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Kean expels hoverboards By Rose Marie Kitchen A new way of getting from point A to point B has officially become extinct for all students on Kean University’s campuses. All faculty, staff and students were notified by email, at the conclusion of winter break, on Jan. 14, that due to fire safety concerns all hoverboards are prohibited on campus. Any hoverboard brought onto campus will be confiscated and returned to the owner at the end of the semester. The boards are described as a two-wheeled, self-balancing electric scooter. The board is controlled completely based off where the body weight is positioned while standing on the board. A person can travel up 10 miles per charge. The max speed of the board ranges from 6.2 to 9.2 mph. There are different styles, features and colors of every board. During any given moment the boards could easily be spotted on campus. Some were even spotted being rode on in buildings. Hoverboards have become increasingly popular with adolescents but the uprising safety concern has caused a ban at over 20 N.J. colleges and universities, including Kean University. The ban was set in place beyond the risk of falls and collisions but more so because of the fire safety concern. Hoverboards were the cause of several documented house fires in N.J. “The hoverboards are definitely a fire hazard, there is some kind of defect in some of them and they can catch fire at any time whether they are being operated or are sitting on charge,” said Len Dolan, Managing Fire Safety Director at Kean University. “There [have been] multiple documented instances of these things [hoverboards] catching fire and they were clearly a safety hazard if we had those on campus.” Upon hearing about the safety concerns regarding hoverboards, Dolan explained that he immediately conducted research in regards to the fire safety concern. He then recommended the concern

Kayla-Simone McKelvey, a Kean graduate, speaks at a protest in March 2015.

By Rebecca Panico

Photo: Rose Marie Kitchen

William Asante riding his ‘hoverboard’ down Cougar Walk last semester.

“The hoverboards are definitely a fire hazard, there is some kind of defect in some of them and they can catch fire at any time whether they are being operated or are sitting on charge.” to his supervisor, who is head of the public safety. In a mutual agreement, the ban was then officially put into effect before the start of the spring semester. “I hate the idea, yet I understand

Photo: Rebecca Panico

‘Hoverboards’ were on sale at a kiosk in Jersey Gardens mall. The kiosk closed by the end of January.

it,” said William Asante, sophomore accounting major at Kean University and a proud hoverboard owner. Dolan has confirmed that the hoverboard ban has in fact been

Maintenance workers’ free tuition perk scrubbed With the stroke of a pen nearly a year ago, 54 maintenance workers’ positions were outsourced to a private firm. And, for those rehired by that firm, not only came the loss of income, but also the loss of a time-honored benefit for full-time employees in academia across the country – free tuition. But not all full-time employees need apply—subcontracted employees, like the maintenance staff now working for GCA Services, have lost the perk. “My son was never eligible for it because I didn’t work for Kean. I worked here, but as an outside contractor,” said Bernice, a custodian who works at the Upperclassman Residence Hall and has been with GCA for the past six

Graduate accused of Twitter threats pleads not guilty

Photo: Rebecca Panico

continued on page 5

By Yuri Smishkewych

Black History Events Page 10

Valentine’s Word Search Page 7

Consultant Hired Page 3

FEB | 2016


years, “so we didn’t get those benefits anyway.” The benefit—often called “tuition remission” by many schools—is a wellknown perquisite that either waives, or deducts, the tuition costs of full-time employees and their dependents, who are enrolled in a degree program at the college or university where they work. According to the Employee Handbook here at Kean, there are two programs available to fulltime employees depending on their classification: the “Tuition Waiver Program” and the “Tuition Reimbursement Program.” Where in the latter, “reimbursement [is given] for courses taken at another accredited institution of higher education.” Among the benefits outlined in GCA Services’ Employee Handbook there is

Illustration by Y. Smishkewych

no mention of a tuition reimbursement program. Tuition benefits face scrutiny by some, and praise by others. In a U.S. News & World Report article on tuition benefits, the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), indicates that of the 340 universities— continued on page 5

A black Kean graduate charged with making death threats against black students on Twitter in November pleaded not guilty and is now seeking entry into a probation program, her lawyer said. Kayla-Simone McKelvey was charged with a third degree count of making a false public alarm after allegedly making Twitter threats against Kean students, and then returning to spread the word about it at a rally meant to raise awareness about racial issues. At a hearing on Jan. 28, McKelvey applied for the PreTrial Intervention (PTI) Program, which could result in an expunged record. McKelvey pleaded not guilty at her first hearing on Dec. 14, said her lawyer Thomas Ashley. McKelvey declined to comment on Dec. 22 in an email to The Tower, simply stating, “No thank you.” “She’s trying to go on with her life,” Ashley, who has also represented clients such as former Newark Mayor Sharpe James, said earlier this month. “She’s doing what young people do: She’s looking for a job...and now she’s just trying to go on with her life and obtain employment.” “She’s, of course, very apologetic about what happened,” he added. The PTI program is generally applied to first-time offenders, according to the New Jersey Courts’ website. PTI functions on a rehabilitative model, which recognizes that social, cultural, and economic conditions often result in a defendant’s decision to commit crime. Applying for PTI is “no acknowledgement of guilt or criminal activity,” her lawyer said in a phone interview. “You do not have to plead guilty to get PTI,” explained Sandra Thaler-Gerber, Union County Superior Court’s press liaison. “It is not a required condition to get into PTI. However, sometimes the prosecutor can make it a condition.” Mark Spivey, a spokesperson for the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, stated that McKelvey’s plea remains unchanged, and that “her application for PTI will be ruled by the supervisor of the PTI program.” Kean students weighed in on her charges and subsequent plea, like 19-year-old Onel Martinez, a freshman business major. “She could say whatever she likes,” said Martinez. “But if she acted on it, that’s a different story.” Martinez stated that he attended class the next day even after hearing about the threats -- which claimed that a bomb was on campus and threatened to shoot black students -- because of the increased police activity on campus. “If there was police around the campus why should I be afraid? “ Martinez said. “Since, first of all, this attack wasn’t made towards me, and second of all, if I were to succumb to terrorism… then that is actually what they want.” A second student, Joe Tredici, said he came to class because his parents “would’ve yelled at me,” yet he felt differently about McKelvey’s plea and charges. “I think pleading not guilty is kind of stupid for her,” said Tredici, a 19-year-old freshman sociology student. “She did it, everyone knows she did it, and it would be better to just confess to it.” “I think she should’ve been charged with terrorism,” he added, “because it instilled terror into students and faculty at Kean. And I mean, some classes were cancelled... and some people didn’t feel safe enough coming to class on campus.” The spokesperson for the Union County Prosecutor’s office said it does not comment on charges when asked why McKelvey wasn’t charged with making terroristic threats. McKelvey’s next court appearance is March 2 in Union County Superior Court.


February, 2016

Black History Month panel discusses culture By Celeste Simmons Pan-African Student Union kicked off its Black History Month celebration with a panel discussion called Labels on Feb. 2. The conversation explained how different cultural groups are labeled, and concluded that one’s cultural history is the reason why he or she acts and thinks the way he or she does. Held in the Miron Student Center, the panel consisted of Dr. James Conyers, director of Africana Studies minor, Dr. Dennis Klein, director of the Jewish Studies minor, Dr. Xurong Kong, director of the Asian Studies minor, and Dr. Suzanne Bousquet, Dean of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences. “We invited the minors to talk to us about becoming a minor and what it means to study the history of these minors,” said Krystal Noyan, president of Pan-African Student Union. The panelists began the discussion with an introduction to their programs and immediately after, Klein raised a question that asked how people in dominant cultures relate to people from minority cultures around them. “That relationship hasn’t been clear, it’s

been complicated. One advantage of all of our programs is that we, in our own ways, being to interrogate those relationships,” said Klein. “Through these minors, you can begin to find out the origin of these problems.” Soon the discussion escalated into thought-provoking questions. Students in the audience spoke vehemently, and some of them were not even Kean students. Crystal David, a recent graduate from Seton Hall University, said the conversations surrounding Africana Studies is important. “Africana studies is very broad because there are Africans in every part of the world” Said David. “And for me knowing that, I love being black so why not learn the history behind it and find out how I got to where I am.” Dr. Conyers said that Africana Studies helps individuals understand society’s current political and racial climate. Over the past year, people across the United States have rallied together to protest against racial inequality. An online movement that uses hashtags such as #naturalhairisdope and #myblackisbeautiful has been formed to promote self-love within the black community.

Photo: Celeste Simmons

Speakers at the Labels panel pose for a picture.

“Most African people in and out of the continent do not have a historical memory of who they are and do not have any African language,” said Conyers. “It is essential for us to have an understanding of our history.” Conyers raised concern about how some people perceive Africa and urged individuals to have a deeper understanding of their culture. “In most people’s minds in the

subconscious, even to this very day, Africa is a place of jungles, cannibals, savages, and nothing civilized, no core civilizations,” said Conyers “Egypt is not the only great African river civilization and much of African history is still to be written.” Conyers warned that if individuals do not have a true understanding of your background and people, then they will not be able to make sense of who they are today.

Vertical Urban Factory exhibit comes to Kean By Gail Fredericks Rural China is surging toward an urban lifestyle, and the exhibition that showcases the movement, The Vertical Urban Factory, is now opened in Kean University’s Michael Graves School of Architecture. This traveling exhibition that has been shown in New York, Detroit, London and Laussanne is expected to run from late January through the end of March. The exhibition focuses on how China and all of East Asia is changing, and changing fast. A whole new way of living is emerging, going from rural, agricultural lifestyles to those of urban factories. The way people have been living in China has changed completely, and the exhibition documents a substantial period of change in East Asia in terms of how people live. “Think of it this way,” said David Mohney, Dean of Michael Graves School of Architecture. “In the last 10 years, the number of people who have moved from living in little villages in the countryside working for a few dollars a day, to an urban factory where they are making more money, is equal to the whole population of

America.” The architectural design and cities these factories are built in are essentially designed to make the lives of people in East Asia better. The architectural and engineering advancements today is what can create these complexes which make it essential and convenient to live in. For example, as one of the displays shows, many South Korean companies established factories in the Kaesong Industrial Complex, not far from the Demilitarized Zones, where they could take advantage of cheaper labor and compete with China. This resulted in over 100 factories employing over 50,000 workers, an increase in wages, and companies such as Hyundai adding amenities such as arts centers for the community. Kean University already has a campus in China, Wenzhou-Kean, which is designed to prepare students for the globalized economy and culture of the 21st century. It is only fitting to display an exhibit portraying one of the fastest transformations of living that has already begun creating more resources and opportunities.

Photo: Gail Fredericks

Informational display shown to be the first thing seen when entering exhibit.

“The way people have been living there has changed completely, and the exhibition documents a substantial period of change in East Asia in terms of how people live.”

By Chiemela Igbokwe 12/1/15

Police Blotter

Kean University Department of Public Safety police blotter

Assault: Campus Police reported that an unnamed actor blocked a doorway at Wilkins Theatre and physically assaulted a victim. The incident occurred at approximately 10 p.m. 12/2/15

Theft: Police reported that an unknown actor took a laptop and a bag containing a Verizon tablet and headphones from the victim’s vehicle at the East Campus Lot. 12/5/15 Arrests: The first issue was that police arrested a 21-year-old Bloomfield man at Downs Hall for resisting arrest. *** A 20-year-old Bloomfield man was arrested for defiant trespassing here at Kean University at or around midnight. Later in the morning at around 10:19 a.m., a 20-year-old West Orange woman was arrested at Rogers Hall for aggravated assault. Four Jersey City men ages 18-26 were arrested at Harwood Arena at 10:40 p.m. for disorderly conduct. 12/7/15

Vehicle Theft: Police reported that a construction pick-up truck, whose contents included two demolition saws, a generator, water pumps, masonry tools, and iPhone among other things, was stolen from the Vaughn Eames parking lot. The vehicle was reported stolen to the police at approximately 2:30 p.m. 1/7/16

Harassment: According to campus police, a victim reported receiving several harassing phone calls and social media messages from January 7th to January 24th. 1/29/16 Vaughn Eames Lot: Two vehicles were reported to have been deliberately scratched as well as receiving damage to their side-view mirrors.

Theft by the Numbers: In the span of two months, there were 19 total incidents of theft on campus. The thefts ranged from laptops, wallets, IDs, cell phones, keys, headphones, books, tablet computers and bags. ***

Theft by the Numbers:

In the span of two months there were 36 total incidents of theft on campus. These thefts ranged from a stolen car to cell phones and, in one case, hand sanitizer from the UC Hall lobby. The most commonly stolen items were laptops. A total of eight separate incidents of one or more stolen laptops were reported to police in this time period.

February, 2016


Kean announces consultant to review employment practices after MLK Day protest By Rebecca Panico Kean University announced Jan. 22 that an independent consultant has been chosen to evaluate Kean’s employment practices after protesters raised concerns about discrimination at the university during two recent rallies. “Rev. Michael Blackwell, a seasoned professional in compliance reviews, has been engaged by the Board Governance Committee as an independent consultant to review and evaluate data related to University employment practices, trends and affirmative action procedures,” the university said in a statement. Last December, a coalition of ministers and Kean’s full-time faculty union protested with the NAACP and state Sen. Ron Rice (D) to call for the university president’s resignation. They also demanded an audit of Kean which would investigate how money is spent on students and its employment practices. But, the protesters emphasized, they wanted the audit to be led independently by the legislature. December’s rally in front of the campus came after a black Kean graduate was charged in connection with making threats against students on Twitter in November.


The latest protest came on Jan. 18 in front of state Sen. Raymond Lesniak’s (D-Union) office, and was led by Rev. Ronald Slaughter of the Saint James AME Church in Newark, who has been leading the coalition of black ministers. Over 50 protesters -- consisting of members from Rev. Slaughter’s church, the Kean Federation of Teachers (Kean’s full-time faculty union) and the People’s Organization for Progress -- questioned the relationship between the senator and Kean and denounced his support for university President Dr. Dawood Farahi. Days before the first protest in December, Lesniak and a delegation of other Union County legislators penned a letter supporting the university president. “When he [Lesniak] wrote the letter supporting the president, he made it clear that it’s the politicians and not the educators that run the university,” KFT President Dr. James Castiglione told The Tower at the protest on Jan. 18. “And that’s why the university is not being run in the best interest of the students.” Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Rev. Slaughter compared Lesniak to former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, an outspoken segregationist in the 1960s and 1970s. “And we are saying to this senator who is acting like Governor Wallace of Alabama that it’s time out for your power and influence at Kean University,” said Rev. Slaughter in front of the senator’s office at 985 Stuyvesant Ave. “No other state senator is more involved in a state funded institution than State Senator Raymond Lesniak.” In a phone interview on Jan. 19, Lesniak downplayed those allegations, and pointed out that he was recently awarded a lifetime achievement award from United Youth of New Jersey for his work in promoting samesex marriage, his focus on environmental issues and repealing the death penalty. “I’m going to take a lesson from Martin Luther King, and not return hate with hate and just say that the day before I received a Keeping the Dream Alive award from United [Youth of New Jersey],” Lesniak said. Lesniak, who was reportedly present at a November meeting in Trenton with Farahi and Rev. Slaughter to discuss the coalition’s concerns, confirmed that an internal probe would take place. “The Kean University Board of Trustees, under the operations of [Governance Committee Chair] Linda Lewis, has hired an independent evaluator to work with them and review all the charges that have been made,” Lesniak said.


In an email, the coalition compiled a list of what they said were 11 of Lesniak’s politically influenced hires at Kean, including Kean Board of Trustees Secretary Audrey Kelly, the ex-wife of Lesniak’s nephew, and Margaret Devaney, Lesniak’s sister who they say was hired as a professional services specialist for the Computer Services Department in 2001. “My sister died! My sister died!” Lesniak exclaimed during a phone interview when asked about his sister, adding that Kean’s full time faculty union president, Castiglione, constantly accused her of having a “no-show

job” in the last years of her life. “There’s a special place in hell for Castiglione. He tormented her when she was dying,” he said, later adding that, “he [Castiglione] should be the one that should be resigning.” Castiglione said he did not compile the list that the coalition sent to reporters, but that the names on the list have been “circulating around for a long time.” “Senator Lesniak’s false accusations and personal attacks are an attempt to deflect scrutiny from and avoid accountability for Kean University’s mismanagement under the Farahi administration,” Castiglione said in a statement. Rev. Slaughter called Lesniak’s comments about Castiglione “reprehensible” when responding to a leaked email from the senator that was sent to lawmakers including Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Ron Rice, Mila Jasey, and Sandra Cunningham. Lesniak’s email mirrored his comments to The Tower. “What is more hateful than condemning someone to hell like Sen. Lesniak did in an email… to colleagues concerning Dr. Castiglione?” Rev. Slaughter said in an emailed statement. “Dr. Castiglione is not the problem at Kean University. Sen. Lesniak is the problem. His tokens of love to the black community are not enough when he has stood by and allowed this problem to fester at Kean for as long as he has.” Meanwhile, the university continued to denounce Rev. Slaughter and his allegations of nepotism at Kean. “As we have said before, Rev. Slaughter and his group are misinformed and misguided,” the university said in a statement.

Above: Protestors held signs in front of Sen. Raymond Lesniak’s office during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day protest. Below: Rev. Ronald Slaughter, center, stands with speakers from the People’s Organization for Progress, left, and the NAACP, right, at a protest on Dec. 11, 2015 at Kean.

Photos: Rebecca Panico

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared on on Jan. 23. It has been edited to reflect appropriate dates.

Meet Kean’s new employment review consultant, Rev. Michael Blackwell By Rebecca Panico Rev. Michael Blackwell, Kean University’s new employment review consultant who was hired after groups alleged institutional racism on campus, just wants the university “to move forward.” “I’m not trying to make noise, and I’m not asking for anyone to resign. I’m asking for Kean [University] to move forward,” Rev. Blackwell said in a phone interview on Jan. 28. The university announced Jan. 22 that Rev. Blackwell was chosen by the Board Governance Committee as an “an independent consultant to review and evaluate data related to University employment practices, trends and affirmative action procedures.” The announcement came days after protesters, led by Rev. Ronald Slaughter of the Saint James AME Church in Newark, protested in front of state Sen. Raymond Lesniak’s (D-Union) office to denounce the senator’s support for the university president, who they want to resign. Rev. Slaughter, a coalition of black ministers, Kean’s full-time faculty union and others alleged that there’s “structural racism” on campus following Twitter threats made against black students. A Kean graduate was later charged in connection with the threats in an alleged hoax. They say that Kean’s large minority student population is underserved when compared to nearby universities, pointing to a decline in full-time professors and potential cuts to student services while tuition and fees have recently increased. For Rev. Blackwell, this is just another assignment in a career spanning over a decade in marketing and managing consulting jobs, according to his resume which he confirmed was his. “I’m going to be seeking truth and I’m unbiased,” he said, later adding that the coalition has accused people at Kean of things that he doesn’t “think they’re guilty of.” According to his online resume, he currently serves as president and general manager of Select Marketing Inc., which has worked with the Port Authority, NJ Transit, the City of Newark and the Essex County Improvement Authority. He’s also done public relations and promotional work, according to his profile, and is also an Army veteran. He’s also earned several degrees, including a bachelors in theology/religious studies from Almeda University, his online resume read. Rev. Blackwell said he was ordained by the North Jersey Missionary Baptist Association which is part of

Photo: Rev. Ronald Slaughter

Rev. Michael Blackwell was hired by Kean to review Kean’s employment practices and affirmative action procedures.

the National Baptist Convention, and later became the founder and pastor of Agents of Change. He declined to say where Agents of Change was located. He stopped preaching around 2004, but continues to visit nursing homes and prisons, he said. The consultant said he has reviewed institutional research numbers online at Kean and other colleges. He’s also “sat in” on some classes at Kean and talked to some minority students, he said. “I have to tell you honestly, I haven’t found one student….since I’ve been here…I haven’t found anyone that has these sentiments of these protesters,” he said. Rev. Blackwell, 59, described himself as a Civil Rights activist who “lived through that era,” and he said that Rev. Slaughter should be focused on issues in Essex County, where his church is located. In emails sent to The Tower since Kean’s announcement, Rev. Slaughter has been very outspoken about Rev. Blackwell, emphasizing that he and others behind him wanted an auditor to be independently assigned by state lawmakers. He’s accused Rev. Blackwell of being “more than likely hand picked” by Sen. Lesniak. “At the end of the day I bet he has a close relationship with Lesniak or one of his elected associates,” Rev. Slaughter wrote in an email. “This is an insult to the coalition and integrity of the University. Lesniak and Kean thinks picking a person with a Rev. Title (sic) will even this out. It will NOT. No one in the coalition knows Rev. Blackwell.” “No, I’ve never heard of ‘Agents of Change,’” he added in a later, separate email. Meanwhile, Rev. Blackwell stated that his pastoral continued on page 5


February, 2016

Kean alumnus donates $250K to ‘underwrite’ $219K conference table By Rebecca Panico About a year after news of Kean University’s $219,024 conference table went viral, the apparatus has generated over $22,000 for the school through rentals, the university said in a statement. Now, retired finance executive and 1970 Kean alumnus William Loehning has donated $250,000 to “underwrite” the conference table. The Green Lane Building’s sixth-floor conference center will be named in his honor, the release noted. “President [Dawood] Farahi envisioned a unique space that is truly world class in terms of function, style and technology,” Loehning said in a statement. “I hope my gift and the spectacular conference center itself attract more philanthropic investments in the University.” Loehning, a retired vice president of Fidelity Investments, was awarded an honorary doctorate degree during Kean’s May 2015 graduation ceremony. He’s a member of the Kean Foundation’s Board of Directors and received Kean’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011 and the William Livingston Award for Excellence in Business and Philanthropy at Kean’s 17th annual gala in 2014. The table has been used for various public events since 2014, including a round table discussion about New Jersey’s heroin epidemic, which invited several county prosecutors. It was also used by the mayors of Elizabeth and St. Helier to discuss trade options. Last year, some students and former Assemblyman Joseph Cryan denounced the purchase, which circumvented a public bidding process that is usually needed for

Photo: Kean University

The $219,024 conference table is located on the sixth f loor of the Green Lane Building.

purchases over $32,100. “A fancy conference table should never be a higher priority for a university than educating students, but priorities are out-ofwhack here,” Cryan said in a statement last year. “I have asked the attorney general to review the bid process waivers used by Kean University.” The State Comptroller’s Office launched an investigation into the spending of the table with an expected release date of early next year, according to The Record. Students were split, albeit vocal, about the

purchase last December. Kelly Tomas, a Kean finance student, created an online petition which denounced the table and called for Farahi’s termination. To date, over 900 people have signed. Kean’s elected student-body representatives, Student Organization, sent out a blast email calling the “uproar” about the purchase “not true,” and emphasized that the cost was not just for the table, but for the technology in the conference center too. The conference center is able to contact

people at up to 25 locations around the world, and has a separate room that can connect to the action around the table with audio and video. The table also has the ability to slowly spin to send items to people sitting around its 22-foot diameter. The conference center was set to be dedicated to Loehning’s name at a ceremony this semester, the university said in a statement. Editor’s note: This story originally appeared on on Dec. 31, 2015. It has been edited to reflect appropriate dates.

Chill, relax, explore: Take a gap year

By Kelly Barata Taking a gap year -- a choice some students take before starting college – is now touted as an opportunity after college graduation or even after a few years in a career. This was the case for Jason Vitug, the present day CEO and Founder of Phroogal. In June 2011, after three years as a successful executive, Vitug resigned from his position to take a gap year and embark on a journey through 20 countries. “I had two cars, a bike, a closet filled with clothes with tags still on them, a closet stuffed with unopened boxes of gadgets, an empty fridge signifying a reliance to dining out and vacations just to do exactly what I did at home in a different location,” Vitug said. “I reached what my doctor said was stress but society promoted as success.” He sold and donated everything he owned before leaving on his epic trip. Vitug, now 36 years old, grew up in a middle class family in Elizabeth, attended public schools and then enrolled at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. “I did not grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth,” he said. “My parents made enough to disqualify me for financial aid but didn’t have enough to send me to school.” He managed to put himself through college by working more than 60 hours a week. “We grow up in a society and culture that states there is a known path to success,” he

said. The middle class mentality was that everyone must follow a certain path to achieve happiness, he said. People need to graduate high school, go straight to college and then land a good job before buying a home and raising a family. “That’s the period in your life when you’re supposed to start doing the things you wanted to do, like travel and explore,” said Vitug. An independent study conducted by Karl Haigler and Rae Nelson shows that a gap year helped recent high school graduates gain a better sense of who they are as a person and what they find to be important. Haigler and Nelson said it provided people with additional skills and knowledge that would contribute to their future endeavors. These statistics still apply to individuals, like Vitug, who have taken their gap years a later time. In an article written online for U.S. News by Rebecca Kern, the definition of the term gap year is discussed. A gap year can be taken at any age, but we hear of the typical one that happens between high school and college, said Holly Bull, President of Center for Interim Programs. Vitug believes that even though these individuals take time off, they are still learning valuable lessons and skills, like self-sufficiency, cultural experience, communication and priorities. Angela Oviedo is a student at Kean

Photo: Yuri Smishkewych

Would you fancy travelling to Madrid, Spain during a gap year? Hm?

University in Union, New Jersey. Her hometown is Elizabeth, just like Vitug. She took the same path as he did. After graduating high school, she went straight to college. Though she is in her final year of college and lining up potential job opportunities, Oviedo is weighing all of her options. “I think a gap year is necessary,” she said. “It’s good to take time and explore all of your options. You should be learning more about your field and yourself so that time isn’t wasted.” The openness to the idea of Gap Years among people in Elizabeth, New Jersey is growing. After the 12-month journey through South America, Europe and Southeast Asia, Jason

Kean website back online after repeated hacks By Rebecca Panico Kean’s website became operational once again on Dec. 23, 2015 after it had been breached several times starting Dec. 19 by a hacker, the university announced in an email blast. “None of Kean’s mission-critical operations such as financial and recordmanagement systems, KeanWise or the University’s e-mail system were impacted,” the university said in an email blast on Dec. 20. To ensure that remains secure, the Office of Computer and Information Services (OCIS) at Kean will make changes to the login for administrative access, the university said in a statement. As a precaution, the most recent files from the

website were checked for malicious code. In a statement, the university claimed that its website, which is hosted by an external company known as Rackspace, had been hacked three times by a group operating out of Algeria, a country on the continent of Africa. One of the hacked messages, which has been edited to remove profanities, read: “Do You Feel Safe ? Hacked by Red hell sofyan 2 nd time in 24 H F— Usa f— Israel f— France free Syria Free Palestine”. The university called the message “despicable” and disabled the website once it learned of the breach, though KeanWise, Blackboard and Kean email remained unaffected and operational. Kean University police were working closely with the Department of Homeland

Security and the New Jersey State Police to address the situation, the university said in a statement. A Twitter account, @hell_sofyan, posted articles relating to the Kean hack, and on Dec. 15 posted links to additional websites that had been infiltrated. The hacked websites posted on the Twitter account displayed messages that claimed to be Red Hell Sofyan. The latest post on the Twitter account was made on Dec. 21, 2015. Editor’s note: This story originally appeared on on Dec. 26, 2015. It has been edited to reflect appropriate dates. Kean’s website donned this message when it was hacked in late December last year.

Vitug found the happiness and meaning he needed to achieve his dream lifestyle. “Many never take the leap, but a hiring manager will highly consider you employable if the vacation was more purposeful and intentional,” said Vitug in agreement to Oviedo’s statement. As the CEO and Founder to a financial awareness company, Vitug is able to live his dream lifestyle of traveling and spreading financial awareness. “If you can’t distinguish between wants and needs, you end up being unable to afford your dream lifestyle.” Kelly Barata is a senior majoring in English/ Writing option.

February, 2016

Group projects:

Two Years to

A college student’s nightmare? By Lisa Pinto Kean University students seem to generally dread group projects and prefer individual work, but most professors at Kean use group projects at least some of the time, according to an informal survey of professors and students. Fifty students and 16 professors were surveyed about group project work last semester. One benefit they agreed on is that group projects have the ability to provide new ideas from others whom have a different thought process. Students surveyed have worked in numerous group projects at Kean and the majority specified that they would rather not work in a group. Only a few said that group projects are “not terrible” if you get to choose your own group. Projects are developed to encourage students’ understanding of course materials, as well as utilize skills that are being taught in class, according to professors. When multiple individuals are assigned to the same task it becomes a group project, which then creates a different learning experience, requiring students to channel and use interpersonal and communication skills, professors said. “I have been in a lot of group projects within my last 3 years at Kean Kean University junior, Kathleen Vasquez stated. “I was never a big fan of relying on others to get tasks done in my personal life, so what makes it different in my education? To be honest, I feel that group projects have made me trust people even less than before.” Students are also concerned with the inability to accommodate all group members to meet up at the same place and time, forcing them to rely heavily on technology. Furthermore, each individual has a different work ethic and ideology of what is acceptable and what is not. Professors interviewed said they were currently using group projects in at least half of the classes they

teach. This includes multiple fields of study, including both on and off campus courses. “I tend to use group projects especially in online classes,” said Dr. Abigail Perkiss, a History professor. “The reasoning is to get students talking with each other, to build a sense of class cohesion, and to help students develop the skills of collaborative project development that many of them will need once they graduate,” Many professors wanted to make it known that collaboration is key in everyday life. With that in mind, some professors weight group projects much heavier than others. The grading scale ranged from a minimal 5 percent to a maximum of 30 percent of a student’s final grade. As for grading, some professors felt that all individuals should be graded on their work, but gain the experience and knowledge of working with others. Others believed that it was appropriate to give all individuals the same grade regardless of how much or how little they did. Those professors firmly believe that it is a life lesson that must be experienced prior to entering any workforce. Professors also busted the student belief that professors use group projects as an easy way out of grading papers. All of the professors surveyed said that group projects are not easier to grade. Lisa Pinto is a senior majoring in Marketing with minors in Management and Communication.


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“I was never a big fan of relying on others to get tasks done in my personal life, so what makes it different in my education?”

Scholarships Available The Kean Federation of Teachers is offering scholarships to full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students next semester. The awards range in size from $750-$1,200. Application deadline is Feb. 18 at 5 p.m. For more information, go to

Hover Boards


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successful on campus thus far and, at this point, there have not been any reports of hoverboards on campus. The ban was put into effect with the safety of the Kean community in mind. Since the Seton Hall fire in the year 2000—which affected 600 freshman residents—colleges and universities are well aware of the dangers that a fire entails. Kean University has an active and updated emergency action plan, including building drills that run throughout the semester for the entire campus. For more information on fire safety you can visit: http://www. Detailed evacuation map and emergency action plans can also be found on this site.

Maintenance Workers

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public and private—surveyed nationwide, 98 percent offer tuition benefits for full-time employees. “But as schools struggle with tighter budgets,” Menachem Wecker states in the report, “it might be tuition benefits hunting season.” The issue seems to draw a line in the sands of fiscal ideology: Some, like editor at large Jeffery Selingo at the Chronicle of Higher Education, are calling for an end to the perk. “The history of the tuition benefit harks back to a time when colleges needed to offer such perks to attract candidates to lowly paid campus jobs,” says Selingo. “But the academic job market today is flooded with too many applicants for too few jobs.” And, inversely, as Matt Reid of Inside Higher Education explains, “a national market with scarce opportunities for entry—and even scarcer opportunities for advancement within the role once you’re in—wreaks havoc on family life. Tuition remission for dependents may be a bit of a holdover from an earlier time...but it’s a welcome holdover.” Chiemela Igbokwe contributed to this story.

• Evening classes • Connection to top CPA firms • One-on-one career counseling Contact Dr. David Mest at (973) 275-2961 or email


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title should not affect his work at Kean. “…[K]ean University hires my Professional (sic) expertise not My Pastoral conviction (sic),” Rev. Blackwell said in a text message on Feb. 8. “Bottom line is my Ordination (sic) and right to the Reverend title is credible.” Rev. Blackwell also addressed the concerns related to his relationship to Sen. Lesniak. “Senator Lesniak did not tell me to come here,” Rev. Blackwell said, later adding that the two have known each other since the days of former Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham, who served as mayor from 2001 to 2004. In late November, Rev. Blackwell participated in a protest on Broad Street in Newark to call for higher wages for Newark International Airport employees, which he pointed out that he did not see Rev. Slaughter in attendence. A number of state and local officials were there, including Sen. Lesniak, Rev. Blackwell said. “He [Sen. Lesniak] ran into me as an opportunity, to say ‘Hey, what do you think about this [what was going on at Kean],” Rev. Blackwell said, adding that he then began to read news reports about the Twitter threats and then the coalition’s accusations. Rev. Blackwell stated that it was “irresponsible” to bring media attention to Kean without “the facts,” and called the coalition’s claims of structural racism “abhorrent.” “If we’re going to do this thing, then we should talk in stats,” he said. After looking at the number of professors at Kean and other colleges, Rev. Blackwell said that the numbers decreased across all ethnic groups, including Caucasians and Hispanics. At other colleges, he said, the number of professors went down while the number of adjuncts increased too. “There’s no law against management style,” he said, adding that, “President Farahi is a better manager of people because he’s getting more for less.” The money saved from reducing the number of full-time professors, he said, went to something else: “That money went somewhere else, which is the architectural program.” “I was very impressed by Kean University

opening a new architect school that they’re making a master’s program.” The coalition has cited a recent discrimination lawsuit which was brought against Kean as an example of racism, including that of a former Kean employee, Sherrell S. Holderman, which was settled for $75,000 last year. (By settling, no one claims any wrongdoing.) “I don’t think it was an admission of guilt, I think it was the university making a good business decision,” said Rev. Blackwell, referring to the settlement. Rev. Blackwell stated that he has yet to review any court documents pertaining to discrimination lawsuits brought against the university, but plans to do so. He also plans to devise a five-point plan to help Kean improve, though he declined to elaborate since he’s still working on it, he said. As for the purchase of the $219,000 conference table in the Green Lane Building -- which the coalition used as an example of wasteful spending at their December protest at Kean – Rev. Blackwell was unsure. “Would I have bought a $219,000 table? I don’t know.” Rev. Blackwell declined to comment on whether he was hired or doing the job pro bono and referred all questions to Board of Trustees Executive Director Audrey Kelly, who protesters say is the ex-wife of Sen. Lesniak’s nephew, alleging nepotism. Kelly referred all questions to the university’s spokeswoman, Margaret McCorry. “The Board of Trustees assigned a review of the University’s employment data and practices to the Governance Committee at its December 2015 meeting,” McCorry said in a statement. “The leadership of the Board and the committee felt the assistance of an external consultant familiar with compliance reviews would be beneficial to their work. A number of approaches to this project were considered.” McCorry added that Rev. Blackwell will be paid $15,000, plus out of pocket expenses for his consulting services. Editor’s note: This story originally appeared on on Feb. 9.



February, 2016

Spring music recitals at Kean Musically gifted seniors prepare to take their final bow at Kean University. Come bask in the ambiance of Kean’s talented performers as they share their love of music on campus, for everyone to enjoy. By Redina Demushi and photos by Justin Seibert

Justin Seibert playing the cello.

Kyle Hill playing the saxophone in Hoboken, NJ.

Below, Top Row: Left: Kimberlyn Rengifo playing the piano during a recital at the Elizabeth Public Library, Center: Gabrielle Boetger singing at her Senior Recital in Kean Hall, Right: Frank Scarano playing the trombone at his Senior Recital in Enlow Hall. Below, Bottom Row: Left: Chris Alexio singing at his Senior Recital in Kean Hall, Center: Daniel Aponte singing during a recital at the Elizabeth Public Library, Right: Ryan Hanna singing at his Senior Recital in Kean Hall.

Spring schedule Student recitals

Saturday, April 9th- Sara Fidalgo, Piano @5:00pm (Enlow Hall)

Tuesday’s from March 15th- April 19th College Hour (Wilkins Theatre) **Tuesday, April 12th College Hour (Enlow Hall- East Campus)

Friday, April 22nd - Emmanuel Diaz, Vocals @7:00pm (Kean Hall)

Senior Recitals Friday, Feb. 26th- Mathew Tartza, Vocals @7:00pm (Enlow Hall) Friday, March 18th- Jessica Messuri, Vocals @7:00pm (Enlow Hall)

Spring concerts Thursday, April 14th - Wind Ensemble @8:00pm (Wilkins Theatre)

Sunday, April 17th- Choir

Saturday, April 23rd - Amanda Simms, Vocals @5:00pm (Kean Hall)

@3:00pm (Enlow Hall)

Friday, April 29th- Colin Dowling, Percussion @7:00pm (Wilkins Theatre)

Monday, April 18th- Percussion @7:30pm (Wilkins Theatre)

Saturday, April 30th- Bruce De La Cruz, Piano @2:00pm (Kean Hall)

Wednesday, April 20th- Jazz Ensemble @7:30pm (Wilkins Theatre)

Natural hair movement empowers more young black women By Nsi Amah All over the United States, more and more black women as well as young girls are embracing their kinks and curls as freely as they please. They are running far away from the hair relaxer, a chemical that permanently straightens coils or curly hair of black women. Relaxer sales are have been declining every year because of the natural hair renaissance. Black women are opting for more moisturizing hair products that work for their hair. Businesses such as Carol’s Daughter, Miss Jessie and Shea Moisture are booming because they are tending to the natural hair community. The natural hair community is into hair butters, co-washing conditioners (conditioners that cleanses hair) and heatless styling. Traditionally, hair straightening of a black woman’s hair usually starts when they are children, sometimes as young a 5 years old, so much so that many are not sure what their natural hair texture looks or feels like. “Black girls are taught that straight hair

is beautiful hair,” said 26-year-old Shirlece James. “It’s what we see, it’s what we want. In the media, most black women have straight hair and that’s what we want. We saw natural hair as nappy and unattractive.” Hadyiah Alexander, a 60-year-old whonow wears her hair natural, said black hair has been stigmatized. “The stereotype of natural hair is nappy hair has been embedded in them for so long,” she said. Now, however, African-American women are turning up their noses at the relaxer and abandoning it. Black women are finally growing out of this stigma that their natural is unattractive and are instead embracing it. They are either cutting their relaxed straight hair completely or they are growing their natural hair until they get the length that they desire as they cut the straight hair gradually. As the community grows, black women are becoming more confident and the more natural hair businesses are booming. Natural hair is becoming especially popular around college campuses and in the work place because black women are becoming more

comfortable with it. Women are embracing natural hair for a number of reasons beyond embracing their own beauty. Some do it to make hair management easier. “It is the easiest hair style. Once you take care of it right and maintain it right. It’s easy,” said Alexander. Another reason to go natural is that, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, textured (or coily) or curly hair is highly fragile hair and relaxers make curly hair more fragile. This is one of the main reasons why more black women are opting to go natural. And there’s news that the chemical perm is causing other problems. A recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology says that researchers are finding that women who relax their hair are more likely to have uterine fibroid problems in the future. It is also said that women who get heir menstrual before the age of 10 tend to have uterine fibroids as they mature. Early menstruation may result in using the

chemicals in the relaxers that parents due with young black girls, according from a separate study published in the Annals of Epidemiology. Because of all these factors, young black women of today are thinking smarter and creating their own sense of beauty, accepting the hair that they were born with and, literally, not being afraid of stepping “out of the box” beyond an outdated standard of beauty. Nsi Amah is a senior majoring is EnglishWriting.

Photo: Avery Scott via Creative Commons

February, 2016

Do you find yourself in a ‘situationship’ this Valentine’s Day?

Photo by: Valeria Cruz

By Celeste Simmons Valentine’s Day is the one day out of the year designated specifically to love. A day in which you shower your significant other with gifts or get showered with gifts. It is the day where you get all dressed up, go on a well planned out date, take cute pictures together and post them on Instagram with cute captions and hashtags underneath. But that is not the case for everyone. Many people, college students especially, think of Valentine’s Day as a day filled with loneliness, anxiety and uncertainty. Over the past couple of years around Valentine’s Day, social media has been filled with meme’s and quotes about Netflix being someone’s Valentine or gifts for side chicks. While love is still alive and well, you see more people bashing it online than promoting it. You see and read more about side chicks and side dudes more than you see boyfriends and girlfriends. Why is that? One reason could be the rise of “situationships.” According to Urban Dictionary, a situationship is defined as “a relationship that has no label on it. Like a friendship but more than a friendship but not quite a relationship.” A situationship is pretty much a relationship without the title. College students in particular are usually involved in these. Situationships are very popular on college campuses, but are they a good or bad thing? “I’m in a situationship” said Arleny Almonte, a senior at Kean. “You don’t have the stress of a relationship and you get to do whatever you want.” Many people view situationships as a positive thing because there is no title. There is no boyfriend or girlfriend and there is no real obligation to the other person. You can spend one night with them and the next with someone else and there are no repercussions. However, not everyone feels like those are all good things. “I think of it as an incomplete relationship where you both know it should be a thing but you’re just stalking for time or being selfish,” said Abjude Pierre, a senior at Kean. “Everyone claims they want to be in a relationship but no one wants to actually put the effort towards being in a relationship. They would rather just be messing around with people.” So what does all this mean for the future of relationships? With so many people engaging in situationships will that delay the idea of getting married? “I think the situationships are definitely a part of it,” Pierre said. “Because society is making them okay. Like if everyone is like it’s okay to have a girlfriend and a side chick then you’ll be like well why do I have to settle down?” From a holiday that used to be a celebration of love, the definition of relationships with significant others has changed drastically over the years.


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February, 2016

HEALTH Healthy eating 101:

the latest guidelines The 2015 – 2016 dietary guidelines for Americans By Dr. Josh Palgi The new food guidelines are out and this latest edition focuses on eating patterns and their nutrients. The specific recommendations the 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines fit into five overarching ideas. They are: • • • • •

Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. Eating patterns are the combination of foods and drinks that a person eats over time. Focus on variety, nutrient-dense foods, and amount Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake Shift to healthier food and beverage choices Support healthy eating patterns for all

Although the primary focus of the dietary guidelines is on nutrition recommendations, physical activity is critical and plays a complementary role in promoting good health and preventing disease. Adults (18 and up) need at least 150 minutes of moderate – intensity physical activity and should include perform muscle – strengthening exercises on two or more days each week, according to the guidelines. Establishing and maintaining a regular physical activity pattern helps people maintain a healthy weight and lowers the risk of early death coronary heart disease strokes, high blood pressure, adverse blood lipid profile, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, and metabolic syndrome and reduces depression. Also, according to a study published in the National Academy of Science, the size and quality of a person’s social ties affect specific health measures. Want to be healthy? Follow the dietary guidelines, hit the gym and hangout with people. Healthy eating patterns include a variety of nutritious foods like vegetables, fruits, grains, low-fat and fat-free dairy, lean meats and other protein foods and oils, while limiting saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars and sodium. A healthy eating pattern is adaptable to a person’s taste preferences, traditions, culture and budget.

Importantly, the guidelines suggest Americans should consume: • • • • • •

A variety of vegetables, including dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and other vegetables Fruits, especially whole fruits Grains, at least half of which are whole grains Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, and nuts and seeds Oils, including those from plants: canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, and sunflower. (Oils also are naturally present in nuts, seeds, seafood, olives, and avocados.)

Further, Americans are encouraged to consume: •

Less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars. ChooseMyPlate. gov provides more information about added sugars, which are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. This does not include naturally occurring sugars such as those consumed as part of milk and fruits. Less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats. The Nutrition Facts label can be used to check for saturated fats. Foods that are high in saturated fat include butter, whole milk, meats that are not labeled as lean, and tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil. Less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium for people over the age of 14 years and less for those younger. The Nutrition Facts label is a helpful tool to check for sodium, especially in processed foods like pizza, pasta dishes, sauces, and soups.

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.




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

DISPLAY AND CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Deadline for space reservations for display advertising is two weeks before the publication date. Ads submitted after that may be used on a space-available basis. All ads are run-of-the-paper unless an extra fee is collected for a paid position. Deadline for art work and copy is one week before the publication date. Classified advertising can be submitted up to the Thursday before publication as long as the payment is made at the same time. Call (908) 737-0470 or email for a rate card.

The goal of the guidelines is to make recommendations about the components of a healthy and nutritional diet to help promote health and prevent chronic disease. The recommendations focus on the healthy eating patterns as a whole, and how foods and beverages act synergistically to affect health, and prevent the diet-related chronic diseases that continue to affect our population. The focus is disease prevention, not treatment.

For more information, see: • •

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans at: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans at:

Tight hair buns and braids can cause baldness By Jose A. Rodriguiez Jr. A line in Zoolander, a popular movie from 2001 starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, says it all. “You really shouldn’t be wearing your hair pulled back so tight,” said Stiller in a scene in Zoolander. As minimal as the scene may have seemed, it is actually very informative. Man buns as trendy as they are may lead to long-term baldness. Men who sport the trendy “man bun” may be more likely to go bald if not done correctly, yet hair experts say they are unaware of the damage they are causing. Meanwhile, African-American women face similar balding problems after years of tights buns, braids and other styles, according to hair experts. Dr. Sabra Sullivan, a dermatologist from Jackson, Mississippi, says tight man buns can cause Traction Alopecia, a form of baldness that is becoming common. Traction Alopecia is more commonly localized

at hair margins behind the frontal hairline but may involve any scalp area depending on the cause of traction, according to the British Journal of Dermatology “They’re putting traction on the hair follicles that the hair is not really mean to take,” Dr. Sullivan tis quoted as saying on the website, Continuing such behavior can lead to follicle death and permanent scarring and she agrees that man buns are partly to blame. However, people still like the hairstyle. David Cabrera, a professional barber at Woodbridge, N.J.’s Xclusive Barber Shop, is fond of man bns.. “It’s a dope haircut, it is easy to do you just need the patience to grow it,” said Cabrera. Cabrera ,who has been cutting hair for 18 years, has seen the hairstyle come and go. The man bun is one of those styles that always reemerge and continues to be popular, he said. The look can be seen on anyone from within your local drugstore to celebrities like Jared Leto. Shawnice Roger, a student at Kean University,

finds the man bun attractive. “I think it’s sexy on a man,” said Rogers. Although Traction Alopecia is becoming more prominent in men today because of the man bun, the traumatic hair care practice is also a very common problem in African-American woman and children. Go to styles such as braids, twists, dread locks, weaving and the use of overnight rollers, can lead to types of bladness. Seandee Gayden, told that most people don’t want to hear the truth, Many are in denial. Gayden, a licensed braider in Las Vegas, often treats African American Women. Her clients have asked for styles that tend to be too tight, often requiring ibuprofen to relieve the pain, she said. Even though African-American women are having this issue, according to the British Journal of Dermatology, Traction Alopecia can also occur in individuals with straight hair. Gayden and other experts told that preventing the use of a tight ponytail or bun can reduce Traction Alopecia.

Dr. Sullivan said the idea is not to pull so tightly on the hair. The best treatment is to remove tension and avoid scarring, according to Dr. Terrence Keany, a dermatologist surgeon from Washington DC. Keany is quoted on the website,, that before scarring occurs, intraregional topical surgery steroids can be helpful. If scarring has occurred hair transplantation can help fill in the involved areas. For those guys who are looking to obtain the man bun the healthy way, doctors and beauticians recommend that they keep it lose. Allow your hair to grow long enough for a lose top know or bun. Traction Alopecia is preventable as long as the hair is at an appropriate length in which hair can be put in a ponytail or bun without tension. Dennis Zuniga, a high end stylist, at New York’s Donsuki salon knows the consequence. “Once you damage the hair follicle, it will not grow back,” Zuniga is quoted as saying in to Mic. com. Jose Rodriguez Jr. is a Junior majoring in Communication-Media/Film.

February, 2016


OPINION Why I support Donald Trump By ANTHONY N. MUCCIGROSSI In less than one year, voters will await to see if their chosen presidential candidate will take the presidency. Among the evergrowing candidates for president, Donald Trump is the one to gain a great deal of media attention, due to many of the things he says to voters and to the general public. Unlike many of the other presidential candidates, Trump does not have any previous political experience. Considering most Republican candidates have a track record in politics, the fact that someone who is not a politician just might be a good thing for our country. Interesting enough, a retweet by Trump stated that he is self-funding his campaign, which is different from other candidates such as Ted Cruz. Trump brings a plethora of business experience, which is sure to revitalize our ever crumbling economy. Compared to the other Republican candidates, Trump was quoted in a Washington Times article stating, “As far as the salary is concerned, I won’t take even one dollar.” A article states the salary of President of the United States

is $400,000. Should Trump get elected, our country would automatically save $400,000 in just one year. It is also essential to mention the amount of stellar professional people Trump can use to build a strong cabinet and ensure our government is keeping up with efficient business practices. In many of his public appearances, Trump is not afraid to talk about successful people he knows. In reality, we should bring those successful people to Washington, D.C and let them make our government successful. However, it is not just that Trump has no political past that makes him stand out as a vibrant candidate. Trump’s persona and demeanor shed light on the rise of political correctness that is sweeping across our country. Instead of sugarcoating the issues that our country faces, Trump speaks his mind, often offending audiences by the masses. While many people tend to become easily offended by the information that comes out of his mouth, Trump is entitled to execute his freedom of speech, a right that not one should infringe upon, no matter how ridiculous a statement he makes.

Kean University Department of Public Safety Police blotter

Will you be Trumped today?

Donald Trump.

We must realize that running for political office should not be a job, but rather a passion. Looking at candidates such as Senator Bernie Sanders and Governor Chris Christie, they are among the many career politicians. On the other side is Donald J. Trump, a wealthy businessman striving for a positive direction for our country. Instead of being easily influenced by the media commentators, it is beneficial to look at an attempt to understand

Photo: Gage Skidmore

the candidates’ positions and views on issues. With Trump, you don’t see a flipflop candidate; you see a candidate that has presented issues and stances and has refused to change his position. If you take a close look at our present form of government, it is in dire need of a major change. A change that can only be efficiently executed by one presidential candidate, and that candidate is Trump. In the words of Trump, “Make America Great Again.”


February, 2016

Celebrate African History Month at Kean EVENTS 500 Years Later By M.K. Asante’ Tuesday, Feb. 16, 12:30 p.m. • Miron Student Center Little Theatre: Celebrate African History Month 2016 with the Office of Africana Studies with film showing of 500 Years Later by M.K. Asante’. A discussion will occur following the film. Admission is free and open to all faculty, staff and students. King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story Of Greed, Terror And Heroism In Colonial Africa Wednesday, Feb. 17, 12:30 p.m. • Miron Student Center Little Theatre: Celebrate African History Month 2016 with the Office of Africana Studies with film showing of King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story Of Greed, Terror And Heroism In Colonial Africa. A discussion will occur following the film. Admission is free and open to all faculty, staff and students. Anne Nzingh: Africa’s Warrior Queen Thursday, Feb. 18 12:30 p.m. • Miron Student Center Little Theatre: Celebrate African History Month 2016 with the Office of Africana Studies with a lecture entitled Anne Nzingh: Africa’s Warrior Queen. A discussion with guest speak Ms. Gloria Brown-Marshall will occur following the lecture. Admission is free and open to all faculty, staff and students. Black Love Affair Friday, Feb. 19 6:30 p.m. • Downs Hall: Come join Kean University’s Pan-African Student Union as they host their annual Black Love Affair formal event in Dawns Hall. They will be celebrating their culture as they dance the night away. Tickets can purchased from the Wilkins Theatre Box Office. Tickets are $1 for Kean students with valid ID and $5 for guests. Understanding Your Roots Monday, Feb. 22 6:30 p.m. • Miron Student Center Greek Lounge: Join Beta Kappa Sigma Black and Latina Sorority, Inc. for Black History Month as they fill you with knowledge on your roots. Illuminations: Africa’s Past And Present: A Celebration Of History And Culture Tuesday, Feb. 23, 12:30 p.m. • Downs Hall: Celebrate African History Month 2016 with a special program from the Office of Africana Studies and the School of Global Education and Innovation entitled Illuminations: Africa’s Past And Present celebrating its history and culture. Special guest speakers include the Honorable TeTe Antonio, Ambassador of the African Union to the United Nations, and Dr. Adao do Nascimento, Minister of Higher Education of Angola. Admission is free and open to all faculty, staff and students. The Smithsonian Channel Presents: Major League Legends: The Hammer of Hank Aaron Monday, Feb. 29 5:30 p.m. • Kean University STEM Auditorium: Kean University is hosting a screening of the Smithsonian Channel’s new documentary: Major League Legends: The Hammer of Hank Aaron. An unexpected conqueror who rose from obscurity and the depths of adversity to challenge a god. Victory came at a great price, but Hank Aaron never wavered in the fight for civil rights. Admission is free.


Blood Drive Thursday, Feb. 18, 12-6 p.m. • Miron Student Center, room 228: In honor of the Kean University Martin Luther King Jr Week of Service, save a life and donate blood. NY/NJ Blood Services will be accepting blood donations from 12 noon until 6 p.m. Appointments can be made through NY/NJ Blood Services, but walk-ins are welcome. Pre-registration is NOT required. If you are not able to donate, but would

like to volunteer at the event, you may sign-up by registering through Cougar Link. Habitat for Humanity Saturday, Feb. 20, 7:30 a.m. • Shuttle Departs from VE Parking Lot: In honor of the Kean University Martin Luther King Jr Week of Service, volunteer to help build a home. Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat for Humanity and its homeowner families have built or rehabilitated more than 400,000 houses. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required! Pre-register online through Cougar Link. A shuttle will department from Vaughn-Eames parking lot at 7:30 a.m. and return to Kean at about 4:30 p.m. Atria Senior Living Sunday, Feb. 21, 12:30 p.m. • Shuttle Departs from VE Parking Lot: In honor of the Kean University Martin Luther King Jr Week of Service, join the Center for Leadership and Service in interacting with senior citizens at Atria Senior Living in Cranford, N.J. On this trip, students will be able to offer senior citizens companionship by making connections with them through participating in arts and crafts, recreational activities, etc. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required! Pre-register online through Cougar Link. A shuttle will department from Vaughn-Eames parking lot at 12:30 p.m. and return to Kean at about 4 p.m. A Day of Tribute Monday, Feb. 22, 12-3 p.m. • Miron Student Center Greek Lounge: Join the Center for Leadership and Service in paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dedication to creating positive change in our world through service and leadership. On this day students have the opportunity to engage in the following activities to promote hope and peace: Paper Cranes, Hands for Hope, and Colorful Dreams. Pre-registration is NOT required, but RSVPing through Cougar Link is encouraged. Mobile Food Pantry Tuesday, Feb. 23, 11:00 a.m. • Shuttle Departs from VE Parking Lot: In honor of the Kean University Martin Luther King Jr Week of Service, join the Center for Leadership and Service with volunteering at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey’s Pediatric Mobile Food Pantry. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required! Pre-register online through Cougar Link. A shuttle will department from Vaughn-Eames parking lot at 11:30 a.m. and return to Kean at about 4 p.m. Feed the Less Fortunate Wednesday, Feb. 24, 12-3 p.m. • Miron Student Center Greek Lounge: In honor of the Kean University Martin Luther King Jr Week of Service, join the Center for Leadership and Service in making sandwiches and decorating paper bags for hope for those who are less fortunate. All completed sandwiches will be delivered in the decorated bags to Saint John’s Food Pantry in Elizabeth, N.J. where they distribute food daily to local homeless and working poor individuals. Pre-registration is NOT required, but RSVPing through Cougar Link is encouraged. We ask that all volunteers please help our efforts by bringing in a bag of bread. The more bread we get, the more people we can reach! We will be making sandwiches until supplies run out! Paper Crane Project Thursday, Feb. 25, 12-4 p.m. • Miron Student Center, room 226: Natives of Hiroshima, Japan, believe that paper cranes symbolize world peace. In honor of the Kean University Martin Luther King Jr Week of Service, join the Center for Leadership and Service as we craft 1,000 paper cranes to be donated to the Voices of September 11th Organization. Their mission is to help families heal and recover from the tragedy that took place on 9/11. Pre-registration is required! Pre-register online through Cougar Link. A Day of Tribute Friday, Feb. 26, 12-4 p.m. • Miron Student Center Atrium:

Please join the Center for Leadership and Service in paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dedication to creating positive change in our world through service and leadership. On this day students have the opportunity to engage in the following activities to promote hope and peace: The Dream Carpet, The Peace Dove Project, Hands for Hope, and Paper Cranes. Pre-registration is NOT required, but RSVPing through Cougar Link is encouraged. Community Food Bank Friday, Feb. 26, 10:00 a.m. • Shuttle Departs from VE Parking Lot: In honor of the Kean University Martin Luther King Jr Week of Service, volunteer with the Center for Leadership and Service at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, in Hillside, NJ. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required! Pre-register online through Cougar Link. A shuttle will department from Vaughn-Eames parking lot at 10 a.m. and return to Kean at about 2 p.m. Community Food Bank Saturday, Feb. 27, 11:00 a.m. • Shuttle Departs from VE Parking Lot: In honor of the Kean University Martin Luther King Jr Week of Service, volunteer with the Center for Leadership and Service at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, in Hillside, NJ. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required! Pre-register online through Cougar Link. A shuttle will department from Vaughn-Eames parking lot at 11 a.m. and return to Kean at about 2 p.m.


Meshell Ndegeocello Sunday, Feb. 21, 3:00 p.m. • Enlow Recital Hall: Singer/ songwriter and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello is funk, soul, R&B, hip-hop, rock, and jazz’s shared chameleon. This modern day troubadour - as much a spoken work poet as she is a tantalizing jazz chanteuse - embodies each genre as wholly as she defies it. With special guest Christopher Tignor. Tickets are on sale at the Wilkins Theatre Box Office and range from $35-$45 based on seating. Concert For Understanding Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016 8:00 p.m. • Miron Student Center Little Theatre: As a part of the African History Month 2016 Jackie McLean Concert Series, the Office of Africana Studies presents a Concert For Understanding with a performance by Rene McLean with Urban Djaliya (Griots). A student open mic poetry showcase will also be held. Admission is free. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Emmanuel’s Gift Sunday, Feb. 28, 3:00 p.m. • Kean University STEM Auditorium: Directed by Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern (Ghana 2005), “Emmanuel’s Gift,” is a documentary which chronicles Yeboah’s remarkable life and his courageous journey, as well as the impact it had on his family as well as on handicapped people throughout the African continent. Oprah Winfrey serves as narrator. International Film Series Tickets are on sale at the Wilkins Theatre Box Office for $5 each.


The Color Purple Saturday, Feb. 13, 11:30 a.m. • Bernard B Jacobs Theatre: Join Student Organization as we watch an American classic come to life. The Color Purple, which follows the life of Celie, a young African-American girl growing up in rural Georgia, is a strong touching story about African-American women growing up in a time where they were seen as less than men. The bus departs from the Wilkins Theater Bus Stop at 11:30 p.m. 2 tickets may be purchased per Kean Student ID for $25 each at the Wilkins Theatre Box Office. A completed SAPA Form (available through the Student Organization Cougar Link page under documents) is required at the time of purchase.


February, 2016


Men’s volleyball takes strides to capture 2016 conference title By Sara Ridgway It is that time of year again as the men’s volleyball team takes the court for their sixth season in school history. With the success and growth of the program since its inception in 2011, this season is projected to be another one for the books, like past years. Led by Senior Tommy Rosario, eight sophomores and seven new additions to the program, Coach Charlie Ginex has visions of success for his team. Ginex, assisted by prior players and Skyline Conference champions Michael Fox and John Cunningham, has a positive outlook for the season, which began on Jan. 4th. The Cougars returned to campus early from winter break on Jan. 4th to begin pre-season training in Harwood Arena. Ginex spoke highly of the teams preparation, knowing that hard work, teaching and learning were going to be key aspects for the season. “I thought we had a really good preseason,” Ginex said. “We came in knowing there was going to be a lot of work to do because we are as young as we are.” A key to the team’s anticipated success is the addition of Ginex’s new assistant coaches. Young and energetic, Fox and Cunningham bring different personalities to the gym as well as their vast understanding of volleyball, providing the balance needed for a successful coaching staff. “They were the guys that were there in year one and two,” Ginex said. “So they’re the ones that knew what it was like to come from nowhere and build something up.” With the majority of the squad consisting of underclassmen, the pressure has been on to step up and fulfill new positions. Ginex has much confidence in 6’9” freshman Chadd Jones. The Pennsylvania native plays the position of middle blocker and has seen action in over half of the Cougars matches thus far this season as per the Kean University athletics website. “I would say he‘s definitely the most improved guy in our gym right now,” Ginex said. “So that’s helping us and it’s giving us options because if he can get on the court, that may allow us to move other players to different positions which can therefore make the team better as a whole.” Along with Jones, Ginex believes senior Tommy Rosario and sophomore Nick Breslin have stepped up to make a difference in the program. Rosario, a senior middle blocker brings three years of experience on Kean’s nationally ranked team to the 2016 season. Between his experience he brings to the court and his increased vocalization, he has emerged as a leader. Breslin is a standout to Ginex due

“It’s going to be a good race this year for the conference championship.” – Charlie Ginex

to his passion for the sport, leadership and improvement. The 5’7” libero brings to the gym exactly what a young team needs, as per Ginex. As part of the Skyline Conference, Kean’s biggest rival is Ramapo College, with New Jersey City University close behind. Ginex remarked that the NJCU Knights have been playing better and better every year. “I think the gap has closed in our conference significantly over the last few years,” Ginex said. “Its going to be a good race this year for the conference championship. It’s going to be competitive.” The team lies at a record of 6-5, but even with a bit of a bumpy start to the season, Ginex has confidence in his young team to achieve success. Staying focused, positive, and motivated are only a few of the many values he and his coaching staff have infused into the culture of the program. “I think it’s a good thing for us to keep focused on what the big picture is and that’s not necessarily winning today or winning tomorrow; it’s how much better can we get throughout the entire season,” Ginex said. “Staying disciplined and working hard every day, paying attention to detail and focusing on the learning process will equate to long term success.” Ginex believes that one of the reasons behind the programs continued success is the support received by their fan base. He encourages students to attend home matches, especially the home match against conference rival Ramapo College on Sunday March 20th at 11:00 a.m. Another date to put on the Calendar is March 23, which is the team’s Senior day. With continued hard work and dedication,

Photo: Sara Ridgway

6’9” freshman-middle blocker Chadd Jones serves during a match at the Clash at Kean Tournament.

Ginex believes that Kean could be named Skyline Conference Champions for the fifth year in a row, as well as making an appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth year in a row. “We would be able to say that we are one of two teams that’s done that,” Ginex said, in reference to reaching NCAA play for the fifth consecutive season.

Photo: Sara Ridgway

The 2016 men’s volleyball team huddles up before beginning a match.

Kean Alumnus saves Colonia boy’s life By Angel Ospina When an emergency situation occurs, it is those who are best-trained and wellprepared that are able to think quickly. Quick thinking was needed when a high school basketball player for the Colonia High School freshman basketball team collapsed during the second quarter of a game at Edison High School on January 5. Fortunately, Kean University alumni and Edison high school athletic trainer, James Root’s ability to think and react quickly helped save the student athletes’ life. “I noticed the young man seemed to start to fall into another player and then hit the floor, as that was occurring I immediately jumped up because I knew something was very wrong,” said Root via a phone interview. Root, along with Colonia head Coach Joe LaSala were immediately alongside the collapsed player. The Colonia coach quickly yelled for an AED (automatic external defibrillator) because of the player’s medical history. The AED is a portable device that examines the heart rhythm and if needed it can deliver a shock to the heart in order to regulate the normal rhythm.

Root immediately instructed Edison scoreboard operator and physical education teacher, Mark Blevins to run and get the AED. “It seemed he was having a seizure, he was having trouble breathing,” said the Kean alum. “I removed his jersey, we hooked up the AED, at the point he became unresponsive and it said advise shock.” Once Root provided the shock, the freshman player slowly regained consciousness and Root held his head up to allow the young man to breathe easily. The Colonia freshman was then attended to by the EMT’s (Emergency Medical Technician) who arrived shortly after Root used the AED. The freshman was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick where he recovered after treatment. The boy’s life was saved thanks to the immediate actions taken by the staff led by Root. “Mr. Root is an outstanding athletic trainer,” said Edison’s athletic director, James Dicocco. “I am not surprised how quickly he responded because he is such an outstanding trainer that when he is faced with stressful situation he responds quickly and professionally to administer the proper help that is

needed,” he stated. Root gives credit to the entire staff who responded so quickly especially Blevins, another Kean alumni, who rushed quickly to retrieve the AED and ripped it open right before he handing it to Root. “Mr. Root responded to the situation quickly and effectively. He was one of the first responders to get the athletes side. He analyzed the boys condition and called 9-1-1 immediately,” said Blevins via email. “When I arrived with the AED he was instrumental in the proper application of the device.” Root accredits his training and schooling, in which prepared him to handle the situation properly and calmly. “I never had to use an AED, or perform CPR on someone, I wasn’t nervous, I reacted to it very quickly, and I think your training just naturally takes over,” said Root enthusiastically. Root received a bulk of that training from Kean, where he earned his bachelor’s degree and athletic training certification in 1996. “The athletic training program at Kean, I believe is one of the best in the state, if not the best,” Root said. Root has been Edison’s athletic trainer since 2003 and says he enjoys the high

school setting and “keeping in touch with that generation.” “It’s enjoyable to get to know student athletes when they’re a freshman and then seeing them how they grow up and mature when they are seniors,” Root stated as he described what he enjoys most about his job. Although he can be considered a hero now, Root’s ability to maintain great relationships with the student athletes is what others think makes him a great athletic trainer. “Mr. Root is excellent with the students, he has a strong relationship with them,” said Dicocco. Another relationship between Root and a student is in the works, as the athletic trainer plans to meet the family and the boy whose life he saved some time in the near future. “That was a crazy day and one that I won’t forget any time soon,” said Blevins. “It was the best feeling when I spoke to the coach on Tuesday and he had said that the boy was back in school and helping his team by managing and cheering on his teammates.” Root and Blevins were honored with awards of recognition by the Edison Township Board of Education on January 24.



February, 2016

The impact of freshman on the men’s basketball team

Photo: Joel Joly

Players from the men’s basketball team.

By Joel Joly As the Kean men’s basketball team puts the finishing touches on an unexpected unsuccessful season, coaches are hopeful the infusion of young talent on the roster will create a positive spark going into next season. Coach Rob Kurzinsky spoke positively about four freshman that contributed valuable production this season. Diego Pujols, Jodrell Thompson, Justin Watson, Micah Kerr are four names that are breathing hope into the future of the men’s basketball program. Freshman starting point guard Diego

Pujols out of Barringer high school, in Newark N.J. is averaging 10.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.6 steals. His play guarantees stability at the point guard position moving forward. Pujols also has won two straight NJAC Rookie of the Week award and went on to win the ECAC Rookie of the Week Award back in November. “Pujols has been our most productive offensive player, he’s extremely fast, has good vision, he’s a very unselfish kid, and has improved his ability to finish,” Kurzinsky said. His teammate Justin Watson showed signs of a bright future when scoring a career high of 20 points against New

Jersey City University on Dec. 12. Early on Watson had the biggest strides to make out of anyone. He really blossomed showing great athleticism. Another freshman with great athleticism is forward Micah Kerr who had been a main state in the starting line up. The freshman forward made a positive impact in the starting lineup scoring 16 points and shooting 80 percent from the field in a win against William Pattern University on Jan. 6. All of the guys are workers, they embrace the work ethic, and skill development. They have done a good job on defense. All four freshman came from really good high

school programs. Freshman guard Jodrell Thompson coming out of Colonia High School has been a strong physical guard also a vocal leader on the team. He’s done a good job coming in starting a handful of games. He’s really excelled defensively and done a really good job in buying in the defensive scheme. During workouts at the Harwood Arena Gym, Kerr and Pujols spoke about their transition from high school to college basketball. “College is harder than high school, in college you have to be more focus you always have to be prepared for games,” Pujols said.

Give me more Manning By Alyssa Davis Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning makeup a small group of NFL quarterbacks that have boasted “mostfeared” status. But, some believe that Manning no longer belongs on that list – which is, in fact, ridiculous. Halfway through the 2015 season he had seven touchdowns, 1,864 passing yards, 11 interceptions and a 75.1 quarterback rating. There is no denying that this not the Peyton Manning we know and love, but there is a lot to take into consideration. His statistics were lacking. True. And there is a reason for that. New hire, head coach Gary Kubiak operates with a runfirst philosophy. Throwing less should be expected. And throwing less leads to less passing yards and touchdowns. In addition, one of Manning’s favorite 2014 targets, Eric Decker, was in free agency coming into the new season and signed with the Jets. A new coach, with a new coaching style, a new offensive coordinator and one of his most utilized receivers gone. Can we cut the guy some slack and let him acclimate to a new team? Many who argue against the fivetime league MVP begin with the 2014 postseason. Manning and the Broncos squared up against Andrew Luck and the Colts in the AFC Divisional game. After a regular season in which Manning posted a 101.5 quarterback rating, he only managed a 75.5 against Indianapolis. He completed 26 of 46 passing attempts and recorded 211-yards with a touchdown. Keep in mind, the Colts’ defense was

ranked third in the 2014 postseason in both the overall and passing categories. They managed to sack Manning twice during the contest, which also brings the effectiveness of the Broncos offensive line into question. Luck, who was barely pressured by the Denver defense in that game, walked away with 27 completed passes of 43 attempts, 265-yards, two touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 73.6. A performance not much better than Manning’s, but with many more opportunities to make things happen. One, or even a few games do not define a player. In 2006, the season leading up to his SuperBowl victory with the Colts, Manning had games in which he posted 67.7 and 61.5 passer ratings. In one playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens he only managed a 39.6 rating. Although it may not seem like it sometimes, the man is only human. In his SuperBowl win, he completed 25 of 38 passing attempts, amassed 247 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was named the Super Bowl XLI MVP with a performance similar to the one he showcased in the 2014 playoffs. Can we take the time to remember that Manning holds 16 NFL records, has 539 touchdown passes and 71,940 passing yards. Another argument is his age. Some believe that the 39-year old signal caller is willing his body to do things that it’s no longer capable of doing. With that logic, shouldn’t we question Tom Brady’s effectiveness? He’s only a year younger than Peyton. No one would dare question Brady’s eliteness due to his age. That shouldn’t be part of the Manning equation either. The eldest of the Manning trio finished

Photo: Jeffrey Beall via Creative Commons

Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos.

the 2015 season, which is speculated as maybe his last, with 2,249 passing yards and nine touchdowns. Granted, he was out for six games due to a partially torn plantar fascia in his left foot. Some Denver fans called for Manning to be benched throughout the season, yet he led the team to eight regular-season wins and two playoff victories. Did I mention the Broncos made the Super Bowl?

Game one or game 16, home or away, cold or warm weather, give me Peyton Manning. There’s no one else I would trust to make crucial decisions at the line. No one else with his level of football IQ. And no one else who can command mediocre teams to be more through sheer confidence, skill and knowledge. If this season marks his last, it will be the end of Hall of Fame-worthy career, from his first outing in an NFL game to his last.

The Tower | February 2016  
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