second period. The Lions will look to bounce back in their next meet at home against Centenary University for Senior Night on Feb. 16.

Women’s lacrosse season preview Men’s basketball wins on Senior Night will be ready if they make the big dance. Winning the NJAC this season is a must for the Lions, who have dominated the conference for over a decade and look to win it again. The College is away to end the season against Rowan University and Kean University, which are tough back to back rivalry games to finish off with.

Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone

Women’s lacrosse looks to make a run. By Joey Bachich Staff Writer

2024 is one of the biggest years for the No. 10 Lions in recent memory after a disappointing end to the 2023 season with their loss to Colby College in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Their overall record last season was 16-4, which was impressive, but the Lions want more this upcoming season. The College looks to acquire their 13th consecutive NJAC championship, and they can establish themselves as a top program in the country if they can put up a great record and go far in the NCAA Tournament. The Schedule The Lions schedule is as tough as ever, with four top ten matchups and three road games to start the season. The Lions will face No. 1 Middlebury College, No. 2 Gettysburg College and No. 7 Washington and Lee University in a testing three game stretch in late March. No. 9 Salisbury University will come to Ewing later in the year, marking the fourth top ten matchup of the year. It is important for the Lions to enter the NCAA tournament battle tested, and with this non-conference schedule, they

The Team The elephant in the room is that the Lions lost 12 seniors from last season, meaning that many of the current sophomores and juniors have to step up. The positive news is that the team leader in points, senior secondary education major Ally Tobler, is back for her senior season and looks to lead the team again in points. Last season, Tobler had 80 points with 69 goals and over a 50 percent shooting percentage. Senior nursing major Morgan Vaccaro looks to jump into a starting attack role after finishing with the sixth most points on the team with 32 last season. She only started one game last year, but she still had a major impact off the bench and will be one of the keys to success this season. Senior nursing major Madison Wernik will anchor the defense this season after starting 40 out of 41 possible games over the past two seasons and causing 48 turnovers in those years. Wernik has to be a leader on the defensive side while also bringing some physicality to the table. Finally, senior special education and iSTEM major Julia Charest also returns as the team’s starting goalie. Charest is the emotional spark for the team. When she makes a save in big moments, the whole team feels the momentum shift and that will be a big reason for why the Lions win games this season. The questions will not be about the high end talent, but will be about the role players that have to have big time goals for this team to make another run at the NCAA Championship.

Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone

Sophomore forward Matthew Solomon helped the College in their win. By Joseph Caruso Staff Writer In the finale of the 2023-2024 regular season, the College celebrated their seniors as they prepared to take on Rutgers-Newark in what could be their last home game of the year. The College is coming off back-toback losses in the New Jersey Athletic Conference, losing to Stockton and Ramapo, and desperately needing a win to bolster their chances for the postseason. This is a Rutgers-Newark team that has a victory against the College this season, defeating them in their previous matchup. The Scarlet Raiders of Rutgers-Newark came in with no chance to save their season, as they were multiple games out of a playoff spot with just one contest remaining, and they seemed to be playing an uninspired brand of basketball as a result. The Lions came out aggressive and led for the entirety of the first half, with their lead being as high as 12, and went into the halftime locker room leading 39-27 thanks in part to some stifling defense. For the College, it was junior forward Matthew Okorie and frequent leading scorer sophomore guard Nick Koch leading the way with nine points each. Rutgers-Newark had a measly 27 points going into the half, as

a result of their abysmal 31 percent shooting from the field and eight first half turnovers. Rutgers-Newark woke up to start the second and final period, in which they went on a 14-5 run to start, cutting the College’s lead to just three. The Lions weathered the storm, but the Scarlet Raiders continued to hang around, with the difference being just four with five minutes to go. Thanks to the sealing buckets from sophomore Matthew Solomon, who finished with 14 points to go along with 12 rebounds and five assists, the College closed out the win with a score of 72-59. Okorie led the way for the Lions with 17 points, with three other players following by scoring double-digits. They shot just 5-21 from the three-point line, but RutgersNewark shot 3-15 themselves. The Lions led from start to finish, a true wire-to-wire win. With the victory, the College finished their regular season with a record of 17-8 and 11-7 in conference play. They have secured a spot in the postseason but will be doing some scoreboard-watching to determine whether they get to host a game in the conference tournament or not. Regardless, this has been an impressive turnaround for Coach Goldsmith and the Lions, bouncing back from two straight losing seasons with an impressive returning class for next year.

Reflection on regular season with men’s basketball Coach Goldsmith

Coach Goldsmith urging his team on in a timeout. By Aidan Mastandrea Staff Writer The regular season has come to a close for the College’s men’s basketball team as they finished with a 17-8 record. Head coach Matthew Goldsmith and the Lions will head into the New Jersey Athletic Conference tournament looking to bring the title back to Ewing for the first time since 2020. Heading into the season, there

Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone

were question marks around the team because of the lack of experience. But quickly, the Lions showed that they should be taken seriously. They were able to win seven of their first eight games, headlined by a win in Glassboro against the reigning conference champions, Rowan. “We are young, and in a lot of ways we skipped some growing pains that a lot of young teams go through,” said Goldsmith. The tremendous start vaulted the

College to first in the conference early on, ahead of recent powerhouses Stockton and Rowan. While the sheer level of success may have been surprising to even Goldsmith, he saw signs in the offseason that this team had the talent to compete at the highest level. This was especially seen with sophomore guard Nick Koch. Leading the team in points and assists this season with 17 per game and 4.5 per game respectively, he has been one of the most productive players in the conference in just his second year with the program. Koch really shined in the team’s summer trip to Greece. “He was really calm and aggressive early in our games over there. We looked at each other and thought, ‘Well this might happen quicker than we thought,’” said Goldsmith. The Lions front court is held down by another sophomore, Matthew Solomon. At times this season, Solomon has been dominant on both ends of the floor, even being recognized as the NJAC player of the week in December, along with being named to the “D3hoops” team of the week. He is averaging a doubledouble with points and rebounds and still has over 70 assists on the year. Goldsmith had brief but high praise for his young big. “He’s been a beast,” said

Women’s basketball takes two crucial conference victories

Fifth year guard Julia Setaro attacking the rim. By Tyler Morello Staff Writer The College’s women’s basketball team was victorious in their two games this week. On Feb. 7, they dominated first place Stockton University to retake the top spot of the New Jersey Athletic Conference standings, and then traveled to Mahwah, New Jersey on Feb. 10 to defeat Ramapo College in a tough back-and-forth battle. The Lions won against Stockton 72-36 earlier in the season, but the Ospreys got out to an early lead to start off this game. The College found themselves in a 10-4 hole, but ended the first quarter down 129. They then outscored the Ospreys 15-8 in the second quarter to go up 24-20 at the half, thanks to freshman guard Grace Kowalski scoring eight first half points. The Lions put their foot on the gas the rest of the game and did not give up their lead once. They could not miss in the second half as they shot 48.5 percent from

Photo by Elizabeth Gladstone

the field and an impressive 52.6 percent from three. For the total game, the Lions shot 44.1 percent from the field and 48.1 percent from three. Thanks to their hot scoring in the third quarter, they were able to continue their shooting in the fourth. The College has been commanding the fourth quarter over their last couple of games, showing they are able to prevail when it matters most. The lead ballooned to 21 with the final score ending up 70-49. The team is used to getting great production from the bench, but the Lions scored 47 bench points as a unit on Feb. 7, which is quite notable. Kowalski finished the game with 14 points, while junior Arianna McCleod led the game with 17 and senior Isabella Cafaro had an 11-point 10-rebound double-double. Junior Ella Van Dine added 5 points as well. Grace Speer led the Ospreys with 12 points, with Emma Morrone and Imene Fathi each chipping in for 9. Stockton was

held to 30.6 percent from the field and only 20 percent from three by the College’s fantastic defense. The Lions then took on Ramapo College on Feb. 10 for their final away game of the season. Ramapo came into the game 10-6 in conference play and were 10-2 when defending home court. The Lions found themselves in another tight game in the first half. Neither team was able to create much cushion from each other, as the lead changed many times throughout the game. The largest lead of the game was only eight when the College was up late in the first quarter. Despite the early lead, Ramapo was able to respond right before the half to make the score 3130. The third quarter had four different lead changes and six ties before the Lions went up 54-50 thanks to a three-pointer by senior Izzy Leazier with three seconds left on the clock. The College scored 23 points in the quarter, but was not able to stop the Roadrunners’ offense, giving up 20. Ramapo took a 61-60 lead at the 6:19 mark in the fourth, but the Lions took it right back and did not give it up for the remainder of the game. The final score was 74-68 as the College was able to sink their late game free throws to seal the win. As a team, they were able to capitalize on their foul shooting, as they shot 25 of 31 from the stripe. The Lions were led by junior Nina Branchizio with 14 points and four assists, with contributions from seniors Julia Setaro and Kaitlyn Deiter, adding 11 and nine points, respectively. Jackie Ventricelli played a great game for Ramapo, pouring in 27 points with five assists. After these two crucial wins, the Lions find themselves tied atop the NJAC standings with the best point margin in the league, 11.2. Their final game of the season is Feb. 14 at Packer Hall for senior night.

Goldsmith. While the young studs have been stuffing the stat sheet and helping lead this team to fifth place in the NJAC, fifth year senior Jason Larranaga has been the team’s backbone. His experience and leadership shined early in the year as the Lions started off hot, but an unfortunate injury forced him to miss some games. The College hit a bit of a skid without Larranaga, losing back-to-back games to Rowan and Montclair State, and Goldsmith believes that had a lot to do with losing the three year captain. “Jason is as integral to our roster as anyone, and when he went out we felt it, especially defensively,” said Goldsmith. The good news for the College is that Larranaga is back to full health for the conference tournament run. Despite the postseason beginning, it will be business as usual for the Lions. This team is talented enough to make a real run, but whatever the outcome, it will be a learning experience to help the program in the future. This young roster has certainly over-achieved, but they are not content. This Lions team leaves everything they have on the floor every night, for better or for worse. “They play hard, and as long as you have that, you have a chance,” said Goldsmith.

TCNJ Athletics Schedule Swimming and Diving NJAC Championships Thursday, Feb. 15 through Sunday, Feb. 18 Away at University of Maryland Wrestling Senior Night Friday, Feb. 16, 6 p.m. Home against Centenary University Wrestling Saturday, Feb. 17, 12 p.m. Away at Messiah University Women’s Tennis Opening Day Saturday, Feb. 17, 1 p.m. Home against Stevens Men’s Basketball NJAC Tournament First Round Saturday, Feb. 17, 1 p.m. Away at Ramapo College Men’s Tennis Sunday, Feb. 18, 5 p.m. Neutral Site against Lafayette College Track and Field NJAC Indoor Championships Monday, Feb. 19, 4 p.m. Away at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island, NYC

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