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Kean soccer’s strong season Page 8

OCT | 2014

Kean‘Selfie’ exhibit Page 4

Nunes wins KU Voice Page 6




Kean students on guard due to ticket scam By Timothy Awojobi and Sade Cox

Photo: Sade Cox

KUPD responds to suspicious activity.

Kean Police Department creates initiatives to make campus safer By Sade Cox

Crime statistics have leveled off the last few years at the university, according to the 2014-2015 Security and Fire Report (formerly “The Guide”), and police are suggesting that their partnership with the campus community is playing a major role. “Our overall activity here has significantly dropped within the last three years,” said Director of Public Safety/Police, Adam Shubsda. “We certainly can’t take full responsibility of that here at the Kean University Police Department, however it is the partnerships we developed within the community and people’s willingness to come forward.” The Security and Fire Report is updated annually and provides the campus community and prospective students and employees with the campus security report,

the annual fire safety report, student conduct policies and other institutional information in compliance with state and federal legislation. According to this year’s data, disciplinary reports for liquor violations decreased from 174 in 2012 to 84 in 2013. Drug related violations have increased from 8 arrests in 2012 to 44 arrests in 2013. Most major offenses have either declined or stayed about the same: no robberies in 2013 compared to one in 2012; one aggravated assault in 2013 and one in 2012; and seven burglaries in 2013, down from 15 in 2012 and 47 in 2011. While the campus community continues to play it’s role in coming forward and reporting any suspicious activity, the department is working to create various initatives to keep the campus safe, including email alerts, body

cameras, and educational programs. The Department of Public Safety and Police utilizes the “CampusAlert™” a notification for Crisis Campus Management and First Responder Communication for students, faculty and staff. “CampusAlert™” sends text messages, emails, and phone calls to the Kean community. Police used this technology just this past month when it was discovered that there were fraudulent tickets to shows being sold in classrooms on campus. “We are the ones who sent out the email to the campus about the selling of tickets,” said Shubsda, adding that they were prompted to investigate the issue thanks to a Kean student who came to them about the situation. The promptness of email and text message alerts sent to the students, faculty, and staff at continued on page 2

After becoming aware of the ongoing sale of “bogus” tickets happening in and around Kean University, there was a mass emergency email sent out by Kean University Police on Oct.3 that alerted all students and faculty. During the last couple of months, students were interrupted by strangers walking into their classrooms to lecture about information on how to purchase tickets at a discounted price. The tickets ranged from comedy shows, laser tag, and sports games. “I knew there was something up when these people walked into my English class last semester,” said James Gillian, junior, English major. “A new person would literally come every week to discuss how we could “save” money” on tickets by purchasing the tickets from them instead of an outside ticket agency.” Gillian said that on continuous occasions, random people would walk into the middle of an important lecture to rant on about buying tickets from them. “There would be times when my professor would just roll his eyes and tell the person to leave,” said Gillian. According to the e-mail sent by Kean University Police, the individuals would lie about being part of the University as representative, or better yet, part of a “private” ticket vending company. The Director of Public Safety/ Police, Adam Shubsda said the investigation started after a student alerted them about the ticket sales. “We found out it was not legitimate. Handing out tickets for free is legitimate,” said Subsea. “If they are asking people money for those tickets, that’s fraud.” Subsea said that the vendors weren’t allowed to “appear in classrooms and university buildings,” without the University’s permission. Some students were skeptical about purchasing the tickets, like Jennifer Balenciaga, senior psy-

chology major. “I actually believed that these people were official vendors, trying to sell their company,” said Balenciaga. “I was almost ready to take out my credit card to purchase multiple tickets for myself and my friends, but something didn’t feel right.” She thanks intuition for not purchasing the ticket. “You know that saying, if you have a gut feeling about something, it’s probably true,” said Balenciaga. According to Kean University Campus Police, the perpetrators selling the discounted tickets would personally receive a “cut” from each ticket sold. The main objective was to lie about “free admission” into certain venues, in order for them to carry out their initiative plan with the tickets. Giovanni Palomas, junior biology major, said that his friend fell victim to the scam two semesters ago. “One of my closest friends purchased a ticket for a comedy show at a discounted price, than what the actual event was selling them for. On the date of the show, he was alerted last minute that show had been cancelled,” said Palomas. “He wasn’t able to receive his refunded amount immediately due to the fact that he had paid with his credit card. Even up until now, he hasn’t received his full refunded amount yet.” Kean University Police & Public Safety warned the public about being on the lookout for any more suspicious activity. It was also stated that this same activity has been present on other campuses around New Jersey. “Thank God I didn’t fall victim to this crap. My professors didn’t even open the door for any vendors or outside people while class was in session,” said Nicole Berry, senior accounting major. When reached for comment, University Relations could not be reached at the moment. All students/faculty members are warned to stay alert and if any questions/ concerns to immediately contact campus police at 908-737-4800.

Women’s volleyball player serves up success By Lauren Spain

Junior women’s volleyball player Lisa DeGroot won the NJAC title of player of the week for the second and third time in her athletic collegiate career on the weeks of September 29 and October 13. “It’s a good feeling being a junior and getting it twice, because the first time I was a sophomore, so it feels good,” DeGroot said. “I think being player of the week also shows how hard I push myself and I’m glad that it’s shown. I have to thank my team because it is a team sport. Together we all play defense so when my team does well it makes me look better so I always thank my team.” The California native began playing volleyball when she was in the fifth grade, with a huge impact from her mother. Along with volleyball, she played soccer, track and lacrosse growing up. She also enjoys surfing and snowboarding in her spare time. She chose to pursue collegiate volleyball because her high school coach gave her the confidence and assurance she needed, and also because of the support she’s received

from her mother throughout her entire volleyball career. DeGroot said she chose Kean University because of the school’s atmosphere. “I had to make a commitment to another school in about a week, so my mom and I came out here to look and I think what won me over was meeting the players,” DeGroot said. “Right away it felt like family to me and that was what I was looking for.” Since becoming a part of the women’s volleyball team at Kean, Lisa has accomplished much success. However her success does not shadow her hard work and effort. “I think that Lisa is a hardworking player and keeps her teammates up both on and off the court,” said teammate Nicollette Poveromo. “I think that no matter where her head is at, she always gets back into her place and no matter where anyone else’s heads at, she’s always there to pick you up.” Her coach, Don Perkins, said Degroot’s ability to play her position well helps boost the entire team. “We are trying to brand ourselves as a more defensive team and Lisa has had 20 digs in each of the last

Lisa DeGroot at the Libero position.

four matches so her recent success has helped us rebrand ourselves as a team,” Perkins said. “She plays the Libero position in a way that is a little different and a little more effective then what people are used to seeing.” A hard worker on an off the volleyball court, DeGroot juggles working

Photo: Kean Athletics

on campus in Harwood Arena, participating in collegiate sports, and being a business management major and marketing minor. She also has her eyes set on attending graduate school after graduating Kean. DeGroot has high hopes for this season’s outcome. “I’m hoping that as a team we

will make it to NJACs and go far in the tournament,” DeGroot said. “As an individual, I want to break more records, although that’s never my main focus. In all honesty I focus more on the team. But it would be nice to beat the number of digs in a season.”


October, 2014

Dark Angel wants to be your next congressman


HOOP for a good cause By Kia Deadwyler

By Rebecca Panico

Photo: Kia Deadwyler

Kean Univesity students warm-up before playing in charity basketball game for breast cancer awareness.

Students at Kean decided to create a way to show school spirit and support the fight against breast cancer by participating in a charity basketball game organized by the PanAfrican Student Union. The cultural organization, whose mission is to unify all people of African descent into a greater awareness of self, took on the project that reflects a similar goal to their own. Balling for Breast Cancer, took place in the Hardwood Arena on Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. As the gym filled with guests and the players warmed-up, DJ CaliCal entertained guests with music. Flyers were posted in dormitories, campus buildings, and social networks promoted the event to bring many attendees out. Guests were encouraged to wear pink to show support and no entry fee was required however donations were accepted and all proceeds went to the Sister’s Network Inc. of Essex County. Hosted by Albert Asiama, the game began shortly after its scheduled time. The two teams, “The Littles” and “The Cure” players wore either a pink or white shirt in support of their team. By half time, Asiama informed guests that the event had raised $1,000 in donations. Half time also included entertainment first, a captivating performance by KDT (Kean Dance Team) followed by a performance by student-rapper, Lewie2Stacks. A member of the Sister’s Network Inc. of Essex County, which is a local organization in Newark that helps raise local attention of the impact of breast cancer in the African American community, spoke during the period enlightening

the crowd about the organization and how important it is to raise awareness of the disease. Paakojo Sackey, a senior whose aunt survived breast cancer, recognized that if people are not aware of the importance of being educated on the disease they’re more likely to be unbeknownst to prevention. “This game was a great way to show students how important breast cancer awareness is,” Sackey said. National breast cancer awareness campaigns have helped decrease death rates with the help of better screening for early detection and improved treatment options. However, the fact is one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. The final score of the game was 44-53, but the real victory was raising awareness and receiving a total of $1,135 in donations. It was announced that due to the success of the event it was to become a staple event every year.

“This game was a great way to show students how important breast cancer awareness is.”

Behind the scenes of The Station By Annalise Knudson

Up on the fourth floor of the CAS building at Kean University stands the Cougar Radio station WKNJ 90.3. The station was bustling with radio staff talking and laughing at 1 p.m. on a Wednesday. After being offered a piece of cake neatly cut into slices for the staff, Phil Giannino walked into the station. Dressed professionally in a button down suit and tie, he walked in and introduced himself with a bright smile. Clearing out a radio station room, Giannino was enthusiastic to tell his story of his experience being a part of the Kean community and to talk about his new project he has been working on, along with other radio staff. Phil Giannino is a senior at Kean University and first joined the Cougar Radio Station in his freshman year. He had always known that he wanted to work in broadcasting when he first entered Kean, and urged station manager Dr. Scott McHugh to liven and better Cougar Radio. Giannino, along with junior Emily Gabriel, and senior Dan Donaldson, came up with the idea to create their own reality show about campus life and behind the scenes at the Cougar Radio station. “It’s been in progress for a year now,” Gabriel said, “We’re starting to get a grip on what we’re doing and what we’re jarring our concepts from.” Sitting down with the three creators for this show, they delved into their stories of how they all met each other through classes they shared at Kean. Gabriel walked into the station one day by Giannino’s invitation and has been part of the station ever since. Donaldson was a transfer student to Kean and the first friend he made was Giannino.

Police Security

Creators of The Station, from left to right, Emily Gabriel, Dan Donaldson, and Phil Giannino.

Gabriel and Donaldson both joined the radio station because of Giannino’s encouragement to stop by the station if they were interested. Being a commuter, Donaldson wanted to become more involved in the campus by joining the station. “I just walked in here one day, and I never left,” Donaldson said. From then on, Donaldson was on almost every radio show every single day. Giannino, Donaldson, and Gabriel wanted to have a project to work on in the station and tried to figure out the best show and genre to choose from. After scrapping numerous ideas, such as a “Survivor” idea featuring professors at Kean, they decided on the comedic reality show, named “The Station.” “That’s how we get our ideas, we just start talking,” Giannino said. “The Station” was an inspiration from the popular and well-known television show, “The Office,” which uses satirical comedy to appeal to their audience. Using the station’s staff cast

Photo: Annalise Knudson

as themselves and dramatizing their actions, they filmed their first episode. This episode turned out to be a success, according to Giannino. Every person that he showed the video to had enjoyed watching the show. When asked about the future of the show, Giannino’s face became unsure and said how he hopes that the show will continue on after he graduates next year. Donaldson hopes that the show will kick start the new School of Communications, Media and Journalism. He emphasized that although Kean is a small school, it does not mean the students are any less creative. “I really think it’s a really good idea to show what campus life is and satirize that,” Donaldson said. The first episode of the show has already been uploaded into YouTube and their site,, where Giannino even copyrighted their name. “It’s about a bunch of college people that came together and it’s like a family,” Giannino said.

You’ve most likely seen him on campus walking to class, looking a bit tired and overworked just like any other average college student. Tall and lanky, wearing his trademark bandana, hastily going from one building to the next. Maybe he hands you your cup of coffee when you swing by Starbucks in the library’s lobby before class, or maybe you’ve seen him as a guest speaker in one of your political science classes. Lately, he’s been asked to speak in these classes because of his campaign. His name is Dark Angel and he’s running for Congress in November’s midterm elections. Angel, 26, felt that his needs, as well as those of others, weren’t adequately represented. That was the impetus for his decision to run as an Independent candidate for the House of Representatives in New Jersey’s 10th District, which includes portions of Essex, Union, and Hudson counties. “Well I honestly don’t feel that there’s anyone elected in my state that currently represents what I view are my values politically,” Angel said. “So I decided to step up myself.” Putting an end to the student loan debt crisis is one of Angel’s main issues in his campaign. This comes as no surprise, considering that he’s currently a student here at Kean studying economics while working three jobs to support himself. “We have a situation where there is an entire workforce burdened by 10’s of thousands (100’s of thousands, depending on your major) of dollars in debt,” Angel explained on his campaign’s website, “These are individuals that cannot find work, or are working 2-3 jobs at the same time, just to pay tuition and make ends meet.” Some other key issues he would focus on if elected include job creation and addressing the poverty problem in New Jersey. These are all related to his main issue of establishing affordable higher education. “We have an unthinkable economy that’s stuck in recession, where the cost of living, healthcare, and tuition are all rising at rates that no one can keep up with, and the few people with degrees (or working towards one) are far from the highest earners in the job market at the moment,” he further pointed out on his website. In order to alleviate this crisis, Angel will work at the state and national level since most colleges will not willingly reduce the ever-rising cost of tuition. “The issue won’t be fixed just because you bring tuition down. You have to find the systemic causes and address them, not just the symptoms,” Angel said. “I think a lot of these issues have to be solved at a federal level.” Angel may not fit everyone’s archetype of a politician. He’s young, does not come from a rich or well-connected family, and certainly has a unique name. “I’m not a millionaire, I don’t come from the trust fund baby club, and I don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars backing me. I’ve been very smart about my campaign,” Angel said. “I’m not running as a politician. I’m running for a politician’s job. I’m an alternative. You’re never going to find anyone different from me… But I know the job and I know what it takes.” Due to a lack of funds, endorsements, and connections Angel has run a large part of his campaign on his own. He’s had about 20 people on his staff throughout the course of his campaign which began in 2012, and it’s largely been a grassroots effort. “The staff has been limited and not all of them are from New Jersey. They’ll have access to social media websites like Twitter or Facebook, and they’ll manage that,” Angel said. “We’ve lost some members and we’ve gained some members. The staff has stayed evolving since this campaign started. But it has been hard because even if we had a hundred man team we couldn’t necessarily pay for them.” Besides a lack of funds, Angel and his staff also had to face the dilemma of his distinctive name. Jessica Thompson, one of Angel’s local staff members and a Wesleyan College political science alumna, described her experience while she made phone calls for his campaign. “I’d usually try to not mention his name until the very end,” Thompson said. “Or I’d refer to him as Mr. Angel at first. Sometimes people would just hang up, or they’d say, ‘I’m not voting for the Devil,’ or they’d think I’m messing with them.” Although at times potential voters’ reactions to his name weren’t very positive, Angel was still able to acquire the 100 signatures needed to get his name on the ballot. “A hundred signatures does not seem like a lot until you’re trying to chase people down on a Saturday and explain to them that your name is Dark Angel and you want to stop the student loan debt crisis,” Angel said. “Some people approach the campaign as being something about a name or something about celebrity, and they don’t give the issues a chance.” Angel legally changed his first name to Dark and his last name to Angel when he was younger because he hoped it would help him in a career in acting. Now, however, Angel believes that his name distinguishes him from other candidates. “I kept the name because it’s something that has been an advantage to me at every point in my life,” Angel said. “The fact that my name is Dark Angel makes me a more viable candidate because you’re never going to forget my name. No matter who you are, that name will stick with you so long as you live. While it does have a few tell-tale barbs, by and large it is the biggest benefit this campaign has had.”

(Continued from page 1)

Kean University has assisted in helping Kean police respond more quickly to criminal activity on campus. When students and staff report suspicious activity or persons on campus it makes it easier. “CampusAlert™” is only one way the department is working with the community. Shubsda along with Janice Murray-Laury, the Vice President of Students Affairs are creating an initiative called Kean “S.A.F.E,” that is an acronym for Students Active For Everyone. It is a program designed to educate and engage everyone on campus safety. This includes commuters, residence, graduate, athlete, and Greek council students to

be involved in the safety of students, faculty, and staff on campus. The program is currently in early development. Shubsda is also looking for professional development for the officers at Kean University. Kean University Police Department hired Anna Zak, an Associate Director, from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, who has twenty five years in law enforcement and Detective/Sergeant Annie Coll from the Director of Office of Professional Standards to train officers at Kean. The officers will attend training classes to learn new avenues to protect the Kean community.

Also, the university currently has 500 “body cams,” which will soon be worn by every campus police officer to ensure the safety of students and uphold the officers for their accountability of their actions. These cameras, which cost just under $500 each, will track and video record the officers’ daily routine throughout the day. The body camera footage will be uploaded to a cloud wireless storage to obtain the information for evidence. Currently there are a few officers testing the cameras out, said Shubsda. “We are using state of the art technology to protect this place, to give you the best

officers we can. Those cameras have led to the solving of many crimes,” said Shubsda. Shubsda has been the Director of the Kean University Department of Public Safety/Police for three years now. The department includes a total of almost 60 police, security, communications, fire safety, environmental safety and support staff. “I really feel at this point after three years of having to change the culture with the community and relationship with the police department, that now we really need to enhance our efforts to use the technology and include the students in the public safety process,” he said.


October, 2014

Liberty Hall brings Yoga to their gardens By Daris Mendez

When you first think of a Yoga class it is easy to picture a bunch of people in abnormal positions trying to keep their balance. While some yoga poses may push your limits, there is so much more to this craft than meets the eye. Bring the gardens of Liberty Hall into the mix and it creates a rather unique experience. As urban and modern as Kean University is, across the road to Liberty Hall the atmosphere completely changes. Liberty Hall was originally the estate of the Livingston/Kean family and now serves as a museum open to the public. Walk across the fire house towards the historic carriage house and you’ll find yourself in the Liberty Hall gardens. Facing the very center of full grown roses, “Yoga in the Gardens” has been taking place since August, one Sunday per month. “They got the idea from another museum that had been doing it,” instructor Jessica Anderson said. “It is really great because there aren’t a lot of [yoga] studios in the area.” These sessions have become a huge hit. Only $3.00 for Kean students and $ 5.00 for those who aren’t, it has been a great deal, especially for Kean Students. The last session was held in the gardens, however, in anticipation for the cold weather there has even been talk of possibly continuing classes indoors. The staff at Liberty hall has no doubt that they will bring yoga in the gardens back next year. From the very minute this unique yoga class starts it is quite obvious why people like it. The class starts off with a lot of positivity. The instructor asks students to close their eyes while in a seated position to get the mind and body ready. While in this position, aided by the sounds of the outdoors, the instructor peacefully reads an excerpt. “A gift can come in many forms, from finding a $5.00 dollar bill on the ground to the smile of a child, these are all forms of gifts,”

Anderson said. Continuing on the note of positivity she then asks everyone in the group to present a prayer either about themselves or somebody else and make it the focus of the movement that would be done in the duration of the class. Another very spiritual part of the session is when the instructor asks students to inhale love and exhale anything that was bothering them at the moment. After this unique breathing technique she asks everyone to think of something they like about themselves and repeat it quietly. After this process, the actual physical aspect of yoga begins. In the group of thirty some ladies, this reporter watched as everyone seemed to keep up nicely with the sometime strenuous positions. At the end of the class everyone is asked to remember their prayer and is instructed to lie down on the mats while the class is concluded with an excerpt about a healing and light moving across the body. Everyone seems to love the process of being connected with their inner selves on that level. “We had a great time at the yoga class. I love it. It’s like a really nice experience,” senior Naima Rodriguez said. “It was my first time and I wish that we can have more classes. It was very very nice.” The appreciation of life and positivity really stuck with some of the people who took the class. “I think yoga is something people look at like oh its yoga its silly but it’s kind of like a spiritual healing as well as physical strengthening and I think it’s definitely worth trying,” high school student Alexandra Kusacouska said. As everyone left the class, rather than just having sore muscles from a typical “workout” class, the message of yoga became something that students would carry home with them. “I think anybody at any age can do yoga because the experience is just really relaxing and

Students preparing for Yoga at the Gardens at Liberty Hall.

even if it is just two hours it will carry on with you for a really long time, “said Claudia Rusen, another high school student who attended yoga at the gardens. Being part of the Kean community there are so many neat opportunities that are avail-

Speaker at Kean gives lesson on journalism in Apartheid South Africa

Photo: Daris Mendez

able to college students, especially in a time where students are simply over worked. So if you want to strengthen your body and mind look out the possibility of yoga indoors at Liberty Hall and definitely give yoga in the gardens a try next year.

PRSSA takes its place at Kean By Marco Rodriguez

Journalist Anton Harber with an example of one of the Weekly Mail’s front page.

By Annalise Knudson

Journalist and professor Anton Harber spoke at Kean University on Oct. 14 about his account of investigative journalism during apartheid government in South Africa in the 1980s. The speech was held in CAS 106 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and open to students and professors interested in hearing Harber’s speech. The event began with a 10-minute documentary named “The Children of the Drum” presented by Professor Larry Tung and Professor Dan Gover. It featured several interviews including Josephine Norwood’s account of her father who was an investigative journalist during this time, as well as Harber. Gover and Tung interviewed Harber in Johannesburg last May for the video to help people realize “how terrible apartheid was and how being a journalist under that government system was both very exciting and very terrifying.” “When he told us he was coming to New York in the fall, we told him we would like to host him at Kean,” Gover said. “He knows as much about journalism in South Africa as anyone there.” Harber was involved in the creation of the South African newspaper named the Weekly Mail in 1985, now known as the Mail & Guardian. It was a small newspaper with a circulation close to 20,000 papers and challenged the restrictions of media during apartheid. It was launched in only six weeks. Restrictions of media in South Africa were stringent and consequences were severe if rules were broken, but this did not stop Harber and others from reporting the truth. The newspaper’s staff had no money or experience when they started and strived to be different from other liberal newspapers in the mainstream press. The staff would do anything possible to get information, even if it meant breaking the law and being able to get away with it. Harber and other staff members took a different approach in their way of releasing news. He said they wanted to “por-

Photo: Annalise Knudson

tray what was sort of the beginning of the end of apartheid.” The newspaper tackled issues that landed them in trouble with the government, who had detained some of its journalists for a few years. It even tried to kill one of their reporters but failed. Writers and reporters seeked the help of lawyers to know what can and cannot be published, to make sure they had been able to use as much allowed information as possible. “Effects of censorship frees the imagination,” Harber said. Reporters exposed conditions of prisons and challenged the government by placing black lines over words restricted in an issue of their newspaper. This placed them in court against the government, who argued that they were not allowed to do this. Reporters and writers fought censorship with blank spaces. “It was a graphic illustration of what you weren’t allowed to know,” Harber said. The newspaper was suspended in 1988 by the government and by 1995, the Guardian bought a large share of the Weekly Mail and renamed it Mail & Guardian. Harber noted that apartheid journalism was popular to write and made American journalists famous. Post-apartheid media in South Africa has changed slightly, but Harber does not believe it is as diverse or changed enough as it should be. More than one broadcasting program and radio show is in effect post-apartheid. Harber believes there is no doubt of a further threat under the new government in South Africa. Tung and Gover hope to air the video on apartheid in South Africa on television in countries such as the United States, Europe and South Africa to show the courage, triumphs and dangers journalists faced. “We plan to enter film festivals around the world,” Tung said. Harber was willing to discuss any questions the audience had on his experience of investigating pre-apartheid and post-apartheid in South Africa at the end of his speech.

The clock strikes 3:15 on a Tuesday afternoon, and Senior Linda Hanford takes the elevator to the fourth floor of Kean’s Center for Academic Success building. The ambiance around campus is relaxed as students are enjoying the break during college hour and taking in the last bits of nice weather before winter hits. While others relax, Hanford remains in work mode as she makes her way to room 412 for an important meeting. The meeting involves the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), of which Kean University is now home to the state’s newest chapter. Kean’s chapter of the PRSSA, which is officially called KUPRSSA, was featured in a past issue of The Tower, which mentioned the likelihood of it coming to Kean. The society is now up and running, and is aimed at students interested in public relations and communications. According to a press release distributed by KUPRSSA, the society focuses on “giving students hands on public relations work through initiatives both on, and off, campus.” With close to 50 members at Kean, the student-run society established an executive committee, which resulted in Hanford being selected as their Vice-President. The group gathers around the tables in room 412 to plan and brainstorm as they seek to make their goals and objectives a reality. As someone with an interest in Public Relations, Hanford looks forward to the hands on experience she will receive with the PRSSA. “The PRSSA gives students the opportunity to be part of a real life PR firm and get a feel for what it will be like to work as part of a PR company,” Hanford said. “By participating, it allows us to not only help our campus but help other communities and people beyond Kean.” Suzanne Schwab, a professor at Kean who advises the society, is optimistic about the organization and the direction it is taking. “I am so overblown by the enthusiasm and commitment the students are showing with the PRSSA,” Schwab said. “Usually when you start something new it fizzles after a while, but what I’m finding at Kean is that the excitement is growing. It’s the complete opposite. It’s a very nice surprise.” Kean became an official member of the PRSSA on April 16th, five months after submitting their initial application. The delay in acceptance is due to the fact that the PRSSA has been inundated with applications for admittance from numerous universities throughout the country. This, according to Schwab, is indicative of the growth the public relations field is experiencing. “Public Relations is one of the top ten industries of the next ten years,” said Schwab. “My aim with KUPRSSA is to give our students an edge up, so that when they graduate they not only have a strong GPA, but also a strong résumé with great experience.” In addition to the activities that the respective chapters participate in locally, the PRSSA holds an international conference every year with the goal to unite participants of the society. This year, the event was held in Washington D.C. from the 10th to the 14th of October. Schwab, and a group of four students, attended the event where they participated in workshops and listened to PR professionals from across the country. Jenifer Niemi, a member of KUPRSSA, is enthusiastic about all the work the society is preparing to take on. “I love being a member of the PRSSA because beside it looking great on a résumé, we are going to be helping people.” said Niemi. “Not only are we helping with campaigns but we are helping organizations that need donations of any sort. As a member, I am hoping to gain lots of insight for my future career goals.”

October, 2014



exhibit focus

By Roman Gerus

Kean puts on its best face forward with Selfie exhibit The walls of the Nancy Dryfoos Gallery come to life as the collage of selfies dances along the walls in a twisting, turning wave of emotions and stories of students and faculty at Kean University. A single “selfie” can be a portal into the life of a student; each snapshot says a thousand words. The walls of the Nancy Dryfoos Gallery are lined with the selfies of over 500 Kean students and faculty, and the number is continuously growing. The Kean “Selfie” Exhibit, which officially launched on Aug. 25, has been receiving selfies from students as fast as the grinning person in each photo can say “cheese.” The artist, Ricardo Fonseca, is the graphic designer and photographer for the Office of University Relations. He is currently in a group exhibition of 35 artists called the “We Are YOU” Project International, which is taking place at the Galleries of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. He has done other exhibits at Kean, such as the “Faces of Kean” photo mural in the Starbucks café and the “Faces of America” photo collage in Hutchinson Hall. His latest project, however, is his first in a Kean gallery and, perhaps, his most ambitious thus far. “The reason why I created the Kean Selfie Exhibition was to have an art exhibition that would foster campus-wide participation from students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors of Kean,” said Fonseca.


The exhibit features a wide variety of pictures, each with its own unique look into Kean University life. Guys and girls, students and teachers, young and old share these walls in an attempt to bring a critical view into all of us. Each picture is a humbling reflection of ourselves in a vivacious display of our inner spirit, creativity and aspirations to be recognized and appreciated. Another big theme among the pictures is the

Enlow’s recording studio a “classical” hidden treasure

“That used to be a church and behind that was a swimming pool,” said Mickey Kaufman, production manager for the theatre department, pointing at the seats in Enlow Hall. Built in a brand-new space that once was a private school, not only does the five-year-old Enlow Hall host renowned musical acts, but it also doubles as a recording studio. The recording studio was built in what was once used as a warm-up room behind the seats of the recital hall. Set with state-of-the-art equipment and video capacity, Kean’s recording studio is one of the few places in the New York metropolitan area with the ability to hold a 50-piece orchestra. A feature that Lindsay Gambini, executive director of the theater department and current overseer of the recording studio, hopes will attract professional musicians to Kean. “Over the last 10 years or so, a lot of recording studios for big ensembles in Manhattan have closed, being turned into condos or whatever,” said Gambini. “There’s only three spaces in Manhattan that can accommodate the space we have.” One of the spaces Kean’s recording studio is up against is the Manhattan Center’s Studio 7 recording studio where

Kean Cougar. The pictures project a display of support and flare for Kean and they add a human element to the day-to-day life in the Nancy Dryfoos Gallery and Kean University as a whole. To date, Fonseca has received more than 500 selfies and believes he can get 800-1,000 more selfies in the next three weeks. The exhibit will have a closing ceremony on Oct. 30 from 4-6 p.m. with the artist, but the exhibit itself will still be available for viewing until Nov. 3.


By Adilene Rodriguez

Inside Enlow Hall’s recording studio.

Photo: Roman Gerus

Kean selfie exhibit

Photo: Adilene Rodriguez

a handful of film scores and Broadway cast albums have been recorded. The Studio 7 studio uses the stages of The Hammerstein Ballroom and The Grand, both concert venues, as their recording area. The second recording studio is in the Academy of Arts and Letters, which also uses its recital hall’s stage as the recording space and finally The DiMenna Center, the only one out of the three that strictly specializes in the recording of classical music. With such scarce space for classical musicians to record in, Enlow Hall’s recording studio hopes to fill a void. “We’re hoping that there’s a niche in the market for us,” said Gambini While the recording studio doesn’t have a permanent engineer, a handful of artists have already recorded in the studio, including classical pianist Julian Gargiulo, classical singer Toni Dolce and trumpeter Joe Burgstaller. Some faculty recitals and student ensembles have been recorded here as well. Although Gambini says anyone can book the space, the studio was designed for chamber music and doesn’t recommend the space for non-classical musicians. “Trying to record loud, electric and amplified stuff in there probably would not be the best idea,” said Gambini.

By Vera Boateng

A trivial comedy for serious people showing at Zella Fry Theatre this month Each academic school year, theatre faculty members get together and showcase plays that are classical and modern theatre for youth. This semester, one of those plays is Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.” E. Teresa Choate, a theatre professor at Kean University, is directing the play. “We’ve decided to add this play to the agenda because we felt like we needed to laugh these days; it will make us happier,” said Choate. “The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People” is a comedy about two young men named Jack and Algeron. Set in Victorian England, these men escape from harsh social obligations of the time by pretending to be someone that they weren’t. They name this persona Earnest. “It was difficult playing Jack because you don’t know where to place him since he doesn’t know who he is himself,” said Christopher Centinaro, a freshman at Kean. These double lives that they live eventually lead to confusion when two other characters, Gwendolyn and Cecily, both fall in love with the persona of Earnest. “Gwendolyn is a flirty, exciting and fun character who was fun to play because she

is willing to do anything to get who she thinks is Earnest,” said Emily Conklin, a senior at Kean, who plays Gwendolyn. Other characters also add humor to the mishap, such as the daunting Lady Bracknell, a woman who is passionate about social status and public opinion. She becomes an undeniable hurdle that the characters face throughout the play. The play Wilde created is meant to skew social customs and the maniacal obsession with keeping up appearances in today’s society. It also portrays appearances and perceptions of those who lived in during Victorian England. Wilde, according to the play information, was a man of a scandalous reputation and exquisite taste. He originally created “The Importance of Being Earnest” in 1895 and the play debuted on Valentine’s Day. The play showtimes are on Oct. 22, 24, and 25 at 8pm, Oct. 25 at 2pm, and the Oct. 23 show at 5pm will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

For ticket information, contact the Kean University Box Office, 908-737SHOW or visit:

Flyer for play “The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People” by Oscar Wilde.

Photo: E.Teresa Choate


October, 2014


By Yayona Bangura

Being Fall Fashion Forward

The most important keys for fall fashion are to stay warm, comfortable and super cute. Fortunately, this season is one of the best times to experiment with new trends because so many of them are becoming more casual and street friendly. Looking back at some Fall 2014 Fashion Week trends, here are the five top looks you can take from the catwalk and rock in real life.


Layers are significant in autumn. We have to stay warm, right? But why go for bulky, unattractive jackets when you could stand out in an intense coat? Daring singular colors are in now more than ever, with hues like violet, dark blue, fuchsia, deep orange, oxblood, mustard and forest green being some of the most popular. Oversized wrap coats, raglan coats and capes in these colors are sure to assist in making a bold statement this fall.


Since the most important thing about fashion these days is comfort, sneakers like New Balances, Nike Roshes, Air Maxes and Huaraches are making an even bigger appearance from the influence of sporty-chic street style to the runway. Whether you’d rather go “normcore” with just a plain tee and jeans, or add your own flare with a cool jacket, skirt and stockings, the casual sneaker trend has gone way beyond the ordinary tennis shoe.


When season three of “American Horror Story: Coven” premiered, the cast of witches upped the ante of bad-assery in their signature black western wide-brimmed hats. Those hats have now hit the runway in a cowboy-meets-urban way. With a great outfit,

they provide the perfect chic, mysterious and sophisticated look. An all black ensemble provides a bigger effect and can be paired with anything from a nice pair of heels, to flats or oxfords.


Brown is the most conventional fall color, but there’s a twist this season— we’re not going with brown clothes, but with brown makeup. Brown makeup looks are rich with dark chestnut eye shadows, beige lipsticks, chocolate liners, bronzers and nude shades to extenuate and bring a natural glow to any skin tone. From high-end makeup brands like NARS and Urban Decay to your local drug store brands like Maybelline and Covergirl, all options offer makeup to bring life and warmth to your face during the fall.


Mix-matching dramatically different materials has become big this year. Whether it be combining a silk top with corduroy skinnies and leather booties, or putting together a fringe dress with a jean jacket and suede shoes, contrasting materials give outfits more appeal, especially when they are monotone in color. More textures are guaranteed to meet the eye in the most subtle, yet interesting way.

Versace, Chanel and Kenneth Cole Fall Fashion Week 2014.


Well, there you have it –– five fall trends you can follow that will guarantee you three things: warmth, comfort and style that won’t break your bank. Most know that fall and winter are the best times to test one’s true sense of fashion, so let the world be the runway you choose to walk this season. Or you can just circulate the KU clock tower and show off your latest outfit, if that’s your thing.

American Horror Story: Freak Show Recap


By Yayona Bangura


A bearded lady, a two-foot woman, conjoined twins and a nightmarish killer clown on the loose.

This is just a fraction of the topsy-turvy turmoil that’s involved in one of this fall’s most anticipated series, American Horror Story: Freak Show. The show’s season premiere aired on Oct. 8, while Twitter timelines filled with AHS tweets and hashtags trending all across the country. Like usual, the episode’s sick themes and chilling plot twists did not disappoint. This season, Jessica Lange plays Elsa Mars, a madam who relocates her carnival to keep it alive during a time where television has occupied everyone’s desire for live entertainment. She’s also on a hunt to round up new acts by rescuing people with strange abnormalities or talents from unfortunate circumstances. The episode begins when a milkman who notices his delivery from days back has


By Jennifer Deligne

Watercolor Masters of New Jersey is an appropriate title for the exhibition being shown at the Center for Academic Success’s Karl and Helen Burger Gallery until Nov. 3. The curator, W. Carl Burger, searched for these New Jersey masters to create a compilation of art pieces based solely on the watercolor paint. It might seem like a simple concept since we’ve all experienced watercolor art in our younger days, but these artists marry water and paint in new, complex ways. Ann Piekarz, Charles McVicker, Edward Baumlin, Harry I. Naar, Joan McKinney and Lucy Graves McVicker each elegantly express their use and their own special take in watercolor art. No two artists carry even an inkling of similarity in their pieces. All use varied techniques, colors, moods, subjects and even different canvases for specific reasons. Piekarz paints on synthetic plastic paper so it seems as though the paint is fresh and “dancing on the surface.” Her rich pink flowers do just that, pronounc-

spoiled outside a home, enters to discover a mother stabbed to death in her kitchen. He then finds a pair of injured conjoined twins in a closet of the house. Sarah Paulson plays the pair of twins, named Bette and Dot Tattler, who have two completely different personalities. Elsa takes care of them in the hospital after their rescue by pretending to be a nurse, while attempting to know more about them. Bette is closed off, cold and reserved, while Dot is open, adventurous and mischievous. It is revealed that Dot killed their mother in anger for not allowing them out of the house, in fear of ridicule and embarrassment. During this time, a ridiculously creepylooking, murderous clown named Twisty interrupts a couple’s outdoor picnic, kills the man by stabbing and kidnaps the woman. He then enters a home, stabs two parents to death and kidnaps their son. Be-

cause the killings resemble the murder of the twin’s mother, the girls soon become suspects and decide to flee with Elsa to her carnival. Kathy Bates plays a bearded lady named Ethel Darling, with a son named Jimmy Darling, played by Evan Peters, who has severe ectrodactyly, causing a cleft hand and clawed fingers. Jimmy is the sexy, bad boy motor biker with a good heart, who aches to leave the carnival with his mother and start a normal life in the real world. In his spare time, he is paid as entertainment, using his defected fingers to pleasure sexually unsatisfied women. As you can imagine, this season’s AHS spared us little explicit imagery, every minute being enjoyable nonetheless. A detective comes to the carnival to arrest the twins for the murders and all hell breaks loose as Jimmy kills him for calling them “freaks.” The carnies then form a bond by brutally chopping up the detective

and vowing to kill anyone who treats them poorly due to their differences. In the episode’s final scenes, Elsa performs a powerful number of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” and later reveals, in her vulnerable state, that she brought the twins to the carnival for her own personal benefit of becoming a star. The biggest surprise comes at the very end when we discover that Elsa is legless from the knee down, making her comparable to her beloved carnies. It’s a typical AHS habit to leave the audience begging for more with such a huge cliff-hanger. Creator Ryan Murphy outdid himself with dreamy-saturated visuals and a truly bizarre storyline, with more to come. The season’s preview showed Coven actresses Angela Basset, Emma Roberts and Gabourey Sidibe making plot entrances later in the season. Catch AHS every Wednesday at 10 p.m. on FX. But if you’re afraid of killer clowns, don’t.

Watercolor comes to life at the CAS ing their existence in the piece. Because of its proneness to running or mixing, painting with watercolor can be a difficult task. C. McVicker, however, poses life-imitating pieces which are almost palpable. His rich use in color and linear painting create a very real depiction of nature. “The moods of nature have been my primary concern, but I do not wish to portray them in a literal fashion,” said McVicker Instead, she uses bold colors to convey the feelings and moods of nature, without giving definite form and leaving interpretation to the viewer. Baumlin presents a more realistic approach to nature and introduces animals in realistic settings. His pieces are light and crisp with drops of dark colors to add dramatic effect to trees and shadows. Baumlin explicitly shows the watercolor in his paintings. The blending of the colors stands out and shows the gradients that need to be made in order to achieve shadowing in certain places.

Technique will always be a distinction point between any two artists, and Naar makes his distinction with lines and marks that create a bigger picture. Various tones of green swipes of a brush create moss on rocks before the sea. In other pieces, intense black outlines make up the landscape of trees, with very subtlecolored paint in between. McKinney uses everyday sightings, a chair and archway, and makes them royal. Her sharp use of the watercolor dramatizes dark-colored objects and softens the background of her pieces. “My days are filled with images that I want to record— my husband’s flower garden, the winter snows and travel scenes of landscapes,” said McKinney. Not only have these six artists mastered watercolor and its complexities, but they have also mastered their individuality and take on the medium. They give the viewers a new outlook on a non-traditional art form by being precise, expressive and real.

Photo: Jennifer Deligne

Joan McKinney’s “Non-such White Blossoms”


October, 2014

Angelae Marie Nunes wins the 2014 KU Voice By Josue Hernandez

The KU Voice, a competition where Kean students show off their singing talent, involved eight competitors vying for the prize of calling themselves the 2014 winner. And it was 20-yearold Angelae Nunes who came out on top. “I was surprised that I won,” said Nunes, “the competition was fun and nerve wrecking at the same time because I had to sing songs that I wasn’t prepared for with people that I didn’t know and also the other finalist was very good.” Nunes, who likes to be called “Angie”, entered the competition because she found out about it through a friend. She was tagged in a post on the Kean Instagram about KU Voice and Nunes instantly got excited and decided to take on this opportunity. Nunes is from Elizabeth, NJ, and has been going to Kean since 2012. Angie is currently majoring in Biology and hopes to one day be working in the line of dentistry. Not only that, but it is her dream to become a professional singer, just not right now. “Singing is both a passion and a hobby of mine,” said Nunes, “It’s something I love doing but I can’t dedicate myself full-time because my feet are stuck to the ground and focused on school.” The competition consisted of 8 singers, all singing for the grand prize. The winner of the competition received a brand new Apple MacBook laptop and Nunes took it home it with her. Little did she know was that there was another prize that is added with the new laptop. That prize is to sing the National Anthem at Homecoming on Oct. 25. Nunes was surprised, yet very honored when she found out that she will have to sing the anthem for such a huge event. “I am very excited but also nervous to sing at Homecoming,” said Nunes, “I am honored to sing and to take on this responsibility, I just hope I don’t get too nervous that I will forget the lyrics.” Even with the nervous jitters in her, Nunes is sure that she will do well singing the anthem based on her experience. It wouldn’t be the first time she will perform in front of a huge crowd. At the age of 13, Nunes competed in Eurovision, which is a competition in Europe. She came out as top 12 of the contestants that were from Portugal. Besides KU Voice and the Eurovision competition, Nunes has also performed in other small singing competitions outside of school. Ku Voice was held in the Little Theatre in the University Center on Wednesday, Oct. 1st. It was hosted by the Kean Expedition and as well as the organizer. Danielle Ford was one of the people who were involved in putting

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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.

Editor-in-Chief: Bryan C. Kuriawa Managing Editor: Christine Mouk azis News Editor: Sonia Aquije FEATURES EDITOR: Dominique Vinas

Photo: Josue Hernandez

Nunes holding her new prized laptop outside of Little Theatre in the University Center.

this competition together. “We put this together so we can engage with the students and the pop culture and to build a sense of community.” said Ford. Now, it wouldn’t be the first time that the University held this competition. This is actually the second year that the KU Voice was held. “It was a bigger crowd last year, but the competition seemed about the same,” said Ford. “We hope we can continue with KU Voice next year and years after, but we can’t guarantee that it will happen again just yet.” The competition was tough, since both finalists, including Nunes, had to go to overtime since the crowd couldn’t choose a winner. So all the pressure laid on the judge’s decision to see who won the sing off, and it was Nunes who came out on top. “The competition was tough,” said Kerrin Lyles, who participated as one of the judges. “Everyone was talented and there was no gap in between each contestant, so it made it harder for us as the judges to say “no” to a contestant. We decided on Angie because we looked at it based on the overall combination from all the rounds and we looked at the entire body of work from all the rounds.” The KU Voice was a success again this year and Nunes hopes and believes that the competition will continue. “I believe that the KU Voice will come back next year,” says Nunes. “It’s a great competition and I am glad that I entered and competed in this competition because I am usually self-conscious about my singing and winning gave me a little bit more confidence and motivation to keep singing and enter other competitions outside of school.”

Arts & Ent. Editor: Adilene Rodriguez Sports Editor: Mak Ojutiku Online EditorS: Kristen Dematos Yayona Bangura Staff Photos by: Jenifer Niemi

STAFF Jamie Alicea Clifton Andrews Timothy Awojobi Vera Boateng Jonathan Bonilla Nicole Brown Sade Cox Kia Deadwyler Jennifer Deligne Kristen Dematos Lindsey Foy Roman Gerus

Josue Hernandez Annalise Knudson Ashley Kolawole Gerald Lima Daris Mendez Anthony Muccigrossi Jenifer Niemi Rebecca Panico Carmen Pineiro Marco Rodriguez Lauren Spain

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October, 2014



October, 2014

Kean football may have found its footing Brain injury still a big NFL issue By Mak Ojutiku

Photo: Mak Ojutiku

The Cougars make a play against Endicott By Jonathan Bonilla

After a difficult start to the season, the Kean University football team may have finally found its footing in week five. In that week, the team notched its first win of the season in the form of an overtime victory against Southern Virginia University. Inside-linebacker Stephan Lewis blocked a Southern Virginia point after attempt that would have tied the game right before the end of regulation. Instead, the Cougars walked away with a 2827 victory. “That was probably the biggest extra point block in program history,” said Head Coach Dan Garrett. “This win is the biggest win I’ve ever been a part of just because where we are in the season.” The Cougars suffered a heart-breaking loss in week four against the second-ranked and undefeated University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. The Cougars lost 73-7, which is the worst loss in terms of both points allowed and margin of defeat in the program’s 44-year history. After the loss, the Cougars went right to work and pulled off a must-win against Southern Virginia. With a season record of 1-3, the Cougars are 1-0 within their conference and are now trying to leave the past in the past. “Those three games, as much as it’s going to sound crazy, it really didn’t matter,” said Garrett,

”The only thing that matters is conference playing and we got to 1-0 in the conference.” The Cougars will keep their fight-to-win spirit alive for the upcoming conference games. “Our mentality never changed regardless of our record,” said team captain and defensive back James Leavey. “Our mentality is to do whatever is humanly possible to make sure that you don’t let down the man next to you. With much of the season still remaining, the Cougars are prepping in practice by matching their first-team offense against the first team defense rather than the scout team, to try to simulate actual game speed. In addition, they are doing more one-on-one drills and sticking to the roots of mini-camp like practice, putting their best against their best. It will be a tough couple of weeks to come as Kean continues their NJAC schedule. The Cougars remain optimistic regardless of their past struggles. “I do feel like we are going to finish strong,” said Leavey. “Getting our win the way that we did can be a spring board for the rest of the season.” The Cougars are keeping their championship dream alive as they continue to fight every week and put their hearts on the line, according to Garrett. “If we can go 2-0 for the conference, it could be ours,” concluded Garrett.

Kean’s Mens soccer looks to end season strong By Gerald Lima

Behind first-year Head Coach Rob Irvine, the Kean men’s soccer team currently holds a winning record of 8-4-1, as they look to end the season strong. “The winning helps demonstrate to the guys that the work we are doing is taking us in the right direction,” Irvine said. “The most important thing is trying to align everyone in the vision of what I see with the team with our ability to constantly compete.” Sophomore midfielder Steven Osores admits the reason for the Cougar’s success is the positive relationship that has been built between the players. “At this point of the season, we are unified as a team,” Osores said. “We have a good relationship with one another. We know each of our own individual styles of play and we play better as a team.” The Cougars have an undefeated streak at home to go along with their winning record. “For every home game, we recall that we are undefeated at home and plan to keep it that way throughout the season,” Osores said. “All of our family and friends come to the games. We feel we need to put on a good show and get a good result.” Freshmen forward Sevag Kherlopian leads the Cougar’s offensive unit in scoring with seven goals and points with 15. “He is finishing off some chances,” Irvine said. “It’s his first year in college soccer, so he is learning as he goes. He is a very important player for us and he has demonstrated that with the fact

Kelvin Flores clearing the ball against TCNJ

that he has been recognized.” The Cougars have six games remaining in the season, five of which are conference games. “As easy as we can beat them, they can beat us,” Irvine said. “There are a lot of challenges that lay ahead still. Credit to the guys for the most part this year, we have been decent in what we have been doing, but if you ask me and if you ask the guys they could tell you we could be better than what we are right now.” Irvine mentioned in an earlier interview that the Cougars are a brand new team, as they keep working hard in or-

Photo: Mak Ojutiku

der to keep rebuilding. “Practicing has been a key part in our development as a team,” Osores said. It pushes us to be even better and to fix our mistakes. Coach Rob constantly pushes us to compete and practice hard.” The Cougars continue to be optimistic, as they near the end of the season and are looking forward to postseason play. “As the season ends, our team expects to qualify for the NJAC playoffs and, ultimately, win our conference and hopefully on to nationals,” Osores said.

Like always in late October, the National Football League is in full gear. On the field, it’s mostly been a pretty average season. The NFC East is looking competitive, and the Jets are toiling in mediocrity––standard stuff really. When it comes to off-thefield matters, it’s obviously been a very different story for the league. At this point, it’s hard to keep track of all the awful off-the-field scandals the NFL is and has been involved in so far this season. Between the Ray Rice domestic abuse incident, the Greg Hardy domestic abuse incident and now the Adrian Peterson child abuse/charity fraud/failed drug test episodic saga, the NFL and its players have been taking a ton of heat from the public, deservedly so. Because of all that, a few important NFL stories have been lost in the shuffle so to speak. Late this September, researchers at the Boston University CTE Center, one of the leading forces in the investigation of headinjuries in sports, examined the brains of 79 deceased former NFL players. According to their findings, 76 of those brains showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE. Earlier this month, another research team found that Jovan Belcher, the former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker who shot and killed his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself two years ago, had brain abnormalities that are consistent with CTE sufferers. At this point, the issue of brain-injuries and football, especially professional football, has been in the public eye for so long that it’s almost starting to feel like an old story. Like something that’s already been remedied or is at least close to being remedied. Unfortunately, that is nowhere near the case. Boston University’s research shows us that we still don’t know much about CTE. Another, similar story shows us that the NFL still hasn’t done that much in terms of combatting football-related brain injuries and giving aid to its former players who may be afflicted with said brain injuries. On Sept. 30, the New York Times published an article concerning the proposed settlement the NFL has with the nearly 5,000 players who’ve sued the league for hiding information on the effects of repeated head trauma. In the article, two doctors from the Brain Injury Association of America take issue with the definitions of eligibility presented in the settlement. The doctors said that the settlement is so narrow, it would exclude a great number of players from the deal and it would limit the medical benefits that players could receive. In the NFL’s proposed settlement, older retired players would receive less benefits than younger retired players because the league believes that older players are more likely to be have brain diseases like say Alzheimer’s because of their age, not because of the years they spent on the gridiron. The settlement would also give less payment to players who spent five or less years in the league. The doctors took issue with both of these beliefs. The doctors said “consequences of a brain injury are the same” no matter when those injuries take place. It should also be noted that the NFL still hasn’t officially admitted any liability in those injuries or any injuries regarding brain trauma. Now, the NFL has done a lot of good when it comes to prevention of brain injuries. They’re teaching the younger players to tackle differently and they’re protecting the quarterbacks and running backs more. Despite that, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done when it comes to helping players who are already suffering from these injuries, whether they’re retired or close to retirement. This issue is one that affects football on all levels. The researchers at Boston University also looked at 128 brains of different people who played at different levels of the game, from high school to professional. 101 of those brains showed signs of CTE. The NFL obviously has the most power to do something about it and they’re also providing an example for the college and high school levels. Throwing a relatively small amount of money at a relatively small amount of players might look nice from a distance, but in reality it’s not doing much. When it comes to seriously dealing with CTE in football, the NFL has started the race, but is barely past the starting line.

The Tower October 2014  
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