Page 1

visit us at

@KeanTower Hall of fame preview Page 10

Commencement speakers Page 3

2015-16 2016-17

NJCPA General Excellence 2nd Place winner


The Tower is recognized as a top college newspaper The Tower, Kean University’s independent student news organization, has been recognized as a top college newspaper in New Jersey in a competition among four-year public and private colleges. Five Tower staffers were also given individual awards in critical writing, online video and website project categories. The New Jersey Collegiate Press Association (NJCPA) awarded The Tower second place for 2016-17 in the category of “General Excellence” for best college newspaper. Rutgers University’s The Daily Targum received the first place award and third place went to Seton Hall’s The Setonian. Professional journalists judge the annual NJCPA contest. The coveted General Excellence award is based on an overall look at the coverage, writing quality, copy editing, style usage and layout in the newspaper. Judges also take local appeal, effectiveness and readability into account, according to NJCPA contest rules. This is the second consecutive year that The Tower placed second for General Excellence for best college newspaper. The Tower editor in 2016 was Rebecca Panico and this semester it is Rose Marie Kitchen. Both are Communication/Journalism majors who graduate in May. The Tower is a requirement in

the academic concentration in Communication/Journalism in the School of Communication, Media & Journalism. Professor Pat Winters Lauro, who oversees the journalism option, and Professor Lois DeSocio, an adjunct professor, serve as faculty advisers. In individual awards, The Tower’s Rebecca Panico, former editor-in-chief and current web developer/engagement editor, won two video awards. Panico won second place in the category of best Web Project for her piece, “Listen: TV turns into poetry with readings from ‘Rabbit Ears,’” which was about a campus event created by Dr. Susannah Rich in the School of English Studies. For best Online Video, Panico won second place for her video titled “The Tower visits Yale Daily News to discuss diversity in journalism.” The video highlighted Panico’s trip last semester to an invitation-only event sponsored annually by the Yale Daily News. It was the first time any Kean student was invited to the event. Kean won again in the best Online Video category with a third place award going to David Long, a senior majoring Communication/Media, and Elijah Tarik Powell, a sophomore majoring in Sociology, for their piece called “College Hour, Episode 2; Shawn Crysis,” which explored the music of Kean student Crysis.

Kean Gospel Choir prepares to take the McDonald’s Gospelfest stage

Photo: Rose Marie Kitchen

Tower reporters and editors hard at work

In the Arts & Entertainment/ Critical Writing category, Joshua Rosario, a sophomore majoring in Communication/Journalism, received the third place award for his article headlined “Everybody’s dead in the gallery” about an exhibit at Kean curated by former student John Hurtado. The Tower students and advisers will accept their awards at the annual NJCPA Conference & Awards luncheon on April 8 in Cranbury, NJ. Support for New Jersey Collegiate Press Association comes from the New Jersey Press Foundation, the philanthropic arm of New Jersey Press Association.

Photo courtesy of the Kean Gospel Choir

Kean Gospel Choir sets out to win two years in a row By Jennifer Padilla The Kean University Gospel Choir (KGC) has been selected, for the second year in a row, as a finalist in this year’s McDonald’s Gospelfest. The McDonald’s Gospelfest will be held at Newark’s Prudential Center on Saturday, May 13. “I am ecstatic about the McDonald’s Gospelfest,” said Rochanda Fegins, a graduate student in the English Masters program at Kean University, as well as a member of the KGC. “This is my first time being able to experience this with people who I now consider to be like family on campus.” The KGC, which consists of 15-25 dedicated members, was reestablished in 2011. According to Imani Walker, a Public Relations officer for the choir, the KGC was not fully known on campus until it was selected for the McDonald’s Gospelfest last year; due to the choir restarting and being fairly new on campus. During last year’s McDonald’s Gospelfest, the KGC won first place in the adult category against six other choirs, including Montclair State University Gospel Choir, which had won first place in 2015. Thereafter, the KGC was featured on Fox 5 “Good Day Street Talk”, a public affairs show that focuses on social, economic and educational issues in the tri-state area.

Kean graduate Halkias named teacher of the year

The choir has now performed at many campus events; including “Balling for Breast Cancer” hosted by Pan African Student Union (PASU)) , “Kean’s Gospel Fest” hosted by the Haitian Student Association (HSA) as well as many other events.. McDonald’s Gospelfest this year will feature grammy awardwinning gospel artists such as Donnie McClurkin, Israel Houghton, Erica Campbell, Hezekiah Walker and others. Throughout the years, some participants of the event, including Hezekiah Walker, known for his hit song “Every Praise” have moved on to have successful careers as gospel artists. This event has been around since 1983 and was created to benefit education within the local communities, according to the McDonald’s NY tri-state area website. Millions of dollars have been awarded in scholarships by The New York Metro McDonald’s owner/operator association. “The future goal is to continue encouraging believers in their walk in Christ,” said Walker. Gospel music, which is deeply rooted in the rich traditions of the African-American church, is a form of spreading the ideals of christianity in the form of music. However, there are no specific race, knowledge of gospel, or musical abilities required to be part of the KGC. “There are no awkward tests that need to be passed, or auditions that need to be scheduled in order to join the choir,” said Fegins. “Anyone is welcome, with open arms.”

Photo courtesy of Kean University

Nicole Halkias has been recognized as teacher of the year at Brookside Place school

By Gail Fredricks Nicole Halkias, a graduate of Kean University, wanted to be a graduate for many year and recognized for teacher of the year in Cranford. Halkias is now a fifth grade teacher and has been recognized as Teacher of the Year at Brookside Place School in Cranford. An anonymous nomination came from a parent of one of her students, who took the time to write out a nomination letter in recognition of the love and passion Halkias has for the job. “I had no idea that I was nominated,” said Halkias. “My principal walked in one morning and gave me the news. I was so excited.” This is not the first time Halkias received a bachelor’s in 1994 and her Master’s in 1998 from Kean, where she .has been recognized for her excellence in teaching. She was named Student Teacher of the Year at Kean University in 1993, and in 1998 in her previous district. “I am just so appreciative of a people seeing what I love doing,” said Halkias. Halkias has been teaching since 1994. She taught for nine years in Linden as a first grade teacher. After taking five years off when giving birth to triplets, she went back and taught Kindergarten for two years, and has been teaching fifth grade for the past six years in Cranford. Halkias gives credit to Kean University and her professors for the preparation it gave her for her teaching career. Being placed in different districts for her fieldwork, she was able to see different environments and teaching styles. “Dr. Michael Searson, being one of the best professors a student could ever have, gave me such a great opportunity,” said Halkias. Dr. Searson asked Halkias to co-author a chapter in a book he was writing on technology in the classroom, something Halkias said she would always be grateful for. Halkias realized how important technology was in the classroom back in 1991 through Pearson’s classes and teaching style, which put passion in her. “Everytime I learn something new in technology I always say to myself, ‘Dr. Searson would be so proud.” Another professor Halkias gives credit to is Dr. Debbie Allen, who showed her how to see what was important in each child. Dr. Allen used to tell her, “Each child has something to offer, and you my little chickadee, need to find it and go with it.” Twenty years later, Halkias said she looks at her students each year and finds their “thing” and uses that to teach them, using what Dr. Allen instilled in her. Following this award, Halkias is currently running for Union County Teacher of the Year, and New Jersey State Teacher of the year if she is selected. Halkias plans to grow as an educator by attending summer workshops and working closely with Cranford’s literacy and math coaches to stay updated of new ways of teaching, being aware of new theories and developments that will help her and her students. “I will continue to give 200 percent of myself to my students,” said Halkias. “And make learning fun.”


April, 2017

Board of Trustees takes new action on 2014 resolution after lawsuit By Rebecca Panico Kean University’s Board of Trustees voted again on a resolution from December 2014 regarding job appointments, which recently gained scrutiny after a court ruled the trustees’ actions null and void. An appellate division of Union County Superior Court ruled Feb. 8 that the university violated the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) when it did not send Dr. Valera Hascup, a former nursing professor, official notice about the Board of Trustees’ vote to not reappointment her. The notice, called a Rice notice, was never sent to Hascup, who was denied reappointment in the fourth year of her tenure track. By not sending this notice, Hascup never had the opportunity to request that her non-reappointment be discussed at the meeting publicly. The plaintiffs in the case were the Kean Federation of Teachers (KFT), KFT President Dr. James Castiglione and Hascup. The Kean Board of Trustees, Board Chair Ada Morell, and the university were named defendants. Castiglione called the new resolution -- which was voted on at the trustees’ March 6 meeting -- “legal jujitsu” since it addressed appointments, reappointments and promotions or changes, but did not address non-reappointments. “We would have liked to have had the untenured faculty wrongly denied appointment to be reappointed today,” he said. “But that did not happen today, to the great loss of our university and students.” The university disputes the appellate court’s ruling. “Kean University maintains that it acted fully consistent with the Open Public Meetings Act,” Kean University spokeswoman Margaret McCorry said

in a statement. “The Board of Trustees has and always will comply with all legal requirements governing its actions. The University is vigorously pursuing its appeal rights and will continue its fair and equitable treatment of all employees.” Job reappointments and nonreappointments were discussed prior to the 2104 vote in a subcommittee, court records online show. The board approved the consensus reached in the subcommittee at the December 2014 meeting, with no discussion during the public session. “A silent unexplained vote to approve a list of preapproved candidates in public session gives the impression that the Board colluded to circumvent the OPMA’s requirements,” the appellate court wrote. Thirty-four tenure-track professors were reappointed at the December 2014 meeting, Castiglione said. Nine professors, including Hascup, were not. Two professors were effectively fired in both the second and third year of tenuretrack, three in their fourth year and two in their fifth year. The appellate court’s February ruling not only affects public universities, but all public entities, including governmental agencies and K-12 public schools, Castiglione said. “It affects every public body in the state of New Jersey,” Castiglione told The Tower at the Board of Trustees meeting. “It’s a really broad ruling from the appellate court. And they concur that the board was not doing its job.” The appellate court ruled that Rice notices must be provided in advance of any meeting where a personnel decision may occur. Hascup has not received damages as a result of this ruling, Castiglione said, nor did she receive a Rice notice for Monday’s meeting since the board’s resolution didn’t

address non-reappointments. The appellate court also ordered the board to adopt a meeting schedule for the upcoming school year that will enable it to approve meeting minutes within a 45-day time frame. The board meets five times a year, making it difficult to approve minutes of previous meetings within that time period. “If this requires the Board to meet ten times per year to make the minutes of

its meetings ‘promptly available’ to the public, so be it,” the ruling read. Editor’s note: This story originally appeared online at on March 7.

Union Mayor complains about new dorms By Joshua Rosario The mayor of the Township of Union addressed Kean University’s Board of Trustees at its public meeting on Monday, March 6, about the university’s plans for construction of new residence halls on the grounds of the Campus School North buildings. Suzette Cavadas spoke against the University’s plans, claiming that the university did not inform her about the plan. Cavadas said she first heard about the plans from Bloomberg News. “Kean has overspent and overbuilt in no regard to your neighbors,” said Cavadas. “ As mayor I should not come to this meeting and ask for information. As I stand here today, I have no idea the height of this project is, the exact location,and the impact of the community.” Cavadas a Kean alumna, continued to say the University’s administration has made no time to organize a community meeting, nor did they conduct an outreach to Union township or its residents to address the quality-of-life concerns over this project or any other project. Cavadas also expressed concern over the way Kean University had planned to fund the new dorms. “Your plans for funding are baffling, and has flooded my colleagues with more questions than answers,” said Cavadas. “Why has Kean chose to partner with a developer with a Triple B minus rating?” Cavadas also questioned whether it was necessary for the university to build more

dorms given that Kean’s enrollment is down and the majority of students commute. According to Kean’s website, out of the 15,221 total student population only 1722 of them are on campus residents. Cavadas asked the Board of Trustees if their project can be grounded for the time being. So Cavadas, the township, and the community can learn about the project and have a dialogue with Kean University about the impact on everyone. She also asked if all relevant information and documentation be provided within the next two weeks in order to give the township a considerable amount of time to review all the information. Cavadas stated she wanted to give the university the chance to “make things right.” Kean University President Dawood Farahi responded to Cavadas by citing that the Union Township Engineer has been provided with designs of the structure on a regular basis and the Union Township fire department has been involved with every stage of inspection of this project and many other projects. “ This conversation has been going on to begin with Union township for over three years,” said Farahi. “ We will send you all the information that we have provided to Union Township. We will provide you with all the minutes of the conversation that has taken place with Union township and there’s many of them.” Farahi explained that new dorms are needed because over 200 students are presently living in two residential facilities that were

constructed in 1963 and 1965. Farahi said that an assessment concluded that to bring those two buildings to minimum standards would only give those buildings a life expectancy of 10 years. He also stated adjustments were made to the project to make sure impact of the community on Woodland Ave would be minimal. The project has been moved closer to the middle of campus and is to be built 250 feet away from the Woodland Ave. homes. Mayor Cavadas was not the only person to speak at the meeting. Also speaking was Township Attorney Daniel Antonelli who cut what he was going to say short because he said he would only be reiterating what Cavadas had said previously. “ I hope there is a spirit of cooperation here,” said Antonelli. After the meeting, Antonelli told The Tower, “The concern we have with this project and any other projects here at Kean University is the residential impact: the traffic, the quality of life, etc.” “ Both the residents and the township don’t really have all the information on the project,” said Antonelli. Cavadas told The Tower that residents had called her to voice their concerns to see if there was something she can do.She said she came to the meeting to vocalize concerns to the board. “It is such a large structure to have in somebody’s backyard,” said Cavadas. David Armenia, a 33-year resident of Woodland Avenue in Union, expressed that

Board of Trustees meeting on March 6, 2017

he doesn’t thank Kean University for their uncaring attitude toward the people of Union. He sarcastically thanked the board for softballs that have landed on his property, beer containers, paper cups, water bottles, a box left out for days till blown away, kudos their privatized maintenance, trailers that rumble down the street despite a no trucks allowed sign, and jaywalking students on Green Lane ave. “Thank you for the the buses that parked on green lane where it says no parking. I’m sure the University obtains permission from the town every time it’s done,” said Arminio. “ I especially like the 15 or so buses that parked on Woodland Ave on the side that says no parking. That makes it almost impossible to drive down the street.”

Who knew Kean had a center for cybersecurity? By Rafaela Teixeira The Center for Cybersecurity is about three things: academic courses, a laboratory under development and working with the state to teach young minds about cybersecurity awareness. The center started on January 4th, 2016 and began with a request by Kean University’s President Dawood Farahi to further grow the Center for Cybersecurity. Originally, the center was under the Criminal Justice program, with the intention of branching out and eventually becoming its own major and degree. Since then, several courses have been created including Foundations in Cyber Crime, offered since Fall 2016, among others that are awaiting approval. Students with majors in Computer Science, Business or Criminal Justice are enrolling in these courses as electives to gain further knowledge about how to digitally protect their files, documents and other materials. Cybersecurity is also keeping in contact

with the Computer Science department because a lot of their courses complement each other, said Walter Rant. However, Cybersecurity does not want to replicate the courses provided in Computer Science. Walter Rant, a retired Colonel in the U.S Army, as well as a retired FBI Agent, serves as Managing Director of the Center for Cybersecurity at Kean University. He said many reports have been circling the news about government agencies utilizing smart phones and TVs to hear conversations, as well as visually gathering information by using cameras. Citizens are repulsed by the idea of someone watching their every move and of course have questioned the ethics of our government. On June 8, Kean will be co-sponsoring, along with the Small Business Development Center, a conference on the “Internet of Things, More things, Less security”. “Today’s youth cannot get enough of technology and with ease and ability, you’re giving up security,” Rant said. “What a lot

of people don’t realize is that today’s age of ‘smart stuff ’ can go both ways, it can be used against us.” He explained that multiple stories have gone around about people hacking into systems to utilize technology to gather information. “…like what is being discussed in an office. You can listen for a year and not find anything out, but all you have to do is listen to that one conversation, that one deal, and it was worth all your time”, Rant said. Cybersecurity knowledge is important because those who use technology and smart devices need to understand how to protect themselves, as well as protect their personal information. The Center for Cybersecurity helps teach this generation what to do to ensure their own safety, he noted. “I came up when there weren’t any computers,” he said. “... Computers came with no instruction book, and no Dos and Don’ts of using them, but everyone loved it. Even the younger generation loves it because everyone is putting their lives

out there. You’ve just given up what the country is supposed to be about; security, individualism, and privacy. But there isn’t any privacy if you put things like your birthday online”. Technology is constantly getting smarter and has much to offer. However, consumers may only use a fraction of all that comes with it. So if a hacker wants to hack into a system, the consumer wouldn’t know what to do. Some tips for college students are to be understanding and aware of their electronic surroundings and the systems they are using. Students also need to learn how to protect themselves. One small step in doing so is by not releasing personal information for everyone to see because that information will, in the future, be used for health, business, and financial purposes. “If students don’t maintain some sort of security awareness on their private information, they are going to get hacked, and their lives are going to get messed up and it will take a long time to get that straightened out,” he said.

April, 2017


Actor, CBS morning co-host announced as 2017 commencement speakers By Rose Marie Kitchen With just over two months before the graduating Kean University class of 2017 takes the stage and become graduates, the 2017 commencement speakers have been officially announced. Actor Kal Penn and Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) morning co-host Norah O’Donnell have been announced as the undergraduate and graduate commencement speakers, according to a release by the university. Penn will deliver the undergraduate commencement address on May 18, at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. O’Donnell will deliver the graduate commencement address on May 16, at the NJ Performing Arts Center (NJ PAC) in Newark, NJ; stated in the release. Penn is known for his starring roles in “House”, “24”, the “Harold and Kumar franchise” and “Designated Survivor”. From 2009 to 2011 he also served as the Associated Director at the White House office of public engagement. To read more about Penn visit: php O’Donnell is known as an awardwinning journalist, co-host of “CBS This Moring”, a correspondent for “Face the Nation”, a contributor to “60 Minutes” and an occasional fill-in anchor for “CBS

Antonio Parrales, alumnus of Kean University and founder of Parrales Consulting LLC.

Photo source: Kean University

Actor, Kal Penn (left) will deliver the undergraduate commencement address on May 18, while Norah O’Donnell (right) CBS Morning co-host will give the graduate commencement speech on May 16.

Evening News”. She is also the former National Broadcasting Company (NBC) chief Washington correspondent and news anchor for “Weekend Today”. She has reported from every continent except Antarctica.

American Cancer Society cancels Relay for Life at Kean

Participants and teams from the 2016 Relay for Life at Kean University

By Rose Marie Kitchen After four years, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has officially put their Relay for Life partnership with Kean University on hold because of fundraising benefits. Relay for Life is a team fundraising event where members take turns walking for hopes to live in a world without cancer. Each event lasts from 6-24 hours to signify that cancer never sleeps. The Office of Student Government has run Relay for Life for the last four years. “In a nutshell, it goes down to being respectful, with what comes in,” said Patricia Ortiz, senior manager for Relay for Life’s ACS eastern division. “Some events require a cost and when you look at those things together and the return in the investment, it’s not in line.” It was explained as a decision that had to be made, as well as a decision that is not unusual. “With any event, not only at Kean, every year we look at every fundraising efforts that we have, said Ortiz. “Discontinuing or merging any community events is not an unusual thing that happens. We need to ensure that we are providing the most out of the donor dollar and sometimes the return and investment.” First notice about the cancellation was sent via email by Marquiale Davis, executive vice president of funded groups for the Office of Student Government., on Dec. 12, 2016. The email was sent to only funded group officers who were currently holding a seat on a funded club executive board, at the time. Davis is a student worker at Kean, who is employed within the Student Organization office. Student Organization has hosted Relay for Life for the last four years. All student clubs are first invited to participate in Relay for Life in hopes to create student morale. Student Organization sat down and spoke with a representative from the ACS back in November. “A representative from American Cancer Society came to meet with us [Student Organization] in November,” said Carli Hench, Managing Assistant Director for the Office of Student Government. “They said they are doing all around restructuring and changing the format of certain events; moving away from the traditional relay event, in order to cut costs and ensure more fundraising money goes to the cause instead of

To read more about O’Donnell visit: For more important information about commencement go to: Undergraduate Ceremony: Graduate Ceremony:

A glass full of conscience

Photo: Rose Marie Kitchen

covering the costs of the events themselves.” At a time when the Relay for Life teams would be in full force with fundraising efforts, participants from years prior instead received a cancellation notice from ACS via email on March 2. “Our decision in no way suggests that the event has not been valuable,” stated in the email from ACS. “We know that your support, participation and dedication to the Kean Relay for Life made it an empowering and special event for many in your community.” According to the Office of Student Government and ACS, the number of Kean participants and the money raised has increased every year from 2013 to 2016. Altogether, the 35-37 teams of 350 participants has raised: 2013 - $6,100.00 2014 - $14,727.00 2015 - $19,152.00 2016 - $22,700.00 Totals were provided from the Office of Student Government and confirmed by ACS. Altogether, the average participants were 350 with an average of 35-37 teams. Although the partnership between ACS and Kean is currently on hold, it does not mean the end of Relay for Life at Kean forever. It is possible for Relay for Life to be back at Kean with more student representation and morale. “It’s not that we don’t want the representation within the student body, we do,” said Ortiz. “It was more creating that culture in the school and spreading that awareness and getting more students involved, that is what we find the success of these campus events are. When the students are really behind it and they start creating that awareness.” There are other local Relay for Life events for anyone who is interested in participating. For more information in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties, call 1-800-2272345, or visit “The hope is, that although you are not going to have an actual relay at Kean, any student who still does want to support their organization is still able to, by either participating in a near event, continue to volunteer or even their own initiative,” said Ortiz.

Students experience “The Source”

Photo: Monica Sudfield

By Cody Louie While the majority of us reach for a bottle of water to quench our thirst with ease we often overlook the hardships that most of the world experiences. For Selam, a 13-year-old living in Ethiopia, that luxury doesn’t exist. “The Source”, a virtual reality (VR) event held in the Miron Student Center (MSC) by the Human Rights Institute (HRI) at Kean University on March 2123 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. immerses viewers into the experience. It focuses on Selam and her family’s hardships with everyday life living with minimal, stagnant, leech infested water which makes them sick and their path to obtaining clean water. The use of VR allows for the viewer to be dropped into the situation in first person and see the environment for themselves. This makes the viewing more of an experience due to the interactive nature when one sees the lifestyle of Selam’s family. According to Ellen Johnson, a graduate assistant at the Human Rights Institute, the video is all a real story which some may find eye-opening. “The Source” aims to bring people to an understanding that the global water crisis, while not apparent to first world countries, does exist. The video itself was presented through the Within: storytelling for VR mobile application and co-produced by “CharityWater” and VRS. The event was a kickstart for the 10th annual conference organized by the HRI. Continuing with the theme of the global water crisis, this year’s conference was titled “Half Empty: The Depths of the Global Water Crisis.” The conference took place on Friday, March 24 in Wilkins Theater from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. It featured three speakers: Robert Glennon, Doc Hendley and Salva Dut. Glennon is known for his commentary on water’s law and policy throughout the nation. Hendley is the founder of Wine to Water, a non-profit dedicated to providing clean water around the globe. Lastly, Dut is the founder of the non-profit group “Water for South Sudan” (WFSS). WFSS is known for drilling over 280 wells in one of the world’s poorest regions. Tiago Barros, junior sustainability major who volunteered for the event said that they are, “trying to bring people to understand the water crisis.” And that, “it’s easier to visualize it.” The video is presented in a 360° headset supplied by the environmental sustainability department, which allows users to look around to become fully engrossed in the environment. However, Barros also said that due to the use of stationary chairs, for the future it would be ideal to have ones that swivel for full functionality. Overall, Barros described it as a good experience, and “[people] need to see it for themselves to kind of be in the moment.” The School of Environmental Sustainability Sciences had their students volunteer to assist in operation of the event. March 23 was the last day to experience Selam’s story in the MSC, however, it is available through the free Within mobile application as well as online.



April, 2017

Indie, hip-hop and other artists to play benefit show April 11

Above: Founders of S.H.E.Vibes. Below: Students gather for a night of paint and pottery. photos by Joel Joly

Photos courtesy of Justin Williams, Kelly Black and TAR!K

From left to right are Justin Williams, Kelly Black and TAR!K. They are three of the nine artists who will perform at Nu Sigma Phi’s benefit show April 11 in the Little Theatre.

By Rebecca Panico The Nu Sigma Phi fraternity is getting a little creative this year to raise funds for the Friends of Union Animal Shelter in Union Township. The fraternity brothers are organizing a benefit show for April 11 in Little Theatre in the Miron Student Center at 6:30 p.m. It which will feature nine artists from indie bands, rap artists, stand up comedy to spoken word. “The lineup is predominantly Kean students,” said Louis Nicastro, a Nu Sigma Phi brother who helped organize the event. “It’s incredible how much talent we have on our campus.” Several hip hop artists, including Shawn Crysis,

Arte Magnus and TAR!K of Paragon Squad are all Kean students. (TAR!K, whose name is Elijah Powell, formerly worked for The Tower.) Adrian Sharp, another hip hop act, will also perform. Lunch Ladies, who describe their sound as “jangle dream pop,” will take the stage along with New Brunswick-based indie band Arcways. Paul from the internet -- which is a side project of Jean Pool bassist Paul Brushaber-- will rock out on his bass too. The event will also showcase stand up comedy from Justin Williams, who has released films including “Justin Williams: Black and Comfortably MiddleClass” and “Newark: The Comedy.” Kelly Black, a Kean alumna who studied creative writing, will perform poetry.

This is the fourth annual benefit show Nug Sigma Phi has organized. Last year, the fraternity raised funds for Hometown Heroes, a non-profit organization that led the Restore the Shore Hurricane Sandy relief campaign. The fraternity also raised funds for Special Olympics New Jersey two years ago. This year, the fraternity has decided to help a more local organization. “I got my dog who I love very much from this shelter and want to give back for all the work they do,” Nicastro said. The show will be open to the public and admission will cost $5 at the door. All proceeds will go to the animal shelter in Union Township, the event’s Facebook page says.

Leslie Jones joins Kean for Unity Week

Kean hosts first sports communication and careers panel

By Monica Sudfield

By Estefani Hernandez

Saturday Night Live (SNL) comedian Leslie Jones filled the Wilkins Theater with laughter on March 16, 2017, as a special guest to celebrate this year’s Unity Week. Jones’ routine, which incorporated stories from her youth, relationship humor, and audience interaction, was raunchy. “This isn’t SNL. I’m a bad person,” warned Jones right from the jump. Jones, although best known for her role on “SNL”, is also notable for her two most recent projects, the new “Ghostbusters” and animated film “Sing”, according to Internet Movie Database (IMDb) . Many jokes seemed improvised based on what was going on around her and how the audience was reacting. The audience interaction caught many off guard, which was hysterical to watch, according to Junior Jack Tomy, usher for Kean Stage. A moment that caught the audience, and even Jones herself, off guard was when an audience member kissed Jones right on the cheek. When socializing with a man in the audience, he took out his phone to shoot a quick Snapchat with the comedian. He then proceeded to kiss Jones on the cheek for the snap with his girlfriend sitting next to him. Jones immediately made a joke about the situation expressing he would regret that when he gets back to his room and his girlfriend makes comments about how he should “go kiss Leslie Jones.” “It didn’t feel like I was watching a performance,” said Kaitlin Murphy, Rutgers Junior accompanying her friend who attends Kean. “It felt like she was actually talking to us on a more personal level, which was really cool.” With last years Unity Week’s big guest performance being a concert featuring Kehlani and Jeremih, a comedy show was fresh, different and unexpected. “I was interested to learn that this year would be a comedy show, and even more interested once I heard it was Leslie Jones,” said Tomy. The night started off with an opening act from comedian Jon Laster, host of the first

Kean University’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) held its first “Sports Communication and Careers Panel Discussion” to discuss what to expect in the sports industry on March 28, in the Center for Academic Success (CAS.) The main theme of this event was to provide students with expertise in the journalism, radio, broadcast and public relations field. The event included four sports panelists; Al Dukes, Executive Producer of The Boomer & Carton Show, Jerry Barca, film producer and adjunct professor, George Falkowski, who worked for News 12 and the New England Sports Network and Chris Brienza, who oversees Coyne Public Relations sports and media practice areas. All four panelists shared their reasoning behind choosing the sports field and shared all of the struggles and obstacles that each of them faced, but also encouraged students to major in the sports industry. “Don’t be stopped by anyone saying no, confidence is critical, you will get a lot of no’s but you keep that confidence and just never let anyone stop you,” said Barca. Additionally, the panelists offered advice to students. “Being able to reach a bigger mass audience, in radio, there are lots of other competitors in the morning, so in radio, you should cover stuff that appeals to everyone,” said Dukes. “You have to know your audience, and know who is watching.” With the panel being dominated by males and half the audience being females, the panelists were also asked by the audience if there are more opportunities in sports news for women. In response, Falkowski gave his thoughts on women majoring in sports. “Women have a hard time in the past, but today it is more common to see a woman covering sports,” said Falkowski. “Women get more respect today and definitely have more opportunities in this field.” Furthermore, Dukes began his broadcasting career producing sports talks programs in Tampa, Florida. He is a former graduate of Kean University and Indiana State University, where he earned a Master of Science in Communications. Barca produced and appears in the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “Catholics vs. Convicts” which debuted in December of 2016. He is the author of “Big Blue Wrecking Crew: Smashmouth Football”, A little bit of crazy as well as “Unbeatable: Notre Dame’s 1988 Championship and the Last Great College Football Season”. Falkowski, spent more than 30 years in sports and news television, most notably with the New England Sports Network. He also spent time as a sports anchor, reporter and news reporter for “News 12 New Jersey”. He currently teaches communication courses at Kean. Brienza brings nearly 20 years of senior level public relations, media relations and strategic communications experience from his experience at Coyne. Students enjoyed the panelists and what experiences they brought to the panel that they shared. “I thought all the panelists gave great advice,” said Keila Marie, sophomore. “I loved listening to their stories and all the advice that they gave us was very helpful.”

Photo: Monica Sudfield

Tickets were available at just $10 for students.

and second “Underground Comedy Festival” in New York City. Some may recognize Laster’s name from his three seasons of BET’s “Comic View” or even his weekly hosting in Clinton Hill/FT Green Brooklyn at the longest running comedy room ever in Brooklyn, according to “Opening Acts are a risk because they’re either going to be liked or disliked, but the hilarious impression he made will definitely stick with the audience,” said Murphy. As stated on the the Kean Website, Unity Week’s purpose, since its commencement in 1997, has been to celebrate the cultural diversity of the Kean community by unifying students, faculty and administration. Over 200 student tickets were sold, advised Student Org member Alexa Cantres, but the audience varied of all ages. Leslie even cracked a joke about how there were probably random patrons with no association to Kean at the performance because they are “die hard Leslie fans”. Pulse Coordinator Edward Adams said Leslie was happy to be doing this performance and loves that she can be a part of our University’s Unity Week. Other events that took place in celebration of Unity Week 2017 included: Unity Week Kick-Off; Melting Pot Program; Sex, Love and Happiness; Unity Week: Before I Die Wall; You & Your Money; Trap vs. Hip Hop; Let’s Talk, Real Talk; and English Vinglish.

April, 2017


ACM-W organization wins start-up grant By Kiara Mays A new Kean University group devoted to advancing women in computer science machinery has been awarded a $3,000 grant to sponsor activities that will help lessen gender inequality in the male dominated field. The Association for Computing Machinery-Women Student Chapter (ACM-W) entered the national ACM-W student seed fund competition and proceeded to win the third tier, $3,000, prize for Start-up Funding. The top tier prize Trailblazer Award, was awarded to two universities, which received a grant of up to $15,000. The second tier prize Amplification Award, was awarded to five universities, which received an award amount of up to $5,000. The award was sponsored in part by Google and National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). Although similar, ACM-W is not to be confused with its counterpart, Association for Computing-Machinery (ACM). While both are internationally recognized student chapters, unlike ACM-W, which focuses on bettering women in Computer Sciences, ACM does not focus specifically on any particular demographic. “The funding not only provides us with startup funds to begin our chapter

activities, it formally recognizes us as well as Kean University in the computing community nationwide,” said Stephanie Eordanidis, Computer Science major, and senior at Kean. Eordanidis, founding member, VP, and former First Chair for ACM-W explained that while the chapter is geared towards women, anyone is allowed to join as it is considered an all-inclusive organization. However, anyone looking to become a member should know that all events and chapter activities will be geared specifically towards women. “All members aspire for change to lessen the gap in the Computing Sciences with regards to gender inequality,” said Eordanidis. The ACM-W chapter sheds light on the under-represented demographic of women in the male-dominated field while also providing them with a wide range of unique programs and opportunities. Through information sessions, career fairs and guest speakers, the chapter at Kean wants to further educate women to assist their success in the Computing Sciences. ACM-W hosted its first, official chapter meeting on Thursday, March 23 on Kean’s campus. Members and prospective members learned more about the chapter, executive board members, as well as received information about future events and opportunities.

Photo: Katherine Cabrera

Above: ACM-W Executive Board along with Advisor. (From left to right: Paoline Medina (VP), Katherine Cabrera (President), Luisa Goytia (Guest Speaker from Princeton University), Carina Belino (Treasurer), Marina Nessim (Secretary), and Dr. Jenny Li (Advisor) Below: Audience at first, official, ACM-W meeting on Thursday, March 23, 2017

How to make the dean’s list this semester By Rose Marie Kitchen

Kean University Department of Public Safety police blotter By Joel Joly Photo: Shilad Sen via Creative Commons

Know what it takes to make the Dean’s List

Dean’s list requirements The requirements to make the Dean’s List for full-time undergraduate students are: • Must end the semester with a 3.45 GPA or higher • Must have taken 12 credits or more during that semester (does not include pass/fail classes) • Must not end the semester with an “incomplete” • All courses taken for that semester must be passed The requirements to get onto the Dean’s List for part-time undergraduate students are: • Must end the school year with a 3.45 GPA • Must have taken 12 credits or more during the year (does not include pass/fail classes) • Must not end the academic year with an “incomplete” class • All courses taken for that semester must be passed To be eligible to graduate with honors, graduates must obtain a 3.45 GPA or higher and complete a minimum of 45 semester hours by the end of his/hers first semester as a senior. Also, in order to graduate with honors graduates must not have a grade of an “incomplete” and with the completion of 45 semester hours, pass/fail classes shall not be included. After these requirements are met, an honors designation will appear on the students’ diploma and official transcript. The honor designations are: • Summa Cum Laude; required GPA ranges from 3.85 to 4.00 • Magna Cum Laude; required GPA ranges from 3.65 to 3.84 • Cum Laude; required GPA ranges from 3.45 to 3.64 Please visit the Kean University homepage for more information about the Dean’s list.

Feb. 22 - At 6:16 p.m, a faint odor of CDS was detected in the stairwell. No odor was detected near any residential rooms in Dougall Hall. Feb. 23 - At 7:42 a.m, an unknown actor broke the outer door handle that was repaired the day before at the University Center.

Police Blotter

One of the best ways to end the semester is by achieving the minimum grade point average [GPA] requirement to get onto the Dean’s List. Attending college is not always easy but hard work does in fact pay off. The Dean’s List is announced at the end of every fall and spring semester.

Feb. 24 - At 11:39 a.m, three people were stuck on the elevator and freed by police officers on scene. The elevator was placed out of service. Feb. 28 - At 12:56 p.m, in the UC hall, a person was feeling dizzy, numb, weak, and experiencing pain in lower back. The person was transported to the hospital. Mar. 1 - At 11:16, there was a faint odor of CDS found but nothing that could be located in Whiteman Hall.

Mar. 3 - At 8:02 a.m, a fire alarm was activated at the Campus School West by a GCA employee who accidentally hit the pull station with boxes that were being moved. Mar. 4 - At 3:05 p.m a reported suspicious package was later found to be an unattended backpack containing clothes and books in the Cougar’s Den.

Mar. 8- an unknown actor gained access into the kitchen and took two bags of chicken wings and other food in the UC hall kitchen, reported at 10:08 a.m.

Mar. 9- An unknown actor gained access into the kitchen and took frozen beef hamburger patties and other food in the UC hall Kitchen, reported at 2:55 p.m. Mar. 16- At 3:52 p.m, an unknown actor took victim’s wallet from jacket at the CAS Building.

Mar. 17- At 8:33 p.m A GCA employee took the victim’s clothes from the floor of the laundry room and threw them out in Freshman Hall.

Mar. 19- At 12:15 p.m an underage actor was in possession of a fraudulent driver’s license at the UC Hall. Mar. 20 - At 9:21 a.m, vehicle #2 struck the rear of vehicle #1 due to driver inattention at Campus Drive.

Mar. 21- At 2:32 a.m, an intoxicated female tried to gain access into the building and was refused to leave in Suzio Hall.


April, 2017

Kean students react to “Get Out” film By Kiara Mays Since it’s release on February 24, critically acclaimed film Get Out continues to dominate at the box office. Having grossed over $147 million domestically and a rare 99% favorable review on “Rotten Tomatoes”, students at Kean University voice their thoughts on the Jordan Peele (of Key and Peele), written and directed, Thriller/Comedy film. “I loved it,” said Zaiditu Persaud-Alabi, public relations major, and senior at Kean. “Once you get past the satirical, comedy aspect of it, there were many important elements. Get Out follows 26-year-old Chris Washington, a middle-class black photographer and his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage, as they’ve come to the “meet the parents” stage of their relationship. Rose invites Chris upstate to her parents’ home for a weekend where Chris notices their odd behavior immediately upon arrival. Chalking it up to it being their discomfort with their daughter’s interracial relationship, Chris tries his best to disregard Missy and Dean Armitage’s strange demeanor. That is until a series of disturbing events leading up to the unthinkable truth behind the Armitage family leave Chris fending for his life and

moviegoers at the edge of their seats. “The ending was completely unexpected,” said Charles Thompson, Junior, and earth science major. “I thought it was amazing, and it really makes you think.” By watching the official movie trailer, most wouldn’t have picked up on the fact that Get Out, while primarily a horror film, would feature underlying racially charged themes concerning African Americans as well as the ongoing stigma against interracial relationships. In an interview with Terry Gross (NPR’s Fresh Air), writer-director Jordan Peele said that he considers Get Out to be a “social thriller.” “I think the movie focused on a very important issue, which is both social and racial issues that affect the black community,” said Bre’yanie Pearson, PR major, and senior. “‘Get Out’ is a good movie with so many hidden messages, all relevant to things that have taken place at some point in history.” Persaud-Alabi also noticed the film featured a major concept coined by African American sociologist, civil rights activist, historian, and author W.E.B. Du Bois known as “Double consciousness”. Double consciousness describes an individual whose identity is separated into many facets, making it difficult to identify with one, unified identity.

Photo courtesy of The Verge

“Get Out” has grossed over $147 million

However, unlike Pearson, who’s seen the movie twice already, and Persaud-Alabi as well as Thompson, who both said they would watch it again, some students didn’t quite see the replay value in Get Out. “It was good, I thought it was super

predictable though,” said Cameron Edwards, IT major and junior at Kean. Get Out is still currently playing in theaters if you haven’t seen it or simply want to see it again. For those that have seen it, however, what did you think?

Curl fest empowers women By Estefani Hernandez The Kean Student Organization held its very first “Curls, Coils and Kinks Fest,” for Women empowerment on Monday in the Miron Student Center and received a huge crowd. The curl fest encouraged both males and females to love their natural hair type. “Having curls is something wonderful that every female should be proud of, I am very happy to see that natural hair is being celebrated,” said Karolyn Gonzalez, Junior. “All curls are beautiful and it’s great to see these many people here.” During the event there were hair tips from YouTube celebrities such as Janae Raquel, Ada Rojas and Ashley Hall. There were also many free giveaways such as smoothies, pens, coffee mugs, hair samples, free haircuts, Dip n’ Dots, Chap Stick and a live performance by the Ekklipse Steel Band.

Additionally, Raquel, Rojas and Hall held a question panel for any doubts that females or males might have about dealing with their natural hair. Rojas shared her journey in college as an African-American Latina with curls to students. “In college, I damaged my curls so much, I would straighten my hair constantly and at one point my natural hair pattern just wasn’t there anymore,” said Rojas. “I did a huge chop and decided it was time to get my hair health again and one year later and I haven’t used any heat on my hair and do not plan to anytime soon.” All women came together to celebrate one thing and that is being natural. Women empowerment was felt throughout the festival. “Your fro is yours for a reason, never compare your mane to another, always love your hair for how it is,” said Raquel. “Every fro is different but that is what makes you, you.”

Photo: Estefani Hernandez

Students that took a picture with this wall and posted #KeanCurlFest on their social media received a free coffee mug

“More Life:” Has Drake surpassed Lil Wayne? By Kiana Anderson “Has Drake surpassed Lil Wayne?” is a question now being discussed with the success of Toronto rapper Drake’s highly anticipated new album, “More Life.” The feedback from the album has been amazing as Drake took to sample many legendary songs while putting his own twist on things. Drake signed to Wayne’s label, Young Money, in 2009 and has since produced five albums and won three Grammys. Lil Wayne is a legendary rapper but Drake is the number one artist in the country right now. Kean students shared their thoughts on the issue and the reviews were certainly mixed. Kean senior Amani Parrish said with the faster technology gets, the faster artists such as Drake become more relevant. “I feel as though Drake is definitely on the verge of being greater than

Wayne if he isn’t already. People have to understand the age we live in now is fast. With all the sense of technology we have, it is easier for Drake to come out on top and even faster for us to make him #1. The way videos are designed and the way music is thrown in our face is living proof that Drake, who by the way is more relevant than Lil Wayne, will surpass him.” In contrast, Junior, Ashley Ford said: “I love Drake but I do not feel as though he has passed Lil Wayne. Wayne is legendary. I grew up listening to Wayne. Drake will get there but now is not that time.” Junior Andrea Antal also agreed with Ford saying Drake is close but not yet there. “I for sure think he is close but have you seen what Wayne has done for the hip-hop community? There’s no way anyone can just forget about that and put Drake above him.” This is definitely a close one.

Photo Source: Drake

“More Life” album cover

April, 2017


Autism research takes off at Kean By Johanna Edladous Autism is a developmental disorder that affects 1 in 68 children in the United States, but 1 in 41 in New Jersey. According to Autism New Jersey, a nonprofit organization, New Jersey has the highest rate of children with autism nationwide. Dr. John C. Burke is an assistant professor and the applied behavioral analysis program coordinator at the College of Education at Kean University. Given the high rates of autism in the state, the research, which is soon to be starting at Kean University, will be extremely vital in New Jersey. As of this year, the board of trustees at Kean University has approved Burke’s research lab for early detection of autism through a new program and research with Infant Eye Tracking and Learning Lab. There are various centers of excellence in the field of autism that have done extensive research in this field, such as Yale University and UC Davis. According to Dr. Burke, research is showing very interesting findings. Previously, it was believed that early identification of the disorder meant diagnosis at two years old, then later 18 months and then a year. Now there is information out there to show we can detect signs of autism as early as six months. Some research is even stating that early signs may be seen in as early as a couple of months of age. This program is meant to work with children as young as two months in which it will remotely track the retinas of the child’s eye. According to Burke, there is a certain trajectory of characteristics in typical developing infants and children. He states that during that first year of development, children with autism fall away from that

path and then veer off onto a trajectory more associated with the disorder. The eye tracking machine follows the eye movement and records it on the computer so what the child sees, the researcher will see as well. This will allow for the researcher to detect whether or not the infant is staying on the normal development track. Burke’s research works in conjunction with learning labs, which are a learn while playing setting. The goal of this research is to try to detect early signs of autism to then provide early intervention through a protocol called the First Signs Infant Program. Through this program graduate students will be assisting in the play-based intervention for infants as young as two months old. This will entail getting the children to track various objects, getting them to have reciprocal smile and other behaviors that kids who eventually get the diagnosis of autism don’t end up doing. The main goal of this research, Dr. Burke said, “is to say these are kids who are at risk for autism but they did not develop full blown autism because of the intervention.” Not only does Dr. Burke want to help the children but he also wants to assist the families that are affected by this developmental disorder. He wants to give them all a chance at the best life possible. Through his new research and program, he will help the parents with tips and guides to use at home. Dr. Burke is looking for infants ages two to six months of age, which he will track until the age of two years old. Please visit http:// to see how you can help Dr. Burke and Kean University in the advancement of their autism research.

Economics department sponsors student career development program

Students listening to the presentation.

By Cody Louie Twenty economics and business majors gathered in the North Avenue Building on March 16 to attend the first of a four-art career development workshop organized by the economics program coordinator, Dr. Moschos Scoullis. The workshop was available to economics and business majors with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The goal of the workshop was to open the door for students to prepare them for their start in the field of economics. “I can give them a gentle push to start in the development of their careers.” said Moschos. “However, once the door is open, the rest is up to the student.” In addition to Dr. Scoullis, acting Dean of Liberal Arts, Dr. Jonathan Mercantini and Dr. Geofrey Mills, Associate Dean of the College of Business and Public Administration were in attendance and offered their words of wisdom. Kean University graduate, Shah Choudhury, was the event speaker. Currently, he works for Morgan Stanley in its human resources (HR) department. Choudhury opened with what he finds to be one the “trickiest question on the planet, [but] the easiest question to nail.” That question being: tell me about yourself. He further went in depth about how to respond correctly to it in an interview. Most people who hear that question answer in context to their achievements and accolades that got them in that seat. But Choudhury made it a point to say that the answer should be formed into a non-transactional manner. “It’s not what you say, it’s about how you say it,” said Choudhury. “Interviewers want to see potential hirees as people, not just employees.” He stressed the importance of communication

Photos: Johanna Ekladous

Above: Dr. Burke in the Learning lab for preschoolers Below: Dr. Burke in the Infant Eye Tracking Lab

War against sexual violence

Photo: Cody Louie

and the S.T.A.R. methodology. It serves as an acronym for: situation, task, action, and result. The method serves as a structure to help answer questions effectively. What is the situation? What is the task at hand and how do we solve it? What action are we taking to fix it? What is the end result, do I have to try again? While speaking about the importance of communication, he said that it is important to be personable in interview situations. Choudhury said it is important, “to draw on real, personable, relatable stories in order to establish more of a connection with the person you’re talking to.” Everything he spoke of dealt with communication, which even kicks back to when he first sees a resume. Choudhury related resumes to movie trailers and how to make and leave an impression. Resumes should be tailored for each specific job that one applies to, HR individuals such as himself act as the first line of defense in the hiring process. In order for them to pass your resume on, their attention needs to be grabbed and kept within the first moments similar to what movie trailers do. The first session acted as an overview for what’s to come in the following weeks. Sessions that are to follow deal with Leadership skills, resume building, and mock interviews. “I wanted to gain better insight into the perspective of an HR person,” said senior economics major David Schneider, “what they’re looking for, what they like and don’t like.” Schneider felt that the workshop would prove to be dry and boring yet he found Choudhury to be “electric” and learned a lot more than he thought he would about how to conduct himself in interviews and to put in the extra step ahead of others on a resume.

Photo: Johanna Ekladous

Ambassador Bangura speaks out against sexual violence.

By Johanna Ekladous On Thursday, March 23, the Holocaust Resource Center held a free public meeting with the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General, Zainab Hawa Bangura in which she spoke about the worldwide sexual war crimes. Bangura has worked in all five continents and covers 19 countries around the world with conflicts and she states that in all of the continents there is sexual violence against women. She stated that it is the goal of the United Nations to ensure that the leaders in these countries are reminded and understand that they have a moral obligation to protect women and ensure that these acts of sexual violence are not being committed. Additionally, the United States has taken the lead in creating resolutions in helping the United Nations in implementing new laws that hold country and military leaders responsible for the violent acts of their men against women. “The problem that is faced in these countries is that they hold a culture of denial and silence,” said Bangura. “The culture of denial is one of the biggest challenges we have to face and second is the stigma.” Furthermore, a woman who is a victim is then made to become the subject of shame instead of the perpetrator who committed the crime. “The stigma is not only on the individual but on the family, on the community.” said Bangura. As hard as Bangura is working to help change the way sexual violence is viewed in these countries, she believes that people need to speak up. “We need people to raise their voices and say this is unacceptable.” said Bangura. The United Nations with the resolutions they have made so far are making an impact, but they still have a long way to go. The United Nations is now charging the military leaders and the countries leaders with large fines and jail time if they do not do anything to prevent these degrading and humiliating crimes against women.


April, 2017

HEALTH Opioid addiction is skyrocketing in New Jersey

THE TOWER Department of Communication Kean University Center for Academic Success 1000 Morris Avenue Union, NJ 07083 Telephone: (908) 737-0470; Fax: (908) 737-0465 Email:;

The Tower is an independent, laboratory newspaper of Kean University’s journalism option in the communication major program. It is published monthly through the regular academic year and supported by advertising and the Department of Communication. The Tower is not responsible for claims made by its advertisers. The Tower is a public forum and is free from censorship and advance approval of content by the university administration. The Tower staff is responsible for its content.



Photo: Creative Commons

By Dr. Josh Palgi When you have a mild headache or muscle ache, an over-the-counter pain reliever is usually enough to make you feel better. But if your pain is more severe, the doctor might recommend something stronger – a prescription opioid. Opioids are a type of narcotic pain medication. They work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body. They reduce pain messages sent to the brain and therefore reduce feelings of pain. While blocking pain, they also stimulate a portion of the brain associated with pleasure, producing a “high.” And that’s where the problem can begin. Common types of opioid drugs include Codeine, Fentany, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Meperidine (demeral), Methadone, Morphine and Oxycodone. Most of these drugs are taken orally although Fentanyl is available in a patch. If you don’t use this medication correctly, they can have serious risks, with side effects such as drowsiness, nausea and vomiting. Opioids can also be dangerous if you take them with alcohol or with certain drugs such as some antidepressants, antihistamines and sleeping pills. After taking opioid pain medication for a while, you might find that you need more of the drug to achieve the same effect in reducing pain. This is called drug “tolerance.” It is not the same as addiction, which involves a compulsive use of a drug. When you use opioid medication over an extended period of time, you can develop dependence. This can occur when your body becomes used to the drug and if you abruptly stop taking it, you may have withdrawal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, muscle pain, anxiety and irritability. Opioids can make a dramatic difference to people with moderate to severe pain. These drugs can be an effective therapy – as long as you can use them safely and follow doctor’s instructions. You can also develop an addiction to opioid pain medications and compulsively seek out the pain medications. While the use of many street drugs is on slight decline in the US, abuse of prescription drugs like opioids is growing.


Among teens, prescription drugs are the most commonly used drug next to marijuana, and almost half of the teens abusing prescriptions drugs are taking painkillers. Almost 50 percent of teens believe that taking prescription drugs is much safer than using illegal street drugs. Of the 20.5 million Americans 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2015, 2 million had a substance abuse disorder involving prescription pain relievers and 591,000 had a substance use disorder involving heroin. The most powerful prescription painkillers are called opioids. The most commonly abused opioid painkillers include oxycodone, hydrocodone, meperidine, hydromorphine, and propoxyphene. The drug abuse of and addiction to opioids such as heroin, morphine, pain relievers is a serious global problem that affects the health and economic welfare of all societies. One factor behind the surge in heroin and opioid use was the dramatic spike in the use of prescription painkillers. In 1991, doctors wrote to 16 million prescriptions. By 2011, that number had nearly tripled to 219 million, according to a report from National Institute on drug abuse. From 2000 to 2015, more than half a million people died from drug overdose. In 2015 alone, 52,404 Americans died from drug overdose and some 80 percent of the drug related deaths were due to misuse of opioids. Ninety-one Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. The increase in opioid overdose rates is driven in large part by illicit opioids, such as heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. Everyday, more than 1, 000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids. The economic impact of the opioid epidemic is huge. Some $55 Billion is lost in health and social costs related to prescription opioid abuse each year. Emergency department and inpatient care for opioid poisonings alone amounts to $20 billion. The drug overdose statistics for 2016 in NJ aren’t yet compiled, but there were 1,587 drug overdose deaths in NJ in 2015, up 21 percent from 2014. These 1,587 lost lives were 2.5 times the number of the people killed in motor vehicle

By Quincy Rodgers




OPINION PIECES AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Tower welcomes guest columns and letters to the editor from any source. Such material should be submitted to or left at The Tower’s offices. To verify sources of written material, submissions must include the writer’s name and contact information. Students should include their class (sophomore, graduate, etc.) and major. Faculty and staff should include campus title or position. On request, names may be withheld from publication if The Tower staff determines there is a legitimate reason to do so, but no anonymous letters will be accepted for publication. The Tower reserves the right to edit, and refuse publication of any submission.

accidents. Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation to limit narcotic painkiller prescriptions to a five-day supply instead of the 30-day supply doctors routinely prescribed to help fight abuse. A patient still in pain can get a refill but only in five-day increments. The Star-Ledger reported that 31 physicians last year who used their prescription pad to make money and feed the illegal drug market were arrested. Of the 31 doctors, eight lost their license, five served long term suspensions, 17 had their licenses temporarily suspended pending hearings, and one retired. Gov. Chris Christie has also commited to spend up to $15 million to fund an ongo-

ing anti-drug advertising campaign, called The Reach NJ, which feature the governor encouraging people to call a new helpline, 1-844-REACH-NJ ,and use the website to find resources around the state to treat addiction. Too many Americans are feeling the devastation of the opioid crisis either from misuse of prescription opioids or use of illicit opioids. Addiction is a disease, and it can be treated. People in recovery can move on to lead healthy, happy substance-free lives. You must use the resources to learn about what you and your doctor can do and what can you do to keep safe while treating your pain.


April, 2017


Kean baseball takes on California

Photo: Richard Ferguson

Getting ready to catch the ball.

By Brittany Pavlichko While spring break was a time to relax and unwind, it was the opposite for Kean University’s baseball team as they traveled to California to play tough teams. In California, the Cougars lost two of their six games stating it was a challenge competing against good teams. They played against University of Redlands, California Lutheran University, University of La Verne, Chapman University, Occidental College and Whittier College and won against Redland and Whittier. “There were games we could have won, there were just a few aspects of our game that was off,” said Matt Krupa, infielder. “Playing against those teams is always a challenge that requires everyone to be as sharp as possible and unfortunately it didn’t happen as much as we hoped out there.” During their day off in California, they took a trip to Los Angeles to see the Hollywood sign and went to Venice and Santa Monica beaches where they saw historical landmarks and were able to walk around a new environment. They also got to experience playing on different fields with different teams which they looked forward to.

“Besides the warm weather, In n Out burger and palm trees all around , the best part about California was to compete against a couple of the better teams from the West Coast in our division and see how their playing styles compare to those that we are used to in New Jersey,” said Derek Walker, centerfielder. “It was great seeing all of the beautiful fields as well as enjoying an awesome trip with my best friends despite the outcome of some of our games.” Additionally, the Cougars started out the season strong with a four-game win streak against Stevens Institute of Technology, Gwynedd Mercy University, The College of Brockport and Desales University. They used a balanced scoring attack for their first win of the season. But, they broke their winning streak to SUNY Old Westbury with a close score of 5-4 and hope to set a goal of winning the national championship by the end of this season. “The loss was definitely a tough one, but baseball is a game of failures and losses happen,” said Krupa. “I truly believe we all just have to click and we will be a force to be reckoned with.” Going forward with the season, the outfield is looking to place an emphasis on the small details in the game.

”We didn’t do a very good job of executing on the little parts of the game and I believe if we did, our record out in California would be a whole lot different,” said Walker. If you look closely at each game we had a chance at winning all of them and the fact of the matter is that we didn’t play up to our expectations. Also, during the first week of their season, Mike Occhi, senior pitcher and Nick Polizzano, freshman infielder has been named the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) pitcher and rookie of the week. Occhi has been honored for his win on the mound against Gwynedd-Mercy. He retired 15of-17 batters, allowing four scoreless innings, with allowing only one hit and striking out seven. While, Polizzano hits .250 with a double, one RBI (runs batted in) and two runs scored in a 3-0 opening week. “It feels great to win it,” said Occhi. “Every time I go out there I just want to do my job and help my team win in every way that I can.” As of April 3, the Cougars are now 20 games into the season. They will enter their second conference game at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 6 at Ramapo College.

Men’s volleyball undefeated in the Skyline By Sara Ridgway The men’s volleyball team opened Skyline Conference play undefeated, picking up four wins over the course of their first two tri-matches. The Cougars picked up their first two conference wins on March 19, 2017 against Sarah Lawrence College and Yeshiva University to begin battling for their sixth straight conference title. Kean swept both teams in three set matches. In each set, neither team could score no more than nine points. The box scores for the match against SLC is as follows: 25-2, 25-8 and 25-3. The box scores for the match against YU is as follows: 25-5, 25-9, 25-9. “Knowing that it was the first two games of conference play, the team’s mindset started off that we were 0-0,” said sophomore middle blocker Kamil Garbowski. “We are focussing on what’s occurring now instead of what has happened.” Both SLC and YU had a low number of players present on game day, particularly SLC who only had six players present; just enough to fill the positions on the court without any substitutions. “We walked onto the court with the intention to become better players than we were yesterday,” Garbowski said. “Even though the competition wasn’t high, we treated the teams as if they were our equal.” On March 16, 2017 two more wins were added to Kean’s record, including a threeset sweep over Ramapo College and a four-set thriller with St. Joseph’s College Long Island, whose volleyball program is in its inaugural year. The SJC-L.I. men’s volleyball team’s roster consists of 11 athletes, eight of which are freshmen.

Although they be young, SJC-L.I. put up a fight, pulling out a victory in the first set 25-21. Kean came back to win the next three straight sets 25-15, 25-22 and 2518, sealing the deal on the win. The box score for the match up against conference rival Ramapo is as follows: 2520, 25-22 and 25-19. Throughout these four matches there were many lineup changes, resulting in every Cougar seeing on-court action. Sophomore outside hitter Nico Mercadante made his debut in the setting position against SLC and freshman setter Ian Capp played outside hitter against SJC-L.I. “Each player brings a unique personality onto the court which makes up for a great experience,” Garbowski said. “Lineup changes tend to happen from time to time, however, I wouldn’t say that it’s harder, more like it’s different.” Junior outside hitter Jacob Kauffman was named Skyline Player of the Week on March 27, 2017 after his performance in three matches the preceding week. In matches against Steven’s Institute of Technology, Ramapo and SJC-L.I., Kauffman racked up a total of 38 kills, 10 aces, 9 digs and one assist as per the Kean University Athletics website. His hitting percentage stands at .405 for the three matches (11 sets) played. Since playing on March 16, 2017, the Cougar’s have added two three set wins to their record against New Jersey City University and York College, St. Joseph’s College-Brooklyn, Purchase College, The Sages Colleges and Arcadia University. Their record stands at 22-8 overall and 7-0 in the Skyline Conference. Kean will travel to the Bronx, N.Y. to play two final conference matches on Friday March 7, 2017.

Photos: Sara Ridgway

Above: Garbowski and Mercadante set up the block. Below: Garbowski attacks the ball.



April, 2017

Benisch Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2017 induction preview

By Craig Epstein On Thursday, April 20, 2017, seven new members will be inducted into the Benisch Athletic Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Inductees include Melissa Beyruti, Pascal Clerigo, Johanna Hedler, Ebony Jackson, Melissa Nunez, Perry Schatzow and Jay Sgaramella. They will be among 124 other members of the Kean University Benisch Athletic Hall of Fame. Melissa Beyruti is Kean’s all-time leading scorer in women’s basketball. She was also a three-time MVP and the recipient of two D’Angola Awards. By the time she retired, she was the NCAA’s all-time leader in both threepointers and games played. Her skill, among a number of other factors, propelled the Kean women’s basketball team to three NJAC titles and three NCAA Elite 8 appearances. She was also a three-time WBCA All-American, twotime AllAmerican and is mentioned in the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Record Book seven times. Pascal Clerigo played an important role in the 1992 Kean men’s soccer national-title-winning team. This was the first national championship that Kean had won in any sport. He was also a three-time all-region selection by the NSCAA and all All-NJCA in each of his four years. In all of her four years, Johanna Hedler received all-conference recognition for her performance as shortstop for the Kean softball team. She also retired as Kean’s all-time leader in runs scored and was a part of the Cougars’ first NCAA berth in 13 years in 2008. Not only was she a superstar on the field, but off the field as well. Helder was twice named Kean’s Scholar-Athlete of the year and earned two degrees from the University. Ebony Jackson is yet another Kean women’s basketball standout. She ranks 20th in assists in Division III basketball history, owning 639 (a program record). She also retired with the fifth most points in program history (1,250). She was named an honorable mention by both

the WBCA and This type of play led the Cougars to to two NJAC titles and two Elite 8 appearances. Melissa Nunez not only succeeded in women’s lacrosse, but field hockey as well. In women’s lacrosse, she was named team MVP in 2005 and is one of only two Kean athletes to ever earn All-ECAC honors. When it came to field hockey, she was twice named team MVP. Perry Schatzow was awarded the Rawlings Gold Glove for his defense during Kean’s 2007 National Championship run. Not only that, but he knocked in the game-winning run in extra innings to give the program its first NCAA title. He was also a two-time all-region selection. For his first three years, Jay Sgaramella led the Kean University football team as its starting quarterback. He was a two-year captain and retired with what was then the school-record for completed passes. He also finished second in both passing yards and yards from scrimmage. For his final year, he selflessly switched his position. Perry and Sgaramella are currently staff members in the Kean University Department of Athletics and Recreation. Perry is the Night/Weekend Supervisor for Intramurals & Recreation while Sgaramella is the Assistant Director of Recreation, Intramurals, Facilities & Event Management. “This is a huge honor for me to be inducted into the Kean Athletics Hall of Fame,” Sgaramella said, “not only for myself but for my teammates who I played alongside because without their help this would not have been possible.” He provided a message for any athlete who aspires to play at the collegiate level. “I would just tell them to continue to work as hard as they can and chase that dream of playing in college,” Sgaramella said. “Listen to their coaches and mentors and work at their craft to help make them the best athlete they can be.” The 2017 Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 20, 2017 and begin at 6 p.m in the North Avenue Academic Building. For more information, or to purchase tickets, which are $40, contact the Kean Director of Athletics Jack McKiernan at (908) 737-0604 or

Photos: Kean Athletics

Above: As a two-sport standout, Melissa Nunez not only excelled in women’s lacrosse, but in field hockey as well Below: Being the starting quarterback, Jay Sgaramella led the Kean University football team

Player of the week: Morgan Graham By Greg Patuto Sophomore Morgan Graham of the women’s lacrosse team has been named the New Jersey Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the week of February 27 to March 6 after a monster game in their season opener. The Cougars opened on March 4, 2017, with a 20-4 win over SUNY Old Westbury. In this game, Graham racked up five goals and five assists for 10 total points and her first player of the week award. The team rallied behind Graham and jumped on their opponent early scoring 13 goals in the first half to build a big lead heading into halftime. Eight of Graham’s 10 points came in that big first half and she scored her five goals on only six shot attempts. Even after the honor, Graham was not shy about giving all the credit to her team. “It was exciting to win player of the week but I was happier that we got the win as a team,” said Graham. “It was fun to see all the hard work we put in at practice show in our play during the game.” In total, 20 goals were scored in this game for Kean, 16 of which were assisted. Being unselfish is something that the players pride themselves on and must continue for the rest of the season. “One thing I think that is working really well for our team is we are being very unselfish,” said Graham. “As you can see, most of our goals are assisted from this game. In order for us to be successful, we have to keep that up.” Kean is looking to return to the postseason this time around after a one-year hiatus. If they can achieve their goal, teamwork and hard work will be the reason. “It was fun to see all the hard work we had put into practice show in our play during the game,” Graham said. “Personally I was happy because one of the goals for myself this season was to assist more, and 5 out of 10 of those points came from assists.” The Cougars are off to a 5-1 start on the year and have scored double-digit goals in every game. The Cougars begin conference play on April 8 against Rutgers-Camden.

Graham in action on the field

Photo: Larry Levanti

The Tower - April 2017  
The Tower - April 2017