Domestic Violence Exhibit Page 5
Home for Veterans Page 3
NOV | 2015
Men’s Basketball Page 8
THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF KEAN UNIVERSITY
Sophomore Dania Arias wins a free semester
State examines use of student fees at Kean, other colleges
Photo: Office of Assemblywoman Mila Jasey
Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D) raised concerns over Kean’s finances.
By Rebecca Panico
Dania Arias celebrates in the stands after winning the “Semester on Us” contest.
By Alyssa Davis Sitting in the stands at Alumni Stadium Dania Arias was a spectator to the homecoming game like any other until her name was called, and then everything changed. She couldn’t believe it. She saw her sister and friends screaming in jubilation, but it took a minute before reality set in. Shaking and in shock she walked onto the field to receive her prize. A prize that she thought was impossible to win because of the dozens of other hopefuls. Arias won a “Semester On Us” at Kean’s homecoming on Saturday Oct. 24, which is a contest organized by Kean Xpedition that all students are welcomed to enter. The lucky winner, in this case Arias, walks away tuition free for the upcoming semester. “When I heard my name I seriously was in shock,” Arias said. “I felt so happy and blessed. I could not believe it, I saw my sister and friends screaming and I was just speechless. I was thinking ‘God are you playing with me?’ And then I thought about my father and how this was going to be very special for him, and how incredible it was that it happened to me.” Arias is a global business major with a minor in communications. She’s a dedicated student who appreciates the opportunity of higher education and who realizes the sacrifices that her family has made to make it possible.
Photo: Elba Arias
“This prize meant to me giving back to my dad that works so hard to pay for my education,” Arias said. “I am very grateful to Kean Xpedition for doing this contest because if it was not for this contest my father would have to worry like every year to pay for it. Even though it is just for a semester it is a blessing.” Not only did Arias get free tuition for a semester, but she also received at $300 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble, which could be used to purchase college textbooks, a MacBook Pro computer and a reserved parking spot for the whole of Spring 2016. Kean spokeswoman Margaret McCorry said that the “Semester on Us” giveaway is a waiver of payment and is therefore not funded. The Barnes and Noble gift certificate and the MacBook Pro are funded through University Relations, which has a marketing budget for promotional items. All Arias needed to win was her name and her Kean I.D. Before the game, in which the Cougars hosted Salisbury University, her friends urged her to enter the contest. Little did she know that she would leave with so much. Arias was overwhelmed with gratitude about the gifts and can’t believe she was the one to win them. The theme for homecoming this year was “Carnival Rio,” and it was definitely a celebration for her. “It is an honor and I feel proud to have this amazing opportunity,” she said.
Burnt popcorn, among other things, causing evacuations for students By Rose Marie Kitchen One would never guess that something as small as steam from showers or burnt popcorn would set the fire alarms off, causing a whole resident hall to evacuate and have the Township of Union Fire Department respond immediately; but it does and there is a reason why. An on-going trend of fire alarm activations, mainly in the resident halls, has been repeatedly reported in the Kean University’s Police Department (KUPD) police blotter. Residents know that if the smell of burnt popcorn is in the air, the fire department will most likely be outside shortly. “The number of fire alarm activations on campus this semester have been slightly above the past two years, but not to a significant degree,” said Len Dolan, Kean University Director of Fire Safety, “There have been 51 fire alarm activations on campus so far this year, compared to 49 for the same time period last
year, and 48 in 2013.” The KUPD ran the number of fire alarm activations for the last three months in the resident halls. In 2015, there were reportedly 42 fire alarm activations, 2014, 44 fire alarm activations, and in 2013, 39 fire alarm activations. Those numbers were from the date range of Sept. 1 to Nov. 4. The Township of Union Fire Department was contacted for confirmation on the above numbers and for further comment on the situation, however they did not respond in time for publication. All residence halls in the state of New Jersey are required to be protected with a fire sprinkler system, smoke alarms and a way to manually activate the fire alarms. All Kean University resident halls meet those requirements. “I feel relatively safe that the fire alarms can detect any potential harmful fires,” said Kyle Rios, junior therapeutic recreation pre-occupational therapy major; who lives in Bartlett Hall. The “Resident Hall Fire Alarm Prevention Guide,” continued on page 3
The New Jersey State Comptroller’s Office confirmed on Nov. 9 that it is examining the fees that students pay at Kean and two other colleges. The College of New Jersey and William Paterson University are also included in the audit, which will look into how the schools use students’ fees, said Comptroller spokesman Pete McAleer. McAleer stated that the audit would inspect if the schools are “doing a good job informing students of where the fees go” and if the money from those fees is allocated accordingly. A full-time, in-state Kean student pays $2,007 in fees per semester in addition to $3,782 in tuition, according to institutional research from the university. Kean University spokeswoman Margaret McCorry emphasized that Kean’s financial management is a strength, as was recently 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. “The University works cooperatively and transparently with all governmental agencies regarding financial oversight.” The Comptroller’s office, which has the authority to audit nearly every government agency in New Jersey, was created in 2008. This is the first time Kean has been audited by the agency, McAleer said. In 2011, Rutgers’ athletic department was examined. Money is top of mind for Kean’s full-time faculty union after tuition and fees increased by 3 percent this year and the administration is considering layoffs due to a budget shortfall. In June, the Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition and fees while Kean University President Dr. Dawood Farahi reported that potential layoffs – or a “reorganization” – to the library, Center for Academic Success and Equal Opportunity Center could take place due to a $3.7 million shortfall in the budget. After Kean’s full-time faculty union protested the potential layoffs at a Sept. 14 Trustees’ meeting, State Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (Dist. 27), who is also Chair of NJ’s Higher Education Committee, expressed her own concerns in letters to university officials. Jasey (D) met with university officials on Oct. 28 after penning two letters to the trustees and Farahi on Sept. 14 and Oct.8, the first of which she says was ignored. Her second letter said she had confirmed with the Comptroller’s Office “that an inquiry into Kean’s finances is currently being conducted.” “By even threatening layoffs, you evidenced a patent disregard for essential staff and the students whom they so ably serve under the guise of cost savings,” she wrote on Oct. 8. “Should this move forward, Kean students will find themselves paying more to receive less.” Mary Theroux, chief of staff to the assemblywoman, said Jasey was “appreciative” of the Oct. 28 meeting with Farahi, four administrators, and Trustees Chair Ada Morell, Vice Chair Michael D’Agostino and Secretary Dr. Lamont Repollet. “We left on a positive and hopeful note,” said Theroux, who was in attendance at the meeting in Kean Hall. PowerPoint presentations were shown regarding the reorganization of the library, she said. Theroux explained that the meeting “reaffirmed that there wouldn’t be layoffs per se, but that the professional staff would have the opportunity to be retrained, but there was not a great deal of specifics as to how.” “We did not get the sense that it [the layoffs] was imminent,” she added. Kean’s spokeswoman stated that university officials found the meeting to be “productive.” “To minimize the impact of the reorganization,” McCorry wrote in an email, “the University will offer retraining and educational opportunities to any University employee affected by the changes.” McCorry also stated that Kean seeks to reorganize the affected departments while still improving graduation rates, which internal data from 2012 marks at about 18 percent for students who graduate in four years. “A thoughtful, strategic process is underway to reorganize these services in order to improve student retention and graduation rates, which are important issues for Kean as well as for colleges and universities throughout the nation.”
2 THE TOWER
Doctor of Physical Therapy preparing to launch at Kean By Gabrielle Gale Prendatt-Carter
therapists to have a clinical doctorate degree.” Rochelle Hendricks, New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education, gave final approval to the DPT program on November 2, 2015. Following this decision, an application for candidacy will be submitted to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapist Education. In order to best prepare students for the field of physical therapy, the DPT program’s curriculum will consist of both a classroom setting and hands on experience. Due to a dire need for physical therapists in the state of New Jersey, Kean University will provide
Kean University will launch its new Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) at the Nathan Weiss Graduate College in June 2016. The DPT program is Kean University’s fourth doctoral program and the first to consider entry-level qualified candidates. In addition to this, applicants will also be considered if they have earned a bachelor’s degree. According to Shannon Nicole Clifford, Ph.D., executive director of Kean’s new School of Physical Therapy, “new industry standards require physical
the resources needed to produce physical therapy professionals. “New practitioners are needed to care for aging baby boomers as well as in the growing field of pediatric physical therapy,” said Clifford. Prospective students for the DPT program will begin enrollment during Summer Session I in 2016 in Kean’s new state-of-the-art academic and research building on North Avenue. “In New Jersey, too many students interested in careers in physical therapy are traveling out of state for their education,” said Kean University President Dawood
Shannon Nicole Clifford, Ph.D.
Photos: Kean University
Farahi. “These students can now remain in state and receive a world-class education at Kean University.”
Paid sick leave approved in Elizabeth
By Nicole Brown Sinthia Soca , a Kean University senior, remembers when her mother ,who lives and works in Elizabeth, was very ill and had to make a crucial decision --- go to work sick or possibly lose her maintenance job. Soca has since watched her mother rush every day, after a long day at work, to walk the sidewalks of Elizabeth and
Two Years to
paid sick leave each year. Christie Ramirez, a Pre-Occupational Therapy major said she is thankful that the law was passed, but she is saddened that paid sick days are limited. “My mother takes care of my grandmother who has cancer. She needs multiple sick days depending on how severe her illness is on a daily basis,” said Ramirez. “You just can’t tell your employees how many days they can get sick.” The new law is expected to go into effect next year. The National Partnership for women and families says paid sick leave is beneficial to both the employers and the employees. “Access to paid sick days reduces the spread of the flu in the workplace by nearly six percent,” according to the group’s website. “Paid sick days save employers money by reducing turnover.” Although paid sick leave continues
to spark national debate, the United States still does not have a law that guarantees every worker the right to paid sick leave. California, Connecticut and Massachusetts are the only states within the United States that provide statewide paid sick leave to a majority of its workers. In early September, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that required all part-time and full-time employees who are employed by Federal Contractors to be given paid sick leave. At Kean’s Union campus, which borders Elizabeth, it is unclear whether contract workers get sick leave. GCA Services Group, which has the contract for maintenance workers, and Compass, which acquired the contract for food service from Gourmet Dining, did not return requests for comment about paid sick leave policies. However, some food servers interviewed said they do get paid sick leave.
Kean University Department of Public Safety Police blotter 10/4/15 Campus Police arrested an 18-year-old East Orange man for possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) at approximately 11:15 p.m. at the Downs Hall garden. The Downs Hall garden is adjacent to the campus Police Headquarters. 10/9/15
give fliers to passersby; encouraging them to vote in favor of paid sick leave for workers in Elizabeth. Now, Soca is grateful to the activists, labor leaders and residents of Elizabeth who overwhelmingly supported the initiative for paid sick leave. “I am so happy. My mother was passionate about promoting the change,” said Soca. “Paid sick leave is helpful and it is needed.” The paid sick-leave initiative that was approved on November 3 applies to all businesses, regardless of size. According to Elizabeth’s paid sick leave ordinance, employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30-hours worked. Paid sick leave for those who provide food services, home health care, child care or who are employed at businesses with 10 or more employees are capped at a rate of 40-hours per year. Employees at any other business with fewer than 10 employees will be allowed 24-hours of
Drug Arrests: Police made two separate drug related arrests at or around midnight on campus: A 19-year-old woman from Fair Lawn was charged with possession of a CDS with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia at Sozio Hall. And, a 20-year-old Elizabeth man was arrested with possession of a CDS on Morris Avenue. 10/14/15
According to police, “an unknown actor didn’t pay [the] cab fare and took the victim’s money,” at the Hennings Hall lot shortly after 4:00 p.m. 10/15/15
Credit Card Fraud: A 31-year-old woman was arrested at Freshman Hall and charged with contempt, credit card fraud and theft. ***
Theft: Police reported that an unknown actor stole a cell phone, laptop and power cord from the Wilkins Theatre lobby sometime before 7:30 p.m. 10/19/15
According to police, multiple thefts and a burglary on campus occurred on this day. In the afternoon on the East Campus, an unknown person stole a laptop, cell phone and ﬂash drive from an oﬃce. Later in the evening at Wilkins Theatre, a laptop was stolen from a victim’s book bag. And, at midnight in Hutchinson Hall, a vending machine was vandalized and its money box was broken.
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Car Theft: Police reported the theft of vehicle at 1:30 a.m. on Vaughn Eames parking lot and, nearly two hours later, another vehicle on the same lot was damaged as a result of a failed attempt at theft. Later, sometime before 11:30 p.m., yet another car parked at the Vaughn Eames lot was damaged in what also appeared to be another attempted burglary. 10/21/15
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Vaughn Eames parking lot: Two vehicles were reported with damage to or in the proximity of the keyholes on their driver’s side and side passenger’s doors between 9:30 and 10:50 a.m.
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As of yet, The Tower could not verify if all the incidents at the Vaughn Eames lot are related. 10/24/15 business.shu.edu
Police arrested a 19-year-old Hamilton man on weapons charges, possession of CDS and paraphernalia at Freshman Hall at approx. 1:00 a.m.
3 THE TOWER
A new home for veterans By Celeste Simmons As college students, we all know the struggles of getting acclimated to life during your first semester. We all know how nervous you can feel about making friends and how you can be afraid to feel alone. Your surroundings are new and unfamiliar, the work load is different than what you’re used to, and it’s just a new experience in general. Now take yourself back to those feelings and add in the unease of just coming back from war or just getting out of the military. You’re no longer accustomed to civilian life, all you’ve known for the past few years is the military and the people who served with you. You may have lost someone close to you or you may be suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Take all of those feelings and place yourself on a college campus with thousands of people, many of which who are unlike you and do not understand what you’ve been through or what you are currently going through. It’s a tough situation to be in and it’s what many veterans face when they come to college. For many, a college campus can feel overly crowed and it can also be hard to find other service members to talk to and hang out with. The truth is, a lot of them feel lost. “A lot of soldiers, they’re so use to being
in the military for so long that when they transition out to the civilian side they don’t have any guidance,” said president of the Veterans Club Dionicio Estrella, an Army Sargent who is a senior here at Kean. Estrella served in the army from 2010 to 2014. He spent 15 months in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012 and came here to Kean in January of 2014. “The hardest part of transitioning was getting used to being a civilian again,” said Estrella. “The military is so demanding that I almost felt abnormal being normal. A year before getting out, I was like so anticipating coming to school that I was actually talking to the military advisor for Kean for like a year. So when I came to Kean it was almost like a long distance relationship because we knew each other from talking over the phone for so long.” As helpful as Kean is to the veterans, senior Clara Garcia who currently serves in the Navy and is the former president of the veterans club, wanted them to be even more helpful by opening a United Service Organization (USO) center on campus. USO centers try to provide a home away from home for service members. They are typically located on military bases, airports, and other public places. They usually have couches, snacks, computers, TV’s and some even have beds and phones they can use to
opinion Untapped potential: Unused power of a potentially impactful generation By Nia Questel When Nickelodeon (Nick), a television network designed for children and teens, thought that the millenials were enrolled in college, more “grown up,” and no longer interested in cartoons, they shifted from the famous and loved 90s cartoons to the more modern cartoons. This was to fit the need of the younger ‘00s babies who knew nothing about famous 90s shows, Rugrats and Hey Arnold. What Nick did not know was that the millenials were “growing up” at a slower rate than the previous generations and were still watching cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants in the comfort of their parents’ homes. When the millenials started social media movements to “Bring Back the 90s” cartoons, Nick surprisingly responded by adding the 90s cartoons back to its television network rosters to please the millenials. This seemingly simple event points to a fascinating observation about millenials: when passionate enough about a cause, we have the power to influence out of reach systems to shift in our favor. Millenials overwhelmingly made the decision to combat a system and got it to fit their needs. Even some recent historical movements triggered by our generation to promote change exhibit our resourcefulness to make bold statements. Some of these events are Occupy Wall St., the Arab Youth Uprising in the Middle East, the Presidential Election of 2008, and the #blacklivesmatter movement. These movements illustrate that this generation has the capacity to affect change using social media and unity as our weapon. So why aren’t we changing the world? Our generation can be likened to the cool, smart kid in class that has the power to influence popular opinion to create a positive change but is too distracted by the good-looking classmate next to them, their smart phone, and their “world” to care to provoke change. We have become the cool kid, the Fonz, the Helga Pataki from Hey Arnold who has the power to bully, persuade, or sway a great majority of her peers but could care less about creating a more positive environment. We have become like Hey Arnold’s Rhonda who only cared about popularity, status, and popular opinion. A PEW Research Center poll of registered voters conducted in 2012 shows that 75 percent of young people from the ages of 18 to 29 years old were highly engaged in the Presidential Election of 2008 but in 2012 the percentage dropped to 61
Photo: PEW Research Center
A PEW Research Center poll of registered voters conducted in 2012 shows that 75 percent of young people from the ages of 18 to 29 years old were highly engaged in the Presidential Election of 2008 but in 2012 the percentage dropped to 61 percent.
percent. This raises the question: Why are we not engaged in politics and current world events that are shaping our world? Is the only reality that we are interested in that of reality television? We have the power to sway corporate decisions but there is a soaring amount of mistrust in political and authority figures. A PEW Research Center report released in March 2014, “Millenials in Adulthood” cites “detached from institutions, networked with friends” and shows numbers that point to an overwhelming lack of trust amongst millenials towards traditional institutions like the government. “They don’t think they can make a difference,” said Marie Richelieu, a Psychology major at Kean. “So they don’t care.” Social media has made it more convenient to access news on the go leaving less room for excuses as to why the millenials are not aware of what is going on around them. “They are very aware,” said Sheedy Milord, a History major at Kean. “But they [peers] don’t care unless it’s affecting their education, themselves, or family.” Current world events are shaping our world as we know it every day and we need to be involved in the decision making processes that will affect our future. We must stay informed and stay active. If not, then we are blindly giving away our power to affect change and create a better world. We clearly have the potential to change the world but, when will we tap into the gold mines of power that we possess?
call home. Although the one at Kean will not have all of those things, the safe haven type of feel they usually give will still be there. “I came home in November 2013 and in January 2014 I started school here,” said Garcia. “I didn’t have a place. I didn’t know anybody that knew where I had been or where I’ve gone you know or the special needs that I needed to be here. So having that room you can go in there and meet somebody that actually understands and have some support.” “This is something I started and it’s going to be an ongoing process,” said Garcia. “We need different resources for military members especially for military members that have PTSD.” According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD can occur after someone goes through a traumatic event like combat, assault, or disaster. Most people have some stress reactions after a trauma. If the reactions don’t go away over time or disrupt your life, you may have PTSD. Dealing with PTSD can be difficult. It can cause extreme feelings of unease and discomfort, especially in noisy surroundings. You tend to feel uncomfortable around people you don’t know, you can feel on alert most of the time, and ready to react as if something is about to happen. A USO center on campus can create a safe place on campus
Photo: Military and Veterans Club of Kean University
Veterans Day ceremony 2014
for military members to go to. It’s quiet and secluded from the general population of the campus. The USO center on campus will be in Willis Hall and will feature a plaque on the wall called “The Wall of Warriors” and will consist of the names of fallen service members who have attended Kean. The plaque will be built by the student run Kean chapter of the Industrial Design Society of America. The room is currently under construction as of now and has no set completion date yet. “We’re not just supporting each other with homework and stuff, there are also personal issues and we wanted to show that we have comradery,” said Estrella. “You’re going to be surrounding yourself in an environment where you have a whole lot of people that can understand you and what you’ve been through. I feel like it’ll be more of a comforting feeling knowing you have that support from your peers.”
Kean’s ‘general fund’ pays $75K settlement to former employee By Rebecca Panico A recent $75,000 settlement reached with a former Kean employee in September was paid using the university’s “general fund,” a school spokeswoman said. Sherrell S. Holderman, 66, alleged that after 30 years of employment, she was “coerced” into retirement in 2011 because of her race, age and gender, her federal court documents from 2012 show. Holderman worked as director of the PASSPORT program, which helps admit freshman applicants who don’t meet admission requirements but have potential to succeed and contribute to the university. Eleven other professional staff were laid off along with Holderman in 2011, none of who were white males. In total, seven employees – including Holderman – were black, two were Hispanic and nine were older than 40, her court documents state. In settling, the university admits no wrongdoing. Holderman’s attorneys nor Margaret McCorry, Kean University’s spokeswoman, declined to comment on the outcome. McCorry elaborated on who doles out the dough when it comes to Kean’s legal matters though. McCorry explained that only tort lawsuits, or civil accident cases, are covered by the State Tort Claims Fund, while cases involving employment are paid using Kean’s general fund. “If it is a tort claims matter such as an accident,” McCorry said in an email, “it is paid out of the State Tort Claims Fund, a state fund specially created by the legislature to pay tort claims. If it is an employment case, it is paid by the University out of the University’s general fund.” She later added in another email: “The general fund is an account of revenue generated by University operations (such as rentals, etc.), the State appropriation, tuitions, and fees.” In July, university officials increased tuition and fees by 3 percent, following suit with some nearby public universities. Yearly tuition and fees at Kean for an in-state, full-time student who commutes now amounts to $11,580, up $337 from last year. The PASSPORT program was once handled by the Center for Academic Success (CAS) and is now under the auspices of the Educational Opportunities Center (EOC). Today, both departments face potential layoffs.
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states, “The technology and the code requirements for the location and placement of smoke alarms is based on the code requirements in effect at the time the building was constructed or when the systems were updated.” The technology that has been implemented has become more sophisticated; which results in the smoke detectors being set off for minor heat and smoke obstructions according to the residence hall fire prevention sheet. New Upperclassman Residence Hall and New Freshman Residence Hall are among the newest residence buildings; which result in them having the most state of the art smoke detector technology. Meaning that those two residence halls are more likely to experience accidental alarm activations. The “Resident Hall Fire Alarm Prevention Guide,” warns students about which preventable actions can activate the fire alarm and it informs students what to do to prevent them. The list of preventable actions consists of; shower steam, blow dryers, curling irons, burnt popcorn, food in microwave, hairspray, air fresheners, smoking, incense and candles. Students are always required to evacuate and follow fire evacuation procedures when the fire alarm goes off. Students are rarely ever told the reason why the fire alarm went off. “I heard from rumors that the times the fire alarm did go off was due to someone burning popcorn, burning chicken nuggets but the most recent time I was not informed,” said Jailene Burgos, sophomore communication film option major who lives in New Upperclassman Residence Hall, “I feel safe knowing that the fire alarms are sensitive, however it is a pain when the alarm goes off at midnight when I have an exam or major assignment in the morning,” Burgos continued. Since the Seton Hall fire in the year 2000, which affected 600 freshman residents; colleges and universities are well aware of the dangers that a fire entails Kean University has an active and updated emergency action plan, including building drills that run throughout the semester for the entire campus. “When a fire alarm is activated, it is our duty to respond quickly to protect life and property, and we will continue to do so,” said Dolan. For more information on fire safety you can vist: http://www.kean.edu/oﬃces/ﬁre-safety. Detailed evacuation map and emergency action plans can also be found on this site.
4 THE TOWER
ARTS & CULTURE
5 THE TOWER
Lives of those lost to domestic violence remembered through art By Kristen DeMatos Members of the YWCA of Union hosted a domestic violence awareness exhibit in the Miron Student Center on Oct. 20 called “Empty Place at the Table,” which put a spotlight on victims. The art exhibition featured different table place settings each with a story about a victim. Each setting had a story displayed next to it that was written from the voice of the victim, explaining their life and how it was taken by a significant other. Two of the place settings belonged to local women who were killed recently. The family members of one woman, April Schenesky Wyckoff, were walking around and speaking with those who stopped to look at the display. One student walked up to the Empty Table display, covered her mouth and said, “Wow, this is so sad. I can’t do this,” and walked away. Although the displays were somber, all of those involved stressed how important it was for students to read these stories and be aware of the realities. YWCA Executive Director Janice Lilien said girls aged from 16-24 are at the highest risk for being involved in a violent relationship. “It’s important to raise awareness,” she said. This the eighth year they conducted the exhibition. Wyckoff’s sister, Sheila McGraw said, “If one person reads April’s story and it makes a difference, that makes the weight on our heart a little lighter.” Elementary/science education major April Torres was caught off guard by the display. “I just walked in here and saw all these things set up,” she said. “I had no idea what this was. It’s really so sad.” McGraw said what the YWCA does with this project is very important. “It highlights the women that they were, not the victims they became,” she said. McGraw and her family have worked hard at raising awareness of domestic violence ever since her sister was killed. Earlier this year, they worked with the Union County YWCA to raise money and collect donated items for the shelter for victims of domestic abuse. McGraw says they collected 600
Old book store location.
Photos by: Kristen DeMatos
sets of sheets, 80 robes, slippers, diapers and $4,000. They even adopted a room at the shelter in memory of her April Wyckoff. Also on display were hand-decorated t-shirts created by children and women victims of domestic violence. They served as a form of art therapy to help them process the trauma of what they went through. Margaux Antoine, an art education major found the exhibition to be very moving. “I really liked how they used art with the kids to help them understand their emotions. It’s really powerful to see,” she said. Marie Caruso-Terisi, a PALS (Peace, a Learned Solution) art therapist works with the children in creating their art. “We want to give them messages of hope. A big part of domestic violence is feeling shame, and this shows them that they are not alone. We want to create a safe space for them to express themselves.” She said they use drama therapy, art therapy, and music therapy. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, it is suggested that you reach out to the Kean Counseling Center or go to: www.thehotline.org.
Above: April Schenesky Wyckoff ’s story Below: T-shirt created by a child depicting home life
Two-time Grammy winners take Kean on musical journey By Yuri Smishkewych On the British ensemble’s second visit to Kean’s Enlow Recital Hall, The King’s Singers took the audience on a transatlantic vocal journey that included folklore from the Sans people of South Africa, letters of love and longing from England, Ireland and Continental Europe, and jubilant praise from the American South. “We always love coming here [Enlow Hall],” said baritone Christopher Breurton of the acapella sextet at a meet-and-greet after the show. “The place has natural bloom, its acoustics, it’s chamber musician-friendly and intimate.” The concert, entitled the “Great American Songbook” featured American popular songs from the middle and latter half of the past century alongside traditional Gospel arrangements, including “Get Happy,” “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” and a rendition of “At Last” that would’ve made Etta James smile with delight. One audience member oohed and awed in between sets, no doubt astonished by the ensemble’s mastery in vocal modulations and impeccable timing. For instance, in John McCabe’s “From ‘Cartography’” the group’s voices created a sort of lyrical map of England: soothing legato for the rolling hills and hedgerows; and sharp, rugged staccatos for the highlands once passed Hadrian’s Wall. “They’re absolutely marvelous,” said audience member Julius Gotilla. “They make what’s so complex seem effortless.” The King’s Singers: Great American Songbook was the fourth concert held at the Enlow Recital Hall, located in the Nathan Weiss Graduate College on Kean’s East Campus, of the 2015-16 season.
Photos: Chris O’Donovan
The King’s Singers ensemble.
Transgender speaker at Kean OCC talks on transition By Desiré McCoy Before being the individual she is today, Geena was seen as a man and a father. The sex she was assigned at birth did not align with the gender she identifies with - Dr. Geena Buono is transgender. In October, Dr. Geena Buono was welcomed as a guest speaker to Professor Atkins’ Gender & Language Communication class at the Kean Ocean County College (OCC) campus. Dr. Buono grew up in Brick, NJ and attended Ocean County College. She is now a licensed Chiropractor in the states of New Jersey and New York, and is the lead singer/guitarist of the band “Geena and Dragster” soon releasing her first studio album. Before all of this there is a deeper story that some of the class couldn’t initially relate to but surely could appreciate. Growing up in a body she did not belong in was very difficult and coping was a struggle. Denying her own identity by putting on an alpha male persona was not by any means easy. Eventually, Geena learned of the term crossdresser. Even though this seemed to help, the clothes weren’t enough and the identity struggle became more complicated during
a time when transgender was not a term embraced in magazines like Vanity Fair. As challenges with her gender identity continued to add pressure to her life, Dr. Buono decided to seek therapy to get help and advice on what to do. At this time she discovered she was transgender, which led to her decision to become and embrace the woman she always felt she was and is today. Many years ago, Geena had several surgeries
performed to complete her transition. One of the hardest parts of the transition was the fact that Geena was married and had three young children. Not only did she have to worry about her intrapersonal struggle but her family facing criticism as well. Many adjustments had to be made, such as moving into an open community, taking on the roles of a woman, being judged by society, and helping her family adjust to her transition with
Transgender guest speaker Dr. Geena Buono talks about her transition in Professor Atkins’ Gender & Language Communication class at the Kean Ocean County College (OCC) campus.
Photos: Tommy Sisbarro
patience and love. Her story was featured in People.com this past Mother’s Day. As Geena finished her story, she wanted to remind us that there is no choice when it comes to being transgender. “You don’t just decide to endure countless surgeries because it’s trendy,” said Dr. Buono. “Many people struggle with their gender identity and sadly almost 50 percent of the transgender community commits suicide. We are all human, we all have the same biological make up, yet we find all these differences to separate ourselves.” She continued that even when we feel so different, we are not alone; there are others fighting the same battles. We should embrace diversity “because the world is a lot bigger than this classroom, and this whole town, this county and this state, and this nation.” Dr. Buono itinerated that the only way to live her true authentic self was by letting go. She ended her talk with a quote from Marianne Williamson’s poem “Our Deepest Fear.” “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
6 THE TOWER
HEALTH Ahhh-choo! It’s time for the ﬂu shot
Based on the best available data, here are some numbers to consider: • •
5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population that will get the flu, on average, each year. 200,000 are the average number of Americans hospitalized each year because of problems with the illness. 3,000 to 49,000 the number of people who die each year from flu-related causes in the U.S. $10 billion+ represents the average costs of hospitalizations and outpatient doctor visits related to the flu. The flu vaccine’s effectiveness may vary depending on age, health, and immune status and how well scientists identify circulating viruses. In 2014-15, vaccine effectiveness was under 20%.
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By Dr. Josh Palgi It is that time of year again: flu season. The flu season can stretch from October to May and usually peaks around January/ February. Influenza -- commonly known as “the flu” -- is a contagious viral infection that affects the respiratory system, nose, throat and lungs. It has a very short incubation period so most patients fall ill within one to four days of exposure to the flu virus. The word influenza comes from the Italian language meaning “influence” and refers to the cause of the disease. Changes in medical thought led to the modification to “influenza del freddo”, meaning, and “influence of the cold”. The virus seems to cause epidemics throughout human history. The most famous and lethal outbreak was the 1918 flu pandemic, which lasted from 1918 to 1919 and is estimated to have killed from 2.5 to 5% percent of the worlds’ population. While the flu can make anyone sick, certain people are at higher risk of serious flu related complications like pneumonia and bronchitis, which can lead to hospitalization or even death. The groups considered to be at high risk include children under six, asthma sufferers, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases, among others. Approximately 33% of the people with influenza are asymptomatic. Symptoms of
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: ANNALISE KNUDSON CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: REBECCA PANICO NEWS EDITOR: DARIS MENDEZ FEATURES/A&E EDITOR: MARCO RODRIGUEZ
influenza may include High fever, Cough, Body aches, chills, Headache and Fatigue. Traditional treatments include Staying home, Keeping well hydrated and rest. Tylenol or Motrin can keep the fever down and there are antiviral drugs that have been approved for flu patients. It usually takes between five and seven days for the flu to run its course The key steps to prevent the flu are to get vaccinated, wash your hands a lot and cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. The flu is the topic of many promising research projects and trials. Researchers are working on a universal flu vaccine, one that would cover every strain of the flu and that you wouldn’t have to get every year. So, should you or shouldn’t you get vaccinated? The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) provides advice and guidance to the Director of the CDC regarding use of vaccines and related agents for control of vaccine-preventable diseases in the civilian population of the United States. Recommendations made by the ACIP are reviewed by the CDC Director and, if adopted, are published as official CDC/HHS recommendations in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The CDC’s new report estimates that this season’s flu vaccine is only 23% effective across all age groups, but it recommends that everyone older than 6 months of age get a flu vaccine as soon as it’s available. Hover line is all about making decisions. You may want to discuss the most appropriate option with your physician but the final decision will come from you. For More information, visit: www.cdc.gov/ﬂu
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7 THE TOWER
OP-ED Losing in the World Series is nothing to be ashamed of, Mets fans
By Ryan Norton The last time the New York Mets were in the World Series, NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys were still at the top of the Billboard charts, kids were still trading Pokémon cards, and George W. Bush won the presidential election. Yeah, it’s been a while. It’s been 29 years since the Mets have last won a World Series title. For nearly three decades since, Mets fans have known nothing but anger, misery, and heartache. The last success the Mets had was in 2006, when they were one game away from punching their ticket to the Fall Classic, before succumbing to the eventual World Series Champions, the St. Louis Cardinals. Talking about game seven still makes Mets fans cringe. After the 2006 season, the Mets floated into mediocrity. From 2008-2014, no Mets team had an above .500 record. Their brand new stadium (Citi Field) was an absolute ghost town. It often looked like there were more popcorn and beer vendors roaming the venue than fans. Year after year, Jeff and Fred Wilpon (the team owners) promised that the Mets will be better next year. It eventually fell on deaf ears. Fans got sick of hearing it, myself included. I began to fully embrace the Mets as a “lovable loser” type of team. They became cheap entertainment, as you can get a ticket for cheaper than the chicken fingers and fries you would buy at the game. It’s a tradition in my family that my dad, my brothers, and I make the trek to Citi Field
to see the Mets’ home opener, and while it is enjoyable, I always know that it means nothing, as the Mets are seemingly always eliminated from playoff contention by the time the summer rolls around. For some reason, this season just felt different from the get go. After finishing April with a 15-8 record, including a ten-game winning streak, it seemed as though the Wilpon’s promise of a good team finally came true. It didn’t last long, however, as the Mets reverted back to their old ways for much of May, June, and July, going 38-42 in that stretch. I was already telling myself, “Well, better luck next year.” The Mets’ fortunes turned around on the trade deadline on July 31, when they picked up All-Star slugger Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers. After acquiring Cespedes, as well as others including Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, and Tyler Clippard, the Mets became one of the most formidable teams in all of the MLB, going on a run that will be remembered for years. By the time the regular season concluded, the Mets finished with a 90-72 record, their best since 2006, and won the National League East pennant, their first since 2006 as well. For the first time in nearly a decade, the Mets were going to play October baseball. After a nail-biter of a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Mets advanced to the NLCS for the first time in nearly a decade, to take on the red-hot Chicago Cubs. In what is seemingly an upset, the Mets swept the Cubs in four straight games, and punched their
The Mets celebrate their first NL East Pennant since 2006.
ticket to the World Series for the first time since 2000. When the Mets went to the World Series a decade a half ago, I was only nine years old. And while I was a big Mets fan then, it’s something you cannot truly appreciate until you get older. It’s an indescribable feeling to see a team you’ve been rooting for your whole life, a team who has been the laughingstock of the MLB for years, make it to the championship. Seeing a city become united under the colors of orange and blue was a cathartic experience. While the Mets played lackluster against the Royals and lost the World Series in five games, this season isn’t anything to be
Photo: Getty Images/ John Sommers II
ashamed of. If you were to tell me earlier this year that the Mets would be in the World Series this year, I would have laughed so hard that tears would have rolled from my eyes. The heart and tenacity showed by this team is something that will be cherished by the Flushing faithful forever. On paper, the 2015 Mets shouldn’t have been as successful as they were, but they were able to prove everyone wrong, myself included. The real perk about all of this is that it seems as though the Mets will be a formidable foe in the MLB for the foreseeable future, and while we didn’t get a World Series win this year, Mets fans can be confident that one is coming soon.
Registration frustrations By Annalise Knudson By the time the middle of the semester rolls around, students realize that registration is almost upon them. That means visiting their advisor for help, looking through guide sheets for their intended or declared major, and getting the hold lifted off their account to be able to register. This is one of the most anxious times of the semester for some students, especially if a student is nearing graduation or there are only a few sections for a class that you need to take for the upcoming semester. Waiting to register is stressful, especially when the website used for registering isn’t working properly. Watching the numbers become lower and lower with each minute that passes was nerve wracking for me to see, especially when I was qualified to register but couldn’t register due to technical difficulties. I wasn’t the only student who had this problem when trying to register for next Spring 2016 semester classes on Oct. 27. I had priority registration so I knew that this wasn’t the reason I couldn’t register. When I woke up the morning I could register, it was 6:30 a.m. and I realized that I slept through midnight, the time I can register officially. I hurriedly grabbed my laptop, signed into the website, and tried to register for my previously selected courses I chose the week before. I clicked register and waited with my fingers crossed for it to go through. But then nothing happened. I felt a wave of disappointment and I felt my heartbeat racing faster. Why wasn’t it working? I clicked refresh and tried again and again and nothing happened. It brought me back to the same page to register. I tried to do each class individually and was able to register for only a few classes. But I needed to register for other important classes. Those classes either had only one section, or were needed for me to graduate in May 2016. I started to panick. I packed my things up and headed to school too early for any offices to be open and tried again on the computers on campus. I kept receiving the same refreshed page with my classes still not registered. Then I realized that my best bet was to head to the Registrar’s office. I waited on line and talked to other students with the same problems as me. I registered for my classes and my anxiety lessened. An email was sent out to all students further into the evening that they were fixing the site due to problems. It didn’t stop students from freaking out all day and night over registration. For some people, registration is not a big deal and some students do not register until just before classes start. But some other students, registration issues can pose a problem. Students who work part-time, full-time, or multiple jobs need to fit their school schedules to their job schedules to be able to pay for bills and school. Going to a commuter school, a semester’s schedule impacts students of any major because of other priorities that they need to adhere to whether it is job obligations or family obligations and so on. This is not intended to be against the system used for registration, because the problem was resolved during late afternoon and evening, just in time for the rest of the students on the schedule to register in the coming days. Registering for classes is always a stressful time for me and I’m sure that I’m not the only one who is stressed when registering. But once classes are registered for and the new semester starts, we get to prepare for the next semester’s anxious registration process all over again.
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8 THE TOWER
Men’s basketball looking to have a bounce-back season By Joel Joly Kean basketball is finally here. After finishing last season with a record of 6-19, men’s team captain Tommy Soulias has big expectations, and is motivated to start the season off strong in the home opener against Marymount University. “We want to be a 20 win team,” Soulias said enthusiastically. “We want to get into the NJAC playoffs, and then hopefully we win NJAC championship. Winning the NJAC championship you get into the Division III NCAA tournament, March Madness, who doesn’t want to be playing college basketball in March?” Tommy Soulias, nephew of former NBA player Garry Witts, had a successful season last year. “Basketball is in my family,” Soulias said. “My Mom had played basketball in college, and my dad had played basketball in college. My mom went to Sumsion College, and my dad went to TCNJ. I started playing basketball at 4 years old. I really didn’t have much of a choice.” Soulia’s play last season did not go unrecognized. He was named to the Division III All-Metropolitan team selection after leading the NJAC in scoring, averaging 21.4 points per game. Soulias has great confidence in his team and is ready to take on the challenge going into this season. “I feel great about the guys we got,” Soulias said. “We have a lot of new comers. As far as the returners, we have me, senior Mike Diamond, junior Kevin Grek, and senior Dre Kelly. We’re excited. We can’t wait to get it going. The off-season was great for us. We got a lot of work done together, and we built up some chemistry, so we’re excited for the season.” The Cougars made some adjustments this year, and Soulias seems satisfied with the results. “Our assistant coaches did a great job on recruiting,” Soulias said. “They went out and got some talent dudes, who are athletic and can defend. The guys we have returning put in a lot of skill work over the summer to be ready to go this year.”
“We want to get into the NJAC playoffs, and then hopefully we win NJAC championship.”
Photos: Larry Levanti
Photo: Larry Levanti
Soulias was a key player in Kean’s season last year, and is expected to have a bigger role this season.
Kean promotes McKiernan to Director of Athletics
Cotto vs. Álvarez:
By Angel Ospina
By Jaime Alicea III
Behind every great team is a great leader, and Kean University’s athletic program has officially found its leader. Jack McKiernan was officially named as the schools seventh Athletic Director this past October. “The number one goal for the athletic department is to have student athletes who graduate within 4 years playing here,” said McKiernan over the phone. “We want to be highly competitive on the field, we want to compete for conference championships, we want to finish towards the top of the conference, and when we have the opportunities, compete for national championships.” The university has employed McKiernan for the past 15 years, where he was hired as the Sports Information Director and five years later was promoted to the Associate Athletic Director. Former Athletic Director Chris Morgan resigned at the end of the Spring 2015 semester after accepting the same position at his alma mater, Elizabethtown College. In search for a new athletic director, the university turned to the man embedded with knowledge of Kean’s athletic program and named him as the Acting Athletic Director. “I have a deep love and passion for the school,” said McKiernan. “I devoted a long part of my life to this and to have the opportunity to hopefully have a positive impact on the university going forward is what I’ve wanted for my professional career.” McKiernan’s role as a leader stems from when was in the trenches as an offensive lineman for Rutgers football team and was named team captain his senior year in 1997. “Being a leader on a team sport, there’s a lot of carry over into real life, putting your own ego behind the goals of the team is what you need,” said McKiernan. Now McKiernan is leading several teams as athletic director and his staff is eager to follow. “He has the universities and athletic programs best interest at heart, so that’s a great thing for our program,” said Leslie LaFronz, Head Coach of Kean’s field hockey program. LeFronz is in the midst of her seventh season as head coach and throughout the years has got to known McKiernan quite well. “He was actually the person I interviewed with when I was hired,” LeFronz said. “He loves Kean University, he’s invested in our program and our student athletes and we’re really excited to have him as our athletic director.”
Puerto Rican middleweight fighter Miguel Cotto is set to fight Mexico’s golden boy Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez on Saturday November 21 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The winner of the Battle in Vegas will take home the ultimate prize, the WBC World Middleweight Championship. Even at the age of 35, Cotto isn’t slowing down. Under his new coach Freddie Roach, Cotto is on a three fight winning streak. “I think I brought his boxing back,” Roach said in an interview with Newsday. “He was a good amateur boxer with great movement, and then later against [Manny] Pacquiao, he fought flat-footed and tried to knock people out with one punch. I wanted him to get back to his boxing ability, working on movement, side-to-side, on his toes, light on his feet, faster, and it’s working very well.” Miguel Cotto has been the pride of Puerto Rico for the last decade. With a record of 40-4, Cotto is out to prove that he can still be a household name in the boxing universe. Álvarez (45-1-1) has lost only once in 47 professional fights, losing to number one ranked Floyd “Money” Mayweather back in 2013. Since his loss to Mayweather, Álvarez has won three straight fights, and knows that a win against Cotto could push him to new heights in his young professional boxing career. The reason this fight sold out within days of the fights announcement, has to do with the on-going historical boxing matches between Puerto Rican and Mexican fighters, dating back all the way to 1934. Canelo has never been one to call out his opponent, always staying humble and working on himself instead, but that didn’t stop his fans here at Kean from chiming in their thoughts about the upcoming bout. “This isn’t even going to be a fight,” Kean student Alex Burgos said. “Canelo is 10 years younger, and he’s quicker and stronger than Cotto. He should knock him out in the sixth round.” “If Cotto can hurt him early in the fight, then maybe he’ll have a chance,” Dylan Short said. “But at age 35 he’s gonna have a heart attack before he lasts 12 rounds with Canelo.” The winner of this fight will go on to face the undefeated Kazakhstan knockout specialist Gennady Golvokin. In 34 professional fights, Golovkin has 31 of those fights by knockout. The added motivation to face such a high profile opponent only adds fuel to the fire for these two prizefighters. As they say, history always repeats itself, and look no further than this fight on November 21 to be put in the history books as another historical Puerto Rican and Mexican brawl we can all remember.
Photo: Kean Athletics
Jack McKiernan is the seventh Athletic Director in school history.
McKiernan is not looking to make any drastic changes in his honeymoon stage as athletic director, as he has already been steadily involved in the shaping of the program over the past 15 years. “I’ve been part of hiring over half the staff that’s already in place here. I’ve seen them at their highs and I’ve seen them at their lows so there’s a good trust built up with the coaching staff,” said McKiernan. Head Coach of the women’s lacrosse team, Jordan Trautman spoke of that trust. “He is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure we as coaches have all the necessary tools to be as successful as possible, and to take care of each and every athlete so their experience here at Kean as a student athlete is extraordinary,” said Trautman. McKiernan’s hard work and dedication is displayed not only at Kean, but also throughout the entire nation, as he is currently the chair of NCAA Division III National Football Committee and NJAC Football Sport chair. In 2011 he received a Service Award for his outstanding working and contributions to interscholastic athletics by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. McKiernan has all the accolades, but it’s his deep passion for sports that makes him so equipped for the job. “It’s what I do, its what I love, sports is who I am,” said McKiernan.
who walks away the winner?
Photo: Naoki Fukada
Álvarez enters the fight against Cotto as the favorite to win, as determined by Las Vegas odds makers.