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WHAT’S INSIDE News......................2-5 Comics................18-19 Editorials..............8-12 Features..............15-16 Entertainment...13-17 Sports.................24-28

New Music Astronauts of Antiquity The husband and wife duo use an eclectic mix of sounds to create their own style of music. EN NTERTA AINMENT page 17


Last week’s poll results Do you think the college school year should be longer?

41% Yes 59% No Check out our new poll every Wednesday “Think Outside. . .”



Managing Board LXXXVII




Editorial Page Editor Sports Editor

General Manager




Features Editor

Photo Editor

Layout Editor




EntertainmentEditor Art Director


Business (718) 9906576 Advertising 990-6756 Editorial Board 990-6444

Features 990-6445 Letters 990-6445 News 990-6444 Sports 990-6444

Special thanks to Richard Rex Thomas for assisting in the design of The TORCH

Inferno Observe and Report Read our review of Observe and Report, a comedy starring Seth Rogen as the head of a mall security team.

Inferno pg. 15

Features Clothesline project SJU participates in the Clothesline project to support victims of domestic abuse.

Features pg. 21

Sports T&F runner goes to Israel SJU distance runner Rakibat Abiola spent her winter break doing community service work in Israel. NEWS

Sports pg. 25


15 April 2009


Acting course to be offered in the fall EVERTON BAILEY Managing Editor



Crosses were placed on the Great Lawn Monday and Tuesday, representing lives lost to abortion, euthenasia, domestic abuse, poverty, child abuse and war.

FOR MAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS: 718-990-6756 The TORCH is the official student newspaper of St. John’s University. The Torch is written, edited, designed and produced by students of the University. All contents are the sole responsibility of the editors and the editorial board and do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, faculty or students of St. John’s University unless specifically stated.

To contact The TORCH by mail: The TORCH, St. John’s University 8000 Utopia Parkway Queens, NY 11439

The TORCH is typically published on Wednesdays, approximately 20 issues throughout the academic year. Circulation per issue is 3,500 copies distributed free on campus. This copy of The Torch is worth $ .75.

Budding thespians will get a chance to test out their acting chops thanks to a new acting class being offered next semester. The new class, called Introduction to Acting Technique, is being offered under the College of Professional Studies’ mass communications department and will be taught by Prof. Richard Thomas. Thomas hopes the inclusion of this class in dramatic acts will lay the groundwork towards eventually making it possible for students to earn a St. John’s Bachelor’s Degree in Acting. He also mentioned collaborations with the Manhattan’s American Academy of Art would play a big role in help teach interested students. “The plan is for future students to take classes here during their freshman and sophomore years and then they would do the lion-

share of acting at the Academy during their junior and senior year,” said Thomas. “They would then receive their degree from us.” He also mentioned that he would like to establish a major in photojournalism, so students could graduate with a Bachelor of Science in the subject as well. Thomas, who currently teaches a photojournalism course, said if the degree were to be established, St. John’s would be “the only major University in the tri-state area with a photojournalism degree.” “It would have a photojournalism bent but it would consist of commercial photography, documentary photography as well as photojournalism,” he said. “So students will get a well-rounded experience.” Thomas said he would like to get the dramatic acting degree established by 2010 and photojournalism by this fall. “This expends the educational opportunities for students and gives them more choices,” he said. “The more choices we give to students, the more students we get.”


School of Law receives threatening letter EVERTON BAILEY Managing Editor


A rat poison-laced envelope was discovered by the NYPD and Public Safety at the School of Law on Monday. No one was hurt and the source of the letter is still under investigation.

New Student Government representatives elected CHRISTINA HEISER Editor-in-Chief

Newly elected Student Government Inc. representatives Sophomores: Tobin College of Business Bryan Perry Marcial Zebaze

Thomas Carnevale St. John’s College Clein De Araujo Michael Molina

St. John’s College Sabino Curcio Christina Delise


College of Professional Studies Andre McDonald Shannon Carter Norris

Tobin College of Business Chenele Francis Mackenzee Sims


St. John’s College Meaghan Mapes

Tobin College of Business Andrew Bartley

College of Professional Studies Winston Wint

School of Pharmacy Jena Marion Jaclyn Scott


School of Education Nicole Lalena

15 April 2009

The results are in—the new Student Government, Inc. representatives from the five colleges within St. John’s were elected on April 8. This year’s election had a voter turnout of 595 students. “This election is always very segmented, in that students can’t vote for all candidates, so they must make the effort to get to know who is running in their year and in their college,” said John Kelly, SGI vice president. “In all, we were pleased with the turnout, and hope that future executive boards will continue to leverage the technology used for the first time in this election for higher turnout.” This year is the first year that the representatives’ election was held entirely online, using SGI’s OrgSync application; students could vote April 7 and April 8. “This, we believe, was the cause of our record number of candidates running for representative positions,” Kelly said. This year’s election had 39 students running for representative positions.


A rat poison-filled envelope addressed to the St. John’s School of Law Dean was discovered Monday afternoon, according to University officials. Dominic Scianna, director of Media Relations, said the envelope arrived Monday afternoon and was picked up by a School of Law employee. Despite the majority of the Queens campus being closed for Easter Holiday, the School of Law was open and had classes scheduled. The substance-filled envelope, addressed to Andrew Simons, acting dean of the School of Law, found its way to his office and was opened by Simons’ secretary. Rat poison can be hazardous to humans if ingested but is otherwise harmless. “[The envelope] contained a rambling, profanitylaced handwritten letter, along with a CD container and some material identified as probably rat poison,” Simons said in a letter addressed to the St. John’s community. “No one was harmed and there is no indication that the envelope was sent by anyone associated with St. John’s.” Scianna also confirmed that no harm was done from the envelope. “Thankfully the situation was taken care of and besides our employees having to wash their hands, no one was injured,” he said. The envelope was reported to Public Safety, who then notified the New York City Police Department‘s 107th precinct. “Once the NYPD were involved, they brought in their hazmat [hazardous materials] unit and they determined that the substance was rat poison,” said Scianna. He also mentioned that investigations by the NYPD are still ongoing to find the source of the letter. Public Safety released an advisory Tuesday afternoon on St. John’s Central notifying the University community of Monday’s incident and to be wary of suspicious packages. “The St. John’s Department of Public Safety has alerted the St. John’s mailroom to carefully inspect and monitor incoming mail and packages to the University,” the message read. “If you see a suspicious package or notice any unusual activity, please report it to the Department of Public Safety.”



BRIEFS Compiled by Gregory Leporati

The TORCH honored


The Admissions Office has experienced a significant increase in applicants for the Fall 2009 semester. The majority of the applications received were completed online.

Application numbers soar KIRAN JOSEN Assistant News Editor

but now we are spending a lot of weeks in the fall and spring in these areas,” she said. “We’ve established contacts in the guidance counselor communities there, St. John’s students from these areas are going back home and sharing their experiences.” Vahey said the largest amounts of applications are coming from distant markets, states such as California, Texas, and Georgia. She said the number of applications received from the local areas is about the same. Vahey said she predicts that the number of applications from distant markets will continue to rise, while the share of students from the local area will not increase significantly. For the Fall 2009 semester, 32,047 applications were received from the out-of-state market, while 17,928 came from within the state. Vahey said that she expects the current application trend to continue. “In our secondary market, I think we are starting to get our piece of the pie and we

are starting to retain students at a higher rate from these distant markets,” she said. “We’ll continue to focus a large part of our recruitment on our local market but also continuing to grow in our recruitment and marketing in our secondary markets out of the metropolitan area.” Vahey stated that out of the applications received, the acceptance rate is lower than it was last year. “Currently, we are at 41 percent and at this time last year we accepted 46 percent of the applicants,” she said. “I think that says a lot about the growing competitive nature of the growing applicant pool.” As of yesterday, 21,340 students will have been accepted for the 2009-2010 academic year, which is an increase from the Fall 2008 semester, which stood at 18,665 students accepted. St. John’s has a rolling admission process and so they will accept applications and admit students up until the first day of classes. Before the Fall 2009 semester starts ,another 1,000 students can be admitted.


The SJU Debate Society reached the quarterfinal round of the National Championship last weekend in Burlington, VT. The team of Alia Bellwood and Korey Pace advanced to the quarterfinal round as the 29th overall seed in the tournament. Topics for debate ranged from suspending elections in Afghanistan to banning the import of seal products. The Debate Society’s overall performance at the National Championship helped contribute to the team’s third-place finish in the Northeastern U.S. Debate Sweepstakes – the second year in a row the team has clinched that spot. Can’t get enough TORCH news? Visit our Web site for online exclusives.

Montgoris Dining Hall. Some students reacted positively to the changes. “[The new hours] are great. They are convenient if you have a late class.” said freshman Courtney Scott. “I think it’s a smart move because it gives the students the opportunity to stay on campus to eat,” said freshman Nicole Musco. Another student had similar feelings “I think [the new hours are] good,” said freshman Beth Reichhard. “It used to be 11:30 on a Saturday and we couldn’t get food.” However, some students felt that the recent changes are not enough. “They should have it open earlier instead of late because I can’t get something like toothpaste in the morning,” said Brenna Binghan.

Debate Society competes in national tournament


The Hungry Johnny C-Store just revamped its late night dining hours by changing its closing time to 3 a.m. seven days a week. This change went into effect yesterday and will last until May 12. Previously, the C-Store was open until 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. “Fridays and Saturdays will be a major expansion of hours for the C-Store,” said Gina Capetanaki, Chartwells manager. “This will be the latest that the C-Store has ever been open for Chartwells.” In addition to extended hours at the C-Store, the hours at Montgoris

and the After Hours Grille will also be extended. Montgoris Dining Hall will now be open from 9 p.m. until 7 a.m. for late night studying. “Now you have food for your late night studying all in one location,” Capetanakis said. “We worked with [The division of] Student Affairs to create this program.” The expansion of hours will also bring new hours for the After Hours Grille. The After Hours Grille previously was only open on Sunday through Thursday from 9 p.m.- 1 a.m. The Grille will now be open seven days a week until 3 a.m.. The addition of late night hours in the C-Store is also combined with the addition of late night study hours in

New York sports anchor Bruce Beck will be serving as commencement speaker at the Staten Island campus graduation ceremony, the Office of Media Relations told the TORCH. Beck has worked with News 4 New York for 12 years and has covered prestigious sporting events such as the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup finals, the U.S. Open Golf Tournament, and the NCAA Final Four. Beck will also be receiving an honorary degree from the University. The Staten Island graduation ceremony will take place on May 16 and begin at 10 a.m.

15 April 2009

C-Store to stay open later until end of semester

Speaker for SI campus graduation announced


This year, St. John’s has seen a significant growth in applications of nearly 31 percent. For the Fall 2009 semester, St. John’s has received a record number of 51,978 applications so far, an increase from last year’s 40,921. Karen Vahey, director of the Office of Admissions, attributes the increase in applications to several factors. One factor, she said, is how St. John’s strives to make the application process as easy as possible. Students are required to submit an application, high school transcript, and standardized test scores. Letters of recommendation and essay are optional. Vahey said she believes that this approach is most effective for the University. “The fact of the matter is the best essay in the world will not make up for a poor GPA and poor SAT scores,” she said. “We look at the GPA, we look at the kinds of classes they’ve taken, we look at all their

standardized test scores, the way we review applications do benefit the students.” There are two different types of applications, one that can be submitted online and one that is written. Only nine percent of the students that apply to St. John’s University use a paper application. One prospective St. John’s student said applying to the University online was easy and organized. “It was easy to access online and when I called the school, I always got an answer and wasn’t put on hold a million times,” said Tatiana Grigorakos, a high school senior from Long Island. “The people over the phone were also very friendly.” Vahey said she also attributes the increase in applications to target marketing and target recruiting. Recruitment has increased in northern and southern California, Houston, Dallas, Miami and Chicago. “These are places where we hadn’t really made significant in-roads in before

The New York Press Association, in its annual Better Newspaper Contest, named the TORCH the third-best collegiate newspaper in New York state. In its description of the TORCH, the NYPA wrote, “Excellent writing, eyecatching front pages and a wonderful feactures section in the Inferno. Photography, especially by Laura Amato, helps give this paper an overall professional feel and a sense that readers are getting a true view of the campus and campus life.” Additionally, the NYPA named the TORCH’s sports section third best overall in the state. The NYPA praised TORCH sports for its headlines and story ideas. The American Scholastic Press Association awarded the TORCH first place in its annual newspaper and magazine review. Courtside, the TORCH’s annual basketball magazine, also received a first place award and received a perfect score in content coverage. Finally, the ASPA awarded Courtside its unique “Best Sports Magazine” honor, the first time the magazine has ever received such an award.

Writers welcome. Photographers, graphic designers, cartoonists, editors, and business people welcome too. If you have an interest, the TORCH has a role for you. Come visit us for our next meeting of the semester, on April 21 during Common Hour in the UC room 29.



EVERTON BAILEY Managing Editor

Christina stands out as one of the most versatile writers and creative minds I’ve ever had the privilege of working with during my four years on the TORCH. She has done a fantastic job as Managing Editor, helping to improve the overall content of the paper and contributing terrific story ideas on a weekly basis. Simply put, Christina is by far one of the most experienced people to ever take over as the TORCH’s Editor-in-Chief. I can’t imagine anyone else leading the TORCH next year; she’s exactly what this paper, and this University, needs.

Ever since January, I’ve made it a point to refer to Everton as the “hardest working man on campus,” and I was not exagerating. Despite a dwindling number of staff writers, Everton has handled his section masterfully and has made significant improvements to TORCH news. He has ambitious ideas and has taken a proactive stance in increasing the number of staff writers to make those ideas feasible. His infectious laugh, excellent news writing, and great leadership skills undoubtedly will make the “hardest working man on campus” a fantastic Managing Editor. — Gregory Leporati Editor-in-Chief, Emeritus

JUSTIN THRIFT Editorial Page Editor

PATRICE BENDIG Features Editor

JESSIKAH HACKETT Entertainment Editor


LAURA AMATO Photo Editor

I am fortunate to say that during my tenure as Editorial Page Editor, the Opinion section featured the strongest crew of writers it has had in years. Of all the great talent I saw, Justin Thrift was a standout. As my assistant, he was quick to learn and displayed a good eye for determining the line between printable material and unsupported bias. I am confident that he will serve as Editorial Page Editor with competence and integrity. — Pasquale Passarella Editorial Page Editor, Emeritus

Over the course of the school year, Patrice has proved herself to be a talented and cr eative editor. Her dedication and hard work has paid off, making the features section look better and better each week. With this year of experience under her belt, I am confident that she will continue to succeed and grow as a writer and editor; features is sure to expand and flourish with Patrice at the helm.

As one of Inferno’s newest writers, Jessikah showed immense talent as she quickly adapted to entertainment writing. Impressively, she learned the concepts of an eye-catching layout within a few days. With an eagerness to bring fresh ideas to Inferno, Jessikah will give her readers something to look forward to each week.

I’ve met many St. John’s University freshmen in my time here; Bill San Antonio is by far my favorite. Bill’s hard-nosed work ethic and willingness to get his hands dirty (with newsprint) are far too rare qualities among his peer group. I cannot measure the extent that his writing, reporting and editorial assistance has meant to TORCH Sports over the past year.

Sometimes, quality is better than quantity. The majority of the photos seen in the TORCH have been taken by Laura and she, with a virtually non-existent team of photographers, has handled the burden with grace and flexibility. And a little bit of talent doesn’t hurt either. TORCH photos will be in capable hands with Laura at the helm for another year.

— Christina Heiser Editor-in-Chief

— Caitlyn Nolan Entertainment Editor, Emeritus

— Anthony Morreale Sports Editor, Emeritus

— Everton Bailey Managing Editor

KIRAN JOSEN Assistant News Editor

KERI DODGE Art Director




General Manager

Layout Editor

Copy Editor

News editor is typically one of the hardest positions to get filled switching from one editorial board to the next. Luckily for us, Kiran has stepped up to the challenge for the next school year. In the short time I’ve known Kiran, she has proven to be determined, eager and capable. Although she has not fully stepped into the role as News Editor yet, I have no doubt that when she does, she will do a great job. — Everton Bailey Managing Editor

Chances are that if you’ve perused the TORCH this past year and an excellent illustration (or three) has caught you by surprise, the credit underneath belongs to Keri Dodge. Greatly talented, wildly imaginative, and extremely quick, Keri is undoubtedly the best choice to lead the graphics department to new, visually stunning levels.

Only a few months ago, Mark McDonald joined the TORCH business team keen on improving management and budgeting. As a freshman majoring in Marketing, Mark brings certain skills to the TORCH that will improve our relations both within and outside of St. John’s University. His eagerness as well as his self-determination hold promise of a productive and lucrative future for the TORCH. — Elizabeth Jalonschi General Manager, Emeritus

Layout is a huge part of the production of a newspaper. It can be tedious, frustrating and cause headaches at times. Sara has brought new life to the layout of the TORCH by encouraging page editors to be more adventurous. Now that she has one year under her belt, Sara will bring even more visually appealing layouts to the Torch.

When I was News Editor, I could always count on Mallory as one of my most reliable staff writers. After writing countless news articles, it is only a natural progression for her to want to become a copy editor. While copy editing is time consuming and often tedious, Mallory handles her job well. She will be a welcome addition to the Torch staff.

— Patrice Bendig Features Editor

— Christina Heiser Editor-in-Chief


15 April 2009


— Gregory Leporati Editor-in-Chief, Emeritus

— Zachary Davino Art Director, Emeritus


Admission made easy Dramatic rise in applicants could be due to free online application In light of the recent surge in applications the University received this year, I have one word of advice for St. John’s: a number is just a number. Granted, that phrase sounds about as insightful as something Yogi Berra might have said, but those words are important to keep in mind when considering this year’s rather large increase in applications. Perhaps rather large is an understatement: 51,978 prospective students applied this year, 32,047 of which were from outside of New York state. This represents a 31 percent overall increase in applications from last year, and a 64 percent increase in applicants from outside the state. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that St. John’s has grown to be a very attractive school for a number of reasons, most notably a combination of its dorms and its close proximity to Manhattan. But I can’t help but think there may be another factor involved in this gargantuan increase – namely, perhaps the application process to get into St. John’s is just too darn easy. Karen Vahey, the director of the Office of Admissions, told the TORCH that the online application St. John’s provides is the most widely used option for prospective students.

“We make the application process as easy as possible,” she said. “Students just have to submit the application for admission, a high school transcript and their standardized test scores, and letters of recommendation and essays are optional.” Vahey is certainly right on this point. I logged onto the St. John’s Web site just last week and began filling out a free SJU undergrad application as if I were a prospective student. To the University’s credit, the site was easy to navigate and made everything as clear as possible. But, on the flip side, I finished filling it out in about 10 minutes. It’s precisely this application ease that worries me. If it is so simple and quick to apply to St. John’s, then what does having 51,978 applicants really say? Not much: that number is just a number.

I enjoyed the clarity and ease with which I could apply to St. John’s, but why not make any sort of essay mandatory? Or why not make recommendations a necessary hurdle to jump? Personally, I’d rather be attending classes with students who I know had to actually want to go to St. John’s when they applied; as it stands, the system allows for too many slackers and disinterested high school students to send in an application just for laughs. And, what’s worse, it’s those types of students that turn into apathetic ones – ones that don’t come out to St. John’s basketball games, don’t attend on-campus events, and don’t even attempt to be engaged at the University. With this in mind, that increase in applicants may actually be more a curse than a blessing. Of course, it’s impossible to figure out the main reason why most students apply to St. John’s. And many, like Vahey, believe the easy application process currently in place is a solid one. “I think this approach is the most effective to manage our numbers,” she said. “The fact of the matter is, the best essay in the world will not make up for a poor GPA and poor SAT scores. So, if you argue that an essay is required then you’re making students go through

hoops when in the end, they’re not going to be admissible.” Vahey also said that including mandatory essays or recommendations in the future is not entirely out of the question. “It’s the decision of a number of people if we decide to require essays and recommendation letters once again, and we may be getting to that point,” she said. “But right now, I think what we require of students, we do pore over. . . the way we review applications do benefit the students.” Vahey and the Office of Admissions is doing a fantastic job in getting students interested in St. John’s, especially the out-of-state market. But with the process as easy as it is now, there is too much possibility that students are applying to the University for the wrong reasons. So, until a mandatory essay, recommendations, or any other hoops to go through are added, I won’t be entirely convinced that the 31 percent rise in applicants directly reflects how attractive St. John’s is. Until then, that number, to me, is just a number. Gregory Leporati is a senior English major. He can be reached at:

Twitter: the newest online craze may be shortlived MARK MCDONALD General Manager

want, the idea still brings about reminders of George Orwell’s “Big Brother” image from the novel 1984. The idea that Twitter is dangerously revealing is one that many keep in the back of their minds when considering whether or not to sign up. Yet, one of the major aspects of the site that continues to help Twitter grow is celebrity involvement. Many major and minor celebrities from Hollywood starlets to members of Congress have begun to use Twitter as a way of communicating information that they feel is important such as news, links, and updates. These celebrity Twitter accounts are highly followed by fans, and make a point for why Twitter can work – it can con-


nect the fans to the celebrities. The only problem is that this direct relationship is nothing that blogs haven’t been able to do for years. Although the celebrity Twitter accounts have been the buzz lately, they seem to be nothing more than an expanded gossip line. While a few people may enjoy the superficial pleasure of what Twitter tries to create, it seems to be an online fad that will soon leave as quietly as it came. It’s hard to deny that Facebook will remain the leader of social networking, and short of a major overhaul or many new features, Twitter will remain exactly what it is: a tweet, not a roar.

15 April 2009

pace have proven to be popular, many people still prefer the experience to stop when they leave their computers. From what I’ve noticed at St. John’s, this looks to be the case. Most students seem to have an apathetic view of Twitter and though it has been growing fast, it does not seem to be as popular on campus as the other online networking giants. When you examine the core idea behind Twitter, it makes sense why so many are skeptical. The idea of everyone knowing what a person is doing at all times of the day is asinine and more voyeuristic than most would like to imagine possible. While users do send their own tweets and are not forced to send any more than they


The advent of the Internet and the social networking boom has brought about many ways for people to stay connected. It started with Friendster, moved on to MySpace, and then Facebook became the network of choice for those who wanted to stay connected, especially college students. Now, a new networking site is starting to gain momentum in the industry. Twitter, an online networking tool that aims to keep people constantly connected to each other, has been gaining popularity rapidly since it was introduced a few years ago. Similar

to the new Facebook, the idea is for users to update their “statuses” frequently. These updates are known as tweets, and constitute the bulk of Twitter. The theory is that with constant updates, which can be sent from any device that is Internet accessible, Twitter can take social networking to the next step. On this new level, people are seemingly always connected and whether or not they have a computer makes little difference. Twitter can bring about complete knowledge of everything that your friends are doing. But the question remains: should people really want this? Twitter seems to be grasping for an idea that is just not quite there. While mobile applications for Facebook and MyS-


They should keep it open early instead of late for when I need something like toothpaste in the morning.

It’s awesome, when you are up late studying you usually are hungry.

Nicole Musco

Brenna Binghan

Clare Elmgren

I think it’s a smart move for St. John’s because the students have the opportunity to stay on campus.


How do you feel about the extension of the Hungry Johnnie hours to 3 a.m.?



Weighing the options Is a college degree the new high school diploma?


15 April 2009


BRYAN BURTNER Staff Writer “I wanna go to college for the rest of my life / sip Banker’s Club and drink Miller Lite / on thirsty Thursday and Tuesday night ice / and I can get pizza a dollar a slice.” If the lyrics to Asher Roth’s hit song “I Love College” are any indication, higher education may have lost some of its luster. Sure, certain schools have carried the distinction of serving as the “Thirteenth Grade” for years, and the image of university life as nothing more than a four-year-long alcohol induced stupor dates back to at least the 1978 comedy classic Animal House. Still, there was a time when it was a genuine honor for a parent to be able to say that their son or daughter had graduated from college – any college. Today, most young people seem to view their undergraduate destination as High School Pt. II: a place to party ceaselessly and sow their wild oats, but not really much of a building block in the process of an actual education. Many even insist that the bachelor’s degree itself, once the signifier of attaining a level of “professionalism” in whatever field they are pursuing, is now worth little more than a high school diploma – that graduate school has become not only an option, but a necessity. Now, perhaps even more than before the economic upheaval that’s shaken this country, we should uphold the value of the undergraduate education without overvaluing that of master’s and doctoral degrees. Obviously, those upper level degrees will always hold a place of tremendous importance, but there is no reason that that fact must diminish the importance of a bachelor’s degree. Of course, it would be ignorant to argue that an MA, MBA or PhD is anything less than vital to success in certain fields. But it would be equally foolish to suggest that today’s college students should be expected to continue on past their four (or five or six) years of undergraduate study. Economically, it doesn’t make sense for a student to take on tens of thousands of dollars of extra debt for a degree that will place them at the end of the line in an already oversaturated job market. At one point, it becomes a case of just too many prospectors and not enough gold. Instead of buying into the hype of “necessary” graduate degrees, we should look to the well regarded systems of higher education in countries like Germany, where it is considered an accepted

fact of life that not everyone is cut out for the upper echelons of academia. We’ll never have that country’s well established network of trade schools and apprenticeships, and there may not be enough blue collar jobs available as things are to support such a system, but if President Obama’s plans for the economic and infrastructural futures of this country succeed, there will be a day not too far off from now when jobs are not so scarce along the American landscape. At that time, there may be many openings for students with bachelor’s degrees, and many students with master’s degrees that don’t look quite so valuable anymore.

STEPHEN PINTO Staff Writer In a bad economy, people are more likely to stay in school. Some former students will take the opportunity of joblessness to finish a degree or go back to school for extra training. Students currently enrolled may dread graduation – perhaps enough to consider coming back for more degrees in addition to their bachelor’s. And that is exactly what they should be doing. While the bad economy at the moment is certainly an added motivation, students that really care about their


education and their future should be considering graduate coursework. In many ways, college has become what high school should be: a place to get a well-rounded education in order to become a successful individual in the “real world.” But can anyone really accomplish that any more with just a high school diploma? Of course there are the examples of great pioneers in business – Bill Gates, for example – who got by without a college education. Times are changing and it has become obvious that a high school degree is no longer enough. The consequence of this, though, is that college is the new high school and the situation is becoming even direr. With more and more competition for fewer jobs, a master’s degree may soon become the new high school diploma. Even now, a bachelor’s degree means much less than it once did. It is enough to get you a pretty good office job, but if you want to impress employers, it takes more than this common degree now. Of course there is nothing wrong with a mid-level job and many will be very happy to secure one in this economy. But do not expect your job to be in the field of – or necessarily even related to – what you studied in school, unless you have a graduate degree. This brings us to the other reason why a graduate degree is necessary. If a student is engaged in his class work and is interested in his major field of study, a graduate degree is the way to make a real name for himself in his field. How many St. John’s psychology major graduates now work as bank tellers or office managers? Again, while there is nothing wrong with these jobs, they are a far cry from the psychology field. A bachelor’s degree in psychology does not a psychologist make. Maybe that is the fault of the colleges. Perhaps a bachelor’s in psychology should be enough to guarantee quality in that professional field. It could be that colleges are not preparing their students well enough in their majors as undergraduates because of all the required core classes. Regardless of all this, though, engaged students – especially in the liberal arts – must realize that a bachelor’s is not always enough, and is quickly becoming less and less enough every day. Though graduate programs are about to get more competitive and crowded, it will be worth it to go through with. Both to progress in their field of interest and to bolster a thin résumé, students should be considering study beyond a bachelor’s degree.



Voter turnout hits rock bottom PASQUALE PASSARELLA Editorial Page Editor, Emeritus

meaning that a number of students had no reason to show up on campus that day. In addition, a few students, especially those who did not schedule Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes for themselves, could have simply skipped over the three days before Easter break to extend their vacation to more than a week. How could there have possibly been a decent turnout with these conditions hanging over the election days? The second hit that representative campaigns took was the fact that they were not as well publicized as they could have been. Leading up to the election for the e-board of Student Government, current members of SGI did a good job preparing an ad campaign for the election, focusing not on a specific party but on the students who would only gain by having their voices heard in the selection of next year’s e-board. A campus-wide informational campaign about the representative elections would have gone a long way to let students know when and where they could vote. As it was, the individual candidates needed to print the time and place of the elections on their own posters along with their reasons why they were the best candidate. On top of that, the candidates were only allowed to campaign for the week

leading up to the election. There is no way that students had enough time to learn about the individual candidates for their school and year in one week. Having posters put up around campus as the only medium to spread the word about elections was probably not the best way to get students informed and involved. With the multitude of e-mail surveys filling the inboxes of our St. John’s Central accounts, it does not seem like an impossible labor to send online ballots to each student via e-mail. This year, a major platform objective for SGI candidates was visibility. While this is certainly important for members of the SGI e-board, it is just as important that representatives, who are supposed to be more directly involved with the student body they are serving, are visible on campus. The best place to start would have been the election. That said, the system for electing SGI representatives seems like it could use a bit of an overhaul. Combining the days for both e-board and representative votes would make informing students about both elections easier. Limiting campaign time to a single week makes little sense. The more time candidates have to make themselves known on campus, the more students have a chance to get involved.


nights” which don’t start until April 15. This ridiculously early deposit due date prevents students from planning ahead as Residence Life only offers information sessions about the process before students place a deposit, not about the rooms you are moving into. It is also difficult to predict future living arrangements six months in advance. Up until this year, the Office of Residence Life has had only one room selection day held on a Saturday. This year Residence Life has decided to spread the selection process out over a week, creating a new burden for involved students. Now, there’s a decent chance that a student’s appointment time could take place during class. Why should students be forced to skip a class in order to attend

their housing appointment? In addition, won’t it create the task of having to reschedule and lessen the chance of a good appointment time? This creation of a “room selection week” has also led to problems with students who have to go to work, an internship, or school activities. An electronic room selection day (preferably on the weekend or at night), a later deadline for room deposits and a later room selection process would be a good start in fixing the current system. Overall, the room selection process that the Office of Residence Life offers is inconvenient and burdensome for St. John’s students. Rethinking the process would prove to be more convenient for both the student and Residence Life.

having five different days for room selection from April 2024, depending on a student’s year and judicial and academic records. After all is done, the total time for the room selection process is a little more than three months from when they can send their deposits to the last day of room selection. Keeping in mind that the process ends a full four months prior to students actually moving into their rooms, the entire room selection system is excessively long and inconvenient for students. After looking at the room selection process step by step, it’s not hard to realize that it wasn’t designed with the student in mind. The trouble starts when students are forced to pay the large deposit in early March, before any of the “housing preview


The Office of Residence Life is nearing the end of its 2009-2010 room selection process, which began in mid-February and runs through April. The three-month marathon process seeks to place students into on-campus housing through four basic steps that are designed to make the selection process easy and organized. Some students who have gone through this process, however, will likely complain about the many steps involved in securing a room on campus. The first step was for students to submit their $500 nonrefundable deposits by March 6. Failure to pay this reservation fee resulted in immediate

placement on the “housing intent list,” a waiting list for any available housing that may come up. On March 27, students were required to submit a room/roommate request form. Failure to do so would again result in immediate placement on the housing intent list. The third step of the process was scheduled to happen on April 3 when students were supposed to receive a letter assigning them an upcoming appointment time for their room selection. Instead of receiving their letters, students received an e-mail from Kavita Mohan, Residence Life Coordinator, stating that letters would be sent out a week late. Room Selection Day makes up the fourth step in the process of obtaining a room. This year, the Office of Residence Life is

15 April 2009

Room selection process proves to be inconvenient


Last November, our country had one of its most widely followed presidential elections in decades. While it is clear that the Chief Executive is an important part of our government, it is also a fact that the government would not be able to run without the other branches. For this reason, when “off-year” elections for members of Congress come around, people go out and vote. While the numbers may not be quite as high as the year of a presidential election, people still realize the significance of Congress and pay attention when it comes time to choose their representatives. In the same way, the election of SGI representatives should not be ignored. They play an equal part in the committees that affect campus organizations and plan campus events. Unfortunately, a quick glance at the results of this year’s SGI representative elections shows that the event went largely unnoticed by the student body at large. On March 23 and 24, elections were held for e-board positions in Student Government. Two weeks later, on April 7 and 8, SGI representative elections took place.

A total of 595 people voted overall in the SGI representative elections in the various schools. At St. John’s there are currently about 12,000 undergraduate students enrolled. This means that less than five percent of the student body cast a ballot on April 7 and 8. The figure is disheartening, to say the least. Now some might argue that the problem ailing this election was the same one that has been plaguing St. John’s and other colleges for the last few years: student apathy. That may be the case, but it does not change the fact that having two separate elections, with the representative vote set on the last two days before a break, was probably not the best scheduling strategy. Students live a hectic lifestyle balancing classes with internships or jobs while trying to maintain a social life. Why should they be expected to take time out of their schedules to vote in two separate elections? There does not seem to be any reason why the vote for e-board positions and representatives could not have been combined into one election. In addition, on the last two days before Easter break, students were looking to get off campus and begin their vacations as soon as possible. Some professors cancelled class on that Wednesday, April 8,



AND torc

Inferno reviews the new mall cop comedy starring Seth Rogen



15 April 20 2009 009

Pg 15

Unsatisfying Security





bserve and Report features Seth Rogen as a mall cop who is in better shape than most police officers and crazier than all of them. Almost as if it was usurped straight out of a Scorsese film, Seth Rogen’s character Ronnie Barnhardt is a sociopath who demands to be accepted by his peers and fellow enforcers of the law on the police force. Unfortunately for him, he will forever be subject to their ridicule due to the fact that he is a mall security guard who takes his job way too seriously. Written and directed by Jody Hill, Observe and Report begins with the first instance of a flasher who is exposing himself in the mall parking lot. This sparks an investigation headed by Barnhardt until the police intervene. Barnhardt appears to hate the police force, but it seems it might simply be because he is not on it. Ray Liotta plays the slightly villainous detective who seeks to mock and disrespect Barnhardt at any opportunity. Liotta and Rogen create an ironically dynamic pair within the film, allowing their scenes together to be unexpectedly funny. Rogen’s abilities as an action hero are also on display throughout the film as he believably overpowers dozens of people with precision. The film even finds time to parody the heroic monologue voice-over while a montage of training scenes plays, a technique often utilized within action movies. Through a series of ridiculous schemes, involving undercover work, firearms and narcotics, it becomes obvious that Rogen’s character is in way over his head at his job, in his attempts to solve crime, and in his life. As an anchor and a source of strength, his drunken yet caring mother, played by Celia Weston is incredibly amusing and simultaneously repulsing. In another hilariously entertaining performance, Anna Faris once again

plays stupid so well that it is almost too convincing. Surprisingly, Michael Pena also delivers a scene stealing performance as Barnhardt’s Hispanic sidekick with a speech impediment. Pena’s charisma and commitment to his character, Dennis, are quite visible on screen as he pushes his own comedic limits farther than he has as an actor in the past. Overall, the film is both funny and entertaining, but fails to meet expectations as far as exactly how funny and entertaining it could have been based on what was seen in the trailers. Rogen delivers a very different and very wonderful performance, but it is not enough to make this film as great as it should be. The signs of the obviously squandered potential that was within the script and cast of Observe and Report leave the audience slightly disheartened and wanting more.


Seth Rogen and Anna Faris share a moment during a scene which occurs soon after Anna’s character is flashed outside of the mall where they both work.


Seth Rogan’s character Ronnie Barnhardt takes his job as a mall security guard almost too seriously, which places him in some comical situations.



ith ER having bowed its way off the air, NBC has introduced Southland, a gritty Los Angeles cop drama, to take its place. Obviously going from the emergency room to the streets of LA is a big change which might not appeal to long-term ER fans.

15 April 2009 The TORCH

The cast of NBC’s Southland includes Ben McKenzie (center left) and Michael Cudlitz (center right).

pushing the mold. Sherman keeps quiet for most of the episode, coming alive here and there when riled up by Cooper and when taking action during a bust. An OC veteran, McKenzie is yet again seen gazing off into space to ponder issues, only this time he’s a cop. Though it may be recycled, McKenzie does a fantastic job filling the role. He proves that he is capable of playing a character that is both a capable cop and a younger man with a lot to learn. Sherman’s attitude perfectly offsets the Cooper’s obnoxious ways. Cooper will undoubtedly become a character that will be loved or hated with little ground in between. All of that will depend on whether he does bend to the side of the corrupt. No matter which way he goes, it seems there will always be a sense that he has some good in him. Sherman may end up becoming his saving grace. The few subplots in the pilot also showed off some solid performances by a quality cast that features Regina King, Shawn Hatosy and Tom Everett Scott. They help bolster some of the issues Southland will be tackling in its run, including distrust of the police, racial tension and the morality of criminals’ actions. Southland could easily fall into conventional traps. Already it sets itself up to be a typical “bad cop/good cop” duo. In order to avoid that, Sherman’s character needs to grow gradually and stay low-key instead of being overly confident and suave. The plot must stay as fresh as it can, considering the countless other cop dramas on prime time television. Aside from good acting, one of the standout things Southland has going for it is its realistic tone. It is not a glamorized, glossy look at the life of a Los Angeles cop. Instead, Southland has a dry, gritty feel. Depending on the next few episodes, Southland could turn into worth watching with characters that are easy to connect to. For now, it is still in the early stages with PHOTO COURTESY OF NBC.COM plenty of promise. Southland airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.


Staff Writer

Fortunately, Southland’s pilot episode displayed plenty of promise, though it may need a few weeks to smooth everything out. The series follows a rookie cop, Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie) who may or may not have been forced into being matched up with veteran John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz). Cooper spends the episode running his mouth and displaying his street knowledge while putting Sherman down for not “having what it takes.” Just off the pilot, it is not entirely clear whether Cooper is corrupt. There are certainly signs, but he never does anything beyond just






15 April 2009



hile rushing to catch two different planes, India Weinberg and B. Rhyan slammed into one another in a busy airport. Three years later, they met again after one of Weinberg’s performances. Currently, Weinberg and Rhyan are the married duo that make up Astronauts of Antiquity, a wholly original musical act that is described succinctly as “urban, electro, organica”. Astronauts of Antiquity’s first album, AOA, was released in 2006. The exotic instrumentals combined with Weinberg’s haunting vocals to create a unique sound that drew its influences from a wide variety of sources—everything from lounge music and jazz to electropop. While the influence of well-known artists like Radiohead, Amy Winehouse and Portishead has clearly affected Astronauts of Antiquity’s sound, their second album Rocket Science for Dummies shows further development of the artists’ individual style. Rocket Science for Dummies was released in 2008. The songs featured on this album combine half a dozen different styles. Tracks like “Everywhere” and “Breakthrough” show off Weinberg’s ability to apply her voice to a multitude of different vocal styles. The songs that made it onto Rocket Science for Dummies create the overall impression of a portfolio for the band, allowing the listeners to hear their ability to use different styles of music without losing their distinctive sound. On top of their unique, interesting sound, Astronauts of Antiquity offers something that most modern pop artists can’t—clever, well-written lyrics. The effect produced is impossible to ignore—each song requires multiple listening to break through the multiple dimensions of interests that Weinberg and Rhyan create with their lyrics, vocals and instrumentals. Obviously Weinberg and Rhyan pay special attention to each and every aspect of the music that they perform and produce. Despite the success that Astronauts of Antiquity has been gaining, it seems doubtful that the group will ever find the commercial success of their influences. Their ability to utilize different instruments prevents their listeners from getting bored. Their experimentation with different genres makes them a truly interesting group to listen to. However, in some instances, Astronauts of Antiquity sacrifice their appeal in pursuit of some of these creative approaches. While many of their arrangements are refreshing, some of the tracks take time to develop a taste for. First time listeners should check out the tracks “Miss Caroline”, “Strange Ground” and “Strangest Places” to get a good sample of Astronauts of Antiquity’s range of styles. All of their music can be listened to for free on their Web site,


ith spring in the air, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors—even in New York City. Both Manhattan and Queens offer a wide variety of activities and places to visit when the weather is nice. Let’s face it, the weather here hasn’t exactly been too spring-like recently, which is why I take advantage of the few days that are warm by spending as much time as I can outside. And while everyone who knows me knows how much I despise any sort of athletic activity, I have found other, more entertaining activities to take part in outside. One of my favorite things to do in Manhattan is go on walking tours. Last weekend, I attended the coolest walking tour ever: a tour of bakeries and chocolate shops in the East Village. Walking Tours Manhattan actually holds a dessert tour in a different Manhattan neighborhood the first Sunday of every month. There is a $5 donation fee to go on the tour (the money goes to charity) and unfortunately, you have to buy your own treats at each of the places you visit. But a lot of the places have free samples. Arguably the most interesting place I went to on the tour was Momofuku Milk Bar, located at 207 2nd Avenue. The line was out the door, even at 11 a.m. After I bought some treats there, I understood why this place is so popular. Momofuku Milk Bar serves up cookies, pies, cakes, breads and more, most made with a combination of ingredients that sounds a bit odd at first glance. For example, one of their most popular cookies is the “cornflake marshmallow chocolate chip cookie.” While I was definitely a bit hesitant to try it at first, the cornflakes really do add a perfect crunch to the cookie and the marshmallow adds a nice gooiness. Even weirder than that is the “compost cookie,” containing chocolate chips, pretzels, potato chips and coffee grinds. Yet again, I was presently surprised at how delicious this cookie turned out to be.

Another one of the great places I went to was Black Hound, an upscale bakery located at 149 1st Avenue. Black Hound offers some of the best brownies in the city. The “triple chocolate brownie,” containing white chocolate chips is worth the $4 and the long subway ride. Also of note is Bespokes Chocolate, located in a little alley off of 1st Street and 2nd Avenue (they call this alley “Extra Place”). This tiny little store—only about 12 people can fit inside—has some truly decadent handmade chocolate truffles. However, this place is quite expensive, so make sure you go with someone who is willing to splurge; one truffle will set you back $2.25. If dessert is just not your thing, that’s ok; you still have a lot of other options. Central Park is always a safe choice for a good time. Why not go to the zoo or have a picnic with your friends to celebrate the end of the semester? If you don’t feel like traveling all the way into Manhattan, you have another option: Cunningham Park. You can enter the park on Union Turnpike and 193rd Street. This park has always been a favorite place of mine to just walk around and enjoy the nice atmosphere with a group of friends. There are also tennis courts and a kid’s park where you can ride on the swings—you’re never too old for that. The best part: it’s within walking distance from St. John’s. So whatever you’re interests are, one thing is for certain: you’ll never run out of fun, interesting activities to do in the great outdoors of New York City.


The handmade chocolate truffles in Bespokes Chocolate are worth the prices.


B. Rhyan and India Weinberg of Astronauts of Antiquity create a unique sound by blending different genres of music with inspiring vocals and complex instrumentals. Their latest CD, Rocket Science for Dummies, shows off many of the styles of music that they have experimented with.





GO BACK IN TIME AT FAMILY JEWELS At Family Jewels you’ll find everything from platform shoes and poodle skirts to 1920s evening gowns. Every inch of this store is covered, which makes it feel like a cross between a clothing store and a museum. Be warned—purchasing a little piece of history isn’t cheap. The clothing and accessories here are definitely not priced for the bargin hunter, but that doesn’t have to stop you from taking a look at fashions past. Family Jewels Vintage Clothing 130 W. 23rd St. F, V to 23rd St and 6th Ave.

GET JUST A LITTLE GEEKY AT MoCCA Explore MoCCA to see some of your favorite superheroes and cartoon characters on display. For an extra serving of nostalgia and speech bubbles, drop by on Friday, April 17th at 6:30 p.m. to see From Screen to Scream! Jerry Beck of Cartoon Brew will talk about everyone’s favorite spook—Casper the Friendly Ghost, and how he made his haunting journey from the page to the pictures. Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art 594 Broadway, Suite 401 B,D,F,V to Broadway-Lafayette St.


n a college campus, the word “rush” is typically associated with Greek Life traditions. In the theater district, however, “rush” takes on a very different definition. It is the shortened term for “student rush tickets,” something that has been enabling students to see Broadway shows for more than a decade. Student rush tickets are discounted Broadway tickets that are made exclusively available for students. As long as they have a valid identification to prove they are students, young theatergoers can purchase inexpensive tickets for many plays and musicals – tickets that are typically priced between $25 and $30. The location of the tickets within the theater depends on the show, but no matter where the tickets are in the theater, the basic fact does not change: for the price of a movie ticket, a bucket of popcorn and a drink, students can see a live Broadway show instead. Though organizations such as TKTS and the STJ Campus Concierge also sell discounted tickets, the shows that they offer are limited. Additionally, the availability of their discounted tickets is dependent on several constantly fluctuating factors. Student rush tickets, on the other hand, are always available; they do not depend on a lack of regular ticket sales or on any offering of a special deal. Being a constant option makes them more readily accessible for students. Not only are the tickets reasonably priced,

but the process to go about obtaining them is relatively simple. Before planning anything, it is important to look up the information concerning student rush tickets. is one Web site that offers an extensive list of participating shows as well as their individual “rush” policies. Once you take note of the policies for the show of your choice, you simply make sure you have your ID at hand and head to the theater the day you wish to see the show. Student rush tickets cannot be purchased in advance – they must be purchased the day of your desired performance. Tickets usually go on sale either at box office opening or two hours before performance time and it’s recommended that you get there at least an hour before sales begin. Depending on the popularity of the show – and how determined you are to get tickets – you may have to get there as early as two or three hours before the tickets go on sale. Then you simply wait on line until ticket sales begin. After purchasing up to two tickets, you are free to spend the time between then and the performance time as you please. The idea of having to wait in line may seem like a nuisance at first. But with spring bringing nicer weather to the city, the waiting is not bad at all, especially when it’s with a group of friends. The waiting can be as enjoyable as the show itself when done with the right people, making “student rushing” a memorable experience all around. Student rush tickets are definitely an option that students should consider more often. “Rushing” a show is an affordable alternative for high-quality entertainment, as well as a perfect way to create some great memories.


BROWSE THE VINYL AT OTHER MUSIC This small, inviting music store offers a relaxing environment and wide selection of new and used CDs and records. Don’t expect to find the top 40s artists in here—Other Music stocks its shelves with hard-to-find albums and genres of music like Groove, Indie, Psychedelia and International. The employees are friendly and really know their stuff, so they’re always happy to point a customer in the right direction.

15 April 2009

Other Music 15 E. 4th St. A,B,C,D,E,F,V to W. 4 St. Washington Sq.




Mary Poppins is just one of the many Broadway musicals that offers students an opportunity to buy discount tickets through the “student rush” process.

Since her debut with the 2006 hit “Smile,” Lily Allen has been charming both British and American audiences with her clever lyrics and catchy beats. Her latest album, It’s Not Me, It’s You, was released in the U.S. in February. Skip your early morningTuesday classes to see her live for yourself on Monday, April 20th 7:00 p.m. For ticket prices and information, call the Box Office at 212-7776800. Roseland Ballroom 239 W. 52nd St B,D,E to 7th Ave.


TORCHCOMICS 15 April 2009

Geek Zach Davino

Short Shorts Tim Olwell

Ethel & Wilfred Chris Lauto

I Can’t Draw Alex Reyes

MORECOMICS 15 April 2009

Controlled Chaos Catharine Corrigan

Thanks for the Reminder Katrin Astarita

1-800-ARMSTACO Jonathan Roman

Quarter-Life Crisis Preston Palmer

Think Outside...





These handmade shirts will be on display until Friday, April 17 as part of the Clothesline Project. The shirts are aimed to provide emotional support for women who have experienced suffering and abuse. This is the second year that St. John’s has hosted the event.

Getting it out in the open Abuse survivors share their stories as part of a national campaign CHRISTINA HEISER Editor-in-Chief


junct professor in St. John’s School of Law, was the keynote speaker at a lecture held in Council Hall during Common Hour. Kurbiel shared some of her experiences regarding violence against women while working in various countries in Africa. “There is a disconnect between what international law requires and what happens on the ground,” she said, telling the audience that some U.N. peacekeepers “further victimize and further ravage” the villages they are sent to help because they sexually abuse the women there. “A lot of advocacy needs to happen… months, years, decades before the first moment of abuse occurs,” Kurbiel stated. She explained that she believes there needs to be legislation and policies to protect women and girls from being sexually abused or trafficked for sex. “In any country where violence against women occurs, the courage to come forward with that complaint requires tremendous strength,” she said. “Policies should ensure that women can come forward.” Kurbiel also showed clips from the 2007 documentary Very Young Girls. The film showcases GEMS (Girls’ Education and Mentoring Services), an organization with offices in New York City that works to help young girls who are involved with prostitution, and which Kurbiel works with. “I didn’t want to believe that this could be happening in New York,” she said about her experience when she first began working with GEMS. Other events planned for this week are an interdisciplinary faculty panel and discussion on Wednesday, April 15 at Common Hour in Council Hall, a campus-community panel and discussion on Thursday, April 16 at Common Hour in Council Hall, a lecture by Mike Domitrz, author of Can I Kiss You? (a book about sexual assault awareness), and a closing ceremony Friday, April 17 at Common Hour on the Great Lawn, when the Tshirts will be taken down.

15 April 2009


Survivors and loved ones make shirts to show support for the cause.

fessor of Sociology in St. John’s College and a member of the Women’s and Gender Studies Committee, at a lecture held on April 14. “[Women are] daring to display that which has been hidden from public sight… they can walk away leaving their stories on the line.” Those interested in participating can pick up a bag containing a T-shirt and art supplies on a table set up on the Great Lawn, the Sociology Department, the Counseling Center, or Campus Ministry. After the shirt is decorated, it will be added to the clothesline. “[The Clothesline Project] gives a positive expression to peoples’ experiences, said Barbara Koziak, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. “It’s a form of collective action.” Ryder played an instrumental role in bringing the Clothesline Project to St. John’s—this is the second year the University has held the event. She said she and other members of the Women’s and Gender Studies program discussed events they wanted to hold during the school year. “We were talking about different things we wanted to do and different issues we felt were important,” she said. “Gender violence was a big issue.” Ryder said she was already familiar with the Clothesline Project and thought it was a good idea to bring it to St. John’s. “I thought this would be something simple, but dramatic and visual,” she said. “We received a lot of support from various organizations and from students.” In addition to the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, the four-day event is also co-sponsored by Student Wellness, Campus Life, Campus Ministry, and many other organizations on campus. There are numerous events taking place on the Queens’ campus as part of the Clothesline Project. On April 14, Lisa Kurbiel, who works in the United Nation’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations and as an ad-


On a rainy Tuesday, close to 40 Tshirts hanging on a clothesline on the Great Lawn swayed in the wind, decorated with words of encouragement, empowerment and sadness; these shirts tell the stories of female survivors of abuse and friends of survivors. One of the shirts reads: “I’m sorry… That I didn’t know, that I couldn’t help you, that I found out too late… I’m sorry… That you had to endure all those months of violence and rape before you were able to break free… I’m sorry… That I can’t erase the memory for you…

I’m sorry.” This symbolic clothesline is on display from Tuesday, April 14 to Friday, April 17, as part of the Clothesline Project, a national group founded in 1990 focusing on violence against women. The idea behind the use of a clothesline stems from the act of doing laundry, traditionally performed by women. While doing laundry, many women would air their “dirty laundry,” sharing their experiences of abuse and receiving emotional support from other women. This year’s theme is “Turn Off the Violence.” “Read the shirts that are there. Some relate personal stories, some shout resistance,” said Judith Ryder, assistant pro-


The art of conversation ESL program creates roundtable discussion for international students NELL O’CONNOR


15 April 2009


Staff Writer

St. John’s is proud to be one of the most diverse universities in the country, with a high number of international students coming to the University. But it is sometimes hard for these students to acclimate to life at St. John’s, because of the language barrier they may face. Dr. Herbert Pierson, chairperson of the Department of Languages and Literatures, has worked with students and the administration to create a program where these students can come and talk without any pressure in response to the language barrier. Along with Millard Yoder, assistant director of the University’s ESL program, Pierson has created a safe haven of sorts for international students to come and express themselves. Every Tuesday during Common Hour, dozens of international and American students gather in St. John’s Hall for a roundtable discussion and a chance to get to know each other. Sitting in small groups, students talk about everything, from classes to vacations, to homework to weekend plans. The conversations cover a wide range of topics, but a common question is how everyone ended up at St. John’s. Yoder said that one of the challenges international students face is socializing. Pierson said this roundtable allows students a causal way of socializing. “Students are able to interact with each other in a more social setting, which allows people to open up more than they normally would,” said Pierson. Yoder and Pierson feel that the discussions have allowed many of these students the opportunity to meet people and learn. The students, both American and international, also said they feel that the discussions have had an impact. Ming Yan, a freshman, believes that the discussions are a good opportunity for


International students and students from the U.S. learn and participate in discussions about American culture. international students. “We can meet many new friends, and practice our English,” said Yan. “Also, we can meet other international students to share our cultures.” Students are surrounded by different cultures, which they may or may not choose to explore. The roundtable discussions allow St. John’s students to see the diversity that is happening immediately within their community. “Being in Jamaica, Queens, puts the University community right at the heart of diversity,” said Pierson. Many students talk about exploring New York City, as well as other countries they have been to. It also allows the international students to learn about American culture. Pierson encourages all students to

come and partake in the discussions. He has made it part of the curriculum for his Discover New York classes, counting it as academic service learning. He said he feels that the American students are contributing to the program’s success with their enthusiasm and participation, and should receive the proper credit for that. When planning the sessions, Pierson and Yoder strategize on how to get American students interested and to stay involved. However, as the weeks went on, it became obvious that the students enjoyed coming and talking with their peers. “It’s amazing how much the American students enjoy it,” said Pierson. He said that many students have approached him about expanding the discussions, even increasing their frequency.

Both Yoder and Pierson said they believe that the roundtables are a positive experience, helping bridge the gap between the University’s international and American students. This feeling is echoed by the students who show up every week. Diana Morales, a freshman, said she enjoys talking to her fellow students and has noticed a difference. “I see a big improvement, see how their English skills have improved,” she said. Many of the international students feel the same. Vivian Cheng, a graduate student, believes that the practice has helped her become more fluent in both the English language and American culture. The roundtables are held every Tuesday during Common Hour in St. John’s Hall, room 212.

Rallying for the Relay KIRAN JOSEN Assistant News Editor The fourth annual Relay for Life brought together the St. John’s community through events supporting cancer research and education. This year’s event was held on Friday, April 3 in Taffner Field House. 150 teams walked for the cause in this year’s event, and the energy was palpable despite the smaller venue. For the past three years the event has been held in Carnesseca Arena, but this year the event was moved to Taffner Field House. Because of everyone’s contributions, the University raised approximately $50,000. “At first I was annoyed by the smaller space, but as the night went on there was so much else going on that I didn’t even think about it,” said junior Vivian Dominquez. Relay for Life kicked off at 6 p.m. with a touching opening ceremony featuring speeches by Jack Kaiser, Reverend Harrington, and student speaker Annie

Guthenberg. Unique to this year’s opening ceremony was the inclusion of purple glow sticks. “This year, the committee added glow sticks to the ceremony,” said Pedro Gomez, co-chair of the Student Affairs Committee. “Participants in attendance lit them as statements about how cancer affects them were read out loud ranging from having cancer, to being a caretaker, to striving for a cure.” Following the welcoming ceremony, survivors walked the first lap around while hundreds of candles were lit in remembrance of those who have lost their lives and those who continue in their struggle. The opening ceremony served as a start for the night’s festivities, which included several games and activities. Music and food were provided by several sponsors, including Student Government, Inc. and Campus Ministry. Games included musical chairs, a three-legged race, and the amazing race. The big prize of the night was the Snuggie, which was given out to first place winners. Every inch of Taffner Field House was covered with

sleeping bags and blankets as each team set up their camping ground for the night. While numbers dwindled after midnight, several participants stayed strong taking short naps as their team members walked on. “There were a few things that we did to raise awareness about the event and increase student participation. We sent out personalized invitations and flyers to all offices and departments on campus, and had “Paint the Campus Purple” week from March 16-20,” said Gomez. “During that week we set up luminaria and purple balloons around the perimeter of the great lawn to promote the event and get students to form teams.” The event boasted a record turnout of 1,500 people and the event is only expected to grow in size in the coming years. “We have been very proud of the progress made with Relay for Life over the past four years,” said Gomez. “The first two years were very chaotic, but we seem to have the event itself down to a science and students have a really awesome time.”

Writers welcome. Photographers, graphic designers, cartoonists, editors, and business people welcome too. If you have an interest, the TORCH has a role for you. Come visit us for our next meeting of the semester, on April 21 during Common Hour in the UC room 29.


Storm falls prey to Nittany Lions Johnnies’ second overtime game of the season ends in fourth straight loss KATIE BECKMANN Staff Writer


15 April 2009


St. John’s senior Drew Schanen’s goal with just under five minutes left in Saturday’s ECAC lacrosse match-up with Penn State capped a six-goal Red Storm run and tied the game at 11 apiece to send the Storm into their second overtime game this season. PENN STATE




The Storm were down by as many as six goals late in the third period when Schanen scored his second goal of the game to ignite the game-tying run again the Nittany Lions. But Schanen’s team-leading four goals – what was his fourth hat trick performance of the season – would go to waste in the overtime period. Penn State freshman Matthew Mackrides beat junior goalkeeper Gavin Buckley to give the Nittany Lions a 12-11 victory. With just over two minutes left in the extra frame, Mackrides picked up a ground ball in front of Buckley’s net and beat the Red Storm keeper on the put-back. “It was a tough game and they are a good opponent,” said Buckley. “We stuck to our game plan and we fought back. They just ended up getting one more than us.”

Buckley had a career day in net for the loss and, along with his defense, played a vital role in the Red Storm’s comeback late in the game. The junior posted a career-high 19 saves against the Nittany Lions (6-5, 2-3 ECAC) and allowed just one goal in the second half. After surrendering 45 shots from Penn State in the first three periods, the Storm’s defense held the Nittany Lions to just five shots in the fourth period as Schanen and the offense were busy mounting their comeback. Mackrides’ goal was just the second Penn State shot of overtime. The Nittany Lions went on a six-goal run of their own that started with a minute left in the first period and included two goals from Jack Forster, who led all scorers with six goals in the game. With Notre Dame, Hobart and Duke still left on their schedule, the Red Storm need to play the way they did in the second half against Penn State. Nobody knows this better than the Storm’s head coach Jason Miller. “When we get down, we know we’re going to fight.” the third-year coach said. “We know we can play hard and get back in the game. We keep playing and keep playing, and that’s how we dig ourselves out of holes.” After starting the season with four straight wins, the Red Storm have lost five of their last six, including four straight against ECAC opponents.


Drew Schanen’s team-leading four goals helped force overtime on Saturday.

SJU softball takes the show on the road ANDREW DA SILVA Staff Writer The St. John’s softball team capped off another successful week by matching 2008’s 20-win total against Villanova on Monday. “To actually see it now on paper, how good we are doing, and most likely we are going to the Big East tournament, it’s a good feeling,” said senior shortstop Roxy Struble, who was named to the Big East Honor Roll last week for the fifth time this season. The Red Storm offense has really come alive as of late, scoring 27 runs in their last six games, amassing a 4-2 record. Head coach Amy Kvilhaug accredits her team’s production to her student-athletes “becoming students of the game.” After hosting four straight games and

12 of the last 14, the Johnnies started a five-game road trip in Philadelphia to face Big East-rival Villanova. In the first game, the Red Storm bats struck in the third with a single by Struble that scored freshman Julia Sanchez. Villanova countered at the bottom of the inning, tapping sophomore pitcher Linzee Sumrall for two runs. After adding two more runs in the fourth and halting a late Red Storm rally, the Wildcats hung on for the 4-2 win. Despite matching Villanova with seven hits, St. John’s left 10 runners on base. Sumrall finished the game allowing only four runs, and striking out five. Neither Kat Lawrence nor Villanova’s Molly Manning allowed a run until the sixth inning in the second game, when the Wildcats took a 1-0 lead after Lawrence allowed back-to-back doubles. With runners on first and second

in the seventh, Manning threw a wild pitch, allowing the runners to advance. With first base open, she intentionally walked Struble. “I was just thinking, do what I know how to do,” said Struble of being at bat with the game on the line. “[I had to] Do anything I could to get on.” Kacee Cox then doubled in Laura Guzman and Chelsea Durning for the deciding runs of the Red Storm’s 2-1 victory, earning Lawrence her 10th win of the year. St. John’s hosted St. Peter’s last Thursday for a non-conference doubleheader. The offense carried the Red Storm to a sweep, outscoring the Peahens 9-6 in the first game, and winning 11-0 via the mercy rule in the second game. Despite allowing 6 runs, Sumrall struck out 12 batters, while Lawrence pitched a one-hitter and struck

out 10. Cox and Struble each drove in four runs in the series, and Jenna Berger and Kristi Cady contributed three RBI of their own. Syracuse came to town last Wednesday for a pair of Big East games. Sumrall pitched well, shutting down the Orange offense until the seventh inning, when an error in the outfield opened the door for three runs to cross the plate. But Cox and Stacia Dopudja each hit home runs and the Johnnies won 4-3. Lawrence surrendered six runs before being pulled in the second game, and the Orange’s Jenna Caira cooled off the St. John’s bats, allowing one run on four hits en route to a 7-1 victory. Can’t get enough TORCH sports? Visit our revamped Web site for online exclusives.

Abiola has profound Mideast experience St. John’s runner Rakibat Abiola spent her winter volunteering in Netanya, Israel BILL SAN ANTONIO Sports Editor St. John’s distance runner Rakibat Abiola spent her winter break in an unconventional fashion. Rather than go home and pat herself on the back for her hard work during the fall season and academic semester, Abiola went to Israel, a nation torn by war over the Gaza strip, for community service work. “It gave me a broader and more profound sense of the world,” Abiola said. “It also showed me a glimpse of what it is like to live somewhere, not knowing if you are totally safe at home. It made me feel privileged that I actually live in a country where there is no war in my backyard or soldiers going up and down the streets readily on duty.” She and other students from New York-area colleges painted apartments in the city of Ne-


Distance runnner Rakibat Abiola painted apartments and sorted clothes while in Israel. tanya, a largely Ethiopian community. According to Abiola, the students worked for several hours over the course of four or five days. “We would occasionally get a chance to interact with local

residents of this neighborhood,” Abiola said. “A few of the residents even worked alongside us to help with the painting. Also, we went to various schools to work with children in the local community. We helped out with

arts and crafts and taught them American songs.” When their work was completed in Netanya, the students traveled to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, to work in a secondhand clothing store. Abiola

and her peers packed clothing into bags and loaded them onto trucks to be washed. In return, they would receive clothing that had already been washed to set out for purchase. The students stayed in a local hotel out of harm’s way, and though some of their parents worried about their safety in the wartorn areas, Abiola’s group remained poised and focused toward their service goals. “We didn’t encounter danger, but every time we’d turn on the news in the morning we’d hear about things going on, and it wasn’t a very safe time to be there,” Abiola said. “But we were there on a mission, nobody was thinking about leaving. We wanted to do what we wanted to get done.” Abiola was able to stay in touch with her family throughout her journey in the Middle East, even though the seven-hour time zone difference separating Israel and the United States took some getting used to. She is even open to the possibility of making the trip again. “It was a great time to volunteer with the local communities in Israel. It showed them that other people are there to support them even during such rough times,” Abiola said. “Showing our support for the Israeli people at such difficult times is what America is all about: working for justice throughout the world.”



Bye bye, Ty Edmondson’s exit leaves Storm with open spot


15 April 2009


BILL SAN ANTONIO Sports Editor Though St. John’s is losing TyShwan Edmondson following the spring semester, the program is preparing for what could be the most significant signing in recent years for the Johnnies. Lincoln High School phenom Lance Stephenson still has not announced where he will play his college ball, and a roster spot and open scholarship in Queens could be all the convincing “Born Ready” needs. Stephenson haS been deliberating between St. John’s, Maryland, and Kansas for his collegiate destination, but has delayed his official decision multiple times in the past few weeks. The Daily News reported on April 9 that Stephenson was expected to announce his decision early this week. At the time the TORCH went to print, Stephenson still had not announced his college destination. Stephenson is one of the many superstar basketball players to emerge from Lincoln High School, including Boston Celtics point guard Stephon Marbury and Marbury’s cousin, Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Sebastian Telfair. Many factors contributed to Stephenson’s public indecisiveness. He originally planned to announce his decision at Madison Square Garden during the PSAL championships, which Lincoln won for the fourth consecutive year. TORCH PHOTO/LAURA AMATO However, he then announced after he visited Kansas that he would TyShwan Edmondson’s transfer opens a roster space and a scholarship, delay his decision until the McDonald’s All-American Game on March 31, which many Red Storm fans hope will go to phenom Lance Stephenson. leading many to believe that he had eliminated St. John’s from consideration. positive that “Born Ready” would choose assistant coach Danny Manning, a The Daily News even reported that the Jayhawks. recruiting confidant of head coach Bill sources close to Stephenson were near It made complete sense; Kansas Self, was seen in the crowd of Lincoln’s

Following the saga of Sir Lance Stephenson attends Red Storm’s 29-point loss to Syracuse at MSG. Feb. 29, 2009

Mar. 7, 2009

PSAL semifinal win over Boys and Girls at Carnesecca Arena on March 15. But McDonald’s came and went, and there is still no concrete decision from Stephenson, who instead opted to wait a few weeks to further contemplate his decision. Then the college basketball world was rocked on April 1 with the news that Memphis head coach John Calipari was leaving the school for a greener pasture—the head coaching job at Kentucky. As a result, many of the recruits Calipari had committed to Memphis were suddenly backing out from their commitments. One such recruit was Xavier Henry, ESPN’s No. 1 ranked player in the country. Henry is a carbon copy of Stephenson, as they are both 6-6 shooting guards who can score at will. Once Calipari left for Kentucky, and Henry freed himself of his commitment to Memphis, Kansas became more interested in him than in Stephenson. And though Stephenson wasn’t fazed by the turn of events—he told The Daily News that “that situation won’t affect my decision”—it was clear that he needed more time to formulate his decision. When news broke of Edmondson’s decision to transfer last week, The Daily News reported that Stephenson was to make an official visit to St. John’s over the Easter holiday weekend, something he had previously done at both Kansas and Maryland, where his Lincoln teammate James Padgett will attend. Stephenson is considered by many fans to be the savior that the St. John’s basketball program needs. He is also thought to be a “one-and-done” prospect, a player who spends his freshman year at a school, then departs for professional basketball. Stephenson may have been “Born Ready” to play basketball, but he was not “Born Decisive.”

Stephenson shines at PSAL quarterfinal before St. John’s coaching staff and players at Carnesecca Arena.

Stephenson scores 33 points in The Daily News reports that PSAL semifinal at Carnesecca Stephenson is “99 percent Arena with Kansas’ Danny sure” about commitment Manning in attendance. to Kansas. Mar. 15, 2009 Mar. 31, 2009

Mar. 22, 2009

Lincoln wins fourth straight PSAL championship. Stephenson to announce college plans at McDonald’s All-American Game.

April 1, 2009

John Calipari leaves Memphis for Kentucky, causing Xavier Henry to decommit from the school. Kansas shows interest in Henry.

St. John’s head coach Norm Roberts announces TyShwan Edmondson’s plans to transfer. April 9, 2009

Apr. 10, 2009

Stephenson makes official visit to St. John’s, according to SNY’s Adam Zagoria.





Leavin’ their Mark

Pitching falters again


Eye of the Storm looking beyond Lance Lance Stephenson may not be the only player still left on the Red Storm’s radar. According to ESPNU, Tevin Baskin (inset left) and James Stukes (inset right) both have St. John’s on their short lists. Baskin is a product of Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford, Conn. Stukes’ Rice Raiders defeated Stephenson’s Lincoln Railsplitters for the New York State Federation Class AA Championship on March 28.

-Lacrosse coach Jason Miller

Headin’ this Way Red Storm home games

Baseball: Apr. 15 Apr. 17 Apr. 18 Apr. 18 Apr. 21

Hofstra Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati Princeton

3 p.m. 3 p.m. 1 p.m. Noon 7 p.m.

Lacrosse: Apr. 17 Hobart

3 p.m.

Softball: Apr. 18 USF (DH)


Can’t get enough TORCH sports? Visit our blog at


I don’t mean to bash Edmonson, whose average of 1.7 points and 1.0 rebound a game does not even come close to illustrating the guard’s importance to his team (especially during the stint early in the year when the Storm were forced to play without their starting point guard Malik Boothe). Edmonson did what was asked of him as a freshman, and though his motives for transferring are still unknown, he played hard for Norm Roberts in 2008-09. But Edmonson’s exit is a good sign. As he takes his final walk out the doors of Carnesecca, the Storm will gain more than they have lost. His transfer means that the Red Storm is graced one scholarship to give out next season. And, for the first time in a long time, I believe that they may be giving it to the guy that all those Storm fans and I really

hope they get to give it to. If you would have asked me a month ago if Lincoln High School star Lance Stephenson—a kid that could mean immeasurable things for this program— would still be playing in New York City next season, my answer would’ve been (and was) a very short one. “No,” I was saying. “I wish he would, but no.” But after John Calipari’s move to Kentucky, the drama over whether the No. 1 national prospect, Xavier Henry, will answer Bill Self’s calls and be suited up for Kansas next year, and now the news of Edmonson’s transfer, my answer has changed. It’s still short. “Maybe,” I’m now saying. “I think the signs point to yes.” Why is Lance Stephenson so important? He won’t turn the Red Storm into a Final Four team next season and, in all likelihood, he won’t even transform them into Big East Champions. But what he will do is bring some much-needed attention to this dying program. Finally, the press will be good press. Well, maybe good press.

We keep playing and keep playing, and that’s how we dig ourselves out of holes.

15 April 2009

If there is one thing that St. John’s basketball fans have gotten used to over the past few years, it’s losing. But if there was a second thing that the Johnnie faithful have become accustomed to, it’s transfers. When Avery Patterson transferred after the 2006-07 season, I, along with many other Red Storm fans, was upset. As Patterson walked out the door of Carnesecca Arena for the last time, with him went his 72 three-pointers. After Larry Wright transferred at the end of the 2007-08 campaign, I, along with many Red Storm fans, was downright angry. Wright’s exit at the end of a season in which the Storm failed to qualify for the Big East Tournament seemed like an extra slap in our red-and-white painted faces. Although the script is the same at the end of this season, my emotions, and assumedly the emotions of my fellow fans, are the complete opposite. The news of freshman guard TyShwan Edmonson’s transfer did not fill me with the despair or fury I’m so used to feeling after the break of a big Red Storm story. It instead filled me with a far less familiar sensation: hope.

Blowin’ in the Wind SPORTS

Storm gain from Ty’s loss

The St. John’s baseball team dropped two games of its threegame road set against West Virginia over the weekend. Its pitching staff conceded run totals of nine, five, and 16. Brendan Lobban allowed six runs in five innings in the finale on Saturday, a 16-2 spanking. The Mountaineers scored nine runs on five hits in the eighth inning. Nick Luisi was charged with all five of West Virginia’s runs in the Red Storm’s 10-5 victory on Saturday. He pitched four innings and allowed eight hits and four walks to only one strikeout. St. John’s relief corps of Eddie Medina and Ryan Cole combined to throw five scoreless innings. The duo allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out three. The Mountaineers scored all nine of its runs on Thursday in the first three innings of the game. Jarryd Summers threw eight innings for West Virginia, allowing one run and striking out seven. Kevin Kilpatrick provided 5.2 innings of relief for the Red Storm, allowing just two runs and striking out five.




With a win over Villanova on Monday, the St. John’s softball team matched its win total from 2008 with 20.

The lacrosse team lost its fourth straight game Saturday in overtime at Penn State.

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Torch Issue for April 15, 2009  
Torch Issue for April 15, 2009  

Torch Issue for April 15, 2009