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Spring Issue 1

A day in the life see pages 4-5

February 24, 2017

New Columnist See page 7

Twitter President See page 8

St. Louis Community College at Forest Park

Black history celebration winding down

No union contract this semester

By Nana Ramsey The Scene staff

By Chris Cunningham The Scene staff

Students, faculty and staff have been celebrating Black History Month with a variety of events, including an art exhibit and film festival. Forest Park is considered the most diverse campus in the St. Louis Community College system, with a significant number of internaTaylor tional students and 44 percent (2,277 students) identified as AfricanAmerican. “It is a learning opportunity for all to learn about the contributions made Foster by blacks that are not often mentioned,” said Franklyn Taylor, vice president for student affairs. The first event was a kickoff party Jones on Feb. 2 in the cafeteria with entertainment by the Jabali Afrika Dancers and a buffet meal. That was followed by a screening of the film “Olympic Pride: American Zuo Prejudice” on Feb. 8, separate from the film festival. The Campus Life office and Student Government Association co-sponsored the festival, showing 14 films in the Highlander Lounge. It started with “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” on Feb. 3. “With any cultural celebration, my goal is for students to have more exposure and gain more knowledge,” said Donivan Foster, 34, Campus Life manager and SGA sponsor, who chatted with students while serving popcorn.

Bargaining on an adjunct faculty contract is taking longer than expected. Union leaders had predicted that St. Louis Community College adjuncts would be voting on a contract proposal by the end of last year. But bargainers haven’t agreed on issues related to job security and haven’t started talking about Taylor pay. “We know this is the part that gets more complicated,” said Kathy Ratino, union bargaining committee member. “But this is the part that adjuncts care the most about. The easy stuff is over. The more complex stuff is what we are dealing with now.” Ratino, who teaches communications at Forest Park, said it is “hard to say” when a contract proposal will be ready for a vote. The next scheduled meeting for the union and college bargaining committees is May 24. “We are in the last couple of issues, but they are big ones,” Ratino said. STLCC adjuncts voted 188-15 in October of 2015 to unionize with Service Employees International Union Local 1. Since that time, the union and college bargaining committees have met 15 times. A contract would cover nearly 600 adjuncts on all STLCC campuses. Job-security issues range from adjuncts getting compensated for planning a class that later gets canceled to adjuncts being guaranteed the right to keep teaching the same class. “If you have been teaching a class for five years, if there is no problem with your performance, you shouldn’t see someone new teaching that class,” said Steven Taylor, a union bargaining committee member who teaches math on the Wildwood campus. B a rg a i n e r s h a v e n ’t talked about any financial issues, including adjunct pay, Taylor said.

See History page 6

Photo by Isaiah Brooks

Massooma Mikhwir, a Forest Park student from Iraq, fears that the immigration controversy will cause Americans to become even more suspicious of Muslims.

College supports students from banned countries

United States. Those already in the United States could stay put, but they couldn’t go home and re-enter or invite family and Forest Park has more international stufriends to visit. dents than any other St. Louis Community “No matter what, we will offer counselCollege campus, but only two are visa ing to any student that feels panicked or holders from the seven predominantly afraid of what could happen in the future,” Muslim countries affected by President Taylor said. “If any student ever feels this Donald Trump’s travel ban. way, I want to know. We just want to help They are from Iran and Yemen, accordthem move forward.” ing to Franklyn Taylor, vice Forest Park officials have president for student affairs. discussed the idea of creThere also are an unknown ating a campus round table number of students who related to the travel ban, are green-card holders or according to Layla Goushey, U.S. citizens from those associate English professor two countries or from Syria, see page 3 and global education coorIraq, Somalia, Libya or dinator at Forest Park. Sudan. “We’d like for them to “People are concerned,” said Keith have a place to come to not only discuss Hulsey, a professor who coordinates the their experiences, but to also get support,” English as a second language program and she said. “It would be a great way to undersponsors the International Club on camstand and to help others understand the pus. “However, because the ban was only complexities in their lives being brought up enforced a week, we haven’t had much with this ban.” conversation about it.” In the meantime, the International Club Hulsey was referring to a temporary is open to students from all over the restraining order imposed by a federal world. district judge in Washington about a week Hulsey hopes to see Forest Park conafter Trump’s executive order created the tinue as a campus that welcomes intertravel ban on Jan. 27. A federal appeals national students and celebrates cultural panel in California later upheld that court’s diversity. ruling. “It could be very bad if non-immigrant The administration is weighing its students fall victim to this new type of options. As of press time, the president was (negative) thought about immigrants,” he expected to impose another ban that may be said. “But what I’ve seen so far has been more acceptable to the courts. accepting and favorable, and that’s what The original ban prohibited people from we need to continue in our community.” the seven countries from entering the By Niki Best The Scene staff

International students speak out

See Union page 6


in r r e f s n a r T n ouis i d e t s e r e t n I St. L f Missouri– o



Christy Hummel Transfer Specialist 314-516-6943 Open office hours for STLCC Forest Park students:

“I can help with all of your questions about transferring, scholarships and what it’s like to be a Triton!”


Like us on Facebook “The Scene Forest Park”

Tuesdays Walk-ins only 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Advising Center – SC-200

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Page 2 The Scene

February 24, 2017


Travel ban worries international students Controversy puts Muslims at Forest Park on edge By Jeffrey Wallace Richman The Scene staff

from Iraq, thinks the immigration ban is misguided. “It just doesn’t make sense,” she said. Mikhwir has lived in the United States for four years and attended Forest Park for a year. She last visited her family in Iraq in 2014. Mikhwir, who holds a green card, worries that the immigration controversy will cause Americans to become even more suspicious of Muslims and make them feel more uncomfortable than they already do. “Americans might think we are terrorists,” she said. “(But) not all Muslims are terrorists. Not all are bad.”

Many international students at Forest Park think President Donald Trump’s comments and actions on immigration will cause more prejudice and keep them from seeing their family and friends back home. “When he says, ‘Oh the Muslim religion like this, like that,’ over and over again, in U.S. ctizens also affected Forest Park bookstore employee Karema the future, (Americans) are going to hate me,” said Suzan Jaff, 33, a student from Thalbet is a U.S. citizen who was born in the United States. But her husband and Kurdistan in northern Iraq. Trump signed an executive order on other family members are from Yemen. “I don’t agree with the ban or Trump, but Jan. 27, temporarily banning immigration to the United States from seven predomi- I do support him as president because I am nantly Muslim countries – Iraq, Iran, Syria, an American,” said Thalbet, 27, who graduSudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. That ated from St. Louis Community College in caused widespread protests and contro- 2015 with a graphic design degree. Thalbet worries that a travel ban will versy. Later, a federal district judge in keep families from being together. She Washington granted a temporary restrain- thinks diversity in the United States is a good thing. ing order, freez“This couning the ban try was built by nationwide, immigrants,” and a federal she said. appeals panel in Thalbet’s bigCalifornia upheld gest fears relate that decision. to her husband. The Trump She married him administration in Yemen while is weighing its Iraqi student Suzan Jaff visiting family options on how in 2013. He emito proceed. As of press time, it’s expected that the president grated to the United States two years later. Thalbet’s husband has a green card, but will establish another ban that may be she doesn’t know what will happen if the acceptable to the courts. Jaff is a major in English as a second lan- courts reinstate the travel ban or if Trump guage who emigrated to the United States issues a new executive order. If her husin 2012. She has a green card, making her band is sent back to Yemen, she plans to a lawful permanent resident and giving her go with him. “I worked too hard to get him here, so some measure of protection, but she’s still I’m not going to lose him again,” she said. concerned about what’s going on. Huda Alabed, 30, is a U.S. citizen from “Maybe in the future, my American friends are going to hate me,” Jaff said. Syria. She and her children moved to the “And back home, I have a lot of friends United States four years ago. Alabed has been attending Forest Park who want to come here to study, and now they can’t. It’ll make America hate, not for a year and a half, majoring in English as a second language. She still has family in make America great.” Jaff isn’t alone. General studies student Syria, including her mother, but she hasn’t Massooma Mikhwir, 19, who also came been in that country for five years.

“It'll make America hate, not make America great.” –

Photo by Isaiah Brooks

Karema Thalbet, a U.S. citizen with family in Yemen, works at the Forest Park bookstore. “Trump doesn’t like Muslims,” said Alabed, who is worried that prejudice could cause problems for her family. “How are my kids going to grow up? They should grow up with everyone nice.” Alabed has found support among Forest Park students and faculty, but she still sees people looking at her with fear in their eyes. Alabed had to study the U.S. Constitution before she became a citizen, and she thought it gave people the right to practice their religions without consequence. “But when Trump became president, he showed us how he hates all Muslims,” she said. “And it makes me confused about the Constitution. It’s not fair. He must say something and give a reason for that. Why is he against the Muslims? (He thinks they’re all) terrorists? OK, that’s his problem. Is there a problem with me? With my hijab?” Alabed noted that one of the reasons she left the Middle East was to get away from the terror organization ISIS.

Muslims with a different view

Map by Fred Ortlip

Interior design major Ahmed Aljorani, 42, is a Forest Park student from Iraq who has a completely different view from many international students. Aljorani, his wife and two children lived in Egypt for 11 years before moving to the United States in 2016. He has no family in Iraq, so the immigration ban doesn’t affect

February 24, 2017 The Scene

him much. It’s Trump’s responsibility “to make this country safe,” Aljorani said. “He has all the facts and so he can make a better call than I can since I have no facts.” Aljorani isn’t the only Muslim on campus who believes the immigration ban is a good thing. “I think Trump is a good person for your country,” said Reza Dadari, 25, a music major from Iran. “He wants to make a good future here, and I believe him because he knows my government, and I know he’s right because I was there. They are completely evil.” Dadari, a green card holder, came to the United States in 2015. He has family in Iran. Dadari believes the United States helped create the “devil,” his word for the Iranian government. He noted that U.S. President Jimmy Carter supported the Iranian Revolution in the late 1970s, when the Shah of Iran was removed and replaced by the Islamic Republic. The Shah government was a pro-West monarchy. Dadari argues that the Iranian government today is causing many problems in the world, funding terrorism and protecting ISIS. “(Carter) protected terrorists,” he said. “Trump is very clear he wants to protect America. He is not joking around like Obama and Carter.”

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A day in th At left, forward Shamiah Oliver, shooting, and guard Shamara Glover warm up with the Archers women’s basketball team before their Feb. 8 game at Forest Park against the Lady Raiders of Three Rivers Community College. Below, Joel Beard and Angela Johnson serve food at the Black History Month kickoff party in the cafeteria. Bottom left, Josh Rent sells snacks and souvenirs at the kickoff party (Jemeir Crockett and Donivan Foster are shown in background).

Photo by Claudio Cobos

Commu the bac

Photo by Antonio Lloyd

Photo by Antonio Lloyd

Page 4 The Scene

Above, business administration major Kelcey Lee, 18, left, and de Borja, 20, study and check messages in the library. At right, Jose Asikoye of Jabali Afrika Dancers perform at the Black History Mo

February 24, 2017

he life at Forest Park

Photo by Claudio Cobos

unications major Kyla Everett, 22, right, gets help with math from tutor Marsonio Bacon, 26, in the computer lab; optometry student Hang To, 23, works in ckground.

Photo by Claudio Cobos

ental hygiene student Jared eck Asikoye, left, and Justo onth kickoff party.

February 24, 2017 The Scene

Photo by Antonio Lloyd

Page 5



from page 1

The last five films will be shown on Feb. 24. Admission is free. All are PBS documentaries. They include “The Black Panther Party Documentary” at noon, “Emmett Till” at 1 p.m., “Wessyngton Plantation: a Family’s Road to Freedom” at 2 p.m., “Little Rock Nine” at 2:30 p.m. and “The Underground Railroad” at 3:30 p.m. The Forest Park Gallery of Contemporary Art hosted the exhibition “Encoded” through Feb. 23. Pieces ranged from paintings and videos to photos and sculptures. The exhibit included the work of five young black artists who are attending Washington University or have already graduated. They are Lyndon Barrois Jr., Addoley Dzegede, Jennifer Everett, Kahlil Irving and Kat Reynolds. The exhibit was curated by Yingxue Zuo, 63, gallery director and professor of fine and performing arts, with help from Irving. “This show seems to concentrate on the racial issues that have been building up, just in the last couple years,” Zuo said. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Admission is free. In recent years, some people have Photo by Antonio Lloyd argued that Black History Month cel- The Jabali Afrika Dancers perform at the Black History Month kickoff party in the Forest Park cafeteria. ebrations are no longer necessary and that the entire premise is biased. General transfer student Deshawn Jones, 19, disagrees. He thinks it’s important to let people know what When: Free showings on Feb. 24 happened in the past and what African Where: Highlander Lounge in the Student Center Americans have gone through. Films: “The Black Panther Party Documentary” at noon, “Emmett Till” at 1 p.m., “Wessyngton Plantation: a “It’s a great idea in general because Family’s Road to Freedom” at 2 p.m., “Little Rock Nine” at 2:30 p.m. and it (shows) how far we came to get the “The Underground Railroad” at 3:30 p.m. rights we have today,” he said.

Black History Month film festival


Scene THE

Managing editor: Chris Cunningham Layout editor: Darryl Reece Administrative assistant: Kalia White Reporters/photographers: Garrieth Crockett, Shileha Churchill, Nana Ramsey, Niki Best, Timothy Bold, Isaiah Brooks, Serenity Ghidoni, Claudio Cobos, Antonio Lloyd, Jeffrey Richman, Daphne Drohobyczer

“Pay for those who are highly trained, who are responsible for teaching courses in mathematics, science, history and English … The pay at this point is not appropriate,” he said. “We would like to see a greater consideration for our services, which is currently underwhelming.” Would higher adjunct pay force a reduction in the number of faculty positions? Taylor doesn’t think so. “We are cognizant of the fact that there are economic realities, but there is room for improvement in pay without jeopardizing the number of positions,” he said. Bob Thumith, STLCC’s labor relations manager and college bargaining team member, did not respond to multiple phone calls seeking comment. The union and college reportedly have come to agreement on several

from page 1 issues, including academic freedom and an adjunct grievance procedure. Last month, the union encouraged adjuncts to start wearing buttons that read, “Adjuncts for a Fair Contract.” “It gives people the opportunity to talk to students and other faculty about the issues,” Ratino said. “(Some may ask) ‘What is that pin for?’ Some people don’t know there is a difference between adjuncts and other kinds of professors.” Taylor wore his button on the Wildwood campus last month. “Most students assume you are a full-time professor, so I think many were shocked that they were taking so many classes with adjunct professors,” he said. “It was also a good opening for a conversation about the topic of a fair contract.”

Faculty advisers: Teri Maddox, Fred Ortlip The Scene is a publication written and designed by students at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, 5600 Oakland Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110. The office is in F Tower, Room 408. The telephone number is (314) 644-9140. The e-mail address is All text, photos, graphics and other content are property of The Scene and may not be used without permission. Views expressed are not necessari-

ly those of St. Louis Community College, its Board of Trustees or administration. The Scene welcomes opinion pieces and letters to the editor. They should be signed and include the writer’s student or staff number. They can be mailed to the above addresses or delivered by hand. We reserve the right to edit for length and taste. The Scene will run classified ads for students free of charge. They should be submitted in the manner described above.

Page 6 The Scene

February 24, 2017

Flip Side

You have a choice with mental illness By Daphne Drohobyczer The Scene staff If you are a Forest Park student with a mental illness, be sure you know your rights. If you don’t know your rights, make an appointment with an Access Office counselor right away to discuss them. You may qualify for extra time on tests or extensions on assignments. You may be able to use a tape recorder in class and possibly get a note taker. I am passionate about mental-health issues, and I have had many friends diagnosed with mental illnesses. Some feel comfortable sharing their stories, and some prefer keeping them private. I support both approaches.

Keeping it private

Be aware and keep in mind that you are not your illness, whether it be unipolar depression, bipolar depression, season affect disorder, schizoaffective disorder, schizo-

phrenia, Asperger’s syndrome or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. You are not obliged or obligated to tell anyone about it, except for mental health and medical professionals, close family members and a significant other. Of course, you can describe the nature of your illness or how you feel -- tired, fatigued, hyper, energetic, low, high, happy, sad, confused, elated, paranoid, giddy, up or down – without going into all the details of your diagnosis. You can share information on a need-toknow basis. If you have to miss class or you act inappropriately and offend someone, an explanation might be needed to avoid a misunderstanding. Remember that you are a capable person in some ways, if not all ways, and the college allows you to choose whatever subject you want to study. Use your illness as an advantage. Y o u may decide to become a nurse if you can work with people in a hospital setting. You may enjoy greater focus in a biology lab. You may want to use your creativity as a graphic designer or photographer. The culture does not allow you to talk about your illness all the time – just keep


You are not your illness, whether it be unipolar depression, bipolar depression, season affect disorder, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, Asperger’s syndrome or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. the diagnosis to yourself and try to live and achieve beyond its confines. Putting yourself through the pain of feeling naked about the way your mind was created is not worth the agony of the stigma.

Sharing your story

Another approach is being vociferous and letting everyone know that you have a disability. Start with small steps: Try to bring it up in class discussion. Try to feel comfortable talking about feelings, whenever appropriate. Speak out if you have something to add to the conversation. No need to be discrete, and if you mess up, try to rationalize what you have done. Explain that you have a mental illness. Give yourself chances to get things right. Do not stifle your ability or creativity by staying silent. Embrace your diagnosis and enjoy the benefits of being open. Go step by step. Every day is a new day. Talking about one’s illness can be quite normal. Do not limit the discussion to your

friends and professors. Talk to a counselor on the Forest Park campus. It is also encouraged that you see a psychiatrist, social worker or off-campus counselor. They can teach you when to bring your illness up in public or how to utilize your diagnosis. Simultaneously, explore your interests at the college and have fun with other students, talking about classes, politics, pop culture and what is going on in your life, including your illness when appropriate. It should not be used as a crutch, but instead a propeller to help you reach your dreams and goals.

No matter what ...

We all have to be careful about assumptions. Just as we can not assume one’s gender identity, religion or political leanings, we have to take things face value. No one should really care about your mental illness, but by revealing yourself, you may find out who your real friends are. Your support system should definitely include friends and significant others, too. Focus on your ability – not your disability -- and choose a line of coursework that allows you to do that. Talk regularly to your Access counselor. Finally, remember that you have a choice: Keep it private or share your story. Either way, be yourself.

Cartoon by Kayla Arnold

February 24, 2017 The Scene

Page 7

How has Donald Trump done so far as president?

Josh Phelps, 23, mass communications “It’s like a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit every week. Pretty much everything he’s done (has brought) material to the show.”

Franwi Ndukum, 33, general studies “His decisions aren’t affecting me directly, but I feel bad for the other immigrants who have been affected.”

Henry Cook, 26, photography “He’s a joke, but it’s not even funny. He’s filling the presidential Cabinet with billionaires, exactly the opposite of what he promised the American people.”

John Burger, 65, math tutor and adjunct “I think he’s implemented a lot of executive orders in a short amount of time. The presidency changes everyone who holds the office.” Henry Deutsch, 19, general transfer “He hasn’t done anything at all. I don’t think he’s fit to be president of the United States.”

Kyaw Lin, 22, nursing “From everything I’ve seen on the news and people protesting, not too many people like him.”

Emina Siljkovic, 24, nursing “I think he’s stirring up so much drama and hate. He needs to have more respect for everyone because we’re all immigrants in this country.”

Dishawn Payton, 29, general studies “He hasn’t done anything at all, except make false claims and break promises. (He’s) trying to take away diversity from the country.”

Marsha Baker, 57, accounting professor “He’s done more things in his first week than any other president has done, but not necessarily good things. I’m not particularly a Trump supporter.”

Ruqayyah Bailey, 27, human services “Trump’s immigration (order) banning Muslims from traveling is horrible, and the whole thing with trying to (defund) Planned Parenthood and taking away women’s rights.”

Nathanial Joplin, 19, general studies “I don’t like any of his Cabinet picks, ideologies or him personally. But he’s hilarious at times.”

Mohamed Avud, 22, business “He’s not doing anything for the people, except kicking out foreigners and causing turmoil.”

Page 8 The Scene

February 24, 2017

The Scene Issue 1 Spring 2017  
The Scene Issue 1 Spring 2017