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MAR | 2016

@KeanTower

THE TOWER

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THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF KEAN UNIVERSITY

Some Kean students say no to free tuition By Redina Demushi Student loan debt has become a central issue in debates for the Democratic and Republican nominations for president, but not all Kean students are for free college. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is running against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, has stressed the idea of making public higher education free for everyone in the United States, as it presently is in much of Europe. Meanwhile, Clinton is against free tuition, and proposes more moderate measures like increasing aid and reducing the interest rate on student loans. Students interviewed on campus said that they are against making tuition free at public colleges, dismissing the idea as radical or too costly to be achievable, according to an informal survey. Although most students at Kean need loans and grants to pay for tuition, many do not agree with Sanders’ proposal or find it impractical to eliminate tuition rates entirely. Instead, they said they would rather see the high interest rates that accompany the student loans be lowered. They also favored lowering tuition rates at public colleges. “A lot of the radical socialist ideas that Bernie Sanders presents just have a lack of practicality in their accomplishment, not arguing the morality or the idea of it, because I do think it would be great, it’s just not practical, and so it would be foolish for American taxpayers to undertake such a fiscally irresponsible move,” said Caleb Dagnall, 20, and a sophomore history education major who received a full scholarship to Kean. Students shared their thoughts on the topic and provided possible solutions to the large amount of debt many Kean students are committing to.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, proposed free tuition at public universities, while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right, supports reducing interest rates on student loans.

“I don’t think free education is the right way to go, but I do believe that lower tuition and interest rates would help,” said Michael Lao, a senior biology major who has taken out loans for two of his four years at college. Meanwhile, Student Organization President Nigel emphasized that Kean has tried to remain competitive among other state universities, despite a recent 3 percent increase in tuition and fees. “I think Kean University has tried its best to offer students an affordable tuition rate for such opportunities but

for other state universities I wish I could say the same,” said Donald who is set to graduate with an economics degree in May. “The tuition hikes that have occurred in both New Jersey and across America are punitive to college students and the interest rates are a sentencing to long-term debt.” Donald has been working while attending Kean for the past four years, in order to pay for school partially, while taking the rest out in loans. Tuition rates at Kean have risen throughout the past decade. In-state

Photos: Michael Vadon and Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons

tuition has gone up by $1,773 since the fall of 2006. It has progressively increased every year, by three to eight percent, according to the university’s Office of Institutional Research, There are also Kean students who are in favor of Sanders’ plan to abolish tuition rates completely at public universities. Some students said that a system should also be implemented that would make getting accepted more difficult, so that such an opportunity is not taken lightly. Kelly Barata, a senior English writing major, who has taken out loans all four continued on page 5

HRI event on creating safe places for LGBTQ+ students

Student Gov. president gives advice to future candidates By Gail Fredricks

From left to right: Diversity Council Director Janice Kroposky, Holiday Simmons, Collette Carter, Jane Clementi, Jay Toole and Syd London.

By Yuri Smishkewych Hindsight, it is said, has 20/20 vision. On September 22, 2010, 18-year-old Rutgers student Tyler Clementi ended his life as a result of cyber-bullying after his college roommate streamed an intimate act between Tyler and another man online. “If someone had only reached out to Tyler to say: ‘We’re here for you. We’re your friends and we want to make you feel safe,’” said Tyler’s mother, Jane Clementi, speaking at a panel discussion at Kean’s Human Rights Institute, “the story would’ve been much different.” And that is why in retrospect, not only from Tyler’s story, but also the other countless victims of cyber-bullying, that we have learned the importance of having

Photo by Yuri Smishkewych

a safe place for people to turn to in their most desperate hours. “We want our youth to be able to go to school to learn and to feel safe while doing that,” said Syd London, the moderator of a panel discussion held on Feb. 23 at the Human Rights Institute that explored ways in which members of the academic community can create safe places in their schools. The event, titled Whose Schools? OUR Schools! was organized by the Kean Diversity Council and featured four panelists from different walks of life sharing their life experiences and who are active in the LGBTQITSGNC (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, Two-Spirit Native Americans and gender nonconforming) community. continued on page 4

Nigel Donald, Student Organization’s current President, will be graduating in May, leaving a long list of achievements behind and some big shoes to fill. However, Donald will not be leaving Kean University without giving credit to his team and the students. “I don’t like to self-proclaim any achievements for myself, because nothing can get done around here alone,” said Donald. The idea behind Student Organization’s goal is to hear the concerns and complaints of students and be able to work with committees that have open ears to resolve those issues. “It is my obligation to hear what they’re saying,” said Donald. Some of the achievements in Donald’s time as president include getting food vendors on campus, giving students a variety of meal options and establishing information on trolley screens, something that is essential for our commuting and transfer students. Student Organization plans programmed events such as “March for Success,” which is geared towards seniors, assisting them with tools and to gain confidence in their job search after graduation. They also take part in implementing Latin Heritage and African America History month on campus. Donald has been part of Student Organization since his freshman year. He has had over 50 percent of the roles in the organization and admitted that with each

Photo: Nigel Donald

Nigel Donald, President of the Kean Student Organization.

year come more challenges. Donald’s advice for future representatives and president’s is: Take everything one day at a time. “College students are stressed out because we are always thinking forward, planning our future instead of living in the present,” said Donald. “Also, you will always fail at something you don’t have fun doing.” According to Donald, to be successful in this position, you have to be accessible. The position is not just a prestigious role or something to put on your resume. Just as President Obama is the face of our country, as president you will be the face of the University—and a voice for its students. Kean University’s Student Organization is now accepting applications for upcoming open positions. Student Organization continued on page 4


2 THE TOWER

March, 2016

Kean honors 55th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit Kean University commemorated a visit to the campus that will be remembered as iconic when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. embraced Kean University 55 years ago with a speech entitled, “The Future of Integration.” Students, staff and faculty piled into room 192 of D’Angola gymnasium on Tuesday to honor the anniversary of that very visit to the campus in 1961. “It was important for Kean University to host this event because it is such a diverse university,” said Alternative Student Trustee Board Member Christian Meyers, a junior physical education and health major. “It is important that we remember the his¬tory of this university.” The Reflector, the former student newspaper of Kean University (which at the time was known as Newark State College), captured King’s visit and refrained his words. Clippings of the article were on

Photo: Rose Marie Kitchen

A copy of The Ref lector with Andrea Lello’s article was on display at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. event on Feb. 9.

display at Tuesday’s event. Writing for The Reflector, Andrea Lello reported that when Dr. King was asked for his definition of equality he replied, “That it is equal opportunity for all men and that every person should have equal protection under the law to pursue a noble end of life. By 1961, King was already known as a leader of the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott set in motion by Rosa Parks. “55 years ago today Dr. King addressed a Newark State teachers college audience on a civil rights issues of the day, however, today this program is about remembering, collaborating and enjoying ourselves,” said James Conyers, director of Africana Studies. “We hope that this program will in some small way pay tribute to the 1961 visit of Dr. King as well as enlighten you, inspire you and motivate you.” Only standing room was available as the 200 seats in the room quickly filled up. The Kean Gospel Choir kicked off the event by leading the room in song. “Fifty-five years ago on this day it was a chilly 30 degrees outside, similar to how it is today. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped out of his car and walked into this exact location, know that it is now D’Angola gymnasium; he was about to deliver a speech for the future of integration,” said Frank Esposito, a professor in the History department who also served as interim university president in 2002. Esposito remembered the minister’s visit in his speech. He explained that the King spoke before a packed D’Angola gymnasium that was double the size of what it was on Tuesday. Tuesday’s event continued with three student readings, directed by Ernest Wiggins, department of theater. Jesse Dorfman, Jonathan Medor and David Paul recited quotes from King’s speech. “I wanted to perform a reading during the ceremony because for me it symbolized that a great man came and spoke at the university,” said David Paul, a junior math and education major. “It was symbolic to have some of the exact words spoken while

To the coffee shop or the bar?

Photo: Celeste Simmons

From left to right: Eugene Wilkins, president of Newark State College, Donald Raichle, college historian and professor of history and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. share the stage during Dr. King’s visit on February 9, 1961.

Along with the Martin Luther King Jr. Garden renovation, a plaque in honor of Dr. King has been added to the wall outside the D’Angola gymnasium, just a few steps away from the room where he gave his speech 55 years ago. “I was excited and took pride into receiving the news,” said Jonathan Medor, junior criminal justice major and president of HSA at Kean University. “The work that the Haitian Student Association, Pan African Student Union, Thrift Nation and the National Pan-Hellenic Council put forth for this project was challenging, but rewarding at the same time.” “On behalf of the Martin Luther King Jr. restoration committee (Haitian Student Association, Pan African Student Union, Thrift Nation and the National Pan-Hellenic Council), we would like to say thank you to all of the students, faculty and staff that were a part of this event,” Medor added. “Without the advice, consultations and opinions that you’ve brought to our attention, this project would not be possible.”

he was here at the university but being one of the individuals to recite them had a greater meaning because it put me closer to the his legacy. This is a great inspiration because since then, many have come along and this has come to show me that a difference can be made anywhere.” Kean University President Dr. Dawood Farahi shared the stage with representatives from Pan African Student Association (PASU), Haitian Student Association (HSA), National Pan-Hellenic Council and Thrift Nation to deliver a special message and unveiling. “Dr. King would say to us that we achieved so much at this university but he would also say to us that the job is not done and [to] keep moving; and we have and we will do much more as time goes on,” said Farahi. After months of raising awareness, the students have had their voices heard and the Martin Luther King Jr. Garden near the Human Rights Institute, which features a bust of King, will receive a full restoration. Last year, PASU held an Instagram campaign where students would take a picture with the statue to make it more prominent in the Kean community.

This story originally appeared on kutower. com on Feb. 11.

Police Blotter

By Rose Marie Kitchen

Kean University Department of Public Safety Police blotter By: Chiemela Igbokwe 2/04/16

Harassment: According to campus police, a victim reported being harassed while leaving CAS at around 2:44 p.m. ***

Police also reported another victim who stated they were being harassed at Townsend Hall. The incident occurred at around midnight. 2/09/16

Theft: An unknown actor took a vehicle’s front fender grille and license plate at around 4:15 p.m. at the Bruce Parking lot. ***

A 20-year-old Newark man was arrested at Rogers Hall for distribution/possession of marijuana around 5:00 p.m. ***

Two men and two women from Manalapan, Howell, Newark, and Phillipsburg whose ages ranged from ages 18-19, were arrested at about 10-56 p.m. at Dougall Hall for being under of the influence of marijuana. Theft by the Numbers: Photo: Rebecca Panico

Some students may prefer to talk over these drinks instead.

By Anthony Muccigrossi Coffee and alcohol go with college life like crayons and boogers go with elementary school. From the sepia-toned photograph of coffee you just scrolled past on Tumblr, to the Instagram photo you just liked of your friend clutching their favorite beer, caffeine and the sauce have become synonymous with college. And it makes sense: after a long day of classes, some students turn to coffee to refuel or alcohol to unwind. So do college students prefer to socialize at a bar or a coffee shop? In an unscientific survey that polled 65 Kean students and 22 others using various channels like Twitter and Facebook, 38 people said that they

prefer to spend their time in a coffee shop, 31 people said a bar and 18 said neither. “I’m more of a quiet, more of a like let’s-sit down-[and]-read-with-acup-of-coffee [person],” said Alyssa Bodycombe, a barista at the Starbucks coffee stand located in the Center for Academic Success building. “I don’t like the atmosphere that comes with the alcohol,” she added, speaking the bar setting. Bodycombe did admit to going to Brewed Awakening located on Main Street in Metuchen when she was younger and didn’t work for Starbucks though. On the Kean campus, there are plenty of places for students to get their daily dose of caffeine, including the other

In the span of two weeks, there have been a total of 13 incidents of theft on campus. The thefts ranged from a pair of shoes and other clothing to laptops.

Starbucks inside the Nancy Thompson Library. Since Kean University is a dry campus, students must resort to consuming alcohol off school property, like at Suspenders on Magie Avenue in Union. However, Ursino, located in the STEM building, but currently closed for renovations, is the only bar on campus. For one Kean student, a cold one or some bubbly is the way to go. “At a bar, liquor is flowing, so you are able to kind of get more comfortable with people,” said Julian Arias, a senior, majoring in Communication Studies. The Tower asked an adult with a background in cognitive psychology to weigh in on the why youngin’s might prefer the cozy coffee-spot over the bar scene.

“You would imagine that more of them [students] would prefer to spend time in coffee shops, where they could both socialize and do school work,” said Dr. Suzanne Bousquet, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Bousquet said she has seen students playing card games, listening to music, and doing homework, which she cited as being unusual to see in a bar. “For this particular age group, social engagement is very important,” said Dr. Bousquet. In the bar setting, college students tend to let loose and enjoy a few alcoholic beverages, “which usually leads to making poor decisions that almost always end up on social media, but make for great conversations years down the road,” she added.


March, 2016

THE TOWER 3

All locked up in America By Chiemela Igbokwe Obinna Woko became a supporter for prison reform after meeting a man who spent 22 years in solitary confinement. 22 years—alone. “I have a belief instilled in me that solitary confinement practices are not ethical,” said Woko. “I think it’s a really good thing President Obama is doing addressing the subject.” Woko, a Kean history major and student worker at the Human Rights Institute, had his commentary recently featured in The Washington Post in response to President Barack Obama’s

“Prison should be a place of reformation, obviously that’s not the case, some of the things that go on in there are beyond human understanding.”

Jan. 26 op-ed, “Rethinking solitary confinement.” Writing a letter to the editor is not an easy feat: according to its website, the Washington Post receives thousands of letters to the editor per week and only a select few are published—let alone a letter that is in response to an article written by our nation’s president. Obama’s op-ed article told the story of Kalief Browder from the Bronx, who was arrested and accused of stealing a backpack in 2010 and sent to Rikers Island where it was reported that he had endured unutterable violence by of inmates as well as guards. Kalief was no more than a 16 years old. In 2013, having never stood trial, Kalief was released but the road to recovery was a tough. Life seemed to be nothing more than a constant struggle after the trauma of being locked up alone for 23 hours a day. One Saturday, Kalief Browder committed suicide at his home. In his letter to the editor, Woko talked about Ojore Lutalo, who he met two years ago. Lutaloz—now released— spent 22 years in solitary confinement and now spreads awareness of what he thinks is an overused and unproductive practice to those willing to listen. Woko also wrote about how the Human Rights Institute will be holding a

conference titled Locked Up in America: The Business of Incarceration that includes an exhibition that lets visitors experience solitary confinement firsthand by stepping into a replica of a confinement cell. Research suggests that solitary confinement has the potential to lead to devastating and long lasting psychological consequences. It has been linked to depression, alienation, withdrawal, a reduced ability to interact with others and the potential for violent behavior. Some studies indicate that it can worsen existing mental illnesses and even trigger new ones. Prisoners in Obinna Woko at the Human Rights Institute.

solitary are more likely to commit suicide, especially among juveniles and people with mental illnesses. “United States is a nation of second chances,” said President Obama in his op-ed. “But the experience of solitary confinement too often undercuts that second chance. Those who do make it out often have trouble holding down jobs, reuniting with family and becoming productive members of society. Imagine having served your time

and then being unable to hand change over to a customer or look at your wife in the eye or hug your children.” The Justice Department had recently completed its review and Obama agreed to adopt its recommendations to make changes to the federal prison system. Some of these changes include prohibiting solitary confinement among juveniles, as well as expanding treatment for those who are mentally ill. “Thanks to Mr. Obama’s vision and leadership, I hope that U.S. prisons become a model of rehabilitation, producing citizens prepared to pursue happiness in a land of second chances,” adds Woko. Photo: Kean University

The Human Rights Institute conference will discuss and explore three major aspects of the corrupt justice system: the repercussions and overuse of solitary confinement, the school-toprison pipeline, and those who profit behind all of it. Students and anyone interested are invited and encouraged to come out and discuss ways to secure public safety, taxpayer value, equality and justice in the American prison system.

Kean ranks third in the TIDAL contest for Lil’ Wayne By Redina Demushi Kean is currently ranked third in the TIDAL social media contest that has colleges giving back to their communities and rewarding them for their good deeds, according to the Kean Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter. The “TIDAL College’s Social Wave for Change” campaign has been sweeping social media with hashtags and photos of college students performing community service. The university with the most recorded community service will win a free concert with artist, Lil’ Wayne performing at their school. Second place will win a Silent Disco Party at their school. “Kean does so much community service throughout the year,” said Michael Canova, student publicist for media relations and PRSSA member at Kean. “It’d be nice to be recognized for the good things Kean does and rewarded with a concert for the students.” In order to participate, undergraduate students are using the hashtag “#tidalXchange” and the name of their

school on a photo or video of themselves completing different types of community service on Instagram or Facebook. According to the TIDAL website, the contest ended Monday, Feb. 29. The panel from TIDAL will announce the top finalists on March 5. The public will then vote on which participant did the most community service. Voting will be open from March 7 to March 11 to anyone 18-years or older in the U.S. The finalist to win a free performance by Lil’ Wayne will be announced on March 15. The PRSSA at Kean has gotten involved by launching their own campaign, where they collected donated bottled water and money donations for the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. They spread the word by using “#tapintoflint” all over social media. Many other students, groups, and organizations at Kean have also been getting involved by volunteering in their community. Originally posted on kutower.com on Feb. 25, 2016. Changes have been made to accommodate the appropriate dates. Kean University Poster for TidalXChange Contest

Courtesy of Kean University


ARTS & CULTURE

4 THE TOWER

March, 2016

‘Ground Surge’ cites America’s freedom fighters By Annalise Knudson For the past 10 years, Syd London has been documenting freedom fighters in the United States using her camera. Her photographs focus on people of all different cultures including: low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, inter-sex, gender non-conforming (LGBTQIGNC), people-of-color communities, disabled people and most recently, Two-Spirit Native Americans. London brought her inspirational photographs to Kean’s Human Rights Institute (HRI) with her first solo exhibition, Ground Surge. “This is my first solo exhibition,” London said. “It’s such an exciting step for me personally. I’ve dreamed and worked towards this since I was little girl.” Ground Surge takes a peak into communities, homes and streets affected by racial, economic, LGBTQI and age-based discrimination and into the never-ending fight for real freedom in the U.S. The exhibition is comprised of two multi-media installations and five recent photo documentaries: Aging while Queer, The Invisible, Re-Gathering, Sandy versus the People and Taking Back the Streets. London believes there is a large range of what can be taken away from seeing Ground Surge, depending on whom the person is or where they are coming from. London believes that it is important that the gallery is located on Kean’s campus. “You are OUR next generation of policy makers, leaders and people in power,” London said in an email. “You are our future mover n’ shakers and shape shifters.” She was invited to showcase her exhibition after an invitation from the HRI.

“Premiering at the Human Rights Institute Gallery has been incredibly exciting to me,” London said. “The gallery space is not only stunning but the mission of HRI has helped to reinforce the idea that the issues addressed in Ground Surge are human rights violations, right here in America.” London was happy to learn that the HRI is wheelchair accessible, a factor that deems very important to her. “Here at Kean the gallery is accessible, beautiful and has the capacity for programming,” she said. “Kean and HRI have been incredibly supportive and encouraging to hold programming ensured the programming is free and open to all - these are really important elements to me.” She also chose the HRI’s Book Club selections for this spring semester, which are held on the last week of each month. London grew up in New York City surrounded by many different people and cultures, leading to the inspiration for her photographs. “Growing up here means you witness a lot, if you choose to move with your eyes open and ask questions,” London said. “I think it’s probably made it easier to understand or see some of these common denominators of suppression when you’re able to listen to so many different people’s stories in a very small geographic area.” London started out shooting film, but the high costs of film slowed down her growth as a photographer until she started shooting digital because of its affordability and accessibility. “[Living in NYC] also allowed me to eventually find my own community, home and where my early digital photography was supported and encouraged,” she said. “That was huge for me.” The gallery opening reception was held on

Photo: Jamie Larson

Syd London (holding the camera behind the motorcycle) is seen photographing during a LGBT pride parade.

Tuesday, Jan. 26. The gallery will be on display until March 25, 2016. “I loved the opportunity to meet with the students at the opening, that is one of my favorite parts - connecting with others who relate,” London said. “I can’t wait to hear what students have to say now that Ground Surge has been on campus for a couple of weeks!”

Photos: Annalise Knudson

Syd London’s photographs on display at the Human Rights Institute at Kean.

LGBT

Student President

(Continued from page 1)

Over a hundred people made up the audience that included Kean alumni, professors and staff, K-12 teachers from different parts of New Jersey, and even some high-school students, one as far as Pennsylvania. One the topics explored at the event was how teachers are in a unique position to help LGBTQ+ students feel safe, as some students may come from a troubled home environment. “Although I only went to school until the sixth grade,” said panelist Jay Toole, “and because of all the chaos in my house—my father and brother were raping me almost every night— going to school everyday was my outlet and feeling safe.” Toole, who is 67 and was homeless for decades in New York City, later spoke about how one particular teacher, Sister Caroline, had a particular impact on her.

(Continued from page 1)

“I think she knew what was going on at home—so she taught me how to box. I think she was trying to show me how to protect myself. It showed me how to survive living in a box, in jail, and how to survive being a stone butch [lesbian] 13 year old living on the streets,” said Toole. Members of the audience were given a chance to ask questions to panel, like Special Education Teacher Jamie Farber of Summit High School, who asked about the usage of the terms ‘gay,’ ‘lesbian,’ or ‘queer,’ and how they’re used. “It’s all an individual choice, it’s all about how you identify [yourself],” answered London, who identifies herself as queer or gender nonconforming, “I don’t fit in these easy boxes, even within the LGBTQ+ community. That’s why it’s important to ask for a person’s preferred gender

pronoun.” Teachers weren’t the only ones asking questions, high school senior Taos Briggs of Cumberland Valley High School (P.A.) asked how students can address the concerns of LGBTQ+ students to their teachers. “If you have a person like this student,” said Holiday Simmons after commending Taos for bringing such an important question up, “link with them to help make change in your school.” The panelists included Jane Clementi, co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, Holiday Simmons of Lambda Legal; Jay Toole founder of Jay’s House, an organization working to create New York City’s first LGBTQ+ adult shelter and co-founder of Queers for Economic Justice; Collette Carter, author and former co-director for the Audre Lorde Project.

represents the full-time undergraduate students at Kean University, and it is the entry point to getting student’s voices heard. The deadline to submit applications is March 4 at 2 p.m. There are over 40 positions available, and all candidates must be full-time undergraduate students at Kean University. Once applications are entered, Student Organization’s staff will go through applications and determine eligibility in regards to GPA and credits required for each position. The mandatory candidate meetings will then proceed on March 15, in which further information will be provided about the election policy and the ethics of running for a position. Applications can be found on: kea n.colle g iatelink .ne t/org a ni z at ion/ stugov/availableforms.


March, 2016

THE TOWER 5

March Madness at Liberty Hall By Rose Marie Kitchen

EVENTS

At the event, dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. There will also be live music by “Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra”. Admission is priced at $125 per person.

March Madness does not only describe basketball this year. The Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University will be hosting an array of March events.

Downton Abbey Luncheon Celebrate the end of the Downton Abbey television series at the Liberty Hall Museum. On Sat., Mar. 13 and Sun., Mar. 14 take a step into the 1920’s and experience what it would be like to have lunch with the Crawley family from the Downton Abbey television show. Both luncheons will take place from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. The luncheon buffet includes a choice of red or white wine. The first luncheon is completely sold out and due to high volume a second luncheon was added. “Our Downton Abbey luncheons are extremely popular and due to demand, sell out quickly,” said Bongard. Admission is priced at $55 per person.

The March calendar at Liberty Hall has been carefully thought out with events to please all ages. Throughout the month, Liberty Hall will be hosting a total of seven events. Those events include: Dr. Seuss’ Birthday Breakfast, Downton Abbey Ball, Downton Abbey Luncheon, Ladies’ Night Out: A Night of Vintage Fashion, Annual Easter Egg Hunt and History Happy Hour: History of Sports. “Liberty Hall Museum loves hosting special events year round and enjoys having different types of events for everyone in the family; which is the case for what’s taking place in the month of March,” said Lacey Bongard, Coordinator of Museum Programs at the Liberty Hall Museum. Every event will take place on a different day with a different purpose. Dr. Seuss’s Birthday Breakfast The first event to kick off the March events series will be Dr. Seuss’ Birthday Breakfast. This event will take place on Sat., Mar. 5, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. This event has been known to be a great family event. Visitors will be welcomed to indulge in an all-they-caneat breakfast buffet that will feature Seuss-themed foods such as “Hop on Pop Pancakes” and “Horton’s Hash browns”. Visitors are also invited to participate in Seuss-O (bingo), pin the hat on the cat and much more. There will be more fun and a special visit from the Cat in the Hat himself. Admission is priced at $25 per child and $30 per adult.

Ladies’ Night Out: A Night of Vintage Fashion Interested in vintage fashion? Well, grab some friends and bring them to this fashion-forward ladies’ night at the Liberty Hall Museum. On Fri., Mar. 18th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. enjoy an exclusive viewing of Liberty Hall’s exquisite collection of vintage clothing and accessories. “Ladies’ Night Out: A Night of Vintage Fashion debuted last year and was such a hit we decided to host it again,” said Bongard “Lots of women come with their friends and enjoy a night of wine and cheese; and then change to look at some vintage dresses from the collection at Liberty Hall Museum.” There will also be a historical clothing fashion show that will serve as both informative and entertaining. Exclusive for this event only, the museum store will run some special sales during the event. Admission is priced at $25 per person and $22 per Liberty Hall member/ Kean University alumni. Annual Easter Egg Hunt Easter is fast approaching and to get in the spirit the Liberty Hall Museum is hosting their annual Easter egg hunt. The hunt will take place the day before Easter on Sat., Mar. 26th. The first session will start from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and the second session will begin at 12 p.m. and end at 1:30 p.m. “The Easter egg hunt is, again, a great family event but it also is an annual one for many families,” said Bongard. Children are invited to hunt for plastic eggs filled with holiday treats that will be hidden throughout the landscape. There will also be a surprise visit from the Easter bunny. Admission is priced at $10 for one adult and child; additional adults are $5.

Downton Abbey Ball On Sun, Mar. 6, 2016, join fellow Downton Abbey fans for an evening filled with dining, dancing and a live showing of the finale of the Downton Abbey television show. “The hit show is sadly ending … so we decided to throw a lavish ball to celebrate the series,” said Bongard. “We invite all Downton Abbey fans to join us for the Downton Abbey Ball which includes a formal sit down dinner, music, dancing and watching the final episode together as it airs live!” Downton Abbey is a British television show that airs on the public broadcast systems (PBS) network in the United States. Downton Abbey is known to have the most international television series Primetime Emmy Awards nominations. It has received 27 nominations.

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EASTER LEPRECHAUN JESUS LENT CHOCOLATE

SPRING IRISH HARP EGGS ST.PATRICK

BREAK SHAMROCK GREEN RABBIT

History Happy Hour: History of Sports “And to end the month, we have our History Happy Hour series which has the fun topic of the history of sports,” said Bongard “That is quickly becoming a favorite for those that enjoy a fun atmosphere with friends, drinking, snacking and learning some interesting history facts.” History Happy Hour: History of Sports will take place on Thurs., Mar. 31, 2016, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Must be 21 years or older to attend this event. Admission includes drinks, snacks, trivia, and time to mingle. Admission is priced at $25 per person and $20 for Liberty Hall members/ Kean University alumni. All the events require reservations in advance. People can purchase tickets for the events by visiting the Liberty Hall website events page or calling 908-5270400. Seats are limited so make a reservations as soon as possible.

“We anticipate big turn outs of each of the events!” said Bongard Stay connected with all of Liberty Hall Museum’s events by following them on social media. Like them on Facebook, follow them on twitter with the handle “libertyhallkean” and follow them on Instagram at “libertyhallmuseum”. The Liberty Hall Museum is currently closed for general tours but will re-open on Apr. 1, 2016. The Liberty Hall Museum is located at 1003 Morris Ave., Union, N.J.

(Continued from page 1)

years, responded stating that she was “extremely for” free higher education. “But, there should be more to it than just getting to go to school for free,” Barata said. “ There are many that take advantage of things like that, FAFSA being a prime example. There are individuals that get a whole bunch of money to go to school, but spend it elsewhere or fail their classes.” According to the university’s Office of Institutional Research, the number of loans taken out by Kean students has slightly decreased in the past five years. Over the course of that time period, federal and state grants have increased, and institutional grants and scholarships have declined. “ Taking out loans can be considered a big financial decision for students to make, especially in today’s economy,” Lao said, referring to paying for school. “With such high rates, some students may feel that they cannot take out loans, which forces them to work multiple jobs in order to pay for school. This may affect school performance and daily life.” All of the interviewed students -- who were either for or against free tuition -- said that they feel something needs to be done about student debt, and offered up some interesting solutions. Dagnall, the history major who didn’t think Sanders’ idea of free college was practical, stated that

people should focus on the value of vocational and technical training. The Student Organization president also proposed solving the problem by offering interestfree loans, providing cheaper ways to access books and materials, removing fees that do not pertain to students, and confronting areas that are not essential to the university and harming students in the process. “In nearly every college budget statement across America you will find large amounts of debt for construction,” Donald said. “Building for Kean, I believe, is somewhere around $20 million/ year. I’m not saying reinventing a college campus isn’t worthwhile but what I am saying is this construction all needs to be paid for by someone, and although it might not always come out of the student pocket, more than sometimes, it is.” Kean students insist that the amount of student debt people carry is burdensome and unfair. To some, finding a job straight out of college is difficult enough without such a large amount of money hanging over their heads. “If we are to make something of ourselves and contribute to the world, why should we be punished for it with student debt?” Angela Oviedo, a senior biology major, with student loans shared. “It just doesn’t make any sense for our country to rob its future population before we even get a chance to start.”


6 THE TOWER

March, 2016

THE TOWER

Rutgers

Department of Communication Kean University Center for Academic Success 1000 Morris Avenue Union, NJ 07083 Telephone: (908) 737-0470; Fax: (908) 737-0465 Email: thetower@kean.edu; www.kutower.com

Master of Accountancy in Financial Accounting business.rutgers.edu/finmaccy On-campus & Online Program

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

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: REBECCA PANICO CO-EDITOR: ANNALISE KNUDSON NEWS EDITOR: YURI SMISHKEW YCH

> 30-credit masters degree can be completed in less than 9 months > Hybrid Program: On-campus and Online cohort (10 week on-campus commitment) > Partnership with Becker CPA Review - free four exam section program > Key electives include Forensic/Litigation Support & Bankruptcy > Audit Analytics Certificate and/or concentration > MA-based concentration

Register for March 19 Open House business.rutgers.edu/finmaccy admit@business.rutgers.edu 848-445-9229

FEATURES/A&E EDITOR: NICOLE BROWN PROMOTIONS: ANTHONY MUCCIGROSSI SPORTS EDITOR ALYSSA DAVIS

STAFF GAIL FREDRICKS JOEL JOLY ROSE MARIE KITCHEN CELESTE SIMMONS BHRIANA SMITH BABATUNDE DAHUNSI

ANGEL OSPINA CHIEMELA IGBOKWE SARA RIDGWAY REDINA DEMUSHI QUINCY RODGERS (CARTOONIST)

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

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

HEALTH Pay attention to your heart By Dr. Josh Palgi The heart is a muscular organ which pumps blood through the blood vessels of the circulatory system. It is the same blood that provides the body with oxygen and nutrients, and also assists in the removal of metabolic wastes. The heart is supplied by the coronary circulation and is enclosed in a double membrane sac- the pericardium. The adult resting heart rate ranges from 60-100 b/ min, which during exercise the maximal heart rate is age dependent and can range from 150-200 b/min. The adult heart is approximately 5 inches (12 cm) long 3.5 inches (9 cm) wide and 2.5 inches (6 cm) thick. It typically weighs between 250 and 350 grams (about 11 oz) and is about the size of its owner’s fist. The person’s heart size and weight are influenced by their age, body weight and build, frequency of physical exercise, and heart disease. It is the heart that sets the tone and direction for the rest of the organ systems to follow in our beautiful body. Here are some fascinating facts about the human heart: • The heart does the most physical work of any muscle during a lifetime. • The heart begins beating at four weeks after conception. • A woman’s heart beat typically beats faster than a man’s. (8 beats faster per minute) • The heart can keep beating even if it is separated from the body. • The average adult heart beats 72 a minute, 100,000 times a day, 3,600,000 times a year and 2.5 billion times during a lifetime. • Five percent of blood supplies the heart. 15-20 % goes

to the brain and central nervous system, and 22% goes to the kidneys. Each minute your heart pumps 1.5 gallons of blood. Celebrities as well know about heart disease, ask David Letterman, Bill Clinton, Barbara Walters, Arnold Shwarzenegger, and Regis Philbin.

The most important behavioral risk factors of heart disease and stroke are: 1. Unhealthy diet 2. Physical inactivity 3. Tobacco use 4. Harmful use of alcohol

So, we would think that we all take care of this little organ. However, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women, and is a major cause of disability.

The effects of behavioral risk factors may show up in individuals as raised blood pressure, raised blood glucose, raised lipids, and overweight or obesity. With increased awareness, prevention, and improved treatment we will see significant reduction in heart disease mortality. The American Heart Association and the centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) guideline to remain heart’s health ask you to take action and do it today.

• •

Heart disease Statistics include: • 81 million Americans suffer from cardiovascular disease. • Over 850,000 people die of cardiovascular disease each year in the U.S. • Heart disease will cost the U.S. an estimate of 320 billion. • The leading cause of death for people of most racial/ ethnic groups in the U.S., including African Americans, Hispanics, and whites. • About half of all Americans (47%) have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. The good news is that heart disease can often be prevented when people make health choices and manage their heart conditions. While genetics play a small role in the development of heart problems, experts agree that most heart disease is caused by preventable factors.

Take action today • • • • • • • • • •

Get your cholesterol checked Get your blood pressure checked Get to know your family’s health history Eat healthy Drink alcohol only in moderation Get active Watch your weight Quit smoking Manage your stress Take steps to prevent type 2 Diabetes


SPORTS

March, 2016

THE TOWER 7

Nearly a quarter of student athletes show signs of depression By Angel Ospina Collegiate sports are perceived by many to be an escape from reality where the student athlete can stay in shape, form friendships that will last a lifetime and most importantly play the sport he or she loves. Unfortunately, student athletes aren’t escaping reality but instead are stepping into a reality with extra pressure and stress, stemming from playing the sports that they love so much. A recent study concluded that nearly a quarter of student-athletes show signs of depression. The study was conducted by Andrew Wolanin, the Director of Kean’s Department of Advanced Studies in Psychology, and alumnus Michael Gross, along with researchers from Drexel University. “Athletes are often viewed as being healthier, but in our experience there were a lot of mental health issues that were not being addressed or recognized,” said Wolanin, who was the chief investigator of the study. “We wanted to do a study to determine how prevalent depression is in athletes to see if more services could be implemented,” he stated. According to the study, previous researches caused a common misconception by many scholars to conclude that student athletes “may be at decreased risk for mental health issues due to increased levels of exercise.” The recent study led by Kean alumni challenged that claim and raised awareness to a problem among student athletes throughout the nation. “We both have a real big interest in the mental health of student athletes, and trying to find ways to not only identify how some of the issues that they are going through but also find ways to treat them,” said Gross, who obtained his doctorate in Psychology from Kean last year. The study measured 465 NCAA Division I student athletes at one institution over the

course of three years by using a demographic questionnaire along with the (CES-D) Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. The tests and questionnaires were done at the student athletes yearly spring sports medicine physicals. According to the study, 23.7 percent of the student athletes showed a “relevant level of depressive symptoms,” and 6.3 percent showed severe levels of depression. Gross and believes that excessive time demand may be one of the many reasons as to why so many student athletes show signs of depressions. “They are balancing life as an athlete while also balancing academics, Gross said via the phone. “There can also be extreme pressure to perform in both areas, which non-athletes do not have. “ Increased risk for physical injury, dealing with coaches and teammates on a daily basis, and the transition as a high school athlete to a college athlete are all other factors that Wolanin and Gross believe to be some of the reasons why student athletes may be depressed. The study also concluded that women student athletes are almost twice as much likely to show signs of depression than a man. Jordan Melillo, field hockey “Coming from playing all four years here at Kean, there is more of a label on us (athletes) to do better in school and better on the field,” said Jordan Melillo, a senior on Kean’s field hockey team. “There’s certain days that everything feels like it’s coming to the end of the world,” she said jokingly as she answered a question pertaining to the study’s conclusion of women. Regardless of what gender the student athlete is or what sport they play, the findings of the study cause for action. Wolanin believes many things could be done moving forward to help student athletes who show signs of depression.

Photo: Sander van der Wel via Wikimedia Commons

“Reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems in athletes. Add psychological services as an integrated part of sports medicine and athletic training in athletic departments. Increase periodic screening of mental health issues in athletes. Provide psychological support services to athletes after injury or other negative sporting events,” Wolanin stated. The university of Michigan has a program called Athletes Connected, which puts student athlete’s mental health as a priority of the school. Other big schools, such as Ohio State University have also tackled the issue, as a sports phycologist is available at all times for the student athletes. Kean does not have a sports psychologist but with the new study it may be something the university looks into. Kean does have the Kean Counseling Center, where student athletes may seek help if needed. The center is available for all enrolled students, at no additional cost.

Spring sports schedule MEN’S LACROSSE March Wed. 2 vs.Western Connecticut St. University 7:00 p.m. Tue. 8 vs. Trine University @ Georgetown, Texas 4:00 p.m. Thu. 10 vs. Misericordia University @ Georgetown, Texas 4:00 p.m. Sat. 12 at Southwestern University 1:00 p.m. Sat. 19 vs. SUNY Potsdam @ Syracuse, N.Y. 3:30 p.m. Wed. 23 vs. DeSales University 7:00 p.m. Wed. 30 at University of Scranton 7:00 p.m. April Sat. 2 vs. SUNY Maritime College * 4:00 p.m. Wed. 6 at FDU-Florham 7:00 p.m. Sat. 9 vs. Farmingdale State College * 1:00 p.m. Wed. 13 vs. Bard College 7:00 p.m. Sat. 16 at Mt. St. Mary College (N.Y.) * 1:00 p.m. Wed. 20 vs. Montclair State University * 7:00 p.m. Sat. 23 at College of Mt. St. Vincent * 1:00 p.m. Wed. 27 at Stockton University * 7:00 p.m. Sat. 30 vs. Elizabethtown College 1:00 p.m.

WOMEN’S LACROSSE March Sat. 5 vs. Mt. St. Mary College (N.Y.) 1:00 p.m. Tue. 8 vs. SUNY Canton @ Bradenton, Fla. 4:00 p.m. Thu. 10 vs. Green Mountain College @ Bradenton, Fla. 12:30 p.m. Tue. 15 at Eastern University 4:00 p.m. Sat. 19 at Arcadia University 1:00 p.m. Tue. 22 vs. SUNY College at Old Westbury 4:00 p.m. Sat. 26 at Wesleyan University (Conn.) 1:00 p.m. Wed. 30 vs. FDU-Florham 4:00 p.m. April Sat. 2 at King’s College (Pa.) 1:00 p.m. Wed. 6 vs Drew University 6:00 p.m. Sat. 9 at Rutgers-Camden * 1:00 p.m. Tue. 12 vs Ramapo College * 4:00 p.m. Sat. 16 vs. Stockton University * 1:00 p.m. Wed. 20 vs Manhattanville College 4:00 p.m. Sat. 23 vs. Rowan University * 1:00 p.m. Tue. 26 at Montclair State University * 7:00 p.m. Sat. 30 at The College of New Jersey * 1:00 p.m.

BASEBALL March Tue. 1 vs. Moravian College 3:30 p.m. Sat. 5 vs. Pitt.-Greensburg @ Aguadilla, Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m. Sun. 6 vs. Misericordia University @ Rincon, Puerto Rico 11:00 a.m. Mon. 7 vs. Susquehanna University @ Rincon, Puerto Rico 6:00 p.m. Wed. 9 vs. Clemente Cup @ Puerto Rico TBA Thu. 10 vs. Misericordia University @ Rincon, Puerto Rico 12:00 p.m. Fri. 11 vs. Arcadia University @ Rincon, Puerto Rico 10:00 a.m. Tue. 15 vs Salisbury University 2:30 p.m. Wed. 16 at Farmingdale State College 3:00 p.m. Fri. 18 at Stevens Institute of Technology 3:00 p.m. Sun. 20 vs. St. John Fisher College 1:00 p.m. Mon. 21 at Alvernia University 3:00 p.m. Sat. 26 at Keystone College 1:00 p.m. Tue. 29 at St. Joseph’s College-L.I. 3:00 p.m. April Sat. 2 vs.The College of New Jersey * 11:30 a.m. vs. The College of New Jersey * 2:30 p.m.

Tue. 5 vs. College of Staten Island 3:30 p.m. Thu. 7 at William Paterson University * 3:30 p.m. Fri. 8 vs. William Paterson University * 3:30 p.m. Sat. 9 at Montclair State University * 11:30 a.m. at Montclair State University * 2:30 p.m. Thu. 14 at New Jersey City University * 3:30 p.m. Fri. 15 vs. New Jersey City University * 3:30 p.m. Sat. 16 vs.Rutgers-Newark * 11:30 a.m. vs. Rutgers-Newark * 2:30 p.m. Thu. 21 vs. Ramapo College * 3:30 p.m. Fri. 22 at Ramapo College * 3:30 p.m. Sat. 23 at Stockton University * 11:30 a.m. at Stockton University * 2:30 p.m. Thu. 28 vs. Rowan University * 3:30 p.m. Fri. 29 at Rowan University * 3:30 p.m. Sat. 30 vs. Rutgers-Camden * 11:30 a.m. vs. Rutgers-Camden * 2:30 p.m. May Thu. 12 vs. Farmingdale State College 7:00 p.m.

SOFTBALL March Sat. 5 vs. Mitchell College @ Kissimmee, Fla. 9:00 a.m. vs. Simpson College @ Kissimmee, Fla. 11:15 a.m. Sun. 6 vs. Coe College @ Kissimmee, Fla. 9:00 a.m. vs. Trine University @ Kissimmee, Fla. 1:30 p.m. Tue. 8 vs. Westminster College @ Kissimmee, Fla. 9:00 a.m. vs. Marietta College @ Kissimmee, Fla. 11:15 a.m. Wed. 9 vs. Central College @ Kissimmee, Fla. 9:00 a.m. vs. Carroll University @ Kissimmee, Fla. 11:15 a.m. Fri. 11 vs. Virginia Wesleyan College @ Columbus, Ga. 12:00 p.m. vs. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges @ Columbus, Ga. 5:00 p.m. Sat. 12 vs. TBA @ Columbus, Ga. TBA vs. Birmingham-Southern College @ Columbus, Ga. 12:30 p.m. Sun. 13 vs. TBA @ Columbus, Ga. TBA vs. TBA @ Columbus, Ga. TBA Sun. 20 vs. DeSales University 12:00 p.m. vs. DeSales University 2:00 PM Tue. 22 at Centenary College 3:00 p.m. at Centenary College 5:00 PM April Sat. 2 vs. New Jersey City University * 1:00 p.m. vs. New Jersey City University * 3:00 p.m. Sun. 3 vs. FDU-Florham 12:00 p.m. vs. FDU-Florham 2:00 p.m. Tue. 5 at Rutgers-Newark * 3:00 p.m. at Rutgers-Newark * 5:00 p.m. Thu. 7 at Lebanon Valley College 3:00 p.m. at Lebanon Valley College 5:00 p.m. Sat. 9 vs.Rutgers-Camden * 1:00 p.m. vs. Rutgers-Camden * 3:00 p.m. Tue. 12 vs. William Paterson University * 3:00 p.m. vs William Paterson University * 5:00 p.m. Sat. 16 at Rowan University * 1:00 p.m. at Rowan University * 3:00 p.m. Tue. 19 vs. Ramapo College * 3:00 p.m. vs. Ramapo College * 5:00 p.m. Sat. 23 vs. The College of New Jersey * 1:00 p.m. vs. The College of New Jersey * 3:00 p.m. Tue. 26 at Stockton University * 3:00 p.m. at Stockton University * 5:00 p.m. Sat. 30 at Montclair State University * 1:00 p.m. at Montclair State University *


March, 2016

SPORTS

8 THE TOWER

Let’s play ball

Photo: Larry Levanti

Andy Lopez throwing the ball in.

By Celeste Simmons The air is getting warmer, the frost is starting to melt away, which can mean only one thing, spring is coming. As exciting as warmer weather is it’s even more exciting in the college sports world because it means baseball season is here. Last season the Kean University baseball team held a record of 35 wins and 12 losses. They also won the NJAC tournament championship for the 6th time. The team

had a great last season despite losing one of their main players, Andy Lopez, who suffered a season ending injury after the 7th game. Kean, which was top seeded, was defeated in an elimination game by number 6 seeded Misericordia University at the NCAA division III Mid-Atlantic regionals. Recently the team has been ranked by two national preseason polls, Collegiate Baseball and D3baseball.com. They were placed fifth by D3baseball.com in its top 25 and sixth by

Collegiate Baseball. This year Coach Neil Ioviero has his sights set on a winning season and he plans on getting there with hard work and great teamwork. “The goal basically is to get back to basic things that our program was built on for years and years,” said Ioviero. “Which is centered around team chemistry, playing really hard, and wanting to win more than the other teams we’re playing.” The team for this season is made up of 18 returners and 16 new players, many of which are freshmen. “We have a lot of new guys this year, so we’re just trying to get them acclimated really quick.” said Ioviero Ioviero stated that there are many reasons for so many new athletes. One of the reasons being that the team needed some “new blood.” He also spoke about two stand out freshman, Shayne Fontana who is from Lebanon, N.J., stating that he will be a starter for this season and Tyler Hopman who is a pitcher from Old Bridge. “He’s really unique because as a pitcher he throws the ball as a lefty and righty, he can pitch with arms so he’s pretty valuable.” Ioviero said. As well as speaking about freshman, Ioviero spoke about returning players as well. “Andy Lopez is back,” Ioviero said. “He was injured all last year. He’s a really good player, I think he’ll make a big difference for us.” Lopez batted .423 with four doubles and five runs scored before he became injured. In 2014 he was named All-ECAC, First-Team All-NJAC, and earned All-New Jersey Collegiate Baseball Association honors. So far the season has started with one win and two loses but Ioviero is hopeful for more wins. “Practices have been going good,” Ioviero said. “We’ve been able to get outside a few times despite the weather. I like the energy and commitment that we’re getting.”

Marajiah Bacon leads women’s basketball team to a winning season By Sara Ridgway Her name has been all over the Kean University Athletics website, as well as social media including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. A Fairly new member to the Kean community, freshman Marajiah Bacon has had quite the impact on the women’s basketball team, as well as the conference and on a national level. Leading not only the New Jersey Athletic Conference, but all division three schools in the NCAA in points scored per game, Bacon has helped lead the Cougars to success in the 2015-2016 season. She also picked up 8 consecutive NJAC Rookie of the Week recognitions, out of a total 12 she received this season, leading to her selection as NJAC Rookie of the Year. Teammate Jaquetta Owens, who is a junior in the program, also earned NJAC recognition as a member of the honorable mention team. A four-year player and 1000+ point-scorer at Neptune High School, Bacon’s basketball career started long before that. Starting off playing recreational basketball in elementary school, and continuing on to middle and high school, she also participated on many different AAU teams including Shore Shock, Jersey Cardinals, and The Hawks. But the ladies ended their season with a record of 15-11, after an overtime loss to William Paterson on Feb. 20 in the first round of the conference championship tournament. This was Kean’s second consecutive season hosting in the post season. Mandy King, the head coach of the women’s basketball team just concluded her fourth season at Kean. With 18 years of experience coaching basketball at the collegiate level after being a division three athlete herself for four years, King has high aspirations and goals for her own players. “I had the opportunity to play for one of the most successful D3 programs in the country at the University of Southern Maine, that’s sort of where everything started,” King said. “We went to the sweet 16 three times and lost in the national championship my senior year. And that sort of drives everything that I do, for my players is to give them that opportunity that I had.” This seasons squad consisted of one senior, two juniors, and nine freshmen. Although the team is young, King along with her assistant coaches had big dreams for the season. She commented on the team’s strong work ethic and character

as they went from strangers to friends to ultimately becoming a family very quickly. King has referred to this season and team as one of her favorites. “You knew even in the summertime when they were meeting each other for the first time that there was something really special about them and as we went through our strength and conditioning workouts, their work ethic really matched their character,” King said. “And we thought during that time that if every cliché they said about teams were true, then this was going to be a very very special group because they did everything that you dream about for a team.” Besides winning an NJAC Championship and getting back to the final 4 in the NCAA Tournament, the women’s basketball team has even more goals that go beyond the court.

“Each player will have their individual goals but for us its about continuing to build a culture that we could be proud of,” King said. “It’s our goal to be one of the highest academic teams in the country as well. We’re trying to be in the top 25 for team GPA.” With her personal success this season as well as the success of her team, Bacon has proven herself as a standout on the women’s basketball team. But even with her monumental success on the court, King had more to compliment on her player other than just her basketball skills. “She is a very impressive player but I’m most impressed by who she is as a person,” King said. “She is very driven, she works extremely hard at her game and I think that she is the type of player that just makes everybody better around her; the type of person that makes everybody better around her. We really believe that character drives

NJAC Rookie of the Year Marajiah Bacon, sporting her No. 20 jersey.

Photo: Larry Levanti

winning and it drives the process and she’s an example of that.” Planning to practice everyday and continue to work hard are only a few of the goals Bacon has. Being a role model for her teammates as well as helping to lead them to success are other goals she values. Bacon commented on the impact that her coaches and teammates have had on her over the course of her basketball career. “It made me become the person I am today like humble and hungry and just willing to do anything to get where I need to be,” Bacon said. “I love my teammates and my coaches this year, like we became a big family doing what we’re doing.” Marajiah and her twin sister Miesha were heavily recruited to play basketball at Kean. With assistant coach Brian Erickson being sent from practices and games to watch them play, the coaching staff knew that their commitment would be a turning point in Kean basketball. “They would give us the opportunity to build the type of family and culture that we’d be proud of,” King said. “And then also have a chance to hopefully win an NJAC championship and go to a final four during their career.” With big aspirations for the Bacon twins, King remarked that, in their first season, they have already surpassed those expectations “I can’t wait to see how their career unfolds because they’re two of the most unbelievable young women I’ve ever had the chance to coach,” King said. “We’re really lucky to have them and all of our freshmen in our program this year. It’s really been a pretty magical season.” According to King, Bacon brings confidence, passion, competitiveness and energy to the court in a way that is very respectable, ultimately raising the level of the program itself. “I think she continues to play the game with great integrity,” King said. “She’s a good teammate, she’s a great leader, really everything that you would want one of your leaders to be, she is an example of that.” Although the season did not end in an NJAC championship or in NCAA play, Bacon and her team are coming back fighting for another shot at the conference title and a final four appearance next season. Coach King has big dreams for her young squad and it will be an exciting journey to watch the programs progression over the course of the next several years.

March 2016  
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