Vol. 99 Iss. 16

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SHARING HIS DREAM In Features and Intersection, The Temple News explored how students, faculty and residents honored and remembered Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Read more on Pages 11, 17-20

WHAT’S INSIDE NEWS, PAGE 4 A student, who died last semester, is remembered as an activist by her friends and family. SPORTS, PAGE 23 A freshman guard has become a consistent and reliable player on the court. VOL 99 // ISSUE 16 JAN. 21, 2020

temple-news.com @thetemplenews



THE TEMPLE NEWS A watchdog for the Temple University community since 1921. Kelly Brennan Editor in Chief Pavlína Černá Managing Editor Rjaa Ahmed Digital Managing Editor Francesca Furey Chief Copy Editor Colin Evans News Editor Hal Conte Assistant News Editor Valerie Dowret Assistant News Editor Web Tyler Perez Opinion Editor Madison Karas Features Editor Bibiana Correa Assistant Features Editor Ayooluwa Ariyo Asst. Features Editor Web Jay Neemeyer Sports Editor Dante Collinelli Assistant Sports Editor Alex McGinley Assistant Sports Editor Web Gionna Kinchen Intersection Co-Editor Nico Cisneros Intersection Co-Editor Michael Moscarelli Dir. of Engagement Jeremy Elvas Photography Editor Claudia Salvato Asst. Photography Editor Erik Coombs Multimedia Editor Ingrid Slater Design Editor Nicole Hwang Designer

The Temple News is an editorially independent weekly publication serving the Temple University community. Unsigned editorial content represents the opinion of The Temple News. Adjacent commentary is reflective of their authors, not The Temple News. Visit us online at temple-news.com. Send submissions to letters@temple-news.com. The Temple News is located at: Student Center, Room 243 1755 N. 13th St. Philadelphia, PA 19122

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CORRECTIONS An article that ran on Jan. 14, titled “Pressure mounts on Temple to resolve wage fight,” incorrectly attributed quotes to Deputy Mayor of Labor Rich Lazer. The quotes were written by Lauren Cox, a spokesperson for the city. Accuracy is our business, so when a mistake is made, we’ll correct it as soon as possible. Anyone with inquiries about content in this newspaper can contact Editor in Chief Kelly Brennan at editor@temple-news.com or 215-204-6736.

News Desk 215.204.7419 news@temple-news.com


Alleging discrimination, physics prof sues The lawsuit also alleges that Marjatta Lyyra filed a lawsuit James Napalatino, chair of the physagainst the university in ics department, marginalized Lyyra’s federal court on Dec. 30, 2019.



tenured physics professor is suing Temple for allegedly allowing her to suffer repeated incidents of gender-based and disability discrimination. Marjatta Lyyra, who’s taught in the physics department since 1991, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Dec. 30, 2019. Neither Lyyra nor her lawyer could be reached for comment. Lyyra specializes in atomic, molecular and optical physics, according to her website. She has received numerous accolades in her field, including being recognized as a fellow of the American Physical Society in 2005. In the lawsuit, Lyyra alleges that Zameer Hasan, a professor of physics who arrived at Temple shortly after her, repeatedly “obstructed” and “sabotaged” her research until the university removed him from her lab in 1997. Hasan was terminated in 2018, according to the lawsuit. He could not be reached for comment. Hasan allegedly physically intimidated Lyyra, trapping her in her office and threatening to bring a gun to campus, according to the lawsuit.

role in departmental committees and blocked efforts by the College of Science and Technology to discipline Hasan as he continued to allegedly harass her until his termination. Napalatino declined to comment on the lawsuit. Temple does not comment on pending litigation, wrote Ray Betzner, a spokesperson for the university, in an email to The Temple News. The lawsuit alleges that in 2018, Lyyra had notified the College of Science and Technology of Napalatino’s behavior, but the college had referred her complaints, without her consent, to Temple’s Human Resources Office, prompting an investigation. The HRO investigation allegedly found that Napalatino did not violate Temple’s Equal Employment Opportunity guidelines, according to the lawsuit. HRO allegedly attempted to force Lyyra, who has epilepsy, to take Family And Medical Act leave after Lyyra asked not to take part in a meeting with the office due to fear of stress causing a seizure. HRO could not be reached for comment. Lyyra’s lawyers have asked for a trial by jury, according to the case’s docket sheet. Temple acknowledged receipt of the lawsuit on Jan. 17. colin.evans@temple.edu @colinpaulevans





Safety director prepares two self-defense classes TSG’s course will be taught by a thing for free,” said Kaya Jones, TSG’s because we are an open campus with no Taught by a TUPD officer, the sessions will be open to students Temple University Police Department vice president of external affairs. “I hope borders and we’re not in a college town,” officer, said Charles Leone, director of everyone leaves feeling more confident said Cyleigh Russell, a freshman adverand community residents.

BY HAL CONTE Assistant News Editor Temple Student Government plans to offer two free, hour-long self-defense classes during the spring semester, said Robert Williams, TSG’s director of campus safety. The university currently offers self-defense classes on Main Campus for credit as well as non-credit, semester-long self-defense courses on Ambler Campus at a cost of $85. The classes are inconvenient for some students who don’t have much time in their schedules or cannot afford the additional expense, Williams said.

Campus Safety Services. “Should there be a need to help yourself, we want there to be quick and easy tactics you can use to safeguard yourself,” Leone said. “I personally think it’s a great thing.” The course will be open to all students and community residents, Williams added. “Being in North Philly, we’re in the city, being able to know how to protect themselves would be most likely needed,” Williams said. “Even if not a lot of people come, I want them to have a better understanding or feel better about how to protect themselves.” “Many places offer self-defense classes, but we wanted to provide some-

in their ability to protect themselves.” TSG has yet to confirm when the first class would be offered and where it would be held. “I’m excited that this is a new initiative, and I’m excited to get it set up and ready to go,” said Student Body President Francesca Capozzi. The first half of the course will be scenario-based, during which class members think about how they would react in unsafe situations, Williams said. The second half will be more practical, teaching tactics like positioning your body in ways that make it harder to be kidnapped, he added. “It’s very important that self-defense classes are taught in Temple’s campus

tising major. Josh Cotterell, a senior public relations major, said it is a good idea to make sure everyone is equipped to be aware of their surroundings. “Even though I feel confident in myself, there’s always more you can learn,” Cotterell said. “Someone else will always have more fighting skills they can offer you.” “As a female in this area, in my last class we were talking about how harassment can turn physical,” said Megan Mahoney, a freshman media studies and production major. “It’s good to have that on your back.” hal.conte@temple.edu @conte_hal



The Temple News is looking for an assistant director of engagement. If interested, contact editor@temple-news.com @TheTempleNews

News Desk 215.204.7419 news@temple-news.com




Friends, family reflect on student activist’s life Dinsio Walo-Wright, a senior communications studies major, died on Nov. 28, 2019. BY COLIN EVANS News Editor As a child, Dinsio Walo-Wright already understood the need for equality in the world, which makes it unsurprising that she grew up to be an activist, said Paul Wright, her father. Walo-Wright, a senior communications studies major, was involved in numerous social justice organizations, including Joel Nafuma Refugee Center, a nonprofit refugee center in Rome, It’s On Us TU, a campus organization aimed at raising awareness of sexual violence, and Temple Students for Justice in Palestine, said Sailume Walo-Roberts, her mother. “She cared about the world,” Walo-Roberts said. “She always had alliances with those who were less fortunate or those considered on the margins or underprivileged.” Walo-Wright, described by those who knew her as “fearless” and “energetic,” died of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a rare brain tumor, on Nov. 28, 2019. She was 22. Walo-Wright graduated from St. Dominic Academy in Jersey City, according to a program for her celebration of life. She began at Temple in Fall 2015 and was working toward a certificate in geographic information systems in addition to her major, said Debra Powell-Wright, her stepmother. While at Temple, Walo-Wright helped found Student Activists Against Sexual Assault, a campus organization whose goal is to provide resources to survivors of sexual violence, alongside Kirsten Vagle, a 2019 religion alumna and friend of Walo-Wright’s, Vagle said. “Her impact is huge, and it’s amazing that someone can do that in 22 years,” Vagle said. Scott Gratson, the director of Temple’s communication studies program, said Walo-Wright had an “effervescent” News Desk 215.204.7419 news@temple-news.com

SAILUME WALO-ROBERTS / COURTESY Dinsio Walo-Wright speaks at the 2018 Women’s March Rome on Jan. 20, 2018. Walo-Wright died on Nov. 28, 2019.

personality. The two would often discuss French pop music, he said. “We are truly, truly at a loss and she will be missed in the [communication studies] program,” Gratson said. Walo-Wright spent her junior year studying at Temple University Rome, Powell-Wright said. “She was a student who made a great impact in our community and programme,” Temple University Rome wrote in a Facebook post after her death. Full of energy, Walo-Wright made Temple Rome feel more welcoming to students, said Benedicta Djumpah, Temple Rome’s student life assistant. “Her presence would just light up the environment,” Djumpah said. In Rome, Walo-Wright interned at Joel Nafuma Refugee Center, an experience that made her “so happy,” Walo-Roberts said.

“Every time I talked to her, she was telling me about all the things they were doing with the refugees, but also telling me about their lives and you know, how does this displacement impact them,” Walo-Roberts added. As an intern giving computer and English classes to refugees, Walo-Wright’s “bright optimism and her desire to make a difference were an inspiration to many,” the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center wrote in a Facebook post. Walo-Wright spoke on behalf of the center at the 2018 Women’s March Rome. “As a child, I was taught to always speak up for those whose voices could not be as loud as mine,” Walo-Wright said in the speech. “I was taught that when you have privilege and power, it is a responsibility to use it in the aid of those who do not have it.”

Walo-Wright was diagnosed with DIPG in July 2018 and did not attend school the following semester, Powell-Wright said. There is no known cure for DIPG, according to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Toward the end of her life, Walo-Wright told her friends not to mourn her, but rather to celebrate her after she died, said Amal Abdelfattah, a 2016 recreational therapy alumna. “[Walo-Wright] hated funerals,” according to program for her celebration of life. “She was very clear about what she wanted. And what she wanted was a party. A big one.” “You can meet soulmates who are supposed to be your friend,” Vagle said. “She was a soulmate to everyone.” colin.evans@temple.edu @colinpaulevans





Baker Funeral Home to be demolished by spring The funeral parlor, which closed the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The in 2017, will be replaced by a third-generation funeral parlor began operating in 1975 and was known for its six-story apartment building. BY COLIN EVANS News Editor Demolition of the Baker Funeral Home, a long-standing funeral parlor on Broad Street near Norris that closed in 2017, will be completed in early March. The demolition began on Jan. 8, said Michael Alhadad, a developer who owns the property. Alhadad plans to build a six-story, 40-unit residential building on the site. Construction of the new building is set to begin in April or May, Alhadad said. The building’s first floor will be designated as commercial space, though an occupant has yet to be found, he added. Alhadad’s project was approved on Oct. 2, 2019, after being denied by the city’s Licenses and Inspections Department on June 10, 2019. The city’s first refusal centered around a zoning designation that restricts developers from building single-use apartments on Broad Street between Oxford and Diamond, while the second concerned a limit on the amount of land a building is allowed to occupy within its property. The development hit another roadblock after Philadelphia Police found 48 boxes of cremated remains in the vacant property in October, The Temple News reported. At the time, police did not say how they would handle the remains. Baker closed in September 2017 after repeatedly failing to file tax returns,


“standard of excellence,” its owner Vince Baker told The Philadelphia Tribune in 2017. Vince Baker could not be reached for comment. While still in operation, Baker Funeral Home hosted at least three or four funerals a day, often opening early in the morning to prepare, said Guadalupe Patilla, who lives on Norris Street near Carlisle. “He buried just about everybody that lives around there,” said Patilla, who has lived in the neighborhood for 73 years. The home was a “neighborhood landmark,” so seeing it demolished is a shame, Patilla, who works in Temple housekeeping department, added. “A lot of the history of North Philadelphia just seems to be falling down to the wayside because they want to be putting a lot of these high-rises up here,” she said. Janet King, who lives on 15th Street near Diamond, said that when private developers want to build something in the neighborhood, they often get their way. “Broad Street is becoming a highrise strip now,” said King, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1983. “It’s going to be sad,” King added. “It’s not going to be the neighborhood I moved to.” colin.evans@temple.edu @colinpaulevans

JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS The Baker Funeral Home, as seen from Broad Street, will be fully demolished by early March, with plans for a six-story building to be built in its place.

JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS The Baker Funeral Home on Broad near Norris will be finished demolition in early March, with plans for a six-story building to be built in its place.

News Desk 215.204.7419 news@temple-news.com




Senate to hear opening impeachment arguments Some Temple students said while they support impeachment, the process is confusing. BY HAL CONTE Assistant News Editor Opening arguments in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump could start as early as Wednesday if an organizing resolution authored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is approved by the Senate today, the New York Times reported. Senators will first debate McConnell’s proposed rules and schedule for the trial, which stipulates that House impeachment managers and the president’s legal team will each have 24 hours over two days to make opening arguments, CNN reported. If the resolution passes, arguments will begin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the resolution. After the House voted to impeach Trump on Dec. 18, 2019, it sent the two articles of impeachment, which primarily concern Trump’s alleged misconduct involving Ukraine and the Bidens, to the Senate on Jan. 15, the Washington Post reported. Senators were sworn in as jurors in the trial on Jan. 16. Several Temple students who spoke to The Temple News said while they support impeaching Trump, they view the process as confusing and unlikely to lead to his removal. “I feel like it’s a lot of claims, which I don’t know how to judge,” said Courtney Hartwell, a sophomore health professions major. “The details are confusing. I don’t know if CNN or Fox is telling the truth. They’re at such ends of the spectrum.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi initiated an impeachment inquiry into the president on Sept. 24, 2019, after a government whistle-blower revealed details of an alleged attempt by Trump to pressure Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice president and 2020 presidential contender News Desk 215.204.7419 news@temple-news.com


Joe Biden and his son Hunter, the New York Times reported. Days before Trump’s phone call with Zelensky, Trump ordered his staff to freeze nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine, an action that Democrats have called “corrupt” and “a betrayal of the president’s oath of office,” the Times reported. Trump and Republican allies in Congress have characterized the charges as false and politically motivated, the Times reported. Claire Finkelstein, the director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at the University of Pennsylvania, said that the charges against Trump have already been substantiated and that enough evidence exists to justify removing him. “The witnesses in the House were completely clear,” said Finkelstein, who

is also the Algernon Biddle Professor of Law and philosophy professor. “There was quid pro quo and the holding up of Ukraine aid. There is no doubt that Trump is obstructing Congress.” Finkelstein said the facts of the inquiry were “technical and complicated” and that the witnesses who testified before the House were largely unknown. “I never thought that the civil servants who were called, important as they were, would be likely to make the political impact to create a bipartisan movement for impeachment,” Finkelstein said. Several students also said they had not watched hearings related to the impeachment trial or did not know who the key witnesses were. “Whatever accusations they’ve made stem from some type of evidence,” said

Calesta Groff, a junior public health major. “I don’t know much about [Gordon Sondland] and [Alexander Vindman].” Jacob Yu, a junior political science major, thinks choosing to impeach Trump over this issue is “silly.” “I thought Trump’s ban on Muslims was a bigger deal,” Yu said, referring to the Trump administration’s 2017 ban on travel from six majority-Muslim countries. “Why do I care about military aid?” Samuel Allan-Chapkovski, a junior music performance major, said the evidence is strong enough to remove Trump regardless of partisanship. “I think in this case it’s less a matter of opinion and much more about the fact that there is evidence of abuse of power.” hal.conte@temple.edu conte_hal





Temple: Give students free access to public transit The current SEPTA University of $4-5. While one trip might not seem Pass offers a less than 10 per- too expensive, commuting to and from campus five days a week could cost stucent discount to passengers.


MEAGHAN BURKE For The Temple News

efore coming to Temple University, I toured the campus several times and although each tour was different, each time I heard about how access to the rest of the city sculpted Temple students’ college experi-

ences. This common motif was the driving force in my decision to come here. Accessibility to the rest of Philadelphia is beneficial to students for many reasons, whether it be jobs, internships or access to classes at the Center City and Health Science campuses. Nevertheless, convenient access to the city is not free. With pressing issues like student loans, housing and food insecurity, it is hard enough for students to live comfortably at college. Considering the financial burden public transit poses on students commuting, Temple should work to offer free public transportation for students. “The levels of students who are struggling to get to Temple are very much in line with those who are facing struggles with housing or food insecurity,” said Kate Lyons, a senior geology major and Temple Student Government’s director of grounds and sustainability. “That’s a big part of your education, how you’re getting to and from Temple and how accessible that is.” One fare on the SEPTA subway system costs $2.50, or $2 for SEPTA key card holders, leading to a round-trip cost


dents $20-25. The Regional Rail train system, which extends out of city limits, ranges from $4.45 to $10 depending on the zone, according to SEPTA’s website. Temple nursing students, for example, are required to take classes at the Health Sciences Campus, and even though there is a free bus, it only runs between 9:30 a.m. and 11:10 p.m. Students with 8 a.m. classes have to take the subway. “It’s frustrating having to pay around $30 a semester for a class I am required to take for my major,” said Dyamond Jones, a freshman nursing major. “I just think each campus has different resources and it would definitely be beneficial to have free transportation across the city.” Many other city-based colleges already provide free public transportation to their students. For example, students at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and Chatham University are granted fare-free rides on public transit throughout Allegheny County because of the schools’ collaboration with Port Authority Transit, a public transportation company in Pittsburgh, according to the Port Authority website. Temple does not offer a form of free, universal transit like these other schools. Instead, Temple promotes their semester pass, with five different options ranging from $346.56 to $736.44, depending on the forms of transportation. While Temple does offer this SEPTA University Pass, it only encompasses a 10 percent discount overall. This is not enough for students who regularly use public transportation. “It’s great that we have that, but it’s still not extremely affordable,” Lyons

JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS The Temple University SEPTA regional rail train station, located at 10th and Berks streets, is used by many students who commute to school or work.

said. By making public transit free for students, the university could achieve its goal to increase the number of students using sustainable forms of transportation by 75 percent before 2025, which is one of the aims included in Temple’s 2019 Climate Action Plan. “The Office of Sustainability wants students thinking about their impact and how they can mitigate their carbon footprint, or at least reduce it, and transportation is one of the big ways that you can think about your impact,” said Rebecca Collins, the director of sustainability at the Office of Sustainability. “We want people out of carbon-intensive forms of transportation and taking things that are lower emissions,” Collins added. While sustainable, this initiative would also ease financial burdens for students. The cost of public transportation di-

rectly targets students from low-income communities who cannot afford to take the subway into Center City every day for an internship or a job. In fact, students from low-income households are impacted the most by the cost of public transportation, but the least likely to have other travel options, like ride-sharing or a car, according to a 2019 report by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Providing free transportation across the city would give all students more opportunities to make the most of their time at Temple. “What I and the task force would really like to see is Temple really working towards that goal of getting students on public transit for as affordable as possible and getting them to school and their internships and their jobs as affordable as possible,” Lyons added. meaghan.burke@temple.edu @meaghanburke61





My medication isn’t a flaw

A student rejects the notion that taking medication is an invalid way to treat their mental illness. BY BRITTANY VALENTINE For The Temple News Too often to count, I’ve heard people tell me, “You don’t need medication, you just need to be more motivated to cope with your mental health.” It bothers me every time. Many people that I’ve met believe mental illnesses are not a result of trauma or chemical imbalances in the brain, but rather a lack of personal willpower, strength or healthy coping mechanisms. I’ve been told I simply need to get more fresh air, do more yoga, eat less meat and be more positive. I know people have good intentions, but I wish I could explain to them it’s not that simple. I’ve met people who could treat their mental illness without medication, but the idea that it’s possible for everyone is frustrating for those of us who may rely on multiple forms of treatment, including medication. I constantly feel like I have to defend my decision to use medication as a way of managing my symptoms, even though I’ve had such positive experiences with them. With medication, I’m able to stay focused in work and school, remain calm


enough to do class presentations and stay balanced enough to neither slip into depression nor spiral into the euphoric feelings of mania. I’ve also been consistently told I can heal myself through holistic measures, like meditation, yoga, daily exercise,

nutrition and so on. I’ve implemented proper nutrition, mindfulness practices, positive affirmations and exercise into my daily life for six years now, and they have surely helped me. I used to feel medication wasn’t necessary for me and that these practices

would serve me well enough on their own. In May 2014, I made the decision to stop taking my medication and with the guidance of my psychiatrist, I gradually lowered the dosages until I stopped taking them. I felt liberated. On Halloween of that year, the liberation had faded, and so did the color in my face, along with the joy of living life. It took only months before the depression had taken over, and I was back in the office of my psychiatrist, pleading for a new prescription to be filled. I realized the reason I was feeling better and felt confident enough to make that decision was that the medication was doing its job flawlessly. All the wonderful practices I’ve adopted — like nature walks, meditation, thinking more positively and eating well — were making a difference because my brain chemistry was allowing space for these changes to be made. Mental health is a multifaceted issue, and it must be talked about as such. I will always encourage people to explore all their options, especially ones that involve lifestyle changes and natural treatments, but don’t judge me for the choices that are best for me. brittany.valentine@temple.edu @magicinprint







South Philly refinery is a hazard for community The refinery complex was the largest polluter in the city before its explosion in June 2019. On June 21, 2019, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refining complex in South Philadelphia exploded, releasing 5,000 pounds of deadly chemicals and ejectMEGAN COMBS For The Temple ing a 38,000 pound News piece of shrapnel across the Schuylkill River, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. “I heard it happen and I drove right down there,” said Steven Cedrone, 42, a longtime resident of South Philadelphia. “I was shocked, you know: I’ve lived here all my life and I never thought anything of it.” The refinery is full of dangerous and outdated machinery, and poses a massive health and environmental threat — it needs to be torn down. “The refinery should not be reopened, I think we dodged a very big bullet,” said Christina Rosan, a geography and urban studies professor at Temple University. Before the explosion, the refinery was the greatest producer of refined gasoline, diesel and jet fuel of any East Coast refinery, the New York Times reported. It was also the single-largest source of pollution in Philadelphia at the time, accounting for approximately 16 percent of the city’s carbon footprint, according to a 2017 report by the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability. Local air-quality-monitoring stations do not show a significant decrease in air pollution in the six months since the refinery shut down, the Inquirer reported. This is especially concerning given the refinery is located within a few miles of the homes of 113,000 people, the Inquirer further reported.


CLAUDIA SALVATO / THE TEMPLE NEWS The Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in South Philadelphia on Passyunk Avenue, which exploded and caught on fire in June of 2019, sits permanently closed on the Schuylkill River on Jan. 10.

The refinery closed and filed for bankruptcy in July following the explosion, Philly Voice reported. The land and existing infrastructure are currently up for bid by a number of other companies, including Hilco Redevelopment Partners, a Chicago real estate firm, the Inquirer reported on Friday. The future of the refinery, and whether it’ll be reopened or demolished, is still unclear, as the results of the auction have not been disclosed yet. When the initial explosion occurred, it almost sprayed hydrofluoric acid, a corrosive chemical compound, into the atmosphere, but was saved by an employee, who closed the valve. If they didn’t, the explosion could have poten-

tially led to wide-reaching effects on the surrounding neighborhoods. That’s not the only environmental hazard that the refinery poses either. “[Under the refinery] there is a literal lake of oil, it has been used as an oil refinery for over 160 years,” said Russell Zerbo, an advocate with the Clean Air Council, a regional public health nonprofit focusing on Philadelphia. “In a positive situation we would have an aquifer or groundwater under us at all times. It just so happens that the aquifer around the refinery is not so much water but oil.” With all the infrastructure and machinery in place, it is hard to imagine how the site could be revamped.

Regardless of the refinery’s future, it is a danger to its surrounding neighborhoods. Between old, corroded machinery, contaminated land and the area’s environmental future, the site poses an imminent threat to anyone who lives in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. “Philadelphia has the biggest deep poverty of any city in the country,” Zerbo said. “The people in the deepest poverty will always be the people who feel environmental issues the hardest.” The refinery needs to be closed — not resold — for the benefit of the communities who are placed in danger by its significant environmental hazards. megan.combs@temple.edu





Stand in solidarity with Temple Iranian students Notably, in September 2017, Trump As tensions with Iran rise, we need to recognize how global issued an executive order barring immigration into the U.S. from five countries conflicts affect our students. On Jan. 2, United States President Donald Trump issued an airstrike killing Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport, the New York Times reTYLER PEREZ ported. Opinion Editor I’ll never forget the chilling feeling of confusion and fear that brushed over me at the time. The more news reports I read, the more I questioned what this could mean — not only for our nation, which comes closer to global war with Iran every day, but also for the hundreds of thousands of Iranians and Iranian Americans living in the U.S., according to the Associated Press. They’re my peers, neighbors and classmates, all of whom are placed in a greater threat following Trump’s increasingly hostile conflict with Iran. “I was just scared, I didn’t know what was gonna happen next,” said Rojin Baniasadi, a junior biochemistry major and an Iranian American student. “It feels pretty personal because the two countries that are very important to me are just like going at it.” There are approximately 4,200 people of Iranian ancestry living in the Philadelphia region, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Additionally, there are about 40 international students from Iran who attend Temple University, as well as a number of Iranian-American students, wrote Martyn Miller, assistant vice-president of the Office of International Affairs, to The Temple News. But given the nation’s history of antagonistic immigration policies toward Iranians during periods of conflict with Iran, I’m worried about Iranian students at my school and in my community: their safety, security and ability to study in this nation. letters@temple-news.com

with Muslim-majority populations, including Iran, Politico reported. Trump has since considered adding seven more Muslim-majority countries to this “travel ban” in the days following his assassination of Soleimani, the Associated Press reported. The number of F-1 student visas issued to Iranians decreased from their peak of 3,280 in 2014 to only 1,433 in 2018, a year after the travel ban was issued, Public Radio International reported. “In terms of the immigration and the visiting policies, unfortunately that’s something that I think a lot of Iranian-Americans are all too familiar with,” said Mona Hedayatfar, a senior psychology major and an Iranian-American student. “I can’t speak for every Iranian-American, but I can say that for me and the people close to me, who can’t come to the states and visit, which creates difficult trying to see your family members or your friends from Iran.” In September 2019, approximately 20 Iranian students were accepted into graduate schools in the U.S., but had their visas inexplicably revoked by the U.S. government without any stated reasoning, the Los Angeles Times reported. The sudden cancellation of these visas came amid the Trump administration’s escalating conflict with Iran, including the prospect of possible military conflict in the Persian Gulf, the LA Times further reported. “It’s just sad, disappointing, and I’m just angry. Like what is our people’s fault?” Baniasadi said. “They’re not gonna let Iranians in, and for what? They completely forget about the people and just think about the government, and it’s upsetting.” Most recently, more than 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans were subject to lengthy interrogations and delays while trying to re-enter the U.S. at the Washington-Canada border on Jan. 6, only days after Trump’s airstrike against


the Iranian general, the Guardian reported. “I think that incident is quite problematic but also symptomatic of what often happens domestically after there’s some big foreign policy blow-up. I mean just think about the spike in hate crimes against Muslim Americans and Arab-Americans after 9/11,” said Sean Yom, a political science professor at Temple who researches and teaches topics surrounding Middle Eastern politics. Islamophobic hate crimes increased dramatically in the weeks following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, growing from 28 in 2000 to 481 in 2001, according to a 2016 report by PRI. In the decade since 9/11, reported hate crimes against Muslims have remained above 100 every year, never returning to their pre-2001 rates. “Whenever we do have potential conflicts and potential bloodshed against foreign foes like Iran, I think it’s inevitable that that’s going to bleed over to increased distrust and hostility to those who appear to be Iranians in the U.S. or entering the U.S.,” Yom said. While it is speculative to discuss what might happen to Iranians living and studying in the U.S. following

Trump’s airstrike against Soleimani, it’s nevertheless a necessary discourse. Historically, our government has demonstrated that in times of conflict, they’re willing to detain, victimize and deny entry to innocent human beings for the sake of a political agenda. “I’m Iranian and American, and both of the governments I feel don’t really represent the people,” Baniasadi said. Our government needs to understand that their actions, especially as they relate to conflict with other nations, affect the daily lives of individuals in this nation and abroad in significant and detrimental ways. With a university that has a number of Iranian students, we need to stand in solidarity with them in the coming months as tensions with Iran seem to only grow more hostile. “I hope people in America who don’t really think about Iran or the Iranian people too much, I hope that they take into account the humanity of people living in other countries,” Hedayatfar said. “These are real people you’re talking about with family, friends, jobs and livelihoods.” tyler.perez@temple.edu @tyler7perez





Honoring MLK’s legacy at Temple, in Philadelphia The reverend spoke to a crowd in what’s now the Temple Performing Arts Center 55 years ago. BY ASA CADWALLADER Community Beat Reporter


n a humid day in 1965, a lively crowd filled the historic Baptist Temple at Broad and Berks streets, the present-day Temple Performing Arts Center. Cameras rolled and the crowd was teeming with energy and anticipation for the night’s main event, an address from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “To all of my friends and coworkers seated here on the rostrum, my brothers and sisters of the city of Philadelphia: I stand at this spot today with mixed emotions,” King said in the address, according to a transcript originally broadcasted on Aug. 5, 1965, on KYW-TV. “On the one hand, I’m thrilled to stand here. I’m enthralled to stand here, and notice you assembled in our presence by the thousands and the thousands … But on the other hand … I’ve seen too much hate!” King’s stop in Philadelphia was part of a larger speaking tour through six cities in the Northeast and Midwest to discuss the living and working conditions of African Americans in Northern cities, according to the Philadelphia Bulletin. “King comes to Philly on a trip to multiple cities to decide where he’s going to launch a civil rights campaign next,” said Keith Riley, a fourth-year history PhD candidate. “His plan was to organize a large civil rights push challenging racism in the North, along the lines of what he did in Birmingham in ‘63.” King’s Philadelphia visit featured an extensive itinerary of rallies, meetings and one-on-one conversations with residents. In his address at the Baptist Temple, he discussed issues impacting the Black community in North Philadelphia, including segregation in housing and schooling, and employment discrimination, the Bulletin reported. “The minute you segregate a man, @TheTempleNews

you have the key in your hand that would open the door to discrimination,” King said in his address, according to the transcript, followed by loud applause. While African Americans in Philadelphia did not face the same legislative segregation that existed in the Deep South, racism at this time was present in Northern cities, Riley said. In the speech, King said housing segregation and job security are parts of the broader obstacle of economic insecurity which he said was “... the greatest problem that the Negro faces at this hour.” As part of his 1965 visit to the city, King also spoke to large crowds at 40th Street and Lancaster Avenue in West Philadelphia, and outside Girard College on Girard Avenue, where protests for desegregation led by Philadelphia’s preeminent civil rights activist Cecil B. Moore had been ongoing for weeks. “The protests really brought people together and it was really awesome to see that unity. There was no gang warring at that time,” said Bernyce MillsDeVaughn, 80, who participated in the protests after moving to 20th Street and Girard Avenue in Philadelphia in 1964. She recalled Moore and King representing different issues to the Black community in Philadelphia at the time. “Cecil B. Moore was involved with Philadelphia’s NAACP, whereas King was involved with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, so they were really cut from different cloth in that way,” she added. Conditions of King’s visit in 1965 were tense due to his contentious relationship with Moore, who also spoke at the Baptist Temple on Aug. 4, 1965. “Moore was very much weary of King because he saw him as a challenge to the power he had within the movement in Philadelphia,” Riley said. King almost canceled his visit due to Moore’s concerns that he had been left out of much of the tour’s planning process, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. “Whenever things were said, we said it about some people that were against

TEMPLE LIBRARIES SPECIAL COLLECTIONS RESEARCH CENTER / COURTESY Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and NAACP President Cecil B. Moore shook people’s hands at a rally at Grace Baptist Temple, now the Temple Performing Arts Center in August 1965.

us,” Moore said between King’s speech, according to the transcript. “Because we also want you to say that you might be against us, and we hope that you won’t sabotage.” King and Moore still appeared united throughout King’s two-day speaking tour in Philadelphia. Following King’s visit to the Baptist Temple, he would only return to Philadelphia twice before

his assassination on April 4th, 1968. “To the community, I go in with a unifying philosophy, and a unifying approach, and I certainly feel that in Philadelphia we have that unity now, and I think all of the forces will be working together,” King said, according to the transcript. asa.cadwallader@temple.edu





Student’s record label signs underground music

Jake Saunders worked as a promoter for bands in New York City before running his record label.

that Saunders was also booking, and Warner asked Saunders if he could market the compilation tape through Wharf Cat. Saunders agreed and Warner beBY OSCAR THALER gan teaching him about distribution and For The Temple News promotion. “He taught me everything I knew in Growing up and participating in the beginning,” Saunders said. musical theater and observing his father From there, Warner wanted to crework as a jazz pianist, Jake Saunders’ life ate Ramp Local as a small label within is interwoven with music. Wharf Cat and asked Saunders to run it. “I just like weird music,” Saunders Saunders eventually became unable said. “There aren’t that many people out to afford to live in NYC, which brought there like me.” him to Philadelphia. He started estabSaunders, a junior communication lishing Ramp Local in the city and enstudies major, dedicates his time to help rolled at Temple University in Fall 2019. independent artists by running Ramp While Warner curated most of the Local, a small record label that represents music, he eventually gave Saunders total more than 30 artists and markets their control over Ramp Local, which shifted albums, CDs, cassettes and merchandise. the label’s focus from industrial noise to Saunders took over the label in rhythmic punk rock, Saunders said. January 2016 while living in New York “It’s been easy to fall into it because City and is now expanding it to Philadel- people see that there’s somebody out phia. His goal is to promote artists, and there that’s willing to push the weird he strives to represent undiscovered, shit that they make, which makes them unique and experimental down to work with you,” music. he added. What I really Saunders started Still, the label runs working in the music inhelp bands with on a common mission dustry in 2013. He studof putting is getting their statement ied music at Bennington out music that they enCollege, in Bennington, joy, rather than putting Vermont for two years story together. out what they think will where he organized Jake Saunders make them money. shows for local bands. He Junior communication studies major “There is impotence eventually dropped out of to put out what you know school to work as an incan earn and make a lot of dollars, and dependent promoter in New York City then there’s choosing to put out what while working at fast-food restaurants you love, and pushing it as hard as you to keep himself afloat. can,” Warner said. Saunders hosted a benefit show in At the label, Saunders primarily runs 2015 for his own compilation tape called public relations campaigns for artists: “Eclectic Sessions,” an album comprised gets photos for the press, collects assets of artists he was working with. There he for the production of vinyl and ensures met Trip Warner, co-owner of Wharf the artist’s vision is on track. Cat Records, a Brooklyn-based record “What I really help bands with is label company, who was impressed by getting their story together,” Saunders the number of quality bands at the show. said. “It was one of the coolest things hapBy taking care of the logistics and pening in New York at the time,” War- media for bands, it gives artists more ner said. time to focus on their music, said Billy Wharf Cat Records had a few bands Brett, frontman of Buck Grooter, a rock


JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS Jake Saunders, a junior communication studies major, stands in front of his Ramp Local collection in his home in West Philadelphia on Jan. 15.

JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS A shelf of Ramp Local artists’ cassettes and other merchandise hangs in Jake Saunders’ home near Larchwood Avenue and 51st Street on Jan. 15.

band signed to Ramp Local. “[Saunders] is also a big promoter and I’m not, so it’s nice to have someone like that in your corner,” Brett added. As he’s taken more of an administrative role in the music industry, Saunders believes that empowering artists to be themselves is important.

“If you don’t have somebody on the backburner pushing you and motivating you and supporting you, and making sure that things are on track, it’s harder for artists to remain creative,” Saunders said. oscar.thaler@temple.edu





Tiny house awarded for design, adds composting

Two years after its completion, the project received a certification for its architectural design. BY RENATA BUSCHER KAMINSKI Campus Beat Reporter For most people who pass by the small, bleak wooden building at the Temple Community Garden, they’d probably mistake it for a complex garden shed. Yet inside the 175-foot space people may be surprised to find the Temple Tiny House compact with LED lighting, a 50-square foot native plant green roof and rainwater collection barrels. Last semester, the house became a community compost network site for the city of Philadelphia, or one of the official sites for the city’s growing program to promote composting through the city and more organic alternatives, said Caroline Burkholder, sustainability manager at the Office of Sustainability. “What is most important, valuable or thoughtful about the space than the design or structure is that it is a teaching tool that exists for the institution to think about our goals, as far as a standard for building practices,” Burkholder said. The house also includes a compost toilet disconnected from the city’s water, an exterior cork siding and natural daylight and ventilation to integrate its construction to the natural urban space around it. Its construction was the result of a one-day event focused on design planning hosted by Temple in January 2015. Thirty-five students were divided into seven groups with the task to design a sustainable tiny house for the TCG. The projects were judged by a multidisciplinary jury, which distributed cash prizes for the first and second places. Students in a Spring 2016 class developed the design, and the construction of the house was completed in a Summer II course, Burkholder said.


CLAUDIA SALVATO / THE TEMPLE NEWS Temple’s sustainable tiny home can be found in the Temple Community Garden at Diamond and Broad streets.

In August 2019, the house became the first project in Philadelphia to be given the Living Building Challenge’s Petal Certification, a certification from the International Living Future Institute. It awards the house’s design and construction for sustainability. “The major goal of the Living Building Challenge is basically to built structures that belong to the environment,” said Adebola Duro-Aina, energy extern at the Office of Sustainability. “So structures that are able to go right, fit the rights of the environment.” For Duro-Aina, the tiny house promotes engagement activities for the students and encourages sustainable practices, which inspires the community to see that it is possible to have and maintain these structures. “Seeing that the house was built by

students, that the design and the structure was done by students and faculty help students to have a more active role in being sustainable, not just developing sustainable practices in class but implementing that aware in their workplace in the future,” she added. The Office of Sustainability offers tours and information sessions throughout the year to showcase the varying sustainability efforts within the house. Hamil Pearsall, the Center for Sustainable Communities faculty fellow, also believes that involving students helps engage in different sustainable practices, she said. “One of the benefits of having the [community] gardens or, in this case, the tiny house, is that it serves as a demonstration project to create awareness of these types of buildings and maybe to

garner some interest in gardening or in constructing something similar,” she added. The project itself is not the most important, rather the sustainable alternatives it represents, Burkholder said. The house offers hope for a more sustainable future, and also an opportunity for affordable housing solutions for Philadelphia, she added. “We do not have anyone living there, but someone could,” Burkholder said. “I think that is a really powerful suggestion about how we can respond and offer solutions to our climate crisis, that we are willing to live more simply, have less things and think about where is the energy coming from.” renata.kaminski@temple.edu








1. A feeling of trust or expectation of positive outcomes

2. A form of action expressing disapproval of particular events or policies

3. Similarity in quality, power or status

7. Rights of people to equality and freedom

4. Moral fairness and righteousness

8. The state where Martin Luther King Jr. was born

5. Laws that enforced racial segregation in the United States

9. The famous Muslim minister

6. Discriminating someone of a different race based on the belief that one race is superior features@temple-news.com

10. The woman who started the civil rights movement when she refused to leave her seat on the bus






Lunar New Year welcomes Year of the Rat

On Saturday, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology on South Street near 33rd, hosted Culturefest: Lunar New Year, a celebration of the new year according to the lunar calendar. The event included performances of traditional Asian dance, storytelling and martial arts, as well as a craft fair and market. “I love that there’s something for everybody, crafts for the kids, and the performances,” said Patty West, 48, a landscape architect who lives in West Philadelphia and took her son to the event. “I’m glad that we have this. “ Stephanie Stoner, 32, from South Philadelphia, was selling her art at the event. Being included in celebrating the year of the rat, and doodling rats, was fun, Stoner said. “I also have Asian background that I don’t really think about because I’m mixed race, so when things happen and it’s a cultural event and it’s focused on an Asian background, I feel humbled and excited to explore that part as well,” she added. The event closed with a Lion’s Dance where audience members fed vegetables to performers in costume for good luck in the new year. @TheTempleNews




Artist reinvents herself by exploring new media A former rock band musician of the people that work there every day highly saturated or monochromatic continued entrepreneurial efforts. In the ‘90s, she founded Astronet, an and astrologer is exhibiting her and also the visitors of the government themes, she said. employees. I hope a few of them take a “I surrender to not necessarily astrology website that provided horonew artworks in Connecticut. BY MARIAH HALL For The Temple News There’s never been a moment in Eugenie Diserio’s life when she wasn’t creating. From performing in ‘80s rock bands to painting abstract canvases, art is about consciousness for her, she said. “Art is channeled energy, and channeling that energy is a spiritual practice,” said Diserio, a 1975 painting alumna. “When I trust the process of following my own energy and intuition and guidance from the universe, it usually brings resolution and clarity to the painting as it does to matters in life.” Diserio is exhibiting her abstract painting series “REBOOT” at the Stamford Government Center in Stamford, Connecticut from Jan. 7 to Feb. 28. The collection compiles work from the past six years that Diserio committed to painting full time. She hopes the works prompt moments of reflection and connection. “I am very excited to have my work bring color and beauty to the office space


How are you honoring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day?


pause to reboot during their busy days,” Diserio said. Diserio’s son, Luke Buttenwieser, works at the Stamford Government Center as an intern for the city’s Department of Traffic, Transportation and Parking, and encouraged her to inquire about the gallery space. He said many of his colleagues enjoy his mom’s work, which helps liven up the “pretty drab government office” into a “nice, warm welcoming artistic environment.” Diserio connected with Lina Morielli, the gallery’s curator, after learning about the gallery space and was offered the first solo show of 2020. “The strength of her work shows in the consistency of line, spatial relationships and color that inform her intentions and also the use of distinctive marks throughout; much like poetry in motion,” Morielli wrote in an email to The Temple News. Diserio was introduced to the abstract while studying at Temple University Rome, and began making paintings with expressive brushstrokes and jagged geometric shapes. Her creative process now involves mixing colors to create

knowing where I am going and trust the process,” she said. “Following intuition during a creative process is key. I also use metallic and iridescent colors to create reflective areas in the paintings. Historically and now, reflections have to do with human beings communicating with the spirit world and connecting with life’s deeper mysteries.” Before she devoted herself to painting full time, Diserio played in rock bands, performing at nightclubs around New York City. Her band, Model Citizens, produced an EP with John Cale of the Velvet Underground, and in a later group, The Dance, she traveled the world on tour, she said. Buttenwieser said he grew up hearing stories of his mom hanging out with Madonna and going out for drinks with Bob Dylan, but she didn’t get back into art until he was in middle school. “It’s definitely a side I’ve never seen of her, only heard about, it’s very interesting to say the least,” he said. “I’m glad it’s kind of all coming full circle for her where she can pick up on the art again.” While raising Buttenwieser, Diserio said she stopped pursuing music, yet

DAVID KELLER Junior media studies and production major I’m really into the topic of mass incarceration and institutionalized racism, so I’m reading a book my grandfather wrote which talks a lot about that stuff and go online and study more about his impact.

BRIDGET GRAHAM Senior art education major I have class for six hours for my student teaching so otherwise I would probably be hanging out with friends just enjoying company. I’m kinda disappointed that we still have class, I feel like it’s not honoring the holiday.

scopes and tarot readings. Diserio always had an interest in the stars, and still completes birth charts and keeps track of new moons, eclipses and Mercury retrogrades. “I was a single mom and working a dead-end job to support my young son, “ Diserio said. “I knew I had to reinvent myself.” Astronet grew to become one of the largest online astrology sites, and Diserio was considered an internet content pioneer by The New York Times. The site was eventually acquired by the Hearst Corp and in the aftermath of the stock market crash, the dot-com industry collapsed by 2001, she said. Diserio continues to reinvent her identity time and time again, constantly evolving as an artist. Throughout the changing phases of her style, she tries to keep her voice authentically her own. “Regardless of what medium or context you’re working with, the process and expression must reflect your authentic voice and be true to who you are,” she said. mariah.hall@temple.edu

ADAEZE EJIOGU-DIKE Freshman political science major I heard of a candlelight vigil that’s supposed to go on at a center around here, it sounds interesting. Maybe I might go.

CRISTINA GLENN Freshman theater major

It’s a day for me that I reflect on in general just because I know that he is such an icon, and it’s really important to me to take a day and acknowledge that.





Student org ‘looks to King’ as inspiration to serve Temple’s chapter of S.M.O.O.T.H. volunteered at a community center and a school on Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. BY CATHERINE O’CONNELL For The Temple News Growing up, senior marketing major Darius Hockaday learned about Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. from his father. “He taught me [about] MLK’s speeches and his involvement in the NAACP and the Civil Rights Movement,” Hockaday said. “Along with other leaders like Malcolm X, [my dad] made sure I had a passion for community service throughout all my other endeavors.” This compelled him to join Temple’s chapter of Strong Men Overcoming Obstacles Through Hard Work, or S.M.O.O.T.H., when he was a freshman. Now, in his second term as S.M.O.O.T.H’s president, Hockaday said he was proud that the group spent their MLK Day of Service at different events around North Philadelphia. On MLK Day, S.M.O.O.T.H., which was founded at Temple in 2016, went to Girard College in North Philadelphia to discuss the importance of trash maintenance and recycling. Hockaday said the group collected more than 25 people’s contact information to conduct block cleanups. The group also joined Temple Student Government’s efforts to clean and beautify the Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center, where members helped repaint rooms, he said. Hockaday felt it was fitting that S.M.O.O.T.H.’s anniversary this month coincided with MLK Day. “It was great just being able to have so many people in our organization willing to be in multiple places at once, and kind of team up,” Hockaday said. “I think is a great representation of how we would like to in multiple places at once.” The organization was founded by


Dwight D. Flowers at Morgan State University in 2009 to unite young males at Morgan State and help them grow academically, personally and professionally, according to the organization’s website. It later opened chapters at Coppin State University in Baltimore, Maryland and at Temple. At Temple, members participate in community service projects, like hosting a Young Gentlemen’s Forum at a local middle school and speaking with young Black children about what it means to be a “young gentleman,” said Olajide Soyinka, a senior psychology major and S.M.O.O.T.H.’s director of community service. Additionally, S.M.O.O.T.H. goes on hydration walks, where they visit populated areas of Center City and give out cold water to people experiencing homelessness, he added. Across its three chapters, S.M.O.O.T.H. has contributed more than 400 hours to their communities, according to their website. Soyinka said the group prides itself on following in the footsteps of King and providing service that affects the Temple and North Philadelphia communities. “We look to [King] as an inspiration and something that we as individuals are striving to be,” Soyinka said. “We’re able to have a bigger impact on the community as a group of African American men because of his sacrifices and the impact that [King] has had.” King serves as an inspiration to how its members live their lives, Hockaday said. “I think [there’s inspiration in] his willingness and his passion to give back to the community, especially as a Black male leader going through so many obstacles to bring change,” he said. “It connects us, being that it’s a different time period but that dream and that mission doesn’t die.” Devon Rembert, S.M.O.O.T.H.’s faculty advisor, said youth mentorship is

CLAUDIA SALVATO / THE TEMPLE NEWS Temple’s S.M.O.O.T.H. chapter President Darius Hockaday and member Nelson Armstrong work a booth at the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at Girard College on Jan. 20.

CLAUDIA SALVATO / THE TEMPLE NEWS Olajide Soyinka, a member of Temple’s S.M.O.O.T.H. chapter, speaks to an attendee at the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at Girard College on Jan. 20.

one of his favorite ways to give back. “Children and faculty really appreciate the added support and representation,” he added. “It is always important to give back to the younger generation.” “What we do is solely for the benefit

of the community and for those that live here,” Soyinka said. “I think that’s something that’s important for young men to look at on this campus.” catherine.oconnell@temple.edu





Professional groups provide support for Black students Black professional groups connect students with Black professionals in their fields. BY GIONNA KINCHEN Intersection Co-Editor At Kevin Jackson’s first summer engineering internship, he found himself surrounded by mostly white peers. On his first day, his peers assumed he was a part of a manual labor division of the internship rather than the engineering division, he said. “This hurt me a lot because I knew I had the capability to do the tasks for engineering, but they all thought that I was in for a less rigorous program,” said Jackson, a senior electrical engineering major and vice president of Temple’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. “From that day forward, I decided to push harder and just try hard to keep myself on the same level or higher as the white kids on my floor.” NSBE is one of many Black professional groups on Temple’s campus created to give Black college students a welcoming and non-discriminatory environment to study, network and make friends in their career fields of choice. Other Black professional groups at Temple include the Black Professional Health Association, the Temple Association of Black Journalists, the Black Public Relations Society, the Black Law Students Association and the Association of Black Psychologists, or ABPsi. ABPsi’s Temple chapter was founded last year by its president Briayanna Johnson, a senior psychology and Africology and African American studies major. “These organizations are so essential because we’re creating structures and networks of support and resources that do not exist otherwise,” Johnson said.


“The pre-existing student organizations for psychology were mostly white. People didn’t look like myself, people didn’t understand certain challenges and obstacles that I faced not only as a Black student at a university but as an aspiring professional.” A report by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that networking opportunities for African Americans, like the ones provided by Black professional groups, are vital to creating a diverse workplace. Corey Bennett, a senior mechanical engineering major and NSBE’s president, said being in a racial minority in college can feel isolating. “Sometimes it could be very discouraging sitting in class and looking to your left and right and you’re the only African American in the class,” he added. Temple is commonly called a predominantly white institution or a PWI. PWIs are colleges where the student body population is at least 50 percent white. Temple’s student body is 53.4 percent white, according to a 2019-20 report by Temple’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. Seeing more Black professionals can motivate college students, Bennett said. “In the College of Engineering, there aren’t that many African Americans, but when you go to our general body meetings or when you go to our conferences, you’ll see tens of thousands of Black engineers,” Bennett added. “So that presence is very beneficial because it will give them that push to keep striving for their goals.” In 2016, African Americans received 7.6 percent of bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and 4.5 percent of doctorates in STEM, the U.S. Department of Education reported. Less than 2 percent of African

JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS (Left) Corey Bennett, president of Temple’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and a senior mechanical engineering major, and Kevin Jackson, NSBE vice president and senior electrical engineering major, stand inside the Science Education Research Center on Jan. 20.

American freshmen enter college having declared an engineering major, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Being a part of NSBE and seeing other Black engineers is “very empowering,” Jackson said. “Growing up, I never saw a Black engineer until I got to college,” Jackson added. “Creating that space so people know they aren’t alone in the field of engineering is very important.” Black graduates of historically Black colleges and universities had vastly different experiences than Black graduates of PWIs, according to a 2015 Gallup poll. Only 25 percent of PWI graduates felt the professors at their college cared about them as a person, as opposed to 58 percent of HBCU graduates. In addition, 35 percent of HBCU graduates said they felt supported in college, while only 12 percent of PWI graduates felt the same way.

ABPsi’s supportive and fun group dynamic lends itself to its growing membership, Johnson said. “We get along so well, and that’s why people want to become members,” Johnson said. “They say, ‘Hey, I see you guys are doing the club on campus. I see the relationship you guys have, and it looks like you’re having fun while doing good things not only in the community but on campus. So how can I be a part of that?’” Being a part of a Black professional group helped Johnson gain confidence in her own abilities, she added. “I go into interviews a lot more confidently,” Johnson said. “When it came time for me to apply to certain positions for myself, I came in with that certain level of confidence that I didn’t have before because I know that I’m qualified.” gionna@temple.edu @gionnakinchen





Students, faculty discuss perceptions of King, Malcolm X

Some students said Malcolm X is still perceived differently by society, despite his influence. BY HAL CONTE Assistant News Editor Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been a federal holiday since 1983 when — despite the objection of 22 senators — the United States Congress voted to establish a day to honor the African-American icon, the New York Times reported. Malcolm X Day is currently a holiday in Illinois and Berkeley, California. Attempts to establish it at a national level failed in the 1990s, the Chicago Monitor reported. The two civil rights activists met only once, according to Biography.com, but Temple students and faculty continue to discuss and draw lessons from King and Malcolm X’s different approaches to ending racism. “Malcolm X is more frowned upon, whereas [King] is taught in history,” said Tranae Fee, a senior kinesiology major and a member of Temple’s Black Student Union. “I think perception is the reason why we have a federal day for one and not for the other.” Molefi Kete Asante, chair of Temple’s Africology and African American Studies department, said King and Malcolm X had shared ideas. “The principle unity between Malcolm X and [King] is that they believed white domination and racism were the chief issues of American society,” Asante said. “[King] was the preeminent mass leader of the last half of the 20th century in the African American community.” Both King and Malcolm X placed a high value on Black self-respect. In a 1968 essay published in LOOK magazine, King denounced the American economic system as an instrument of oppression that negated the worth of Black people. Malcolm X wrote in his



autobiography that “the true problem” is that Black people are not respected “as human beings.” But Malcolm X criticized King for his non-violent approach to combating racism and argued that injustice would not be solved this way, Al Jazeera reported. From the beginning, the American establishment media — at the time, almost entirely white, according to USA Today — took a side in the argument. A 1964 editorial from the New York Times described Malcolm X as an “embittered racist” and an “irresponsible demagogue.” The divide in the way the two figures are discussed extends beyond the United States, a student said. “In the [U.S.], my friends often say they had a chance to talk about King but not Malcolm,” said Mayuko Abe, a junior Africology and neuroscience major from Japan. “In Japan, I had to learn about King in middle and high school, but not Malcolm X.” Abe said this may have been due to the perception that Malcolm X was seen

as instigating violence. “[King and Malcolm X] felt that they had to devise a strategy. One was non-violent, one was more militant, but you couldn’t call it violent, because he never attacked anyone,” Asante said. “You could call it resistance.” King’s response to American racism, outlined in a speech to the Hunger Club republished by The Atlantic, was to disrupt the system — through boycotts, strikes and marches — in order to transform it. Today, more than 50 years after King’s death, people continue to search for ways to combat racism. For some Temple students and activists, Malcolm X has become a touchstone for a reason. “Malcolm X, coming as he did from the urban north, and the prison system of the U.S., took the path of an alternative,” Asante said. “He demonstrated in his rhetoric and his leadership a distinct northeastern or urban approach to the crisis in the black community. Whereas King was more Southern, agrarian-leaning, in his impressive moral presence,

there was a cutting edge to Malcolm.” Both figures’ views may have been a result of their respective experiences and environments, Asante said. “More radical views take place in situations where people feel like the oppression is more strenuous,” he added. “Wherever you have these conditions you have reactions to them.” The two men are seen in opposite lights by some Temple students. “I would say that I think some think Malcolm is more radical, but a lot of people our age, that’s what we align with,” said McKenzie Morrissey, a sophomore public health major and a member of BSU. “Young people are convinced the old ways aren’t working and Malcolm X did things differently. I feel like the Black Panther movement, that’s the era we’re in. People see it as a trend, although it’s bigger than that.” The Black Panther Party was a proBlack political party founded in 1966 in the wake of Malcolm X’s assassination. They are known for their armed patrols of Black neighborhoods and militant response to police brutality, according to History.com. The Black Panther Party, as well as some modern Black liberation and leftist groups, were inspired by Malcolm X’s call for “freedom, by any means necessary.” Asante said the widespread influence of Malcolm X’s ideas shows how the official narrative of the civil rights era isn’t the only one. “History is written in two different places, by the state, there are symbols approved by the state and those approved of by the people,” Asante said. “[King] has become in one sense the establishment icon, but [Malcolm X] is deeply rooted in the hearts of the community.” hal.conte@temple.edu @conte_hal





Remembering ‘what King lived, fought and died for’ Students and residents read “I Have A Dream” and participated in community service projects. BY MILES WALL Events Beat Reporter Berean Presbyterian Church, on Broad and Diamond streets, honors Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service every year by hosting community service projects. Community members and Temple students, staff and faculty participate in the projects. On Jan. 20, they also read aloud King’s famous 1963 speech, “I Have A Dream.” David Brown, an assistant professor of public relations, organized and facilitated the reading of the speech. Attendees were given copies of the speech and organized in a circle around the room. Brown walked from attendee to attendee, having them read sequential lines from the speech. “The significance of the speech is that we’re still trying to bridge the divide, we’re still trying to overcome racism, we’re still trying to help marginalized communities, which is what King lived, fought and died for,” Brown said. Brown credited the original idea for the line-by-line reading to Rosalind Williams, office director at Temple’s Journalism Department. Klein College of Media and Communication will hold a similar reading in the atrium of Annenberg Hall on Jan. 22, he said. Brown said reading the speech in the church sanctuary was perfect because community residents are familiar with the church and Temple students and faculty could attend. “It’s especially important to have students from Temple, who may only know King as a day off from school, about how meaningful and how relevant those words that were spoken then are today,” Brown said. Monarch Rathod, a junior biology


JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS Klein College of Media and Communcation’s Diversity Advisor and professor David Brown directs a reading of Rev. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at a MLK Day of Service at Berean Presbyterian Church at Broad and Diamond streets on Jan. 20.

major and international student from India, said the event was the first time he read the complete speech, and he felt he learned more about King’s ideas through the experience. “I kind of get what he was trying to say,” Rathod added. “He’s trying to build the new America. This is coming true. Everyone’s together, all the community are together, we’re volunteering, we’re doing good.” Rathod participated in the event’s community service project, where volunteers at the event worked on cleanup projects inside the church or assembled first aid kits for use in nearby schools

and community centers. Gregory Bonaparte, president of the church’s board of trustees, directed the event from the stage at the church’s community center. Bonaparte has coordinated the annual events for the past 10 years and the participation of Temple students is an important part, he said. “It’s been an excellent thing because we have students, as you can see, all over,” Bonaparte said. “We always just work ‘em lightly. Today was a bit different because we didn’t just want to work, we wanted to share Dr. Martin Luther King’s dreams.” Several members of Temple’s foot-

ball team attended the event. Kobe Wilson, a freshman communication studies major and football player, said the team attended the event together to bond and help out the community. “A lot of African Americans have been through so much throughout the civil rights movement and we actually get to take a day off and realize that, which is sick,” Wilson said. “Like to show the significance of that, because without him and without that speech, I don’t think we’d be in the same situation we are today.” miles.wall@temple.edu





Tournament chances falter with recent AAC losses After the Owls lost four of their last five games, their chances of making the NCAA Tournament are unlikely. BY ALEX McGINLEY Assistant Sports Editor Temple University men’s basketball has not made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances since the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. Based on its last five games, Temple ensured that drought will continue this season. Temple (10-7, 2-4 The American Athletic Conference) has dropped four of its last five conference games, hindering its chances of making consecutive tournament appearances. After stealing a win in Central Florida Dec. 31, 2019 to start conference play, the Owls dropped three games to teams from The American. They lost to Tulsa by 26 points on Jan. 3 in a game where they shot 27 percent from the field and 20 percent from the three-point line. Next, the Owls lost to Houston by four at home on Jan. 7 during which the Cougars outrebounded the Owls 54-32 and scored 19 second-chance points to the Owls’ eight. Temple then lost to Tulane by 14 in another home game on Jan. 11. The Green Wave scored 21 points off turnovers. The Owls struggled to make shots once again as they shot 31.5 percent from the field and 20.8 percent from behind the arc. Temple seemed to turn things around Wednesday in its upset of then nationally ranked Wichita State. However, the win seems to be more of a reflection on the Shockers’ poor shooting performance than the Owls’ play. The Shockers shot 30 percent from the field and 14 percent from the three. Despite the win, the Owls’ shooting woes continued as they shot a poor 25 percent from behind the arc. The win was a fluke as the Owls lost to Southern Methodist 68-52 on Saturday. The Owls put up another poor @TheTempleNews @TheTempleNews

JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS Junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis attempts to score during the Owls’ game against Wichita State at the Liacouras Center on Jan. 15.

shooting performance as they shot 32 percent from the field and three-point shots on a 33 percent clip. “You can’t make fast breaks all the time,” said senior guard Quinton Rose on Nov. 9, 2019. “Going into conference play, teams are gonna be better, and they’re not gonna turn over the ball like that. We just gotta get our half-court offense together.” With two months left in the season, the Owls are just one loss away from matching their conference losses from last season. Temple has 14 games left in its schedule, and 12 of those games are against other teams in The American. The other two games are against fellow Big 5 members Villanova and Penn. The Wildcats are nationally ranked and the Quakers are coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2018, so the Owls’ schedule does not get any easier. Last season, the Owls barely got into the tournament as one of the last four

teams in. One of the biggest questions going into this season for the Owls was how they were going to replace former guard Shizz Alston, Jr. Last season, Alston led the team with 19.7 points per game. Alston was second on the team in threepoint percentage last season at 35 percent. The Owls have not been able to do that. Only three Owls have shot better than 35 percent from behind the arc this season: senior guard Alani Moore II, junior forward De’Vondre Perry and freshman guard Josh Pierre-Louis. All three players are averaging fewer than nine points per game. Moore averages 8.2 points on 38.3 percent shooting from three. Perry averages 6.7 points and made 43.5 percent of his threes. Pierre-Louis averages 4.6 points while shooting 37.5 from behind the arc. The team’s three captains — Rose, junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis and ju-

nior forward J.P. Moorman II — have not stepped up to their captain roles this season. They have shot a combined 24.8 percent from the three-point line. The Owls are 248th out of 350 teams in the NCAA in three-point shooting at 32 percent. Many teams the Owls have faced have employed some form of a zone defense. Zone defenses protect the paint, which forces the offense to shoot from the outside, which is a weakness for Temple. Temple needs to do a better job of throwing the ball to players inside the zone and passing it out to players for open shots behind the three-point line. If the Owls cannot improve in shooting, rebounding and minimizing turnovers, then it will continue the recent Temple trend of not being a consistent force in the NCAA Tournament. alex.mcginley@temple.edu @mcginley_alex





‘Having a good time’: Energetic duo reunites at Temple Coach Josh Nilson originally recruited Jazmyn Estrella and Faith Leary to Utah State University. BY CAYDEN STEELE For The Temple News Temple gymnastics coach Josh Nilson was trying to pay attention to a floor exercise at practice. Then something caught his attention. Senior Jazmyn Estrella and junior Faith Leary were dancing together in the corner of the gym. “There could be a TV show of [Estrella] and [Leary], and I’m pretty sure everyone would watch it,” Nilson said. “You just walk in, you look at them and you think, ‘What are those two doing, and what is that dance move.’” As an assistant coach, Nilson recruited both athletes to Utah State University before he left to take over Temple’s program in 2018. He was excited when his recruits entered the transfer portal. “There is not a single member of the team that doesn’t like them,” Nilson said. “They are there for their entire team. They are always dancing around and having a good time, everyone loves them.” Estrella and Leary are close friends, which dates back to their time as teammates at Utah State in 2018. Now teammates again at Temple, they are excited to compete on the same floor once more. Estrella transferred to Temple from Utah State before the 2019 season and competed in 12 of Temple’s 13 meets. She made Division 1 All-Eastern College Athletic Conference First Team for vault and bars. She also made the ECAC Second Team for beam. Estrella was a part of the beam lineup that set a program record with a combined score of 49.225, which helped the Owls bring home the ECAC Championship in 2019. Estrella set the team’s highest score on the bars when she scored


SCOTT SASSAMAN / COURTESY (LEFT) MICHAEL WADE / COURTESY (RIGHT) | INGRID SLATER / PHOTO ILLUSTRATION Junior Faith Leary (left) transferred from Utah State to Temple before the 2020 season, and senior Jazmyn Estrella transferred from Utah State to Temple before the 2019 season.

9.875 in March 2019. Leary transferred to Temple before this season. She left Utah State with many accomplishments, including the school’s eighth-highest vault score of all time. She also tied for seventh all-time with a single-season floor average of 9.844 in 2018. In 2019, Leary competed in seven meets as a floor specialist for the Aggies. She finished tied for 16th place with a score of 9.750. Her personal best as a floor specialist is a 9.9, which she scored in February 2018. Leary recorded her

personal best vaulting score in March 2018 when she scored a 9.9. “[Leary] will bring power with tumbling and vaulting,” Estrella said. “She will bring a lot of energy.” Estrella remembered when Leary stuck a vault as a freshman at Utah State. Landing that vault was a special moment and Estrella embraced her right after with a huge hug. It’s a moment she’ll never forget, Leary added. “She’s a leader, and she puts herself on the line every single time, whether she’s in pain or anything like that,” Leary said. “She wants to see the team prosper.” Estrella supported Leary when she

was making her decision to transfer to Temple, Estrella said. “She talked to me a lot when she was deciding where to transfer, and I told her how much I loved it here,” Estrella said. “I think I did have a little bit of an influence on her.” It was comfortable knowing Estrella went to Temple when she made her decision, Leary added. “You get a family thing with this sport, and we all know how hard it is and it’s something we bond over,” Leary said. cayden.steele@temple.edu @caydensports





Freshman guard puts teammates first on the court Freshman guard Asonah Alexan- 2019 against Villanova (11-7, 5-2 The der leads The American Athletic Big East), where she was three assists shy of a triple-double. Alexander finished Conference in assists. BY JOSH GRIEB Women’s Basketball Co-Beat Reporter In recent games, Temple women’s basketball (11-7, 4-2 The American Athletic Conference) has trusted freshman guard Asonah Alexander to set up the team’s offensive plays and direct players. She has started in ten of the last 11 games, filling in for former starter redshirt-sophomore guard Ashley Jones as the team’s main facilitator. “[Alexander] is one of those kids where she’s a freshman, but we don’t treat her like a freshman,” coach Tonya Cardoza. Alexander played high school ball at The Patrick School in Hillside, New Jersey. The team won the state title in her freshman year. In her senior year, she led her team with 101 assists. At Temple, Alexander is still distributing, while her scoring game finds its footing. She averages 5.9 points per game, along with 5.4 rebounds and 4.83 assists per game. Her best game came on Dec. 10,

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 24 CUCALON “The first time that the bull passed by me, it got super close,” Paolo Cucalon said. “I avoided it, and that’s one of my happiest moments. It came in so fast. Your adrenaline is so high, and you get a rush of emotions.” Ramiro Cucalon can remember bringing Paolo Cucalon to his first match. “He was scared at the start of that match mainly because of how big and strong the bulls were,” he said. “To be that young and have all of the applause, ovations, everything being thrown into @TheTempleNews

that game with 19 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. “The bright spot about [Alexander] is she doesn’t care about scoring,” Cardoza said. “I want her to look to score more, but she doesn’t care about scoring, and I love that about her.” She leads The American in assists and assists to turnover ratio. Alexander said she needs to work on her jump shot and aggressiveness as a scorer. She shoots 40.9 percent from the floor, which is third on the team. Alexander is shooting 34.2 percent from three-point range, behind only sophomore guard Marissa Mackins. She has only attempted 38 three-pointers this season, which is fourth on the team. She has seen the most fluctuation in minutes per game out of anyone on the team. She averages 29.5 minutes a game and has played anywhere from 38 to 16 minutes a game. “The way our team is we hold each other up and don’t let us be down on ourselves,” she said. Despite her occasional struggles and

unstable court time, she has played her way into the starting lineup in recent games. “It means everything to me that coach Cardoza puts her trust in me to put me out there on the floor,” she said, “I just have to give my all for her.” The Owls are playing well with her in the starting lineup. Temple has won

the first four of their first five games of the year. “I feel bad for her sometimes because we act like she’s been playing college basketball for a few years,” Cardoza said. “But she has only played 17 games.”

the ring, and then the matador possibly dying in the ring, that’s a lot to deal with. But over time he adapted to it all and loved it.” Ramiro Cucalon never wanted his son to go into bullfighting. Even though the mortality rate is much lower than many people think, he never wanted his son to be in that situation, he said. Sofia Cucalon, his sister, said her family wanted to show him bullfighting was more than just avoiding an oncoming 1,100-pound bull. “It wasn’t going to be easy, and we wanted to demonstrate that to him,” Sofia Cucalon said. “It required a lot more courage and passion than anything. He had the passion, but we weren’t so sure

he had the courage. He very quickly realized that potentially being a bullfighter wasn’t for him. He was so afraid of the bull that he could barely even stand in front of the ‘burladero,’” which is the panel that guards bullfighters against the animal. Paolo Cucalon’s bullfighting career was short-lived. He competed in five amateur matches with smaller bulls that weigh about 700 pounds. He came away with no injuries other than a few broken fingers, he said. He immediately returned to tennis. He was recruited to Jacksonville State University in 2016, where he spent the first two years of college. He transferred to Temple before the 2018-19 season.

Last season, Paolo Cucalon went a combined 35-14 in both singles and doubles competition for Temple. While he was once trying to be a bullfighter, he’s happy with the decision that he made to come back to tennis, he said. “It’s a really scary scene. It ended up not being for me, I said ‘no’ quickly,” he added. “I never had the confidence to do it because while it is a bull, it doesn’t feel like you’re playing with an animal. And here at Temple, I’ve achieved many great things with this team.”

NICHOLAS DAVIS / THE TEMPLE NEWS Freshman guard Asonah Alexander dribbles the ball during the Owls’ game against South Florida at McGonigle Hall on Jan. 16.

joshua.grieb@temple.edu @JGrieb10

donovan.hugel@temple.edu @donohugel







AND BACK AGAIN Paolo Cucalon tried to be a bullfighter in Colombia, but later returned to tennis.

BY DONOVAN HUGEL For The Temple News


aolo Cucalon has been under the spotlight since he was a young

boy. The senior from Palmira, Colombia was ranked a top-five tennis player in his home country ever since he started playing

at the age of six. Now a member of the Temple men’s tennis team, Cucalon once thought he wanted to give up the sport. Ramiro Cucalon, Paolo Cucalon’s father, is a surgeon and was a volunteer doctor for a bullring in Palmira for 10 years. Paolo Cucalon accompanied his father to the matches and fell in love with the sport. After attending hundreds of matches, Paolo Cucalon, then 12 years old, decided he wanted to be a competitive bullfighter. CUCALON | PAGE 22

WILL STICKNEY / THE TEMPLE NEWS Senior tennis player Paolo Cucalon poses on the court at 15th and Norris streets on Jan. 15.



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