Issuu on Google+

visit us at kutower.com

@KeanTower

GRADUATION ISSUE pages 6 & 7

THE TOWER

MAY | 2016 WWW.KUTOWER.COM

THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF KEAN UNIVERSITY

Kean student killed in car crash remembered by family, faculty By Rebecca Panico Photo: Yuri Smishkewych

A GCA landscaper working in the garden area in front of Kean Hall.

Farahi’s flowers By Yuri Smishkewych With Kean abloom, it’s hard not to notice all the work that’s going on to beautify the campus. Welcoming daffodils and geraniums line the walkways in front of Kean Hall, multicolored pansies in planters on Cougar Walk, and tulips adorn the landscaped areas in the courtyard in front of the Miron Student Center. “It’s one of the quaintest atmospheres you can find on any college campus in New Jersey,” said Cyril Yemafio, a communications major. But as any avid gardener knows, there’s a great deal of planning and hard work involved. Enter the teams that make it all happen: The men and women at the Office of Facilities and Campus Planning and the landscapers that can be seen carting around wheelbarrows or busily zipping about in allterrain vehicles. And they’re not the only green thumbs on campus—Kean’s president also takes part in the process as well. “Landscape design is a coordinated effort between the Facilities and Campus Planning and GCA [Services] with direction and input from Dr. Farahi,” said Danielle Denise Ford of University Relations. According to Ford, every year there are two to three “color changes” depending on the weather: planters are spruced up at the beginning of spring in anticipation of Open House, another change in late spring or summer and a final change in autumn. This spring, the process of campuswide landscaping “has been particularly challenging,” Ford said before describing that at the beginning of the season the campus is evaluated for any damages that may have occurred over the winter: The pH of soil is checked and corrected and grass areas—especially those damaged by Old Man Winter’s wrath—are replanted. continued on page 9

Family, friends and faculty remembered Marcus Scroggins, a Kean student who died April 5 in a car crash on Route 27, as someone who had an inquisitive mind and was always willing to help others. The English major from Edison - who was 32 at the time of the crash - was set to graduate in May after completing senior seminar, his only class this semester. He will receive a posthumous degree on May 19, a university spokeswoman said. Joan Scroggins, his wife, said she and her husband started dating at 16 and have been “inseparable since.” They married in 2008. They never had the chance to have children, “but that was always our dream,” she said.

“He really was the love of my life and my soulmate,” she wrote in an email to The Tower. “Even after all is said and done I still sit here hoping that he will walk through the door whistling and ready to talk my ear off with all the things that had happened during the day.” The driver of a U-Haul truck apparently crossed into oncoming traffic while traveling north on Route 27 when it swide swiped a car, mycentraljersey.com reported. Authorities said the truck continued driving on the wrong side of the road where it crashed head on into Marcus Scroggins’ car. No charges have been filed against the U-Haul truck driver, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office told The Tower. Marcus Scroggins expressed

Photo: Via Gofundme.com

Marcus Scroggins, an English major, died in a car crash on Route 27 on April 5.

interest in getting his master’s degree after he graduated, “but hadn’t totally decided yet,” his wife said. He wanted to teach or work in ESL classes, or work with charities and nonprofits, she said.

“Again, he just loved people and helping them,” his wife said, later adding that he became more invested in church recently and began reading the bible more reading the bible more. continued on page 9

Kean elects first female Student Org president Major seats still remain vacant By Gail Fredricks Student Organization failed to field candidates for some key positions in the recent election, but despite the low voter turnout history was made: Emily Cubilete was elected as Kean’s first female president. Just nine percent of the student body voted in the election, but missing from the ballot were candidates for the Senior Class Executive Board, as well as seats for major positions on the Graduate and Part-Time Student Council, including Vice President,

Secretary and Treasurer. As a result, those vacant seats, are still open, and students who meet GPA and other standards can still apply for the positions, according to election rules posted online. Meanwhile, Cubilete, a public administration major in her junior year of college, is celebrating her win. A member of the Leadership Institute for three years, she is also a sister of Omega Sigma Psi Sorority and was a Lead Student Ambassador for two years. “Running for Student Organization President was never a part of my plan,” said Cubilete. “I always excelled at anything I put my mind to and the opportunity was offered to me so I went with it. Becoming

the first female President for the Department of Student Organization is something I would have never thought could happen.” Since Kean gained university status and changed its name from Kean College to Kean University in 1997, a female has not been elected as president, according to documentation from the Student Org. It’s unclear if there was ever a female Student Organization president before then, since yearbook information and listed names in the Student Org. offices are ambiguous in terms of gender. Carminda Bandeira served as interim Student Organization president in

Photo: Emily Cubilete

Emily Cubilete, our first elected female Student Organization President.

2009, but was not elected into office. Cubilete’s main goals are to enhance career and development opportunities for students in their field. She also wants to begin making commuter students feel included, making sure the continued on page 7

Kean grad admits to Twitter threats By Yuri Smishkewych Kean graduate and self-proclaimed activist Kayla Simone-McKelvey admitted to tweeting numerous threats that left Kean community “in a state of fear and panic” last November. McKelvey, 25, pleaded guilty to a charge of creating a false public alarm before Superior Court Judge William Daniel on April 18, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement. The prosecutor recommended she receive a term of up to 90 days in jail and agree to pay $82,000 in restitution costs to cover the police response and heightened security on campus in the days following the threats. The news follows Daniel’s decision at a hearing on April 14 when he rejected an appeal submitted by McKelvey’s lawyer, Thomas Ashley, after she was denied entry into a probationary program known as pre-trial intervention (PTI) in

March. According to NJ Advanced Media, in a brief submitted to the judge as part of the appeal, McKelvey’s lawyer stated that she was disheartened after only five students arrived to an on-campus protest on the night of Nov. 17. McKelvey then went to a library computer from where she created a Gmail account that she then used to create the “keanagainstblk” Twitter account on which the threatening statements— including a bomb threat—appeared. “These messages caused the campus of Kean University to be in a state of fear and panic for three days. People were afraid to walk on the campus,” said Assistant Prosecutor David Schneider at hearing earlier this month. The statement also said that McKelvey then returned to the rally after making the posts in an attempt to “spread awareness of the threats she had just fabricated.”

In the hours following the threats, concerned students on and off-campus re-posted the tweets, dozens more protesters joined the protest and the university issued an alert by 2:30 a.m. A second alert issued by the university in the early morning hours told members of the Kean community that there will be heightened security levels throughout the day and through the remainder of the week. Throughout the day on Nov. 18, parking lots were visibly empty, classroom attendance was sparse and some faculty members chose to cancel their classes. McKelvey’s lawyer told The Tower in February that she was “very apologetic about what happened.” In a phone interview, the prosecutor’s office did not elaborate as to why their initial recommendation of a six-month jail term was reduced to 90 days. McKelvey’s sentencing date is set for June 17.

Photo by Rebecca Panico

Kayla Simone-McKelvey at a protest in March 2015.


2 THE TOWER

May, 2016

Tales from the loo By Chiemela Igbokwe You’re a student here at Kean University, you walk into a men’s room in Townsend Hall and in the first stall, the entire toilet is covered with a black garbage bag with a sign over it reading “Out of Order Sorry.” You move on to the next stall, no garbage bag, but the stall doesn’t lock and overhead you see a discolored, decaying ceiling just above your head. You finish at the soap dispenser, which is empty, and four of the five faucets don’t work. Finally you reach for the paper towel dispenser, which is also empty. That description is just one of eight that Tower reporters found after hearing anecdotal complaints from male and female students that the facilities around the campus are not being maintained. Reporters visited the restrooms in the following buildings: Hutchinson, Kean Hall, Townsend, CAS, Green Lane, Willis, Hennings and Harwood Arena during two weeks in April. The reporters found that not all buildings seem to be treated equally in terms of maintenance. Generally, the reporters found good conditions in Kean Hall, Green Lane and, for the most part, Harwood Arena. The other buildings didn’t fare so well. The most common infractions were lack of soap and paper towels, non-locking stalls and faucets that don’t work. Townsend ranked No. 1 on the list for worst conditions, and was the only spot check that had a decayed ceiling, broken toilet and a urinal without a handle. The Tower also reached out to the university for comment regarding the maintenance issues. “The Office of Facilities and Campus Planning is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the restrooms,” said University Spokeswoman Margaret McCorry in an email. “Work is prioritized based on the urgency

of the request – for example, a flooding or overflowing fixture will be considered a top priority. Once the emergency situation is contained, the work is scheduled through our work order system. If parts are needed, they are ordered and repairs are made when the parts are received.” McCorry also asked for the cooperation of everyone in the Kean community “to keep our facilities in top condition.” “To report a problem in one of the restrooms,” she added, “call the Facilities Main Line at 908-737-5000 or complete an on-line work order request at the Facilities and Campus Planning webpage.” Here’s the report on the rest of the buildings checked by our reporters: At Kean Hall: Working faucets, filled towel dispensers, one stall that does not lock. Harwood Arena Main first floor women’s bathroom: 15 working sinks, manual paper towel dispensers, one not filled, one sensor paper towel dispenser works, nine pump soap dispensers filled, 20 stalls, of which four have faulty locks. Willis third floor women’s bathroom: four stalls, all had toilet paper and locks that worked, one quarter of sinks worked, two soap dispensers worked, and one paper towel dispenser worked. Hutchinson first floor women’s bathroom: Black bag that covers one of the sinks. Green Lane Building: All the bathrooms in the Green Lane Building were fully stocked and cleaned except for one bathroom on the fourth floor that was missing a coat hanger. One maintenance worker who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity to protect their job said cleaning Kean buildings is an “almost impossible job” because are not enough workers assigned to clean the buildings. The worker said sometimes they will skip an area just to get done. “There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get to every bathroom and classroom and

A non-functioning urinal without a handle at Townsend Hall.

make sure they’re cleaned properly and thoroughly, “ the worker said. The worker said maintenance people are required to report anything not working in a rest room to a supervisor. The maintenance workers are not tasked with fixing broken facilities, the worker said. Last year, Kean’s Board of Trustees voted to outsource its custodians and maintenance workers to a company called GCA in order to save money. Maintenance workers are no longer employees of Kean, but instead work for its contractor. Steve Pinto, the president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, said the workers were part of his union, but were laid off when Kean outsourced. He said some of the workers applied to GCA and were re-hired. He said the state work is required to pay “a prevailing wage which in this case is $15.70 per hour,” but one worker said the hourly pay was several dollars less an hour. Also, the benefits are less. Pinto said he couldn’t comment on current morale of maintenance workers because he

Photo: Anthony N. Muccigrossi

no longer represents them because they are no longer unionized. However, when asked, he said the morale of the workers was good when they worked for Kean. “When we had our own people they’re morale was always upbeat, there was a sense of community, a sense of being part of the Kean family, and our people took pride in their work,” Pinto said. “It was comprised of people who lived in the community, as well as people who had relatives who attended Kean.” Pinto did say that some of the appliances such as soap and paper towel dispensers are a simple task to fix in terms of replenishing. Many of the soap dispensers only need new batteries. Other tasks such as clogged toilets will be fixed, but it can be hard to get it done immediately as Kean only has two plumbers to work the entire campus. Sara Ridgway, Annalise Knudson, Anthony Muccigrossi, Rose Marie Kitchen, Nicole Brown, Gail Fredricks contributed to this story.

Panel on climate change: advocacy, art & science introduced the geo-political and socioeconomic implications that climate change is having and will have in the future and that much can be learned about preventing future atrocities by the experiences learned in areas of conflict across the world, especially Africa. He also explained the importance of an individual advocate at the micro level as

part of the ‘larger picture.’ “When you join a movement,” said Hittelmen, “you’ll be shocked at just how much one person can do.” The ArtSCAPES project was held and organized by Kean’s School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences.

Kean University Department of Public Safety Police blotter By: Joel Joly

Panelist Greg Hittelman of the Enough Project.

Photo: Yuri Smishkewych

Police report that an unknown actor keyed a victim’s car in the Hutchinson parking lot. The report was filed at 4:15 p.m. 3/26/16

By Yuri Smishkewych Kean alumni learned and discussed about the science—and art inspired by the science—of climate change at a lecture and panel discussion held at Kean on Apr. 13. The event, titled “ArtSCAPES Art in Science, Climate, Change and Adaption: Picturing Environments and Sustainability,” featured five panelists from separate fields of study ranging from fine arts to oceanography to social science and was co-moderated by News12 Meteorologist and Kean alum Michael Favetta (class of ’07) and Lisa Mateo, co-anchor for the PIX 11 Morning News and host of “Celebrity Taste Makers,” who attended Kean for her post-graduate studies. Preceding the two-hour panel discussion, artists Diane Burko and Paula Winokur—whose collaborative exhibit, “Glacial Dimensions,” is on display at Kean’s Burger Gallery—provided a lecture about how their art was inspired by their separate travels to the circumpolar regions where they witnessed the effects of climate change first hand. “It was cool to see how in-depth the artists went,” said Amy Abdelsayed, a psychology major. “I really liked it.” Burko and Winokur were then joined on stage by the remaining panelists, Dr. Benjamin Cook, a climate scientist at the NASA Institute for Space Studies, Dr. Joshua Kohurt, an oceangrapher at Rutgers University and Greg Hittelman,

the communications director for the Enough Project, a human rights advocacy group co-founded by another familiar name at Kean—John Pendergrast, the Anne Evans Estabrook Human Rights Senior Fellow. Also on stage was Kohurt’s “friend,” RU15, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) from Rutgers Dept. of Marine and Coastal Sciences that is more akin to an underwater glider than a submarine. According to Kohurt, the AUVs move around or “fly” by changing their buoyancy that causes it to rise or fall in the water and have the capability to travel thousands of miles. “These robots are changing the face of oceanography,” said Kohurt about the data-gathering AUVs that help scientists understand the impacts of climate change in the world’s oceans, “they can fly beneath storms, all around the world, and in challenging environments and don’t put people at risk.” To demonstrate the effects of climate change from space as gathered by NASA, Cook showed students satellite photographs gathered over a 15 years of the southern U.S., specifically pointing out the effects that three consecutive droughts have had on California in that time. “We calculated about 11 trillion gallons of water loss in that region,” said Cook about the gathered data, “and we’re starting to see a long-term drying trend in the west since records began.” Hittelman, of the Enough Project,

Police Blotter

3/24/16

Underage drinking: According to police, an underage actor was arrested for possession and alleged consumption of alcohol at 2:15 a.m. at Sozio Hall. 3/28/16

According to police, a microwave oven was reported stolen from the Science Building in the late morning. 3/30/16

An 18-year-old Manalapan man was arrested for possession of CDS paraphernalia at 12:41 a.m. in Freshman Hall. 3/30/16

Theft: Police reported that laptop and its case were stolen from a book bag in the Center for Academic Success (CAS) building shortly after 1 p.m. 3/31/16

According to police, a Hillside resident found two unused shotgun shells and handed them to Kean Police at approximately 1:07 p.m. No information was provided as to where exactly the shells were found. 4/6/16

Police discovered graffiti on the window of a security booth at the Vaughn Eames parking lot. The report was filed at 10:51 p.m. 4/7/16

Police arrested a 22-year-old East Windsor woman for contempt at the Willis Lot at 10:09 a.m. 4/8/16

Police arrested 39-year-old man from Elizabeth for driving while under the influence at 12:13 a.m. on Morris Avenue. 4/11/16

A 22-year-old man from Burlington Township was arrested for trespassing at Sozio Hall at 12:56 a.m.


May, 2016

THE TOWER 3

Ursino remains closed; property tax ruling pending

By Redina Demushi Ursino, Kean’s fine-dining restaurant open to the public, remains closed, but a ruling for back property taxes of $53,915 is still pending. According to the university, Ursino closed last September “temporarily for remodeling,” and was scheduled to reopen by the end of the fall 2015 semester. Meanwhile, a ruling has yet to be made on the tax litigation between Gourmet Dining, which operated the restaurant, and Union Township over taxes on the Ursino property. State property does not pay taxes to towns, and since it is on state university property, Gourmet Dining contends it does not need to pay property taxes on Ursino. But Union Township argues otherwise. “State owned property cannot be taxed to the state of New Jersey,” Paul Parsons, Union Township Tax Assessor, stated. “However,

when the state of New Jersey leases the property to a for-profit entity, then that entity, in this case Gourmet Dining, can be taxed.” According to Parsons, the restaurant was given back the tax exemption status as of Jan. 1 and is not currently being assessed since the property is no longer being utilized. “If it reopens as another restaurant, from the moment it opens up, I will be taxing them again,” Parsons said. “If it opens as a dining hall for Kean University students, I will not be taxing it.” In 2011, The Kean Foundation, which usually deals with scholarships, entered into a contract with Gourmet Dining, which runs Ursino. Ursino opened in 2012 and received a “worth it” rating in the New Jersey dining section of the New York Times. The swanky eatery offered entrees that cost from $23 to $32 for dinner, with starters

Photo: Yuri Smishkewych

Hey, what’s going on inside Ursino?

like kale salad for $13 and main courses such as Long Island crescent duck at $30. One dessert, chocolate hazelnut pot de crème featuring shaved dark cholate, whipped

cream and short bread, was $11. Judge Joshua Novin, of the Tax Court of New Jersey, reserved decision to review the two motions on the Ursino property after the continued on page 5

Comptroller’s office says no deadline for student fee report By Rebecca Panico A state Comptroller’s report looking into how students’ fees are used at Kean and two other colleges has yet to be released, although multiple officials say they were told it would be issued in late 2015. Former spokesman for the Comptroller’s Office Pete McAleer said the report -- which would also review how students’ fees are used at William Paterson University and The College of New Jersey -- would be released late last year. But a new spokesman now says that a deadline was never set. “I checked with the staff and nobody knows where that December deadline came from,” said the current spokesman Jeff Lamm, referring to McAleer’s information regarding a late 2015 deadline. McAleer could not be reached for comment, though last year he said the report would inspect if the colleges were “doing a good job informing students of where the fees go” and if the money from those fees is allocated accordingly. Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex and Morris), who also heads the Higher Education Committee, confirmed

Photo courtesy of Mila Jasey’s office

with the Comptroller’s Office last year that an investigation into Kean’s finances was being conducted. That information came in a letter she penned to the Board of Trustees expressing outrage after they threatened layoffs in departments related to student services following last year’s 3 percent tuition and fee increase. Kean University spokeswoman Margaret McCorry emphasized last year that the university’s financial management is a strength, as was confirmed by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s rating services. “Kean University is audited independently on an annual basis and is regularly found compliant with all Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) requirements,” she wrote in an email last year. “The University works cooperatively and transparently with all governmental agencies regarding financial oversight.” Kean University President Dawood Farahi reported that potential layoffs to the Center for Academic Success, the library and the Equal Opportunity Center could take place due to a $3.7 million shortfall in the budget. Meanwhile, Kean Federation of Teachers President James Castiglione, which represents full-time faculty and staff, said last year cuts to student services would negatively affect “the most at-risk students.” Jasey’s Chief of Staff Mary Theroux was also told by the Comptroller’s Office last year that the report on student fees would be released in December. The Comptroller’s Office could not comment on when that investigation began, citing office policy on active investigations. “We were told that the State Comptroller was conducting an inquiry and that they expected to have it completed by the end of 2015,” Theroux said. “I don’t what happened since then. I think this entire situation has grown some more legs.” The Comptroller’s Office is also working on a separate investigation regarding the purchase of Kean’s $219,024 conference table. The report on the conference table is also forthcoming. “All I can tell you is that both [reports] are active, and I don’t have an estimate on when they’d be issued,” said Lamm, the current spokesman for the Comptroller’s Office. “It’s not a statutory deadline that anyone gave.”

Photo: Marion Touvel via Wikimedia Commons

Philip Degnan took the reigns as acting Comptroller for the office in September 2015 after Marc Larkins quit the same position amid concerns of cronyism. Lamm said the changing of hands at the top of the department do not affect the student fees report. “No, because the staff that’s working on it has remained the same,” he said. “There hasn’t been any change in the staff that’s directly working on that [student fee report.]” Lamm stated that he was, “unaware of such a circumstance” where a report would never be released. THE OFFICE OF THE STATE AUDITOR Meanwhile, a bill which calls for a legislative auditor to review the issue of student fees sits in the state Assembly. Although the Comptroller’s Office exists under the executive branch of government in New Jersey since the Governor appoints the head of the office with the advice and consent of the state Senate, the legislature can vote on what the Office of the State Auditor – which exists separately from the Comptroller’s Office – looks into. The Comptroller’s Office was created in 2008 and has the authority to review nearly all government agencies in the state, including public universities. The Office of the State Auditor was created in 1934 and has similar authority. Both offices have reviewed universities like Rutgers, but never Kean. continued on page 8

No lead in Kean’s water By Nicole Brown Kean University water showed no sign of lead contamination according to an email blast the university sent on April 12. According to the email, the university tested drinking water samples in thirty different locations on campus, including the residential halls, food services and buildings where children play and study. The university highlighted that the results from the samples are below the New Jersey state limit of .015 microgram per liter. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) measures the amount of lead in water by parts per billion (ppb). One part per billion is equal to 1.0 microgram per liter. The EPA sets an action level at 15 parts per billions—the equivalent of 15 drops of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. If the lead levels reach or exceed 15 parts per billions, it is important that measures are taken to reduce the lead levels. Dr. Juyoung Ha, an assistant professor for the School of Environmental and Sustainability Science, described lead poisoning as a toxic, unnatural and nonbiological component that, when ingested by humans, can lead to serious complications or fatal conditions. “Lead toxicity depends on the dosage and duration,” said Ha. “When small concentration of lead accumulates in the

body, it becomes toxic.” Dr. Ha said it is impossible to tell whether or not your water has concentration of lead without testing it. She said that bad smell and discoloration are signs that the water is contaminated, but not necessarily that it is lead contaminated. “Water is a very unique nature,” said Ha. “It is hard to tell from the smell because it is all dissolved irons.” Dr. Ha said the water in the pipeline neither has oxygen nor exposure to sunlight. And, as a result, microorganisms that thrive in this environment produce acids that cause pipes to corrode and pipe corrosion leads to lead contamination in tap water. Ha asserts that elevated levels of lead in the body block the normal functioning of the blood. At the acute stage, individuals who are exposed to lead may experience nausea, awkwardness in mobility, memory loss or tingling in the fingers. “The chronic stage is irreversible,” said Ha. “It can cause neurological malfunction and damage the lungs.” She said that children are more susceptible to lead poisoning than adults. But, according to the EPA, infants, the elderly and pregnant women are among the most vulnerable. “Children are at higher risk because they are younger,” said Dr. Ha. “Their brains and immune systems are still developing.” Some common sources of lead include arts supplies such as paint, gasolines and

contaminated dust. Dr. Ha noted that paint and gasolines that contain lead are no longer used in the United States. Dr. Ha said that lead poisoning is not a modern phenomenon. One of the first recorded cases of lead poisoning can be traced back to about the late 1700s. “Francisco Goya, a very famous Spanish Artist, used his tongue to lick his brush while he painted,” said Ha. “His death was later linked to lead poisoning.” Dr. Ha said that early detection and preventions are paramount. In addition to taking precaution measures, she urged individuals to not rely solely on authorities to test the water for lead. “Everyone should be concern about lead poisoning,” said Ha. “Everyone should get a copy of the recorded data analysis of their water and check with authorities to make sure they are following the regulations.” Prior to the email, Kean University students expressed concerns about the lead status of the university’s drinking water, but now they are relieved since the university revealed that its water is safe. “I feel really good that there is no lead in our water,” said Ally Tufaro, a freshman student. “Other schools should test their water as well.” Shocking lead poisoning findings gained national attention, after elevated levels of lead were found in Flint, Michigan water supply and in the drinking water of several

Illustration by: Yuri Smishkewych

Newark Public Schools. Kean said it would carry out additional tests in April and release the results as soon as the report is available.


May, 2016

ARTS & CULTURE

4 THE TOWER

Kean wins silent disco party after taking second place in the TIDAL contest By Redina Demushi Kean University won a Silent Disco Party for this upcoming fall after taking second place in the TIDAL social media contest, according to the Kean PRSSA chapter. The “TIDAL College’s Social Wave for Change” campaign encouraged college students across the country to give back to their communities and document their services on Instagram and Facebook, using the hash tag “#tidalXchange” and the name of their school on a photo or video. According to Michael Canova, student publicist for media relations and PRSSA member at Kean, the Silent Disco Party will be taking place this upcoming fall semester and is open to all Kean students. An official date of the event has yet to be determined. A silent disco is an event where the participants listen to the music being played through wireless headphones rather than a speaker system.

“I’m sure a lot of people on campus haven’t been to a silent disco before,” Canova said. “It’s something new. It’s free. Who doesn’t like free stuff?” After ranking third in the first round of the contest, the winners were chosen based on the amount of votes each finalist received. The first place prize was a free concert with artist, Lil’ Wayne performing at the winner’s school. “It wasn’t about the community service anymore,” Canova stated. “It was the voting. If more people passed the link around, we could’ve won.” The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at Kean, which took part in the contest by launching their own campaign and spreading the details of the contest to students and other organizations on campus, was excited to hear the good news. “I feel like our school gets a lot of negative attention,” Canova shared. “It’s nice to get recognized for something good.”

Photo Credit: Leslie Jones via Wikimedia Commons

Relaying for a world without cancer

By Rose Marie Kitchen Relay For Life is a night where the Kean community encourages those who are living with cancer, celebrate survivors and remember the ones who have gone too soon. On April 1 from 8 p.m. – 1 a.m. members of the Kean community gathered together in Hardwood Arena to take part in Kean University’s fourth annual Relay For Life event that was hosted by the Student Organization. “The next five hours symbolize a day [in] the life of someone fighting cancer; a disease that never sleeps,” said Jennifer Herrera, freshman class president. The American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Relay For Life is an overnight event that gives everyone the chance to celebrate, remember and fight back against cancer. It is a team event where members take turn walking around the track. Each team had a table and an activity to help raise awareness about why they were participating. “By walking this track tonight you are joining forces with three and a half million people worldwide who want to save lives,” said Herrera. “Tonight we come together to fight cancer!” Throughout Hardwood Arena not only were there tables lined with different shades of purple, symbolizing the color of Relay For Life, but there were also sport themed decorations around the gym. The event kicked off with the singing of the National Anthem that was performed by Keani Esparra. As a tradition before the first lap at Relay For Life, a cancer survivor gets on stage and addresses the crowd. “Survivors are our reason to relay, they are our living proof as to why we relay and that cancer can be defeated,” said Nigel Donald, student organization executive president. Survivors held their heads up high as they walked the first lap, because only the lucky

ones can say they survived cancer. Cancer is a horrible disease that affects the lives of too many people. Throughout the event there were themed laps, raffle drawings and Fit to Be Kean (FTBK) sessions. DJ Wallah volunteered his time and provided the entertainment for the night. Inspirational Dance from Maplewood also performed throughout the night. Caricatures, dodgeball and calligraphy were all available for people to buy tickets and take part in. Participants could also refuel by visiting the concession stand or the Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream wagon. The night also included themed relay races, such as musical chairs, Greek strolling and Latin dancing. “It’s important that Kean University hosts this event because it brings together the community for a cause that has affected a great majority of the university,” said Jabriel Roberts executive Vice President and senior, communication media major. Every person that attended Relay For Life was there for a different reason that was close to their heart. Cancer is never going to win, because Relay For Life is the chance to finish the battle of someone that passed away from cancer. “Creating the Relay for Life team was very important to us because over half our team members have been affected by cancer in some way,” said Theresa Evans senior business management major. “…Relay for Life, was an event that brought the members of our team closer together. We became a bigger family than we already were. The event itself, had everyone in smiles and filled with laughter.” Evans was team captain of her team for Kean University Relays Education (K.U.R.E). The team was made up of student workers from the School of General Studies, Center for Academic Success and other students around campus. K.U.R.E. received a trophy for being the highest fundraising team at

Kean University’s Relay For Life. The night ended with the luminaire ceremony. The luminaire ceremony is the chance to remember all that have passed away. People were able to spend $10 and write a message on a paper bag that was then placed around the track with a candle inside of it. Attendees walked the final lap in memory of the loved Above: K.U.R.E. holding their trophy for being the highest fundraising team ones that have gone to Below: Student climbing the rock wall soon. The song Rise Up by Andra Day played as everyone embraced the lyrics, “So we gonna walk it out and we’ll move mountains … And we’ll rise up, high like the waves. We’ll rise up in spite of the ache. We’ll rise up. And we’ll do it a thousand times again for you.” Everyone that gathered in Hardwood Arena that night was there for their own personal reason. Not only did the community raise reason of why they relayed. money for an important cause, but they At the end of the event the Student had fun while doing it. As the night slowly Organization announced that they raised came to an end hugs were flying and more over $21,000. Fundraising will be kept open than half of people in hardwood arena found until July. To donate please visit the Relay themselves in tears as they recalled the real For Life website.

Few takers for Kean’s international studies program By Redina Demushi Only eight students are currently studying abroad, not including Kean’s Wenzhou campus, while many others find it unaffordable. According to the Center for International Studies, eight students are studying abroad during this spring semester. Eleven were abroad in the fall. “I think that only having 8 individuals a semester study abroad says a lot about our student body,” Shira NesSmith, a senior Psychology major, stated. “We are made up of mostly commuters and a lot of us can’t afford to study abroad. As great as studying abroad is, it is a luxury not a necessity and an unobtainable thing for a lot of Kean’s students.” Anna M. Nieves, the Principal Clerk of the Center for International Studies, shared that the office has had many interested students come in, but most change their mind because of financial reasons. “Student back out for different reasons,” Tandieka Johnson, a Graduate Assistant at

the Center for International Studies, said. “Financial is always the number one reason why. They want to go. They may have the desire to go, the grades and everything that meets the requirement, but they can’t afford to pay for it.” According to the center, students may use financial aid as well as apply for different scholarships to pay for the school of their choice. The cost of tuition varies depending on the school and location. The main reason students are not taking advantage of these opportunities is the cost of living in another country. Kelly Barata, a senior English Writing major who commutes to Kean feels that paying for a place to live, on top of tuition costs, is a big financial burden. “Also, a majority of us have jobs we can’t leave because we have things to pay for,” Barata stated. Another reason why students at Kean may not be utilizing the opportunity to do a semester abroad is because they are not sure where to begin.

continued on page 11

Photo by: Andrew Dunn

The Palace of Westminster at night as seen from the south bank of the River Thames.


May, 2016

THE TOWER 5

Tower editor beats Yale, Columbia in journo contest Tower Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Panico has been awarded first place for breaking news reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, Region 1 -- surpassing student finalists from Yale University and Columbia University. The Mark of Excellence Award from the SPJ, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism society, is a first for Kean University and The Tower, the independent student newspaper overseen by the college’s journalism program. The award was announced April 11. Panico won for her breaking story about a protest march on Morris Avenue outside campus, in which a group of black ministers alleged institutional racism at Kean, a charge the university denies. The story was first published on The Tower’s website, www. kutower.com. “It’s a great honor to see my reporting alongside Yale and Columbia,” said Panico. “All the student reporters in the breaking news category offered up great reporting. Tower staff don’t get paid for their work, but it’s recognition like this that makes it worthwhile.” This is the second time this month that Panico has honored Kean University for excellence in journalism. On April 9, she received First Place for News Reporting from the New Jersey Collegiate Press Association at its annual awards ceremony and conference in Cranbury, NJ. She also shared the NJCPA second place award given to The Tower, for overall General Excellence among student newspapers in New Jersey, and the third place award for best student newspaper website, www.kutower. com. All three of those awards were firsts again for The Tower. “The School of Communication, Media & Journalism is very proud of Rebecca Panico,”

Photo: Rebecca Panico

“Rabbit Ears” Editor Joel Allegretti.

Photo: The Tower Staff

From left are Tower adviser Pat Winters Lauro, Panico, adviser Lois DeSocio and Smishkewych at the NJCPA awards ceremony. April 9, 2016.

said Professor Pat Winters Lauro, director of journalism and co-adviser of The Tower with Prof. Lois DeSocio. “Rebecca is a model student who works very hard and is passionate about doing good in the world.” “Rebecca consistently puts in the efforts necessary to produce stellar journalism, and she possesses the essential qualities of a good journalist — passion, curiosity, fairness and tenacity,” said DeSocio. “It’s a pleasure to work with her.” The SPJ honors the best in student journalism in regions around the country. Region 1 included entries from colleges and universities in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont Professional journalists with at least three years of experience judge the entries. Firstplace winners will be entered in the national competition where all 12 SPJ regions compete.

TV turns into poetry with readings from ‘Rabbit Ears’ By Rebecca Panico Nine poets turned television into poetry on April 7 when they gathered to read from an anthology titled “Rabbit Ears: TV Poems.” “I just had an idea that I wanted to put together an anthology of TV poetry,” said “Rabbit Ears” Editor Joel Allegretti, who reached out to over 100 poets to compile the anthology. “That’s what I had in mind, which is about as openended as you can get. It wasn’t until I started getting work that the anthology started to put itself together.” Charlie Bondhus, Josh Humphrey,

Diane Lockward, David Messineo, John J. Trause, David Vincenti, George Witte, Kean professor Susanna Rich and Allegretti all took center stage in the CAS first-floor theater. From stories of fighting over the remote to the untimely interruptions of the Emergency Broadcast System test, each poet examined the theme of television from a unique perspective. Each poet read their own poem featured in the anthology, followed by another poem by a different author in the collection. To listen to poets’ performances, visit kutower.com.

‘Sacred Spaces’ at Kean’s Nancy Dryfoos Gallery By Yuri Smishkewych Sue Zwick’s photographs on the sacred are cartes-de-visite from one soul to another. From a procession in Manhattan where a statuette of St. Martin de Porres is carried down Ninth Avenue to a lone moai standing tall against a sunset sky on Easter Island, Zwick’s photographs capture the things revered holy—and to whom those things are holy—from places near and far. “Her art let’s you see the universality of religion,” said Martin Mayer, a visitor at an April 7 reception held at Kean’s Nancy Dryfoos Gallery where 29 of Zwick’s photographs are on display in an exhibit titled “Sacred Spaces.” “We had over a hundred people stop-by today,” said Cristina Fittipaldi, a graduate assistant who works at Kean University Galleries. Visitors at the event also included Kean students, faculty and staff as well as people from outside the university community, she added. For Zwick, Kean’s Nancy Dryfoos Gallery is “just perfect.” “When I first saw it, I just loved the space—it feels intimate,” said Zwick, who also mentioned that one visitor said that the gallery itself reflects the theme, and that it also becomes a ‘sacred space.’ When asked about her travels abroad and what inspires her art, the photographer is quick to mention her husband, Burt Zwick. “He’s really the person I have to thank because I’d be a much more a timid traveller without him,” said Zwick before talking about how she doesn’t like to look at photographs of a place before traveling, “I want to be surprised, I like to go there with basic knowledge and then just explore for myself.” The exhibit is open to the public and on display until May 1. For gallery hours and more information about Kean University Galleries, please visit www.kean.edu/~gallery. Above: Artist Sue Zwick posing next to two of her photographs on display at the Nancy Dryfoos Gallery.

Ursino

Photos by: Yuri Smishkewych

Kean Student Daniel Rego at the “Sacred Spaces” artist reception on April 7.

Photos by: Yuri Smishkewych

(Continued from page 3)

hearing that was held last summer. “He hasn’t indicated to us when he’s expecting to make a decision,” said Robert Renaud, the attorney representing Union Township. The amount of time that has passed since Ursino closed its doors has people wondering whether or not the restaurant will be reopening and when that can be expected. “An announcement about Ursino is forthcoming soon – hopefully in the next two weeks,” Susan Kayne, vice president of University Relations, said in an e-mail on April 11. A recent visit showed activity inside the restaurant: At least five people were observed talking at a table that had several laptops and paper work on it, a commercial grill in the kitchen was alight, and bus tubs containing

cutlery and utensils sat alongside glassware and stacks of dishes and on several tables on the first floor. On the second floor of the restaurant, approximately nine flat boxes labeled “WS42-P”—of which one was open—sat on a table near the window. A subsequent Internet search of this label returned it as a model number of a wall-mounted wine rack. No additional information was available by press time. Future updates can be found online at kutower.com. Separately, The Kean Foundation, now plans to open an Au Bon Pain restaurant in the North Avenue building that would also be open to the public. The building is set to open this summer. Yuri Smishkewych contributed to this story.


May, 2016

Commencement

6 THE TOWER

Astronaut, photographer to give 2016 commencement speeches By Anthony N. Muccigrossi As Kean students prepare to cross the stage and become graduates, the commencement speakers who will be accompanying them have been announced. Photographer Brandon Stanton -- the creator of Humans of New York -- and astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, who has over 50 days in space with NASA, have been announced as the 2016 undergraduate and graduate commencement speakers, according to a release by the university. “Brandon Stanton and Captain Kelly are inspirations for all of us, most especially our students who are about to launch their careers,” said President Dawood Farahi in a statement. Stanton will deliver the undergraduate commencement address on May 19, at the Prudential Center in Newark. Captain Kelly will deliver the graduate commencement address on May 17, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ, the release stated. Stanton began Humans of New York in 2010, and has captured over 10,000 photographs, which are usually accompanied by quotes or a story about the person photographed, the release said. Stanton has also become a #1 New York Times best-selling author, of his book: Humans of New York, according to his website. Captain Kelly’s career with NASA has taken him to the International Space station four different times, which makes him one of the only two people who have done so, the release indicated. Kelly was also responsible for commanding the Space Shuttle Discovery and Space Shuttle Endeavor; the final flight was in May of 2011, the release stated. Among Kelly’s many accomplishments with NASA, his Twitter describes him as also being a Navy combat veteran. Kelly also shares being a #1 New York Times best-selling author of his book, “Gabby: A story of Courage, Love and Resilience,” the release stated. The book was also written by his wife, Gabrielle Giffords, with Jeffrey Zaslow, the book cover indicated. “In very different ways, both have advanced our understanding of the world and each other through their leadership, commitment and curiosity to better understand earth and its inhabitants,” Farahi said in a statement.

Photo: Kean University

Veteran, Astronaut and Author, Mark Kelly.

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared online at kutower.com on April 7. It has been edited to reflect appropriate dates.

Kean student doles out the dough for extra commencement tickets By Rebecca Panico As one Kean student prepares to toss her cap at commencement, another thought preoccupies her mind: obtaining enough tickets for friends and family to witness the moment. Annaphene Roberson, a 22-year-old sociology major, has designated the six tickets Kean gives to graduating students to her immediate family for the ceremony at the Prudential Center on May 19. But that leaves no room for her close friends. “I have a set group of friends, y’know, we’ve all been in the same school since elementary school,” Roberson explained. “I want them to be there [at graduation] because I’m the first out of the group to graduate.” Her last resort is to buy tickets from other graduating students. But hunting down those who are willing to sell theirs is a tall task. The people who absolutely must go are her mom, dad, sister and niece. Roberson recently reconnected with her long-lost brother and would like him and his mom to also come. “The school gave me six. I’m getting somebody to give me two. I still need five more,” said Roberson. Count them: that’s 13 people she’s trying to squeeze in. She already found a student willing to sell two tickets for $20 a

piece on a Facebook group for the graduating class of 2016. But with five more tickets needed, Roberson has her work cut out for her. “People were talking about something like $30, $40 a ticket.” Would she pay that? “No. I want to pay $5 a ticket.” Five dollars a ticket? That’s it? “Look, I’ll go up to $20,” she reluctantly conceded. Roberson said some type of system should be in place where students who don’t plan to go to commencement report that to the university. In turn, the university could sell unwanted tickets to students like herself. “You should have by a certain time to say I’m coming or I’m not coming. If not, those tickets should be available to other people because there’s going to be so many empty seats for people who just already decided I’m not coming, but haven’t said anything.” For Roberson, she’s not going for the undergraduate commencement speaker -- Humans of New York creator Brandon Stanton -- who she says she’s never heard of. “Honestly, the fact that Rutgers has Barack Obama coming blows us out of the water,” she said with a shrug and an eye roll. Roberson is simply going to “share the experience with my

Photo: Rebecca Panico

Can you hook up Annaphene Roberson with some undergraduate commencement tickets?

family.” Those interested in selling their commencement tickets to Roberson should contact her at robannap@kean.edu. Editor’s note: This story originally appeared online at kutower.com on April 14.

Super seniors graduate! By Celeste Simmons “Oh my God what are you still doing here?!” “I thought you graduated?” “Wow didn’t expect to see you here again.” These are the statements that super seniors say can kill your semester, the ones that can hurt the depth of your soul and make you ready to crawl back into your car and hide. A super senior is a student in an American four-year educational institution, who has not met the required time it takes to graduate or has more than the usual number of credits needed to graduate without achieving a diploma or bachelor’s degree. When most students think about super seniors they have the notion that they are lazy, not smart, don’t care about life, have no ambition and the list goes on. As an underclassman your worst fear is becoming a super senior, not graduating on time. If you find out you’re going to be a super senior the feeling can be slightly devastating, but does it have to be a bad thing? Does the term mean you’re all of the things implied with it? There are quite a few super seniors here at Kean what does it mean to them? “It means I slacked,” said Adma Ortega, a super senior at Kean studying Public Relations. “Sometimes I feel like I should’ve put more effort in my studies but then it also means I’m a bit more prepared.” There are many reasons why someone is a super senior, and there is no wrong or right answer. Some of which include, financial or medical issues, student decided to change his or her major, take a few extra classes or have another year of eligibility left to play a sport. Ortega said he earned an Associate Degree in Psychology, but by the end of her senior year she decided to pursue another

pursue another career. “I dropped out of school for a year,” said Ortega. “I told my parents I was going to school, when in reality I was only going to the local library.” By this point you’re most likely still thinking of super seniors in a negative way, still thinking of yourself as the grandma or grandpa of the campus. Probably still on instagram looking at all the pictures of your friends who have already graduated traveling or working at their new full time jobs, but there are still many positives to that extra semester or year. Regardless of how frustrating it is being a super senior, Charlee Dyroff in her article titled “A Super Senior Is A Blessing In Disguise” declared that being a super senior can be beneficial. “Most of my friends who rushed into big-time jobs right after college ultimately regretted not taking a couple months to travel or to go home,” said Dyroff. “After I graduated, I decided not to make that same mistake, and I had incredible experiences travelling through Europe.” Dyroff said other benefits include making new friends and getting to know people outside of the core group you had for the past four years, taking some classes you really wanted to take but didn’t have time for previously, and enjoying college without the pressure of graduating in a certain amount of time. Despite these positives some still feel ashamed to graduate later and others refuse to walk across the stage when they are finally finish. “It sucks,” said Mike, a Kean student who declined to use his full name, because he feared he will be recognized by his classmates. “It’s the worst feeling in the world. I always feel a little shameful walking to class.” Not every super senior feels that way. Some students said they will be walking across that stage proudly.

Photos by: Celeste Simmons

From left to right: John Londono, Kyle Wiggins, Adma Ortega, Manisha Howard

“I almost cry sometimes because I’ve worked so hard for this moment and I needed to feel accomplished,” said Ortega. All super seniors should feel proud and excited. Whether it took you an extra year or three extra years, you worked hard for your degree. It’s something no one can take away from you. Take pride in and walk across that stage with confidence knowing you’ve accomplished something not everyone can. College is difficult, it changes you. Just because you didn’t finish in the four years everyone tells you it should take doesn’t make you a failure. As Wiggins said, “who cares if it took a little longer then they say it should. Everybody has their own pace.”


THE TOWER 7

2016

May, 2016

Astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, left, will deliver the graduate commencement address on May 17, while Brandon Stanton (right), founder of the Humans of New York photo blog, will give the undergraduate commencement speech on May 19.

Photo: Kean University

Photographer and Author, Brandon Stanton.

Commencement speakers’ $80k selection process, explained By Babatunde Dahunsi Student Organization selects the commencement speakers each year, but they do so without taking a vote from the student body and must get approval from the university. The designated undergraduate commencement speaker for 2016 at Kean is Brandon Stanton photographer and founder of Humans of New York, a prominent blog that presents photographs and interviews of common people. NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly will give the graduate commencement speech.

One student said he found the process of choosing the commencement speaker to be ambiguous. “I honestly didn’t even know there was a process that people get to be involved in. I’ve never heard anything of that regard,” said Ose Pius, a business major. Student Organization comes up with a list of possible options for speakers. These options are all constructed based on price and availability. Kean must then get in contact with agents, managers, and representatives of the potential speaker, Student Organization told The Tower. The potential candidates must be

approved by the school before going forward. Having conversations with the potential speaker gives Kean a proper scale of who would best fit the school cost effectively and reliably. “Based upon who can fit within an affordable factor and who the students like we would agree on having those students for Graduate and Undergraduate commencement,” said Nigel Donald, executive president of Student Organization. Both speakers will receive $40,000 each for their speeches. Student Organization, which represents full-

time undergraduate students, split the fee evenly with Kean University. Likewise, the Graduate and Part-Time Student Council split the price for their speaker evenly with the university, Kean spokeswoman Margaret McCorry said. “In the end we are more than thrilled that the undergraduate commencement speaker Brandon Stanton was one of the top choices from the undergraduate students,” said Lawrence Owens, the newly-elected president of Graduate and Part-Time Student Council. “That was someone who they wanted, we are thrilled we were able to get him for their graduation.”

Graduation Information: • Thursday, May 19, 2016, at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ • Procession begins promptly at 8:30 a.m. • Graduates must arrive no later than 7 a.m. with cap, gown, and reader card and proceed to the Lafayette Tower entrance to prepare for the processional lineup. • Each student will be given six (6) tickets for guests seating in the Prudential Center. Seating on a first-come, first-served basis. • Students will receive a ticket voucher when picking up caps and gowns in the Miron Student Center, Room 228. The ticket voucher must be turned in at the Wilkins Theatre Box to retrieve guest’s tickets.

Soon-to-be graduates look to the future By Gail Fredricks The school year is coming to an end and another group of Kean students will be graduating in May. It may have taken them four years or maybe even eight, but their hard work and dedication has finally gotten them to their goal of graduating from Kean University. Many students will take a much needed break from school after graduating, and others will keep their momentum going by continuing to work on their academic careers. Others will be in search for their dream jobs. Alex Burgos, an Information Processing major, is proud to be graduating from Kean, and is even happier to get out of New Jersey. Although his main dream is to be a professional singer, Burgos still chose to pursue his college degree in case things didn’t pan out. His plan after graduating is to find a full time job for his major in New York, and to continue to work on his music career. “I’m usually in New York every day to help my music career, so having a job there will be a bonus,” said Burgos. Marcia Birk, after switching her major three times, is graduating as a Communications major.

Photo: Kean University

The 2015 graduation ceremony at Kean University

“It took me years to graduate because I switched majors three times. But because of that, I am graduating with something that makes me happy,” said Birk. Birk, who got engaged on Christmas of 2014, says she will probably get married after graduation. Her other plans are to take a month-long break and then look for a job. “I want a job where I can use my creativity,” said Birk. Kean students’ graduation will take place at the Prudential Center in Newark on May 19.

Student President (Continued from page 1)

university is a home for them as well. “Getting involved is a major key to a successful college journey,” Cubilete said. “I want to bring back pride into Kean students because when anyone has pride either it being in a classroom, at work or any hobby, people tend to work harder to make something greater of themselves.” As for the open seats still unfilled in Student Org, there is an election process in place. For the Executive Board for Student Organization and Graduate and Part-time Student Council positions, the president and director review the qualifications of the applicants and decided who is most qualified. They then present these applicants to the Executive Board for a vote. Although rare, if no one applies for these positions, the position would remain vacant. In regards to Class Executive Boards, the vice president, director, and class president review the applicant’s qualifications and decide who is most qualified. The president then presents it to the Executive Board for a vote, then to the class council to vote. If the position remains vacant, the other Executive Board officers need to fulfill those responsibilities. When Funded Groups Executive Boards have a vacant spot, the position is then offered to the next highest ranking officer, then to the general body to apply. The Vice President of Funded Groups, Director, or designee, and President review the applicant’s qualifications, decide who is most qualified, and present it to the Executive Board for a vote. Should the position remain vacant, the Executive Board officers would need to fulfill those responsibilities. Any student who is interested in becoming a representative or fulfill a position should contact Student Organization’s Managing Assistant Director Carli Hench, Student Organization/ Graduate & Part-Time Council, at cahench@kean.edu.


8 THE TOWER

May, 2016

HEALTH

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: thetower@kean.edu; www.kutower.com

Feel the burn with exercise By Dr. Josh Palgi College is a transitional time when students are often placed in a new environment for four years and face immense pressure to study and do well in classes. Since students’ focus is often not on exercise, they may be less likely to exercise than they were in high school. Researchers reported that about 40 to 50 percent of college students are physically inactive. Why? When you spend the majority of your time sitting in class or on the couch studying. it is easy to start to lead a sedentary life. Physical activity has many health benefits. These benefits apply to people of all ages and races and both sexes. Knowing what you want out of exercise may get you motivated to begin. How much exercise is enough and what type of exercise is best for developing and maintaining fitness? The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) , the world’s largest sports medicine and exercise science organization, and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently published updated physical activity recommendations. According to the new guidelines, American adults aged 18-65 years should continue to accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderateintensity aerobic activity 5 days per week (instead of “most days of the week”) OR engage in 20-minutes of vigorous activity 3 days per week The update clarifies that activity must be at least 10 minutes in duration to count towards daily goals and that a combination of vigorous and moderate-intensity physical activity is acceptable. Once again, strength training at least twice weekly is recommended. Programs should consist of 8-10 exercises for at least 1 set of 8-12 repetitions each. The update concludes that the guidelines presented are

Comptroller

“minimum” requirements for preventing disease and strongly encourages American adults to strive for greater amounts of physical activity to gain advanced protection against “inactivity-related chronic disease.” The basic recommendations are categorized as cardiorespiratory exercise, resistance exercise, flexibility exercise and neuromotor exercise. The activities you choose depend upon you. Do you want to work out alone or with offers, and if so, with how many? Do you want to work out at home, in a gym or outside? How much can you afford to put into a program. An exercise program can be a fun addition to your week. Do a variety of exercises, set realistic goals for your routine and your fitness level and enjoy yourself. Exercise can help balance the activities that college throws at you, and could potentially become a healthy habit you carry into your upcoming career lifestyle. Getting the exercise you need is easier than you might think. So, why not see for yourself? Once you find creative ways to fit physical activity into your life, you will agree that the effort to get moving is worth it. Rememberthe saying goes that once you exercise regularly, you will miss not exercising.

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

“About 40 to 50 percent of college students are physically inactive.”

SPORTS EDITOR ALYSSA DAVIS

STAFF GAIL FREDRICKS JOEL JOLY ROSE MARIE KITCHEN CELESTE SIMMONS BABATUNDE DAHUNSI ANGEL OSPINA

CHIEMELA IGBOKWE SARA RIDGWAY REDINA DEMUSHI QUINCY RODGERS (CARTOONIST)

(Continued from page 3)

“Both of our offices can overlap as to what we overlook and look into,” said Assistant State Auditor John Termyna. “And it just so happens that the Comptroller’s Office started looking into student fees before we did.” “The last time I spoke to someone from the Comptroller’s Office they indicated that the audit was going to be issued December of last year or early this year,” he added. “But as of yet it hasn’t been issued.” In January, Jasey’s chief of staff called the Office of the State Auditor to learn more about the process of getting the auditor to conduct a report, Theroux said. Jasey’s office was not privy to the fact that there’s already a bill (A551) sitting in the Assembly that asks the auditor to review three schools’ student fees and how they’re spent. No universities are named in the bill. The bill’s main sponsor is Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D-Middlesex) and was presented to the Assembly on January 27, her chief of staff said, but has since had no action

or vote. “I just feel like we have to look at these things,” Pinkin said when asked about the motivation of the bill. “We just have to be very determined to address this crisis” of rising student loan debt. Pinkin, who formerly served on the state Higher Education Committee, was originally a co-sponsor of an identical bill (A2816) in 2014 which passed the Assembly, but was never voted on in the Senate. The main sponsor of that bill was former Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union), an outspoken critic of Kean. “The question of fees comes up all over higher education in New Jersey,” said Cryan, who now works as Union County Sheriff. Kean University was not the motivation for sponsoring the bill, he said, but later added that, “No higher education institution in New Jersey deserves an audit more than Kean.”

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.

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared online at kutower.com on April 21.

REGISTER NOW FOR SUMMER SESSIONS APPLY NOW! www.hccc.edu/summer Classes offered online see www.hccc.edu/schedule for a list of offerings

JOURNAL SQUARE CAMPUS 70 Sip Avenue, Jersey City, NJ (right by the Journal Square PATH Station) NORTH HUDSON CAMPUS 4800 Kennedy Boulevard, Union City, NJ (adjacent to NJ Transit Bergenline Avenue Transit Center) Enrollment Summer ad - The Tower - Kean 9.75x5.indd 1

Summer I classes begin on Monday, May 23 Summer II classes begin on Wednesday, July 6 • More than 271 high-quality courses in over 52 subjects. • Faculty and staff focused on student success. • Tuition at just a fraction of what you’d pay at four-year colleges. • One of the most effective Financial Aid programs in New Jersey, plus many scholarships available! • Flexible hours at two easy-to-reach campuses. • Transfer agreements with many in- and out-of-state colleges and universities.

3/24/16 3:51 PM


May, 2016

THE TOWER 9

Mother attends Kean to better understand adoptive daughter’s ADHD By Jiaqi Ni The reason Susan Shaw-Rexford is majoring in education and doing ADHD research is for Kaya Ling-Rexford, her adopted daughter from China. Rexford, a 58-year-old junior at Kean University, is back in college for the fifth time to complete her undergraduate education. In the past, ADHD prevented Rexford from finishing college. “My husband totally supports my education because he doesn’t want to make me feel bad about myself,” Rexford said, “and my main focus now is to my daughter who also has ADHD.” ADHD is short for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Symptoms of the disorder include inattention, impulsivity and over-focusing on subjects of interest which interferes with necessary tasks, such as homework, said Rexford. “She cannot wear jeans, can only wear soft clothes, cannot walk on the grass, cannot sit up straight because of a lack of strength…she cannot focus and just wants to move around,” Rexford said of her daughter’s differences from the other kids. Kaya, 12, whose original Chinese name is Ailing Tong, was abandoned in a fish restaurant when she was only one month old, and stayed in Tong Ling Social Welfare Institute in China until she was almost two-years-old. “I adopted a Chinese daughter because my friend told me that a large number of little girls in China need moms, and I said OK,” Rexford said with a smiling face. “When I got the small picture of Kaya from the agency after one year of progress in the application, I said ‘Oh my god, my baby, this is my baby!’ although I didn’t know anything about her at that time.” Rexford regarded that experience as

Scroggins

magical. “We smile different, look different, sound different, and everything is different. When I met Kaya for the first time, she was screeching, yelling, angry and so upset. I couldn’t even hold her.” Before a diagnosis was made, a telling sign of Kaya’s ADHD was when her daughter was unable to sit with other children because she was always “so busy” and seemed want to experience everything. Kaya was diagnosed with ADHD when she was in fifth grade, and after that, Rexford did lots of research, read books, and organized workshops in order to raise awareness for ADHD. Rexford expressed that she needed to build a clear and abundant schedule for Kaya to manage her ADHD, help her figure out what she needed, and what she should do. But it is difficult for the mother to insist on because Rexford’s ADHD prevented this progress. Rexford notes that ADHD isn’t just genetic but has environmental causes. “Kaya also has some sensory issues, such as sensitivity to sound and light,” she said. “Staying in a small space before being adopted, lack of physical touch, sensory stimulation feedback needs when she was a baby may have influenced her symptoms today.” Rexford does not let her daughter lose her self-esteem or judge herself as stupid. There are many people who have ADHD, and their different actions cannot be judged as behavior problems. They just have different brains, and everyone is different. Kaya now undergoes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and she works closer with her classmates. Rexford also appreciates that her daughter, and other kids like her with ADHD, are allowed to test with accommodations.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

March Madness captures the attention of Kean students

Photos by: Susan Shaw-Rexford

Susan Shaw-Rexford, right, with her adoptive daughter, Kaya Ling-Rexford.

After 11 years, they grew close and developed a sweet and respectful relationship with each other, her mother said. “She is not my adopted daughter; she is my daughter,” Rexford said.

Flowers

(Continued from page 1)

Dr. Nira Gupta-Casale, his senior seminar professor, remembered him struggling to come up with a topic for his final paper because he found so many topics interesting. In emails to her, Marcus Scroggins expressed an interest in feminism studies, especially after writing a short paper on the author Jane Austen for class. “I just wanted to say happy Women’s Day,” Gupta-Casale read from an email he wrote to her in March, “and that my views have changed a lot after reading more on gender studies. Originally I felt weird about not seeing more males’ voices in this field of study. That would be narrow minded. Feminism is for men too.” He later added that because of the feminist theories he began researching, “I can live my life more aware.” Gupta-Casale paused for a moment after reading the email. “So someone like that,” she paused again, “I wasn’t worried about him.” Students in Marcus Scroggins’ classes knew him well too, GuptaCasale said, because he often gave them ideas for their own projects. One of Gupta-Casale’s students in her senior seminar class broke down crying when she spoke of

Marcus Scroggins’ death in class. That student, she said, told her she passed by an accident on Route 27 on April 5 around 2 p.m., but didn’t learn until later that it was probably the accident that killed Marcus Scroggins. Other professors, like Dr. Dean Casale, remembered Marcus Scroggins as a motivated student, although it was sometimes difficult for him to balance schoolwork with his job as a manager at Sam’s Club, they said. “He had a real sort of inquisitive mind. He was somebody who liked to talk in class and always had a kind of interesting point of view,” said Casale, his former American literature professor. “That’s one of the heartbreaking parts of this is that he worked so hard in school.” Marcus Scroggins also read and wrote a lot on his own time, professors said. “He’d say, ‘I read this the other day and want to share it with you,’” said Casale. “So he was always somebody who was thinking and a real pleasure to have in class.” Dr. Susanna Rich, who was his advanced poetry writing professor last year, was making plans to go with Marcus Scroggins and another student to the Massachusetts

Editor’s note: Jiaqi Ni is a transfer student from Wenzhou, China who wrote this article for an Introduction to Journalism course.

Poetry Festival starting April 29. “He wrote really, really beautiful poetry,” Rich said. “He was the kind of person that would coach other students in class and help them with their papers. Y’know, very, very generous. He was just a joy to be around.” A Gofundme page was created by two of his wife’s childhood friends, Lauren Alarie and Christine Rollman. By the time of publication, the account exceeded its goal of $15,000 with $16,625, all of which was raised in 19 days. “My heart is so heavy for [Joan Scroggins] right now,” Alarie wrote to The Tower via the Gofundme website. “He and Joni were like 2 peas in a pod. You could see so much of one within the other... He was so uplifting and had so much love to give and so many jokes to tell.” “That’s not to say he didn’t take life seriously, but definitely never wasted a moment on feeling down or being boring,” she added. Students in need of counseling are encouraged to visit the Kean Counseling Center, located in Downs Hall room 127. Employees may seek assistance via the Employee Assistance Program by calling (908) 497-3954.

(Continued from page 1)

“We do not turn on the irrigation systems or plant a fragile or temperature-sensitive material until we are sure that the cold weather is behind us,” she added. As for the source of the annuals and perennials seen on campus, Ford said that Kean prefers to deal with local growers since, “local growers are also more in-tune with our climate and weather patterns.” Students, faculty and staff will also be surprised to know that there is even a small greenhouse at the maintenance area that’s used to cultivate and protect the plants before they’re planted. And its not only members of the Kean community that take notice of our verdurous campus. User-generated review websites—like unigo.com, cappex.com, colleges.niche.com, etc.—often mention the beautiful scenery. So how much do these well-manicured lawns, trimmed trees, and freshly mulched and varicolored gardens cost? According to Ford, all of Kean’s three campuses makeup approximately 112 acres of “open space.” The term includes all the landscaped areas, lawns, and areas that haven’t any hardscapes, or non-manmade fixtures like the campus’s concrete walkways and paths. “The cost for grounds maintenance which includes the seasonal changes, daily maintenance, lawn care, exterior trash removal, plantings and snow removal is $1.3 million or 27 cents per square foot,” said Ford.


10 THE TOWER

May, 2016

OP-ED Cellphones in the classroom By Babatunde Dahunsi Students appear to be attached to their cellular devices now more than ever. They rush to send the text or open the app that distracts them from the lecture. The use of cellphones in the classroom is a growing issue. The battle for attention is a new dynamic that professors have learned to deal with. The epidemic has contributed to the loss of focus in school. Many students have made the decision to incorporate phone use in their academic journeys. Despite the acknowledgement from students that the use of cellphones in class is not respectful, students have their own unique take on the matter. “I feel like we are no longer in high school, and I’m an adult who is paying for an education. If I want to waste my money that’s my fault,” said Aysia Peterson, Kean student. “A professor shouldn’t have to babysit me and my phone.” The common theme between students and professors would appear to be that both parties feel disrespected. Students feel they should be allowed to do as they please with their time and money spent. Professors feel there is a lack of respect when students use their cellphones in the classroom. Kean professor Dr. Susanna Rich has implemented her own unique philosophy regarding the issue on phones. She prides herself on the matter that cellphone use in her class is not permitted. Her syllabus specifies that students may not use phones throughout the duration of the class. Failure to comply will result in

the deduction of thirty points. The professor believes that with a phone a student cannot be present. Her insightful perspective attributes students’ use of phones to a deeper issue. “It’s a matter of do you want to be free or enslaved by people who create apps for the goal for you to be addicted,” said Rich. She remains adamant on the issue that phones in class are rude and distracting. Dr. Rich uses her insights as a tool to help students see the bigger picture. Many professors see it as the surface issue being the direct antithesis. “Emptiness is what makes us free, and we replace our emptiness with addictions like our phones,” said Rich. All students do not disregard the fact that it is a disservice to themselves and professors when using phones. Many acknowledge it but are stern in their perspective. “I understand where teachers are coming from when they don’t allow it, but if their classes were interesting maybe students wouldn’t be on their cellphones,” said Anna Roberson, Kean student. Some look deeper into the issue. Aside from it being viewed as disrespectful, there is also a matter that is educational. Using a cellphone in class becomes a disservice to education. “Study after study demonstrates that we cannot learn material conceptually while multitasking, especially when the second task involves verbal input,” said Professor Shai Tabib.

Photo: Babatunde Dahunsi

Students pay less and less attention in classrooms.

Art and science meet at Burger Gallery By Yuri Smishkewych Only the occasional sound of a champagne bottle being popped open was heard over the chatter of dozens of guests talking about climate change at an artist reception at the Karl & Helen Burger Gallery on April 12. “I like to work on big canvasses, so people can ‘get into’ them,” said artist Diane Burko, whose photographs of glaciers and icebergs—some as large as 40 by 60 inches—are featured at the gallery alongside porcelain sculptures inspired by ice fields and icebergs by fellow artist Paula Winokur at an exhibit titled “Glacial Dimensions: Art and the Global Ice Melt.” Though the artists use different mediums, their message is the same: To show the effects that humans have made on circumpolar ice as they witnessed it in places as far as Svalbard (north of the Artic Circle) and Antarctica. For instance, one of Winokur’s pieces, “Ice Cores,” is composed of ten three-foot sculptures of the icy time capsules that seem to be melting at their tips. Associate Professor Feng Qi, the executive director and of Kean’s School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences, praised the exhibit where art and science meet, saying that it’s “a perfect place” for students to learn about climate change. “It’s a beautiful set-up,” said Qi, “in the past we were only gave lectures to students; but here, art and science are brought together and it has a greater impact for students.” “I actually came for extra-credit,” said Kenny Stewart, a fine arts major with a focus in photography, “but now, after seeing the pieces, I really enjoyed myself. I’m glad I came—I learned a lot.” The exhibit is open to the public and on display until April 30. For gallery hours and more information about Kean University Galleries, please visit www.kean.edu/~gallery.

Two Kean students in front of a photograph by Diane Burko.

Photo: Yuri Smishkewych

Opportunities for students at the Office of Internships By Joel Joly All students that are majoring in business, finance, marketing, management, global business, criminal justice, and public administration should visit the Office of Internships located at Green Lane 243 and 245. This office has provided many students get the help needed to work at some wellknown corporations including BMW, Price Waterhouse Cooper, WMG, Port Authority of NJ/NY, Giorgio Armani, Johnson & Johnson, Stella McCartney, iHeartMedia, Louis Vuitton, Wakefern, Enterprise, Cintas and many small and entrepreneurial enterprises. The Office of Internship consists of three types of internships that a student can pursue. One internship consists of pay only, second internship type is credit only, and the third one is both credit and pay. Most internships are worth three credits, upon faculty approval. Joanne Beiter, the founder of the Office of Internships, runs workshops every week in Green Lane 204, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. during college hour to help students with resumes, cover letters,

teach 21st century interview skills, and how to develop a LinkedIn profile. “My office is also about teaching students ‘how to fish’ to find their own internships; giving them the skills and the tool kit necessary from a business perspective, business resumes are a little different,” Beiter said. Walter Dioses, a graduate student majoring in Global Business found success through the Office of Internships. Walter interned at companies such as AARP, Allstate, WorldCargo and in countries like Spain and Germany. Deanna Verringia, a senior marketing major had five internships in Manhattan, including Marie Claire Magazine, Dinamit and Cynthia Rose New York. Both students assist Beiter at the Office of Internships by contacting companies and asking them what they look for in candidates. They also help organize the Office of Internships seminars and events. Dioses spoke positively about the Office of Internships. “I believe this office is a great help because we have the tools here, most of our success stories are students

Deanna Verringia, left, sits with JoAnne Beiter.

that are willing to put in extra work after meeting with us,” Dioses said. “We are not just a center for resume, cover letter and writing, we are here to give students confidence to market themselves the best they can and to use their characteristics to enhance their professional careers after school.”

Photo: Joel Joly

Although the Office of Internships services the College of Business and Public Management, their seminars and events are open to all Kean students. For further information students can stop by or email the Office of Internships, internships@kean.edu or visithttp:// kean.edu/internships.


SPORTS

May, 2016

THE TOWER 11

Men’s volleyball take 2016 Skyline Championship By Joel Joly Kean University Men’s Volleyball team made it their fifth straight year as Skyline Conference Champions after they swept Ramapo College 3-0 on Sunday afternoon, April 10. The Cougars (30-6) were led by sophomore Jacob Kauffman, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the championship game. His teammate, freshman Zack Lynne, who plays the libero position spoke on Jacob’s great performance. “Jake played really he’s a good team player,” Lynne said. “He put away some balls when we needed him to and he’s not that selfish. It was a good team win.” Third year head coach Charlie Ginex had some positive words to say about his team’s victory against Ramapo. “They were very focused,” Ginex said. “They were playing a very great team, although we beat them twice this year. They were very dangerous, they had a lot of great players. Frankly, it wasn’t even close, we were so focused, we took care of business pretty fast.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

March Madness captures the attention of Kean students

Right: Coach Ginex poses with Skyline trophy Photo: Joel Joly

Back to back seasons with at least 30 wins for Kean’s men’s volleyball By Joel Joly The Kean men’s volleyball team defeated Ramapo College in the 2016 Skyline Championship game, on April 10 earning its 30th win of the season. Third-year head coach Charlie Ginex spoke on the success of his team from the struggles they experienced at the beginning of the season. “When we started our season and we were dealing with all these young kids, it was not always easy,” Ginex said. “But to see where they were then, and where they are now, its pretty darn amazing. I’ve had other teams that had seen us in the beginning of the year tell us point blank, you guys are the total opposite team from where you were.” The Cougars began their season slow, compared to last season’s major successes. To start, they had an even record with five wins and five losses during the month of January. However, they went on a 15 game winning streak, between February until mid-March in a loss to Warner

University. After the loss, the Cougars went on a 10-game winning streak. Since January, they have 25 wins and one loss. Some of the Cougars earned outstanding awards during the season. Senior team captain Tommy Rosario was named Skyline Conference Player Of The Year on April 11. He was named Skyline Player of the Week twice throughout the 2016 campaign. He was also named the National Player of the Week by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Nicholas Buseski earned Skyline Conference Rookie of the Week recognition, and was named Skyline Conference Rookie of the Year in April. Sophomore outside hitter, Jacob Kauffman captured the Skyline Conference’s first Men’s Volleyball Player of the Week Award during the beginning of the season. “With such a young team in the world of volleyball, outside of this campus, I don’t think anybody thought we would be where we are today,” Ginex said.

International Program A survey revealed that one out of the six students asked, was aware of the different options available for studying abroad as well as where the university’s Center for International Studies office is located on campus. Kean University’s Center for International Studies, located in the Center for Academic Success building, directs students of all majors who are pursuing a semester abroad to the country of their choice. “We work with providers and these providers have agreements with different schools,” Johnson explained. “Based on where the student wants to go and what subject area they are looking for, when we contact the provider, they may have a list of schools the provider works with that has that subject area. We don’t choose for the students. The student chooses. What we do for the student is we provide guidance.” Despite the financial obstacles that may come along with a semester abroad, the students surveyed all agreed that there are many benefits to studying

(Continued from page 4)

in another country. “Studying overseas can be an excellent way for young adult students to expand their worldviews, master a new language and learn about a different culture and their education system,” Hira Subhani, a sophomore Global Business major mentioned. “Studying abroad offers a unique opportunity to grow academically, professionally, and personally, while going on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.” There are several opportunities for Kean students to study elsewhere, such as dozens of countries to choose from, like the U.K., France, Spain, Australia, etc. Students can also do a semester at sea, and the Travel Learn program, which is a faculty lead program where students go on a one to two-week trip with their class. “The purpose of college is to gain knowledge, open perspectives, and prepare for the real world,” Mahin Chowdhury, a junior Global Business major, stated. Studying abroad helps a student achieve all of those things as well as absorb a different culture.”

Summer 2016 Earn 3 or more credits 4 Start Dates • May 16 • July 5

Cougar volleyball posts another winning season in 2016.

Photo: Kean Athletics website

Spring sports schedule MEN’S LACROSSE

April Sat. 30 vs. Elizabethtown College 1:00 p.m.

WOMEN’S LACROSSE

• June 13 • July 11

Convenient summer courses • To complete your degree early • For transferable credits

• To use your time wisely • To save money

• To start college now

April Sat. 30 at The College of New Jersey * 1:00 p.m.

BASEBALL

April 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

April Sat. 30 at Montclair State University * 1:00 p.m. at Montclair State University *

www.middlesexcc.edu


SPORTS

12 THE TOWER

May, 2016

NCAA lifts probation on Kean’s athletics department By Sara Ridgway The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) notified Kean University on April 22 that it has lifted a four-year-long probation on its athletics department following a scandal involving the Division III women’s basketball team. The announcement ends a chapter for Kean athletics, which has been on probation since 2012 due to infractions of NCAA rules that revolved around the women’s basketball team, its former head basketball coach Michele Sharp, the former athletic director and the former vice president of academic affairs. The NCAA charged that Kean improperly created a course offered only to members of the then-winning Division III women’s basketball team — non-student athletes were not eligible -- as part of their European Tour and used money from the Kean University Aid Fund to do so. Kean was also accused of changing a players’ grade to allow her to meet academic eligibility, provided loans, cash payments and scholarships to players, and failed to involve athletic department superiors in decisions made for the women’s basketball program. The scandal surfaced publicly after former athletic director Glen Hedden filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against Kean, charging he was fired by the college’s administration for reporting the violations to the NCAA. Kean later agreed to settle his case for $1.8 million without admitting any wrongdoing. The NCAA allegations were summarized in a 2012 report citing Kean for allowing impermissible financial aid, a variety of extra benefits offered to student athletes, impermissible team entertainment, and failure to establish an atmosphere for compliance and inconsistent financial aid packages. NCAA established that Kean had “a lack of control over its athletics program,” according to the Kean University Public Infractions Report, which provides further details regarding the alleged incidents. Jack McKiernan, Kean’s current athletic director who was officially appointed in November 2015, provided insight on the four-year probation process.

“We re-evaluated our policies and procedures and put in place checks and balances to maintain our compliance,” McKiernan said. “Too often, departments were working in isolation and were unaware of decisions they could make in another department could affect the eligibility of a student athlete.” “So breaking down some of those walls, having communication across departments and just having the whole university looking at eligibility and compliance was basically gaining the understanding that student athletes have to be treated the same way as the normal student,” said McKiernan. Penalties for the infractions were a combination of the universities selfimposed penalties and those enforced by the NCAA. Following the terms of probation, an NCAA sanctions statement was required to be sent to the alumni newsletter. Sending annual reports to the NCAA was also part of the process of being removed from probation, among a laundry list of other penalties. “We sent six reports to the NCAA over the last four years, basically bringing them up to date on our policies and procedures, what are we doing to improve, all of our staff meeting agendas, all of our education pieces, were evidence to our compliance from then,” McKiernan said. Further steps were taken by the university through the creation of a compliance committee on campus. McKiernan confirmed that the committee consists of the athletic department, financial aid, scholarship, admissions, and registrar offices. These five departments meet twice a year, reviewing NCAA rules and regulations, therefore maintaining an open line of communication across all divisions of the university. “We have a heightened sense of compliance,” said McKiernan. “You know that all the coaches and staff members needed to be running things through the athletic director’s office and the compliance office.” Now that Kean University is officially relieved of probation by the NCAA, McKiernan is looking forward to closing up this chapter and looking on to bigger and better things for the future of Kean Athletics. “We strived over the last four years to become a model department in division III when it comes to compliance,” McKiernan said. “To take these steps, to put ourselves in a good position and then we wanted in the eyes of the NCAA to be somebody they can point to as a positive university.”

“We re-evaluated our policies and procedures and put in place checks and balances to maintain our compliance.” –Jack McKiernan Photo: Sara Ridgway

Kean University’s Harwood Arena f loor.

Being the Kean Cougar is no easy task By Angel Ospina You see the Cougar strolling around campus with enthusiasm trying to get the crowd pumped regardless of the event. The Kean Cougar is constantly dancing, waving, jumping and taking pictures with the same smirk upon its face. When it comes to school spirit at Kean University, the mascot’s upbeat mentality is second to none. All that ebullient behavior would not be possible without the dedication of the brave students who put on the Cougar outfit in sometimes 90-degree weather. “Most of the people don’t want to get into the suit because the fact that it’s hot,” said Freshman, Jennifer Herrera as she laughed. Herrera is the Freshman President of Kean’s Student Organization, but volunteers to partake in the events in order to help spread the Kean spirit throughout the school. “One of the things that attracted me to be the cougar is that you can be yourself, the sweat is just a little bit of what you go through, you have a lot of fun in there honestly, you get to make people laugh and you’d be surprised how many people get excited when they see the cougar.” During Herrera’s senior year in high school she attended an information session in which the cougar attended and she was able to take a selfie with the mascot. From that moment she knew she wanted to one day put on the cougar suit on. “I really wanted to know who’s inside the cougar and was attracted to the fact that there was someone there,” said the enthusiastic freshman. Herrera was given the opportunity to be the mascot last semester in the pep rally and from there she has attended a number events as the mascot. Herrera’s favorite event was the Flavor Festival hosted by the student government where the cougar stole the show with its dance moves. “I think the students enjoyed the multi-cultural environment, there was a lot of people out there and the cougar got to dance a lot” she said as she laughed. “I ended up pretty exhausted.” Kean’s cougar is allowed to dance but isn’t supposed to speak or take off any part of the suit in front of anyone no matter how hot it gets in there.

Although Herrera volunteers for the student government, there are other departments among the university who have their own cougar mascot. Kean’s admissions, athletics department and the Greeks each have their own cougar suit. The athletics department pays its student-employees their hourly rate in order to get them to attend games. The Kean Cougar’s relentless school spirit has helped students for many years cheer on the student-athletes during their game. “The cougar is awesome, every time I see it or walk past it I always give it a high five,” said senior, Miguelangel Lopez. “The thing is always so energetic during the game I don’t get how it doesn’t get tired,” he said as he laughed. Unfortunately, the person inside the cougar does get tired no matter how well they are able portray the energetic spirit at all times. “After a while you do get tired but you just try to push that aside and try to have fun, that’s the main point of it,” said Hererra cheerfully.

Above: Kean mascot, Jennifer Hererra, poses with Kean University police officer and K9. Left: Mascot, Jennifer Hererra, takes a break from the action. Photos courtesy of Jennifer Hererra


The Tower May 2016