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APR | 2016

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The Tower wins 5 awards

NJCPA General Excellence 2nd Place winner





Former state Supreme Court Justice to review Kean report By Rebecca Panico A former state Supreme Court Justice will review Kean’s report investigating claims of institutional racism after the university faced increasing pressure from lawmakers across the state. “The Kean University Board of Trustees has already agreed to forward the Governance Committee report to Justice John E. Wallace, Jr.,” Kean University President Dawood Farahi said in a March 18 statement. “Once it is completed, I will recommend Justice Wallace be retained to review and assess the report, and prepare his impartial evaluation for the Board of Trustees.” The university hired Rev. Michael Blackwell to investigate the university’s employment practices after claims of institutional racism were made by a coalition of ministers led by Rev. Ronald Slaughter of the Saint James AME Church in Newark last year. The coalition also called for Farahi’s resignation after a black Kean graduate was accused of posting threats against black students on Twitter last November in an alleged hoax. Rev. Slaughter called the president’s decision “a step in the right direction” but emphasized that “we still have a long way to go! Don’t close your eyes just yet” in an email. On Twitter, he stressed that he still

wanted Wallace to do his own report. The president’s statement noted that Kean’s student body -- which is about 60 percent minority – and faculty “deserve the truth.” “Kean has been named by DiversityInc. as one of the top five most diverse universities in the nation, and placed on President Obama’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for five years running,” Farahi said in statement. “We are confident the facts will speak for themselves.” Last month, State Senate President Stephen Sweeney urged the university’s Board of Trustees to use Wallace rather than its own auditor in a letter written by the senate majority leader. “Utilizing members of your Board of Trustees and an individual handpicked by the University,” the letter read, “would only serve to further nurture an environment of mistrust and skepticism, especially if the investigation unequivocally validates the actions and atmosphere at Kean University.” In response, Trustees Chair Ada Morell wrote that the Board Governance Committee, which was working with Rev. Blackwell on the report, had already obtained its own auditor and initially declined the senate president’s suggestion. The coalition criticized the university’s decision to hire Rev. Blackwell too, since he

Photo: Rebecca Panico

Kean University President Dawood Farahi, center, sits with Board of Trustees members Ada Morell, left, and Linda Lewis at the Trustees meeting on March 7.

admitted a bias in an interview with The Tower, saying that the coalition accused people at Kean of things he doesn’t “think they’re guilty of.” Meanwhile, Sen. Sweeney organized a closed-door meeting between Rev. Slaughter, Farahi, and other lawmakers last year. The university would not confirm or deny that all parties agreed to use an auditor recommended by the legislature. Now, Farahi stated the university would provide its full cooperation to Wallace in his statement. “The University pledges its full cooperation to Justice Wallace and will provide any necessary information he may need to finalize his evaluation,” Farahi said in a statement. “Senate President

Stephen Sweeney has been consulted on this course of action.” Rev. Blackwell completed his review on March 7, the same day that the Board Governance Committee gave a summary of his report at the Trustees’ meeting. That announcement of his completed review came less than a week after The Record reported that Rev. Blackwell was convicted of crimes ranging from domestic violence against a woman and writing a bad check. Questions were also raised by The Record regarding his educational credentials and his time served in federal prison in the 1990s, relating to a bank robbery. The Board Governance Committee’s full report will be made at the next Trustees meeting on May 9.

Why are some college students embarrassed to take free condoms? By Annalise Knudson

Photo by Rebecca Panico

Justin Fernandez, 21, performs inside the WKNJ Cougar Radio station on March 15, 2016.

Kean student turns dismal Disney experience into ‘Saint’ LP By Rebecca Panico The Disney College Program is an opportunity to earn college credit while working at one of the happiest places on Earth But for Justin Fernandez, a 21-year-old business major at Kean, it turned out to be a not-so-magical experience. “No one wants to be a garbage man,” said Fernandez, later adding with a chuckle, “I’d even loved to sell merchandise. At least I’m not touching dirty ass...poop.” Fernandez wound up a custodian, assigned to shoveling trash and cleaning toilets in Orlando, Fla., the excesses of the smiling tourists surrounding him. Torn apart from his newfound girlfriend, family and friends, he slipped into depression, he said.

Writing under the pseudonym of Staten, he turned the experience into a full-length LP, “Saint,” which was released early last month. The themes on the album are probably ones that every 20-something-year-old can relate to: “Saint” paints a picture of a young adult who’s experiencing the growing pains of becoming a full-fledged adult, and with that comes feelings of not-being-good enough and alienation. Acoustic arpeggios are a trademark of almost every track on “Saint,” and songs like “Madonna” showcase Fernandez’s self-revealing and raw lyrics. The honesty of the album’s lyrics -- and the topics of depression and suicide -- were a form of catharsis, he said. “I don’t feel ashamed or shameful writing all of this stuff and putting it out there,” he continued on page 7

When students are usually offered free condoms they often times blush, turn their faces or avoid eye contact. Others will go out of their way to make sure that they will not be faced with the option of whether to take a free condom. Talking about safe sex and condoms have always been a taboo topic, especially among young adults. Professor of Health Education and author of the college textbook, “Sexual Health in a Diverse World,” Dr. Consuelo Bonillas said that there are many reasons why some college students would feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about taking free condoms when they are offered. “Instead of being seen as protective for themselves and their sexual partner(s), someone may be concerned that receiving free condoms implies a lack of moral judgment, having multiple sexual partners and isn’t looking for a committed relationship or just wanting to ‘hit it,’” she said. Some students feel comfortable talking about their sexuality and relationships. Dr. Bonillas noticed a change in views related to sexual health since she first started teaching human sexuality in 1997. “Men are still more likely or willing to mention that they are or have been in a sexual relationship,” she said. “Part of the reason is the double standard that society and we continue to allow to exist. Some women may be concerned about how others may perceive them if they share that they are or have been in a sexual relationship.” Resident assistant (RA) Alex Rankin

Photo: Annalise Knudson

A container filled with free condoms sits on a counter at Health Services in Downs Hall.

hosted one of his residential student services events named “Sex in the Elevator” on Feb. 21 in Burch Hall, one of the dorm buildings on Kean’s campus. The true meaning behind the provocative title was made in an effort to catch people’s attention, Rankin says. Rankin sat in the elevator of the building starting at 9 p.m. where he asked students to take part in his trivia game. “No one wants to face sexual awareness and wouldn’t stop at a table so I used the elevator to make it like a surprise game show,” he said. If they got a question correct within the time-span of the elevator ride, they won a prize. “The prizes were candy and well, condoms!” Rankin said. “The choice was theirs to pick what they wanted but the continued on page 5


April, 2016

Big names appointed to Wenzhou-Kean’s Board of Directors By Rebecca Panico Six of seven American members were reappointed to Wenzhou-Kean’s Board of Directors at the March 7 Board of Trustees meeting, including members of the Kean family and former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey. The 15-member board was first created in 2012. Eight Chinese members are appointed by the Wenzhou municipal government, while the other seven from the United States are appointed by the Board of Trustees. Each member serves a four-year term. “The Board of Directors members are recommended by President Farahi and are chosen based on their experience and qualifications as well as their ability and interest to serve,” Kean spokeswoman Margaret McCorry wrote in an email. “They collectively bring a depth of knowledge and experience in education, international business, public service and government.” The seven appointees are John Kean, John Kean Jr., Upendra Chivukula, Anne Estabrook, former U.S. Ambassador Clifford Sobel, Joan Verplanck and McGreevey. James Hynes was appointed as an alternate. John Kean is the cousin of former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean and John Kean

Jr. serves as a Board of Trustees member. Former state Assemblyman Chivukula currently works as commissioner to the state’s Board of Public Utilities, while Anne Estabrook serves as Kean’s Human Rights fellowship sponsor and Joan Verplanck serves as president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. Hynes, the alternate, is a Kean alumnus. Of the seven American appointees, six were reappointed. Verplank is serving her first four-year term, replacing former state Senator Richard Bagger, McCorry said. Bagger formerly served as chief-of-staff to Gov. Chris Christie too. The Chinese appointees are Wang Beijiao, Lu Shanzhen, Ye Shiqiang, Huang Shaoming, Sun Jianwei, Chen Aihua, Qiu Guanghe and You Xiaoping. Lin Weiping serves as honorary director. Beijiao, the Board’s chair, is secretary of the Wenzhou-Kean CPC Committee and Deputy Secretary-General of the CPC Wenzhou Municipal Committee, according to a list provided by the McCorry. (CPC is often an initialism for Communist Party of China, according to multiple sources familiar with the country. The question was posed to McCorry, but a response was not received by this article’s deadline.)

Photo via the Wenzhou-Kean website

The Wenzhou-Kean organizational chart.

Additionally, Shanzhen is the chancellor of the Chinese campus, Shiqiang serves as deputy secretary-general of the Wenzhou municipal government and Shaoming is vice chancellor at the Wenzhou campus. Jianwei is deputy director of the Wenzhou Municipal Finance Bureau, Aihua was a former secretary of Wenzhou University CPC Committee, Guanghe is chairman of Semir Group Co., Ltd., and Xiaoping is chairman of Hua Feng Group’s board of directors. Weiping, the honorary director, formerly served as the chairman of the WenzhouKean Board of Directors. The board functions as an advisory board to the Trustees, overseeing the U.S. campus’ role in the partnership at Wenzhou–Kean, McCorry said. The Trustees oversee all

academic decisions at Wenzhou-Kean University, she added, while Kean’s Chinese partners handle “general operations” at the campus overseas. In the U.S., 15 Trustees are appointed by the governor and serve six-year terms. The student body elects a student trustee and student alternate each year. Trustees serve without compensation, but are reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses, Kean’s website explains. Kean University President Dawood Farahi and Trustees Chair Ada Morell will continue to serve as ex officio, non-voting members of the Wenzhou Board of Directors, according to the March 7 resolution. To learn more about the Wenzhou-Kean campus, visit

Kean Foundation set to open another restaurant on campus By Rebecca Panico The Board of Trustees voted on March 7 to let the Kean Foundation, which generally handles scholarships, to operate and manage a new restaurant in the North Avenue building. “The plan is Au Bon Pain,” said Kean Foundation President Carla Willis, adding that the Foundation hasn’t entered into an agreement with the company yet, pending the Trustees’ approval. The Foundation generally handles private donations made out to Kean and then disperses them in accordance with the donor’s wishes. Donations usually go towards scholarships or funding other projects around campus. Willis specified that the Foundation’s

functions include a bit more than just awarding scholarships to students. “We were created to be the philanthropic arm of the university,” Willis said. “In addition we are also structured so we can enter into deals, arrangements and agreements that provide residual dollars that can be used for philanthropic support for the university.” “If you look at universities in the state of New Jersey, this is not an uncommon scenario” for foundations to “enter into agreements that are challenging for state institutions,” she added. According to their bylaws, the Foundation can lease or own property, and make expenditures for the benefit of the university. Ultimately, Willis said, the money made from the restaurant in the North Avenue

building will be channeled back to the Foundation and used for scholarships. This isn’t the first time the Foundation, a non-profit organization, has entered into a restaurant deal. According to a contract obtained by The Tower from Union Township through the Open Public Records Act, the Foundation entered into a management subcontract agreement with Gourmet Dining for Ursino in 2011. That restaurant has been “temporarily closed” for renovations, university spokeswoman Margaret McCorry said last year. The contract holder of the new restaurant in the North Avenue building will eventually be in charge of day-today operations and management of the restaurant, McCorry said yesterday.

Photo: Annalise Knudson

The North Avenue building is set to open this summer, a Trustees resolution said.

The building, located in the Vaughn Eames parking lot, is set to open this summer. This story originally appeared online at on March 9.

Campus police respond to increased thefts last semester

By: Celeste Simmons 3/1/16 Photo: Yuri Smishkewych

Kean Campus Police Car

By Celeste Simmons There were a total of 36 thefts on campus in the span of two months last semester, including a stolen car from the Vaughn Eames parking lot in October and dozens of reports of stolen laptops and bags. In last month’s police blotter published in The Tower, 13 thefts occurred, resulting in the loss of shoes, clothing and laptops. However, this month there were none. Kean University Police Lt. Vincent Kearney elaborated on last semester’s increased thefts. “The majority of thefts on campus are crimes of opportunity,” said Kearney. “Property is left unattended or out of the immediate view and control of the owner. There are also instances where thefts occur from unsecured lockers and/ or dorm rooms.” Kearney added that most people target cell phones, computers, laptops, purses and backpacks. Andre Jones Jr., a graduate student who lives on campus in Bartlett Hall,

Rodgers Hall: Police reported that burnt food in a microwave triggered a fire alarm at around 3:34 p.m. 3/5/16

has been a student here since 2004. He recalled when some of his friends had items stolen from their dorm rooms too. “When I was a freshmen I remember friends having things stolen from their rooms. If there is something bad going on let everyone know,” he said. So what are the Kean police doing to help prevent these thefts? “The Kean University Police Department utilizes a system of directed patrols, targeted in part towards areas where previous crimes have occurred,” said Kearney. “Report anyone who appears to be suspicious or doesn’t belong,” said Kearney, “An example of this could be a person wandering the floors of the library for long periods of time without a backpack, books or a laptop. This could be someone trying to get some exercise, or it could be a person casing the area and waiting for students to step away from their property for a moment, creating the opportunity for theft.” Students and faculty should still be aware of their surrounds and report any suspicious activity to Kean Police Department by calling (908)737-4800.

Police Blotter

Kean University Department of Public Safety Police blotter

North Avenue: at approximately 1:18 a.m., a 21-year-old Elizabeth man was arrested for a suspended registration. 3/6/16

UC Hall: Police arrested a 25-year-old male from West New York, N.J. for possession of a drug paraphernalia at 11:37 p.m. 3/10/16

Morris Avenue: A 28-year-old Irvington man was arrested for possession of a controlled dangerous substance at 12:13 a.m. 3/13/16

UC Hall: A fire alarm was activated by shower steam at approximately 11:16 p.m. 3/14/16

Freshmen Hall: At 1:01 p.m. a fire alarm was activated from shower steam and usage of a vapor cigarette [electronic cigarette]. 3/16/16

UC Hall: A fire alarm went off due to burnt popcorn in a microwave at 10:25 p.m.

April, 2016


The Tower wins news awards for print, video and web By Anthony N. Muccigrossi The Tower, the independent voice of Kean University, won five awards last month for newspaper, news website and online news video as well as second place for overall General Excellence from the New Jersey Collegiate Press Association. Professional journalists judge hundreds of entries from private and public colleges across the state in the annual competition. Winners this year also included Rutgers University, Seton Hall University and Princeton University, among others. At the top of the list, Tower Editor-inChief Rebecca Panico took the first place award in News Writing for her coverage of Twitter threats against black students at Kean that led to protests and a continuing controversy about the university’s hiring practices. The news writing award -- for February 2016’s “Kean announces consultant to review employment practices after MLK Day protest” and “Graduate accused of Twitter threats pleads not guilty,” was judged for fairness, thoroughness, local interest and style, according to NJCPA guidelines. “It’s been a great year for The Tower,” Panico said. “There’s always more than meets the eye behind each story, like standing out in the cold on MLK Day to get that story. Although at times it was hard handling school work, and both reporting and managing a paper, I think we all pulled through.” The second place award in General Excellence was for The Tower’s October 2015 and December 2015 editions when Panico and Annalise Knudson served as editor-in-chief, and Panico served as coeditor. The award is given for overall

coverage, writing quality, copy editing, style and layout of the newspaper. Readability, local appeal and effectiveness are also taken into account, the rules state. Tower News and Video Editor Yuri Smishkewych won second place in critical writing for two arts and entertainment articles including “Art with a bird’s eye view on social justice” featuring Kean Professor Alvin Quñiones and “Kean prof’s 20-year collaboration displays Holocaust through art and poetry” about Professors Dr. Susanna Rich and Jo Jochnowitz’s Holocaust art exhibit. The award in critical writing is judged on technical knowledge, writing style and local appeal. A third-place award was also given to Smishkewych in the online video category for his Tower News Brief, which is a video snapshot of the main stories in the monthly edition and features live interviews. This new category for the NJCPA recognized a single video for its visuals, natural sound, interviews and narration to tell a story. “Without The Tower, I would have never had that real-life experience, not to mention material for my portfolio,” said Smishkewych said of his two awards. The Tower also brought home a third place award for, the newspaper’s website which is updated regularly throughout the academic year. Named for that award were Panico, Smishkewych, Annalise Knudson and Alyssa Davis. All four of the students are majoring in Communication/Journalism. The website award was given for reader quality and quantity of content, and ease of navigation and design. Judges also considered special features such as forums and interactive elements that encourage significant audience engagement. The Tower is part of the academic

Photo: Anthony Muccigrossi

This semester’s staff members. Missing are faculty advisers Prof. Pat Winters Lauro and Prof. Lois DeSocio, News Editor Yuri Smishkewych, Anthony Muccigrossi from promotions, and staff members Gail Fredricks and Redina Demushi.

program in journalism in the School of Communication, Media and Journalism and is produced as a one-credit course by journalism students and volunteers. It is overseen by Professor Pat Winters Lauro, director of journalism, and Professor Lois DeSocio who together serve as the Tower’s faculty advisers. “I am especially proud that the video, newspaper and website awards together prove that The Tower is no longer a news”paper” alone -- it is a great, student news organization reporting on all media platforms,” said Lauro. “And the staff does it all in a dusty, old newsroom with barely

Students, professors react to Kean’s online classes By Redina Demushi Students and faculty on campus are reacting to the recent Middle States Commission’s approval to offer Distance Learning programs at Kean University in all academic levels. According to Kean’s press release, which was sent out on March 1, the university’s online program, Kean Online, will soon offer degrees at all academic levels – bachelor’s, master’s and post-master’s award/certificate/diploma programs. Kean Online is looking to launch two graduate degree programs in the fall, in addition to the three undergraduate and one graduate degree programs that are already in place. The recent news has Kean University students and professors sharing their thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of online higher education, and whether or not this is something they can see themselves partaking in. “I think that online courses can be extremely helpful for someone who works full time and has many other responsibilities that deter them from being able to come to campus and sit in class,” Kelly Black, a senior English major stated. “I personally like physically being in class and being able to interact with my professors and classmates face-to-face. I take more out of a personal experience than I would by staring at a computer screen” According to “Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States,” an annual report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education, the 2014 survey shows that years 2003, 2005, and 2009, the growth in online students topped 20 percent. After 2009, there has been a steady year-to-year decline in online enrollment rates. “Increasing numbers of academic leaders think that retaining students is a greater problem for online courses than for face-to-face courses (44.6 percent in 2014 versus 40.6 percent in 2013, 28.4 percent in 2009, and 27.2 percent in 2004),” the study also showed. Dr. Richard Katz, an English professor at Kean University as well as former member of the faculty senate, senate leadership serving as secretary of the senate, and Senate Executive Committee, expressed his views on online education. “My thoughts are what the research has been, that online learning is most effective with advanced students,” Katz stated. “The numbers are not encouraging.” Due to low retention rates, Katz does not think that online courses are effective for students. Others feel that online courses can be a good asset to Kean’s large commuter population. “I think it will affect Kean in a very positive way,” Catarina Agudo, a junior Mathematics Special Education major shared. “Since now they will offer more online courses for your masters and post-masters, it’s great. A lot of students will be working full time and may have kids, and coming all the way to school might be a lot. Having that flexibility, or option there, is always good.” The “Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States” report showed that 68.3 percent of academic leaders continue to believe that “Students need more discipline to succeed in an online course than in a

Person typing on a keyboard

working computers and just enough money to pay for print. Student journalists are our new heroes!” To co-adviser DeSocio, the awards were especially meaningful because she served as a reporter and editor for the independent student newspaper as an undergraduate at Kean in the 1990s. “To see The Tower win these awards -- it’s wonderful,” said DeSocio. “It’s very close to my heart.” The awards will be presented on April 9 at NJCPA the annual conference and luncheon. The NJCPA is sponsored by the New Jersey Press Foundation.

Kean grad’s Twitter threat appeal set for April 8

Photo: Parzi

face-to-face course.” “Online courses, if you read about their successes and failures, they seem to have a problem with retention, which means the students need to be disciplined enough to put the time into it. The other thing that needs to be done, from the faculty and course side, is building in support for students to help them stay in the course,” Dr. Charles Nelson, head of the English Department at Kean, stated. William Kolbenschlag, a Journalism and Public Relations professor at Kean, who is currently designing a course for Kean Online, talked about the misconceptions some students may have about online classes. “Some students think online classes are going to be easier, but that’s not necessarily the case. It might even be harder because the professors don’t get to know the students personally, where their strengths and weaknesses are, the way they can in an actual classroom,” Kolbenschlag shared. According to an informal survey, many students stated that they, personally, would not take online classes. “I hate them,” Amanda Almeida, a junior Cell and Molecular Biology major, mentioned. “I can find the sources for most subjects online, but what I pay to go to school for is for a professor to teach it to me. It might be the same quality, but it’s not the same method.” Other students, such as Nicole Barata, a senior Graphic Design Interactive Advertising major, do not see the harm in online courses, depending on the subject. “It depends on the field of study, or the course being offered. If it’s something that doesn’t require experience, then taking an Art History course online won’t be a big deal because it’s a lot of reading and writing, something we can do at our own desk. Whereas learning mechanics, or being taught a certain technique for painting, would mean needing to be somewhere suitable for it, other than sitting in front of a computer screen,” Barata stated. Students and professors at Kean University all expressed different positions towards online higher education. “Which is better?” Nelson said. “Well, it’s really hard to say. It’s going to depend on the student and it’s going to depend on the design of the course itself. If it’s designed well, I don’t see online being any disadvantage.”

Photo: Yuri Smishkewych

McKelvey’s next hearing will be at the Union County Courthouse on April 8.

By Yuri Smishkewych Kean graduate Kayla-Simone McKelvey, who allegedly posted numerous Twitter threats against Kean students in November, must now wait until April 8 to see if she will be admitted into a probationar y program. At a hearing on March 23 at the Union County Superior Court in Elizabeth, Judge William Daniel told McKelvey ’s lawyer, Thomas Ashley, that he has until March 30 to file a formal appeal after McKelvey was denied entr y to the Pre-Trial Inter vention (PTI) program earlier this month. According to the Union County PTI office, if the PTI appeal is denied, the case is heard before a Grand Jur y who will decide whether or not to indict McKelvey. McKelvey was charged with creating a false public alarm, a third-degree criminal offense, two weeks after the online threats were made. She entered a not guilty plea at her first hearing on December 14 and later applied for the PTI probation program in Januar y. At a hearing earlier this month, Union County Assistant Prosecutor Shawn Barnes denied McKelvey ’s request to be admitted into PTI and recommended a plea offer that included six-month jail term and restitution costs if McKelvey pleaded guilty, according to NJ Advanced Media.

April, 2016



More bang for your Cougar bucks By Sara Ridgway Rumors about spending Cougar Dollars at various off campus eateries were confirmed in an email blast that was sent on March 11. But, before you swipe your Kean ID at your favorite restaurants, you should know the details about this new meal deal the University offers. The restaurants currently accepting Cougar Dollars are located in Union and Elizabeth. The locations in Union include Rock ‘n’ Joe at the NJ Transit Union train station, Koki Japanese Restaurant in the Galloping Hill Center, Applebee’s on Morris Avenue, and BonChon on Stuyvesant Avenue. In Elizabeth, the Tropicana Diner on Morris Avenue is participating as well, and the owners of the “Trop” were also the owners of the recently closed University Diner located on North Avenue. It has been disclosed that the “UD” will not be reopening anytime soon. German Torres, Manager of Bon Chon, confirmed that the restaurant would accept Cougar Dollars from students who have signed up for the Off Campus Dining Program. To use Cougar Dollars at a restaurant simply swipe your ID as if it was a credit card. On Campus Meal Plans and Flex Plans are not accepted as part of this program. According to Kerrin Lyles, Director of the Miron Student Center, this program is available to any students, including underclassmen, whose meal plans include Cougar Dollars. For upperclassmen looking to change up their meal options, the new $1500 Cougar Dollar Declining Balance Plan allows students to spend their Cougar Dollars on and off campus.

“We also offer smaller Declining Balance options for commuter students, faculty and staff members,” Lyles said. “These plans begin at $100 and can go up to $500. Additional funds can be added to these accounts at any time.” Lyles said that the Student Organization proposed the plan to have students spend Cougar Dollars at off campus restaurants and supported its implementation. “They were really the main voice behind this,” Lyles said. In addition to Jersey Mikes in the Miron Student Center, SmashBurger and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels are projected to be open on campus by the fall of 2016. “They will be located in the atrium of the Miron Student Center,” Lyles said. “The renovations have begun and we are very excited to add these new additions to our campus.” With two more on campus eateries in the works, the new option to use resident hall cafeteria swipes in the Miron Student Center cafeteria for certain meal options, and the Off Campus Dining Program, Kean is expanding its food options for students greatly. When dining off campus, don’t forget to ask about student discounts by simply showing your ID when paying for your meal. Parador Rojo, a new Spanish restaurant on Morris Avenue that opened four months ago, offers a 5% discount to Kean students, as per manager Victor Echeverry. So keep an eye out for the “Cougar Dollars Accepted Here” sticker in the window of your favorite restaurants off campus. With a positive response to the Off Campus Dining Program, more restaurants may be added in the future.

Above: Applebee’s on Morris Ave. Below: Rock ‘n’ Joe at the Union Train Station

Photos by Sara Ridgway

Left to Right: The Tropicana Diner on Morris Ave. , Parador Rojo on Morris Ave. and BonChon on Stuyvesant Avenue

Human Rights Institute Conference highlights U.S. incarceration By Rose Marie Kitchen The Human Rights Institute (HRI) of Kean University has decided to use their annual conference as an opportunity to explore the three major aspects of the United States prison system: The School-to-Prison Pipeline, the consequences and overuse of solitary confinement and the profiteers behind it all. The conference is entitled “Locked up in America: The Business of Incarceration” and will take place on April 8, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Wilkins Theatre. The conference is open to the public and admission is free with online registration. “The United States has the highest prison population in the world; around two million inmates at 724 people per 100,000,” said Lina Caswell, graduate assistant (GA) for the HRI and graduate student working towards her Master’s in sociology and social justice. “In contrast to Russia at (a) rate of 581. How come this is happening in the United States? What are the institutions, systems (and) conditions that allow for this to continue?

These are not new questions, but in our current social and political climate they pose an important challenge to the community at large.” The federal prison system in the U.S. is a multi-billion-dollar private industry that is currently under fire from different human rights groups for alleged abuse reports. The importance and urgency for this conference was based on President Obama’s op-ed in The Washington Post, where he announced a ban on solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in the federal prison system. This ban will prohibit a use of punishment for any low-level infractions and will also limit the time any federal inmate can be placed in solitary confinement. “President Obama’s recent action demonstrates that these issues have reached the highest corridors of powers in the nation,” said Kean University President Dr. Dawood Farahi, in a University Relation press release. “This year’s (HRI) conference is an educational and advocacy initiative that not only seeks to increase awareness of these

abuses and their root causes, but also serves as a call to action to address and eradicate the human rights violations that pervade our country’s justice system.” Speakers at the conference include: Alexander Shalom, Senior Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union in N.J., Christopher McNabb, Organizer at the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) in N.J. and Thena RobinsonMock, Director of the End the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track, Advancement Project Washington, D.C. The HRI in collaboration with NRCAT will host a solitary confinement cell replica called “Breaking Down the Box” from March 30 to April 8. The replica will help provide visitors with a full solitary confinement experience equipped with an audio recording from a maximum security prison in Maine. “Students and community members will have the opportunity to experience, for a few minutes, the isolation and despair that thousands of men and women experienced in prisons across the U.S.,” said Caswell.

Photo: Photo courtesy of the Human Rights Institute

The 9th annual Human Rights Conference will take place on Friday, April 8, 2016

The mission of the replica is for participants to sit by themselves and envision how it would be to be imprisoned in a solitary confinement cell for hours, days or even years. For more information, feel free to contact the HRI by email at humanrights@kean. edu or phone at (908)- 737-4670. More information may also found on the HRI’s homepage.

April, 2016


Be kind to your kidneys By Joseph Palgi March was National Kidney month and the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) urged all Americans to give their kidneys a second thought as well as a well-deserved checkup. The aim is to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease as well as its associated health problems. The kidneys are bean-shaped organs about 4 inches) long and 2 inches (thick, but they are packed with roughly one million microscopic filtering units called nephrons. This huge supply of filters reflects the main function of the kidneys- to remove metabolic wastes from the blood and adjust the balance of water, salt, and other substances. The kidneys are part of the urinary system that consists of six organs. The most fundamental role of the kidneys is regulation of body fluids. The kidneys filter blood plasma, separate wastes from the useful chemicals, and eliminate wastes while returning the rest to the bloodstream. They regulate blood volume and pressure by eliminating or conserving water as necessary. They regulate the osmolarity of the body fluids by controlling the relative amounts of water and solutes eliminated. They secrete the enzyme renin, which activates hormonal mechanisms (angiotensin, aldosterone) that control blood pressure and electrolyte balance. They secrete the hormone erythropoietin, which controls the red blood cell count and oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. They function with the lungs to regulate the Pco2 and acid-base balance of the body fluids. They control calcium homeostasis through their role in synthesizing calcitriol (vitamin D) They detoxify superoxides, free radicals, and drugs with the use of peroxisomes. In times of starvation they deaminate amino acids-remove the- NH2 group, excrete it as ammonia (NH3) and make the rest available for glucose synthesis (gluconeogenesis) Any condition that causes reduced kidney function over a period of time is considered as chronic kidney disease (CKD.) What is your kidney disease IQ? Take the quiz; Q: The only purpose of the kidneys is to filter blood. False, the kidneys have several major functions. They remove waste materials and excess fluid from the body and help maintain a good balance of electrolytes and minerals in the blood. They also help regulate blood pressure. Q: Urine is made in the kidneys. True, normal kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood per day resulting in removal of waste products and excess water which comprise urine. About two quarts of urine are produced per day. Urine flows from the kidneys through ureters to the bladder. The bladder stores urine until a person urinates. Q: Medically speaking, which term refers to the kidney function?

Q: A person can have chronic kidney disease without symptoms True, unfortunately, people can have renal disease for long periods of time before noticing any symptoms. Although it may seem like the symptoms come on quickly, they actually have been slowly progressing over a number of years. The slow progression is often seen in chronic kidney disease. Another term for chronic kidney disease is renal insufficiency. Q: Hemodialysis is the only treatment for kidney failure. False, Hemodialysis is not the only treatment for kidney failure. However, hemodialysis is usually done before the other two options are tried. The other two options are peritoneal dialysis and kidney transplantation; however, not every candidate with kidney failure may be a candidate for all of these options. Q: A doctor who specializes is called a what? A nephrologist, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases. Such specialists may help patients avoid renal failure for years and can help a patient determine the best treatments if renal failure does occur. Q: There are how many stages of kidney disease? Five stages. These stages indicate increased severity from mild stage I (one) to stage V (five) when the kidneys fail. Stage I indicates slight kidney damage while stage II (two) indicates a mild decrease in kidney function. Stage III (three) represents a moderate decrease in kidney function and stage IV (four) is a severe decrease in kidney function. Stage V indicates kidney failure. Q: In the U.S. what is the leading cause of kidney failure. Diabetes. Diabetes accounts for about 44 percent of all new cases of renal failure. The top five causes of renal failure, according to the U.S. Renal Data system, are diabetes, high blood pressure, glomerulonephritis, cystic diseases, and urologic diseases. Kidney disease develops when kidneys lose their ability to remove waste and maintain fluid and chemical balances in the body. The severity of CKD depends on how well the kidneys filter wastes from the blood. It can progress quickly or take many years to develop because there are little to no signs of the condition, most people are not even aware that they have kidney disease until it reaches the later stages, including kidney failure. Kidneys don’t always get the respect they deserve. But, kidneys are truly impressive and the more you learn, the more you will understand why you want to help keep them healthy. For more info, go to

Students share their spring break stories Spring break is a time to relax, bask in the dazzling sun or sip on Pina Colada for some students, while for others, it’s a continuation of a rigorous semester. Grace Wei, a speech language pathology major, spent her spring break preparing for two exams that she was scheduled to sit immediately after the break. “If I didn’t have to study for exams it would have been more relaxing,” said Wei. Students like Elizabeth Wicklund, a Political Science major, were busy racking up hours at work. “I worked as much as I can,” said Wicklund. “I need the money to pay for college.” For many students one week of vacation or time away from school is a necessity. Other students were able to experience a little bit of everything while they were on break. “I worked at school for a few days, visited my family, and took a trip to New York to shop and eat a BBQs,” said Angelica Harper. Spring break is seen as a time to let loose for students. Spring break for many is not necessarily viewed as an opportunity to relax and live carefree. Some students see the break as a time to work, and catch up on schoolwork. Schoolwork still exists regardless of the time away from classes.

Kean-Ocean club spreads kindness with jean drive

The answer is renal, “renal” refers to the kidneys, so “renal function” and “kidney function” are interchangeable terms. Renal function, when used by medical professionals, usually refers to how efficiently the kidneys filter blood. For example, two healthy kidneys in a person have 100% renal function.

Some study, others snooze By Babatunde Dahunsi


Professors often view spring break as an opportunity to assign more work. This in itself creates a unique dynamic for a student’s thought process during time spent away. An underlying theme is the need to be away. If a student does not completely stay at home for their time on spring break, they may plan a trip instead. “I went to Africa on a trip, I just needed to get away, so I visited family,” said Ose Pius , a business major. “All I did during spring break was relaxed and enjoy my time off. This was one of the best spring breaks I’ve ever had honestly. Sometimes people use spring break as a means of going on vacation and even after traveling you’re still not relaxing,” said Henrietta Nwako, President of PRSSA. The spectrum of diversity showcases student priorities. Some students that reside in offcampus housing stayed in instead of going somewhere extravagant. Others went back to their hometowns to spend time with family. The perspective for many appears to be that spring break is only as good as the opportunity. “Yeah I went to my parents’ house and went out to a few bars and I also worked” said Ana Roberson, a student at Kean. While Aysia Peterson, a psychology major, described her break in one expression. “I lived it up,” said Peterson.

Photo: Emily Casey

Club members and volunteers of Streetlight Mission.

By Emily Casey With two cars full of enthusiastic club members and both trunks packed with jeans, the Kean Ocean Communication Club drove up to the city of Elizabeth. They were determined to make a difference in the lives of many. The club participated in a jean drive event on Feb. 25 took pleasure in donating more than 400 pairs of jeans to a local shelter. The Teens for Jeans campaign, an event for homeless youth that is run by a non-profit organization called, took place across the globe throughout the month of February. To make a difference locally, the club volunteered at Streetlight Mission, a faith-based community outreach center of Union County, which helps those who are struggling financially. According to, more than a million young people go homeless in the U.S. each year. An item that is often requested, is a pair of jeans. “Initially, as a club, we set the bar high for donations because we wanted to help as many people as possible. We hoped to reach a goal of 500 pairs of jeans,” said Club Secretary Desiré McCoy. “Although we did not meet the goal, we still collected 410 pairs and just knowing homeless youths will have their own pair of jeans is rewarding enough.” In preparation for this year’s jean drive, the club held an event on Jan. 26 to inform students and faculty of the campaign and how jeans they no longer use could help someone in need. Putting their communication skills to the test, the club spread awareness through the use of social media and by plastering flyers all around campus. The club had great success after a month of collections and

received a total of 410 items. Customers at a local Toms River restaurant, Shut Up! And Eat, donated 150 pairs of jeans. The Stars Club contributed 72 pairs with the remainder coming from the Kean Ocean community. “Honestly we couldn’t have done it without the Kean Ocean campus, and the rest of the community that donated. So I thank everyone who had a part in making this campaign such a success,” said McCoy. “Being a part of the volunteer work for teens for jeans was one of the most rewarding experiences of the semester thus far,” said Chelsea Dalesandro, founder and president of the Kean Ocean Communication Club. “Meeting the staff was my favorite part of the experience, because of the pride they took in their volunteer efforts.” The volunteers of Streetlight Mission welcomed the club members with open arms. They emphasized their appreciation for their actions and assured them of the enormous impact they have made. “We are all broken. It doesn’t matter where you come from. We want this to be a safe place of refuge. That’s my goal, to make people feel safe and loved,” said Patty Rower, a passionate volunteer of Streetlight Mission’s guest services. Meanwhile, Thomas Kirchgessner, the communication club’s public relations adviser, said that the whole experience has been enlightening. “This experience has opened my eyes to the hardships that people face on a daily basis. It has made me realize how fortunate I am in my own life and has given me the resolve to want to help in future endeavors,” Kirchgessner said.

Continuation for condom story (Continued from page 1)

goal was to raise awareness about STI’s [sexually transmitted infections] and the transmission, as well as safe sex. The condoms as a prize were given to be incentive that if you are sexually active, you should practice safe sex.” After an hour, Rankin said he gave out about 28 total condoms to students and a lot of candy. Many students took both candy and condoms. Rankin received frequent comments that he offered the “real” condoms. He said that he gave out popular brand name Trojan condoms, because most people know them as a leading brand in sexual contraceptive products. “I want them to know that when they do make the choice to partake in sexual activities there is a risk and that if they take that risk, they should be educated and have the proper supplies to do so safely,” he said. According to Dr. Bonillas, brand name condoms are no different than nonbrand name condoms. “We live in a society that many of us only purchase specific brand names,” Dr. Bonillas said. “Condoms are no different, but unlike brand names where one may purchase a better product, all condoms are created equal in regards to efficacy.” She also made the point that all condoms must pass stringent inspections from both the manufacturer and by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. Kean’s Health Services offers free condoms to students. Upon entering

the health services office, condoms are found in a clear, plastic-enclosed container with the brand, Lovecondoms. org written on them. While dropping off paper work, nineteen-year-old Erik Sanchez, a sophomore English Education major, found out for the first time that Kean’s Health Services offers free condoms. “I saw [condoms] there and took some but I never went back,” Sanchez said. “I usually go to CVS because I have their card and I get discounts. I would go back if I ran out and if I’m broke.” Kelsey Moran, 21, a junior Communications in Public Relations major, did not know that Kean offers free condoms until she was told by The Tower. Moran feels that buying a box of condoms is her piece of mind that they were not tampered with. “I feel more comfortable buying them from a store because they are in a sealed box,” she said. Kean’s convenience store in the Miron Student Center also offers the option to buy condoms, but students would have to ask the cashier for them before paying because they are located behind the counter. Free condoms at Kean’s Health Services are located at the front desk of Downs Hall in room 126 where students check in for appointments. No questions are asked when taking condoms. Health Services also offers free, confidential STI and HIV testing for Kean students, as long as students bring their health insurance card.


April, 2016


Food for thought this Earth Day By Yuri Smishkewych It’s 2155 and a lone angler, knee deep in brackish water amongst the reeds, spots something submerged in front of him shining in the mid-day sun. He reaches down and picks it up for inspection—it’s an old metal sign. As he wipes the algae off its face, blue letters emerge: The sign reads “Cougar Walk.” As unfathomable as this scenario may seem to us today, it is very likely what our greatgreat-grandchildren’s world will look like. According to the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an organization that provides scientific data on climate change to policymakers worldwide, sea levels may rise by 21 feet by 2116 if we do not address global warming. To put it in perspective and by using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) online Sea-Level Rise Viewer, which simulates the inevitable rising water levels due to climate change, that amount would make Kean’s Campus—which sits in the Elizabeth River watershed—look something more like the Meadowlands at present. That is, unless we—as voters—do something about it. April 22 is Earth Day, a day that we all should look past the geographical and sociopolitical borders that divide us and, as one, work together to address the very real and omnipresent threats that are putting our fragile earth in danger. And, without a doubt, of all the environmental threats we face, none takes the world’s stage more prominently than global warming. “Climate change is real. It is happening right now,” said Leonardo DiCaprio, who took time out of his acceptance speech at this year’s Academy Awards to remind worldwide audiences on the imminent threat. “We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity,” he added. But don’t just take it from Leo: Of the seven solutions recommended to curb climate change by Scientific American, the U.S.’s oldest and leading popular science magazine, the most important and long-term solution is to vote for politicians that are dedicated to climate action.

Why 2016? In an U.S. News & World Report article titled “The Climate Change Election,” the 2016 presidential election is said to be the last time that voters may actually get to “vote on climate change” given the timespan needed to implement energy-reform legislation before it is too late. “This will be a make-or-break presidency as far as our ability to avert a climate change catastrophe,” said Meteorologist and Director of the Earth Science Center at Penn State University Michael Mann, in the article. So, of those running for president, who makes the climate change grade?

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.

Our fragile earth from space.

Photo courtesy of NASA

If you’re looking at Donald Trump, forget about it. He clearly stated numerous times, as recently as three months ago at a campaign rally in South Carolina, that climate change is a “hoax” and is part of a larger “money-making industry.” Need not mention the billionaire’s January 2014 Tweet that this “global warming bullshit has got to stop.” Sen. Ted Cruz is a non-believer, too. According to the League of Conservation Voters publication, “In their owns words: 2016 Presidential Candidates on Climate Change,” Cruz maintains that climate change is a “pseudoscientific theory” that “big government politicians” use in order to gain “control of the energy sector, the economy, and every aspect of our lives.” Unlike his fellow Republicans running for office, Gov. John Kasich follows a more moderate stance. “You asked me about climate change—I think it’s real,” said Kasich at a speech in New Hampshire in November, “but I think that the impact human beings have on it is yet to be determined. So I would not be enacting all these policies that could throw people out of work.” In contrast, both Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders understand that climate change action is imperative. Following her endorsement by the League of Conservation Voters in November, Clinton stated in a YouTube video that she would build upon President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan. She also believes that we need a “clear economic plan that goes hand-in-hand with combating climate change.” Like Clinton, Sanders believes in a clean energy economy, although the Vermont senator’s plan, which is available online at, is more rewarding. Alongside creating a clean-energy workforce that would, among other things, re-build America’s failing infrastructure, Sanders would return billons of dollars into the pockets of working families by keeping the fossil fuel industry-giants in-check, specifically when it comes to unfair rate hikes. In short, let’s take a moment this Earth Day to consider what’s at stake in November: Do we need deniers, or do we need doers?



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CORRECTION: A quote in the article titled “To the coffee shop or the bar?” was incorrectly attributed to Dr. Suzanne Bousquet in last month’s issue.

Bernie Sanders, democratic socialism and what it means By Thomas Rich-Caverly Democratic socialism is a combination of both Democracy and Socialism where the power is in the hands of the people, not billion dollar corporations. Indeed, Democratic Socialism, when done honestly and correctly, puts the power where it belongs, in the hands of society. The wealthy and privileged few that own this country, own the majority of our politicians, and they own the huge media companies that give us our news (e.g. TV, Radio and Print). The corporate owned media, then feeds a very large and unknowing populous the very propaganda that allows these billionaires to continually get their politicians elected. Hence, they own our government. That is not Democracy. So how does Socialism equate to Democracy? Well, let’s look at some of America’s greatest Socialist Programs that are controlled, and paid for by the American working people. In most cases, these programs are the best money we as Americans have ever spent. Simply put, Democratic Socialism keeps America running. Here are some examples of Socialism in America today: United States Military, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, The Secret Service, The Police Department and Paid Fire Department. Courts, Public Defenders, Public Schools, Public Libraries and Public Parks are all Socialism. The United States Post Office is Socialism. The Department of Public Works (DPW), Garbage Collection (DPW), Sewers (DPW) and Roads and Bridges are

all Socialism. State run Jails and Prisons are Socialism. Veteran Hospitals & Healthcare (VA), The GI Bill (Higher Education for Vets) and all Elected Officials are Socialism. This is just to name a few! The Hoover Dam and the Polio Vaccine are both Socialism. Don’t forget NPR, PBS, the FBI and the CIA! Healthcare for 9/11 Rescue Workers is Socialism. Disability and Unemployment Insurance is Socialism. Public Beaches, State Parks, National Parks, and all State and National Monuments are American Socialist Programs. The Department of Energy is Socialism. United States Customs and Border Protection is Socialism, as is The Department of Justice, The Peace Corps, and The National Weather Service. So is The White House! And don’t forget, Americas greatest Socialism success story; Social Security. Do some real research and see how Social Security is really doing. Do not take the word of the news outlets that are owned by the very same people who want to get their hands on, and privatize your Social Security. Social Security’s numbers are public knowledge and they speak for themselves. So the next time one of your favorite cable news anchors tries to convince you that Socialism is bad, remember who he/she works for; the very same people who want to buy up and “privatize” the rest of Americas publicly owned, socialist programs. What’s next, privatized police? Privatized military? Mail? Not if we don’t let them! No wonder our roads are filled with potholes and our bridges are falling apart; our Unions and our Public Works programs have been undermined, weakened, and in many cases broken down

Photo: Michael Vadon via WikiMedia Commons

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) has been vocal about his democratic socialist policies during his presidential campaign.

completely. They won’t stop until they have it all, unless we as a people stop them. Right now, however, we are being given the opportunity to take our Democracy back from those who stole it from us. This is the first time this opportunity has presented itself in my lifetime, which leads me to believe we had better take advantage of it now, while it is being offered. Bernie Sanders is offering to lead us in getting this process started. Bernie Sanders knows Public Works puts the public to work. This is why he intends to

expand upon these American Democratic Socialist programs, putting America back to work. Simply put, Democratic Socialism is not what we’ve been led to believe, and without it, the America we’ve always known, will cease to exist. As for me, I’m voting for the Democratic Socialist this upcoming election. #feelthebern Editor’s note: Thomas Rich-Caverly is a senior psychology major with a minor in sociology at Kean University.


April, 2016


March Madness 2016 By Gail Fredricks The third week of March means more than just the anxious return from spring break for the students of Kean. It seems fitting for students to return to school and begin their research for which brackets they will choose for the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s 2016 March Madness, which determines the national championship of college basketball. With 64 teams in the college basketball tournament, students have many options to choose from and earn some extra cash by betting on a certain bracket and predicting which team they think will take the championship. Whether they are hardcore basketball fans, or just find joy in gambling, March Madness brings about an entertaining and possibly profitable event for students all around. Students play in pools with other students,

coworkers, and family and friends. All pools are different, with different buy-ins, and are not limited to choosing only one team. Like any bet, the more money put in, the bigger the possibility of winning. Tareq Khan, senior at Kean University, joined a pool with his co-workers which required a $25 bet to enter. A popular prediction to win the championship, he set his hopes on secondseeded Michigan State. Needless to say he was slightly disappointed when they lost to the 15seed, Middle Tennessee State. “I picked Michigan cause they’re second seed, they were most likely to get far,” Khan said. “But they lost the first game to the 15th seed which is an upset.” For some, it is more about getting involved in something they usually don’t do. Andre Fleming, another student at Kean, joined in on the action for the fun of it. “I don’t really watch college ball, but I do like to

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

March Madness captures the attention of Kean students

gamble,” said Fleming. “Like, I’ll go to the bar and watch it with my friends but I won’t go out of my way to watch a game.” So whether students have a passion for college basketball, or want the opportunity to indulge in something other than homework, March Madness can be the perfect diversion for something other than their studies.

Spring sports schedule MEN’S LACROSSE April Sat. 2 vs. SUNY Maritime College * 4:00 p.m. Wed. 6 at FDU-Florham 7:00 p.m. Sat. 9 vs. Farmingdale State College * 1:00 p.m. Wed. 13 vs. Bard College 7:00 p.m. Sat. 16 at Mt. St. Mary College (N.Y.) * 1:00 p.m. Wed. 20 vs. Montclair State University * 7:00 p.m. Sat. 23 at College of Mt. St. Vincent * 1:00 p.m. Wed. 27 at Stockton University * 7:00 p.m. Sat. 30 vs. Elizabethtown College 1:00 p.m.

Thu. 14 at New Jersey City University * 3:30 p.m. Fri. 15 vs. New Jersey City University * 3:30 p.m. Sat. 16 vs.Rutgers-Newark * 11:30 a.m. vs. Rutgers-Newark * 2:30 p.m. Thu. 21 vs. Ramapo College * 3:30 p.m. Fri. 22 at Ramapo College * 3:30 p.m. Sat. 23 at Stockton University * 11:30 a.m. at Stockton University * 2:30 p.m. Thu. 28 vs. Rowan University * 3:30 p.m. Fri. 29 at Rowan University * 3:30 p.m. Sat. 30 vs. Rutgers-Camden * 11:30 a.m. vs. Rutgers-Camden * 2:30 p.m.


May Thu. 12 vs. Farmingdale State College 7:00 p.m

April Sat. 2 at King’s College (Pa.) 1:00 p.m. Wed. 6 vs Drew University 6:00 p.m. Sat. 9 at Rutgers-Camden * 1:00 p.m. Tue. 12 vs Ramapo College * 4:00 p.m. Sat. 16 vs. Stockton University * 1:00 p.m. Wed. 20 vs Manhattanville College 4:00 p.m. Sat. 23 vs. Rowan University * 1:00 p.m. Tue. 26 at Montclair State University * 7:00 p.m. Sat. 30 at The College of New Jersey * 1:00 p.m.

BASEBALL April Sat. 2 vs.The College of New Jersey * 11:30 a.m. vs. The College of New Jersey * 2:30 p.m. Tue. 5 vs. College of Staten Island 3:30 p.m. Thu. 7 at William Paterson University * 3:30 p.m. Fri. 8 vs. William Paterson University * 3:30 p.m. Sat. 9 at Montclair State University * 11:30 a.m. at Montclair State University * 2:30 p.m.

The benefits of geocaching By Alyssa Davis Saturated earth and bare trees set the scene for an unseasonably warm, lateFebruary day. Although no scenic prizes could be expected yet, the Watchung Reservation held other gems findable only by trained eyes. A group of five set out into the woods at 11 a.m. and by sundown the quintet had recorded nine miles of hiking, burned 4,000 calories according to a fitness tracking phone application, and collected eight geocache finds. Geocaching is a world-wide, treasurehunting game that utilizes coordinates and global positioning systems to find strategically hidden items, but this game is more about the journey to the find than the find itself. With warmer temperatures and Spring blooms, now is a great time to get into geocaching. Caches can be found everywhere. Mall parking lots, hiking trails, county parks and neighborhood playgrounds. The best way to find them is by downloading Cachebot, the official geocaching app which uses blue dots to show a cache’s location. The items are usually hidden in weatherproof containers, like ammunition cans, camouflaged tupperware and sometimes even pill bottles. Contents of the containers are usually quirky things. Typical items include rubber stamps, cartoon-shaped erasers and glow sticks, but sometimes there is a coupon for lunch, or even money. Each container houses a log of geocachers past so every time it is found, the finder can record a name and the date. Once a geocacher has arrived at the coordinates, the hunt begins. Caches can be hidden in logs, caves, under rocks, hanging from trees – almost anywhere. A rewarding way to collect finds is by

incorporating physical activities, like hiking, into the treasure-hunting process. This accomplishes two things at once – fitness and fun. It is a great way to get outside and experience nature, as long as nature is preserved in the process. Amy Sprinkle, an Environmental Science professor here at Kean thinks that geocaching is a positive thing if it is done correctly. “It’s a great educational tool to get urban kids out experiencing nature,” she said. “You’re kind of forced to navigate around nature. I don’t know who places the geocaches, but if those locations you’re mapping to happen to be off a trail it could end up causing more damage than you want to for an ecosystem.” An ultimate geocache find would be to collect Forrest Fenn’s small fortune that he hid somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Fenn is a millionaire who strategically placed a treasure chest filled with gold and precious gems, and only he knows its whereabouts. He penned a poem that provides adventure-seekers with clues to the chest’s location, but it has been six years since the release of his poem and the treasure remains unfound. For more information, and the poem in full, a web search of his name will yield results. An application to place geocaches is available in the N.J. Dept. of Environmental Protection website. The literature states that geocaches can be placed in parks and public areas as long as they do not impair or cause negative impacts to the area. As of now, there are no caches placed here on campus, but it would be a great time to get the Cougar community involved. And although there is nothing on Kean soil, there are items hidden in the surrounding areas. Take a look. Follow Alyssa Davis on Twitter @ AlyssaM_Davis

SOFTBALL April Sat. 2 vs. New Jersey City University * 1:00 p.m. vs. New Jersey City University * 3:00 p.m. Sun. 3 vs. FDU-Florham 12:00 p.m. vs. FDU-Florham 2:00 p.m. Tue. 5 at Rutgers-Newark * 3:00 p.m. at Rutgers-Newark * 5:00 p.m. Thu. 7 at Lebanon Valley College 3:00 p.m. at Lebanon Valley College 5:00 p.m. Sat. 9 vs.Rutgers-Camden * 1:00 p.m. vs. Rutgers-Camden * 3:00 p.m. Tue. 12 vs. William Paterson University * 3:00 p.m. vs William Paterson University * 5:00 p.m. Sat. 16 at Rowan University * 1:00 p.m. at Rowan University * 3:00 p.m. Tue. 19 vs. Ramapo College * 3:00 p.m. vs. Ramapo College * 5:00 p.m. Sat. 23 vs. The College of New Jersey * 1:00 p.m. vs. The College of New Jersey * 3:00 p.m. Tue. 26 at Stockton University * 3:00 p.m. at Stockton University * 5:00 p.m. Sat. 30 at Montclair State University * 1:00 p.m. at Montclair State University *


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said. “I know people want to talk about it, but they don’t. So someone has to.” Fernandez started dealing with these feelings while at the Walt Disney Resort by abusing his prescribed Xanax, a medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. “This was my first time living alone, this was my first time going on a plane. So my doctor was like, ‘Oh just take this Xanax, just to help you calm down,’” he said. “But I don’t know....Most nights I couldn’t sleep, or I’d go to work and be anxious. So it would just calm me. And then I just wanted to be calm all the time, so I would just take it more and more.” However, he added, he wouldn’t take the medication while on the job since it involved heavy lifting. As a result, he’d sometimes suffer even worse panic attacks while at work, he said. Fernandez used pills to escape from his experiences at the Walt Disney Resort, but escape is what he originally went looking for when he applied to the company’s program in March last year. Eager to get out of New Jersey, he admitted to practically volunteering to be a custodian when applying, since he knew there wouldn’t be many takers for the position. “I was so tired of Kean. I was having a bad relationship with my ex-girlfriend. I was on such a bad, depressive rut and I thought I needed a change.” But as the date drew nearer for him to fly out to Florida in August, his life began to take a turn for the better, in part, because he met his new girlfriend, Patricia. (“Patricia” turns out to be the opening track of “Saint.”) Fernandez would record “Saint” upon his return, and spent two months recording and mixing the entire album using Cakewalk Sonar on his computer and a compressor microphone. Tracks like “Dogwood,” which features a lamenting string section, showcase Fernandez’s dedication to making a well-mixed and polished LP. “Saint” was recorded in his bedroom, much like the early tracks of one his musical

influences, Elliott Smith, who gained notoriety for his music when it was used in the film “Good Will Hunting” with tracks like “Miss Misery.” This is the second solo album that Fernandez has written, and it’s a departure from last year’s much louder “Sorry.” The business major-turned-musician taught himself how to play guitar with his brother at 9-years-old and played in various bands throughout high school before going solo. This album features guest vocals by Mary Demetillo and artwork by Emily Ashley. In Disney, Fernandez started working on two songs while he worked eight to 13-hour shifts almost six days a week, he said. He didn’t register for any classes, but instead took a non-credit marketing seminar. In October, he called it quits and moved back to New Jersey. He now resides in Piscataway with his girlfriend and is now enrolled in classes at Kean, he said. But stopping through the Disney College Program midway wouldn’t come without feelings of failure. “Nothing hurts more than feeling unaccomplished and unfulfilled,” he wrote when he first reached out to The Tower via email, referring to quitting the Disney program. But Fernandez should feel accomplished about a few things: he shows a dedication to his craft that most musicians don’t have at his age. He paid over $60 to his music on Spotify, and his album can be purchased on iTunes or directly on Bandcamp. Currently clean and taking a step in a positive direction, all proceeds from “Saint” will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) / Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, Fernandez said. “I don’t want money from music,” he said. “I always wanted to donate. I think it’s a good cause. I’ve always wanted to do something important, to advocate a cause.” Fernandez played at the Meatlocker in Montclair on March 18 and he’ll be performing at Espresso Joe’s in Keyport on May 14.

April, 2016



#ShaneStrong Twitter campaign inspires Kean student athletes By Angel Ospina An adult being told they have cancer is tough because they know the fight that lies ahead. A child does not know the fight, a child doesn’t understand why they feel sick, or why they must spend the upcoming months in a hospital. Cancer is a terrible disease at all ages, but it just seems unfair when a fight that brings grown men to their knees, is bestowed upon a 14-month toddler. The student athletes of Kean and the entire community has gathered behind alumnus and former member of the Kean baseball team, Mike O’Donell and his battle-tested Shane, when he was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma. Throughout the internet, the Kean community has used the hashtag #ShaneStrong relentlessly. The hashtag has taken on a meaning of fight, perseverance, but most importantly team unity. The hashtag indicating that Shane will not be facing cancer alone but instead with an entire university behind him. “The entire Kean community is just one big family,” said Frank Dente, a sophomore Pitcher for Kean’s baseball team. “That’s what we say when we break our huddles is ‘family,’ so to see a part of the family who was going through such hard times, but being able to be so strong through it was just a really great moment.” The baseball team held a welcome home rally at the game against The College at Brockport on a beautiful Sunday afternoon on February 21. Kean’s baseball team was not the only squad to

rally behind Shane. The entire Kean athletics department showed that it was behind the young inspiration by making a heart-felt video called ‘Keep Fighting Shane,’ which let the O’Donelle family know that Kean as a whole, is there for them. Shane needed that strength as he recently finished his first round of chemotherapy about a month ago, but still faces a long battle ahead and many people have decided they want to do what they can in order to help. “If Shane can wake up every day, do his treatments and fight, then why can’t we play as hard as we can for something that we take for granted,” said Kean baseball’s senior catcher James Lyczkowski. Kean’s teams have taken that inspiration and translated it to their performances on the field. Programs are captioning their signature wins with a dedication to Shane by using the hashtag after a team win. Some student-athletes are even wearing Shane on their wrist as, the university is selling “ShaneStrong” bracelets. All proceeds from the bracelets are going to the O’Donelle family. The students have rallied around the toddler by purchasing bracelets and wearing them while they take the field. “It inspired us because seeing such a young kid fight cancer the way he is, is remarkable” said Scotty Royster from Kean’s Men Lacrosse Team. “His problem has shown us that any of our problems are minor compared to him, if a little kid can get through cancer, us as a team can get through anything.”

Photo: Kean Baseball

Baseball team celebrates win over spring break using #ShaneStrong

The family has set up a GoFundMe account called BabyShanesBattle, which has raised over $90,000 in a little more than a month. Shane’s fight is far from over but the attention #ShaneStrong has gotten over the past month has shown that Shane isn’t fighting this alone.

An inside look at men’s lacrosse with Ed Adams By Chiemela Igbokwe His name as been all over the Kean University Athletics website, as he is also heavily involved within the Kean community. Senior Face-off man Ed Adams has had nothing less than a stellar season for the Men’s Lacrosse team this year, and his continued play at a high level will be a staple pivotal if Kean plans to go all the way. The previous season the Cougars went 9-8, very subpar by their standards as they have had 10 plus win season under head coach Shelly Sheiner dating back to 2006. In an interview Adams was asked what the kind of things the team did in the offseason to help prepare for this year, and a better record? “I think that one of the major factors was our team matured,” said Adams. “Last year we had three seniors and it was hard for them to lead by example with just such a short amount of guys, this year we have sixteen guys, and everyone understands that this is it, and when you have such a large number who are giving it everything they have, it’s easy for other people to follow, on and off the field, especially if you make up a quarter of the team.” “I think because we have a large senior class, it’s the largest senior class I’ve had in my 13 years as head coach” Shenier added. “ I think a lot of it had to do with the offseason preparation as far as the seniors being motivated, not just the captains but the whole group with getting in the weight room, taking workouts a little bit more seriously, playing more in the summer, to help build cohesiveness and get game ready for the season.” Adams, a senior has most definitely contributed and done his part by leading by example as he was honored and awarded with the Skyline Conference player of the opening week for the 2016 season. “Honestly I didn’t expect it to happen to be honest, I’ve never known as face-off guy to get that award, so that was nice to get recognized, but it just showed me that all the hard work you put in to anything, with me that’s school, relationships with my family, lacrosse, etc, and it all kind of just helps me recognize that when you work hard in life, no matter what it is, the outcome is going to be recognition, success, and that just made me drive to keep working hard and be better” said Adams. The Skyline Conference, home to the Cougars, consists of sixteen teams, and being a face-off man and having being honored where there are players who put up multiple goals as well as goalies making multiple stops truly shows how hard Adams has worked since arriving here as a freshman. This year the Cougars took a trip to Texas where they would play three games in a short amount of time. The Cougars participated in an overtime game, beating Misericordia University 11-10, as well as a double overtime game where they fell to Southwestern University 10-9. Adams was asked what the overall “SpringBreak Trip” was like, lacrosse wise as well as team bonding wise. “It was definitely a struggle out there”, said Adams. “like half our team got sick, I was one of them, I caught the flu, so in the aspect of playing games we really had to grind it out, and

it really challenged our team mentally to be able to compete at a high level and not go 0-3.” The Cougars beat Trine University 22-3, as well as Misericordia University 11-10 in overtime, however fell to Southwestern University 10-9 in double OT. “As for the experience off the field it was amazing, I love Texas” Adams exclaimed. “Half of the guys are probably going to move down there, you know our coach always does a great job of finding the best places to eat, and making sure we have great team bonding activities, so it was a nice experience.” This year the team welcomed fifteen new freshmen, and Ed was asked what and who amongst the freshmen has surprised you the most. “One freshman in particular Joe Norton, in the fall I knew he had talent and he was going to be a good kid,” Adams stated. “but what I really liked is in Fall Ball, I think he struggled a little bit athletically, but in the winter I think he worked really hard on his body, in terms of getting stronger, getting faster, and now he’s stepping on the field, he’s a starter, and he’s putting up points for us.” Shenier also attributed Norton’s physicality as a reason to why he was able to earn the starting spot amongst the first line midfielders. “He doesn’t project as a freshman, he’s about 6’3, 225 lbs., so because of his size he was a little bit more college ready than the other freshmen. He comes from a good lacrosse family, he’s got a pretty good lacrosse IQ, so I think inserting him in the first-midfield line with two seniors (Eric Talbot, Anthony Perotta) I think it’s helped his transition to the college game, and he’s been scoring some big goals for us.” Adams later made it known that he really likes this freshmen class, that they are talented, are hard workers, push the upperclassmen to be better in practice as well as games, and also want to win as bad as they do. When asked the question How far do you see your team going come playoff time, Coach Shenier stated that “We’re going to go as far as our senior class.” “I think because of the size of our senior group, guys that are 60 minute, 6 minute, as well as role players, I think that if they start to come together as one whole group, and bring the rest of the team with them I think we can get back to the Conference Championship Game.” Even though the season has just recently gotten underway it doesn’t mean Seniors like Ed Adams aren’t thinking about how they’ll be going out come playoff time as well as when it’s all said and done. “Championship,” Adams said surely, “and I don’t think it stops there, for me I don’t care who we play, we win a

Championship and we go to NCAA’s I want to win the whole thing, that’s my goal.” The Kean University Men’s Lacrosse with good feelings about this season hope to get to the Skyline Tournament with goals of bringing

it home for the first time since 2008 as well as advancing in the NCAA Tournament. “If the task is in front of you, you’ve got to make it a goal, you’ve got to try and strive, you’ve got to go and take that opportunity” said Adams.

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The Tower April 2016  
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