TUITION FREEZE PHOTO/ OLIVIA CUNNINGHAM
TORCH ILLUSTRATION / STEVEN VERDILE
Je Suis Charlie debate pg. 6
St. John’s puts tuition hike on hold for next year
St. John’s mourns loss of former Gov. Cuomo pg. 4 Fun and budget friendly V-day ideas pg.8
TALIA TIRELLA News Editor On Jan. 29, the University released a statement alerting the community that tuition and fees, and room and board costs for all current and incoming students will freeze at its current cost of $37,870 for the 2015-16 academic year. The freeze will go into effect beginning in May with the 2015 pre-summer session. It will not apply to the School of Law, which has its own tuition structure, according to the release. The University website states that the freeze is only applicable for the 2015-16 school year and no plans for future tuition rates after that year have been decided on. Last March, the Torch reported that tuition rates had gone up by 24 percent, from $30,040 to $37,260, despite the fact that freshman enrollment dropped 10 percent between the 2009-10 and 2013-14 school years. According to the website, the freeze will allow current undergraduate students to save the previously planned three per-
cent tuition increase for the year. This will create a total savings of approximately $14 million for the entire student body, according to the release. The freeze applies to tuition costs at all of the New York campuses as well as all international campuses. Graduate and part-time undergraduate students will see equivalent savings based on the tuition freeze. Incoming freshmen are projected to save at least $4,560 on the cost of tuition over the course of four years, according to the release. Tuition on the Staten Island campus will be reduced by $10,370 for the year, and room and board fees will freeze as well, according to the release. These changes were made possible because of recent administrative restructuring and the nature of academic offerings at the Staten Island campus, according to the release. Graduate tuition at the Staten Island campus will remain the same. “St. John’s is aware of the significant financial challenges facing college students and their families. We are taking this action in an effort to help alleviate those burdens,” said University President Dr.
Gempesaw in a statement. “Addressing the rising cost of higher education must be a priority, particularly in view of St. John’s mission as a Catholic and Vincentian University that is committed to providing students with an affordable education.” According to the release, this tuition initiative falls in line with the University’s tradition of helping students by awarding financial aid packages to qualified students. More than 96 percent of University students receive some form of financial aid. “We have made a firm commitment to reduce expenses, increase efficiency and pass along these savings to our students,” Gempesaw said. “It is our sincere hope that this initiative will provide students who otherwise would not be able to afford college the opportunity to realize that dream at St. John’s [University],” Gempesaw said. Students and parents can find more detailed information at stjohns.edu/tuitionsavings. Additional reporting by Samantha Albanese.
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Olivia Cunningham, Managing Editor Talia Tirella News Editor Amanda Umpierrez Assistant News Editor
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The Torch is typically published on Wednesdays and publishes approximately 20 issues throughout the academic year. Circulation per issue is 3,500 copies, which are distributed for free on campus and through mail subcriptions.
Cuomo proposes new sexual assault policy
‘Yes Means Yes’ requires affirmative consent; regulation already required for NY state schools Amanda Umpierrez Assistant News Editor New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing to pass a proposed “Yes Means Yes” bill to help combat sexual assault on both private and public college campuses. If passed, the bill will mandate New York State private college campuses to follow the “Yes Means Yes” policy, including “affirmative consent language, immunity from drug and alcohol violations for students reporting an assault, a bill of rights for victims and a policy training for all school officials,” according to Reuters. The regulation has already been enacted at all public New York State colleges. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, according to Governor Cuomo’s office, “affirmative consent” would be defined as, “a clear, unambiguous and voluntary agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity.” Maurisa Fraser, a junior at St. John’s, believes the bill could serve as a better-
ing for students engaging in any sexual activity. “To put things very bold and as straight as a yes or no, that would be an advantage to anyone that might be in harm’s way,” she said. Along with a consensual approval, if passed the law would authorize private colleges to grant amnesty for any alcohol or drug violations to students who report an assault. Sarah Hanna, a junior studying biology at St. John’s, believes this portion of the bill is an advantage, but understands why others may not perceive it as such. “At the same time, it is a disadvantage because it could be used in the wrong way,” she said. “Someone could just say, ‘Oh, I was sexually assaulted’ but they weren’t really. They just have all these past violations that they want to clear up.” Christopher Gabayan, a freshman at St. John’s, believes the bill could act only as an advantage. “It empowers people who are victims to report it more,” he said. According to Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Kathryn Hutchinson and Associate Vice President and Dean of
Students Dr. Daniel Trujillo, St. John’s currently practices drug and alcohol immunity authorization to students reporting an assault unless a significant crime is associated. “If someone comes forward, they should come forward with full confidence that they will not be assessed in an alcohol or drug-marijuana violation,” said Trujillo. “We always want students to come forward and help one another,” said Hutchinson. “We’re not looking to penalize people.” The bill, proposed by Cuomo in 2013 and more recently on Jan. 17, is based on California’s new “Yes Means Yes” law. However, instead of instructing both public and private colleges to follow the policy, California law applies only to state-funded schools. According to ABC News, New York’s “Yes Means Yes” policy was enacted to cover 64 state university campuses last year, but does not apply to private institutions. In a news conference at New York University, Cuomo spoke on the subject of sexual assaults on college campuses and the necessity of this bill.
“I believe there are institutions that want to protect their relationships, and don’t want the attacks happening on their campus,” Cuomo said. “This is not a private matter. This is a crime.” If the policy is enacted, Hutchinson looks to incorporate “Yes Means Yes” with freshman students during Orientation, on social media, during bystander training and with the Campus Community Response Team. The CCRT is comprised of 17 departments with students and faculty, and focuses on ensuring that all sectors of the university have a clear knowledge of what is happening. “Having students as part of our CCRT group is beneficial because they can give us feedback and assist us in that process,” she said. Fraser would like to see St. John’s offer information on enforcing “Yes Means Yes.” “They [the school] should put programming in a place that supports this initiative,” she said. “Just like they do with every branding idea, they should make this a part of everything.” Gabayan agrees. “It helps a lot more than it hurts,” he said. “I don’t think it hurts at all.”
MTA fare increase set for March 22; St. John’s commuters will feel the effects Talia Tirella News Editor Back in January, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced a fare increase that will go into effect on March 22. The current base fare for travel by both subway and bus is $2.50 and will be increased to $2.75. The cost of a 30-day Metrocard will be raised by $4.50, up to $116.50, according to the New York Times. The increase is one out of several in the MTA’s long-term financial plan. Fare increases are scheduled to occur every two years, and the last fare increase occurred in 2013, when the base fare went from $2.25 to $2.50. In order to improve infrastructure, the MTA has proposed a $32 million five-year capital plan. The plan has a $15 million gap in funding and the MTA is seeking contributions from both the state and the city, according to the New York Times. The increase in fares may help the MTA, but many who use public transportation will feel the effects. St. John’s has many commuter students who rely on public transportation to go to and from campus every day. Catharine Mariampillai, a junior legal studies major, uses public transportation every day to get to campus. She takes two buses each way to and from school, and only uses the subway if she’s going into Manhattan or somewhere else in Queens [besides campus]. Mariampillai said she buys an unlimited Metrocard because she uses public transportation to get to other places be-
The base rate for bus and subway travel is currently $2.50. The proposed increase will raise the rate to $2.75. A 30-day Metrocard is currently $112, and will be increased by $4.50 to a total of $116.50.
sides campus. “Right now in my house, my dad is the only one who can drive, so whenever he’s at work the rest of my family depends on public transportation to get places. The increase doesn’t affect me as much because the unlimited [card] takes that care off of me,” Mariampillai said. Mariampillai said that the fare increase will be a struggle for college students to deal with. “I obviously don’t want the fares to keep going up, but I understand that they might need the money for their own budgetary reasons that I don’t know of,” Mariampillai said. “If I decide to stay late on campus for work, or to study, or see some friends, I ask my dad to pick me up from campus,” she said. Mariampillai said the fare in-
crease would not likely lead to a change in her daily routine. “I don’t think I’d be so affected as to stop taking the bus. As they say, you have to pay the piper. The bus is available for me whenever, so I do appreciate it. But I am learning to drive, so if worse comes to worst, I’ll be driving!” Alex Genao, a junior history major, uses two buwses daily to get to campus like Mariampillai. Genao thinks that the fare increase is unfair. “I’m completely disappointed with the potential fare increase because we already live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, and some people have trouble making ends meet. [And] to increase fare, that will only make matters worse. “The fare increase would be more ac-
ceptable if the MTA improves its maintenance, but we haven’t seen any type of progress,” Genao said. Genao said he will need to spend his money more wisely because of the fare increase. “[I’ll have to] create a specific budget in order to have the opportunity to commute everyday to campus and have a little bit of money in my pocket,” Genao said. Genao said he usually purchases the unlimited monthly Metrocard, which is currently $112. Despite his complaint, Genao said taking public transportation is still the most convenient way for him to commute to campus. “I come from the Bronx; if I drive, I would have to pay $7.50 in toll at the Whitestone Bridge,” Genao said.
Gov. Mario Cuomo, St. John’s alumnus, passes away at 82 The late governor was known for his bipartisanship, educational reform and leadership during recessions
joanne corrielus Staff Writer On Jan. 1, just hours after his son Andrew Cuomo was sworn into his second term as governor, former New York Governor and St. John’s alumnus Mario Cuomo passed away due to heart failure. A fixture of the Democratic Party, Cuomo was loved and admired by New Yorkers from all walks of life and by members of both sides of the political spectrum. Cuomo was born in 1932 in Queens, N.Y. to Italian immigrants. He grew up in South Jamaica, Queens and attended St. John’s Preparatory School at its former location in Brooklyn, according to the New York Times. After graduating, he attended St. John’s University where he was a member of the baseball team. In 1952, he was signed to a minor league baseball team, the Brunswick Pirates, but his baseball career abruptly ended after he was injured, according to his obituary written by the New York Times. He returned to St. John’s and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1953, graduating summa cum laude. Cuomo continued his studies at St. John’s University School of Law. While he was working on receiving his juris doctorate degree, he was an editor of the St. John’s Law Review and was one of the founding members of the Catholic Lawyer, according to a statement released by the university. He graduated from St. John’s law school cum laude in 1956. After many years of working in the legal profession, as well as working as an adjunct professor at St. John’s, Cuomo entered the field of politics in 1972, according to a statement released by St. John’s law school. After Mayor Lindsey asked him to
Governor Mario Cuomo speaks at Cornell University in 1987.
help resolve a housing issue in Forest Hills, Queens, Cuomo entered the political realm. He was later appointed as New York Secretary of State in 1975. In 1977, he ran for mayor of New York City but lost the primary to Edward Koch, who would ultimately win the election. This was a minor setback for Cuomo as he was elected lieutenant governor in 1978 and was later elected into New York’s highest office when he won the gubernatorial election of 1982. He was re-elected in 1986 and again in 1990. As governor, Cuomo transformed the economic, social and educational infra-
Hezbollah kills two; tensions escalate bridget higgins Staff Writer Tensions between Lebanon’s Hezbollah group and Israel could rise rapidly after Hezbollah killed two Israeli soldiers on Jan. 28. Hezbollah fired anti-tank missiles at Israeli military vehicles traveling in a disputed area along the Lebanese border. In addition to the two deaths, seven other Israeli soldiers were seriously injured. Israel immediately responded violently, and a Spanish U.N. peacekeeper was killed in the crossfire. The attack on the Israeli soldiers followed an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria on Jan. 18. The airstrike killed six Hezbollah operatives and at least one member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. “This is to tell Israel that you cannot kill people and feel safe,” said Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanon Shiite movement, according to a Jan. 30 article by The Wall Street Journal. “[After Israel’s attack], it was clear…we must respond.” Nasrallah, speaking from an undisclosed location, addressed the attack. His speech was televised to a group of Hezbollah supporters in Beirut on Jan. 30. According to a Jan. 30 article by
BBC News, Nasrallah said, “We do not want a war but we are not afraid of it, and we must distinguish between the two and the Israelis must also understand this very well.” Hezbollah’s attack is reminiscent of the 34-day war between Israel and the militant group in 2006. The war began with Hezbollah’s kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers along the Lebanese-Israeli border. Retaliations led to a month-long war, killing some 1,250 people on both sides. Some people fear that the situation could escalate to the same level of violence as it did in 2006. Meanwhile, others are hopeful for peace based on statements made by Israel on Jan. 29. According to the aforementioned Wall Street Journal article, the Israeli defense minister said that the Lebanese militant group had already requested a cease-fire through the U.N. The U.S. Department of State released a statement this past Thursday officially condemning Hezbollah’s attack. According to Jen Psaki, the department’s spokeswoman, the Lebanese militant group was in direct violation of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701. This resolution demanded an end to all Hezbollah attacks. The statement also urged both sides to refrain from retaliation.
structures of New York. He led the state through two recessions, reformed education and created more than half a million jobs. Among many other accomplishments, he also created social programs that supported the mentally ill and aid victims and appointed the first African-American, first Hispanic and first two female judges to the Court of Appeals, according to the Los Angeles Times. Cuomo rose to national prominence when he gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 1984. In his speech, he described the des-
olate situation plaguing America at that time. His views differed from President Reagan, who thought of America as a “shining city on a hill.” In his speech Cuomo said, “But the hard truth is that not everyone is sharing in this city’s splendor and glory. A shining city is perhaps all the President sees from the portico of the White House and the veranda of his ranch, where everyone seems to be doing well. But there’s another city; there’s another part to the shining city; the part where some people can’t pay their mortgages, and most young people can’t afford one; where students can’t afford the education they need and middle-class parents watch the dreams they hold for their children evaporate.” According to the New York Times, Cuomo’s speech captivated his audience and he became the story of the convention. He was encouraged to run for president in both 1988 and 1992 but declined. After Cuomo left office, he returned to private law practice, wrote several books and also gave speeches. Over the years, Cuomo was presented with numerous honors from his alma mater including the Pietas Medal, an Honorary Doctor of Laws, the Medal of Honor, the President’s Medal, the International Medal and was also honored by the St. John’s Law Review, as stated in a statement released by the university. In 2011, Governor Cuomo returned to campus and served as the Joseph W. Bellacosa Distinguished Jurist-in-Residence during a daylong program. Most recently, he was the distinguished guest at the St. John’s Center for International and Comparative year-end reception. Mario Cuomo was survived by his wife Matilda, their five children and fourteen grandchildren.
Measles spreads at Disneyland, infecting 59 lauren candela Staff Writer Controversy stirred along the West Coast after a traveler caused a measles outbreak in Disneyland. The identity of the traveler is unknown. However, according to the California Department of Public Health, it was most likely an international traveler who brought upon the outbreak, because measles was eradicated in the United States in 2000. While there were a few cases in New York and North Carolina as early as 2008, the rate of cases increased to a concerning level from May 23, 2014 to Jan. 1 with 288 cases. The outbreak in the California amusement park on Jan. 21 led to the infection of 59 individuals and continues to spread. As of Jan. 23, 68 people across 11 states have contracted measles in 2015 alone. Just eight days later, 34 more people across 14 states have fallen ill, stated the Huffington Post. The number of cases now totals 102. The CDC recently issued a health advisory to advise all health departments to “prepare for a multi-state outbreak.” According to the CDC, measles is
contracted when susceptible people come in contact with the infected. The disease is highly contagious and can be spread through airspace in which the infected person(s) coughs or sneezes. While the disease is highly contagious, it is almost completely preventable through vaccination. The CDC explains that since eradication in the United States, people have begun to “refuse vaccines for religious, philosophical or personal reasons.” There is also a small segment of the population that cannot be immunized for health reasons, such as patients undergoing cancer treatment. Assistant professor of scientific inquiry at St. John’s University, Dr. Jonathan H. Fowler said “there are some people who have valid, religious concerns” in regards to vaccination. However, he further explains, “When you choose not to vaccinate yourself, you affect other people because it’s a communicable disease. Certainly the religious exemption has been abused by people who erroneously believe vaccines are linked to autism or other developmental diseases.” Physicians everywhere strongly support vaccination. Vaccination not only prevents individuals from becoming infected, but also protects the community.
Opinion Staff Editorial Editorial board XCII
SAMANTHA ALBANESE Editor-in-Chief OLIVIA CUNNINGHAM Managing Editor TALIA TIRELLA News Editor BRIAWNNA JONES Entertainment KYLE FITZGERALD Features Editor STEPHEN ZITOLO Sports Editor ALEXA VAGELATOS Opinion Editor
Obama’s Visit to India ABHISHEK JOSHI Staff Writer Last week, US President Barack Obama was on a tour to New Delhi, the capital city of India. This has given the country a great window for expansion for ideas that will help develop the strengths and ties with the Indian subcontinent. President Obama attended the US-India business summit and spoke about how the two countries could help each other grow economically. When I first saw the Indian Prime Minister’s tweet inviting President Obama to India, I was hoping that he would say yes to it. And when Barack Obama’s office replied to the tweet with a positive reply, I knew that the event was going to be a historic one. To begin with, it is the first time that any US President has visited India twice in his tenure. Although this time, Obama did not travel much across the country like he did during his previous visit back in 2012, it was his first visit to the new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and it is believed
that Obama has hit off a better rapport with him than he did with the previous Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The primary reason is that the new Prime Minister has different political ideologies as compared to the previous one. Furthermore, it is evident that the two leaders talked about various subjects of confidentiality that are meant to be under wraps. But in the end, it’s in the best interest for the two nations to work together. I strongly believe that if the two nations work together in harmony, there will be several benefits that can be made and this will further progress world peace and co-operation. The United States of America has made key investments in the SAARC (South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation). The secondary goal of his visit is to also tell the world that the two nations have a decent relationship with each other and are trying their best to keep up with all the terms and agreements that are signed between the two nations. All I can hope for is that the two nations live with each other in the synchronization practically the same way they have asked of their respective citizens.
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“Pillow fort 3”
Mr. Coffee I cut you out of my life about one year back-It seemed to be best for me. I saw what you did to my friend in high school. You and her--it wasn’t healthy... She looked your way every morning before class-You were the reason she was awake. Slowly but surely, she realized she had a problem and left you behind for her sake. But you always had a way of sticking around, keeping her from being free. Her hands would shake, her focus would break-you feed off of others’ need. You’re sick and you’re cruel--an addiction to fear-My relapse disgusts me so. My eyes and my lips shamefully drink you up-giving me a warmth that chills me to the bone.
By: Kaylee Kosakowski Staff Writer
Charlie Hebdo hypocrisy SUZANNE CIECHALSKI Staff Writer People from around the world gathered in Paris to show solidarity for the city after a massacre at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo left 12 people dead. Seen as a direct attack on the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression, millions around the globe have condemned the attack, as have the leaders of several countries. However, some of these leaders have raised eyebrows at what has become a situation rank with hypocrisy. Reporters Without Borders (RWB) is a non-profit organization dedicated to monitoring attacks on freedom of speech worldwide and assisting war correspondents, as well as persecuted reporters and their families. They have condemned the appearances of leaders from countries such as Egypt, Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. These countries, along with others who condemned the attack, such as Saudi Arabia, have a history of suppressing journalists in their countries. They have been known to silence and jail journalists in an effort to curtail free speech. Egypt, for example, sentenced three Al-Jazeera journalists to seven to 10 years in jail on terrorism charges. According to an article written on the Washington Post’s website on the same day as the march in Paris, human rights groups have claimed that free speech is severely limited in the United Arab Emirates, with over 100 activists and government critics detained there since 2011. Saudi Arabia’s condemnation of the attacks especially sparked controversy after a video of Saudi Arabian liberal blogger Raif Badawi’s floggings surfaced online just two days after the attack at Hebdo, according to The Guardian. Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years of prison for starting a blog that was used to debate basic beliefs in Saudi Arabia. United States officials, as well as human rights groups and other foreign officials, have warned against the punishment along with other foreign officials. After a series of tests done by a medical com-
mittee, Badawi’s punishments have been postponed. Human rights watch group Amnesty International has questioned this act of violence against Badawi, along with reasons why the Saudi Arabian government has taken part in such a cruel practice. “Easier said than done,” is extremely applicable in this case of human rights being infringed upon. While foreign leaders have voiced outrage and concern over the attack at Hebdo, it is clear that many of them are guilty of suppressing free speech in the same way those who attacked the magazine attempted. This begs the thought of whether or not the sympathy of these leaders is actually heartfelt. If they truly condemn the attacks, they all should practice what they preach. While condemning the Hebdo attack, foreign leaders known for suppressing free speech should be working to exercise that which they have preached in their own countries. Free speech is a precious right that is taken for granted and must be preserved. Hindering this right is detrimental to society as a whole.
“From mix CD’s and mix emotions...” I am from stomping on crisp autumn leaves on the sidewalk to home, (Crunch, crunch, crunch) I am from a whiff of cold winter morning From burning wood at bonfires and chimneys that linger on my thin hair I am from singing birds in early spring To summer road trips and long daydreaming, With alternative music playing in the background
I am Charlie (and so are you)
JEREMY ASHTON Staff Writer PARIS--- In a Parisian square, 15,000 voices become one, filling the darkening sky with cries for liberty and justice. This was what night held in the aftermath of a terrible day for Paris and the rest of the world, after an egregious attack on free speech and freedom of the press. On Monday, Jan. 7, gunmen attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newsmagazine. The event, officially classified as a terror attack, was allegedly in retaliation for the publication of cartoons that negatively depicted the Muslim prophet Mohammed. The paper regularly uses a signature blend of wit, cartoons and a healthy dose of sarcasm to poke fun at all kinds of religious and political figures. This trademark style doesn’t shy away from sensitive topics or hot-button issues, which has previously led to trouble (including a fire-bombed office in 2011). However, this recent attack is by far the humorous newsmagazine’s mostly deadly incident, with 12 confirmed victims, including editor Stephanie Charbonnier, economist Benard Maris, several cartoonists and a police guard. As word of the afternoon attack spread, #jesuischarlie (#IamCharlie) quickly began trending, attracting the attention of Parisians and others around the world. Dominic Gerber, a St. John’s sophomore, first heard of the vigil taking place at the Place de la République Square on Twitter explained, “I knew this would be a great opportunity to experience the response of an international community.” Despite it being only their third night in Paris, several students, myself included, decided to join those gathered in support of free speech and to honor those lost. “In our lives as Americans, we’ve never had to think twice about our freedom of speech. Although I am a little nervous, I feel like standing for those unfairly killed was the right thing to do, both as an American and a global citizen,” said Johanna Mendez, a sophomore student and Ozanam Scholar residing on the Paris campus. When we arrived, groups of young people were already leading chants, having climbed up the large monument in the center of the square and turned it into a massive protest sign. Despite the young ages of these leaders, there were clearly multiple generations of Parisians shouting “Liberté d’Expression, Liberté d’Expression,” and “Je Suis Charlie,” as projections played across the marble faces of the third republic’s monument. This atmosphere was infectious, as we turned from watching to then joining the crowd. In the middle of the night, this electric atmosphere suddenly subsided into a moment of silence, leaving thousands standing together with no sound, only fists and pens held up in the air. This incredibly moving moment, giving respect to the victims, was followed by a round of riotous applause as from the crowd we heard shouts of “Vive la France. Vive la France.” Indeed. Sophomore Jeremy Ashton is currently studying abroad at the St. John’s Paris and Rome campuses. He was present in Paris at the time of the Charlie Hebdo attack and the ensuing rallies.
I am still from hidden journals and beat-up sketchbooks, From mix CDs and mix emotions, Classic literature books, piano sheets, and hand written letters I am from broken hearts and teen angst It has made me want to burn old photographs and shred melancholy poems Though I must not feel afraid of where I have come from I am an exceptional fragment of my past By: Stephanie Aliaga Staff Writer Inspired by George Ella Lyons’s “Where I’m From” PHOTO/STEPHANIE ALIAGA
America deserves a raise ANGEL VERA Staff Writer Minimum wage is just as bad as it sounds, like spinach or John Boehner. It is something that really no one wants to be told they are expected to earn. As it stands today, the national minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, or as some see it, a drink at Yankee Stadium. A federal minimum wage earner working full-time makes about $15,080 annually; a married couple would then average about $30,160 a year. A University of California Davis report shows this data alongside what is considered poverty, which is an individual making less than $11,945 annually and a family of four making less than $22,283. However, the definition of poverty does not make much sense as a person’s expenses are not controlled. Things happen, such as unexpected car troubles that need to be paid out of pocket or trying to put yourself through school. Barely getting by is not living, there is a reason why it’s not called a “living wage.” Yet, no increase on wages has significantly occurred while productivity and employee demand has increased. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as reported by Mother Jones, “since 1979, American workers’ productivity has increased by 80 percent. The income of the top one percent has increased 240 percent. And the average American wage, adjusted for inflation, has gone up just a few percentage points, maybe eight percent.” We live in a country that supposedly rewards those who work hard, after all that is what the free market prides itself on, yet that’s not the
case. The demographic of the minimum wage earner is not your average teen that wants to save for a car or wants to have spending money anymore; it’s men and mainly women over the age of 20. Times have definitely changed and we need to accommodate for it if the free market refuses to. Being poor sucks, this year’s Knicks type of terrible, and that is no exaggeration. As a recent, very popular, Reddit thread put it, /u/Meepshesaid said, “When you are broke, you can’t plan ahead or shop sales or buy in bulk. Poor people wait to buy something until they absolutely need it, so they have to pay whatever the going price is at that moment.” Furthermore, we don’t have mandatory paid sick leave or maternity leave like other modernized countries do, which Obama mentioned in his State of the Union address. He also pressured Congress to raise the minimum wage, stating that if they could live off of $7.25, then they should try it. Thankfully, other politicians are really pushing for the minimum wage to be made into a livable wage, like Governor Cuomo who announced a proposal to make the minimum wage $10.50 in the state and $11.50 in New York City. The ability to earn more money and spend more into the market is beneficial to both the consumer and the manufacturer. It puts confidence into our work force that is appreciated in this country. Partisan politics may not agree on what number it should be raised to, but almost everyone can agree that America does need a raise. Politicians may not agree on what number it should be raised to, but almost everyone can agree that America does need a raise.
Deflategate proves what we’re lacking ETHAN BROWN Staff Writer If I were a freshman in college again, I would probably choose to major in psychology. In today’s world there are plenty of interactions and information to analyze, particularly with current events. While the term ‘cognitive dissonance’ is one of the main themes in psychology, the majority of the American public clearly has no idea what this means or how to go about utilizing it in their own opinions. Cognitive dissonance, as defined by Stanford University is, “the discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas or values at the same time.” Everyone has an opinion about everything today, which is exacerbated by the popularity of social media and blogging. Actually, this may be part of the increasing problem of America’s obsession with a public conviction before doing any research on their own. Take for example, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. ‘Deflategate’ has been a trending topic for days now. Many people have their opinions; they believe Brady and co. deliberately cheated, or they believe that the Pats knew nothing about the tampered footballs. Both of these groups forget that the investigation is ongoing, and only a few facts have been released, none of which incriminate Brady or his team. This is where the psychology comes into play. Why is it that in this country, we cannot figure out how to hold two opposing thoughts in our brains? The footballs were deflated, yes, but why does it automatically have to be someone’s fault? Maybe the officials just didn’t do
their job right. The lack of cognitive dissonance is frightening in today’s world, where anyone can turn their own feelings into “facts.” While it’s great that there are different outlets where opposing views can be heard, many people abuse the power of free speech. The American public is so consumed with publicly convicting someone that they won’t even listen to any of the facts presented to them, and instead will just make up their own and go with it. Before another athlete, police officer or celebrity is slandered by the public, maybe Americans can take the time to understand the ramifications of a public conviction.
Introducing Kevin Thompson: Mr. Moviefone
Assistant Features Editor In the summer of 2007, Kevin Thompson had an experience that he never thought would change his life. He had just become an orientation leader that summer and was responsible for “Tent Entertainment.” When students and parents arrived, they were sent to a large ten set up for approximately 500 people. Thompson was nervous — he had to entertain them for an hour. According to him, his friend and first mentor DJ Zeke calmed him down and said, “just be yourself and everyone will love you.” “Someone mistakenly put a microphone in my hand as an orientation leader and a few grand cuts later, the microphone stayed,” Thompson said. “St. John’s was the beginning of my career.” Four years later, in 2011, that nervous kid is hosting the New Year’s Eve party at Times Square. The 27-year-old alumnus has an impressive résumé. Thompson graduated St. John’s in 2009 with a major in communications. Thompson did not slow down after graduating. He was the warm-up guy for the Wendy Williams Show. He also
According to Thompson, it was helped various St. John’s undergraduate students secure internships at the show. through his fellow St. John’s alumnus He has recently been dubbed the new friends that he became Mr. Moviefone. Mr. Moviefone, the brand ambassador “A fellow SJU alumnus told me of Moviefone. Moviefone is an online about a contest called Moviefone platform that provides features, news Search,” Thompson said. “I submitted and reviews on movies and TV content. an audition video with the help of two He was chosen amongst candidates other SJU alumni who shot and edited from all over the country to be the voice it.” According to Thompson, his video and face of the brand. Another role as Mr. Moviefone caught the attention of the brand’s genis to conduct interviews with celebri- eral manager in Los Angeles, Sharon ties;Thompson most recently spoke to Kopp. He was offered an audition over Britsh actor Kevin Costner about his Skype, but he flew to do it in person. “A month later to my surprise, I upcoming movie, “Black or White.” Mr. Moviefone can also be seen on was revealed on the Today Show as Mr. the red carpet. Moviefone,” Thompson said. Ezekiel Akinyemi, known as “DJ “I’m dancing with Cameron Zeke,” has also been instrumental in Diaz and Jamie Foxx at press junkets,” he recalled about Thompson’s career. He has been friends with his red carpet experience. Thompson for years, and Thompson also hosted the New Year’s Eve Thompson refers to him as his first mentor. party for the first time in 2011, and was asked Zeke recalled the time to host again the following when they were orientation leaders and entertaining the upyears. Thompson is still overwhelmed from that experience. coming students and parents. Thompson was nervous, and “Thanks to that event, Zeke thought that all ThompI’ve rubbed elbows with CeeLo Green, Train, Carly Rae son needed was an extra push, and the rest would unfold on Jepsen, American Authors and the list goes on,” he said. PHOTO/KEVIN THOMPSON its own.
“It’s great to watch your friends grow as you’re growing yourself,” Zeke said. “He knows what he’s doing and he knows how to entertain people.” Zeke sees Thompson as “a man on a mission,” and he is one of the people who assisted Thompson in the shooting and editing of his audition video for the Moviefone competition. “No one is that busy that they can’t help you,” he said. Thompson remembered how he was a finalist in the BET competition to become the host for the show “106 & Park” during the fall of 2012. When he didn’t get the position, he felt lost. After taking improvisation classes and gaining the spark he needed, Thompson found himself and moved on to greater things. He hosted the Steven Madden Keyshia Cole tour in the summer of 2013. The following year, he was featured in Essence Magazine. In the spring of 2014, he became the host of BET’s “Claim to Fame.” “Now I’m waiting for St. John’s to invite me to speak at graduation,” Thompson said. “[They] have my email address and my X-number. I promise I’ll be on my best behavior, whatever that is.”
College-budget friendly Valentine’s Day ideas
As the #Blizzardof2015 got the semester off to a rocky start, it makes sense that Valentine’s Day isn’t at the forefront of everyone’s mind. But don’t fret; here are a few last minute crafty gift ideas that will show your loved ones just how much you care without breaking the bank. Date Night Package: Now is a better time than ever for Johnnies to take advantage of the campus concierge’s “Date Night Package.” The deal exclusively sold to SJU students includes two metro cards, two movie tickets and a $50 restaurant gift card for only 50 bucks. If you have the funds to spare, take advantage of the deal and enjoy a night out in the city. Cash only Scrapbooks: This may be a good idea for couples who are well-established in their relationships. Scrapbooking is a perfect way to put together all those ‘us-ies’ you and your mate have taken during the course of your relationship. Craft stores usually have everything needed for a creative endeavor such as this and while things can get expensive, it only needs to be as expensive as you make it! Plus, this is a great activity to do with others. Keepsake Boxes: These kinds of boxes typically are used to keep items that remind couples of past events. Gifting your significant other with a box made with love will speak wonders. Maybe include the ticket stub from the first movie or concert you attended or a trinket that reminds you of your sweetie. When you’re in a new relationship, everything is exciting and fresh; everything around you reminds you of your new courtship. Use that new
view of the world to your advantage and collect a few things that you really think exemplify your new relationship. Think about why you fell for that person in the first place. What’s your favorite quality in them? Where is your favorite place to spend time together? Dinner At Home: Going out to eat on Valentine’s Day can be pretty overwhelming in itself, but factor in that we’re all just college kids trying to get by and you’ve got another set of problems. Throw out all the drama of eating in NYC and spend some quality time at home. Getting proper ingredients together may seem expensive, but quality ingredients don’t have to be. Besides, this may be the other part of the date that you’ll actually need to spend money on. Tell your roommates to get lost for the night or just borrow some space from a friend. Of course, you will have to ensure the place is clean, but having intimate time to yourselves is worth the effort. A recent article in Forbes states that a great gift idea for men this year is the satisfaction of a great cocktail, so it might be a good idea to put your mixology skills to the test. Sweet Notes: The power of the written word has moved mountains throughout history. Where would we be today if people like Martin Luther, J.K. Rowling or William Shakespeare hadn’t thrown caution to the wind and expressed themselves? Use this kind of daring initiative to put pen or quill to paper and let your creative light shine. It might be more challenging than you think. On top of that, it only has to be as costly as you make it. Don’t let the cost of Valentine’s Day discourage you from making it important and special.
Powerful message in Civil Rights biopic ‘Selma’
Asst. Entertainment Editor
tration out by yelling at the screen. Watching Dr. King accomplish his goal and pave the way for African American voting rights was the sweet
After everything that has happened last year involving police brutality, Paramount Pictures teamed up with Oprah Winfrey, Pathé, Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment and Cloud Eight Films to release “Selma” everywhere in January. “Selma” was directed and co-written by Ava DuVernay along with Paul Webb. This biopic of Martin Luther King, Jr. showed how discrimination was still alive even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the southern states. Because of the difficulty, African Americans had to be given the opportunity to vote, Dr. King and his followers marched to Alabama to set up shop with SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference). The film focused on the untold story of their march from Selma to Montgomery, while having a “non-violence philosophy,” in order to influence President Lyndon Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Watching African Americans and
other protestors as victims of police brutality really made me upset because it’s still going on; from Trayvon Martin to Mike Brown to Eric Garner
While the cast was snubbed by the Academy, the film earned an Oscar nom. for Best Picture.
and many other names that haven’t surfaced in the media. I took my frus-
silver lining in the movie. Many people may not know what went on during
those times, but watching the struggle that Dr. King and other protestors faced along with the many trials and tribulations they had to overcome was incredibly inspiring and motivating. No matter what was thrown in his way, Martin Luther King, Jr. set goals and with God’s guidance, he achieved them and made history, which is very admirable. While watching this movie, you see that he went through things just like we all do. He made mistakes, had people speak negatively to what he believed in and needed spiritual encouragement, but he still fought for his beliefs, rights and goals. He was a human and it shows that we can do anything we set our minds to with God’s guidance and direction. We can make history and make a change. This film came right on time. It was very educational, and it showed all of what you don’t normally read in history books. I enjoyed everything about this movie: the cast, the directing, the music and the overall script. “Selma” was powerful. Definitely a must-see!
ASHLEY PURE Staff Writer
stage at this year’s halftime Superbowl XLIX performance. They showed just what you get when you put a roaring pop star and one of the best female emcees of all time together on a stage. Starting off the show Perry sang her hit single “Roar” dressed in a fiery flames-covered outfit part of which was a larger-than-life mechanical tiger that led her across the stage. She then transitioned into her hit single “Dark Horse,” where horse-headed dancers joined her on stage. The scene quickly changed to a beach theme where dancing palm trees, beach balls and sharks all took the stage with Perry as she sang “Teenage Dream” and “California Girls.” One of the big moments came when Perry sang one of her earlier singles “I Kissed A Girl” and rockstar Lenny Kravitz appeared on stage singing along while also giving the crowd a rocked-out guitar solo in the act. Now as if the audience couldn’t get enough of Perry and Kravitz, they were sure to “Lose Control” when rap’s greatest female emcee of all time, Missy Elliot hit the stage. Performing her hits “Lose Control,” “Get Your Freak On” and “Werk It,” Elliot’s performance had everyone out of their seats and dancing along. This seemed to definitely be the
highlight of the show Making sure to leave the audience with a bang, or one big firework, Perry sang her ballad “Firework.” She flew across the stage, being lifted by a shooting star as fireworks shot up across the stadium. Perry proved she knew how to close a Superbowl act!
N KCANNO RAM/NIC
Hip-hop’s notorious rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight was arrested Thursday night for allegedly killing a man in
attempts to save his own life. Knight, founder of Death Row Records, was said to have been on a film set for the movie “Straight Outta Compton,” a biopic about the ‘90s rap group N.W.A, when he got into an altercation with a group on the set. The arguing didn’t stop on the set as authorities say that the quarrel continued to the parking lot of a Compton fast food restaurant Tam’s Burgers. Knight had allegedly followed the two men several minutes after the incident. It has been said that the group of men said they were going to kill Knight by “attempting to drag him outside” of his own vehicle. Knight took off immediately in fear of his own life, reportedly reversing his car hitting the two men, one which suffers injuries and the other who was pronounced dead. Knight’s lawyer, James Blatt says that he is confident that once the investigation is finished, Knight will be set free as “he was in his car trying to escape.” Now while his lawyer seems confident that the case will be dropped, witnesses at the scene say it was intentional, according to authorities. It is reported that after several hours of the incident occurring, Suge turned himself in to authorities with his lawyer, being put on bail for $2 million dollars with his case still being under investigation. Katy Perry and Missy Elliot took the
Well, it seems like Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey are making headlines again and no, it’s not about their ongoing divorce. Instead it’s about an enraged nanny who is suing the estranged couple for underpaying. That’s right. Simonette DaCosta, former nanny to the couple’s twins, Moroccan and Monroe, filed for a lawsuit this past week after being paid less than what she was promised. DaCosta released a statement saying she worked “between 84 and 120 hours per week,” with “no entitlement for breaks, meals and even for sleep.” DaCosta was set to be paid $350 per week, but made less than that. She only took home a mere $3,000 -$3600 every two weeks after either working a full seven days a week, or 12-hour shifts from Monday through Friday. DaCosta was fired by the Cannon family after being “too affectionate” to the threeyear-old twins, claiming that Carey could be very demanding at times. No statement has been released from the family as one thing is for sure, Carey will not be able to say she can “shake it off.”
Joey Bada$$ delivers dope ‘90s flow on ‘B4.Da.$$’ SHANTAVIA THOMAS Staff Writer
Joey Bada$$ 4 ouf 5 stars
In a music industry where mediocrity is applauded as greatness, you’d think it’d be difficult for genuine talent to break through the airwaves. However, Bed-Stuy Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$ and his recently released 17-track album “B4.Da.$$” (‘Badass’ or ‘Before Da Money,’ depending on your perception) is a project for the
old and new school hip-hop lovers. “B4.Da.$$” is Joey’s debut album that exceeded his fans’ and critics’ expectations. Since his mixtape “1999” (2012), fans have commended Joey (born JoVaughn Virginie Scott) for his diversity in subject matter and surprisingly refreshing production choices, especially in choosing DJ Premier and Hit Boy for this project. Joey and his hip-hop collective Pro Era all come with a late ‘80s and early ‘90s flow that are completely opposite their mainstream competition. Even first daughter Malia Obama showed her appreciation for the collective with a selfie of herself in a Pro Era t-shirt. Joey is a prime example of New York hard hip-hop reemerging as a relevant and possible genre in the current music waves. “B4.Da.$$” lacks features, but Joey carries the album without fault. Joey has a wide range of topics on this album, but they all seem to tie into the tale of a young black man living in New York and telling what he sees.
He gets into a bit of spirituality also on this album, in “No. 99” where he raps, “been up all night, my third eye ain’t even blinking.” Even his more sentimental tracks such as “On & On,” where Joey delves into contemplating his own mortality, it doesn’t slow down the melodic formation of the album as a whole. The select instrumentals play a major part in the success of the album. The chill vibe that rides as an undertone throughout the project makes it a whole album and not just a collection of singles, similar to his summer night mixtape. Hard-hitting bangers like “Christ Conscious” and “No. 99” balance things out with the heavy hitter bass and sped-up delivery. He also discusses the capturing behavior of the music industry and its truths being unveiled in “Paper Trails.” Given that Joey is only 20 years old, this is an ideal album for him to begin flourishing as a mainstreaming artist. Many new, up-and-coming hip-hop artists have the potential to shift the di-
rection of the genre to a more traditional energy with an updated and current overlay. To that effect, Joey’s chorus on “Hazeus View” where he says, “We may be riding the same trains occasionally but I can’t see what I can’t relate to.” For certain, Joey brings originality to the music waves in his verses. Sticking with the ‘90s feel, Joey even has electric dance music (or EDM) on the project, which could have been a huge risk because of the genre and his unexpected singing vocals. The track doesn’t disrupt the flow of the project; however, the album could have done without the track altogether. Critics are excited to see where Joey Bada$$ takes his music career and hopes he keeps up the image of the new kid on the block with the old school flow. Who knows, we may be witnessing a game-changer. Want to write for Entertainment? Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
PGIV: St. John’s quiet assassin ANTHONY SCIANNA Staff Writer
Phil Greene IV’s transformation has been fun to watch. His evolution is in its final stages as we reach at the halfway point of his last season at St. John’s. Recently inducted into the 1000-point club, Greene’s bravado is oozing out of his pores. As a Chicago native, Greene arrived in the Big Apple with a chip on his shoulder. Coming into 2011, he was ranked among the 40 best shooting guards in the nation. Along with resilience came expectation, and his first season proved to be a roller coaster ride. Filled with ups and downs, Greene showed flashes of his potential and Coach Lavin took notice. He finished his freshman year with a total of 242 points, averaging only 7.6 points a game. However, his game doesn’t revolve around scoring. Greene will happily accept the facilitator role at times. In fact, he supplied 90 assists in his freshman year, which led the team. Fast-forward to sophomore year
when Greene’s confidence skyrocketed. His points per game spiked to 10.1 and his offense was coming together. He finished his sophomore year with a total of 333 points and also received third team All-Metropolitan honors. Greene’s game was slowly evolving and his threepoint shot was coming into it’s own. Taking notice of Greene’s boost in confidence, head coach Steve Lavin said, “Phil’s confidence from year to year has grown. He’s also turned up the volume in terms of communicating. On the floor, he’s our quiet assassin. In big games he torches the nets and comes up with big plays. And what people don’t know is that he’s done it with injuries.” Junior year was just that for Phil Greene, injury-ridden. He struggled through games and was visibly held back by a torn hip labrum. Although, this injury only pushed Greene to work on his long-range shot. In fact, Greene adapted well, shooting 30 of 75 from behind the arc. Heading into his senior year, Greene had a great understanding of what he was. He was and still is a pivotal piece to the St. John’s puzzle. Greene has started every game this season and is averaging a career-high 12.5 points a game. A shocking increase from last years 7.4 points a game. This
just showcases Greene’s adaptability. He has matured beyond his age over the years and Lavin says it’s because of his ability to listen. “Phil has that. It’s a trait, a virtue and a gift to be an outstanding listener. It’s an undervalued trait and yet the most important one. We always forget that listening is how we learn, not by speaking. And the greatest listeners are the ones that achieve the most in life,” said Lavin. Even Greene’s teammates have been put on notice. Close friend and wingman for four years, D’Angelo Harrison sounded off on Greene’s transformation, “He’s just shooting the ball more, he’s become more aggressive and you’ve seen that when he takes over in big games. In fact, I love when he shoots, cause to me it’s going in and takes some scoring off my back.” Sir’Dominic Pointer, also a senior, has matured side-by-side with Greene. Pointer thinks Greene is at an elite level and said, “Over the last few years, Phil has really stepped up. He’s won us a lot of games, and from Syracuse until now he’s been on a tear. He’s one of the alltime greats at St. John’s.”
Phil Greene IV has been pivotal to the Red Storm’s success this season.
The Torch sits down with basketball standout Danaejah Grant
BRANDON MAUK Assistant Sports Editor
Basketball Player Danaejah Grant
T: What have you done to improve so much this season?
DG: owe it mainly to the off-season. I was able to get in the gym a lot over the summer . . . with coach [Priscilla] Edwards. We worked a lot on attacking, being able to see the floor and knowing when to attack certain gaps. I think it comes a lot with just being able to have the opportunity to be on the floor. I’m playing a lot more than last year, just taking my opportunities.
T: What’s the most important thing for you to focus on every day as a basketball player?
DG:Lead by example. We’re a pretty young team. Just being able to show [the younger players] the ropes to do everything I would want them to do on the court. I would say that’s my main thing: just being somebody they can look up to..
T: How do you develop a winning attitude for yourself and the team?
DG:I’ve kind of always been a winner, starting from when I played in high school. We were always a winning program, so it was easier for me to make that transition from high school to college. When you think you’re good or you put in the work to be great, that winning attitude comes with it. You don’t want to put in all that hard work to just lose.
Torch Photographer/ Cheyanne Gonzales
What goals did you set for yourself and the team this season?
Junior guard Danaejah Grant has made a huge leap DG: Personally, it was just to just stay healthy. Regardless of anything that happened throughout the season, I just this season for our women’s basketball program as wanted to be able to successfully go through a full season. For the team, for us to be able to reach the Big East Chamthey chase the Big East title. She currently ranks third pionship again and actually take it home this time. in the conference in scoring at 18.1 points per game. Grant has become a key player in St. John’s run for T: What’s the key to winning these upcoming conference games to take first place in the Big East? another NCAA Tournament appearance.
Torch: How do you think everyone on the DG: We have to make a turnaround, regardless of what ever happened in the first half of the season. We have to get team makes each other better? our heads back in it. We have to remember who we are. We have to remember that we are top in the conference in Danaejah Grant:We feed off each other’s energy. defense. We have to remember what we’re good at. Every night our defense should push us through. When somebody’s struggling, we’re able to pick each other up because we can all do something different.
Sir’Dom dominates in much needed win over Marquette Johnnies avoid 1-5 start in Big East play with hard fought victory
ing the ball in the first half as they only knocked down 28 percent of their shots from the field and 13 percent from beStaff Writer yond the three-point line. Despite the less than appealing offense in the opening half, St. John’s It was desperation time for St. John’s defense never faded. From the opening on Wednesday night at Madison Square tip until the final buzzer sounded, their Garden, and even though it wasn’t pretty, length in the paint (13 blocks) and in the the senior-led Red Storm responded with passing lanes (11 steals) bothered Marquette immensely. a win against Marquette, 60 to 57. Even though the defense was impres“It was a big win for us,” Phil Greene said. “We didn’t want to go 1-5 and dig sive, it wasn’t enough to pull away from ourselves into a big hole. We want to the Golden Eagles. The Red Storm trailed now go on one game winning streaks and by as many as eight points in the second half and then Jordan started to take over. worry about each opponent as we go.” After a 2-for-10 outing against De- The sophomore knocked down two imPaul and a recent calf injury, D’Ange- portant three pointers on a 9-0 run that gave the Johnnies a lo Harrison 44-43 lead with nine continued to minutes remaining. struggle with The Johnnies his shooting committed 12 turntouch. He was overs and were out3-for-18 from “This might have been Dom’s best rebounded by the the field and game at St. John’s. He completely shut Golden Eagles, 43 only scored 11 Carlino’s water off.” to 39, but they were points. able to attack MarRysheed -Steve Lavinquette’s zone more Jordan picked effectively in the up the slack second half. by scoring Matt Carlino 15 points, was the star for the also coming up with some superb passes down the Golden Eagles with 21 points on five stretch to seal the deal. Greene continued three-pointers but was shut down when his strong contributions as he put up 11 Lavin decided to match Pointer up against him late in the game. points. “This might have been Dom’s best Sir’Dominic Pointer had a tremendous game for the Johnnies as he had 15 game at St. John’s,” Steve Lavin said. points, 12 rebounds, six assists and six “He completely shut Carlino’s water blocks. Chris Obekpa also played well off.” Holding serve at home is crucial, espeas he put up six points and grabbed 10 cially in the Big East Conference where rebounds. “We have a good team,” Sir’Dominic every game is grueling and physical, and Pointer said. “We had other people step the Johnnies were able to use their late their game up tonight. That will help us game execution in order to overcome a tough start. further down the line.” The Johnnies were ice-cold shoot-
Sir’Dominic Pointer has been better than ever this season for the Johnnies.
Rysheed Jordan pitched in with 15 key points in the win over Marquette.
Red Storm looking to surprise with Rebhuhn on board Senior Polyakova will be key player if Johnnies want to make a run REZA MORENO Staff Writer
St. John’s women’s tennis is ready for the new season with their fairly new young players and new coach. The only senior on the team, Anastasia Polyakova from St. Petersburg, Russia, is ready to win in her last season playing tennis for SJU. Men’s tennis coach Eric Rebhuhn is now taking on both the women’s and men’s team this season. Rebhuhn is very busy in his quest to take both teams to the Big East Championship. The Red Storm will have an uphill battle this year with their inexperienced roster after the loss of three key seniors from last year’s squad in Rachel Hoffman, Diamond Adams and Yanita Arnaudova. The women’s coach from the 2013-14 season had left because she was offered a position as head coach at Yale and coach Maureen Diaz from last season is now working at a tennis club and left in December. Thankfully, Rebhuhn was able to step in on such a
short notice. His great reputation as the men’s coach for the past few years here at St. John’s has al hoping he can bring the same success to the women’s team. This 2014-15 season holds a fairly new women’s team, but most girls are more mature than some seniors that graduated last year, according to Polyakova. Last year, she earned a spot on the All-Big East team. When asked if that is her main goal for this season she
“I really hope that St. John’s will keep getting good players and at one point, the team will be ranked very high.”
responded, “It would be nice, but it is not my main goal. I just want to win as many matches as possible.” Once she graduates this year, Polyakova plans on playing tennis for fun once a week, since she has played tennis for almost 16 years now. As for the matches, Polyakova believes it will be fairly easy to
win all her matches and for the team to do great, as the conference is not that strong and there is only one team, DePaul, that will give the Johnnies a run for their money this year. The matches between the two will be exciting and fun to watch in the spring. “I really hope that St. John’s will keep getting good players and at one point, the team will be ranked very high,” Polyakova said. With it being Rebhuhn’s 13th season and being named the Big East Conference Coach of the Year twice, there is no doubt that he can bring the team to great success this season. St. John’s kicked off the season on Jan. 23 with a 7-0 sweep over Fairfield for their first win of the season. The win marked the third straight win over the Fairfield Stags for the Red Storm. The Johnnies put on a dazzling display to start the season as they swept all six singles matches and won two out of three doubles matches. St. Johns won all of its matches in straight sets. If this torrid pace keeps up for the Red Storm, they will start to raise some eyebrows around the nation. St. John’s will play its next match versus Big East rival Georgetown on Friday, Feb. 6 at 4 p.m.
St. John’s lacrosse relying on mix of young talent TROY MAURIELLO Staff Writer
As the St. John’s men’s lacrosse team took the field on Friday for their first exhibition game of the season against Massachusetts, a new era of Red Storm lacrosse began. The most successful class in the program’s history, led by the likes of Kevin Cernuto, Colin Keegan and last year’s MLL Rookie of the Year Kieran McArdle is now gone after four outstanding seasons in Queens. But, as ninth-year head coach Jason Miller sees it, this is no time for the program to be rebuilding. “We don’t talk about what we lost, we don’t talk about who’s not here,” Miller said. “We talk about going out and working hard every day, and getting better every day.” Replacing the 500-plus career points and 300-plus career goals left behind by the attacking line of Cernuto, Keegan and McArdle seems like an almost impossible task, but the Red Storm will likely look towards their seniors to step up as leaders in 2015. Among those seniors are Stefan Diachenko and Chris Fisher, who will each be looked towards to provide leadership for a very young St. John’s team. “We’ve got a young group,” Diachenko reiterated. “We’ve got a couple guys returning—we’re kind of just starting from the bottom.” With 22 goals in 14
games last season, Diachenko is the leading returning scorer for the Red Storm in 2015, but he believes this year’s team is still capable of big things. “No matter how it goes, you know it’ll eventually all come together,” he said. For it all to come together this season, the Red Storm will need to go through a number of quality opponents, including four teams that made last year’s NCAA Tournament. In addition to those four, they will also take a trip to Jacksonville, Fla. to take on the Jacksonville Dolphins in February. However, many Red Storm players are embracing the challenging schedule that lies ahead of them. “I think it’s definitely going to help us,” Fisher said. “We definitely understand how important every game is, and it’s definitely going to help us as we get deeper into the season.” The Johnnies will kick off regular season play in just under two weeks when they face former conference foe Rutgers at home on Feb. 7. Before then, they will play two exhibition games, one of which took place this past Friday when they suffered a disappointing 13-6 loss to UMass. “I think we looked young, I think we looked inexperienced and all the things that go along with it,” Miller said after the game, “So it’s going to be a work in progress.” Whether or not that progress results in the program’s first trip to the Big East Tournament since 2012 will remain to be seen.
Mark DiFrangia is a unanimous Preseason All-Big East selection.
St. John’s track competes at Armory Track Invitational Freshman standout Batt-Doyle breaks 3,000 meter record........ again
ALLAN GOMEZ Staff Writer
Already with a strong start this season, the St. John’s women’s track & field team resumed to action this weekend at the New Balance Track and Field Armory in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. With more than 70 universities entered to compete in a sanctioned USA Track & Field event, which has become one of the most competitive meets on the U.S. indoor schedule, the St. John’s women’s track team were ready. The Red Storm had some positive results coming from day one with junior sprinter and mid-distance runner Pariis Garcia lowering her time to a seasonal-best at 56.04 seconds to finish third in her heat and 14th overall. Junior sprinter Raquel Ricketts was a heat winner as well, clocking a seasonal-best time of 57.47 seconds for 29th place. “Our performances looked a little rusty after being off last week and were less than expected as we have had two good weeks of practice leading up to the meet,” said Red Storm head coach Jim Hurt. “We should bounce back on Saturday as we have a number of student-athletes competing fresh in various events,” Hurt added. Wrapping up day one, some other notable finishes was sophomore sprinter Tiffany Perrier competing in the 500-me-
ter run clocking a time of 1:29.00 to place 39th. In the 1,000 meters, junior Kerri Butler finished fourth in the second heat and 34th overall with a time 3:03.47. Day two saw Freshman Izzi BattDoyle, a standout on the Red Storm’s cross-country team, broke the program record again in the 3,000-meter run for the second meet in a row on Saturday. Batt-Doyle finished 15th overall and clocked a time of 9:45.55. Batt-Doyle previously broke the 33-year-old record two weeks ago at the NYC Gotham Cup clocking a time 9:49.31. The 800-meter event saw freshman sprinter and mid-distance runner Marlow Schulz finish 16th overall, clocking a time 2:12.13, a shade off her seasonal best from two weeks ago. “Izzi Batt-Doyle set her second school record in the 3,000-meter to highlight our second day at the Armory Invitational,” said Hurt. “Her roommate Marlow Schulz ran her second 2:12 of the year in the 800-meter and then clocked 55.8 seconds on the 4x400-meter relay. Julia Schwan continues to improve in the high jump and our 4x400-meter relay was running great until one of our runners got tripped up. We return to the Armory next weekend with every intention of challenging for the team ‘Mets’ title,” Hurt added. Wrapping up day two in throws, junior Anna Dagrin finished 13th overall and freshman Nyla Woods finished 16th. The Red Storm next meet is on Feb. 6 at the 2015 Indoor Metropolitan Championship.
Izzi Batt-Doyle already etched her name in the St. John’s record books as a freshman.
Johnnies late run not enough versus Seton Hall ANTHONY SCIANNA Staff Writer
Despite a late surge, the Red Storm (15-6, 6-4 Big East) fell short to Seton Hall (20-2, 9-1 Big East) in a comeback thriller away from home in Newark, N.J. Finishing with a final score of 78-73, the Lady Johnnies slide down to fifth in the Big East. Head coach Joe Tartamella said they must use this as a learning experience, “We need to learn from this loss and move forward in the second half of our conference schedule.” The Pirates gave the sell-out crowd what they wanted, starting the game with an 8-3 run. St. John’s slowly came into their offense when Aliyyah Handford converted on a three-point play to get the lead down to two. Seton Hall then rattled off 11 unanswered points, stretching its advantage to 13. The first period ended with more defensive breakdowns, causing the Johnnies to head into the locker room down 16, 40-24. St. John’s started the second half with more of the same. Regardless, they battled the entire half and with just seven minutes remaining, the Red Storm trailed 72-52. Suddenly, a spark on the offensive end was found. This prompted a 19-1 run and St. John’s quickly climbed up within just two
points, 73-71. During this adrenaline of offense, the Red Storm converted on nine-consecutive field goals. The first place Pirates gathered their composure however, outscoring St. John’s 5-2 in the final two minutes. Aliyyah Handford led the Red Storm with 26 points, rallying the late comeback. As a Newark native, Handford also chipped in four assists, three steals and two blocks in just 31 total minutes. Amber Thompson continued her hot streak as she scored a season-high 15 points along with eight rebounds in the tough loss. On the defensive end, Thompson remained a force in the middle as she tallied three blocks. She also finished the game seven of seven from the charity stripe. Danaejah Grant anchored the Red Storm down the stretch, scoring six crucial points. She finished the game with 23 points, also adding six rebounds. Just like Thompson, Grant was perfect from the line, converting on 12 of 12 free throws. Grant, Thompson and Handford carried the offensive burden, scoring 64 of 73 total points for the Red Storm. Subsequently, the bench has proved to be the difference. St. John’s substitutes scored just two bench points, while Seton Hall’s bench chipped in 11 points. St. John’s converted on 23 of 25 from the free throw line, accounting for an increased average of 92 percent. Always looking for positives, head coach Joe Tartamella said, “I’m disappointed by our first half effort, but
WBB toppled by Villanova WILSON SY Staff Writer
The St. John’s women’s basketball team fell to Villanova 81-69 on Sunday, Jan. 25. The Johnnies could not stop the Wildcats’ hot shooting as they have allowed the highest opponent field goal percentage this season with Villanova shooting 61 percent of the field. “I thought Villanova played as well as I’ve seen them all year,” St. John’ s head coach Joe Tartamella said. “We were unable to slow them down offensively, which has been something our team has prided itself on against opponents all year. Coyer was tremendous for them. We have to get back to work this week as we prepare for another opportunity on the road this upcoming Sunday.” With the loss, St. John’s falls to 15-5 overall and 6-3 in Big East play, while Villanova improves to 12-9 and 6-3 in league action. St. John’s shot a total of 54 percent of the field with Danaejah Grant pacing the offense leading the team with 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Aliyyah Handford fell one point short of reaching the 20-point mark for her seventh consecutive game and finished with 19 points. Jade Walker chipped in with 12 points on 6-for-11 shooting. Villanova was led by junior point guard Caroline Coyer who poured in a career-high 28 points while going 11of-18 shooting along with converting 6-of-10 from downtown. Senior forward Taylor Holeman finished with 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while senior center Emily Leer added 13 points on 6-of-9
shooting to go along with a game-high six assists. After the Wildcats jumped out to a 7-2 lead, St. John’s responded by scoring eight of the game’s next 10 points to take a 10-9 advantage. Both teams would go back and forth midway in the first half until Villanova went on a 16-9 run in a five-minute stretch to take a 39-31 lead with 3:20 remaining in the opening half. The Red Storm trailed 4135 at the half, but the six point deficit was as close as they could get. The two teams battled back and forth during the opening minutes of the second half. The Wildcats’ hot shooting could not be stopped after a Taylor Holeman jumper made it a 52-41 St. John’s deficit with 14:33 remaining.
“We were unable to slow them down offensively, which has been something our team has prided itself on against opponents all year.”
Although the Red Storm shot an impressive 61.5 percent in the second half, they only attempted one foul shot during that period and allowed Villanova to shoot 63 percent. The St. John’s bench was outscored 22-2 in the loss St. John’s looked forward to bouncing back as they visited Seton Hall on Feb. 1 to take on the first place Pirates (8-1) at 2 p.m.
incredibly proud of our effort in the second half when we made it a one-possession game down the stretch.”
In the near future, the Johnnies face a feisty Creighton side at home on Feb. 6.
Amber Thompson had a season-high 15 points and eight rebounds in a tough loss to DePaul.
SJU flexes muscle versus Hoyas ALLAN GOMEZ Staff Writer
In the midst of a three-road-game stretch, which includes a showdown with Seton Hall, the St. John’s women’s basketball team remained undefeated on the road Friday night playing in the nation’s capital, blowing past Georgetown (4-16, 2-6 Big East) 74-57 improving to 15-4, 6-2 in Big East play. Aliyyah Handford had a team-high 16 points in the opening stanza, converting on her first four attempts from the floor. Handford finished the game with 22 points and tying a career-high with six assists in a game that was never in doubt. The Johnnies were able to go on 13-2 run, sparked by Handford scoring eight of the 13 points to put the game away early. The Johnnies led as much as 20 points and finished the first half with a 35-20 lead. “This was a great team win for us on the first part of this three-game road swing,” said head coach Joe Tartamella. “It was great to see our bench contribute in such a large way.” The Johnnies key contributors had big games as well, junior guard Danaejah Grant contributed with 16 points and six rebounds, and senior forward Amber Thompson recorded a season-high with 13 points, six rebounds and five blocks. Georgetown came out the second half with a better effort, as they were able to cut the deficit into single digits. The Johnnies would not allow the Georgetown to hang around for long, building its lead back to 20 by the midway mark
of the half. The Johnnies were able to go on a 13-4 run, highlighted by a Thompson three-point play to climb ahead by as many as 26, 60-34, with just over nine minutes remaining in the game. Some game notes, freshman forward Tonoia Wade set a new career-high with seven points and five rebounds and sophomore guard Kimberly Spruill scored the first points of her college career in the game’s closing minutes, nailing a three-pointer from the corner in front of the St. John’s bench.
Aliyyah Handford had a team high 16 points in win over Georgetown.
St. Johns gets crucial victory over Friars CARMINE CARCIERI Staff Writer
With the season slipping away and injuries piling up, St. John’s was able to silence the critics with a victory on Saturday at Madison Square Garden against Providence, 75-66. Sir’Dominic Pointer paced the Johnnies with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists while Phil Greene added 16 points. D’Angelo Harrison, who has been battling calf and shoulder injuries, played well late in the game and scored a total of 15 points. Rysheed Jordan, 14 points, played a key role on defense and also controlled the offense for the home team by only turning the ball over once. Jordan was coming off a patella tendon injury, and had to come off the bench for disciplinary reasons, but those issues did not seem to affect his game at all. The Johnnies pulled off a season sweep of the Friars and the match-up on Saturday afternoon had a similar feel to the game at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence earlier this month. “I’m glad we don’t have to play them
anymore,” Providence head coach Ed Cooley said. “They have our number. They have plenty of time to make a run especially with the talent they have on their team.” St. John’s jumped out to a double-digit lead at halftime (just like the first show down) due to a controlled effort in the paint. The Red Storm out-scored the Friars inside, 22-18, and out-rebounded one of the biggest teams in the conference by five. The Johnnies also played strong defensively in the opening half as they contained LaDontae Henton and Kris Dunn to a combined 10 points. In the second half, St. John’s let the Friars back into the game as Dunn caught fire, scoring nine straight points and started attacking the rim. But just like the first game, the Johnnies threw the final punch to deliver them a victory in a must-win game. With 6:40 left, Harrison, who up until that point was mostly a non-factor, drilled a critical three pointer to give St. John’s a five-point lead that never faltered in the final minutes. “We most definitely played with a sense of urgency,” Harrison said. We wanted to show everybody that we can play with anybody in our conference
and anyone in the country.” St. John’s came into Saturday’s game as the worst rebounding team statistically in the Big East and uncharacteristically, they out-rebounded Providence 37 to 34. The Johnnies also shot the ball well, 47 percent, while also taking control of the ball, 10 turnovers.
The Johnnies needed a quality win for their tournament résumé and Saturday, ‘New York’s Team’ was ready to play.
“We most definitely played with a sense of urgency. We wanted to show everybody that we can play with anybody in our conference and anyone in the country.” -D’Angelo Harrison-
“I’ve liked this team all along,” Steve Lavin said. “I’ve never faltered from that.” On the other side, Friars point guard Dunn, scored 23 points, but he only had one assist and turned the ball over four times. Henton scored 13 points and was 2-for-14 from the field.
D’Angelo Harrison has been battling injuries, but is still doing his part to help Johnnies.
Coach K gets win number 1,000 as Storm falters late STEPHEN ZITOLO Spoirts Editor
Everyone at Madison Square Garden knew they were going to see something special when the St. John’s men’s basketball team took on Duke. The question was whether the Red Storm was going to take down the nationally ranked Blue Devils or Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski was going to do something never seen in the men’s game and get to win number 1,000. The latter would occur as Coach K would end up getting that elusive 1000th victory in front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden, but the Red Storm (136) would put up a heck of a fight and give the Blue Devils (17-3) quite a scare in the 77-68 defeat on Jan. 25. “I thought it was an impressive basketball game – the punching, the counterpunching –even though there were stretches where it wasn’t a beauty in terms of either team being able to find their rhythm offensively,” St. John’s
head coach Steve Lavin said. “I just thought you had two teams that were competing at a very high level and Duke went out big on us. So in a game of runs, they had the one that was the most important, which was in the home stretch.” It was as if there were three separate games being played this past Sunday at Madison Square Garden. In the game’s first 10 minutes, Duke seemingly had total control as they jumped out to a 21-10 lead with star freshman center Jahlil Okafor looking dominant in the post. It looked as though the Red Storm were going to have a long day, but after Lavin called a timeout with 12:16 remaining in the first half, the Johnnies shook off whatever was holding them back and took it to Duke. In the game’s next 20 minutes, St. John’s looked as if they were the nationally ranked team. Behind senior guard/forward Sir’Dominic Pointer, who had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and sophomore guard Rysheed Jordan, who finished with 18 points, the Red Storm showed why they could be a dangerous team. Junior Chris Obekpa was also able to contain the dominance of Okafor with a strong defensive performance. In about a 17-minute time span at the end of the first half and beginning of the second half, St. John’s outscored Duke 41-22, and led by as much as 10 with eight minutes left in the game. Over the game’s last eight or so minutes, the savvy Coach K changed his defensive game plan from a man-to-man approach to a zone defense. The change seemed to leave the Red Storm confused and unable to find that offensive swagger they had earlier in the game. Duke
went on a 21-4 run towards the end of the second and the Johnnies’ hopes of holding off Coach K’s 1000th win celebration were dashed. “It was a heck of a game; I think that is the very first thing,” Krzyzewski said. “I thought for 10 minutes, we outplayed them and then for 20 minutes they just killed us with their athleticism. [Rysheed] Jordan and [Sir’Dominic] Pointer especially, we didn’t have answers for and no matter what we did. We started the ballgame trying to take away [D’Angelo] Harrison and [Phil] Greene IV and we were okay with, but then those two guys really came on. We played great in the last 10 minutes and I’m not sure I have ever been a part of a game like that. That’s kind of nuts!” The Red Storm have a tough week of must-win games coming up in Big East play as they take on Creighton, Providence and Butler. On Jan. 28 the Red Storm fell to a struggling Creighton team, 77-74. On Jan. 31 the struggling Johnnies showed what they were made of by beating the strongest team in conference play, Providence, 75-66. Butler blew out the Red Storm at Hinkle Fieldhouse 85-62, puttling the Red Storm at 14-8 overall and 3-6 in the Big East. “We’ll learn from this and we wish we could get this one, but we’ve got to flush this because we got a game on Tuesday or Wednesday so we got to get that one,” senior guard D’Angelo Harrison said. “We just got to take care of the rest of the Big East. This was a big game and we fell short. We’re worried about the Big East. That’s what we have to take care of.”
Torch Photographer/ Gina Palermo
Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Torch Photographer/ Gina Palermo
Rysheed Jordan drives to the basket against Duke on Jan 25.
What you missed over break: men’s basketball BRANDON MAUK Assistant Sports Editor
When St. John’s University went into winter break last month, it looked as if the men’s basketball team would coast into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011. They rode the momentum of a win over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome to rise to No. 15 in the country in the Associated Press poll with a record of 11-1. However, they’re on the bubble yet again as they stumbled in 2015. They’ve dropped five of eight Big East matchups. It started with a road loss at upstart Seton Hall on New Year’s Eve. The Johnnies fell out of the rankings altogether with home losses to Butler and No. 4 Villanova. These teams are all very good, but St. John’s had a lead in each game, so these conference games all held great potential for victory. They ran out of gas in each game due to poor rebounding and foul trouble. They rebounded with a solid win at Providence, but they suffered their biggest loss of the season after they blew an 11-point lead to a DePaul team that is not in the top 100 in either Basketball Power Index or Rating Percentage Index. Last Wednesday, they managed to escape against another mediocre team in Marquette by using a 9-0 run to pick up their first conference win at home in three tries.
This past week, they again really blew a huge chance to gain some ground. The Johnnies blew a double digit lead in the second half to Duke as Mike Krzyzewski picked up his 1000th career victory. On Wednesday, they surrendered a victory to Creighton, who were winless in eight previous conference matchups. They then managed to pick up a much-needed win over Providence, this time at the Garden. But really, this isn’t anything new. It’s classic St. John’s. Last year, they started 0-5 in Big East play before winning 10 of their final 13 conference games, which included a home upset over ranked Creighton, but it wasn’t good enough for a berth in the NCAA Tournament. A lack of depth is a serious problem. Chris Obekpa, D’Angelo Harrison and Sir’Dominic Pointer have all struggled with foul trouble in Big East play, and they are the Red Storm’s three most important players. Their small lineup has allowed the opposition to outrebound them in every game in conference play this season. When Obekpa gets in foul trouble, it makes it impossible to beat these bigger teams. The Red Storm are once again on the bubble for March Madness. According to Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology on ESPN. com, St. John’s would be one of the first four teams out of the NCAA Tournament, as of Jan. 29. If they can’t get their feet off the ground and win some conference games, it’ll be just another NIT berth.
TORCH PHOTOGRAPHER/ GINA PALERMO
Sir’Dominic Pointer caught fire during the winter break and led the Red Storm.
What you missed over break: women’s ba sketbal l Red Storm fighting for supremacy in the Big East conference
BRANDON MAUK Assistant Sports Editor
While the men’s basketball team has struggled in conference play, the women are just two games out of first place with a 6-4 Big East record (15-6 overall). Although they fell out of the AP Top 25, they’ve managed to keep pace for a 2015 women’s NCAA tournament bid. As of January 26, they are projected as one of the Last Four teams in the tourney in ESPN’s “Bracketology with Charlie Creme” as a No. 10 seed against Princeton. The Johnnies are led by senior Amber Thompson and juniors Aliyyah Hanford and Danaejah Grant. Thompson leads the Big East conference in both rebounding and shot-blocking and Hanford leads the Big East conference at 20.4 PPG.
Grant’s improvement has been essential for the Red Storm this season, as she has jumped from 10.9 PPG with a .423 field goal % last year to around 17.2 PPG, which ranks fourth in the Big Eats, with a .443 FG%. She also leads the team in three-point shooting. Their signature win of the season was a January 2 victory over thenNo. 23 Seton Hall (currently 19-2). They did suffer a pair of crucial losses to Butler (19-9, 8-2), DePaul (16-6, 8-2), and Villanova (13-9, 7-3) and failed to seize the opportunity to beat No. 2 Connecticut, but they are still more than alive in the Big East hunt. Rematches against said conference foes, all but against Butler on the road, will be huge in determining both the St. John’s women’s Big East title hope and a bid in the NCAA tournament.
Aliyyah Handford was the Red Strorm’s leader over the break. The Big East’s leading scorer carried the Johnnies to a 6-6 record.
For more in-depth reporting on all the basketball you missed over break, check out page 13.
TORCH ILLUSRATION/ STEVEN VERDILE