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THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF KEAN UNIVERSITY
Muslim student joins hundreds at Elizabeth protest over Trump’s immigration ban Kean president asks Trump admin. to reconsider executive order By Rebecca Panico A Muslim Kean student joined hundreds of protesters at a detention center in Elizabeth Jan. 29 to rally against President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting immigration. “We have to keep fighting!” shouted Asmaa Abdalla, a biology major at Kean, to much applause from her friends. “We have to keep protesting! We can’t let Trump get his way!” Trump’s executive order indefinitely bars all refugees coming to the U.S. from Syria, a country immersed in a bloody civil war. It also temporarily bars entry of all refugees for 120 days, and bans immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries for three months. Trump said in a statement released to major media outlets that he would start issuing visas to all countries once they’ve reviewed and implemented a more secure vetting process. Abdalla, an Egyptian immigrant who recently ran for Jersey City Board of Education, came with her mom, two brothers and friends to the protest. Although her native country isn’t affected by the ban, she said she “hurts” for those in the seven nearby countries. “[Trump’s] family wasn’t born in America,” she said after the protest. “We’re all immigrants. We should all be welcomed here. I think it’s ridiculous that we just have to go through this.” Make the Road NJ, which says it fights for immigrant justice, organized the rally. Local legislators, including U.S. Senator Cory Booker and State Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) attended, and both Muslim and Jewish religious leaders showed their support. Three Rutgers University students at the
rally said Kean and other colleges should become sanctuary campuses, adopting policies which protect undocumented students. Rutgers President Robert Barchi has said he’d protect students’ private information unless required by law, and has not explicitly used the terminology “sanctuary campus” to describe the university. “I think what the University of Michigan did was incredible and that all sanctuary schools should follow in their footsteps,” said Ruchika Talwar, 24, a Rutgers student. “Not only have students speak out against what’s happening and protect the DREAMers, but also say we refuse to release any sort of information at all to any interested parties regarding our students immigration status.” Kean University President Dawood Farahi, who immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan as a college student, called for the Trump administration to reconsider the immigration ban. “The University community understands and supports the need of the federal government to protect U.S. citizens,” Farahi said in a statement Jan. 30 sent to all students, faculty and staff. “However, it is with great appreciation for the contributions
Photo: Rebecca Panico
Senator Corey Booker speaking at the protest
Kean profs, students march in D.C. and NYC
Photo: Rebecca Panico
Kayla-Simone McKelvey, a Kean graduate, speaks at a protest in March 2015.
Photo: Rebecca Panico
Asmaa Abdalla, a biology and major and member of the Muslim Student Association, was one of hundreds who protested in Elizabeth on Jan. 29 against President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order.
of our international students, faculty and staff that Kean joins the multitude of universities across the nation asking the administration to reconsider this order.” He aslo assured students that Kean University “will continue its commitment to protect the privacy of its students and employees to the full extent of the law.” In December, Farahi and eight other college presidents in the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities signed a joint statement which reminded students that their private information is currently protected under FERPA laws. “To our students who have registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)program, or who have concerns about their immigration rights, we pledge to support
you and help to provide advice,” the statement read. “Students should be aware that colleges and universities are considered ‘sensitive locations’ under federal immigration policy, and federal immigration officials will generally not take enforcement actions on campus.” Abdalla and other protesters headed to another rally at Newark Liberty International Airport after the Elizabeth protest came to an end. “It’s not going to take one protest or two protests,” said Abdalla after getting home from the airport. “We just have to keep on doing it. We can’t be silent.” Editor’s note: This story ﬁrst appeared online at kutower.com on Jan. 30. It has been updated to reﬂect appropriate dates and a new headline and statement from the university president.
Kean Athletics raise money for toddler
By Mike Roche
By Brittany Pavlichko
Some Kean students and professors joined the hundreds of thousands of Americans who marched in Washington, D.C., New York and other cities across the country to stand up for civil rights and express their fears about President Donald Trump on Jan. 21. “It has been clear to me since the day after the election that there was going to be an upsurge in many social movements in response to the election of Donald Trump,” Dr. Emily K. Filardo, Women’s Studies Minor Coordinator, who joined the march in New York City. “There is widespread and deep concern about what Donald Trump stands for and about the impact and meaning of many of his statements, behaviors, and policies.” But despite the underlying outrage, Dr. Filardo and others said the marches were peaceful, even joyous. Dr. Filardo’s impression was that people at the NYC march were happy to be there. feeling thrilled and empowered because they found themselves surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people sharing similar concerns and a commitment to speaking up and acting. People were smiling, admiring and taking pictures of each other’s clever and sometimes
When Leslie LaFronz, field hockey head coach overheard Margie Acker, head softball coach at Kean University tell her about her brother’s son who has a brain tumor, LaFronz took it upon herself to join together with the Kean athletics to raise money. “Do not take anything for granted, enjoy every moment you have and tell the people that are important to you how much you love and appreciate them.” said Margie Acker, softball coach at Kean University. Coach Acker’s 21-month-old nephew, Raylan Joseph Acker has been diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) last June. As this difficult to treat brain tumor progresses, it interferes with all bodily functions, depriving a child of their abilities to walk, communicate and even to eat and drink. Because of where the tumor is located detected from an MRI after he fell and his head, normal chemotherapy is not an option and the medium survival time is anywhere from nine months to a year. With the driving force of coach LaFronz; as well as every coach and student athlete, the Cougars are hosting a “Rally for Raylan” fundraiser in support of Raylan and his family. Coach LaFronz is encouraging everyone to participate and is asking to donate $2 in exchange for a wristband. “Everyone who I told the situation to has donated without even buying a bracelet because they want to see this kid overcome the illness and hopefully find a cure.” said Teresa Carr, senior captain of the field hockey team at Kean. The wristbands feature the message “Rally for Raylan” and are light blue and lime colored. LaFronz chose the colors due to the symbolic nature of Raylan. Wristbands are being sold by any one of the coaches or student athletes. LaFronz also is selling wristbands in her office in Harwood Arena, room 226 and suggests emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested. Some of the funds will go to Raylan and his family to help with the expenses during Raylan’s treatments and to provide them with the opportunities to create memories as a family. But, the majority of the funds will go to finding a clinical trial that will provide Raylan the opportunity to beat DIPG which will cost the family anywhere from $60,000-$70,000 for the first month which is not covered by insurance. “It is imperative that we, the Kean community, come together and support each other,” said LaFronz “The sale of the bracelets are just a small way of saying that we care and we are here to support Raylan and his family.”
Women’s march in Washington D.C.
Photo: Adrianna Ruﬀo
humorous handmade signs, and chatting with strangers, she said. Women of all ages, and many backgrounds, and significant numbers of men marched. “Even with the huge crowds, people were friendly; I saw no pushing or rudeness,” Dr. Filardo said. Dr. Daniela Shebitz, associate professor of Environmental Biology and Sustainability Science at Kean, reported similar positive energy at the march in D.C. She said
“I needed to surround myself with people with similar passion for equality, human equality.”
continued on page 7
2 THE TOWER
How Kean students can celebrate Black History Month By Johanna Ekladous Dr. James Conyers, director of Africana Studies at Kean University, shares on how we can remember and celebrate Black History Month. With the Trump administration now in power and the Black Lives Matter movement gaining momentum, Dr. Conyers expressed the importance of understanding that it does not change how we are to celebrate and remember African history in America. When speaking about civil rights, what is the difference between black lives matter today and civil rights in the 1960s, 50s, the 40s? According to Dr. Conyers, there is none. It is a continuous historical struggle. “I don’t look at the black lives struggle issue or even the Trump administration as anything new or different, the struggle continues for us,” Dr. Conyers said.“The struggle for liberation, African freedom, that’s the same struggle no matter who’s in power.” In order to understand where we are going we need to understand where we came from, Dr. Conyers said. He referred to the National Geographic Genographic project, which tests DNA to determine gene origin and has proven that we are all of African descent. In a National Geographic article titled, “All Africans Under the Skin”, Dr. Spencer Wells, Genographic Project lead scientist, is quoted as saying, “You and I, in fact everyone all over the world, we’re literally African under the skin; brothers and sisters separated by a mere two thousand generations. Old-fashioned concepts of race are not only socially divisive, but scientifically wrong.” During this time of the year, Dr. Conyers said to remember your roots and help celebrate how far Africans have come and help be a part of how far they can go. This year the focus for Black History Month, or African History Month as it is known within the Africana Studies Department, will be “African American in the Criminal Justice System.” There
are systems in place that do not help advance, mainly but not only, the African people. “The nature of our history continues, no matter, we are still dealing with historical police brutality, we’re still dealing with the criminal justice system, whether it was Obama or Trump or anybody else.” Dr. Conyers said “We’re still dealing with all the very same problems that are structural with in the system in and of itself.” In the system, racism, has become so socially embedded that it is normal. Dr. Conyers said most people don’t even realize what’s going on because of how normal it is. Kean University and the Africana Studies Department will be hosting a variety of events on campus in which educational opportunities are offered. Dr. Conyers stated that it is important to not only celebrate and remember Black History Month in February but all year round. “During Black History month i.e. African History month, we have a series of programs that go on, however, for people like myself and others, we celebrate our history every day. And how do we do that? We celebrate it by how we live, and how we carry ourselves and how we comport ourselves with others of our own kind and other people who are not of our own kind.” Kean University and the Africana Studies Department welcomes all in celebrating our African History this month and everyday.
Schedule of events Tentative Schedule of Events Confirm at www.kean.edu/ahm Location: Miron Student Center, Little Theater Tuesday, Feb. 14, 12:30pm-2:30pm The Hunt for black and brown bodies in the US: Police Brutality-Don’t get trumped up! With Mr. De Lacy D. Davis Wednesday, Feb. 15, 12:30pm-2:30pm The Challenge and the Dilemma: Crime, Violence and Justice Lecture and Discussion with Dr. Tyrone Powers Thursday, Feb. 16, 12:30pm-2:30pm A view from the inside out “Incarceration of African American Women and Girls; A forgotten population that continues to grow!” Lecture and Discussion with Rev. Marsha Lee-Watson Thursday, Feb. 16, 3:30pm-6:30pm Honoring the Life and Legacy of the Late Jazz great Mr. Jackie McLean on Annual African Heritage Jazz Concert Musical Performance Saturday, April 29, 4pm-7pm in Wilkins Theater 31st African Heritage Graduation with special guest speaker Dr. Sonia Sanchez Tribute to Celia Cruz
Photos: Johanna Ekladous
Dr. James Conyers, Director of Africana Studies
Feb. 1- March 3, In the Helen and Karl Burger Gallery: Gallery hours: Mon-Fri. 10am - 4pm Wandering Spirits: African Wax Prints Display
Kean celebrates Chinese culture with new year kick-oﬀ By Rafaela Teixeira To embrace Kean’s connection to China, the Office of Student Organization and Asian Studies department held the annual celebration of the Chinese New Year Kick Off at the Miron Student Center on Jan. 26th, 2017. This Kick Off to the new year is a great way for students and professors at Kean University to celebrate Chinese culture. The atrium was decorated in bold red lanterns and the tables were covered in red tablecloth to bring good fortune to the rest of the year. Although the original idea was to decorate using black, it was decided to change directions because the color black is viewed as negativity and darkness; none of which 2017 should be filled with. There were multiple tables at this event and each table served a purpose. Students associated with the event handed multiple flyers that correlate with each guest’s birth year. The flyers had brief explanations of the
person’s characteristics depending on the year they were born. For instance, the year 1996 was the year of the Rat. Those born in the year of the Rat are seen as clever, bright, ambitious, and possess many other strong qualities. Another table was occupied with two friendly Chinese students who wrote each person’s name in Mandarin using ink. The most popular table at the event held the hors d’oeuvres. Bubble tea, juice boxes from China and other light snacks were given to each person who waited patiently in line. Others who worked the event also walked around the atrium holding trays of egg rolls and lo mein noodles. During the event, people gathered around to watch the Dragon Dance, where a team of dancers dressed in red and gold costumes held a figure of a dragon using poles. The Dragon Dance is often performed during the Chinese New Year and is a way to bring good fortune to the year. The dragon dance ended with the performers dropping a banner down from the
dragon’s mouth with the words “Hei Fat Choy,” meaning Happy New Year. Guests of the event had the rest of college hour to walk around to better inform themselves of the different causes and programs available in relation to China and its culture. Mei- Ling Cheng, the Divisor for WKUSA work as Managing Assistant Director, was able to introduce the organization’s purpose at Kean University as a program that guides exchange students through the transition of visiting Kean University. “We recognize that we have two campuses and we want to have a cause that can reach both campuses. We have student exchanges every semester, so when they come here, they already have people who guide them,” said Mei- Ling. The student exchange program allows staff and students to visit the Wenzhou campus and familiarize themselves with the Chinese culture. Hosting the Chinese New Year kick off at the Union campus is an important way for people
Photo: Gail Fredericks
A glimpse of the “lucky” dragon.
Photos: Rafaela Teixeira
to get involved and also a step to guide those who want to visit Wenzhou to learn before the experience. “It’s important to have cultural awareness because it’s not just about just the Chinese culture, but the fact that we have a Chinese campus,” said Mei-Ling. “I think it’s important to reach that gap so we have more people go, not just students but staff as well.”
Kean celebrates diversity with student and faculty artwork By Adrianna Ruffo From Jan 31st to May 12th, 2017, the Human Rights Institute will be hosting an art exhibit in the Human Rights Institute Gallery, called I Learn America: Explorations into Diversity, Identity and Inclusion. The exhibit, which was put together by Janice Kroposky, the acting director for the Human Rights Institute and Dr. Joseph S. Amorino, an associate professor at Kean University who specializes in art education, presents the various types of artwork by many Kean students and faculty where they share their personal thoughts and stories through their art. Inspired by I Learn America, a documentary which tells the story of five teen immigrants whose lives intersect as they learn to adapt and live in their new home, the students and faculty seek to use their talent and creativity to inspire others to celebrate the importance of diversity. As guests walked through the gallery, admiring the different types of artwork and
enjoying light refreshments, two women looked pensively at each piece of artwork. When asked why did she visit the exhibit, Natasha Jawahir, a Kean graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in studio art had this to share. “My professor is running [the exhibit] and we’re supposed to do a piece on [the exhibit] said Jawahir. “I’m an artist myself so I love appreciating the art and I just wanted to see what [the exhibit] was about really.” Phyllicia Bonanno, a Kean graduate student who is also pursuing a master’s in studio art also shared why she wanted to stop by the exhibit. “I came to visit the exhibit because, well I have Dr. Amarino in one of my graduate classes, and he actually set up this whole exhibit and he wanted us to come and see the student artwork,” said Bonanno. “I’m a teacher as well so it’s fun to see the students’ artwork.” When asked about her favorite piece of artwork that she has seen so far, Bonanno
“Isolated in my Room, Drawing my Only Companion” by Jordan Castenada
pointed to one of the images in the corner. “I like that there’s no words on it. I notice that a lot of the artwork has a lot of words on it and I’m more drawn to artwork that’s not telling me exactly what it’s supposed to say,” shared Bonanno. “I like the abstract quality that there’s no words and I can decide what
Photo: Adriana Ruﬀo
this could mean on my own terms.” The exhibition is currently open to the public. guests can also view the exhibit at no cost. For any questions or comments, email the Human Rights Institute at email@example.com or call (908) 737-4670.
THE TOWER 3
Common to caller on radio: ‘I was disappointed that I didn’t get to come speak’
Photo: Monica Sudfield
Teddy Bears are a popular gift to give to someone you love on Valentine’s Day
Love is in the air at Kean University this Valentine’s Day By Monica Sudﬁeld
Common, the rap artist who was pulled as Kean University’s commencement speaker last year
By Rebecca Panico Common, the rap artist who was set to speak at Kean’s 2015 commencement before being pulled, told a caller on WNYC radio Dec. 16, 2016 he “was disappointed” he didn’t get to speak at the university. The administration changed commencement speakers in 2015 after New Jersey State Police expressed outrage over a song the artist had written in support of convicted cop killer, Joanne Chesimard, who also goes by Assata Shakur. The song was called “A Song for Assata.” Common, whose birth name is Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., was on the Brian Lehrer show to talk about his song for a Netflix documentary focusing on racial issues in America titled “13th.” During the call-in segment, a person asked the musician about 2015’s commencement. “I’m a member of the Kean University community, and we were so excited about having Common come and speak for our commencement last year,” said the caller, who was only identified as Julie. “Unfortunately, our administration decided somewhat at the last minute not to make that happen. I was just wondering if you would like to comment on that.” At first, the artist had a hard time remembering the reason why Kean backtracked on its invitation. The university announced him as commencement speaker on Twitter in 2015 and then recanted about a day later. “I was really enthused to come to Kean and speak,” Common said, later adding that “I read [Chesimard’s] autobiography and it really inspired me, and I definitely didn’t believe that she was a person who […] was guilty of what she was accused of.” Chesimard, once a Black Panther, was convicted of killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in
Photo source: Facebook
the 1970s. She escaped from prison and fled to Cuba, where she’s believed to still be living as a fugitive. Kean University’s Student Government at the time supported the administration’s decision, saying they didn’t want to detract from the “momentous occasion” of graduation after learning of the “heightened sensitivity” surrounding the choice of Common as commencement speaker. “I really was looking forward to coming to Kean,” Common said on-air. “And I was disappointed that I didn’t get to come speak because I love getting to speak to the college students and just to the people.” Students’ reactions to controversial speakers at college campuses across the U.S. have sparked a national conversation about free speech versus students’ desires for safe spaces. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice didn’t speak at Rutgers’ commencement in 2014 after students protested, The Daily Targum reported. Rutgers students also protested Breitbart News’s Milo Yiannopoulos during his visit to campus this year. “Does it give you sympathy for people on the other side?” asked Lehrer, the host of the WNYC radio show. “‘Cause it seems to happen more often to conservatives, where they’re going to get booked to speak on a college campus and then they’re deemed politically out-of-bounds.” The rap artist said he definitely had “sympathy and empathy” for the situation on college campuses today. “It’s something that I like to do, and I’m inspired to do,” Common said, referring to public speaking. “So I was disappointed in knowing that other people have to go through that. It kind of makes me realize why I’m not a politician.” The university had Anna Deavere Smith — who starred in series like West Wing and Nurse Jackie — speak at 2015’s commencement instead.
What happens when the power goes out? By Joshua Rosario Kean University’s Union campus was hit with a power outage during a storm on Monday, Jan. 23. Around 6:30 p.m., the power went out on Salem Rd., Green Lane, and adjacent streets around the University. The new North Ave. building was not affected by the outage. It was the first day of Monday classes, so the outage created confusion for students and faculty after University Relations sent out an email during the storm, but before the outage, to assure students and faculty that all evening classes and events will be held as scheduled. Soon after, University Relations issued a second email canceling classes. “PSE&G reported the power outage was caused by the weather, heavy winds and rain,” said Margaret McCorry, Director of Kean University’s Media Relations in an email interview. “Determining whether the University remains open or close depends on President Farahi’s final decision.” McCorry further explained that “The Kean University Emergency Management Team confers and makes a recommendation to the President, based on information from the National Weather Service and after consultation with a wide variety of law enforcement and emergency management offices, depending on the particular situation that is being addressed. In consultation with the Emergency Management Team, the President makes the final decision on whether the University will continue normal operations, delay the start of classes, or cancel classes. Safety of the campus community is the primary concern in making these decisions.” According to McCorry, the Emergency Management team considers road conditions to and from campus, the condition of parking lots and sidewalks within campus, facilities’ ability to manage the storm or other related issues, the status of local school districts and nearby universities, Township and County Offices’ operating
status, assessment of safety concerns such as tree damage, sidewalks, etc and the status of trains, rails, buses, etc. “Kean University has ongoing maintenance and storm preparedness programs designed to minimize the effects of any storm and keep the campus community safe should something beyond the University’s control cause an outage or a disruption. PSEG also has active maintenance programs,” said McCorry. McCorry offered these steps in the event of a future power outage: PSEG has an interactive “Outage Map” that can be accessed by the public at http://outagecenter.pseg.com/ external/default.html. It provides current information about outages, locations of outages, and the estimated amount of time for a resolution. The Kean community should also register for Kean’s Campus Alert, which provides updated information in an emergency. To register, visit www.kean.edu/KU/CampusAlert. Users of the system are strongly encouraged to use the text message notification option of the Campus Alert System. Updates and notices are also sent to the campus community through the University website at www.kean. edu, Facebook page (www.facebook.com/keanuniversity) or Twitter account (@KeanUniversity). Please see the Office of Residential Student Services Facebook page (www.facebook.com/keanreslife) and Twitter page (www.twitter.com/Kean_U_Res_Life) for specific information regarding the residential community. Kean Ocean students should visit the Ocean County College website (www.ocean.edu) for information regarding any campus closures or class cancellations, and sign up for the Viking Alert at ocean.sendwordnow.com. Students enrolled in classes at Middlesex County College, Bergen Community College or Raritan Valley Community College should always visit the website and sign up for the emergency alert system for the institution they are attending for information in an emergency.
Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and before we know it, it will be upon us. Although many people celebrate the holiday by showing their admiration for their significant other, many people feel it is a pointless celebration. What some fail to realize is that Valentine’s Day is not only celebrated between couples, but among loved ones in general. Whether you are in a relationship or not, it is safe to say that there is someone in your life that you love and that is what Valentine’s Day is all about – showing appreciation for the people you love and the people who mean the most to you. “I think Valentine’s Day is bittersweet,” said Ymani Hawkins, a junior majoring in communication studies. “To some it may bring joy, happiness and romance while to others, it may bring depression, loneliness and vulnerability.” As the holiday is associated with couples, it is common that some people who aren’t currently in a relationship may feel these negative emotions. A way to avoid these feelings, is to celebrate the holiday in a way that will bring joy to you. “When I was single, I took myself on dates and went out with my friends,” said Hawkins. “In my opinion, the day should not be limited to those in relationships as the day is about love and celebrating it no matter who or what you love.” “I think people just assume that Valentine’s Day is only for couples but it’s a day dedicated to love. You don’t really see people go out with friends or someone other than their significant other,” said Anam Naqvi, a junior majoring in psychology. “But I feel like there would be nothing wrong with taking out a friend or a family member.” Naqvi even surprised her best friend one year with a box of her favorite chocolates. Hawkins and Naqvi clearly embrace the positives the holiday radiates, relationship or not. They associate the holiday with love in general and understand love is the main essence of Valentine’s Day and not only in a romantic way. While others, like Odalis Uscanga, a junior majoring in public relations doesn’t understand why Valentine’s Day is even a holiday. “Sometimes life just takes over and it becomes difficult to take a day to remember to celebrate with either your significant other or someone you deeply care for,” said Uscanga. “As we get older, our lives get busier and more stressful resulting in limited expressions of appreciation and love for the people in our lives who most deserve it. This is why many people argue that Valentine’s Day is irrelevant and your love for someone should be shown everyday through ordinary actions instead of big gestures one day a year.” No matter what you decide to partake in this Valentine’s Day, make sure it is something that makes you happy. A day built around love should not create stress or sadness, but happiness and relief. Enjoy dinner with your significant other, catch a movie with your best friend or simply sit on your couch in pajamas and binge-watch a TV show on Netflix. Celebrate who and what you love this Valentine’s Day to ensure yourself an enjoyable holiday.
Photo: Joshua Rosario
CAS building 1st f loor during the power outage
4 THE TOWER
Kean hosts meet the Greeks once again By Greg Patuto On Wednesday, January 25, 2017, students, alumni, staff, family and friends lined up inside the Harwood Arena in anticipation for the biannual Spring 2017 Meet the Greeks. Doors for this event opened at 5 p.m. and the festivities ranged from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. With music blaring inside the gymnasium, the fraternity brothers and sorority sisters were putting the final touches on their display tables. A sense of excitement and anxiousness filled the air as everyone was waiting to see what this year’s event was going to bring. Delta Phi Epsilon, the largest sorority on Kean’s campus, did a replica of the famous Las Vegas, Nevada sign. The sign had a pink outline and read “Welcome to Fabulous DPHIE.” The table itself was pink and filled with decorations to satisfy the Vegas theme. There are over 300 Greek life members at Kean University and over 9 million around the country. Kean recognizes 15 fraternities, 14 sororities and one co-ed organization. Each and every organization is unique and has different things to offer but they all share the same goal. “Sororities and fraternities do a bunch of community service,” explained Michelle Martinez, a senior majoring in psychology. “They raise so much money for so many different [causes]. My sorority raises a lot of money for ALS specifically.” Students and potential members of Greek organizations ranged from freshmen to seniors to transfer students looking to become more involved. To become a member, there are some guidelines to follow. A new member must have a 2.5 grade point average and have completed at least 12 credits
The crowd goes wild as different Greek organizations take the stage to perform
at Kean. They must submit a prospective new member information form and attend a new member orientation meeting on University guidelines and state laws. Prospective students are not the only ones feeling nervous and anxious, every year the organizations wait patiently and look forward to seeing the new faces they can bring in.
“It’s definitely a little nerve wracking but it’s absolutely a really exciting process,” said Martinez. “You never know who you’re really going to get but hopefully through it all you get a bunch of new girls with new great ideas that they can bring to the organization.” The Greek students will soon begin working on the next step of the process of getting to know the prospective members.
Photo: Alex Louis
Meet the Greeks is the first step to finding your new home and building friendships that will last a lifetime. “I think a night like this brings Kean University together as a whole and it introduces Greek life to potential members,” said Saajan Pabari, a sophomore majoring in psychology. “I think it’s just a great way to bond with each other.”
Global business majors required to travel abroad By Kiara Mays There have been quite a few misconceptions floating about Kean University concerning the College of Business and Public Management (CBPM). One of the popular misinterpretations being that all CBPM students are required to enroll in a program that entails an international component. That is not the case for all Business majors, however, it is in fact true that all Global Business majors are to participate in a project that calls for travel to another country. “Global Business majors have a required Global Consulting Project called the Global Practica which is a different experience than studying abroad,” said Paul Goncalves, Manager of Global Programs at the CBPM. In a nutshell, the Global Practica program is an opportunity for Global Business majors to gain firsthand experience in their field by working with companies/businesses in other countries. The students help the companies in a number of ways. For
example, they may conduct an extensive analysis of the company, provide feedback/ recommendations in order to make the company better, as well as strategize and devise plans for the company. “Every company that the students have worked with have been willing to host the teams again because they’ve produced great work,” said Goncalves. Some companies that the students have worked with include: Kangnai, one of the oldest and most successful shoe manufacturers in China, 3FiveTwoGroup, a private medical company in the U.K., Dräger, Concentric AB, and Wakefern, just to name a few. “Concentric AB treated my team and the students from Germany as professionals and members of the company,” said Julio C. Olivo, a Senior and Global Business major at Kean. “My team and I were able to go back into our past courses and apply concepts learned in Supply Chain Management, Finance, Operations Management, and International Management.”
Photo: Mary Christine Demetillo
Mary Christine along with other students a part of Global Practica program with ThreeFiveTwo Group in Northern Ireland
For those that are interested or may be considering a major in Global Business, the Global Practica program is a two week consulting assignment that takes place in another country. In the past three years and as recent as this past Summer, teams of about 5-6 students along with a faculty advisor have traveled to Germany, Northern Ireland, Panama, China, and more. The program takes place in early June of about Junior year for CBPM students and in order to participate, students will have had
to have completed 60 credits. Students of the past who have already taken part in the Global Practica program have had nothing but positive things to say about it. “Through my years at Kean, I would have to say that being able to experience the Global Practica is one of the things that I will treasure the most,” said Mary Christine Demetillo, Global Business major and senior at Kean. “The practica helped me discover who I am as a business person and who I want to be.”
Media professor shows students how MSG produces live Devils games By Alex Wisniewski
Photo: Alex Wisniewski
Devils center Travis Zajac with George Falkowski
One adjunct professor at Kean University used his experience as a former sports reporter to give students a more-hands on approach to learn TV studio production. George Falkowski, a Kean alum, took his students on a field trip, as he does every semester, to a Devils game at the Prudential Center in Newark. The trip allows students to get a behind-the-scenes look at how MSG airs a live game. “Everybody knows me, everybody knows my passion for hockey and for the Devils especially,” said Falkowski. “The whole thing for me is if I can take you into my old world and show you what it’s like, it’s more than you’ll ever get in four years of education at any college because there’s nothing like seeing it up close.” Falkowski has worked in sports broadcasting since 1983. Some of his gigs include New England Sports Network, Sportschannel NY, and News 12 New Jersey, where he worked until 2013. Over the course of his career Falkowski has won four Emmy awards, and worked as an artist, writer, and on-air personality reporting on Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox, New York
Islanders, and New Jersey Devils games. He credits his career to his guru, Stan Fischler, a hockey historian for MSG. Falkowski connected with Fischler, also known as “The Maven” after he became an intern for him in college. “I’ve been with so many interns over the years… and there are some interns that remain in the fold, so to speak, as friends,” said Fishler. “Established, longtime, friends… and George is one of them.” Falkowski used his previously established connections to arrange the trip. He took the students on a tour from the press box high above ice level, to the media deck directly above center ice, and to the Devils dressing room following the game. On the trip Falkowski led his students on a tour of the building, showing them the behindthe-scenes process that goes into putting a hockey game on television. “It was really awesome listening to the directors and hearing what they have to say and what they want from the production and actually watching the game and hearing what [the color commentators] are saying about it,” said Katie Kidney, a junior majoring in communications.
Anyone who has taken the tour with Falkowski knows that at the Prudential Center he is a very familiar face. “I’ve always had professors who’ve talked – I know this person, I know that person, but they never actually showed it,” said Edward Karmin, a senior majoring in media and film. “But the fact that [Falkowski] was able to show… I did this I did that, and then also you actually go see that he did it you’re like ‘okay, this guy’s legit.’” Falkowski is friendly with the staff, courteous with the fans, and has a rapport with the professional hockey players and coaches. Eleven-year veteran Devils player Travis Zajac, who has known Falkowski since beginning his career in 2006, recognized him during the post-game interviews. “He’s usually coming in either the day before a game or game day and just around the players getting quotes of who’s coming in, what the team needs, things like that – what’s going on in the Devils locker room these days,” said Zajac. “It’s good to have guys around who understand the team and want to report on things like that.” Falkowski teaches media performance, TV studio production, and intro to TV news.
THE TOWER 5
Trump’s tax plan will not make America great again By Germain Palacios If “Making America Great Again” means decreasing taxes for some while increasing taxes for others, count me out. Count low- and middle-income families with dependents out, too. An estimated 20 percent of households and more than half of single parents would pay more in federal taxes under Donald Trump’s tax plan, according to an analysis conducted by Lily Batchelder, professor of law and public policy at New York University. The analysis was conducted for the Tax Policy Center, and has been cited by several journalists and political pundits when debating the proposed tax plan. Trump’s tax plan would eliminate head-ofhousehold filing status, repeal personal and dependent exemptions and reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three. As a result, taxpayers that currently file as head-of-household, including single parents, would have to pay more in taxes without any exemptions to offset the increased financial burden. Having been raised by a single mother, I am familiar with the financial burden associated with running a single-parent home. Taking away head-of-household tax cuts will only add to that burden. But there are several potential pitfalls in Trump’s tax plan, and three in particular contradict the notion of “Making America Great Again”. The first problem is the elimination of the head-ofhousehold filing status. Under the current tax plan, a head-of-household receives tax breaks that single filers do not qualify for. Single parents and other would-be head-of-household filers would lose those tax breaks
while also being subject to a tax increase under Trump’s tax reform. Married couples with children are also likely to receive a tax hike due to the elimination of personal exemptions, according to Batchelder’s analysis. The second problem is the elimination of personal and dependent exemptions. Under the current tax plan, each exemption a taxpayer claims equals a deduction of $4,050. These exemptions include the taxpayer, a spouse (if applicable), children and any other dependent relatives. But the Trump plan does not take into consideration that taxes will increase for taxpayers with multiple dependents. Under Trump’s tax plan, a couple with one child will lose three exemptions, equaling to a loss of $12,150. A single parent with one dependent and an annual income of $37,500 will be paying more than double of what they currently pay. Eliminating exemptions while increasing taxes for low- and middle-income families would financially burden families of all sizes. The third issue I have with Trump’s plan is the consolidation of tax brackets, proposed under the guise of cutting taxes across the board. Reducing the tax rate from 15 percent to 12 percent for a single filer earning up to $37,650 would provide some economic relief for that segment of taxpayers, but high-income taxpayers will benefit the most from Trump’s tax cuts. On average, taxpayers earning over $700,000 would receive a tax cut of nearly $215,000, according to a USA Today article dated from Nov. 28 by Christopher Rugaber titled “Trump Would Hike Taxes for Some in Middle Class”. I understand that every plan has its pros and cons.
Photo: Creative Commons via Michael Vadon Flickr
In a Washington Post article titled “A New Study Says Trump Would Raise Taxes for Millions. Trump’s Campaign Insists He Won’t.” dated from Sept. 24, Jim Tankersley noted that the Trump camp dismissed Batchelder’s analysis because it did not account for a provision in which the government matches “up to $500 per year, per child, for parents who put money into a tax-preferred dependent care savings account”. This seems like a solution. But the provision does not help filers who have little to no disposable income to put towards savings. Trump’s tax plan will add to the economic disparity that exists today. The plan will sabotage his promise to make our country great again. Making America great again should involve reducing income inequality by creating jobs and other opportunities, rather than adopting tax breaks that serve the best interest of the upper class. To make America great again, we need a tax plan that benefits all taxpayers, not just those at the top income levels. Germain Palacios is a senior majoring in English.
Why I love watching sports – and you should too By Tyler Sousa
Photo: Mike Mozart via Creative Commons
Wells Fargo was fined $185 million in fines last year for illegally opening accounts without customers’ consent.
Kean should boycott Wells Fargo in wake of unethical practices By Louis Nicastro I am calling upon Kean University to boycott Wells Fargo for their numerous unethical practices and rampant criminal activity. I am calling upon my fellow Kean students to close out your Wells Fargo bank accounts. Wells Fargo, one of the architects of the 2008 financial collapse, is once again in court due to another scandal. Bank employees opened scores of unauthorized checking accounts and credit cards for their customers without their permission. Wells Fargo employees opened about $2 million in bogus accounts, which contained forged signatures, fake email address and pin numbers, according to The New York Times. Employees felt that they had no other option but to commit these fraudulent actions due to constant hounding and harassment by their supervisors to meet quotas. Wells Fargo, and other major banks, has shown us constantly that they have learned nothing from the 2008 financial collapse. The worst part of this scandal is that the bank charged their customers $1.5 million in fees and penalties for these fake accounts. The vile actions of Wells Fargo extend further with other scandals being brought out of the shadows. Wells Fargo recently had to pay $24.1 million for illegally repossessing the personal vehicles of U.S. veterans, according to the L.A. Times. Wells Fargo is also a key financial lender to the controversial Dakota Access LLC, which is building a pipeline through the
lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Will anyone from Wells Fargo be imprisoned for these actions? I highly doubt it. Time and time again, big banks operate like mafia families pillaging the working class citizens of this nation. Our government rewards them for their crimes with bailouts funded by you, the taxpayer. I appeal to you, Kean President Dawood Farahi, to remove their ATM’s from our campus. Replace them entirely with a banking institution that actually cares about their community. To my fellow students and alumni, close your Wells Fargo accounts. Do not give this soulless, despicable institution another dime of your hard earned money. Choose a better alternative, a local banking institution engaged in community enrichment like Spencer Savings or Lakeland, or better yet choose a credit union. Credit unions are nonprofit and community-based. The main goal of banks is to make money for their corporate shareholders. The main goal of credit unions is to make money for you, the member. Credit unions, unlike banks, view you as a member not a customer they can take advantage of. To Wells Fargo, I will be working diligently to make sure you are no longer a guest at our campus. Your invitation has been revoked. Get out. Editor’s note: Louis Nicastro is a senior criminal justice major and member of Kean University’s Young Greens party on campus.
If star NBA player LeBron James scored 100 points tonight, the sports world would explode. Sports fanatics everywhere would lose their minds; even casual fans would talk about it for days. Sports are a pillar in our country, and a large percentage of the media spotlight shines on both local and national sports organizations. Still, there are also the people for which sports means nothing. Perhaps they prefer to watch scripted television dramas as they wind down after a long day at work. They watch their favorite character find their way through a stressful situation and hope for them to overcome adversity. This doesn’t sound much different from their sports-obsessed counterpart. Consider a New York Yankee as that guy in your favorite show who has been unstoppable since season one. But somewhere around season 5, his evil stepbrother (the Boston Red Sox) obtains the upper hand, and things aren’t looking so good for the knight in shining armor. So you tune in, hoping this is the episode where their roles are restored and normalcy is finally returned to the universe. Welcome to the rollercoaster ride that is sports fandom. Professional sports may seem overly glorified to some, but there is no denying they are a powerhouse in entertainment around the world. According to a report from Nielson, dramas draw the largest viewership on TV, with 44 percent going to drama, followed by sports, with a 22 percent share. So why there are hundreds of channels dedicated to sports? The answer is in the numbers, and I’m not talking about statistics. I’m talking about annual revenue here, and I’m not sure there are many organizations in the
world making more money than what the National Football League raked in last year. A study by cost information website, howmuch.net, revealed that the NFL brought in $12 billion last year. For some reference, the top-rated television show in 2012 was American Idol, which had $6.6 million in 2012 ad revenue, according to an article on Forbes.com. How does this compare to the price of a commercial during an NFL game? Ever heard of the Super Bowl? This year, a 30-second commercial went for about a cool $5 million. And for good reason. Nothing is quite like sports on television. You might have a good idea of who will win a game on any given night, but nothing is for sure. You could listen to all of the sports radio you want, but no one knows what’s going to unfold when the teams actually take the field. Most dramas these days aren’t going to keep kicking your favorite character while they’re down, and you can usually count on said character to exact his revenge before the season is over. Sports are raw and real, and true fandom is tested when your team gets embarrassed week after week. There is no underlying script being followed, and happy endings are far from guaranteed. That’s why it’s all the sweeter when your favorite team asserts itself as the best and brings home a championship. Sports can be a lot of things for a lot of people, and the connections people create through them are invaluable. Whether it is the profit it provides, the outlet it can be, or just simply it’s entertainment value, sports are a focal point in our society, and needless to say, here to stay. So next time you’re looking for a new drama to binge watch, why don’t you flip on the game? The best part? The series never ends. Tyler Sousa is a senior majoring in English
“Nothing is quite like sports on television.”
Photo: Creative Commons
ARTS & CULTURE
6 THE TOWER
Music Cafe looks to backup new talent during annual college tour
Photo by: Music Cafe
Left: Music Cafe during their annual college tour in 2015. Above: Buttons for Music Cafe
By Kiana Simon Music Cafe, a group of six musicians who back up other artists and tour college campuses, held auditions for a new front person at Kean University and William Paterson University last month. The group has yet to unveil its selection. As the Music Cafe plays many different types of music, they do not categorize themselves as any particular genre of music. Each new front person determines their style for the entire year during their annual college tour. Dezz Welder, 27, is the founder of Music Cafe and a Kean University graduate. At the age of six, Wilder began playing the drums. He caught on by watching his older cousins take on the instrument and knew he could do it too. It was always Wilder’s dream to play in front of thousands of people, and today, he’s turning that dream into reality. “When I got to high school, I started playing for my church and little concerts at my school,” said Welder.
“When I got to Kean, I started attending different events that revolved around musicians and artist. From there I fell in love with the ambiance. It wasn’t too long until I wanted a showcase of my own.” The first Music Cafe show was held on February 27, 2011 in Elizabeth at Paradise Lounge on East Grand Street. The tour officially started in the spring semester of 2013. The selections of schools the tour travels to varies every year due to growth coming with better opportunities for Music Cafe. They’ve visited Montclair State University, William Paterson University and Kean University. “Kean is very important to Music Cafe because the brains behind the production started there with Dezz and Shane,” said Shaquille ‘SB’ Brown, the new band leader for Music Cafe. “Real music and talent is still alive and our job is to showcase jersey’s finest.” The group has yet to announce their future stops in the 2017 tour. For more information, follow Music Cafe on Twitter @MusicCafe_Live.
“Kean is very important to Music Cafe because the brains behind the production started there with Dezz and Shane”
North Avenue bar celebrates holidays with real-life ‘Rocky’ By Rebecca Panico Some came to the annual holiday party at Sharkey’s Campus Inn for a few drinks, free catered food, live music or to catch up with old friends. But just about everyone came to the bar at 498 North Ave. for Chuck Wepner, whom the “Rocky” films are based off of. “I know most of these people,” Wepner said. “They’re nice people here. They’re good, blue collar, hard-working people here.” Joe Sharkey has owned the bar, located about a block away from Kean University, for about 25 years. Wepner is his godfather, but the two refer to each other as uncle and nephew since they’re so close. Photographs of Wepner line an entire wall at one end of the bar, which Sharkey calls the “Wall of Fame.” Wepner’s fights were played on loop on televisions, too. “I do this every year,” said Sharkey of the annual holiday party. “I put a free buffet out. I have live entertainment. I have a beer special. I do this once a year, I give back to my customers.” Wepner, a Bayonne native, went into the ring with the late Muhammad Ali for the 1975 world heavyweight title. He lasted fifteen rounds, and even knocked Ali down at one point, before losing. “I was one of the ushers,” said Wepner, referring to Ali’s funeral. “I was up there with all the champions, we paid our respects for him. He was a great fighter and a great man.” Several people from Bayonne stopped by the Union Township bar, and patrons both young and old stayed into the early morning hours of Wednesday, enjoying live music by Skyline Showband. News of the party spread mostly through word-of-mouth. One bartender compared Sharkey’s to “Cheers,” an 80s sitcom about a cozy bar in Boston and its witty employees and patrons. “It’s like ‘Cheers,’” said Hope Moran, who’s been bartending at Sharkey’s since August. “It’s like a great big family, full of love, familiarity and comfort.” Those at the event said they’ve been coming to Sharkey’s for several years and are attracted to its homey characteristics, like the friendly bartenders, pool table and dartboard. “It’s a place where everyone knows your name,” said Bolivar Valdivieso, who goes by Bo,
Photos by: Rebecca Panico
Above: Chuck Wepner (right) met with bar-goers at Sharkey’s Campus Inn for an annual holiday party at the bar Below: Sharkey’s Campus Inn, a bar located at 498 North Ave. in Union, NJ.
after the event. The famous boxer — who said he’s been coming to Sharkey’s for the past 27 years — got along with some people at Kean University. He said he was friends with a former athletic director and referred to Kean as “a great college.” Wepner, who’s known as the Bayonne Bleeder, also has a new film set to be released in the U.S. next year about his life. The movie, titled “The Bleeder,” stars Liev Schreiber as Wepner.
College Hour Episode 2: Shawn Crysis
By Elijah Tarik Powell By day, he’s a senior at Kean University majoring in psychology with plans to pursue a doctorate degree. But in between those big dreams, Shawn Lawson lays his politicallycharged poems over beats in his dorm. For episode No. 2 of “College Hour” — a video series focusing on artists at Kean — we discussed his recent musical release, as well as how he as a musician fits into today’s society. Lawson, whose stage Photo: David Long name is Shawn Crysis, Shawn Crysis began writing raps in high school when he saw his peers rapping. Making music became a coping mechanism during his adolescence. “Out of nowhere it started to become fun just putting words together, and it started to help with a lot of the things I was thinking in my head, because I didn’t know who to tell them to anybody besides myself,” said Lawson. His style changed over time from witty, braggadocious bars to politicallycharged and culturally sensitive lyricism, which is exemplified in his recent release, entitled “Hang On.” All 11 tracks tell the story of life in America as a person of color, and the American history that makes such a story still exist today. Lawson, 25, said that when he transferred to Kean as a junior in 2015, it was a time when racial turmoil seemed to be at its peak in the media, and it lit the fire in him, causing his primary subject matter. Since that time, political undertones in music that speak to race relations, income inequality, and sexism have found their way onto the mainstream stage. However, while awareness of such issues has increased, the result has been tensions worsening instead of getting better. Lawson said that when rapping about these issues from other perspectives other than his own, he can better connect with people and provide a positive, more comfortable atmosphere that is more conducive to change that a regular debate where the focus falls solely on opposition. “I just like the aspect of perspective just because nobody’s right and nobody’s wrong, it’s just a matter of feeling and opinion in many different ways, and that’s what I literally try to give out,” said Lawson. Recording in his dorm, Shawn operates the same way most young, do-ityourself (D.I.Y) underground artists of this generation do. Utilizing a mic wired to the Fruity Loops program on his computer, he mixes beats and his vocals himself. Lawson’s latest release has been met with positive reviews from Kean students. Rikkii Orange, an English major, was touched by the project. “I do think this album represents the present of today,” said Orange. “We live in world where our health, livelihood, and existence is tested and threatened every single day. Sometimes we fight it, sometimes we wanna stop fighting, sometimes we just wanna forget the fight. However, no matter where we are in the fight we remember that we must hang on.” Shawn Crysis can be found on Twitter and Instagram @fat_fingerz. You can listen to “Hang On” on Soundcloud.
THE TOWER 7
Indie ‘Clown Town’ series premieres in Montclair By Rebecca Panico Louis Bacigalupo hadn’t considered there would be a nationwide clown scare last year when he shot “Clown Town,” a movie featuring actors dressed in clown makeup. There were obviously some challenges during shooting. “There was a rowboat scene,” said Bacigalupo, who was covered in fake blood for the shoot. “We get on the boat, we push off, and the cops roll up. And we’re like ‘oh my god,’ we’re like five f—ing clowns in a rowboat. Like, after all this crazy clown shit you hear on the news.” Bacigalupo is a former communication major at Kean who dropped out to pursue acting school instead. He now studies at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. He and Louis Nicastro, currently a criminal justice major at Kean, put together the fivepart series which will be aired on Vimeo for free after premiering at local concert venues this February. “I’m good at organizing,” said Nicastro, who co-produced the movie with Bacigalupo. If something’s off…I can see it, I visualize and then I tell them. I dictate, like ‘hey, maybe you should try this, try that.’”
Shot in Lake Hopatcong and set in Montclair, the movie follows the story of Lew, played by Bacigalupo, when he returns from a psychiatric ward after a suicide attempt. Everyone appears as clowns to him upon his return. Lew falls for Lola, played by Maya Murphy, who asks him to kill her boyfriend, played by Charles DePiero. Not in the right state of mind, Lew holds him hostage in his room for weeks, feeding him beer and applesauce. Bacigalupo said he got the inspiration to write the independent, dark comedy while drinking at a bar one night and observing his other “despondent” actor friends. He questioned whether all his artistic friends were really happy. “So that’s where I got the idea for ‘Clown Town,’ where I’d write about all these people that look happy because they’re clowns, but they’re just miserable,” he said. There were six main actors, with Nicastro playing an extra. The film had a small budget of about $200, most of which went to beer on the set, Bacigalupo said. The movie premiered at the Meatlocker in Montclair on Feb. 8 at 9 p.m., where all parts of the series were shown as a feature-length movie.
Photo: Louis Nicastro
Louis Bacigalupo, who plays the main character Lew, on the set of “Clown Town.”
Students learn to overcome stereotypes at workshop By Kiana Simone About 30 students attended a workshop at Kean University called More Than Meets the Eye, which was geared towards overcoming stereotypes that people place among their peers. During the workshop, the attendees got a chance to choose stereotypes that were once placed upon them such as quiet, weird, bougie, nonchalant, clown and more. Bre’yanie Pearson, a 20-year-old public
relations major, helped put the event together. “We had deeper conversation highlighting how does judging affect people and why it’s important to get to know people before judging them,” said Pearson, adding that attendees were also asked how they can turn their stereotypes from a negative to a positive. The workshop was a part of a platform called Embracing the Crown, which was created by Seton Hall graduates Jadea Asante and Shelby Atkins. Embracing the
Crown was designed to empower women on both a professional and collegiate level. The platform was created in 2014. Asante and Atkins have since been able to partner with a lot of colleges and universities, middle and high schools, and also nonprofit organizations throughout the state to present their platform. They have had the chance to reach hundreds of young men and women along the way. Right: Bre’Yanie Pearson, a public relations representative for Embracing the Crown Photo: Bre’Yanie Pearson
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the march was supposed to start at 1 pm and at 2 pm they took over the streets of Washington DC, down Pennsylvania Ave. and Independence Ave. marching on their own. “It became this very organic sensation, like people were walking together and chanting,” said Dr. Shebitz. At one point, the crowd was stuck in place because they had already occupied the mile and a half strip. The entire rally was supportive and peaceful, she said, noting that police officers were high-fiving those who were walking. “Feeling that sense of community in the middle of our Nation’s capital was just majestic, it was breathtaking,” Dr. Shebitz said. She said people were chanting ‘Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!’ and other chants about equality. , a whole bunch of chants about fascism, Black Lives Matter, whatever people were feeling,” she said. “I needed to surround myself with people with similar passion for equality, human equality not just women’s equality, but equality of different ethnic groups, immigrant status, and economic groups, so just human equality in general, and I needed to feel positive energy instead of just sitting and waiting for change to happen,” said who attended the march in Washington, D.C. The lack of violence was a bit of surprise these days. Kean senior Andrea Mitchell, has a one-year-old and wanted to attend but was afraid it would turn violent, as the past protests have. “I was scared…(of) how people might act because most of it is in response to Trump and lately people have been acting unruly,” she said. Misty Suarez, Communication/Public Relations, took the road trip to D.C. with her friends to the D.C. march . “It was very crowded and overwhelming, but extremely liberating,” she said. “It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget and I am glad that I got to experience history in person.” Michelle Ripa, a sophomore and speech pathology major, went to the march with her mom, and called it “beautiful and empowering.”
Kean University Department of Public Safety police blotter By Cody Louie
Jan. 4: Fire alarm activated from sprinkler head in the STEM building
Jan. 7: Shower steam triggered a fire alarm at the faculty house
Theft: Unknown person took a silver hot dog grill roller from the concession stand at Harwood Arena Jan. 9: A dirty smoke detector triggered another fire alarm at Bartlett Hall
Jan. 12: Fire alarm activated by a smoke detector head covered in water due to a leak from earlier rain conditions “I think a lot of people found it really empowering to see other women and even men continue to fight for our right to our bodies,” she said. One of the men was student Jack Tomey, a Business-Management Major in his third year at Kean. He said though it was called the “women’s march”, all people were welcome to participate. “This was the first kind of organized protest that I’d ever been a part of, and it was incredible,” Tomy said. “It was great to be surrounded by people that recognize the problems facing our country and who were willing to speak out.” More than 400,000 peaceful marchers in NYC, over 500,000 in Washington, D.C., over 250,000 in Chicago, and over 700,000 in Los Angeles. And there were marches in over 600 cities in the U.S. and abroad -- including marches in Trenton, Westfield and Asbury Park in NJ. According to The Washington Post, an estimated 4.2 million people were present in the U.S. The big question now is whether the movement can be sustained. Dr. Shebitz said she will do her part. Her next step is to host “postcard writing parties to write postcards to politicians. She said future marches are planned, including fa climate march in Washington on April 29th. “So my feet are just getting warmed up…” she said. Staﬀ writers Monica Sudﬁeld, Adrianna Ruﬀo, Johanna Ekladous, Gail Fredericks, Cody Louie, Brittany Pavlichko, Joshua Roasario and Rafaela Teixeira did the reporting for this article.
Arrest: 25-year-old man from Roselle arrested for contempt
Jan. 13: Unidentifiable odor believed to be from the HVAC air handling units at the Administration office
Jan. 14: Fire alarm in the UC Hall activated from shower steam Jan. 15: Student removed from the trespass list at Burch Hall Jan. 16: Unknown person took a victim’s vehicle at VaughnEames lot Jan. 18: Person stuck in the elevator in the Freshman Hall
Jan. 19: Fire alarm activated from an oil lamp at the Freshman Hall Student welfare check occurred; the student was located and fine
Jan. 20: Unknown person broke the victim’s radio, moved the victim’s belongings, tampered with a bottle of air freshener, and wrote on the victim’s athletic jersey in the Freshman Hall Person on the no-trespass list in Burch Hall was signed into the building
Jan. 23: Unknown person took a victim’s laptop from their room in the Administration building Jan. 24: A person obtained a victim’s banking information and social security number and changed the passwords to the account Jan. 26: 22-year-old Piscataway man arrested for contempt
8 THE TOWER
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: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.kutower.com
The lowdown on blood tests and what they tell you
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.
By Dr. Josh Palgi Blood tests are a laboratory analysis performed on blood samples. Multiple tests for specific blood components are often grouped together into one-test panel called blood panel or blood work. Blood tests play a role in our health care. It is an important role but in many cases the lab tests don’t provide all the inPhoto: Creative Commons formation the doctor needs to make a diagnosis or treatment decisions. Doctors usually use the results of tests along with information about your health, gender, age and other factors. Making sense of your lab test involves more than knowing why the test is done. It is also important to understand what the results mean and what factors can affect results. Sometimes test results can be affected by when you last ate or exercised, your age, and medicines or herbal supplements you’re taking. Minor fluctuations in test results may reflect recent infections, medication side effects, stress, gender and age. It is not important to diagnose or treat any disease or problem with this blood test alone. It can, however, help to learn more about your body and detect potential problems. Blood test results usually contain a number followed by a unit of measurement. The units provide a way to report results so that they can be compared. Many lab test results are expressed as a number that falls within a reference range. A reference range is determined by testing large groups of healthy people to find what is normal for that group. Each reference range is different because it is created from information from a specific group. When the numbers of the test are higher or lower in the reference range, further testing may be needed. Test results may be positive, false positive, negative, false negative or inconclusive. A positive test result means that the substance or condition being tested for was found. The amount of the substance being tested for can be higher or lower than normal. A negative test result means that the substance or condition being tested for was not found. Negative results can also mean that the substance being tested for was present in a normal amount. Inconclusive test results are not clearly positive or negative. A false positive test result shows a disease or condition is present when it is not present. A false negative test result detects what is being tested for even though it is not present.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: ROSE MARIE KITCHEN FATURES/A&E EDITOR: ADRIANNA RUFFO SPORTS EDITOR SARA RIDGEWAY ONLINE EDITOR: CODY LOUIE ONLINE EDITOR: BRITTANY PAVLICHKO VIDEO EDITOR: DAVID LONG WEB DEVELOPER/ENGAGEMENT EDITOR: REBECCA PANICO
Patients may receive reports with blood test abbreviations. Examples of common blood test abbreviations are shown:
HDL: High Density Lipoprotein – Level of “good cholesterol” in the blood (ratio of HDL: LDL is usually more significant than actual values) LDL: Low Density Lipoprotien – Level of “bad cholesterol” in the blood (ratio of HDL: LDL is usually more significant than actual values) CRP: C- Reactive Protein – Level of inflammation with the body. If the immune system is fighting an infection or illness, CRP will be higher. CBC: Complete Blood Count TSH: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone – Thyroid regulates the function of metabolism. Low levels can lead to weight loss, while high levels lead to weight gain. The most common lab test that you will have done during treatment is called a complete blood count, or CBC. Blood is made up of water, protiens, nutrients, and living cells. A CBC tells about the cells in your blood. It measures 3 basic types of cells: Red blood cells, White blood cells and Platelets. Each of these cells has a special purpose. Red blood cells (RBCs) carry oxygen to hand carbon dioxide away from the cells. The simplest measure is either Hemoglobin (Hgb) or Hematocrit (Hct), the percent of RBC in the blood. Platelets (Plts) help control bleeding. The risk of bleeding goes up when platelets levels drop below 20,000. White blood cells (WBCs) fight infection. There are many types of white blood cells and each fights infection in a special way
KIANA ANDERSON CRAIG EPSTEIN JOHANNA EKLADOUS JOEL JOLY KIARA MAYS JENNIFER PADILLA MICHAEL ROCHE
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Another very common blood test is Lipid Panel (or Lipid Profile) measuring: Total Cholesterol: Healthy – Below 200 mg/dL (Below 5.18 mmol/L) -Borderline high – 200-239 mg/dL (5.2 – 6.2 mmol/L) -High – Above 240 mg/dL (above 6.2 mmol/L) Triglycerides, a healthy range is 40-60 mg/dL And HDL, known as the (good) cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Low \ scores are risk factors for heart disease. Best- above 60 mg/dL Good- 50-60 mg/dL Poor- below 40 mg/dL for men, below 50 mg/dL for women., HDL (high density LDL, known as (Bad) Cholesterol, is the substance that clogs arteries and is linked to heart disease. Optimal: below 100 mg/dL Near optimal: 100 – 129 mg/dL Borderline High: 130-159 mg/dL High: 160-189 mg/dL Very High: above 189 mg/dL Total Cholesterol/HDL ratio is another way of checking the risk of heart disease and the lower the ratio, the lower the risk. Optimal is a ratio of 3.5 to 1
MONICA SUDFIELD RAFAELA TEIXEIRA GAIL FREDRICKS JOSHUA ROSARIO ESTEFANI HERNANDEZ GREGORY PATUTO
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Simple Tips to keep your numbers in a healthy range:
Educate yourself, determine your current numbers and learn about correct ranges Eat healthy Eat your calories, don’t drink them Keep moving Don’t smoke Don’t obsess over your numbers. If your numbers are not perfect, that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. Make small changes and check them again. Get an annual check-up, and don’t skip routine bloodwork. Even if you feel that you are healthy, it’s still a good idea.
Reﬂections from departing editor-in-chief during tough times for journalists By Rebecca Panico As I enter my last semester at Kean University and leave my post as editor-in-chief to handle web development for The Tower, I’ve been reflecting on my experiences throughout my academic career. It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve as a student reporter, news editor, co-editor and editor-in-chief at The Tower, where we’ve won several awards for our work. I want to ensure this work is seen by our audience, which is why I’m taking on social media and online engagement next semester. I’m handing over the reins to devote more time to look for work as a reporter during a challenging time for journalists: Few people understand the important role we play in a democracy. Journalists — even at the college level — are needed to hold people accountable and give a voice to the voiceless. They are the eyes and ears of their communities and scribes of history. Yet, an annual Gallup poll found that only 32 percent of those they surveyed had a “great
deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the media this year, down from an all-time high of 72 percent in 1976. Career Cast rated newspaper reporter as the worst job of 2016, behind pest control worker, enlisted military personnel and firefighters. The report cited low pay, high stress and a decline in available jobs for the rating. Broadcaster trailed close behind at 198 out of the 200 rated jobs. Meanwhile, our president would like to make it easier to sue journalists, fake news is trending and objectivity has become synonymous with normalizing. Being a journalist today can be alienating at times. All the arguments, phone hang ups and negative online comments have sometimes been discouraging. Even as a student-journalist, I’ve experienced people on both sides of a story who dislike my reporting. That must mean I’m doing a horrible job, or a really good one. Despite this, I can’t deny the call to pursue the basic tenets of journalism: truth, accuracy, fairness, independence, transparency and humanity.
Journalism, to me, is much more than simply telling both sides of a story. It’s finding information that wasn’t on the surface for all to see. It’s asking people tough, uncomfortable questions and does not aim to promote or destroy. It’s sweating the details, in grammar and choice of words. I hope I’ve left staff with an unwavering sense of the weight of words. I’ve come to view journalists as being similar to tattoo artists: Once you put it in ink, it’s there forever. There is no such thing as a small, insignificant story. Words can and will have an impact on people, and this applies to our personal and professional lives too. Everything we do at The Tower does matter. I would like to thank The Tower’s advisers, Pat Winters Lauro and Lois DeSocio, who have tamed my hot-headedness and kept the spark for reporting alive in me when I needed it the most. I’d also like to thank this campus — all the students, faculty and staff — for giving me the opportunity to tell its whole story, both the highs and the lows.
If it weren’t for my experience at The Tower, I never would have landed an internship with The Jersey Journal. That opportunity exposed me to a great deal of experiences — some difficult to bear witness to, and others joyful. I’m truly indebted to The Journal for crafting me into the journalist I am today. When I came to Kean University, I was an entirely different person. I was quiet, lacking in self esteem and dreaded picking up a phone to speak with strangers. I took up journalism because I enjoyed writing. I was in for a rude awakening once I quickly learned the difference between simply writing and reporting. The journalism program has taught me to think critically about the world around me and how to think beyond myself. The act of listening and really understanding others requires a selfless soul. I know I’ll be graduating in May with the tools necessary to succeed in the journalism field. Whatever the future holds, I’ll never forget my roots at Kean University and The Tower.
THE TOWER 9
The U.S. needs immigrants to fuel the economy By Nicole Brown Hundreds gather on the Canadian border to watch the migration of the Monarch Butterflies as they freely cross the United States borders, while thousands descend on the Serengeti to witness the massive migration of Wildebeests and Zebras as they head south for greener pastures. Migration is a way of life, not only for animals but also for humans. But today, in the United States, there is a strong movement against immigrants. Many natives in the United States have expressed antiimmigrant sentiments because they believe that immigration results in massive job loss for U.S born Americans. But, according to the American Society, Council of the Americas (ASCOA), the United States needs immigrants to fuel its economy. The Washington Post states, in a 2014 article, that despite an unemployment rate of 8.1 percent among U.S born citizens, employers still struggle to fill millions of jobs each months. The article reports that the future looks daunting
“Immigrants represent 25 percent of scientists and engineers in the United States.”
without the arrival of immigrants, since ASCOA reports that over 220,000 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) jobs, which requires a minimum of a master’s degree, will not be filled by 2018, even if every eligible American is employed. Immigrants represent 25 percent of scientists and engineers in the United States. Immigrants bring strong work ethics with them to the United States. In fact, ASCOA asserts that 68 percent of immigrants participated in the labor force in 2012 compared to 63 percent of U.S born citizens; immigrants make-up 13 percent of the population. According to the ASCOA, the United States population is aging. This means that a greater chance exists for unfilled jobs and talent shortages that can have a negative impact on the United States economy. The ASCOA contends that the United States will need immigrants to fill the gap, since by 2030, 76 million employees will retire and only 46 million U.S born workers will enter the work force. To sustain the economy growth, the United States will have to add 25 million workers by 2030. This means that the United States will not be able to support retirees without immigrants. The Huffington Post reports that immigrants’ entrepreneurial abilities create more jobs
Castro was a monster whose death should not be mourned
that benefit all Americans. HuffPo data shows that immigrants own 18 epercent of all small businesses in the United States. These businesses generate an estimated of $776 billion and employ over 4 million people. Immigrants and their children combined started over 400 Fortune 500 companies, including Kraft, Google and EBay, the article noted. Also, ASCOA states c that with every 10 percent increase in immigration, the volume of trade in America increases by 1.5 percent. Every skilled-based Visa that is issued creates over 180 jobs. Immigrants are determined to educate themselves. The Americas Quarterly reports that one in eight immigrants has an advanced degree. Also, immigrants account for 28 percent of doctoral degrees in all fields, and 40 percent of doctoral degrees in science and technology. It is detrimental to undermine the reality that the foundation of the United States is built on the arrival of immigrants. Therefore, before Americans begin to accuse immigrants of hefty job losses, they need to examine the enormous contribution of immigration on the economy and the gift of patriotism in “a first world country” that immigration brings. Nicole Brown is a senior majoring in Communication/Journalism.
How Hookup Culture Ruined Dating
By Daniel Rego Irony is not dead, but is living quite well. Take, for example, members of the free world bemoaning the death of an authoritarian tyrant. Fidel Castro, the pretend president of Cuba, died last November. Yet while the Cuban exiles who formerly lived under him celebrated in the streets of little Havana, many sheltered intellectuals lamented the passing of a revolutionary. There should have been no debate over Fidel Castro’s legacy. The man was a murderer and a thief, and to say otherwise is offensive to all who suffered and still stuffer because of him. Carlos Eire, a Yale professor, provided an excellent summary of Fidel’s true legacy in his piece for the Washington Post. The list of Castro’s crimes includes but is not limited to: innumerable executions, torture, theft of property, state censorship and persecution of gay people. The death of this monster seems like cause for celebration, but astoundingly some responded to his death with ignorant words of respect. Many news organizations failed to correctly label Castro as a cruel dictator. The headline in the New York Times’s obituary remembered him only as the Cuban revolutionary who defied the United States. The Independent, a U.K. based news website, had the audacity to publish his quotes as if he were worth idolizing. Even our own government refused to acknowledge his crimes. The official White House Press release on Castro simply offered a vague condolence broad enough to be spoken at any funeral, as if they were too scared to offer any real opinion. When the despot who brought us to the very brink of nuclear war died, our government thought it apt to briefly mention that his life was influential. But at least the U.S. government tried to remain neutral, as offensive as that was. Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, gave a public statement that eulogized the mass-murderer. “It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving president,” said Trudeau in his public statement. This assumes that Fidel was faithfully elected for his entire career. However, it is hard to vote freely when going against the communist party. Dissent is essentially suicide per a 1999 Human Rights Watch report. According to the report, it is a criminal offense to hold discussion meetings, write letters to the government or advocate the release of political prisoners. A Cuban election is an oxymoron, a paradoxical lie. Yet the illusion of free elections is not the only propaganda that Fidel spread. Some supporters praise Castro’s supposed achievements, such as raising the country’s literacy rate. It is astoundingly high – the CIA reports that 99.8 percent of the population can read. Yet the benefits of reading are severely nullified if not entirely negated if all you can read is state propaganda.
Photo: Creative Commons via Pinterest
According to Amnesty International, the state runs all media and while there is internet access, it is heavily censored by the state. Cuba also ranked in the list of 10 most censored countries by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Even though the facts are clear, Castro’s supporters refuse to read the truth. Castro’s supporters will also point to Cuba’s healthcare as another feat, but they are also being tricked. According to a 2012 Al Jazeera article, Cuba can honestly boast a low infant-mortality rate and a high life expectancy, but their achievements end there. Ever since the Soviet Union fell, the Cuban medical system has been in disrepair. Doctors are paid poorly for their services by the state. Patients bribe their practitioners to get priority examination. The Institute for War and Peace Reporting website says that the top facilities are for rich foreigners while the poor languish in decaying hospitals. The site also affirms the long waits for treatment. Yet even if Cuba really did have great hospitals, no doctors could bring back the thousands that Fidel killed. I should know, as my uncle’s father was executed by Fidel’s firing squads. But the tragedy does not end there. My grandfather was imprisoned for speaking out against Castro. After being released, my grandparents left Cuba forever, but not before the Castro regime took everything they owned. He left with nothing but the shirt on his back, he often says with a glass of whiskey in his hand and the sweet smell of a cigar around him. His wife, my grandmother, died years before I was born. Whenever he visits, I see an exile denied both his past and his future. When I hear any defense of Fidel Castro, I cringe with disbelief and pain. There is no reason to commemorate his death; to do so is to mock those who had their lives taken by him. The man was a murderer and a thief, and my family can attest to it. He killed their hopes and stole their dreams. Daniel Rego is a senior majoring in English.
Photo: Creative Commons
By Adrianna Ruffo For much of the 20th century, it wasn’t acceptable for a woman to simply jump into bed with any man she saw fit. A ritual of courtship that included going on dates, getting to know one another and developing a relationship was generally required before engaging in sex. Those days are long gone. In the 21st century, with the rise of social media and dating apps, “hookup culture” has become rampant, especially among students on college campuses. Hookup culture is a lifestyle of premarital, casual sex among consenting adults, particularly college students. A “hook-up” can be defined in multiple ways and has its own set of rules. Casual sex encounters are usually quick, as well as being purely physical with “no strings attached” or any emotional attachment. But does hookup culture short-change women? Simply put, it seems to me that hookup culture diminishes the sanctity of relationships. While women have fought for many years for the freedom to explore their sexuality, hookup culture may hurt those women who desire a serious relationship. It’s all so easy for men; simply text a woman to invite them over for sex. No thought, no effort, no courtship required. One study even shows that though women are just as likely as men to engage in hookup culture, they may not be enjoying it as much as men. The study showed that women are less likely to have orgasms during hookups. According to Association for Psychological Science, the study of 600 college students showed that women were twice as likely to reach orgasm during sex in serious relationships as they were in hookups. According to researchers, heterosexual women generally are not comfortable telling their male partners what they like and want during sex, while men are less focused on pleasing their female partner. Researchers noted that “while women do not like to say what they want and need, neither do men really ask.” “The notion of sexual liberation, where men and women both had equal access to casual sex assumed a comparable likelihood of that sex being pleasurable,” Kim Wallen, a professor of neuroendocrinology at Emory University was quoted as saying about the study. “But that part of the playing field isn’t level.” Donna Freitas analyzed the downfalls of hookup culture and its effect on young men and women in her book, The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused about Intimacy. Freitas has said she wrote the book after visiting and interviewing many college students about their opinions of sex and romance during the rise of hookup culture. Hookup culture encourages “bad sex, boring sex, drunken sex you don’t remember, sex you couldn’t care less about, sex where the desire is absent, sex that you have just because everyone else is too or that just happens,” wrote Freitas in her book. Yes, modern young women –and men -- have the right to forgo traditional relationships and indulge in casual sex. However, they also have the right not to, and they should not feel subjected to peer and societal pressure to engage in hookup culture.
10 THE TOWER
Men’s soccer team ends season with NCAA Tournament appearance By Sara Ridgway In November, the men’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA Tournament after a two week hiatus from the 2016 season. When the team fell short of reaching the NJAC Playoff Tournament, the season seemed to be over. But little would they know that two weeks after handing in their jerseys, their equipment would be returned to them in order to prepare for NCAA play. In Sports Information Director Kim DeRitters 10 years at Kean University, a situation of this nature has not happened before: A team that thought their season was over, ended their season, soon to realize they received an at-large bid on national selection day to participate in the NCAA Tournament. The team opened the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Tournament by playing the University of Massachusetts Boston on Saturday Nov. 12. This was the program’s sixteenth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and most recent appearance since 2010. Interim Head Coach John Velasco described how everything lined up at the end of the season as the “perfect storm.” “I was aware that we had a chance of making the tournament despite coming short of making the conference playoffs,” Velasco said, “I had a few discussions with my staff and some colleagues. However things became much more difficult with how [the] conference tournament played out.” Velasco has been a part of teams in the past that not only made it to the NCAA Tournament, but have continued to play on well into the tournament. But with his position at Kean University, this is his first NCAA Tournament appearance as head coach. “It was definitely a great feeling to receive a bid and get this program back into the NCAA Tournament,” Velasco said. “I
Senior Robert Barrera was named to the All-NJAC Second Team
know the boys were very excited with this accomplishment.” As per senior Tim Dutchak, the team was ready for the challenge ahead of them. They knew they would be competing with the best of the best. They were optimistic and maintained focus to do what they could to win. “Going into the tournament after not playing for two weeks was definitely a struggle,” Dutchak said, “but we trained extremely hard in order to be back into our rhythm of play.” Velasco’s mindset for going into the NCAA Tournament was to have his players understand how significant this opportunity was for them as individuals and collectively as a program. He wanted them to make the best of this opportunity that they earned. “The goal was to make sure the boys understood that they should enjoy and not take this experience for granted since none of them have taken part in something like this,” Velasco said, “and it truly takes a different kind of mental discipline to make it far in the tournament.” For the underclassmen on the team, Velasco wanted them to experience what playing in the NCAA Tournament is all about. He wanted them to understand the kind of work they need to put in, in order to get back to the tournament and push for more each year. “For me, this is all about cultivating the right kind of culture and standard that we as a program should be working towards,” Velasco said. Although the game ended in a 3-0 loss, making it to the NCAA Tournament was easily one of the best moment’s of Dutchak’s life. “It was a surreal feeling because I was under the impression our season was over,” Dutchak said. “Knowing I was able to play one last game with this team in the NCAA Tournament was awesome.”
Sophomore Mateo Castro Arias was named to the All-NJAC Second Team
Dutchak felt that the team played well, but it was evident that they were not prepared for the tournament. With only one week to prepare for the game, there was not enough time to rebuild their team chemistry to the threat is was during the regular season. “UMass Boston was a very good team,” Dutchak said, “unfortunately they got the best of us but if we hadn’t taken two full weeks off we could have easily had the result in our favor.” Senior Brad Watkins, whose season ended prematurely due to an injury was grateful for this NCAA Tournament experience, even from the sidelines. “This was a great opportunity and experience for all the ages of players on our team, as well as our coaching staff,” Watkins said. “It allowed our, and my senior class to go out on a high note, even in a losing effort.” Watkins explained the high expectations that were set for the team this season. The team was picked as the “dark horse” of the conference, meaning they were the team that posed the biggest chance of being a surprising threat this season. This gave the men a lot to live up to. “Before our season, however, we had an abrupt coaching change,” Watkins said. “Between injuries, new coaches and a new playing style, we were still able to put together a solid record of 14-6-1.” Dutchak had one last thing to say about the NCAA Tournament opportunity, himself and his teammates experienced. “Ultimately we were blessed with one last game and we enjoyed every second of the experience,” Dutchak said. Before reaching NCAA play, the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) announced their all conference awards, which included seven Cougar’s. Senior Kazari Trought was named to the All-NJAC First Team. Seniors, Robert Barrera, Steven Osores and Kenny Rocha were accompanied by sophomore Mateo
Senior Steven Osores was named to the All-NJAC Second Team
Cougar goalie Brad Watkins recognized for athletics, academics By Sara Ridgway
Brad Watkins earned College Sports Information Director (CoSida) Academic All-District 2 First-Team recognition for his performance both athletically and academically during the fall 2016 semester. He is the first Cougar in Kean University history to receive the award. Earning the award that Watkins did not even know existed was a pleasant surprise, as he described being recognized for both athletics and academics can only be positive. But for the senior goalie who was injured mid-season Watkins only had one wish for the remainder of the season. “Although I am proud to win this award, I would trade it back in a heartbeat in order to have the other half of my senior season back, since it was ended prematurely due to injury,” Watkins said. “I would have been more satisfied in being able to play alongside my brothers for an extra handful of games, respectively.” Watkins is from Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. His major is communication studies and he has maintained a 3.38 grade point average. Since earning this selection, as per the Kean University athletics website, Watkins now moves on to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Team ballot. Senior, goalie Brad Watkins was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team Photo: Larry Levanti
Photo: Larry Levanti
Senior Kazari Trought was named to the All-NJAC First Team
Castro Arias as members of the All-NJAC Second Team. Sophomore Nicholas Sica was selected as Honorable Mention. As per Watkins, this year’s squad had more seniors than the last two seasons combined. “My senior class and I leave the program hoping we formed and solidified the culture of Kean men’s soccer for many years to come,” Watkins said. The upperclassmen stepped up as leaders and although faced adversity in the beginning, strived for greatness. “The older players have done a good job in setting the way for the younger guys and now it’s simply about continuing to push forward and believing that with hard work and trust there’s more to come for this program,” Velasco said.
Senior Kenny Rocha was named to the All-NJAC Second Team
Senior Kazari Trought was named to the All-NJAC First Team
THE TOWER 11
Kean football goes ‘bowling’ to end the 2016 season By Brittany Pavlichko Kean University’s football team won the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Bowl Championship in November, ending their 2016 season with a 7-4 record. Throughout the season, the team suffered major injuries which made them fall in the middle of the season. Linebackers Robert Meade and Darin Hungerford were injured, leaving the Cougars suffering in the homecoming game against Frostburg State University. Even though the Cougars had setbacks midOctober, they battled to the end, earning a spot in the ECAC bowl against SUNY Cortland on Oct. 18. For the second year in a row, the Cougars are ECAC champions, ending their last season game with a score of 30-27 for the victory. “I think people should look at this season and look at all the obstacles we overcame, and realize to never give up,” said linebacker Kyle Wiggins, a senior. “We wanted to go to another bowl and get another ring, and that’s what we did.” Additionally, multiple players won New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) honors.
Hungerford, Stephan Lewis, Robert Meade III, Austin Davis and David Coleman received defensive first team all-conference. Brain Matthews, Joe Bick and Justin Rodriguez received offensive second team honors. LaRon Dillard, Peter Lejawa and Aryeh Moslavi were named to the honorable mention team. “It’s truly a blessing to win it, it’s just a testament to the hard work I put into the offseason day in and day out,” said Hungerford, one of the linebackers who suffered an injury during the season. “On the honor I would just like to thank my coaches and teammates for supporting me and putting me in the best position to be successful. Despite the challenges and setbacks the team faced in the beginning of the season, they had a special bond on and off the field that contributed to the team’s overall success. “That family atmosphere that they’ve created in the locker room gave them the opportunity to have another championship season,” said Head Coach Dan Garrett. “I’m most proud of the comradery, the chemistry, the selflessness, the lack of egos and this team has really battled to put themselves into contention to be champions again.”
Number 52 Darin Hungerford
Photo: Larry Levanti
“I think people should look at this season and look at all the obstacles we overcame, and realize to never give up” Football team photo 2016 season
Field hockey coach Leslie Lafronz named NJAC coach of the year
Photo: Larry Levanti
Jesse Larkin Named NJAC Rookie of the Year in Women’s Volleyball By Craig Epstein
The team huddles around Head Coach Leslie Lafronz
By Craig Epstein Kean University Head Field Hockey Coach Leslie LaFronz was named New Jersey Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. Only one other coach in Kean’s history has earned such an award, and that was Renee Clark back in 1994. “I am honored to receive Coach of the Year honors as I believe this is a reflection of all of our hard work,” Coach LaFronz said. “I have an exceptional staff that assisted me daily in the development of our players and program and I could not be prouder of my team.” Under LaFronz’s leadership, the Cougars went 16-2 in the regular season, winning a program record 14-straight games to start the season. The team’s only two losses came at the hands of The College of New Jersey in overtime and Montclair State University, both of which were ranked in the top 15 nationally. LaFronz and the field hockey team also got a taste for international matches this past summer. “We traveled to Amsterdam and Paris
Photo: Larry Levanti
this past summer which allowed us to play international matches and get extra training,” she said, “and I really believe that this trip allowed our players to create strong personal bonds that manifested itself in our play this fall.” Jordan Colna, a senior from Washington Township who plays on the team, said it was an “honor” for the program to have their coach recognized. “Having Coach Lafronz win the NJAC Coach of the Year award was truly an honor for the program and helps us get the recognition we deserve as a winning program,” said Colna. “This season was one for the record books, although we did not finished the way we wanted too, we still broke records and had a winning season being 18-4. We worked so hard over the past year and it was great seeing it pay off.” Kean outscored their opponents 55-22 in the regular season and recorded 7 shutouts in their 18 games. Field hockey players Krista LaMaina and Shauna LaMaina were FirstTeam All NJAC selection, a testament to how well LaFronz coached her team.
For the second year in a row, a Kean University women’s volleyball player received the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Rookie of the Year award. Jesse Larkin, a native of California and freshman, finished the season second in the league with a .333 hitting percentage and averaged 1.01 blocks per set. She is one of only three NJAC players to average over one block per set. Both marks are tops among all NJAC rookies. The standout freshman earned multiple awards over the course of the Photo: Larry Levanti season, including NJAC Rookie of the Week three times, honorable mention Freshman standout Jesse Larkin All-NJAC selection. hitting the ball over the net “Being a Freshman from California, this means a lot to me,” Larkin told The Tower. “But I couldn’t have done this without my players, coaches and parents.” Traveling across the country and acclimating to a new life is not an easy process. Larkin credits her team as helping her adjust. “My teammates welcomed me in with open arms,” Larkin said. “Without them, none of this could be possible.” Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Don Perkins had nothing but praise for Larkins. “Jesse is smart and a steady player and we couldn’t be more excited to have her on the team for the next few years,” Perkins said in a press release. “Other teams had to pay attention to her and she came out on top on most nights.” At the close of the 2016 season, the Kean Women’s Volleyball Team finished with a 21-12 overall record. To go along with their winning record, the Cougars finished the regular season in fourth place in the NJAC. The team also made it to the NJAC semifinals before losing to top-seeded Ramapo College. Larkin elaborated on what she hopes to accomplish going forward in her career. “Going forward, winning win the NJAC would mean a lot to both me and the team,” Larkin said. “I also hope to keep playing at a high level and improving everyday.” This marks the second-straight year that a Kean Cougar has taken home the NJAC Rookie of the Year award. Last season, it was current sophomore, Brett Harper, that earned the honor.
12 THE TOWER
Batter up! baseball preview
By Brittany Pavlichko With spring quickly approaching, Kean University’s baseball team is preparing to take home the national championship with 13 new faces on the team. Head Coach Neil Ioviero will be entering his 20th season with the Cougars and believes the new players will adjust quickly and the pitching staff will be better than the previous 2016 season. “We got a lot of pieces to our puzzle, we have guys that can play different positions and can adapt,” said Ioviero. “What we are most excited about this year is that we really overturned the team compared to the last couple of years.” Some of the new players include: Freshmen Infielders Derek Walker, Michael Fidanza and Nick Polizzano Infielder and Pitcher Jonathan Rodriguez Outfielder Mikal Trice Catcher Chris Vetter Pitchers: Dylan Colatrella, Justin Hernandez, Kevin Mojica and Anthony Hirujo Pitcher and outfielder Frank Logiudice Sophomore Infielder Ivan Rivera Junior Outfielder James Fitzgerald “I am really excited for the first game,” said Polizzano. “I’ve been waiting for the start of my first game as a college baseball player since I stepped on campus in August of 2016.” Pollizano played shortstop at South Plainfield high school all four years and individually he earned all-county and all-state honors both junior and senior year. One of his goals for this upcoming season at Kean is to prove to himself, teammates and the coaches that he deserves to be on the field. Additionally, the Cougars will not have left handed pitcher Ian Fitzgerald and right handed pitcher Frank Dente due to arm surgery. With this in mind, the Cougars are taking it as a challenge and coming together even more as a team despite injuries. “I think we have the right mix of returning and new players to accomplish all our season goals,” said senior left handed pitcher Richard Ferguson. “I am just focusing on throwing strikes and trusting our defense to make plays in the field and our offense to score runs.” The team will play their first game on Friday, Feb. 17 versing Stevens Institute of Technology at 2:30 p.m.
Richard Ferguson throwing out a pitch.
Softball star Dana Knapp tabbed as Preseason All-American
Photo: Larry Levanti
Softball superstar Dana Knapp getting ready to knock one out of the park.
By Craig Epstein After coming off of a junior year where she was named an NCAA Division III All-American, senior superstar Dana Knapp looks to keep the ball rolling. In 2016, Knapp not only clocked a school-record ten home runs, but she also led the NJAC in slugging percentage. This is one of many reasons as to why she was named a Preseason All-American for this upcoming season. The junior transfer led Kean in just about every statistical category in 2016. Whether it was batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs batted in, doubles, home runs, total bases or walks. Not only that, but in her three stolen base attempts, she was not caught once. Due to her incredible play last year, the Langhorne Pennsylvania native has a serious shot at breaking Kean’s career homerun record of 17. But when it comes to what Knapp looks to accomplish in the upcoming season, she is focused more on the team aspect of the game rather than her individual statistics. “For this season, I hope to strive as a team and reach our ultimate goal of an NJAC championship and a World Series appearance,” Knapp said. When it came to being chosen as a Preseason All-American, the softball superstar had much to say. “I’m extremely honored to be chosen as a preseason All-American,” she said. “I’ve been putting in the extra work to help my team succeed.” The softball season begins in Kissimmee, Florida during spring break for the cougars. They will be facing Coe College in the first of the Rebel Spring Games on Saturday, March 4 at 10 a.m. “This is my last year here at Kean so I hope to make it a memorable one,” Knapp said.
Photo: Richard Ferguson
Men’s volleyball team opens season with winning record By Sara Ridgway Starting their season with a bang, the Kean men’s volleyball team is currently 7-2 after defeating the seventh ranked team in the nation, Nazareth College. Currently ranked at ten in the country, the team is projected to capture the Skyline Conference title for the sixth consecutive season. The team returned to campus for preseason on Jan. 2, 2017 and opened their season with the Kean Winter Classic tournament, where they went 4-0. Junior, athletic training major, Steve Schrank feels that preseason is a time for the team to bond and build a family-like atmosphere. “Preseason is always an interesting experience because it’s two weeks before school starts, the only thing on our mind is volleyball for those two weeks,” Schrank said, “it’s a time where all we are focused on is practice and getting better and keeping our bodies healthy while going through three practices a day.” The team has only picked up losses to no. 14 Rivier University and division I team New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). This years team consists of six juniors, five sophomores and six freshmen. Head coach Charlie Ginex is assisted by Kean volleyball alumni Jimmy Pompeo, Ed Jedziniak and Bez Arslani. With such a young team, there are big
roles to be fulfilled and as per Schrank and fellow junior teammate Nick Breslin, some of their teammates are doing just that. “I think our junior middle blocker, Jared Warner, stepped up tremendously early on this season by not only taking a leadership role but he has also made significant impact in our offense as well,” Breslin said. Schrank particularly spoke highly of the new additions to the team this season: the freshmen. “We asked a lot out of our freshmen and there were moments in this season that we asked three freshmen to take a starting job and perform at a level that is ten in the nation and they always did a good job,” Schrank said, “it’s a tough spot to be put in.” The team faced a rocky start on Friday, January 27 for the first day of the Clash at Kean tournament, where they dropped a three-set match to Rivier University. Coming off of a loss and preparing for two more matches the following day can be a challenge. “We couldn’t dwell on the past too much knowing that we had two great teams to play the next day, despite coming from a loss,” Breslin said. “We really tried to just focus on what we had control over, and that was the next game.” Schrank added that the loss on Friday served as a wake up call for the team to come together as a family and focus on the task at hand.
Photo: Sara Ridgway
Junior middle blocker Shayron Taylor attacks at the net.
From Friday night to Saturday morning, it was evident that there was a drastic change in the energy, from the players on the court, to those on the sidelines. “After Friday’s loss, we came together as a team and realized that we are all one unit, every single one of us are part of this family and if one of us slacks, it causes all of us to slack,” Schrank said. “I thought everybody on
Saturday bought into the system and it showed on both the bench and court.” The team travelled to Massachusetts on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 for the weekend to compete in two matches. With a solid start to the season, the team is continuing on its journey to picking up another conference championship title and potentially its first national championship title.