OP-ED on Table / Education Page 6
Filmmaker Rob Santana Page 4
DEC | 2014
Kean field hockey Page 8
THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF KEAN UNIVERSITY
Students and administration react to Kean’s $219k purchase
Kean joins NYC to protest Garner decision By Nicole Brown
The conference table is located on the sixth f loor of the Green Lane Academic Building.
By Rebecca Panico
The Student Government Organization is publicly defending the Kean University administration in its purchase of a $219,024 conference table, even as social media led by students continues to rage against the lavish acquisition for the Green Lane Academic Building. The story of the conference table went viral internationally in both mainstream and social media almost immediately after it was published on the front page of The Record newspaper and on its website, northjersey. com. The story details the super-table’s capabilities such as its intelligent conferencing system which has the ability to conference in participants at up to 25 locations around the world. It was also reported that the table was custom-made for Kean in China without first going to public bid, which is normally required by state law for purchases over $32,100. In May and September two bid waivers allowing the University to directly purchase the conference center from China were approved by the Board of Trustees, Kean’s final governing body. The bid waivers cited two exemptions from the State
Photo: Kean University
College’s Contract Law, categorizing the conference as an “extraordinary unspecifiable service and product” and as an “artifact or other item of unique intrinsic, artistic, or historic character.” Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union) has asked for the New Jersey Attorney General to launch an investigation into the purchasing procedures. “A fancy conference table should never be a higher priority for a university than educating students, but priorities are out-of-whack here,” stated Cryan in a press release. “I have asked the attorney general to review the bid process waivers used by Kean University.” Students have also started responding. On Nov. 26, Kean finance student, Kelly Tomas, started a petition on change.org that has been circulating on Facebook and Twitter asking for University President Dr. Dawood Farahi to be fired. The petition has 737 supporters to date. “I believe that we as a student body must be willing to demonstrate that we will no longer put up with President Dawood Farahi’s failure to work for a better education and obsession with costly vanity projects that benefit no one but himself,” declared Tomas on the petition’s webpage. continued on page 5
Death class breathing new life into students and television By Christine Moukazis
In an effort to assess the bereavement and despair of her students, Norma Bowe stands before her Death in Perspective class and flagrantly inquires, “How many of you know someone who has died?” The entire classroom becomes a sea of hands, as every single hand is raised. “How many of you know someone who has died of a terminal illness?” Fifty percent of the hands ascend high into the air, as if trying to physically reach their loved ones in the proverbial heavenly skies. “How many of you know someone who has been murdered?” Regrettably, three-quarters of the students raise their hands. This exercise undoubtedly proves that grief is ubiquitous and death is imminent. “Your generation… you guys have a lot of grief,” Bowe said. “There’s a lot of grief and our society just doesn’t talk about it. And so I wanted to create a space where people could literally face their own mortality to live a better life.” Bowe’s Death in Perspective, ranked amongst the “12 Most Unique College Norma Bowe
Courses in America” by The Huffington Post, serves as a bereavement group for her students centralized through experiential learning. She forces her students to confront their anxieties about death or the anticipatory grief of losing someone they love. Field trips for the class include visits to a hospice, cemetery, crematory and even a live autopsy. Amy Palma, a Kean alumna and former student of Bowe’s Death in Perspective course, recently experienced a tragedy when she lost her 21-year-old cousin in October. She credits Bowe’s class with helping her properly prepare for dealing with the impending grief she would experience. “Although my family is still grieving, we will never forget him or what he did with his life and I truly thank Dr. Bowe for teaching me everything about death and mental illness because it definitely made this whole process a little smoother,” Palma said. Her interactive and introspective teaching style caught the eye of the Los Angeles Times journalist Erika Hayasaki, the writer who would ultimately pen “The Death Class: A True Story About Life”—a multilayer, nonfiction work that chronicles Bowe’s Death in Perspective class. However, Hayasaki isn’t the only one who believes Bowe’s story is worth telling. Actress Jennifer Carpenter, of “Dexter” fame, is joining forces with producer Sara Photo: David Ortiz Colleton to adapt the book for an upcoming continued on page 3
Kean University’s faculty and students peacefully protested on campus December 3 mirroring protests in New York City after a grand jury failed to indict a police officer in the strangling death of Eric Garner. Garner died in Staten Island in July after a New York City Police officer put him in a chokehold for allegedly selling single cigarettes from packs without tax stamps. The incident was captured in a video of the incident that went viral. The Kean protest began around 10:45 p.m. and about 150 protesters who were mainly students circled the campus including the Dorm quad, Library and the University Center chanting “no justice, no peace” and “black lives matter.” According to one of the organizers, Charles Curtis III, the primary objective of the protest was to bring awareness to the Kean community and remind themselves that the African American spirit has not been broken. “We are still segregated,” said Curtis III. “Things are keeping us down. We are the next generation and we are conscious of the system.” Jasmine Pringle, an early childhood and Criminal Justice major said it is obvious that black people are separated and treated differently. “The laws were not written for black people,” said Pringle. “Therefore, the law cannot protect those it was not written for.” Curtis III said that the protest was organized through social media and it will remain peaceful. Another protest is scheduled for Thursday December 11 during college hour, he said. “We will continue to protest until we see results, until the police officer is indicted for murder,” said Curtis III. “We want to spread it, we have been dealing with this for too long.”
Faculty and Students Evaluate Kean Technology By Daris Mendez
Technology has rapidly become an important aspect of higher education and its use in classrooms has grown immensely. However, both students and faculty of Kean University are voicing their concern with the technology on campus. On Nov. 11, Kean’s Faculty Senate got together to discuss issues relevant to Kean students and the university as a whole. One of the issues brought up was the quality of the technology in Kean classrooms. Within this issue, members discussed the specific problems they were experiencing in classrooms such as the extended amount of time it takes for systems to start up and missing blinds which create a problem when presenting power points. On their website, the Faculty Senate describes themselves as being “the principal agency for the formulation of Kean University policy.” Their web page also states that they “communicate recommendations to the President on such matters as faculty affairs, curriculum, instruction, student affairs, finances and other matters” With this being their objective, a senate member proposed to bring the technology issue up to the Kean administration. “It is our hope that we can work together to make this place a better place,” said Dr. Pat Ippollito at the Nov. 11 meeting. Kean students have noticed the effect of faulty technology in the classrooms. Student Kelly Rebele, a junior is frustrated with her experience in a computer-based classroom. “The technology at Kean University is stressful. As a student you come prepared and ready to learn however, when projectors, mouse, or even keys are missing from keyboards it is unacceptable,” Rebele said. “Technology is improving in today’s society but it needs to be fixed in the [Kean] classrooms.” Although these types of issues exist, the university offers the help of Computer Information Services that deal with technical issues on campus. The mission on their website states: “The Office of Computer and Information Services is committed to providing high quality technology services to the students, faculty and staff of Kean University in order that the University can maintain its commitment of accessibility, both academically continued on page 6
2 THE TOWER
Governor Christie to increase state tuition aid grants in 2015 By sade Cox
The state’s Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) financial assistance program is expected to receive an increase that will benefit many Kean university students. Governor Chris Christie is increasing New Jersey’s Tuition Aid Grants (TAG) again for the neediest college students. After increasing funding by nearly $47 million in the last two years, the fiscal year 2015 budget continues to expand resources for students. With an additional $14 million to support a two percent across the board increase in award amounts for TAG recipients, it will benefit the 78 percentage of students who receive a tuition aid grant each year. According to, the state of New Jersey’s 2015 Fiscal Year Budget Address, “This comes on top of the $47 million increase in TAG grants that we have provided over the past two years to expand resources for students in need who want to attend college”, Christie said. Kean University is one of the many public four year universities in New Jersey who par-
ticipates in this program. TAG award grants are need-based financial aid that helps student residents attend college in New Jersey. Tuition Aid Grant awards at Kean University range from $1,712 to $5,880 and are awarded to students with the greatest financial need. Recipients (and parents of dependent students) must be a resident of New Jersey and enrolled full time at Kean University in an undergraduate program for this award. The award is renewable for up to 9 semesters. Continuing students must complete their FAFSA prior to June 1st to be considered for TAG for the following academic year. On the state level, the tuition aid grants annual awards ranges from $574 to $11,958 for full-time students at four-year colleges and universities and $566 to $1,932 for part-time students at community colleges. TAG is one of the largest financial aid programs that can cover up to the full cost of tuition. The amount of an individual grant varies based upon the student’s need, the cost of attendance and available funding. Grants must be
2015 Fiscal Budget Address.
applied for annually within the State’s deadlines and applicants must meet all program requirements. TAG awards go to full-time undergraduate students enrolled in an approved degree or certificate program. On Feb. 25, 2014, Governor Christie delivered his proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget to the New Jersey Legislature. At the February HESAA Board meeting, the Board adopted a budget policy statement for Fiscal Year 2015 recommending that TAG awards be increased by a flat percentage. The approval of this proposed budget would eliminate the current model based on tuition levels
Photo: State of New Jersey
of two years prior (neediest students) and four years prior (all other students), less a percentage to stay within budget. The average tuition for an undergraduate full-time student at Kean University taking 12 to 19 credits at a flat rate of $5,621.75 for in state tuition and $8,826.25 for out-of-state tuition per semester. “The affordability of higher education has been a top priority of my administration,” said Governor Christie. “TAG awards are instrumental in making higher education possible for thousands of students who qualify for these grants each year.”
Kean meal plans: no longer a forced purchase By sade Cox
Many of New Jersey’s colleges and universities will ban the enforcement of default meal plan purchases while attending school. On Nov 13, 2014, Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union) proposed the bill (A2811) that passed under the state Assembly. Which, prohibited four-year public and independent higher education institutions, from requiring students to purchase meal plans and permit the schools to only offer meal plans in the form of a spending allowance. The executive director of New Jersey’s Association of State Colleges and Universities, Dr. Michael Klein, JD, Ph.D. issued a statement via email clarifying, “The bill would prohibit the variety of meal plans offered to students at four-year public and independent colleges and universities. The only type of meal plan that an institution could offer its students is one designed as a spending allowance, which works similar to a bank debit card. Each time the student makes a purchase, the total would be subtracted from the balance of the student’s account.” The bill requires schools to offer flexible prepaid meal plans which will allow students get a refund at the end of the year from unused balances. “The cost of meals for both meal plans and pay-as-you-go will cost more than it does now. Right now the food service contractors know at the beginning of each academic year the student population needing meals and they can price and prepare their budgets accordingly,” Klein said via email. Without a core group of participants, the contractors will have less predictability pricing their products with certainty, leading to higher prices.” Gourmet Dining, the food service used at Kean University was contacted several times for comment. However, however there was no response.
Gourmet Dining and Kean University have developed a flexible meal plan option that caters to student campus lifestyles. Kean University offers two types of payments plans, Cougar Dollars and Flex Dollars for purchasing meals on campus. Cougar dollars is for students who want freedom to purchase beverages, snacks or meals anytime from campus eateries. Flex Plan is designed for students who lived on campus to purchase meal plan that is convenient. Flex dollars is a suitable system which allows you to deposit a dollar amount onto your Cougar ID card and use it as a debit card. Unlike the meal plans, which are used on a week-by-week or semester basis, Flex dollars are valid throughout the academic year. Flex dollars are rolled over from semesterto-semester and any unused Flex dollars are reimbursed at the end of the spring semester. Students receiving financial aid usually enroll in this plan after using excess financial aid funds or student loans to purchase a Flex Plan. According to the email, Klein believes the students who are enrolled in these meal plans will not receive the nutrition that it is needed to be a productive student. “Nutritionally, I believe students will suffer. Studies have shown that students who are worried about getting food can develop physical and mental illnesses, and perform less well academically, including getting lower grade point averages,” Klein said. “Students will need to find places to cook and store food safely, which can lead to more health and safety issues.” In terms of cost, at the end of the semester, if there are any funds remaining in his or her account, a stu-
Debating spring course scheduling By Nicole Brown
Kean’s faculty senate was concerned about changes the administration made to Spring 2015 faculty course grid, after registration had already begun. The senate voted to file an open public request after faculties raised concerns about changes the administration made to Spring 2015 faculty course grid. Which were different from the scheduling task force guidelines. According to members of the faculty senate, changes included the cancellation of courses after college Deans submitted the schedules to the Provost’s office and after registration had begun. “The reason given for the cancellations was that it was necessary to bring faculty course grid into compliance with the faculty course grid guideline,” said Dr. David Joiner, President of the Senate. “However, we have not been able to see those guidelines anywhere.” Dr. Emily Filardo, a member of the senate noted that the faculty senate has been requesting scheduling guidelines from the administration; however their requests were not granted. “The administration wants to spread fulltime faculty teaching across the day,” said Filardo. “It’s getting fuzzy. What is going on?” But, Dr. Richard Katz, a member of the senate said it is still not clear what specific changes were made to the faculty course grid, because
the senate did not receive the scheduling guidelines from the administration. “Some colleges are having their schedules change, some are not,” said Katz. “This is arresting.” Dr. Joiner said that the schedule was modified to fix parking problems. However, Katz said the changes in scheduling will worsen the problem. “They are over building this campus,” said Katz. “The administration wants to make it look as if we need these buildings.” Nigel Donald, executive vice president of the Student Organization said students are concerned about the immediate consequences of the changes in course scheduling, including a drop in enrollment and extended graduation time. “We are in the cross fire of implementing changes in the schedule to fix parking,” said Donald. “We are confused, we are lost.” Faculty questioned Kean’s objective and warned the administration that Kean should be as student centered as it needs to be. “It is no longer an educational endeavor,” said Katz. “This is something else.”
dent would have the option of either receiving a refund or having the remaining funds “rolled over” into the student’s spending allowance for the following semester,” Klein said. According to Gourmet’s Dinning website, meal plans for fall 2014 and spring 2015 are offered through continuous dinning plans for freshman, upperclassman, and returning freshmen. Continuous dining plans are offered through four unlimited plans. Plan 1 is$1,660/per semester equivalent to 100 Cougar Dollars. Plan 2 is $1,760/per semester equivalent 200 Cougar Dollars. Plan 3 is $1,860/per semester 300 equivalent Cougar Dollars Plan 4 is $1,960/per semester equivalent 400 Cougar Dollars. For upperclassman and returning freshmen it is $1,162/per semester equivalent 200 Cougar Dollars and $1,162/per semester equivalent 300 Cougar
Dollars. At Kean University, students have the option to change their meal plan selection within the first twenty-one days of the semester. Also, students can cancel meal plans and receive a refund calculated on a percentage basis equivalent to the Residence Life cancellation policy. In addition, students can appeal a calculated refund within the semester the meal plan was purchased. Many college meal plans are all-you-can-eat plans. Students sign in for a meal, or swipe their ID card, and then can eat whatever they want during the meal time. Students should be in charge on deciding how many times they would like to eat or choose not to eat. Cutting the cost of including the meal plan in their tuition, can reduce the amount of added cost students endure while attending college.
3 THE TOWER
Local artist reaches great heights
Smith with his guitar. By Dominique Vinas
Everyone has a dream; a goal they wish to achieve, or a statement they wish to make on the world. It’s true that everyone has their desires, but there are only a selected few who turn their thoughts into a full fledged reality. This takes not only a dream, but the passion and the patience to learn how to be the best. Zac Smith, Jersey Americana artist and songwriter for 15 years is a prime example of of how dedication gets you to the top. With inspiration from musicians like “The Clash” and “Woody Guthrie”, great writers like Joyce and Oscar Wilde, and even Martin Luther King Jr. and Emma Goldman, it’s no surprise this 31 year old talent is making his mark in the music industry. Smith takes pride in his music and his accomplishments, because it certainly didn’t all happen overnight. Growing up as a child in Montclair, NJ, he was a reader who dreamed of becoming a writer. This dream of his consumed him so much that he taught himself how to play guitar solely through looking at old books, and he even perfected his voice all on his own, without any lessons. Once Smith mastered these skills, he just had to get his name out there, and he was persistent. As an 18 year old college Freshman at Vassar College in Upstate New York he began his music career, doing gigs at the local coffeehouse on open mic night. After he became more recognized, he did countless amounts of shows in all different types of venues be it small or big, he had a full catalog of songs, and went on to record 5 albums and on EP. The amazing thing about Smith is that he produces all his own work. In 2013, he won Best Male vocalist at the Jersey Acoustic Music Awards and was also featured in the book “Are you listening” (The top 100 Albums of 2000-2010 of NJ artists). So what inspires such award-winning music? When asked this question Smith didn’t hesitate with an answer. “When I feel strongly about something the best way I can express myself is through writing.. It can be anything from girlfriends, things that are going on in the world, political topics and controversies, I express it all through songwriting,” said Smith. Good music is what makes Smith “feel great”, he expresses how it changes dull, ordinary life into something exciting and new, and that’s what he hopes his fans experience while listening to his tracks. When asked about his most recent album, Signs of Life, he had a lot to say. It was very different from the previous work he’s done. It was basically all acoustic and stripped down to its bare form. He wanted his fans to see a different side of him. “I usually play a lot of full band rock shows and I’ve recorded a bunch of full band rock albums, so this is the most intimate album I’ve ever put out,” said Smith. Smith feels that if a song is good, it will work without all the horn sections or guitar parts, and if it doesn’t then he gets suspicious about it. He also has a lot of inspiration while putting his songs and albums together. “I love the sound of Ray Charles and the Raelettes, and other groups where there’s 3 female backing vocalists, so I have a lot of that on the album,” said Smith. Smith isn’t just a solo artist either; he’s actually a part of a band as well. They’re all from New York, and all live in Brooklyn, except for the bass player who lives in Queens. “pretty consistently the past couple years I’ve been playing with an electric guitarist named Gavi Grodsky, a drummer named Keith Robinson, a keyboard player named Dov Manski and a bass player named Pete O’Neil,” said Smith. He refers to all of them as “top notch musicians.” He expressed how his band changes from show to show, and depending on the size of the venue they’re performing at, he has a close knit with a lot of musicians and switches off from time to time depending on circumstances. Even though Smith has just finished his latest album, he never stops working, he is constantly evolving. He just recently finished recording demos for a bunch of songs he wishes to put out as a full rock album. “Sonically, it will be a vast departure from Signs of Life, but it is certain to be the best stuff I’ve ever come up with,” said Smith.
Sign Language Club makes noise at Kean By Marco Rodriguez
What do you get when you gather a group of college students in a room at Kean University’s East Campus? Silence. The students, all members of Kean University’s American Sign Language (ASL) Club, have devoted themselves to studying and mastering the silent form of communication on campus. With a mission to educate and spread awareness to its members on the culture and language of the Deaf community, the students gather once a month to make this goal a reality. The club’s president, Judiel Nebalasca, recalls how her curiosity with the club bloomed into a real interest after giving it a try. “My involvement with the ASL club began two years ago when I was a sophomore,” said Nebalasca. “The club was a requirement for my ASL class, but as I participated in events and activities, it grew into a genuine interest. I wanted to learn more about ASL so I stayed on with the club past the class.” Through various on campus initiatives, the club has spread awareness of the deaf culture to students and professors alike. Among their most notable activities is Deaf for a Day, an initiative where students are given ear plugs to wear the entire day to see what it feels like to not be able to hear properly. Additionally, students are given stickers to wear which identify themselves as participants in the event. According to Nebalasca, the initiative has led to a favorable response in students as they put themselves in the place of a deaf person. “Deaf for a Day has been quite successful in the time we have done it,” said Nebalasca. “The activity has al-
Members of the American Sign Language Club gather after their monthly meeting.
lowed students to walk in the shoes of a deaf person and see what life is like for them. Until you actually try something like this, you will never understand how it is for them.” The club also holds bake sales, meetings, and sponsors an annual deaf panel at the University, where people in the deaf community are invited to interact with students and answer any questions that they may have. Furthermore, the ASL club works with the Deaf Jammers Club on campus to hold the Deaf Jam event. At the event, student performers translate popular songs, poems, and other literature into sign language for all of their guests to enjoy. Students are welcome to attend monthly ASL club meetings, which are held on Tuesdays on the first floor in the East Campus. The club, which currently has close to 50 students attending, is advised by Dr. Carol Goodman and welcomes stu-
Photo: Shelly Soloveychik
dents to join by attending meetings or signing up via Cougar Link. Students do not need a background in sign language to become a member, as the club always gives basic introductory lessons in their first meeting for everyone to learn. According to Nebalasca, they have only met one deaf student on campus who is an active participant in the club, but are willing to reach out and assist any other deaf students that attend or will attend Kean University. Shelly Soloveychik, the club’s secretary, urges all students from all majors to consider joining the club. “The American Sign Language Club offers a new culture for students to get involved in,” said Soloveychik. “Participating in the club provides a good opportunity to be exposed to the deaf culture and meet new people. It takes you out of your comfort zone which is something that we all need once in a while.”
A “mature” perspective at Kean By Christine Csaky
As you walk around campus, you may pass 18-year old freshmen, 21 and 22-year old upper classmen, and a lot of people who look like your parents. Are those people professors, other Kean employees, or are they your classmates? In 2011, the National Center for Education Statistics estimated that 2.5 million college students were over the age of 24. Marsha J. McCarthy, Director of the Kean Media Relations Department, reported that in the fall of 2013, 3,291 of Kean’s 12,516 undergraduate students were over the age of 25. Many of these non-traditional students are parents, work fulltime, and squeeze a few classes per semester into their weeks. Mary Sterenczak, who graduated from high school in 1992, returned to college in 2010. Sterenczak was recently divorced and had a 13-year old son when she chose to return to college. “My proudest moment was walking in graduation in May,”
Sterenczak said. Alisha Dawkins returned to school at age 33 and finds that her biggest issue is being away from home four days a week. As a mother, wife, and full-time employee, Dawkins finds herself doing homework on her lunch break and on weekends. “I work full time and go straight to class afterwards,” Dawkins said. “I have a strong support system at home and work.” According to Professor David Levine, of the Kean School
Graduate student Laura Farrell in the classroom.
Photo: Christine Csaky
of Communication, Media & Journalism, mature students have been in the real world, understand how it works, and are skilled writers and thinkers. Many students who previously earned a bachelors’ degree, find that a master’s degree is required to reach their full earning potential or for promotions. Laura Farrell, a Kean Graduate student, graduated from college 23 years prior to applying for the masters’ program at Kean. “I’ve worked in communications for most of my life and always wanted to fill that practical experience with an academic background,” Farrell said. Farrell believes that a master’s degree will help her as she continues her career. “I recommend going part-time or taking a gap year if you don’t feel focused,” Farrell said. Farrell urges younger undergraduate students to appreciate college, which is something she wishes she had done when she was able to attend full-time while working toward her bachelor’s degree.
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NBC series. Bowe, the basis for the dramatic series, will serve as a creative consultant on the show. Bowe hopes that the pending series will lead by example, straying from current pop culture trends in Hollywood that are not conducive to accepting our inevitable fates. “Television does not [portray] death very well,” Bowe said. “I was out in L.A. last spring break talking to a group of television producers that were not NBC and one of the first questions they asked me was if I talked to the dead. I had to leave. I was like are you kidding me? But that’s how we deal with death in this country—through mediums or vampires. ” Although you may think society has a morbid fascination with death with shows like “Resurrection,” “The Walking Dead,” or “Long Island Medium” and movies like the Twilight
franchise, these pop culture staples romanticize death, allowing these deceased characters to fundamentally become “undead” by personifying entities that are still roaming this earth. Although we feel as if we are embracing these dark themes, these sources of entertainment—or rather, escapism— are prohibiting us from actually accepting our own mortality. “No, we’re not going to get resurrected; no, we’re not going to get turned into a vampire,” Bowe said. “We have to deal with [death] because it’s going to happen to all of us.” Bowe came to grips with death early on in her life. She grew up in a tumultuous household, where violence was prevalent. As a child, she did not know if she was going to be alive from one day to the next, so she accepted death as her inexorable friend. “When we face our own mortality… when we stare death in the face,
we understand for the first time, sometimes, that life is precious and we have no business taking it for granted ever,” Bowe said. The professor cannot escape semblances of death, even through Be the Change, a community service and activism group she spearheads at Kean, dedicated to serving the needs of the local, state, national and global community. The organization tackles issues of poverty and crime, which are two discernible causes of death. The group also takes part in disaster relief, frequents hospices and visits terminally ill children and their families at the Ronald McDonald House. Although death is inevitable, Bowe emphasizes that we are the sole creators of our lives and we have to actively create our lives all the time. We can claim power over our situation. “We have just one wild and precious life, right?”
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
4 THE TOWER
Rob Santana: Defining his own cinematic take
By Bryan C. Kuriawa
At the dawn of the new millennium, a young woman believes that Jesus Christ will return to the Earth. Living alone with her daughter and her faith, she believes that one day he will answer her prayers and reveal himself. One afternoon, her daughter, walking along a riverbed, sees a young bearded man in robes tending to his wounds. When the young man finds his way to their door, they believe that a miracle has come and Jesus has returned. Yet, in truth, their miraculous visitor is no heavenly saint and is in need of his own divine intervention. Screening in November at the International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival, Rob Santana’s “Heysoos” tells an unusual, yet humorously poignant story of faith and misunderstandings. For Santana, it represents another in a long line of film projects over the course of several decades. “From the very beginning, I’ve loved making films, Santana said. “I’ve always wanted to make them on my own and not have to be dependent on investors. I fell in love with filmmaking ever since I was a kid; I set out to prove it can be done with a simple 5D Cannon camera.” In 1979, Santana made his first film, “Air Waves,” about the 1938 “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast by Orson Welles on a New Jersey family. The film, shot entirely in 16MM, caught the notice of local television programmers. “I had a heavy crew for that one,” Santana said. “It cost a lot of money to make, but it was shown on Channel 13 back in 1980. But I’m very proud of that and I still have the prints, but I want to get it digitized.” Citing Stanley Kubrick, Luis Brunel and Mike Nichols as his influences, Santana was on his way into filmmaking. Yet for the next few years, he transferred from the world of cinema to that of theatre. “I’ve had professionally produced plays by Míriam Colón who was in the Al Pacino movie, “Scar-
face,” Santana said. “She mounted my production; I got a nice little New York Times review which set me off, I had my 15 minutes. I was approached by a couple of independent movie companies, but that panned out, they wanted to look at other scripts and I just decided to go on my own. Referencing “Heysoos,” Santana mentioned the film was nearly financed by a large production organization, but after several years of delays, he took it upon himself to complete the film. After playwriting, Santana returned to filmmaking with several projects including “Spanglish Girls,” which became a crowd favorite at the Latino Nights Festival of the Anthology Film Archives in 2007. With his latest film, Santana stated his idea was to ask what would happen if Jesus Christ actually appeared on New Year’s Day. After developing an early draft, he realized the idea wouldn’t progress as a straightforward drama. The resulting decision was to make the film as a satire. On a budget of $6,000, Santana shot the film in a do-it-yourself fashion with a small cast and crew. Yet as mentioned in his director’s statement, once he acquired his actors, the filming was quite an enjoyable experience. “The enthusiasm was contagious,” Santana said.
Reel Abilities Film Festival brings disabilities into the spotlight
By Roman Gerus
The audience was submerged in an ocean of tears during “Ocean Heaven,” a 2011 Chinese movie starring Jet Li, which played at the “ReelAbilities” film festival at the STEM auditorium at Kean. The movie’s emotional response reflected the real-life emotions and stories behind the message of this festival in “promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities.” The festival, which ended on Nov. 20, was Kean’s second annual “ReelAbilties” film festival. The festival was part of a statewide event, which included Kean’s Ocean County campus. The first festival, however, took place at the JCC in Manhattan in 2007, where it moved audiences and inspired people to think about people with disabilities more thoughtfully and encourage others to do the same. Millie Gonzalez was a coordinator of the festival. She has been a University Relations specialist for the past 10 years and is a Kean alumna. Her enthusiasm and devotion for the festival was as personal and touching as the festival itself. In an email interview, Gonzalez expressed her feelings about the festival and the films and people involved. “As a person with a disability, I attended the ReelAbilities New York festival with one of my friends since it began in 2007. Each time I left a screening, I would think ‘that’s my new favorite film,’” said Gonzalez. Gonzalez along with Kean University, the New York committee and other individuals in New Jersey turned the dream of a larger festival into reality with a five-day festival last spring at Kean
A scene from Rob Santana’s latest film, “Heysoos.”
and in other cities in New Jersey. The films are chosen after a call for submissions and a review by a film selection committee that works out of New York City. Gonzalez knew the importance of promoting this festival. “I recognized the potential for educating and increasing awareness through films that address various disabilities and themes that speak to the diversity of our campus community, as well as to the wide range of academic disciplines across the university,” said Gonzalez. The Kean student community also got personally involved with the festival this year with the surprise song and dance performance by Kean students Amara Riccio and Maria Elena Martino. Riccio is a recreational therapy major at Kean and the “creator, entertainer and public speaker” of ricciopickmeups.org, a website and organization devoted to “picking up” people who are struggling with their disabilities. Riccio was originally pursuing a career in dance and gymnastics, but her life changed when she was struck by a car in 2008, leaving her with a Traumatic Brain Injury, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She did not let her new disabilities bring her down, however, and her tremendous will and strength was evident in her dance performance accompanied by the singing of her equally as talented friend and head volunteer Martino, who is an occupational therapy major at Kean. Their song and dance number, “Unconditional Loved,” portrayed the unconditional love that everyone must have for each other, disabled or not, and to not judge people simply based on their outward appearance. “I do it for my brothers, my friends and disabled people everywhere,” said Riccio.
“The readings were fun and the actors, convinced that no other film had a story quite like this one, couldn’t wait to get started.” By the time filming had wrapped, Santana had succeeded in his goal of creating a quality low-budget film all on his own, with the most limited of tools and a small cast and crew. Upon completion, “Heysoos” was selected for the Official Selections of the Hoboken International Film Festival and the Golden Door International Film Festival. Its most recent screening was at the International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival, to which he was quite happy to have it featured. With the current screenings for his latest film, Santana is interested in pursuing his upcoming project, entitled “Little Blue Eyes.” “It’s about a black woman who finds a white baby and she’s been given a hard time by white people all her life,” Santana said. “Now she’s faced with a blue-eyed infant and she’s forced to take care of it and comes to terms with her racism. I’ve always been interested in something like that.” While his ideal actor of choice for the ideal project would be Ethan Hawke, Satana has created his own filmography. As his career has shown, he has, and will continue, to carve a cinematic niche all his own.
“Ruined” play showcases the story of survival By Jennifer Deligne
“Ruined,” a play directed by Kean professor Ernest Wiggins, focuses on the topic of rape in mid-war Congo and was featured several nights in mid-November in the Zella J. Frye Theatre with performers having a heavy storyline to portray. The performance exuded raw emotions and explained mental battles that many women in Congo go through from being ruined. For a woman in Congo, being ruined is to have mutilation done to her sexual organs. This is a trauma many women face during the war, which leaves them with both physical and mental scars. The war surrounding natural resources was a factor that began the war against women in Congo. Playwright Lynn Nottage wanted to share the story from the women’s perspective and explore the wars they fought due to their gender. Many women were kidnapped, torn from their families and forced into trafficking. The play focused on women who live and work in a brothel to escape the forces of rape and sexual abuse. Salima, a character based on a real survivor, cried for her murdered baby on stage and expressed scenes too gruesome to imagine. Actors portrayed the violence the characters experienced through their physical demeanor. Sophie, a ruined girl, walked as though in pain and was a walking symbol for women in Congo. Her emotional trauma was painted on her face and did not want to be attached with the sexual instances in the brothel. Soldiers frequented the brothel and had their way with the women who were once tortured and forced into these acts not too long before. This strength to work in a brothel, despite what these women went through, is what Nottage wanted to demonstrate in her play. These women were not victims, but survivors with a story. The play was set in a bright atmosphere with soft music playing throughout, which elevated during points where dancing and entertainment were done in the brothel. The owner, character Mama Nadi, is an opinionated woman who herself has been ruined. She does not let this weaken her, but rather empowers her instead. She is a strong woman who encourages the girls she cares for to be resilient toward the sorrows that working at a brothel may bring. The actors behind each character understood their parts in the play and used their voices to show control, sadness, fear and anger. It is an emotionally fired performance with topics that are expressed so people are aware of the wars waged within the war on natural resources. This play evokes compassion and tells a story not often told, one based on hope and survival.
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By Adilene Rodriguez
Alternative music to get you in the holiday mood If you love holiday music but are too cool to admit it, this playlist might be for you. With holiday music being one of the music industry’s top breadwinners every year, it’s no surprise many artists have put out holidaythemed singles and albums, indie and alternative artists are no exception. Alternative/ indie artists have dived into the holiday music trend and listed below are just a few select, interesting takes of holiday classics from alternative/indie artists.
“Interesting takes of holiday classics from alternative/ indie artists” 1. “Sleigh Ride” by Fun: Back in 2012, after the massive success of the single “We Are Young,” the band fun. took part in an indie holiday compilation album titled “Holidays Rule.” Their cover of the holiday classic was the album’s lead track. Packed with string arrangements, synths and electronic sound effects, and the everimportant sleigh bells, this cover is the epitome of an indie take of a holiday song. It’s weird; it’s fun and it’ll be sure to get you in the holiday spirit.
2. “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” by The Head and the Heart: Taken off the same holiday album, folk band The Head and the Heart lent their talents to this song, covered by a range of artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Conick Jr., Rod Stewart and even creator of “Family Guy” Seth Macfarlane. True to their folk sound, the band keeps it simple with an acoustic guitar, a piano and the flicking of a drum, to accompany their gruff voices, making it sound more like a song you’d hear in an romantic scene of an indie film rather than a holiday classic. Nevertheless, it is still a lovely cover. 3. “O Holy Night” by Bastille: Bastille is a relatively new alternative band that has received a lot of hype since the 2013 release of their commercially successful single, “Pompeii.” Also famous for their strange cover choices, such as Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” (where they also sampled Cyrus’ dad, Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart”) to TLC’s “No Scrubs,” their take on Oh Holy Night also turns odd. Sampling audio from holiday movie favorite “Home Alone,” lead singer Dan Smith hauntingly starts the song in a dark place, singing in a low whisper. Later joined by a choir, the song gets heavier and has never sounded more eerie. It is nothing you’d expect from an “O Holy Night” cover. 4. “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” by Julian Casablancas: It’s probably the most fun inspired by a Saturday Night Live skit by a gravelly vocalist Christmas song ever. Ripping from a Saturday Night Live
Photo: Creative Commons
bit by SNL veterans, Jimmy Fallon, Horatio Sanz, Chris Kattan and Tracy Morgan, the song turned into a guitar-band jam when Julian Casablancas decided to cover it. Casablancas vocals aren’t exactly what you’d expect to hear from a Christmas song. But somehow him shouting that he wished Christmas was today and whispering that he hears sleigh bells “a’ ring-a-ding ding” work. Casablancas kicked up the nutty tune up some notches and turned it into an electrifying dance-y number.
5. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by She & Him: She & Him is a musical project spearheaded by actress Zooey Deschanel alongside musician M.Ward. In 2011, they released their very own holiday album titled, “A Very She & Him Christmas.” In this version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” they speed up the tempo, use a ukulele and there’s whistling involved. It has all the quirk you’d expect—a very She & Him
7. “Last Christmas” by Peace: UK band Peace covered “Last Christmas,” arguably the best Christmas song of the 80’s, as a promo to announce the making of a new album (that has yet to be released) in 2013. Although technically they didn’t release the cover as a single, it’s still a really indie take on a holiday song, complete with a double-neck guitar solo. You can’t go wrong with a Wham cover.
6. “Got Something For You” by Best Coast and Wavves: Lead Singer of Best Coast, Bethany Cosentino, and lead singer of Wavves, Nathan Williams, are the modern-day indie power couple. Both superCalifornian rock stars recorded this, making it their first musical collaboration. It sounds like a song that would appropriately be played at a Christmas beach party— true to each of the artists’ nature.
Kean getting ready for the holidays
is like a fruity drink that has apples, sugar cane and mixed fruits. You always know my parents are starting it up because it smells so sugary throughout the kitchen.” —Angelica Amigon, a senior at
Kean University. “My wife is Italian American, so one special thing that we do is 7 fishes. What this means is there are 7 types of seafood served. The origin is from the
Catholic tradition of not eating meat on the eve of a holiday.” —Professor Joseph Bakes, a Kean faculty member. Food during the holidays can also serve as entertainment for children. Common foods items such as pasta and oatmeal, with a little imagination can be more than that. A Kean University staff member explained that on Christmas Eve, her son and grandson gather all the young children in the family to go outside to put out food for Santa’s reindeer. This “reindeer food” consists of dried oatmeal flakes and glitter. The children believed that the reindeer food was magical because of the glitter added. These traditions vary from country to country. In Argentina, it is common for children to help in decorating the nativity scene before Christmas. In some parts of Africa on Christmas the children choirs sing in front of the church priests and do a traditional dance rendition for them. Other common Christmas traditions for children in the United States include putting out cookies for Santa and reading Christmas stories.
The SGO, a representative organization who are elected by the student body, elaborated on Farahi’s comments to The Record. When asked why Kean purchased the table, Farahi was quoted as saying it was “small-minded” to ask such questions, and “why not?” “Much has also been made of President Farahi’s ‘why not?’ comment,” the SGO stated in their e-mail. “All of us who know and work with President Farahi are sure there was more to the sentence he offered. Why not provide Kean students with the very best spaces, places and equipment needed to learn and succeed in today’s economy?” Linked in the SGO’s e-mail was a statement from the Kean Foundation’s secretary, Robert Busch, a major donor to the University and the namesake of the Robert
Bush School of Design located in the Green Lane building. Busch also stated that Farahi’s comments were “taken out of context.” “What was missing was Dr. Farahi’s heart-felt rationale,” Busch said. “Why shouldn’t Kean University’s students, faculty, and staff enjoy top-notch facilities? Why shouldn’t its new global business students have access to technology that will link them to conferences with their mentors halfway around the world? Why shouldn’t students be able to connect with faculty and peers at Kean University’s campus in China? Why not, indeed.” Since its installation in June, the conference room has frequently been used by Dr. Michael Cooper, Dean of the College of Business and Public Management for the Global Business School’s Advisory Board meetings.
The conference room has also hosted roundtable discussions on New Jersey’s Growing Heroin Epidemic, and was also used for the mayors of Elizabeth and St. Helier to discuss trade options. The conference center’s international telecommunication capabilities have yet to be used by any organization. To offset the cost of the table and generate revenue, the room will be rented to businesses and external organizations, according to Kean’s spokeswoman, Marsha McCarthy. The going-rate for rentals has yet to be finalized, but was reported to be $850 in nj.com. Student organizations wishing to use the GLAB’s sixth floor conference room are encouraged to do so through the Office of Conference and Event Services and will not be charged, according to McCarthy.
By Vera Boateng
With the changing colors of the leaves, the cold temperatures and daylight saving time, it is apparent that fall is upon us. Although the start of the fall was Sept. 23, and winter starts on Dec. 21, the holiday spirit is felt far earlier by some of Kean’s faculty, students and staff. With familial holidays approaching, the traditions they look forward to are indulging in special food recipes and doing fun activities together. Families of different cultures and backgrounds use current popular food trends, like making creative spreads and sauces, as entertainment. Sharing unique holiday food ideas from different cultures and integrating them with traditional recipes creates fresh, original recipes that can be passed on through generations. “For Thanksgiving, we have a dish called mole Poblano. This is basically like a chicken with black and red sauce that can sometimes have chocolate on top to help make a salty and sweet flavor. At Christmastime, my parents make a Mexican dish called Ponche, which
Display of food during Thanksgiving.
Photo: Creative Commons
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Reacting to national attention, students and faculty received e-mails from Vice President Philip Connelly and the SGO on Dec. 1 addressing concerns over the purchase. Both statements emphasized that the $219,024 price-tag included the cost of technology needed to fully utilize the table as a networking resource for all students. “Recently, there have been reports in the media about Kean University’s new conference center, with a specific focus on the center’s table without emphasis to the high-tech electronics that were included in the purchase price,” Connelly stated. He also explained how the purchase benefits students, citing that the world-class meeting place would be ideal to discuss internships and connect with Wenzhou Kean University in China.
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More tables, less world-class education By Bryan C. Kuriawa and Christine Moukazis
It is sometimes believed that universities, public or private, try to act in the best interest of their students. We are told that students and faculty are the heart of a university. In that sense, it is thought that they would do their best in trying to allocate their resources to give us a meaningful higher education. Perhaps, Kean’s recent $219,024 purchase might debunk that notion. The administration and student government have publicly supported the purchase of this table. In their eyes, the table will generate newer benefits in the coming years to the university. But in our eyes, this circular table represents nothing more than a cyclic pattern of disregard for the student body. In an email signed by the president of the Student Organization, Gerard E. Smithwrick, regarding the table, it stated, “Why not provide Kean students with the very best spaces, places and equipment needed to learn and succeed in today’s economy?” There is all of this talk about physical space, but no mention of a thriving intellectual environment. Kean is basically the pretty girl with an ugly personality. It has all the trappings of an attractive school, but where is the substance? Why not spend the money on things that will
advance the students academically, rather than implement technology that will only offer a boost to the institution financially? Or spend money to solve issues that have proven to be problematic for students and faculty, such as parking. It appears the basic needs of the university are not being met in favor in grand, unnecessary purchases. Yet what purpose could the table serve in the grand scheme of things? The conference table may feature newer technology and appear unique, yet we must ask one question. “Why not?” This was the quote of President Farahi, often cited, when asked about his exact reasons for purchasing the table. In this statement, a multitude of questions have arisen, but these two words can answer more questions than imagined. Within “Why not,” we have the basic answer to the question of how those in the highest positions of authority view their student body and faculty. They view the money they receive in tuition as nothing more than pennies in a larger pot. In this philosophy, our tuition is the equivalent of Monopoly money in their hands. There is no value, no reason, and no rationality in this sense. Instead their idea is to bill their students and spend their funds with no recourse or moment of reality. That reality be-
Defining rape culture on modern college campuses By Sonia Aquije
However, there are still students like Colombia University’s Emma Sulkowicz, who informed campus officials back in April 2013 about her rape, but was met by inaction, even though there were two other women that came forward with allegations against the same man. The university ultimately failed them in handling their cases, and found the alleged attacker, Jean-Paul Nungesser as “not responsible”. According to an article by the New York Times, “Fight against Sexual Assault holds colleges to account,” Obama’s administration told universities they must use “preponderance of the evidence” not the “clear and convincing” rule many used. This is a guideline for universities dealing with sexual assault cases. Which is helpful and a stepping stone to a more efficient way of dealing with these cases. Sulkowicz had to fear for her safety on campus because of the inaction. I would be terrified if I was put in that position. If he wasn’t apprehended after notifying campus officials, how is it possible to go about your daily life when the attacker is free roaming on campus? Its ridiculous that a university can let alleged rapists free. I know women will be blamed for being raped but its complete B.S. If a woman is dressed provocatively, she’s not asking for it, if they’re walking home or to their car in the dark she’s not asking for it, if she’s drunk she’s still not asking for it. No means no. I hate that women are objectified in society and that’s because of the media mostly. Instead of showcasing woman as an empowering individual, lately they are being shown as easy targets for assault and that’s not okay. If sexual assault is to be stopped, it needs to start at a much larger scale not just campuses. Therefore, it’s up to all of us to combat sexual assault and not make it a normal thing that happens in our society; people should be held accountable for their criminal actions. Remember sexual assault has no gender bias; anyone can become a victim.
The problematic fact of dealing with rape cases at universities is that most colleges aren’t prepared to handle them. The concept of accepting rape as a byproduct of alcohol and drugs is terrifying. Accepting rape culture normalizes male sexual violence and blames the victim. Sexual violence at universities is becoming increasingly familiar. From Colombia University, The University of Virginia and most recently two New Jersey colleges; William Patterson and Ramapo College with gang rape cases. As a young woman and college student, I believe it’s of vital importance for sexual assault at universities to be prosecuted fairly. I know there’s a school disciplinary panel before the case is examined by the criminal justice system, but most universities are not prepared for those cases. Rape on campus universities is often underreported. For the most part, women who report rape aren’t protected or helped enough when consulting their campus officials, and this scares me. Universities should do as much as they can for women who come forward with rape allegations. It’s unfair to the victim to deal with inadequate university assistance. It’s difficult for victims to let someone know of their ordeal. So when universities persuade them not to speak out or don’t work enough to solve the issue it’s insulting. I’m not sure how sexual violence can be stopped but universities need to be prepared to evaluate allegations and provide support. The ‘It’s on Us’ campaign, launched by President Obama this past fall is a great start. This campaign helps combat sexual assault on campus by providing universities with guidelines and reviewing existing laws to protect victims. The campaign urges both men and women to speak out against sexual violence and not be bystanders. As a Kean student I’m proud this university is taking part in this initiative to stop sexual violence on campus.
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and economically, to all students,” according to Computer Services website. According to the website their aim is to advocate and facilitate the use of technology on campus and hope to use innovative technology for community use. In addition to having Computer Information Services available to students, the university budgeted $3,162,000 towards Equipment and Improvements for 2014. This is stated on the Budget Office Website. While support and money both exist for technology, some students point out that sometimes issues with technology depend
on where you are on campus. Student Rachel Medina, a senior who helps with technological issues at the Stem Building said she barely encounters any issues in the Stem Building but acknowledges that some glitches occur in other places on campus “The technology in this building is pretty solid. They are rarely any issues. It really depends where you go on campus,” Medina said. While Kean is progressing with new campus buildings, and programs, its technology becomes a salient aspect to consider.
Board of Trustees member Dr. Lamont Repollet sits at the conference table.
Photo: Kean University
ing the realization of spending more on cosmetics, rather than intellectual circumstances. As cited above, serving a university and its student’s basic needs is one of the most critical and important aspects in an education. Students need to have places to park, strong technology in the classrooms and a purpose in their studies. We won’t find purpose in the newest buildings, or a super high-tech conference table. This will be found in improving the fields of study and helping students better learn their craft for their careers. But what do we know? We’re just “smallminded” people.
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7 THE TOWER
The Future of Dodgeball at Kean By Jaime Alicea III
Intramural dodgeball first started here at Kean University four years ago by a student named Stephen Barnes. For those of you who do not know what dodgeball is, it’s a sport in which players on two teams try to throw balls at each other while avoiding being hit themselves. “Stephen Barnes started intramural dodgeball here at Kean and we’ve continued it for the people who love the sport,” said Colin Dowling, a dodgeball player. All students have those stressful days where they want to pull their hair out or yell at a teacher. Dodgeball allows students to release the stress they’ve endured throughout their day on the dodgeball court. “I play dodgeball because the semesters can be long at times and it’s a great way to relieve stress,” Dowling said. The dodgeball events bring a variety of fun and competitiveness for all students. All participants, including girls, are treated fairly and with respect. The intramural sport has also made a student by the name of Ibrahim Hayek quite popular. Who could forget Ibrahim’s insane acrobatic spin in the air, as he dodged the ball thrown at him and threw one of his own while in the air to get his opponent out. The video of the spectacular ordeal went viral on YouTube, even appearing on shows like Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele” and MTV’s “Ridiculousness.” The intramural dodgeball members have also created Facebook and Twitter
Reflections on Eric Garner ByMak Ojutiku
It’s hard to assign a name to the mixture of emotions I felt when I first heard the news about the non-indictment in the Eric Garner case. About 3 PM, I was driving to my job when I heard it over the car’s radio: “The Staten Island grand jury dismissed all possible charges against NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, in the chokehold death of Eric Garner”. If I have to describe that emotion, I’d say it involved dejection, disgust, definitely some rage, exasperation, all washed over with a sense of deep embarrassment. It wasn’t embarrassment over the jury or the verdict per se. It was more of an embarrassment over the fact that I somehow genuinely believed that this case would be different. But it should have been different, right? It wasn’t like the case of the shooting death of Michael Brown down in Ferguson, where we only had the words and accounts of witnesses and the police officer who pulled the trigger. No, with the Staten Island case, we had a full and seemingly undeniable video recording that showed Pantaleo choking and killing Garner. But obviously, that video didn’t matter. The case ended up the same way the Brown one did, and the same way that countless other similar cases in America’s history did. No indictment, and no jail time for the police officers responsible for destroying a black life. The natural and human reaction to an injustice like this is outrage. Like many other young people, both black and nonblack, I took my outrage out to a protest. The night after the grand jury announcement, I, and many students of Kean University, peacefully marched around the school’s campus, and let our voices be heard. It was a beautiful sight, and many beautiful and intelligent things were said during that protest. During one of the speeches, a very important question was brought up. Who exactly should our outrage be aimed at? Which powers are responsible for the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, John Crawford, Ramarley Graham, Sean Bell, and countless others? Some in the media, and outside of it, are determined to place the blame on the victims. People who have this opinion love respectability politics, which basically insinuates that
if black people stopped sagging their pants and got college degrees, everyone else would stop discriminating against them. Former NBA player and current basketball analyst Charles Barkley recently got in the news for expressing these sentiments. Anyone who holds this opinion is obviously ignoring the fact the fact that Martin Luther King Jr was murdered, by a racist, while wearing a suit. They’re ignoring the fact that Henry Louis Gates, a black Harvard University professor and Yale graduate, was arrested in 2009 for attempting to enter his own home. And as someone who’s been harassed by police while wearing the uniform of my academically respected upper middle class private high school, I can personally say that respectability politics are not based on anything that occurs in this reality. Some think the media itself is partially responsible for things being the way are. To be fair, it doesn’t seem to help that almost every black victim of police brutality ends up being sentenced to a trial by the media. Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old in Cleveland who was shot by a police officer, purportedly for waving a bb gun, recently had his short life examined by the media, or more specifically by the Northeast Ohio Media Group, and Cleveland.com. The news website wrote an article that detailed the criminal history of Tamir’s father. According to the site this was done because “people from across the region have been asking whether Rice grew up around violence.” The news website did not explain how Tamir growing up around violence, contributed to the police officer’s decision to shoot Tamir roughly two seconds after arriving to the scene and exiting his vehicle. The most direct place to look is at the police departments themselves. The problem is there isn’t much to look at it. As it stands right now, there are no national or state registries that keep track of how often police shoot and kill civilians. That fact does a good job of showing the problem. Some say that police just need to be retrained slightly, or be forced to wear cameras. To get real progress, the entire police system and culture needs to be rehauled and reexamined. And we all need to start caring about these injustices. All of us.
A dodgeball game last year.
Photo: Kean University Youtube
groups, named Kean Dodgeball. The Kean dodgeball Facebook and Twitter groups allow members to see important event dates, canceled dodgeball sessions or even do a little smack talking before playing on the court. The dodgeball Facebook group has almost 200 members now and continues to grow every day. “I play Dodgeball every week because of the nostalgia factor,” Myles Jenkins said. On Dec. 6, two teams from the intramural dodgeball group traveled to a sports complex in Mahwah, and represented Kean in a cash prize dodgeball tournament, with proceeds going to the Ocular Melanoma Foundation. The tournament was sponsored by a dodgeball group named Elite Dragon.
In defense of President Farahi and Kean’s newest table By Robert Lerner
I am an alumnus of Kean University. I graduated in January 2014. I was a full-time student throughout my entire undergraduate career. Now, before you go thinking that I was one of the “super seniors” who had to attend Kean extra semesters because of credit insufficiency, please consider an alternative possibility. In reality, I was actually able to graduate a semester early from Kean, thanks in large part to a proper academic program advising, which was the fruit of the labor the man who is scorned throughout the campus community, President of Kean University, Dr. Dawood Farahi. I have never seen an individual be able to take as many shots and brush them off as well as Dr. Farahi has. To be honest, that is probably the quality about him that I find most admirable, his resilience. But why does this man have the stigma across the campus that he is apathetic to the campus community? I could not tell you one definitive reason, but I could tell you that apathy is one quality that he does not have. I do believe that one attributing factor to this stigma is the lack of truthful information about him, his intentions, or what he has accomplished. Some say “Dr. Farahi faked his resume” or “He doesn’t care about us, where is our parking deck?” Those issues were raised countless times during my time on campus. But what I ask you, is have you ever actually spoken to the man yourself? Have you gone to Kean Hall to sit down with him? Or, better yet, talk to him when you see him on campus? He is always around, he is not a hidden figure. He is also very approachable, he would probably buy you coffee at Starbucks. We as a campus community are far too quick to believe hearsay and gossip rather than any attempt to fact find on our own. If one takes the time to talk to Dr. Farahi, or do some independent research, you may find some information that surprises you. You may find out how much better the physical campus is since he has taken office in 2003. (Look at yearbooks from before his administration. You can find them on the library’s website. A lot of dirt paths right?) You may also find how much better the schools services have become. Academic advising, faculty office hours, and a student involvement network that is second-tonone have all been products of his work. A school-wide commitment to community service that has received numerous prestigious awards has become the culture at Kean. (If you don’t believe me, walk up the stairs in the University Center once in a while, you will be shocked.) His accomplishments with the China project alone should create some admiration. So we come to this issue about a table. I believe the Kean Conference Center in the Green Lane Building will work out, in time, to prove that Kean is becoming a school of a higher level. As an institution, Kean has been advancing, rapidly, because of the vision of Dr. Farahi. If his vision is for the university to have a world-class conference center, then it may be a good idea to get behind him and run with the idea. Is it totally unreasonable to think that a school that is trying to establish its Global Business School and Global MBA program should have such a facility? Students in the athletic training and physical education programs utilize Harwood Arena. Theater students have the opportunity to utilize Wilkins Theater. So why shouldn’t Kean have another world-class facility? Do not rush to judgment or join the angry mob. Before you grab your pitchfork, talk to the man. I did, it changed my perspective. I am not saying that truth lies somewhere in the middle between one side’s accusations and another side’s defense. What I am saying is to see through biased parties and find answers for yourselves. It’s easy to listen and get mad, but it is right to investigate and think critically. - Robert Lerner is a former graduate of Kean University. He is currently a first-year student at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law.
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8 THE TOWER
MidFielder Marissa Robinson
Photo: Kean Athletics
Kean Field Hockey Team finds success with younger team By Jonathan Bonilla
In the 2013 season, Kean’s field hockey team finished with the second best season in program history going 15-5. The team knew it was going to have a strong year with six starting seniors, which brought a lot of experience and leadership to the team, according to head coach Leslie LaFronz. With the absence of any returning seniors, other than Stephanie Rios, the team felt this year was going to be a rebuilding season and brought in 11 freshmen and two transfers. The Cougars finished the 2014 regular season with a winning record of 13-8 and competed in both NJAC and ECAC tournaments despite the challenge of a young new team. “They needed to learn the new system and we needed them to get the experience of them playing in the collegiate level,” LaFronz said. “To have six starting freshmen coming in and not having played at this level, and to have a winning season and to make both NJAC and ECAC post-season playoffs was tremendous.” Although the Cougars knew they were going to go through a few struggles in the season, they remained optimistic. They won their first two games against two tough opponents, St. John Fisher College and Susquehanna University, where they didn’t expect the victories, according to LaFronz.
Throughout the season, the Cougars managed to identify themselves as competitive force for the future taking on teams such as no. 1 ranked TCNJ. “We took on TCNJ 2 to 1 when they’re one of the best teams in the country, but even that loss was a tremendous stride in closing the gap to some of the best programs,” LaFronz said. Kean faced off against TCNJ again in the NJAC playoffs where they lost again 5-1. “I don’t think there’s anything we could’ve done differently to prepare for that game,” LaFronz said. “If we played them again maybe it’s a better game, it wasn’t our best game but these girls worked extremely hard.” The Cougars went on to face Arcadia University in the ECAC quarter final round where they fell 4-1. With much of the team returning next year, LaFronz will still lead a young team. The team will be a bit more experienced with the help of upperclassmen midfielder Marissa Robinson and forward Chelsea Mann. Robinson and Mann have also been named to the All-NJAC Field Hockey Team alongside freshman Shauna LaMaina. Another big contribution to the team is LaMaina’s twin sister Krista LaMaina, who was named ECAC player of the week three times this season.
Sports: draining our wallets one ticket at a time By Anthony N. Muccigrossi
The 2014 Kean University football team
Photo: Kean Athletics
Football team closes rough season ByJaime Alicea III
The Kean University football team’s season is officially over after a gut-wrenching 16-14 loss to NJAC rival, Montclair State on Sat., Nov. 15. The team posted a record of 2-8, with a conference record of 2-5 in the NJAC. The team began the season with a three-game losing streak. After posting a win against Southern Virginia University, it looked as if the Kean Cougars had found their rhythm and would rally back under longtime head coach Dan Garret. The Cougars would lose the next four games dropping them to a 1-6 record and all but ending the team’s hopes for a playoff berth. The team would go on to win one more game against William Paterson University before finishing the season with a four game losing streak in the programs’ worst season since 2003 and the worst of Garret’s nine-year tenure. Although their record doesn’t show it, the Kean Cougars showed that their defense had the heart and will power to make sure their team stayed in
games. The majority of the Cougars games came down to the wire with the Cougars resilient defense always keeping them in the game. The Cougars defense held opponents to an average of 13 points in all of their games played, with the exception of one meltdown game that got out of control against the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor. One of the many issues had to be the offense, which had its lowest-scoring season this year— throwing for only 10 passing touchdowns and rushing for only 10 touchdowns to finish out the season. The main issue for this team is the 203 points that they allowed off of turnovers. The Cougars have a tough ahead of them next year, but if they can be more aggressive on offense, make fewer mistakes and add more quality players to their resilient defense, then watch out NJAC because this team will have the makings of a championship contender. Like the great Vince Lombardi once said, “If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride and never quit, you will be a winner and the price of victory is high, but so are the rewards.”
We have become a society that spends millions of dollars on sporting events, yet we leave our people to die because they can’t afford healthcare. If you can kick, hit or catch a ball, you are guaranteed to draw in the crowd. When it comes time to raising money for worthy causes, such as medical research or combating poverty and world hunger, people hide under their bleachers. According to the American Cancer Society, $160 million is spent on cancer research. In contrast, the NFL team valuations on the Forbes.com placed the New York Giants at number four, with revenue at about $353 million. Looking at the numbers, we have spent $193 million more on the Giants, while cancer research organizations work tirelessly each day to raise money for research and other programs. However, at least the sports fans who contribute all their money will be able to enjoy a cold beer at their favorite game. In the meantime, people are starving to death, dying of treatable medical diseases and defaulting on their loans. While the cost depends on many factors such as sport, venue and game, you are still paying for a single ticket. For example, you can expect to pay more money for a Super Bowl ticket than you would pay for a preseason game. According to Statista, the average NFL ticket price for the 2014 season is $84.43. And let’s not forget the extra amount of money you have to spend on a parking pass, which can run you an extra seven to ten dollars per game at the Red Bull Arena. In retrospect, the Hollywood Reporter shows the average ticket price for a movie ticket to be $7.96. In reality, you can attend about 10 movie screenings for the average price of one sporting event ticket. When it comes to recent news in sports, dynamic pricing is driving in the left lane to sporting events and across many industries. Now, you might be unaware of this new form of technology. To be honest, get ready for an unfair ticket pricing system. When sports enthusiasts say that they have to be in the best possible seat such as behind home plate or directly behind the end-zone, they are wasting their money. No matter where you sit in the sporting venue, it will not change your team’s outcome. With all the new forms of media such as Twitter, most sportswriters are live tweeting the games, including scores, statistics and injuries. The simple question is: why pay such expensive prices for tickets when you can watch the game live for free? If you pay close attention to the rising ticket prices debate, you will notice the lack of commentary by coaches and employees of leagues or teams. Of course, an employee will not discredit his or her team or league. Without the large amount of ticket revenue, they would be out of a career. On the flip side, people are depending on welfare, which may have been a result of spending thousands of dollars in fees, just to be able to buy season tickets. Society needs to understand the Need verses Want principle. We don’t need to buy tickets to sporting events; we want to.